Warnings for this chapter: Hmm... I dunno why, but somehow, if I tell
you "nudity" I don't think it's going to make you leave ^^;
+ Part 19
Quatre shivered and made his
fur stand on end to try and gain a little warmth, but his hairs were so
short that it didn't make much of a difference. Sneezing, he envied with
sadness the thick coat of fur covering the wolf. Quatre hadn't been made
for damp and cold climates.
Quatre jumped at the perceptible annoyance in Heero and flattened his
ears back. He mewled feebly in question. Had he warned Wufei with his
Heero pointed forward with his muzzle, groaning and grunting like a pissed
They were in front of a river. Wufei had to have used it to cut his trail.
But had he gone upstream or had he let himself float downstream, had he
gotten out on the same bank or on the other side? To know that, there
was no choice...
Quatre mewled, disgusted. To cross water... Eww.
* * * * * *
It was nearly dawn when, after hours and hours of turns, tricks and mad
runs, Heero finally found, for certain, Wufei's trail. His paws were hurting
from the stone fields the other had made them cross, his fur was full
of thorns, small branches and dead leaves, and to be truthful he was beginning
to get fed up with tracking the moron.
But Wufei was too good at cutting his trail; if Heero let him get too
much ahead of him, he would probably never find him again.
Quatre had had enough in the middle of the night, and had returned to
the house alone. His long paws were made to gallop on flat ground, not
to slide between thorny bushes and along rocky grounds. And he didn't
want to get a thorn between his pads again, thankyouverymuch! It was something
that was really annoying, on top of being painful. So, two times in a
row... He had made sure that Heero understood what he was doing and wasn't
bothered by having to chase Wufei alone, then had left him, knowing fairly
well that anyway, as long as they were animals, the best thing for Wufei
was to let him run to calm down, while making sure that he didn't go too
far, to be able to get him back by morning. And the animal he was now
would surely feel less threatened by one predator on his grounds than
Even if the cheetah wasn't really a danger... Quatre knew instinctively
that his claws, thick and non-retractable as they were, wouldn't be of
much use in a fight. His only strong point was his speed, but in a forest
he couldn't really take advantage of that.
* * *
Dawn was approaching when the brown wolf finally stopped at the edge of
a small clearing, silent as a shadow. The thick bushes hid the place well,
the river was flowing on one side at the bottom of the little slope, procuring
an evasion route, and the thorns everywhere would be good at discouraging
most intruders ... It was a good hiding place. The grass was tall, visibly
comfortable ... but it wasn't in the grass that the beast had chosen to
In the clear brown sand at the edge of the river, one of his paws trailing
in the cold waters, his muzzle resting on his other paw, a tiger was spread,
half-sleeping, the contrast with the sand and the first rays of the rising
sun making the warm tint of his pale golden fur glow. The lines marking
his coat were thin, emphasizing his curves, and a black so dark it seemed
blue. The beast had a long and muscled body, even if the length of its
paws indicated that it wasn't yet out of adolescence. And the werewolf
could see that the tiger was much heavier than him, and higher on its
A dangerous adversary, if he chose to fight him... but he didn't want
to fight in the least. He could only hope that if the feeling wasn't mutual,
he would realize it before the tiger was too close to escape it.
The wolf observed in silence for a few minutes, entirely immobile. The
tiger wasnít moving, apart from a few short jumps of his whiskers from
time to time. He seemed to be deeply asleep.
Sitting back on his haunches, Heero wondered how the inverse transformation
would happen. Would Wufei feel disoriented? What affect would that have
on his memory?
He had not betrayed his position, but when the tiger lifted his head and
opened his eyes, he was looking right at him anyway, as if he had known
precisely where he was all along. The wolf didnít move, the tiger didnít
either. For a long moment, they stayed staring at each other across the
Wufeiís eyes were of an abyssal black against the pale gold of his fur,
and the dark stripes all around the dark orbs acted like mascara, making
them larger and accentuating the slant. Two lines left in a diagonal from
the inner corner of his eyes, giving the impression of perpetually frowning
eyebrows. A line of clearer hairs barely discernable went between his
eyes and to his muzzle, following the scar of the wound that had contaminated
A bird fled away, provoking the awakening of the woods population and
making the predators blink, marking the end of the staring contest. Wufei
stretched his paws out, unsheathed his claws, and yawned, unveiling fangs
of an impressive whiteness, as scary-looking as Heeroís. Then, stretching
like a cat, first his haunches, then his front paws, he got up and walked
nonchalantly toward the still staring wolf. Heero stayed immobile. The
other didnít show aggressive behavior, just defiance in the way he was
looking at him.
He sat down in the middle of the clearing, in front of the wolf, and they
kept looking at each other for a while. The tiger seemed confused, his
tail lashing around his haunches, proof of his unease. Heero tried to
be as unmoving as he could.
Slowly, very slowly, Heero lay down on the ground, sphinx-like, and waited
again. The tiger crouched and his tail went to curl around his paws, his
eyes not leaving Heeroís, visibly extremely disoriented.
* * *
/eyes blue as ice, blue like outer space,
deep and cold/
Like... The boy. Wing. The one who had stalked him in the roses garden.
But it wasn't possible.
Wing was a /two-paws/ 'a human',
not a four-legged predator like him... 'but
I am not a four-paws either...or am I?'
The tiger shook his head, confused, attacked from all sides by all sorts
of mental pictures, sounds, and feelings, all without any meaning. Humans
with whom he...hunted? Killed? At whose side he fought /but
humans are preys/, with whom he talked...
'how can I understand them? I don't remember,
but I know it's important...'
'Stupid, that wolf can't be the two-paws, not logical...'
But he knew that even if they weren't the same being, he knew that animal
anyway. He confusedly remembered seeing his dark shape jumping between
bushes, running right and left, and his own laughter and that of his friends
when by reflex he ran after some rabbit...
Wufei blinked and shook his head, trying to straighten his wandering thoughts.
And then he started and jumped, totally caught by surprise.
In front of him suddenly, to his total astonishment, the otherís scent
was totally modifying, was going from wolf to a two-paws, so frail, nude,
exposed. His body was slowly shifting, his fur disappearing back under
his skin or just falling off to leave the place to fragile, brownish-pink
skin. A moment, the man-beast directed on him two eyes so blue, so human,
in the middle of a face that was still halfway between wolf and man, and
he jumped. He had seen that face like that already, he had already seen
'Heero' like that, feral human baring fangs, plunging forward for his
He had been in the living room with... Wing? Heero? And another, a silent
one with eyes as green as grass, and they had been angry, dominance conflict,
and Wing had attacked, and ...changed...
The boy with the green eyes ... his name still evaded him ... But he remembered
him, vaguely... silent presence in the shadows, but always there. And...two
others... he thought.
'who am I? it's hard to remember...'
The memory when he had been at Treize's. Metal and fire... a black-furred
two-paws, fallen before him, a girl, not a true woman yet /my
mate still/ fallen in his arms, her blood, her life escaping through
his fingers and hers
'my hands are red...'
Rage of the combat, vengeance, ferocity, nothing else for him anymore
than the cold of the metal, no warmth, no life... by leaving she took
with her everything.
'my hands...' he repeated, staring
at his striped paws, knowing, feeling, that it was not what he should
have been seeing.
'Nataku, goddess of the war I'm fighting,
armor of the hardest metal
* * * * * *
After having spent half of the night wearing a hole in the floor with
their pacing, Trowa and Duo had abandoned the very idea of going to sleep
in their respective rooms, and had moved out onto the terrace, rolled
into the covers the American had brought with him to make the wait more
comfortable. From time to time, one of them got up to walk along the guardrail,
but the darkness didnít reveal the slightest thing.
The American sighed loudly and leaned back on the swing at his comradeís
side, tightening the covers around himself. The tip of his nose was nearly
anesthetized by the cold, and his pants were too short to protect his
ankles very much. He should buy another pair, he had grown up a little
and it was beginning to get annoying. Shivering, he slid his feet out
of his boots and tucked them under him, nestling into the cushions. Only
a conscious effort prevented him from nestling against Trowaís side, but
he didnít dare, even with the cold.
He didnít know why, but even if he was big on physical contact, he couldnít
touch Trowa as easily as the others. Heero, he touched him to annoy him
... well, at the beginning, he had done that because it annoyed the Japanese
teen, and after a while, because he found it comfortable, and he knew
that even if Heero protested and groaned about his touching habits, he
kind of enjoyed it a little, too; and now he seemed to be petting Duo
all the time. Quatre loved hugs so it was absolutely not a problem. And
Wufei... Wufei bitched for hours, but he never pushed him back, using
the pretext of humoring the lunatic to accept a human contact he needed
more than he wanted to admit. But Trowa... Each time Duo touched Trowa
without him expecting it, it was as if the ex-mercenary changed into stone.
He never dared to say anything, but his discomfort was palpable, and much
more real than the two Asian boysí hands-off attitude. Duo wanted to share
the well-being he felt, not make him ill with barely held back nervousness.
Duo was seriously beginning to wonder how he had been raised, to be so
spooked by simple contacts.
Well... It could just be his character. But their friendship was still
too new and too superficial for him to be able to ask that kind of question.
He sighed, sad. He was cold, and he was worried about Wufei, and now there
was the Trowa mystery running in circles under his skull ...
"Hm?" muttered the other boy without turning toward him, his eyes still
fixed on the horizon the sunrise was turning pink and gold.
Duo swore mentally. He had not wanted to speak out loud, but it had escaped
without his consent! An idea, fast, fast!
"Weíre the last two non-Weres now... Weíre the minority. Feels strange,
The other boy nodded, but didnít add anything. Augh, did he even have
a tongue? Duo told himself that he would have to ask Quatre to see about
it for him one of these days ... and then remembered with a surge of sadness
that they couldnít. It was one of the first things Heero had told him,
back in the first days, when Duo had admitted that he kind of liked the
01 pilot. Even one kiss would contaminate him.
"Wonder what it feels to be a Were ... To be able to shapeshift... To
have such open, powerful senses... to feel the animal inside ... Heero
seems happy like that. Heís getting so open compared to before. Quatre,
I donít know yet, I suppose we didnít see enough of his post-transformation
personality to judge, but at least the mood shifts should disappear, I
know he felt bad about that ... I was more or less expecting the sudden
bursts of anger from Heero, but it always looked strange to see lilí Quat'
throw a temper tantrum and then burst out in tears because he had been
angry with us... Heís gonna feel better now," he repeated with confidence.
"True. He tormented himself often about the changes in his personality."
"I suspected that, but he never wanted to talk to me about it. I hope
he was at least open for you... It would have been too hard for him otherwise."
Trowa nodded soberly.
"We talked ... a little."
Duo smiled at him.
"Itís a relief. If anyone could help him, itís you, Trowa. Heís always
had so much trust in you, yanno? Even if you just listened to him, I think
it helped him more than I would have been able to."
The clown didnít answer, lowering his eyes, looking seriously bothered
by the praise. Duo didnít insist.
"I hope theyíll be able to get Wufei back..." he sighed before letting
his head fall on the headrest, pensively staring at the sky over the swing.
"And I really, really hope itís not gonna mess with his memory even more..."
"Amen to that," murmured Trowa.
* * * * * *
The transformation took Heero by surprise, and as he was very calm and
his human side had been in control even in the animal, he couldnít prevent
the Change from taking place before he was already halfway there ... too
late to change back into a wolf. If Wufei decided to attack now, he was
dead. After several seconds of indecision, he tried to hasten his return
to human form. As long as he was in between, his mobility was too strongly
compromised. He was vulnerable and he hated it.
The tiger jumped when he saw him change, and Heero stared for a few seconds.
The beast seemed troubled... Slowly, the Japanese pilot lifted his hand
toward the tigerís muzzle, palm upward, giving him the opportunity to
sniff at it if he wanted, but Wufei was so surprised that he didnít react.
And then, slowly, the striped fur began to shrink and the limbs to creak
under the Change. The sun being up, the moon's influence on their bodies
had stopped. Wufei had been so deeply immersed into his animal body that
he had managed to hold on longer than Heero had, but apparently he didn't
desire to stay a tiger strongly enough not to change back after a while.
Heero just hoped that the adolescent he had got back at Treize's would
not throw a fit when he found himself butt naked in the middle of the
woods with another nekkid guy in front of him, and too vivid memories
of a strange dream to give out a background to those strange scratches
the brambles had covered him in.
Wufei panted a few minutes, then looked up at the young man who was crouching
in front of him. They stared at each other once again, as they had been
doing all night long... And then the Chinese boy gave a long sigh, closed
his eyes and relaxed, leaning on the ground. After a few seconds, Heero
slowly caught his wrist to make sure that he was still alive and ok. He
was sleeping, so deeply that the contact didn't even make him stir. The
Japanese teen gave an imperceptible sigh.
The moment of post-transformation tiredness was past, his muscles had
their old strength back; he lifted his comrade across his shoulders and
began his trek back to the house. With a little chance, and if he didn't
damage his feet, he would be home in something like three hours... providing
Wufei would not wake up in a mood to try to run away once again.
* * * * * *