Garou + Part 21 (cont)
She-wolf

"Ok, ok ..." sighed the brunette. "Every pack in the world is more or less in contact with the others, like a net. Since we are a minority, our existence is a secret and if we were revealed we would probably end up in zoos or in carpets, we need to keep closely informed on what happens in the other packs. We have different nets for every species, even if they connect some for when the problem isn't only concerning wolves or cats, but Weres in general. The Wolf net is the one that is the tightest... what I mean is that cats communicate less and not as fast."

"And?"

"An European pack announced not too long ago that there were two Weres, one whole and the other nearly there, that they hadn't been able to integrate in their pack. Logically, you see, when a guy finds himself transforming and surviving it, it's the role of the pack of the one who contaminated him to educate him, to teach him the rules, the customs, the things to know, the way to control and accept his animal side, all that. Well, it was a very isolated pack, they're living like savages in the middle of the woods, hello consanguinity..." she muttered before continuing. "They didn't give us many details except for the fact that they got their asses kicked hard by the weres they were trying to integrate, who happened to be helped by a few humans with whom they were travelling. As you see, evidently, it rather worried the pack leaders in the net. By the way, that's a thing I have to ask... Why did you kill them?"

"They were attacking us," growled back Heero. "They tried to take Quatre."

She held up her hands, as if defending herself.

"I don't criticize... I wasn't there anyway... Back to my story. So you created a light panic. Usually, the people who just got changed are confused, scared, and frankly too happy to be helped, but you showed such a destructive ability... So your description was passed along to every pack in a few weeks, with orders to warn the net if ever you were seen. They weren't able to see you before you arrived in that town... Me, at the time, I didn't give a shit about that story, I'm not really into that pack shit anyway since I live away from mine, but when I heard the description, and I realized that the town where the rogue weres had been seen was the town where four Gundam Boys had just happened to arrive in to see a guerilla doctor I know rather well..."

"You know Sally?"

"Sure, I have many contacts amongst the Resistance, I help her sometimes... But the Weres don't know that I am in the resistance and of course the guerillas don't know that I'm a were," she added with a wink. "Well, so, I recognized the description, and I proposed to go talk to you, insisting that you were probably a little wary and that a young female would seem less menacing to you..."

"Evidently they didn't take into account Yuy's paranoia," commented Duo, deadpan.

Hilde and Duo burst out laughing. Heero gritted his teeth and looked away.

"Logically, I should tell you that you have to go to a pack to be educated, but I know why you don't want to. And since you're not from the same species, you'd be separated anyway, as for Duo and the last one, better not to dream on, you don't have the slightest idea how they're wary of humans. If they knew that you knew... A snap of fangs, and then, that you survive or not, the problem will have been dealt with anyway..."

"I see," hissed the Japanese boy, struggling not to let his body shapeshift with his anger. "Hilde. You'll relay the message to your alpha, word for word. Those four boys are MY pack, humans or cats, I don't give a shit. They're MY pack and I will kill any were who will lay a finger on them, even if they are female, and even if they submit to me. It is the same for those that my pack considers family or friends. And what they think that we have to know or do, I don't give a shit either. We got along fine without them, we'll continue to do so. We will not reveal ourselves to anyone who would talk, that is the only thing I can give. And ask them to remember what we were able to do when it was me, three humans and an ill were, taken by surprise. Tell them to imagine what it will be now that we are healthy and awaiting them."

"Well shit, you like making friends," whistled the girl, amazed. "Ok, I'll tell them that. For what it's worth, I can understand why you can't lose time being educated in a pack. I'll try to present thing in a way that will make them understand that you won't babble and it would be better if you were left in peace. That good enough?"

The Japanese werewolf nodded briskly, then turned heels and marched out of the door, nearly slamming it after him.

"Whoa, what a bad temper..." whistled Hilde, amazed.

Duo shrugged.

"He doesn't like surprises, and with everything that has happened with the other pack of werewolves..."

"Mmyeah," mumbled the girl, not convinced.

They forgot about the Japanese pilot and began to chat animatedly, catching up on months of separation.

* * * * * * * * *

The day after, Heero gritted his teeth like he had shortly gotten used to when, leaving the building for the lunch period, he saw in the courtyard that Quatre, Wufei and Duo were still chatting with Hilde. Why the fuck wasn't she leaving?

He could hear them chatter and joke around. They hadn't seen him, he took advantage of it to listen for a few minutes.

They were listing the songs Duo had in his collection, his wolf songs, as he called them. Amused, Hilde was citing the ones she could think about.

"Hey, do you know this one? Wolf Moon by Type O Negative..."

She straightened up, put on an opera singer pose to make the boys laugh then began, with a voice that was suddenly going low and slightly hoarse. She turned her walkman up so the other boys could hear the song. The rhythm was powerful but languid, like a moan.

"The 28th day
She'll be bleeding again
And in lupine ways
We'll alleviate the pain

Unholy water
Sanguine addiction
Those silver bullets
A last blood benediction

It is her moon time
When there's iron in the air
A rusted essence
Woman may I know you're there

Hey wolf moon
Come cast your spell on me
Hey wolf moon
Come cast your spell on me"

"I could have lived without knowing that there was a song for she-wolves' intimate problems," grumbled Wufei. "Couldn't you stop singing that? It's freaky..."

They glanced at each other, then grabbed Wufei's neck and began to sing together, as provokingly as possible:

"I wanna Fuck you like an animal,
I want to Feel you from the Inside,
I wanna Fuck you like an animal!"

"MAXWELL!! SCHBEIKER!!! "

"What? You were the one who wanted us to stop singing the other song!" they protested, still in stereo.

Quatre was howling with laughter at their side, as much for the song and the stereo effect as for the Chinese teenager's face. Heero bit the inside of his cheek and moved along.

Quatre felt the boy's presence and turned around, smiling, but the only thing he saw was a mop of tangled brown hair disappearing in the crowd. Troubled, he frowned faintly and tried to concentrate to know what the other was feeling, something that he rarely decided consciously to do, but Duo put a hand on his shoulder and his connection was lost before having been finished. Shrugging, Quatre turned to his comrades and smiled at them.

"Something wrong, Kitty-Cat?

"Oh, it's nothing," he smiled, hoping that it was true.

* * *

Heero went to sit on one of the benches outside of the circle of buildings. He sighed and looked at his feet, wondering why he felt so hostile toward Hilde. Duo had vouched for her, and if Duo trusted her, it was because he was sure that there weren't any risks, so Heero couldn't justify himself by saying that he didn't trust her, it was the same thing as saying that he didn't trust Duo himself.

He could admit it to himself, the problem wasn't her character, even if she could probably act annoying. Duo acted exactly the same way, and Heero tolerated him quite well. And to be frank, he had been hostile toward her at first glance, even before knowing how she was. And, hell, she was a she-wolf! He couldn't attack her like that! ...Even if she moved with the confidence and the precision of the dangerous hunter, even if she had been a soldier.

He was jealous, simple as that. Jealous of her friendship with Duo, jealous of their closeness. Jealous too of the interest she evoked in Quatre and Wufei. It was useless to hide from the truth. She had a sense of humor, she was full of energy, courageous, even he had to admit it... after all she had matched him glare for glare without blinking, she was interesting, strong, vivacious, intelligent without a doubt. And friendly. Very friendly.

While he barely knew how to answer when someone talked to him.

If she had been just a silly girl without importance, one of those dumb blondes who giggle as soon as they glance at a cute guy and were only interested by clothes, it would have been ok, as amusing as she could have been, but she was able to fight, to defend herself, to serve as a partner for Duo. She had already done it after all. Heero knew very well that the American would stay in their team as long as the war would last and he would have a Gundam to pilot, but as long as Deathscythe was not needed, nothing prevented him from spending time with the brunette. Nothing at all.

'Especially not my sunny and friendly demeanor, that's for sure' he thought, biting the side of his nail.

Well, they had said that they weren't dating, it was already something... but it could be only because they lacked the time to do so, or maybe because Hilde had refused to risk Duo's health by Changing him... because she liked him too much to make him undergo that without warning maybe. Perhaps after the war, she would ask him to join her pack...

Heero was so occupied with trying to contain his hateful growl that he only realized that someone was approaching him when a pair of shoes stopped under of his nose.

"Hello, Heero," said a voice he hadn't heard in months.

He slowly looked up, his mouth hanging open.

"You?"

* * *

Hilde and Duo had decided to keep company to Quatre when he went to the infirmary to get news from Sally. In three days, she had made them take tests and had begun to measure the differences in the Weres's metabolism. Her model of their genetic code should be finished, and Quatre really wanted to see what she had found, and if they were truly as deeply modified as they thought.

"Sally?" he called.

The room was empty, but he heard someone moving in the lab behind. The three teenagers looked into the back room and saw the ex-doctor bent over littered papers.

"Good morning, boys..."

"Hi! So, do you have your results?"

"Most of what I learned is technical data..." she answered, turning around. "Hey... Hello, Hilde," she added with surprise and a dash of incertitude.

"It's ok, she knows," Duo reassured her, walking forward to glance at the thing the ex-major had been observing. "She's a she-wolf too."

The American got wide-eyed after a few seconds, when he understood what he was looking at. It was a DNA strand, the twin curves circling symmetrically around the axis.

Excepted that there weren't two lines of DNA circling around each other, but four.

"This one's Wufei," commented Sally.

"It's awesome..." breathed the braided boy. "But... I mean, logically, one of the lines is supposed to be the reflection of the other, am I wrong? How do they do that if there is four of them?"

"They go by two. One pair is a totally ordinary human genetic code. The other..."

"A tiger?"

"No."

"Err, Sally, if that's Wufei's genetic code, it can't be a goldfish..."

"I know... but it isn't an animal. I don't know what it is."

"Relax," grinned Hilde, crossing her arms behind her head. "It's something that is not a tiger but looks a helluva lot like it, ain't it that?"

"It is as if someone had taken human codes and genes and had forced them to express themselves as tiger genes," answered Sally, pensive. "But those aren't tiger genes, per se. Those are genes that can be found in some humans... but their use wasn't known at all. Hell, it's demented. And when you see that no one, NO ONE, of you three has the same mutation, it's... a total aberration. And I am talking about the genetic code when it is static! I don't even want to know how the cells don't explode one after the other when the dominant codes change places."

"I don't know the first thing about genetics, Sally, and I don't think my people ever tried to know about it, but... I know that the elders present things this way: the bite only gives the means to transform. What we become depends on our inner animal, our... totem maybe? The animal to which our soul is the closest. So maybe the second genetic code is already present in everyone, but dormant? And being bitten separates it from the first... don't you think?"

"Anyone could transform?"

"Well, no, not exactly," answered the young girl. "Personally, you know, I didn't grow up in a pack, so I don't know as much as I could ... but I was told that you could only survive if your spirit was especially combative, and if your inner animal was big enough. Otherwise you would die during the first full moon."

"Big enough?"

"If the animal's body mass is as big or bigger than the human's," she explained.

"And why does it work in that direction but not in the other? From where comes the excess mass of the animal?" Sally shot back, raking her hands in her hair, frustrated. "Because it should be the contrary, it should be the second form who is thinner than the other, what with all that energy used for the transformation! By the way, from where comes the energy necessary for the transformation? Because Heero told me he was always very hungry just after he changed, but even wolfing down his weight just after changing should never be enough to fuel such a total transformation, even if it happened on a few months instead of a few minutes! And the worse is that it isn't one genetic code OR the other, but most of a code and a touch of the other! I think that in fact you never are truly a hundred percent human or animal, just ninety-five at the most... How can it be possible? And, and the moon's influence in all that? What does it have to do with anything? It's totally aberrant, that whole thing is an aberration. It's demented. It shouldn't be possible. It just shouldn't."

Hilde shrugged. As long as it worked...

The other people kept silent for a few minutes, thinking about their discoveries.

"But then, how can you be born in a race or another if the animal you'll be depends on your inner beast?" asked Quatre. "Families don't always have the same personality types..."

Hilde shrugged once again.

"You're born developing a personality of Wolf or Tiger or Puma type, depending on your parents... After all children don't have a fixed personality since before birth. They just evolve in the direction of their inner animal, that's all. On another side, you have people living in a place or another, who have more chances to become such or such animal if they are contaminated, because living in a shack in Arkansas or Alaska gives you more chances to become a wolf or a bear than a Bengal tiger... But the majority of humans are not much more than sheep or rabbit, or dog maybe. It doesn't survive. It probably doesn't even survive two weeks of contamination before dying, when you need at least four before the full moon to be able to arrive at it comfortably."

Duo whistled, impressed.

"And when you arrive at the full moon, you still have to survive the first transformation until the end... Bloody hell..."

"AND to the first night after the first transformation, Duo... People who were unstable before find themselves so traumatized by the shock that they lose themselves in their beast, I won't tell you what a mess it makes. They become mad in general. Devour themselves, jump down cliffs without looking, that kind of things."

"... Stop, Hilde, that's not reassuring."

The lithe Arab shivered. He had been luckier than he had thought...

"Do you think one can become a stag?" asked Quatre to change the subject.

The brunette pushed her cap back to scratch at her head.

"Technically, it should be possible... But since they are prey-type personalities, I'm not sure that they have the necessary drive to survive until the end of the transformation. I was told that when you're not born Were, it is very hard to stand. Anyway, a stag, it should be doable... I suppose... I never heard about it anyway. I heard about a bear once...But wolves are still the most dominant predator type by far."

They would have continued the discussion a little while longer, but at this moment, the door of the infirmary opened with a bang and Heero stalked inside, seething.

"We're leaving, our security was compromised."

Duo spat out a string of curses and Quatre clenched his fists.

"What?"

"Information leak, we've been spotted."

"By OZ?"

"No," answered the Japanese pilot, "but..."

"Heero! You could have waited for me!!" protested a young girl's voice in the hall.

"... It will not be long," he finished, looking at his comrades in a deeply tired way.

Standing close to the group, Relena was looking at them, one after the other, but they refused to meet her eyes.

+

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