Wolf's Rain Fan Fiction ❯ Signs Of Paradise ❯ A-Stalking We Will Go ( Chapter 2 )
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters in Wolf's Rain© or any Wolf's Rain…anything.
Ch-san: Herro, my leeeetle lipschines! How are you all? Fine, thank you. Well, I hope you liked the first chappy. Don't worry, it gets better ^___^. Maybe not now, maybe not for a while, but it will. Enjoy!
Ps: Thanks a million for reviewing, Kurama13 and lildemoncatwithwings!!! I really appreciate the encouragement, along with any and all in-put you guys may have! Okay, back to the story:
The crisp, fall night was broken by the sound of rhythmic footfalls. Across a field of new-fallen snow, four wolves pounded their way towards the setting sun, and a city skyline. Their paws beat out a soft tattoo like the hammering of ancestral drums. The sweet, calming sound filled the barren night, urging the four onwards. The wolf that was currently in the lead (a sleek, deep gray character with an x-shaped patch of fluff on his chest) glanced over his shoulder at the mountains behind him.
"Kiba, Toboe, Hige! Pick up your feet, would you?! If we don't make it to that city by nightfall, we'll be lost in the fog for days!" he hollered over the howling wind. Sure enough, when the three other wolves looked back, they saw a mass of low clouds and mist rolling over the hills and tumbling, ghost-like, into the valley. The youngest, a muddy, reddish male with silver bangles on his right forepaw, was first to protest.
"Aw, but Tsume, we've been running for ages!" he complained loudly.
"Yeah, and don't forget that we haven't eaten in two days," called the golden-brown wolf, Hige.
"Quiet down!" snarled Tsume through clenched fangs. "We have to make it to the city, you morons. It's a matter of life and death! Now if YOU want to die in this fog, fine by me, but I for one am going to be in that city by sunset!" The two whiners fell silent, quickening their pace in the process. Kiba said nothing.
After an hours' passing, just as the sun winked its last goodbye on the edge of the horizon, the four wolves bounded into the city. Immediately they found an empty building and changed into their human forms to be more inconspicuous. First out of the run-down building was leather-clad Tsume, followed quickly by meek little Toboe. After them sauntered Hige, the ever lazy, and bringing up the rear was the mysterious Kiba.
"Tsume, where are we going?" grumbled Toboe.
"To get food. You have a problem with that?" asked Tsume tersely.
"I dunno about the runt, but I sure don't!" piped Hige with a smile.
"Aw, Hige! How many times do I have to tell you: I'm not a runt!" groused Toboe.
"Fine, yeah, whatever." They weaved their way through the streets silently, but alertly, sharp noses scanning the air for any trace of food. Up and down cobblestone alleyways they trod, hoping, praying for a whiff of caribou, or, at least they dreamed of a whiff of caribou. With the state that their empty stomachs were in, they would settle for some garbage, and that's exactly what they got.
"Hey guys! I smell something terrible!" said Hige excitedly.
"Is it food?" asked Kiba.
"I think so! C'mon!" Hige bounded down the street, making a sharp left. The others followed, turning the corner to find him head-first in a metal trash can.
"It kinda tastes like old Chinese food," he commented, though the others were unsure of what he said, seeing as he was buried in slop and, most likely, had his mouth full. Toboe shrugged at the others, an unhappy half-smile gracing his lips, before joining Hige in the trash fest. Tsume raised an eyebrow at them reproachfully.
"Why do we always end up eating garbage?" he sighed, mainly to himself, before digging in.
"Probably because we can't afford anything else," answered Kiba before he, too, joined them. After one bite of fungus-covered chow mien, Kiba balked, spraying rotten food all over the ground in attempts to spit out the vile mush as quickly as possible.
"My God, that is not, and never was, food." He stated firmly, wiping his mouth off on the back of his wrist.
"Hey, lighten up, will ya?" Hige attempted through a mouthful of soggy egg rolls. "Once you get used to the sludgy aftertaste, it's not so bad."
"Alright, how about this: I won't eat, then grin every time you say, `My stomach hurts!' tonight."
"Oh Kiba, you gotta eat. A little mold won't kill you," Toboe insisted, black noodles dangling from his mouth. Kiba pulled a disgusted face.
"I am not eating that slop," he vowed firmly.
"Suit yourself," Hige shrugged, returning to his rotting smorgasbord. Kiba looked on for a moment before turning on his heels.
"Where do you think you're going?" Tsume wondered coldly.
"For a walk, thank you, while you stuff your faces," Kiba responded briskly as he rounded the corner. Tsume narrowed his eyes at the spot where Kiba had stood. The young wolf seemed nonchalant about wanting a walk, yet there was something odd about him lately that made Tsume feel something somewhat close to worry, even though he didn't want to admit it. He stood and, deciding to follow Kiba, leapt onto the rooftop of the closest building. Toboe and Hige followed him with their eyes, unconcerned, before turning back to their meal.
"So where do you think they're going?" Hige inquired nonchalantly.
"No idea. You?" asked Toboe as if this was normal dining conversation.
"None whatsoever," replied Hige through a bite of food.
He didn't know where he was going, but Kiba knew he had to get away from them. Even though he liked his pack, and enjoyed being with them, he still had moments when he needed to spend some time alone. He was, relatively, a loner to begin with, after all. At the same time, being on his own gave him time to think, and he certainly had a lot to think about.
They had not smelled lunar flower for almost a month. The pack was starting to feel edgy, restless, and at times, nervous. Why had the scent suddenly dissipated? They had been following its faint odor for some time until, all at once, the aroma was gone. Had Cheza reached paradise before them? Were they too late? Questions like these plagued Kiba almost every minute of every day. He had been losing sleep and eating less. Worry had encompassed his very being. The others had begun to notice this change as well. They started doing subtle things for him, like leaving him the best sleeping spot or giving up part of their share of meat for him. He appreciated the little sacrifices they made, and even though the times they faced were somewhat dark, their bonds of friendship only became tighter.
The sudden bark of an animal snapped Kiba out of his daze. He watched in mild interest as a silvery tail turned the corner in front of him. The voice of the dog's owner trailed behind them like a fine smoke.
"Don't worry, Puppy. We'll be home in no time at all. I just want to pick you up a little something at the pet shop before it closes," the voice chirped. The muffled noise of a dog barking with its mouth closed was a clear enough response.
"All right, Hideki. But PLEASE don't spend ages in there this time. I almost had to drag you out by your lab coat the other day," the dog responded to herself. Kiba jolted to a halt. `Had that…was that…?' he thought wildly, quickly coming to his senses and sprinting after the human and his pet. But when he came around the corner they had turned they were already gone. Kiba shook his head disbelievingly. He felt Tsume leap off the roof of the building next to him, landing silently.
"Was that a wolf?" Tsume asked, features solid.
"I…I'm not sure…" Kiba answered lamely.
"What do you mean `you're not sure'? You heard it speak, didn't you? Did you get a proper smell?"
"Yes, I heard it speak, but all canines speak to one another, Tsume."
"And the smell?"
"I picked up a melody of things: cats, dogs, medicines, but mainly I smelled humans. I couldn't have been a wolf then, because wolves don't cavort with humans," Kiba grunted, giving Tsume a sideways glance.
"I think it was just a dog. No self-respecting wolf would ever allow itself to feed off of a human like a measly pet," Tsume confirmed.
"You may be right."
"I know I'm right," Tsume growled. Kiba smiled grimly before ambling back towards the alleyway. When he got there he found Hige and Toboe lying on their backs, stuffed to the brim with rubbish. Tsume's eyebrows knitted in frustration.
"Thanks for saving some dinner for the other members of your pack," he glowered.
"Hey, you left, pal. That means that any food you don't claim is up for grabs," Hige pointed out. Tsume snorted agitatedly.
"So where are we going to sleep tonight?" Toboe asked, propping himself up on his elbows. Kiba responded by shredding a few cardboard boxes into four long strips. He handed each of them a piece and, after setting his on the ground, lied down. The others eyed their cardboard mattresses warily.
"We're sleeping here?" scowled Tsume.
"Can you think of any place better?" snapped Kiba as he closed his eyes. Tsume said nothing while lying down his strip of brown a ways away from Kiba's. Hige and Toboe relaxed in the space between the two other wolves. There they slept until dawn's first light.
The four wolves didn't even notice the sunrise the next morning. The fog had seeped in steadily throughout the night like a deadly vapor; blurring vision, soaking everything, and blocking out the sun's sweet rays. Toboe was the first to rise. His incessant shivering had awoken him, and it was almost a full minute before he realized that his clothes were damp and clingy because of the mist. Within seconds the others began to stir. Tsume stretched and shook himself in order to, ineffectively, dry off. Hige stood on shaky legs, wobbled over to the nearest trash can, and fell in face first. The last to wake was Kiba, although he didn't exactly rise and shine. He merely opened his eyes partway, continuing to breathe slowly as if he were still dreaming. The only sound they heard for a while was Hige crunching on something, before:
"Hey guys, d'you feel that?" Toboe said to the fog-shrouded figures around him. Hige pulled his head out of the garbage, sniffing the air. Tsume stopped stretching and listened intensely. Kiba hadn't even flinched.
"Do you feel that?" Toboe repeated. "There's someone out there in the fog. I can sense them." Then, faintly, a voice broke through the fog. It was a kind, but strong, human voice.
"We'd better turn back, girl. We've walked for too long. I-Puppy, what is it?" the voice asked. Curiosity got the better of Toboe and before anyone could object, he was out of the alley and standing on the sidewalk. Or at least they thought he was out on the sidewalk, for he was completely swallowed in the fog. Hige started after him, apprehensively followed by Tsume and Kiba. Once all of them were out on the pavement, the low rumble of a canine growling blossomed through the thick air not three feet away. Before any of them could react, the human spoke again:
"What is it, girl?" the man repeated. He seemed nervous, almost scared. Before he could speak again, his dog responded.
"I know you're there, mongrels!" she snarled. "Stay the hell out of my city!" Tsume felt his teeth gnash as he fought to keep back his anger. Kiba raised a hand to his friend's chest as if reinforcing his restraint to kill. Tsume bounded onto the nearest roof, quickly followed by the others. They made it just in time, too, for the fog lifted when the last one made it on top of the building. Now, in the mid-day sun, they saw who was behind the mask of mist. A middle-aged man, relatively tall with soft black hair had an enormous silver dog on a leash. The four men all but gasped aloud.
"That's a wolf!" mouthed Toboe, pointing at the shimmering mass of fur below them.
"I know it is, stupid!" hissed Tsume soundlessly. They stared in amazement at the two before bounding away at top speed. When they were finally out of earshot, Tsume growled and lashed out at the nearest thing he could find. That thing happened to be a (quite solid) metal pipe, but he didn't care. He simply left a fist-shaped dent in the side of it. Kiba stared at his feet while Hige and Toboe exchanged meaningful glances. After he had taken his anger out on the pipe, Tsume rounded on them.
"I can't believe that worthless lump of wolf-flesh is the pet of a HUMAN!" he howled with rage.
"Neither can I," Hige muttered.
"Nor I," Toboe added. Kiba said nothing. Tsume shot him a furious glance when he did not respond.
"Well?!" he barked. Kiba's gaze met Tsume's, but he took his time answering the enraged wolf.
"No I cannot."
"There, you see?! I-"
"But I think there's more about her than we know," Kiba interjected. Tsume rounded on him.
"What?! What are you-"
"No, I agree with Kiba!" Toboe cut in. "There was something different about her."
"Yeah, she didn't smell right. Did any of you smell her?" Hige asked.
"I did. She reeked of humans and medicine," snorted Tsume.
"I thought she smelled like…"Toboe began, but glanced nervously at his feet before responding: "There was something wrong."
"Yes, I smelled something wrong, too," agreed Kiba.
"So did I," joined Hige. The three turned to Tsume as if waiting for him to agree as well. He plainly gave them a deadly stare, but they didn't back down. Eventually, he nodded. They sat down where they were standing, as if exhausted from the event they had just seen. After a time, Toboe spoke:
"I for one am not leaving until I find out more about that wolf," he said firmly. Kiba's stare pierced the youngest member of the pack. Toboe's expression remained rigid, his eyes looking steadily at nothing. He only relaxed when he felt Kiba's gaze drift from him.
"I will stay with you," Kiba muttered in an almost unwilling way.
"Well, if Kiba's staying, I'm staying," announced Hige. Tsume sighed, knowing that it was a moot point. He stood, popping his knuckles in the process.
"So are we going to stalk her now or later?" he asked in a dull voice.
"I'm fine with later," Hige droned.
"No Hige! I wanna find out more right now!" protested Toboe.
"I'm with Toboe. The quicker we find out about her, the quicker we can get out of this putrid city," reminded Kiba.
"I'm all for that," Tsume grunted. They looked at each other as if wondering who would speak next but knowing full well that the conversation was over. Silently, they crossed the buildings back to where they encountered the she-wolf and started following her scent.
ch-san: Yay! The next installment is done! I hope you liked it, and remember: Reviews make writers happy bunnies! Did that make sense? No? GOOD! ^__________^ I'm going to start the next chapter soon! Look forward to it!