The Pack was hunting. They weren’t hunting in the traditional sense of the word. They wouldn’t be killing the prey that they found this time. They wouldn’t even be leading it on a chase to bring it to Ethan’s preferred hunting grounds. Their prey tonight, as they all hid themselves around the the vicinity of the transfer for that night, was a new metahuman. At least, the assumption was they were a metahuman. Took a lot of strength to completely sever people's limbs and bite out their throats.
So they were stalking the human trafficking ring that had taken up shop in Pittsburgh. Based on the range of the previous attacks, the times at which they had taken place, and the police reports they had bribed their way into accessing, they were relatively confident that he was going to show up.
Initially, they had thought it was the Cryptid. After all, he was in fact known for dismantling people. There had been a burning rage among the four of them since Obsidian had brought back the remaining pieces of Malachite, since they had seen the man who never lost his cool break down and cry. Obsidian crying over Malachite, crying over his brother, crying over their oldest family member, was something that was going to stick with the Pack for the rest of their lives.
With that in mind, they had gone at this with all the preparation of taking on Cryptid. Only to discover that, well, none of the bodies were consumed in any way. So that took Cryptid out of the running, but it meant they had something else on their hands. Something that had the potential to be worthwhile.
They had spent time researching the trafficking ring, which they now knew went by the absolutely ridiculous moniker of The Black Scar. Sulphur had scoffed when they had found the name, and Lapis had gone into hysterics. Rhody’s absolute disgust was mirrored by her husband Hemie. Despite their differing reactions, they all agreed on one thing: human trafficking was a step too far for them. So instead of planning on assimilation of the ring, as they had been doing with several smaller gangs, they were planning to promise whoever was targeting them nuclear assistance.
It was with all of this in mind that they set up camp at the next confirmed drop-off for The Black Scar. Sulphur picked the tallest building in the area, a three-story warehouse across the way, and had taken to it with his sniper rifle. Rhody, Hematite, and Lapis took up varying points on the ground, dressed all in black with hoods to cover their heads and masks to cover their faces. They blended into the shadows with ease, as if they belonged there.
Even if this wasn’t a traditional hunt, they still had the violent coil of tension about them, the energy that said they were ready for a slaughter. From the top of the roof, Sulphur touched the button on the comms, turning it on. The other three already had theirs on, and Sulphur’s completed the four-way circuit. “Let’s keep this clean. We just want to talk to him. If we need to help, then we help, but otherwise maintain positions until he finishes with them.”
“Copy that, Phur.”
They sat, waiting, and it didn’t take long for the Black Scar to show. They rolled in, a large eighteen-wheeler pulling into the roads between the warehouses. All in all, only really suspicious because it was almost two a.m.. It pulled in next to the warehouse they had pegged as the drop-off point, and several men climbed out of the cab. From inside the warehouse, a few more men came filing out, making ten men in all, but Sulphur’s count. The tension in each of the Pack members grew as they waited for their new metahuman to show.
Connor had kept himself busy these last week or so, between meeting Todd, then Sam, then Nat, he'd actually relaxed a fair bit and almost forgotten why he came here in the first place. Though not for long, after it retreated to the nearby woods outside the city to hunt and feed, he returned to his quarry well-fed and strong. The brief break in his assaults on the trafficking ring, which he had come to learn was called The Black Scar for some reason, had written him off as a fluke, a mistake on their part. The last few days, he had slaughtered their ranks, decimating them at every chance; he tried to respect Todd's wishes and not intentionally kill so many, but old habits died hard.
Connor hadn't seen Todd since their first meeting, he figured he was avoiding him; which made sense. Though a small and confusing part of Connor's heart told him he wouldn't mind seeing him again, after meeting Sam he realized his desire for conversation and companionship was still a present hunger within him, and Todd, well, Todd understood him. Connor dashed these thoughts from his head and focused on the prey.
He was perched in a tree that stood amongst a few others that formed a small green patch that separated this section of the warehouse district from the rest of the city. It was a waning crescent moon, and relatively clear, Connor could see clearly across the distance to the warehouse where he watched the eighteen wheeler he had marked as being used by The Black Scar pull up. He watched men pile out and some more join them from the building, Connor sniffed the air... ten, he smelled ten men.
Well he thought he did, like most trash they smelled of old cigarettes, cheap booze, and sweat. The individual nuances of cologne, deodorant, or lack of both differentiated them enough that Connor could put together ten separate smell profiles. Yet there were hints of smells that didn't fit, and as he titled his head more to one side, they smelled almost to come from another direction. Sweetness, sandalwood, the smell of laundry right out of the dryer, gunpowder, and pepper. All mixed together and close, but separate, Connor's nose twitched. People nearby, four of them maybe, possibly five. Could be unrelated to the Black Scar, could be conducting their own activities. Something in Connor's gut told him to keep an eye out about it, he didn't sense a threat; not yet anyway, but he sensed they were close enough to see him when the hunt began. With any luck, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and would run away once the blood began to spill.
With that noted, Connor swelled, his muscles filling out and his hair bristling, his jaw unhinged, and he let out a long otherworldly howl that echoed into the night. His blood pumped loudly, his heart beat like a drum, he locked in on his prey, and pulled his sword free of its scabbard.
The men heard the howl and became visibly nervous, they'd heard the stories by now, whispers and rumours that they had dismissed at first, but now confronted with it, they showed fear. One man was more cowardly than the others and immediately dropped his gun and took off running, the others called after him, but he ran into the darkness with no thought but to save himself. Connor was upon him immediately, pouncing and driving his blade into his shoulder, the man screamed and cried until Connor slammed his head into the ground. He wasn't dead, yet, but the others would only be so lucky if they had the good sense to run.
They didn't, and tried to form a perimeter, Connor came right at them with the speed of a runaway train. The lot of them yelled and fired their weapons wildly, but Connor left far into the air, landing in the middle of them with a roar, there his sword became a whirlwind of steel and scarlet as men were cut along their thighs, arms, shoulders. They scattered their formation, and Connor dashed off again as quickly as he arrived in the light, dragging one man who had scored a small flesh wound with a knife on Connor into the shadows. The man clawed at the ground and screamed, which only prompted Connor to rip his throat out with his teeth in anger.
There were four men left with the capacity to resist or run, and they had all backed up against the wall of the warehouse, guns pointed every which way, hoping to resist the beats that had come for them. Connor let them wallow in their fear for a moment as he stalked around, deciding on what angle of attack to take, always sticking to the shadows as he did so.
A howl rang out through the air, and all of the Slate members felt the hair on their arms raise. That was most definitely not a human noise. Sulphur saw the man– no, as the beast emerged from the shadows. It was an absolute slaughter. He watched through the scope of his rifle, wincing slightly at the massacre. The way the man moved said this was normal for him Sulphur sighed and touched his earpiece. “Spotted. Move in, slowly. Let him finish, but bring yourselves close enough to move in when ready. He’s… violent, so be cautious.”
There was a chorus of acknowledgments before the three of the Pack members on the ground began to move from their spots. None of them were too worried, as they all were equipped with their personal nine millimeters and were confident in their powers. Even if something bad happened, Sulphur would snipe him before it got out of hand.
Lapis got the closest, keeping to the shadow of a shipping container. “I have a direct visual on the target. Ready to move on your mark, Phur.”
She could see him, then, and she swallowed hard. He was massive and his body looked almost distorted, like his size and musculature were exaggerated like a comic book character. She felt a shiver run down her spine. Whether it was good or bad, she couldn’t tell. Only that she was certain she was going to have to be wary with this one. She tucked herself in close to the shipping container, blending into the dark. Her silvery eyes watched the faint shape of him moving in the shadows.
Further down the row, Rhody and Hematite moved forward as well. They weren’t close enough to make out his faint shape in the darkness. But they were close enough to smell the wet dog scent. At first, they thought it might be coming off the river, but then they both realized, independently, that the smell of the river was underneath this scent. From across the way, they made eye contact, brown eyes meeting green, a mutual acknowledgment that they both could smell it.
Sulphur tapped his earpiece again, eyes trained on Lapis. “Do not engage without Rhody and Hematitie.”
Connor had climbed to the roof of the warehouse right above where the men had backed into the wall, he was getting into position when the smells hit him again. Stronger now, the other smells, the strongest was the sweetness, flowers, now real flowers; the fake flower smell of a perfume, as well as a strange hint of ozone. That one was the closest, the other two who smelt of fresh linens and leather were a bit farther away. But they and approached, closed in on the hunt, not aggressively no, they were keeping their distance.
Connor peered at where he knew the nearest one to be, a female by the smell, and afraid? She wasn't coming to these traffickers aid, nor did Connor feel as if this was an ambush... they weren't set up properly if they intended to hurt him. But their intentions were not clear. Connor considered his options before deciding to finish what he started and deal with one problem at a time. With that, he leapt off the roof.
The remaining for men were dispatched in short order, he landed on the first, his sword piercing right though him and skewering him like a kebab. Connor then charged through the remaining three, knocking them all over, to then circle around and knock each out at his leisure. It took barely three minutes, and once he was done, Connor stood up, breathing heavily, his hot breath steaming in the cool air.
And then he looked at Lapis.
He couldn't see her, but he was sure she was standing behind the shipping container he was staring at. He caught a glimpse of her before she darted back behind it. Connor walked over to his sword and free'd it from the dead man, never looking away from where he knew the woman to be. Near to him was a breaker box, which connected to all the lights nearby. With a swing of his sword Connor destroyed it in a shower of sparks, plunging the whole area into darkness save for the moon which now was hidden under a patch of clouds. The only thing remaining was Connor animalistic eyes reflecting what little light was left.
"I know you're there... and your two friends as well," Connor glanced in the direction he smelled the other two. "And there is a four, farther away, watching, I can smell you, all of you... what do you want?"
In the darkness, Connor was shrinking back, his bloodfury was claiming down. These observers hadn't attacked him yet, and he felt no immediate threat from them yet, though his gut told him they may yet still not prove to be harmless.
Lapis froze for a moment when the lights went out. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust, and when they had, it was to the reflection of a predator’s eyes. Oh, that was fun. She couldn’t help the way her lips split into a wicked grin as her eyes adjusted and caught the faintest outline– this time of a man, and though tall and broad, he was just a man. She touched her earpiece. “Permission to engage?”
There was a long moment of silence, then Sulphur replied, “Permission granted. Be cautious.”
Lapis’s grin widened and she stood up straight, bringing herself to her maximum height of four feet and eleven inches. She smoothed out her black clothes and then stepped out from the shadows of the shipping containers. She pushed back the hood, revealing her black and blue streaked hair, and then pulled the mask down, unveiling her sharp features. She was beautiful in the way a tiger might be. Dangerously so, as though beneath all that beauty she might wield claws.
Little did anyone know how true that was.
She walked out into the middle of the space between herself and the figure in the shadows. Lapis had always been quick to think on her feet. Right now, she was running through the likelihood that this man was anything like their newly acquired friend Todd. That was seeming unlikely, after the show they had just witnessed. That didn’t quite match Todd’s descriptions of what he was, and what he did. This man before her now was entirely unique. He was similar but far enough apart to not be one of their evolution line.
She stopped and put her hands on her hips and looked up into the shadows roughly where she assumed the man’s face would be. “We want to talk. We don’t want any trouble.”
Her voice was rough, high, and tinged with a manic excitement. She was bouncing on her heels, clearly unable to stand still. There was an excited glint in her eyes. Her energy was off the charts, though which chart was yet to be decided. Violent? Maybe. Eager? Maybe. Excited? Most definitely. Regardless, she stood in the middle of the exposed area, the scattered moonbeams illuminating her softly.
Off to the left, Rhody and Hematite stuck to the shadows and moved in closer, bringing themselves just close enough that they could help if need be.
They were all moving in closer, but it was the small woman who made herself known. She really was a tiny thing, Connor studied her from head to toe, he didn't outwardly sense any danger, at least not yet, though he had the feeling she could cause him more hurt than what her looks would suggest. And she was... beautiful but like how a well crafted sword was beautiful, dangerous, sharp, gleaming, but still alluring. Connor tilted his head.
Talk, she wanted to talk. Why did everyone want to talk in this city? He'd talked more in these past weeks than he had in years. Almost more than hunting. Yet he didn't mind talking, and these people had approached him with intention. They had found him, deliberately he realized, they must have been tracking him for a while. He silently cursed his unfamiliarity with this city, it had allowed him to become predictable and vulnerable.
Despite that though, he found he wouldn't mind talking to the woman. Something in his gut told him so, she was also seemingly very excited too, nearly bouncing in place. Connor could almost smell her accelerated heartbeat, and strangely his heart responded in kind, that was strange. What was going on? Connor took a hold of himself and he wiped the blood from his blade and sheathed it.
The clouds had passed and the moon was back out in full. Lapis now stood in a bright beam of moonlight which glittered on her multicolored hair, and affect Connor found his eyes drawn to. The warehouse cast long shadows and kept Connor hidden within them, but slowly with strangely quiet footfalls he stepped into the light and revealed himself. He walked close to Lapis, a step or two too closer than he ought to have, and he toward over her looking down, his head tilted. Her sweet smell was filling his nose, making it twitch.
Connor had bathed recently, in a river, he'd heard far too many complaints about his smell. He had actually combed his hair so it fell backwards in a messy mane and his beard was slightly less frayed than it was usually. He smelled of fresh water, ginseng, rosemary, and very much of the metallic tinge of blood of his kills which spattered parts of his jacket, arms, and some on his mouth and some on his long canines which were visible as he spoke. He still smelled of wet dog but wasn't so potent.
"If you wanted no trouble... then you are very bad at avoiding it, and very adept at finding it." Connor said. "What do you want?"
Lapis looked over for a moment, silent. Her expression changed, going into a feral grin as she took him in. The moonlight illuminated him, and she couldn’t help the grin. Tall and broad still, despite his return to a more human form, splattered in blood from his fight, and his eyes were a clear green, like the darkest forest you could imagine. He didn’t have a good sense of fashion, but she supposed the hunting jacket and flannel paired with the blue jeans were better for his work than her usual ensemble of tight pants and crop tops. After all, she had come in all black with a big hood and a face mask.
He was absolutely fuckable. She could climb this guy like the mountain he was. This had potential. She turned her head back toward the direction she knew Sulphur was in, her grin laced with a violence that could only be described as “savage”. The man sighed and tapped his earpiece, his deep voice resonating through all three of the wolves’ ears. “Don’t scare him off. You can have your fun after the mission.”
The woman rolled her head back to the mountain of a man in front of her. “Don’t scare him off” didn’t mean don’t flirt. It meant not to detract from the mission. So with that in mind, she crossed her arms and returned her feral grin to the hunter before her.
“Well, big guy, I want you. In more ways than one.” A strong first statement, a clear flirt mixed in with her honest and earnest answer. Rhody, just barely close enough to hear, put her face in her gloved hands and shook it. Then she gave her husband a look before they both went back to listening and watching.
Connor watched her movements, her turn to look at where he presumed the fourth of their group to be. He found himself watching the subtle movements of her skin, her muscles, her flesh, shifting with every breath and slight movement. Trying to discern what purpose brought her here to stand in front of him. And the smile, it was like a snarl, a bearing of teeth, but it wasn't a threat; it was an offer.
"Want me," Connor repeated, he stared into her eyes. They were silver, like the steel of his sword or the bright full moon. Looking for... what? She had some look when she studied him back, like she was hungry, but it wasn't quite that. Something was churning inside of him, his instincts were flagging this small woman as... something, prey? No not exactly. If anything she looked like she wanted to hunt him, not the other way around. It was all very confusing, Connor found himself a loss of what situation he found himself in.
"You tracked me down... because you want me?" Connor titled his head to the other side. No one wanted him, not for anything good anyway, but it was clear they weren't here to capture him. "Want me for... what?"
“I mean, my want is entirely different now from the want of my family. But I’m guessing you want that want first.” She sighed and shook her head, her short and spiky hair shifting under the moonlight. Business first, fun second. That was the rule that Obsidian had set for her when this had all first started. He didn’t care if she slept around, with whoever she wanted, as long as she always remembered that business came first. So she turned her full attention to the man before her, her smile becoming a sharp look, one that conveyed the change in her energy, in her direction. She reached up and turned her earpiece to voice activity with a few quick taps.
“Let’s start with introductions. I’m Lapis Lazuli. I work with a team, a family really, called Slate. We like to find… dangerous or suffering metas, and help them, or ask them to help us. In your case, we have a proposition for you. The way you fight, the way you tear through these men–” A quick flash of that sharp smile, the one that said she approved of said violence, “– well, we could certainly use someone like you in Slate. We want to know what it would take for us to recruit you.”
She had one hand on her hip now, and was talking animatedly with the other. She was still full of energy, savage energy, but now it was more contained, more directed. She still bounced on her heels, still tapped her fingers on her hip, but there was a sharp difference between her previous energy of desire and business.
In the distance, Sulphur nodded along to her statements. She had turned the comms on so that he could hear the conversation. That was good. Lapis was good at this. She wasn’t a big-picture person like Sulphur himself, nor was she a small-picture person like Rhody was. She was a feral person, a violent person, and that tended to resonate better with some of the people they tried to incorporate. Hopefully, they had pegged this man properly, and she would be able to talk him into what they were about.
“So what’s your name, big guy? Let’s start there, and then I’ll answer your questions.”
Connor watched her lips move, but the energy had in fact shifted from the manic one when they first had spotted one another. Now she was shifting into a more businesslike tone, she was making a proposition, though Connor couldn't help watching how her body moved. What was going on? She was very distracting.
"I'm... Connor," he said. "Lapis Lazuli, a pretty rock... well, you've found a dangerous meta, suffering no... I'm afraid the last folks to try and recruit me weren't to my liking... so what? You've sought me out because you think I can be a weapon?"
Connor felt defensive, on edge, but the way Lapis was looking at him. This was different, form the chance meeting with Todd or the friendship with Sam, these people wanted something from him, Lapis wanted something from him. Were they truly a threat after all? A low growl filled his throat.
“Connor.” The name rolled off her tongue almost like a purr. Some of the desirous energy was returning to her eyes. He was getting on edge, getting wound up tight like a coil. That sent a shiver through her, one she tried to repress to maintain her business-like appearance. She needed to get through the business part of this without losing her place. This always went a certain way, and was always designed to soften the truth by offering so much upfront.
“Connor, we don’t want to treat you like a weapon. We’re a family. We fight together, we live together, we eat together. We want your help to achieve our dream. You’d be both well compensated and well taken care of. We’re asking you to consider joining a cause.”
She crossed her arms, her black jacket pulling tight at the shoulders. The feralness was starting to creep back into her smile, and she finished her statement with, “And I do mean well taken care of.”
Her voice turned sultry at that, and she tilted her head to the side. She watched him in the scattered moonbeams, her eyes sizing him up slowly. From his reddish hair to his boots, she took in every inch at a slow, leisurely pace. And there sure was a lot of him to take in. Her eyes flashed like silver back to his, to those deep green, emerald eyes that were looking at her with such… confusion, maybe?
“We’re offering you a good deal for your help with our project. What do you say, will you hear out the mission?”
The way she said his name caused something to stir within Connor, a curious beast reared it's head and was very interested in this woman before him, not in her offer, no, in her. The offer was more confusion, mission? Family? These were strange words to him, and he didn't believe them by themselves, but coming from her mouth... he might be persuaded to listen, at least for a bit. A mixture of apprehension, confusion, and curiosity stirred within him, he was salivating heavily, but he wasn't hungry, was he? Connor licked the blood from his long canines with his enlarged tongue. Unintentionally revealing both to Lapis. Another smell was coming from her now, he couldn't place it.
"A bold thing to claim that you could take care of me," Connor said, he wasn't even sure what he meant by that but he felt the need to resist whatever was happening here. "But... tell me about this project."
“Oh, big guy, I could definitely take care of you.” Lapis moved forward, closing the gap between them slightly. She tilted her head all the way back to look up at him. There was a blatantly suggestive smile on her face then, her posture conveying how unbothered she was by their close proximity. Her eyes, however, told a different story. She was very bothered– but not in the way someone might have expected.
Lapis was in her element. Convincing people to do what she wanted, using her sexuality like a weapon, and leading conversations, these were all where she excelled. She distracted with her body, caught their attention enough to listen to her, and then convinced them to say yes. So it was while she looked up at him that she uncrossed her arms and placed them on the small of her waist, pulling her loose top in to show off her curves.
“Our project is simple. We want to make a meta-human sanctuary from normal humans. A safe place for them to go, and we want to make sure that space is completely free from all normal humans. They can’t be trusted to be around us and not hurt us, not fear us. All of us have lost someone or something to humans. Do you sympathize with humans at all, Connor? Or have you also been stabbed in the back by them?”
She went the angry route. This man seemed like he was hiding a lot of anger. He seemed like the type who might understand the concept of a human hurting him. Connor seemed like someone the type who had been hurt in the past, the kind of man who knew fury like no one else.
Her proximity sent a rush of blood through his system, Connor felt excited, like he was on a hunt, but this wasn't quite what this was, but he felt his body bristle and grow slightly larger in face of the display Lapis was giving him. He wanted to reach out and grab a handful of her, he wanted... he wanted? Yes, Connor was taken aback. This was new, this wasn't in the cards, this wasn't something he was supposed to be susceptible to. But he was certain the want, the desire, the lust had just crossed his face and he was sure Lapis would notice.
Mate. The word echoed in his ears. It's what Todd and with Sam, if it was possible for him, why not Connor. No, that was ridiculous. Mate. The voice repeated. He ignored it, he must have been misunderstanding her signals. Mate. She clearly was attempting to manipulate him, and would never actually want him that way. Mate.
It was among this turmoil of emotions that Lapis offered her fury. And that was when Connor saw her in another light, a hurt person, an accursed outcast, like him, so much like him. Her fury was his fury, her hurt was his hurt. And he felt something other than desire, he felt a longing kinship. His gut told him that while he was trying to distract him, she was being genuine all the same.
"I was hunted," Connor leaned down, his face coming closer to Lapis'. Her eyes captured him. A growl entered his throat that rumbled across, so she could not only hear it, but feel it. He offered a taste of his fury in his voice. "I was tagged, caged, hurt, yes... and I ran... for a very long time... and I learned there is no hope, only survival, no future, only today... your project is a lovely dream, but only that, a dream."
She really was beautiful, preciously so, Connor would remember this face that looked up at him, but as he leaned back he struggled to accept that he would not see it again. He decided his thoughts and desires were a momentary lapse of judgement, a break in the walls, his instincts going a tad too wild for a moment. It was impossible, really, for a pretty thing like her to want a monster like him, she was probably just messing with him, or he got too excited by an available female. Yet even as he thought all this, and he leaned back away from Lapis, gaze still lingered on her eyes, her lips, and the curve of her body.
"If there was a shadow of a hope to it, perhaps the dream would tempt me, but I don't think there's much... perhaps for others there may be, but not for me, and not forever."
He was reacting to something. Whether it was her words or her body, Lapis wasn’t initially sure. He only confirmed it was her body when he got down close to her, when he growled, when he retreated but kept his eyes on her. That feral grin returned in full then, and she got on her tiptoes, following him as he withdrew. She couldn’t keep the space between their faces even, but it brought her high enough that when she leaned forward, her body a hair’s breadth away from his, she was about mid-chest to him.
“Aw, are you sure we can’t convince you? Would you maybe like to hear from my friends before you decide that it isn’t… realistic? We could really use someone with your… skills.” Her eyes flicked over him again. She wet her lips, the grin becoming something more on the side of desire than wild.
Being this close to him, she could smell him, could smell rosemary and river and something animal in nature. She could see the spikes of green in his eyes that shot through the lighter green. She let her eyes rest on his lips while she grinned, and then she pulled back, away from him, taking a few steps back.
“And, I’m only allowed to play when business is done. So what do you say? Feel like talking about this some more?” She tucked her hands behind her back, taking small steps back and away from him, the sway of her hips intentionally smooth and slow. He was resisting his desire for her, and so she moved in a way designed to draw the gaze to her chest, to her hips, to her sharp face.
She was close, so very close. Her smell was driving Connor mad, awakening some long slumbering feelings within him, a monster he could only just keep in check. He could feel her warmth from this close, if they were alone, and she wasn’t here to offer him some position in a group he knew nothing about, Connor wasn’t sure he could have resisted. The fact that there was a part of him he wasn’t sure he could control was frightening.
Despite this he still indulged himself by looking, not even being subtle about it now. But he tried to remind himself that she was only trying to distract him from the matter at hand. It was all so confusing, Connor felt his brain muddled and his focus was slipping.
He didn’t often flee but he felt leaving was the best course of action.
“Not tonight, little gem,” Connor said, his own tone surprised him. It sounded bemused, playful? He flattenedhis voice back out. Was he starting to grin? “I appreciate the offer, but I’m no idealist.”
It took a lot out of him to slowly back away from Lapis. But Connor managed it, he back into the shadows though he kept his hungry gaze on Lapis as long as he would allow himself. Her intricate floral tattoos fascinated him, how they wrapped around her body like they were growing on her. The curve of her lips, the colour of her eyes, Connor took it all in as he left. The last thing she saw was the flash of light reflecting his eyes in the darkness.
“Maybe you’ll have better luck with other monsters.” Connor said, and then he turned and walked away. Heading straight towards the woods he was saying in. He was already trying to forget Lapis, but he could tell already how she appeared in his mind, it would be a task in of itself.
Lapis’s face split in the biggest grin yet, a flash of white as her teeth were bared in an almost vicious manner. Little gem. She liked that. She liked her lips and then called out as he walked away, “See you around, big guy.”
Behind her, Rhody and Hematite emerged from the shadows and made their way over toward her. She sighed and removed her black jacket, tossing it up at Hematite. He caught it, giving her a look. Underneath the jacket, she was wearing a cropped tank top with a cut-out in the middle. Paired with the black cargo pants she had chosen to wear, her outfit suddenly took on a sexy look, with her midriff bare and her tattoos on display. And she was about to go and use that.
Through their earpieces, Sulphur’s voice came through. “Let’s report back. Ethan will have to handle this one. Fall back to the meeting point and we’ll return from there. Lapis, thank you for your efforts.”
“Yeah, well, too bad about that one. He seemed… fun.”
“Lapis, you think everything on two legs is ‘fun’.”
“Phur, you hurt me.” She turned and removed her earpiece, missing what his response was. Rhody and Hematite had started to walk away, and Lapis slipped up behind them. She tucked the earpiece into Rhody’s pocket and then turned around and walked silently back the way that Connor had disappeared. She waited until she couldn’t hear the couple talking anymore before she started running.
Very quickly, she spotted him. He was hard to miss, after all. She ran, barely catching up to him with his much longer stride. She stepped out and next to him, slightly ahead of him, and turned around, walking backward.
“Told you I’d be seeing you around. Now, then. Business is done, which means I get to play. Do you want to play with me?” Her voice had changed, dropping all hints of civility and seriousness. There was a playful edge to the sultry tone she took then, and her expression was suggestive.
Connor was so caught up in forgetting her that he didn’t expect Lapis to show up again. But there she was, taking him off guard, one of a very few that was able to sneak up on him. Connor didn’t know if it was her sudden appearance, or the fact that she had stripped a layer, revealing more of her delicious and alluring flesh to him; but he forgot all about his plan to move on from her. And Connor resisted the urge to claim her for his own right there and then.
This must be a ploy, he reasoned, but the look in her eye, the tone of her voice. Could she be lying this effectively? Or did she really want him? Either way, Connor reasoned, he couldn’t let her control him that easily. So he kept walking.
“You sure you know what you’re asking for, little gem?” Connor offered a grin that demonstrated his sharp teeth, this was fun weirdly to him. A new experience which quickened his heartbeat.
The woods he was sleeping in wasn’t far, already the warehouses were peeling away to a more urban and then green environment. Surely, Connor reasoned, she would either lose interest or be scared off before they arrived. He didn’t actually know what he’d do if that wasn’t the case.
“Oh, I know what I’m asking for.” Lapis shivered at the sight of his long canines. She looked him up and down, her voice purring. She let her eyes slip to half-mast, looking up from under her lashes. She bit her bottom lip and then grinned again. She clasped her hands behind her back, pushing her chest out and swaying her hips as she moved.
This was probably not the best idea that Lapis had ever had, but it was definitely one of the more fun ones. Hopefully, he wasn’t secretly a softie. Nothing would disappoint her more than if this wasn’t as fun as she was expecting it to be. She didn’t like gentle, and she didn’t like slow, and she didn’t like soft. Connor didn’t look like he’d be any of those things, but Lapis had been surprised before by people not being exactly what she imagined them to be like in bed.
Still, she lifted and pushed back her shoulders, cracked her neck, and gave him as vicious and feral a grin as she was capable of. Which was, to put it mildly, extremely good at converting what she felt right then.
“If I thought I didn’t know what I was asking for, do you think I’d be here? Now are you going to fuck me, or should I go find someone else to spend the night with?” The edge of the forest was fast approaching, and she stopped moving, worried she might trip with the way she had been walking backward. However, she didn’t just stop– she moved directly in his path as she did, intentionally preventing him from moving forward as well.
Arousal, Connor couldn’t pretend that wasn’t the feeling passing between them now. He wanted her, and everything she was doing communicated she wanted him too. The curve of her chest, her hips, Connor felt lightheaded, was he really this easily overtaken? Overpowered? It was almost frustrating.
He stepped fully in front of her and slowly as they approached the forest he walked towards her until Lapis backed right into a tree. Conner leaned over her, one arm propped up right above her head, the other came up and rested just below her throat and just above her chest. His hand could kill her or feel her up if he so chose. But the way her flesh felt electrified against his, he knew which he preferred.
“We only just met,” Connor said into her ear. The last bastion of his reason trying desperately for a way out. “I don’t want to hurt you.”