this is a brief scrawling on two of my characters, sam and chief, from my story matriarch moon. i had the idea for this writing (which was initially going to be a drawn comic) back in april (2023) and jotted my thoughts down in my notes before quickly forgetting its existence. i came across it again and decided to give it another shot.

Chief feels himself teetering into lividity as he takes in the entirely disheveled look of his friend sitting in his passenger seat. The longer he stares at Sam, the riper his anger becomes. The dark circles and puffy lids engulfing his brown eyes, the paled skin, the messy hair, the hand intermittently raising to rub at the back of his neck - as if it hurt. The way he still hadn't returned his gaze.

But against this rage built an incredible despair, perhaps even stronger than the anger itself. Chief wanted to throw open the car door, storm the apartment complex they were parked in front of, and rip the bitch who had done this a new one... but at the same time, he wanted to throw his arms around the other man, snake all ten of his fingers through that pretty hair, and never let go. He knew he couldn't do that either, however. Not yet. Not here.

So preoccupied with his own mind, Chief practically jumps when Sam finally tilts his head towards the other werewolf and asks in a hoarse voice:

"Got your smokes on you?"

Those five words completely knock the thoughts right out of Chief's head, and he has to draw himself out of using his habitual response.

"Yea- wait, why? You... smoke now?"

"Yeah, started during this whole thing..." Sam trails off, his attention dragging back to the windshield so he could stare past the glass and at the apartment building again. The dullness of his expression almost makes Chief nauseous. "To curb the stress a little."

Chief doesn't speak a word while his right hand starts to dig around inside his jacket pocket. His fingers immediately find the cigarette box, just like the countless other times he had fetched it, but here he suddenly hesitates: fiddling with the box a little longer. He shoots Sam a sideways glance, noting with a pang that he was still staring blankly ahead, not unlike a statue. So tired-looking. So goddamn tired-looking. Chief pulls his hand out of his pocket.

"Ah, damn, you know what? I forgot I'm actually off of 'em." Chief throws his head back onto the headrest behind him and lets his arms fall to his sides, deciding to pair the exaggerated gesture with a little dramatic sigh, as well.

Sam perks up at this, the long and narrow wolf ears that once sat droopily at the top of his head now straightening with surprise as he turns to regard Chief, blinking.

"Wait, what? Really? You're giving up cigs?"

"Yeaaah, kinda. I go on a little T-break here and there sometimes. They're, uh..." He shifts his head slightly to look at Sam before continuing, voice growing softer. "Not good for ya, y'know?"

The two share a knowing look then, a silence filling in the blanks where words once were. Moving his head away to quell the tingling heat that was rushing to his face, Chief quickly breaks the brief yet unbearable quiet.

"Plus, they taste like shit."

Sam gives a short hum in agreement before he mirrors the other man's movements: readjusting his seated position and angling his body to rest upon the side of the vehicle's door. Chief slowly swivels his head to study him, abruptly getting an idea when he does so.

"But ya know something that's isn't good for you but doesn't taste like shit?"

Sam whips his head back towards him at once, a slightly annoyed grimace on his face that Chief was oh so familiar with (and was admittedly happy to see).

"Don't tell me you've started doing like, heroin or some shit-"

"What?! NO! no, no, no." Chief nearly chokes at the absurdity of his concern, not sure whether he should laugh or feel offended that his best friend thinks he'd try shooting up. "I was gonna offer to buy you ice cream. Ya look like you need it."

Sam's scowl quickly fades to reveal his apparent interest at the mention of dessert. Chief is just barely able to stop his tail from wagging when he notices Sam's own give a few good, happy little thumps against the side of his seat. Letting his gaze roam around for a moment, Sam looks back at Chief with a subtly flustered expression.

"...I wouldn't mind some ice cream."

"Good!" Chief flashes a grin before hurriedly sticking his key into the ignition, not even trying to hide the newfound glee on his face. "Ya still like mint fudge?"