Authors: Rebecca Brochu
Tags: #Romance, #Shonen-ai, #Yaoi
When Haru, an outcast nature user, runs back into Saitou, the wolf-demon who betrayed him, after years of being apart sparks fly. The two have a long and complicated history filled with love and hate, friendship and treachery. Can these two overcome the outside forces that are determined to tear them apart in order to learn that the truth is not always what it seems? Can they piece back together the shattered remains of the relationship that once meant everything to them?
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A Wolf for Haru
Copyright © 2011 Rebecca Brochu ISBN: 978-1-55487-941-0
Cover art by Christie Gordon
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A Wolf for Haru
Haru was nervous, there was no denying that, and yet he could not exactly bring himself to be upset about it. Everyone had the right to be nervous when they were standing on the brink of having all of their dreams fulfilled. After two years of night school and working two jobs in order to save his money and not fall behind in his education, he had finally succeeded. He had not possessed the funds he needed to enter this university straight out of high school, but he had refused to let that stop him. Hard work and determination, along with a large dose of desperation, had made his dream a reality.
He had been forced to delay his entrance, putting him at twenty the first time he stepped foot on campus, but in the long run, it did not really matter to him anyway. He had learned early on in life that friends were not for him so being the late addition into classes was not something he allowed to upset him. That was especially true in this school, especially true with these students.
He knew it was not going to be easy, that his reason for wanting so desperately to enter this particular school would make his life hell, but there was no other choice. His
made it impossible for him to attend a normal university, just as it had made it impossible for him to attend a normal grade school and high school.
Shaking himself out of his daze, he looked back down at the map currently clutched in his hands.
The administration here was aware of his problem and had prepared a seldom used and thankfully isolated room for him in one of the outer buildings. He would be alone, but he would be safe from others and from himself.
Walking slowly across the campus, he took in everything around him. The quad really was beautiful, a tribute to nature and all of her splendor. With blossoming cherry trees, burbling koi ponds, and beautifully arranged gardens for sitting, it was truly a remarkable sight. With no friends in his future, he knew he would be spending a lot of time curled up in one of those trees with a book or his own thoughts to keep him company.
He was forever destined to be an outsider, but after years of torment and betrayal, he had finally begun to come to grips with it. No being with his abilities, his
, would be welcome among the humans. Neither would they be able to expect more than tolerance from the youkai who occupied his new school. Still he preferred borderline civil tolerance and occasional abuse to the daily beatings he knew he would have received in a normal human-dominated university.
At least here, in this university full of beings more powerful and special than himself, he would receive only passing interest since they were already used to him. After all, these were the same creatures with whom he had attended grade school and high school. Undoubtedly, they would be surprised at his return and he would gain momentary notoriety, but he was confident that it would not last long. He was more than equipped to handle their few weeks of abuse followed by being downright ignored as opposed to the way the humans would have treated him.
Their distrust of one so like them and yet so different had a tendency to enrage them, allowing their fear and hatred to override their more civil inclinations. The only thing was that while the regular humans could injure him, it was normally nothing more than bruises and scrapes that accompanied his shredded feelings. He had conversely spent more than a few days in the hospital when some youkai or spirit felt the need to educate him on the finer rules of life. They were, after all, so much stronger than regular humans.
Hopefully he would be able to avoid most of the ones he already knew, especially
. He would keep his head down, his grades up, and in two years, he would be out of this university with his degree in Literature and hopefully a future in the writing world.
He prayed that this went smoother than his high school years.
Haru should have known better. He should have known that his wishes for a quiet and uneventful university career would be too much to ask for. He had, despite all of his wishes, managed to have only three days of peace and solitude before the news of his return had spread through the campus like wild fire.
He was not really all that surprised by his three-day reprieve since he had stayed out of everyone’s way during that time, but he was infinitely thankful for it.
The first day he had been encamped in the administration office getting his transcripts and classes in order. Afterward, he had searched out his rather isolated housing in the shadowed twilight of the campus. He had not seen a single student that day, and it being Friday, he was certain he could avoid them all until the beginning of the next week.
He had been correct and had spent his Saturday sneaking on and off campus to get the cleaning supplies and food items that he would require.
Sunday had been devoted to actually cleaning his dusty and moth-infested rooms from one end to the other. It had been peaceful, pleasurable even, and he had almost convinced himself that it would last.
He sighed, his breath ruffling the shaggy raven-colored bangs that drifted into his face, the ones he had grown out in order to have something to divert the attention from his face. Besides, he thought they matched his shoulder-length mop of black hair perfectly.
His head down, he gazed at the individuals who surrounded him now, glad that he had chosen to linger in the courtyard instead of heading straight to his rooms. They would have followed him and his possessions would have paid the price. He had little in the way of disposable income and so he had been extra careful when he had bought his supplies. He had purchased things he knew would last and he was loath to give up eating for the next week or so in order to be able to afford replacements.
Something shoved him roughly from behind, sending him sprawling face first into the soft grass. Saying nothing, he merely stood back up, brushed himself off, and continued to stare at the crowd from beneath the cover of his bangs. His hands clenched into fists with the effort to hold himself back even as his face portrayed the blanket of calm and blankness that he had long ago perfected. He refused to react, refused to give them the satisfaction they craved.
“You’re not welcome here, freak! We thought we were finally rid of you for good!”
Haru recognized the hissing tone of Orochi, a snake youkai who, along with a group of friends, had taken great pleasure in tormenting him all throughout school. The male was handsome with his long flowing black hair and smattering of green scales that outlined his eyes, but he was as vicious a creature as his reptilian relatives.
“We don’t need your kind dirtying up our campus!” Another familiar voice rang out, the almost song-like tones of the bird like Silvi. The glory of her flaxen haired beauty was a thing surpassed only by the vicious hideousness of her own soul.
They shoved him again and he could not withhold his slight wince as the action jarred his ribs in a painful manner.
It continued like that, insults and taunts flung from every direction, some coming from voices he had tried to forget but would always recognize.
Others from those he had never even met before.
It seemed to last forever, but he took it all in stride, determined to stick to his own code. Rising and brushing himself off after each insult turned physical, he shielded his face and stomach subtlety so that they would not realize he was protecting himself. All the while, his personal mantra of calm sounded in his head.
Give them nothing, show them nothing. They hurt
you only as much as you allow them to.
Finally, after his unresponsive form had grown boring, they dispersed, trickling out of the crowd one by one until he was alone. He waited for a few moments before rising from the curled position the last insult-turned-kick had sent him. Limping slightly, he turned and made his way back to his secluded rooms in order to nurse his wounds in privacy.
It was a painstaking journey. He bypassed the walkways and instead, chose to cut through a small crop of trees on the edge of campus. It quickly sapped him of the strength he had left, but he managed. He shuffled up to his door some ten minutes later, pausing only to wipe the blood from his mouth. Shaking his hand, he flung the droplets to the dirt beside his door, watched as the soil absorbed them and blood red flowers sprouted in their wake. He stared at them for a moment before he hobbled inside, locking his door behind him. It provided little actual protection, but it always made him feel more comfortable.
Wincing openly now that he was safely in his new home, he made his way to the bathroom and set about cleaning his face. His fingertips lingered ever so briefly on the scar that he found there. A razor thin line traced its way from the tip of his right ear lobe all the way down to the curve of his chin. It was barely noticeable now because of his hair and the way that he held himself, but it had been forced upon him with such deliberateness that he knew he would never forget it. It was a reminder of a lesson that he would never forget.
He felt his temper bubble, trying to rise to the surface once again, but shoved it back down.
Anger was never a good thing for him. It had a tendency to turn most destructive.
His only consolation was that for whatever reason,
had not been in the crowd today. Haru could only hope that his luck would last for longer than a day. He supposed that in some way considering himself fortunate after the way his Monday had just ended strange, but knew it could have been much worse.
Haru shivered, just thinking the name had a way of setting the hairs on his neck on end. He wanted to avoid
as much as possible. The wolf had always brought him trouble of more than one kind. Shaking himself out of yet another daze, he set about slowly laying his homework out. He may have been slightly hurt, but he would let nothing come between him and his studies.
Not even the wolf that haunted both his fantasies and his nightmares.
One Month Later…
The last month had gone better than he had ever dreamed it would. Granted his first week after his confrontation with Orochi and Silvi had gone much the way he had expected. They had waited for him outside of his classes, bombarded him with taunts and insults, stolen his assignments and taken his meager lunches. They were juvenile pranks that he had long ago solved by printing out duplicates and getting used to eating very little during the day. It was probably one of the reasons he had never grown beyond his current five-foot-seven-inch frame.
The one thing they had managed to do was to strain the limits of his control and he had often felt his power burbling up to the surface before he had managed to subdue it. Luckily, their interest in tormenting him had faded much quicker without 1Saitou around, his presence had always seemed to encourage them.
They had often seemed to be trying desperately to impress Saitou with their mistreatment of him, as if they could garner some special favor with the wolf by terrorizing him mercilessly. While Haru hated them for their treatment, he could almost understand their desperate attempts to impress Saitou. The wolf was, after all, heir to his clan’s title and would be a fine feather in the cap of anyone who managed to win his favor. Still, the illustrious male had been excused from the first month of university in order to undergo the trial and rituals his position required. He was due to return sometime within the next week so Haru knew that his respite, no matter how wonderful it had been, would be over soon.