astra_aurora: (space beauty)
[personal profile] astra_aurora
Warnings and other information can be found in the masterpost.
-----------

It was later that night when Lupa cautiously emerged from her room, looked around furtively and walked quietly into the middle of the star, inhaling deeply.
There was her from several hours ago, all spicy and timid, and there was Todd, the sharp scent of coffee surrounded by the thick, lingering scent of his shadows, and over there was Paw, the scent of dominance and compassion, and behind her was-
“Going somewhere?” Roses asked from right next to her ear.
Lupa let out a yelp and promptly leapt about half a metre into the air. She hit the ground running, was promptly tripped by Roses, and landed face-first on the couch in front of her.
Roses sat down next to her and put a firm hand on her shoulder. “You’re really not good at stealth.”
Lupa said something, her words made incomprehensible by the couch.
Roses pulled her up and gently took hold of Lupa’s ear, tugging it. “Again: going somewhere?”
Lupa shook her head meekly.
Roses raised her eyebrows.
“I was looking for you,” Lupa mumbled.
Roses spread her unoccupied arm wide. “Well, here I am.”
Lupa looked down.
Roses’ fingers slid down Lupa’s head and started tickling behind her ear.
In turn, Lupa let out a little gasp, her eyes closing in ecstasy as Roses’ hand moved with the ease of long practice.
Within seconds, Lupa was letting out ecstatic whines, and Roses was grinning as the younger woman slumped onto the couch, helpless to the whims of her Alpha Female.
Roses let it continue for a few more seconds, and then abruptly, she stopped. “So, are you going to tell me or not?”
Lupa’s eyes opened, startled, and Roses had to hold back a shiver- Lupa had inadvertently begun to shift, and her eyes were wholly canine. Lupa caught her gaze, blinked and focused, shifting back.
Roses made an impatient gesture.
“I… uh, I was looking for you,” Lupa mumbled, looking down.
“Well, you found me,” Roses drawled, shooting the younger woman a lascivious look that made Lupa blush.
“Um,” Lupa muttered. “I wanted to ask you something…”
“Yes?” Roses asked patiently.
“I didn’t mean to, but I kind of overheard what you and Paw were talking about earlier…”
Roses raised her eyebrows.
“I didn’t mean to! I’m sorry!” Lupa held her hands up defensively, and Roses relented.
“Don’t worry, it’s all right.”
Lupa’s shoulders slumped with relief. “Anyway, I know he said he’d explain everything, but you said something I don’t think he’d want to explain…”
“I think I know what you mean,” Roses said, pulling her a little closer. “All right, I’ll tell you the general part, but I won’t tell you anything that would get Paw mad at me. You’d have to ask him yourself.”
Lupa nodded.
Roses settled into storytelling mode and began. “A couple of years ago, Paw was part of a large pack that had free rein over at least two states here in the US. There’s more than a few packs in the US, but werewolves aren’t known for being generous when it comes to their territory. This pack was known for being ruthless and relentless, and they didn’t give up territory, period. With me so far?”
Lupa nodded.
“The Alpha of the pack was…” Roses shuddered. “not a nice man, to say the least. His name was Caine. Don’t say it around Paw, whatever you do. I met him once before he died, and Christ, he was scary. He ruled his pack like a dictatorship. He liked to hurt all the junior members for fun, and he got off on their pain. Everyone was too scared to do anything about it, until…” she sighed.
“Until?” Lupa prompted.
“Paw was part of his pack, and Caine really liked hurting him. One day, Caine tried to kill someone Paw loved, and Paw ended up killing him. Instead of taking over, he left the pack, and the state, and came here. He told the Arcane and everyone else to fuck themselves, so they’ve left him alone. He found me and Todd, made his Pack, and that’s all there is to it.”
Lupa thought this over for a few seconds and nodded. She opened her mouth, but before she could speak, both women felt a shriek of terror and pain that had them racing for the upper-left point.

Paw dreamed.
He comes to on the ground in what passes for their hospital. In reality, it’s a tent, but it stands out from all the other tents because it’s never once come loose from its pegs. That’s why it’s the hospital tent.
He tries to open his eyes, but everything begins to ache, and he slumps back against the ground with a groan.
“Hey, don’t try to get up,” a voice says, and Paw manages to smile.
Hey, he thinks wearily, too tired to speak.
“How are you feeling?” Oan asks, concern in his voice.
Like shit.
“Yeah, he really worked you over,” Oan replies, gently touching a long gash on Paw’s stomach.
He does that every night, Paw thinks, exasperated.
“No, I mean, he really worked you over. You’re lucky you’re still alive, but he didn’t use silver…”
How bad is it?
“I… think the bleeding’s stopped,” Oan says as he traces a finger along a line of pain on Paw’s thigh. “But you’re still in really bad shape.”
Just my luck. Paw’s voice is full of exhaustion, and his wish to die has never been stronger. Why can’t I remember?
Oan looks concerned. “How bad is it?”
I don’t know, I just can’t…
“It’s OK,” Oan says instantly, and he kisses Paw lightly on the lips. “Don’t strain your head, you’re in enough pain as it is.”
Oan looks around, as if looking for someone, and sighs, resorting to telepathy. Look, Caine told me to tell you that as soon as you wake up, you have to go to him.
Fuck that, Paw thinks.
Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I mean, you can’t even open your eyes, let alone get up and walk somewhere. I’ll cover for you, just stay put.
Thanks, Oan.
Oan kisses his lover again and leaves. Paw lies still, eyes closed, and drifts off to sleep. He awakens at a touch of a hand on his shoulder.
“I talked to him,” Oan says. “He says that you should come to him when you’re well enough to walk.”

Fuck him, Paw thinks.
Absolutely, Oan agrees.
Is anyone around? Paw asks him. I’m going to shift.
Oan fidgets nervously. I don’t think that’s a good idea…
You know we heal faster as wolves, Paw says.
No-one’s around, Oan replies with a sigh. But I still think it’s a bad idea.
Noted, Paw thinks dryly.
Before you do, have some of this, Oan says.
Paw feels his head being lifted up, and then cold, delicious water touches his lips. He manages to swallow several mouthfuls, and then it’s replaced by warm soup.
Once he’s done, he feels incredibly better.
That… wait. You bought that soup, he says with disbelief.
Oan fidgets. Well… yes.
How did you even get into town?
Oan kisses him lightly. I have ways.
He’ll have your hide, Paw thinks glumly.
Huzzah for him, Oan thinks dryly. He can try, he declares, defiant.
See, that’s why I love you, Paw thinks back.
With that, he blurs slightly, and becomes a large wolf with dark brown fur, blood streaked through it.
Oan runs a hand through his lover’s fur and smiles.
Get better, Paw, he thinks.
With that, he leaves, and Paw curls up and goes to sleep.

The light is dying by the time he wakes up, but he feels much better. He shifts back to human as soon as he realises how long it’s been, and upon examination, most of his injuries are gone, with only a few remaining.
It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing, and he reaches out with his mind, searching for Oan. He can’t find anything, and so he heads out of the tent, concerned.
The camp is… well, it’s not good. Caine decided that werewolves being a blend of human and wolf meant that his pack had to live in a way that suited both, and so they live in what could almost be called a camp: they sleep in tents, but there’s virtually no furniture, and everyone walks around in a state of near-nudity as to make shifting easier, although there’s really no point- given that Caine punishes anyone who shifts without his permission, there’s not much shifting going on.
Without his glasses, Paw can barely see, but his nose leads him across the camp without bumping into anyone, and into the Alpha’s tent.
It’s no different from the other tents except for two things: it’s noticeably bigger, and it has Caine.
He’s tall, imposing, covered in scars and he has a stare like a sledgehammer driving a nail through your skull. He turns his stare on Paw, and snarls a single word in the tones that bring all of his pack under his command in an instant.
Kneel.
Paw’s legs fold, and he’s on his knees, staring up at the Alpha, caught in his thrall.
“You disobeyed me,” Caine hisses. “Shifting without my permission? Refusing my order to come here as soon as you awoke? I am displeased.”
Paw looks down, his head moving without the will of his mind. The Alpha’s voice reverberates through his soul, forcing him to play the obedient follower while his mind screams in protest.
“You continue to disobey me,” Caine says slowly. “You have pushed me far enough. It is time I took appropriate action.”

Abruptly, he pulls Paw up, grasping the other man’s throat.
“But you like it, don’t you?” he snarls. “You like it when I punish you. You’re getting off on this right now, aren’t you?”
Trapped by the Alpha tone, Paw’s mind can only scream in fury as his body responds sluggishly, sweat beading on his forehead and shoulders as his cock stiffens.
Caine laughs. “I knew it.”
Paw’s expecting a punch, but instead, Caine kisses him softly. His lips are soft and sweet, and Paw’s stunned.
He leads Paw forward, to the back of the tent, and into the shadows.
As it turns out, the tent is much larger than Paw thought it was, because they emerge from the shadows into a room that looks like it’s in another universe.
His vision may be blurry as shit, but Paw can make out the vital detail: there’s actual furniture in there. Aside from his fury at Caine’s hypocrisy, Paw wants nothing more than to run to the bed and throw himself on it, to sleep on something other than the ground or grass for once.
Instead, he can only watch as Caine pulls him forward and pushes him lightly down onto the bed.
He cringes as his Alpha kisses him again, hissing “You like this” and “Submit to me” until his mind fogs over. Everything blends into a blurry combination of kisses and bites and caresses until Caine hisses one word-
Forget.
-and Paw blacks out.

He awakens, feeling hurt, scared, exhausted. His throat is dry as a bone, his head feels like a drum. He can’t remember anything, and everything he sees is a blur.
He hears someone take a step and turns toward them, vainly trying to make them out.
“How do you feel?” the person asks. Male, older, with a rich, velvety voice that makes him sound inherently trustworthy.
He feels bad, uncertain, like he should know who this man is.
He tries to speak, and can only manage a hacking cough.
“Wait,” the other man says. He walks away, and then returns.
The nameless man feels something touch his lips, and then the other man says “Drink” in a no-nonsense tone.
Obediently, he drinks. It’s just water, and his throat feels much better as he swallows.
“Where am I? Who am I? Who are you?” he asks helplessly.
“You’re in a safe place,” the man with the velvet voice says soothingly. “My name is Caine. I’m your boyfriend. Your name is Paw.”
The words click into place, and Paw sighs, a weight falling from his shoulders. He drinks some more water and bursts into tears.
“Hey, it’s OK,” Caine says, concerned, and Paw feels Caine embrace him tightly. He clings to him, sobbing, and prays that he’ll get better.
Once he manages to stop crying, he rubs his eyes and takes a deep breath, trying not to focus on the stench of blood and regret. “What happened to me?”
“You were in a bad accident,” Caine explains. “You’re going to be fine.”
Paw lets out a sob, and Caine tuts. A second later, Paw feels Caine’s lips on his.
“I… I don’t…” he gasps when Caine pulls away. “Who am I?”
“You’re mine, and I love you,” Caine says, kissing him again. “Just wait a second, and we’ll cut off that one loose end…”
Confused and helpless, Paw waits as Caine walks away, only to return within half a minute, carrying something large and obviously heavy, which he carefully sets down.
Paw takes a deep breath, and tenses. He smells a slow, steady heartbeat, and under it the sharp tang of blood, and under that the scent of orange and civilisation, the scent of compassion and intelligence and-
-it’s like a bullet, piercing the fog eating his mind, letting some of his memories back through.
He remembers now.
He remembers Oan’s voice, the way he talks, the way his hands move over Paw’s chest. He remembers how much he loves Oan.
Caine walks away again, not stopping to explain, and Paw kneels beside his unconscious lover, taking more deep breaths, praying more memories will return.
Only a few come back to him, but they strengthen his resolve: if what he suspects is true, he can’t let it happen.
Caine re-emerges. Paw inhales deeply and recoils, frantically clawing at his nose to get rid of the smell. It’s like olfactory acid, melting his nasal lining and making him cough helplessly.
“What…” he splutters.
“It’s all right,” Caine says. “It’ll be over soon.”
“What is that?” Paw gasps.
“Oh, this? It’s a silver knife.”
“Silver?” Paw exclaims.
“Well, how else am I going to kill him?” Caine asks reasonably.
Paw freezes. “Who is he?” he asks finally, trying to act like he still can’t remember.
“He’s the man who kept you away from me,” Caine says, like that explains anything. “He can’t keep us apart any more.”
Paw nods dumbly, now terrified. It is now absolutely clear that Caine, whoever he is, has done an acrobatic fucking pirouette off the deep end.
Caine drops to one knee next to Oan, raises the knife-
-and Paw gets up, crosses the space between them in less than a second, and punches Caine with a blow like a cement truck on cocaine.
The Alpha flies back, the knife coming free from his grasp and hitting the floor. While Caine lies there, gasping, Paw bolts across the tent and manages to pick up the knife, despite the fact that being close to it makes his skin crawl and even looking at it makes him itch like he’s covered in mosquito bites.
Caine manages to pull himself up a little, turns towards Paw, and spits with a voice like acid, “Get on your fucking knees, right now.
Paw holds himself upright. “No.”
“You defy me?” Caine screams, getting to his feet. “You belong to me!”
“No,” Paw repeats. “I don’t. You may love me, but you don’t own me.”
Caine moves like lightning-
-and Paw throws another punch.
There’s a sound, a thud that sends chills up his spine, and both men look down, to where the handle of the silver knife sticks out of Caine’s chest.
Paw lets go of the handle and steps back, shaking. He stares down at his hands, unable to grasp what’s happening.
Caine’s legs fold, and he hits the ground. He wraps his hands around the knife and pulls. It takes him a while as the silver saps his strength, but the blade emerges from his chest, dark red blood spraying everywhere.
Drops hit Paw’s face, and he stumbles backwards, clawing at his face, leaving gashes in his skin from his long, uncut nails.
Caine looks up at him, and manages a single word: “Why?”
“I…” Paw stammers. “I love him. I can’t love you.”
Caine looks like he can’t comprehend what Paw’s saying, but he lets out one last sigh, and dies, falling to the floor.
Shocked, Paw takes another step backwards, and looks over at Oan. He manages to walk over to his fallen lover, and drops to one knee, feeling for a pulse.
Finding it, he lets out a breath.
And then the memories hit.
With Caine’s death, all of his commands ceased, and Paw’s memories return. They hit him like a tidal wave, and he’s swamped by his own life.
He remembers everything.
He remembers Oan, and all the time they had together.
He remembers every horrific act of abuse Caine inflicted on him.
And crucially, he remembers the vital rule: whoever kills a pack leader must become the leader of that pack.
No, he thinks. No, I don’t want to…
The voices hit him, the screams of everyone in the pack, demanding that he take the pack he won by right.
Paw doesn’t want any of it. He just wants out.
The voices scream at him, bombarding him with endless sound, and he covers his ears in vain, trying to block them out.
They don’t go away, and he screams, trying to drown them, but when that fails, he gets to his feet and runs.
He’s too fast for the rest of the pack, and once he shifts, he leaves them behind, running through the trees until the voices die away.
Once they’re gone, he shifts back and falls to the ground under a huge, ancient oak, tears running down his face.
He can’t go back now, but he has nothing to go on for. He’s lost Oan, and the Arcane will want him dead-

And someone screamed his name.
“Paw? Paw!
Paw came to, shocked, and had no idea where he was.
Frantically, he looked around, only to see nothing but darkness. Without his glasses, he couldn’t see, despite the average werewolf’s good night vision, and without any evidence to the contrary, he concluded that his dream was in fact both current and real, and proceeded to freak the fuck out.
Confronted with his hysterical, screaming boyfriend, Todd chose the direct solution and pinned him down, loudly repeating the same few sentences. “Paw, it’s all right. It’s over now. It’s over.”
After a few renditions, Paw blinked as the world seemed to snap back, and slumped back against the mattress. “Todd?”
“Yeah?” Todd asked, brushing Paw’s hair away from his eyes.
“Where are my glasses?”
Todd blinked, but he retrieved Paw’s glasses from the bedside table and carefully handed them to him.
Paw slid them on, sighing with relief as the world swam back into focus.
Ever since he’d escaped his old pack, his glasses had held a special significance for him. They represented the world he wanted to live in, the world where he had a choice, instead of the world where he was always under someone’s control.
They represented the life he’d chosen, as opposed to the life the Arcane thought he should have.
“You want to talk about it?” Todd asked carefully.
Paw shook his head and embraced his boyfriend, resting his head on Todd’s chest.
Todd slipped his arms around Paw’s shoulders, and they lay there, listening to each other’s heartbeats.
“Where’s Rosy?” Paw asked finally.
Todd shrugged. “Don’t know, but she should be back soon.”
If she felt your nightmare as vividly as I did, she’ll be here in a few seconds, he added silently.
As if on cue, the door burst open, revealing Roses and Lupa.
“Paw!” Roses exclaimed. “Are you all right?”
“It was just a nightmare,” Paw muttered. “I’m fine, Rosy.”
“You’re sure?” Lupa asked tentatively.
I’m sure, Lupa. Go back to sleep.
Lupa hesitated, but she obediently left.
Roses glanced back at the retreating redhead and climbed onto the bed, settling down next to Paw. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Paw replied with a yawn.
Roses embraced him. “Sure you’re OK?”
“Yeah,” Paw said shortly.
Roses decided not to push the point, and merely nodded.
“Um, Paw? Are you going to take your glasses off before we go to sleep, or am I going to have to pull them off once you’re out?”
Paw grumbled something, freed a hand, took his glasses off and handed them to Todd, who set them carefully on the bedside table and then turned the light off.
With quiet restored, the three were soon asleep.

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