Summary: Mulder hears about a werewolf siting and drags a reluctant Scully into the boondocks to investigate.
Note: Due to the problem of a lot of email programs not displaying accents. All of the vowels with acute accents will appear as a/ e/ i/ o/ u/. It's a little distracting, but that's Irish for you. And now in the immortal words of Stephen Fry; "I have suffered for my art, now it's your turn."
"Morning Scully," Mulder called brightly as his petite redheaded partner entered their basement office.
Scully eyed her partner warily. "You're awfully chipper this morning Mulder." He was sitting amidst the usual refuse on his desk shuffling through a series of photographs. The telltale silly grin was on his face. It was the same silly grin that signified some new and bizarre case. "What's going on? Alien abduction of a major league baseball team? UFOs landing on the White House lawn?"
"Better." Mulder's eyes gleamed, he knew that this particular X-File was going to annoy the hell out Scully. "Werewolves." He replaced the photos it their manila folder and handed it to her.
"Werewolves, Mulder?" Scully raised her eyebrow at his obvious enthusiasm. Her partner always reacted this way over the chance to investigate anything even remotely paranormal, regardless of hard evidence. She started to browse through the reports. "I don't see any werewolves here. Just cattle mutilations, and I thought your aliens were responsible for that."
Mulder laughed at her jibe. "Not this time Scully." Mulder handed her several more folders.
"Gross. Where did you get these Mulder?" Scully brushed off thick layers of dust. It looked like they hadn't seen the light of day, or more importantly a dust cloth in years.
"The archives. You know, those large pulsing boxes in the back room that seems to have taken on a life of their own."
"Those boxes *are* an X-File, Mulder. There are things growing in them that are yet to be identified by science."
Mulder grinned at his partner's expression of disgust. "Those are police reports of werewolf sightings and wolf attacks in the same area dating back over a hundred years."
"Uh huh, and exactly how are you going to justify our involvement in this to Skinner? I don't see any reason for the FBI to be called in for what looks like a local problem."
"Already done. We're investigating a possible branch sect of a satanic cult." Mulder laughed at Scully rolling her eyes.
"Why do I even bother?" she muttered to herself.
"You see me as a challenge? Ow!" he rubbed his arm where she'd hit him. "Careful Scully, I'm delicate."
Scully laughed at his theatrically pained expression. "When do we leave then?"
"We're on an 11:30 flight out of Dulles. We've just got time to grab our gear from home before we leave."
"That'll make a nice change," Scully shook her head in resignation.
Their rental car pulled up outside the Brighton Sheriff's office. It was just another store-front along the small town's lone street. It differed from the other buildings in that it was actually occupied.
"Bit of a one-horse town Scully." Mulder stood looking around the small, almost deserted main street as he tried to stretch the kinks out of his back, gained from the long drive.
Most of the businesses they'd passed on the way in had 'For Sale' signs in the windows. Most of them looked long- abandoned.
"I guess a lot of smaller towns like this may never recover once the main business goes." Scully pointed to a large, obviously deserted factory at the end of the town. "It probably employed half of the town's working population and now it's gone, there's nothing else to hold people here. Most of the people will leave at the first opportunity, if they haven't already, and the other businesses will follow. I'd give it ten years... maybe less."
"Well let's go see if the Sheriff can help us," Mulder held the door open for Scully and followed her into the office. "Before he disappears too."
The Sheriff, who sat behind an island of a desk, looked up when the two suit-clad strangers walked in. He stood and walked over to greet his guests. "I'm guessing that you're the FBI agents that called earlier. Sheriff Joel Hartley of Brighton County at your service." He held out a hand in greeting.
Mulder's hand disappeared inside the Sheriff's huge paw. "Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully," he indicated his partner. "Thanks for taking the time to see us."
Sheriff Joel Hartley was not what they'd expected of a small town Sheriff out in the boondocks. He was of native American extraction with an open, friendly disposition. He was obviously well educated and looked like he belonged anywhere but a tiny community like this, where the most exciting thing to happen all week would probably entail hauling in the town drunk on Saturday night.
The Sheriff laughed quietly. "It's not like I had to rearrange my busy schedule or anything." He ushered them to a seat and resumed his place behind the desk. "I'm really sorry that you've wasted your time coming all the way out here for nothing," Sheriff Hartley said apologetically. "But I'm positive it's some of the boys in town who are responsible for the mutilations. I'll nail the offenders in the next week or two when they tie one on and boast to their friends. As I'm sure you've already seen, there's no work around these parts and not much hope of getting any soon. It's frustrating really."
"I understand Sheriff Hartley," Mulder pushed, "but what about the werewolf sightings and the continued mention of red wolf sightings in the area." He showed the Sheriff the police reports that confirmed his statement.
"Well the werewolf sightings are nothing more than a local myth," Hartley dismissed. "Been around since I was a boy. Every time something like this happens, the old folks cry werewolf, so to speak. They're a bit short-sighted when it comes to pointing the finger at one of their own. The myth is just a convenient catspaw, *and* it gives them something to gossip about." He shook his head at the foolishness of some people. "If you want to know more about wolves though, I could send you see Jordan Wolf. Jordi's an expert on them, does a bit of research on the packs in the surrounding districts. I'm sure she'll be more than happy to clarify the situation for you."
"That would be a great help," Scully smiled at the Sheriff. "Could you phone ahead and let her know to expect us?"
"There's no need for that." The Sheriff laughed. "She doesn't have a phone, but she'll know you're coming. I've known her since I was a kid and she always has. Just bear in mind that she can seem a bit eccentric to most people."
Wolf sat with her back to the trunk of the tree, one leg tucked against her body and the other swinging gently below the limb. She was absently playing with the long feather that trailed off the hat in her hands. Her long orange hair drifted back from her pale face with the breeze. 'I've got to get this cut,' she thought, distractedly removing stray strands from her face. 'I look like a bloody hippy. Not that I suppose it matters much.'
She had long ago discovered that no matter what she did to her appearance she soon reverted to a natural state of scruffy. She seemed to project this image, that, even when dressed to the nines, there was still something slightly off-kilter about her.
At the moment she was waiting for the FBI agents. She had wondered when somebody would investigate the rumors that had been circulating in Brighton. Every time one of the town dogs had taken a liking to killing pets or the boys got bored and took it out on the farm animals, the old urban legend 'werewolf' floated to the surface of the collective consciousness once again. It was just a matter of time before somebody looked into the matter. What surprised her was that Joel had sent them out to see her. She was sure he could handle any inquiries and send the curious away nicely placated.
'There must be something about them,' she wondered. 'Either that or they're going to cause real trouble.' Either way it could prove entertaining.
Jordan had been living here on and off for over a hundred years. It was one of the few permanent homes she'd had over all the years she'd been involved her current line of work. She seemed to spend most of her time constantly on the move between assignments. The continual travelling explained her somewhat unnerving accent, which could shift across continents in the space of a sentence. It had once started out as a Celtic lilt, but had seen a lot of languages and dialects since those days.
There were times when she just had to get away from the pressures of working in the intelligence community, and, this had been the first chance she'd had to get out to her cabin, and the wolf pack, for a long time. And now she had to deal with unexpected guests.
Jordan had felt the presence of the strangers when Joel had met them in town. She could feel his reaction to them, but wasn't yet sure what it meant.
'Well, I'll find out soon enough, and if nothing else, I'll get to play with the heads of some suits,' Wolf thought maliciously.
The sound of a car at the edge of the woods had alerted her to their arrival and she'd spent the last hour waiting for them, snickering to herself in amusement as she heard them blundering through the undergrowth.
"If I'd known we were going on safari Mulder, I'd have brought a machete. I can't believe that *this* is meant to be a *path*." She was not happy. The dense foliage and bugs just added to her bad mood. It didn't help that Mulder was dragging her through the woods on another werewolf hunt.
"Just be glad I suggested changing into jeans before we started out." Mulder grinned and ducked as a small shower of foliage flew at his head. "We can't be far now Scully," Mulder continued, cheerfully ignoring the glances his partner was giving him." 'If looks could kill,' he chuckled to himself. "According to the Sheriff's directions the cabin should be just up ahead."
"Yeah and I've had firsthand experience with your map reading skills." Scully glowered as she just avoided tripping over a tangle of undergrowth.
Unexpectedly they broke through the brambles into a small clearing a few meters across. They paused to catch their breath and check their bearings.
"I believe you're looking for me?" the voice, a woman's voice, cut through the silence.
They both started at the sound, looking around for source.
An amused laugh rippled across the clearing. "Doesn't *anybody* look up anymore?"
Craning his neck up Mulder finally spotted their amused audience. A young red-haired woman was sitting on the branch of a large tree at the edge of the clearing. She looked about Scully's height, maybe slightly taller. She was barefoot, wearing what appeared to be a stockman's coat and hat. Mischief danced in her bright green eyes.
"How the hell did she get up there," Mulder whispered to Scully, noticing that even though she was on the lowest branch of the tree, it was still a good five meters off the ground.
"I'm a good climber," Wolf chuckled.
"With pretty impressive hearing too." Scully looked at Mulder, eyebrows raised in disbelief.
Wolf dropped from the tree, to land on all fours with the grace of a cat. "And acrobatic skills," Mulder added with a low whistle.
"I believe Sheriff Hartley sent you to see me." Wolf grinned.
"Jordan Wolf?" Scully continued at Wolf's nod, "Special Agent Dana Scully FBI, and this is my partner Fox Mulder."
"No you're not," Wolf said thoughtfully, her head cocked to one side studying the two agents with intense interest. "You're the Fox, he's a Raven." 'Now there's something I haven't seen in a long time. *Two* unaware halflings with such an odd pairing of phenotypes, as partners... what are the chances?'
Wolf turned on her heel and loped into the almost solid wall of vegetation. "And you're right, the cabin's just up ahead," she called over her shoulder.
Scully gave Mulder 'The Look'. 'I'll get you later for getting me into this Mulder,' she thought in exasperation.
"Let's go before we lose sight of her." Mulder smirked at his thoroughly confused partner. 'She certainly threw Scully off balance with that comment. This could prove entertaining.'
They stepped from the dense greenery to find a small farmhouse with a nearby dam. The area around the building and dam was relatively clear, before becoming a more natural woodland. The dense, rabid undergrowth that they'd encountered on their way in was gone.
The cabin itself appeared to have been abandoned several decades previously and left to slowly decompose. It was a ramshackle affair that looked like it could withstand little more than a gentle breeze. The windows were boarded up and there seemed to be no signs of recent habitation. Mulder and Scully walked up to the open door cautiously, stepping carefully over the broken verandah boards to avoid twisting an ankle.
"And I thought the hike through the woods was hazardous," Scully mused.
"Ms. Wolf?" Mulder called uncertainly.
"Come right in," a voice called from inside.
As they entered the dwelling both agents blinked in amazement at the interior.
A fire was going in the main room of the cabin, casting a warm glow over the polished floorboards and scatter rugs. The walls were hung with framed movie posters and a mix of antique and contemporary weaponry.
"You should be right at home here Mulder," Scully said pointing at an 'Army of Darkness' poster.
"Come on Scully, where's your taste. The Raimi's are fantastic." Mulder pulled his best wounded face.
Scully chuckled at her partner's taste. "I suggest you get out to the movies more."
Wolf walked out of the kitchen and handed them each a steaming mug of coffee. "I'd have to agree with Agent Mulder, the Raimi's *are* brilliant. And it's either Jordan or Wolf. I don't hold with titles."
She was now clad in a more conventional manner, having swapped the long coat for jeans and a t-shirt.
"Neither do we," Scully smiled. "Please, I'm Dana, but my partner prefers Mulder." Wolf nodded in acknowledgment.
Mulder gestured towards the wall at posters including 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark' and 'Clan Of The Cave Bear', as well as a pristine display of swords, bows, spears and knives. "Are these authentic?"
"The posters or the weapons?" Wolf queried.
"Well... both," Mulder stammered, awed by the collection.
"Yes, they're all authentic... I have diverse tastes." Wolf smiled, enjoying Mulder's reaction.
"So I see." Scully noted an absence amongst the virtual armory on the wall. "Why aren't there any firearms?"
"I don't believe in guns," Wolf stated simply. "Any fool can pull a trigger, I prefer weapons that take time and skill to master." Wolf deftly changed the subject. "Sorry about the outside, but it keeps unwanted attention away. Looks like you'd break something even trying to get close, huh?"
"I'm surprised anybody makes it this far through that *jungle* for it to be much of a problem." Scully stood by the fireplace frowning, as she carefully removed detritus from her hair and clothes.
"That's my doing too." Wolf grinned. "You'd be amazed at what a bit of judicious planting can do." She settled comfortably into one of the deep leather chairs beside the fire, legs tucked under her.
"Aren't you being a bit paranoid to go to these..." Scully gestured in the general direction of the 'jungle', "lengths."
"I like my privacy," Wolf replied seriously. "I originally planted it to discourage hunters from the wolf packs that shelter here occasionally."
Mulder had noticed the lack of power cables connected to the exterior of the house. "Where does your power come from?"
"Solar panels set into the roof cater well enough for most of my uses, but there's a generator set up in the basement for emergencies. I'm not really as cut off from the outside world as I seem. I do most of my research on computer and use e-mail to submit my findings. There's also a full communications link that feeds into the basement." Wolf thought back to all the trouble it had taken to get the all damn equipment installed in the first place, a lot of favors had been called in to get it completed to her satisfaction.
"Sheriff Hartley mentioned that you might be able to help us with our investigation," Mulder said, taking a seat.
"And what investigation would that be," Wolf raised an eyebrow in all innocence.
"They've been several animals mauled in and around Brighton, Jordan, as well as sighting of a..." Mulder paused, "large red wolf. There have also been reports of werewolves involved in the killing."
Wolf's eyebrow climbed even higher. "We're a bit far north for red wolves Agent Mulder. And werewolves, *really*, I'm surprised the FBI even bothered to send you. I can't imagine how Sheriff Hartley thought I could be of any assistance." Scully covered her grin, she was amused with Wolf's handling of Mulder's questions. "I can account for the whereabouts of all of the wolves that range through this area though, and there were *none* in this vicinity when the incident happened. Those mutilations are the work of animals all right, but not the four-legged variety."
"But the photographs of the mutilated cattle show clear teeth marks."
"Impressive weren't they Mulder. It took Joel a while to figure those out too."
Mulder looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"
"He does thorough work for a one man band. The photos look like the damage was canine inflicted, but on closer inspection of the wounds Joel felt that something wasn't quite right. He's pretty sure it's a small animal trap bent to simulate a jaw. Seriously nasty and well thought out work, torture the animal and then throw off the suspicion by leaving canine-like 'bite' marks. Unfortunately this is just a theory without hard evidence. He seems certain that he'll track down a suspect soon, and then his theory should link in nicely. He tends to keep his cards close to his chest until the game's played out, otherwise I'm sure he would have informed you of the details."
Mulder looked downright sulky.
Scully could see that Mulder's great werewolf hunt had run its course, but her curiosity had finally gotten the better of her. "What did you mean before, when you said that I was a Fox?"
"Oh that. I can sense people's totems. Most people have them, but very few are as strong as yours." Wolf smiled at Scully's blank expression. "I was surprised to find two such strong and unusual spirits in partners."
Now Mulder's curiosity was piqued. "Why's that?"
"Under normal circumstances the fox and the raven don't work together. They share the similar prey, but the raven also has an thing for carrion and the fox being a solitary animal can't bring down animals of a size that would be of interest to a raven. It's sort of like personality types that run parallel to each other, but just don't work well together." Wolf continued, "But your personalities mesh so well that the usual rules of nature have been overridden, and the result is that your partnership has forged a force of greater power than either of you could achieve as individuals." Wolf looked at their faces sure that she'd hit the mark somewhere. They both looked extremely uncomfortable. She decided to put them out of their misery for the night. "Well it'll be dark soon and unless you want to brave the brambles again, I suggest you stay the night."
"Thank you." Scully looked relieved. She found Jordan's eccentricity oddly reminiscent of Melissa's new-age beliefs, even if it did have more of an edge. Perhaps that was why she was oddly comfortable in the woman's presence and truly grateful to have been spared a return trip through the bush in the dark. "I hope we're not putting you out Jordan."
"Not at all. I was expecting guests." A look of confusion passed across the faces of both agents. "I just hope you don't mind sharing a room."
"N-no," Scully stammered, "that'll be fine."
"Well I hate to be a bad host, but I have work to get back to. The pack will be near tonight I need to see them before I leave here. The bedroom's in back. The kitchen's fully stocked. Feel free to make yourselves at home. I'll be back by morning." She grabbed her coat and walked out, leaving two stunned agents in her wake.
"Looks like we get to share a bed," Mulder smirked at his partner after eyeing the sleeping arrangements.
"Don't get your hopes up Mulder. Because sleeping is *all* we'll be doing."
"Come on Scully, don't tell me you're going to pass up an opportunity like this?"
"Dream on," she laughed at his rather pathetic whipped puppy look. "Seriously though Mulder --"
"I *am* being serious Scully --"
She ignored his bantering. "Have you noticed anything strange about this place?"
"What, you mean aside from the lack of windows, no visible smoke from the chimney and I could be wrong but I think the walls are meter-thick solid concrete? No Scully, not a thing." Mulder grinned. "I think this place is a fortress. If I had the money this is just the kind of place I'd go in for. I doubt even Cancer Man could get in here. I'm willing to lay money on this place being completely shielded from bugs too. This place screams anti-surveillance, the serious professional kind, and that means that the government is almost certainly involved." He watched as Scully carefully examined some of the weapons in Jordan's collection, her hands running over the blade of broad sword in reverence.
"Take a good look at these weapons. At first I thought it was just a somewhat unusual, albeit enviable collection, but look at the condition they're in... They're all expertly cared for, not just dusted occasionally. None of this is mere ornamentation. Those blades are all razor sharp and most show signs of recent use. I've never met anybody with the ability to use such an array of weapons, let alone the strength to lift some of the larger swords." Scully looked incredulously at one of the bows on the wall and pointed it out to Mulder for closer inspection. "Mulder, this Border recurve is marked at 200 pounds, I didn't know they even made bows this heavy."
Mulder whistled softly. "Did you notice anything odd about what the Sheriff told us about Jordan?"
"What, the eccentricity? He was certainly right there. She has the oddest mannerisms."
"Well, yeah, I'd have to agree there, but that's not what I meant. He said that he'd known her since 'he' was a kid, not since 'we' were kids."
"Considering that he would have to be at least ten years older, that is a bit strange. Unless Ms. Wolf is older than she looks," Scully teased Mulder, "I'd say it's just a slip of the tongue. Let it go, Mulder." Mulder seemed to be taking this a bit too seriously.
"Why don't you get some sleep Scully. I just might take a look around outside and see if I can find what Jordan is up to out there."
Fox Mulder sat by the dam. He was entranced by the spectacle before him.
He'd wandered out a couple of hours earlier to discover Wolf's coat and hat discarded beside where he now sat. At first he thought she'd gone swimming, but there was no sign of her in the dam. He finally decided that she'd gotten too hot or found them unconducive to hiking through the thick bush.
Since then he'd been watching a game of... 'Wolf Tag' was the closest he could come to describing it. Three large grey timber wolves were chasing and shoulder slamming each other. He knew that the wolves had seen him, but they didn't seem bothered by his presence. In fact they seemed to be as interested in him as he was with them. Occasionally one would break from the game to sit on the other side of the dam and stare at him before once again joining the fun.
This went on for about half an hour before a fourth wolf joined the game. It was the largest wolf he'd ever seen, it was at least half as big again as the other three, and they weren't any slouches in the size department. But the really strange thing about the newcomer was the color. The wolf was orange, with bright green eyes.
'Almost the same color as Dana's hair, just a bit lighter,' he thought dreamily watching them play. '*Exactly* the same color as Wolf's.' His jaws slammed together at the realization of what this thought brought with it. 'Oh my god, Jordan's a werewolf.'
Suddenly the wolves bounded into the woods and out of Mulder's line of sight.
"Show's over I guess," he sighed.
Just as Mulder started to get up, something warm and wet ran up the back of his neck. 'What the hell was that?' He leapt to his feet and spun around to encounter the large orange wolf, grinning at him in the lopsided manner of amused canines.
Wolf stood on her hind legs and placed her forepaws on Mulder's shoulders before slowly changing back to her human form. She slid her arms around his neck and whispered in his ear. "Hasn't anybody told you that it's impolite to steal a lady's clothes."
It wasn't every day that naked women threw themselves into his arms, Mulder thought as his senses were assaulted by the powerful musky scent that surrounded the woman. 'My god. If you could bottle that, you'd make a fortune,' was his last rational thought, as he surrendered himself to passion. As he lowered his lips to hers and felt her tongue twine around his own, he felt his soul stir in response...
He ran his hands over Wolf's naked form, accustoming himself to her new and interesting curves. Mulder moaned as Wolf started to nibble along his neck and across his shoulder. His hands found their way under Jordan's breasts and rubbed his thumbs against her hardened nipples.
Wolf melted against Mulder's body as she felt the electricity that his touch generated. She decided that he was wearing way too many clothes and her agile fingers made short work of the buttons on his shirt. They disentangled their arms long enough to discard the offending article of clothing and continued the mutual exploration of each other's bodies.
She felt one of his hands slip between her legs and shuddered in desire as he slid a finger deliciously inside her. Arching against Mulder's body in response to his ministrations she feel his arousal pressing against her and slid her hands between their bodies.
Mulder groaned as Wolf's hand caressed his erection through the fabric of his jeans. Then he felt her at his belt, her fingers flying as they endeavored to remove the rest of his clothes. Before he knew what she was doing, Wolf had yanked his pants around his knees. Startled by the sudden shift in balance, Mulder wildly pin wheeled his arms in an attempt to regain his equilibrium, but to no effect. He fell in an unceremonious heap on the grass. He looked at Wolf who was laughing at his surprised expression, whilst tossing his shoes onto the growing pile of clothes nearby.
Wolf admired his long lean and now totally naked body stretched out on the grass at her feet. She straddled his hips and ground herself against him as she lowered her face to meet his lips.
Mulder was certain that he would pass out if she continued to rub against him. He opened his eyes as their lips parted and watched Jordan slowly moving down his body. Her eyes were glowing as they held his own captive in their bright green depths. She lowered her head as she reached his navel and her hair spread across his abdomen in an orange cloud. His breath caught as her tongue gently tickled the hair on his stomach, and then traced a slow, wet path lower to his groin. He felt her tongue wrapped completely around his shaft. 'That isn't humanly possible --' he cut the thought off, figuring that it was probably for the best if he didn't try to follow it through to its conclusion.
Just as he was about to climax Wolf's tongue released him and worked its way back up his body. Mulder tenderly held her face in his hands, pulling her closer to taste her lips again. Their tongues dueled as his hands traced lazy circles along her back and buttocks. He cried out against her lips as she lowered herself onto him with teasing slowness.
They met each other thrust for thrust in unbridled lust. A low groan escaped Mulder as he felt Wolf rippling around him, triggering his own release.
Jordan fell against Mulder gasping for breath, a sly grin crept across her features as she looked at the man below her. "Ravens can be such fun." She stared into his green-grey eyes, the green tinged depths reflecting the color of her own. "Want to join me for a swim?"
He shuddered at the thought of the water temperature at this time of night. "Um... no, I'll think I'll pass on that one."
"Your loss Mulder." Jordan shifted to wolf form and pelted for the dam. She made a dive towards the center, shifting back to human in midair and slipping gracefully beneath the surface.
Mulder was still laughing as he handed Jordan her waxed cotton trench coat. The sight of her shaking water out of her fur had amused him greatly. 'It's effective though,' he thought, noticing that her hair was now only damp rather than dripping like it should have been.
"And just what, may I ask, do you find so humorous, Agent Mulder," she asked in mock rebuke pulling her coat loosely about her body and sitting down cross-legged beside the man. She started to methodically finger-comb the tangles out of her long hair.
"The Sheriff wasn't kidding when he said that you were a bit eccentric."
Wolf chuckled. "I've never really gotten the hang of human social interaction. Wolves are so much more straight forward than people. They let you know where you stand, no bullshit."
"Isn't an orange wolf just a little conspicuous?" Mulder questioned.
"Ah, but I can appear grey when I need to be a little more subtle." She continued at the look of confusion on his face. "The pigmentation in red hair is iron and it oxidizes, literally rusts, to produce this." She waved at her hair. I can control the oxidization to a certain degree."
"Instant grey hair."
"Yeah, it has its advantages."
They sat together by the dam staring off into the darkness.
It was Mulder who finally broke their companionable silence. "I don't know why, but I wasn't worried about the wolves being so close. They certainly didn't seem wary of me and I'd swear one of them was as curious about me as I was about him."
Jordan chuckled quietly at the agent sitting on the grass beside her. She stared out at the edge of woods on the far side of the lake, feeling the pack gathered there watching her talk to the stranger. "The one with the white blaze across his chest?" Mulder nodded. "One day curiosity will be the end of that wolf." 'And quite likely by my hand,' she thought to herself in amusement.
"You're something a novelty to the pack, they've never met a 'raven' before. It was all I could do to stop them swimming the dam and greeting you. They wouldn't have hurt you intentionally, but being rumbled by curious adolescent wolves can take you by surprise.
"Joel is the only person I've ever seen who could remain on his feet after a meeting those guys. I'm afraid you would have been subjected to much sniffing and mouthing, and it can be a bit disconcerting at first."
"So you're saying that I've narrowly escaped being a chew toy?" Mulder smirked as he watched Jordan hopelessly trying to smother a serious case of the giggles at the mental image. He continued on a more somber note. "Why did you show me that you're a werewolf?"
Wolf looked carefully into Mulder's eyes, she'd decided that Mulder could handle the truth of his nature without freaking, 'Hell, he's a raven, Blade's curiosity is nothing compared to this guy.' She sighed to herself. "Because both you and Scully have the potential," she stated quietly. He didn't seem overly surprised by this comment. "You felt it earlier when we made love, didn't you? The feeling that you could change, but that knowledge is just out of your grasp."
Mulder nodded. He knew exactly what Jordan meant. He could still feel it now; a phantom altering of his body. His arms lengthening and folding into their 'natural' position, his legs shortening and his feet elongating into claws. An image of himself in his mind's eye of being sleek and black.
"Not everybody accepts the gift of change, Mulder. But they should have the opportunity to make that decision for themselves. Joel knows something of the 'old ways', he's not were but he could still sense you and Dana. That's the only reason you're here and still alive."
Mulder shivered at the casual manner Wolf delivered that statement. It wasn't just what she said, but the way she said it. He looked into her eyes and knew that she would have killed both him and Scully without a second thought if she'd considered them to be threat.
"You mean we're both werewolves?"
"Not were*wolves* precisely," she grinned at his naivetÚ. "A wereraven and werefox. If you make the change I'm sure you'll find it would come in extremely useful in your line of work. But to accomplish that you'll need to find somebody willing to teach you in the ways of your true spirit. I could complete the change for you both, but I'd prefer not to. It's better to learn the full impact of your were nature from another of the same phenotype before committing to the change. But I can put you in touch with people who can help you make that decision."
Mulder looked incredulous. "What do you have, a were underground?" Thoughts of werecreatures in trench coats, meeting each other secretly in dark bars and old Philip Marlowe movies played through his mind.
"Not really, but an extended lifespan means that you do tend to run into old friends --" 'And enemies,' she added to herself. "-- now and again. We're not as common as I've made it sounds, but most of us know others of our kind."
Mulder shook his head. "Scully isn't going to believe this Jordan." He was still trying to come to terms with Wolf's revelations.
"I think she will Mulder, it's a part of your soul, and while you may not accept that part as completely as I have, you can't deny your own feelings. The truth of your heart will pull you towards it. You'll both find that in a way you have always known what you are."
Mulder nodded slowly and got to his feet, he held out a hand to Wolf. "We'd better get back, it's almost dawn."
Wolf squeezed his hand. "Go ahead Mulder. I'll meet you back at the cabin in a couple of minutes, I just need to talk with the pack before they move on."
Mulder took a few steps then turned back to face Jordan. "What about us, um, what happened before? Where do we take this?"
Jordan looked at her feet before hesitantly raising her eyes to meet Mulder's. "Feel it here Mulder," she held a hand to her heart. "We're not meant to be. Without a restraining element of some kind, we both have the tendency to go off the deep end. Dana provides you with a calming influence, as my partner does for me. If we take this any further we'll end up tearing each other apart. As good as we would be together, please Mulder, leave it as it is, I don't want to see you hurt."
Mulder nodded in resignation. He felt the truth of what Jordan said but it still hurt. In some ways they were alike, maybe too much alike. "I'll see you back there soon."
As Wolf wistfully watched Mulder's retreating form, she felt a presence slowly closing in on her. "Don't even *think* of trying to sneak up on me, Nathan Blade." She didn't bother turning around. "You'd think that in two hundred years you would have learnt that I can feel you wherever you are. If you keep it up," she teased. "I'll ship you back to the bloody colonies, to hunt kangaroos and redcoats. That's what you were doing when I found you."
The large grey wolf with the white blaze gave up on the attempted stalk and shifted to human form; a tall, slim man, with odd, naturally grey hair and the same intense green eyes as Jordan. He wrapped his arms around Jordan's shoulders from behind and rested his cheek against her hair. "You like him don't you?"
Wolf's raised her hand to lightly rest on one the arms that were wrapped about her. "Like. Yes."
"But that wasn't entirely the truth you told him either, was it?" He continued at her silence. "I *know* that you pheromoned him. If you didn't plan to take this further, why leave him an emotional wreck?"
"It was the easiest way to prove his nature to him. And besides, it was fun," Wolf replied cheekily.
"Lovely," Nathan sighed. "I'm sure that Miss Scully with appreciate having a lovesick partner moping around for the next day or so. How would you have felt if I did that to her?"
"Ah... but you are too much the gentleman to have tried. I'm not."
"Now that you mention it, I have noticed that you're a wee bit morally deficient," he laughed.
"That's me. Remind me to try to think *before* I act in future."
"I do and you just ignore me... until it's way too late. Tell me this..." He knew he was going to be pushing some buttons, but she deserved it. "How would you feel if yours and Mulder's roles were reversed?"
"Point taken," Jordan answered softly, she turned in Nathan's arms and buried her face against his chest. "I couldn't go through that again, Nate."
"I'm sorry I had to bring it up, but you needed a reminder." Nathan could feel the pain crashing through Jordan. It radiated from her in dark waves and he could smell the bitter metallic taint of her loss. He tightened his arms protectively around his partner.
"I know... it just hurts so much." Hot tears trickled down Jordan's cheeks. "I still miss him, Nate," she whispered softly.
"I know, love. I know." Nathan kissed the top her head. "But you can't hide behind that loss forever. It's been more than fifty years."
"Yeah. Well I can try."
Nathan sighed, remembering his friend's bondmate. It was unusual from the start. He had never heard of a human/were bonding, but they had the link so who was he to judge.
They had worked together, on and off, for several years. As partners, they appeared to be almost telepathic in their ability to read each other and the situation at hand. What one missed, the other got, the non-verbal exchange of information was so fast, that unless you knew what to look for you would never see it.
They also seemed to have a mission in life of embarrassing him with their decadent displays of public 'affection'. He recalled with a smile, remembering his partner being kicked out of establishments on several occasions for indulging in rather 'enthusiastic' welcomes. When they were together, everything was forgotten but the job, in time even his wife and children.
Jordan had been sent overseas on assignment and had needed to sever their link for the job. So when reports came back that she had been killed, neither himself nor her mate could verify the death. All that had kept Jordan's mate alive had been the support of an old friend.
But Jordan did return, completely oblivious to her reported demise and discovered her lover had married. This 'minor' inconvenience did not halt the relationship, their bonding was too strong to be denied. They continued in a strange double life, protecting his family from both the knowledge of their situation and the danger of their work.
It still amazed him that they had kept their strange relationship going for all those years, but a bonding was not to be denied, even when they both knew the eventual outcome of their pairing. He knew, even now, she was reaching out for his descendants. She was connected to those that carried her mark as birthright. She was the protector of her Gunslinger's family and kept watch over them religiously.
"I wouldn't call what you had a normal relationship."
She shrugged. "So. We had bad timing." When she closed her eyes, she could still see him. Tall, with gunslinger hips and black hair that hung across his eyes. Incredible, unforgettable, heart-melting eyes. "I always was a soft touch for dark eyes."
Nathan his partner, his best friend, tight in his arms. Comforting her with his presence, as she had done for him for as long he could remember. "Mulder has a bond with the woman, Scully, hasn't he?" he quietly broke the companionable silence.
Jordan nodded. "A life bond, yes."
"Do you think they'll make the change?"
"Yes, eventually. But I think it will take them a long time to reach that decision. I'm surprised that they aren't already more than *just* partners."
"Ah, but then you wouldn't have had the opportunity to take advantage of him."
She smiled at his comment. "Maybe."
Nathan raised his eyes to the sky. She really didn't learn about some things. "Well that situation won't last much longer, not once they start to rely more on their birthright. Then you'll have to find yourself another Raven to molest."
"You're incorrigible," Jordan snorted in amusement.
"I know. And you love me for it."
She gave her partner a final squeeze and they headed back to the cabin together. She looked up at him with an evil grin. "Just remember Nate, I *can* sneak up on you, and you'll *never* see me coming."
Mulder slowly wandered back to the cabin, lost in thought. He'd never met anybody like Jordan before. She was unique and he didn't think that her abilities counted completely for that opinion. It was just... Wolf.
He entered the cabin and looked around for Scully. 'Must have gone to bed,' he thought to himself.
As quietly as he could, he opened the bedroom door and checked on Scully. She was lying on her stomach with her face towards the open door. One arm was under the pillow and the other curled up under her chin. Her hair lay fanned out around her head.
Mulder smiled as he watched his partner sleeping peacefully. She looked so beautiful when she was asleep. 'And not worrying about her fool partner getting himself killed.'
The longer he was apart from Scully, the crazier he got. He wondered how he'd managed to stay alive, or employed, before she came into his life.
He could feel a similar madness within Jordan. 'Maybe that's why we're drawn to each other.'
Wolf's words ran through his head. He knew she was right, but he still wanted her.
Mulder pulled the door closed on Scully and headed towards the bathroom. What he needed right now was a cold shower.
Mulder stepped out of the bathroom still drying his hair with a towel. Lost in his own thoughts, he was startled to see somebody sitting in one of the chairs by the fire. He felt a sudden stab of jealousy at seeing Jordan sitting at the foot of the stranger's chair, her head against his knee, quite soundly asleep.
"Forgive me if I don't get up," he ran his fingers gently through Jordan's hair. "I'm Nathan Blade. I work with Jordan." He could feel Mulder's warring emotions. "And no," he held Mulder in his piercing gaze. "We are *not* lovers."
Was he really that transparent? "Mulder," he stated his own name automatically, looking rather dumbfounded as he dropped into a chair. "I *was* planning to sleep out here tonight."
Nathan smiled to himself. "If you like."
"Where were you going to sleep?" Mulder asked. "I mean there's only one bed."
"We were going to stay by the fire, but seeing as you've decided not to share our bed with Scully, we'll sleep with the pack."
"'Our bed'? You say you are not lovers, but you sleep together?" Mulder was getting a little lost with this conversation.
Nathan shook his head. "It a wolf thing, Mulder. Don't worry about it."
Their relationship was a familial one. The pack mentality meant that they shared everything; houses, clothing, sleeping arrangements. They had been packmates for so long that neither considered it strange. The situation suited them both and provided a support structure to buffer them from the loss of their comparatively short-lived human friends.
"You know that it won't work between you and Jordan."
Blade's quiet voice slowly penetrated Mulder's confusion. "Why not?"
Nate felt Jordan snuggle closer to him and smiled down at her. "Because you're not meant to be together."
"I don't understand," he could feel his anger rising. "Who are you to say what is and isn't going to happen."
Nate sighed. "I am not being over-protective, although I have every right to be. It isn't going to happen." There was steel in Nathan's words, he was not a man to be trifled with when angered. His calm, well-mannered exterior camouflaged a core of determination that rivalled even Jordan's. A master at hiding his emotions from public view and a gifted diplomat, he had used this combination to his advantage in many a discussion. Jordan always kidded him that he could talk the angels down from heaven. Mulder didn't stand a chance.
"I don't see why not," Mulder retorted childishly, folding his arms across his chest in a sulk. He knew he was being petulant. He also knew that Blade was right, but still he didn't want to let go that easily.
Nathan continued to run his fingers through Jordan's hair. He closed his eyes. 'Sorry, love, but he needs to know now.' "How do you feel about Miss Scully, Mulder?"
The change in topic threw him, he tried not to show it. "She's my partner."
"Is she? Or is she something more?" Mulder's confusion was impossible for him to hide from somebody who could read him with all their senses. "Where is she now?"
Mulder frowned. "The bedroom. Asleep."
"Are you sure she's asleep?"
"Yes." Where as this going?
"How do you know?"
Mulder thought carefully. "I just do." He could feel her sleeping, she'd turned over since he'd looked in on her, but she hadn't woken. He'd never noticed it before, but she was there, in his mind. Not a vision exactly, more of a knowing.
He made the leap. "Me and Scully, we're meant to be together, aren't we?"
"More than likely, but not for a long time. It's difficult to tell, you both have too much confusion over a clash between your relationship and your careers to get a clear impression. You do realize that the change will make that a moot point. You'll outlive your current career, *but* the relationship will continue. You're bonded."
"Bonded?" It sounded like they were fused together.
Nathan smiled to himself, he couldn't read minds, but sometimes it was just too easy. "Trust me on this. You two *are* meant to be together. Why don't you think about how you feel towards both Scully and Jordi. Feel them, Mulder. That should make it clear to you."
Mulder closed his eyes and reached out with his fledgling talent. He could feel his partner as a warm glow in the bedroom, a tendril of energy stretched back to him. Jordan was pain, her darkness pulsed through him. He flinched and tried again more slowly. 'A loss?' Something, someone was missing. He wasn't sure, but Blade he *was* sure of. He projected a wave of calm and love for his friend. And something else.
"You're helping me aren't you, Nathan?"
Nate shrugged. "A little. It's strange to get used to. You've done well for a beginner. Try again."
When Scully woke she found Mulder, Wolf and Nathan sitting around the fire, deep in discussion over breakfast. "Morning," she said, still half asleep.
Nathan stood as Scully joined them. "Miss Dana Scully, I presume. Allow me to introduce myself. Nathan Blade, Jordan's partner."
Scully extended her hand to shake his. "Pleased to meet you."
Nathan grasped her hand and raised it to his lips. "The pleasure, I believe," he gently brushed a kiss across her knuckles. "Is all mine."
Jordan shook her head. He always had been a charmer. Scully was still very much asleep and obviously not used to being greeted in such a manner. She looked both delighted and a little embarrassed. Mulder glanced at Nathan in a way that was almost... jealous. So he did have feelings for his partner. Good.
Scully was flustered. "Have you left me anything, Mulder." Food was a safe topic. And then she wouldn't have to think about the gorgeous man with the Victorian manners who had just seated himself on the arm of Jordan's chair.
Mulder smiled at his partner, her hair still tousled from sleep. "Another five minutes and you would have missed out completely, Scully." He passed her a croissant.
"Have you been up all night? What have I missed out on?"
Mulder nearly choked on the pastry he was eating.
"Swallow your food don't inhale it." Jordan covered Mulder's reaction. "Not much, we were just discussing Mulder's narrow escape from becoming a wolf chew toy," she said to Scully
"What?" Scully, startled, dropped into doctor mode and rushed to Mulder to check for injuries.
"I'm fine Scully," Mulder batted Scully's hands away while looking pointedly at a grinning Wolf. "*They* didn't come anywhere near me. They were just curious about me, but Jordan wouldn't let them near."
"Well they're only young, but they're large enough to unintentionally cause serious damage. Being on the receiving end of a curious wolf can get a bit nasty." Wolf found Scully's shocked expression most amusing. "They play a bit rough, and few people understand that a curious nose unceremoniously thrust into their groin is meant to be taken as a form of greeting."
"Exactly what did you get into last night Mulder," she rounded on her partner.
"Not much," he grinned. "I just got to meet a werewolf in the flesh."
"So you're a Raven." Scully had her arms folded across her chest and was eying Mulder skeptically. "Both Jordan and Nathan are Wolves, and I'm a Fox. Okay, that's it Mulder, you've finally lost the plot --"
"Agent Scully," Wolf gently interrupted Scully tirade. "Would this serve to convince you?"
Scully eyes widened as she saw Wolf and Blade's hands flow into paws and back to hands. Fur rippled along the length of their arms. She collapsed bonelessly in the nearest chair. 'It isn't possible. How can they do that? Could I really be a fox? Could I do that? Do I *want* to do that?' Thoughts whirled through her mind like quicksilver. "What does this mean Mulder?" her voice barely audible and filled with confusion.
"It means I could fly, Scully."
She smiled. He looked like a child whose wildest dream has just come true. The doctor in her took over once more and she started thinking in medical terms. "How can this be possible?" she asked Wolf.
Jordan and Nathan sighed in unison, preparing themselves for the barrage of questions ahead. Jordan intercepted the first salvo. "It's genetic, but it also behaves like a virus as it can be passed on to others by blood and saliva. But *not* accidentally, the passing on of the gift is a conscious act. The fairy tale victim of a werewolf attack who becomes a werewolf himself is nothing more than literary hokum. The genetic potential is something that all weres, and some humans, can sense. They cannot become a were, but they can pass it on to the next generation.
"Some weres once used to 'seed' the bloodlines of allies. A way to mark clans as being under their protection to other weres. I guess that's why my parents were not surprised by my arrival. They had an oral history of family allegiance with the Daoine Si/, the 'fair folk'." She smiled up at her partner, into eyes that were the same strange color as her own. "Nathan comes from the same bloodstock, albeit somewhat removed.
"Unfortunately I don't have much experience with your respective clans so I couldn't tell you your lineage with any accuracy, but I can make an educated guess based on what I'm feeling from you. In your circumstances, Mulder, I'd guess at a chance encounter fairly recently in your family's past. Yours, Dana, would be similar to mine, a genetic anomaly seeded generations ago. Although, in our family, it wasn't seeding. We share a full were as an ancestor, which explains why we were born as full weres rather than halflings.
"A full human that has received the gene has a one in four chance of passing it on to offspring. Two halflings mating have the same chance of producing full were offspring. Strangely enough, it is still very unusual to encounter halflings. Maybe halflings aren't drawn to each other all that often and the potential is eventually bred out."
Nathan looked into Scully's eyes. "One thing is certain, you would definitely produce interesting children together." His face was a picture of innocence.
Mulder laughed at a furiously blushing Scully. "But what would they be?" This elicited a deeper blush and a furious glare thrown in his direction.
Nathan played at being oblivious to the discomfit he'd caused. "This is harder to guess at as 'mixed' matings are uncommon amongst us, generally because we associate with and understand our own clan more fully than others. Usually the offspring inherit their parents clan spirit, so they would be either fox or raven. But they could possibly be both, it's rare but not unheard of. Sometimes children "acquire" a spirit that is unknown within the clan genealogy, none of us know why, but it's considered it a great blessing. Considering the potential you both have, your children would undoubtedly have strong and independent spirits."
Nathan continued. "Yours is a somewhat unique situation. We've never before encountered two unaware halflings paired together. Usually a full were will pair with a halfling to initiate him into were society."
"So you could turn us?" Mulder said, watching his partner still trying to compose herself.
Jordan could feel Blade's amusement. He had an interesting sense of humor. "Yes, but you'll be better off learning the ropes from somebody who's shares the same spirit. You'll be better prepared to make the decision to either go ahead or walk away. There's nothing worse than an unprepared were, they have a tendency to go off the rails, taking everything in their path with them."
"Like Joe Goodensnake and Lyle Parker," Mulder stated.
"Well the effect can be similar, but they weren't were. From what I've heard, that was the work of a manitou." Jordan had heard rumors about the malevolent manitou that had caused so much trouble on the Trego Reservation.
Mulder nodded, recalling that Ish had mentioned something similar. "What about the legends about changing on the full moon, and silver bullets?" he asked curiously.
"Just that, nothing more than legends, *unless* you believe in it. That's why you should have full knowledge beforehand. The most harmful thing to you as a were, can be your own preconceived ideas." Nathan had seen what could happen to the uninitiated before.
"How did you know that we were coming?" Scully had been curious about this since meeting the Sheriff.
Wolf shrugged. "I'm not sure exactly. We always know when people are around, it's a feeling. Mostly it's just like background noise, but anything new will stand out.
"It's almost impossible for a human to lie to us. Changes in body language and smell is a give away, but with closer contact we can pick up their emotions and feelings as well."
"As you can imagine densely populated areas are a nightmare until you adjust to the influx of so many individuals at once," Nathan added.
Jordan winced at the thought. "Yeah. Instant headache."
Nathan ruffled his partner's hair playfully. "But it's also a boon, we can locate people in complete darkness, and coupled with our enhanced sight, smell and hearing, we can track anything under any conditions.
"I've found that the more contact I have with individuals, the more depth there is to the feeling."
"Like empathy?" Mulder was fascinated by this new information. He hadn't yet tried to analyze his experience of the previous night. Strangely enough he had accepted it without question, as if it were a locked part of himself that was waiting to be opened with the right key.
Jordan thought about this carefully. "I guess so. I've never really thought about it, it's just something that's always there. How often do you consider your hearing or sight?
"I could feel Joel's emotions when he met you. Generally the feelings fade with distance, you just have this feeling in the back of your mind that the person is out there, still alive and kicking. But with Nate, I could pinpoint him even if he was half a world away.
"You can use it in reverse too. I can pull my 'self' in so other 'empaths' can't feel me. Most humans, unless they walk into me, won't even register that I'm there."
Nathan playfully bared his teeth at his partner. "Drives me crazy. It's like she's vanished off the face of the earth."
"That could prove useful." Mulder's mind was ticking away madly with the possibilities of this revelation. He hadn't really considered just how much more of an edge it could give them.
"Definitely," Jordan continued, ignoring Nathan's gibes. "Even as halflings you both already have a rudimentary empathic link." Scully glanced at Mulder in surprise. That explained some things. "The more you use it, the stronger it will get and when you change it will kick in full force."
"Jordan, you mentioned last night that you had an extended lifespan."
"That seems to be a by-product of the constant shifting between forms, Mulder. The shifting must renew the cells, preventing the aging process from taking its usual course. It has proved useful for healing what would otherwise have been fatal wounds on more than one occasion." Wolf sighed remembering the close calls her ability had gotten her out of alive. 'Yeah, but you wouldn't have been in trouble in the first place if you didn't have it,' she chuckled to herself.
"A long life also has its drawbacks, we've seen both family and friends age and die. I don't think you ever quite get used to losing loved ones," she finished in a whisper. She felt Nathan's hand gripping her shoulder tightly in support. A look of grief passed across the faces of both the agents, echoing what Wolf felt. 'They've both had recent losses. Unhealed scars.'
"What are you? Immortal?" Mulder looked into Jordan's eyes. They were an eerie mirror to Nathan's. But more ancient and knowing eyes. They showed a strange mix of love and loss, pain and joy, but more than anything they were hard and unforgiving, a shield to protect her from the world. It was impossible to have lived as long as she had and not carry the past in her eyes.
Jordan shook her head. "No. We can die like any human. Just not of old age or disease."
"But what sort of lifespan do you have as a were?" Scully was having trouble grasping the concept near immortality within her reach.
"Nathan has only just passed 200, but I'm one of the oldest of the weres," she stated. "There are a few older, but not too many. A lot of us become very self-destructive and end our lives in violent pass-times." Mulder blanched at the look coming from Wolf. "Some just lose the will to live and fade away.
"Not everyone is capable of adapting to differing ages and customs. What was once the norm in a society is suddenly unacceptable, in what seems a deceptively short period of time. Languages change, technology changes. Some people self- destruct, while others grow stronger.
"I've seen a lot of weres self-destruct from culture shock. I've seen some that can't change and are culled from society as archaic and dangerous individuals."
"I spent World War II trying to keep Jordan from killing herself on suicide missions for the Resistance," Nathan spoke up quietly. It was her reaction to the shattering loss of her bondmate. "You will need each other for support in the years ahead.
"Your path will not be an easy one, but it will be worth it. For all the things that you see disappear, there is always something new that will make that loss easier to bear. The only loss I've ever regretted is the people that I've known. It always seems such a waste when friends die. All that life, gone forever."
Jordan fixed her gaze carefully on first Mulder and then Scully. "I want you to think very carefully about this before coming to a decision. Time isn't a factor, so make sure that you're making the right choice. Whatever you decide, your life will never be the same."
"What exactly do you and Nathan do for a living, Jordan? I mean this," Scully indicated the cabin, "isn't exactly in the affordable price range of simple researchers. And how the hell did you get most of this stuff out here in the middle of nowhere in the first place?" Scully couldn't imagine how anybody could have moved anything through the almost impenetrable wall of vegetation that effectively isolated the cabin from the outside world.
Nathan had designed the fortress and she had provided the 'landscaping'. The expedition of materials was, however, an entirely different story. "We have friends in interesting places," Wolf smiled enigmatically.
"I'll bet," Mulder snorted. "Seriously what do you do?"
"I was born in E/ire in 1066. My mother died in childbirth and my father who, not quite knowing what to do with a daughter, trained me in the only thing he knew; smithing. Over the years I've become quite a specialist in weaponry."
"That explains the decor," Scully indicated the cabin walls.
"Yes," Wolf grinned. "I've spent time as a historian and linguist, an assassin and a soldier, amongst other things. I kind of adopted Nathan and we've worked together as a team for a long time now.
"In recent years we've been involved in government work. We both currently work with a group that specializes in handling difficult situations between countries. The kind of work where the governments involved don't want their own hands dirtied or their problems becoming public knowledge. We've been around since the turn of the century. Interpol affiliated with us after World War II, but we still keep an unusual degree of autonomy. Most of Interpol simply refer to us as 'Them', but the division still retains the name of the original partnership; Davidson Investigations."
"You work with George Cowley's Davidson Division?" Mulder blurted out. Scully eyed her partner in confusion, she'd never heard of the man before. "I met him while I was at Oxford. We spoke, but the FBI had already offered me work in the States. He's a hard case, Skinner is a pussycat compared with Mr. Cowley, Scully."
"I see his reputation precedes him," Wolf grinned at Mulder's apt summary of her superior. "He only takes the best of the best, from any field, military, police, civilian, whatever and he's always on the lookout for new blood. He's a great man to work with, but I'd hate to see anyone stupid enough to cross him." She smiled evilly to herself at the outcome of anybody being foolish enough to go up against George Cowley, it was not a pretty picture. The man seemed to have made something of a hobby out of breaking Heads of State that had gone against him.
"Does he know about your... condition?" Scully questioned. She was trying to envision breaking the news to Skinner that two of his agents were therianthropes. Considering some of the cases they'd worked on, it probably wouldn't phase him in the least.
"Unlike any of George Cowley's other operatives, we are in a rather unusual category. And yes, Jordan and I told him. He'd never betray that trust though, firstly, because it's not in his nature. He hates the political machinations involved in working with the upper echelon of governments as much as we do. Don't get me wrong, he's a master at the game, he just doesn't enjoy it. And I think he likes the idea of his own 'pet werewolves'. He enjoys having an unexpected edge over the opposition." Nate's description brought a grin to Mulder's face. It was good to know that some things didn't change, no matter where you went. It reminded him of Skinner.
Jordan grinned unpleasantly. "Secondly, revealing our secret would reduce his life expectancy rather dramatically."
Scully swallowed audibly at Jordan's comment. Mulder didn't notice, something had just clicked in his head. He'd studied up on George Cowley's Interpol division after he had been offered the position. So he knew how long it had been running. He recalled seeing a photograph of the founder, Davidson. The man in that photo was sitting across from him now. "You're Gabriel Davidson," he stated slowly, the facts piecing themselves together in his head. "I knew I recognized your face. And that would make you," he pointed at Jordan, "Redfern Davidson."
Nathan nodded. "You have an impressive memory, Mulder. Even Cowley didn't make that connection at first, but he's yet to realize that his two top field agents actually still run the division they started."
No one had detected that two employees appeared again and again within the history of the unit. Jordan had become adept at altering records to protect them from both the curious and the malicious and she doubted that any true records of their past existed.
Mr. Cowley was the first to make the connection to the company's founder. Jordan and Nathan preferred to remain in the background subtly maneuvering the division in the direction they wished it to go. They had selected division leaders by their own standards, rather than the usual promotional infrastructure. One of their best choices had been a green agent that had started with the outfit six months previously. His appointment to division head was not well received, but he had proved himself admirably.
"How did you end up starting the agency?" Scully asked. "I can't imagine an international police force would have that much business back then."
"Oh, it did. It was just slower, both business-wise and travelling. International crime has come well within the bounds of the average person now. We didn't start out that way though. The change in direction came from an old friend." Jordan smiled to herself as she recalled exactly how Davidson Investigations came into being.
The sleek wolf loped through the underbrush. Her coat appeared to ripple from rust to grey in the dappled sunlight. Apart from the unusual coloring, she wore a harness that looked similar to a set of small saddle bags.
The object of her attention was never out of sound or scent range.
Neither was the man following him. He had proved more of a problem to avoid than her target. His horse had started several times when the wind had shifted suddenly and she was starting to think the damn thing could sense her.
He was a surprisingly good tracker. She liked the way he felt too; calm, sure of himself, but not cocky. Their mutual quarry, on the other hand, was a dark, seething mass of paranoia. He hadn't yet detected his two shadows, but he was edgy enough to become a danger, both to them and himself. 'I wonder if he realizes how close he's got --' A shot sounded ahead of her, followed by the thump of a body hitting the ground to her left. 'I guess not,' she finished.
She shifted to human form, dropping her pack to the ground and drawing a black duster from its depths. She slipped into it and redonned the backpack, with the speed of long years' experience.
Awaiting the gunman's possible return, she crouched silently in the brush, absently twirling a throwing knife between long dexterous fingers. 'Definitely a man in a hurry,' she mused hearing the hoof beats fade into the distance. 'I'd better go check out his handiwork.'
Redfern and Gabriel Davidson were posing as siblings, their current specialty was tracking. They had been hired to follow and report back on Travis and Woods, two small- time crooks from Kansas City, who'd managed to swindle a respected businessman out of a large sum of money. They were now on the run and it was looking more likely that they would attempt to leave the country rather than go to ground.
Then they had hit Nevada, where things had started to get complicated. Firstly they had acquired another two parties interested in the affairs of Travis and Woods, and secondly the targets had split up, heading in different directions. Red continued west after Travis, while Gabe followed Woods south. The two other men had similarly split up, each following a different man.
Red concealed her knife as she stepped from the undergrowth. An unconscious man lay sprawled on the ground and a large red horse stood over him whickering softly.
As she got closer, the horse started to behave strangely. It's ears went back and it's eyes rolled wildly. It looked like it wanted to be anywhere but near her. But still it stood its ground, standing protectively over its fallen rider.
'Stupid creature,' she shook her head. 'Odd that it hasn't bolted though.' She had always had that effect on horses, maybe they could sense the wolf in her. Maybe they just sensed that she hated them with a passion.
The horse tried to block her path to its rider, baring teeth in her direction. "I'm not going to hurt you, you idiot," she spoke softly to the animal, holding both hands out for it to see. "I just want to check on him."
The horse seemed to consider this and relented, slowly backing away to give her access. Its eyes following her every move, glaring distrustfully at her back.
Red examined the rider. He looked to be in his thirties, six-foot, slim build, strong jaw and black hair that hung across his eyes. 'Nice.' She had detected his breathing from her previous position in the bushes, so she knew that he was still alive. Her immediate concern was for the nasty looking gash across the side of his head. 'Bullet must have grazed him,' she thought, checking for further injury. She winced in sympathy as her gently probing fingers located the lump forming on the back of his head. That had to have hurt, it also explained why he was out cold.
Cleaning the blood away from the graze, she discovered that the wound to be shallower than as she had first thought.
Having finished her ministrations, Wolf easily lifted the injured man in her arms and placed him against the nearby tree. She crouched down beside him and lifted an eyelid to check his pupil response and her breath caught in her throat. He had the most beautiful brown eyes she had ever seen.
She traced her finger lightly over the scar that ran from the corner of his mouth under his jaw. "Well, Gunslinger, this definitely isn't the first time you've been in the wars. I think it's a safe assumption that you'll live to fight another day. You're going to have a killer headache when you come to, but there's nothing more that I can do for you."
She turned to leave. Only to be once again confronted by the horse. It faced her, pacing slowly sideways mirroring her movements. She was effectively blocked. "What?" she glared at the beast. "First you don't want me near him and now you don't want me to leave. Well, sod you. I'm out of here." The horse countered her attempt to leave again.
"Look, I have to follow the man who did this and I can't take him," indicating the horse's rider, "with me." At this the horse whinnied and nodded it's head. Red looked incredulously at the animal. "You *want* me to take him with me." The horse nodded enthusiastically.
'Shite. I can't believe I'm talking to a bloody horse. *And* I'm about to do what it wants,' she shook her head slowly in exasperation. "All right horse, but this isn't going to be easy."
Redfern was soon on her way again, albeit travelling in a much different manner than she was accustomed to.
With a bit of struggling she had managed to get the unconscious man on the horse. He was now seated behind her in the saddle with his arms around her abdomen and his hands tied loosely at the wrist to prevent him from slipping off.
She was worried about losing Travis with the delay. She could track him regardless of how far ahead of them he got, but if was planning to leave the country, she needed to be a lot closer to him than she was at the moment.
In all truthfulness she should have left the Gunslinger behind, dodging the horse would have been difficult but not impossible. But there was something about the man that compelled her to bring him with her. He felt 'comfortable' in a strangely familiar way. It was similar, although slightly different, to her connection with Gabriel, yet she knew he wasn't were.
Her patient's head was hanging over her shoulder. She turned her head and felt the stubble on his chin brush against her face. It had been a while since she'd been this close to somebody so interesting. She unconsciously raised her hand to push the hair away from his eyes. The eyes that so intrigued her.
She noticed that her companion's breathing had dropped into the slow, steady rhythms of sleep. "At least he's breathing easier now, Horse." Although she was mystified as to how anyone could sleep on a horse.
The horse had calmed down too. It seemed to be much happier now that they were back on the trail.
The peace was broken by a soft groaning as the man woke. He tried to stretch, only to find his hands secured in front a strange red-haired woman wearing a duster that had wrapped around her legs. He peered down to see her bare feet dangling in front of the stirrups. A light breeze blew the duster aside for an instant, revealing an equally bare, lower leg with an extremely well defined calf muscle and a glimpse of thigh. 'I don't think she's wearing much else if *that's* anything to go by.'
"I can't say that this is the first time I've ever woken to find myself tied up. But it's definitely the most pleasant," he drawled softly into her ear.
Red chuckled quietly, untying his hands. "So, how do you feel, Gunslinger?"
The man gingerly felt his head. "Like I've been kicked in the head by my horse."
"Close. You were grazed by a bullet when you got a bit too near for Travis' liking. You lost consciousness when you fell and hit your head. You must have the luck of the Irish."
"I guess so," he was wincing as he fingered the graze. "Lucky enough to have a beautiful stranger come to my rescue."
"Forgive me." Redfern swiveled in the saddle and grasped his hand. "I forgot that we haven't been formally introduced. Redfern Davidson, tracker and rescuer of strange men, at your service."
"Brisco County, bounty hunter," he replied laughing. He winced again at the pain the laugh had set off in his head. "And by what stroke of luck did you happen by to save me, Miss Davidson?"
"After tying you to your horse, I think Red is more appropriate."
"Fair enough. Red it is then. But how did you end up out here?" he questioned.
"We seem to be after the same quarry, Brisco. My brother, Gabriel, and I were hired to track Travis and Woods and report on their movements," she replied. "I guess you're here for the bounty. We picked you and your partner up in Nevada."
"Nevada? How long have you been following these guys? Why didn't I see you earlier?" Brisco eyebrows shot up as a thought suddenly occurred to him. "And where's your horse? Not that I don't mind this arrangement as it is." He replaced his arms around Red's waist. 'For balance,' he justified to himself. 'Yeah. Right.'
Red grinned, settling comfortably back into his embrace. "In order; from Kansas, I didn't want you to see me and finally, horses don't like me --"
Brisco's horse snorted in agreement.
"-- and I travel faster on my own," Red finished, ignoring the horse's interruption.
Brisco was thoroughly confused at this point. "Let me get this straight. You've been travelling on foot from Kansas?" Red nodded her assent. "And you've kept up with me from Nevada?"
She was enjoying this immensely. "Uh huh."
"What the hell did you do? Fly?"
"Trust me on this, you wouldn't believe me if I told you," Red responded.
"I don't know. I've seen some pretty strange things. This wouldn't have anything to do with Comet thinking you want to eat him?" Brisco had thought his horse was just being unusually sensitive about Red.
"So," Red asked in surprise. "I'm not the only one he talks to."
Brisco grinned. "He certainly has a knack of getting his own way, doesn't he."
"So I've noticed. He wouldn't let me leave without you."
"Yeah, well nice try at diverting my question, but why doesn't Comet like you?" he tried again.
Red turned in the saddle to fix Brisco with her strange green eyes. She simply stated, "Ask him."
"Well, Comet, what's wrong?" The horse whickered in response. Brisco looked more confused than ever. "I know you don't like wolves, but that doesn't have anything to do with Red?" Comet snorted in obvious disgust.
Brisco couldn't figure Comet's response out. "He seems to think that *you're* a wolf."
Red grinned to herself. "Perhaps he's right, Brisco."
"Huh." Brisco was roused from his thoughts. Dreams would probably have been a more apt term. His head ached abominably and he'd fallen asleep against her warm body again. It was getting to be an *extremely* pleasant habit. He didn't question how comfortable he had already become with this strange young woman.
"I said that we're getting close to the city limits, Sleeping Beauty. If we don't grab him soon, he'll hit the docks and you'll lose your bounty."
Red was quite taken by her riding companion. 'Apart from his drooling on my shoulder in his sleep,' she thought with amusement. 'And even that I could get quite used to.' She had been unusually truthful with him and found herself starting to dread their parting.
"You think he'll skip the country?"
"Without a doubt. I'm positive that Woods was headed for the Mexican border."
"I think you're right, Red. They both seemed pretty eager to put some space between them and the US when Bowler and I first spotted them." He sighed in frustration. "Damn. Why isn't there an international police force to handle situations like this."
You could almost hear the wheels turning in her head as she spurred Comet on faster. "You know Brisco," she said slowly. "I think you could have something there."
"The coming thing?"
She smiled. "Perhaps. Your idea of an international police force has definite potential."
They stood on the dock, watching as the ship departed. They'd missed the sailing by fifteen minutes.
"We so were close, Brisco."
"Too close. I wonder if Bowler is having better luck. He's not going to let me live this down."
"Maybe, but then he wasn't shot in the head either," Red consoled.
Brisco touched the wound on his head. The bleeding had long since stopped. "I, uh, couldn't help noticing that you don't wear a gun." He was blushing furiously. He'd found himself in extremely close quarters with Red for several hours and was now positive that she *wasn't* wearing anything under the coat. "How did you plan to stop Travis if he decided to finish the job?"
Red raised both of her hands to Brisco, displaying empty palms. "I have my own way of handling things, Gunslinger." She lowered her hands to her sides and spun in a blur to face the building. Two knives thunked into the timber.
"Ah... yeah." He hadn't even *seen* the blades until they had appeared in the wood. He watched as she extracted them and examined the blades, before promptly making them vanish before his eyes. "Slick. You'll have to meet my partner, he'll love that. So what are your plans now, Red?"
"I've got to report to my employers and let them know which ship Travis sailed on. But first I've got a partner to meet before Woods hits the border."
"Yeah, so do I," Brisco recalled, he was not looking forward to seeing Bowler. He much preferred his current travelling companion. Then the implications of Red's words sunk in. "How would you feel about some company on the trip?"
Red looked up into Brisco's liquid brown eyes and slid her arms around his waist. "I'd like that. I like that very much," she said with a rush of emotion that was dizzying. Redfern realized that she hadn't just fallen in love, she had discovered her bondmate. Her steadily strengthening mindlink with Brisco affirmed the fact. She closed her eyes and surrendered herself to the man who now held her tightly in his arms.
"Come on Mulder." Scully slapped her partner lightly on the leg, breaking him out of his entrancement with Jordan's account of her past. The description of Jordan's link with her bondmate had left her slightly flustered, and she didn't quite know why. There was something familiar about it, but she wasn't sure what it was. What she needed was some time alone to think her new situation through more thoroughly. "We'd better get back to Washington, seeing as the case is a blowout --"
"What do you mean a blowout," he spluttered indignantly. "You've seen the proof that werewolves exist. What more do you want?"
"Yes, Mulder, but the cattle deaths were the work of humans, non-cult associated humans I might add. I really don't think Skinner will grant an extension on this case, *especially* if you tell him the truth. I can just see you in his office now; 'Yes sir, we've discovered that the mutilations were not cult related after all. But while we were in the area we just happened to meet a couple of werewolves.' Fine go ahead, Mulder. I'd almost enjoy the punishment he'd inflict on you, if it wasn't for the fact that we'd *both* probably end up as FBI tour guides."
Mulder shivered at the thought, calming down as Scully made her point. He had to admit that telling Skinner the truth probably wouldn't be in their best interests, or Wolf and Blade's for that matter. But the look on his face would almost make it worthwhile.
"Well, it looks like we're off," Mulder said more than a little regretfully.
"We'll look you up next time we're in your neck of the woods. In the meantime you know where to find us via e-mail." Jordan looked at both of the agents sternly. "Just don't forget about your other sides."
"We'll be keeping an eye on you," Blade finished.
Mulder stretched his legs out in the passenger side of the car. He was deeply immersed in the contents of the documents that Jordan had given them when they left Brighton.
Scully's cast a sidelong glance at her partner and smiled to herself before returning her eyes to the road. The man was a sponge for knowledge of any kind. He couldn't help himself. But this information could never become part of the X-Files. It was personal and was to be destroyed once she'd read it and Mulder had committed it to memory.
"This is incredible, Scully," Mulder surfaced from his perusal to inflict his enthusiasm on his partner. "A long life, fast healing, heightened senses, empathic abilities. The things that we could see and do, the changes and discoveries we'd be witness too."
"Just think how happy the Bureau would be to see you avoiding the hospital for a change. They could fund a small country on what they'd save from your medical expenses," Scully interjected.
Mulder could see that something had been bothering Scully. "What's up? It's something with Jordan isn't it?" He'd noticed that while she was comfortable in the woman's presence there was something about her that she found disturbing.
Scully glanced at her partner before returning her eyes to the road. "You didn't find some of her behavior a little... unusual? Nathan was normal, but Jordan..."
"Trust me on this, Scully. *Most* of her behavior is far from normal," Mulder grinned at the memory. "What exactly stood out from the crowd?"
"Didn't you find her attitude towards violence and death just a little... blasÚ/?"
Mulder hadn't really considered about this before now. He'd just assumed that it was just Jordan. "I guess you could call it a culture gap," he said, slowly gathering his thoughts. "Think about it, Scully. Us, our parents, we've all grown up with the concept of education, career, family. Jordan was raised in the midst of wars and trained to kill. Nobody alive has ever seen the amount bloodshed that she has seen. Granted that in our job, we would see more than most, but we are in an unusual line of work.
"She's over 900 years old. Most of her life has been spent fighting in wars. Even now she's involved in killing, although I doubt it's on the same scale." Scully shot Mulder a look that indicated she wasn't so sure about that. "Jordan was trained in weapons and taught to be a warrior from an early age. We've never encountered anyone with that sort of background before."
Scully thought about Mulder's evaluation of Jordan's tendencies. "Do you think we could end up like that? With killing becoming so... insignificant. When we're hardened to death."
"No," Mulder shook his head. "Our backgrounds are too dissimilar. And what shaped Jordan's past is not likely to occur in our future. We are our own people, Scully. Just as all people are different, all weres are different. You can't assume that we'll become homicidal maniacs because of it," he said, performing an extremely bad Bela Lugosi impression for Scully's benefit.
Scully smiled at his response. He always knew how to cut to the heart of the matter. "I wasn't thinking that, Mulder. I was just... worried."
"Don't be. Besides," he joked. "You're not the warrior type."
She shot him a glance that could have melted steel. "I wouldn't lay bets on that if I were you, Mulder." Their laughter settled into a companionable silence.
"I want to do this, Scully. I have to see it through," Mulder broke the quietness. He watched his partner, waiting for her reaction.
Scully had been dreading this. She didn't want to hurt her partner, but she was still too confused. After a long silence she decided that the best thing to do was to speak from her heart. She took a deep breath and started, "There's a part of me that's attracted to this too, Mulder. But what of our families. Do we tell them what we've become? Or do we hide it from them, eventually cutting ties when it starts to become obvious that we aren't aging.
"What about our work with the X-Files, Mulder? How long do you think we'd be able to work at the Bureau before our true nature is suspected? I can see both of us ending up an exhibit in our smoking friend's archives, cut up and placed in small, neatly labelled bottles.
"And what of the training, have you thought of that? Jordan said that even if we decide to go through with this, we will have to be 'apprenticed'. How long is that going to take? Years? And even then, according to the notes you're reading, we may never get the knack of shifting between forms.
"I don't know, Mulder. Will it be worth it? Am I just trying to satisfy a childhood fantasy or is this really my true destiny? I just don't know."
Mulder reached out and gently brushed the tears from Scully's cheek with his finger, before placing his hand over hers and squeezing tight. He couldn't answer her. All he did know was that he couldn't do this without her. He needed her. 'You're right Jordan. Without her I'll die.' He felt tears of his own pricking at his eyes. "I don't know either, Dana. I really don't."
Daoine Si/: Faery People (Dun Shee).
This is a story has been lurking around the dark recesses of my mind in various forms for years, and it probably never would have seen the light of day without the help and encouragement of Ray Gilford. It started out as a series of fairly incomprehensible notes that I wrote for Ray in early September 1995, who convinced me that it had the potential to become X- Files fan fiction. It took a year to get to the first issue.
Thanks to Steve W for constructive criticism.
Special thanks to Jeannie for going above and beyond the call of duty as my beta reader. She is responsible for a few inconsistencies being cleared up for the second issue.
This can be found on my web page with the correct formatting and proper accents for anybody who's interested.
Well that's it. If you've gotten this far, thanks for sticking around, and if you've got the time I'd appreciate your comments. Was it worth the read? Do I hear cries of, never do it again? If nothing else, I'm curious as to just how far afield this has managed to travel.
Red Wolf currently spends free time sacrificing Christians, virgins and small children in the opinion that while they may be useless to civilization as a whole they do serve nicely as a main course
To answer your somewhat unique question... -- Bruce Campbell