wolf standing on rock

Werewolf!AU Part 1

Based on this!

The wolf is at the river again.

This isn’t the first time Anna’s seen her.  After all, a white wolf emerging from the brush in the middle of summer stands out like a sore thumb.  The first time Anna had seen the wolf she’d snapped a twig underfoot and scared her off.  Now she’s more careful, low to the ground and camera at the ready.

She’s a magnificent specimen.  Even at this distance Anna notes how she seems larger than the average adult wolf— and okay, Anna is aware of just how big wolves are; standing on their hindquarters they tower over her— and the white fur looks thicker and more plush particularly around the head and neck, reminding Anna of a lion’s mane.  

The wolf stands majestically atop a flat rock beside the running water, looking so much like a forest aristocrat that Anna snaps a few shots to immortalize her appearance.  She freezes when the wolf sniffs the air and looks in her direction.  Anna zooms in to capture one more detail: ice blue eyes.

For a moment Anna worries the creature will bolt again, and holds her breath.  It’s crazy, but it feels like the wolf has locked gazes with her.  After a tense moment, the wolf blinks one eye and squints slightly.

“What the…?” Anna breathes.  The squinting she recognizes as feline behavior, expressing contentment and a feeling of safety.  The blinking one eye could just mean the wolf has something in her eye, but the slow and deliberate way she’d closed that eye doesn’t leave room for doubt in Anna’s mind.

The wolf had winked at her.

It’s a few more days into her research trip when Anna encounters her white wolf again, this time up close and personal.  (She’s not entirely sure why she refers to it as ‘her’ wolf.)

At dusk she approaches the same flat rock by the river and kneels down to refill her water canteen.  It’s at that point she hears the low rumble of a growl some distance away and her heart jumps.  Looking over her shoulder Anna finds herself staring into the gleaming eyes of a massive reddish-brown wolf.  This one appears even bigger than the white one from before, with a prominent ruff at its cheeks like a tiger’s sideburns, its mane-like fur bristling and long fangs bared, but not in the typical threatening display Anna is familiar with.

It reminds Anna of the grin worn by serial killers on crime shows; predatory and malicious; the kind of smile that dares one to try running away.  Slowly Anna reaches for the knife strapped to her boot.  She’d rather not use it, but if it will scare the animal off…

The hairs on the back of her neck stand up when she catches the unmistakable glow of eyes in the shadowy brush flanking the red-brown wolf, which Anna realizes is almost definitely the alpha.  One knife won’t do any good against a whole pack.  The alpha’s grin widens and Anna could swear she could hear it make a noise like a chuckle.

Weighing her options, Anna decides on what might be the stupidest decision of her life; she bolts into motion and breaks into a full sprint.  She can hear the alpha running behind her, but it doesn’t seem to want to run her down just yet, almost like it wants to enjoy the chase.  Immediately Anna begins kicking herself— Stand your ground against a wolf pack, she berates herself, wolves hunt by chasing down their prey.

Even in the dimming light, Anna notices a familiar shape in her peripheral.  Running perpendicular her in the treeline is a pure white mass—

The white wolf—!

The break in concentration is enough for Anna to miss the approaching tree root until she’s already tripped over it and falls face first into the sandy riverside.  Anna scrambles onto her back and throws herself backwards when the red-brown alpha lunges, snapping its jaws at her.  It doesn’t pursue but stalks around Anna in a circle.  There’s an unmistakable swagger in its movement; ‘I’ve got you right where I want you,’ it almost seems to say. Anna slips the knife out of its sheath.

The alpha mock-lunges again, but Anna tightens her grip and swings the knife.  The blade connects and the beast flinches with a shocked yelp.  A trickle of blood streams down the diagonal slash on its face.  This time when fangs are bared at her, its face turns into something ugly and monstrous, like a demon from a nightmare.

Anna pushes herself further back while the alpha closes in, defiantly aiming the tip of her knife at it.  She’s certain now that this thing is no normal wolf; there’s something too human and cruel in its character to be a wild wolf.

The alpha snarls and makes to pounce, but a roar thunders in Anna’s ears and suddenly her white wolf launches at the alpha with such a fury that Anna drops her knife in shock.  The surrounding pack erupts in a fit of excitement at the new development like a crowd of teenagers encircling a schoolyard brawl.  

The two great wolves fall into a violent tangle, snapping and roaring at each other furiously.  The alpha lunges but the white wolf swipes her paw, catching the knife wound in her claws.  That stops the fight as instantly as it started.  The white wolf flares her coat challenging the alpha and kicks the dirt, ready to charge again.

The red-brown wolf stares its opponent down in outrage, and somehow manages to look even more hideous.  The white wolf looks over her shoulder at Anna and jerks her head to the side as if to say, ‘Get out of here!

Anna doesn’t think twice and jumps to her feet, ignoring the growing burn in her muscles.  Some in the pack start after her only for the white wolf to crash into them, forcing Anna to push her body harder and faster.  The sun having set and the sky gone deep bluish-purple with evening, Anna races back to her camp, leaving the sounds of rage and pain behind.

Later that night, Anna’s fitful attempts at sleep are interrupted by approaching footfalls outside her tent.  Still shaken from earlier, she just burrows herself deeper into the sleeping bag.  The footfalls stop outside the tent and Anna catches the sound of something being placed on the ground.  A few more steps, a pause, and then the footfalls continue, receding into the distance.

It takes a moment for Anna to calm her nerves enough to grab her flashlight and unzip the tent.  She blinks in surprise to see the water canteen and knife she’d left behind at the river.  Anna takes them in hand, noting the weight of her full canteen; she’d barely begun filling it when the red-brown wolf appeared.