The Long Howl: The Chosen One and the White Wolf (aka another bloody crossover)
Disclaimer: I own only the idea- the characters etc belong to their creators.
Warnings: Violence, character death, allusions to relationships canon, non-canon. Fight scenes and darkness.
Rating: Uh, M, I think.
Spoilers: Don't read if you haven't read the Harry Potter books 1-5, and played the Okami game. Yet again, sarcasm and craziness abound. I play around with timelines and canon, cause I can. If you don't like that, just don't read. Uh, my knowledge of, um, other cultures is…sadly lacking. So I make stuff up. So, feel free to point out mistakes and I'll have a look at them.
Chapter One: By the light of the sun
The white wolf raced over the plains. Thick fur that shone with an inner light shifted with the playful breeze. Grass and flowers flared into existence at the wolf's heels, tossing and dancing in the wind of the beast's passing, reaching heavenward before fading away. Tongue lolling out, the wolf danced playfully sideways, snapping at the flowers before wheeling about and racing off again.
The sun was shining in full glory, blazing brightly down upon the world and compelling the creatures of the mortal world into a sleepy haze. The white wolf reared onto it's back legs and waved it's paws at the sky with a happy bark, then collapsed onto the ground, wriggling happily.
At the top of the hill and reclining lazily against a tree branch, a man with long golden hair played a flute and watched the wolf below.
Neither the wolf or the man were by any means normal.
The wolf was marked with odd red-purple markings on her fur, her eyes a blend of red and gold. A necklace of beads hung around her neck, but constantly circled her throat without once touching her, despite her constant movement. Slung over her back, but also not touching, a beautiful shield with a trail of shifting flame hummed with power.
The man was strange too, although perhaps not as obviously as the wolf below.
His hair was very long and very bright, an intense shade of gold instead of the usual blonde. His eyes were currently half closed, giving only a fleeting glimpse of blue through thick lashes. His clothes were an interesting blend of colors. Two sheathes holding slender blades hung at his hip.
Despite these oddities, a random observer would still have not guessed at their identities. The wolf was, in fact, a goddess, and the man a lost member of the moon tribe, self exiled.
A mere year had passed since the conclusion of their dramatic battle against the lord of darkness, Yami. Although the beast had slaughtered the celestials aboard the ark, the sun goddess Amataresu remained in wolf form, and accompanied by Waka, the exiled man of the moon tribe, had at last returned to the Celestial Plain to set things right. Strengthened by the return of the power of the thirteen brush gods and the faith of her people, the sun goddess was better than ever, although her sorrow for her lost children and the condition of her realm was strong. Together, the two had cleansed the plain, and since overseen the mortal realm of Nippon, which flourished under her light.
Now, the sun goddess raced across the plains and played with the spirits of those long dead, allowing the full weight of joy and sorrow to build within her chest until at last she stopped her flight and threw back her head in a full-throated howl of mourning.
Atop the hill, Waka lowered his flute with a sigh. Blazing with light, the wolf ignored all else as she loosed her grief to the heavens. When at last she fell silent, and lowered her snowy head, her cry still echoed. For a moment, the light of the sun seemed to wane, as if clouded, and then it cleared. With her step as light as a shadow, the wolf nonetheless made her way up the hill with her head lowered. When she reached the tree that housed her companion, she collapsed as if mortally wounded, resting her head on her paws. There was a rustle overhead, as Waka observed her for a long moment, before dropping lightly from the tree to land beside her. He crossed his legs gracefully as he sat beside her. He leant his chin on his palm, silent. Lifting a hand, he began to stroke her head, sifting his fingers through her fur.
She made a low, miserable whine at the back of her throat. She lifted her head and edged closer to him, letting her head rest trustingly in his lap. He hummed a sad old song as he tweaked her ears, ran his fingers through her ruff.
There was silence, only the breeze still whispering past.
"We've been here for a while." His voice was a sudden intrusion into the silence. An eyelid flickered, and a single eye rolled up to look at him.
She had never spoken to him, and he wasn't even sure if she could, but he could read her as easily as he had two hundred years ago.
He laughed softly.
"Ah, ma petite, you never change. My point is simple- we have done what we can. We have done everything humanely and divinely possible, and finally we've done it. Besides watching over Nippon- we have reached the end of our path."
Her head came up, and her eyes were full of sorrow, pools of shifting fire.
You're leaving me?
"Never, beloved. I simply think it's time we broadened our horizons a little. This will always be home, and we will always return here." He fell silent for a moment, and she allowed her head to slump back into his lap, although her eyes remained fixed on his face.
"But there are also too many ghosts here for you to be truly happy, ma cherie, and when you sorrow the sun dims. You need to be happy. We both need a change of scenery. There are many worlds out there, ma petite. Let's find some, have a look around. What do you think?" His hand paused in her fur as he craned his head to look down at her. She had her eyes closed, her head cocked to the side as if listening to something.
"Ma cherie?" Suddenly she surged to her paws, tail flying. She lunged for him and he fell back onto the grass with an oomph and an armful of wolf. She licked his face with great enthusiasm, emitting a series of happy huffing sounds. He laughed, fending her off.
"Gah, alright! Enough! I'm glad! I'm glad you're glad! Now stop before I have no face left!" She subsided with one last lick, but refused to get off, her weight pinning him as she nuzzled her head into his chest, and seemed to be ready to sleep.
"I'm so very happy you're comfortable. But I like breathing. Breathing is good. So is living. So unless you want to be exploring the universe alone, beloved, do get off." Waka managed the entire sentence with one squashed breath.
Amaratesu sniffed, but complied. Tail beating the grass, she watched him, and the sun overhead was blazing once more.
They didn't leave at once, although Ammy ran several enthusiastic circles around the Ark several times a day. The two spent several days ensuring the Plain was safe and everything was in order. Then, when Waka was pouring over chart maps, Ammy broke into a sprint and leapt out into nothingness as she fell once more to Nippon- but this time without the feral enraged form of Orochi for company. Waka had been trying to pinpoint their first destination, muttering mathematical equations under his breath, but his head jerked up as a blazing point of light took a running leap off the edge of the Plain and fell out of sight. He swore in surprise and leapt to his feet, spilling papers everywhere as he reflexively took a few steps forward. He let his hand fall away from his sword with an aggravated sigh.
"Give me a heart attack, would you?" He wandered to the edge and peered down.
"I'll just come down and pick you up in a day or so, shall I?" Muttering, he flung his hands up and went back to his maps.
Ammy plummeted like a falling star. When she came to rest on the mortal plain, she found herself near Sakuya's Tree, and nodded her head at the symbolism. The world was well and at peace, but before her temporary departure, Amaratesu wanted to ensure that everything would continue on so without her presence. She also wanted to say goodbye. She walked slowly up the path that led to the tree sprite, careful to keep out of sight. While most would, upon glimpsing her, dismiss her as a normal white wolf, there were also those that would recognize her as the goddess that had wandered Nippon a year ago.
Sakuya's tree looked better than ever, thriving and showing off thousands of pink blossoms that released a heavenly scent. The goddess drifted towards the great Tree, coming to a rest beneath it's spreading branches and sitting on her haunches. She barked once, inquiringly.
Flickers of light sparkled in the air and morphed into a familiar shape. Sakuya blinked down at her from the air, and broke into a delighted grin.
"Great mother Amataresu!" The sprite piped in her sweet voice.
"I am blessed by your presence. What can I do for you? Why have you wandered this way once more? I sense peace all throughout this beautiful land."
Ammy huffed agreement, and paced forward a little, lifting a paw and swiping at the air. The tree sprite drifted closer obligingly, soft eyes wide.
"Divine one?" Ammy whined softly, then leant forward and bathed her face. The sprite giggled like a little girl, then cautiously reached out and ran her fingers through thick white fur. She looked into the god's eyes.
"You are leaving us, divine one?" The sprite asked, uncertain.
"Why?" The wolf raised her head heavenward and sighed, letting her head slump before she fixed her eyes once more on the tree sprite she had known from a tiny sapling.
"I see. We will all miss you, great mother. I look forward to your return, and will miss you, but I will be comforted every time I feel the warmth of your rays. I pray you will find the peace you seek." The sprite gently kissed the wolf's muzzle.
"May the scent of fresh flowers protect you always." She drifted back into the air, but didn't vanish until the wolf was well out of sight.
There was one more being that Ammy wished to see before her departure. She knew she had a day or so before Waka finished up his coordinates and came to collect her. The one she wished to see, of course, was Issun. The little ponticle was her envoy on the mortal plain, and the tiny, temperamental little being was a friend and companion she would miss dearly. She could have traveled quickly to his village- he was there, last she checked- by using the contraption on the hill overlooking Kimiki village. But soon she would leave Nippon behind for a time, and she wanted to feel the pulse of the earth beneath her feet. She wanted to remember the feeling of this world. She broke into a trot, and then into a sprint, and then into something beyond that, moving so fast over the ground she was a silver-white blur trailing flames. And flowers.
Can't forget the flowers…
She traveled far. She ran over an ocean, thanks to the water tablet, sending sea-spray flying, and few glimpsed her. Animals she met in droves, as they sensed her light and came to watch her pass. Sometimes she would stop and supply them food, before resuming her flight. Only a handful of humans saw the wolf pass, and of that handful only two saw more than a wolf. When she last came to the frozen lands of the north, it came as a physical shock, as she broke from her musings as the world beneath her paws became icy.
Tirelessly, she continued on, winding her way through the barren land, skirting the villages as she headed for the dark forest and the clearing deep inside that housed the ponticles. She arrowed her way through the twisting pathways of the forest, painting flowers and trees along the way. Trailing flowers, she slowed from her sprint and loped gracefully towards the tree stump that marked the home of the tiny people of the forest. Normally, a wolf would never have been able to fit, but she had on her previous journeys liberated a rather interested mallet from the watery remains of a sunken ship. Besides being a somewhat sentient mallet with the ability to glow and float, it also possessed an interesting and useful power. Well, interesting and useful as long as you don't mind running the risk of being stepped on. The mallet, of course, shrunk it's possessor down to miniature size. Which was good if you happened to be a large mammal that was in reality a goddess, that needed to get in somewhere very, very small.
Ponticles are very, very small.
After a few amusing moments in which it looked like the mallet was about to bash the wolf over the head, but actually only sprinkled sparkling gold dust, the white wolf suddenly glowed a brilliant gold and disappeared.
Amaratesu blinked and stretched, looking around her new world lit with a soft greenish glow. The ponticle village hummed with life, the suspended pathways teeming with figures, full of life. For a moment, the now tiny goddess merely watched peacefully. Then she began to pace forwards. She was making a bee-line for the chief's hut, but before she had made more than a half-dozen steps she was spotted, and promptly ambushed. A tiny ponticle girl, barely making it past Ammy's knees, squealed with delight over the 'pretty doggy' and latched onto the goddess's tail. A flustered young boy, her brother, by his scent, darted forward to pull her away, apologizing repeatedly. Ammy licked his face soothingly and nuzzled the now screaming child, who shut up mid cry and broke once more into excited babbling, reaching out. The goddess allowed the little girl to pull at her fur for a moment, then gave her a gentle lick and continued on her way. Ponticles noticed her presence, and bowed reverently, some daring to reach out and touch her as she passed. She bobbed her head in return, but her attention was fixed on one particular scent. She was glad Issun was still there, for she knew he traveled often. Six months ago, he had finally given in and returned home to visit his grandfather. He never stayed long, but it was a start. She trotted up to the chief's home, barking a greeting to the guards stationed out front. She wasn't sure exactly what they were guarding him from, but it wasn't important. They greeted her politely and let her pass. She stuck her head in the door and whined. There was a crashing sound as something hit the floor.
"I know that sound… Ammy!" In the next room, there was a scrambling sound and then there was a green blur and a flying ponytail as Issun shot through and attached himself to Amaratesu's neck.
"Furball! It's been ages! Where have ya been? How's it hanging up there in the stars? The half-baked prophet driven you mad yet? Have you-" Ammy cut the envoy off with an enthusiastic face bathing.
"Ack! Wolf slobber! What was that for, Ammy? What are you doing running around with us mortals, huh?" Amaratesu huffed, glancing between Issun and his grandfather. Issun was as good at reading her as Waka.
"What do you mean you're leaving? Leaving where?" She huffed again. She could convey basic meaning, but particulars failed her when it came to facial expressions.
"It's that half-baked prophet, isn't it? Come on Ammy, what's wrong?" She huffed again, harder this time, and whined. Her ears flattened themselves momentarily, then pricked forward.
"…I see. Well, kinda, anyway." Issun absently patted her head, brows knitted.
"Well, only one thing for it. Can't have you zipping off to who-knows-where with that crazy moron. Issun and Ammy off on another adventure!" And with this bold pronouncement, the ponticle whipped out his sword and slashed at the air as if threatening some enemy.
"You and me, Ammy! It'll be just like old times! Nothing will stand in our way! Here's to good fights, great beer, and non-evil busty babes!" Issun cheered. Ammy snorted, shaking her head, but her eyes were gleaming, and she pressed gratefully against his side.
"So. Where exactly are we going?" Ammy let her head slump with a sigh. Issun's grandfather, her old companion, began to laugh.
"What are we waiting for, exactly?" Issun was impatient, nestled in the fur between the white wolf's ears. Amaratesu rolled her eyes upwards. The two of them were sitting on the top of Shinsu field. The wolf ignored her companion, her head craned back as she searched the skies. The shifting flames from her shield and the wind through her fur were her only movements.
"Ammy? Oh, Ammmmmy." The wolf still searched the skies. The ponticle sighed.
"Bored now. I keep expecting some monsters or something to leap outta nowhere and attack us. At least we'd have something to do…" Aware that his furry companion was still ignoring him, Issun nonetheless continued on. He was so wrapped up in his dialogue, in fact, that he completely missed it when Ammy leapt to her feet, tail waving, gaze fixed on something in the sky. She barked happily, dancing on her back legs and pawing at the sky.
This Issun noticed, and it was only her thick fur that saved him from tumbling to the ground.
"Whoa, furball! What's with the horse impression? You excited about something?" The Ark swept down out of the sky and came to a rest floating a few feet off the ground away from the duo. A door swept open, revealing Waka, arms crossed, leaning against the doorway.
"Well met, ma cherie. We are going to have to discuss the many uses of a collar and bell, however, after that stunt you pulled getting here. I nearly had a heart attack after your little lemming impersonation." Issun choked.
"You? Here! Oh no, Ammy, why? We're fine on our own, we don't need this guy tagging along!" Ammy ignored him, tail still waving. Waka blinked, and leaned forward a little.
"My little bouncing friend…that is you, isn't it? It's so hard to see from up here…" Issun growled and there was the ring of steel.
"Oh, calm down little envoy. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised she picked you up. I leave her alone for a few days…" A glittering rainbow bridge wove itself out of thin air, leading up to the Ark. Without pause, Amaratesu trotted forward and leapt gracefully up onto the insubstantial seeming path and bounded up into the Ark's interior. Issun gripped her fur hard and hankered down, but this time no barrier sent him flying.
"Resolve, my little bouncing friend. Interesting, no?" Issun managed a half-hearted glare, which was pretty ineffective considering the difference in masses.
"Whatever, crazy prophet guy. Maybe you can tell us where we are going? Ammy here was pretty vague on the details."
"Wherever the wind takes us, Issun, wherever the wind takes us." And the little envoy was so shocked at the use of his name that he said nothing as the entrance closed behind them and Waka wandered off to direct the great ship.
The interior of the finely built ship kept Issun amused for all of a week, as he set off on epic journeys, considering his size, exploring every nook and cranny he could find. A further three days were spent in dazed amazement up top as he watched the stars around them as the ship navigated the heavens with seeming ease. The warrior of the moon tribe spent his days pouring over maps and making adjustments, keeping a worried eye on the still form of his companion. The sun goddess slept almost continuously, her glow muted, and Waka grew more and more concerned as the days passed. Finally, he knelt beside her still form and lifted her limp head into his lap.
"Ma cherie? Are you awake?" He shook her lightly, smoothing her fur as her head lolled limply from side to side. Finally, her eyes flickered open, and dazed red gold eyes stared out blankly.
"Ammy? Can you hear me? What's wrong?" The worry in his voice seemed to rouse her slightly, as her eyes opened properly, and she attempted to get to her feet. She fell back with a whimper before she could get her paws under her, and Waka quickly pinned her, humming soothingly.
"Calm, my furry friend. Now, what is wrong?" She rolled her eyes to meet his and whined, her ears flattening themselves. She twisted her head to the side and licked his hand reassuringly.
"Forgive me, beloved, but it's going to take more than that to reassure me. Something's obviously wrong. Is it Nippon? Is leaving there hurting you?" She whined again. Issun had bounced back into the room unnoticed, and watched them, concerned.
"Yo, prophet guy. She's been real tired, right? I'd say it's the distance. She should be fine, she'll just be tired until we find another planet. The presence of life and people should perk her right up. She's still got her faithful believers in Nippon, but being disconnected from it all doesn't seem to agree with her at all. How close are we to our first point of call?" The prophet stroked the wolf's ears as she sunk back into slumber.
"Another week. You sure about this, Issun?" The ponticle blinked.
"You're asking me? Wow, is the universe ending, or something?" The prophet's voice was sharp when he replied.
"I'm worried, Issun, so don't joke around. I've known ma cherie here for hundreds of years. We've come a long way, and I won't let her die again over something like this!"
"Wow, chill. I apologize. But trust me on this, I'm an envoy after all. She'll be fine, you'll see. As soon as we set down on some new world, it'll be like someone lit a fire under her tail." Issun bounced over, and settled once more into the wolf's soft fur.
"'Sides, furball here's got the right idea. A nap sounds nice right about now." Waka shook his head at the tiny creature, and with one last look at the sleeping goddess, moved back to the helm.