The tapping of footsteps pulled me out of my reverie as I raised my head, eyes scanning the room with a small frown at the small group of people standing across the room around the metal table. And the corpse that lay on that same table.
It had been two weeks since I had been approached and asked to help the FBI, joining the team as a special agent. Temporary badge for a mentally unstable man. At least I was now willing to handle a gun, which had got me kicked out as a homicide detective. Two weeks of many unusual murders. As a result, we were now on the lookout for what tattlecrimes.com had nicknamed “The Lycan Ripper”.
What a coincidence that the human killer we were after was being investigated by Lycans themselves, one of the top werewolf packs, made up of part of the city's FBI. Being socially inadequate at being in packs, even preferring the company of dogs over my own kind and humans, resulted in me being labeled "the runt". With an empathy disorder to boot, which made me able to experience what a killer felt and thought whilst they committed their crime. Resulting in my fame on tattlecrimes.com with Lara Chorostecki’s article ‘It takes one to know one’.
Glancing to the doorway as Jack Crawford moved inside, I watched the other Lycan’s immediately dip their heads in a sign of respect to the pack’s Alpha. Jack soon moved towards them to discuss what had happened with our most recent victim. It was the same killer; silver had been placed over the eyes and it was presumed the killer had attacked his victim with a silver knife as well, though we couldn’t be completely sure since the victim was human, safe from the effects silver had on actual werewolves.
Soon, I watched as Jack made his way around the table and over to my current position, the Alpha inside him narrowing his eyes when I didn’t dip my head. Advantages of being an outsider: I wasn’t always willing to display submission, at least not at first. Adjusting my glasses, I stayed leaning again the wall, though my head soon dipped down slightly, gaze averted in a minor show of acknowledgement of the Alpha’s presence, despite not being in his pack. Not in any of the city’s pack to be exact. It was dangerous not to be, as most Lycans would consider rogues as a threat or as free game if they were an omega, like me.
But I guess being a runt helped in its own way, keeping me safe most of the times. People viewed me as an unsuitable mate, and I was usually ignored. Which suited me just fine. I was happy to just be with my little family of stray dogs.
Jack paused to watch me for a couple of seconds, jaw clenching before one hand had raised to scratch at his chin as he spoke. “It seems like the killer, or another copycat, has shown up in Sydney, Australia. I don’t have anyone else to spare, except Campbell…and you. I’ve bought the tickets for the flight in two hours time, with permits for you both to carry your gun, though they have asked that they remain in a bag, which you can take on board with you if you wish or put it in with your luggage....Of course if you’re available to go?”
A small sigh escaped my lips as I watched him with a quirk of my brow, head soon tilting to one side in a questioning manner. “Can I say no even if I’m available?”
He grinned slightly, revealing the small gap between his two front teeth. “No.” Just as I expected him to say.
Biting on my lip with a small pause of thought, I contemplated whether he would accept a ‘no thanks’, but eventually I gave a small nod after a moment. “Okay....On one exception..”
The Alpha gave a small nod, his expression showing a slight flash of curiosity as he waited for me to proceed with my request before looking to me in confusion at my words.
● ● ●
Despite my hesitation to go on the flight, especially with such a short notice, I soon found myself saying a goodbye to Winston and then watched as he was loaded onto the aircraft into the pet section of the hold. Jack had grudgingly bought the pet ticket to allow him on as well and promised to feed the rest of my dogs that had to stay behind, though I suspected that he'd delegate it to another member of his pack.
Moving away from where the pets and luggage were resting before they were loaded onto the plane, I moved up the stairs and inside, glancing around before I had moved to the row of seats with the matching number to the ticket, choosing the middle seat. Agent Campbell let out a low huffing sound as he followed after me, pausing to put his bag in the compartment before he stepped over my legs to sit by the window, looking outside once he had made himself comfortable. After a couple of minutes of silence, which I didn’t mind, he soon turned to me, mouth opening to say something before he had fallen silent as another person stopped by our seats, glancing to us before sitting down in the empty one beside me.
“My apologies, I hope I haven’t interrupted anything...” The male spoke as he put his bag down by his feet instead of in the compartments above the seats. My eyes wandered over the neat, professional like clothing to sharp cheekbones, skipping over his eyes to neatly combed hair. But my senses soon picked up on an ancient wood scent radiating from him, barely muffling a groan as I ducked my head.
Less than a week away from my heat and I was stuck between two Alphas in an enclosed area; one a complete stranger and the other a youngling to the pack trying to prove his rank and position. Which included either hostility towards me, non-discreetly checking me out or acting as if he owned me.
Which he was doing now as his lips curled over to reveal the commonly sharper canines all werewolves had in their human forms, a low growl rumbling from his throat as he watched the newcomer. Rolling my eyes at him, I raised a hand to massage my temples before standing and trying to open the compartment to grab my suppressants. “Calm down puppy.”
I could hear Campbell huffing out a breath behind me, my fingers finally finding the bottle just as I heard him growl again before headbutting my hip. Moving to close the compartment, I quickly sat back down before glaring at him briefly, despite the small blush his gesture had caused. “Cut. It. Out.”
Quickly dropping my gaze, I muttered a small apology to the other male before shaking out a couple of tablets onto my hand and dry swallowing them, the bottle soon slipping into my pocket.
As the plane started to take off, I shifted slightly in my seat before relaxing back against it as I finally let my eyes drift shut. The past few days had been more tiring than I thought they would be, with not much time to rest throughout the day, so I was quick to fall asleep.
● ● ●
The brush of a hand against my neck was the first thing I felt, and the light, barely detectable sounds of sniffing were the first thing I heard as I started to wake with a small, sleepy groan. Brows soon pulling together in a slight frown, I turned my head away from the contact and the source of the noise, not wanting to wake up just yet. But I soon jerked up in my seat with a barely contained shout when the hand had withdrawn to be replaced by the caress of a nose and then lips.
Opening my eyes, I quickly turned my head to watch Campbell warily before giving him a shove to back off. Before he could have another attempt or speak to me, I had moved to my feet, stepping over the legs of the stranger beside me and made my way to the toilet, splashing water on my face.
Once I was finished in the small room, I stepped out before stepping back when I accidentally walked straight into someone. Quickly apologising, I kept my head ducked down as I moved around them, pausing again as I felt a hand on my arm. Thinking Campbell had followed after me, I let out an annoyed sigh before turning to him, quickly stopping my words when I found the neatly dressed passenger in front of me. “My apologies for scaring you. I noticed what your companion was doing, and I’m sorry he was being that rude to you.”
Biting my lip, I gave a small shrug before my eyes drifted down to his collar as I raised a hand to scratch at the back of my neck. “It’s alright...And thanks, we haven’t known each other for long so I guess he’s just being curious...” Not that I believed my own words.
The blonde-haired man watched me, his head tilting in a curious manner before he shrugged, glancing back towards our seats before he realised my hand and then held it up to me. “He’s acting more possessive than curious. I’m Hannibal Lecter, it’s nice to meet you...?”
Looking briefly to his eyes, I dropped my gaze to his collar again before nodding slightly, raising a hand to shake his. “Will. Will Graham. It’s, uh, nice to meet you too.”
Hannibal nodded slightly with a gentle smile, tilting his head once again as he seemed to notice my gaze dropping to his collar again. “Not fond of eye contact, are you?”
Shrugging slightly, I glanced around before releasing his hand, biting my lip as I moved around him to return to my seat. “Eyes are too distracting. You see too much. You don’t see enough.”