|Lotti Summers (optimismrules) wrote in light_of_may,|
@ 2013-01-27 19:58:00
|Entry tags:||2009-09-23, lotti, sam|
I've got a lot that's on my mind
Who: Sam and Lotti. (With Mrs. Summers, NPC’d)
Where: Summers’ residence // the woods.
Another day at school and Lotti was just one more day closer to Homecoming. She’d had her dress ready a long time ago -- her senior year was pretty important, okay? -- but she would be lying if she said that her excitement was turning more towards nerves than anything else. Having Brian ask her was great, but she wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. She was more excited about being nominated for homecoming court, which had definitely been something she had not expected. It was an exciting time and spirit week was making it all the more easy to get washed away in the collective wave of her peer’s energy. It was a relief to come home after school and drop her bag off in her room, noting that at least a few members of her immediate family were home. Her mother had called out from the kitchen -- did Lotti need her to make a snack for after her run? -- and her youngest daughter responded with a resounding ‘Yes!’ As she changed into a loose shirt and shorts she could easily slip out of, Lotti could feel that familiar smile growing on her face. Where before, she had gone out on a run after school just to reaffirm that she was indeed still a white wolf, now? Now it had become a habit, a routine, and one that she found she desperately needed, this week in particular. Padding out of her room, Lotti stopped just outside the threshold as an idea hit her. She could bring Sam with her! If he was home, that was. She scented the air delicately, the grin on her face growing exponentially as she picked his scent out of the countless others in the house. It led to the guest room that he’d been given to sleep in and she bounced all the way there. She took a deep breath and knocked on the door gently and waited a moment. “Sam? It’s Lotti! Are you in here?” She belatedly hoped that he hadn’t been sleeping, and bit down on her lip as she bounced on the balls of her bare feet.
Sam was indeed in his room, he hadn’t left it for more than a minute since being shown where he would be staying the day of his arrival. The bathroom wasn’t far from where the space he’d been designated, thankfully, but other than that he’d stayed put. That was what he was used to, doing as he was told, and his Omega wolf brain had latched onto what he’d been told in this case and found the command in it. This is your room had become Stay here and that was how it would be until someone told him otherwise. There had been a couple of books on the dresser and by this point he’d finally worked up the courage to pick up the topmost one and start reading it. A novel he’d heard of but never read before, hopefully something the real owner wouldn’t mind him touching, but when he heard the knock on the door he put it down immediately, the page number locked away in the back of his mind for later. Just in case. Quietly and with his usual hesitance he slid off the bed and padded to the door, opening it and staying clear of the entrance so as not to block it. That way Lotti could step inside if she wanted and he wasn’t laying too much of a claim to space he’d only technically been loaned. “Hello.” Polite and simple, a little cautious. His gaze didn’t hold hers for long, not surprisingly.
Lotti pricked her ears for movement as soon as she called out and when she heard Sam move towards the door, she softened the smile on her face to a level appropriate for someone who was a little bit on the timid side of things. For a young wolf, Lotti could be terribly perceptive and she did not want to frighten Sam. He had gone through enough of that at the hands of Julian and she did not want to set him off. When he opened the door, Lotti stayed still, as much as she wanted to bounce in excitement. Sam’s greeting was soft and polite and he actually met her eyes. Lotti took that as a good sign and tried not to take it personally when his gaze inevitably dropped. “Hiya!” She couldn’t quite keep the pep out of her words, though, and she nearly clapped a hand over her mouth at how loud she’d said hello back. She noted the way Sam stood so that he was not in the way and while Lotti could have waltzed into his room fully, she wanted to establish that there was a level of respect that a guest warranted. She might have to spell it out to Sam at some point but the best cues, she always thought, were non-verbal. She held back from any superfluous bit of movement -- a feat in and of itself since Lotti was easily excitable, but she managed. “Are you settling in okay?” She could get to the run part in a minute. Sparing a few minutes to make the other wolf feel more welcome was totally worth it, in her book. “You know, if you need anything, all you have to do is ask.” A beat. “My mom’s about to make some food for an afternoon snack, for instance. If you were hungry.” She looked at Sam hopefully, ready to give him a smile should he meet her gaze again.
It confused Sam a little that Lotti didn’t just stride in, claiming the space as her own as a more dominant member of the pack normally would but he tried to keep the outward signs of that to a minimum. He’d always been so easy to read, on some level he knew that had always made it easy for the others to prey on those little signs and signals but he didn’t know how to be any other way. Sam had always been open, readable. His parents had called it a weakness, just one more thing that made him an Omega. Lotti’s question brought him out of the past and back into the present and he gave a nod, glancing back into the room in question. Any response he might have given other than that nod was derailed by what she said next. Ask? Omegas didn’t ask for anything. “Ask?” He made it sound like a foreign word, something he literally couldn’t wrap his head around, and in a way that was exactly what it was. To him, at least. “I--” He thought back to August in the diner, how he’d seemed understanding. Should he say what was on the tip of his tongue? His throat felt dry and his head was spinning a little, he felt anxious about it and a little fidgety but maybe it was better to just say it. If it offended then he could apologise. Sam was good at apologising. “I’m not supposed to ask for things.”
In truth, it was as much of an instinct to assert her dominance over Sam as it must have been for Julian, but Lotti was not about to do so in a manner that hurt the chance that this new wolf might see their pack in a different light. It wasn’t hard to tell that Sam had had a hard time of it -- it was written into his behavior as plainly as the fact that he had a nose on his face. She was of the age that her instinct was driving her in a different way -- she payed more attention to her mother as the days went by, learning all she could for the time when she would have children of her own. The nurturing side of her had always been there but it wasn’t screaming as loudly as it had begun to the moment she met Sam. Was it not in a wolf’s nature to provide protection and solace for every pack member? Sam wasn’t exactly pack, but he was a wolf and Lotti knew what she had to do. Sure, she had taken this all upon herself, but she didn’t see it that way. She wanted to help Sam, and even if it made Julian or anyone else gruff with her, she didn’t mind. The way Sam said even that one word bespoke just how foreign the concept was to him and Lotti nodded. When she remembered that he wasn’t exactly looking at her, she took a moment to respond, letting him say what he needed to. His admission that he wasn’t supposed to ask for things was what struck Lotti the most. “Yes, ask. You’re a guest here, and more importantly, you’re our guest. We want you to be comfortable.” Lotti had a habit of saying ‘we’ statements, but she knew her mother well enough to know how hospitable she was. If she was wrong, her mother had no problems correcting her. “Can you understand that?” She offered up a sweet smile, lifting her brows slightly in hopes that he would be able to read the sincerity in her posture and facial expressions, should he look up. Lotti was just trying to be helpful, but she didn’t want to force anything on Sam if he wasn’t able to grasp certain ideas. It was a hard thing to imagine a world in which Lotti felt like she could not ask for things -- certainly it had everything to do with the difference between a dominant and a submissive but...it just didn’t seem right.
The sad truth of the matter was that it would take a lot more than one outgoing and eternally optimistic pack member to change Sam’s viewpoint on anything. In another world, in another lifetime, if he hadn’t been raised the way he had then there was a good chance he and Lotti would have gotten along famously, laughing and joking with one another, but that wasn’t how it had turned out. Sam had been made into an Omega and that was what he would remain, for a good long while at least, and it was going to take a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a lot of work for anyone who intended to try and nudge him into becoming a more confident and extroverted version of himself. The things she said were simple enough, the concepts were plain and straightforward, but Sam used his wolf’s instincts and logic so much of the time that it became much more complicated than it really was and he felt his brow furrow as he glanced up at her. Just for a moment. Did he understand that? No, not really, because it conflicted with everything he had been raised to believe. But he remembered Julian’s frustration when they’d met, how’d he become increasingly agitated by his responses, the confusion and timidity of them. Sam felt torn. Honesty was best but he didn’t want to anger Lotti. So he nodded, briefly and in a shallow sort of fashion, even though he didn’t understand, couldn’t understand. At least this way she would be happy, or at least he hoped she would be.
If there was one thing that Lotti had become pretty good at, it was reading people; wolves were the easiest to read because she could rely on instinct and scent as well as what she’d learned about interactions growing up. She watched Sam’s brow furrow as he glanced up at her. She tried to make her face look as sincere as she could, but he only held her gaze for a moment. I’m losing this.. Sam nodded, but his scent didn’t exactly go along with it. Perhaps he was just confused by what she’d said because he never really had the same choices where he came from -- a fact that made Lotti clench her jaw. She let the brief flash of anger melt almost as easily as it had cropped up -- no need to scare Sam if he picked up on her emotions. “Ooooookay, well. I came by to ask if you wanted to go for a run with me.” She held her thumb up and indicated over her shoulder, as if by motioning she would dispel any of the residual feelings she’d felt to do with being angry. “I go every afternoon after school, and sometimes it gets lonely. Jo goes with me sometimes, but then she’s usually still over at the university campus volunteering or who knows what until much later than I’d prefer to run.” Much more information and Lotti felt she was liable to lose Sam in it, if he felt he needed to pay attention. “Anyway, that’s not important.” She took a very small step forward, letting her excitement go finally as she bounced up onto the balls of her feet. “Plleeeeease with you go for a run with me? I can show you all the best places in our woods,” she gushed, her eyes alight with mischief. She waited, respecting Sam’s boundaries as much as she could whilst continuing to fidget with energy and happiness. She tried to project that outwardly as much as possible, so Sam would be able to recognize that she was completely sincere and friendly.
It wasn’t her sincerity that Sam doubted, not really. He could pick up on that easily, it all but poured out of her like water running over the rim of an already-full cup. It was baffling to him, that sincerity, but he recognised it easily enough. It was trusting it that he struggled with. Lotti had been nothing but nice in the short time they’d known one another -- not that they really knew one another, not in the strictest sense of the word -- but Sam wasn’t used to this. That was what it all boiled down to, understanding that these people meant what they said, that when they told him they didn’t want to harm him, they really meant it, there was no hidden agenda or ulterior motive. Swallowing against the dryness in his throat Sam looked back over his own shoulder, towards the window, chewing his lips subtly as he thought it over. Her offer was as sincere as everything else she’d put out there, she was asking him because she wanted to, there was no other reason for it, but that was just as confusing to him as anything else. Lotti wanted him to go for a run for her, wanted to show him places in the woods. Sam turned his head to look back at her, just as brief a glance as any of the others that had come before it, still chewing his lip. She meant it. She wanted him to go with her. Even if it was just because she was struggling to find other company that sincerity held true. “Okay.” He nodded, a small motion of his head. “I’ll go with you.” Back in Montana he hadn’t been allowed to run without the rest of the pack and even then he’d been held back and knocked down a lot, it was more following than anything else. Part of him was curious what this would be like.
For a long moment, Lotti thought he might say no. She watched him as he thought it over, her brows drawing together as she watched Sam look over his shoulder and out the window. Please say yes, please say yes. She would respect him if he said no, it wasn’t like she was in the business of forcing anyone to go with her, but the hope that maybe he would say yes was too hard to ignore, fluttering inside her chest like a frantic bird. It was an odd thing to feel, like his answer had a very real weight of importance, so quickly. It was like a doorway, if he said yes then they could both go through it. To what end? Lotti blinked furiously as she struggled to understand just why this was so important to her. She shrugged it off and focused back in on Sam. She’d figure that part out later, if at all. Seeing him turn back to face her, Lotti smiled again, trying to hold his gaze as long as he would allow it. She felt her pulse kick up in excitement when he said okay, and she clapped her hands together when he said he’d go with her. “Yessss! Oh my god, you’re the best!” Without thinking, she took a few steps closer, her arms coming up with the intent to hug Sam. He immediately tensed up, shrinking back slightly as she came close and she stopped dead in her tracks. Whoops! She immediately took a few steps back and out of his personal space and laughed weakly. “Sorry, habit. My pack’s pretty used to me always hugging them.” She ducked her head very slightly as she stepped all the way out of the doorway and towards the stairs. “Are you good to go now? I’ll tell my mom she has more snackage to make for after our run.” She nodded her head towards the staircase and the downstairs part of the house. “I’m ready when you are, just meet me downstairs.”
Saying no had crossed Sam’s mind but he was so new here, everything was still so up in the air that he didn’t want to offend or upset anyone, especially those in the core family, the Summers themselves. It was so important to him that he kept them happy in whatever way he could, the wolf in him instinctively wanted that. The clap startled him a little, he thought it showed, but that surprise was quickly overwhelmed when she took that step towards him. It caught him off guard and he couldn’t help but tense and shrink back from those open arms. To him that represented an attack, a cuff or some other blow in the wake of some disappointment or disobedience on his part, punishment for something he’d done wrong. The confusion kicked up a few levels, in his mind he wondered what he’d done wrong, but then she was apologising and stepping back. It hadn’t even occurred to Sam that she might have been about to hug him, that just didn’t register properly in his brain. His family, his pack, hadn’t been the types to hug, they’d made contact with one another but nothing like that, at least not in Sam’s experience. “I’m ready now,” he said with a small nod, feeling sheepish about his reaction to the attempt to hug but knowing better than to linger. “If--” That usual hesitation of his was back and he fidgeted a little on the spot. “If that’s okay.” He remembered something then. “I just need to grab my scarf.” At some point the previous night he’d taken it off because the temperature inside the house meant he didn’t need to wear it but it was a lot cooler outside and he would want the extra layer. Sam usually wanted the extra layers anyway, they’d come to represent safety and reassurance to him, but this time it really was about function.
Had Lotti known that Sam merely said yes for the purpose of keeping her happy, then she might have been a little disappointed. She was thankfully oblivious, but she did have to wonder whether or not he was going because she was the dominant and he was the Omega. If she had to think about it, if Sam really did join their pack, it wouldn’t really be a question over what his place would be -- their own Omega was definitely more dominant than Sam was. It was a sad thought, but Lotti tried not to linger over it. She would not ruin the run by letting that bother her too much. The barest traces of the fear scent from her lapse in judgement in trying to hug Sam made her sad, at least a little bit. She’d have to watch it with the affection she so instinctually displayed. It wouldn’t help Sam to always feel on edge around her. She made a mental note to keep herself calmer. That would help, wouldn’t it? At his admission that he was ready to go now, Lotti nodded. “That’s more than okay, that’s awesome!” She tilted her head a little bit to the side as he grabbed his scarf. It probably made sense for him to put it on, even though in a moment it wouldn’t exactly matter what they were wearing -- running as a wolf needed no accessories! When Sam looked as though he was ready, she smiled. “C’mon!” She motioned for him to follow and bounced down the stairs, making her normal racket as she ran over to where the kitchen met the living room. Mrs. Summers was already there with the refrigerator door open. “Hey, mom! Sam’s going with me on my run, can you make something for him, too? For after? We might be awhile though, I wanna show him around. Do you mind?” She flashed the she-wolf with her most winning smile before her mother laughed and nodded, indicating her acceptance. “Be careful out there, that’s all I ask,” Mrs. Summers murmured as she reached over to ruffle Lotti’s hair. The younger wolf bumped her head against her hand, smiling. “You know me! I’m always careful!” Looking over to Sam, she motioned towards the patio door. “Let’s go!” Bursting out the door, Lotti went first and practically threw her shirt and shorts off, wasting no time in shifting into her true form. She shook her coat out and barked playfully at Sam. She turned her head away in case he wanted privacy and pointed her body in the direction of the woods. Her paws twitched in excitement as she scented the air, ready for the run.
Thanks to his parents and how they’d influenced the others in the pack Sam would never be anything but an Omega, that was his place not only amongst other wolves but in any group of people, regardless of race. Sam had become deeply and fully submissive, weak-willed and easily overpowered in all senses of the word. If push came to shove then he would defend himself like any cornered animal but it would take a lot of pressure, a serious threat to his life, in order to trigger than instinct. Without needing to be told twice Sam followed, his scarf wrapped around his neck and hanging down the front of his clothes to drape lightly against his chest, as was the norm. He toyed with one end as they made their way through the house, his smile quiet and awkward when he offered it to the older female, his eyes landing on her for a moment and then dropping again as he let the two she-wolves share a moment. Sam had felt a pang in his chest when they’d been touching and talking, every moment soft and gentle and affectionate, but it was gone almost as quickly as it had made an appearance and he didn’t think about it after that. Once they were outside it didn’t matter in the slightest, Lotti was wasting no time at all transforming and bounding into her wolf form and Sam hesitated, glancing back at the door behind them and the older werewolf within, though Mrs. Summers was out of sight now, just as he was out of hers. With another dry swallow he shuffled his feet and then started taking off his clothes in order to shift, starting with his boots and scarf, working his way through the layers until he’d removed enough to transform. Back in Montana the pack hadn’t cared about seeing one another, they weren’t shy, but this wasn’t the same. Sam had never been the boldest or most confident anyway, and he hadn’t been able to help his embarrassment in readying himself to transform. It helped that his transformation itself was quick, that he didn’t have to be embarrassed for long, and much like Lotti he shook his coat out once he was fully changed, letting his fur fall as it would and twitching his tail and ears, sniffing the air as he loped down off the patio. He turned his eyes back to Lotti then, blinking once before averting his gaze and lowering himself to his belly on the ground, instinctively showing deference and acknowledging who was more dominant here.
Lotti had to admit, it was lucky that her mom had been downstairs -- that way Sam could see just how members of their pack interacted. Sure, it was normal for her mother to be that affectionate with her, but Mrs. Summers was like that with everyone. She met Sam’s shy smile with a gentle one of her own, ever the symbol of quiet strength for others. The moment was short lived but it was there, and Lotti was glad for it. Outside, she let Sam take his time as she sat back on her haunches and waited. If he was shy about shifting in front of her she would not make it worse by rushing him. Still, when she sensed him come up close to her, she turned to meet his gaze and was met with the best shock of all. Sam’s wolf form had a thick white coat -- just like hers! There were slight differences, of course, but all intents and purposes, it was almost like she was looking into a wolfy-mirror! She watched as he turned his gaze away and lowered to the ground. If a wolf could look shocked, it was likely that Lotti did. Her eyes were wide and she lolled her tongue out in her animal form of a lopsided grin. She just looked at Sam for a long moment, feeling such a rush of happiness and excitement that she couldn’t keep it in any longer. She yipped playfully, suddenly, a light bark of sound as she gazed at the other wolf. This was the best thing ever! She settled back into her haunches, her front paws splayed in a such a way that made it look like she was about to pounce, a soft little whine coming from her muzzle as she stepped closer. As much as she wanted to tackle him and play with him, that was something that she did with Jo and Farren and her brothers. She didn’t think Sam would take to it the same way. She settled for stepping closer and sniffing at his muzzle, very gently licking the side of his face. Before she scared him any more, she got to her paws and capered away a few feet, an excited bark filling the air as she looked back and forth between Sam and the woods. In case he didn’t get the idea, she bounced in a little circle, tail wagging happily. One more little yip of sound and she trotted into the woods, turning once to see if he would follow before charging into the underbrush. This was going to be the best run ever, she just knew it!
The yip almost made him roll over to show his stomach, the way her hind quarters rose in the air while her front end dipped down made him think she was going to pounce and pin him down, but then she stepped forward instead. Sam watched her paws instead of her face, keeping himself quiet and still while she sniffed at him. It was when she licked his face that he was the most puzzled and thrown. Again he blinked, eliciting a small sound of his own, confusion and surprise tangled together, lifting his head a little. Why had she done that? That didn’t seem right. The moment passed in a wolfish bound and then she was across the yard, making noises and bouncing around excitedly. Maybe later he would ask what had happened -- though it was more likely that he wouldn’t -- but for now he pulled himself up and loped after her, keeping his head and tail lower than hers, picking up his pace when she did and glancing once back the way they’d come, as if to see if they were being followed.
Even just the way that Sam kept his gaze averted in wolf form made Lotti impatient for him to be more comfortable around her. It would take a long time, she knew, but she would do what she could to put him at ease. She hadn’t thought too much into licking his face until she’d done it, and the confused, surprised sound that Sam made had her pulling her ears back against her head. She hadn’t meant to confuse him! Whoops. And she really didn’t want pulling her ears back to confuse him even more so she just gave him what she considered to be a confident sort of sound, a softer version of her playful yip. As soon as he took off after her, though, it was totally on! She loped forward and kept glancing over at Sam to make sure that he was following her -- and following her, he definitely was. She paused in her stride until he was alongside her before she settled into her easy, ground-eating pace, her nose pointing her in the direction she wanted to go. There was a badger den up ahead that always had the best smells, and she liked to play that maybe the mother badger was waiting just out of sight in the hole, ready to swipe at her face if she got too close. It was a fun game, even if it wasn’t serious. Her tongue lolled out as soon as she caught scent of the place and she stopped briefly, tail wagging as she watched to see what Sam would do. She trotted over to the den’s mouth after a moment before she looked at Sam, head tilted in the wolfy form of curiosity. Would Sam shy away from something that wasn’t a threat? Two wolves were a pretty good match for a badger -- especially two white wolves. Because seriously, the color of their pelts was definitely awesome.
In the pack into which he had been born Sam had only ever received aggressive bumps and nips, often full-out bites. Lotti’s much lighter and gentler -- some might even say affectionate -- contact was all but alien to him, it just didn’t fit anywhere in his understanding of the world and his position within it. It was something to think on later, the wolf in him was taking over, thought processes were becoming less important now though the Omega behaviour was still there, as evidenced by the way he hung back a little when Lotti waited until he was at her side. Her head was always in front of his, he held back that far to give her the position her dominance afforded her, he wasn’t about to disrespect her or overstep in any way. The scent that she had apparently been following was one he was familiar with, at least enough for his body language to change. He slowed, caution in his frame, his head hung low, his eyes watchful, flicking briefly towards Lotti and then back to the mouth of the den. A badger? Badgers had sharp teeth, they were faster than they looked, and they had mean tempers. When he’d been younger some of the others had bullied him too close to a badger den and he’d almost lost a chunk of fur and flesh as a result. Sam made a low sound, a quiet and respectful question: is this safe?
Lotti made careful study of the way Sam hung back, keeping himself from moving so he was even with her even though she had waited for him to catch up. It was normal behavior for someone who wasn’t as dominant, but as far as she could tell, it wasn’t so terribly Omega that it stunk of submission. It was the normal way the others in their pack deferred to those more dominant, and it was ten times better, in her opinion, then if Sam had hung back completely. She did not want him to feel as though he needed to afford her any more than she was due. Luckily, the scent of the badger and the excited feeling in her paws distracted her enough that she was able to focus solely on Sam’s movements as he approached the den mouth. She watched with her ears up and her tail poised to wag, her frame every inch the dominant that she was in this situation. The low sound that Sam made had her pausing as she briefly contemplated it -- Sam didn’t have much of a fear scent about him, but she could tell he was mildly uneasy. She pranced forward a few steps and pounced at the mouth of the badger warren, an excited bark lifting into the slightly chilled air. She came away unscathed and pranced out of reach, just in case the inhabitants got a little angry. She tilted her head at Sam and gave a soft whine, hoping he’d be able to understand that she didn’t mean him any harm. She was a little reckless for a young wolf, and getting into mischief was her idea of a good run. It was clear that that might not be Sam’s idea of fun, so she just stood where she was for a moment before padding off and away from the den. Pausing, she looked back and stopped to see if Sam would try her little trick or if he would simply follow. It wasn’t exactly a test, but Lotti was curious all the same to see what he would do.
In Sam’s mind it would been all too disrespectful to just hang back all the way and not keep up with her. She’d wanted him to go out with him so that was exactly what he would do, even if he intended to keep her in front and remain further back and a little lower down at all times. Keep his place. Always. He watched with twitching ears and confused eyes as she bounded at the hole of the den. This didn’t seem safe, if there were badgers in there they might get her paws and what good was a wolf without full use of its paws and legs? Sam didn’t want Lotti to get hurt, the idea made him deeply uncomfortable, so when she backed away and gave up on it he felt a swell of relief. He hung his head a little in a show of submission -- perhaps even a little apology, he’d just spoiled her fun after all -- when she looked at him like that, and then she was turning and heading off. That game was over now, it seemed like, and as relieved as he’d been moments before he felt guilty for being the cause for its end. Needless to say he didn’t try her trick, in fact he gave the mouth of the den a wide berth as he moved to follow Lotti. Sam wouldn’t be provoking any badgers today.
While Lotti wasn’t exactly surprised that Sam had not tried her trick, she was a little sad that he hung his head so. Still, the point of going out for a run? Was to run, of course! She trotted at an even pace for a long while, trying to warm her legs up before she really tilted into her ground-eating pace. Wolves were built for stamina, yes, but Lotti always found it did her a lot of good to play around with her speed, too. One never knew when they would need it, especially in wolf form. When she gauged that Sam was keeping pace with her and it felt like she was warm enough, she gave a happy yip and took off running. The woods went by in a blur, and Lotti let her senses fully take over. The smells of all the animals in the forest, the feel of the loamy ground as her paws dug in and pushed off, dug in and pushed off. The methodical movements had her settling into that great swell of warmth and excitement, the crisp afternoon air biting a little at her nose as she moved. Ahhh, what fun it was to run! She kept checking her peripheral vision to make sure that Sam was keeping pace with her and for a good long while, all she worried about, all she cared about was that they were two white blurs in the trees. No homecoming, no homework, no high school. Simply the weight of her body on her paws as she loped through the underbrush, Sam at her side. Her breaths came fast and strong, her tongue lolling out the side of her mouth in a wolfy grin of happiness. This, this was what she needed. Daily, now, since she’d lost her true form in that freak occurrence -- she never ever wanted to feel so out of control again. Just running in her woods, in her pack’s territory, made it feel like she would never have to worry over that again. She slowed her pace fractionally, the scents changing subtly. They were coming up on the border of their territory. Their pack couldn’t control the entire woods -- the Normandin pack had its fair share of the forest, too. Still, Lotti slowed when they came close to that scent line. Slowing to a stop, Lotti scented out, her breath making a misty plume of vapor in the cool air. Her ears were perked and alert as she skirted the edge of her pack’s land, the metaphysical line between their land and the other pack’s glaringly obvious. If she could speak, she’d tell Sam all about it, but she couldn’t, so all she did was whine and tilt her head to the side at him, hoping he would understand.
Sam was no stranger to running, Lotti needn’t worry about that, though it would probably upset her to hear just why he was so accustomed to it. Back in Montana part of his purpose had been to play the part of prey during the full moon, with everyone else in the pack being bitten and not born they’d all turned into mindless beasts during the peak of the lunar cycle and they’d instinctively targeted him when they’d gone out as a group. Honestly it would feel a little strange to run and not have anything chasing him for a change. When Lotti opened up and started running he counted off a couple of beats before quickening his pace to follow. Always following. Lotti would have to get used to that, Sam was a follower in every way, it just wasn’t in him to run at someone’s side and there would probably never be a day when he was bold enough to overtake anyone. He came up relatively level with her but she was at least a full head ahead of him at all times, he made sure of that. There was more speed in him, he could go faster than this, but he wasn’t going to overtake her, no way no how. Just as when she’d sped up Sam kept pace easily when she slowed down as well, easing to a lope and then a stop. With his head down and his bright eyes sweeping their surroundings Sam was able to pick out the scents he suspected Lotti was trying to bring to his attention. Other wolves, ones that didn’t smell the same as those he’d met in the Summers family. In response to her whine he gave a low pine of his own, shifting his weight a little to say that he understood.
Ears flicking and eyes bright and sweeping for any sign of other wolves -- they were at the border, after all -- Lotti glanced back over at Sam just in time to both see and hear the sound he made. The shift in his weight confirmed that he’d picked up the other scents and Lotti gave a very human nod of her head, just one light movement. She tried not to do much that could be considered human in her wolf form, that would sort of defeat the purpose of her daily run, after all. Still, it was good to know that Sam understood what it was she was trying to show him, to tell him. She moved over close and crouched down slightly, playfully bouncing a few steps before she was right up next to Sam, her coat brushing against his as she circled him a bit. She yipped, all her playfulness returning since he’d been able to scent the other pack. That way, if he ran into any of them in town, he’d know they were them and not her pack. Coming around to the side and the front, Lotti came nose to nose with Sam and just sniffed, her bright gold eyes shining. Really, it was like looking into a really awesome mirror! She dashed a short distance back the way they’d come, as if to alert Sam that she was going to sprint home. Turning back to look to make sure he’d come with her, Lotti took off running, letting the speed she still had left in her legs take her home.
Sam had already made a mental note to avoid coming this close to the beginning of the other pack’s territory, he was nervous enough around his own kind without encountering those who might now be considered rivals for all intents and purposes. Lotti’s little bound in his direction had him stepping back, blinking as if startled, which he was in a way. The only times in his life he’d had other wolves bounding at him they’d been intending to attack and there was a part of him -- no small part -- that thought Lotti was about to do the same before she started to bounce around him in a manner universally recognised as playful. Even when she yipped and loped energetically around him he stayed still, the only shift in his body language coming when she moved around to his front, when his eyes dropped downward. And then she was off, bounding away, and he turned to look back at her. They were done? Okay, that made sense to Sam, and with only one more glance back at the invisible line between one territory and the next he turned and followed, quickening his pace after a few loping strides and taking off at a run to keep pace with his companion.