Disclaimers: See Part 1
Hey everyone, sorry I've kept you waiting for so long. I've had some computer problems, but now I'm writing again. Hope you'll enjoy it and don't forget to drop comments, questions, complaints (yadda, yadda…) at Sammet82@t-online.de
Thanks to my new beta Wendy and to Cin for looking for commodes and… well, for just being there.
Well, here we go -
Chapter 6 – The talking-thing
On the way to the motel, Gabriel had used the opportunity to pick up some clothes for Wolf. She had no idea what the tall Female would like, but surely she couldn't be wrong with a few jeans and shirts and of course some underwear. As always, her shopping got a bit out of hand; so coming back to the mansion, she was carrying two plastic bags stuffed to the brim – in addition to her own backpack and traveling bag. She was quite proud that she had managed to keep them all on Joanie's Virago.
When she entered the corridor on the first floor, she stopped dead at the sight of Sam and Max, who, armed with heavy clubs, stood guard at either side of the door to her room.
First she was alarmed, thinking something had gone wrong and Wolf might have attacked someone or tried to escape, but then she noticed the warriors' relaxed, almost bored postures. If there had been trouble, they surely would have been more alert. She stepped up to them. “Hey guys. Everything okay?”
Sam smiled. “Yeah, Wolf's still sleeping as far as I can tell.”
“So – can I go in there?” Gabriel asked carefully.
“Sure, go ahead,” Max tried to suppress a yawn, “We're only here to make sure no one else does.”
Now that really was too much – her Wolf wasn't that dangerous! She didn't bother arguing with them, though. If they had their orders from Erin , they wouldn't budge, no matter what she said, so she had to go directly to the source of this nonsense.
Without another word she set her bags down and stormed off to hunt down the Queen of paranoia.
She found Erin in the garage, where she and Mac were fussing over a minor scratch on the bumper of Erin's Pontiac . Judging by the amount of grease and dust on them, they must have looked for other scratches in and under the car before.
She stalked up to Erin and poked her in the chest. “You!”
Erin looked down at her, only mildly impressed. “Still so eloquent, huh?”
Gabriel growled. “Clubs, Erin? I ask for you to keep an eye on Wolf and you send armed warriors?”
“That was only a joke! And it wasn't even about your pet-monster!”
“I seem to have missed the punch-line here!”
Erin sighed in overacted patience, wiping her greasy hands on a rag. “Gabriel, have you looked at your Wolf lately?”
“What's that got to do with anything?”
Mac looked at her incredulously. “She's fucking gorgeous! The guards are not for keeping the Wolf in, but to keep the kids out – while you were down town, we had three of the youngsters trying to sneak in there!”
Gabriel's eyes darkened at the thought. “Forget I mentioned it.” she grumbled. Erin laughed and drew her in a tight hug, deliberately rubbing her oily cheek against Gabriel's.
“Come on, let's go save your pet.”
Mine was gone, when she woke up, but it was peacefully dark and quiet. For the first time, she could actually see what was around her, even recognized some of those things, like the one she was lying on, but couldn't remember what they were called.
She stretched experimentally, flexing her muscles. She wasn't hurting anymore and she felt... stronger. Somehow she knew it still wasn't exactly how she was supposed to feel, but it was better than everything before. Now where had Mine gone?
A noise, suddenly the wall opened. Blinding light from outside, two dark forms came in - the monsters had found her!
Wolf leaped up and scrambled under the bed where she stayed, growling at them.
“Gabriel,” Erin said with a completely straight face, “You better start screaming like a ten year old now, 'cause there's a monster hiding under your bed!”
“That's not funny, Erin !” Gabriel knelt down and looked under the bed. Silvery eyes stared back at her and the growling stopped immediately.
“It's okay, honey,” she whispered, “It's me, Gabriel. Come out now, please!”
After a moment's hesitation, Wolf crawled out from under the bed, drawing Gabriel in a one-armed hug. Her eyes, however, silver again, stayed on Erin and she flexed the claws on her free hand menacingly.
Gabriel sighed. “We can't go on like this, Erin . Come in and close the door.”
“Somehow I doubt she will like that.”
“She'll have to get used to you being around before someone gets hurt,” she looked at the four thin red lines across Erin 's cheek. “Any more, that is.” she drew herself up on the bed, the Wolf moving with her. “Your cheek's healing well, by the way.”
“Yeah, no problem here.” Erin closed the door and climbed up on the table, sitting down with her legs crossed . “And now?”
“Now we chat.” Gabriel stroked the Wolfs dark hair to keep her calm, got her fingers stuck and took up the brush again. “Perhaps she'll accept you're not dangerous if she sees we're getting along. Apart from that - I've been here for three days and haven't heard a single piece of gossip!”
Wolf rubbed her eyes. The light had hurt a lot and now she had trouble seeing the monster clearly. Yet Mine didn't seem concerned, she had started to stroke her hair again.
Erin smirked. “I have a piece of gossip for you - you should have washed your Wolf better – I can still see a yellow stripe on her back.”
“Oh shut up, Erin ! She's not a coward!”
“Did you just miss her hiding under the bed? As if all the demons from hell were after her!”
“She probably thought they were – she can't have recognized either of us against the light. Besides,” Gabriel grinned. “If I saw you like this, first thing after waking up, I'd probably run for cover, too!”
They were talking to each other, but it didn't sound menacing. Something wasn't right here. Mine was nice; she had not once tried to hurt her. So why would she bring her here, where even more monsters lived? And why did those monsters not attack? Perhaps if she remembered more words, it would make some sense. She needed to concentrate.
“I'm not that dirty,” Erin grumbled, rubbing her cheek.
“Yes, you are,” Gabriel stated happily. “But I love you anyway. Talking of love - how's it going between you and Penny?”
Erin suddenly found great interest in the carpet. “We... uh... are dating...”
The brush stopped in mid-air. “Dating? As in holding hands and trading secret glances while you both go and sleep around to relieve the tension?”
Erin at least had the grace to blush. “Uhm – yes, that would be it.”
“That's what you did thirty years ago! And a hundred years ago! And pretty much ever since I've known you!”
“Well, it works,” Erin said defiantly, her face still bright red. “And a Bonding is not to be taken lightly, it's supposed to last forever! We really should get to know each other first and be sure we get along!”
“ Erin , you've known each other for all your lives! And been lusting after each other almost as long!”
“What would you know about lusting, shorty? You never had a relationship that lasted longer than a night!”
Their voices had changed again, they sounded angry, but the curly monster was smiling . She turned her head to see that Mine was smiling as well. She really didn't understand monsters.
The staff hit Alice squarely in the back and she hit the ground with a thud.
Nox looked down at her, blank disbelief on her face. “What's wrong with you, Alice?” she bellowed, “You move like a drugged snail!”
Alice groaned, wiping the sweat off her face. She was glad Nox didn't use her full force against her, but after taking a dozen blows, she still felt like a punching bag. “Can't we do this some other time? I'm tired!”
Nox snarled, “And I don't care! Hunters won't wait for you to have a good day! Now get up and try again!”
The constant talking was annoying. Not that she didn't like Mine's voice, but she still couldn't remember most of the words. She felt tired again. She knew she probably should sleep some more because afterwards she always felt way stronger, but the curly monster was still there and she couldn't rely on Mine to keep it in check – the young one just was too careless .
“Hell, Gabriel, you can't hold her by the hand the whole time!”
“I will if it makes her feel better. And you have to admit she has nice hands.”
“With claws that could rip you in pieces!”
“You know she wouldn't hurt me. And she's not dumb; she knows you don't like her! She probably would stop trying to kill you if you were a little nicer to her!”
“Gabriel, all I want to say is…”
This was a word the curly monster used very often. Gabri-El. It sounded nice. Perhaps it was Mine's real name. She would try it.
Wolf had been very quiet for the last hours, listening intently, not even showing a reaction when their discussion got a little heated now and again, but now she suddenly turned around, staring at Gabriel. She made a mewling sound, shook her head angrily and opened her mouth again.
“Fine. We're at the ‘Grrr' stuff again.”
“Shut up, Erin, I think she's trying to talk!”
Talk. Wolf nodded rapidly. Mine had understood. She tried again.
Erin chuckled. “Oh, that's so sweet! You're her first word!”
Wolf sighed. This was really hard and the curly monster's babbling wasn't helping. But encouraged by Mine's happy smile, she tried again. “Gabri-el!”
Gabriel laughed delightedly; she grabbed Wolf by her shoulders and kissed her soundly on the mouth, getting a rather breathless ‘Gabri-el' as reward.
Erin snorted. “Sounds more like 'Gabrielle' coming from her!”
Gabriel shrugged, still stroking Wolf's shoulders. “Fine with me. I've been called worse.”
Wolf beamed. Mine was happy with her, so she must have gotten it right. And the kiss had been good, too.
Alice stretched languidly as the soft voices around her slowly seeped into her consciousness.
Nox had been relentless in her sparring session, chasing Alice around the yard for three hours straight. Fearing another meeting of the Wolf-fanclub in her room, she had rolled up on a couch in the living room after that. She had been so tired that she hadn't cared if Sonya found her or that the weekly ‘A new Scrubs-episode' party would take place around her.
She sat up, happily noticing that she finally didn't feel tired anymore, and took a look around. Danny and Sarah, cuddled together on the flowered couch, were watching some soap, Max was sharpening her favorite dagger and Val, an extremely grumpy expression on her face, was lying on the backrest of Alice' couch.
Alice rubbed her eyes. “What time is it?”
“ 6 p.m. ” Val grumbled. “On Friday, in case you're wondering. You've slept away the whole night and day.”
Alice yawned. She had long ago given up trying to understand Val's moods. She felt the slight tingle in the pit of her stomach that always signalized she needed to feed soon, so she drew the daily newspaper over to her. It was two days old and pretty tattered, but the event calendar was still readable and Alice soon found what she had been hoping for. She reached up to tug on Val's long brown hair that was cascading over the backrest. “Hey, tomorrow's Dark Awakening! Wanna go?”
Max snickered. “Cause she's grounded. She and her companions tried to sneak into the Wolf's room and Erin threw a fit.”
Val groaned. “Three days! That's fucking not fair! You've not even gotten one for running into the Den!” she poked Alice in the head. “That's only because you're the baby!”
“I'm not! I'm gonna be a warrior!”
“In a few decades perhaps – and only if you don't get yourself killed!”
Alice gave it up. “Max, do you want to come with me?”
“What's this Awakening?”
“A gothic party in the ‘Sears'. Come with me, please?” she tried her most winning smile. Since she, Kara and Val were still very young, they weren't allowed to go drinking alone. It was possible that they lost control or were attacked and so they always had to find an Elder willing to accompany them. Max, the most easygoing among the warriors, usually was a safe bet; even if she didn't want to feed herself, she couldn't resist a good party. She shrugged. “You know I'm not really into that gothic stuff - you'll have to lend me some clothes.”
Alice jumped up. “Great! I have just the dress for you! Oh, this is going to be so cool!”
“I hate you!” Val mumbled.
Gabriel was quickly running out of furniture. For someone who had grasped the concept of speech just yesterday, Wolf was learning in a tremendous speed. Now she was pointing at every piece of furniture in the room for Gabriel to tell her the name, not even once needing repeating and there wasn't much left for her to learn; they would soon have to find another topic. Even Erin, who came by every few hours to check on them, had to be impressed; she hadn't made a single snide remark but watched them in silence.
The talking-thing wasn't that difficult, once you got the hang of it. The more she talked, the more words she remembered and it became easier to pronounce them. The young one looked very happy whenever she got a new one right, so she tried very hard. But now the curly monster was here again. She needed to tell Mine – Gabriel – that it was dangerous. Or at least find out why it was following them.
Suddenly Wolf pointed at Erin . “Monster!”
Gabriel's lips curled, she turned to Erin . “See what you've done! I told you you should have been nicer!”
“Now listen, I –“
Gabriel waved her off, turning back to Wolf. “She's not a monster, that's Erin . E-rin.”
Wolf nodded understandingly. “Erin-monster. Evil.”
“No! Nonono, she's not!” she took Wolf's face in her hands. “Listen, Wolf. Erin 's a friend. Friend!”
Wolf grunted, obviously not convinced. She wrapped her arms around Gabriel, drawing her tightly against her chest and growled at Erin . “Monster,” she jerked her chin at the door. “Out!”
“Great.” Erin rolled her eyes. “She's taken a hostage.”
Gabriel giggled. She wasn't trying too hard to get free from Wolf's gentle embrace. “Get lost, Erin . I think she deserves some peace from you. I'll tell her you're not evil, only a pain in the ass.”
“Love you too, shorty.”
With Erin gone, Wolf seemed way more relaxed, finally accepting Gabriel's assertions that Erin wasn't dangerous. But Gabriel didn't miss that she had started squirming around, repeatedly rubbing her back. She took Wolf's hand. “Wolf? Are you okay?”
Wolf blinked, obviously not understanding. “Gabri-el?” She rubbed her back again.
“Oh.” Gabriel hadn't thought of it before, but with the little movement Wolf had had, her muscles had to be cramped. “Are you hurting, Wolf? Does your back hurt?”
Wolf frowned, then nodded. “Back. Hurt.” she shrugged, obviously not thinking it important. ”That?” she pointed again.
“A curtain. We'll do this some other time, okay? I'll take care of your back first.”
“I – I mean – turn around and lay down, Wolf. Lay on your stomach .”
Wolf didn't see how this would help her to learn more words, but she obeyed nonetheless, resting her head on her arms. She felt Gabriel's weight on the bed shift, then suddenly the young one climbed over her, sitting down on her thighs. She tried to look at her, but Gabriel gently pushed her down again. “Relax, Wolf, I will not hurt you.”
Not hurt sounded pretty promising and when Mine pushed her shirt up to her shoulders and started to stroke her back, she groaned happily. The young one's fingers started digging into all the spots that had been bothering her, making them not hurt . She wanted to tell her how good this felt, but couldn't find the right words. So she decided for the soft growling Gabriel seemed to like.
Gabriel bit her lip to keep from moaning herself. She had to have some serious masochistic tendencies, putting herself in a situation that just couldn't come out the way she wanted it to. Wolf's skin was warm and so soft and the gentle purring went right to her core. Gabriel shifted a little so that the seam of her jeans wouldn't press so hard against her privates. She saw Wolf's eyes slowly drifting shut and bent forward to press a kiss to her neck. “That's right, Wolf. Just relax.”
Wolf smiled. Relax seemed to be a good thing, too.
It was an hour later when the door opened slowly and Erin peeked in again. The Wolf, lying flat on her stomach, seemed to sleep and Gabriel, stretched out next to her and with her head resting on the dark Females shoulder, was leafing through a paperback.
“Now isn't that cozy.” Erin quipped. “How come I find the two of you cuddling every time I come in here?”
The Wolf jerked slightly, a light blue eye snapped open, flashing to Erin , then slowly closed again. Erin breathed a sigh of relief – obviously she wasn't the enemy anymore. She slowly went over to the table and took a seat. “So you told her I'm not a ‘monster'?”
Gabriel smirked. “Yeah. Took me a while to convince her, though and she's still not exactly in love with you. So, is there something you want or did you just come by for a chat?”
“Err… no. Gina and her girls just gave me a first overview of the Hunter's dates,” Erin cleared her throat. “There was a section about the Wolves too.”
Gabriel sat up, her eyes taking on a steely glint. “So? Coming to tell me again that it won't work?”
“On the contrary. I've come to apologize.” she smiled at Gabriel's raised eyebrow. “No, really. She's been in there for almost three months. If she kept a bit of her mind through all this time, I think it's possible for her to get the rest back.” She looked at the dozing Wolf with new respect. “She's been lucky. Obviously there sometimes are Wolves that can't be completely broken. If they still show resistance after three months, the Hunters kill them.”
Gabriel visibly paled, she reached back to grip Wolf's shoulder. “They won't get the opportunity now!”
Erin smiled. “I'm sure they won't. You're not the only one here who'd fight to protect her; she's got my warriors quite impressed.”
Wolf growled and sat up, wrapping her arms around Gabriel from behind, and threw the curly one a dirty look. They were talking too fast for her to understand a lot, but she felt that Mine was unhappy. Every time the curly one – Erin – turned up, it made trouble. Too bad Gabriel liked it.
“There's something else that doesn't make sense,” Erin continued, ignoring the dreamy look that had come over Gabriel's face. “It looks like she's been brought in from a Den in Seattle .”
“I've never heard of Wolves being exchanged between Dens in different towns – they're quite valuable and it's dangerous to transport them – unless you are a Wolf-whisperer, that is.”
“Perhaps the other Den had enough Wolves.” Gabriel croaked. Wolf had started kissing her neck, innocent little kisses that obviously were meant to comfort her, but managed to fuel the fire between her legs.
“Then why catch another youngster? It's hard work to make a Wolf; it'd have been much easier just to kill her!”
“I – don't know?”
“You know what? It's absolutely impossible to have a serious discussion with you when she's wrapped around you like this!” Erin stood up. “I leave you to do whatever you have to and we'll meet in the living room in – an hour? Will this suffice?”
“It's not like that, Erin !”
“Sure. Whatever. See ya.” Erin had a hard time suppressing her grin. Sometimes Gabriel was just too easy.
“ Alice , are you sure I need all this make up? I look like a panda!”
“This is a gothic party, Max! Gothic! They won't even let you in if you look too ordinary.”
“I thought that's why I'm wearing this – thing!”
“It's a dress, and my best at that.”
“It's half a dress and it has a freaking corsage!” Max fidgeted. “I haven't worn one of those for a hundred years and now I remember why!”
Alice cringed. She still wasn't used to the Elders talking about centuries as if it were years. She grinned to pass off her embarrassment. “But you look so hot! No one would guess you're ten thousand years old!”
“ Alice !”
“Just kidding. Now keep still while I put the lipstick on.”
Gabriel had tried to explain Wolf that she needed to leave her alone for a little while, but when, twenty minutes later, the light eyes still bore into hers with a mixture of incomprehension and defiance, she gave it up. So now she was leading her tall friend through the house, pointing at and naming whatever they came across. Wolf listened attentively, repeating the words now faultlessly at first go, but her eyes were constantly scanning her surroundings, a slight tension in her body betraying her readiness to attack whatever might prove dangerous.
In the living room, they found Erin on top of a 15 feet ladder, peering intently into a small crack in the ceiling.
Gabriel looked questioning at Kara and Sonya who were reclining on the couch, but they only grinned. Cheyenne , seated on another sofa, looked up from the crossword she was doing and gave a nod to Wolf who immediately grabbed Gabriel by the hand, dragged her over to the big warrior and pushed her down next to her. Gabriel waited till Wolf had gotten comfortable next to her, then looked up at Erin again. “Just w hat are you doing there?”
“Looking for spiders.” Erin growled. “This is so creeping me out!”
“ Erin , this is an old house, of course there are a few spiders, but they –”
“Just that is my problem! There are none! We've been living here for over thirty years and I've never seen a single spider in here, only cobwebs! Would you stop that?” she barked at Sonya, who had been humming the Ghostbusters-theme.
Kara grinned. “That's our high and mighty Queen's secret obsession. Hunting the spider-ghost.”
At this moment Alice and Max, the two redheads both dressed in black latex walked in, chatting animatedly and followed close up by Michelle who was screaming for them to clean up the mess they had left in the bathroom.
Wolf was getting increasingly frustrated. She couldn't remember what normal behavior looked like, but sure this couldn't be it? Suddenly she felt the big one's hand on her shoulder.
“Don't worry, Wolf. You'll get used to it. Living here is cool, most of the time.”
Gina and Corey, who just had come around the corner, spotted Erin on the ladder, got identical evil grins on their faces and immediately and started singing. „Spider-Ghost, Spider-Ghost – does whatever – a Spider-Ghost does...“
Erin roared and jumped to the floor, proceeding to chase the two all over the room.
“Sometimes though,” Cheyenne continued calmly, “I think it's a madhouse.”
To Be Continued in Chapter 7
Return to the Academy