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Feral Instinct

He would admit, this was an interesting predicament he was in. Though it was ever more interesting that the girl had traveled this far in to his territory, a place few dared even look at. If they knew what was good for them, that is. Yet there she was, trembling as she stared at the grinning men around her while she held protectively on to her swollen belly. If Feral's guess was correct, the blonde girl was nearly five months pregnant, so it made him wonder why she was there in the first place.

Feral stared down at her from his chair, decorated jokingly as a makeshift throne by his followers. "Why are you here, love?" he crooned, leaning his chin casually on against his palm. "This isn't a place a darling thing like you should venture."

"D...Don't you remember me?" she asked with shock, though quickly returned to her mousy behavior when Feral's men began to laugh. Even he chuckled, amused for reasons he couldn't place. Actually, it was rare for him to find any reason for his amusement-emotions were such a tricky thing for his shattered mind.

"You obviously don't know me," he stated, rising from his seat in one fluid motion. It took five long strides to reach his guest, who stared at him with weak hope in her brown eyes. "I'll put it short-you're not the first playmate I've forgotten. And if you weren't expecting, I'd make sure you learn your lesson about not keeping it that way." Fear made her face pale, but for some strange reason she persisted.

"I-it was at Edward's party, remember?" Feral glared at her, but she continued. "We...We had a few drinks and you...Well..." Fear was replaced by embarrassment, her cheeks flaming red as she took another glance at the strangers around her. "You...T-took me in to a room and we...you know..."

"Had sex?" he stated bluntly. She nodded shyly, and Feral heard a few hoots and whistles amongst the others. It brought a grin to his face. "What about it, dove? Come back for another round or something? Because if you are, I hate to disappoint you but you'd have to wait until the little one is out." A few more hollers and he watched the girl turn redder. She seemed to be deciding whether or not to leave while she could, but she kept her footing as she raised her gaze to him again.

"My...My name is Ruth," muttered the girl. "And...I'm c-carrying your baby..."

What?! squeaked the voice in his head that he called Jared. You got her PREGNANT?!

"Hey, quiet up there," Feral snapped, tapping his head and earning a surprised look from Ruth. "Teenage boys." Feral shrugged and chuckled. "They always have to have their two cents, you know? So." Casually he wrapped his arm around Ruth's shoulders, leading her off without any thought. "My kid, huh? Sounds great. Never thought I'd have one, honestly, but here we are. You can stay at my place. It'll be fun."

"Are...Are you sure?" she muttered, a tiny smile playing on her lips. "Oh, thank you so much! My parents disowned me and I...I've tried working for myself but I just couldn't do anything right..." Ruth looked relieved, making Feral laugh even more.

"How awful. Well, don't worry about all that. I find I'm pretty good at keeping a decent income, one way or another. You just have to promise me one teeny tiny little thing, Ruth."

"Okay." She appeared completely innocent, absolutely trusting as he led her in to a car he had parked behind the lot they were just in. He made sure she was buckled in, giving her a smile.

"Good," he replied. "Run away, tell the police anything you see, or do anything to upset my life, and I'll kill you." He shut the door without another word, climbed in to the driver's seat, and drove off, laughing the whole time.


Feral watched Ruth from his seat, waiting for her to do something other than stare at the wall with a blank expression. It was beginning to irritate him, and Jared's criticism wasn't helping. Eventually he just blocked him, like he usually did. The kid would complain later, but he'd deal with that when the time came.

Tired of the lack of action, he chose to sit beside her. She flinched when he did so, earning a dark look in return. "Have I hurt you?" he demanded. Quickly Ruth shook her head. "Then you shouldn't have any reason to act like this, should you?" Again she shook her head. "Speak. I can't hear your brain rattling in your head."

"No," she muttered, turning her gaze on the floor.

"Better. Now relax, Ruth. So long as you follow those simple little rules, there won't be any trouble, alright?" Mood lightened, Feral wrapped his arms around the girl and pulled her close. "I'll take care of you, love, don't you worry. Now, are you hungry?" Ruth stared at him for a moment, appearing to try and discern Feral's personality from her first memory of him and what she had seen that day.

"A little," she finally admitted, giving up for the moment.

"What would you like?" He spoke kindly, softly, and he could see her settle slightly.

"Do you have any peaches, perhaps?" She still sounded a little nervous. "I've had bad cravings for them since the pregnancy started."

"I've got some in a can in the kitchen. Sit tight, love." Ruth watched him as he wandered off-he could feel her eyes on his back. He could easily imagine her confusion, how she must wonder why Feral so easily accepted the idea that he was the father of her child. Truthfully, he didn't really understand either. He just accepted it like he did whenever someone claimed a connection to him. Ruth was his now, and so was the little one she was carrying. Plain and simple, he viewed them as his property, something only he was allowed to touch.

Besides, Ruth seemed like she'd make a cute little wifey-creature.

He returned to Ruth with a bowl filled with canned peaches, finding her examining the large apartment. It was a rather expensive development, and she appeared both curious and anxious. "This is a nice place," she stated. "What do you do to afford it?"

"Whatever it takes," he stated simply, watching with a smile as her eyes opened wide. He sort of wondered what conclusion she had drawn as she ate her food with dainty mannerisms. "You're one of the rich girls, aren't you? Why'd your parents kick you out?"

"They thought I was making the family's name a bad one," she answered, expression growing sad.

"Huh." Feral shrugged a little. "Guess that means you get my name then, doesn't it?" She looked surprised so he continued. "Don't give me that look. We've got to do things properly, don't you think? Do you want this kid to grow up with a broken family? I don't."

"Are you suggesting...?" Ruth's mouth was left agape, unable to finish her sentence.

"I'm not the best at proposals, but there it is." He grinned. "I can't promise a flashy wedding or anything, seeing as that'd make things a little complicated. That and I don't think a ton of people would come."

"We…We barely know each other!" she cried, stepping away from him slightly. Feral began to grow cross again.

"So? I'm not letting you run off with someone else, if that's what you're thinking," he snapped. "I'm the only man raising this kid, not some b****** who thinks he can move in on a pretty girl. If he tries, I'll slit his d*** throat." The fear returned to Ruth's eyes, stories of abusive spouses likely entering her thoughts. This brought an insane giggle from Feral, who said, "Love, I'm not the type who harms girls. I hope you know that. I'm here to protect you, remember? I'm going to take care of you and the baby, and everything will be good. It'll be happy, understand? I'll make sure of it." His vision flickered a little bit, as it did when he started getting worked up like this. "We'll be happy and safe, I'll make sure of it. Okay, Ruth?"

"You're insane," she whispered, placing a protective hand over her abdomen.

"Everyone tells me that." He giggled again, pulling Ruth close. "I'd like to call it a little broken up. It happens sometimes." He could feel her tremble in his grip, eyes revealing how unsure she was on how to react to him. Feral could do nothing but smile as he led her to his room, falling asleep the instant he had the two of them in bed.


Feral turned out to be a man who keeps his promise. For the next four months, he made Ruth as happy as he knew how. By looking at them, you might even think of them as a normal married couple. Ruth didn't do anything to upset him, though she secretly grew more fearful as she learned new things about her husband, Jared being amongst them, mixed with Feral's psychiatric record. A normal person would have left the second they could, but Ruth was a sheltered girl with no place to go, no one to turn to, especially the day she gave birth to a little girl they named Haley.

Feral smiled as he rocked the infant, a baby girl nearly identical to her father. Ruth watched them, though he paid no mind to her. Haley was his new property, though she was different than the other ones. She was connected to him through blood, something that would not have existed were it not for him. This made her special, made her something he wanted to protect more ferociously than his other property. She would be guarded in much the same way as Jared.

"Now what?" Feral's eyes snapped to Ruth, who seemed as if she were resisting the urge to flinch. He had noticed she did that often. "What should we do now, Feral?" she asked hesitantly. "I don't know anything about children."

"Neither does any other parent I've known," he said nonchalantly. "It's a matter of winging it." Ruth stared for a few moments longer, examining Feral as he handled his daughter like a predatory parent might-a controlled ferocity, gentleness that could easily switch to powerful aggression.

"We should save money for her," she whispered. "For school." Feral nodded, preferring to listen to his wife. She rarely spoke at all, so this was oddly comforting for him. "We can put it in a jar. I know you don't want us on records or anything, so that would probably be best, right?"

"Yes." Feral offered Ruth the infant. "Want to hold Haley?"

"No, that's alright. I'm a little tired right now, so it's probably best if I don't." He watched her settle down in the hospital bed, wondering if he should try to kiss her. Ruth always seemed to lean away a little when he did, and it evoked odd emotions inside of Feral, ones he couldn't identify because his mind was too distorted to understand that it hurt him. Or perhaps it was because pain had turned his mind in to the twisted mess it was now, so his heart was too numb to notice it once more.

Feral didn't touch Ruth for the rest of the night. Instead he stayed up, barely blinking as he stared at the little girl in his arms. Outside one might say he looked like an animal examining a potential meal, as his cat-like eyes were held wide open, his eyebrows knitted together as his brain tried to comprehend what the day's events meant to him. He watched her rhythmic breathing until his linked with Haley's, watched as she would be brought from her sleep from a slight twitch. Occasionally Haley would stare back at Feral, her eyes the same shade of bright green as his and almost as analyzing.

They left in the morning. Ruth still wouldn't hold her baby, making Feral somewhat curious. "Haley needs to eat," he reminded her, offering their daughter to her mother. Ruth stared between the baby and her husband, hesitating.

"Does she," muttered the girl, taking the infant with shaky hands. Ruth tried to hide it when she noticed Feral's criticizing look, offering a sweet smile as she climbed in to the car. "I'll feed her on the way home. Then we can put her to bed."

"Okay." He didn't voice his thoughts at the moment. He wanted to see how events would present themselves, and where Ruth's interesting behavior would take them.

He was most curious about the entire first week since Haley's birth. He had never seen a woman not desire her own child before, not the way Ruth did. It was like she had outright rejected her own daughter, treating her as if she were a venomous snake rather than a helpless baby. Not to say Feral didn't mind spending his time with Haley, but Ruth's attitude irritated him somehow. Impatience even made him confront her.

"I'm not rejecting her," said Ruth defensively. "I just...don't know how to deal with her. I told you that already."

"Then hold her," Feral snapped, shoving Haley towards his wife. She flinched slightly at the action, earning a snarl from the man. "You hate her!" He was screaming at Ruth, making her cringe as Haley began to cry. "YOU HATE HER! YOU HATE HER HATE HER HATE HER!"

"I don't Feral, I don't!" Ruth insisted, tears welling up in her eyes. "Why else would we be saving money for her tuition? See? I put some in every day." She snatched the jar off of the counter and showed it to him, holding it almost like she would a shield. "I don't hate her..." Ruth was sobbing now, cowering before her husband's fury. "I don't hate Haley, I don't..."

Rage subsiding, Feral offered their daughter in exchange for the jar, happy to see her accept. "Just be with her," he insisted. "You'll learn to love Haley. You will." He watched the pair together, examined Ruth as she whispered in Haley's ear and quelled her daughter's crying. Only Heaven knows what Feral wanted to accomplish by forcing the young woman in to loving her daughter the way he did. It may have had something to do with his obsession with having a family, his need for the thing he had lost nearly a decade before. He wanted what his mind couldn't remember, something familiar that was out of his reach, and Ruth was the key to that. If she could just cooperate, they could all be happy. Then there would be nothing to worry about, nothing missing...

Feral couldn't be with Ruth and Haley all of the time. Jared had school, and he needed to bring in money somehow. That most often resulted in theft and extortion, but it was a living, no matter how immoral it seemed. It brought income in to his house, paying the bills, food, and adding to Haley's tuition. He would wonder vaguely where they would send her. Danvers', maybe, if only because Feral was familiar with the institution. Whatever the choice, it hardly mattered to Feral. He was just happy knowing that Ruth was paying some form of tribute to their daughter.

At least, he thought she was.

He heard the foreign voice before he even opened the door. Male, probably late forties. He was arguing with Ruth, it sounded like. "You can come back, Ruth," he insisted. "Just leave the child with her father. We'll pay for them, so long as everyone keeps their mouth shut."

"Dad, I can't--"

"I told you, your mother and I will pay for all of it. We've already got everyone convinced you've been on vacation for nearly a year, so we can take care of all evidence that this mess occurred." Blind rage filled Feral's entire body, but he somehow found a way to enter the house calmly. He could nearly sense Ruth's sudden fear and tension, watching as the pair turned to meet his gaze.

The man that was supposedly Ruth's father had graying hair and brown eyes, though they had no true similarity when it came to looks. Not that Feral honestly cared what the man looked like-he did it out of mere habit, an old instinct in which he memorized the faces of people he might kill somewhere down the line. At the moment, that wasn't necessary.

"Are you the father?" the man demanded. Feral's eyes locked on to him, causing the stranger to back up slightly. "I'm...I'm taking Ruth home with me. I'm her father, you see--"

"You're stealing from me?" asked Feral, head cocking a little to the side.

"What? No, I'm trying to tell you--" Ruth screamed when the blood sprayed across the room, nearly dropping Haley from her grip. Feral barely noticed that he held the bloody dagger in his hand, the diamond blade offering a strange light when mixed with the blood of Ruth's father.

His eyes flicked to his wife, who was whimpering in fear only two feet away. He smiled at her, but she only began crying. He held out an arm, motioning for her to hand over Haley, which she gladly did. "See this, Haley?" he crooned to the infant. He gently rocked her in his arms as he flashed the bloody weapon in her face. "This happens when people try to steal from daddy. You see, no one steals from your father, not more than once, at least. And this man was trying to steal mommy. Daddy won't let anyone steal mommy, will he?"

Ruth merely sat in shock as Feral called up his men to take the body away, unable to move or speak unless he made her. It took coaxing to get her in to bed with him, where he wrapped his arms tightly around her middle, seemingly oblivious to her current state of mind.

"I'm only protecting you, Ruth," Feral cooed, kissing her neck. "He was a hypocrite who was stealing you from me. He threw you out and left you with nothing, then came back to take you from me to protect himself. I saved you from that, Ruth. You should be grateful that you have a husband who cares so much about you." He kissed her on the lips this time and pulled her in to bed with him, nuzzling in to her hair as he fell asleep. He had convinced himself that he had done no wrong, that he was doing what any sensible person would do if they truly cared about someone.

Which was why he was so surprised when he woke and found Ruth gone. All of her things were missing, Haley's tuition jar amongst them. Their daughter still remained, though he wasn't sure at that moment what it meant. He sent out his men to search for her, but Ruth was long gone.

What'll we do, Feral? Jared asked. If there isn't a clinically sane parent in the home, social services will take Haley away. H***, we're lucky they let us keep her in the first place.

"I know, Jared," he snapped, rocking the sleeping girl. "We can't let anyone know, that's all. It'll be a secret. Only you and I will know about it all." He held Haley tightly to his chest, almost as if he dared anyone to take her from his grip...





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