Occultation — The act of one celestial body obscuring another as a result of moving between the observer and the object being observed. The most well known occultations are the lunar and solar eclipses.
You and Kankri take the long way back to throw off any trail and end up making the last mile of the trip to the campsite your dad’s booked on four legs and in fur. The two of you ditch your clothes, and damn, but you liked that T-shirt, but you hold your sneakers tied together by the laces in your muzzle and tuck the sunglasses into the right one, and they swing back and forth as you run.
By the time you get back, dad’s pacing.
Where have you been? he asks directly into your mind, already changed, fur bristled with worry. Terezi’s there too; She usually joins you on the full moon, ever since you nipped her on a dare when you were four and too young and stupid to know better. Prancing over, she tries to steal your shoes but you let out a warning growl.
Karkat nearly got us killed, Kankri wines. You shove him with all of your weight and manage to make him stumble.
Leave out half the story, won’t you douche canoe? There was a fucking hunter, you snap, emphasizing it by flashing your teeth. You turn back to your dad, ears pressed flat against your skull with rage. He was using a wolf as bait, what was I supposed to do? Leave him? He was bleeding and he was wearing silver and the place smelled like he’d been dipped in wolfsbane soup or something. You need to leave, get him out of there while there’s still a chance of catching the scent. Carefully, you shake your shoes and manage to drop the glasses at Terezi’s feet. So, can you track him or what?
Karkat, dad thinks, as Terezi sniffs and then licks the glasses. She’s the best hunter in the makeshift pack you’ve got gathered here by far, best nose even as a human, only stronger as a wolf and if anyone can find him, Terezi can.
So? you ask again. Already it’s taking too long, you need to go go go, as soon as fucking possible.
Karkat! Your dad’s mental shout finally catches your attention. He does not look happy, but you don’t really care at the moment. This is not the time to be happy, you’re not happy either, and there are more important things to worry about.
What? you snap.
You can’t go running off to rescue a boy by yourself. Calm down. You growl, at that, but your dad puts a heavy paw on you and forces you to the ground.
He had a gun, Kankri informs you as if you weren’t there, as if you didn’t know, as if he didn’t see the guy tied up and scared on the ground he was shaking. You’re shaking. But, as usual, Kankri’s not done lecturing. He never is. You’ll just get us killed. Besides, they’re probably gone.
You growl and struggle to get up, but Terezi full out tackles you and there’s no chance of escaping now. She’s heavy, but you try and toss her. You nip and growl snap your teeth but she’d always been a better wrestler than you.
Get the fuck off! You mind-scream so loud it comes out of your mouth too, a choked noise that’s not meant for the mouth you have at the moment. I gotta help him! I promised I’d come back! He’s going to die!
You can’t help him if you’re dead too, stupid! She grabs you by the neck with her teeth. God, you’re lucky you’ve got me here being logical for you, or you’d be getting yourself into all sorts of dumb trouble! You let out a wordless howl of rage and frustration. I got him, Mr. Vantas! Terezi assures your dad, who is watching the whole scene and smells so strongly of guilt it’s making you nauseous. He’s just feeling all protective because he just changed! He’ll calm down soon.
You resent the implication that this is not a rational reaction to finding a fellow were captured and half poisoned but you’re too occupied trying to get the fuck up to make a logical argument.
Thank you, Terezi, your dad thinks. Kankri, this way.
She lets you up after a couple hours, but by then you know there’s no point in going to look because there’s no way you’ll catch them on foot and dad refuses to drive, can’t turn back long enough to drive, it’s all the same because you’re so angry you’re literally seeing red. You tackle Kankri every time he gets too close to you and your dad has to separate the two of you. The first twelve hours are nothing but anger. You try to sleep but you keep waking up with the smell of sweat and wolfsbane in your nose. It might be because you’re curled around the sunglasses. Who can tell?
Eventually, though, after the rush of the change has worn off, you do calm down a little. Still. You’re loath to prove Terezi right and that’s enough to make you snappish. Kankri’s changed back already and he’s making breakfast on the grill, but you’re too worked up to do more than steal three half cooked sausages and hole up in a corner with them. Changing makes you hungry. (Is the pale-haired wolf eating enough? He looked skinny.)
Terezi is still a wolf, but it’s probably because she prefers that form when she can. You know she likes the way everything smells more intense.
Come on, Karkat, she says. Stop sulking.
Fuck off. You nose the glasses.
Abandoning him would imply you were acting irrational before and it’s the right thing to do and also you have a bleeding heart and Kankri is a dick and you are not going to abandon him.
You can call the police once you change back, she offers, but you shake your head. The police can’t help, not with the were part of it. They wouldn’t understand. You can call Kanaya, Terezi offers. You always feel better after bitching to her.
I’ll change back sooner if you leave me the fuck alone, you grumble and she just tosses her head.
In an hour and a half you’ve got thumbs again and you’re curled up in your tent, buried under a pile of everyone’s sleeping bags and hunched over your phone. There’s a moment where you think about texting Kanaya, but you’re still feeling kind of petty even if Terezi’s right. It’s easier to sulk around google and browse the werewolf subreddits in hopes that some of it isn’t just RPers.
It’s not the first time you’ve done this; that’s how you met Sollux and Nepeta, but you think they’d have mentioned running into a hunter using a kid your age as bait. You post on the wall.
ALMOST GOT SHOT BY A NUT SUCKING SCUMBAG HUNTER LAST NIGHT IN EAST MISSOURI. HE WAS USING WOLF KID AS BAIT. ANYONE ELSE RUN INTO HIM RECENTLY?
There are a couple other groups that look promising: this one’s mixed supernaturals, and you recognize some of the user names as friends of friends, that one’s all wolves and you only see a few references to Teen Wolf, mostly ironic. There’s a few private groups too, and you send requests to join, you copy and paste the message up in as many places as you can.
There’s a rustling of the tent flap and Kankri’s familiar face peeks through. You chuck a pillow at him and it hits him in the chest. He frowns at you.
“Now Karkat, I know you’re frustrated, perhaps even traumatized, but there’s no need to turn to violence. Father has contacted the appropriate authorities, so there’s nothing more to do. You’ll feel better if you eat something, hunger always makes you irrational, especially when you shift-” You throw one of the paperbacks you’d packed at him and it hits him square in the face.
“The hardcover is next unless you and your bullshit condescending holier than thou preacher routine fuck off! If I have to listen to you for one more second I will find the hunter and ask him to shoot me to put me out of my misery! I would rather be shot in the ass with fucking silver and slowly bleed out than have you tell me ONE MORE TIME that we DID THE RIGHT THING by LEAVING HIM THERE! HE’S GOING TO DIE, FUCKFACE!” You’re screaming by the end. Kankri’s just watching you, you’ve completely lost it and you throw your hardcover at him just like threatened. He manages to dodge, or you’re too pissed to aim right. Everything is kind of blurry. You left a kid to die, you almost died, and the shock is wearing off and you’re dealing with it the same way you deal with everything else: anger so strong you can pretend that’s the reason you’re crying.
You saw a dog hit by a car once, when you were five. The tantrum you threw was mind-boggling in its intensity. Your dad had to drag you away from the driver and you left bruises on his shins and threw your blocks at the wall so hard you left dents in it that you still cover with movie posters. But once the anger ebbed - and you drew it out as long as you fucking could - you just broke.
This isn’t a dog. And he’s not dead, not yet, but he could be very soon. You know what death smells like and you care, ok? He warned you about the trap, probably saved your life and you care. You care a lot about a lot of things even if there’s no good reason to.
“Hormones still acting up, I see,” Kankri says weakly, ducking out of the way of the pillow and leaving you in relative peace. You’re debating possible distractions, whether or not to chase after Kankri and pick a fight or read some romance novels, when your phone buzzes.
-- You have a message from timaeusTestified [TT] --
TT: Do you have a picture?
You frown at the screen.
CG: EXCUSE ME?
TT: A picture of the wolf kid.
CG: NO. SORRY. I WAS BUSY RUNNING FOR MY LIFE. WHY?
TT: What did he look like?
CG: WHITE HAIR. FRECKLES. STUPID ASS SUNGLASSES DESPITE IT BEING 6PM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING WOODS.
You glance at the aforementioned stupid ass shades, sitting folded next to your sleeping bag pile.
CG: I DIDN’T SEE THE GUY WITH THE GUN.
CG: HAVE YOU RUN INTO HIM?
CG: ARE YOU PRANKING ME? BECAUSE I AM NOT IN THE FUCKING MOOD.
CG: LAST NIGHT WAS SO SHITTY IT MADE A DUMPSTER FIRE LOOK LIKE A PLEASANT PLACE TO TAKE A VACATION.
TT: Is this him?
You open the photo that timaeusTestified has sent you. A virus you could deal with, Sollux would take care of it if you asked him, but if it’s a dick pic or some other stupid prank you’ll fucking lose it you are not in the mood. But it’s not a prank. It’s two freckled kids in sunglasses and matching shirts. One of them has dirty blond hair and the weirdest pointy shades you’ve seen in your life. He’s staring at the camera solemnly. The other, maybe half his size, has a gap toothed grin and a shock of white curls, and the same sunglasses, sliding off his nose and taking up half his face. You squint, and you can see his red eyes just over the lenses, sharp teeth, werewolf-sharp. He’s a lot younger, not quite as skinny, but you recognize him. You’ve only seen him once, and for barely a minute if that but there’s no doubt. His face is burned into your memory, still, and it has not yet had the time to fade.
CG: YEAH, THAT’S HIM. WHO IS HE? HOW DO YOU KNOW HIM?
There’s a pause, long enough to make you antsy but timaeusTestified replies in the end. His response makes your gut twist and if before this had been nothing but a stubborn streak, you know now that you’re not going to give up until he’s safe.
TT: That’s my little bro. His name is Dave.
TT: He’s been missing for years. Where did you see him?