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Eye of the Wolf

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For a moment, all Colleen could do was stare. Then, slowly, she reached up and carefully fingered the marks that disfigured the door. They were as deep as they looked, and her skin crawled at the thought of how sharp something - her own claws - would have to be in order to dig through steel like that.

She glanced over her shoulder at Exile, who stood with his arms crossed some distance behind her, waiting patiently. It was as though he was giving her some space, because he knew she wanted some as she looked over the damage she had done.

It had only been a few hours after they had returned from the ordeal at Stonehenge, and she had been on her way to bed for some much-needed rest. On her way, though, she had passed by Exile, who she found removing his bedroom door. Curious, she had asked him about it, and that was when he showed her the claw marks.

She frowned. In all honesty, it was something she didn't want to think of right now, and would have been happier just to forget it and put it to rest. But she knew that she wouldn't really forget, and that she had to acknowledge what had happened...if only for her own peace of mind.

"So this is what made you think you were the werewolf?" she finally asked after a long moment of silence.

"Da," he replied softly, carefully coming to stand next to her. "Scratches were done on room's inside, so I was believing it to be me."

She nodded in understanding. After all, if the marks were made from the inside, it only made sense to think it was done by the person inside. As she continued to study the door, she wondered how she would have reacted if she had found such markings on her door. And she remembered how worried Exile was when telling them about the werewolf legend.

"Sorry 'bout all the trouble, Exile," she said. "I didn't mean for ya to take the blame."

He smiled at her. "Is all right. You didn't remember about being werewolf, so how were you to be knowing?" Looking back at the door, he then frowned curiously. "But I am wondering why werewolf Colleen came in my room in first place."

"Yeah, I wonder..." she murmured idly, keeping her gaze focused on the marks. But even as she said the words, blurred images began to flash through her mind.

Because, while it was true that she didn't remember turning into the werewolf while she still was one, now that she was cured she was recalling bits of what had happened during that time. And though she knew she would probably have nightmares about it, she looked back on what she could see from the werewolf's eyes to try and understand what had happened. Most of the images were unclear, a haze of color and shapes and sounds that didn't matter to the feral mind, but traces of the werewolf still lingered in her subconscious thought.

And she did remember going into Exile's room at one point. She could see, even in the dark, that the werewolf headed inside to see the sleeping husky. And as she remembered, she knew exactly why the werewolf was lurking around.

The werewolf was looking...for a mate.

When Exile had told her later that she had been chosen as the Werewolf Queen, she realized that she - the werewolf - had been looking for a King. And trapped within the walls of Headquarters, she had been limited to just the Rovers. She remembered the werewolf had possibly considered the others, but eventually set her sights - its sights - on Exile.

Exile, who was a close relative to wolves himself.

That was what the werewolf was interested in, and that's why it had stayed in Exile's room for a while, simply watching him sleep. It was the only time the werewolf wasn't moving, wasn't going, was actually staying still, and so Exile sleeping was the clearest image that she could remember. And the werewolf had truly considered him as a mate, at least for a while.

However, the werewolf's desire for a mate and seeing the husky as a potential candidate left Colleen with some...odd feelings for her teammate.

It was a strange little attraction she felt towards Exile, but she figured that it would pass as the werewolf's memories eventually faded from her mind. And, in some ways, she could see why the werewolf had been attracted to him in the first place. He was not only strong, but could also be very sweet at times. He was loyal, and always willing to help out. And as she saw before, when he thought he was the werewolf, he put those he cared about before himself. He was smart...when he wasn't goofing around with the guys. But that just meant he had fun, and he could be funny sometimes too, and...and...

And the werewolf hadn't been interested in any of those things.

Her body stiffened as the realization passed through her mind. She had assumed that her recent high regards of Exile were just remaining feelings from being the werewolf, and that the werewolf had affected her. But the werewolf wouldn't have cared about all of Exile's personality traits...it probably wouldn't have even noticed them. All it had been interested in was his physical strength and his close relation to wolves.

The werewolf wouldn't have thought about all those things. So why couldn't she stop thinking about them...about him?

"Colleen?"

She turned, looking into the husky's concerned ice-blue eyes as he watched her. "Are you feeling okie-doki?" he asked.

"Uh, yeah..." she said, doing her best to control her shaky voice as she placed a hand to her forehead. "I probably just need some rest."

Exile nodded. "After everything that has been happening, it would be good idea to fall into sleep."

"Yeah..." Glancing at the door one last time, Colleen then turned and headed back to her own room. "Night, Exile."

"Night, comrade," he replied. "May your dreams be filled with much sweetness."

She couldn't help but smile a little at his wording. Even though he had messed up such a simple phrase, it sounded more sincere that way, and somehow appropriate from Exile.

She frowned then as her mind returned to that matter. She couldn't really have feelings like this for Exile, could she? After all, she was pretty sure that she hadn't before the werewolf thing. Sure, she had noticed his finer qualities fairly early on since working together, and she certainly liked him...but not that way! It had to be the lingering attraction from the werewolf that enhanced her fancy towards Exile, making her think that she liked him more than she did. Right?

Except...well...

How exactly did the werewolf find out that Exile was closely related to a wolf? It wasn't really something to perceive on the first sniff. So how did the werewolf already know?

Because Exile had told her so. Because...Colleen herself had already known.

If she could look back now and see herself as the werewolf, then it was possible that the werewolf could have looked back on her when she was just Colleen. And it was possible that the werewolf had seen her memories, and particularly the memory of Exile saying he was related to wolves, and grew interested in him because of that.

But that would have been a lot of Colleen's memories to go through, just to find one about Exile briefly mentioning his family history. And as a werewolf, it didn't really have the time or capacity to go through all her memories like that.

On the other hand...if Colleen had thought about Exile often, then the werewolf would've had enough to focus on until it received the information it needed. That was also the only way the werewolf could have known about Exile's strength as well.

If she had thought a lot about Exile...like the way she was thinking about him now.

She shook her head resolutely. It wasn't helping to think over all this so soon after it happened, so she decided to leave all the confusion for the morning. After a good night's rest, she could take a step back from it all and try to figure it out.

Figure out if the werewolf's attraction resulted in any feelings for Exile...or if actually she had influenced the werewolf to go after Exile in the first place.