Skjor looked at him with pinched acceptance. A bright red werewolf who could only be Aela was staring at him with narrowed black eyes to match his own. Jakel simply shook his head again.
“I-i-...Not to be rude but I’ve heard this transformation can be violent and I…” Jakel clasps shaking hands together, “I do not think I would survive it.” It wasn’t the only reason to be sure but he wasn’t going to tell them that he didn’t want the ‘gift’ they were offering. It was rude given all they’d gone through but Jakel had made up his mind that he would never give up with place in the void to join Hircine’s hunting grounds. It just wasn’t done.
There was a pregnant silence for some time. Skjor was looking too closely at him for the dunmer to feel comfortable but he wasn’t going to allow the man to simply coerce him. It would not be done. After minutes had passed Skjor sighs.
“Its up to you, my friend. Just know that if you ever change your mind…” He motions to the Underforge, its alter, the werewolf that is Aela then slaps a hand on the dunmer’s shoulder. The mer winces but nods all the same with a small calm smile.
He returns to Breezehome with his heart racing, his mind miles away. No, no, no. He couldn’t take the power they offered. It wasn’t a gift for him, Farkas had told him it was a gift for some but he and his brother and even Kodlak were questioning their places in the afterlife with this beast living inside them.
A storm swells on the horizon, great peals of thunder can be heard for miles. The rain comes in heavy, thudding gushes of water over his rooftop and he clutches at his pillow scared and alone and not feeling well. Shudders rack his body when thunder rumbles overhead; he can see the flashes of lightning cast horrific shadows over the walls.
They’d given him a choice and yet. The dunmer shook his head and buried his face in his pillow in a childish manner, one he’d never truly grown out of. He’d run straight into his home without a glance back when he’d made it off the steps outside the mead hall.
No, no, no.
Werewolves and werebears were actually prevalent on certain parts of Morrowind. Islands, mountains, hills. They were the boogeyman. When he’d learned about the Circle from Farkas he’d nearly run right then and there but the boy looked just as frightened as he, so he let the lad explain. He’d confronted Kodlak about it when they returned with the Wuthrend fragment, pushed for information. The old man had actually eased some of his fears but it hadn’t gotten rid of them.
He hadn’t seen a werewolf since he’d seen Farkas transform to fight off the Silverhand. He hadn’t thought about werewolves at all in the months he’d gotten to know the companions. Then he is confronted by two, in a hole in the ground, near an altar with them offering cursed blood so that he might truly be apart of them.
Thunder cracks and Jakel whimpers.
They had given him a choice he reminds himself. They weren’t going to force him to make one just offered their ‘gift’ to involve him. Under any other circumstance the gesture would have been sweet.
The clink and creak of the door opening downstairs sets his heart racing again. No, no, no. He curls more tightly around around the creased pillow. They wouldn’t force this on him, they wouldn’t. They were his friends, his comrades, he’d been given a choice and they would respect it. heavy foot steps would be hear beneath his floor, heading for the stairs.
Creak, creak, creak.
Thunder rumbles, Jakel trembles and curls even tighter into his mattress. The modest home provides little warmth when the wind howls. There are not enough furs to settle the chill that leeches into his bones at the prospect that they might ki--- ‘NO!’
“Jakel…” Farkas is standing outside his bedroom door. He can’t gather enough of his usual calm to answer the lad. Farkas knocks three times on the door. “Jakel...can I come in?” again Jakel is stuck trying to gather his mind. The dunmer tries to unclench his limbs but he gets about as far as releasing them and can move no more. His hands are still gripping the fabric, ankles crossed. He will not move himself.
Farkas swears “I’m coming in.” The door isn’t locked, just like his front door wasn’t locked because he panicked. Now he was letting them in -fuck- couldn’t they just let him wallow in his self pity!?
“Jakel…” Farkas’ voice breaks. Soft, worried, gentle Farkas. he wouldn’t, he couldn’t.
“I don’t wanna be a werewolf…” Jakel whimpers.
The wolf sighs, “I know. You--” Farkas is standing by his bed, sitting at the edge of the bed, dragging a comforting hand down his back over the worn shirt. Or it would have been comforting if Jakel wasn’t thinking all manner of things. horrid thoughts rushing through his head as he lays there, helpless. He isn’t really but what is he against a werewolf?
Farkas takes his hands back, placing them in his lap when he realizes he isn’t helping. The dunmer can’t see the kicked puppy look on the twin’s face but he can imagine it enough to turn his head. Farkas is staring at him with an almost imperceptible pout on his face.
“Skjor told me he’d given you a fright and that I should check on you.” He sighs, “I hadn’t thought--”
Jakel curled back in on himself at the next peal of thunder. Farkas made a sound he couldn’t understand but the hand was back, He could hear the sound of clanking metal, the hard thud of boots on his wood floors then a body wrapped around his. He shudders, curling in tighter but the body follows. Its supposed to be comforting at first it isn’t, then it is. Farkas is draped over his back, arm thrown over his side, spooning around his shivering form.
Wolves are pack animals. Jakel knew they saw him as family. Skjor’s offer, Aela’s offer, was like some roundabout way to help him join the fold. The twins had leached themselves to him, he and Kodlak traded stories, Aela reminded him of his daughter and she even came to him for advice when Kodlak wasn’t around in that quiet way she does so no one could perceive weakness. Skjor was brusk with him but it was his nature and his wolf barely noticed him. It was always the same.
Somehow Farkas had gotten an arm under him and Jakel was resting against his chest still partially curled into his protective ball. They didn’t go anywhere. Farkas stayed the whole night running gentle hands over his back and sides. By the morning Jakel was nestled comfortably against the other’s side, drifting between waking and sleep that only terror could do as it ebbed away from him. The wolf was asleep, having found himself comfortable enough in Jakel’s bed to leave himself completely unguarded.
During the night the rain had stopped, the sounds of the city outside was slowly waking to start the day. He couldn’t move for the arms around his shoulder and middle, not that he tried very hard. It was comfortable. Not having slept with another person, or next to another person since his wife died.
Hopeful this wouldn’t be the last time.