Wolfsbane: Part Ten
After you had successfully bludgeoned the holy hell out of the now human and naked Gilbert with your trusty skillet, you had managed to calm down long enough to take a look in your bag to see if you had remembered to put any men's clothing in it just in case. Luckily either your brain had been working or Elizabeta or Ludwig had done it, because folded up neatly was a white shirt, black pants, boxers, socks, and a pair of shoes. You hastily tossed the set to the Prussian behind you, pointing behind a tree and saying stiffly, "Go change. Now."
Gilbert grumbled and you heard shuffling, presumably him making his way to the back of the tree. "Fine, but you know you've been waiting to see the awesomeness that is the human me in person for a long time, (name)..."
...so maybe you had been, but it wasn't like you were going to admit it to him.
"Just change, Gilbert," you muttered in exasperation, shaking your head.
It was silent as he pulled the clothes on, neither of you saying a word. Well, you weren't talking because you were thinking back to what had happened between Natalia and you in her nightmare realm. Whatever was inside you had obviously been the one who had made you kill that wolf-monster earlier. They did not seem to be the friendliest of people, in all honesty. It scared you. It truly did. Your entire life, you had been brought up as a normal girl. Now that you had moved to Germany, it was as if you had been swept up into a shit storm of epic proportions, and no one could exactly predict just what the next weather front was going to be.
You swallowed, clenching your fist as you gazed down at the green and lush grass beneath your feet, chewing on your lip. "...am I really a Caster...? If not, then what I am...? Why did the creature call me 'mistress'? And what's...who's...in my head?"
Half of you hoped that the presence would make itself known at those words. The other half was absolutely terrified what would happen if it did.
However, the thing in your mind stayed silent, and you did not feel as if they were truly present at the moment. Everything was calm and quiet, making that other and more fearful half of you relieved.
"Oi, (name)! Ready to see the awesome me looking sexy in these awesome clothes of mine? Kesesese~!"
Your thoughts interrupted by Gilbert's raspy and obnoxious voice, you spun around just as he stepped from behind the tree. You had to force yourself from widening your eyes once you had gotten a good look at him.
You almost wished he had stayed a wolf.
Gilbert was literally drop-dead gorgeous. The white long-sleeved shirt clung to his sculpted chest and arms, making it so you could see where the fabric clung to the muscles. Those black pants were mouthwateringly tight on his legs and waist, accentuating his physique to perfection. He smirked at you, the action so uncannily like his lupine grin that you just continued to stare, awestruck as he ran a pale hand through his silvery hair and waggles his eyebrows. "Well? What do you think? Being a wolf is always awesome, but I have definitely missed this sexy hunk of meat~"
If you weren't (regrettably) in love with him, you would have died laughing at the arrogance of that sentence.
Instead you merely pulled yourself together, shrugging as nonchalantly as you could and managing to get out in a slightly shaky voice, "I-I'm just glad I managed to get you unstuck from that damn curse. You owe me big time for all the shit I've had to go through, you know."
Gilbert frowned then, red eyes meeting your (e/c) ones instantly and full of concern. "(Name)," he said softly--it was still a wonder to you how he managed to get from haughty and full of himself to worried and fretful--"just what happened? One moment I was trying to get some kind of help with you on my back practically half dead, and then the next I'm human again and holding you in my arms. Still unconscious, by the way."
Your cheeks heated up subtly at the "holding you in my arms" bit. Great...I was knocked out and Gilbert was naked and holding me. Well, I guess I'm glad he didn't do anything...though I'm not sure if he would...
You fidgeted self-consciously, tugging on a strand of (h/c) hair as you shifted the weight from your left foot to your right. Taking a deep breath, you finally said, "I really don't know, Gilbert. When I was unconscious, I met with Natalia in her 'realm' or whatever it is again. When I told her what I had done--killed that thing with...magic...and then healed you--she said she had never sensed any sort of power coming from me. And then...she got angry, I guess...and demanded that we have a duel of some sort. So she could prove she was better."
You paused, watching as all of this information slowly processed in his mind. When his facial expression turned even more uneasy, you continued.
"Before Natalia could do anything, something inside me...came alive, I guess. I don't know how to explain it. But there was some sort of presence in me, and nearly killed Natalia. I couldn't do a thing. I wanted to stop it--believe me, I did. But it was too strong. I just stood there and watched as I basically burned her alive. And then...whatever that was controlling me told Natalia that it would stop if she broke your curse."
Gilbert's eyes widened as this, but he stayed silent and attentive.
"Natalia agreed, and the presence or whatever it was stopped the weird fire. Natalia was perfectly all right, from what I could tell. But then she flipped out and was going for my throat..." Your hand rose to your throat in reflex as the memory relighted in your mind, and you closed your eyes. "I woke up before anything else could happen. You were human again, and the mental company I was having was gone."
You shuddered slightly, closing your eyes. "They were saying...that they were at least a century old. That they wanted revenge. And I'm scared, Gilbert. I'm scared that I'm not entirely human now. That there's a monster inside me, waiting to kill everyone. Even y-you."
Your voice broke at last as tears welled up in your eyes, the conflicting emotions inside you getting the best of you. Shoulders shaking as the tears slowly dripped down your cheeks, you whispered in a thick and shaky voice, "I-I don't know what to d-do, Gilbert. W-what if th-there's something in me? W-what if I can't s-stop it and it k-kills you, a-and Ludwig, and Liz, a-and--"
Just the simple way he said your name was enough for you to lift your head up, looking at Gilbert's face. He gazed at you with a caring and fond expression, one hand resting on your cheek and thumb gently brushing away a few tears. That action did you in, and you shocked yourself by letting out a little sob as you threw yourself against his warm and sturdy chest, burying your face in his shirt and most likely coating it with snot and tears as your fingers curled into the fabric as tautly as they could.
Gilbert merely wrapped both of his strong arms around you, holding you tightly and stroking your (h/c) hair in a gentle manner. You sobbed harder, body still convulsing with the force of your cries, wanting nothing more than to stay in his arms forever. He was really human again. This proved it. You had done it. Instead of you clinging to his furry wolfish body, Gilbert was embracing you just as tightly as you had once done to him, with human limbs.
"It's all right, liebling," he murmured soothingly against your ear, voice soft and calming in your frenzied and hysterical state. "You will never do that, (name). Never. Because that isn't you. Hush now, Schatz...hush..."
Eventually your flurry of crying slowed to nothing more than a few sniffles here and there, Gilbert's constant murmurings of lulling German words and relaxing English sentences having pacified you. You still gripped his shirt tightly, as if he would disappear if you let go. Likewise he was still holding you, only now the two of you had sunk to the grassy forest floor, Gilbert's back against the tree and you basically like his own personal koala.
Finally you lifted your head from his soaked shirt, (e/c) eyes wet and rimmed with a red puffiness. "I-I'm sorry," you croaked out in a slightly pathetic tone, feeling like an idiot for breaking down so suddenly like this. "I-I'm so sorry, Gilbert...I-I just..."
"There's no need to apologize, (name)," he answered softly, giving you a small smile. "I understand. I'm sure that all of what you just told me is very unawesome, especially since you have no idea what's going on. But..." his smile turned to a small frown, and suddenly he was resting his forehead against yours, making you freeze at the even closer contact. You could feel his warm breath fanning against your face, his scent (how did one smell so incredibly sexy after being stuck as a wolf for how many weeks?!) infiltrating your nostrils and making your face heat up. You hoped he just thought it was from crying.
"B-But what?" you prompted timidly, swallowing the lump in your throat.
Gilbert sighed, sending even more warm breath to skim across the skin of your face like a hot desert breeze. You resisted the urge to shiver and just kept as close as you could possible. "I think...I may know what's going on, Schatz. I've heard stories about it. Every Shifter and Caster has, regardless where they live or their status."
You weren't sure you were going to like where this was going. You stayed silent, however, urging him to continue on with your quiet reserve.
"I don't know if you know the story, but Casters and Shifters were once just regular humans and animals. The moon goddess of ancient times gave humans the power of magic to create Casters because she felt the other gods heaped too much attention on the animals. The others got angry and in turn morphed the animals they loved with humans, creating Shifters. Needless to say, because of the way normal animals had been previously treated, humans who weren't Shifters treated those who were like demigods, I presume."
Gilbert's eyes were closed as he told the familiar story. You remembered the old book you had found when trying to seek out a cure for his wolf problem, the book that you had spent an entire afternoon reading. It felt like an eternity ago...
"Casters and Shifters became enemies. The goddess was banished to live on the moon, never allowed to return back to earth. Casters were pissed, to put it bluntly. They felt like they had been dealt the short hand. One in particular was very vocal about it...the first Caster that the goddess of the moon had created."
He paused, recollecting his thoughts.
"Her name was Aurix. According to the stories, she was the strongest Caster ever to have walked the earth. She spurned all Shifters, and in an effort to prove Casters were just as powerful--if not better--she devised a spell that would allow her to transform into any animal of her choice. Apparently she destroyed the spell before anyone else could use it, however, because she was paranoid and didn't want her work to be distributed to those who weren't worthy. To sum it up, though, Aurix was a cruel and spiteful woman, who enjoyed tormenting anyone she could get her hands on."
You held onto his every word, completely fascinated by the story. It helped that Gilbert's sexy Germanic accent and deep voice kept you riveted to each sentence.
"A group of Shifters eventually realized that Aurix needed to be stopped. She killed anyone she could, just to prove she was powerful; Shifter, human, even Caster...it didn't matter. All she wanted was glory and power. She became insane. So this group of Shifters--led by a wolf Shifter by the name of Alaric--somehow managed to corner her in a battle. Much of the story has been lost over the years, but they killed her. Before she died, however, Aurix swore that she would get revenge on Alaric's descendants. She...cast a curse, I suppose, swearing that her spirit would return one day to find a weapon to use as her sword of vengeance."
Gilbert pulled back his forehead from yours then, taking a deep breath as he stared up at the leafy canopy of the trees high above you.
"...before my parents were killed in that raid, they would always tell me this story. I think I've heard this legend more than any other Shifter in the world has. You know why, (name)?"
He smiled sadly, looking like the weight of the world had suddenly just dumped itself right onto him.
"Because the wolf Shifter Alaric was my ancestor. A bunch of greats-grandfather, according to my mother and father."
You sucked in a sharp breath, dread suddenly filling the bottom of your stomach like lead. You swallowed, not wanting to hear the next words that came from his mouth, even though you had already pretty much predicted them.
"And I believe the spirit of Aurix has somehow managed to worm its way into your body and mind, and is going to at last get her revenge for what my ancestor did to her so many centuries ago."
You were silent, just staring down at Gilbert's lap, not wanting to meet his eyes. How could you, considering what had just been said? You possibly had the soul of a murderous Caster living inside your body at the moment, working you like her own little meat puppet! And said Caster wanted to most likely kill or torture Gilbert in retaliation for what his ancestor had done to her!
How could he still be holding you, knowing that scenario was a possibility?!
"...(name). Please speak, liebe. Please. I don't want you clamming up on me now." Gilbert's thumb and forefinger slipped under your chin and tilted your face up, forcing your still wet (e/c) eyes to lock with his scarlet ones. Your lip quivered, still refusing to speak, and the Shifter before you sighed and shook his head. "I've spent too long with you to not be able to read you like a book by now. That wouldn't be very awesome. I know what you're thinking, and I'm going to tell you this. I don't hate you, (name). I could never hate you. I'm not scared, either--for one thing, the awesome Gilbert Beilschmidt does not get scared!"
His momentary relapse into a cheerful tone brought more tears to your eyes, and you hastily wiped them away, stubbornly continuing to stay silent.
Gilbert sighed once again. "Even if all of this is true, (name), I mean it when I say I don't hate you. How could I? After all you've done for me? We'll get through this together, Schatz. I swear it. And when the awesome me makes promises, they're going to get fulfilled. Und you want to know something else, (name)? Something I have never been able to say to a Mädchen und really mean it."
Still you played the mute, just stoically staring at his too-sexy-for-his-own-good face.
Gilbert seemed to take your silence to his advantage. Suddenly both his hands were cupping your cheeks, pulling your face closer as his leaned in. For one tense moment there was nothing but a couple centimeters of air between both of your lips.
"Ich liebe dich, (name). Ich liebe dich."
And then those centimeters of air were gone and replaced with Gilbert's smooth and confident mouth, and it felt like the entire universe had suddenly exploded.