THE WAY HIS EARS PERK UP THOUGH

A girl, a boy, and a wolf

(Based loosely on this OTPprompt, but only loosely and with much less OTPness since this is all taking place in their childhood.)

The wolf always makes things too simple in its head. He’s fed. He’s petted. The walls of the room protect him from the freezing cold outside, and though his bones still ache after the run in with a golem and his hind ankle in particular hurts to walk on, there’s been very little need to run and strain his body further here. This is the safest he’s been…ever. The wolf wouldn’t mind staying forever.

The boy is angry that the wolf feels this way, because it means when the girl bounces into the room and his ears perk up, it’s not looking for a way to escape. It’s looking for her attention, and gives the softest of whines, just barely audible to her human hearing, until she laughs and pets and hugs him, her small arms enveloping his chest.

He needs to change back to his human form soon, because the wolf is winning. The wolf is happy, and it wants him to be happy, and that just feeds the anger in the boy’ heart because the wolf doesn’t see the truth. The girl thinks he is nothing but a dumb dog, and the adults are indulging her because he’s still weak and wounded. As soon as he regains his strength enough to be considered a threat, he’ll have to leave. It won’t be the first time.

But it hurts. That people are more willing to approach the wounded wolf than the crying child. That this girl likes him for now because she thinks he is her pet, because the wolf lies still and lets her thread tiny ribbons through its fur. The wolf likes her gentle fingers, even when they are a little clumsy.

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