Ewan wasn’t sure what was happening. He wasn’t sure about anything except the pain. But something dark and heavy flashed past him, a rush of air hissing past his face, forcing the one-fanged vampire to the ground with a thud and the crack of bones. With the vampire gone, the pain eased slightly. Gasping for air, Ewan tried to look around, but his vision was distorted and fuzzy, just patches of light and dark. He tried to calm himself down enough to check for scents. His mouth was tingling, fangs still extended, so his body must have sensed something nearby even if his conscious mind wouldn’t register it. But what could’ve possibly taken down a vampire?
Something was drawing close to him---two somethings. And he was defenseless.
His foggy mind awakened his senses enough for him to recognize a thick earthy scent coming near: werewolf.
Grunting, he managed to heave a single word past his lips: “Help.”
“Ewan!” a peach-scented whisper floated back.
“Ewan, stay still, it’ll be all right.”
Juliet looked at Shawn, stormy blue eyes silently pleading.
The wolf’s hazel eyes looked back at her, watching her for a moment before he dipped his lupine head in understanding. Gingerly, he sat close to Juliet’s wounded brother and reached out with one forepaw.
The reaction was immediate. Instinctively, Ewan snapped his fangs into the arteries of the brown wolf’s furry leg. The neck vein would’ve been better, but his deepest survival urges were crying out for blood, and the monster inside Ewan wasn’t going to be picky. He drank deep, consumed by thirst and the need to heal, and he barely felt any pain at all when his sister slid the stake out of his flesh with a sickening, wet pop. The werewolf slumped beside him, rapidly being drained away.
Warm hands shook his shoulder.
He ignored it.
“Ewan! You have to stop! You’ll kill him!”
Something slammed into Ewan hard, knocking him away from his prey. A second werewolf, much bigger than the first with nearly-black fur and cold eyes, was standing over the weak scrap of pale brown fur, teeth bared and slicked with vampire blood.
So this was what had taken Ewan’s captor down.
The military agent shook himself, willing the monster away, fighting to regain control. He was healed now; slaking his thirst could wait. He took an experimental breath through his nose and found himself able to function. Scents washed over him, scents he recognized.
“Lassiter?” Ewan coughed. “Why are you here? Juliet?” Blinking, he gestured to the brown body lying between Lassiter’s front paws. “Is he going to be okay?”
Juliet nodded slowly. “I think so. Shawn’s pretty strong. He should be okay in a minute or two.” She glanced over her shoulder at Lassiter, feeling relieved when her partner dipped his head in agreement.
“What, you mean that’s Shawn? Shawn Spencer, from the SBPD? How is that possible?” Ewan demanded. “Shawn’s a human!”
“Shawn was a human,” Juliet clarified, feeling unusually stiff in front of her brother now that he was back to his old self. “We had a run-in with some…some vampire hunters last year, and---well, during the---the incident, Carlton, um…ended up biting him.”
“Vampire hunters?” Ewan echoed. His eyes narrowed as he scrutinized his sister. “Don't you mean dhampir hunters?"
Juliet had to force herself not to flinch. “It doesn’t matter what they were. What matters is that they’re gone and we all made it out okay.”
“Juliet,” Ewan began.
She cut him off. “Let’s not do this right now. This isn’t the time. We need to---we need to get you out of here.”
“Right,” her brother replied cautiously. “Look, Juliet… Thank you for rescuing me. I don’t know what I would’ve done if you and your friends hadn’t been there.”
“It was nothing,” she whispered.
Ewan pushed on. “But I don’t know what I’m dealing with here. I don’t know who these people are---or why a human and a vampire are working together---or even how they found me in the first place, but this is dangerous. All of this is dangerous. My entire mission is dangerous.”
“And that’s all you think about, isn’t it? Your mission,” Juliet said coldly. “You’re still guilty of obstruction of justice and attempted murder, Ewan O’Hara.”
Ewan stared her down, the essence of control and restraint as always. “What are you going to do, Juliet? Arrest me again?”
Behind her, a low growl---Lassiter snarling, hackles raised and lips curled back to fully reveal his rows of canine teeth. Snarling as if to say, She doesn’t have to do anything because I will.
It was all Ewan could do to stop himself from growling back or shifting to a defensive stance, but he stood his ground and stared into his sister’s ocean eyes, storm clouds meeting the churning horizon of the sea.
“Why don’t you tell me everything from the beginning? Maybe then I can help you,” she pleaded at last.
“I can’t,” he said quietly. “Even if I wanted to, I don’t know everything.”
“Then tell me what you do know.”
Ewan slowly shook his head. “I can’t. I’m sorry.”
“Well… What are we going to do with---them?” she gestured to the two unconscious hostiles still prone on the damp ground.
“I honestly don’t know,” Ewan admitted. “My training never prepared me for attacks from other supernaturals. I don’t even know where to start.”
“Do you at least know what they wanted from you? What were they trying to find out?”
“No idea,” Ewan forced out the lie.
Juliet’s eyes flashed in disappointment, but there was nothing else he could do.
Something itched at the corners of Ewan’s mind…his soldier sense flaring up. That was usually not a good sign. “I need to report this to my superior ASAP.” He hesitated when he reached into his pocket to discover that his cell phone had been shattered. “May I use your phone?”
Juliet handed him the phone as if she were offering him a venomous snake.
“Thanks, sis. Stay here. I’ll be right back.”
She didn’t need to ask why; obviously he was going to get well out of hearing range before he made the call.
Behind her, Lassiter’s low growl echoed once again in the mountain forest.