• Lycanthropy
    Chapter 3: Waiting




    Who’s calling me? I opened my eyes to see clear, sunny skies, which was very odd, because it was nighttime just a few minutes ago. I cautiously sat up and looked around. I was not in the field anymore. It looked like I was in the savannas of Africa…. The trees were sparse, unlike the forests we have in Vermont, and the grass was tall and yellowing. I found the fact that there were no animals in the area very strange, as well as the fact that I wasn’t freaked out or anything. I felt like I was at home here, as if I’ve always been here and no place different.

    Where’s Xyen? He was nowhere that I could see. I was about to call for him when I heard that strange voice call my name.

    “Gregory…” The Voice was deep and rough, definitely not Xyen. I think I should follow it. I didn’t move an inch until I heard it again.

    “Gregory…” It was coming from the left. I turned in that direction to see a large cave. That’s weird… it wasn’t there before. I shrugged and began to make my way through the grass, toward the cave entrance.

    When I walked in, it became pitch black. At first I was a little scared, but I my eyes eventually got used to the abrupt change in light. I looked around hoping to find the person who was calling me, if it was a person. Instead of a person, though, I found a chair-like rock and I decided to sit down.

    I sat there for who knows how long, thinking about my current predicament. The top thing on my mental list was how I got here. I mean, just a minute ago, I was with Xyen. How did I get halfway across the world in under a minute?

    Thinking about Xyen brings up something else. Does that kiss mean that we’re together now? I just met him, but I already feel like I’ve known him all my life. I feel connected to him… I really like him.

    “Are you comfortable there?” It was The Voice again! I jumped up and looked around frantically, but saw nothing but darkness. I gasped when I felt something big touching my chest, and cried out in surprise when the big thing pushed me back down into the rock chair.

    “Who are you?” I asked, looking wide eyed into the direction of The Voice, which seemed to be in front of me.

    The Voice didn’t say anything at first. I heard a deep sigh. “I am your familiar.”

    I gasped, and my chest felt warm. My familiar? This was it? I’ve finally met him! But why can’t I see him?

    “Why can’t you see me?” My eyebrows shot up when The Voice practically read my mind. “You are not ready to see me. In time, you will be able to handle seeing my form. You have to figure out what I am first.”

    I tilted my head to the side and knitted my eyebrows together in confusion. “Why?” I asked. Why would that matter? I mean, he’s already awake right, shouldn’t that be enough?

    The Voice made a thoughtful noise. “Being able figure out what their familiar is shows that the Lycanthropist is intelligent, which is something very important, especially in this day and age. If one can’t figure it out then it proves that they are incapable of higher thinking or introspection. Do you understand?”

    I nodded, crossing my legs. “What’s your name? Where are we?” I asked eagerly, deciding to change the subject so that I could dwell on this new information later.

    The Voice chuckled, though it sounded more like a growl. “My name is Mirroz. We are in your subconscious. This dark cave is where I have been trapped all these years.” He paused. “I’m sorry if my breaking out harmed you. It’s just that I’ve been in here for so long, and I’ve gotten restless.”

    I nodded, frowning. It scared me to think that when Mirroz said that he was getting restless, he might’ve meant that he was about to take me over at any moment. “Why are you still in here? Aren’t you free?” I asked.

    “I told before, Gregory. You are not yet ready for me to fully free. It may take a while.” He replied.

    I stood up. Why am I not ready yet? I wanted to ask, but decided against it. “Okay, but could you call me ‘Rory’, please? I hate it when people call me by my real name.”

    “If you wish me to, I will.” He paused. I was going to interject and ask more questions, but Mirroz started talking again. “I know you have questions, but your mate is worried about you. You need to go back to him.”

    I didn’t want to go yet, but before I could protest, everything turned white. It was so bright that I closed my eyes in pain.

    * * *

    What met my eyes when I opened them was green fabric. I lifted my hand to rub the sleep from my eyes and looked around. It was very dark, and trees surrounded me. I could smell the familiar scent of pine and maple trees, I was back in Vermont. I was sitting on something soft and comfortable, and there were arms around my torso. I blushed when I looked up to see that Xyen was holding me in his lap, asleep.

    He looked so peaceful, not to mention cute, as he slept. I reached my hand up to touch his cheek. I stroked it, giggling when he subconsciously nuzzled into it, sighing. I watched as the red head slowly opened his eyes and blink blearily at me. When his vision focused, he smiled warmly at me.

    “Hey.” Xyen whispered quietly. I blushed when he pressed his lips to mine gently. I panicked a little in my mind. He was kissing me again! I decided that I would kiss him back, but he pulled back before I could.

    Xyen laughed softly at my pink cheeks. “Welcome back to the world of the living.” He said. He started to run his hand through my hair. It felt nice, so I closed eyes again and leaned my head into the crook of his neck.

    “Mmm… that feels nice.” I mumbled into his neck. Xyen chuckled and brought his free hand down to hold my hand, lacing our fingers together. “What time is it?” I asked. I took a deep breath, taking in the red head’s scent. He smelled good. Like pine trees.

    “It’s about midnight.” Xyen whispered. I raised my eyebrows in surprise. Midnight? Just how long was I asleep?

    I looked up at him and held onto his shirt with my free hand. “How long was I out?” I asked. It couldn’t have been more than a few hours, right? If it’s only midnight right now, and it was about six or seven in the evening when I blacked out, then it should’ve been only a few hours.

    Xyen sighed. “You have been asleep for over twenty four hours.” He leaned his head down to nuzzle my cheek and, to my surprise, gave it a little lick. My face instantly turned bright red. He obviously didn’t notice my discomfort, because he just continued on. “I was very worried. After you calmed down, you didn’t move, and throughout the last day, I barely left you alone. And if I did, I made Rheya stay with you.”

    At the mention of him leaving my defenseless body with Rheya, my face turned white. Xyen kissed my forehead and laughed. “Do not worry. She did nothing to you, she was a good girl.” He stopped petting my hair in favor of putting his arm around my waist.

    We sat in a comfortable silence for about five minutes, Xyen resting his head on mine and holding my hand, and me listening to his soft, steady breathing. “I met my familiar.” I said quietly.

    Xyen, who had his face buried into my hair, looked up and then down at me. “Did you now?” he asked.

    I nodded. “Yeah. I couldn’t see him, but I heard his voice. He said that I wasn’t ready to see him yet.” I yawned loudly, bringing my free hand up to cover my mouth. How in the world could I be tired? I just woke up from a twenty-four hour nap! “I honestly don’t know why I’m so sleepy….” I mumbled, letting go of his hand and resting that arm over his broad chest. I heard him chuckle softly when I snuggled sleepily into him.

    The red head sighed. He must be sleepy, too. “You are emotionally drained, so of course you are tired. I am tired because it is past midnight, and I have spent all day worried sick over you.” He said the last bit jokingly, and I laughed sleepily. Xyen tightened his arm around me. I felt very safe where I was. I wasn’t even cold, and I should be, because it’s October.

    Xyen lifted my chin back up and gave me a kiss. I immediately responded. I was really beginning to like kissing him. Our lips moved together slowly, chastely. My cheeks were pink when he pulled away, and Xyen smiled as I buried my face back into his warm chest.

    “Good night, Rory.” He whispered, leaning back against the tree. I peeked at his face to see that he was almost already asleep.

    “Good night.” I whispered back. I felt brave, so I kissed his cheek. Xyen smiled sleepily, and when I settled back down into a comfortable position in his lap, he rested his cheek on my head.

    As I drifted off to dream land, my last coherent thought was that today was my sixteenth birthday.

    * * *

    I awoke when the sun came up. I didn’t feel Xyen’s arms around me anymore, but I still felt warm. I sat up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. It was quiet, and I heard all the sounds of early morning. Birds were chirping, and the morning sun was peeking through the trees. I looked around myself and saw someone near me that I never wanted that close to me, and my insides froze. Rheya was curled up around my body, and seemed to be asleep.

    I frantically scrambled away from her, staring wide-eyed at her. Her yellow eyes snapped open when I shuffled into a bunch of fallen leaves. Her head shot up and she looked around quickly, slightly panicked. Her head turned towards me and I squeaked like a scared mouse.

    “What do you think you’re doing?” the panther growled angrily. I yelped when she slowly got up and stalked up to me. Rheya, looking utterly pissed, lowered her head down so it was level with mine. I nearly peed my pants I was so scared. I wanted to scream, but my throat and lungs seemed to be frozen in fear.

    Rheya growled loudly, right in my face, and that put life back into my lungs and throat. I screamed, and I kept screaming, until I heard leaves crunching from the left of us.

    “Rheya!” Both our heads snapped toward the direction of the voice. It was Xyen. He was wearing the same clothes that he was wearing a couple days ago, but his hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail. He was holding a grocery bag as well, filled with stuff. He seemed to be very angry. “I told you to watch him, not scare him to death!” he said crossly. The red head hurried up, nudged Rheya away from me, and put his arms around my shoulders, dropping the grocery bag on the ground next to us. I clutched at his sleeves.

    Rheya huffed and gave me an evil look. “I did nothing to him! He just woke up and started to freak out.” She said as she began to glow, and after a second, she was gone. She probably went back into Xyen.

    Xyen rolled his eyes and sighed. I sighed as well. Thank God she’s gone. I don’t understand why Rheya’s so mean to me. I didn’t do anything to her.

    “I am sorry, Rory. I just left you with her so I could go into your town and get you something to eat. I really did not expect you to wake up this early.” The red head said apologetically. I laughed a little on the inside at how he looked when he was nervous and worried. He looked cute.

    I sighed. “It’s alright…. She really didn’t do anything; I’m just really scared of her.” I said quietly. I tried to look inside the bag, my natural curiosity kicking in. “What did you bring me?” I asked, trying, and failing, to hide my excitement.

    Xyen chuckled and pulled the bag away, shaking a finger in my face. “Ah, ah, ah! No peeking!” He turned away from me half way and rummaged through the bag. The red head turned back holding a blueberry muffin and a small bottle of milk. “I got you these for breakfast, but the other thing,” he smirked and winked, “Is a surprise.”

    I cocked my head to the side and raised my eyebrows. “A surprise?” I asked, taking the muffin and milk from Xyen. “What for?” The only reason that I could think of was my birthday, but we’ve only known each other for a few days. I watched as Xyen smiled happily while I unwrapped my muffin.

    “It is for your birthday of course!” Xyen answered cheerfully, leaning toward me to give me an affectionate peck on the lips. He laughed when I blushed, so it was for my birthday…

    I pursed my lips together. “So… What are we?” I asked before taking a bite of my muffin. I really needed to know, I mean, are we boyfriends now? He kisses me and stuff, so I’d think that would point to that conclusion. Except Xyen’s from a totally different culture than me, so maybe kissing someone means something completely different to him.

    Xyen raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Hmm?” he hummed in confusion. He was pulling out a coffee cake and a thermos, which I assumed had coffee in it judging by the smell. “What do you mean?” he asked as he set the thermos down and put the cake on one of his crossed legs.

    I blushed and looked away, for this was slightly embarrassing. “A-are we… boyfriends now?” I managed to stutter out, trying to busy myself with opening my milk bottle.

    Xyen knitted his eyebrows in confusion again. “No, we are not ‘boyfriends.’ ” he said, letting the statement hang. My heart sank a little. I liked him… I was kind of hoping for a yes. I guess kissing someone must really mean something completely different in his society. I looked down at the ground, not saying anything. When I did, I missed the smile on Xyen’s face. “You are my intended!” He said cheerfully, leaning close to me again and lifting up my chin. He snickered ay my confused look and nuzzled his nose against mine in an Eskimo kiss.

    What does “intended” mean? I know what the word means, of course, but not when it’s used in this sense. I was about to ask when Xyen quickly ate his breakfast and took a huge gulp of coffee. He stood up and brushed himself off, still smiling. “Hurry and finish eating, Rory, we have to start training.”

    I stared up at him, bewildered. What does he mean?! I opened my mouth to talk, but Xyen bent over, picked up my abandoned muffin and stuffed it into my mouth. “No time for questions. Eat, and then come to the big rock in the field. I will be waiting for you.” He said, kissing my forehead.

    Biting into the muffin and taking the rest out of my mouth, I frowned. I watched as Xyen picked up his plastic bag, tucked it into his jeans pocket, and walked off. I needed to see which way that he went so I could follow him when I finished. When I carefully noted which way the red head had gone, I swallowed my mouthful of muffin and then drank some milk.

    It took me almost five minutes to finish the muffin and drink the milk. During that time, I thought about what Xyen said. What the hell does he mean? I need to know. I can’t help thinking that it’s something perverted….

    I got up and walked in the direction that Xyen had left, still contemplating the new turn of events. When I was out of the woods, I saw the red head sitting on the rock like he said he would be. He was nursing coffee and staring up at the sky with a serene look on his face. I stopped walking and stared at him with a blush on my face. Xyen looked so handsome with the sun shining on him, illuminating his pale skin.

    After a few seconds of me gawking at him, he must have sensed me there, because he turned toward me. He smiled at me, which made me gasp and blush even darker. “Well, hello there, Rory. Why are you just standing there? Are you hypnotized by my dashing good looks?” Xyen greeted, sounding smug.

    My blushed spread to the rest of my face, he hit the nail right on the head. I turned away, faking anger. “No, of course not! Why the hell would I do that?” I yelled, crossing my arms stubbornly.

    I missed it when Xyen stood up and walked up to me, putting one of his arms around my waist from behind, making me jump. As he pulled me against him, he used two fingers to move my chin to the side. The red head leaned his face into my neck and kissed it, causing me to gasp loudly and whimper. I didn’t know that my neck was so sensitive!

    Xyen snickered smugly and licked the spot he had kissed. “You smell and taste so good, Rory.” He said as he nuzzled his nose into my neck. I wanted to say something so bad, but I was paralyzed. All I could do was stand there, shivering and whining, as he continued to n** and kiss that one spot over and over. I felt scared, cornered, but also I felt so incredibly good that I could barely stay on my feet.

    I gasped inwardly as a small moan trickled out of my mouth. I grabbed at Xyen’s hand that rested on my stomach and squeezed it tightly, lacing our fingers together. He squeezed back, probably thinking that it would calm me a little; which it kind of did. My body went ridged when I felt the red head’s canines poke against my neck.

    “I need to do this….” Xyen mumbled huskily, sounding a tad desperate. His teeth had sunk into my neck, shocking me. My eyes opened wide and my mouth opened in a silent scream. I didn’t expect it to feel as good as it did, since he was biting me like an animal would.

    The shocks of electricity were coming back again, but now they were stronger. I tried to pull away from Xyen, not because of him, but the painful electrical currents going through me. The red head grunted and tightened his arms around me, not letting me go. My head leaned back on his shoulder as my vision got darker, and I let out a small groan before my eyes closed.

    * * *

    When I opened my eyes, I was back in that dark, cavernous cave in my subconscious. I was a little surprised to be here again so soon, but here I was. I guess I can use this chance to think all this craziness.

    I sighed tiredly and slumped down on the chair-like rock. This is ridiculous. Once again, that boy thrust me so suddenly into my own head. I mean can’t he warn a guy before unexpectedly molesting him and incapacitating him? I don’t even know what our relationship is yet! What would Mom say if she heard about this? Or Dad up in heaven? Or Max… she’d probably laugh at me.

    I gasped in surprise when I heard something big plop down on the rocky floor in front of me. “Hello again, Rory.” Mirroz greeted, chuckling a little at my surprise. I smiled in the direction of the voice. “It’s a pleasure to have you back so soon.”

    I laughed and sighed, the happiness that I felt from feeling him fading away, the apprehensiveness returning. I heard Mirroz shift and caught a glimpse of a large, furry, golden paw. “What is troubling you, Rory?” My familiar asked, sounding concerned.

    I was surprised to see a part of him. Now I can definitely say that Mirroz must be a type of wildcat, like a lion or something. Why I’d have a lion for a familiar is beyond me, though. I’m not brave enough or strong enough. I sighed again. “Everything’s just so confusing. Xyen’s doing all these things to me, and not explaining any of it.” I mumbled dejectedly.

    I heard Mirroz shift again and felt something leathery and furry touch my face. “This is a confusing time for you. You are learning all these new aspects of yourself, and it’s all happening so fast. You’ll get used to all of it in a little while, I assure you.” He said comfortingly. Mirroz kind of reminded of me of Dad, except not as crazy weird. It made me calmer inside.

    “But that’s not really what I’m confused about!” I paused and blushed. “What I’m most confused about is what Xyen has been doing to me.” I muttered, feeling completely embarrassed about telling my familiar about this matter, entirely forgetting that that he probably already knew about it.

    I heard him chuckle. “Well, he is your mate, after all. That’s what mates do.” Mirroz said it as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. I was confused. Mate? Doesn’t that… My face became even redder when it dawned on me what Mirroz meant.

    “W-what?!” I stammered. “W-we’ve never, you know…. D-did it.” I wrung my hands together, looking away from where Mirroz’s voice was coming from. “We just met! I am not the type person who sleeps with someone right after they first met!” I said indignantly, crossing my arms in front of my chest huffily.

    Mirroz laughed again, louder then the other times. “I should hope not! I merely mean that he intends for you to become his mate. The boy has claimed you, so no one else can have you. He did mark you, didn’t he?” He contained his mirth half way through his explanation, sounding serious when he asked his question.

    Pursing my lips together, I turned back toward him. I tilted my head to the side in confusion. “I don’t know…” I put a hand to my neck and felt teeth indentations, and my cheeks turned a little pink. “Xyen did bite me.” I mumbled as an afterthought.

    I heard Mirroz shift again, this time seeing a flash of what looked like an adult lion’s brown mane. Now I was sure about it, Mirroz was a lion. There was no other explanation for it. “Yes, that’s marking. The biting of a future mate’s neck or shoulder leaves a scar that lasts forever, since Lycanthropists mate for life, and a trace of the biter’s scent. That way not only is there visual proof that you’ve been claimed, there is also proof by smell.” The newly dubbed lion explained.

    So Xyen has… claimed me? I blushed; I didn’t know whether to feel mad about this, or ecstatic. Hearing this calmed many of my insecurities that I was feeling because of Xyen’s annoying inability to explain things to me. Feeling a lot better, I decided to change the subject. “So, Mirroz….” I began. Mirroz thrummed in answer. “Are you a lion?” I asked, hoping that I was correct. I heard Mirroz laugh, and I was unprepared for what happed next.

    Suddenly, the mysterious cave was bathed in light, and I stared opened mouth at what it revealed. There, right in front of me, sat a huge, adult lion. His fur was a beautiful golden brown color that reminded me of honey, and his main was a nice light brown that went with the rest of him well. He was big, bigger than Rheya, except I wasn’t afraid of him at all. I think that it was mostly because of his eyes. They were kind, and honey brown, I felt happy and calm when I looked into them.

    “Wow…” I uttered, walking up to him and tentatively touching his mane. “I can see you…” I smiled, the electric buzz was back, but this time it was comforting. My smile became wider and I put my arms around the lion’s neck, hugging him tightly. “I thought that you said that I wasn’t ready yet.” I said, my voice muffled by his fur.

    Mirroz tilted his head toward me as close as he could, before dislodging me form himself. “Well, before a newly awakened Lycanthropist can see his or her familiar, he or she must figure out what the animal spirit is.” He explained, laughing warmly. “I am very happy that you did.”

    I nuzzled into his warm fur. “I am too.” I agreed. We sat in a companionable silence for a while, until Mirroz began to sit up on his haunches.

    “Some one is calling for you.” He said quietly. “You must leave now.” I let go reluctantly, and Mirroz nuzzled my cheek with his nose before nudging me away from him gently.

    I frowned, “Is it Xyen?” I really wanted to talk to him about all of this, and about us. I had to ask him why he decided to claim me as his intended.

    Mirroz shook his head. “No, not your mate, another.” He answered. I raised my eyebrows, confused. Suddenly, my eyes became heavy, and then I saw nothing.

    * * *

    The next thing I knew, I was being shaken gently. “Hey, Kid! Wake up!” a voice called. I didn’t recognize it. I opened my eyes and blinked away the fogginess to see bright, violet eyes peering into mine.

    The person leaned away, letting me go. “Well, welcome back sleeping beauty! You were out cold!” he said cheerfully. I looked at the man in confusion. He was tall with a skinny but strong build, and he had tan skin that was a little darker than mine. He smiled at me warmly, and he had a lip piercing and an eyebrow piercing. The most interesting thing about him was his hair. It was a bright, bold red; and it stuck out in almost every direction in a chaotic, but fashionable way. This man looked very interesting.

    The man raised his eyebrows, “What?” then his face brightened. “Oh yeah!” he laughed at himself. “I’m Veoso, Xyen’s cousin.” He smiled at me again. He pointed his thumb behind him. “And that big, old grizzly back there is my familiar, Shara.”

    My mouth fell open in shock for the second time that day. There behind the man was an eight-foot tall grizzly bear. It looked content and satisfied, and in its arms, it held two people. They were clutching at the bear’s arms and glaring menacingly at each other. My eyes widened. “Xyen? Alex?!”

    End of chapter three