He had waited years to hear Black say those exact three words, yet hearing them now Red wasn’t so sure that they soothed him quite the way he thought they would.
“Funny, if I didn’t know better I’d think you were saying goodbye.”
Black didn’t answer, he just held Red, wrapped his arms around him and breathed in and out, silently.
“The woods are no longer safe for you. You have to go back.”
“Haven’t you been listening to me? I’m not going back. I’m staying here, with you.”
Black drew away, the scent of him seeming to draw Red towards his retreating steps.
“No you’re not.”
“You can’t stop me!”
Black turned back, his eyes glittering with an unnaturally bluish tinge under the eerie glow of candlelight.
“You’re being childish Red. You think just because you know the woods, that suddenly you can tame them; tame me?”
“And what if I do? It’s possible.”
“It’s not. I’m cursed! I’ll hurt you?”
“You could never hurt me.”
“But what if I do? Because I will. I cannot control it anymore. ”
Red could tell that Black was scared and a part of him was scared too. But he still saw the humanity in his eyes and as long as he did he would help him fight it. It did not matter what legend said or even what he had seen in the past weeks.
Black was still in there, he knew it. He wouldn’t have changed back if he wasn’t. He had rescued him from the pack so Red knew he could beat this too. Black just needed to believe it. So Red untied the bandages and unraveling them, stepped closer to him.
“Stop! What are you doing? Go, please. The fool moon is here. I can’t control myself when it happens.”
But Red didn’t stop. He was done running, from home from the woods, most of all from Black. If he was to die, he would rather die on his own terms than locked up behind walls away from Black. His arm was still tender and the blood was still fresh. He prayed that this would work like the last time.
“I want to show you that you can resist it, that you are more than what the pack say you are. You’re not a killer. ”
Red blinked and Black’s hand was suddenly on him now as if he’d disappeared from across the room and reappeared close to him in the split second between opening and closing his eyes. Black was obviously growing stronger, faster, becoming less of himself and more like them. He rewrapped the bandages around Red’s arm quickly.
“I’d never forgive myself if I did anything to harm you. Please Red, go home. Now!”
His voice was like a growl, frightening and almost as if someone; something else was speaking inside of him. Red shook it off. It was Black. The same black he fell in love with. He wasn’t a monster. He’d never hurt him.
“No! It’s too late. Even if I run now you’ll find me anyway wherever I go. I couldn’t outrun you. But you, you can fight this.”
He growled again, plopping down onto his knees as he cried in pain, his arms shaking uncontrollably.
“The pain, so much pain. Make it stop Red, please make it stop. Just Kill me! Please. End it here before I kill again. ”
Black said looking up at Red. His face had began to change, grow hairy and menacing. Once he even tried to bite Red’s arm when he saw the bloody bandages, but he drew back almost immediately.
” Kill me before I kill you! Do it!”
“Never! If you die, I die with you.”
Again Black writhed in pain, rolling now on the floor as his arms and legs seemed to be growing, bursting out of his clothes. Then he growled as he got onto his hands and knees, his body shifting, lengthening, expanding and then it was over.
Red sat for a while in the silence waiting for him to get up.
Now a werewolf, Black got up on his four hairy legs, snarling as the last shred of humanity seemed to disappear from his eyes. They were eerily bright blue now; animalistic. His midnight black fur rustled in the wind coming in through the open window and then growling he stood on his hind legs, advancing towards Red.
“Black, Black it’s me. Black don’t do this. Black…”