Echoes of the Past

From the Story Arc: Hunting High And Low

Previous Story in the Arc: On The Trail by Victoria Victrix (Thursday, January 22, 2009)

Next Story in the Arc: Guilt by Victoria Victrix (Thursday, January 22, 2009)

(posted Thursday, January 22, 2009)

Wolves don’t have a language other than The Howl, and if someone who could read such things had been able to see the he-wolf’s thoughts, there would have been nothing like a “name” for the members of his new pack—rather, there would have been a complicated “tag” comprised of scent, size, color, personality, and age.

But, since this is written in language, and since the he was a tall, strongly-built, brownish gray fellow, his “name” is Big Buff.

And he had “names” for all the rest of his new pack too—and he had a pack now, thanks to the little she, who had run off and found another she-wolf, sweet and docile, to go with the first she had found him. He “called” the first “Clever Flirt” and the second, “Soft Ways.”

And as for the little she…his “name” for her was “Sad One,” for there seemed to be a deep wellspring of grief in her that never emptied. Clever Flirt and Soft Ways felt it too, and tried to ease her, curling up around her at night when she cried in her sleep, but nothing seemed to help.

Still, wolves are practical; this grief did nothing to stop her from helping with the hunt. And if it set her apart from the others, and made him disinclined to mate with her, well, that just meant Clever Flirt and Soft Ways were more attractive to him, and they felt less intimidated.

He only wished, in a dim way, that he could ease Sad One’s pain. For pain it certainly was. They knew that every time she slept.

“This... is not gorgeous.”

She caught a glimpse of her own arm, and flinched away, the tears now streaming down her delicate face. She threw the sleeve away and buried her head in her hands. Red watched her for a moment, then knelt slowly in front of her. He laid his hands over hers, and gently pried them down. For a moment she resisted, but he was insistent, and she soon relented to his touch.

“Hey...”

He looked down at her exposed arm.

“What... you think that's a new sight for me? Have I ever given you the idea that's what I care about? Don't you think I would've left long ago if that was the case? This isn't about this,” he said, bringing her arm up into view. “It never was.”

She flinched again, her sobs utterly silent.

“I love you, darlin', and I'll do whatever you need to see, hear... whatever, to make you believe it.”

“I... know... that... intellectually,” she gasped through her sobs. “My... heart... knows… but... I... want... to be... pretty... for you.”

Red smiled. “I don't tell you you're gorgeous to hear myself talk.”

She shook her head, defiantly. “I want to... be able to... give you that, too… and… and…” She folded in on herself, as if around a hard knot of pain. He moved to hold her, and gently held her to him.

“Hey. I want you to come with me. I want to show you something.”

She slowly uncoiled, and wiped her face with the back of her hand.

“Let me change first,” she said as she moved to the bedroom. In the dark, she started to change. Red followed her, and threw on the light. She winced, her hands faltering, then stopping, her shirt falling back in place.

“No,” Red breathed as he moved beside her, his hands reaching to undress her. “Here. I want to show you here.”

“Red…”

“Shhh.”

“… no…”

“Yes.”

She was crying. Red continued, now caressing her, kissing her. Vic’s eyes closed, betrayed only by her nervous breathing. The lights were on and she was exposed, something she always avoided. She dressed in the dark. She never looked at herself in the mirror. And Red… this was sudden, they had never… and now he was…

“I... don't look...”

“Look at me then,” he said softly. He was still dressed, and she wasn’t. She looked so uncomfortable like this, her hands moving to cover herself, moving to be everywhere at once. Gently, he took her hands, and moved them to him.

“Your turn.”

She looked in his eyes, her hands shaking, and slowly began to undress him too.

“…You’re… so beautiful… ”

He pulled her to him, pressed her to him. There was no way to hide now, her scars fell against him. She expected him to flinch. He didn’t. He was, in fact, moving all over her. Gentle and reassuring, he guided her down onto the bedding…


The Hunt was far away. In her sleep, Sad One moaned with pain; Big Buff, Soft Ways, and Clever Flirt could only lick her until she woke, and for a moment, when she lifted her head and looked at them, there was in her eyes such terrible grief that they too moaned in pain until it faded and she was herself again.