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Curiosity and Wolfish Tendencies
"Thank you, Ruby." Belle smiled sweetly as the waitress set down another cold glass of iced tea on the table in front of her.
Feeling a trickle of sweat bead on her chest and run down between her breasts, Ruby fanned herself with the menu in her hand from a previous order and smiled back.
"It's a little hot outside and I didn't want you to pass out on the walk back to the library."
Belle nodded sagely. It is very hot out, an unseasonable humid day for Storybrooke, Maine in early May.
Belle sipped on the white straw, slowly drawing the icy liquid up and into her mouth to savor. Letting out a sigh, Belle let go of the straw, licked her lips, and turned back to her friend. Ruby's green eyes had glazed over and seemed to be staring at the glass of tea. Belle looked down in front of her then back up at Ruby with a small blush.
"I was thirsty."
The glass was over half empty and Belle felt a twinge of embarrassment over the amount she imbibed in one draw. Blinking rapidly, Ruby tried to shake the thoughts of the rich pink lipstick marking the top of the straw out of her head.
"Then I'm glad I caught you before you left."
Rocking back on her heels for a moment, Ruby's eyes darted around before she tentatively broached the subject she really wanted to talk with her friend about ever since the librarian walked in to the diner.
"So! How is apartment living? Y'know, now that you live above the library and not at the B&B anymore."
Belle finished swallowing the last bit of tea and set her glass back down, causing the ice cubes to clink together, then answered with a brilliant smile.
"I love it! I can just go downstairs and pick up a book to read whenever I finish the last one." Her teal eyes widened at what her words implied and Belle began waving her hands in front of her chest. "Not that the room I had at the bed and breakfast wasn't wonderful too!"
Ruby laughed, showing off her wide smile full of teeth. "It's alright, Belle. I understand what you mean," she reassured the librarian in the booth. "I was just wondering if you needed some help moving furniture or stuff "
Ruby's voice trailed off as Belle lifted the straw out of the glass then reached in to fish out an ice cube. Her green eyes followed as the ice cube rose into the air until it hit those oh-so-pink lips then disappeared with a flash of tongue.
'Oh, to be that ice cube ' Ruby could not help but think enviously. Now those lips were moving and Belle was saying something. 'Focus, Lucas!'
" -ing alright, but thank you, Ruby. The apartment came furnished and all I had to do was clean."
Ruby fought back a pout and tried one more time. "Well, when you get settled in we should throw you a welcome home party. It'll just be the girls - and maybe a dwarf or two."
Belle's lips smiled but her eyes hesitated. "I appreciate it, but my apartment's a little small "
The taller woman's shoulders slumped a bit but Ruby let it go. She was just not going to get to see Belle's new place anytime soon. It was time to accept that fact.
"I'll see you later then. I better get ba-"
"Ruby!! Stop sniffing around and get back to work, Girl!"
Even as her Granny's words began, Ruby's face was already turning crimson and the blush crawled all the way to her ears. With a growl, Ruby turned to face the kitchen and yelled back.
"I am not sniffing around! I'm talking to Belle!"
Luckily for her blood pressure, Granny's voice lowered significantly as she snarked back, "Could have fooled me."
Belle, not hearing what Granny said in return, giggled as she scooted out of the booth and rose. "I'll talk to you later, Ruby."
Ruby fought off the remnants of her blush as she said goodbye. "I'll see you for lunch day after tomorrow."
The librarian threw the waitress a confused look. Grinning widely once more, Ruby pointed to the ceiling. Belle's teal eyes followed the motion and remained clouded with confusion for only a second longer.
"Oh! Yes!" Smiling, Belle wished Ruby a good Wolfstime and left to the jangling of the bells hanging on the front door of the diner.
Green eyes tracked the shorter woman as she walked by the front window before she disappeared from view. A sigh breezed past Ruby's lips as she turned back to work. It wouldn't do to give Granny any more ammunition then she already had.
The full moon rises tonight and the wolf will play well into the dawn. But the price for the upcoming all-nighter is a full day of sleep to regain her energy. Granny always made sure to work her extra hard the days leading up to Wolfstime to make up for the day off.
This time her sigh was less heartsick and more world-weary.
Belle's head perked up as a howl filtered through the open windows of the library. 'The diner must be closed.' A quick glance at the clock nailed to the wall behind her desk confirmed the late hour.
A smile curled Belle's lips at the thought of her friend enjoying the evening running around in the forest. Filing away the last book on its proper shelf, Belle pushed her cart back behind the front desk and flipped off the main light switch. The light in the stairway to her apartment provided enough guidance that Belle did not have to worry about stubbing her toes on the corners of the shelves or the armchairs in the room.
The curtains framing the open windows fluttered softly in the warm summer evening breeze. Going to them, Belle reached up and pulled each sill down before locking them by flipping the hook-hinge with her thumbs. Lastly, she went to the door to lock it.
Before she twisted the lock, Belle heard another howl, muffled by the wood of the door. Biting her lip, Belle allowed her hand to fall from the bolt switch and caress the brass of the doorknob, caught in a bout of indecision. A third howl made up her mind and Belle turned the knob and pushed the door wide open.
The street corner lamp had winked out for a brief period of time to allow the nodes to cool down which emphasized the silvery blue glow cast by the moon over Belle and all she could see.
Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply. Holding the air in her lungs for a moment, Belle savored the pressure before letting it out to form a name.
"Haaa Ruby "
The moment her breath fully ran out on Ruby's name, releasing her voice to the night, a great form burst out of the woods that lined the far edge of town, its golden eyes pinpricks in the distance. The great beast howled even as its stride ate up the concrete of the road, getting closer and closer to the library.
The sound of its voice rattled the windows, even caused a tiny ripple in the air that blew Belle's auburn curls back a bit. Any lights that were still on in town were immediately doused; the residents of Storybrooke not wanting to draw the attention of any night creatures.
The librarian, however, watched in awe as those golden eyes got closer. The wolf was a dark haired one, but not completely black. Like Ruby, its color was closer to a dark mahogany in the light. Its height, even on all fours, was the most intimidating part. The wolf's head was on level with Belle's shoulders as she stood there in the doorway.
A blast of hot, moist air on her face made Belle close her eyes, but also made her smile widen.
"Your breath stinks, Ruby," Belle teased the panting wolf who stood almost eye-level with her.
A very pink tongue slipped under her chin and tickled a giggle out of her throat in retaliation for the comment.
"Ruubby!" Pushing away the snout and holding it there, Belle gazed into one bright golden eye and gently scratched under the wolf's jaw. "I'm sorry for calling you away. I just wanted to wish you a good night."
Ruby whined and nudged the librarian before letting out a short yip. Backing up just a step, Ruby shook out of her coat the leaves and twigs it had accumulated over the hours she had spent running full tilt through the forest.
Belle watched, highly amused at the grooming mannerisms being displayed. 'Wolf-Ruby is adorable.' But Belle would never again say that aloud. The last time she had said something similar she got burnt toast with her breakfast for a week following her comment.
Grinning, Belle started to step back as well with her hand on the door to pull it shut after her. "I'll let you get back to running. Good night, Ruby."
The wolf's ears popped forward and Ruby quickly thrust her shoulder against the door to keep it open. In her mouth she held the hem of Belle's shirt. Trying to look as pathetic and small as possible, Ruby widened her eyes, drooped her ears, and whined softly in the back of her nose.
Belle was caught by surprise when Ruby stopped her but she was not frightened. She trusted Ruby wholeheartedly, no matter what form she was in.
"I guess not 'Good night' then." Patting Ruby between the ears, Belle waited to see if Ruby would do something to indicate what she wanted.
Letting go of Belle's shirt, Ruby nuzzled and licked the hand that had ruffled her fur. Then, the wolf slid past the woman in to the library.
Smiling, Belle followed the wolf inside, closing the door but not locking it. "I don't think you will find the library much fun without opposable thumbs, Ruby."
The librarian heard a sneeze come from her friend but Ruby did not stop her lope further inside; she simply continued on to the back stairs that led up to Belle's apartment. Taking the stairs in only two bounds, Ruby impatiently scratched and barked at the door keeping her from exploring Belle's den.
"Oh." Belle's eyebrows rose in realization as she made it to the top of the stairs and stood next to Ruby. "So this is why you kept mentioning my apartment so often these last few days." Laughing at the hang-dog expression on Ruby's muzzle, Belle reached over and fluffed the fur on the wolf's shoulder before moving to grasp the doorknob.
"Two rules, Ruby."
The wolf's ears swiveled to catch Belle's words even as a panting grin spread over her lips. She was finally getting in to see Belle's new home.
"No chewing on anything."
Ruby's head bobbed up and down, agreeing.
"And no sniffing my underwear drawer," Belle commanded with a mischievous smile as she opened wide her door.
A yip promised good behavior as Ruby rushed past Belle's skirt and into her apartment. Nose working furiously, Ruby practically salivated at the scent of Belle surrounding her on every surface. Nothing out in the open was sacrosanct from her sniffer, but Ruby restrained herself from pawing open the dresser drawers or closet doors, content with the areas she was allowed in to.
Belle watched, wholly amused and slightly embarrassed, from her seat at the kitchen table as Ruby even shouldered her way into the half-opened bathroom to investigate.
"Ruby," she whined a little. "There is nothing in there for you to be seeing. Come back out."
The self-conscious tone made Ruby grin wickedly in the white tiled bathroom where she had found Belle's body soap. The wolf was half tempted to chew that bottle open so she could roll in the natural oils Belle smelled so sweetly of but satisfied the urge by grabbing a corner of the hanging bath towel and rubbing her cheeks in it. Ruby also gave it a couple licks.
Now she'll be able to smell the librarian for the rest of the night.
Trotting out of the tiny room, Ruby looked around for a moment to see if she had missed anything. This was a rare opportunity to explore unimpeded as a wolf and Ruby was not going to let it go to waste. Once she was satisfied that every nook and cranny was accounted for, Ruby zeroed in on Belle's bed.
When Belle had mentioned 'rules', the wolf had secretly hoped that she would forget one in particular. And, much to Ruby's delight, Belle had not mentioned anything about her bed.
A little too late, Belle realized why Ruby had crouched and made to pounce.
The wolf landed on all fours, getting tangled in the quilt that adorned the queen-sized bed, and turned a few circles before falling on to her back and wriggling around. Blankets and pillows and quilt all bunched and twisted and were tossed around the wolf as Ruby snuffled and huffed her delight. The wolf was so busy following her instincts to absorb Belle's scent while leaving her own scent mark that she did not notice Belle's running tackle until the woman landed on her belly and pinned her to the bed.
"Bad girl, Ruby! You crazy wolf! See how you like this!"
Belle proceeded to rub and tickle every sensitive place she could find on Ruby's chest and belly, causing the wolf to whine and snort in laughter while trying to get out from under Belle without hurting either of them. They landed with a thud, Ruby on her side and Belle clutching at her back, on the carpeted floor of the simple apartment.
Belle's head popped over Ruby's shoulder, worried about her friend. A quick lick on her cheek and a muzzle sniffing loudly around her, no doubt, disheveled hair reassured Belle that there was nothing to be worried about. Standing up, Belle began making the bed then gestured to the open door in question.
"Well, now that you have properly explored my apartment, do you want to be let back out so you can run?"
Ruby shot to her feet, but instead of running to the door as Belle expected, the wolf bounded to her armchair and gently grasped a book off the seat in her jaws. Placing the book on the newly tucked bedsheets, Ruby let out a woof then plopped down so she could listen to Belle's voice while resting her head on the bed.
A very shy smile bloomed on Belle's lips and the librarian settled back against the headboard with a lone pillow to cushion her back. "I don't know how long I'll stay awake but I would love to read to you, Ruby."
Opening the cover and flipping to the first chapter, Belle looked down at the golden eyes looking up at her adoringly and blushed. "I-if you want to be let back out just wake me up, okay?" A blink was her only response.
Happy, Belle began reading and Ruby did not move again until the book slowly slipped down onto Belle's chest which rose and fell in the rhythm of sleep. Getting back on her paws, Ruby shook out her fur then gently nudged the book off of Belle, picking it up and placing it on the ground. Padding silently out the apartment door, Ruby made her way to the library entrance.
Using a combination of her nose and teeth Ruby managed to lock the front door. No one would escape her notice should they try to get in but Ruby was not going to risk Belle's safety by leaving the front door unlocked. Swiftly returning to the apartment, Ruby pawed the door closed but did not bother to lock this one. Anyone who got past the building door uninvited was in for a nasty surprise if they tried to breach Belle's den.
A quick bat at the light switch doused the light and threw everything not in the frame of the windows into darkness. Golden eyes flashed in the remaining moonlight. She could hear the forest and felt the urge to run wash over her muscles. Belle was asleep and would not mind her absence; she understood the wolf.
A quiet snore and the rustle of bedsheets interrupted Ruby's thoughts. A few steps and the wolf was at Belle's bedside taking her in with her eyes and nose. The woman was just as enticing as the forest but instead of arousing the need to run, Belle awoke a need to stay that was so powerful the wolf decided to answer the forest's call next full moon.
Lowering her snout, Ruby prodded Belle's side, rooting around until her cold and wet nose met bare skin. Belle flinched from the sudden cold feeling tickling her sensitive skin, moving away by rolling over. Ruby climbed on top of the mattress and lay down with her broad back to Belle so she faced the entryway. Nothing was going to disturb Belle's sleep tonight and the wolf bared her sharp canines with a growl at the thought of anyone daring to enter her woman's den while she was here.
A heavy hand pressed into the fur of her shoulder as Belle's body shuffled closer to cuddle against her bedmate. A deep inhale and sigh of contentment over the warmth the furry body provided escaped Belle's lips as the woman resumed a deep REM sleep.
The wolf huffed then laid her head down beside her paws. Her mate was right, it is time to sleep; the sun was rising and there are chores to do in the morning. The wolf's golden eyes slid shut and the furry body melted away to leave behind a tall brunette woman in its place.
Ruby, fast asleep, adjusted her sleeping position to a more natural one for her human body. If Belle happened to have ended up in her arms with legs entangled between her own, then all the more natural was her sleep.
And so the two women slept peacefully.
Until the alarm, a flailing hand, and a connecting blow to a delicate nose woke them up.
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