I waited so long to feel like I'm worthy
Find someone who could rewrite the pages I'm turning
I've grown with the pain and bathed in the lonely
All I want in this moment is someone to hold me
I don't need to feel love, I just wanna feel something
If it's never enough, at least it's better than nothing
After everyone I've lost and every kiss I wasted
I don't, I don't need to feel love
Just wanna feel something
It was karma, maybe? Or just bad fucking luck? Chris wasn’t sure. But when he looked at the bite mark on his calf that had severed something inside to make him unable to walk out of these fucking woods… he was pretty sure he would die there. That, or turn, because while he wasn’t sure if the wolf had been an alpha, it probably had, based on size alone.
Then again, he had a feeling that being a wolf wouldn’t be easy for him. He’d heard rumors that hunters who got turned had it much, much harder than regular humans. Some said it was because their use of wolfsbane. That somehow the wolf knew when it woke inside the hunter and punished the human side for it. And that was if the wolf wanted to take hold of the hunter in the first place instead of killing them.
The moon, couple of weeks from being full, seemed to gloat in the sky. He groaned and leaned back against the tree trunk he’d managed to pull himself to. He was in pain but reacting to such things had been beaten out of him by Gerard as a boy.
As Chris watched the moon peek through clouds and wondered if this would really, really be it for him. He’d lost so much already, so what was his life on top of all that? He’d lost all his family, every single person he’d ever loved, really. Maybe existing like this wasn’t worth life anyway.
Suddenly, something inside him, in the core of him in what he might have called his soul shattered into a million pieces. He yelled with pain like he’d never felt before, feeling his self splinter and spread, as if he’d exploded outwards without moving an inch.
For two long seconds, there was nothing but that horrible feeling. And then, out of the blue, everything slammed back into him, except this time, there was more.
A horrible snarling filled his brain, his whole body shaking with it, and the last conscious thought Chris had was “Oh god, the wolf is here!”
Derek had lived in his cozy little hideaway in southern Oregon for a little over a year when he encountered his first supernatural beings. It’d been a harmless enough pair of young pixies, on their way across the forest nearby. They’d apologized and he’d let them stay in the woods for a few days.
Part of him had thought that maybe they would bring an influx of other non-humans, much like what might’ve happened in Beacon Hills, but no. Maybe it was the lack of a Nemeton or something else, but the next three months were easy.
When Derek had first bought the place, Stiles who was a great friend and a powerful ally, had come and put up some wards even though Derek had said he didn’t need them.
However, the night he woke up to the rhythmic “pop pop pop” sound of someone passing through the wards on their way to his house, he was happy he had them.
Nobody lived near him for miles. His property was ten acres and it backed to a national forest. Whomever this was, wanted either him, or his den.
Quickly, Derek got out of bed and prepared himself. Stiles’s wards would make a bell-like sound if the person coming through had no ill intentions. The popping was worrying. He shot out a text to Stiles, telling him trouble was afoot, and that he’d check back in before morning.
Stiles replied with a “be careful” within a minute, but Derek was already circling his house, waiting for whomever was approaching.
It was a werewolf, he could smell her way before he could see the red eyes staring at him from the shadows. She was snarling, and something about the sound made Derek’s whole body react with a weird tingle. He wished he hadn’t known what that feeling was, but he did; she was deranged, dangerous, and he was in actual danger.
Lucky for him, she was malnourished and limping, despite being tall and wide-shouldered for a woman. The weakness made her more desperate, of course, but he had experience fighting alphas.
When she pounced, he was prepared. The fight itself lasted less than thirty seconds. She was too sloppy and weak, and he was too determined to stay alive.
As soon as the alpha spark slammed into him, he realized that this might’ve been a mistake. He didn’t want to be an alpha. He’d never been good at it and he certainly didn't deserve to be one.
Inside him, his wolf howled with pride. It took him a few moments to figure out why. It was because this spark came with a pack member. Another thing Derek didn’t want. He’d been responsible for people as their alpha before and look at where that had gotten him.
Derek was so, so screwed.
He checked the dead alpha for any ID and found none. Sighing, he memorized her appearance, and drove the body to the national forest where he buried her.
Come morning, he was sitting in his kitchen, drinking coffee with shaking, bloodstained hands.
His phone rang, and he remembered he hadn’t texted Stiles. Wincing, he reached for the phone and saw it was Peter.
“What have you done to make my husband this upset?” Peter’s tone was annoyed, but also worried. Over Derek’s well-being.
“Well good morning to you too, Uncle Peter,” Derek deadpanned. “I am late in texting him, sure. I’m fine though. Except….” He winced again, then huffed out a breath. “I’m an alpha again.”
For a moment, Peter was quiet. Then he asked, “Are congratulations in order?”
“I didn’t want it, if that’s what you’re asking,” Derek snapped.
“I know that. I know you think you’ll be a horrible alpha—” Derek could hear a scuffle. “Stiles no, wait for your turn. As I was saying, you think you won’t be good at it, but you are.”
Derek sighed. “Does your emissary husband know anything about inheriting the spark from someone who already has pack? How to find the beta? Or do I need to?”
“Let me pass this to—” Peter’s voice cut off, then he grumbled “Could’ve waited for five seconds” in the background while Stiles breathed “You’re an alpha now?” into the phone.
Derek recapped the night for Stiles, who hummed thoughtfully at his question about the pack bonds.
“I think you’ll have to learn the person through the bond. Make your intentions clear, so to speak. If their alpha was feral, that means she was a fucking horrible alpha to leave their pack, or she's someone who went missing one way or another. So, you know, learn what you can through the bond first to gauge what condition the beta is in. I’ll look into it and call you back in the afternoon. Go get some rest, Derek.”
Derek drank the rest of his coffee for comfort, and went to shower the blood and dirt off himself before going to bed.
Once he was under the covers, he carefully felt for the bond inside him.
It felt… new. Derek just didn’t know if she’d bitten someone recently or if the bond was just new to Derek himself. He hoped Stiles would find out something that would help him distinguish the difference.
In his mind’s eye, Derek thought the bond looked silvery, like a silver strand of hair, maybe? It was thin and it seemed to be in constant back and forth motion, as if the wolf at the other end wanted their alpha, but also wanted to get away from them.
And then, when Derek pondered on that and concentrated on what his wolf though of it all, came the weirdest thing: The bond, or the wolf at the other end, seemed familiar.
Derek opened his eyes and frowned. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but somehow, this wolf was… someone he knew, maybe? It was weird as hell, and Derek rolled over, deciding to wait for Stiles’s call.
It wasn’t a surprise that Stiles and Peter were the best supernatural creature researchers and problem-solvers in the country, if not the world. It just sometimes blew Derek’s mind a little that his uncle was alive, well both physically and mentally, and happily married to the once flailing young man who Derek had met all those years ago in Beacon Hills.
Of course, Stiles was twenty-five now, which made him an adult, but he still felt young in some ways. Then again, so did Peter, so maybe they were meant for each other.
With a small smile on his lips, Derek fell asleep.
The wolf ran east first, to get away from the one that had hurt it. It fled on four paws, the only thoughts it had were “away, away, bad, away, not here.”
Then, a few long nights later—or maybe longer, it couldn’t tell time in the human way—some days before the full moon, it woke up and felt… different. Suddenly, its instincts told it to run almost back toward the pain. The more the instincts took over, the more it ran in a loose half-circle, back toward west and then north where something was pulling it.
Now, the thoughts swirling in its mind were “safety, good, safety” and finally “home" and "alpha.”
Based on Stiles’s research, the bond belonged to a new wolf, someone freshly bitten.
“They feel… familiar,” Derek said, frowning. “I can’t explain it, but they do.”
Stiles peered at him through the FaceTime connection and made a thoughtful face. “So, someone you know has been bitten?”
“Could that be it?”
“I mean, I see why not? But it could be literally anyone, right?” Stiles’s gaze drifted from his phone as he thought about it more. “It could be someone we know or someone just you know, so there’s no sense trying to start a call chain, you know?”
Derek sighed and ran his hand over his face. “Suppose not. And anyway, the bond feels… stronger. Like they’re coming towards me.”
Stiles perked up. “Well I guess you’ll know soon enough, eh?”
“They feel wild, Stiles. Not… not feral, but….” It was hard to put to words the thrumming he felt through the very gradually strengthening bond.
“You’re their alpha now. Whatever they feel wild for, you can handle it,” Stiles assured, smiling slightly. “With your werewolf mojo, you know?” The smirk was exactly like it had been almost a decade ago.
Derek rolled his eyes, smiling. “Yeah, yeah. Talk to you later, Stiles.”
“Bye!” Stiles waved at him brightly, before disconnecting the call.
The wolf ran, staying low in the brushes whenever any living being came close. It ran, half-starving and weak, because it knew it was getting closer.
Now, it could feel the pull of the alpha, and that was all that mattered. If it would just get to the alpha, everything would be okay again. It wouldn’t be alone, it wouldn’t feel this confusion.
The alpha would help it understand why it had… that thing inside it. That horrible, vile, dangerous smelling thing.
Derek sat on the wraparound porch of his little cabin and waited. The closer his new beta came, the more obvious the distress, the hunger, their need for security became.
Derek had gone shopping to get some meat from the closest town. The cashier had asked if he was having a barbecue, and he’d murmured something close to an affirmative. He doubted the beta would let him cook it.
He read a book under the porch light, right after the dusk had settled, trying to keep himself entertained. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to go meet the beta somewhere on their path to him. He just knew that they would still need to come here and some part of him felt better for standing his ground, for defending the den, so to speak.
His wolf was getting antsy, pacing inside his brain slowly, wanting to come out.
Derek the man and Derek the wolf was one and the same, yet somehow not quite. Whenever he was in one form, the other part of his self was there too. Some things, it made easy, others, incredibly difficult.
And then, just like that, there was a rustling in the woods and the breeze brought along a scent that was all wolf, with something peculiar attached to it, like an afterthought.
Derek put his book away and made himself stay seated in his chair, a wooden lounge chair like you'd see at a resort maybe.
His wolf wanted to posture, to further show the den was protected, but Derek had a feeling that it wouldn’t help in this case.
He could hear a heartbeat at the edge of his tiny bit of lawn, and flashed his red eyes toward it. The yellow eyes in the dark shone back at him, and a low whine started.
At first, Derek thought the beta lay down, but then he realized he—because the scent was distinctly male now—was actually crawling on his belly, whining still, being as submissive as possible. Because this wasn’t a beta-shift wolf. For some reason, Derek’s new beta who had been freshly bitten, was actually a full shift wolf like the Hales.
“Hey, it’s okay,” Derek said finally. “Come here. It’s okay. You’re welcome here.” He wasn’t sure if the wolf would understand anything but his tone, but Derek would try his best to stay calm and comforting.
For a wolf pressed against the ground, a human sized alpha would be no doubt terrifying, so Derek waited for him to crawl up the porch stairs and to him.
The shuffling of fur and clicking of claws on the boards was deafening to Derek’s on-edge senses. The scent of pure hope mixed with a hefty dose of fear emanated from the beta, making Derek incredibly glad that he’d managed to kill the she-bitch who had turned him. Nobody deserved an alpha like that.
The whining intensified, became broken, and just a few feet before the large, rangy gray wolf would’ve gotten to Derek, he flattened himself impossibly closer to the ground and stopped. Then he rolled over in submission, showing Derek his throat and belly, and let out a mournful, scared little howl that broke Derek’s heart.
It was obvious he was scared to death of Derek.
“I won’t ever hurt you,” Derek said gently. “Come here.” When the wolf didn’t move, Derek made his tone firmer. “Come here, right now.”
He had a feeling the wolf was ready to piss himself out of fear, so he needed to act fast.
Derek leaned closer, grabbed the wolf by the ruff on his neck, and pulled until the gray body was on his chair and in his arms. Then he held him close and scented him like he would’ve if he’d been in human form.
That’s when the familiarity started to make sense. He inhaled deeper before pulling back and forcing his new beta to look him in the eyes.
He knew that pale blue-gray color, and more than that, he knew the scent of lingering gun oil and wolfsbane that was ever so faint in this form.
“Well, Chris, I think you’re well and truly stuck, aren’t you?” he spoke to the other part of his beta’s brain. Because he had a feeling getting him to shift would be difficult to say the least.
He really, really needed to call Stiles again.
Chris whined, or rather, the wolf whined while Chris remained trapped inside.
“It’s okay. You’re safe now.” Derek sent as much caring and protection he could through their bond that was now thrumming with cautious contentment. “I’ve got you.”
There were glimpses Chris saw and felt. Exhaustion from the running, the fear, the need to get away from where he’d been bitten. The confusion and resentment.
He was never sure whose the feelings were, the newly awakened wolf that now held him hostage, or himself. Those snapshots of feelings and things were too fleeting for him to truly understand what they meant. He didn’t have time to panic or to feel any sort of way, because the wolf was steering, and there really wasn’t anything to do but to let it drive.
He felt the first spark of relief at one point, and then someone who felt comforting spoke to him, mentioned him by name. He tried to surface to acknowledge this development, but got violently pushed back down by the snarling beast he was inside.
And so Chris continued to just… be.
Here's a bit longer chapter for a change. You've been so nice with comments, you deserve it! ;)
Derek managed to calm down his beta without any sign of Chris Argent actually surfacing other than the color of the eyes and the scent.
Once the wolf still halfway on top of him relaxed as much as it seemed it was able, Derek hugged it closer for a moment.
“It’s time to find you food.” He let go and the wolf whimpered immediately. “No, I’m not leaving you, but I also refuse to carry you inside.” He got to his feet even though the wolf made that sad sound again, and went to the door. “Come,” he said, tugging the bond they shared. He still wasn’t sure how much the wolf understood of his words, if it had connected to Chris to be able to decipher human things or not, or if it was more like an animal with certain instincts.
He led the wolf—and boy was it hard to wrap his head around the fact that it was Chris and to think of the new wolf and Chris as one person—inside, and to his surprise, there was no hesitance at all. The wolf was content going to where Derek went, even when he closed the door after them.
He hadn’t eaten yet, so he went directly to the kitchen to start charring the meat for himself. The wo—Chris, acted like a very large, hungry house wolf, being underfoot in Derek’s tiny kitchen. He was about to tell Chris off, but then he saw the way his gaze locked to the package of meat in his hands and, well… he could relate.
He took the steaks he’d had marinating for himself out of the fridge and left them by the stove where a pan was heating up, and his mind did the funny thing of going “there’s something weird about this, let me default to something familiar and human” and he barely managed to stop himself from telling Chris to sit.
Sighing, Derek cut the thick steaks into halves, and by then, Chris was literally drooling.
“Great….” Derek murmured, as he glanced at the slobber that was steadily making a puddle on his hardwood floor. “Okay, here we go. I’m going to feed you one piece at a time, by hand, so you can’t scarf it all down like a madperson and get yourself sick. Ready?”
He tossed the first piece of meat to Chris, who immediately grabbed it from air and made the most amazing happy sounds as he chomped it down. Derek smiled widely, and waited until Chris swallowed the steak, then gave him another piece, and so on, until he had to be pretty full.
“Okay, that’s enough. Here, I’ll put some water down for you.” He put the last of the unseasoned meat back into the fridge for the morning, and then got a bowl out.
Just as Derek turned on the tap, he heard a soft sound, and turned to see Chris standing on his hind legs, trying to get to the marinated meat.
“Get down!” Derek snapped automatically.
Chris—or the wolf rather—almost fell down and scrambled to the corner of the kitchen, trying to hide as much as his Great Dane sized body was able to.
Derek hung his head. Shit. This was exactly what he’d been meaning to avoid.
He finished filling the bowl, put it by the wall where it wouldn’t be in the way, and then went to where Chris was cowering.
Derek crouched close to him, and sighed. “Okay, we’re going to have to figure that one out. My food is my food, there’s no stealing in this house. You got your portion and you got it first. Maybe that’s what confused you. Normally the alpha eats first, but you're brand new and don't know these things yet, right?” He could smell the cast iron pan starting to overheat and reached a hand to pet Chris’s ruff. “We’re good. I need to take care of my own food, okay? I’m not mad at you.”
He got back to his feet and went to sear his steaks. While they sizzled in the pan, he grabbed the salad he’d made earlier, and made a plate for himself.
He really, really needed to call Stiles.
The wolf sat in the corner for a bit, then plopped down on the floor. It kept looking at alpha, taking in the body language it didn’t quite understand. If alpha only would’ve been a wolf like it was, maybe then there wouldn’t be conflict?
Carefully, the wolf got to his feet and maneuvered to where it had seen alpha put water. It drank enough to quench the horrible thirst, and then promptly yawned. Safety. Full stomach. Warmth. Alpha. What more could a wolf need?
An hour later, Derek sat on his bed with his beta by his side. Chris was snuffling in his sleep, and Derek decided it was time to make the call.
He didn’t check the time, so when Stiles’s sleepy voice grunted at him, he wanted to facepalm.
“Shit, sorry Stiles, it’s late, I can c—”
“Nah, already wake. What’s up?” By the end of the sentence, Stiles was sounding remarkably more awake. Sometimes Derek wondered if Beacon Hills had made light sleepers of all of them.
“Well, he finally got here,” Derek started.
“Ooh!” Stiles obviously shuffled to sit up, because Derek could hear the sheets moving and Peter grunting and mumbling something about Stiles controlling his elbows. “Who is it?”
“Chris Argent,” Derek said. He felt the wolf next to him twitch slightly, but didn’t know if it was about the name or just regular sleepy twitching.
“Huh… I guess it makes sense, in some way. His luck was bound to run out eventually,” Stiles mused quietly. “In any case, I’m glad he has you for an alpha.”
“Yeah, except, he’s stuck.” Derek sighed.
“Stuck, how—oh, because he’s a hunter. Well, shit….” There was more rustling and Derek hastened to cut in.
“Hey, there’s no rush. Go back to sleep. You can research tomorrow, alright?”
“Listen to what Derek says,” Peter murmured in the background.
“Okay, okay.” Stiles let out a telltale sound that he was about to say something he thought was funny. “Give Chris scratches from me!”
Derek groaned, but Stiles had already disconnected the call.
The wolf woke up slowly in the warmth of the nest inside the den. Alpha was curled around it, and it felt like just basking in the safe warmth of its pack.
When the wolf looked out of the window, it saw trees and light that told it morning had come.
“Good morning,” alpha croaked at the wolf, making it startle, then relax again.
It couldn’t help but to tap its tail against the nest when alpha pulled it close. The hugging didn’t feel restrictive, in fact, it felt like safety.
“We really need to figure out how to make you shift, Chris,” alpha spoke slowly.
The wolf didn’t understand, but that thing inside twitched slightly. The wolf lowered its head and tucked its nose and most of its head under the alpha’s side.
Alpha chuckled. “Yes, you don’t like him much, do you, wolf. But he’s a part of you as much as you are a part of him, and you’re going to have to let him out. We can’t have you going feral.”
It huffed and stayed by its alpha. Where it belonged.
The next few days were all the same; Derek would wake up with Chris twitching in his sleep—on one notable occasion, there were wolf balls right next to his face when he woke up, he’d never let Chris live that down—then they’d slowly wake up, have breakfast, or just go for a morning run and hunt for breakfast together in the woods.
Derek shifted sparingly, just so his wolf wouldn’t encourage Chris’s to stay in wolf form. If he was completely honest, he wasn’t sure how long he could spend in wolf form with his beta before it would start to feel too nice and he’d start shifting back less.
Stiles had been doing research. He’d found that there might be a spell that would jolt the change without harming the wolf or the human inside. The thing was, he’d said, that there were other ways to do it, but most of them were old hunter tricks or “sick experimental druid shit I wouldn’t use on my worst enemy.”
Since Derek was all for not hurting Chris, he wasn’t stressing over the whole thing quite yet. Besides, somehow, the more time Derek spent shifted with Chris, the more he could feel the human side of Chris in the wolf. It was odd, he would’ve never thought it would go that way, but for some reason it did.
Maybe it was because when the two wolves played or just lounged somewhere, his beta was completely at ease. Maybe those moments made it easier for Chris to peer through whatever veil was keeping him from his new, furry side.
Now, though, Derek needed to go get groceries and that meant leaving Chris home. He couldn’t have a massive wolf in his car on the parking lot. He knew Chris would howl if he saw Derek walking away and that… well, that was too much attention drawn to a werewolf.
“Okay, Chris,” Derek said, patting the couch next to himself.
Chris seemed to know that something was up, because he held himself hesitantly as he jumped up on the big sectional.
“It’s okay. I promise,” Derek murmured, pulled him closer and hugged him. “I’m going to be away for an hour, if that. Tomorrow is full moon, and we need food. There’s no good delivery serv—you know what, you don’t understand me that well.” He chuckled under his breath. The balance between thinking about his beta almost like a pet dog and giving the werewolf’s cognitive skills credit was a weird thing.
But hey, balls in his face, so maybe it wasn’t too bad if he thought of Chris more of an animal sometimes?
The wolf hated to be left alone. It paced the floors, every room in turn, as it waited for Alpha to return.
Alpha wouldn’t just leave, right? It had been… too long. It wasn’t getting worried yet, but it was close to that point.
And then there was the sound of a car, and it perked its ears and its tail whacked some stuff off the coffee table, but it didn’t care.
The wolf yipped like a pup, and ran to the front door, jumped against it, and broke the lock in its enthusiasm.
Alpha was back!
It skidded on the porch floor, rounding the corner at full speed to see the car, to see Alpha where he left the vehicle.
Except, now it realized it wasn’t alpha. It wasn’t the car the wolf was used to. No, it was someone else!
The wolf stopped at the edge of the porch and took a protective stance. It stood to its full height and let its fur rise. Then it lifted its lips in a snarl.
It would keep the den safe until Alpha got there. It would!
Frozen next to Peter’s fancy schmancy sports car stood Stiles.
Peter rounded the vehicle very, very slowly to stand slightly in front of him. His eyes burned red as his half shift took over.
Peter snarled back at the wolf, sounding completely non-human.
“Oh shit…,” Stiles breathed, trying to think, and think quick.
Thought you might want some excitement...? *grins*
Because Derek's thoughts get muted in wolf form, his wolfy POV is separated from his human POV like all the other paragraph/POV changes are.
Also, you guys liked the action? Here's some more. ;)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It felt surprisingly difficult to be away from his beta. There was a constant thrumming of impatience and occasional spikes of fear coming through the brand new bond. The longing was most obvious, and Derek tried to send reassurance back to Chris. At least the town was close enough that even if the shops were crowded, which Derek didn’t think they would be, it could only take an hour to get back.
He loaded a cart with healthy food options, with a large portion of it being protein. Chris, or rather the wolf, needed a lot of good things to keep healthy. Derek chuckled under his breath when he remembered trying to keep his first pack fed. The fact that they’d been teenagers as well had made them bottomless pits.
Once he’d paid, he pushed the cart to his car and wondered at the fact that while the losses of Erica and Boyd were still horrible pains in his chest, they were easing up just a little with having a new beta. He had a new chance to make things right, whether he’d wanted it or not, so maybe, just maybe the pain would fade?
As he drove toward the cabin, he realized he hadn’t heard from Isaac in months. He really should give his former beta a call, especially now that his sort-of substitute father was a wolf as well. A small part of Derek wanted Isaac to come back, to rejoin the pack especially now that Chris was in it, too, but he tamped down that idea pretty fast. The last he’d heard from Isaac was that he was living somewhere in Italy and had a girlfriend whose pack he was in there.
Suddenly, couple of miles from the cabin, Derek felt a new emotion through the bond. Because he was closer, it hit Derek like a punch. Enthusiasm, then confusion, fear, and finally pure rage.
It took Derek all his power to keep the car on the road, and when he shook the emotions off, he saw claws around the steering wheel.
“Shit!” Derek looked around, calculating how long it would be until he was home. Too long. Whatever was happening was happening right now.
At least he was in the more quiet road already, so he could park his car and get out, get undressed, and shift without having to think about the consequences too much.
As soon as he was on four paws, he began to run toward the cabin, knowing he would be there much faster this way.
The emotions were stronger now, more unadulterated. Fear. Fear. Rage. Fear.
Derek’s wolf tried to take over, but he kept hold of it. This was not the time to go all wolf. He needed a clear head—a scared, insecure howl pierced the early afternoon quiet.
Derek ran, ran as fast as he could to his beta. He would keep beta safe. It was the only way.
Soon, Derek burst through the bushes next to the house. All he could sense was his beta’s panic and the presence of another alpha.
My beta, mine! Derek snarled at the other alpha, putting his body firmly between his beta and the stranger.
The alpha snarled back, and they began to circle each other, trying to see weak spots, ready to attack.
Alpha was back! The relief coursing through the wolf was immense, and it backed away, anxiously hovering by the corner of the den as it watched alpha and the strange, terrifying alpha measure each other out.
The human by the vehicle hadn’t moved, not until the alphas began to circle. Now, the human was too close for comfort, and the wolf growled at him, trying to stay calm. He didn’t want to hurt the human, but he would if it came to that.
Stiles knew it was the moon being so close to being full, the new bonds between Derek and Chris, and the fact that Peter hadn’t been able to shift in a couple of weeks. His wolf had been busting to get out and well, here they were.
Stiles couldn’t let this go on much longer but be was still trying to figure out a quick fix, something that would make them all just stop being idiots.
He glanced around, trying to find something, anything, to use as a distraction.
Chris growled at him. Okay, so maybe not the hose attached to the side of the house, then.
The snarling started anew.
“For fuck’s sake Peter! Derek! You know each other!” Stiles yelled at them, which only made Chris lower his body in fright and growl more like the scared animal he was at the moment.
And then something shifted, and Stiles knew this wouldn’t end well. Maybe it was Chris’s fear or something, but suddenly Derek went into even more protective mode. Peter responded in kind, because he perceived his mate being in danger.
The two wolves stopped circling and stood in Derek’s front yard, staring each other down.
Before Stiles had time to act, they lunged at each other’s throats.
I swear, it gets better in the next chapter. Maybe.... *grins*
Sometimes Stiles’ brain worked faster than he could perceive in dangerous situations.
This time, he found that he’d flung his hands out and cast a spell without doing it consciously.
The who alphas were frozen midair, still fluffed up and snarling, but immobile otherwise.
“Christopher Argent, if you don’t fucking control that beast of yours right the fuck now, I’ll kick your ass!” Stiles yelled at the remaining wolf on the porch. “I could use a hand in here!”
The wolf watched as something happened, something odd. The ozone of magic scared it even further, but then that other, the thing inside him jerked to motion, pushed against the wolf.
It let out a startled little howl.
The human was talking, and then, then the wolf was pushed aside and the other came forward.
Chris felt the terror in the wolf. He could also feel the aggression in the air, as if he could taste it somehow. Hell, maybe he really could.
Then a familiar voice screamed at him, calling him, and the panicked edge kicked the wall between the wolf and Chris down.
Chris didn’t know what to do, so he just… grasped onto the voice and—there he was, trembling naked on… a porch?
“Chris! Come on, onto your feet, buddy. Come on, I need help!” Stiles yelled, when he saw the wolf recede and Chris appear.
His magic couldn’t hold two alpha wolves for much longer. Even now, he could see the tendrils holding them immobile beginning to flicker.
“S-stiles?” Chris croaked, obviously disoriented as fuck.
“Yes! Your alpha is going to kill mine or the other way around if you don’t move already!”
Chris looked up then, pulled himself to his feet with the help of the porch railing, and blinked owlishly. Then slowly, ever-fucking-so-slowly, his gaze landed on the two wolves and he seemed to get the situation.
“What do I do?” he asked, glancing at Stiles quickly, but wisely keeping his attention on the alphas.
“Grab the hose. No, seriously, grab the hose next to you. They need to snap out of this and fast.”
Chris wasn’t sure what was going on, other than the wolf was now inside him instead of out. His brain had been on wolf mode for… he didn’t know how long, and words and concepts were coming back to him slowly.
He stumbled to the hose, unwound it, and turned it on. He almost dropped it when the surprising water pressure made it jump.
He stumbled close enough, and then turned the water directly at the alphas.
The wolf inside him was cowering with fear, but also angry as hell. Chris’s thoughts were swirling between his own and the wolf’s, and he shook his head to clear it.
“Straight to the face!” Stiles directed, and Chris could see the magic around the alphas wavering worse and worse.
He aimed at the dark brown wolf—Peter, his brain supplied—and the wolf inside snarled. The red light in Peter’s eyes started to dim, so Chris, all the while being urged by Stiles, turned the hose on Derek, the big, black wolf.
His own wolf didn’t like that one bit. Suddenly his hands were clawed, and he was holding on in every possible way as he kept the hose as steady as possible. The wolf pushed back, to stop hurting their alpha, but Chris could see Derek’s red eyes flickering and dimming, so he kept at it, all the while his wolf side pushed at him.
There was a horrible snarling suddenly, and Chris startled to realize it was coming from his own mouth. His chest was vibrating, and oh gods, he could feel his face shifting!
Stiles’s magic snapped the exact moment Chris’s wolf forced him to let go of the hose.
Both Chris and Stiles collapsed on the ground, as did the alphas.
Stiles got up slowly, taking stock of himself. Then he looked around.
There were three incredibly ashamed looking naked men on the ground nearby.
For a moment, Stiles wanted to be pissed off, but then he started to laugh.
“Oh my fucking God, look at yourselves your fucking idiotwolves!” he hiccupped the words out between bouts of laughter.
If at all possible, the Hale wolves were looking more sheepish as they gathered themselves off the ground. Chris, on the other hand, looked mortified and his claws were still out and Stiles could see a hint of fang.
Well, that wouldn’t do. Stiles didn’t want Chris to suffer in all this idiocy, after all. He’d had it rough already.
“Right,” Stiles said, pushing himself up. He dusted his hands and looked at Derek and Peter. “You two. Wherever Derek left his car, you’re going to go get it. After you get dressed.”
Peter glanced at his car, where his pile of clothes was still next to the hood. Derek looked at Chris, his eyebrows doing that complicated thing that had always signaled hesitance and not quite knowing what to do to Stiles.
“And you will walk there. In human form. Because you’re idiots and you need to get this out of your systems,” Stiles added in a tone that brook no argument whatsoever.
Both alphas glanced at him and then away.
“Alright,” Peter murmured, then turned to go to the car to get dressed. Stiles happily watched him go. He was married to all that, after all.
“Will you—” Derek started, but Stiles waved a hand dismissively.
“Yeah, I’ll take care of Chris. Now get dressed, I’ve seen your penis enough times that I’m not even curious anymore.” And that, of all things, made Derek blush. Aww, shywolf.
Stiles put the hose away—and snorted at the thought of a hose, because he was thirteen years old still, on some level—while the alphas got dressed and started their trek. For their sake, Stiles hoped Derek hadn’t run in from miles and miles away. They’d been idiots, but they weren’t completely at fault here.
“Now, then. Come on, buddy. I think we need to have a talk about what’s been going on,” Stiles told Chris, who awkwardly hovered, still in the nude, on the porch and didn’t seem to realize how longingly he was staring after Derek.
Chris felt confused. He was self-aware to understand it wasn’t just him, it was the wolf, too. He followed Stiles inside and went to take a shower when instructed to do so. Something about Stiles, this capable adult magic wielder had come as a surprise to him.
They’d stayed in touch, after leaving Beacon Hills, of course. They just didn’t have many common people anymore. Not after all the deaths and the rest of them scattering to all directions in search of something that wasn’t Beacon Hills.
He wasn’t surprised at all that Stiles and Peter had ended up together, though. There had always been a similarity in them that worked perfectly and to Chris, it made sense they’d become something more than snarky research friends.
One thing Chris had never learned to enjoy was showering. From early childhood, he’d gotten used to the almost military way his father had run the household. That meant quick showers, quick, efficient everything.
It took him two minutes to shower still, and when he was dressed in what he guessed—because of the scent felt familiar—was Derek’s clothing, he exited the bedroom that felt safer than anything outside it, to find Stiles.
The human was in the kitchen, cooking, it seemed.
“There you are. Feel any better?” Stiles asked, smiling over his shoulder as he continued to fry bacon.
Chris cleared his throat. “Uh, yeah. Thanks.”
“Don’t thank me, this is your alpha’s home.”
He nodded. His alpha. That meant Derek, right? His thought must’ve been obvious, because Stiles flipped the bacon, then turned to look at him properly.
“So, here’s the condensed version,” he started, smiling slightly. “You got bitten somewhere, we don’t know where, you probably do?”
“Y-yeah, it was somewhere in the national forests west of Reno, I think….”
“A hunting trip?” Stiles asked, with an edge in his voice.
The wolf inside Chris perked up at that, and he felt almost nauseous. He knew what this meant, now. Why he’d been inside the wolf so long. Shit.
“They suspected wendigo, but I couldn’t find any proof. Then the alpha came out of nowhere….”
“Yeah. I haven’t told Derek yet, but apparently she was a feral alpha who lost her mate in a car accident five months ago somewhere in Idaho.”
That made sense. Chris knew about loss, and with the wolf so close to his skin now, he could understand even better.
“Derek killed her?”
“Yeah, somehow she ended up here after she’d bitten you. That was… I don’t know, a bit over a week ago now,” Stiles mused, waving a spatula distractedly. He turned back to the bacon to swap the batch into new one.
“I think… I don’t know how long I was out there, running away from her.”
“Yeah, she was… I guess it was your wolf, too, you know? Running away from danger, but I think you might’ve affected the wolf. You, in your past life, knew what feral alphas can do, right?” Stiles glanced at him over his shoulder again. “So I think your fear drove the wolf on some level, until it felt the shift in the bond you share with your alpha. Derek’s… he’s a marshmallow, right? So your wolf knew there was safety now, and so you followed the bond here.”
“Didn’t look like a marshmallow out there,” Chris blurted out, nodding toward the yard. The sight of Derek and Peter fighting in their full wolf forms still made him feel uneasy.
“Yeah, I guess. But that was an alpha protecting his new beta, you know that. Alphas, the good ones, they’d do whatever it takes to protect the pack.”
“Were they in the same pack?” Then he looked at Stiles. “Where are we?”
Stiles laughed out loud. “We’re in southern Oregon. Sorry I forgot to tell you that. Derek’s been living here for a bit. Peter and I, we’re near Portland with our pack. Derek’s been part of our pack enough to not become an omega, but we don’t see one another that much. Every few full moons he comes over to run with us.”
“But he has a beta now, his own pack. Thanks to you.” Stiles gave him another gentle smile, before continuing. “I’m glad you managed to get out of the wolf. It doesn’t like you, I don’t think, but then….”
“Who can blame it?” Chris completed the sentence. “Yeah,” he sighed and rubbed his hands over his face, feeling exhausted suddenly. “I mean, I don’t know how to do this wolf thing. How to make it like me enough to coexist.”
“Honestly, I don’t know either. Most hunters, when they’re turned… well, you know what they choose.”
And boy, did Chris know. He just didn’t think, at least right then, that offing himself or having an old hunter buddy do it for him would do anyone any favors. Besides, there was always Derek to think of.
“I think your family has taken enough from Derek as is,” Stiles said suddenly, his gaze heavy on Chris, who felt cowed. He knew Stiles was right.
“If nothing else, I owe him pack,” Chris breathed.
“Might as well learn how to be a decent wolf. Tomorrow’s full moon. It’s gonna be interesting for you.” Stiles put the bacon on a plate and started to make… grilled cheese?
Chris thought about the implications of the full moon for a while, trying to swallow down the drool suddenly gathering in his mouth. He was hungry and his new senses were still adapting. The bacon smelled amazing.
“Do you think he’ll let me shift back? After the full moon?” he asked the question that was the most pressing at the moment.
“Your other side?” Stiles asked, while popping the first toast on the frying pan. “If you exhaust him enough, then sure. The wolf let you out once and I think, as long as you’re nice to him, you’ll start getting along better.”
Well, Chris certainly hoped so. If he was to try and make up some of the shit his family had caused Derek, Stiles, and Peter, well… starting from getting to know his wolf and befriending it would be the first step.
Suddenly the said wolf perked up inside him, and his fingertips sprouted claws as a small, hopeful whine bubbled up from his chest.
“Oh, that was fast,” Stiles mused, figuring out what was going on few seconds before Chris.
The wolf’s—Chris’s—alpha was back.
He felt like wagging his tail, suddenly, which was a curious fucking feeling if he’d ever had one.
Derek felt ashamed, but it helped that Peter felt that way too. They both knew better, both had better control than that, even with the circumstances. They spent the walk to Derek’s car in silence, both too wrapped up in their own head.
“We could agree never to talk about this again,” Peter started, as they were driving back.
“But Stiles will never, ever let us live this down,” Derek concluded, making his uncle chuckle.
“Exactly.” Then he sighed. “You know, it being Christopher might be a good and a bad thing at the same time.”
“Oh?” Derek glanced at Peter, wondering where he was going with this.
“For one, he’s going to have a lot of trouble with his wolf. It might not be obvious to even you, despite the bond, but the inner struggle for a turned hunter can be brutal. Lethal, even,” Peter explained quietly, almost carefully.
“You think he might kill himself?” Derek felt the jolt of the thought physically. The idea of losing his beta was making his wolf twitchy and horrified.
Peter sighed again, huffing softly. “If it wasn’t Christopher, then I’d say the chance was much, much higher. But you know him and his sense of duty and honor.” Peter rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t think he’ll do it, because who his alpha is.”
Derek frowned as he let the car crawl along the road. They needed more time for this conversation.
“What do you mean?”
“Do you think he would let another Hale get hurt on his watch? Because of him?”
And then, Derek got it. The Argents had been… somewhat of a bane of Derek’s existence. Peter’s too, really. All the Hales’. There were so, so many Hales who weren’t around anymore because of what the Argents had done over the years.
“He’ll suffer to pay back his debt to the pack,” Derek murmured slowly. He hated the idea. But he also hated the thought of losing his beta more.
“Yes. So you need to figure out how to make this situation bearable for you both.” Peter went quiet in a way that meant he was thinking about how to say something more.
“I…,” Peter started, but didn’t continue. “Never mind.”
Derek felt automatically suspicious. Peter was better nowadays, but he still loved to scheme and manipulate situations for his own amusement.
His uncle chuckled. “No, it’s nothing like that. It’s just…. I don’t like the thought I had. Well, not for you at least. Because I know you would like it even less.”
Derek snorted. “That’s not cryptic at all.”
“I promise I’ll talk to you about it if I feel like it might help later down the line, okay? It’s nothing you should have to think about right now anyway.”
Peter sounded so sincere, it almost surprised Derek. He nodded a bit dumbly as he parked his car behind Peter’s. “Alright. Let’s go see how your mate and my beta are doing.”
Somehow, they all managed to have a nice meal together. Derek made sure he kept his foot against Chris’s under the table, because it seemed to settle him.
It felt so weird to see Chris being obviously scared of Peter, but he knew it wasn’t really Chris who was nervous, it was his wolf.
Stiles told him about the alpha female Derek had been forced to kill, and Derek sent a thought to Mother Moon to look over her. That was what Derek’s own mother would’ve done, and despite her occasional failings, Talia Hale had been a good alpha for the most part.
“Derek?” Stiles called to him as they were leaving.
Peter had already gotten into the driver’s seat, and Stiles had lingered behind in an obvious way.
“Yeah?” he asked, closing the door behind him as he walked to the edge of the porch so he could hear Stiles better. Chris was inside, and the mild pulse of distress from being away from Derek was already there in the bond.
“Just keep in mind that he’s not like you,” Stiles said carefully, walking back toward him.
Derek frowned. “What do you mean?”
“Chris never had a happy family, growing up,” Stiles murmured quietly, and Derek tilted his head curiously. This was obviously not to be meant for the other wolves to hear. “Even if you get his wolf to behave, which you will, probably pretty easily, the conflict might be harsh. He’s never had a good authority figure, no safety and comfort to speak of, until he could make his own decisions.”
Derek thought for a moment. He could see it, really. The Argents…. Well, they certainly hadn’t been a large, loving, close wolf pack. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Then there’s the other obvious thing; he’s not a one being. Never will be. Not like born wolves are. So… you know….”
“I’ll keep that in mind as well,” Derek replied, smiling at him. “Now go, before he comes and gets you.”
“Okay!” Stiles turned away, then looked back once more. “Just… call us if you need us, okay?”
“Go already!” Derek shooed him away, but they both knew he appreciated all the help he could get.
JSYK, the next chapter will take me a while, because I'm moving and next week will be consumed by everything that revolves around that.
So there will be more, I just haven't written most of it yet and don't have time to finish the next chapter in the way it's supposed to until I'm fully moved to my new place.
Be patient, I'm not abandoning this! :)
As much as we all love the other stuff, this is what we're really looking for, right?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Derek got back inside, Chris was sitting on the couch, looking like he’d just sat down, and glanced at Derek nervously.
“Hey, it’s okay,” Derek said quietly. Then he smiled at his beta. “I know this is all sorts of fucked up and new, and that there’s two people inhabiting your body now, so it might be confusing to you who I’m talking to or why you’re reacting in certain ways.”
He sat down on the other edge of the couch and watched Chris the man battle with Chris the wolf. It was so easy to see, the struggle that was raging inside him at that moment.
“I… Uh… Can I….” Chris made a vague gesture toward Derek, his whole body leaning toward his alpha already.
Derek held out his arm and marveled at the way Chris dove into his embrace. Logically, it was the wolf, of course, but this so wasn’t where Derek would’ve ever imagined them. In his mind, Chris was still a hunter, even though he was one of the good ones.
He held his beta close and didn’t react to the way Chris sobbed against his chest. Instead, Derek ran his fingers through the now longer, shaggier hair, and let his own wolf purr in contentment. Having Chris, another wolf, a wolf that was subservient to his new alpha, settled Derek, as much as it did Chris.
Eventually, Chris wanted to pull away, but Derek knew it was his human brain catching on.
“Just stay. It’s okay. I understand. Give your wolf what it needs, and it’ll be kinder to you,” Derek murmured.
Chris leaned back enough to look into his eyes. He seemed to be searching for something in Derek’s gaze. Because this was one of those things where he had to make himself vulnerable, Derek let all his emotions show for once. His fear of fucking up, his gratefulness for having a pack of his own again, his relief that it was Chris and not a stranger, even with all their shared history.
“O-okay,” Chris stuttered finally. Then the small whine that was purely wolf bubbled up again, and he jerked his head forward, then back again.
“None of that,” Derek admonished gently. He took hold of Chris’s hair and held him in place, then scented his neck thoroughly. “Might as well get used to this now,” he said in a quiet, gentle voice.
Chris made a weird, broken sound then, and it suddenly occurred to Derek that maybe Chris hadn’t been touched with kindness in a while.
Derek leaned back and let go of Chris, who whined again. Instead of pushing him away or letting him lean back, Derek hauled him closer and guided his face into the crook of his own neck. The new wolf was a tactile creature. He needed guidance and closeness, and above all, safety.
“It’s okay,” Derek murmured when Chris trembled for a while. “That’s it….” He petted Chris’s hair firmly when the beta finally slumped against him.
Half an hour or so passed, with the wolves soaking in the closeness to each other, and Derek found he didn’t mind it at all. It had been a while for him, too, since he’d been truly been touched like this for more than a fleeting moments when he went to Peter’s pack.
“Will this—” Chris started roughly, then cleared his throat and tried again. “Will this cause problems with Peter’s pack? Two alphas and everything?”
“No, it shouldn’t. I think we got the stupidity out today.” Derek felt more than heard Chris’s chuckle. “It can be shaky for a while longer, until our relationship stabilizes.”
“Our as in you and me?”
“That, too. And Peter and I, and even you and your wolf.”
Suddenly Chris smelled hesitant again, almost sad.
“It will get better, Chris,” Derek assured. “It doesn’t trust you yet, but if you will let it be, if you’ll give it time, it will, eventually.”
Chris was silent against his side for a while, then sighed. “I guess the kids didn’t have this problem, at least.”
Derek sighed, too. “No, but they were ready to embrace their new life for various reasons, and they weren’t hunters. But there’s one thing you have they didn’t, at the beginning.”
“Oh, what’s what?” Chris leaned back finally, didn’t go far though, and looked at Derek.
“Control. You’re not trying to eat anyone,” Derek deadpanned.
Chris’s eyes widened. Then he let out a short bark of laughter. “Well I guess I didn’t realize that was an option. Now that you’ve mentioned it, though….” The pale blue eyes twinkled with mirth, which was more what Derek wanted to see.
“We’ll see about that, after all it’s full moon soon and there’s plenty of squirrels in the woods.”
Chris made a vaguely disgusted face, then his gaze seemed to turn inwards, and after a few seconds he looked surprised. “I should’ve seen that one coming,” he said, swallowing audibly.
Derek burst out laughing. “Did your mouth just water over some imaginary squirrels?”
Sheepishly, Chris rubbed the back of his neck. “Let’s not tell Stiles that, eh?”
“Chris Argent, squirrel hunter,” Derek murmured in mock thoughtfulness. “Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?”
The move is all done, but I have some work writing (promo posts for my next novel) to write, so I'll still be slow posting until around the end of the month, because there's also a certain Ed Sheeran concert I need to travel to in a couple of weeks!
The next morning, Chris woke up with an itch under his skin. It felt odd, waking up from the bed where he’d slept with Derek, but his wolf had insisted. Not that Chris minded the closeness as much as he would’ve thought.
Part of him knew that he might’ve been a bit touch-starved, but another, bigger part insisted on human conduct still. Cuddling on the couch to soothe your inner beast was one thing but sleeping in the same bed with the man your sister had—yeah, maybe he shouldn’t go there first thing in the morning.
“What’s wrong?” Derek asked sleepily, somehow in tune with Chris’s changed mood.
“Nothing,” Chris croaked.
Derek peered at him from the other side of the bed and leveled him a look that told Chris that he didn’t believe him for a second.
“It’s just… the human side and what’s proper and….” He looked at Derek’s chest instead of his eyes. “I feel uneasy.” Then he quickly looked up again, and explained, “Not just that, but the moon.” He felt almost shy in a weird way. “Do you feel it too?”
Derek gave him an indulgent smile and nodded. “Yes, I do. Tonight, we run in the woods. So maybe you should try and have a talk with your wolf first?”
Chris wondered how that would go. If the wolf would let him back into his human form. Derek saw his expression and reached a hand to touch his forearm. He squeezed gently, and Chris felt the touch in his whole body. It was like his wolf was purring at the contact with their alpha.
“Okay,” he replied after a while, and almost-whined when Derek pulled his hand back.
“Go shower and I’ll start breakfast. We’ll need a lot of protein for the shifting,” Derek said as he rolled out of bed smoothly.
Chris did as his alpha told him without giving it any thought until he was stepping into the shower. Wait, had he chosen to shower, or had he obeyed Derek blindly? Something about that felt a bit off for him, but his wolf seemed content, so maybe, just maybe, he could put his pride aside for now.
Once they’d eaten half their weight in bacon, eggs, toast, and sausages, Derek said he wanted to get some emailing done and wandered into the living room where he sat on the couch with his laptop. Chris took that as a sign for being given time with his wolf.
He went on the porch and sat on the steps facing the forest. He barely remembered anything from getting there. Flashes of images and feelings. He stroked the wooden boards with his fingers and had a flash of crawling toward Derek on his belly. It didn’t feel humiliating, not with the wolf inside perking up at the memory.
Chris raised his gaze to the trees and thought about the date. He’d checked. It was three days until Allison’s birthday. Sighing, he let his gaze drop to the patch of grass.
The grief that always washed over him when he thought of her tried to bowl him over again. He felt sudden tension in his chest and recognized it coming from Derek through the bond. He had felt the grief and was worried. Something about that warmed Chris from the inside, and he tried to send calmness back to show that he was okay.
For the wolf, he wasn’t sure how to get through. It was alert now inside him somewhere, wherever it went when it wasn’t on the outside. Jesus. Wasn’t that a weird thought.
He stared at the edge of the woods and the few wildflowers growing there. Blue. Yellow. The colors were so vibrant with his new eyes. Different. He could hear the squirrels in the trees a little ways away, and his wolf wagged its tail in anticipation.
Chris made the first conscious attempt to rein it in a little. He wondered what Allison’s eyes would’ve looked like now. If she would’ve liked his wolf. The feeling of getting choked up came from nowhere, and now, his wolf felt worried, too.
So Chris did the only thing he could think of, and thought of Allison’s face, how she moved, how her laughter sounded. The wolf seemed… not knowing what to make of it. Chris felt a wave of frustration bouncing between them, the connection new and muddled with prejudice from both sides, he could admit that.
Then he thought of speaking the wolf’s language, so to speak. He pictured a wolf pup, then Allison, then the pup again. Ah, this, the wolf understood. It settled for a few moments, as if thinking, and finally, a mournful little howl broke through Chris’s lips, as his wolf made its first effort to get along with him.
Even if it was through grief, Chris felt relieved that the wolf was giving him a chance. He sent a thought to Allison, suddenly somehow knowing she would’ve loved this.
Fun fact: I realized I had to correct the timeline a bit. The full moon mentioned in the beginning couldn't happen if the next full moon was in the latest chapters.... *sighs and hangs head*
Next week, I'm going to travel, so we'll see when I get the next chapter out, but hopefully soon! Thanks for the comments, they keep me writing, I'm not even joking about that. They really, really do.
Sorry it took a while to get this out. There's been IRL stuff going on and my creativity has flown out the window. I'll try to post whenever I get more of this out of my head. I just can't promise a schedule.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Derek sat on the porch, watching as Chris tried not to pace on the patch of lawn nearby. The moon was full, it would be above the treetops within half an hour, but for a new wolf, it must’ve felt unbearable already.
“You can let your wolf out, you know,” Derek said quietly, knowing that Chris would hear.
Chris’s whole body jerked slightly, as if the wolf inside him had heard Derek and had pushed against Chris’s will.
“Not. Yet,” Chris ground out from between clenched teeth.
Ah, the pride. While Derek had gathered Chris and his wolf had found some sort of common ground and Chris seemed much more settled in his skin, there was still pride there.
“You know, my mother wasn’t flawless in any way, but she had this saying, ‘pride comes before a fall,’ and I happen to believe her. Sure, I made my own mistakes to realize the wisdom in it, but honestly, Chris, let go,” Derek spoke as he got to his feet and walked down the stairs.
He went to stand in Chris’s path and once his beta stopped before him, Derek lifted his hand, and without asking, grabbed him by the neck. He shook slightly, enjoying the way Chris’s eyes flashed gold and his lip tried to rise in a snarl.
“Settle, pup,” Derek murmured, and Chris’s eyes flashed again.
He was tense, Derek could feel it in the muscles of his neck and see it in his posture. The pale blue, almost silvery eyes flickered gold at him.
“Settle, now,” Derek repeated. “There is no pride in making your wolf suffer.”
Somehow, those were the words that seemed to penetrate not only Chris’s mind, but his whole body. He relaxed, almost slumped, and Derek squeezed his neck once more.
“There you go.” He smiled at Chris and let go. “Now strip. Let the wolf out.”
Chris’s features twitched, and his scent filled with uncertainty and something like shyness, maybe?
“Strip, Christopher,” Derek said firmly, staring him down. “You better get used to this. Besides, I’ve seen you naked before.”
That made Chris blush, and yeah, it was definitely bashfulness that made him this way.
After a few moments of internal battle, Chris walked to the edge of the porch, and Derek smiled behind his back. A wolf would’ve stripped where he was, left his clothes in a pile for sure, but Chris was far too pedantic for that sort of thing.
Derek watched as Chris kicked off his shoes and pulled off his socks, then T-shirt, and eventually jeans, too. It took a lot out of him, it seemed, and the way he hesitated with his underwear made Derek’s chest ache.
It all felt wrong for Chris, Derek could understand that. From what he’d gathered, hunters, the old families especially, had strict regimen, rules and regulations like in the military. If they’d been two hunters, getting undressed in a locker room to shower after a workout, it wouldn’t have been a big deal, Derek guessed.
This, however, was something completely different.
“Look at it this way,” Derek said quietly, but Chris still startled and his gaze snapped to Derek’s. “From my point of view, as soon as you’ve shifted, you’re more naked than you could ever be as a human.”
Chris looked away and seemed to mull over the words. Then he promptly pushed the underwear off and folded them on top of the rest of the clothing he’d placed neatly on the edge of the porch.
Derek stripped efficiently. It wasn’t like he’d worn more than sweats and a T-shirt anyway. He dropped the clothes where he stood and looked at Chris pointedly until the man smiled hesitantly.
“Okay. Just let the wolf out. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
Chris rolled his neck and seemed to steel himself. Then he glanced at Derek and quietly asked, “And you won’t let me hurt anyone?”
Ah, and there it was. The main reason for his hesitance tonight. Derek hadn’t, somehow, even thought of it, not with how much control Chris had already shown to have.
“Of course not,” he replied. “Well, there’s plenty of rabbits and other critters in the woods, but nothing bigger than that, if you insist.” He smirked a little, trying to diffuse the worry Chris so obviously felt.
Chris smiled back. “Maybe… maybe a deer?”
Derek chuckled. “Sure, if we come across one.”
Nodding, Chris seemed to make a decision. He took in a deep breath, then let it out in a long, drawn-out sigh, and shifted seamlessly into his shaggy wolf.
Derek waited for him to come closer, then crouched and dug his fingers into the neck ruff of the magnificent wolf in front of him.
“There you are,” he murmured, and got a lick across his face in return. He snorted. “Hey now, is that how you greet your alpha?”
The wolf couldn’t understand words, and Derek wasn’t sure how much Chris did in this form, but Derek knew his tone was enough to make the wolf happy.
He let go and stood up again. Then he let the shift flow through his body, keeping tight hold of his more human thinking in the process. This was not the night to go full on wolf, like Stiles called the state where the werewolves let go of their humanity as much as they could.
He turned and went to Chris. Standing tall in front of his beta, he waited for the wolf instincts to kick in. Soon enough, the brownish gray wolf rolled onto it’s back in full submission. Derek lowered his head and let his jaw wrap around Chris’s throat gently. He kept them like that for a moment, then let go and nudged the side of Chris’s head with his nose.
The moon climbed above the treetops then and bathed the yard in its light.
It was time for Chris to learn how to be a good wolf.
Thank you for reading and sticking with the story. Especially those who comment, even just to say "kudos." You guys keep me writing this even when things get rough. I don't have energy to reply to comments, but I read each and every one of them.
Thank you guys, for all the comments and love. It means the world to me. Things are still rough, but you genuinely made my muse perk up enough to write more, so have this, and keep the comments coming. I might just have more of the boys for you soon!
The wolf yipped as it dashed through the woods with its alpha chasing it. This time, it was all for play. It didn’t feel like that other alpha, the one that had made it after chasing the other. The wolf had seen those memories, they were primal enough for it to understand the terror in them. No, this one chased because it wanted to play.
There was no desperation and rage in this one, there was only safety and home and the wolf ran, ran away because this time it knew, that the home was right there with it and their den not far behind.
To his utter surprise, once he’d finally shifted, the wolf gave him space. It didn't push Chris somewhere in the back of their shared being, but instead, he felt like he was watching the scenery from a moving vehicle he definitely wasn’t steering.
He enjoyed it, after the first feeling of “holy fuck this is odd.” He didn’t have a body, really, as it had turned to what the wolf was now. His mind was separate from the wolf though.
So, for better or for worse, Chris let the wolf do whatever it wanted. And right now, that was to play tag with their alpha.
The pure enjoyment Chris could feel from both his wolf and Derek was intoxicating. He wasn’t sure when he’d last felt this way, the wolf’s emotions and instincts slowly seeping into him. He’d never be a born wolf, not 100% wolf like Derek, but maybe, over time, he could mix his self with the wolf’s somewhat?
A rustling sound alerted him—and the wolf—of something moving in the underbrush nearby. The wolf immediately slowed down and then stopped, Derek coming to a halt next to them as well.
The two wolves seemed to communicate in a language unknown to Chris apart from the encouragement and other feedback through the bond. As many wolves as he’d hunted—and boy did he feel ashamed of that—he’d never bothered to learn their body language that well.
Then again, if you didn’t count the original Hales, there weren’t that many werewolves he’d met that could do the full shift. There were folk tales about them all over the world, and in Eastern Europe, most of them had been hunted down and killed for being abominations generations ago. It was hard to hide if you turned into an animal at least once a month, which was all born wolves' preference as far as Chris knew.
It was… what it was, Chris supposed as his concentration snapped back to the way his—their—body felt. There was a thrumming energy, excitement like nothing he’d ever felt, coursing through the wolf. Derek stood by, looking amused and indulgent, even for a massive black wolf.
Chris realized what was going on when his body was suddenly closer to the ground as it slunk through the brush. What were they hunting?
As good as Chris’s senses were now, he still couldn’t differentiate most of the new scents. He wouldn’t have known the difference between a deer and a squirrel, he was pretty sure. Not that he particularly looked forward to eating raw meat.
His other side didn’t have that problem, and just like that, blood lust slammed into Chris’s brain, and all he could think of was biting through soft fur and hide, and filling his mouth with a burst of blood as he tore into the flesh of the—rabbit?
The horror Chris felt at the feeling of losing control to the blood lust tried to take hold of him. This was exactly what he'd been taught all his life! Before he could panic completely, he saw the rabbit they were about to pounce on and concentrated on the pack bond.
He needed Derek right then, and somehow his alpha seemed to understand. Chris could feel the comforting presence of the black wolf that followed them closely. Derek must’ve been sending him calmness through the pack bond, because the ugly feeling from the blood lust dissipated slowly, and he could think for himself again.
The wolf was still hunting, now dashing through the woods after the animal it had chosen. Chris closed his eyes, as if it would’ve helped when he could feel everything the wolf felt. He didn’t have to see anything when it all rolled through his brain like a film reel anyway.
The wolf’s emotions were basic. There weren’t many complicated feelings or thoughts, and Chris, who had never had an uncomplicated thought in his life, could appreciate that.
Their jaws wrapped around a small, soft body, bones snapped under pressure, and their mouth filled with blood.
Chris felt queasy, he could taste the tang of copper somehow, and he decided not to think about the divide between him and his wolf too closely. It wasn’t his mouth, it was the wolf’s, right? They weren’t the same, even though they weren’t separate either.
Derek nudged him mentally, obviously sensing his frustration and confusion.
The wolf dropped the rabbit on the ground, then backed away.
Chris felt confused, but then he realized what the wolf was doing. It was submitting to their alpha, giving him the first bite, so to speak.
Having Derek approach and tower over them felt… Something in Chris’s brain liked it. A lot. The feeling of safety and acceptance, while he had very little control over anything that was happening.
Derek would take care of him. Of them.
The remnants of the horror he’d felt over the kill faded away and he relaxed fully inside the wolf.
And then Derek grabbed the rabbit and shook it, like a human shaking a toy at a dog. Chris’s wolf jumped at the opportunity, and clamped their jaw around the other half of the carcass.
They both pulled, and Chris felt queasy again as the poor rabbit got torn into half and the wolves gobbled it up like it was no big deal. Ugh.
Sorry it's been a while. I'm still going to finish this one, it's just that muses have vanished over publisher worries and having to self publish a lot of old stuff after leaving my publisher. It's been rough to say the least, but at least it's autumn, hey?
They stumbled back into the den, tripping over each other, tongues lolling out of their mouth and panting like lunatics. They were so, so tired after running all night.
Derek shook his wolf off and leaned to the kitchen doorway, smiling as he watched Chris struggle with his own beast.
“It’s okay, let him out now,” Derek told the young wolf. “You’ve had your fun, he needs rest.” He sent reassurance and gentleness through the bond to the wolf, and slowly, the energy in the cabin changed and then Chris half-collapsed on the floor.
“There you go,” Derek murmured, watching his beta critically. Chris was too skinny, he needed to be fed more—a sudden thought of his grandma saying those words about him when he hit a growth spurt filtered through his mind.
It must’ve been obvious somehow, that he felt a pang of that loss, when Chris’s gaze snapped to his.
“Just got hit with a memory, that’s all.” Derek tried to shrug it off, but once upon a time, he’d been a grandma’s boy.
Chris got to his feet and walked to him hesitantly. “Can I help?”
“I… no, I don’t think so. I just remembered something my grandma used to say and….”
“Ah, right.” Chris ducked his head, looking awkward.
Before he could open his mouth, Derek lifted a hand to stop him. “No.”
Chris looked at him, confusion in his eyes.
“You were about to apologize. Don’t do that. It wasn’t your fault.”
Chris huffed and rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. “I still keep thinking about it, though. If I’d known? Seen how she was changing? What Gerard was molding her into? How much she hated your family?” Then, more quietly, he added, “W-what she was doing to you….”
Derek shook his head. “It’s all bygones. They’re gone, you’re here. You’re my beta, of all things.” He smiled slightly and when Chris noticed, the corner of his mouth tilted up a little bit, too.
“Oh, they’d love that….”
“For sure.” Ready to move on from the subject, Derek gestured toward the shower. “We need to get cleaned up, so if you want to go first….”
The fact that they were still naked seemed to hit Chris right then, and his eyes snapped from Derek’s face to his… well, below his belt for sure, before he blushed deep red and gestured at the direction of the bathroom almost-wildly. “Uh, y-yeah… I’ll just….”
“Take your time,” Derek called after him, chuckling.
It didn’t escape his senses that for a few seconds, a tint of curious arousal hung in the air in the space Chris had just vacated. Derek wasn’t sure what he thought of that, other than he could relate. His wolf rumbled contently, and Derek supposed he should’ve seen this one coming, after all, he’d always found Chris attractive on some level he hadn’t bothered to examine too closely. As a responsible alpha, he needed to, now. Great.
Chris escaped to the bathroom with his heart bouncing in his chest like it hadn’t in a long time. Was he attracted to Derek? Hadn’t Derek been hurt enough by Argents already? How could Chris’s traitorous min—dick even consider something like—
He turned the water on, letting the first ice cold water stop his thought process. Once the water warmed, he rinsed the woods off his skin. His shower still took less than four minutes, and he stepped out to see a puzzled looking Derek entering the bathroom.
“You could’ve had a nice, long shower, Chris,” Derek said, almost as if gently scolding him for not taking the opportunity.
It gave Chris a pause. He stood there, blinking at his alpha, his mouth opening and closing a few times.
“It didn’t know… I mean, it’s….” He rubbed his palms over his face and groaned.
“Hunter training?” Derek hazarded a guess.
“Since I was five years old. Lukewarm baths and once my mother passed away when I was nine, it was showers. Less than five minutes, but—” He stopped, then whispered, “I have mine down to two. Have for years.”
Derek came to stand close to him. Chris was looking down, so he had to close his eyes because Derek was still naked. He swallowed hard when he felt Derek touch his shoulder gently but at the same time, firmly, as if grounding him to the moment.
“You never took showers with Victoria?”
Chris shook his head. “We… in some ways we were incredibly compatible, but in others, not so much. The things that were good made our arranged marriage work. It just wasn’t… I loved her, but I was never in love with her.”
Derek let out a small “ah” of understanding. Then he chuckled quietly. “Well, in this pack we don’t stop showering until all the hot water is gone.”
Chris looked up and saw the caring and amusement in Derek’s eyes. “That so?”
Nodding, Derek used his hold on Chris’s shoulder to turn him around and pushed him back into the cubicle. The alpha turned on the water, tsked at the low temperature and made it hotter.
Chris hissed at the foreign feeling after decades of too-cold showers.
“Too much?” Derek asked, the weight of the question hanging between them for a few seconds.
“No. I… would you join me?” Chris managed to ask, hoping the hot water could be blamed for his equally warm cheeks.
Derek smiled. “Alright.”
This is what reviews and kudos get you. JS.
It's been a hectic, partially horrible fall and early winter. Publisher problems, writing original fiction to stay afloat, among gazillion other things, big and small.
My muses insisted that you guys would want some smut for the holidays. Were they right? Is anyone still reading this? If you are, ILY. Truly.
Derek stepped into the shower, something inside him making him crowd Chris against the wall a little. It felt good, doing that, so for a couple of moments, as Derek wet his hair and rubbed a hand over his face, he let Chris stay just like that.
Then he stepped back and pulled Chris under the water.
“Here, get warmed up. Your skin is still too cool,” he murmured, running his hands over Chris’s arms and back.
Almost-cold showers? Jesus. That wasn’t how you showered.
“From now on,” Derek continued in his low, quiet tone, “we’re thinking of showers as self-care. Every shower you take needs to be warm, hot when you can stand it.” It was obvious to him that the warmth was new to Chris in some fundamental way and that he was a bit overwhelmed.
“O-okay,” Chris stuttered, watching him closely.
Derek grabbed the shampoo Chris had somehow already had time to use. “Turn around, your back to me.”
Chris blinked, then did as he was told. Derek put some shampoo on his own palm, then put the bottle away. He rubbed his hands together, ignoring the tense way Chris was holding himself, and began to rub the shampoo into Chris’s hair.
The long, startled moan Chris let out made Derek’s cock plump up. He chuckled. “Feels good?”
Chris hummed, obviously completely stunned and overtaken by the firm touch on his scalp and hair.
Derek coaxed Chris to tilt his head just right so he could rinse his hair. Then he took the shower gel off the shelf and put some on a washcloth. Once there were enough suds, he began to run the cloth over Chris’s skin.
He started from his neck and covered every inch of the slightly too thin yet muscular body. He ignored Chris’s ass and crotch for now, but by the time he pressed himself against Chris’s back to rub the cloth over his beta’s front, Derek was hard as nails.
He glanced over Chris’s shoulder, and saw his erection swaying with Derek’s every movement.
He let Chris feel his own cock against his ass. “Do we do something with these? Your choice.”
Chris tensed for a moment, but it came across as more of a “let me think” than a “I’m freaking out” kind of feeling, so Derek gave him time.
Groaning with frustration and lust, Chris took the washcloth from Derek, tossed it into the corner and wrapped Derek’s fingers around his cock.
Derek chuckled, pressing even closer to his beta. “Alright.” He jerked Chris too gently for a while, then reached his other hand around too and cupped Chris’s balls. “Put your hands on the wall, Chris.”
Chris whined and did as told. His knees were already shaky, and Derek hoped he’d have the wherewithal to make sure Chris wouldn’t collapse after he came.
“I’m going to rub off against your ass while I get you off,” he murmured into Chris’s ear. “Is that okay?”
Chris’s throat clicked as he swallowed hard, and then he nodded rapidly. “Y-yeah, please.”
Derek tightened his fingers and began to jerk Chris off in earnest. This wasn’t a time to play, it was a time to take care of what was his.
The thought made Derek’s hips twitch forward and he groaned. In a normal situation, he doubted he could get off like this, but it had been so long, and having his beta so submissive and so, so fucking hard in his hand….
Derek reached under Chris’s balls and pressed against his taint as he continued to jerk him off. It wasn’t easy to get the rhythm right, but the way Chris started to make small, punched out noises egged him on.
Suddenly his mind provided an image of fucking Chris, of being inside his heat, and he was right. Fucking. There.
“Come for your alpha,” Derek snapped, swiping a thumb over the head of Chris’s cock.
Just like that, they were both coming, shaking and making not-all-human noises.
At the last moment, Derek gathered his wits to make sure Chris stayed upright.
They panted against the tiles, Derek still pressed against Chris’s back.
“Oh gods.” Chris’s tone was incredibly fucked out.
Derek chuckled. “Good?”
“So fucking good,” Chris agreed.
Derek made him lean against the wall while he washed his own hair, and turned off the water. It hadn’t gone cold yet.
The tiredness from running under the moon caught up with them then, and they barely managed to dry themselves and each other before collapsing in bed.
Soon, they needed to eat more, but first, a long nap under warm covers, skin against skin, and limbs entwined.