The night of the full moon is the calling card, and it brings out everything to be feared in a man. Muscles rip, bones rearrange, and bloodlust enters his eyes. Taming this beast is more than Neji ...
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own Naruto or its characters. They are the property of Masashi Kishimoto.
Rippling, muscles tore and ripped beneath flesh as they rearranged themselves. Sick, wet pops happened as bones did the same. Dark red-hued fur receded as pale morning light peeked through a dusty window and cast a pale glow on the grubby wooden floor. Gasping and reeling, clawed fingers scrabbling across the floor, the creature let out a strangled cry as the sunlight hit his flank and sped up the process. A moment or two later, he lay panting on the floor, fully human once again.
He laid there for several minutes, gathering back the strength that had left him during the reverse transformation. Slowly, a hand reached up and groped at his head in hopes of dulling the pounding ache between his ears. The throbbing faded to a much more bearable ache, and the boy lifted himself from the floor. Unsurprisingly, he was as naked as the day he was born, and the cold gusts of wind coming in from where the back door was off its hinges chilled him to the bone.
Quickly brushing flakes of drying blood from around his mouth, he crossed the room and knelt beside a hatch in the floor boards. Beneath was a shallow storage space in which he had hidden his clothes. He pulled the garments out and put them on, careless as to how they were rumpled and dirty. A small mirror came out of the pocket of his long leather jacket, and he used spit and a finger to rub away the last of the blood. An eyeliner pencil made its appearance, circling his already dark eyelids with thick rims of kohl. He put the mirror and makeup pencil back in their pocket and sat down to put on worn black boots. The laces were ragged and caked with dried mud, making them hard to tie with cold-numbed fingers. Finally, he was ready to go.
He stood, shoulder length red spikes flaring fitfully in the gusts of cold air blasting into the small house. A last glance behind him to ensure he had left nothing, and he pushed the door aside to step out into the cold.
Air laden heavy with snow nearly barreled him over, but he crouched low to the ground and held his jacket tight to himself. It was only a short cut to the woods, which he could just barely make out between flurries of white. Setting his eyes on the dark line of trees looming ahead, he braced himself and set out straight out for the edge of the huge clearing. Once within the shelter of the tall trees, the wind died down to an occasional burst and the walking was much easier.
He picked his way through several dozen yards of vine wreathed trunks before stepping onto a narrow path created by the hooves of many deer over the years. Here, the walking was easy for one who had followed this path many times. Boots scuffed until the leather was green trampled fallen leaves into the soft dirt of the forest floor, making their way steadily along the trail towards a village several miles away. It was easy to say the lad knew these woods well, and well he might, for it was here in these woods that he hunted during the nights of the full moon.
Here, in this desolate woodlands where his malady could be expressed far from civilization and its people. What would they do, those people, if the discovered such a creature in their midst? It was a thought that young man had brought to attention many times. And worse, what would happen if he were to encounter a human on one of those nights? It was hard to control himself in any event during those times, much less just to keep himself from heading towards the village in that state. The scent of human blood seemed to make the beast more alive. To enter the city on those nights would be suicide. Not that he hadn’t entertained that thought before, either. It was part of the curse that werewolf and their were kin were hard to kill, excepting certain substances and circumstances. If it hadn’t worked before he became cursed, there was an even less likely chance it would work now.
Sighing and shaking his blood red locks, he glanced up at the patches of sky he could see through the trees. Daunting, grey blanketed all that he could see. A blizzard was in the making, and it would be best if he were home before then. The boy quickened his pace, lean body easily adjusting to his new gait. A quick glance at the sky a moment later and he loosened into an all-out lope. He dashed the last stretch of forest between himself and the edge of the fields bordering the village. Then, he braced himself again and headed out into the snow. The wind had picked up, blowing this way and that and throwing snow in his face. Nose already red and cheeks numb, he ignored it and headed towards the main path into the village. He could tell the difference when his boots thumped on hard cobblestones beneath a covering of snow.
It was less than a minute later that he was stepping through the door of a small house off of a side street. He didn’t even bother taking off his boots or shaking off his coat outside, which he knew his sister would pester him about, but instead headed straight down the short hallway and into his room. The door clicked shut softly behind him, but the silence was soon broken by the twin thumps as the teen unlaced and threw his boots in a corner of his room. His jacket landed over the back of a tall chair, and he collapsed on his bed to stare at the ceiling.
Too lazy to even change clothes, he rolled over onto his stomach and allowed himself to drift asleep for a few hours. He knew his sister would call him to breakfast or lunch when it was ready, depending on whether she decided to let him gain an extra two hours rest. His last thought was whether or not Temari would bother him, asking him where he had gone again, and whether or not, maybe this time, he should tell her the truth.