Loup Affamé Renard Insensé
A Being(s) in Love Story
By R. Cooper
Copyright 2018 R. Cooper
A Being(s) in Love Story
By R. Cooper
Copyright 2018 R. Cooper
“What did you do now?” Mishi sighed heavily as she sat down next to Tarō on the grass.
Neither of them were volunteering for the MCC that afternoon, but Tarō had sat near the table out of habit. The popularity of the Magical Creatures Coalition had increased significantly due to the events of the fall semester. So many of the beings on campus now found their way to the MCC table near the university entrance that the patches of grasses and trees along the main path sparkled with fairy glitter and shimmering auras of creatures Tarō couldn’t quite identify and skin and hair of every color.
It was fantastic.
And if it had a few side effects—like drowning out the hateful screaming of the group of human students who called themselves Human Heritage, and drawing even more lovely and loving human students to this point to encounter all these beings for the first times in their sheltered human lives—well, Tarō was hardly going to mind that.
Anyway, all the beings in one place made certain activities easier.
It wasn’t stalking if he was there first.
Tarō raised his head from his book and arched an eyebrow inquisitively at his best friend in the world, even if she was currently giving him a disapproving side-eye.
“Me?” He put a hand to his heart in offense, simultaneously checking—always checking—for the spark that was his and his alone. “Am I supposed to have done something, my dear Mish?” He flipped a page in the book he wasn’t reading. The collection of the works of several Beat poets was for a class assignment and Tarō was bored out of his wits by all the pretension.
Mishi made the most doubtful noise he had ever heard, the pinnacle of scoffing disbelief. “Tarō.”
“What’s he doing?” Tarō demanded immediately—without turning around, of course. There was nothing to see if he turned around except one possibly pissed-off baby wolf, and Tarō was too self-aware to grant himself that sight.
“Nothing.” Mishi’s response was disappointing in so many ways. “He’s not even looking at you.”
Tarō barely held in his gasp of outrage but finally gave in to his curiosity and twisted around.
Several yards away, on a blanket of all things—what starving student had a blanket to bring to the quad to sit on the grass?—was a young, glowing example of a werewolf on the cusp of full maturity. A freshman, which was a disgrace, with a body and a mind still growing into itself.
That’s not to say the werewolf was small—Tarō had lived nearly twenty-five years so far and had yet to see a little wolf. The boy was nineteen or so and tall, built on broad lines. It was the muscle and the meat that hadn’t filled in yet. That would take another year, give or take, unless this werewolf had a very good meal plan and could eat his fill as he continued to grow.
He should have a good meal plan. It should be expected and planned for. But human universities were notorious for not attending to the needs of their nonhuman students. They barely accepted them, to be perfectly honest, and only begrudgingly catered to any special requirements.
Tarō doubted a werewolf appetite would be classified as such by humans who already thought the human students ate too much. The poor wolf probably lived with a constant, gnawing hunger in his belly. It was no wonder he was all shoulder and big knobby hands and gangly legs. Of course he looked at everything with such intensity.
He was hangry, the poor little duck.
Wait. He was not a duck. He was a hungry wolf in search of morsels to snap up in his jaws, and a wise fox would clear out of his way.
Tarō was very wise indeed. So he was not going to bring this werewolf food to make the soulful reproach in his eyes go away, or to see the promise of a broad chest and strong shoulders fulfilled. That would be absurd. As absurd as Tarō’s fascination with someone who obviously had a lot of growing up to do.
Growing up and discovering yourself what was youth and college were for—and learning things, Tarō supposed. That baby wolf was going to have new experiences, and date people, and maybe get his heart crushed once or twice, and then find happiness. Tarō didn’t need magic to see that, didn’t need to pry into thoughts and dreams. This was the time for discovery and personal growth. Beings just tended to do it slower than humans—and wolves.
Nothing was inherently interesting about the idea of this freshman wolf, soon to be a sophomore, becoming an adult and going on with his life. And Tarō wasn’t interested, per se. Wasn’t worried, or curious, or anything to make Mishi judge him.
He was… irked. And it was unbearable. Like a debt he couldn’t pay. Like a thorn in his paw and an itch between his ears and the worry that his spark might be gone and he had to check.
Months ago, that not-yet-full-grown, oddly-mature-but-still-a-baby wolf had practically tripped over his tongue with adorable want for Tarō the moment he’d met him, and now the wolf hardly glanced in Tarō’s direction.
Tarō was a dashing, romantic, sexy sort. Even Sasha had said so—well, not the sexy part, but it had been implied with all his blushes whenever Tarō flirted with him. Tarō had well-turned calves, and nice, firm biceps, and beautiful shiny hair. He had the loveliest of fox-faces and a wicked smile. He had no idea what he smelled like to weres, but he thought he smelled of leaves and static and maybe the banana he’d just eaten.
Someone getting a crush on him was understandable. Someone not only getting over that crush, but alternating between ignoring him and glaring at him was not. Tarō hadn’t done anything to deserve that—at the time.
“You could just leave him alone,” Mishi warned. “It’s not like you would ever have looked at a freshman anyway. If he’s mad at you for not liking him back, it’s a sign of his age.”
“First of all, he wasn’t mad at me,” Tarō argued, even though the wolf had seemed plenty mad at him, or at something, frowning and scowling and turning in another direction when Tarō would pass by. “And secondly, I haven’t done anything to warrant such suspicion.”
“His hair is green,” Mishi countered. “Green. He’s a werewolf, not an elf or a fairy. How did you manage that?”
Tarō’s tail flipped in excitement but outwardly he barely smiled.
Green did not suit Baby Wolf. At least, not green hair. It did match his plaid flannel shirt, however. Which was much too hot for a sunny day like this. Every other being on campus but shy, beloved Mishi was practically naked, and yet Baby Wolf was buttoned up and sweating, his white skin flushed with heat.
He’d shaved his head but his wolfy hair was already growing back in, a nice bristly buzzcut in forest green. He had a snub nose and a stubborn jaw and spoke French as well as English and Tarō absolutely did not care about him.
If only he would look up.
But no, Baby Wolf’s attention stayed firmly on his phone.
“Why would he sit near me and do nothing?” Tarō turned back to Mishi with a pout.
“Maybe he didn’t even see you over here,” she pointed out, reasonable and a bit exasperated. “I know you like teasing people, but don’t you think this is ridiculous?”
“What has that got to do with anything?” Tarō turned to Baby Wolf again, his tail a bright, agitated flicker that Mishi, as a troll, likely couldn’t see. Tarō didn’t know if weres could see it; he’d never thought to ask.
But the wolf glanced over to him, easily, calmly, like someone without newly green hair, like a werewolf who didn’t growl and invite a fight or whatever it was weres did when provoked beyond all reason. His eyes were no longer warm as brandy but yellow, pure ōkami.
This wolf, Tarō thought again, was starving.
The hair at the back of his neck stood up. Electricity filled the air, sparked close to Tarō’s heart where he could keep it safe.
He put a hand to his chest and felt his lips part, and then the wolf looked away.
“He has a name, you know,” Mishi told him, in the cautious voice she sometimes used when Flor was at his most heated and outraged.
Tarō couldn’t see why she would do that with him, although his tail was snapping back and forth.
“I don’t care what his name is,” Tarō informed her—calmly, because he was not like darling temperamental Flor. Not one bit. Not even when Mishi made that supremely doubtful noise again.