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That which does not kill me...

...has made a grievous tactical error.

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For inwhichwar, the AU of the Volchok 'verse.
Ben's recovered from his ordeal at the brothel, at least for the most part. He hates being undressed in front of people, including Kati--although he knows he's safe with her and trusts her utterly. But his modesty issues have taken a giant hit with this, and he's still twitchy around people not his Mistress.

He's gradually getting over it, though, coming out of his shell a little at a time. He's running small errands on his own, and today Kati has sent him to the liquor store for Ketel One vodka and Captain Morgan spiced rum. He's on his way home with a paper bag in his hand, looking around warily at the people he shares the sidewalk with.

Furious footsteps sound behind him, and he stiffens when a hand grabs his shoulder and spins him around. He drops into a defensive crouch, fangs out, snarling, because he hates being touched by unexpected strangers nearly as much as he hates being naked in front of them. "You little shit," the man says. "I thought that was you." A hulking werewolf stands in the accepted stance behind him, nearly three times Ben's size and built like a damn bear even as a human.

Ben straightens, somewhat, still bristling aggressively. He's got a panic button in his pocket, and he slaps it almost automatically. "Who the fuck are you?"

"I'm the guy you cost a shitload of money in the ring, you bastard. Don't think I don't know you threw that last fight. Do you know how much I bet on you?"

"Not sure I care. This is what happens when you put a wager on something you've no control over." Idiot, he carefully doesn't say. "That's why they call it gambling." Come on, Mistress, where are you...

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[She is, in point of fact, in their shared flat, reading the daily reports and waiting for him to come back. She's actually quite enjoyed this little leave of absence -- nursing Ben back to health and all. It's something like she imagines a normal life might be like, and if she's not exactly lining up for it to be permanent, well, she still likes it well enough.

When her phone shrills out the alert tone from Ben's panic button, though, all that goes out the window, and she is arming up and heading for the door with all the alacrity of the seasoned soldier of fortune that she is. ]

["Yeah, well, I think I'm owed a little payback that we should take out of your hide."]

That may be your opinion, sir, but if these bottles get smashed my Mistress is going to be pissed.

Not at me. At you.

You wouldn't like her when she's pissed.

[The man's expression darkens at being sassed back at by a slave, and he raises his hand and snaps his fingers at the wolf behind him.

"Get 'im."

The big werewolf moves on command, a perfect attack animal, and lunges forward to make a grab for Ben.]

[Ben flits aside, almost contemptuously, keeping hold of his paper bag while he does so and stepping backward toward their place. The big wolf doesn't stop, however; he follows up his attack with a vicious claw-swipe aimed at Ben's face.

Ben ducks under that and swaps the bag from his right hand to his left, popping his own claws in the same motion and catching the other wolf on the back of his forearm. The wolf roars in pained surprise, and Ben finds himself in trouble when his opponent suddenly moves much faster than Ben gave him credit for.

The bottles go smash on the ground as the big wolf grabs his wrist in a punishing grip, twisting the arm up and around and behind Ben's back, slinging him into a wall and putting a knee in the center of his back.]

[And the human sneers with utter contempt.

"Where's that scary Mistress now, you little bastard?" He jerks his chin at the big wolf.

"Bring him. I know just the place to put him to work earning me my money back." ]

[Oh, fuck that noise. Ben isn't even thinking about it; his brain goes into complete panic mode autopilot. He's slapping frantically at the panic button with his free hand, struggling and snarling and half-wolfed...

But not all the way, because that will leave him naked, and he has a visceral fear of that.

But even while he's slapping the panic button, his claws are out. He hurts himself with them, blood flowing freely down the outside of his leg and soaking through his jeans. His brain registers that he would do better hurting the other wolf with them, and he spears backward and digs them into the guy's thigh.

Which is when his abused shoulder comes right out of the socket, and his vision goes spotty and his knees buckle.]

[It's not that far to the liquor store, or Kati wouldn't have sent Ben there, and she strides down the sidewalk with a look so grim the other pedestrians get out of her way. Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of that kind of cold anger.

The man smiles nastily, and the big wolf proceeds to drag Ben down the sidewalk, not being particularly mindful of the separated shoulder -- probably the opposite, in fact. The passers-by take in the scene, file it as a runaway capture and thus none of their business, and avert their eyes.]

[Ben manages to get his feet under him. He's in complete fight-or-flight mode at this point, and since he can't get away, it's fight.

The big guy really doesn't like it when Ben lands on his back and kicks him behind the knee. He's thrown off-balance and hits the ground with a pained, surprised roar that turns to a howl when Ben reaches up and around and rakes his face with the claws of his uninjured hand.]

[The man's hand goes into a pocket and comes out with one of the wide-frequency collar remotes used by police and pit trainers who deal with multiple wolves at a time. His thumb turns a dial, depresses a button . . .

And nothing happens. Nor does it when he switches frequencies.

Kati didn't hire the best engineer in San Viviana for nothing.]

[Even downed, the other wolf hasn't let go his grip on Ben's arm, and Ben uses the leverage to pop his shoulder back into place with a sickening crunch and another burst of pain that nearly makes him black out. But he didn't endure demon torture for all those years for nothing, and he recovers faster than the wolf, who is blinded by his own blood.

He twists his wrist toward the wolf's thumb, breaking the grip that's been loosened by pain anyway, and he shoves himself to his feet and delivers a kick in passing to the wolf's face, breaking his nose and eliciting a fresh howl.

And then he stalks toward that owner bastard, who is still frantically mashing the button on his remote.] Didn't I tell you? My Mistress doesn't like anyone else messing with her wolf. [His fangs are out, his claws are extended, and his eyes are amber. He's nearly as much wolf as man right now, and it's terrifying.]

Edited at 2012-12-06 10:34 pm (UTC)

[It is, and now pedestrians are noticing -- someone lets out a sharp, panicked cry, and someone else (or several someone elses) have their phones out, dialing for the police . . .

And right about now is when the big wolf regains his feet and his equilibrium and comes at Ben, snarling, from behind.]

[Ben hears the heavy, limping footsteps and catches motion out of the tail of his eye. He ducks under one wild swing and wholly fails to dodge the massive punch from the other hand, which smashes him to the ground in a daze.

But he can't just lie here, and he tries to roll, to come back up, to somehow defend himself. But a boot slams into his ribs, sending him tumbling to fetch up against the nearby building. He can't breathe, can't think, all he has is a litany of ohgodthey'retakingmetoanotherbrothel running through his scattered brain, because what else would someone like this mean about "putting him to work?]


["Mouthy little shit." The big wolf grabs both of Ben's wrists and twists them viciously behind him, and the human aims a vicious kick of his own right at Ben's solar plexus before he bends down and reaches for the buckle on Ben's collar.]

["Seriously, his Mistress can't be all that scary if she lets him get away with that." Ben's still struggling, but it's like being held by a rock. A heavy chain comes from somewhere and clips the rings on the wrist cuffs together behind his back, and the wolf shifts his iron grip to Ben's legs, holding them immobile.

Ben is winded, half-conscious, and terrified. It's a terrible combination.]

[ The human yanks the collar off and tosses it away, fists his hand in Ben's hair and hisses in his ear.

"I'm going to collect everything you lost me, with interest." He bounces Ben's forehead against the pavement and then stands, snapping his fingers at the big wolf.

They have a van parked just down the block. Unmarked, of course.]

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