1995-03-05: Wilderness

Participants:

Holly_icon.gif

Special Thanks to:

Siobhan_icon.gif

For Emitting American Wolves. (From America!)

Scene Title Wilderness
Synopsis Holly arrives at the camp in the U.S.
Location CLASSIFIED
Date March 5, 1995
Watch For Battlestar Galactica? IDK!
Logger Holly

Holly had an advantage. Namely, she knew right where the camp was. Still, it took some doing to get there. It's far out of the way of human habitation, and can't be apparated to, or found from above. That means Holly's stuck traveling on foot.

It's not a bad trip. She stopped to camp once, and Mo stays with her without having to be on a leash or crated up. That means she doesn't have to carry the giant beast, or drag her around on the end of a rope as she resists every step of the way. Around the lawyer's shoulders is a back pack; thankfully, it hasn't been too cold thus far, despite the March weather, and there's only the barest amount of snow on the ground. Being out on her own has actually been prety enjoyable.

And Holly hopes this helps. She has reservations, but she set these camps up for a reason. Werewolves can come, get the help they need, and then leave as a safe asset to society. She just never thought she'd have to come here as a student, herself.

The noises of life reach her ears before she sees anything. In fact, it's not until she's nearly on top of the place that she can see anything at all - the rows of cabins almost blend right in with the trees. That's how it was designed, though. It keeps the werewolves safe from people who would like to do them harm, and since it's inhabited by werewolves, and invaders are heard coming long before they reach a critical point. Holly stops a good distance away, looking on.

—-

And well for her that she did. Within minutes of her arrival, a group of young males and females - five, to be exact - lopes easily into view. Their speed is, frankly, amazing, especially when they don't have to mask the effortlessness. There is no need to hide here.

"State your name and business!" Their leader appears to be a petite blonde with what Americans will - in about eight years or so - dub a 'pixie cut'. She's dressed in a plain tan shirt, olive pants, black boots and a black, well-worn leather jacket. Her compatriots are similarly dressed, though none sport the leather.

—-

It's kind of a commitment that she doesn't quite want to make. She knows it's best for her and everyone she knows that she does this, but some people just don't like to admit defeat. This feels like she's failed.

With the smell of so many werewolves, Mo is uneasy. However, she's gotten used to Holly, and so stays behind the woman's legs, bright eyes looking on as these people who smell weird approach. The cat utters a low growl, and Holly kneels down to scratch behind her ears. "Holly Maplewood," she says. There's a long pause. She doesn't exactly want to state her 'business' outloud. She could just say she's checking in on how the camp is going. That would be believable. "I've been a werewolf for a couple months. I need help."

—-

"What you are's a bit obvious, dontcha think?" The blonde woman grins a bit cheekily and taps her nose as if to explain. Still, the name is not unfamiliar. Not at all. In fact, it causes a bit of a stir. "So it's true, then." Turning back to glare her shifting 'pack' into submission, the woman snorts and then spends a long space of time studying Holly intentely. At the end of this, she seems to reach some decision, because she steps right into Holly's space and grabs her hand in a firm clasp.

"Welcome to Runespoor, Maplewood. I'm Grace Lawson, but around here they call me Starbuck." She grins a little lopsidedly. "Yes, like the old show. No, I'm not a man." With that out of the way, she kneels down to closer examine Mo. "I'm impressed. A lot of 'em can't stand the smell of us."

—-

Holly laughs a little. Yeah, she can't exactly hide here, but that's more of a comfort than an annoyance. "It's okay, Mo," she says to the cat, who, despite her timidness, has stopped growling. "I have a friend who's an animagus. Kind of helped her through the transition. I don't know what I'd do without her."

The stare is surprisingly not uncomfortable. There's a part of her mind that thinks differently now - just as her human mind will always be present when she's the wolf, the wolf's consciousness will always be there for the rest of the month. She's glad that the camp has a strong leader.

Shaking Grace's hand, she glances toward the others. God, it feels good to be with people who understand her. Some of the personnel here were hand-picked by Holly for their control, but she's not familiar with this one. "It's nice to meet you. And… I'm hoping you can help."

—-

"That's what we're here for." Standing and throwing Holly a wink, Starbuck turns to her 'pack' and whistles. "Alright, you dogs. We've got one for the Alpha. Let's move!" And as a single, cohesive unit, they do. It's the same speed at which they arrived - much faster than a simple human could hope to keep up with - and no one even bats an eye. Keep up, Holly!

As they enter the camp, the illusions fall and activity can be seen on all sides. Cooking, sewing, reading, playing, eating… It's like something out of a storybook, really. All in all, there can't be more than fifty or sixty, but there is no lack of life in this camp. A few stop what they're doing to stare at the incoming patrol, but most pause only long enough to toss a wave or a friendly word towards Starbuck and her pack.

Finally, they reach a small building on the northern edge of camp, a simple affair with a hand-made sign out front that claims this as 'The Boss'.

—-

She's never had to use her newly-acquired skills before. They've happened incidentally, like the ability she has to smell and see just about everything ever, but running…

Well, her deep puncture-wound bite is only a couple months old. It still hurts - all the time. At least it's not bleeding anymore, and as she runs through the brush-covered scrub, she's able to keep up, albeit a few paces behind. The wounds don't usually bother her anymore, but now, she just wants to fall over.

Mo, on the other hand, has made a few new BFFs. OH BOY RUNNING!!!!!! She runs ahead of Holly, ahead of the pack, and only stops now and then to look behind her, as if to say 'What the HELL is taking you so DAMN LONG?!'

And then here they are. Holly stops, not winded, but sore. She grimaces, hand wrapped around that soft area between her hip and her ribcage, where aching muscles are crying out that she shouldn't have done that. "You guys look like you have fun here," she says, her voice nervous, but hopeful. After all, she was hoping to see a camp full of happy werewolves, not oppressed vagabonds with nowhere else to go. "Makes me hope I can do this in Britain when I go back."

—-

Impressed with Mo's spunk and spirit, Starbuck laughs and turns to call to Holly over her shoulder. "Remind me later and I'll bring you and your beastie up to meet Frankenstein. He could use a friend." When they reach their destination, she slows to a halt just outside the door, bangs five times, and then holds it open for Holly.

There's a sharp look to the lawyer as Holly clutches her side. That shouldn't be happening. "Hotdog," she calls snappily to one of her patrol. "Wait here and take her to Maggie afterwards." Running that short a distance shouldn't do this to the woman. "Maplewood," she grins then. "I'd like to introduce you to…The Boss." And with that, she waves Holly inside.

—-

Frankenstein. Must be another animal! Mo probably wouldn't object too terribly, after the initial biting of faces clear from bodies. That could put a damper on future relationships, but that's beside the point.

"I'm fine. Just got torn up a bit," she says. She won't say who, out of respect for new legislation to protect both biter and bitee. "Y'know what that's like." She's trying to sound casual and upbeat, but her tone is stiff, almost angry. Of course, that's what she's here for - because she can't get over stuff like this. It weighs on her. Taking a few deep breaths, she removes her hand from her side, and instnctively checks it for blood. She knows there isn't any, or she would have already smelled it. Still, habits die hard.

Mo is the first into the cabin - the cat never could resist an open door - and Holly follows soon after. It's almost tribal here. Primal. Then again, they will have had to made their own laws to govern themselves. They're very much on their own out here, where law enforcement just doesn't reach.

—-

From inside the cabin, there's the sound of muffled cursing and breaking glass. A moment later, an old man - stocky and built like a bulldog - comes stomping out the door. A patch covers one eye and he's dressed in old army fatigues. He turns a sharp eye - literally - on Holly. "Keep yer dem critters outta mah way, y'hear?" His voice is grumbly and not well-enunciated, but there's a general crankiness to him that demands obediance. His piece being said, he stomps off in the direction of some small cabins, completely ignoring Starbuck's cheeky salute.

The inside of the cabin is made up of a long hallway stretching back, lined with several doors and culminating in one single office. The door to that is open, and cheery light pours out into the dark hall. "Send her in, Grace." The voice is soft, deep and sounds as if it comes from a speaker older than Time itself.

Sitting behind his desk in a chair that cannot possibly be comfortable, sits the Boss. His face is lined and craggy, his salt-and-pepper hair cropped short and severe, but his dark eyes are kind. On the desk is a cheesboard with the remnants of a game, two shot glasses and a stack of papers. A bottle of whiskey lies smashed against the side wall, leaving a pool of amber to slowly soak into the wood. When Holly enters the room, the man stands, smiles and gestures to the seat across from him. "Miss Maplewood, please sit." If he is bothered by Mo's sudden entrance, he does not show it.

—-

Holly's not one to back away from any man. Or woman. Or beast, et cetera. So when the one-eyed man tromps by, the lawyer simply steps out of his way and lets him pass, giving a Look to his back as he heads off toward the cabins. Well, they can't all be kind and gentle and loving. Werewolves generally aren't fluffy creatures, and the desire to fit into a pack hierarchy is strong, now that she's with others like her. She probably wouldn't get very far up the pecking order.

"Thanks," she says to Starbuck as she hears the voice from that far office. She gives the woman a grateful smile, takes a deep breath, and heads back. Point of no return, huh? Not really. These people have curbed their desire to attack, or so she hopes. That was the plan, anyway. And if she wants to leave, they'd let her leave.

That's her thought as she pauses just outside the Boss' door. She's uneasy here, among these werewolves. Well, she is one now. It's time to suck it up and deal.

First thing she notices is the smashed bottle, and can't help commenting, "Love what you've done with the place." Last time she saw the camp, it was still being built. Mo goes to explore the smashed drink, as Holly pulls out the indicated chair a little so she can sit in it, after dropping her backpack to the floor. "Thanks for seeing me." There's a sigh, then, "I haven't had the easiest time of things lately."

—-

When Holly enters the cabin, Starbuck lets the door fall shut behind her. It lands with a 'thud' and latches with a 'click'. Nothing out-of-the-ordinary, but eerie sounds in and of themselves.

Holly's commentary causes him to raise one brow, but when he follows her gaze, he nods; understanding. "You will have to forgive Saul. He doesn't like cats." Or…well, anything really. When she sits, he does as well, tugging down on his plain grey tee-shirt and leaning back to regard her calmly from across the chessboard. "It is my job, Miss Maplewood." The soft-spoken words are both a dismissal of thanks and a reminder; he does not know or trust her yet. "I am afraid that no one here has had the easiest time of things." There is no recrimination in his voice, but those dark eyes seem to question her silently. Are you ready to stop making excuses yet?

"I understand you want to stay here with us. How long do you plan on staying?"

—-

She wants to melt under that gaze. Still, she's no pushover. She stares right back.

Despite the fact that Holly helped create this place, she's nothing here, as she's starting to figure. And she knows enough that if she starts throwing that around, she'll make more enemies than friends. Let her start as the new recruit. It'll do her some good to be on the bottom of the ladder for a change.

If only she could just accept that mentality and be done with it. In reality, she's somewhat irritated by her treatment, no matter what she tells herself she's supposed to believe. She wants to be respected.

"I don't know," she says tersely. "As long as it takes. A couple weeks, I guess." And then, she can't help slipping in a subtle hint: "I want to help open a camp like this in Britain, like I did here."

—-

"You shouldn't meet with any difficulties in doing so, Miss Maplewood." The Boss regards her calmly, his voice never breaking from its quiet, even tones. "You succeeded in creating them here without any personal experience. I'm sure that you will find it even easier now that you have perspective." Backhanded compliment, that. Building them's all well and good, but it's nothing compared to the day-to-day reality of running them.

"It may take less time than that. It may take longer." Such a non-committal answer, but it gives remarkable insight into the life of this place. Things come in their own time. Nothing is rushed. A flick of his wrist repairs the bottle and scotch, which flies into said hand. "What skills can you offer this place, Miss Maplewood?" He smiles a little ruefully to himself. "I'm afraid there is no slot on the duty roster for 'lawyer'."

—-

See, there. Acknowledgement. That's all she wanted, and, after that, she settles down. Her fingers, which had been gripping the arm of the chair, relax. This is unfamiliar territory. Not hers. The smells around her are all werewolves, and she's coming it at the bottom of the class. She has to know that the people here respect her for something, and now that she's gotten it, she'll work on being a little more amicable. Maybe.

No, Holly, she thinks to herself, bowing her head. She came here of her own free will for help. She can't get it by being difficult. And she knows that if she tries, they'll just break her. Maybe that's what she needs. She doesn't know - and -

Mo jumps up on the desk, which prompts a sudden and almost panicked "I don't know," from Holly, which is followed by a "…Sir," as an afterthought. "I attacked two of my friends, and I'll do whatever I can to ensure that doesn't happen. I…" she stands, hands in front of her as she looks between them, as if confused. "…Used to be able to make good decisions, but that's out the window now. Soon as I lose my temper, I'm good for nothing."

—-

"Becoming a werewolf does not affect your capacity to make good decisions, Miss Maplewood. Either you possess that skill or you do not. If you find that you are having trouble with your decision-making, perhaps that was a problem all along." He pauses, swirling the amber liquid in his glass before taking a sip.

"A problem that hid in the shadows, thrust out into sharp relief by circumstances… Either way, Miss Maplewood, you will find that you won't get far here at all by making excuses. That is a kind of weakness our natures will not allow." He gestures towards the place where the bottle had been thrown at Mo and his voice is suddenly sharper, commanding. "Ship up or you'll be eaten alive."

Sugarcoating just really isn't his style, it would seem. Then again, his dark eyes watch Holly with an assurance one only sees in a select few. Here is a man who knows precisely what he is doing.

—-

Her lower eyelid twitches, just a little. She's not making excuses, is she? It's just part of what she is - something she discovered after being bitten. Of course, she's probably convinced herself of a lot of that - she can easily blame the anger on the fact that she's a werewolf, instead of admitting to herself that she broke. Unforgivable curses, attacked by a friend… Yes, she's angry. But it's easy enough to assume she can't control it.

Getting back to where she was before seems impossible. "Why do you think I'm here?" she says, tone controlled. There's a hint of underlying annoyance that she can't shrug off.

—-

"I think you are here to make yourself feel better, Miss Maplewood." His voice goes back to its previous quiet level, but there's an edge of judgement to it that might very well provoke that twitch again. "After all, if we cannot 'cure' you, then it cannot be done and you can resign yourself to wallow in misery with the self-righteous knowledge that you did everything you could."

—-

No. No. Holly knows god-damned well that that isn't the reason she's here, and the curl of her lip signifies quite clearly the approaching anger that she isn't even trying to hide anymore. "I'm here because I don't want to hurt anyone else!" she shouts, causing Mo to arch her back, hop down from the table, and find somewhere else to be for the time being. He's purposely goading her, she can tell. Why? She has no idea. The object was supposed to be to cure people of this. To help them with the fact that they just had a life-altering change that they will never ever fully be able to deal with.

"If you want me to quit and go home, then do me the justice of admitting that you can't cut it." There's that twitch again. "But don't you dare assume that I don't want to make every effort to cope with this. It's insulting."

—-

"What I want is not important. I am content within myself. I know my strengths and I don't excuse my faults. Can you say the same?" He arches a single eyebrow, as if he is sure that she can't. "I didn't think so."

"Miss Maplewood, I don't know what justice you believe you deserve from me, but I will freely admit that I cannot help you." He gives her a significant look. "Only you can help you." But before he can continue, she makes her demands and suddenly the mild-mannered man sits straighter, lifts his chin and glares her down like an Alpha staring at a particularly daring pup. "In my camp I will say, do, assume and act as I like. You can feel insulted all you like; no one forces you to stay. But you will not tell me how to run my outfit." Whether she made it possible or not is, right now, immaterial.

—-

She cannot say the same, because this just happened to her, and she hasn't had years to learn how to deal with it like some people have. What does he expect so soon? Is she supposed to march in here, hear his speech, and suddenly be okay? No! THINGS DON'T WORK LIKE THAT.

Irrational thinking aside, Holly can't imagine she'd take this even if she wasn't about to snap. She should leave. Take Mo and go back to Britain. Shut herself in her house until she's sure she isn't going to hurt anyone, bar all the windows and doors, and make sure she takes a snapshot of herself in a couple years - emaciated and wasting - so she can send it to this clown to show him just how much he helped.

So then, Holly goes and does something stupid. Whether or not he's the alpha, he's just gone and pushed her too far. There are hints - the fact that she, too, stands up straighter, looking down her nose at The Boss. The fact that her shoulders tense, one foot sliding forward.

She leaps across the desk, with no idea what she's going to do to him. Striking, scratching, punching, biting — all these things cross her mind.

—-

As Holly's balance shifts, he smiles. When she leaps, he's ready. Reaching to brace her shoulders with both hands, he lets himself fall back into the chair. The momentum of two powerful bodies causes said chair to tip backwards. He's not the Alpha for nothing. This man knows how to use his body and motion to his best advantage. As he tips backwards, his legs come up so that the toes of his boots line up with her hips and then he jerks, moving to push her further; to send her into the wall when he hits the ground. One of her nails rakes a line of blood down the side of his face, but he appears not to even notice. After all, there's nothing further she can really do to him. Is there?

—-

Holly hasn't ever really been a physical person. Her concentration was always in the classroom and on learning. Still, being a werewolf has made her a lot stronger. That doesn't mean she's just going to be able to shatter The Boss, but her jump was pretty powerful to start with - which means that when she's flipped into the wall, she hits it with a thud, before crashing to the floor.

It's okay. She just landed on her head.

Groaning, she lies there, most of her body still up against the wall, with her head and shoulders resting on the floor. Slowly, she flops over until she's on her side, one hand coming up to rub the top of her head. "Holy hell," she mutters, and the hand rubbing her head goes to her neck, where there's going to be some definite muscle soreness in a day or so. She feels like she's been hit by a truck.

Her eyes roll up, and there's Captain Ass lying there on the floor. Apparently, Holly hasn't quite had enough yet, because her hand reaches for his ankle, wraps around it, and twists.

—-

Had he been a mere human, such a twist would have snapped his ankle in two, shattering the bone in a twisted fracture that would have Muggle doctors tearing out their hair in frustration. Fortunately, he has a bit more substance to him than that. A moderate sprain is easy enough to heal later. Working with what he's been given, the Alpha jerks his knee towards his chest. It's a motion that causes him some pain, but if her grip's anything like he thinks it is, it just might dislocate a joint or two. No one said he had to fight fair.

—-

She starts to feel tissue giving way under her fingers, and that little voice in the back of her head that always speaks up when it's too late to stop doing something makes itself known. This is a mistake. Stop. You could really hurt him.

The voice has underestimated the man, though, and so has Holly. With her hand firmly wrapped around that ankle, the sudden motion pulls her arm right out of its socket at the shoulder. The resulting sound is a wet crnnk, which is followed by a stare of utter surprise, and then a shout of pure agony. Her free hand goes to the shoulder, hovering above it. She's afraid to touch it, because the pain is intense, spreading through her entire arm, down her back, up her neck…

The shouting continues amid pleading. Fix it! Pop it back in! I can't move! And it's not too long before she's curling into a fetal position.

—-

Rolling to his knees in a motion that's eerily fluid to see from such a grizzled man, the Alpha kneels next to the young lawyer and lifts her upper body to brace it against his chest. With one smooth motion, he grabs her by the elbow, bends the arm and gives one shove. Being a werewolf has it's perks; it doesn't take much effort to pop the joint back into place. Back in place, but not healed yet. Looking down at her with an eminantly passive expression, he raises one brow. "Are you quite finished, Miss Maplewood?"

—-

Oh, god. She knows what he's doing. "No— No, no— " She starts. Wait 'til she's suitably numbed! Or knocked out! SOMETHING. "Jjust !"

SCHHLLRRCK.

The scream that follows can likely be heard outside the office as well. It's… Well. It's an incredibly painful experience, and for just a single moment, Holly's absolutely certain that she's under the Cruciatus Curse again. The pain abates, though, and with some deep breathing, she's able to calm down. "Yeah," she says, pausing, now completely free of the anger that had hold of her a few moments before. Thinking on her response, she adds, "Yes, sir," before leaning against him. If she wanted to be angry, she's far too tired to do it now.

—-

That scream doesn't deter him in his course of action. Once the joint is put back into place, he continues to brace her, a silent, almost-comforting presence as she deals with the fading pain. Once he has her much-more-respectful affirmation that she's finished, his hand rests on her shoulder, magic flowing from the earth into the cabin's wood into him and into her. His brand of magic is different from hers, yes; it is no less powerful. Still, it's a broad healing only. "You'll be stiff for a few days. Tell Maggie to have a look at it and she'll erase that as well." His voice is quiet again, no trace of the earlier emotions that aroused such anger.

Everyone has to learn their place. It's a shame, but some of them just have to learn the hard way.

His hand, resting where he'd healed, rubs absently up and down her arm in a vaguely fatherly gesture. "You should get some rest. I'll put you on the duty roster tomorrow."

—-

So, bad idea, attacking the boss. Maybe next time, Holly will be more careful.

After his odd way of healing ensures that her shoulder isn't going to fall out of joint again, she stands, heading around the desk so she can get the bag she left there. Her only response to the alpha is to nod. "Let's go, Mo," she says to the cat, before heading out.

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