risen from the grave

WAYNE

POSTED: Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:22 pm

Absolute terror was a feeling that the white woman had gotten used to over the past months. Never ending terror, the emotion hanging over her head like a deadly storm cloud, ready to take her out at any moment. The storm was doing its best to rip her as she held onto her horse’s neck, gripping him tightly and sobbing into his mane. Duke simply squealed in reply, as if telling her to suck it up, and began running faster. He was familiar with the terror as well, and wanted to get his dog girl as far away from it as possible.

”Please, h-hurry, Duke…I can’t do this for much longer, sweetheart…” Her voice was scratchy from little to no use and a sore throat from being grabbed so many times. Sitting up slightly, she gripped the stallion’s skinny torso with her equally skinny legs and tried to relax. Panicking when there was nothing to panic over would only cause early exhaustion, again. Instead she had to try and stave off the sleepiness that seemed to be a close companion these days. She HAD to get to Casa di Cavalieri soon, very soon, or she’d give up completely.

Quitting wasn’t something that she wanted to do, and it wasn’t like she’d just fall over and die…no, that was not an option. However, if she didn’t find her home before the night was through, she’d give up trying to go back to them. After searching for a week, her courage and determination was wearing thin, and she just wanted to sleep for days and days.

Dixie’s mind had taken her away when Duke’s head shot up and he scented the air deeply, front hooves smashing into the ground with sharp agitation. He’d caught the scent of someone he knew…from before all of the horrors had befallen his girl and himself. A loud, ear splitting scream left his throat and he shot towards the smell, fearing that it would leave them behind once again. He could not let his dog go without her loving family for any longer, or he was sure she’d die and leave him alone with…the thing, the memories.

Clutching at the bundle of furs wrapped against her chest, Dixie leaned down against the horse’s neck, gripping his scraggly mane tightly with one hand and keeping a sharp eye out for any threats.

POSTED: Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:58 pm

+3 omfg ;_;

Wayne was glad to be back home. He had returned from the northlands with the abused gelding in tow, and a few days had been spent merely assuring that the horse didn't simply die on him rather than anything specialized. He quickly fell into the routine of his duties in addition to that, roaming with the herds and making sure none of them decided to wander too far. It was simple and familiar and supplemented only by training with the blunt club and socializing with those few other pack mates he felt comfortable enough to socialize with.

Everything was routine and comforting, and everything was shot to hell in the span of seconds.

The hoarse scream that rang through the pack grounds made several of the grazing horses scatter, while Gypsy tossed her head and twisted in the direction of the cry with Wayne perched on her back. He didn't hesitate to smack her rump and urge her into a gallop toward the shrill and distressed whinny, fearing that one of the horses had been snatched by raiders or a large predator prepared to take the chances. It was his duty to protect the herd, just as it was his duty to protect the whole of Casa di Cavalieri. He was prepared for anything.

The Labrador mongrel charged onward, his club raised and his warhorse galloping beneath him -- and then he drew the paint mare up short and stared at the malnourished and whip-scarred chestnut stallion sprinting toward them, screaming as a white shape clung to his back.

My fucking God, the cowboy managed to swear, and redirected Gypsy to storm into the stallion's path to halt his progress. He abandoned his club and tried to ride closer to the horse, his heart hammering up in his throat and making it oh so very hard to breathe. Duke, he managed to gasp out, trying to soothe the horse and help him to slow and stop. Duke, he said, and stared at the white dog on his back and didn't dare say the name. He thought that everything was going dark and he let that night embrace him for just a moment, until a whinny from Gypsy and a jostle of her spine underneath him jerked him back into daylight and into air and he gulped it in and reached out to touch her.

POSTED: Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:47 am

Gypsy sure was a beautiful sight for sore eyes, and Duke whickered happily at the mare. He had no problems with stopping, eager to greet his beloved herd member, even if she wasn’t as well. It was easy to ignore the sharp kicks in his sides as he stretched his nose out to take a deep breath of his friend’s clean scent. She was well taken care of, healthy and still the same horse that he’d known from before the pain began. It was a relief.

The small bundle of white fur was not so enthusiastic to be stopping. She was scared of whoever the rider was, her mind not even shooting in the direction that it might be someone she knew. Soft cries were dropped against Duke’s neck, muffled by his mane. Crying was okay, but pleading for help and mercy always got her smacked or cut, so she kept her mouth shut.

The voice that accompanied the large frame on the large, familiar horse, sent chills straight through her entire body. Crying immediately stopped and she peeked up to get a better look without revealing that she was spying. He was tall and fit, dark cream in color with that adorable hat perched upon his head…just as she remembered him every day for the last months of hell. Wayne’s image in her mind was the thing that helped her get through those first few months…until she’d had her baby.

She could trust Wayne…right? He wouldn’t do anything to hurt her, surely. He was a good man, sweet and gentle and loving. Dixie shook her head violently, trust wasn’t something she could afford to give at the moment, and yet it was a necessary evil. If she wanted to survive, she’d have to go with her old friend to his home for rest. It was the only option available, besides collapsing on the ground out in the open, unprotected to anything hungry enough.

”W-will you h-h-help me…? Please.” Her voice was once again scratchy and very shaky this time, stuttering from fear. What if he said no and made her leave? It wasn’t as if she were a contributing member of the pack anymore, and surely the male was upset with how she’d just vanished. Even if it wasn’t voluntary to be taken…she had gone off without telling anyone about it, something that he’d warned her against a few times. If only she’d listened.

POSTED: Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:15 am

+3

He might have feared that Duke had gone feral, but the stallion -- skinny and scarred as he was -- seemed to be in his right mind as he stopped to breathe in the scent of his old herd mate. It reminded him of the trip along the mountains and the cougar they'd fought to protect each other, and if he was not already on the verge of his mind breaking, that might have prompted it. He remained tense and upright on his mare's back, even as Gypsy nuzzled the other horse she'd missed so dearly and gently lipped at his neck to groom him. She nickered softly up at Wayne then, as if to prompt him to go on with whatever he'd been about to do -- even if he was afraid, so afraid.

The white Luperci clutched the chestnut mane tight and sobbed into it, but when the cowboy spoke she lifted her head slightly. He caught a glimpse of her light green eyes and thought that he might faint again, but he sucked in oxygen and blinked the encroaching darkness from his vision. God, I can't do it, he thought fervently, and his hand remained suspended in the air, too afraid to move those last few inches and touch her. Perhaps if he didn't touch her, she wouldn't become real to him, truly tangible. She would still be a memory, trotting away on her horse and kicking up dust, a memory loved and hated and a mess of other emotions but a memory that was elsewhere and safe.

But the white wolfdog shook her head and spoke -- wobbly, hoarse, timid. It was not her voice, he thought, but it was. Lord, it was.

Dixie, Wayne McCoy said, and his voice broke but he couldn't stop to weep now, he couldn't. He looked at the horse beneath her and decided that Duke would gladly follow until they reached the fort -- though what they would do after that, he didn't know. He had to take this one step at a time and pray harder that he wasn't going to lose his mind over it.

Come on, sweetheart, the man murmured after a moment, and urged Gypsy to turn away from her companion and walk toward the fort walls in the distance; she beckoned for Duke to follow, but kept pace with the likely blown horse. The man watched Dixie-May carefully to make sure that she didn't fall off, and to make sure there were no fresh wounds that would need tending to first, and sighed. You're safe, he told her after a moment, and grit his teeth and snorted air out through his nose when a sob caught in his throat. You're safe. I'll take you home. You're safe.

POSTED: Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:46 am

Her name passed his lips. Her name spoken in that sweet, strong and loving voice once again. Something she thought that would be impossible. The fear that had lived within the girl for so long, the fear that she’d never see her best, most beloved friend again, was now breaking. It was scary, feeling those walls crumble as she took in his beautiful face. He was healthy and safe, just as she’d prayed for so many times.

When Wayne prompted Gypsy to start going back towards the fort, Dixie nudged Duke softly, eagerly awaiting the safe haven. Her little ears, scarred and broken, tipped forward as the male spoke, and she greedily ate up every word. What he was saying didn’t really matter at all, it was just the sounds, the tones, that kept her focused. He wasn’t angry, as she’d grown accustomed to. Wayne was…not calm, but not in hysterics. Yet.

”Wayne, I’m so tired…” She moved Duke up closer to Gypsy and looked up at her friend, eyes wide and terrified. Her biggest fear was introducing her young one, afraid that Wayne wouldn’t like the fact that she’d gotten pregnant without his knowledge. The fear of jealousy was learned with the slavers though, not from Wayne himself. She simply couldn’t stop the little voices whispering that she was doing everything wrong.

POSTED: Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:17 pm

+5

The two horses walked onward with their precious load, and Wayne could feel the initial shock ebbing away. His ragged mind reached desperately for some course of action to take, a plan for what to do in the meantime, to keep itself together. They would go to the courthouse and to his room, and he would make sure the female ate and rested. He would make sure that Duke was taken care of, and then he would go to the medic to see if there was anything else that could be done for the worn and hungry pair. He would go to Jazper and tell him that Dixie was there -- not the same as back, not until she was well and in her right mind to make the decision, but at least there. And then...

And then... Nothing.

Wayne breathed. He fought to pull the air into his mouth and his lungs and let it back out against steadily. He rode next to the woman who was his best friend -- and his mate as well. The gold wedding band clinked along with the dog tags on its chain around his neck, and he remembered that he had never given it to her, to salvage that relationship that had never worked as he wanted it to. He wondered what might have happened if he had, whether she would have left and made him think that he was abandoned -- but he shoved those thoughts away. If and might had plagued his thoughts in the first few weeks that he was alone, and only recently had he learned to realize he was not to blame for any of it. He had healed and gone on with his life.

Now Dixie-May was there beside him, and his wounds were ripped open, and Wayne continued to speak meaningless little comforting phrases to her out of duty and that old love while he panicked and screamed inside. What was he going to do now? She was here, she was real; her scent told him as much, as muddled as it was from travel, as tinged with that acrid fear-scent. As the shock dissipated, he was left to deal with this knowledge and the emotions that choked and throttled him now that his fears were out in the open.

She spoke to him softly, and the cowboy winced and could feel her edging closer. He wanted to bolt away from her. He wanted to leave her to Morty and go and curl up until the rest of the world died around him and he wouldn't have it to deal with anymore. He absolutely hated himself for these thoughts, for the thought that the desperate feeling that led him onward was more duty than affection. He loved her, and he wanted her well again, but there was the frightening unknown looming behind her frightened and pretty green eyes. He didn't want to know, and he didn't want to know what he had to do.

We're going to the courthouse, sweetheart, Wayne said in a soft drawl. We're going down those stairs to my room, and you're going to be able to go to sleep in my bed, and I'll bring you food and take care of Duke. It was a plan, a list of actions that he was going to take, removed from emotions and worries and anything else more complicated than preparing bits of meat for the girl to eat.

They reached the gates of Fort Kingsbury, and the Labrador man was careful to lead them on through and keep an eye out for anyone else. There was a touch of God's mercy in that no one else was milling about the streets; they were probably out enjoying the day in the beautiful, sunlit parts of the territory, or so he hoped. He quietly led them through the streets of the town to the courthouse, and Wayne dismounted from Gypsy and murmured apologies to her for leaving her tacked up and alone, and reached out to take Dixie-May's hand and lower her to the earth.

POSTED: Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:24 pm

There it was, the fort that she’d run away from that day, months and months ago. She had been trying to get away from the thought that Wayne didn’t want her, that he just wasn’t interested in getting close to her in anything more than a friendly way. It had been juvenile and stupid, and obviously she had been paying for it. The walls loomed high, towering over any creature’s head, keeping them safe from the outside world.

Dixie reached up with one hand and rubbed her face roughly, hating herself all over again for leaving Wayne as she had. It was a horrible thing to do, and she could only hope that he would eventually forgive her for being so childish. ’Such a stupid woman…too emotional, weak, you deserve the pain…’ His voice was ingrained in her brain now, speaking to her when she was in a rocky emotional position, trying to make her break further. Despite being free from him physically, he still had her mind in his disgusting clutches.

Wayne stuck his hand upwards as if to help Dixie down from Duke’s back, and she simply stared at it for a few moments. Those hands had never, ever brought her an ounce of pain, and yet she was freaking out at the prospect of accepting the help. What if he was angry with her this time? This male that she’d known since she was just a little pup was strong, he could easily snap her neck and be on his way. ’And he should, little bitch. You don’t deserve to live anymore…should never have been born in the first place. It would be a disservice to the world to let you live any longer…’

Whimpering softly, she placed her little paw in his large one. Free arm wrapped around the bundle at her chest, and slid off of Duke’s back easily. Dixie was immensely thankful that she had kept her last kill’s fur. It was still kind of gross on the inside, but when wrapped over her shoulders, the bottom fell to her knees, hiding her back and hips from any onlookers. Wayne shouldn’t have to see how ugly she’d become since the last time he’d seen her, so she decided to just keep herself covered. There was no point in making him look at the filth that had become her tiny frame. It was too disgusting for someone like him.

POSTED: Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:39 pm

+3

He was afraid of the thoughts running behind those light green eyes as they stared at his hand -- afraid of what her hesitation might mean, whether it was distrust of him for not rescuing her from the hell she seemed to have escaped from, or just evidence of how much she'd been broken since she fled, a free spirit and one far more free than he'd ever given her credit for. She had been the single most important thing in his life for the longest time, and he couldn't begin to count the days they'd spent sleeping in their camps, or riding alongside each other, or racing, or cuddling, or teasing.

A long time ago, Wayne would have very simply said that to lose Dixie-May was to die. And yet here he was -- and here she was the broken one, the one who had always seemed to get along well enough without him. He wondered if this was punishment twisted onto him in some way, for not working harder at their mateship and explaining the problems he had, the doubts, the insecurities -- or perhaps it was just punishment for the sort of person he'd been in the meantime, allowing his depression to overcome him and giving in to a nameless female as his first. He'd barely been a person in those months, just an automaton working to take care of the horses before turning in to sleep. And it was only after he'd healed that this happened.

There was a whimper, but Wayne didn't know if it was out of fear, or emotion, or pain. He gently wrapped his hand around hers and helped her get down off the horse, though the muscle memory made it simple enough for the cowgirl. He wanted to wrap an arm around her small, fur-covered frame -- but he decided to leave her to the fur bundle in her arms and merely guide her in -- one hand still outstretched in case she wished to take it, but otherwise avoiding touching her out of fear that she'd flinch back or mistake his comfort for violence.

Doesn't seem t' be anyone else here, the mongrel muttered gladly, and shook his head. Same room, he added -- a room now stained with smoke on the ceiling, her scent finally disappeared from it all. Come on. He held the door of the courthouse open for her, and made sure to linger nearby if she needed help down the stairs or into his lonesome room.

POSTED: Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:03 pm

Dixie-May
Don't give up hope, my friend, this is not the end.

It seemed as if Wayne wasn’t very inclined to touch the white furred woman. Green eyes flicked to the side to watch the male as they walked into the huge building, taking in the way he moved at her side, but far enough away to not brush against her in the least bit. She understood why he’d want to avoid contact. Ugly, scarred, smelly and broken…she wouldn’t want to touch herself, either.

The stairs were difficult to navigate with both arms around her bundle and the heavy cloak draped over her shoulders, but she managed without begging for help. Dixie would never force Wayne to touch her, and she knew that if she asked, he wouldn’t let himself say no. He was just too damned sweet and loving.

Once they got to the bottom floor, the small woman looked around and took a deep breath, remembering all of the good times that she’d had in this place. Scents of her old pack members, and a few that she didn’t know, swirled through the air like dust, absorbed by her tiny black nose.

”I never thought that I could miss a place so much…I never missed Texas like I missed you and our home here.”Shaking her head, she moved into Wayne’s small room and sank down to the ground, resting on her knees. First, the deerskin cloak was dropped to the floor, revealing the stump where her beautiful fluffy tail had once been, and a smattering of scars across her back. Next, she loosened the tied around her neck and lower back before gently lowering the bundle from her chest to the ground.

Leaning down close to the ground, Dixie buried her nose in the furs and took a deep breath, reassuring herself that her baby was safe and unharmed. After a few moments of simply breathing him in, she slowly began to pull the furs away. A tiny puppy lay in the middle of the nest, ears pinned and tail curled under, shaking with fright. He was always so scared of the things he might see whenever his mama opened his pouch…the world was a terrifying place.

Once again Dixie began to cry, unable to hold back the relief any longer. Her baby would be safe now. She knew that Jazper would never hurt a baby, and that even if she was kicked out, he would most likely allow the child to stay within the safe and loving arms of the pack. ”You are safe now, baby…no one will hurt you, I promise. I love you so much, Lee…”

Created by Brandy Mae

POSTED: Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:49 am

+5

He stood close by, ready to reach out and help -- resisting the urge to simply sweep her small body up in his arms and carry her that they might make quicker progress. He resisted the urge because he knew she might see it as an attack, as other women scarred and frightened had. He resisted the urge because he was afraid of what feelings might awaken if he held her close. He wasn't sure what would be worse... that the powerful love would spring up again and render his months of healing and strengthening useless, or that he wouldn't feel anything at all.

Either way, there was guilt -- for giving up on his friend if not his mate and dearly loved. He shouldn't have turned his back on her, and he now understood what Sebastian had felt when he grieved for Hadley, likewise disappeared and possibly in a bad place. He had merely moved on, as if she were dead or as if she had abandoned him carelessly, but now he wished that he hadn't. Was hiding from the absolute agony of those months without her worth the pain glowing in her pale green eyes now?

Dixie-May continued to clutch the bundle and look around at the hall they'd moved into, and her words caused Wayne to flinch guiltily though he was glad that she was entering the room and not staring back at him. I missed you, too, he thought desperately. I missed you so bad I had to stop missing you or I wasn't going to live. He was selfish; he deserved this punishment and more.

The mongrel shut the door behind them as quietly as he could; they needed privacy until Dixie had acclimated to her surroundings, and until Wayne knew for sure that he wasn't going to have an emotional breakdown -- at least not one that others could see. He closed his eyes and leaned tiredly against the doorframe and ceased thinking for a miraculous few moments, allowing himself to feel the wood against his back and the raggedy carpet soft and curled around his feet and claws.

But then those brown eyes opened, and watched as Dixie-May released the cloak she'd been bundled up in -- revealing scarred flesh, and a barely-fluffed little bob where her Samoyed tail had once wagged and curled. He could feel himself choking up at the sight, but if he was on the verge of losing it now, the true moment would come as she lowered her precious bundle to the ground. Her small, skinny body covered the open furs for a moment before she began to weep and speak to the precious thing in the center of the pouch.

Wayne dropped to his knees with a powerful jolt of pain, and stared in empty shock at the trembling little puppy. Its presence confirmed many of the fears left unsaid between them. Grief for the beautiful woman who might have knelt before him overpowered Wayne -- as did fury at the things that had been done to her, and guilt, and self-loathing. But he did not cry. He was a man and he did not cry, he would not shed another tear for her. He only relaxed his posture as he knelt and stared at the little child before him, speechless.

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