Hungry Like The Wolf
by Tesla

Amazing thing, smell, even if it was like a half-remembered trick. Connor could smell demons. Apparently he always could, it was something that made him the tracker he had been, in that alternate dimension, alternate life, and if he still wondered, sometimes, if it really had been a dream, he had the super-powers.

And the ability to smell a wolf in human clothing.

The wolf was somewhere in the club, but Connor didn't smell aggression, or fear, or a hundred other things that the Primitive inside him associated with danger. He held a cup of beer in his hand, wandering through the crowd, half-heartedly, until he located the smell coming from a slender, ginger-haired man, tuning his guitar beside the stage.

Huh. He didn't look like a threat, and it wasn't like Connor had a Mission, like Da--Ang--his natural father. Well, that was a load of shit, he did have a Mission, kind of.

Just not tonight, he thought.

The guitar player raised his head and looked straight at him, wrinkling his nose. He looked startled for a moment, then bent back to the guitar.

He looked like he recognized Connor, but Connor was damned sure he'd never seen the guy before.

It wasn't like he got flash-backs, though. His memories were inconsistent, the healthy happy family stuff, his vegan girl-friend, his artistic hopes, more solid than the year of struggle in Los Angeles, and before that, the Quar-toth.

Angel's mages had done a good job; his strongest, clearest memories were of the Reillys and not of his vampire dad or his avenging puritan dad, and he was comfortable in the crowd of jostling students, with their own half-full plastic beer cups raised above their heads. Comfortable with the faint, sweet smell of weed, and the bare midriffs of the girls.

More comfortable with that than the ability to smell a werewolf, because that was that was what the ginger guy was.

Connor edged through the crowd, closer. Guy looked harmless enough, wiry, compact---Connor could relate---had a couple of years on Connor. Five or so, he guessed. He was still about three people away, when the guy looked up, and looked straight at him.

With a look of recognition.

That was too much. Connor closed the space between them. "How do you know me?" he asked, his voice pitched above the sound system.

The guy blinked. "I don't know you. I know your smell."

"What do I smell like? 'Cause you smell like a wolf. " Connor blurted.

"You smell like a vampire I used to know," the guy said, as calm as if they were talking about the price of textbooks or something. "I got a set,right now, but we can talk later."


A vampire I used to know.

Connor kicked around the club, restless, in and out of the crowd, not listening to the band, not looking at the other people. A werewolf playing in a band. He supposed it wasn't much weirder than he, Connor Reilly, being some kind of a super-hero or his natural parents being vampires.

Finally, the guy came off stage, pausing to set his bass in the guitar-case, and made right towards him through the crowd. So there were two of them tracking by smell, Connor thought.

The guy said, "Hey."

"Hey," Connor said. "So, this vampire---?"

"I'm called Oz," the werewolf said. "I knew this vampire named Angel. You smell just like him. Never had that happen before, thought it was him."

"I'm not him," Connor said, loudly, and the words fell in a break in the music. He and Oz stared at each other. "I'm Connor Reilly," he said.

Oz shrugged. "So you're not going to tell me, are you?"

"Tell me why a werewolf is wandering around playing in a band," Connor asked.

Oz patted his pocket. "Come out to my van and smoke," he said.

"I don't---oh."


After the smoke had wound its way into Connor's system, he calmed down. The other guy, the werewolf, was talking, carefully. "Used to live in a place called Sunnydale. Got bit by my cousin. Learned how to control it. When I knew Angel, he was fighting the good fight, in Sunnydale. Vampire with a soul."

"He's my father," Connor said.

The green eyes tracked Connor. "Huh."

The lack of response stimulated Connor. "It's a whole mystical thing. My mother was a vampire, too, and there's a whole thing about a prophecy. I had to kill some guy that was trying to kill me and my family---the one I have now." He passed the toke to Oz.

"I know Angel's old, but he didn't have any kids or any girlfriends last time I saw him, which wasn't nineteen years ago," Oz said mildly.

Connor ran his hands through his hair. "I was kidnapped and taken into another dimension. That's where I grew up. When I came back---I hated Angel. Fought him. I was---" I was killing people, he wanted to say, but didn't. "Angel did something. Gave me a new life, shiny and new. I like it. I want to keep it."

Oz took a long toke. "So keep it. Don't be chasing peaceful, law- abiding werewolves."

"Things are falling apart on me," Connor said. "This life, this life, it's clearer. But I remember the old life. The bad things I did, the-- -things---" he didn't realize he was crying until Oz took the joint out of his hand and gave him a bottle of water.

"When did you see Angel?" Oz asked.

"Couple of weeks ago, that's when I found it all out. It all came back, in a rush. He let him take me, and he gave me away again, and I don't---" Oz put his hand, hard, on his shoulder, and gripped it.

"It's this demon life," Oz said. "At least I had a gang of friends to help me get through. You're trying to handle it yourself."

It was like Connor had been waiting to hear that for years. Something released in his chest, and his head, and he dropped his face into his hands and wept.


Connor started sleeping with Oz the next night.

Told himself that it was just the weed. Knew he was attractive, knew he was bisexual---another gift of the magi---knew he could get Oz.

Not about the wolf.

Not about having someone who knew about this stuff, who Connor couldn't hurt. Someone a little older and wiser who wasn't surprised by anything, and wasn't trying to make Connor do or say or feel anything that wasn't already there.

And Oz was there.

Yeah, it was the wildness of having sex in a van that smelled of weed and incense and wolf. It was the wolf that drew Connor.

"Show me," Connor said, the last night. "Show me."

"Nope," Oz said, on his back on the Indian carpet in the van. His skin glowed like a marble statue, his body tight and muscular. He was at ease being naked, and Connor---didn't know what he thought.

"Not a party trick," Oz said. "Besides, might bring out the hunter in you." He ran his hand up Connor's arm, the callused fingertips making Connor shiver.

Connor swiped his hair back from his forehead. "So why can't I come with you?"

Oz considered, his mouth quirking in an almost-smile. "Well, you like college. I like being on the road. And, you know who your parents will call if you disappear. One thing we don't want is the big guy looking for you." He sat up, looking for his pants. "I'm coming back. I got another gig in a few weeks."

Connor handed him his tee-shirt. "But you're coming back, right?" he asked.

Oz slanted a look at him, through long cinnamon eyelashes. "Barring any werewolf hunters, yeah. I'll come back for you."

It wasn't until Oz left, the next morning, and Connor was in his Sociology class, that Connor wondered at the difference between someone coming back to you and someone coming back for.

Connor liked it, whatever it meant.


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