I crouch in the shadows, my body tense. A little wiggle works down my spine as I wait. My hapless prey has no idea that I am near. Wait for it... Wait for it...
I drag my dripping body out of the lake that only a few months ago had nearly been my end. My tail slaps wetly on the side of the boulder I lay on. My mate gives me an evil look as he pulls himself from the embrace of the water. He flops down next to me.
"You are so~ evil."
My reply is a lupine grin and a quick affectionate lick to the side of his arm. I have learned he is not averse to signs of care from me. Indeed my young mate seems to thrive on them. I know he has been worried for the last few days.
The reason for this is the letter he received last week. The other pilots were gathering together at Quatre and Dorothy's estate on earth. But Duo loathed leaving me alone in the secluded haven. So the plan was changed. Tomorrow the Gundam Pilots and their mates will invade our home, may the goddess have mercy on me.
I shake myself briskly, snickering inwardly as Duo grumbles under his breath about wet canine hair. Our home is ready; all signs of my other form were erased from trained eyes. Tomorrow the friends and pack my pretty mate belongs to will arrive and spend a week getting to know my little death once more.
A week of being 'terminally fuzzy' as Duo is so fond of saying... I can't believe how addicted to his scent and taste I have become. Still I can sleep in my mate's bed and no one shall be the wiser. An even trade I suppose.
Dawn arrives to see both my mate and I get in one last good snuggle before I shift for the next few days. I change with a sigh and curl up on the porch on top of Duo's feet. The first car pulls in to reveal that Zechs and Heero chose to give Trowa and Wufei a ride to our cabin.
My mate smiles and gleefully greets his brothers. Hugs and happy smiles are exchanged before Duo motions me to come over.
"Guys this is Okame-sama. Okame, this is Heero Yuy, Zechs Marquise, Trowa Barton, and Chang Wufei."
I bow my head, mentally chuckling at the looks of startlement on their faces. My little Reaper quickly learned those pretty manners. Of course the way he learned them was not for his friends to know. That is only between Duo and myself. My tail thumps the ground in an unconscious display of pleasure from the memories of those... lessons.
The little scene is repeated with Quatre and Dorothy. I am rather surprised that those hulking monsters he calls the Magunac Corps didn't follow them. I settle in at Duo's side as plans are discussed. I helped Duo find the campsite he had chosen for the reunion.
As we bask in the calm of after dinner conversation a scent comes to me. My head lifts and I glare out into the night. I calm myself, willing my hackles to lower. It can't be him.
I notice Quatre is watching me, his gaze curious. Sorry little Sultan. I didn't mean to upset you. I relax, thinking of calm tranquil places. My reward is his waning concern. I,ll have to be a bit more careful if I don't want to blow my cover.
The next morning proves to me that love is truly blind, deaf, and very dumb... Heero managed to get everyone, Zechs and myself included, up well before dawn to set out for the campsite, and Zechs didn't kill him for it. I yawn and trot along at Dorothy's side, listening to her cast aspirations on young Heero and mutter ominous threats over being awakened before the bugs were out.
That's my Doro-chan. Give the perfect soldier hell when you get your breath back. I'm just glad Duo and I packed everything in advance. He thought Heero might do something like this.
We set up camp with all due haste. Duo told his brothers of the fishing to be had in the stream a short hike away. Dorothy gives them all a disgusted look before seeking her foam mattress inside her and Quatre's tent.
I strop my body against his legs and lay down in front of the tent. If Doro chan is staying I,ll stand watch. My heart-mate needs time with his family. He smiles at me and rubs my ears in the way I love.
"Thanks Okame-sama. I,ll bring you a nice big trout for watching over her."
"Duo is it safe?"
"Okame-sama will make lunch meat out of anything that might bother Dorothy. She's safe with him Quatre."
The little blonde eyes me for a long moment, as though reading my soul. I project my best, 'I'm Harmless Vibe' to the Arab. He finally nods and moves off with his friends.
After ten minutes Dorothy emerges and sighs.
"Finally I thought he would never leave!"
I look to her in a quizzical fashion. To my delight she slowly sits next to me and began to talk.
"I love Quatre, but those pilots need time to reconnect. Besides they,ll talk about battles that I know nothing about and missions I should never hear of. Kind of like a boys day out, ne?"
The morning and afternoon passes slowly. Dorothy took a long nap as I stand guard. It was only a precaution really. There wasn't anything on this mountain that was more dangerous than the pilots and myself... Though Doro-chan could be deadly in her own way.
I hear them return long before Dorothy. Which was only right, My ears are built to catch obscure sounds. Duo is laughing at something Wufei has said. His violet eyes entrance me... Until I see the large rainbow trout hanging on the stringer.
It may be rather undignified, but my tail thumps the ground in a slow tattoo of anticipation. I stand and trot over to his side.
He chuckles and pats my head, "Hey Okame, you want me to actually clean this or do you want to eat now?"
Decisions decisions... I decide to eat my fish grilled and go to sit by the fire. Wufei is clearly stunned by my actions. Damn I really need to watch that. Normal wolves do not let their human companions cook their meals for them.
All through dinner that scent teases my nose. Dammit all... It didn't make sense! Was there another out there? And if so he had to sense me as well. So why not approach? Did he fear me... or did he have reason to think I would do him harm?
Something about the scent bothered me... I should know it, of that I am certain. With a snort of disgust I choose to stay close to my mate. If there is a rogue out there I,ll have his ass for luncheon if he seeks to harm these wonderful young warriors.
The S'More-fest was well underway when the scent hit me. This time nothing cloaks it from my nose. My lips curl into a snarl. The Dragon and the Soldier notice it as I gain my feet. My gait is stiff legged as I place myself between my mate and the interloper.
"What's wrong Okame-sama?" My mate places a hand on my back in a soothing gesture. My reply was to carefully push him back towards his brothers.
"I think he senses a threat Duo."
Ah 03, you are a master of the understatement.
My ears flatten against my skull as the intruder emerged from the brush. Rage fills me at the sight of him. Oh he would pay dearly for this insult!
Trowa backs up several paces, giving me room to move as the tawny creature enters the firelight. Dorothy drew near to Quatre, and presses a gun into his hand. Quatre looks pained, as my fury grows palpable.
I spare a thought of regret for the distress my anger causes the golden youth. Then I turn to face the threat. There was no doubt in my mind that there would be a fight. Bastard always did try to prove he was better than I was.
'Very well fuzz-ass. Time to finish this.'
We meet in a flurry of teeth and claws. As we sprang apart I note with grim satisfaction that his ear is torn and bleeding. But it isn't enough, not for what he had done.
My claws dug into the earth as I slam my shoulder into him. The blow sends him rolling across the clearing and in an instant I was on him. My larger body pins his down and my sharp teeth were at his throat.
I can smell the fear coming off him now. A wild part of me rejoices, 'That's right you bastard. I could end this fight and you in a heartbeat.'
"Okame-sama, don't... Please."
I snap my teeth shut millimeters from my enemy's throat. The message is clear; he lived by my mate's mercy.
I move back and stride to Duo's side. My head butts against his hand in a show of gruff affection. I watch with cool detachment as my adversary staggers out into the night.
I tune out the following discussion that the pilots hold, my being focuses on detecting further threats. The conversation dies down as each sought out their bedroll. My mate sits down inside the little lean-to he had put together for our camping trips. I take my place near his feet and fight down the urge to wiggle as his bare toes played with my fur.
"Helluva way to start a vacation, ne Okame-sama?"
I grumble a bit under my breath. A delicate shiver works through my mate and I sigh. Resigned, I rolled over to bare my belly. Ten cold little toes burrowed against my warm tummy.
I really need to get him some warm socks.
**** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** **** ****
Morning... Oh how I hate you. I utter soft sounds of disgust and my tail is flips over my nose. I look up from my curled position as I hear a soft snicker. I see my mate watching me with sleepy eyes.
I get to my feet, bruises from the night before make themselves know. As my Duo would say, 'Oh yes today is gonna suck.'
I think I spend too much time alone with my pretty mate.
Morning is spent in quiet conversation, remembering missions that I had never learned of. Well, I hadn't learned of them until I found my bases torched or blasted from hell to breakfast. I stay close to my mate. It can't be over, not yet. He won't give up.
The real Trowa Barton was too much a bastard.
Oh yes, he was an utter disgrace. So much so that I swore to Leah, his own sister, that he would never be allowed near our child. I cast him from our little pack soon after I learned of his actions with the young ones.
Nanashi... I'm sorry I couldn't protect you from him.
My melancholy must have slipped from my control, because Quatre comes to my side. His hand caresses my head slowly, gently. His voice is soft.
"It's okay now... We are safe. You did the right thing."
My eyes widen as I look into soft tourmaline depths. Does he know?
"One thing... If you ever hurt Duo... I,ll beat you to death with a shovel, Treize."
I know my mouth is hanging open. How did he know? He isn't a shifter. I would have felt the power in his aura... caught it on his scent! It seems as though I am not the only one keeping secrets here.
~You have my word. I will never harm my mate.~
Quatre nods and returns to Dorothy's side. She gives him confused look. He smiles at her and gifts her with a tender, if passionate kiss. She blushes softly, a wonderful sight. Dorothy suffered so much during the war. I'm glad she has found someone for her own.
I,ll go hunting this night. I need to know what is going on. I can't afford to have a renegade on the loose. As the last of the Guvordan line, I know my duty.
I slip out later that night, tracking the blood and spore of my enemy. The trail winds around our home, adding fuel to the fire of my rage. That miserable excuse for a Wolf slunk about our home... My territory for a week!
Oh yes Barton... Your ass is mine now.
I enter his circle, aware that it is probably a trap. I can be scared later, right now I am just too damn mad. I shift, standing nude and proud in the firelight.
"You should have stayed dead."
"The same could be said for you Treize."
"Why have you come to my protectorate?"
"What I can't visit my bro- "
"You are no clan to me! Your actions to the young..."
"And that Chinese pilot is legal?"
"I never touched the boy and you know it. I certainly never broke a child for pleasure you sick bastard. You made Leah ill with your actions. I swore to her I would never let you harm another child, and I meant it."
"She wasn't even one of us!"
I let my hands shift until the claws emerge from my fingertips. I lunge across the clearing and slash into his chest. I see, nearly too late, the silver dagger he has hidden behind his back.
I throw myself backwards and feel the nauseating burn of silver opening a gash on my chest. Damn it that would take weeks to heal! A new scar to add to my already impressive collection.
I'm going to break that gloved hand of his and feed him that dagger.
I join the battle, and it is brutal. Bones break and heal in minutes. My claws open gaping furrows in his flesh, but that damned dagger tastes my blood two more times. We dance in the firelight, two beings of power.
Then my chance appears. I launch my body changing fully in flight. I slam into him and the dagger skids across the ground. I shift back, keeping only my claws. I lift him from the ground, my grip brutal. The strength I keep leashed when I touch my mate is in full force now.
I snarl into his face, "You never should have come back. And you should have NEVER touched 03. That boy is worth fifty of you. Say hello to the goddess in the next life."
I snatch up the dagger; hissing as the silver threads in the leather bound hilt burns my palm.
"Say hello to Dekim in hell."
I ram the dagger home and wrench it upwards. He chokes on a scream as with a snap of my arm, I tear his head from his body. I throw the bloody remains into the flames that surround our battlefield. The urge to howl my triumph nearly overwhelms me. But I fight it down. I don't want to panic the pilots.
I remain until there is nothing left but ash. Then I change once more and return to our camp. I see Quatre watching me and I nod to him. I answer the question in those tourmaline eyes.
~He will harm no more.~
Quatre rubs my head, "Thank you and welcome back."
I lay down next to my mate, wincing as my wounds bleed. Duo will be furious with me, but I can deal with it. He is safe from the threat of the past. They all are.