Wolves and Witches

By Chibi Hime

Author's Note: This is written for Karashi's Gwevin contest over on DeviantArt. Tis is a two parter, but I have no idea when I'll do part 2...other than before September XD It is a redo of her fic, To Grandmother's House, an AU Little Red Riding Hood. GO READ IT! AND ALL HER OTHER GWEVIN FICS. They are made of pure awesome. Ben 10 belongs to Cartoon Network and Man of Action.

Part 1: The Mongrel

The tale began on a summer evening. Fireflies flickered about the field where the young gypsy girl and her lover scampered, sending up swarms of insects and dandelion puffs. The girl ran ahead, her dark, ebony hair bouncing as she laughed in delight. Her pale lover grabbed her wrist and pulled her to him. They teetered off-balance, drunk on love, but the spirits didn't hurt either. The two fell to the ground in a series of giggles that led to tickling that led to touching, kissing, groping...and inevitably, something else.

The two lay in each others arms, the frog songs echoing around them.

The young man promised the young lady that he loved her, that no matter what happened, he would always be there to protect her. He spoke of happily ever afters and many other wonderful things and, as such foolish young lovers will, their summer was full of happiness and lovemaking. Also, as such things go, the young man vanished at the end of the summer. Heartbroken, the young lady was left to mourn his departure...but she was not left alone.

Her summer of happiness ended with sorrow and despair. As the months went by, she felt the tiny life within her growing and she longed for her lover once more, convinced that he would return if he knew of their child. So she set out in the cold of the winter months to find him.

Now, here people believed in the spirits and the old ways. All the wise men and women of their camp warned her against this at this most joyous time of year. They believed that is an unwanted, unborn child could be influenced by outside sources and if it was denied by either of its parents near the birth of the Lord, the consequences could be dire, the child would be cursed. But, blinded by love, the girl did not believe the superstitions and pressed on without the consent of her family, who were already leery about having an illegitimate child of mixed blood in their family as it was.

The girl managed to find her lover, by pure coincidence alone, outside of a church. She approached him, telling him how much she still loved him and, having been missing him terribly, had set out to find him. Taking his hand and pressing it against her swollen belly, she told him about all the beautiful things he had said and promised.

The young man, on the other hand, felt none of her joy and happiness. Rather, upon feeling the thing in her belly move, he felt an abject repulsion for the being within her. He denied ever having said anything remotely like his pretty promises and openly denounced the poor girl. With everyone around staring at her, she felt ashamed and asked the young man, once more, if he would keep his promises and love her forever...her and their beautiful child.

The young man denied her again. This time speaking the most horrible words she could have imagined.

"I want nothing to do with you or that heathen in your womb. It isn't mine, that is for certain. No child of mine is going to be born a mongrel freak. I owe you nothing, you little harlot. I don't owe that thing...that unlovable infection you call a child anything,"

As soon as he finished, the gypsy girl found herself wracked with a series of horrible, shredding pains. Her delicate brown hands flew to her stomach and her eyes filed with tears as she fell to her knees. The young man disappeared into the holiday throngs of people. Too late, she realized her family's legends were true. It was all her fault. If only she had stayed with them...none of this would have happened. The child within her thrashed and twisted in agony.

No...no it wasn't supposed to go like this...he was supposed to love her...them. Not deny them. Not condemn their child to a cursed life, whatever that meant anyway. The pains quickly subsided and the child calmed down. Broken hearted and defeated, she returned home. She told no one of her encounter with the young man. She simply said that she was unable to find him. As she lied, she felt the infant in her womb struggle, as if reprimanding her for her lie.

The remaining months passed uneventfully and the girl soon began to wonder if any of the legends about the curse were even true. There had been no truly dramatic changes. Every four to five weeks, she would experience strange sensations of the child moving about more than usual, but that was not entirely unheard of either.

When at last the time of the child's birth came, it was a bright spring afternoon. The pain and strain were enormous, but not drawn out. By the time the sky was darkening, the child was wrapped in a blanket and put in a small cradle beside her bed. Her grandmother, a wizened midwife had not said a word before doing so. She had quickly wrapped the child up and kept her mouth shut. When the young girl asked to see her son, the old woman looked up at her with such pity and sadness that the new mother felt fear grip at her chest. Forgetting her own exhaustion, she threw herself to the side of the bed and reached, with desperate fingers for the cloth wrapped around her infant's face. What lay beneath the blanket took her breath away. There, where a soft, pink human child should be was a small, black furred wolf pup. However, there was another surprise was in store. As soon as the sun disappeared and the full moon began to rise, a peculiar transformation overcame the infant and it yipped in confused pain. When it was over, a pale, dark haired baby boy lay in the wolf's place.

Overjoyed, his mother swept him into her arms and held him lovingly to her breast. Her family rejoiced with her, naming the child Kevin, the "handsome one". Their joy was short lived, for when the sun rose and the golden light touched little Kevin's newborn cheeks, the child cried out as once again, its form shifted back to that of a tiny wolf pup.

So it was for the next fourteen years of his life. Every full moon, the wolf boy was able to assume his human form, only to lose it again the following morning. While his mother loved him dearly and his great grandmother taught him all there was to know about their part of the world, he couldn't help but feel isolated. His mind was terribly quick and it frustrated him that he was behind in his speech and pronunciation. Even at fourteen, he had difficulty saying certain words and meaning others. As such, none of the other children would speak with him, as they felt he was an idiot even when he was human. During the days, he would receive stares from everyone. Kevin became very withdrawn from the world, no matter what form he was in. It only grew worse when his great grandmother died, leaving Kevin and his mother alone. Kevin would whimper as he saw others playing or talking. Whenever he would attempt to join them, he would be either run off or completely ignored. His mother would comfort him and tell him it was their fault and not his.

Kevin didn't believe her. No one else changed from human to wolf. They were human all the time. Kevin wasn't. He was a wolf most of the time. He often wondered which he really was. While his mind was quick, no one save for his mother and great grandmother ever knew or cared. While he thought like a boy, he looked and moved like a wolf. He could understand speech, but only speak himself one night...maybe two a month. Kevin also noticed that his mother seemed to be almost as much an outcast as him. While she denied up and down that it had nothing to do with him, the poor wolf child didn't believe her. It was his fault and he knew it.

One night, while the full moon shone brightly in the sky, Kevin sat reading from his lesson book while his mother sewed outside their tent. Three men from their camp approached her and whispered something quietly to her. Kevin frowned, wishing he had his daylight hearing abilities, especially when his mother slapped one of them.

"I'll do no such thing!" she shouted, extremely upset.

"Why? People would pay a lot of money to see...well, what he does. Besides, with him around, you get the lowest cut. You could really make some money that you need," another man spoke louder than the other two.

Kevin saw his mother slap him as well.

"I won't subject my child to such humiliation! You can forget it!" she snarled, baring her teeth.

Kevin smiled to himself. They were a lot alike after all.

The men shrugged and left them in peace once more.

Thinking nothing more of the incident, Kevin walked off into the nearby forest. He wandered for hours, humming to himself. When purple light began to appear in the eastern sky, the boy began to head home. As soon as he reached the edge of camp, he was set upon by the three men from earlier. Oh what he would have given to have his teeth and claws then! The strength of the three grown men easily overpowered the boy and dragged him away to another, larger tent where there were at least ten pale faced strangers. One of which was a boy his own age with golden hair and piercing blue eyes. Those eyes watched keenly as the adults tore the shirt from Kevin's back and threw him on the floor.

The poor wolf boy had no idea what cruelty they planned to spring on him, but he got up and tried once again to escape them. However, the blonde haired boy tripped him and once again, Kevin was thrown back to the center of the tent with all kinds of prying eyes staring at him with malicious glee. What were they all looking at him for?

One of the men threw open the tent flap and a few golden rays of sunlight shown in. It was then that Kevin realized the humiliation he was about to go through. They wanted to watch. Those sick, sick people. These complete strangers wanted to watch him transform. He wouldn't do it.

Unfortunately, he didn't have a say in the matter.

That pair of fierce blue eyes lit up with excitement when the first bone snap was heard. Unable to alter a fate that had been thrust upon him, the poor boy had no choice but to endure this new kind of torture. It was the most horrible feeling in the world, to be watched by all those strange eyes...by these people with such a macabre fancy. Didn't they understand how shameful it was? How humiliating to have one's warping flesh on display? The worst of all was that blonde boy. While some looked away , he never did. Kevin felt those terrible eyes on him the whole time. Those blue eyes were on him when his teeth turned to fangs, when his fur returned, when his tail sprouted, when his hands became paws, and his cries of pain became snarls and growls.

After the transformation was complete and he was once again a wolf, the spectators wanted to prove the spectacle had indeed been real. With intruding hands, they began to paw and pull at him.

Shaken out of his mind and consumed by rage and shame, the wolf boy slashed at them with angry claws and tore with teeth that were tainted with embarrassment. He managed to get one of the men who had kidnapped him by the wrist. With a sharp clamp of his jaws, he snapped the man's arm. With a tug fueled by all he had endured, he yanked the man's arm off. There were countless screams when the shower of blood became apparent. Without thinking twice, Kevin fled.

On his four powerful legs, he sped away into the morning sun, He ran as fast as his large paws would carry him. Away from all those staring eyes and prying touches. Away from those people and their cruelty. Away from his mother who had suffered so much on his account. He raced until his legs could carry him no more and the exhausted wolf boy collapsed.

Unfortunately, he collapsed directly into a bear trap that snapped his foot in its cruel jaws.

No matter how hard the poor boy pulled, he found he could not remove his foot from the trap. Exhausted, he fell down in despair. He lay there in the strange forest for the rest of the day and night.

That was precisely where the girl found him the next morning.

End of Part 1.