A tiny cottage sat in the mountains, deep in the forest, across the rapids and down through the brush. It was far from the toxicity of human nature and allowed for the wind to breath purely. If one walked long enough and got lucky enough, they’d wander past a tree wrapped in dried flower chains. They’d hear the chattering of a dozen wind chimes and the dancing leaves singing with the breeze.
The cottage itself looked like a messy disaster. Fifty potted plants littered every surface, all of them reaching towards the open windows. A mattress covered in old quilts and pillows sat in the corner with a few dried plants hanging from the ceiling above it, leaving behind crunchy leaf bits all over the blankets. There was a bookshelf with worn novels and books next to a little desk dressed in scattered parchment. Across the ceiling was painted in elaborate maps of the stars. The floor had several different pentagrams drawn on it with chalk. The wall had an elaborate mandala etched into the wood; the other wall had a yantra drawn across it.
Levi just happened to be one of the lucky ones to see the witch’s home. He sighed in relief to finally have found it. There were so many rumors over the witch’s location; it took him a few tries to finally get there.
But no one was inside.
He rounded the house, his paws digging into the soft grass with increasing panic. He was running out of time, he needed her magic. His dark coat bristled as the anxiety washed through his system. What if there was no witch? The cottage looked worn and deserted. It was entirely possible something or someone destroyed the witch or ran her out of the forest. After all, the forest was full of monsters.
Levi glanced at the sky, guessing it was about four or five in the afternoon. He decided to do a quick sweep around the perimeter before heading back home for the evening. He strolled past a well-maintained garden, a fruitful pear tree, and found a trickling stream nearby. He stopped to lap at the cool water but froze when he noticed… someone was bathing in the water.
“One week until werewolf mating season… I’ll have to stock up on some silver and aconitum. Two weeks until vampire mating season… garlic and oyster shells. Three weeks until the solstice… What did I need for that again, Mom? Bloodroot, right?” a bright, young voice spoke over the rushing water.
Levi crouched down and took a few careful, silent steps closer to get a better view. A naked, bronzed boy was sitting in the middle of the stream, staring up at the sky. Levi looked around for the person he was chatting to, but saw no one.
“I can get through this year without you, I think. As long as you keep an eye on me. I see your face in the trees and hear your voice in the wind, I know you’re with me even if you’re not with me.”
Oh, he lost his mother, the witch. So was this boy powerful too? Could he help Levi in this dire time?
The boy looked young, but not too young. His spritely nature made Levi think he was somewhere between teen and adult, but it was impossible to really know. Was someone so… dopey looking as powerful as his mother once was?
The next thing that hit Levi was the boy’s scent. Non-were creatures typically didn’t carry a scent and if they did, it was mild. It piqued Levi’s interest and he took another stupid step forward, right onto a particularly crunchy leaf.
Levi froze and the boy swiftly spun around to catch sight of the startled werewolf.
Instead of throwing a fit or showing fear, this boy just laughed. “I didn’t see you there, sorry. I was talking to myself again, wasn’t I?”
Levi still didn’t move, he was unsure how to handle this situation and kept still. Normally, his presence would startle any creature. This boy just laughed and grinned like the sun.
He looked down and blushed, “Oh, uh, sorry. I was bathing. My mom always made me take one once a day. Apparently, I stink.”
Levi cocked his head to the side. Stink? This boy smelled wonderful. He smelt like the pasture he was raised in after a heavy rainstorm, he smelt like morning dew.
“I know, crazy, right? It’s not like I have to impress anyone way out here. You’re the first creature to visit in a while… Sometimes Armin or Mikasa will come see me. But usually… it’s quiet.”
Alone? In the forest? It was far too dangerous for someone like him to be this deep in the forest without someone watching after him, especially when mating season was about to begin.
The boy turned his back to Levi and hopped out of the water. Levi caught a glimpse of his backside, two smooth, tan globes pressed up against one another. The sight gave Levi’s body a pang of instinctual need, but he swallowed it and remained still. How easy it would have been to mount this boy, to claim him as his own. Levi decided this guy definitely needed some sort of protection against the wild beasts of the forest or he’d be forcibly claimed for sure.
Levi took a few steps closer as the boy dressed himself in some kind of long, ripped, leafy green tunic. It was an odd outfit but Levi ignored the fact and sat a few safe meters away, his bushy tail thumping on the ground in anticipation.
“I know you’re a werewolf, so why not change forms? It’d be easier to talk when we’re both people,” he coaxed. “Or are you skittish? Distrusting? If you are, that’s fine too. Stay as you are. But, I have things to do today. So you can follow me around if you want. Or you can stay here by yourself. I’m Eren by the way. Someday, I hope to learn your name as well.”
Eren walked off through the forest, his bare feet already dirty with mud. What was the point of a bath if you were just going to carelessly stomp through the mud on your way out of the stream? Levi huffed in annoyance but still followed Eren around. He wondered how long it would take before he got himself killed somehow. He wondered how Eren even managed to stay alive for so long with how thoughtless he acted.
Eren went to the pear tree first and picked a dozen beautifully ripe fruits. He picked up the skirt of his tunic and used it as a makeshift basket, holding the bounty in the fold until he wobbled back to his cottage where he began to cut them up with a dull knife.
Levi sat on the front stoop. His ears fell flat onto his skull in fear every time the blade got a little too close to Eren’s skin. This magical boy was a disaster waiting to happen, Levi could only anticipate it.
But, Eren cut up the pears without fail. He set them all in a bowl and started popping the little, cut up bits into his mouth. “I’d offer you some, but I know you’re a carnivore,” Eren called out to Levi. “You can come inside, if you’d like. I know it’s messy, but if I clean it the fairies will just mess it all up again.”
Of course they would. The fairies always pick on the weaklings who can’t keep them away. Levi’s throat rumbled in irritation at the thought of such silly little creatures annoying this boy.
“You don’t have to get upset about it, it’s fine. I don’t mind it at all,” Eren assured. “What does bother me are the nymphs that make fun of how I smell. Seriously, is it that bad?”
Levi picked his head off his paws and shook it. No, no, no, Eren smelled wonderful. Nymphs were all rude anyway. They’d often call him a barbarian and a beast. One of them even made fun of how he was smaller than the other werewolves.
Eren knelt down in front of Levi, still keeping his distance. “Hey, is something wrong? Did you need something? I don’t think any creature has hung around me this long without needing something.”
Levi sat up. Oh, right. He’d been so enthralled, he simply forgot. It wasn’t like him to forget, but something about this boy was honestly fascinating. He couldn’t ask for help as a wolf, but this wasn’t the witch he was looking for. He doubted this boy could really help him.
Still… he didn’t want to leave Eren alone. There was no way this dope would last mating season by himself. With his scent, he’d surely be up against a multitude of ravenous beasts that would just want a quick fuck for the week and would leave him, claimed and alone.
The thought stilled Levi’s wagging tail and sent his ears back against his skull in warning to the hypothetical threat.
“Seriously, are you okay?” Eren asked again, noticing Levi’s defensive position.
Levi decided he couldn’t just leave. It seemed Eren had some idea of how magic worked and he’d rather try than give up entirely. Especially when he was running out of time. Levi took the hem of Eren’s tunic lightly between his teeth and pulled him forward.
It didn’t take Eren long to get the message. “Oh, I’m following you? Okay, let’s go.”
Levi was happy Eren didn’t stall or prod for him to change forms. Werewolves were untrusting and didn’t prefer shifting to a more vulnerable form unless they were with their mate or family. Eren seemed to realize that worked with Levi to figure out what he needed.
So, Levi led him to his pack’s main domain. Luckily, Eren’s cottage sat in the perimeter of their claimed territory and Levi guessed Eren knew that already. He’d probably heard their howling in the night or the rustle of their midnight races. Levi wondered if Eren minded living on his pack’s land. He wondered if it made Eren feel safe. Levi honestly hoped so.
There was a little dirt path they hurried down. Levi kept a brisk trot while Eren had to run to keep up. When he got a bit too far ahead, Levi would slow down to a walk until Eren caught up again. Levi wanted to assure him we’re almost there, just a little farther.
Even though he was exhausted, Eren was still smiling. Sweat dripped down his brow and he laughed, “There goes the point of taking a bath today. Sorry, I probably smell.”
Levi sighed. Yeah, he smelled. He was drowning Levi in that irresistible, alluring scent that would drive any wolf mad with need. And then he realized he was leading Eren straight to a pack of dozens of wolves, preparing to mate soon.
He stopped in his tracks and Eren skidded to a stop as well. “What’s up? Is this it?”
Levi shook his head and started weaving around Eren’s legs and brushing his fur up against Eren’s body. He licked at Eren’s hands and stood up on him until Eren toppled to the ground in an ungraceful heap.
“Hey, what’s your deal?” Eren laughed. “You’re acting like a puppy.”
Levi rubbed their necks together and licked Eren’s face until it was clear. Eren belonged to Levi, at least for now. Their mingled scents would alert anyone that this boy was taken. No, it wasn’t exactly kosher to forcefully rub your scent on another, but it was for his own protection. Without it, Eren would have surely been mobbed.
Eren didn’t say anything about the sudden intrusion. He just stood up and followed Levi through the thick brush until they came upon a clearing. The sun reached through the leaves, casting beautiful streams of rays onto the grassy floor. Several pups were rolling in the grass with flowers stuck to their course, shiny coats. They yipped happily when they saw Levi and rushed towards him, all of them jumping up and initiating a playful romp. Levi let them bite at his ears and nip at his paws until they finally got bored enough to leave him alone. They all sniffed around Eren but knew to keep their distance, going off to play amongst themselves once more.
With the pups out of the way, Levi could lead Eren to one of the many caves shrouded by curtains of untamed vines. There were several small gaps in the ceiling, letting in little rays of sunshine. In the middle lay two of his dearest friends, and one who was in trouble.
Farlan, a ruddy red wolf lay in the middle of the cavern with Isabel whimpering at his side. His coat was covered in a thick, heavy moss that weighed his body down to the point where he could no longer get up.
“Ah, it looks like he ran into a moss goblin!” Eren exclaimed, falling to his knees beside Farlan. “Do you mind if I help?”
Both Farlan and Isabel whimpered desperately while Levi stood back, watching carefully and guarding the door.
“Soola, soola, bryophyte,” Eren softly hummed in a soft, singsong voice. He stayed calm the entire time, keeping a light demeanor that seemed to bring about a calming aura to the cave. His hands started to create little sparkles of golden sunshine that wrapped around Farlan’s body and dissolved the dark, moldy moss that had covered his fur. “There you go! You’re lucky too. If your friend hadn’t found me in time, you probably would have had some injuries. But… do me a favor and stay away from the moss goblins from now on. No picking fights with those guys, okay?”
Farlan jumped up and ran in a circle of excitement around Eren. He yipped and pounced on Isabel and circled around Eren again. He probably convinced himself he was dying or something. Levi sat up and gave a huff of disapproval. Farlan backed off, giving Eren some space, but still barked in gratitude. Isabel joined in for the noisy chorus and Eren was laughing cheerfully over the two overjoyed wolves.
Eren came over to Levi and knelt down to give him a genuine smile. “You’re a good friend. Without you, I really think he could have been paralyzed for the rest of his life. I hope you guys stay out of trouble from now on.”
And Eren was walking away, back home. Did he know the way? Probably not. Levi wondered what would happen if he got lost or possibly ran into a predator. His ears were pinned back against his skull again and he found himself growling a little.
Okay, he couldn’t leave this boy alone.
Levi trotted up beside Eren and took the role as the leader. Eren just laughed and let Levi guide him home. While Eren came off as dopey and childish as a pup, he did have some skill. Levi admired the way he healed Farlan so quickly and simply, as if it took no effort at all. Eren did it with a smile on his face too, remaining completely positive the entire time (even when the stakes were higher than he made them seem at first).
There weren’t many witches and wizards in the forest. Most of them had adapted to the modern, human world and left the old traditions behind. Levi knew of many werewolves two ditched the forest in favor of the sparkling cities and towns. What was out there? It was hard to say.
So to him, witches and wizards were a mystery. They were far more human than the werewolves. Most kept to themselves. Some were always travelling. Levi had never known one long enough to get a good idea of who they were as a species.
Werewolves were far easier to peg. They were territorial, pack-oriented, competitive, and bloodthirsty. Distrust was branded onto their hearts and they had a mating drive fierce enough to kill. They worshipped the moon, danced in the dark, and feasted on anything that couldn’t run fast enough to escape.
Just as the sun fell upon the horizon, they made it back to Eren’s little cottage. Levi was happy they made it back before dark, there was no telling what could happen when the sun left the skies.
“Thanks for bringing me back. You’re… definitely an interesting werewolf. The most loyal I’ve ever met,” Eren shamelessly complimented.
Levi wished he could reply, but Eren was already lighting candles inside. He kept talking so Levi didn’t have to, “You probably want to go back to your pack. I know you’ll feel safer with your own kind. But feel free to visit whenever you want. I’ll make sure I don’t plant any aconitum or hang up my silver wind chimes without warning you first.”
Levi hummed in approval and it came out as a growly bark. He nodded his head and took a few careful steps backwards to make his leave.
“Hopefully I’ll see you again, my friend,” Eren waved goodbye.
Levi howled up into the air, a fitting farewell for this special wizard with the glorious scent. He slipped between the trees to where Eren couldn’t see him any longer and began circling. It was clear his instincts wouldn’t let him roam too far away from this interesting wizard and Levi never fought his instincts. He took to brushing himself against every tree and rock he came across, spending the entire night circling around the tiny cottage deep in the forest.
It was tedious and his paws started to hurt after a while, but it was necessary. This way, any beast throughout the entire forest would know to stay far, far away. Eren needed to be protected, to be defended against the dark things that roamed in the night. Levi wanted to think of him as a helpless pup, but it didn’t quite seem fitting enough. Eren wasn’t endearing like a child. It was more than that…
The word crossed Levi’s mind as if the moon whispered it into his ear. Mate. But that was silly, wasn’t it? A werewolf mating with an entirely different species? It was just as ludicrous as venturing outside the forest and into the human society.
Even so, the word mate seemed far more fitting than pup. It was a much more attractive word than friend.
Levi stopped in his tracks and sat on a mossy rock. He looked at the moon and howled at it once more. A part of him hoped Eren would hear it and feel safe. The other was asking for an answer.
What was this strange aching in his heart? And why did it start the moment he and Eren parted?
Levi woke from a light slumber as the sun took its dominance over the East and the moon stood as a memory along the West horizon. He always looked at the morning with distaste, missing the moon’s presence to guide him and watch over him. The daylight pierced through the forest and shined down upon every monster, putting them on full display for the world to see. The night acted as a secure clock, shrouding those beastly urges in darkness and keeping them hidden from prying eyes.
The morning did offer one good thing, though. Eren’s voice could be heard from the stream and Levi followed it dutifully. The young wizard bathed alone, a dangerous habit. He was vulnerable, aloof, and seemed to want every creature in the forest to hear his bumbling chatter. Without anyone to watch over him, he’d surely meet the hands of death far too soon.
Levi crept under the sprawling ferns, masking his presence in the leafy sprigs. His footsteps were as silent as the night. He kept his breath steady and quiet. It was just like hunting prey, something he was excellent at. He stalked Eren, keeping a healthy distance, and pinning his eyes on the wizard’s naked form all while hesitating the urge to reach out further and drown in that beautiful scent of his.
It occurred to him this might seem unsavory and even a bit perverted. The moment reminded him of a few young Alpha pups who got caught watching the Omega teenagers bathe in the lake. Levi remembered thinking about how childish it was and even found it funny that they all got a firm scolding from their old pack leader. Now, he was in the same position.
Was Eren an Omega, though? He surely smelled like one. Levi scrunched his face together, wondering if it were even possible. Eren wasn’t a wolf; he was a magic-bearer.
Levi decided none of it mattered because he wouldn’t let Eren catch him staring. Levi was protecting Eren, after all. He wasn’t stalking or peeping. He’d remain stealthy until it seemed appropriate to make his presence known.
“You’re not as sneaky as you think,” Eren taunted, looking right in Levi’s direction.
Levi bristled in surprise, every strand of black fur standing up on end. His body felt hot in embarrassment and he was suddenly thankful Eren wouldn’t be able to see him blushing. He took a few steps out of the ferny brush and sat at the edge of the stream a few meters away from Eren.
“Can’t keep your eyes off me, can you?” Eren jokingly flirted, giving Levi a wink.
Levi softly growled with displeasure. How did Eren know he was there?
“You’re probably wondering how I knew you were there,” Eren read his mind. Was it magic or instinct? “Your scent gives it away.”
Levi cocked his head to the side. Wizards and witches could pick up werewolf scents? They were by far the most human of all the magical creatures living in their forest, was it possible they were so astute and sensitive to the scents of beasts?
Eren kept chattering, “It’s fine, I don’t care that you’re here. Do you need something? Did your friend get into another rumble with that moss goblin?”
Levi shook his head and lay down on the soft grass. It was still a little wet with morning dew, but he didn’t mind. The slight chill helped soothe his flushed body.
“So you’re just hanging out, hm?” Eren assumed, falling back into the water to scrub at his hair. Levi thought about how inefficient that was. He’d rather lick Eren’s hair clean along with the rest of his body.
He stopped his thoughts there. That was just mating season talking.
“I’ve never had a werewolf just hang around me like this. Shouldn’t you be with your mate? It’s about that time of the season…” Eren raised his voice to keep talking while he washed his hair. “Unless you’re not interested in that sort of thing, which is fine too. You wouldn’t be the first creature I met that just doesn’t have those… urges.”
It was then Levi felt the unbearable need to explain himself. He didn’t have a mate and had never wanted one in the past. He’d gone through one mating period without anyone’s assistance and it was like the moon was punishing him for it the entire time. He had been dreading the upcoming week… until Eren.
But still, Eren was a wizard and therefore untouchable. Levi had never heard of a werewolf mating with anyone other than another werewolf. He assumed mating season would exhaust the wizard to the point of death. It wasn’t unheard of for weaker Omegas to come out of a mating season with injuries. Though, Levi assumed that was just because their Alphas weren’t mindful of their partner and lost control.
“Hey,” Eren caught his attention again. Levi was surprised his mind dared to wander in the young wizard’s presence. Eren flicked some water at Levi, the droplets landing on his nose. “I won’t ask you to change your form for me, I know how significant that is for your kind. But I am concerned that you want to eat me and I wish you could tell me what you want. You’ve got that look in your eye… like you’re hunting me or something.”
Levi blinked a few times, as if it’d make that look disappear. It was hard not to see Eren as prey. He wanted to tackle him to the ground, bury his nose into Eren’s neck and get lost in the scent. He wanted Eren pinned down underneath him where he could keep him guarded from the world, using his own back as a shield. He wanted to hear Eren’s animalistic moans singing through his sensitive ears.
Another flick of water onto his face caught his attention again. “Are you ignoring me?” Eren pouted. “Fine. Oddball.”
Eren got out of the water and Levi tried not to stare. His inner chivalrous soul conflicted with the part of his heart that wanted to pounce on the wizard. Eren covered up his body with that silly tunic again, covering up those impressive muscles. From the looks of it, Eren wasn’t completely weak and defenseless.
Before Eren completely covered up, Levi’s eyes drifted to a thick, white scar that decorated Eren’s torso. The decided battle wound bothered Levi and bit at his gut. Who hurt Eren? Why? Where were they and how loudly could Levi make them scream with pain?
Levi huffed in annoyance at the scar and followed Eren, staying a few meters behind him as to not scare him too much. Though as he accompanied Eren throughout the day, it was clear the wizard was difficult to scare.
He first went scrounging around for food, plucking berries from bushes and digging up potatoes from his garden. Levi tilted his head in frustration at the tedious, boring tasks. In one hunt, he could supply Eren with enough food to last a winter. He wondered what Eren’s face would look like if he presented him with an afternoon’s worth of fresh kills. Just the thought made his tail thump proudly onto the grass.
And then Eren was climbing up tall trees, which left Levi whining at the ground and pawing at the trunk of the death trap. Why was he going up so high? What if he fell? Eren grabbed the eggs from a bird’s nest and slipped back down without a scratch. He hummed happily and gave Levi a smug smile as if to say, ‘See? Nothing to worry about.’
They made it safely back to Eren’s cottage where they sat in Eren’s garden. The distance between the two had dissipated into a few inches. Levi watched intently as Eren weaved together several types of flowers he had cut into a little bracelet. “There’s a centaur who lives in these woods and he’s trying to impress a kelpie. I promised I’d help by making this!”
Levi cocked his head to the side at the bracelet. It was definitely beautiful, but was it magical?
“I told him I’d put a love spell on it, but…” Eren smiled deviously. “I don’t think he needs a love spell. He’ll do fine with this. Just a little magic to make it stay this way forever and it’ll be finished!” Eren set the little bracelet on the ground and waved his hands over it, sprinkling it with a glittering magic. “Nunca caduca, euax!” Eren’s bouncy, affirmative tone made Levi smile inside.
Eren picked up the bracelet and stared at it, “I don’t like love spells. They’re just an illusion that lasts for a short amount of time. But underneath it all, it’s empty. I think, if I were to love someone, I wouldn’t want it to be like a love spell. I’d want it to be real and forever.” He looked at Levi and laughed, “Sorry for rambling. It gets lonely here when I’m all by myself for days on end. It makes me think I should move into town and find other people like me…”
Levi was growling and he didn’t realize it until it was too late. His ears were pressed against his skull and his teeth were bared. It wasn’t Eren he was trying to scare away, but the thought of Eren leaving the forest. The mere thought of him leaving Levi’s territory sent his body into a violent spasm.
Eren dropped the bracelet and backed away slowly, tilting his head back to expose his neck. Levi squinted at him before realizing Eren was willingly submitting to him, showing Levi that he didn’t mean any harm and giving Levi dominance of the situation. Levi had to wonder how Eren knew to do so, but was busier kicking himself for acting so rashly.
He couldn’t apologize. He couldn’t whisper and coo and coax Eren back to him. He couldn’t explain himself. Levi felt as if he were backed into a corner by his own instincts. In an act of quick thinking, he perked his ears up the best he could and did something an Alpha would never do for anyone other than their own mate. Levi tilted his head to the side and back, exposing his own neck to Eren.
Eren was silent for a moment, assessing the situation wisely. He sat on the ground and rubbed at the back of his neck in uncertainty.
Levi gently picked up the flower bracelet with his teeth and took a few slow steps toward Eren, dutifully dropping the piece of jewelry at Eren’s feet. Levi sunk to the ground and rested his head on his paws shamefully, whining a little for a bit of extra-added innocence and assurance.
His thoughts were screaming out to Eren. I didn’t mean it. I’m sorry.
By some act of the moon goddess, Eren just smiled and shook his head. “I really wish I knew what was going on in your mind. But by your scent… I can tell that you’re worried. You’ve been worried all day. So high strung…” Eren took a deep breath and exhaled, his own scent flooding with calming pheromones that could have put Levi to sleep. Levi looked at Eren wearily. The wizard wasn’t even a werewolf and he had a strange awareness and control of his scent.
Levi couldn’t help it. He inched a little closer to catch a better whiff of that pleasant aroma. A guilty sense of pride bubbled up in his chest when he could still sense a little bit of his own scent still lingering on Eren’s skin.
“Maybe I should make you something that will help you with that temper,” Eren tapped at his chin. “Though I do know werewolves are picky. You wouldn’t want to wear anything that would compromise your freedom, right?”
Levi grumbled at how true Eren’s statement was. Anything loose or foreign to their fur would surely be a hindrance. It was why mates marked one another with scars on their necks and not something tangible like a wedding ring.
“I’ll have to think about what would suit you best then,” Eren grinned. “You’re lucky. I like a challenge.”
The thunderous stomping of hooves clattered into Eren’s yard. Levi nearly threw himself in front of Eren, keeping his upper body low to the ground in preparation to pounce.
“Whoa, it’s okay, it’s my centaur friend, remember?” Eren tried to calm Levi’s nerves down. They were already tingling with fear since Eren mentioned leaving the forest. Now their sudden intruder was just asking for death.
Levi stared at his potential target. The centaur was large, but not as big as others he’d seen and battled. His torso was of a man, bare and tanned. His long face was twisted in a look of disgust and his brown hair was tangled with leaves and twigs. “Since when did you get a dog?” he sneered.
Eren rolled his eyes dramatically, “He’s a friend, Jean.”
Levi backed up until his hind legs were on top of Eren’s feet. He circled around Eren a few times, brushing his fur up against Eren’s legs. Mine. Mine. Mine. Stay. Away.
“Looks more like a pet,” the horseman, Jean, teased. “But it’s cute. It’s nice to see you hanging out with someone new.”
“Better company than the likes of you,” Eren joked right back. He held up the flower bracelet and grinned, “One love-spell made just for you and that kelpie.”
Jean reached down and held the bracelet as if it were made of glass. “This will seriously work?”
“It’s not like you have any other wizards or witches in the forest to help you. Might as well give it a go,” Eren shrugged with a smirk.
“If this doesn’t work, I’m stomping your house down,” Jean threatened.
Even though Levi knew it was a falsehood, he still growled. He hated losing control but also wasn’t so sure about this centaur either.
“Put that thing on a leash,” Jean pointed at Levi and took a few steps back.
“He’d probably kill me if I tried.” Eren looked down at Levi fondly. “He’s a tough guy. I can tell.”
His tail was wagging and he couldn’t stop it. It was a childish compliment you’d give a pup, not a full-grown werewolf. However, it was a compliment nonetheless. Eren had a way of making it sound genuine and innocent, not condescending in the least.
“If he’s so tough, why doesn’t he just turn into a human form so he can actually talk to you? Seems to me like he’s got a crush he can’t handle.” The centaur was stupid but also dangerously astute. Levi glared at him as best as he could.
Eren came to his defense; “A werewolf is most vulnerable in their human state. They only change for their mates or maybe really close friends. By the way, how’s it going with your kelpie friend? Talk to him yet yourself?”
Jean narrowed his eyes and scraped at the ground with his hoof. “I’m heading there right now.”
“Don’t let the water nymphs scare you off!” Eren shouted at Jean as he tromped away. He laughed heartily and his head fell to the side, “See? Not so bad. He can be fun to mess with. I got excited because he let me ride him once, but it just turned out to be a game of ‘how long will Eren last before I can buck him off?’ Still fun though. Especially because centaurs are really picky about letting people ride them. Not as sensitive as unicorns, but it was still an honor!”
Levi sat in a huff. Eren always seemed to find the most dangerous thing and willingly jump right into it.
“I wonder if the werewolves and centaurs get along… Jean makes it seem like you don’t. He can be abrasive, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t get along with werewolves. I don’t think he knows much about your kind. But then again, this is your territory after all…” Eren came to the conclusion on his own, making Levi swell with pride. Eren was so smart. “Centaurs are also free-roaming, so they don’t stay in one place too long. And I’m sure if you don’t bother them, they don’t bother you.”
Eren stood up from his spot on the ground and pulled a wand from his pocket. “I don’t use this often, it’s only for really strong spells and aggressive magic. But… it does help the flowers grow, which makes the fairies happy.” Eren held the wand up like a conductor, playing a symphony in the grasses around his cottage. Little by little, the green grass flourished with multi-colored spring flowers. “They’ll appreciate that, I think. And so will the bees.”
Not many creatures took the time to learn about their neighboring kin, but Eren did. It was just another thing Levi could admire about Eren. His kindness was overpowering and could tame the wildest beast. After all, he was starting to tame Levi.
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The day skipped lazily along and Levi didn’t mind it at all. His time spent with Eren was both exhilarating and relaxing, which ultimately just tired him out. He stretched out in Eren’s garden and let the sun warm his fur. Eren sat next to him, tending to the plants one by one and talking to Levi absentmindedly.
“You know, it’s going to be a full moon tonight,” Eren was rambling. “Isn’t that really sacred for your kind? I’d imagine you’d want to be with your pack for it… instead of roaming around here…”
Levi perked his head up a little, realizing that Eren knew about his late night patrol. He tried to play it off as no big deal and closed his eyes again. Yes, the full moon was a big deal. No, he wasn’t interested in the festivities. He was far more interested in the light summer breeze carrying Eren’s scent past his nose in the most gentle, delightful way. It was a gorgeous, peaceful day unlike any other and he didn’t want anything to ruin it.
“I’ve got to do some… preparation for tonight. Just safety precautions. I promise I won’t try to hurt you or make you feel uncomfortable,” Eren warned him as he went into his cottage. When he came out, he had a box full of dried bundles of aconitum and rye. The stench wafted through Levi’s bubble of tranquility and had him growling.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” Eren said again and again, placing the bundles of shitty plants in a circle around his home. “It’s not you, I promise. Werewolves other than you are getting wily as we’re getting closer to your mating season. The brunt of it occurs during one week, but I do know it’s a month long process. I’m surprised you haven’t gotten agitated or really aggressive yet. It’s only natural.”
Levi grumbled and found a new spot farther away from the dried death plants, stretching out to find a new comfortable position while still watching Eren like a hawk.
“Once this is done, I’ve got to deliver a wind chime to a forest elf. Funnily enough, it wards off romantic intent. He’s not really one for romantic affairs and would rather not have to deal with a line-up of creatures wanting to mate with him.”
Levi had only seen an elf once or twice. Apparently, they could shape-shift and were able to have romantic relationships with any sort of creature because of it. They tended to be creatures that were obsessed with romance and sex because of this special talent. So, a forest elf who didn’t want anything to do with it? It was curious.
Eren set out his disgusting plants, packed up the wind chime in his satchel, and walked off down a small dirt path. Of course, Levi stuck by his side and kept his ears twitching at every little sound the forest made.
A snapping twig made his head crank to the side, only to see it was a squirrel. A rustle in the bushes had him jerking the other way, only to find a rabbit. Eren laughed, “Jumpy, aren’t you?”
Okay, maybe he was being a little too cautious.
They walked for quite a while in a happy silence. Levi let his mind wander, taking in Eren’s scent and daydreaming about spending even more peaceful days with Eren under the warm sun.
Eren dug in his satchel and got out a strange mask that resembled a fox’s face. He threw it on and hummed a happy tune, as if nothing had happened.
Levi then noticed a small herd of ghostly foxes came strolling past them. They took one look at Eren and continued on their way. None of them even glanced at Levi. One of them even sounded like he scoffed condescendingly at his presence.
Levi glared between the ghost foxes and Eren, realizing what the mask was for.
“They hate anything that looks like a human,” he whispered and snickered. “This is enough to fool them though. Plus, they’re pretty great at telling apart the good guys from the bad guys.”
Eventually, they made it to a little grove of apple trees and Eren let the mask fall down his face and around his neck. Little cottages much like Eren’s were scattered about and coated with sheets of flowering ivy. A few forest elves poked their heads out of their houses or looked up from their gardens at the two strange creatures invading their community.
They walked to a smaller house nestled in between two apple trees and Eren let himself right in without knocking. Levi was about to just stand at the doorway, but Eren gave his ear a little pull to let him know it was okay to go inside.
“Armin,” Eren called out, “I brought your chastity device of choice!”
“It sounds so unsavory when you say it like that,” an unamused voice called from the back room.
They walked through a heavy curtain to find a spritely blond elf standing in front of a map of the forest. The room looked to be a study with two huge windows, a shelf full of neatly organized books, and a well-worn reading chair.
“Eren, you know this forest better than anyone. Where does the werewolf territory end and the fairy territory begin?” Armin the forest elf didn’t even glance at the two visitors, he kept his eyes pinned on the map with a quill in hand. It appeared he was marking off everyone’s territories. And by the looks of it, he drew Levi’s pack’s territory way too small.
Eren took the quill from Armin’s hand and started drawing out the amendments. “The werewolves actually reach out to here.” Eren drew a much larger circumference. Levi beamed with pride, looking at how their space covered the little blue dot marked Wizard Eren’s Home. Eren continued, “The fairies prefer this sunny zone over here, there are more flower pastures. Though, they’re on fairly good terms with the werewolves, so there is a lot of overlap.”
“It’s weird hearing you talk about werewolves in such a kind light.”
“I’ve had a recent change of heart…” Eren turned and gestured towards Levi.
Armin gasped at the sight of a wolf in his home, looked between his two guests, and tilted his head to the side in question. “Your… friend?”
“That’s one way to put it. He’s been following me around since yesterday.”
“Have you… talked?”
Eren shook his head, “That’s a right reserved for mates and relatives.”
Armin squinted, still confused, “Does he need something?”
“Well, he did. His friend got into some trouble with a moss goblin. But now he’s better!”
“So… he’s just following you around?” Armin spoke in disbelief.
Levi was getting irritated. What was so weird about him hanging around Eren? Eren was pleasant to be around, he smelled nice, and Levi was honestly interested in Eren’s life. Eren was smart and knew more about the creatures in the forest than anyone else Levi had ever met. He was constantly surprising Levi and keeping him on his toes.
“Are you sure he isn’t just waiting for you to turn your back so he can have you as a snack?” Armin flatly spoke, not even paying the least bit attention to Levi.
Eren barked out a laugh and Levi snorted in annoyance. “He wouldn’t do anything like that. He’s different. Anyway, let’s get this set up so you don’t have to be the infamous breaker of hearts this year!”
Eren and Armin set up the wind chime outside Armin’s door. It was beautiful, made of twine and shells. Levi wouldn’t have known it had any magical properties, though his heart didn’t pine for Armin. His heart had… other things it yearned for.
“Are you set up for this season?” Armin asked carefully, nervously glancing at Levi.
Eren hummed in affirmation and took a step back from the wind chime, admiring it from a far. “I’ll finish up the preparations later, once he's gone. I know the scents bother him and my other precautions will actually repel him, so I figured I’d wait until later tonight to get those ready.”
Later tonight? Mating season was still a few days away. Did Eren not trust Levi to control himself? Whatever pride he had left fell flat in his chest. Werewolves were aggressive, territorial, and a force to be reckoned with—but Levi wasn’t uncontrolled.
If he were to completely fall to the will of his instincts, Eren would be weeping on the hardwood floor and begging Levi to take him again and again. Or perhaps he’d be overwhelmed by the sheer need mating season brought upon Levi’s core.
He shook his head, trying to get those thoughts out of it before they shot straight down to his groin and brought out his unyielding sex drive.
“What do you have planned for the rest of the day?” Armin asked Eren, his tone made it seem like a question with an underlying meaning. Unfortunately, Levi didn’t know Eren well enough to know what that second meaning would be. The thought deflated him once again. He wanted to know everything about Eren; he wanted to know him inside and out. Levi wanted no secrets or invisible barriers between them.
Eren gave Armin a look that must have answered the question. “I’ll be fine, I promise. Anyway, I have to go. I’ll see you later, Armin! Hopefully that spell works for you and you don’t have a line-up of potential lovers at your door!”
Eren was hurrying down the path, throwing on his mask for protection against the spirit foxes. Levi chased after him at a brisk pace, enjoying the jog. He was used to spending his days hunting and sparring with his pack mates, so the opportunity to stretch his legs a little with Eren was a delight in itself.
Levi kept track of the time by watching the sun. Typically, he’d wait for that burning ball of light to sink below the Earth with anticipation and excitement. Now, he wished it would hang in the sky a little longer. He hoped the moon goddess would forgive him. Though if he could get a little more time with Eren, he would take damnation in stride.
“Hey I don’t like telling my neighbors what to do…” Eren started sadly.
Oh, no. Levi didn’t like that tone. He pressed his side up against Eren’s leg and leaned into him. Don’t make me leave. Not yet. Don’t make me go.
“But tonight is a special night for your kind. You should go enjoy it. I bet your friends are wondering where you are.”
Well, he was right about his pack mates. They were probably concerned.
“I’ll be here in the morning, you’re always free to come visit. But I know you didn’t go home last night and your family is probably worried.”
Levi was still amazed Eren had caught him stalking the perimeter around his cottage. He was typically so stealthy, like a shadow. Had he made a mistake? How was he spotted?
“So go have fun, okay?” Eren gave Levi a pat on the head, a quick one but a pat nonetheless. Levi’s tail was thumping against the ground shamelessly.
Okay, if Eren wanted him to go check in with his pack, he would. But Eren never said he had to be gone the entire night. Levi decided he’d make sure his pack was okay but he’d soon return.
As always, his pack mates were running rampant through the forest howling and cheering, singing up to their moon goddess in her full light. It was obnoxious and irritable, but Levi did his duty and made an appearance. In a few short moments, he slipped away to get back to where he really belongs. With Eren.
As he grew near, he realized there was a new sound near Eren’s house. An intense series of screams and howls came from Eren’s yard. The only thing Levi could scent was an agitated werewolf.
His feet drove him faster and harder. The only thing on his mind was to protect Eren from this vicious werewolf at all costs. Why was there one so close to Eren’s house? Why had it not been warned off by Levi’s strong, marking scent? Had he not scented Eren enough throughout the day? Had a werewolf simply gone mad?
Levi howled, shouting out to the moon with his whole heart. He needed to get to Eren.
Levi hurled himself into Eren’s door, toppling it open and stared with wide eyes at the scene before him.
A large, brown wolf was snarling at him. It was pacing the floor with its head dropped low to the ground, waiting for the opportunity to strike. Levi’s instincts kicked in and he reciprocated the position, showing the enemy that he wasn’t afraid of a fight.
A low growl sounded from his enemy’s chest, a threatening sound. Levi returned the growl, still frozen in a standoff. He stared into those brilliant, green eyes and then stopped breathing.
He backed away slowly before realizing the repulsive barricades Eren had put up earlier that day. His instincts had him walking right back in towards the foreign werewolf.
They were trapped.
The enemy made a move first, jolting at the unsuspecting Levi and going straight for his neck. Levi twisted out of the amateur hold and rolled the other to the ground in attempts to pin him to the floor.
But this werewolf was a little bigger than him and had a bulky advantage. He took another bite at Levi’s shoulder, his teeth sinking in a little. Levi scampered away to gain some distance, escaping the toothy hold. He sensed some resistance from the other as the wound wasn’t bad at all.
So Levi used that to his benefit and tackled the werewolf to the ground again, rolling them across the dusty floor until he had the other pinned under his paws. He took another look at those green eyes and it was confirmed.
Eren the wizard had morphed into a beast no different than Levi.
Eren the kind and innocent boy growled and bared his teeth at Levi, glaring daggers and wearing a face of a killer.
Eren, Levi’s shining sun, showed his true colors under the full moon.
Levi whimpered. Why was Eren so aggressive? Did he not remember Levi? Had he slipped into his feral instincts and lost the connection between his human and beastly selves?
There were too many unanswered questions, but a scent pulled Levi out of his thoughts. The scent of an anxious Omega.
Levi didn’t have to think about it, his scent glands were working miracles and covering the both of them in a cloud of calming pheromones. Eren’s breathing slowed and his eyes slinked shut at the scent. He breathed deeply and accepted the emotion-altering cloud of peace.
Levi glanced around and realized why Eren was panicking. He’d spent the day using werewolf repellents to keep him inside the cottage, to keep him from running rampant in the forest. He tortured himself for the sake of protecting his neighboring creatures and forced himself to live a life no werewolf was meant to live.
If it weren’t for Levi’s overpowering need to protect Eren, he wouldn’t have set foot near Eren’s cottage. And he doubted any other creature would either.
Eren had fallen limp under Levi’s paws, finding a much-needed slumber. Levi wondered what would happen when the sun came up.
Surely enough, as the sun peeked back up Eren’s body shifted and formed back into his usual self. Levi hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep; his heart was thumping at the sight of Eren. And when he became human again, Levi was ready for an explanation.
Of course, with Eren going from werewolf to human it seemed a bit one sided. Levi contemplated changing as well, to level the playing field. After all, Eren wasn’t a typical werewolf and Levi couldn’t treat him as one either.
And the thought came naturally to him. Eren could be something more than a fascinating friend. They could make something work between a werewolf and some sort of wizard-werewolf hybrid. Levi’s plan came together naturally and he swore to himself he wouldn’t deviate.
He’d make this oddball of a creature his mate. But of course, after a thorough explanation of what the fuck was going on.
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Chapter 4: The Wizard's Truth
“The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.” - Anonymous
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Levi busied himself anxiously around Eren’s home. He tidied up the dusty little shack, shooing out all the annoying little brownies and fairies. He made tea. He often had to stretch his legs because it was far too long since he’d allowed himself to change into a human form.
Luckily, Eren had a plethora of clothes other than wizard tunics. Levi tossed on some worn slacks cut off mid-calf. He buttoned up a white shirt and decided he looked good enough. Still, he wished he had time to run back to his cave to dress himself up a little nicer for Eren. The thought of leaving the sleeping Omega for a second made his heart ache, a slight punishment for even just the thought of abandonment.
Eren slept in much later than usual and it started to worry Levi. He assumed the change of his form had worn him out. Most pups couldn’t change into their human forms until they were old enough to take the sharp pain of bending bones, shifting organs, and severe brain distortion. Sure, it was widely known that werewolves refused to change for anyone other than mates and relatives—but it wasn’t due to cultural beliefs. It was because the change fucking hurt and most of the time it just wasn’t worth the pain to change in and out.
Eren moaned in his sleep, it seemed he was having a nightmare. His brow was creased and wrinkled, suggesting he was going through some kind of pained experience. A mangled whine came out of Levi’s throat, sounding somewhere in between a beastly and human tone. He brushed his hands across Eren’s hair and writhed with pleasure at the soft touch. It’d been so long since he’d indulged in the human sense of touch. He looked at his finger tips wanting to kiss them to taste the oils in Eren’s hair, but he felt comforting Eren was more important. Eren’s body moved slightly towards Levi, curling into his touch.
The movement had Eren’s eyes fluttering open and he looked up sleepily to Levi. Levi wished he could pause time, just for a few extra minutes, to gaze upon Eren’s sleepy face. From the looks of it, Eren was happy to see Levi, but he reminded himself not to get his hopes up.
But Eren’s expression swiftly changed from drowsy to worried. He flinched away, backing up until his back hit the wall.
Levi held up his hands in surrender. “Eren, it’s me. It’s Levi.”
“I don’t…” Eren squinted at him.
It quickly snapped into Eren’s mind and he visibly relaxed. “Oh. Good.” A long silence hung between the two of them. Eren was kind enough to break it, “So… last night…”
Levi took that as the beginning of the explanation. He tried to shape the conversation, “You’re a werewolf too?”
“Well, my dad was. And my mom was a witch. My body… changes during full moons. The rest of the time, I’m stuck in this form. I’m more wizard than werewolf, I guess.”
Eren was living proof that werewolves shouldn’t mate with species other than their own. Due to Eren’s father’s ignorance and lust, he trapped Eren into this painful destiny. Levi wanted to growl but swallowed it. Still, it didn’t matter. His pheromones gave his inner anger away.
Eren weakly smiled, “I’m fine… Levi. It’s okay. It’s been like this my entire life. I can, mostly, handle it.”
His anger took over. “It’s not fine, Eren. You spend your time taking care of everyone else’s problems, but when you’re the one who needs the most help, you barricade yourself in here and suffer?” Levi spat, losing all self-control. His frustration trumped his need to be civil. Eren deserved better than what was happening. “Those… devices you stuck outside your house are to keep you stuck in here, no?”
Eren nodded guiltily.
“Eren, werewolves need freedom. You… you were… suffering.” Oh god, he was really losing all control. Tears welled up in his eyes and he blinked rapidly, holding them in. Watching this Omega go through the pain and torture was much too much. The worst part was that Levi couldn’t do a thing to rescue him from it.
“I know, but if I leave this place, I’ll hurt someone,” Eren’s voice was small and quiet. “I have hurt someone. And I won’t do it again.”
The pheromones coming off Eren were only fueling Levi’s aggression. Eren was upset and Levi wanted to safe him somehow. There were no words to heal him and Levi had no magic spells. His body lurched forward and pulled Eren into his arms, keeping him safe and shielded from the tension hanging in the air.
His kind valued freedom more than anything. They needed it to survive. Eren was locking himself away like a rabid beast, denying himself the basic necessity all werewolves craved. What was worse is that he used items of pain to do so. It was only natural his inner wolf would panic. The anxiety still remained, even though Eren was human again. Levi needed to fix this.
Eren melted into his touch and let Levi hold him firmly. His fear seemed to ebb away with every passing second, yet there was still so much to be done and said. After his little outburst, Levi hoped this wouldn’t be the end of the road. Still, he just couldn’t let Eren torment himself like that.
It occurred to him then that Eren was crying. No, not just crying. He was sobbing. “I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean it,” he kept repeating into Levi’s shoulder.
“Didn’t mean… what?” Levi asked softly.
“I didn’t mean to kill her.”
“Don’t make me say it,” Eren’s whisper dripped with agony and Levi realized the truth. Eren accidentally killed his own mother. The pieces lined up simply. The two of them must have kept him hidden in the cottage every full moon. One night, he cracked and took out his aggression on her. It all made sense and it had Levi crying too.
“Shh, shh,” he whispered into Eren’s hair. There were so many things he could have said but none of them felt right. He wasn’t used to having to worry about his words or tones. He didn’t have much experience with comforting anyone either. In fact, he was probably the worst person to be there for Eren at that moment yet nothing would ever tear him away.
Levi rocked Eren in his arms, attempting to get a sense of emotion simply from his scent. It was difficult as there was too much going on in Eren’s brain to decipher what he was feeling. There was one thing he could deduct it down to: guilt.
The leaves were chattering outside in the warm breeze and Levi was starting to feel a little stir crazy. He just wasn’t built to be stuck inside one place for too long (unless it was mating season when his attentions were solely focused on one goal). He wondered if Eren felt the same. He wondered what pieces of their biology were shared and which were separate. Did Eren go through the same mating season urges? Did he truly classify as the Omega he smelled like? Did he… want a mate?
Levi scolded himself for thinking about it during a time of turmoil for Eren. His unyielding emotions for Eren were taking over his duties to comfort him in this time of need. However, the way Eren was clutching onto Levi’s shirt and holding them close together got Levi’s heart thumping eagerly. He thanked himself for turning into a human, otherwise his tail would be wagging inappropriately.
He decided to try to cheer Eren up somehow. There was nothing he could say to wipe away the past, but he could attempt to create a brighter, happier future. “Eren, did you want some tea?”
Eren looked up at him with red, watery eyes and nodded.
The moment Levi went to shuffle out of the bed, Eren’s hands clenched down on the cotton shirt even harder. Levi could have melted. “No tea?”
Eren mumbled something and let go. Levi hesitated a few seconds before getting up to pour a few cups. Unfortunately, it had gotten cold while Eren was still sleeping. “Hold on, Eren, I’ll make a new pot…” Levi started to get everything ready. Eren’s stove was a mess; it hadn’t been used in years.
“Just bring them over,” Eren’s voice was still soft and dainty, as if it’d crack and fall apart at any moment.
Levi brought the cups over, wondering if Eren preferred his tea cool. Eren took both cups in his hands for a few moments and the tea started to steam up. Levi smiled a little at the convenient magic, taking his own cup in hand. It was the perfect temperature.
They drank in silence, letting the mixture of dried rosehip, lavender, and blueberries work their magic. In some odd way, the tea complimented Eren’s natural scent in the most pleasant, calming way. Levi could only wonder what he was going through and how he felt. It appeared he still wasn’t over the fact, while Levi was sure the event occurred over a year ago.
How could anyone get over accidentally killing someone? Was that even possible or as the black scar etched into one’s heart for the rest of eternity? Either way, there wasn’t a chance of Levi leaving Eren anytime soon.
He tried to get Eren talking again. In a way, he really missed Eren’s chatter. “I know it’s really painful changing forms. Is your body hurt in any way?”
“Oh, I thought it was just me. I didn’t know it hurt all werewolves. It’s all… really sore.”
“Me too,” Levi agreed.
“I thought you’d need someone that had two legs instead of four.”
Eren snorted a little and offered Levi a grateful smile. “Thank you. I suppose I can ask now… why were you following me around?”
Levi turned his head away and rubbed at the back of his neck. “You have… a very alluring… scent…”
Eren snorted again. “Really? Most creatures think I stink.”
“You don’t stink. Not even a little.”
“My dad said the same thing to my mom, actually, so it’s not too surprising.”
“Oh, did he?”
“Yeah, he said a lot of things…” Eren spoke distastefully.
Levi changed the subject wisely, “Are you hungry?”
He nodded, “I am. I think I’ve got some pears in the basket over there…”
Levi hopped up and grabbed a few, letting them roll across Eren’s blankets. “I could get some fresh meat for you, if you’d like. It’s good for when you change.”
“Well, uh…” Eren used his shirt to meticulously clean off one of the pears, staring down at it to avoid eye contact. “I’d like that, but, um… I don’t… want you to go.”
Levi tried his best not to grin. “Okay, I won’t go then.”
Eren looked up, confused, “I… thought you’d want to?”
“Of course not.”
Eren looked down at his cup and let out a little laugh. “But I’m a murderer.”
“Are you?” Levi had to ask.
Eren gave him a hard look. For the first time, Eren snapped harshly, “He said if I couldn’t control myself as a wolf, I’d kill her. Well, I couldn’t control myself.”
“Who said that?”
“So he trapped you in this cottage during a full moon with your mother inside? Is he insane?” Levi hissed back.
“I’m the one who couldn’t control my temper! I ended up hurting her… I didn’t mean it. I bit her. Hard.”
“He’s the one that left your mother in a small space, trapped with an aggressive werewolf that has only been in that form a handful of times!” Levi was getting angry again and couldn’t stop the wave of frustration. “Eren, he’s a madman forcing you into that situation! And you’re not a murderer for biting your mother. You didn’t kill her.”
Eren bit his lip. “When he found out I bit her… he tried to go after me. But… got her instead. It’s my fault.”
Levi was seething. “You’re not responsible for this. He is. Where is he now?”
His hot blood was coursing through his body and his hands clenched at the air. He needed to confront this man himself and put him through the same amount of torture Eren had been enduring for years.
“I don’t know. He left after… that night…” Eren got up from his spot on the bed and put his cup on the cluttered desk. He looked pensive and worn out. Levi wanted to hold him again, to reassure him that he hadn’t done anything wrong. Hell, if Levi hadn’t subdued Eren with his own Alpha pheromones the previous night, Eren would have blindly bit him as well. A trapped werewolf’s aggression was just as essential for survival as breathing air. The bulk of the blame wasn’t on Eren’s shoulders, though he bore it with ignorance to his own innocence.
And then his father abandoned him, knowing full well of the inevitability of the situation? After taking his mate’s life in an attempt to hurt his own son?
Levi leapt up from the bed and hugged Eren from behind, trapping him in a secure embrace. “Eren, this isn’t your fault. You’re harboring a darkness that isn’t yours to keep.”
“You can say that… as many times as you want, even. But, Levi, I couldn’t fight the urge. And when it came down to it, I couldn’t save her life either. My magic wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough.”
Eren broke out of Levi’s hold and walked out the door, plucking the werewolf repellents from the area and tossing them in a pile alongside the house. Levi stood at the doorway, unable to follow him until the items were properly taken away.
“Go ahead, shoo,” Eren waved for Levi to leave.
“What, you think after all this time I’m just going to leave?” Levi leaned against the doorframe and crossed his arms.
Eren pursed his lips. “I… I figured…”
“I stand by my word. I’m not leaving.”
“Then what are you doing here?”
Levi decided to break it down easily, even though it was embarrassing to say out loud. “I’m courting you, Eren.”
Eren’s face fell into a very dramatic oh. Levi could see the pieces fall together for Eren behind his wide eyes. It all finally made sense to him and Levi wanted to laugh at the amount of time it took for him to realize it. Really, he should laugh at himself too while he was at it. It took him a while to figure out the truth of his actions as well.
Perhaps Eren was broken, but he wasn’t alone. Levi was just as fucked up as the next guy and Eren’s past wouldn’t stand in his way to giving Eren the world and more. Levi accepted Eren as he was, and he only hoped Eren could do the same.
Maybe that was the key, revealing a little part of himself to level the playing field. Levi sat on the front stoop and patted the spot next to him. Eren hesitantly sat down, letting their clothed thighs bump together.
“My mother passed away as well, when I was smaller. We lived in a town outside this forest and kept to the shadows. One night… there were a group of men with torches chasing after us. I wasn’t very fast back then, pups are pretty clumsy. She told me to run to the forest as fast as I could… and she stayed behind…” It was the first time he’d told that story in a long while. Unearthing the roots of his life wasn’t painful like it used to be, but that tightness in his chest never really faded when remembering that night.
Eren’s anxieties seemed to fade and were replaced with some kind of sympathy. Levi didn’t want the sympathy though; he just wanted Eren to feel a little less alone. He wanted this hurt Omega to bounce back to his usual, cheerful self. Of course, that would take time. But when Eren looked at him with a small smile, Levi knew they were on their way there.
“So what did you have planned for us today?” Levi tried to keep a casual tone, light and playful compared to their serious conversations. “Making a magical scarecrow for the farming satyrs to keep the crows away? Delivering a seaweed tiara to a mermaid?”
Eren laughed, light and happy like a bell. “Actually, I don’t have anything planned for today. I was thinking… we could spend it together?”
Levi suppressed the urge to run around in a circle and howl at the moon with joy. “That’d be nice,” he settled with. “What do you want to do?”
Eren thought for a moment and leaned back, letting the sun wash over his skin. He looked like he was glowing with a magical, golden hue. But it wasn’t magic at all, it was just Eren. “Want to just… lay in the sun?”
Levi smiled genuinely and leaned back on his elbows. “I’d want nothing more than to lie in the sun with you.”
I do hope you enjoyed this chapter, a little angsty but we made it through! Thank you for reading, I appreciate all of you being so kind to me and for your interest in this story! (the quote at the beginning was a bit cliche, I know, but it seemed to fit quite well!)
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The problem with wanting to mate with a half-werewolf half-wizard is that the traditional courting behaviors didn’t exactly work well. Levi couldn’t nip at Eren’s tail or spar with him. He couldn’t lick Eren’s fur clean or let him kill the bigger game during a hunt. Eren couldn’t change his form on his own and there wouldn’t be another full moon before mating season hit.
So, Levi had to improvise and he had to do it in his human form. It was a challenge, but he’d never shied away from one before. Plus, it was all for Eren which made it all worth it in his eyes.
“It’s hot today,” Eren observed, giving his plants extra water from the buckets he kept near his house. Levi helped him carry the heavy wooden pails, not wanting Eren to strain himself after changing forms that morning. “We should go swimming.”
“Swimming?” Levi wondered if he could manage a doggie paddle in his human form. As a wolf, he was an excellent swimmer. As a human, he doubted he could even tread water properly.
“One day I was following these fairies and they led me to a really beautiful shallow pools… We should go take a dip!” Eren started to get excited, hurriedly watering the rest of the plants. Levi thought about the two of them lounging in the shallow, chilly water and picked up the pace as well. Once the flowers were drenched and dripping, the two of them set off for the hidden pools.
Eren knew the forest better than any creature Levi had ever met. They ventured through the winding paths and Levi sensed they were nearing the edge of his pack’s territory. Eren unknowingly took one step beyond the boundary line and Levi took his hand, pulling him back behind the invisible fence line.
“Hm?” Eren cocked his head to the side and then glanced around, crinkling his nose a bit. “Oh, we’ve gone a little too far, haven’t we? Here, I think they’re over this way…” Eren kept a hold on Levi’s hand and pulled him to the left, just skirting the edge as they walked westward.
The air grew cooler and the trees denser as they closed in on their destination. To Levi’s approval, they were still in his pack’s territory and the pools were, just as Eren claimed, gorgeous.
A trickling river splashed down a few levels, creating several shallow pools surrounded by smoothed rocks. Sunrays filtered through the dense tree canopy, creating lovely, dreamlike lighting that made Eren’s eyes sparkle. The water was clear enough to see a variety of glimmering colored stones at the bottom of each pool. Obviously, some creature had gathered them there and Levi was scanning the area for anything alive. To his relief, they were the only ones within a few miles radius that he could sense.
Eren tugged his tunic off, revealing his bare body. This time, Levi wasn’t hiding in the bushes or avoiding eye contact. This time, Levi’s eyes trailed over every inch of Eren’s skin as if he wanted to devour him whole. Well, he sort of did. Eren shamelessly stood on one of the smooth grey rocks, dipping his toes into the water to test the temperature. Levi cocked his head to get a better view of those perfectly rounded buttocks.
“It looks amazing, doesn’t it?” Eren asked with a mile-wide smile.
“Oh yeah,” Levi replied, not taking his eyes off of Eren’s ass.
“On a hot day like this, it’ll feel amazing too,” Eren continued, carefully slipping into the water. It rose up to his waist, just barely hiding his lower half. Oh, right, Eren was talking about the cool water and not his own ass.
Levi hesitated joining him. Typically Alphas and Omegas had to be careful stripping down with each other, especially unmated ones. With mating season so close, Levi wasn’t sure if he could restrain himself. Then again, he wouldn’t want any other creature pouncing on his unclothed wizard. The thought had him throwing caution to the wind and stripping down himself.
His scent expanded around them like a cloud, blanketing them in an invisible shield that screamed to the forest don’t come near us or you’ll be an Alpha werewolf’s dinner. Levi laughed at the thought of someone interrupting their courting, daring them to come near just so he could show off his fighting skills to Eren and prove that Levi was capable enough to protect him.
Eren sniffed at the air and laughed, “Is that you?”
Levi just hummed and got into the water, appreciating the chill against his hot, sweaty skin. He sunk in and hooked his arms around one of the rocks so he could lean back and relax. Eren leaned in and floated on his back, letting the gentle current push him closer and closer to Levi.
“You’re aware that little wizard of yours is standing straight up, aren’t you?” Levi tried to keep the expression out of his voice, all the better for teasing with.
Eren’s face grew as red as a rose but the flush didn’t last long. He spun around in the water to get back on his feet and flicked at the surface, making the little water droplets hit Levi in the face. “So is yours,” Eren smirked.
Levi flicked some water back at him in revenge, making Eren laugh and thrust his arm in front of his face for a makeshift defense. He then used his hand to slosh a little wave at Levi, soaking his hair and face.
“That’s it…” Levi grinned, launching himself at Eren. He gripped onto Eren’s waist and dragged the two of them under the water, fully drenching them both.
Levi pulled them up for air but still held Eren close. In an effort to get comfortable, Eren wrapped his legs around Levi’s waist. Levi’s cock brushed up against Eren’s ass and pulsed with need. Eren’s pushed up against Levi’s naval.
Levi held onto Eren’s hip with a grip that would bruise. Eren’s wet skin felt so good under his fingers, he wanted to hold him like that for hours. He concentrated on avoiding the urge to shuffle a few inches, to let Eren sink down on his waiting cock and curse with ecstasy.
Eren’s scent was wrapping around him like a boa, snuggling around him and constricting his self-control into nothing. Normally, the scent was like a breath of fresh air after a heavy rainfall. Now, it was more alluring than that. Not only did his scent captivate Levi, it had his core melting with desire.
“Eren,” Levi started, struggling to keep his voice level.
“Yeah?” Eren breathed, obviously affected by the pheromones surrounding them.
“Let me take you to my home,” Levi suggested. It was one of the few courting activities he could do with Eren. He could supply him with a proper nest; show him that he could give Eren a homey den to fill with love and pups.
Levi’s mind wrapped around the word ‘pups’. Had he really just thought of having pups with Eren? After all, that was the purpose of mating season. Though before Eren, he never thought of himself as the type to father pups at all. Levi was stuck to the idea that he didn’t want a mate or a family. He wanted nothing to do with mating season and resisted it with all the power he had in his chest.
But it was Eren. And Eren, somehow, changed everything.
Suddenly, a thunderous sloshing sound came barreling down the river. Levi sensed the creature in just enough time to hurl himself and Eren out of the water, throwing the Omega behind him and stooping down into an attack stance. In a fit of survival, his body automatically morphed back into his wolf form. The pain and agony flushed through his system at a rapid pace, he was incapacitated for just a few moments. Luckily, he was ready for action by the time the splashing leviathan dove from pool to pool in quick successions until finally curling its talons around the rock closest to them.
It lifted itself from the water to show itself. Levi recognized the creature as a mermaid with sharp claws dug into the stone and long, inky black hair that shrouded her breasts. Her grey eyes glared at the two of them, irises jolting back and forth between the pair. A sparkling crimson tail splashed at the water, supporting her balance in the pool. Her pale skin suggested she spent most of her time under the water, not sunbathing out of it.
Levi growled, dipping his head down to suggest he was ready to pounce. The mermaid snarled in return, slapping her tail against the water in warning. Both of them were at a standoff. Levi knew he’d be at a disadvantage if he went in the water to attack. She probably knew she’d be helpless outside of the water and remained frozen in place.
Levi kept his body pressed up against Eren, hiding the Omega’s exposed genitals behind his thick, dark fur. Eren didn’t seem to realize that he was stark naked, he was more interested in the tension between the werewolf and mermaid. He looked between the two a few times before enlightenment flashed across his face. “Mikasa?” he asked as if they were having a friendly chat and the tension didn’t exist.
The mermaid stopped her low growl and ran a finger through her hair to get it away from her face. With cleared vision, her expression did a one-eighty from threatening to kind. “Eren!”
Eren ran up to the edge of the pool and threw his arms around the mermaid. Levi jumped into action, throwing himself between the two and resuming his territorial growls. Eren is mine. Mine. Mine.
Eren put a hand on Levi’s head, lightly scratching behind his ears in a calming fashion. “It’s fine, Levi, this is my friend.”
Friend? Levi glared in disbelief.
“Mikasa saved me once when I was younger. When I first found these pools, I leapt in without thinking. I didn’t know how to swim then. She spent days teaching me how so I wouldn’t accidentally drown myself again,” Eren explained with a certain fondness, reliving the precious memories. “Armin even visited us too, learning how to swim for himself. Not many elves know how to swim, but he was fascinated enough to learn.”
“What brings you here today, Eren?” Mikasa asked carefully, keeping a watchful eye on Levi.
“It’s so hot today, Mikasa,” Eren whined. “I figured we could swim a little bit. I know the mermaids don’t use these pools for breeding anymore, so I thought it’d be safe for us to swim.”
The pools used to be… mermaid breeding pools? Levi swallowed a glob of disgust. Sure, the water had probably been cycled through enough to get rid of any… evidence. Still, the thought of mermaids having at it in the pools they were swimming in…
Mikasa laughed, probably both at Eren’s charm and Levi’s sulky expression, “You’re free to use them to swim. I caught the scent of something… new. I didn’t realize you were here with your…”
“Levi!” Eren burst, realizing he’d missed the introduction. “This is Levi!”
“And Levi is your…?”
Alpha. Levi wanted Eren to say. Levi is my Alpha.
Instead Eren avoided answering the question all together. He switched the subject, “Mikasa, I forgot! I promised I’d help…” Eren rubbed his hands together and held them over Mikasa’s dark hair. The tresses started moving and twirling by themselves until they were in a neat braid down her back like a second spine. “It’ll be more practical this way. You’ll look a lot less scary too.”
She smiled and blushed, running a hand down the wet braid. “Thank you, Eren. I wouldn’t know how to do that by myself.”
“And, wait, hold on!” Eren excitedly grabbed a twig from off the ground and plucked an orchid hanging off a nearby tree. With a little enchanting magic, he transformed the items into a beautiful hair stick. He twirled her braid up, stuck the hair stick into the bundles of braids, and used a little more magic to hold it all together. “Now it won’t fall out.”
Mikasa’s cheeks were tinted a light pink and she actually looked quite lovely and approachable. “You’re going to spoil me with that magic of yours,” she poked him on the nose. “Don’t wear yourself out like you always do.”
“Don’t get into fights like you always do,” he shot back.
“Then don’t start the fights in the first place,” she keenly responded. “And don’t get into trouble beyond my reach. I can’t help you when you’re too far from the water. Is that stream by your house still unblocked?”
Eren nodded, “Yes, so come visit sometime. I’ll have Armin come over too. And Levi, of course.”
“Hmm…” Mikasa looked back at Levi who was leaning on Eren’s legs. “This Levi… is he… your mate? It smells like it.”
“Well, uh, we don’t know yet,” Eren nervously answered. “We’re… courting, I guess…”
Finally he said it. Levi was wondering why Eren was so embarrassed. He was standing in front of this mermaid with his dick out for fuck’s sake. Levi did his best to shade Eren from Mikasa’s view, but Eren seemed completely ignorant to his own damned nudity. It bothered Levi to no end.
Mikasa spoke to Levi directly, “Keep him out of trouble. And if you hurt him, you better kiss your contact with any stream, lake, or river in this entire forest goodbye.”
Levi huffed out a sigh and pressed up a little harder against Eren, nearly toppling him over. He snorted an affirmation and tried to shuffle Eren away from the mermaid. She seemed friendly enough towards the Omega, but the distrust still remained.
“I think we’re about to go,” Eren threw his tunic back on and grabbed the bundle of Levi’s clothes. Levi could finally breathe with relief. At least the Omega was decent now and a little less vulnerable. “But it was really nice to see you again, Mikasa. Like I said, stop by sometime. I’ll make you a seaweed tiara.”
“How about a seashell sword instead?” she suggested with a cheeky laugh.
“You got it,” Eren confirmed, waving farewell. “We’ll see you then! Take care of yourself!”
He and Levi walked back through the woods quietly before Eren giggled, “I’d never seen you so riled up. Your fur has been standing on end for a while now… Like mine does on a full moon.”
Levi grumbled a reply, bumping into Eren slightly.
“Mikasa is really nice and strong. She reminds me of you, you know. The two of you even look a little bit alike!” Eren rambled. “If you got to know her, and she got to know you, I’m sure you’d be great friends.”
Levi let out a little bark in response, just to let Eren know he was listening.
Eren held Levi’s clothes to his face, breathing in the scent. “You do smell better, though. A little less like salt water and a little more like… home.”
That caught Levi’s attention. He looked up to Eren and his tail started wagging on its own.
Eren pulled the clothes away from his face and laughed nervously, “Sorry, is that weird? I’ve never really… done this before. You know… courting.”
Levi wanted to tackle Eren to the ground and lick his face. Of course, he wanted to fucking mount the Omega, but he’d be satisfied enough with tasting Eren’s sweet skin and the closeness of their bodies. Eren was so damned precious, innocent, and lovely.
“So you said something about your home?” Eren started sheepishly. “I’d love to see it. If that’s okay. I’ve never been in a werewolf’s den before.”
Levi could have howled to the Moon Goddess in celebration. His tail was like a samara falling from its maple tree, whirling at top speeds. Eren wanted to go to his den. Eren wanted to go home with him. Eren wanted to be with him.
Levi took a deep breath and turned their meander into a quick trot, leading the way as Eren followed closely behind. He first led Eren back to his little cottage in order to change back into his human form. Levi didn’t know it at first, but he grew rather fond of chatting with Eren. The pain was nothing compared to the opportunity for a two-sided conversation with Eren.
He curled up into a standing position, trying to coax his tense muscles to obey him. Changing so frequently really took it out of him and it seemed to worry Eren.
“Hey, you okay?” Eren knelt down in front of Levi. “You shouldn’t have done that. I’m fine with following you around.”
Levi shook his head and took his clothes from Eren, throwing them on in a still-excited rush. “I like talking with you,” he mumbled when pulling the shirt over his head. “It’ll be easier this way, anyway.”
There was no way Levi would ever let himself mate with Eren while they were in different forms and if the opportunity arose, he wanted to make sure he was ready. He needed Eren more than anything and wanted to be with him desperately. He didn’t need mating season to want Eren and he didn’t need the instinctual drives from their Alpha and Omega statuses. He knew in his heart, body, mind, and soul that they were supposed to be together.
“So… will you take me home with you?” Eren asked with a glint in his eye.
“Always,” Levi replied naturally, taking his hand and leading him into the forest once more. In such a good mood, Levi couldn’t help but joke, “You know you’re walking straight into a wolf’s den, right? It could be dangerous.”
“Oh don’t worry,” Eren smirked. “I like danger. Plus, I’ve got you to protect me, right?”
Levi’s heart never felt fuller.
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Levi suppressed the urge to say ‘ouch’ every time he took another step through the forest. His limbs were burning with pain but the marvel and sparkles in Eren’s eyes were driving him forward with the strength of one thousand wolves. The opportunity to bring Eren home was too thrilling, too important to spoil with complaints.
Most of all, he wanted to get Eren safely into his den before mating season began. It was closing in faster and faster, the whole forest radiated with werewolf lust. Mates would be scent-marking one another like crazy and marking their territory around their dens. Those without a chosen lover would be scavenging the forest for someone to spend the week with, desperate to find someone at all costs. Those who’ve found a potential lover would be courting, just like Levi and Eren. Well, not just like them. Their situation would always be unique, but Levi didn’t care. Eren was next to him wearing the most gorgeous smile, filling Levi’s nose with the most precious scent and that justified all potential troubles.
“What is your home like?” Eren asked, keeping his eyes on some particularly bright yellow daffodils.
Levi had to choose his words carefully. Most wolves didn’t have to accommodate for those in a human form and kept fairly bare caves and caverns filled only with pelts and bones. Because they moved around so much, belongings weren’t common. When he first met Eren and snuck back to his pack for a few hours at a time, he did his best to make it as comfortable as possible. Still, he was nervous. What if Eren turned away? What if he found it unsatisfactory? It would be impossible to know until they arrived. “It’s quiet, farther away from the rest of the pack,” Levi disclosed.
Eren laughed, “That’s good! I’m not sure your pack mates would… approve of this in any way.”
Levi sensed a little anxiety from Eren. He turned to see him nervously staring at the ground. “Are you worried about that?” Levi asked.
“I know werewolves are… traditional. And we’re not… I’m not… traditional.” Eren’s voice fell into the lowest, saddest tones. Levi wanted to chase those anxieties away, but it wasn’t something he could do with pure strength. He needed to utilize his words, something he hadn’t been doing in years.
“All that matters is that we’re together, right? Who cares about traditions, anyway? We can make our own traditions,” Levi tried.
Eren’s face was still sulky and his scent grew heavier.
Levi attempted a new angle, “Farlan and Isabel really like you. They always get excited when I come near, they think I’ve brought you with me. Your scent is pretty powerful and it sticks on me for hours on end.” Okay, he rambled a little bit there.
Eren turned his attention up towards the leafy canopy, still not looking satisfied.
Levi started to get a little down on his luck. He was supposed to be able to sooth his Omega’s fears, not act like a complete dolt in a sad attempt to make him happy. Levi ran a nervous hand through his hair and sighed, deciding to go with what his heart was telling him to say, “Eren, I don’t know how you feel, but I’m not looking for an Omega just for mating season. Before I met you, I hated the idea of having a mate. But you changed everything for me. I don’t care if that means this is different and I couldn’t care less if others find it strange. To me, this is all I want. You’re all I want.”
That caught Eren’s attention. He looked at Levi with those big, glassy green eyes with the most startled expression. To Levi, it’d been so obvious. Did Eren not realize these feelings weren’t just lustful in nature? Did he not know there was a depth to their pining? His eyes crinkled and his smile grew again, Levi knew things were getting better. Eren took Levi’s hand in his and they strolled through the forest like that, connected in a foreign way to Levi, but it was still nice. He enjoyed the simple latch onto Eren and could easily pull him closer to his side if Eren strayed a little too far away.
“So, your friends like me?” Eren asked with a warm smile.
“They’re very eager to meet you again,” Levi informed him. “Our pack leader is also curious about who’s been stealing me away.”
“Excuse me, I haven’t stolen anyone,” Eren teased. “You’re the one who’s been stalking me.”
“Stalking?” Levi quirked an eyebrow at him.
“Yes, stalking,” Eren confirmed. “Peeping on me while I bathe. Following me around all day…”
“So you didn’t enjoy my company?”
Eren leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, the most surprising action. “I love your company.”
Levi kept his heart under control and managed to hold onto his composure, though it was difficult. Eren was giving him so much confidence and hope that this would all work out, it was putting his instincts on high. He wanted to claim Eren as his own, to tear out his beating heart and thrust it into Eren’s hands. Somewhere in between the throes of mating season and his own, true emotions for Eren, he was gasping for breath and hoping for Eren to simply hold his hand and tell him he felt the same.
“So how does mating season work for werewolves? Does your whole pack retire to their dens for a week and do it doggy-style for seven days straight?”
Levi snorted, “Something like that. Most prefer doing it human-style, though.”
“The pleasure is… incomparable,” Levi tried to think of the best way to explain it. “I don’t know if you noticed, but our human bodies have a lot of capabilities that make it a much more… satisfying week.”
By the look of Eren’s blush, Levi figured Eren had been experiencing the miracles his own Omega werewolf genes. There wasn’t much to hide, Levi could smell the waves of slick that occasionally slipped down Eren’s thighs. Most couldn’t help it, especially non-mated wolves. Levi always told himself it was just spontaneous and had nothing to do with Levi’s presence, though a very small part of him always hoped it was.
“So, what makes Alpha wolves different? What’s their, as you call it, capabilities?” Eren prodded.
“I thought you knew everything about werewolves,” Levi teased.
“I know a lot about werewolves, but I know nothing about… this…” he sheepishly admitted. “But I want to know. So, tell me.”
“While Omegas go through their heats during mating season… Alphas can go through ruts. It’s basically the same thing, this uncontrolled need to mate. And they are able to… knot their mate.”
“What’s that mean?”
Levi wished this could be one of the times when Eren was worldly and knowledgeable. Eren was looking up at him with those big, innocent eyes, wishing to know the dirtiest facts.
Well, Levi wasn’t going to lie. “Basically, the Alpha’s dick swells up to completely fill and stretch the Omega.”
“Why would they do that?” Eren seemed more intrigued than disgusted.
“So, none of the seed can spill out. An ensured pregnancy.”
“Wouldn’t that… hurt?”
“Not in the midst of a heat.”
“Hmm…” Eren thought, most likely imagining the two of them together. A boost of alluring pheromones coming from him proved it to be true. Levi’s throat let out a guttural, husky purr in satisfaction. Eren furiously blushed and started whistling to take his mind off of those perverted thoughts.
“Have you…?” Levi started to ask, a question he was unsure he wanted to know the answer to. He wanted to just spit it out. Have you been with anyone before? Have you had sex before? Have you ever mated with anyone? Levi always guessed ‘no’ but there was no telling for sure. Still, he needed to know before it all started. If Eren hadn’t been with anyone before, Levi supposed he’d want to take Eren before mating season began if only just to prepare. The idea flattered his impatience.
Though, if Eren had a previous lover, Levi couldn’t help but want to tear apart whomever left his precious Eren. Levi’s body would probably go into an instinctual territorial frenzy and take him right there in the middle of the woods. Well, his mind would be doing so anyway. His heart knew better than to defile Eren in such an non-ceremonial sort of way.
He wanted to show Eren how long he’d been waiting for him. He wanted to show him just how special he really was and make him feel every spark of pleasure in existence. He wanted to worship him like the saint he was, properly gifting his own body to serve Eren’s.
“No,” Eren finally answered. It was solemn and honest.
Levi dared to ask further, “May I ask why?”
Eren laughed, “It’s stupid.”
“Nothing about you is stupid,” Levi reminded him.
“All creatures have their own traditions and cultures. The only way to make friends with them is to learn them all. Werewolves mate once, for life, and that’s their way of life. Witches and wizards have a way of life too… They can have multiple partners or none. Typically, they bond with other witches and wizards who have compatible magic. All magic energies are different and when two of them ‘get along’, they can perform even the trickiest spells without even trying.”
“How do you know when you’re compatible?”
“You perform spells together. It’s a way of bonding and getting to know each other. Plus, it’s supposed to be really fun.”
“But…” I don’t have any magic. I can’t be the one for you.
Eren squeezed Levi’s hands and pulled them along. “But, what? There isn’t another witch or wizard left in this forest anyway. It’s a good thing I was waiting around for one, though. If I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have met you.”
It was enough to soothe Levi’s frantic heart and they gamboled on hand in hand. They started to pass landmarks Levi was familiar with. There was a sleepy willow tree with Farlan and Isabel’s claw marks etched into it in an artistic manner. There was the pile of boulders with a coat of heavy moss where Erwin liked to nap. A little stream crossed their path, the ones his pack used for fresh drinking water. Levi thought about how the stream was far too small for that behemoth mermaid to interrupt them. He chuckled to himself at the thought.
And they were in the clearing again, though no pups were out to play. They were most likely taken to a smaller area by the elders where they’d stay clear of the adults’ mating habits. Levi wondered how easy it was for the elders to take the pups away. Werewolves were protective of their mates and even more so of their pups. Then again, their minds would be sinking in the depths of lust in no time while the pups played on like nothing was happening outside of their own little world.
The cave system came into view soon enough. Some had wide openings and others were tiny little holes in the rocks. Their scent provided a grand introduction and had tons of little wolf heads peeping out of the stone caverns.
The first two to greet them were Levi’s closest pack mates. Though, he didn’t expect them to be in their human forms. He’d only seen them in such a form a few times and he was grateful they remembered to put on clothes.
Farlan came up first, dressed similarly to Levi in baggy trousers and a buttoned-up shirt. He sniffed around them for a moment before breaking out into a full grin, “Levi! Eren!”
Isabel came next in a worn sundress. Her red hair was a mess of frizzy tendrils. “You’re finally home! And you’ve brought Eren home too! Eren! Have you ever seen Levi’s den before? He’s spent hours trying to get it ready for…”
Levi cut her off, “Farlan, Isabel. This is Eren.”
“Oh calm down, we know Eren,” Farlan slapped Levi on the shoulder and approached Eren. He spoke in a softer, more genuine tone, “Thank you for your spell the other day. I swear I haven’t crossed that goblin’s path since.”
“That’s good to hear. You had to really piss them off to have them smack you with that sort of spell.”
Farlan bashfully rubbed the back of his neck, stumbling on his feet a little, “I may have bitten him. On accident. Well, on purpose. It was accidentally on purpose.”
Eren gave him a pointed look in joking accusation.
Farlan held his hands up to defend himself, “Levi used to do it all the time. He taught me poorly.”
Eren’s stare turned to Levi, who was thinking up the best explanation.
Isabel didn’t help his cause, “They don’t call him the bully of the forest for nothin’.”
“They don’t call me that,” Levi spoke in his own defense. Really, they didn’t. Still, they knew well enough to stay out of his way. Something about the constant flow of aggressive Alpha pheromones and his taciturn personality that seemed to drive most people away. Well, everyone other than Isabel, Farlan, and Erwin. And now, thankfully, Eren.
“Whatever, big bro,” Isabel rolled her eyes and grabbed Farlan’s arm. “I bet we’re interrupting something special you two had planned. We better get out of your way before you go all savage on us.” She imitated a fearsome chomp with her dull human teeth, clacking them together and making biting noises.
“I’m just happy I could properly thank you, Eren,” Farlan got in before Isabel was dragging him away. It seemed like (and smelled like) the two of them had ‘something special planned’ for the rest of the day as well. Levi tried to keep the image of his two friends mating far out of his mind. He had better things to think about.
His gaze fell upon Eren who was curiously scanning the area. Most of the curious wolves had retreated back into their dens. Some still watched but the moment Levi’s eyes met theirs, they turned away.
“So… your den?” Eren recaptured Levi’s hand, swinging them a little to let him know he was ready to move on.
“Right,” Levi tugged Eren along.
Levi had always been different from his pack mates, from his origin story to the way he spent hours licking himself clean at night. Even his choice of a den was laughable to most, but even so he found a certain beauty to it. They rounded a rocky bend up the cliff side, high up and beyond his pack mate’s dens. Eren gripped on a little tighter to his hand, staring down at the steep descent off the side.
Levi teased, “What? You never followed a satyr up the side of a mountain? Never had to deliver a pot of magic worms to the harpies?”
“Can’t say I have…” Eren nervously replied. “Why is your den way up here?”
“You’ll see…” Levi took the final steps before rounding the corner. A curtain of vines and ivy covered up the entrance. He pulled them away and took Eren inside, wondering just what the young wizard was thinking at that moment.
The stone and dirt floor was neatly covered with pelts, acting as a luxurious carpet. Sunlight streamed in from a few weathered gaps in the ceiling, allowing in just enough light to see properly. The stone kept things cool and they could feel the cold relief from the burning sun. Strange markings were drawn on the cave walls, crude hieroglyphics left by creatures that were long since extinct.
Functionally, the den served its purpose. He kept a rather large bed made up of straw and pelts. There was a cool spring towards the back of the cavern he could use for water. Really, it was the most ideal spot for a den. He wondered why no one else wandered up far enough to find it.
All that mattered was Eren’s impression of the nest. Was it good enough? Did he find it charming like Levi did? Did the height scare him off? Levi wasn’t sure what he’d do if Eren didn’t approve of the home he’d provided, he’d never worried about something as silly as rejection.
“Wow,” Eren breathed, scampering all over the place to observe. He stooped down to feel the soft animal furs. He let his fingers graze over the strange drawings, especially the ones that resembled large humans of some kind. He sat at the edge of the bed to test it out before sending Levi the biggest smile. Eren leaned back and stared up at the ceiling where the little lines of sunshine popped through.
Levi exhaled. It was a good sign. He’d done a good job at making it a suitable place for Eren.
Eren peered up at Levi and laughed, “What are you doing just standing there and staring at me? It’s almost like you like me or something.”
Levi exhaled deeply through his nose in amusement and he fell onto the bed next to Eren. The two of them looked up at the ceiling, simply basking in one another’s silent presence for a moment.
“You didn’t have to feel so worried,” Eren informed him.
“I noticed. You’re not the only one who can decrypt scents around here. I can sense you just as much as you can sense me.”
“Is that your way of saying you’ve caught me?”
Eren barked out a laugh and rolled onto his side to get a better view of Levi. “I know werewolves mate for life, so I don’t want to mess this up. I don’t want to mess you up. I know this isn’t normal and I’m not really sure what to do. But I feel it. So, just tell me what you’re thinking.”
It was the easiest thing Levi had ever done. “I love you.”
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Eren gave no signals or signs, he didn’t even speak. For once, he was a blank slate and gave nothing away. Levi had his hands together with an increasing grip, knuckles turning white in pure impatience and anxiety. He couldn’t even scent anything in the air, which was truly alarming.
“Levi!” a shrill voice called out as if something had gone wrong.
Eren bolted up first, darting outside of the den to figure out what was going on. Levi followed him out, wanting to reach out and throw him back into the den for safety’s sake. Though Levi truly believed there would be no stopping Eren’s relentless need to help someone in need.
Isabel stood in the main clearing, calling up to them. She looked worried as hell and was screaming, “The pups! There’s something in the water! I tried to get Erwin, but he’s not here… Farlan went to go help! But…”
“Let’s go,” Levi led the way on foot. It would have been wiser to change forms, but he didn’t have the energy left. It seemed as though Isabel was worn out too, falling behind during their run towards the stream.
The werewolves had chosen a safe, shallow stream with a slow current for drinking, bathing, and playing. There were a few dips and depths along the way, but it was nothing a pup couldn’t handle. Levi had to wonder what sort of threat was in the water. His first thought went to Mikasa the mermaid, but he’d be surprised if she took such a shallow path to find Eren. He doubted the behemoth could even push her way through the small flow of water.
So, what was it then? As they neared the target, they all heard a screeching, garbled noise. A small group of pups were barking furiously at the four-hooved beast. Their fur stood on end and they stayed a few meters back, a safe distance from any possible danger. At first glance, it seemed as if the thing were stuck.
Eren gasped and ran at the thing without a second thought. Levi reached out to catch him by the back of his tunic, but missed by a millimeter. Eren rushed to the beast’s side and started murmuring some phrases in another language.
Levi crept closer to the scene, only driven by his need to make sure Eren didn’t get hurt. Really, he wanted to gather up the pups and his friends and shoo them away before attacking the damned thing. Eren was stifling his plan by approaching it and chatting with it.
“Hey, you stuck? What is this stuff anyway? Fish net? Must have washed in from the big lakes. I’ll get them off, quick and painless,” Eren spoke in a hushed, calming voice. Whatever the thing was had calmed down and stopped crying. Levi took a few steps closer until he finally realized what it was. A full-grown kelpie was struggling in the shallow water, kicking its hooves and attempting to stand up against the invisible net.
Levi had never seen a kelpie up close before. Sometimes they’d sit on the edges of river banks in an alluring human form, tempting poor suckers into the water for an inevitable bloody feast. Other times, they’d appear as a horse and encourage humans to ride them, only to end up a drowning corpse. Either way, they were bloodthirsty demons and Levi didn’t want Eren anywhere close to the creature.
“Eren,” Levi spoke harshly, trying to convey the severity of the situation.
Eren ignored him and kept talking to the kelpie, whispering comforting assurances. He even had the audacity to pet the monster, stroking its long dark nose while it sat there and breathed at him. It seemed to be stuck in its horse form, a huge dark beast with little white speckles all over its body.
Levi took another cautious step forward, fighting every instinct he possessed. “Eren,” he repeated again in a more pleading tone than last time. Really, Eren needed to step away from that monster before Levi’s entire body imploded with the severe need to stop the situation.
“It’s fine, we’re all fine,” Eren spoke to the entire group with the sincerest voice he could muster. “Liberumnum ardeate,” Eren repeated softly until Levi could notice the silvery fish net fading from the kelpie’s body.
Once freed, the kelpie stumbled up to its feet and whinnied with victory. Levi chose that moment to grab Eren by the forearm and pull him away from the water and closer to the pups where he could better guard everyone at once. Eren still wasn’t paying him any mind, he started talking to the damned creature. “Feeling better, Marco?”
It neighed in response, clucking its hooves against the water causing it to splash everywhere.
“I bet you’re looking for Jean, hm?” Eren rose an eyebrow as if he were teasing, as Eren called it, Marco.
In a misty haze, the horse shrouded itself in a white cloud. Seconds later, a man sat cross-legged in the water. “No, Eren. I was looking for you.”
Eren took a step closer to him, “What?”
“Our tribe has seen numerous sightings of poachers.”
The word was enough to make all the werewolves growl. Eren bit his lip, “Where?”
“Most stick to the edges of the forest and have been driven off by the centaurs and goblins there. They’ve been patrolling since the sightings began.”
“What… do they want?”
“We don’t know. They come in carrying these… metal things and intend to hurt. What’s worse is that one small group has snuck in past our exterior and have been capturing fairies.”
Eren’s scent finally became clear, though it wasn’t what Levi had expected. Eren was seething with anger and hatred, something Levi had only seen in those bright eyes once before.
The kelpie stood and took a few steps closer, “Eren, you’re the most human creature in this forest. If they’d listen to anyone, it would be you. We want you to talk to them, to reason with them. They don’t respond to violence, but maybe they’ll respond to you.”
“They’ll respond to me all right…” Eren practically snarled. “Where are they?”
“The Fairy Queen has been keeping track of them, they’re staying near her territory and the fairies can’t chase them out. They’re not ignorant, they seem to know of our various territories and have been staying clear of the werewolf packs and the vampire clans. I believe one step foot in a river and was quickly… mauled. They gravitate towards peaceful places, only edging the more dangerous communities.” Marco took a few steps back, the white clouds misting over his body once more. In his last few seconds to speak, he finished, “Please help us, Eren.” The water horse clomped through the water, racing off towards the larger lakes where most of his kind dwelled.
Eren stood there staring at the empty creek, drawing in ragged breaths and shaking.
“Eren?” Levi asked when he hadn’t moved.
“I’ll kill them all, every last one of them,” Eren threatened, spinning around to see a worried Levi, a few terrified pups, and a confused Isabel. The moment he realized he was scaring the audience, he softened up and took a deep breath. “Sorry.”
“It’s fine,” Levi held out his hand to pull Eren closer.
Eren’s vision readjusted as he focused on the little group of werewolf pups. They all acted timidly, shying away from the aggressor. They were most likely confused at why an Omega would be capable of such a dark vehemence. Naturally, Alphas were prone to their own fury while Omegas could calm them down with one look.
Eren knelt to the ground and held out his hands, making a flurry of sparkles dance across the grass. The pups dropped their fear in one second in favor of chasing the little sparkles across the ground, yapping at them as they disappeared.
Any human wouldn’t be able to tell the different between a werewolf pup and a wolf pup, but the way they played with those silly little sparkles gave it all away. They marveled at the little things, demanding Eren to create more and more until the little area was full of the dancing little lights. The pups acted like children, dancing around the lights and snapping at them with their little fangs.
“I’ll take them back to the elders. Will you two be okay?” Isabel started herding the little ones away. They were all yipping their goodbyes, leaving Eren and Levi behind.
With the pups gone, Eren’s rage returned. “I wasn’t lying. I’m going to kill them all.”
As much as Levi admired Eren’s go-getter attitude, he knew blindly going into battle would be like a suicide mission. Unlike himself, Eren hadn’t met a human before. He had no idea what to expect. Eren wouldn’t see through their lies and false promises. Eren wouldn’t know what a gun did or how it worked.
Levi knew all the little gruesome details of the humans, which led him to a firm decision. “No.”
Eren gave him a look Levi would have never imagined receiving from him. His brow furrowed and his eyes glared harshly. The happy-go-lucky smile was replaced with a determined, displeased frown. “What do you mean ‘no’?” the words were soaking with venom and Levi repressed the urge to flinch. This would not count as a proper, good courting whatsoever. He was failing as Eren’s Alpha.
But he was keeping Eren safe, no matter what. “You can’t go to them in blind aggression. They’ll kill you exactly how I kill a rabbit, without hesitation or thought.”
“What else am I going to do? They’re hurting everyone and treating us like worthless prey. They’re hunting us down like livestock.” Eren’s anger inspired tears to collect in the corners of his eyes. The raw emotion was taking over, as if he were falling victim to it.
Levi had to make a choice and he really hoped he wouldn’t regret his next few words. “Fine, but you’re not going alone.”
Eren’s spiteful expression turned a new leaf. He looked excited. “Really?”
“Yes, really. I won’t let you go into that battle alone. You need someone who knows what they’re doing. We need someone who can tell us more. And we need a plan,” Levi decided. “And luckily I know exactly who can help us with that.”
Eren took Levi’s hand and blushed, “Sorry. I should have gotten better control. I just…”
“I know,” Levi finished for him, letting Eren out of the awkward explanation. He completely understood and didn’t need Eren to apologize in the first place. Eren only got frustrated because he actually gave a damn about the forest and everything in it.
“So, who are these experts you mentioned?”
“I’ll introduce you,” Levi figured would be the best explanation. He took Eren’s hand and pulled him back through the trees to their main domain. During the walk, Levi kept a firm hold on Eren’s hand for fear Eren would pull away or resist again. Those few minutes of feeling Eren slipping away from him sparked a new fear inside, one that wouldn’t be fully healed until he knew of Eren’s feelings for sure.
But he still couldn’t get a good sense on Eren’s emotions. His scent was muddled and he smelled faintly of that kelpie as well as the pups that had been crawling all over him. The striking bond between them felt dimmer and harder to understand. As much as Levi wanted to ask and be up front with his uncertainty, it just wasn’t the time. Eren’s eyes burned with determination and the human-situation weighed more on his heart than their courting would in that moment. If Eren did answer, it wouldn’t be a well thought out, fully sincere reply. It would be an answer tainted with the current situation still on his mind.
It didn’t help that mating season was bound to occur soon. Eventually, one by one, the werewolf Omegas would automatically form into their human shapes and go into heat. Spurred on by the scent, their Alphas would change as well and go into their rut. It would then lead to a week-long of shameless howling, squealing, and yelping. Previously, Levi would accompany the elders and help protect the pups and bring them fresh game. Now, he actually gave a shit and was feeling the tension in his core. It was coming and it was coming on fast.
His mind drifted a little as they took a quiet, rushed walk through the woods. A week or two after mating season would result in several Omegas announcing their pregnancies and several silent with no such luck. Typically, pregnant Omegas would remain in their human form through the duration leaving them at their most vulnerable. They’d give birth to a pup in their human form, a sight only seen once until the first full moon of their lifespan. The moment their body senses the Moon Goddess in all her presence gazing down at them, they make their first change into their wolf form and don’t change back until they present as Alphas, Betas, or Omegas.
The biologics of werewolves always seemed trivial to Levi. He planned on living and dying alone, avoiding any unnecessary trouble that came his way. As long as he could look after himself and the few he cared about around him, he’d feel satisfied with his lonesome lifestyle.
Things were different with Eren and Levi found himself wondering about how their own lives would pan out. Eren was a half-blooded Omega and that would factor into everything. Would he go into heat? By the scent of him, Levi guessed so. Sure, it was a mess of emotions and oils from strangers, but the undertones were all the same of an Omega nearing a heat. Could he get pregnant? Levi wasn’t sure and he didn’t think it mattered. Despite his increasingly prominent thoughts of having a pup of his own, it wouldn’t matter as long as he had Eren beside him.
When it all came down to it, none of it really mattered as long as Levi had Eren. He’d be willing to take the running leap no matter what conditions and consequences awaited them. He’d fight through every battle, jump every hurdle, and work himself to the grave in order to achieve that goal.
“What are you feeling?” Eren asked in a quiet voice. “It’s hard to tell…” He seemed embarrassed by the fact, looking away from Levi as he said it.
Levi figured there was no use lying. He said it again, hoping for a real answer this time, “I love you.”
Eren stopped walking and stared at the ground. “Do you?”
Levi hated the doubt in Eren’s voice. He was about to go on a three-day rant about how idiotic that doubt was, but Eren clenched his fists and continued, “After… everything?”
“What are you talking about?” Levi had to ask.
“I’m not even a full werewolf and I can’t control when I change. I’m not that great of a wizard either. I don’t even know if… You could have someone a lot better.”
“Eren, do you know what earthshine is?” The words came out instantly. It was a topic Levi’s mind circled around more than once.
Eren was obviously caught off guard. He looked at Levi with a confused, scrunched up face. “What?”
“It’s talked about a little in our legends and history. The Moon Goddess shines down upon our earth, gifting her light and wisdom. What most people don’t know is that our earth shines right back, shedding light on her darkest crescent.”
Eren kept looking at Levi, waiting for the explanation. Levi waited for a moment, enjoying Eren’s patient curiosity. He finally gave in and finished the idea, “You shed light in the darkest places in this cruel world, Eren. You give me hope for a brighter life.” There was so much more than that, but it was all Levi could shape into words. He needed something more to explain, something less fabricated than a string of words. Levi took Eren’s cheeks in his hands and pulled him in for a soft, gentle kiss that could hopefully transfer the words at the tip of Levi’s tongue straight to Eren. Levi wanted Eren to taste them, to swallow them whole and cherish them forever. Invisible words that could never be spoken, words that would leave an everlasting mark on his heart.
Levi could start to feel the weight between the two of them lift and the air began to clear. He took a chance to pull Eren closer and couldn’t stop the pull to subtly cover Eren in his own scent once again. Eren didn’t seem to mind, he held Levi right back and rubbed him back. With no tension or distractions, the doubts faded away leaving nothing but true, warm emotion.
“I love you too, Levi,” Eren softly replied into Levi’s ear, keeping those five words at a whisper so only Levi could hear the sweet sounds.
“We’ll talk more later,” Levi promised. As wonderful as the moment was, he knew where Eren’s heart lied and planned on doing anything he could to help. “Right now, let’s focus on running those bastards out of town.”
Eren pulled away to show off a toothy, eager grin. “Yes,” he agreed. “So, will you tell me who are we meeting now?”
“Our former and current pack leaders.” Levi and Eren stepped out to the clearing before the dens. Two wolves sat at the entrance, most likely notified by Isabel to meet them there. “Hange, our pack leader,” Levi gestured to the auburn Alpha with one blind eye. “And Erwin,” he shifted to the bigger, lighter colored Alpha.
Both of them flawlessly formed into their human bodies. Hange was the first to clap, “So, Eren, how can we help?”
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“A group of poachers? Here?” Hange was gaping at them in disbelief. “No humans have ever found us before… Why now?”
“Not sure,” Levi shortly replied. “But we need to get them out.”
“Humans are like parasites to this forest, draining it of its magical energy until there is nothing left…” Erwin spoke gravely. “The same thing happened to my home forest. I was the only one to make it here alive,” he filled in for Eren.
Eren opened his mouth, possibly to apologize or sympathize, but Hange cut him off, “Where are their current whereabouts?”
“Fairy kingdom,” Levi replied.
“They’re smart enough to stay in pacifist zones and avoid the more violent areas,” Hange tapped her foot and grinned, “This will be an excellent hunt. Our prey has a bit of spunk and some knowledge. It’ll be a good challenge… But how could a group of humans obtain this knowledge? A layout of the forest, a biography of every creature…We can’t just rid of them. We have to figure out their motive, their plan, and how they learned of us… And after that, we make them pay.” There was something a little crazy in her voice, but they definitely needed a little crazy to get through whatever the hell they were getting into.
Eren wasn’t going to let the Alphas dominate the conversation, something an Omega would normally do. As always, Eren seemed to break the mold. “I know the Fairy Queen. She can tell us exactly where they are and could even help.”
Hange nervously smiled and laughed, “Eren, dear, we don’t mind the fairies but we’ve never exactly been best pals with them. They don’t seem to understand our diet of raw meat and innards.”
Eren shook his head, determined, “They’ll help. I know they will.”
Hange looked to Levi who just shrugged. Levi had seen firsthand how Eren could interact with the different species of the forest. Eren had proved to him time and time again that their neighbors weren’t as dangerous as previously thought. “I think he’s got a point. If we run in for the kill without the fairies knowing, they might help the bastards just to spite us for hunting near their home. They’ve done it before.”
Erwin put a hand on Hange’s shoulder, “It’s an opportunity to create a stronger bond with our kin.”
Just like that, Hange was newly riled up and ready for action. But still, they had an issue. “Most of the werewolves are… occupied with their mates. It would take a miracle to pull them away this close to mating season. The only reason we’re not effected is because, as pack leaders, we choose to put the pack before ourselves. It means no mating for us!”
“So it’ll just be the four of us,” Erwin rubbed his chin and sighed, “This would be much easier with our entire pack behind us.”
“It’s like they planned it…” Hange thought aloud.
“Then it’ll be the four of us,” Eren decided firmly. “Besides, we have the entire forest on our side.”
Somehow his confidence seemed to sway Erwin and Hange. Hange made the final call, “We trust you, Eren Jaeger. Let’s make our way to the Fairy Queen. We’ll flank you the entire way in case we run into trouble.”
Hange and Erwin shifted back into their wolf forms with graceful ease, neither of them showing any signs of fatigue. Levi weighed his options of changing again risking a severe drop in energy or staying at his most vulnerable state. For Eren’s sake, he shifted and tried to ignore his screaming insides. He gave both Hange and Erwin a look that said it all: keep him safe at all costs.
They travelled at a quick jaunt. Eren jogged alongside the wolves, who slowed their pace for his benefit. Hange ran up ahead while Erwin and Levi stayed close on either side of Eren. Every snapping twig and crying animal had the three wolves on high alert, stopping in their tracks and dropping into a fighting position. After a few seconds to make sure the coast was clear, they continued.
The expanse of fairy territory could be seen a mile away. The dense forestry thinned out to reveal a flowery meadow. Fairies brought in all sorts of flowers from around the world and nurtured them in the pasture, creating a botanist’s dream garden. The wolves slowed their pace to a quiet crawl, keeping a strict lookout for the invaders.
“We’re around the backside,” Eren whispered to the beasts. “The castle is right up ahead. I’d guess the humans would want to stick around the edges further from the castle. We should be safe to sneak our way in.”
Even with his assuring words, the three wolves weren’t fully convinced they’d escaped danger’s grasp. They stayed on high alert as Eren slowly left the safety of the woods and stepped into the sunlight. Despite their situation, his dreamy eyes wandered over all the different kinds of flowers and plants. He took inventory of ones that seemed to interest him the most and even bent down to touch one. Levi nosed his hand away from the plant, unsure of if the thorny bush was poisonous or not. Levi pushed his forehead into Eren’s shin, hoping to get him moving a little faster. He typically didn’t appreciate being out in the open ever, and the anxieties were at a maximum with his vulnerable Omega in tow.
“Yeah, yeah,” Eren seemed to get the message, patting Levi’s head and moving forward. His previous fury had subsided and now he was… sightseeing? Levi wasn’t sure what was going through Eren’s mind and he didn’t like it. He couldn’t even pinpoint Eren’s general state of mind through his scent.
The fairies were a mystery to most. They could manipulate their size, which made them incredibly evasive and annoying. While they were all beautiful, elegant, and seemingly peaceful they were also notorious thieves and tricksters. The werewolves found it hypocritical that they criticized them for eating meat when they’d steal a goblin’s pocketbook just for fun. However, petty differences weren’t going to get them anywhere in this situation.
They approached the tall, cobblestone tower with a plethora of little windows up the sides with multi-colored shutters. Flowering vines ran up the tower until their limbs were too weak to climb. The main entrance to the tower seemed to be a massive window at the top. The obvious question silently bounced between the three. How do they even get in?
Eren seemed to have an idea and Levi didn’t doubt he’d visited the Fairy Queen before. He led them to the back of the tower where they found an old wooden door the size of a goblin. Eren opened it freely and let the three wolves in first, closing the door behind them. They walked up a narrow spiraling staircase that made Hange and Erwin tentative and nervous while Levi and Eren were trotting up the flights with no issues at all. Though, they were all heaving by the time they reached the top floor.
It looked to be a sort of throne room with bookshelves lining the walls, plants hanging down from the ceiling, and little fairies flitting in and out. A blonde woman sat in a wooden throne with a book in her lap next to another woman who didn’t seem interested in anything other than the blonde. The two of them noticed their visitors and seemed to have a mixture of emotions flash across their faces. At first, alarmed by the wolves but then overjoyed at the sight of Eren. Or, at least the blonde one seemed overjoyed. Her partner seemed to still hold onto a touch of guarded fury. The darker woman placed an arm around the blonde, but was quickly deserted as she ran up to give Eren a hug.
Levi was nearly sitting on Eren’s foot while the blonde stayed close to greet him, “It’s been ages!”
“Historia!” Eren sang back, “How’s the fairy kingdom? I noticed your hydrangeas are in full bloom and the honeysuckles are beautiful. I noticed you were growing hemlock too, though Levi wouldn’t let me touch it.”
Historia’s eyes lit up, “You noticed? I was hoping you would! So, who is… Levi?” Her eyes drifted between the three wolves.
Eren pointed to the black furry wolf at his feet, “This one is Levi.” His gesture moved to the lighter colored wolf, “Erwin.” His hand extended to Hange, the auburn Alpha, “And the pack leader, Hange.”
“I don’t… understand. Why are you with the werewolves?” she sounded offended and as series of low growls filled the room, not only from the werewolves but Historia’s partner as well. She flew up from the throne and stepped up behind her in a protective manner.
Eren hurried up to explain before things got rough, “We’re all friends. And Levi and I… we’re more than that. We aren’t here to fight. We’re here because of the humans.”
Historia’s face fell, “Oh, right. They’ve set up a campsite on the far end of our pasture where the flowers no longer grow.”
“They’ve been hunting down our friends,” Eren sharply accused.
“Your friends, Eren,” Historia reminded him with a soft frown. “We’re fine with living peacefully amongst our neighbors, but that doesn’t make them our friends.”
She huffed, “It just doesn’t. They’re… murderers.”
“And so are wild foxes, but you don’t mind them,” Eren reminded her, raising an eyebrow. “And right now, we’re all in trouble. So, are we really that different?”
Historia sighed, “Eren, I won’t break years of our traditions and walk into battle with you, but I will allow you to confront them. You’re always the only exception, because you’ve helped us in the past as well.”
Eren gave her a little bow and Levi wanted to scoff. He shouldn’t bow to a woman who didn’t respect his own kind.
“Thank you, your highness,” Eren gave her a nod and made his way out. “Nice to see you too, Ymir. Looks like you’ve been taking good care of your queen.”
The other woman nodded and pulled Historia back to the throne. She threw her arm over the blonde and pulled her close, glaring at the wolves all the while.
Eren started down the stairs first, followed by his three companions. Once they got out of the castle, they rushed back to the more heavily wooded area to reconvene. He explained, “We got their permission and that’s all we needed. Now we just have to lure them away from their territory and end this.” His tone was surprisingly dark again, a completely new side to the sunny half-wizard.
Erwin and Hange whined, shrinking back towards home. Obviously, they didn’t agree with running straight into battle and neither did Levi. He bit onto Eren’s tunic and pulled him towards safety, but Eren resisted. “If we don’t do this now, they’ll only hurt more people,” he contested.
The werewolves yipped and growled at one another, none of them agreeing with Eren’s case. Eren raised his voice, “Look, I’m going whether you do or not.”
Well, that roped Levi in automatically and he stopped trying to pull Eren away. Obviously, he wasn’t the type to easily change his mind and Levi figured he’d save his energy for the true fight ahead.
He knew what Erwin and Hange were thinking. We don’t know how many there are. We don’t know their form of defense. We don’t know anything about the enemy other than that they’re an enemy. In any sort of battle, this lack of information would result in striking, painful defeat.
But if they didn’t go, it was clear Eren would. He already took off towards the far end of the forest at a full-out sprint. The three wolves ran up behind him, cautiously scanning the terrain until they found the little human campsite.
Three humans occupied the place, Levi could smell them from far out. They had a fire going, a few tents set up, and some kind of metal devices. Levi didn’t like the looks of them and slowed his pace to match Eren’s until they finally approached them.
One of the guys started laughing hysterically, “They came right to us! You were right, they’re territorial as hell.”
“Bloodthirsty too,” a girl agreed. “But their coats are gorgeous.”
“And once you’d get them locked up in a cage, they’d make a great exhibit at a zoo.”
The man and women kept going on and on about capturing the wolves, but the last man seemed more interested in the seething Eren than anything else. He had a well-kept beard and light hair. He wore these strange objects on his face, round glass pieces over his eyes.
Eren spoke first, initiating battle with clenched teeth, “Get out of our forest. Now.”
Erwin, Hange, and Levi all growled in succession to heighten the threat. Perhaps Eren had some magic up his sleeves, but the three werewolves could supply fangs and claws to make things a little bloodier if needed. They wouldn’t win this fight by backing down or showing weakness.
“We will… soon…” the man promised with a sly grin. “We just have one last task on our agenda. Luckily, it looks like we’ll be finishing up far ahead of schedule.”
“You leave now.” Eren rose his hands, bringing out little sparkles like he had when he was playing with the pups. These light sparkles of sunshine took on the color of night and flew at the tents, sparking a fire.
“Shit, shit, shit,” the girl cursed, running to attempt to put the fire out with some buckets of water. The other man helped her, complaining about how much work had gone wasted. Levi scented the brief odor of burning flesh and he knew all too well that they were storing corpses in those tents. He didn’t even want to know who or what kind.
“Very nice threat, but you don’t have the heart to kill. You never have,” the man with round glasses chided. He pulled out some metal chains from the pile and held them out, “We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Come willingly or we’ll have to hurt your friends a bit.”
Eren growled at him and the man shrugged, “You asked for it.”
His two lackeys abandoned the burning tents and brought out these strange devices that buzzed and lit up oddly. Hange and Erwin backed up a bit, keeping an even distance between the enemy and Eren, trying to guard him without stepping into the line of inevitable harm. Levi, however, stayed right at Eren’s side and was growling like mad. All he could sense from Eren was stress, anxiety, and a little excitement from the danger. He wanted nothing more than to return to Eren’s cottage, to lay back and watch the sun. He wanted to make Eren feel better, to croon and cuddle him until the Omega could rest easily. Instead, Eren threw himself into the line of fire and refused any option of running for safety.
Levi found it admirable, the fact that Eren wouldn’t run. It was something even he couldn’t do when he and his mother were being chased down by the vile humans in the streets. He found it easier to stand by his side, knowing that Eren was no coward. Eren was independent, brave, and completely, endearingly insane.
The bearded man reached out for Eren and Levi jumped up to bite his wrist, piercing through the large blue vein crossing the pale flesh. While he expected the man to flinch or back off, he just laughed and tossed his arm to the side, throwing Levi off his grip and sending him tumbling through the grasses.
That initiation of aggression caused Erwin and Hange to jump with fangs bared, however a sharp succession of clicks had their bodies shaking and falling to the ground, stunned. Their bodies shook and somewhere in the ringing in Levi’s ears he heard screaming.
“I told you the stunners would come in handy,” the girl sassed, laughing with victory.
Eren flung himself at the bearded man, unable to control his anger. His punches landed with flying sparks, burning the bearded man’s skin. Levi flew up to assist, but was only taken down by that pounding noise. Shocks spread through his body and left him shaking on the ground like his kin. He howled in unfamiliar pain and helplessness. The two things that could break his heart were occurring in a quick succession: losing his freedom and losing Eren.
The bearded man’s seeming inability to feel pain had him standing with Eren’s throat in his grasp. The other humans clasped the heavy metal chains around Eren’s wrists and neck, bounding him until he couldn’t move any longer. The man finally dropped Eren, who landed on his knees, struggling for some kind of balance.
“Nice to finally meet you, Eren. Curious little thing you are. I suppose now that I have you, my interest in this escapade is over. Let’s head out.” The man with the beard waved to his crew to start packing up what was left of their campsite. Erwin and Hange were whimpering in the distance, but it was difficult for Levi to hear anything anymore. His mind and the rest of his senses were fading.
“You want to keep these fairies, Zeke?” a man shook a jar full of little fairies, causing them to thunk against the glass and cry out for mercy. “It’s all that’s left, really.”
“Might as well. They’ll sell for a good price. Humans who live far from this forest don’t even know they exist.” Zeke yanked on the chains that held Eren captive. “I have to admit, these little friends of yours might have stood a chance if not for our advanced weaponry. Better luck next time. Now, Eren, we have some catching up to do…”
Thank you all for being so patient and thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this and I'm so grateful for all of you that are sticking with me through this adventure!
Here’s a link to my personal blog as well!: snakemittens
Chapter 9: A Half-way's Hope
I just thought I'd leave a little note here, there is some violence in this chapter. More so compared to others, but not enough that I thought an archive warning was due. I added it in the tags, so please beware as you read.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Eren was unsure of most things in life and he was okay with that. He didn’t know what every new day would bring or what waited just around the corner. The world could have ended the next day and he wouldn’t have been surprised. Still, in all the uncertainties in his life he held on to several constants, things he’d never abandon.
One was that his mother taught him everything about witches and wizards. He didn’t have a clan, a tribe, or a pack to depend on. It was just the two of them with his father occasionally mixed in, causing trouble. Even so, his mother tried to engrain their species’ entire culture into his mind, to give him a sense of community and togetherness with the other magic users. While there were dozens of spells and rituals that were commonly used, there was only one true rule that stuck with Eren clearly: don’t kill in front of those you love.
Two was that he loved Levi and would do anything to keep him safe, even if that meant leaving him behind.
Eren was walked out of the forest with a knife at his back. Anytime anything would pass by, the knife would poke at him, threatening him. It seemed the creatures knew there was nothing to do, nothing to say. They all passed on and Eren was happy about it. He didn’t want anyone to get hurt or taint their hands for his sake.
Just outside the forest was an old chapel with brick walls and an old waterwheel slowly spinning. The roof sagged and it looked to be deteriorating. The worst smell came from it and Eren guessed someone or something had died in it. Possibly more than just one at that.
Eren tried to keep his breathing and emotions under control, running his plan through his mind again and again. Still, one thing kept interrupting the rolling scenarios in his head. The zapping from the stunners, the piercing werewolf cries, and seeing Levi convulsing on the ground. Eren knew it wasn’t the death of him, though he knew it had hurt him. At least it gave Eren the perfect opportunity to isolate the fight, to keep those he cared about far from the bloodshed. Eren had decided he’d rather beg an eternity for Levi’s forgiveness than continue asking for the permission he’d never get. He knew, somehow, this was something he needed to do alone.
The inside of the chapel was just as sulky as the outside. He was forced down a staircase until they got to the basement where a sort of base was created. Several lanterns lit up the space and offered Eren a sight of nightmares and cruelty. There were tables and shelves of grotesque magical specimens. Dusty glass jars of blood were neatly labeled: werewolf, centaur, witch, goblin. Bones were stacked together to form mutated skeletons, one that stuck out particularly to Eren had the body of a harpy with the head of a satyr. A few metal tables were lined up with leather straps connected to them, built to lock someone down and keep them there. Shackles lined the walls and metal cages hung from the ceilings. Despite all the clutter, the space was oddly empty.
The irritable woman slammed the jar of fairies down on one of the metal tables, making them shriek at the sound. She huffed, puffed, and propped herself up on one of the tables simply glaring at Eren. The unnamed man next to her didn’t seem pleased either. Their obvious, silent fury didn’t effect Zeke whatsoever. Zeke was smiling like a fool.
And Eren knew why. It wasn’t every day you got to meet your half-brother for the first time. By the scent of it, Eren guessed they’d both inherited the same genes from their father.
Eren had a suspicion from the start and needed to find out for himself, he needed to look into the eyes of the favored son. And, somewhere in the back of his mind, he hoped Zeke would lead him straight back to his father. He waited years for confrontation, for personal revenge, and now he was finally closer than ever before.
“I take it you know who I am,” Zeke inferred, walking circles around the chained-up wizard, stalking his prey.
“You look too much like him to make me think anything else,” Eren returned, keeping his voice low and steady. “Besides, who else would exploit their borrowed knowledge of this forest?”
“We’ve never met, yet you speak so ill of my true nature,” Zeke scolded, stopping in front of Eren. He put a hand on Eren’s shoulder, an attempted act of sincerity. “Eren, we’re brothers. In one way or another, we’re one in the same.”
He couldn’t have been farther from the truth and Eren could barely hold onto his control any longer. He had to at least try to figure out the root of their motivation. “What do you want?” Eren spoke slowly, for he knew if he didn’t think about every little word it would come flying out in a spitting scream.
Zeke ignored his question and started a fire in the makeshift helm. “You know what it’s like to be half-way and you know what it’s like to be alone.”
Well, he had a point. Eren tugged at his chains until the metal dug into his wrists, needing the sting of pain to keep him on his toes. He tried to keep one eye on the two near the table and the other on Zeke, though it was close to impossible.
“Haven’t you ever wondered if there were a way to fix that? To finally be a whole something?” Zeke grabbed a knife from one of the shelves. From Eren’s view, he guessed it was forged by the golems who lived underground.
“So, I followed in our loving father’s footsteps. I finished the job he never could.” Zeke gestured to the room around them. “I solved the riddle of our life.”
Eren took a step back towards the door but the movement went unnoticed. At least now he had a clear view of the entire space around him and the only blind spot left was the staircase behind him.
“You two guard the front,” Zeke spoke lowly, sending his subordinates up the stairs. The girl laughed at Eren before making her final leave as if she knew what was yet to come.
“They used to be half-way as well,” Zeke informed him. “My first two successful test subjects. Though, they became fully human which wasn’t exactly my intent…” He spoke the last sentence with frustration. “But I won’t fail this time.”
Eren hated waiting for real answers, not these tidbits of thoughts and truth. He wanted it splayed out for him. Where was his father? What was Zeke talking about? Was it really possible to become a full-on werewolf or wizard? The frustration built and the metal chains started vibrating against his skin, buzzing softly like a bumble bee.
“The answer is so simple I overlooked it so many times. All the signs pointed to it. The only way to complete yourself is to take the parts you don’t have from someone else…” Zeke tossed the knife up in the air, catching it by the hilt. He slowly strode over to Eren, savoring the moment. “And what do humans and werewolves do best? Consume. The answer was right there all along. I just had to consume what I didn’t have!”
Eren took a few steps back and to the side, bumping into an old chair covered with a black pelt of fur. The moment his exposed skin touched the fur, he froze. It felt just like Levi, smelled just like Levi. Eren squinted at the fur, knowing that it couldn’t possibly be his Alpha.
“Our first experiment gone right,” Zeke motioned towards the fur. “Some street werewolf dad picked up and fed to Hitch up there. Couldn’t tell you her name, but we were sentimental enough to keep her pelt. Beautiful, isn’t it?”
Eren grasped at the fur, relishing in the familiar and safe scent. The thought of running brushed across his mind again. He wanted to run and escape this disgusting pit. He wanted to race through the trees and fall into Levi’s arms, into the one place he finally felt where he really belonged. Levi didn’t make him feel half-way or defective. Levi made him feel whole, wonderful, and loved.
Eren needed to get home and he needed to get there fast. The sick man before him was the only thing standing in his way. The chains vibrated at an exponential rate until they burst into sparkling shards of metal that hit the floor in a burst. Eren clenched his fists and stretched out his arms. “Finally,” he muttered, splaying his fingers out.
“Yeah, finally,” Zeke agreed, tossing the knife directly towards Eren’s torso, catching him by the arm. While Eren had his attention on the weapon, Zeke freely shifted into a bulky wolf with thick, tawny fur. He lunged for Eren first, throwing his entire weight at him in hopes for a good tackle.
Eren rolled out of the way, clutching at his arm in attempts to shield it from further pain and damage. Zeke crashed right into the chair, sending the black pelt flying over Eren’s body. He held it over his bleeding arm and used his free hand to work his magic. Without proper training in offensive magic, he fumbled through various spells in his mind until finally deciding. “Tarda tripudium,” Eren flicked his fingers towards Zeke, extending the energy in his body over to another and willing them to obey his wishes.
Zeke’s body slowed considerably, as if he were trudging through high water. He stopped attempting to run and snarled at Eren, dropping low to wait for Eren to approach him. Zeke wasn’t foolish and he knew one of them wouldn’t make it out of there alive, so he waited patiently.
It gave Eren a few precious seconds to grab the knife Zeke had thrown at him for some kind of weapon. He didn’t intend to cause him pain out of frustration like when they’d first encountered, Eren planned to kill. He needed to shed his soft exterior and connect with the beast within, the one that would do anything for assured survival and the protection of his kin without a second thought. His two battling halves, the pacifistic wizard and the aggressive werewolf, needed to unite as one to save the things he held dear.
Now, all he had to do was find a point of entry. With Zeke’s bulk, it wouldn’t be easy. He was compact, guarded, and ready for a fight. Eren gripped the knife in hand so hard that his hand shook, not in fear but anticipation.
However, spells didn’t last forever especially from a weak, half-wizard like Eren. Zeke slowly moved his limbs, rocked forward, and tested his mobility with every passing second. Eren recognized he was running out of time and took a leap of faith over the wolf’s body, stabbing him at his nape.
Zeke roared and reared up with the blade stuck in his neck, sending Eren clambering back against the metal tables. The jar of fairies fell to the floor, sending the little winged creatures dancing in a furious horde. They buzzed around Zeke’s head and managed to work as a team to pull the blade loose from his neck and toss it Eren’s way. The fairies darted at Zeke’s eyes, throwing themselves at him until he was flustered enough to fall back away from Eren. Once their job was done, they flitted up the stairs and out of sight.
Eren used the opportunity to fly up once more and push the dagger through Zeke’s eye, quickly pulling out to get the other one. Blood sprayed and splattered across Eren’s front, but the hot liquid couldn’t distract him with Zeke’s sharp teeth bared. At the close contact, Zeke latched his jaws onto Eren’s arm, sinking through the pelt and into his skin. Eren winched and hissed in pain, but kept his grip firm on the dagger for fear of losing it. Even without his sight, Zeke could maneuver his body around Eren’s at a lighting speed and was able to adjust his bite all the way up Eren’s arm and finally onto his shoulder. Eren’s arm fell weak against Zeke’s jaws and with only a few inches to go until he pierced Eren’s jugular and finished him off.
The words popped into Eren’s head, the magic inside him straining to continue fighting. Perhaps he’d heard them in a dream or a fairy tale, but they were escaping his lips before he could stop, “Impetus. E. Stanibus celsior!”
Zeke released Eren’s arm and flew back against the stone wall, crashing into it with a thunderous crack. The stone wall fractured behind him and started to crumble. He shifted back into a human form on impact, releasing an inhuman scream. He used his fist to bang on the brick wall, creating thunderous rumbles. The nearby shelves collapsed, the jars of blood, eyes, and entrails fell to the ground in a series of bursting glass and splashing preservatives.
The thick scent of death coated the area and everything in it. A curling sense of horror churned through Eren’s stomach, threatening to release its contents. Eren spit up some stomach bile and swallowed the urge to dry heave. He wrapped himself up further in the dark pelt, comforted to know the scent remained the same despite it being covered in his blood.
Zeke kept pounding on the wall, though Eren wasn’t sure why. It crumbled and cracked but refused to do anything more. If he was trying to summon Hitch and the other man, he didn’t seem successful in his efforts. Was it merely an act of anger and frustration or something more?
It didn’t matter, Eren didn’t have time to waste. He took as step closer, keeping an eye on Zeke’s exposed heart. Eren glanced at Zeke’s face, but wished he wouldn’t have. Either way, he needed to finish the job and held the dagger up and ready to pierce.
Eren took a step forward but stopped when a rumbling above them sounded. Within seconds, the ceiling came toppling down on top of them. Eren dove underneath the metal tables while Zeke stayed put, smiling and shaking his head. “I must say, your magic is a clever thing. But my strength will take us both down, for a half-way should never have existed in the first place,” Zeke shouted from across the room before the giant clumps of rock and wood came flooding down from above.
The debris clanged against the tables above Eren, falling in waves above and around him. He held onto his knees and put his hands over his neck, trying to remain as small and compact as possible. Darkness surrounded him and when the chapel was nothing but a heap of rubble in a hole in the ground, it grew silent.
Eren hadn’t realized he’d been crying but now it came in uncontrollable sobs. His stomach knotted and forced anything left in it out. The air already felt thinner, but perhaps that was just Eren’s anxiety thinking. He couldn’t be sure of anything anymore as he was alone in a pit of darkness.
The pelt around him felt warmer than ever and the scent remained the same, almost as if Levi were curled around him and offering the comfort Eren direly needed. His need for revenge and violence seemed like nothing now compared to his need for Levi. He told himself again and again that chasing down his past would protect them, but now it seemed fruitless. What was a life without the person you loved, even a safe one at that?
Eren had spent years alone, waiting for opportunity or death. He followed his mother’s wishes and attempted to fit the mold of a wonderful wizard in the forest. He maintained his cute little cottage and never harmed (or even raised his voice) at his neighboring creatures. He helped when anyone needed him with a smile plastered on his face. He simulated her psyche, her speech, and even her clothes. Still, like Zeke had said, he was only living half-way.
Eren felt the area around him, wondering if he could pull away some of the rocks to get to freedom. The moment he pulled one away, a new rush of rubble came tumbling down into his space leaving him with even less room than before. He didn’t know a spell to evaporate matter or clear a tunnel. He didn’t know a spell to call for help.
So, he focused on what he could do. The precious words repeated in his mind: You shed light in the darkest places in this cruel world. You give me hope for a brighter life.
“Levis,” Eren whispered, conjuring little floating sparks of light to brighten up his cavern. They danced in the still air, forming little patterns and dances as if they were cognizant beings. Just the little amount of light was enough to bring Eren hope, comfort, and a little more peace.
He laid out the pelt in front of him and bowed, “Thank you for keeping me protected and warm. I will return you to Levi, I promise. I know that’s where you belong.”
Eren was able to use his magic to clean up the blood perfectly and heal his wounds. It wasn’t painless or easy, but he had ample time to work on it. He kept a sharp ear out for any movement outside, any signs of life approaching the destructed chapel. Every moment that went by, Eren focused on a new task to keep his mind active. He knocked on the rocks around him to see if he could sense any openings. He hummed made up songs. He talked to himself a lot and sometimes imagined Levi was there to converse with him.
As he waited in the tiny space, Levi’s familiar scent filled the air. Eren felt bogged down, hazy, and weak. He wondered if he was running out of air or perhaps he became dehydrated. Either way, he couldn’t stay awake much longer. His little cavern was warm, almost too warm. He felt feverish and fell to his side when he couldn’t hold his head up any longer.
Well, if his last breath could be accompanied by Levi’s scent, it would be the way he’d want to go.
Chapter 10: A Mother's Protection
Hello everybody! I am so so happy to let you guys know that fizzyxox has created the most adorable and beautiful fan art for this fic! I am so trilled I cried a little. <3<3 Please take a look at our beautiful boy Eren here & here! A HUGE thank you to Fizzy I am speechless and wish I could thank you more!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Levi watched with wide eyes as the chapel fell to ruins. His body froze with horror as the dust and debris exploded into clouds surrounding them. Hange took the natural smokescreen as an opportunity and dove for one of the human’s necks, clenching it in between her jaws and eliciting a delicious snap. Erwin yanked the other human by the arm, tossing them over to Hange for another quick and painless kill.
In the exhilaration of the moment, Hange burst into her human form and yelped with victory, “Not so tough without your fancy tools, are ya?! We tore you down like pups chasing rabbits!”
Levi didn’t have time for a victory cheer, he was already pacing around the rubble in search of some kind of sign. Bloodstained rocks intermingled with moldy wood and cracked shingles. If Eren had been inside at the moment of its destruction, the chances of him still being alive were limited.
Hange fell to her knees in front of the pile. “We will get your mate out of there… no matter what,” she promised. Levi knew what she meant by ‘no matter what’. It was just a nicer way of saying ‘dead or alive’.
The anxiety and rage pent up in Levi’s heart released in on go. He howled with desperation and started clawing at the bricks and flooring, tearing them away and digging through the destruction. Snarling barks and growls left his throat, feral screams of grief filling the space. Why had he been so weak? Why had he let Eren escape his grasp? Why couldn’t he have gotten there in time?
The pieces slowly came together as he rabidly dug. Eren wasn’t stupid or ignorant, he knew full well they were walking into a losing fight. He didn’t make a rash decision and end up kidnapped on accident. The selfless little wizard just didn’t want anyone else to get hurt.
Levi should have noticed earlier, should have made a greater effort to keep Eren away. He should have dragged him by the collar of his tunic back to the den. Levi was drowning in regrets, drowning in fear, and running out of breath to properly breath again.
He stopped digging for one short moment to take in a deep breath in an attempt to cool his head. His claws and paws were bloody already from tearing at the jagged rubble. His eyes were blotted with tears. He missed Eren so goddess-damned fucking much he was starting to smell him.
Erwin stepped in front of Levi, scenting the air carefully. He looked curious and concerned at the same time, sniffing quickly as if he were tracking something. Levi followed as Erwin rounded the debris, carefully hopping from one stone to the other in efforts to retain balance and make sure nothing more collapsed around them.
In a cloud of his own flood of enraged Alpha pheromones, Levi couldn’t notice it at first. Two familiar scents coupled together and hid deep beneath the bricks and stone. He didn’t need a command or a plan, Levi started digging. He shoved the bigger chunks of wall with his side, throwing his entire weight at them to get them out of his way. Erwin lent his bulk when he could and relentlessly dug next to Levi.
The sun started to dip under the horizon when Hange appeared with a crowd behind her. “I brought help!” she cheered, bouncing up and down with an army of forest creatures trailing behind her. Centaurs, elves, and fairies followed her on land while kelpies and mermaids tore through the stream alongside them.
No words needed to be said. All of a sudden, there were five pairs of hands, paws, and hooves breaking through the rocks and wood. The mermaids and kelpies carried the excess debris away from the site and helped tear it away from the sides.
The words in Levi’s head were circling as his heart beat faster and faster with every scrape of his claws against the stone. Be alive. Let me hold you in my arms. Be alive. I will never let you go again. Be alive. I need you to smile at me and tell me everything is going to be okay.
The night fell upon them and the Moon Goddess offered her light, shining down upon them with a comforting smile. Levi prayed to her consistently, to offer her strength and will. Centaurs were carrying away the bigger, bulkier pieces of rubbish and they started to find strange artifacts among the remains of the chapel. Levi concentrated on his one spot, the spot where the scents were most potent. Eren’s became distinct and recognizable while the other was still new yet familiar, as if he’d sensed it in a dream. Regardless of the strange scent, he focused on Eren until his claws were scraping and scratching against metal. Little balls of light escaped through some cracks and holes, floating up into the night sky and popping in a fit of sparks. The lights assured Levi of one precious, beautiful thing. Eren was there and he was alive.
A blast of pheromones coated the earth around Levi as he furiously made the last final tumble underneath the metal shield to get to Eren. The rest of the forest creatures backed off at the scent of a territorial Alpha and knew from Levi’s happy yaps that things were going to be okay.
Levi couldn’t stop barking, wagging his tail, and licking Eren’s face. The jolt of joy had his body running on high, coating Eren with much needed love and affection. Levi could tell right away that Eren wasn’t in the best shape, but it didn’t matter at that point. Eren was breathing.
“Levi?” his raspy voice whispered, clutching tightly to Levi’s fur.
As desperately as he wanted to turn back into a human and voice an affirmation, he had no more strength left to make the change. Levi nuzzled Eren’s neck, licking it a little and allowing Eren to deeply breath in his own scent.
“She kept me safe for you,” Eren breathed, falling limp against Levi’s form.
Levi wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but he barked up to the others to get some help. Hange was the first to arrive, gathering Eren up in her arms and stumbling up the piles of debris. She handed him off to a familiar centaur, Jean, who safely trotted him to level ground.
Hange pointed towards their domain and asked, “Would you be able to help us get him home?”
“Eren’s house is that way,” Jean gestured with his head to point in the direction of Eren’s little cottage.
“No, his home is with us,” Hange corrected him, pointing back towards the werewolf territory. “He’s Levi’s mate which makes him one of us.”
“I don’t see a mating mark…” Jean examined Eren’s neck protectively. “Are you sure he’s with you?”
Levi neared his limit. He snarled at the centaur, bowed low to initiate a fight, and dared him to question them further.
“Fine, fine,” Jean rolled his eyes. “I’m just wondering if this is the best thing for him.”
I’m the best thing for him, Levi wanted to growl.
Jean continued, starting on the path towards the dens, “I mean, you did let him get captured and almost killed.”
Levi’s ears flattened against his skull in both guilt and anger.
“But, I guess if it’s what he wants…” Jean huffed, readjusting Eren in his arms. “Somehow, he smells just like you so you must be close.”
It raised Levi’s confidence out of the dust a little bit, but it would never be enough. Levi failed Eren and he could never take that back.
When they got to the dens, Hange collected Eren in her arms and walked him up to Levi’s den, settling him safely on the soft nest of pelts. “It looks like he healed his own injuries. Do you think you two will be okay tonight?”
Levi nodded and curled up next to Eren, resting his muzzle on Eren’s chest.
“May the Moon Goddess grant you her love,” Hange waved and left the den, leaving the curtain of vines fall shut behind her.
Levi tried to form into a human so he could pet Eren’s hair and whisper sweet nothings into his ear. He wanted to hold Eren tightly in a safe, protective grasp and shield him from anything that lurked beyond their nest. He wanted to tell Eren everything he’d been thinking since they’d parted. Mostly, he wanted to apologize which was something he didn’t typically do or want to do, for that matter.
He cursed at himself and demanded his body to change, to fit Eren’s form, to give Eren what he needed.
And then Levi noticed the pelt wrapped tightly around Eren, the scent that he’d met once in a dream. He buried his nose into the fur and let his eyes drop shut, drifting into the memories he’d locked away in the past unlocked only with a deep slumber.
A woman with long, black hair held his small form tightly against her breast. She was hushing him, pleading for him to quiet down. Still he kept asking, “Mama, what’s going on?”
There were a lot of questions his mother refused to answer. Why were they always running? Why did they sleep outside? Why didn’t the people like them? Why didn’t they have a home? She’d always negate his questions and distract him with something new, like a game or a new destination. Even so, she kept him safe and gave him her love. And he adored her oh-so much.
There were terrifying times when she’d tell him to change forms, something that burned and hurt so badly. He’d beg to stay in one, refusing to switch. After switching, he wouldn’t be able to walk or even stand. His voice hurt so much, he couldn’t bark or speak. It felt like dying every time. Still, she would firmly tell him that if they were to live, he’d have to change. So, for her, he’d do it.
There were nicer times too when the weather was warm and the sun was bright. They’d be able to find a quiet pasture and admire the flowers. She knew the names of every species and appreciated each one for its unique beauty. She’d tell him stories about creatures like them, magical creatures born of both man and animal. He’d fantasize about all the different kinds of beings and begged her to take there, to a place where they could live in peace. She’d just smile and reply with the same wistful word, “Someday.”
Levi nuzzled into her warm fur and murmured, “Mama.” He missed her joyful smile, her optimism, and her warmth. He missed her boundless love and quick wit.
He opened his eyes and realized he’d changed forms, a startling realization as he’d never changed without noticing before. In this form, he was able to properly tuck Eren into the furs and wrap his nude body around Eren’s chilled frame. Both the scents of Eren and his mother curled around him, letting him know that things would slowly get better.
“Thank you, Mama,” Levi whispered into the familiar, soft, black fur. “You’ve saved me twice now.”
As much as he wanted to stay awake and guard the door, the calming scents and security put his Alpha instincts to sleep.
Levi awoke around dawn to a curious scent. The hair on the back of his neck stood up and his skin tingled. His limbs were tangled up with Eren’s like grape vines on a trellis and Eren was breathing hard. Levi’s first instinct was to clutch onto him harder and share his warmth to sweat the illness out, but with one deep breath of Eren’s potent scent he realized it wasn’t illness at all. Eren was beginning his heat and soon enough they’d both succumb to the irresistible pull of their own bodies.
“So hot…” Eren whined, snuggling into Levi and pushing his nose against Levi’s scent glands.
Levi set aside the extra furs he’d blanketed on Eren and went to grab his mother’s to set aside respectfully. He’d give her a proper burial when he had Eren taken care of. With Eren so close to heat, it would take a thousand poachers to tear Levi away from him. His animalistic nature was dancing with his humanity, going at odds with each other in order to find the proper balance between man and wolf. His inner wolf would have pounced on Eren right then and there, taking him again and again relentlessly. His inner human refused, knowing that their relationship was fragile and so was Eren. He needed to take care of Eren first.
“Levi…” Eren poked at Levi’s collar bone nervously. “I feel… strange.”
“I know… is it bad?”
“It’s hot…” Eren tore away to sit up and take off his clothes, shucking them across the room until he was just as bare as Levi. He was sweating and his cheeks were rosy.
Levi pulled him back down so he could hold onto him safely again, his inner wolf screaming at the fact that Eren had broken away. The two were tangled up once more and Eren’s drowsiness seemed to wear off. “Is this a heat?” he asked softly, nervously.
Levi nodded, “It is. Are you okay?”
Eren nodded, “Now I am.”
Eren told him the entire story without missing a detail up until Zeke destroyed the crumbling chapel. “And then I was trapped under that table for… a long time.”
The entire story had Levi’s legs curling around Eren’s and his arms clasped securely around Eren’s shoulders. Levi wasn’t even aware of the tears collecting in the corners of his eyes. He couldn’t help but utter, “I’m so sorry.”
Eren was quick to stop him, “I knew it would happen. Don’t be sorry. I should be sorry for not telling you. I just didn’t want you to get hurt because of me…”
“Eren, I’d rather die young for you than live a long life without you,” Levi spoke the obvious. He never thought he’d say something like that and mean it, but it came straight from the heart.
Eren buried his face in Levi’s chest, wanting to get closer and hide his own tears. “I was so scared,” he admitted. “I don’t know any spells that would help. I wasn’t sure if they were gone. I didn’t… I didn’t…”
“But you were so brave,” Levi assured him, petting his hair in hopes it would help calm him down. Instincts urged him to tuck Eren’s head under his chin and croon softly, the gentle noise accompanying a burst of calming pheromones from the Alpha urging any remaining fear or anxiety away.
“I brought her back for you,” Eren told him, “She protected me in more ways than one.”
“I know,” Levi kissed the top of Eren’s head, “And I thank you for returning her to me.”
“She smells just like you. I bet she was amazing.”
“From what I remember, she was,” Levi smiled fondly at the few memories he had. “Just like you.”
“So, when will… it really start? I mean, when will we…?” Eren blushed furiously, the tips of his ears burning bright red.
“Whenever you want,” Levi decided. He’d hold off if he had to, he’d done it before. Eren’s scent would make it harder for sure, but he’d do it. With no prior experience of being with an Omega in heat, he wasn’t sure what to fully expect. Either way, he’d make sure Eren was happy and fulfill any of his wishes. “It’s a feeling, an impulse. Don’t push yourself until you’re certain.”
“Hmm…” Eren looked around the den and yawned. “What will we do for food?”
“I’ll hunt while you rest.” Levi was already hating the thought of leaving Eren alone, but they’d have to eat eventually. They would both certainly need the energy.
“What about baths?”
“I’ll take care of it.” Levi thought about carrying Eren to the spring near the back of his den, but wondered if Eren would mind it too much if Levi cleaned him off himself. Eren was irresistible enough as it was, but Levi could have melted at the thought of getting to lick away at his salt-soaked skin and slick-coated thighs. The thought made him shiver.
“And what if… I get pregnant?” Eren eventually asked the inevitable. “Or if I can’t?”
“I’ll keep you either way,” Levi promised. “You’re enough of a handful as it is,” he lightly joked.
Eren happily hummed in amusement.
Now it was Levi’s turn to ask the questions, one that had been burning in his mind for ages it seemed. “Eren, there will come a time during your heat when I’m going to want to… we might want to bond. Bond markings are forever and can’t be broken. And when we’re in heat… and not thinking as clearly as we are now…” The comment hung between them, the question still unasked. Levi couldn’t bring himself to voice it. Would you be my mate? Forever?
Eren wormed his way up through Levi’s grasp to kiss him hard on the lips. “I love you,” Eren whispered. “So when it’s time, I want to be yours.”
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Levi lay next to Eren, softly combing through his hair with his fingers and watching his Omega go through the usual signs and motions of a heat. He wondered what brought it on and tried not to get too prideful thinking it was all due to his presence. Eren lived far from the werewolves for so long, perhaps his body just wasn’t getting the proper stimulants from foreign pheromones and scents from his own kind.
Eren’s scent was unbelievable. Levi thought it was wonderful before, but this was incomparable and almost overwhelming. The entire den filled with the heady scent, threatening to cloud his judgement and awaken the rutting Alpha within. His member pulsed with anticipation and Levi kept his eyes on Eren who was staring up at him with dilated pupils and parted lips. Eren began to smell like slick and he panted a little, gripping at Levi’s skin and pulling him closer.
He had to wonder what was going through Eren’s mind and what was keeping him from following his instincts, the urges that were clearly telling him it was time. Levi wanted to ask, but found himself without the correct words to voice his concern. The last thing he wanted to do was push or pressure Eren, but it definitely looked like something was wrong.
* * *
A half-way should never have existed in the first place. His half-brother’s last words haunted him, tortured him. Eren wanted nothing more than to open himself up to Levi, letting their instincts take over and fill them with promised pleasures. Still, the thoughts remained and he fought against them. He didn’t want to start his heat with doubts and fears, he wanted to jump in with a heart full of love and desire for Levi. Between his uncertainties and pulling arousal he found himself in an uncomfortable limbo.
If he and Levi mated, something told him he would get pregnant and give birth to someone new. It was impossible to tell if they’d be a half-way, a werewolf, a wizard, or something tragically in between all three. The suffering of a half-way wasn’t something he wanted to pass on to someone else, he wanted it to die with him alone and prevent it from ever happening again. He didn’t want his own to struggle every full moon, to be caught in the disappointing middle of two wonderful things, passed on to another. He didn’t want them to bear the weight of never feeling like they fit in and never feeling inadequate for either portion of their origins.
Though, if he resisted the inevitable call of his heat, what would Levi do? Would the werewolf leave and never return? Would he be disappointed and storm away? Would he kick Eren out of the den and banish him from sight? No, Eren told himself. He knew that would never happen. Just looking into Levi’s eyes told him everything that existed within his beautiful heart. Levi would understand, or at least he would try to. So why couldn’t Eren bring himself to deliver the news and divulge his greatest fears? The words were stuck in his throat and he bit his lip, holding in anything that dared to come out.
“Hey,” Levi whispered. “What’s… wrong?” A hint of insecurity traveled through Levi’s tone and set Eren’s words free.
“I’m afraid. What if… what if we have a child that ends up like me? What if they’re not a werewolf or a wizard and they’re stuck somewhere in between? It hurts, Levi, so much when a full moon comes around. I hate not being able to control it. I hate not being able to be a werewolf just like you. I hate that I can’t give you the things a full-fledged werewolf could. And all of this just brings so much trouble and pain… I don’t want our child to end up like me.” Eren looked away, anywhere but at Levi’s expression. He imagined it being pained, grief-stricken, and maybe disappointed. The courage he’d possessed was only enough to let out his fears, not deal with the consequences of them just yet.
Levi took Eren’s chin between his warm fingers and forced him to look up. To Eren’s surprise, Levi wasn’t grimacing with deflated hopes. Levi’s expression was warm and comforting as always. “Our pup will be lucky. They don’t even exist yet and you love them so much.”
The tears welling up in Eren’s eyes weren’t just from his own turmoil but from Levi’s sweetness as well. “I don’t… what if…” the worries came pouring out incoherently as his heat started to burn at his skin. His body was warning him against resisting its pull.
“If you really don’t want this, tell me now. But… they wouldn’t be alone or unloved. They wouldn’t feel anything less than perfect because they’d have us to support them. You could show them how wonderful life can be, just like you showed me.”
Eren curled further into Levi, wanting to melt into his skin. While Levi’s scents had previously been urging him to jump on him and mate, they were now soothing and comforting. They took the words from Zeke that had been flowing through his head endlessly and forced them out and into the atmosphere, floating until they were long gone and replaced with his true, unguarded wants and needs.
“I want you to have my pups,” Levi murmured slowly. “But only if that’s what you want too.”
Eren peeked out from Levi’s chest and reached up to kiss his lips. The moment they touched, their scents seemed to mingle together and slowly break them apart little by little until there was nothing left but raw, animalistic natures.
“I want to have your pups,” Eren kept repeating with tears in his eyes, kissing Levi’s lips and face in a heated rhythm. “I want them. I want them. Please… can I?” The heat’s effect closed in, he could feel him losing his grip on reality. All that was left was Levi.
Levi turned them so he could pin Eren to the furs, trapping him underneath his muscled weight and making sure he wouldn’t go anywhere. “Yes,” he breathed, trailing the tip of his tongue from Eren’s collarbone to the scent glands in his neck. He lapped at him, tasting him. Eren tilted his head and sighed as Levi slowly nipped at the skin. Both of them knew it wasn’t time yet, it wasn’t time for Levi to sink his teeth into Eren’s neck and claim him forever. Soon, though, Eren told himself. Soon they’d be together in mind, body, and soul.
A strange part of Eren’s mind seemed to awaken with a jolt and he found himself lapping at Levi too, beckoning him closer and whimpering under his hold. His hips thrust upwards desperately, searching for a rushed movement and he rubbed up against Levi’s naval with a happy sigh that his cock had finally come in contact with something.
That strange part must have awoken in Levi too as he let one of his hands trail down between Eren’s ass cheeks to coat his fingers in the slick he’d been secreting. A waft of aroma came up from the substance, making them both breathe a little faster. Levi’s fingers edged near Eren’s weeping hole and buried them in, making Eren squeak with both surprise and relief. The feeling of being even a little filled up with Levi had him needing more.
It was all new to Eren but everything felt so right, as if he’d been waiting his entire life for this one moment. Perhaps that was the heat thinking for him, but he couldn’t care less. Levi was his everything: his lover, his family, and his light. When Eren felt like everything was lost, he knew Levi would be there to dig him out of the depths of despair. He trusted him to hold his heart gently and with care and to never run away, even when things were scary.
“I love you,” he cried with tears springing from the corners of his eyes. He squeezed them shut and Levi kissed away the droplets from his cheeks. “More than anything,” Eren added after the sweet notion.
“I love you,” Levi returned sincerely, a throaty growl following when Eren made an especially lewd noise at the curl of Levi’s fingers. “May I… take you?”
“Please,” Eren answered automatically, wiggling out of Levi’s grasp to flip over and raise his ass in the air.
* * *
Eren was unknowingly presenting himself to Levi like any other werewolf would at this point in time and Levi licked his lip in anticipation. The motion was often done while courting in a wolf’s form, a teasing offer to the chosen Alpha with their tail high in the air. Now, Eren was doing the same motion for Levi and didn’t even realize he was following with unspoken courting rituals. They were far beyond courting and their relationship stretched beyond a typical pair at this stage, but Levi was smiling. Eren was offering and Levi was more than ready to take.
Levi set his hands on the plump bulbs of Eren’s ass and spread them slowly, letting the potent scent of slick intoxicate him further. He didn’t stop himself from wanting a taste and started lapping thick stripes across Eren’s sweet pucker, making the Omega moan and grip at the furs. His slick was indeed sweet and Levi kept lapping it up, eventually burying his face in Eren’s backside to poke his tongue into the hole he’d just been fingering.
He hummed with satisfaction, sending vibrations through Eren’s body that made him sputter out some more lewd little noises. Levi worked his tongue in as far as it would go and felt around Eren’s hot insides. With every little new taste, noise, and scent Eren gave him, Levi was falling even harder. This Omega drove him crazy like no others ever had and he knew, simply, it was because it was Eren.
“Lee… Levi,” Eren whined, his voice straining to cooperate. “Please…”
He couldn’t deny him any further and Levi backed off and gave himself one more little moment to admire Eren’s form. His back was arched beautifully, his tailbone raised high. His shoulder blades protruded out from his back and he panted hard, making his body rise and fall with little shudders and shivers in between.
Levi got into the position and finally mounted Eren, pushing his cock in with a gentle ease. Eren’s slick worked like magic, creating a smooth passage for him to insert himself into. All the while, Eren squeaked and pushed against Levi himself. Levi could easily tell by the pheromones how Eren was feeling, there was no more grogginess or haziness to it. Eren was happy, aroused, and melting at Levi’s touch. It boosted Levi’s confidence and ego, making it easy to start pulsing in and out of his Omega. “Perfect, so perfect,” he praised, relishing in the hotness around his cock. Eren squeezed around him as if he were going to milk out Levi for all he was worth.
“M-more,” Eren demanded, pushing up against Levi harder. Levi granted his wish as he started to trust that Eren wouldn’t break under his tight grasp.
More? Levi could give him more.
He started his breakneck speed, rutting against Eren to create a beautiful melody of squelches and smacks. His grip was focused on Eren’s hipbones, pulling him in to meet the hard thrusts. Levi growled with pleasure, taking his Omega and making him groan with satisfaction. Something about how Eren enjoyed the roughness of Levi’s pounding had Levi drooling. They both were crazy about the speed and pressure that caught them somewhere between pleasure and pain. They both wanted to take and give at such a furious pace, it was sure to leave them both with aches and bruises.
Levi leaned over with his sharp teeth at the ready, nipping at Eren’s skin and sucking at his back, working his way up to Eren’s neck. Eren, in response, raked a hand through his hair to pull it forward and out of the way so Levi could lick and suck at the skin there. He nipped carefully and worked at the skin until the little red marks were there to stay for a while.
“I want… I want to be yours,” Eren spoke into the fur, his voice barely audible. Still, those were the words Levi would never want to miss out on and heard them as clear as day.
He pulled out of Eren, causing his Omega to whine with annoyance and wanting. Levi flipped Eren over roughly and the moment his back hit the fur, Levi was back inside Eren continuing their preferred, fiery speed.
“I want to be yours too,” Levi bent down until his lips were on that treasured spot, the one that yearned for his marking. Eren got the message and tilted his head until his teeth were up against Levi’s neck as well. It was a silent agreement: they’d do it together.
Levi sucked in a breath and realized he wasn’t too far from coming into Eren, so he decided he’d make things quick. He bit into Eren’s skin without warning, only to have Eren quickly follow in return.
Levi’s sharp teeth pierced the skin easily and he closed in, puncturing Eren with a mark that’d never fade. The coppery liquid filled his mouth and he swallowed it all, not wanting a single drop of Eren’s blood to be wasted. He’d leave his mouth there long enough until his saliva would stop the bleeding and while he waited, his hips continued to thrust in slow, deep successions.
Eren’s teeth weren’t sharp like Levi’s, but his jaw clamped down nonetheless and left a less defined marking behind. Even so, it was etched into Levi’s skin forever and he knew he’d love it all the same despite its shape or form. Eren whispered something and Levi could feel both their wounds closing to leave a peculiar scar behind. The skin seemed to shimmer and glow where their marks were left behind, like little stars were trapped under the first layer of flesh. “Beautiful,” Levi whispered, smiling at his magical lover. “My beautiful mate…”
The word spurred Eren on and he was wrapping his legs around Levi’s hips, pulling him in deeper. In the distracting marking ritual, his pace became sloppy, awkward and unpredictable. He got back on track and worked on Eren until they were both close again. Once he’d gotten his rhythm back, he felt confident enough to reach over and stroke Eren’s cock. He’d been leaking pre-come over himself and was whimpering the moment Levi’s fingers came in contact.
It didn’t take long and Eren’s body was tensing up, Levi felt Eren’s hole squeeze around him and he prayed to the Moon that he’d hold up long enough to make Eren feel just as heavenly as he did.
Eren cried out his name and his come shot from his cock up onto his chest. His fingers fell into the puddle when his body relaxed and he tried to catch his breath. The mere sight had Levi’s cock expanding inside Eren, the base becoming an anchor to keep him inside as he came in long spurts. He fell into Eren, holding him close and letting their body fluids squelch between them.
“What’s… happening?” Eren groaned at the stretch. “You’re… bigger.”
Levi wanted to tease him about how much he knew about creatures, yet how little he knew about mating. Instead, he gently explained, “My knot… To keep my seed inside…”
Eren’s cock throbbed beneath them, obviously the thought made him aroused all over again. Levi bent up a little to reach for it, giving it proper attention while he filled Eren. His lips came down to claim Eren’s once more, humming into the kiss when Eren came again and his hot come coated both their stomachs.
“I love you,” Eren whispered, his hands came up to stroke Levi’s back. His fingertips skimmed over the sweaty skin, leaving tingles in their wake. Levi knew it wasn’t magic, it was just Eren’s touch that did it to him.
“Mm, and I love you,” Levi dutifully returned, nipping at Eren’s earlobe and skimming his teeth over the shimmery mating mark. “You healed us.”
“Not really. Just wanted the marks to really stand out…” he blushed while admitting it. “Now they’ll glow like the moon.”
“And shine like the earth,” Levi added with a knowing smile. “They’ll shine like you.”
They traded sweet nothings back and forth until Levi’s knot had subsided enough to free them both. Even freed, they stayed in a tight cuddle and Eren whined irrationally when a little bit of Levi’s cum flowed from his hole, his inner wolf probably worried that the tiniest drop gone missing would ruin their chances of having pups.
“We’ll go again,” Levi reminded him with a soft smile. “And again, and again.”
“I know, I just…” Eren seemed conflicted with the rational side of his brain and the omega inside that flooded him with hormones and the drive to mate.
Levi pet his hair and rested his chin on the top of Eren’s head, letting his omega lap at his scent gland. He focused on radiating the most positive, assuring scent just for Eren. Once he’d calmed down, Eren fell into a light slumber and Levi held him tight. He’d worry about food and bathing later. Right now, he was more than happy to watch Eren sleep peacefully in his arms.
Thank you all so much for your support! I am so happy you are all enjoying this story, your comments make me blush and smile so much (even though I'm pretty lousy at replying in a timely manner!) Let me know what you guys think about mpreg, I've never written it before. Is it something you're interested in if I try it out? <3
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He raced through the woods at top speeds, eyes flickering at every little movement he passed. His mind concentrated on one thought: not good enough, not good enough. One by one, his own kind snatched and fell behind until he was alone, bounding towards the river. The second his foot overstepped a boundary, a claw emerged from the depths and lashed out at him, missing his jaw by millimeters.
Levi staggered back and growled, though he knew the threat wasn’t real. Mikasa clambered up onto the surface with a smirk, “Scared you.”
Levi growled in response, his ears pinned back but he wasn’t going to pick a fight. He was merely annoyed by the mermaid’s cheap tricks.
“You’re out hunting for some food, right? For Eren?” her tone seemed sincerer and less mocking.
Levi barked lowly in response, an affirmative. It was around the time most Alphas unwillingly left their Omegas in search of food. Most caught some easy, nearby kills like rabbits, squirrels, and anything stupid enough to loom near the werewolves’ dens. Levi had spotted Farlan dragging in a fawn for Isabel, a lucky catch.
Without having done any proper courting, Levi had never been able to demonstrate his ability to provide for Eren. Even though he knew the extra time was painful for the both of them, he needed to prove himself. He wanted to find something special.
“I knew you’d be out here sooner or later…” Mikasa hauled up a fish-net bag from the river. She had it filled with various sorts of fish, all of them flopping around meaninglessly. “He likes fish. Trust me.”
He wasn’t sure how trustworthy the mermaid was, but he took the bag in his teeth and was careful not to tear the fine netting.
Mikasa waved to him with a sad smile, “Take care of him, please. You won’t find another creature like him. Trust me, I’ve tried.”
Something in her tone made Levi realize she wouldn’t lie to Eren, which meant she couldn’t lie to him either. He nodded to her in an attempt to show his utmost gratuity, the bag swinging slightly from his jaw as the fish slowed their desperate flops. Mikasa sank back into the murky water and Levi took off, a little slower this time with precious baggage in tow.
Leaving Eren hadn’t been easy whatsoever. The Omega whined when Levi broke away from him and told him he had to go hunt for them. He kept tucking Eren into the furs snugly in an attempt to glue him down, but Eren would struggle back out and kiss Levi’s neck and shoulders. He assured Eren hundreds of times that he’d return shortly, but Eren wouldn’t believe it. He started crying when Levi changed forms and clung to his fur, holding him close until Levi could wrestle himself out of Eren’s grasp. It killed him to leave Eren a sobbing mess. Even so, at least he didn’t have to suffer a bawling, biting, thrashing Isabel. He remembered Farlan coming out mating season bearing new scars because of her sheer enthusiasm, as he called it.
Levi was rushing to get back and his heart was racing just as fast as his paws were. He knew this was the time his mate was the most vulnerable—in heat and alone. While there were no real threats in the forest, Levi still worried. He blamed it on his raging Alpha pheromones and ran a little harder towards his den.
The second he passed through the curtain of plant life, Eren’s scent washed over him and nearly knocked Levi out of breath. He trotted over to the furs where Eren curled up with his eyes squeezed shut. Levi dropped the bag of fish onto the stone floor and wagged his tail with pride. Look what I brought you, look what I can provide for you, his inner wolf was cheering. No, he didn’t exactly hunt the fish himself but it was something Eren would surely enjoy nonetheless. Someday, he’d bring him something marvelous like a moose or a bear, but for now this would do. He waited for Eren to look, but he didn’t. Stubborn brat, Levi thought, my stubborn brat.
He changed forms, knowing he could better comfort Eren with the use of his voice. “Eren,” he lightly whispered, tearing the bag open. “Time to eat.”
Eren snuggled deeper into the furs, hiding his face and pretending to sleep.
Levi decided proper reasoning wouldn’t get a rise out of the Omega whatsoever, so he gave him a lick on the cheek and a kiss to his nose. “Eren,” Levi’s voice dipped into the lower, huskier range. It was the same tone he used while whispering all the little dirty things into Eren’s ears while they mated, the same tone that got Eren to squirm and squeal with lust every time.
Eren’s eyes flashed open, giving Levi a beautiful view of the sparkling jade irises he loved so much. His pupils were blown wide and dark as a starless sky. “You left,” he accused darkly.
“Had to,” Levi showered him with more licks and kisses, even daring to nip the tip of his nose a little. “We’d starve.”
“But I missed you,” Eren retorted, as if the fact were worse than death, coming out of his shell to lean in and kiss Levi’s lips. He pointed to the fish and raised an eyebrow, “Where’d you get those?”
“Your friend, Mikasa,” Levi admitted, hoping he didn’t disappoint his mate by not killing him something himself. “I figured you’d appreciate the gift.”
Eren snapped his fingers and the fish were instantly heated up until they sizzled, cooking them instantly without even trying. He stared at his fingers for a second and laughed, “Looks like my magic capabilities get stronger during a heat…” His mild fascination with the face gave Levi time to grab a few and sit on the furs next to Eren. He bit off the fish heads and ate them himself while carefully tearing off bits of the meat to feed to Eren, taking extra caution to pick out the bones and drop them into a neat pile on the floor.
“You’re going to hurt yourself eating their heads like that.” Eren rested his head on Levi’s thigh while he ate.
“My teeth are sharper than yours, I can eat anything just fine,” Levi assured him, forcing another chunk of meat through Eren’s lips.
“I’m not hungry,” Eren whined while chewing.
“Yes, you are,” Levi picked off another bit for Eren, “If you don’t eat, you’ll be too tired to mate. If you don’t eat, you won’t be able to have any pups.”
Eren opened his mouth obediently when Levi ripped another piece of fish off the bone for him, adamantly eating as much as he possibly could until their little net of fish was empty. Levi got up to dispose of the bones to get that offensive scent out of their den, but Eren yanked him back down again. “No,” he seriously spoke, almost with a bit of venom behind his tone.
Levi’s inner wolf didn’t appreciate the challenge of his authority, even if the words were coming from his mate. “Eren,” he kept a low tone, “I’m going to take these away and come right back. They’re interfering with your scent.”
“Levi,” Eren protested, a little less demanding than the previous time.
“How about while I’m gone, you get yourself prepared for me?” he tried to suggest, hoping the task would buy him enough time to properly tidy up their den. The last thing he wanted was either of them rolling into a pile of fish bones and getting hurt or finding themselves distracted by the scent of rotting seafood.
Luckily, it seemed like enough to pick Eren’s spirits up again. He lowered his fingers down to his erection, giving it a few gentle strokes before concentrating his efforts lower, sinking his two fingers into his slicked hole. “Nice and gentle,” Levi reminded him, hoping Eren’s eager nature wouldn’t take over. If Eren hurt himself because of his own enthusiasm, Levi could only blame himself.
The sight was beautiful as ever and Levi nearly choked on the arousing scents surrounding them. Eren let out an unrestricted moan, happy to finally get a taste of some fullness again. Levi stood abruptly, knowing he’d get sucked into Eren’s seductive pull if he waited any longer.
The moment he took one step outside their den, he knew something was wrong. He padded down the rocky trail to the clearing, burying the bones in a patch of dirt. The wind carried the scent of mating werewolves for miles, but something new cut through. Levi paused to fully evaluate the scent, finding it strikingly similar to the scent of death itself. He recognized the coppery scent of blood, ripped flesh, and exposed organs. It was all unpleasant enough to drag even the most enraptured Alpha out of their den. Still, with his own den so far out from the others, the scent probably hadn’t carried over to them yet.
Levi looked between the trees and the opening of his den, knowing he was at the crux of a decision. Part of him yearned to dive back into the fog of lustful bliss while the other demanded he investigate the potential threat. Keep Eren safe. His inner wolf decided for him and he changed forms once more, the strain on his body a little less savage than usual due to his own drive to protect his mate.
He bolted through the trees once more, this time instead of hunting for prey he was hunting out his enemy. What brought such a disgusting smell so close to his precious mate? Who dared intrude on their first joining? What the fuck was it?
What Levi didn’t possess in bulk, he made up for with speed and accuracy. He zipped through the trees, following his nose towards the source of the threat only to find a mangy wolf with bloodstained, tawny fur growling and slowly approaching. Bits of his ears were torn off, his tail fell low behind his back legs, and his snarl was a fair warning for the strength he still possessed despite his injuries. As they grew closer, Levi recognized a very specific scent engrained in the wolf’s fur: Eren.
Eren’s blood, Eren’s pain, Eren’s suffering.
Levi’s heart stopped and started again, racing and ready to push him forward. His jaws fell open to reveal a set of fangs, ready to rip and tear into flesh. His claws dug into the dirt, and a bloodthirsty snarl rumbled through his body. It wasn’t a warning or a threat, it was a promise. You hurt Eren. The statement circled his brain endlessly in the few milliseconds of the standoff before he pounced first, going straight for the wolf’s jugular.
While the enemy was damaged, he wasn’t going to give up easily. If Levi possessed any sort of respect for the bastard, it’d be his foolish will to survive. Even so, there’d be no way Levi could think of this wolf as anything but a monster. He reared back in an attempt to throw Levi off of him, but Levi held on to his neck tightly and clamped his jaws down even further into the muscled flesh.
After another round of bucking, he broke loose from Levi and rounded up again to face him off properly. Instead of letting Levi charge forth again, he made the first move by taking a snap at Levi’s shoulder. Levi didn’t back down and let him sink his teeth into his flesh, using the opportunity to bite his own way through the wolf’s neck once more. At least this way, his opponent couldn’t run.
From this proximity, they could stare each other in the eye. Levi saw exactly what he expected: a hopeless shell of a man. There was no light in those eyes and no love. There were no regrets or fears, either. This wolf was void of all emotion, all hopes, and all dreams. Levi wondered if letting him live would be a worse punishment than death, though he knew he couldn’t allow such filth to wander the earth any longer.
They were stuck in a stalemate, Levi’s teeth hitting bone and his enemy’s jaw falling lax. Levi shoved him away and lunged once more, pinpointing the weakest point to end this for good. To his surprise, the wolf fell to the ground and automatically formed back into a human.
“This beast inside us eventually destroys us,” he spoke gravely, coughing and hacking up blood in between sentences. “Eren will fall just like I have to its clutches and his mind will fall apart. Like I told him, a half-way should have never existed. Soon he’ll be more animal than man. Will you still love him then?”
Levi circled the man, unsure of how to strike.
The man just laughed, “You’re too weak to kill a wolf. You’re too cowardly to kill a man. If Eren couldn’t kill me, and I couldn’t kill myself, do you think you could finish the job? Let’s end this, once and for all.”
Levi took no pride in killing for the sake of killing and less pride in killing a creature without much of a fight. His shoulder slowly began to burn and he realized time was running out for him. He’d risk bleeding out if he waited any longer and Eren was waiting, probably wondering where he ran off to. Knowing Eren, he would chance leaving their den in search of Levi and Levi growled at the thought of his mate leaving their nest, especially while in heat. It was inevitable and he chose to act quickly and precisely. His jaws clamped down to snap the man’s neck and he took a few extra bites to assure the kill. It wasn’t momentous and didn’t provide any sort of closure, but it kept Eren safe which satisfied Levi enough.
He took a slower pace back to the den, limping and stumbling with his wounded shoulder. The only thing that kept him rushing was Eren, hoping he was okay and safely tucked away in the furs. His heavy pants started to fill his ears and a screeching, high pitched noise started ringing with an increasingly louder volume.
He trudged up the side of the cliff, growing dizzier. His vision blurred and he struggled placing one paw in front of the other. One false move, and he’d end up toppling down the hillside.
“Levi,” a breathy voice greeted him, wrapping warm arms around his torso to haul him back into the den. “You’re… you’re… Who…?”
Levi made an attempt to get out some kind of sound, but only a whining breath escaped. He felt his body jostle around under his savior’s touch and a sudden warmth spreading through his skin.
His vision adjusted properly so he could see Eren, Eren with tears in his eyes and a worried smile. “Change back for me, please?” he pleaded.
The rejuvenating warmth gave Levi the ambition to change forms once more, afraid he wouldn’t be able to change back into a wolf for quite a while. Even so, it was worth it to be able to hold Eren back, gathering him up in his arms and feeling his body. Safe and sound, the two fell back into the furs before Levi gave a short explanation, omitting the portion about Eren slowly losing control of his own mind in hopes to avoid any distress from his mate during such a vulnerable time.
“You killed him?” Eren had to ask again at the end, as if he didn’t believe it the first time around.
Levi nodded, holding his beautifully healed shoulder. Eren seemed to fix all his wounds, both outside and in. “I had to,” he explained. “I didn’t know what he’d do to you… He hurt you already, it wasn’t a chance I was willing to take.”
Eren clung to him tightly, feeding him the words he needed to hear, “Thank you for protecting me.”
“Thank you for healing me,” Levi returned, letting his fingertips slowly graze Eren’s cheek. The soft skin never failed to amaze him, he wanted to feel and taste it all.
“I missed you… I thought… I thought you’d… abandoned me…” Eren admitted with a new round of tears threatening to break through his closed eyes.
The realization wore heavily on Levi’s heart and he slowly rocked the Omega in his arms, “Never, I’d never do that. I’m yours, I’ll always be yours, and I’ll never leave.” The soft assurances came naturally, as he meant them all wholeheartedly.
A sob shook through his mate, “I was so afraid.”
“I’m so sorry,” Levi kissed his temple and focused on creating a calming atmosphere, crooning against Eren’s skin as an extra method of easement.
Levi wondered how it could ever be possible that someone as beautiful as Eren could sink down to the insanity of his attacker. Perhaps Eren was a half-way, but the important parts about him were whole and true. His heart, his mind, and his soul were all bigger and brighter than anyone Levi had ever met. As he held his mate close to his heart, he buried his nose in Eren’s hair and made a secret vow. Levi would save Eren from the monsters and demons that crept the land. And Eren were to fall into a fated insanity, Levi would save him from the monsters and demons inside his head as well.
Thank you all for your marvelous support!! <3 I appreciate all your comments (though I am quite slow at replying, I promise I read them all and blush with joy <3)
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Levi had gotten lucky and hunted down a stag for Eren and himself to feed on between the waves of heat. Each time, it got harder and harder to pull away. Levi knew there wasn’t an inch of skin that wouldn’t become bruised by Eren’s tight grip. As sensible and worldly Eren was outside of heats, the pheromones drove him into a needy, desperate emotion that strived only to mate and please his mate. It didn’t take long for Levi to learn how to use his words to keep Eren safe and healthy.
“After eating, you need a bath,” Levi decided sternly, shoving another piece of meat into Eren’s mouth.
Eren shook his head with tears in his eyes, “No.”
He swallowed quickly and dipped his face into Levi’s lap, mouthing at Levi’s half-hard cock. “Again,” he demanded shortly, as if his words would will his mate’s member back up to full length. Well, it almost worked.
“Bath first,” Levi kept his tone level and calm.
Eren gave the spring near the back of their den a dirty look as if it personally offended him. He flopped back onto his back and huffed, crossing his arms.
“Fine, we’ll bathe you here,” Levi decided with a small, secret smile. He didn’t mind bathing Eren himself at all, in fact it would probably make his insides hum with satisfaction. After all, an Alpha should be able to clean his own mate and a part of him knew Eren wouldn’t object whatsoever.
“Here?” Eren asked, his voice raising in pitch with curiosity.
“Here,” Levi confirmed, running his tongue up Eren’s arm. The saltiness hit him immediately as they were both sweaty messes. Eren’s sweet flavor followed quickly, intertwining with the salt to create an oddly pleasant combination. Levi thought back through his memories, trying to define it before coming up with a very small salted caramel candy his mother stole for him when they still lived in town. It was a precious memory Eren seemed to drag out of the depths of his mind. Levi closed his eyes and devoted himself to lapping big, sloppy stripes up Eren’s arm until the flavor was completely gone.
He moved on to Eren’s collarbones and neck, where the sweetness outweighed the salt due to the proximity to his scent glands. His tongue worked up his neck to his jaw, stealing a few kisses in between the cleansing. It was a poor decision because Eren took it as an opportunity to take command of the situation. He took hold of Levi’s lower lip with his teeth, holding his mate firmly above him.
“Eren,” Levi warned in a low tone, making his mate let go. “Bath first.”
Eren whined a little but didn’t move from his spot below Levi. He waited patiently and closed his eyes while Levi continued his way down Eren’s body, worshipping every inch with his mouth and admiring the beautiful purple bruises he’d left along Eren’s torso. The marks would eventually fade and when they did, Levi would tack a few more on as a constant reminder to the world. He wondered (and hoped) Eren would do the same. Levi was a territorial breed, from his land to his den to his mate, he’d make it clear what was his.
He’d spent a little more time than necessary on Eren’s nipples, teasing the nubs with his tongue. Eren squirmed and moaned, but kept his hands firmly at his sides. Levi figured Eren was enjoying his bath just as much as Levi was. He made quick work of Eren’s sternum and abs, enjoying every dip and ripple of his mate’s form. Out of pure indulgence, he sucked a little red mark near Eren’s navel before moving even lower.
Eren whined when Levi skipped over his groin and moved down to his feet. Levi took hold of Eren’s ankle and started to inspect the pads of Eren’s feet and his toes, but Eren jerked away and snorted.
“What?” Levi squinted at his mate, who was holding his breath so hard that his face grew red.
“Ticklish,” Eren explained, his toes curling hard in response to Levi’s touch. “They’re clean enough, just… move on.”
“What if they’re not clean?” Levi took hold of Eren’s ankle again, the pad of his mate’s foot at his mercy.
“They are, they are,” Eren giggled, trying to free his foot once more.
“I don’t know…” Levi smiled, enjoying the musicality of Eren’s laughter. It was such a difference from the moans and howls his mate had been creating for a while, Levi found that he’d missed the sound. The tips of his fingers grazed Eren’s heel and the Omega was jerking and reeling once more.
“L-Levi!” Eren laughed and cried, “You’re going to make me kick you in the face!”
Levi figured he’d take the risk and fluttered his fingers over Eren’s foot, making him scream with laughter until tears appeared in the corners of his eyes. Levi finally let him go when Eren was heaving for breath, letting out little waves of laughter as he finally found steady breathing once more. “You’re mean,” he breathed with a huge grin.
“Just for you,” Levi replied, kissing Eren’s foot and resuming the bathing once more. He moved up Eren’s calves, knees, and thighs caressing Eren’s legs with his hands and tongue. It was all building up to a moment Eren had obviously been wishing for as Levi hesitated over Eren’s erection. Eren’s hips thrust up just enough for Levi’s lips to kiss the head of his cock, but nothing more.
“Turn over,” Levi instructed sternly, making Eren whine again. Still, he did as he was told and Levi kept that in mind. He’d have to reward Eren later for his patience.
Eren’s back was just as gorgeous as his front and Levi thanked the Moon Goddess for such a lovely mate. He straddled him, bending over to nip at his mate’s neck and savor the new flavors pouring from Eren’s scent glands. His arousal was eminent and he was as sweet as ever.
He scooted down to Eren’s shoulder blades and down to the small of his back. The expanse of skin was sun-kissed, freckled, and beautiful. Levi stopped the bath just to fully appreciate his mate’s god-like perfection. As heavily seduced as Eren’s pheromones were making him, he honestly loved every little piece of his mate’s body and soul. It was a hell of a lot easier muttering the words into Eren’s skin than telling it to his face, “I love you.” He’d said it before, but it always took a little bout of courage to admit it.
Eren hummed happily and looked over his shoulder. He was a lot braver than Levi, that was for damn sure. “I love you too,” he replied, looking his mate directly in the eyes. Another thing he loved about his mate, his unabashed honesty.
Eren turned back and sucked in a breath when Levi took a healthy bite into Eren’s ass cheek. It didn’t draw blood or leave much of a mark, but it was enough to surprise the Omega a bit. Levi chuckled lowly and lapped at each side until he was satisfied enough. He parted them, drooling at the sight of Eren’s hole.
With no hesitation, Levi licked a fat stripe over the pucker and sighed at the flavor. He wanted to howl with joy at his and his mate’s mixing scents and tastes. Their joined essences played beautifully on Levi’s tongue and he couldn’t stop himself from licking it up again and again. He dipped his tongue inside and worked around Eren’s walls.
All the while, Eren pushed back into Levi’s mouth and moaned in between pants which only drove Levi to continue to devour his mate. Eren’s hands came back to part his own cheeks even further to help his mate push in deeper.
A mixture of drool, Eren’s slick, and his own semen wet Levi’s cheeks but it was the last thing on his mind. His cock throbbed and he struggled with the internal battle of wishing to continue tasting his mate and needing to mount him right then and there.
The scents were too much and he let his inner wolf win the war. He gripped Eren’s hips and thrust himself in with ease, drawing out a yelp from his mate followed by the most delicious moan.
In efforts to not break him, Levi pushed in and out of his mate slowly. Both of them knew the pace wouldn’t retain its steady pace for long, but it was good enough to prepare them both for the eventual breakneck, desperate, needy pace.
The pheromones had them both hazy and a little intoxicated, feeding off one another’s wanting for each other. Levi couldn’t be sure if it was their hormones, pheromones, the mating mark, or their infatuation with one another driving them forth. He imagined they were somewhere mixed in between all three, falling and floating and grabbing onto one another like a lifeline.
Levi’s nails dug into Eren’s hips, imprinting new purple markings in place of old ones. He felt if he let go, Eren would disappear or somehow get taken away. The vulnerability came to life when Levi let it escape through his lips, “Don’t go.”
“I’m not going, I’m not going,” Eren reassured between breaths. “You don’t go. Just stay here. With me. Like this. I can’t… I can’t…” Eren’s voice squeaked into nothing and he came in spurts. “Don’t stop,” he barked the moment Levi showed signs of slowing.
At his mate’s orders, he didn’t. He kept thrusting into Eren even harder. His cock would sink in to the hilt, Eren taking him all with grace and enthusiasm. He’d relish the hot wetness and pull right back out, pushing in again to get the sweet friction he craved.
He wanted to fill Eren, to claim him, to breed him. The wolf inside kept creeping up and out, snarling and howling and striving to accomplish those carnal needs. His mate deserved a pup and Levi was going to do anything to make that happen. He’d give Eren anything and everything, tearing down anything in his way to accomplish the goal.
“Levi,” Eren whimpered, “Please, I want…”
“Hm?” Levi managed to get out. Eren’s voice and the words ‘I want’ pulled him out of his own mind.
Eren pushed back onto him, “Your pups. You need to…” His words feel loose near the end and he buried his face into the furs. The movement had Levi hitting a spot inside Eren that made him howl.
The sound pulled forth the most primal orgasm Levi had ever experienced. He howled himself, a garbled mixture of wolf and man echoing throughout the cave. Eren’s voice joined with his and the two came together in a mixture of sound and sensation. Levi’s knot formed and Eren stretched around him, fitting the two together for an unknown duration.
Once they’d both calmed down, Levi carefully slumped them both to their sides. He fluttered little, lazy kisses along Eren’s neck and shoulders until he rested his forehead at the base of Eren’s neck and worked on properly catching his breath.
“You need another bath,” he finally announced, making his mate chuckle in reply. “This time, I’m dropping you into that spring whether you like it or not.”
“That’s fine, as long as you’re with me,” Eren’s blissful tone could have soothed even the most terrifying beast. “It’ll feel good. It’s so hot.”
“It is,” Levi agreed, noting their sticky, sweaty bodies. His efforts to clean his mate were rendered useless, but the experience was enjoyable nonetheless. Once Eren’s heat was over, he’d have to ask if he could do it again properly. His instincts purred at the thought of grooming his mate, in a heat or not.
“How long do you think it’ll last this time?” Eren wondered, snuggling back even further into Levi as if they could get any closer.
Levi reached up to take a piece of Eren’s hair between his fingers, “Not sure. It’s different every time.”
“Hopefully a long time,” Eren’s voice shrank at the words, embarrassed but still as honest as ever.
“Hopefully,” Levi agreed, hoping the mutual feelings would help Eren feel a little less awkward. He didn’t want Eren to feel bashful or shy whatsoever. His mate’s comfort was worth anything and while their relationship was still new, he strived for the trust and love a pair would have gained from years of knowing one another. While he knew it’d take time, he wanted it more than anything else.
Perhaps he was selfish, but Eren had him finding plenty of new things he wished for. Before, all he needed was survival and perhaps the safety of his pack members. Now, he found himself yearning for the things he never imagined having in the first place like the love of a mate and a family. Whether he was ready or not, he wasn’t sure. Even so, he desired it with his whole heart.
He guessed the knot lasted a few hours. Eren had fallen asleep and Levi trailed light, little patterns over Eren’s arms to keep him relaxed and resting.
Eren will fall just like I have to its clutches and his mind will fall apart. Like I told him, a half-way should have never existed. Soon he’ll be more animal than man. Will you still love him then?
He hadn’t even dwelled on the ragged werewolf’s last words. Would he still love Eren? The answer was simple: of course. It wasn’t even a question in Levi’s mind. However, he was still wondering if the fact was true. Was Eren’s time limited? Would he fall to the clutches of some sort of insanity? It was difficult to believe his peacefully sleeping mate would fall into any sort of lunacy.
The next question weighed a bit heavier on Levi’s mind. When could he bring out the truth to Eren? He knew he’d have to tell him, that was for certain. However, he had a pinch more tact than breaking it to his mate during a heat. He figured Eren’s wavering emotions and proneness to extreme mood swings would suck all rationality out of him and prevent any serious decision making.
The swelling subsided and Levi pulled out from his mate, properly tucking him into the furs. Once he woke up, Levi would force feed him, get him to drink some water, and submerge him into a bath. Until then, he focused his energies on emitting aggressive Alpha pheromones that would warn anyone to stay away. Conveniently enough, it was easier for him to muster up the more aggressive, defensive scents than the soothing, calming ones.
Unfortunately, the scents awoke his mate with a start. “Levi!” Eren burst, sitting up a little too quickly. He got a head rush and he winced due to his aching backside, falling back into the furs.
“It’s fine,” Levi quickly assured, “I’m here. Nothing’s wrong. I just need to make sure we’re safe. I need to make sure you’re safe.”
Eren paused for a second to digest the information and put two and two together. “Oh,” he realized. Levi wasn’t angry or looking for a fight, he was warding off any potential foes while they slept. Eren pulled them together and yawned, “Are you going to sleep too now?”
“Yeah,” Levi yawned too in response to Eren’s.
“Don’t leave while I’m sleeping. Wake me up if you have to leave.”
“Even if you’re just going to the bathroom, you have to tell me,” Eren added.
“I will,” Levi guaranteed once more. “I won’t go anywhere.”
It seemed to satisfy his mate enough to get him to doze off again. Levi watched him carefully until he was sure Eren was fully at rest. He let his own mind drift, wander, and eventually shut down for a while.
“It’s so cold,” Eren squealed, curling up into Levi as he set them both in the water. It was a shallow pool of water only a few feet wide. Stalactites from above dripped cool little droplets of water onto their skin, almost like a slow and light rain.
“I thought you were hot,” Levi held Eren a little tighter, feeling the brutal chill of the water himself. He knew it’d be good for their tired muscles and would rinse off any remaining bodily fluids clinging to their skin.
“I was and now I’m freezing.” Eren’s teeth chattered and his body shook with waves of shivers. “I’m clean now, can we get out?”
“Not yet,” Levi stroked Eren’s body firmly to make sure his mate was really clean. “Your hair too.”
Eren shook his head, “Not happening.”
“Yes, it is,” Levi lowered himself further into the water, taking Eren with him. All the while the Omega protested with a series of no’s until they had fully submerged and popped back up again. They were fully soaked from head to toe and Levi took just a few seconds to scrub at Eren’s hair before his mate scrambled out of his arms and out of the water like a stubborn pup.
Eren grabbed Levi’s hand and tried to pull him out too, “Let’s go warm up now.”
“Go on, I’ll be there in a minute,” Levi shooed him away, giving up on any plans to further bathe his mate. He scrubbed at his own hair, not wanting to think about what had gotten into it and made it so sticky. Once he was surely clean, he finally joined Eren back in their nest.
Eren rubbed his neck against Levi’s adamantly and held him firmly until he was satisfied enough to let him go. His shivers hadn’t ceased so Levi pulled them close together until they were both toasty warm once more. It was clear Eren’s heat was slowly coming to an end, and soon enough they’d know for sure what the future held for them.
“Ouch, ouch, ouch,” Eren winced as he got up from bed. His heat had subsided for the most part and he suffered the days of endless sex, sleep, and complaining when Levi made him eat or bathe.
Levi was equally exhausted, pulling Eren back into bed where he belonged. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“To gather up some more food,” Eren explained, turning to face Levi’s chest. “You’ve been doing all the work.”
“It’s fine, Eren,” Levi assured. “You stay right here. The sun is setting anyway and it’ll be dark in a few minutes. Once we’re finally healed up, we can…”
There was a long silence for neither of them knew what was next. Would Eren move into Levi’s den or run back to his cottage? When would they know if Eren was pregnant? What if he wasn’t? And what if insanity took him over? Both of them were emitting scents of distress that hung sourly in the air and it was obvious they both had some concerns to voice. Unfortunately, Levi’s experience with voicing anything ranged from complaining to howling. Eren had been helping him learn, but he still had a long way to go before prompting any serious discussions.
Luckily for him, Eren decided to start. “I like your den.”
If Levi had his tail out, it’d be wagging at a million miles per second.
Eren continued, “But my mom built that cottage…”
His ears would have flattened in disappointment at that. Though, he understood.
“But, I feel a lot safer here. There aren’t any bad memories here, only good ones…” Eren weighed in another thought and had Levi’s figurative tail wagging once more. He glanced around the relatively empty cavern and bit his lip. “Could we… move some of my things in here? Make it a little more… like home?”
“Yes,” Levi agreed as quickly as he could. While werewolves weren’t naturally attached to material items, Eren was. And because Eren was, Levi started to relate as well. He wanted his mate to be happy and feel at home, anything less would deem him undeserving of Eren’s attention.
Eren glowed like a ray of sunshine and snuggled into Levi a little more. “You’re amazing.”
“That’s you,” Levi chuckled a little, glad to get the ‘where do we physically go from here’ obstacle out of the way. Now, he had to find the courage to bring up another, less joyous topic. “Eren, when I went hunting a few days ago…”
“Levi,” Eren interrupted him, trying to peer out through the thick vines that shrouded the entrance to their den. “I don’t understand… I should have realized…” Eren rolled out of bed and crawled across the rugs of fur until he could poke his head out the entrance. Levi scampered after him, wanting to yank him back in but stopped when a low growl escaped Eren’s throat.
The change was unnatural. Eren’s bones cracked and his body didn’t flex fluidly. It looked like an older pup’s first few changes, awkward and painful as hell. A screaming, snarling sound pitched from Eren’s throat and it became garbled as his voice died into yelps and barks. Levi winced but kept his distance, not wanting to trigger any more anxiety. The presence of an Alpha could put anyone and anything on edge, especially during the vulnerability of shifting forms. Still, he didn’t dare step too far away and chance losing Eren somehow.
Eren finally turned fully and rapidly spun around to look at Levi with frightened green eyes. He didn’t seem completely coherent, which was expected. His tail hung low and his ears flattened, getting used to the situation and the scents around him.
Levi couldn’t appreciate it before, but Eren was beautiful in his animalistic form. His dark brown fur looked lush and silky and his eyes stood out brightly. He was bigger than Levi, stockier too. Still, he wasn’t as big as Erwin or even Hange.
He wondered if Eren would recognize him in his frenzied state. The first time he’d witnessed his wolfish form, Eren was frantic and senseless. Now, he seemed slightly unsure and even docile.
Eren padded a few steps over until he was inches from Levi. He sniffed lightly at Levi’s skin and suddenly, his ears flew up and his tail started wagging. A friendly little bark came out of those intimidating jaws and his tongue flopped out. He wiggled his behind and took a rushing jump, tackling Levi to the ground in a flurry of slobbery kisses and his tail whipping back and forth.
He wasn’t a caged beast inside a tiny cottage, thrashing and yowling to be freed. Eren was acting like a silly little pup who just learned how to shift for the first time. It was a complete difference and Levi’s heart was pounding so hard that it hurt.
Eren rolled off of him and started yipping and barking, pacing between Levi and the entrance of their den. It was more than clear what he wanted and Levi didn’t plan on making him wait long.
Levi shifted and didn’t feel the repercussions, for he was much too elated. He soon realized he was a little smaller then Eren but knew he was faster and far less clumsy. Once he’d fully adjusted, Eren tackled him to the ground once more and the rolled in a fit of playful nips until Levi had him pinned to the stone floor. They stared at each other for just a moment before Levi hopped off and led Eren outside.
They took the slightly dangerous rocky pathway down the cliff until reaching the grassy pasture. From there, Levi bolted off into the forest while keeping a side eye on Eren who was following with ease. Eren even pushed them faster and faster, challenging Levi for the lead. Levi gave him a stern bark and Eren just happily yipped in response.
It was odd, just running through the forest. Levi only ran to hunt, stalk, or chase. He didn’t just run through the trees for the mere joy of it. But with Eren at his side and the Moon Goddess shining on them, it was different. He felt the wind on his face, the dirt under his paws, and he howled to the moon like he never had before. Eren joined in and they sang in howling harmony. Their voices echoed through the night air and once they’d quieted down, the rest of their pack could be heard from behind them, singing back in a chorus of canine companionship.
Euphoria was the only word Levi could think of that explained it all.
He cut to the right and Eren followed suit, the approached a narrow river and Levi skidded to a halt at the side to observe the rippling reflection of the Moon and stars. Eren barked at the water, poking at it with his paws. A huge hand came splashing out of the water and a familiar fanged smile greeted them. Mikasa squirted some water in Eren’s face and he bounced around in response, running in circles and yipping at her in light scolding. She laughed and dove back into the water, bolting further down the river.
The two wolves moved on through the forest at top speeds and slowed a little when they both heard a thumping approaching. They slowed to a stop and pounced into some nearby bushes as a herd of centaurs came rushing through the forest at a galloping pace. “Squad Ness, you take the northern patrol and Squad Gunter, you take the southern!” the centaur up front instructed, the herd separated into three groups and split ways. Levi noticed Jean heading towards the forest elves’ village and took off after them. Eren was quick to follow, registering what Levi had in mind. Both of them flanked Jean and barked in greeting, spooking him just enough to entertain them both.
“Goddess, you two are both wolves now?” Jean exclaimed, keeping pace with the others. “Isn’t it mating season for you guys? What the hell are you doing following me around?”
“Mating season is over for the wolves, Jean,” a female next to him informed him. “I think they’re probably dying for a good meal. You better pick up your feet!”
Eren took a fake nip at Jean’s leg, nearly getting kicked in the face. Levi rounded the centaur and put himself in between the two, noting to scold Eren for his reckless joking later.
“Eren, if you even attempt to take a bite out of me, I swear…” Jean mumbled in threat, picking up the pace ever so slightly. The female next to him laughed and slapped him on the back.
Eren and Levi veered off the beaten centaur path as Eren quickly became distracted by a racing rabbit. He tore through the leaves and brush, jumping over fallen branches and heaving with breath. Levi raced after him, uncomfortable with the idea of Eren running off by himself.
Eren skidded to a halt at the thunder of a foreign growl. Levi grabbed him by the scruff of his neck with his teeth, pulling him back and urging him to run in the opposite direction. Eren, apparently in his newly found confidence and rush of canine adrenaline, wasn’t going to budge. His fur stood on end and he bent his head low, prepared to pounce.
Stop, Eren, let’s go, Levi tried to scream at him through his thoughts. He knew some fights just weren’t worth it, especially when they had the chance to flee. The safety of his mate (and possibly pup) was more important than proving his strength and he hoped Eren felt the same way.
The low howling noise joined in with the rustles of undergrowth and Levi knew they were running out of time to easily escape. He bit a little harder at Eren’s scruff, hauling him a few inches away from the potential enemy. Eren just growled a little himself, attempting to stand firm.
That was the difference between a typical Omega and Eren. Eren wasn’t familiar with the customary werewolf relationships and how they worked. Omegas submit to Alphas out of respect and trust. Eren defied Levi without hesitation and kept his eyes pinned forward.
Was this the insanity he was forewarned about? Was Eren prone to senseless violence? Levi let him go and tried to get a good look at his eyes, trying to sense any sort of unrest or anger. Instead, he could only smell Eren’s confidence, serenity, and uncertain positivity. There was a tinge of fear, but not enough to make Levi worry. Though, the fact that there was no aggression in Eren’s scent at all worried him. He was standing his ground against his Alpha and proving to him that he would indeed not be moving away from the oncoming threat.
The growling turned into heaving and a huge, brown bear came trumping through the forest. It made pained, frustrated growls and stopped in its tracks when it saw Eren and Levi. Instead of rearing back for an attack, it just sat on the ground in a defeated huff. It was impossible to tell whether it was a shifter or an actual bear, but either way Eren slowly approached it.
Levi whined at him, a plea for him to stop whatever he was doing. Eren ignored him so Levi wearily followed him until they were a meter from the huge beast. When they got closer, Levi could finally see the deep gashes in the bear’s flesh. Its dark fur and the night sky covered them up, but now that they were closer it all became clear.
Eren whined at the big brute, stalking around it and keeping a friendly demeanor. Levi sat and watched carefully, keeping his eyes on the bear’s movements. If the thing took one move against his mate, Levi wouldn’t have a choice but to bring it down for good.
Eren seemed to be in a snag. He made funny little noises in exasperation but never dared to touch the bear, much to Levi’s relief.
The bear hummed lowly and fully laid on the ground, letting Eren sniff at it and circle around it. It obviously wasn’t bothered by either of them and didn’t want to hurt itself further in another battle. A two-wolf, one-bear fight was a gamble anyway and they all figured it simply wasn’t worth the trouble.
After a few quiet minutes of sizing each other up, Levi laid down too and decided the bear wasn’t going to try anything violent. Eren kept on yammering to himself until he finally dared to put a paw on the beast. A warm, glowing light erupted from his paw and the bear jolted away from Eren. But, Eren’s persistence wouldn’t quit. Eren yapped at the bear in scolding until it laid down again so he could put his paw on its flesh once more. The glowing light reappeared and, like magic, its wounds healed at an increased rate.
Eren worked his way around the bear’s wounds carefully and slowly, giving little barks anytime the beast moved too much or little yips of victory when another gash closed shut properly.
Levi realized it wasn’t out of defiance that Eren growled at him, but rather his maternal instincts completely taking over. As always, Eren put others before himself—even if that meant taking a risk. Levi was proud of his mate and reminded himself to never doubt Eren again. It wasn’t insanity at all, it was unconditional love for his fellow creatures. Levi figured if Eren went far out of his way to help another, he’d treat their pups with the utmost love and care. It almost wasn’t fair just how lovely and perfect his mate was. Eren was the definition of a phoenix rising from the ashes and it never ceased to be inspiring.
Eren sat next to Levi when his work was done and they watched the bear stand and stretch. It roared in appreciation and stalked back to its den with a little thump in its step.
Eren looked to Levi and Levi knew he was smirking inside. Levi simply nodded towards the route back to their den and Eren happily walked beside him. The slow pace was different than before and they both seemed to enjoy it. They walked so closely, they kept bumping into each other’s sides and Eren’s excitement about enjoying his new form didn’t seem to wear off whatsoever. While the incident with the bear subdued him a little, he kept reaching over to gift Levi with sloppy kisses on his muzzle and occasionally he got distracted by a new smell and stepped a few inches off the path to investigate. He’d come back after Levi let out a little whine, urging them to continue forward.
He wasn’t sure how long Eren’s form would last or how well he could control it. The last thing he wanted was for Eren to change forms all of a sudden, leaving him hurt and vulnerable too far from their nest.
Luckily, they made it back out to the pasture by sunrise. No one else was mulling around in the common area and Levi assumed they were all still recovering from mating season. He was still exhausted too with aching muscles and a cloudy mind, but that didn’t stop him from running after Eren. Eren, however, seemed almost unaffected. However, when they finally made it back to their nest, Eren was quick to curl up in the furs and let out a huge yawn.
Levi changed forms against his better judgement, but he refused to walk all over the den with muddy paws and dusty fur. He rinsed off his hands and feet in the spring and washed his face until deeming himself clean enough to get comfortable.
Eren watched him with curiosity, getting up himself and staring down at the cool spring. He reached out with a paw to test the temperature, but ended up falling in face first by accident. With a yelp, he paddled himself back out of the water and gave Levi the most dissatisfied look, making the Alpha chuckle. Eren shook the water out of his fur and huffed, retaining his spot in the furs in efforts to warm up again.
Levi kept an eye on the rising sun and wondered when (or if) Eren would turn back. With his genetic instability, there was no telling what would happen now. Eren had never let his inner wolf free to roam, run, and play. For so long, he’d kept it trapped in a painful cage and denied it the freedom it craved. Levi wondered if he’d be stuck for good in one form and cuddled up next to him, despite the slight scent of wet dog in the bed. In a flash of magic, Eren warmed himself and dried his fur. It seemed he was enjoying mastering his magic in this new form and Levi appreciated the fact that he didn’t have to press his nose into Eren’s wet fur. He snuggled further into Eren’s fur, taking in the familiar scent and falling in love with him all over again.
Whether Eren was cursed with insanity or stuck as a wolf, Levi would still love him. Whether he carried Levi’s pups or not, he’d still love him.
The day broke and Eren hadn’t formed back. Eren awoke from his little nap with wide eyes, yelping and bouncing around the room in a flustered mess. He whined and put his face into Levi’s lap, as if Levi knew the magic words to make him better.
He didn’t, he didn’t know what to say at all. All he knew were the same three he’d been repeating in his head for the past hour, “I love you.”
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It was an issue for certain, Eren seemed to be stuck as a wolf and neither of them hadn’t the slightest clue on how to fix it. Though amongst the hundreds of things Eren had taught him during their time together, it was that it wasn’t wrong to ask for help from a friend. They ran all the way to the forest elf village and Levi rapped on Armin’s door with a bit of irritable urgency.
He had his mate running all over the place when they should have been resting until they’d figured out of Eren had become pregnant or not. Furthermore, Eren wasn’t even supposed to be in his wolf form for fear his shifting organs would harm their forming pup. Eren whined at Levi’s feet and all Levi could do was rub Eren’s head for reassurance that thinks would work out.
Armin finally answered the door and took a few seconds of silence to look between Levi and the wolf wimpering next to him. The astute elf put it all together quickly, “He’s stuck, isn’t he?”
“Yeah,” Levi looked down at Eren and bit his lip.
“Come on, I’ll see if I have any literature on this…” Armin tried to keep a calm voice but all the signs of external worry were there. He clumsily tore through the house until he could get to his bookshelves where he clawed out several dusty books. He coughed against the clouds of dirt and started stacking them on a nearby table. “It’ll be okay, Eren, we’ll figure this out,” he promised.
Eren nosed at Armin’s leg in gratitude but quickly returned to Levi’s side, leaning against him for some tactile support.
“I don’t know a lot about werewolves,” Armin admitted, “But after hearing about Eren’s condition, I’ve been reading up. For a while, we were trying to find ways to suppress his urge to change all together…”
Levi winced at the thought of Eren rejecting his feral needs.
“But that wasn’t possible,” Armin continued, flipping through the pages of several parchments at once. “Then I encouraged him to accept it and try to embrace it, but he got mad at me and didn’t talk to me for a week.”
Eren huffed from his spot on the floor in his own defense.
“So, then all he wanted to do was stay cooped up in his house until the shift ended and he refused any other option after that,” he finished his explanation. “But now… I’m not sure what to do…”
“We… we need to fix this right away,” Levi was losing his stoic demeanor quickly. “You don’t understand, it’s not good for our pups.”
“He’s pregnant?” Armin burst, pulling his nose up from the books.
Eren yipped. Levi sighed, “We’re not sure yet.”
“How do you… know?”
“It’s just something you know,” Levi shrugged. He didn’t know shit about this sort of thing. Isabel and Farlan had tried once before with no luck and he didn’t chat very much with the other pack members. Erwin never gave much thought to pups, but Levi wondered if Hange would know something useful. He hadn’t seen either of them since the start of mating season and figured he’d be able to find them roaming around the border of their territory. He got his mind back into the right place and shook his head, “But now we need to know why he’s stuck like this.”
“So, what exactly happened?”
“There’s a full moon right after mating season, so he changed. We ran around the forest, encountered a bear, Eren healed him, we ran back home, and realized that he was stuck,” Levi tried to pick out the more important details.
“You ran into a bear?” Armin gaped at them.
“Yeah, it had just gotten out of a fight. Eren here couldn’t just walk away.”
“Of course not,” Armin snorted. “Maybe now that he finally has accepted this new form, his body wants to get acclimated… Maybe he’s too weak to shift back. I know how painful it is.”
The explanations didn’t settle quite right in Levi’s gut, though he didn’t dismiss them completely.
“Can you try shifting back now, Eren?” Armin suggested. They watched as Eren closed his eyes and tensed up his body, bracing himself for the agony, though it never came. He was still stuck.
Armin bit his lip and paged through some more books hopelessly. “There are no books about half-breeds. I have books on werewolves, I have books on wizards, but I do not have any books on someone who’s both. And these have nothing about getting stuck in different forms.”
“Maybe we should go find Hange and Erwin…” Levi suggested.
“I promise I’ll keep searching here, but I think that’d be a good idea. They know more about werewolves than I would. And Levi?” Armin leaned in so he could speak out of Eren’s earshot, “Thank you for taking care of him. He means a lot to all of us and he’s lucky to have someone like you to look after him.”
Levi nodded and struggled to find the right words. “I’ll get him back,” he promised. It was all he could say or do. He shifted right there, knowing that he’d be much better at tracking them down as a wolf than a man. Eren seemed to be a little more chipper now that he wasn’t the only canine in the room.
“I promise, Eren, we’ll get you back!” Armin yelled to them as they rushed out in search of the pack leader.
It took them about an hour, but with the strong Alpha scents to follow it wasn’t too difficult to find Hange and Erwin skirting around their territory. Levi guessed they were surveying the area and watching out for potential dangers, most likely working overtime due to the absent pack members still recovering from their heats and ruts.
They changed forms on a dime and Levi joined them in order to properly discuss.
“What are you two doing here?” Erwin asked, looking between Eren and Levi. “I figured you’d be enjoying your post-mating bliss. It’s a first for both of you, isn’t it?”
“There’s a situation,” Levi frowned. “Eren’s stuck in this form, he can’t change back.”
“Really?” Hange burst, sounding a bit more curious than concerned. She knelt down and looked at Eren’s eyes. “You can’t change back at all?”
Eren shook his head and whined some more, a sound that had Levi’s heart dipping lowly. His Omega was in complete distress and he couldn’t do anything about it. Not only was he failing as an Alpha but as a father as well.
“He’s only half-wolf, so that doesn’t make sense at all…” Erwin pondered. “A half-blooded werewolf shouldn’t have such an intense connection with our Moon Goddess that they can’t shift out of their wolf form.”
“Yet here he is…” Hange poked at Eren’s ears and whiskers. “I think you need a shaman.”
“A what?” Levi asked.
“A shaman. This seems like a spiritual crisis. I believe there’s one that lives up the mountain. They all seem to prefer their solitude. Though, I’ve only heard rumors about their existence. There’s no telling if they still live there or not. When I was little, my fathers took me to the shaman to restore my eyesight. Then, I lost one when I grew up, but that’s beside the point. What I do know, is that they’re probably the wisest creature in this whole forest.”
“Then we’ll go,” Levi decided easily. “How far up the mountain?”
“There’s a big cave about half-way up. You can see it from the hillsides. I know the shaman only emerges at dawn, so plan accordingly,” she informed with a stern expression.
“Right,” Levi nodded and looked down to Eren. I’ll fix this, I’ll make this right, I’ll save you, Eren. “We better go get ready, then.”
“Good luck,” both of his friends wished, forming back to continue their expedition.
For the last time that day, Levi shifted. He felt like he could collapse onto the grass and sleep there for a few hours, but pressed on to get back to their den.
They still had some time to waste and Levi knew he needed to pick up Eren’s sorry spirits. His brightness faded slightly and he was obviously distraught. Every smell that came off of him was tainted with distress and fear. Levi spent his time thinking about a solution and had forgotten something equally important: to keep Eren happy.
In a playful fit, Levi bumped into Eren and took a nip at his neck. Eren bumped back into him, skidding to a halt in hopes to expand on their tussle. He went straight for Levi with no hesitation, sending them rolling and nipping and fake growling. They broke apart and Eren started running, Levi automatically chasing him down in makeshift game of tag.
And then they both froze at the rustling sound nearby, lowering themselves into position. Eren was new to hunting but followed Levi’s movements perfectly, another thing Levi loved about Eren. He was a quick learner when he was determined about something. And that evening, he was determined to catch his first prey.
Levi wondered how and why a boy who loved all creatures in the forest could feel the need to kill. Perhaps he was hungry, Levi wondered. Or perhaps the pacifistic Eren was fading and a new, carnal version was emerging? It was natural for a werewolf to feel the need to hunt, kill, and devour in times of hunger. Then again, Eren was never really a natural werewolf to begin with.
Even so, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to hunt with his mate. Levi figured this was selfish, probably, but he didn’t have much time to decide.
Their prey showed itself, coming out of the brush. A larger stag walked out, sniffing at the ground and sensing danger. It was right to be weary with two werewolves stalking it silently.
Levi took a deep breath as quietly as he could, counting down the seconds before choosing to pounce. He looked over to see Eren watching him carefully, his legs shaking with the urge to launch himself at the animal.
No, not yet, Levi knew. In this game, patience was key. Anyone could dart after smaller animals, but the larger ones could fight back. With antlers like that, Levi wasn’t going to take his chances. Instead, he’d rather wait for the opportune moment to strike.
The stag found a spot to graze, wiggled its ears, and lowered its head. The moment it bent down to feed, Levi made his move with Eren following quickly behind.
It was a quick kill with two hunters, Levi heading straight for the neck while Eren went for its legs. The stag fell to the ground and Levi made the kill quick and painless, chomping through skin and muscle he was certain it was dead.
Eren rounded the deer to observe exactly where Levi had bitten through and howled a little with victory. Levi joined in, his heart pumping fast. He’d just successfully hunted with Eren, leading him and guiding him through the process. He provided for his Omega. He kept his Omega safe during the process.
It helped heal his earlier insecurities and the two of them worked together to drag the stag back home.
When they got closer to the dens, Eren barked at Levi a few times in attempts to communicate. He nodded off towards a different path, grasped the beast with his teeth, and pulled it away from the dens.
It only took a moment to realize what Eren wanted and Levi was more than happy to help.
They pulled the stag all the way to a separate set of dens where the elders and pups were staying. Soon enough, they’d all be joined together again but in the meantime, they’d have a fresh kill to indulge on. Pups were squeaking and toppling over one another to get to the stag and start munching on it. The unmated wolves and elders pounced in to thank the pair and help themselves as well.
Eren’s eyes sparkled at all the little pups and he lowered himself in attempts to start a little play-fight with them. Three of them tackled him at once and Eren flopped over to let them ‘maul’ him with little bites and howls. Even more pups joined in and piled on top of Eren, barking at him until he got up and romped around with them some more.
Levi sat and watched the scene, licking up the blood from his muzzle and paws. He couldn’t have been happier, though he did feel a bit guilty at the same time. The conflicting emotions troubled him, but it was difficult to not smile and wag his tail at his lovely mate interacting with all the pups.
Eren was a perfect mate, Levi decided. Completely and utterly perfect. He was beautiful as ever in both man and wolf forms. Levi couldn’t stop admiring Eren’s shiny coat, bright eyes, and wagging tail. Eren’s pearly fangs were sharp as daggers, too, which made him an excellent hunter. As a human, Eren was just as glorious and looked just like a gift from the Sun. Nothing he did was short of pure magic. Levi wanted to kiss every inch of his skin, nuzzle that mop of chocolate hair, and adore that shining smile Eren always wore. He wanted to hold him closely again.
He sighed at their situation. Eren was kind, thoughtful, and gave everything he could to the forest and yet trouble and chaos still stalked him. It was a like a brutal curse and proved just how unfair the world could be.
Eren yawned a few times and licked all the pups goodbye, returning to Levi and gesturing they head back home. They’d have to get up early in order to start their new journey to a shaman that may or may not exist. Even so, it was still a small ray of hope and Levi was willing to take the chance.
They walked with their sides pressed up against one another, slowly and leisurely. Along the way, Levi quickly nabbed a few rabbits for them to eat, watching carefully to make sure Eren ate enough for both him and the possible pups he was carrying. He urged Eren to take the bigger pieces of meat and Eren didn’t refuse.
Their den smelled of a beautiful mixture of their scents, their own unique smell of home. While it used to be cold and empty, Eren had somehow made it so much more with just his presence.
Eren took a few drinks from the spring and curled up on the furs with a huff. He was still stuck as a wolf and was obviously a little frustrated. Still, his tail was thumping contently and Levi knew he didn’t completely fail at his task. Eren enjoyed the day enough to avoid sulking and crying, which in Levi’s mind was a somewhat-success.
Levi shifted in order to properly bathe away all the blood he’d gotten on himself and finally joined Eren on the furs. Eren licked at Levi’s face sloppily, ruining all the time he took to clean himself off. But, of course, it was Eren so he didn’t mind one bit.
“I hope today wasn’t completely awful,” Levi voiced his thoughts, realizing it was a lot less nerve-wracking when Eren couldn’t reply with words. “You don’t deserve to be stuck like this. I miss your voice.”
Eren whimpered a little and buried his nose under Levi’s arm in an attempt to cuddle. Levi pet at Eren’s soft fur and sighed, “But we’ll get you back and healthy. And then our pups will be safe and healthy too.”
Eren whined and Levi realized the thought of hurting their pups was probably weighing down on Eren just as much, if not more.
“They’ll be okay. And if not, we’ll just try again,” Levi pet his head and closed his eyes. “It takes a few tries for a lot of people, anyway. Especially after their first mating season.” He was speaking strictly from his knowledge on Farlan and Isabel’s relationship, but he figured that was good enough. It seemed to quell Eren’s inner Omega’s fears of letting his Alpha down.
“We’ll go to that shaman and you’ll be able to change back. Everything will be fine,” Levi whispered. It was idealistic but he needed to convince himself that things would be okay as well. He put his efforts into letting out calming scents and crooning against Eren’s furry throat.
Eren’s huge body curled around Levi, surrounding him with warmth and Eren’s scent. In this way, they could comfort each other without even trying. Levi prayed he was handling the situation well, though it was hard to tell with no experience with these types of things. He tried to think about what his mother always did for him, picking out scenes from his foggy memories that seemed to stick with him throughout the years.
It would be okay. It would all be okay.
Levi didn’t sleep but he watched Eren doze peacefully. Levi’s eyes were pinned on the little sliver of sky he could see from behind their vine-covered entrance. He waited patiently for the night sky to slowly fade into lighter shades, anticipating the moment he could jostle Eren awake and head off towards their only hope left.
As the Moon Goddess slowly faded, Levi prayed that he could save his mate from their uncertain future.
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Levi and Eren stalked the morning grounds as wolves, pawing across the dusty and rocky trails along the mountainside. They were rounding it and searching for some kind of way up as the steep inclines and numerous obstacles were stifling. It seemed the only things getting up or down that mountain were the goats that taunted them with laughter-like bleats. Levi’s mouth started to water as he glared at them and gave them a threatening bark. Eren joined in the fun, watching as they all rushed up further to gain a comfortable distance from the hungry wolves.
The weather wasn’t on their side either as the dark clouds rolled in from the East. The bright, early morning turned gloomy and dim as the first stretches of cloud coverage reached over their horizon. It was evident it would storm soon, but they didn’t have much time to waste.
Levi growled in frustration at the impossible task, seemingly going in circles around the damned thing. Every new path he took ended in a dead end or a deadly cliff. Eren didn’t seem to lose his patience at all, in fact it seemed like he was having fun. At times, he’d even wander off to chase a bee or chipmunk and Levi would have to take him by the scruff and drag him back to their original goal. He guessed Eren was just getting bored and felt bad for ending his fun a bit too soon, but the last thing he wanted was a missing mate.
He huffed in disappointment at yet another failed route and rolled over onto his back to rest for just a moment. Eren came bumbling over, nipping at Levi’s ears and rearing up to play. He yapped out taunting little ‘boofs’ and scraped at the ground when Levi didn’t get up right away. When that didn’t get Levi moving, Eren nudged at him with his nose and whined. He growled in jest and tackled Levi full-on, pinning him down and taking a few bites at his neck.
Levi growled back and easily pushed Eren off of him, sending his mate rolling across the gravel. He leapt right back up and pounced at Levi again, tail whipping back and forth with glee. Eren’s weight nearly knocked the breath out of Levi, but he was able to shift his body so Eren only half-landed on him. They nipped and tackled and chased around until both of them were tired out.
They lay side by side on a soft patch of grass, staring up at their present challenge. Dawn was quickly approaching and so was the storm yet they had no feasible way up. Eren slouched onto Levi and idly watched a chipmunk zip across the ground. Levi watched it too as it scavenged for any seeds on the ground. It sped towards the mountain with its cheeks full and dove into a tiny crevice behind a rather large boulder.
Levi squinted at the little crevice and the boulder, soon realizing that their challenge wasn’t to go up the mountain at all. They needed to go through it.
He yapped at Eren to get him to follow, heading towards the large rock. He started pushing on it with his paws and then lunged into it with his side in attempts to push the damned thing out of the way. Eren got the picture and joined in. With his bulk, they managed to get it to roll over just enough to allow them a peek inside. Just as Levi had suspected, a long and dark tunnel cut through the mountain and seemingly headed upwards.
Eren hopped in excitement, yipping with victory. He zipped straight into the tunnel, which had a worried Levi chasing after him with scolding barks. Slow down! You don’t know what’s in there! Get back here and stay behind me!
Eren pawed at the walls, his pawprints leaving glowing splotches of light on the stones. The light shined just like their mating marks, a warm glow that gave light to the unknown path. Eren rounded back to Levi with the cockiest expression, tongue-hanging out and grinning with those sharp teeth of his. Levi rolled his eyes, pushed his nose into Eren’s neck in an approving nuzzle, and walked alongside his mate through the pathway.
Levi liked his den and didn’t mind enclosed spaces, but the tunnel was making him nervous as it narrowed in size and continued on forever. There wasn’t enough room to adequately battle or fight off any danger, he and Eren could barely walk side by side anymore which also made him nervous. It just wasn’t a big enough passage way for two giant wolves.
Eren let out a whine to show that he felt the same way, growing unsteady with the shrinking elbow-room. Levi shuffled so he could give Eren a reassuring lick on his muzzle and continued forward, still unsure himself but happy to have made Eren feel a little safer. His mate’s scent was fogging up the whole tunnel, creating a cloud of Eren’s distressed pheromones around them. Levi kept stopping to lick his face and make sure he was okay every few meters because the scent was so overwhelming, it was throwing his mind into overdrive.
Eren accepted the gestures with little yips to convey that he was okay. He’d press his paws onto the sides of the walls when the light got too dim and stuck closely behind Levi. They walked on for so long, it seemed like the tunnel wouldn’t ever end. Every turn had them thinking they’d made it out, only to be greeted by another long passage way to another turn. It was evident they were spiraling up, but as to where they couldn’t be sure. For all they knew, the shaman didn’t exist at all.
He questioned whether they should turn back or not, but wasn’t sure what would happen if they did. Would they let time dictate Eren’s fate and wait it out until he could magically turn back again? Did he just not know how? Could he possibly have the choice whether to turn or not and just didn’t know how to handle the shifting? Was his body simply exhausted?
There was no telling but with the possibility of a family on the way, Levi didn’t want to take the chance of just waiting. Shifting while pregnant always led to a miscarriage and a very disappointed Omega. If Levi could prevent even the possibility of his mate’s despair, he would which inspired him to press on.
They both perked up when the smelled something new in the air, a coppery and warm scent that had both of their mouths watering. Blood. The moment they recognized the smell, they both froze in place. Fight or flight bubbled in Levi’s heart and he wasn’t sure which would be a more fruitful venture. Fight for the potential to save Eren from his trapped form? Flee with their lives and have no options left?
Eren’s growls answered the question for Levi. His mate tried to squeeze past him through the tunnel to rush to the rescue and Levi knew he was tied up in this battle for sure. They both hustled down the rest of the cavern until bursting through some heavy, velvet drapes.
The room before them looked much like a den with a huge mouth looking out over the morning sky, foggy forest and scattered furniture around the room. Levi didn’t have time to appreciate the scenery as he was distracted by the giant brown bear tearing at flesh and picking apart the meat from the bones. The bear ate the shaman, Levi thought with wide eyes.
The bear turned to the two wolves and cocked its head to the side, wiping at its blood-soaked muzzle with his paw and assessing them carefully.
Levi’s eyes turned to the bloody corpse and he squinted at it. The mess of gore didn’t look like a person at all, but rather a deer. Its detached antlers sat next to the corpse like some kind of tombstone.
In a shroud of light, the bear twisted and turned in the air until dropping down to the ground in the shape of a woman. She grabbed a cloak made of feathers and tossed it over her naked body, as well as a piece of twine to bundle up her long, auburn hair. “You’re the ones who saved me,” she grinned at them, blood still painting her face.
Levi looked between the woman and Eren, deciding whether to pounce on her or change his own form as well. In lieu of starting up a bloodbath in front of his mate, Levi changed his form in order to speak to the woman. “Who are you?” was his first question after the bone-bending shift. His body ached from shifting so much as of late and he wondered how many more times he could do it without getting seriously injured.
“Sasha, who are you?” she raised an eyebrow at them, wiping her mouth off with the back of her hand.
Levi ignored the question and looked around the room, almost frantically, “I was told a shaman lives here.”
“Well, you’re half-right. A shaman did live here,” her voice became rather soft. “But he died a few years ago.”
Eren fell to the ground with disappointment, his scent making his emotions sharply clear to Levi, whose heart fell into his stomach. “Are there any others?” Levi had to ask out of pure desperation.
She paused and hummed, “Well, there’s me. I’m not much good, though. He taught me what he could, but I wasn’t that great of a student. Other than that, I live alone up here. I don’t think there are any others.”
“You’re an apprentice?”
“I’m his daughter. Only half shaman, though. The other half is from a bear-shifter.” She sat cross-legged on the ground before the deer, sliding her finger up and over the antlers. “Did you need a shaman for something?”
Eren perked up at her words and trotted over happily, sitting next to her and leaning his weight over her body.
She cracked up immediately, “What’s this?”
“He’s probably just happy because he’s a half-way too.”
Her eyes widened and a huge grin and she burst, “Really? I’m not the only one?”
“Yeah, half-wizard and half-werewolf. Though you probably can’t tell at the moment. He’s been stuck like this for a few days.”
She petted Eren’s ears and Eren licked her face excitedly, unknowingly making Levi a bit jealous. He pushed back the emotion before it got out of hand and focused on their task. “Mating season just ended for us and Eren might be pregnant with our pups. If he stays in this form much longer, he’ll lose them for sure.”
Her eyebrows furrowed together and her hand paused on the top of Eren’s head, “He’s stuck?”
Levi went on to explain how Eren’s body forcibly shifted during full moons and changed back at sunrise. All of a sudden, he wasn’t changing back and after trying so many times they’d decided he was stuck. During the entire story, Sasha listened carefully while scratching behind Eren’s ears, making his tail thump onto the stone floor.
She took his face between her hands and gave him a long stare, as if she were searching for something hidden inside his pupils. “Well, I can try. You helped heal me so I want to do the same.”
It was a flicker of hope, which satisfied Levi enough to sit and let Sasha work on Eren’s case. Levi finally had the chance to get a better look around the cave. It was rather messy with books, animal carcasses, and furs lying all over the place. A bed that looked more like a nest sat in the corner and dozens of candles were strewn about. A bow and arrow were hung up on the wall beside a larger, dustier set. Shelves of different sorts of potions, powders and concoctions sat along the far wall with her long, wooden table in front of it.
She took bits of his hair and set them in a clay bowl on the table, setting the hairs aflame and covering the ashes with different and strange powders. She felt Eren’s pulse for a while before thoroughly patting his whole body down, feeling over every bone and muscle. As she went through the motions, she started talking to Levi to break the silence, “You know what’s strange? I hunt the birds around here every day for their meat. It’s less gamey than the goats and easier for me to get than the critters below. Bird’s blood has a distinct smell that differs from all other species, and it tastes different too. Goats are different too, in a subtle kind of way. They taste a bit more like dirt.”
Levi waited patiently for some kind of explanation for her random babbling.
“I’ve eaten tons of different meats from this forest. It became a bit of an obsession after my father passed. All sorts of animals, werewolves included.”
Levi tensed and threw himself between Sasha and Eren. Eren growled a little but, surprisingly, didn’t seem too bothered.
Sasha held her hands up in submission and nervously laughed, “It’s become really easy for me to tell what blood belongs to what. It tells a lot about a creature. Maybe if I try a little bit of Eren’s, it could tell us something? I could even perform a few other spells that my father taught me if I just had enough.”
“No,” Levi’s answer was solid and immediate. He wasn’t going to let any crack-job shaman harm Eren just for a chance to taste his blood. What kind of plan was that? What kind of suicidal bastard would dare to taste his mate’s blood?
She pursed her lips and crossed her arms, “It’s our only option left and if you’re afraid I want to eat him, I won’t. I can hold myself back. Plus, you could take me down easily if you really wanted to.”
Levi narrowed his eyes at her and looked to Eren, allowing him to make the final decision himself. Eren pushed past Levi and offered himself up to Sasha’s will, sealing the deal.
“Fine, but you won’t be touching him,” Levi agreed with a sigh. “I’ll create the wound.” If someone had to hurt Eren, he’d rather it be someone who cared. The scar on Eren’s neck belonged to Levi and he’d be damned if he let anyone else make such a marking on his mate’s form.
“Fair enough, go on then,” Sasha couldn’t even hide the fact that she was drooling.
Levi, yet again, was changing his form but it was for Eren’s sake. He cursed in his mind as he fell back down to all fours and panted to catch his breath. After a few quiet moments, Eren was pushing himself into Levi to start the procedure.
Levi buried his nose into Eren’s neck and took a deep breath before biting into his mate’s flesh. Surprisingly, Eren didn’t make a sound at all. He hardly seemed bothered by the two puncture wounds in his neck and allowed Levi and Sasha work together to gather up his blood into a glass cup Sasha had retrieved.
While Sasha experimented, Levi made sure to lap at Eren’s wounds until they stopped bleeding. He whined with sympathy, and refused to let Eren stand up until he was certain his neck was properly cleaned and healing. Seconds later, Eren’s skin glowed as his flesh magically mended itself. Levi was relieved at the sight and turned his attention to Sasha.
She sipped at the blood which made Levi want to lash out at her, but he held back. She used her fingers and dipped them into the scarlet fluid, tracing images on a piece of yellowed parchment.
“This doesn’t make any sense,” she eventually announced, making both wolves whine and their tails hit the floor in disappointment.
“You said Eren was a half-wolf, half-wizard,” she held up a parchment with Eren’s blood drawn over it in strange symbols and shapes. Levi watched in awe as the blood started dancing on the page, collecting into two different groups of wiggling shapes. “But he’s not a half-way at all.”
If Levi had his voice, he’d be asking what the hell she was talking about. What else would Eren be? His mom was a wizard and his father a werewolf, was it that hard to figure it out? He gave Eren a funny look, who looked just as confused as Levi. Neither of them could figure out what she was getting at.
“This blood is more than just half werewolf, it’s pure werewolf blood. Well… almost pure, that is…” She held up the parchment and pointed, “But there’s also wizard blood in you. More than half… so much that it almost makes me believe this is pure wizard blood! It’s so hard to tell them apart! It’s giving this pure werewolf blood a much sweeter scent, it’s something I’ve never tasted before. Do you realize what this means?” she enthused, nearly hopping with excitement.
Both werewolves looked at one another and cocked their heads to the side. It was all beyond their intellect and they both looked at her, waiting for the full explanation.
“Eren, you’re pregnant. There is something, or some things, growing inside you that are contributing to all the extra blood in your system. It isn’t you that’s controlling your form, but the little pups in your womb.”
Levi couldn’t help his rapidly wagging tail or celebratory howl. He couldn’t help racing around his mate with unbound excitement, licking at Eren’s face and rubbing their necks together. It was an announcement he never figured he’d hear, and his heart wouldn’t stop jumping with joy.
Eren paused for just a moment, shocked. His eyes darted between his mate and Sasha before ultimately joining in with their enthusiasm. He hopped around Levi and even tackled Sasha to the ground, gifting her with kisses of gratitude.
It was both terrifying and wonderful, a combination Levi couldn’t relate to anything else in his world. Even so, he figured their quest wasn’t quite over yet. Eren was still stuck and they’d have to change him back quickly before it became too late.
If you're confused, there will be more explanation as we go along! I hope you enjoyed it and thank you so much for reading! I seriously appreciate all the support you've all given me on this one, I am eternally grateful <3
Here’s a link to my personal blog as well!: snakemittens
“Maybe they want him in that form,” Sasha asked, munching on the end of a carrot she’d plucked out of the soil.
“Why are you following us?” Levi asked her, a little tired of her constant string of wonderings. When he decided they’d try to get home before the storm hit, the half-shaman followed without even asking.
“You’re too weak to change forms again and this one’s pregnant. You need someone to guard you from unknown dangers. Someone with big teeth and claws, like me!”
Levi spun around and snarled at her, “I’m not weak, just fucking tired.”
“And apparently cranky,” Sasha returned, unfazed by Levi’s aggression. “My guess is that the added blood in Eren’s system comes from an Alpha werewolf pup that’s commanding his form. Eren is an Omega after all, his body is probably more than willing to comply. There’s even the possibility of more than one Alpha, who knows?”
Just the mention of the pups had Levi calmed down immediately. “They’re not even big enough for Eren to show yet. What makes you think they have any kind of will or consciousness?”
“You’d be surprised what those little bean-sized devils can accomplish,” Sasha grinned. “When I was a little bear-pup, the only thing my mom could eat were potatoes and meat for months. She couldn’t keep anything else down. Her form changed every week too, though I’m sure it’s different for wolves.”
“He’s supposed to be in his human form,” Levi sighed. “Not like this. If he changes now, his bones might cut through any development they’ve made while they shift. And if they are wizards or witches like Eren, they don’t have a chance surviving in a body that can change forms.”
“With so much wolf blood in him, I’m not sure if he’d be able to change at all,” Sasha tapped her chin. “Maybe you should make him drink some elf blood or something, even it out.”
Eren stopped in his tracks and shivered, probably thinking about the image of eating Armin. He shook his head, snorted, and continued forward at Levi’s side. Levi kept a hand between Eren’s shoulders, the contact soothing to them both. Beyond anything else, the two of them definitely needed some comfort in this stressful situation.
“Hey, how do you Alphas work anyway? What happens in a battle for dominance?”
“The strongest wins,” Levi said simply, wondering why Sasha was even bringing it up. He would have asked her if she was raised under a rock or something, but he already knew she sort of did.
“Maybe you just need to show your pups who’s dominant, then,” she shrugged.
“What, you want me to shove my head up Eren’s ass and growl until they submit?” he spoke with a little humor. He looked down at Eren who was certainly glaring at him, “Sorry.”
Sasha snorted and shook her head, “Use your pheromones or something. Maybe that’ll send them the message loud and clear.”
They approached the dens and Sasha stopped in her tracks, most likely stifled by the powerful warning werewolf scents radiating out from the dens. “Good luck you two, I think I’m going to wander around this territory for a while. It’s sort of nice to get out of that cave.” In a shroud of light, her body twisted and turned until her form exchanged from person to bear. The feathered cloak she wore burst into an explosion of feathers and string and the big, brown bear huffed in annoyance at the loss of a good cloak. With one soft little roar, she crept back into the trees.
The last thing Levi would have thought to do was use his violent, aggressive scent so close to his mate. It was an unthinkable deed in his pack as no Alpha would want to suppress their mate and force them into submission. Still, he wondered if it was worth a shot. Even though they were his pups, he didn’t like the idea of them commanding Eren around from inside the womb. They definitely needed a lesson on proper etiquette and manners. Levi almost wanted to laugh, they were barely the size of a bean and were already as feisty and willful as their parents.
“What do you think?” he asked as they walked up the treacherous path to their den. “I know it doesn’t sound good, subduing our pups… but I want to keep you and them safe.”
Eren trotted up the path and through the heavy curtain of vines, plopping himself down in their nest of furs. His ears perked up and he yipped a little, beckoning Levi to join him. Levi fell against his furry body, running his fingers through Eren’s thick fur. As adorable as Eren was as a wolf, Levi missed his mate’s voice dearly. He wanted to hear Eren’s light chatter and listen to him enthuse about the beginnings of their family together. He missed their playful banter and the chimes of Eren’s laughter.
Eren leaned his head back to expose his neck to Levi, showing off his dimly glowing mating mark. It could hardly be seen through his course fur, but it was there and shining. Levi hummed with pride, thumbing over the scar. The act of submission was Eren’s approval to their new plan and Levi leaned in a little closer, hugging onto Eren and closing his eyes to focus purely on his pheromones.
He’d only been challenged a few times in his life, driven to the point of having to subdue another Alpha and mark his dominance over another. Once he’d first joined the pack, he made it clear that he had no interest in fighting with his pack mates and even less interest in challenging the pack leader. His mind started circling around one idea, though, that got him in the right mindset: someone was taking advantage of Eren, someone was forcing Eren to do something against his will. That alone set his gut aflame with the aggressive pheromones he needed.
Eren whined, sensing the first sparks of change in Levi’s scent. It was enough to make any wolf worry. Levi was surprised Eren didn’t jolt back from his touch or retreat. Rather, Eren stayed put obediently and hardly moved a muscle.
Oddly enough, he started putting off a strange smell that Levi could only describe as a foreign Alpha’s scent. His heart jumped, realizing that it was his own pup fighting him back.
So, naturally, Levi started talking to it. “Look, I know you might feel like this is best. But if one of your siblings isn’t a werewolf, they won’t survive. Just trust me, okay?”
The scent subsided but only slightly. Eren was sniffing at the air rapidly, his tail wagging a little. Apparently, he realized that the scent was coming from their pup too. He bared his teeth but seemed to fight against the urge to scold Levi for his obtrusive scent, letting him take control of their pups.
“You don’t want to hurt Eren, do you?” he sighed, a little exasperated. He hated doing this to Eren and knew the distasteful scent was probably messing with his emotions. Still, he kept it up and fought against his own child. “Or your siblings? You might be hurting them too if you keep this up.”
He didn’t even want to know what would happen when the pups got bigger and stronger, this first battle was already hard enough on Eren as it were. Levi was torn between taking it easy on Eren and making sure that the little Alpha pup knew who was in charge. It was a balancing act he’d never had to perform before and something that he desperately couldn’t fail.
“Come on, you’ve just got to trust me,” he repeated again and again until he heard a bone-breaking crack. His eyes flashed open and he watched as Eren’s form haphazardly shifted and he was his normal self again. Eren let out a loud sob, grasping onto Levi and sniffling his tears away.
Levi held him closely and put most of his effort into getting rid of that aggressive Alpha scent and replacing it with the comforting aroma that Eren needed. Eren’s skin was almost too hot to touch and his entire body was flushed red.
“Eren, are you okay?” Levi immediately asked, rocking him a little bit in his arms.
“I’m f-fine,” Eren took some deep breaths to help himself stop crying. “Are they okay?”
Despite having changed forms, Eren’s scent hadn’t stopped mingling with the pup’s. Instead of the scent aiming to establish dominance, they were surrounded by scents of soothing comfort. Levi smiled, realizing that now he and his children were on the same side in efforts to make Eren happy. “They’re fine,” he confirmed, running his hands over Eren’s abdomen. “We’re fine.” He nuzzled Eren’s chin and neck, unashamed to admit, “I missed you.”
“I missed you too,” Eren snuggled in a little further, still panting for breath. “It’s not easy being a wolf. I think I started to lose it there for a little bit…”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m just not used to it, I guess. I felt like it was really hard to concentrate and I sort of thought I’d just be a wolf forever. It was… really scary.”
Levi pulled Eren in to smother him in his scent as he briefly thought about the insanity he’d been warned about. Is that what he meant? It’d be impossible to know but Levi didn’t have the time to worry about it. He was too busy feeling washed over with pure relief. Eren was back, Eren was safe, and Eren was happy.
After a few moments of silence to calm down, Eren’s stomach growled. After such an eventful morning, Levi regretfully was distracted from keeping his mate fed. After the initial wash of shame, he tucked Eren into the furs. The moment Levi tried to pull away, Eren latched onto his arm with a death grip. Levi explained, “Stay here and I’ll get us something to eat. Promise not to move from this spot?”
Eren’s tight grip on Levi’s arm loosened just a little, “Don’t go too far.”
Levi nodded and sadly left his mate’s grip, heading out to gather up some food. The thunder warned them from above that the storm was quickly approaching and Levi wanted to get the job done before it started to pour. With one last look at Eren, he took another painful shift in form and tumbled down the path.
* * *
Eren broke his promise to Levi and launched himself out of their nest to peek out the cave entrance. It looked like Levi nearly fell down the rocky path, his body most likely exhausted from changing so often. Eren felt a bit guilty as it was all his fault for Levi’s frequent transformations.
He watched as the pure black wolf darted into the trees at amazing speeds and his heart slowed down a little. At least he didn’t get hurt, that much was a relief.
Eren drank a few gulps of water from the spring and arranged himself back in the nest. His stomach hurt as well as the rest of his body. Most of all, his brain hurt. There were times while he was stuck in his wolf form where he forgot his own name, so focused on his predatory goals. The only thing that kept him stable was Levi and his potent Alpha scent guiding him through. For some reason, Eren knew that following that scent was the right thing to do.
He placed a hand over his stomach and whispered, “Please don’t make me do that again.” And for some reason, he knew the tiny beings inside him understood. He almost wanted to laugh, knowing there was someone in there who was just like Levi—someone strong, willful, and just as stubborn as his mate. The entire situation was new to him and he had no idea what to truly make of it, but at least he was in the right form again.
Luckily, Levi didn’t take long and brought home a mouthful of expertly killed raccoons. The fat little burglars didn’t stand a chance against Levi and they tasted quite nicely after Eren used his magic to cook them up the way he liked them. Levi ate them raw, of course, but he seemed to appreciate the meal as well.
Just as the clouds and thunder promised, rain started to downpour over the forest. The sound and smell permeated through their den bringing in a cool draft and drowning out the sounds of the forest. Drums of thunder brought on flashes of lightning, both of them causing Eren to involuntarily jump a little.
Levi curled around him, his furry body giving Eren the warmth he was craving and his proximity calming him down. Eren guessed Levi wouldn’t be able to change forms for a while, given that he’d already stretched himself past his limit. At least they both knew Levi could change back instead of being hopelessly stuck.
It was a little disappointing. Eren wanted to have a two-sided conversation with Levi, finally being able to talk about their pups and celebrate together. He wanted to laugh and hug and kiss and discuss what they’d do next.
But being cuddled up in Levi’s fur wasn’t bad either. He felt safe, enveloped in his mate’s scent and proud that Levi had figured out a way to change him back. He wanted to show him just how much he appreciated it and decided he’d have to come up with something in the morning.
“I’m so happy,” he whispered to Levi, deciding that a one-way conversation wasn’t all that bad either. Besides, he knew Levi was listening and that was all that mattered. He only had a few things he really needed to say anyway. “Thank you for saving me and helping me get back to normal. I couldn’t have asked for a better mate.”
Levi let out a little grunting sound and curled up around Eren even more, licking at his face a few times and staring out towards the entrance of their den. When he returned, some of the vines didn’t fall down quite all the way, leaving a little gap to view the rain from.
He finally felt somewhat at peace, allowing himself to bury his face in Levi’s fur and simply enjoy the heavy rainfall. It easily lulled him to sleep and eased him off to dreamland.
Eren rubbed at his sleepy eyes and looked around him, the space was a blur of pastel hues and the floor seemed to be made out of puffy, sunset clouds. What an odd place, he thought, slowly walking across the hazy floor. He looked around and called out, “Hello?”
“Papa?” an echo of voices called back.
Immediately, Eren recognized them all and he started racing forward. “Where… where are you?” he called out again, unable to hold himself back from smiling.
“Not here yet,” they responded. In a quieter voice, they added, “We’re sorry, Papa.”
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Eren yelled into the empty space, slowing to a stop. “We’re okay.”
“We’ll keep you safe,” they promised.
The scene grew darker and their voices started to distort. A howling wolf blared through the space, so loudly that it hurt Eren’s ears. His body fell to all fours and he was forced to shift forms, his cries turning into whimpers and his screams turning into snarling howls.
“Papa?” the voices cried out to him, sounding terrified and worried.
Magical sparks started taking over his vision and everything he touched turned to flame. The magic he relied on turned against him, for he wasn’t a true wizard at all. He was just a feral wolf and nothing more.
Eren woke with a start, bolting up and patting himself over. He was in his human form. He was all in one piece. He was fine. The nightmare had his heart racing and his stomach churning and his sudden wakefulness had Levi waking up as well. He whimpered with confusion, pulling Eren back down into the furs with his heavy paw.
“Just a bad dream…” Eren sighed, “A really bad dream.”
The rain was still falling just as hard as it had before he fell asleep and now the wind was blowing harshly as well, sending stray leaves dancing across the skies. Eren clutched a little tighter at the furs and pulled them up to his chin, reassuring himself that it was all just a dream. Still, the voices of his unborn children rang clearly in his mind. He couldn’t quite pick them apart individually, but somehow, he knew it was them and that they were going to help watch over him from then on.
After quite a while of being too stressed out to sleep, Eren took to running his fingers through Levi’s fur and combing out the knots. The tedious task got his eyes drooping shut again and distracted his mind enough to forget about the nightmare entirely. Not only did he have his Alpha keeping him safe from the dangers that lurked outside their den, but he had his children guarding him from the darkness inside of his own mind.
“I guess we’ll need to make a few trips…” Eren nervously laughed, looking at the enormous task before them. He’d neglected his cottage for much too long and the fairies had seemed to ransack the place of all the food and snacks he’d stored away.
“A few?” Levi stood next to him, their hands linked tightly together. He saw the entire place as a giant mess. Between the two of them, it would take days to clear it all out.
Eren’s potted plants were all dried up and shriveled, but not quite dead yet. He flicked his wrists towards them, murmuring some sort of magical spell, and they blossomed back to life in a matter of seconds. His mattress was ripped and torn apart, quilts scattered and shredded as well. The dried plants hanging from the ceiling along with several mobiles fixed with crystals and rocks spun slowly in the breeze. The bookshelf itself would take forever to haul back to their den and Levi wondered how difficult it would be to just build a new one.
He watched as Eren drifted around his home, touching items and smiling at them as he remembered their value or use. It had been so long since they’d last been to the cottage, he wondered if Eren had felt a little homesick. After all, this is where his parents raised him. “Are you sure you want to leave?” Levi asked slowly.
Eren picked off one of the tapestries from the wall, one with star patterns painted on it, revealing the naked wood wall underneath. Claw marks from a werewolf were etched into the light wood along with blood stains. Eren’s hand hovered over them for just a moment before biting his lip and turning away. “Yes, I’m sure. This may have been my home back then, but now… you’re my home.”
Levi reached out to pull Eren into his arms, rubbing their necks together casually and burying his face into Eren’s shoulder. “You’re my home, too,” he returned with his voice a little muffled from Eren’s shirt. With that, he unlatched himself and found several canvas bags Eren used to use to gather up supplies from the forest. “I guess we should use these.”
“Or maybe this?” Eren started yanking something out of the corner, pulling it until the pile of other things came toppling down as well. “Whoops,” Eren murmured, ignoring the pile in favor of freeing this new object. He pulled it into the middle, some kind of box with wheels. “It’s a wagon,” he announced, clapping the dust off of his hands.
“A wagon?” Levi squinted his eyes at the thing.
“Yes, but this one is special. It moves on its own! The first magical tool I ever made!” Eren beamed, pointing his finger at the wagon and instructing it to move a few inches forward and another few inches back. “We’ll be able to fit tons of stuff in here, plus the bags. We’ll be finished up in no time at all!”
Levi started with the books while Eren organized the pile of things that had fallen to the floor. He skimmed through several titles, a little curious about what sort of books Eren kept around. Taming a Werewolf, Where to Find the Forest Sprites, Goblins and Trolls: A Specific Guide, How to Properly Praise Medusa and The Complete Book of Home and Health for Witches and Wizards were the first few novels he’d stacked carefully into Eren’s magic wagon. All of the books were more than weathered, some of them even had the covers flopping off, but Levi handled them all carefully and hoped none of them would crumble to dust in his hands. The titles were interesting enough and he hoped someday, he’d be able to read a few of them.
“Oh, Eren, look,” he pulled out a specific volume that caught his eye. “Planning for Pregnancy…” He flipped open the front to find a complete guide for witches and wizards including what to expect and how to properly prepare. “Maybe this can help.”
“Set it near the top so we can find it later,” Eren excitedly called out from his pile. He was almost buried in an assortment of odd looking apparel. Levi watched as he pulled out an olive-green cape with a hood and some kind of white and navy emblem on the back.
“What’s that?” Levi had to ask, his interest piqued.
Eren shrugged, “I found it hanging off of a tree. It was all bloody when I found it, but it cleaned off nicely. I thought it was pretty neat. And actually… I think it would look really nice on you.” Eren draped it over Levi’s shoulders and buttoned up the top to hold it on. He nodded with satisfaction and grinned, “It suits you.”
“You think?” Levi held the material between his fingers, speculating the cape. It did look quite nice and it fit him well enough.
“Definitely. Though, you’d probably look good in anything.” At the admission, Eren’s cheeks blushed brightly and he turned his attention back to the clothes, balling them up tightly and shoving them into the satchels.
Levi just smiled and continued his work, stuffing the wagon full until he had to toss a net over top to keep the overflowing contents from spilling out. He’d only emptied about a third of the bookshelf. “You read a lot,” he laughed, sighing at the sheer number of things they’d have to move.
“My mom did more than me,” Eren surveyed the books with awe, “I actually haven’t read most of these. She’d read them to me when I was little, though. I’m pretty sure she left out all the bad parts and the boring parts too.”
“I could see you doing that with our pups,” Levi chuckled, grabbing two of the bags from Eren to carry back, leaving Eren with just one.
“I probably will,” Eren agreed, corralling them out the door.
The wagon creaked along the dirt path, occasionally needing a little push or shove to get over the bumps along the way and the mounds of dirt that they had to pass over. Eren’s magic did most of the work and they’d strolled along quite peacefully the entire way, chatting about nothing in particular. When they’d returned to their den, they had to combine Eren’s magic with Levi’s man power to get the wagon up the rocky path. They finally unloaded their bags and were ready to return to the cottage for another trip.
It was all rather mindless and pleasant. There were no enemies to fear or problems to solve. It was everything they’d both wanted for so long: peace. Levi wanted it to always be so quiet and blissful, dropping the world and its sad realities behind to focus solely on his mate and their bright future together.
“How about almonds?” Eren asked, as they’d been quizzing each other on their favorite foods.
“I’m not sure. I don’t normally eat things that haven’t been just killed,” Levi repeated himself again.
“Not even watermelon?”
“I’m not sure what watermelon even is.”
Eren snorted out a laugh and shook his head, “You’re crazy, Levi.”
He just smirked and shrugged, “Possibly. Have you ever had fresh jackalope?”
“I’ve never even had un-fresh jackalope. You know you’re not supposed to eat those, it’s bad luck!”
“When I caught it, I thought it was a regular rabbit,” Levi defended himself. “And I wouldn’t want it to go to waste.”
“Sure, sure,” Eren laughed, “I’ll make you lots of new foods.”
“And I’ll like them all,” Levi gave him a little bump on the shoulder and they approached Eren’s cottage. Tiny little pixies and brownies were hovering around his garden, taking care of it themselves and reaping the benefits.
“They’re great gardeners,” Eren commented, walking slowly as to not disturb them. “I trust they’ll really enjoy that garden.”
Levi thought about their den and how it would be nearly impossible to grow anything inside. “Are you sure you’re okay moving like this?”
Eren pushed the door open and waited while a few ghostly will-o-whips floated out of the cottage, whisking their way back through the trees. “I’m sure. I may have some good memories here, and it’s a convenient location for a wizard like me. But there are a lot of bad memories here too, ones that I’m okay leaving behind.”
They both looked back at the torn-up wall and averted their eyes to get back to cleaning. The sunlight streamed in through the windows and doors, giving them lots of bright light to start strategically packing in the next round of items. Levi kept on with the books, neatly putting A History of Dragons and Tales of the Griffin Clan along the bottom of the wagon.
“Alright, Sonny and Bean, we’re going to a new house. Don’t worry, we’re going to have a lot of fun there and I’m sure there’ll be a lot of bugs for you to eat too,” Eren murmured.
“Who are you talking to?” Levi spun around to see Eren holding some kind of plant monster with a two heads, sharp teeth and no eyes. “Eren! Get away from that thing!” he shouted, taking a few quick steps to separate the two.
“It’s fine, it’s Sonny and Bean!” Eren held the plant up above his head where Levi couldn’t quite reach. “They’re a Venus Fly Trap and they wouldn’t hurt a fly… Well, actually, they eat flies. But they wouldn’t hurt us! Unless you touch the spikey teeth. These guys have especially spikey teeth, I’ve found.”
Levi drew back and Eren held the plant back down. It was the creepiest little things but if Eren liked them, Levi wasn’t going to argue against keeping them around. He looked the plants up and down and attempted a smile, “Nice to meet you, Sonny and Bean.”
Eren contorted his voice to make it sound smaller and higher pitched, bobbing the pot with every word to simulate their voices, “Nice to meet you too, Levi.”
“You’re silly,” Levi had to smile at Eren’s goofy nature. “Got any other monster pets I should know about?”
“Just you,” Eren winked. “All my other rare plants are just herbs and flowers, completely harmless. Unless they’re poisonous, then they’re pretty harmful.”
“I won’t go around eating your plants then,” Levi joked. “Let me finish setting these books in the wagon and we can put some pots on top.”
“Sounds good!” Eren then began folding up the quilts on his ruined mattress. “I hope we’ve got enough room for everything.”
“We should,” Levi looked around the tiny cottage and knew for a fact that his den was much larger. It was a wonder Eren could store so much stuff in one tiny space.
“I know a few shrinking spells, maybe I’ll try out those to get some more stuff to fit in these bags… I’m not very great at them, though.”
“You don’t have to push yourself, I don’t mind going back and forth.”
Eren gazed at the pile of quilts for just a moment before shaking his head, “You’re right. It won’t take too many more trips! We’re doing a great job!”
They’d gotten all the clothes, blankets, and books transferred along with some potted plants and the dozens of things Eren had hanging from the ceiling. They’d piled it all up in the center of their den and went back for more, deciding to pick up Eren’s kitchen supplies as he continued to tell Levi that he wasn’t sure he could live off of dead things for the rest of his life nor did he want their children eating dead things for their entire lives either.
“We can have a cooked dead thing and a side of fruits or vegetables,” Eren decided. “Though fruits are better than vegetables. They taste better.”
“Deal.” Levi took Eren’s hand and kissed his knuckles before they got to work once more, gathering up pots and pans.
Levi cautiously poked at the utensils Eren ate with. Eren laughed at his weariness and confirmed, “They’re not made of silver. My dad wouldn’t have been able to use them if they were.” With a sigh of relief, Levi gathered those up too and placed them in the canvas satchel.
Two trips later and they were standing in the doorway of an empty cottage. They left behind fixtures that weren’t easy to move like the mattress and bookshelf. Counters and cabinets were left behind as well, emptied and dusted clean. The creaky wood floors were cleared and the tapestries removed, leaving the bare bones behind. They’d stripped a home back into a house.
Eren took a few short steps back to the wall cursed with violent scratches and stains, putting his hand on the markings until they were set aflame.
“Eren…?” Levi took a step forward, not wanting his mate to burn himself but Eren didn’t seem hurt at all.
The fire spread up the wall and filled the interior with dark smoke, making Levi cough. He didn’t dare leave Eren alone, though. Instead, he squinted through the smog and kept his hand reached out toward his mate.
After a few long seconds, the fire extinguished and Eren pulled his hand away. The smoke cleared and Levi could see a black smudge on the wall, covering up the markings completely. Eren wasn’t just covering up his past, he was burning it to ash and leaving it behind for good. Much like a phoenix, he was ready to rise anew.
“It’ll be a good home for someone else now,” Eren decided, smiling at his achievement. “With no scars or sadness left in the walls.”
They moseyed their way back, both of them exhausted from all the moving. Levi took on most of the heavy lifting while Eren argued that he could do just as much. Even so, Levi took on most of the bulk and told Eren that using his magic to move the wooden wagon was more than enough and cut the workload down by hours.
Now they were back in their den with Eren’s things stacked up in the middle. Unbeknownst to them, unpacking was just as difficult as packing. They ended up stacking Eren’s books against one of the walls and Eren spent tons of time hanging up his ceiling ornaments, using his magic to fix them to the ceiling and manipulate the strings so they hung down just right. The multi-colored crystals and prisms caught the sunlight leaking in and reflected it around the room to create a rainbow of light and color. The feathers and yellowed paper shapes made of pages from books fluttered in the slight breeze.
They’d gotten down to the kitchen supplies and with no real kitchen to speak of, they left the items in the wagon and agreed to worry about it later. In the meantime, they both needed to lie down and perhaps take a late afternoon nap.
Levi was used to his tidy homemade mattress and pile of furs that made a soft nest, though now Eren’s quilts were added into the mix making it even more bedlike and suitable for two. He lay on his back, staring up at all the little things Eren had hung up above them.
“They’re supposed to ward away dark thoughts and nightmares,” Eren explained, pointing to the various crystals. “That pink one keep away the demons while the white one welcomes in the light. Those grey stones were from a riverbank that supposedly has healing waters and promotes health and happiness. I made those paper birds. They don’t do anything, but they look nice.”
“They do,” Levi pulled Eren close to his chest, latching onto him tightly. “It feels more like a home now that you’re here.”
Eren hummed and nuzzled his face against Levi’s neck, mixing their scents together in the most comforting way. Levi’s heart welled with pride to know that his mate wanted to be coated in his scent, tilting his head and letting Eren rub up against him to his heart’s content.
Levi set a hand on Eren’s abdomen and closed his eyes, unable to contain his inner joy. Eren was carrying his pups, keeping them safe and healthy. One of them would surely be a werewolf, and a strong one at that. A little pup that would need to learn their manners, that was definite. He knew there were more than one and couldn’t help but wonder what they’d look like and who they’d become.
A part of him wanted time to speed by so they could meet their children and hold them close. The other part wanted his time alone with Eren to last as long as possible before welcoming more into their little family.
He looked up to see Eren holding a wicked look in his eye and a daring smirk. “Levi…” he hummed playfully, wiggling his hips against Levi’s and grinding his hard erection against his mate’s abdomen.
“Really? Now?” Levi asked, his heart racing a little bit faster and his lower regions heating up with anticipation.
“Really,” Eren confirmed, pulling his mate in for a deep and needy kiss. They tumbled across the furs until Eren had pinned Levi to the bed, trapping him under his larger body mass. It made it a little difficult for Levi to breathe, but he couldn’t care less. He kissed his mate back with equal zeal and fervor, leaping at the chance to share one more intimate moment with his beloved omega.
Thank you for joining me for another chapter! I hope you enjoyed <3 Let me know how you are all doing lately, I hope all is well! Wishing everyone safety and recovery for those dealing with hard times <3
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Eren was mewling under Levi’s touch, realizing how much he missed those tingly sensations his mate could give him as they tumbled together in the furs. All he wanted to do was forget those dark dreams he’d been having and bask in the safety of his mate’s love. He wanted to trust that Levi would protect him from the world around them as well as himself, as he had so many times before. They’d been through so much turmoil, Eren knew that Levi would always be rushing to his safety.
Sex was different when it wasn’t during his heat, it wasn’t to breed or to mate but rather to simply be close to one another and make each other feel good. Eren could already feel the slick building up between his legs, his body getting ready to take in his Alpha. It slipped from his hole and slid down his supple cheeks to the fur below. The aroma it brought had Eren’s mind going a little hazy. He was much more coherent than when he was under the waves of his heat, but still wanting his mate more than ever. His Alpha’s scent was mixing in with his own, creating a very thick cloud of need around them.
Their naked bodies pressed flush together, sharing the sweat and scents bleeding from their pores. They looked to one another with hooded eyes, kissing each other’s cheeks, foreheads, and lips. The contact of lips and skin eliciting sparks and tingles with every touch. Eren’s hands were claiming every inch of Levi, his arms and back and chest. Their erections were pushed together, grinding together in the most delicious way. Both of them moved their hips in a slow, circling dance to pleasure one another.
“Mmm,” Levi growled low and husky, “My Eren…” His voice had Eren moaning again, loudly and shamelessly. “My mate,” Levi continued. “My Omega, my love…”
Eren nuzzled his nose into Levi’s neck, burying his nose into his mate’s scent gland. He wanted to smell exactly like Levi until the entire forest knew that he belonged to someone so strong, powerful, intelligent, and capable. His mate was beautiful and thoughtful and kind. Levi was everything, even if he didn’t always know exactly what to do or say. Eren loved him for every little thing he was, and that was the one thing he was truly certain of anymore. It was like his anchor in a windstorm or his light during a dark night. When all else was wrong, Levi was right.
“I love you,” Eren whispered, clinging to his mate and grinding a little harder against him. “I love you, I love you, I love you,” he kept repeating because it just felt so right.
Levi kissed his cheek for every I love you Eren gave him, humming and returning each one with a whisper. He held onto Eren with one hand on his lower back, the other keeping him propped up over Eren. His fingers teased the locks of Eren’s chocolate hair, tresses that grew a little more with each day. They were almost down to his shoulders now and Levi found it calming to run his fingers through it to get out the tangles and keep it soft. One day, Eren figured they’d have to cut it despite Levi’s insistent protests against it. He took a handful of it to move Eren’s head a little closer for a dominating kiss that alluded to more.
The hand keeping their hips pinned together was pushing Eren onto his back and Eren fell willingly. He sucked in a breath when Levi took hold of his hard length, using the slick running down Eren’s inner thigh as lubricant for a smoother glide. The pressure against his cock was both a glorious relief and he rutted against his mate’s hand, but it still wasn’t quite the sensation he was looking for. Instead of waiting around for it, Eren took the lead and pushed Levi onto his back instead. His mate’s eyes widened and he released Eren’s cock, submitting to his mate which Eren knew was probably sending his instincts into some kind of panicked frenzy. But he didn’t fight against Eren’s will at all, he let his mate move him to his heart’s content.
Eren’s impatience got the better of him as he lined up and sank down onto his mate’s waiting erection. Having not prepared beforehand left him with a painful, burning stretch that had him whimpering on his way down. Levi caught his ass in his hands, holding up up so he couldn’t sink down any further and forced him to wait.
“Levi,” Eren whined, just wanting to fully seat himself on his mate and get that fullness he’d been craving.
“Don’t hurt yourself,” his mate warned, keeping his hold for just a few more seconds before releasing him.
“I won’t,” Eren promised, falling onto Levi’s lap a little more cautiously than before. Levi’s cock inside him was exactly what he’d been needing and that sensation of being filled had him moaning with pleasure. He fell to Levi’s chest and sucked at his scent gland, relishing in the feeling as his hole clenched and relaxed around Levi’s throbbing cock. His fingers teased his mate’s nipples, pinching and tugging at them in a teasing manner. He enjoyed how Levi grunted and tried to thrust his hips up underneath him. It wasn’t every day he got to play with his mate so much in this sort of way, and he planned on enjoying it.
“You’re so big and thick, Levi…” Eren praised, kissing at his mate’s jawline. “Makes me feel so full.”
Levi’s hands locked around his hips but he didn’t dare move his mate. He nipped at Eren’s lower lip and hummed at Eren’s comment, looking as if he’d break concentration and dominate his mate at any moment. His biceps were bulging and his abdomen was flexing. Levi looked like he was straining to let Eren have his fun.
Eren shifted back slightly, making Levi bite his lip. He picked himself up off of his mate’s cock an inch and sat back down, making him moan. The sudden power Eren felt was almost as intoxicating as the growing arousal of getting fucked by his Alpha. His inner Omega was screaming at him to get down on all fours and let his mate mount him while the other part of his mind was having quite the time watching Levi’s reactions to every little movement.
He compromised between both and raised himself up again and falling back down, repeating the motion faster and faster until he was downright riding his mate. Eren shifted his hips and angles until he found that little spot inside that made his entire body tingle with pleasure. “So, so good…” he let out in a breathy whisper, pushing off Levi’s chest to continue rising up and down while Levi’s hips automatically moved up to meet him halfway, causing a loud smacking sound of skin on skin.
Levi seemed to lose his battle with his inner Alpha as his hold on Eren’s hips grew tighter and he was slamming Eren down onto him, controlling the quickening pace and tossing his head back to let out a snarling howl.
In this position, Levi could get in so much deeper and Eren soon decided it was his favorite. While Levi controlled the thrusts, Eren steadied himself with one hand on Levi’s chest and the other flew right to his own leaking member.
The squelching sound of Eren’s slick and the slapping sound of their thrusts were echoing through the den and Eren was sure anyone passing by could hear it as well. It all coupled with the music of their moans and groans and yelps and howls, driving them both closer and closer to the edge. All the while, the only thing either of them could do was praise one another for being so good, so sweet, and so lovely.
Levi came first, spurting into Eren with one last powerful thrust getting in as deeply as he possibly could. Eren urged him on by licking at his mate’s neck and kissing him hard while still jacking himself off. “More, more, more…” Eren begged and Levi continued to fuck him, albeit slower than before. It was just enough to give Eren exactly what he needed, that explosion of tingling pleasure, and he was coming onto his mate’s belly and chest.
They laid close together while catching their breath. Eren fell on top of Levi, his come squelching between them. After a few long seconds, Eren found the energy to joke, “Does this mean I get more of your babies now?”
“I wish,” Levi returned with a playful smirk. “But I’m completely happy with the ones we have now… I just hope we didn’t hurt them…”
“We didn’t,” Eren assured him, wiggling his backside a little to feel Levi’s softening length still in him. “They’re fine.”
Levi hummed and nuzzled into Eren, putting a hand on the back of his head to keep him close. “You’re perfect, did you know that?”
“No, I didn’t,” Eren laughed. Levi told him he was perfect every day and he loved it each time.
“Silly,” Levi happily sighed. “You’re perfect from the top of your head to the heels on your feet.”
“Perfect enough to deserve a mate like you?”
“You deserve far better than I.”
“Whatever,” Eren chuckled some more, enjoying their post-coital bliss. “All I want is you, so if I can have you, that’s all I need.”
They separated just enough to rinse themselves off in the spring and join up again between the blankets and furs. Eren grew quite drowsy and let himself take short little naps, waking up to find Levi doing various things. Once he was just combing his fingers through Eren’s hair again and another time he was napping as well. Eren woke to find Levi scent marking him carefully, rubbing his wrists over Eren’s neck and chest. The next time, Levi was giving him a bath and licking him clean. The pampering was more than enough to quell all of Eren’s anxieties and had him melting with affection.
When they were both awake enough, they stayed under the warmth of the blankets and chatted. “How long do you think until we’ll meet them?” Eren asked. “For wizards and witches, it takes nine months.”
“For wolves, it takes two or three…”
“So… maybe six?” Eren mused, tapping his chin. “I hope it’s sooner than that. I want to meet them as soon as possible. But until then…”
Levi put his hand on Eren’s abdomen, “Until then, we’ll keep them safe and happy.”
Eren nodded firmly, “Yes. We will. Um… Levi…” Eren bit his lip, knowing he’d have to share his inner worries with his mate for the sake of their safety.
“Hm?” Levi rested his fingers on Eren’s cheek.
“I’ve been having these really strange dreams, ones where I lose control of my inner wolf and my inner wizard. Ones where my powers turn against me and I can’t… I can’t do anything. They’re starting to seem more like a premonition than a dream, it just all feels so real.”
Levi perked up and his eyes widened a little.
“It almost seems like I’m losing control of my mind… but every time, our pups call out to me and chase the bad stuff away. I just know they’re keeping me safe somehow,” Eren whispered, realizing how crazy he sounded as the words came out.
Levi bit his lip as well, as if he’d been holding a secret. “Eren, during your heat… A werewolf was running rabid in the woods. He said that being a half-way… would make you go insane. I didn’t believe him and I didn’t want to scare you over nothing. Do you think this is what he was talking about?”
Eren’s heart fell. “You didn’t… tell me? At all?”
“I thought it was a lie,” Levi defended himself. “And with everything going on, the last thing I wanted to do was make you worry.”
Eren’s hands curled back into himself, getting a little distance from his mate. “You didn’t tell me,” he repeated, his voice sinking lowly. “You should have. You should have told me, Levi.”
“I know,” Levi quickly returned.
“Who told you?”
“I’m not sure. He smelled a little bit like you and was covered in blood. He was tattered and already on his deathbed.”
“He’s dead now?”
Eren shut his eyes to think, trying to figure out exactly how he felt about the situation. It was still lying if it was by omission, right? He wasn’t exactly sure. Levi’s intentions were good but it was still frustrating. “What else are you keeping from me?” Eren slowly asked.
“Absolutely nothing,” Levi swore.
After all they’d been though, it was difficult to not trust him. Eren put on his best intimidating face and pointed at Levi’s forehead, “Don’t make me put a truth-telling spell on you.”
“Eren…” Levi sighed, obviously disappointed in himself. He bowed his head to his mate, an act of pure submission, and curled into Eren’s body. “I’m sorry.”
It was really difficult to be upset with Levi when he was acting so uncharacteristically cute. His inner Omega was telling him to forgive and forget while the more stubborn part of his mind stood firmly. He settled on curling himself around Levi and huffing a bit, showing his disapproval but not voicing it. “You’re going to have to make it up to me,” he mumbled.
“Anything you want,” Levi promised sincerely. “Anything at all.”
“Also, I’m hungry. Can we go hunt?”
Levi nodded against Eren’s chest and kissed his way up Eren’s chest, neck, and cheeks. “I love you,” he reminded him, obviously needing to hear it back.
Eren wasn’t too much of a sadist to leave his mate hanging. “I love you too, even though you didn’t tell me. I’m still mad, but I’m too hungry to care about that right now.”
“Then let’s get you and the pups fed,” Levi decided, rolling out of their cuddle and throwing on some clothes.
“You’re not changing forms?”
“I have a feeling someone has been wanting to see you.”
* * *
Levi watched from a nearby rock as Mikasa and Eren chatted and caught up. She already had a seaweed net full of Eren’s favorite seafood waiting for him and the fish flopped helplessly on the grass while the two of them talked.
Eren pointed to his stomach and waved his hands in the air, announcing his pregnancy to his friend and she smiled and congratulated him happily. The love in her eyes for Eren was still strong, though it was different than before. She seemed to be truly happy for Eren and his decisions, and she even showed off the hairpin she made him as it was still in pristine condition. He grabbed a few shiny stones from the lakeside and used his magic to string them together in a shiny necklace which he linked around her neck. The amber stones glittered beautifully against the sun and rested in between her breasts.
While he stood from a distance and watched them chat, he also paid attention to the rest of the forest. With the rest of his pack off mating season, he felt safer than ever before with multiple scouts running through their territory and keeping an eye out for any potential enemies. Still, his eyes darted from tree to tree in order to keep his mate and the mermaid safe from harm.
His heart was still heavy from before, but Eren’s full forgiveness would take time and patience. He didn’t deserve it, that was for sure. It was a miracle his mate didn’t explode or even threaten to leave. Levi wondered if the pups in his womb had anything to do with his softer personality and the fact that his inner Omega would warn him to not stray too far from his protector.
Even so, Levi knew he’d have to do something to earn Eren’s trust once more. The growing tension between them was uncomfortable at best and Levi knew it could potentially ruin everything they’d worked so hard to build. In his efforts to protect, he unintentionally harmed.
Eren waved farewell to Mikasa and joined back up with Levi holding the net of fish with a grin. “You were right, she caught these for me just yesterday.”
“Glad to hear it,” Levi smiled back, extending a hand for Eren to hold. Lucky for him, Eren took the offer.
“I think it’s going to be okay,” Eren said out of the blue, obviously still thinking about the mess in his mind. “The pups are looking after me. And so are you.”
“Yeah, we are,” Levi confirmed, pulling Eren a little closer. “I promise.”
Eren was, in one word, cranky. Levi was, also in one word, hopeless.
It was no secret that carrying pups, and werewolf pups at that, took a toll on anyone’s body starting at day one. With the added potential wizards or witches also going alongside their feral siblings, Eren was bound to struggle through the undefined amount of time. To them, that was the worst part of it all. The unknowns hung over both their heads like a storm cloud threatening to rain at any moment.
“Levi,” Eren whined, in a much better mood that morning than the days past. “I know werewolves are carnivores and that your definition of hunting always involves blood. But I need fruits and vegetables too. And if there are any witches or wizards or half-bloods in here, they need them too.”
“There aren’t many that grow naturally around here…” Levi bit his lip, inwardly punching himself for letting his mate down. “But there is that garden near your house.”
“My old house,” Eren corrected him with a grin. “I live here now. With you.” He seemed so proud of the fact it erased all previously bitter emotions in Levi’s heart and replaced them with fireworks of joy.
“Your old house,” Levi corrected himself in a much brighter tone. “Think the pixies and brownies would mind if we borrowed some of their harvest?”
“They’ll recognize me and probably wouldn’t mind at all!” Eren jumped out of bed, the strings of his tunic flying up with him. A hint of a swelling tummy hid underneath all the fabric and Levi had an issue stopping himself from keeping his hands off. He knew for sure there was a very strong and troublesome werewolf pup waiting to greet the world and possibly more and it was difficult not to stay as close as possible.
Eren noticed Levi’s lingering, worried stare and he started laughing, “I’m not bed-ridden yet so don’t even think about making me stay here while you get the beating of a lifetime from some pissed off pixies.”
“I could take them,” Levi joked back, pushing the vines aside and letting Eren walk out of their den first.
“You may be fast, but they’re faster. I heard they can put saddles on hummingbirds and ride them across the world.”
Levi thought about getting poked in the backside by a hummingbird’s sharp beak and figured it would be better to bring Eren alongside him. He wasn’t hotheaded or stupid enough to pick a fight, but he didn’t have the humility to back away from one either. Eren, on the other hand, had the strict advantage of his friendship. And if that didn’t work, he knew more about the little buggers and their weaknesses than anyone else did.
They walked hand in hand through the forest. Levi’s body exhausted itself from changing his forms too much and he decided he’d better stay on two feet until he could recuperate enough to change again. He felt as if all he’d been doing is hunting down fresh meat to feed his mate and growing pups. His body felt compelled to get more and more until Eren was forcing him to stay in, promising that he’d throw up if he ate anything more.
It was difficult to sleep at night as well, fearing anything and everything that could potentially harm his mate during this time of vulnerability. Luckily for Levi, Eren wasn’t completely helpless at all. He had his determination, his inner strength, and his magic to serve himself. Really, he didn’t need Levi to be on a constant look-out but the Alpha did it anyway for his instincts demanded it of him.
So, it was only natural as his eyes drooped on that warm afternoon day. His footfalls came a little slower than usual. The little bumps and rocks and dips that he’d normally float ever had him stumbling a little as well. Eren shot him a few curious, cautious looks but didn’t say anything. He just held on a little tighter to Levi’s hand and pulled him forward through the brush.
Eren didn’t look at him when he said, “You need more rest. You’ve been working non-stop for days now.”
“It’s fine,” Levi automatically replied, not wanting to show any sort of weakness. Besides, he owed it to Eren. He owed Eren everything he could possibly give. Eren gave him renewed life filled with something besides loneliness and a lost purpose. Eren gave him light, excitement, and fun. Eren was giving him a family as well. And when Levi needed it, Eren gave him forgiveness too.
Eren looked down and sighed, “I feel like I’m taking too much.”
“Taking too much?” It was the absolute opposite of what Levi had been thinking.
“You gave me a home and you keep me safe and fed. I just give you danger and trouble…” Eren let out a self-depreciating laugh and kept a hand firmly on his lower abdomen, “I can’t even control them without you close by. Whenever you get too far away, they always try to fight me.”
Eren had been complaining about his magic getting out of hand or feeling the intense urge to change forms. Every time, he’d call out and Levi would race to the rescue exuding his pheromones and growling until his unborn children submit. It was a constant battle for Eren and a tiresome one as well. Levi had to admit, his unborn children knew how to put up a fight just like their parents.
“You give me more than you’ll ever know,” Levi softly promised, giving Eren’s hand another squeeze. “Don’t ever think you’re a burden. You’re not. You’re…”
Levi didn’t get a chance to finish. They both froze in place when they saw movement ahead, and it was something much bigger than any pixie or brownie. It wasn’t tall in stature but it was rather loud, bumbling around Eren’s cottage and singing some strange sort of song.
Eren took a jolly step forward but Levi held him back, neither of them knew what it was. The shadowy figure couldn’t be identified and there was the possibility of it being violent.
“My vegetables,” Eren whined softly, pouting. He rubbed at his tummy and tried to take another step forward.
“I’ll go first. You come out when I can make sure the coast is clear,” Levi instructed, going against his better judgement and shifting forms. He sunk down to all fours and felt the immediate cover of dark, course fur and the elongation of his fangs. He found that focusing on the better things like the new weight of his tail or the flicking of his ears, he could better ignore the screaming pain of his bones, muscles, and organs.
He crouched low to the ground as if he were hunting prey and stalked forward though the brush until nosing his way toward the clearing. His ears perked up at the cheerful humming.
Levi watched as a young man used a makeshift broom to swipe out the dust from Eren’s cabin and it came out in huge clouds. He walked through the grey cloud and grabbed a pear from a nearby tree for a quick snack. Levi wanted to growl. That pear was his mate’s harvest, not this stranger’s.
There was no placing what sort of creature the man was. He looked like a normal human with a shaved head and generally small stature. Nothing about him stuck out or helped pinpoint what sort of threat he was.
Levi let out a low warning growl before shimmying slightly to get his grounding and taking off toward the threat. He bolted across the earth until tackling the guy to the ground and pinning him against the grass, the guy’s head between his massive paws.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” the guy gasped out, holding his hands defensively over himself and working to catch the breath that had been knocked out of him. Levi could hear his heart beating wildly.
“You can’t just go around tackling people!” Eren came out of the brush yelling, walking up behind Levi and giving his tail a few punishing yanks. “Come on, let him go!”
“This beast is your pet?” the guy under Levi’s body squealed.
Levi backed off the guy and let him get up, albeit begrudgingly. He sat next to Eren, keeping his guard up. The stranger dusted himself off and grinned, “Wow, I didn’t know there was anyone else that could speak my language out here. I try to talk to these little guys, but they only squeak back.”
“He’s not my pet,” Eren clarified at first. “He’d be a really terrible pet, actually,” he teasingly added. “Werewolf.”
“Ah,” the guy nodded. “And you are?”
“Werewolf… and a wizard too…”
“Wow, more than one? That’s crazy!” he seemed almost impressed. “I’m Connie. I’m only human.”
“What’s a human doing out here?” Eren had to ask. Typically, humans were smart enough to stay away from the forest and the centaurs made sure they kept out. Legends of killers were warning enough and Eren had seen, on more than one occasion, a human rushing out with an elf’s arrow sticking out of their backside. “How did a human get in here?” he rephrased, completely bewildered.
“Just walked right in?” Connie laughed. “It’s not like anyone tried to stop me.”
“That’s odd,” Eren cocked his head to the side cutely. “Especially around here. This is werewolf territory.”
“Really? The map my dad gave me said this was no man’s land and that the werewolf territory was a little farther West…”
“Oh, that must be an old copy. They sort of had a battle with the goblins and won, so now they’ve got an extended territory that covers this area as well,” Eren scratched his head. “You’ve got an old map.”
“Ah, damn. I thought I got lucky, too. I found this empty house and it’s already got this huge garden. These little guys didn’t like me at first but they like my singing, so we’ve learned how to get along. They even let me eat some of their crops while I clean up this place.”
“You’re planning on staying?”
Connie nodded firmly, “There’s no way I’ll ever go live in the villages ever again, so I’m going to live here now. It’s clearly meant to be.”
“What about the beasts out here that will plan to kill you?” Eren raised an eyebrow, clearly amused. Levi leaned against his legs, still a little weary of this man without a plan.
Connie dug through his rucksack and pulled out a book, “I’ve got this and have been working on it for a while. I think I’ll be okay.”
The pair looked at the tattered book with the simple title Magical Creatures. Eren dared to reach out and turn a few pages, looking over the diagrams and bulleted facts about each different species. Connie smiled proudly, “My dad started it and I plan on finishing it here.”
“This place has a ton of magical enchantments to keep it safe,” Eren looked back and forth between his previous home and the newcomer. “It’ll be a good place for a human to live.”
“You think?” Connie’s eyes lit up.
“And I bet the werewolves wouldn’t mind it if you lived here either. As long as you helped take care of the garden and wouldn’t mind sharing with this guy,” Eren gestured toward Levi, who was flashing his sharp teeth in a friendly threat.
“Yeah, that’s no problem!” Connie was quick to agree, smart enough to agree. “There are plenty to go around, help yourself at any time!”
Eren grinned with victory, “Thanks!” He grabbed his satchel and started grabbing all his favorite non-meat items. He filled his bag with bright pears, firm tomatoes, and dirt-covered carrots. Eren worked his way quickly around the garden all while Levi stood watch, keeping an eye on this Connie person. Only human? It was a little too hard to believe.
“I’m Eren, by the way,” Eren fit the last handful of strawberries into the bag. “And that’s Levi.”
“Are you two pack mates?” Connie asked, watching as the two of them joined up again. He seemed unsure about their relationship, noticing Levi’s movements to constantly protect Eren and Eren’s relative indifference.
“Mates,” Eren announced, a light blush covering his cheeks. Levi’s heart swelled with pride and excitement. He never got tired of Eren introducing himself to others as Levi’s mate.
“I was going to guess, but I didn’t want to assume,” Connie laughed. “Your mate is pretty scary, Eren.”
“He’s not too bad,” Eren gave the top of Levi’s head a little scratch. It was a little demeaning but still felt amazing, so Levi didn’t think twice about it. His tail started wagging automatically and his tongue flopped out. He leaned into Eren even more, though being careful enough to not put too much pressure on his mate’s legs. He just felt the need to be closer, no matter what. Eren’s magic touch had him unravelling from a protective guardian to a harmless puppy, all with just a few scratches behind his ears.
“Are you going to need any help moving in?” Eren asked, looking around for Connie’s luggage.
“I didn’t bring much and don’t have much to my name. I’m just excited to be here. Thank you, though, it’s good to know I’ve got some new allies.”
“In this area, I’m sure you’ll meet tons more too,” Eren cheerfully returned, hiking his bag up on his shoulder for a better hold. “But just in case…” Eren grabbed a nearby stick that had fallen from a dying tree as well as a dark stone. With just a little magic and the murmuring of some enchanted words, he’d turned those insignificant items into a sturdy spear. “It’s good to be able to defend yourself.”
Connie’s eyes were wide and his smile wide, “Wow! Real magic! Thank you so much!”
“If you find some begonia flowers, you should plant them around here and tie some to the spear. It’ll help.”
Connie gripped onto the weapon, assessing it with awe.
Great, now you’ve given him a weapon, Levi thought sourly, trying to focus on protecting his mate and not fall victim to Eren’s head scratching again.
“How long are you planning on staying?” Eren asked.
“Until I can finish this book, then I’m going to give it back to my father. He’s been bed-ridden for a year now and just wants this book finished. I’m going to make him proud,” Connie spoke wistfully and all of a sudden Levi’s entire body relaxed. His honesty allowed for a little trust.
“You will, I know it,” Eren encouraged him, giving his shoulder a pat. “We’ll be sure to stop by again. I wouldn’t advise seeking us out, werewolves get pretty territorial,” Eren laughed, taking a few steps back homeward.
They started on their trip back to their den and halfway down the path, Levi changed his form so he could take the heavy bag off Eren’s shoulder. “I didn’t realize you’d give him a weapon,” Levi wondered aloud.
“He won’t use it,” Eren spoke with confidence.
Eren shook his head, “No, but it will make him feel a little less afraid.”
Levi threw an arm over Eren’s shoulders, constantly surprised by his thoughtful actions. He chuckled while he watched Eren grab an apple from his bag and much down on it with the most satisfied look on his face. “Better?” he asked.
“Much better. The deer you catch are great, but not much beats an apple like this.”
“I’m happy you’re happy,” Levi pulled him closer, feeling the aftereffects of his rapid changes in form. He stumbled a little and ended up putting more weight on Eren than he’d intended.
“Are you okay?” Eren had to ask. “You’ve been… tired, lately. You’ve been hunting and changing so much…”
“I’m fine,” he assured. “Let’s just get back soon.” There was no way he’d admit that he was feeling weak or show any signs of an inability to keep Eren and the pups safe from external dangers.
Eren just huffed in response and continued on at a faster pace, nearly pulling Levi along. The two of them made it, eventually, and Levi was happy to be immersed in their conjoined scents and the comfort of their home. The constant alert he kept up while they were far from the safety of the pack diminished and he nearly fell onto their nest of furs.
“Levi?” Eren asked, worried about Levi’s sudden stagger.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” he assured yet again, catching his breath. He fell with his back to the furs and felt the room spinning. “Just need to… close my eyes…”
“Levi!” Eren shouted, his scent suddenly filled with panic and distress.
Levi wanted to burst up and hug him tight, letting him know everything was okay. He wanted to cuddle him and kiss his belly and lick him clean after their short journey. But his body was failing him and suddenly he couldn’t hear Eren calling his name any longer. The world spiraled, turned bleakly white, and then suddenly dark.
“His body is just exhausted and possibly broken,” Hange whispered, sitting on the furs and testing Levi’s temperature by putting their hand on his forehead. Out of pure protective instinct, Eren was growling the most inhuman sound. He hadn’t expected it himself but he still couldn’t stop. Hange just smiled and removed their hand slowly, inching a little farther away from the Omega’s mate. “You’re becoming more like a werewolf every day.”
Eren had called the pack leader shortly after his mate fainted for some kind of reassurance that it’d be okay. He wasn’t sure who else to call.
“This isn’t the first time this has happened,” Isabel sighed. “He overworked himself the night of that huge thunderstorm where those pups got lost near the mountains. When it’s important, the stupid Alpha really has no idea how to hold back.”
On his way to get Hange, Isabel heard the commotion and came to assist as well. Eren was happy for their company while Levi was out cold. The fact that he tended to go overboard changing forms when things were important had him both feeling prideful and guilty. It proved Levi cared about him but Eren couldn’t stop berating himself for putting his mate in these situations. It was hard to hold any grudges against him for holding back the information about his own insanity. It was clear that Levi only did the things he did out of protection and affection.
“Do you think you can heal him?” Hange asked, breaking Eren from his string of thoughts.
“Yes! Absolutely!” Eren knelt next to his mate. He pulled the furs back away from Levi’s naked body and looked down to observe the damages. The Alpha had started bruising in several places and as they’d all assumed, it was all mostly internal injuries.
“With a werewolf’s increased healing capabilities, usually someone could just sleep it off. This seems a little more complicated…” Hange hummed, tapping their chin. “Luckily, we’ve got you in our pack now, so he won’t have to suffer too much.”
“In your pack…” Eren said slowly, the thought hitting him once more. It was strange to think that he didn’t only just have a family with Levi, he also had a family with the pack. He’d spent so much of his time alone, he forgot what it was like to be surrounded by a group of people who cared.
“Of course,” Hange smiled, “And don’t ever forget that we’re all here for you. That’s what being a pack is all about. I’m glad you came and got me for this. I know Levi wouldn’t want you here all by yourself while he’s unconscious.”
“Though I’m sure he won’t be happy when he wakes up and realizes we’ve ruined the scent of your den,” Isabel giggled. She was right. Their den, a perfectly balanced mixture of their scents, was now thrown out of balance with Hange and Isabel’s scents as well. It all smelt a little off kilter, like when Eren would leave an apple to rot on his desk. The foreign smells weren’t overbearing but they weren’t exactly welcome either.
“He’ll live,” Eren laughed, patting his hands down on Levi’s bare, sweat-slicked skin. A slight yellow glow emerged from his fingertips and soaked into his mate’s skin, glittering and shining as it flowed through Eren and into Levi.
While he worked, Isabel pointed to Levi’s softly glowing mating mark, “Wow, that’s beautiful, Eren! I’ve seen it a few times but never up close like this. It really sparkles in the light!”
The comment made Eren grin and boosted his ego quite a bit. It made him feel like a suitable mate for Levi, leaving such an impressive marking on his throat for others to view. “Thanks, mine does too. They’re meant to shine even when times are at their darkest.”
“You’re going to make me jealous,” Isabel joked. “Though Farlan gave me one that sort of looks like a heart…” She traced the marking with her finger subconsciously, having memorized the shape and location.
“It’s gorgeous too,” Eren complimented. He wasn’t sure how to ask directly, “Did your… mating season go okay?”
She flushed and started rubbing at her stomach, “It went perfectly. After so many tries… finally…”
“Isabel!” Hange threw their hands up in the air. “Have you been keeping it a secret? I knew something smelled different but you kept putting on that lavender oil to mask the scent!”
“We wanted to be sure before telling anyone!” she defended, still wearing a mindlessly happy smile. “But I’m definitely going to have his pups this time. Finally.”
If Eren could have taken his hands off of Levi, he would have. Half of his energy went into healing his mate and another portion was screaming for his unborn pups to stay calm. The last bit went into making conversation with his new pack mates. To say he was stressed out was an understatement. He just wanted Levi to wake up and tell him everything was going to be okay.
“I can’t wait for a bunch of new pups running around,” Hange spoke dreamily. “They’re so cute when they’re little babies. And then poof they turn into little puppies at their first meeting with our Moon Goddess. Then it’s always a huge surprise as to what their human forms will look like once they present. Ah! Such a magical time!”
“If you’re so excited, why not have your own?” Isabel nudged them.
“Simply not enough time or interest. I’d much rather babysit yours,” she firmly stated, “Though Eren, it sounds like yours are going to be quite troublesome!”
“Yeah... Levi’s been keeping them subdued otherwise they’ll change my form. I had a dream that I lost control of my magic too. I’m surprised nothing has been acting up while Levi’s…” he was biting his lip with anxiety over the entire situation. The vulnerability had him exploiting even more of his personal secrets to the pair, “I guess half-ways can go insane or something. I don’t know how it works or why it’s happening. When I couldn’t change, I thought it was just this whole insanity thing but it was just the pups. But after that dream… I don’t know…”
“A half-way going insane?” Hange cocked their head to the side. “I suppose I don’t know too many half-ways. Just you. It’s too bad you can’t just ask another one.”
“Ask another one…” Eren repeated the words aloud. “Wait! Sasha!”
“Who’s Sasha?” Isabel pressed.
“The shaman! The bear-shifting shaman! She told me about the pups. She’s been wandering around the woods… Maybe she knows what to do…” Eren was smiling again, a little relieved now that he had some kind of plan.
“A bear-shifter? I’ve never heard of such a thing!” Isabel exclaimed. “That’s so cool! She should join our pack!”
“It would be handy…” Hange mused. “The more, the merrier after all. I’d like to meet this bear-shifting shaman. Perhaps I can get some of our scouting members to keep a lookout for her.”
“Perfect!” Isabel hopped up, “It’s like a bear hunt but better! Because instead of food, we get a friend instead!”
Her pureness had both Eren and Hange swooning. Isabel would make a fantastic mother to her pups.
Eren finished up healing every bit of Levi’s body and he pulled the furs back over him. Out of habit, he leaned down to bury his nose in Levi’s neck, inhaling the familiar scent which made his stomach flutter and his mind clear. Perhaps Hange was right, he was quickly giving into his werewolf instincts and acting more like his mate and pack mates.
“You know, when Erwin and I were pups, he’d draw on my face with charcoal whenever I slept. Has he done anything wrong lately? This is your chance for payback,” Hange snickered in hopes to lighten the mood.
Eren laughed. Levi had crossed him lately but Eren had left that fury long behind. Still, a little mischief never hurt anyone. He used a touch of magic to turn a nearby stone into a piece of charcoal and started writing across Levi’s forehead. He scrawled out the word Eren’s with a little heart at the end.
“What’s it say?” Isabel wondered, unfamiliar with the written language.
“Eren’s,” Hange answered with a laugh. “Looks like Levi isn’t the only possessive one.”
“Can’t have him forgetting,” Eren smirked, tossing the rock aside. He ran his fingers though Levi’s hair and rested his free hand on his mate’s chest to feel the soft rises and falls. Levi was so still, Eren needed to make sure he was consistently breathing.
“I’m sure he’ll wake up soon,” Isabel said hopefully, noticing Eren’s concern. “He’s never been one to make you wait long. Well, unless he’s trying to fuck with you. But he’d never do that to you.”
“And if he does fuck with you? I’ll beat him up!” Hange said with a thumbs-up.
“I don’t know, he’s pretty strong…” Eren smiled softly, continuing to comb through his mate’s inky locks with his fingers. He used to run his fingers though Levi’s shiny, black coat before Levi had shown him his human form for the first time, the memory running fondly at the front of his mind.
“Believe it or not, I can take him,” Hange winked. “You’ve just got to know his weak spots.”
“He’s fast and packs a lot of power. He’s precise and doesn’t hesitate. But, he’s sentimental and wouldn’t ever hurt his own kin. In a true battle, I’d beat him single-handedly. But… if this were a battle over you, he’d win hands down.”
“A wolf’s greatest strength is their mate,” Isabel chimed in. “Even if they’re just watching a fight or if the fight concerns them, their mate gets this crazy surge of energy out of nowhere. It’s hard to fight with a mated wolf. They’d do anything to keep their mate safe and happy.”
“Huh…” Eren thought back to the times Levi fought in his honor. The only time he’d really failed was when they were up against Zeke and his friends, all of whom had technologies that were unknown to the forest creatures, which was a losing battle from the start.
“I’ll still rile him up for you, though,” Hange promised. “I bet your pups will too. Maybe it’s good he’s resting. You two have a lot ahead of you.”
Eren hummed in acknowledgement and took some deep breaths. “Thank you for sitting with me while he’s asleep. Though, I’m not sure when he’ll wake up. You two don’t have to wait. I’m sure you’ve got your own things to do too.”
“Farlan won’t get back from hunting for a while,” Isabel sat a little closer next to Eren, resting her head on his shoulder. “So, I can wait. Hange, you’ve got to meet with Erwin, don’t you?”
“Ah, yes,” Hange peeked out of the entrance at the sun, gauging the time and giving them both a hopeful smile. “Let me know how it goes. I’ll stop by later to check up on you.”
“Thanks, Hange!” Eren called as they took their leave. He returned his gaze to Levi and rested his head on top of Isabel’s. He enjoyed the Omega’s comfort and found himself to be much more relaxed than before. She helped fill the empty space he felt in his heart while his mate was absent and made him feel a little safer as well.
“He used to be really adamant about not finding a mate, you know,” she said, keeping her eyes pinned on the Alpha. “Said he was better off alone and didn’t want to bother. But… the day he first met you... He smiled like I’d never seen before.”
“Really. He was like an entirely different person. Everything I knew was inside his heart came out and he seemed so full of energy and life. I have a feeling the Moon Goddess wanted you two together.”
Her words warmed his soul and he took hold of Levi’s limp hand. “You think so?” he needed to hear more, curious about the first impressions he made on the Alpha.
She laughed, “At first he was a complete fool and wasn’t sure what to do. He marked his personal territory around your house before even offering to court you. I told him to just ask, but he wanted to make sure he could trust you before changing his form. It’s old-fashioned but he seemed quite stubborn about doing things the right way.”
“I remember that,” Eren laughed. “He was up all-night howling and scenting everything he could.”
“I knew you were special that day you healed Farlan,” she hummed. “Since then, I’ve been sending my well-wishes for you two. From what I’ve heard and seen, you both deserve true happiness.”
Eren put his hand on his stomach again, thinking about their upcoming family and how deliriously right and happy he felt about it. He kept the other hand on Levi, linking them all together. He’d spent a majority of his life not knowing what he’d do the next day, not knowing what he wanted or what would make him feel like he belonged somewhere. Now, he had dreams. He had a future. He had a family. He had Levi.
Eren zoned in on the special pelt Levi had folded up and set respectfully aside. He leaned over to grab it, causing Isabel to fall forward a little before catching herself. Her eyes widened, “You still have her pelt?”
“Neither of us can bring ourselves to let it go. She saved me. She saved him…” He patted the dark fur down and set it near Levi’s face so he could smell her. “It doesn’t feel right to let her go. This way… our pups… they’ll know her too.”
“It’s not unusual to keep the pelt of a deceased family member,” Isabel smiled softly, “I’m glad you found her.”
“Another act of the Moon Goddess, perhaps?” Eren said with a little humor.
“Perhaps,” Isabel agreed, snuggling back up to Eren’s side in a friendly manner. Eren was quickly finding that werewolves were the touchy-feely type and quick to show friendliness though physical motions. He didn’t mind her presence one bit, though if she got too close to Eren’s injured mate he might be tempted to growl again. It was okay if it was him, but when it came to his mate he tended to get a little protective.
“Isabel?” Farlan dipped his head into the den in search of his mate, his eyes lighting up when he found her. “Ah, Hange said you’d be here!” He crouched down across from them and looked over Levi with a frown. “I knew he’d overdo it. How long has he been out?”
“A while,” Isabel shrugged, “Hasn’t even stirred yet. But Eren healed him, so at least we know he’s okay.”
“Wow, that’s great!” Farlan complimented Eren and stood, “He’s lucky to have a mate like you around.”
“Is it time to eat? Eren, do you want to eat with us? I’m sure you’re hungry…” Isabel offered, getting up to stand by her mate.
“It’s okay, I don’t want to leave him,” Eren waved them off, “You two can go on. Hange said they’d stop over later, so don’t worry. I’ll let you know if anything changes.”
They both pursed their lips in worry but did as Eren said, understanding that he might need some time alone with his Alpha.
Eren did, too. He watched as the heavy vines swung back into place and left their den only lit by the series of candles Eren had lit. He snuggled into the furs next to his mate as he always did at night, cuddling next to him and keeping his face close to Levi’s throat so he could drown in those sweet pheromones that always had him melting with comfort.
“Wake up soon,” he pouted in a whisper. “The pups and I… we miss you.”
He understood Levi needed his rest and needed time to recuperate, but he wanted to be selfish. He wanted to demand his Alpha to wake up so they could resume everything as normal. He wanted Levi to curl his arms around him and murmur sweet nothings and complain about how their den smelled off.
“I love you…” Eren said against his mate’s skin. “More than I ever knew I could love someone else.”
Eren spent a lot of his time caring for others. He watched over all the forest creatures, big and small. His mind was always racing to figure out who he could save and who he could help next. Everything he knew was solely to aid those other than himself.
Now he needed Levi to save him, or perhaps someone to save Levi. Eren couldn’t do it by himself. He knew a plethora of useless magic spells and tricks, but feared to use any and rush the healing. The only thing that would save Levi was time, something Eren was growing impatient with. He’d spent years mastering patience and it was all for nothing when it came to Levi.
“Wake up, wake up, wake up,” Eren softly sang, distracting himself from worrying too much. “Wake up so we can eat. Wake up so we can meet Sasha. Wake up so we can kiss and play and run and… hey!” Somewhere in Eren’s song Levi rolled over to his stomach in his sleep, throwing an arm over Eren to pull him in close. Eren giggled, happy to see that Levi was up to his usual sleeping patterns again. Now he knew that he really was just asleep and not completely unconscious.
He stayed quiet to let his mate rest. Levi deserved it, after all, and Eren didn’t mind the lazy day of cuddling and dozing. It was nice to lay down in his mate’s arms after worrying so much. He knew he could let some of the burden off his shoulders from now on because he was never alone. He had his pack, he had Levi, and soon enough he’d have pups as well.
“At least let me go get us something decent to eat,” Levi pleaded for the hundredth time that morning. The pair lazed around in the pasture in front of the dens where a few groups of wolves were chasing one another and enjoying the sun. While most wolves ran around nude in their human forms, Levi was fairly adamant about dressing Eren up in his usual brown pants cut off at mid-calf and a green tunic. He still didn’t trust anyone when it came to his mate and the clothes added a little extra protection from prying eyes. Eren didn’t seem to mind too much, he was never picky about dressing up or down.
“No,” Eren happily replied yet again with the same answer each time. He rolled onto his side to look at his mate. “You’re not changing forms for a while. And I mean it! If I so much as catch you with a black fluffy tail, you’ll be in for the beat down of a lifetime!”
“A beat down, hm?” Levi eyed Eren’s protruding stomach and smirked at him. Even just over a few days, Eren’s body was changing rapidly. While neither of them knew exactly when their pups would be ready to enter the world, they both assumed it wouldn’t take as long as a typical wizard or witch child would.
Eren set one hand on his tummy and the other gave Levi a scolding slap on the arm. “I’m being serious.”
“I’m being serious when I say that you’ve got to eat something more substantial than vegetables and fruits,” Levi pressed. His growing frustration was eminent in the air and overpowered Eren’s easily. “Let me feed my mate and my pups. Please? It’s killing me not to.”
“Wow, I never expected those words to come out of your mouth!” they were intruded upon by Erwin who was grinning down at him. He crouched down to their level and chuckled, “Congrats on the pups, Eren. And Levi, congrats on your recovery.”
“Gee, thanks,” Levi rolled his eyes and sat up from his spot, dusting the stray grass pieces off his white button-up shirt.
“I heard you two were looking for a bear-shifter?” he asked, cocking his head to the side. “We spotted one not far from Eren’s old cottage. It seems the thing has been stealing apples from the trees around there and digging up the potatoes from the garden.”
“Seriously?” Eren sat up with a rush and hopped up to his feet, albeit a little clumsier than usual. He set a hand on top of Levi’s head to steady himself.
“Yeah, there’s also been a few saying they’ve heard some loud explosions or something? No one has seen anything to be sure of it,” he reported. “You two wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”
Levi and Eren exchanged glances but ended up shrugging. “The only person living in that house is a human,” Levi explained. “So unless he’s got some machine that can make sounds like that, he’s pretty much harmless.”
“A human? Out here?” Erwin squinted in disbelief.
“I know, I thought the same thing. Has some kind of personal dream to fulfill here or something, I think?”
Levi caught Eren’s stare. He had those big puppy dog eyes that demanded adventure and exploration. He looked dreamily between Erwin and Levi before starting to get up and head toward the scene of the explosions.
“No, you don’t,” Levi pulled Eren back into his lap. “You’re not going anywhere.”
“But Levi,” Eren whined. “We need to talk to Sasha about…” he trailed off. They both knew he needed to know more about the impending madness. Lately it hadn’t seemed like such an issue but he still knew it bothered Eren at night. Sometimes he’d catch the Omega tossing and turning, mumbling about losing his magic or turning into a wolf.
Still, most Omegas and female Betas didn’t leave the circumference around the main dens while they were pregnant. Instincts deemed it was the safest option and pairs expecting pups weren’t expected to go on patrols as much or bring back food for the pack. Plus, the had the extra protection of pack mates while their mate went searching for food. It definitely wasn’t forbidden for them to go anywhere else, but Levi heard they also felt a pull to stay close to home as well.
Of course, Eren was different. He squirmed in Levi’s lap and protested, “Come on, come on. Let’s go see what’s going on over there. What if Connie’s in trouble? What if Sasha is there?”
Erwin just smirked and waved them off, “Come on, Levi. Don’t think you can keep your mate safe or something?”
Levi growled at the challenge and gathered up Eren in his arms with one arm hooked under his knees and the other supporting his back. He picked them both up and started walking down that familiar forest path. “Damn you, Erwin!” he yelled back while Eren was cheering at the new adventure.
“Stubborn and easy to pick a challenge with. You’ve definitely changed… but you’re also still very the same,” Erwin laughed after them.
“The human has only been here for a week or two and he’s already making explosions…?” Levi muttered. “I knew I shouldn’t trust a human. Ever.”
“Hmm,” Eren nuzzled his nose into Levi’s neck. “I’m worried about him… but I want to see Sasha too. Even if there’s a tiny chance of her being there, I need to see her.”
Eren nodded, “He’s all by himself.”
Levi paused, realizing that Eren was in almost the exact same position. Of course, Eren would feel for the human. While Levi didn’t plan on trusting the kid, he could at least accompany his mate in checking on him.
“You can put me down now, you know,” Eren wiggled his feet and relaxed his grip on his mate’s neck a little in preparation for letting go.
“I don’t mind,” Levi only tightened his arms around Eren so he couldn’t slip away.
“You don’t mind or you want to?” Eren smugly smiled up at him, calling him out on the obvious.
“I want to,” Levi corrected himself, rolling his eyes at his mate’s silly nature. He still had to figure out how to get his little Omega back for writing all over his face while he was passed out. Of course, Eren didn’t tell him so he walked around with ‘Eren’s’ written on his face until one little pup was brave enough to laugh at him for it. Though he really didn’t mind when it was stuck on there for a few days. He couldn’t really argue with the fact. It was true, after all.
“Just don’t tire yourself out, okay?” Eren warned. He’d been really strict about Levi’s health since the incident. He wouldn’t let him change forms at all. Eren had him eating fish because Mikasa swore it was healthier than fresh game. His mate even kept a vice grip on his hand at night so he wouldn’t sneak away and change while Eren was asleep, not like he ever would. The only reason Levi would ever change were if Eren was clearly in danger.
Hysterical laughter cut through the path and Eren mushed Levi on to move a little faster. When they made it to the clearing, Connie and Sasha were holding onto their guts and letting out shrill bouts of laughter, rolling across the dirt in hysterics.
“What’s so funny?” Eren asked, squirming out of his mate’s arms to approach the two.
“Eren!” Sasha jumped up from the ground to run up to him and give him a hug. “Wow! I didn’t think I’d see you so soon!”
“I didn’t either!” Eren returned with a grin.
“You two know each other?” Connie asked, looking between the two.
“Eren knows just about everyone in the forest,” Levi sighed, walking up to get Eren by his side again. He tossed an arm around him just to keep him close.
“You’re his mate, right?” Connie pointed to Levi and cocked his head to the side. “The wolf with the dark fur and the mean face?”
Eren and Sasha snorted.
“It’s Levi,” he introduced himself properly. “And you’re the only-human.”
“Uh, yeah, about that…” Connie scrubbed at the back of his neck with his nails.
“He can make things go ‘blam!’!” Sasha exclaimed, throwing her arms up into the air for emphasis.
“What?” Eren’s eyes went wide. “Are you… are you a wizard?”
Connie shook his head, “No. But I do have a few tricks up my sleeve.” He took a little pellet wrapped in bright colored paper from a little box and set it on the dirt. “Stand back!” Everyone took a few steps back as Connie lit a match and set the paper on fire.
In a matter of seconds, the little thing was popping and sparking and cracking loudly enough to echo through the forest. Levi snarled and yanked Eren behind him and back away from the obnoxious thing, watching as the little sparks came blasting out right towards them. Eren seemed oblivious to the danger and poked his head out around Levi to watch as the tiny pellet started to quiet down and finally fogged out a silent stream of smoke. While smoke was normally grey or black, the smoke coming out from the contraption was a rainbow of colors that misted up into the air. Even Levi had to stop and stare at the lightly colored blues, purples, reds, yellows, and greens poured out from the crumbling ash and evaporated into the sky.
“Wow!” Eren started clapping. “Amazing! What is that thing?”
“Fireworks!” Connie announced, holding out the box for Eren to see. The Omega brushed right past Levi to get a better look and to ask more questions.
“Where do you get them? Did a magician make them? What’s their purpose?”
“I make them myself,” Connie proudly shared. “I brought them with me to scare any predators away, if there were any. Or maybe I could trade them if I needed to. It’s really my only good skill.”
“You have lots of good skills,” Sasha chimed in encouragingly.
He blushed and shook his head, “It’s nothing, really.”
“The pyro-fairies would love these!” Eren was shouting with pure energy and buzzing with excitement.
“Pyro-fairies?” Connie started to perk up too. The two of them started up a discussion about the most annoying type of fairies, the ones that would burn you if you stared at them too long and could manifest fire from thin air. Levi hated them. He’d gotten his fur set aflame by them a number of times for reasons that were completely not his fault.
While they chatted, Levi took the opportunity to get some information—the real reason of why they really ventured back to Eren’s old cottage in the first place. He sat next to Sasha on a log in front of a bonfire that had been set up. They were far enough away to keep a private conversation while also keeping an eye on his mate. “Sasha,” he caught her attention and decided to get straight to the point. “You’re a half-way. Have you heard of any kind of madness that affects you? Or have you experienced it yourself?”
“A madness?” she seemed confused, which wasn’t a good sign.
“We were warned by one of Eren’s…” Levi stopped, not even wanting to give him the honor of being related to Eren, though he still had to spit it out anyway. “Relatives… That he’d eventually go insane or lose his head. Just because he’s a half-way.”
“Has he been…?” Sasha used her index finger to draw some circles around her head, inferring craziness. “I mean, I know he was stuck as a wolf for a while, but that was just the extra blood from the pups inside him.”
“He’s been having dreams… or nightmares, I suppose.”
“A premonition, perhaps?”
“I’d hope not. He always loses control of his magic or is chased by a wolf. It seems the two sides are always conflicting.”
“Hm… I’ve never had anything like that happen… Maybe he’s just afraid.”
“What do you mean?”
“Did he ever try to reject one side of himself or feel doubtful of himself?”
Levi looked at Eren and frowned, “Yes.” Eren used to reject the wolf side of him and even hate it. He trapped the canine spirit within and wouldn’t even attempt to control it due to fear. Levi knew he felt like less of a person because he was just two halves of a whole, though Levi always assured him that wasn’t true at all.
“Maybe it’s a personal journey, then. Whoever told you that must have struggled with that too and finally just tore themselves apart trying to be something they weren’t.” It was an insightful thing for her to say. While Sasha gave off the appearance of someone naïve and fickle, she was rather brilliant in her own way. Levi found himself respecting her even more.
“Hey,” Eren skidded up to join the two. When he saw their serious expressions, his smile fell. “Oh… you asked her?”
“Let’s have a talk, Eren,” Sasha stood and put an arm around the Omega to steer him a few meters away. Levi wanted to listen in but figured it’d be better off if he let the two of them have a moment. While he might have wanted to, he didn’t have to be a part of every single aspect of his mate’s life. Sasha claimed it would have to be a personal journey and Levi would let Eren involve him if he wanted or keep him out of he needed that too.
He kept his seat and watched from afar, though he wasn’t quite alone. Connie stooped down to inspect him. “You’re really a werewolf?” he asked. “I’ve never seen one up close before.”
“Yeah,” Levi raised an eyebrow at him. “Are you really a human?”
Connie just laughed, “Good one. You’re shorter than I thought you’d be. Are other werewolves bigger?”
That got Levi’s eye twitching. “And you’re rather brittle. I’m sure the other humans would be much harder for me to break.”
While he expected the human to back away or shut up, he just smirked and shook his head. “I know you’re all bark and no bite, so you can stop the act.”
“Oh, I can bite.” Levi clicked together his pearly whites in an imitation. “It’s far from an act.”
“But you wouldn’t because Eren likes me,” Connie slumped own on the log next to Levi. “This place is weird. It’s better than the villages, that’s for sure. Everyone there is so cold and empty. Here…”
“I know,” Levi could relate. His early years in the village with his mother were not fond memories whatsoever. It bred his inner hatred for humans and fostered a distrust that would last until adulthood and beyond. It took his mother away from him. But the forest gave him what he needed back. It gave him a pack, plenty of food and water for survival, and it even gave him Eren.
“There are so many rumors that anyone who steps food in this forest will die within a day. Does a good job at keeping humans away, huh?”
“Yeah, I think you’re the only one dumb enough to come live here.”
“I prefer brave to dumb,” Connie wittily returned, stretching out his legs and looking back at the two half-ways. “I never knew half-ways were even in existence. I thought instinct would have kept anyone from breeding with someone outside your own species.”
Levi quirked a smile. “Would it keep you from mating with Sasha?”
“Hey!” Connie flushed bright red and went to cover up his cheeks with his hands. His attraction to her definitely wasn’t a secret. Levi noticed all the little gazes and smiles he gave her. He pouted and looked to the ground, “She’s just really nice, okay?”
“Sure,” Levi dropped the subject when the two returned to the bonfire. Eren was smiling, which was a good sign. Sasha plopped down next to Connie and yawned.
“Tired already?” he asked her. “It’s barely noon.”
“I’m nearing hibernation,” she explained.
“Do you even hibernate?” Eren asked with disbelief.
“No, I go through a torpor instead. I wish I could just sleep through the entire winter. I hate the cold,” she complained. “There’s no food around… the water is all iced over… it’s such a pain.”
The winter was a pain and Levi didn’t care for it either. It made hunting difficult and the snow always got his feet uncomfortably wet. At least this time, he’d have Eren to keep him company in the warmth of their den. Not only would he have Eren, but he’d have their little pups as well. At that time, they’d be scampering around on four paws or perhaps two feet. He smiled at the thought of having a den full of warmth, love and laughter during the dormant winter months. It was a sappy thought but definitely something he would secretly hope for.
When he was alone, it was rather easy for him to see the future but with Eren it became a blurred and hazy picture in the far distance. There were so many unknowns ahead of them and plenty of surprises to come. Every day was brand new and presented a different challenge. For the first time, he was looking forward to every new second instead of letting it pass by meaninglessly.
Eren turned to give him a warm smile, the one that always made his heart skip a beat. He’d take his mate’s hand and walk into the void giving that same smile right back, and he’d do it without any fears.
His Alpha had been acting strangely for several weeks and Eren could not figure out why. Levi would ask him to stay put in the den while he left for quite a while, only to come back smelling like other Alphas and sweat. Eren didn’t like it, especially as his stomach grew out larger and larger. He was just as big as the other pregnant Omegas in the pack, even a little bigger than Isabel. It was starting to get tiresome to move around too much and his emotions were always looping from high to low.
He spent a lot of his time soaking in the cool spring and reading in their nest while Levi went on his mysterious journeys. Luckily, the Alpha always brought back food so Eren didn’t really have to complain too much.
On one particular evening though, Eren had had enough. He was sick of Levi just leaving him with vague explanations and not returning for what seemed like forever. Eren knew he wasn’t just hunting, by then he could recognize Hange and Farlan’s scents on him. Was he just leaving to go hang out with his friends? Was he sick of Eren already? Would he just flee when their pups were born and he got tired of them? The questions piled up and left their den with the pungent scent of distress. Eren couldn’t help it, they were legitimate concerns.
The sun nearly settled under the horizon and Levi left again. He seemed to sneak out while he thought Eren was sleeping and that’s when the alarm set in. Eren unconsciously pet at his swollen tummy while plotting his argument and perhaps his revenge.
He thumbed through a witch’s pregnancy book just to pass the time until Levi would unknowingly step back into the den and face his doom. The book held a few good tips on how to handle pregnancies in general and what to expect.
Mood swings, which Eren usually denied but secretly understood. Though it really wasn’t his fault with Levi’s radical behavior playing with his heart and mind.
The fact he could hardly get any sleep anymore and struggled to breathe any time he tried to rest. While the book offered some tips on the best way to lay, Eren could never seem to find that sweet spot. Levi would always shower him with affection and cover them in the most comforting scent, it was good enough to help him doze a bit.
He’d already dealt with a short week or two of morning sickness, which he was happy to be done with. Everything else in his body hurt, though, and even magic couldn’t aid with the pain for long periods of time.
Eventually, his breasts would start to fill out though he hadn’t noticed that yet. He’d have to keep it in the back of his mind as he got closer and closer to the unknown due date.
“Eren,” Levi popped into the den with a weird smile on his face. He stunk of foreign Alphas and Betas, ones that Eren found familiar but couldn’t exactly place. After his little bonding session with Hange and Isabel, he’d met a lot more wolves in the pack but still hadn’t gotten close enough to them to memorize their specific scents.
“Where’ve you been?” Eren asked, keeping his eyes pinned on the pages and trying to remain calm. Still, his scent didn’t leave his true emotions much of a secret and Levi was wise to step lightly.
“A surprise, actually.”
“Oh, really?” Eren tossed the book aside, it landed on its spine and clattered pathetically. “A surprise, hm? Has it been a surprise all week? All last week too?”
“It has, actually,” Levi kept his tone calm and started overpowering Eren’s scent with his own, calming tones. “This… is a really special thing and I wanted your first time to be a surprise.”
Eren squinted at his mate, unsure of what he was even talking about.
Levi scrubbed at the back of his neck and bit his lip, “I’m not actually allowed to see you right now at this moment, but I couldn’t resist. I knew you’ve been putting up with me leaving and I wanted to thank you for it. I really hope you enjoy tonight.” With that, Levi left without giving Eren the chance to fight back.
Eren heard a little argument outside as Isabel’s voice scolded the Alpha, “You’re supposed to be getting ready in the main den! Get your butt down there before I kick it there myself! And did you see Eren today? You know that’s against the tradition!”
“I know, I couldn’t help myself,” Levi sighed and took his leave, his footfalls getting quieter with each step down the rocky path.
She called him some kind of insulting name and let herself into their den. Eren automatically growled at her but shut his mouth when her familiar, friendly scent wafted toward him. “What’s going on?” he asked helplessly. It was really all getting to be too much.
“Something really amazing,” Isabel beamed. “But we’ve got to get you ready first. I brought things for us…” She let a netted bag she had been carrying fall to the floor and a plethora of colorful items came spilling out.
“Get me ready?” Eren asked, eyeing the things Isabel brought with her. They looked like some kind of outfit or costume.
She didn’t answer and instead started throwing some colorful garments his way. “Put those on, let me know if you need help!” she instructed while throwing on her own outfit.
Eren drew on a pair of loose, flowy pants made from a strange fabric he’d never seen before but he likened it to silk. The pants were dark green and soft against his legs. Once he got them on he noticed a floral pattern stitched into them with a shining gold thread. Isabel’s were exactly the same but were red and gold instead. The tunic she gave him matched the pants and left his swollen stomach exposed.
Once they were dressed, Isabel brought out a dusty jar of gold paint and got to work on Eren’s stomach. She used her index finger to draw a beautiful pattern across Eren’s exposed skin, swirling and forming parallel lines to create a hypnotizing display. Once his stomach was done and drying, she moved to his face where she dotted the paint across his cheeks and up his nose.
“Okay, don’t touch that until it dries,” she gleamed at her own artwork and handed the jar to Eren. “Will you do mine?”
Eren had some experience with artwork as he kept logs and drawing of all the different little creatures he’d met in the forest. He’d often find himself drawing patterns along the corners of his parchment and trusted himself enough to reciprocate the gesture, even though he still had no idea what was going on.
He carefully etched out a pattern resembling the star maps he used to obsess over. He formed dotted constellations and connected them to form some of the most important ones to the wolves: Lupus, the Greater Dog, Sirius, Procyon and the Sisters. He had to adjust their positions to appear over Isabel’s stomach but got the job done. As he moved to her face, he continued his night-sky inspired pattern and finished it off with two defined stars and one on her forehead.
She looked down and gasped at her stomach, “Amazing! Everyone’s going to be so jealous!”
“Everyone?” Eren pried for more answers.
“Shh, okay, now for the decorations…” She put a necklace made of bloody teeth around her neck and tied her hair into two parts on either side of her shoulder, braiding in a string of bells that tinkled whenever she moved her head. After strapping on some anklets made of those same bells and some torn fabric, she moved on to Eren.
“These must have taken forever to find,” she talked to herself as she threaded in some golden feathers into Eren’s hair. It wasn’t too difficult for her as it had been getting longer and longer with each month, nearly passing his shoulders. He simply didn’t want to bother cutting it and he tied it up most of the time anyway. Once she got the feathers in, she looped his hair into a bun at the top of his head, the feathers probably sticking out from the top and looping around his head like a crown.
Next, she fixed on a necklace that (to Eren’s delight) did not have bloody teeth on it but rather sparkling stones from the river and little carvings of little wolf pups that resembled the tiny figures Armin used to make.
She looped the same anklets with the bells around his ankles and hummed happily, “It’ll be so exciting as your first time seeing this ever. I always watched as a little girl and dreamed I’d be able to participate and now… I finally can! We’re going to have so much fun!”
“What are you talking about?” Eren cocked his head to the side and laughed. He really just wanted someone to clue him in at that point.
“You’ll just have to come with me and find out!” she squealed, making her way out of the den in a rush. The bells on her ankles jingled happily as she nearly hopped down the rocky trail. Eren followed at a slightly slower pace, weary of what was going on.
When he approached the main pasture in front of all the dens, he realized they weren’t the only ones preparing for something big. All the pregnant wolves were sitting around in a huge circle around a burning bonfire dressed similarly with unique accessories to decorate themselves further. Isabel took his hand and yanked him to their seats, sitting in between an Omega he remembered as Thomas and Hange.
The vibration of excitement and enthusiastic scents had Eren’s heart pumping with pure joy and curiosity. There was not a single sour scent within the circle, only glorious delight. A group of Betas came out of nowhere carrying some drums made out of warped wood and stretched campus. A few others held gourds covered in a net of beads that shook pleasantly when they moved.
And suddenly, they all started playing in unison. A deep, low tone of drum would sound and a higher-pitched tone would respond. The shakers started singing out a beat and the drums kept echoing off one another until suddenly it was all silent.
A line of Alphas stepped out of the main den in their human forms and they all howled as loudly as they could before the music started back up again and they circled around the bonfire, in front of their pregnant mates, and stepped to the beat of the drums.
Eren’s eyes searched wildly until he could see Levi and Farlan in the line, making their way around the circle until stopping in front of their mates.
Levi was dressed in the same pants as Eren with the bells wrapped around his ankles and wrists. The gold paint shimmered off his naked torso, his pattern resembled a blazing fire. The golden feathers were also laced into his hair and he wore the same necklace as Eren too.
As transfixed as he was on Levi, he glanced over to see that Farlan was dressed complementary to Isabel as well, though his gold paint took on a simpler geometric pattern. “Levi must have drawn on Farlan’s… he’s not much of an artist,” Isabel muttered to Eren with humor, keeping her eyes on her mate.
Hange stood up and started announcing, “May the Moon Goddess enjoy our sires’ dance tonight and bless their pups with health and happiness!”
Erwin stood from the other side of the circle and continued, “We honor our bearers and gift unto them this sacred ritual!”
With that, the dance began and the music started to pick up. The inner circle of fathers-to-be rounded the circle with stomping, masculine movements that fit the aggressive rhythm. They simultaneously reached into their pockets and whipped out colorful fans, spreading them to show off the array of colors. The fans stretched up to the sky and flowed around their bodies as they made one round around the circle before meeting up to their mates again and following the sequence of footwork and fan-work.
Levi’s eyes were glowing and the smile on his face unlike any other. All of a sudden, his absences were explained and oh-so worth it. Eren was sure his eyes were sparkling as he looked up to his mate moving so beautifully and powerfully against the light of the fire.
Somewhere between the music, Levi’s gaze, and the scents around him he started to remember Sasha’s words.
Madness and insanity will only effect you when there is doubt in your soul.
Erwin threw something into the fire and it started glowing green. The rhythm started to pick up in tempo as did the inner circle’s movements.
Every fear, uncertainty, or darkness in your soul will creep up on you like a beast and swallow you whole.
The drums started echoing off each other again, answering each other’s calls. The fire started to rise higher and higher, drenching the pack in its heat.
Every thought of being less of a person because you’re a half-way eats away at the goodness in your heart. Every moment you feel insufficient will drain you of your energy. Every time you felt sorrow because of your own blood, you lose sight of who you really are.
“Bless our pups, Moon Goddess!” Hange screamed up to the starry sky. “We offer you our hopes, our dreams, and our love!” The beat picked up faster and faster. The inner circle started rounding the fire again in a series of cartwheels and flips. Levi did a back spring the moment he got back into Eren’s sights. And finally, they were face to face once more and shared a look that Eren wished would have lasted forever.
Because who you really are, is someone who is loved.
The music started to slow tone, bit by bit. Movement seamlessly blended from something powerful and strong to something softer. Their fans flowed together in a line, fluttering and matching time with the bells around their ankles.
You are a wolf as well as a wizard. You are a friend as well as a mate. You are someone who has been broken, as well as someone who has risen from the ashes.
As the slow cadence carried out, the look in Levi’s eyes alluded to something more. And suddenly, it picked up again into a raging allegro fortissimo. Hands and sticks pounded on the drums. Beads shook wildly. Bells chimed with the quick movements. They threw their fans into the fire, causing it to spark and sizzle. With one final yell, they all took on their wolf forms and let out another bursting howl to the moon.
When I see how he looks at you, Eren. I know you’re more than just a half-way. Because to him, you’re everything.
The music ended with one final, booming note and everything froze in place. Levi was heaving for breath and his shining eyes were pinning Eren in his place. Everyone was speechless until Isabel started stomping her feet to the ground, tinkling the bells at her ankles. With that, the entire outer circle started stomping their feet to the ground in a form of applause accompanied by the bells. Eren joined in as well with the dopiest grin on his face.
“Well done, well done!” Isabel cheered.
“The best one yet!” Hange agreed.
Comments came bursting from everyone and the wolves broke out of their pattern to get closer to their mates. Levi bumped his head into Eren’s neck, nuzzling into him and making happy, growly noises all the while. He licked at Eren’s belly and yipped with joy with his tail wagging furiously behind him.
Farlan was doing the same with Isabel, almost tackling her to the ground with enthusiasm.
Levi whined when Eren’s attention wasn’t solely focused on him and Eren turned to scratch at Levi’s fluffy ears. “That was amazing,” Eren gushed, his stomach was fluttering too. And then he realized it wasn’t just butterfly flutters. “Oh my god, Levi,” Eren stared down at his stomach. “Levi, they’re moving.”
In a flash, Levi was back in his usual person form and had his hands splayed out on Eren’s stomach. With both of their hands on his stomach, the movements got even more frequent and prominent.
“They’re dancing, like you,” Eren laughed with tears in his eyes.
Levi kept his hands on Eren’s stomach and leaned in to kiss him deeply. A wave of Levi’s scents hit him hard, the muddled emotions equating up to the feeling of pure euphoria accompanied the scent of salty sweat. “I love you,” he whispered as he ended the kiss, only to nuzzle his face into Eren’s scent mark. “You liked the surprise, right?”
Eren was nodding furiously, kissing his mate once more before continuing his long list of comments that had built up since the beginning of the ritual. “We look the same! Well, looked, before you ripped apart your whole outfit.”
“It’s tradition to pick out items that suit your mate, so I chose the feathers and got a little help making this,” he thumbed at the necklace around Eren’s neck.
“Mikasa and Armin?” Eren asked, looking down at the stones and little wolf carvings.
“Yeah, they were happy to help,” Levi confirmed.
Eren was blushing. Not only did Levi search for beautiful things, but he also created something worth more than just a pretty sparkle. Eren held onto the necklace dearly and tried to hold back his tears. “I love you,” was the only thing he could say. There were so many more things he wanted to, but in that moment he was so overwhelmed that the words no longer came forth.
He looked into Levi’s eyes and started to realize what Sasha said to him.
Because to him, you’re everything, her voice rang in his head.
Well, Eren was in luck. Because to Eren, Levi was everything too.
Hello everybody, I hope you enjoyed the chapter! I recently went to a West African Drum performance featuring Bamaya and was deeply inspired to incorporate the musical energy into Earthshine! (Also went to a Taiko performance as well, but it didn't seem quite as fitting for this one!) Thank you all so much for reading and your continued support <3
Here’s a link to my personal blog as well!: snakemittens
“So, you’re having to actually like yourself for once? Your whole self? Not just the magical wizard bits? The canine parts too? Otherwise you’ll tear yourself apart in an unavoidable madness?” Armin leaned back on his worn sofa with a grin. “Seems logical, in my opinion. I never did like how you couldn’t see the advantages of being a half-way. You always made me a bit jealous.”
“Jealous?” Eren snorted and shook his head. Armin didn’t see how the wolf inside him had plagued his childhood and ruined everything he’d ever held dear to him before meeting Levi. He couldn’t see the fear engrained into him by the horrors he’d commit without any control over his own body. There was no way Eren could forgive that part of himself, the one that hurt his own mother and caused his father to…
Armin cut off his thoughts and drew his attention back into the light, “I’m sure Levi’s been helping you see the better side of werewolves.” He smiled down at the huge, black wolf laying at Eren’s feet. Levi didn’t like to leave Eren alone much anymore. After the dancing ritual, he vowed to never leave Eren’s side again and stuck to that promise. Levi let out a high-pitched hum at Armin’s comment, obviously in hopeful agreement.
“He has,” Eren confirmed, giving his mate a few scratches behind the ears causing Levi’s tail to lazily thump against the wood flooring. “It’s not as easy as flipping a switch, though. It’s still…” He thought back to when he was stuck in that form with no way of changing back and how terrifying it was. “It’s not like my inner werewolf has treated me very nicely…”
“You did seem to be having fun running around with Levi like a couple of puppies off the leash,” Armin teased. “Mikasa told me how happy you were.”
“That’s… different,” Eren tried to piece out his feelings toward it all. Then, he felt safe because Levi was there with him. He felt like he could give Levi what he deserved, an actual mate who could shift forms and meet him halfway. He felt as if he were finally in control of himself, only to realize later that he wasn’t.
“And if you weren’t half-werewolf, you wouldn’t be able to have children,” Armin gave Eren’s stomach a meaningful gaze, as if finally proving his point. It wasn’t as if Eren could argue with that one. “So how could you hate that part of yourself still?”
“I don’t hate it…” he groaned. “Without it, I wouldn’t have Levi or the pups or any of the friends I’ve made… It’s just not easy to get over it all, y’know?”
Armin offered a smile of encouragement and laughed a little, “I know. You’ve already made so much progress.”
“You think so?” Eren bit his lip with doubt. Over the past few days, he felt completely normal besides the typical pregnancy syndromes. His mind felt stable and he didn’t dream at all. For once, things felt like they were going right for a change now that he wasn’t living in denial of half of his heritage. “I don’t feel that different.”
“I think you’ll realize it sometime, it’ll hit you like an apple to the head,” Armin grabbed the kettle to fill Eren’s mug back up with tea. He’d gone out of his way to make a blend that was supposedly healthy for pregnancy. It had been too long since they’d been able to just sit down and chat without any impending doom or dire problems to solve. “When do think it’ll happen?” Armin gestured towards Eren’s belly.
“Right now, I’m overdue for a werewolf and not quite ready for a wizard,” he shrugged. “Levi knows there’s an Alpha wolf in there, but if there’s someone else… maybe they’re just not quite ready yet. He’s getting antsy. Doesn’t like it when we go too far away from our den. Today was quite the compromise.”
Levi huffed and sat up, giving Eren a stern look. Eren just chuckled at him and poked him on the muzzle, “I know you’re just trying to keep us safe.” He looked back up at Armin and genuinely smiled, “It was good to finally see you again. I was starting to miss you.”
“I was starting to think it was getting a little too peaceful around here. Normally you’re up to your knees in trouble. I guess you’ve finally found someone who can help manage it all,” Armin winked to Levi. “But I imagine you’ve got tons of trouble on your way sooner or later… We’ll have to create a smoke signal for you to use when you need me to come babysit.”
A knock at the door had all of them perking up and looking toward the entrance. Levi growled a little but Eren stopped paying much attention to it—Levi growled at everything, really. The trio stepped outside to greet the visitor, finding it to be the unlikely pair of Jean and Marco. Outside the water, Marco took on the form of a full-fledged horse that stared them down with dark eyes. Jean was blushing like mad but cocked his head to see that they weren’t Armin’s sole visitors.
“What can I do for you two?” Armin greeted them with a friendly wave. “I don’t think I’ve seen either of you since Jean got tree sap stuck in his hair and Marco couldn’t get that fishy smell off of him.”
Marco snorted and Jean blushed a little bit more, dwelling on the previous blunders. “I’m not sure how to put this. Know anything about half-ways? Say… a half-centaur, half-kelpie?”
“No way,” Eren burst looking between at the equestrian couple. Levi sniffed around the two and barked in confirmation.
“Don’t look at us like that, dog-breath,” Jean glared at them both. “It’s no worse than you two getting it on.”
“I just never thought you’d be able to charm someone as dashing as Marco,” Eren cheekily returned with a shrug. “It’s almost like you had a love spell put on him or something.”
“I knew that wasn’t a proper spell,” Jean threw his arms up in frustration.
“You didn’t need a spell,” Eren rolled his eyes. “Just a little more confidence and a little less of your usual annoying self.”
“I need to get more books on half-ways. At this rate, the whole forest will be full of them,” Armin sighed. “I’ll get everything I’ve got on centaurs and kelpies. Since I can’t fit two horses in my cottage, you two can stay out here.”
“A half-centaur and half-kelpie…” Eren thought aloud. He realized that he really wasn’t alone in the forest, he wasn’t the only impure creature. Perhaps ‘impure’ wasn’t the right word at all anymore. The smile on his face was undeniable. It seemed the entire forest was coming together in a number of ways, both in fight and friendships. Just the thought of living in such a place with his pups, that they wouldn’t be so alone, was a comfort he’d been waiting for.
With some lighthearted laughter and a few hugs, Eren and Levi were hobbling their way back down that forest path. Eren took deep breaths of the forest air and enjoyed walking around as it was getting too uncomfortable to sit around all day. Something told him that his body needed to move around so he figured a trip to visit his friends would be a good way to fulfill that need.
It was also nice to walk with Levi like they used to, wizard and wolf side by side. He missed Levi’s ability to converse back with him, but it was a bit nostalgic to chat this way too. Besides, Levi’s wolf form was both adorable and beautifully captivating all at the same time. Eren couldn’t stop staring sometimes. His inky, black fur was course and thick under Eren’s fingers as he naturally rested his hand between his mate’s shoulder blades.
Levi was banned from changing forms again as he’d already shifted his maximum allotted times deemed by Eren. There was no way he’d chance Levi passing out again when their pups could be on the way at any moment.
“I guess I better start compromising between both werewolf and wizard traditions, hm? We’ve done the werewolf ritual, but I don’t think wizards have anything like that. Sometimes their magic gets a bit out of control, but so far mine hasn’t betrayed me. What if our pups don’t have any magic at all?” his smile fell at the words, realizing that he might not pass on his magical gifts. “What… What if they don’t get to use magic? What if they’re pure-blooded wolves, just like you? I mean, I know I love them no matter what, but…” he started rambling with anxiety and the stress weighed down on his lower back as it had over the past few days. “Ouch, ouch, ouch,” he put one hand on his stomach and the other on his tailbone, rubbing the two with care. “Let’s just get home quickly. I think I need to lie down.”
The walk was almost excruciating and he could barely keep up, even with Levi’s slow pace. Levi was whining the whole time with concern, nosing at Eren’s calves to move him along and pushing any stray branches or rocks in their way off the path so Eren didn’t have to climb over them. With one last yelp of worry, Levi changed is forms. The moment he got his voice back he shouted, “Fuck it. Come on. Let me carry you.”
“Levi!” Eren yelled back in an attempt to scold but it came out more as a pained cry.
With one fell swoop, Levi captured Eren in his arms and started carrying him at a fast pace toward their den. Luckily, they didn’t have much longer to go and Levi was able to get Eren safely back into their nest. The moment Eren knew he was back home, his eyes drooped shut and he tried to ignore the pain the best he could.
* * *
Levi set his mate in the furs and swept the stray hairs out of his face to try to get a good read on his expression. Now that they were safe, Levi could finally catch the small details like the way Eren was running a fever and how his usual scent was alarmingly different.
Normally, Eren’s scent was fresh and vibrant like springtime. Now it was different. Eren smelled of another Alpha and something else quite new. It was a floral mess of springtime and summer, clashing and battling and mixing with signs of distress and pain. The confusing signals had Levi growing and crooning and never taking his hands off his mate.
“Get Hange,” Eren finally hissed out. “Now, Levi.”
The fierce tone was enough to make even the most dominant Alpha shrink down and tuck their tail between their legs. Levi couldn’t argue whatsoever and didn’t even bother with clothes as he scampered out of their den and let out some feral barks from his human mouth, too panicked and rushed to form real words.
He high-tailed it into the main set of dens where unmated wolves and the elders and the pups usually dwelled. Just as he’d guessed, Hange and Erwin were there too. Hange must have been able to read Levi’s expression. They leapt up from their seat and followed him, sprinting up and around the hillside until they could burst into the den once again to find Eren huffing and puffing in pain.
The ornaments they’d hung up from the ceiling were glowing and whirring. A strange warmth crept through the room and created a foggy haze. Levi glanced around the room when he heard a very faint chiming of bells and couldn’t place their location. Everything was eerily telling that something amazing was about to happen.
“L-Levi,” Eren choked out, causing his mate to spring into action. Levi knelt behind Eren and pulled him up a little to rest his head in Levi’s lap. Hange knelt between Eren’s legs, carefully tearing off Eren’s clothes and assessing his lower half with great interest. “Hurts so bad…” Eren hissed, staring up at his mate with desperation, as if Levi could snap his fingers and make it all go away.
“I know, I know,” Levi helped Eren out of his clothes the rest of the way and used his torn shirt to wipe away the sweat coating his mate’s brow. “Hange’s going to fix it. We’re going to be okay.”
“It’s time,” Hange announced to both of them, “It’s time to meet your pups.”
The pair’s eyes nearly popped out of their heads as they both stared at them with disbelief. Their long wait had finally come to an end and the thick scents of fear and joy nearly choked them all. Those strange, new scents were taking their own dominance as well and everything became almost too overwhelming. As an unmated Alpha, Levi had never been able to help with deliveries before and he had no idea what to expect. With their special situation, the outcome was unpredictable as well. He wasn’t sure if he was giving Eren fake promises that everything would be fine, he didn’t know what would happen in the next few moments. Obviously, they were both scared and unsure, but those new scents had his heart pumping with pure excitement. He made an effort to manipulate his own scent and croon for his mate, pulling their faces close and whispering any little comfort he could for Eren.
“We’re going to meet them, finally. We’re going to see their faces. We’re going to be able to hold them,” he murmured softly, “They’re going to be beautiful, just like you. They’re going to cry and sound so beautiful. They’re going to be our pups, Eren.”
Eren was sobbing by then. “I don’t know if I can… It hurts so bad…”
Levi reached over to take Eren’s hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze, “Just hold tight and do your best. You can do anything, Eren. You saved Farlan. You made friends with even the vilest of creatures. You healed a bear and comforted a human. You flattered fairies and brought down your own enemies. You battled with the demons inside your own head. You brought my mother back to me. You stole my heart without even realizing it. Eren, if anyone can do this, it’s you.”
Their den was practically vibrating with energy and magic. Trinkets on shelves were dancing and thumping against the wood, crashing onto the floor. Books fell from their stacks and pages started flying back and forth. The water from the spring bubbled and the floor beneath them started to rumble.
“What magic is this?” Hange whispered in wonder, surveying their surroundings and unconsciously grabbing onto the furs of the nest for some kind of stability. It felt like a miniature earthquake and they all fought to stay still.
Eren let out another pained cry and Levi kept talking, unsure of what else to do, “You’re amazing, Eren. You’re doing so well. I’ll be here the whole time. Hange’s going to tell you what to do. Just remember to breathe, in and out… in and out…” Levi pet Eren’s hair and kept wiping away the sweat from his face. A rumbling croon continued to roll out from the back of his throat in efforts to bring some sort of comfort. His own dominant scent was drowning out the tinges of fear and doubt, overpowering it all with love and support.
Eren tried to breathe along with Levi’s instructions, taking in quick breaths mixed in with whimpers and cries. He kept a death grip on Levi’s hand and his other hand balled up the furs beneath them. The room around them kept on reacting to the waves of magic bleeding out from his skin and he let out a furious, inhuman howl as another pang of pain washed through his body.
“Okay, Eren, you’re going to have to push,” Hange instructed firmly. Their voice barely rang through their heads but Eren must have heard because he started to slowly nod in acknowledgement. “Come on, you’ve got this,” they encouraged. “Levi’s right. If there is anyone in this entire forest who can do this, it’s you.”
Eren let out an earsplitting scream as he started to push, unable to hold it in any longer. He possibly broke Levi’s hand and left him with a high-pitched ringing in his ear, but none of that mattered.
“Again, come on, you’ve got this,” Hange encouraged.
After another deep breath, Eren squeezed his eyes shut, clenched his teeth and pushed again. Levi kept petting his hair and watching Hange with a desperate expression. They were concentrated solely on Eren and their hands were covered in his blood. The potent scent surrounded them all and Levi found himself growling and crooning and struggling between following his feral directives and putting Eren’s needs first.
And suddenly, with one shrieking cry, everything stopped.
Everything was still and silent except for the tears falling from Levi and Eren’s faces. The second seemed to stretch out and last forever until a shrill, screaming cry broke them out of it and they realized their firstborn child was sobbing in Hange’s arms. Eren reached out and whimpered until Hange handed over their tiny pup so Eren could cradle it in his arms.
“It’s a girl,” Hange announced softly, “But we can’t stop now, Eren. You’ve got another.”
“A-Already?” he sniffled. “I just… I just got to meet her…”
“Here, let me,” Levi whispered, taking their little girl from Eren’s arms. “I’ll keep her safe, I promise.” It was a promise he meant to keep for the rest of their lives.
The words seemed to help Eren relax enough to relinquish his hold on her and resume pushing. He held back his screams of pain this time, as if he were too afraid to scare his newly birthed daughter and cause her to cry too. Levi kept up his comforting scent and his deep crooning, letting the quiet tears roll down his face as he looked down on his firstborn child. The thick scent of a young Alpha surrounded her and he realized that she was the troublemaker shifting Eren’s form.
Eren couldn’t hold it in any longer and let out another pained yelp.
“Just a little harder,” Hange encouraged, “You’re so close, Eren!”
Eren’s voice rose in pitch until it was just a tiny squeak, pushing with all the rest of his strength until his body fell limp against Levi. Another shrieking cry broke through the silence and Hange held their second-born up for the two of them to see. Eren reached out and exclaimed in a breathy sigh, “It’s a boy. It’s a boy.”
Hange did their best to clean Eren up as quickly as possible to escape the den and leave the duo alone with their new children. As much as Levi knew Hange would want to stay and gush over their newly born children, it was an act of courtesy and a way for his budding need for them to leave to subside. An Alpha’s instinct to keep any foreign visitors out of the den after a birthing went unmatched and Levi realized just how powerful the instinct was. If he didn’t respect Hange so much, he would have torn their head off for being too close to his children and hurting mate. The entire time Hange was helping Eren with the after-stages of birth, Levi had his attention pinned on his daughter rather than falling into the growing urge to fight off the pack leader.
She really was tiny and squirmy too. Her tiny hands were reaching out for something, anything to grasp on to and finally found her father’s finger to clench on to.
His attention was finally torn away when he realized Hange had finally left them alone together. He looked down into Eren’s arms to see their newborn son clenching his eyes shut and squeaking with irritation. Eren was making the softest sounds to calm him down, between the soft hushes and Levi’s reverberating croon the two children were coaxed into quietness.
Levi leaned in to kiss Eren’s cheek and nuzzle his nose into his hair, “Eren…” He didn’t have the words to describe the moment or even to let Eren know what was flowing through his heart. “I love you,” was all he could say.
“I love you too,” Eren sniffled back, still trying to catch his breath and fully recover. “I love us.”
“I love us,” Levi agreed, looking between their two new children and his mate. He never didn’t even imagine having a mate to love and protect. Now, he had everything he never dreamed of having and would do anything to make sure none of it would fade away.
There was still so much to do. They’d need to clean off their children and Levi hoped Eren would let him groom them all properly as per werewolf tradition. He’d make sure Eren got his proper rest and keep their pups safe while making sure they got some rest too. They were bound to be hungry and Eren would need to be awake enough to feed them. They’d need to give them fitting names and wrap them up tightly to keep them warm. It was all overwhelming and glorious and new, Levi loved every second of it.
But until then, he’d let a few slow minutes pass by while they basked in the euphoria.
* * *
Eren watched as the snow fluttered down from the sky and coated the forest floor with a blanket of shimmering white. It seemed time was passing in the blink of an eye and he wished it would slow down for a little bit. His children were already a few months old and as lively as ever.
“Nana, stay inside,” Levi chided, sweeping her crawling form off the floor before she could reach the entrance. She’d started crawling and wouldn’t stop attempting to scamper right out the door. Unlike typical werewolf pups, Nanaba didn’t change forms during her first full moon and they wondered if she’d gotten a little bit of a witch in her. While she hadn’t shown any signs of possessing magic, she did enjoy the little shows Eren put on for the kids when it was time for bed.
Miche, on the other hand, was already starting to lose control of his own magic and had started a number of house fires completely on accident. Eren could put them out in a flash and found it hilarious while it startled Levi every time and got his fur standing up on end. But while Miche promised strength in his magic, he showed no signs of his inner werewolf. They both caught him mimicking his father’s howl to the Moon Goddess, though, which got them both laughing.
They didn’t leave the den much anymore. Levi would go out to hunt and Eren would keep their pups occupied while he was away. With the colder weather upon them, they spent most of their time huddled up together in the warmth of their den and caring for their pups. Eren could only wonder what their friends were up to during the snowy weather. He imagined Armin would hole up in his library and the centaurs would race through the mounds of snow. The mermaids and kelpies would swim toward the southern, warmer waters. He assumed Sasha would be spending her torpor in Connie’s residence as the two of them had gotten much closer. She said he needed the protection and the friendship, which Eren fully agreed with.
The rest of the wolves were in their dens as well, caring for their pups and staying warm. Isabel and Farlan had four pups, one to make up for every year they’d been trying according to Isabel. Eren could hardly believe it, taking care of four while he was overwhelmed with just his two.
“Hey,” Levi joined Eren in their nest with Nana in his arms. “If I have to go on one more Nana-chase today, I’m going to barricade the entrance shut with a big ass tree or something.”
“She just wants to explore,” Eren giggled, tickling her cheek and watching her hide her face into Levi’s chest while giggling too.
“You’ve got the easy one, Miche is half-asleep already,” Levi pouted, looking down at their drowsy son. “When do we trade again?”
“I thought the big, bad wolf could handle anything,” Eren winked, “Even his feisty little daughter.”
“She’s sneakier than she looks,” he set her down on the furs and swaddled her up in a makeshift cocoon to keep her from wandering off again.
“Plus, Miche isn’t exactly the easy one. He seems to have taken a liking to spontaneous combustion. We better not introduce him to Connie anytime soon.”
Levi growled at the mere thought of his children leaving the nest and their den and Eren just poked him on the cheek to make him stop. He found Levi’s instincts adorable in their own way and he admired how seriously Levi had taken to ‘protecting’ his children.
Eren pet at Nana’s light hair and hummed, “Their hair is so bright. It doesn’t look like either of us. Kissed by the sun, maybe? Blessing from the Moon Goddess, perhaps?”
“I think you have so much light in your heart, it made their hair brighter,” Levi mused with a little smile, petting Miche’s little head respectively.
“Earthshine?” Eren giggled, remembering their heart-to-heart involving the phenomenon.
“Definitely. They’re going to shed a lot of light, even on our darkest crescents and on our darkest days,” Levi leaned down to kiss Miche’s forehead and get his nose grabbed onto by Nanaba who was making a playful, growling sound. “She’s going to be a strong Alpha, I know it.”
“I thought you couldn’t tell until they presented,” Eren wondered, sniffing at his daughter. Her scent did remind him of Levi’s, almost a complete match.
“She’s strong, I can just tell,” Levi smiled warmly. “As for this one…” he picked up Miche and cradled him gently. “You’re going to have to teach him how to control his magic.”
“I think I can manage that,” Eren broadly smiled back, excited to pass on the knowledge of magic that his mother passed on to him. He was even happier that his children had a father that would teach them and love them as well. Eren would do anything to give his two pups everything that he never had, and the things Levi didn’t have as well. They’d have a family, a real one, that would last a lifetime.
* * *
“Papa!” Nanaba pointed to the setting sun, “It’s happening! It’s happening tonight!” She grabbed hold of Levi’s hand and yanked him down the forest path. They found out soon enough that their pups changed forms on a full moon, just like Eren. It was almost ironic; their pups were bounding with excitement at the chance to change while Eren used to suppress the urge. It was painful for them, just like many young pups, but Eren and Levi were sure to make up for it.
They chose to go to a safe clearing on a hillside they’d found while searching for a good picnic location. It was a long hike upwards but the view was worth it. The hilltop looked over the forest and left them with a full, unhindered sight of the sky. It quickly became a rather sentimental place for the family to gather, especially during full moons.
“Faster, faster!” Miche mushed Eren as he was carried on his shoulders. He was shooting off sparks from his fingertips into the air with pure enthusiasm.
It had only been a few years but it went by so quick. Eren and Levi agreed their pups were growing up much too quickly for their liking and took the time to cherish every little moment, even the frustrating ones that involved raging temper tantrums filled with magical fire blasts and sharp fangs.
“When can we change like papa?” Nanaba asked with bright eyes, nearly vibrating with excitement. “I want to change whenever I want!”
“When you’re older,” Levi promised, “When you get a hang of it. It takes time but you’ll be great. Just like your magic, learning takes time.”
They both pouted a little but got distracted easily when they’d reached their special spot under a blossoming cherry tree. Eren snapped is fingers toward the tree and made the white petals glow beautifully against the darkening sky. The pups and Levi all marveled up at the soft lighting and softly falling petals until Eren pointed up at the rising moon.
At the Moon Goddess’s height, her connection to the pups was at its greatest and their bodies accommodated to her will. At the same time, Eren and Levi changed as well to match their pups.
Nanaba was a little bigger than Miche with her white fur, lightly dusted with grey. Her bright, blue eyes contrasted beautifully with her fur and her floppy ears drooped down to show off her innocence.
Miche was a touch smaller, but not much. It was obvious he’d grow up to be as big as Eren. His fur was a light brown, much like Eren’s, with blond accents shimmering through. His fur was thick and course and his ears were just as floppy as his sister’s.
Eren and Levi romped around their children for just a moment, always overwhelmed with the sight of their adorable pups. They didn’t get to see their wolf forms often, so when they did their hearts would both flood with joy. Nanaba and Miche jumped around too, yipping and letting out little howls of playful glee. Both of them ganged up on Levi, tackling him to the ground with their joint strength and biting at his ears and muzzle. Once their father was taken out, they moved on to Eren and toppled him over rather easily. Miche pounced and barked at Eren’s rapidly wagging tail and Nanaba nuzzled her way into his neck and lightly bit at his fur.
Levi let out some low, domineering woofs to catch their attention and direct them to their monthly tradition. The four of them lined up at the top of the hill and on Levi’s cue, they all started racing down together. Nanaba and Miche were howling with excitement and tumbling over one another while Levi and Eren flanked them, keeping a close eye on the fun.
They rolled down the hill and kept on though the familiar pass through the forest. The Moon Goddess lit the way while they romped down the dirt path. They passed by Connie and Sasha’s house where they two were laughing around a bonfire, waving as the family passed by. Following the river, they watched Mikasa splash her way alongside them for as long as she could, using her tail to splash a bit of water over them all. The pups were squealing with joy at that.
As they passed through the forest elf village, they found Armin sitting on his roof drawing pictures of the bats that gathered there. He waved to them and cheered them on as they continued on their way.
Levi directed them toward the centaurs’ usual route so they could race alongside the equestrian beasts. They were all friendly, calling out to the pups about how cute they were as they usually did. Eren barked in agreement and continued on their path.
They approached the series of pools they’d visited when they first met Mikasa and found Jean and Marco. They’d set up camp near the pools to accommodate for Marco’s need for the water as well as their new foals who had become half-ways themselves. Marco sat at the poolside in his human form with one of his youngest foals in his lap, holding up their hands to wave. Their other foals galloped around Jean and chased after the wolf family for a few meters until Jean was frantically calling for them to return home.
Finally, they rounded their way back toward the werewolf dens. Pack Leader Hange and Uncle Erwin joined them in their wolf forms for a while, barking at their heels playfully and spurring on the little ones. Their barks were most likely chiding their parents for letting the pups stay up so late.
They skidded back into the clearing before the dens and fell into a new game of tackling and nipping and yipping with delight. Isabel and Farlan must have heard the nips and brought out their own pups to play. The four of them played gently with Nanaba and Miche, sparring and rolling across the grass like the pups usually did. Isabel and Farlan’s pups always got excited to play with Eren and Levi’s, especially on full moons when they were all in the same form. Even with different shapes, the six of them became quite the close group of pals.
Eren and Levi picked up their pups by the scruffs of their neck to carry them back up to their den. They yipped their goodbyes to their friends and growled at their parents for taking them away, Nanaba yelping quite pathetically to gain sympathy and Miche going with the silent treatment.
There wasn’t much night left in the sky as the dawn slowly colored the darkness with light hues of pink and orange. It meant their pups would inevitably go through the pains of changing once more and catch up on their sleep. Miche was already yawning and curling up on the furs next to Eren. Levi plopped Nanaba next to her brother and curled up with them as well so they could all huddle together comfortably and safely.
Eren’s family slept but for some reason, he couldn’t find sleep. His eyes weren’t droopy and his heart was still pounding with excitement. Every day seemed like a beautiful dream and it was hard to imagine losing everything, only to gain back all the things he never knew he needed.
The sun reminded him of his mother and he hoped she was smiling down on them, proud of the life he’d paved himself. The plague of his father was over and the scars he left behind were healing with each new day. The wounds his brother caused only brought a deeper love for those he held dear. The loneliness, self-hatred, and fear vanished with just one look from Levi and his future was looking brighter than ever with his pups at their side.
Eventually Eren shifted back into his human form so he could pull the furs all around them properly and be ready for the moment his pups forcibly changed as well. The movement caused Levi to spur awake and he hummed at Eren in greeting. It was like the first time they met, man and wolf gazing at one another with lofty dreams and joyful anticipation. “I love you,” Eren whispered so he wouldn’t wake the pups.
Before his eyes, Levi shifted forms. He’d gotten much better at faster transitions with practice and it didn’t even seem to hurt him at all anymore. “I love you too,” he got out in a half-growl, half-whisper as his vocal chords adjusted.
“Thank you,” Eren got out, looking between Levi and their pups. “For everything.”
“Why are you thanking me?” Levi shook his head slightly. “I should be thanking you. I mean… before you… I was alone and… well, half. Now I’m with my other half.”
It was funny to think of them both as half-ways, one in blood and the other in emotion. Eren giggled a little and leaned in to kiss his mate’s cheek, “You’re my other half too.”
“You’re my light,” Levi warmly smiled, kissing Eren’s lips.
“And you’re mine.” He kissed him back, feeling as whole as ever and ready for the world ahead of them. As long as he had Levi, and now their pups too, he knew it’d be nothing less than shining.
Earthshine (Noun): The glow caused by sunlight reflected off the earth, especially on the darker portion of a crescent moon.
Wow, thank you all so much for your support. I am so pleased with how this all went and I am so grateful for each and every one of you. <3 I'm not great at this story-ending sentimental thing so I'll just leave this here and wish you a very happy tomorrow <3
Here’s a link to my personal blog as well!: snakemittens