Author: Dreaming K
Category: Slash, eventually (J/B)
Disclaimer: I don't own The Sentinel, or any characters of the show. Just dreaming :)
Okay, here is the second part. I really hope you like it. Is it too short? I am unsure about the length of the individual parts...
As always, please feel free to point out any typos and mistakes.
Inner Beauty - part 2
As the first rays of sunlight fell through the ceiling of the tree tops the silver wolf lifted his head and yawned luxuriously.
“Good morning, sleepy head.” James greeted him with a smile and got a short growl in return which only served to broaden said smile.
“You are probably hungry after sleeping so long. You should go hunt.”
The wolf simply shook his head and sat up. James hugged the animal to his broad chest. “I'll miss you, my friend wolf, but I have to leave now. I am required in Aquino in a few hours.” He explained sadly. Seeing the pleading eyes he added “I promise I will come back tonight though.”
James let go of the wolf and reached for his sword, strapping it back where it belonged.
“Fare well my friend. Until tonight.” And with a last tender pet to the furry head he turned to leave. He'd gone a few steps only though when he heard a soft, mournful keening start behind him. He took another step away from the beast, but…he shook his head. He just couldn't leave the wolf. James looked back to see the wolf hunched in the same spot forlornly and his heart constricted at the sight.
The prince turned, went down into a crouch and opened his arms for his new friend. The wolf's ears pricked up immediately and he bounded forward to bury himself in the arms of the man who had driven away the sorrow and loneliness from his heart.
“Alas, I cannot bear to leave you behind for you have somehow ensnared my heart, silver wolf.” The wolf in question yipped happily and licked the prince’s hands which were stroking his face and muzzle. And as James bend down to kiss the wolf between his eyes, peace and a sense of security settled into his soul the like he’d never felt before.
The silver wolf drew out of the hug after a few minutes and looked at James like he wanted to tell him something. He took a few steps into the direction James had gone before then looked back.
“What are you doing?”
A yip, more steps, another look.
James laughed. “Am I supposed to follow you?” The wolf shook his head impatiently – a droll gesture for a wolf, James noted – and came back. He circled around James then stopped behind him to butt his head against the human’s legs. James started walking slowly and like a flash the wolf was there trotting next to him. James stopped and was growled at softly as the wolf started pushing him from behind again into the direction of his horse.
“You think we should both go. You want to accompany me? Into the city?” James was amazed. He got a happy nod and an enthusiastic bark as his answer. His companion started pulling at his pant leg with his fangs when he didn't start walking again and James could not hold back his laughter. “Alright, alright. You are one bossy wolf, Chief. Did anyone ever tell you that?” The wolf flashed his teeth at him and bent down to grab his leg again.
“Hold your horses, Chief.” The princes crouched next to the animal cupping the fuzzy head with both hands to make the wolf look at him. “The city is a dangerous place for a wolf. Are you sure you want to come with me?”
The silver wolf nodded seriously and leaned forward to rub their cheeks together.
“OK, that's settled then. You'll come with me.” As an afterthought, “And I will make sure nobody bothers you. I will keep you safe.” He smiled at the wolf.
“One more thing. Can I call you 'Chief'? I do need to call you by a name if we are going to stay together for a while.” James looked at his new friend hopefully. 'Chief' cocked his head thinking about it then inclined his head making James smile. After a second Chief nudged his nose against the prince’s chest.
“You are so right. Where are my manners, I haven't even told you my name yet.” He smiled again. “I am James, well actually Crown Prince James Steven of Ellison, but for you I'll just be James.” His companion stared at him in surprise. The prince wondered again at how much the wolf seemed to understand, but was distracted when a warm tongue licked his cheek.
He shook himself out of his thoughts. “Now that the introductions have been made we really need to leave. I'll be late as it is.” Chief barked and both of them stood up again.
So James and Chief set out for the edge of the woods where the human had left his horse.
”Kolai probably won't be happy that I left him here all night. He doesn't like the forest at all, you know.” James warned. And true to his word the black horse was very put out when his rider came back after being gone a whole night. The wolf dropped back as James approached the stallion and waited patiently.
“I am sorry, Kolai, for my long absence. But I met a new friend in the forest, so I could not just up and leave, could I?” The prince gestured at Chief, who drew back a few steps to appear as innocuous as possible to the easily spooked animal. Kolai snorted. “I'll get you some extra big carrots when we get back to the stables, deal?” The animal snorted again, but let James mount up. Kolai tensed as the wolf drew near, but didn't balk.
So they went back to the city of Aquino, James riding his black mount and Chief running along side him.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The sun was high in the sky by the time the unlikely party arrived at the east gate of Aquino. Two guards, armed with sword and dagger, stood at attention as their prince rode up and they greeted him with a small bow. Their hands flew to their weapons though when they beheld the silver wolf trotting docilely beside their master's horse.
People never cared for the creatures of the forest, especially not if they came into their city. And wolves weren't exactly their favorite of all animals. Since the dawn of time there had been a feud between man and wolf which still held into present times as both species avoided each other as often as they could and fought viciously when they couldn't.
“Your highness, I don’t know if-” One of the guards doubted, but James wouldn't let him finish. “He is to be treated as my friend, which makes him a royal ally and whoever doesn't treat him with proper respect shall answer to me. Understood soldier?”
Both soldiers saluted their prince as he passed them and entered the city gates, the wolf not straying from his side.
Once inside the city walls James dismounted and led Kolai through the maze of streets and alleys. Chief, glad to be closer to the prince again, brushed against his thighs with every step.
The townspeople bowed when their prince passed by them in the streets but they would shrink back as soon as they saw the beast striding next to him. Alarmed whispers filled the streets of Aquino where ever they went, but a fierce look from James would shut up even the bravest blabbermouth.
Wolf, man and horse reached the castle more or less unhindered. James led Kolai into the stables and ordered the cowering stable boy to reward him with extra carrots.
After that he and Chief entered the castle, ignoring the surprised and fearful shrieks of maids, servants and courtiers in the hallways. James did not care about the opinions of others about him. It didn't matter if people thought him odd for befriending a wolf. It didn't matter if people avoided him or talked about him. What mattered that he was the Prince and that he worked to make life in his city easier for the citizens. And if he spent time with a wolf after his duties were fulfilled, well then that was no one's business but his own.
It didn't take long for them to reach the prince’s chambers on the second floor. The door slammed shut behind them firmly.
“Home, sweet home.” James said sarcastically. Chief immediately went to explore the rooms. There were three rooms all together. A bedroom with a huge four poster bed near the windows, plush carpets, a massive oak wardrobe and a smaller night table also made of oak. Through a door on the left Chief found the bathing chamber. The wolf stared for a moment at the marble floor and the walk in tub before shaking himself and went to see what was behind the door on the right. The third chamber was a comfortable study with a teak desk plus chair, many bookshelves lining two walls and the same plush carpet as in the bedroom. The desk stood in front of the windows so that the light which fell through made reading the papers scattered on its surface easier. The space at the opposite wall was taken up by a huge fireplace. There was a cushy armchair in front of it.
Chief made a beeline for the nearest bookshelf nosing through its contents carefully. James stood, leaning against the door frame, and watched his companion, bemused. The silver wolf wasn't just sniffing at the book spines, no…his head cocked, an intent look in his eyes… Chief was reading the book titles. James eyes widened. The way Chief always understood what he was saying…
“Chief?” he whispered.
“Chief?” A bit louder when the wolf couldn't tear his gaze from the books. Chief looked up.
“You're not a real wolf, are you?”
The animal was caught off guard by the question, but just for a moment. Hope shone in his eyes and he nodded sadly, trotting to the prince who sank down to embrace the wolf.
“Are you…human? I mean before this,” James rectified. “Were you human before this?” The wolf nodded again intently watching the man.
"Oh dear lord..."