Same 'verse as Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting) and Ain't No Rest For the Wicked; sequel to Howl, Night of the Hunter, and Was it a Dream?
Niamh smiled, humming a little tune, as she unlocked her apartment door. It was almost moonrise and she could feel it, her skin tingling as her true self shifted restlessly within her. She soothed it with a half-heard whisper, assuring it that soon they would be true to themselves again.
Still humming, she locked the door and began to strip out of her clothes as she moved across the dark apartment. The French doors that led out to her balcony allowed moonlight to spill across the floor and her belly tightened with anticipation as she moved towards it. Her panties were the last thing she slipped off, kicking them aside before she stepped into the welcoming moonlight. A smile stretched across her face as she stood naked before her mother, her goddess, her world. Niamh felt her true self shift, her skin stretching to accommodate it and she gasped out a plea for it to take her and make them whole again.
Her eyes closed in bliss as her body began to warp then she heard whispered words, loud as a thunderclap in the silence.
“Time to go to Hell,” where the words in an angry masculine voice and Niamh spun. She fully welcome herself, urging it to take her quickly so they could kill the intruder.
Then a circle blazed to life underneath her bare feet and the swift transformation stopped. Niamh gasped and collapsed on legs that were half between human and wolf, the frozen limbs unable to hold up the muscle she'd gained. She sat for a long time, staring at hands that bristled with claws but no fur, in shock.
Because not only had the transformation stopped, she could also no longer feel her true self.
“How?” she growled through a half-formed muzzle.
“I've met other therianthropes before,” answered the voice and with ears now hearing everything she recognized it.
“You...you're Devin's friend. Paul.”
The circle underneath her flared and Niamh screamed as her legs reverted to full human with a snap of bones that cracked the air like a whip. “Yes,” he answered, “and you made a mistake in hurting him, bitch.”
She bristled at the word then snarled, “He had no idea of the power our kind hold. How could I let him be content with only a glimpse at the true wildness of his soul?”
“Oh don't pretend you were doing him a favor!” snapped Paul. “I'm no Jesus and neither are you. What's the saying: like knows like?”
“What do you want?” demanded Niamh.
There was silence for a moment then he stepped out of the shadows enough that she could see his eyes. Niamh recalled then that Devin had vaguely mentioned him being a witch or something and she could feel it. It was underneath her in the circle, around her pressing against her skin, and in her even. And it was there in his eyes, blazing with fury and killing need.
She knew the latter well.
Niamh trembled then and knew fear again for the first time in many long years. And she knew the answer to her question before he spoke.
Paul answered, “I want you to suffer like you've made Devin suffer. You put him from Hell, made him kill innocent people, and I'm not sure his sister and I can piece him back together. He'll be there, oh yes, but he won't bloody well be the Devin before you. You took his control.”
“So what?” asked Niamh. “Are you going to kill me?”
“I'd considered it. But I thought of much sweeter revenge.”
She blinked then screamed as her body exploded with pain. Sobs came pouring out of her as she felt her body changing fully back to her human guise and when it was over she was lying sprawled across the glowing circle.
“H-how?” she managed to stammer out.
“I told you, I've met therianthropes before.” Paul stuffed his hands in his pockets and moved towards her with the smooth hunter's stride of a panther. Niamh flinched as he circled her then laughed before crouching down. He placed a finger on the edge of the circle right in front of her face and flashed a cold smile.
“This,” he intoned, “is a circle of subtraction. One of my nastier former acquaintances liked to use it in fights: lay it down and let his enemy walk right into it. Then he'd activate it and suck all of the magic right out of them.”
Niamh's eyes widened at that. “Wh-what?”
He chuckled. “You are a creature of magic. Therefore this circle can draw every bit of the Wild out of you.”
She was confused as to what the 'Wild' was then remembered that was how Devin referred to his true self. Then she started trembling and asked, “Are you going to take it?”
“Its already taken. This circle doesn't give. It just takes and takes until it's broken -” Paul smiled as he waved a hand in the air, adding, “Then it just goes away.”
“No!” gasped Niamh but she was too weak to do anything.
Paul's smile resembled that of a skull as he growled, “Yes.” She watched his finger start to glow then he drew it across the outer line of the circle. And she felt her soul tear as her true self fully separated and was gone. Niamh started sobbing then and repeating, “You bastard. You bastard.”
She felt fingers on her chin then and looked up through tears at Paul's grim face.
“Devin suffers through the rage of the Wild. And I could never bear the pain of severing that part of himself from him,” he said softly. “So it's only fair that you suffer through the pain of humanity. Of being normal and completely ordinary.”
“No,” she gasped, trying to reach for him but he moved away too quickly. Niamh heard him leaving but she kept reaching and begging, “No, please give it back, give me back. Please. Please.”
There was no answer though and she was left sobbing on her floor, naked and utterly, painfully human.
She had destroyed Devin.
And now his friend had searched, hunted her down, and destroyed her in return.