Friend or Foe? -part 2
Read the first part here: https://arc852.tumblr.com/post/162088414332/friend-or-foe
Jack let go of Mark’s finger, dropping his hand back to his side. He took a few casual steps back. “Well, thanks for breakfast and, ya know, not eating me. But, I really should be going.” He glanced at the door, which was still closed.
“Mind, ah, opening the door for me?”
“I can’t let you do that.” Mark shook his head.
Jack froze up at Mark’s words. What the heck was that supposed to mean? Did…did Mark want to keep him?
“W-why?” He mentally cursed his obvious stutter.
“Well, the thing is, a full moon actually lasts three nights.” Mark explained, finishing his own breakfast. “Last night was just the first night. If I let you go now, my pack would just find you tonight and you’d be a goner. It’s safer to keep you here until the moon passes.”
Jack shivered at the thought of being caught between more wolves. He definitely never wanted that to happen again. He looked back up at Mark.
“Okay, but you’ll let me go afterwards, right?”
“Oh, of course!” Mark nodded immediately. “I don’t want to hold you hostage here, it’s really just a matter of your safety.”
Jack nodded. He supposed he did feel a bit safer in here than out there. Both places might’ve had wolves, but at least this one wasn’t gonna eat him.
“Okay then, so now what?” Jack asked.
“Hmm.” Mark put a finger to his lips, pondering what he had to get done today. Of course his original plans were thrown out the window with the addition of Jack. “Well, I suppose I should go grocery shopping. I’m running low on food and I certainly don’t have enough fruit to keep you healthy. In fact, how about you just come with me and tell me what you like to eat?”
“Um…” Just the thought of that sent Jack on edge. “Yeah, being around all those humans? I don’t think so.” Jack had a thing about humans. They weren’t as terrifying to him as werewolves or other supernatural creatures, but they were still terrifying all the same. Not to mention the fact about all the stories there were about humans tracking down leprechauns for their gold. Or a wish. Which wasn’t exactly true.
“Okay, but I really don’t see another way to do this.” Mark pointed out. He knew nothing about what leprechauns eat. Besides, he wasn’t comfortable leaving Jack alone in his home. What if Jack tried to run off despite Mark’s warning? “It’ll be quick, I promise. And I’ll stay away from other people.”
Jack sighed, not at all happy or comfortable with this. “…Fine.” Did he really have a choice though?
“But, how are we going to do this?” Jack eyed Mark’s hands and took a unconscious step back.
“Well, uh…” Mark looked around, trying to come up with a solution that Jack would like. He took one look at his red plaid shirt and suddenly got an idea. “You could hide in my pocket.”
“No,” Jack said without thinking, but then stopped to do so. It was really the only place that made sense. The shoulder would be too out in the open, and something like a bag would be a rough ride. Jack sighed. How did he find himself in this mess again?
“I guess that could work.” Jack said reluctantly.
“Great!” Mark went over and put the red shirt over his white t-shirt, coming back to kneel in front of jack. “Can I, uh, give you a lift then, I guess?” Mark slowly put his hand down in front of Jack, palm up.
Jack stepped back when Mark’s hand came down, looking at it like is was going to attack him. He glanced at up at Mark and then back down at the hand before standing straight and walking over to it. He hesitated a long moment before climbing on, using Mark’s thumb to steady himself.
It was incredibly weird and Jack wasn’t quite sure what he thought of it. He could feel a slight beat coming from the hand and the uneven surface was strange. He stayed standing in the center of the palm, looking up at Mark, hoping again he was right in trusting this guy.
Mark slowly raised his hand, watching Jack’s tiny form with awe. He could feel Jack’s miniscule movements tickling the palm of his hand. It was bizarrely fascinating, especially because Mark had always been secretly obsessed with tiny things.
Not wanting to be a creep, Mark quickly but gently set Jack down into the chest pocket of his shirt.
“How’s that?” Mark asked, holding the lip of the pocket open so he could peer in.
Jack shifted around in the pocket. It almost felt like a hammock if he laid a certain way. A loud beating from beside him caught him slightly off guard, but he soon recognized it as Mark’s heartbeat. All in all, it wasn’t as bad as Jack thought it was gonna be. He looked up at Mark.
“It’s weird, but…nice? I guess?” Jack said, shifting a bit more.
Mark smiled, glad that Jack seemed okay. He let the pocket close and stood up slowly. Walking carefully to avoid jostling his little passenger, Mark gathered up his wallet and began to walk into town. He shied away from the other pedestrians, which was always a habit of his during the full moon. He wasn’t usually sociable during this time of the month.
Reaching the grocery store, Mark grabbed a basket and headed straight back to the meat section. He gathered up what looked tastiest and threw it in. Mark started to walk towards the checkout before remembering the whole reason Jack came along. Mark made his way over to the produce aisle and checked around for other people before holding the pocket open once more.
“Alright, what would you like?” Mark said quietly, hoping the family on the other side of the aisle didn’t hear him.
Jack hesitated before peeking out of the pocket. His eyes widened at the large assortment of fruit. Some he recognized and others not so much. Jack was so used to finding and eating berries and nuts he found in the wild, it was crazy to think that humans (and humanoid creatures) had all this at their disposal. It was kind of overwhelming.
Jack scanned the foods, trying to find some familiar items and maybe some he could try. “Um…how about those blueberries.” He pointed to the right. “And, oh! Strawberries.” He pointed to the middle. “And…that?” He wasn’t quite sure what that was, but it looked interesting. They seemed to be cut in slices, the inside red and the outside green with stripes.
“Watermelon?” Mark shrugged and began putting the fruits Jack requested into the basket. “Alright, anything else? Do leprechauns eat anything except fruit?”
“Well, we also eat nuts.” Jack said, remembering all the times he had acorn.
“Oh, okay.” Mark wandered around the store for a little bit. “Hmm, nuts, nuts…” Mark muttered to himself, wondering where the nuts were kept. The same family from the produce aisle watched him, probably thinking he was nuts.
“Aha!” Mark gave a triumphant cheer when he found the right aisle. He opened the pocket once more. “Alright, take your pick.”
Jack looked out of the pocket and looked at all the cans. His eyes narrowed, none of these looked the least bit familiar. He pointed to a random can, one that said ‘cashews’ on it.
“Um, that one?”
“Cool.” Mark grabbed the can and added it to his stash. Satisfied with the choices, Mark made his way over to the checkout where a nice cashier began to ring him up.
“Planning a barbeque, are we?” The girl teased, looking at the large selection of meat as she put it in bags.
“Uh, yeah.” Mark lied, used to getting comments like this when he went shopping. He quickly paid for the food and left. Walking down the street towards home, Mark’s strong nostrils were suddenly flooded with a delicious scent. Mark gave a slight puppy whimper as his stomach growled. Being a werewolf, he often ate up to six meals a day, so it was no wonder he was hungry again.
Mark didn’t want to keep Jack out too long, but suddenly he didn’t think he could wait the whole walk home to eat. Mark stepped into the diner, hearing a ding as the bell went off signalling his entrance. Sitting down at a booth near the back, Mark opened the pocket.
“Hey, I hope you don’t mind, but I’m just grabbing a quick bite to eat before we head back.” Mark whispered. “Do you want anything?” Before he could hear Jack’s reply though, a cute perky waitress came over to Mark with a menu in hand. Mark quickly looked up, letting the pocket close.
“Welcome to Denny’s!” She greeted, setting the menu down in front of him. “Can I start you off with anything to drink?”
“I’ll just take a water.” Mark said, hoping she hadn’t seen anything strange. Well, besides the bags of groceries sitting right next to him.
“Coming right up!” She left, and Mark gave one last look in her direction before propping the menu up for some privacy. He pretended to skim it while he opened the pocket.
“Are you hungry?” Mark asked quietly
Jack had flinched had the voice of the waitress, very loud and very close. He hated this, he really did. Mark said it would be quick, this wasn’t quick at all. He sent a glare up at the wolf, trying to keep himself from shaking at the loud sounds of the diner.
“We just ate.” He said, annoyed.
“I know, but i’m hungry again.” Mark explained. “Werewolves eat a lot during the full moon. Do you want something or not?”
Jack folded his arms, curling in a little bit before mutter a small ‘fine.’
“Just get me fruit, I don’t care what.” Jack sighed.
“Don’t be grouchy with me.” Mark rolled his eyes. Seeing the waitress coming back with his water, Mark closed the pocket.
“Here you go.” The waitress set his glass down. “And are you ready to order?”
“Yes, I’d like a double cheeseburger with a side of seasonal fruit, please.” Mark handed her the menu.
“Coming right up!” She left to take his order back to the kitchen. Mark sighed, drumming his fingers idly on the table while he waited. He wanted to talk to Jack, but thought it would look strange talking to his pocket more in public and he certainly wasn’t going to put Jack in danger by taking him out into the open.
Jack glared at nothing, not at all happy with Mark right now. But along with his anger he was also slightly panicking. He took deep breaths, trying to focus on Mark’s heartbeat rather than the human’s in the diner around him. It was soothing in a way and helped quite a bit, but Jack still wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. Mark was gonna get a talking to after they got back.
In fact, Jack elbowed the wall next to him for good measure.
“What the…?” Mark felt a tiny hit to his chest. He was about to peek in to see if Jack was okay, but then he saw the waitress coming back with his food. She really did seem to have the worst timing.
“Here you go, sir.” She said, setting it down. “Will that be all?”
“Yes, thank you.” Mark’s reply was a bit distant as his attention was elsewhere. As soon as she was gone, Mark peered into the pocket. Relieved to see that Jack was okay (although clearly pissed), Mark smiled and handed the little guy an apple slice.
Jack glared but took the apple slice and nibbled on it. It was really good and Jack ended up eating the whole thing, ignoring the smell of meat a few feet away.
Something he couldn’t really ignore, though, was the sounds of Mark eating. He was right up on his chest and could therefore hear every bite and swallow. He shivered and set the skin of the apple to the side. Though he was pretty sure by now that Mark wasn’t gonna eat him, he couldn’t stop his mind from going through all the what ifs.
“Mmm.” Mark made a satisfied sound as he finished off his burger. A few moments later, the waitress made a reappearance.
“Would you like any dessert?” She smiled.
“No thanks.” Mark answered. “But i’d take a box for the fruit, if you don’t mind.”
“Coming right up!” She was back in moments with a box and the check. “Take as much time as you need.”
“Thank you.” Mark boxed up the fruit and left some cash on the table, gathering up his groceries and leaving. He made sure to quicken his pace home, knowing Jack was probably angry with him. Still, that burger had really hit the spot.
After the long walk home, Mark finally returned from his grocery shopping adventure. He put the bags in the fridge, washed his hands to make sure they were clean, and then reached in to grab Jack.
Jack’s thoughts were interrupted by light shining down on him, he looked up, only to see a hand coming for him a second later. Panicking, Jack started flailing, trying to push away and dodge the hand.
“Woah, hey!” Mark’s voice was calming as he tried to gently grab hold of Jack’s flailing form. “It’s just me, calm down.”
Jack blinked at Mark’s voice, realizing what he was doing. He didn’t want to be grabbed, but that was the only way out. He forced himself to still and steeled himself as he allowed Mark to finally grab him.
Mark slowly pulled Jack out of the pocket, holding his other hand under him for safety. Mark set him down on the kitchen counter.
“There, that wasn’t so bad.” Mark said.
Jack gained his balance on the table and then turned towards Mark. He crossed his arms and glared up at the wolf.
“You said we were going grocery shopping and then coming back.”
“Well, we did!” Mark argued. “I just had to take a quick snack break.”
“A snack break that lasted an extra thirty minutes!” Jack yelled. He ran a hand through his hair, trying to calm down.
“That’s it, never going out with you again.” Jack said, turning around and throwing his hands in the air a bit too dramatically.
“Oh come on, don’t be like that.” Mark crouched down and put his chin on the counter to be level with him.
Jack glanced at Mark and walked back over so he was now face to face (well, whole body) with him. He stood there for a moment before bopping him on the nose.
Mark blinked, surprised as he went cross-eyed trying to look at Jack. “That’s fair, I suppose. I did deserve that.”
“Oh yeah, definitely.” Jack couldn’t help but smile a bit. But his smile dropped when he thought back to the diner. He stepped back a bit and rubbed his neck.
“And, uh, next time we eat? I’d rather not be in your pocket.” He said vaguely. That had probably been the worst thing out of the whole trip.
“Uh sure, but why?” Mark asked, frowning. He didn’t understand why Jack would rather be out in public than in the pocket.
Jack face palmed when Mark didn’t catch on. It was awkward having to explain it. “Just, ya know, everything is really loud. Especially a certain somebody.” He gave a pointed look to Mark.
“…oh.” Mark blushed, getting his meaning. He gave a slight awkward cough. “Uh yeah, sounds good. So, am I forgiven then?”
Jack sighed. “I suppose.” The leprechaun rolled his eyes and turned his gaze to the kitchen. He had only caught a glimpse of it the night before, when Mark had carried him in.
“You said the full moon lasts three days? Does that mean you’re going to be a wolf again tonight?” Jack asked, already guessing the answer and not really liking it.
“Well, yeah.” Mark nodded. “I usually meet up with my pack in the woods just before the moon rises. But… it’s probably best you stay here tonight.”
“Yeah, that sounds good.” Jack agreed quickly, not wanting to think about what would’ve happened if Mark hadn’t been there last night. He started wandering around the counter, just taking in the sights around him.
“What do we do until then?” Jack asked.
“Well,” Mark thought for a moment before realizing he was hungry again. “How about we start with lunch?”
Jack gave Mark a look. “We…we just ate.” There was no way Mark was already hungry, Jack sure wasn’t.
“I know, but I’m hungry again.” Mark gave him a shrug. “It’s just what happens during wolf days.”
“Well I’m not, but go ahead and eat ya glutton.” Jack said jokingly. “But, while you’re doing that could I maybe explore a little?” He didn’t like staying in one place too long.
“Well, I guess you could, but explore where?” Mark asked, beginning to pull out food from the fridge.
“I don’t know, just around?” He motioned toward the whole house and then shrugged. Anywhere was fine with him as long as he could walk and move on his own.
“Okay.” Mark nodded, turning on the oven. “Just, please be careful.” He was nervous to let Jack wander about unsupervised, but hopefully his wolf senses would help him keep tabs on Jack from a distance. Not to mention, Jack deserved a little freedom since he was basically being held against his will.
Jack smiled and nodded before going over to the edge of the counter. He blinked away the dizziness he felt at the height, but was determined to climb down himself. He gripped the edge and suddenly found himself hanging as he felt around for a hold for his foot.
“Woah!” Mark rushed over to hover, putting his hands under Jack for safety. “Are you okay? Do you want some help?”
Jack kicked at Mark’s hand. “I’m fine! Heights may not be my thing, but I know how to climb!”
“You’re making me nervous, Jack.” But Mark pulled his hands away to give him more room.
Jack rolled his eyes and finally got a hold, after that, it was a piece of cake. He scaled down the counter quickly, not looking down the entire time. When his feet hit the floor he let go and looked up to smile up at Mark. His smile fell slightly at the sight of Mark from the ground, but he tried not to focus too much on that.
“Ta da!” He yelled and did a little bow.
“Impressive.” Mark gave a few claps. “I underestimated you. Just try not to stay underfoot, okay?”
“Got it!” Jack yelled up and then started walking. He headed towards the living room, tile ending and replaced with carpet. It reminded Jack a bit of grass, but still completely different. He looked at the looming furniture, coming across the couch. His eyes widened and he froze.
Large claw marks littered the bottom part of the couch. They were deep and plentiful, as if whatever had made them was desperate. But for what? Jack took a step closer. The position of the marks were as if the creature was trying to get to something underneath.
Mark finished cooking the chicken, digging in eagerly. The plate was clean in moments. After washing up the dishes, Mark slowly made his way into the living room to look for Jack. Sniffing the air, Mark looked down and found Jack looking at something under the couch. Quietly, Mark got down on his hands and knees.
“What’cha looking at?”
“AHH!” Jack yelled and found himself running under the couch. He looked back, seeing that Mark had somehow managed to sneak up on him. He gave Mark a flat look and started to come out before remembering the marks that littered the couch. He stayed put.
“Woah, easy!” Mark gave a loud laugh. “I didn’t think I’d scare you that bad. It’s just me.”
Jack didn’t move and he looked at Mark warily.
“Jack?” Mark crouched down even lower to peer under the couch. “Jack, c’mon, it’s alright. You can come back out.”
Jack shook his head, he wasn’t gonna come out yet, but he should at least give Mark a chance to explain himself first.
“What’re those about?” He did his best to motion to the front of the couch.
Mark looked at the scratch marks on the side of the couch, and suddenly painful memories began to rush back to him. Mark cringed.
“It’s nothing.” Mark answered, but as he began to reach under the couch to grab Jack, his hand seemed to line up perfectly with the claw marks in the upholstery.
Jack put as much distance as he could away from the approaching hand. His back hit the wall and he looked in time to see Mark’s hand matched the marks. What did that mean?! Why wasn’t Mark telling him anything? Was he… had he been lying this whole time?
Jack felt like pulling out his hair at how confused he was. Just the day before, he knew where he stood and he knew where werewolves stood. But then Mark came and turned that on his head. And for a little bit, he thought he knew where Mark stood. But he wasn’t so sure now.
“You call that nothing?” Jack said through gritted teeth, trying to hide his fear. He motioned toward Mark’s hand and the claw marks.
“Jack…” Mark sighed, his hand stopping midair. “Look, if you really want to know, it’s from one of the times the pack locked me up inside. They don’t really like me, so sometimes they lock me in to keep me from going them for a nightly hunt. Except the wolf side of me gets cabin fever, so one night I started clawing at the couch in a hissy fit.” It wasn’t a total lie, but it also wasn’t the whole story. Mark just didn’t want Jack to distrust him any more than he already did.
Jack looked at him skeptically. He didn’t fully believe Mark, even if some of the story did indeed sound truthful. Jack didn’t know what to do. If he kept asking about it, would Mark get mad? He had never seen the giant wolf mad before, but that was not something he ever wanted to see. And especially directed at him.
Jack looked Mark in the eyes, seeing nothing malicious in them. Jack sighed. Jack hated that he was dropping it, but it was for both of their sakes. Maybe he would find out later. If Mark was still the wolf he claimed he was, that is.
“That isn’t the full story.” It wasn’t a question, cause Jack knew it was true. “But, I won’t push for the rest.” Yet.