Seasons Change 2.3

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When we got to her car, I got out with her. Enrico, either taking my cue or still worried about her, got out and walked over to her car as well.


The first thing I did was open the trunk and get the suitcase out. Thankfully, nobody had come and stolen it‒the consequences if the police were able to link the contents to us were likely to be very bad, and I wouldn’t want to put that much weaponry in the hands of a criminal either.


Kyra glanced around perfunctorily, then shrugged out of the coat and dropped the shotgun, which she’d unloaded before Enrico got there, into the bag with a grunt of relief. I followed suit, then began removing the various knives and such that I’d brought.


“What the hell are you thinking?” Enrico said, quietly but very emphatically.


Kyra snorted. “I the hell am thinking I’m tired, grouchy, and would rather not be wearing this stuff any longer than I have to at this point. What’s it look like I’m thinking?”


“This is illegal!” he hissed back. “Do you have any idea how much trouble we could be in for this?”


“Actually,” I said mildly, pulling off my pistol and placing it into the suitcase as well, “most of this stuff is legal and licensed. Although not necessarily to me, I admit.”


He looked at me and narrowed his eyes slightly. “And‒completely ignoring the question of why you even own it‒what were you doing with it?”


I grunted and took the spare ammo out of various pockets. “Tell you later.” I frowned and looked down at the suitcase. “Okay, I think that’s everything.” I hefted the suitcase and put it back into her trunk, following it up with the trench coat. “If you wouldn’t mind dropping it at my house, I can sort it all out later.”


Kyra nodded. “Yeah, no problem. Call me when you’re ready to finish the job.”


Enrico and I watched her start the car, which made a horrible sound that was totally in character for it, and then drive off, heading towards my house on the western edge of town.


“Will she really be all right?” he asked me.


I nodded, turning to go back to his car. “Yeah. Give her a good night’s rest and she’ll be good as new. Trust me.”


“What about you?” he said quietly, getting in the car opposite me.


I smirked at him. “Oh, I’m always all right.”


He looked at me doubtfully, then shrugged and started the car. “If you say so. Where to next?”


“The man we’re going to see lives down near the Broadmoor. I don’t remember the address, but I can find it once we’re in the area.”


He gave me a concerned look. “You sure you don’t just want to leave it for another day, Winter?”


“I’m fine,” I said, exasperated. “Tired, that’s all.”


He sighed. “All right then. So who is this guy you want to see so bad?”


I frowned. “You remember I told you there’re other werewolves in this town, besides Kyra.” He nodded, and I continued, “Well, pretty much all of them belong to the local pack. It’s sort of like a governing body crossed with a fraternity. There are a lot of rules, and if you break them the consequences are likely to be pretty bad, but that’s not all they’re about. They hold group events, provide support to the members, that sort of thing.” That’s how Kyra keeps afloat on a waitress’s pay; every werewolf has to contribute funds to the pack, sort of like a private taxation system, but part of what they do with it is make sure that all the wolves at least have enough to get by.


“Okay,” Enrico said after a moment. “I think I get it. So he’s one of them?”


“Well,” I hedged. “Sort of. Werewolves like hierarchy‒knowing who’s in charge, what everybody’s role is. Right now, Kyra’s the second-highest in the pack.”


“Ah,” he said. “And this man is…?”


“Her boss,” I said shortly. “The most dominant wolf in the city. Alpha of the pack.”


His lips twitched. “You’re kidding. They actually call him that?”


I nodded. “Yep. His name’s Christopher Morgan.” I paused. “There’s a few things you have to know before you meet him,” I said carefully. I didn’t want to scare Enrico, but…werewolves aren’t just humans who occasionally turn into wolves. Forgetting that, especially around an Alpha, tends to be hazardous to your health.


“I figured as much,” he said calmly. “Hit me.”


I had to think for a moment how to approach it. I’d never really had to explain all this before. “I guess it all comes back to the hierarchy thing,” I said eventually. “Werewolves like to know who’s in charge, and in this city that means Christopher. Don’t do anything to challenge that.”


“So, what? Don’t try and tell him what to do?”


“That’s part of it,” I agreed. “But there’s more to it than that. Don’t try and intimidate him, or pressure him for information. Don’t make eye contact for more than a second or so.”


Enrico paused for a moment. “Okay, I think I get it. But what’s with the eye contact thing?”


“It’s a confrontation thing.” I frowned, grasping for words. “Werewolves…aren’t entirely human. They’ve got a whole bunch of instincts from the wolf side. Their instinctive reaction to prolonged eye contact is to see it as, I don’t know, I guess you’d call it a challenge.”


“Huh,” he said meditatively. “I guess I know what you mean. But why do you keep saying they? Aren’t you a werewolf too?”


I snorted. “Not quite. What I am is…complicated. I’ll tell you about it later, this is our turn.”


Enrico was silent for a moment. The houses, big buildings with yards and trees in this part of town, loomed in the gathering gloom as we passed. “So what’s he like? I mean, I get it he’s important, but what kind of person is he?”


I didn’t have to ask who he meant. “I don’t know. Dedicated. He’d do anything for his wolves. You might get to meet a couple of them, too‒there’s usually at least one or two of them there this time of day. Turn right here.” He did, navigating his way along the twisty uphill road. I don’t know why the people who plan out classy neighborhoods seem to like nonsensical road layout so much. “I guess you could say Christopher’s a good man who’s stuck with a hard job,” I finally said in answer to Enrico’s question.


“That the place?” Enrico said, nodding toward the house. It was a big place, huge really, three stories tall and proportionally wide. The windows, of which there were an impressive number, glowed cheerily in the dusk.


“That’s the one,” I agreed, undoing my seatbelt. He parked on the street out front and got out, looking the building over with a calculating expression on his face, as though he were considering how much he could get for burgling it.


“He’s doing all right for himself,” he commented to me.


“Yeah,” I agreed. “Actually, though, the pack bought the house. Most of the time I think they use it more than he does.” I led the way through the wrought iron fence and up the shallow flight of concrete stairs to the front door. Enrico followed in my footsteps, much more precisely than he actually needed to‒unlike some Alphas, Christopher refuses to booby-trap his house. I opened the door without knocking and entered directly into the main room of the house.


Christopher’s house is built around a single enormous room that takes up pretty much the whole ground floor of the building. Back when Roland owned the house, it was modeled after a medieval throne room, including‒I kid you not‒a genuine throne. And yes, he sat in it to conduct pack meetings. These days it’s as far from that as it’s possible to be without serious structural changes. You could easily mistake it for a particularly awesome lounge. There’s a big fireplace on one wall, which most of the furniture is vaguely oriented around, and which at the moment had a lovely fire going.


At the moment, as I’d predicted, the room wasn’t empty. There were three werewolves, two male and one female, arranged on various couches or bean bags watching South Park on the enormous television hanging on one wall. I recognized all of them, by sight if not by name.


“Hey, Winter,” one of the men said. He was a newer werewolf, probably younger than me, named Scott. “Here to see the boss?”


“Yep,” I said. “He around?”


“In the study,” the woman said without looking away from the TV. I knew her, but couldn’t seem to remember her name at the moment.


“Thanks,” I said, leading Enrico to one of the staircases placed on either side of the door. Christopher’s study was on the top floor, which is the only section of the building he pretty much reserves for himself. The rest of the house is, if you’re on good terms with the pack, essentially public property. If Christopher finds you on the third floor, though, you’d better have a good reason to be there. And God help you if you’re actually in his bedroom or something.


Everybody gets territorial. Werewolves (and me, but that’s beside the point) tend to have much stronger territorial urges than the average human. Alphas’ are a bit stronger than that. And thanks to the way the pack laws are set up, it would be well within Christopher’s rights to kill you if you trespassed on his personal space. And yes, that applies even if you do it by accident.


I made my way to the simple wooden door and knocked on it. Christopher, somewhat muffled by the door, called out “One minute.” Less than fifteen seconds later, Christopher opened the door and waved us inside.


Christopher was a thin, tall man with dark hair and eyes. Werewolves, who thanks to their healing abilities are functionally immortal, never really get elderly. There’s quite a bit of variation, though; some werewolves, including Kyra and Conn Fergusson, the Khan who governed all the wolves I’d ever met, look like they’re in their late teens. Others might look as old as thirty or even forty. Christopher was somewhere in the middle; at a guess you’d probably guess he was in his late twenties. The truth is somewhere closer to sixty or seventy.


“Winter,” he greeted me as he walked back around his desk. It was a real behemoth, mahogany stained dark with decades of use. And yes, I do get most of my money making furniture. “What brings you here?” He paused briefly. “And who’s your guest?” His voice, friendly enough for the most part, got about ten degrees cooler for the last part.


“Bad news,” I said shortly. “But I should probably introduce you first. Christopher, this is Enrico Rossi. I mentioned him a while ago….”


“I remember,” Christopher said shortly, but without the coldness that had been there before.


“Right. Enrico, this is Christopher Morgan, Alpha of the Pikes Peak Pack.”


They shook hands and made the appropriate polite noises while I thought about how to present the events of the day to Christopher. “Would you mind waiting outside for a minute, Enrico?” I asked eventually. “Something I need to discuss with Christopher in private, if that’s all right.” It would be a lot simpler if I didn’t have to explain every third word to Enrico at the same time.


He gave me a look which suggested that he was not entirely happy with this turn of events, but his voice was pleasant enough. “No problem,” he said evenly. “I’ll just go introduce myself to those folks downstairs.” He could have saved himself the effort; werewolves tend to put more importance on nonverbal communication than humans, and Christopher was experienced enough that he had definitely caught the subtext there.


Once we were alone, I immediately pushed the wooden door shut. It wasn’t a foolproof defense against eavesdropping, especially not with werewolves in the building, but it was better than nothing.


“What happened to you?” Christopher asked bluntly. “You look like shit.”


I grimaced. “An object lesson in the stupidity of arrogance. It started out with that death by the pack office.” I paused. “You do…?”


His face twisted as though he were biting a lemon (cliché, I know, but he really did look like it). “Yeah, I know about it. You were saying?”


“Enrico called me in to look at it. It reminded him of that mess with Garrett, so he thought I should know about it. Kyra was, by total coincidence, with me at the time, so we both went to check it out. She couldn’t find anything, but I smelled fae magic pretty clearly. An illusion of some kind, which I think was specifically meant to block a werewolf’s sense of smell.”


“I see,” he said calmly. “And you didn’t call me about this because…?”


I hesitated. Why hadn’t I called Christopher? It would have made a lot more sense than going charging in with just Kyra for support. “I’m not sure,” I said eventually. “Didn’t occur to me, I guess. Anyway, we went to remind him that killing people and framing a werewolf isn’t polite.”


“I’ll bet,” he murmured, a smile playing around the corner of his mouth.


I cleared my throat. “We were, unfortunately, unsuccessful in that regard.” I really, really wanted to leave it at that. Unfortunately, there was a chance that Christopher would be able to get some sort of useful information out of what specifically had happened. “The trail was laid deliberately, I think specifically to make sure I was the one who came. We followed the trail about two miles to a building‒Kyra can probably get you the address‒which was covered in more fae magic. Anti-detection spells, as far as I could tell.”


“How serious are we talking here?” he interrupted.


“Um. Pretty good, I think. He had a blending charm over the whole building, plus scent masks and something to block scrying attempts.”


“Safe to say it was a significant amount of effort, then. And probably a serious operator behind it.”


I shrugged. “I think so, yeah. Anyways, there weren’t any wards around the place, so Kyra and I went on in. The fae who did the illusions was in there waiting for us under glamour.” Glamour was a specific word for a magic of the fae, which walked the line between illusion and outright shapeshifting. “He engaged us in conversation, then signaled his people to take us from behind.”


Christopher smiled thinly. “Knocked you out, did they?”


I flushed slightly. “Yeah.”


He snorted. “Lucky you didn’t get worse than that, as stupid as you were. Go on.”


I continued the story. “When we woke up we’d been disarmed and they had us handcuffed on the floor.” I wasn’t going to mention that we’d been naked. That was both embarrassing and, under the circumstances, absolutely irrelevant. “He made small talk for a few minutes, then got around to why he’d done it.”


“Which was?”


“To convey a message. His employer‒I have no idea who that is, by the way‒told him this was a good way to lure me into a trap, and that was a good way to get a message to you.”


Christopher chuckled. “Oh, come on. That’s ridiculous. There are much less difficult ways of getting me a message.”


“I know,” I told him. “Although actually, I think his words were that the employer thought it would be an effective way to convey the message. I guess sending a card just wouldn’t cut it for this one.”


“Right,” he said dryly. “So what’s the message?”


I shrugged. “He said he didn’t know. And he was definitely fae, so that’s probably true as far as it goes. He just said to tell you that you already know the message, and that now you know what it’ll cost if you ignore it.”


“Hm. Cryptic and ambiguous, yet at the same time almost totally useless,” Christopher said thoughtfully.


“Yeah. I’m guessing the price bit has something to do with the murder, but beyond that I haven’t got a clue.”


“That’s because you haven’t thought it through,” he said, tone sharpening slightly. “The location of that death makes it clearly a challenge. As do the obvious suggestions that it was a werewolf, when in fact it was not.” He paused to think. “I’m guessing this was a fae opposed to the treaty with the Khan. If they can arrange deaths so clearly linked to werewolves, and they’re willing to do so just to get you in their power briefly, there’s no way we can go public.”


“Um.” I hadn’t even thought it through that far. “Makes sense.”


He shook his head slowly and rubbed his temples in a way that suggested I wasn’t the only one with a headache. “That’s one matter, then. And the man you brought with you?”


I shrugged. “He wants to know about the supernatural world. Given that I got him involved in the first place by having Kyra transform in front of him, it seemed like something I ought to do, you know? So I figured I might introduce him to you, so if he has any questions about the werewolves in town he knows who to ask.” I shrugged again. “If you’d rather not that’s fine.”


“Actually,” Christopher said, standing up and walking out from around his desk, “I’d like to talk with him. I’ve been meaning to ask you to bring him here, in fact.”


Well. That sounded bad. “Why?” I asked cautiously.


“Tell you in a minute,” Christopher said over his shoulder as he went to find Enrico.


Shortly thereafter, the two of them came back into the room. Enrico sat next to me, while Christopher went back behind the desk and pulled a file folder out of a drawer. “So Winter tells me you helped us out with the incident this autumn.”


Enrico considered that a moment, then shook his head. “No sir,” he said as respectfully as I’d ever heard him. Apparently he’d taken that warning to heart. “Didn’t do it for you.”


Christopher chuckled. “Honesty is a rare virtue, Mr. Rossi. But it doesn’t matter why you were doing it. You helped the pack, and we won’t forget it. If you ever need a favor, ask. I can’t promise that we’ll be able to help you, but we can certainly try.”


Enrico shrugged. “Thank you, then.”


Wow. He had no idea, none whatsoever, the value of the gift he’d just received. A statement by the Alpha, made like that in front of witnesses, is binding. Not just to them, either; the whole pack goes by it. And although Christopher hadn’t technically promised anything, he hadn’t specified what a favor meant either. Which meant that, pretty much whenever he wanted, Enrico could have thirty-plus werewolves to help him out with something.


Thirty werewolves can accomplish a hell of a lot. Not just physically, either; that represents anywhere from several hundred to a few thousand years of experience and accumulated knowledge. That’s a pretty darned useful resource.


“Now,” Christopher said calmly, pulling a few sheets of paper out of the folder. “If you’re willing to help us a little further, I think we can be of use to each other.”


Wait a second. What was this? Enrico was a great guy, sure, and I have no doubt that he’s skilled at his job, but…he’s not exactly a major player. As far as I knew he wasn’t even particularly well connected. What was Christopher talking about?


“I’m willing to hear you out,” Enrico said cautiously. “But I can’t commit to anything until I know the specifics.”


“A laudable attitude,” Christopher said, smiling. “Winter tells me that you’re concerned that the police have no way to deal with crimes which are, shall we say, outside the scope of the natural world.” At Enrico’s nod, he continued, “So are we, although for different reasons. I presume Winter has told you about the plan for werewolves to go public within the next few months?”


Enrico turned to stare at me. I pretended that I had suddenly developed an intense fascination with the wall.


“You didn’t tell him.” Christopher’s voice was heavy with disappointment. He sighed. “That’s between the two of you. I’m sure he can explain it to you. Anyway, some of us feel that the process will be easier if there are already humans in prominent positions who are ready to help make sure things go smoothly. Are you following so far?”


I nodded. Enrico said “I think so. But what’s that have to do with me? I mean, I’m glad to know about it and all….” Here he broke off to glare at me for a moment. “But I’m hardly in a prominent position.”


“I’m aware of that,” Christopher said, glancing down at the papers briefly. I wondered idly if they were a dossier on Enrico. “However, that’s not the only important thing. What we’re trying to do is, basically, to convince the world that we’re valuable citizens. That’s easier to do if there are people ready and willing to talk about the good we can do.”


“Still not seeing the connection,” Enrico said dryly.


Christopher’s smile this time was a shade more…predatory than before. “One of the avenues we are considering to that involves the police.” He slipped another sheet out of the folder and studied it for a moment, continuing to speak as he did so. “I have a list here of werewolves willing to assist the police. I think you will find that they can be most…useful.”


Enrico blinked. For that matter, so did I. “Really,” Enrico said, his tone carefully blank. “That’s…interesting. But I still don’t see why you should be telling me this.”


“Because this would require that certain people be aware of our existence ahead of time. If they think that we’re ordinary detectives‒or ordinary K-9 dogs, for that matter‒what have we gained?” He shrugged eloquently. “Nothing.”


“You’d have done some good,” Enrico pointed out.


Christopher laughed. “True enough, but…look. Mr. Rossi, you strike me as a man who can appreciate an honest answer. We aren’t doing this out of charity. Granted, most of these wolves,” he gestured vaguely at the sheet of paper, “are in it largely to help people, but what I’m proposing isn’t a gift. It’s an exchange. And, in order for that exchange to work, the people we’re counting on for support have to know what they’re supporting. If we wait until after the public revelation to ask them, they’re likely to see it as a betrayal of trust to have been kept in the dark.”


Realization dawned on Enrico’s face. “And you think I can get that for you?” He shook his head. “Sorry. I appreciate what you’re doing here, but I can’t help you. I don’t know who you think I am, but I don’t carry that kind of weight in the department.”


“Perhaps not,” Christopher acknowledged. “But I think you’re more capable than you realize. I’m not looking for someone to persuade people‒we’d just be asking you to, oh, make connections, you might say. If all goes well, and you’re interested, we might set you up as a liaison of sorts. Most of the police, you realize, we would not want to know more than is absolutely necessary. Certainly not the identities of my wolves‒including those you already know.” Christopher’s voice wasn’t quite threatening, but it was still clear what the consequences of disregarding that instruction would be. Well, clear to me anyway. It helps to have spent the major portion of your life interpreting what werewolves say and don’t say.


Enrico frowned. “I’d…have to think about it. That’s a pretty major commitment you’re asking for.”


“Yes,” Christopher said, nodding empathetically. “I know. We don’t need an answer yet. In the short term, perhaps you’d be interested in meeting with the chief of police? I’d like you to go with my representative. To…smooth things over, you might say. There are people I could use, but I’d really rather not bring them into this quite yet.”


Enrico looked at him incredulously. “The chief of police? You’re kidding, right? I can’t just get a meeting with him. I mean, I guess I could, but it’d take time…I’d have to give reasons for it….” He trailed off uncertainly.


Christopher grinned a little, like a kid contemplating a truly awesome prank. “I don’t think that’ll be a problem. How’s your schedule for, say, tomorrow afternoon? If that doesn’t work for you, don’t hesitate to say so. We can reschedule it. I’d like to get this done soon, but anytime this week should work.”


Wow. To get that kind of treatment, the pack must have laid down serious money. Either that or they had major dirt on the chief‒or, considering how werewolves work, probably both. Most of the werewolves make me look excessively trusting.


Enrico looked a little bit stunned. “Tomorrow’s fine.”


“Lovely. What about you, Winter?”


I blinked. “Wait. What about me?”


He rolled his eyes. “Come on. Who did you think was going to be my representative?”


“I’m ineligible,” I told him.


“Why? You’re a dominant member of the pack. The law dictates that, in matters affecting only one pack, the Alpha can select any dominant pack member to represent the pack’s interests. It’s customary for the Alpha to handle things himself or delegate it to his second, but technically not required.”


I pointed out the obvious flaw in his logic. “I’m not a part of the pack, Christopher. That invalidates me from anything except individual representation, internal conflict, and the arbitration and mediation clause. This doesn’t come under any of those.” And yes, those are actual rules. The Khan has a code of laws for his wolves almost as complicated as actual, federal law.


“You’re a part of the pack if I say you are,” Christopher said. He saw the look on my face and sighed. “Mr. Rossi, it seems that I need to have a discussion with Winter. Would you mind giving us a bit of privacy?”


“Not at all,” Enrico assured him, smirking slightly at me as he left.


“Thanks. Now,” the Alpha said to me as the door swung closed, “what’s your real problem? And don’t start citing the code at me, we both know you don’t give a shit about it.”


I glowered at him. “You’re asking me to represent the pack when I’m not even a werewolf,” I said quietly. “How am I supposed to do that? Why should I want to get involved when I’m not a part of either group?”


“I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration,” Christopher said dryly. He shook his head. “I wasn’t kidding, Winter. I do consider you a part of this pack. God knows you’ve done more for it than plenty of the werewolves who claim to be in it. And I think you view yourself that way too.”


I snorted. “Not hardly.”


“Oh? Then tell me why you brought this message here yourself instead of leaving it to Kyra.” He waited a moment, just long enough that it was clear I wasn’t going to answer, before continuing. “Face it, Winter. You care what happens to the pack. You’ve involved yourself in pack business more times than I could count, for no personal gain that I can see. You’ve had plenty of opportunities to back out, and yet you haven’t, not even when Garrett was looking likely to kill the lot of us. That’s more than I ask of my wolves, and it’s more than most of them would give.”


I considered what he’d said for a moment, and couldn’t find any fault with it. “That doesn’t change the fact,” I said in a near whisper, “that I’m not a werewolf. Nor am I eligible to apply to become one.” I’d tried that once. It ended…very, very badly.


He shrugged. “So what?” He grinned when he saw my expression. “Technically, there’s no requirement for pack membership. Only convention says that only werewolves are admitted. Legally, I can admit anyone I want.”


“The pack wouldn’t stand for it.”


He grinned even wider. “No? Tell me, Winter, did they stop you when you came in? Challenge you at all? Maybe ask why you wanted to see me?”


I frowned. “No,” I said slowly, “they didn’t.”


“So they let you in to see the Alpha, and not only did they not feel a need to escort you, they didn’t even ask why you were here. With a stranger in tow, no less.” He shook his head. “Well, well. Seems my pack already thinks you’re one of them.”


My frown deepened. What he was saying was…true, more or less. That was the sort of treatment only another member of the pack could expect. With a stranger, or even an allied werewolf from another pack, they would certainly have at least wanted to know who I’d brought with me. So why hadn’t they?


Was Christopher right?


He let me dwell on that for a minute, then continued. “You’re my second’s best friend. She would kill for you, or die for you, without being asked twice. Two thirds of my pack know you, and almost all of that number like you.” He shook his head again. “No, Winter. My pack wouldn’t stop me. In fact, there are no fewer than seven wolves‒I won’t name names‒who have asked me why I haven’t done this already.”


I blinked. Seven wolves? I wouldn’t have guessed that many of Christopher’s pack even remembered who I was.


“So who’s left?” Christopher asked cheerfully. “The Khan? He likes you. Hell, he’d take you in himself if you so much as asked. He’d back me on this and you know it. So let me think a minute…that makes it the law, the pack, the Khan, and the Alpha in favor. Anybody else you want to bring into it?” He laughed. “I don’t know why you’re even arguing with me on this, Winter. You’ve already as much as admitted that you want to be a pack member. Why would you try and talk me out of it?”


“Even if I did agree with you,” I said slowly, “it seems to me that you’re still making a lot of assumptions about what various people will think. Don’t you at least need to announce this to the pack?”


He chuckled. “What makes you think I haven’t?” He laughed again at my expression of shock. “I proposed the measure at the last meeting, and the agreement was practically unanimous. Technically I don’t even have to do that; the only part of the process that requires a meeting is the formal announcement of membership, and I have up to a week to do that after you’re inducted. Which, incidentally, also requires no pack presence. Don’t you love a dictatorship?” He leaned forward, his expression intent. He wasn’t laughing now. “Given that you haven’t actually raised any personal objections‒or just told me to screw myself, which is more what I would expect of you‒should I assume you’re willing?”


I thought about it a moment. Then I shrugged. “What the hell. Why not.” I felt a sort of shudder run down my back as I said the words. I had a sudden premonition that what I’d just said would be a lot more important than I had given it credit for, a feeling that had nothing to do with magic and everything to do with plain old intuition.


Christopher smiled again, showing teeth this time, although there was no humor in his eyes. On the contrary, everything about him seemed as deadly serious as I’d ever seen it. “Wonderful. Now, the next full moon isn’t for three weeks‒unfortunate timing there‒so the actual ceremony will have to be delayed. Pending that, though, welcome to the pack, Winter Wolf.”


I shivered again. I was already starting to regret that particular impulsive decision, and I’d hardly even finished making it. One of these days I have to learn to think things through.


“So how’s tomorrow afternoon work for you?” he asked brightly.


I glowered at him across the desk. “Fine. Any other surprises?”


“Just one. Do you mind taking Kyra with you? Chief Jackson has a reputation as somebody who believes his own eyes better than anything. I think having her actually change in front of him is probably the best way to convince him you’re not full of shit.”


“She has work tomorrow.” I might have a hard time remembering her schedule, but I could manage it for a day at least.


He waved my objection off. “She has the afternoon off. I cleared it with Pryce this morning.”


I raised an eyebrow. “That seems like quite a commitment, given that you didn’t know until just now that the Enrico and I would even agree, much less that we’d have tomorrow free.”


He shrugged. “I was fairly sure you’d both be willing.” He grinned. “And I checked your schedules for tomorrow.”

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3 Responses to Seasons Change 2.3

  1. Mian

    In for a nickel, in for a dollar.

    • Emrys

      That was more or less Winter’s thought as well. It helps that he really isn’t very good at recognizing when it would be wiser to quit playing.

  2. Emrys

    This is an author’s commentary written after the completion of the series. Spoilers are in a rot13 cipher; if you aren’t familiar with that there are a number of very easy deciphering websites to use. These spoilers may cover the full series, not just this book, and they may make reference to major plot points and character development. You have been warned.

    Kyra’s car is disproportionately amusing to me. I don’t know why I feel the need to say that, it isn’t terribly significant, but it amuses me.

    Other than that, the interactions in this chapter aren’t bad. The characters all feel fairly real here, and the way they interact comes across pretty well. I like some of the quips here; looking back on it there are a few genuinely amusing lines in this chapter. Overall not bad.

    Fb lbh pna cebonoyl thrff guvf ybbxvat onpx, ohg jung Puevfgbcure vf fnlvat vf n zvkgher bs zvfvasbezngvba naq fgenvtug-hc yvrf. Ur’f znxvat fbzr irel funxl nffhzcgvbaf urer va beqre gb trg gb n pbapyhfvba gung ur xabjf vfa’g ernyyl npphengr. Gura ur oevatf hc n irel punetrq gbcvp gb xrrc Jvagre sebz abgvpvat gur qhovbhf ybtvp ur’f hfvat.

    Va uvaqfvtug V guvax V znqr vg n yvggyr ovg gbb boivbhf gung Puevfgbcure jnfa’g orvat ubarfg. Vg jnfa’g zrnag gb or n uhtr fhecevfr ohg V pbhyq unir orra pbafvqrenoyl zber fhogyr naq fgvyy ynvq gur sbhaqngvba sbe vg gb or n oryvrinoyr erirny.

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