Phoenix had been tracking the ring for a week. She was following a trail of missing people reports that seemed to match up with a gang she had been suspicious of. It hadn’t been anything concrete until one of the men she was following snatched a pretty young blonde off the street, unaware he was being watched from the top of the building across the street. From that moment on, she kept her eyes on them, following them at night and well into the morning.
Then, Saturday night, they had pulled out of their old steel mill, one of those ones that was renovated to be an actual storefront, with a box truck, and a large one at that. Scum would be scum, but Phoenix could only think of how pissed off she was every time she saw the young woman’s face in her mind.
She followed the truck from high in the sky, passing through the low-hanging clouds for cover. It didn’t take them long to get to one of the more abandoned parts of the warehouse strip. She came in low after the truck, ducking behind some stacked shipping containers. She wouldn’t move until she was sure. She could scare them off if she was wrong about what was in the truck. But Phoenix got the distinct feeling that she wasn’t wrong.
That truck was full of at least women, maybe more. Maybe children. And the idea of there being children in that truck made her burn hotter than anything else.
The woman’s name was Maria Georgie, and she was last seen that day Phoenix had seen her abducted. Phoenix knew the names of everyone who should be in that truck. Karly Jenkins. Deborah Hoover. Abigail Trevor. Sarah Abdual.
If even a single one of those women wasn’t in that truck, Phoenix would be breaking some kneecaps that night.
The clattering of the bars on the back of the truck being undone caught her attention and she focused, leaning just far enough that her black hood and mask would be exposed. Just enough to see. She adjusted the grip on her hammer. Lethal or nonlethal, that was always the question. For the most part, Phoenix usually went nonlethal. She wasn’t trying to hurt people. But these guys?
Fuck these guys.
They were getting full hammer, not handle. So with her hammer in hand, she got herself into position for a leap, a leap that would place her right in the middle of the men should the truck be full of people. Then, she waited and watched.
Connor had been following their patterns for some time now.
That's usually how he'd figure out prey patterns, you watch them. Find out where they go, what they eat, what they do, then you can find out the best place to ambush them. Eventually he had tracked them down to an old steel mill, a hideout maybe, but not something Connor wanted to mess around with. So he focused on their dropoffs, their less guarded locations, and he figured out they liked to use a particular corner of the warehouse strip. A maze of shipping containers all stacked together, easy to hide amongst.
So Connor waited there until next nightfall, entertaining himself by catching a few raccoons for a snack. Being so long without a proper deer was making him slightly ravenous, he was arguably more dangerous this way, leaner, vicious. Still, he thought about that prize elk he had downed so long ago, the fat on it tasted divine. It was all he could think about while hiding inside an empty storage crate with Mac and Brian as company.
Eventually, his ears perked as the sound of a truck approached, he peered outside and watched them. The trucked stopped amongst the crated and out of it came around ten men, Connor inhaled sharply through his nose. He could smell them, body odour, cigarettes, cheap booze, sweat, but he could also smell there were others in the truck, they were scared, shaking, they smelled of people forced to live amongst their own filth. Those were the women this scum trafficked. They probably used this area as a drop-off for transport to bring them elsewhere.
There was also another smell... heat? Spice... cinnamon, fire, this was strange, one of the girls? No, not the smell of fear, it was nearby but didn't correlate to anything going on in front of him. Yet nothing in Connor's gut told him it was a threat, no, but it did pang as... familiar.
He ignored this for now and focused on his quarry, ten was a tad much, and many of them were probably armed. He would need to pick them off, he also wanted them to be afraid. Yes, as his bones clicked into his place and his jaw opened, he felt anger, he wanted them to know fear before the end.
Nine of the men were huddled towards the back of the truck, dealing with the girls, while the driver remained in the truck. Connor sifted to his all-fours position, and looked to Mac and Brian. He nodded, and they took off running, they shot past the truck and right in the group of men where they started barking loudly and nipping at them. They then ran into the night, with the men cursing and yelling after them.
"What the hell was all that about?" the driver asked, poking his head out the window and looking out behind the truck.
"Some fucking strays or something, big fuckers too, what the hell are they eating?" one of the men answered.
While they were all distracted, Connor had crept up to the side of the truck, he quietly pulled out his sword and plunged the point right through the back of the driver's skull. The man twitched and was head, and Conner dragged him out of the truck and into the shadows between the shipping crates before freeing his sword and moving around the far side of the crate.
"Eric, why don't you come help us with this... Eric?" one of the men called back, he started walking towards the front of the truck, before noticing the splatter of blood. "What the fuck... guys, we have a problem, Eric! Shit, he's gone! We aren't alone out here!"
The men all began to look around nervously, a few pulled their pistols, which was good; Connor wanted to know who was armed. He then heard Mac from a distance let out a long howl, the Brian answered with one a little closer. Allowing a moment of enjoyment, Connor answered with his own thunderous, growling, howl, and he allowed the men to stew in their fear for a moment. Seeing if any of them would run.
The two dogs were really what made Phoenix decide to strike. The howling of whatever was there caught their attention, those bastards by the truck, and it lent itself to the perfect opening. She wasn’t sure what was out there with them, but it wouldn’t be anything she couldn’t handle. That, she was sure of. So she backed up a few spaces from the container she hiding behind and with a hop, a skip, and a jump, Phoenix threw herself into the air using a quick thermal burst, then used it to slow her descent through the air.
For a half second, she was backlit by the moon above them, jacket spread around her, her shadow crossing over the space the men stood in. Several of them looked up toward her, guns raising, but they were too slow. She came down with her hammer, swinging it immediately for one of the guns, causing bullets to spray wildly away from her. One of the nine men screamed as a bullet shredded his leg.
She immediately dropped low and spun, knocking one of the men to the ground. Then she brought the hammer down hard on his shoulder, hearing and feeling a familiar crunch. He screamed loudly, cursing her out as she skipped back away from the crowd who had started to train their weapons on her again. She paused, crouched low to the ground, hands supporting her and ready to push her up into the air.
“What’s wrong, boys, not used to a woman who fights back?”
Her eyes darted to the still-closed back of the truck. It was one of those box trucks that was made of thick steel, so she was confident none of the bullets would pierce it, even if they did stray that way. But Phoenix’s goal was to get them to chase her far enough away that she could let go and rip them apart the best way she knew how– sheer fucking force. So she straightened out a bit, tensing imperceptibly as she prepared to fling herself to the side when they opened fire again.
He felt the heat first, then a very strong waft of smells as the girl came down from the air. Apples, cinnamon, she smelt faintly of vanilla and jasmine too. She smelt familiar. More importantly, she smelled really fucking angry.
He watched her, patiently, as she fell down; hammer in hand and struck one of the men down, causing panic amongst the others. Connor titled his head, she could... fly? And was very... hot, she was clearly producing heat, like a fire, but it radiated like the sun. The crunch of a man's shoulder and his scream in pain made him life his bushy eyebrows, she was capable too.
“What’s wrong, boys, not used to a woman who fights back?”
A taunt? Did everyone in this city do that? Local custom perhaps? Connor frowned, this was the second person who was... different he'd seen in this city. She didn't feel like the last one, this was not a predator, but she moved with definite experience. Her posture and stances were learned, her footwork expert, she was a fighter if nothing else. But a threat was hard to say, by what she had already done she was clearly able to do a lot of damage, and Connor didn't want to know how hot she could really get. Logically, he figured, he should just leave and let her take care of the rest of them.
Yet something stopped him, something told him she wasn't a threat, but also these were his prey. It wouldn't sit right in his gut if he walked away, no, this was still his fight. His mind was made up, strange as it was, it didn't make any sense if this was the wild but in the wild he was no longer.
So as the man began to recover and aim their weapons at the girl, he pounced forward from the shadows. Covering the distance extremely fast, he chopped his sword down and removed the nearest man's arms with a clean slice just above the elbow. He screamed, and the remaining men were frightened again. Connor unhinged his jaw, revealing his canines, and he almost seemed to grow as his hair puffed up, and his muscles seemed to bulge as he stood tall in the moonlight, and he let out a loud growling roar. Making it very clear who's hunting ground's it really was.
Phoenix was not expecting the man. If a man was really what you could call him. For a moment even she froze, something in her brain screaming that she shouldn’t fuck with this one. That moment quickly passed as she realized that the men were equally as frozen as she had been. She moved, heading straight for the man at the back of the pack. She slid in and swung her hammer, taking out the right kneecap of the man. He fell back and screamed in pain as a sickening crack broke the silence left behind after the man’s roar.
The men finally kicked into action– several of them turned and ran past Phoenix, and the rest raised their guns on herself and the terrifying “man”. The one whose arm he had taken off had fallen to the ground and was trying to stop the bleeding, his friends basically ignoring his cries for help. The three who had turned on Phoenix had opened fire, and she quickly danced through the fire, feeling a single bullet catch her left leg as she twirled. She hissed out a breath as it glanced off her suit, leaving what she was sure was going to be a nasty bruise on her leg. Todd would definitely notice that. He would get that look in his eyes and playfully ask about it, but she knew that he was just happy she’d made it home each time.
Worrying Todd was one of the last things Phoenix wanted, so the thought that her leg was likely going to be black and blue made her even angrier than she already had been. A new rush of heat erupted from her, and she used it to push herself forward and between the men firing at her. She swung and clipped someone’s shoulder as she breezed past. One of the men shielded his face from the heat while the other dropped his gun to hold his now definitely shattered collarbone.
As she came through them, she caught sight of her new fighting companion and called out, “Hey there, bruiser, what brings you to a party like this?” She couldn’t help that her usual flirty quip had lost all of it’s flirt. It didn’t feel right unless it was Todd. So instead it came out as just a quip, just a normal “what the fuck are you doing here, man”.
Connor had never been to a party, but he was pretty sure this wasn't one of them. The attempt at wit and light heartedness was still very odd to him, he didn't let the question distract him, but he also couldn't think of an answer in the moment other than to grunt in acknowledgement. The woman had been given an opportunity to strike him but chose to focus on the prey instead, that meant at the very least she didn't want a fight and didn't see him as a threat, which was both a good and a bad thing. If she wasn't afraid of him, that meant she may think of actually fighting him if they came to some manner of quarrel, Connor decided to prioritize for now, but he hoped demonstrating his power would send the message across he shouldn't be trifled with.
There were only a few men left, the woman having scattered about many of them and several others having fled in terror. Connor turned to one of the remainders, who now in a panic, tried to clear a jam in his weapon and aim it at Connor. Connor merely stepped forward and plunged his sword through his heart. The remaining two that weren't dying had been very handily disabled by the woman, yet Connor could still hear the running footsteps of the ones who had fled, and this urged him to chase. In a fluid movement, he sheathed his sword on his back and leaped over Sam and bound into the shadows on all fours after them.
He caught up to the first man, pouncing on him and using his weight to shove the man's head down into the pavement forcibly with crack! He then continued to run after the next man, who was crying with fear.
"Oh God please no, please!" he was cut short as Connor pounced again, this time drawing his bowie knife and stabbing it into the man's lower back, he fell like a rock and Connor finished him off with a quick slice of his throat.
He dragged the two bodies of these men back to the truck and tossed them like they were nothing towards the woman to join the rest of the pile. In his mind, this was a peace offering. He remained just out of sight, standing in the shadows cast by the piles of shipping containers, as he observed the woman silently; his eyes reflecting the moonlight. He sniffed, she didn't smell of fear, or aggression, and once again his gut told him to not antagonise her. So Connor crouched down, appearing smaller for a moment, his teeth retreated, he became smaller as his body relaxed and shifted into the slightly more human form, until he stood up wand walked as a man just into the light. He titled his head to the side, still puzzled by her.
"Is this your territory?" he asked. She wasn't a predator like him, but folk with abilities often still staked claim to certain areas. He wanted to know if he was in danger from her too, but something had already told him he likely wasn't.
The man didn’t reply to her, and when he chased off after the men who had run, she went through and kicked the heads in of anyone still awake. She couldn’t bring herself to care too much about how many of the men were actually dead. In her mind, anyone who treated women like prey, women who had no idea what was awaiting them, deserved death. If Sam hadn’t told herself when she left Columbus that she wasn’t going to kill anymore, well. There’d be a lot more dead traffickers right now.
She searched their pockets until she found a phone. It had a finger-scanning lock, so she took the man’s hand and unlocked the phone. She had just stood back up when two more bodies came flying in. She stared at them for a moment and then looked up impassively at the “man” who had brought them. She was trying her hardest to not show how her hair was standing on end looking at him.
Then, he stepped back into the shadows and emerged as a normal man, if heavy-set. Strawberry blonde hair and green eyes, and every bit a normal looking man. But Sam had seen what he really was, and even if she hadn’t, there was something about the eyes that held a bit of the violence she had just seen.
“No, this isn’t part of my usual patrol.” She crossed her arms, the leather of her jacket pulling over her black hoodie. The hood had fallen down, and her long curls had slipped out, but it was dark enough, and the sky was cloudy enough, that what light was there would make it hard to see her eyes through the makeup and mask. Unless he had enhanced vision, like some people she knew, and then he would see her very distinguishable golden eyes. She got the feeling he wouldn’t say anything about her to anyone, however, given he himself was not wearing a mask or hood of any kind. She made a gesture toward him with the stolen phone. “Is this on your route, or were you after the traffickers as well?”
Then, she paused, looked him over, and asked, “And what do you call yourself?”
She was nervous, about him, cautious, not afraid; not yet, but she didn't like what she had seen. Connor surmised this was reasonable given the circumstances, but that did make sure she knew he could defend himself if he needed to, yet still, something about her seemed... trustworthy, not a threat, not someone who'd attack him for no reason or drive him off. Other gifted folk Connor had met had either felt kinship with him, or more often seen him the same way everyone else did; like a wild animal. Yet, this one was talking to him... like a person.
He didn't know what she meant by "patrol." Was that what they called territory around here? Patrols? Connor supposed that did sound more metropolitan. He tilted his head to the other side, studying her closely, her hair had come loose. He studied it, it was red like his, not in the same way, but still familiar. Her eyes were golden under the mask, they contained heat like the rest of her did. And the smell, yes it was very strong now that he was close and able to focus on it. So familiar.
"I am not from here... I hunted this group from Montana," Connor sniffed loudly. The smell, cinnamon... Todd, he had smelt of cinnamon, it was not his smell, had it come from... her? That didn't seem right, this woman wasn't a predator, why would Todd be so close with his prey? Was he hunting her? No, something about that didn't seem right. He stuck his thumb in his mouth, and thought, he felt her heat and let her smell mix with his memories of Todd. He saw, in his mind's eye, them close together... intimately. Connor frowned, his gut told him they were connected, entwined somehow. Yet how could that be? He had never been... close to anyone, so how could Todd?
"I am Connor," he said. "We... have not met, until now."
There was something about the way he titled his head and the quizzical look that told her that something was going on. But that wasn’t the thing she was most concerned about at the moment. She gave him a funny look in return as he told her his name– his real name. She started to speak, to tell him not to do that, but stopped. The phone in her hand was going dark, so she quickly tapped the screen. She looked up at him again. “Just a moment, and then we should scram. I would like to talk if that’s alright. I try to talk to all other vigilantes I run into.”
She dialed the police, and in her best stressed and high-pitched voice, she exclaimed how there were men dead and women in a truck by the warehouse district, and please come quick. She rattled off the address and the warehouse number before ending the call and dropping the phone into the pile of bodies.
“Alright, follow me.” She took off at a light jog, following the lines of warehouses until they were far enough away to not be tied to the scene of the crime. Then she turned around while she slowed down, walking backward to look up at the guy. She undid her ponytail and started redoing it, feeling how much give the elastic had to it.
“Alright, Connor. You can’t just go around telling people your first name. That makes you trackable. What alias do you use? Or what do people call you? You said you tracked them all the way down from Montana? That’s a long trek. You’re quite devoted to your cause.”
“Just a moment, and then we should scram. I would like to talk if that’s alright. I try to talk to all other vigilantes I run into.”
Vigilante? Is that why she was out here? And she thought he was one too? Connor pondered this as he followed Sam, not needing to actually run to keep up with her, he just walked slightly faster than normal. He continued to ponder the connection of smells between her and Todd as he walked, with her leading he could get fresh whiffs of her scent. There, just barely, underneath her potent heat and spice, was that strange sweet smell that Todd had carried. Mixed in with motor oil and mint. For the two of them to be carrying each other scent like this... they would have to be in very close physical contact fairly often.
“Alright, Connor. You can’t just go around telling people your first name. That makes you trackable. What alias do you use? Or what do people call you? You said you tracked them all the way down from Montana? That’s a long trek. You’re quite devoted to your cause.”
Connor titled his head back to the opposite side. Alias? Cause? He frowned at the suggestion he could ever be tracked.
"No one has ever tracked me," he said blankly. "I have no idea how my name would change that... I don't know what people call me, I don't talk to people... but I tracked this group from Montana since they decided to use my forest for their business... So I killed them there and tracked them here, so I could kill the rest of them, so they will not do that again."
Connor paused, and pondered for a second.
"Some of the local newspapers would call me The Wolfhound"
Phoenix paused and then smiled. “Then it’s good to meet you Wolfhound. I’m Phoenix.”
Montana was a long way away. More than a full day’s drive, if you skipped sleeping the way Phoenix did. Something told her this guy definitely needed to sleep, unlike herself. She thought for a minute. She was trying to decide the best questions to ask him next. There was always the question of “so what exactly do you do?” but Phoenix had seen what he did. She still wanted to ask that, because surely he would have an explanation for what she had seen.
There was also the question of why he had decided to track them all the way from Montana if Montana was home. Surely he hadn’t wanted to leave his forest for so long. This guy had asked if this part of the Strip was her territory. Clearly, he considered his home to be a territory, and himself a predator who protected it. So nodded thoughtfully at that. Yes, that sounded right. This guy was a “predator”, in much the same way that Todd was. She wondered if they were the same kind of predator– quick, strong, superhuman in every meaning of the word.
She still didn’t know about that last piece of Todd’s powers. Maybe it was similar to this shift that she had seen tonight with Connor. That would make a lot of sense. They had started patrolling together after that night on the rooftop, but he had yet to do something like that, but then Todd liked to be nonlethal, same as her. And Connor’s jaw had looked like it could tear a man’s throat out. She was reminded then of their first lunch together when Todd had eaten the rib bones. Yeah, they must have been the same kind of “predator”.
Phoenix didn’t realize how long she had actually spent puzzling this out. She’d left plenty of room for Connor to speak again, should he have chosen to.
"Then it’s good to meet you, Wolfhound. I’m Phoenix.”
Good to... meet him, Connor contemplated that for a second. She was being awfully friendly, an uncommon trait folk tended to have when meeting Connor for the first time. Was she like that with every predator she met? Was this how she was able to be around Todd, her gifts seemed to be in the realm of heat, but Connor contemplated if she had some latent ability to commune with dangerous animals. Something about the way she spoke invoked only calm and safety, and yet, Connor couldn't help but focus on the lingering smell of Todd on her. He had to know more, and there was only one way he could.
"You smell familiar," he said. "Do you know Todd?"
Phoenix went to ask her question, but just as she opened her mouth, Connor asked her a question that threw her off balance. Literally. She stumbled over her own feet and paused, looking at him. Her mind started racing, but it was short-circuiting too much to really accept what was being said to her. Connor knew Todd, and he could smell Todd on her. Connor didn’t say his last name, as though he knew she would know who he was talking about. So she stopped and looked him over.
Maybe he had met him at the shop. Maybe he had met him at some other place. Todd went places sometimes when Sam went patrolling, and while they usually told each other where they were going to be for the night, she was sure that there were some things he didn’t tell her. Such as meeting a wolf man. She didn’t always ask him where he was going to be on nights he didn’t patrol. Maybe it had been one of those nights?
That didn’t really matter, the where or the how. What mattered was she was surprised that she smelled enough like him to have it be noticeable. That he just assumed she would know who Todd was also freaked her out, just the slightest. But like he said, they had never met before. There was no way he would know her as Sam Walsh. So she let the tension flow out of her in the two breaths it took to come to the conclusion that the smell was just that distinct. Todd could smell people too, like he had on Halloween with Nat and Adelyn. Even more evidence that they could be similar kinds of “predators”.
“I… Yes. I know Todd. He’s mine.” The words came out before she had properly thought them. Her face changed from neutral to wide-eyed surprise. She opened her mouth to correct herself but stopped, her head tilting as she thought. Was there really any reason to change what she had said? No, if anyone was going to understand mine it would be a wolf man. So with fair more conviction and passion in her voice, she reiterated, “Todd is mine.”
The possessiveness in her tone and posture was a familiar one, she had staked a claim in Todd. Connor thought for a moment, that confirmed they were involved, but not to what extent, he realized he should probably explain how he knew Todd; seeing as this woman didn't know who he was than Todd has likely neglected to mention him yet.
"We met in a bar by chance, and then later hunted the same prey... we have an understanding, and do not consider each other enemies," he added the last part to make sure she knew he wasn't a threat to her. Reasonably considering how strong Todd was, he figured Phoenix must be as strong if not stronger, despite the fact nothing about her suggested that she was as much. He pondered her words for a moment, considering the implications, if Phoenix belonged to Todd then he may take issue with her having any dealings with Connor, innocent or not, but he wasn't sure exactly what they were to each other.
Connor offered her an explanation– one that actually soothed her a little– and then another question. This one made her eyebrows shoot up. To say it shocked her would be a light way of putting it. She wasn’t so much shocked by the question as she was her immediate reactions to it.
The rational part of her brain was saying “what the fuck”. Who just asked a question like that? Well, at least she knew that he understood their usage of mine. But why phrase it like that? She swallowed, her eyes searching the ground. Because while the rational part of her brain was confused by his decision to use that terminology, a much deeper part of her wanted to answer that question.
That deeper part of her, the part that screamed mine when she saw Todd, that part recognized the word “mate”. It made something in her chest burn hot and bright, almost like a kind of joy. It not only recognized the word, but it told her that was the closest word in the human language for what she felt about Todd. Boyfriend, while it had been the term she had used for Nat, was too watery and loose a word for what they really were. Honestly, even if they got married, a thought that surprised her as it crossed her mind, even husband wouldn’t be quite right.
Mate described the almost animal hunger she had for him. It spoke of the intensity of her feelings for Todd, the way she shook for him. It was the closest human word to the desire she had to be so close she was under his skin, to own his heart so completely that she could rip it from his chest and he would let her, the same way she would let him. It was the closest word for a want, a need, a desire so intense she didn’t know how to express it other than giving him everything she had and was. It was the closest word, other than mine, for what she felt they were.
He already knew the answer to the question, really, Connor just needed to confirm what his gut was telling him as truth. So she was his mate, that raised questions, and concerns, he wondered how that worked considering Todd's choice in diet; perhaps Phoenix was simply unbothered by it, a rather open-minded outlook for her to have, but everything about her suggested this wasn't unusual to her character. Still, a part of him did ponder what their mating was actually like, but he decided to focus on the more pressing matter. He was in proximity to a potential rival predator's mate, that was a problem, it had already been long enough that she had caught his scent; the only recourse now was to get away from her and hope that this wasn't too much of a territorial transgression to invite Todd's ire.
"I see... well, have a good night," Connor no longer felt even an inkling of a threat from Phoenix, so he was comfortable turning his back to her and walking directly away. He didn't run, as that would suggest he was scared of the fact that she was Todd's mate, which he was, but she couldn't know that.
She watched as Connor turned and started to walk away. She involuntarily shook her head and blinked. His retreat was quickly followed by the sound of her big fuck off boots slapping the ground as she caught up to him. She almost reached out to grab his arm, but at the last moment decided against it. He didn’t seem like the type who would be alright with being grabbed like that by someone they had just met.
“Hey wait!” She stepped out so she was visible to him again and gave him a look. “What the fuck? You can’t just ask really personal questions like that and then just– and then just– fuck off?!”
She crossed her arms and huffed. There was a faint blush on her cheeks as she realized what she had actually just told Connor. But still, she was determined to ask him questions. Maybe he could give her the answers that Todd was hiding from her. So with that, she uncrossed her arms and gestured toward him. “Tell me about your power. What do you do exactly? What was that back there?”
Phoenix– no, Sam stood and waited for the answer. Even if he wasn’t exactly like Todd, her perfect Todd, he might be a close enough meta to give her more hints. So she didn’t blink as she stared him down in his green eyes, her own golden ones shining with just the tiniest bit of hope.
Because Sam would do anything to understand Todd’s distancing.
Connor stopped when she caught up to him, he didn't think prolonged exposure was a good idea, but pissing her off was probably also not a good idea. Still, he didn't feel all that comfortable remaining in her presence like this, his only hope was that she would explain to Todd that their meeting was happenstance and had remained professional. Still, proximity alone could be seen as an act of aggression.
She was upset, that much was obvious, Connor figured he may have come across as rude in his hurry to give her space. He pondered for a moment, trying to remember how to politely talk to people... his mind came up blank, this was the most he's spoken to someone since... well since Todd, but before that it had been years. City folk really did talk a lot, he wondered why, there was already enough noise as it was.
"“Tell me about your power. What do you do exactly? What was that back there?”
This was perplexing, after all, hadn't seen observed him? She should know what he did. Connor decided not to point that out, as it was probably rude, and he considered how to answer. He'd never truly been asked that before, in truth he didn't really understand the question, to him this was simply what he was. It was like asking a bear what it could do, well, obviously bear things.
"I can hunt... really good," Connor said. "Smell, see, hear things... someone once told me I had the spirit of a wild dog inside of me, another said I was more beast than man... is this the answer you want?"
Sam listened to the answer and felt a small twinge of frustration followed by a moment of clarity. Honestly, it made a lot of sense. Todd had always had moments where he seemed more than or different than human. When he had smelled her on the rooftop and when he had identified Nat and Adelyn on Halloween. The way he had threatened to tear out Obsidian's throat for her. The way he looked at her sometimes, with a hunger that rivaled her own.
It would make sense if he was “more beast than man”.
She nodded her head and crossed her arms, this time in a thoughtful way. She closed her eyes for a moment as she thought, then opened them back up and smiled. “That helps, yeah. That helps a lot, actually. That answer helps.”
She looked up at him again and uncrossed her arm, running a hand up the back of her neck. “Thank you for answering me. I know we just met, so I appreciate you answering my questions. Why did you keep tracking them after they left your forest, anyway? All the way down to Pittsburgh of all places?”
Connor didn't know what she meant when she said his answer helped, he got the impression she wasn't asking specifically about him really, but inquiring about something else. What that was, he couldn't tell, but he decided to leave it alone. Her second question was also perplexing, because he thought he had already answered it.
"They trespassed in my forest... I don't like it when folk do that," he said. "So I'm making sure they can't do it again... why are you after them?"
The thought did occur that she may be after these men for much the same reason he was, but Phoenix didn't seem the territorial type... except when it came to Todd, that was. So he was curious why she would waste the energy and put herself in harms way like that.