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The Alternative (6/6)
space beauty
Warnings and other information can be found in the masterpost.

“I’m sorry,” Lupa said for the third time as they stepped into the very back room.
“I know.”
“I’m really, really sorry.”
“I know.”
“I just-”
Paw put a hand on her shoulder and gently pulled her around to face him. “Lupa, you don’t need to apologise,” he said, trying to keep the irritation out of his voice. The full moon’s presence was like being attacked by hundreds of mosquitoes while being one room away from a can of insect spray.
“Look, you perceived a threat and reacted to it. You could have pretended it wasn’t happening or just freaked out, but you came to help. You did nothing wrong.”
“I should have-”
She fell silent instantly.
“Just drop it, OK? We have bigger things to worry about.”
She nodded.
The back room was tiny and empty except for a single bench. The floor was soft carpet, the walls were dark purple, and the door had a very large flap in it. The full moon shone through the window, casting a patch on the floor and filling the otherwise-dark room with its light. Just looking at it made Paw’s eyes water.
He turned away from it and carefully put his glasses down on the bench. Then he stripped, placing his clothes in a somewhat-neat pile on the bench.
As his clothes came off, the moonlight touched his skin, and the itching became so unbearable that he snarled, feeling his teeth ache as they lengthened and his fingers curl into claws.
As soon as he was nude, he shifted, feeling his body bend and crack as it changed.
For a few seconds, the world seemed alien and incoherent, and then his vision cleared.
As a wolf, he could see perfectly well. He wasn’t quite sure why, but since wolves tended to use their noses more than their eyes, it wasn’t that big a deal.
He took a deep breath and sighed. The moonlight smelt like a combination of the best scents he’d ever smelt- in human form, it was infuriating, but as a wolf, it felt divine. He inhaled deeply as Lupa shifted, and looked over at her.
She was slightly smaller than him, and her fur was bright red. As she took a few cautious steps, getting used to the new body, she sounded amazed.
Holy fuck! I can smell colours! I can hear everything! she gasped, enthralled.
Yeah, it hits you like that, Paw commented. So, do you think you’re ready to go outside, or do you want a minute to get used to it?
I think I’m ready, she replied.
Paw nodded. Let’s go!
With that, he clambered through the wolf-flap and stepped outside. As the moonlight hit him, he raised his head to the sky and howled.
Lupa emerged from the wolf-flap and copied him, her voice echoing his.
As the howls died away, the silence flowed into the gap left in their wake, still and encompassing.
Well, that should do it, Paw remarked, satisfied. Just about every supernatural creature in town should be going home. For tonight, this city belongs to us.
You already said that.
Shut up. Anyway, let’s go!
With that, he bolted down the street, toward the centre of town.
It took Lupa a while to get used to running as a wolf, but she managed it, and Paw made sure to run at speeds she could match. The night was young, the weather was cold and the streets were quiet.
Perfect for a long run.
The pair loped down the streets as the moon shone down above them, occasionally turning down a side-street to chase a cat, dodge car exhaust or avoid nearby people.
They were emerging from a short, filthy alley when Paw took a deep breath and froze.
What? Lupa asked. She took a breath and went still, her nose full of the alien stink of vampire.
Vampires. Here. In my city.
Aren’t we supposed to be sharing the city with them? Lupa queried.
One night. One fucking night in a month. That’s all I asked. Spoony said yes. Every vampire in the city is supposed to be indoors and out of range of our noses.
So what do we do?
Paw growled, his teeth bared. We find them. And then we teach them a lesson.
The wolves ran, focused on the scent.
They found it several streets away, outside one of the more popular vampire clubs.
The vamp clubs are meant to be shut tonight. Spoony’s orders.
So, someone’s broken the rules?
Either that, or our vamps were just passing by. Wait… do you smell that?
Lupa inhaled. They were close, close enough to pick up more than just the general stench of vampire. I smell vampire, gasoline, dog, trash, expensive perfume, lots of red, lots of black, and some kind of weird soda. What about it?
Scarlett, Paw groaned. And probably Snob, too. Great. Well, let’s go.
The two paced down the alley, their claws clicking gently on the road.
Scarlett? Tall, red hair, incredibly sexy, hangs around Spoony?
That’s her. She’s one of his lieutenants. Nobody really knows a lot about her. She’s… elusive. There’s rumours going around about her and that Slayer who was here for a while-
What, Linkara?
No! Fuck, no. Iron Liz.
Before your time, I guess. Anyway, the point is, Scarlett’s one of the friendlier and more liberal vampires, but don’t underestimate her. I’ve seen her rip people apart in less time than it would take you to bite someone.
Lupa swallowed. OK. So, uh, what do we do?
The two rounded a corner and saw the two vampires a few metres away, facing them and talking animatedly.
Lupa, take a running jump and hit Scarlett.
What? Why?
Because, it’ll be funny.
Won’t that be, like, a declaration of war or something?
No. You’re tackling her, not attacking her. Besides, they’re breaking the rules. We’re defending our territory. Go on!
OK, but if this goes wrong, it’s all your fault.
Lupa took a breath and ran.

“What the…”

Paw shifted back to human and took a few steps toward the vampires, carefully remaining in the shadows so they wouldn’t realise that he was naked. “Snob. Scarlett.”
“Paw, what the fuck?” Snob demanded, staring from Lupa to Paw’s general direction.
“Ow,” Scarlett complained, trying to shove Lupa off her. Lupa was staring intently down at Scarlett, with her front legs perched on Scarlett’s shoulders and her back legs on Scarlett’s abdomen. It was a supremely uncomfortable position for Scarlett, but Lupa wasn’t budging.
“What time of month is it?” Paw asked pointedly.
 “Full moon,” Scarlett groaned.
Lupa licked her face encouragingly.
“Got it in one,” Paw said. “So where should you two be?”
“Not here,” Snob snapped. “And neither should you.”
“Don’t fucking tell me where I should be,” Paw replied, his voice dark. “Spoony makes the rules. You’re the ones fucking breaking them.”
“We were already heading back,” Snob rebutted. “You are keeping us from getting to our home.”
“Which you should have already been in,” Paw snapped back.
“Get off me!” Scarlett snapped at Lupa, trying to dislodge the persistent wolf.
Lupa cocked her head.
“I thought you liked having redheads on top of you,” Snob commented.
“Fuck you, Snob!”
“Lupa,” Paw commented drily, thinking, Nice job.
Thanks, Lupa replied. She clambered off the vampire and let Scarlett get up.
“Was that really necessary?” Scarlett demanded.
“No,” Paw admitted, “but it was really funny.”
It kinda was, Lupa added, even though Scarlett and Snob couldn’t hear her.
“She’s pretty cute,” Scarlett said thoughtfully, leaning down and scratching Lupa behind the ears, back to being the innuendo-driven sex kitten.
Oh, fuck, that’s so good…
Seriously? Seriously?
“Maybe I’ll steal her for a couple of nights,” Scarlett drawled, pulling Lupa closer and rubbing her ears. “Just to annoy you. I’ve always wanted a puppy of my own.”
Paw saw red.
“Like you could steal her,” he replied, doing his best not to let his anger show. “Lupa, get back here.”
Reluctantly, Lupa pulled away from Scarlett and returned to Paw’s side.
“Oh, I could,” Scarlett replied smugly.
“She could,” Snob agreed with a long-suffering sigh.
“Maybe you could go back to Spoony already,” Paw snapped, at the end of his tether. “Before you annoy me any more.”
“If you insist,” Scarlett sighed.
“I think he does,” Snob said, pretending to be chagrined.
“Well, I suppose we’ll see you later,” Scarlett said with a false air of sadness. “Bye, Paw. Bye, Lupa.
“Before you go, one thing,” Paw said quietly. “Roses saw something Spoony needs to know about.”
Snob paused. “Like what?”
“Like Tara. And Nash. And the rest of her posse. Here.”
Both vampires froze.
“When?” Scarlett asked quietly.
“About a month. We don’t know why.”
“Do you know anything else?” Snob asked intently.
“You’d have to ask Roses,” Paw replied. “We only have the bare details.”
“We’ll do that,” Scarlett nodded.
“We’ll tell him,” Snob replied. “Thanks.”
“Guess we owe you one,” Scarlett commented. She took a breath and smiled. “See you later… or sooner, I hope.”
With that, the pair turned around and walked down the street. In seconds, they were gone.
“Bitch,” Paw muttered.
“She never fails to annoy the fuck out of me.”
“Yeah, she’s just so good at getting under my skin.”
Not like that!” Paw snapped.
Lupa chuckled.
Paw shifted back and growled at the persistent smell of vampire. Let’s get out of here. I want to smell something other than vampire for once.
Like where?
I know a place.
They ran.

The park was large, and quiet, and out of the way. It had a large pond, plenty of trees, and most importantly, no people.
Well, no people who would object to the presence of two werewolves, anyway.
Who’s that guy? Lupa thought, looking over at the unfamiliar man sitting on the bench.
Harvey Finevoice.
Finevoice? Seriously?
He’s part Siren. The name isn’t an exaggeration.
Huh. OK, then.
Harvey was staring up at the sky, apparently lost in thought. As Paw approached, he looked down and smiled. “Hey, kid.”
Paw climbed onto the bench and sat down next to the singer.
“How’s it going?”
Paw turned his head from side to side.
“Not bad, huh?”
Paw nodded.
“Who’s this?” Harvey asked, looking at Lupa. “Your new dame I’ve been hearing about, huh?”
Paw yawned.
“What, you’re not even going to shift back so we can talk?”
“I meant actually talking. With words.”
Paw rolled his eyes and leapt off the bench. He walked behind the nearby tree and shifted.
“She’s not my dame, Harvey,” he responded as soon as his head had stopped spinning.
Harvey shrugged. “All the same to me, kid.”
Lupa hopped up onto the bench and looked at Harvey, curious.
He smells like opera.
It’s a bad habit.
“So, what brings you out here?” Paw asked.
“Nothing special,” the siren replied. “Just thinking.”
“Anything in particular?”
“I’ve been hearing rumours,” Harvey said slowly. “About a certain werewolf and a fairy queen.” He reached out and idly rubbed Lupa’s head.
“It’s not what it looks like,” Paw said hastily. “I know it looked like we were talking, but we were actually having sex.”
Lupa snorted.
Harvey almost smiled. “Kid, what the fuck are you playing at?”
“I wasn’t playing at anything,” Paw responded testily. “I didn’t mean for any of it to happen.”
Harvey shook his head. “Like that ever meant anything. Kid, you’re playing with fire, and you’re going to get burned. You need to step away from the matches before you send the entire city up in flames.”
Bit late for that, Lupa thought drily.
Shut up, Paw hissed.
Harvey got up. “You know, if you need help, you can ask me or Linkara.”
“Linkara’s fucking the Vampire Lord,” Paw replied tartly. “So you do understand why I’m not particularly keen on talking to him any time soon.”
Harvey shrugged. “If you say so. But you’re turning your back on a good ally there, kid.”
“He’s barely a slayer any more,” Paw snapped back. “How can we trust him to be impartial when he’s in bed with Spoony? How can I possibly think he’d defend me or Lupa against a vampire?”
“He’s not as biased as you’d think,” Harvey rebutted. “He’ll hear both sides of a story.”
“I’ll believe that when I see it,” Paw replied snidely.
“Believe what you want,” Harvey said. “Just don’t dismiss him out of hand.” He nodded to them both, and left.
He seemed nice, Lupa thought.
He’s not as nice as he looks, Paw thought back as he shifted. He’s damn nasty when he gets angry.
Really? But…
Lupa, the first rule of this town is simple: nobody is what they seem to be.
He broke into a slow run, leading the way out of the park.
Lupa paced next to him. So how do you tell if someone’s genuine?
Trust your instincts.
Where are we going?
Somewhere. Anywhere.
They ran.

It was nearly dawn when they returned to their home, exhausted, soaking wet and happy. They were met by Roses, who berated them for coming home late, ordered them both to take a shower and smothered them with hugs before returning, yawning, to her own bed.
As it was, Paw didn’t wake until noon.
He staggered into the kitchen and was met by Roses, who was making an omelette.
“Morning,” he managed.
Roses smiled, and not for the first time, Paw wondered how she could be so damn chirpy.
“Hey!” she replied. “How did last night go?”
“It was good,” Paw replied, sitting down at the table and drinking her coffee in three gulps.
“Fucker, that was my coffee!”
“Mine,” Paw muttered.
Roses glared at him and put the kettle on. “Why were you two so wet?”
“We tried to jump over a pond,” Lupa said from the door. “And we didn’t quite make it.”
“Were you chasing ducks again?” Roses asked suspiciously.
“I told you, we don’t chase ducks,” Paw replied, feeling more awake. “Not since that thing with the guy and the explosion.”
“Wait, explosion?” Lupa asked, blinking.
“Don’t leave ducks around nitroglycerin,” Roses warned her. “Not a good idea.”
“The look on Spoony’s face, though,” Paw said, grinning at the memory.
“Priceless,” Roses agreed as she carried her lunch out to the table. “You guys want one, too?”
Paw nodded. “Sure.”
“Sounds great,” Lupa replied.
Someone knocked at the door.
“Shit. Paw, could you get that?” Roses asked.
Paw got up, went to the door, opened it and froze.
It wasn’t that he recognised the person at the door. He didn’t- hell, he couldn’t, since he’d never been able to see his face. But as he breathed in, he smelled a scent that he could never forget.
“Hello, Paw,” Oan said, smiling. “It’s been a long time.”

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  • 1

Aw, thank you. :)

Yep, it is Roses' song. And it does indeed work beautifully.

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