His pride was raging at the idea of being carried down like some damn princess, his wolf snarling at being handled like some delicate flower until Kiba reminded himself that it was either riding Tarzan the entire way down or potentially falling and having to spend a half hour waiting for one of his bones to reset. Or a few, knowing him. Besides, with his arms and legs wrapped around Tarzan he could feel the expanse of his body against his, a sensation he’d honestly missed. Trying not to snuffle at the back of Tarzan’s neck, he just rested his chin on one strong shoulder and closed his eyes as Tarzan began to move.
Fingers splaying out across Tarzan’s collar bones and chest, Kiba tried not to let it show how his stomach felt like dropping or how the experience of falling and bouncing around made him nervous. By the time Tarzan landed, Kiba was rigid and still clinging as tightly as ever, until he realized that he was no longer at risk of breaking his neck.
Swallowing hard, he turned his head, breath playing across Tarzan’s neck and jaw, until he finally just let go and fell onto his feet with a shaky wobble back. “Ugh, one would think that someone like me wouldn’t be so freaked out by heights, but honestly, they’re the worst.” Scratching through his hair, he shook his head and said, “Thank you Tarzan,” Flashing a smile and giving a shaky laugh, he rolled his eyes.
“Hey, if you tell anyone of my fear of heights, I will make you eat those dirty bandages,” He blinked seriously for all of three seconds before he grinned, “Kidding. Sorry you had to carry me like that-oh.” Stepping forward, his fingers went to tuck in some of the bandages along Tarzan’s torso and nodded with satisfaction. “Might’ve had something to do with that…” Letting go, he asked, “Wanna walk with me back to the entrance of the forest? My shirt and shoes are there, so.”
The stillness made Tarzan shift his eyes. And when he felt only Kiba’s head moving and his breath caressing the side of his neck, the zombie had to hold a shaky sigh inside his chest. Kiba unwrapped his arms and legs, moved away, and Tarzan was cold again, clearing his throat and passing with both hands through his hair, eyes shifting. He needed to get a grip. Perhaps these sensations were normal. Perhaps he was extra-sensitive because of that time of the month…Then Tarzan recalled, only some women had that.
He arched his brow at Kiba, staring him in the eye when being threatened. For a moment he wasn’t sure whether he was serious or not. But the slow grin made him feel at ease again. “It’s fine. You’re not as heavy as I ho—” Kiba reached out to touch him again and the zombie had to glance down at the fingers brushing against his bandages. So careful and gentle and yet hiding blood stained claws.
"…You left your clothes on the side of the road?"
Claws digging into the wood, Kiba wondered if he could slice his way down the tree but his fingers ached at the idea. Grumbling under his breath as his feet scraped against the tree while he clung to another branch, he huffed while Tarzan just seemed to bounce down with no hesitance at all. Fearless and graceful was what the male was while Kiba looked like a damn cat stuck in a tree. Rolling his eyes with annoyance, he clenched his jaw and was about to consider jumping until Tarzan reappeared.
Glaring at Tarzan, Kiba replied stiffly, “Since when did you become a freaking cat?” Rolling his eyes as he tried not to give in to the urge to jump because he had no desire to reset any bones, he looked up to see Tarzan looking so smug and actually laughed. “You’re such an ass, you know that? It’s a good look on you.”
Thinking about his options, Kiba eyed Tarzan and finally moved to the side and with a flail of limbs and an elbow to the gut, he grunted and wound his arms around Tarzan’s shoulders. His legs went up and around his hips, clinging tightly, bare chest to a muscled back, he said, “My hero.”
There was something absolutely heart-warming about the way Kiba seemed to cling to the tree branch, all frowns and mumbles and nails scrapping against wood. For a moment Tarzan was worried that the shifter’s pride would be enough for him to just let go of the branch and let the chips fall where they may. Or better yet, his body.
Tarzan blinked, the smugness vanishing into a confused look instead. “I didn’t become a cat…” He frowned. What sort of question was that? His eyes widened once more when Kiba called him an ass only to point out that it looked good on Tarzan. Being an ass. Therefore…Being arrogant seemed to please Kiba. His lower lip stuck out as the wheels in Tarzan’s head started turning.
No. Absolutely not. He had just given out a speech about being who you are and following the natural order of things. Since when was Tarzan the smug douche type of guy? He was so focused on his thoughts that the two slow arms that wrapped around his shoulders caught him a bit by surprise. The warm skin brushing against his cold one left a trail of fire. And when more of Kiba’s skin pressed against Tarzan’s…Well, his throat went dry again.
He was happy Kiba could no longer see his face because Tarzan felt as if his eyeballs could just pop out of his skull. Swallowing dryly he didn’t answer to the shifter’s comment. Instead he proceeded to leaping off the branch and using his hands and feet to land, jump and hold on to the branches that followed. He moved as quickly as he could. As if trying to get away from his own thoughts. Only with the large thud of feet landing on grass did Tarzan realize there was nowhere else left to run to.
One long moment of silence came up as he simply stood there, staring blankly at the floor, enjoying the last seconds of warmth that irradiated from Kiba’s skin. “You’re welcome.”
The words Tarzan said seemed to drop straight into Kiba’s music with a gentle splash that made him stiffen up. Their eyes were glued together, sky blue on sapphire and slowly the shifter inhaled before he smiled and replied, “And zombies shouldn’t be cured. Not when some of them are just fine the way they are.” When Tarzan looked away, Kiba exhaled and felt his heart give a nervous little flop until he moved to take away the splinter, the little source of annoyance and pain from his skin. Kiba wished he could just be quiet, he was sure apologies about old scars were a bit of a downer but guilt seemed to hang around him like a toxic disease and he just needed to get it out there. Needed to say what he couldn’t before.
Mouth moving without any control as words just tumbled out, Kiba didn’t go quiet until the gentle touch and the drag of his gaze that locked with Tarzan’s. He wanted to protest, wanted to say what it all really was but it didn’t matter really. It was in the past and…and Kiba liked to think he had another chance to make something right. Smiling with apology, he whispered, “Thank you Tarzan…sorry for being such a downer.”
Snorting he shook his head and looked up when Tarzan got up, lips parting, he looked down and then back up again. Swallowing hard, he replied, “Yeah sure. Let’s get down…ah.” Moving slowly, he shuffled until he was hanging from the branch and then carefully climbed down another. “Shit, I really should have thought this through.”
Tarzan wasn’t listening. Talking about their relationship so straightforwardly left a ringing noise inside both his ears. His head felt fuzzy. He was just happy he managed to say all that. Everything was fine. Of course it had hurt in the beginning. Kiba was the first person to ever show Tarzan what it felt like to be liked. Maybe even loved. But he knew now; the world wasn’t as cruel and dark as Mok had made him believe.
He rolled his eyes shut, easily jumping off the branch they were on only to hang from it with one arm, dropping on the one below it and proceeding to jump, from branch to branch, pausing only when noticing that Kiba wasn’t following him as easily as before. He smiled a bit, looking up at him. “Dogs are not good climbers because they are afraid of falling.” The zombie began to climb up again, pausing when reaching the branch Kiba was on. “Cats have plenty of lives to spare.”
The way he stuck his chin out at Kiba showed a hint of arrogance. A playful one surely. Something he mimicked from all the chick flicks and bad soap operas he had watched during his months in school rather than studying. “I have offered to carry you before. The offer still stands.”
Unable to hold back the laughter, Kiba shook his head, “I know Tarzan, I was merely jesting with you as well.” Finding pleasure in making the zombie confused at times, he wasn’t sure he’d ever get tired of the way he seemed to be unsure of what was right to say and what was not. As the leaves spiraled down, he looked up to Tarzan’s face all softened in pleasure and found himself stuck. Unable to look away from the handsome features that were relaxed and delighted.
Glancing away swiftly, he cleared his throat, still, he glanced back up and blushed a little. “Oh please, if you were a wolf, you’d be belly up right now, longing for my approval.” Fluttering his lashes, he smiled right back and added, “You’d be an interesting wolf…you’d definitely make for a good hunter, but I can imagine you’d be difficult to tame…”
Leaning back, hands along the wood as Tarzan spoke and walked across the log, he bit his lower lip slowly and nodded, “Well, anyone in comparison to Mok can seem perfect…the guy was a complete nutter. Or is. I wonder if he’s still alive…anyway. I was messed up even before all the shit I went through, so after, I wasn’t much of a role model for anyone…I’m still not much…but…I’m trying…”
Scooting forward, he took Tarzan by the wrist and turned up his palm, using his claws, he plucked the splinter from the zombie’s finger and flicked it away. Holding his hand still, his thumb brushed across the pulse point before he just let go. “I screwed everyone over back then…I should have stayed in hiding for a few more years before I tried socializing and real relationships…sorry you…got caught in all of that…” Words became squeezed within his throat and his brows crinkled together. “I never…meant…for a lot of things to happen…you getting hurt wasn’t my intention at all. I’m just an idiot.”
Tarzan blinked at Kiba, his lips parting in honest surprise. He had never pondered that. Being a wolf. And felt that being told he’d make a good specimen felt like a big compliment. “Thank you.” Tarzan’s eyes fluttered and the thankful look on his face faded into a confused one. “No wolf should be tamed,” the zombie looked into Kiba’s light blue eyes, serious and knowingly. “It’s not in their nature.” Looking that long into the shifter’s eyes made Tarzan feel his throat drying up. He blinked. Blinked once more, shifted his eyes and focused on tugging at the splinter on his hand.
Getting his wrist grabbed didn’t make the undead flinch or jump. Instead he felt as if his throat was closing. The splinter was plucked and gotten rid off. But the hand stayed. Kiba’s finger trailed across Tarzan’s wrist. And for a short second the zombie wished he were alive so that he could have a pulse to respond to the shifter’s touch. An evidence that he wasn’t indifferent to all of this. And that he was trying too.
Tarzan heard an apology and Kiba seemed to trail off. He seemed embarrassed. The zombie tilted his head slightly, tying to catch Kiba’s gaze. He kept going. Tarzan squinted his eyes, puzzled, and reached out to gently press the side of his index finger against Kiba’s chin, encouraging him to look at him once more. His lips didn’t form a smile. But there was a certain softness to his expression. “We both hurt each other.” His hand moved away, resting on his knee. “I was cold. And you had a lust for life that I could never offer you. Like in that song…” Tarzan was about to trail off when he fluttered his lashes once more, focusing on Kiba. This was important. He couldn’t let this slip.
"But this is who we are."
Tarzan paused, sighing as he got up to his feet, shaking the branch a bit with the sudden movement. “We shouldn’t have to apologize for who we are.” He smiled down at him. “Should we get down?”