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#Writing tropes
frogsarebxtches3 hours ago
Fandom: The Old Guard (Movie 2020)
Rating: M
Word Count: 22k
Relationships: Andy | Andromache of Scythia/Quynh | Noriko, Joe | Yusuf Al-Kaysani/Nicky | Nicolo di Genova, Joe | Yusuf Al-Kaysani & Quynh | Noriko, Nicolo di Genova & Quynh | Noriko,聽Andy | Andromache of Scythia &聽Joe | Yusuf Al-Kaysani &聽Nicky | Nicolo di Genova & Quynh | Noriko
Additional Tags: Mystery, Adventure, Humor, BAMF Quynh | Noriko, Minor Character Death, Illnesses, Corpses, Catholicism, Skepticism, 1500s Spain, A bratty Lord, Swordfighting, Team as Family, POV Quynh | Noriko, Tags are vague to avoid spoilers
In 1530s Spain, Qu峄硁h, Andromache, Yusuf, and Nicol貌 try to build a life in a port city when a mysterious illness ravages the population, taking many lives. While the city's young Lord hides away in his villa, Qu峄硁h hears talk of a supposed miracle maker who can bring the dead back to life. Between attempting to cure the sick and acquiring an audience with the suspiciously silent Lord, everything complicates when she witnesses one of these resurrections.
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screamingatanemptyroom5 hours ago
One Shot Werewolf Story
So... first of all, Next part of PFTS should be coming out soon. It's going to take some work to make sure that I pull all the threads that's I've placed in all the worlds together without plot holes, so apologize for how long it's taking. Will probably finish this last world in 2-3 parts, with possibly 1 or two extra parts from Liam and the Traveler's perspective.
Now, back to the story at hand. About a week ago, I wandered into the werewolf side of Wattpad. It was very... interesting. Never written about werewolves before. Thought it might be fun to try my own using my own style. (Women who constantly think they aren't pretty or good enough for the man, men who force physical intimacy and growl "mine" aren't really going to work for me.)
Anyways, It's about a 13k oneshot. It's a bit out of my norm, so I hope you guys enjoy! (Also I would love to hear ideas on what to title this.)
Here it is:
鈥淚 can鈥檛 believe you read this garbage!鈥 Alyssa鈥檚 coworker held up the book in her hand, staring at it with disgust. 鈥淲hat do you see in books like this, anyways?鈥
Alyssa sighed, looking up at the book in question. The cover showed a shirtless muscular man holding a busty woman while scowling at the camera, with the title written across the top in bright orange words: 鈥淭he Alpha鈥檚 Timid Mate.鈥
鈥淚 don鈥檛 read it for fun.鈥 She muttered, reaching up and snatching the book back. Opening the large roller suitcase behind her, she found its place among the hundreds of other werewolf books and put it away carefully.
鈥淭hen what is it?鈥 Her coworker asked with a tone of disbelief.
鈥淩eally? Research? For what? When your werewolf boyfriend shows up out of nowhere? 鈥 She let out a derisive snort. 鈥淪ure.鈥
鈥溾ou don鈥檛 understand.鈥
She doesn鈥檛 understand us. The wolf in Alyssa鈥檚 head spoke up silently.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 what I said.鈥
Can we eat her? Her wolf seemed excited by the idea.
鈥淣o. You know we can鈥檛. You don鈥檛 even really want to. You鈥檙e just acting out because you鈥檙e upset I won鈥檛 let you watch horror movies any more.鈥
I am not acting out! But since you mentioned it鈥 bring back the horror movies!
鈥淲hat are you talking about?鈥 Her coworker frowned; confused by the conversation she could only hear half of.
Turning to her briefly, Alyssa shrugged. 鈥淪orry, I鈥檓 just having a small discussion. I鈥檒l be free to talk shortly.鈥
鈥淒on鈥檛 bother.鈥 The girl walked away, whispering under her breath. 鈥淔reak.鈥
Should have just eaten her.
鈥淲olves don鈥檛 even eat people. Stop pretending.鈥
How do you know? Maybe WEREwolves DO eat people! You have no clue! You haven鈥檛 found a pack yet. Even though you PROMISED!
鈥淚 know, I know.鈥 Alyssa rubbed her forehead tiredly. 鈥淚t鈥檚 harder than I thought it would be.鈥
I鈥檓 lonely and bored! I want to go run! I want a pack!
鈥淎nything else, Your Highness? A bone on a silver platter?鈥
The wolf paused at that, pouting quietly 鈥 I鈥檓 hungry. Feed us something tasty.
鈥淭hat I can do. We鈥檒l eat on our lunch break.鈥
鈥溾e鈥檒l see.鈥
As her wolf silently cheered, the door to the bookstore she was tending opened. A strange smell reached her nose. Mint and pine along with another scent she couldn鈥檛 quite place.
Alyssa looked up and was startled. The man who walked in looked like he had stepped off the cover of one of her werewolf books. Muscular, handsome鈥 his brown hair just long enough to frame his green eyes. And tall鈥 Alyssa had always known she was short, but never felt quite so at a disadvantage height wise as she did at the man鈥檚 approach.
He looks like the lead from book #298. Her wolf suggested in an interested tone.
鈥淚 was thinking book #645, but I see your point.鈥
Why do you think he鈥檚 here?
鈥淚 don鈥檛 know.鈥
As he moved closer, his gaze meeting her own, Alyssa stepped back, the sound of her wolf鈥檚 growl filling her mind.
HE鈥橲 A WEREWOLF! 鈥 even better, he smells strong鈥 an ALPHA? QUICK, MATE HIM!
An alpha? Crap. Alyssa had done enough research to know that was bad news. 鈥淟ook here, missy, I am not assaulting some stranger just because鈥︹
Then let鈥檚 switch over to wolf so I can do it!
鈥淓xcuse me鈥︹ The man spoke up, his voice hesitant and trailing off.
Alyssa turned and hurried out the back. Passing through the bookshelves, she heard someone following close behind, and picked up the pace. The door squeaked loudly as she forced it open, slamming against the wall as she broke out into a run towards the back alley.
鈥淲ait!鈥 The man鈥檚 voice called out.
Seeing that they were now alone, she stopped in her tracks, and turned, more irritated than nervous. 鈥淲hat?鈥
鈥溾︹ He seemed thrown off by her sudden change, but shook his head, studying her closely. The man seemed to recognize something, and moved quickly to stand next to her. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e鈥︹ His eyes widened, and he reached out to grab her. 鈥淎 werewolf? My mate?!鈥
YES! I knew it! Her wolf鈥檚 scream of excitement echoed in her mind.
Alyssa sighed tiredly, reaching into her bag. 鈥淲ell, crap.鈥
It had been a terrible day.
Lewis listened to his family arguing, wishing for the thousandth time that he wasn鈥檛 in charge.
鈥淣ightfang鈥檚 pack could wipe us out!鈥 Gary, his Beta, slammed his fist on the table, the force of it scattering plates and cups.
Lewis鈥檚 mother stood up, and despite her height only coming only to the enormous man鈥檚 chin he shrunk down in fear. 鈥溾id you just mess up my kitchen?鈥
鈥淭hen you鈥檙e gonna be a good boy and clean that up right now, yes?鈥 She raised an eyebrow. 鈥淥r you won鈥檛 have to worry about that Nightfang pack. There won鈥檛 be enough of you left for them to fight over once I鈥檓 through.鈥
鈥溾鈥檒l clean it up right away, Ma鈥檃m.鈥
鈥淭hat鈥檚 what I thought.鈥 She turned to Lewis, patting his shoulder comfortingly. 鈥淲hat鈥檚 you plan to deal with this, dear?鈥
鈥淢y plan?鈥 His voice came out slightly more stressed than he meant it to.
鈥淲ell, you鈥檙e the alpha. Your father left it to you to protect us. 鈥
鈥淵es. Of course鈥 a plan鈥 which I definitely have.鈥
Gary and his mate Berta glanced at each other from the other side of the table.
鈥淗e doesn鈥檛 have a plan.鈥
鈥淒id you really expect him to?鈥
鈥淗ey!鈥 At Lewis鈥檚 hurt exclamation, Gary shrugged.
鈥淣o offense, Alpha, but since your broth鈥 since Nightfang left and took half the pack with him, things have been a little disorganized. You have to admit that鈥檚 true.鈥
Lewis walked over to the window of the cabin, leaning on the sill and staring up at the cloudy sky. It wasn鈥檛 supposed to be like this. We were supposed to help each other. Help the pack. But now it鈥檚 all just one huge mess and I鈥檓 the only one left to take care of it.
Hey, you鈥檙e not alone! His wolf鈥檚 irritated voice burst out. I鈥檓 always here. We鈥檙e stuck together for life!
I鈥檓 aware. He chuckled quietly. Glad to have you, Buddy.
So鈥 Can we go find our mate now?
You know we can鈥檛. There could be an attack any day now. Besides, I鈥檝e already visited all the packs within driving distance. She鈥檚 not there.
Maybe she鈥檚 human, like our mom. We should go to town and find her.
Yeah, just go to town and pick up a mate like going to the grocery store to pick up milk. No problem with that.
She鈥檚 probably waiting for us! She鈥檚 wondering what鈥檚 taking us so long to find her. What if she thinks we can鈥檛 provide for her? Hurry, you have to find her鈥. Bring steak鈥 no鈥 four steaks鈥 fatty ones! It will show that we can feed her鈥 make her fat! She鈥檒l definitely want to mate with us then!
Nothing turns women on more than shoving red meat in their face and telling them that you鈥檒l help them gain weight.
Like you would know? Who have you dated? Regale me with tales of your vast experience.
Hey! You haven鈥檛 dated either.
I have instincts, at least.
鈥淟ewis?鈥 Gary鈥檚 voice broke him from his silent talk with his wolf.
He turned back 鈥淲e鈥檒l tighten up the patrol schedule.鈥 He rubbed his forehead.
鈥淚t will mean giving up territory.鈥
鈥淚鈥檓 aware.鈥 The words came out as a growl. Territory was everything. In the old days it was a pack鈥檚 survival. The instinct to protect it at all costs remained, but Lewis had no choice. 鈥淭heir safety matters more.鈥
The pack has to be protected first.
Agree. His wolf sounded unhappy, but stood by him, as always.
鈥淎lright then. Continue with training, and preparing for if Nightfang brings his pack for war.鈥 Lewis sighed. 鈥淗opefully they鈥檒l wait until the colder weather passes.鈥
Although it might be just delaying the inevitable.
鈥淵ou are all dismissed.鈥 As he stood up, however, his mother stopped him with a smile.
鈥淐an you pick up some milk, dear? I鈥檓 out.鈥
鈥溾 Sure, Mom.鈥 He held back a laugh thinking about his conversation with his wolf, knowing that no one else would get the joke. Maybe I鈥檒l pick up my mate while I鈥檓 there.
He headed into town.
As he parked his car and walked towards the supermarket, however, his wolf suddenly started shouting in his head.
She鈥檚 here!
Lewis frowned. Who? Nightfang or one of his followers?
No, you idiot! Our mate!
Where? He skidded to a halt, staring around frantically. His heart started to race, as he prepared to meet his soulmate鈥 the one he had been waiting for his entire life.
In the bookstore! His wolf wasn鈥檛 much better, barely able to communicate in its excitement.
He opened the door, ignoring the soft chime that sounded out to alert a new customer鈥檚 arrival. His eyes scanned the room, trying to spot鈥 something. A familiar face, a special feeling. How do you know if someone is your mate鈥?
His silent voice trailed off in shock as he stared at鈥 her.
She was beautiful.
Dark curls, the tips just barely brushing her shoulders. She was short鈥 very short. He felt awkwardly tall, wondering if she would dislike his height. She seemed to be packing a book into a suitcase, but then turned to face him.
Her grey eyes widened at the sight of him.
Does she feel it too?
With what?!!! I don鈥檛 have any food!
Why didn鈥檛 you bring the steaks?!!! Now she鈥檚 going to think we鈥檙e weak and she鈥檒l starve as our mate! What if she leaves us?!!
Human women don鈥檛 need steaks for courtship鈥 watch.
Lewis cleared his throat. 鈥淓xcuse me鈥︹
She turned and rushed out of the store.
鈥ou were saying?
鈥aybe you were right about the steaks.
He followed her out to the back of the shop, cringing at the suspicious looks that the customers in the shop gave him.
I鈥檓 chasing after a girl into a back alley. I鈥檒l be lucky if no one calls the cops.
She鈥檚 our mate! We could never hurt her!
They don鈥檛 know that. She might not even know that!
To his shock she stopped and turned around once they were out of the store. Placing her hands on her hips, she glared at him. 鈥淲hat?鈥
鈥溾︹ She was even more mesmerizing up close. Lewis nervously cleared his throat, stepping closer.
Her scent filled his senses. Lilac and spring and鈥 wolf?
She鈥檚 a werewolf! That鈥檚 awesome! Let鈥檚 shift and show her how strong our wolf form is. It鈥檚 much better looking than the human look.
鈥淵ou鈥檙e鈥︹ Feeling stunned, he reached out, wanting to touch her, to hold her hand. 鈥淎 werewolf? My mate?鈥
This is amazing! His mate, his soulmate was standing right in front of him. Would she be happy too? Was she excited to meet us?
She didn鈥檛 seem shocked. Didn鈥檛 seem happy either鈥 or angry, or afraid. Her face just showed mild鈥 annoyance?
Does she not feel the bond?
鈥淲ell, crap.鈥
As she spoke out with a matter of fact tone, Lewis鈥檚 hand neared her shoulder, only to spasm and drop as he fell to the ground shaking. His mate stood over him, staring down at him blankly, the Taser in her hand still sparking.
Well, crap. He silently echoed his mate鈥檚 words as darkness overcame him.
Alyssa sat on her favorite chair, holding her favorite mug, drinking her favorite tea, wrapped in her favorite blanket, hoping it would improve her mood.
It wasn鈥檛 working.
Mostly due to the large man on her living room floor, just now waking up from the effects of her Taser鈥 and the large animal sedative she stuck him with after he went down. He blinked his eyes, seeming confused and disoriented.
He鈥檚 adorable. I bet his wolf is good looking! Can you ask him to shift? Her wolf hadn鈥檛 shut up since they met the other werewolf.
鈥淪hush. He鈥檚 waking up now. It would be rude to ask him before we鈥檝e talked. 鈥
Spoilsport. At least show him all the hamburger meat we have frozen.
鈥淲hy would he want to see our hamburger meat?鈥
THAT will show him how effective we are at gathering food! We can be an asset to his pack! If he doesn鈥檛 have a pack he should follow us around, and we can fatten him up! 鈥 he鈥檚 too skinny.
鈥淗e鈥檚 not skinny鈥 he鈥檚 very muscular.鈥
What if there鈥檚 not enough prey in the winter? His muscles will go away. He should have a nice little layer of fat.
鈥淒o not fatten him up! I like him like this.鈥
鈥淓xcuse me?鈥 The man on her living room floor struggled to sit up. Leaning back against her TV stand, he blinked a few more times, obviously still fighting off the tranquilizer. Looking around, he just seemed more confused. 鈥淲here am I?鈥
鈥淢y home.鈥 Alyssa told him, taking another sip of her tea.
鈥淎h.鈥 He paused, awkwardly shifting his weight and raising his hands which were tied together with silver chains, like his ankles. 鈥淲hy am I tied up?鈥
鈥溾︹ She stared at him silently a few moments. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e a werewolf.鈥
鈥溾es. So are you?鈥
鈥淵ou said I was your mate.鈥
He blushed at that, avoiding eye contact. 鈥淪orry. I know that was awkward. I was surprised. I鈥檝e been looking for years since I reached adulthood.鈥
鈥淵ou鈥檙e an alpha?鈥
鈥淵es.鈥 Straightening his spine, he forced a cocky looking grin. 鈥淎 strong alpha of a great pack.鈥
鈥淪o now you know why you鈥檙e tied up.鈥
Alyssa rolled her eyes. 鈥淚鈥檝e done enough research to know when an alpha finds his mate, it tends to get physical鈥 and non-consensual鈥 real quick.鈥
He still seemed confused. 鈥淩esearch?鈥
She set down her tea and blanket and dragged over the enormous roller suitcase. Opening it, she displayed hundreds of paperback romance books. She pulled one out, showing off the cover, which showed a half-naked muscular man holding a woman tightly as she half-heartedly pushed him away.
The bound man looked at the picture. 鈥淭he Reluctant Mate of an Alpha? What is this?鈥
鈥淭here are 983 books on werewolves in my possession.鈥 She pulled out her notebook, quickly flipping to the 鈥渁lpha鈥 section. 鈥88% of them feature an alpha werewolf as the male lead鈥 and 92% of those characters force their mate to engage in physical intimacy鈥 mostly hugging and kissing鈥 within the first few minutes of meeting them.鈥
鈥淵ou鈥 you鈥檙e getting your information from romance books?鈥 He looked horrified. 鈥淲here鈥檚 your pack?鈥
鈥淣o pack. Abandoned as a baby. I grew up in the foster system.鈥
A low angry growl sounded from his chest. 鈥淲hat pack abandons a child?!鈥
鈥淭he kind of pack that I鈥檓 probably better off being abandoned than raised by.鈥 She tapped the book again. 鈥淏ack to the fact that I鈥檓 apparently the mate to an alpha wolf.鈥
鈥淣ot apparently!鈥 He looked distressed still. 鈥淵ou ARE! Can鈥檛 you sense it?鈥
She ignored him, putting the book back carefully. 鈥淵ou know that alpha wolves aren鈥檛 even a natural thing鈥 only happens with wolves in captivity. Wolves in the wild tend to form family units. 鈥
鈥溾ut we aren鈥檛 normal wolves? We wouldn鈥檛 have the exact same pack structure.鈥
鈥淓xactly. Thus I can鈥檛 use my wolf encyclopedia to gain information.鈥 She frowned. 鈥淭hat would have been preferable, honestly. I don鈥檛 really like the alphas in these stories.鈥
If you鈥檙e not going to mate with him鈥 can we eat him?
鈥淪top asking to eat people. You know the answer.鈥
Lewis鈥檚 eyes grew wide. 鈥淒id you say 鈥榚at PEOPLE?鈥
鈥淒on鈥檛 worry. There鈥檚 a strict 鈥榥o eating people鈥 rule. It鈥檚 just a phase she鈥檚 gone through since I let her watch 80s horror werewolf flicks. She thinks its funny, but its not. 鈥 She threw her hands up helplessly. 鈥淭his is WHY we are on a horror movie ban!鈥
This is unfair!
鈥淚t鈥檚 perfectly fair! Even if you ignore the moral implications, you wouldn鈥檛 even like the taste of human flesh!鈥
What about hot sauce? Didn鈥檛 you say hot sauce makes every thing taste better?
鈥淵es鈥 hot sauce does make everything taste better.鈥
鈥淲ait鈥 are you going to EAT me?鈥 Lewis questioned with a panicked tone, scooting backwards closer to the door.
鈥淣o. I told you, there鈥檚 a firm 鈥榥o eating people鈥 rule in place. We鈥檙e done discussing that.鈥
鈥淲e鈥檙e discussing whether or not hot sauce would make your flesh taste better if we ate you鈥 hypothetically.鈥
鈥淥h.鈥 He thought it over. 鈥淚 do like hot sauce. But I don鈥檛 think wolves do.鈥
鈥淣o. It would give them diarrhea, probably.鈥 Alyssa nodded. 鈥淪ee. Even hot sauce wouldn鈥檛 help.鈥
Then if we aren鈥檛 going to eat him, can we please just MATE with him?
鈥淣o eating. No mating.鈥
鈥淲ait, can we not put a strict no mating rule in place just yet? At least not a permanent one?鈥 He paused. 鈥淎lso, if I promise not to engage in any alpha behaviors like you see in your 鈥榬esearch鈥, can I please be untied?鈥
鈥溾︹ She studied him warily. 鈥淚 suppose.鈥
鈥淕reat!鈥 He held out his wrists, smiling with relief as she started to untie him.
鈥淚 have plenty of tranquilizer anyways.鈥 She muttered.
The bonds slipped free. The man rubbed his wrists, careful to not make any sudden movements. Relieved by his apparent honesty in not trying anything, Alyssa headed back to her chair and wrapped herself back in her blanket.
Grabbing her tea, she took a sip of the lukewarm liquid and smiled. 鈥淪o what brought the great alpha into my place of work today? Were you looking for me?鈥
Lewis was unsure how to answer his mate. Panicking, he said the first thing he thought of.
鈥淎ctually I was going to go buy milk.鈥
She raised an eyebrow. 鈥淚n the bookstore?鈥
鈥淵es! I mean, no!鈥 He covered in his face. 鈥淚 was on my way to the supermarket, when my wolf鈥 sensed you.鈥
She tilted her head, seeming more interested. 鈥淵our wolf? What鈥檚 he like?鈥
鈥淯mm鈥 he鈥檚 strong鈥︹
How else will she know I can provide food for her and our children?!
No. I鈥檓 not saying we鈥檒l make her fat!
鈥淎re you okay?鈥
鈥淲E鈥橪L MAKE YOU REALLY FAT!鈥 Lewis blurted out鈥 and then stared at the ground in embarrassed horror.
鈥溾︹ There was a long silence.
鈥淢y wolf says that鈥檚 very attractive.鈥 She shook her head. 鈥淪he wants you to know that we have several pounds of hamburger in our freezer and that we are happy to contribute food to you and your family.鈥
She鈥檚 smart and stores plenty of meat in her freezer! Please convince her to stay as our mate!
鈥淪o would you like to come visit our pack? He asked, wincing as she pulled what appeared to be a miniature Taser out of thin air. 鈥淛ust visiting! No mating!鈥 He relaxed as she hid the Taser away again 鈥溾here were you even keeping that?鈥
鈥淪ecret pocket in the sleeve鈥. It鈥檚 not my only one, so don鈥檛 think I鈥檝e given you any advantage.鈥
Lewis tried to think of something that would appeal to her. 鈥淚 know you don鈥檛 have a pack鈥 it would be a chance to get to know others like you鈥 鈥
鈥溾 I would be able to refine my research鈥︹ She muttered, staring down at her notebook. 鈥淧lus my wolf really wants to鈥︹
鈥淪ure. Why not?鈥 She shrugged, holding out her hand. 鈥淚 guess we should officially meet if we鈥檙e going back to your pack together. I鈥檓 Alyssa.鈥
Alyssa! Her name is pretty!
鈥淣ice to meet you Alyssa.鈥 Lewis smiled brightly. 鈥淚鈥檓 Lewis.鈥 He shook her hand, trying to stay calm at the shocking feeling of touching her. It was almost painful, as if every cell in his body were screaming at him that he鈥檚 met his soulmate. Overwhelmed, confused, he glanced over at his mate, only to see her calm expression.
Does she not feel this? Are we just delusional?
She鈥檚 our mate! Of course she feels it!
She鈥檚 not acting like it. Maybe we鈥檙e wrong? Lewis felt a stabbing pain in his chest at the thought. She was his mate. He had waited his whole life to meet her. He belonged to her.
What if she doesn鈥檛 want us?
鈥 His wolf didn鈥檛 have an answer to that.
Maybe she can sense our weakness鈥 our failure.
No鈥 we鈥檙e not weak! We鈥檙e alpha of a strong pack!
That鈥檚 fallen apart because most of them felt I wasn鈥檛 the best one for the job.
We have to be strong. We can鈥檛 fail our pack or our mate. Don鈥檛 show weakness!
I鈥檒l try.
Lewis forced a calm smile as he looked at Alyssa. 鈥淪hould we head over and meet the pack?鈥
鈥淗mm鈥 Aren鈥檛 you forgetting something?鈥 She angled her head, studying him.
鈥淒idn鈥檛 you say you were on your way to pick up milk when you met me?鈥
鈥淥H SHOOT!鈥 He jumped to his feet. 鈥淚鈥檓 glad you said something! You saved my life!鈥
鈥淏y remembering milk?鈥
鈥淵ou don鈥檛 realize how horrible my death would be at my mom鈥檚 hands if I had forgotten it.鈥
鈥溾︹ She raised an eyebrow, a slight smile at the corner of her mouth. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e welcome, then.鈥
I like her smile! Let鈥檚 help make her smile more!
Lewis ran to pick up some milk while she packed a bag for the trip. When he returned, he was shocked by the number of suitcases she had brought with her.
鈥淎re all these clothes?鈥
鈥淒on鈥檛 be silly.鈥 She looked at him like he was an idiot. 鈥淚t鈥檚 my research.鈥
He was almost afraid to ask, but felt he had to. 鈥溾 They鈥檙e all filled with werewolf romance books鈥 aren鈥檛 they?
鈥淣ot just books鈥 鈥 Alyssa seemed a little defensive. 鈥淭here鈥檚 some weapons. And a few changes of clothes.鈥
鈥淚f you鈥檙e staying a few days at least, do you need to take off work?鈥
She shook her head. 鈥淣o need.鈥
鈥淵eah. 鈥
鈥溾kay.鈥 He didn鈥檛 want to pry. At least not yet. Maybe one day she鈥檒l trust us enough to tell us more.
He packed her bags into the car, glad for his superhuman strength as he lifted the suitcases filled to the brim with books. Alyssa sat in the passenger seat, clutching a notebook and a small messenger bag, which also appeared to be filled with books. As they headed outside of town, an awkward silence fell between them.
Say something witty! His wolf finally lost patience with Something that will make her think we鈥檙e smart!
Open to any suggestions, Buddy. I鈥檓 having trouble thinking straight with our mate so close, much less think of something smart to say!
Aren鈥檛 you supposed to be the more intelligent half? I鈥檓 supposed to be the stronger one.
You鈥檙e the one always saying that wolves are super intelligent creatures and I should listen to you more!
Now we鈥檙e being silent for too long! What if she thinks we鈥檙e an idiot?!
You鈥檙e not helping鈥
鈥淪o how do werewolves mate?鈥 Alyssa asked calmly, the question almost causing Lewis to swerve off the road in shock.
鈥淪orry, I don鈥檛 think I heard you. Could you repeat the question?鈥
鈥淗ow do werewolves mate?鈥
鈥 I think I preferred the awkward silence.
No! This is good! She鈥檚 showing an interest in mating!
鈥淯mm鈥 Not differently than humans鈥 you learned about that in health class, right?鈥 He desperately hoped he would not have to have a 鈥渂irds and bees鈥 talk with his mate right after meeting her.
鈥淥h.鈥 She sounded slightly disappointed. 鈥淪o we don鈥檛 mate in wolf form?鈥
I鈥檓 game.
鈥淭ypically no鈥 I mean I guess it鈥檚 possible鈥︹ He felt himself turn bright red, feeling super uncomfortable. 鈥淏ut usually its in human form鈥 at least from my understanding of what mated couples say.鈥
鈥淗mm..鈥 She seemed to be listening to something. 鈥淣o, I don鈥檛 think his wolf is impotent. I think it鈥檚 a cultural thing.鈥
We are currently driving down a highway! We are not shifting any time soon! Besides, what on earth do you think you鈥檙e going to do in wolf form that鈥檚 going to convince her otherwise?
I鈥檒l show her my genitals, to reassure her.
鈥淪o I bet that means that werewolf pregnancy follows human rules then. 鈥 She sighed, frowning while pulling out her notebook and writing a few things down. 鈥淭here was only 3% of books that presented mating and pregnancy while in wolf form, so I guess I shouldn鈥檛 be surprised.鈥
鈥溾 I see.鈥
鈥淗ow long does pregnancy last? 19% of the books depict a shorter pregnancy cycle, but I wasn鈥檛 sure if it was just to get the plot to move faster.鈥
鈥淣ormal 9 months.鈥
鈥淣umber of children per pregnancy?鈥
鈥淥ne鈥 unless you have twins.鈥
She groaned, leaning back in her chair. 鈥淪o no advantages at all? So disappointing.鈥
鈥淭wins run in our family!鈥 Lewis nearly shouted.
鈥淩eally?鈥 Alyssa studied him, looking slightly interested. 鈥淒o you have a twin?鈥
Great. I really had to bring HIM up.
鈥淚 do鈥 but he left the pack.鈥
鈥淒oes that happen often?鈥
鈥淚 see鈥︹ She made a few more notes. 鈥淥bviously the villain.鈥
鈥溾︹ I mean, she鈥檚 not wrong. 鈥淎ny other questions?鈥 Please be something easy.
鈥淲ill mating with another werewolf change my menstrual cycle?鈥
Do you know?
Nope. Nothing in the instincts about this. Do you?
He cleared his throat. 鈥淪orry, I don鈥檛 know the answer to that question. One of the pack might be able to answer it. Maybe Bridget? She seems pretty knowledgeable.鈥
鈥淏ridget? Your sister?鈥
鈥淣o鈥 she鈥檚 just one of the warriors in the pack..鈥
鈥淗mm鈥︹ Alyssa thought that over. 鈥淚s she pretty?鈥
Lewis shrugged. 鈥淪eems pretty normal.鈥
鈥淒o you two get along?鈥
鈥淪he follows orders, so I guess?鈥
鈥淚 see.鈥 He could hear her pen scratching against paper again. 鈥淭he female side character who will try to chase we away, maybe? How exciting.鈥
鈥溾︹ Lewis decided he didn鈥檛 want to ask anything about it. For the sake of his sanity if nothing else.
They spent the rest of the car ride in silence.
Alyssa felt increasingly nervous the closer they got to pack territory.
I think we鈥檙e almost there. This area smells different.
鈥淒ifferent how?鈥
It smells like our mate! I like it!
鈥淗mm鈥 Do you think he pees on trees to mark his territory?鈥
Isn鈥檛 that normal?
鈥淚t鈥檚 normal for wolves鈥 do you think he does it in human form too?鈥
鈥淚 DON鈥橳 MARK TERRITORY AS A HUMAN!鈥 Lewis spoke out frantically. 鈥淐an you stop talking about me like I鈥檓 not here?!鈥
She turned to him, curious by his reaction. 鈥淒on鈥檛 you talk to your wolf?鈥
鈥淎ll the time, but I do it SILENTLY!鈥 He paused. 鈥淒o you not know how to?鈥
鈥淥h I know how to, I just think it鈥檚 really rude to leave her out of the general conversation. She鈥檚 here too you know.鈥
鈥淭hat makes sense鈥 I guess鈥︹ He sighed, rubbing a hand through his hair. 鈥淲ell, I assume you know since you were commenting on the scent markings, but yes, we鈥檙e in pack territory. 鈥
Alyssa nodded, her heart rate increasing slightly. She didn鈥檛 like this. Going to unfamiliar places. Meeting new people. Especially people who may have a culture or rules that she didn鈥檛 understand. They might not like her.
How could they not love us? We鈥檙e a strong, beautiful female鈥 at least when we鈥檙e in wolf form.
We鈥檒l be just fine.
鈥淚 hope so.鈥 She took a deep breath, trying to steady her nerves.
A warm hand hesitantly grasped her own. She felt an electric shock traveling up her fingers from the touch, but kept her face expressionless. 鈥淎re you okay?鈥 Lewis鈥檚 voice was quiet, a comforting sound.
I like his voice. His touch his very warm!
鈥淚f you鈥檙e worried鈥 I know that you might not believe me, but the pack is very friendly. You鈥檒l feel very welcome.鈥
鈥淚n 42% of the books the pack is welcoming to a stranger鈥 usually because she鈥檚 the alpha鈥檚 mate. In the rest they are either wary of the unknown person, or distrustful or unfriendly. 鈥 She thought it over. 鈥淚 guess it鈥檚 not bad odds.鈥
The car came to a stop. Lewis squeezed her hand one last time, and then stepped out, getting her suitcases from the trunk and back seat. Alyssa stared down at her now empty hand, feeling frustrated.
I trust him.
鈥淵ou trust everyone. It鈥檚 my job to keep us safe.鈥 She got out of the car, staring around at the area. There were several nice houses, all scattered far from each other. The place was quiet, peaceful, surrounded by woods. She liked it.
He won鈥檛 hurt us. He can鈥檛. It would be like hurting himself.
鈥淵ou鈥檇 be surprised how low people can sink if they want.鈥
No I wouldn鈥檛. I lived through all the same experiences with you. But wolves do better with a family. We鈥檒l do better with a pack.
鈥淚 haven鈥檛 agreed to that yet.鈥
We鈥檒l see.
Lewis carried her many bags without seeming stressed by the weight. 鈥淚鈥檒l bring these into the main house. Do you want to come along? Or you can wait here, I can show you around.鈥
She glanced around at the forest around her. 鈥淚鈥檒l wait here.鈥
鈥淥k. I鈥檒l be right back.鈥 He looked slightly worried about separating from her, but after a brief hesitation, he walked away.
Alyssa strolled around the clearing by the car, feeling calmer as she took in the fresh air.
I like it here. We should live here.
鈥淲e鈥檒l see.鈥
Also mate Lewis before another female gets him.
鈥淚 don鈥檛 think that鈥檚 how it works. In 82% of the books, being mates meant soul mates. Only small exceptions made for if mates rejected each other and such鈥 for the drama, I suppose. 鈥
Don鈥檛 take chances. Even with an impotent wolf we should claim him sooner rather than later. He has fatty steaks in his house. I can smell them.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 what鈥檚 important to you? And I told you, I don鈥檛 think his wolf is impotent鈥︹
鈥淲HO ARE YOU?鈥 A strident voice called out.
Alyssa turned to see a beautiful young woman walking towards her with a suspicious expression. She had shorter, curly blond hair and bright green eyes, towering over her in height. Alyssa sighed slightly as she realized she would probably be the shortest werewolf here by a good amount.
We鈥檙e short but feisty! Don鈥檛 underestimate us!
鈥淚鈥檓 Alyssa.鈥 She waved cheerfully. 鈥淲ho are you?鈥
鈥溾︹ The young woman seemed confused. 鈥淏ridget.鈥
The bitch side character! Maybe she鈥檒l shout at us to 鈥渟tay away from her man!鈥
鈥淵ou don鈥檛 know that. Maybe she鈥檚 nice. She鈥檚 pretty.鈥
She is pretty鈥 but it would be more fun if she were hysterical and tried to scare us off.
鈥溾ho are you talking to?鈥
鈥淢y wolf.鈥 Alyssa grinned at her. 鈥淪he鈥檚 wondering if you are going to scream at us and tell us to stay away from Lewis.鈥
The woman seemed stunned. 鈥淲hy would I do that?鈥
鈥淎ll the books have it.鈥 She pulled out her notebook and spread out the books from her messenger bag. Holding up one where a woman in a ripped dress stood next to a large wolf titled 鈥淭he Alpha鈥檚 Runaway Love鈥, she pointed to a smaller, angry looking woman in the background of the cover. 鈥淪ee鈥 in 79% of these stories there鈥檚 a strong female side character who is desperately in love with the alpha despite him being mated to the main character and tries to drive her away.鈥
鈥溾 Are those鈥 romance novels鈥.?鈥
鈥淏ut I really hope you aren鈥檛 that character type. I think you seem like an awesome older sister type.鈥 She stepped closer, which highlighted the height difference between them. 鈥淲e鈥檝e always wanted a cool, pretty older sister like you. 鈥
鈥溾︹ Bridget seemed genuinely overwhelmed. 鈥淯mm鈥 first of all鈥 I don鈥檛 want to scare you away from Lewis鈥 I grew up with the guy. He wet the bed once when I slept over when we were five鈥 ruined my favorite princess sheets鈥︹
Alyssa started taking notes.
鈥淚 was just curious about who you were鈥︹ She rested a hand on Alyssa鈥檚 head, almost seemingly despite herself. 鈥淎re you Lewis鈥 mate?鈥
鈥淵ep! He found me in a bookstore.鈥 She paused. 鈥淒o you know if mating with a werewolf changes your menstrual cycle? I asked Lewis, but he seemed like he was having a seizure and said he didn鈥檛 know.鈥
鈥溾︹ Bridgett鈥檚 face spasmed at that, she seemed to be holding back a laugh.
鈥淎lso鈥 I brought hamburger meat鈥 do you want some? 鈥
鈥淪o鈥︹ Bridget鈥檚 voice trailed off.
鈥淪o?鈥 Alyssa tilted her head, confused.
鈥淪O CUTE!!!鈥 Alyssa was pulled into an enormous bear hug, squeezed almost uncomfortably tight as Bridget continued to yell. 鈥淵OU鈥橰E ADOPTED!鈥
鈥淲hat are you doing with my mate?鈥 Lewis鈥檚 strained voice made Alyssa want to look over, but she was still trapped in the hug.
鈥淪he鈥檚 my little sister now, Alpha.鈥 Bridget鈥檚 voice was calm, but stern. 鈥淚f anything happens to her, I will destroy you.鈥
Alyssa smiled at her as the tall woman set her down. 鈥淩eally?鈥
鈥淩eally.鈥 Bridget grinned back. 鈥淚鈥檝e always wanted a sister too.鈥
As the two girls began chatting excitedly, Lewis cleared his throat. 鈥淕uys? I hate to break up the love here, but the pack is gathering to meet Alyssa.鈥
He walked over towards Alyssa, stopping in his tracks as Bridget grabbed her first and tugged her in the correct direction. 鈥淐ome on, let鈥檚 hurry up! I can鈥檛 wait to introduce you to them!鈥
鈥淪he鈥檚 MY mate! I want to introduce her!鈥
鈥淭oo bad, so sad, bedwetter! If you weren鈥檛 so slow maybe you could have grabbed her first.鈥 She laughed.
鈥淗ey, you promised never to mention that again! What if you scare my mate away?!鈥
鈥淓ven better, she鈥檒l just live with me and my family.鈥
As they moved, Alyssa tapped her arm, leaning close. 鈥淚s this really okay?鈥
鈥淚s what okay?鈥
鈥淚 mean鈥 he鈥檚 your alpha鈥 is it okay to be like this with him?鈥
Bridget smiled. 鈥淒on鈥檛 worry. He鈥檚 a good alpha鈥 a strong fighter, a capable leader鈥 but he鈥檚 very kind. He prefers his pack feel comfortable enough to joke around with him. Says if they can trust him enough to make fun of him that it means they鈥檒l trust him enough to have the uncomfortable conversations as well.鈥
He鈥檚 a good leader.
Let鈥檚 mate him!
Alyssa groaned at the expected response from her wolf, shaking her head slowly.
They arrived in a clearing in the woods, where twenty or thirty people had gathered. Everyone looked very different, with skin tones, eye and hair color varying widely from person to person. People of all ages chatted excitedly, watching their approach. They did have one thing in common though:
They were all tall.
We鈥檙e鈥 tall鈥 too.
鈥淲e鈥檙e short.鈥 Feeling uncomfortable, she hid behind Bridget, who growled at the crowd.
鈥淒on鈥檛 you guys make my sister uncomfortable! Sit down, you鈥檙e scaring her.鈥
The crowd looked very confused at that, but sat down on the grass anyways. Besides the three of them, only one man remained standing. He was enormous, a head taller than even Lewis, who Alyssa already considered very tall. He was broad as well as tall, his muscles nearly bursting out of the flannel shirt he was wearing. His face was covered in a bushy beard, his dark hair cropped close.
Overall Alyssa thought he looked very intimidating. She watched as he approached, a hand grasping her hidden Taser in her sleeve.
鈥淭his is my Beta Gary.鈥 Lewis鈥檚 calm voice was reassuring, but she refused to relax her vigilance as the large man bent down to look her in the eye. 鈥淕ary, this is my mate, Alyssa.鈥
鈥淗ey there, Alyssa.鈥 The hair-covered face broke into a friendly smile. 鈥淲e鈥檝e been hoping Lewis would find a nice mate for a while now. Glad you鈥檙e here. If anyone gives you trouble you let me know, I鈥檒l knock a few heads in.鈥
Alyssa grinned back at him. 鈥淣ice to meet you, Gary. You鈥檙e really large.鈥
Ask him if we can sit on his shoulder! I want to be tall!
鈥淚t would be rude to ask to sit on his shoulder right after meeting him. We鈥檒l ask him later.鈥
Before her wolf could complain too much, Gary reached out and picked her up easily, placing her on one broad shoulder and steadying her with a single hand. 鈥淗ow鈥檚 this?鈥
Alyssa looked around. 鈥淭his is GREAT!鈥 She laughed.
Bow before us mortals! WE ARE TALL!
鈥淢y wolf is very happy right now. She was sad that we were so much shorter than everyone.鈥
HEY! You were sad too!
鈥淲ell you can ride on my shoulder anytime you want.鈥 Gary laughed. 鈥淢y mate Berta and I always wanted kids, but鈥︹ his voice trailed off slightly. 鈥淲ell, anyways, feel free to come to us if you ever need help.鈥
鈥淥R ME!鈥 Bridget burst out. 鈥淚鈥檝e already claimed her as my little sister!鈥
Lewis stared at the three of them, looking slightly tired. 鈥淒o I get any time with her as her mate?鈥
Gary and Bridget glanced at each other. 鈥溾 We鈥檒l see.鈥
Putting Alyssa down in front of the pack, Gary winked at her as if to reassure her before taking his place standing behind the Alpha. Lewis stepped forward, his manner becoming stronger, more confident as he addressed the crowd.
鈥淓veryone, this is my mate Alyssa. She鈥檚 one of us, but she doesn鈥檛 have a pack. So I expect you all to make her feel safe and welcome.鈥 He looked around, smiling as everyone nodded obediently.
鈥淲e鈥檙e glad you鈥檙e here!鈥
鈥淢aybe Lewis will stop moping so much now!鈥
The cheerful voices of the pack made Alyssa feel calmer. She waved at them, speaking up. 鈥淗ey everyone! Like Lewis said, I鈥檓 Alyssa. I don鈥檛 know much about werewolves鈥 I鈥檝e only grown up around humans, but I鈥檓 excited to learn more.鈥
They seem nice.
Her wolf was happy about the packs鈥 reactions. No one seemed thrown off by her introduction. No one was glaring at her or even seeming suspicious of her.
It鈥檚 a good thing, right?
Before she could respond, Lewis spoke up, distracting her. 鈥淟et鈥檚 take you back to meet my mom.鈥
Lewis was relieved that the pack introduction went so well. Not that he was overly surprised; most of the more disagreeable pack members had left in the split with his brother. Who was left were either the ones too reasonable to be sucked into his rhetoric, or the very loyal ones to himself or his father.
Either way, I guess it鈥檚 a good thing.
He led his mate towards his house, breathing a small sigh of relief when Bridget and Gary didn鈥檛 insist on following. He liked them both a lot, but they could be a lot. Especially since they seemed to have instantly bonded with Alyssa.
Just admit it. We鈥檙e jealous. We want to bond with Alyssa too.
We don鈥檛 know what all she鈥檚 been through. She was abandoned by her pack as an infant. Her only knowledge of us doesn鈥檛 paint Alpha鈥檚 in a good light鈥 or at least they don鈥檛 seem to. Lewis resolved to get his hands on some of those books and read through this. It might help us understand how she views us鈥 and how to reassure her.
I like her. His wolf鈥檚 voice was filled with a patient care. Even if she doesn鈥檛 like us just yet, I hope she鈥檚 happy and feels safe here.
I do too. Lewis desperately wanted to reassure his mate. He could feel her anxiety through the bond. Even when she was smiling she didn鈥檛 feel safe. But he didn鈥檛 know how to help just yet.
They reached the house, and as they were about to enter, the door swung open and Lewis鈥檚 mother rushed out. Making a beeline for Alyssa, she hugged her tightly, grinning.
Alyssa seemed shocked at the sudden appearance of his mother. Lewis tried to step in. 鈥淢om, don鈥檛 scare her鈥︹
鈥淔inally someone normal sized!鈥 Alyssa burst out, hugging his mother back.
鈥淚 know, right? They鈥檙e all way too tall!鈥 Lewis鈥檚 mother stepped back, patting her head fondly. 鈥淚 forgive them since they鈥檙e all such good people, but still, I鈥檓 happy to have someone I don鈥檛 have to strain my neck to look at.鈥
鈥淢om, this is Alyssa, my mate.鈥
鈥淚 figured as much dear. You鈥檝e never paid so much attention and care to a single person before. 鈥 She grabbed Alyssa鈥檚 hand. 鈥淐ome in, I made food.鈥
Our mother understands! She鈥檒l show our mate how much food we can provide!
Alyssa glanced at him. 鈥淢y wolf wants to make sure that the hamburger meat we brought got put in the fridge.鈥
鈥淚 took care of it.鈥 Lewis puffed out his chest, feeling accomplished.
His mother just shook her head. 鈥淏oys. Why don鈥檛 you take her bags up to the room next to mine while I get her something to pad her stomach?鈥
鈥淵es, Ma鈥檃m.鈥 He grabbed the suitcases full of books, weapons and clothes and rushed up the stairs. Her room was on the opposite end of the house from him, right next to his mother鈥檚 rooms.
Why is she staying so far away from us? His wolf whined in his head. What if something happens? How will we protect her?
She already doesn鈥檛 trust us. Hopefully the living arrangements will make her less nervous. If she doesn鈥檛 like it, she might go stay with Bridget instead. Do you want that?
No. Stupid Bridgett. She brought up the bedwetting incident. Our childhood shame bared in front of our mate! What if she doesn鈥檛 like us now?
We were young. I can鈥檛 imagine she would hold it against us鈥 although yes, it is very embarrassing.
As he neared the kitchen once more, he overheard Alyssa and his mother talking. About to announce his arrival, his mouth slammed shut as he heard his mate鈥檚 question.
鈥淪o Lewis鈥 brother is a villain, right?鈥
鈥溾︹ His mother sighed. 鈥淗ow much has he told you?鈥
鈥淛ust that he has a twin, and he鈥檚 not with the pack.鈥
鈥淲ell, I guess you haven鈥檛 known each other long鈥 you鈥檒l hear it anyways, might as well be from me, since he鈥檚 my son.鈥 She sat down at the counter, rubbing her forehead tiredly.
鈥淚 had three children, actually. Twins boys and a younger girl. My husband was the Alpha of the Western pack, and although it鈥檚 not set in stone, usually one of the children of the Alpha will inherit the position.鈥
Lewis could hear Alyssa鈥檚 pen moving as she frantically took notes. He silently laughed, even as his chest hurt at the sound of his mother鈥檚 disappointed tone, leaning against the wall to hear how she would describe their situation.
鈥淣ow, I鈥檓 not a werewolf, you know. I鈥檓 a human who happened to be mates with a werewolf. So maybe I didn鈥檛 instill the idea of pack values as strongly as I could have.鈥 She sighed. 鈥淟ewis seemed to get it naturally. He got hurt when he was ten鈥 the first time he transformed, just to protect an elderly pack member who was being attacked. He鈥檚 got a large scar on his left elbow from a hunter鈥檚 arrow. Werewolves heal well鈥 but the scars remain.鈥
My other son鈥 Benjamin鈥 he wasn鈥檛 nearly as concerned about the pack鈥檚 well being. Just obsessed with being strong. Being in charge. My daughter Emily seemed to feel very similar.鈥
鈥淪eems pretty Alpha-like鈥 at least how the books describe them.鈥
鈥淏ut that鈥檚 the thing. Alphas SHOULD be strong. My mate was very strong, in fact. But their strength exists to protect and feed the pack. Strength and power for its own sake has no purpose鈥 and often leads down a dangerous pack.鈥
鈥淢y mate died.鈥 His mother whispered, the pain in her voice breaking Lewis鈥檚 heart. 鈥淟ung cancer. Even werewolves can die from disease. They heal鈥 but not fast enough for more aggressive wounds or diseases. They鈥檙e not immortal.鈥
鈥淚鈥檓 sorry.鈥 Alyssa seemed genuinely concerned. 鈥淗ow did you survive losing your mate?鈥
鈥淚t helps that I鈥檓 human.鈥 Her voice was still quiet. 鈥淭he pain is still there鈥t鈥檚 like a piece of your soul missing. But I had family, pack 鈥 people who needed me to keep waking up each morning. And I鈥檓 glad I have.鈥
鈥淪o what happened next?鈥
鈥淢y mate鈥檚 will left the pack to Lewis.鈥 His mother shrugged, turning back to stir the contents of a pot on the stove. 鈥淚t was an obvious choice to us. He is strong, careful鈥 puts the pack first.鈥
鈥淏ut Benjamin didn鈥檛 agree?鈥
鈥淗e rebelled. Said Lewis was weak. Tried to fight him, but was pushed back by the loyal members of the pack. In the end he took almost half the pack with him to start a new one鈥 including my daughter who also thought Lewis was too weak to lead.鈥
鈥溾︹ Alyssa was silent. Lewis leaned against the wall, desperately trying to sense his mate鈥檚 emotions. Was she disappointed in him? Did she think he was a failure.
鈥淗e goes by Nightfang now鈥 his group is our pack鈥檚 greatest threat.鈥
鈥溾︹ Suddenly in the silent kitchen, Alyssa chuckled. 鈥淪eriously? Nightfang? Did he think that was a cool name?鈥
Lewis鈥檚 mother laughed too. 鈥淚 know, right. I mean, it鈥檚 a serious situation and all, but seriously鈥 he sounds like a villain in a Saturday morning cartoon.鈥 She looked over, and chuckled again. 鈥淎lright, Lewis. Stop hiding around the corner and come join the conversation.鈥
Shamefully, Lewis ducked his head and entered the kitchen. He noticed Alyssa didn鈥檛 seem surprised by his presence.
She probably can sense when we鈥檙e nearby. It means our bond is slightly stronger!
It also means she knows we were eavesdropping like a creep!
Well we were鈥 not like it鈥檚 much better if she doesn鈥檛 know.
鈥淪o鈥︹ He spoke up, trying to appear less awkward. 鈥淐an I help with dinner at all, Mom?鈥
She smiled, reaching up high to pat his head as well. 鈥淚鈥檓 pretty much done. How about after we eat you show her around the territory?鈥
Alyssa seemed a little more relaxed, to Lewis鈥檚 relief. 鈥淚鈥檇 like that.鈥
Play it cool! She already knows that half the pack left because we鈥檙e too weak to convince them we鈥檙e a good Alpha. If we look like an idiot too鈥
OH SHUT UP! His wolf snapped at it. Don鈥檛 pretend you鈥檙e not super excited. We鈥檙e the same person!
鈥tupid wolf.
Silly human.
... Lewis was excited. So excited he could hardly breathe. His mate was right here, in front of him. She was smart, beautiful, friendly鈥 at least to everyone else鈥 more than he could have ever dared to dream of.
I just want her to like us鈥 any ideas?
I still vote for bringing her food or showing her our genitals. .
鈥 Never mind鈥 I鈥檒l think of something.
A few weeks passed.
Alyssa sat on the cool grass, watching Lewis in wolf form teaching some of the younger pack members how to fight.
鈥淲atch out for each other.鈥 His voice resounded her mind. 鈥淵ou can鈥檛 be so focused on the enemy that you lose track of what鈥檚 behind you.鈥
Having never spent any time prior to this visit around other werewolves, she was interested to find that although she did understand some of wolf language 鈥 a combination of scents, sounds and body language 鈥 the majority of the time werewolves simply spoke through mental communication.
Lewis batted one of the young wolves aside, snapping at another鈥檚 flank and using his weight to push a third to the ground, baring his teeth. The fallen wolf whimpered slightly, more with frustration than pain.
鈥淎lpha, I thought we had to focus all of our attention on the attack, and not stop until the enemy was dead?鈥 The youngest of the three, a male wolf named Teddy, finally spoke up, his tail between his legs. 鈥淗ow are we supposed to do that AND watch our backs?鈥
鈥淲ho told you that?鈥 Lewis seemed shocked. 鈥淵ou are nothing without your pack! Only by working together and looking out for each other will you be at your strongest.鈥
鈥淚t was Uncle Ben鈥mph鈥 Teddy鈥檚 voice was muffled as the other two wolves tackled him.
鈥淪orry Alpha, he鈥檚 a little dumb.鈥 Teddy鈥檚 sister Lara apologized, grinding her brother鈥檚 muzzle into the dirt with a paw. 鈥淥f course we aren鈥檛 going to follow what the traitor Nightfang taught us.鈥
鈥淏ut LARA鈥︹
鈥淪HUT UP and let me get us out of this, idiot!鈥
Lewis stared at them for a few minutes, and then laughed silently in our heads. 鈥淚t鈥檚 okay. I know he was in charge of teaching fighting for years. It鈥檚 a different strategy, but give my idea a shot before you dismiss it, okay?鈥
鈥淵ES ALPHA!鈥 The three younger wolves shouted in unison.
鈥溾︹ Alyssa studied Lewis with a thoughtful expression. He was kind enough to the pups, even when they challenged him and brought up his brother鈥檚 name. He didn鈥檛 lash out, just calmly guiding them forward. If she didn鈥檛 know better, she would think the mention of his brother didn鈥檛 bother him at all.
But she could feel it.
Behind his kind words, there was a deep agony. Fear, hurt, betrayal. He resented that his brother left the pack, that he split the pack with his leaving. He regretted that he had let his brother teach the pups鈥 that he taught the pups to be killers rather than to defend and protect the pack. Feared being compared to his brother at every turn.
But mostly鈥 he blamed himself. Hated that he wasn鈥檛 a strong enough Alpha to force the pack to stay together. He wished desperately that he could be a better leader鈥 more like his father.
Alyssa rubbed her chest idly, feeling a pain in her heart that wasn鈥檛 physical but still wishing to ease it. She could sense his self-doubt, his feelings of helplessness, but was unsure what to do with the knowledge.
Over the last few weeks, they had spent a lot of time together. She had come to recognize that he was as kind as he first seemed, very different than what her book research had led her to expect. He was strong鈥 she could see that in every move her made, especially in his wolf form鈥 but he didn鈥檛 seem to place his importance on that strength.
His mother had described him well. He was strong, careful鈥 and he put his pack first.
The closer they got, the more she learned about him, the more she could feel through their bond. His emotions, his mental state. She couldn鈥檛 hear his thoughts, not unless he was mentally communicating in wolf form. The information she was getting, however, was almost more than she could bear.
It made her terrified to guess what he could sense about her.
That鈥檚 how bonding goes. He is our soul mate. We can鈥檛 hide from him.
鈥溾︹ Alyssa ignored her wolf, mad that she was telling the truth.
鈥淎re you okay?鈥 Alyssa looked up at Lewis鈥檚 mental question, startled to see his wolf鈥檚 face right in front of her own. 鈥淒id something upset you?鈥
鈥溾 What would you do if something did?鈥
鈥淗elp you. No matter what.鈥 His mental voice was firm鈥 reassuring.
鈥淲hat if it was you that upset me?鈥 Alyssa was curious how he would answer that.
鈥溾 If I did something, please let me know鈥 I don鈥檛 want to hurt you, even by accident.鈥 He paused. 鈥淚f you don鈥檛 feel comfortable telling me鈥 then my mom or Bridget would be happy to listen. And of course beat me up for whatever I did鈥︹
SORRY WE UPSET YOU MATE! WOULD YOU LIKE MEAT?! Startled, Alyssa realized she could hear Lewis鈥檚 wolf directly. He sounded a lot like Lewis, but slightly more鈥 straightforward.
TELL HIM WE LIKE MEAT! Alyssa鈥檚 wolf shouted with frustration. OR SHIFT SO I CAN TELL HIM MYSELF!
鈥淗ow can I hear your wolf? I thought that could only happen after mating?鈥
Lewis shook his head, the motion strange appearing when performed by a wolf. 鈥淚鈥檓 not sure鈥 I鈥檝e never been mated before鈥 but I think as our bond deepens we鈥檒l hear more. I can鈥檛 hear your wolf now鈥 if she鈥檚 speaking鈥︹
鈥溾ut if you were in wolf form I might. Their control is a little stronger in that form. One day we might be able to hear each other鈥檚 wolves even when in human form.鈥
We like you, Mate! We think you are smart and pretty and smell nice! We spend a lot of time arguing over what would make you like us! Lewis鈥檚 wolf chimed in.
鈥淪hush鈥︹ Lewis tried to interrupt, but the wolf kept talking.
I wanted to bring you meat and expose our genitals to reassure you of our virility, but he insisted that would make you mad.
His wolf is smart. Alyssa鈥檚 wolf approved. That would have made me happy.
鈥溾our wolf and my wolf are on the same page. I have no desire to see genitals, though.鈥
鈥淣o worries, there鈥檚 a firm 鈥榥o flashing鈥 rule in place. 鈥
Her stomach rumbled. 鈥淲ouldn鈥檛 say no to a steak though!鈥
Hooray! We鈥檒l bring you the tastiest of the steaks!
See, he loves us enough to bring us the best steak! We should mate him now!
Lewis ran behind a tree and shifted, quickly changing into loose fitting shorts and t-shirt. Alyssa had learned the hard way that the pack had very little sense of modesty.
After numbing her brain to the sight of naked people who had transformed back from wolf form multiple times, she had come to somewhat accept it as normal.
She was still glad that Lewis tried to not be naked in front of her. Although she was now realizing that this might have more to do with avoiding his wolf鈥檚 desire to show off genitals then anything else.
鈥淟et鈥檚 go.鈥 He smiled, the expression causing her heart to skip a quick beat, and held out his hand. After a short hesitation, she took it, feeling as always the thrill that came from touching him.
They walked together in silence.
As they neared the house, Lewis spoke up. 鈥淵ou know everyone likes you here.鈥
Alyssa tensed up. 鈥淏ut鈥?鈥
鈥淣o buts. They just like you.鈥 He let out a quiet sigh. 鈥淵ou don鈥檛 have to try this hard.鈥
鈥淵ou look relaxed when you鈥檙e talking with the pack. You鈥檙e smiling and joking around鈥 you鈥檝e even got half of them addicted to those werewolf romance novels鈥 I mean your research鈥︹ He chuckled, squeezing her hand with his own. 鈥淏ut I can feel it, Lyss. I can feel how stressed out you are鈥 how hard you鈥檙e trying to make them like you.鈥
鈥淚鈥︹ Alyssa started to talk but then fell silent.
I told you he knows us.
鈥淚鈥檓 not judging.鈥 He smiled bitterly. 鈥淚 wish I had met you much earlier. I don鈥檛 know what your life has been like leading up to now. I just want you to know that people like you for the weird, lovely person you are. You can try to relax a little.鈥
Alyssa thought his words over. 鈥淕rowing up鈥 being liked鈥 it was safer. Especially if you were the weird kid who had a wolf voice in her head. I learned early how to read people, and act the way they wanted. I鈥檝e grown out of it some鈥 it does get very tiring. But I don鈥檛 know if I could completely stop, even if I wanted to.鈥
鈥淭hat鈥檚 okay.鈥 He grinned. 鈥淛ust know that I care about you... honestly maybe more than that, although it鈥檚 just been a few weeks. You never have to try to get on my good side.鈥
鈥淚 don鈥檛 think we ever tried to do that.鈥
We tried to scare him off. And instead he treated us better than anyone else.
He grinned. 鈥淕ood. Then I guess I got to see a closer side to you than most鈥 even if it was not meant as a compliment.鈥
Alyssa felt scared by this. His care. His acceptance of her. Even worse by the fact she could feel through the bond that it was completely genuine.
鈥淒on鈥檛 let it worry you too much. Let鈥檚 just take it a day at a time for now.鈥
She sighed with relief at his words. 鈥淭hanks.鈥
鈥淣o problem.鈥 He thought it over for a moment. 鈥淲ait? What about your job at the bookstore? You鈥檝e been here two weeks without notice? Do you still have a job?鈥
鈥淵ou don鈥檛 need to worry about it.鈥
You鈥檒l have to tell him eventually.
鈥淚f you say so.鈥 His expression and mental state were a little sad, but she ignored it.
She would take it one step at a time, just like Lewis suggested.
Lewis was going a little crazy.
It had been a month. He spent every day at his mate鈥檚 side. Every day talking with Alyssa, laughing with her, getting to know her more and more. As they grew closer, he couldn鈥檛 help but wish for more.
They had just returned from a run through the forest in their wolf forms. He loved spending time with her wolf as well. She was much smaller than him, with silver fur and grey eyes that saw right through him. Her wolf self was much more open and playful, often pulling him to play or run through the forest. His wolf was enamored with her, yelling out offers to feed her or provide her with pups鈥 or both. Her wolf was in hearty agreement, only to be silenced by Alyssa, who still seemed somewhat uncomfortable about the whole situation.
Lewis was happy. He hoped she would continue to stay with the pack鈥 stay with him. He just wasn鈥檛 sure how long that would last. Fortunately she seemed completely unconcerned about how much time she took off the bookstore.
He shifted back behind a tree, changing into his clothes stuffed nearby and staring down at the ground until he heard she was done doing the same. Stepping out of his hiding spot he grinned and offered his hand.
鈥淪hould we get something to eat?鈥
Alyssa took his hand without hesitation. 鈥淪ure. What should we make?鈥 Lewis felt his heartbeat speed up at her casual use of 鈥渨e鈥.
Their wolves chimed in, making them both shake their heads.
鈥淗ow about pasta?鈥 He asked. Feeling the wolves鈥 disappointment he added 鈥淲e can have meat in the sauce.
Our mate is the best!
Lewis couldn鈥檛 help but chuckle at that. Her wolf likes me at least.
鈥淎LPHA!鈥 Gary鈥檚 panicked voice caused him to turn, seeing the large man running towards them fully naked.
Seeing Alyssa look towards the ground, Lewis couldn鈥檛 help but growl with annoyance. 鈥淐an鈥檛 you put pants on?鈥
鈥淣o time.鈥 He skidded to a halt, trying to catch his breath. 鈥淚t鈥檚 your brother鈥︹
His heart stopped.
Benjamin. Nightfang. His brother. His enemy.
鈥淲hat has he done?鈥
Gary鈥檚 face was grim. 鈥淗e鈥檚 invaded. The South Segment.鈥
Lewis pulled off his clothes, shifting to his wolf form.
鈥淎re there any of our pack patrolling in the area?鈥
鈥淚 let Teddy and Lara take that segment鈥 it was supposed to be our safest area鈥︹ Gary rubbed his face looking horrified. 鈥淚 thought it would be okay.鈥
鈥淪tay here. Protect the pack. I鈥檒l get the young wolves.鈥
His silent voice projected across the entire territory.
鈥淓veryone. We are under attack. Go to your designated areas. The Nightfang pack has definitely invaded the South Segment, but it could be a distraction. DO NOT LET DOWN YOUR GUARD! Watch each others鈥 backs. I鈥檓 going after Teddy and Lara who were last seen in the attacked area. Listen to the Beta while I鈥檓 gone."
He hesitated mentally, continuing to run as fast as possible to the south segment, and then reached out privately to Alyssa.
鈥淧lease keep yourself safe. If you want to fight I won鈥檛 stop you, stay near Gary. If you want to stay out of the fight, go hide in the house with my mom. The pack is instructed to guard it. 鈥
鈥淚鈥 鈥 He trailed off, unsure of how to finish the sentence.
He wanted to. He wanted to express the thoughts, the emotions that had slowly sprouted within him in the time they had spent together. To say everything he had wanted to say when he was by her side.
But he couldn鈥檛.
We鈥檙e not strong. We can barely protect our pack. She won鈥檛 want us. She doesn鈥檛 trust us yet.
He reached out for what he hoped wouldn鈥檛 be the last time to his beloved mate.
鈥淪tay safe.鈥
With that, he continued towards the south sector.
Calling out for Teddy and Lara as he neared the attacked area, Lewis wasn鈥檛 getting any answers. He tried not to think too hard about what that could mean.
They might just be unconscious鈥 they might not be鈥 His wolf trailed off, hesitating.
I don鈥檛 know what Ben鈥 what Nightfang is capable of. He might kill them. But if there is a chance they are still alive鈥 we have to try.
He slowed down, his paws silently stepping on the soft earth. He stayed on high alert, listening for any possible signs of the intruders.
Don鈥檛 let your guard down. Someone is close. His wolf could feel the intrusion on the Packs鈥 territory, it bothered him.
There, in the clearing! Lewis spotted two small wolf forms laying still on the ground. Praying they were just knocked out, he crouched down and inched closer.
They were breathing.
He let out a silent sigh of relief. Scouting around, there were at least two from the NightFang pack in the clearing with the pups.
Only two.
Where鈥檚 the rest of that bastard鈥檚 pack?! Where鈥檚 Ben? His wolf snarled within him.
It鈥檚 a distraction.He had known there was a possibility. But he couldn鈥檛 leave the two young wolves for dead. He couldn鈥檛.
And Nightfang knew that.
Let鈥檚 save them quickly and head straight back. Hopefully Gary will keep things together until we return.
I miss our mate. I hope she鈥檚 okay.
鈥 Me too.
Lewis attacked from the shadows. Normally he would owe them a noise, some sort of warning of his approach. He should give them the chance to surrender. To run away.
He didn鈥檛 warn them. They had invaded his pack鈥檚 territory. Kidnapped and attacked their young wolves. They knew the consequences.
One wolf screamed in pain and fear as his hamstring was shredded between Lewis鈥 teeth. He shifted in his confusion and shock, the bloody mess even worse in human form. Lewis had already turned to the next one.
He snapped at the enemy鈥檚 flank, and as the wolf dodged to avoid his teeth, used his much heavier muscle mass to push him to the ground. He grabbed his throat, resting his canines against the carotid pulse. The wolf grew still, not wanting to push him into ending his life.
鈥淪PEAK! What is that traitor鈥檚 plan?鈥
The wolf whined at his mental command, but stayed silent. Lewis began closing his jaw. We don鈥檛 have time for this. The pack is in danger. Our mate is in danger.
鈥淗e鈥檚 attacking from the West!鈥 Sensing death close by, the wolf began to mindspeak. 鈥淗e wants to wipe out your pack while you鈥檙e distracted.鈥
Lewis opened his jaw slightly, considering his options. If I let him go he could warn the others.
Kill him.
He surrendered.
The pack must be protected.
Let me knock him out.
鈥淲eakling.鈥 A snarl came behind him, and he realized it was the man whose hamstring he had torn out. Swinging a metal bar at his head. At the same time, the wolf he had pinned bucked with teeth bared, trying to throw him off and attack.
Lewis dodged, clamping down his teeth as he moved, tearing the carotid and jugular with the sharp points of his teeth. He let go, tasting blood, knowing that the wolf beneath him was dead.
One left.
Before the attacker could say anything, Lewis jumped, fangs bared, and tore his throat out as well.
We did it.
He nudged Lara, the older of the two wolves, relieved when she woke up right away.
鈥淕rab your brother and go to the main house.鈥 His tone didn鈥檛 allow room for argument. She nodded silently, shaking awake her brother, and the two ran into the forest.
Lewis couldn鈥檛 help but chastise himself as he watched them move away. I hesitated.
You鈥檙e our kind half. I am the viciousness we hold, the killer instinct.
I鈥檓 weak.
We have to have both, or we鈥檒l either be a tyrant killer or a ineffective Alpha. Now stop having a personal crisis and go SAVE OUR MATE.
Lewis nodded grimly, padding off into the forest towards where he could sense the pack.
It鈥檚 time to end this.
He ran into more enemy wolves as he neared the center of his territory. This time he sighed, giving up control to his wolf. His wolf seemed relieved at taking over, fighting both enemies to severe injury or death before moving forward.
Mate. He picked up the pace.
Alyssa had never been in a fight before. At least not with other wolves.
Don鈥檛 worry, I got this. Her wolf took over and leapt at the nearest attacker. Gary and Bridget were to either side of her, their much larger wolves defending her flank.
鈥淭here鈥檚 a lot of them, but I think we鈥檝e got control.鈥 Gary communicated calmly, his frantic attacks never slowing.
鈥淭hey seem disorganized. 鈥 Bridgett鈥檚 silent voice conveyed her disapproval. 鈥淒id they come here just to die?鈥
As her wolf continued to fight, leaping nimbly in between the snarling wolves, Alyssa studied her surroundings.
This is too easy. They鈥檙e injured鈥 starving鈥 what have they been doing in their territory?
Her wolf had no sympathy. Bad alphas make bad packs.
She looked around in the chaos. Everywhere she looked wolves were snapping at each other. Blood stained the cold ground, trampled into the dirt churning it into mud. Howls and whines of pain filled the air.
鈥淚 don鈥檛 see him.鈥 She communicated to the other pack members.
鈥淲ho鈥? Gary trampled his enemy into the mud, his jaw locking on the throat of the other wolf. 鈥淟ewis?鈥
鈥淣o. Benjamin. I don鈥檛 sense an alpha in this group. Shouldn鈥檛 he be larger or stronger than the rest? Where is he?鈥
鈥淢aybe the Southern Sector? An alpha fight?鈥
鈥淣o.鈥 Alyssa鈥檚 mind was racing. 鈥淗e doesn鈥檛 seem like the type to respect Lewis enough to fight him head on. 64% of the stories show the villain attempting some sort of sneak attack. The South Sector was a distraction鈥 and so is this. They sent their weaker, injured members to fight us.鈥
That means鈥.
She took off for the main house.
Alyssa! Bridgett called out. Where are you going?
To where the real fight is.
She crashed into the house, skidding to a halt at the sight of Lewis and his mother.
No鈥 it鈥檚 not Lewis.Their faces were very similar, but everything else was wrong: his scent, his expression, his posture.
He smells dangerous鈥 aggressive鈥 Her wolf complained. He鈥檚 everything our mate isn鈥檛.
I don鈥檛 like him.
Me either鈥 he鈥檚 scary.
We should be careful.
She kept a defensive posture, her hackles raised, her teeth bared.
Benjamin looked down at her with a mocking smile. 鈥淎h. The princess is here.鈥
His mother glared at him, holding a gun in her hand. To Alyssa鈥檚 shock there were already two large wolf bodies on the floor, cooling blood spilling from multiple bullet wounds. 鈥淒on鈥檛 you look at her, Ben! You came here for me.鈥
鈥淚t鈥檚 Nightfang now, Mother.鈥 Ben laughed. 鈥淎nd you can鈥檛 tell me what to do. Not anymore. You lost that right when you betrayed me to side with my weak brother.鈥
Alyssa advanced closer.
鈥淥h don鈥檛 give her that crap, Benjamin. You might pretend to be mysterious and evil but you鈥檙e just pathetic. You aren鈥檛 Nightfang, or Eveningclaw or even Morning-freaking-wood. You are Ben. A bitter little boy who is mad at his mommy and daddy for giving the pack to your brother.鈥 She kept her gaze on his, and his green eyes had trouble continuing to look into her own. 鈥淣ever understanding why they made the choice, even though it鈥檚 obvious to anyone else.鈥
鈥淥h really?鈥
鈥淚鈥檝e only known you for a single minute and I wouldn鈥檛 trust you to be in charge of a self-cleaning litter box, much less actual people鈥檚 lives. 鈥
鈥淲ell, well, Princess. That鈥檚 just needlessly cruel. Trying to rile me up? Distract me?鈥 He shook his head sadly. 鈥淭hat only works in stories. It鈥檚 true that I鈥檓 very disappointed in my parents鈥 choice. They thought I was too violent to lead. That I didn鈥檛 care enough about the pack. But I did. I鈥檓 the only one who does.鈥
鈥淪ure.鈥 She circled around, spotting one of her bags close to the wall.
鈥淏e careful, Alyssa.鈥 Lewis鈥檚 Mom called out, still pointing her gun at her own son. 鈥淗e鈥檚 dangerous.鈥
鈥淵ou used up all your shots in the initial attack, Mom. Don鈥檛 embarrass yourself by pretending it鈥檚 still a threat.鈥 Benjamin reached out and took the gun from her. 鈥淚 forgive you for killing my men. But you should some respect when addressing her.鈥
鈥淲hat are you鈥?鈥 She looked over at Alyssa, who stayed silent.
鈥淵ou didn鈥檛 tell them? ...Interesting.鈥 He rubbed his face, a mocking grin starting to form. 鈥淢aybe you don鈥檛 even know?鈥
鈥淪hut up. 鈥 Alyssa leapt forward, reaching for his throat. Throwing himself backwards, Benjamin shifted as he moved. At the change she miscalculated, slamming into the much larger wolf, her teeth closing on only the fur around his neck.
鈥淵ou want to fight? I鈥檒l fight.鈥 His wolf charged, snapping at her flank while she twisted desperately to avoid him. He was larger, stronger鈥 but she was definitely more agile.
This isn鈥檛 a winning strategy. We can鈥檛 face him head on. Her wolf was directing the movements, keeping them alive from moment to moment as Benjamin pressed the attack.
I know that鈥 Circle around towards the back of the room. I have an idea.
They growled, running in and taking a small chunk out of his foreleg before darting in the direction Alyssa had spotted earlier. Benjamin howled in pain, slamming her with his weight, throwing her smaller form enough to slam her against the wall. At the impact she shifted, turning into her more vulnerable form.
I don鈥檛 like this. We鈥檙e easier to kill this way.
鈥淣ot excited about being naked either, but it鈥檚 necessary.鈥 She muttered, her hands working quickly.
鈥淗e should have protected you better than this.鈥 Benjamin laughed silently in her head. 鈥淗e didn鈥檛 even realize what a treasure he had.鈥
A grey form jumped through the air, landing on Benjamin and knocking him to the ground. As they straightened up Alyssa recognized her mate with a sense of terror and relief. Relief that he was here. Terror that he was now in danger.
The two alpha wolves circled each other.
鈥淵ou should have just found your own territory.鈥 Lewis silent voice was grim, full of his authority as Alpha. 鈥淓ven with your treachery, I was willing to let you go.鈥
鈥淭hat鈥檚 because you鈥檙e weak. This is MY territory. MY pack. You are the one who has to die. And as for your lovely mate who you know so little about鈥 how about I take her too?鈥
He sighed at his brother鈥檚 words. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e forcing me to kill you.鈥
鈥淟ewis, push him my way!鈥 Alyssa called out silently through their connection.
鈥淭hat鈥檒l put you in danger!鈥
鈥淭rust me!鈥
Lewis ducked his head, the almost submissive posture throwing his brother into confusion. As Benjamin hesitated, Lewis charged forward, aiming not for his throat or other vulnerable points, but at his feet. Throwing all his weight behind it, Lewis tripped him up, pushing him back- straight towards Alyssa.
鈥淗ere you go! Be careful!鈥
鈥淵ou just put your mate in harm鈥檚 way! She鈥檚 defenseless!鈥 He snarled, turning his attention to Alyssa鈥檚 vulnerable state. 鈥淔ool!鈥
His form seized for a brief moment and collapsed to the ground,
鈥淣ope!鈥 Alyssa grinned and held up her Taser. 鈥淗e just trusts his mate!鈥
There was a brief stunned silence.
鈥淚鈥檓 so glad you鈥檙e okay!鈥 Lewis鈥 mother leaned against the counter, looking relieved.
鈥淛ust one more thing.鈥 Alyssa held up a finger. Reaching down, she grabbed her overly loaded suitcase filled with her research books.
BAM! And raised it over her head, slamming it down on top of Benjamin.
鈥淥of.鈥 Both Lewis and his mother winced, but made no move to stop her.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 for attacking me. Not to mention what you鈥檝e done to Lewis!鈥 She then reached down and pulled an ampule out of one of the pockets, stabbing Benjamin in the arm with it.
鈥淲hat is that?鈥
鈥淭ranquilizer.鈥 She answered, making sure the drug injected okay.
鈥淚t鈥檚 very effective.鈥 Lewis laughed silently in their heads, and then slowly shifting back to his human form. His green eyes met her own, and neither looked away for a long a moment.
鈥淎re you okay?鈥
鈥淎re you alright?鈥
They asked at the same time. Alyssa smelled his blood and panicking, ran over to look at him closely. 鈥淲here are you hurt?鈥
She grabbed his arm, finding a small cut there, and continued to look at his limbs.
Lewis froze. 鈥淯mm鈥 Could we do this with clothing on?鈥
鈥溾︹ Alyssa stepped back, rubbing her forehead as she realized that they were both naked and she had been feeling him over. 鈥溾ure.鈥
鈥溾ell鈥 Lewis鈥檚 mother broke the silence with an awkward cough. 鈥淚鈥檓 going to go see to the pack. You two鈥 talk.鈥 She gave them a thumbs up and slipped out.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 not even a wolf mating ritual.鈥 Lewis hissed. 鈥淲ill you leave it alone?!鈥
Don鈥檛 worry! Her wolf chimed in. We don鈥檛 think you鈥檙e impotent anymore!
So we should just get straight to the mating!
Lewis and Alyssa sighed slightly at their wolves鈥 excitement, and looked down at Benjamin, still unconscious on the floor.
鈥淲hat do we do to him?鈥 She asked, feeling tired.
鈥淒o you still have some of those chains?鈥 Taking the object she handed to him, Lewis bound the now human form of his brother, sneaking in a single kick in the process. 鈥淲e鈥檒l send him to the Council. He鈥檚 broken every law that I know of.鈥
鈥溾 You know in all the stories where he鈥檚 not killed the villain escapes and causes trouble again.鈥
Lewis sighed at that. 鈥淚 know it would be safer to kill him. But鈥 I鈥︹ He trailed off, looking conflicted.
鈥淚t鈥檚 okay.鈥 She patted his arm, avoiding the injury she found before. 鈥淚f you were able to kill him so easily you wouldn鈥檛 be you.鈥
鈥淚 worry sometimes that I鈥檓 too weak to be an Alpha.鈥
鈥淚 know. And I鈥檓 sure there鈥檚 probably some perfect balance of strength and mercy鈥 but you don鈥檛 have to have everything figured out right away.鈥
She shrugged. 鈥淏esides, isn鈥檛 your sister still out there? Maybe the council can use Benjamin to figure out where she is.鈥
After handing Benjamin off to Gary and Bridgett to guard (And having them both fuss over Alyssa to make sure she was okay) the two went back to their rooms to change. Alyssa stared at the wall of her temporary bedroom, feeling conflicted.
He鈥檚 our mate. He鈥檒l understand.
鈥淚 know. And that鈥檚 what scares me.鈥
Finishing her brief hesitation, she walked over to Lewis鈥 room, knocking on the door.
鈥淐ome in.鈥
鈥淲e need to talk.鈥
Lewis was extremely nervous as he waved his mate to sit down on the bed. He took the chair on the other side of the room.
What if she doesn鈥檛 want to stay?
She鈥檚 our mate! His wolf answered his nervous thoughts. She won鈥檛 abandon us!
鈥淚 don鈥檛 know what you told him, but your wolf is right.鈥 Alyssa spoke up. 鈥淲e won鈥檛 abandon you. Not over something silly like your evil twin brother trying to invade and kill us all.鈥
Lewis let out the breath he hadn鈥檛 realized he was holding. 鈥淭hat鈥檚 a relief.鈥 He leaned back in his chair. 鈥淪o what do you want to talk to me about?鈥
She stared at the ground a few moments before painfully continuing. 鈥淪o I told you I grew up in the foster system, right?鈥
鈥淪o the part I didn鈥檛 tell you鈥 is that a few years back, around the time I turned 18鈥 a weird guy came and found me.鈥
Lewis growled. 鈥淒id he try to hurt you?鈥
鈥淣o. Quite the opposite. He said he was a friend of my family. He wasn鈥檛 one of us鈥 definitely human.鈥 She ran her fingers through her hair, obviously unhappy. 鈥淗e wouldn鈥檛 tell me who they were, or why they abandoned me. He just said they had no choice.鈥
鈥淭hat鈥檚 crap. I don鈥檛 know their situation but their only option was to abandon a baby?鈥 HE shook his head. 鈥淪omething鈥檚 off.鈥
鈥淚 thought so too. I told him to get lost.鈥 She hesitated. 鈥淎nd he gave me a million dollars.鈥
鈥淗e said it was a small gift from my parents. I don鈥檛 know who my family is, or what they were involved in, but it鈥檚 probably big鈥 and definitely not good.鈥
Lewis processed this for a few moments. 鈥淪o your job at the bookstore?鈥
鈥淚 actually own it. But I have a manager run it. I stop by occasionally and shelve books while I look for new research.鈥
鈥淪o鈥︹ He grinned. 鈥淒oes this mean you can stay longer and not worry about losing your job?鈥
鈥溾 Is that what you鈥檙e thinking about?鈥 Alyssa demanded, her hands twisting in the fabric of her t-shirt. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e not worried about unknown schemes, powerful families鈥 who knows what nonsense could happen! I swear, haven鈥檛 you ever read one of these novels?!鈥
Lewis picked up the book on the table nearby. 鈥淚 started reading through a few at your suggestion.
鈥淭he Seductive Alpha鈥檚 bride?鈥 She raised an eyebrow. 鈥淩eally?鈥
鈥淚t鈥檚 research! I鈥檓 trying to learn how to be a better mate!鈥
He鈥檚 hoping to learn how to make himself more attractive! His wolf added.
We already think you鈥檙e both attractive!
Great! Let鈥檚 mate then!
鈥淣ot yet!鈥 Alyssa stepped in as their wolves got carried away once more. 鈥淎lthough she鈥檚 right鈥 we do think you鈥檙e attractive鈥︹
鈥淏ut how about we go slow鈥 like a date, first?鈥
鈥淎 date!鈥 Lewis jumped up, his mind racing. 鈥淵es! Let me grab my car鈥︹
鈥淲e were just attacked鈥 remember?鈥
He stopped at her gentle reminder. 鈥淥h. Right. How about after we get things sorted out?鈥
She smiled, the expression causing his heart to race.
鈥淚鈥檇 like that.鈥
They fell into a comfortable silence.
鈥淪o how accurate has your research been so far?鈥 He asked after a while, curious.
鈥淭he books?鈥 She thought it over. 鈥淵ou know, considering the Alphas and the relationships I鈥檝e read about?鈥 She looked him over again. 鈥淚鈥檇 say I was a little surprised.鈥
鈥淚n a good way?鈥 His tone was hopeful, he couldn鈥檛 help it.
鈥淵es. As for the future though?鈥 She leaned in and kissed his cheek. 鈥淭he majority of these stories have a happy ending. But we鈥檒l just have to see.鈥
Lewis touched the spot that had been kissed, smiling. 鈥淎 happy ending, huh? I鈥檇 like that.鈥
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bobateastay5 hours ago
I am the other type of 2000 kids big pants big thirst skate for when I was young Avril Lavigne was my top she still is like love her
opposite ends of the 2000s spectrum kfjskjk i love avril lavigne!!! paris hilton for me is <3<3 i lovelovelove her
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polysorscha7 hours ago
last night my mom and i were talking about Lost, the first show (in)famous for its 50% flashback/50% current story structure, and it helped me articulate what i mean by one of my personal favorite writing guidelines/preferences/adages: a chronological story usually takes a lot more skill and discipline than a story written with flashbacks.
there are multiple schools of thought on flashbacks. many people prefer seeing a flashback to the character sitting down and telling you something about their life. a lot of writers (hacks and otherwise) say flashbacks are lazy. i would never go as far as to say all flashbacks are always lazy, but i really wish more writers would be more intentional about flashbacks instead of using them as a first resort for exposition. usually i'd agree that showing something in action is better than telling in dialogue, but that's not necessarily true with flashbacks because writers often forget that the narrative agency must be with the character, not the writer.
expositional flashbacks are the reason why all flashbacks get generalized into "lazy writing." all stories require exposition, and oftentimes adult characters have a backstory that informs the way they are now. but does that necessarily mean we have to see what happened to them? i don't think so. at their weakest, flashbacks are dropped into a narrative because the narrative wants us to know what happened Back Then. we are given little context and mostly unfamiliar characters we're not invested in.
this does not work for every character, especially those who are withdrawn, misunderstood, or a source of intrigue. not every character is ready to share their experiences or receive information conveyed in flashbacks at the beginning of their arc. they have to develop. jaime lannister tells brienne his side of the kingslayer story three seasons/books in, and it's regarded as one of his best scenes. why? because we watched him grow close enough with someone to choose to tell her (and us) that story, and it adds nuance to both his character and the history of his world. this is much stronger than flashbacks in later seasons of the show, where bran becomes a vessel to give us plot-serving information. had bran sufficiently developed his skills of prophecy to actively seek out information about his family, he would've had agency in showing us those flashbacks.
so before you write a flashback, ask yourself if 1) we really need to know, and 2) you are telling us or the character is telling us. if yes and yes, write away. if not, consider scrapping it and showing us in a different way. i promise the writing will be stronger.
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princessroot7 hours ago
The trope of one character using another character's weapon is majestic. Like, the intimacy. The symbolism.
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direquail13 hours ago
list 10 different female faves from 10 different fandoms
got tagged by @lightdescending!!! Thank you!!! Putting answers under a cut in case this gets Long (update: It Did)
Faith (Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Angel) - A formative archetype, for all that Joss Whedon turned out to be a creep and it kind of shows in how his characters are written. But honestly, there's how they were written and how they were received, and Faith has become so much more than how she was written. My younger disaster gay self was instantly vibing.
Tamsin (Lost Girl) - One word: Valkyrie. Two words: Drunk Valkyrie. A broken ancient warrior wandering the world as a mercenary, cynical and hardened, who proceeds to fall in love with her mark because her mark is The Real Deal? Iconic. A bisexual foul-mouthed murder lady who swigs vodka and then kills things? Effervescent. And she has WINGS???? There were many things about this show that (a) did not age well, and/or (b) were Not Great when they first aired, but Tamsin was. Influential to how I write and the fandom had a huge impact on me personally. I have a Character Type, and BOY HOWDY is Tamsin the mascot.
Brunnhilde | Valkyrie (MCU) - When Tamsin died at the end of season 3 of Lost Girl, I had a minor existential crisis because Valkyries canonically reincarnate, and I could not imagine another actress doing what Rachel Skarsten did with the role. And then I watched Thor: Ragnarok, and I am convinced that Skarsten's Tamsin is but an imitation of this Valkyrie. I know, I know; Lost Girl ended years before Thor: Ragnarok came out. But I don't make the rules.
Dutch | Yalena Yardeen (Killjoys) - She's just. I just. So. I watched Ant-Man and the Wasp, right? I watched it because I knew Hannah John-Kamen (the actress who plays Dutch) would be in it as Ghost. I did not watch the first Ant-Man movie. I have no plans to watch any Ant-Man 3 movie unless HJK is in it again. Technically, Killjoys is about all three of the main Killjoys (Johnny, D'av, and Dutch)--but the show is Dutch's story and Dutch is. How do I even describe her? "Badass" is not a strong enough word. There are similarities to other earlier characters on here--she's not as drunk as a lot of them, she can't afford to be, but like a lot of other characters on this list, she exists on the margins of the society she lives in (as a bounty hunter), and she is deeply, deeply cocky. But her story is also so much about self-determination and choosing how to use her deadly skill set after a truly horrifying childhood, about not being a pawn in anyone's plan anymore, and I can do absolutely nothing but respect and love her. And Hannah John-Kamen.
Wynonna Earp (Wynonna Earp) - What a fucking mess of a human. I love her so much. A very Gideon Nav kind of human who comes back to the town that had her committed to a psych hospital and gave her electroconvulsive therapy for refusing to lie about the horrors she'd seen and now, she finds herself bound to defend them. She is the hero of the show. End of story.
Kara Danvers | Kara Zor-El (Supergirl (2015)) - After reading this list, you may think that this is a departure from my Very Predictable Wheelhouse of drunk murder ladies, and you are correct! This came as a shock to me, too, because I almost never feel any kind of emotional connection to female title characters--I connect with Faith before Buffy, Tamsin before Bo, etc., and I know that at least part of the reason for that is the kind of gendered expectations placed on female title characters by our media, the kinds of stories they're allowed to embody. But Kara is the exception, and What A Fucking Exception. It's very predictable for me to love Gideon Nav; but Kara Zor-El is a Sunshine Character, and I have a deep love for her. Possibly because, while she is a Sunshine Character (ha ha, yes, pun), she is also just so profoundly genuinely kind, and it comes from profound and genuine grief and rage and loss, and it makes her sunshine-y -ness feel like more than a platitude. I love messy characters, but I also love Genuinely Good characters, and Kara Zor-El is so genuinely good. (This is also the exact kind of character that I love to pair with characters like Tamsin)
Grace Harper (Terminator: Dark Fate) - BUTCH REP BUTCH REP. (Accidental) BUTCH REP. Also, Mackenzie Davis. Grace gave me so many gender feels, and her complete unhesitating devotion and loyalty is *clenches fist* So Good
Camilla Hect (The Locked Tomb Series) - Why do I love her so much that I'd pick her out of all the Locked Tomb ladies to include on this list? I do not know. I only know I have a soft spot for gruff badasses who share their food with people. Also it helps that she dual-wields (yes, that is a euphemism, but also no, it is not a euphemism)
Alice (CW's Batwoman) - Another Rachel Skarsten character, because Rachel Skarsten is a Fucking Delight and Alice is just. *chef's kiss*
Mara (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power) - The other Sunshine Character on this list, and I think I love her for similar reasons to why I love Kara? She's good, and kind, and noble, and so much all of those things it hurts. It would have been easy for her to be (and with any other people running the show, she probably would have been) uncomplicated and kind of boring, but instead she was moving and tragic and beautiful and I love her, thanks for coming to my TED talk. Also: She gives me distinguished older queer vibes, and my not-nearly-so-distinguished slightly-older queer self connected with that for some reason.
If you made it through all of that and you'd like to do this, consider yourself tagged! And I'd like to see what your answers are, so if you do do this, feel free to tag me! Tagging (with no pressure to do it but just inviting you to join in): @diaryreadingcat, @queersintherain, @nike-ravus, @the-evil-queen-14, @the-consequences-of-salt, @makutas-chronicle, @generalalder, and uhhhhhhh anybody else who wants to pass this around
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eggrecious13 hours ago
the mystery and 鈥渋 don鈥檛 need a man鈥 mentality leaving the female protagonist as soon as the male main character shows up
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romanticsapcalebmalphas16 hours ago
whoever popularized using the term orbs instead of eyes needs to die. this isn鈥檛 a problem in only fanfic
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strohller2717 hours ago
I was GONNA say 87-71 for the AU's prompts but uh... Dangit, both 71 and 17 are too angsty so... 87. Aroused by [their] voice. and 99. Magical Accident :3
Ah, those are super easy to put together)
So Sid is obviously attracted to Geno and thus is turned on by Geno鈥檚 deep, silky voice (especially when he鈥檚 speaking Russian), but he鈥檚 usually super adept at hiding it鈥hat is, until the magical accident, when he gets an anti-curse spell wrong and his inhibitions go completely out the window. Then he suddenly can鈥檛 help biting his lip and sighing longingly when he hears Geno talking (Cue blushy mortification and subtle, yet ultimately unsuccessful avoidance). Thing is, unbeknownst to Sid, the magical-accident-effect works both ways, and suddenly Geno is also completely unable to hide his arousal when he hears Sid鈥檚 cute Cole Harbour Maritimer Accent鈩笍 (cue a last-minute visit one afternoon where Sid is trying to babble out an apology鈥omething about I鈥檓-so-sorry-if-I-made-you-uncomfortable-the-other-day-I鈥檒l-leave-now鈥nd then Geno grabs him and there鈥檚 messy kissing in the front hallway at Geno鈥檚 house). That would be a cute fic))
Trope Mashup Meme
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benjji279518 hours ago
Anon, just letting you know I saw ur request for 95+96 and I am gonna answer it, but I鈥檓 gonna write an actual ficlet for that one so it鈥檒l take me a hot minute. Be looking for it tomorrow!
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frankthesnek19 hours ago
Trope writing checklist!
Done 馃煝 Active WIP 馃煛 Storyboard only 馃敶
BDSM 馃煝馃煝
Jealousy 馃煝
First date 馃煝
Shared body 馃煝
Soul bonding馃煝
Full world AU 馃煝馃煝馃煝
Cross dressing 馃煝馃敶馃敶
Rodney鈥檚 perfect butt 馃煝
Bed sharing/snuggling 馃煝
Aliens made them do it 馃煝
Alternative reality characters 馃煝馃敶
Bug!John 馃煛
Drunk sex 馃煛
Voyeurism 馃煛
Merpeople 馃煛
Marriage 馃煛馃敶
Speaking French is sexy 馃煛
Characters stuck together 馃煛
Sex pollen 馃敶
Phone sex 馃敶
Foot fetish 馃敶
Alpha/Omega 馃敶
I'm a bit of a mixed bag 馃檭 I love almost all tropes!
What does your list look like?
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a-kind-of-merry-war19 hours ago
So, I鈥檝e been struggling to write these past few days, and to get over it I took a heap of prompts that I got sent a couple of weeks ago and combined them to make, just, the most trope-laden thing ever. I think there are 10 or 11 different tropes/clich茅s聽in here. 2.5k, rated T.
Jaskier trots down the sunlit road, pleased with the new books bouncing against his hip in his satchel and blithely working out the chords to his newest song, when his attention is suddenly and not altogether unpleasantly caught by the sight of Geralt hurrying from around a corner towards him.
鈥淕eralt!鈥 He chirrups, 鈥淗ow was the鈥斺
鈥淲e need to get out of here,鈥 says Geralt, without stopping.
Geralt grabs his arm and starts tugging him back the way he came, not quite running. Jaskier twists around just in time to see a group of men emerge from the bend in the road, peering around. One of them shouts. 鈥淭he witcher!鈥
He quickens his pace, still looking over his shoulder. One of the men is pointing, another reaching over his back to grab - oh, fuck - a crossbow.
鈥淲e don鈥檛 have time for鈥斺
He twists them both around, pulling Geralt towards him and pinning him beneath his body against the closest wall as the crossbow bolt zooms past his back with a deadly sounding thwip.
He鈥檚 interrupted by the heavy sound of his bag sliding right off his shoulder and onto the floor, books and all. The bolt has sliced cleanly through the leather strap. He barely has a moment to register the near miss before Geralt grabs his wrist and they really are running, the men a little way behind.
鈥淲e need to hide,鈥 Geralt pants. 鈥淛ust...鈥
Without another word, he pulls them both quickly left, skidding into an alleyway between two lopsided buildings barely big enough for one person, let alone two. Geralt doesn鈥檛 let go of Jaskier鈥檚 wrist as he squeezes them both into the tiny, dead-end space, and by the time he releases him Jaskier is pressed fully against his chest, his hands resting on Geralt鈥檚 shoulders, their noses nearly brushing.
He should be terrified, Jaskier knows. There鈥檚 a sting between his shoulder blades, and the thrum of the crossbow bolt is still ringing unpleasantly in his ears. He could have been killed.
But all he can think of is the heat of Geralt鈥檚 body pressed so close to his, the way he feels beneath his hands, the way Geralt鈥檚 arms crowd him, the hot huff of his breath temptingly close to his lips. His mouth goes dry and his heart thuds in his chest like a drum - like a whole army of drummers - in a way that has nothing to do with the brush with death.
鈥淒id it hit you?鈥 Geralt mutters, keeping his voice low and his eyes towards the entry to the alleyway.
Jaskier forces himself to speak. 鈥淚鈥︹ he swallows heavily, wriggling his shoulders, wincing as the pain flares. 鈥淚 think so. Fuck. Geralt鈥斺
Geralt finally looks at him, and Jaskier can feel his breath on his cheek. His expression is鈥 angry. Pained. 鈥淚 shouldn鈥檛 have gotten you tangled in this,鈥 he says.
Jaskier tries and fails to smile. 鈥淚鈥檓 already tangled up in you,鈥 he mutters, horribly aware of how true that is. 鈥淭oo late now.鈥
There鈥檚 a noise from the road beyond - a muffled shout - and Geralt freezes beneath Jaskier鈥檚 hands as his head snaps around. This close, Jaskier can see the way his pupils constrict as he focuses his gaze towards the bright rectangle of light framed between the two towering buildings. It鈥檚 fascinating, and Jaskier finds himself entranced, even with the looming threat of discovery.
They stand there for a moment, utterly still. Waiting.
But it鈥檚 just a merchant, plying his wares. He passes quickly, and Geralt relaxes a fraction, releasing the breath he鈥檇 been holding. It tickles over Jaskier鈥檚 skin, past his ear, far too warm; far too close. Geralt peers back towards him, his eyes still focused.
鈥淎re you alright?鈥 Jaskier doesn鈥檛 respond. He barely registers Geralt鈥檚 words. 鈥淛askier.鈥
Jaskier blinks, forcing himself to regain at least some semblance of dignity. He reminds himself, again, that there are men after them - armed men.
鈥淚鈥檓 fine,鈥 he says. It comes out weaker than he intended, his voice cracking around the final word.
Geralt pins him beneath that gaze, like he鈥檚 examining him. And then, with no small amount of wriggling and mavouring of them both, he reaches up and grabs Jaskier鈥檚 hand where it rests against his chest, slotting their fingers together. He squeezes, and Jaskier feels like his heart may be about to give out. Geralt leans closer - not that he needs to, in this tiny space - and Jaskier suppresses a shudder.
鈥淎re you sure you鈥檙e alright?鈥 He whispers, straight into Jaskier鈥檚 ear.
Jaskier is very much not alright. Geralt鈥檚 fingers twitch between his own, and their legs are tangled together, and his body is on fire in every place where they touch - which right now feels like it鈥檚 everywhere. Geralt鈥檚 lips ghost above his ear, brushing against the skin, sending fluttering little butterflies directly down his spine, swirling around his stomach and then - hot and urgent - even lower.
He cannot get a hard-on right now, not when they鈥檙e running for their lives, not when he was just shot with a fucking crossbow, even if the wound it left behind is little more than a scratch.
鈥淔ine,鈥 he says, and his treacherous voice shakes again. 鈥淚鈥檓 fine,鈥 he repeats, this time with more certainty. 鈥淩eally.鈥
Geralt frowns at him. Jaskier realises how he must look to the witcher, who can hear his thundering heart, feel his racing pulse in his fingertips. He doesn鈥檛 look thrilled: he looks terrified. No wonder Geralt is concerned. Usually, such attentiveness would make him ache, but right now it鈥檚 all too much.
He sighs, the expanding of his chest only forcing them closer together.
鈥淭rust me, Geralt.鈥 He shakes his head, as much as he can in the cramped space without brushing their lips together. 鈥淵ou鈥檙e so鈥斺
Geralt鈥檚 eyes go suddenly wide, and with no warning whatsoever he lets go of Jaskier鈥檚 hand and instead clamps his palm over his mouth, smothering his words. Jaskier manages a brief, shocked mumble, feeling Geralt鈥檚 fingers pressing into his cheek, before hearing the voices that Geralt must have caught just a few seconds before his human hearing.
They both go still. Geralt watches the entrance to the alleyway, eyes narrowed, while Jaskier watches his face, waiting. His palm is softer than he鈥檇 expected, pressed hotly against his lips. He can鈥檛 help but wonder what Geralt鈥檚 skin tastes like. Sweat and horse, probably. Somehow that thought does nothing to ease the urge to lick him.
The voices grow louder. He鈥檚 no idea if it鈥檚 the people who were chasing Geralt, or just bystanders going about their lives.
After a long, drawn-out moment Geralt removes his hand. Jaskier has to stop himself from chasing the touch, mouth clamped tightly shut. He can hear his heart pounding in his ears, his skin flushed. He edges closer.
鈥淲hat the fuck do we do?鈥 He mutters.
For once, Geralt shrugs. Jaskier represses the urge to moan. Clearly Geralt hadn鈥檛 thought this far ahead - or had assumed the alleyway would be open on both sides. But鈥 the men were after Geralt, not him. They must have spotted Geralt grabbing him and leading him away, but that doesn鈥檛 necessarily mean they know who he is. As far as they鈥檙e aware, Jaskier was just a human shield, tossed aside as soon as Geralt had no further use for him. Which means鈥
There鈥檚 a shout. Footsteps. And suddenly Jaskier doesn鈥檛 have time to chase that thought as a shadow crosses over them both and鈥
He does the only sensible thing under the circumstances. He twists himself around, shielding Geralt鈥檚 body with his own once more, places his hands to either side of Geralt鈥檚 face to conceal as much of it as he can, and kisses him.
This isn鈥檛 how he鈥檇 expected this to happen. In fact, he hadn鈥檛 expected this to happen at all, never allowing himself to hope beyond fluttering daydreams. Geralt鈥檚 lips are a little dry, but perfectly pliant beneath him, and he doesn鈥檛 pull away. Of course he doesn鈥檛: allowing himself to be kissed by Jaskier could be the only thing stopping Geralt getting a crossbow bolt through his chest.
Infuriatingly, it鈥檚 a good kiss. Geralt鈥檚 hands press to Jaskier鈥檚 chest, and he can feel his fingers twitching. He can almost imagine that Geralt is reaching for him - trying to touch him, trying to feel his fluttering heartbeat beneath his ribs. He parts his lips just a fraction - only so he can take a breath, he tells himself - and Geralt mirrors the movement, like he鈥檚 letting him in.
Adrenaline mingles with lust, and he can almost forget why he鈥檚 doing this - almost pretend that it鈥檚 real - surging forwards, letting his hands drift to the back of Geralt鈥檚 head, tangling in his hair. He can鈥檛 tell if he just imagines the soft noise that Geralt makes as Jaskier greedily licks into his mouth, or if it鈥檚 real as he chases the thrill he鈥檇 never thought he鈥檇 be allowed to have.
And then Geralt pulls back. Fuck. He鈥檚 finally gone too far. Jaskier stutters, trying to put into words what he鈥檇 been trying to achieve - but Geralt speaks first.
鈥淚 think they鈥檙e gone.鈥
Jaskier can feel his face turning red. 鈥淎h鈥︹ he mutters. 鈥淎re you sure?鈥
Geralt peers over his shoulder. 鈥淪ure.鈥
鈥淲ell, then.鈥 Jaskier unhands his face, finally, and gives him a business-like tap on the shoulders. 鈥淲e should鈥 um...鈥
鈥淭hat was a good idea.鈥
Jaskier freezes with his hands still flattened against Geralt鈥檚 chest. 鈥淥h.鈥 His fingers wriggle. 鈥淩eally?鈥
鈥淗mm.鈥 Jaskier realises that Geralt鈥檚 hands are still resting against his chest, his fingers digging into the soft linen of his shirt. 鈥淚t would have been even better if that had actually been the men looking for me.鈥
Shit. 鈥淲as it鈥 not?鈥
鈥淚t was not.鈥
鈥淏ut I鈥檓 sure if we stay here they鈥檒l show up eventually, and you can try again.鈥
Jaskier鈥檚 tongue is too large for his mouth. His lungs are devoid of air. His skin has gone numb. 鈥淎hh鈥斺 he manages, awkwardly.
鈥淥r,鈥 Geralt says, tilting his head, 鈥渨e can get out of this town before someone else tries to fire a crossbow at us.鈥 He pauses. 鈥淚 need to check the wound on your back.鈥
鈥淚t鈥檚 not that ba鈥斺
鈥淚 can smell the blood, Jaskier.鈥 In a sudden movement Geralt ducks forward, burying his head into the crook of Jaskier鈥檚 neck, inhaling. Jaskier doesn鈥檛 even try to stop the gasp that escapes his lips. 鈥...Amongst other things,鈥 he continues, lips pressed against his skin. 鈥淚 thought you were scared, at first.鈥 Jaskier stifles a laugh as Geralt鈥檚 lips flutter against him. 鈥淵ou should have been. You were shot.鈥
He leans back, and with nothing but inches between them it鈥檚 clear he doesn鈥檛 share Jaskier鈥檚 amusement.
鈥淵ou could have been killed.鈥
鈥淪o could you.鈥
Geralt scowls at him. 鈥淣ot as easily as you.鈥
鈥淚 saved you. Twice.鈥
鈥淵ou saved me once. The second time is debatable.鈥
Jaskier sniffs at him. 鈥淯ngrateful bastard.鈥 He leans forward, angling for another kiss in an attempt to stop Geralt glaring at him, but Geralt backs even further away, pressing his back fully against the wall.
鈥淲hy did you do it?鈥 He asks.
Jaskier really does laugh, now, damn his attempts to be silent. 鈥淲hy do you fucking think, Geralt?鈥
With nowhere else for Geralt to go, it鈥檚 easy as anything for Jaskier to close the space between them in another, forceful kiss.
鈥淭hat鈥檚 why.鈥 Geralt looks a little dazed, so Jaskier continues. 鈥淚 assume you鈥檙e not going to tell me why you were even being chased by armed men to begin with?鈥
Geralt sighs. 鈥淣ot until you let me check the wound on your back.鈥
鈥淔ine,鈥 Jaskier huffs, keen to seem nonplussed even though now the pain is flaring once more, now the adrenaline is wearing off. 鈥淟et鈥檚 get out of this gods-forsaken alley, shall we?鈥
鈥淎fter you, then?鈥
Jaskier tries to move away, but in the crush of their bodies and the tangle of their legs, it proves a little difficult. Geralt raises his eyebrows at him.
鈥淭his is your fault, you know,鈥 Jaskier spits. 鈥淣ext time you need to escape, don鈥檛 squeeze me into an alleyway barely big enough for a cat.鈥
Before he can slide away, Geralt hooks a hand around him, tugging him closer again.
鈥淵ou鈥檙e not helping, Gera鈥斺
He kisses him. Jaskier immediately falls silent. 鈥淎nd miss getting to do that?鈥 He says, voice low. 鈥淎re you sure?鈥
Jaskier knows when he鈥檚 been beaten. 鈥淣ext time,鈥 he sighs, 鈥渇ind a wider alley.鈥
He can feel Geralt鈥檚 lips twist into a smile against his own. 鈥淣ext time I will.鈥
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frankthesnek22 hours ago
Thinking of making a post with all the tropes I have written or am writing. Would that be interesting at all?
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stardust-danvers22 hours ago
What is this brilliant AU you are speaking so mysteriously about??? 馃憖
So, ever since our talk of a Young!Aleksander and my semi-rewatch of The Secret Of Moonacre, I thought of writing an AU on it for our favourite Shadow Summoner, though I can't yet decide on which side of the story I want him...
And it would be a reader insert of course, but my brain doesn't seem to want to plot... 馃様
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stellocchiaa day ago
Sooo, remember this:聽Platonic Soulmates AU? Yeah... I actually wrote something for Bee Duo based on it because I was feeling like it.聽
It鈥檚 pretty short and kinda different from my usual writing style, but it was fun!
聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽 聽Dissonant Melody
Tubbo and Ranboo have the perfect life. They have their big mansion, multiple houses, a son, more riches than anyone else on the server, and, most importantly, they have each other. They鈥檙e both seventeen and they already found their soulmate. Not only that, but they are both alive and their bond is as strong as can be with emotions flowing freely through it.
They鈥檙e lucky, they know they are.
They鈥檙e lucky, luckier than most, so they can never say otherwise.
They鈥檙e lucky, but why doesn鈥檛 it feel like it?
Why has the mansion stayed empty since it got built? Why are they still living so far apart, pretending that the distance will hide their distress from the other?
Tubbo lost a nuke a while ago. Tubbo lost his best friend not long before that. Tubbo lost so much and yet he hasn鈥檛 said a word. He doesn鈥檛 need to, of course, because he鈥檚 fine. He is perfectly fine and if his laboured breaths and tachycardia when he wakes up in the middle of the night were anything out of the ordinary he鈥檚 sure that Ranboo would tell him.
Ranboo hasn鈥檛 felt in control in a while. He鈥檚 not sure how often he actually sleeps compared to how often the鈥 other him simply takes control. His experiments are supposed to be working. They are supposed to give him answers to give him control. They aren鈥檛. But he can鈥檛 bother his family with his burden. He can鈥檛 look at his husband and child and admit to being nothing but a monster. He knows they would hate him, and they should hate him, really! He just can鈥檛 bring himself to be the one to spill his dirty little secret.
Tubbo and Ranboo are seventeen and they already figured out what soulmates aren鈥檛 supposed to be. Soulmates aren鈥檛 supposed to be the person you share your burdens with. They aren鈥檛 supposed to be the person you鈥檙e honest with. They aren鈥檛 who you go to, to open up about your past. They aren鈥檛 there to give you acceptance, they shouldn鈥檛 be. They aren鈥檛 there to confide in.
Tubbo and Ranboo also know what soulmates are supposed to be. They are the person who鈥檚 going to keep you company when you need some silly escapade to distract you from the real world. They are the person who knows you are lying when you say that you鈥檙e fine and will lie right back to you. They are the person you smile at and laugh with. They are the person that will let you be a kid around them and not expect something different, something more. They are the person who can perceive your feelings, but who鈥檒l never call attention to them.
Maybe it isn鈥檛 perfect, but is it even meant to be?
Because the truth is that they鈥檙e young, both of them, and sometimes all they need is someone who鈥檒l let them be.
So maybe it is perfect in their own imperfect way.
And maybe Tommy was talking out of his ass when he mentioned that they might need a 鈥渂alance鈥, a suggestion from his therapist apparently.
Because Tubbo is happy. He may not have been home for a while, too busy with his newest project, but he knows that Michael will be there when he gets back and Ranboo is just one call away, ready to aid him when he feels like building another sandstone dick on the roof of the prison. And the outpost is not yet another way to run away from his problem. It鈥檚 not another manifestation of denial, it isn鈥檛. And Tubbo sometimes really wishes that Tommy never learned all that fancy terminology, because now it doesn鈥檛 feel like they鈥檙e on the same level anymore. And Tubbo is fine with that, even if now he feels stupid when trying to talk to him. He didn鈥檛 need a friend to open up to anyway.
And it鈥檚 fine that Ranboo seems to get his best friend better than he does nowadays. And it鈥檚 fine that Tommy goes to him first when he needs something. It鈥檚 fine that they are close to each other and that they seem open with each other. It鈥檚 fine because it鈥檚 not what Tubbo needs and it鈥檚 not what he knows how to give. It鈥檚 fine, but sometimes Tubbo wishes that he could say it wasn鈥檛.
Ranboo is happy as well of course. He is living with the men who destroyed the first home he鈥檚 ever known, but he moved past that. He doesn鈥檛 hold grudges really. It鈥檚 not useful, it only leads you to choose sides and he won鈥檛, he can鈥檛. If he does then it鈥檒l be much harder to justify to himself why choosing his friends in the past was never worth it. Why fighting by their side for what was important to them was wrong. Why Tubbo鈥檚 resigned face, while Ranboo was letting his home blow up, shouldn鈥檛 haunt him.
But he was right, thankfully, so he is happy. And Dream is locked up where he can鈥檛 hurt anyone anymore, and there are only two deaths that disprove that. And Ranboo may not be in control of his actions or his mind, but he will be, once he figures out how to deal with his problems. And if he doesn鈥檛 well鈥 he is sure that there must be a way to convince Sam to lock him up in Pandora鈥檚 Vault. He might not even have to convince him once the Warden finds out what type of monster he truly is. Before that though he鈥檚 gonna help Tubbo with his surveillance post.
This new project seems to have given a new rhythm to the both of them, a new purpose.
They aren鈥檛 working on it together per se. That would require a level of communication that neither of them is capable of. But they are still cooperating nonetheless.
This is the closest they鈥檝e been in a while and neither of them really knows what to do with it. And that鈥檚 not right, they鈥檙e soulmates and they鈥檝e been close for a long time now! So why is it that they feel more like strangers?
They see each other sometimes, on their way to and from the outpost and it鈥檚 like meeting and estranged family member more than their husband. It鈥檚 all polite greetings and embarrassed shuffling of their feet. One of them will ask the other what鈥檚 going on in their life, the answer is always kept vague.
Both of them can feel how much the other wants the conversation to end every time, but they still persevere because they shouldn鈥檛 want that.
It takes a few weeks for the awkwardness to shift into resentment.
It takes a few weeks before Ranboo comments on how distant and cold Tubbo has been. On how he feels like they aren鈥檛 close anymore. It takes mere seconds, after that, for Tubbo to yell about how Ranboo can鈥檛 speak when he鈥檚 still living with the man who murdered him.
Words they never meant to utter out loud fly freely then.
Suddenly it becomes apparent how little they knew of each other. Did they ever even know the other at all? Were any of the good moments real?
Is Tubbo really the uncaring, distant pushover that brought his country to ruin that Ranboo claims him to be?
Is Ranboo truly the self-absorbed, spineless traitor that Tubbo thinks he is?
They鈥檙e both panting by the end. Exhaustedly looking at the ground.聽
That was what they needed supposedly, that鈥檚 what everyone said. A 鈥渂alance鈥 between sharing their burdens and granting the other the lightheartedness of youth. But it was too little too late I鈥檓 afraid.
There was nothing there anymore. That bond that seemed so perfect and strong came undone in less then an hour. Bitterness was left where that tentative sense of belonging used to be.
After all they were strangers now, it was well past the time for sharing.
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basphemousqueera day ago
just stay up until 3 am with me until we're so tired that we're curling into eachother like a pair of quote marks. until my hair is falling into my eyes and you gently brush it away. until you can't help but close the space between us, slowly, but surely, your arm coming to learn against mine, your leg tangling with my own...
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