Chapter 1: Chapter One
Keith scanned the crowd over the top of his drink, wondering how the hell he’d let Lance suck him into this mess. Some college students in town were throwing their annual Halloween party and for whatever reason, Lance thought it was the best way to find some new prey.
It had been a few days since Keith had last fed and his thirst was starting to get to him . Every person who walked by nearly set him into a trance, the smell of their blood pulsing beneath their skin enough to nearly make him lose control. It was almost as bad as when he’d first been turned, and it was frustrating to think he could so easily lose control.
It was a dangerous game they were playing, and Lance fucking knew it.
Lance elbowed him sharply in the ribs then. “Focus, man,” he hissed. “Don’t fuck this up for us.”
Keith gave a low growl in response but willed himself to calm down. Losing his mind and massacring a bunch of students would only end in them needing to leave town, and Keith had grown to like it there. He was tired of moving from place to place and wanted to just stay somewhere for a while—at least for as long as he could until people began to notice that he didn’t age.
Lance offered him a can of whatever shitty beer the students had supplied. When he saw Natty Light on the label, he couldn’t help the disappointed sigh that escaped his lips.
The smell when he popped the seal made him gag, but he powered through and nursed it for the sake of blending in with the humans. If he couldn’t feed, then he may as well get a bit buzzed and try to go about his night like normal.
At some point, he realized Lance had disappeared. Keith figured he’d just gone into one of the back rooms with a cute girl he’d met earlier, so he wasn’t concerned about it. Bored, he went back to the table the host of the party had left out to scrounge a new can of lukewarm beer.
The living room where the drinks were kept was packed. Keith was already dreading having to pass so many potential meals (People he reminded himself) and having to make himself resist the temptation. He could already feel his fangs threatening to break through his gums and his mouth was watering. He really needed to get Lance and leave soon; he didn’t think he could control himself much longer.
The front door to the house opened and slammed shut as two new people walked in the door. Normally Keith wouldn’t have noticed, but he caught the unmistakable whiff of dog and Earth and some unidentifiable musk. He immediately felt his heart come to a stop.
The two who entered the party were probably two of the most gorgeous people he had ever seen. There was a woman with long, white curls and eyes that shone blue but almost pink as well; then there was the man who came in with her and officially ruined anyone else for Keith for the rest of his eternal life.
The man was large, very strongly built and well over six feet tall. His hair was unusual, a black fade shaved close to his head, but with a tuft of white hair that hung long over his eyes. His jaw was square and strong, and his eyes were a dark steel gray and deep-set into his ruggedly handsome face.
He must have sensed Keith staring at him because he looked up and made eye contact with him. Keith didn’t miss the unmistakable flash of yellow in the man’s eyes that sent a shiver down his spine. Fuck. Werewolves. He knew he should have stayed home tonight.
“Keith!” Lance’s voice snapped him back to reality as he came bursting into the living room. “We gotta go—aw, fuck.”
The two newcomers fixed Lance with a glare but didn’t say anything. Keith looked down and pretended instead to find the tab of his can suddenly very interesting as he began fiddling with it.
“Shit,” Lance whispered. “That’s Allura of the Altea Pack.”
Allura was the daughter of Alfor, the alpha of the biggest pack in the state. They were known to be hardcore about keeping their territory and aggressive towards other werewolf packs as well as vampires. And while Keith and Lance were just a couple of loners who did their own thing to stay alive, they had absolutely no desire to get caught up in a turf war that had nothing to do with them.
With a barely perceptible nod, Keith threw his head back and chugged what remained of his shitty beer. He was just getting ready to leave when Beefcake himself suddenly appeared directly in front of him.
“We’re leaving. Don’t want any trouble,” Keith blurted out, holding his hands in front of him in surrender.
The Adonis blinked in confusion, cocking his head. Keith had to squash the thought that he looked like a confused puppy. A very large, sexy puppy. “Oh, God. I’m so sorry. I wasn’t trying to tell you two to leave. I just wanted to say hi. I haven’t seen many other supes around here outside of our pack.”
Keith had no idea how to respond to that. He glanced over at Lance, looking for backup, but all he got was a shrug.
“Uh, okay. Hi, I guess.” He heard Lance groan at the awkwardness behind him and just barely stopped himself from jabbing an elbow into his ribs.
The large werewolf extended a hand in greeting. Keith tried not to stare at it, noticing it was a high tech prosthetic the likes of which he’d never seen before, but remembered himself and grasped the proffered hand with his own.
“I’m Shiro,” the werewolf said.
“I’m Keith,” Keith replied, relaxing a bit as the atmosphere became noticeably less tense. “This is Lance.”
“Hey,” Lance waved from the safety behind Keith. Coward.
They stood in awkward silence for a minute, both unsure of what to say next. Lance was finally the one who spoke, announcing that he was going to go find that cute girl he’d been flirting with earlier before disappearing back into the crowd.
Shiro raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything about it. He motioned back towards the drink table and asked Keith if he wanted anything.
“Oh, sure. Although I’m not sure how much more of this god awful beer I can take.”
Shiro’s eyes darted between Keith and Lance for a second before settling back on Keith. “Have something better in mind?”
The meaning dawned on Keith at that."What? No. Not what you’re thinking. Too many people. Despite what this guy would lead you to believe,” he jabbed a finger in Lance’s direction, who had reappeared from behind a gaggle of girls, having clearly struck out. “We aren’t stupid.”
Lance heard his words even from clear across the room and began to shout a protest Keith’s way, but Shiro cut him off. “Oh! I didn’t mean it like that! I could just uh...tell you haven’t fed in a while.”
Keith gave him a cautious glare. “Are you implying I can’t control myself?”
“No. But I also don’t want you to starve so—okay, I’m offering my blood.”
That was not what Keith was expecting.
“Oh,” was all he managed to say. He could practically hear Lance rolling his eyes behind them.
Keith was too shocked to respond, so instead, he just opened and closed his mouth several times as he struggled to find the words to say. Shiro raised his eyebrow, looking uncertain when Lance shoved Keith from behind and snarled, “Oh hell no!”
Shiro chuckled, completely ignoring Lance and his histrionics, and reached a hand out to steady Keith as he stumbled forward. “Come on. If it’s okay with you, I think I just saw one of the bedrooms open up.”
Too shocked by the whole situation, Keith just nodded mutely and followed the big werewolf down the hallway. Somewhere behind them, Keith heard Lance yell, “if you kill him, I’ll kill you, Fluffy!”
Shiro was at least a good sport about it and rolled his eyes. “He does realize that if I wanted to kill you, I’d have done so by now. Right?”
Keith shook his head. “I can never tell what’s going on in his head.”
They found an empty bedroom, and Keith was immediately assaulted by the lingering smell of sex left behind by the previous occupants. He noticed Shiro wrinkle his nose, and he briefly wondered if the stench was stronger to his werewolf senses.
“So what’s your poison?”
“What?” Keith shook his head and turned to Shiro, blinking in confusion.
“I meant which vein do you prefer? No arteries, please, I hate spurting blood.”
For whatever reason, Keith burst out laughing at that. He wasn’t sure if it was the nerves, the absurdity of the whole situation, or both, but somehow everything just seemed absolutely hysterical.
“Shit. God, I’m so sorry. I’m bad at this. I—”
“Stop!” Keith held up his hand to cut Shiro off. “It’s fine, really. I’m just really nervous and that reaction just kind of...happened.”
“Wrist is fine.” Keith wiped his eyes and finally managed to get ahold of himself. “And just so you know, artery blood is absolutely superior to vein blood.”
Shiro said nothing more and just reached forward, palm facing up in offering.
Cautiously, Keith took his hand and pulled it towards his mouth. The skin of his wrist was so soft and vulnerable, he took a second to admire it and wonder if maybe this was a terrible mistake. But once he caught sight of the blood pulsing underneath the tissue, his instincts took over. He didn’t even realize it was happening until his fangs had descended of their own will and the familiar metallic taste was filling his mouth.
Normally, Keith didn’t like to feed on other supernatural beings. Their blood had a funny aftertaste and left him feeling empty and in that strange limbo of being less hungry than he started, but still not satisfied. But hey, he was starving; desperate measures and all that.
Shiro’s blood was different, because of course it would be. It was the most delicious fucking meal Keith had ever tasted, even before he died. It was a strange combination of chocolate and spice and something else that Keith couldn’t quite put his finger on. It was intoxicating and he would be amazed if he could stop himself before draining Shiro completely.
With every ounce of strength that he possessed, Keith let go of Shiro’s wrist and pulled himself away before he could do any damage. His breathing was coming in long, labored breaths, and it took all of his focus to get it back under control.
“Are you okay?” Shiro’s voice was barely a whisper, like if he spoke too loud or startled Keith in any way, he’d either run or attack him.
“Fuck,” Keith sighed as he finally composed himself. “You taste amazing. No trace of wet dog at all. Are you sure you’re a werewolf?”
Shiro laughed at that. “Yeah, I am. I can prove it to you next week during the full moon if you want.”
“I thought that was a myth?”
Shiro’s cheeks turned bright pink at that. “It is. I just wanted an excuse to see you again.”
Keith’s eyebrows disappeared into his hairline at that.
“So I take it that’s a no then?” Maybe Keith was imagining it, but Shiro looked disappointed.
“What? No! It’s not a no. It’s a…it’s a yes.”
Shiro beamed at that. When he spoke, it was both hesitant and hopeful. “Oh. I’m glad. Mind giving me your phone number? We can talk about plans later?”
Keith wordlessly punched his number into the phone Shiro offered before he could even question his life choices. Once he had handed it back, Shiro flashed Keith with the most ridiculous grin he’d ever seen in his over two hundred years of life.
By the time they left the room, Lance looked to have been nursing a panic attack in the exact spot they’d left him. Upon Keith’s safe return, he let out an actual sigh of relief, which Keith couldn’t help but feel was dramatic given that vampires don’t need to breathe.
“Let’s go,” Lance snapped, not even bothering to look at Shiro.
Keith rolled his eyes. Shiro shrugged in response and gave him an awkward wave goodbye while Lance dragged Keith out the door. Keith just hoped Shiro couldn’t hear the tirade Lance was going on about how he was lucky Shiro didn’t kill him.
Keith was sprawled on his couch, flipping mindlessly through his phone. Lance was off at his nursing job at their local hospital, and Keith was torn between enjoying the silence that was a rare commodity in their house, and being bored out of his skull and needing to do literally anything that didn’t involve staying home.
You would think after a few hundred years, I’d have moved past random nights of being bored half to death, but nope. Keith couldn’t help but be bitter about it. What was even the point of eternal life if you still had to spend a huge percentage of it bored?
An image of Shiro popped into his mind just then, and Keith found himself wondering what he was up to. He had never texted after the party, and Keith couldn’t help but feel disappointment over it. It had been almost two weeks since then, and he couldn’t help but assume Shiro had forgotten about him by now.
Keith shook his head, trying to rid himself of the image. No use dwelling on something that was clearly not going to happen.
He groaned and opened Instagram for what felt like the thousandth time that night. He had no idea why he bothered, it wasn’t like he had any friends aside from Lance, so it was always sad browsing through social media.
Hunk at least appeared to have the night off as he had recently posted a picture of his newest baked concoction. Keith found it odd that a vampire chose to bake in his free time, but then again he’d seen other immortals pick up some much stranger and far less tasteful hobbies in their eternal time on Earth.
He was debating texting Hunk to ask if he wanted to hang out, but at that moment Lance threw the front door of their house open. A string of curses followed the sound of Lance’s shoes stomping down the hallway as he stormed into the living room.
“Get up. We’re going drinking.”
Keith blinked, taking in Lance’s disgruntled form, his nurse’s scrubs wrinkled with and askew with jacket half hanging off his shoulder, shoes scuffed but still noticeably on. “Don’t you want to change first?”
“We’ll talk about it on the way. I just really need a beer—wait, no I need something much harder.”
Keith barely had any time to register what Lance had just said before his leather jacket landed in his face. He sat up and shrugged it and followed Lance down the hall to where his shoes were located. “Bad day at work?”
“What?” Keith paused while putting on his shoes, blinking owlishly at Lance. “How?”
Lance visibly deflated. The sudden change in attitude almost gave Keith whiplash, but he understood where his friend was coming from. He didn’t respond right away, instead waited for Keith to finish getting his shoes on and they walked out of the house and paused only long enough for Keith to lock the door before they began the short walk down the street to their favorite bar.
“Dr. Iverson noticed a lot of supplies were missing. Obviously that wasn’t me, I’ve only been taking some blood here and there, but they were going to let this poor new girl take the fall. She was totally innocent and I couldn’t let her lose her job over it. So I said I did it.”
Keith pat him on the shoulder. “That’s rough, buddy. But you did the right thing. Come on, drinks on me tonight.”
They didn’t need the money from Lance’s job at least, but he knew how much helping people meant to Lance. He seemed to feel like he had to make up for living off of them, a notion Keith never fully grasped but respected his thoughts about it.
They arrived at the bar and went straight for their usual seats. Keith got them each their favorite drinks and it wasn’t long before Lance had downed several of them and was already unsteady in his seat. Keith was just getting ready to pay their bill and haul his ass home when a familiar scent caught his attention. Lance must have noticed it too, because he sat straight up and whispered something Keith couldn’t hear.
The door swung open then and in walked several of the Altea werewolves, Allura at their lead. Keith didn’t miss the way Lance’s eyes went straight to her, but he couldn’t dwell on it as Shiro was right behind her.
Shiro immediately honed in on him and waved, a big smile cracking his face. “Keith!”
Lance bristled beside him and Keith jabbed an elbow into his side. “Be nice.”
Keith was about to give an awkward wave back but one of the werewolves stepped forward, his long white hair falling into his smug face as he leaned forward to snarl, “Vampires.”
“Easy, Lotor.” Shiro grasped his shoulder, his grip tight and ready to spring if Lotor tried anything.
If Lance had already been on edge, Keith could now feel him coiled and ready to pounce if this asshole tried to antagonize them.
“Do not touch me!” Lotor jerked his shoulder away from Shiro, fixing him with a lethal glare. Keith worried for a second that he was going to have to throw Lance over his shoulder and run if a fight broke out, but Allura stepped forward and fixed Lotor with a look Keith would hate to be on the receiving end of.
“They’re not bothering us. Leave them be.”
Lotor looked from Allura to Shiro and back and with a snarl, then stalked to the back of the bar and plopped down in a booth away from everyone else.
“Sorry about him.” Allura turned to Keith and Lance.
One of the werewolves towards the back grumbled something about how disgusting it was to let vampires into their territory, but Shiro let out a warning growl and whoever it was shut up.
Keith just nodded dumbly in return. “It’s fine, we were just getting ready to leave.”
“No we—ow!” Keith kicked Lance in the shin under the bar. “Yeah, fine, guess we’re about done here anyway.”
The werewolves all filed to the back of the bar and joined Lotor, but Shiro hung back. Keith didn’t miss the questioning look Allura gave him, but whatever wordless conversation passed between them must have appeased her since she simply nodded and joined her pack.
Shiro walked over to where Keith and Lance sat, hesitating at the empty stool next to Keith. “Mind if I sit?”
“Go ahead.” Keith was finishing the last dregs of his drink and slammed the glass down on the bar, albeit harder than he meant to.
“Sorry I never texted. Things got a little hectic for a while.”
“Oh?” Keith raised an eyebrow, curious. But Shiro merely shrugged.
The bartender appeared then with Keith’s credit card and receipt. He thanked her and threw a large tip down on the bar before turning to Shiro. “Lance and I were just leaving.”
“Oh.” Shiro visibly deflated at that. If he were a dog, Keith knew his ears would be drooped and the image was oddly both adorable and hot.
Some invisible voice told Keith that he should say something, but when he opened his mouth, whatever words he had to say died in his throat.
After several awkward minutes of silence, Keith decided maybe it would be best if he just left. He began to gather his things and nudged Lance but Shiro grabbed his wrist as he started to stand.
“Wait, sorry. Please don’t go. I’ve been wanting to talk to you since the party and just couldn’t think of what to say.”
Surprised, Keith sat back down. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting but somehow it wasn’t that.
Lance took one look between the two of them and excused himself. However, instead of going home like Keith expected, he watched as Lance walked over to Allura and said something that must have been not totally nauseating because she smiled and even laughed genuinely. Odd, just a few minutes ago Lance was ready to bolt from her, but Keith brushed the thought aside to deal with at a later time.
With a huff, Keith finally turned his attention back to Shiro. “You could just start with ‘hi’.”
He winced as soon as the words left his mouth. Keith had never been good with people and his tone had come across much more critical than he’d meant for it to be.
If that wasn’t enough, the sheepish look Shiro gave him was like a stake to the heart. Damn it, why am I fumbling so badly with this guy?
Apparently, it didn’t matter that he was immortal, his inability to be smooth never got any better even after several hundred years to practice.
Thankfully, Shiro seemed to understand without Keith even explaining himself. “I know you just closed out, but do you mind if I order you another drink?”
“Sure,” he relented. “What can it hurt?”
One drink turned to two turned to three. The more he and Shiro talked, the more relaxed he became. Something about Shiro just put him at ease, which never happened for Keith. He was always oil to everyone else’s water; he never meant to be so abrasive, but it just seemed to be in his nature. But not with Shiro.
Somehow, Shiro broke through that barrier and was able to pull Keith into the stream like it was nothing.
Eventually, Keith looked up to realize Lance and the werewolves had all left. A spark of anxiety surged through him. He was always so attentive to his surroundings, how did he miss the lack of noise and the scent of wolves in the room? Shit, was Lance okay? Lotor did look like he wanted to rip his guts out and wear them like a necklace—
“Keith.” It was Shiro. “Breathe. Allura texted me that Lance was back at your house and he was returned home unharmed.”
“Oh, okay.” Keith wasn’t sure if he’d voiced his fears aloud or if Shiro was just able to read him that well.
Shiro smiled at him, although it was somewhat hollow. “Allura is trying to change our reputation. She’s tired of all the territory wars and just wants us to get along with the other local supes.”
“Lotor doesn’t seem to be on board with that.”
“No. He’s not. But so far Allura has kept him in control and doesn’t foresee it becoming a problem.”
Keith hummed a response but didn’t offer anything else on the subject.
The bartender appeared to tell them it was last call, so Shiro paid the tab and Keith made to stand up.
Apparently, he’d had more than he realized since he wobbled on his feet and nearly pitched forward into the sticky surface of the bar.
“Whoa! Easy, there. I got you.” Shiro wrapped an arm around Keith’s waist and righted him before he could do anything too embarrassing. So much for being a graceful predator of the night—Keith couldn’t even drink without becoming a sloppy mess.
“I shouldn’t have been drinking on an empty stomach.” Keith groaned, wriggling his way out of Shiro’s grasp and attempting once again to stand on his own.
“Oh. Well if you were hungry, why didn’t you say so?” Shiro’s hands stayed out, hovering over either side of Keith’s hips in case he fell again.
Keith fixed Shiro with a sharp look but managed to keep himself upright as they walked out the door. “Seriously? It’s not like I can just order a hot dog every time I get hungry.”
Shiro rolled his eyes. “You know that’s not what I meant.”
“Okay so what—oof!”
Keith didn’t even get to finish his sentence as Shiro grabbed him and pulled him back into a dark alley.
Once sure they were alone, Shiro held his wrist out and stuck it none too gracefully under Keith’s nose. “Drink.”
Violet eyes narrowed dangerously as Keith shot him the worst glare he could muster. “Stop it. I don’t want you to become my walking food bank.”
“I’m offering. Just take something.”
“You’re one to talk.”
They glared at each other, stuck in a face-off of wills. Keith knew his stubbornness was legendary, but Shiro seemed to have no problem going toe to toe with him.
In the end, the rumble in Keith’s stomach and the enticing smell of fresh blood pulsating just beneath Shiro’s skin won out.
He bit into his flesh as gently as he could manage, careful not to leave any permanent scars. Werewolves had fast healing, but it wasn’t quite as good as a vampire’s.
Once again, Keith was hypnotized by the incredible taste that was Shiro’s blood. He felt himself falling into almost a trance as he took several long pulls from the vein, wondering if Shiro was actually all werewolf or part something else because there was no way his blood should realistically taste so good.
With much effort, he pulled his lips away and retracted his fangs before he could take too much.
As he wiped the excess blood from his mouth with the back of his hand, he was shocked to hear Shiro say, “Fuck that is so hot.”
The laugh that came from Keith’s mouth surprised him. But Shiro just smirked and said, “What? It is.”
Maybe it was the fact that Shiro found him sexy simply by feeding. Maybe it was the way the moonlight was reflected off of the silver tuft of hair in his face. But Keith felt something come over him at that moment, and before he could stop himself, surged forward to capture Shiro’s lips with his own.
A surprised breath escaped Shiro when their lips connected, but Keith persisted. After a second, he felt all of the tension leave Shiro’s body as he returned the kiss with a moan.
Overall it was brief, nothing life-changing. But when he pulled away and saw the soft smile on Shiro’s face, Keith couldn’t help the wave of contentment that washed over him.
“Wow.” Was all Shiro had to say.
“Yeah.” Keith gave a shy smile.
Neither of them spoke for a minute, each trying to regain their composure. But when Shiro broke the silence, it was with a question Keith hadn’t been expecting. “So. Wanna grab coffee sometime?”
Keith didn’t even have to think about it before he replied with an enthusiastic “Yes!”
After a few exchanges on logistics, they agreed on a date the following week before splitting off to go their own ways for the night. When Keith got home, Lance kept ribbing him about the rare smile Keith was wearing. He brushed his roommate off and shut himself in his room for the night, nothing short of excited for when he would see Shiro again.
They never made it to coffee.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
In hindsight, he should have known everything would go to shit on a Monday.
Fair warning: this chapter is more violent that previous chapters. I try not to go into gorey details, which is why I left the Archive Warning out, but be warned that there will be fighting in this story. Also note the additional tags that have been added.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Monday night found Keith on the side of the road, mumbling profanities at the flat tire on his car. How the fuck he had managed to have a blowout, in the middle of a well-paved road with absolutely nothing in it, was beyond him. It was stupid, and he would be lying if he didn’t admit that it was absolutely pissing him off.
In hindsight, he should have known everything would go to shit on a Monday.
“Incredible. How? Fucking how?!” He leaned back on his heels with a frustrated groan once he realized he didn’t have the proper tool to remove the lug nuts from his wheel. He could call Lance and have him try to find one, but he was only a few minutes from home and ultimately decided to just walk back and figure it out from the comfort of his own garage rather than his current situation.
He was only a couple of blocks from home when he got jumped.
The rustling in the bushes gave him just enough time before the werewolf jumped out at him and wrapped their arms around his throat.
His fangs descended and his senses began to sharpen, a feral snarl escaping his lips. With a swipe of his hand, he felt his now extended claws connect with flesh.
His attacker let out a pained howl, giving him just the opening he needed to jump backward out of their grip.
“What the fuck?” Keith snapped, straightening up and rubbing his throat where he’d been throttled.
“Vampires don’t belong here,” his attacker replied. Even with his heightened vision, he couldn’t see much of her or tell any distinguishing features other than she was large with a shock of pink and purple hair.
She took another swipe at him and he jumped out of the way in time, but just barely. Shit, he was really unprepared for this.
And if Keith were being honest with himself, he wasn’t entirely sure he could take her on alone. He was fast but he’d spent most of his eternal life avoiding other supernatural beings for this very reason—he’d spent enough of his human life fighting; he didn’t want to keep doing this for the next several hundred years as well.
“We haven’t done anything.” Keith knew reasoning with his attacker was pointless, but he had to try. Still, he readied himself to spring into defense for when she would inevitably attack again.
His attacker’s eyes glowed gold and he realized that she was getting ready to shift into her wolf form. With a resigned grunt, Keith threw his arms up just as she tackled him to the ground. He felt his head connect with the asphalt and stars erupted in his vision. Unconsciousness was already trying to claim him, but his instincts were screaming at him to stay awake.
It was too much. He knew he was fighting a losing battle on all fronts and he was about ready to give up. I guess this is how I actually die. He thought forlornly, flashbacks to the day he was turned passing before him. The similarity of the two situations made him almost want to laugh at the irony of it all, dying the same way twice.
There was a roar from somewhere behind him. He thought maybe it was his attacker getting ready to deliver the final blow, but then he saw it.
A huge black and silver werewolf jumped out of the woods, fangs bared as it snarled viciously at Keith’s attacker. He didn’t even have time to take a look at it before it was on his attacker.
The fight didn’t last long—only a minute or so. Despite his vampire senses, Keith was struggling to keep with it as his brain flickered in and out of awareness. All he remembered was a blur of fur and fangs and blood and then his attacker running off into the night in retreat.
However, the werewolf who had come to his rescue didn’t relax. He was still snarling and his hackles raised when he turned to Keith, fangs still bared.
Keith knew immediately that it was Shiro. But when he noticed the deep slash across his nose and the bloodied stump that was left of what used to be his right arm, Keith’s stomach plummeted.
“Shiro? Shiro, what the fuck happened?”
Shiro continued to growl in response, his eyes unfocused and not seeming to recognize Keith. He must be in shock. Keith thought as he held out his hands to try and calm the wolf down. Fuck, Shiro desperately needed medical attention. If he could just get him to calm down, Lance could help him.
Unfortunately, Keith lost consciousness before he could do anything else.
Everything was dark and he was in pain. His head throbbed and as he slowly clawed his way back to the ledge of consciousness, Keith knew he wasn’t at home. The walls weren’t the right color, the sheets smelled wrong—FUCK why did his head hurt so bad?
He was vaguely aware of something pressing to his forehead—a damp cloth maybe? He tried to open his eyes but it was as if his body shut down and was outright refusing to do what his mind was telling it to.
“He’s waking up.”
Lance! I’m here! Keith tried to say, but couldn’t. Just like how he couldn’t open his eyes, his mouth also refused to cooperate.
There was murmuring in the background, unfamiliar voices, or at least ones he couldn’t place with the fuzziness in his head. One was definitely female but that was as much as he could tell.
Then a door shut and just when Keith began to panic that he’d been left alone, he felt the familiar touch of Lance’s hand to his arm. “Keith. Hey, buddy. Don’t try to do anything too fast, you took one hell of a blow.”
Finally, Keith was able to pry open his eyes. He immediately regretted it, the harsh artificial light of the room piercing his skull and it felt like his eyelids were stickers being peeled off a desk after years of being there.
With a whine, he buried his face back into the pillow and laid there for several minutes, willing the pain to pass. Mercifully, it did, and when he opened his eyes again, Lance was still there with him.
“What happened?” Keith managed to ask, his voice sounding hoarse and unused. Shit, how long had he been out?
“You were attacked by a rogue werewolf. You’re lucky Shiro was there otherwise you’d probably be just a gutted corpse somewhere on the side of the road right now.”
A very specific, graphic memory came rushing back to Keith just then as the fog was slowly lifting from his brain.
“Fuck! Shiro! Is he okay?! He was badly hurt and—“ He tried to sit up, but all he accomplished was making his head spin and a wave of nausea tore through him.
“Calm down, Keith.” Lance was already there, in nurse mode as he helped to lower Keith back to the bed. “You shouldn’t be moving too much. And Shiro is alive.”
“Alive?” Keith didn’t like the way Lance said that. “But there’s more to it, right?”
Lance looked down, not meeting Keith’s eyes. “He was hurt really bad. You saw what was left of his arm—took like five pints of blood to keep him with us. He’s recovering down the hall, but it’s going to be a while before he can go anywhere.”
Okay, the information about his arm Keith already knew. But Lance had conveniently skipped over the why of the whole situation.
Keith knew he was going to have to force the whole story soon, but his head chose that moment to feel like it was splitting open again. He let out a pained cry and fell back onto a pillow. He was aware of Lance hovering over him, rummaging around for something, and then a sharp jab in the crook of his elbow as Lance stuck him with a needle.
He wanted to ask what Lance had given him, but he was asleep within moments.
When he woke again, the room was empty. It was impossible to tell how long he had been out, but given that his horrendous pain had dulled to a persistent ache, he figured it was at least a day.
Slowly, cautiously, he sat up and took inventory of his body. Other than a mostly healed gash on his arm and some aches and pains, he seemed relatively intact. So with as much strength as he could muster, Keith pushed himself off the bed and walked over to open the door.
The hallway it opened to was unfamiliar, the walls painted a pale gray and dotted with brightly colored art. Down at the end was an open doorway, light pouring into the otherwise dim house. Voices were coming from that room so he followed them into what turned out to be the kitchen of the house.
Lance was there, a cup of coffee in hand as he spoke with Allura, much to Keith’s surprise. He could smell that other werewolves had been here recently, but as far as he could tell it was currently just the three of them in the house, plus Shiro wherever he was recovering.
“Glad to see you’re awake!” Allura smiled as she looked up at him.
“How do you feel?” Lance asked, eyes running over Keith’s body to assess for any damage he’d missed. Keith shot him a look that he hoped conveyed his annoyance of being treated like a patient instead of his friend and roommate.
When Lance rolled his eyes at him, Keith shrugged and made his way over to the small table in the middle of the kitchen. “Sore, mostly. What the fuck happened?”
Allura’s expression sobered and she looked down into the mug she grasped in her hand. “You were attacked. By one of my former pack members.”
“Former?” Keith thought back on what little he could remember of the fight.
Allura pressed her lips together in a thin line but didn’t elaborate. Lance shot Keith a look and shook his head, mouthing “not now.”
“What about Shiro? Is he okay?” Allura seemed grateful for the change of subject, though she was clearly still upset by it.
Allura and Lance exchanged a look and Keith knew it was bad news.
“He’s alive, but just barely.” Lance was using his nurse voice. Shit.
“Can I see him?”
Lance hesitated but must have decided against whatever thought he had because he pushed his chair away from the table and stood up before saying, “Come on. Might be easier to show you.”
Keith wordlessly followed Lance down a hallway, while Allura said something about how she was going to stay in the kitchen. They passed the room that Keith had come out of and stopped at the last door in the hall. Lance’s hand hovered over the doorknob, the uncertainty in his face causing Keith’s stomach to tie itself into a pretzel.
“Keith, I have to warn you. Shiro isn’t the same.”
Silence hung between them for several long moments,
“I told you he was badly hurt and barely survived. He’s not doing well, if I’m being honest.”
Although he remembered all of the blood from when Shiro rescued him, a small, foolish part of him had hoped it was a hallucination brought on by the adrenaline and the concussion.
Whatever happened, Keith needed to be strong for Shiro now. He felt himself clench and unclench his fist and forced a sharp exhale through his nose before saying, “Okay. I’m ready.”
Lance nodded and opened the door.
He didn’t know what he expected, but if Keith’s heart still beat, it would have stopped at the sight that greeted him.
Shiro was in the bed, hooked up to more wires and tubes than Keith’s eyes could follow. There were monitors Lance must have lifted from the hospital all around the room, indicating various things about Shiro’s vitals. His eyes followed Shiro’s prone form, unconscious on the bed and covered in so many bandages that Keith wasn’t sure there was any of Shiro left under there.
And then there was the arm that was no longer there.
Keith’s stomach curled at the realization that Shiro was missing his right arm. He knew it had happened before his attack, before Shiro had come to his rescue, but a nagging voice in the back of his mind was screaming This is your fault.
The soft touch of a hand to his shoulder brought Keith reeling back to reality. He looked back at Lance, the hopelessness flashing like a neon sign across his face. “What happened?”
The corners of Lance’s lips ticked down. “Let’s go get some coffee and I’ll fill you in.”
Loathe as he was to leave Shiro, Keith knew it was his only hope to find out how they had all ended up in this mess. With a great deal of effort, he turned and followed Lance out of the room and back to the kitchen.
Allura was just throwing on her coat when they arrived, hand poised over the doorknob. It seemed oddly convenient that she had to leave right when Lance was supposed to give him all the gory details of the night he was attacked, but Keith didn’t have the energy to pursue it right then.
“I have some urgent business to take care of. I should be back in a couple of hours,” Allura’s smile was weak as she pulled her hair from under the collar of the coat, the guise pathetic even to her own ears. “Look after Shiro and please don’t destroy my house while I’m gone.”
Keith grunted in response at the same time the front door slammed shut.
“Before you say anything,” Lance cut through his thoughts as they heard Allura’s car pull out of the driveway. “It wasn’t her. She’s trying to fix the shit that went down, so go easy on her.”
Keith took a seat at the kitchen table, leaning the chair back on its hind legs. He wondered when Lance had become so defensive of a werewolf, though he had a sneaking suspicion why he was making an exception for Allura. “Then start talking.”
Lance took a deep breath before walking over to the counter to grab a couple of mugs and start filling them from the warm pot of coffee still sitting in the carafe. “I’d prefer we had some alcohol for this, but Allura doesn’t have any right now.”
He slid one of the mugs in front of Keith as he returned to the table. Keith accepted and sipped at the surprisingly good brew, watching Lance carefully over the rim of his mug.
Lance settled in the seat across from Keith and fidgeted for a few seconds before letting out a shuddering breath.
“Allura hasn’t told anybody besides us outside of the pack, but Alfor died six months ago.”
Keith choked on his coffee at the news. There had been murmurings that nobody had seen Alfor in a while, but he hadn’t thought it was that bad. When he got his coffee hacked out of his trachea, he wheezed a bit and asked, “What happened after that?”
“Naturally, she took over as the Alpha. But Lotor thinks it should have been him to succeed Alfor.”
“So let me guess,” Keith cut Lance off as he regained his composure. “Lotor didn’t take that lying down.”
“Not at all.”
“So then who…?”
“Zethrid, one of his generals. She’s the one who attacked you.”
“And Shiro’s arm?”
“Lotor’s mother, Haggar. Turns out she was practicing dark magic on the side while nobody was looking and summoned a demon from hell to take Shiro out.”
Keith’s stomach turned itself in knots at the thought of Shiro, battling some hell demon while trying to defend Allura all by himself, the feeling of betrayal from their own pack. And yet Shiro had still come to save him from Zethrid, freshly maimed and missing a limb? He had no idea what he’d done to deserve Shiro’s protection, but he silently resolved himself to never stop trying to pay him back.
All four feet of the chair thunked back down to the linoleum floor with a jarring sound. His blood was boiling and it was taking every ounce of strength in him not to bolt out the door and track down the ones responsible for what had happened to Shiro.
“So you’re telling me we have to kill that fuck head, Lotor?”
Lance rolled his eyes as he looked up from the mug clutched between his hands. “Allura doesn’t think we should, but I’m inclined to agree with you on this.”
Keith snorted. “That’s a first.”
“But seriously, what does Allura think she can do without taking on Lotor? She can’t do this alone. She needs the pack to unite behind her.”
The frustrated noise that came from Lance at that startled Keith. “I’ve been having this conversation with her over and over again the last several days while you were unconscious. She’s as stubborn as they come and thinks she can still solve this diplomatically.”
Keith snorted at the fond look that brushed across Lance’s face. He seemed to be easing up on his distaste for werewolves—particularly for a certain pretty one.
“Well, I hope for her sake she’s right. But I think we should be ready to help her in case things go south.”
They finished their coffee in silence after that. Keith suddenly felt a fresh wave of exhaustion, which frustrated the hell out of him since he’d been asleep for days and said as much to Lance.
“Dude, you gotta take it easy. You really put your body through the wringer.”
Keith grumbled about being useless just lying in bed the whole time. Lance was about to go into nurse mode and Keith knew from experience that he could drag Keith’s ass back to bed and cuff him to the frame like he’d done many times to inmates admitted from the local prison. But the yawn that escaped from his mouth caught him so completely off guard that he finally agreed maybe he should sleep again for a bit.
With much more grumbling, Keith shuffled his way back to the bedroom he’d been borrowing and told Lance to wake him up if anything else happened.
He was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
The next time Keith woke up, it was to someone violently shaking him from a deep slumber. “Keith! Buddy, get up!”
Keith bolted upright, fangs bared and nails sharpened into deadly claws as he blindly swiped out at whoever was dumb enough to come after him in his sleep. His claws connected with flesh and the resounding yelp was familiar enough to set off some kind of message to Keith’s sleep-addled brain.
“Oh shit. Sorry!”
“The fuck?!” Lance swore as he slapped a hand to his cheek where Keith had swiped at him. The claw marks left bloody streaks that were already knitting themselves back together thanks to his accelerated healing. “We’re going to have to talk about your trauma once this is over, dude.”
“Why did you wake me up?” The swerve in subject was sudden enough Keith hoped Lance would drop it.
“Oh, right. Shiro’s awake and he’s asking for you.”
A pillow flew across the room and hit Lance’s face with a soft ‘thwack’ “You fucker! Now you tell me this?”
Lance didn’t even have a chance to reply as Keith was on his feet and running out of the room. He heard Lance yell something at him but ignored him in favor of sprinting towards the other guest bedroom at the end of the hallway.
The door was already open, so he slowed to a more acceptable pace as he entered the room. Sure enough, Shiro was sitting upright in the bed, propped up by a mountain of pillows. Allura sat on his left side, clutching the hand he had left, her back turned to Keith.
“Keith.” The way Shiro said his name was cautious, like he thought Keith would disappear in a cloud of smoke.
He was at Shiro’s side immediately, settling in next to Allura. “How are you feeling?”
Shiro smirked, the pain evident in the wince he failed at covering up. “I’ve uh…been better.”
Right. Duh. That was such a stupid fucking question.
Keith floundered then, unsure of where to take the conversation.
Thankfully, Allura saved him. “I’ve got Matt and Pidge out gathering intel. They’ll find out Lotor’s plan and report back to us.”
“Good,” Shiro seemed relieved at the news. “If they’re on it, we’ll know soon enough.”
Allura hummed an agreement and used her free hand to rub his shoulder affectionately. Keith almost felt a pang of jealousy at the casual intimacy the two shared so openly, but the look Shiro gave Allura was clearly one of platonic fondness and nothing else.
The energy in the room shifted then, and Allura picked up on it. She stood and said something about getting some rest herself before placing a kiss to Shiro’s temple and leaving the room abruptly so that the two of them were left alone.
Silence blanketed them, the only sounds the gentle whir of the machines Shiro was hooked up to, interrupted by the occasional beep that indicated his heart was still functioning. Keith tried not to stare, but it was hard. The gauze over Shiro’s nose was starting to turn pink with blood that was escaping from the still healing wound, and the heavy wad of bandages that started just below his right shoulder was hardly something that could be hidden in plain sight.
“How’s your head?” Shiro asked, snapping Keith back to reality.
“Fine,” Keith replied automatically. Centuries of practice couldn’t break the habit of not allowing others to know when he was suffering.
Shiro laughed at that, a pained and hollowed sound that grabbed Keith’s heart with sharp talons. It clearly said, “You’re full of shit but I’ll let it go this time.”
With an annoyed huff, Keith made his way over to the bed and sat down in the space between Shiro’s left side and the edge of the bed. He realized, belatedly, that he could reach out and twine his fingers with Shiro’s remaining hand, but something told him not to. Hell, he could bend over just a bit and kiss Shiro until they forgot their own names, let alone the trauma of the last several days. But the pain that haunted Shiro’s eyes stopped him.
“Hey,” Shiro’s voice broke through Keith’s reverie as he lifted his hand to brush a stray hair from Keith’s face. “What are you thinking about?”
Keith shook his head as Shiro withdrew his hand. “Nothing. Sorry.”
Shiro sighed and leaned back into the mountain of pillows propping him up. “Lotor wasn’t the one who took my arm, by the way. I can tell you were thinking about it.”
“I know. But he gave the order.” Keith’s voice had dropped into a growl so low that he noticed the hairs on Shiro’s arm stand up.
“Keith,” Shiro warned. “This is my fight.”
“Let me help. For fuck’s sake, you lost an arm!”
“I won’t let you get killed too. I’ve lost enough because of him!”
They glared at each other, both too stubborn to back down.
Shiro was the first to look away and the sad expression he bore stabbed Keith in the gut. He’d been through so much already and here Keith was picking a fight as soon as he woke up.
As Shiro’s shoulders drooped in defeat, Keith decided to become bold and climb into the space on the bed next to Shiro. For his part, Shiro didn’t object, and even lifted his remaining arm in an invite which Keith readily accepted, hoping the apology was evident enough in his body language.
After a minute of them shifting and adjusting, they settled with Keith’s head on Shiro’s shoulder and arms wrapped tightly around his waist. Keith closed his eyes and inhaled Shiro’s scent, a comfort to him even though they’d barely known each other for more than a few weeks. For whatever reason, Shiro was the only werewolf whose scent didn’t repulse him and he was too tired to mull that factoid over. So instead he allowed himself to be happy that Shiro was still alive and with him.
He felt Shiro’s warm breath tickling the fine hairs on his neck. “I’m glad you’re still here.”
Keith twisted to look at him. “That’s my line.”
“Hmm,” Shiro hummed as he bumped their foreheads together. “Well, regardless, stay with me for a bit?”
It wasn’t long before Shiro was asleep again. His weight leaned heavily on Keith but he didn’t mind. He might have dozed a little as well, though he wasn’t certain, but Lance was suddenly there, gently shaking Keith and telling him to come into the kitchen.
Keith was glad he didn’t react violently this time, and from what he could see on Lance’s face, his friend agreed. With much effort, Keith extricated himself from Shiro and gave his sleeping form one last, forlorn look before following Lance back down the hall.
Two new werewolves had appeared in the time Keith had been with Shiro. He didn’t recognize them, but based on the discussion they were having with Allura, he was able to piece together that they must be Matt and Pidge that Allura had mentioned earlier.
“Hey,” The taller, older one greeted. “I’m Matt.”
“Keith.” Keith wasn’t sure if he was supposed to say anything else. He was starting to wonder what it was that made all these werewolves so unaffected by having two vampires in the same space as them on a regular basis, but figured that was a question for another time.
“Matt and Pidge were just filling me on on what they’ve been able to figure out about Lotor’s coup.” Allura interrupted before any more introductions could be made. “I think what they’ve gathered will be enough to start our own resistance.”
“Count me in.” Keith ignored the shocked gasp that came from Lance at that.
The smaller of the new werewolves, Pidge, he figured by process of elimination, pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and gave him an appraising look. When she nodded, he felt a weird sense of accomplishment for having proved whatever it was she was looking for in him. “You must be this Keith I’ve heard so much about.”
He blinked at that. “You’ve heard of me?”
She gave a trill laugh at that. “You’re the only vampire I know of who would willingly date a werewolf, so yeah.”
Keith’s brain couldn’t get past the ‘date’ part of that sentence. He wanted to speak up and let everyone know that he and Shiro weren’t dating, that they hadn’t had any kind of a discussion about what they were yet, but he was cut off before he could say anything.
“Focus please.” Everyone fell silent and gave Allura their full attention. It was amazing how she could do that so easily. Whether it was because she was a natural-born Alpha or just who she was, Keith couldn’t say. But it was a trait of hers that he envied.
Within the hour, they had a solid plan in place. Allura was still insisting on a nonviolent, diplomatic approach, and it burned deep in Keith’s gut that she refused to fight back. He wanted to kill Lotor and his underlings for what they did, and Allura knew it, but she told him very firmly, “We’re taking my approach to this.”
He glared at her, and she met him with a fierce look of her own. Keith knew she wasn’t one to be fucked with, but he also wasn’t about to sit back and let Lotor get away with his crimes.
Finally, Allura ordered them all to get some rest. “We start tomorrow and I need you all in your best possible shape.”
They all bid each other goodnight then. Matt and Pidge left through the back door, telling Allura to call them if she needed them again tonight. They each waved at Matt and Lance and when the door closed behind them, Allura disappeared into her bedroom.
Lance nodded at Keith before heading to a part of the house Keith hadn’t been to, which left him to make the walk back down to his borrowed bedroom.
When he got to his door, something stopped him. Shiro was back, but just barely, and it made a piece of Keith’s soul ache to think this could be his last night with him.
Before he could stop himself, he continued to the end of the hallway to Shiro’s room, where he silently climbed back into the bed and reclaimed his spot wrapped to Shiro’s side.
Shiro let out a soft whine in his sleep, but turned his nose to Keith and nuzzled his neck. Keith startled slightly, surprised by the sudden physical affection, but he quickly relaxed and allowed himself to drift to sleep to the sound of Shiro’s heartbeat.
It was the best sleep he had since waking up from his attack.
Ahhh thank you so much to everyone who has read, commented, left kudos, and/or subscribed to this fic so far! I know Halloween is over but I'm still having so much fun with this world and have more plans for it.
I'm so sorry that this chapter was probably on the boring side. I had to set up some important plot points so it was necessary but I promise to try and pick up the action from here on out.
Also, I'm sorry that I'm generally pretty slow to update things these days. My confidence in my writing has really been in the gutter lately, so I'm trying to work my way through that.
Anyway, feel free to come yell at me on Twitter about these dumb idiots and just various other nerdy things.