The general glared at the man sitting across the desk from him. “Care to explain what the just happened?”
The witch shrugged. “No idea, General.”
“I have one corpse, two injured and a werewolf in custody! I want answers!”
The witch spread his hands. “The first we knew of it was when the plumbing burst. We came as fast as we could.”
“Then how is it no seers were on the base today?”
He shrugged. “Just lucky? Seers don’t always reveal what they’ve Seen.”
“So what am I supposed to do about that?” The general pointed to the security camera aimed at the sedated werewolf.
“Wait until he wakes up and shifts back.”
“Can’t you…?” The general waggled his fingers suggestively.
“No.” The witch sighed. “I could contact the local pack leader. See if he has an ideas. Maybe bring him here…”
The general scowled. “I already have one unregistered werewolf on base. You want me to add another?”
The witch studied his fingernails. “We may have to. The ‘wolf was furious when he shifted. It may have been his first shift. Only a more dominant werewolf will be able to control him. And…”
“And what? Please expand on your good news.”
The witch ignored the other man’s sarcasm with practiced ease. “The werewolf is Dr. Frank’s latest toy, correct? The one who’s a fairy?”
“Yes. What of it?”
“Fairies tend to be claustrophobic. We have a magical being of unknown power who does not like small, confined spaces locked and chained in a small, confined space.”
“Call your werewolf.”
“Yes. Keep him sedated until the alpha arrives.” The witch rose and bowed slightly to the general before departing.
“I hate magic.” The general reached for a pack of cigarettes. “Today was not a good day to give up smoking.”
Oz (not his real name) dialed the number he’d memorized. Now if only someone would answer…
“What do you want, witch?”
“Hello to you too, Alpha. I have a ‘wolf problem.”
“Not one of mine.”
“Instant denial. Interesting. Anything I need to deal with?”
“Mm-hmm. A possible rogue.”
“Yeah. A fairy turned into a werewolf and attacked an Army major.”
A long silence on the other end. “Did you say a fairy turned into a werewolf?”
“Gender? Sexual orientation?”
“Male, possibly herm. Gay or bi. The fairy’s lover was shot. Probably by the major.”
The Alpha cursed. “Mated pair?”
“Not a clue. Never got a chance to talk to it. He was scheduled to have a physical this morning. The headshrinking was to take place in the afternoon. Can you send someone who can deal with a new ‘wolf?”
“You think it’s his first Shift?”
“I think it would have been mentioned otherwise,” Oz replied dryly.
More silence. “All right. I have someone. He’ll be there in the morning. Keep him sedated. Move him outside if you can. Somewhere he can run.” The werewolf hung up.
“Joy. How can I explain that to the general?”
The werewolf climbed out of the car to greet the waiting witch. “Oz.”
“Wolf. Do you have a name?”
“One I care to share with you? No. The rogue?”
“Get in.” Oz gestured to the jeep.
“You are here. SOP is to shoot werewolves on sight. Especially killer wolves.”
“He’s killed?” The wolf sucked in his breath.
“That’s bad? No. Not yet. His victim still lives. For now. They’re running tests for lycanthropy.”
“Mmph.” He took a deep breath. “Frell.”
“The rogue is in heat.”
“Oh. Um.” Oz blushed. “Is that a problem?”
The ‘Wolf shrugged. “Depends on if he sees me as rival or mate. He has a lover?”
“Yes. A human. He was shot. We think that’s what triggered the shift.”
Oz shook his head and yawned. “Sorry. I’ve been monitoring the wolf all night. Four people in the room: the werewolf, his lover, his victim and the doctor who was supposed to be giving him a physical. The doctor was also shot. Deceased. Looks like it went through the lover first.”
“Both injured are in critical condition. Not to mention, someone had his throat ripped out.”
“Ouch. Not good. What do you want me to do?”
“Get the werewolf able to answer questions. The general wants answers.”
“No surveillance tapes?”
Oz shook his head again. “They weren’t on. We put the werewolf in an old dog kennel, but it won’t hold him for long if he really wants out.”
The ‘Wolf nodded. The rogue was a bit old for a first shift if he was born a werewolf, but the fairy blood might have delayed it. Bitten wolves almost never shifted for the first time before their first full moon. When they did…he shuddered at the thought.
The werewolf stood outside the enclosure. This close he not only smelled the familiar scent of werewolf in heat but others. Strongest: fish and salt water. Growing things. Feathers and wind. Death and blood (vampire). Fire. Other scents for which he had no name nor approximation. Curiouser and curiouser. At his gesture the guards let him into the kennel. A door led into a building. The rogue lay on his side breathing regularly. Unself-consciously the ‘Wolf stripped and shifted. Moving upwind of the rogue he sat and waited. How would he react to a stranger? A male stranger?
The rogue stirred. He sat up and shook his head. Standing, he tripped when he attempted to walk. Clearly he was unaccustomed to walking on four feet. The rogue stiffened and growled. He’d scented the ‘Wolf. The rogue took off. He automatically swerved as he neared the fence. Definitely a newbie. The fence was made of steel. Too flimsy to contain a werewolf against his will. The ‘Wolf took off after the rogue. This prompted the rogue lo attack. The ‘Wolf easily avoided the clumsy attempt. Such a puppy. Or not. The rogue made another sound. Different. The look he gave the ‘Wolf was not one of a rival. He crouched and his tail moved out of the way. The ‘Wolf approached eagerly. The rogue sidled out of position when the ‘Wolf attempted to mount. It took several more false starts before the rogue permitted the ‘Wolf to mate.