It's hard to say who was more startled, Duo Maxwell, or myself. After all I had spent a lifetime hiding what I was. But as that violet-eyed boy stared at me, I could feel old barriers of fear and fascination melt away. The odd calm fell over me. He was beautiful, with long chestnut locks framing his heart shaped face dominated by wide indigo-violet eyes.
I have wanted to share my secret for so long, but there are precious few of us left in this new modern world.
He reaches out, a faint tremor in his hand as it smooths over my head. My eyes drift shut at the caress, a shiver of pleasure makes my muscles quiver. I see the questions in his heart-breaker eyes. I lay before the fireplace trying to warm my cold body. I know he saw everything, I am vulnerable, too weak to fight or flee. Should he decide to kill me, I will have no chance to protect myself.
The water has soaked through my hair, adding to my misery. He moves from my side... To get his gun perhaps? I do not move, too tired and worn to care. His tread is soft on the wood floor as he returns to my side.
What's this? A thick towel strokes gently over my face, removing the wretched water. I cough softly as a second thick towel, warmed by the fire, is draped over my back. I concentrate on the warmth slowly returning to my body. My legs are massaged dry and I utter an achy little moan.
He pauses to speak coaxingly to me. Telling me I am safe and all will be well. Sweet little Shinigami, don't you know one such as I is never truly safe? My mind grows heavy and my sight dims as I give in to sleep.
I wake as dawn paints the sky with its rosy fingers. I hear my companion moving about the remote refuge, stoking the fire and straightening the covers about my sore and battered body. He sings softly, an old hymn, as though unaware of the danger I could pose. With my strength I could shatter bones, rend limbs and end his life. And yet... He gives me shelter and compassion.
I rise from my pallet to find a bowl of warm broth waiting for me. We eat in silence, as though he knows I am in no shape to answer questions. I have my own questions. Why is he here in this remote wilderness? Is it a need to escape the haunting memories created by that dark war?
We spend the day in quiet contemplation. He moves about the cabin with confidence I find charming. As the still evening cloaks us in its dark embrace. I drift off for a few minutes and wake to find a faded afghan draped over my shoulders.
He smiles at me, his eyes haunted and sad. He resumes his place in the cane bottomed rocking chair. The night air grows cool and he suggests we retire to the cabin.
When I wake the next morning I feel stronger. And I'm desperate for a shower. I make my way to the bathroom intent on hot water. One drawback from my gift is my acute sense of smell. Three days without a decent bath is unbearable. I let the steaming water pour over my body as the Change takes me. My callused and scarred hands make quick work of my sweaty hair and body.
The bath gel and shampoo smells fresh and clean, and I revel in it.
I emerge from the glassed in shower alcove to find faded blue sweats and a pair of thick socks. I dress in the steamy room and head for the kitchen. A mug of coffee and a plate of pancakes are set before me. The smell alone makes my mouth water and I force myself to eat with slow dignity. It would not do to make myself ill with the first solid food I've hand in some time.
Those soulful eyes weigh me and I know my reprieve is at an end. He waits for me to finish my meal before he speaks.
"So, General, how long have you been a werewolf?"
I take a sip of coffee before answering, "We prefer the term Loup Garou. And I was born this way. I carry the gene responsible for The Change."
His questions ease my mind, mainly because they are intelligent and dealt with what he could do to aid me. It's rather obvious that Change causes a strain on my taxed body. I am still not fully healed from my escape from death in space. We dispelled the old rumors and I assured him that while I feel the pull of the moon, I am not a slave to her whims.
As the day passes and I relax. We speak at length of many things, but avoid mention of the war, or the men who fought with and against us. Word had reached me about the other pilots lives and whereabouts. I also know that Zechs is very involved with the Wing Pilot Heero Yuy. Wufei is with Trowa and, frighteningly enough, Quatre is engaged to Dorothy.
Any child of that union should be born with either a halo or cloven hooves.
I tell him of what it is like to Run. To feel Mother Earth beneath my feet as the wind combs my fur and Sister Moon shine her light on The Hunt. I explain one must be born Loup Garou to Change. He seems disappointed that a bite from me, or one of my kind will not give him the Gift.
Shy little reaper, you have your own beauty and gifts.
We prepare for bed and I shift back to Wolf. My fur is thick enough to turn back the most bitter of cold now that I am dry and healthy. My main reason for shifting despite my still weakened state is that Duo has done without the protection those blankets offer for the last two nights. I wait until he sleeps and curl up by the fire.
My sleep is broken by soft cries of despair. I know the sound of wounded things and rise from my bed near the fire. My claws make soft clicking noises as I move to his bedside. My muzzle brushes the hand hanging over the bed as I try to wake him.
He bolts upright with a strangled cry. My heart aches at the sound of his pain and I leap lightly onto the bed. His wet eyes gleam in the firelight before he buries his face in the thick soft ruff of my neck. He holds me like a teddy bear, though I am by far the most dangerous teddy bear the world has yet to see. We lay like that all night, as he calms and returns to dreams. His voice is rough as he whispers, "Okami-sama..."
In my mind I acknowledge the truth, I have found my true mate.