The sounds coming from the see-through wall are loud and horrifying, and I cover my ears while my watery eyes stay focused on Seán as he tries to break the mean chains on him. I want him out but not if he hurts himself, although I don't think the jerking of his arms and the chain bothers him.
Axel had told me our Seán would look different, that his hair and beard were going to be longer. I didn't expect him to be like this, he's more aggressive and his eyes are darker than I ever saw. His clothes are torn more than I thought was possible, the sounds he makes doesn't sound like any I heard from him. I'm used to his growls, I've memorized them.
These aren't my Seáns noises. They're more animal, wilder, and primal to be him.
Seán once told me when I was still on in my alley, that at home in Ireland some of the locals compared him to an animal. He explained that since he was from the deep country and farmlands that run along woodlands, some of the town people saw him as wild, untamed, and unapproachable. Maybe, they were onto something.
People are running around us and yelling, their faces having one sole expression, terrified. The woman Rose is next to Axel and me, yelling at Axel to take me and Tommy and go hide. I don't want to leave Seán or Lewis behind, Axel is too forced on caged Irishman to even look at Rose.
Only one thing makes everyone freeze, voices have gone quiet, sentences dying in throats, every set of eyes looking in the big cage; a sound of metal snapping and crashing to the hard ground.
In the pause, everyone watches as the two angry men inside glance at the far wall where the chains connected to, then to each other. Everyone moves faster when Lewis unexpectedly roars like the big bear I saw on the channel Animal Planet once.
Axel is holding onto me and Tommy as Ethan grabs him, West appearing in front of us. His expression is one I can't understand, I see Pride and I see fear, but the determination scares me.
He opens his mouth, just to jump with a scream when the wall behind him shakes violently. Staring past him as he turns, there are Seán and Lewis banging on the wall in different areas, I assume looking for a way to breakthrough.
They're not them though. These Seán and Lewis are taller. The one in Seáns clothes has orange and black stripes with ears and long tail, claws that leave deep impressions on the wall. Lewis looks the same, only his fur is a deep tan and he has a big black circle of hair around his neck and the back of his head.
Tommy and I scream, unsure what to make of the big humanoid things in front of us. Axel holds us tighter as he moves back, Ethan growls at him and forces him to stop by gripping mine and Axel's upper arms. Rose is ordered to hold Tommy, she's reluctant when she grabs him.
The banging and the alarming noises from inside the enclosure is getting louder and harder to ignore, West tries as he demands people to stand and point weapons at us. There are ten people holding big guns Tommy and Axel warned me were dangerous and another big group holding more chains and ropes. Everyone is shaking and watching as West turns to the wall to face the big animals that tower over everyone with their enormous two legs.
I still haven't decided if what I'm seeing in Seáns clothes is actually Seán, but whatever it is I don't what it to hurt itself. These people probably hurt them and caged them up, they deserve to be free. Even if they are really scary right now.
"Stop! Stop right now!" West shouts, glaring into the cell at them.
The creature's eyes go from us, Axel, Tommy and I, back to West. Each of them growling so deeply the wall trembles gently. The Seán one claws digging into the material of the wall.
"I will allow you to be with them, to watch over them. Just back up, calm down, and let us fix the chains. Yes?" West has his hands spread out in an attempt to calm them down.
It doesn't work. One shared look at each other, then us, and their back to clawing, punching, and pushing the wall. They don't seem to want to negotiate.
West curses as the wall start to crack along the top, the shared force of both beings too much for it to hold. "Ethan! The boys!
I'm abruptly grabbed by a large hand and I scream, along with Tommy, as we're both dragged away from Axel and Rose. Protesting, Axel is forced to kneel by the group with weapons, watching like the creatures as Tommy and I are hugged to Ethan's body by the man's arms around our waists.
I feel his chest vibrate as he snarls at them, voice smug as he speaks, "Better back off, boys. Would hate to hurt these little toys."
I'm shaking as Tommy clenches my hand, cringing and squirming away from Ethan when he moves down to sniff at our throats. The creatures had gone silent for a few seconds, although they growl and I hear a chuff when Ethan does this. The beating of the wall only intensifies, and West, and everyone besides Ethan panics.
The crack is larger and the animals have noticed it too, dark eyes watching it. They both start punching where the crack is, attacking the weak spot to get out. The tiger one constantly watching me or Axel, and the lion one focusing on Tommy.
I decide that this has to be Seán. Because if it wasn't, it wouldn't seem to want to protect us and wouldn't have the identical care in its eyes when he stares at us. West did something really, really bad to them.
West glares at Ethan, "Damn it! Fucking shift, I'll lose them at this point!"
Axel is still struggling to get up, "Let Zyon and Tom go! Doing anything to us will make them angrier!"
West glares at him, all the smiles I saw from him are long gone. "Ethan! Now!"
Suddenly, the body behind us shifts awkwardly and my feet come off the ground. The hand on me grows bigger, longer, and grows thick fur, and the clothes rip. Instead of Ethan's head between me and Tom are a furry snout and a long, wet tongue that licks my cheek. I cry out at the feeling, squirming against the tight hold and clasping Tom harder.
Tommy is shouting for Lewis, whether which one he wants I don't know. At this point, I'm sure he just wants whatever version of Lewis he can get. I agree with that, so I also start shouting for Seán and Axel. Either I'll get the Seán that I know, Axel will save us, or my begging for Seán will motivate the Seán like creature into breaking free faster.
West is looking up at us now, Toms and I are dangling from Ethan's arms. He smirks, eyes going light as he stares back to the cracked wall at Seán and Lewis, both of which have paused their attack and are staring at us and Ethan.
"See this?! Ethan will crush them if you don't back down! Use them as chew toys! You won't ever get them back!" They only roar and snarl at him, but they don't attack.
West seems to think he has them under control, "Unless of course, you both back up. I'll allow them to come in and stay. Just calm down and back up."
Rose gasps, eyes widening and slapping another man's arm. "It's broken! They're free! Run!!"
At that, some people run away, like Rose, or some actually point their weapons at Seán and Lewis. West only now sees the cracks that go down the middle of the wall and how it ends with some of the substance of it lays in pieces at his feet. When he looks up at Seán and Lewis, both of them punch the wall directly in the middle where there are already weak spots.
The barrier snaps in half. Then I'm being thrown to the ground at Ethan's huge feet with Tommy, Axel crying out for us to run to him. Ethan growls at two larger creatures, both of which don't move until I and Tom are with Axel.
Once out of the way, Lewis roars at Ethan. It drowns out West's order for Ethan to back down and run. His friend is the first to charge at them, knocking them back into the now open cage.
"Shoot! Damn it, Shoot! I'll kill you if he dies!" West shouts at the group with the guns, as they had just stood there in shock or fear.
They watch as the creatures fight, the one I know as Ethan getting scratched by sharp cuts on either side of him, as the Tiger picks him up and throws him into a wall after Ethan bit him. Then they run.
West screams his rage and goes to pick up a discarded gun, aiming it at Lewis as he bits down on Ethan's shoulder. Tommy struggles out of Axels hold, lunging at West and pushing him into the wall. The gun skids close enough to the fight that a step from Seán crushes it. The bad man attempts to attack Tom, who quickly dodges in time for Axel to punch West and send him down to the ground.
"Ethan! Fucking run!!" Is what he yells as Axel pins him to the ground.
Ethan can't hear him, not with all the grunts, snarls, and growls echoing. Definitely not with being flipped on his back and bombarded with harsh claws that dig deep into his skin. Blood is already painting the dark ground, most of it from West dear friend. Ethan's left ear is missing a chunk, brutal claw marks litter his whole body, and his bone on his leg is showing.
Seán and Lewis show absolutely no mercy as they pin him down and simply rip open skin, bright red is spilling out over the floor in puddles. Ethan is whimpering and yelping, struggling to defend himself.
"Boy, don't watch! Zyon look away, now." Axel demands, forcing mine and Tommy's head to turn the opposite direction.
He raises his voice to be able to be heard, the words breaking "Seán! Seán stop! Just come to us! Please?!"
I hear one of the rumbling snarls and roars unexpectedly cut off, another following after Tommy pleads to Lewis to hug him. All is quiet except for West screams for Ethan to get up. Axel gets off of the man and quickly wraps around me as I hear two large bodies move.
Turning my head to the side against Axel's chest, I peek around. West is missing from the spot Axel left him in, I can hear his voice near Ethan, pleading from him to stay awake.
I startle when I see a very tall and enormous body behind me, all orange and black fur sprinkled with red and a heaving chest working to catch breathe. My eyes follow the body up, past the thick neck, to the odd mouth and black nose and sharp teeth. All the way to the scared dark brown eye surrounded by black and outlined by white.
Lewis is directly next to him, watching how Tommy reacts like Seán is doing. Lewis doesn't appear that different from Seán, the only variation is the fur and color. While Seán is a sunny orange and black, Lewis is a dull tan with a pitch-black mane similar to the stuffed lion Tom got, his tail also has the small ball of black hair.
Seán doesn't smell as good, maybe it's because he hasn't been working but it's way too strong and potent for me. I liked it better when he worked, he smelled so much better when he got home.
"Seán? Wh-what happened?" Axel asks, voice straining.
Seán makes a distressed noise, ears flopping down, shifting awkwardly, and looking away from us. This isn't the Seán that was taken away, he was confident with us, now he's uncertain and anxious.
Tommy sniffs, nose still affected after crying. "Will you go back to..you know...normal?"
Immediately both of them nod quickly, ears parking up. Tommy laughs, "I know you just attacked someone, but that ear thing was adorable."
A chuff gains my attention from Tom and Lewis back to Seán, he's lowered himself to my level and his hands are behind him. His ears are down again and I understand that he's waiting for my reaction. Waiting for me to run away.
Instead, I remember everything he did for me. He was there for me when no one else was, made sure I ate, and never got hurt while he was around. Seán saw me for me and not just a person living on the street, not as disgusting for eating out of the trash. He did everything and anything he could for me, and never once gave up on me.
Hugging him is warmer than usual, his fur is surprisingly soft on my skin and my arms almost don't wrap around his neck. I hear his breathing stutter and his arms tense, my eyes catch as he fists his hands so the claws are in his palm. He wraps his long arms around me with both hands like that, keeping his fist from touching me.
"I miss you, Seány. Badly." I'm crying again, realizing that I'm actually hugging Seán and it isn't a dream.
Seán has his head buried in my neck and I feel the whimper he releases. Axel's hand appears on my shoulder, his body is closer than before. "We both did. We were worried sick, I'm so happy we found you."
Seán shifts and suddenly Axel is right against me in the gigantic hug, arms holding us tightly. Peeking at Tommy, I see Lewis has made my friend disappear under a blanket of arms and mane in their own hug.
At last, we're all together.