Outside the heavy stone walls of the wolfheall the wind is howling. Inside, so is Casey. She wants out out out to run in the snow flurries and find a quiet-cool-alone place, she wants to dig deep in the snow.
John is about ready to let her have at it, if she insists. It's not like he doesn't have another month to go in which to convince her to make her whelping den in a reasonable, warm, dry place. Why can't she be like the other bitch-wolves and den in the middle of the kitchen or against the wall of the sweat lodge?
"It's the middle of the night," Jade groans beside him. "Tell her she can go tomorrow, when she can see."
No she can't! Karkat throws back, all wrapped into offense and visions of a cub-filled belly pressed into the murderous icy snow. "She is crazy and no."
Bec ripples through with faint confusion that not being able to see would be problematic, this close to the pack, she does still have her nose, right?
Windy, Jade goes, sending back threads of scent ripped away, diffused in confusing, directionless tangles. What if she gets lost?
John groans. "It's because Noir is outside again. She's jealous that he can and she can't."
It's not only that. She likes the way the wind tugs at her fur, and so does John. But also there's this growing obsession of hers for small cramped spaces and burrows that make John clammy and short of breath, of tight narrow spaces underneath solid rock that she can't accept because they scare him but that she keeps seeking out nevertheless.
Karkat lifts his head off the furs for a second to glare sullenly. "Noir is not outside because I say yes go outside. He does what he wants. That asshole. Big, huge, horrible asshole." He keeps muttering insults to his wolf in his pillow. John is pretty sure it ends with a resigned "I am Karkat Assholebrother."
John snickers. So does Jade. Casey is still whimpering.
They're keeping at least a dozen other men awake with her noise. John sighs, crawls out of his toasty-warm bed furs and his lovers' arms, and goes about getting dressed. "I'll just take her on a quick walk -- yes, Karkat, in arm's reach of the heall's walls at all times! -- hopefully she'll relax once she's walked around some."
He could let her go alone, really, she's an adult wolf, not a puppy.
He could, but he won't, because she's his sister and her discomfort itches under his skin, and if he can help soothe it with some ambling around past midnight in the falling snow then he will do it, and be glad he can help.
They're already at the door when Jade and Bec and Karkat catch up, Jade cracking her jaw with an enormous yawn and Karkat fighting to push his feet to the bottom of his heavy snow boots.
"Aw, guys, you don't have to."
"Excuse you," Jade says, "we do have to, have you ever tried building a snow fort alone? The roof never stays up."
She bumps her hip into his, grabs his hand in her mittened one, and tows him outside in the dark and the cold wind and the snow. Casey arrows out, tail wagging, Bec flanking her; through Karkat's grim determination to follow, John feels the tug of Noir's attention, the way his relentless pacing aims itself in their direction.
John foresees a lot of keeping each other warm in his near future.