Not a date...a look into the vampire myth.
"You look great."
Bastian admitted easily as he held the car door for Diane. Trite as it might sound, it was true, and he meant the words. Thirty minutes after she had left his house he was picking her up, and heading to the marina.
Not only did she look fantastic, she smelled pretty good too. He wasn't sure if it was perfume, or just her clean, fresh skin that was so tantalizing, but whatever it was he liked it.
He had heard about the little restaurant he was taking her to, from one of his more affluent clients, and was curious to try it. The man was co-owner of Le Petit Festin, or The Small Feast, and had done nothing short of beg Bastian to stop by some evening for the best French food he would find this side of Paris.
"I hope you like French food. Jaques Bersaille owns this place with a friend, and swears the food is to die for." Bastian laughed at the poor attempt he made to sound both French, and affected, though he was pretty sure the latter was probably successful. "He owns that mare, Fine Fancy Filly, we had in last week...?" He wasn't sure if Diane remembered the horse, since she had just been in for a check up. "Jaques wants to breed her and needed a certificate to present to the stallion's owner."
Shaking his head, Bastian grunted.
"No...I will not talk shop tonight. This is supposed to be a relaxing evening for us to enjoy...work will wait until tomorrow."
Parking in the lot, Bastian jumped out of the vehicle and ran around to the other side to get the door for Diane. Escorting her up the stairs, he opened the door to the restaurant as well, enjoying the cool night breeze, the sound of the ocean's waves breaking in the distance, and how carefree he was feeling right then and there.
"Would you like to sit outside on the terrace...the moon looks nice on the water, and the air isn't too cool, or would you rather sit near a window view?"
He was glad they had another couple weeks before the next full moon, as it was one less worry tonight.
As she made her way to the front of Shady Pines she saw Bastian had arrived and she checked her watch to be sure she wasn't grossly late. Noting that she was only two minutes behind she would blame it on forgetting an acesses code or something if he asked. There'd be noway she'd admit to having a shoe meltdown to him.
He had complimented her as he held the door to the passenger side of his humungous vehicle open. She blushed profusely and hoped because it was now dark that he didn't notice.
"Why thank you." she fumbled out awkwardly. In truth he looked damn good himself, but then again there wasn't much the man could wear and not look great. This included being covered in blood and manure.
Bastian described the restaurant as they drove and she admitted it sounded interesting. Having never tried a French inspired restuarant before she figured it couldn't be all that bad.
"I'm not sure if I remember him, his horse's name sounds familiar but that could be just from seeing it on paper. Maybe if we see him tonight I'll recognize him."
The restaurant it's self was adorable and and she decided the evening was much too nice to sit indoors. The terrace was moviesque and it was just too cute to pass up.
"Let's sit outside on the terrace. It looks cute out there and it's awesome outside tonight."
Once they were ushered to their seats and she could feel the soft breeze off the ocean and smell the salt. Yes this definately was a good place to sit. With a look down at the menu she was a little uneasy. It was very tempting to order a french dip in lieu of the fact she really didn't know what half of this stuff was.
"So what's good here? I have to be honest and say that most my meals consist of at least one fried item and the beautiful seasonings of Mrs.Dash original blend. I'm not too worldly." She said with a catlike grin.
In the past before he landed in Nachton and found Reign again, on the few and random dates he had been on, Bastian always had Reign's image sitting next to the other woman. It was frustrating, but it had become so common that he always addressed the matter immediately, to get it out of the way. The other woman's hair wasn't as soft or the right shade of blond, or her laugh was too controlled, or she was too thin, or timid...there was always something or another wrong. After awhile he learned to find at least a few good things in the women, but by then he had also stopped dating almost completely.
Tonight he was going do his best to focus on Diane...her specifically...and not how she could have been more like Reign. Tonight he came to the conclusion that if Reign were the perfect woman for him, she would be here now...and thus he began to realize a few other things as well.
"Outside it is." He smiled and nodded to the maitre d', as they were led to a quiet, corner table where the lighting was definitely set for romance. He was glad it had been Diane's idea to sit outside, as he didn't want her to think he had orchestrated the seating for his own nefarious purposes.
Knowing Diane liked wine, having discovered that earlier at his home, he ordered a bottle of champagne to kick off the meal. If either of them had been less hungry he might have suggested cocktails but in lieu of that the champagne seemed a good choice. At her request, Bastian picked up his own menu, and looked over the items.
"I can only speak from overall experiences, but if you like fish, you'll probably love Braised Halibut Provencal, but the Chicken al la Diable , or the Steak Au Poivre also look good." Checking through the rest of the menu, out of habit Bastian ignored the vegetarian dishes, but then wondered if Diane was strictly a meat eater or not.
"How do you like your food? I like to hunt, but have to admit I'm not terribly enamored of the kill and slaughter." And in fact, Bastian had a difficult time even eating a rare steak, preferring it cooked to nearly well done. Crazy life for a wolf, to not want to eat the kill, but he guessed it was due to living his life so long, never caring for any food not cooked to perfection.
Bastian chose the Daube de Boeuf for himself, and resisted the urge to order for Diane. That urge was held over from being with Reign, and knowing she would adamantly want to make her own choices, even when it came to things as trivial as food.
"You mentioned something about vampires earlier...were you serious? I don't know why I should be shocked, considering our own circumstances, but still...they just seem more like mermaids, and fairies to me."
Bastian's face became a bit slackened then, as another thought occurred to him. "You're not going to be telling me they exist now as well?!"
Though his voice sounded light, and teasing, there was enough firmness to show he did believe her, even if a bit reluctantly.
"I will have the same. That sounds like a full stomach and then some. Normally I'm a meat and potatoes girl, meat on the medium side as long as it's hot. That counts for before and after....the change." She wasn't really sure what to call it. Gifting seemed so happy like you just were rewarded with an awesome present. That was precisely the opposite of what she had gotten.
"When it comes to hunting, I try to pretend I'm not chasing down some helpless animal victim and aim to make it as quick as possible. The less I look it in the eyes the better." It was something that had taken time getting used to. Working at the clinic both helped and made it harder. In a way for every animal taken down she could do good in the day time by seeing that the ones brought to Bastian got treatment. The downside was seeing the pets who came in mauled by wild animals not that different from her.
His question about vampires brought her back into the moment. So he hadn't been too mad earlier to hear what she had said.
"Fairies indeed. Disgusting pale night time creeping fairies." She commented with obvious distaste.
What should she tell him? I kidnapped a vampire who tried to eat me, held his body in captive and then worked my ass off to become stronger and more controlled so that when that fucker woke up he'd regret ever running into her? Oh ya, I track most of his movements, how do I do that? Oh I use the money I stold from him for it.
That probably wouldn't go over well. She approached the topic lightly.
"Well I believe so. Last summer when I moved here there was some big opening I think it was when Babylon first opened. Anyways, like the super smart person I can be, after I went to Babylon I headed over to the nature reserve to check things out and explore. It was then that I had a run in with an attacker."
She stopped to take a sip of the champagne remembering one of her first horrible nights in Nachton. It wasn't something easily forgotten. Looking out over the terrace wall at the moon shining onto the water she readjusted her shoulders and looked back at Bastian.
"I managed to get away, he was so fast though, I used a small gun I had and shot him in face. The eye to be exact. Then I ran and left him for dead. Or so I thought. Fast forward to a few months later and I'm quietly enjoying a peaceful night out at the Vesper gardens looking at pretty greek statues and I can smell him again. " She shruddered but not out of fear more out of anger than anything else.
"The bastard was back, he had found me somehow. When I turned around there was nothing wrong with his face. Not even a scar. He blinked and looked right at me. This of course leads to another fight where the fucker bites me. I know what your thinking, maybe he's just some sicko pervert, I thought that too. Long story short he got really sick and I made it out with only minor bruises and beatings."
Before she finished speaking she realized she had swore and she turned bright red. She didn't think she had ever sworn in front of him before.
"Oh my god, please excuse my swearing there. I didn't mean too. I tend to have a trucker mouth sometimes." She grimaced.
Not only was Bastian enjoying the evening tremendously, but it was a little uncanny in how much he had in common with Diane. The way she spoke of certain things seemed to be just the way he would have, or had.
"I did hunt a little when I was younger, which might account for why I don't have the aversion you do. But I will also admit that what I am now does account for why I became a doctor of veterinarian medicine. I do love animals, but I feel I owe something extra to them as well."
It occurred to Bastian that he had never discussed much of this with Reign before, and wondered why. He had laid all his cards on the table shortly after they reconnected, to make sure she knew exactly what it meant for him being a were, but aside from the mechanics of his changing, he hadn't let her in on his feelings very often. Then too, he thought at the time if she had been interested, she would have asked. He had asked her to do that much, and assumed she would when she had need to.
His chuckle rang out a little louder as Diane commented on the fairies, though in all honesty he still wasn't sure if she was kidding or not.
However, it became rapidly apparent she wasn't kidding at all about vampires. Further, to hear how she took matters into her own hands confirmed one similarity with Reign...the woman was of strong mind and opinion! Bastian sat mesmerized while waiting for the end of the story, and once it arrived he had to laugh...not at the story itself but at the way Diane's language suddenly colored to fit her rage. Score another similitude between the two ladies in his life.
"No, please don't worry about words...that's all they are, and if you feel better using certain ones, by all means. Besides, now I know I won't have to feel bad if I ever slip up."
Although for the most part, Bastian still confined his 'bad' language to Italian, which at least made him safe around most children.
"I suppose it would have done no good to call the police? They probably would have looked at you as strangely as if you called to tell them about a rogue werewolf."
Bastian shook his head sadly. There was a determinate reason for keeping information on the packs quiet, low keyed, under the radar...he suspected vampires would have that same need, and not be publicly known around town. Or if they were, perhaps they had people in places of strategy, who could take care of such things without the 'normal' residents of Nachton finding out. Another discussion for Thanos, he noted.
"And at least you have the strength of your wolf behind you...that's reassuring."
It did concern him that Diane had faced such an ordeal on her own, but he didn't worry about her in the same way he worried about Reign. Reign was, after all, just a woman.
The waiter served the salads then, and refilled the champagne glasses, exchanging the empty bottle for one recently chilled.
"So as far as you know, he's still out there, possibly waiting to go after you again, and next time not be so accommodating as to let you get away? Diane...you need to be careful...is there any way we might be able to team up and put an end to this madness before it puts an end to you? Think of your little guy..."
Now he not only had Aidan to contend with, but some vampire son-of-a-bitch too! What had happened to his life?
"Well, I sort of left some things out. I kind of fast forwarded to the getting away part. In truth, something happened when he bit me. Shortly after he got really sick like I said, and ended up falling to the ground. I took advantage of his moment of weakness and while he was...expelling himself into the streets from the mouth, I kicked the crap outta him until he went unconcious. Cheap shots I know. It was then I saw the bruises started to heal before they were even fully swollen. Soooo I kinda hoisted him up and took him somewhere where I could watch him. he was a pretty good sleeper on his own but I kept him drugged for a long time too. Everything healed on him. Faster than I've ever seen one of us heal. It was crazy."
She stopped. He had to think she was a wackadoo now. She continued to leave out the money part and the B&E at the vampires home. That would send the man running for sure.
"If you think about it we kinda already teamed up. I wouldn't of ever learned about Ketamine if I hadn't been working for you."
She took a bite of her untouched salad and was surprized by the flavorful creamy dressing that was on it.
"He is awake now though. I'm not sure he remembers anythings or if he does he hasn't come looking for me. I'm still kinda watching him. Tracking him a bit. What if there is more of them here in Nachton?"
She hoped she hadn't totally blown the evening by spilling the beans on her vampire kidnapping. She waited for him to touch his food nervously.
"You did what?!" He wished he could have seen her take down the vampire, but then had he been there he probably would have tried to intervene, and damn but she seemed to know what she was doing, all by herself.
It would have been interesting to see how the vampire reacted though. Bastian now wondered if Thanos knew about this creature, and if there might be more around.
"So you injected him with Ketamine, and kept him hostage? What did you do then, just leave him?"
Bastian had no pity for the fool, first to try and hurt Diane, and then to be stupid enough to return and try again, but he couldn't help but wonder if the poor sod was still lying tied up somewhere, and if he would starve to death under those circumstances.
His concerns were alleviated when Diane made it clear the man was still around.
"For his sake he better have amnesia." He grinned at here then, feeling something akin to pride that she could handle such a potentially devestating situation as she had. Why he felt proud was a little odd, but he chalked it up to their friendship, and nothing more.
"I've been talking to Thanos lately...trying to find out where I fit into the Vyusher pack and what I might be able to do for them...us...I'll talk to him about that too. Though if myths have any bearings at all, I guess we can rest easy in the knowledge that yours, nor anyone else's vampires will be out and about during the day time."
It was a small consolation, but one Bastian wasn't really worried about. If Diane could subdue a vampire, the must not be as scary or ridiculously strong as the movies had made them out to be.
As Diane talked about her vampire encounter, Bastian had finished his salad, and once those plates were removed, he started in on the stew, finding it quite tasty.
"How are you going to go about finding out if this guy has amnesia, or if he's just biding his time until he gets you alone again? Sounds like it might be a rather dangerous plan..."
His reaction wasn't what she expected and that made her happy. She wasn't such a freak after all. Just a curious person who was tired of always being the prey.
"I'd like to say that I'm ready should he come looking, I've been training pretty hard since then. I can now proudly say that when I change I don't always dislocate a body part or break something. He had pretty sensitive hearing as well. I don't think he knows anything about werewolves."
Digging into the her stew she gained another pleasant surprize. This French food was growing on her. She'd have to look the recipes up online and figure out how to make this stuff.
"What did Thanos have to say? I mean about your fitting in and what not? If you don't mind me asking."
It was a kind of personal question but she was interested. The pack had some sort of elite military that confused her and seemed so ridged. She hoped that wasn't what Bastian had in mind.
"A den of vampires? I am curious to know if they live or travel in packs like we do, but if that's the case I hope you'll think twice, no ten times first before you follow this guy any further."
Telling Diane what to do, or even implying he had a legitimate place in doing so was absurd. She was an employee, or at best a friend, no one he had any rights to counsel. But it ran against his nature to remain silent, and who was to say there wasn't potential for more than friendship between them?
Those kinds of thoughts pushed Bastian back to devouring his food. As it turned out, devouring his food was still something he wanted to control better, so he forced himself to chew his food at more length, and to take longer breaths in between bites. Talking was helping.
"How is your stew? I've had this dish before, and will be complimenting Jacques the next time I see him, this is one of the best versions I've ever had."
At the rate Diane was eating, he would have been surprised to hear she didn't like it. Bastian smiled to think his choice was also something they found a common like for.
"Thanos...ah yes, well there is an entire new kettle of fish. He gave me some good ideas on what I can do to strengthen myself, become more useful to the pack. I'm going to volunteer the house for any visiting pack members who need a place to stay, and eventually have a small cottage built out on the west side, that can be used for that. I've also offered up my professional services in the even any of the pack needs them, free of charge." He wanted to do more, but hadn't yet figured out where he would be best used yet.
"We also talked about another werewolf pack, also here in Nachton...Kadzait...have you heard of them?"
That was this nor that since it wasn't happening anyways.
"Man would I love to see you performing a surgery on a werewolf. That would be beyond awesome to watch. I want a call if that ever happens!" she laughed at the surreal idea.
"The stew here is amazing! I'm glad I coppied your choice. I figured if you were eating it, it couldn't be too bad. Oh and don't worry I wont follow him into anywhere unless I know every escape route imaginable!"
Their food was diminishing at a rapid rate and she was sad that it meant the evening would end sooner rather than later. When he spoke of the other wolf pack the Kadzait's, she looked around quickly to survey the area. No one had been seated too close to them and that meant good things. If he got angry again and raised his voice not many would be concerned.
"No I haven't heard of them before. That prolly makes me a little flakey to think we were the only kind of werewolves running around here. Are they aggressive?
"That kind of volunteering wasn't what I had in mind, and you know, I don't even know what our physiology is like...I have to assume like this we appear normal, at least I've yet to have a doctor look at me too strangely. But in wolf form? I'm not sure how much we're like our wild brethern...I'll have to add that to my list of things to find out about, right after vampires."
Bastian was still joking, somewhat, but he hoped Diane knew he wasn't making fun of her. It was more that because she was who she was, and that they had this connection he didn't have with anyone else, it gave him a sense of freedom he knew he had been lacking.
Pushing his dish slightly to the side, having all but licked it clean, Bastian leaned back slightly in his chair, and found himself staring at Diane as she finished her own meal. How strange it was to be able to discuss all the things that had been bothering him, short of the details of Reign, and yet not be twisted in knots over it. He had to credit Diane, and as such he didn't want the evening to end just yet.
"Not any more flaky than I was. I just found out about the other pack very recently...that vet in town...he's Kadzait...and also the straw that broke my camels back in a way."
He both wanted to continue, yet he didn't want to spoil the evening. Could he bring up Reign again, and not get angry?
The waiter returned to clear the table and ask if either of them wanted coffee or dessert. Almost without fail, Bastian ordered chocolate cake for dessert. He had always loved chocolate and in cake form was his favorite. Tonight he decided he might break the mold and try something different...maybe share a bite of whatever Diane wanted, or vice versa.
"Have any favorite desserts? I noticed the menu was quite extensive...Creme Brulee, Baked Alaska, Cherries Jubilee, Banana's Foster..." Gesturing to the waiter, Bastian encouraged him to fill in the blanks, since that was all he could remember of what he'd seen. "Your choice, if you don't mind sharing a bite or two? I don't think I could eat more than that." It was presumptuous to order dessert that way, but he really didn't intend to eat more than a bite.
Watching her decide he looked at her a little more, and noticed small details he'd not taken the time to see before. Why was she single? She was very pretty, kept herself well, had a smashing personality, was friendly, caring...Bastian finally came to his conclusion that she was single by her choice, and for some strange reason he felt kind of good about that. Why? He would devote time to figuring that out later.
"If you have strawberry cheesecake I'll take that." she said to waiter.
She didn't mind sharing her dessert with him, hell the idea was a little exciting although she figured he'd use his own fork.
"As long as your hands are fast, you might just be able to trap a piece. It'll bring hunting to whole knew level." she grinned.
"Have you had any run ins with him, this vet, before you knew he was a were? Did he tell you he was Kadzait? How'd you find out?"
The desserts arrived and she was more than pleased to see that the strawberries were real and not some strange gelatin mixture. She shimmied in her chair doing a small happy dance over the fantastic food.
He laughed as she joked about trapping the desert, and for a few seconds the idea of hunting and what to hunt changed drastically. Bastian faked a cough, and shook himself, somewhat disgusted with where his mind was going. He was in a relationship, and with a woman he'd loved for years. Yes they had experienced a falling out, but they had in the past and worked through it...they would most likely do the same now.
"I will refrain from commenting on how fast my hands are, at least until we know each other better."
Shaking his head and still laughing, he hoped Diane knew he was teasing.
"Funny you should ask, but since I almost literally ran into the Kadzait in Reign's yard, we also ran into him at the local bowling alley. He was there with a date, and in human form, obviously, but I knew it was him immediately...he has two different colored eyes."
Sipping his coffee, Bastian found another reason he would need to compliment Jaques.
"He didn't tell me he was Kadzait...it was about all I could do to be civil to the man, but I knew because of the conversation I'd had with Thanos. We have no such were in our pack, and there are no rogue weres in the area...he had to be Kadzait. Then too, the man is HUGE, in and out of wolf form, and I've since learned that is one of the differences between our packs. That, and their colorings tend to be one color, or one color with very little constrast."
His words hung on the night air, while he tried once again to decide if he was to discuss the other night at Reign's house.
"Having a few days between me and the argument with Reign the other night, I can't help feeling there was more to it than just her unreasonable anger, and lack of trust in me. It was almost like no matter what I would have asked or said, she would have taken exception to it. At the time I was laying all the blame on the Kadzait...but now that I've had some time to think about it, I'm really starting to see there may be an underlying problem I may have been ignoring these past few months."
It was almost as if a light bulb had suddenly been turned on over Bastian's head.
"She kept thinking up reasons not to move out of her house...she wouldn't let me check on her dog...and now this...maybe there were other things I've been missing too."
The intention of the conversation was to get Diane's opinion, but the more Bastian talked, the less he even remembered she was at the table. Luckily for him, and his reputation as a decent man, he snapped out of his self induced trance, and was jolted back to the present. He smiled slightly apologetically, and thought better about continuing along that path of conversation.
Picking up his fork he broke off a mouthful of the cheesecake without doing to much damage.
"Damn, but that's good...very smooth...good cheesy flavor, and those strawberries taste like they were just picked in the fields."
He set his fork back on the table and nursed his coffee.
"When you finish here, do you think you might like to take a walk along the docks?"
"Duly noted." she kept her trap shut as not blurt out some dirty insinuation.
There were bigger wolves out there? The thought of that made her shiver. As much as the thought scared her it also intrigued her, she made a mental note to see one of them in form before she died.
As he spoke more about the other wolf and Reign his voice was different than before. He was more thoughtful and less angry this time. She could almost see the gears moving in his head for a brief moment before he smiled.
"Men." she shook her head sadly with a small smile. The actions he described naturally stood out to any woman as caution and reserve but like usual it took a man to say them verbally outloud to see it.
"Well, I'm no huge expert on relationships, apparently, but I think you might be right on the possible underlying problems part. I thought it was weird when you said earlier that she wouldn't bring her dog to you. I wouldn't take my animals to anyone else and we aren't even dating." she winced at the words and hoped it didn't sound as hokey as it did in her head. "What I mean is, I would figure you'd go the extra mile to save my cat just because we were together rather than a stranger. Does that even make sense? Though I'm sure you try hard for everyones pets, you just wouldn't have to put up with weeks of bed ridden depression from them. " She was about to start rambling embarassingly so she quickly switched focus.
"Yes i would love to go for a walk." She took another bite of cheesecake which left one piece standing. Silently she pointed to the piece with her fork and raised her eyebrows to ask Bastian if he wanted the last piece.
'Men', she'd said. Well, he couldn't help that, he was born a male, and up till now had been pretty happy with his anatomy. But from her tone he guessed he must suffer from some malady only those of his sex were known to have. It wouldn't be surprising to hear such a thing since because he'd had come to terms with certain aspects of his personality years ago. In some ways he had worked to change, and in some ways he had been successful, yet there would probably always be more for him to learn and improve on.
At least she seemed to agree with the overall picture though.
"I do understand...it makes sense to me, and is comforting to know someone outside the immediate circle sees the same thing I do, while being objective."
Bastian had no reason to think Diane was being less than objective. He could think of no reason the pretty brunette would feel otherwise, since she had nothing to gain from it. Not to mention the fact that he really still couldn't logically explain Reign's actions.
At first he shook his head at the last bite, before a slightly sly smile appeared on his face and he nodded. He picked up his own fork and was about to accept the bite of cheesecake by taking it himself, when he paused and looked at Diane a little longer. It was not lost on him that there was chemistry between them both, nor would it be any kind of trial to change the tone of the evening to one of more interest on his part. In fact, if he allowed himself to acknowledge his feelings, which he had been ignoring for the most part, it was clear to him he could easily get into a position he wasn't free to be in, yet, or ever.
So he poked the cake with his fork, was about to put it between his lips, and offered it to Diane at the last second.
"Here, you go for it. If I get a chance later to fight with you over a bite of chocolate cake, I'll caution you now...I won't be so generous."
The chuckle was low, and soft, and to a passerby they might have imagined it was between a gentleman and his lady friend, but in his heart Bastian had yet to cross that path.
Signaling to the waiter, Bastian paid the check, stood, and moved to Diane's chair, ready to assist her. An Italian man might still suffer from some jealousy, and outdated ideas when it came to women, but in Bastian's case he suffered equally from the desire to be chivalrous, and make his lady, or any lady, feel special.
"After you my lady."
"Well should you need to vent, learn more about mythical creatures or just relax, the best chocolate cake can be found on the strip. I'm only a little ashamed that they know me by name there, only a little." she held up her hand to gauge the distance with her thumb and pointer finger. "Their fudge is divine."
It was to her surprize when he came and stood by her chair. A good surprize. Where she came from very few gentlemen remained. She tilted her head so she could smile at him half wondering how Reign couldn't be completely smitten at any given moment by Bastian. She couldn't fathom hearing 'hey im worried please dont goto that vet for a bit' and saying noway. Not to that face.
She walked ahead of him until they got outside. Slowing her gait a bit to walk next to him and let him lead them where ever he wanted she thought of a question she had wanted to ask him.
"Oh hey, random question, are you able to go between forms whenever you want?"
It was something she had been working hard on but yet grasped fully.
And...there wasn't much he could do about it now, was there?
Walking was something he often did after a large meal. It helped with his digestion, and prevented that lethargic feeling that could come over him especially when he'd eaten meat. Though he usually walked alone, having someone like Diane along made the walk seem more enjoyable. Being with or around people had never been something he gravitated toward, at least not groups of more than three or four. Being with Reign never counted, but beyond that lately he found himself seeking out others, like Diane for instance.
Yet again realizing he was day dreaming, Bastian snapped to at the sound of Diane's question, and smiled down into her blue eyes...blue eyes framed by dark lashes, not pale.
"Oh hey!" He teased back. "I guess I do have pretty decent control, if I can keep my focus. Sometimes are easier than others. If there is anything about my changing that I'm lucky for, I have to say I don't seem to need to change as often or for as long as some others. A few hours the night the moon is at its peak fullness, and I'm done. Until recently I thought all wolves were like that, but have since found out otherwise. Its like anyone, all of us, we're all unique in some ways...weres have that in common it seems."
Like hunting...Bastian had been around weres who delighted in tearing apart a fresh kill and devouring it then and there. Not him.
"How about you?" Trying to unscramble his thoughts, Bastian couldn't remember if Diane had mentioned shifting problems earlier or not. "Did you say you had some trouble?"
It didn't seem at all unusual that someone who hadn't been a wolf long would still require some adjusting. The difference between her year, and his ten would make a world of difference. Maybe there was something he could do to ease that burden for her, though right now he wasn't coming up with any ideas.
She shrugged. It was something she knew she would master eventually and that it would take alot of patience to work on. That part she needed more practise in for sure. It was one night after she had been trying for hours and hours that she had found out how to emotionally change. Exaustion, fatigue and dissapointment had lead to a disasterous crying tantrum that ended in an explosion of fur and torn clothing. It was also the first experience her son had with meeting a wolf face to face. It had taken her quite sometime that evening to change back into a human and the little bugger had woken up from his sleep. To her surprize he hadn't been afraid, he had thought she was just a giant doggy whom he wanted to 'pet'. The memory was a good one and she laughed now thinking about it.
"Apparently my son thinks I'm pretty cuddly as a wolf."
His need to not change often brought another question up in her mind that she voiced as well.
"Do you not like to change? I'm not to fond of the inbetween parts but being wolf isn't so bad. Mostly I just like to run. Forrest Gump style."
"Being able to change at will can be a nice defensive move...as long as whoever you're up against isn't twice as big." Like Aidan was, he remembered bitterly. Knowing there would be no contest at all should the need arise, Bastian had no choice but to stay away from the Kadzait. And if anything remiss were to occur between the bastard and Reign... It was just so frustrating that she refused to see his point at all.
He laughed, almost out of the blue, when another sight filtered before his eyes.
"What I would give to see your terrorist, and how he would look if you were to change before his eyes. From what you've said, the man seems to get some sort of perverse pleasure from causing you pain...oh how wonderful it would be to see him smacked in the face with some of his own medicine."
Her questions kept Bastian on his toes, and he found he enjoyed talking about himself. Strange that Reign had never asked him such things.
"Sometimes I like to change, and sometimes not so much. When I haven't planned for it...it can be messy, and I don't like having to pick up things. However, when the weather is just so, and I want to run at night, going as a wolf is perfect. I've always been a runner, and have used running when I needed time to sort things out...to relieve stress. I've got a decent metabolism, and have always eaten pretty healthy, so I don't worry about my weight, but there's nothing like going for a run, and exhausting the hell out of my body when I've got things on my mind. Part of the process is to come up with answers before I allow myself to stop...that can be a real incentive sometimes."
Back when he was learning to control his wolf, it had also helped to run to the point of exhaustion when changing was growing necessary. When he was tired, he had a more difficult time fighting the change.
"But when I run at night, and am in my wolf, I feel so close to nature and the basics of life that the whole experience becomes very spiritual to me. Like that night I ran into you and Mosi...I don't think I ever thanked you for that night, but I will tell you now it did so much for me in making me feel at home here in Nachton." She probably thought he was daft, but he couldn't have been more serious.
"I believe if I had someone to be with when I changed, to run with like that, it might make it a lot more appealing."
He couldn't resist putting the invitation out there. If she chose to ignore it, it would answer some questions he had. If she accepted it, it would answer other questions. Either way, he knew he would want to continue their friendship, and hope it would develop into something beyond casual.
They had reached the end of the docks, and could either turn around and go back, walk down to where the boats where, or go down some steps onto the beach. Cocking his head to the side, much like he did in his wolf, Bastian silently asked Diane to make the choice.
"You don't find you make rash desicions just because your tired of running? It would be something I'd do, but then again in my human self I haven't been much a runner since I was in track and soccer back in high school. That being some time ago. Also on a side note, I am never eating my lunch in front of you at work again! I'm like the junk food queen. I swear McDonalds has my picture hanging up with a big heart around it somewhere. You must be horrified at what I eat everyday! I have a pretty decent metabolism myself that's how I've always gotten away with it and I know, I know, one day it's going to end and I'll be a dumpster of health problems but it's just so tastey!" Her voice raised an octave at the end.
Definately from now on she'd be eating out back behind the horses for sure.
Looking over, and up, at him her face was full of surprize.
"You don't have to thank me. That was my first full moon here too and my first full moon with anyone other than myself. It was awesome. I never thought playing tag would be so exhilarating and...freeing. I'm glad you came and found us and that it made you feel more welcome. That was a very good night, well up until the freezing cold walk back to the asylum in the nude with a dislocated shoulder." Her grin was huge this time when she remembered the humiliating end to the evening. Mosi had done well to make her comfortable through it all. At this very moment she was glad Bastian hadn't been there for ANY of that.
"I miss that, I've been so consumed with the craziness of life and training that I've been pretty solitary. Maybe we will have to run around some evening together? I think it would be fun."
Technically he himself had just said if he had someone to run with as a wolf he might enjoy it more but asking him was still a bit nerve racking. He could of meant his question metaphorically. He could of meant it as a comment that he wished Reign was a wolf so she could run with him.
That popped yet another question into her mind that she wasn't sure she wanted to ask. For the moment they had paused reaching a place of decision on where to head next. She saw that he was letting her choose and she walked down the steps towards the beach. It was the one place she didn't get to run as a wolf in fear of being seen. Not places were there to hide out in the open sands.
As her sandals hit the sand she figured she might as well ask him the big questions now so she didn't spend too much time sitting around thinking about it later.
"It's none of my bussiness really, but, is Reign interested in becoming one of us? It seems it would be very difficult to date a human. Specially with trying to protect her from other were's." she hoped he wouldn't take offense to her question.
"You're correct...bigger isn't always better, and I'm coming around to believing that, honest...but when you've lived your life with one specific mindset, sometimes it's difficult to let go of."
He also wasn't at all certain he'd come out ahead up against a grizzley...those things could weigh as much as 770 kilograms...1700 pounds US. His mind now constantly saw weights and measures in both, after all the years of learning to convert.
But oh how he appreciated Diane's support. He wondered if she realized how much she was offering him, or if it were a natural state for her to be in. He hadn't run into them often, but occasionally he had met up with a nurturing woman, and was always amazed at how natural it was for them to give of themselves without expecting anything in return. His friend Sabine was like that, though he could see her now waving off any such compliment.
"No, running works for me,and I use finishing as my incentive to come to decisions, and solve my problems." There was no reason to elaborate, he thought. If they ran together in the future, Bastian would show Diane what he meant.
He laughed casually as she almost apologized for the food she ate.
"And what does your little man think about all this fast food diet?"
It was not his place to judge what the woman ate, or what she fed her son, but it was a question he was curious to hear the answer to. It could have been due to finances, since it was common knowledge that fast food was a lot cheaper for some to eat. It never was in the past, but with the economy being what it was now, the tables had turned some. Even still, he wasn't about to pry into that part of her life, no matter how concerned he was.
What he might try doing though, would be to start having lunch catered, maybe as just a random perk, and then have it grow into something more permanent. He wasn't sure how he could extend that to her son though.
It was reassuring to hear she had found the run that night as exhilarating as he had. He had forgotten there had been something wrong with her that night, and felt bad not having pursued to help. He recalled thinking Mosi had everything under control, and as it turned out the other man obviously had, since Diane seemed no worse for wear now.
"Nude, eh?" He had to chuckle, though that in and of itself would have made the assiting worthwile. He then examined the idea of Mosi's involvement, and became curious to whether or not the two of them had developed any relationship.
"I would like that."
He countered to her half invitation, respecting her taking his current position into consideration.
He jumped down behind her, and began walking down toward the water's edge. It looked like the tide was in, so there wasn't far to go.
Her next question was one Bastian had thought a lot about, ever since he moved to Nachton, found Reign, and enlightened her.
"Well, we haven't talked about it in such specific words...but knowing her as I do...first, she's not convinced motherhood is in her. I've seen her around babies, and she is more of a natural than she'd admit to, but still she holds pretty fast to her college ideas on the subject. And in light of that, though we did talk about living together, marriage has'nt been broached in years. If we don't marry, or have children, I'm not sure there would be a need for her to join us."
He paused for a few seconds while he composed the ideas in his head.
"I always thought I wanted her to join me in the pack, married or not she has felt like my mate for years now...even when we were apart."
But did either of them still feel that way? He was having serious doubts.
He chuckled again.
"Dating Reign can be difficult, human or not, and that desire to protect her has brought us to where we are now. Don't get me wrong, its not like I'm a candidate for the world's easiest man to get along with either."
He shook his head, and fell back into thinking about recent events again.
"In any case, I have no issue with your questions, and in truth find they are helping me put my own questions into perspective, and some semblance of organization to deal with.
But enough about me for awhile, this must be so boring for you, listening to my sad songs. Tell me about yours." He winked at her, hoping again his teasing would be taken for what it was.
"Do you ever think about a slightly more traditional family, mama, papa, and maybe another brother or sister for Joseph?"