Wolf's Rain Fan Fiction ❯ Signs Of Paradise ❯ Midnight at the Pond ( Chapter 8 )
Disclaimer: I don't own Wolf's Rain.
ch-san: Okay, this chappy is TOTALLY WAFF. I'm warning you now. This is all about romance and "fun". So those of you who don't like WAFF, turn back now. Heh, right. lildemoncat is probably cheering right now. She's been yelling at me non-stop to just get on with the romance and be done with it. Well, lildemoncat, if I just flung it in there to begin with, it wouldn't be as rewarding to read. If you wait and drag it out a bit, it's a lot juicier and better appreciated. Get it? Got it? No? Good. Me neither.
It was long after everyone had gone to sleep that Ayume lifted her raven-colored head. The boys were in such a deep slumber that a passing rabbit could have done a jig on their faces and they wouldn't have even twitched. They had dined on mass amounts of warm deer flesh, and were now enjoying the after-effects: a deep, food-induced coma. Deciding that they would be out for a good five hours, she stood and stretched. Silently, she tiptoed out of camp.
When she was away, a surge of freedom washed over her. It was so nice to be away from the others. She enjoyed their company, but there was just something she liked about being alone at night. Instinct guided her through the dense woods. She wandered between the trees, searching for water. Finally, she found it. The trees started to clear, and there, basking in the light of a three-quarter moon, was a beautiful, crystal-clear pond next to an outcropping of rock.
"Perfect," she said, and started to undress. When at last she was completely bare, she threw her mud-encrusted clothes into the pond and followed tout-suite. With nimble fingers, she worked the gunk out of her long, black hair, her coat, her socks, her pants… out of everything. The only good thing was that when it was all clean, it felt and looked really pristine. Maybe it was just because she had to endure being completely covered from head to foot in sludge for over five hours. That seemed to be it.
Ayume floated on the surface of the cool water, face downwards. She blew bubbles lethargically through her mouth, just to enjoy the feeling of them sliding past her face. Occasionally she would let all of the air out of her tired lungs and sink to the bottom of the pond. It was quite peaceful down there, just lying in a soft silent world where no one could bother you. For a moment she even wished that she had been born as a manner of pond dweller and not a wolf. But she shook that thought out of her head. It was silly to wish such a thing. As she started to come up for air after the third or fourth time of resting on the floor of the pond, something permeated the silence of the liquid world she was in. `Footsteps in the water!?' she thought frantically. There was no mistaking it. The sound was made by an animal walking in the shallows. Her lungs burned, yearning for a breath of air, but her mind told her not to go up. Her clothes were still on a rock. Then it hit her: the rock! She could just swim over to the rock with her clothes, slip them on in the water, then come on out. It was foolproof.
Silently, she wiggled her way through the water reeds and fish, desperately praying that her lungs would hold out. When she reached the cold stone, she had to restrain herself from slicing through the surface of the pond with a gasp. It took a lot of will power, but she was able to lift her head and drink in air without making too much noise. When her lungs stopped aching, she slid her damp clothes off of the rock and into the water with her. With as little noise as possible, she wriggled into her jeans and white shirts behind the massive outcropping of rocks. When everything was in place, she eased her way along the rock to get a peek of who was bathing in the pond. She didn't have to search long, though, because that person was leaning against the rock next to her. In fact, he was so close that they almost bumped noses when she turned the corner.
"Kiba!" she yipped, so surprised that she lost her balance and fell backwards into the water. He laughed at her before extending a hand. She stood, utterly mortified.
"Taking a bit of a swim?" he asked.
"Y-you saw me?!" she stuttered.
"No, not really."
"Oh," she said. She wasn't sure if she was relieved or disappointed.
"Oh?" he asked.
"Nothing. So, um, what are you doing up?" She took a step backwards unconsciously.
"I thought about taking a bit of a swim too," he said nonchalantly. She was so flustered by his silent appearance beside her that she hadn't noticed his choice of clothes, or lack thereof. He was completely soaked through. Water was dripping from his thick, mussed hair, onto his well-toned, bare torso, and down to his drenched jeans. She felt her breath catch in her chest as she averted her eyes, suddenly feeling sick with herself.
"I should go," she mumbled, turning a soft shade of pink.
"No!" he exclaimed as he reached out and caught her wrist. "Don't go yet." The pink in her cheeks quickly turned to red as a fluttery feeling in the bottom of her stomach emerged.
"I…" she began.
"We should sit and talk, I think," he attempted, flopping down in the shallow water. She laughed and plopped down too. A cricket chirruped in the trees.
"So what did you want to talk about?" she asked.
"Why did you say that?" he wondered.
"Back there, when we were in the woods. You said `why do we always do this to each other'."
"I said… `why are we always like this to each other'…"
"What did you mean?" he said testily.
"I think you know what I meant," she grumbled.
"Well pretend that I don't," he countered.
"SEE?!" she shouted, smashing the surface of the water beside her with her fist. He fell silent. "This is what I mean! We're always on edge with each other! We're always bickering! Why is that?!" They stared at one another for a long time.
"I don't know," he said at last. "But I wish I did."
"Me too," she sighed, flopping down onto her back. The water was shallow enough for her to lie in it and have her upper body in the pond, but not submerged, so that the cool water merely lapped at her lithe figure. The male wolf paused. She cocked her head at him.
"What is it?" she asked. His breath had become quick and sharp. He suddenly became acutely aware of the sounds around them. What was going on? Was he scared? It seemed that way. But why?
"Why…?" he whispered, eyes wide like an animal that had just spotted a predator.
"Kiba, what is it?" she repeated, sitting up straighter. He tried so hard to relax, but this only made him tenser. Then he observed something he had overlooked. For the first time ever he noticed the reflection of the moon in her tender, concerned, forest-green eyes. Unconsciously, he crawled closer. The space between them started to close. He halted, feeling the emotional electricity between them start to intensify. The night air stood perfectly still.
"Kiba…" she breathed. He stared at the moon in her eyes for what seemed like an eternity. Gradually, he leaned in and pressed his lips gently against hers. The world froze. Her eyes widened with shock and fright, but quickly clamped shut. Not a single thought passed through her head. It was if her mind had been wiped. Suddenly the world turned back on. She heard crickets chirruping and felt the cool night's breeze nip at her bare arms. Languidly, she opened her eyes. Kiba had backed away, but only enough so he could see her face. She blinked slowly.
"I…you…" she mumbled hazily. Before she could utter another syllable, he was on her again, this time with much more force than before. With every second he became more confident with his actions and less aware of the fact that his heart had stopped beating. He placed a hand on her shoulder and pushed down, gently easing her against the bank of the pond. As if not to be outdone by his advancement, she coyly lifted a hand and ran her fingers down his bare spine. The timid, calming, provocative gesture sent a ripple of shivers through his body, making him feel like he was being lit aflame and doused in icy water at the same time. He responded with by forcefully pressing her into the malleable sand. Slyly, he felt the contours of her middle with a hand, leaving the other one on her shoulder for support. Something blazed in the pit of his stomach, and out of pure instinct, he howled.
Realization of his mistake instantly came down on Kiba like the crashing of an enormous wave. He leapt off of her with fright. They both knew that he had been a fool to howl. They sat in the water for a few seconds, panting and trying to recoup. She washed the finely-ground sand off of her pants and mussed shirts, not daring to meet his gaze. When she could bear it no longer, she glanced up. What she saw shocked her. She had expected him to be stubborn-looking and frostily glaring at her. On the contrary, he seemed meek…almost frightened.
"Kiba, what…?" she asked, but couldn't finish. It didn't matter, though. He knew what she was thinking, and he didn't know himself. He didn't know what had just happened. He didn't want to know, either. It had happened, and that was that. He shook his head in a desperate attempt to clear his foggy mind.
"We both know that they heard me. You should run back to camp and be there when we come back. Don't want it to seem suspicious with both of us out here at night," he muttered. She nodded in agreement and took off for the woods. When she reached the forest's edge, she turned and gazed at him. He was covering her paw prints by mussing them up, then smoothing them out. In a matter of seconds it was as if she had never been there at all. He looked up from his work and growled at her. She took the hint and sprinted back to camp. Just then, Tsume, Hige, and Toboe burst out of the trees on the opposite edge of the pond. Kiba was well-hidden under the surface of the water. In his mind he sighed, grateful for such a close call. He swam out to the center before coming up for air.
"Kiba! We heard your call, are you okay?" Toboe asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he said, nonchalantly shaking his head to loosen a bit of water from his ear.
"Then why did you howl?" Tsume questioned gruffly. Kiba bent over and groped the bottom of the pond. After a few seconds, he produced a very agitated freshwater crab.
"It pinched my foot," he commented, tossing it back into the water. "Took me by surprise. Sorry; I'll try not to do it again." The three wolves looked at him with separate expressions. Toboe was completely convinced, while Tsume clearly wasn't. Hige was neutral, for it seemed that he was only with them because they made him come. Although it was clear that the others were not happy with the white wolf's answer, they let it go for the time being. Kiba collected his shirt up off of the ground and slipped it on as they made their way through the thick woods back to camp. When they made it there, they were astonished to find Ayume propped up against the trunk of a towering pine tree. She was snuggled down between the roots, looking half-asleep.
"Oh, hello…" she yawned.
"Where were you?" snapped Tsume. She sat up and stretched.
"I was at the carcass getting a bite to eat. Kiba didn't bring me back enough dinner. Jerk," she added. He gave her a look. She winked. While the others missed the transferring of body language, all three got the feeling that something was amiss. So with a heavy feeling of suspicion in the air, they all settled down for a deep night's sleep, ready to tackle any problem that (they were positive) would come in the morning.
ch-san: I told ya, lots of WAFF!! I thought it was cute, but maybe that's just me.