Writers Note: Hey furry friends! Although this part is a bit shorter and faster paced than the others, it's probably the closest to my heart. I will warn you, there is a cliffhanger at the end. I apologize for that, but this moment needed it's own spotlight apart from the chaotic events of the next few days. Of course, comments or ideas or corrections are always appreciated. Leave a comment below or PM me anytime; I like to treat myself to a cookie and dedicate it to each person who does. :3
Troy sat in the loud, crowded theatre lobby waiting for Shadow to return from the snack bar. He'd been a little surprised when Shadow had offered to go pick up some treats on his own. Despite his attempts at calmness, Troy could tell that Shadow was not used to crowded places and didn't enjoy them much. But it was finally starting to get too cold to keep doing outdoor activities. He was proud that Shadow was attempting to overcome his solitary habits.
The last few days had been some of the best that Troy could remember since meeting Shadow. There was an ease between them now; a comfortable enjoyment of one anothers presence that Troy cherished.
All of which surprised him to a degree. Despite knowing Troys feelings, Shadow didn't show any awkwardness or discomfort when they were around each other. In fact, Shadow seemed a bit more relaxed and, maybe, happier than Troy could ever remember seeing him before. Although Shadow had said he didn't know if he really felt for Troy the same way,Troy was satisfied with their current relationship; and he dearly hoped that some of the awful pain had been lifted from his friend.
Troy watched a young couple attempting to herd their pack of squeaking pups into one of the rooms playing some childrens movie. This place really was packed tonight! "Well, it is the biggest attraction in town these days." Troy thought, admiring the sleek modern look of the newly built megaplex. "Shadow probably would've preferred to rent something from the store though."
Nevertheless, they were managing to have a good time together and Troy appreciated that. They still had a few days of Christmas break left. Troy wondered what they would do with it. And of course, there was also the holiday itself. As far as he could see, neither of them had any specific place to go to, so he guessed that they'd spend it together. Troy smiled at the idea of catching Shadow under some mistletoe.
"It's the rule..." he'd say. "This is what you get for all your teasing...." Troy murred at the vision. It just might be worth trying.
And the fact of the matter was that Shadow did tease Troy sometimes. He seemed to enjoy smirking at Troys blushes and nervous twitches when he did so. It was somewhat frustrating, but...also kind of enjoyable nonetheless. Troy hadn't said anything about it, but it did hurt sometimes as well. If Shadow didn't have the same feelings for him, it wasn't fair for him to keep getting Troy wound up. Sometimes though, Troy wondered if the jokes went deeper. Maybe there was....a glimmer? A sliver of something there? Something that might grow if.....
"Just stop that." Troy thought and shook his head.
No. No, he was lucky that things had worked out as well as they had. Their friendship was solid now. They both knew the score with each others lives, mostly, and knew they could trust one another with that knowledge. His meddling could smash it all to flinders like so much fine glass being tossed into a tornado.
Troy stopped his musings when he saw Shadow returning. He smiled at his friends somewhat ruffled appearance. It must've been quite the mad house over there this close to starting time. Shadow walked up to him and handed him a soda and a box of chocolate malts. Troys favorite movie snack.
"Here." Was all Shadow said.
Yes, it had definitely been busy. Troy controlled his features but chuckled inwardly at Shadows cloudy expression.
"Thanks!" Troy replied brightly. "Let's go take our seats, before a crowd tramples us or something." They entered a nearby room and took a couple of seats near the front.
They'd tried to decide between seeing an action flick, or one of the more "Christmas-y" films that was releasing tonight. They had decided to go with action, the holiday film looking to be a three and a half hour drama about some dysfunctional family lost in the snow. They both agreed that it might warrant a rental some day.
The movie they were seeing tonight was another remake of some older action movie with a similar name. It was called "Castle Wolfenstein" and was apparently about some fur trapped in some evil castle. The trailers showed the main character getting a chain gun at some point, so they thought it might at least be visually entertaining. The lights dimmed slowly, and after a few previews of upcoming films, the movie started.
The film definitely had plenty of violence. Lots of guns and fight scenes. Troy smiled whenever he stole a glance at Shadow. His friend was paying rapt attention; his ears fully forward and twitching slightly with each explosion or gory death. Troy sighed a little bit in his mind. It seemed these types of movies might be a fixture in the future.
After the movie, they walked a ways down from the theatre towards the bus stop. The street was already very dark, illuminated only by the evenly spaced streetlamps on each side of the road. A light, but steady snowfall was coating everything in rising layers of soft powder and was quickly muffling the various sounds of the busy area as they walked farther away into the cold night.
"You really liked that movie? It was so mindless." Troy said, shaking his head.
"Well, yeah." Shadow replied. "But you have to admit that it was a little bit cool when he found that secret room with all those guns."
"Convenient is more like it." Troy scoffed. "It was just like he waved his paw over it and it just...opened. Oh, and it just happened to be filled with medical supplies too! Just what he needed." Troy smirked.
Shadow gave a derisive snort. "It was still cool, no matter what you say."
Troy laughed a little. "Yeah, it was a little bit entertaining. I'll admit that." He said.
They reached the bench that marked the bus stop. Shadow brushed some snow off of it and they both sat down. Their ride should hopefully be here in fifteen or twenty minutes. They sat and shivered in companionable silence, occasionally shaking built up snow off from their heads and muzzles. After a few moments Shadow nudged Troys shoulder.
"Hey, what would you say to some coffee to warm us up while we wait? I can see a stand down there." He said, nodding towards a small shack down the road. It's orange lit sign read "The Expresso Lane: Coffee to Go!"
Troy groaned. "That would be amazing. Only if you're buying, I got the tickets remember?"
"And I got the snacks. It should be criminal how much they charge in there." Shadow shot back.
"Fine. I'll pay, you miser." Troy said with a grin.
He actually didn't mind. In fact, he could've paid for their tickets, snacks and the coffee; but Shadow always wanted to contribute to their activities.
He grabbed his wallet from a pocket in his green winter coat and handed Shadow some money from it.
"You have to go get it though." He said with a sly smile.
Shadow smiled back and said "Sure you wouldn't rather just sit closer and warm up that way?"
Troy chuffed and his ears went down as he looked away from Shadow. "Are you ever going stop teasing me like that? It kind of gets on my nerves sometimes."
Neither of them said anything for a few moments. The sound of the winter wind and the distant noise of passing cars were all that could be heard. Troy was getting ready to apologize for his comment when he heard Shadow say something so softly, Troy almost missed it altogether.
"Who says I'm teasing this time?"
Troy turned his head around sharply. "What did you say, Shadow?"
Shadow appeared very nervous and fidgety. He traced a little line in the snow with his foot paw and stared at the ground. Troy bent his head and tried to catch Shadows gaze, but Shadow refused to look at him. He was breathing a little fast too. It seemed to Troy like he was trying to work up to saying something, so Troy didn't press him; just waited patiently.
"I...." Shadow started, then stopped and ran his right paw over the fur on his head. "I've been thinking. About what you said last week.....about...you know, you kind of....liking me?"
Troy blushed. He hadn't meant for things to come out like they had that night. But events had been kind of crazy. He still enjoyed remembering his embrace with Shadow then, although his dreams these days often took things in far different directions than they had actually gone. Troy focused his attention back to Shadow as his friend continued speaking.
"Well, it's not like....it's not likely that I'll meet many other....not that that's why I was thinking this, you understand, not at all. It's just, I'd never thought about it...but.." Shadow sighed and shook his head slowly.
"This is fucking difficult." Shadow said.Troy was a bit surprised, Shadow normally refrained from swearing in front of Troy. He didn't know why, Troy had no problem with it, but for some reason Shadow never did.
Shadow sighed again, a little sharply. "It's just that...I've thought that maybe I've felt, maybe, something...you know? sometimes...in the past...other guys? Not like major or anything, of course, but curious....sometimes. And I thought, with what you said and all...maybe I should.."
Shadow rambled on for a few more sentences, his voice becoming softer and his words less coherent by the second. Finally his voice just tapered off, leaving only the cold silence again tinged with a bit of awkwardness as Shadow just sat and continued to fidget slightly. Troy put a paw on Shadows shoulder and said gently,
"Hey. Shadow. It's okay, you can tell me what's bothering you. Just take a breath okay? Think about it for a few seconds, then just start talking."
Shadow just nodded, and took a few deep breaths while leaning back a bit against the bench. After a few moments, he turned to face Troy, took one last large gulp of air, and then closed his eyes tight and suddenly gave Troy a quick but forceful kiss on the mouth that lasted all of maybe two and a half seconds. Troy was completely dumbstruck at the unexpected action.
Shadows breaths came raggedly, but words started suddenly started tumbling out of his mouth one after another, as if escaping a prison door that was like to shut at any moment.
"I've never really been with anyone before so I know I'm not really good at stuff, I mean I haven't even really dated or anything, it just didn't seem like I ever felt anything like that for someone, I mean sometimes I did but I didn't do anything I mean, I know you've probably had lots of relationships and It's funny how old I am but I've never....never, uh....I mean, it just never really happened for me that way but I'd like to change that maybe, I don't know, I mean..."
Shadow coughed and took another shaky breath. "I'd like to try....maybe, to see how it is....with you, I mean. If you want. Of course." Seeming to pull every last ounce of courage he had, Shadow lifted his head and looked right at Troy, awaiting his reaction.
Troy had no idea what to say. This was the moment he'd dreamed of happening for so long. He'd just never thought it would come so unexpectedly. Looking at Shadow, he noticed his friends ears were down and his eyes had such a nervous look in them. He seemed like such an innocent, nervous cub at that moment! Troy felt a large grin spread across his muzzle, followed by a small laugh.
Shadow seemed crestfallen at Troys reaction. "He must think I'm laughing at the idea." Troy thought, which only made him chuckle once more. Just when it seemed Shadow was going to look away, Troy grabbed the sides of Shadows head and pulled him back into his own brief kiss. Looking into Shadows shocked eyes, Troy smiled wide and lightly pinched Shadows muzzle, kissing him one more time for good measure.
"Yes, you gorgeous wolf." Troy said happily. "I would love to be with you. Always." Three more quick kisses, just to make sure this was really happening, and then Shadow was smiling with him.
It was the purest, most radiant and honest smile Troy had ever seen on his beloved friends face; seeming all the more beautiful for its rarity, like one piercing beam of clearest sunlight in the eye of a terrible maelstrom. Suddenly, it seemed like all of Shadows past hurts and future worries were all at once wiped clean away, leaving behind only the person that Shadow would've been had things been different: A happy, exuberant wolf; one that laughed and loved and lived for blissful moments such as this. The sight of it filled Troys heart with an aching happiness that he could express no other way than to hug Shadow close to his chest and letting out a slightly euphoric giggle.
After the embrace, Shadow said "I'll go get that coffee now." Still wearing that glowing smile.
As Shadow rose and walked off down the street, Troy simply leaned back against the bench; his own smile seeming like it would never leave his face. Not after tonight. Gods! He felt like doing a victory dance or something! Unable to help himself, he checked to make sure Shadow wasn't looking back at him then punched the air triumphantly and stomped his foot paws rapidly on the ground a few times, laughing quietly.
Then he just leaned back and enjoyed the feeling of snow falling on his face, closing his eyes and listening to the various sounds: the gentle wind, the snow falling, some nearby car doors opening and closing. He sighed, musing on the strange and wonderful events of the last few minutes.
Suddenly, a heavy bag or sack was thrown over his head. Troy immediately tried to rise in surprise, but strong paws gripped his arms and shoulders and held him down. Before he could even think to cry out, a strong blow to the stomach blasted the air from his lungs causing him to double over in pain.
What was happening? His mind was in a daze trying to process everything that was going on. He heard voices in the background.
"Hurry, grab his legs and lets get out of here!" said a low, raspy voice.
Despite his feeble squirming and kicking, Troy was quickly lifted and hauled in some unknown direction. After a moment, he was tossed hard into some kind of vehicle. He heard the doors slam shut behind him. He tried to rise to his knees but was again forced down by two or more unknown assailants. One slammed Troys face on the vehicle floor; leaning an arm against Troys muzzle, pinning his mouth shut and preventing the hope of his calling out to anyone.
"Quiet guys. The other one's coming back." It was raspy voice again.
A voice from somewhere ahead called out softly.
"Troy?" It was Shadow! It sounded like he was right outside!
Shadows voice brought some clarity back to Troys mind. "I'm in here! I'm in here! Please, help me!" He tried to call out, thrashing harder than before. It accomplished nothing. The arm on his muzzle only increased its pressure and the paws of those holding him kept him from moving much more than an inch or two.
"Don't worry..." A voice whispered in his ear. "We haven't forgotten your little homo friend. He'll be getting some special treatment in a bit." The sickeningly smooth voice chuckled. "I don't think his spiffy kung-fu is going to help him this time though. At least you got one last disgusting homo kiss in...next time you see him, I'm not entirely sure he's going to have much of anything to kiss his faggot friends with."
"Troy! Where'd you go?" Troy heard Shadow shout, a little bit farther away now.
Tears were leaking from Troys eyes and it was hot and stuffy inside the thick bag, making it hard to breath.
"PLEASE, SOMEONE HELP ME!" He screamed in his mind; willing something, anything, to come to his rescue. "PLEASE, SOMEONE LOOK IN THE WINDOW OR WALK BY! PLEASE! PLEASE! SOMEONE SAVE ME!"
But no one did. All Troy could do was tremble and listen to the low amused chuckles of his captors.
Shadow couldn't stop his tail from wagging as he headed back towards the bench with the two coffees. He hadn't thought this would feel so good. He'd expected....He didn't know what really. Some kind of strangeness maybe, or some difficulty in allowing deeper feelings for Troy to be considered and expressed. Instead, he felt...rejuvenated; like taking a hot shower after a bitterly long day of work. It was a fantastic feeling.
He stopped after he got a little over half way back to the bus stop bench. Troy was no longer there he noticed. Looking around, Shadow could see no sign of him.
"Troy?" He called out. No response, just the empty silence of a snowy winter night all around him. He walked a little ways forward.
"Where could he have gone?" He wondered, confused.
Was he playing some kind of prank? That wasn't really like Troy, but one never knew.
"Troy! Where'd you go?" He yelled, walking out into the street to look around some of the parked vehicles. Nothing. He turned in a circle, hoping to catch a glimpse of scampering fur.
Suddenly, a large brown colored van that had been parked next to the street roared to life behind him, pulling away from the curb and speeding past him narrowly; causing him to drop both coffee cups and jump backwards towards the sidewalk. Shadow caught a quick glance at the driver as he passed by through the light of the streetlamp. Some kind of tawny cat maybe, he couldn't be sure. Hadn't the guy seen Shadow standing there?
Then, Shadow heard slow steps crunching in the snow down a nearby alleyway. Ah, so it had been some kind of joke. Shadow smiled mentally. He'd tell him it was his fault that the coffee got spilled.
He pretended not to notice the cautious steps coming towards him. Troy was probably planning on dumping a pawful of snow on Shadows head or something. Preparing for the cold shock, he didn't even register the hard blow to his head that sent him careening towards the ground.
He blinked, staring confusedly at the sidewalk in front of his face, his vision tunneling.
"Wha-?" Was all he had managed to mumble when a second, harder blow shut down his senses like a switch. Everything was blackness.