Disclaimer: If I owned Tokyo Mew Mew, it would be aimed at an older audience and Mint/Zakuro would be canon.
The bird crashed into the wolf's life like it was a clear window that she'd mistaken for never ending sky.
Up until then, the wolf had been alone; she'd been content that way. But the bird always fluttered around her, always chirped and twittered some nonsense, and the wolf never really had the heart to turn her away. She simply walked along, ignoring the bird's presence on her shoulder and pretending not to hear her.
If she slowly but surely became accustomed to the feeling of the bird's gentle weight of her shoulder, the sound of her voice, she ignored it.
The wolf never worried about letting the bird come so close to her. She was big and strong, after all.
Certainly strong enough to protect herself, and even the little bird, if the time ever came.
Sometimes the wolf was cruel to the bird.
She didn't mean to be—not really. The wolf had been alone for a long time and was used to her own ways, her independence. She didn't know how to handle the little bird, the bird that wanted to be part of her life.
The bird who loved her, despite how cruel she was.
The wolf was cruel to the bird, sometimes without meaning to be. And sometimes she meant it.
The wolf was terrified that one day she might hurt the bird.
The wolf was so much bigger than the bird, and so much stronger. She had nightmares of crushing that tiny body beneath her paws, of breaking fragile little bird bones if she didn't watch her step. She feared that her thick gray fur would accidentally smother the frantic heartbeat that she could always hear in her ears whenever the bird insisted on resting on her shoulder.
She knew she was big enough and strong enough to protect herself, and even the bird if the time ever came.
But she was also big enough and strong enough to kill the little bird.
And the wolf loved the bird, perhaps more than she should have. She knew without a doubt that the bird loved her.
That was why she was cruel to the bird, why she pushed her away and tried to get her to fly on her own.
Because she loved the bird. And if the bird died, because of her or otherwise, the wolf knew she wouldn't be able to live on.
Because if the little bird died and she no longer felt that weight of her shoulder, never again heard her twittering and chirping, the wolf knew her strength would fade away until nothing remained.
The bird always came back to rest on her shoulder.
Sometimes the wolf wondered if deep down, she knew.
One day, the wolf and the bird were attacked.
The bird refused to fly away, even when the wolf ordered her to and then begged, instead choosing to fight alongside her.
The wolf was big enough and strong enough to protect them both, but the bird was fast—faster than even the wolf's eyes. Throughout the fight the wolf couldn't see her, and her heart pounded frantically against her ribs.
The bird broke her wing. She couldn't fly. The wolf's gray fur was stained red, her legs trembling, but she kept fighting on because of the bird, because she couldn't fly away.
And though her wing was broken, though she couldn't fly, the bird continued to fight. She wanted, needed, to protect the wolf the way the wolf always protected her.
The wolf was fighting for her life, for her life and the life of the bird. And as she fought she could smell the fresh blood being spilled, she could hear the crack and snap of bones.
Time ceased to exist and when the battle ended the wolf stood there numbly, fur still bristling, muscles still tense, teeth bared and eyes wild.
After a moment the wolf slowly picked her way across the grass, her legs shaking with the effort of holding her body up and her fur stained red with blood.
The bird lay in the grass, her small body nearly hidden by the blades growing around her. Her feathers were torn and bloody, some still drifting through the air. Her eyes were wide and clouded over, staring ahead at nothing. Her wing was twisted at an odd angle beneath her body.
Grief swam to the surface, hot and liquid so that it settled in her stomach and stayed there; closing her eyes, the wolf shoved her muzzle into the bird's feathers, her whole body trembling with pain, exhaustion, and tears that refused to fall.
She opened her eyes, took a step back, tilted her head back.
And howled a single, grief-stricken cry.
The wolf didn't know how long she walked, or how far. Her body still trembled but she paid it no mind; her paws ached, but she ignored it. The only thing that marked her passing was the streaks of red that stained the grass and the leaves.
In her jaws she carried the body of the little bird.
Though the bird was dead, though her bones were broken and her heart had ceased to beat, the wolf carried her as one would carry a precious stone, her grip gentle and firm so her fangs didn't pierce through the feathers, cut through the flesh.
She felt the absence of the bird's weight on her shoulder sharper than any wound, and the silence threatened to suffocate her.
The wolf walked with no clear path or destination, and it never crossed her mind to drop the bird's body and leave her behind.
The wolf's hind legs gave out on her first; simply crumbled and refused to go on. Resigned to her fate, exhausted from blood loss, the wolf simply lay down on her side, having neither the will nor the strength to go on. She opened her mouth, and the bird tumbled soundlessly into the grass before her. She lay tauntingly before the wolf, her small body only inches away from the gray nose.
Her vision was beginning to dim and spin, but determination speared through the muscular body; the wolf narrowed her eyes and dug her claws into the grass, dragging her uncooperative body the last few inches that separated her from the bird. Once again she buried her nose into the bloody feathers, and with the last of her strength she dragged a paw through the grass, so she was shielding the bird one last time.
For the last time, the wolf closed her eyes.
As her life faded away, for just an instant as she stood on the border between life and death, she felt a familiar weight on her shoulder and heard a familiar voice in her ear.
"What took you so long, Oneesama?"
Wolves and birds were never meant to become friends. Not like this.
Wolves were predators and birds were prey. Wolves were big and strong. Birds were small and fragile.
Wolves were meant to ignore birds, and birds were meant to avoid wolves.
They were never meant to become friends.
But a bird had done the impossible—she had befriended a wolf and stayed by her side, even when the wolf was cruel to her. And the wolf hadn't ignored her, not in the end.
A bird had died protecting a wolf. And a wolf had died because without the bird, she didn't have the strength to go on.
Wolves and birds were never meant to become friends.
They had anyway.
In a metaphoric sense, it worked. Yes, the 'wolf' is Zakuro and the 'bird' is Mint... if her line near the end didn't give it away when Zakuro died.
If you want to, then yes, you can see faint hints of ZakuroxMint. But this was mainly a friendship thing.
Read and review, please!