Lazarus looked out of the window, one arm around Melissa, holding her to him. She was looking out of the window, too. They were in a kitchen - their kitchen, but not the apartment. It was their own house. The garden that lay beyond the pane of glass was exactly the right size, bathed in evening sunlight. The perfect green of the grass could be seen at just the right angle and the whole scene brought a smile to Lazarus' face. There were two figures on the grass, playing together. He watched them with the protective zeal that he watched over Melissa with, and a glowing love that he didn't understand.
He tightened his grip on Melissa as they watched the figures running around on the grass and lowered his head to kiss her. Their lips met and moulded against each other with contentment. They pulled out of the kiss and resumed watching the small figures on the lawn.
The figures were children, a boy and a girl. As siblings do, they were arguing playfully over the football. Lazarus smothered his laughter as the girl kicked the ball over the fence and then ordered her brother to go get it. The boy protested and Melissa rolled her eyes.
‘I'll get it.' Lazarus said quickly kissing Melissa on the lips again. She nodded and smiled, watching as he scolded their children for fighting before disappearing out of the garden to fetch the ball.
Lazarus walked down the alley between their garden and the neighbour's looking for the ball.
‘Looking for something?' a cold voice behind him seemed to smile as it talked. He spun to face the voice. In the fading evening light, Lazarus could see a man standing in the shadows of the high fence. The hunter. ‘How cute. The mutt had puppies,' he threw the ball back over the fence to the kids, and stepped into the light towards Lazarus. Lazarus shook his head.
‘They're nothing to do with this - leave them out of it.' Lazarus said, his eyes turning steely.
‘Shame they'll have to be put down.' The hunter grinned and pushed past Lazarus, heading for the gate.
‘No! Don't you dare touch them!' Lazarus snarled. He felt the rage grow within him and he hadn't even needed to call the wolf. The transformation was painless and swift, and he leapt after the hunter, doing his best to protect all that mattered to him.
Lazarus' eyes snapped open, a result of the dream, the loud growling noise he was making and Melissa jumping out of the bed. He tried to talk and roll over, but suddenly he discovered why Melissa had moved away from him so quickly. He hadn't even noticed that the wolf had taken over in his sleep. He sat up and looked around him and then up at Melissa who was staring at him, shocked. He huffed and tried to change back, but the adrenaline coursing through him from the dream refused to let his shape change. He shook his head and laid back down, trying to calm down. She sat down beside him and ran her fingers through his fur slowly, calmly.
‘Please change back.' she murmured. His thoughts were swarming, stung and angry, and they hit her like a brick wall through his blood link to her. She saw a flash of his dream, the hunter running for the gate, the need to protect what he loved. She felt his heartbeat racing unnaturally for someone who had been lying down. It thumped as though he had been running for his life.
‘Lazarus...' she whispered softly, stroking his fur gently, trying to soothe him. She looked at him, not really knowing what to say. ‘You're okay now, shh...' she waited for his heartbeat to slow a little, but it didn't seem to oblige.
He shrugged her hand off, and got up again, jumping off the bed. He was fighting with the wolf for control and her contact was not making it better. He pounced on the sofa, ripping one of the cushions to shreds within seconds, scattering the stuffing across the floor. He snarled and howled as he destroyed the next cushion, before clawing at the sofa itself, his claws ripping through the leather like it was nothing.
Melissa watched him from the doorway, a frown spreading across her lips as she saw him fight himself. She stood back out of the way as he slowly destroyed the sofa, not knowing what to do. She thought, possibly, if she could just get closer to the wolf she could calm his thoughts with her memories. Suddenly he sat back from the mess of black leather and off white stuffing whining. He bared his teeth at no one in particular and closed his eyes, growling. The sound of his growls were low and reverberated around the room, loud enough to set a few strings inside of the piano ringing with overtones.
She slowly approached him, placing a hand in front of her cautiously. All she needed was a single touch.
‘Lazarus.' She mumbled, moving soundlessly across the room towards him. He snapped his head round to face her and opened his eyes. He whined again and walked backwards, skulking away from her. She sat on the floor, her legs crossed, her arms outstretched.
‘Please, don't be scared. Come here.' She mumbled. He shook his head and sat down by the window suddenly realising he had just cornered himself. He didn't know how to tell her that he wasn't scared of her, but he was scared of what he might do to her. She moved toward him, one step at a time silently walking making sure she was always in his eye-sight. She waited till she was within arm's reach and stopped. He stared at her, his heart racing faster as he realised the wolf felt threatened by her proximity. I thought it had accepted her! His panicked thoughts pulsed alongside his heart.
She sat not moving, wondering if she should move. She could feel the tension rising in the room and could hear his heartbeat going too fast. She looked down at the floor, lying down on her back, showing her submission. She reached a hand out slowly, touching his paw. His eyes followed her as she placed herself before him. He felt the wolf relax a little, and his heart slowed a little. He put his paw on her chest and stared at her. She looked away. With a grunt, the wolf took his paw back and let her sit back up.
She sat up and moved her hand up to his shoulder and sent calm, slow image through his head. Her singing, him playing the piano, them talking. "I see you as my saviour; my angel with the purest white wings. I love you" Lazarus whined and quivered. The wolf's hold lasted only a few moments longer before he yelped and shuddered violently, his wretched screams bringing him back to his human form.
‘I'm sorry!' he gasped, rolling over, looking up at her. He pushed himself up so that he was sitting.
‘What for?' she asked, smiling softly. She wrapped her arms around him as his breaths and heart slowed. He returned the embrace, nestling his head on her shoulder.
‘I lost control over it! I thought it had accepted you. I shouldn't have experimented with forcing my transformations!' He looked up at her, his eyes a little scared and filled with concern.
‘It's okay. Lazarus calm down. We're okay.' She told him. He nodded and closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he noticed the mess he had made of the sofa and groaned.
‘I liked that sofa.' He said, pushing his hair out of his face, exasperated.