Pine Peak Sanctuary all wheel drive

literally just in sweats and a yellow hoodie :3

They had made plans.

Kheira was to wear comfy clothes. That advice she took to heart. She wore sweat pants and a hoodie. Comfortable as could be. Which was the easiest part of all of this. Mainly because today had been a million times worse than every day before.

It was as if she could smell every foul odor (and good) that drifted in through the car window. As if she could hear every click of her gears. Not to mention the sizzled heat of her skin. Sweaty, even as the wind blasted over her. Thankfully she had a long breezy drive to make.

Down to Camp Baron once more to some place she didn’t know even really existed. Which felt weird when she considered the scope of it. So big and expansive. Fenced in too. This was where she would spend her night.

Hell in a cell.

So she arrived, pulled up her messages and punched in the code Kara had given her. Then found somewhere to park. Wondered what it was like outside. Cold she hoped. At least chilly or windy. Anything to counteract the heat that enveloped her. Maybe sweats and a hoodie had been a shit idea.

Something to consider as she stared at the darkening sky.

She’d enjoy the blasted air conditioner in her car for a few moments more as she shot off a message.


Looked behind her to make sure her backpack of clothes, snacks and water was still present. As if it would have vanished on the ride.
News wasn’t out of the bag just yet for anyone. She was keeping the fact there might be a baby african wild dog secret till they all knew for sure, but damn was it hard. The last thing Kara needed was for it to get out and then become massively disappointed when a wolf stared back at her on the full moon. Here’s to hoping Kheira got what she wanted and that loogie proved to be successful. It was a whole lot of wishing on just a lob of spit, but it’d have to do.

Plans had been made, car was packed, and she was making her way through the gate as soon as it moved aside just enough to get through the space. A vibration on the seat next to her had Kara picking up the phone briefly to read the short message. Great!

Parking, she’d pull out a backpack, hanging it from one shoulder before closing the door with a creaking slam. Looking around, she’d focus on the car still running in the lot, a pretty big hunch with who might be inside.

With a knock against the back and ultimately top, Kara would soon peek through the glass on the driver’s side, waving as she did. ”Heya, you ready?” No doubt heavily muffled through glass.
She jumped.

Well, lurched really. She couldn’t jump all that much in a car seat still buckled in. There was a brief moment of sweaty panic that it would be somebody she didn’t know. That somebody would tell her she got the wrong place or chew her out and then she’d become a giant dog right then and there.

Luckily it didn’t get that far. Couldn’t, really.

She saw it was Kara. Had entirely missed the words that had been spoken but Kheira knew it was time to get out. So she grabbed the backpack, turned off the car and exited.

"Hey." She grunted with an exhausted grin. "It’s the big day already, huh?"

A nicer thing to say than how the days had dragged through the month with an uptick in the severity of her symptoms.
That caused a jump and Kara gave a huge hee sort of smile for it, stepping back from the door to give space.

Exhaustion was the tone and she’d kinda forgotten how much it dragged on a person those last few hours. It was weird to see this all from an outside perspective instead of being the one passing out.

”Yeeep, it always feels like it gets here too fast. Got everything you need,” she asked, a gesture towards the bag given.
Was it too fast or too slow? Her feelings seemed to switch between the two.

But, oh. Yeah.

"Uhuh." She was positive she did but regardless she felt the backpack from outside. Then opened the zipper to peek inside. "Clothes, snacks and water." That had been everything she needed, right?

"So, um, what next? Now that we’re here?"
Watching as Kheira did a second look at her bag, she beamed at the checklist on point. Kheira was gonna become a master were in no time if this was anything to go by. ”Sweet.”

Slipping her other arm through her own bag so it situated squarely behind, Kara motioned out to the great wide nothing. ”We pick a trail, get some space just for ourselves, and wait.”
"Okay, cool. Easy enough." She supposed that was to ease her into the greater parts of this that wouldn't be easy at all.

Regardless she was happy to bob alongside Kara. Already some sense of comradery even if they weren't the same. Yet. God, would she even know if they were? She sort of figured that was a thing that would be solved...whenever! When the time to 'hatch' came!

"Do you have any last minute survival tips? When to expect to hatch?" As if she would turn into a bird and not some giant dog either way!
All signs pointing to go, she’d start them off towards the trails, picking one at random that didn’t reek of someone else. Last thing she wanted to deal with was a brand new pup getting into a scuffle with someone a lot larger on her first moon.

The term got her to bark out a laugh. ”That kinda varies. Best guess is when the moon is pretty solidly up,” she nodded towards the point of the sky the white globe was pulling up towards. ”You’ll probably get pretty dizzy and hot if you’re not already feeling it,” Kara explained looking to Kheira, ”Like you might pass out and all.” That was easy to explain, the next chunk she felt was going to really suck to just lay on, but here they go. Better Kheira knew than go in blind.

”I’m not gonna sugar coat it, shit is gonna hurt and it’ll be lights out for your human brain till the morning,” she started, tapping the side of her head. ”But just let it flow if ya can. I’ll be with you all night and when you wake up.”
The worst part was that she could almost feel that way already. Constantly overheated and constantly convinced that she could pass out! She figured that wasn’t what Kara meant though. It was probably more tangible. Maybe a worse feeling. Somehow.

The scary part was knowing that there would be more pain. She wouldn’t even be there for all of this apparently. She’d be…lights out. Uncertain of how that worked but she could only hope that Kara really did stay true to everything. No need to doubt but she hated the idea of bursting free in a blackout.

"I guess, um, you’ll just let me know what I am afterwards? Can I even tell by myself?"
Well, if she was freaked out either Kheira hid it really well or not feeling that great kinda taxed it out of her. Hard to tell.

”Yeah, I’ll tell you fo sure but nope, you can’t tell… uh, well.” She could though! How to explain dog brain to someone with zero context? ”You’ll probably feel it around in your head like a separate person and then be able to see the same kind really well like they’re right in front of you.”
The finer details really started to get to her.

Kheira might have felt safe with Kara, but there was no denying the sweaty fear that rolled off of her. It was hard to know that these things she couldn't wrap her brain around were now going to be her life.

"I feel sick." She declared. Stressed to a point of nausea. "I need a minute." Then she headed directly for the nearest tree or bush on their trail. Leaned over with her hands on her knees and dry heaved. Nothing would come up, but that didn't stop her body from trying.
Suddenly, she was excusing herself and Kara watched on as the girl went off trail. ”No problem.” They had all the time in the world except, well, not really, but it wasn’t like shifting was right now now no matter how much Spots wanted it.

What proceeded was sounds of puking and Kara politely turned the other way, a careful ear out just in case a body hit the ground or something else changed.
Nothing happened.

Nothing. No vomit and no surprise dog. Not yet at least! She did feel...achy! A new kind of achy but that was really hard to tell beneath everything else she felt right now.

Eventually she had to wipe the spit off of her chin and lips so she could turn around. There was still so much that needed to happen tonight!

"Sorry." She softly huffed out when she returned back to Kara. "I'm feeling a lot. Like physically and mentally, I guess. But, um, just a bit longer, yeah? Then I can wake up and...see you clearly? Maybe." It felt a bit like she was speaking just to hear her own voice. Anything to hush the pound of her heart.
Eventually, steps gave way that her company was heading back and she turned to her with a soft grin. There was a lot to feel all around, no doubt, but Kara was hoping she was doing things right in a way that at least this bit wasn’t going to be traumatic.

”Exactly. And if you don’t you’re still stuck with me, win-win,” she winked, setting them off at a steady pace again. ”Let me know if you feel any worse though and we can stop.”
Barked some dry laughter at that. Then thought about the question. Were aches even worth bringing up when it felt like her whole body would explode from heat alone?

"I feel...achy. But like a new kind of achy?" Did it mean literally anything? Maybe she had imagined it just from Kara talking!
Pleased with herself at the laugh that evoked from Kheira, she grinned well enough. Kara fully meant it though, she wasn’t about to just turn loose a scared new were just because they didn’t have the same pelt as her.

”New achy,” Kara repeated in question. ”Like bone deep or like sick?”
Bone deep or sick.

Was there an option for both? It was like a bone deep sickness. Something she just...felt. Knew to be true.

"Bones, I guess? I just...feel it. Not like a muscle ache post-sickness."

Then she stared at Kara and then the rising moon before her gaze landed back at Kara.
That was what she had been getting at. Kara looked over her shoulder at the moon Kheira had just shot a glance towards, thinking. They could chance maybe another half mile, but she didn’t like the unknown time limit here. It was easier when people were seasoned, but Kheira had a brand new skin unraveling and they didn’t need to be caught unawares.

”Right, so.” Making a decision, Kara stepped off the path some, kicking a hunk of weeds around. ”Let’s stop here then.” Shifting her weight, she’d take the backpack off, slipping it to a hand before it ultimately was placed onto the dirt. ”I’d rather you didn’t have to go through the whole ripping clothes thing if you don’t have to.”
She hadn’t really thought too hard about the finer details.

Like…ripping clothes. It made sense, but it seemed she was being saved from that. So awkwardly she followed Kara’s lead. Slowly settled her backpack down into the dirt.

"Just, right here?" Asked as she already sought to pull off her bright hoodie. Any relief from the heat that simmered her skin would be welcomed.

And it was probably best that she had, as the discomfort seemed to suddenly bloom into a deeply painful sensation. Right at her chest. Which just had her dramatically clutch at it.

Was she having a heart attack or was this…it?
”Yeah,” she confirmed with a small nod, the words really not needed as Kheira was pulling off her hoody there and then. Well, if that’s all it took, maybe she wouldn’t have to urge her through the whole modesty bit. Fat chance.

Kara’s hands pulled at the sleeves of her own jacket, meaning to shirk it off when the pause from Kheira had eyes swinging over to some kind of weird movie still. Pain. Fleece falling to the top of her bag, the dog whined in anticipation, paws skittering in taps. ”Still breathing,” she asked with concern interlaced with the need for confirmation.
She wasn’t totally sure that she was, but the nod of her head to Kara would assure both of them she was.

Although that pain still bloomed and spread. Internal shifts that caused her to writhe in the pain and motion it brought. She vocalized it too. How easy it was to suddenly burst into breathless tears. Hunched over as she poorly tried to peel out of clothes.

Eventually she was on the ground. Undergarments left only.

Stared at the darkening sky.

"Am-Am….I?" Dying. Exploding. Dreaming.

Anything was better than the truth of her painful reality. All she could do was groan, whine and cry through it. Undeniably a build up to screams was coming soon.
A nod would have to do, but the sounds of pain and the way her body was moving to compensate in reaction had them heading down a shifting countdown.Taking that as sign as any, she quickly threw off clothes, balled them up to stuff into her bag as Kheira at least was able to do the same. As much as Kara wanted to help her with the task, her shift was going to take a while too and she’d rather be fur bound than on the other side of things when Kheira was done.

Moving over when done and as Kheira sat the ground, Kara picked up her own clothes to push them into a bag unceremoniously, zipping things up soundly. That half iterated question had Kara looking over, sympathy weaving through. ”Yeah, think so.” Standing, she put a hand to a very warm shoulder. ”You’ve got this, kay?” She just had to get through this super insane part where it felt like your very being was being torn apart and then it’d get better.
She didn’t feel like she got it, but she couldn’t argue either.

Just a wild eyed (brown bled into silver now, not that she knew) stare at the hand on her shoulder.

Mainly because things morphed further. Slow and drawn out. Yet still so intense and inhuman enough that she felt it with each writhe. The way organs budged against bones that creaked. Muscles morphed.

It was a real horror movie. She had become the monster in every story, or maybe the victim. Ripped apart by a virus from somebody else. She could only hope that their plan would take part. That they would be one and the same, that she didn’t become something she already hated worse than this whole process.

She couldn’t convey any of her fears, of course. Too distracted to do anything other than choke on her own pain. Poor sounds that couldn’t even amount to a scream, because her throat shifted with everything else. Muscles crunched every sound that escaped her.
Eyes changing color were always wack to an extent, seeing color bleed into another as if it was always meant to do that was the sort of thing you couldn’t look away from. The beast was here and whatever it would be was soon to reveal itself with only a countdown clock of a few minutes between now and then.

From there, Kara would give the girl space, focus on her own loud dog to finally relinquish complete control to and allow it to join the outside world among sound of pain from two parties.

It would be a few minutes, but where Kara had been was a very eager painted wolf, bouncing to springy legs over to the still shifting young ‘un. Tail wagging, the dog sang in broken bits in excitement as she sniffed all around Kheira’s form. What was she? Was she done yet? C’mon!
She was a few minutes behind. Although it would become clear as Kheira slipped away into some never ending pain-filled void and something morphed into her place, that she was not some big bad werewolf. Nothing that resembled the one who got to her first.

Blotchy colored fur, a tail and a pair of ears that seemed unnaturally large. Give her a few moments more and it all came together. A canvas with misplaced colors painted a very clear image at the end of all the work.

A painted wolf stared right back at another, still hunkered to the ground with pained exhaustion. Uncertain. Hesitant. All of this communicated with subtle sniffs towards the other in return. Silver eyes darted between the open space around them and the other wolf on springy legs.

Were there...more?
Forms of legs and paws and ears were starting to look very familiar, the fur pattern the final confirmation. They had another painted wolf on their hands and Kara had never been so relieved and happy at the same time to see another pair of big radar dish ears. Kheira got what she wanted, Kara got to mentor the only other of her kind out here, and the dog got a friend to hustle. What a night!

Continuing to spin around her to check out every bit, eventually silver eyes were on orange as the new dog stayed down. No jumping? No exuberance bursting forth from the newbie? Head tilting, Spots allowed more sniffs of herself from the other as she considered. A high pitched chirp that ended in a high note song was given, tail swaying. Hello?
It seemed that was about all the confirmation the dog needed. A chirp returned as she pushed up onto her own legs. Shook to loosen up her muscles, then took a bounding step forward, a look over her color mashed shoulder.

She was all better! A bit more coordinated after her brief investigation. It was time to get a move on now!

A series of yips, chirps and everything else she could make would indicate this.
It came right back and ears swiveled perfectly towards the other as a tail furiously began to wag. Paws were pushed onto and they were mission a go! Wobbly paws and the dog excitedly walked in circles around the new pup, ready to help if needed.

Familiar sounds! Sounds she hadn’t heard since they’d changed territories were a welcome relief, a language not spoken in years finally right there. Maw opening slightly, the dog offered squeaks back, brushing shoulders and pushing a snout messly into scruff while paws continued forward. Hiya! Mine? Friend? Puppy, puppy, puppy.
Where a nose pushed into her scruff, she mashed her nose into the chest of the other. Nosy huffs as she deeply familiarized with the other.

Good, safe, familiar.

Her body shimmied with the ferocious wag of her tail. Reared some to hopefully initiate some sort of tussle on their adventure. Very much like a child who needed this enrichment to be better aligned with the world and solidify the bonds being made. Vital moments!
She was sniffed right back while Khiera’s dog became an entire wiggling mass of wagging. And then the pup reared up and orange eyes danced in challenge. Springing up onto bouncy hindlegs, her great maw opened letting out a long play growl, aiming to mouth an entire muzzle between teeth if she could get away with it while paws splayed toes to get a better grip up wherever they may land.



Very suddenly, Pup had teeth around her muzzle. Not in a big mean way, but still she squirmed for the sensation. Paws even pressed into her. Disgruntled whines. Although she was only disgruntled to not be winning — because despite her wiggling she still remained pinned beneath Spots.

miss on break free

Success and ears rotated forcefully forward as eyes seemed to boggle with excitement. The sounds of whines vibrated up through teeth and she gave a slight bit more of pressure before flinging her body to the side, wanting to pull them both to the ground. This was a big body wrestle for fun and Spots was gonna give it her all.

Miss lol

Somebody who overheard them might have been concerned about the sounds Pup produced, but fear not! This was very fun. As evident by the way oversized ears moved in anticipation and her tail still whipped wildly behind. Pup was encouraged by the force of Spots to use such a tactic back. Maybe if she was the one to push them down to the ground together, she'd be the winner!

Too bad they were in a stalemate it seemed.

omg miss again

She barely budged and an exhale loudly pushed through her nose. A force back that Kara pulled against and they remained just as stuck. Another try then as back feet danced around before heaving to no avail. Why was this hard????

Miss again

Tippy tap hind feet followed the dance they had engaged in. Neither one seemed keen to back down first, both eager to come out victorious! Although Pup would unfortunately loose her footing on her push back against Spots' own force.

Which left her going down.

Saddest day ever.

miss on maintaining balance

And then there was a sudden give and where there should be righteous victory, instead only surprise fluttering up into her chest proceeded a yip piercing out as they fell.

Hold letting go as the two became a spotty pile of oranges and blacks and browns, she rolled away, thin back legs kicking into the dirt to spring up along with a quick snap at the air near ears.
Pup yipped as well, a panicked sound at the surprise of their downward collide and also feeding off the energy of the other dog.

Although soon enough the two of them were free. Her head swung as she tried to miss teeth to her oversized ears. It served well to motivate though as she sprung up on her own twig legs, sought to zip right by her companion and out into the open expanse.
Hitting the gas, the pup was up and at ‘em, running past. With exuberance, Spots burst after her, tail and ears held high and gait positively flying. They were no longer a loner of their kind and it was time to celebrate with prey and play. First, they needed a hunt though and she was excited to show the new dog how it was done.
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