If there was one skill each and every werewolf was taught to be the secret for a safe and long life it’s name was control.
The control to fight back against the wilderness that lived inside every werewolf and to hold back the fangs and claws and fur from manifesting at any huge burst of emotion.
And it was something Tsugumi was good at, apparently.
Ran and Tomoe were always the types who let their emotions control the waves of their lives, it was a surprise that them being werewolves wasn’t common knowledge. Himari… was also the type who let their emotions hold the reins but rather than losing control during an argument her furry moments were reserved for, as Moca put it, ‘being thirsty as fuck’. Truly, the charms of Kaoru must have been mighty indeed, for a group of fangirls to completely overlook an over enthusiastic, half-transformed pink werewolf. Even Moca, chill as she was, sometimes got so lost in the sensation of tasting a really well made bread that she let her ears show. Apparently, it was something Chisato loved to (lovingly?) tease Moca about.
But Tsugumi was always good at holding back. Holding back the wilderness, the forest that grew inside her heart was her one genuine point of pride. No matter what, Tsugumi thought, she could keep the wolf at bay.
Tsugumi doesn’t know how this all happened- they were just chatting like normally, about their college courses, cuddling a few minutes ago and now…
Now, Sayo was lying beneath her, her shirt unbuttoned just a bit and breathing heavily. Looking at Tsugumi as if she was ready to relinquish her life for her (and knowing Sayo- she would).
The temperature in the room suddenly felt way too high for an autumn evening.
‘I’m… sorry.’ Tsugumi started, trying her best not to focus on the appetising sight Sayo’s neck made. ‘I don’t know what got into me, I shouldn’t be doing… this stuff without asking you--’
Tsugumi stopped her ramble, there and then. How could she not?
Sayo only ever called her “Tsugu” on rare occasions.
(Said occasions mostly involving more tears or less clothing or both than their current predicament.)
So Tsugumi could only stop and listen to what Sayo had to say.
‘I don’t mind. I don’t mind when it’s you.’ Sayo's hand was now behind Tsugumi’s transformed ear. Tsugumi held back a sharp inhale when she started scratching her ear.
They stayed like this, with Tsugumi straddling Sayo while the latter continued to scratch Tsugumi’s ear, with a look so gentle it made Tsugumi almost cry.
‘Hey, Tsugu?’ But at some point the silence is broken by Sayo, her voice just a few steps removing from begging for something .
If Sayo wanted to ask Tsugumi for the moon in the sky, Tsugumi would rip it out with her own claws and present it on a silver plate. Their relationship already felt like an impossibility for her- what would be one more impossibility in face of love?
Hm? Huh? Did her hearing fail her?
‘Can you… repeat that, Sayo?’ Tsugumi must have misheard what Sayo asked of her, right? There’s no way that Sayo would ask Tsugumi to…
‘..bite me. Please.’
She didn’t mishear after all.
And Tsugumi did say she would do anything for Sayo, didn’t she?
But Tsugumi has to make sure she isn’t about to do something reckless.
Inhale. Exhale. ‘Are you sure? My fangs… they are sharp. I don’t want to hurt you.’
Sayo doesn’t say anything for a while. For a moment, Tsugumi was scared. Stupid, stupid Tsugu! She knew how hard it was for Sayo to ask for any sort of physical affection, how long it took them to get to the point where Sayo wasn’t afraid of being shirtless around Tsugumi, how many times they had to hold each other after Sayo got too dysphoric with the amount of skin Tsugumi could see… Did her question make Sayo worry if her desires were dirty once again? It’s the last thing Tsugumi would want.
But when Sayo finally makes a move after what felt like hours of silence her eyes aren’t filled with fear of herself, like Tsugumi has feared.
They are endless wells filled with love.
And when Sayo said ‘I don’t mind the pain if they are your fangs, Tsugumi.’, with a smile so soft it would be reason enough for Tsugumi to throw her old life away there was no force in the world that could stop Tsugumi from taking a bite.
‘...I am. So sorry Sayo-san, I real should have held back last night--’
‘D-don’t be! I mean, I asked you to… to…’
Sayo flushed crimson red at a memory of last night. She wasn’t usually this… needy? Was that a good description? Maybe not, but she didn’t want to use the other word someone like Moca might have used.
‘Ehem!’ having cleared her throat, Sayo continues, ‘The point is that you didn’t do anything I haven’t asked you to, so there’s no need for you to apologise…’
The silence that followed was filled with embarrassment. They can’t look at each other, much less at Sayo’s neck where… where…
‘I’ll.. go and get some ointment for your... bites, Sayo.’ Tsugumi said, her voice filled with mortification from just a glimpse of the several, very obvious bites on Sayo’s neck. On reflex Sayo put her hand on her neck to hide at least some of them before hissing from pain.
Werewolf bites real were no joke, huh?
Sayo sighed. She did not think through this one, did she? But on the other hand it allowed her to see a whole new side of Tsugumi, one that could end Sayo with just a bit more pressure… the way Tsugumi’s eyes seemed to shine last night, how her fangs felt both when they kissed and on her neck, how her claws felt…
Sayo... real should probably stop replaying the events of last night if she doesn’t want Tsugumi to catch her in a compromising position.
Sayo frowned- for anyone else, this would be a perfectly acceptable time to arrive. Five whole minutes before rehearsal has even started.
But these people were not Sayo Hikawa, who always made sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start of practice session. And such an out of character happening would most definitely draw her bandmates attention.
Still, she had to brave through this. If Sayo couldn’t handle this, how could she call herself a member of Roselia? How could she face Tsugumi, her Tsugumi? With a resolution set firmly in her heart, Sayo opened the door to face her bandmates. Whatever was awaiting her behind these doors, she could conquer it--
‘Sayo. You are late. Were you and Tsugumi making love last night?’
Sayo screamed (internally). Why, oh why, must her band leader be so direct and so shameless?!? Couldn’t she just let her walk of shame be enough and leave the indirect teasing remarks to Lisa? Let Rinko flush every time she looked in Sayo’s direction? Let Ako try to subtly (but fail to) wiggle her eyebrows at Sayo? Wouldn’t it be enough of a humiliation?
But no. But no! Minato Yukina just had to come out and say that!
Trying her best to keep calm, Sayo cleared her throat and said ‘This is the most inappropriate question to ask, Minato-san. I apologise for my tardiness but I rather we kept mentions of our… our i-intimate business out of the band matters-’
‘It concerns the band greatly.’ Yukina interrupted Sayo. ‘You are wearing a scarf right now, and I can safely say you normally never wear scarves in this temperature. I can only conclude that you have damaged your vocal chords last nights during yours and Tsugumi’s intercou--’
‘MINATO-SAN!!!’ Sayo flushed ‘My vocal chords are fine! The reason I am wearing a scarf right now is--’ Sayo stopped herself, flushing even harder. If she admitted the reason why she was wearing a scarf tightly around her neck…
But a voice suddenly saved her from her (unintentional) public shaming by Yukina.
‘Yu~ki~na~? Shouldn’t we be starting our rehearsal already?’ The light taps coupled with the statement seemed to snap Yukina back into rehearsal mode.
‘Ah, you are right, Lisa. My apologies. We can continue this conversation some other time then Sayo.’
Hopefully we won’t , thought Sayo as she turned her head towards her savior to offer her her silent thanks but stopped herself before she could
That damn trademarked Imai Lisa’s smirk that meant ‘I’m gonna grill you for all the details regarding your romantic situation and I will enjoy it greatly~’.
‘Imai-san, please mind your manners.’
‘I will as soon as you tell me why you won’t take your scarf off even in the studio~.’
Sayo slumped in her seat; if Lisa had her mind set on prodding Sayo on reason for her tardiness, there was nothing stopping her.
Still, Sayo wasn’t about to give up without fighting.
‘...I am simply trying to protect my throat in advance. I don’t want to catch a cold-’
‘If that was a legitimate worry,’ Lisa interrupted her, ‘Yukina would be the first to know and take measures against it. Now fess up and tell me what you and Tsugumi were up to last night.’
All Sayo could say in reply to that was a pathetic ‘mmmrph…’ before occupying herself with her own drink.
tap tap tap
‘...Imai-san, this is childish.’ Sayo said as she moved her feet far away from the range Lisa could comfortably tap them.
Lisa pouted ‘But it worked, didn’t it? So tell me, did Tsugumi end up giving you hickeys yesterday?’
‘...no.’ well, that was true. She did mark Sayo in other way but… it’s not like Lisa was asking about that--
‘Hmmmm, you are a bad liar when it comes to these things so you are probably telling the truth… so what else there is… scratching maybe? Or rope markings…’
Sayo felt as if she was on fire. This truly was humiliating. Did Imai-san enjoy torturing Sayo so, with the possible debauched acts she speculated she did with Tsugumi?
‘I-imai-san,’ but despite everything Lisa was a friend; she did stop every time she could tell Sayo really was getting too uncomfortable with the topic so if she just says, point blank, that this is too much, Lisa will let this one go--
‘...or maybe you are hiding bite marks under this scarf?’
Sayo felt like the nonexistent crowd in the cafe was staring directly at her, judging her for her depraved and sinful acts from last night and Lisa was acting as the crowd’s arbiter of justice, ready to deliver swift justice to a pervert like Sayo.
On the other end of the table Lisa laughed and said: ‘Ahaha, I probably went overboard here, sorry Say- eh?’
She… Sayo must have had the most guilty and red face Lisa has ever seen coming from her. Lisa… Lisa hit the jackpot. There would be no stopping this avalanche.
‘So, biting, huh? I must say, not what I’ve really expected from you but it makes perfect sense at the same time…’
At that point Sayo had lost her speech function and all she could do in reply was let out a small whine.
‘So? What made you want to ask your dear Tsugumi to bite you, Sayo?’
Cold sweat ran through Sayo’s body. It would be one thing if she had simply asked Tsugumi to bite her because she thought it would be hot.
But Sayo had other, both a serious and silly reason for asking for Tsugumi’s fangs on her neck.
She had to scramble for an answer that would throw Lisa off track as to what her true motive was… that wasn’t just saying ‘I thought it would be hot’.
‘...Tsugumi-san has merely well developed canines. I simply wanted to see how they would compare to, um, normal wolf bites.’
Lisa snorted at that ‘Oh, and you didn’t think of maybe using something other than your own flesh for your experiment?’
‘Yes.’ was the best answer Sayo could come up with, even if it did make her sound like the biggest fool.
‘Mmmmhm~! I see.’ Lisa nodded, with her cheshire grin. ‘I also tell girls I bring over that I want them to bite me for a science experiment. Nothing gets girls as hot as bothered as that!’
Lisa would never let her live this one down, would she?
There was a creak coming from the entrance to the apartament Tsugumi and Sayo shared, followed by the unmistakable sound of footsteps and rustling of clothes being taken off.
Sayo was home.
How could three words sound so lovely?
They stood in silence, Sayo in the doorway, clearly tired in a way that left one satisfied, and Tsugumi sitting on a couch, having just been binging the latest recommendation from Himari.
‘..fufufu.’ The first person to break the silence was Sayo, with a soft giggle. An infectious one as soon Tsugumi herself was also giggling, which in turn turned into full blown laughter from both of them.
Sayo approached the couch, still laughing, and sat down right next to Tsugumi. Her hand soon found its way to Tsugumi’s arm as she said, again:
A warmth bloomed inside Tsugumi’s heart all over again.
It takes them not time at all to join their lips together in a chaste kiss. And then another, and another, and another, and at some point the adjective ‘chaste’ seemed to disappear from their embrace.
This warmth, the gentle but strong arms that held Tsugumi… ahhhh, this truly was a paradise. Having no time to waste, Tsugumi put her hands on Sayo neck, to get her closer, closer so close there would be no telling where Tsugumi started and where Sayo ended when…
‘S-sayo! Oh my god, I’m so sorry, I forgot.’ Tsugumi said, panicked.
‘It’s… not a problem, Tsugumi. I forgot too.’ Sayo winced- while it didn’t hurt much when left on its own, any touch to the marks on her neck caused her a sharp pain.
‘Uggggh….’ Tsugumi sighed ‘I’m sorry…’ any further words were caught in Tsugumi’s throat as Sayo put her finger before Tsugumi’s lips and said sternly, but with love in her voice:
‘Tsugumi. I’ve already said this, but I’ve asked you for this. I knew what I was getting into. It’s okay, really.’
Sayo brushed Tsugumi’s cheek before adding.
‘So, whatever happens, I take full responsibility, okay?’
‘..mmmm.’ was the reply Tsugumi offered.
A soft laugh. ‘That’s not an okay, Tsugumi.’
Sayo smiled at that.
‘There we go.’
Tsugumi gave her her best pout ‘I still don’t like this. I share responsibility--’
Sayo softly poked her arm at that.
‘No, you don’t. You’ve just agreed.’
Tsugumi threw her arms in the air at that
‘Gha, okay! Okay, you win, Sayo!’ there was no use in arguing with Sayo when she got like this- the woman could truly be stubborn.
Sayo let out a satisfied hum at that, as she scooted a bit closer to Tsugumi.
‘...Still, I’m glad this is nothing serious.’ Tsugumi started after a moment ‘Imagine, if bites turned someone into a werewolf… I would be in big trouble right now…’
Did. Did Sayo stir in the spot next to Tsugumi?
Worried, Tsugumi looked in Sayo’s direction, only to be met with an unreadable expression.
‘...bites,’ Sayo swallowed ‘...don’t turn someone into a werewolf...?’
Tsugumi tilted her head ‘They… don’t? To turn into a werewolf… ah, I never properly read up on it, but it’s um… basically, someone mixes blood of a few werewolves and some herbs, and whoever drinks the drink under full moon turns into a werewolf… That’s how me and Afterglow turned, by drinking it as kids.’ Tsugumi giggled at the memory- it was a scary moment back then, the pain and confusion of the first transformation, but over time it became a nostalgic memory.
‘...oh.’ was all Sayo replied.
That… was probably not the normal reaction to being told about all this? Probably. Not like Tsugumi was that used to telling people about the finer details about being a werewolf, but she knew how Sayo normally reacted to any newly acquired werewolf information and it was never something like this sad puppy expression.
Why would Sayo react like this to being told she had nothing to worry about and that she would not be turning into a werewolf--
Wait a moment.
Just like that a lightbulb went off in Tsugumi’s head, and Sayo must have noticed it too as she squirmed uncomfortably in her seat.
Tsugumi tried her best to stop herself from giggling when asking, she really did, but to no avail ‘D-did you really ask me to bite you because you’ve hoped it would turn you into a werewolf too?’
The speed with which Sayo’s entire body could turn red like a tomato never failed to amaze Tsugumi, no matter how many times she has seen it.
‘I-I um!’ Sayo sputtered ‘I-I promise it’s not like that I was merely, ah, um, I was merely curious if-- what I mean is Hina showed me some, ehem, writing of lecherous nature regarding werewolves and I was simply inspired- no wait this sounds even worse than the other reason-’
Looking at Sayo like this, eyes starting to turn into spirals from the stress of trying to explain exactly what motivated her to ask her werewolf girlfriend to bite her and how it was in no way motivated by either wanting to become a werewolf herself, Tsugumi started to wonder what it said about her with how much she loved teasing Sayo to this state. Well, Sayo did say to her that she didn’t mind if she was a bit mean sometimes. So it was probably okay.
Still, Sayo had probably rambled enough already, seeing as she currently seemed to be talking about how she never had any daydreams as a kid of being a dog and anything Hina says regarding this is a lie.
‘Sa~yo.’ At that Sayo’s nonexistent (probably to the latter’s, and honestly Tsugumi’s, chagrin) dog ears seemed to perk up. How was it, that Sayo was so much more doglike out of two of them when it was Tsugumi who was a werewolf? Truly, one of life’s little wonders.
After few moments of silence Tsugumi continued:
‘I am not gonna be mad or upset if you asked me to bite you because you’ve thought it would turn you into a werewolf, Sayo.’
Sayo’s (again, nonexistent) tail seemed to start wagging. ‘R-really?’
Tsugumi giggled at the sight ‘Yes, really. I just find it kind of funny, that’s all.’
That statement seemed to deflate Sayo a bit. ‘...I don’t think it’s that funny…’
‘But I do!!’ Tsugumi replied, cheerfully ‘I do think a big bad wolf Sayo would be very cute… shame turning someone in a werewolf isn’t as easy as simply biting them… I would love to see you with real wolf ears.’
‘Tsugumi, please…’ Sayo whined. ‘Haven’t I already endured enough today …’
‘Sorry! Really, sorry but…’ Tsugumi reached out and gently fixed some stray hair on Sayo’s face ‘...is there any deeper reason on why you’ve thought about becoming a werewolf?’
There was silence in the room after that. It seemed like Sayo was weighing her choices, on whatever to be honest about her feelings or to bury them, but as Tsugumi’s hand slid to her neck and made Sayo inhale sharply any ideas of hiding were blown away.
‘...it’s just..’ Sayo started, her voice unsure ‘...I know I can never be close to you in a way you are close with Afterglow.’ Just before Tsugumi opened her mouth to argue Sayo put up her hand before Tsugumi, signifying she wasn’t finished.
‘I could never have the same type of closeness you all have due to growing up together,’ Sayo continued ‘but I've thought. If we had… lycanthropy in common. I would be able to be closer to you. That’s all.’ she finished before blushing slightly and adding:
‘...and I do admit, I did… thought it could be… nice to be able to turn into a wolf. But it really was mostly what I’ve said before.’
Oh, Sayo… Tsugumi thought as tears welled up in her eyes.
‘Ah, I knew I shouldn’t tell you that.’ Sayo said as she gently tried to wipe Tsugumi’s tears with her hand ‘I knew it would make you cry…’
Tsugumi shook her head ‘No, Sayo-! These are happy tears!’
Sayo seemed taken aback by that ‘A-are they…?’
‘Yeah, silly!’ Tsugumi laughed ‘I’m… I’m not happy that you still feel like you can’t measure up to Afterglow but… the fact that you do want to understand me better does! It really does!’
That seemed to immediately cheer Sayo up, judging by her goofy half smile she wore when embarrassed of being happy ‘W-well, then I am glad I’ve told you…’
‘But, you know…’ Tsugumi continued while absent mindedly running her fingers through Sayo’s hair ‘I think it’s fine if there are parts of us we can’t really understand about each other?’
Sayo reached out and took Tsugumi’s hand in hers, gently rubbing her knuckles ‘...do you really think so? Tsugumi?’
‘Mmmhm! I mean…’ Tsugumi stopped for a few seconds, trying to find her words ‘...I mean, I… can’t fully understand quite a few parts of you… of growing up as a twin, of being trans, even something as trivial as disliking carrots… I could never be able to fully understand all that but it doesn’t change the fact that I love you. I love you a lot.’
Aaaaaah, this was so embarrassing! Even if these were Tsugumi’s true feelings and she has told Sayo these three words countless times by now, she still could feel herself blushing. And Sayo was no better.
‘...I love you a lot, too. Tsugumi.’ Ahhhh, the fact that Tsugumi got to see this smile up close and on regular would never cease to be one of the world’s greatest miracles.
Tsugumi squeezed the hand that was still holding hers before adding ‘...if you really want to become a werewolf, I promise I’ll discuss this with Afterglow and make the mixture for you… but only if you give it deep thought and don’t do it just because you are afraid I will leave you behind. Okay?’
‘M-mmmhm…’ Sayo hummed out her reply, squeezing back.
‘I’ll love you as much whatever you remain a human or turn into a werewolf, Sayo. After all…’ Tsugumi trailed off. The words she wanted to say were on the tip of her tongue, memories of heartfelt confession she expected to end in a rejection but instead lead them both to this moment in time.
Tsugumi smiled. There was only one thing she could say to Sayo now.
And as Sayo told her few years ago, she said:
‘‘No matter what you have, a human’s face or wolf’s, Sayo-san is still Sayo-san.’