Two without Name and Title
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Forest of the Banished Ones

█████████, ████

Quietly, the feet scurried over the leaves that covered the forest floor. Nimbly, the owner hopped and ducked over roots and under bushes and tree trunks.
The vixen had a goal and it could be found in a hollow.

"Oh, Wolf, why do you lie so sad and hidden in such a place?"

The vixen pushed her face into the wolf's field of vision.

Vixen, wretched cheater, what do you care?“

The large creature barely lifted its eyelids once.

„I am worried, my dearest.“
„I know you. This is not pity. Oh no, it can't be any further than that. You're afraid you won't have anyone left to torment with your pranks. You've fooled me too many times already.“

And so the wolf turned around so that he would no longer see the vixen. To his surprise, anger and hurt could be heard in the vixen's following words:

„Oh, have I hurt your pride that you no longer believe a word I say on principle‽“

The wolf stood up. Now his curiosity was awakened after all. Calmly he answered:

„The truth is quite clear: yes, once, twice too often you have abused my goodwill for your pranks. What should make me think differently now, dear friend and enemy?"

The vixen hesitated, well aware that the wolf had a right to ask about her motives. The wolf saw how his counterpart inwardly tried to find a good defence and failed.

"I'm sorry," she stammered, "you have to believe me that this is not one of my little games."

The wolf was moved, because he knew that the vixen meant it when she made a promise. A promise was worth too much here to just break it like that.



Outside World

Branches and twigs crackled under the feet of a woman with bushy hair as she walked with steady steps through the undergrowth. On her shoulders she carried a whole lot of furs still worn by their deceased owners.
Her destination was a hollow where a young man crouched under two trees, regularly feeding a fire with wood. The flames had an uncharacteristic colouring for the type of fuel.
The dark-haired woman placed her hunting prey next to the fire so that the red-haired man could see her. The man looked with an expressionless gaze at the dead animals, then at the huntress.
The woman moved her head in different directions, a little unsure where to look.

„I asked them beforehand. They had the opportunity to identify themselves as intelligent.“

Then the woman sat down with her friend and pushed herself close to him so that they could share their only woollen blanket and keep each other warm. The man's body language showed a slight hesitation that was not because his friend was the taller of the two, but he let it happen. The woman didn't seem to notice.
Somewhat absently, the woman ran her hand over her right wrist, which still bore clear bite marks of a predator.
The man gingerly felt the left side of his neck, where a reddish-pink scar extended up to his ear, with a good chunk of skin and the pinna missing. The area was in the process of healing and growing back.
The eyes of the two met, but neither spoke.

„Eat something, Fox, it will help it grow back faster.“

The man grabbed one of the limp bodies, that of a hare, and began to chew on it. A cracking sound could be heard as the strong jaws and teeth broke the bones.
The woman watched the goings-on before asking her counterpart with a slight grin, "Don't you want me to roast them over the fire?"
A sheepish smile appeared on the man's face.



Glarus Alps, Switzerland

Through the quiet corridors of a sector of Site-DE20, two agents walk silently, lost in their thoughts.

"What are you thinking about?" asks the athletic, red-haired woman.

Her colleague with the angular features takes a moment to put his thoughts into words.

"How we met back then and how you asked me to leave our home."

This is unexpected for his partner.

"Do you think it was a mistake?"
"Do you regret it?"
"I asked you first."

They both remain silent. The small quarters for the staff, where researchers and agents can spend the night, come into view.
The two slip into the room with the number plate 34 and the bunk bed. The man turns a switch button from the green field with Free to the red one with Occupied.

"I sleep upstairs!" says the woman, hopping briskly up the stairs - taking care not to touch the sheets with her work boots - and then throwing down her things from upstairs that might disturb her rest.
The man almost demonstratively takes his time, but when he too has made himself comfortable, he sighs in relaxation.

"To your question: No," he answers, facing the wall.
„What do you mean, Wolf?“
„I just wanted to share that I don't regret it, Fuchs that we left."

Agent Wolf listens to the ensuing silence before hearing someone climb down and the bed crack barely audibly as another person lies down on it.
Fuchs snuggles up against his back.

„I miss the others. Agatha, Fredrick, Sari, Suwaird, and Maximiliane.“

Wolf turns around. He puts his arms around his friend as best he can in the now somewhat tighter space.

„Don't get me wrong. I just don't like it when you breathe down my neck or snot all over my uniform.“

Fuchs giggles and rubs her nose against one of his sleeves, knowing full well that he too was seeking comfort.
They lie still for a minute before Wolf whispers:

„I don't want to ruin this touching moment, but the uniforms insulate really well.“
„Yes, i feel hot too, but i didn't want to say anything.“

The two giggle. Again there is a moment of silence as they both lie on their backs looking at the underside of the bed. Then Fuchs becomes restless again.

"Do you actually trust me now, you know, after all these decades?"
"Of course I don't. You play tricks on me just like you did back then.“

Fuchs sulks, but she can't stay angry with her friend for long.

„But what has changed is that I can laugh along now."

Then he pushed Fuchs over the edge of the bed so that she fell onto the floor. They both laugh as they throw their pillows at each other.

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