Fitting for the wolf-talks of the Fairy Tale Summer you’ll get the next chapter of the Neubrandenwolf. With this we’re half-way through the “Year of the Moon”. 😉
(You can find all chapters in proper order and some more information on this page: Neubrandenwolf)
So, have fun with:
After a few weeks of consulting the employees got used to Nina being around; they even started asking her, if she wanted to join them for lunch. This time they brought her to a renovated restaurant some of them had already tried and wanted to use it as an alternative to their usual lunch routine of heating up leftovers or getting lunch delivered. The restaurant was part of the hotel complex Nina stayed in. Though, this time she had to enter the building through the backyard, which gave her another perspective at the whole construction. Beside the hotel the building held a parking garage and a whole array of different little shops ranging from butcher and baker, over tobacco shop, up to a cocktail bar she wanted to try when Rasha could visit her. Unlike the hotel, which certainly looked its age, the restaurant was a lot more than what she would have expected from a town like this. It had a bright and soothing colour scheme and comfortable seats. It was nicely decorated and even had a small terrace with nice woven chairs and tables. It wasn’t exactly fancy and the service people still had a lot of work ahead of them, but it was a nice atmosphere. She was curious what the lunch would be like, as she knew what they had to offer for breakfast, but she had never managed to eat lunch there.
When they entered the building a group of men came towards them in the long hallway leading towards the restaurant. Nina had never seen any of them before, but one of them caught her eyes and as she got closer she knew why. He was like her. He was a wolf. She hadn’t considered meeting one of her kind here and she was quite surprised to do so. Their eyes met and the two of them stopped in their tracks. To talk? To stare? She didn’t know. And she couldn’t find out as the girls pushed her forward and his mates him. Still, she turned around to catch one last glimpse of him and saw that he was doing the same.
“Found your dreamgirl?” She heard one of the others joke and she couldn’t resist her own snicker.
“Nah, she just reminded me of someone.” Nina heard his reply in a deep, but gentle voice.
‘Good catch’, she thought while the girls gave her similar questions. It wasn’t like she hadn’t mentioned her girlfriend before, but they insisted that maybe she wasn’t as gay as she thought if she stared at him like that. “Yeah, sure… “, she only dryly commented, shaking her head, hoping this encounter wouldn’t be the main topic of the lunch talk.
Of course it was and she was relieved when the food had shut them up for a while and given them something else to talk about. Nina was quite satisfied with her meal, but her thoughts kept drifting back to the other wolf. During her stay here she hadn’t smelled him so their paths had either not crossed before or he was one of those stay-at-home kind of guys as the nerdy shirts his mates had worn would suggest; or her nose was still not as well trained as she would have liked, but she didn’t even want to admit that to herself. It was curious and she would have liked to at least talk to him a little, but the circumstance had been rather unfortunate for that. So the only thing she could do was text her pack and Rasha that she had seen another wolf and hope to meet him again, as she probably wouldn’t be able to track him otherwise.
When they left the building again Nina saw him standing nearby, casually looking at the window dressing of a small shop across the backyard, as if he had been waiting for her.
“There is a bank over there, right? Gotta get some cash”, she fibbed and the others bought it right away.
“All right, see you later”, one of them simply acknowledged as if they didn’t saw him.
Nina casually walked into the direction of the bank she knew was at the exit of the backyard behind him. Every few steps she turned to see if the girls had already turned the corner and when they finally had, she walked over to him.
“Are you stalking me?” She asked bluntly, standing just a few steps away from him and crossing her arms.
“I merely waited to see if we could talk later”, he told her after turning around. Yet Nina wasn’t convinced and informed him: “I’m into girls.”
“I know. I can smell your girlfriend? Wife?” He tried to gauge her relationship status.
“That’s – that’s creepy and she’s my fiancée”, she corrected him and raised an eyebrow. She knew from her pack and her own experiences that they could smell other people on someone, but she hadn’t been home in a while, so her smell would almost be entirely gone.
“Really? A human? Does she know?” He now asked, curiosity and surprise ringing in his words.
“Yeah, of course”, Nina told him in a matter of fact tone, just shrugging her shoulders.
“Now we definitely have to talk about at least that”, he told her a wide grin on his face.
“What would the other topics be?” She asked, still a little suspicious.
“Your experiences and methods; if you’d like to run with us next moon… “, he started, but she interrupted him with an: “Us?”
“I’m teaching someone and I could use a second pair of – hands – for that”, he cryptically explained looking around the backyard to see if someone followed their conversation.
“You’re only two?” Nina checked if she had understood him correctly.
“You’re the third one I met in this town in the seven years I’ve been living here”, he told her with an inviting smile.
“Okay… “, Nina commented and contemplated for a moment. He seemed to handle himself well, if he thought to be able to teach someone else. Besides surviving on his own for at least seven years was quite a feat. Therefore she decided to ask: “Where do you want to talk?”
“Do you know where the Burger-Soup-thing is in the town centre?” He tried.
“Yeah”, Nina nodded.
“We could get something meaty to go and sit down somewhere quiet”, he suggested with a wave of his hand.
“Sounds like a plan. I’m off at five”, Nina agreed.
“Half past at the entrance then?” Came his next suggestion.
“Deal” She was far too curious to pass this up, “I’m Nina by the way”
“Thomas”, he introduced himself with another smile. “And I really have to go now”, he added, nodding towards the direction the girls had went.
“Sure, see you later”, she nodded and got a “See ya” in return as he walked off.
>>Pack of two in town<<, she texted her pack and Rasha, once he had turned his back.
They met as agreed and after they got their meals Thomas led her to the wall surrounding the town centre. Through a side entrance of one of the large town gates they went onto the rampant consisting of mounds and moats between them and everything filled with greenery. Thomas let her to one such moat nearby that spread into a wide meadow. On it they found a free bench and said down. Nina took this in for a moment. She had passed through the rampant before, but she was still surprised to find a place this quiet so close to the ring, that was she could still see through the brushwork on the other side of the meadow.
“Tell me about yourself, Nina”, Thomas jolted her out of her thoughts.
She looked at him for a moment, as he just there unpacking his dinner and giving her the space to collect her thoughts.
“I live in the capital with my fiancée and meet up with my pack of twelfth every moon if possible”, she decided to tell him and focused on her own dinner.
“Twelfth, wow”, he noted looking up into the distance. Those were nearly as many wolves as he had met his entire life.
“I’ve been a wolf for three years and Rasha helped me through it all the way. She’s the reason I didn’t go mad. She’s my anchor”, Nina explained lovingly.
“So you didn’t have to tell her?” Thomas wanted to make sure.
“No. She was there when Jan, my alpha, told me what would happen. They have a system that notifies them whenever someone with a wolf bite comes to the hospital”, Nina explained and she saw Thomas’ eyes widen in awe.
“Wish I had had stuff like that. Must be great to have someone so close to share the burden with”, he only concluding and Nina agreed with a nod.
They were silent for a moment before she asked: “What about you?”
“My last proper relationship ended shortly before I was turned ten years ago, and since then I barely let anything go further than a One Night Stand or a few dates”, he told her with merely a shrug, but she could see that it pained him to admit.
“Why? Can’t you control yourself?” Nina now wanted to know.
“I can, pretty well even, but I don’t think anyone would want to be with me if they knew”, Thomas reluctantly admitted looking away.
“So you’re basically looking for a singly lady wolf”, Nina concluded teasingly, a smirk on her face.
“Nah. I’m not looking”, Thomas disagreed with smile, “It’s fine the way it is.”
Nina was certain that it was not fine, but she didn’t want to push the topic any further so instead she changed it: “What about the wolf you’re teaching?”
“Amir. He’s a refugee and was turned back in Syria, when a wolf was sent to kill everyone in his village”, Thomas bluntly told her to not have this hanging between them. If she could help him then she needed to know what had happened to Amir.
“OMG”, Nina exclaimed, nearly dropping her burger, “Are you for real?”
Thomas nodded solemnly. “He slipped the moon after and killed others who fled with him. Only later did he find someone who’d knock him out each moon.”
“That’s awful. How is he coping?” Nina was close to tears. She shivered in the bright sunlight and felt sick to her stomach. How horrible could someone be to do this to a person? A village?
“Rather well”, Thomas answered with a warm and proud smile, “I think due to what happened the first time he’s even more eager to learn control.”
“I can’t even imagine how horrible that must’ve been”, Nina acknowledged in a near whisper.
“I can a little. I nearly killed my best friend before he managed to lure me into a cage and lock me up”, Thomas admitted after a pause.
“I’m sorry. I had such a great transition that I barely think about how hard it must be for others without the support of a pack”, Nina apologized, only shaking her head before adding: “I never thought I’d see myself as privileged.”
“That’s why I’d like you to run with us. If you’re still in town”, Thomas more asked then stated and watched her in anticipation.
“I’ll be here for another few months at least”, Nina agreed with a smile.
On the night of the moon Nina drove up to the hill Thomas had described her and parked near their meeting point. She was a bit nervous about the run. Her pack had more males than females so it wasn’t the first time she’d run with wolves of the opposite gender, but here no one would keep an eye on them if their instincts took over. No one would be able to protect her. She had talked for hours with her Alpha and Rasha about it and while the latter was terrified at the thought of her running with two total strangers, Jan saw it as an opportunity for her to prove to herself how much she had improved. With fluttering knees she made her way to the bus station where she could already see Thomas.
He greeted her with a smile when she approached and another much shorter man stood up beside him. Amir seemed unsure what to do. He looked between Thomas and Nina and then held out his hand.
“Here it custom to great everyone with handshake, right?” He asked, worry in his voice.
“It is”, Thomas confirmed with a smile, “But if you don’t want to shake someone’s hand it’s just as fine to simply say ‘Hello’.”
Amir seemed to contemplate this for a moment before he shook his head. “I want shake hands”, he decided.
With a smile Nina accepted his hand. “I’m Nina, nice to meet you”, she introduced herself.
“Me Amir, nice to meet you, too”, he returned likewise.
Soon after the three of them had turned and Nina felt Amir’s instincts taking over, as he watched her lustfully. But Thomas wouldn’t have any of it and subdued him before Nina could do so herself. A part of her was relieved, another insulted, as she knew she was capable of defending herself. So in turn she challenged Thomas, which turned into a playful squabble between the three of them.
Panting and yapping the little pack of misfits soon found themselves howling at the moon together.
Behind the Scenes
This part was originally called Flower Moon, but the title just didn’t fit the story any more once I had written it, so I loudly collected my thoughts in the Nornennetz (I’m a Norn now, more later. 😉 ) and got the needed Feedback to change it.
Other than that is the hotel complexx they meet in, the same one Thomas passed on his way to the bus station in Winter Moon. It’s a small town. 😉
I don’t know if I should advertise the food places mentioned, but if anyone does want to know more about them: Just let me know.
Last but not least: I did not plan on finishing this on such short notice, but when I had all the posts done for last and this weeks, and Mondays Fairy Tale Summer entry, I just felt like it would be a nice place to squeeze it in. It just gave me a lot more to do than I already had, preparing for the Rockharz and stuff…Sometimes I hate my own ideas…
Hope you still enjoyed this chapter!
Stay tuned for part seven: Flower Moon! (Again. 😉 )