Celeste trotted away from the small campsite. There wasn't anyone to see her go. No one would miss her.
She walked slowly through the forest, debating whether to change back or not. She decided against it, liking the feel of being on four feet again. The forest around her didn't change for however long she walked. For all she knew, she was going in circles, but she didn't care.
She heard some noises coming from not far away. Celeste went after the noises, intrigued.
Celeste stopped, seeing what was making the noise. It was a small herd of deer. She smiled in her head; she wanted to hunt for a change. She wasn't particularly hungry, she just wanted to feel the wind through her fur and the adrenaline coarsing through her veins as she chased them. She loved chasing deer, even if she didn't intend to bring one down.
She crouched down a bit, shuffling closer to the herd bit by bit, trying not to make any sound. She got to the edge of the foliage. She looked around, deciding which one to go for.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a wolf who'd obviously had a similar idea. He looked at her briefly but ignored her. His fur was jet black and his eyes were bright yellow.
An interesting contrast, Celeste thought.
She saw something in his eyes, past all the death. Something that marked him as different from a normal wolf. Celeste couldn't quite put her finger on it, and so continued to watch him.
The wolf paused, looking between the jackal and the deer. He tensed his hind legs and launched himself at one of the female deer. Celeste just watched his curiosity as he brought down the deer, grabbing at her neck with his teeth, without a pack. He was alone.
The rest of the herd had fled as soon as the wolf had flung himself out of cover. But now an unlucky deer lay dead at his feet. He watched Celeste for a little while, tearing chunks from the deer, not taking his eyes of her. She saw something else in his eyes; a feeling. But it was a feeling she couldn't quite understand. It seemed that he couldn't quite figure it out either.
He dipped his head to her, inviting her to join him in his feast. She stepped carefully out of the cover of the trees and slowly walked towards him. After she'd had her fill - which wasn't much - she watched him watching her.
He turned away and left, Celeste following him from a short distance away. He led her to a stream, where he just watched her as he drank.
They watched each other for a while, the stream rushing by. Celeste looked at it and smiled. She pounced on the water, jumping around in the stream. She splashed him and barked happily at him. She lifted her bushy tail into the air playfully. He joined her in splashing pointlessly in the water.
He rubbed against her side. Celeste did her best not to be pushed back; he was much stronger than she was. She nipped at his ear teasingly, jumping out of the way when he tried to push her gently. They laughed, playing together in the shallow water.
It had been a while since Celeste had had a friend she could relate to, even if it was only that they both sometimes had four legs. It had been even longer since she'd had a male friend at all, seeing as her entire species is female. She didn't even know if male Bardi - or anything like them - existed. Her mother was Bardi, but her father was human.
The wolf she was playing with tipped her over and pounced on her, standing over her. He barked twice and smiled down at her.