Moonlight streaked the path with molten shadows that faded from the darkest of blacks to shimmering silver with only a breath of space between. The scent of decay seeped upward from the undergrowth as the leaves of fall faded beneath the ever-coming winter. The sharp wind bit at her nose, chasing its way across the coarse hairs of her outer coat, never quite penetrating the thick fur beneath that trapped her body’s heat.
Paws struck the soil, separating new scents to tickle the senses as she neared a fallen tree, mold had grown over the once beautiful oak until nothing but rot remained. Her hind legs coiled, muscles tightening before they sprung her up and over the obstacle. Propelled her deeper into the woods, further into shadow. Far from the brothers and their taint, the taint of humanity, the feelings it strangled inside her already broken form.
Her stride faltered as she darted around the scent of flame and coal. Avoided the possibility of discovery and pushed herself harder. Welcomed the twisting in her chest as the muscles of her heart contracted, pushed the warmth of her blood faster. Brought the chemical euphoria of adrenaline and endorphins to staggering heights as another heartbeat sped up to her right.
Her ears tilted, the thin layer of skin stretched to allow her a better connection to the faint sound. Her steps slowed, paws sinking into the damp soil as her neck swiveled. Thick fur in varying shades of pale brown and tan bunched with the movement as she slipped into silence. The rush of blood and the panting of her breath filled the void left behind by her fading steps as she caught the first hint of fear.
Quelling the urge to growl and warn her prey Buffy pushed her body closer to the earth and rolled her tongue out, past sharpened canines to hang to one side before drawing it and the taste of the night into her mouth. Welcoming the shift in bitter wind she caught the echoes of a frantic heart and a hiccupped breath as a brown rabbit darted across her path.
Green eyes, far too human to belong in a wolf’s narrowed face, shifted with the movement before she sprang after the easy kill. Head lowered, ears back. Tapering her body down to its thinnest, front paws almost crossing as she gave chase. Her prey’s breath pitched upward, a whine that pumped her blood faster. Pushed her harder as its heartbeat matched those frantic breaths and its lithe body darted a step ahead and lunged to the left, beneath a withering bush.
She trampled the undergrowth, sharp branches catching her fur, piercing the undercoat to draw bloody scratches down her sides. The pain was hallowed and she welcomed it more than the copper tang of the rabbit’s blood as she caught its hindquarters within her jaws and pressed down. Tore the warm flesh with white teeth and jerked her head left, then right, snapping the creature’s spine with that vicious movement. A whimper of sound escaped her prey before the tiny body bucked in her mouth and she dropped it to the disturbed earth. Let the rabbit begin its first and final dance with death.
A last spasm rocked its frame before it stilled, only the steady brush of the wind moved the fur surrounding the ruin of its back. The blood looked black beneath the moon’s casual light as Buffy’s ears flattened to the back of her head and she watched the brown fur shift and sway. Bits of it floated free and marched their way skyward. Her neck bowed, black nose nudging the bit of life she had snuffed out so quickly—so easily. Her lips peeled back, teeth flashing before she jerked the carcass onto its back and sent those shining teeth deep into the soft fur of the rabbit’s stomach.
The warm flesh tainted her mouth, coated her throat and she welcomed the release. Welcomed the lose of self as she allowed her darker urges to bubble forth until the creature beneath her paws and teeth had become only so much meat and she pulled away, licked at the blood slicked fur lining her muzzle before she tilted her head back. Human eyes staring up into the darkness above her as she gave voice to the darkness within and bayed at the half full moon.
A wall of oppressive heat welcomed her back into the motel room as Buffy winced and closed the door. Closed off her last connection to the night as she slipped out of her sneakers and placed them beside the cot that she had called ignoring Sam’s insistence of her taking one of the beds. She also ignored Dean’s hazel flecked gaze while it tracked her silhouette as she moved across the room and into the bathroom. Closing another barrier between herself and temptation she twisted the knob out of habit, locking it.
Her fingers found the light switch, flicked it up and she blinked at the sudden and harsh artificial brightness. Tired eyes moved helplessly to the mirror stretching from sink to ceiling and Buffy moved toward it as she pulled off her tee and pushed worn jeans down curved hips. Stepping out of the pile of clothing she met her gaze and glared at the dark circles, deepening each day and the spider web of veins currently covering the whites of her eyes.
With an annoyed sigh she snatched up her toothbrush, spilling a liberal amount of toothpaste across it and began the arduous task of cleansing her mouth after a good kill. Ignoring the burning in her muscles she kept up the calming back and forth, up and down motion until only the taste of mint remained.
Muscles quivering from overuse and the pain of a too soon change, she grasped the counters edge and spit the remainder of the paste into the sink and rinsed as she flicked her eyes over her twitching form. The multiple scratches covering her chest and stomach would be gone by dusk tomorrow and the bruises covering her hands and feet were already fading to pale green. Replacing her toothbrush she reached out to turn on the faucet and frowned, glancing at the shower.
The curtain hung croaked and the faintest hint of cinnamon still clung to the cracked tiles, meaning Sam had been the last one in and she smiled with the fact that his scent always reminded her of ginger bread cookies. While Dean always smelled faintly of salt, as if his years of hunting had ingrained its scent into his flesh, marked him as different—not even the Slayer had such a strong base scent.
Shaking her head and wishing not for the first time the motel had more than twelve rooms that had been easily filled by the passing motorists before the trio. She turned on the shower to the hottest setting and stepped under the sputtering spray. Ignored the nagging memory of having to listen to the brothers’ heated whispered exchange about who would keep watch first instead she had bolted from the room and into the night.
Pulling the curtain closed with the scrapping of plastic over metal she pressed her face into the burning heat and welcomed the steady warmth that followed the waters caress as it cascaded around her. Not caring at the moment who it belonged to Buffy grabbed the nearest shampoo and lathered her hair. Piled the honey blonde onto the top of her head and hissed as the soap laced water reached the small abrasions across her shoulders.
Her arms ached with the use and she pushed her head back under the spray and bit her lip as the soap trailed its way across her chest, the tiny nicks and scratches where akin to gaping wounds to her tired body. Rinsing the crisp and spicy scent from her hair, she reached for the next bottle and lathered the same scent back in. Fingers combing the conditioner through, coating each strand as the warm water continued to beat away some of her fatigue. Grabbing the bar of soap and ignoring the hissing voice reminding her about what boys washed last, she turned, giving the spray her back and allowed it to begin the slow process of rinsing her hair as she lathered her front.
Fingers becoming stiff and achy as she continued to abuse them, forced the tired joints to work after pounding them into the ground for most of the night. Her hands flexed as she washed away the layer of grit and sweat from her body and then let the water finish the job as she wringed out her hair. Darkened strands stuck to her shoulders and neck as she faced the spray and pressed herself into the unsteady stream. With slowing movements she finished and turned off the shower, stepping out onto the cool tile and shivered at the temperature shock.
Grabbing one of the motel’s thin excuses of a towel she dried herself as best she could and ignored the drained sight of her reflection in the mirror. Unlocking the bathroom door she flicked the light off and stepped back into the wall of heat and dark. Tired eyes flicked over the brothers for signs of her shower having disturbed them and her lips pulled down into a frown as she stared at Sam’s now empty bed.
“He’ll be back in a minute and he’d better have coffee with’em.”
She nodded at the sound of Dean’s sleep roughed voice as she moved toward her cot and the duffle that lay beneath it. Giving his bed her back Buffy knelt and pulled out her bag to grab fresh clothes, placing the dirty ones in the plastic compartment along the side. She shifted her weight back onto the heels of her feet and pulled out another pair of faded jeans from her seemingly endless supply, a white tank and a bra and panties set that matched.
“You gonna stop this anytime soon?”
She felt the heat of Dean’s body just behind her and she turned, looking up at him. Eyes narrowing Buffy stood but found herself stepping away from the enticement of his humanity and felt the cot brush the back of her calves. “Stop what?”
His gaze flicked over the current flesh wounds marring her exposed chest and shoulders. The fatigue stamped across her features and the ugly brush with death that darkened her gaze with the memories of better times made his mouth pull into a tighter line as he answered. “Killing yourself.”
Her lips twisted into a mockery of a smile. “Are you?”
Dean’s eyes narrowed as he sucked in an annoyed breath and glared down at the newest pain in his ass. He opened his mouth to argue but she jerked her head to the left, then right and he was reminded of Bobby’s hound Rumsfeld working at a bone.
“I’m not in the mood for this.”
She sidestepped him and Dean reached out, caught her arm and spun them chest to face. Her lips thinned and she let her heated gaze rise to meet his. Dean pushed back the voice whispering caution as a low, trickling growl fell past her lips. “Let go of me or lose the arm.”
His fingers flexed, digging in. “Not a chance, Lassie.” Her lips pulled back, spread wide to reveal lightly curved canines. Dean jerked her forward, she stumbled and the smile slipped. “Stop the show. You’ve gone out of your way to make it clear you’re not a monster.”
Her arm rose and she sent a flattened palm into his chest. His bare feet slid across the carpet until his back hit the door, head following with a snap. Flames licked a trail up his throat with his sudden expulsion of breath. Dean gasped drawing them slowly back in and met her glare head on. Silence stretched between them as the burning in his lungs quieted and Buffy cocked her head, watched him.
“I’m not human either.”
She spun on her heel, stride eating the carpet with angry foot falls before the bathroom door slammed close and Dean finally allowed a pained sound to escape his throat.
“Son of a bitch.”
Sam frowned as he mounted the steps to the second floor of their hotel and saw a pair of slim legs encased in threadbare jeans had been slid between the metal railings and were absently swinging back and forth. She led with her right, followed by the left and the casual sway meant Dean hadn’t pissed her off too much—this time. One day soon Sam was going to teach his brother the wonders of tact but until that day he was firmly settled in the peacekeeper role between the hardheaded pair.
She turned to look at him, eyes catching the rising sun’s glare and she blinked, flinching and twisted her head away. Sam stopped beside her and squatted, watched as her iris spiraled downward to cover her pupil until only a pinprick of black remained. He ignored the voice in the back of his head, that sounded suspiciously like his father, cautioning no human eyes could do that and offered Buffy the coffee with hazelnut creamer, no sugar.
Her lips spread, “Thanks.”
He glanced toward the room, “Dean?”
The corner of his mouth quirked, “Should I be concerned?”
Buffy shrugged and lifted the coffee to her lips. “I knocked him into a wall,” she paused and hesitantly corrected, “again.”
Sam nodded as if that was nothing new. “Where’d you go last night?”
She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, lips twisting with his ability to pry without acting like an ass. “Needed to stretch my legs.”
He sighed at her vague answer and pulled his coffee out of the cardboard holder, putting it and Dean’s coffee between them before he turned and looked out at the parking lot. Taking the first sip, he grimaced as it burned his tongue and asked. “You needed to stretched your legs until da…sunrise?”
She frowned at his stumble. “I’m claustrophobic.”
He snorted, “Or you’re lying.”
Buffy turned, pulling her legs up and shifted to face Sam, crossing them beneath her so that she sat Indian style. “I don’t think you guys are ready for the Full Monty just yet.”
Sam turned his head, took another scalding sip. “We would have seen it at the hospital but—”
“Too many normals around.” She interrupted with a self-deprecating smile. “Sure you can find this cabin you guys holed up in while John was possessed?”
Sam nodded, “Yeah, I doubt I’ll forget anything about that night.”
Buffy cocked her head, watched him a moment and decided to change topics. “Have you heard from Andy?”
Sam blinked and raised a brow at her. “No and I’m not exactly surprised.”
“Cause you went all crazy stalker on him?”
His eyes narrowed, “I did not go crazy stalker on him.”
“Yeah, ya did.”
The door opened behind them and Buffy stiffened, putting the coffee to her lips and ignoring the oldest Winchester as he stepped out with a duffle swung over his shoulder. Dean’s brows rose at the sight of Buffy and Sam sitting, conversing casually in the morning light. His gaze turned fully on the werewolf and his hand rose to rub at his bruised sternum. Sam lifted the cardboard container; Dean snagged his coffee and began to walk away from the pair. “I’m gonna check us out.”
“We should pack up.”
Buffy nodded at Sam’s statement and rose upward in an unhurried move that made her look boneless. Shaking his head in only a little envy Sam stood with far less grace and followed her into the darkened room. He dropped his coffee on the nightstand between the beds and began to shift the sheets around looking for discarded clothing. His lips quirked as he came across a black tank and turned, tossing the top toward her. His voice teasing as he asked, “Is all of your clothing black and white except for the jeans?”
Buffy glanced to the side as the scrape of cloth settled beside her on the floor. She opened her mouth and then winced, shrugging. “I’m partially color blind. Have been ever since I was fourteen.”
Sam paused, his brows drawing down with her neutral tone and hesitantly asked, “The first time you shifted?”
She nodded, reaching to tug her bag from beneath the cot. “Nothing comes without a price.”
Sam grabbed his duffle and pulled out the plastic sack for his dirty clothes. “What else did you lose?” He winced and shook his head. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked that.”
“You and Dean, are…” she paused and shook her head, correcting herself. “Most of the time polar opposites.”
Sam’s lips quirked as he accepted her topic change. “Only most of the time?”
She laughed, “There are moments when you’re scarily alike.”
His lips dipped, “Really?”
Buffy caught his frown. “You didn’t notice the Dean’esq way you questioned Andy?”
Her brow quirked as he trailed off and she supplied, “Annoyed? Worried? Foaming at the mouth?” Sam lobbed a pillow at her and she caught it with a snort. “Truth hurts?”
“Laugh it up fur-ball.”
Her mouth dropped open and she rose, swung the pillow at the side of Sam’s head. He ducked and spun, grabbing one from Dean’s bed and turned, taking aim for her hips. She stepped back narrowly avoiding his swing and arched hers downward, connecting with Sam’s shoulders. His laughter became infectious as they moved around the room until the door opened and Buffy barreled into Dean, spinning him to be struck across the back by Sam.
He grunted and his arms rose unconsciously to wrap around the giggling blonde. Who pulled back to flash him an uninhibited grin, “Sammy’s a sore loser.”
“I did not lose!”
She kept eye contact with Dean and winked, “See?”
His lips quirked as he slowly released her and stepped back, “He’s been that way ever since we were kids.”
“Me?” Sam’s stumbled over the absurdity of that statement. “This from the man that said, and I quote, he’s always right ‘cause he’s the oldest.”
“Of course the oldest is always right,” Buffy’s smile stretched, “That’s what I always tell Dawnie…” She trailed off, eyes widening as her smile wilted, fading as if it had never been.
Sam’s head tilted and he sent Dean a helpless glance as Buffy pulled back. Stepped away from them and finished packing her things. Dean shrugged and then the corner of his mouth lifted, “You bitches ready to go?”
Buffy’s head snapped up and she saw the arched brow, the casual smirk. “How is it again that some nights you stumble in smelling of beer, cheap perfume and sex?”
Sam watched his brother’s smile widen. “Jealous?”
She snorted and zipped her bag with a resolute tug of her fingers. “No, but the perfume usually gives me a headache.” Buffy shook her head as she pulled her duffle up and onto her shoulder. “Do you even know how to sweet talk?”
Dean cocked his head. “Sure, I just don’t waste it on the unattainable.”
“Waste it?” She paused and frowned; glancing toward Sam. “Was there a compliment buried in that?”
Sam was staring at his brother in confusion even as a smile tugged at his lips revealing two dimples. “Maybe a backhanded one.”
Buffy swiveled her head back to look at Dean. Focused on the easy banter, pushed back the pain, buried it deep and shot back. “Not completely unattainable.” She shrugged, “Give me a month or two.”
Dean frowned, “What’ll happen in a month or two?”
She moved past him and casually stated. “I go into heat.”
Sam’s eyes widened and Dean spun, “Wait, what?” He shook his head as she turned, offering him innocent eyes. “Don’t toy with my feelings like that.”
Sam frowned at the low tone of Dean’s ‘sweet talking’ voice. Buffy cocked her head, instantly noticing the change in body language. “You have feelings? For me?”
Dean’s lips quirked, before they broke into a grin, “I’m usually suppressing the urge to strangle or gag you. Do those count?” Buffy’s smile stretched wider and she shook her head, left the motel room. Dean’s head lowered to watch the sway of her hips before shooting back up and calling after her. “Seriously, heat?”
Sam lifted his bag and rolled his eyes. Smacking the back of Dean’s head as he passed, “Come on.”
“Dude,” Dean frowned and smacked him back as he slammed the door.
He reached up, the few twine bracelets around his wrist shifting as Dean adjusted the rearview mirror to watch Buffy pull her bottom lip inward. Gaze focused outside the window, eyes flitting their way across the leafless trees and scarred trunks, barely visible to the humans through the dark kept at bay by the Impala. His brows drew down as he turned to Sam, whose attention was riveted on the rundown cabin. Face blank, schooled into carefully neutral lines.
Buffy blinked, moved so that she faced him before her eyes flicked toward Sam. “Are you?”
Dean’s frown deepened, “You’re not shifting in the car.”
She glared at him. “Thank you, Captain Obvious.”
Sam snorted, the hypnotic pull of the darkened cabin broken as he turned to look in the back seat. “Will you need to…” He paused, searching for the right word. “Feed?” She nodded with his choice and he smiled weakly. “Do you need to feed after you shift?”
Buffy flicked her attention to the outside world again. “Its better if I do but I don’t have too.”
Dean shook his head, “Better how?”
She shrugged, “I’m not as weak afterwards.”
“But you’ll be in complete control?”
She turned back to face then and smiled at Sam. “At all times.” Buffy sighed, sliding out of her jacket. “Think you guys can head inside, turn on the lights for yourselves and keep your backs turned while I change?”
“I was kind of…”
Buffy’s voice cut across Sam’s request. “No!” She shook her head, “No. I’m sorry but no.”
The brothers glanced at one another and Dean gave a small shake of his head when it looked like Sam wanted to argue. “Fair enough.”
Buffy’s brows lifted; surprised it was Dean being the more insightful of the pair. She gave them a weak smile and opened the back door with a shove of her shoulder. “Thank you.”
Dean and Sam glanced at each other and shrugged in unison before following her example and pulled themselves free of the Impala. Sam glanced back and quickly swiveled his head around, a faint blush staining his cheeks. Dean arched a brow and turned, lips lifting upward as he noticed a shirtless Buffy standing behind his car and undoing the belt at her waist. The white of her bra glowed beneath the moon and his gaze traveled over the smooth planes of her stomach. The muscles bunched as she bent at the waist to remove her boots.
His brother’s sharp tone had him turning back and he rolled his own eyes at the narrow-eyed glare he was receiving from the rickety porch. He sighed, slammed the car door and made his way toward Sam. “Forgot how comfortable she is with nudity.”
“I doubt she’s comfortable with you leering at her.”
Dean arched a brow, his tone defensive. “I wasn’t leering. I was admiring.”
“They’re the same thing in this instance!”
“Dude, they are not.”
“Boys!” They both spun toward the Impala. Buffy leaned against the side, arms crossed under her cotton-covered breasts and annoyance stamped across her features. Dean’s gaze trailed down her now bare legs and grinned, she snorted. “Have you both forgotten the little fact that I have excellent hearing?”
Sam kept his gaze at eye level, “Sorry, Buffy.” Before he turned, focused his penlight on the front door and began to pick the lock. Wondering when he had the time to lock it the last time he was there.
Dean cocked his head and took a few steps forward, back toward her. He heard Sam give a grunt of approval and then the front door open. “So this heat thing you mentioned earlier.” Her brow arched in question. “Where you just yanking my chain or—”
His words came to an abrupt halt as Sam’s hand landed on his shoulder and tugged him backwards into the shack. The front door slammed closed and he spun on his brother. “The hell?”
Buffy shook her head and watched the lights slowly come on inside before she pushed off from the side of the Impala and headed back around the car to leave behind her unmentionables. She shivered beneath the fading moonlight and glanced skyward as a cloud rolled over her sister, blocking her from sight.
Buffy’s brows lowered as her arms rose absently to rub at the goosebumps marching across her flesh as the cold night tightened her nipples and brought a steady chatter to her teeth. Shaking her head she moved further into the shadows of the leafless trees and knelt, hands releasing her arms to catch her upper body as she fell forward.
Her breathing deepened as she dropped her head down; the dry scent of dead earth coated her throat, tasted of sawdust. Her fingers dug into it, broke through the shell of clay to reach beneath, feel the dampness of possibility as her eyes closed and she welcomed the darkness inside of her. It welled up, broke across her mind like the crest of a wave that brought with it a wash of pain.
Her spine bowed, fingers pressing deeper and a whimper started in her chest and worked is way free. She swallowed, felt the muscles in her throat convulse and the darkness growled, flaring with vibrant streams before her mind’s eye. They burned a brilliant onyx and she cried out as the hard palate of her upper jaw stretched outward, tearing her flesh, warping her face. Her shoulders rolled back, dislocating with a sickening pop as they contorted. Thinning to take the shape of a wolf’s narrow frame and forelegs. Soft hair speared through her stretching flesh akin to a thousand needles piercing her skin from the wrong side, followed rapidly by a coarse over coat. The pain drowned out the rest of her change and her mind shut down, revolting against her tactile senses as they continued to relay the convulsions of her quivering form as she collapsed onto her side, chest heaving.
The ache receded and Buffy’s eyes opened slowly, focusing on the tree across from her as the whimpers of pain became a steady growl and she pulled herself up. Shifted her weight onto hind legs, toes spread wide and rump pushed high into the air, tail straight. The joints rolled easily and her neck twisted, testing the newly stretched muscles before she reversed the position. Sending her head forward and up as she leaned onto her forelegs and hind paws pushed back, down, until they faced the sky and her tail lowered, nearly touching the ground. Her lips peeled back over sharpened canines as she opened her jaws and released a neutral yawn.
She turned and trotted through shadows to reach the front porch and leapt the three steps to paw at the dilapidated wood. The door opened inward and she darted through, past Dean’s curious gaze and shook out her coat. The fur on the back of her neck and withers rose before settling and her movements filled the room with clay dust and she sneezed, blinking at Sam’s steady chuckle.
Dean arched a brow and felt oddly disappointed with the fact Buffy just looked like a big ass wolf rather than the monsters of the movie industry. Her head swiveled, eyes narrowing as if she could read his thoughts before her tail rose and she moved toward Sam. Her nails making an eerie click as she crossed the wood floor and Sam knelt to greet her, his smile filing his whole face with delight.
“Wow.” He watched Buffy cock her head, silently asking what he meant. His hand stretched out as if to pet her and he paused, pulling it back and offering her a sheepish look. “Sorry. Its just…” He trailed off and shrugged, eyes never leaving her.
Her ears quirked forward, showing off the black fur outlining them and Sam rose, his gaze following the dark speckling of her pelt. A line of brown traced her spine and spread downward over her sides in varying shades of tan and orche paling into the white covering her belly. Her tail rose, swinging absently from side to side and he noticed the black tip as she stepped forward, pressed her side into his leg. Her head stopped above mid thigh making her several inches taller than a natural wolf and her shoulders were broader as if the werewolf’s ancestors dated back to when prey was larger and it took more power than grace to bring them down.
She stepped away from Sam, her head lowering, muzzle close to the ground and her tail lifted, body crouching as she tried to locate a faded scent. Sam’s was caught first, the familiar cinnamon was almost calming as she trailed it past Dean and to the front door, sniffed at the broken line of salt and moved onto each window around the room.
She ignored the older hunter’s smirk as she paused, lifted her head and caught the heavy salt on the air rather than the ground; it tasted like the ocean, like Dean. She tracked it to the table in the center of the room, where it mingled with the cinnamon and then led her into a room along the side of the shack. A cot was pushed into the corner and a large table dominated the center. She slipped under it, followed Dean’s scent to the small wall between the opposite corner and a window.
The hint of metallic furrowed her brow and she paused, tail sinking toward the ground as she followed the drops to a large dark stain. The scent of salt was strongest in the blood and she couldn’t help the small growl that peeled her lips back to reveal her front teeth as she recognized the taste of death. She scratched absently at the wood and raised her head, caught the hunter’s narrow-eyed stare and realization dawn. The wound that had bleed out on the worn floor was a killing wound. Dean should be dead.
She cocked her head, watched him a moment longer before cataloging that tidbit of information for later use and placing her nose to the floor and searching for the mint scent that she associated with John. The scent that had remained with Buffy ever since he had freed her from the metal teeth that had shattered her bones and then helped her from the woods and the other hunter’s grasp. She pushed back the sense of loss and the urge to give voice to her grief over his passing. Instead her ears lay back against her head as she found the scent and a small brown stain. Sulfur tainted the mint, stole the truth from of it and she twisted her head following it closer to the cot and Sam moved out of her way.
Her forelegs widened and she ducked her head, pressed her nose tighter to the wood and followed the trail of sulfur a more few feet. Beneath the overpoweringly bitter scent she caught a hint of something darker and the hairs along her neck and shoulders rose. She inhaled and brought the noxious smell deep within, it tasted of burnt bodies, decayed burnt bodies.
A whimper escaped her and she stumbled back from the putrid and sweet scent. It chased her into the corner and the whimper turned into a snarl as she ducked her head. Pushed her muzzle into the worn wood, scratched the sensitive flesh of her nose, tried to erase the scent. Fight it.
It rode her, pushed her into a frenzy and Buffy scored the floor with her claws as she fought against the demon’s taint until she felt her nails begin to separate. She gagged, coughed and her body shook as the scent overrode her thoughts, her actions and she heard voices, shouting. The words meant nothing as the darker parts of her psyche took over and the baser urges of the wolf growled at the humans, lips peeled back to fully reveal her canines.
An upturned palm came into her eyesight and she darted forward to snap at it but the faintest hint of cinnamon gave her pause. Her heavy panting dampened the motionless hand as it waited for her to make the decision. She hesitantly pressed her nose into the warmth, inhaled Sam’s scent and used it to chase away the demon’s.
Buffy collapsed onto her side and Sam followed her down, kept his hand in front of her muzzle and she continued to push her heated breath into it. Her eyes rolled up to meet his concerned gaze and they slid past him to see Dean watching her warily as he knelt beside his brother, gun drawn. She blinked and lowered her head, eyes falling close as exhaustion crept over her thoughts.
“Buffy?” The hand cupping her face shifted, pulled away and she whimpered. A sigh escaped Sam and he replaced his hand before asking, “I think I might have something that’ll help. Will Dean be an okay replacement while I run out to the Impala?”
She licked his palm, tasted the fear and worry on his skin and ignored Dean’s grunt of protest. Sam laughed, “I’m gonna take that as a yes.”
He eased away from her and another warmer hand tentatively took its place. She inhaled, welcomed the salt that chased away a little more of the demon’s rot. Her eyes opened and focused on Dean face, the frown pulling his lips down as he moved his hand a fraction closer to her teeth. Sam smiled at her as he was handed the keys and rose, promised to be gone only a moment before he left them alone.
Dean inhaled and finally let his hand settle over her nose like Sam had. Not that he didn’t trust Buffy, which he didn’t—not yet—but putting oneself in reaching distance of a werewolf that was freaking out was not on Dean’s list of smart things for a hunter to do.
His brows slid together as he noticed the fine trembling of her muzzle and his gaze slid over her body. Saw that all of her was shaking; tail and ears tucked tight to her body and the little he knew about dogs told that she was more than likely scared shitless. With a sigh he slowly settled his gun in his lap before placing his free hand on her shoulder. He pushed his way through the coarse outer coat to run his fingers through the soft layer beneath. Her tongue was a quick wetness against his palm and he glanced down at her face to see her watching him.
“What?” The one word came out louder, gruffer than he had meant for it and she visibly flinched. He hesitantly patted her shoulder and adjusted his palm to cover more of the velvety flesh of her nose. A small, wounded sound came from her and he frowned. “You hurt yourself didn’t you?” She gave an awkward nod and he sighed. “Dumbass.”
Her teeth gently nipped his hand and he jerked back from her. Drawing away his hands from her body and reach. “What the hell?”
She whimpered as he took away his scent and the brunt smell of the demon rose up, took over. Her eyes widened and Dean seemed to realize what was happening and pushed his hand back into her face.
Buffy calmed and he watched her quiet a moment before stating, “We need to get you out of this room.” He pulled his gun from his lap and pushed it into the waistline of his jeans as he pushed himself to a kneeling position. “Can you stand?”
He swiveled his head around and nodded to Sam as he walked over with a balled up shirt in his hands. “What’s that?”
Sam knelt and motioned him to move his hand aside. “Buffy.” She focused on him and he frowned with the fact that her eyes hadn’t change. The same mossy green eyes stared up at him unwavering as he put the shirt to her nose. “Its my cologne.” Her brow furrowed and he winced, “I’m sure you’ll have a headache afterwards.”
Buffy sneezed but kept her muzzle buried in the soft flannel as she got her legs beneath her and rose. Ducking her head to maintain contact with the shirt and the manufactured scent of Tommy. It filled the olfactory center of her brain and help her clear her head, push back the darker thoughts and actions brought forth by the demon’s scent. A scent locked in this room after its escape.
With slow steps she made it to the door and Sam stayed at her side, arm stretched down, holding the shirt for her as Dean brought up the rear. She made it past the threshold and stopped next to the table she’d caught Dean’s faded scent on and slowly pulled her muzzle free of the shirt. Sam watched, his gaze sympathetic as she hesitantly sniffed the air and she had to suppress her bark of joy at the lack of decay. It still hovered in the back of her throat but the memory didn’t tug at her baser urges like the reality of it did.
Her tail began a steady back and forth motion as she cocked her head at Sam and turned to Dean. He raised a brow at her, “Better?”
No longer able to suppress it she made a low sound, deeper than any bark Sam had ever heard and he grinned. “Thank God.” She turned back to him and stepped forward, pushed her body against his thigh and his hand dipped automatically to stroke her back. He stilled, his fingers buried in thick fur and glanced down, afraid he had offended her but he saw her tail still swayed. His lips spread wider, “You’re welcome.”
Dean snorted, “This is a very touching scene between a boy and his dog but if the dangers over can we get the hell out of here?” Sam sent him a glare, that was echoed by Buffy and he snorted before focusing on the big ass wolf. “You need to shift?” He phrased the order as a question and she stared at him evenly for a moment before giving another awkward nod and Dean flashed her a quick, shit eating grin. “We’ll be outside.”
Buffy turned, snatched the shirt from Sam’s loose grip between her teeth and watched as Dean passed them and the taller of the pair glanced down, smiled when she looked up. “If you need anything—”
Dean interrupted, “Bark.”