"And after all this time, you still have yet to overuse the amethyst stone; I'm very proud of my bunny pal" Naomi chirped, glancing between Sebastian and Undertaker as she spoke. "Of course, nowadays I rarely even need to use it since I have a big, strong guard dog" Sebastian added, teasingly. Directing their gazes to the mentioned lycan, excluding Hatter, neither of the group were surprised that in Claudes' place was a black wolf lying on the floor and hiding behind the armchair. "Well, since Ōkami is pouting and most likely clammed up...it's up to us to finish this tale of romance and drama" Heather exclaimed, gesturing to herself, Naomi and Sebastian. "Cutting to the chase, that first letter was breathtaking...albeit a bit silly". Claude let out a groaning whine at Sebastians' description. "And all subsequent notes included with the small gifts he sent me were sweet and flattering". "But by the third correspondence, I couldn't shake the strong feeling I had that all this effort was merely a means to an end". "Translation: Sebastian thought Claude only acted like a charmer to get in his pants" clarified Naomi, arms crossed and sending an admonishing look to the wolf. "Fortunately, on her next visit to Wonderland gathering news, Naomi was made aware of the situation and immediately sought to do damage control" supplied Heather.
I finally get to visit Sebastian again; I know it's only been a few months, but it feels like a whole lot longer to me! I can't wait to see how he and Claude have been doing since they started writing to each other. I'm practically dancing on air as I race through the forest in my cat form to reach his home. Running on four legs instead of two, I can get around much faster and it doesn't take very long at all for me to reach my destination. Returning to my human form, I step up to the front door and knock; about a minute later, Sebastian opens the door and greets me with a smile. But wait, something's wrong...he seems so sad; I don't have to be a kanjō to know that something obviously happened in between trips.
"Usagi, is everything alright?" I ask, not wanting to invade his privacy by just finding out the answer with my powers. His brows furrow slightly and he heads back inside; I follow him and shut the door, watching as he takes a seat on a black sofa. At first, he just sat there head down and an aura filled with sorrow surrounding him. "Sebastian..." I start to say in a voice no louder than a whisper. Suddenly, he pulls out a couple folded sheets of paper from his breast jacket pocket and hands them to me. Taking and unfolding them, I see they're letters - specifically, letters that Claude sent Sebastian; I was about to question why he gave me these when I spared a glance at the words written.
, Yours is a beauty unparalleled by no other
. How I long to worship that graceful body and watch as you writhe in ecstasy beneath me
. I can scarcely begin to imagine the texture of your pale skin or even the delectable taste that is your essence
I couldn't read anymore without losing it; this is nothing but - shameless foreplay for a quick fuck! I mused to myself; in that moment, it occurred to me what was going on.
"Oh Sebas-" "I should've known better; he only wants me for my body" Sebastian said out of the blue, cutting me off mid sentence. My feline ears twitched at the sounds of soft sobbing; I looked over to Sebastian, who had his face buried in his palms and crying. It broke my heart to see him like this, but at the same time I felt my blood start to boil a little in anger at what my old friend had done to my new friend. And right away, I developed a conflict.
Comfort Sebastian or Kill Claude?
"Uh, Usagi; what do you want me to do?" I asked, giving Sebastian the choice over my next course of action.
"Uh, Usagi; what do you want me to do?" I heard Naomi ask, concern and uncertainty in her voice. I appreciate that she didn't just leave me to go take care of that bastard...not that I would've minded all that much. "I think- I'd like to be alone right now" I replied, my voice barely audible and quivering lightly through my tears. "That's fine, Sebastian; perfectly understandable. I'm gonna go set a certain Romeo straight; I promise I'll be back as soon as I can to help you through this". Naomi spoke hurriedly as she said all that, indicating she was working hard to keep her emotions in check. I heard the door open and close quickly along with footsteps; it makes me feel a little better knowing she's rushed off to kick his ass.
'I'm gonna kill him, I'm gonna kill him' I chanted in my head over and over. Anger does not even begin
to describe how I feel right now; I swear, once I get my claws on him...
Using my kanjō abilities, I make quick work of locating that despicable cad. Hackles raised and tail whipping dangerously back and forth, I spot him in the clearing where all of this started. "Hey, Emperor Claudius!" I shout to gain his attention. He turns around and I sprint toward him, stopping only when I'm six inches from his jerky face.
"Naomi, my dear and beloved companion; how are you this fine afternoon?" "Mad as hell" the neko spat, placing her hands on her hips. "Whatever could put such a fair maiden as you in a mood so foul?" "You, dumbass and don't think you can talk your way out of this by flattering me". "Oh, but darling" Claude gently grasped both of Naomi's hands in his and got into a waltz pose, "I sincerely mean the words I speak to your immeasurable loveliness". Naomi could only gape at Claude as he started leading her into a dance. "Are you drunk?" she asked, incredulously. "Drunk on love...and your charm" Claude suavely retorted. As the two ravenettes danced to no music in the middle of the clearing, Naomi noticed something was off about the man other than his behavior.
'It's not even hot outside and Claude is sweating' Naomi silently observed. Once they dipped, Naomi took the opportunity to touch his forehead with her palm. "Claude, you're hot" she announced in alarm. "And you are gorgeous beyond compare. Run away with me, Naomi; we'll make beautiful pups together". "Dream on, Claude; I don't like you that way. Hell, I'm not even your type!" "Of course you are; my type is any delicious specimen that catches my eye". They had begun the waltz again and Naomi's rage was instantly replaced with worry for her friend. "As to the former, that is simply an irrelevant detail when you consider that we have fiery passion" Claude crooned, twirling her to the side and ceasing the dance. 'Fiery passion; oh no' realization hit the kanjōkō like a freight train. 'Claude is under the influence of a potion, and a very dangerous one at that'. "You need not a map if you get lost in my eyes, for I shall guide you back to reality". "My hero" came Naomi's sarcastic response. "I merely offer my service as a gentleman; your gratitude is unnecessary". Naomi rolled her eyes at the statement, ignoring Claudes' inability to recognize her sarcasm. "Claude, can you stand still for a few moments; I want to see what a charming lycan has been doing with himself...particularly four months back" said Naomi, putting on a 'subdued damsel' act and playing along with the situation. "Anything for you, sweet princess". The wolf did as told and stood like a statue with his head tilted downward partly; Naomi placed her palms over Claudes' eyes and concentrated on searching for his memories of their last visit to Wonderland.
[Flashback - Claude's memories] "Greetings and salutations, good fellow!" a voice suddenly called out. Claude looked up to find himself face to face with a strange man. "Oh my, whatever on a magnificent day such as this could cause you to be plagued with melancholy?" the man asked, moving about in an overly dramatic fashion. "I would rather not burden you, but I appreciate your concern". Claude started to leave, only for the other man to cut off his path. "Nonsense; you are clearly distressed and I wish to offer my assistance, if only to lend a sympathetic ear". "Alright; beggars can't be choosers" said Claude with a heavy sigh. "Marvelous; allow me to introduce myself: I am the Mock Turtle, Aleistor Chambers". "Claude Faustus, simply a lycan". Claude extended his hand to Aleistor, who clasped it between both hands and shook it enthusiastically. "Splendid to meet you Claude; come, we'll adjourn to more comfortable settings and continue our discussion at length" Aleistor declared excitedly.
- "Please, regale me with your tale of woe Mr. Faustus". "Of course; first and foremost, the problem itself is not a particularly serious one...at least by comparison of an actual emergency" the golden eyed man took a sip of his tea, "it was just recently that I encountered my soul mate". Aleistors' face lit up in joy at this announcement and rose from his chair. "Oh Cupid, once again you have done the difficult deed of piercing someones' heart with your enchanted arrows, thus allowing a seed of love to be planted and potentially grow into a blossom of everlasting care and devotion!" the blond shouted in exuberance.
"After a brief internal debate, I've come to a decision..." without warning, the Mock Turtle raised a hand toward the heavens and gazing upward, "despite my complete inexperience in regards to this specific situation, I believe that I can still be of some help to you Claude Faustus!"
"And how do you intend to help me if you yourself are not even homosexual?" "Claude, the solution is very simple: I can teach you how to be confident, how to charm and most importantly...how to seduce" the last three words were spoken in a low, sultry tone.
"Drink this". "What is it?" "A very special potion to thaw your frozen tongue and enable you to express all your pent up passion for Mr. X". Throughout the lessons, Aleistor had taken to calling Claudes' crush 'Mister X' since it was revealed that Claude had no idea of his real name. As for the potion, it was a bright red liquid in a bottle shaped like a valentine heart and made of frosted glass.
The next scene Naomi saw was Claude drinking half of the bottle before it fell out of his hand. Right away she knew what the man called 'Aleistor' had given him. 'As if I didn't have enough on my plate; now I have to cure Claude of his reckless passion' Naomi groaned internally. "What might be distressing you so to cause such a lovely face be marred by a grimace?" Claude asked suddenly, snapping Naomi from her thoughts. "Oh, I uh, couldn't help notice you look a tad peaked; I think I should take you home to rest". Claude said nothing in response at first, only giving Naomi a small smile. "Your thoughtfulness and consideration for my welfare makes you that much more beautiful in body and soul". "Okay, I'm confused; are you agreeing to cut our trip early or not?" His mouth turned down into a slight frown, "Far be it from me to deny a lady her request, but we have a task to accomplish for our mistress. Besides that, I feel fantastic and I would hate to keep her waiting any longer than necessary" the raven haired male struck a small pose: looking upward, he turned away and covered his eyes with his arm above his head. "Figures you'd say something like that" Naomi muttered through a sigh under her breath. "Pardon?" asked Claude, redirecting his attention to the neko.
"I said" Naomi cleared her throat and shifted her weight to one foot, making her hips jut to the side, "Faustus...what's the point of living if you don't take the time to be a little naughty every now and then?" Naomi's voice was husky with lust, her tail flicking seductively and her eyes half lidded. Fluttering her lashes, she continued speaking words laced with a demure sweetness, "Since you are feeling so...fantastic
...why don't we play a game of chase; you can be the big bad wolf out hunting for a fresh catch and I'll be the innocent kitty who's lost her way". Throughout her 'flirtations', Naomi placed her hands on Claudes' shoulders, rubbed up against his chest and other tiny gestures to spur his interest. However, Claude managed to restrain himself from indulging in temptation...if only just.
"Pretty please, Claude; I know how much you're itching to frolic in all that freshly fallen snow back home" Naomi playfully pouted, maintaining her flirty voice. "And I know for a fact" Claude exhaled sharply at a hand suddenly cupping his manhood and palming it teasingly, "that he
wants to frolic in the fields as well" whispered Naomi, referring to his partly erect cock. The final nail in the coffin was Naomi sensually and slowly licking up Claudes' neck making him shiver in pleasure. A growl erupted from his throat and the lenses of his glasses fogged over instantly. Claude calmly removed his glasses to wipe away the fog and placed them back on his face. Sliding them up the bridge of his nose, he stared at the ground silently for a few seconds before uttering a single word in a dangerously low tone, "Run
" I heard Claude say - or actually, growl under his breath, but I could hear it clear as day. Slowly, I stepped backwards and kept my gaze locked on the body in front of me. I guess he's giving me a head start, I surmised. Once he was no longer in my sight, I spun on my heels and started running as fast I could to put as much distance as possible between us. My cat ears twitched as I picked up the sounds of paws hitting the dirt and rapid panting breaths. That meant only one thing: Claude was in his wolf form.
Maybe my plan worked a little too well?
As I ran, I used my kanjō powers to send a distress signal to one of the others at the castle.
'Guys, we have a situation; Claude is under the influence of a Reckless Passion potion and is currently chasing me back towards Kōri-chi. Whoever gets this communication first, meet me outside by the frozen lake. And hurry!
Taking out a marble sized ball from my pocket, I slowed down some and threw it on the ground; a large hole quickly formed and I jumped into it, thinking of where I wanted to end up on the other side.
'Guys, we have a situation; Claude is under the influence of a Reckless Passion potion and is currently chasing me back towards Kōri-chi. Whoever gets this communication first, meet me outside by the frozen lake. And hurry!
' I was startled awake as Naomi's rushed voice echoed inside my head. I automatically recognized it as one of her mind link messages; realizing the urgency and context of the message, I did as she instructed and lept out the window in order to reach the bottom of the castle quickly. Using my vampire speed, I ran as fast as unnaturally possible to get to the edge of the lake located not terribly far from the palace.
When I got there, I was just in time to catch Naomi emerge from a rabbit hole on the opposite side. I also saw a large furry mass come out not a minute later before the hole shrunk and disappeared. Naomi shifted to a cat and practically flew across the ice to get to safety. I knew exactly what she had in mind; my timing had to be perfect in order for this to work out just right. Kissing my knuckles, I counted the seconds in my head and knelt on the ground to where I was only about three inches from the edge.
With all my strength, I slammed my fist against the solid surface as hard as I could. Within the span of mere seconds, the ice cracked and broke crumbling into several pieces, Naomi (as a cat) pounced from her spot and landed into my waiting arms, preventing her from taking a dip and lastly, Claude sunk into the icy waters slightly more than halfway across.
I felt Naomi leave my embrace and saw that she changed back to a human; we both watched the place where Claude vanished with bated breath. "Shouldn't he have come up by now?" I asked, whispering. Naomi sat wordlessly next to me, a look on her face expressing that she wasn't quite sure what to do or expect now.
I heard Heather's voice asking me question, but I didn't really register what it is she said; I was far too preoccupied searching for Claude in the lake. This is the first time I've personally dealt with the consequences of Reckless Passion and I had prior knowledge of how to counteract the effects and cure it...I just don't know if I was able to save him in time. Another minute or two passed before a hand shot out of the water and reached for something solid to grab onto. I had been startled a bit but immediately recovered and tightly grasped the limb in my own hands.
"Help me pull him out!" I shouted to Heather, pulling towards me. Heather took the other arm that popped up along with the back of Claudes' shirt collar. Claude was gasping, coughing and shivering violently as we got him all the way out of the water and helped him onto his feet, but he was alive. Now would come the hard part: the aftermath.
* * *
"It took a week for Claude to recover from his hypothermia and the bad cold he ultimately caught". "Correction; I had pneumonia and I was sick for almost a month!" Claude interjected without warning. "Aw, did puppy not enjoy his polar bear swim...because frankly, I think you deserved it after making Usagi feel like he was just another passing fling!" berated Heather, her tone seamlessly switching from a mocking pout to a normal angry shout. "Guys...you're both wrong; it was the flu for two weeks" Naomi said, ending a potential argument before it even began. "As I was saying...Claude was no longer affected by his lust sickness, but it would take a lot of work to get him back to proper health. After getting him stabilized, I immediately contacted Sebastian and informed him of the current situation, albeit vaguely". "And despite whatever I may have felt towards Claude at the time" Sebastian began, trailing off. "I still thought he deserved to know that I" Naomi paused, sighing out a breath and collecting her thoughts, "practically threw myself at him with my overly solicitous flirtations". The room grew quiet for a moment, a dusky blush painting Naomi's cheeks at the memory of that day.
It had been two weeks since that eventful day; Claude was fully recovered from his illness and other negative effects of exposure. During that time, Naomi kept her promise and returned to Wonderland to check on Sebastian after making sure that Claude was in stable condition. When she eventually got back to his home, Naomi found the rabbit on the couch asleep and dried tear tracks on his face. Neither the Wolf nor the White Rabbit had exchanged a single communication since then and both ravenettes seemed to somewhat move on from each other. Emphasis on 'seemed'.
It was a slow day around the castle and everyone went about their own business doing as they pleased to entertain themselves. All the inhabitants were quite content with this bit of down time...all except one lone wolf in particular.
There was nothing immediately important to be taken care of, so I decided to use this opportunity to just wander the halls of the palace and clear my head. Those months when I had taken leave of my senses, I stayed partially aware of my surroundings and my actions, but there were still scattered gaps in my memory. I remember writing those letters and sending Sebastian various tokens of my affection, however near the end...it was as if my mind was enveloped in a thick, humid mist. Naomi helped fill in the blanks by showing me what she observed from my inebriated behavior; needless to say, I was mortified when I saw myself flirting with one of my oldest friends. And when she returned the attention back to me...I shuddered at the memory, rubbing the exact spot where she licked my neck. I swear, I can still feel that rough tongue and the now uncomfortable sensation it elicited. Naomi explained that she had been using her abilities as a kanjō to protect herself against my 'reckless passion' as she so eloquently phrased it and that the phantom sensation would eventually go away. But what bothered me the most was knowing I had screwed up again in regards to winning over my mate.
Yes, Naomi didn't hesitate to impress upon me how much damage I caused with my actions. How much I hurt Sebastian, making him believe that I only desire him for his body. I will freely admit that I have fantasized about him once or twice, but he's more than just a future conquest to me! I want all of Sebastian, for however long he will have me...
[Then tell him that...in a letter; a real one this time] It gave me a start to here Naomi's voice invade my mind. I looked down and she was staring at me as a cat, sitting on the floor. [I was listening to your pity party monologue and I happen to agree; you totally screwed the pooch on this one, if you'll pardon the expression] My already low hopes were sinking even further into the abyss; maybe I should cut my losses altogether? [You see, there's your problem: your self-confidence leaves a lot to be desired and you're too easily selling yourself short] She lept from the floor all the way onto my shoulders perched like a bird. [Listen, confidence comes from experience and impulsive, spontaneous actions; not by drinking a magical concoction you got from a weird stranger] "But you told me so yourself; Sebastian wants nothing more to do with me". Naomi made a disapproving growl and instantly, my body jerked sharply at a set of little fangs harshly nipping my canine ear. [I showed you how he reacted to callous subtext in your last letter; that wasn't an automatic disqualification] [Claude...if you are really honest about your feelings and explain your mistake, there may be hope for you yet] I sighed heavily and replied, "What have I got to lose?" [That's the spirit; I'll even help you from a supportive standpoint]
[Three days later]
Naomi had returned to Wonderland, Claudes' missive in tow and feeling cautiously hopeful that everything would work out for the best. Upon arriving at his home, she knocked on the door and waited for the owner to let her inside. Within a few minutes, the door opened and Naomi was greeted by Sebastian...only for her shrink back at the strong aura of sorrow in the air. "How nice to see you again" Sebastian half-heartedly greeted in a soft voice. He gestured for her to enter and closed the door behind the neko once clear of the doorjamb. "I won't pussyfoot around, so here it goes" Naomi produced some folded papers from her pocket and held it out to the rabbit, "I have a letter from Claude that I want you to read before you make any final judgements about him" she rattled off quickly. Sebastian stared at the note with slightly wide eyes before regaining his neutral composure. "What does that cad want now?" Sebastian asked, icily. "Another chance; he's different this time, I promise!" Naomi exclaimed, a hint of desperation in her voice. "Save it, I'm over the man; those two weeks of peace were a welcome change from eating up his tender lies". "I know for a fact that's not true". Sebastian plopped down on the couch, dragging a hand over his face tiredly. "I hate being made to feel like I'm just some pretty plaything that will get tossed aside once they've gotten their fill of me" said Sebastian, voice low and flat but with an edge of sadness. "Usagi, please...just keep an open mind, read the letter and if you still can't stand him afterwards...I will take you to Claude so you can personally bitch slap him yourself".
"Very well" Sebastian relented, through a heavy sigh. Taking the letter and opening it, Sebastian started to read to himself.
'My dearest kitten,
First, let me explain and make abundantly clear that the man whom you corresponded with was merely a fraudulent facade. I am ashamed to admit it, but I took a cowards' shortcut and sought help from a local resident named Aleistor Chambers. After a couple days of failed teachings for how to be seductive, he gave a potion he said would aid my ability (or lack thereof) in conversing with the object of my desire. I foolishly trusted him and paid the price: becoming somebody I'm not and deeply hurting the one I care for. It also nearly cost me the whole of who I am as a person due to the nature of the spicy liquid; Naomi explained to me what exactly it was that I had taken and the inevitable, ghastly outcome that would have transpired. Rest assured that she discovered my condition in time and was thus able to act accordingly to return me to normal.
Second, I have given you the impression that my intentions for courting you are the furthest from being pure. For this, I sincerely apologize; I don't expect you to forgive me so readily, or possibly at all...I just want you to know that I deeply regret the way I comported myself since our initial indirect meeting. Who I am, the real Claude Faustus...is an awkward introvert. That is, to say that I've never been the most capable of making small talk and properly socializing with other people. I have always been somewhat withdrawn and stoic towards others; even with my own family. Such attitude and behavior on my part caused people to believe I was cold and emotionless. This simply is not the case; I do possess the ability to connect with someone else and get close to them, but it takes time for me to open up and allow them inside. I guess you could say I'm better suited to playing the strong, silent type. But I digress.
All I have ever wanted for myself is to find that one individual who is meant to be my mate. I knew I'd experience a certain feeling once I crossed paths with them, and after so long...I finally found that special someone.
You, Sebastian Michaelis are the one who is my soul mate.
I won't presume to think you believe in that kind of thing, but it is what I believe in and I want you to know that. Do what you will with this information.
Furthermore, I've never really been involved with another person in regards to romantic relationships. There have been strangers and people I barely know from which I sought physical satisfaction, but those instances were just meaningless sex; none of them even remotely resonated with my being as much as you do. And while I am attracted to you, I want more than your body...I want your heart and your soul. In turn, I want to give you all of me, if you'll accept it.
Whatever you choose to do or think, I will support your decision. No matter what it may be.
By the time he finished reading the letter, Sebastian was in awe and unable to speak. "Sebastian, how do you feel?" asked Naomi, whispering. She laid a hand on his shoulder, waiting for any kind of reaction; still staring at the page Sebastian replied, "I'd like to see him. In person". "Uh, okay...did you mean right now or at a later date?" "The soonest he is available will suffice".