Wolfsbane: Part Four
You just watched in shock, completely frozen and not able to speak or even flinch. Your mind was filled with a burst of images, of canine bodies rolling around and dueling with snarls and growls, and you stumbled back a bit, losing your balance and falling onto the ground with an "oomph!" More images poured into your senses, ones of a gathering of…for some reason, your mind insisted they were wolves…in a clearing in the middle of a forest, deep into the night with a bright moon high above them. And then there were two wolves in particular standing up on a rock, looking down at the group of others as if they were surveying them.
One wolf was white. The larger one was black.
You shook your head wildly, and the images all seemed to disappear just like that. But you were left with a feeling of slight nausea, and complete, utter bafflement. You turned your gaze back to Gilbert and the other dog, and your eyes widened when they stopped pacing and dug their paws into the dirt, as if they were getting ready to lunge.
You watched with wide, horror-filled eyes as the two canines leapt at one another once again.
And just as you were about to open your mouth to scream something—anything—a hand clamped down on your shoulder, startling you. You spun around, meeting the green eyes of the frying pan woman. She shook her head, her expression one of annoyance, not fear or apprehension, as you were certain your face was showing at the moment.
"Don't worry. Nothing bad is going to happen. Just watch." She nodded her head at the two canines who were rolling around in the dirt and snarling, and you just gaped at her.
"DON'T WORRY?! NOTHING BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN?! THEY'RE GOING TO RIP ONE ANOTHER TO SHREDS—"
You screech was cut off when a slightly raspy male voice shouted out in what was obviously a German accent, "All right, all right, I give up, West! You win! Now get your verdammen fangs out of my shoulder, you might actually hurt the awesome me!"
You stared as the two dogs untangled themselves from one another, Gilbert, looking petulant and childish in his pouting stance and the black dog looking irate yet relieved as he stepped back to look the white dog up and down. You were about to voice your confusion as to where the voice had come from, when Gilbert opened his mouth and whined.
In that same HUMAN MALE voice.
"Geez, seriously, Luddy, anyone watching would think that you wanted to kill me! Especially (name) over there! She doesn't know anything, so you can't just go around tackling me with your love hugs! Although it is nice to see that you really do care for me, Bruder~ Kesesesese~"
"Really, Gilbert? After you've been missing for two weeks, this is how you react to being home?" The black dog growled menacingly in a deeper male voice, but it still held a heavy German accent to it, just like…Gilbert's. "I could wring your verdammen neck right now. In fact, I think I will. To make up for all the stress you have put me through!"
And suddenly the black dog's body seemed to…change. The fur all slowly disappeared, giving way to pale-pink human skin. It shifted and elongated, until it was standing on two feet. And then a guy with a heavily muscled body, slicked back blonde hair, icy blue eyes, and slightly handsome face was glowering at Gilbert as he crackled his knuckles and stepped forward purposefully.
Oh. And he was naked.
This was just too much to take in. Dogs speaking in perfectly human voices? Dogs transforming into perfectly human bodies? And naked ones at that? That was just too much to handle. Too. Much. So you did what any other respectable girl would do if she happened to find herself in this odd situation.
You passed out.
As you came to, you became increasingly aware of voices swirling all around you. They were slightly muffled, and your head felt like someone had just dropped a ton of bricks on it. Your body felt heavy, and you tried to shift just a little, but to no avail. You just couldn't move. You realized with a start that you were probably in a bed, if the soft warmth that you were sinking into was any clue. And someone had turned you into a blanket burrito, a sheet wrapped tightly around your body. You groaned a little, trying to open your eyes, but they felt too heavy. A deafening sense of lethargy draped all around your form, and you just wanted to stay asleep.
But you had to listen to what the voices were talking about…
"I swear I haven't told her anything! I haven't talked at all since I found (name)—I almost did, but I didn't! I swear!" That voice…that was the voice that had come out of Gilbert's mouth earlier…wasn't it?
"You had better not, Gilbert! Do you realize how many rules you're breaking right now?! If you were in this much trouble, why didn't you come straight home and ask us for help?! We were worried sick about you, dammit! We thought something really bad had happened to you! The entire pack did! The link was broken whenever we tried to get inside your mind, and we thought you were d-dead!" That's Frying Pan Lady…and she sounds really upset. I wonder why…
"It was completely idiotic of you to just run off and leave us without notification as to what had happened to you, Bruder! Why didn't you come for help?! I swear, sometimes I don't know why Vati chose you as the Alpha, you can be such a verdammen dummkopf sometimes!" And that's that naked-dog-man…the one who Gilbert was fighting with…
"Look, I'm sorry! But I didn't want…you guys to realize what had happened to me until I fixed it, okay?! I figured I could handle it all by myself! And I kinda did! I found (name)! And I know she's gonna be the one to fix me! So don't patronize me, or else I'll bite you all in the arsch!"
There was a loud metallic clang, followed by Gilbert yelping out "OW! THE FUCK WAS THAT FOR, LIZ?!" and was accompanied by Frying Pan Lady huffing out in a very angry tone, "You don't threaten to bite ladies in the ass, Gilbert! Especially not when they have a skillet in their hands and are very upset and are considering flaying you and cooking you up for the next meal!"
For some reason, the thought of your furry white (and apparently talking) beast being sautéed was quite worrisome to you, and your eyes shot open with a furtive cry of "NO!"
Immediately three sets off eyes darted to your sitting up form; a combination of glittering rubies, icy sapphires, and roiling emeralds all staring at you. You stared back at Frying Pan Lady, the now clothed naked-dog-man, and Gilbert. The latter of the three instantly jumped up on the bed and nuzzled your cheek with his damp nose, tail wagging happily.
"(Name)~ You're up! I was starting to get worried about you! How do you feel? Hungry? Thirsty? Need to use the bathroom?"
You stared at the cheerful white dog for a bit as he rambled, before whimpering and slowly hiding under the covers. "My dog can talk. My dog can fucking talk. And he is talking right now. With a human voice. He can talk. WHY THE HELL CAN GILBERT CONVERSE LIKE A PERSON?!"
Gilbert winced at your shriek, backing away a bit, ears drooping. He looked nervous, scratching his ear with his hind leg. "W-Well, (name), I swear I can explain. Don't freak out, okay? Don't panic. It won't make this situation any better—"
"PANICKING? WHO SAID I WAS PANICKING? I JUST WITNESSED A DOG TURN INTO A HUMAN AND NOW MY DOG IS TALKING TO ME AND TELLING ME NOT TO PANIC NOR FREAK OUT. AHAHAHAHAHA, THIS IS THE BEST PRACTICAL JOKE EVER. WHO PUT THE DRUGS IN MY COFFEE THIS MORNING? OH, WAIT, I'M TOO POOR TO AFFORD COFFEE. RIGHT."
Naked-dog-man and Frying Pan Lady both winced as well, and gave Gilbert a look that said, "You had better tell her everything before she has a heart attack." And then they both left the room, which was a bedroom you presumed, leaving you alone with the albino canine. You stared at him with a twitching eye, disbelief pumping through your veins like adrenaline. Just what the hell was going on?!
"Well? You gonna explain or not?!" You snapped, scooting away from Gilbert as much as you could. You felt extremely paranoid now, like he was going to turn into a naked man too and try to do things less than civil to you.
Gilbert sighed and settled down, curling up like he had the night you were freezing and had clung to him like a little kid. The only difference now was that you weren't going to be doing any clinging any time soon. "It's…a really long story. But first…my name. It's not just Gilbert. It's Gilbert Beilschmidt." Your eyes widened. That was the name of the guy who was missing…! "And my brother's name is Ludwig—that's the stiff blonde arschloch. The crazy lady with the skillet? That's Elizabeta, who came all the way from unawesome Hungary. (you imagined that if said woman was in the room at the moment, she would have been glaring pure death at Gilbert) Anyway…I'm not exactly a dog. I'm a Shifter. A wolf Shifter, to be exact. And I'm the Alpha of my little 'pack,' which contains most of central Europe's wolf Shifters. Any questions so far?" He peered at you with concerned crimson eyes.
Your mouth refused to work at first, but eventually you managed to speak. "Y-Yeah. A lot. A shit ton, actually. But carry on."
Gilbert grinned slightly, but it faded as he continued to speak. "Well…two weeks ago I got into some trouble. With a Caster—that's the more politically correct term for the people you would call witches or wizards. Anyway, her name is Natalia Braginksi. She's a crazy bitch. To sum it all up, I pissed her off because I would help her likewise crazy older brother Ivan, and so she cursed me." His ears drooped, and he sighed, a slight whine issuing from his throat. "I can't change back to my human form…I'm stuck in my wolf one. She told me a cure, so I set off to find it. And of course I couldn't come back home and have everyone see just how much I messed up—I have a reputation to protect! So…I just kind of have been wandering around, searching…and then you came along, (name)."
He looked back up, and for a moment your (e/c) eyes met with his red ones. Something seemed to…pass…between you two. A jolt of electricity, almost. It traveled through your entire body, starting at your head and passing all the way down to your toes. But it seemed to stay mostly in your chest, right where your heart was. Your face flushed; your breathing quickened; and your heart's beating became even faster than usual. You swallowed and tore your gaze away from Gilbert's before anything else could happen.
What…what the hell was that?
"Anyway, (name), as soon as I saw you I knew you were the one who would help me out of this mess. So I had you take me home with you. And then I realized that you were in just as much need as I was, so when you told me you were going job hunting I knew I had to bring you here. You're not going to stay in that piece of scheisse house any longer," Gilbert proclaimed somewhat arrogantly. "You're going to be staying here."
You sputtered incomprehensibly. "W-wait, what?! Hold up a minute! How the hell can I help you? I'm just a twenty year old broke girl from (country of origin), I don't have anything that would help! And who said I'll be staying here, huh? For all I know, your little friends drugged me and so all of this is an illusion, and I'm being sent off as a sex slave or something!"
Gilbert was suddenly standing right over your chest, muzzle mere inches from your face so his red eyes bore into your (e/c) ones. You were completely frozen in his gaze—you couldn't look away. Your chest rose up and down quickly as his limbs kept you pinned to the bed on either side, and his warm breath almost scalded your face as he breathed down at you.
"I know this is a lot to take in, (name). But I swear I would never let anyone or anything hurt you. You have to believe me on this. Please. Just hear me out. Please."
Gilbert's tone was so sincere, eyes so clear and not fogged with falsehood, that you couldn't help it. You slowly nodded your head, gazing up at him with a flushed face, and wondering just why he was making your heart race so much.
Gilbert smiled softly, pulling back. His shaggy tail thumped quietly on the bed and he gave your arm a small lick, causing you to blush further. "Danke. Now…how you can help me. The bitch—I mean Natalia—told me that the cure to my curse would be…two…specific things." His voice faltered slightly, an uneasy shadow passing across his canine face, but it was gone just as quickly as it had appeared. "The blood and tears of a human girl. And when I saw you, I just instantly knew that you were the one. So…will you help me? Please?"
Your answer came immediately. It was like your heart was deciding for you, and your brain nor lips stood a chance.
"Yes, Gilbert. I'll help you."
Gilbert's face lit up, and he let out a joyous bark, hopping off of the bed and running around in happy circles. The gesture was so doglike that you couldn't resist a little giggle. "Danke, (name)! Danke so much! Danke, danke, danke, danke! I promise to make it up to you! Like, you'll stay here! It'll be a lot better than your crappy place, and it'll be easier to figure out just how we lift my curse~"
A thought suddenly zipped through your mind, and your face turned bright red. Teeth grit, you slowly stared at the overjoyed canine, an innocent smile plastered on your face.
"Gilbert~? So this means that when you happened to see me in nothing but a towel and when I cuddled you in my sleep…there's actually a human guy trapped inside that furry body right there~?"
Gilbert blinked, before horror dawned on him when you slowly slipped out of the bed, striding forward with a smile giggle.
"(N-Name), I swear, the towel thing was an accident, and you know the sleeping thing was so you wouldn't catch pneumonia! C-Come on, don't look at me like that, you're almost as bad as Liz—OH MEIN GOTT (NAME) IS GONNA KILL ME SOMEONE HELP MEEEEE!!!"
And that is how Ludwig and Elizabeta found you and Gilbert. You having your hands clamped tightly around the struggling and howling canine's neck, practically choking him as you shouted out irate curse words, too busy in your attempt to squeeze the life out of him to notice the two standing at the doorway. Until both promptly erupted into laughter, that is.
"Bruder! On second thought, I'm glad you found this Frau—she's amusing," Ludwig chuckled, giving you a small smile. For some reason, something inside you said that a gesture such as that was rare for the large and slightly imposing man.
"I agree! I like her! She can help me kill you someday!" Elizabeta chimed in cheerfully, giving you a big grin as she laughed.
You pulled away from Gilbert and laughed nervously, rubbing the back of your head as Gilbert lay twitching on the ground, wheezing for breath. "Ahaha…well…this all is so much to take in, it's a bit stressful…I need something to take it out on. Like Gilbert here!"
"(N-Name)…you're supposed to help me…not try and strangle me to death…" Gilbert wheezed out pathetically. "I'm too awesome for an ending like that…"
"Oh, shut up, you perverted dog-human-thing!" You snapped, crossing your arms as a blush settled across your cheeks. Elizabeta and Ludwig both just laughed even harder, and Ludwig reached down to help Gilbert to his feet as Elizabeta looped her arm with yours.
"Come on," She said cheerfully as Ludwig led the grumbling Gilbert away, "while Gil and Luddy go off to see the pack, I can show you around! How's that sound? Gilbert told us about your current living situation, and while I normally don't agree with that idiot's ideas, the one where you stay and work at the dog shelter sounds as good as one as ever."
You blushed slightly and looked down as she pulled you out of the bedroom and down the hallway. The entire building was sort of a mixture of a vet clinic and just a regular old home—the combination was somehow appealing, and you immediately warmed to it. "W-Well, I don't want to be a bother to anyone…" You mumbled as she gave you a tour of the place.
"A bother? Nonsense! I never said it would be free, did I?" Elizabeta's green eyes sparkled impishly. "You're going to have to work for house and boarding here! This dog shelter is mostly a cover up so the pack has somewhere to run around in their wolf forms, but we do have quite a lot of regular dogs. They're quite demanding, you know!"
You didn't have to think too hard about it. Gilbert had one thing right—your current living situation was complete CRAP. And despite the whole craziness of what had just transpired—Shifters, Casters, curses and the like…you somehow felt at home here. Even more so than at your real home, back in (country of origin). This feeling was strange and confusing to you, but you truly did like the sensation.
You looked up at Elizabeta's hopeful face, running a hand through your (h/c) hair, and nodded.
"Yeah. I'll stay here and work and stuff. As long as you promise me one thing."
The Hungarian woman's eyes glowed, face shining with happiness, and she nodded quickly. "Of course! Anything, (name)!"
You pointed to the frying pan that was still in her hands. "You get me one of those so I have a weapon whenever Gilbert decides to creep on me in the shower again."
Elizabeta blinked rapidly at you for a bit, before promptly bursting into laughter and nodding, giving your arm a bit of a squeeze and as well giving you a bit of a taste of just how strong she was behind that beautiful and dainty façade.
"Of course, (name)! I'll even get you one with your name engraved on the handle. Gilbert is always in need of a good smack in the face with some good old fashioned cast iron!"
You couldn't resist grinning back at your newfound friend, joining in on her laughter.
You had a feeling things were going to become quite interesting from now on, despite all the burning questions you had. You were just going to be patient and wait for the answers to come…if they came at all, that is.