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Staff Sergeant Viktor Rath looked up from his computer screen and raised an eyebrow as Captain Stella Kroners walked in. He leaned back in his chair, turning his full attention on the captain. She only ever visited him for one of two reasons – either one of his squad had done something spectacularly stupid or they had a new mission. He guessed the latter, considering the manila envelope clutched in her hand.

She took a seat opposite him and slapped the folder in front of him. "You're getting a new member."

"What?" The word was out of his mouth before he realized. He frowned. "We don't work that way."

The corners of her lips tightened, hinting at an impending scowl. The new squad member was set in stone then. He didn't like it. He had a good pack. They were the best in their regiment if not the entire army. The higher-ups couldn't just shove someone new in. Packs didn't work like that.

"He's not pack," Captain Kroners said, as if reading his mind. More likely she'd just read the very unhappy wrinkles in his forehead. "He's a specialist, meant to support your team."

Viktor finally glanced down at the manila folder. The name McAllister was written on the tab. There was a project code stamped on the front of the folder but the code meant nothing to him. "Send him somewhere else. We don't need support."

Captain Kroners grimaced. "I can't. It's..." A strange look crossed her face. "Consider it a test run. Six months, three at the very worst. Your team was chosen for a reason, and given how active the region is, we can use all the help we can get."

Viktor bit back a sigh. He flipped open the folder with a claw, barely touching the thing as if its very existence offended him. He skimmed the file. Elias McAllister, 28, human specialist, trained in basic combat, proficient in Latin and a slew of other languages, former clergy. He glanced up. "He reads more like a witch than a front-lines fighter."

That strange look was back on Captain Kroners' face. "He's... versatile. He's well equipped to handle any supernatural threat."

There was something Kroners wasn't telling him. McAllister's file was too thin. There were gaping holes in his service timeline. He'd barely been field tested, but the European front was too volatile for the higher-ups to send someone so green without a reason.

Captain Kroners stood and pulled a thin strip of paper from her pocket. "Memorize this and then burn it."

His suspicion deepened as he took the paper. Exorcizamus te, draco maledicte, signatum et a vestra custodia. His Latin was piecemeal at best but he knew the first words were part of an exorcism. "What the hell is this for?"

Kroners paused with her hand on the door. "Protection."

*****

The rooms Elias had been given were near the edge of the Black Woods base. Captain Kroners had given him a brief tour, just enough to point out the armory, research labs, cafeteria, and gesture in the vague direction of where his new team was stationed. Most of his belongings had been sent ahead, leaving him with just a backpack slung over his shoulder. He swiped his keycard to access his room, slightly pleased at the sound of thick bars retracting into the door. He pushed it open with one hand, testing its weight and thickness.

The captain had chosen well. He wasn't sure what this room – rooms, he assumed as he glanced at the more normal wood door on the other side of the room – had been, but it was certainly well fortified. The outer door was at least four inches of thick metal, which locked back into place once the door swung shut.

He was surrounded by boxes and empty bookcases and nothing else. It was spartan, but he was used to that. He dropped his backpack on top of a box and opened the other door. This would be his bedroom. There was a bed in the center of the room, small and metal-framed, looking like it belonged more in a psych ward than a military base. He pulled everything that wasn't the bed out of the room – desk and accompanying chair, small dresser, end table – and lined them up against the empty wall of the outer room.

Once the bedroom was clear, he pulled a pack of thick-tipped black sharpies out of his bag and set to work. He did the floor ward first, drawing a giant circle around the room, shifting the bed a few times so he could mark all of it, then filling it in with a complex series of lines and arcane symbols. He kicked off his boots and then mirrored the ward on the ceiling then on each of the four walls. He added extra wards on the door, working it into the wards without breaking any of the lines against the frame.

He shoved the bed into the exact center of the room and then stepped into the outer room. He was half tempted not even to unpack. It seemed like every time he got settled someplace, they shipped him somewhere new. At least this time it wasn't another research lab. He'd had his fill of being poked and prodded by curious doctors.

Unpacking could wait. He pulled his shoes back on and headed out in search of his new team. He'd worked with werewolves before, but never a full pack. He was a little surprised the pack had let him in. Usually the only way to join a team of werewolves was to be one.

He found the Wild Moon Squad in the practice grounds at the southern end of the base. There was a wide clearing set up like an obstacle course and beyond that a thick expanse of woods. Nine heads turned towards him as he approached. There were other teams on the field – all human – but they seemed to be keeping their distance from the werewolf pack.

The largest of the werewolves stood back while the others tackled a rather complex set of obstacles, jumping over fallen logs and climbing a giant ladder-like wall in seconds. A glance at the man's collar told Elias this was the man he was looking for.

"Staff Sergeant Rath?" He somehow managed to keep his voice from wavering.

Rath looked over at him. No, glared at him, and Elias realized maybe the pack wasn't as willing to work with him as Captain Kroners had led him to believe. Rath was a mountain of a man, all thick muscles and dark, scruffy hair. He looked like a lumberjack that had eaten another lumberjack and then sprouted claws and fangs. Elias resisted the urge to turn and run back to the safety of his room.

"I'm Elias," he said instead. "Specialist Elias McAllister. Captain Kroners said you would be expecting me."

He was suddenly very aware of the silence on the training grounds. Rath's team had stopped their exercises and stood, looking at their commanding officer with blank expressions.

Rath's eyes flicked between Elias and his team. "We're going for a run. Try to keep up."

The entire squad turned as one towards the woods and took off. Rath caught up with them after a few steps. Elias never did.

*****

There was a small part of Viktor that felt bad about leaving their new specialist in the dust. He was human. There was no way he could keep up with a pack of werewolves, but the fact that he'd even tried earned McAllister a grudging point of respect from him. The fact that he hadn't even flinched at being alone, unarmed, in the woods with a pack of highly trained werewolves was another point in his favor. Either the boy was very brave or very dumb.

His head jerked up as he smelled McAllister enter the cafeteria. He kept his eyes on his plate, outwardly concentrating on his food, even as he tracked McAllister's progress through the buffet line. He caught the brief glance McAllister shot at Viktor's table – tables, technically, since they needed two to fit the whole squad around – before McAllister turned to sit at one of the empty tables on the other side of the room.

Viktor hid a vicious grin by taking a bite of his potatoes. While they could, in theory, make room at their table for the human, Viktor had no plans to do so. He may have to accept McAllister as part of their team, nominally, but he didn't have to like it, nor did he have to make it easy on McAllister. This was a trial run and Viktor hoped it failed miserably so that the higher-up learned not to mess with pack dynamics.

McAllister's table wasn't empty for long. Viktor snorted as Ames, Snyder, and Lewis slid into chairs surrounding McAllister. Those three were notorious gossips and had a huge hate-on for supernaturals. Viktor kept eating, pretending he wasn't listening in. The rest of his pack weren't as circumspect.

"You're new," Snyder started, and Viktor resisted the urge to roll his eyes. No shit.

McAllister offered a small, tentative smile, like he wasn't sure how to react. "Um, yes. I just got here today."

Snyder grinned. He liked to get to the newbies first and fill their heads with anti-werewolf propaganda. Maybe if that actually worked on McAllister Viktor could push for getting him off Viktor's team early. The captain was usually pretty strict about keeping known anti-supernatural advocates away from the supernatural teams.

"Which team are you with?" Ames asked.

McAllister cut a short glance down at his food – he'd barely had time to even take a bite before being ambushed – and then glanced over in the pack's direction. Viktor's pack were all suddenly engrossed in their meals. McAllister pointed at them. "The Wild Moon squad."

Snyder snorted and reached across the table to shove McAllister's shoulder. "Good one. No, really. Who are you with?"

Viktor could hear McAllister swallow from here. He could practically smell the kid's nerves. "No, really. I am."

Snyder's grin faltered. Ames shifted his chair away from McAllister.

"You're with those freaks?" Lewis asked, his voice raised enough that Viktor didn't even need enhanced senses to hear him.

"Please don't-" McAllister started, before Ames cut him off.

"You don't look like a werewolf." Ames was staring at McAllister like he expected the kid to start sprouting hair and claws any second.

"I'm not, but-"

"What the hell did you do to get tacked onto those freaks?" Snyder cut McAllister off again. "Is this, like, some new form of punishment?"

"They're not.... I'm not-"

"How can you even stand being near those freaks?"

McAllister shot to his feet. "They're not freaks!" Silence fell over the cafeteria as everyone turned to stare at McAllister. Viktor raised an eyebrow and smirked as a blush spread across McAllister's face. "They're not freaks," he repeated again, much quieter. "Please excuse me."

McAllister's back was ramrod straight as he grabbed his tray and walked out of the room, dumping his entire mostly uneaten lunch in the garbage can and leaving his tray on top. As soon as the door swung shut behind him, a low buzz of conversation filled the room. Snyder, Ames, and Lewis slunk back to their usual table.

Corporal Rowan Kanda grinned next to Viktor and nudged him in the side. "Looks like they gave us a feisty one."

Viktor held back a sigh. He wasn't sure whether to be pleased or disappointed that McAllister was apparently hardcore pro-werewolf. It would make getting rid of him a whole lot harder.

*****

Elias hid in his bedroom until his pulse finally slowed back to normal. Once he felt calm enough, certain he wasn't going to lose control again, he dug through his backpack for his sidearm and clipped it onto his belt. Neither Rath nor Kroners had given him an itinerary so he assumed he was at loose-ends for his first day. He headed towards the shooting range and mentally thanked whoever had been smart enough to put signs at every hallway intersection pointing to the major areas of the base.

He had the range to himself for now. Everyone else was probably still eating lunch. It was rare for him to actually be left alone. He'd spent far too many years in confinement and he wasn't going to ruin his chance at being allowed out by getting pissed off by some racist idiots who didn't even know a real freak when they saw one. No, werewolves were natural, normal compared to a freak like him. They were born that way, sometimes bitten but only once they were already nominally part of a pack.

Pain flared in his hand and he realized belatedly that he was clutching the silver cross around his neck hard enough that the metal was digging into his skin. He sighed and released it, staring at the small red cross burnt into his palm as it slowly faded away. He pulled his gun from his belt and slipped a clip into place.

"Are you any good with that?"

Elias jumped and turned, carefully keeping his gun pointed at the ground even though the safety was on. One of the werewolf pack leaned against the edge of Elias's stall. Elias set his gun down on the ledge at the front of the stall and lowered his earmuffs. "I'm decent." He was good. It was one of the few reasons he'd been assigned to this squad. Even if they didn't need supernatural support, the very least he could offer was covering fire.

"I'm Rowan." He held out his hand.

Elias took it, a little surprised at the strength of Rowan's grip though really he shouldn't be. "Elias."

Rowan nodded. "I hear you used to be a priest."

Elias's hand automatically went to his necklace. He swallowed around the sudden lump in his throat. "I was." The words hurt to say but he forced them from his throat. Better out than in, his mother used to say.

Rowan shifted on his feet. "What brings a priest all the way out to the European frontier? We're not big on exorcisms over here."

Elias clutched at his necklace reflexively. "My father was killed... by a demon." The same demon that was trapped inside of him. The same demon that had used Elias's body to mortally wound Elias's father while he was trying to exorcise Elias. It had almost worked. Almost.

"I'm sorry." Rowan looked like he honestly was sorry. Elias wondered if he would be if he knew the full truth. Rowan nodded towards the targets on the far end of the wall. "Wanna show me how good a priest can shoot?"

Elias nodded. Shooting was better than talking, less complicated, less painful. They both put on their earmuffs and Elias turned back to the range. He took a deep breath before picking up his pistol and thumbing off the safety.

His first shot hit high on the target, landing on the outer most ring directly above the center. He heard Rowan stifle a laugh behind him. The second shot hit the ring below the first and then he went down the target, passing through the center all the way to the bottom. Rowan had stopped laughing. Elias finished off with a line perpendicular with his second shot. He put the safety back on and holstered his gun.

Rowan said nothing as Elias pressed the button to bring the paper target to them. Elias pulled it off the clip and handed it over to Rowan. The bullet holes formed a perfect cross.

"That's how a priest shoots."

A snicker escaped from Rowan's lips and then he was laughing, a loud, booming laugh that shook his whole body. He clapped a hand on Elias's shoulder and for a brief moment Elias felt like he might be okay here.

*****

Viktor was slightly surprised that McAllister showed up at the cafeteria for dinner. His surprise grew as Rowan followed him in. Rowan's mouth was in constant motion and McAllister seemed a little dazed by the constant stream of words coming from Rowan's mouth. Viktor could relate. He felt a thin, vindictive stab of pleasure as Rowan and McAllister settled at a table by themselves, if only for the disgusted looks Snyder, Ames, and Lewis shot in McAllister's direction.

He may not want the new kid around, but at least he was proving to be amusing.

*****

Elias's first experience with actual combat was anti-climactic. He and Rowan were stationed in a church tower, facing different directions while the rest of the squad prowled below, taking out the nest of zombies that had taken over the small Russian village. They each took an occasional headshot as the zombies stumbled through the streets, occasionally tossed there by the werewolves that were clearing the houses.

He winced as Staff Sergeant Rath lifted a zombie over his head and ripped it in half, tossing the legs to one side before dropping the torso and stepping on the zombie's head. The demon inside of him practically hummed with pleasure at all the gore. Elias concentrated on not throwing up.

"I don't think Viktor likes me," Elias said, the words blurting out of him all of a sudden as he watched Rath take down another zombie in a spectacularly gory fashion.

"Don't take it personally," Rowan responded, his words punctured by the loud bang of his rifle going off. Brass clattered onto the stone floor. That was one more zombie down. "He doesn't like humans in general."

"I think it's more than that." A zombie stumbled out of what used to be a very nice home and took two steps towards Rath's back. Elias squeezed the trigger and the zombie's brains splattered on the wall just above a patch of wilting flowers. "He doesn't want me on the team."

"It is an unusual arrangement. Humans don't get assigned to werewolf packs."

The sounds of combat below faded. "They don't trust me with anyone else." Elias winced as the words fell out of his mouth. He shouldn't have said that, but it was true.

He could feel Rowan's eyes on his back. Viktor shouted the all-clear before Rowan could say anything. Elias packed his gear as fast as he could and ran down the stairs, ignoring Rowan's repeated attempts to get his attention.

He should have kept his mouth shut.

*****

They got in late. There was no shower in Elias's room, but the one near the armory was blissfully empty. He had a towel over his head, rubbing his hair dry, which was how he missed Snyder's presence in the hallway until Elias was shoved against the wall hard enough to make his head bounce. The towel did little to absorb the blow. It fell from his hands as he straightened from the crouch he'd fallen into and stared up at Snyder.

"What-?" A hard punch to his jaw cut off the rest of his question.

Elias staggered. He spit blood on the floor and raised a shaking hand to his jaw. He'd never been in a fight before, not a real one. He'd trained in hand-to-hand but that had always been practice. No one hit him like Snyder did.

Ames and Lewis flanked Snyder, sick, twisted grins on all three of their faces. "You survived out there with the wild wolves. Too bad they didn't eat you."

Elias opened his mouth, not sure what to say in response but he had to say something. He didn't get a chance. A fist hit him in the stomach, followed by a knee as he went down. He gasped for air and closed his eyes, concentrating more on keeping himself calm than breathing. He couldn't get angry, couldn't lose control. The demon inside of him was riled up already. It wanted to spill blood, upset that it hadn't had the chance to with the zombies.

"What's wrong, too used to letting the weres do your fighting for you?"

A sharp kick in his side made him curl up. It was the wrong thing to do. Another boot connected with his side, then another. Snyder grabbed his hair, pulling him up to his knees. Elias didn't want to look but he couldn't help it. Snyder's face was flushed with anger. He was practically foaming at the mouth as he screamed at Elias.

"Fight back, you little bastard."

He couldn't. Not when Snyder hit him so hard that blood trickled into his swelling eye. Not when his arm was slammed into the wall and he heard something snap. Not when Ames stomped on his leg and Elias howled. He gasped for breath and tried to shut out the pain. He was slipping. He felt dizzy, light-headed. He was losing control.

The demon inside of him cackled as it raged against the cracks inside Elias. He wasn't going to be able to hold it in. His right arm felt like it was burning and he clutched it against his chest as the skin turned black. His fingers stretched into claws.

He was seconds away from slipping, from letting the demon out when a loud roar focused his attention. He looked up, suddenly aware of the crowd that had gathered and watched as it parted for Viktor. Snyder, Ames, and Lewis ran. A good portion of the crowd left with them.

For a second it looked like Viktor was going to go after him, but instead he turned, his back towards Elias, shielding him from the rest of the crowd. A second roar cleared the hall. Elias groped for his towel while Viktor's back was turned and wrapped it around his arm as best he could one-handed. He leaned against the wall, trying and failing to stand until Viktor put one hand under his armpit and lifted him to his feet.

"Can you walk?"

His leg was agony but Elias ignored the pain and limped sideways out of Viktor's grasp. "I'm fine."

"Bullshit." Viktor's hand gripped his arm again, tugging Elias towards him. "You need a doctor."

The demon slammed against his barrier, forcing another crack. Panic welled up in Elias and he pulled back too hard, overbalancing on his good leg and nearly falling. His claws dug into the wall as he caught himself, leaving behind deep grooves. He curled in on himself, hiding his arm even though Viktor had to have seen it.

"No." He shook out his left arm, biting back a scream as the bones snapped back into alignment. "No doctors." He took a shuffling step forward, bracing himself against the wall. "My room... Need... my room."

He made it two more steps before Viktor sighed and picked Elias up. The change in orientation combined with his already astronomical level of pain made his head swim. He lost track of where he was as he clamped down hard on the demon's barriers. His skin burned where his silver cross pressed against it.

Elias came back to himself as he was being put down. Viktor leaned him against the wall, thankfully next to Elias's room and not the med bay. "Key card?"

He couldn't move his arms. "Right pocket."

Elias's skin tingled as Viktor slipped two fingers into his pocket. Viktor pulled out the key card and swiped it. The door unsealed.

Elias stumbled through the door. Viktor's arm wound around his waist before he could fall. He led them across the room, determined to get to safety before the demon broke free. Viktor opened the door and stayed there, held back by the wards as Elias fell inside. The demon howled. He could feel Viktor pressing against the ward on the doorway, trying to get in. Elias didn't let him. The wards were glowing, filling the room with a bright red light. He crawled the rest of the way across the room until he was curled into a ball on his bed, his back to the door.

"What the hell?" Viktor said, his voice tinged with awe and something else. Fear, maybe.

Elias didn't answer him. He closed his eyes and concentrated on breathing, on not letting the demon take control.

Eventually the door shut and Viktor left. Elias almost missed his presence.

*****

Viktor shifted at the edge of the wards. He brushed a hand against the invisible wall in front of him. McAllister – no, Elias – shivered where he was still curled on the bed and Viktor wondered if it was just coincidence or a reaction to the wards. He didn't test his theory.

He couldn't smell the blood from Elias's wounds anymore, but the bruising and the unnatural angle of his leg was still obvious. He was healing, faster than a normal human should, but still slower than Viktor would have liked.

He felt responsible. This wouldn't have happened to Elias if the pack had been backing him. That was one of the first rules of pack – no one gets left behind. They'd left Elias behind and this was the result.

"We have another mission." Elias started to uncurl with a poorly concealed groan. "No, not you." Elias stilled, his face still hidden, and Viktor belatedly realized how bad that sounded. He regretted the words, and then felt stupid for regretting them. He'd wanted Elias off the team and now he'd gotten it, sort of. It wasn't what he expected. "Not this time. We caught rumor of a vampire we've been after. Aldegar Wilhelm. Creeper has a castle. Can you believe that?"

He was rambling. He shouldn't be, but there was something about the slump of Elias's shoulders that seemed to unwind the more he spoke. As far as he knew Elias hadn't left his room in the last two days. Someone must have brought him food, since there was an empty tray just outside the wards.

Viktor coughed. "Anyways. We'll be gone a few days. Heading into the mountains. The captain knows how to reach us."

He didn't need to tell Elias any of that, but it made him feel better. He'd never seen anyone get up from the kind of beating Elias took, never seen anyone try to walk off a broken leg. There was something obviously supernatural about Elias. The deep groves in the wall that Viktor had to walk past every time he went to Elias's room proved that. It didn't make Elias pack but it made him something a little closer.

"Feel better. I'll stop in when I get back."

*****

Elias hated waiting. He hated being in pain, and even though the demon whispered to him, promising to take all the pain away, he didn't give in. It wasn't safe. He never felt safe, even with all the wards wrapped around him.

There was a knock at the door, the door Elias didn't remember shutting. He turned onto his back, careful of his still healing leg. Captain Kroners opened the door. She didn't look pleased.

"The pack's been taken." Elias bolted upright, barely aware of the pain. "We need you."

The demon grinned. Elias swallowed past the lump in his throat. He nodded. When he stood, there was no more pain. His injuries were gone. "When I get back...."

Kroners nodded. "We'll be prepared." Kroners stared at him for a long moment before she left.

Elias closed his eyes and concentrated. The wards flared red and then dissipated. The demon didn't fight him now, merely waited. His time was coming. Elias stepped out of the bedroom and rifled through the boxes lining the wall until he found the uniform he needed. He tossed his dirty clothes in a corner, stripping down to nothing before pulling on a pair of sleek black shorts. They clung to his skin, stretching with him as he moved. He unhooked his necklace and left it hanging on the bedroom doorknob. He cast one last linger glance back at it before pulling a knife from his backpack and leaving the room.

He'd never been in the pack's quarters before. There was a central common room that led off into eight different bedrooms. Elias went through each, pulling out an item from each and placing them in a circle in the center of the common room – Viktor's dirty shirt, Rowan's toothbrush, Sergeant Lianna Karr's running shoes, Sergeant Marcus Miller's hunting knife, Corporals Heinrich and Johanna Schlender's wedding album, Private First Class Alex Thomas's iPod, Private First Class Adam Royce's comb, and the book from Private First Class Allen Smalls's bedside table.

Once all the items were arranged around him, he cut his palm and started drawing circles on the floor in blood - one around each item then a bigger circle connecting them all, then a circle around himself, with more radiating out. The demon supplied him with the script for inside each of the concentric circles, foreign symbols appearing in his mind just long enough for him to copy them. When it was all done, he tossed the knife to the side and pressed his palms to the floor.

All it took was a moment's concentration. His blood started to smoke and hiss. It glowed, filling the room with light that got brighter and brighter. He let go, let the demon take over and when the light faded he was in the woods staring up at a giant stone castle. He wasn't human anymore.

*****

Gunfire roused Viktor from his haze. He frowned. Had Captain Kroners sent a team after them? It was a pointless, stupid move. None of the pack was making it out of here alive. They'd underestimated how strong the vampire was, and how old.

The gunfire came closer. Bullets ricocheted off the metal door to his cell. There was a tearing sound and then the door was gone, hurling down the hallway to cut the gunman at the other end in half. Viktor had a second to be impressed and then a demon stepped into his cell. His eyes widened as the demon walked toward him, reaching towards the shackles holding up his right arm and then hissing, pulling his hand away as it started to smoke. Viktor empathized. Silver was the bane of both werewolf and demon.

The demon stepped back and then it started to ripple, shrinking and changing until Viktor was staring at Elias. Elias who wasn't wearing anything but a very tight pair of shorts that hid nothing. Viktor raised an eyebrow.

"Just a second." Elias turned and patted down a corpse just outside of Viktor's cell. He apparently didn't find what he wanted, or at least that's what Viktor assumed as Elias plunged his hand into the corpse's chest. Blood splattered on the dead man's shirt and then the corpse gasped. The corpse started up at Elias in horror. "Where are the keys?"

The corpse pointed, fear plain on his face. Elias stood and walked in the direction the man pointed, dragging the corpse behind him. There was a loud bang, a short burst of gunfire, and then silence. When Elias returned, he had the keys in his hand and no corpse.

He took a step towards Viktor just as a lone soldier rounded the far corner, dodging past the door embedded in the wall. Viktor opened his mouth to warn Elias but it was too late. The shot fired. He heard it go through Elias's skull. Elias's face twisted, turning black and scaly for a moment before he spit the bullet out. He frowned and turned. His right hand reached out and twisted in the air. As he did so, the soldier at the far end of the hall compacted into himself, bones crunching together until he was a ball of meat and leaking blood.

Elias's eyes were red when he turned back. They slowly faded back to their normal blue.

"What the hell?" Viktor asked.

Elias's hands shook as he unlocked the shackles around Viktor's arms and legs. "I was possessed. My father tried to exorcise me. I killed him before he could finish. I did the rest myself, but it didn't get the demon out, just locked it away." His tone was carefully blank, his hands moving as if on autopilot. "I got picked up by the military. Spent the last few years as a lab rat. They put me with you because at least you stand a chance."

Viktor rubbed at the silver burn on his wrist. "A chance at what?"

Elias stared him straight in the eyes and pressed the key ring into his hand. "Stopping me. Do you remember the control phrase?"

"The what?"

"Exorcizamus te...."

"Yeah."

"All of it?"

"Yes." Kroners had told him to memorize it and he had, he just hadn't expected to need it against his own team.

"Good." Elias took a step back. "I'm going to..." He waved his hand towards the hallway. "...clear the way. You think you can free the rest of the squad?"

Viktor nodded. It was so strange seeing Elias in control. There was no shred of the timid, scared boy that had arrived at the base.

Elias backed out of the room as his skin started to blacken. "Just get out. Don't wait for me. If you see me, and I'm not..." He swallowed hard. "If I'm not me, use that phrase. Kill me if you have to."

Before Viktor could respond, Elias was gone, literally tearing down the hall if the sound of metal being pulled from its hinges was any indication.

He freed his team, found their gear locked up in the room Elias had earlier ransacked, complete with the corpse with the hole in its chest. He didn't even give a second's thought to retreating. Once his team was geared up and healing away the silver burns, he followed Elias's path of destruction into the castle.

Pack meant never leaving anyone behind.

A screeching cry sounded from ahead and Viktor ran. He raced up a long flight of steps and out into a gigantic ballroom. Elias's demon form was crumpled on the ground, bleeding but rapidly healing. The vampire Wilhelm circled above, his gigantic bat wings flapping, more monster than man. Viktor took aim without a second's thought and fired. His team was seconds behind him. The barrage of bullets did little except piss the vampire off. They passed right through him, leaving bloody holes that closed instantly.

It gave Elias time. The demon reared back, roaring as a set of black wings spread from its back. It leapt, tackling the vampire. Viktor had a second to enjoy the look of utter surprise on Wilhelm's face and then they were falling in a mass of fangs and claws and blood.

Elias landed on top. His mouth enlarged, teeth sharpening into a mouth full of long fangs, and then he was ripping into the vampire's throat. Viktor was fairly certain Rowan was gagging but Viktor could only stand and watch in morbid appreciation as Elias the demon tore into the vampire, devouring entire chunks of him whole.

With each bite, the demon's skin shimmered and he grew just a little bit larger. His eyes glowed deep red.

Viktor took a step forward. "Exorcizamus te..." The demon's head snapped up. "...draco maledicte..." Elias growled. He shifted on his feet, crouching like a tiger. "...signatum et a..." He launched himself with impressive speed. Viktor braced himself. He caught Elias by the arms, keeping them from clawing at his arms, and turned, slamming Elias into the ground. "... vestra custodia."

The demon howled and arched under him. Elias's skin rippled. Viktor could feel it changing under his hands, turning from hard scales to warm skin. Elias let out a shaky breath as the red faded from his eyes. He blinked once up at Viktor and then his eyes rolled back in his head and he passed out.

*****

Elias blinked up at his ceiling. The wards were strangely calm. He turned his head and stared at Viktor. Viktor had pulled Elias's desk chair in the room and was currently leaning forward in it, staring at Elias.

"Hi," Elias said. There were a million things he should be saying, but the words got jumbled up in his brain.

"Good morning." There was a strange evenness to his tone that had been lacking before. They stared at each other for a moment. "So, demon?"

Elias sighed and turned back to the ceiling. He should get up but he didn't want to just yet. "Is that going to be a problem?"

"Not unless it is for you."

He opened his mouth and then thought better of his first response. For once the demon was quiet, satiated, almost pleased. Words floated up from inside of him. "It respects you."

"It?"

"The demon." He turned his head again, curious what Viktor's reaction would be. Viktor was smirking. "Something about mutual admiration for bloodshed and gore."

"I can accept that. Thanks, by the way, for saving my life. Our lives."

Elias swung his feet over the edge of the bed and sat up. "You saved me first."

Viktor's eyebrow rose. "You could have saved yourself. You cut a guy in half with a door, for fuck's sake."

Elias blushed. "It's not... They're fragile. Humans. Real humans. I didn't want to hurt anyone."

"Except when you were rescuing us?"

Elias felt a small grin slipping onto his lips. On that part, he and the demon were both in agreement. "Exceptions can be made, but... I'm terrified." He looked away quickly. He hadn't meant to admit that, but there was little else Viktor didn't know about him yet. "If I hurt someone on our side, one of the good... or at least gooder guys, they'll send me back. They'll lock me up."

A large, warm palm landed on his cheek. Elias jumped. He hadn't even heard Viktor move. When he looked up at Viktor he didn't see warmth in Viktor's expression, not really, but rather possessiveness. "You're not going anywhere. You're pack now. You're here to stay."

Elias blushed. His face felt even warmer against Viktor's palm and he wanted to press against it, to give in to the comfort Viktor was offering. "You can't promise that."

Viktor lowered himself until he was kneeling in front of Elias, putting them at eye level. He felt small and weak compared to Viktor's bulk. Even with all the power inside of him, he felt like it wasn't enough. He wasn't enough.

"I can promise that. No one's going to take you away, not without going through my entire pack."

"But-" His attempt at speech was cut off as Viktor leaned forward, closing the distance between their mouths. Elias opened his mouth in surprise and Viktor took advantage of it, pushing his tongue in.

Elias melted. It had been so long since he'd kissed anyone, so long since anyone had really touched him. They were all too afraid but Viktor... Viktor knew what he was and he didn't seem to care.

Viktor's weight carried them down until Elias was laying sideways on the bed, his head hanging off one end, supported by Viktor's massive hand, his legs wrapped around Viktor's massive waist. It felt like hugging a tree trunk. Viktor was a solid weight on top of him, stopping just shy of crushing him. It grounded him, made him feel whole and protected and wanted.

He wanted. His hands moved tentatively over Viktor's sides, up his back. Viktor's hand tightened on his head, holding him in place as Viktor mapped the shape of Elias's mouth. It was perfect. He felt contained, like Viktor was holding the demon back, holding Elias down and keeping him in control. He wanted more. He wanted to feel more, touch more, do more.

His hand slipped under the hem of Viktor's shirt, earning him an approving growl from Viktor. As if that wasn't evidence enough of Viktor's interest, Viktor rocked his hips forward, grinding into Elias hard enough to make the bed rock. He moaned into Viktor's mouth.

He pulled his hand from Viktor's shirt and reached down, fumbling between them for the button on Viktor's pants. That earned him another pleased growl. Once that was done he set to work on the zipper. He pushed Viktor's boxers down, out of the way and then Viktor's erection was falling free, landing hot and thick in Elias's hand.

Claws grazed his skin, not enough to scratch but enough to make him shiver under the touch. Viktor's fingers curled around the hem of his shorts before pulling them down, almost to Elias's knees in one smooth tug. Thankfully the fabric was built to be durable. Viktor's hand closed around him, encompassing him all at once and he gasped, breaking the seal of their kiss as his head tilted back and his hips pushed up.

Viktor's hand curled against his scalp, pulling his hair tight and forcing his head to the side. Teeth scraped against the skin of his neck, scratching lightly. He didn't care. He would heal. He was more concentrated on their hands, moving fast and rough between him. Viktor was big, almost too big in his hand and he could only imagine what that cock would feel like in his mouth.

He wanted to flip Viktor over and ride him, but that would have to wait. That meant lube and possibly condoms and right now he didn't want to move, not for anything in the world.

Viktor kissed lightly at the juncture between Elias's neck and shoulder. Elias had a brief moment to think that it wasn't enough, wasn't what he needed, and then Viktor bit down, teeth piercing Elias's skin. Elias screamed as he came. He bucked up, using his legs to press their bodies tight together and used his torso, his entire body to give Viktor the kind of friction one hand alone couldn't.

He could feel Viktor's cock pressing against his stomach, almost pushing into it and he rocked his body back and forth, using his legs to shift as much as he could with Viktor's teeth still in him. There was blood running down his neck but he didn't care. He was indestructible, or at least he felt like it as Viktor came onto Elias's stomach, his come making the slide of their bodies even easier.

Elias shivered and slowed. His legs ached as he let them fall from around Viktor's waist. When Viktor pulled back, there was blood on his mouth. Elias could feel his shoulder already healing, knitting together just enough to leave a scar. He grinned and leaned up, tasting the blood on Viktor's tongue. The demon roared with approval.

Viktor's hand squeezed the back of his head once before letting go. He gripped the sides of the bed frame, using it to hold himself up enough to look down at Elias.

"You're mine now. No one's taking you anywhere."

Elias grinned. "You're mine too, you know. So if anyone tries to come after you again they should beware." He leaned up and whispered the last words in Viktor's ear. "'Cause they're going to have a demon chasing their ass."

Viktor laughed at that, the sound of it echoing off the walls of Elias's small bedroom. They were definitely going to be a pair nobody wanted to mess with.