Rating: Will eventually be NC-17, but not for a little while.
Pairings: Chapel/Korby, Chapel/Gaila, Chapel/McCoy, Chapel/nameless others
Warnings: Um, werewolves? But no ripping out of throats. These are well-behaved werewolves.
Disclaimer: Not mine in any way, shape or form, and trust me, there's no payment other than some serious ego-stroking.
Length: 888 words, of 13,296
Summary: It's bad enough having to run a large sickbay, deal with a grumpy CMO and have a captain that insists that you be the only one that comes near him with a hypospray. Christine Chapel also has to cope with being a werewolf. In space.
Author's Note: Beta'd by seren_ccd, who deserved more than a bunch of balloons for this. It's currently a WIP, but it will be finished, I swear. This is a (mostly) bloodless werewolf fic, horror fans probably won't be interested!
Once a month, all women of a certain age have an... issue to deal with. They can take the traditional route, and curl up on the couch with an extra-large bar of chocolate and a bottle of painkillers. Or, if they choose, they could keep taking their contraceptive injections and decide to skip the mess and the fuss altogether. Very few, despite some aggressive marketing campaigns from sanitary product manufacturers, abseil and roller-blade their way through the week in question.
Christine Chapel had a slightly different monthly issue to contend with. On top of the cramps, the bleeding, the bloating, the tenderness and the mood swings, once a month Christine shifted from a tall, curvy, blonde nurse into a sleek, light-coloured she-wolf.
Needless to say, her “little talk” with her mother when she was eleven hadn’t quite gone like her best friend Janey’s had. Janey got a big hug, a PADD with explanatory diagrams and an informative half-hour in the local supermarket as her mother explained the difference between the brightly coloured packages in the toiletries aisle. Christine had been given a radio control collar, a bottle of all purpose flea and tick repellent and a stern lecture about the diseases inherent in local wildlife.
Becoming a woman, Christine was to discover, was much less problematic than becoming a wolf.
Lycanthropy was a genetic gift from her mother’s side of the family. Looking back, that was when her interest in science really started to come alive. She became frustrated when her mother’s family shrugged off her questions with “I don’t know the answer to that, child,” or “It’s just one of those things.”
Christine wanted to know why, damnit.
Why her family, and not Janey’s? Why did the moon becoming full and round cause a tugging deep down in her bones, as if some part of her was being ripped free of her body? Why was she affected, but her older brother wasn’t? Why, when she had succumbed to the siren call of the moon, could she still feel her human self squashed down deep under her wolf?
The human side was what stopped her from going “fully wolf”, as the rougarou of Louisiana legend did. Her grandmother, matriarch of their pack, as fully dominant as a wolf as she was as a human, had tried her best to explain it. Christine had been eleven years old, and had just recovered from her first terrifying, confusing transformation.
“We are neither one thing, nor another, child. When we are wolves we still retain the small spark of humanity that stops us from behaving as true wolves do. When we are human, we have a streak of wildness in us.”
“You mean, we won’t attack people when we’re wolves?” Christine had asked, wide-eyed and innocent.
“Never,” her grandmother said firmly, in a tone of voice that Christine felt reverberate through her. Obey, it said, and she knew she would. “Although,” her grandmother continued in her normal voice, “to be fair to true wolves, it’s very rare that they attack humans. What I mean is, we don’t enforce a pack structure in the same way that true wolves do. If I was a true wolf, I would be long dead, child. And no breeding pair would tolerate another breeding pair in the same pack.”
Christine eyed two of her aunts, her mother’s sisters, both in advanced stages of pregnancy. They were sitting together cooing over nursery decorations and picking out baby buggies.
“Will they have babies or puppies?” she asked, curiously.
Her grandmother let out a laugh that could be more accurately described as a bark.
“Babies, child! We won’t know if they’ll be able to change until they grow older. Some of us can, and some of us can’t.”
“Why?” Christine had persisted. “Surely there are tests that doctors can do to tell...,”
“No doctors,” her grandmother said, using that steely tone again. Christine whimpered slightly. “You hear me, Christine? We stay away from those who would poke about in our DNA and use us as nothing better than lab animals. Nobody in their human form has ever given any doctor a cause to get interested in us, and it’s not going to start now. Stay away from doctors.”
“I understand,” Christine said meekly. She bowed her head and looked at the floor, utterly cowed by her grandmother’s voice. This is not like me, she thought, struggling against a wave of shame and contrition. Stop it. She fought hard and raised her head again, looking her grandmother square in the face. Christine was puzzled to see her smiling broadly.
“You felt it, didn’t you?” the older woman asked. “Your gut told you to do one thing and your brain kicked in and told you to do another. Be grateful for that, Christine. It’ll stop you killing chickens and snapping at ankles.”
Christine must have pulled a disgusted face at the thought of savaging innocent birds, and her grandmother laughed again.
“Think of your questions, child, and ask me them,” she said, pulling a pan of brownies from the oven.
Christine looked at her grandmother mischievously.
“Well,” she said with a grin, “I’ve noticed that I’ve been growing some hair in some very strange places. Is that normal?”
She ducked the wet dishcloth thrown at her head with an incredible amount of grace.
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