Scents were essential to a pack. There would be no way for them to track their prey, no way for effectively patrolling the territory or to tell pack from stranger. Werewolves relied on scent just as much as their wild counterparts did, if not more. Dangers in the human world were just as plentiful as in the wild and werewolves walked both lines.
Aurora still preferred the thrill of a hunt though.
Licking the blood from her paws, she waited for the others to catch up to her. Though going to a grocery store was far easier, it helped settle the desire to hunt and chase something to have a meal the old-fashioned way.
Her instincts had been on edge for days, or she would have just herded the buck towards the others as she normally did on these little excursions. Her whole job was to hunt for the pack and to help them keep from keeping the wolf inside for too long. With humans moving in closer and three other large packs, they had to remember to indulge when they could.
However, Aurora needed this hunt as much as the others had. She’d felt restless around the pack house, catching scents that perked her wolf to the surface and it would be buried just as quickly by the scent of pack. It was making her edgy. Maybe it was still being new to the pack but that didn’t make any sense either. Not after she’d already been accepted and made a place for herself.
And the last thing she wanted to do was bring her worries up to Jace or Blair. The Alphas were still in that newly mated stage and did not need more worries on their plate now. Especially if only turned out to be her own jitters about the new place.
As the others emerged from trees, Aurora stood to shake the snow from her fur. She’d eaten her fill and felt no need to join the jostling or snapping for what was left. A short growl informed the other hunter of the group that she was heading back ahead. If he was unhappy about her not letting him or the others help with the takedown, he didn’t let it show. At least not now. There was always the possibility that he’d have something to say later.
Following the trail back towards the pack house, she tried to clear her mind. Her instincts had settled, at least a little. There wasn’t this overwhelming need for the chase anymore but she still felt restless. Like there was something important that kept passing her by, in either form.
Just as she reached a branch in the trail, she froze. If she had been going any faster than the easy trot, she would have slid right into the snow bank. Her nose dropped to the ground almost without her being able to help and she tried to sort through the scents.
It headed north, on the trail that the scouts had worn down in fresh snow. She knew a couple of the scouts but it was a new scent that had her heading in the opposite direction of the house. She couldn’t puzzle out why it called to her but she was going to hunt it down.
Aurora followed the scent even as it branched off on its own trail. By now, she knew that it was another wolf from the pack. Pack members, though distinct in scent as individuals, all carried the same underlying scent. As the third largest pack in the area, she had not met quite a few members yet. She’d been working on getting to know everyone but it took time.
Time she was spending trying to figure out why this particular scent called to her. Her human mind couldn’t figure it out in the least but her wolf was rather excited. She felt rather playful actually. It was bizarre.
As the scent grew stronger, she circled towards the west. Though a part of her wanted to be direct and go straight to the source, the other wanted to scope things out. To try to figure out why her instincts were in such a tizzy over this one scent.
Though her dark fur normally stood out in the snow, she knew how to hide herself and how to move unseen. What she forgot to account for was the fact that she was tracking a scout.
Aurora barely caught sight of the white wolf before he must’ve caught her scent as well. His gaze swung in her direction and she saw the way his ears perked. She knew that she was well covered by the underbrush but she hadn’t even tried to be quiet.
As he started in her direction, she figured a little game wouldn’t hurt. She was still feeling playful and if he was any good at his job, he’d know she was pack the same way she knew he was.
Going back the way she came, she circled around to the other side. Once she was sure he was following her trail, she started leaving the most confusing trail she could think of. She crossed over prior trails, back tracked, and even taunted by waiting until he was almost within sight and then bounding back into the underbrush.
The frustrated little growls were amusing, the one attempt at sounding threatening was even funnier, but none of them made her stop her game. The Alphas would so rip her a new one for playing this game if they found out.
One sound did make her stop almost as suddenly as she had when she caught his scent. Swinging around, she trotted back towards the clearing that she had crossed back and forth over so many times that he wouldn’t be able to tell where she had come and gone from. He was there, sitting in the middle of the mess she made, surveying the underbrush.
Then it came again; a low whine that drove all need to continue the chase out of her. She did not like that noise, did not like that noise one bit. Before he could whine again, Aurora pounced. Literally.
He was larger than she was but she had both momentum and surprise on her side. She had him pinned in the snow in moments. This close, his scent was almost overpowering but she had enough self-control to not start cuddling the pack member she just tackled into a foot of snow like a creep.
That feeling didn’t stop her from playfully nipping at him. When he didn’t react at all, she cocked her head to the side and huffed down at him. He was just staring at her oddly and her tail drooped again.
His head cocked in the same direction and she pawed at him. She wanted him to play and he was acting odd. In this form though, it was hard to ask what was wrong. Only one way to fix that though and she figured it was better now than later.
Rolling her shoulders back, she the ripple under her as the shift began. It wasn’t something to hide, not among wolves. Privacy didn’t exist in packs either and so nudity wasn’t anything she worried about either.
Thankfully, he took the hint and shifted back as well. Didn’t take her long to realize just how awkward the situation got in that position though and scrambled off of him.
“Sorry!” She managed to get out as she pushed as much snow away from her as she could. It wasn’t that bad with fur but it was rather shocking feeling to be naked in the snow. Didn’t help that she really found herself hating moving away from him.
There was a draw to him that she still couldn’t explain. Like they were magnets being drawn together and if the way he stared at her meant anything, he felt it too.
“I’m Aurora” she smiled, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear and holding out a hand. Pulling her knees up to her chest, she tried to keep as warm as she could for a conversation in the snow. “Are you alright? I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“Lars,” he replied, taking her hand. Instead of the handshake she expected, he tugged her forward back into his lap. Her mind strayed to the gutter almost instantly. “Do you feel this too?”
“That’s one way of putting it,” he smiled and Aurora melted. Attraction was definitely on the table. “Others around here call it a mating pull.”
That had her pulling back in surprise. She’d heard of the pull of course, all wolves had. Soul mates was another way of putting it. Around here, there was a ball held between the packs to see if mates were found between the packs. She’d seen the happiness between them but hadn’t quite chalked it up to that pull though. But this draw to him was undeniable and abnormal. Not to mention that the restlessness that plagued her for days was gone.
“Uh,” she bit her lip, trying to keep her gaze on his face and only letting it go as low as the top of his chest. “I guess we need to talk then.”
“And maybe save the games for another day.”
“Or,” she started before she could stop herself, a sly smile curving her lips. “We could do both?”