Eye of the Storm
Disclaimer: I don't own Cry Wolf. Full credit for the plot ideas goes to satsu and InugamiSuduko. I hope that it is okay I combined your two great ideas into one fic, and I am very sorry it took me so long to write the first chapter. Here are the ideas submitted by satsu and InugamiSuduko:
satsu: What if Dodger ran into someone who gave her a taste of her own medicine? Someone manipulating, sadistic, and who knows the truth of her past...
Inugamisuduko: A Dodger/Owen fic. Dodger moved away from that town but Owen trailed her and they have a kind of on and off relationship, fighting then kissing.
I hope you like this fic, feedback is always appreciated.
It was raining hard, heavy drops splattering against the windows of the bus as it plowed ahead. Inside the vehicle, a thin pale man in a shabby coat watched with disinterest as the world passed him by. The driver was keeping an eye on him via the rearview mirror; he sensed the stranger to be the troublemaking type. The traveler had not yet spoken a word during the entire lengthy trip, but other passengers seemed to pick up the same vibe about him and kept at a distance from the brooding fellow, leaving him to gaze at the empty night streets undisturbed.
The tires ground to a halt against the pavement and the bus doors groaned in protest before they resigned themselves to flapping wetly in the wind. The man in the coat was the first to depart, but, just before doing so, he may have uttered one word: "Thanks." His voice was quiet and surprisingly non-threatening; sadder than it was angry or intimidating. He may have had a slight accent, but the driver couldn't place it.
But maybe he hadn't said that. Judging by the loud storm outside, the shuffling of passengers… there was a lot of white noise floating about, wasn't there? It could have just been footsteps, the wind, myriad things. His imagination.
The driver found the possibility that he had imagined it oddly comforting, so he clung to that. The man was now out of sight, as were his other passengers. He embarrassedly realized he'd been daydreaming and hastily closed the doors and started to drive off. The weather was still terrible.
But if he hadn't imagined it…
Enough, he told himself. It was no use obsessing over something so insignificant.
Besides, how much could you really tell from just one word?
The figure walked down the street with quick purposeful strides. Aside from his coat, his clothing was obviously new: Plain white t-shirt, dark expensive jeans, a black ball cap. He was soaked but seemed to pay this no mind, despite the waterfall falling from the brim of his cap directly in front of his eyes.
His eyes scanned his surroundings meticulously as he trekked, taking in every suburban detail. The sky was a strange mix of navy blue and generic grey, a huge dome hanging low overhead. Dark trees whipped around, bent precariously by the same heavy winds that flung a constant barrage of raindrops his way.
Spotting his destination, the man quickened his pace and ascended the walkway. After pressing down harder than necessary on the button, he could make out the sound of the doorbell reverberating through the house. Other than that, there was no response. He rang again, and this time he heard movement from inside. A moment later, the door was jerked open to reveal a static-haired, bleary-eyed man wearing jeans and a faded shirt that looked like he had just thrown them on now. "Dude, do you realize what time it is?" he groaned.
"Well, what do you want? You selling something?" the tired guy asked aggressively.
"Don't you recognize me, Tom?"
Tom squinted his bloodshot eyes at the traveler, scrutinizing him. Surprise suddenly lit up his features, jolting him to full consciousness. "O-Dog?" he said, disbelievingly.
"Yeah. Can I come in?"
"Sure," said Tom dazedly.
Inside, Tom handed Owen some dry clothes and towels and started the coffee maker up. The place was dark; though the curtains were open there was hardly any light outside to come through the window. Tom flicked a few switches and the dwelling filled with yellowish light. Owen did as Tom directed him and silently took a seat at a kitchen chair, the towels wrapped around him like blankets.
Out of his tattered coat, Owen looked very much the same as when Tom had last seen him. He'd gained some weight, but not in a bad way, just as part of getting older. It had been nearly ten years. Owen still looked young and, aside from being too pale, healthy. Only his eyes gave any indication of what he had gone through. They were wide and haunted, like a TV show child-abuse victim's.
"I was worried you wouldn't let me in," Owen intoned, breaking the silence.
"Of course I let you in. You're my friend," Tom said.
"We haven't spoken since high school."
"I know. But we can fix that now."
"You're not afraid of me," Owen remarked. "Why?"
"Well, why would I be?" reasoned Tom.
"I killed someone. Even with self-defense reducing the term, they ruled I was guilty."
"And since when have I ever cared what "they" say?"
"You mean, you believe I was set up? Owen waited for confirmation.
Tom sighed. " Yeah. I don't think you'd have done something like that yourself."
"Thanks. That… that means a lot to me. That at least one person believes me."
"Hey, what are roommates for?" That caused a ghost of a smile to appear on Owen's face. "That reminds me: How long do you plan on staying here, anyway?"
"I'm sorry, I… I didn't mean to intrude. I can book into a hotel if that would be easier for you," said Owen.
"No! That's not what I meant, I was just wondering how long you'd be in town and all."
"Oh. Well, I guess it will take as long as I need to do what I came here for."
"And that would be?" asked Tom, raising an eyebrow.
"I came to catch up with someone," said Owen.
"And by someone you would mean… me?" inquired Tom.
"No, though it is nice to see you again. I came to find Dodger."
Tom looked at him quizzically. "Dodger? This 'cause you guys used to have a thing in high school?"
"Actually, it's because she's the one who set me up."
Tom paled. "No," he said shakily. "No, that can't be right. I've known her for years, we've gone for coffee together, kept in touch. I moved here because she said the job opportunities were good. You're saying Dodger did it?"
Owen only nodded. They sat wordlessly for a moment, just listening to the coffee machine burbling and the clock ticking away the seconds. Through the window, Tom saw that a few rays of sun were managing to stretch their way over the grey clouds. He stood up and poured them both a cup of coffee, taking a long swill from his. It was scalding hot, but he felt he needed the energy as soon as possible. He was feeling very tired, and he didn't like the sensation one bit. "Dodger did it," he repeated into the silence. Turning to Owen, he said solemnly, "Just be careful, man."
What's wrong with
Dodger's vivid blue eyes scanned the classroom calculatingly, quickly picking out what hadn't been there before: A tall neatly-dressed young man was leaning against the back wall, nonchalantly watching the students interact. He was pale with curly light brown hair that fell in waves down to just below his shoulders. A student teacher? She hadn't gotten any notice about one. He suddenly looked up and gazed straight at Dodger, and she felt herself tense up, a bit embarrassed to have been caught staring.
He began to walk directly in her direction. "Oh, hello," he said casually. "Is this the advanced literature class?"
"Yes, it is. New here?" Dodger responded. Up close she saw he had deep brown eyes and soft features.
"Completely. I look lost?"
Dodger smiled at that. "No, actually. But I teach here and you do look unfamiliar. I think I'd remember if I'd met you before."
He returned her smile with a friendly grin. "Yes, I'm told I'm a pretty memorable guy."
They both jumped a bit at the jarring sound of the bell. "Time for class." It was not Doger but the newcomer who stated the obvious, barely audible under his breath. Momentarily, students ceased their conversing (or at least reduced the volume a bit) and piled into their respective desks.
Dodger turned to the newcomer to tell him she'd find a place for him – but he wasn't there. "Where…" she trailed off. At the front of the classroom, the newcomer stood before the students, radiating authority. She realized all the chatter in the room had ceased as the class looked to him expectantly. It was a bit of an unprofessional way of directing himself, but she had to admit he did a good job of getting the students' attention.
"My name is Kyle McDermott," he began. "I am a new student at this school and will be attending this class."Wait. Student? He seems so much older… The fact that he was a student made his sudden speech much more cocky and just… odd. Despite this he somehow managed to come across as formal and polite, even to Dodger. Her pupils weren't mocking him either, which was highly uncharacteristic of them.
"I apologize for any confusion that may have been caused by my arriving in the middle of the term. There was an incident at my former school that required my immediate transfer."
Incident? Dodger made a mental note to look into that.
"Thank you for your attention," he concluded, taking a seat in an empty desk near the front of the class.
Despite her surprise that morning, Dodger's day seemed to be progressing uneventfully. Her class that morning concluded in what seemed like seconds after McDermott's speech was over. She didn't see him again all day, not that she really expected to considering the large number of students attending the school. As she was driving the half-hour trip back to her house, she recalled her plan to find out why he had transferred. She couldn't quite place what, but there was something about him she found oddly fascinating. Perhaps it was just that he was new, a mystery.
She unlocked the door to her house and stepped inside. That was strange; the lights were on. She always turned them off before she left; it was routine.
"Dodger," a male voice stated. Startled, she glanced around herself, eyes coming to rest on the man seated rigidly on a chair in her dining room.
"What are you doing here? Who are you?" she demanded. She knew she'd pissed a lot of people off in the span of her life; it was part of being anyone in a position of authority. But she honestly had no idea who this was.
"Oh, you forgot me? Tom didn't recognize me either, but I thought you at least would. Then again, I suppose you haven't seen me since high school."