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the moon that breaks the night

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The wolf snaps and Rosaline jerks her hand back, wondering what the hell she’s doing. He circles her, sniffing curiously, but his hackles rise whenever she gets too close. Her sneakers squeak on the snow as she backs away. She thinks of the monkshood, stuffed in a junk drawer and forgotten, and curses herself for caving to her curiosity.

“Nice wolf,” she coos, taking another step back. He mirrors her movements, head cocked to the side with almost human intelligence in his luminous eyes. Not that he’ll remember in the morning. Probably.

He’s working on it.

“Seriously, Ben, if you bite me, you’re not getting breakfast.”

He nips the air, playful if not for the glint of his canines in the moonlight. Finding no alternative, she shakes out the blanket and tosses it at him. He snaps at the fringe as it floats to the ground, then pounces, worrying it with his teeth.

She throws up her hands. By morning, the damn thing will be a mess of strings, and Benvolio will be as naked as ever.

“I don’t want another naked guy in my yard!” she yells at the night sky. The moon preens with satisfaction over ruining her night. Stalking back to the house, she pauses to snatch up a scrap of cloth that might have been a sweater before the moon decided to moon her again. Turning, she chucks it at him, catching his shoulder by chance more than anything.

And he changes, snout morphing into a nose and cheekbones, eyes fading from gold to green, fur shrinking back like those plants that close when you touch them, retracting teeth and tail and claws until it’s Benvolio crouched before her in all his naked glory.

The tattered shirt drops to his lap a second too late. Rosaline’s cheeks heat as her eyes fix on his face, thanking her lucky stars he’s too flummoxed to start peacocking.

“Neat trick.” His voice is hoarse, almost a growl, as if the transformation hasn’t quite settled. “Wish you’d learned it before I ruined my favorite sweater.”

His tone should rankle, wry and surprised and a little admiring, like she found an unlikely solution to an everyday problem. Like all this is normal, and so is her part in it.

But really, isn’t it?

“Go home and pack a bag," she tells him. "You’re getting a drawer.”