Disclaimer: I don't own any of the TSW characters portrayed within. Surprised?
Author's Note: I know what you're thinking: "Another werewolf fic?" Yes, and I apologize profusely. They seem to be what my muses are best at. Think of it as an apology for "Shadow Moon." And when I finally put together a web page, being the sick puppy I am, I'm going to have a shrine gathering together as many Final Fantasy werewolf fics as I can gather. Yes, there are (few) others besides mine. But I wouldn't mind having more (hint, hint). This particular fic grew from a conversation I had with my sister, the madness that overtakes me at work, and a song on "The Simpsons"… Don't ask. And I had to get a fic with some of the… unusual pairings included here out before Ovo used them! *grin* Like it? Hate it? Should it stay a one-shot, or become a series?
AIN'T WHAT HE USED TO BE
The Misadventures of Dr. Sid, Aging Werewolf
Tonight was the night. Tonight, under the full moon's ominous glow (a sinister effect obscured by the barrier, thus ruining some of the mysticism of the whole thing), Dr. Sid would take care of that young pup serving as general.
He'd been patient with the younger man's views, knowing the military in general tended to be close-minded and stubborn when it came to new ideas. But General Hein was taking it to whole new levels, and Dr. Sid didn't have the patience to put up with his petty arguments any more.
It was time to do what he had done with anyone who'd stood in his way when he'd been younger. Deal with them with tooth and claw!
So he told Aki to leave him alone for the night, saying he needed time to look over the results from an experiment that had inexplicably gone wrong the previous week.
Belatedly it occurred to him that she never pried into his business at night anyway, and that his unexpected warning to stay away might stir the woman's curiosity. Aki was like that…
No matter. He wouldn't be here in his cramped little apartment anyway once the moon rose! For Dr Sid, famous for his teachings of non-violence and the search for a better way to be rid of the Phantoms, became a blood-thirsty creature of destruction whenever the moon was full. Dr. Sid was a werewolf.
He felt the moon's pull even from deep within the city, and hurried to his bathroom to ready himself. Normally, he spent such nights curled up asleep under his bed, but no tonight. Tonight, he would cease to be pleasant old Dr. Sid. Tonight, he would be Sid the wolf, and would unleash his unrivaled hunting instincts and kill!
The change was swift; a momentary blackout of his senses as he shifted from one form to another, and then he lifted his new body precariously onto two legs, an action he seemed to recall shouldn't have been this hard, and turned his gaze to the mirror to admire his impressiveness.
What he saw made his tatty ears droop in dismay. It had been years – decades, really – since he'd last actually looked at this form. It had… well… changed.
What stared back at him with yellowed eyes was not some horrific beast of nightmare, but a creature resembling a large, bipedal Chihuahua. His body was thin and wrinkled, his skin almost bald except for a thin layer of fur and a few sad, gray clumps in strange places. His mouth was as nearly empty of teeth as it was in human form, for only one cracked canine protruded from his gums. Do they make dentures for werewolves? And, he noticed with some embarrassment, the scar from when his wife had had him neutered after sniffing one too many females was plainly visible.
His hips suddenly groaned in protest and buckled under him, and he dropped to all fours with a bone-jarring thump. So he couldn't walk on his hind legs anymore… Okay, he could deal with that. And so what if he wasn't what he had been? He could handle it!
He snorted, and drool splashed across the floor. He wrinkled his bald muzzle in disgust. Eww… He'd have to clean that up, come morning.
No matter. So he had a drooling problem! That explained that stain under his bed. Didn't it?
Sid padded across his apartment and opened the door, nose raised and ears pricked for any scent or sound of someone out in the corridor. His senses, still keen after all these years even after the slow breakdown the rest of his body seemed to be going through, found no sign of anyone waiting.
Still, as he trotted along the deserted halls, it occurred to him that he hadn't gone hunting in decades. Maybe, just maybe, he should do something just to warm up? His ears twitched, straining for any sound in the silence for something, anything, that he could practice on.
Nothing…. Nothing… There!
With a triumphant yip, Sid sprang at an astonished rat. He caught its fat body in his jaws and squeezed, waiting for the creature's dying squeals, the snap of its bones, the flow of its blood…
Nothing happened. Sid rolled one yellowed eye towards the rat, meeting its puzzled beady eyes. Okay, so his remaining teeth were blunter than he'd remembered. And his jaws weren't as powerful… Angrily, he whipped his head around, trying to break the rodent's spine. He stopped after a moment, exhausted, and his eye again met the rat's.
The damned thing looked like it was having fun! He spat out the rodent, and it rolled on the tile a moment before catching itself. It wiped one paw through its drool-sodden fur – funny how he still had a lot of saliva in his old age, if nothing else – then, with a bemused last look, the rat scuttled off.
Sid dropped to his bony haunches with a whining sigh. Okay, so maybe his teeth weren't up to par, but he still had his claws. He examined the weapons critically. Okay, so half of them were broken nubs, but the rest would do the job. It only took one to tear a man open.
With a creak of old bones, Sid heaved himself to his feet and continued towards the general's office.
He made it with no more interruptions and, though it was empty, the door was unlocked, meaning the general intended to come back. Or he was just incredibly stupid. Either could be true, in Sid's opinion.
Well, he'd just wait. He slunk through the shadows cast by the desk lamp and hid under the desk lamp, eyes gleaming dully in the darkness as he waited.
And waited. And waited…
Finally, when his legs had fallen asleep, he heard someone fumbling with the door. Sid jerked from his half-doze, the crack of his bones sounding loud in the silence. Desperately, he hoped that hadn't given him away.
But when the person stepped inside, despite being unable to see the man from his position under the desk, Sid knew at once who it was from the scent, and he had to bite back a groan of disappointment. It was Major Elliot.
Then a second scent hit him, followed by a low, throaty giggle. Sid's eyes widened. Aki? What was she doing here?
"Are you sure the general won't be back?" Aki asked, her voice a husky purr.
"He's 'busy' again. He won't be back until tomorrow." Sid could hear the satisfaction in the major's voice. "It's just you and me."
What the…? Sid wondered. Then, a sudden realization made the gorge rise in his throat and he had to lie down before he fainted. Aki's been meeting with Major Elliot? More than meeting him, actually, but Sid wouldn't let his too-vivid imagination carry the thought further.
Besides, it seemed he was about to be subjected to the real thing.
The desk above Sid groaned as if a great weight had settled on it. I don't want to be here… A file was knocked from Hein's desk, and Aki's low murmur carried clearly to his sharp ears. "We're going to make a mess. Don't you think the general's going to notice?" She sounded as if she didn't really care.
"He never noticed when we used his car."
"Yeah, but we used his coat to clean up the mess." Aki gave a throaty chuckle in remembrance.
I really don't want to be here…
"Don't worry, honey," Major Elliot cooed. "It won't be nearly as disastrous as the time in Dr. Sid's lab last week." The two laughed as if sharing a private joke.
Good God! So that was what went wrong with those experiments! A whimper escaped his throat. I don't want to be here… Oh, God, I don't want to be here!
Sensitive ears undulled by age – unfortunately – picked out sounds belonging to actions he didn't want to think about, though his imagination filled in the blanks for him.
When the desk gave a crack as if it were about to break apart above him, Sid decided he'd had enough. With a yelp, he shot out from under the desk with a speed that he hadn't known he'd had in him, slowing only to rear up, activate the panel that opened the door, then sprint down the hall with his scraggly tail between his legs. As far as he knew, they were too busy to even notice his undignified exit.
Sid himself was too traumatized to pay attention to where he was going. He didn't see anything, anyone, until his sensitive muzzle slammed into something round and fleshy. Dazed, Sid backed away, blinking at the darkness that stood over him. His vision took its sweet time to clear, but he could still use his nose.
Oh, my… He'd just run face first into General Hein's rear. At least, he thought it was Hein. The scent of another – Corporal Fleming?! – clung to him like a perfume, making it difficult to tell.
They gazed at one another for a moment before Sid remembered his whole purpose of coming out tonight had been to kill this man.
"Stupid dog," the general muttered. Sid's lips curled with a rusty growl. Hein didn't look particularly impressed.
Fear me, you idiot! Sid thought as he lunged forward, grabbing the general around the wrist and clamping down with his teeth, momentarily forgetting his failure with the rat earlier. I am death! There was an audible snap, and Sid's last canine tooth tumbled from his mouth.
Oh, shit… Hein yanked his hand away from Sid's mouth, shaking it and sending droplets of drool flying. "Gross," Hein grumbled. Too quickly for Sid to respond to, he scruffed the old wolf's neck, startling him. "You need to see a vet about that drooling problem." Sid's claws raked Hein's chest without even ripping the cloth of his shirt. So much for his last deadly weapons… "In face, an old cur like you should be put to sleep." Hein scowled. "But there won't be a veterinary open this time of night." One hand still on Sid's neck, Hein used his other to fumble at his belt.
Sid gulped. He was learning a lot about his fellows' twisted appetites tonight… He squirmed, unwilling to be a participant. "Stop that, you stupid mutt!" Hein looped his belt around Sid's neck as a makeshift collar. Oh, of course… That's what he wanted it for… His relief was short-lived when he realized he was stuck. "There. I can't have an unsanitary creature like you running around my base."
Maybe Hein was just going to turn him loose at the nearest door, then he could make his way back to his apartment. But Hein's next words made Sid's body go rigid. "I'll take you to my place tonight, then dump you at the vet's in the morning."
Maybe that will give me a chance to kill him in his sleep? Sid had the feeling he'd manage better with prey that wasn't conscious. So he followed docilely, his tongue lodged in the gap where his canine had been to stem the blood flow. Leather, he thought disgustedly, wasn't that tough in my day!
When Hein reached his quarters, he shoved Sid inside before entering himself – and locking the door with a key. Oh, no… He should have known the general would have extra security for his door. Any talented hacker could break a coded door lock. But not many people had the skills to pick a lock anymore. And of course, Hein had to be the type to lock it from the inside… Sid would need the keys if he wanted to leave. And he'd need hands to manipulate them.
Sid whined and stared at the door as Hein loosened the belt from his wrinkled neck. "No," Hein said firmly. "If you need to go, use this." He set out a towel, then headed off to his bathroom.
Wearily, Sid sat down. It seemed he was going to be here for some time. Would he be able to escape before sunrise? Hein's place was on an upper floor, so escaping through the windows was out.
Cocking his head, Sid surveyed his surroundings, looking for something to help him escape. He waited for his eyes to adjust to the blackness – for Hein hadn't turned on any lights – and wondered idly if Hein's apartment was actually black, or if just seemed that way to Sid's color-blind wolf form.
Cautiously, Sid strolled along the perimeter of what must have been the living room. He froze when he heard Hein come out of the bathroom, but the general made straight for his bedroom, or what Sid assumed was the bedroom if Hein's quarters followed the normal military design.
He passed by a couch that smelled as if it were leather, then stopped to mark it as his territory. His wrinkled muzzle twisted in a smirk.
Still, there was nothing here that could help him escape. He tried the kitchen, then the bathroom, and the second bedroom that had been converted to a library/den. Nothing. There was no choice, then. He needed the keys.
I can't believe I'm doing this… Sid slunk to the door of Hein's bedroom, wondering if he were the first person to actually see it. What would it look like? Would it be painted all in black? Would there be horrible effigies of ancient gods? Nude pictures of certain soldiers? Or - Sid shuddered at the thought - what if Hein had a fetish for clowns?
Quietly, Sid entered the room. Even his bones cooperated by moving soundlessly, fluidly, as they had in his youth.
The bare walls were almost disappointing. While Sid couldn't see the color, they were pale, not black. There was nothing in the room; nothing except the loudly snoring form on the massive bed. Well, I know a lot of people who lost this bet…
He prowled the room slowly, checking out the desk on the far wall, first. Nothing.
Nothing… except a digital clock. A clock that said he had fifteen minutes until the moon set. Sid's eyes widened. How many hours had he spent waiting under Hein's desk? He'd had no idea it was this late… No time… And there was no sign of the keys.
He couldn't be found here. He couldn't! Frantically, Sid ran around the room, muzzle twisting this way and that as he searched. His coat… Could Hein have put them in the pockets? The heavy leather coat hung on a bedpost on the other side of the bed, and Sid, without thinking, sprang onto the bed.
The bed shuddered, and Sid felt a wave of sea sickness. But that was nothing to the terror he felt when Hein started moving as a result of the bed's motion. The man's arm swung around, pressing down on Sid's spine and pinning him to the bed.
"Uff," Sid grunted, wriggling to escape the man's grasp. Incredibly, from his snores, Sid realized the general was still asleep, and likely to stay that way. The clock on the desk was clearly visible, mocking him. Seven minutes… Seven minutes until he transformed.
Frantically, Sid tried to pull himself from Hein's grip with his claws, but the man's hold tightened. And his claws, the weapons whose bluntness had let him down earlier, finally managed to pierce something: the mattress.
Water gushed out, washing over Sid's muzzle in a wave. He began to sink, and Hein's body rolled on top of his.
This would never have happened in the good old days, Sid thought remorsefully. Really, there wasn't much else that could be worse than this.
Then the change ripped through his body, and he groaned as his body altered in the confined space.
"Glurk – wah?" And of course, Hein had to choose right then to press his face into the water and inhale…
Hein fought loose from the collapsing mattress and stared blearily at the sodden mess his bed had become. Then he saw Dr. Sid. A drenched, naked Dr. Sid. How do I explain this one? Dr. Sid wondered frantically.
General Hein's mouth opened in a scream that couldn't seem to stop as Dr. Sid scrambled to his feet and jumped off the bed. His hand knocked into the nightstand, and something fell off with a jingling noise. The keys! He scooped them up and ran as fast as his overtaxed joints allowed, Hein's screams following him until he was far, far from the man's home.
Well, maybe I didn't kill him, but he'll probably be emotionally scarred for the rest of his life. Then, thinking back to how much the evening had gone wrong, So will I, for that matter.
Thank God the full moon only comes a few days every month!