Disclaimer: I don't own Wolf's Rain. I wish I did - along with lots of other anime on the planet.)
Warnings: the same as in previous chapters, and, hey, NC-17 (well, a bit of) finally. Be warned.)
A/N: Heh, I did it, though my heart, unfortunately, isn't into Wolf's Rain now. Killed half of the day, and, surprisingly, found myself more into KibaHige than TT, while writing. The first part of the chapter was done back in spring, so it's not that good, but I hope the rest is better, so please, bear with it.
Thanks for your reviews, I wouldn't have done it without all of you. My special thanks goes to Rider - this last chapter is for you, because I don't think I'd have coped without your support.
Now I can happily go back obsessing over Kyou Kara Maoh and Trigun. Really GwendalGunter and WolfwoodVash are brain eating. Ohh, I love them so much))) Argh, where was I? Ah, yes, the last chapter…)
The rain was pouring down heavily. Her knees ached from the firm ground, hands trembled, fingers crooked in the dirty cold water of surrounding puddles, which, it seemed, were cruelly and mercilessly trying to swallow her fragile form. "That's it" - she thought - "The game is over. And the Queen has lost." Bitterness was burning throughout her body, tears cried for the permission to be shed. But she just bit her lip, the taste of blood somehow calming her. She wanted to be truly and completely alive once - and she used her chance, no matter how hard the dictated conditions were. Becoming a traitor was really nothing compared to the feeling of being a human.
The impassive pale face of a man, standing near the girl, one hand tightly gripping her short hair, the other slowly taking off his elegant darkened spectacles, suddenly turned into a grimace of utter hatred. His grip tightened even more, and in the next moment she was painfully kicked in the stomach. She guessed, she deserved it, really.
Right in front of them the whole building, where numerous experiments were vastly held, was lying in ruins. Flames, here and there, were still soaring into the sky, despite the heavy rain. She smiled inwardly, some of the old hidden feelings scrambling from the deep pit of emptiness she, herself, created.
"Tsume would have said that it's a sheer trash. Hige - that it's a sheer work of art. Kiba would've concluded, that the result is the most important part of what had to be done. And Toboe… Toboe would've observed the scene with not-quite-believing big round eyes," - came the thought. Cheza smirked.
- I knew the experiment would, most likely, fail anyway. But this unfortunate turn of events… is a bit too much, don't you think?
Her answer was silence.
- All their DNA, all samples, all research, all is gone now. Won't you say something? Defend yourself?
The man waited a few minutes, looking at the girl with disdain. But when no answer came, he shrugged, turned away, leaving his bodyguards behind, and disappeared in the darkness of a side street, his voice emotionless, as he carried his last words to Cheza.
- Such a pity. I'm afraid our agreement ends here.
Her funeral was simple and fast, with only a priest, muttering some meaningless words, and a very much looking drunken undertaker, constantly swearing that he had to do this devil's work instead of a good night's sleep. Even when he caught a disapproving, but not really caring, glance from the priest, he only snorted:
- What? - and spitted out on the coffin.
- That was quite a show. I don't think I've ever enjoyed the fire element that much. - Hige was squirming on his seat near Kiba, who - frown written all over his face - was driving another stolen car through the desert. They've left the city two hours ago, and now simply followed the old road. Kiba, for reasons known only to him, flatly refused to stay in the city. Tsume tried to argue, but soon found himself shoved forcefully in the car - the fact that the boy, Toboe, was the one who suggested using strong-arm tactics somehow stunning him.
- Kiba… Err, I mean, Kurt - Hige stumbled over the name, catching the questioning glance from Tsume - Where the hell are we going?
- As far as we can manage.
And that was the only response anyone could get from the man. Even Hige, after the whole five minutes of Kiba's murderous glare, completely distracted from driving, decided to back off, coming to the conclusion that staying on the road was much more important and life-significant for now. He sighed, relaxing into the seat, his head soon coming to rest on Kiba's shoulder. Kiba looked at him for a second, a faint smile hiding in the corners of his lips. New life seemed full of promises right now, if only troubles would leave them. It still wasn't easy to accept the current turn of events, not that he had much time to think them over. Gods, he loved Cheza so much back then, tried to save her with all he had - all strength, all his heart and mind, denying himself the grief for his dying friends - till the end. And look how it turned out… How could she betray them like this? Is there anything in this godforsaken world that hasn't yet rotted to the core?
"There is," - Kiba shook his head, the warmth, where Hige's head lay, spreading throughout his body and soul - "There still is. We just need to stick together, that's all. We'll help each other out."
Hige muttered something in his sleep, and Kiba, finally, relaxed a bit. A glance in the rear-view mirror told him, that noone was following them - perhaps, the pouring rain was playing into their hands after all - and it also made him smirk, seeing how Toboe draped himself protectively over Tsume. The man himself wasn't sleeping, but frowning, unconsciously petting Toboe's hair.
- Kurt, - he suddenly said in a serious tone - I'm not an idiot, you know…
Kiba barely restrained himself from laughing out loud. Though he understood that Tsume was probably going to ask him something important, the phrase itself sounded damn funny. He couldn't help himself, and quickly answered:
- Yeah, I know.
Tsume scowled of course, letting out a growl. Which, surprisingly, was not one could call a human growl. To put it mildly, Kiba was shocked. He opened his mouth to say something, but found himself unable to force even one word out. He just stared silently in the same rear-view mirror, waiting for his own surprise to turn into joy. Maybe his friend wouldn't be able to remember their previous life, but he would still be able to transform into wolf. And that would mean a lot. Especially to Toboe.
- What the hell? - pailed Tsume, one of his hand reaching to touch his chin and then, pailing even more - his teeth. Kiba spotted the beginning of fangs, and smiled. Perhaps, sometimes it's good to annoy the shit out of your friend - gives unexpected results.
- Calm down, Tsume. It's all right.
- The hell all right! What's up with me? You bastard, you know, don't you? - hissed Tsume, and then suddenly gripped the back of the seat, pain shooting through his body. Kiba cursed, applied the brake and stopped the car. Toboe, lying on Tsume's lap, stirred a bit, but didn't wake up. Kiba turned to the transforming man, noting that the fangs were now much bigger, the face started to lose its human traits.
- Tsume, now listen to me. And calm down. You don't want to worry Toboe, do you? - suggested Kiba, hoping that blackmailing his friend like this wouldn't anger him more. Ah, the end justifies the means. The moment the words left Kiba's mouth, Tsume made a visible effort to relax and finally leaned back into the seat, gulping air.
- What. Was. That? - panted Tsume, trying to glare at Kiba, but not managing to raise his head because of the sudden weakness. Kiba pondered his answer for a second, searching for a response, that wouldn't scare or piss off the white-haired man completely.
- Kurt, damn you! Answer!
- Right. I'll tell you - what it was and why it was. But you'd better be silent around others about the second part. I don't want to worry them. I overheard something from that bastards, who caught us last time… - Kiba waited for Tsume to nod and continued - Tsume, we're wolves.
Tsume snorted, unbelieving. Kiba growled a little, closing his eyes and praying for a bit of patience.
- Look, you may think what you like. I'll say this just once. We're wolves - all four of us - and were wolves in our previous lives. Somehow, I don't even imagine how they could get this, but they did get our DNA from then. At least the man in the laboratory was talking about it - so, basically, I think, we're kind of clones right now. Personally I, Hige and Toboe here have regained our memories. You, however, did not.
- Lies! - whispered Tsume - Just lies! Because if what you say is true… it means… it means… all my life was a lie. A special environment, set up to breed their toy… the way they liked. To make me what they wanted.
Kiba sighed, listening to the rain and the sounds of windscreen wiper.
- It makes sense. It does. Perhaps, they wanted to see how our genes would work under special circumstances? All of us… even Toboe… we didn't have a very happy life, did we?
Tsume glanced at still sleeping Toboe, his hand again caressing the soft hair.
- What? - Kiba blinked, astonished at the sudden change of Tsume's behaviour. Just a minute ago, the man was desperate and angry, and now - it was as if all these feelings were gone, replaced with strange calmness and resolution.
- Drive. Forward. We're free now.
Kiba nodded, and the car moved into the rainy night with all the speed it could master.
- Ah! It's gross! - Hige put the sandwich back on the plate and flopped on the narrow bed, causing the springs grind under him - I'm damn tired, and you just had to say something about dinner, bring the hope to my poor abused stomach, and then go and bring me this crap!
Kiba glared at the man and ate his own share of food.
- You'd better be thankful, that we're not sleeping in the car right now. And even had the luck of two free rooms for the night. Though I agree that the motel is quite disgusting, - Kiba grimaced at the dirty curtains and torn wallpaper - It's just for one night, and then we'll be on our way.
Hige, pouting, opened one eye and watched as Kiba took off the bathrobe, which he found while showering, and stood on his tiptoes, stretching the aching back muscles. Turning off the light, Kiba sat on the bed, wet hair falling over his eyes, drops of water falling on the bed.
- Hey! Don't tell me you're going to sleep naked? - asked Hige a little bit nerviously - We're sharing the bed, so…
- So what? It's not like I didn't cuddle you before this - you didn't protest as much at Toboe's flat. And in this life I found out I very much hate to sleep in clothes. So… move.
Hige did, cursing the man's logic, pulling the half of the only blanket over him, unable to relax. No matter what Kiba said - it was different when Kiba didn't remember his past. Back then if something… happened - yeah-yeah, something, the only thought of which was now making Hige very-very hot and hard - he wouldn't have to worry about the man's reaction. Hige was a stranger to him, so it was only his own memories, that could bring an echo of discomfort into their possible relationship.
"Gods, what am I thinking about?", - Hige growled silently and closed his eyes, whishing for all the forbidden images to leave his head. He tossed and turned for half of an hour, avoiding touching his companion, and then was immediately frozen, when a furious and naked Kiba caught his wrists, pressed his own naked body into Hige's, and stopped all protests by kissing the opened in shock mouth.
Hige tried to resist, really, he did. But unfortunately… or not… Kiba knew how to kiss. It was hot and wet, and his tongue battled against the intruder's, hands clinging to the broad shoulders, gripping the wet dark hair to bring back the devilish mouth, which went for his opened neck, leaving there the bruising marks. He couldn't help himself, he moaned, tightening his hold, and Kiba, smirking, moved one of his legs between Hige's, allowing him to rub against his hip as much as the man wanted.
It didn't take them long to come - they were both tired and worn out physically and emotionally by the recent events. Hige gasped, moaning and throwing his head back into the pillow, Kiba was more silent, in a flash leaning forward and bitting Hige's shoulder and then falling in a tired heap on his lover.
- Kiba… - panted Hige, completely gobsmacked, but very much satisfied - What the hell are we doing?
Kiba kissed the bite mark and simply answered:
- I don't know. We'll figure it out eventually. I hope. Now… May I eat your sandwich?
Hige blinked and laughed. Who knew Kiba would be the type to long for food after sex? Hige pulled the blanket again over them and snatched the already bitten sandwich from Kiba's hands.
- Nope, it's mine.
Tsume emerged from the shower in a towel, barely hanging on his hips. Toboe stared, blushing as he remembered, what the man did to him… no, what they both did… before all hell broke loose. Will they do it again? The only thought left Toboe embarassed, and somewhat… hot? Toboe coughed, willing the thoughts away, and wished the man would come to bed already. Toboe was still scared a bit his loved one could disappear or be hurt or killed at any moment again. His fingers itched to touch the swarthy skin. There were scars on Tsume's body, but Toboe didn't mind them - they too were part of the man he loved.
Tsume, although almost naked, and despite the chill roaming the room, didn't come to bed. Instead - he sat on a chair near the window, staring at the dark screen of rain outside. Time seemed to freeze, and Toboe sat motionless, waiting for something… anything to happen.
Toboe shuddered. Tsume's voice was cold, unmoving and determined. But pain was hidden there somewhere, Toboe was sure of it.
- Listen to me. I spoke with Kurt… you call him Kiba, I guess, - Tsume paused, looking at Toboe - He told me I was a wolf, though I still can't remember anything of that time, no matter how hard I try to. I'm sure you'll understand… I don't think you and I… have the same way…
And that was it. The unspoken words, causing the invisible tentacles of tension spread through the room, making Toboe shiver.
- No, - said Toboe calmly and was surprised by the steel tone of his voice as much as Tsume was. The man stood up and punched the nearest wall in anger, putting all his pain in the hit. He was sure he'd have bruises later, but didn't care at the moment.
- Don't you get it? - he shouted - I fucking don't know how to be a wolf! I'm not who you think I am.
Toboe smiled, leaving bed and coming close to Tsume, hands sliding up the strong arms, cheek resting against the pale scar on his chest. Was it an irony of life, that Tsume got almost the same scar he had before? Was it destiny?
- Shh, I know better. Who you are. And who your were. And I still love you.
It seemed as if Tsume wanted to say something, but then sighed deeply and all the struggle left him. He lifted his arms and put them on Toboe's shoulders.
- And what about the wolf part?
Toboe let himself be pulled towards the bed, Tsume leaning over him and kissing his neck slightly.
- Oh, that's… Mmm… - Toboe gasped as the man moved lower, thin lips caressing one of his nipples - That's easier… We'll just… Ah… Teach you…
- Teach me? - smiled Tsume and bit the already hard nipple, tongue coming out to cherish the abused lump of nerves, one hand slowly drawing patterns on smooth, pale skin before him, other - toying with the second nipple. Toboe didn't answer - couldn't anyway, lost too much in the feelings, coursing through his body.
- Tsu… Tsume! - the boy bit his lip, trying not to moan. He feared someone would hear them and enter the room. However, the thought of someone seeing them like this didn't bring fear, like he thought it would. For some twisted reason it made him even more hot and needy. He arched under Tsume, reaching for the safe shoulders to cling to. Found a firm back instead, and caressing it with warm palms, raised his head to kiss the lips, tormenting him oh-so-sweetly. Tsume met him halfway, deepening the kiss, letting his tongue explore the boy's mouth, biting, sucking, posessing.
- Teach me, you say… It's a deal then?
- Nngh… - answered Toboe, hiding his flushed face in the crook of the man's neck.
Tsume kissed him again, unable to get enough of Toboe. Unable to move away from the willing, warm, soft, trusting body under him. From the innocence and love, radiating from the boy.
"It should be enough to stay," - he thought - "He'll teach me how to live, and I'll protect him till the end…"
Something flashed at the back of his mind, some similar promise he wasn't able to keep.
If so - he'll keep it this time.
He had more than enough to hold onto.