“Whatever. If you were hoping to make me look inferior in front of Lycan, it’s not going to work. You’ll just make a fool of yourself in front of Elixa.”

“Who and who?”

They both turned patronising looks on me, and I leaned back a little, crossing my arms.

“Okay, forget it. I can’t help it if I’m not down with all the Eternal info or whatever.”

Phoenix snorted, turning it into a cough. I gave him a dark look.

“Well, I think I’ve worn out my welcome.”

“What welcome?” I said, at the same time as Willow said, ”Noticed, have you?”

He laughed dryly, straightening up. The movement moved his heavy coat a little and something white-silver shone from the inside. It disappeared from sight quickly as he turned his back. 

“See you around.”

“I hope not,” Willow muttered as he disappeared with unnatural speed into the trees. “God, he is such an asshat. Just because the Eternals let him get away with everything…”

I nodded absently, moving my eyes to look at her annoyed face.  I noticed there were dusky half-moons under her eyes.

“Willow, go home  and rest,”  I sighed. She looked at me and walked off into the trees. For a minute I thought she had actually done what  I said, but then the large tawny wolf shrugged back through the underbrush and trotted to my feet. She tore into the chicken on the plate then wiped her muzzle in a sparse clump of grass, before dragging the blanket over between her teeth. She settled down on it pointedly.

I rolled my eyes and jumped, gripping the top of the fence with my fingers and hoisting myself up until I was sat on it with my legs on the garden side. 

“Does Meena ever keep watch?” I asked. The wolf made a noise a lot like a  sigh and raised and lowered its head in a nodding motion. 

“See you tomorrow, then… uh, sleep well?”

Willow made an odd coughing barking noise which I assumed was a laugh. It would be hard to show human expressions when you were a  dog, I reasoned as I jumped down onto  the wet  grass of the garden. It was past ankle height and soaked my pyjama hems as I walked back to the door and sneaked to my room. The TV was off and the living room in darkness; at the back of my mind a voice niggled that that wasn’t good for me. 

The bathroom door stood open and it was empty, but there was a line of light under my mother’s closed bedroom door. I wondered if she had gone up to mine and noticed I wasn’t in there. I cringed mentally, promising to be more careful next time I went to visit my werewolf friend guarding the house from an evil vamp-wolf hybrid… yeah, it wouldn’t be so easy to explain.

I went to my room as quietly as possible and waved absently out of the window before getting into bed. 

The End

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