Pack Mates -- Chapter Two The hunt went poorly. Why they had to give him, of all of them, a passel of young ones to fend for, Seamus would never know. Lord knew the elders would never tell him straight. They spoke in fucking riddles. One way or the other, he had a lot of mouths to feed, and he had to do it soon, before they started disturbing the fucking neighbors, so Seamus locked the little furry monsters in and headed out, and he was having no damned luck at all. This one was too skinny, and that one would be missed. He was far enough from home that getting a good meal back might get him noticed, and his fucking feet hurt. Always put him in a foul mood, and this was no exception. So maybe it was some kind of fate that he heard the sounds coming from the alley he had just passed. Normally he would have ignored the sounds of flesh striking flesh, the noises that came with a pack of drunken men, but there was another sound underneath, a desperate whining growl, layered over a scent he would know anywhere, at any time, and Seamus couldn't pass by. He hit the alley at a run, taking in the situation at a glance. Five men, backing one like him into a corner, broken beer bottles and pocketknives in hands. The young one, for he was very young indeed, was halfway to the change, but fear and pain had him confused, if nothing else, and he didn't know how to fight back. Seamus had no such difficulties. Like a duck shedding water he slipped out of the human guise he wore, unearthly snarls coming from deep in his chest as he attacked, ripping two of the men away in his first pass, tasting the gush of hot blood in his mouth. The young one started panicking at the scent of blood, fear and hunger flooding the air. A short sharp growl sounded, more animal now, the kid's teeth snapping. The three remaining men turned toward him, weapons drawn, faces painted in lines of horror. A mistake -- even a new young one could attack from behind. He sent a sharp bark in the young one's direction, knowing the command would be instinctively obeyed, and went for the strongest of the three, the one with the wicked looking knife. Perhaps that one would give a fight, satisfy his bloodlust. The knife flashed in the moonlight, sliding close to his chest, another blade appearing in the man's free hand. A scream echoed as the young one struck, feral snarls triumphant. Beautiful, to see one like that in what might very well be his first kill, but he had to concentrate on his own fight, turning away from the blades, sliding in under the man's guard to attack at the legs. The man went down with a cry, vulnerable throat exposed as he fell, begging, pleading in nonsense words. There was no mercy for this man in him, only rage, and he went for the throat, ripping the exposed vein, snarling his triumph. This one would make a meal for the pups. The final man went down, the young one clumsy and ill-trained, but hungry and full of fury, muzzle ripping at the soft belly of his meal. Seamus ate his fill, but his neck itched, sending the hair up on his back. They needed to move soon, to take their catch back to the pups, as much as they could carry. They would be found soon. And the young one would come back to himself, and be afraid. Now that the crisis was over, and his belly full, it was a matter of a thought to assume his other form again, straightening to stand over the young one. Gold eyes shone up at him, then the young one snarled, trying to protect his kill. The sound was soft, unsure, more fear than fury. ''Shhhh. Hush now. Come. Come on, and come back. We've gotta go. I know you're hungry. We can eat more later, but the cops are on their way.'' He kept his voice low and soothing, but they had to get the fuck out. Those eyes went wide, gold fading to black, a thin, dark-haired boy staring up at him in a complete panic. ''I didn't... I... What did I...'' The reedy voice got louder, slim body shuddering. ''Hush. Quit it now. Come on, kid, we've got to get these into the dumpster. Gimme that one's coat, though, and you take that jacket. We're both covered in blood. And I want that one's gym bag, I'm taking a haunch or two back.'' He didn't wait to see if the kid was following. He would. Seamus knew his voice would brook no argument. The kid moved behind him without another word, even though the soft whimpers never completely ceased, the kid terrified and in shock. The bodies were dumped, the coats thrown on, the gym bag loaded, and they were three blocks away before the black and whites showed up. Perfect. Now all he had to do was get the kid home before he collapsed. He put an arm around those thin shoulders and steered. Why him, indeed.