Wordcount: 910 words
Summary: Meg meets Christopher at the airport and things go downhill from there.
Only Immortal Till You Die
He could have taken a cab.
Meg leaned a little harder on the backseat of her battered car and with a metallic yelp it finally collapsed far enough to get the second suitcase into the trunk. The owner of the suitcases was already heading towards the front of the car, oblivious to her struggles.
There were worse ways to spend her day off than babysitting someone who was going to destroy her life, but right now she couldn’t think of any.
Brushing back a lock of red-blond hair that had escaped her ponytail, Meg took a second to glare at the tall, dark, and not-un-handsome stranger who had invaded her weekend. She hadn’t expected any less. Werewolves who had taken the family oaths tended to pretty, few wolves would choose ugly people to spend eternity with.
Which only made accidental werewolves like Meg feel even more out of place.
He could have taken a cab, could have stayed at a hotel… but instead the State Council had invoked the official rules of hospitality and Meg was forced to keep her thoughts to herself. To be fair, Christopher probably wasn’t enjoying this anymore than she was.
For some reason Council was suddenly determined to treat Southside the same as any other wolf pack, which meant this trip was being done by the book. But any other pack wouldn’t have had to stuff all six feet of the state’s ‘crisis management expert’ into a compact car to get him home from the airport.
They also wouldn’t have him crashing on a couch that she just realized was going to be much too short.
“Goddammit.” The car’s backdoor bounced open when Meg slammed it shut. With a sigh she closed it again, this time wiggling the handle so it latched. It’s as if the universe was conspiring to make her look as pathetic as possible.
Or the Council was.
It might not be what Christopher was used to but Southside was the dump pack, full of loners and losers and harmless misfits, the fact that any of them had a car at all was a small victory. She took a deep breath and went to salvage the situation.
“Problem?” Christopher had settled carefully into the front passenger seat and seemed to be taking the whole mess better than Meg had hoped for.
“Just been one of those weeks.”
And it had. Meg’s alpha had been murdered, a fifth of the pack had bolted for the hills, and the bookstore was closing, which meant come next month she was out of a job.
Christopher’s visit, as terrifying as it was, was just icing on the cake.
Conversation stayed at inconsequential small talk until the car was safely on the highway.
“So what are they doing with us?” Meg tried to keep her tone neutral, but all of Southside had been on edge since the their Alpha’s death.
Donny had been a good man, and a good wolf, but she knew Christopher wasn’t here to solve his murder. Whoever had put Donny’s body in the bonfire hadn’t left any clues, magical or otherwise, and history had taught them it was easier to wait until the killers struck again. There had never been two successful murders without a silverwitch involved.
Instead, Christopher was here decide the future of the pack.
If they were true wolves, someone would have taken Donny’s place immediately and life would have gone on as normal. But they were just monkeys in wolf-suits, the bureaucracy involved with appointing a new Alpha would do any conspiracy theorist proud.
“I don’t know yet.” Christopher didn’t look over, attention focused out the window on the landscaping crews trapped in their seasonal battle to keep the forest from reclaiming the highway.
“Why not?” It came out sharper than she had intended. Shit, way to piss off the cops Meggie. She’d assumed decisions had already been made, everyone had. Southside hadn’t heard anything from the Council since the funeral and she’d been counting on clear instructions.
“The Council was unaware of the- hmm, ‘expansions’ Donny had been making.” He turned to face her with a frown, his brown eyes a tinge more yellow than she’d expected from his tone. “Turns out there were a lot of things Donny was doing that they didn’t know about.”
“Oh.” Shit. “So are we under arrest or something?” She had no idea what Donny had been doing that had pissed off the Council, but this was the way their luck had been running. So much for keeping the pack together.
Christopher was apparently expecting a different reaction. After a pause he continued in a slightly sharper tone. “I’d prefer to bring this issue before the whole pack, rather than repeat myself.”
“Ah, um, sorry.” She waited an embarrassed moment for him to return to his window gazing, but he kept staring at her with a puzzled expression. “What?”
“How the hell are you in charge?” The challenging tone was gone and he seemed genuinely confused.
“I’m the one with the car?” She meant it as a joke, mostly, but Christopher just gave her the same alarmed concern she was used to getting from other wolf packs. For all his research into their situation, he’d apparently failed to grasp the fundamental difference between their two social circles.
She sighed. This was going to be a long week.