Niveus Lupus
8 –
Terror In The Details

~ Haley ~

The café's doorknob was cold to the touch as she took a step outside.

A moment of hesitation caused her to look back, and what she saw left her confused. Matt was gone. The table was perfectly cleaned off where they had sat. It was almost as if it hadn't happen. And Haley refused to believe that she was going crazy.

Crazy people weren't sane. Well, crazy people insisted they were sane because they were delusional, but she was mentally sound. It was everything going on around her, especially lately, that was downright crazy. And Devlin McNamara had to be the craziest person of all.

She knew it was a mistake to step out that door. Part curiosity kept her moving forward as her feet met the cement of the sidewalk.

"Relax," she coached herself out loud, mentally preparing herself for whatever was to come. "There is no reason to freak out."

She shivered. In all actuality, she had every reason to freak out.

Dark, black skies loomed over the horizon, hiding in the distance. Even the wind had picked up, causing Haley's modest dress to slide a little provocatively towards her upper thighs. Her cheeks burned crimson as she buried her hands in her face, absolutely mortified.

It was a surprisingly quiet night. The atmosphere was nearly a perfect copy of Valentine's night.

Haley felt her lips tug into a frown. Oliver. It seemed he popped up at the most inconvenient of times. Why couldn't she forget him? What was so special about Oliver anyway?

He was a poor boyfriend. It was always about what he wanted to do – not ever what Haley was interested in. Of course he had his good points, but it hurt too much to think about that. Oliver was no longer a part of her life.

"I need to adjust," she told herself in a calming mantra that was anything but.

Oliver was like a moving roadblock. No matter what shortcut or detour she took, she still ended up trapped. It was hard admitting that they were two vastly, different people. Each was heading down a separate path that would never run parallel or intersect.

But this night was becoming increasingly difficult for Haley to stomach.

It was cheap wine and fake laughs that repeated like a broken record. Breaking up to begin with was hard enough to grasp. She had really liked Oliver, too, and then he broke her heart on the most romantic day of the year.

Of course she held a grudge. That was clearly natural. What she didn't understand was how cold, strange, and distant he became after he broke up with her. He was different, meaner. And she couldn't help but wonder if Oliver knew more about the attack than she did.

Sighing, her eyes scanned the businesses along the main drag. Seeing that stupid restaurant only made her heart ache more. With a hand over her face, she took a seat on the nearby bench. Her legs felt like jell-o as she collapsed onto the wooden bench. A rush of relief and comfort hit her as she forced her eyes closed, finally enjoying the day for what it was.

"Hey."

Startled, she half-jumped, and forced herself to come around. She hated that it was so easy to lose track when it came down to Oliver. He was just one complication she didn't want to deal with.

"H-hi," she squeaked. She was still angry with him. In fact, she hoped that she'd never have to deal with him again. Then he brought Matt as the backup and Haley realized she couldn't be mean. Matt was nice. He didn't push boundaries and lines while Devlin was always treading dangerously over them.

"I know you're mad at me," he began quietly, "and it's all with good reason. It's my fault. I should've told you the truth in the first place. You know, I'm not a creepy stalker. I never lied when I said I'm looking out for you. There are things you don't know about me, things that could make you hate me forever, but you need to know. I'm so sorry for putting you through this. I'm so sorry there isn't another option."

Haley barely moved a muscle throughout the speech. Devlin was fumbling over his words. Anxious. And in turn, it made her nervous. Her heart raced as he began to stutter. His eyes darted everywhere but on her. Something made her dread what he was about to say.

Did she really want to know? Shuffling from foot to foot, she leaned against the brick wall of the coffee shop. Matt had been awfully convincing, and she cursed herself for being so submissive to whatever she said. Haley couldn't understand why she had this strange pull to Matt, but she did.

"You scared me at first," she admitted quietly, her voice trembling. "I don't know what you want or what you're doing. I-I find it strange that you showed up after my boyfriend broke up with me, and I was attacked." Her mind was filled with hundreds and thousands of thoughts, and stringing together coherent sentences was a lot harder than she ever imagined. "If we're being completely honest, will you tell me why you've been so protective?"

"I'm sort of a wanted man," he told her honestly, skirting the truth once again. His stance was off-balance, one left holding most of his weight. "I was there Valentine's. I was at your place."

"Oh God." Her eyes froze wide open. She was on the verge of an asthma attack. It was that same event that gave her nightmares. And looking back on it, Haley felt dumb for not connecting the dots earlier. But even so, it didn't make sense. If he wanted to kill her, why would he vow to protect her?

"I didn't attack you. You remember your attacker, don't you?"

She sighed. "Vaguely. I knew I should've filed a report. You're going to kill me, aren't you?"

"I don't want to hurt you," he whispered. "I've never wanted to hurt you. I did all of this to look out for you. You don't deserve to be in the middle of this. Ever. What can I do?"

"Stop lying," she cried out. "Just tell me the truth before I call the police."

Devlin sighed. "I am not like others. I'm different." The air grew tenser as Devlin sucked in a deep breath. He was going to tell her. He was tired of playing games but that voice in the back of his head kept warning him against it.

"I'm a wolf."

The words pounded inside her head, echoing painfully, as her mind tried to process his declaration. Whenever she tried to open her mouth, she found it was dry. Nothing more than a whimper ever came out.

"I'm really a werewolf – transforming on full moons and all," he expanded nervously, his words softer than ever before.

She took a deep breath and cleared her mind; she started to feel a little woozy so she put most of her weight against the wall covered in graffiti. She was sure she was dreaming or turning clinically insane, but when she opened her mouth to speak this time, words tumbled out in a rush.

A wolf? What kind of joke is that? Wolves don't exist. You're crazy. You're a goddamn psycho," she ranted, eyes wide with worry. She was breathing heavily, practically panting and hyperventilating when she started again. "I knew you wanted to kill me. Oh God you're going to kill me."

The world began to blur and split into two's and even three's before she collapsed to her knees, gasping for breath. Haley had no idea why she was still in the area. The smart thing was to call someone. Yes, she'd call her best friend and get the farthest she possibly could from this crazy guy.

Devlin leapt with such precision towards her that she shrieked. "S-stay back," she rasped out, greedily sucking in oxygen. "Y-you you're not human," she cried out. So many thoughts raced through her mind as she thought of silver, full moons, and claws. Those kinds of creatures didn't exist. Werewolves were a part of folklore. That was it.

"I was afraid you'd react like this," he whispered, helplessly. He took a few steps backwards, his head hung low. Haley struggled to breathe as she studied him over and over again. He looked more human than everything. "I'm sorry. I never lied when I said I wanted to look out for you." Devlin's voice was a mere whisper.

Haley exhaled sharply. If she knew better, he looked like a wounded puppy she had just kicked. But supernatural creatures didn't exist. To remain normal and sane, she had to believe that it was impossible.

"N-no," she stuttered, eyes wide with fear. "Don't talk like that. Don't say things like that. You're fucking crazy," Haley sputtered. "Crazy," she repeated hollowly. "Crazy, crazy. Just crazy."

"Crazy," Devlin repeated smoothly. "I got it. But before you dismiss this Haley, you should be asking yourself what attacked you that night I came to your rescue. Maybe you're fearing the wrong creature."

Her mind instantly rewound to Valentine's Day. The Attack. But it wasn't possible, was it? A man had attacked her – not a mythical creature.

"I'm sorry," he apologized again, hiding closer towards the shadowed corner. "Can I show your proof?"

"Proof?" she squeaked. Honestly, she had every intention of running down the street and proclaiming that a crazy man was after her, but Haley knew she wasn't that impulsive or forward. As utterly petrified and confused as she was, she was too damn intrigued to turn a blind cheek.

"He doesn't lie, Haley," another voice confirmed.

Matt. She let out a sigh of relief as he made the corner. She couldn't pinpoint how Matt was this calming presence, but he made her feel at ease. He had a calming, relaxed aura unlike Devlin. He was more serious and stiff.

"W-what? You know about this madness?"

"We are werewolves," Matt repeated quietly. "To tell you the truth, the only reason I'm here right now is because Devlin begged me. It was his idea to ease you into this, but I'm not too fond with humans. Protecting you is dangerous. Can't you realize that things happen everyday that are unexpected and completely out of the realm of normalcy or possibility?"

She hung her head low in shame. While she had only known Matt for a brief period of time, she suddenly felt scared of him. She took a step away from him, closer to Devlin.

"In fact, the whole pack wants nothing to do with this ridiculous scheme. Why can't you accept it? Devlin has been protecting you like you're the most important person in the world, and you don't even seem grateful or open. Of course I'm mad," Matt explained as his voice rose higher. His cheeks were deep rouge as he clenched his hands together – close to losing all control.

~ Devlin ~

"Matt," Devlin cut in.

His body shook as he forced himself to calm down. Truthfully, Matt was really pissing him off and making the situation worse. If Devlin had known that Matt was going to make the situation harder, he wouldn't have brought him along as support. Yet, he didn't have much choice. Violet was clearly against all humans, and the rest of the pack never even had a glimpse of Haley. He needed someone that was familiar, comfortable to her, but thinking about it – he realized that maybe a stranger was just the sanity she needed.

"Matt," he tried again, more aggressive this time. This Matt wasn't right. Of course it was too much negative influence from Violet. Devlin made a note to chew her out much, much later.

"What?" Matt growled back, his pupils severely dilated.

"You know how to address me, Matthew," he spoke in a controlled voice. He wanted nothing more than to yell at Matt until some common sense was knocked into his head, but he had to be calm for Haley. She needed that. "Do not move any closer to Haley. Do you understand?"

Haley's heart pounded away so loud that Devlin couldn't get the pounding out of his head.

He took a few tentative steps forward. He knew he was taking a risk, but once he was in Haley's reach, he pulled her towards him, lightly wrapping his arms around her middle.

She hesitated and tensed violently. Guilt for making the wrong call stung him as Matt continued to scare her. But, somehow, she relaxed in his arms and stopped shaking.

Haley exhaled deeply. "W-why were you nice?" she asked, directing her question to Matt.

"My alpha." He shrugged, his eyes trained to the ground. "I won't hurt you. He'd probably kill me, but you need to get that stick out of your ass and appreciate what he's doing. Our kind doesn't go out of their way to protect weak, meaningless humans. Keep that in mind." Matt paused again. "I offered you so much comfort; so much friendship and you won't accept the truth. Why can't you?"

She became tense against, pushing herself even closer to Devlin. There was no longer any space between the two.

"Breathe," he coaxed, rubbing her shoulders.

"Who…or what attacked me that night?" she asked, a noticeable shake in her voice.

Devlin sucked in a sharp breathe. But it was Matt who chose to do the dirty work.

"Vampires."

Haley gasped, falling slack in Devlin's arms.

"Hales?" he asked softly, brushing hair out of her face. When she didn't respond, he let out a deep sigh, his gaze wandering to Matt's. "Why'd you do that?"

"When will you understand humans, Dev. You have to scare them. You needed her to faint or you'd never be able to take her somewhere and offer proof. Do you honestly think she'd let werewolves or psychopaths claiming to be werewolves take her anywhere? She's fragile."

"That wasn't right, Matt," Devlin hissed. "When she wakes up, she's going to think we kidnapped her. Do you really think she'll be receptive to anything?"

Matt sighed. "Listen, you're my alpha, and I know my boundaries, but have you forgotten about her parent's showing up? You can't expect this to happen right now. She needs to be at home. If they're suspicious, we're shit out of luck."

"You're right."

Face pale, Devlin picked Haley up bridal style.

"I've got it from here, Matt. Get back to the pack."

Matt frowned. "Dev, what are you planning?"

"I'm going to explain to her parents that I'm a friend. I'm going to ease their nerves until she wakes up."

"I get you telling her the truth because of what happened, but are you not telling us something? Does she mean more to you than a human?" he demanding, teasing in his tone.

Devlin flushed. "Have you forgotten your position in this pack, Matthew?"

He grinned. "Sorry Dev. But your little crush on her is obvious. You should keep that in mind."

Haley was lighter than he thought. She clearly wasn't a toothpick girl because she had meat on her bones, and he swore he could feel the muscle masses. He noticed how pretty and peaceful she looked when she was asleep, her head in his lap.

She was different from the typical stereotypes of girls. She was quiet and reserved. He didn't think that much could rattle her, but clearly he hadn't thought about it. No matter what way he spun it, she was still a fragile human who didn't belong in his world, and as foolish as it was, he was willing to do anything to give her back her normalcy. Although, that seemed pretty hopeless as he revealed his true identity so foolishly. Maybe, after all, it hadn't been in her best interest. Maybe if he had stayed away, Alex wouldn't have taken an interest in the first place.

Many scenarios flashed through his head. He couldn't let the possibilities shake him. Devlin did what he thought was the right thing to do. Standing by his word was the most important thing.

"Relax," he whispered to himself as he breathed in and out deeply.

His gaze tore from Haley to the window.

A light ran had started to fall by the time Honey Boulevard came into sight Thankfully, he had been able to call a cab from downtown. He knew it'd look too suspicious to carry her miles out of town effortlessly.

As they reached her place, he looked at her apartment. There was an unfamiliar car parked along the sidewalk. He had never seen the car before, and it had plates from out of state. He let a sigh as he maneuvered Haley out of the car. He had planned on beating the parents there. It'd be easier and more believable, but nothing ever happened easily for him.

He knocked three times on the door.

It flew open a minute later. A middle-aged man stood at the door with dark black hair that was starting to gray. He wore very casual clothes, and looked worn down.

"W-what happened?" he asked, his concern for Haley overpowering everything else.

Shame erupted inside Devlin as he bit the inside of his cheeks delicately. He clearly couldn't tell her that he put her in this situation because he told her his deepest, darkest secret. Instead, he broke the gaze with the man, and asked the first question that popped to his mind.

"Are you her father?" he asked. It sounded ridiculous after he spoke.

"Yes," the man answered in a rush, touching his daughter's forehead.

"We were having coffee together in town. And she just fainted," he added softly.

The man snorted. "Haley doesn't have a boyfriend. I should call the police. I bet you drugged her, didn't you?"

Devlin swallowed the lump in his throat. "I'm Devlin McNamara, sir." He took out his hand for him to shake."I'm not her boyfriend. We have a study group," he lied smoothly, remembering that she went to college. "We were the last two left when she fainted, sir."

"Frank Forester." He shook Devlin's hand. "Maybe we should get her tucked in. Do you have her?"

He nodded, shifting Haley, and trying to make it believable that her weight was straining. "Of course."

"Thank you. I have a bad back and I fear that Haley's too heavy now for me."

Frank patted his shoulder in a sign of affection. It made Devlin think of home and his dad and how he missed him so much. With a quick nod, Devlin tracked down Haley's room with relative ease. Her scent was all over this particular room, and it suited her well.

The walls were a pretty ocean blue. On the ceiling, there were sparkling stars.

He fought back the grin. It was childish but cute that she just wanted to see the stars at night.

"Okay, it's time to put you down," he told to her unconscious form.

Gently, he sent her on the bed, and brought the covers up to her midsection.

Devlin just nodded. He quickly tucked her in, bringing the covers to her midsection. He hoped that she'd wake up soon. While Frank seemed okay, he didn't really want to sit and chat with the parents. He still had to prove his identity, and he wouldn't feel relieved until the reveal.

When Devlin got to the den, he saw a female sitting besides Frank. She was snoring softly.

"It was a long drive," Frank informed quietly. "I'm afraid her health is very poor. It's another reason for the surprise visit. Well, we got Haley's best friend in on it, but I haven't been able to get in touch with her all morning. Have you seen her?"

Devlin's mind went blank. Friends. That was one base he hadn't covered.

"I've never met her, sir. This is the first time I've ever been to Haley's place. Studying doesn't leave much room for social situations."

"Hmm."

And a quiet silence fell over the two as they sat there, waiting for Haley to wake up. Devlin had never been one for silence. It gave him way too much time to think and sift through his huge database of thoughts.

He wondered—to himself of course—why he had been ridiculous enough to go through this. It made more sense to keep his distance at a time like now. Lying would prove to be a complication over time. He knew it was wrong, even if he was only trying to protect himself, but he knew that Frank and Leslie were in danger the longer they stayed.

Alex Sterling was going to be the worst complication of all. He was a tricky, stealthy vampire. Alex was also the type that was never found when someone came looking for him. It was that fiend that came looking for trouble, and already feeling overwhelmed by mountains of guilt and his kinds laws, Devlin realized that further complications were unaffordable.

Mashing his teeth together and trying to remain sane, he forced his eyes closed and allowed his body to be still. He found that the simple technique put him at ease. If only he could figure out a proper plan. He told Haley. Now, it was up to her to believe and accept the truth. But what happened after that? Was he supposed to send her on her merry way? Was he supposed to take his pack and get out of town? Honestly, he just needed a little direction.

"Breathe," he whispered, stretching his muscles, as twenty-five unbearable minutes passed.

It was then he heard it. He knew exactly what it was. Her bed creaked. For once, he was glad for supernatural hearing. He needed to intercept Haley first so their stories coincided. He had already caused so much trouble, and now that the truth was out, he needed her on his side more than ever.

"Frank," he started softly, "I'm going to use the bathroom and peek on Haley."

Frank sighed, rubbing his forehead. "This long ride took its toll on me, too. I feel like such a bad father for not looking over her, but can you stay in her room until she wakes up? I just want her to be okay…but if you try anything funny, you'll be dead faster than you can blink."

"Don't worry," Devlin told him earnestly. "I'll be a perfect gentleman."

AUTHOR'S NOTE: It's finally up! After endless nights of deciding what to do, I felt this was the best path. Also, I'm putting up a simple blog dedicated to this story. I know it seems the popular thing to do here on FP, but I'm trying to minimize my author notes and keep everyone informed of my writing plans and status.

Please check out my profile after this. I have a bit more information about stories and updates. I have some new material coming!

Faded Soulfire