||[Dec. 27th, 2006|10:41 pm]
Erotic Writers Anonymous
Section the eighth. Ah, the romance blossems... or something.
Suspension of disbelief: werewolves that don't have inbetween morph stages, Up State New York (yes, it does exist, namely, a village is where two roads intersect and houses were build around the bar and gas station that was put at the intersection)
Lookin help with kids. Anyone? Anyone? Buler? ...anyhow. I dunno kids. In fact, I think I wrote these three in to help me get over my terror of them. These three, I can handle. As long as their written and not real. But they need to seem real =P So, help with that = goodness.
Pages: About 7 at 12p Times New Roman.
Sasha stayed close to Nalani’s side as she led them back down the mountain.
He felt rattled from the other pack. While he had been traveling down the trail with the pups, he had gone through this territory. It must have been pure luck that they hadn’t run into one another before. The idea of facing that many aggressive wolves at once didn’t seem to be pleasant.
His thoughts turned towards the wolf beside him. She hadn’t eased her stride from the small clearing behind them. She didn’t spare him a glance; her eyes frozen forward. If he was nervous about that pack, what did she feel?
He couldn’t believe she’d let the big one that close to her. On the job she would have had him down, her knee in his back, her cuffs on him, and his face in the dirt. Maybe he wasn’t the only one feeling rattled.
He sniffed the wind, trying to sense any pursuit. He skidded to a halt at the stench of the big male.
Nalani paused several paces ahead, her body stiff but not anxious. He whined quietly. If only he could speak!
Nalani sniffed the wind, then walked to a nearby tree. She jumped up and scratched at a worn patch in the wood. He followed and sniffed. It was strong, must have been redone recently. Why would there be fresh markings closer to the crime scene?
Sasha felt his lips pull back in a grin as Nalani scratched at the big male’s mark. That’s more like it.
He followed her back down the mountain. He tried to continuously sniff, now, feeling for the edge of this packs territory. Nalani led them along the edge of the fresh markings. After a bit, he realized it drove a straight line back to the hunting lodge. Or from it.
The markings ended within sight of the place. Nalani growled quietly and broke out into a run again. Sasha followed. She began to scratch out markings on every other tree in a wide arch around the hunting lodge. He grinned. Of course. Setting up a parameter.
The big wolf, Holloway, had threatened crossing his borders, it only made sense they set up some of their own. Especially if he seemed so intent on what had happened down here.
Sasha started scratching along side her marks. She grinned at him while she worked. Together they marked off the line. With every scratch in a tree or stone pawed at, he felt calmer. Nalani’s scent overpowered his, making the space feel more like her house than a random spot in the middle of the woods on a mountainside.
Only a whiff blemished this calmness, and that was attached to her. He growled at the thought of the other werewolf rubbing against his… against her.
Nalani was scraping furiously at a large stone she had put over her clothes.
She paused to look up at him. A tremor of nervousness quivered through his muscles.
He had done nothing while the other one had invaded her space, had threatened her. He’d been frozen while Holloway had hit on her, threatened her, wrapped his arms around her.
Sasha buried his face into Nalani’s fur along her shoulder. Holloway’s scent was just as strong on her as it was in any of his markings. Proclaiming her to be his. Under that, however, was the unmistakable scent of her lavender shampoo. He probably smelled like that too, considering that’s all he bathed in now. He breathed in her scent and reveled in it. He rubbed his cheek against her, trying to erase, to obliterate, Holloway’s offending scent.
With his eyes closed, he didn’t notice her dropping her pelt until he felt her fingertips wrapped around the ruff of his throat. She hugged him against her. He could feel her shivering in the cold.
“It’s okay. We’ll deal with them.”
He shook off of his pelt as quickly as he could.
“It’s not okay. I should have been able to protect you; I should have done something.”
“Hey, whose the cop here? I think the ‘Protect and Serve’ applies to me more than you. You asked what you needed to ask; that was enough.”
“No, its not. He shouldn’t have touched you!”
Nalani smiled a sad smile. “I might not know as much as I need to about werewolves, but that was a pretty normal greeting. Besides, what would you want me to do, arrest him?”
“I don’t know, put him in an elbow lock or something.”
She laughed. “I could have broken his arm, but then were would we be? I counted fifteen in his pack. There might have been more. We might have been able to take a couple out, but not all of them. Even if I were armed, there were more people than I have bullets.”
He rested his forehead against her shoulder. There was nothing he could have done. He sighed as her cool fingers gently rubbed his scalp at the base of his skull.
“I need to get dressed, Sasha, then we can go home. I’m tired too.”
He nodded. He helped Nalani move the slab from off of her clothes and slipped the fur back over his body. He turned away as she got dressed to give her as much privacy as he could…. She pulled on the coat she’d carried earlier. She kept her pelt tucked under one arm. Sasha’s collar returned to his neck, leash attached.
Nalani told the cop on duty that she saw a pack of wolves, and evidence of them coming close to the scene of the crime. Sasha looked at her.
“What... what should I do about them?”
Nalani’s smile turned a bit feral. “If they’re interfering, you’ll have to shoot them, Harrison.”
“Shoot them?” The older man’s eyebrows shot up. “That doesn’t sound like you.”
“Well, do you want to tell Mr. Coleman that some mangy mutt destroyed evidence? If this killer goes serial, then he’ll have to call in the FBI and that’ll be one hellova interesting time for you to try to explain.”
Sasha wanted to laugh at the repeated bobbing of the man’s Adam’s apple. All that same out was a sharp bark.
Nalani looked around, then down at him. He pulled his lips back in a grin. She smiled as well, then told Harrison farewell.
Sasha settled down to nap again in the truck on the way back. Something about the rocking motion relaxed him more than anything, not that the day had already been long enough. And then there were the kids to deal with.
His jaw along the comfortable softness of Nalani’s hip, he thought about what to do about them. They were more intelligent that he’d first thought. He’d assumed that they had the same intelligence as the young wolves their forms emulated. How old were they, really? In the month and some they’d been in his care, they’d probably doubled in size. But how did you gauge the age of a werewolf? As wolves, they looked like young pups still, small and rolly-polly. As kids, they could be two, easily. They looked larger and older as humans.
Well, where does the extra mass goes when you pull on the pelt, hm? He sighed. The transformation felt like magic to him; he couldn’t put any scientific phenomena to it. Not that he had any knowledge of that world.
Nalani didn’t act as though she thought they’d find the woman who owned the pelt he now wore. Part of him agreed. The pups were in the open, not hidden, not safe, like he had made sure they were. Werewolves were intelligent, he knew now, and cunning. She wouldn’t have left them like that unless she had to run quickly and expected not to return. Why else would she leave them where anyone could find them?
He’d have to ask Nalani about the adoption process. He couldn’t leave them alone. Foster care was out of the question. What else was there?
Talk about life altering vacation. He leaves home to find himself, and picks up three kids in the process.
He’d have to sign them up for school soon, if he expected to get them into the spring classes. Maybe he’d wait until fall? Spend the spring socalizing them for the human world. At least help them learn their names.
What if they were actually only a few months old, as he first guessed? If every month they lived as werewolves equaled a year as a human child….
He whined. By the time they were ready for first grade in the fall, they’d look like middle schoolers!
Nalani’s hand strayed to his neck. He sighed in pleasure. Had human contact always felt this good? He doubted it. Her touch felt like liquid chocolate. The headache that’d begun to form slowly melted away as her fingers traced a relaxing path in his fur.
Together, they would figure something out. She was right to go through proper channels, even if it had made for a stressful morning. They had records now. He hadn’t had to guess their ages, Mrs. Coleman had done that for him. If she was a bit off, that would help collaborate any disparity that might crop up.
Maybe after they got home and he got clothes, he could ask Nalani to take him to a library or something. They’d have to have some parenting books before. He wasn’t the only single parent out there. He could handle it. One step at a time, so they said. Just work on the next step.
Too bad there weren’t any idiots guides to raising a werewolf.
In a blink of time he’d fallen asleep and been woken up again by the truck’s engine shutting off. Home already?
He stood up on the seat and shook out to wake up. Nalani held her door open for him to jump out. He followed her inside at her sedate pace. His stomach grumbled. The pups probably want lunch too, he thought.
Nalani froze in the open doorway. Her ridged posture put him on edge. Fur bristling, he snaked around her into the living room. The place looked like someone had ransacked everything, looking for godsknow what. The pups no where in site. A growl escaped his throat before he could even think of who would do it.
Liam was the first to appear of the trio. He had his head down and tail tucked.
Sasha dashed over and checked to make sure he was unhurt. To his relief, the pup was unmarked. He licked the little guy until he toppled over.
“Arthur! Walt! Come out. We know what you boys have been up to.”
Sasha sagged. Of course. They’d been left alone without toys and had chewed up everything.
The other two slinked in from the kitchen. He growled and knocked them both over gently. He checked for injuries, to be sure they were okay, and faked being angry at them. Time to get toys.
They all hopped up as soon as he licked their faces and tangled up his feet. He wasn’t fooling anyone. He grinned toothily.
“Go up and change,” Nalani said. Her voice sounded tired. He looked up at her. She looked just as tired as her voice sounded. “If you could clean this up some, I’ll fix dinner.”
Dinner? Is it already that late? His stomach growled again in conformation.
He nodded and went up the stairs to the guest room. His backpack was where he left it. While he still had a good nose, he sniffed around his clothes and found some stuff that was close enough to clean that he wouldn’t offend anyone but the pups.
He let the pelt fall around him and pulled on the pair of jeans and undershirt he’d picked out.
He gathered up the rest of his clothes from earlier that day and the bag and took them down to where Nalani had her washer and drier under the stairs.
“May I use the washer?”
“Sure,” came the muffled reply from the kitchen. The pups tumbled out at the voice and gathered around his feet as he measured detergent into the machine. When it started up, he leaned down to play with them.
“What am I going to do with you boys, hm? Shall we have more human time?” He started tickling under Arthur’s chin. “Maybe practice using fingers while we eat?” And not chew legs of the furniture?
Arthur caught on and crawled out of his pelt. Walt and Liam took the cue. He praised them for a job well done and shooed them into the living room so he could shut the door to the washroom.
After a bit of arguing, he got pants onto the lot of them and started picking up in the living room. Walt picked up things to hand him, mimicking what Sasha was doing. Arthur made a game of taking pillows back off of the couch and putting them back into the pallet formation they’d been in for everyone to sleep on.
“Its not bed time yet, Arthur,” Sasha said with a sigh. “When we’re awake, the pillows stay on the couch.”
After a few more minutes of “putting things away” he gave up for the notion that things were as good as he could expect and led the way into the kitchen.
Nalani looked askance at him, then the panted kids, from her spot by the oven.
“Well, we can’t let them get used to eating out of dog bowls if they’re ever going to public school.”
“Well, if they have any accidents, you get to clean it up.”
Sasha smiled proudly. “They already know how to use the backyard.”
Nalani turned her back, but he saw the smirk before she could hide it. “True. They can use the dog door, and the backyard, but do they know how to do that on two legs?”
Sasha’s eyes widened in horror. He looked down at the trio playing around the legs of the chairs.
“Diapers?” he asked hopefully.
“Nope. I think they’re too old for that.”
“I was afraid you’d say that.”
“We’ll figure it out.
“I got a couple folding chair’s in the pantry. Haven’t used them for ages, but they’ll do.”
“I got ‘em.” Sasha opened up the pantry and pulled out three chairs. He set them up at the small table between the two wooden chairs that normally sat on their own.
“They’re going to be too short,” Nalani said over her shoulder.
“Definitely too short.”
“I think I have a couple phone books.”
“What if I brought in the ottoman?”
She paused in her stirring a moment.
“That sounds like it’ll work, actually. There’s a poker table behind the far shelf in the pantry. You can keep it folded up and put it on top.”
Sasha nodded and went to retrieve the ottoman. He pushed it right up against the tall table and moved the folding chairs around it. With the poker table on top, it was only a few inches taller than the folding chairs.
“That’ll work,” Nalani said.
“So, why do you have a poker table?”
“Way back when, I used to have a poker night with the guys from the precinct first Saturday of every month. Back when Charlie was still around.”
Sasha paused. He’d only heard her speak of her old partner in passing.
“Charlie was the one who gave you your fur?”
“Who was he?”
She didn’t say anything for a long time. Just as he felt he should open up a different conversation, she broke into movement. Her fingers moved over the cooking implements in a rushed, broken manner as she spoke.
“I found Charlie pretty much the same way I found you, though I didn’t almost run over him to begin with. I wasn’t looking for a police dog then, I just felt lonely.
“I’d just moved up into this area. I grew up in North Carolina with my family. Went to school down there, then community college.”
“How come you didn’t go into police down there?”
Nalani shrugged. “Wanted to get away from the family. ‘I was young and idealistic,’ is that what you want me to say?”
His turn to shrug.
“I wanted to be a hero, I suppose. I had a mentor back home, an ex-navy police officer. She had so many great stories, you know? Once I got through community college I applied at the Virginia Military Academy. Needless to say, I didn’t get in.”
Sasha smiled. He couldn’t imagine her cutting off her hair.
“My friend recommended the police academy instead. Once I got through, I chose a job far from home, but still on the east coast.”
“Not a fan of the west coast?”
“When my Grandma died, my mom moved everyone over to California to take care of her pop. He wanted to move back to Hawaii, but had to wait until he found a home he liked.”
“So, you went to the pound as soon as you moved up here?”
She chuckled. “Took me a year. Started off enjoying the quiet. Grew up the youngest of four kids. Got old quick, though. Its not always greener on the other side.
“Charlie was a charmer when I got him at the pound. He told me later he was planning on running away as soon as he had the chance. Never told me why he stayed though. He put up with me ‘training’ him. Teaching him to be my partner was a whim. I knew he was smart; thought I could challenge him with more complicated tasks. Started of with simple stuff, hiding an object, telling him to find it, which led to searching for hiding officers, then lost hunters in the mountains. Went off from there.”
“Did you catch him butt in the air too?”
“Nope. Found him searching through the fridge for a late night snack. Only had two months with him… when I knew what he was.”
Sasha frowned. “Two months?”
Nalani’s shoulders tensed. She scooped something into wide bowls.
“There was a drug bust. Perp shot at me. He took the bullet. I had a fu… I had a bullet-proof vest on, and he still shoved me out of the way. If he hadn’t done that, I’d have a few bruises, and he’d still be alive.”
“He was trying to protect you. You can’t fault him for that.”
“Yes,” she whispered. “I can.”
“Maybe he saw something you didn’t, maybe-“
She turned. The words stopped in his throat.
“It doesn’t matter. I lost a partner I can’t grieve for. He was still alive when I took him home from the vet. He wouldn’t let them doctor him.” She pulled back the long sleeve on her left arm and pointed to a pale line of pinprick scars. “He bit me when I tried to hold him down so they could put him under. He stopped fighting long enough for the vet to take a look at him. He said it was pointless, that he didn’t know how Charlie was holding together as it was. The vet gave him a painkiller and told me to take him home.”
Sasha wrapped his arms around her. He didn’t know what else to do. She rested her head against his shoulder. She continued, her words softer now.
“He was so limp in my arms. He didn’t fight, after that nip. I got him to the living room floor. I stumbled. I couldn’t see, because of the tears. I had to hold them in at the scene and while I was driving I was numb. As soon as I got home….
“I dropped him as I fell. He didn’t even yelp in pain. Just laid there. He licked my tears away. I helped him get his fur off. He couldn’t even move his arms. He had a belly wound. He could still breathe, still talk. He asked me to bury him close-by, so he wouldn’t be far away. Told me that even though he was born were, he wanted to be buried as a human. That I should keep his fur so when I went running, he would still be there to protect me. He… he still wanted to protect me, even at the end.”
Well… that explains why she put me down so quick when I got angry earlier.
He rubbed her back comfortingly.
“Why couldn’t you grieve for him?”
“’Its not like he was human.’ ‘Why are you crying over some dumb dog.’ ‘Look, just get another one. Get a puppy and you’ll forget all about Charlie.’”
He cringed at her mimicking the voices of the men of the precinct. He tightened his arms around her.
“Look, dinners getting cold.” The quaver in her voice had calmed a little.
“If you ever want to talk about it….”
“I’ll go see a shrink. You’ll be out of here in a little while to, why should I give away anything to you?”
The hurt in her voice stung. She tried to pull away, but he wouldn’t let her.
“Maybe I want to help.”
“You only want to help because you owe me.”
He shrugged. “A little of that, too, I guess. At the very least, I thought friends comforted each other. And if I’m the only one who knows about… well, who else could you talk to?”
She relaxed into his arms. A deep sigh tickled the exposed skin at his throat.
“Sorry for snapping.”
“Its okay.” He stroked up and down her spine. “It must have been hard, to keep that to yourself for so long. Did they really say stuff like that?”
She nodded. “Until you came along.”
And when I go home, what will they say then? He sighed.
They both looked down at Arthur. He pointed at Walt.
Nalani chuckled quietly. “Time for that potty training, Papa.”