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Old 03-02-2009, 05:41 AM   #1
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The Howling Wind - Chapter 11 (2/3/09)

Thanks again, ye few but faithful.

Disclaimer: This is all the figment of my delusional imagination. No offense intended, all opinions and errors are my own.


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12 October, 1987 – New York, USA

The Rochester show had not been a spectacular success; Larry in particular had still seemed rattled, and they'd had to start two songs again. For once, Edge had felt glad to be leaving the band behind as he'd flown back to New York that night.

Aislinn hadn't been expecting him, as the next show was further away, in Pittsburgh. But having shown the band the truth, Edge couldn't delay telling his wife. So he'd let himself into the dim house, a bouquet of her favourite flowers in one arm. A low murmur of voices had led him to the kitchen, where he'd found Ali and his wife talking. Aislinn had looked up with red eyes, surprised.

Ali's eyes had flicked between them and the flowers, and she'd quickly taken her leave.

His wife had eyed himself and the flowers with suspicion and uncertainty, which wasn't what he'd hoped for. Maybe the flowers had been too much, maybe he'd been acting like a guilty man. But the difficult conversation had been deferred last night, as he'd listened to her tell him what she'd been telling Ali. It was difficult enough to hear how unhappy she was, stuck in a suburb of New York as winter closed in, a strange place with few familiar faces. Hollie wasn't getting any better from the flu, and Arran was entering the terrible twos a little ahead of schedule. Edge had just listened, his heart aching, dreading how she would react to what he'd have to say the next day.


Which had now arrived, as dreaded tomorrows tend to.

"I need to tell you something," he said to Aislinn over breakfast.

She had immediately gone still, on her guard. She distractedly pulled a wildly waving spoon from Arran's hand.

"What's that?"

Hollie gave a chesty cough from the other side of the table. Edge looked at his children and wondered if they needed to hear this.

"Do you think Ali or Ann would mind taking the girls for a while? I think we should take a walk..."

Aislinn eyed him. "I'll give them a call."

A short while later, they were alone in the house.

"Where is it we should be walking?" Aislinn asked.

"I need to tell you this first. Then we can go for a walk and I'll show you, because you won't believe me."

So he told her.

She didn't believe him.

And unlike Bono and Adam, she wasted no time telling him that she thought he'd gone completely insane.

"... now you want me to go for a walk to the park with you, where you can turn into a wolf and prove it to me?" she said, voice rising.

"I would like you to believe me, yes," Edge said. The ache in his heart had grown sharper. "I should have told you sooner, after Toronto. After I destroyed that room. I should have told you everything, but I was afraid. I didn't know what was happening to me. I was afraid of hurting you, or the children."

"I don't know what's happened to you, either," Aislinn said. "You're not the same..."

The same man she'd married.

"I know. But will you let me show you?"

"I don't know what sort of trick you're trying to play on me. I don't know why you're inventing this ridiculous story. If there's someone else, at least have enough respect for me to tell me straight!"

Edge held her hands and met her eyes. "Aislinn, please believe this much, at least. There is no one else. I married you, I love you, there's no one else I want to be with. Please?"

Aislinn searched his face, uncertain. She wanted to believe that, if not the bit about the wolf.

"All right. But I know this is some sort of trick. I know you can't really ... turn into something. It's impossible."

"I'll show you. I wouldn't have believed it either, if it hadn't happened to me. I know this is difficult." Edge stood up, kissed his wife's hands, and led her outside.

There was a modest park a few blocks away, and with the wind blustering and cool, not many people were there. Edge found a spot screened from passers-by by shrubs and trees, and started stripping his clothes off. Aislinn stared.

"If this is your idea of romance..." she said. Clearly he had just proven his insanity.

"It's easier this way," he replied, shivering. Finally, he crouched down, as much for warmth as anything else. A glance at Aislinn showed that she was watching, albeit with an expression of morbid curiosity.

He'd never tried to find the wolf with someone watching, let alone his wife who thought he'd gone mad. It took what felt like an agonisingly long time.

"Edge..."

"Wait. Please."

It was difficult to block out her sceptical presence, and his hopes that she was still watching. It was difficult as well to ignore the cold, the nagging fear that someone else would stumble upon them, and the acute awareness that he must look like an absolute fool.

Finally, the prickling, squeezing realignment swept through him, and he was a wolf.

Aislinn screamed.

She'd been watching, all right. She'd watched her husband lose his mind, take all his clothes off, and change into a monster, a wolf. It was too much.

Edge's ears had flinched back at her scream, startled as he was. She was staring down at him with a look of horror frozen on a white face. She began to shake violently.

He took a step towards her, hoping to reassure her. She stumbled backwards, falling, then scrambled up again. She backed away, too terrified to turn her back on him and run.

His wolf instincts were telling him she would bolt sooner rather than later, especially if she saw an escape route. The wolf instincts were also inclined to chase things that ran from him, but he knew that was the last thing he should do. His own self was dismayed at Aislinn's reaction, although he probably should have been more amazed that Larry was the only one in the band who'd reacted badly.

Fear-smell was pouring off her in waves. She smelled like prey.

Edge shook himself, forcing the predator instincts down. He wanted to say something, but instead produced some weird vocalization, between a whine and a growl, that was natural to neither wolf nor man. Aislinn made another terrified sound, and then she turned and ran.

Don't chase! he reminded himself.

This had been a bad idea, he realised belatedly, going back to his neat pile of clothes. With a heavy heart, and a moment's apprehension about losing his warm fur coat, Edge became painfully human again; he dressed, and walked slowly home.


He found Aislinn locked in their bedroom.

"Aislinn? It's me." Edge knocked softly. There was no reply for a moment, but he could smell her, and hear her breathing raggedly. He also heard the clink of a bottle and a glass, and smelled the alcohol. He couldn't blame her at all.

"What are you?" she finally said, voice shrill and unsteady.

"I told you. And more importantly, I'm still your husband, I still love you."

"I married a man, not a monster! What happened? You hit me once, what now? You could... you could..." Clink went the glass again.

Edge closed his eyes and leaned against the wall beside the door. "I wanted to tell you last night, to give you some time to absorb it before I showed you. I know this has been too sudden, too much too soon. And I've told you, I will never forgive myself for hurting you. I won't let it happen again. And I would never hurt the girls, no matter what. Never."

"It's easy to say that now!"

"You want to know what happened. I'll tell you everything, if it will help." Edge settled down to sit on the floor, and told the story from the beginning.


He didn't see Aislinn again before he left for Pittsburgh. He went next door to say goodbye to the girls, all the while wondering if Bono had said anything to Ali. He couldn't tell; she gave him a peck on the cheek, same as usual, and wished him a safe flight.


-------

13 October, 1987 – Pittsburgh to NYC, USA

It was a ninety-minute flight from Pittsburgh back to New York, enough time for Edge to come down from the show they'd just played and start to worry about what sort of reception he could expect at 'home'. Edge was once again staring sightlessly through the plane window, and Bono, always restless after a show and more so on a plane, was prowling up and down the aisle.

The singer finally plonked himself next to Edge, sweeping his hair out of his face with his uninjured arm. Edge did some counting in his head.

"How much longer d'you have to wear that?" he asked, glancing at the sling on Bono's left arm. Not that he'd been wearing it as much as he should... it tended to come off whenever Bono felt like putting on a guitar during a show, the last week or so.

"Few more days," the singer replied. "I should be rid of it by the time we get to Iowa."

They had a long gap before the next show, a solid week. They'd planned it so they could spend a decent amount of time with their families or partners. Edge wished the timing of things had been kinder; he didn't think things would be very comfortable between he and Aislinn now. Although things weren't exactly easy in the band at the moment, either.

"Has Larry said anything to you?" Edge asked in a low voice. The drummer was apparently sleeping at the other end of the plane.

Bono just shook his head, and Edge sighed. "He won't let me speak to him, he won't even look at me. It's just as well he's the drummer and doesn't have to look at anyone else," Edge muttered.

Bono gave a snort. "He jus' wants everyone to look at him."

"Not me."

"Well, you've seen his face before, it hasn't changed much."

"Bono, this is serious. What if he can't get over it? Is this going to break up the band?"

Bono looked at Edge steadily, knowing that he was really more concerned about Aislinn's reaction. "Then that's his problem. You obviously can't help what's happened... can you?"

"I wish I could! I tried to stop it, and I couldn't. Once it happened the first time, I tried not to let it happen again, and I couldn't. It just... comes out. Timothy said changing's in my blood." Edge frowned. He wished he understood exactly how that was possible, but he suspected he never would.

"Timothy's... he's like this too?"

Edge nodded. "I told you about him. He was watching me all through the first leg. He knew something was happening."

Bono was silent for a long moment. He watched Edge thinking, worrying. Stubble was growing long on the guitarist's face again, his hair unkempt and escaping from under the ever-present hat. Deep shadows had developed under his eyes, and he looked like he'd lost weight. Multiple sources of stress had bowed him, winding him tighter, pushing and pulling in different directions, forcing him into corners. And now he'd found this way to escape it all, except it was making everything even worse. The way he'd spoken about the freedom, the lack of care and worry as a wolf...

"Edge... what's it like?"

Edge looked at him, seeing the light of curiosity in Bono's eyes. "What's what like, exactly?"

"Everything. Changing, being a wolf. And what happened when you trashed that room, you said that wasn't the wolf, it was something else...?"

"The beast, Timothy called it. I don't remember much of that, and I don't want to." Edge's tone was flat.

"All right then, forget the beast. Tell me about the wolf. Does it hurt, when you change?"

"Not when it's the wolf," Edge replied. "It does hurt, going back to being human, though. And it must take a lot of energy, because I'm always famished for a day afterwards. So far, anyway."

"What does raw rabbit taste like?"

Edge shrugged. "It tastes like blood and fear and life and death. It's a raw dead rabbit. I don't think wolves really think about taste, as long as it doesn't taste wrong. It's probably something instinctive."

"How does a wolf think? Do you know whether other wolves think like you do, when you're a wolf?"

"I honestly don't know. I've never met another real wolf, just Timothy. And I can't read minds, wolf or human – no one knows how even other people think, let alone another species. I just know that my thinking changes when I change... the wolf's instincts are uppermost, and I have to fight to keep my human consciousness in control. The mind of a wolf comes with the body, I suppose. And even when I'm human, the wolf thinking is still there, in the background, now. Sometimes further forward."

"You're both, then, all the time," Bono mused. "What's the wolf part thinking now?"

"It doesn't like flying," Edge grimaced. "And it keeps thinking I should challenge you, while you're weak." Another glance at the sling.

Bono's eyebrows rose. "What, I am the alpha after all?" he laughed.

"Don't kid yourself, mate." Edge gave a small smile. "I still know better."

Bono chuckled, then thought for a moment. He shot Edge a sideways look. "Did you have to go for me bits? With the sniffing and all."

Edge turned red. "Sorry about that. It was just instinct... you know dogs like sniffing there, I guess wolves do too. It wasn't intentional. And the others got the same treatment," he added, going even redder.

"You should have seen Larry's face!" Bono hooted. He cast a look over his shoulder towards the dozing drummer, stifling his mirth.


Bono kept asking questions for most of the flight. Edge knew what Bono was like – once his curiosity had taken hold of something, he pursued it relentlessly, needing to know everything, work out every detail. Edge was just relieved to be able to talk about it with someone who wasn't terrified of him.


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Old 03-02-2009, 05:51 AM   #2
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I love how Bono asks five million questions about it. He does have an enquiring mind.

The tension between Aislinn and Edge...I just love it. It's angsty. I love Angst. I just wish I could write angst.

I Edgewolf!
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Old 03-02-2009, 10:47 AM   #3
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Oh I would have LOVED to see Larry's face.

The interrogation is great, Bono's obviously a very curious guy! :cut:

Keep giving us moar plz.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:51 AM   #4
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I seriously love this, yo.
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