The Stray's Mistress
Disclaimer: I don't own Shinyaku Ookami ga Kuru or any of the characters. I'm just playing around with the plushies in this storyline.
Summary: Sirius never wants to admit that he is a werewolf - he's always said he's human. But when a vampire attacks the K.I.R.C.H.E Monster Extermination Squad while they're out on assignment, relying on his humanity might not be enough to save Beate.
"Dammit!" Sirius ducked behind the broken wall and checked his magazine. "Four shots left. Great. As if this day can't get any worse." He edged his nose out to sniff for any sign of Boss or Beate, but the swirling dust made it hard for his sense of smell to work. Damn plaster dust.
"Come out, little werewolf," crooned his opponent. "Come out and play."
The young slayer cursed again. Apparently he wouldn't get time to recover his breath and come up with a new plan. Gathering his legs beneath him, Sirius bolted from cover and made for the small blip of magic he'd sensed earlier.
As he ran, Sirius spared a thought for Fidelio, the thirteenth vampire that had unintentionally brought this whole problem with him. Though he'd warned Sirius to protect Beate from everything, he'd failed to mention that he'd be planning on pissing off one of the twelve K.I.R.C.H.E vampires. Or that said vampire, a five hundred year old statuesque beauty named Rowena, not only had power and knew how to use it, but had her own werewolf servant, Syrus.
Sirius could tell right away that they were on completely different levels. Syrus had his creator's backing, not to mention a better understanding of his werewolf abilities than Sirius, who tried very hard not to use those abilities. Syrus was also older, stronger, faster, and showing himself to be a somewhat cocky bastard.
His thoughts flew apart as his path was blocked by the lithe male with the same golden eyes as Sirius. "Where you going, stray?" he snarled, showing lengthened canines as his metal-clawed gloves swiped around to slice at his arm. "Come play with a real werewolf!"
"Get out of my way!" Sirius yelled. He brought up his gun to block the strike, chains ringing as they coiled around the other werewolf's wrist. With a hard yank, Sirius dislocated his opponent's wrist and bought himself some time to keep running. "Boss! Miss Beate!"
Thank god, he thought with relief, seeing the blond girl standing behind the word-spell master. As usual, Beate looked more worried about him than about her current situation. Namely the fact that the vampire they were up against was after her.
Rowena chuckled at Boss's magic circle. "Foolish human, you think that can repel me?" she taunted. Pointing at the shield, she fired a concentrated burst of power. The shield held - barely.
"Sirius, get the little miss out of here," Boss ground out. "I can't hold off another hit."
"I'm not leaving you!" Beate said firmly. To prove her point she latched on to Sirius's arm.
He felt rather than heard the next attack coming. Pulling Beate into his arms, Sirius leapt back as the ground exploded beneath his feet. A snarl alerted him to Syrus's sneak attack, and he brought up his gun to block the swipe again. Steel claws screeched and caught along the barrel of his firearm. Beate screamed and buried her face into the crook of Sirius's neck.
"What a pathetic stray," Syrus taunted. "I bet your creator dumped you for a failure, because this is hella disappointing. I've fought pups tougher than you."
"I don't have a creator," the silver-haired slayer flung back. "Now get away from Miss Beate!" He used all his strength and heaved forward, pushing Syrus's claws off his gun in order to leap out of harm's way. As he jumped he fired at Syrus, and he was rewarded with the sound of yelping. Werewolf or not, bullets were bullets and hurt like a bitch.
But it's the full moon tonight, his inner voice said. His creator will shift the gravitational forces, and he'll just shift and heal up. Why don't you take advantage of it and do the same?
No! he shouted at that dark little voice. No! I'm human!
Even though he knew he was the farthest thing from it.
When Sirius landed perfectly, as always, Beate quickly let go of him. She knew she'd acted impetuously, but she hadn't wanted to abandon the two monster slayers. It was an automatic response to being abandoned; she latched on and didn't let go. Now, looking back, Beate realized that, had Sirius been human, they both could've died.
When he didn't berate her for being reckless, she looked up at him. "Sirius?" she asked, seeing how pale he'd turned and not noticing a wound. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing, Miss Beate." He smiled at her, a blank smile that she could see through in a heartbeat. "You'd better take cover now. Boss is back there with his fortified magic circle. He swears nothing can get through that one." Drawing his twin handguns, he slotted in fresh magazines and turned his back to Beate. "I'll keep you safe. She won't hurt you, I promise."
Beate had the worst feeling that he was trying to say something else, but before she could ask, Syrus emerged fully healed. She quickly retreated to Boss's side, and he threw up the protection levels one by one. Lines of ancient script wrapped around their bubble of space, ribbons of arcane power upheld by the words that continued to flow from the black-haired word-spell master's lips.
She watched, helpless, as Sirius fought to hold off Syrus with his guns. It was obvious that Syrus was toying with him, calling him a "stray" and egging the younger werewolf on to show him something else. Namely, his other form. And why won't he? Beate wondered. I bet Sirius could kick his ass in wolf form.
But the slayer stubbornly refused to transform.
Beate noticed Rowena had stopped attacking them and merely sat atop a broken wall, watching the battling werewolves. "So that is the stray of K.I.R.C.H.E, eh?" she said with mild interest. "Well, he has spunk, I must say. For a stray."
"Stop calling him that!" the blond heiress yelled angrily, balling her fists at her sides. She wasn't sure why the vampire was calling Sirius a stray, but it was obviously some sort of insult. It made him sound...unwanted. Less than human.
Never mind that he was a werewolf. That didn't change that he was still her Sirius, and therefore not unwanted.
Rowena shrugged carelessly. "It doesn't matter. Once Syrus dispatches him, I'll take you and have my revenge on that upstart Fidelio. I'll seal his ungrateful soul back in that castle where he belongs."
"Sirius will win," Beate replied confidently.
"Doubtful. Stray won't even change to heal himself." The vampire lifted one eyebrow as Sirius started getting ground back, shooting Syrus in key points of his body. "Oh. Stray has some bite left."
Beate smiled proudly. "Go, Sirius! Kick his ass!"
But her smile disappeared when his fingers pumped the triggers of his weapons. His expression turned confused, then horrified. He was out of ammo.
Syrus smiled wickedly. His hand rammed into Sirius's abdomen and out the other side. The silver-haired boy gasped in pain and shock, golden eyes wide. "Strays should be put down mercifully," Syrus said.
Rowena blasted Boss back once again, leaving Beate to stand there screaming as Sirius was thrown to the side like a piece of trash.
Sirius knew he was going to die. He could feel it with every beat of his heart that pumped blood out of his gaping wound. His throat convulsed as he coughed up the necessary red liquid, spattering the ground with it like a garish spill.
"Transform," demanded Syrus, nudging the injured slayer with his foot. "Make it interesting, stray. Shift and heal."
"I...I'm..." His throat rebelled again, choking up blood. Sirius had barely enough strength to force the change anyway, let alone voice his usual denial.
Rowena's sigh was disgusted and unimpressed. "Come along, Syrus. Let's take the girl now."
Miss Beate. Sirius tried to move, but the pain was crippling his entire body. He only managed to turn his head and focus bleary golden eyes on Syrus's back as he stalked towards Beate. No. Don't touch her!
"Sirius!" she screamed. "Sirius, get up!"
The vampire made a "hmm" noise of interest. "Why do you still call for him, girl? He's not a true werewolf. He's a stray, without creator or alligience to any vampire. He's not human like you are."
"It wasn't a human who saved me at Crowennest Castle!" Beate shouted, her fists tight at her sides. "It wasn't a human who saved me in Aquaria's opera house! It wasn't a human who saved me in the hospital!" With each denial her voice grew louder. "It wasn't a human who saved me from that skeleton-creep, or from Charlotte's room, or everything else that has attacked since I met him! Sirius saved me because Sirius is a werewolf!"
Syrus sounded annoyed. "Shut your damn mouth, brat."
"I won't! You think because you have a creator that you're better than him. But Sirius is free. He isn't a slave to anyone." She sounded so sure, so brave. "And even though he doesn't have to, he risks his life every day to save humans. He's a better person than you'll ever be!"
"I've heard enough," Rowena said. "Syrus, silence her. But keep her alive."
Miss Beate! Sirius watched, paralyzed with weakness, while Syrus headed for Beate again. The blond girl took one step back, keeping her brave face on despite the fear in her eyes.
It was so strange. She'd seen spirits, vampires, ghouls, and other scary things, and she took them all in stride. She'd stayed with Sirius without being afraid of his non-human status. But now she was afriad. Afraid of a werewolf.
No, not of a werewolf. Sirius knew she saw people as who they were, not as what they were. She wasn't afraid of just any werewolf; she was afraid of Syrus, the werewolf who was about to hurt her.
Even if Boss was conscious and at full power, he wouldn't be able to defeat Syrus or protect Miss Beate. He was just human.
But Sirius wasn't.
"Sirius saved me because Sirius is a werewolf!"
He looked up at the black sky, at the bright orange harvest moon that stared down at Sirius like a baleful eye. His eyes glazed over as he reached deep within himself, deep down where his suppressed wolf slept amid the chains he wore to keep it contained. Gently, he began pulling the chains off, one at a time. He felt it wake. He felt it stir. He felt it rise -
Beate's scream of pain jarred his mind. "SIRIUS!"
The chains shattered.
Beate instinctively screamed the slayer's name as Syrus roughly grabbed her hair and yanked her off her feet. She clawed at his hands to release her, but he was too strong.
Then there was a flash of light, she heard a howl, and Syrus's grip on her hair was released as he was bowled over by a silver flash. Beate fell to her knees and watched Syrus's attacker jump off and skid to a halt in front of her.
She'd only seen Werewolf Sirius once, when he protected her from Fidelio at Crowennest Castle. That form had been more human than wolf, and forced to boot. This werewolf form of him was more fluid, more animal, and more beautiful than anything she'd ever seen before. When he growled at Rowena and Syrus, Beate shivered. He sounded really, really pissed.
"Interesting," said Rowena. "He seems to find strength when with that girl." She looked at Syrus, who was bleeding from a massive bite mark on his neck. "Syrus, get rid of her."
Another flash of light, and Syrus transformed into a brown wolf without any injury. Sirius growled threateningly, his hackles raised and his fangs bared. Syrus was clearly bigger than him, but Beate had faith in Sirius's strength and speed. She put her hand on his flank. "You can do this," she said confidently. "I believe in you, Sirius."
His tail flicked once, like he was acknowledging her words, and then Sirius leapt to engage his opponent. Silver and brown collided in midair, filling the air with snarls and yelps and flashes of teeth and fur. Beate's hands raised to cover her mouth in horror.
"Hope he knows what he's doing."
"Mr. Boss!" Beate said, surprised to see the adult at her side, covered in dust and scratches. She looked back to watch the werewolf battle ensue. "What do you mean by that?"
"Sirius hates being in that form. He's always afraid he'll lose control and hurt someone if he's a werewolf for too long." Boss licked his lips and looked around. "Damn. Rowena's gone. She must have left while we were distracted."
"Can't you help Sirius?" Beate asked, her eyes never leaving the silver wolf as he bit and clawed at Syrus. Neither wolf was without injury, and blood already matted a good portion of Sirius's fur.
Boss shook his head. "If I did, he'd hate me for it. He's a stubborn kid, and he wants to fight this battle himself." He looked at Beate. "Just believe in him. He's not a monster slayer for nothing."
Sirius hadn't been in wolf form for so long, but fighting as it was as natural as breathing to him. He had perfect control over his body, his senses felt completely attuned, and he was fighting an opponent that really got his blood pumping. Plus, since they were both in wolf form, the spectators couldn't understand what Syrus and Sirius were saying.
"Come at me, you weak-ass mutt!" barked the brown werewolf. Long fangs were bared in a snarl. "Once I'm done with you, I'll rip out that pretty blonde's throat!"
"You'll never touch her!" Sirius howled back.
They lunged again. Sirius felt fur beneath his paws and dug deep. Claws broke skin. Blood spattered the ground.
The slayer felt more alive than he'd ever felt before. Not even facing down a vampire got his blood racing as fast as this did. He felt unstoppable.
Bite, scratch, claw, snarl. Yelp, rip, slash, howl. Blood and fur and sinew dominated his sense of taste and smell. All he heard was the sound of his heartbeat and Syrus's snarls.
Teeth latched onto the ruff of fur that protected his neck. Snarling, Sirius clawed at his attacker's belly. Blood flew free, slapping the ground in wet splats.
The jaws weakened. He jerked away and bit Syrus's paw, making the bigger wolf howl in agony. Quick as a flash he released the paw and lunged for Syrus's throat. Jaws met through layers of skin and fur and muscle.
And he held. He held until Syrus stopped thrashing. He held until he felt the heart stop beating. He held until the body went limp and he let go, dropping the corpse as he shifted back to himself.
Sirius shakily stood up, looking down at Syrus's corpse dispassionately. Who's a weak-ass mutt now? he thought dully.
He turned in time to catch Beate as she jumped into his arms. Pulling back, her blue eyes scanned his face and body. "Are you all right? Are you injured?"
"I'm fine, Miss Beate," replied the slayer. Suddenly he realized that his body was covered in Syrus's blood, and it was smearing all over Beate's dress. Panicked and ashamed, he roughly pushed her away and dropped his gaze to the ground. "I'm sorry, Miss Beate!" he shouted.
Beate blinked in surprise. His entire body was stiff as a board, his fists balled at his sides. But for some reason, she had the oddest feeling that he was ready to bolt at the slightest provocation. It was as if he was afraid of her. Which is impossible, she thought. Sirius isn't afraid of anything.
That's not true, her rational side said. Everyone's afraid of something. Even Sirius.
Meanwhile, the werewolf was trying to bring himself back under control. It wasn't easy; fresh blood and the residual field of Rowena tempted him to return to wolf form. The fact that Beate's scent was mixed with the smell of death was making him crazed. He couldn't take the thought that he'd almost lost her.
Sirius's fists tightened, driving his nails into his palm so hard that he left indents. Almost losing her was one thing. But slaughtering another creature in front of her - not just any creature, but a werewolf, one of Sirius's own - that tore a ragged hole in his heart because he knew she would never forgive him. He flashed back to Natalie, his previous landlord's daughter, and her expression when he'd killed the ghouls in his werewolf form. She'd hated him. Why wouldn't Beate?
He was startled to feel fabric dabbing at his cheek. Wide golden eyes looked to see Beate wiping the blood from his face with her handkerchief. "Miss Beate?"
She smiled up at him, her expression apologetic. "I'm sorry, Sirius."
"For what?" he asked, puzzled.
Beate's eyes dropped to focus on his cheek again. "I - You've always had to protect me, Sirius. And now you had to transform, something you don't like doing, in order to save me. I didn't know that you didn't like being in your wolf form, but I kept pushing you to transform. I - I'm sorry."
She's afraid, he realized, smelling a sharp tang in her scent of silk and sunshine. "You don't have to push yourself, Miss Beate," he said, stepping back to put himself out of her arm's reach.
The heiress blinked, confusion clear on her face and in her eyes. "What? Push myself?"
"To be near me," Sirius clarified. "I know you're scared of me."
Beate's mild confusion turned into pure bewilderment. "Why would I be scared of you, Sirius?"
"I just killed someone in front of you."
"You had to." Her frown grew more pronounced, not in anger but with perplexion. "If you hadn't, he would've killed us all," she said, displaying her frustratingly logical side. "You killed him to protect me and to save yourself. There's nothing wrong with that."
"It's murder!" Sirius yelled. His voice cracked on murder, breaking like a pane of glass in a storm. "I'm a killer, Miss Beate! A monster!" Hysteria made the words bubble through his lips, unable to halt their flow. "You hate me. Everyone hates me. Once they know what I am and what I'm capable of, they turn me out like a - like a - like a stray!" He screamed the hated words as loud as he could, making them echo on the broken stones around them in mocking waves. "I don't have a home, a family, or a normal life! I'm a werewolf, a killer, a monster, a freak! I can smell that you're afraid of me, don't deny it!"
The resulting silence was almost as deafening as the battle had been. Nobody spoke. Boss pulled out a cigarette and lit it with his lighter. Beate looked at Sirius, who was pointedly not looking at her. Tension built like a pressure cooker.
Finally Beate spoke. Her voice was strong, even, and cracked like a whip. "Sirius, that is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard you say." She put her hands on her hips like an angry mother about to give a scolding. "I was afraid for you, you stupid idiot! I was afraid you were injured, or that you hated me for pushing! I'm most certainly not afraid of you being a werewolf! How could you even think that?"
He was so startled by her outburst that he didn't think when he answered, "Because everyone is."
"Well I'm not everyone!" Beate said hotly. Striding up to get into his face, she reached up and pulled his head down to meet her eye level. "I've never been scared of you before, Sirius, and I'm sure as hell not scared of you now!"
He could smell her truth, hear her steady heartbeat, see the conviction on her eyes. But Sirius couldn't truly believe she was honestly not afraid of him. Call it the human in him. So he asked, practically whimpered, "Honest?"
Beate's anger softened into a gentle smile. "I'm not afraid of you," she said clearly. "Face it, Sirius, you're stuck with me til the end." Releasing her grip on his head, she fell to smoothing his wolf-gray hair. "Geez, are you all right? I saw Syrus get some good bites in there. When we get back to K.I.R.C.H.E, you're gonna let me have a look."
Sirius nodded mutely. He was still floored at the fact that she wasn't afraid of him. Overcome with emotion, he wrapped his arms around the heiress and pulled her close to him. "Thank you, Miss Beate," he breathed.
"For what?" Despite her confusion, Beate returned his hug. "I just told you the truth."
"For believing in me." He pulled back so he could look into her eyes. Beate felt her breath catch when his golden orbs met her blue ones. "For accepting me for who and what I am."
Beate stood on her toes and pressed a kiss to the slayer's cheek. "It's nothing, Sirius," she said with a smile as she took his hand. "Now come on, let's go."
But it's not nothing, he thought as they headed back to the office. It's not. It means more to me than anything in the world...that I have some place to belong. Someone who cares about me.
It means everything...that I have you, Miss Beate.