Chapter Three: Shades

Night blue kissed the sky for the moment as she spotted the sparkle of the lake between the timbers for the moment, her nose catching scents of fresh water, the hint of fall and decay and the tell end of frost that would cast the land in a strange sparkle once the sun would rise but the chill was also pulling at the wolf under her skin more and more, knowing she would shift till morning and sunlight would re cast to the human flesh.

Shifting at first had hurt, her body fighting one form to the other as her human mind would cling to memories and the true meaning of hands and colors in the spring of this year but now. Shifting now it seemed like putting on a silk glove, going from one form to the other in heart beats and the shadow of the human gone with all its regrets and meanings. Things where simple as a wolf but also complex in words she could not give a true meaning.

Grace had tried to tell Sam her moments as a wolf, even trying to send him images with more meaning and details as she did in wolf form but he seemed to shudder in seeing those images and being reminded of what he once was and still was just under the skin but no shifting of the chill to take away his humanity. How could she love being a wolf after what it had nearly taken from them both? Sam had asked her that one summer night, her mind trying to form what to say. All those years of not shifting but the wolf part of her soul, wanting to be born and running with the pack. The ever freedom of being part of nature, not an on looker like most humans. Oh she could have given him more and more but always he shed from it.

Cole and she had talked about it a few times when she came out just to visit and to get away from the summer of her parents, and school. Walking in the woods and knowing the other wolves walked with them as passing shadows under pines, knowing and feeling the truth of these humans and what lay under. He loved the freedom of being a wolf, loosing his memories while she also the freedom and the pure sense of belong. Sam had found no love in being a wolf but only having his family but it was a shallow lie.

Yes being a wolf meant little every year, you lost the humanity of you and the pure identity of what made a person who they where but yet also, you kept the pure heart of what made you also all the more you. Grace knew Sam had touched on that on his last shift to lead the pack from Mercy Falls to this place.

Snap!

A trig sounded out as it broke, Grace brought out of her thoughts to glance over her shoulder and seeing the outline of a wolf, her poor human nose picking up the musk on the breeze. Human eyes meant for daylight stream in the coming evening to catch its color but enough light from the cabin windows showed it was Ulrik, the so called crazy German Sam had loved. He had stopped shifting the year before the other, look bluish grey and nearly blending in the twilight blue. Having taken Beck's place in the pack these weeks and watching out for the wolves very much like an uncle.

"Hey Ulrik, taking a stroll?" She whisper, putting out her wrist and letting her scent come to his twitching nose, "To bad Sam's not here…."

She sent him an image of the human Sam, guitar out and singing some lyrics. He flicked a ear and somehow the feeling of smiling reached her, simple and pure like most things of the wolves. A image was met of a younger Sam trapped in a tree a bit high and a human Beck looking worried and arms open in case Sam might fall. Grace blinked a moment in seeing such a human clarity to the image but it did make her smile sadly.

Pushing her dark blond hair to her ears in a blush of finger tips, "He misses him a lot, Beck."

Ulrik sat down, the words having some form of meaning but the edged sorrow tone and feeling of the female did make sense, knowing Beck was gone left a strange hollow feeling in the wolf, a human like sorrow of loosing a brother. Whining softly in the memories of a man he would never be or take form. There was times the wolves had moments of celerity, of recalling who they where in pelts and minds.

Moments of silenced fill the spaces between the human and wolf, connected in many formless ways from a boy to the pack bounds. Grace felt the chill taping her skin as the wolf in her own body pushed out, the cold was going to take her tonight once more having taken Cole just a hour ago in knowing the wolf was in the woods, waiting for her with the pack.

"Grace, come inside where it's warm!" Sam's sharpen tone broke her from the push just to walk into the woods and run on four paws.

Ulrik blinked, head tilted in hearing the voice he knew so much and whined. He had something of a human like pause, fighting his instincts to flee from the human voice but images of the amber eyed boy of all ages rushed him. Could he go? Find the young man just to look Beck's son with his own eyes, even lacking in human colors. Yet Paul sent a call to come home, a hunt tonight and Ulrik knew he should go but he cast one glance at the retreating form of Grace, sending her an image of a mix of a Hi to Sam before rushing away into the yellow ferns.

Fire bloomed in sparks, casting out a heat to keep her firmly in her human skin for now, knowing Sam and built up the fire for just that reason. "Bring any marshmallows?" Grace's humor seemed bland, closing the door to the chill and promise of the shift coming.

Sam paused, picking up the faint musk of wolf under her skin and turned his head to hide his frown a bit from her knowing eyes. Grace took it with a huff and went to sit on love seat, crossing her legs and leaning a bit on the back. Eyes watching Sam as he built the fire, saying no words but knowing.

"I saw Ulrik…" her tone was calm, but the jerk of his shoulders and twist of his head with amber eyes made her talk softer, "He kinda told me to say Hi to you…."

For Sam, to hear his Angel say that, passing on a message from one of the wolves to him hit a nerve; ripples of a spark of hope to an empty sadness filled his face in moments. Recalling the image of the German in his human form and not the wolf he had become the year before last. Sam clung on to those memories of his family in human form under the summer sun and growing up in their lessons. To think of them stuck as wolves for the rest of what ever years they had did burn something close to anger in his soul. Yet maybe the comics joke was some of them could recall their human days while in wolf pelt.

"Sam?"

He had frozen next to standing near the fire, looking like one of her mom's painting in oils dulled shaded. "Sam, what's wrong?"

"Wrong, everything is wrong Grace..." Bitter words dropped from his lips, "My family is gone, never to be human again…and soon I'm going to loose you also to the passage of winter like them."

Biting her lip, she could some how know how he felt when knowing once that Sam as the man could have stayed Sam the wolf forever but karma had been kind and found a way to make her Sam human mostly all the time, while she strangely had become the wolf. Yet they knew there was a way to cure it and now she refused it for just one winter.

Grace paused, trying to think of what to say in the crackle of the fire. "Sam, I promise you in spring, I will do it and take the cure, to be with you always but think of it like this maybe. If it works on me as a wolf and keeps me human, Cole thinks there is a chance it might work on the other wolves…"

He turned, eyes wide and big in hearing these words for the first time, yet Grace put up a hand to keep him silent while she talked, "And we could do to them what we did to Beck, give them 15 minutes as humans and explain things to them and let them make the choice Sam, this is something you can't force on others."

Choice, what choice? Once more he felt bitter in his mind, a haze filling his mind of memories of his family, all human once winter came back. They had not been given a choice when bite as wolves and made into animals! "Grace, there is no choice! They need to be human! They never had a choice to start with!"

"They do now Sam…" Her soft words silence him, anger shaking his body and for a moment the growl of the hidden wolf forming in his chest and throat. "That's the gift we can give them at least is the choice, to be cured or stay as wolves. Did you ever think maybe some of them like being wolves?"

She had a way of hitting close to home, memories of Paul walking out into the snow with a child like glee on his face in knowing he would be a wolf soon. Moments where Beck did seem to welcome the shift of man to wolf, running with the pack and even Shelby welcoming it in her own lonely way. Even Olive, running into the snow and shifting with a smile, paws running to greet the pack. Then his Angel, memories of the night before, watching slip from his bed back at Beck's, her scent a mix of honey and wolf musk calling out to his nose and waking up to find her gone, running to the door to see her naked outline under the waxing moon and in steps with out the pain as she seemed to welcome the wolf and running into the fall timbers.

He cast something of a hard look at her, feeling his own wolf in his body and pushing it away, "Is that what you want to be Grace? A wolf? Loosing your humanity each and ever year? Loosing me?"

Her face shattered like glass, never hearing such a bitter tone or anger from Sam like this, brown eyes for the moment widen, hearing his accept to her. How many times had she tried to explain her own personal reasons just to want one winter as a wolf, knowing come spring she would be human and taking the cure to stay human to be with him? Grace her been strangely selfish for the first time in her life in picking Sam, overcoming her parents, making this her own choice and maybe selfish more just wanting to be a wolf? Both of them had fought so much to together, but even Grace wanted one more selfish choice for herself with the full knowledge of what it brought.

Grace did know one thing, he was scared. Scared of the wolf still under his skin, scared of loosing her to the wolves and scared of once more shifting. Yes when he had been wolf, had it been so bad just being with her like that as she had dreamed for so many years? Was there no simple joy or deep love in those moments his muzzle had touched hers their voice in wild song in calling the pack? Yes his words made her angry and sad but even all the more, trying to push his own fears on her?

Her lips tighten into a line as her eyes narrowed and a soft growl seemed to entrance her voice, "You know what Samuel; don't force your own fears on me alright! Yes I enjoy being a wolf and you make it sound like it's a sin some how! I know there had to be moments that you did enjoy it also! And don't lie about it to me! We've had this so called talk more then I can count this summer and I am done with it tonight!"

He felt his words hold in his throat like a bone, hearing and seeing his Grace angry like this made Sam blink more then a few times in the rare moments they had fought but hearing the truth as always silence him yet in moments she stood up and headed for the door, throwing it open as the rush of frost hit their skins and Grace stepped into the evening night and raising moon.

She moved in fast stride away from the warmth that kept her human and into the chill to take her human skin, feeling the pull of the wolf rise like a wave and pulling away the cloths in every step till nearly naked on the timbers edge and seeing eyes flash and the slits of a few wolves waiting for her, sending images in simples yet complex in hidden meaning, she stood there and felt the push of her skin to fur, bone reform like water and moving for a four legged body as she let go of the human mind and the wolf bloomed. Only she remind as a wolf with brown eyes and in moments leaping into the forest with the pack, only her tracks to show the change.

Sam could only hear her words and in moments Grace was gone out the door into the cold enough to shake her skin away from her. He followed, his voice calling but only the path of his cloths lead him to the timber's edge and the show of tracks from human to that of a wolf leaping filled his gaze. Some how her words haunted him in enjoying being a wolf, yet that was his own personal sin to say and emit yes he did enjoy some of the moments.

Casting a look from the tracks, she stood among the timber's, framed in soft light of the moon and shining like a brown jewel in his eyes, his Grace in wolf form. Eyes so human in animal skin made him want to cry as in a simple image, she sent two simple flowers blooming in the light of the sun, simple in image but deeper in the nature and meaning and he sent one back of them in full bloom.

"Grace…." Her name fell from his lips, ears perked and a low whine to his ears in she knew the name but not knowing it all the more.

Grace did know this human, know his wolf form and the amber play of his eyes and voice, the scent catching and yearning to her nose as she sent him a image of them both as wolves in winter and human in spring. He pulled back and tried to show her more of human she was but the wolf shook her body and turned to the timbers and those waiting for her while a boy was only left holding the clothing of a human and the wolf under his skin still yearning to be free.

Note: Sorry on the long updates, been a drama Japanese show in my home or aka real life, but here is chapter three!