Caniformes – Chapter 1
“Arising from Caniformes (Order Carnivora) and Simiiformes (Order Primate),” Cas tilted his voice to his lecturer’s timbre, “and often called, in formal environments, the Lupins and the Simians, or Lupine Sapiens and Homo Sapiens, or to simplify further often called the wolves and the apes by every day folks, the Pack and the Troop, dogs and monkeys, or most frequently on the street - us and them - ” He lowered his chin and raised one eyebrow at her. He had heard her outburst and intended to make sure she knew it. “– we evolved independently in parallel to produce two species that bear remarkable resemblance in ontogeny, capacity, and function to each other despite our very different philological lineage. In other words, while we are all just people, human people, and we look almost the same, we aren’t the same. Simians are recognizable by their rounded ears, their tanned skin, and their long dexterous fingers. Lupins uniformly have points to the tips of their ears, have pale skin that doesn’t tan no matter how much time they spend in the sun, and generally have short and somewhat furry (Hobbit-like) fingers.” He held his hand in front of his face and examined his own thick fingers. “There are more anatomical differences below the surface, but these are the easiest to look for when you meet someone for the first time and want to check him out. Or her. Whatever.”
He was babbling. He stopped speaking to collect himself, and true to expectation, the exasperated woman across his office desk huffed an annoyed sigh into the break. “DOCTOR Novak,” she said with as much disdain as she could fit into two words, “Don’t give me a ninth-grade science lecture. Give me my son back!” Her voice had risen in volume and intensity as she rose from her chair and leaned menacingly over the desk. “I have been very patient with you, but my patience has run out! My son is a minor, and you will return him to me this minute, or I will have the police collect him and charge you with RAPE!”
Castiel wasn’t remotely intimidated, but his Facility didn’t need a protest lawsuit right now, and the boy needed to stay where he was. This is why it’s bad policy to allow Simians to adopt Canine children, he reminded himself. They just don’t understand. You spend your whole adult life educating people about the needs of the Pack. You build the facilities and support structures, the communities and the laws that will protect them. Endless hours spent in research and in front of Congressional committees and eight years into it, you find yourself in front of a woman who should most definitely know better, with your cock still damp from having been tied inside her son’s channel, trying to explain to her why he needs this. Trying to calm her, bring her back to the front part of her brain. That reptilian side of the brain: both species share that. Emotions run high sometimes, and Castiel wasn’t helping. His calm was revving her up even worse. He sighed.
“Mrs. Lister, Jeremy is sixteen years old. You knew this day was coming when he presented as an Omega. I remind you again that as a Lupin, he is a fully-grown adult now. He entered The Facility of his own accord, on his own two feet, with full agency to do so. He is in good hands…”
“It’s not the HANDS I’m so worried about, and you know it, Doctor!” She interrupted, still not retaking her seat. “I know what goes on back there. You wrap it all up in medical words, but you and your dogs are raping him while you keep me here in this office, talking! I’m not leaving until you give me my son back!”
Castiel ran a hand down his face in frustration, then schooled himself back to calm. “Jeremy is in Heat, Mrs. Lister, and he needs care. He is too old – too developed – to go through it alone. The risks are real and substantial. I am very sorry that you and I had no opportunity to discuss Jeremy’s care before he checked himself in, but I assure you that he’s exactly where he needs to be. If he leaves with you, and he doesn’t get the care he needs, he faces physical, mental, and emotional complications – possibly irreversible ones.”
Castiel allowed his voice to grow firm and authoritative. “No one, I repeat NO ONE, is being raped on these premises. Jeremy is being closely monitored with cutting-edge equipment. He’s being repeatedly knotted by highly trained professionals who have only his best interests at heart. That may sound like rape to a Simian, but I promise you it’s not. Jeremy will be claimed – temporarily claimed” he was quick to interject as he saw her face darken again, “by three of our staff-members who will also serve as his instructors over the next twelve weeks.” Castiel paused to allow the new information to sink in, then added, “One of those three instructors is me. I had only just come untied with your son when I was called to my office to speak with you. I assure you, Mrs. Lister, your son is fine. He’s responding well to the claiming process, we’ll provide you and your husband with his full test results, and his Heat is running its course as well as can be expected. But he will not be leaving The Facility for the next three months. He needs this training period more than most wolves his age. To be completely frank, he is woefully behind his peers in understanding his own biology and his place in the Pack. He is in a vulnerable position right now. Were I to allow you to pull him out before he completes the process, he runs the very real risk of insanity and permanent physical damage. It is imperative that you understand this, Ma’am, Omegas can DIE from Heat-distress if they do not receive the care they need.”
Castiel strode aggressively through the white, over-lit hallway, bursting through swinging doors with a purpose. A portion of his brain that sounded a lot like Dean, noted that he probably looked just like one of the characters from Dr. Sexy responding to a STAT call, and he chuckled to himself despite his stirred state-of-mind. It had taken way too long to get that woman, who never should’ve been granted a Wolf pup to raise in the first place, to give up her tirade. Cas had finally managed to hand her off to Billie and escape. Billie and Charlie would take care of everything; calm her and explain where her Primate maternal instincts were leading her wrong – much better than Castiel was doing. The ignorance that still suffused every part of the common populace was exhausting to Castiel. It’d been five long years since he and a few fellow researchers had started their crusade to apply their findings to real people – to try to lower the mortality and insanity rates of young Lupins.
The Pack had lost so many Omegas over the last 200 years; corresponding with the cultural shifts that brought the Pack out of their rural, forested communal villages and into the cities; corresponding to the Lupin rejection of their old ways in attempts to assimilate with the Primates. 200 years of utter abandonment of Pack wisdom and common cures, their stories, their rituals, their practices, their sacred way of life had resulted in a rapidly disintegrating population of Wolves, trying so hard to be what they’re not, wasting away and going crazy in back allies. They’d traded their sense of Pack for the shiny glass and steel skyscrapers and horseless carriages that the Apes had, and the Pack was suffering for it. Castiel fumed every time he thought about it, and it was raising the hairs on the back of his neck as he busted through another swinging door on his way back to check on the boy. Wolves are not Apes. They need the Pack. They need the hierarchy, the claiming, the discipline, and the sex. Wolves need to be bathed in the semen of their alphas and need to feel the iron-hard hand of their Dominants on their flanks. Every scientific study over the past twenty years showed the same result, in unequivocal terms: Wolves are not Apes.
Cas finally arrived back at the South Wing where new arrivals were processed. He walked straight into the control room between rooms 107 and 108 and addressed Dr. Harvelle who only glanced up at him briefly before turning back to her screens. “How’s he doing?” he asked her.
“He and Jo just untied. The Claim reads strong and clean – not as strong as yours, but... She did a good job with him. He’s clearly straight. Reading his stress-levels and body language, I don’t think he’s ever been with a man before. He was much more relaxed with Jo. Course, he’s only sixteen…might not have been with many people at all yet.”
Cas just Hmmm’d in response. He’d picked up one of the clipboards and was scanning through the readings. Hormone levels, pheromone spikes, musk releases, heart rate all normal for an adolescent in Heat after a solid Claim-Fuck. Cas glanced through the one-way glass into the room. Jo was standing now, dressed in a robe and leaning over the boy’s head. One hand stroked gently through his hair, and he subtly leaned into her touch. Cas couldn’t hear her words, but he trusted her to care for the pup.
Cas had known Jo almost as long as he’d known Dean. Those two were practically a matched set, always together, nearly siblings in their closeness. She was barely more than a pup herself in some ways, but once she presented as an Alpha and her penis had unsheathed for the first time, she learned quickly to harness the power that her secondary gender brought with it.
Jo was good. Very good. Jeremy’s body looked like it had melted into the thin mattress. He was utterly relaxed. Cas resisted the instinct to enter the room and assert his more dominant claim which was fresh enough to pull at him. He wasn’t needed here right now, and everything was under control. He looked back at Ellen in front of the glowing screens.
“Is Jo the last?”
Ellen took a moment to respond and looked a little distracted when she looked up from the report that had her focus. Then her brain caught up with the question. “Uh, yeah. Yes Alpha. Benny followed right after you. No complications, everything went text book. We’ll let him sleep a bit, then we’ll have Charlie clean him up and get him fed before showing him to the dorm. Usual process except we sped it up a lot due to his Heat and in case that nutcase tried to break him out. Was that really his mother storming the castle? What was that all about?”
“Yes.” Cas ground his teeth a bit, then released the tension in his jaw with intention. “She’s not Pack. I have no idea how an Ape couple adopted a wolf-pup, but she apparently tracked him here, as you say, ‘stormed in’, and demanded that we stop raping her son and release him back to her custody. There may be trouble if Billie can’t get her to understand.” He ran a hand down his face again, pressing a bit into his eyes to extinguish the premature premonition of losing everything he and Bobby and Benny and Dean had built.
He blew out a breath and stiffened his posture. That wasn’t going to happen. They’d built it so carefully. They had allies in Congress, in the State Legislature and even locally who had painstakingly put laws in place over the years to protect the Pack from just this sort of Primate interference. They were solid. They were fine. Young Omegas like Jeremy would never again have to face the cold, awful claws of insanity in the face of ignorance and fear. Never again. Cas caught Ellen’s concerned, maternal look and huffed a laugh.
“I’m worried about you, Alpha,” she admitted with a shrug. He smiled kindly and placed a firm, calming hand on the back of the Omega’s neck. Ellen, Dr. Harvelle, was a shining poster-child for the possibilities that were within reach of an Omega who got all the care they needed to thrive. She’d persevered through all the bias and assumption that an Omega was just not capable and come out on the other side a world-renowned researcher with a PhD and a bedside manner unlike anything the betas or alphas could mimic.
Nevertheless, she was still an Omega and still prone to the needs of that designation. An Alpha’s firm touch went a long way to keep her grounded. Castiel never let a single interaction go without touching her. They both needed the connection, and with every simple touch, the Pack grew stronger. Ellen had faced the world alone for too long. Now she was Cas’ to care for, whether she knew it or not, and he took that responsibility seriously. Ellen took a few breaths of the Alpha’s scent and then shook herself a bit. “Cas, we’ve got this. Aren’t you supposed to be somewhere else? I thought Dean was waiting for you.”
“He is,” Cas admitted. “I needed to swing by and check on Jeremy before I lock us in for the afternoon. I, um, I think I need this time more than Dean does, and it may take a while. Did someone check that the suite is well-stocked? It’s not time for our ruts yet, but you never know….” Cas trailed off. He was looking back into the room beyond the glass which had been darkened. Jo was seated to the side, quietly cleaning a probe while the pup - no not a pup anymore - the Omega slept peacefully. Cas’ eyes really didn’t register what was in front of him though. His mind was elsewhere.
Ellen looked up at him knowingly. “Yes, Alpha. Fully stocked. You’re good-to-go even if one or both of you trips over into Rut.” She paused, then continued carefully, “Do I need to have medical on stand-by?” In the room beyond, Jo stood and opened the door to a quiet knock from Charlie. The redhead smiled as she entered. With no prelude, Charlie approached the sleeping form and began to gently wipe him down with warm cloths. A surge of pride passed through Cas. These people were so Good: Good at their jobs, good with each other, good to their clients. Charlie couldn’t have known that her boss was watching her work, and yet every touch was gentle and careful. The staff of The Facility, all of them, genuinely cared about their clients and about each other.
Cas couldn’t repress an overwhelming feeling of pride in what they’d built together. The mission of The Facility was understood and shared by everyone involved, from Becky at intake, to Sam the Lead Enforcement Officer, from Research to Outreach and everyone in-between. Cas heard Ellen chuckle again and mutter quietly, “Better get going, Alpha, or you may find a less compliant Sub in your suite than you expect.” Cas brought his attention back from where it had wandered with the realization that an inability to focus was a classic symptom of a growing need to Scene. Ellen was right, he needed to get going.
He tightened his hand on the back of her neck just a bit in gentle remonstration, lest she forget her place, then released her. “Let him wait,” he chuckled darkly. Cas was actually hoping Dean would be a bit bratty today. He needed the release that comes with an intense scene, and no one brought that side of Cas out better than his alpha-Sub, long-time research and business partner, but never-more-than-friends-who-scene-together…where was he going with this? Oh yeah, down the rabbit-hole that was his relationship with Dean. Cas turned on his heel despite is previous statement, and left the room. Dr. Harvelle was right. She and Jo and Charlie had young Jeremy well-in-hand. Billie obviously had Jeremy’s mother lined out if Charlie’s presence in the processing room was anything to go by.
Over the next couple of days, Jeremy’s bonds with Cas, Benny, and Jo would be used to help him adjust to his place in The Facility and his classwork. He would be evaluated, examined, and tested, physically and emotionally. Today’s Keller Test results would be fed through the computer algorithms to determine Jeremy’s tertiary gender designation. So far, Cas knew he was a healthy, if somewhat mal-adjusted, straight male Omega. The Keller Test would tell whether he was Submissive, Neutral, or Dominant. Cas could almost always call the results before they came out. He was famous for it, but ethics forbade him from using that instinct where clients were involved. There was too much possibility of damage being done by proscribing a designation to a Wolf that turned out to be wrong. The data was never wrong. Cas would wait for it.
His mood darkened and settled as he left the South Wing and headed back toward his own suite of rooms in the East. Dean had probably already been waiting for him when Cas and Mrs. Lister were shouting at each other what seemed like ages ago right next door. Dean was not patient when he got the itch, and Cas was late. He was stopped twice on the way: once by Becky to sign Jeremy’s matriculation form, and once by Bobby to confirm that Cas would be at tomorrow’s Board meeting. Neither interruption took very long, but Cas was antsy by the time he reached his door. He stood just for a moment outside, took a calming breath, assumed his Alpha-Dom persona, schooled his face, then turned the knob and walked in, letting the door close and lock behind him. The only words that made it to the hallway before the door latched were, “Up, Sub. Over the arm of the sofa. Ass in the…” He didn’t open the door again for the next sixteen hours. As it turned out, a call to have Medical on stand-by would’ve been a good idea.