Warnings: 1~5 tension, some angst.

I Have Decided that Catherine and Trowa will not be siblings in the story. I know it's canon for anyone who read the episode zero and also happens to have a brain, but I frankly don't want to deal with the repercussions. I think it's cuter how they adopted each other anyway, and the fact that they just happen to find each other again by chance always seemed helluva farfetched to me. It isn't really important for the plot anyway; it doesn't change the relationships. They're still siblings in heart if not in blood and that's the important part. (even when they're not blood-related, 3xC always leave me with an icky feeling in my stomach X_X They may not have to be related, but they sure act like it.)

And NO (because I know that some of you won't remember) Hilde and Trowa didn't meet. He wasn't there when she was with the other boys at school. Are you following?! ^___~

Author: Asuka Kureru

Garou + Part 28
Learning to Deal

Heero climbed aboard, sliding behind some crates to hide from the few Sweepers already working on the deck. They were only a few, luckily, and he didn't have too much trouble to reach the entry of the living quarters.

He was glad to find the door already opened. In his wolf shape, he probably couldn't have opened it... No opposable thumbs and all. He shouldered the heavy door out of the way and slipped through the corridors to his room, only paying attention to his surroundings in the most automatic way.

The teenager was already turning back into human shape when he heard laughter in the adjoining room. Duo, and a girl's voice, too young to be Sally and not deep enough to be Cathy. Instinctively, he stepped closer to the door and listened.

Hilde. The Were wondered briefly what she was doing here, and leaned closer to the door before he remembered that it wasn't polite to spy on his friends... and if Duo ever knew that he had listened in on one of his private conversation, he'd get mightily pissed. The American teen didn't get angry often, but when he did, better hope you could run fast enough. Heero stepped away from the door and began to search for clothes, trying not to pay attention to the laughing voices on the other side of the door.

He was clothed and searching for something Trowa could wear when he heard his name. Unable to resist, he leaned closer to the door, a heavy pullover still in hand.

"Stared at me as if... helping of red meat.... Wufei turning all red... didn't you tell us it could happen?! ... shagged Wufei..."

Heero paused. Told as Duo was telling it, it sounded amusing. But now that he thought about it, he couldn't help but feel bad. He had been totally irresponsible, had gone walking around in places where anyone could have seen him, had totally neglected his comrades' desires and decisions... Even worse. Had nearly attacked one of his comrades and tried to ... to rape another.

He shuddered. Now that he could think more rationally, he was realizing that it could have gone very wrong... that maybe it already had.

He would not have cared about anyone crossing his path. He'd probably have attacked just the same.

And if Duo had not run away fast enough...

He had to present his apologies, he decided, his good mood disappearing. He had behaved like a real asshole.

"Wu... taking it badly..."

His eyes widened with alarm.

'Oh no, Wufei... I...I forced him, I forced him and he didn't want it, and ...he couldn't say no, I took advantage of him and nothing else... Oh, FUCK...'

Dropping on the floor the pullover he had been supposed to fetch for Trowa, he took off in the corridor, searching for the Chinese teen's scent, running after the freshest scent, not caring about the Sweepers he was rushing past.

He only realized that the trail led to the showers when he skid on the wet tiles and had to slide to a stop. The smell was moister, fainter, as if half dissolved in the steam that the hot water was creating, but still more recent than on the trail. Wufei was still there.

He looked up, searching with his eyes rather than with his nose.

Standing by one of the benches, the black-haired boy still had his arms raised above his head, but he had frozen in the act of toweling his hair dry to stare. He was nearly nude, only wearing white briefs that dampness glued to his skin.

His shoulders and neck were covered in scratches, teeth marks and bruises that were just beginning to turn purple.

'Wait... I did that?' the werewolf wondered, half-horrified by the sheer number of them.

Realizing that he was staring, the Japanese pilot turned around, blushing slightly. Wufei was startled out of his surprise and lowered his arms in a hurry, hiding by reflex his chest behind the towel he had been using on his hair.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" the black-eyed boy hissed, grabbing his shirt and putting it on in a hurry.

"I was searching for you," Heero answered, not looking at him.

"You found me. Now, what the hell do you want?" the tiger asked in a sharp voice.

Heero grimaced, glad that he wasn't facing Wufei.

"... I need to talk to you... Can I wait outside?" he proposed without leaving Wufei any time to protest or insult him.

He looked furious, and he had a right to be, Heero thought as he walked out to lean against the wall. He didn't know what he had hoped for, Wufei telling him that it wasn't his fault and he understood? How could he understand? Heero himself had barely understood, and then only hours after it had begun inside of him. And he wasn't the one who had gotten nailed with no warnings by one of his teammates with no regard for his true sexual orientation.

Heero slid down the wall until he was sitting on the cold wall, bent his knees to rest his chin on them, and sighed deeply.

A few minutes later, Chang walked out of the locker room, a small bag with his things thrown over a shoulder. He gave Heero a wide berth when he stopped, looking down on him, in silence. The Japanese teen sighed and, without daring to look at him, got up slowly.

"I went to tell you that I'm sorry," he said with a short bow, his tone turning formal. "If you require compensation from me, I'm ready."

Wufei snorted, eyeing him contemptuously. His fists were closed so tight they were turning white.

"Come to the gymnasium with me," he ordered coldly, walking away without looking to see if Heero was following.

The Wolf in Heero growled a little, annoyed that Wufei dared to act as dominant, but shut up pretty fast. Heero's human side had no clue about the notions that bothered his human half so much, like the fact that having sex with someone who was too intoxicated by something external to their own body counted as rape as much as throwing them savagely on the ground and forcing them to take it, but he still felt confusedly that he had done wrong to his packmate. That deserved a compensation.

Not worrying about the few Sweepers exercising on the machines, Wufei threw his bag on the floor and walked to a corner of the room covered with mats. Heero followed, his shame forbidding him to lift his eyes higher than Wufei's heels.

"Come on," the Chinese pilot threw at him, dropping into a fighting stance.

Heero mirrored him halfheartedly.

"Defend yourself. I don't want a punching-ball, but an adversary. So fight!"

Heero nodded, weakly.

Wufei attacked.


* * * * * *


Trowa was nearly falling back asleep when a cool breeze reminded him brutally that he was lying naked in the middle of a clearing. He sat up in a leap, blushing slightly. Sadly the relaxing aftereffects of the night before and of his discussion with Heero were starting to dissipate and he felt a little more uneasy. There wasn't much of a chance that he would meet someone so deep in the woods, but still... It wasn't for nothing that he was always wearing turtlenecks; he hated to show skin.

He decided not to stay there doing nothing and waiting for the other wolf to come back and got up, stretching carefully. He thought about a way to find his way back to the boat for a little while, but they had run a lot and there was no way he could go back that path. Okay, the position of the sun could give him the direction of the seaside, and once there he would only have to follow it to arrive to the ship... If he didn't take the wrong turn. But he had always had a good sense of direction, it wouldn't be that big a problem. And if Heero came back to find him gone, he could always follow his scent...

Stopping short, Trowa slapped his forehead.

"I'm truly an idiot," he murmured with a little smile.

Closing his eyes, he took in a deep breath through his nose, wondering how tracking was done.

The answer came as fast and brutally than a punch in the nose. Less painful than a real one, but still as dizzying.

There weren't words to describe exactly what it was that he could smell. Apart maybe from using visual metaphors...

At first it was confusing, a melange of paints thrown haphazardly on a canvas, creating a shapeless mixture, but when he concentrated, the scents slowly untangled from each other. He opened his eyes, slowly, trying to superpose the smells to what he saw.

It was psychedelic.

To assign colors to the scents helped him a little, as he realized. It was as if he was seeing traces of colored smoke in the air, more or less clear depending on the place it was coming from and the time it had been there from. And it was way stronger when close to the source, but he couldn't "see" that before he got closer. It was so weird.

He leaned forward, following the path a small canine, probably a fox, had taken through the clearing. It had gone through here a while ago, the smell was... rancid, faded, nearly erased. But close to the ground, it was strong enough for Trowa to know that it was probably male, and old too.

Like snails dipped in paint then let loose on a blank canvas, thought Trowa while smelling another path crossing the fox's. It was easy finally. He just needed to find the smell he wanted, and to go where it was the strongest.

Yes, very easy. He had not needed to worry finally. He was always so prone to analyzing things that didn't really need it.

Taking a deep breath, he straightened up. The smell in the clearing was that...

...of sex, the teen realized, grimacing.

Curious, he smelled his own hands. He ignored the faint twinge of heat coming from his loins as he smelled the pheromones, searching for something else. Heero's scent was all over him, mixed with his own and that of the rut, but not enough to render it unrecognizable.

Walking in the direction Heero had taken to walk out of the clearing, Trowa sniffed the air again, trying to engrave in his memory the scent of his comrade, then followed it to the best of his abilities.


* * *


Hilde and Duo walked out from Duo's room to go to the deck, and met with Catherine, who was leaving Trowa's room, looking worried.

"Did you see him?" she asked right off the bat.

"Who? Trowa?" the American teen asked.

Cathy nodded impatiently, her curls bouncing around her face. She had a look to her that told that she was on her last nerve, which could be understood when you thought that her adoptive brother had been close to dying the last time she'd seen him and that no one seemed to have a clue where he could be as of now. The only thing that stopped her from panicking was that if he had died, they would have found his body somewhere on the boat... unless he'd found a way to fall in the water or hide somewhere to die.

"Err... No..."

Immediately, her face fell and her shoulders with it. Duo and Hilde gave each other a concerned look.

"But you know, he's doing well!" the boy added hurriedly.

"And how do you know that, if you didn't see him?!" the young woman asked with irritation.

"Hilde knows," he replied, pointing to his friend.

Catherine stared at the brunette.

"Hilde, meet Catherine Bloom, Trowa's adoptive sister. Cathy, meet Hilde Schbeiker, my best girl friend. Hilde's a werewolf too," he added offhandedly.

The knife-thrower woman blinked. Apart from the dark look she was giving Duo, the black-haired girl looked totally ordinary.

"Yeah, and relax, I didn't see him but I could smell him, and believe me, if he was dying I'd know," Hilde answered gamely. "And he was with Heero; if anything had happened he'd have told us. Believe me, if anything happens, Heero will do anything to help. He can't do otherwise anyway."

"What do you mean?" the young woman asked, puzzled by the comment.

Hilde stepped closed and laid a hand on her arm.

"Heero is pack leader. Trowa is part of his pack. He cannot not take care of him, ok? That's impossible."

Heero was a good pack leader, the brunette reflected. Well, he made mistakes, but since he didn't have a clue what the hell he was doing it wasn't surprising, and she would have expected a lot more fuck ups. At least when he was able to think he placed his pack before himself... She chased those morose thoughts; it wasn't the right moment for self-pity.

Cathy let loose a long, relieved sigh and relaxed slightly.

"Swear?"

"I swear. He's fine. Maybe we'll need to go pick him up because he's gonna be tired, but apart from tiredness he's gonna be ok. Bet Heero and he hunted, and it's all he needs right now. Hey, you wanna come with us? I was walking to the deck with Duo, we can watch out for him there, okay?" she added with a slightly forced good cheer.

The redhead nodded and followed them down the corridor.

"Haveta fetch Quatre," Duo told Cathy. "He managed to get caught some fifteen miles away, buck naked behind a barn, I won't tell ya what can happen if he gets caught. Told me all about his adventure to get out of the barn and to the phone booth, except the phone booth's in view of the road. Hey, now that I think of it, they must all be naked, those morons... Really should think 'bout leaving them some clothes outside next time we're not in private! Well... if there ain't another one rutting ..." he added, grumbling.

Hilde and Cathy laughed.

"Oh, relax," Hilde snorted. "As long as it's not Heero, you're not at risk so long as you hide somewhere..."

"Idiot," Duo grimaced back.

"Idiot yourself, you cretin!"

"Moron!"

"Children, enough...!" Catherine sighed. She wasn't that much older.

Hilde and Duo stuck their tongue out, falsely contrite.

Once on the deck, Duo went to retrieve his bike from the small hangar and drove down the gangway carefully. The girls watched him leave... well, Hilde watched him, Cathy was staring at the bushes up on the cliff to notice.

After waving at them, he disappeared on the path and the two girls stayed alone by the gangway.

"So, what do we do? We wait for your bro here?"

Catherine shrugged. There was nothing else to do.


* * *


The she-wolf chose a space in the sun, out of the way of the Sweepers working around, and lay down on the floor, hands behind her head. It was going to be a beautiful day.

True, she hadn't traveled so far just to take a nap in the sun, but she had not really expected everyone to be busy like that. She'd thought that after a full moon, they'd be resting.

She hadn't even found a way to talk with Duo... Not that she was so sure she wanted to tell him what was bothering her recently. But usually his mere presence was enough to help her forget her problems and really feel the joy and good mood she showed.

But he didn't have time, that's the way it was... and he was a boy, she wasn't very comfortable with the idea of revealing some things to him. And if she began to allude to problems she had with her pack, he wouldn't stop bugging her before knowing all about it... There were things that bring back to the surface would be useless and painful.

She glanced at Catherine who was sitting at her side. From the few she had seen and the bits of information she had heard here and there on the young woman, she seemed to have a developed maternal instinct. Sadly, Hilde didn't know her enough to talk to her; the mere fact that she knew about the lycanthropy was more than enough information in her hands.

Hilde reminded herself to tell the boys to limit to the maximum the number of people knowing. They would have enough problems with the other packs because of their insubordination, Hilde didn't want to know what would happen of those of, let's say her own pack, learned of the exact number of humans those novices had already revealed their existence.

"Something wrong?" Catherine asked when she saw him make a face.

"Oh, no, nothing," the brunette assured with a forced smile." Um... Catherine?"

"Yes?"

"I just wanted to warn you... Never tell anyone about what you learned here," she whispered, intensely serious.

[cont]