Dark Moon (Chapter Nineteen)
Dr. Watchry went to his bag, changed his gloves, and removed the swabs and other necessary items.
Silence reigned, broken only by the click and shuffle of the job being done.
"What's going on?" I whispered.
"The bite. That's just weird."
Nic lifted a brow. "Says someone who shouldn't throw stones."
My lips tightened. If he was going to be snotty, I was going to leave. As soon as someone gave me a ride. I could shift into a werewolf and run back to town, but why should I when I had nowhere to go and nothing pressing to do?
"There are a lot of cases like this," Nic continued.
"Not only defensive, where the victim bites the murderer, but offensive, where an attacker gets off on inflicting pain, exerting control, or marking the victim as his own."
"I guess we can't expect normal behavior out of a killer."
"Or anyone else, for that matter."
My fingers clenched, but I refrained from flattening him. I was so proud of myself.
"The bite will help you catch the guy, right?"
Nic shrugged. "Bite-mark evidence is more often used for conviction than apprehension."
In response to my frown, he explained further. "In order to match that bite we'd have to check the impression against everyone's dental records in Fairhaven. And if the culprit isn't from here, or hasn't been to a dentist – "
"You've got nothing but worthless information," I finished.
"Yeah. On the other hand, once a suspect's in custody, a match can be used to issue charges, maybe even result in a conviction."
"I've never dealt with bite-mark evidence before," Dr. Watchry murmured, still working. "But I have an acquaintance who's a forensic odontologist out of Madison. We've discussed the best way to record the evidence. Photos. Measurements."
"Is it better to get him here?" Nic asked quickly.
"The window for collecting saliva in a DNA test is very small. Plus, the skin slides on a corpse if you leave it too long. Shifts the tissue underneath, alters everything."
I refrained from making gagging noises. I was, after all, a scientist. I'd seen more disgusting things than a corpse. Remember Billy?
"Sooner the better with this kind of evidence," Dr. Watchry continued. "But I'll call and ask him for help.
Odontology is a very specific science."
"That would be great," Nic said. "I suppose forensic dentists are few and far between out here."
"He's the only one to be had." Dr. Watchry got to his feet. "Thought the transport would be along by now. I should get this to the clinic."
"We'll wait for them." Nic helped the doctor pack the lights and gear, then escorted him to his car.
He returned with a phone to his ear. I wondered for a minute where he'd gotten it, since his had blown up along with mine in Montana, then decided where didn't matter. At least he had one.
Nic disconnected the call. "Still no deputy."
Silence settled between us, heavy with things neither one of us wanted to say. Or I didn't want to. Nic didn't seem to have a problem.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"What good would it have done?"
"I loved you."
Past tense. I wasn't surprised. He hadn't spoken of love before he'd known of my affliction. Now, I was just shocked he hadn't declared his everlasting hate and blown my head off with silver. If he had any.
My gaze lowered to the gun he now wore and I wondered.
"Elise?" My eyes met his before he turned to stare at the trees. "What happened?"
"Edward didn't tell you?"
"Demons, Nazis, incurable blood lust. I think he was trying to scare me."
"Did he succeed?"
"Enough for me to put the silver bullets he gave me into my gun."
Well, that answered one question, anyway.
"I'm not like the others," I felt compelled to point out; I'm not sure why.
"You've never killed innocent people?"
I swallowed thickly. "I didn't say that."
And I wasn't going to say any more. If Edward had told him everything, Nic would be arresting me – or at least trying to. I'm sure my boss thought showing him I was werewolf would be enough to make Nic stay out of my life forever. Edward was no doubt right.
"There's a whole world out here no one knows about," Nic murmured.
"It's the J��ger-Suchers' job to make sure one world stays separate from the other."
Forty-eight hours ago Nic hadn't believed in magic, power, the supernatural. Of course, seeing goes a long way toward believing.
Suddenly he cursed. I moved forward, putting myself between him and the trees. No matter what everyone said – that this was a regular murder, no werewolves, nothing strange but a killer – I was still jumpy.
This place wasn't right. Something was out there. Or maybe, as Damien said, something was coming.
Something always was.
"What are you doing?" Nic asked.
"What did you see?"
"My own stupidity."
Nic stared at me with a curious expression, which couldn't quite disguise the trickle of fear. "I didn't use a condom. What does that mean? Puppies? Cubs?"
I shook my head. "I can't."
He grabbed me by the arms, shook me once, hard. "You will. Tell me. I have the right to know."
"Let. Me. Go." I said quietly, prepared to make him if he didn't. There was only so much manhandling I would accept.
Nic did as I ordered with a shove that would have sent me sprawling if I hadn't had the reflexes of a wolf.
My fingers curled into fists, but I didn't retaliate. I had to cut the man some slack, though not for much longer.
"I didn't mean I can't tell you; I meant I can't have children."
"I would have if you hadn't been so bent on mauling me. Do you get off on that now?"
"You know what I get off on. Or at least I did until I found out she wasn't human."
His voice was chilly and distant. I remembered the dreams we'd shared – the picket fence, the little kids, the life.
Had he still been dreaming those things? Had he been dreaming of having them with me?
I doubted that. Nevertheless, I did owe him an explanation
"Cross-species impregnation is impossible."
" Cross-species?" His lip curled.
"I'm not human; I'm not a wolf. I'm both."
"Great. That's a load off my mind. Am 1 going to get furry now that we've swapped spit and various other bodily fluids?"
"Could you be more graphic?"
My voice had gone cool and prim. Ice queen was back. I'd kind of missed her.
"Yes," he snapped.
I should just tell him what he wanted to know, then leave him in the woods. He wouldn't mind.
"Lycanthropy is a virus, passed only through saliva while in wolf form. You can't catch it from me. Unless I bite you."
"Great," he repeated.
"And just to set your mind at ease, since a werewolf can cure anything but silver, you don't have to worry about STDs."
"Gee, a technicality I'd completely forgotten about amid all the others."
Had I once considered him funny and smart? I couldn't fathom it.
"Your pals fled town," he murmured. "Why are you still here?"
"Batting cleanup." I pointed at the sheriff, then froze.
"Well, there's nothing supernatural about this, so you can get lost." Nic turned and saw what I had.
The sheriff's body was gone.