Scott misses it. He miss the adrenaline and the smell of the freshly mowed lawn. He misses the whoosh of balls as they sail past his helmet and he misses the camaraderie that comes along with a team sport. Cross country just… kind of doesn’t even come close.
They’re still a few more weeks out from spring season, a few more weeks until he gets back on the field with a stick in his hand, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t do a little practicing on his own.
It feels good, being back to this. To the kind of kid who gets up before the sun fully rises, who has the field to himself as he works endlessly at perfecting his throw and his catch, the kind of kid who’d once pushed himself past his illness, all while hoping for a spot on the team.
He doesn’t have long; just enough time for a couple shots and a jog around the field to feel the grass squish beneath his shoes. It’s not a lot of time, but it’s just enough, so Scott stands, stretching as he reaches for his stick.
Except then the wind is shifting and he catches a scent that’s just not possible. He turns wildly, eyes huge and confused and when he utters her name, it’s almost as a prayer.
If it had been anyone else, they may not have noticed Erica. They would’ve walked away, left her to try and pull together what was left of her wits and come up with a plan, wouldn’t have scented her— and that’s what she realizes he’s doing, about a second too late.
He’s catching her scent on the wind, which means he’s like her, and a hot bolt of fear crashes through her body in the split second that it takes him to turn around, because it’s been so long since she’s seen another werewolf without murder in their eyes.
She wants to run, but his eyes are already on her, and they’re anything but hateful.
His voice ripples through her, bringing up memories like a cloud of dust, nebulous and fleeting. His voice a confusing mixture of pleading and angry as he begged her to consider the consequences of her decisions. His hands, strong and capable as they caught her in the dark gym, as they lowered her onto the ground in the train depot. His eyes following her across battlefields and classrooms.
The way Scott says her name makes Erica wonder how long she’s been gone.
“S—-” Her voice protests at the sudden use after so long, and it takes her a minute to try again, taking a few tentative steps toward him across the field. “Scott?”
Darling, you see, no heroes are coming for you. Grab your sword, and don your own armor.
The daylight is starting to fill the sky in earnest now, sun rising quickly up over the tops of the trees, and Erica can hear wheels against pavement, cars passing close by where she’s tucked against the hedge she hid behind. She realizes when she notices the peonies being crushed under her knee and the paper sitting in the middle of the grass that she may be in someone’s front yard, and should probably move before they see the ghostlike entity crouching down in the middle of their garden.
She stays low, creeping along behind the hedge until she hits the edge of the yard, and then it’s just a quick hop over a low garden wall into the next yard. There’s not as much cover here, so she goes around the house to the back, cutting through a swath of trees and traveling well-hidden like this down to the end of the street until suddenly, the trees end and she’s thrust into a wide open field.
Even with her memory as damaged as it is, Erica recognizes it instantly as the lacrosse field. She’s been in the neighborhood that runs along the back of the high school’s property line. The school itself is a hulking mass at the other end of nearly an acre of open land, still half-dark and waking up as first period approaches.
There’s someone else on the field with her, farther out, bent over an untied shoelace with their back to her. She’s exposed, nowhere to hide unless she recedes back into the tree line, and even then, it’s sparse. Erica freezes, hoping that if she doesn’t move, they simply won’t notice anything and eventually, will leave her to figure out her next move.