Warnings: YAOI, which means BOYS LOVING BOYS. If you dislike that, then the back button is easy enough to find. Please click that and leave. Possible OOC. Alternate Universe.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Wish they were, but Katsura Hoshino owns all.
Notes: Well, this fic started as a oneshot based off of Little Red Riding Hood. About two pages in, I figured out that this no longer had anything whatsoever to do with Little Red Riding Hood. _ I hope you all enjoy!
Dedicated to SisterWicked, Niamh (both of AssHat Productions, a group I'm a proud member of), and Cackles for reading this over before I posted and giving me tips and the confidence boost I needed so I could make this fic available to the general public. All remaining mistakes are mine.
Super special awesome thanks to Niamh for coming up with the title of this fic!
"I'm not letting my grandson go gallivanting off and probably get himself killed," Bookman replied. "I may be out of practice, but I can still hit a moving target with those needles if I must." He made a shooing motion with his hand. "Now hurry up. He'll most likely have engaged the others by the time we arrive."
Lavi nodded, then smiled softly.
"Thanks, Gramps," he said, then turned away and headed to gather up his knife and his grandfather's needles.
And Now, The Continuation.
Chapter 8: White Wolf
Lavi crept along inside the dark forest, gaze fixed on the silently moving wolf in front of him. Road had transformed and, after receiving a stern lecture from Bookman on being careful not to re-injure herself, the trio had made their way into the woods. Bookman walked a few paces behind Lavi, the old man's steps almost noiseless on the ground.
Before leaving the cottage, they had decided upon a plan. Road would lead them to the den but would afterwards, as promised, stay well clear of the fighting. Lavi and Bookman would help Tyki. If Road caught scent of her father on the way, they'd detour and help Sheryl first. Bookman had brought along whatever bandages they'd had left after treating Road, a hollow gourd filled with water, and a clean rag.
They had been walking a good twenty minutes when Road suddenly stopped.
"What is it?" Lavi asked her quietly, crouching down beside her. "Are we getting close?" He couldn't hear anything but the breeze through the leaves. The forest was eerily silent, though if he strained his ears he thought he could hear faint yips and yelps. It was impossible to tell for certain and if the noises did exist, it would be impossible to pinpoint with his dull senses.
Bookman came to a halt behind Lavi.
"Why have we stopped?" he asked. Lavi looked back and shrugged, frowning slightly.
"I don't know." Lavi looked back at Road. "Why have we stopped?"
Road didn't seem to be paying attention; her nose was in the air and she was veering to the left, following something neither of the humans could smell. Lavi got to his feet and followed, keeping a wary eye on their surroundings. The sound of crunching leaves brought his attention back and he turned his head just in time to see Road break out into a run. He followed quickly and heard Bookman follow with a quietly muttered curse.
Road suddenly turned and it was Lavi's turn to curse as he nearly lost sight of her between the trees. A thin shaft of moonlight caught her fur and Lavi darted after her, nearly tripping as he rounded a thick old tree and almost ran into her. There was a flash of movement to his side as Bookman rushed passed Lavi, heading straight for Road and the large, furry lump Road was laying next to.
Lavi's eye widened and he stepped back as realization hit.
They had found Sheryl. The furry lump was Sheryl in his wolf form and Lavi could see damp, matted patches and small pools of dark liquid around the wolf's body. He swallowed heavily.
Road whined softly and nudged the larger wolf with her muzzle. Bookman waved her off and her ears pressed back against her head. She got up to all fours and retreated slightly, giving the old man room to work.
Lavi watched as Bookman knelt next to Sheryl. The redhead's gaze flicked between his grandfather and the wolf, hoping that they weren't too late already. His eye stilled on Sheryl's chest, hoping for just the tiniest hint of movement. Sheryl's chest seemed so still…
Road whined again and sat down next to one of Lavi's feet, her eyes not leaving the figure of her father's still body.
Sheryl's chest rose and fell, the motion so small Lavi would have missed it had he not been looking for it. The redhead let out a quiet sigh of relief. He knelt down behind Bookman, trying to stay out of the man's way and careful so that he didn't block what little moonlight filtered down between the trees.
"How is he?" Lavi asked quietly. Bookman was carefully checking the wolf's vital signs and running his hands cautiously through the thick fur to locate whatever injuries the werewolf had. Bookman ignored the question and turned to Road.
"I need you to get him to wake up and transform for me," Bookman told her. "I need to be able to talk to him to find out where he has been injured."
Road nodded solemnly and picked herself up again. She leaned over her father's prone form and began nudging his head with her nose, whining louder. She put a paw to his shoulder and pushed carefully, quickly withdrawing her foreleg when Sheryl's eyes snapped open. Lavi saw Sheryl's gaze dart first to himself and then to Bookman before finally settling on Road. The older werewolf tried to push himself up but his limbs wouldn't hold him. With a quiet whimper, he collapsed again. Road licked his face as though to try and offer comfort, but Bookman shooed her away once more. Tail hanging low, Road obeyed. Sheryl watched her go before turning his attention to Bookman. The older werewolf regarded him warily. Bookman returned the stare flatly.
"I'm Lavi's grandfather," he explained. "Change back. I need to be able to speak with you in order to treat you."
Sheryl seemed to perk up at that, gaze darting to Lavi one more time before returning to Bookman. Sheryl transformed, fur shrinking and then disappearing and limbs lengthening until a human lay where the wolf had just moments before. Sheryl moved to push himself up to sit, wincing, but Bookman laid a hand on his shoulder and gently prevented him from moving.
"Lay on your back. Anything that closed might reopen if you keep moving," Bookman told him, already uncorking the water-filled gourd and grabbing the clean rag from within one of his sleeves. Sheryl winced again, but did as he was bid. Lavi could see dark patches of what was probably dried blood on the man's previously white shirt, but there was no way of telling how much of that was Sheryl's and how much of it was his opponent's. Road moved around behind Bookman and Lavi and laid down by her father's head, licking his cheek softly. Sheryl smiled, turning his head towards her. He didn't try to move either of his arms, probably since Bookman was briskly undoing the buttons on Sheryl's shirt in order to get a better view of the injuries.
"How's my little girl?" Sheryl asked, voice hoarse. He was obviously attempting his usually bubbly tone, but he just couldn't quite manage. Sheryl hissed quietly when Bookman carefully peeled the tatters of his shirt away from his torso, the dried blood having adhered skin and shirt together.
"Did you take any hits to the head?" Bookman asked, wetting the rag and beginning to wash the blood off of Sheryl's chest. "Are there any major injuries that need to be addressed first?"
Sheryl shook his head.
"I think Lulubell may have gotten my right leg and I probably have a few wounds to my chest, but once my darling daughter-" Sheryl turned his gaze back to Road, giving her a strained but bright smile. "-was safely away, I ran."
Bookman nodded. Lavi glanced away from the scene, looking towards the deeper parts of the forest. He shifted a bit in place, tightening and then loosening his grip on his knife. He bit his lower lip, staring into the darkness. He could hear Road yipping and whining behind him, but didn't pay it much attention. Sheryl's and Bookman's voices, similarly, were just dull mumbles to his ears.
Was Tyki all right? It was a relief to know that Sheryl was alive and apparently not badly hurt, but what about Tyki? The fight had been going on for who knew how long and Tyki could be seriously injured-
Lavi wrenched his thoughts away, turning back to Sheryl, Bookman, and Road. Road had gotten up and was shaking out her fur. She pressed her nose to Sheryl's forehead for a moment and affectionately nudged Bookman's shoulder as she passed him. Bookman acknowledged the gesture with a curt nod, unraveling a bandage and motioning for Sheryl to sit up slowly. Sheryl did, his eyes on Road even as he shifted so that his shirt fell away from his body completely. His gaze moved over the three members of the group again, something like comprehension dawning in his eyes.
"Where's Tyki...?" Sheryl asked slowly. Road nudged Lavi forcefully with her muzzle, jerking her head up to try and get him to stand. Lavi scrambled to his feet, dusting off his pants when he was standing. "Don't tell me he..." Sheryl's voice trailed off as Road nodded. The female werewolf turned towards Lavi and indicated for him to follow by a quick jerk of her head.
"He went after the werewolf responsible for this," Bookman answered, motioning for Sheryl to lean forward. Sheryl automatically did so, wincing slightly when Bookman began wrapping the bandage around his chest. Sheryl opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by a soft yip from Road.
Sheryl looked at her and Road met his eyes steadily. Road whined again, as though speaking. Sheryl listened and then reluctantly nodded. He looked up at Lavi.
"Be careful. Don't get involved with Tyki's fight unless you absolutely have to," Sheryl said, voice sounding much more serious than any other time Lavi had heard it. The redhead nodded, shifting slightly on his feet. He wasn't going to risk himself unnecessarily, but like hell he was going to stand by and watch Tyki get hurt.
In less than a week, he was already this protective of the older man. Lavi smiled thinly.
"We'll be back - all three of us," he promised. Road yipped in agreement and turned, loping off into the woods. Lavi waved a perfunctory goodbye and followed. He could hear Bookman and Sheryl talking quietly behind him, but their voices were quickly swallowed up by the quiet sounds of the wind through the trees and his own footsteps. Road kept the pace slow enough for him to follow, but only just. He was half-jogging to keep up and he tripped over more than one upraised tree root he would have spotted if not for her speed, but it never crossed his mind to ask her to slow down.
Lavi carefully avoided thinking about how long it had been since the fight between Tyki and the Earl had started. Tyki would be fine.
The sounds of two wild animals fighting grew louder and louder. The noises were now impossible to deny and Lavi had to strain his ears less and less to hear them. Lavi began scanning the trees, looking for some hint of movement besides Road. His hand tightened around his knife and he cautiously drew it.
Road suddenly stopped. Lavi halted next to her, looking around warily. Right in front of them were two trees with a bit of a gap between them. Part of a clearing was visible in the gap, illuminated by moonlight. The sounds of growls and pained yelps seemed to be coming from the clearing; some were gravelly noises Lavi didn't recognize and some sounded horribly like Tyki.
"Here?" he whispered, already creeping forward. He was downwind of the clearing, so he just needed to make sure he wasn't spotted by anyone or anything that might be inside of it. He heard Tyki yelp and worry creased his forehead.
Road whuffed softly in affirmation, tail dropping between her legs and her ears folding flat against her skull. Her head drooped and she padded up next to him. Lavi flattened his back against one of the tree trunks and peered out into the clearing, knife held at the ready.
He couldn't just rush in. He'd get himself or Tyki killed that way, but there was no way he'd stay out of this as soon as he figured out where the opponents were and where he could expect attack from.
Hell, who was he kidding? If it looked like Tyki was in serious trouble, he'd run out there even before he figured out where the Earl was. He didn't want to see Tyki hurt.
He chuckled quietly to himself, the sound dry and more disbelieving than amused. He had only known Tyki for six days and for two of them, he hadn't known or really trusted the man at all. Now here he was, more than willing to risk life or limb to help Tyki.
Lavi didn't believe in love at first sight. He really didn't. He hadn't believed it two nights ago when Tyki had asked (and had it really been just two nights?) and didn't believe it now. One week was surely not enough time to fall in love, but Lavi knew no other way to describe his fear at the thought of losing the older man.
He couldn't lose Tyki.
Lavi peered around the tree's huge trunk, trying to see into the clearing without allowing himself to be seen. He bit his lip as a pained yelp he recognized as Tyki's met his ears, but it was immediately followed by Tyki snarling. Tyki was all right, he would be fine, he had to be fine...
Lavi took a deep breath and looked.
The clearing was decently large and completely surrounded by trees. Lavi could see the other side, even in the dim light provided by the moon. He could see three wolves at the far edge of the clearing. One was dark-furred and seemed to be pacing, its eyes fixed on the fight Lavi refused to focus on just yet. He had to assess all possible danger first and not just run in, else he'd end up with his back to an enemy and wouldn't know it until he had been brought down and gotten his throat torn out.
He shuddered at the mental image, gaze turning to the second wolf. It was slightly larger than the first, fur a bright yellow, almost golden. The golden wolf was lying on the ground, head resting on its paws as it watched the two wolves in the clearing's center fight. The third was right next to it, fur pitch-black and sleek. It was probably about the same size as the golden wolf and it, too, was watching the fight in the center with apparent disinterest.
Lavi swallowed heavily and looked. His eye widened and his mouth dropped open in shock.
The Earl was enormous. He seemed to be almost twice Tyki's size and was easily the largest beast Lavi had ever seen. His fur was white and thin and currently bloody, gashes ripped into his sides. There were claw marks across his ribs and his back. One eye seemed to be missing, fresh blood streaming from the socket. His muzzle had a bit of blood staining the white fur there as well.
It was difficult to tell with only the light of the moon, but Lavi could see dark, worrisome patches along Tyki's chest and legs. Tyki moved gingerly, suggesting bruised ribs. As Lavi watched, the Earl leapt towards Tyki, growling. Tyki snarled back and dodged, darting somewhat awkwardly to the side before leaping for the white wolf's neck. Lavi bit his lip to keep from crying out as the Earl rolled with the blow, paws batting at Tyki's head as the gray wolf's teeth struggled to find flesh beneath the defensive ring of fur protecting the Earl's neck. Tyki yelped and rolled as he was struck, getting back up onto all four paws as quickly as he was able.
Lavi's gaze darted back to the two wolves waiting by the sidelines. They hadn't done anything yet, though the pacing wolf gave the impression that it would dearly like to join in.
"Will they attack if I help him?" Lavi asked Road, trying and failing to tear his gaze away from the fight. He saw one of Tyki's forelegs lash out and deal a heavy blow to the Earl's head and smiled grimly. He tightened his grip on his dagger.
"Well?" he asked again, finally managing to look away and turn his gaze to Road. He barely felt a flicker of surprise when he saw that she had changed forms, though he did feel more than a bit of concern when he saw how she held her head and staggered slightly. "Are you all ri-"
"I'm fine," she said, cutting him off. "Just dizzy. I... I needed to be able to talk."
"Will they attack?" Lavi asked again, anxious. He heard a yelp from the clearing, one louder than the previous cries had been. Tyki was hurt. "Road, please-"
"Lulubell might," Road said, leaning against the trunk of a nearby tree. She motioned to the pacing wolf. "Debitto and Jasdero won't. But Lavi, be careful."
Lavi opened his mouth to reassure her, but he saw her eyes looking passed him, widening at the scene. Lavi turned quickly, heart stopping in his chest when he saw that the white beast had pinned the gray wolf down. He was moving without a second thought or a second glance to Road, just an order thrown over his shoulder.
"Get Gramps - hurry!"
Lavi vaguely noted her quick agreement and didn't see her transform back to wolf form before darting off, headed back to where they had left Bookman and Sheryl. Lavi's gaze was only on the Earl, legs moving quicker and quicker and feet automatically finding balance on the uneven ground as he raced across the clearing.
The Earl didn't notice him, too busy trying to get his jaws around Tyki's neck. Tyki fought furiously, clawing at the Earl's body and trying to wriggle free, but he was well and truly pinned. Lavi didn't think, just hurled himself at the Earl's side in a full-body tackle.
The Earl let out a startled yelp. Lavi didn't allow himself a smile at his small victory, struggling to keep the massive beast from biting or clawing him. The Earl suddenly seemed to be all claws and teeth, powerful jaws snapping wildly at the air as the pair rolled along the ground. Lavi hissed as he felt the wolf's claws score a shallow gash on his leg. The Earl suddenly got his bearings and twisted in Lavi's hold, turning and snapping at the redhead's nose.
Lavi pushed the white wolf away, jerking his head back with a cry of alarm. He scrambled backwards awkwardly, still holding his knife and trying desperately not to stick himself with it as he got to his feet. The Earl was already back on all fours, but that lasted all of three seconds before Tyki leapt at the Earl and attacked with a loud snarl of rage.
Lavi jerked his gaze towards where the three wolves had been earlier, safely on the sidelines. There were only two; the two Road had called Debitto and Jasdero. That meant that Lulubell was-
Lavi turned just in time to catch sight of the dark blur as Lulubell leapt at him. Lavi went down hard, head knocking against the ground with a loud 'thunk' that reverberated between his ears for several heartbeats. A paw pressed down on his chest and that was the only warning he got before white teeth flashed in the moonlight, heading for his neck.
He moved an arm to defend himself, putting his forearm between his vulnerable neck and the sharp canines of the wolf on his chest.
The redhead gave a pained shout when Lulubell's teeth closed mercilessly around his arm. The she-wolf jerked her head one way and then another, trying to tear strips off of the flesh. Lavi yelled, bringing up his other hand, clasping his dagger tightly. He brought his arm down in a vicious arc, not really caring where he hit as long as the blow connected.
Lulubell yelped, releasing Lavi's arm as his knife buried itself in her side. Lavi tried to keep his grip on the knife and pulled it down, trying to slice her open. Lulubell snapped at him and threw herself sideways. The knife slid out of her flesh with a sickening, wet sound. Lavi could feel the blood from the wound soak his shirt as he scrambled to get up. A wave of dizziness hit him as he did, but he shoved the disorientation aside in favor of keeping his knife towards the she-wolf.
He and Lulubell circled each other warily, Lulubell growling threateningly and favoring the side with the knife wound. Lavi didn't dare take his eye off of her, holding his knife out in front of him in case she attacked again.
He kept his ears open, listening to his surroundings for some warning if either of the other two wolves decided to attack and to try and figure out how well Tyki's fight was going. He didn't want to end up between the Earl and Tyki while trying to avoid Lulubell. There was no way for that to end well. He could hear the sounds of vicious fighting from somewhere behind him, but couldn't risk a glance.
Road would be back soon with Bookman. Hopefully the old man would be able to tip things in their favor. As the situation was now, Lavi wouldn't be able to help Tyki if the man got into trouble again. Not unless Lavi managed to kill Lulubell, though the redhead doubted it would be easy.
There was a sudden bitten-off, pained yelp from behind, too high-pitched to tell whose it was. Lavi turned automatically at the sound, his panic at the thought that it might be Tyki making that noise easily overriding any self-preservation instinct he had.
Tyki had pinned the Earl down and his muzzle was buried in the Earl's throat, jaws tightly clamped around the white wolf's neck. The Earl was struggling, striking Tyki's head and body, but the gray wolf refused to be moved. Dark liquid Lavi knew had to be blood burbled up around Tyki's mouth, staining his muzzle and the Earl's fur and pooling on the ground.
Tyki viciously worried the white wolf's neck, spilling more blood across the ground.
A loud, enraged, injured howl suddenly sounded. Lavi's eye widened and he turned back to face Lulubell, cursing himself mentally for having forgotten.
He was too slow.
He was half-turned when he felt a heavy weight slam into his side and bring him down. He cried out in surprise and then pain as vicious teeth found his uninjured wrist, the one connected to the hand holding the knife. Lulubell bit down and yanked. Lavi felt something crack and his fingers suddenly lost their grip on the knife. Lulubell yanked once more for good measure and Lavi shouted in pain.
Lulubell dropped his wrist, blood and saliva dripping from her mouth. Lavi lifted his arms to try and shove her off. Pain raced up his arm from his broken wrist, but the other, previously injured arm moved. Too slowly, far too slowly.
Lavi felt his hand brush Lulubell's fur, fingers unable to find purchase and sliding along without managing to alter Lulubell's course. His heart thundered in his chest and time seemed to slow as he realized that there was nothing he could do to stop her. He was already moving his good arm to try and shove her off once more, but he was moving too slowly to get to her before her teeth got to his neck and he knew it.
He felt hot breath on his throat and felt the lightest scrape of teeth before Lulubell suddenly stilled. The she-wolf collapsed on Lavi's chest, mouth slack and eyes glazed over, unseeing. Lavi was confused, but only for a moment before he saw the long, thin acupuncture needles that had pierced Lulubell's neck at vital points.
Lavi took a deep, shuddering breath as relief poured through his body. He had been so sure that he was about to die and the sudden relief hit him hard. He just lay on the ground, body trembling, looking up at the moon. Adrenaline pumped through his body and he wasn't sure if he wanted to laugh or to cry or do both at once. He could feel his chest move as he breathed and refused to let himself dwell on what would have happened if those needles had been a few seconds slower or if they hadn't hit just right.
The shout was anguished and suddenly the weight off of the redhead's chest was gone, Lulubell's body being shoved unceremoniously aside. Tyki's face replaced the moon in Lavi's view, Tyki's eyes wide and filled with fear and pain. Lavi vaguely noted the blood around the man's mouth, more concerned with how pale Tyki's face was.
"Tyki," he croaked out. Tyki suddenly shuddered, his body releasing tension Lavi hadn't even realized was there. "Are you-"
He was cut off by arms suddenly scooping him up. Tyki clutched him to his chest, burying his face in Lavi's neck and inhaling deeply. Lavi raised his good arm and slid it around Tyki's back, holding onto Tyki as tightly as he dared. If Tyki did indeed have bruised ribs, the redhead didn't want to make it worse.
Tyki didn't seem to care, just held onto Lavi tightly. Lavi could feel some of the drying blood around Tyki's mouth rub off onto his own skin, but couldn't bring himself to care.
"I thought you were dead," Tyki admitted quietly.
"I thought I was going to die," Lavi replied, voice equally soft. He tightened his arm around Tyki, pressing himself against the older man until he could feel the other's racing heartbeat against his chest. "I thought I was..." His voice trailed off, body shuddering as he recalled the wolf's hot breath against his neck and the flash of teeth that could have ended with his death.
Tyki suddenly growled furiously and tore himself from the embrace, though he was careful not to aggravate any of Lavi's injuries. Tyki grabbed both of Lavi's upper arms and held them tightly, golden eyes glaring into Lavi's confused stare.
"You could have died, you idiot! I told you to stay home and watch Road, not follow me-"
"You WOULD have died," Lavi shot back, glaring just as fiercely in return. "If I hadn't tackled the Earl when I did, you would have died and I wouldn't have even known about it!"
Tyki's glare softened minutely at that and the two men stared at each other for a long moment. Slowly, their glares faded to nothing. Tyki sighed and rested his forehead against Lavi's shoulder. They held that position for several seconds, neither speaking.
Soft footsteps on the grass brought their attention back to the present. Lavi looked up and saw Bookman, heard Tyki inhale deeply and knew that the werewolf would recognize the old man's scent.
Lavi smiled weakly at his grandfather.
"Hi, Gramps," he said. Bookman's gaze moved from Lavi to Tyki, taking in their relative positions and probably making a preliminary catalogue of their injuries. After a moment, Bookman nodded as though coming to a decision.
"I didn't bring any more bandages and it seems as though neither of you has anything that needs tending to immediately. I'll treat you both back at the house."
Lavi nodded. Tyki was already moving, standing carefully and trying not to aggravate any of his own wounds. Lavi looked around the clearing, noting that the other two wolves had left. All that remained were the corpses of Lulubell and the Earl.
"Lavi," Tyki said softly, regaining the redhead's attention. The werewolf offered Lavi a hand up and Lavi took it, smiling. His body ached and his wounds hurt, but it was nothing he couldn't ignore until they got home and Bookman managed to rip up some cloth to make more bandages. Tyki was probably in even worse shape, but he was gently pulling Lavi along as they followed Bookman out of the clearing and back towards the cottage.
Sheryl quietly joined them as they passed the tree Lavi, Road, and Bookman had found him under earlier. Road was unconscious in his arms, though since Sheryl didn't seem worried, Lavi didn't let it worry him either.
All the way home, no one mentioned Tyki and Lavi's clasped hands.
A/N: Sorry this took me so long to update. _ CL will be concluded in either chapter 9 or chapter 10 (probably 9, though there may be a smutty oneshot sequel if enough people want to see one…).
I'll update AGoP as soon as I get 36 written. Sorry for the delay! Hope you enjoyed the chapter and thought it was worth waiting for!