The Old Wolf’s Feelings
Fenrir eyes the chicken-breast on his plate. The dish is complemented by asparagus and rice, but no sauce, despite his twenty-years of lobbing. The reason given? Lack of funds. The Bastille has half a dozen state of the art systems, enough magic-users to start a proper scholomance and the Telemancer sports a different outfit every day, but no, there isn’t enough funds left for curry-sauce. He can live without beer, without a lack of a proper forest, but that lack of proper curry devastates him.
Circe pats him on his left shoulder, and as he looks to the left, she kisses him on his right cheek. “Morning”, she offers in a warm voice. Unofficially, the government’s stance on…. fraternization between inmates is that it shouldn’t exist. Then again the Maitre told him that he could ‘fuck whoever you want, just don’t come crying to me when your heart gets broken’. And with her black braids and piercing intelligent eyes, Circe is most certainly a heartbreaker.
“Morning”, he offers back, despairing.
Circe rolls her eyes and sprinkles something at his dish. He tries it. Pauses. Then glares at her. “You could have done that anytime, couldn’t you?” She shrugs. “Maybe”, she says, smiling conspirationally. “Twenty years without curry”, he growls, tears forming around his eyes. She pats him again with reassurance.
When he feels that he has collected himself, he poses a question to answer the conundrum that his senses have revealed. “And what”, he starts,” has got you all fired up?” “What makes you think that there is anything on my mind?” He gives her a droll look. Werewolves, ordinary werewolves that is, use their sense of smell to accquire more information about the world. But Fenrir is no ordinary werewolf, and he has more than a sense of smell to help him navigate the dangers of the world.
They lock eyes in a contest of wills; wolf-blue to earthen-brown. Circe’s stare might unnerve a mortal, even a lesser supernatural of the immortal variety, but Fenrir’s father…. eyes of yellow fills the world. She starts to tap the white table they’re sitting at with her short nails.
“What… what if I told you that I had a way out?” Fenrir starts to laugh. The inmates and the wardens stare at him; his laugh bounces against the walls of their little cafeteria and then returns, higher with multiple pitches. Tears form at the corners of his eyes for a second time, but of mirth this time. “Good one”, he says and makes a motion as to leave the table. “Wait”, she clamors, desperation coloring her voice. “I have something for you, something… something my benefactor wanted you to have… as proof of her ability”, Circe says in a machine-gun pace.
She grabs his left hand and puts a small square sheet in it. A photograph. He gives it a brief look, already intending to dismiss her ridiculous claim when he realizes who it is he is looking at. She has his son’s eyes, and her mother’s frank outlook. And the colors of the photograph are so vivid… without meaning to, like a young pup, he starts to change. The bones below his knees bend and crack, his nose grows longer like a snout and his blue eyes turn bluer, closer to lightning than a ocean.
The inmates, powerful that they are, know better than to trifle with a demigod in the throes of powerful emotion and the wardens close rank around him. He raises a hand, and with a titanic effort of will, becomes humanoid again, except the nose. There was a time when that was easier, but age will not mellow the savage nature of the beast, but rather, enhance it.
“It’s time for you to go back to your respective cells”, the Telemancer says in the sudden silence, eliciting surprise and fear from both wardens and inmates alike. Fenrir nods, not trusting himself to speak. The Telemancer can do that; showing up where you least expect it… and fighting him? Unconsciously Fenrir rubs his jaw as the wardens lead him back to his cell, the jaw the Telemancer shattered when Fenrir first tried to escape.
Just as they’re about to close the door on his cell, the Telemancer speaks. “I am letting you keep that picture on the condition that we won’t have another situation, you feel me?” Fenrir nods, and with one last searching glance, the Telemancer closes the door.
Fenrir quickly walks over the silver to his little circle, his little oasis in the center of the cell. He stretches out on his bed and takes out the photograph again. He compares it to the carved relief on the floor. Hmm. He hasn’t got the lines of her face properly, and her hair is longer and of course, the relief is uncolored.
He closes his eyes.
He’s in a hospital now, waiting in a waiting room. A pale doctor with fangs emerge. His son gets into the doctor’s face, unwilling and uncapable of controlling his lesser instincts. “How is she?! The baby?!”
“Calm yourself”, Fenrir breaks in, using his powers as a alpha to curb some of Garm’s tendencies. “It’s better if I show you”, the doctor adds, effectively ending their stand-off. He brings the two of them through a whitewalled room and to a bed, where a woman holds a little blue-eyed baby-girl.
“Erika!” Garm rushes the woman and cradles her. He croons at the baby who screams at him, and two look ever so happy. “She might not make it”, the doctor says, subvocalizing. Fenrir nods, not surprised, yet still hopeful; eight of out ten female werewolves lack the strength of will to go the months required to carry to term. And those who can do it… suppressing one’s magic for nine months ruins the body.
He draws near, and the baby’s eyes track him with precision. He reaches out with one finger, and the baby seizes it with a strong grip. “What”, Fenrir begins, his voice filled with heartfelt sentiment,” will you call her?”
“Amanda”, says Erika, proud if exhausted. “Amanda”, Fenrir reiterates. “Welcome to the world, Amanda”, he declares…..