She hadn't expected to live long enough for the bite to be a problem.
Which was why when she woke up in the rubble, senses a riot of blood, old earth, urine and salt, she hadn't bothered to stop him when Marty hit her again - splintering ribs. Forcing her back to life as she stared up at his blood-shot eyes and thought about ripping out his throat, then kissing him back to a stronger heartbeat.
Death would have been easier, but maybe they didn't deserve easy.
It was a good thing the wolf didn't know the difference.
She didn't have time to mourn her old life and the people in it.
It wasn't the animal way to linger.
The change happened with that first animal breath, but it took time for her to understand it. To make peace with new senses and instincts as the wolf quickly replaced her duller, human parts. In many ways, it was a relief, she didn't have to keep much in her head anymore. Things that had been complicated only days before, like if making a moral point was worth the death of millions, became easy. The wolf knew survival came at any cost. That the need to hunt and sleep and breed was paramount. Worth the death of lesser beings. But sometimes the human in her broke through, screaming and beating at the recesses of her mind with pale fists. She never let her mouth move, but sometimes she would look up and see Marty watching her. He smelled complicated when the human in her was awake. A mix of lemon grass, wolfsbane and sick-up. She didn't like it. And it was getting harder not to let it show.
The girl was terrified of the wolf and this new world.
The wolf reveled in its new territory, slowly forcing the girl to heel.
It was better that way.
Only the strong survive.
A lot of things made sense now. She was tapped into how the world worked. How it breathed and recycled itself. Even how the air tasted when the moon was at it's strongest. Humans had always been just another animal, but she was better than that now. More. And she wanted Marty to be more too.
She'd had time to consider it after the first moon, letting the human side weigh the pros and cons as the days passed. Aware that the wolf in her had already decided. Smitten from that first rash of violence in the rubble, when he'd refused to let her go. Making her stay with him as she coughed up dust and concrete-flakes. Burying his face in the curve of her belly as her name echoed. Crying. Retching. Mouthing nonsense into her human skin. Mixing their blood in the oldest of ways as the wolf rumbled with welcome.
He would be perfect.
More than that, he was the obvious choice.
He was smart and strong. He had figured out the game that night and tried to warn them. He had protected her. Saved her. He took care of her, even now. Even though it was him with the fragile bones and dull senses. She scared him, but he refused to leave. He prepared for the full moon and made sure she was comfortable when it passed.
He would make a good alpha.
He would sire strong pups in her.
He smelled like den and familiar things, under the fear.
She wanted to free him of that.
To show him there was more to this new world than the acrid bolt of terror that'd clung to them ever since the cabin and the monsters who hadn't waited until dark to spread their tendrils into that fake, poisoned place.
She'd waited for him to come to her, but he didn't.
It made her scrunch her nose in frustration.
She could smell his want.
But he was too human. More human than her now.
He was still tied to human rules and limitations.
It was infuriating how obvious the solution was. How simple.
He wanted her.
She wanted him.
The only way for him to survive in the world now was to change.
To be like her.
She wouldn't risk their future on his humanity.
On his reluctance to change.
Sometimes mate could be stubborn.
But she was tired of waiting.
It would be spring soon; she could smell it on the air.
The wolf in her shivered, imagining him in rut.
The thoughts came easy as the days passed.
Especially when she could smell the male in him.
It took time to understand, like her new senses and instincts, that the reason she hadn't pulled the trigger was because she'd known what she wanted long before she'd been bitten. Long before she realized Marty was right after all.
It was time to give someone else a chance.
And she wanted to be free.