Day 11- Shivering
The rain was cold, quickly turning to sleet as evening settled in, but that didn’t stop Cas from doing his patrol. He shook the icy rain out of his fur and moved along the western edge, where his territory backed up to Dick Roman’s. He was especially on alert as he sniffed along the ground. After refreshing his markings, so Roman’s pack knew to stay the hell out of his forest, he moved further along the border. When his nose picked up on a new scent, one that identified a wolf not from his own pack or Roman’s, he stopped and sniffed the air. He was trying to see if it was coming from his side of the border or not. Moving further west, the scent grew stronger. Omega, and they were in heat. His ears perked, trying to hear past the soft whooshing sound of the sleet as it continued to fall and finally he heard it, the rapid heartbeat of a terrified wolf.
His ears were met with silence, so he moved closer to the wolf. They were in his territory and with how acrid the Omega’s scent was, he knew the wolf was probably hiding from the Roman pack. Not knowing the pack borders though, they probably didn’t realize they were only just over the border. If he didn’t find this wolf soon and move them, scouts from Dick’s pack would find them and drag them back.
“I won’t hurt you, and I won’t let the Roman pack touch you. Just tell me who you are. If I can help, I will,”
He heard a soft whimper and moved towards it. Tucked into a bramble of wild blackberry bushes was a white and gray wolf. It flinched and wrapped its tail tighter around itself when it caught sight of him. The coppery scent of blood reached his nose, as did the scent of the wolf’s gender. Male. This was a male Omega. Those were incredibly rare.
“Where are you hurt?”
The wolf peeked out at him from bright green eyes. He really was a beautiful creature, and not because he was a male. It was because he was almost completely white, with only touches of gray. He’d never seen another like this one. His own pack was made up primarily of black or dark gray, so seeing this one was like seeing the sun after a rainstorm.
“My leg, my left leg, and my neck. T-they tore me up bad,” He cowered back when Cas nudged his way into the bramble, and whimpered at having to move.
“Are you hiding from the Roman pack?”
“Y-yes, they took me from my pack, they killed my pack!” The wolf whined louder and covered his face with his tail again. “Please don’t hurt me!”
“I’m not from Roman’s pack. You’re in my territory now, but only just barely. If you stay here they will find you, and they will take you back. I can’t fight them all off, I don’t have any of my pack on patrol with me right now. Come with me, we’ll get you cleaned up and I’ll give you sanctuary. We have a safe place for Omegas in heat. No one will touch you, I won’t let them,”
The wolf looked up at him again and when they heard branches cracking, coming from the direction of the Roman territory Cas backed up and the Omega scrambled to get out.
Cas started moving towards the center of his territory, where the rest of his pack was, and the Omega followed close behind.
“This is your pack?”
“It is. What is your name?”
“What pack do you originate from?” Cas asked.
“The Campbell pack. It’s north of Roman’s. It’s my grandfather’s pack, he’s the Alpha. My father came from the Winchester pack which is east of that, and mated my mother. She was supposed to take over the pack, but she died, so my future mate was supposed to, but…but…,”
Cas understood what he was saying, but they had to keep moving. Howls rung up through the air from the Roman territory, so Cas moved behind the Omega and nipped at his good flank.
Dean was running on only three legs but he did his best to move as fast as he could. Cas stayed behind him, covering the Omega’s scent with his own as they moved closer to the center of his territory. They covered the ten miles as quickly as they could and when they reached the clearing, Dean collapsed.
“Who is this?”
Balthazar sniffed around the stranger before his ears snapped forward and his head whipped around to look at Cas.
“A male Omega!”
Cas bared his teeth and growled. Balthazar backed up and dropped to the ground in submission. He knew better than to upset the pack leader.
“You will leave him alone,”
“I understand, he’s yours,” Balthazar tucked his tail between his legs and hurried off. Other wolves were watching but were wise enough to keep their distance. One stepped forward but didn’t come close enough to upset their Alpha further.
“Is he the reason the Roman pack are screaming to find the Omega before we do?” She asked.
Cas busied himself with checking over Dean’s injured leg and investigating his neck. It was hard to see the injuries in this form.
“Yes. Get me warm clothes, and a thick blanket for him,”
She turned and left to do as told. Cas stood over the Omega, looking around at the rest of his pack.
“His pack has been killed by Dick Roman’s, and he was captured. They have hurt him badly, I’m assuming so Dick could mate him. That’s not going to happen. If he wants, he’s going to stay here, become a part of our pack and as long as he follows our pack rules, he can stay. You will respect him and you will not try to take him against his will. I want half of you to go patrol, keep Dick’s pack out of our territory. Balthazar, you lead them. Go now,”
Wolves hurried out into the woods, spreading out as they went. The female wolf had shifted and was dressed in her own warm clothes as she approached. She looked down at Dean who was shivering as the sleet turned to snow and settled in his fur. The temp was rapidly dropping and would be below freezing tonight.
“Omega, you can shift, I have warm clothing and a blanket for you,”
Dean looked up at her and then at Cas. The Alpha gave a quick jerk of his head, telling him he could shift. He did so himself as Dean shifted and leaned down to help the man put on socks and then he threw the blanket over him. As quickly as he could, he dressed himself, then leaned down to lift the Omega up. The initial thought was that he was going to put Dean into the main cave with the other Omegas and Betas, but the way they were all looking at him, he didn’t trust them not to let their instincts take over, so he headed instead towards his own den.
The female followed, opening the wooden door Cas had added to his den after it had been built and then heading inside with him.
“Dean, this is my sister, Hannah, she’s going to help clean you up and then we’ll get you warm. We’re going to assess your injuries and determine whether you need stitches or not, ok?”
Dean looked up at him in misery, his body still racked with tremors from the cold. He was wet, dirty, and in obvious pain. It broke the Alpha’s heart to see him like this.
“Lay him down, I’ll take a look,” Hannah waited for him to lay Dean down on the furs and then she was using a towel to dry the Omega off, and clear away as much of the dirt and snow as she could. Cas hurried to get a fire started and then he was back at Dean’s side with a bowl of water and a washcloth.
“You have water? Running water?” Dean’s voice was hoarse and the Alpha could only speculate as to why.
“No, there’s a river that runs through our territory. We collect water and keep it in the dens for washing up and drinking. Are you thirsty? I filtered the water and boiled it. It unfortunately tastes like fish poop if I don’t, and washing with it isn’t safe unless it’s boiled,” Cas explained as he moved behind the Omega where he was curled on his side and wiped the dirt away from the wounds on his neck. He frowned and motioned for Hannah to look. “Get Alfie in here with the first aid kit, this needs to be disinfected and stitched up. I need to look at the leg next.”
Hannah nodded and got up, leaving to go and get him. Cas pulled back the blanket and began carefully cleaning up Dean’s injured leg.
“Did they catch you? Knot you? Were you meant to be taken by Dick himself?”
“I didn’t let them knot me, therefore I didn’t catch. I’m not pregnant. Yes, Dick wanted me for himself, but I fought him, it’s why he hurt me as bad as he did. I fought back though, clamped down as hard as I could on his muzzle, and I snapped his right foreleg. Then I ran like hell. I could smell your territory, but I was so tired, I couldn’t go on any further. I had to rest. I knew they were chasing after me but I hurt, and I’m exhausted. If you hadn’t come, they’d have taken me, even though I was in your territory, and they’d have dragged me back,”
“Well, you’re welcome for that. I’m Cas, pack leader. You’re in Novak territory now, and Dick knows better than come here. You’re safe,” Cas frowned when he got a good look at Dean’s leg. It was still bleeding and would need quite a few stitches. Dean looked over his shoulder at him and the Alpha noted that his eyes were just as green as they’d been in his wolf form. The Omega was gorgeous. He could see why Dick had coveted him for himself. Dick was greedy, always taking what he wanted, and apparently now killing entire packs to get at a single Omega. He wondered if Dick would attack his pack after all. His pack would tear the Roman pack apart if they tried.
Hannah returned with a young man who was carrying a large box. He joined Cas on the furs, moving behind the Omega so he could see the wounds.
“Can you roll onto your stomach?” He asked.
“Am I safe if I do?” Dean countered.
“You’re safe,” Hannah was an Omega and she sat down on his other side, smiling softly at him. “We’re not like the Roman pack. Cas won’t permit that behavior here,” Dean looked up at her for a moment, searching her face for any sign that she was lying. Not finding it, he slowly rolled onto his stomach with her help. He cried out in pain as Cas lifted the blanket off and Alfie got his first look at the damage to Dean’s leg. He hissed and looked up at Cas in alarm.
“This is bad. I need to flush it, then give him an antibiotic. I can’t stitch up this kind of damage without giving him something for the pain too. I’ll need to knock him completely out or he’s going to be in agony,”
“What? What is this you’re talking about?” Dean turned his head so he could look at them, whining when the wounds on his neck tore a bit more.
“Alfie is my brother, and he’s a nurse. He’s going to clean out your wounds with saline, then give you a shot to make sure you don’t get an infection. Penicillin, then he’ll give you another shot that will put you to sleep so you don’t feel him pull debris out of your wounds before he stitches them closed,” Cas explained.
“Yeah, got all that, my mom was the nurse of our pack and she taught my brother and me both how to field dress wounds. I just couldn’t hear what he was saying clearly. I’m not crazy about being knocked out. Do you have a local anesthetic?”
“I don’t have enough. I’m not making a trip into the city until next week,” Alfie explained. Dean frowned and looked up at Cas.
“Unconscious, I can trust you?”
“Dean, I would never take advantage of you like that. I respect you,”
Dean stared at him for a good minute before his eyes slid over to Alfie. “Ok, let’s do this.”
Alfie got started, first cleaning a spot on Dean’s arm to give him the penicillin, then he got started flushing out the wound on his leg. Dean screamed in pain so he stopped and readied the anesthesia. A few seconds after administering it, Dean was out for the count.
“How bad is it? It looks pretty bad,” Cas frowned as he watched his brother use a large pair of tweezers to pick bits of wood and pine needles out of the bite marks on Dean’s leg. There wasn’t much, and he assumed the Omega must have been trying to lick it clean after he’d escaped. The location of it though, had to have been difficult to reach, but his care of it meant it looked worse than it really was. It didn’t look like infection had set in, which was good. He moved quickly to finish cleaning it out, flushing it a second time before he started suturing it.
“It’s not as bad as it looks. He was keeping it pretty clean, and there’s no sign of infection. I’ll give him another shot of penicillin later, more as a preventative. Once we get him sewn up he needs a safe place to wait out his heat. Anyone trying to take him like this could kill him. He needs protection. Being that he’s a male Omega, he’s in more danger, even from our pack. Those that aren’t out watching for Roman’s pack have been sniffing around outside your den. They’re curious, but they’re drawn in by his heat too,” Alfie finished suturing one bite wound and moved on to the next, making his stitches small and tight so they wouldn’t be as visible once the wounds all healed. They healed quickly, but not so fast that Dean wasn’t at risk of popping stitches or getting an infection.
When he was finished with Dean’s leg and had bandaged it up, he moved on to the Omega’s neck. Those were actually deeper and he had to flush those out more. There wasn’t anything in the wounds though so cleaning them up and stitching them went faster. After bandaging it up he sat back to let Cas pull the blanket back over the Omega, and then one of the furs. It was important to keep him warm and dry. Dean was still sound asleep which was good, he needed as much rest as he could get.
“He’s staying here. I was going to put him up in the main den but I don’t like that the others aren’t obeying my command. I’ll need to discipline them and remind them that my word is law. Hannah, stay with him. Alfie, go on back up to the main den and get ready to stitch up the ones I have to discipline,” Cas ordered as he began stripping down.
“You got it,” Alfie closed his first aid box and got up. He held the door open for Cas as he left, closing it behind them both.
The snow was really starting to come down as Cas stepped outside. Seeing their Alpha, everyone quickly backed up. Cas snarled and snapped at every one of them until they submitted.
“I warned you! Stay away from him! If I catch any of you lingering outside of my den I will kill you! Do you understand?!”
Everyone rolled onto their backs, whimpering as he snapped at each one of them, sending them back up to the main den. He marked the outside of his den and after doing a quick check with the pack members he’d sent to act as guards against anyone that might sneak in from Dick’s, he headed back to his den. He shifted and quickly headed inside. Hannah was sitting back against the wall reading a book when he walked in, but she set it down and looked up expectantly.
“I think I got my point across. Alfie will have some bites to clean up. Quite a few of them, but they brought it on themselves. I know Dean’s exciting and new because he’s an Omega, but they have to respect him, and respect me when I tell them to leave him alone. Once he’s past his heat and he’s well enough to leave my den, he can meet everyone. I only want you bringing food in. I trust you to help keep him safe,” He wiped at the melted snow that glistened on his skin and shivered. It was at least warm in his den so he went and knelt in front of the fireplace.
“What’s his story?” Hannah asked. He turned around to look at Dean but he was still sound asleep. Actually he was snoring since he was face down with his face smooshed into the furs underneath him.
“He was part of the Campbell pack, but Dick’s pack must have found out they had a male Omega, so they attacked and slaughtered Dean’s pack to get him, then dragged him back to their territory. I don’t know how long he was held there, but I think Dick was waiting for him to go into heat so he could get him pregnant. He fought back though and well, you see what they did to him. I think Dick did that to his neck but it was probably another of his pack that messed up his leg trying to stop him from escaping. By now I’m sure they know we have him. If they’re going to try and get him, they’ll do it while he’s still in heat. I have no idea when his started, but it should last about two weeks, so expect sneak attacks, and for them to try and attack at night. That’s his usual time for attacking other packs. I knew years ago that I should have just cut his down. He’s cruel, and now he’s murdering innocent wolves and kidnapping Omegas. He has to be stopped,”
“What are you going to do with him though? Are you planning to take him as your mate?” She looked down at Dean who groaned and wiped clumsily at his mouth. His eyes hadn’t opened yet though.
“I don’t know yet. He is a beautiful wolf, and he’s equally attractive in his human form, but that is not good enough reason to take him as my mate. I was considering Daphne. She’s beautiful and eager, and I get along well with her. My problem is that she’s too submissive. I prefer someone that can be my equal, not just blindly go along with everything I say. An Alpha needs a mate that will keep them in check, one that will prevent them from making rash decisions, will make them think, will calm their temper, but can also be an active part of the pack. They need to be patient, yet strong, and a good mother. I want pups one day; I’ll need to raise up the future pack leader, but I need a mate that will fiercely protect them, even against others in the pack that might covet my leadership and try to challenge me. If they were to win, they’d kill my pups, and I need someone that will kill anyone that threatens our children.
“I’m not sure Daphne is strong enough to do that. Meg has shown interest in being my mate, and she’s very strong willed, but I’m not sure she’d be a good mother, and she tends to encourage me to do things I shouldn’t do. I am not entirely certain there’s anyone in our pack that really interests me. There’s time yet, I’ve only just gained control since father died. Fighting Gadreel and then Bart had been unpleasant, but I know that to be a good pack leader, I need to take a mate and start on making a family. There is pressure and today showed how tenuous a leader’s position is when the rules set down can’t be respected and obeyed. I snapped at half the pack today, including Gadreel and Bart. I’m sure Alfie is still stitching some of them up, but they have to learn that when I order them to do something, they need to obey. I’m still angry about that.
“I know how rare a male Omega is, and how fertile they are supposed to be. That’s why Dick wanted him, he wants to increase his pack numbers as quickly as possible so he can start challenging other packs and increase his pack’s territory. I know he covets ours because we have the river, caves, and good hunting grounds. His pack is only about twelve strong, give or take, so I know he’s desperate to raise his numbers. If he took Dean at every heat after he births a litter, within a couple of years he’d have the start of a virtual army. Dean is safer here, but only as long as the pack obeys me. Mating him would stop them from sniffing around, but like I said, beauty is not enough. As pack leader, I need to choose the right mate,”
Dean groaned louder as he tried to open his eyes. He squinted up at Hannah who was still sitting beside him and she smiled.
“How are you feeling?”
“My neck and leg are killing me,” He tried to roll over but the pain had him dropping back onto his stomach, whining and squeezing his eyes shut again.
“You want to lie on your back?” Cas asked as he got up and walked over to him.
“Yes, my face hurts from lying on my stomach,” Dean replied.
“Ok then, I’m going to help you turn over. We’re going to go slow, so you don’t open any stitches. Try not to move your neck, those wounds were worse than your leg,” Cas very carefully helped Dean roll onto his back, then folded some extra furs to tuck them under the Omega’s knee so the back of his thigh was elevated and not pressed down against the furs beneath him. He tried not to stare at Dean’s body. This Omega was absolutely stunning, and the smell of his heat was making the Alpha dizzy. He wanted Dean, but carnal needs did not trump his need for the right mate.
“Did I hear you saying you’re looking for a mate? You’re not going to take me against my will like Dick tried to do, right? You said you wouldn’t,”
Cas took the blanket and covered Dean with it so he’d stay warm.
“It was just talk. I have several Omegas that are wishing to be my mate. I was talking to my sister, weighing the things I like and dislike about each one. I haven’t chosen one yet because they all lack something important,”
“Don’t you mate for love here? My dad, when he met my mother, he courted her and they fell in love before he asked if she’d be his mate. Her father insisted that my dad join his pack. He didn’t want my mother leaving the Campbell pack. See, my dad was a male Omega too. We’re rare, but if you have one parent that is one, especially if they’re the one that gave birth to you, you have a higher chance of having male Omega pups. My brother Sam is a Beta. He joined the Leahy pack when he met an Omega from there. He wasn’t crazy about our pack and he didn’t want to bring Eileen into it, so he went to her pack instead. I’m glad, because he’s safe.
“Dick’s pack came in during the night, but they did so in their human form, and they brought guns. They knew exactly which den I was in, and they killed everyone, including my grandfather before dragging me out and taking me back to their pack lands. Dick waited for me to go into heat and when it started, he dragged me into his den and tried to force himself on me. I fucked him up, like I already told you. I almost broke his muzzle. If I’d have managed that, he wouldn’t be pack leader anymore; he’d be dead. I wish I’d have bitten down harder. When he tried to claw at me, I grabbed his leg and snapped it. He almost mounted me, but I’m bigger than him, even in my wolf form and I was able to throw him off. My neck is paying the price for that,”
“And your leg? Did he do that to your leg as well?” Hannah asked.
“No. He has these two lackeys that he sent to hunt me down and drag me back. One is this blonde wolf named Lilith. She’s scary, and she caught up to me before Fergus did. She grabbed the back of my leg and dragged me down, but I was able to kick her off and wrap my teeth around her throat. I think I might have killed her? I’m not sure. All I do know is that I hightailed it out of there and into your territory before I collapsed,” Dean laid a hand on his stomach and looked around. “This is way nicer than our dens in my old pack, and definitely better than what there was in the Roman pack. They sleep outside, in half dug dens that leave them exposed to the weather. This here? It’s like a slice of heaven. It’s toasty warm in here, and I like that.”
Cas laid down beside him, propping himself up on one elbow as he looked at him.
“We dig our dens deep into the earth and shore them up with wood we cut ourselves. Then we use the natural clay that’s in the woods near the river and we use that to cover the interior walls. When it hardens, it helps insulate. It stays the same temperature in here all year long, which is nice. If I get cold though, I’ll light a fire. You were practically frozen earlier, so I lit one to warm you up. How do you feel now?”
“Sore, tired, hungry, and then there’s my heat which is making me feel out of sorts for different reasons,” Dean covered his mouth to stifle a yawn while Cas motioned to his sister to go and get food. She got up and left to do that.
“Hannah will bring you food in a bit. You can get as much rest as you need. I’m keeping you in here because it’s safer. I was going to put you up in the main den, but the rest of the pack doesn’t seem to comprehend that when I give an order, they must obey it. I’ve only taken over the pack less than a year ago. My father died and I had to fight my brother and my cousin to take control. It’s my brother that is more of a problem than my cousin. Gadreel understands pack hierarchy and respects it. He lost, therefore he defers to my command, but my brother is less willing to listen. There’s been some conflict and I’m worried I might have to kill him if he tries to challenge me again. He’s one of the ones I’m keeping you safe from. I am still establishing myself, and most of the pack does respect me, but you are fascinating and different than anything they’ve ever seen before, and they’re letting their instincts drive them rather than listening to me. I fixed that though,”
“By sending them to your brother to get patched up?” Dean asked.
“I do what it takes to lead the pack, but to maintain order and protect all of the members too,”
Dean turned his head a bit, wincing at the pain in his neck and looked up at him.
“And the best way to maintain order is to take a mate, start on your offspring so you establish yourself solidly as leader, and so they know your pups will one day take over. I know how the hierarchy goes. I was set to mate my own cousin, so he could take over the pack. We didn’t have a lot of members, so the mating pool was kind of small. I didn’t want to do it, raised a fuss, so my grandfather chose another Beta for me. His name was Benny. My cousin was mad, because he knows that mating me would increase the pack quickly with the future leaders. Benny was ready to challenge him, take over the pack himself, then Dick and his pack showed up.
“I don’t know how he found out about me, but he came with guns blazing, shot my pack dead and took me. In Roman’s pack the Alpha takes more than one mate, and he already had an Omega, but he wanted my pups to increase his pack numbers. I was locked away until I went into heat, then he tried for three days straight to take me against my will. I tore him up every time, that’s why he decided I needed to be disciplined. I twisted out of his grip on my neck, which is why I got torn up like I did, and I clamped down on his muzzle. You know the rest. He has to be in his den in pain from what I did. I don’t submit that easily, and I don’t want people looking at me just for what I can do for them, you included. You think I didn’t hear you “considering” me? Well, I did. Heat or not, I have my wits about me and I’m not letting you or anyone near me. I deserve respect. I barely got that in my grandfather’s pack, but I didn’t get any in Dick’s,”
“You will have respect here, from me and from everyone else. And I wasn’t “considering” you as a potential mate so much as I was considering Daphne and Meg. Hannah suggested you but I told her I don’t know you, therefore I can’t say whether you’d make a good one or not. Plus I don’t know what you want,” Cas dropped onto his back and looked up at the ceiling, waiting to see what Dean would say.
“You would ask me what I want?” Dean asked.
“I will always ask you what you want,”
Dean was quiet, staring up at the ceiling too. “What are you going to do when my heat becomes unbearable? I can’t mate like this. I don’t want to either,”
“I will go stand outside. I don’t trust Roman’s pack not to show up, but if they want to use guns, they’re going to find out that we’re not only outnumbering them, we outgun them too. I need to switch out the sentries now that night is settling in. Snow’s going to make it hard for them to sneak up, since we can see their footprints, but at the same time it will make it easier because their scents will be harder to detect. We need to stay vigilant,” Cas folded his hands over his stomach and crossed his legs at his ankles. He liked Dean, he was feisty. If he chose to stay, he believed he’d fit in with the rest of the pack very nicely.
“I don’t think I could do anything anyway, the pain I’m in sort of trumps any arousal I might feel,”
“That’s understandable. Alfie, he’s mated, so you don’t have to worry about him, he’s going to be checking on you, making sure you’re healing right, that you’re not showing signs of infection, and to make sure you haven’t popped any stitches. Hannah will bring food and water. They’re the two I trust around you, besides myself. We don’t have a whole lot of Omegas in our pack. Hannah’s one of five, but I trust her explicitly. You can too,”
“I’ll decide that on my own, thank you,” Dean snipped. Cas grinned. Yes, he definitely liked Dean, the Omega didn’t submit easily. That was a trait he valued. It was time to seriously consider Dean as a potential mate.
Dean hadn’t been lying. The pain he was in only seemed to grow worse over the next few days, and his heat was left practically forgotten because of it. Alfie didn’t want to administer too many pain meds, and Dean didn’t want to take them anyway. He preferred to just deal with the pain and soon he was starting to feel better. His heat began to ease up and so did the pain. The Roman pack had sent a wolf in to lay a threat down that if they didn’t give Dean back to them, they’d come and take him by force. Cas executed the wolf on sight. It was one less to deal with when, and if Dick decided to come.
The Omega remained in Cas’ den, even after his heat ended, but he ventured out to meet the rest of the pack under Cas, Hannah, or Alfie’s supervision, until the rest of the pack had accepted him. Certain wolves still came sniffing around but they learned real quick that Dean was not to be trifled with, not when he snapped and bit them for testing to see if he’d submit. Cas liked seeing the Omega put Bart in his place, it gave him a sense of pride.
Daphne was less than polite to Dean, but Cas understood why. She saw him as a threat, and the more Cas got to know the Omega, the more he started to think she was right. Meg, however, she took a shine to Dean. Soon they were moving around together, swapping stories as she showed him around and helped him learn the pack rules and the laws that were to be followed. Daphne snapped at Dean whenever he got too close, until he began snapping back. She tried to get Cas to defend her, but he believed in letting them deal with their own squabbles. He had more important things to focus on, like making sure they had enough food, that the borders were patrolled and their territory properly marked, and that no other packs dared venture onto their land, even with the warnings in place.
Despite the early snowfall, autumn passed into winter, and Cas was pleased that Dean decided to stay. He was pulling his own weight, and as the Alpha learned, Dean was adept at fixing just about anything. If something broke, he usually had it fixed the same afternoon, whether it was a broken door, a collapsed wall, a roof on one of the various sheds on the south side of their territory, it didn’t matter, he fixed it. When he learned the pack had cars, and that half of them didn’t work, the Omega set to getting every one of them up and running. By spring they were all drivable, and Cas was growing more impressed with every passing day.
Spring brought the next breeding season, and the need to catch the Alpha’s attention. Dean had moved into the main den over the winter, so Cas’ den was his alone once more, and he spent most of his time alternating between guarding their territory and fending off the advances from Daphne and a couple other Omegas in the pack. Meg, thankfully found a mate in Gadreel, but Daphne was even more desperate for his attention than she had been in the past, and he knew it was because she felt threatened by Dean. He was no longer interested in her though, and he wondered why Dean wasn’t trying to catch his attention like the others. He was lying down at the edge of the clearing, watching the pack when he spotted Dean. The Omega was snapping at Bart yet again for bothering him. When he spotted Cas, he came trotting over and dropped to the ground next to him, resting his head on his paws.
“I’m getting real tired of Bart,”
Cas snorted and looked over at him. Dean smelled amazing, better than any other Omega in the pack and he wanted to bury his nose in his fur. He didn’t though, not without Dean’s explicit permission.
“I’d ask if you thought he might be a good mate, but we both know he wouldn’t be,”
Dean huffed and side eyed him. “He’s conniving. Don’t trust him,”
“No need to worry, I don’t. I sleep with one eye open because of him,”
Dean sighed and picked his head up to look at him.
“You’re the only one not sniffing around because I’m in heat,”
“I told you, I respect you. The same could be said of you though. You’re the only one not trying to get me to breed you. Daphne doesn’t give up,”
“You sure seemed interested in possibly mating her last breeding season,” Dean sounded snippy. It piqued the Alpha’s interest.
“That was then, this is now. I don’t want a wolf that wants to be mine just because I’m the pack leader. She’s too submissive, too willing to let me tell her what to do. I’m sure she’d make a good mother, but I don’t think she’d protect my pups the way I need them protected. I’m looking for my equal, not my submissive. She doesn’t get that,”
“She hates me. She’s told me so,” Dean looked out over the clearing. Daphne was making her way towards them, no doubt to try and entice Cas yet again.
“Does she have a reason to hate you?” Cas could see her coming too and he sighed. She was really starting to grate on his last nerve.
“Depends,” Dean got to his feet and looked down at the Alpha.
“On what?” Cas asked as he stood up too.
“On whether it’s me you want as your mate.”
Cas’ ears perked up as he walked over to him. He circled the Omega, inhaling his scent and growling softly. Dean’s own ears followed the Alpha’s movement, listening to him. He raised his tail, wagging it slightly as Cas sniffed at the slick that seemed to steadily leak out of him during this season.
“Alpha!” Daphne whined as she leaned into Cas, trying to mark him with her scent. Dean finally lost his patience with her, snarling and snapping at her until she tucked tail and backed off.
“I want you as my mate, Dean. Not for how many pups you may or may not give me, but because you are my equal, and I have come to care deeply for you. Come to my den now,” Cas nudged the Omega in the direction of his den, ignoring the whining and how Daphne followed behind them at a distance, careful not to anger Dean more than she already had. Cas shifted when he reached the door and held it open for Dean who shifted as well. He looked the Alpha in the eye for a moment before heading inside. Cas looked at Daphne who was whining as she crawled over to him. She shifted and looked up at him from where she was on her knees.
“Please, Alpha, don’t choose him,” She begged. “I’ve been loyal, and I know I can be a good mate!”
“Daphne, there are certain qualities I look for in a mate, and there are many you have, but there are even more that you don’t. Dean has them all. I choose him, and if you’re not respectful, I’ll take it as an insult to me, and you will be disciplined. Now go up to the main den until your heat is over, you’re making a scene.”
He heard the broken sob she let out just before he entered his den and closed the door. For a moment he leaned back against it, taking a steadying breath. He could see Dean lighting a fire, so he went to light one of the lanterns.
“You’re serious about this?” Dean asked.
“Completely. You’re certain you’re ready to be mated? And to me?”
“I am. This is my twenty third year. My dad said I should have been mated during my first heat, when I was fifteen, but my mom wouldn’t allow it. She wanted me to wait until my seventeenth year at the earliest. Then my dad died, and later my mom did, and my grandfather was taking his sweet time trying to decide who he wanted to mate me to. I fought back against his choosing my cousin, but I was ok with Benny. I was twenty two by then, and ready to take a mate, but not Dick Roman. Now though? Yes, I’m ready. I’m confident that you are the right mate. Just as you expect me to protect our pups, I expect the same of you. Even mated, there will be other packs that come and try to take me. I know you will fight to keep me safe. We will have male Omega pups, and I need to know that they’ll be protected. I believe you will do that,” Dean sat back on his heels and looked up at the Alpha.
“Am I wrong in thinking that you care for me too?” Cas set the lantern on the table in the corner and turned to look at him.
“Oh no, I do. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have stayed,” Dean got up and moved over to the bed. Cas had actually managed to procure a mattress and piled the furs on top of it. It was comfortable and he wondered if the Alpha hadn’t gotten it in anticipation of taking him as his mate, especially since just a month or so earlier he’d been mentioning to Meg how he liked sleeping in a real bed whenever they went into a city, and how it was much more comfortable than sleeping on furs. He’d known the Alpha had overheard their conversation, and now suddenly, here was a mattress. It wasn’t his desire to embarrass Cas though. It wouldn’t do him good to insult the wolf that wanted him as his mate. He knelt down in the center and looked up at the Alpha. “I told you, I wouldn’t take a mate unless I loved them.”
Cas smiled as he approached the bed. He crawled across it until he was kneeling in front of Dean. “You love me?”
“Silly Alpha, you know I do,”
Cas placed his hands on either side of Dean’s face and kissed him. “I love you too,”