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Human Kindness

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Bem struggled to control his breathing, watching Natsume run home, his briefcase his only protection from the pouring rain.

He didn't need Natsume's umbrella – Bem (or Bela, or Belo) had never been ill in any of the time that they could remember, no matter how long they stayed out, no matter what the weather was. He hadn't needed it, yet Natsume had given it to him without a second thought, grabbing Bem's hand while he was still trying to rein in his swirling emotions, not wanting to study the rush of something he couldn't understand (Natsume would allow himself to get wet for him?), just wanting to control it before he changed right in front of Natsume.

Bem's vision flashed green, then white as a car passed by, and he stood stock-still, waiting for the car to pass, hoping that none of his changes could be seen, feeling his skin constrict and tighten under his clothes, his teeth lengthening and poking his lips.

He could still taste the chocolate on his tongue, his mouth sticky. The wrapper was still in his hand, and he wondered briefly if he should keep it, like Belo collected toys or had kept Wakui's screw.

The minutes ticked by and slowly, Bem's vision cleared. Taking a shuddering breath, Bem wiped away his tears and readjusted his grip on Natsume's umbrella.

After making sure his hat was on securely, Bem started to make his way home.

The kindness that Natsume had shown him, would it stay if he saw his true form? Bem could only hope, but he would keep it from Natsume for as long as he could – he didn't want to leave just yet.