Hungry Like The Wolf, Part Six: On The Hunt

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(April 8th)


Roland leaned back against the padded seat within the armored truck, feeling slightly trapped. The truck had clearly not been built with people his height in mind, and half the truck was full of strapped-down sealed crates, leaving him and Locklear sitting carefully near one end. “So, how long have you been working for the museum?” he asked genially, glancing back and forth between her and the truck's rear door.

“About two years, now,” she said distractedly, sitting still in the chair.

“Enjoying it?”

“Mm,” she said diffidently. “It's a living. How about you? I thought I saw you on TV the other day…”

Roland grinned. “Fighting the gargoyles, right?”

She nodded. “What was that like? I've always wanted to meet Shatterdrive…”

“Well, he wasn't up for much chat after it happened, to be honest, but it was a hell of a day.” Roland launched into a recitation of the event, playing it up as much as possible, and sliding into digressions as he cheerfully watched her eyes glaze over as she tried to continue looking interested.

In the front seat, Jack sat straight, keeping one eye on the road as the man pretending to be Mr. Yarrow drove. “Any changes to the route?”

“No, I don't expect so,” Yarrow said easily, glancing over at Jack. “Why do you ask?”

“Just curious,” Jack replied. “You know how bureaucracies can be.”

Yarrow chuckled and nodded. “Oh, do I ever. The museum staff wasn't thrilled with the extra security that Washington asked for. They didn't see this exhibit as being that big of a deal, and didn't see why we needed superhumans onhand.”

“Well, I for one would be quite pleased if that turned out to be true. It's always nice to have an easy night.”

“So, do we have any idea what sort of people we're on the lookout for?” Yarrow asked. “Your director was a little bit on the vague side.”

“Not much,” Jack shrugged. “Just that the sculptures could have magical significance.” He leaned back, eyeing Yarrow sideways as he took a sip of water from the bottle at his side. The driver was completely casual, with no sign that he was preparing to move for a weapon. He glanced over his shoulder. “I hope Roland isn't bothering your partner.”

“Oh, Hannah's a patient lady, and she's not afraid to stand up for herself. Even if your friend somehow manages to annoy her, she'll let him know.”

“You two have worked together for a while, then?”

Yarrow nodded, his smile fading to polite. “Only a year or two, but I respect her abilities.”

Back inside, Roland was halfway through an extended description of his battle with the two gargoyles, exaggerating relentlessly and cheerfully as he spoke, when he noticed Locklear standing carefully. After a moment carefully and silently watching him, she began to walk towards the crates, pulling a small knife from her pocket. “Mission start,” she murmured towards her collar.

Roland broke off his speech, blinking. “Uh…” he said after a moment. “That's it?”

Locklear spun in surprise, staring at him. “What.” It wasn't a question.

“You're just going to walk over to the crates?” Roland said incredulously. He looked down. “Did you tie me up when I wasn't looking? No, apparently not.” He stood up, cracking his knuckles. “Lady, I don't know who you think you're dealing with, but I'm not letting you open those crates.”

Locklear took two steps backwards, flicking her knife outwards. “So,” she said, all traces of amusement gone. “You didn't even notice the illusion.”

“Illusions,” Roland repeatedly blankly, and then grinned, glancing over at the seat where she had been sitting. A small blue gemstone glittered at its base. “I get it. Not bad. But you're not getting past me.” He reached down, not taking his eyes off her, and tapped his walkie. “Piper, our girl has made her move. Could you…”

He broke off with a curse as, in the front seat, Yarrow slammed on the truck's brakes, sending it into a spin. Ahead of the car, lightning slammed into the street, blasting out an arc across the pavement. In the same moment, Jack's hand snapped out, his knife slicing through his seatbelt and Yarrow's as he slammed into the other man, sending them both careening out of the truck and knocking Yarrow's gun to the pavement. The two rolled to the ground, coming up facing each other.

“You knew.” Yarrow's voice was faintly hurt, as his features flowed like wax across his face, reshaping themselves to those of a young black man, his hair cut short and his eyes a warm brown. “I didn't think that you did.”

“I warned you, Proteus.” The man who stepped from the alleyway wore long grey robes, and Jack felt the frigid blood wafting across the pathway between them. “We knew very little about this one, except that he had a knack for discovering magical relics.”

“I've got this,” Proteus said, without taking his eyes off Jack. “Just go help Kitsune before…”

The rear doors of the armored truck exploded outwards, as Locklear kicked out, her hands reaching out to grab the rim and flipping up to land on the roof. “Melchior, you insufferable bastard!” she yelled over her shoulder. “You didn't tell me he was proof against mental tricks!”

“I was not aware,” Melchior said with a faint smile. “You don't mean to say that one man is beyond your abilities?”

Kitsune glared back at him, backpedalling as Roland stepped out of the truck. “You want to trade?”

“I hope not, we were still dancing.” Roland grinned, pulling his gun from his belt. “Magisters. You're all under arrest. I'd suggest surrendering.”

As Roland spoke, Jack's head twisted. “Behind you,” he gasped.

“Now, that's just rude.” The voice echoed from the rooftop across the street, as the man rose to crouch on the eaves. He cracked his neck, his mouth stretching into a fang-filled grin as it extended into a muzzle. “You're busy throwin' down ultimatums, and you didn't even wait for me to get here? What, don't I rate a little notch on your to-do list?” His fingers twisted into claws, his eyes turning yellow as brown fur sprouted over his body.

Roland grinned, glancing over towards Jack. “Werwolf, right?”

Jack was transfixed. “My God,” he murmured. “Blood, and screams, and endless night.” He looked back to Roland, eyes wide. “That's not Jormungandr's power. That's not anything I've ever felt.” He stared up at the man. “What are you?”

The werewolf leapt from the roof, dropping four stories with claws outstretched. As he slammed into the pavement, his claws slashed out, and he tore a chunk of concrete from the street without effort, tossing it in one hand. “I'm Fenris,” he said with a grin, “and you're in the way.”


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