Author's note: So I've been reading animorphs fics for a while and wished that someone would write about a certain secondary character effected by the Yeerk invasion. Then, I thought, why don't I just write about him? I am not new to writing but fairly new to publishing and sharing my stories so feel free to leave your reviews after you read. Enjoy!
Though speech in italics.
A Man's Enemies are the Enemies of His Own House
For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.
When he received the email to meet at his school's playground, he definitely didn't expect this. Yes, his Mom told him that talking to strangers online is dangerous. Yes, the sender had signed the name "WhiteFang." Yes, he spent the last few weeks talking about extraterrestrials who may take over people's brains. But somehow a talking wolf was a bit much.
I won't hurt you, the wolf spoke. Maybe "spoke" was the wrong term. Its mouth never moved and the sound seemed to come from his own head.
Despite the wolf's reassurances he tightened his hands on the swing's chains. He also measured and re-measured the distance from the school's entrance. He didn't think he could out-run a wolf (but he would at least try).
The wolf continued. I, uh, I'm a magical wolf. One that can use computers. I…uh… anyway…There's something I need to tell you about your dad.
Magic wolf? If he didn't fear the wolf's large fangs he would have rolled his eyes or shot it an incredulous look. However, even his fear couldn't stop him from asking, "My dad?"
The wolf bowed its head and squeezed its eyes shut. He noted that it looked more like a censured dog than a man-eating wolf. It didn't help that its voice (the voice in his head, anyway) sounded more like that of a girl than the howling, growling monsters in those werewolf movies he and his dad watch. Or used to watch.
You've been on a chat-room, right? To talk about aliens?
"How do you-"
I'm a magic, talking wolf remember? Somehow this was said we even less conviction than before. This time he was almost certain that he rolled his eyes. While he wasn't facing the wolf, that is. But, you've been asking the people on the chat-room about your father? Because you think he has a yeerk.
"So you know about yeerks?" He asked slightly excited.
Don't talk so loud! the wolf hissed.
He noticed that two of the kids near him had turned their heads when he raised his voice. They turned away to finish gossiping about their classmates. He caught snatches of whispers ("weirdo," "crazy," and "loser that talks to dogs"). Their backward glances and snickers were enough to prove that they were talking about him.
Don't ever talk about yeerks when there are others around! Not at school, not on the internet, not at home! Anyone can be a yeerk. His fingers tightened around the swings once more as the wolf almost began to bare its teeth and growl. Just as quickly, the wolf calmed down and lowered its head- this time in embarrassment. Sorry. But it's important for you not to talk about yeerks anymore. Don't go on that chat-room. Make sure you delete your account and disable your crackers-
"You mean cookies?" His voice came out as barely a whisper this time. The nosey girls had moved to the other end of the playground, but he was reluctant to see the wolf bare its fangs once more.
Yeah, yeah sure. The wolf ran on as if it could care less about technology. It was a wolf, after all. Just don't go on that site anymore. Or talk about yeerks-
"How- how do I know that you aren't on their side? My dad needs my help and I-"
The wolf sighed and went on: I wouldn't be here helping you if I were on their side. I wouldn't be telling you not to talk about yeerks. If I were a yeerk, I would have given you a yeerk like your father so you wouldn't be able to tell anyone else. I know you don't know me and I can't force you to trust me, but, I am trying to protect you.
"What about my dad? How am I supposed to help him?"
And just like that the playground became deathly silent and the air around him grew thick. His glanced beyond the wolf to check that all his classmates were still outside. They were still playing, but it was almost like they were jumping rope, shooting hoops, and tagging in slow motion. His dad was stuck with a yeerk, forever? He had to live with that thing that made his dad ignore or shout at his mom, forget about his band concerts because of some stupid Sharing meeting. And what about Monster Movie Nights? Or Taco Thursdays? The yeerk hated doing voice-overs for the newest Justice League comic even though his dad had perfected Martian Manhunter, and oddly enough, Black Canary.
He was jolted from his thoughts (no more werewolves, guacamole, and battles against Lex Luthor) by a cold object on his hand. The wolf nudged him with its nose. He allowed it to rest his head on his leg as he brushed his hand across its furry head. Each pet brought him closer to calming down.
I'm sorry for being so blunt. But what I meant was you can't help your dad by going around talking about yeerks. You'll put both you and your dad in danger if you do. But there are others, me and my friends, we're fighting to protect people like your dad. We're fighting to free him.
His petting halted as he blinked at the wolf. Unlike the earlier statement about being magic this one was said with resolution. Wolves or magic wolves or alien wolves were fighting to free his father from that yeerk wrapped around his brain. Maybe they had special psychic powers to destroy yeerks or safely remove them from the brains of their captives? Maybe they were only powerful if they caught the yeerks off guard? If it meant saving his father he would keep the secret.
"Ok," his voice tried to match the wolf's certain tone but wobbled. "I won't talk about them anymore. If it will help my father."
It will. He marveled that a wolf that had growled at him minutes before could sound so warm and kind. I was the same tone his mother used, especially when his father snapped at him for practicing his solo on his trombone. The same solo he missed when he had an emergency Sharing meeting with Mr. Visor or Bisser or something. But you also- the wolf hesitated.
For a moment he wondered (no, hoped, really) that the wolf would ask him to fight yeerks alongside its friends a la Dick Grayson or Donna Troy or Roy Harper. And when he defeated the yeerk, he could finally challenge and win against his dad at Teen Titans trivia.
His dreams of superheroism (even a "sidekick" is still a superhero, his mother always said), were shattered by the wolf's next words: You can't trust your father anymore. If he ever tries to ask you about yeerks or aliens, you have to…you have to lie to him. These words seemed like they were spat out in distaste. He's not your father now, he's the yeerk. So you can't trust him, ok? He, the yeerk, may try to hurt you so you can't trust your dad to protect you. You have to trust yourself.
He and the wolf sat in silence until the end of recess. His hands returned to stroke the fur between its ears. The wolf also emitted soft whimpering sounds (or was that him?) and nuzzled its nose into his stomach.
Upon the school bell, he finally broke the silence. "You and your friends, they'll fight the people hurting my father right?"
"I'll trust you, then. As well as myself."
He then gave the wolf one last pat on the head and followed the rest of the school kids inside at a distance. And when his teacher, Mr. Martin, asked him why his eyes were red and slightly watery, he told him that a gust of wind stung his eye. He waited until the lights were turned off for a video about NASA space expedition to allow the tears to slowly drip down his face.
Author's note: If you couldn't figure it out, the boy is Gump (my headcanon is that this is a screen name or Jake wanted to protect the boy's identity) from #16 The Warning. I wish we could've learned what happened to Gump and Aftran after the war. Did Cassie keep in touch? Did she make sure Gump wasn't infested? As much as I love the main 6, I wish we could've learned more about the side characters. Please read and review!