Heero was getting out of the classroom between two lessons when he caught a
smell that made him stop dead in his tracks. The girl who was behind him bumped
into his shoulder, and protested loudly, but one glance at his face, closed
off and cold, aggressive, made her shut up as fast as she had spoken. He stayed
in the doorway for a few seconds, trying to fix the scent into his memory, then
began to follow it determinedly, forgetting his lesson.
He pushed open the door to the boy's dormitories with such determination that it bumped into the wall with a loud clang. The smell jumped at his nose, and he knew without looking where the other would be.
In front of the room where Duo and Wufei were staying, ready to push the door open, the source of the scent was standing, clothed in a blue-jean vest and a cap over short black hair, totally random-looking.
He was after the figure the second it crossed the threshold and threw it against the wall, kicking the door closed, growling.
Wufei was laying on his bed, his hands behind his head, Duo was at the desk writing something under Quatre's supervision, homework probably. The two boys whirled around, to be faced with Heero's back driving a stranger against the wall. Duo got up slowly, approaching the pair.
Wufei sat up at the edge of his bed, wary. Yuy apparently had the situation covered, but that scent...
"Well, I'm lucky I know it's not what it looks like, because otherwise I'd have serious doubts," grinned the braided boy. "... Err, is it really something other than what it looks like?"
"What does it look like?" asked Heero without looking away from the other, still as concentrated.
"Two guys necking in a quiet corner, why?"
An amused chuckle escaped from the stranger's mouth, and it lifted two autumn-sky blue eyes over the Japanese teen's shoulder to look at Duo.
"A guy? Well thank you!" chirped a jovial voice, high and clear to an unexpected level.
The American froze, then dragged his comrade back to have a correct view of the stranger. Said stranger poked its cap with the tip of a finger, uncovering its face, and gave him a malicious wink.
"Hey, Duo, how's it going?"
"HILDIE!!!" shouted the boy, throwing himself at the girl to hug her fiercely. "Bloody hell, Hildie-baby, I'm so happy to see ya!! What the hell are you doing here?" he asked in a surprised but happy tone.
Growling, Heero grabbed his shoulder and pushed him back. Duo nearly protested, but then realized that his comrade's attitude and eyes were more animal than human; it was better to respect his reactions. He was seeing Hilde as a menace. Duo didn't know why exactly, except that it took place in his animal side. Was it the scent of the gun she had wielded before, as a soldier?
"Hey, pal, what's the matter here?" he asked in a low voice, hoping to calm his comrade down.
"She's a werewolf," Heero said back in a monotone, still not looking away from the intruder.
Duo blinked and tried to remember if one way or another she could have been contaminated by one of them, but he didn't find anything. He was the only one to know here amongst the pilots and from what he knew he was still not contaminated.... And he hadn't seen her since the last century, or so it felt.
The brunette had made three steps forward when she found herself plastered against the wall once again, one arm across her throat and one blocking her right hand. It the middle of Duo's shouts of protestation, a menacing growl rose from Heero's throat.
A no less menacing, if more high-pitched growl, rose from Hilde's. Pushing against the wall, she kicked the Japanese teen and freed herself, baring her fangs.
'Oh shit, her too?' was the only thing the American was able to think for a long time, the realization of what she had said before finally hitting him.
Shaking himself out of his stupor, Duo threw himself between the two blue-eyed brunettes and put a hand on each clavicle, trying to keep them as far from each other as possible. Heero tried to make him move to jump on the young girl but Duo caught his wrist and stared at him until the short-haired boy accepted to look at him and not to glare at Hilde.
"Enough," he commanded.
He waited a few seconds to make sure that they had understood him, then looked at the girl. She wasn't growling like Heero was, nor were her fangs showing, but her proud and challenging stance showed that she wouldn't allow herself to be forced into submissiveness.
Duo stared at her for a few seconds, then sighed. Were-beings must be more frequent than he had thought.
"The worst part is that you look good with furry ears and fangs, Hildie..." he sighed.
She had the honesty of showing her embarrassment for a few seconds, then smirked at him. Duo sighed again.
"You're calmed down, both of you? Good!! Heero, why did you attack her on sight?"
"She doesn't have a right to be here," hissed the Japanese boy, his fangs apparent.
Hilde showed herself to be a little more helpful.
"Well, er... Apparently you already know what he is, so I can tell you... I'm not from his pack and I'm on his territory, Duo-babe, and as he was already paranoid before ..."
Heero growled menacingly, and Hilde shrugged.
"Apparently no one ever taught you that you're not supposed to attack she-wolves," she added with a snort. "You're lucky I'm not one of those who arenít used to take hits..."
"Yeah, well... And you've been a were for how long?" asked Duo to change the subject, feeling Heero's ire rising.
"I was BORN a were, Duo," answered the girl.
"Ah. Err. Cool."
He nearly asked how, then caught himself. It was easy to get infected by transmission of contaminated fluids. Why would semiotic liquid be different?
"Excuse me... Miss? Duo? Have you known each other for long?" asked Quatre.
"Cat, she's my pal Hilde, Hilde Schbeiker. I told you about her, didn't I?" answered the braided boy in a falsely disappointed voice.
"Oh, yes, that's true! Sorry I didn't make the connection right away," exclaimed the lithe blond, smiling friendly. "I am..."
"Quatre Winner," answered the brunette, giving her hand to him.
Heero snarled, menacing Hilde. She lifted an eyebrow in his direction but didn't affect in the least her vigorous way of shaking hands with Quatre, refusing to let him intimidate her.
"Duo told me about you... But I didn't know that you were a Were," she added, frowning in puzzlement.
"I wouldn't have told you, Hilde... You didn't tell me!"
"I didn't know if you would believe me, and I didn't even live with a pack, so it was not that important... But that's not quite what I meant. I would have smelled it on you if you had known another Were."
"He hasn't been one for very long. He just passed his first full moon... Feifei too," he added, pointing to the Chinese boy who was still seated at the edge of his bed, observing.
She blinked and sniffed the air, slowly.
"Three Weres who don't know the first thing about it and you're still all intact... Wow... Two cats not even of the same species, a wolf, and two normal humans... Well, nearly normal in your case," she added discretely just for Maxwell's ears.
"Must be explosive, that kind of group," she continued, seeming not to hear the protest.
"It is," said Wufei, yawning slightly.
"And it's my pack," added Heero, death-glaring at her for all he was worth.
He reached out and grabbed Duo's braid, gently pulling him back. Hilde blinked then burst out laughing, and the Japanese boy gave her a withering glare. She stared in silence for a few seconds then, slowly, deliberately, she tipped her head back, offering her throat.
Heero stepped forward slowly, with his silent steps that he used when stalking prey or enemies, and stopped very close, right in her personal space. She met his eyes with calmness, showing no submission, nor aggression.
"If I swear to you that I will not cause problems and I will consider you my Alpha as long as I am here, will it be ok?"
"It better be ok," agreed the Japanese in a suave tone. "If I catch you not respecting your engagements, I'll kill you."
Hilde briefly clenched her teeth, but didn't seem particularly worried. Duo sighed, for the nth time. They were rather tiring.
"Man, you and tender words to say to girls will never go together... But you know, she's not a pushover. She can fight, and quite well!"
"You flatter me," answered the girl, her eyelashes fluttering.
Heero lifted an eyebrow and stared at Hilde, waiting for an explanation.
"Hey, you may believe it, but there aren't only goons and hopeless morons in OZ, yanno... 's like everything, depends on the units ... Mine was good!"
Three Gundam pilots had frozen and were staring at her, only keeping from attacking because Duo didn't show any surprise or hints that he was worried.
"Relax, guys... Hilde is ok."
"She knows what we are?" asked Wufei slowly.
"You being Gundam pilots too, you mean? Yeah, I kind of understood that! After all there aren't thousands of people who would be travelling around with Duo like you do... and he told me about you some..."
"And how did you learn of what Duo is? I don't think he just told you..." answered the Chinese teen, taking on a dangerous air.
"How do you think I met him?"
Duo decided to explain.
"She was part of a detachment assigned with trying to block me while I was getting out of a colony. She spotted me at the ID checkpoint... She tried to catch me, I fled away in a stolen mobile Suit, she fled after me, that piece of shit of a MS was damaged, I was captured, she was assigned to guard me, we had a long, nice discussion on OZ's good deeds, she left me all alone with only silly handcuffs on..."
"HEY!! How could I have known that you were an escape artist, man? And I wasn't thinking about that ... with your damn way to put my brains inside out..."
".. I ran away once again, nearly got killed by bastard soldiers, she decided I was right and deserted to save my ass. Guys, you wouldn't imagine what she can do with a Mobil Suit, if she could put her hands on a Gundam, things would get scary. And that's all. I helped her to get integrated in a resistance network. Since then, we have kept in touch, for missions or for fun... We get along great," added the American with a wide grin.
"Resistance? When she was just out of OZ? Duo, it could have been dangerous..."
"Hey, I didn't choose to enlist because I liked it, nor because I really believed in the way they acted on those ideals they said they had. It was the army or staying at home. I didn't have much of a choice!"
"You couldn't have been more than fifteen when you enlisted ..." began Wufei.
"Thirteen and a half."
"... and you decided that you wouldn't stay at home? Why the hell not?"
"Had a disagreement with my father's family. A big disagreement."
The boys didn't talk, waiting for the rest of the explanation. Duo was as attentive as the other boys, since he had never heard more than that as for the explanation and had learned fast not to ask.
"I didn't live with the Pack, I was living in a Colony with my mother, but since we had to get to Earth for each full Moon anyway, I was still submissive to the pack leader from where my father had come. I'm a she-wolf. I was reaching puberty."
"I didn't wanna have to wait while some morons fought half to death to know which one of them would have the right to knock me up for the rest of my life, thanks! I agree that we need to perpetuate the species, but there are limits, shit! And I don't need someone to hunt for me, I can do it well enough alone," she added, making a face. "As for my first litter, it will wait. I'd be able to kick all of the unattached males' asses, those morons of alphas don't think I'm gonna submit to someone weaker than me, do they?"
"Hn!" snorted Heero.
He didn't want to approve of her, but he had to admit, she was interesting.
"Well said Hildie!!!" exclaimed her friend. "That's my little girl!!" he added, grabbing her by the neck and fluttering his eyelashes at her.
She fluttered her lashes back at him, grinning, and hooked her own arm around his neck, and Heero wondered when exactly his teeth would begin to crack, strong werewolf teeth or not.
"Are you ... close?" asked Quatre, restraining himself from putting a hand over his heart to dampen what he felt coming from the wolf side of Heero.
Duo snickered at Quatre.
"Hilde and me?! ... Yeah, we're close, but not like you think! She's one of my best friends, and we're both touchy-feely kind of people, that's all ..."
"Apparently, people often think we're a couple," added the girl, grinning.
"As it seems, to take a walk with an arm around your friend's waist, it can be passed as friendly if you're two girls, but not if you're a girl and a guy," concluded Duo with a malicious grin.
Hilde burst out laughing, uncontrollably.
"Hilde, shut up!!" protested the boy, knowing what she was intending to talk about.
"Seems that when I put on boy clothes and put on a cap, I look like a pretty boy ... and Duo..."
"Hilde, shut up!!" repeated Duo, trying to gag her with his hand.
"What?" asked Wufei, getting curious against his will.
"Which means that sometimes, people mistake us for a gay couple... But that's not the worst thing! From behind, some cretins aren't able to see that Duo isn't a girl at the first glance, and so, one day, some old senile guy took us for a couple, but reversed!"
Wufei and Quatre laughed their ass off.
"S'not funny," grumbled the braided boy.
"Well, I have to admit that I had convinced him to let me play with his hair and he had it up in a pretty ponytail with bangs fluttering everywhere..."
"You are less masculine than a true woman, Duo!" guffawed the Chinese boy, smirking at his comrade.
"Blahblahblah... Less masculine than Hilde, that's not so hard, that's not something that will hurt my virility.. OUCH!"
"Hey!! Tell me I'm butch too! Anyway, I was so laughing my ass off at him, and Duo so didn't want to believe that he could pass as a woman, he was saying that the man just needed new glasses, so to convince him, and because we were a little drunk, we made a bet... I was in a skirt that day, so we changed clothes in the restroom..."
"Hiiil-deeee... pleeeeaseeee..." sung the boy, trying to shut her up.
"Duo as a transvestite? I would have loved to be there... and then?" asked Wufei, leaning forward to hear better, with a mix between a grin and a smirk on his lips.
"Ok, he only looked feminine as long as he didn't speak and didn't move at all, but still. He got hit on five times in twenty minutes!! I had to beat on three guys to protect his virtue... You should have seen the face of the fourth when Duo finally had enough to play along and kicked his ass into next week!"
"Duo in a skirt? I would have liked to see that too," commented Quatre, looking too innocent even for him.
"I have pictures," answered Hilde, deadly serious.
"But, the film I stole?!?"
"Sorry honey, they were my grandmother's vacation pictures."
"Why, yes I am, your point?"
Not ten minutes since she had arrived, and already everyone accepted her as a friend. Nearly no questions, no suspicions, no adaptation time, nothing. The Japanese werewolf could have snarled openly, but it would only have disappointed his friends.
Heero had enough of their banter. He had questions to ask.
"Hey," he called, stopping the discussion short.
The other four people turned to him and stared.
"Am I the only one to think that it's a little too much of a coincidence that Duo's friend, who I assume comes here to see him, happens to be a werewolf?"
"That's not really a coincidence. Me being the one to come I mean," answered Hilde. "Me knowing Duo before and me being a were is a coincidence, as far as I know, but then we're not as rare as you seem to think."
She leaned back on the bed, grabbing Wufei's bottle of water and drinking a good long gulp. Quatre, used to Duo's ways of avoiding to answer, gently took the bottle back and deposed it out of reach, then turned to face her, smiling his serene smile that didn't reveal anything from his real state of mind.
"Ok, ok ..." sighed the brunette. "Every pack in the world is more or less in contact with the others, like a net. Since we are a minority, our existence is a secret and if we were revealed we would probably end up in zoos or in carpets, we need to keep closely informed on what happens in the other packs. We have different nets for every species, even if they connect some for when the problem isn't only concerning wolves or cats, but Weres in general. The Wolf net is the one that is the tightest... what I mean is that cats communicate less and not as fast."
"An European pack announced not too long ago that there were two Weres, one whole and the other nearly there, that they hadn't been able to integrate in their pack. Logically, you see, when a guy finds himself transforming and surviving it, it's the role of the pack of the one who contaminated him to educate him, to teach him the rules, the customs, the things to know, the way to control and accept his animal side, all that. Well, it was a very isolated pack, they're living like savages in the middle of the woods, hello consanguinity..." she muttered before continuing. "They didn't give us many details except for the fact that they got their asses kicked hard by the weres they were trying to integrate, who happened to be helped by a few humans with whom they were travelling. As you see, evidently, it rather worried the pack leaders in the net. By the way, that's a thing I have to ask... Why did you kill them?"
"They were attacking us," growled back Heero. "They tried to take Quatre."
She held up her hands, as if defending herself.
"I don't criticize... I wasn't there anyway... Back to my story. So you created a light panic. Usually, the people who just got changed are confused, scared, and frankly too happy to be helped, but you showed such a destructive ability... So your description was passed along to every pack in a few weeks, with orders to warn the net if ever you were seen. They weren't able to see you before you arrived in that town... Me, at the time, I didn't give a shit about that story, I'm not really into that pack shit anyway since I live away from mine, but when I heard the description, and I realized that the town where the rogue weres had been seen was the town where four Gundam Boys had just happened to arrive in to see a guerilla doctor I know rather well..."
"You know Sally?"
"Sure, I have many contacts amongst the Resistance, I help her sometimes... But the Weres don't know that I am in the resistance and of course the guerillas don't know that I'm a were," she added with a wink. "Well, so, I recognized the description, and I proposed to go talk to you, insisting that you were probably a little wary and that a young female would seem less menacing to you..."
"Evidently they didn't take into account Yuy's paranoia," commented Duo, deadpan.
Hilde and Duo burst out laughing. Heero gritted his teeth and looked away.
"Logically, I should tell you that you have to go to a pack to be educated, but I know why you don't want to. And since you're not from the same species, you'd be separated anyway, as for Duo and the last one, better not to dream on, you don't have the slightest idea how they're wary of humans. If they knew that you knew... A snap of fangs, and then, that you survive or not, the problem will have been dealt with anyway..."
"I see," hissed the Japanese boy, struggling not to let his body shapeshift with his anger. "Hilde. You'll relay the message to your alpha, word for word. Those four boys are MY pack, humans or cats, I don't give a shit. They're MY pack and I will kill any were who will lay a finger on them, even if they are female, and even if they submit to me. It is the same for those that my pack considers family or friends. And what they think that we have to know or do, I don't give a shit either. We got along fine without them, we'll continue to do so. We will not reveal ourselves to anyone who would talk, that is the only thing I can give. And ask them to remember what we were able to do when it was me, three humans and an ill were, taken by surprise. Tell them to imagine what it will be now that we are healthy and awaiting them."
"Well shit, you like making friends," whistled the girl, amazed. "Ok, I'll tell them that. For what it's worth, I can understand why you can't lose time being educated in a pack. I'll try to present thing in a way that will make them understand that you won't babble and it would be better if you were left in peace. That good enough?"
The Japanese werewolf nodded briskly, then turned heels and marched out of the door, nearly slamming it after him.
"Whoa, what a bad temper..." whistled Hilde, amazed.
"He doesn't like surprises, and with everything that has happened with the other pack of werewolves..."
"Mmyeah," mumbled the girl, not convinced.
They forgot about the Japanese pilot and began to chat animatedly, catching up on months of separation.
* * * * * * * * *
The day after, Heero gritted his teeth like he had shortly gotten used to when, leaving the building for the lunch period, he saw in the courtyard that Quatre, Wufei and Duo were still chatting with Hilde. Why the fuck wasn't she leaving?
He could hear them chatter and joke around. They hadn't seen him, he took advantage of it to listen for a few minutes.
They were listing the songs Duo had in his collection, his wolf songs, as he called them. Amused, Hilde was citing the ones she could think about.
"Hey, do you know this one? Wolf Moon by Type O Negative..."
She straightened up, put on an opera singer pose to make the boys laugh then began, with a voice that was suddenly going low and slightly hoarse. She turned her walkman up so the other boys could hear the song. The rhythm was powerful but languid, like a moan.
"The 28th day
She'll be bleeding again
And in lupine ways
We'll alleviate the pain
Those silver bullets
A last blood benediction
It is her moon time
When there's iron in the air
A rusted essence
Woman may I know you're there
Hey wolf moon
Come cast your spell on me
Hey wolf moon
Come cast your spell on me"
"I could have lived without knowing that there was a song for she-wolves' intimate problems," grumbled Wufei. "Couldn't you stop singing that? It's freaky..."
They glanced at each other, then grabbed Wufei's neck and began to sing together, as provokingly as possible:
"I wanna Fuck you like an animal,
I want to Feel you from the Inside,
I wanna Fuck you like an animal!"
"MAXWELL!! SCHBEIKER!!! "
"What? You were the one who wanted us to stop singing the other song!" they protested, still in stereo.
Quatre was howling with laughter at their side, as much for the song and the stereo effect as for the Chinese teenager's face. Heero bit the inside of his cheek and moved along.
Quatre felt the boy's presence and turned around, smiling, but the only thing he saw was a mop of tangled brown hair disappearing in the crowd. Troubled, he frowned faintly and tried to concentrate to know what the other was feeling, something that he rarely decided consciously to do, but Duo put a hand on his shoulder and his connection was lost before having been finished. Shrugging, Quatre turned to his comrades and smiled at them.
"Something wrong, Kitty-Cat?
"Oh, it's nothing," he smiled, hoping that it was true.
* * *
Heero went to sit on one of the benches outside of the circle of buildings. He sighed and looked at his feet, wondering why he felt so hostile toward Hilde. Duo had vouched for her, and if Duo trusted her, it was because he was sure that there weren't any risks, so Heero couldn't justify himself by saying that he didn't trust her, it was the same thing as saying that he didn't trust Duo himself.
He could admit it to himself, the problem wasn't her character, even if she could probably act annoying. Duo acted exactly the same way, and Heero tolerated him quite well. And to be frank, he had been hostile toward her at first glance, even before knowing how she was. And, hell, she was a she-wolf! He couldn't attack her like that! ...Even if she moved with the confidence and the precision of the dangerous hunter, even if she had been a soldier.
He was jealous, simple as that. Jealous of her friendship with Duo, jealous of their closeness. Jealous too of the interest she evoked in Quatre and Wufei. It was useless to hide from the truth. She had a sense of humor, she was full of energy, courageous, even he had to admit it... after all she had matched him glare for glare without blinking, she was interesting, strong, vivacious, intelligent without a doubt. And friendly. Very friendly.
While he barely knew how to answer when someone talked to him.
If she had been just a silly girl without importance, one of those dumb blondes who giggle as soon as they glance at a cute guy and were only interested by clothes, it would have been ok, as amusing as she could have been, but she was able to fight, to defend herself, to serve as a partner for Duo. She had already done it after all. Heero knew very well that the American would stay in their team as long as the war would last and he would have a Gundam to pilot, but as long as Deathscythe was not needed, nothing prevented him from spending time with the brunette. Nothing at all.
'Especially not my sunny and friendly demeanor, that's for sure' he thought, biting the side of his nail.
Well, they had said that they weren't dating, it was already something... but it could be only because they lacked the time to do so, or maybe because Hilde had refused to risk Duo's health by Changing him... because she liked him too much to make him undergo that without warning maybe. Perhaps after the war, she would ask him to join her pack...
Heero was so occupied with trying to contain his hateful growl that he only realized that someone was approaching him when a pair of shoes stopped under of his nose.
"Hello, Heero," said a voice he hadn't heard in months.
He slowly looked up, his mouth hanging open.
* * *
Hilde and Duo had decided to keep company to Quatre when he went to the infirmary to get news from Sally. In three days, she had made them take tests and had begun to measure the differences in the Weres's metabolism. Her model of their genetic code should be finished, and Quatre really wanted to see what she had found, and if they were truly as deeply modified as they thought.
"Sally?" he called.
The room was empty, but he heard someone moving in the lab behind. The three teenagers looked into the back room and saw the ex-doctor bent over littered papers.
"Good morning, boys..."
"Hi! So, do you have your results?"
"Most of what I learned is technical data..." she answered, turning around. "Hey... Hello, Hilde," she added with surprise and a dash of incertitude.
"It's ok, she knows," Duo reassured her, walking forward to glance at the thing the ex-major had been observing. "She's a she-wolf too."
The American got wide-eyed after a few seconds, when he understood what he was looking at. It was a DNA strand, the twin curves circling symmetrically around the axis.
Excepted that there weren't two lines of DNA circling around each other, but four.
"This one's Wufei," commented Sally.
"It's awesome..." breathed the braided boy. "But... I mean, logically, one of the lines is supposed to be the reflection of the other, am I wrong? How do they do that if there is four of them?"
"They go by two. One pair is a totally ordinary human genetic code. The other..."
"Err, Sally, if that's Wufei's genetic code, it can't be a goldfish..."
"I know... but it isn't an animal. I don't know what it is."
"Relax," grinned Hilde, crossing her arms behind her head. "It's something that is not a tiger but looks a helluva lot like it, ain't it that?"
"It is as if someone had taken human codes and genes and had forced them to express themselves as tiger genes," answered Sally, pensive. "But those aren't tiger genes, per se. Those are genes that can be found in some humans... but their use wasn't known at all. Hell, it's demented. And when you see that no one, NO ONE, of you three has the same mutation, it's... a total aberration. And I am talking about the genetic code when it is static! I don't even want to know how the cells don't explode one after the other when the dominant codes change places."
"I don't know the first thing about genetics, Sally, and I don't think my people ever tried to know about it, but... I know that the elders present things this way: the bite only gives the means to transform. What we become depends on our inner animal, our... totem maybe? The animal to which our soul is the closest. So maybe the second genetic code is already present in everyone, but dormant? And being bitten separates it from the first... don't you think?"
"Anyone could transform?"
"Well, no, not exactly," answered the young girl. "Personally, you know, I didn't grow up in a pack, so I don't know as much as I could ... but I was told that you could only survive if your spirit was especially combative, and if your inner animal was big enough. Otherwise you would die during the first full moon."
"If the animal's body mass is as big or bigger than the human's," she explained.
"And why does it work in that direction but not in the other? From where comes the excess mass of the animal?" Sally shot back, raking her hands in her hair, frustrated. "Because it should be the contrary, it should be the second form who is thinner than the other, what with all that energy used for the transformation! By the way, from where comes the energy necessary for the transformation? Because Heero told me he was always very hungry just after he changed, but even wolfing down his weight just after changing should never be enough to fuel such a total transformation, even if it happened on a few months instead of a few minutes! And the worse is that it isn't one genetic code OR the other, but most of a code and a touch of the other! I think that in fact you never are truly a hundred percent human or animal, just ninety-five at the most... How can it be possible? And, and the moon's influence in all that? What does it have to do with anything? It's totally aberrant, that whole thing is an aberration. It's demented. It shouldn't be possible. It just shouldn't."
Hilde shrugged. As long as it worked...
The other people kept silent for a few minutes, thinking about their discoveries.
"But then, how can you be born in a race or another if the animal you'll be depends on your inner beast?" asked Quatre. "Families don't always have the same personality types..."
Hilde shrugged once again.
"You're born developing a personality of Wolf or Tiger or Puma type, depending on your parents... After all children don't have a fixed personality since before birth. They just evolve in the direction of their inner animal, that's all. On another side, you have people living in a place or another, who have more chances to become such or such animal if they are contaminated, because living in a shack in Arkansas or Alaska gives you more chances to become a wolf or a bear than a Bengal tiger... But the majority of humans are not much more than sheep or rabbit, or dog maybe. It doesn't survive. It probably doesn't even survive two weeks of contamination before dying, when you need at least four before the full moon to be able to arrive at it comfortably."
Duo whistled, impressed.
"And when you arrive at the full moon, you still have to survive the first transformation until the end... Bloody hell..."
"AND to the first night after the first transformation, Duo... People who were unstable before find themselves so traumatized by the shock that they lose themselves in their beast, I won't tell you what a mess it makes. They become mad in general. Devour themselves, jump down cliffs without looking, that kind of things."
"... Stop, Hilde, that's not reassuring."
The lithe Arab shivered. He had been luckier than he had thought...
"Do you think one can become a stag?" asked Quatre to change the subject.
The brunette pushed her cap back to scratch at her head.
"Technically, it should be possible... But since they are prey-type personalities, I'm not sure that they have the necessary drive to survive until the end of the transformation. I was told that when you're not born Were, it is very hard to stand. Anyway, a stag, it should be doable... I suppose... I never heard about it anyway. I heard about a bear once...But wolves are still the most dominant predator type by far."
They would have continued the discussion a little while longer, but at this moment, the door of the infirmary opened with a bang and Heero stalked inside, seething.
"We're leaving, our security was compromised."
Duo spat out a string of curses and Quatre clenched his fists.
"Information leak, we've been spotted."
"No," answered the Japanese pilot, "but..."
"Heero! You could have waited for me!!" protested a young girl's voice in the hall.
"... It will not be long," he finished, looking at his comrades in a deeply tired way.
Standing close to the group, Relena was looking at them, one after the other, but they refused to meet her eyes.
[Wolf Songs] [Escape]