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First Season: Son Of A Wolf

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The day went by slowly, but at least it went by. It would’ve been more horrible to be stuck in limbo, with his delirious mind and his twisted expectations of what a normal workday should be like. At least these extra hours he’s doing will count towards the total number of holiday days he’ll have this season… otherwise, he wouldn’t be working extra, until dusk becomes night and stays consistently dark outside his office windows.

His boss was a prick, making him work so much for no additional pay. Then again, the whole company was a dumpster fire. It paid the bills, but if it was entirely in his hands, he wouldn’t spend a single second more in there.

Suho’s heavy sigh was drowned by the wind picking up around him. He tried to turn his collar up, only to find it already was turned all the way up due to that very same wind. He didn’t curse out loud, but it still rang clear and loud inside his mind as he picked up his walking pace. He didn’t want to get caught up in anything worse than a nocturnal drizzle – he still couldn’t believe it was almost midnight, and he had to go to work again at 8 am next day, so he had to wake up at 7, so he had to go to sleep at 12 to get any real hours of rest in there, but it was already past 11, he couldn’t possibly have dinner and go direct to bed…

His thoughts trailed off at the start of an alleyway, where something seemed to be lurking. The first reflex coursing through his body was to get away, because he wasn’t nearly strong enough to hold his own unscathed against who knew how many enemies. He’d heard more than enough stories of people ending up hospital-ridden for weeks on end because of a bad encounter with ambushing brutes.

There were some cardboard boxes pent up against one of the walls, with little to no space left to walk through – the buildings were too close for comfort. Or maybe it was close enough to be comforting, more than a main street would be. Suho had seen similar cardboard “houses” for homeless people and animals alike, and in fact pitied them both. He knew someone from his same office had taken in several animals, cats and dogs, to avoid having them killed by kennels that couldn’t hold as many critters as they advertised. Of course, all that was done extremely behind the scenes; public opinion was extremely important to those kennels.

Especially because they were government-funded kennels, sharing the anti-Wolf laws.

Suho himself had no real reservations about the creatures of the night – in fact, he was like most people, in that he considered them mere fantasies, products of an overactive imagination. Suho had never seen one in person – not the canines related to dogs, but the actual, shape-shifting monsters the government made them up to be. There were countless tales of Wolf encounters online, though; Suho’s SNS feeds were commonly filled with teenaged fantasies about a Wolf turning up at someone’s doorstep, school, university, et cetera, and whisking the protagonist (the one writing it all down on SNS) away to who knew where for a couple of hours.

There, the tales differed. Some merely stated that the Wolf had wanted the Human to do something for them (he? she? calling a Wolf “it” didn’t sit well with Suho). And, most commonly, it was something like, “call a doctor for my sick buddy”, “you’re a doc so heal us up”, or even “go fetch us food from that store down the street”. Those were somewhat believable, since tale had it that Wolves sometimes couldn’t fully control their transformations and thus ended up spending too much time in animal form amidst a city that hated their very existence. Suho sometimes entertained the thought of himself being in such a situation, with only his wit to aid him, as Wolves circled around him and forced him to do things for them.

Suho didn’t want to admit it, but the kind of nineteen-plus fantasies people shared more or less anonymously on SNS didn’t go unnoticed by him.

It was already embarrassing enough to have those thoughts in the privacy of his own bedroom, all lights out so that no piece of furniture could see how he stroked his dick to orgasm.

It was even more embarrassing to have documents buried deep inside his personal computer’s hard-disk, filled with copy-pasted, nineteen-plus SNS material. That info, buried in folders within folders within folders within folders, and password-protected with a phrase that he changed at least once every fifteen days, was Suho’s most shameful possession.

Damnit, it wasn’t his fault if his dick had a mind of its own. His mind didn’t like it, how he had to think about lying naked on non-descript furs as a shapeshifted Wolf took his claim over him. Sometimes that Wolf-turned-Human merely touched his chest, his defined abdominals, his arms and neck, but never his cock – it didn’t matter; Suho was too aware of how easily he could come, even untouched, with just the right combination of stimuli surrounding him. Or inside of him. Hell, sometimes that rhythmic in-and-out felt too good on his ass, on his mind, for his dick to mind.

Other times, though, the Human-shaped Wolf did touch his dick, his balls, his ass. Sometimes he did even more than that – another bleeding, yet poignant, detail was that, no matter the actions, this imaginary Wolf was always predatory and male. True, it would not be the first time Suho suddenly changed dick for pussy and defined abs for soft boobs in his mind, but the gender always remained male. To this day, he still didn’t know what that was all about. Some introspection was needed in order to find out, sure, but his hectic schedule didn’t really allow for that.

Suddenly, a low growl came from the messy cardboard inside the alleyway.

Suho froze.

Time seemed to stop.

Then, an elongated muzzle came out of the shadows. Rain had started to come down on the streets, light enough to be a mere nuisance on Suho’s heavy jacket, but he didn’t even notice. His whole attention had been captured by the canine creature in front of him. The fur looked muddled in the artificial light coming from the lamplights lining the street, behind and on both sides of Suho – how coincidental, that this alleyway wasn’t directly illuminated. It made for a prime spot for an ambush, as Suho had suspected at first sight. Really, one didn’t get to live to even twenty-five without knowing that. Even teenaged kids learnt quickly that they should never go out alone, and not just because of scary stories about Wolves, imaginary or otherwise.

Still, this was undoubtedly a Wolf. It was too big to be a house dog; this one could probably make even an overgrown Alaskan Malamute look small in comparison. Suho held his breathe without even noticing he was doing it, eyes raking over the black fur of the Wolf’s head, those impossibly dark eyes fixed on Suho himself. Their gaze was awe-inspiring, intimidating in the best of ways. Suho wasn’t foolish enough to discard his entire existence just for the chance of being able to caress a Wolf, though. He kept both his hands low, hanging quite limply at his sides, palms towards the Wolf. To be perfectly honest, he wasn’t trying to present himself as a threat – this Wolf could rip him apart in a second, anyway; the one who needed protection wasn’t showing saliva-coated teeth to Suho.

“I’m not going to hurt you.” Suho muttered, trying to enunciate his words as best as he could, given the circumstances. It was said that the Wolves that could speak any Human language when in Human form could also understand that same language when in Wolf form. It was worth a shot, because this city didn’t get foreigners often – and those it did were most commonly from other parts of the same country, and not from abroad. “I didn’t know you were here. Otherwise, I would’ve left you be. I don’t want to hurt you.”

The Wolf opened their mouth a bit further (Suho didn’t know how to tell a regular wolf’s gender with one look, much less a Wolf’s), but didn’t lunge forward to attack. In fact, when the creature moved, it was done slowly, deliberately, one paw in front to the other. Still, Suho could clearly see that the Wolf was skewed to one side, almost falling against the cardboard boxes at their left. Suho knelt equally slowly, letting one of his arms rest over his thigh. The other hand was kept extended towards the Wolf, unthreatening.

“Are you alright?” Suho asked in the same gentle tone. Unconsciously, he was using the same tone he did with his unofficial, “adopted”, six children.

The story of how he ended up being Mother to six men, ages ranged twenty-four to twenty-two, was a whole different story for another day.

The Wolf looked at him, moved their head towards Suho’s outstretched hand, and seemed to smell him. Then again, that was attributing animal behaviours to a being that, supposedly, conserved Human-like reasoning capacities even when in Wolf form. Then, those eyes – blacker than the night behind Suho, blacker than the alleyway in front of him – went from his hand to Suho’s face. He almost recoiled under the close scrutiny, but if handling six kids at once had taught him anything, it was to never show weakness to those trying to measure you.

A principle that also applied to his work-life, apparently.

“Are you hurt?” Suho asked. At this point, he knew better than to expect an answer in actual, Human-language words; and yet he kept looking for any changes in this Wolf’s demeanour. Such as coming closer to him, or even looking up his arm.

This time, the response came in the form of a humid little nose nuzzling his opened palm. It almost tickled Suho, but he held it in. After all, the Wolf was now close enough to bite his whole hand off, to bury pointed fangs in his wrist until his life bled onto soulless concrete – just another corpse found dead in strange circumstances, more fuel to the Wolf-tales’ fire.

Then, the Wolf rested his fangs against the inner side of Suho’s wrist.

Suho braced himself for death.

The Wolf moved again, closer to Suho’s body, closer to the only source of heat in the alleyway now that the wind had picked up more force. The rain had long past the stage of drizzle, becoming insistent enough to wet Suho’s hair and make the longest locks stick to his forehead. Carelessly, maybe overtly so, Suho moved his other hand to the crown of the Wolf’s head. Long fingers buried in the fur more than he thought they would – so this is a fluffy creature – and Suho let them slide back and forth, slowly, and as reassuring as he could.

The Wolf’s eyes didn’t leave him, but the creature didn’t do anything to try and stop Suho – didn’t growl, didn’t bite, didn’t move away. Suho took it as a small favour, a signifier of the Wolf being either too trusting or too hurt to make such a decision quickly. That prompted him to speak again, because he didn’t really know for how much longer the Wolf’s instincts (or thought-process) would be halted.

“Are you hurt? I’m assuming you are.”

The Wolf took a small, almost minuscule, step into Suho’s arms. Suho groaned when the creature leant more fully on him – damnit, he hit the gym as often as he could, and yet he wasn’t nearly strong enough to withstand the weight of an adult Wolf. Or at least he wanted to believe this was an adult Wolf, because if it turned out to be a cub…

Suho might be used to handling Human youngsters, but he didn’t know how to properly care for a dog, much less a wolf, and even lesser a Wolf.

Now that the Wolf’s entire left side was pressed tight against Suho – and that Suho was more on the floor than on his knees, thank the weight – it was clear to see the dried red-brown on their right flank. Suho didn’t know what had caused the wound, he was no medic and he was no veterinarian, but he knew it didn’t look good. Not that a wound ever looked good to him, that was only a matter of speech. His hand moved down from the Wolf’s head, between the ears, down the neck, towards the shoulders.

The Wolf growled a warning.

“Not here?” Suho’s mind screamed that the Wolf had meant it more like a “back off immediately or die”, but he didn’t heed it. “Well, okay. Do you want to come to my house, then? I live alone.” The Wolf shut up as if considering the offer. “Only until you’re healed. I work a Human nine-to-five job, so I’m sure you’ll be able to sniff around plenty. If I betray you, you can just hunt me down or something.”

Not that Suho would ever do something like that, of course. Reached this point, his words were more for the Wolf’s own thought process than anything else – because Suho could see how those dark eyes were clouding over. If the Wolf fell unconscious, Suho wasn’t strong enough to carry them.

“You will have to walk, though. I can’t lift you when you’re in Wolf form.” And most Wolves didn’t want to take Human form when with actual Humans, because they had no way of knowing who would betray them and who wouldn’t. Suho assumed this one wouldn’t be an exception to that. “It’s like a ten- or fifteen-minute walk from here.”

The Wolf slowly picked themselves up from Suho’s arms, growled presumably due to the temperature difference between Suho’s body and the cold night-air, and looked at Suho. It was strange to think that they were almost eye-level now – the Wolf was still slightly taller, despite the hunched posture. Suho smiled and got up, deciding to serve as a guide and nothing more (for now). The creature immediately stuck its right, wounded side to Suho’s left, and walked at matching speed with him.

Chapter Text

As soon as Suho unlocked the door, the Wolf walked (limped) inside. Suho wasted no time in closing the front-door, promptly locking it with as many turns of the key as it allowed him to. He considered himself lucky, because not a soul had seen him walk home with a newly-found “pet” sticking to him like literal glue – turns out that blood has that effect when it dries like it shouldn’t. Suho’s trousers aren’t exactly stained crimson, but they’re also not stainless. At least only the lowest edges of his jacket were against the soft fur at the Wolf’s spine – the creature had hidden the wound against Suho, which implied that their shoulders and head were sticking out more forward than Suho’s own.

“Here.” Suho guided the Wolf to the only bedroom that he wasn’t using. “You can stay here, take the bed if you want.”

Truth be told, this room was where his children hid out in when they came to his home, and furniture was both scarce and spartan, but at least there was a fully-dressed bed. The Wolf wasted no time in climbing up to it with an elegant little jump, which was tilted to one side due to the wound. There, left side against the mattress, right side exposed to the air for Suho to see and tend to, the Wolf looked every bit the out-of-place predator that they were.

“Can I see the wound now?” Suho asked the Wolf while he took off his jacket. He left the guest bedroom’s door opened, knowing all too well that he was alone in the house.

Well, alone with the creature – all his children had keys to his home, but they didn’t swing by on workdays, because they worked too. Considering his youngest was twenty-two already, Suho wasn’t very bothered by the possibility. Besides, most of them if not all loved dogs, they wouldn’t give him hell for “adopting” a new “puppy”. Even if it was such an overgrown one. Suho was also lucky that a good portion of his kids didn’t believe in the SNS Wolf-tales, either; they were more prone to think any strange animal sighting was an unusually large house-dog than a legendary Wolf.

The Wolf turned towards him, as if asking “are you fucking kidding me, Human”. Suho smiled apologetically, let his wet jacket rest over the back of the single chair in the room, and sat by the Wolf’s side.

At first glance, the wound was just a mess. Beyond the dried blood on the matted fur, it was irregular and untreated. It wasn’t bleeding anymore, an uneven and dark-red something covering the opened gash. That was good; it meant that the wound was recent, but not too recent, so there would be no risk of infection if Suho could treat it decently. Well… Suho wasn’t even sure what he had to do, nor in what order, but he knew the first step by instinct alone.

“I’m going to take some towels and clean water.” He told the Wolf. “I don’t know how to bandage you, but at least we can avoid you having an infection.”

Suho darted off without waiting for any physical response, because he’d seen that the Wolf’s eyes were almost completely closed. The only sliver of black he could see was foggy, like Suho had seen before on people who were barely conscious. That made him panic just slightly – one didn’t have so many kids without also growing worried over the simplest of things – but this was no laughing matter. This was serious, even beyond the wound, the unprofessionalism, the fact that his sleep schedule would now be irrevocably fucked.

Oh, fuck.

Right. His plan had been to go to sleep as soon as he could. But all those thoughts were utterly discarded by now, thrown outside the window almost in time with the Wolf’s consciousness. It was madness, because Suho didn’t usually act so recklessly. He was one to think first and act second, not one to rush to conclusions, nor to actions, at the first sign that something was off.

Still, he mused as he darted into the bathroom and tossed some clean towels over his shoulder, he couldn’t overlook such a wounded Wolf. And, while it was true that the government offered handsome, metallic, rewards for those who brought in evidence of a Wolf’s presence in any part of the country – and Suho’s need for money to support not just himself, but his six beloved children – well…

Maybe keeping a defenceless Wolf alive and hidden wasn’t the best course of action. Financially speaking, at least.

But it wasn’t in Suho’s nature to be so… treacherous? Sly? He didn’t even know how. The word “practical” crossed his mind too while he wandered to the kitchen, hands never stopping as they took and filled a lengthy container full of the cleanest water he could get. Apartments as basic as his didn’t have the luxury of sparkly, crystal-clear water on the faucets, so he had to empty a full bottle of supermarket water. It didn’t bother him, though; the only thing in his mind was that he needed to hurry a bit – if the Wolf really did fall unconscious, Suho wouldn’t be able to clean the wound without wetting the whole bed. And, if the Wolf was going to sleep in that bed, it would be better if it wasn’t wetted.

When Suho returned to the guest bedroom, a faint growl received him.

“Hey…” he called softly – as soft as he’d done to Baekhyun that one time when he’d been really sick. “I’m here now.”

Suho extended one hand and brushed the Wolf’s crown, between the ears. For a moment, they were back in the alleyway. Then, he realised that both the Wolf’s eyes were completely closed. Ah, so the creature had already memorised his smell, or at least knew it well enough to recognise him. Then again, it was also possible that lupine ears had heard him rummaging around – in animal form, a Wolf had all the advantages of forest wolves, with the added bonuses of Human conscience and understanding.

But was it really an advantage when it was the thing most commonly used to distinguish Wolf from wolf?

Suho sat on the edge of the bed once more, facing the creature. The growl returned, faint, when he moved his hand from the Wolf’s head to their body – their, because Suho still had no idea of the gender. Maybe he should ask. Maybe hearing his voice would give the Wolf something to focus on, other than the probable pain once Suho started to work. If that trick worked on Human kids, why wouldn’t it work on other beings with Human-like consciousnesses?

“You know, I don’t even know if you’re a male Wolf or a female Wolf.” He said, keeping his voice low and non-threatening. Meanwhile, he dropped one of the towels into the container. “Not that it really matters, I’m just curious. Oh, and I need to put this towel beneath you. We don’t want to stain the bed, if you’re going to sleep here.”

The Wolf opened those blackest-than-black eyes only for a moment, and then tried to raise from the mattress. Even with such wobbly legs, even on such an unstable terrain, the Wolf managed to give Suho just about enough room to slip the towel in between the Wolf’s warm body and the warming bedcovers. Suho smiled, caressing the Wolf’s crown once more.

“Thank you.” The Wolf’s only response was another growl. It wasn’t threatening at all; merely a sound of acknowledgement, and Suho’s smile widened a little. “Let’s get you cleaned up.”

Suho started by taking the towel from the container and twisting it. The excess water fell away, and the Wolf’s ears moved – spasmed would be a better word. Suho was quick in humming from deep within his throat, reminding the Wolf that they were not alone in an empty alleyway anymore. The Wolf opened their mouth, thick drops of saliva slipping away. Acting on instinct alone, Suho raised one of the dry towels and dabbed at the corners of the Wolf’s jaws. The creature allowed him to, didn’t move an inch one way or another. Suho let that towel rest under the Wolf’s head, figuring it would be for the Wolf what Suho’s pillow was for him.

The cloth raised to the Wolf’s bloodied torso was quickly tinted red. Suho mused that maybe he shouldn’t have gotten such a light-coloured towel, but he didn’t really own any that wasn’t either a shade of cream, or downright white. Suho’s mind was working overtime, and not just on a lie to tell if any of his children discovered the blood before he could wash everything. The Wolf growled a whine when the cloth touched the fur around the gash, and Suho recoiled a bit.

“Sorry!” he jumped, although his hands remained steady. “I’ll be gentle.”

The Wolf seemed to forgive that sudden, initial touch; for they merely laid back down on the mattress and let Suho work at his own rhythm. He figured that, once you’ve spent a good amount of time utterly wounded, waiting some moments more to be cared for didn’t really matter. Suho circled the wound with the edges of the towel – then it dawned on him that he should probably clean inside-to-outside, and not the other way around, to avoid bringing infection into the opened wound. So he changed his method, hoping the Wolf wouldn’t call him out on it. Suho didn’t fear another low growl, but he didn’t want to deal with an enraged Wolf in Human form shouting at him afterwards.

Suho touched the wound gently, cleaning the dried blood and dirt that had caught in the fur. At one point, he had to leave the cloth aside and run long fingers through the locks to untangle most of it – if you cut the hair to a Wolf in animal form, would their hair in Human form be cut too? He didn’t want to find out the wrong way. The Wolf did whine once more when Suho’s fingers were halted by a particularly nasty knot, and Suho paused immediately.

“Your fur is completely tangled! How much time did you spend in those boxes?”

A faint growl was all the answer he got.

“Weeks?”

No sound came out, so Suho took it as a no.

“Days?”

Once again, no sound came out.

“Hours, then?”

A growl reached his ears, his hands reached the Wolf’s crown, and the growl slowly subsided into a glorified purr. Suho caressed the Wolf for some moments more, collected more clean water with the towel, and raised it to the wound. The creature in his bed flinched when the water dripped directly onto the gash. Suho tried to soothe them with his voice, effortlessly slipping into the soft tone that was usually reserved for small kids. His own children had never been that small under his care, but he still had just about enough experience with toddlers to know the baby-speak. The Wolf didn’t seem to mind, either because they were already too gone into unconsciousness to notice the change in words, or because they simply liked the sound and cadence of Suho’s voice.

Oh, this “they/them” dilemma needed to go. Not because it was a chore for Suho to use those pronouns, either inside his head or out loud, but just because he wanted to know whether he’d found a male or a female Wolf. Mainly because it would make a very marked difference once the Wolf reverted to Human form. All his kids were male, just like Suho himself, and he’d never really had a serious-enough girlfriend to have actually lived with a woman – he’d never had any roommates beyond his children, either. If this Wolf was female in gender, this would be unexplored and uncertain territory for Suho. It would be the kind of territory that he didn’t know if he could manage with a Human, much less with a Wolf.

“Hey, just for reference, since I don’t really know if you’re going to change forms, especially if you don’t remain conscious.” Suho started. “Is your gender female?”

For a long moment, the Wolf didn’t respond. Suho simultaneously feared having asked the wrong way, and that the Wolf had finally collapsed. Then he remembered that his Wolf didn’t make any sound when the answer was a “no”, and he sighed.

“So you’re not female?”

The growl was audible this time. Just like Suho’s sigh of relief. The Wolf’s ears twitched again.

“Ah, I know it’s strange. It’s just that I don’t really know how I should act with a female roommate.” Suho figured the best idea would be to spill his doubts, especially if this was an intelligent creature who could understand his every word and pick up all of his physical reactions much more acutely than any Human could. “But I’m a man too, and the people who are around me tend to be men too, so there’s no problem now.”

The Wolf’s shoulders shook faintly. If Suho didn’t know any better, he would’ve mistaken it for a very Human, tell-tale sign of laughter. Given the circumstance, though, he dismissed the ebbs as merely more signs of the Wolf’s deteriorated physical state. It seemed his (finally, the correct pronoun!) mind was untouched by wounds, going off his answers to Suho’s questions and phrases. The Wolf couldn’t really answer with words, and yet Suho could do nothing more than smile at him.

More clean water was poured over the edges of the wound, Suho’s attentive hands aiding him as best as he humanly could.

“This is going to be an awful thing to ask you…” Suho started, uncertain. He let that sentence trail off, not really knowing how to tie it with the burning question in his mind. The Wolf waited for him to keep talking – the movement of his ears was the only indication that he was conscious and listening. “…will you need to go to a Human doctor later? Or would you rather go to a veterinarian? Because I’m a poor healer…”

The Wolf tried to raise his head from the cream-coloured towel it was leant on. His strength faltered, and he returned down to the bed with a groan. Suho had seen enough hangovers to know that the Wolf’s head was most likely spinning on its own axis, creating the kind of chaos that was drawn with moving stars, or birds, on cartoons. Suho hoped that it wasn’t a product of blood-loss, because he had absolutely no idea how to deal with that. True, one of his favourite dramas featured a doctor as the male lead and a nurse as the female lead, but Suho had learnt absolutely nothing from them. Hell, even the reviews listed a staggering number of medical inaccuracies.

Why didn’t he know more, such knowledge was practical, it would always come in handy…

At any rate, Suho did everything he could, and then a little more. When he was finished, the Wolf was already unconscious, his whole torso visibly heaving up and down in time with his heavy breathing. Suho tried to convince himself that it would be best if the Wolf slept through the night and morning – oh fuck.

The morning.

Suho had to work in the morning.

He let out what was his heaviest sight of the day (night?), in lieu of the curse he didn’t want to shout with a sleeping Wolf in the same room. Silently, Suho took the towels and water container, moved towards the door, and exited the room. He tried hard to keep his volume down, knew he was being quite silent for Human standards, but lupine senses worked differently. And he didn’t have nearly enough information, let alone experience, to truly discern whether the Wolf was following his very movement or not. Then again, taking into consideration the wound, and the probable fatigue it implied, the Wolf should be out like a light. Like the light Suho turned off before falling onto his bed, now in his sleepwear, ready to rest for at least two or three full hours before having to wake up again.

The last thought he could remember the morning after was a hope, maybe even a godless prayer, that his alarm wouldn’t wake the Wolf up.

 


 

Lo and behold, morning came all too quickly. At the third time the alarm went off, Suho jumped out of bed, turned it off, and checked the clock. He barely had enough time to grab a quick coffee, leaving a note for the Wolf on the kitchen table on his way out – he figured his guest would wake up and explore the whole apartment eventually. Since his Wolf had responded to Suho’s mother tongue, he didn’t even try to change languages; he only bothered to keep his handwriting legible enough before grabbing his jacket and darting off.

If Suho was being perfectly honest with himself, the only thing he remembered from the rest of that workday was that his thoughts darted to the Wolf in his home every single time he had some free time in his hands. The rest of it was lost in a thick blur of exhaustion, so heavy that not even industrial doses of caffeine could alleviate it enough for him to properly concentrate. The only good thing he could think of, trying to cheer himself up amidst his delirium, was that he didn’t have to work extra hours. So he could return home relatively early – earlier than the day before, at any rate – and check on his guest. Maybe make some food, too, because a wounded individual should not be allowed anywhere near the opened flames of his gas-powered kitchen.

The sentiment carried him through the day. Evening fell upon him sooner than he had anticipated, although it wasn’t unwelcomed. He walked home completely on autopilot, muscle memory carrying him to his destination while his mind (and the most part of his body) protested loudly.

Suho needed sleep, plain and simple. All those long extra hours, plus caring for his Wolf last night, had drained him of all energy. But he still needed to do one last thing before crashing somewhere.

Food. More for the Wolf than for him. He was fine. He only needed to sleep. But the Wolf needed to eat. And to heal. But Suho couldn’t help much with that. He could only cook something edible. And leave it on the low table across the television.

Only then did he allow himself to sit down on the sofa for a moment. He had to check up on his Wolf. It wasn’t a good idea to let a guest alone for too long.

Still, the next thing Suho became aware of was warmth. On both his hips, where something warm and heavy had been leant on his trousers. One of those things moved, and Suho suddenly identified them as hands – Human hands, warm and big and gentle on him. They were insistent, fingers busy with his belt’s buckle. Suho didn’t hear any metallic sounds, so he figured the other was being extremely careful with him. Then, the flaps of his trousers were opened. Suho didn’t know when had the zipper and button been undone, but he also didn’t care much. Not when those warm fingers were hooked around his hips, inside his trousers and over his briefs, raising Suho’s lower body from the sofa. Suho had the distinct feeling that he wasn’t helping at all, drowsy and heavy with sleep like he was.

Not that the other seemed to mind much, of course. Those hands tugged his pants down, until Suho’s knees couldn’t open, until the light fabric was furrowed haphazardly on the lowest part of his thighs. Suho whined, or at least made a drowsy sound. The hands touched the front of his briefs, and he gave out another soft sound. One palm was spread over his crotch, the thumb caressing the forming bulge; the other was leant higher up, a couple of fingers curled around Suho’s hip.

Then, his briefs were tugged down, too. And Suho opened his eyes, looked down.

Excitement was one hell of a drug for his lower body, but disappointment killed the vibe. Because there was nobody at the other end of the sofa. Only darkness, cut by the faint lampshade light coming in from the windows, since he’d left the curtains withdrawn. There were no warm hands spread on his hips. His cock wasn’t out in the open. He wasn’t about to get a hand-job, or even a blowjob.

He was alone. And that was where it hurt.

If his love-life was extinct, his sex-life had never lived. Suho was already aware enough of it as it was – his work peers were getting married; his own children were getting themselves boyfriends and girlfriends left and right. Yet Suho, eternally single mother of six, remained alone. He’d had dates before, of course, but nothing truly serious; only a couple of girls that didn’t leave enough of a good impression for him to want to see them again after that first date, and some boys he’d had for one night.

Well, and that disastrous thing that scared him right off the dating pool…

But all of that had happened before he’d raised six fucking children, though. How long had it been since his last sexual escapade…? Sehun, his youngest, was twenty-two, and Suho had known him since twelve or thirteen…

Ten fucking years was one hell of a dry spell. Especially when his subconscious didn’t stop sending him sexual fantasies while he was asleep, and insidious (twisted, even) daydreams in his waking hours. Even leaving aside all the interesting imagery about men transforming from Wolves to Humans, Suho’s mind tended to move closer towards the extremes of what he knew he liked – not entering surrealistic terrain, but definitely testing his boundaries. Boundaries such as how he’s thought more than once, more than twice, about how a touch of gentle teeth would feel on the underside of his cock. Or how a knot would pump him full of cum and lock him in place for probably more time than he could stand to, overstimulated and having come more than once.

Now that he thought of Wolves – as per usual – his mind was stirred half-awake. He rolled over, somehow managed not to fall off the couch entirely, and focused blurry eyes on the figure he could see, the Human outline clearly visible against the light coming in from the windows.

The figure was definitely tall, taller than Suho – which was no small feat – broad at the shoulders and a bit slimmer at the waist. Suho didn’t know if he was awake or still dreaming (didn’t even know if he wanted to know whether he was asleep or not), so he kept watching through half-lidded eyes. His body felt heavy, unresponsive, as he watched one long arm extend from the figure’s side. The head turned too, towards the low table in front of Suho’s sofa. Then, the figure moved towards him.

Suho couldn’t muster enough thoughts, nor enough willpower, to try and appear asleep, so he merely remained in the same posture. One of his arms had fallen out of the sofa, palm to the ceiling even with curled fingers, and it felt heavy and detached from the rest of his body. Suho’s fingers spasmed when the figure sat down by the table – not in neat, legs-under-the-ass politeness, but in cross-legged disregard. The figure, still outlined and shadowed by lampshade light, put something on the table. A paper, Suho thought it was, but he didn’t recognise it as the note he’d left for his Wolf. The figure had brought cutlery, too, and was eating heartily.

Suho could distinguish only a marked jawline and well-formed lips when the other raised a handful of food to his mouth. Suho wasn’t the best cook in his family – that title went to one of his youngest kids, Kyungsoo – but at least he could come up with edible recipes and make them appealing to the eye. He hoped the figure enjoyed his cooking. Perhaps he should’ve been more worried about a stranger being in his living room while he was defenceless; but he was far too gone in exhaustion for his brain to come up with such an idea. Things being as they were, Suho could only focus on admiring the messier strands of the figure’s hair, which were sticking out in multiple directions, indicating that the other had short hair – the colour was almost impossible to distinguish in such a light.

The figure seemed to look at Suho.

Suho couldn’t look away from that magnetic gaze.

A moment passed, Suho couldn’t tell how long or short it had been. Then, the tall figure moved, and Suho couldn’t breathe.

Big hands fell on Suho’s shoulders, correcting his posture on the sofa. They were warm, warm like in Suho’s fantasies – or had that been real? He wasn’t alone in this room. Or maybe he was still dreaming, and this figure was just another of his preferred, hot and male bedfellows. Suho didn’t even care to know. He only wanted more contact, more of that gentle warmth. One of those hands circled his neck, holding him steady as Suho was moved upwards. His head was leant on the armrest, gently, and then those hands slid to the front. Suho’s shirt had the first button undone, because he had a tendency to loosen up when he was in the privacy of his own house – or in the privacy of his office (his boss didn’t seem to mind, and his co-workers sure as hell didn’t, either).

Then, those long, dexterous fingers slid down to the second button, and Suho held both his breath and his gaze.

Unlike the one at his collarbone, the rest of his shirt was perfectly tied up. The thin fabric stretched nicely over his torso, even in this relaxed posture, almost a tell-tale sign of the marked muscle lying underneath. Those long fingers undid that second button languidly, as if they were in no hurry, as if they had all the time in the world to explore Suho’s body, free and unperturbed by the world outside. Under the steady lamplight, Suho could barely spy at the pale digits, but he surely marvelled at the gentle care and skill they displayed.

The lapels of his shirt were further opened, pulled to the sides in one swift motion. Suho could feel the other’s strength, knew more on instinct than by thought that he was restraining himself. Suho had more than enough work-shirts to not be too worried – if the other suddenly tore the clothe from him, Suho could afford it. Hell, it would be such a fucking turn-on, to know he was wanted so ardently that he could make someone go mad with desire.

But then Suho made a mistake, and his world crumbled.

His breathe caught inside his throat acutely enough that he would’ve coughed up a storm, had he not been too entranced to do anything other than let his chest ebb up and down. The trembles were more than obvious to the naked eye – there was no doubt, the other man had seen it. Suho narrowly avoided making any sounds, but he couldn’t avoid gazing directly into the other’s eyes.

They were black, maybe more because of the lack of direct illumination than from their own colour. There was a magnetism to them, something that drew all onlookers into their unexplored depths. Suho was no exception – he physically felt the pull, got lost in those dark galaxies, and almost forgot how to breathe again.

Then, those long fingers descended to the next button, and Suho was irremediably lost in sensations.

The other seemed to be taking his sweet time, too; steady hands unhurriedly undid the buttons, one by one. When the shirt was fully opened, one big palm was spread on the centre of Suho’s chest – Suho was by no means a small man, but this one was bigger. In height and in visible size, at least. Suho was trying hard not to let his mind wander below their belts, because he was already aroused by those images that he didn’t know if he’d dreamt or not. And this, well… it wasn’t helping him to remain calm.

Suddenly, Suho’s shirt was pulled open – the fabric didn’t tear up, but Suho felt it give. He gasped, unable to keep his own mouth shut. That earned him a stare, and Suho trembled because he had no idea if it was the good kind or the bad kind of look. The hand on his chest answered his inner doubts by moving to one side and giving his nipple a hard tug. Suho downright moaned, loud enough to be embarrassing. He closed his eyes at his own volume – he missed the smirk that formed in the other’s face. Suho’s back arched up from the sofa, in time with a new tug, and he moaned again.

Suho’s mind whirled at a thousand miles per hour as he tried to identify this sexy stranger – because, solicitous attentions or not, Suho couldn’t link him with any name. The men – the Wolves – in his fantasies never had any discernible face, only very general, raw features that Suho liked to expand upon. Like pointed, sharp fangs. Or a really big dick. But he hadn’t ever fantasized about a sharp jaw, or intense eyes, or even long fingers. All that was certainly a plus, though.

“How can I call you…?” Suho half asked, half moaned. His voice broke a bit at the end, forcing him to finish his sentence more abruptly than he’d intended to. The other looked at him, running his fingertips from Suho’s chest down to his abdominals. Worked muscles trembled under the feather-light touch.

“How do you want to call me?” Damn, that voice was deep. And low-pitched. And it resounded nicely in the room. Suho trembled again – he only hoped that not all his kinks were up in the air, evident and laid bare.

Thankfully, or maybe regrettably, Suho’s brain entered into overload and fried itself before coming up with a good answer.

“…by your name?” The man laughed, low and deep and fucking appealing, Suho just couldn’t stop looking at him. The amused darkness of the man’s eyes made him brave enough to try again. “…how do you want me to call you?”

“What do you dream about?” The man leant a hand on Suho’s belt, almost like a silent invitation to confess everything.

If this was only a product of Suho’s mind, the quality had certainly gone up. By many a mile. Then again, his brain was still utterly and irrevocably fried.

“…Wolves?” A brief pause, in which he realised exactly how badly that could be interpreted. “The legends!”

The man didn’t answer with words – he did slip the metal free from the buckle, though. Then, Suho's trousers came undone. Suho braced himself for having his hips snapped upwards, like in his dream (Suho had already decided to call it that), but it didn’t come. He looked up to the man once more.

“Am I your Wolf, then?” The man mused. “Your own creature of legend, to fuck whenever you want to?”

Suho moaned, nodded his head. He felt the armrest under his nape, solid like a bag of bricks – would a bag of dicks feel any different? – gasped at that invasive thought. His Wolf seemed pleased, judging by the little smirk playing in his factions. And what handsome factions those were, Suho had to admit; the man looked like he’d been chiselled from a single piece of rock. He was too warm to be made of marble; his hands, too solid and unmoving, despite Suho’s thrashing, than to be carved from graphite. Suho gasped once more when his trousers’ opened flaps were pulled roughly to opposite sides.

Just a couple of touches more, and his cock would be exposed for his Wolf to see. Suho couldn’t help the rush of nerves creeping up his spine and almost nullifying his good sense – it had been far too long since the last time he’d had someone in his bed. Or on his sofa. Or on him.

Fuck

“Fuck me…” Suho half whined, half moaned. His Wolf’s smirk widened, black eyes fixed on some point at Suho’s abdomen. Maybe he was staring at the indefinite space in between Suho’s belly and crotch, directly in between the marked V-shape cut by his hipbones.

Suho wasn’t an extremely prideful man, but he revelled in knowing that he could be as magnetic to his Wolf as his Wolf was to him. The feeling was intoxicating enough for him to try and extend one hand to touch the other.

Don’t.” The word had been preferable to a physical hit to the wrist, especially considering the difference in strength – Wolves were more powerful, after all – and yet Suho recoiled.

His Wolf had growled, deep and low and dangerous. The least Suho could do was heed his word. So he let his hand drop, let it hang above his head, over the armrest. His Wolf kept silent, although he did move. Suho closed his legs involuntarily, barely a reflex, when his Wolf swung one of his own long ones over Suho’s. The motion left him sitting on Suho’s lap, their crotches close enough to touch dick-to-dick with only the slightest roll of the one on top. Suho gasped, held his breath, felt his own chest tremble, and let go of the air he was holding.

He had never really assumed his Wolf would be small – because all of his fantasies were big – but there was a long path to walk between mere imagination, and this strange reverie. Dream or not, Suho had no fancy words for it. Maybe that explained why he did not bother to even try to define it, already knowing he’d fail. His Wolf framed his own bulging crotch with one hand – one strategically-placed hand – and Suho’s brain entered overload once more.

It was a decently-sized bulge, but it somehow gave the impression that it could grow even bigger with time. His Wolf was wearing jeans, faded and stretched, and they looked like they weren’t comfortable at all. Those long fingers undid the fly in a single fleeting moment, so quickly that Suho missed it – for him, the Wolf was inaccessible one second, and completely on display the next second. He didn’t even see the colour or shape of his Wolf’s underwear, and that drove him half-mad, because he liked the reveal, the slow tease of removing layer upon layer of cloth to expose new expanses of skin to touch. But there was a distinct urgency now, an imperative hanging heavy in the air around and above them both. In any other context, in other circumstances, Suho would’ve protested; but he was too intoxicated by the first sighting of his Wolf’s cock to utter a single coherent word.

It was amazingly big. That was the first thing Suho really noticed – the sheer size, intimidating and alluring at the same time. Suho would never define himself as a “size queen”, whatever the term truly meant, but even he had to admit that there was something really appealing about watching such a handsome cock be stroked to full length. Suho felt almost in trance as he watched how one of those large hands was enough to completely encircle it – he was sure his Wolf got a rushed kick of adrenaline just by watching smaller people try to take him in. Fortunately for whatever plans his Wolf might have, Suho was only a bit shorter (in height; dick-size was still to be proven). He still had doubts about whether he’d be able to take all of his Wolf inside – if this was fantasy, there would be no real pain; if it was reality, well… Suho didn’t want to think about it.

A couple of more languid strokes, and his Wolf’s stare fixed on Suho’s own. It was almost like a question for permission – he already had consent, Suho’s every fantasy had that. Permission for what, Suho didn’t really know; but if this continued onwards, the details wouldn’t matter. There were great opportunities for pleasure in this affair.

And not just for Suho, who was barely rolling his hips upwards to try and get some slivers of contact with the hard dick sitting on top of his crotch. A particularly well-angled wave provoked a growl from his Wolf, and Suho trembled like a feeble leaf caught amidst the strongest gale.

“Feisty little Human.” His Wolf muttered. His octave was so low that the words were almost jumbled together in an amalgamate of sounds. Suho suddenly wanted to have his hands spread wide over his Wolf’s chest – he was sure that he would have physically felt every single word, rumbling free and uncontrolled throughout his Wolf. The mere thought was appealing enough to make him gasp, and tremble once more. “You like my voice that much?”

Suho could barely nod, as fiercely as the armrest allowed him to. He focused his gaze in his Wolf, tunnel-vision killing him almost as much as the spreading headache did. He wanted to touch himself, he was so hard it was downright painful, it didn’t make any sense to have a sadomasochistic fantasy after such a long-ass workday…

“Enjoy me, then.” His Wolf rumbled, low and unpredictable – like wild thunder, Suho mused. Like the personification of the storm that had been building up when he’d taken that wounded Wolf into his home. “Enjoy everything I give to you.”

Suho downright moaned his lewdest moan in a long while. Pinned down to the sofa as he was, he could barely wiggle his hips up and down, then from side to side. His full intention was to provoke his Wolf into grinding down on him, fast and rough. The only reward he received for his troubles was a new growl, modulated in a way that spoke of dominance, of being obeyed without protest. Suho felt heat spreading from his face to his chest, tried to keep the tremble of his hips to a minimum.

This time, his Wolf reached out and leant a hand on his exposed chest, fingertips catching easily in the numerous ridges and curves of Suho’s chiselled physique. Suho flexed as much as he could, trying to give his Wolf more sensation. That seemed to please his lover, judging from the new growl leaving his throat. Suho felt like a rushing wave in the sea of sexual pleasure – his desire had augmented to such epic proportions that he could barely think of anything other than the handsome Wolf atop his crotch.

“You’re obedient.” His Wolf sounded surprised. Suho nodded faintly. “What a good boy to have for me…”

“Thank you…” Suho mumbled. Something about being praised as intimately as this left a deep impression in his chest – the feeling was akin to having a large portion of his heart carved out of his ribcage, leaving molten magma in its wake. His Wolf soothed the sensation with a heavy hand, raking short nails over Suho’s nipples just for a fleeting moment. “Ah…”

His Wolf didn’t say anything. He seemed to be in no hurry – he did grind down on Suho, though. At first, it was a soft little thing, an afterthought to keep Suho interested, since whatever little stimulation he was receiving clearly wasn’t enough for his aching dick – for his aching mind. His Wolf tugged on one nipple, rolled his hips again, kept his free hand firmly wrapped around his own cock. The action was happening in plain sight of Suho, whose greedy eyes were working overtime just to try and take everything in.

His Wolf’s face, handsome and angular, but also strangely soft at the curves of his cheeks. Had Suho met less varied people, he would’ve taken this figment of fantasy for a mixed-blood – one parent descending from Suho's continent, one parent hailing from different lands. His Wolf bit his lower lip hard, worried at it until colour was surely seeping into it. The effort was evident, probably to not moan or growl out loud, singing the melody provided by his moving hand. His Wolf was clothed enough to hide most of his body, although all cloth looked quite enticing on him, pleasing to any onlooker without having to be revealing. The sheer contradiction, or maybe complementarity, made him even more appealing to look at.

And all of that was without even directing one’s gaze below the waist – Suho could barely believe what a glorious sight this Wolf was, broad-shouldered and big-dicked. Its flared tip was a couple of shades lighter, perhaps only due to the massive amounts of precum leaking from the slit. Suho’s mouth went drier than what he imagined desert sands to be just by looking at it, out of his reach yet so close – perdition and damnation, he didn’t even know if he wanted to suck his Wolf dry, watch him come all over Suho’s chest, or postpone it until he could comfortably take him inside. Suho had never had anyone mark him so intimately – he really couldn’t think of anything more intimate than being painted white from the inside out – he’d only imagined it a million times, fantasised about it a million more. A poignant part of him insisted on feeling it now, hellbent on obtaining as much pleasure as possible.

That very same part of him compelled him to lick his bottom lip from side to side, deliberately slowly, eyes locked with that thick cock – all the while making sure that his Wolf could see it.

The effect was almost immediate.

“Do you want it that badly?” his Wolf growled down at him. Suho raised his gaze from their joined crotches to the Wolf’s face. The smoulder he saw burnt him to the core, wildfires scorching him of every barrier. The euphoria poured over him quickly, thickly, making him moan and ebb and spill over his own frenzied mind. “Do you truly want me that badly?”

Suho, madly gasping for breath as he was, rammed his oversensitive hips upward until his chest heaved, as heavy as the rest of him felt. His Wolf let out half a moan – half, because he managed to bite down the other half and morph it into a new growl. He stared Suho down. Suho allowed himself a small smile, triumph easy enough to see in his face, and licked his lips again.

“Does that answer you?” Suho asked. His voice sounded feeble even to his own ears, but there was also a marked defiance contained within it. It was more of a challenge for his Wolf to take him in whichever way he wanted, rather than plain disobedience. His Wolf didn’t look put-off by it, so Suho took it as a small victory and bit his lower lip, seductive – or trying to be, at the very least.

Suho had been told more than once in the past that, whenever he nibbled on his own lips with just the right pressure, he could make anybody hang the stars one by one. He’d never taken it for granted – had never believed it so openly than to weaponize it – but he decided to give it a go now. After all, his Wolf already had darkened eyes, either from lust or from reprieved desires. Suho could drown inside those eyes and never look back on what his life had been before. And, if things kept their route, this would certainly become one of his most precious fantasies, a favoured mental image to maintain inside his head while he thrashed about, closed-eyed and open-mouthed.

His Wolf growled another warning, the sound spilling over the exposed fangs like waters overflowing from their container. Suho’s body felt aflame as long fingers raked blunt nails over his chest, letting small goosebumps arise. Suho trembled, changed his arm’s position on the armrest to avoid it going numb; but he didn’t move away. He knew he was still too overstimulated, too sensitive, to be touched like his Wolf seemed to want to touch him. Suho’s gaze was glued to his Wolf’s torso, admiring its wide expanse. Even while completely clothed, his Wolf was an enticing sight. Yet Suho wanted more.

“Why are you so dressed?” he half whined, half asked. His Wolf stared him down – down, because he was sitting and Suho was laying; not because he was arrogant enough for that.

Well, Suho didn’t really know his Wolf’s personality beyond whatever could be gathered during sex. Things like gentleness (chivalry was a different concept), silence (or speaking only when absolutely needed), or even plain teasing (which never turned cruel); Suho only knew little bits and pieces of it. Not that he needed to know much more to bed his Wolf, though. Still, the fact that he wanted a shining personality to accompany such a pleasant physique spoke more about Suho’s loneliness than it did about his desire.

“Why do you keep me dressed?” his Wolf retorted, slightly raising one eyebrow and pursing his lips. Suho immediately blushed, weak-kneed and feebleminded. His Wolf didn’t miss it – the word “observant” flashed inside Suho’s mind. “Do you enjoy torturing yourself like this?”

Suho moved his head from side to side, much more violently than he’d intended. It seemed that his thoughts were still somewhat disconnected with his body, although his crotch no longer tingled heavily enough to make his hips tremble. His Wolf had a shadow of a smirk when he moved the hand on Suho’s chest upwards, until it was leant on Suho’s jaw. Their height difference was evident, first because his Wolf didn’t have to lean his body forward to reach Suho’s face; and second, because he was almost falling off the sofa due to his own long limbs. Suho immediately corrected the scene inside his mind, blindly willing the situation to change.

His Wolf rolled his hips downwards, the movement resembling one of those hot body-rolls he’d seen entertainers do on television. Suho gasped, his lip springing free of his teeth’s grasp – had he really bitten it again after speaking…? He couldn’t remember – his Wolf smirked and ran one careful fingertip over the underside of Suho’s jaw. Suho’s hips arched upwards at the gentle touch, frustrated at how feather-light it had been. His Wolf chastised, or maybe rewarded, his neediness by rolling his own hips again.

They met halfway, and Suho moaned unabashedly, mouth falling open as though he was singing a particularly tough piece. His Wolf traced the outline of his lips with soft fingertips, almost exploring Suho’s body. Suho allowed his tongue to touch them for a split second; because, fantasy or not, it was in his blood to be considerate and mindful of his partners’ needs. Not to mention that the idea of his Wolf making him submit of his own will, coaxing obedience out of him with only smooth touches and growled orders, was appealing.

Suho truly didn’t know if this was a kink in the making, a kink he hadn’t realised he had, or simply another aspect of this particular scenario. Either way, he was into it; so he didn’t bother with trying to change it.

Another growl left his Wolf’s throat at the feeling of Suho’s tongue on his fingers. His free hand resumed its frantic pace around his cock, seeking the completion that would further deny Suho’s desires. Suho let out a sound of protest – with such a large hand on his jaw, the lower edges of his vision-range were limited. Which was a roundabout way of saying that, damnit, he couldn’t see his Wolf’s dick anymore. And he wanted – needed – to watch it get bigger, redder, angrier. He wanted to watch his Wolf come, wanted to admire that beautiful cock exploding – would it be a violent volcano, thick ropes of white tainting Suho as far up as his chest? Or would it be a controlled cascade, pearly whiteness merely dripping down his length and onto Suho’s crotch?

Either way was a win in Suho’s eyes. Especially because he knew just enough of biology and anatomy (and of fantasy) to know that having a cascade now didn’t entail that he’d always have that. His Wolf could explode now and be smoother later, or vice-versa. Suho could only win in that regard.

The hand at his jaw moved again. This time, it went further upwards, holding Suho by the hair. His locks weren’t long enough to allow such long fingers to bury themselves wholly, but it still felt good to Suho. He could only hope that it felt good to his Wolf as well. Suho also allowed himself to cast his gaze downwards, moaning a sustained note at the realisation that he could once more watch that cock. His Wolf’s hand wrapped around it nicely, thumb tracing the slit at the top every time he went up – Suho also noted that he seemed to squeeze just slightly when he got to the lowest part, at the base. It almost served the same function as a cock-ring, or Suho imagined it would – he’d never worn one, he’d merely seen them being used in some of his favourite porn movies – not that he would ever admit to watching such a thing.

His Wolf growled, low in tone yet not in volume, back arching forward, towards Suho. Those dark eyes were falling closed, lips shaped in an attractive round shape. Suho observed him, let his hips ebb freely, tried to accentuate his Wolf’s sensations as best as he could. Even when his Wolf’s pleasure would be directly linked with Suho’s own, Suho wasn’t focused on that. He just wanted his Wolf to feel good, plain and simple, because he was making Suho feel good too, and that deserved the best possible reward.

A new growl, a violent roll of the hips (it made Suho moan, too), and his Wolf was throwing his head back and arching his back forward. Suho revelled in the sight. His Wolf growled a moan, moaned a growl. Unabashed. Uncontrolled. Unrestraint. The grip on Suho’s hair tightened. It hurt in the best of ways. Warmth fell onto Suho’s belly. Some reached his chest. His Wolf growled again. He fell forward. His head rested on Suho’s shoulder.

A few shared heartbeats later, Suho suddenly realised that he should move. His Wolf was leaning on the same side as the shirt’s buttons, and so close to the collar that it was safe to assume he was going to hurt himself with the hard plastic. Suho raised a hand to his Wolf’s nape, gentle. His fingertips danced at the roots of his Wolf’s black hair, and it earned Suho a soft sound. This time, though, it felt different – they were so close that Suho could finally, finally, physically feel the rumble close to his chest. It made him gasp, and shake, and caress his Wolf’s hair. That earned him another moan, low and sustained.

Suho smiled, lazy, tired, already half-asleep. He felt as though he’d come himself, as if the explosive orgasm he’d just witnessed had been borne within him. Then again, perhaps it had – his Wolf had been brought forth by Suho’s actions, his hips, his lips, his voice. His Wolf… the same man, the same Wolf, that was now practically falling asleep on top of him. Suho kept on caressing his hair.

Suddenly, and slightly uncoordinatedly due to still having wobbly legs, his Wolf moved. At first, he did something to his own hips – Suho couldn’t see it, but somehow knew he was probably making himself presentable once more. Suho didn’t really know why, though; this wasn’t a public place, it was Suho’s house… he’d never chastise his Wolf for something as trivial as having his dick out where only Suho himself could it. Besides, it was a pretty dick; his Wolf would hear no complains even if he walked around the apartment stark naked the whole day.

He’d only hear Suho’s compliments and feel Suho’s gaze eternally glued to him.

When his Wolf moved away, Suho whined. It was uncharacteristic for him, almost like he’d copied someone he knew – this was no time to be thinking of that, because the man in question was one of Suho’s children. So he discarded those thoughts, letting his eyes fall close like they wanted to be, and blindingly reached out to his Wolf. Something wet and warm touched his chest, wiping him clean of all droplets down to his quivering abdominals. Suho smiled sleepily, a soft sound echoing through the room, and let his gentle Wolf do as he pleased.

Then, strong arms winded around his shoulders and knees. Suho’s body felt heavy, too heavy to raise his head, or open his eyes, or do anything that could be of actual help for his Wolf. He had the sneaking suspicion that he was nothing but dead weight in his Wolf’s arms – he didn’t like it. Suho was about to move, or speak, or do something, when his Wolf accommodated him better. Suho gasped at the feeling of being tossed into the air just slightly, only to be caught a millisecond later. His Wolf seemed to rumble a low laugh (it had been too low in both pitch and volume to be a giggle); it reverberated through his chest, but not the room. Suho would’ve leant his head on his Wolf’s shoulder, but he was a bit too tall for that.

Suho knew he was being carried out of the room, could feel each of his Wolf’s long strides. His Wolf was also remarkably silent, considering that the added weight was probably punishing the floorboards quite a bit. Suho smiled and let himself be handled like a bride on her wedding night. The mental image, coupled with how badly he’d wanted his Wolf’s dick inside of him, would probably have made him feel either extremely kinky or extremely domestic (everything depended on how awake his cock was feeling). Now, though, every emotion he could name pointed towards content, happiness, and a diffused feeling of being filled to the bursting point. Out of all those, the last one was certainly the most convoluted sensation he’d had in a rather long time.

“Am I your bride now?” Suho managed to mumble. His every syllable sounded slurred beyond repair, barely a sleazy amalgamate of disjointed sounds. His Wolf rumbled another low sound. Suho would’ve fought to get out of his grasp, but those arms were much too solid to bulge.

“Do you want to be?” his Wolf asked. If his voice had sounded deep throughout sex, now it sounded even deeper. Suho trembled, feared he would fall off, and became amazed when he didn’t.

“Yes…” Suho murmured.

Fuck it, this was still a part of his fantasy, there was no shame in admitting his own desires to himself. What did it matter, truly, if he wanted to feel his Wolf’s passion as ardently as if it were their wedding night? Wedding nights were supposed to be so hot, and so intense – Suho wanted to feel wanted, and cherished, and loved. He was just too damn sappy for his own good, he knew; he knew, and precisely because of that revered his Wolf even more. Because his Wolf had the good sense to carry him to bed, bridal-style, and not think twice about it.

Suho barely registered anything else, aside from a generalised sensation of being cared for. He didn’t think twice of being disrobed, down to his boxers, and then tucked into his own bed. The covers magically appeared over him, high enough to keep his neck warm. Suho accommodated his posture, corrected the pillow’s position just slightly, let out a contented moan, and didn’t think twice of the gentle caress over his hair.

He was already too asleep to care.

Chapter Text

The dawn found him in his Wolf form, curled on top of the covers. There were some towels thrown under various points of his anatomy; most notably, levelled with the wound at his side, and under his head. At least he hadn’t drooled all over the bed in his sleep. That would’ve been embarrassing. A deep breathe told him that the dreadful wound had been cleaned, but not truly tended to. He really needed to work on that; an untreated gash like that could get very ugly, very fast. Beyond any possible scarring (something he wasn’t worried about), infections were nasty, festerous things. And he didn’t really know for how long he would be allowed to stay in this house.

His sense of smell reported to his half-hazy brain before his eyelids decided to open for business. Pine trees, but an artificial version of it, one that came from a diffuser. The airy sensation of a well-ventilated room (he appreciated that). But no food was being cooked – he didn’t appreciate that.

He opened his eyes and took a look around. He could remember only tiny bits and pieces of his Wolfpack's adventure last night – the fight, the blood, the win that felt like a loss, the dark alleyway, the warm hands on his head. Warmth… he had the distinct feeling that he had obtained more warmth than he could handle. Weird. He would’ve frowned, but his Wolf form didn’t allow him the luxury.

Then again, his Wolf form was also closer to his idea of comfort, so he didn’t even think about changing to Human form. Besides, this man who had tried to tend to him only knew his Wolf form – would probably freak out if he found an unknown man inside his abode. Especially one who towered over absolutely everybody else; he was a big Wolf, and an even larger Human.

Speaking of Humans… the only clock in the room marked the hour as late enough for their day to begin. Kris knew just enough of Human schedules to know that those who worked tended to get up around this time, or maybe a little later. That, coupled with the kitchen he remembered seeing last night, and the roaring settling in the pit of his stomach, compelled him to get off the bed. Surprisingly enough, his side didn’t give him as much grief as it had last night – it still stung quite acutely, that permanent reminder of his own shortcomings, but it wasn’t enough to stop him from walking. Kris took that as a small victory and pressed on, opening the room’s half-closed door by leaning his weight on it.

The corridor was empty, illuminated only tangentially. It had no windows, so all light was tangential, coming in from the other rooms’ opened doors. Kris allowed himself fleeting glances at one painting hung in the wall between the guest room's door and a different, closed room.

When he reached the opened space that served as both a living room and a kitchen, his steps faltered. He recognised it – he’d been here before, because it was closer to the front door than the guest room – and yet it felt alien to him. It was most likely due to how new it still was, not to mention his hurting flank and his equally wounded pride. He wasn’t known for how easily he lost fights.

The kitchen had a disntictive isle, right in between himself and the stove. It was so unlike the newer tendency to not have any kind of isle in the middle. Kris’ sense of smell identified the fruits on the isle before he could see them – apples that almost didn’t have any scent, half a lemon so fresh that it would’ve made him scrunch his nose if he was in Human form, a couple of semi-ripe bananas. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing too exotic. There was no mango, no papaya, not even a tangerine. It was absurdly normal – but it made him raise his guard precisely because it was so normal, so painstakingly plain. Just another Human’s kitchen.

Kris walked close to the isle, and then changed to Human form. He wasn’t really sure of how steady his gait would be once he didn’t have four legs to support his weight, so having such a solid isle at hand’s reach was a good idea. Ultimately, though, it didn’t make much of a difference – he didn’t need it. Pleasantly surprised, Kris allowed himself a secret smile, and opened the wardrove directly above the sink.

Plates, plates, glasses, plates.

Kris opened the one on its left, because the only thing on the right was the kind of chimney Humans placed above their gas-stoves.

Canned goods, bread, a blender, spices.

Dumbfounded but not deterred, Kris walked to the opposite side of the stove and tried his luck there.

Aha! Sliced bread perfect for toast, and coffee-capsules for the coffee machine on the counter, directly under that wardrove. Kris supposed that the kitchen’s organization made sense for its owner, although it sure as hell seemed utterly arbitrary for Kris himself. He promptly took hold of some bread slices and a capsule – those were all the same brand and blend, so it was safe to assume that the Human who’d helped him last night drank one as breakfast. And if he didn’t do that on a regular basis, the least he could do (at least in Kris’ eyes) was to appreciate his guest’s efforts.

It took him some minutes to figure out how to turn the coffee machine on – exactly the same amount of time it took him to figure out how to turn the sliced bread into proper toast. A delicious smell spread throughout the kitchen, the rich scent of coffee intensified only to him due to his Wolfish senses. Kris truly didn’t know whether it was a blessing or a curse, to never lose his augmented senses; his hearing and smell were heightened even while in Human form.

“Who are you?”

Son of a thousand Wolves.

Kris had his back turned to the corridor, but he didn’t really need to crane his neck backwards like a cursed owl to know that the Human had just arrived. His scent had been covered by that of the coffee and the food, and that had been enough to cloud his entire presence to Kris. That spoke volumes of how dependent Kris – and Wolves in general – could become of their Wolfish senses, especially when in their weaker Human form. If he’d used his eyes, he would’ve seen the newcomer’s reflection on the metallic parts of the coffee machine.

“I’m your guest.” Kris said without turning around. Now that he was aware of the other’s presence, his scent was easy to track.

Flowing water and steady earth mixing together, intoxicatingly sweet, like a river running through a lively forest.

Kris looked over his shoulder, and his breathe caught in his throat at the sight of Suho's brown eyes, his gaze warm and inviting, lips slightly parted – as if he wanted to say something more, but was still ruminating it inside his mind. Then, he raised a hand and ran it over his hair. Some locks stuck out quite rebelliously, until Suho tamed them down with those long fingers.

“And I’m cooking your breakfast." Kris added, wishing he was being smooth. In truth, he was still trying to recover from that sweet scent – it truly was the sweetest he'd ever felt. "Just sit down.”

“Where’s my dog?”

Kris blinked. He supposed that was a good cover for most Wolves who preferred to keep their Wolf forms. It wouldn’t work for him – he was a bit too big to pass for a pet – but he still gave this one props for effort.

“You mean the big, wounded Wolf in the guest room?”

Now it was the other’s time to blink. The coffee machine went off. Kris turned his attention to it, looking it over and over. A hand that wasn’t his turned the machine off.

“Thank you for the coffee.”

Oh, fuck.

This Human was so close to Kris that he could make out every spice in his scent, from shampoo to conditioner, and even down to aftershave. The realization, although not surprising given his Wolf senses, still was overwhelming enough to make him lose his train of thought. It was a good thing that the other seemed perfectly happy with drinking a couple sips – Kris couldn’t have missed how he’d closed his eyes even if he’d tried. But then this Human made a funny face. Kris silently handed him some sugar.

“Thank you. This machine makes the coffee much too bitter.”

“I’ve noticed.” Kris would’ve sworn he hadn’t said anything funny; however, the other man still laughed. It sounded beautiful, if Kris dared think about it. Warm brown eyes looked at him, from a place shorter than Kris’ own height. “The Wolf is fine, by the way. You needn’t worry.”

“But he was wounded?” the Human prompted. He was fully drinking his coffee by now, apparently happy with the sugar mixture. He’d also grabbed the bread-for-toast and proceeded to make breakfast for two. “Make yourself a coffee too, if you want.”

“I’m good.” Kris couldn’t help the way in which he was staring at the man. That scent, those eyes, the pleasant voice, the clear enunciation… the handsome face… everything was appealing. “Have you spoken to the Wolf?”

“Not really. He couldn’t speak my language.”

“He didn’t change?” Upon the other’s confused stare, Kris promptly clarified. “Change forms, from Wolf to Human?”

“Ah!” Realization hit him probably in time with his gasp. Kris was too deprived of company for his mind not to fall into the gutter for a second. “No, he didn’t. Also, who were you again?”

Kris turned away from the man and feigned being busy with the coffee machine only to not have to answer that. He wasn’t ready for having a Human know his name – or even his nickname. It was dangerous to have a Human know both his Wolf and Human form, so not saying any names was like running damage control. A feeble kind, though – true damage control would’ve been terrorising this Human into helping him (or serve his needs, whichever those are), and then killing him. That way, the murder case wouldn’t have made sense for Humans who didn’t believe in Wolves. They'd only see a dead Human who'd been killed in his own home, his corpse littered in teeth-marks. Son of a thousand Wolves, it would only make the legends grow.

And the legends were beneficial for Wolves at large, not just for Kris individually. Which was good.

And yet he didn’t want to kill this Human. That was his weakness, in the eyes of his oldest pack-member. Kris was always reluctant to fight, always reluctant to order his pack to fight. Even when he had the most capable fighter, both in Wolf and Human forms, in his pack, Kris still refused to apply unnecessary violence. The oldest Wolf didn’t quite get it, but the rest did; and Kris was respected enough as the pack’s leader to not be too contested over this.

Besides, killing this Human would’ve been a real waste. Kris would much rather enjoy his presence more. If his memories were correct, this Human could caress him good.

An alarm went off somewhere in the kitchen. Kris’ Wolfish hearing resented it much more than mere Human senses would have – he closed his eyes, furrowed his face. The sound didn’t last for long, which was a blessing, and then the other man was speaking.

“I need to go to work. Please keep an eye on the Wolf? I tried to help him! Thank you for breakfast, bye!”

He was gone and out the front door like a fucking whirlwind. For some very long moments, Kris could only stare at the closed door, dumbfounded. Then, some sick brand of humour crossed him, and he laughed.

The hell… Humans truly were too trusting. Why, in the name of sweet fuck, would a Human leave for work with a fucking stranger standing in the middle of their kitchen? It made no sense, unless the Human in question thought it was like an escape route from the immediate danger to their life. But that only gave the stranger enough leverage to tear the house apart, to rob or destroy anything he wanted. Or worse. And, when you threw an entire Wolf into the mix, things could only get even more complicated.

What did that Human have inside that pretty head, a brain or mud?

Kris wolfed down his breakfast – pun fucking intended – in his Human form, only because he was hungry and there was nobody else in the room. He usually tried to keep some semblance of respectability, of good manners, especially when around Humans, but he also seemed to throw it all out the window as soon as he was left alone. In truth, it was just another little thing that his pack teased him for – and damn, this coffee was excellent, and the toast had so many things on it that it felt almost like a whole meal.

Although it wasn’t his responsibility, Kris found himself washing the plates and storing them back into the drawers he’d taken them from. Something about that Human, about the way his scent lingered throughout the whole apartment, drove him half crazy.

He was so ready to blame it on this long dry spell.

… even though that would mean that he was also blaming his own inability to pick up someone for a night. And, considering the full moon had been not two nights ago, it would be much wiser to wait some good seventy hours more.

Well, it wasn’t like Wolves were obligated by contract to change into Wolf form in time with the moon – in fact, most didn’t – it was just that Wolfish instincts were much harder to control when the full moon was hung up high. That was another reason why the vast majority of Wolves preferred not to live amidst Human societies, aside from how insistently the latter shunned any and all Wolves away. Kris couldn’t even remember the last time he’d been in a city for more than five days, always during hidden new moons to minimize the risk of unconsciously changing forms. The eldest of his pack had lived in the middle of Humans, completely undetected, for years; but Kris didn’t have his care for details. His second youngest, too; but Kris didn’t have the kind of absent innocence that he did – Humans always seemed to want to protect his pack-member, almost mother-like, but they only looked intimidated as fuck by Kris.

It was probably the height, he mused. He wasn’t even that muscled, his shoulders were just broad. Hey, the youngest member of his pack was almost as tall as Kris, stronger both in and out of a fight, but he looked weaker than Kris just because he wasn’t as broad-shouldered.

It wasn’t fair.

The fact that the two eldest looked like they were for sure the two youngest wasn’t fair, either.

Upon closing the last drawer, dried blood pulled at the skin around the wound, the reality of his situation sinking in again. Kris groaned, low, guttural, a Wolf in a Human’s pelt, his hand immediately going up to hold his side. He really needed to get this thing properly cared for, damnit. But phoning his pack’s healer wasn’t a great idea. Not when he was inside a Human’s apartment, not when phone calls could be traced. It was already bad enough that he’d been seen in both Wolf and Human form, even though this Human didn’t seem to have connected all the dots just yet – Kris couldn’t risk his entire pack just because of his own lack of foresight in a fight. He was positive he could defend Yixing if a fight broke out – hell, Yixing himself wasn’t a half-bad fighter, he was agiler than most – but Kris didn’t want to resort to violence.

The thought of not wanting to damage this Human reappeared in his mind.

Kris growled again, though not due to physical pain, and finally decided that he needed to do something about this fastidious wound. He’d seen Yixing heal the rest of the pack more than enough times to have picked up the basics – hell, Yixing himself had taught all of them what to do in an emergency. Kris knew exactly what he needed to find in this apartment to be able to do some first-aid cures; Yixing could surely take it up from there later on, when Kris wasn’t so focused on this Human.

So. The order in which he was going to do things. A mental check-list, if you will.

First, the wound. Second, exploring the apartment. Third… who knew. Whatever he added on the “third” category depended a lot on what he found out about this Human. Hence why the “second” category was important, even though the thing under “first” was the most urgent one.

Then again, there was some degree of exploration to be done if he wanted to find what he needed to treat his wound. He needed to find some rubbing alcohol. He doubted that a Human would have the equipment to properly tend to a Wolf, so it would be best to remain in Human form for now. Besides, hands were better than paws when it came to this kind of thing, ‘cause opposable thumbs and all that jazz.

Then again, changing to Wolf form would probably aid him in pinpointing exactly where scented items were located inside the apartment. But the change would strain his sides, because the structure of a Human’s ribs was different from a Wolf’s. And straining his sides would inevitably tear at the wound there, maybe even reopening it.

So changing was completely out of the question. Because more blood-loss was the last thing he needed. It had taken his body a lot of time to somewhat close the wound, it wasn’t wise to put himself through that particular hell again.

Human form was it, then.

Kris moved towards the corridor, unconsciously sniffling the air a couple times. The smells from the quick breakfast were still there, coming from behind him, tasty but not appetizing now that he’d already eaten. There were also other distinguishable scents, such as the poignant cologne that this Human had been wearing when he’d walked into the kitchen. It came from behind a mostly-closed door; and Kris assumed it to be the main bedroom. That was a room he wanted to explore. He filed it under that “second” category, because he apparently needed to get deeper into the house to find what he was looking for.

He came across the guest bedroom’s door as he went, but paid it no mind beyond acknowledging that it was there. He’d already explored that thing, there was no need to ransack it floor-to-roof just because there might be something hidden amongst the books. If anything, the guest’s bedroom was just a last resort, something to have in mind when everything else had already failed. But, if everything else didn’t fail, then he wouldn’t go into the guest bedroom just to take a look around it again.

Ah, so there was a bathroom.

… what the hell, of fucking course there was a bathroom. The important thing here was that Humans kept rubbing alcohol in their bathrooms. And Kris needed to find that.

Even though he was a bit thrown off-balance by his own brain, by how eclectic his thoughts had been out of a sudden, he pressed onwards. He figured that he could very well blame all out-of-character things on the fucking wound. Just another reason more why he needed it fucking closed and gone.

The bathroom was small, almost tiny enough to be considered a toilette instead. Then again, the whole apartment seemed to not be very big, so it made sense that even the bathroom was this tiny. The door opened in and to the right, and Kris could see some towel hangers on the wall that was obscured when the door was fully opened. There was a tall window right in front of said door, expanding horizontally on the top part of the wall – no curtains and no blinds, but at least the glass was riveted and smoked enough to distort everything. A small mercy, Kris supposed, when surrounded by quite a number of tall buildings.

The only real luxury in the bathroom’s white-tiled normalcy was the tub resting on one side. Kris stopped to stare for a moment, gauging its size with the kind of expert eye that was used to explore luxuries. It was big enough to hold an average-sized Human inside (maybe even two, if they didn’t mind being pressed close together), and perhaps it’d be ample enough for Kris’ Wolf form, but there was no way it could fit a Human and a Wolf. Then again, most Human equipment couldn’t do that.

Kris didn’t exactly feel disappointed at the realization, but he wasn’t indifferent either.

Perhaps trying not to dwell on that complicated feeling, he directed his gaze to the left side. There was the sink, directly across the toilet. And, mounted on the wall, he could see a cabinet, its edge parallel to the mirror above the sink.

Kris checked that cabinet first – he knew just about enough of Human logic to guess that the medicinal supplies he craved would be inside it. And bingo, there were lots of small bottles inside. Most were just rubbing alcohol, safely-secured band-aids, pieces of a lithe clothe – Kris had no idea what that was used for – and an opened, yet full, bag of white cotton. Oh, and a tub of rubbing cream… what the hell, that package clearly said the product was meant for babies.

Did this Human have a child?

…no, that couldn’t be. The house wasn’t baby-proof. And Humans tended to be so worried about their cubs – no, their babies – that they secured literally everything, from counters to drawers to floors to walls. Kris had never understood that mania, even after living among Wolves who actually loved to play with Human cu–babies.

The line distinguishing Wolves from Humans sure was really fucking thin.

The only thing that wasn’t in this cabinet were bandages. Because of course Kris was just unlucky enough to not find the one thing he needed the most. Oh well. At least he could clean the gash with more than simple water. Since he didn’t recognise most of the brands printed on the bottles’ sides, he opted for washing his hands and taking out the one product that he knew. He’d seen Yixing using it, had listened to Tao’s endless whining when Yixing applied it to his wounds. And, since Kris knew Tao was prone to exaggerating his own perils, it probably wouldn’t hurt him as much – besides, all Wolves had a high tolerance to pain.

Then again, Tao’s wound at the time had been a scratch compared to what Kris had right now.

Kris hissed numerous curses in all four languages he could speak when he touched the wound with the medicine. Instead of letting himself get lost in the pain, he forced his mind to concentrate in recalling Yixing’s words.

“Be gentle, work slowly, it’s better to do it slow than rushing and having to reopen the wound later just because it didn’t heal properly.”

Oh, how right he’d been… Yixing was always right when it came to medicines. Kris hissed another curse, closed the medicinal bottle, and left it in its place. Then, he washed his hands again, and closed the cabin. His side was still screaming bloody murder into his bloodstream, and his heart still pounded as though he was running, but at least he could allow himself to relax now.

The “first” category was taken care of. So he could now focus on the “second” category: exploring the apartment and, more specifically, that one bedroom. The Human’s bedroom. There had to be something good there, if judging solely by the lingering scent of cologne still coming from that door. The smell had been minimized somewhat by time alone – Wolfish senses could still pick up on it – and Kris followed it, backtracking a bit.

The master bedroom was, unsurprisingly, the second biggest room. There was a huge bed on one side, headboard resting against the wall – Kris’ mind went places before he could get a hold of his own thoughts. The covers were, for some unfathomable reason, fucking deep green, and ruffled on one end. Kris supposed this Human had jumped out of bed when the clock on the bedside table woke him up – no, that couldn’t be it, Kris had woken up first and he hadn’t heard any alarm.

…he hadn’t been that distracted, had he…?

Oh well. No point in worrying about that now. He’d already dealt with this Human for the time being, now he could focus on learning more about said Human. Information was always valuable, but especially more so when Kris was a bit too wounded to be fully operative during a fight – again, not that he wanted to physically fight this Human, but…

The little bottle of cologne was resting against some books, atop the desktop on the other side of the room, opposite to the bed. Kris took it in hand to examine it better, blinked at how much tinier the object looked when placed in his huge hands. It was made of thick, hard plastic, although treated to resemble glass, and tinted a lovely shade of light blue. Kris had never really understood why Humans associated blue with males and pink with females, but oh well. At least this bottle was pretty.

The way it had laced this Human’s scent at the edges had also been pretty.

Oh, what the fuck. Kris had seen this Human for such a short time, why were his thoughts focusing on him so often, so intently?

Well, okay, this Human hadn’t been unattractive, even from the point of view of a Wolf – because Wolfish senses picked up flaws quickly, thus making the Wolf feel like there were no good sides to others. But this Human had seemed decent enough at first glance this morning, and he’d obviously guided Kris into this house last night, had even tended to him… such tenderness was oftentimes limited – from Wolves to Wolves, and from Humans to Humans. The fact that this one had taken the time to try and heal Kris was touching.

And now, Kris was about to repay his kindness by prying around his room.

He set the bottle down, back onto the desk, and let his eyes roam over the table. It was made of dark wood, although it was honestly damn difficult to see underneath the books, notebooks, magazines, a closed laptop, half-written papers, pens and–

–and that laptop was looking awfully tempting. Even with its metallic lid closed, even as cold to the touch as it was (it probably hadn’t been turned on in a while), Kris still found himself wondering what he might find inside its folders. So he opened it and pressed one firm fingertip to the power button, marked as such only by the appropriate symbol. The laptop powered up quickly, its lock-screen flaring up – son of a thousand Wolves, was the brightness really turned all the way up? Really?

At least the image this Human had chosen as a lock-screen was pleasant. It showed the night sky, the brilliant moon strategically relegated to the only corner not covered by either clickable symbols or words. The rest of the dark view was covered in small dots, their hues varying from tenuous yellow to lighter blue. And then, the screen went black again, the power button still lit to indicate the laptop was on. Kris had to drag his finger on the mousepad, as though he was also moving the arrow-pointer on the screen, to return to the night sky.

Oh, true. One click, or pressing the space bar once, and the lock-screen changed from showing the time to showing where he was supposed to input a password.

A password.

…a password.

A fucking password.

Wait, what?!

Kris groaned out loud, although it sounded much more like a growl. Of-fucking-course the laptop would need a password. What idiot left their personal computer just lying around, no big deal? No one. This Human might’ve gone out of this room in a hurry, but he sure as hell wasn’t as naïve as he looked like when surprise overtook his features. His handsome features.

Kris took a quick look around the room, wanting to find something that could give him any clues as to what this Human could’ve possibly chosen as a password. His gaze went over the rest of the desk, not stopping at anything in particular. Hell, he hoped the laptop wasn’t so new that it still needed the factory-given password – now that would be a much bigger pain to find.

His roaming gaze halted as soon as he saw the little row of cupboards built into the desk’s wooden legs. The top one was slightly opened, as if this Human hadn’t been able to close it completely in his hurry to leave for work. It caught Kris’ attention, and his hand was moving to pull it open before his brain could catch up with his own movements.

A folder, some font pens – they didn’t even smell of ink, had they been used even once in the past? – and a collection of small trinkets that ebbed in time with the drawer. Kris could identify some crystal beads; the kind used for cheap jewellery that resembled real gems. There were also a handful of clipboards, some shining metallic grey under the sunlight, but others were much more colourful, neon pink mixing with white-and-black.

So this Human had more taste for his office supplies and clothes than he had for interior design. His cologne and aftershave had also been nice, not too insidious even for acute Wolfish senses – that was something Kris valued highly, because it was too damn easy to get sent into sensory overload just by walking down a Human city’s streets.

But there wasn’t anything in this drawer that could give him any clues relating to the laptop’s password. Even the folder was useless; it only contained work-related notes, scribbled down by a hurried hand. Most of the characters were either messy or downright illegible, much to Kris’ chagrin.

When he closed that drawer again, it was with a heavy sigh and a light touch. He made sure to leave it as slightly-opened as he’d found it, more out of precaution than of habit. After all, there was no way of knowing if this Human had actually been in a hurry, or if he’d done it on purpose, to have something to let him know whether someone had gone through his stuff. Kris knew that most Humans were too quick to trust others than to set up such wards, but it was common practice amongst Wolves. Even oblivious Kris had picked it up after seeing the rest of his pack doing it, after hearing their reasonings for it.

The middle drawer was locked in place. Damnit. There had to be something in the bottom drawer blocking it. Kris lent a hand on the middle drawer’s handle, tried at the same time to open the bottom one – maybe he could finesse it by sheer technique, instead of applying brute force.

What luck, the bottom drawer opened without a single issue. There really wasn’t anything incriminating, barely an assortment of books and a thick ruler – aha, the thing blocking the middle drawer had been the ruler, because it hadn’t been leant perfectly flat onto the books. Kris removed it, careful not to snap it in half, and went directly for the now-unblocked middle drawer.

Oh no. So that was why it had been purposely blocked.

So curiosity did kill the cat – the Wolf – and satisfaction wasn’t going to bring it – him – back. There wasn’t anything even remotely satisfactory about this.

At least now he had a couple of ideas for the password. Kris quickly closed it all and returned to the laptop. The screen had gone black again, announcing just how much time he’d spent rummaging around the room – nothing that moving the mouse around couldn’t remedy, though. A softened click, done by tapping the mousepad with a gentle fingertip, revealed the white bar in which to input the damned password. The combination of words looked quite random at first glance, as if it had absolutely nothing to do with the handsome Human he’d greeted earlier in the kitchen. But, upon a closer inspection, Kris could recognise the double meaning in the letters – strange that there were no numbers, because most Humans used their birthdates, or a lucky number, when designing passwords and usernames. Then again, it wasn’t the most important thing. Not when the laptop accepted the password on his first try.

Although Kris knew this had been nothing more than a stroke of luck, he couldn’t help the warm pride spreading through him. He allowed himself a smirk that looked more knowing than dark, and then reached out to the only chair he could see in front of the desk. Kris moved it until it was closer to the PC, deciding that sitting down would be the best idea if he was going to be here for a while. It took him some time to fold his long legs under the chair, knees against the desk despite how tightly he’d crossed his ankles in an attempt to palliate his own height. Still, he managed to find a posture comfortable enough to let him focus on the screen, and not on the awkward angle of his limbs, nor on the dull ache of his side – the medicine was working, then. Good.

The wallpaper that this Human had selected for his laptop was nonobstructive. It was present without being overbearing, its colour poignant enough to be something to focus on while working on a half-screened project, but not so brilliant that it rendered the file-names impossible to read. Kris silently approved of the chosen image, an ocean-view at dusk – it didn’t remind him so much of his own Wolfish nature as the lock-screen had.

Kris moved the mouse around, merely trying to see where the arrow-pointer was, but accidentally clicked on one of the few folders at the left of the screen. It opened up instantly, luckily labelled in a language Kris could understand, to show that it had some pictures and a new folder inside. Since the folder’s view was set to show a preview of the pictures, Kris could see that they were friendly shots, of this Human with other men. The names given to each picture was a date, not the people’s names, so Kris had no idea about their relationship with the Human who had healed him. But the poses were telling; they were really close to one another, arms hung around shoulders and hands holding chins, smiles and kisses and cute gestures aplenty.

It reminded Kris of his own pack. It made him smile.

Now the folder inside the folder was a whole different story. The preview icon only showed a secondary (tertiary?) folder inside. Confused, Kris clicked on it, failing to notice that even its name was another date.

It opened yet another folder. And another. And another.

“What the fuck…” Kris half muttered, half growled.

This long chain of folders could only mean one thing. It was too reminiscent of how teenaged boys would take “security measures” to hide pornography in their parents’ computer. But this wasn’t a family laptop, it was a personal one… was this Human really that ashamed of his own fantasies, of his own turn-ons, of his own entire sexuality? If that was the case, Kris seriously pitied him – not that Kris was the most promiscuous, that title certainly went to others (not even to those in his pack), but still. Knowing what one likes in bed isn’t a sin, it’s only the most basic requirement to have fulfilling sex.

Oh well. At least this new folder contained something more than the standard of folder-inside-folder-inside-folder.

Fuck, even that word was losing meaning by now.

But Kris seemed to have struck gold. This really was a hidden stash of porn, not in the form of videos, but readings. Well, they were really screencaps of different SNS sites and posts, sometimes even with the comments included – and most were labelled 1/2, 2/2, or even 1/3. The level of organization was exactly what Kris had seen in the rest of the apartment; tidy without being too much, clean without being impersonal. This part of the laptop reflected its owner much more accurately than anything else. Which was telling, considering how hidden it was – this Human was ashamed of his own sexuality, but still kept everything neatly organised.

What the fuck. Again.

Normally, Kris wouldn’t have been so daring as to click on the first image to make it full-screen. He didn’t really like to pry into others’ fantasies – unless he was asking his bedpartner – but he was alone in this apartment right now. There was absolutely no one who could interrupt him if he felt the need to jack off (he seriously doubted it would come to that); and his Wolf senses would let him know when someone opened the front door, so he wouldn’t be caught either. Besides, changing forms was always quick – he could just adopt Wolf form and play innocent, hard-on or not, because most Humans weren’t curious about doing anything with animal dicks.

 

rumiko0609. Posted on 15 April . ngl i get dripping wet just by thinking of a big mean wolf taking me away from school. yeah i’m like super young but i'm also a sexual chick and i want a wolf to enter my classroom and terrorise the room and take me away. i wouldn’t mind if he even tore all my clothes in the middle of the street or if he fucked me in front of the house where everybody can see. i just want to get fucked hard and deep and raw by a big knotted wolf dick after everybody knows i’m gonna get fucked good.

 

Oh wow. Kris certainly wasn’t expecting to be bombarded with such crude words right from the get-go. Leaving aside the atrocious orthography, because that was typical of Internet forums, the fantasy described was surprisingly detailed. Kris didn’t want to know exactly how old the user was – he knew himself well enough to know that could terrorise the horny out of him – but it certainly was an… interesting, mental image.

Especially because he, like every other Wolf out there, knew many more details than the public did.

 

wolf_of_no_name. Posted on 27 July. I’m the gayest gay you’ve ever seen, ok. That’s all you need to know about me. But normal humans don’t cut it anymore… I want something bigger, meaner. I want a Wolf. Sometimes I let my mind wander and I end up fantasizing about knotted dicks, about having cum dripping all over me. I know I’m disgusting. I don’t care. Do any of you know if wolves have another form aside from either wolf or human? Like an intermediate, monstrous thing?

Linda commented: well I don’t know about the knotted dicks (not my kink tbh) but I’ve heard some people say there is another form, kinda like the traditional spoopy werewolves of old terror movies? I’m paraphrasing though, don’t quote me on that.

wolf_of_no_name commented: Aaah! Thank you @Linda! That answers some of my doubts, and will certainly be reflected in fantasy ;)

 

Kris blinked a couple times. It wasn’t like these messages were too rowdy – the first screengrab had been more explicit – it just left an unpleasant flavour in his mouth. Because, no, Wolves didn’t have a “third form”. Only a Human form, and a Wolf form. That’s it. And Human form was just that; Human. Which meant a Human-like dick, not whatever flowery fantasy dildo-like appendages these people were thinking about. Well, his Wolf form did have a knotted dick, just like regular canines. But fucking a Human, or a Wolf in Human form with a Wolfish dick…

…that would be extreme. The kind of kinky, unabashed too-much that extremely kinky Wolves understood as sex. Kris had heard of such things before, although he had never engaged in it. Sure, a certain curiosity was there – it was the kind of topic that was never openly discussed, not even amongst the closest packs – but…

If the Human was particularly small, it could be such a fucking pain. Literally and figuratively. Kris hadn’t met anybody whom he’d wanted to put through that particular brand of roughness.

 

Katrina. Posted on 27 March: Am I the only domme in this thread? Seriously, I’ve been reading ya’ll and I wanna say that I want to dom the fuck out of a big mean wolf. There. I said it. I don’t even care if it’s a female or a male wolf, I can get my strapon and take a good fucking anyway. Maybe even at the same time!

Buddleia commented: omg omg omg O.M.G. I’m SO with you on that!!! Can you imagine having a wolf under you and you’re fucking them with a BIIIIG strapon, but at the same time you’re also getting fucked GOOD by another huge dick??!?!??!?!?! That’s heaven to me <3

 

The next screengrab looked more promising, if only for the lack of comments. Kris wondered if that was good, because it meant unfiltered content, or bad – precisely because it meant unfiltered content. Gulping thickly, he read on.

 

wolflover1988. Posted on 08 July: This is not the most typical thing, I know, but… the thought of a wolf biting me a lot and marking me turns me on… like… not even during sex… he could mark me in whatever way he wanted… and I’d take it…

dellilah54619. Posted on 01 January: Related to something I just read on here… I, too, wanna be marked up and down by a wolf. But not by biting. By cum. Or by them peeing on me. That’s how normal wolves and dogs mark territory, right? P.S. happy new year!!

123_countingon_321. Posted on 31 October: Can I be crude? I wanna be crude. I’m gonna be crude. I want a wolf gangbang and to be bitten by all of them and covered in all their cum. I wanna give blowjobs, I wanna be fucked in all my holes, I wanna end up passing out and wake up to them still fucking me. Now THAT would make for a PERFECT Hallowe’en!

           

Kris swallowed thickly once more. That… was more like his taste, rather than the public sex discussion of the first screenshot. Kris could admit (although a bit shamefully) that he’d been chewed off by his bedpartners for biting them too hard. He was quite sure that being territorial was a Wolf thing, even if the instinct wasn’t equally developed in all Wolves.

For example, his two youngest – his two youngest pack-members – didn’t have such a strong urge to mark their mates. As far as Kris knew, both Yixing and Tao would rather be gentle, careful, not leave any everlasting marks, instead sucking hickies into the neck and the inner thighs. There was a certain appeal to that, Kris could recognise it easily, especially if their cocks were a handful even in Human form.

Not that he knew what Yixing’s cock looked like – Tao was simply too much of a scaredy-cat than to shower alone most of the time, so that was it.

But there were also those kinky Wolves who absolutely loved to see their partners covered in bruises and marks and cum, all messy, chest heaving heavily, too spent to even smile up (or down, though usually up) to their Wolfish lover. In Kris’ pack, the two eldest fell into that category. Xiumin was simply too experienced to not know what he liked in bed, and he had more than enough rhetorical weapons to disarm his lovers’ doubts. Which was not to say he would somehow coerce his bedfellows – it simply meant that he was quite reassuring, could make even the shiest being feel secure between his sheets, and so it was relatively easy for him to get his way without having to neglect his partner’s needs and desires.

The second oldest, though… that one was such a fucking handful. Kris had only had the displeasure of being in the same house as his pack-member and his one-night-stand once in his lifetime, and it was an experience he didn’t really want to repeat. Innocent and petite as he looked, Luhan packed enough of a punchline to have his partner literally screaming his name, as if thick cement walls were mere paper-thin leaves. And when the girl had left, she was walking funny, unstable even at a passing glance, bright pink panties in one hand, high heels staccato-ing on the wooden floor.

She had looked the epitome of well-fucked. Which had soured Kris’ mood even further, silently reminding him of his own lack of sex.

And shortly afterwards, their Wolfpack had reached a new town, and Luhan had started to literally beg the other three Wolves to take a new pack-member in. No one had been able to refuse Luhan for llong – especially not after meeting their fifth and final pack-member, who'd also turned out to be Luhan's chosen mate.

Kris closed his jaw tightly, until he could feel the pull at his teeth. Funny how Kris was literally the pack’s middle child in age – two older, two younger – and he was also smack middle on the marking issue. Some days he wanted nothing more than to mark his lover to hell and back, to proudly shove the “this is my partner” markings in the world’s face. But other times he wanted to keep everything in secret, to leave hidden bites on the inner thighs, ultimately taking things soft and gentle and loving with his partner. Not that rougher sex couldn’t be loving, too – Kris just had a preference for more gentler things on the regular, with the occasional rougher fit.

Suddenly, a key turned inside a keyhole. Kris’ Wolfish senses caught it. He jumped in his seat. He exited the screengrabs, the folder. He turned off the PC, moved the chair back into place.

But he wasn’t quick enough to change into Wolf form before his Human entered the room.

Chapter Text

“You’re still here.”

Damnit.

“I thought you would’ve left.”

Fuck.

“What are you doing in my room?”

Oh, no.

Kris swallowed thickly in a motion that was quickly becoming a habit. He had no good answers prepared for the onslaught of sentences and questions that this Human had just sent his way, so he opted for not speaking at all.

“You’re not very talkative right now.” The Human easily moved from the door to the bed, onto which he set down a folder. Kris couldn’t help but to follow the item with his gaze, too used to noticing everything that was going on around him. “Work-related stuff… what a joy, now I gotta work on weekends too.”

This Human walked to the wardrove and opened one door. It was tall enough to cover his frame from Kris’ point of view, almost like an old-timey woman’s bimbo. The realisation that this Human was going to change in front of him hit him like a freight train.

It took a lot not to blush deep crimson – and not just because he’d just read some of the things that turned the Human on.

“I don’t think I caught your name before I had to rush out on you like that. Sorry for that, by the way.” This Human had some gall, talking to him in such a familiar tone. Most Humans couldn’t even look at him in the eye, due to either his imposing height or his intimidating aura, and yet this one was sneaking glances at him every once in a while – even while undoing his shirt. “I’m Suho.”

Suho… that had to be a nickname. Kris couldn’t really blame him for not offering his real name; not when he himself was known by a nickname, too. Besides, the laptop’s welcoming screen had greeted “Suho” – something that spoke of how much usage the name had in this Human’s life. Hell, even the password had been a play on words centred around it.

“Kris.” He finally offered. It felt almost like a peace-offering, a veiled apology for having snooped in his laptop. When Suho looked at him once again, Kris didn’t have the guts to look right back. “Nice place you have here.”

“Ah, thank you. It’s not as good as it seems, really, I just keep it tidy.” A bright smile. It lighted up the room. This Human’s – Suho’s –scent spread over the room when he took off his trousers. Kris inhaled deep, looked away, almost overwhelmed. “How’s the Wolf?”

“Better healed, though I’m no expert.” Kris managed to say. Now that Suho wasn’t looking directly at him, it was easier to breathe.

But breathing easier was like a death trap when that scent lingered every-fucking-where.

“That’s good, I was worried all day.” Another blinding smile. Suho disappeared from view for some seconds while he pulled up his new trousers. Kris pointedly refused to even glance towards his general direction. “I… work an office job. I’m not good with animals, or with medicine…”

“You did enough to help him last night.” Kris honestly couldn’t remember if Suho had told him the Wolf’s gender that morning, but ultimately it didn’t matter. All that truly mattered to him in that moment was reassuring Suho, who looked almost mortified – as if not having been able to properly cure the wounded Wolf was a heavy burden in his conscience. Kris wanted to alleviate that, although he still didn’t know why. “Seriously. Some clean water’s better than nothing. At least it didn’t clot too badly overnight.”

Suho flinched, finished organising things inside the wardrobe, and closed the door. The sound, while muffled to nonexistence for Human ears, still made Kris whip his head to stare at him. The motion didn’t quite give him whiplash, but it made Suho’s sweet, sweet scent catch around him.

Kris' head spun.

“Are you alright…?” Suho walked towards him then, uncertainty painted clearly in his face. Kris swallowed, unable to tear his gaze (more like stare at this point) away from him. “You’ve gone pale.”

When Suho raised a hand to touch Kris’ forehead, gently, a barely-there press to check his temperature, Kris didn’t flinch. It was strange, because usually he would have moved back and denied the other. But…

…up this close, Suho’s eyes were the richest mahogany Kris had ever seen in a Human. They were filled with concern, the sentiment so easy to see in his features – the soft curve of his lips, the brow furrowed ever so slightly. Kris’ brain was too disconnected from the rest of his conscience than to allow him to think about why exactly Suho was looking like this. It simply didn’t add up – Suho had found a strange intruder in his kitchen this morning, and he was concerned about this stranger’s wellbeing in the afternoon? Not showing, nor shoving, him out the door?

It made no sense. It also made Kris’ head spin.

The feather-touch on his forehead, the back of Suho’s right hand gently pressed against his warm skin, was too little and too much at the same time. It had quickly become the central point of Kris’ consciousness, his whole attention laser-focused on it. When Suho moved, not really away but not pressing deeper either, merely a twitch of his knuckles, Kris blinked, looked directly into those dark eyes.

Suho returned the stare, intense yet not overbearing. It reminded Kris of the kind of stares he himself gave his pack-members – firm, ready to yield if anybody made a good point, ready to lead whether from the top or the bottom.

Suho's gaze told Kris that he was used to dealing with people younger than himself. It made Kris wonder just how old Suho was; because working an office job could mean any age from twenty-two to sixty-five. It was true that Suho didn’t look a day over thirty, but neither did Xiumin, and the eldest member of his pack was Xiumin.

“You’re warm…” Suho muttered. His voice sounded softer than before, as if he had something mulling over in his mind.

Kris suddenly had a bad feeling – a mental flash of a dark sofa – sexually explicit screengrabs – and then he was speaking, words pouring out of his mouth before he could stop himself.

“Thank you, but I’m fine. You don’t need to worry. I’m fine, the Wolf is fine, nothing’s wrong. How was your day?”

“It was… quiet.” Suho’s frown had deepened a little, his hand falling away from Kris’ forehead. A small part of the Wolf resented the loss of contact – Kris blamed it on canine instincts loving to be petted. It led him to swallow, thick, the metaphorical lump in his throat almost too much to gulp around. Suho’s eyes flickered to Kris’ Adam's apple for a split second. “I didn’t do much all day… just file reports, a couple of lengthy phone-calls, and a meeting. I didn’t even have lunch…” As if on cue, his stomach growled. “Oops.”

“No worries.” Kris mumbled. Suho’s hands had flown to his stomach, apologies painted plainly in his handsome features. He looked so small, and not just because Kris was taller. “I could cook you something.”

“…it’s my house.” Suho pointed out, softly tilting his head to one side. The smile on his face was quite soft, too. “You’re my guest. I should be the one cooking.”

Kris knew perfectly well what angle Suho was playing here. This sly Human was trying to convince him without actually looking like he was putting in any effort to do so. Kris had tried to play the same game before, to his younger pack-members, but he was a terrible liar and they’d called him out for it. Xiumin and Yixing could play such angles without even losing an inch of their smiles, though – they’d laughed at Kris, said he could never be a lawyer because he was bad at lying through his teeth. Kris had had no other option than to agree.

But Suho was kinda good at it. Once more, Kris had the distinct feeling that he was used to dealing with younger Humans. Which brought the age question back.

“Gotta repay you somehow for letting me stay around.” Kris shrugged just one shoulder, trying maybe too hard not to ruffle the air around him. Suho’s sweet scent still permeated the room, and it was getting right to Kris’ head. “Besides, you look tired. Been working all day without pause, haven’t you?”

“Yeah…” Suho led him out of the room, and Kris let himself be guided. Somehow, his first instinct was to trust this Human. Any other Wolf would’ve called it a death wish – blindly trusting a Human could so easily end up in tragedy, after all. Kris tried to argue with himself, rationalising that he was strong enough to take Suho on if a fight broke out. “On second thought, letting you cook for me doesn’t sound so bad.”

“What do you want to eat?” Kris asked as he walked around the kitchen isle. Suho sat down, elbows leant on said isle, and it was just so damn domestic that Kris’ head spun.

“Dunno.”

“Well, what can I cook with the ingredients you have here?”

“I don’t know which recipes you know.”

Kris’ legendary stare bore holes into Suho at that reply. It felt like the Human was arguing for the sake of arguing, not being helpful just because he could do so. It was like trying to make a small, stubborn cub get some common sense inside their thick skull. Kris had never been particularly great with cubs (nor with Human kids), so the situation annoyed him to no end.

Then Suho had the audacity to laugh at him.

“I’m kidding, I’m kidding!” Kris tried to stay reasonably mad, but Suho’s smile lighted up the room too much to let annoyance stay. “Why don’t you cook something that you like? I’ve got noodles…” he pointed to a cupboard, then moved his hand around. “… meat is in the freezer… knives in that drawer… I guess you could make a couple different sauces with all that…”

“All that?” Kris repeated. He’d been moving in time with Suho’s words, gathering the ingredients he needed – a certain dish had sprung to mind – but now he paused. He had to look over his shoulder to gaze at Suho, who wasn’t pointing at anything anymore. “All that what? Where’s the sauce things?”

Suho got up then, walked directly towards Kris. Kris almost panicked, images of a writhing Human beneath him invading his mind, but ultimately managed to remain in one piece. Kris felt himself stiff as a board, locked in place while Suho flowed around him like water, opening cupboards and getting vegetables and jars and spoons and plates. But then came a moment when Suho let out a soft ah, clicked his tongue. Kris didn’t even dare glance in his general direction, already too conscious of Suho’s presence by his side. True, it was his non-wounded side, but still. Kris felt too vulnerable with Suho up-close like this.

A hand was leant on his lower back. Suho stretched around him. Kris just couldn’t breathe.

“Here we go!” Suho’s chirpy tone of voice was almost enough to give Kris mental whiplash. “You can use this. I’ve been meaning to use it before it expires, but I haven’t had nearly enough time to properly cook…” an awkward little giggle laced the end of his words.

“T-thank you.” Kris prayed to all deities he knew of for Suho to not have noticed the slight waver in his voice. Being pressed this closely to somebody else was strange. Too strange for him to get used to it. And especially not this quickly. “Why don’t you sit down, then? I’ll get started.”

Suho gave him another bright smile – Kris’ head spun even more – then he moved back to the isle, sat down again, and leant his head on his elbows. Once again, he looked tiny and tired. Kris’ protective instincts kicked in, rattled by the mere vision, because he was a Wolfpack’s leader and its protector. Even if Tao could fight better, Kris was still the one who drove them to safe places and kept them away from the dangerous areas.

Kris pointedly turned his back to Suho and set about. His own limitations gave him a small pause – again – because he wasn’t the best cook in his pack. But whatever food he made right now only had to be good enough to be eaten, and he could do that. He had been doing that since before he met the rest of his current pack.

Okay. He had enough things here to make what had to be the flashiest dish he knew how to make from scratch. Yeah, it wouldn’t hold a candle to even fast-food, let alone a restaurant-made recipe, but at least it’d be something he could present Suho with. And it would fill him up rather nicely, too – Kris promptly refused to acknowledge the mental image sprung from that turn of phrase – it wasn’t particularly heavy to eat, yet it covered all the basic necessities. It was like a catch-all food, really, nothing Kris could be proud of knowing how to make.

On second thought, maybe cooking it hadn’t been such a good idea after all.

“That smells good…”

Kris almost jumped the twelve meters he could jump when in Wolf form upon hearing that sleepy voice. He turned around in a single heartbeat, only to feel his heart skip another beat.

Suho was looking at him, eyes half-closed with heavy sleep – at least Kris wanted to believe it was from sleep, it was easier than trying to process the implications of having a Human be sultry to him. Suho’s head was still leant on his elbows, that same soft smile adorning his features, and he was looking at Kris like he was the most interesting thing in the room. Which, in Kris’ mind, he wasn’t. Not when all he was wearing was a pair of faded and stretched jeans and a t-shirt that had been beaten to half its usable lifespan. Yet Suho was smiling like he was more excited for Kris than for the food.

Fucking turns of phrase… oh how bad their timing was.

“Thank you. But I’m not done yet.” Kris finally said, if only to fill the silence with something less charged than Suho’s stare.

“Am I still dreaming?” Suho asked then. Kris blinked, not really following him. He was momentarily saved by the pot on the stove going off behind him, signalling that it was time to lessen the gas’ potency. Kris pointedly tended to that, the smell of cooking food mixing with Suho’s lingering scent.

The mix was almost too heady, too heavy, for him to keep his senses about him.

“I don’t think you’re dreaming. I’m not a figment of your imagination.” Kris said, his voice a low rumble barely audible above the stove.

“Oh, so you doubt I could’ve imagined someone this handsome?” Suho teased him. Again.

“No, I don’t doubt that.” Kris sighed, long and suffering. He grabbed a plate and filled it as much as he could, fighting with the stubborn, well-cooked noodles. He’d left them chewy, because he himself hated soggy noodles, but if Suho liked them overdone he could just say so and Kris would reheat them. “I’m just saying, you’re not dreaming. No dream would be this long.”

“That’s true…” Suho seemed to revive a bit when a full plate was placed in front of him, sauce still running heavily, slowly, from the top to the bottom. Suho licked his lips, mouth probably watering. “Oh fuck, this looks great.”

“You just don’t like to cook, don’t you.” Kris deadpanned, intonating a sentence despite the implicit question in his words.

“Not really.” Suho gave him an apologetic look while Kris got himself a plate and enough cutlery for the both of them. “Do you want wine?”

“Water’s better right now.” Kris couldn’t help but think that, wounded as he was, it would probably be better to play it safe and not have any kind of alcohol.

“Okay.” Suho took a bottle from somewhere on his side of the isle. “You’ll have to get the glasses.”

Thankfully, he was pointing this time. Kris didn’t have to move around a lot to get a couple of clean glasses – he still rinsed them, just because, earing himself an amused giggle from Suho. He returned to the isle just to see Suho had moved further to Kris’ left. The Human was already chewing, wordlessly gesturing for Kris to join him on his side of the isle. After a moment of hesitation from Kris’ part, Suho gave him an annoyed look and withheld the untouched plate.

“Childish.” Kris accused without thinking. The moment he realized what he’d said, he paused all movement and beat himself up inside his mind. Damnit. The situation had reminded him a little too much of how his pack would engage him in banter whenever he stayed too quiet for too long, and that could be his downfall in a Human's world.

“Thank you.” Suho retorted easily, smiling tightly. Still, the gesture looked easy and natural on him. Kris relaxed without even noticing it. “Now come here. Food’s gonna go cold.”

Not this quickly, Kris wanted to point out, but didn’t. He was much too occupied with seating on the chair that Suho had left empty – it was still warm, warm from Suho’s body, and his scent was so much easier to pick up on now that they were this close…

Kris inhaled deeply a couple times, drank almost his whole glass in one go, and ignored Suho’s amused gaze.

They ate silently, stealing glances at one another every once in a while. Suho filled Kris’ glass more often than he did his own, and Kris filled Suho’s glass in turn. The silent pattern they shared was further established by how Suho was the one to rise from his seat to get a pint of strawberry and vanilla ice-cream as dessert, while Kris set the dirty plates in the sink to wash later. It was just so domestic, and they were so comfortable with each other, as if they’d been living together for years instead of hours. Kris felt strange, not necessarily in a bad way, when he sat down again. His legs were much too long for the tight space in the isle, much like they’d been too long when he’d been snooping in Suho’s laptop, and his knee was pressed tightly against Suho’s. But it didn’t feel crowded, like it so often did – it was just cosy. As if this was his natural, preferred, state of being.

“Thank you for dinner.” Suho said softly when they were done with the ice-cream. He’d gotten up to wash the dishes, his back turned to Kris as he spoke. “I’m thinking that I should tend to the Wolf, then maybe… watch TV? There’s a new romance drama on, the teasers looked good.”

Kris’ mind had panicked as soon as he’d heard the word “wolf” leave Suho’s lips. He was thankful that Suho couldn’t see how uncertain he felt about that. If Suho was dead set on looking at the Wolf, then Kris needed to change forms in such a way that Suho wouldn’t see him turn. It was more than enough to give him some degree of anxiety, to send his brain into working overtime. He wasn’t the quickest strategist, but he knew he had to distract Suho if that was to happen.

“I checked on the Wolf before you came home, though.” Kris started, keeping his voice as steady as he could. If he wavered a semitone lower at some points, oh well; his usual tone was low enough to not be extremely noticeable. “He was fine, just needed rest. I’d say he’s sleeping at this point.”

“That’s good!” The smile was evident in Suho’s voice. “Man, I was so worried, I thought I was going to have a lot of reading to do tonight…”

“About veterinary?” Kris guessed. “No need. All Wolves have a Human form, too. You could just tell him to change forms.”

“Under threat of not healing him otherwise? No, thanks.” Suho looked at him over his shoulder, his mouth pursed in disgust at the mere idea. Kris raised an eyebrow, and Suho quickly turned away. “I don’t want him to be mad at me. A Wolf could easily hurt me.”

“Not without reason.”

The cluttering of plates and glasses stopped. Kris hadn’t realised it, but his voice had carried such a calm, unwavering conviction, that Suho was rendered speechless. Then again, Kris hadn’t lied. Most if not all Wolves didn’t pick a fight if they didn’t need to, since the Government had tightened its hold on anti-Wolves laws, and offered handsome rewards to anyone (Wolf or Human, it didn’t matter) who brought in reliable information. It had gotten to an almost ridiculous point, Kris knew.

But some other Wolves did fight for nothing, or even for less than nothing. Kris didn’t know what could drive them so mad, but he also didn’t really want to know. He had a feeling that it was like looking at an abyss – the closer you got to the edge, the less chances of making it out alive. Thankfully, he’d never been in the same pack as some of those truly unhinged individuals. He could only hope things remained the same.

“…you sound like you speak from experience.” Suho muttered, so low in volume that Kris was suddenly grateful for his Wolfish senses; he wouldn’t have been able to make out the words otherwise.

“Aren’t Humans also like that?” Kris rasped back, voice strained just to not give away his true nature. “Most don’t fight for the sake of fighting, they only get brutal when they’ve got something to protect.”

If Suho noticed that he hadn't included himself when he'd said "Humans", not a single time, Suho didn't say.

“That’s true.” Suho conceded. He had resumed doing the dishes. “You said the Wolf is sleeping, right?” he didn’t even wait for Kris to nod before continuing his tirade, “Then I can just go watch my drama, I bet it’s about to start already!”

“You sound way too chirpy about a romance flick.” Kris commented. He hadn’t intended for it to be a vicious bite, yet he still saw Suho recoiling slightly. It sent him into another little bout of panic. “Not that I’m judging.”

“It’s okay, I know I’m not the target audience. I’m not a teenaged girl.” Suho sent a smile over his shoulder. Kris could only stare, wordless, as that smile light up the room, bright like the Sun itself. “That won’t stop me, though.”

“Why should it stop you?” Kris conceded, leaning further on the isle. The posture took some of his weight off his back and onto his arms instead, which came as a relief for his wounded side. Suho still had his back turned to him, so he hadn’t noticed the delicate manoeuvre. “Nothing wrong with knowing what you like.”

Suho giggled, low in both volume and tone. His shoulders shook briefly, gently, until his breathing returned to its usual pace. When he reached out to grab a nearby cloth to dry both the plates and his hands, Kris – perhaps a little belatedly – realised the cause of his laugh.

Flashes of screencaps and racy phrases rushed to his mind – mouth opened, eyes closed, hips raised, a hard c–

–that’s where the thought had to end. Before its train derailed even further. Kris pointedly looked only at the isle below his arms, took in the colour, how cold it felt to his heated skin. He breathed deeply and felt the strain, the tell-tale pull at his side signalling the wound hadn’t magically disappeared. Another deep breath and his heart didn’t pound like he was running anymore. Another, and Suho was looking at him – Kris could feel it, even if his head was hung a bit too low to allow him to see those dark eyes, that bright smile, those handsome features…

Son of a thousand Wolves.

“You don’t look so good.” Suho’s hand was reaching out – again – Kris panicked more – fingertips brushed his hair, right in between his Wolf form’s ears – he moved back – Suho wasn’t smiling anymore. “Kris…”

…Suho wasn’t smiling anymore. But he had called his name. His voice sounded small when he kept talking, saying something Kris wasn’t listening to. Kris could have made out the syllables if he’d wanted to, but… his brain was a bit too rushed. He felt like a constant stream of blood was running laps around his brain, leaving the rest of his body pale and cold. As anatomically incorrect as he knew that feeling to be, rationality wasn’t helping him anymore. He needed something more physical, something he could feel on his skin, something that could take his mind off this problem, something else to focus on while he regained his bearings.

“Do you mind if I take a shower?” Kris asked suddenly. He was painfully aware that he’d interrupted Suho, probably mid-sentence. He gave himself a mental slap because he already knew Suho wouldn’t chastise him. He didn’t look like the punishing type.

“Go ahead. I’m assuming you know where everything is?”

Son of a thousand Wolves, Suho sounded so genuinely helpful. Kris hung his head even more, his own lack of manners weighting him down.

Then, a tentative hand landed soft on his hair. Right on the same spot he would’ve touched on a Wolf’s head. Kris’ breathing and heartbeat calmed down as if on cue. Long fingers caressed him, slow and gentle. Kris let himself be touched, his thoughts evolving from panicked to calm.

“You don’t have to be so good to me. I crashed your house. You don’t even know me.” If Kris was digging his own grave, Suho didn’t say.

“But I’m good enough at reading people to know you aren’t out to kill me.” Suho’s voice sounded comforting, as comforting as the back-and-forth of his hand on Kris’ hair. “You’re taller and broader than me. I’m guessing you’re probably stronger, too.” In Kris’ eyes, that was debatable; but he didn’t want to interrupt Suho again. “I don’t want to fight you either way. So go, have a shower. I’ll be right there on the sofa.”

“You’re too good for your own good.” Kris grumbled. His throat felt rough, but he didn’t even know why. Suho’s hand trembled on his hair, mussing up some locks. Kris kept that reaction at the back of his mind, didn’t say anything for now.

“People tend to tell me that, yeah.” Suho’s hand resumed its caressing. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing, though.”

Kris gave no response nor made any motion until Suho regaled him with a final pat, lifting his hand right after. Kris didn’t look up immediately – Suho’s scent lingered, surrounding him like a warm blanket. Kris’ Wolfish instincts led him to inhaling as deeply as he could. Suho took a seat on the sofa – Kris could hear the cushions give way – then, the television’s volume was modulated downwards until it was barely audible to Human ears. Kris’ senses silently thanked him for that. He already felt too sensitive, he doubted he would’ve been able to withstand any higher volume than this, even when all he could hear were advertisements. The drama hadn’t started yet, then.

Somehow, Kris ended up inside the bathroom, door closed yet unlocked behind him. Its heavy wood, coupled with the different smells coming from the shampoo bottles, blocked Suho’s scent from his perception. It helped clear his head of all remaining images of a dark living room and smutty texts. Kris went directly towards the shower, examining it by means of a hurried look that possibly hid more details than it revealed. Kris felt almost guilty, because he’d retreated from Suho’s living room with almost nothing more than unexplained panic. And, even if he suspected that Suho was just too nice to directly ask him about it, his nerves didn’t ease up.

At least Suho’s own scent was now substituted by fresh citrus, coming right from an opened bottle in one corner of the shower. A closer inspection showed it was shampoo, its label easy to see – which didn’t mean that Kris recognised it. As a matter of fact, he had absolutely no idea what it was; whether it was brand-name or store-name was also a mystery to him.

Shampoo was fine, but he needed something more akin to body gel.

Lucky for him, there was a slightly smaller bottle next to the shampoo. This one was tinted an atrocious shade of industrially-produced green – Kris furrowed his brow at the mere sight, almost like the colour was a personal insult to him. The cap was closed, but Kris’ gentle fingertips checked that it wasn’t so new that it had remained unopened for who knew how long. To his surprise, there was almost no fragrance to the gel, which his almost-overloaded Wolfish senses were thankful for.

That lack of scent in the shower gel explained why Kris had been able to smell only shampoo in Suho, despite the other having had wet hair. In hindsight, it was painfully obvious that Suho had only put it through water, not a proper shampoo-and-conditioner routine – another reminder of just how hurried he’d been that morning.

Damnit, Kris’ thoughts kept coming back to Suho. That wasn’t good.

In fact, it could only mean that infatuation was on the way. Kris knew himself well enough to recognise the signs – well, maybe “infatuation” was too strong of a word. It would be more like “attraction”. After all, an alluring scent was always enough to catch a Wolf’s attention. And this Human’s – Suho’s – scent was more than just “interesting”.

Fuck it. At least the water was hot against his naked shoulder-blades, a constant stream running down his back. It was loosening the knots of his muscles, his posture still protecting the wound at his side just because he thought that tepid water would be better for cleaning it. And it felt like it was loosening the knots in his mind, too.

When he ran gel-covered hands over the broad expanse of his torso, his mind gave him a mental image of smaller hands doing it for him.

Kris leant an arm on the wall by the showerhead – he was just too damn tall – and blindly reached out towards the shower’s temperature regulator. Hot water wasn’t doing anything anymore, he needed the coldest of storms upon his thoughts now. The contrast hit him like a fully-loaded freight train at maximum speed, effectively knocking the air out of his lungs. Still, it was a welcomed sensation – it helped clear his mind of all residual inappropriate thoughts.

Inappropriate, not because of their extremely sexual imagery, but because they revolved around Suho, who was in the same house as Kris. Only some concrete walls and wooden doors separated them, and this closeness was alarming when Kris was drowning in something that he could only call “desire”.

But desire for what, desire of what kind. Now that was a good question.

Kris had learnt the hard way that, even while in Human form, he still had a Wolf’s instincts. They were most evident in how he always scanned a room upon entering it, more unconsciously than consciously at this point in his life. Thankfully for those rare moments when he posed as fully-Human, his appetite wasn’t supernaturally enhanced; and his superior strength was easy enough to hide, because he controlled himself well.

But some other instincts never truly went away, never left him unprotected. And it turned out that both sexual desire and a Wolf’s undying loyalty were on that list. Which was a pain in the ass most of the time, since he hadn’t found anybody to keep by his side for more than one night – and every fucking time he found someone to warm his bed (and his cock), his carnal desires clashed horribly with his need for intimacy and loyalty. And that left him at such a rotten stalemate that he didn’t even want to think about it. Hence why he hadn’t had a one-night stand in literally months, almost a full year by now. His pack teased him endlessly about it – because Xiumin and Luhan had each other, they did not need to despair about these things – because Tao and Yixing simply had a much higher threshold for loyalty, so they didn’t search for one-night stands.

It left Kris somewhere in the middle. Again. Like it happened with so many other topics. Maybe that was why he’d been unanimously declared the pack’s leader, although Xiumin was much more fitted for the role both in age and experience. It wasn’t like the title nor the position’s responsibilities bothered Kris. It was just that it restricted his freedom. But it also kept him (and his clashing instincts) in check, so he had no room to protest.

The water was so cold on his chest that it made him shiver as he rinsed the shower-gel off him. He had a decision to make – not that he could keep pretending that he hadn’t already made it – and he had to come to terms with himself. That was the whole point of this shower, anyway. To collect his dispersed thoughts, regather his bearings, and face Suho like he was supposed to face him. If Kris continued being a trembling, tangled mess of sexual desire and aroused needs, the only choice he had left was to escape Suho’s home and find his pack. But he’d have to go searching for them eventually, that wasn’t the issue. The point was, once again, Suho himself. And that scent. And those warm eyes. And the adorable smile. And the–

–Kris pointedly shut that train of thought down before he could even acknowledge that it had strayed towards Suho’s rounded behind.

The decision was taken, then. If all he could produce was another unfulfilling one-night stand, or merely to ruffle Suho’s feathers enough to provoke a huge reaction out of him, Kris could satisfy his Wolfish instincts. Ideally, it would still leave the door opened to a future visit. Yet Kris didn’t dare to dream that far beyond – every single time he dared to do so, his dreams were shattered into a million little pieces. It had led him to not dream anymore.

Kris turned the shower off, grabbed a dry towel, and started to run it over his body. Now that his mind was made up, now that he could admit to himself that he wanted Suho, all that was left was to put into practise everything he had in mind.

Chapter Text

Suho curled up further on the couch, occupying only one of the cushioned squares more out of personal choice than out of necessity. He was currently sitting there alone, so there was no need for him to save some space for his children – something he was so used to doing that it was mostly second nature by now. His knees rested against his chest, both hands buried into his sweater’s sleeves to the point where only those long fingers could be seen. Suho knew he looked infinitesimally tiny like this – hell, he had been called just that multiple times in the past, by both past lovers and the most teasing of his own kids. Sehun had had a field day with that, although he’d also had to shut up when Baekhyun and Chen teased that Sehun, too, had curled up onto a single square on the couch.

The romantic melodrama onscreen changed scenes, showing a pathway crossing through an otherwise empty park. Only the two leads were walking on it, side by side as per the cliché, and still dressed in the same clothes they were wearing on previous scenes. The screenwriters must be used to hand-drawn series, Suho mused, not to working with real-life people – the time-skip between the two scenes was obvious, they could have let the beautiful actress show off a little bit.

Not that Suho was paying much attention to her beyond the marked sisterly feel he got from her. He still felt ashamed at how intensely he’d wanted to watch this thing just because he harboured a quite massive crush on the male lead actor. Suho blushed at how easily Chanyeol had managed to pry that information from him – then again, that kid was great at making you feel at peace with him. Maybe not as great as Chen, but still.

Suho’s attention flickered back to the drama as soon as the male lead opened his mouth to deliver a line quite beautifully. His skill was completely underused in this thing, Suho thought. A heartfelt conversation about a third character sparked up after that – a third character who had been named at least three times in the last thirty seconds. If the quality of the drama’s writing was on par with that, Suho wasn’t sure he wanted to watch the whole thing. (But even as he thought that, he knew he would; if only for the criminally pretty actor and the lovely little sister that was the female lead.)

Besides, he had a record of watching almost every single drama that caught his attention, romance or not. Heterosexual romances tended to be more Kai’s thing, though; Suho secretly enjoyed sexually ambiguous characters much more. Especially the typically overtly flirtatious male archetype who seemed to flirt only with other male characters.

There surely was some exploration to be done, internal issues to work through. It wasn’t common for men to enjoy such a character at the deep level that Suho did – usually, the archetype was played for jokes, as if same-sex attraction was only a joke for the general public to laugh at. Suho hated that twisted notion, but still lapped up every single character who fitted the description – and felt incredibly guilty because of it. Kyungsoo would always tell him that there wasn’t anything wrong with his enjoyment, especially if he was drawn to that personality type, and even more so when Suho himself was only interested in men to begin with. Kai and Chanyeol and Baekhyun always agreed quickly, whereas Chen tended to stay away from the arguments.

Then again, Chen had a girlfriend that he wanted to propose to, and always felt like it wasn’t his place to comment on a sexual orientation he didn’t relate to.

The onscreen scene changed abruptly, since the television channel had cut straight to a commercial break. Suho’s eyes didn’t stray away, though; he was simultaneously too concerned with the drama’s storyline and had his mind somewhere else.

“Is it any good?”

Suho literally jumped at the sound of Kris’ voice, one leg coming down onto the floor – yet he somehow managed not to fall off completely. He’d been so engrossed that he hadn’t even noticed that Kris had, at some point, leant both elbows on the back of the couch, right by Suho’s side. Considering that the couch was across the television, but not leant on the wall, Kris had been able to easily walk behind it, getting close to Suho without having to obstruct his vision.

“Sorry.” To his credit, Kris did sound genuinely apologetic.

“That’s my own damn fault.” Suho gave him a smile, trying to ignore the pounding of his startled heart. “I don’t really like the repetitive writing, but the male lead does it so well!”

If Kris thought it strange that Suho had focused his attention on the guy and not the girl, he didn’t say. Instead, he seemed to revel in how much Suho’s eyes widened the second he looked at a half-dressed Kris.

Wet locks fell over his forehead, heavy and black, occasionally dripping small drops onto his sharp cheekbones. Suho shamelessly followed one droplet as it caressed Kris’ face, breath catching in his throat as the wet little thing caught on the corner of those well-formed lips. A tongue came out to lap it away, heat quickly creeping up on Suho. Somehow, he managed to raise his gaze enough to spy at the intense brown of Kris’ eyes–

–then, Kris raised an eyebrow, an amused challenge written plain in his handsome features.

Suho blushed crimson deep.

“Why didn’t you put on a shirt?” Suho questioned, his tone jumpy and airy, as he pointedly looked away from Kris. The television showed an advertisement for some new cleaning product, painting it as literally the best thing since sliced bread. It was cheesy and worthy of rolling one’s eyes at it – but it was also enough to keep Suho’s attention focused in something that wasn’t Kris.

“I didn’t want to put on a dirty shirt after showering.”

The utter shamelessness in his words left Suho silent. Also maybe because he was perhaps too laser-focused on Kris’ shirtlessness. If that was a word. Suho didn’t even know. What he did know, because he was staring maybe too obviously, was that there were curves in the contours of Kris’ arms, denoting worked muscle, and his shoulders looked particularly enticing in contrast with the sofa’s lifeless colour…

“But don’t worry, I did put my pants back on.”

The mental image that Suho got from that was something he absolutely should not be thinking about right there in this second. True, Kris was undoubtedly attractive; and yes, Suho wanted to find out more about him; but this was absolutely not the time for this.

“Or did you want me to stay more naked?”

Fucking Hell, was the barrage going to be endless? Suho’s heart could only skip so many beats before it flatlined. And what a story that would be for a coroner to explain to Suho’s six children, oh no your adoptive dad died of a heart-attack because he was too horny for his old heart to withstand.

“You’re my host, so I better do whatever you say.”

Oh Hell to the fucking no.

“Enough!” Suho jumped in his seat, turning his body to face Kris. The drama had resumed on the screen, but he wasn’t watching anymore. All he could see was the smirk on Kris’ face, and those knowing eyes. “Stop teasing me!”

“I’m serious, though.” Kris stretched his arms in front of him, slightly downwards in a diagonal. He was so tall that his fingertips reached the seats’ edge, though not enough to let him grab at it. Still, it utterly captured Suho’s full attention – again. “Gotta repay you somehow.”

“You can start by not teasing me so much.” Suho wanted to look away, but quickly found he couldn’t.

“Where would the fun be in that?” Kris retorted. A new droplet fell down the side of his face.

Suho moved before he could fully register it. His fingertips brushed against the soft skin of Kris’ cheek, much closer to those enticing lips than he wanted to admit. He must have taken a cold shower, Suho thought idly, as if in a trance, because there is no way he’s naturally anything other than warm. Kris’ gaze had dropped down from Suho’s eyes, and Suho did not dare think about where Kris was looking at.

The droplet had disappeared, but Suho didn’t want to move away. And Kris wasn’t forcing him to, either.

Suho allowed himself to run the gentlest of caresses over Kris’ lips. They felt soft, warm, so much like Suho’s dreamt-of image of perfectly kissable lips. He traced them, slowly, because there was no need to rush for as long as he was allowed to take his time, his fingertip traveling from side to side. The lower lip was a bit plumper, he noticed, yet liked to be caressed just as much as the upper one did. There wasn’t any facial hair lining their edges, so everything was sensitive and soft to Suho’s touch.

When Kris kissed his fingertips, Suho could only shiver.

Kris was leaning closer to him, looking like he, too, wanted to be kissed. Suho felt like he couldn’t breathe, like he couldn’t take any more teasing. He knew perfectly well that he hadn’t even been teased to any extremes, Kris had been gentle even when planting images directly into his mind’s eye… yet Suho was almost too fired up to care.

Kris leant down – Suho leant up –

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?!

Suho immediately jumped, turning away from Kris. His attention focused on the television’s screen, in which an angry-looking old gentleman was shouting. Suho easily recognised the character as the rugged father figure to the lead actress – the drama hadn’t yet delved into whether they were blood-related or not. The man was firmly opposed to whatever was blossoming between the two leads, and Suho supposed that his character arc would most likely deal with that, but right now that angry, almost-red-faced man was being as much of a nuisance to the on-screen couple as he was being to Suho himself.

He didn’t want to refer to Kris and himself as a “couple” in his mind.

“What an annoying character.” Kris half scowled half growled. The deepest traces of his annoyance curled the edges of his words into marked gutturals, almost like a wolf giving a late warning. “Was he always like this in this episode?”

“Not really?” Suho’s sentence ended up sounding like a question merely because he ran out of breath at the end, but it was whatever. It still worked as a complete sentence with meaning and relevance to the topic at hand. “He was much milder before. I think he just doesn’t like the idea of his daughter getting a boyfriend.”

“Too obsessive. It will make her suffer.” Kris stated, his tone as plain as though discussing the weather. His nonchalance made him even more attractive, and not just due to his physique.

“You sound like you’re speaking from experience.” Suho was staring at Kris, and he knew it. But he couldn’t stop.

“…maybe.” Kris’ gaze dropped to the couch’s empty seat, between his extended arms. The troubled air around him gave pause to both of them, consciously or not. “I just have older and younger siblings, I’ve seen a lot.”

“I can tell just by looking at you.” Suho smiled, trying to diminish some tension. The air around them felt heavy, charged with unsaid confessions and underlying personal issues. It was almost too much to bear. “You’ve lived through a lot, but that’s alright. It just means you have more experience than most, and that’s always good.”

Kris smiled at him, then, shoulders twitching with a silent chuckle. The motion, small as it was, showcased his muscles. And it didn’t help that Suho was at eye-level with them, close enough to catch every quaking remnant.

Kris wasn’t even doing anything, but Suho felt teased. Again.

“You’re wiser than you look.” Kris nodded towards Suho, smile still in place. It took some metal off his features, made him appear younger somehow.

“That’s not very nice.” Suho pouted just the slightest bit. It was Kris’ turn to stare. Suho pouted some more. Kris stared harder.

“It’s a compliment, baby.”

The air around them instantly froze once more. Suho’s face felt ablaze, his whole body’s temperature rising quickly under Kris’ pet-name for him. Suho almost wanted to believe that Kris hadn’t even thought about it before speaking it – but didn’t that make it worse, though? Because that meant Kris had been referring to Suho as “baby” in his mind before, who knew from when…

Suho’s brain spun a couple of laps around the inside of his head, and then fell flat on its ass.

“Thank you…” Suho muttered, shy, while he raised a hand to the back of his neck. He smoothed the lowest strands, as if that could make his brain regain its proper place.

“You’re welcome…” Kris muttered in turn. He adjusted his posture, since both his elbows were about to slide off the couch’s top, and ended up almost brushing against Suho. “And, uh, sorry. About the “baby” part.”

“It’s okay!” Suho retorted, maybe too quickly to play it cool and natural. Still, he managed, “I’m pretty sure I’m younger than you, anyway. And it sounds better than me calling you an old man!”

“Oy!” Kris reached out and messed his hair up a little bit, making some rebellious locks fall onto Suho’s forehead. “Don’t call me an old man, I’ve a proper name!”

Kris.”

The air around them got even more charged, if that was even possible. Suho let his gaze fall to Kris’ lips, taking in the oxygen he’d lost by sighing Kris’ name like that. He couldn’t help it but to take shallow breathes, quicker and quicker, anxiety rising only because he didn’t know how Kris had taken it – he was so quiet, so still, he hadn’t even blushed, and Suho just –

–what little breath Suho had managed to regain was taken away from him by the searing kiss Kris gave him. The initial touch, fiery-passionate and red-hot, remained quite gentle, as if Kris didn’t want to push him too hard, too fast, too early. It smoothly morphed into a series of smaller kisses, equally passionate yet fluttering more than the first. Suho sighed quietly, unable and unwilling to keep his voice to himself. The more he sighed, the more the pressure against him augmented, gentle but unyielding, demanding without being too much to handle.

When Suho went away just enough to breathe, Kris followed him.

“You’re eager…” Suho muttered, more to give himself time to soothe his lungs than because he didn’t want to be kissed again.

“Aren’t you, too?” Kris retorted easily. He was uncomfortably bent over the back of the couch, but he kept trying to get closer to Suho.

Wordlessly, Suho scurried over to the other extreme, where Kris couldn’t reach without moving. The motion granted him a betrayed gaze and a hurt expression – Suho simultaneously felt sorry, and not sorry at all.

“I’m not going to have sex with you.” Suho mumbled, unable to look at Kris in the eye. The blush had returned in full form, out of sheer embarrassment at having to say these things aloud, but it didn’t matter. It needed to be said. He didn’t want to be cursed at for being a “cockwarmer”, for making the guy horny and then leaving him blue-balled.

Kris kept silent for a moment, though he did adjust his posture so that his back wasn’t painfully arched towards Suho. The gesture increased the quite small distance in between them – something Suho was thankful for, because he simply couldn’t mutter the string of apologies clouding his judgement.

“It’s alright.”

Suho’s gaze shot up towards Kris. The man looked awkward as all hell, and that truly was saying something, considering how easy-going he’d seemed before, when all he was doing was finding new ways of turning Suho crimson-red. But now Kris looked like a long-limbed giant who didn’t know how to fold himself into a smaller size, gaze always on his own body to not incommode whoever was in the room with him. It was such an abysmal change that Suho couldn’t help but stare at him.

“Y-you’re not mad?” Gods damnit, he sounded so uncertain, even to his own ears.

“Why would I be?” Kris’ gaze shot upwards, to Suho’s own. Suho almost cowered under the intense focus, but ultimately managed to stare back – perhaps the look was more alluring than it seemed like. “I’m not an asshole. If you don’t want to, you don’t want to. End of the story.”

“…didn’t I kinda lead you on?” Suho asked, faltering, his voice the smallest it had been around Kris.

“So what? I still got kisses. I’m fine.”

Suho blushed. Again.

“…you’re so fucking cute.”

The blush deepened.

“Just gonna let you know, I’m not really interested in the drama, so I’m gonna go to bed. Swing by if you want to, I’ll cuddle you.”

“Wh–!” Suho started to ask but never finished, oxygen escaping him quickly.

“Let me just say that I’m strong enough to hold you, if you decide to come.”

And, with that, Kris gave him the most flirtatious combination of a wink and smile Suho had ever seen, turned around, and walked out of the room. Suho remained in place, frozen, brain short-circuiting spectacularly.

The drama on-screen changed to yet another commercial break.

“Damnit!” Suho exclaimed, finally realising that he’d missed some key scenes in between the main characters.

That had been the last episode of the night, too. Now he needed to wait a whole fucking week to get the next one. And, considering he hadn’t even realized how today’s batch had ended, he wouldn’t be able to understand the starting bits of next week’s. Which was annoying in itself.

Sighing heavily, Suho turned the television off. Oh well. What is done is done. Kissing Kris had been great fun, he had no one else but himself to blame for missing the drama. And he could always read the summary online at some point during his week; his office work lately wasn’t taking a lot out of him, he tended to have some free hours every day. Procrastinating work and catching up on playtime, now that was a great plan to fill his boring days with.

As he fell into his own bed, Suho pointedly refused to entertain the mental images that had sprung to mind upon hearing Kris’ last words of the day, even if those were still playing back and forth through his mind, like a broken record unable to get to the next track.

I’m strong enough to hold you when you come.

Chapter Text

Lying on the bed in the guest’s room, Kris couldn’t stop his brain from turning over inside his head. His thoughts didn’t coalesce, no matter how hard he tried to focus on a single thing at a time. As it were, the proverbial amalgamate of half-boiled ideas was driving him mad. The most prominent disturbance was a constant repeat of his own name, pronounced by Suho’s enticing voice. Kris still wasn’t sure about what exactly he’d done to grant himself the luxury of hearing Suho purr like that – he refused to name it a “moan”, because that would carry connotations he wasn’t ready to face.

Another thing that Kris was trying hard not to dwell too much on was how he’d had the courage – or maybe the cheek – to kiss Suho. Not that he, Kris, hadn’t enjoyed it. And, if he had to guess, he would say that Suho had enjoyed it, too. Because Suho had kissed him back, soft yet unwilling to part.

That fucking kiss was etched into his mind with the force of a thousand million suns, shining almost as bright and searing as Suho himself.

One kiss wasn’t enough, explicit dreams or no explicit dreams to warm his sheets. Kris knew he was grasping at straws, or downright insane, if he expected Suho to grant him access to his bed after having told him that he didn’t want sex – at least not that night. Kris could respect it, because what kind of Wolf would he be otherwise?

The kind who didn’t deserve to call himself leader of any pack, that was for sure.

Kris sighed, though it sounded much more like a growl to the translucid moonlight that seeped in through the blinds. Suho hadn’t answered to his plea (Kris truly had begged, Suho just hadn’t realised it), to cuddle him. So Kris wasn’t counting that as an outright “no”, although it certainly hadn’t been a definitive “yes”, either.

Just another thing for his mind to despair over.

Now that Kris thought about it, Suho hadn’t vetted access to his own room. He didn’t want sex, and that was okay – Kris wasn’t exactly after that, anyway. Kris merely wanted to cuddle, he kind of missed the gentle way in which Suho would caress the fur between his ears, long fingers digging into the hair to brush the scalp underneath. Kris had spent more than enough time alone and untouched to know that he truly enjoyed the company, the caresses, the gentleness.

He could slip into Suho’s room while in Wolf form and see if he could get away with jumping onto his bed. Suho had said “no” to Kris’ Human form, but (as far as Suho knew) the wounded Wolf was a different entity. Suho hadn’t seen the healing gash at the side of Kris’ Human form, he didn’t know any better.

Kris didn’t like having to resort to such trickery and lies, but sometimes there just wasn’t anything else he could do to get his way. He had lived in a cold world for too long, deceit was almost a second language to him.

…or a sixth. Considering he spoke four Human languages, plus the growling one of Wolves in animal form. Which was a lot, even by purely Human standards. And it was even more impressive by Wolfish standards – most Wolves only spoke one Human tongue plus their own Wolfish language.

Idly, Kris wondered how many could Suho speak. At least one, that was for sure; he’d spoken to Kris in Suho's own mother tongue back when they’d first meet in that alleyway.

His Wolf form’s gait was still a bit tilted to favour his right side, and he supported his weight more fully on his left-side legs out of pure instinct. Getting out of the guest room was relatively easy, since he hadn’t fully closed the door, just in case Suho wanted to step inside to cuddle him for a spell. The difficult part was slipping inside of the main bedroom, because Suho had indeed locked its door in place. Thankfully, the seasoned wood didn’t creak too much, and the metallic handle didn’t scrape, either. Kris counted his scarce blessings and pushed the door closed behind him.

Suho was lying on his side, right in the middle of his huge bed, those hideous deep green covers furrowed up to the middle of his chest. Suho was fast asleep, cuddling his own blankets as though they were a stuffed animal – or a real-life Wolf, Kris’ unhelpful brain insisted on adding. When Kris stepped closer to him, the slight movement of Suho’s chest became visible – up and down, expanding and contracting, signalling his tranquil breathing. He looked so peaceful that Kris almost regretted having had the brilliant idea of interrupting his respite.

Kris sat by the bed’s edge, leant his chin on the mattress, and observed Suho. The situation was only creepy because he was a sentient creature, he supposed – household pets could do the same thing, but Humans wouldn’t be very startled by it. And, since Suho didn’t know that Kris was a Wolf, well…

The omission of truth was impossibly dirty and shady, Kris knew. He felt bad just thinking about it. It was even worse that he’d started to carry out such a lousy plan.

“Hey…” a gentle hand at his hair, between where his Wolf form’s ears would be. Sleepy words caressing his brain, easing his heart.  “You’re here…”

When had he changed forms?

“Sorry.” Kris mumbled. It was the only thing he could offer in atonement for his sins. “Sorry…”

“My Wolf…” Kris blushed. Suho moved back, still touching his hair, and opened the covers. He was wearing shorts and a white, short-sleeved t-shirt. “Come here…”

Kris hesitated. He didn’t feel like he deserved it after tricking Suho like this. But he also didn’t want to deny Suho’s wishes. The struggle was plainly visible in his features.

“Kiss me…” Suho whined, rubbing at his eyes. Suddenly, he looked so vulnerable. Kris’ breathe hitched in his throat. “I like your kisses…”

This time, Kris didn’t need to be told twice. He climbed a bit more onto the bed and claimed Suho’s lips in a chaste touch, so unlike what he truly wanted. Still, he didn’t deserve anything from Suho – not until he told him the whole truth. But telling him the whole truth would put Suho in great danger. So Kris would never tell him. And he would never get to kiss Suho like he wanted to. Not beyond his dreams, at least.

Suho gasped and opened his mouth further, arms coming up to circle around Kris’ shoulders, pressing him closer. Kris let himself be moved, one hand leant on the mattress, almost under the soft pillow; the other almost curling around Suho’s waist, but not quite. Suho kissed him again, not letting either of them catch their breath, and Kris couldn’t help but press himself more fully against Suho’s pliant body.

“My Wolf…” Suho muttered against his mouth, between kisses, tender and soft and vulnerable and so much like everything Kris adored. “You were more demanding the other night…”

“Do you like me more now?” Kris asked, voice heavy and low and charged, giving a small kiss to the corner of Suho’s mouth. The need for approval burned his veins just as much as the lack of oxygen burned his lungs. “Or did you like it more before?”

“I like both…” Suho confessed. He used both his arms around Kris’ shoulders as leverage to turn him until he could kiss him again. “My Wolf…”

Kris climbed on top of Suho just because it corrected Suho’s posture, allowed him to lay more comfortably on his bed. The covers and their clothes were still in between their bodies, a physical barrier to ensure that Kris had no sexual intentions. Suho rumbled in approval, ebbed with him, opened his legs to let Kris slide in between them, and smiled a little, brittle thing. Kris’ heart almost stopped.

Suho moved his hands until he was gently grasping at Kris’ hair, tugged him close until he could speak directly into Kris’ ear.

“Can you fuck me?” his voice caressed all the right places inside Kris. “Just do whatever you want to me. Please…”

“Are you sure?” Kris growled, low and dangerous from the back of his throat. In his arms, Suho trembled like a leaf in strong winds. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t.” Suho’s pressure on him increased. Kris almost fell right on top of him, even though he was trying his hardest not to do that, to not crash his hips hard against Suho’s. “I trust you… you’re my Wolf…”

“And you’re asleep.” Well, not quite. Half-asleep would be more accurate. But still. “I can’t do anything to you when you’re like this.”

“But I want you to.” Suho bent one leg and pressed his raised knee against Kris’ waist. His skin felt heated, even through Kris’ jeans. “Just use me…”

“Call me yours.” Kris growled again. He pressed a heated kiss against Suho’s neck and felt him tremble in response. Suho’s raised leg trembled, so Kris moved a steady hand to keep it in place. “And don’t get away from me.” Suho gasped in agreement. “I’ll do all the rest.”

“Thank you…” Suho gasped again. “…my Wolf…”

Kris adjusted his thighs on the mattress, ensuring that he had a better support for his own weight. The hand he’d leant on Suho’s knee leisurely travelled upwards, long fingers sliding underneath Suho’s shorts. At the same time, he kissed his Human again, directly on that warm, pliant mouth. Suho gasped into him, arms trembling around Kris’ shoulders, fingers digging into his skin as much as he could with that beaten t-shirt in the way. Kris’ other hand flew to the hem of the covers – they were still as ugly as ever; even more so now that they were covering half of Suho’s body. More precisely, they occulted his lap, which was something Kris had no trouble admitting that he wanted to see.

Kris’ movements were slow and steady, because he didn’t want to startle Suho’s half-asleep consciousness. The covers were quite pinned under Suho’s body, so Kris had to stop kissing him for a moment – a moment that hurt more than lack of oxygen ever could.

“Oy…” Suho exhaled in protest. He pouted just a little bit, and Kris couldn’t resist the urge to kiss him again. “Ah…” Suho sounded much more content now. Kris liked that second sound better.

“Covers off.” Kris half explained, half ordered. Suho rolled his body to one side, and Kris could feel the tension in the thigh against his side. He was lucky that Suho was pressing his left side, instead of his injured right. “Good boy.”

Suho downright moaned at that. It remined Kris of how much his Human liked being praised. Kris smirked against Suho’s neck, sucked a non-lasting mark into his flesh, and kissed him right after. Suho trembled even more, gasping every time he breathed. It made Kris realise that, if he wanted to, he could make Suho truly screamed his voice hoarse, cum waterfalls. He could overstimulate Suho until he could only moan and shout and call Kris’ pet-name.

The mental image alone was so overwhelmingly alluring that Kris moaned into the crook of Suho’s neck, faltering.

Suho held him close, allowed him to pause, even as feverish as he was feeling. One of his hands ran gently over Kris’ hair, petting him with steady movements. Kris was thankful for it, for Suho’s gentleness, for how easily he was accepted and for how close he was held and for how he was allowed to take his time when he needed it.

The loving kiss he gave Suho felt more like a thank-you than a reward.

“My Wolf…” Suho moaned. The covers were finally off. He was outlined against his own shorts, all insinuated thickness and visible length. Kris had already seen what perfection laid beneath, and yet he trembled, his mouth dry from barely contained desire. “My Wolf…”

Kris kissed him again, as sweet and soft as he could muster. Back in the privacy of Suho’s shower, Kris had thought that he would just take and take and take from Suho, because sometimes his Wolfish nature got the best of him in ways he couldn’t ever fully anticipate. But not this time – right now he only wanted to do the things that Suho wanted him to do. The sole problem was that Kris didn’t know what exactly Suho wanted.

“Tell me.” Kris mumbled against Suho’s neck, kissing without biting. His voice had somehow fallen into a deeper octave. “Tell me what you want of me.”

“Can you…” A shaky breath, an even shakier shiver. “…t-touch me?”

“Yes.” Kris kissed his neck, not exactly at the same spot yet close enough to the pulse point. Suho moaned a soft sound that was too sweet to be a full-on dirty moan. Kris smiled against his pulse. “I can do everything you want me to.”

A hand at Kris’ hair made him turn his head until Suho could kiss him in full. This time, it was Kris letting out a muted sigh – he’d kissed people before, but not like this. The sensations inside him felt completely different now. He wasn’t exactly sure why, but he also wasn’t about to protest. Not when he had such a beautiful creature beneath him, practically begging for his touch.

Kris silently vowed to himself that he would be gentle and reassuring, never foreceful nor pressuring.

He slipped a hand inside Suho’s shorts, inside his underwear, and brushed gentle fingertips against Suho. It was only a feather-light touch, the kind most used to tease and not to complete – yet that didn’t seem to matter to Suho, who arched off the mattress just the same. It made Kris wonder just how many times he’d been touched before, how often he had somebody else in his bed with him.

The mere thought of somebody else touching Suho almost forced him to bare his fangs, his caress turning more insistent on Suho’s length.

Suho clung tightly to his broad shoulders, kissed him as continuously as he could manage in between ragged breaths and tiny sighs and moans. His eyes were more closed than opened, letting only slivers of dark brown be seen. When Kris took that gorgeous cock out of his clothes, Suho trembled and moved his hips as if he wanted his shorts and underwear fully off. That really wasn’t what Kris had been going for; but who was he to deny sweet Suho his wishes?

“My Wolf…” Suho mumbled. “You’re… ah… you’re so good to me…”

“Only because you’re really good to me, too.” Kris answered sincerely, kissing his lips first, his jaw second, his neck right after. Suho trembled like he was about to melt in his arms, right leg fallen onto the mattress. Kris didn’t want to admit that he was quite grateful that Suho had been rendered so strengthless, because his injured side meant he couldn’t support Suho the way he truly wanted. “You’re the sweetest with me…”

Suho lightly moaned something that sounded suspiciously close to my Wolf before throwing his head to one side. Kris used the newly found leverage to kiss him more, wanting to discover the places that made him tremble the hardest, moan the loudest. At the same time, he wrapped his hand loosely around Suho’s pride, the sensation somewhat familiar yet not completely, somewhat new but not entirely.

“More…” Suho moaned. The freedom with which he begged contrasted quite a lot with how sweet and almost shy his body-language was. “T-touch me more…”

“As you wish.”

But then, Kris made the mistake of focusing solely in Suho’s scent.

Sweet like it had been the first time Kris had caught it, with a myriad of earthly undertones that lingered in his senses almost as much as the hints of clear and clean water lacing that scent together. The base scent was being slowly overcome by that of arousal, more poignant and definitely bolder. Very sensitive Wolfish senses caught both of them, growled awake, and touched him more consistently, more rhythmically, an objective to fulfill and a Human to please.

My Wolf…” Suho moaned. Kris wanted to think that there wasn’t anything else in his mind, only a string of pleas and that deliciously alluring nickname he’d given Kris.

It was madness to think that a Wolf would serve as somebody’s personal toy and pet, and yet…

Kris stroked him constantly, down and up and back down and up again, caressed the head every single time he reached it, and always found it wet and slick and ready. He buried his face in the side of Suho’s neck, that fascinating scent surrounding him, fuelling him further onwards. He was kissing Suho as much as he could, hearing him moan and beg and sigh. Suho still had his arms as much around him as he could with the slight changes of their postures, seemed determined to not let go – Kris didn’t want him to let go.

A higher-pitched moan, a more violent tremble, back arching off the bed and into Kris, and Suho was spent.

Kris’ reflexes, honed in countless battles and aided by Wolfish strength, kicked him into supporting Suho’s weight. He held his Human close, wanting him to feel secure and wrapped in warmth. All the little changes in his steadying breathing, in his lingering scent, told him everything he needed to know.

Somehow, Kris didn’t notice it when he fell asleep, still holding Suho in the secure and warm grip of his arms.

 


 

Morning found Suho curled up against a dark Wolf with a wound on his side, the memory of coming by another’s hand still fresh in his mind. Still half asleep, he turned his head to spy at the closing gash he could barely see from his current position. In the process, he noticed that the covers were much lower than what he usually had them. But that made sense, since the Wolf was there, completely uncovered, fur shining just enough under the first sunrays of the day…

When Suho touched him, the Wolf roused slightly, eyes still closed, ears moving, tail gently flapping once against the mattress. No sound came out of his sleeping Wolf.

… “his Wolf”.

Why had his mind gone there, to the same place that it went to during his explicit dreams…?

Chapter Text

Tao stretched his arms above his head as far as they could go, feeling how his muscles burnt. The sky above him, or at least the part that he could see in between the city suburbs’ tall buildings, was clear, almost completely devoid of clouds. It was so utterly different to their last stop that Tao just couldn’t get enough sunrays on his skin. Perhaps due to that, he was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt and some tightly fitting trousers.

Yixing was standing right by his side, looking at him with a curious expression in his face – it wasn’t quite his “serious face”, the one he donned when healing or fighting, but it wasn’t a full-on smile either. When Tao looked at him, a silent question in his own features, that halfway expression morphed into a sincere smile, marking a single dimple. Tao returned it in full, feeling more than comfortable in the presence of his pack-member.

It helped that they were close in age, too; Xiumin and Luhan often were too caught up in their broader life-experience to truly indulge themselves in play – play meaning the innocent kind, because everybody knew that Xiumin and Luhan had been mates for long. Yixing could be just as serious as them sometimes, but he also knew how to relax and verbally tease and be almost as adorable as Tao was.

Almost, because no one could be more adorable than Tao. At least in Tao’s mind.

“Playing again?” Luhan asked, a tinge of humour in his voice.

“How unusual.” Xiumin commented before either Yixing or Tao could speak a single word in their own defence. “Since our leader isn’t here, you just do as you please, huh?”

“As if you behave either.” Tao replied, his words much more biting than his tone. “And we’re not playing, we’re passing time.”

“Aah…” Xiumin nodded with faked realization, knowing Tao would take it as mere playfulness. Just like he’d predicted, Tao sneered for a second before smiling broad, pleased that their eldest was enjoying the play. “Passing time until when?”

“That’s what I’d like to know.” The four Wolves instantly turned their heads at that last voice, which was deeper than their own – it was virtually impossible to take them by surprise, so this had to be…

“Welcome back, Kris!” Luhan said, a smile on his face. It made him look even younger than usual. “How was the city?”

“Kinder than I’d expected.” Kris answered plainly, sitting down on some pile of rubble and hoping it wouldn’t stain his jeans – then again, they already were stretched to almost breaking point. He’d buy some new ones, but money’s too tight when you’re a nomad with no steady source of income. And he wasn’t the pack’s best at stealing, nor at seducing Humans for gifts. “How have you four been?”

“We aren’t being followed anymore.” Tao said, sniffing the air as if to make sure. “Whoever pursued us from the last town gave up before we arrived at this city.”

“Which is good news; but this wound isn’t.” Yixing commented sternly, pointing to Kris’ right side. “May I see it?”

Kris nodded and moved his right hand, but Yixing beat him to it.

“I can do that myself!” Kris mumbled, pointedly ignoring the burn in his side at the motion.

“Don’t strain yourself.” Yixing’s voice was the “serious voice” that accompanied his “serious face”. Kris, knowing better than to argue, just sighed out and let him do. “Ah, it’s been healing well. Give it two weeks more and you’ll be alright to fight.”

“Will it scar?” Tao asked, guilt thick in his voice.

“It wasn’t your fault.” Xiumin reminded him, tone firm but not punishing. He leant a hand on Tao’s shoulder, reassuring yet not pressuring.

“I’m the best fighter, I should’ve been able to protect all of you!” Tao answered, shaking off Xiumin’s touch.

“Knock it off!” Luhan immediately jumped, always lightning-quick when it came to Xiumin.

Tao immediately backed off – although it was probably because of Kris’ stare, not Luhan’s command.

“It will scar.” Yixing said, more calmly than usual. Kris silently thanked him for having the common sense to not rouse Tao’s nor Luhan’s stubbornness. “Not badly, since I’m here to take care of it, but it will leave a scar.”

“I don’t particularly care.” Kris shrugged. “A scar in exchange for having you all alive, I’ll take it.”

Xiumin smiled, a certain kind of wisdom inside his eyes, in his whole expression. It was suspiciously close to pride, to fierce protection. In moments like those, the pack was reminded of why he’d come so close to being chosen as their leader. Kris looked at him funny, a silent question in his own features, and Xiumin’s smile broadened.

Somehow, it felt like appreciation for Kris’ leadership.

“Okay, so. How are we? What do we need to do now?” Luhan asked, ever the impatient one.

“We found an abandoned place to stay at, that’s covered.” Yixing started to tend to Kris’ wound, using some clean bandages that he’d obtained somewhere. Wrapping it up didn’t take him long, either because of his experience or something else. Kris frowned, surprised it hadn’t even stung a little bit. Yixing, who was much more observant than he was given credit for, noticed it. “It’s quick because it’s already closed.”

 “I’m glad to hear you four are alright, ‘cause I’m covered for now.” Kris said. “I wandered wounded into the city, but a Human helped me for some reason. If you four can survive in the abandoned place for a while, I can just… keep appearing in front of this Human, get some extra food.”

“And I can go charm some Human for our own food.” Xiumin stated, so plainly and uncomplicated that it would’ve given everybody whiplash if they hadn’t already been used to it. After all, keeping a strait-laced morality could be really difficult when you’re a Wolf. “We’ll be alright.”

 “Good to hear.” Kris didn’t mean to sound dismissive, but his head was obviously somewhere else – and his pack-members, who all knew him better than anybody else ever had, noted it. Obviously.

“That Human must be something else.” Tao quipped while getting out of Kris’ immediate range. It wasn’t like Kris would physically retaliate, or at least that wouldn’t be very common, but better safe than sorry, right?

At least that’s what Yixing and Xiumin always said.

“He’s alright.” Kris tried to sound nonchalant… and failed miserably. Right in front of him, Luhan giggled. Kris realised he’d been found out, and fucking blushed.

Like the complete idiot that he was.

“Now I’m curious.” Kris shot Tao a warning look – Luhan was still giggling, and now Tao was too.

Great.

“You’ve never been this quick to blush, he must be worth the risk of staying here for longer than we’d intended.” Yixing added more fuel to the fire, a sly smile drawn on his face, marking that solitary dimple that made so many people go crazy.

Kris internally screamed. Then, he externally growled a warning.

A single beat passed with no more sound than some chirping sparrows.

And then, his four Wolves laughed out loud at the same time. Even the usually calm and composed Yixing was now laughing at him.

“Son of a thousand Wolves!” Kris exclaimed, still blushing deeper than pink yet not crimson red. “Can we centre on what’s really important for two fucking seconds, please?!”

“‘Course we can! It’s just fun to tease you, Kris.” Tao admitted as his laughter subsided, a handsome smile on his face. His words were sincere – yet there was definite mirth inside his dark eyes, perfect black eyeliner delimiting them. As always, his hand was steady when it came to make-up.

“True.” Luhan pointed to Tao as if he couldn’t believe that he agreed with their youngest. “How long are we going to remain here?”

“As long as it’s safe for us to do so.” Kris answered.

That gave them all pause once more, because it certainly hadn’t been the answer they’d been expecting. After all, a Wolf pack as small as theirs, with only five members to their name, was much more vulnerable than the usual thirty-something pack that most Wolves preferred to travel with and live in. Their smaller number had the advantage of being more difficult to detect, of course; but it also meant they had to live with the risk of being tenderer, easier to break in a fight. True, Tao was a fantastic fighter; and Kris and Xiumin were stronger than most Wolves out there, but Luhan was smaller than the average and thus relatively weaker. And Yixing didn’t like to fight at all.

It was almost like their previous encounters reinforced the idea that they needed more members to be a truly competent pack. If the people in the last town they’d stopped at had been deterred by a larger number of Wolves to fight against, they wouldn’t have been so reserved towards the Wolves posing as Humans. If they had more members, those damned Humans wouldn’t have scattered to call dangers towards their small pack.

If they weren’t so damning small, they would have stood a chance in that fucking fight.

Tao wouldn’t have had to fight more adversaries than he could take. Yixing and Luhan wouldn’t have been forced to sacrifice all attacks to be able to defend themselves. Xiumin wouldn’t have had to fight opponent after opponent, until his bloody jaws hung open with exhaustion. Kris wouldn’t have had to take physical, lasting damage to break the main fight, to take most opponents away from his pack.

“You’re serious about that Human, aren’t you.” Xiumin stated – it wasn’t a real question, not with the way he’d worded it. He already knew the answer; he just wanted to hear, to see, Kris admitting it.

Yixing couldn’t help but be impressed by how easily Xiumin could read them all. Their eldest remained quiet as much as Yixing himself did, but he didn’t pull his punches when he needed to throw them. Then again, neither did Yixing – nor anybody in their pack, really. Not even Luhan, who was as small in Wolf form as he was feisty in Human form, held back.

Somehow, Kris’ silence was always more telling than his words ever were.

“Will you take him with us when we leave?” Tao asked. He’d given up his quest for a decent seat long ago, and now he sat down on the floor, directly in front of Kris. He was within kicking distance, too. Considering he was a fighter, that was telling. “I’d like to meet him before we leave, though. Gotta prepare him for the whole, “hey we’re Wolves and our leader’s interested in you but we gotta go and you’re gonna go with us”, thing.”

“Wow, when you put it like that, it almost sounds simple.” Luhan extended one leg as far as it could go and managed to nudge Tao’s back. Their youngest turned to look at him with a sly smile and an even slier look in his eyes. “I wish it were simple like that.”

“We all do.” Kris groaned, leaning both elbows on his knees and bending his back forward. The posture might’ve been bad for his spine (and for his wound), but he didn’t care. He just couldn’t meet his pack-members’ eyes and admit he was in the process of falling for a Human. “I’ll introduce him to you four when I’m sure of this whole… thing.”

“Wow, not even “if”, he went straight to “when”.” Tao teased, stealing Luhan’s expression for a hot second.

“Not very straight of Kris to fall for a Human “he”, though.” Xiumin added.

“ENOUGH!!” roared Kris, feeling himself grow hotter with a new, deeper blush. Yixing’s giggle drew Kris’ attention to him.

That single dimple was quite visible on his clear skin, giving him the same air that a sly demon might’ve had. Well, not a demon – a fallen angel was more precise, really, what with his elegance and general composure, not to mention his superb healing abilities. With his dark hair and equally dark eyes, his white top and his dark trousers, he looked every bit the delicious being Humans saw when looking at him. Wolves weren’t famous for their looks, but Yixing truly was an exception to every single rule. Including that one.

“What, you can’t take a bit of teas–” Tao cut his own sentence down suddenly.

Everybody in their pack instantly knew something was amiss.

That same “something” drove them into action as soon as armed people started to pour from every single crevice and alleyway in between the buildings around them.

Dry blood mixed with rusted iron, invasive and unwanted, the putrid stench of a fight about to break.

Tao was the quickest to react, ever the one with the most powerful battle instincts. He changed forms with astonishing easiness, running directly towards the enemy closest to him. The man couldn’t even raise one arm in time to block the bite to his shoulder. He fell to the ground with a shriek, a lean, black Wolf with white legs and bloodied fangs on top of him.

Another two men quickly charged towards Tao, wanting to take him out before he could do any more damage. They probably believed he was the only real threat they’d encounter in this small pack – which was a grave mistake.

Xiumin didn’t attract any attention to himself when he changed, another lean Wolf fighting by Tao’s side. The light caught on his refulgent, black fur when he stood in between the two new attackers and Tao, giving him a blueish hue. Xiumin opened his jaws, not even needing to growl to force the two men’s hand – they tried to take some weapon out of their inner pockets, probably a gun.

Xiumin was faster.

One of the two men fell to the ground with a lacerated thigh, bleeding profusely onto the ground. Xiumin rested his whole weight on his chest, suffocating him, making sure he didn’t have enough room nor strength to raise his arms and shoot.

The other opened his mouth in a silent scream when Tao displayed vicious power, going directly to his jugular – yet he seemed to change his mind in a split second, tearing the arms out of their sockets instead. Now that the man had both shoulders dislocated, he wouldn’t be a threat anymore.

Meanwhile, Yixing had stayed close to Kris; more because he didn’t want him to strain his injured side any more than necessary than because their leader needed help in a fight. Kris was their physically strongest, he could take care of a couple dozen enemies himself. Yixing could run damage control later, tend to any scratches their pack might’ve suffered. But this was not the time to strategize about anything that wasn’t the fight.

Kris changed forms with a deep growl that followed him from Human to Wolf, jaws opened, his posture low and ready to pounce. The five or six men in front of them, all well-armed with either blunt weapons or cocked guns, stayed right where they were. It was obvious that they hadn’t expected such an obvious threat from the wounded one. Yixing smiled, although it didn’t reach his eyes, and used that temporary pause to change forms too. His own Wolf form was much smaller than Kris’, less muscled – he knew he looked quite innocuous by his leader’s side.

One of the men raised his handgun to aim at Yixing. Kris growled. Yixing jumped to one side, forcing the man to readjust his gun. Yixing was closer to their enemies now. He used that to start tearing through them. A quick glance to his left let him see that Kris had joined in, too, starting dead from the centre.

Bad strategy. This wasn’t a contained space, it was better to tear at the enemies from the sides inwards, not the other way around. Kris was wounded on his right side, the wound much more visible in Wolf form without a Human’s clothes to hide it – leaving enemies on his right could be fatal. Then again, Yixing was at Kris’ right.

The sheer trust of it, the silent acknowledgement of his own strength, made Yixing swell with pride, with love, with feeling like a valuable part of the pack.

It made Yixing swell with the need to prove himself.

Kris was battling the three in the centre at the same time, giving them no quarter. He was being mindful of his injury – maybe he just didn’t want Yixing to chew his ear off later for having been reckless, maybe he truly had learnt his lesson the first time. It was always impressive to watch him take on enemy after enemy, disabling their weapons with such an expertise that only Tao could really match.

One man fell to his knees, head now level with Kris’ red-covered jaws. He looked like he had given up on life, like he was expecting to be killed with no regrets – but there was something amiss in his gaze, something vitreous, as if he wasn’t thinking for himself. Kris noticed it, because he was more observant than Humans tended to expect of a Wolf, so he just swung a powerful paw towards the man’s chest, knocking him off his feet and leaving a bleeding gash from shoulder to waist.

Another was rendered unconscious by sheer blood-loss, one deep bite on his leg and another on the opposite arm.

But the damned third was giving Kris more trouble. The bastard kept jumping left and right, displaying the kind of agility that only martial arts and ballet could cultivate. It was fucking annoying to not be able to just pounce on him, fuck his wound. And, to top it off, the bastard’s smug face was giving Kris more reasons to growl.

Suddenly, the third man was taken down by an agile blur.

Kris gave the blur a look, both in recognition and as a thank-you, and the brown, diminutive Wolf returned it with big eyes the colour of chestnuts. Luhan was small in this form like he was in his Human one, but he was also much nimbler than the rest of them. In this situation, when their pack was fighting in two couples, their fifth needed that speed. He could easily jump back and forth, aiding whoever needed it, quickly taking down those opponents who had stayed back, trying to properly aim their guns.

The fight was vicious, like all their fights were. And, just like all their fights, it did not cost them any casualties. It was over before they could regroup enough to know what exactly had hit them – were these the same men who had wounded Kris? Had they followed them into this city, had they caught up to their pack? Or was this some other new threat they hadn’t seen coming?

Xiumin returned to his Human form, stood right in front of the man with dislodged arms. A black-and-white Wolf walked up to his left side, posture low and muscles coiled, evident disdain in the bleeding half-moon of his mouth. Kris prowled towards Xiumin too, standing by his right side, huge bowed head levelled with his thigh, so that Xiumin’s hand brushed against his fur, slightly matted from blood that wasn’t his own.

The man had evident fear in his eyes and a scream lodged inside his throat, but he didn’t move an inch. The pain might’ve been too much for him, Yixing mused, because Humans weren’t built for resilience in the same way that Wolves were. Still, he stayed out of it, knowing fully well that Xiumin wasn’t a force you wanted to mess with when he had a clear objective in mind.

Especially not when his pack had been threatened, had been attacked.

What Yixing did, however, was take a look at Kris’ wound. Thankfully, it hadn’t reopened – the bandages he’d used on Kris’ Human form had been ripped away when he had changed forms. Which was another reason why Yixing had basically told him not to fight until his wound was well enough to be left in the open air like this.

Oh well. He could run damage control later, when Xiumin was done. Luhan too, since he was prowling amongst the fallen, making sure they were either dead (from blood-loss, not from their own fangs) or unable to keep fighting. Tao and Kris were being more bodyguards than real threats, just some presence by Xiumin’s sides to further boost his interrogation, to give more oomph to his intimidation.

“You’ve lost…” the man said. There was a challenge shining through the fear, as if he was being guided by an unknown force. “You won the fight and lost the war.”

Xiumin just looked at him, tilted his head to one side, kept the same expression, the same body language.

“We have the traitor Human… whoever aids Wolves is as good as dead…”

No one in the pack was fast enough, strong enough, determined enough, to stop the huge black blur that escaped their pack, following a scent unknown to all but himself.

Chapter Text

Kris couldn’t help the frenzied way in which he ran through deserted alleyways, the buildings at both sides of him looking like they were only painted in grey. His right side was a constant sting in the edges of his mind, just another nonimportant thing blending into the background. The scent he’d kicked up from the men his pack had just defeated was greasy, unpleasant, and it impregnated everything it touched, sticking to it like mould stuck to an oily wall.

But that unwanted scent was also the only thing he could currently track down with millimetric precision, Wolfish senses picking it up and processing it with more speed and accuracy than a Human’s ever could.

His Human was in danger.

Suho was in danger.

He needed to be fast. He couldn’t let himself be stopped by something as simple as a fucking wound.

Yixing would have his hide when he returned to the pack, he knew it. Still worth it, though. Everything was worth it if he could save Suho.

Wait.

He’d stopped so abruptly on his tracks that his hind legs almost found no purchase on the gravel beneath him, so he almost toppled over quite comically. Thankfully, there was no one there to see him. All Humans seemed to have vanished from the face of the city, as if they could sense Kris’ bloody rage, as if they could notice that Kris’ vision was tinged with a red filter.

Even the flower-shop at one side was deserted, its glass doors a bit too fancy for such ruinous suburbs. There were no flowers outside the undoubtedly locked doors, but Kris could detect some – not quite like roses, not really like marguerites, so maybe they were… daffodils? Did daffodils even have a scent?

That wasn’t important. So he kicked the thought out of his mind.

A deep sniff let him pick up the same scent those attackers had, yet something else was mixed with it. Something earthly, profound like chocolate-coloured eyes, clean like a shallow creek’s waters. Something that reminded him of hideous bedcovers and shared breaths.

Something that set him on an even better path.

Kris broke into a run, the wide gallop burning his limbs with the faint tiredness he carried from the previous fight. He’d tried so hard to contain himself back there with his pack, had tried so hard not to pronounce Suho’s name, but now all of that seemed futile. He didn’t even know how he’d planned to tell his pack about Suho’s existence – it surely had not been like this, that he knew. Yet he couldn’t help these circumstances. He could only trust his pack to obtain more information about their attackers, because he had a one-track mind right now.

That very same one track led him to a deserted warehouse smack in the middle of a deserted intersection of streets. The walls were plain grey, all vestiges of former paint gone with rains and winds, letting the cement’s ridges and creases bare. The building was a two-story one, he noticed with a cautious glance upwards to check for snipers – a skill he’d acquired even before he met all members of his current pack, since Humans were brittle little creatures who preferred to lean heavily on man-made machinery. There were no windows, only rectangular holes left in their stead; it was easy to see the absence of movement inside.

It was suspiciously, creepily, quiet. Kris didn’t trust it.

The double doors that he could see from his current position, crouched by a full trashcan covered in deep shadows, were painted a hideous shade of fading red. His sense of smell was almost fully overwhelmed by the trash littered around that tiny corner, and the tinges of drying blood at his own jaws certainly didn’t help – wait.

His nuzzle wasn’t the only thing covered with blood.

Ears moving slightly, posture low with caution, he took some steps towards the warehouse. Decaying shadows covered him still, denoting that there were crevices that not even the first afternoon-sunrays could touch. And there was blood.

There was blood painted onto the warehouse’s double doors. It was old blood, dry at some places and drying in others, mere remnants of past sacrifices, and of past victims. That was good. It meant his Suho was still whole.

He didn’t even want to begin thinking about how he was wrong – it only meant that Suho hadn’t been wounded outside.

Earth and water mixed in one sole scent, and Kris saw red once more.

“WAIT!”

Kris stopped on his tracks once more. He turned his head slowly.

And his whole pack was there.

Luhan had changed into Human form to give him the command, knowing that his older age meant Kris was less likely to protest him than he was Tao’s or Yixing’s orders. Luhan was red-faced, standing but bent over, leaning on his own knees as he gasped for air, looking like he had rushed towards Kris – and, now that Kris’ gaze went from Luhan to Xiumin’s and Tao’s Wolf forms, he realised all of them looked like they had just had a good run.

Kris was too worked up to even remember how to change forms, so he could just growl at his own pack. They all spoke the language of Wolves; they wouldn’t have any trouble understanding him.

“There’s no way you’re going alone. It’s too dangerous.” Luhan sounded more commanding than usual.

“And you’re not in your best shape.” Yixing added. He was as respectful as ever, because he was younger than Kris and he always respected his elders – and his leader – but he was also inflexible when he knew he was right. Like right now. “Let us help you.”

We know that Human is important to you, and we’re not going to leave you alone – Xiumin’s voice carried over cleanly, although they were “talking” Wolf-to-Wolf.

He’s in here, right? You have his scent memorized – Tao added, shaking his head and shoulders. There was dried blood all over his face; it would probably look really bad as soon as he changed forms.

Kris didn’t know how to let his pack know that he was fucking grateful for their presence. The fear that he hadn’t even known he had was receding, he could feel it going away. Now he had a fighting chance. But–

The Human is mine. I will save him. Get rid of everybody else.

Luhan smiled an amused smile. He wasn’t panting heavily anymore. When he let himself change forms, it was elegant and effortless; just one fluid motion as he walked forward. Xiumin and Tao closed files at Kris’ sides, though they kept themselves a single step behind him, and Luhan followed. He was so small in comparison that Kris’ bulk hid all of him.

The warehouse’s doors were locked, because of course they were. But a Wolf’s agility was superior, even without a big running start, allowing them to jump through a window.

The interior of the warehouse was as bare as the outer walls suggested. There were some thick metal beams lying in one corner, out of the main corridor’s way. Said pathway led the prowling Wolves towards the left, where Xiumin hugged the wall after seeing Tao do the same – better to trust the born fighter than to end up wounded.

There was one Human figure standing guard there, standing tall in the middle of the arch of a door-less doorframe. Their back was turned to the Wolves, so they were most definitely there to stop somebody from getting out, not to prevent someone from coming in. Kris opened his jaws, ready to commit murder in front of his pack – something he had never done before.

Tao sneaked towards the figure, slightly shorter because he was crouched, and did some fancy martial arts move. Kris hadn’t seen him change forms, but he did see the exact moment when the guard fell into Tao’s arms, unconscious. His gun, however, clanked on the dirty ground with a metallic echo.

Xiumin and Luhan lunged forward at the same time, silent communication passing in between them.

The room they literally jumped into was wide, as it utilised the whole space in between the outer walls. The warehouse’s full extension could be seen in this room, more men standing guard at all sides, close to the walls. At the very centre, there was someone hanging from the ceiling – both wrists tied together, head hung as if dead, even though there were no visible wounds in his fully-clothed body.

Xiumin jumped onto one of the guys hugging the left wall, since it was the closest to the door and Luhan was agiler, which also made him faster in tight spaces. The first man he fell onto didn’t even have time to raise his two-handed gun before Xiumin gashed him open from the shoulder-blade to the throat. Splashing red covered his vision for a moment – in that split second, he wondered if this was how Kris saw things right now.

Xiumin had never seen Kris so furious as he was right then.

A quick glance to the room’s right-side wall told him that Luhan was running tight circles around two of the men there. He was too agile to be caught by the flying bullets of the other two men on that side, forcing his adversaries into the crossfire. Considering how much he abhorred killing, how much he avoided inflicting any harm to anybody, this tactic was perfectly in character.

A bullet flew too close to Xiumin’s left ear for comfort, its winds rendering him almost off-balance for a moment. He raised his head towards the one who had shot. The man was aiming right between his eyes – fear surged through Xiumin, the challenge still inside his eyes – the man’s trigger-finger moved–

Yixing jumped at the man from the side, throwing him onto the wall with enough pressure to crack his skull open if he fell the wrong way.

Xiumin gave Yixing a look.

Thank you.

They attacked the rest of the men on that side together.

Kris was the last to enter the room, merely because his vision was so covered in red that he’d thought he was bleeding from the forehead. Yet it didn’t matter if he was bleeding or not; the pain and the blood and the sting of his wounded side and the ache in his heart would only fuel his anger forward.

Forward, into the ample room.

When he saw the figure hanging from the ceiling, and the broad man at their side, all covered in black, he just didn’t think anymore.

The foul stench who had tried to hurt his pack surrounded the black-clad man.

Suho’s sweet scent concentrated in the unmoving figure.

The instinct deep within him urged him to bite, to maim, to kill as soon as he could, as viciously as he could.

Kill first, eliminate the threat, don’t even play with them, we don’t have the time.

The man standing by the unmoving figure gave out a piercing cry. It was heard over the mostly-silent bullets – most guns had silencers built on them, although no Wolf realised that until the fight was over. Pain and fear were evident in his voice, and it turned from dry to a grotesque gurgling as it reached its end. The man drowned in his own blood, whole torso split opened, dark blood pouring out of him without an end.

Kris changed into his Human form quicker than he could ever remember doing it, his mind still disconnected, his body still moving on instinct’s autopilot.

He was tall enough to reach the thick rope tying Suho’s wrists together above his head, but he had nothing with which to cut it. He growled, low, and as deep within his throat as his Wolf form would have growled. A gleaming switchblade appeared in his peripheric vision, the blade turned downwards, away from both Kris and Suho. Kris did not look to the man by his side – he didn’t need to; even in Human form, he knew it was Tao. It was his scent, but it wasn’t his switchblade.

It was the switchblade Yixing used to cut the cloth in his way when he needed to get to a wound. But Yixing was still a blood-covered Wolf standing behind him, legs to the ground as he tried to catch his breath, Luhan leaning heavily on him. Xiumin was also in Wolf form as he rubbed his head against the junction between Luhan’s shoulders and neck.

When Kris cut the rope, Suho fell right into his welcoming arms.

“My… Wolf…”

It had been barely a whisper against Kris’ ear, but he’d caught it. Kris extended one arm to the side, feeling how Tao took the switchblade away. Then, Kris moved that same hand to Suho, holding him close. Holding him tight. Feeling how Suho laced both arms around his shoulders. Just like he’d done when Kris had been laying on top of him.

“Are you alright?” Kris’ voice sounded rough even to his own ears, hoarse from growling so much. When Suho tried to put some distance between them, just to look at him, Kris panicked a little, because he saw Suho’s front covered in blood.

It hadn’t even registered that the blood wasn’t Suho’s, wasn’t Kris’ – it had only transferred from Kris’ clothing onto Suho’s when they’d embraced each other.

“I’m… alright, I think? My head hurts…”

“Let’s get you home.” Kris said. His tone admitted no rebuttals. It was the same tone he used when giving orders to his pack. A tone he didn’t use often. Maybe that was why his pack always obeyed first-try when he used it. “I’ll carry you.”

Before Suho could get enough breath or brainpower to say anything else, Kris easily scooped him into his arms. His Human was less heavy than he’d anticipated – then again, Kris was running on adrenaline and instincts, and he had way more strength than any Human would ever have.

“You’re carrying me like I’m your bride…” Suho mumbled, a muted giggle in his voice, as Kris took some steps towards the room’s door, testing how quickly and easily he could move with the added weight.

Kris froze on the spot, a hot rush painted on his face.

“Who are you…?”

“I’m Tao. I’m part of Kris’ pack.”

Oh, fuck. He’d completely forgotten his own fucking pack.

“Nice to meet you, Tao…”

“Nice to meet you too, man. But our leader’s right, we gotta take you out of here. We can explain everything later.”

Kris gave Tao a look, thanking him for having the common sense to not dump too much information at once all over Suho’s confused brain. Tao answered with a swift shrug and an even quicker smile. Xiumin, Luhan and Yixing walked slightly closer to Kris, keeping just about enough distance to allow Suho to see them. Kris gave them the same kind of look he’d given Tao. The three Wolves acknowledged it in their own way – a tiny bow from Yixing, a flicking of the ears from Xiumin, an ampler gesture from Luhan.

“Our place is kinda on the other side of town, though.” Tao told Kris. He sounded regretful, as if he couldn’t believe how bad their luck was. “And we’re covered in blood… there’s no way we could reach it safely. I mean, we could, but…”

“Not when I can’t be a dog-owner.” Suho completed the thought. “We could go to my house… I have the keys on my pockets… I think…” a little groan that, in other circumstances, would’ve done things to Kris. “…at least I had them, before…”

“Explain it later.” Kris ordered him, although his tone was much sweeter than it was when he ordered his pack around. That sweetness made his whole pack look at him in surprise. “Tao, change forms. Find us all a good path to this address.”

It took Suho some heaving breathes, but he managed to give his address to the pack. He panted, leaning his head against Kris’ warm body. Truth be told, he was more exhausted than hurt – those bastards had taken him in the morning, when he was on his way to work, and it was now nearly evening, and he hadn’t eaten a single thing. The only thing he’d consumed was the chloroform he’d been given in the middle of the street.

Still, it calmed Kris’ nerves to hear Yixing tell him basically the same thing. Suho was lying face-up on his couch, Xiumin and Luhan bickering in the open kitchen as they tried to cook them all something for dinner. Tao had sat on the floor, back against the wall closest to the couch – if asked, he would’ve denied that he’d chosen that spot because of its strategic advantage (he could see the whole living room, the street outside, and the corridor leading to the front door). Kris knelt by the couch, close enough to touch Suho, but still far away enough to not annoy Yixing as he examined the Human.

“You’re not seriously hurt.” Yixing was telling Suho in his best “serious voice”. “But you’ve got some scratches in your arms. Did they attack you?”

“I don’t remember that.” Suho answered. Kris almost wanted to contradict him, because Suho had just tightened his hold of Kris’ hand. “But it’s possible, I guess? I’m right-handed…”

“Defensive scratches on the left arm, then.” Yixing noted thoughtfully. “I assume you haven’t eaten anything in a long time, so do it now. And drink a lot of water.”

“I will, thank you.”

Yixing went away, mostly to give Kris and Suho some space, giving Tao a look to do the same. Their youngest seemed a bit confused as to why he should move, but he did walk towards the kitchen area. Kris spoke as soon as they were out of earshot – a lie, what with Wolfish senses meaning nothing was too out of range. Kris just didn’t want to think about his own pack eavesdropping on his private businesses.

“Sorry.”

“What for? It’s not your fault.” Suho sat up, never letting go of Kris’ hand. “You didn’t send them to me.”

“Somebody attacked us before we entered into this city. You were kidnapped this morning. The same people who took you attacked us this afternoon.” Kris sounded like he was thinking aloud. “That cannot be coincidence. And didn’t a new anti-Wolf law enter into force only a couple weeks ago?”

“Yeah, it did. It rewards people for snitching on Wolves, and on those who help them.” Suho said. Realization hit him like a freight train. “I would never do that to your pack!”

“I know that.” Kris smoothed a hand over Suho’s hair, ruffling it, trying to calm the alarm in Suho’s voice. “I’m not worried about that.”

“Sorry for interrupting.” Xiumin approached them with a folded mantlepiece in his hands. “Dinner’s ready. Can we serve it on this table?”

“Yeah, go ahead.” Suho said. It felt strange to play host to four people – somehow Kris didn’t register as a mere guest in his mind – but he’d do what he had to do.

“Thank you!” Xiumin said, a smile on his face, as he started serving. Luhan and Yixing were helping him; whereas Tao… “OY! Don’t steal food before we start dinner, you lousy scavenger!”

Tao looked at Xiumin directly and popped a new bite into his mouth.

 


 

“… so how exactly are we going to distribute ourselves for tonight?” Luhan asked cautiously. His belly felt full, and he was beyond satiated after having been able to take a shower before dining, but there was now a new problem.

Five Wolves and a Human couldn’t possibly fit comfortably in two rooms.

Well, okay. Two rooms and a sofa, as Suho had put it.

Still not ideal.

“If I stay in my room with someone, two other people can have the bed in the guest room.” Suho started tentatively. Even though the house was his own, he didn’t want to impose anything on his guests. “But that leaves two on the couch…”

Suho looked down. He obviously didn’t like the idea.

“Oh, I’ve something in mind.” Kris said with a wide smirk.

Chapter Text

It turned out that Kris’ idea hadn’t been so bad, Xiumin thought. The matrimony bed in the guest room was inviting, all soft, white blankets underneath him. Luhan had taken the cream-coloured duvet off, claiming it would be too hot to sleep with it. Xiumin had let him, content in knowing that they at least had enough space to be able to choose whether to rest in Wolf or Human form.

“Come here.” Xiumin made a wide gesture of his arm, still lying on the mattress, fully clothed and with no intention of moving.

“You’re impatient today.” Luhan protested, though he did move closer. On his way towards the bed, he threw his light denim jacket somewhere to his side. Xiumin heard it land with a muffled thud, probably on the desk, or even on the chair by it. “Why, you thought you’d lose me?”

“Nah.” Xiumin sat up on the bed, shamelessly going directly for Luhan’s thighs, tugging him closer until he was standing in between Xiumin’s parted legs, knees against the bed’s edge. “You’re just hot when you fight.”

“So now it’s my fault you’re horny?” Luhan asked, tilting his head to one side in a mockery of Xiumin’s trademark gesture.

“Mm-hm.” Xiumin sing-sang, leaning a bit further forward to rest his forehead on Luhan’s body. “All your fault. What are you going to do about it?”

“Call me, then.”

Xiumin smiled sickly sweet, half thankful that Luhan couldn’t see it – if he had, Xiumin might’ve gotten smacked out of it. Luhan’s words hadn’t really come out of thin air, even when it could seem like that to any onlookers; this was an issue as old as Luhan himself. Xiumin was pretty sure it had to do with how eternally young Luhan looked, and with how he wanted to be seen as the age he really was. Which was difficult – who would believe he was over twenty-five when he looked barely twenty?

Hence why he was always requesting people treated him with the same respect they had for Xiumin, who was around Luhan’s age (if a couple years older still) and did not look like it either.

So why did people treat Xiumin like an elder, and Luhan like a cub?

It made no sense. Not in Luhan’s mind, not in Xiumin’s mind.

But it was just too damn fun to tease him.

“My tiny little one.” Xiumin cooed, enough mirth in his tone for Luhan to know he was just playing around. He didn’t want to anger the moon of his nights.

“I’m not tiny, I’m almost as old as you.” Luhan replied, trying to get away from Xiumin’s hold – but his resistance was only half-assed; because he was playing around, too. “What do you expect me to do, anyway? This isn’t our house!”

Xiumin turned his head to give Luhan the sliest look he’d ever seen on his mate.

“Do try and keep quiet, then.”

Luhan blushed ten shades of beet-red. He was completely still for a moment. Then, he threw Xiumin backwards onto the bed, the springs protesting faintly, climbing on top of him with no reservations. Xiumin just looked at him, let him do, kept his smile inviting and his gaze sly, because he knew Luhan liked that.

“You’re the absolute worst.” Luhan growled. He didn’t sound very threatening.

“So what if I am? You like me like this.” Xiumin retorted. He wanted to rile his love even further, wanted him to do as he pleased. “You like me spread-eagled beneath you.”

“Wouldn’t that be spread-wolfed?” Luhan muttered. A physical shake of his head, soft dark blonde locks ebbing softly, dismissed that train of thought. Rhetoric wasn’t his strongest suit anyway. “The hell do you want!”

You.”

Luhan gave out a tiny growl – he sounded like he wanted to contain himself – he bent down and kissed Xiumin, his face still blushed red. Xiumin would’ve kept him close against him until they were panting against each other’s lips, but Luhan was pinning him down. Xiumin tried to raise his legs to trap Luhan, to feel like he had some control too.

“What, now you want to dry-hump me?” Luhan asked him, at a very low volume. They weren’t alone in this house, after all – their pack’s fucking leader and their benign host were literally next door, not to mention Yixing and Tao further down the hall. Even if the rest of the pack was already used to their trysts, Suho wasn’t. And this was Suho’s house. The least they could do was stay mostly silent.

Keyword being “mostly”.

“You’re not even going to undress me, are you?” Xiumin asked.

“Better not.” Luhan answered. Upon Xiumin’s confused look, he clarified, “Well, we can’t stain the bed, can we? It’s not ours.”

“I can hold you.” Xiumin reminded him, nonchalant as always despite the evident hunger in his eyes.

“Against the wall?” Luhan asked. A mental image formed instantly – one of past times, when they had just gotten together, when they used every alone time they had – he tried to dismiss it. The image only got clearer. “They’ll hear us easier if we do that.”

“Not that wall.” Xiumin was pointing to the wall the guest room shared with the main bedroom. “I meant that one.” He moved his hand towards the opposite end of the room. It was also a tiny space not immediately visible if someone were to open the door.

“…not a bad idea.” Luhan admitted, sitting up once more. He adjusted his posture slightly, rolling his hips forward until Xiumin sucked in a shaky breath. “Son of a thousand Wolves, you really are horny.”

Xiumin moved upwards. Luhan gasped, covering his mouth with his hand to not get too loud – he knew himself enough to know he couldn’t exactly let go of himself if he intended to keep quiet.

Xiumin used that little moment while Luhan was distracted to sit up, his Wolfish strength aiding him more than he wanted to admit. Luhan saw it and opened his mouth to protest – Xiumin just kissed him again, swallowed all complains about how he hadn’t kissed Luhan properly the first time around.

When Xiumin took Luhan into his arms, still kissing him, Luhan didn’t protest. He did gasp when Xiumin stood up, though. Luhan knew that he was completely secure in Xiumin’s arms, legs wrapped around his waist, yet he couldn’t help the butterflies in the pit of his stomach. He always felt them when Xiumin held him this close – his love didn’t display his full strength very often, so it always left Luhan impressed when he did.

Impressed and turned on.

“You’re not…” a kiss. “…even going to…” another kiss. “…undress me?”

“Do you want me to?” Xiumin replied easily. Luhan smiled against his mouth.

“Feel free to undress me just a little.” A new kiss. “Ah…”

Xiumin had backed him against the wall.

It felt cool against Luhan’s t-shirt, but that could be just because he was getting heated. Luhan giggled, all smiles and appreciation for Xiumin, and kissed him again. He managed to sneak a hand in between their bodies, going directly for his own fly. He knew Xiumin wouldn’t mind – would encourage him, in fact – so he didn’t mind acting a little bit greedy.

“You’re impatient today.” Xiumin muttered, still sounding as playful as ever.

“Do you mind…?” Luhan asked. He tried his best to appear nonchalant, but he knew he wasn’t having much success.

“Not really.” Xiumin answered plainly. “Just…” he lowered Luhan to the ground. “…if you’re going to undress, do it down here.”

Luhan really, really wanted to protest. But Xiumin was biting his neck. That made it really difficult to concentrate. He fumbled with his fly for some seconds, whimpering softly every single time Xiumin mouthed at his neck, right at the pulse point. Eventually, he managed to lower his clothes to his mid-thigh – he immediately felt too exposed, too shy. Still, he didn’t let it show beyond a shaky breath; a shaky breath that he hoped would be attributed to Xiumin’s actions instead.

He really should know better by now.

“I’ll stop if you want me to.” Xiumin muttered against his jaw – and he had, in fact, stopped all other action.

“I’m fine…” Luhan answered. “Just…” Xiumin didn’t chastise him for the pause, which was something Luhan was grateful for. “… just hold me up again.”

Xiumin smirked, raised his head a bit, and kissed him. This time, it was softer than their previous kisses, though just as loving and devoted. Luhan wrapped his arms around Xiumin’s neck, letting him hold him against the wall once more. The difference now was that Luhan couldn’t open his legs as far, since his trousers weren’t completely off. It felt quite constricted, but it strangely added to the heady mixture of sensations.

Luhan tried to angle his hips better, already seeking friction. Xiumin giggled that sly little thing that he always giggled when he was excited. It made Luhan blush, smile, give his mouth a little kiss. Then, he sneaked a hand downwards.

Xiumin thought Luhan was going to stroke himself, bold, right in front of Xiumin, because his blond moon could get selfish at times.

Well, not “selfish”. That was a bit too extreme. “Needy” was much more like it. And Xiumin would be the last one on this grey earth to call him out on that. He would be hypocritical if he did. Because there were few things that Xiumin enjoyed more than a needy Luhan between his arms.

Feeling Luhan undoing his belt and fly to get to his cock was definitely one of those few things, though.

Luhan was caressing him in fast motions, trying to touch as much of him as he could get to. It was alluring, to know Luhan desired him so – impatience meant he truly wanted this to happen, meant he was turned on and needy. Xiumin let him do, moving his hold from the bottom of Luhan’s thighs to his ass, and letting the wall support part of his weight. It wasn’t like Luhan weighted excessively anyway; Xiumin was strong enough to hold him aloft even if he’d been ten kilos heavier.

Luhan’s urgency manifested in the tiny gasp that escaped his lips when he ran his fingers over the head of Xiumin’s cock, feeling it soft and slick. He knew he was blushing, and he didn’t dare look at Xiumin’s face. The embers setting those dark eyes alight were always too much for him – one single look and he was done for. It was quite embarrassing to admit, so he never admitted it (not to himself, not to Xiumin), but it ultimately didn’t matter. Everything he could focus his attention on was the way Xiumin’s cock slid in his palm, up and down, smooth and slick.

“How do you want me?” Xiumin asked him then, right against his jaw – when had he gotten so close? Luhan didn’t know – and his tone was half playful, half dark – Luhan’s mind threatened with disconnecting entirely. “Tell me.”

“Fast, until I moan.” A pointed little tug on Xiumin’s cock. “Hard, until I come.” A run of his thumb over Xiumin’s head. “Deep, until you fill me.”

Xiumin growled a growl that started loud and gradually got lower in volume, as if he’d just remembered that they weren’t alone in the house. It made Luhan laugh a little, half breathless, joyous. Because he now knew that Xiumin was just as impatient, just as desperate, as he was himself. It made sense, considering that Xiumin had been the one to start things tonight – surprising, since Luhan was usually the one starting sex – yet it made Luhan’s head spin.

He was desired by the one he loved. It was a rush that only those deeply in love could fully understand; something so precious and worthy of reverence that it shouldn’t be shared with anybody else, only with the most brilliant of stars.

Xiumin captured his mouth in a fast-paced kiss.

Luhan’s mind was on the brink of shutting off.

“Stay with me…” Xiumin muttered, always against his mouth, because he loved to know Luhan was close to him – that one thing didn’t really change, no matter how slow or rough, how many times, they shared a bed. Or a wall. Or a bath. “Don’t you dare go away.”

“I won’t…” Luhan muttered. He gave Xiumin a little kiss – it left Xiumin wanting more. “At least, I won’t if you fuck me like I told you to.”

It was quite a mystery how and why they were often able to move on without a lot of preparation, but they were. Even though Luhan loved to feel Xiumin stretching him out with his own fingers before he did so with his cock, this time they went directly for the latter. They were much too needy for such premises; and it was difficult to gauge how loud they could involuntarily get if they kept this up for long. True; sometimes, wearing themselves out was magnificent, but this was not the time for that.

The kiss they shared while Xiumin slid inside of Luhan felt like a promise – soon I will have you all for me, soon you will be able to be loud and wild.

Xiumin was careful as he pressed on, too conscious that Luhan hadn’t enjoyed the pleasure of being fingered. He maybe should’ve been watching himself disappear inside the moon of his nights; yet he instead observed his blushing face, wanting to see no discomfort in his delicate features. Sex was supposed to be fun and exciting and a thing to share, no matter how rough they (Xiumin) could get sometimes.

He was relieved when the only sounds Luhan let out were sighs of pleasure, drawn forth from the familiar warmth and pressure of Xiumin’s cock sheathed deep within him.

“Good?” Xiumin asked, moving slightly closer. Luhan slid a little up the wall.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, Luhan didn’t trust himself enough to keep his voice down. So he didn’t speak; he just gave a frantic nod of his head, up and down, conveying everything he didn’t want to try to say.

Good.” The change in tone let Luhan know the exact mood that Xiumin was in. So he braced himself against Xiumin, because why hold onto a fucking wall when his love was right there?

Xiumin let himself slide out slowly, and then he moved in slightly faster, letting Luhan’s arousal dictate the rhythm. He wasn’t prepared like he usually was; it was only fair to favour him. At least at the start. His moon could take him being rough, had indeed taken him in when Xiumin was being much rougher than this, but it just wasn’t fair. He would remain relatively tamed until there was enough traction. He wanted Luhan to enjoy this.

If he hurt the moon of his nights, he would deserve to be left forever in darkness.

Luhan drowned a moan in his own fist, too worried with trying to not moan too loud than to remember that Xiumin was close enough to be kissed. Xiumin reminded him by moving deep inside of him once more and just staying there, unmoving, until Luhan opened his beautiful eyes and his gorgeous mouth, ready to protest.

Then, Xiumin moved. In and out. Fast.

Luhan would’ve moaned, loud. But Xiumin swallowed the sound.

Luhan’s mind had officially shut off. Xiumin held him aloft by kissing him again.

It had gotten more frantic now, faster, harder, more desperate. There was a silent consensus between them – only one orgasm tonight, we would get too loud if we drag this out like we always do – their bodies would protest against that as soon as they were done. They knew it. They had way too much stamina to be satiated with only one. But the circumstances weren’t their usual. They needed to adapt. It would be for the best. And there was always tomorrow.

Xiumin was resisting his own Wolfish instincts as best as he could, but when his rhythm got so fast that Luhan was sliding up the wall every time he thrust in…

… it was just too much to resist.

Luhan moaned his favourite pet-name. Xiumin bit him harder. Luhan pulled on his hair, constricted around him. Xiumin groaned against his neck, licked the mark. Luhan tightened his legs’ hold around his waist. They moaned at the same time – Luhan drowned it in his own fist; Xiumin drowned it on Luhan’s neck.

Getting Luhan off the wall and onto the bed was a titanic effort, but it was more than worth it. Cuddling close to him, unconsciously changing forms in the process, was also ideal.

It made them both feel safe, and needed, and loved.

Chapter Text

As Tao stretched both his arms in front of the window, he thought that Kris’ idea about how to divide what little space they had really wasn’t the worst plan he could’ve come up with. Yixing observed him, half amused and half comforted, since watching Tao relaxing around was usual for their pack.

“This isn’t so bad.” Tao said, his volume low due to him minding how late it was.

“You realise we’ve got the worst deal, right?” Yixing retorted.

“How so?” Tao asked, turning his back to look at him. The posture, albeit quite forced, highlighted the breadth of his shoulders – not nearly as much as Kris’, of course, but still more built than it looked like at first sight. “We can stay in Wolf form all night if we want to, and we won’t be keeping each other up all night. That’s perfect for me!”

“When you put it like that…” Yixing acquiesced, tilting his head slightly to one side. “Still, I would’ve preferred a bed.”

“We’re the youngest.” Tao shrugged, acting as if those four simple words justified always receiving the worst deals. “And we’re not the ones with mates.”

“I’d say Kris’ choice is closer to a boyfriend than a mate.” Yixing mused.

Tao merely looked at him for a moment, uncharacteristically silent, a bit stunned – how could Yixing say something like that? Humans had boyfriends and girlfriends and partners; Wolves had mates, regardless of gender or orientation. It almost sounded like Yixing was implying that Kris wasn’t their Wolfpack’s leader anymore.

“… you’re not… rebelling, right?”

Yixing immediately looked at Tao.

“No, I’m not.” He frowned, realizing in a fearful instant that he’d been completely misunderstood. “I just meant that he seems much softer than most Wolves with mates.”

“AH!” Tao exclaimed, perhaps too loudly for the closed night. He visibly flinched when his voice reverberated through the room – Wolfish senses were more acute than a Human’s, but that also meant they were more sensible to loud noises. “Sorry…”

Yixing didn’t know if Tao was apologising for the misunderstanding or for having spoken so loudly. He accepted it anyway.

Tao fell onto the couch, right at Yixing’s opposite side. There was a tiny sliver of muted colour in between them – just the space where Yixing’s cushion ended and Tao’s started. It was, after all, quite a small couch. There was no way they’d fit on it if they kept their respective Human forms, since both were slightly taller than the Human average for that part of the country. Wolf form was it, then.

“Do you want that side?” Tao asked. He was the absolute youngest, and thus used to acquiescing to whatever the others preferred. He could do with whichever end. Plus, it was just polite to ask.

“If you don’t mind.” Yixing was much too polite to state his preference downright. Tao could appreciate that; it was better than being ordered around because of his birthday, which was something he couldn’t have controlled even if he’d wanted to.

“No problem.” Tao smiled. It was decided, then. “Hey… it won’t give out, right?”

Yixing allowed himself to giggle at Tao’s worried face. It was almost refreshing to be able to worry about such trivial things – especially after all the fuss about those men in black attacking them both in and out this city. And being able to focus on the smallest details meant that their spirit was not broken, that they would eventually recover from all of this, just like they had recovered from so many obstacles before.

“I don’t think so.” His laughter hadn’t fully subsided when he’d started taking. It hadn’t still died out yet when he finished, either.

“You sound like you want it to give out under me.” Tao whined in his best whiny-kid-voice. Yixing liked kids just enough to not be too annoyed by it; he wasn’t rendered wordless, either. That tended to happen to Kris, who wasn’t too used to dealing with cubs. “If you sleep here too, you’ll fall down too!”

“I don’t think it will collapse.” Yixing reiterated. This time, his voice obeyed him, so he kept laughter out. Being misunderstood once was enough, thank you very much. “But it could protest. It doesn’t look very new…”

“Aren’t antique works supposed to be good?” Tao asked, one hand caressing the soft armrest at his right. It was more pleasant to the touch than he’d anticipated.

“This isn’t antique!” Yixing replied, quite incredulously. “If you’re so worried, feel free to sleep on the carpet instead.”

Tao eyed the sofa, then the carpet, then the sofa again.

“No thanks.”

Yixing giggled softly, as soft as the couch underneath him, because that was better than rolling his eyes at Tao. Their youngest was their spoiled child and their little brother, all in one dark-eyed, black-and-white fighter. The whole pack adored Tao, whiny as he could be sometimes – yet they didn’t tell Tao nearly as much as they should. The usual excuse was any and all variations of the line, we can’t let him know just how much we love him, otherwise he’ll get super whiny and demanding and blushy and we cannot deal with that while we’re on the move.

Which was such a stupid excuse. Especially because Tao tended to get truly whiny when he didn’t know that the people around him adored him so.

“You’re adorable.” Yixing muttered in his mother tongue when he saw Tao trying to fit into one tiny, cushioned seat.

To his own demise, he had forgotten that he, Luhan, Kris, and Tao all shared the same mother tongue.

“Thank you~” Tao replied in the same language, startling Yixing just enough to make him jump. Tao’s giggle followed him changing forms, his tail’s end softly batting against Yixing’s thigh.

“Really?” Yixing asked, still in their mother tongue. It was just easier to use this language when it was only them, when there were no appearances to be kept.

Tao merely looked at him – as if he’d forgotten that Yixing could still understand him, Human form or not. His tail batted against Yixing’s thigh again, more playfully than trying to be a nuisance. It was almost beckoning Yixing to change forms too, as if saying that he would be much more comfortable in Wolf form on this tiny little couch.

So Yixing acquiesced. Even though it also redounded in his own comfort.

The couch’s cushions protested under the combined weight of two adult Wolves. For a moment, both stayed immobile – ready to pounce onto the carpet if the damn thing really did collapse. Some seconds passed, the room ingulfed in silence and darkness in spite of the streetlamp’s reflections coming from outside. The couch didn’t move a single inch more.

The Wolves exchanged a gaze. Then, they lowered their heads at the same time.

Tao curled up as much as he could, hind legs tucked close to his body in a mockery of the tightly wound posture he adopted before pouncing on something. There was a slight curve to his torso, since the couch’s back was kind of in the way of his preferred sleeping posture. He resolved the tension by letting his front paws hang from the couch’s edge, his head leant on the armrest with the same delicacy that a small child would have. There was no remaining tension in his body when he closed his black eyes.

Yet his tail still brushed against Yixing. Now that he had changed forms too, he found himself facing Tao’s direction. Which meant that the white tip of Tao’s otherwise fully black tail was batting against Yixing’s head. By the Moon above, it was so annoying.

Not that Yixing was going to curse out loud (not in any language he could speak), of course. He always tried to contain himself, since curses weren’t exactly the politest thing to say, but even he had his limits.

And this was one of those limits.

Son of a thousand Wolves, stop it already! Yixing growled, lower than the rumour of static electricity running through his fur – yet another thing to annoy him further.

Tao didn’t respond in any way. His tail stopped moving, though. Yixing decided to interpret it as Tao having some manners, not as him having fallen asleep. It helped his sanity. After all, Yixing had been right – the couch was the lousiest place in this apartment to sleep in. It would most likely take him quite a long time to fall asleep…

 


 

Someone screamed.

It made Tao jerk awake. He was too used to waking up to an ongoing fight. Especially before meeting Kris and his pack. At this point, shaking off all vestiges of sleep was second nature. Even if he had to physically shake his body. Which made the couch tremble a bit, too. But it didn’t make a sound. Good. That was good.

Wait. He had been sharing this couch.

Yixing.

I’m awake, I’m fine. There’s no fight. It’s alright.

Tao, who had already jumped onto the carpet while he called out to Yixing, could not let go of the tension in his limbs so easily. But he did let his tail get less fluffed-up – because a fluffed tail was meant to appear thicker than it really was; it was a threat. A threat that he didn’t need if there was nobody to intimidate. He trusted Yixing. He really did. If Yixing said there was no fight, he could calm down.

But there was someone screaming. The sound came from down the hall.

Well, it wasn’t a proper scream. It was more like an exclamation; it was just that the late hour and the darkness and the general silence made it appear much louder.

Still. It counted for something. Something unknown. Which was bad.

Yixing, what’s going on? He still hadn’t moved a single inch. He still was facing the hallway, and too conscious of Yixing’s presence atop his own side of the couch.

Just our beloved leader making his Human scream, Yixing sighed. He sounded much more frustrated in this language of Wolves than he ever did in any Human language. Even when speaking their shared mother tongue, Yixing never sounded like this.

He must be truly annoyed, Tao thought. Or maybe he’s just pissed that he’s been screamed awake.

Come to think about it, how come Tao himself wasn’t mad about that? He could only feel relief – relief that there was no fight, that they weren’t being attacked.

Come here, Tao.

That was all it took for Tao to return to the couch.

He climbed, not jumped, on it, keeping his every movement slow and controlled. It was up for debate if it was due to his own fighter’s nature, or to the past horrors still living within his nightmares. He was obviously trying to return to his side of the couch while also trying hard not to further disturb Yixing. In fact, he wasn’t even looking at Yixing.

Oh, that explained so much.

Yixing made no sound when he changed forms, ever the most graceful one to do so because of his hobby – dancing. He felt the couch give a little bit under him, reminding him sharply of the weight difference between his two forms, but he paid it no mind. It had not startled Tao, so it was fine.

When his hand landed, extremely gentle and softly, on the fur between Tao’s ears, he felt Tao tense his muscles.

“It’s alright. He’s not hurting.” Tao relaxed slightly. But he still wasn’t moving a single inch. “Come here.”

Tao moved then – a Wolf started the motion, and a Human finished it – it left his head leant on Yixing’s shoulder, and his body half sprawled over the couch and half off of it. It didn’t look very comfortable, but physical discomfort (or even pain, though Yixing wouldn’t let it go that far) could ground him to the present. The posture could stay… for now. Yixing would make sure he didn’t fall asleep like that.

“Sorry.” Tao muttered, like he always muttered when he awakened someone by accident. No one in their pack blamed him for it – no one teased him about it – but Tao felt bad about it anyway. “I didn’t…”

“You didn’t wake me up.” Yixing muttered. His hand was still relatively close to Tao’s head, so he only needed to swing an arm around Tao’s shoulders to caress his hair once more. “I was already awake. It’s Kris’ fault, not yours.”

“Are you really going to blame him, when morning comes…?” Tao asked. He sounded so insecure that fear rose up from Yixing’s belly.

He kept caressing Tao’s hair, soft and gentle, soothing him, grounding him.

“Probably not. I’m still mad at him, though. He gives us the worst place to sleep, he wakes us up… then he’ll want me to watch his wound. Unbelievable.”

Tao giggled, but it was more a trembling sigh than his usual bubbly giggle. It made Yixing’s belly grow cold. Thankfully, his hands were warm as he held Tao close to him.

“You’re too strict with him. He’s just found his mate… remember how horrible Luhan and Xiumin were?”

“Unfortunately, I do remember.” Yixing sighed, throwing his head back until it rested atop the couch’s backrest. Tao moved closer to him, as if chasing his warmth. And Yixing couldn’t blame him. Sometimes memories could freeze someone to death. “Do you want to wait until they’re done? At this rate, I don’t think it’ll take long.”

Tao nodded against him.

“But stay close to me. Please. I know I can’t ask for anything, but–”

Yixing tugged him closer, and Tao just shut up.

Chapter Text

Kris would be lying through gritted teeth if he said that this division of space was not ideal. It left him with Suho all for himself, which was quite selfish considering this decision really shouldn’t have been his to take, but he wasn’t about to say anything. In the end, he had gotten his way. That mattered.

Okay, that wasn’t all. His pack mattered, too.

He felt sorry for both Tao and Yixing. Neither would protest the distribution, so they had been stuck with sharing the couch. And, while it made sense to place Luhan and Xiumin together, it didn’t necessarily mean that their two youngest automatically needed to get the worst option. Xiumin had said himself that he’d slept in much worse places before joining their pack – strangers’ beds and couches were no stranger to him, funnily enough. And Luhan was just small; he could’ve fitted anywhere just fine.

“You’re thinking too loudly, I can’t sleep.”

“Sorry.” And he really was sorry, because the last thing he needed in his life right now was to also disturb Suho.

“Don’t “sorry” me, just tell me what’s on your mind.” A rustle of sheets, a change in the air, Suho’s scent spreading over to Kris’ side of the bed.

Distracting.

“I wasn’t fair when I divided the space. I should’ve given the guest bedroom to Tao and Yixing, not to Xiumin and Luhan.”

“Too late now.” Suho replied. He didn’t know the pack nearly enough to comment on whether Kris was right or not. “They’ll manage.” A pause. “…I guess.”

“What other option do they have?” Kris replied, exasperation evident in his voice. “Anyway. What are you even doing, still awake? You’ve had a rough day, you should really be sleeping by now.”

Suho had the gall to giggle. Kris stubbornly refused to roll onto his side to look at him directly in the face – he kept staring holes into the ceiling instead. It was enough to physically feel Suho looking at him, to feel how the blankets had bunched up when Suho had rolled onto his right side. Towards Kris.

“Don’t nag me. I’m not sleepy, that’s all.”

“I wonder why could that be.”

Kris hadn’t intended for his own words to sound like innuendo, he really hadn’t. He just realised how they’d sounded after speaking them. And Suho had taken in a shaky breath. So he had realised, too.

Son of a thousand Wolves, I really am a magnet for bad luck.

“…well, my side of the bed is cold. Do you mind if I go over to yours?”

…well then. Maybe his luck wasn’t so bad after all.

Then again, if that was Suho’s idea of dirty-talk, Kris had certainly heard better. But Suho hadn’t taken a lot of time to think of that come-on, and there was credit to be given for that. Which explained why Kris was so quick to roll over to face his Human.

Suho looked so delicious it was downright unfair. His hair was tussled, the longest locks sticking upwards at odd angles; it seemed that not even sleep could keep them close to Suho’s head. It made Kris want to run his fingers through it, already quite sure that it’d be the softest thing to the touch.

It was almost impossible to believe that the most enticing part of Suho’s visage were his eyes – the exact colour was undetermined in this darkness, but the memory of chocolate brown was fresh in Kris’ mind. Besides, he could feel the warmth irradiating from Suho, and that was enough.

Kris still had a nagging feeling that he just wasn’t enough – good enough, strong enough, leader enough, lovable enough – for Suho.

The longer Suho looked at him like that, the harder it was to remind himself of his own unworthiness.

“…what do you need?” Kris forced himself to ask, his voice rough and his tone uneven, utterly incapable of looking away from Suho’s eyes.

Suho looked away. Kris would’ve kicked himself so hard for that. But then, Suho spoke again, curling further into the soft blankets.

“Can I move closer?”

Kris didn’t trust his voice at all, so he moved instead – one arm extending along the pillow, above Suho’s head. He hadn’t even started to angle his body better when Suho leant on him – Kris couldn’t really see it, but he hoped Suho was blushing. Because he looked so undeniably adorable whenever he blushed.

Stars and Moon above, it felt so amazing to have Suho so close, to feel every little tremble running through his spine, to catch his scent as often as he pleased. It was even more incredible to know that Suho was letting him. Relaxation spread quickly through his system, the quietest calm taking hold of his very heart, feeling Suho move closer. His eyes fell closed, slowly, because there was no hurry, no whirlwind around them. Just this comforting weight alongside his body, and the surrounding darkness drowning all that was not welcomed.

“You’ve changed forms…” Suho’s voice seemed to be muffled; Kris could feel his warm breath against his neck, right below his head.

When did I change forms…? he tried to ask his Human, momentarily forgetting that Suho did not speak the language of Wolves. Still, he must’ve made an audible sound, because Suho was speaking up again.

“I don’t mind… you’re even warmer now. Can I still cuddle you?”

Kris, already more asleep than awake, barely managed to growl the kind of growl adult Wolves used in place of a cat’s purr. He hoped Suho would interpret it correctly. It was really hard to gauge how many Wolfish reactions he could understand. It was even harder to try and think. He was just too comfortable, so warm. Suho moved closer. He’d understood, then. Good.

A hand softly caressing his pelt. Gentle motions, up and down his side. Even more warmth spreading through him. He hoped Suho would still be there when morning came.

 


 

Suho giggled a tiny little thing, happily accepting that his Wolf was now asleep. He was content merely by knowing Kris was here with him.

Kris, who sometimes looked so much like the Wolfish stranger in Suho’s dreams. Sometimes, when his back was turned to Suho, or when he moved to beckon him closer, or even that one time, when Suho had been trying to watch that romance drama and Kris had leant down to kiss him.

Suho blushed just from the memory. Because he, too, had wanted to kiss Kris.

His most rational side knew that it was crazy to be this lenient with Kris. Well, okay, now he knew Kris was the Wolf he’d rescued from that dirty alleyway. That made things a little better, because it meant that he’d spoken with Kris, shared the same space, for longer than he’d initially thought. It somehow made him feel like he knew Kris better because of it – and, yeah, maybe he should get his sanity checked.

But that didn’t really explain his sex-dreams. It only half explained his thirst. Kris’ Human form was, after all, quite an attractive one.

Maybe he’d seen Kris’ Human form before he fell asleep that first night he’d spent with a wounded Wolf in his guest bedroom. Yeah, that could be it – he’d seen it, but been too tired from working overtime that he just couldn’t remember it anymore. That, a tired brain, and a long sexual drought, were a recipe for disaster. Or for explicit dreams, in his case.

But… if he had seen Kris’ Human form in the same room as Suho himself, and then fallen asleep…

oh, fucking Hell.

What if his “dreams” hadn’t been dreams? What if they had all been real?

That certainly would explain a lot. Starting with the resemblance between the hot Wolf he’d dreamed about and Kris’ Human form, also the bit about how he’d never seen Kris and the wounded Wolf in the same room, and even how he’d immediately thought about his Wolf when Kris had rescued him at the warehouse.

Suddenly, the warmth around him was too much. He knew he was blushing. A lot. And Kris was asleep by his side. That didn’t help the rising temperature. Even though he was undisturbed by Suho’s turmoil. Which was good.

Too many emotions. He can’t deal with so much at once. And everybody knows that the night is the worst time to overthink – it would only twist his own thoughts to the point of not letting him sleep at all. And he really needed to rest. Just like Kris had said.

… again with Kris.

Suho’s thoughts were just running circles around the same three ideas – I’m so attracted to Kris it’s unreal, Kris is my Wolf, I know what his fucking dick looks like

Suho really shouldn’t be thinking of that right now.

To avoid retreating too much into his own mind, Suho tried to focus on something else. Usually, tactile things helped him focus. And his hand was still leant on Kris’ pelt, feeling the gentle ebb of his torso, in time with his peaceful breathing. Suho could only imagine how exhausted his Wolf must have been, and yet he’d took great care of Suho…

Resuming his caresses felt much more like a thank you than a way to calm down.

There was that treacherous warmth, spreading through him once more. Kris didn’t really move when Suho kept caressing him, gentle and constant. Maybe he leant his head more fully on the pillow, one of his front legs underneath it, the other hung over Suho’s body – turned out that Wolves changed their posture alongside their form. Suho nuzzled his face against the softest fur, right at Kris’ throat.

That explained why he heard the exact type of low purr that Kris let out.

Suho allowed himself to smile. He didn’t even care that Kris was so close that he could’ve felt the warmth of Suho’s blush.

So what if Suho had already kind of had sex with Kris, even if they hadn’t gone all the way?

I’m happy with that, Suho thought as he closed his eyes.

 


 

When he opened them, he was still engulfed in warmth, but it was a different kind of warmth. It was still comforting, it was still inviting, and he still liked to feel it around him, but it was also different.

It didn’t feel like a Wolf. It felt more like how Kris’ Human form had felt before he’d changed forms.

Turning his head was a titanic enterprise, but he managed.

And yes, that was Kris-the-Human. Not Kris-the-Wolf. He was asleep, too. The expression in his handsome features was peaceful, with a couple of locks falling onto his forehead, giving him a relaxed appearance. His arms were locked around Suho’s body – he didn’t let go even when Suho tried to twist his own arm out of the embrace to shrug the blanket off a bit – damnit, it was warm.

Suho wrestled with himself for a couple of seconds longer, finally managing to lower the blanket to the middle of his chest. He hadn’t even realised that all his wriggling had left him shirt-to-shirt with Kris – and thank the stars there was some fabric in between them, because otherwise Suho’s blush would’ve been beet-red instead of light crimson.

Kris stirred just the smallest bit.

Suho trembled, froze, involuntarily grabbed a handful of Kris’ shirt.

But Kris didn’t wake up. He just kept holding Suho close to his chest.

Suho let out a breath that he hadn’t even realised he was holding in. This might’ve been nothing more than a false alarm, but it had scared him a bit. Only because he really, really didn’t know if there was any connotation for this situation – a Wolf falls asleep in one form and wakes up in another, is that proper or is it kinda like when Humans pop a boner?

…not that Suho should be thinking about boners right now, though. The only thing he should be thinking about is warmth, and falling asleep again. He’s already cuddling Kris, what else could he want?

He stubbornly refused to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, he wanted Kris to wake up and find Suho in his arms. Just to see what he’d do, of course. Simple curiosity. That wouldn’t hurt anybody. It couldn’t be much different from waking up cuddling Kris’ Wolf form, right? If it’s okay to wake up cuddling a Wolf in Wolf form, why would it be weird to wake up cuddling a Wolf in Human form?

His thoughts were interrupted by Kris moving his arm from lying atop of Suho’s hip to holding his waist. The change was subtle, and not at all unwelcomed. In fact, it now felt even better – Suho didn’t even know how that was possible, because, in his book, cuddling Kris was always amazing and incredible and perfect, regardless of the situation.

Still. A part of him felt like thanking Kris for his troubles.

Which was silly as all hell – even someone as touch-deprived as Suho knew that – it didn’t change his feelings, though. His heart beat like Kris had made it beat for the first time in his whole life; and that was a special type of kindness for which Suho had no name. He only had thankfulness growing within him, teasing memories, and warmth.

Gotta repay you somehow.

That’s what Kris had said, that one time he’d been shirtless in Suho’s living room, a romantic drama playing in the background. Suho remembered perfectly well that he had flat-out refused the offer – he hadn’t said it with words, but he’d been too embarrassed, too fearful of the morning after, than to accept such a proposition.

But now that he had a good inkling that Kris was his Wolf?

Now he wanted to take him up on that offer. Even when he was fully conscious that it might well be expired. He wouldn’t blame Kris if it was, though; he understood perfectly well that the world didn’t revolve around him, and that people would always find somebody else to warm their sheets when their first option didn’t come through.

…had Suho even been the first option, that one time?

Let’s not go there, Suho thought quickly, before anything other than Kris’ embrace could take a hold of his heart. Instead, he replaced the thought with memories of the hours he’d spent blushing, wishing Kris would stop teasing him, but also admiring the inviting curve of his mouth whenever Suho blushed and stuttered his replies.

“You’re thinking too loudly, I can’t sleep.”

Oh, fucking hells underneath.

Kris’ voice sounded even lower, even rougher than usual, when sleep was a fresh presence still in his throat. It made Suho’s heart skip a beat – both because he’d somehow woken up without letting Suho know, and because of his voice alone.

Suho was really, really fucked.

And not like he wanted to be.

“I just… I never really thanked you properly.” Suho muttered. Kris’ shirt drowned most of his volume (which was already low), but Kris still heard him. At this point, Suho had spent enough time around Wolves to know he should blame Wolfish senses for that. “For saving me, I mean.”

“You being alive and well is reward enough for me.” Kris replied. Suho felt him lean his head on Suho’s own for a second – he braced for a kiss…

…and it never came.

Had Kris seriously backed off at the last possible second?

Where was the Wolf that had teased Suho within an inch of his life, and what had this tamed version done to that wilder one?

“Kiss me, you fucking tease.” Suho grumbled, in his voice more of a growl than he’d intended. But it worked even better like this – they were so close that he physically felt Kris’ shiver like it had been his own.

“…are you sure?” Kris asked, although he did kiss Suho’s hair before waiting for an answer. Suho didn’t know whether to be mock-offended or truly swooning.

“Haven’t you kissed me before?”

It turned out that that was the question to ask if one wanted to make Kris freeze. Suho craned his neck to look at him in the face, found Kris so openly thunderstruck that it was almost unbelievable. Yet this was a conversation they absolutely needed to have, or so Suho felt. So he pressed on – but just a tiny little bit. After all, he didn’t want Kris to stop cuddling him.

“You’ve touched and kissed me, haven’t you?”

“…if you throw me out, I’ll understand. But please let the rest of my pack stay.” Kris started, so sotto-voce that Suho almost couldn’t hear him at all. Damnit, had Kris forgotten that Suho wasn’t a Wolf, that he didn’t have the acute hearing that his pack had? Unbelievable. “Yes, I… I did those things to you. You didn’t even know it was me. I’ve been lying to you since the start, I… I didn’t tell you anything about me being a Wolf, or about me kissing you, or about me touching you… and I’m so sorry for that.”

“I thought I was dreaming.” Suho said. He felt like he needed to open up too, that it would be just too unfair if Kris did and Suho didn’t. “Best sex-dream ever.” And yes, he was blushing. But he didn’t care. At all. “Honestly, it’s… even better, now that I know it wasn’t a dream.”

“You told me no one evening, and I fucked you that night. How’s that not–”

“You didn’t do anything wrong.” Suho interrupted him, perhaps much too harshly. He just didn’t want Kris to even think about that. “Honestly, I… I wanted it. I’m just too much of a bitch to ask for it.”

“If you’re not sure, you’re not sure, and that’s a no for me.” Kris replied. At least he hadn’t moved away; his lips were still against Suho’s hair. “It’s how I said, though. If you want something from me, just ask. I’ll do it. I owe it to you, after you’ve been so kind to me and to my pack…”

“If anyone’s been kind, it’s you to me. You saved me.” Suho replied. He was too stubborn to just accept Kris’ words outright; he just couldn’t. Not when this handsome Wolf had already repaid him in full. Kris had no more debt to pay – he’d never even had one to pay. Suho would’ve helped any wounded animal he’d found, Wolf or wolf or dog or cat. Kris didn’t owe him anything for that. It wouldn’t be fair to ask him to pay. “It’s me who should repay you. Or we could just say, I helped you but then you helped me, so we’re even.”

Kris let out a trembling sigh that sounded suspiciously close to a breathless giggle. Then, he pressed a new kiss to Suho’s hair. He remained silent for a moment, as if he was choosing his next words really carefully. Suho didn’t mind the wait; Kris was still holding him close to his own body, and there was still warmth surrounding him. Suho was just so comfortable that he could’ve closed his eyes and not fallen asleep. Especially not when this conversation seemed to finally be getting somewhere.

Finally.

“So you’re not mad at me?”

Wow. For having been silent this long, Kris really hadn’t spoken for long. Suho had not anticipated this. The truthful answer was ripped out from him before he could catch himself speaking it into the collar of Kris’ shirt.

“I’m annoyed at myself for not realising sooner, and slightly at you for not telling me sooner, but I understand why you didn’t tell me sooner, so we’re good.”

“Does that mean… I can kiss you again?”

Yes.”

The little growl of relief that Kris let out reminded Suho of the one he’d let out when Suho had petted his sleeping Wolf form. But he didn’t have a lot of time to dwell on that, because Kris turned him in his arms, trapping him between the bed and his own body – and he kissed Suho fully on the mouth, once, twice, thrice, until Suho’s head spun, until he could only cling to Kris like he’d clung to the Wolf in his “dreams”. Now that he knew for sure that Kris was his Wolf, that pet-name threatened with spilling forth.

Kris moved from his mouth to his neck, kissing without biting, without nibbling, and Suho couldn’t contain himself.

“My Wolf…”

Kris growled, low and possessive of the pet-name, captured Suho’s lips again. His kisses conveyed everything his words hadn’t. Suho clung tighter to his broad shoulders.

“Keep calling me that and I’ll have to touch you again.” Kris muttered. The teasing tone was back in full force, making Suho shiver.

“Then touch me.” Suho replied. This time, it was him kissing Kris, and speaking against his mouth. “And do what you want with me. Touch me knowing you’re my Wolf.”

Kris shivered – no, trembled, looking like he was barely containing himself. Suho bit his lip at just the right angle, wanting for once to seduce his Wolf as much as his Wolf had seduced him. It was fun (albeit embarrassing) when Kris teased him; but Suho wanted to see how would Kris react when he was the one being teased.

“If I’m your Wolf, are you my Human?” Kris asked, tone low and charged, against Suho’s jaw, kissing his way towards Suho’s neck. “How do you want me to call you?”

“However you want.” Suho replied easily. He didn’t really care much for his own pet-names – he just wanted Kris to be the one calling him that. The only one.

“Hmm…” Kris’ voice reverberated deliciously throughout Suho. “Kiss me while I decide?”

Suho obeyed right away, for a couple of reasons. One, he really liked to kiss Kris. Two, Kris had asked him to kiss him, so it made sense for Suho to obey him. Three, that little growl was back inside Kris’ voice, and Suho liked that, too.

Good boy.”

Suho moaned.

“Ah, you like that?”

Suho could only nod his head furiously, as furiously as he was blushing.

“Do you want more?”

Again, Suho could only nod.

“Tell me.”

And then Kris kissed his temple, just one fleeting kiss, and reclined back on the bed. He wasn’t directly above Suho anymore; he was back at his side, head leant on his hand, elbow bent on the mattress. The posture couldn’t be comfortable, especially if he kept it for very long, so Suho armed himself with all the valour he had inside of him, and spoke up.

“I just want you to… touch me, I guess? I don’t know. Like you did before. But more. But… maybe not… all the way? Argh, I don’t know!”

And he was blushing even harder. He tried to cover his face with his arms, since they weren’t around Kris’ shoulders anymore. Kris caught him, though.

“No, let me see you. You’re really cute when you blush.” Lo and behold, Suho blushed harder at that. It made Kris giggle, low and amused and also kind of dark (though Suho didn’t want to think about that). “I can just touch you for now, and you let me know how far I can go.”

“S-sounds good to me.” Suho stuttered – because he was now watching Kris gaze directly into Suho’s own, the black dot at the centre of his irises so blown that his eyes looked darker than ever. “Kris…”

Having the freedom to call this perfection by his name, or by the careful pet-name, was intoxicating in itself. It was even more intoxicating to know that he could just reach out and cling to his shoulders, and kiss him, and hold him close, and enjoy him, and–

Kris moved his hand lower, to Suho’s hips, and his train of thought derailed.

Suho sucked in a breath when Kris’ dexterous fingers caught on the upper edge of his trousers, slightly underneath his shirt’s hem. Kris moved closer, kissing his neck again with all the passion he could muster, which wasn’t small. Suho sighed, or maybe moaned, he didn’t even know.

“Quiet…” Kris reminded him. “We’re not alone in this house, but by the stars I hope we were. I’d make you scream the walls down.”

“What walls?” Suho asked, much more because his brain had short-circuited at Kris’ tone than because he hadn’t understood his meaning.

Kris giggled a dangerous thing, one that promised a lot of pleasure. Suho shivered on reflex, hips ebbing just enough for Kris to slide his hand underneath them, fingertips still pressed against Suho’s heated skin. Suho gasped. Kris kissed him. Then, he spoke.

“I was speaking ‘bout the walls in your room, but that will do, too.”

Suho blushed. Dark.

How could he have forgotten just how much of a fucking tease Kris was?

“But not tonight. I need to have you alone for that.”

Somehow, that calmed Suho’s nerves down. Not that he had any real reason to be nervous, of course; he knew that Kris would take good care of him. All those past trysts were proof enough – but even if they weren’t, Kris’ general disposition towards Suho, plus the gentle hand he had when leading his pack, were.

Suho felt like he needed to speak, to say something back to Kris. Yet his voice was not cooperating in the slightest. So he resorted to arch his upper body off the bed to loop an arm around broad shoulders, tugging him close enough to be kissed. Kris allowed him, kissed him with just as much emotion. Suho didn’t even realise that he’d been placed back onto the bed until he felt his head touch the soft pillow.

“Touch me…” he pleaded, his voice much thinner than usual. Kris moved his hips, correcting the way he was lying on his side. The motion left him at the perfect distance for Suho to kiss him as often as he pleased – which was a lot, really, even if he didn’t say it. “I want you to touch me.”

“As you wish.” Kris muttered, voice as low as his eyelids. He left a scorching kiss on Suho’s jawline before looking down, to Suho’s hips.

Suho didn’t want to acknowledge it, but he was visibly tenting his trousers. Kris’ hand slipped under his clothes, directly against his skin. He gasped at the contact, even though he’d felt it before – it now felt intimate, perhaps because his Wolf, who now had a name too, was touching him where he most desired to be touched – yet there was a problem.

“Wait…”

Kris stopped immediately, retreating his hand from Suho’s hips. Truth be told, he hadn’t quite reached his dick – but a command to stop was something he would not ignore. It was a bit surprising to see Suho raising his hips (Kris’ mouth watered) and tugging his own clothes down, trousers and underwear now pooled around his mid-thigh. Suho wriggled around, trying to reach lower, but he couldn’t. Kris slowly moved a hand towards the bunched-up cloth, silently asking for permission. Suho arched his hips towards him.

“Thank you…”

Kris leant down to kiss the slim expanse of skin exposed above Suho’s hips, right in between his navel and that place he so desperately wanted to be touched in. Now that his Suho was naked from the waist down, his cock was in full display, more than enticing enough to make Kris’ mouth dry. He didn’t have any time to wonder about why his mouth had gone dry instead of watering, though; because Suho took his hand again, their fingers intertwining on reflex. Suho smiled a faint little thing that melted Kris’ heart – then, he let Kris’ hand rest on his hip, right beside his cock.

“Please…”

Kris didn’t need to be told twice; desire surged through him quick enough to give him whiplash. His fingers caressed the side of Suho’s cock, gentle, merely a feather-light touch meant to leave his Suho wanting more. The effect was immediate, judging from how Suho’s hips trembled, and from the moan he let out. Kris moved a hand upwards, to Suho’s face, cradling his jaw as best as he could. Suho turned his head towards his touch, lips barely caressing Kris – just like Kris was barely caressing Suho.

It was intoxicating.

Kris gave another little kiss to Suho’s stomach, which was getting more and more exposed with every tremble of his hips. His fingers wrapped around the base, and Suho sighed – his breath caught on Kris’ hand, warm.

Kris didn’t need to look to know Suho was blushing. He could feel it.

Just like he knew exactly how turned on Suho was just from how his scent changed.

Kris moved his hand up Suho’s cock, running his thumb over every ridge he found along the way. Suho trembled, biting his lips not to moan too loud – for a split second, he wondered if it made any difference, since Wolfish senses were much acuter than Human senses…

Something engulfed the reddened head of his cock, and Suho just couldn’t think anymore.

Moving purely on reflex, one of his hands buried in Kris’ black hair, to anchor Suho’s fleeting sanity, to prevent him from fading away too much, too quickly. Kris held his hips down with his free hand, letting the one at Suho’s jaw run down his body, slowly, leaving molten magma in its wake. When it reached Suho’s chest, long fingers pinched one of his nipples through his shirt.

Suho moaned. Loud.

Kris pulled away from his cock, twisted his nipple again, a bit more forcefully this time, but still not so much to truly hurt him. Suho tried to push Kris down again, chasing more feeling, because damnit, that had felt incredible. Suho had always liked a lover who could eat him right up, but he’d liked even the ones who could only take him halfway without too much trouble. Kris had given him less than he was used to getting – what he had been used to getting, blame the ten-year-long dry spell – and yet – and yet –

Kris swirled his tongue around him. Suho’s thoughts derailed. He moaned. Again. Loud. Loud enough to regret being this loud in bed.

But then Kris kissed the slit at the top, his lips coming away wet from Suho’s pre-come – Suho moaned more.

It felt like wildfire spreading through him, starting from the hips and creeping up his spine, towards his heart. Kris suckled on the top of his cock, warm hand still holding the base like it was the most delicate thing he had ever held. Those long fingers had no trouble wrapping around his girth, although Suho wasn’t exactly small, and gave him as many sensations as they possibly could give him. They never climbed anymore than half his mast, though; Kris’ mouth seemed content enough to take that part. He wasn’t taking him very far in, but Suho didn’t care – who would care, when the one you care most about is swallowing your come, holding you in his hand and mouth like you belong there?

It was quickly becoming too much for Suho. His stamina had taken a turn for the worst during that legendary dry spell; and now that it was being revived, it protested quite loudly.

Almost as loudly as Suho’s moans, spilling forth no matter how hard he tried to swallow them down.

Swallow them down, like Kris swallowed around Suho’s cock.

The fire spread more, and more, his abdomen went rigid, muscles trembling wildly and both hands holding Kris by the hair, black locks curling around his fingers, silky soft. Suho couldn’t even think of trying to stop the scream that ripped from his throat as thick spurts of white exploded forth.

Kris didn’t protest. Not that Suho would’ve realised it if he did, though. Even if he’d wanted to pay attention to Kris, to warn him that Suho was coming, no coherent words escaped him. Only moans, and screams, and a tiny choked-up gasp when Kris did not let go of his sensitive cock right away.

Suho didn’t pressure his head away, either. He just let him do as he pleased.

That tongue swirled around his head only once, gentle enough to not overstimulate him too much. In some wicked way, it felt like Kris was collecting whatever drops had escaped him earlier, when Suho had quite literally come in his mouth.

Realisation hit Suho like a fucking train.

“I’m – I’m so sorry – I –”

“Easy.” Kris rumbled, speaking up yet not quite interrupting Suho’s panicked gasps for air. He smoothed a hand over Suho’s quivering stomach. “Was that good?”

“Y-yes…” Suho admitted. His body felt boneless, strengthless. “Come here…”

Kris obeyed him instantly, moving back to Suho’s side. Suho turned his head to look at him.

Now that their eyes were used to the reigning darkness, it was easy to see the dark fluster in Suho’s face, and how he was fighting sleep by trying to keep his eyes opened, as opened as his mouth, lips slightly swollen from how much he’d bitten them.

Kris was overcome with the desire to kiss him, deep and hard, but still in short bursts of little kisses, because Suho was panting for air. But not everybody would be okay to kiss the one who’d just given them oral, so he tried to contain himself.

“Why do you… always make me come… but not come yourself…?”

“You’re more important than me.” Kris replied easily. “Can I kiss you?”

The only answer he received was Suho extending his arms, each on either side of Kris’ frame. Kris figured he was too exhausted, both from the long day and the sex, than to muster the appropriate words.

The kisses they shared were tender, intimate in that sweet way that only kisses can be, joining them in such a delicate manner that not even the gentlest of love-makings ever could compare.

The only “downside”, if it could even be considered one, was that Suho fell asleep before Kris could think of any appropriate answer to his question.

Because the only thing that had jumped into his mind upon hearing it had been –

because I always come untouched when I can feel you come in my arms.

Chapter Text

There was still a half-painted sign hanging by the apartment complex’s door, its faded letters announcing that there were some apartments still free. Nobody in the area, nor in the whole city, had nearly enough money to buy even a quarter of the apartments’ price; so they remained abandoned, empty sans for four or five lots. To think that two of his children had been able to snatch one up years ago, when the price had still been fairly cheap, was a feature in itself. And almost unbelievable, considering these were his two youngest – and that they had a grand total of four dogs.

How they managed to fit two adult men and four dogs of various sizes in a house that was about as big as Suho’s own was a mystery. But they were happy, so everything was fine. Besides, Kai had a stable job; he earned enough to keep the apartment afloat.

Sehun was a special case, in that he was doing some internship or apprenticeship at Kai’s workplace – so Sehun was not paid for his work, but Kai was. It was ridiculous, considering they did pretty much the same job. Because their boss, whoever he was, was quite bad at delegating chores to the people he had available. Which explained why Sehun and Kai were close; after spending their time at home together, and working together, it was fair to say they saw each other pretty much twenty-four-seven.

Perhaps that’s why they were so relieved when Suho swung by to visit, or when Kyungsoo invited Kai to his own house for the weekend.

Suho knew his kids’ address by heart, but he still refused to take the elevator up. The only time he’d done so, it had stopped halfway, and the only light at the ceiling had flickered insistently on-and-off. Suho wasn’t particularly superstitious, nor as much of a scaredy-cat as some of his kids, but that incident had freaked him out.

The stairs was it, then. To the fourth floor.

He was half out of breath when he arrived, since the climb was steep as though this was an old medieval castle – no wonder why Sehun didn’t go to the gym anymore, the sheer effect of having to climb these stairs up and down was enough to make anybody fit. Suho had to stop to catch his breath in front of Sehun and Kai’s door. Then, he rang.

He was instantly greeted by a blinding smile and a chirpy “hello!”.

“Hello, Kai.”

Kai was wearing an old t-shirt, which now looked much more like a crop-top than an actual shirt. It left his toned abdomen exposed for the world to see, tanned from the long hours he regularly spent outside – taking care of his three dogs meant a lot of walks, even if he usually did take all three at the same time; not to mention his affinity for the great outdoors. The light-grey sweatpants that he’d somehow managed to combine with it hung low on his hips, letting the pronounced V-shape of his bone structure be seen.

With his permanently messy hair and dark eyes, he always was the personification of desire to most onlookers, regardless of their sexual orientation. And that broad smile only exacerbated the effect, giving him a sliver of a devil-may-care attitude – although every single person who knew him beyond surface-level knew that his care for the ones he loved always ran deep.

A yellow mess collected at Kai’s bare feet, the furry creature looking up to Suho with the kind of anticipation that only dogs could exhibit towards guests. Kai nudged the dog back inside the house, but it didn’t placate its curiosity.

“Hello, Monku.” Suho greeted. He didn’t even have to bend down to pet the dog, right in between the ears. The golden retriever flapped its tail from side to side, hitting Kai’s leg and the wall by the door quite rhythmically. Suho smiled and looked back to Kai. “Is Sehun home?”

“Yeah, slouching on the couch like always.” Kai answered while letting Suho in. “He was trying to get Vivi to pay attention to him, but only Janku and Janga were interested.”

Suho’s smile broadened; Vivi was independent and carefree and didn’t seem to be too bothered by technically being Sehun’s pet-dog. In fact, she always acted much more like a cat than the white little dog she was supposed to be. Baekhyun always joked that she was a spoilt little devil – yet he also took those words back as soon as Vivi allowed him to pet her.

Kai’s dogs, on the other hand, were much more social and friendly, even with total strangers. Monku was the most curious of the three, as evidenced by how he tried to eat Suho’s shoes as he took them off at the door. Suho pet him again, his mind returning to the Wolf he’d left in his own home, happily planning his day alongside the rest of his well-rested pack.

Well, Yixing had been a bit cold towards Suho that morning, but maybe that was only his personality, or the fact that he’d gotten the couch… although Tao had been as bright as always.

Suho and Kai were greeted by a chorus of happy barks as soon as they entered the living room. Two other golden retrievers instantly crowded Suho’s personal space, tails wriggling wildly, looking up at him with bright black eyes, loudly asking for being pet.

“Hello Janku, hello Janga.” Suho greeted them, pet one with each hand. A glance to his side let him know that Kai had taken care of petting Monku, so that he didn’t feel left aside.

“Hello mom.” Sehun called from the couch.

“Hello, Sehun.” Suho greeted him, getting a better look at him now that the three excitable dogs had calmed down a bit.

Sehun was sprawled on it, perhaps a bit uncharacteristically, his phone held with both hands and a steaming cup resting on the little table by the couch. Suho knew it to contain tea on pure instinct, since Sehun only really drank coffee when he needed an additional boost. Suho’s youngest hadn’t looked up from his phone, but he knew perfectly well that there was somebody else in the house – the dogs were alarm enough, even if they didn’t make good guard dogs. True, Kai’s had bulk and strength; but not the fierce disposition. And Vivi had the disposition, but not the strength.

Considering neither Kai nor Sehun knew how to fight, and that the apartment had no real alarm due to the electronics being too expensive, that left them vulnerable. There were signs hung up throughout the building, indicating the functioning alarm system in it – yet those were only a deterring element. The reality was that absolutely no corner in the whole building was monitored or guarded in any way. These four dogs were a bit like the alarm-signs; maybe enough to deter burglars, but definitely not enough if a ballsy robber pressed on.

Which meant Suho existed in a permanent state of worry about these two. The feeling grew every single time he reminded himself of how they were his two youngest – Sehun was twenty-two, and Kai was only one year older than Sehun.

“Did something happen?” Sehun asked, always the apparently cold and uncaring one. Of course, those who knew him knew that was only a pose, a first impression; yet his way of carrying himself was imposing on itself – then again, his height helped.

“What, can’t I come to visit without a reason why?” Suho retorted easily. He was too used to his kid’s antics to let it get to him.

“You usually don’t.” Sehun replied acidly, still not looking up from his phone. Vivi barked from somewhere at the other side of the couch, hidden from Suho’s and Kai’s view. “Vivi! You finally came to keep me company?”

Vivi pointedly didn’t respond to that.

“She doesn’t even like you!” Kai laughed. Sehun rolled his eyes at him. “Have you even walked her today?”

Sehun’s silence was incriminatory enough, but Vivi trotted to Kai and barked a lament up to him. That made Sehun look up from his phone, a mortified expression in his usually expressionless features. Kai knelt on the floor to be able to pet Vivi, since the white lady was smaller than Kai’s own retrievers. Vivi allowed him to do so, which made Sehun even more horrified, since she hardly ever let Sehun himself pet her.

“You need to take her out, couch potato.” Kai accused Sehun. His tone was playful as it always was, but Sehun took it like a capital offense. “You could’ve taken her out earlier today, when I walked mine…”

“Why don’t we all go for a walk?” Suho suggested quickly.

If he had to play moderator, or even negotiator, between his kids, so be it. But he couldn’t bear to watch them fight.

“Good idea, mom.” Sehun said just as quickly, darting out of the room to get a swift change of clothes and a dash of cologne.

Kai scurried away too, although when he came back Suho could see that he’d only changed his trousers, opting for dark jeans. This pair rode a bit higher, so his hipbones weren’t exposed anymore, and were so tight over his thighs that he hadn’t even put a belt on. He’d also tried to tame his dyed-blonde hair, even if it would be futile – wind or his own hand would return it to its natural messy state. Still, he looked more presentable now; as confirmed by his own dogs’ barking.

“Thank you!” Kai said to Janku when he brought his own leash to Kai, who pet him a couple times as further thanks. Janga nuzzled his leg, trying to vie for his own share of pets. “Bring me your leash and I’ll pet you too.”

Off went Janga, with Monku following close, as if both dogs had understood Kai’s words. Suho was certainly amused by this, and let it show on his face while he observed how Kai attached Janku’s leash.

“KAI!! Tell your dogs not to run into me!!”

Kai visibly jumped a metaphorical ten feet in the air upon Sehun screaming from the other room.

“Sorry!” Kai exclaimed back at him, although he had the sensibility to not shout. The adjacent apartments might’ve been empty, but that didn’t mean the whole building was. The neighbours didn’t need to know about their affairs.

Janku and Janga appeared back in the living room before Sehun did. Suho busied himself with Janga’s leash, since this was Kai’s least excitable dog. Considering Kai was stronger than Suho, because he hit the gym more often, it was a better idea for Suho to take the least “problematic” dog. Then again, none of Kai’s dogs were problematic; they were too too like their owner for that.

“Your dogs are a public menace.” Sehun declared when he reappeared.

He’d changed his clothes completely, and even thrown a light jacket on. Suho had done the same before leaving his home, and had thanked that he had as soon as he felt the winds picking up outside. So it wasn’t a good idea for Kai to go out this jacketless.

“Kai, go take a jacket.”

“Why? I’m not cold!”

“You’ll be outside. And you’re in a crop-top, you’ll get cold fast.”

“I won’t!”

 


 

“Mom, I’m cold…”

“I don’t want to say I told you so, but…”

“Mom told you so.”

Kai glared at Sehun for that – or he looked at Sehun with as close a glare as Kai could muster, which was much closer to a regular stare than the kind of glare others could produce. His abdomen clenched from the cool breeze repeatedly hitting his skin, but he swallowed all further comments.

Suho, sighing heavily, manoeuvred around Janka’s leash to take his jacket off, letting it fall softly around Kai’s shoulders. Kai gave him a thankful look that lighted up his whole face, starting from his dark eyes. The jacket really didn’t cover him as much as it could cover Suho, because Kai was taller, but it still was a layer more. Suho was wearing long-sleeves underneath, so he was alright even without his jacket. Kai’s crop-top also had long sleeves, yet the fabric was older, stretched thinner; thus, it retained less warmth.

“You’re problematic.” Sehun muttered under his breathe, rolling his eyes. Vivi let out a soft grumph, sniffing some tiny flowers growing in between the concrete tiles and a building’s wall. Sehun kept a really close eye on her, not wanting to deal with any upset stomachs upon returning home.

“I’d say careless.” Suho softened the blow, knowing how sensitive Kai could be.

“Sorry…” Kai apologised, his voice sounding so small that even Sehun could feel himself softening.

“Just be more careful next time.” Suho advised him.

“Yes, mom.”

Suho merely smiled – and that was when Sehun’s suspicious were confirmed.

“…you’ve gotten laid last night.”

Both Kai and Suho jumped at Sehun’s words, pulling on the dogs’ leashes harshly, in turn making all three retrievers grumble a protest.

Kai looked appalled that Sehun would say such a thing to the one they considered a mother, an older brother, and a best friend all rolled into one person.

Suho looked like he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole, the reddest crimson spreading deeper through his face.

Sehun, however, was unperturbed by either man.

“W-what makes you think that?!” Suho asked, somehow managing to sound a bit angry.

“You’ve been glowing since you appeared at our door.” Sehun shrugged only one shoulder. “And your mood is better than the last time we saw you.”

“That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s…!” Kai retorted – yet he was unable to end his sentence properly. Sometimes his innocence was endearing, making him appear much younger than he really was.

“Then he got a pleasant date yesterday.” Sehun pressed on, too focused on getting information out of Suho than to mind Kai’s attempts at stopping him.

“I didn’t go on a date!” Suho tried to defend himself. “I just…”

And then he stopped speaking. Which made even Kai grow a bit more suspicious.

Then again, how could Suho explain to his kids that their mom was maybe dating someone? And could he even consider himself as “dating” Kris, when all they’d done up until now was basically sex and, kind-of-maybe-perhaps-who-knew, establishing mutual attraction?

“…you didn’t do the one-night thing, right…?” Kai slowly trailed off sheepishly, due to his own inability to pronounce certain things. Suho could only thank the Moon that Kai was regarding him as a best friend, not like a mother.

“No, it’s… more than that.” Suho admitted. Sehun arched a single eyebrow in his direction. Suho wanted to ignore it, but he really couldn’t – his kids always told him when they thought they’d found someone special; it was only fair for him to do the same. “I’m just not sure of what to call it, to be honest.”

“Call them your lover.” Sehun said in an attempt of prompting Suho to spill more details. Thankfully for his own plans, neither Kai nor Suho had realised his intentions.

“That feels too impersonal! I’d rather call him my boyfriend.”

Suho froze as realisation hit him – which is to say that he froze as soon as those words left his mouth. Kai had frozen by his side, too, unmoving even when Monku rubbed his face against Kai’s leg. The poor kid looked like he didn’t know where to hide, since this was evidently a conversation that he didn’t want to partake in.

Sehun had frozen too, although for different reasons. In his case, he just couldn’t believe that he’d gotten the information out so easily – usually, Suho would’ve given him some vague line about it not being the time to tell him, or just change the topic altogether. This straightforwardness was definitely new. Even if “straight” definitely was not the best word for Suho. Especially after such a confession.

“…so now we have a dad, too? Baekhyun will love that.” Kai said. It felt like his attempt at filling the silence, at diffusing some of the tension in the air. Janku and Monku seemed to agree with him, judging from how they were playing with each other at Kai’s feet, never minding Vivi’s dignified stares.

“Don’t go that fast!” Sehun exclaimed. “This seems… too recent for that.”

“I’ll introduce him to you.” Suho said. The certainty with which he spoke those words hit him like another freight-train, yet he didn’t feel scared. He knew Kris would most likely accept Suho’s kids as readily as Suho had accepted Kris’ pack. “I’ll introduce him to you all.”

“Dinner at your place one of these days?” Kai asked, eager – because Kyungsoo cooked every single time all six of Suho’s children, plus Suho himself, gathered in one of their homes. And Kyungsoo’s cooking was to-die-for.

“Most likely.” Suho smiled. He’d need to speak with Kris about the whole thing first, though. But there should be a proper introduction, of that he was sure. “I’ll have to speak with him first.”

“That’s fair.” Sehun said. “By the way, Kai, can I have the house for myself today and overnight?”

“Huh?” Kai gave him an odd look right away. It told Suho that, whatever this abrupt change of topic was, they hadn’t discussed it before. “Why?”

“None of your business.”

Sehun.” Suho warned him in his strictest mother-tone.

Sehun opened both his arms at Suho, as if he were frustrated. Still, he looked at Kai with a gesture that, in Sehun, equated repentance. Kai accepted it with a smile and no hard feelings, because Kai was Kai and he never held a grudge at all.

“Then where will I stay?” was the only thing that Kai asked to Sehun.

“You could go home with Suho for a day?” Sehun asked innocently.

Suho immediately wanted to rebel against that – what with Kris and his pack still camping at will in his home – but he never had the time to do so. Because Kai spoke up.

“No problem from me, if mom’s okay with it?”

Suho, seeing that he had no other choice but to agree, caved in.

“Alright. Do you need to take something from your house?”

“…not really?” Kai answered quite awkwardly. “I sleep in underwear, so–”

“Then that’s decided!” Suho cut him before the elderly couple that had walked by could hear a single word more. “You come with me, and Sehun takes care of your four dogs. There’s no space at my place for them.”

That last part was a lie as big as a fucking cathedral. Suho just didn’t want to have regular dogs and Wolves in the same environment – because who knew how the dogs would behave. They usually gave no troubles, but…

“I’ll see you both tomorrow then.” Sehun said, a content smile in his face as he took the leashes of Kai’s dogs in his hands. “I’ll walk them home, you two can head back now.”

And then he turned around, walking back to their apartment complex without a single word more. Kai opened his mouth to stop him, yet no coherent sentence came out of him. Suho just smiled, allowed himself to giggle at Sehun’s childish antics, and looked to Kai.

“Let him be, you can always interrogate him tomorrow about all this mess. How does chicken wings sound for dinner?”

“Sounds awesome!” Kai answered with the broadest smile Suho had ever seen on him.

Chapter Text

Usually, Kai would’ve felt much more reserved about leaving all three of his dogs with someone; but this was Sehun. He trusted Sehun. They’d know each other since they were both thirteen – since they were officially-unofficially adopted by Suho, who was a good three years older, and the only one to ever remember the exact number of months that made Kai older than Sehun, despite having been born in the same year.

That also explained why Kai had always felt at home, completely relaxed, at ease, when he was with either of them.

And when Suho had adopted Baekhyun, Kyungsoo, Chen, and Chanyeol, well. A couple of issues had needed to be sorted through, because all beginnings were rocky. But now they were all family, brothers in the best sense of the word. Even Suho, who was a mother to Kai and Sehun due to them being the youngest, was also a brother to the other children. Kai supposed it would’ve been a bit weird to consider a twenty-five-year-old as your mother when you’re twenty-four.

But the same could be said about being two or three years younger than Suho, as opposed to, say, eight or nine years. And yet Suho was more like a mother than a brother to him.

He discarded all these thoughts when he reached Suho’s doorstep, though. He had long known that his feelings towards Suho, and towards the relationship he had with him, could get really confusing if he overanalysed them. So he usually just let them be.

Suho opened the door to his own apartment with his own key, and looking like he expected to find a royal mess inside. Which, in Kai’s mind, made no sense; Baekhyun, Sehun, and Kai himself hadn’t been in Suho’s house today.

Once inside, though, Suho let out a heavy sigh that sounded like pure relief. Kai looked at him funny while they took their shoes off, still feeling like there was something here that he wasn’t understanding fully. There was not a single object out of place, and Suho’s bedroom was so clean that it almost shone under the sunlight coming in from the windows, which were partially open.

Now that was strange. Because Suho never left his windows opened when he went outside.

“Ah, you’re back! Hello!”

Kai jumped where he stood, startled beyond the meaning of the word. Damnit, he had not been expecting a ghostly-silent man to speak from the doorstep when Suho and Kai himself were inside! And especially not one with such a rough voice. Which wasn’t to say he had sound unpleasant, because he’d sounded quite good, but come on, who liked being startled?!

“Tao! You’re still here.” Kai recognised the genuine surprise in Suho’s voice. So he had been startled, too.

At least now Kai didn’t feel like the only scaredy-cat. Which was good, in a way. But his curiosity about this “Tao” needed to be satisfied, so he turned around to face the door, Suho’s jacket now resting atop the bed.

There was a slender man leaning on the door’s wooden frame, almost uncaringly. He must’ve been around Kai’s own height, which meant taller than Suho, though that was a bit hard to tell while he remained not standing upright.

Yet the first thing that caught Kai’s attention was not his height, but his clothes – this Tao was wearing a sleeveless, grey t-shirt that looked really good on him. It made his torso look infinite, although that could also be just because he was slim, slimmer than Kai himself and definitely thinner than Suho. But there was a good deal of definition on his arms, as if he was used to some kind of martial art. Kai hit the gym enough to know that this type of definition came from Tao prioritizing agility over brute strength.

And his face – oh no, his face.

Kai wasn’t especially vain, but he knew perfectly well that, when people looked at him, they saw handsomeness. Kai silently wondered what they would see in Tao, for he had a different type of beauty than Kai’s, but resulted just as appealing.

Tao had a slightly lopsided smirk as he gazed to Suho, almost like he still hadn’t noticed that Kai was there, too. It made him look arrogant, but not the type of arrogance that had no strength to back it up – Kai was sure that, if pressed, Tao could easily swipe the floor with someone.

“And who’s this one? One of your children?”

… yeah, Kai definitely liked the grain in Tao’s voice when he spoke this language. The slight accent let Kai know that it probably wasn’t his mother tongue – suddenly, he wanted to hear what his native tongue sounded like on his lips.

“Ah, yes. This is my second youngest, Kai.” Kai looked to Suho upon hearing his own name. “Kai, this is Tao. He’s…” a slight pause that both Kai and Tao noted. “… my… friend’s, little brother.”

Kai had more than enough instinct to know what part of that sentence had been cut off. It made him wonder why Suho wasn’t referring to his boyfriend as such.

“We’re only brothers in a way.” Tao smiled towards Kai, shrugging one shoulder with a certain elegance. “We’re not from the same parents.”

“Like me and my brothers, then.” Kai smiled back. An image of Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, Kyungsoo, Suho, and Kai himself, crossed his mind.

Tao didn’t answer right away – he remained staring right at Kai, like he could see beyond the surface. Kai was somewhat accustomed to being stared at, since people tended to do that, but something about Tao’s stare made him a bit awkward.

Kai’s expression changed in time with his emotions, and Tao observed him with a penetrant gaze, that lopsided smirk still in his face. Something changed in the sunlight outside – maybe a cloud had lifted off the sun’s path – and it illuminated Tao perfectly.

His eyes stood out even more now, dark brown and limited with a thin black line. His gaze seemed deeper, much more intense, just because that line was there, surrounding his eyes. Kai knew enough about make-up to recognise the steady hand needed to draw it so perfectly – and, somehow, such a tiny little detail was attracting him towards Tao.

“Did the rest go out earlier?”

Suho’s voice took Kai out of his reverie quite suddenly, quite unpleasantly. Still, it was welcomed; if only because it meant he wasn’t downright staring into Tao anymore.

“Yeah, they returned home.” Tao turned his body to one side to let Suho walk out the door, and kept turning as he spoke, his back now exposed to Kai. “Said they’ll spend the night there, wanted me to stay back to tell you.”

“Why didn’t Kris just call me?” Suho was out of Kai’s vision, but he could still be heard. “He’s got my number!”

“He’s always shy the morning after.” Tao’s voice had turned sly out of a sudden.

Kai had a sneaking suspicion that he didn’t want any details about that “morning after” remark.

And, apparently, neither did Suho; because the next thing he shouted out was:

“You two, if you’re staying for dinner, come out here to the kitchen!”

Tao turned to look at Kai. Kai gave him a smile, as he did with almost everybody who looked at him. Tao returned it. He still looked sly, but also amiable. As if he wanted to tease Suho, but not Kai. Which was fine with Kai, considering that he sometimes teased Suho, too.

Tao let Kai walk past him, and remained behind him until they reached the kitchen where Suho was waiting for them, some uncooked chicken and rice already placed on one counter. Kai’s mood immediately improved tenfold at the sight of his favourite food, and he readily gave his all to cooking under Suho’s supervision, his arm sometimes brushing against Tao’s.

 


 

Tao had to admit it to himself – when Kris had downright ordered him to stay at Suho’s house, instead of accompanying the pack, he’d protested right away. In his eyes, it wasn’t a smart decision to take the best fighter in the pack out of said pack, especially when the plan was to head back to the abandoned house they’d spent the previous nights in. But then Kris had given him a look, the morning sun illuminating the edges of his hair until they went from black to bright, and Tao just had known.

He’d known that Yixing had told the rest all about Tao’s sudden awakening last night. Because of course he had, Yixing only wanted the best for his pack, and heading out usually (if not always) equated more stress. And more stress was about the last thing that Tao needed right now.

And it wasn’t like his light-sleeping was new to anybody; Tao himself always told the pack the morning after it happened, if he’d managed to not wake anybody during his terrors. The pack always put up with him, always told him that it was alright, that he was safe with them. Which was ridiculous, considering Tao could sweep the floor with them. Maybe Kris would give him more trouble due to the sheer size difference, but Tao knew he could win.

But having to stay put really, really bothered him.

And during those long hours between the pack heading out and Suho going in, Tao had had to remind himself about a million times that he –

“Tao, do you want more?”

“H-huh?” Tao jumped on his seat, his hand reflexively closing tighter around the chopsticks. Suho was looking at him with a warm smile on his face and patience inside his gaze. He was also pointing to the plate of chicken on the table. “Ah… I’m good, thank you.”

Refusing was the polite thing to do – he wasn’t especially hungry. And refusing was especially polite when he was only a guest in this household, and not even a recurring one, like Kai was.

Speaking of Kai, he was the one who’d eaten the most chicken out of them three, and he still seemed to have room for more, since he was reaching for the same plate that Tao had just refused. Tao used the opportunity to look at him again – discretely, but also kind of shamelessly.

Who would ever grow tired of looking at someone like Kai? Certainly not Tao.

Kai looked like he’d been sculpted of warm stone, and left to tan under an even warmer sun. His eyes were dark only in colour, always bright and inviting whenever his gaze met Tao’s, and equally bright when it was Suho whom he was looking at. And his smile was just so… kissable, Tao really had no other word for it. Words had never been his strongest suit – he’d always been told he’d been built to fight, not to love. Never mind every single instinct inside of him, making him fall hard and fast and deep.

He was made to fight, to protect his pack, to make sure they were all always safe.

Xiumin and Luhan had each other, and now Kris had Suho. And Yixing had never shown interest in a specific person, neither Human nor Wolf.

Which left Tao drowning in the clash of his own lovey-dovey tendencies and fighting instincts.

“More for me, then!” Kai declared happily. His voice was almost as warm as his eyes. Tao couldn’t help but stare at him, while hoping no one would notice how much he was staring.

But luck wasn’t his strongest suit, either.

“Tao, are you alright? I know that my house isn’t exactly huge…” Suho started, yet he trailed off before forming a coherent thought, one hand rubbing at the back of his neck quite awkwardly.

“No, it’s alright!” Tao immediately said. He’d left the chopsticks on the table – he didn’t even know when – he leant a little towards Suho. Kai was the only one still eating. “It’s just… I understand why Kris left me here. I might not agree, but I’ll follow him.”

Strategically enough, he’d obviated the fact that Yixing was the source of this. His most practical side said it was because he didn’t want to name anyone from his own pack in front of a stranger Human – yes, that was it; Kai might be Suho’s kid, but he was still a stranger to Tao. Mentioning only himself, and Kris at most, was enough.

Tao tried to ignore that every single instinct inside of him was screaming that Kai was safe.

He failed.

But he acted like he’d succeeded.

“So mom’s boyfriend is called Kris?”

“WHAT!” Tao exclaimed – although his volume betrayed that it’d been a scream. He turned from Kai to Suho so quickly that his agility ended up on full display. “You two are official?!”

“Didn’t Kris tell you that?!” Suho exclaimed back, a deep crimson overtaking his features. It made him look adorable.

… yeah, Tao could see what Kris had seen in Suho. Which didn’t mean Suho was Tao’s type, of course.

“He left it a bit vague, to be honest…” Tao leant one elbow on the table, rested his chin on his hand. Leaving one hand hidden from view was a mere instinct – in Human form, the surprise element was crucial. Especially when he was too crowded by the table to fully use his martial skills. “He did say he’d found someone worth keeping. And he acted like he was sure of it, too.”

Suho didn’t answer right away, although Tao hadn’t expected him to do so. Suho just looked down to his own plate instead, contemplating something –mulling over Tao’s words, or lost in memories of his own conversations with Kris. Either way, Tao didn’t really need to read his mind to know it was his cue to get out of Suho’s way.

“You should call him tonight. And don’t worry, he never has his phone on silent, no matter how many times we tell him to.”

Tao rose from his seat while he spoke, one hand reaching out for the empty plate in front of him, the other making sure his chair wasn’t in his way. Kai immediately did the same, gathering the glasses – Tao noticed that he’d left Suho’s, plus the water-bottle, untouched. Good decision. Better water than wine, at any rate. Kris was always… messy, when dealing with drunk people. Even with his own (drunk) pack.

Something brushed against Tao’s hand.

Tao moved back as quickly as his Human form allowed him to. He looked first to his own hand, and then in front of him.

Kai was looking at him, startled.

“S-sorry…”

Tao moved back. Towards Kai. He knew Suho was looking at him, too.

“N-no, I’m the one who’s sorry…” Tao started, scrambling to gather all the other plates. He couldn’t look at either Human in the eye. “I’m usually not this jumpy.”

“Hey, I don’t blame you. Anybody would be upset when finding out they suddenly have a mom.”

Tao couldn’t help the laugh that ripped out of him upon hearing that.

“I think I have a call to make, so I’ll see you two tomorrow morning.” Suho said. He, too, was smiling – Kai could surely be adorable. “Good night, and please don’t fight while I’m asleep.”

“You worry too much, mom.” Kai declared solemnly, his back turned to Suho as he did the dishes. Tao would’ve helped, but he didn’t know the house as well as both Humans did. Not to mention that he was too self-conscious to allow himself the simplest mistake. “We’ll be fine. There’s a whole bedroom available!”

Suho froze a little at that, presumably because he still had Kris in mind, which gave certain connotations to words like “bedroom”. Thankfully, he left the room before Kai nor Tao could catch sight of that.

 


 

Tao settled more comfortably on the couch, trying to pay attention to the drama onscreen – yet his mind seemed much more concerned with Kai sitting by his side. There was a whole other side of the couch he could’ve sat on, and still he’d chosen the centre. Which had left him close enough to brush Tao’s thigh with his own.

The drama developed into a fight scene, the main character displaying some mixed martial arts knowledge. Kai flinched when one of the bad guys landed a hit on her. Tao was phased by Kai’s response, conscious that it could’ve been read as him sympathising with the main character – even when he hadn’t even caught her name.

“That must hurt.” Kai muttered, lower than the television’s volume. The woman had just started bleeding form her head. Ridiculous. None of the hits had landed there.

“Not really.” Tao answered in the same low volume. “If she’s used to hitting, she’s used to getting hit. And it would’ve hurt more if the blow had landed.”

“But it did land? On her arm?” Kai asked. Tao didn’t have to look at him to know Kai had turned towards him – he’d caught a whiff of Kai’s scent in time with the movement.

Citrus, a dash of pine, sunrays on a golden beach – Tao refused to let himself get distracted.

Because, if he allowed himself to think about Kai’s scent more than he already had, there wouldn’t be a conversation anymore. Only Kai monologuing, and Tao listening to him with a dazed look on his face.

“The hit was directed to her stomach. She blocked with her arm.” Tao explained. The fight onscreen was over; she’d won. Her moment of contemplation allowed him to speak with relative calm, the cadence of his speech as contained as a predator’s strength when chasing prey. “She could’ve taken a lot more damage if she hadn’t been that quick. The actress must know some martial arts.”

“I dunno, I don’t know who she is.” Kai confessed, sounding like he was letting Tao in on a secret. “This is the first episode I watch. I prefer romantic dramas.”

“Same here.” Tao confessed. He did look at Kai then, only because he felt like confessions needed to be done face-to-face. “I can fight, so I notice these things. It doesn’t matter if I want to notice or not, I just do.”

“That explains your reflexes. You’re quick.”

Somehow, that felt like a compliment. Even though Tao was expected to be the pack’s best fighter, it still felt good to be recognised.

Especially by Kai.

… for some reason.

“Thank you.” Tao smiled, unable to keep looking at Kai’s warm eyes. “By the way, how many brothers do you have?”

“Five.” Kai answered easily, smiling. He always smiled when speaking about his brothers and mom. “I’m the youngest, and mom’s the oldest.”

“Moms should be older than their kids.” Tao half smiled, half teased.

“True!” Kai smiled back, oblivious to the tease. Tao’s gaze grew less sly, though it remained just as intense. “But mom’s only one year older than my oldest brother… isn’t that weird?”

“Not really?” Tao asked, dubitative. “I mean, I’m the youngest in my pack too, but there’s two older than Kris, and Kris is our leader, so…” an elegant shrug of only one shoulder. “… I feel you.”

“… “your pack” …?” Kai repeated.

Tao would’ve hit himself unconscious.

What the hell, he wasn’t supposed to talk about his pack, least of all by name! Kai was Human, he probably believed Wolves were legends, extinct fairy-tales to make little kids obey their parents. Suho might’ve known the truth, but that didn’t mean his children would. Especially not when Suho hadn’t introduced them to the pack.

Hence why Tao would’ve hit himself unconscious, and that still wouldn’t have been enough for his slip-up.

“What a cool name for your friend group!” Kai exclaimed, all bright smiles and even brighter eyes. “We’re stuck as a family, but you guys are a pack?! That’s so cool!”

Well, that was unexpected. Not unwelcomed, though. Just unexpected as all hell.

“Thank you…” Tao started, feeling dubious but grateful that it hadn’t provoked any prodding. There really wasn’t any malice in Kai, that was obvious. After all, any slyer person would’ve used that as a chance to ask some questions. “Being a family is really cool too, though. And it’s not like we aren’t a family.”

“But it sounds cooler.” Kai insisted. “Like wolves!”

Tao tensed.

Kai’s gaze was as warm as the midday sun on his skin.

Unconsciously, Tao relaxed.

“Your pack sounds amazing, Tao. I’m really happy that Suho has your pack now, too.”

Tao smiled. His thigh had been resting parallel to Kai’s the whole time, but he only noticed it now. Even through their clothes, they could feel each other’s warmth.

“Suho is always welcome in our pack. Hopefully your brothers will accept us, too.”

Kai smiled broad. Then he adjusted his posture on the couch – his body was lower on the seat now, back half-leant on the backrest and torso turned towards Tao. When Kai rested his head on the couch’s edge, Tao found him close – close enough that Kai slowly leant in towards him.

Tao didn’t deny him. He could only appreciate the slow motion, because it wasn’t triggering his instincts.

Kai leant his head fully on Tao’s shoulder, his leg still touching Tao’s. His attention was back on the television’s screen, where the woman who’d won the fight was having dinner with a really feminine, lithe woman. Tao had paid about enough attention earlier to recognise this as the drama’s main pairing.

The lithe woman cracked a joke, her girlfriend laughed – and so did Kai.

Suddenly, Tao wanted to pet Kai’s hair like one would do a Wolf’s – Tao had always considered himself as the most adorable Wolf, regardless of what form he took, but now…

… now he was sure that Kai was the most adorable creature he had ever seen.

Chapter Text

Luhan was grateful for the opportunity to get away from the rest of the pack. He loved those mismatched Wolves, he really did – but, sometimes, he wanted to spend time with his mate and his mate alone. And that was complicated when the whole pack was always together. Hence why he planned on fully enjoying this escapade.

There were some forests close to the city’s suburbs, and even closer to the beaten, abandoned place the pack had silently claimed as theirs. So Luhan and Xiumin headed there for a quick spell – after telling Yixing exactly where they were going to, of course. Tao was still deployed (for lack of a better term) at Suho’s house, presumably blowing up Kris’ phone with messages telling him to pick me up damnit, I’m not a cub, you can’t get rid of me this easily!

Tough luck, though. Kris was still deep in slumber, his Wolf form taking up more space that it should have – he had fluffed out fully, for some reason.

Like a moon-damned bird.

So Yixing had listened to Xiumin explain that he and Luhan would be going out to the forest nearby, always close enough to dash back into the building should any trouble occur. Yixing’s expression had been so grave that Luhan had feared he would say no. It would’ve been the logical thing to say, since Yixing wasn’t the fiercest fighter in the pack – even excluding Tao and Kris, Xiumin still had more strength than Yixing and Luhan.

But Yixing had acquiesced pretty quickly – and not just because both Luhan and Xiumin were older than him. He hadn’t justified his decision, because he never justified himself if he wasn’t asked to do so, his voice steady and calm. Luhan had to admire that about Yixing; it didn’t matter how dire the circumstances were, he always remained calm.

Strangely calm.

Tao’s instincts always jumped out in those occasions, making him respond to their enemies’ aggression with aggression, fighting skills on full display no matter what form he was in. Kris always took some seconds to look around before joining him, and so did Xiumin, with Luhan following his mate as closely as his shorter legs could carry him.

But Yixing always, always remained calm throughout the fight, aiding his pack wherever, whenever, he was needed. Tending to their wounds afterwards. Keeping their minds clear of trouble. His presence was more than steady enough to consider him apt to be a pack’s leader. Not their pack, of course; Kris was too good a leader to change him, and even then Xiumin would always come to mind first. But the aptitude, the attitude, were there. Yixing just didn’t make use of them.

Follow me if you can, my love~

Luhan shivered, its motion carrying him through changing forms. Those words, spoken directly into his distracted mind in the rough language of Wolves, suggested quite strongly that Xiumin was in a playful mood. And Luhan loved when Xiumin was in one of these moods, because they meant that his mate was relaxed – that there was no danger lurking around.

Considering the fights they’d been having to win ever since arriving in this city, seeing Xiumin be playful was comforting.

Luhan had to hurry to catch up to Xiumin, who’d had a literal running start. The older stayed back enough to allow Luhan to get closer, yet remained out of his reach. It would’ve been almost infuriating in any other circumstances; a stark reminder that Luhan was smaller, less quick. Now, though, it only served to fuel the fires of love raging inside of Luhan’s heart.

The forest on both sides of them weren’t dense; a tell-tale sign that the Humans’ civilization was right around the corner, ready to swallow nature whole. Luhan knew that the trees would not be killed so easily, though; wild grass would thrive as long as there was any crack in the concrete.

Just like Wolves existed in the cracks of Human civilization.

Xiumin stopped his run in a small clearing. Luhan broke out of his own run much slower than Xiumin had, eyes fixed on his mate. It really didn’t matter how many times he’d stared at Xiumin, it didn’t matter whether he was in Wolf or Human form – Luhan’s breath caught all the same.

Warm sunrays came down on his black fur from in between the leaves above them, giving it an underlying blue hue. The curve of his spine was lean, pronounced enough to let onlookers know he was a Wolf and not a common dog, but not so much as to alert the most fearful Humans. Luhan had seen him stand amongst Alaskan Malamutes, amongst Huskies – and Xiumin had never drawn unnecessary attention to his own Wolf form during those times.

Now, though, Xiumin changed forms, right in front of Luhan.

He should’ve been left standing on the same spot, because his Wolf form had been upright. But Xiumin’s changes never followed any general Wolfish logic, only his own. Thus, he not only changed forms – he also changed his posture. It was as if his changing forms allowed him to end up sitting on the grass, legs extended in front of him, both hands braced on the forest floor, head turned to Luhan and a smile on his face.

“You’re fast~” he sing-sang, sounding pleased with Luhan.

Luhan, still in his Wolf form, walked – no, prowled – the short distance separating him from the Wolf of his nights. Xiumin just kept smiling, as if he didn’t know what that prowl meant. And, to top his insolence off, he had the gall to whine when Luhan plopped his head on his moon’s lap.

“Ow! You’re heavy, you know! Don’t do that!”

Luhan merely growled a faint little thing that became the Wolf’s version of a cat’s purring and closed his eyes. Xiumin’s hand fell gentle on his cheek, fingertips brushing the side of his mouth. Luhan curled his body closer still, allowing Xiumin to rest his back against him.

“But you’re also adorable, so you’re excused.”

Luhan opened his eyes to look up at Xiumin, unconsciously wagging his tail and hitting the grass underneath them. Xiumin noticed it, giggled softly, and reached out with his free hand.

“You really love being petted, don’t you.”

It wasn’t a question, even though it had been worded as one, so Luhan did not answer. Xiumin didn’t seem upset by his silence – on the contrary, his amusement only grew upon watching Luhan’s antics.

“You’re adorable, you love being petted, and you deserve the stars.” Xiumin said, still using that leader-like tone of voice, the one that didn’t allow for any arguments against. “You know that, right?”

“How couldn’t I know? You’re always telling me.”

Xiumin leant down just enough to let Luhan’s Human form catch his drift.

The kiss they shared tasted like the sweetest fruit, like honey – like love itself. Luhan leant on the grass to get his hips closer to Xiumin’s, seeking as much physical contact as he could. Xiumin smiled, kissed him again, tugged him closer. He smiled when Luhan gasped against his lips, so surprised it was downright adorable.

“Oof…” Luhan whined, almost imitating Xiumin’s earlier whine. “Why’d you do that?!”

“Don’t you like lying on top of me?” Xiumin asked, moving one arm beneath his own neck to support his head. From this angle, he could see that Luhan had landed right on his chest. “Besides, I am the one against the ground. I should be the one protesting.”

“You’re strong enough to hold me.” Luhan replied, a note of annoyance slipping into his tone. “And you’re the one who pulled me on top of you!”

“I just wanna feel you closer.”

“Selfish son of a thousand Wolves…” Luhan cursed under his breathe – yet he was lying his head down on Xiumin’ shoulder at the same time. Adorable. It made Xiumin smile even more.

“You love me.”

“Just like you love me.”

Xiumin hummed. He had absolutely no intention of refuting the naked truth they’d just spoken out loud, so he focused on wrapping his free arm around Luhan’s lither form. He was feeling a bit too relaxed to even tease Luhan, no matter how adorably he reacted upon being teased by Xiumin.

Luhan snuggled closer to him, and Xiumin’s heart burst with warmth.

But then Luhan rolled them around, pulling Xiumin on top of him with practised ease. Xiumin’s world spun on its axis, brain still too disconnected to catch up with reality as he blinked down to Luhan.

“I can hold you too, you know.”

His adorable moon wasn’t even looking at him, a faint colour dusting his cheeks from alabaster to rosy, his lips still parted, as if he wanted to say something more. Xiumin gave him no chance of doing so, though – using their newfound posture as leverage, he kissed his love again.

When they parted, Xiumin moved to lean his head on Luhan’s shoulder, mirroring Luhan’s favourite way of lying on Xiumin himself.

And then, he noticed.

And it made him growl.

Luhan froze underneath him. Xiumin kissed his jawline in reassurance – he was not angry, not by any means. It was just…

“…you’re still marked by me.”

A pause.

“I want to be marked by you. We’re mates, aren’t we?”

“We are.”

Another kiss, just as loving, just as sincere.

Xiumin felt the exact moment when Luhan’s heart burst with warmth, too.

 


 

Xiumin’s phone’s screen lit up, signalling that someone was calling him.

He stirred, still half-asleep from his shared nap with Luhan. In fact, the little brown Wolf was still resting against him – it was just so joyful that Xiumin had changed forms while sleeping, because his phone, left inside his Human form’s jacket’s pocket, wouldn’t have existed in this realm otherwise. Still, he managed to answer before Luhan stirred.

“Yixing, why are you calling me…?”

“You’ve been out for two hours.” Yixing sounded quite annoyed at Xiumin’s own annoyance at him. It was almost uncharacteristic. Xiumin’s Wolf ears would’ve perked up; alas, he had to settle for a small sound, demanding more information. “Tao is back. He’s fine now–”

Suddenly, a new voice shouted over Yixing’s, just about distant enough to not blow up Xiumin’s eardrums:

“OY! I’m always fine!”

“Of course you are, Tao, of course you are…” Xiumin interjected, although he did not know if Tao could hear him.

After some undetermined ruckus coming from the other side of the phoneline, Yixing’s voice was back.

“…anyway. Kris headed out a while back, didn’t say where he went. But he did say that there’s a storm brewing, so it will be better if you two can come back soon.”

Xiumin had to smile; Yixing was far too considerate to downright order his elders around, but his tone (and his words) absolutely suggested that he was, in fact, ordering Xiumin and Luhan around. However, one thing stood out more than that.

He had called Xiumin. Usually, he would’ve texted Luhan, because apparently writing some five lines of text was politer than calling someone directly. But now, he’d just called.

“Did Kris specify?” Xiumin asked, suddenly alert. He knew his leader enough to realise that the “storm” didn’t have to be physical.

“Sadly, no.” Yixing answered, sounding as annoyed at that as Xiumin instantly felt. “He only changed forms, spoke to me, and upped and went.”

“… son of a thousand Wolves…” Xiumin growled his curse.

“Same.” Yixing conceded. “Please head back as soon as you can, though.”

“We’re on our way.” Xiumin assured him before hanging up. There was no point in continuing the call if they were going to see each other quite soon. While he put his phone back into his jacket’s pocket, he spoke to Luhan, who had woken up only enough to listen. “Babe, we need to go back.”

“Don’t call me “babe”, that’s a Human’s name…” Luhan groaned – yet he got up from his resting position and stretched. He looked ready to change forms. “Did they say anything interesting?”

Xiumin gave him the basic run-down in about two minutes, since he had never been one to prolong things more than absolutely necessary. Luhan had always appreciated that about him – strangely, the same couldn’t be said about some of their pack-members.

“Should we change forms, then?” Luhan asked. Xiumin knew that he didn’t mind spending a long time in his Human form, but the true master at it, the one whose Wolfish instincts never seemed to pressure him, was not Luhan – but Yixing.

“It’d be quicker.” Xiumin nodded thoughtfully. Yixing’s words had cut him deep, reminded him of some events that he’d rather never have a repeat of. “Come on.”

Xiumin leant forward, initiating the motion of changing forms. Luhan prepared to follow, preferring to let Xiumin guide him back to the rest.

A steady hand right at the centre of Luhan’s chest held him back.

Luhan frowned, looked to Xiumin, opened his mouth to protest –

– and then he caught sight of Xiumin’s profile. He was concentrated in something in front of him, aware of Luhan’s presence by his side due to Wolfish instincts and from being so used to having him nearby. Luhan saw him blinking, once, slow and deliberate, so much like he did when in Wolf form that it took his breath away.

The wind changed directions, allowing Luhan to catch the scent of an unknown Human. He moved closer to the thick tree-trunk by his left, letting his slender fingers drag over Xiumin’s to let him know where he was going to. Xiumin didn’t move, didn’t seem to have noticed, but Luhan knew better. This laser-focus was so characteristic of Xiumin as his usual playfulness was – it just didn’t appear as often.

“…you think they’re here?” a male voice asked. Luhan leant his body on the tree by his side, making himself even smaller – yet staying in Human form.

From his position, he could see that the one who’d talked was dressed just like the guys who had attacked his whole pack – not in a black suit, like the media’s stereotype. Instead, he sported combat boots and tightly fitting clothes; the kind of outfit planned for a real fight. He had no hat on, letting military-short dark hair be seen. Luhan, unconsciously holding his breathe, lurked even closer to the tree.

Xiumin still had not moved.

“That’s what HQ said.” Answered the man by the stranger’s side. Unsurprisingly enough, he too was wearing the exact same outfit – his voice sounded almost the same – hell, even his scent was the same.

Luhan shivered on reflex.

“So they’ll still be monitoring that Kim guy? I thought he led us to a dead end!”

“You’re really out of the loop. A whole Wolfpack was sighted with him. We had a mission, but we failed. So now, we try again.”

An image appeared in Xiumin’s and Luhan’s minds. Neither were completely sure about their suspicions, since they didn’t really know his last name, but every little instinct within was screaming only one name.

Suho.

Kris’ mate.

“Are we on the lookout for Kim, too?”

“Did you not read the mail?” a small pause, in which the oblivious stranger shook his head. His hair was so short that it didn’t even shake. “No. Orders only cover the pack. If he gets in the way, we shoot.”

“Makes sense. Witnesses are messy.” A new, very cold shiver ran down Luhan’s spine. Those words, it… it hit too close to home. “How did we learn of him anyway?”

“Someone at his own workplace phoned in, said Kim was walking home with a wounded Wolf in tow.”

“…those aren’t his exact words, are they?”

“Shut up! That’s not important. Just be thankful that people are actually using the governmental phoneline and reporting any and all sights of Wolves.”

“Should I?” his voice was so monotone, even when his words suggested sarcasm, that Luhan’s skin prickled. He didn’t even need to look to know Xiumin was just as averse to these men as Luhan himself was. “Most are fake. Big dogs, Russian dogs, trickster dogs who just want the reward money…”

“This one was real. We followed the call’s trail, and it led us to Kim. He led us to a five-member Wolfpack, one of which is wounded. We need to strike now, while they’re weakened.”

“This won’t be like hunting stragglers in the mountains up north. This will become an all-out war if the pack fight back. And they always fight back.”

“Bad luck for them. We have bigger guns this time.”

A chorus of snickers, their sound too interrupted by breathes to be a true laugh, accompanied both strangers as they left.

Luhan immediately looked at Xiumin – why haven’t we pounced on them, why aren’t we calling Yixing, why aren’t we calling Kris –

Let’s head back, my moon. Our pack-members need to hear about this, and so does Suho. He needs to know that someone is out to get him.

Xiumin waited until Luhan had changed forms to do so himself, and that set off big red alarm bells inside Luhan’s mind. Especially when coupled with the sheer aplomb, the icy resolve, in his posture and words.

Now more than ever, Xiumin looked like the proud pack-leader he could’ve been.

Luhan followed him quickly through the forest, his legs protesting the high speed, his mouth opening just to breathe, muscles wound so tightly that he knew he would be sore for days on end.

A chorus of interrupted giggles pursued his mind and fuelled his unrest – until his Human form crashed against the closed door of his pack’s abandoned building.

Chapter Text

The door opened so violently that Yixing jumped in his seat – and that was saying something, because nothing really seemed to faze him like this. Well, nothing aside from birds, that is. His surprise grew exponentially upon seeing how Xiumin almost fell inside. The only thing that prevented him from literally kissing the floor was changing forms – and even then, he let out a soft oof when Luhan’s Human form fell on top of his back.

They looked so shaken that Yixing could only blink for some seconds.

Fortunately, Tao did react. He stepped in between the wriggling mess of legs and arms to close the door.

“What the hell…” Tao said once the door was closed. Luhan had managed to kneel on the floor, and seemed to be unsure if he should help Xiumin up or not. “Were you being chased?”

“No!” Luhan answered, more forcefully than usual. Tao raised an eyebrow, taken aback. “Ah, sorry… we just have bad news.”

Xiumin extended an arm towards Yixing, who helped him up. Tao ended up doing the same with Luhan. Then, they let their two oldest sit on the beaten sofa in the room; it ebbed with their weight, springs protesting and forcing Luhan to change his posture to avoid needling himself with the old metal. Xiumin reached out to hold Luhan’s hand.

Tao and Yixing exchanged a look.

“Is Kris here?” Luhan asked nervously.

“I’ll call him, get his flat ass back.” Tao answered.

“Language.” Yixing admonished him, though he knew perfectly well what Tao was doing.

Still, playing the “funny joke” card didn’t seem the most appropriate thing to do in this situation.

“Tao, tell Kris to bring Suho with him.” Xiumin added, quickly as if it had been only an afterthought. Tao nodded, marked Kris’ number, and raised the phone to his ear. “Thank you.”

Tao turned his back to his pack-members during the phone-call, which reminded them all of how comfortable Tao was amongst them. Yixing knelt on the floor, right by the couch’s leg – he didn’t miss how Tao had caught the motion through a look over his own shoulder. Xiumin and Luhan hadn’t noticed just how alert Tao was, but everybody in the room knew that, unconsciously, they all counted on Tao’s wild instincts.

 


 

Not even fifteen minutes after Tao had hanged up, Kris and Suho turned up at the door. Suho carried a different scent than usual, Xiumin noticed – when he looked at the Human, he had a faint blush on his cheeks.

… had Kris really changed forms and carried Suho on his back? Kris’ Wolf form was tall enough to allow it, but it was a bit…

They’re together, my moon. Intimacy should be usual, Luhan reminded him. He’d changed forms during their wait, fully content with letting Xiumin stay in Human form. It meant that Xiumin could caress him between the ears, could get his hands on him without making anybody uncomfortable – somehow, seeing a Human caressing a Wolf seemed less intimate than a Human caressing another Human.

“Why did you call me?” Kris asked Tao. “You didn’t even say that.”

“‘Cause I don’t know!” Tao opened his arms but closed them to wave at Suho. His blush had receded a bit. “Ask Xiumin, he was the one telling me to call you and to bring Suho with you!”

“I was going to ask why I’m here, too…” Suho mumbled. He still seemed a bit out of place amongst their pack. Nobody could blame him for that, though – every Wolf in Kris’ pack had been new at some point. They still remembered the initial awkwardness.

Kris had no reserves about sitting on the floor in front of the couch, crossing his legs to not crowd Xiumin and Luhan’s leg-space. Upon seeing him, Suho sat by his side, close yet not so much as to insinuate anything to the pack. Yixing had to smile at that, a single dimple marking the side of his mouth. It was quite refreshing to see that someone still had manners. Tao smiled too, and knelt – not sat, his pack noticed – in between Suho and the sofa’s other leg. Thus, their little circle was complete.

Xiumin was the first to speak, which surprised absolutely no one. He used a steady voice to tell them about what he and Luhan had seen and heard – the men in black clothes, their hunting down Kris’ pack, the snitcher in Suho’s workplace. Nobody dared interrupt him, even though some wordless exclamations and surprised gasps were heard at some points. When he finished, Luhan rested his head on his lap, nose close to Xiumin’s crotch.

That made Suho look away from them, instead focusing his gaze on the floor in between his crossed legs. Tao snickered, unable to stop himself – Yixing and Kris shot him twin warning looks, so he tried his best to bite back his mirth. Suho didn’t blame him for his amusement, too conscious that Suho himself was the odd one out.

But then, a thought crossed his mind.

MY KIDS!

Tao frowned and growled, disturbed by the loud volume. Yixing seemed affected too, although he dissimulated it better.

“…aren’t you too young to have kids?” Xiumin translated Luhan’s question into a language Suho could understand.

“Not by blood, by bond.” Kris interjected quickly. He accompanied his words with a stern look to Luhan, who buried his head in Xiumin’s lap to avoid the “confrontation”.

“If they’re monitoring me, they know about my kids, I spend a lot of time with them, if they’re in danger I need to help them, I can’t stay here doing nothing, I–”

“We will get to them first.” Kris assured him, using what his pack knew as his “leader voice” – as steady as the arm he swung around Suho’s shoulders.

Suho shook Kris’ arm off violently. Kris’ expression reflected both his surprise and betrayal, but Suho didn’t seem to notice. Kris looked towards Yixing – his healer surely had to know more about distress, surely he knew how to handle this…

“Suho, could you call them through your phone right now?” Yixing started, using such a calm tone of voice that even distressed Suho heeded him. “If you could, we could know where they are.”

“It would be easier to pick them up.” Xiumin added, completing Yixing’s thought. Their healer nodded, still calm and cool.

“I can try.” Suho knelt up to take his phone from his trousers’ pocket – why had it not make him uncomfortable before remained a mystery. His hands trembled while he sat back down, fumbling to unlock it; he even inputted the wrong combination twice. “Oh, for fuck’s sake…”

Kris’ hand fell softly on Suho’s thigh, gentle enough to reassure instead of taking all his attention elsewhere. It rested higher than Kris would’ve placed it on a friend’s body – silently signalling certain things to his pack. Luhan changed forms then, still half-lying on Xiumin’s lap, gaze focused on Suho and Kris as they both looked down to Suho’s phone-screen.

Suho was still trembling.

“…you’re such a mother hen.” Luhan muttered, in his words the same teasing tone he used to light his pack’s mood.

“Of course I am! I’m brother and mother to all of them.” Suho replied in earnest, never taking his eyes off his phone – until he raised it to his ear. Kris’ gaze followed the motion, hand unmoving on Suho’s thigh. “They rely on me, they’ve been relying on me for years, I have to protect them, I must care for them–”

The phone’s ringtone cut off.

“Kai?!” Suho asked to thin air. The Wolfpack around him could read his whole-body language as distress and fear.

There was no response from the other side of the phone. Not even the voice-box’s message came on – Suho had been expecting to drop Kai a line about “Kai please call me RIGHT NOW”, hoping he’d listen to it soon, but…

Suho scrambled about to mark Sehun’s number. If Kai didn’t answer, maybe his roommate would…?

“What’s wrong?” Tao asked over the ringtone.

“Kai didn’t answer!” Suho exclaimed, too distressed to not say his kid’s name, even though most of the pack hadn’t met sweet Kai. Still, Tao had – and his expression hardened. “And Sehun isn’t picking up either! But they live together…!”

“I’ll go check on them.” Tao rose to his feet. His voice was firm, firm enough to not admit any protests. Suho looked at him from his seat on the floor – Tao could see that Kris had moved to swing an arm behind Suho’s back; not touching him yet definitely close enough to be felt. “Give me their address, I’ll bring them here.”

“Here?!” Luhan asked immediately, surprising Suho – but not the other Wolves; they were used to Luhan’s jealously in keeping their pack secure and private.

Yes.” Kris’ “leader voice” was back in full force. “This place is away from the city and big enough for all. Suho’s got six children, and we’re five Wolves. Twelve people in total. We can all fit in here.”

Luhan was about to protest again when Xiumin casually adjusted his posture, gently nudging his moon into silence.

“Thank you.” Suho said to Tao. There was unadulterated relief inside his words.

“Don’t thank me yet, do it when I bring them both here.” Tao smiled back, quickly memorizing the address Suho gave him as an answer. “I’ll be off, then!”

And just like that, he turned, changed forms, jumped outside through a window’s broken glass. Yixing had to admire how balanced the movement had been, and how Tao had avoided getting a nasty cut due to calculating distance and strength really well. It was unreal to know that all Tao did in Wolf form was almost purely on reflex, and not on careful consideration.

Then again, Tao had been shaped for battle and survival in a way that few others could fully understand. His pack would always support him, but they couldn’t understand. Tao never blamed them for that, though. He was much too appreciative, too thankful of their steady presence at his side, than to do that.

“Tao is our best fighter. Your kids will be safe.” Kris said to Suho in a soft voice – and in a clear attempt at calming him down.

“I believe you.” Suho answered, adjusting something on his phone – presumably marking the next kid’s number. His hands didn’t tremble as much. “Tao and Kai have met before, too. That’ll help Kai calm down if he’s distressed…”

Somehow, that revelation didn’t surprise any Wolf. Suho looked around, uneasy, still waiting for someone to say something about Kai and Tao knowing each other.

“We kind of guessed that.” Xiumin smiled at him. “Tao only reacts that quickly when it’s someone he cares about.”

“Can he care that much about someone he’s only met once, though?” Luhan asked, his tone acid beyond repair.

“You did when you first met Xiumin.”

Yixing’s off-hand remark rendered the whole room speechless. Because nobody had expected the eternally calm Yixing to be so ironic out of a sudden. Even though he’d spoken more to his collar than to the rest of the room.

Before Luhan could bite back, fangs already bared, Xiumin reined him in with a couple of carefully-placed touches. When he looked at Yixing, his smile bit blood.

“That’s not a bad thing, Yixing.”

“I’m not saying it is.” Yixing replied easily – still, Kris could read uneasiness on him. Being called out by his elders was something Yixing hated.

… if he even hated something aside from birds, that was. He was usually so cool and collected that it was really hard to tell.

Suho’s phone rang out.

“OOPS!” Suho exclaimed, as if he hadn’t noticed that it was on speaker. He fooled no one – every call started off as private, since it was necessary to tap the speaker button to make it public – but his effort was appreciated. It dissipated all the tension in the air. “Chen please pick up…”

Hello?

“Chen!” Suho’s voice carried relief. “Where are you?!”

…at my flower’s house…? Mom, what’s going on…?

“Ah…” Suho looked around to the pack, suddenly really unsure – because – “You’re with your love…”

How could Suho explain everything to Chen when he was at his girlfriend’s place? That would only put her in danger, too, right…?

Yixing seemed to gather every little titbit of info just from how Suho’s shoulders had slumped downwards. Yixing pointed to himself with both thumbs, silently offering to go check on this “Chen”. Kris noticed it and frantically nodded his head, earnestly giving his approval. Yixing was observant enough to notice if Chen’s love was being targeted or monitored; and he was also gentle enough to explain whatever needed to be explained without causing too much whiplash.

“Chen, one of my friends will swing by and pick you up. And I’m calling all of you, so don’t protest! This is important! I’ll explain later, when we’re all together. Okay?”

Whatever Chen had answered seemed to send relief surging deep through Suho. And yes, Kris was close enough to listen in if he’d wanted to – but he refused to let himself do so. He trusted Suho. And this was his own private affair. He could handle all his kids alone. He’d been doing it for years, apparently.

“I’ll be going too, then.” Yixing rose to his feet, elegance evident even in such a small motion.

“Please don’t be too harsh with them, Chen can get impressed easily.” Suho gave him the address first, adding some advice just in case. “I’ve never seen him scared before, but he really, really loves his girlfriend. I don’t know how much we can keep her out of all this…”

“I’ll bring her too if need be.” Yixing reassured him. “You’re part of our Wolfpack now; and your children should be, too. Keeping their mates closely is only logical at this point.”

Luhan might’ve had something to say against that, but Xiumin’s touch – and Kris’ glare – shut him up again.

Suho didn’t even see Luhan’s reserves; so focused he was on Yixing’s enigmatic smile and kind eyes. Still, there was something calculating inside those eyes; something Suho hadn’t seen in any other person nor Wolf before. It was intriguing in the same way that all unsolved puzzles were; it simultaneously kept people at a distance and drew them in.

Perhaps to prove how dramatic Tao had been in his exit, Yixing chose the front door and didn’t change forms in front of the others.

“So who’s next?” Kris asked once Yixing was gone, gently nudging his shoulder against Suho’s. Suho ebbed away from Kris before moving close again – finally noticing how tightly-pressed together they were.

“K-Kyungsoo.” Suho blushed, stuttered, looked only to his phone. Its brightness was turned down enough to allow him to see his own reflection on the screen; and the angle was decidedly unflattering. “He’s one of my youngest, but very responsible, I’m sure he’ll answer the call…”

“And if he doesn’t, one of us will be stuck with a bratty child.” Luhan interjected, tone still acid. It seemed that his metaphorical feathers were still ruffled from Yixing’s remark earlier.

Suho acted like he hadn’t heard Luhan practically insult his bestest cook, because Kyungsoo had picked up the phone. Their conversation lasted for about thirty seconds, due to Kyungsoo’s tendency to speak only when necessary and to Suho not knowing what to even say to him over the phone. Much like it had happened with Chen earlier.

At this point, Suho didn’t even know if he preferred when they didn’t pick up their phones.

“Kyungsoo is in his house.” Suho announced. Unbeknownst to the pack, he was using his “strict mother voice”. “Luhan, he heard you talking over my voice; would you go and check up on him, please?”

Luhan had spent more than enough time around Kris’ seemingly soft leadership to know that he shouldn’t challenge Suho’s equally soft tone.

“Alright…” Luhan muttered. He sounded defeated to anybody who didn’t know him very well – like Suho, for example.

Xiumin snorted by Luhan’s side, caressing his hair, right in between where his Wolf ears would be. His moon pursed his lips, but didn’t protest any further. Kris let out a sigh that only Wolf hearing could pick up on – he was most likely really thankful that he hadn’t had to fight anybody on this.

Luhan didn’t move from the couch, though. He just didn’t want to head out until Xiumin did too. Considering they were the two oldest in the room, Kris didn’t force them to leave. Suho, who half-felt like he’d practically forced Kyungsoo’s protection upon Luhan, didn’t open his mouth either.

“That leaves only two of my kids.” Suho said, gaze fixed on his phone once more. Kris tightened his grip on Suho’s thigh only for a moment, serving as silent reassurance. “But one is… my most troublesome. I’d like to go check up on him myself, whether he answers his phone now or not.”

“I’ll go with you.” Kris said, back in that tone dripping in leadership – the one tone that admitted no saying against. Suho smiled an intimate little thing at him, already hearing his phone’s ringtone.

Not even thirty seconds later, he lowered his hand. His expression had changed into worry – he was even nibbling on his lip. Kris tried not to stare too hard.

“Baekhyun didn’t answer…” Suho informed Kris. When he met his mate’s gaze, he almost felt like crying again. “But he always has his phone in his hand!”

“We’ll go.” Kris assured him. “But that leaves a kid for Xiumin too, right?”

“Yeah, Chanyeol.” Suho turned towards Luhan and quickly told him Kyungsoo’s address, since he hadn’t done so before. Then, he looked at Xiumin. “Chanyeol is a good man, I’m sure he’ll give you no trouble.”

“Oh, I’m not worried about that.” Xiumin smiled an enigmatic grin. His words told the pack everything they needed to know, although the connotations flew right over Suho’s mind. “I can deal with stubbornness.”

And, as if to prove his point, he glanced to Luhan.

Luhan, far from being embarrassed at being called out like that, merely stuck his tongue out at him. Xiumin’s grin widened into ferocity, something primal shining inside his eyes. Suho trembled, suddenly grateful that he wasn’t physically close enough to bear the brunt of that gaze.

He was also suddenly reminded that, although he had the same Wolfish nature as Xiumin, Kris had never looked at him like that.

“Let’s go, then.” Kris said, raising to his feet and extending his arms to help Suho up. “We’ve got some kids to look after.”

Suho smiled, thankful beyond the definition of the word.

“Don’t thank us now, wait until we’re all together.” Xiumin advised.

Suho could only smile even more.

Chapter Text

Tao couldn’t deny the thrill of his blood, his pulse thrumming in both temples, as he ran through empty streets towards Kai’s address. It was Sehun’s address, too – so Suho had said – but that part had not yet fully registered in Tao’s brain. He hadn’t met Sehun before; the only connection Tao had with Sehun was through either Kai or Suho.

A golden boy smiled a golden smile within Tao’s mind.

His Wolfish legs could carry him faster, but he wasn’t letting himself go at such a high speed – he wouldn’t be able to trace his objective as easily if he ran faster.

And why were the streets empty? It wasn’t an extremely late hour. Nobody was close to any window, either. Even the few ones that didn’t have curtains or blinds tightly closed still had no people in sight.

Tao let his gallop break into a loose gait as he approached the apartment complex that Suho had pointed out to him. There were two identical warning signs on either side of the front doors, indicating that video-cameras were set up, permanently watching all entrances and common halls.

But when Tao looked around, he didn’t see any. Even though he’d already seen enough types of cameras to know even when Humans had tried to mask the presence of one.

What kind of half-assed vigilance… Tao thought to himself, more floored than annoyed at the fact that, apparently, Kai lived unprotected like this.

Well, and Sehun too. And the four dogs that Kris had texted him about.

Tao walked right around a corner, to a spot impossible to see from either inside or outside Kai’s apartment complex, and changed forms as quickly as he could. Kai still did not know he was a Wolf; and Suho’s demeanour had made it pretty clear that he hadn’t told any of his children about it.

Tao couldn’t blame him. He supposed it was a difficult thing to tell; especially to someone who was clearly lacking money. He didn’t keep up with the state’s government as much as Luhan or Yixing did, but even he knew about the plentiful rewards. Put that chance in front of starved folk, and no Wolf would ever be safe again.

Entire nations had gone down in widespread greed for much less.

This apartment was truly the work of some mad architect – more than six floors high, but no functioning elevator? For fuck’s sake, what if the elderly or disabled wanted to move to a cheaper side of town? Tao didn’t really mind having to take the narrow stairs, as he was more than fit enough for it, but still. That wasn’t the point.

The climb to the fourth floor seemed eternal when impatience surged through him, electric quick, scorching hot.

Kai’s door was partially open.

Tao felt every cell in his body grow alert, felt his stance lowering on instinct, like it would’ve done had he been in Wolf form. His smell didn’t catch anything suspicious – no chloroform, no gunpowder.

Not that modern pistols used gunpowder anymore. But they still had a distinctive scent. One that wasn’t present right then.

Tao silently moved to one side of the door, opened it by pushing it inwards with the back of his hand. Better to not leave fingerprints, although those don’t matter much when you can shapeshift. The hinges made no sound, didn’t resist the push. Tao leant in, back always as close to the wall as he could manage, and looked inside.

The area immediately near the door looked just like it did in Suho’s house, but with more pairs of shoes. The hallway was narrower too, turning abruptly to the left. Tao entered and closed the door behind him, not wanting anybody to come in unannounced once the front door wasn’t in his field of vision anymore.

The hallway opened into individual rooms at both sides – Tao passed an empty bedroom and a kitchenette before reaching the sudden turn. But when he reached it, all his instincts coalesced into one.

There was someone lying face-down on the cold floor, one arm sprawled above his head. Three golden retrievers and a white fluffball were around him, all lying sideways with their eyes closed. One single glance told Tao that this was not Kai – the hair-colour was different, and so was the scent.

This one smelt like wild winds were a storm around him, roaring strong enough to take out any opposition before the man in their centre had to step in himself.

Likewise, Tao knew that there wasn’t anybody else in this room. Instinct told him that the rest of the apartment was empty, too – but he still checked all the other rooms, all crevices and hiding places, before he returned to the lying man.

Tao had to reach out and shake him by the shoulder, slightly, gently, to make him wake up. The man stirred, groaned, moved his head, let Tao see the back of his neck –

“Who the fuck are you…?”

The red mark indicating a well-landed hit disappeared from Tao’s view when the man looked directly at him.

“What a way to wake up.” Tao knelt back, away from the man. “I suppose you’re Sehun? Suho sent me here to check up on Kai and you.”

“I am…” Sehun groaned again, sitting on the floor, one hand on his head. He then noticed the white fluffball on the floor by his side. “Vivi!”

Sehun tried to move closer, but something pained him enough to let his factions show it. So Tao reached the dog instead, Wolfish senses telling him everything he needed to know even before he reached Vivi. Still, he slowly touched her shoulder – must keep appearances, he thought, if they don’t know I’m a Wolf.

“Unconscious but breathing.” Tao told Sehun. His voice rasped more than he’d intended – damnit, dogs were only cute when awake. When they were like this, it remined him too much of –

“Those men uncorked something and the dogs started to fall.” Sehun said. “Kai flipped the fuck out at that, he loves his dogs more than he loves me.”

“The three goldens are his?” Tao asked. When his gaze met Sehun’s, the other returned it in kind despite his headache. Tao would’ve been impressed, but concern had taken centre stage long ago. “They’re all the same as your Vivi.”

“Those motherfuckers entered, I don’t even know how, the dogs barked, they got in here, uncorked some bottles and the dogs fell.” Sehun ran a hand through Vivi’s white fur. The size difference was staggering – it made Tao realise that Sehun was probably as tall as Kai. As tall as Tao himself. “Kai isn’t the fighting type, he just panicked. I was the one trying to fight back… Fuck me, I’m a fool…”

“Lots of people would fuck you.” Tao half-joked. Sehun stared blankly at him. “You’re not a fool. You just tried to protect what’s important to you. That’s brave, not foolish.”

Sehun inspected Tao really closely for a moment.

“Suho sent you? What’s your name?”

“I’m Tao. I’ve already met Kai.” Tao paused, unsure if he should mention Kris and Suho’s connection.

“…you must be friends with Kris.”

Well, that certainly resolved that issue.

“Kris leads us.” Tao said simply. His tone changed quite drastically when he spoke again, “This is not the time for this, though! Where is Kai?!”

“I saw those men taking him with them as I fell down. They said something about a…” a slight pause, in which Sehun closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. He looked either really annoyed, or really consternated. “…warehouse? Something about wolves not searching the same place twice…”

Tao could’ve laughed.

“They’re fucking wrong.” He rose to his feet. “I’ll go get Kai. But you can’t stay here. The dogs could, but Kai and you probably don’t want them to.”

“Right.” Sehun rose too, albeit a bit unstable. “Kai took a car from work to finish the job here – don’t ask me how that works – I could drive. If you want to go.”

“I do.”

Tao took a golden into his arms while Sehun got Vivi, and together they walked down the narrow stairs to the car – and what an old car it was. Tao had spent enough time around Kris’ car-craze to recognise it as a cheap copy of Lamborghini’s first model, all rusted paint without any chrome accent. It was extremely long in the front, but had almost no back-trunk to it; it gave the whole thing a very outdated appearance.

There was virtually no space in the backseat, and absolutely no seatbelts to speak of, but Sehun and Tao still managed to fit all three goldens and Vivi across it.

“What even is this car…” Tao muttered.

“Knock-off of a–”

“I’m not interested in the model, I’m just saying it’s a weird-ass car.”

“You’re right there.” Sehun ignited the car. The engine purred like an angry pack of rats in a frying pan. One of the dogs let out a moan when the whole car shook. Tao glanced to them. “Don’t worry, they always do that when they ride in the car. Absolutely none of them like it.”

The engine let out a sound that was louder than a purr, but quieter than a roar. Tao made a face, still not completely convinced about this car.

“So the owners love cars, and the dogs don’t?” he asked, though only to give his mind something else to focus on. Sehun gave him an unamused look. “Don’t look at me like that! Just drive us to that fucking warehouse, the one in the middle of the streets and with red double doors!”

“That place is ancient.” Sehun said. “But alright; I can get to it from the crossroads on the main avenue, right by the theatre…”

Tao had no idea what theatre Sehun was talking about. He certainly didn’t remember any from when his pack had rescued Suho. Still, he didn’t say anything; he supposed Sehun was bound to know the city much better than Tao himself, because he’d been living in here for far longer. And Sehun had fallen silent after that. Tao didn’t speak, either – his own mind was loud enough to make up entire conversations on its own.

Wolfish senses burnt him from the inside out. He could feel his pulse jumping at the inner side of his wrists, at his temples. It was a familiar thrum – the same one he always, always felt when he was on the hunt.

This would not do. He needed to concentrate on something else.

Because, if he didn’t…

Sehun’s driving was quite gentle, barely making the car ebb at a curve in the road. There was only a noticeable staccato when he changed gears, presumably because the car itself was old and a knock-off. Which was a double combo for disaster, one that could never amount to fine driving and gentle changes of gear.

Especially not when Sehun stopped the car so abruptly that Tao felt a thud at the back of his seat, followed by a canine moan.

“Damnit!” Sehun exclaimed, sounding like he wanted to curse with more explicit words. He didn’t really have to contain himself in front of Tao; but maybe the reason why were the dogs. In a sense, they were like babies – and nobody should ever curse in front of babies. “Those men again.”

Tao looked out the passenger seat’s window. He could see the same type of man clad in black that Xiumin had described to his pack earlier that day – the same exact cloth that had attacked their pack multiple times before. They were obviously only muscle hired by somebody else, not the masterminds themselves – any self-respecting strategist would remain behind the scenes, not expose themselves to the danger they had planned against.

“Stay here.” Tao said, turning away from Sehun to unbuckle his seatbelt. The urge to change forms was unbearable. “I’m a great fighter, I don’t really need help. And the dogs will want a familiar face nearby when they wake up. Especially because they’re not home anymore.”

“Now wait a second.”

Tao didn’t want to wait a second.

Sehun grabbed his shoulder before he could open the car’s door. The grip wasn’t nearly enough to truly hurt him, but it still set off many alarm bells. Tao quickly shrugged him off, perhaps more violently than warranted. Sehun looked at him with a mixture of confusion and defiance in his face.

Tao was the first to look away.

“You’re shady as all hell, but if mom trusts you, okay.” Sehun killed the engine, which meant the car stopped vibrating up and down like a mobile phone on a table. “But you can’t go alone, it’s too dangerous. If something happens to you while trying to help Kai, both mom and Kai will be hurt.”

Tao really wanted to believe that the part that turned him rational again was the part about Suho, because Suho was Kris’ mate and Kris was the leader of Tao’s pack. But it somehow felt like delusion.

“Stay out of trouble, then.” Tao said simply. His voice had lowered at least half an octave – the usual rasp had been replaced by a deeper quality, reminiscent of the Wolf that he was. “Please.”

Sehun trembled and didn’t even know why. It prompted him to nod his agreement instead of speaking it. As if he feared Tao would be set off by that even more that he’d been when Sehun had touched him.

That had been… peculiar. Especially after having lived with touchy-feely Kai for literal years.

Tao exited the car first, his back deliberately turned to Sehun, who guessed it was because Sehun himself had the car’s keys; locking the knock-off up (but leaving the back windows a bit rolled down, so the dogs could breathe) was his job. Vivi’s tail raised and flopped back onto Monku. Sehun’s heart shrunk.

“We’ll be back soon.” He mumbled to the dogs. Tao still hadn’t turned to face him – when Sehun spoke to him, his volume got a bit higher. “So what’s the plan?”

“You stay out of trouble. I’ll do my job.”

“… “your job”? What, you a bodyguard?”

Tao didn’t answer. Sehun corked an eyebrow, definitely adding more questions to the mental pile he was later going to bombard Suho with. Well, “later” meant “as soon as he had a chance”, really.

The warehouse’s doors were ajar, since some of the men dressed in tight combat clothes were constantly peeking in and out. Sehun wondered why they were doing that; it was clear that they had earpieces – the curly white cable was visible down their necks, disappearing into their tight collars. So why physically lean in and out of the building? Couldn’t they just speak into their pieces and call it a day?

Unless…

“Communications aren’t possible here.” Tao’s voice was still down in that deep, growly abyss. The back of Sehun’s neck exploded into goose-bumps – suddenly, he knew just how dangerous this one could be. “We’re on our own.”

“We don’t need back-up, though.” Sehun mumbled, desperately wanting to appear tougher than he was. It wasn’t a good idea to appear weak in front of a dangerous beast.

“Ah, you learn fast.” Sehun didn’t need to look to know that Tao was grinning. “Good.”

That was all the warning Sehun got before Tao jumped into action, barely a blur of silver and black – one of the men dressed in combat clothes fell down before he’d even seen Tao coming. Tao had taken him out with a single hit to the back of the neck, which left Sehun wondering about his strength; it definitely was greater than it appeared at first sight.

Another man lunged for Tao, arms bent in some fighting stance that Sehun didn’t recognise. The forced angle didn’t allow Sehun any looks to Tao’s face – until Tao moved his own arm to block the incoming attack.

He was definitely smiling, though not with the kind of sick love for fighting that was so commonly portrayed in television dramas. Tao’s smile was wilder than a mere jab at the thrill of the fight, feral in a way that Sehun had never seen in any man. There was a vicious precision to his attacks, too; it looked like he was moving on pure instinct, his rational mind somewhere far away.

That impression grew when the last of the men outside fell unconscious to the ground. Tao turned to look at Sehun then, brushing his mouth with the side of his fingers as if checking whether he was bleeding. The gesture hid half of his face, let only his eyes be seen – they were gleaming matte.

Sehun instantly knew that this was not a business Tao enjoyed.

“You’re really good.” Sehun said, swallowing around the lump in his throat. He couldn’t help but wonder where the hell had gentle Kai met such a vicious martial artist.

Tao glanced at his own hand – no blood, even though he’d been hit hard – then he nodded to Sehun. He held one of the warehouse’s doors open for Sehun, who entered the building and glued his back to the wall just in case. He had a feeling his own height would be a disadvantage, something that would just make him more easily noticed.

So when he saw Tao manoeuvre around his own tall height, he did the same.

But then Tao perked up, suddenly, like he was hearing something that Sehun could not hear. The sound of something hitting flesh reverberated through the warehouse. Sehun shivered on reflex. Tao glanced to Sehun for a split second, silent, not blaming him for his reaction, but not really acknowledging it either.

When Tao moved forward, Sehun tried to follow just as silently. He had to adjust his steps more than once, catching himself just before he kicked some rubble or some random pieces of broken metal. Every single time that Sehun looked up from his own feet and forward at Tao, he was greeted with a perfect view of Tao’s slim back, muscles coiled enough under his silver t-shirt that his shoulder-blades wrinkled the fabric around them.

“Talk. It will be the best for you.”

Tao stopped dead in his tracks. The warehouse in front of him opened broader, into the same space that his pack had rescued Suho from. It was crazy to think that these men didn’t have the foresight to actually choose a different hideout, damnit, it wasn’t that complicated.

Well, Tao wasn’t about to protest. Not when it worked in his own benefit.

“I have nothing to say to you!”

Tao’s whole attention focused on that voice. He recognised it. But the last time he’d heard it, it had been melodic and honey-sweet, not strained and pained like this.

Kai, his instincts growled. The heady scent of blood hung heavy in the air, making him fear the worst – he’d lived through enough fights to know what this scent entailed. And none of it was good for Kai.

Tao leant on the wall, body tilted so that his right side – his dominant hand – was somewhat hidden from his opponents. He could see four men standing tall, surrounding someone sitting on the floor. Tao could barely see faded denim in between the men’s legs, most likely from jeans.

The mental association was too strong to deny.

“Stay here.” Tao muttered to Sehun. He knew Human senses well enough to know their opponents wouldn’t hear him at this distance. “I’ll fight them. Get Kai while they’re distracted by me.”

Sehun nodded, which was good – Tao didn’t know if this Human could control his own volume as well as Tao himself could. He’d heard of some who could, of course; singers and rappers and those accustomed to declaiming lines in live theatre plays. Tao himself could rap up a storm in Human form, although he usually didn’t get the occasion to do so.

And that wasn’t important right now. Not when Kai was in danger.

“Speak. If you don’t, we will be forced to hurt you.” One of the men said to Kai. He wore his hair in a mohawk-like style; when he turned his head to look at one of his team-members, the lowest edges of his dark ponytail swung over his shoulder. “You can speak with both arms broken.”

“I-I w-won’t say a thing!” Kai stuttered, obviously affected by the threat yet not bulging. Tao admired his resolve as he creeped closer. “You’ll never be able to hurt me!”

“Nobody will come to save you.” Said another man – he was wearing sunglasses indoors. As if that had ever been cool. “Accept that and speak. Where are the Wolves?”

A small kick to Kai’s calf got him speaking up again, tone alarmed, both hands blindly reaching behind his own body for support.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” A third man, this one wearing a black jacket with white stripes, moved lightly, kicking Kai back onto the dead centre. “Leave me alone!”

“Feigned ignorance will not help you.” Said mister mohawk and ponytail.

Kai started replying, rushed and panicked. Tao slithered between the men with the sunglasses and the striped jacket. Kai saw him. Tao winked a smile at him. Kai shut up.

Before the men around Kai could understand what was going on, Tao grabbed the man in sunglasses and swung him around one-armed. Kai’s mouth fell open, both afraid and impressed. The guy in sunglasses hit a metal pillar with a sickening bang, one that reverberated through the mostly empty warehouse. He didn’t shout in pain, contrary to what Kai had been expecting after such a strong hit.

The man in the striped jacket went straight for Tao, who had to duck in a split second to avoid getting a nasty hit to his neck. At the same time, he turned around and angled himself to hit the jacketed man right in the gut. It made him heave over, away from Tao, who swiftly pushed him away from Kai.

The man in the mohawk was saying something into the earpieces they all had – good thing Tao had knocked out the reinforcements outside, then. When he realised that his plan was not working, he ordered the fourth man – the most nondescript of them all – to trap Kai.

Tao got to him first, physically shielding Kai while the blonde got up.

“Go!” Tao said to Kai over his own shoulder, blocking two of the men’s hits at the same time. His arms stung with pain, but it was a familiar one. His instincts revolted. “I can get rid of them!”

The ghost of Kai’s touch on Tao’s tensed back.

“Don’t kill them!”

Tao got a good hit on the nondescript guy, sending him flying onto his friend in the sunglasses, who had just tried to join the fight. They both fell against a pile of rubble with a shared oof and twin aggressive expressions in their faces.

“I’m not a killer!” Tao replied to Kai, suddenly hyperaware that the distance in between them had increased a bit when Tao had hit the men. It was such a small thing to be upset about, why did it affect him so much? “I just want to see you safe!”

Before Kai could answer, Sehun grabbed him by the arm.

“Kai, let’s go!” Shaken but determined, Kai fought his grip, fought the way in which Sehun was tugging him away from Tao. “Let’s go, Kai!

“But…!”

“I’ll be fine!” Tao shouted back over the pained grunt of the man whose jaw he’d just hit square on. “Go! I’ll meet you with Vivi!”

That seemed to be enough information for Sehun, judging by how he used his whole strength to literally pull Kai away. Kai still tried to protest, feebly – he didn’t want to leave Tao fighting alone, but he also knew that Kai himself wouldn’t be of much help. Especially not if, when, he was the prize these men wanted to get.

The man in the mohawk and the man in the striped jacket took out switchblades from their pockets, flicking the edge opened and adopting lower stances. Tao growled, more on instinct than consciously, suddenly wishing he could just change forms and lay waste on them. That certainly would be easier, quicker, cleaner, than dancing a twisted tango.

Besides, he didn’t want a new scar. That would only scare Kai more.

And Yixing would probably metaphorically most likely kill him; but that was only a side-thought.

Kai’s scent was closer to the door. Sehun’s too. So when the men lunged forward with their blades, Tao jumped forward.

 


 

Kai managed to shake Sehun’s grip away only when they were close to the knock-off Lamborghini. He shot his brother a confused look, his brain still half-gone from the sheer speed of everything.

“We can’t leave Tao here!” Kai tried to argue while Sehun fumbled with the keys. It seemed that the faster he wanted to act, the worse every action came out. “I can’t leave him here!”

“He’s the fighter, we aren’t!” Sehun replied, all common sense. “We can just drive around!”

“How will he find us then?!” Kai argued – he was climbing into the passenger’s seat at the same time. Sehun silently pointed at the backseat while he closed the driver’s door, igniting the engine immediately after. Kai followed his pointing. “Monku! Janku! Janga! Vivi!”

His three golden retrievers, conscious yet still weary, looked at him. Kai would’ve sworn there was relief inside their black eyes. Even the usually aloof Vivi batted her tail delicately upon seeing him. Kai extended a hand towards the backseat, his posture twisted and uncomfortable, but he didn’t care. His dogs – and Sehun’s – were far more important.

“How even did you find me?” Kai asked while Sehun drove them smoothly around the corner. The warehouse disappeared from the rear-window. Kai’s heart did a strange thing – he focused on the dogs to not think about that. “I had a feeling someone would come, but…”

“Tao appeared on our apartment, said mom had sent him there, I told him what I knew, he got the rest on his own. Don’t ask me how, he didn’t share.”

Kai sat properly on his seat, muscles still protesting the uncomfortable posture from before. But it was okay – the dogs were feeling better now. He looked at Sehun. He was gripping the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles were almost white, and that tension was also visible in his jawline.

“I’m sorry…” Kai muttered. Sehun looked at him for a split second, not trusting the few cars driving around them. His gaze fell back onto the road ahead before he could catch Kai looking downwards to his own faded jeans. “I didn’t fight back at home, I got caught, I didn’t fight back now… I’m just causing trouble.”

“Apologise to Tao, if you want. Or to mom. But not to me.”

“But–”

Not to me, Kai.”

Sehun’s eyes were focused on the road, but his attention wasn’t. So he almost hit another car, which horn resounded angrily in his ears, startling him. The dogs whined at the loud noise.

“You’re too on edge to drive. Let me.” Kai declared, his tone much firmer now – he might not be a fighter, but he was a driver. “Pull over, I’ll drive us back.”

Sehun didn’t say a thing, silently agreeing. He knew Kai was right. They changed seats quickly, because they didn’t want to leave Tao wondering where the hell they were while fighting four guys at the same damn time.

Their way back to the warehouse was definitely smoother, because Kai was the better driver – whether Sehun wanted to admit that out loud or not, Kai was the best driver amongst all of Suho’s kids, including Suho himself. Even the changes in gear were less jumpy than when Sehun did them, as if the car knew who was driving it. Which was utterly ridiculous.

The warehouse came into view from an angle, because no straight road led to its double-doors.

Suddenly, those were blown open – a blur of white and black fur landed on four legs, growling at the wounded men coming out of the warehouse. Two of them were holding twin switchblades in their hands; one had blood pouring down that arm, while the other had a nasty gash along the neatly cut edges of his mohawk.

But the other two men held handguns. And they were aiming right at the white-and-black Wolf. At the Wolf, who was still growling, puffed out to what had to be almost twice its own size.

One man fired a bullet – no sound came out of the gun – the Wolf jumped – the bullet had not hit it…!

Then, the Wolf saw the Lambo. And it ran directly at it.

Kai opened his door on instinct, since he was the closest to the Wolf, since he couldn’t open the backseat doors and risk the dogs getting out. Just when he thought he’d be crushed by an adult Wolf, a slim Human climbed over him and onto the backseat. Kai felt warm hands leaning on his thighs, narrowly avoided pressing any pedals.

“GO!” Tao shouted from the backseat.

Startled into action, not understanding what was going on, Kai closed the door and drove them away at the maximum speed that this Lambo could withstand. Sehun was suddenly very glad that Kai had been so whimsy about what pieces to put into the V12 engine – now they could really put the pedal to the metal and drive circles around other knock-off cars.

Sehun didn’t know if these mismatched men in black had a car parked nearby. But he hoped they didn’t.

“Where did you come from?!” Kai asked to Tao, who was currently wrestling a little space from Janga. The dog groaned in disagreement, but ultimately moved his ass to one side. Vivi protested the backseat getting narrower. Tao gently apologised – such a contradiction to his wild fighting. “And where’s that wolf?!”

“I will explain everything once we’re back with the rest.” Tao said, his voice tense and almost… defeated.

It made Kai look at him.

“WHAT THE HELL!”

Tao instantly covered his mouth with one hand, looking away from Kai’s alarmed gaze. He didn’t speak. Kai drove them around another dull corner, further away from the warehouse. Monku tried to lick at the blood in Tao’s face.

“Ah, don’t do that…” Tao gently nudged Monku away. “I know the blood doesn’t smell like me, it’s not mine to begin with…”

“That black and white wolf had blood in its mouth.” Sehun pointed out. He would look at Tao through the mirrors, but the one hanging from the ceiling was turned to Kai, not to him – and the one by the passenger’s window couldn’t catch Tao either, since he was seated behind Kai. “Just like you.”

“The rest of my pack is going to get the rest of your brothers.” Tao said. He knew he was being defensive. It was all he had. He didn’t know what else to say. “I know where we are all going to meet. We can go there now, and then, once we’re all together, I will explain.”

“Promised?” Kai asked, perhaps too childishly – it certainly seemed that way to Sehun, even though he could be just as childish sometimes.

In Sehun’s eyes, Kai was just too trusting. Sehun certainly didn’t know why Kai was so hellbent on trusting such a shady guy as Tao. Sehun wouldn’t trust him as far as he could throw him and, considering Tao’s strength, that wasn’t very far away.

“Promised.” Tao dared lift his gaze while he spoke up, tone firm, knowing he had to give something to Kai, in return for his trust.

Kai caught his gaze through the mirror in between the front seats. He wanted to catch Tao’s touch, too – yet the roads were too demanding at this hour, when the working class returned home for the day. Still, Tao seemed to get it.

Or, at least, that’s what his warm smile and kind kohl-lined gaze said to Kai.

Sehun looked away from the two idiots he was sharing the car with, deciding that the best for his nerves would be to look out the passenger side’s window until they arrived at their destination. Tao had only said it was a place “out of everybody’s way, and big enough for twelve Humans, or for seven Humans, five Wolves, and four dogs”.

Sehun had swallowed all questions about Wolves, and about why Tao was so certain that everybody would be on board with this – he knew his brothers, and his mom; not all would be so ready to share living space with literal Wolves. Not with a fucking witch-hunt going on, rewards and all.

Think what you will, but Suho’s kids weren’t the richest ones around. And some didn’t fully share Suho’s well-attuned moral compass. Not when they had to make ends meet, at least.

Oh well. At least Tao knew how to get into the abandoned building, and there was a wide space in which to park the car, hidden from a passing glance. That was all good. The door having a functioning lock was good, too.

The keys to Kai’s and Sehun’s apartment burnt metaphorical holes into the depths of Sehun’s pockets. He hoped they’d be able to go back, gather at least some supplies. Their dogs needed food, and so did the owners; not to mention clothes and phones and chargers. Their documentation and other legal papers seemed less important when the Government itself was trying to capture them.

“I better go wash up or something…” Tao mumbled, his back turned to Kai and Sehun. He sounded so unsure that Sehun quirked an eyebrow. “I don’t want to be covered in blood when Yixing gets here, I don’t wanna get scolded…”

“You do that.” Sehun answered dismissably, much more focused on how the four dogs were sniffing every single thing. Don’t swallow anything, he thought. Vivi walked into the adjacent room, and Sehun followed her – utterly forgetting the goldens pooled at Kai’s feet.

Meanwhile, Tao had started to walk towards the hallway that he knew led to the only room that could be considered a toilet. There was no working water-supply, but the last rains had collected enough water for him to wash up a bit. That would do, especially because he needed to get the blood off his face, it wouldn’t do to –

 “Tao?”

Kai’s voice distracted him form his own chaotic thoughts. His back tensed and then relaxed. He slowly turned around.

The next thing he knew was that someone was kissing him, and there were arms around his shoulders.

Then Kai was stepping away. But his arms remained in place.

“Thank you…” Kai muttered. He wasn’t looking at Tao in the eye, but he didn’t really need to.

“You don’t need to thank me.” Tao answered, using the same low volume – only, it created a totally different impression, because his voice was raspier than Kai’s. Tao was downright sultry when Kai was sinfully sweet. “Seeing you safe is reward enough.”

Kai smiled a blinding smile. At this close distance, Tao could see all the honeyed hues within his irises, and the darker shade of his cheeks. Feeling like he was spinning in place, Tao returned the gesture, drowning in Kai’s scent.

Citrus, pine, sunshine on a beach.

“Can I kiss you again?” Tao asked, his tone still lower than usual.

Kai blushed a bit harder at the mere question, but nodded. Silently. As if he did not trust his voice to remain stable.

Tao smirked.

Then, he leant in again.

Chapter Text

Perhaps a bit insensibly, Kai had all but forgotten Sehun even before he followed Tao deeper into the abandoned building. Its distribution was somewhat reminiscent of the oldest buildings in the city, confusing yet ample. It definitely would be enough to house Kai’s and Tao’s respective families, Kai thought idly, his attention and gaze momentarily caught by the worm-eaten wood in one room.

The desk had fallen onto the ground at a corner, sustained only by the remaining three legs – though one of them was raised off the floor, most likely because the whole desk was tilted at an angle due to the rotten leg. Thankfully enough, there were no things on its surface; it was as barren as the bookshelf against one wall. It almost looked like the previous owners had had more than time enough to pack their everything before leaving. Kai was surprised to see that the bedcovers were still in place – he would’ve thought that was an item in the “personal belongings” list, one that people preferred not to change if it wasn’t absolutely necessary.

Then again, perhaps it had been completely necessary to leave it behind. A lot of people had fled from the city’s outskirts when Kai and his five brothers had just been little kids meeting Suho for the first time. Kai had been between twelve and thirteen at the time, so he hadn’t caught all the details – those still evaded him to this day. He supposed Suho and Baekhyun would know, though; they had both been almost fifteen. Kai still vividly remembered Suho’s fifteenth birthday… he’d shared his cake, which he’d purchased with his own money, with five starving boys of various ages.

To think that they had ended up as family…

“You’re really quiet. If it’s because I didn’t tell you, I'm sorry.”

“Tell me what?” Kai asked, raising his head to look at Tao, who looked so unsure and apologetic that Kai’s heart broke into a million pieces. “Tao, you don’t owe me any explanation.”

“I’m a Wolf. My whole pack are Wolves.”

Kai fell silent, not knowing what he was supposed to answer to that – not knowing if he should even answer. Tao’s tone was firm, unyielding, as he stated what Kai knew was the truth; but there was a whirlwind of emotion inside his eyes. Kai easily recognised the fear of rejection – he’d felt it too many times not to read it plainly in others.

It seemed that Tao had been expecting Kai to answer because, when he didn’t offer any, Tao just turned around with even more pain inside his eyes.

“I don’t mind!” Kai exclaimed just as Tao crossed the threshold to another room, one still unknown to Kai. “I’ve seen Wolf-you, it’s alright. And you saved me, so…” Kai ended his sentence with a little shrug – then he realised Tao couldn’t see it, and felt stupid.

“It’s called Wolf form.” Tao informed him. He sounded like he was amused; smiling, even. “I need to know, though. Is that secret safe with your brother Sehun?”

“Yeah!” Kai replied, maybe a bit too quickly. When Tao didn’t answer, he felt a bit like it was his duty to elaborate. He needed Tao to know that Sehun, and the rest of his brothers, were safe. Because they really were, even Baekhyun was, under all that snark and those troublemaking tendencies. “Sehun wouldn’t call the government’s line to tell on a Wolf even if he saw one. He likes dogs too much for that. In his mind, Wolves and dogs aren’t that different.”

Tao snorted. Kai didn’t know if it was because of amusement or offense at Sehun’s attitude.

“Well he isn’t too wrong about that.” Tao mumbled. At the same time, he was rummaging around the room – Kai could hear him, even though he’d remained outside, figuring Tao would like some privacy. “Wait, why are you still out there? Aren’t you coming with me?”

“If you let me…” Kai answered, insecurity making his words trail off.

A heavy sigh was all it took for Kai to enter the room.

This one was a deserted bathroom. A beaten tub rested at one side, its colour a rusted red that was so utterly uninviting that Kai actually made a face at it. There were some vestiges of its original whiteness, though too few to actually indicate anything. The only evident fact was the place’s age. Even the wall’s tiles had fallen from their positions and into the tub, breaking one of its edges, and collapsing in a pile of rubble on the beaten floor.

The sink that Tao was leaning over wasn’t in any better condition, either. It wasn’t rusted, which was quite an improvement considering the general state of the building, but there was a hole in the ceiling right above it. Rainwater had pooled in it, reaching almost up enough to slide into the security hole cut directly under the faucet. A faucet that, upon closer inspection, was permanently locked in place.

“I know it looks horrible.” Tao said – he’d caught Kai’s disgusted grimace. “But hey, it works. And this is kinda better than staying inside a cave in a mountain, or under a tree-trunk in a forest.”

Kai had to physically bite the tip of his tongue to avoid asking if Tao had lived in such places before. Then again, if he was mentioning them, it was probable that he or any other member of his pack had.

“Rainwater instead of plumbing? Sounds terrible.” Kai commented instead.

Tao actually beamed at that. Kai wasn’t too sure why, but he looked so good that he just counted his blessings and enjoyed the view while it lasted.

“You’re truly a city boy, aren’t you?”

“Not really? I only moved to the city at eleven…”

“Nothing wrong with being used to luxury.” Tao smirked in Kai’s direction before he turned his attention to the water in the sink. Kai observed as he cupped some with both hands. “Ah, step that way a bit? I don’t wanna splash you.”

Kai was fine with being splashed, but he complied. Tao washed the blood off his face, groaning (or growling, Kai wasn’t sure) about the mirror’s frame above the sink. It was just that – a wooden mirror’s frame without a mirror inside. It was a miracle that it hadn’t rotted like the rest of the wooden furniture had. And it also made Kai wonder why no mirror was there, because it looked like a pain to dismount. Especially while leaving the frame intact.

“This building makes no sense!” Kai exclaimed, throwing both arms into the air.

“I know, right?” Tao agreed, shaking his hands in an attempt to airdry them – of course, there were no towels in sight. “I don’t know who lived here, or when, but come on. If the building is already the city’s property, why don’t they destroy it completely?”

“Maybe it still has an owner…?” Kai speculated. The prospect of trespassing and spending a lot of time in someone’s home didn’t sit well with him, even if the building was this abandoned and beaten down. “I don’t want to stay here if that’s the case.”

“Tough luck, we have to.” Tao’s gaze conveyed the sorry he hadn’t said. “But I understand you. I don’t like it, either.”

That conversation topic seemed to be spent. Kai mentally scrambled about, trying to find something else to talk about. He liked Tao’s voice – the rasp, the accent, the mirth – too much to do without.

“How long do you think it’ll take for mom and my brothers to get here?”

“They’ll be here by nightfall.” Tao smiled at him, apparently not minding the kind of abrupt change in topic. “My pack-members hunt quick, even those who don’t usually hunt.”

“… “hunt”?” Kai’s voice had dropped into unsure territory. Again.

“Just a matter of speech!” Tao looked alarmed; even his words came out faster. “They won’t hurt your brothers! Or your mom! In fact, our leader has gone with your mom! Here!” he took out his phone from one of his trousers’ front pockets, unlocked it in a single smooth motion, and searched for something. Then, he turned it towards Kai, still all in one fluid motion. “See? It’s alright!”

Kai looked down from those dark eyes – eyeliner on point, he idly mused – and onto the phone-screen. The brightness was turned all the way up, just like Kai himself liked to have his own phone’s, letting him see the string of messages.

There was a big block of text on the left side, which meant that it had been sent to Tao – Kai’s gaze was pulled to the reply at the right side before he read the block of text. Tao had answered with a simple thumbs-up emoji, probably more as a confirmation that he’d gotten the message than a true reply – this app didn’t show if a message had been read or not, it only marked the messages that had been sent.

The block of text had been sent by whoever Tao had saved as Leader Wolf-emoji, and it was basically a relation of names. Kai recognised those of his brothers and mom, though none of the others – until he realised that the very last line read “Suho & me and Baekhyun”.

“Is this a list of who is going to bring who?”

“Yes!” Tao smiled at him. “Kris is our leader, and he and Suho are together. He hasn’t officially told us that, but we have eyes.”

“I… see.” Kai moved towards the only piece of furniture that could constitute a seat while he spoke, “Mom kind of told Sehun and me that he’s got a boyfriend now. The idea is – WHAT THE–?!

Tao raised his gaze from his now-dry hands to find Kai sitting on the floor, a pile of rubble broken at both sides of him.

For a second, neither blinked or spoke. Then, Tao broke into laughter.

“Better to seat only on the sofa, a bed, or the floor! Everything breaks!”

“I’ve noticed that!”

Tao couldn’t help his laughter, couldn’t calm it down – he felt less guilty about it when Kai giggled, too. He extended a hand towards Kai, fully intending to help him. The mirth inside his eyes, however, was too good of a liar.

“Please don’t drop me…” Kai mumbled while he took Tao’s hand. His grip was firm, once again reminding Kai that this one was much stronger than any Human he knew, despite his thin and lean appearance.

“I would never drop you.”

What did drop was Tao’s tone. And the butterflies in Kai’s stomach.

Kai just stood there, hand still clasping Tao’s, gaze focused in Tao’s eyes. He felt like he had to say something – but at the same time he felt like speaking would ruin the moment. It was a strange mixture of emotions to have. Especially because he could see that Tao was feeling the same.

He leant in before he could fully process what he was doing.

But his shyness made him turn his head before he could touch Tao’s lips with his.

Thankfully, Tao didn’t chastise him – he just kissed Kai’s jawline, once, sweet and welcoming.

“Sorry…” Kai mumbled, trembling.

“It’s alright. Hard to love a fighter when you know he could kill you.” Tao replied. There was such sadness inside his voice that Kai separated from him to be able to look him in the eye.

“You wouldn’t hurt me! I’m not afraid of you!”

And, to prove his point, and before Tao could reply, Kai kissed Tao.

Tao let out a small sound of surprise at being kissed so suddenly, but returned it in kind. This time, it was Tao putting his arms around Kai’s shoulders – Kai’s own circled Tao’s waist on sheer instinct. It felt natural to hold Tao like this, so he did; there really was no other reason why. He really hoped he wouldn’t have to explain it with words to Tao, because he already knew he wouldn’t really know what to say.

When they separated, they shared a smile, content, sharing the feelings.

Until Tao started to tremble.

“Tao?” Kai’s tone instantly turned alarmed, tightening his hold around Tao’s waist just in case. He knew how to hold someone upright – very regretfully, some of his brothers had once been prone to illnesses. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m alright…” He certainly didn’t look alright. “Can we go to the room across the hall? Please?”

Kai moved just slightly, letting Tao half-lean against him if he wished to do so. For a split second, Tao actually did – then he moved away abruptly, as if Kai had given him a painful electric shock. Kai felt hurt, but tried hard not to show it. This was not the time for him to get bummed. Tao was way more important.

The room across the hall turned out to be a bedroom with a double-bed that looked functional enough, considering the rusted bathroom. Kai led Tao to it, letting him seat on the mattress. It protested his weight, old springs creaking like they were offended at the mere notion of having to work as a proper bed again. Tao seemed to not notice it, even as he moved further away from the edge until his boots were off the floor. With both palms leant on the dark-grey cover, his silver t-shirt and black pants didn’t look entirely out of place – the couple bracelets around his wrists were decidedly too fancy for this room, though.

Kai found a rocking chair directly in front of the bed, so he moved to sit on it. Its wood creaked loudly when he started to rest his weight on it, giving him pause – he’d already paid his respects to the floor once, he didn’t need to do so twice – the chair did not break. Hurray! And it also swung back and forth quite nicely, though some splinters and dust fell from the ornate whirls under both armrests. Kai didn’t see it, of course, but Tao did – he also saw how Kai avoided resting his arms on the chair, because there were only dark shadows where there should’ve been cushions.

It was unbelievable that the chair still rocked, and that it hadn’t been eaten away by the same termites who had laid waste to the other wooden furniture. Then again, this whole bedroom looked quite untouched by time; a pocketful of what-ifs reflecting how the house would’ve been if properly attended to.

The thick layer of dust collecting everywhere contradicted that, though.

“Sometimes my instincts are… hard to control.” Tao started, looking down to his own lap instead than to Kai – Kai, who had looked to Tao as soon as he’d heard the first syllable. “Not all Wolves have the same pull to a Wolf’s nature. In our pack, I’m the one with the strongest instincts.”

Kai waited silently, not knowing if that was all Tao wanted to say, or if he was merely making a pause to gather breathe and thought. When seconds passed and Tao did not add anything else, Kai filled the silence.

“Do they bring you pain?”

“No. They just mean I react before everybody else does. That’s why I’m a great fighter.” Kai had a feeling that wasn’t all, but he decided not to contradict Tao. After all, Kai was not the Wolf in the room. “I’m the fighter, Kris is the leader, Yixing is the healer. I think Yixing is the one with the least Wolfish instincts.”

“He’s the one who went to get Chen, right?” Tao nodded. “Will they be alright? Chen can’t fight like Baekhyun can…”

“Having less instincts doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have them.” Tao replied. He still wouldn’t look at Kai. “It just means he can spend more time in Human form without getting tired of it. I get restless really easily.”

“If you want to turn into a Wolf, do it. I don’t mind.”

Tao giggled, airy and light. It wasn’t the same boisterous laugh he’d laughed when Kai had fallen flat on his ass. Kai had liked that other laugh much better than he liked this one. But it still made Tao smile a little, so it was okay, really.

Really.

Who was he kidding, it was not okay.

“Seriously, I don’t mind. All the pets I’ve had were and are really big, I’m used to that size.”

Tao raised his gaze before he raised his head, one eyebrow quirked, a pointed smirk in his face. The moment Kai realised the vague double-sense in his own words, he blushed. Then he giggled. Then he was blushing and giggling.

“Don’t be mean!” Kai laughed out. “I didn’t mean it like that!”

“I know, it’s just fun to tease people.” Tao replied, sharing the giggles. “Seriously though, your brothers will be fine. Chen too. They might not know how to fight, but my pack does.”

“Thank you.” Kai said.

Tao just smiled in return. Then he used his upper body’s strength to haul his ass further onto the bed. The springs protested again. When Tao swung his legs, almost as if imitating the rocking chair’s movement, the back of his knees remained levelled with the edge of the bed. He looked content to remain in this form for now, so Kai dropped that topic.

But dropping that topic meant he had to find a new thing to chat about. And that automatically reminded him of Tao’s teasing remark. Which in turn gave Kai a question.

“How come you associated Wolves with pets?”

“Huh?” Tao’s gaze reflected how lost he was – as if his sound hadn’t been enough.

“You teased me about it. About the… size… of my pets.”

Whoa, actually saying that out loud was way more complicated than just laughing about it. Kai had always been really quick to get sexual puns and double-entendres, but he remained a bit awkward when it came to answering them with a phrase of his own.

Tao giggled a little at Kai’s words, slim shoulders shaking with amusement – yet he answered directly, not with an evasive. Kai appreciated that, though he wasn’t in the best position to say it out loud.

“Some people fantasize about having an actual Wolf as a pet. Haven’t you read those SNS posts?”

Kai vigorously nodded no; his preferred literature certainly didn’t include others’ private affairs. What other people did to turn-on was, in Kai’s mind, their own private business, not something to be published all over their social media accounts.

“Some have a great imagination. Since we’re all Wolves, most of what they write is just ridiculous to us.” Tao mused. He then let himself fall backwards onto the bed, legs slightly spread.

Kai tried not to stare. The conversation topic didn’t help. At all.

“Doesn’t it hit too close to home?” Kai asked instead. That seemed like a logical thing to ask – definitely not something to get Tao to admit how he personally felt about those SNS fantasies.

Definitely not.

“Not really?” Tao sounded like he was rolling that thought around again, though. “Some are just… weird. Others, I can understand. Some are so elaborate and pretentious and just… fantasy, that we share screencaps on our group-chat and laugh about them.”

“Like what?” Kai pressed. He knew he had to tread carefully to not give his true intentions away, but he also had no deceitful bone in his entire body.

Not to mention that Tao seemed able to read people relatively easily. Both in and out of a fight.

“Why don’t you give me a kiss and find out?”

Kai blushed, although not because of the words themselves. Those were fine; he’d certainly heard worse provocations before. He just hadn’t known that Tao’s voice could get that low.

Perhaps that’s why Kai found himself leaving the rocking chair (and ignoring how his ass protested because, damnit, that chair needed a freaking cushion). He leant a knee on the bed, not in between Tao’s legs – just in case he was feeling playful. Which he most likely was, considering his words and his tone.

Tao didn’t raise from the bed; he just turned his head to look at Kai. The blonde leant closer, allured by Tao’s magnetic stare, by the teasing, yet benevolent, smirk on his face. Kai had to rest his arms on both sides of Tao’s body to gain enough leverage – but they both felt rewarded when he finally lowered himself further.

Tao was definitely strong enough to hold Kai if need be. He was also definitely alright with this set-up. He closed his eyes right before Kai saved the last centimetres in between them, both on reflex and because he half-wanted to be surprised when the kiss came.

Citrus, pine, sunshine on a beach.

But this time he could indulge, he could drown himself in the mixed scent, until he could recognise every little trace in it. His arms were moving before he knew it, until he was holding Kai against his own body. He could feel Kai’s reluctance to lean fully on him, and he revelled in that care, in that gentleness. It was the same gentleness that Tao showed to his every partner, one that featured often in his daydreams.

It was just so intoxicating to have it in real life, too.

Kai was the first to break the kiss, though he remained against Tao’s lips, letting them both breathe the same air. Tao corrected his hold on him, even when he didn’t really need to correct anything. Kai smiled, kissed him again, sweet and brief.

A reluctant bark from the foot of the bed.

Kai moved away from Tao.

“Janka!”

Tao immediately resented the dog. Yes, he knew it was petty and stupid.

He still resented the big golden dog.

“You want to wait with us, too?” a different, happier bark answered Kai. “Janku! You too?”

Tao sighed, letting his arms fall extended on both sides of the bed. He immediately felt how a dog sniffed him curiously. When he turned his head, he saw the same dog he’d carried into that Lambo knock-off, when Sehun and Tao himself had gone to get Kai.

“Hello…” Tao muttered, caressing the dog between the ears. “You’re Monku?” the dog seemed to nod in agreement. “Nice to see you’re better now.”

Kai shot him an apologetic look – sorry that my dogs are here, I know most people don’t really like to do anything with their pets in the same room. Tao just waved his fears away, sitting up on the bed, grabbing Kai’s collar without any real force behind his grip, and kissing him with all the tenderness he could manage.

The half-dazed look on Kai’s face right after that compensated the dogs’ presence a million times.

Chapter Text

Yixing held his phone up to take another look at the address that he’d written down in his notes, having known that he would most likely forget otherwise. He’d initially thought that it would take him a long time to reach it, since this city wasn’t the smallest one around; but he could see the building in question just in front of him.

A little kid walked by him, their tiny hand clasped in their parent’s. Yixing kindly returned the smile he received from the kid, waving a tiny hello. The child’s smile got bigger for a split second – then the adult accompanying them turned the corner, and their sight was lost to Yixing.

But looking in that direction let him see the big black Jeep parked nonchalantly in front of a bakery. Yixing hadn’t come from that same street, so he hadn’t noticed the Jeep before. Its four tires were tainted with mud, as if it had been running laps across the city’s outskirts; and its windows were tinted a threatening black, discouraging everybody from trying to look if its seats were empty.

Yixing suddenly feared that their secret hideout wasn’t so secret after all.

He dropped a quick line into their pack’s group chat – better be safe than sorry – shamelessly mooching off the free Internet connection of the café he’d stopped nearby. Yixing really hoped he was wary for nothing.

Then again, he had seen too much to not get suspicious over this kind of thing.

The car remained unmoving, engine off. Yixing locked his phone and kept it in his jacket’s pocket instead of his trousers, only because his jacket’s pockets had zippers to close them tightly. It was maybe playing it too safely, but it made him feel better, so of course he’d choose this. He knew way too much about Wolfish instincts to not trust his gut.

He rang the bell to Chen’s apartment, hoping to gain access to the building (and, hopefully, its stairs, since he had to go to the first floor). But a strange scent caught his attention.

Dry blood mixed with rusted iron, poignant and invasive.

The same scent of those men who had had the gall to attack their whole pack in broad daylight. Yixing allowed himself to shiver, since Humans would assume it was due to the temperature outside – it was dropping quickly, as if the city had a storm coming.

Hello?” said a high-pitched voice, distorted through the communicator.

“Hello, I’m Yixing. Suho sent me here, I believe he called Chen earlier, to let him know I was coming.”

Ah, yes! I’ll open the door for you!

“Thank you.”

Mere moments later, Yixing found himself inside the building, taking the stairs to find an open door in the first floor. A young man was holding it open, his scent just like that of vast grasslands struck by lightning. Yixing smiled politely at him, assuming this was Chen, who returned the smile with a brilliant one. He demonstrated perfect manners when he moved aside so Yixing could step inside too. Chen’s hair remained the colour of sand when followed suit, despite the darker illumination of the apartment’s corridor in comparison to the first floor. Yixing stood a bit taller than him even after he’d shed his shoes off in the name of politeness.

“Sorry for the mess.” Chen said as he led him to the kitchen area, where a woman was cooking with her back turned to them. “We were trying to make cookies using my little brother’s recipe, but it’s not really going well, hahahah…” he trailed off into a half-embarrassed laugh, airy and light.

“It’s alright.” Yixing said. The woman turned around the moment he spoke up. “Hello, my name is Yixing. I’m a friend of Suho’s.”

“Nice to meet you too!”

This woman was wearing functional clothes, an apron over it (Kiss The Cook, that was cute) and a smile on her face – quite pretty to Yixing’s taste; and undoubtedly prettier for Chen, judging from the adoring gaze he developed whenever he was looking at her without her noticing it. Yixing didn’t need them to state their love for each other out loud for him to realise this was a comfortable couple. They had most likely been together for a while, too.

Some threads of black smoke rose from behind her – Yixing’s Wolfish senses recoiled.

“OH NO!” she exclaimed, turning around in a blurry, trying to run damage control on whatever had been cooking for too long. Yixing observed her with an amused look, though only because he was unable to control himself. “What did I even do wrong?!”

“I don’t know!” Chen was checking a countertop clock, his voice sounding almost like he was whining just a little. It made him appear younger than he probably was – Kris had mentioned in passing that, at twenty-four, Chen was one of Suho’s oldest kids. And a single year younger than Suho. “We left it on the stove for exactly fifteen minutes, like the recipe said!”

“Argh…” she protested, bringing a hand up to her head. “I don’t understand this at all. We should get Kyungsoo to do this for us, maybe we’ll get it if we see him doing it first…”

“Good idea, love!” Chen said – he appeared so much like the supportive boyfriend he was that Yixing’s heart bloomed just from watching them. “But I think I need to go, right?”

Chen then turned to Yixing, whose little, dimpled smile disappeared in a single heartbeat – he couldn’t let himself be caught in the middle of staring into a couple’s life, that would’ve been too weird and invasive. Not to mention rude.

“Yes, at least for now.” Yixing said, keeping his voice gentle and his volume down. His senses were already hurting a bit due to the burnt cookie dough (even though the aproned Human was doing a fine job at dealing with that), he didn’t need loud noises to aggravate it. “You’ll probably be able to come back here tomorrow, I think.”

Chen opened his mouth to speak–

“I can live with that.” She interjected before Chen could speak a word. Whether it had been planned on her part or not, it still impressed Yixing a bit. “Just return him to me in one piece. Please.

That… hadn’t sounded like a plea. It had sounded like an order. But not the kind of order that Kris would give – it reminded Yixing of his own brand of authority, of even Suho’s gentle nudging of others. Considering how warm-hearted Chen seemed to be, such a gentle authority was a perfect match.

“I will make sure of that.” Yixing promised her, bringing a hand to his chest and bowing his head a little. She caught the motion by looking over her own shoulder, then shot him a thumbs-up – not unlike how Tao or Luhan might do the same thing. When she smiled, Yixing returned it.

“That’s so cute…” she mumbled while he turned back to the stove. She probably hadn’t intended for Yixing (nor Chen) to hear it, but Wolfish senses followed their own logic.

Still, Yixing decided not to respond out loud. If only to not give his true nature away.

A single thank you rolled around his mind all the same.

“Let me clean up around here, and then I’ll go with you.” Chen told Yixing, an apologetic yet firm look in his face. “I dirtied the kitchen too, it’s not fair to make my flower clean it all up herself.”

“Alright.” Yixing said. “If I can help somehow–”

“Ah, don’t worry!” Chen interrupted him. Yixing overlooked it, telling himself that Chen had most likely not yet realised that Yixing was older than him – even if their age difference was of one year; though it could also be of only some months. “Just sit by the window if you want, we’ll get this sorted in, like, ten minutes!”

“So you’ll leave in fifteen or twenty minutes.” She added helpfully.

“Very well. I’ll wait.”

The Human couple smiled at him before they started to move around, cleaning the last remnants of smoke over the stovetop. Their synchronization was perfect, as if they’d done such mundane tasks a million times by now. It made Yixing wonder why they were not living together by now – because Suho had said this was “Chen’s girlfriend’s house”, not “Chen’s and his girlfriend’s house”. Then again, that was none of Yixing’s business.

The woman said something to Chen – Yixing purposefully didn’t listen in, despite his Wolfish senses allowing him to do so if he wanted. The gesture Chen gave her in return reminded Yixing of how whipped he’d seen Luhan in those earlier days of their Wolfpack.

Back then, it had only been Kris, Tao, and Yixing himself. Initially, only Tao and Kris had “founded” their pack – such a word didn’t feel right, though – Yixing had joined them a couple stops afterwards. He’d also learnt about Tao’s nightmares the hard way, after the younger Wolf had jerked him awake without meaning to. Yixing had not minded, though; he’d understood it instantly. Luhan had joined them shortly after, and not even a full month after he’d started raving to the Wolfpack about this nice Wolf he’d met, his name was Xiumin and he was without a pack but definitely fit for one.

Yixing couldn’t help but smile every time he remembered how Luhan had driven them all halfway to madness with his insistent demands, not pleas, about letting Xiumin in.

And when Kris had said yes, even if just to shut Luhan up about it, well…

Their Wolfpack had remained a five-member one ever since.

“Please sit down, you’re… kind of in our way?” she looked apologetic, and her tone was gentle. Yixing couldn’t even be mad about the turn-of-phrase she’d used.

“Sorry.” He said simply, moving onto to the chair – more to get himself out of the couple’s way than because he really wanted to sit down.

From this newfound seat, some cupboards and the oven underneath the stove were out of his view – the kitchen’s isle blocked them. There was a piece of paper on said isle, probably containing the recipe they’d been trying to follow to the letter. Yixing wasn’t in charge of cooking in his Wolfpack, because he was quite a bad cook, and he said it himself – he would’ve helped them otherwise.

What was in his immediate line of sight was the street outside, since this was still the building’s first floor. There was no balcony; only a very narrow windowsill outside the opened window with a potted plant on it. Thankfully for windy days, the windowsill’s edges were delimited by a sturdy metal bar, which stopped the plant from sliding off onto someone’s head.

The Human traffic on the streets below was scarce, even for a regular afternoon in a mid-week workday. Yixing took out his phone for a moment, lighting up the screen without unlocking it just to know the time – close to five o’clock, or seventeen, since it was a digital clock. Definitely early for most people to be getting out of work just yet.

Dry blood mixed with rusted iron, far away but easy to notice above burnt food.

Yixing’s senses were brought to full attention, letting him scan the street below and the one across the empty road. If the window hadn’t been opened, he wouldn’t have noticed the scent – nor the two men sitting in a corner of the café directly in front of this window.

They were dressed in streetwear, almost like the ones hip-hop acts wore onstage, but without the usual long, golden chains and piercings. Sitting in front of one another, no conversation flowing – their lips weren’t moving, a Wolf’s sight noticed. One had an opened magazine on the table, right by an earthenware mug; but he wasn’t looking at it. The other had a high-tech phone pressed to his ear – he spoke a quick something that Yixing didn’t catch because the man had turned his head to watch a young waitress skate by. Then, he lowered the phone.

These men, their attitude, the scent, the black Jeep parked nearby.

The government monitoring Suho and his kids and Kris’ Wolfpack.

It was only logic that their close watch would extend to the kids’ partners, too. As repulsive as that sounded.

“I’m done! I’ll grab my jacket and shoes, and we can go!”

I must deal with these threats first.

“Don’t forget your phone!” she told Chen – Yixing could see her handing the little device to her boyfriend.

“Thank you, my flower.”

Yixing respectfully looked away while they shared a kiss.

“Let us go, then.” He said once he felt them separate. Chen nodded, smiling politely at him.

The men in the café had not moved.

And they remained unmoving when Chen and Yixing stepped out of the building. Chen seemed ready to follow Yixing wherever, so he allowed the Wolf within to have a bit more say in his actions – if only because he needed to keep this one safe, and not just because Suho and that lovely woman would have his hide otherwise.

Yixing had given his word that he would bring Chen safe to their hideout, and he had a certain fame for being a Wolf of his word.

The Wolf within strategized about taking a different route back to their abandoned building. It certainly was the safest bet – he couldn’t just let those government men know where they were staying at. He needed to take them all out before reaching his destination. And, preferably, without Chen noticing his true nature. Everything would be explained in due time anyway, so it wouldn’t be like withholding information from him – not for too long, at least. Besides, some Humans didn’t take well to the fact that someone close to them, or to their friends or loved ones, was a Wolf. It was better to play safe. Suho could surely handle his upset kids much better than Yixing (or any other Wolf in their pack) could.

“So, where are we going?” Chen asked as they crossed the street into a plaza. The tiny kiosk in one corner was full of loud kids demanding both sweets, and some kind of collectable toy. The poor old lady couldn’t handle them all at the same time. “Mom didn’t mention any particular place.”

“Isn’t it strange to call him “mom”, when you’re only one year younger?” Yixing asked instead – the Wolf had detected that the two men from the café were trailing them.

They weren’t even subtle about it.

“Well, it’s mostly habit at this point.” Chen sounded like he was confessing a deep secret. “That, and I’m the second oldest “kid”, so I grew up hearing my brothers calling him “mom”. My brothers’ mom has to be my mom too, right?”

“Good logic.” Yixing said, rolling his shoulder as if it was paining him. In reality, it gave him the perfect excuse to discreetly look behind them.

One had stopped at the kiosk and was perusing some weapons magazines; the other was nowhere in sight. That worried Yixing. At least there was enough noise around them that his conversation with Chen remained private.

“Hey, I need to tell you something, but please don’t freak out. Suho said you don’t ever get scared, so I’m kind of counting on that.”

Chen looked at him, matched his gait so that they walked at the same pace, but remained silent. Yixing could appreciate that discretion.

“We’re being followed.”

“I’ve noticed.”

Well, Yixing had certainly not expected that. But it worked finely, too.

“The one at the kiosk, and the one across the street, right? They look like twins or something, it’s annoying.”

“Do you mind waiting for me inside your girlfriend’s building?” Yixing knew it was a gamble – Chen could very easily refuse. But it was the only thing he could think of to keep him safe while Yixing fought them away.

“What are you going to do?” Chen asked. He’d stopped walking, which was not good – the man at the kiosk was discreetly staring at them. Yixing hoped he didn’t have an earpiece; he didn’t want to deal with possible reinforcements on his own.

“I need you to keep your mate safe.” Yixing answered, softly tugging Chen along through gently leaning a hand on his arm. Chen got the memo, but he still pouted – Yiixng had been expecting a frown, so this threw him a bit off-balance. “Please. I cannot deal with them out here while keeping her safe.”

“I can help you here!” Chen protested. He hadn’t raised his volume, but his tone had gone maybe half an octave higher. It made him sound half whiny, half childish.

“How? Can you fight? Have you been trained in martial arts?”

That was a dirty trick, since Yixing already knew the answer. It also made Chen’s pout more pronounced – he was not fighting Yixing tugging him along, though. The Wolf took that as a small favour, a victory of sorts.

A pause – Yixing felt like he did when a hostile Wolf was in front of him, silently measuring Yixing’s strength before pouncing on him.

It made the hair at the back of his neck stan on end. He wondered if this burning instinct was how Tao always felt. Alert. Conscious of literally everything around him.

Waiting for the attack.

Fine. But I expect an explanation. Starting with, who are those two.” Chen said finally. Yixing physically felt himself relaxing, noticed his own heartbeat get less frantic, felt his abdomen relax after tightening to hold in a breath. “From Suho, or his boyfriend, if not from you.”

A dimpled smile.

“Suho’s boyfriend is our leader, his name is Kris. That’s how we met Suho.” Chen blinked. His pout had disappeared – instead, he was looking to Yixing with an expression he could only describe as curious. “And I can promise you that we will explain everything to you, and to your brothers.”

“Good!” Chen smiled. “I’ll stay inside, then. Ring our apartment from the street like you did when you came here the first time.”

He tried to step away – Yixing strengthened his grip on Chens arm. The Human stopped for a second, which was long enough for Yixing to step closer to him once more.

“Another thing.” Yixing added before Chen could comment on that. “She’s safe. Whether you want to bring her with you or not, is your decision. I cannot tell you what to do. She’s your mate, you know her much better than I do.”

Chen nodded – Yixing could feel him adding another question to the pile that he would make later. Probably something related to how Yixing referred to Chen’s girlfriend as his “mate”, which was absolutely not done by Humans. But it was relatively common knowledge that Wolves used the word – well, common knowledge amongst those who knew that Wolves were not something out of a legend.

Yixing didn’t know what Chen believed about Wolves, but he had a distinct feeling that he could trust him.

He let go of Chen’s arm, received a warm smile in return – it cemented that feeling inside of Yixing. Then, Chen backtracked towards the building they’d come from. The man across the street caught it and made a gesture, which prompted the man at the kiosk to try and intercept Chen.

Yixing cut his way with a dark stare and the shadow of a smirk, dimple marked just because it could appear with such a small gesture too.

The man’s gaze seized him up and down – Yixing could feel the other one crossing the street, position himself behind Yixing. Still, the Wolf did not back down, did not let his gaze waver. He was, after all, in control of this situation. Whether these two wanted to fight in the middle of the plaza or in a dark alleyway didn’t matter. Yixing could win either way.

He would win.

He needed to win. He had people to protect. And he always seemed to fight better with such a strong motivation – when the stakes were higher than in a simple street-fight. And this was definitely such an occasion.

The men subtly walked Yixing out of the plaza and into an alleyway. His smile did not disappear as he let the man behind him have the first attack – he changed forms in the last possible second, making that powerful punch miss. The man almost lost his balance when a lean, brown Wolf stood where a lean, tall Human had been.

But the thing that made both men attack at the same time was the glint inside the Wolf’s black eyes.

It was a dimpled smile.

Chapter Text

A slight groan left Luhan’s lips upon realising his current situation. He’d followed his intended protegee into an empty street, and then into a tiny store full of really smelly spices and small packages of gourmet food. Truth be told, Luhan hadn’t even bothered reading the wooden plaque atop the entrance, despite the store’s name being written there. And so, he didn’t know a single thing about this place.

Other than it being absolute overkill on his Wolfish senses, of course.

“Why are you following me?”

Luhan almost jumped out of his skin – his target had been across the store’s only aisle. But he was now suddenly standing by his side, all dark clothing and an equally dark stare. Luhan was almost intimidated only by the sheer intensity of that gaze, though Luhan himself was some centimetres taller.

“I’m making sure you’re safe.” Luhan said, not wanting to explain everything in such a public place but not wanting to lie either. The expression in the other’s face didn’t change – it was still as neutral as it had been the first time Luhan had seen him. “What, you got a formal complaint to make?”

“No.” He reached for the shelf in front of them, taking two little bottles full of spices and turning them around, one in each hand, until he could read the labels. “But you haven’t answered me, either.”

Luhan took in another steadying breathe. Frankly speaking, when Kris had texted him (in Suho’s stead no doubt) to say that Kyungsoo was the calm one amongst Suho’s children, Luhan had hoped that his luck was turning for the best. After all, it was better to deal with calmness than with irresponsibility – that was a lesson he’d learnt from being in the same Wolfpack as Yixing and Tao.

Not that Tao was irresponsible, he could just be a bit childish.

Then again, so could Luhan.

“Oy, didn’t Suho call you earlier? Why didn’t you stay home?” Luhan retaliated, desperately wanting to put Kyungoo in a difficult position. Luhan didn’t like being the only one out of his element.

“Because I needed to go out.” Kyungsoo put one of the little bottles back in its place, apparently pleased with the other one. “And it’s a five-minute walk to my home, so I counted on being back before he could swing by. His house is farther.”

Sound logic – Luhan had to admit at least that. But only internally. There was no way he would say that out loud.

“Well, I’m here now. Let’s go.” Luhan said, keeping his tone as firm as he could manage.

“Why are we in such a hurry?” Kyungsoo asked, smoothly moving along the shelf. He was most definitely searching for something, but Luhan wasn’t interested enough to ask him about what it was.

“You really think I can explain that now?” Luhan pushed back. Kyungsoo’s super calm tone was putting him on edge. And the insidious mix of smelly spices wasn’t helping either. “‘Cause I can’t!”

“Because someone could hear?” Kyungsoo replied, taking another container. This one had a red label, so Luhan assumed it was spicy. “But the store is empty. We’re the only customers, although…” he turned to look at Luhan in the eye. “…you’re not really a customer.”

Luhan didn’t dignify that with a response, but only because he could feel his blood pressure increasing. Damnit, this… brat. That demeanour was simply too much; it made Luhan think about his first days in the pack, when he’d clashed with Yixing pretty much incessantly. Tao had always been quick to pacify them, almost like he didn’t want a fight breaking out – Kris had learnt to act like the leader he was pretty quickly, too.

Kyungsoo moved to the counter, presumably to pay for the three little containers he had in his hands. The old lady at the other side of the counter smiled at him, her face wrinkling even more. Kyungsoo returned the smile with a little bow of his head – damn, that smile looked really good on him.

Luhan could only imagine how many people had tried to sweep Kyungsoo off his feet – and probably failed. Still, there was something to be said in favour of everybody who had the balls to try, because his appearance could be quite intimidating. Those eyes looked like they could see right through everybody.

The lady silently tried to give Kyungsoo a bag for his purchases, but he politely declined. She smiled warmly, eyes so wrinkled that Luhan couldn’t even tell if they were opened all the way or not. For some reason, Kyungsoo let her keep the change – and it was not a tiny amount, though definitely not something outrageous either. Luhan followed him out of the store, questioned him once the old lady couldn’t hear them talking over the canary singing in one of the balconies overhead.

“I come by her store once every week, but I almost never see any other customer.” Kyungsoo explained. “Her prices are always low, and they’re good quality too, but it’s just very out of the way. I always let her keep the change. I don’t know how much longer the store will be opened, anyway.”

“She can’t be that old.” Luhan mumbled. “Bet she just looks older.”

“I don’t really know.” Kyungsoo answered. “I understand I have to let you guide me to Suho, but let me carry this home first.” He made a tiny gesture, making it clear that by “this” he was referring to the spice-bottles.

“Sure.” Luhan shrugged. He appeared much more nonchalant than he really was. “As long as we’re there by nightfall, I’m fine with that.”

“You’re friends with Suho’s boyfriend, right?” Kyungsoo asked offhandedly as they joined the main street – it was more populated than the spice store’s alley. “What kind of man is he?”

“A just one. He doesn’t have a single mean bone in his body. Or at least not for our allies…” Luhan trailed off, only realising then that he was kind of being used for information. “But you should just talk with Kris if you’re that worried about your mom.”

“Suho is more my brother than my mom, but rest assured I will speak with him too.” Kyungsoo answered easily – he didn’t even miss a beat, didn’t even pause a second to consider his answer. Luhan respected that deeply; and it showed on his face.

“Kris is our leader. I can tell you he’s fallen deep. And trust me, I’m taken too, I can see when others are whipped.”

The corner of Kyungsoo’s mouth was tugged upwards, though the gesture didn’t develop into a full-fledged smile. He gave Luhan a sideways glance, as if gauging whether he was telling the truth or merely bluffing. Luhan tried to stand his ground, kept walking with what he hoped was Xiumin’s easy confidence.

Whatever Kyungsoo saw in him seemed to please him – at least judging from how he looked ahead once more.

“I believe you. Sorry for interrogating you like that, I just don’t want Suho to get hurt again.”

Luhan would’ve asked what he meant by “again”, but they’d already arrived at Kyungsoo’s house. He followed Kyungsoo inside – even though he felt a bit like he was trespassing – maybe that’s why he didn’t step further than the drawing room. Well, to call it a “room” was to be extremely generous; it was more like an area in which to leave your shoes before stepping on the carpeted hallway. Luhan didn’t even take his shoes off, shy without knowing why.

Thankfully, Kyungsoo didn’t reproach him for that when he reappeared about ten minutes after. He was still wearing the same dark clothes – a long-sleeved t-shirt and dark jeans – but he had a jacket in his hands that he had not worn to the store. Luhan supposed it made sense; Luhan himself had mentioned nightfall, so there would be (presumably) a drop in the temperature outside. Taking a jacket, even if it was a light one, seemed like a reasonable thing to do. It spoke of caution, of being prepared for the future.

Once more, he was reminded of Yixing. He had a feeling their healer would end up getting along really well with this kid.

“Let’s go.” Kyungsoo told him while he locked his house, sliding the silver key into his jacket’s front pocket right afterwards. His outfit looked better once he put that jacket on, too – though it was too dark for Luhan’s taste. “I’m assuming you know where to go.”

“Yes.”

Luhan looked so young that there was no way Kyungsoo could’ve guessed that Luhan was older than him, but he still let Luhan step on the street first. Luhan would’ve taken it as good manners if he hadn’t known that Tao’s instincts would often do the same – to use his companion as a human shield should enemies be waiting outside.

He wondered if Kyungsoo would afterwards hate himself just as much as Tao did.

“Why didn’t Suho come himself?” Kyungsoo’s low voice (low in both tone and volume) took Luhan out of his own thoughts. “He usually does this kind of thing himself.”

“Usually doesn’t mean always, now, does it?” Luhan replied quickly, unable to pass a single chance of being sassy. Kyungsoo gave him a single stare, his eyes chocolate brown when the sunrays hit them just right. “He went to pick up one of your bros. Don’t ask me who, I don’t really remember his name.”

“Probably Baekhyun.” Kyungsoo mused, letting his own steps fall slightly behind Luhan’s. “He’s the most playful out of all my brothers. Including me.”

“That last part is easy to see.” Luhan grumbled, low enough for Kyungsoo not to hear him. “Anyway.” He added, raising his voice a bit, “We’re going to the outskirts. We, meaning my pack and your mom, have a place there.”

“Please don’t call him my mom.” Kyungsoo’s voice trembled just slightly – when Luhan looked at him, questioningly, there was mirth in Kyungsoo’s posture. “That makes me think that he’s much older than me, not only by one full year.”

That statement had Luhan tilting his head to one side, mouth open, frown evident. Confusion was painted easy on him – how could it not be, when he hadn’t been expecting such a comment from Kyungsoo.

“I thought all his kids called him mom.” Luhan said finally, if only to fill silence up, to not let Kyungsoo know how off his game he really was. “Kai and Sehun do, don’t they?”

“Yes, Chen and Baekhyun too. But Chanyeol and I don’t.” he swirled around a little kid running freely. Not five seconds later, he had to lean to the opposite side to evade another running kid. “Suho might be the oldest, but most of us are twenty-four, so it feels slightly off to call him “mom”. Kai’s two full years younger, and Sehun is even younger than that, so it must feel proper to them.”

“Didn’t you just say that Chen calls him “mom”? Isn’t Chen twenty-four too?”

Luhan made a face as soon as he done speaking – the two running kids’ mother had just shouted for them to slow down and don’t you fucking dare cross the street alone. The screaming made Luhan’s Wolfish senses hurt; it truly was no surprise when the two kids reacted the same way. Kyungsoo didn’t seem so affected, perhaps because the mother hadn’t been as close to him as she’d been to Luhan while she screamed.

“People in this city are all kinds of crazy.” Luhan growled – his speaking voice was always so light and airy that it didn’t even seem a growl.

“Yes to that, and yes to Chen’s age.” Kyungsoo said once the mother had joined the two kids at the edge of the street, right in front of a pedestrian crosswalk. “I guess he has his own logic about it. For Chanyeol and me, it just feels too strange to call Suho “mom”, so we use his name instead. Suho always says that he doesn’t mind, anyway.”

“He seems really…” Luhan clicked his tongue, gazed upon the grey, cloudy skies overhead, trying to come up with the right word. “…accommodating? Welcoming?”

“It’s in his nature.” Kyungsoo conceded easily. He lightly pulled Luhan closer to himself so that he wouldn’t collide into a streetlamp. Luhan made a new face – Kyungsoo decided to interpret it as a thank-you. “Somehow, I have a feeling that he will be alright with Kris. Granted, Kris needs to treat him properly.”

There were so many remarks and teases Luhan could’ve made after that. But he did not. True, Luhan was playful, never wasting a chance at being witty or sassy – yet it didn’t feel appropriate this time. Which was not to say that he felt like Kyungsoo wouldn’t approve, it was just…

…well, Kris was his Wolfpack’s leader. It didn’t feel right to tease him behind his back, when neither Kris himself nor his mate could hear, or chastise Luhan for it.

They fell into comfortable silence after that. Luhan quickly learnt that Kyungsoo was a man of few words, though he didn’t let that taciturn attitude affect him negatively – it was just another aspect of him, like Xiumin’s understated care or Yixing’s calculating undertones. If anything, it was proof that Humans, or at least some of them, could be just as complex as Wolves were. And that was not a bad thing at all, considering Luhan’s high regarding of everything Wolf-related.

The buildings on both sides of them grew less tall as they reached the outskirts of the city; the central road developing broader instead. It went from a simple, two-direction road to a fully-fledged highway, complete with a police roadblock where the dark forest met the first few buildings.

“What the hell are they doing here?!” Luhan muttered – he’d wanted to scream it, but that would’ve attracted too much unwanted attention. So he whispered instead, never losing hold of indignation, resenting the dry blood and rusted iron in the air.

“The radio this morning said that they’re controlling who enters and leaves the city.” Kyungsoo quietly said by his side – yet he was leaning more towards the trees than towards the road, as if he, too, was wary of the roadblock.

That told Luhan much more about Kyungsoo than all his words and attitude had.

“What for?” Luhan asked, carefully gauging both the policemen at the roadblock and Kyungsoo’s own reactions.

“Fugitives.” Kyungsoo observed the policemen too, watched them halt a family car. The driver showed the policemen something through the window. “Didn’t say any details, but that’s usual in this city. Everything official is top-secret, even if it’s just who’s running campaign for major.”

“Ain’t the people suspicious of that secrecy?” The policemen stepped back from the car, let it carry on. The more light went down, the more those red-and-blue spinning lights on top of the parked police-cars hurt the eyes. “I know I would be.”

“I am, too.” Kyungsoo gently tugged Luhan into the edge of the woods. The Wolf didn’t protest – he’d seen how the policemen had started to turn towards their direction. And, since they were the only civilians in the whole street, it was better to remain hidden from view. “I’d say Suho and all my brothers are. It’s just too dangerous to say anything about it, whether in person to someone or online.”

“Son of a thousand Wolves, this city sucks!” Luhan declared. “And we gotta cross that fucking roadblock. The fuck are we gonna do now?”

“Don’t panic because of nothing.” Kyungsoo advised, though it was pointless – Luhan was not panicking, he was just venting out frustration. Kyungsoo just didn’t know him enough to detect the difference. Xiumin would’ve been able to tell with just a glance, Luhan mused in silence. “One thing they mentioned on the radio is that the fugitives are all Wolves.”

Luhan felt the hair at the back of his neck stand on end. Still, he remained dead silent. Better that than to give his whole pack away. Who knew how Kyungsoo would react – he was so understated that it was damn near impossible to get a good read of him.

“From the way you reacted, I’m assuming you’re part of those “fugitives”. Please don’t get offended, but if your Wolf appearance is as slight as your Human one, we could get by perfectly fine.”

Luhan needed a long moment to gather his thoughts, because Kyungsoo couldn’t be implying what Luhan thought he was implying.

“Your logic is flawed.” He started. Kyugnsoo merely stared at him – proving him wrong just by that. Damnit. “What are you going to do, walk me like I’m a pet?”

Kyungsoo blinked, recoiling from the sheer hatred inside that single word. This… this was not the reaction he’d been bracing himself for. He’d expected boisterous anger, maybe two or three biting remarks in return for his troubles, not this – whatever this even was.

Too loud to be resignation, too angry to be compliance.

“I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just thinking of a way to slide by them without having to fight, because they have the upper hand if a fight breaks out.”

If the past haunted Luhan so, Kyungsoo feared the one who bared those fangs.

“I know what you meant. I just don’t like the idea. And I’ll have you know, I don’t mind having to fight.”

Slight as his form was, the violence in his words was unrestrained.

Kyungsoo stopped watching the roadblock, turned to look at Luhan – and found a little brown Wolf standing in his place.

“Thank you.” Kyungsoo said simply. The Wolf – Luhan – moved his ears, but that was it. A mere acknowledgement of the Human presence by his side.

When they stepped into the street again, Kyungsoo let Luhan position himself as close to Kyungsoo’s leg as he could bear. It wouldn’t be a good idea to pressure him, not when any other word about this topic would feel like a further insult. Kyungsoo had no way of knowing why Luhan had reacted so viscerally to this idea, and he certainly knew better than to ask him directly, but –

“Hey, you! You with the dog! Stop!”

Son of a thousand Wolves, indeed.

“Good evening, Officer.”

“Don’t “good evening” me, young man! It’s forbidden to leave the city!”

“Understood. We will circle the buildings on the other side of the street on our way back home.” Kyungsoo felt how Luhan stepped slightly forward, towards the police officer who’d stopped them right in the middle of the roadblock.

The roadblock that, come to think about it, felt more like a Government-issued patrol than true policework.

“You do that.” Kyungsoo rested gentle yet fearful fingertips on top of Luhan’s head, unknowingly landing right in between his ears. “It’s forbidden to leave the city. And get this filthy mutt a leash!”

“Yes, Officer.” Kyungsoo’s hand nuzzled the air in front of Luhan’s nose to quiet his incipient growl. The gesture came across as loving to the policemen observing them closely, although only because Luhan played along. “Let’s go, Janga.”

“Janga?” Luhan questioned him once they were on the other side of the street, the roadblock nowhere in sight. Kyungsoo trembled for a second – Luhan figured this was the closest he’d get to being startled. “What’s that?”

“…a real dog’s name.” Kyungsoo admitted. There was quite a deal of reluctance inside his tone. Luhan couldn’t blame him for that. Not after how he’d reacted to his idea. “Sorry.”

“Its alright. I’m the one who should apologise, anyway.” Kyungsoo looked at him, a mixture of curiosity and surprise painted across his handsome features. It almost made Luhan’s train of thought take other routes. “The plan was a good one. I just… reacted badly. Sorry.”

“No harm done. We got across safely.” Ah, those words, that soft tone of voice…

Gentle reassurance. Like Kyungsoo wanted him to know he was safe. The calm after the storm.

Well, Luhan’s train of thought was surely derailed now.

“I can’t believe you’re not taken.”

“Thank you?” Kyungsoo half-laughed, a warm smile appearing in his face. Luhan stared harder – he might’ve been taken, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate beauty when he saw it. And Kyungsoo was definitely a man of classical beauty.

“Seriously, though. Humans must be eating off your hand.”

“Apparently there’s only one girl interested, but she’s a co-worker to Suho, so I don’t see her very often.”

Oooohhh~” Luhan sing-sang, smiling. The whole ordeal of crossing the patrol-cum-roadblock (or was it a roadblock-cum-patrol?) was already forgotten. “And do you like her too?”

“She seems like a good girl, but I can’t really fall for her when all I know is that she blushes when she sees me.”

“Personality is important.” An image of Xiumin’s sly smile and slier gaze crossed Luhan’s mind. “But the eyes want their fill.”

“Must be why Kris fell for Suho.”

“And why Suho fell for Kris.”

“I haven’t met Kris yet, so I don’t know.”

Luhan exchanged a gaze with Kyungsoo as they reached their pack’s hideout – and twin, warm smiles.

Yes, this one would definitely fit right along inside their pack. And, even if the others were not so convinced at first, Luhan would make sure they saw Kyungsoo for the complex and caring Human that he had revealed himself to be.

Chapter Text

Xiumin leant his back further on the brick-wall behind him, resting one foot on its surface just to appear nonchalant to any onlooking Humans. Tough luck though; the wall wasn’t as rough down there as it felt like on his shoulder-blades – and so, his foot slid down onto the floor with a thud.

Oh well. At least no one had been looking directly at him.

Xiumin had to raise a hand to cast some shadows over his phone-screen just to be able to see the little numbers in the pad. It took him a couple of tries, but he managed to unlock it – the first thing he did was turn the brightness all the way up. Then, he accessed his chat application to look at the most recent conversation.

He’d saved the contact as “Suho (Pack Mom)”, simply because it’d made sense to him back then – Suho was officially Kris’ mate and called “mom” by his kids, and Kris was their pack’s leader. Therefore, a combination of those two seemed appropriate.

Suho had sent him two different lines of text and a picture, all pertaining to the kid Xiumin was in charge of finding. Chanyeol, the first line read – along with his address. The second line of text was a row of numbers, accompanied by a brief “this is his phone number” comment in between brackets. Xiumin had to admit it, Suho was organized when it came to giving information to others. His mind immediately linked that ability to being able to coordinate a lot of people at the same time.

Such a skill was impressive in itself, but it was curious that Suho had it. Kris had said that he worked an office job, and one usually didn’t develop those skills if they didn’t have a team to command.

Then again, maybe caring for six younger Humans was practice enough.

Xiumin had to scroll up a bit to see the picture, since it had been sent before the two lines of text. In it, a tall man was smiling directly into the camera. Some dark locks fell down onto his temple, straight yet following the curve of his forehead. His eyes were equally dark, the light reflecting on them to the point where it was possible to zoom in on them to see the camera that had taken the picture. All in all, it was the kind of picture that Humans chose as their profile-pic in social media – nothing truly impressive, but still showcasing his charm.

Xiumin wondered if Suho had sent his kids’ picture to every other Wolf or just to Xiumin himself. In the end, it didn’t matter much; not when the plan was to get all kids, mom, and Wolves, into one place. They’d end up meeting in person one way or another, these pictures were only a way for the Wolves to know what they were dealing with, like an advancement of what was to come.

Or so Xiumin reasoned it inside his mind as he walked to Chanyeol’s building. It was quite a small building, only six stores tall, and delimiting the corner where the main street met a secondary alleyway. Xiumin rang the corresponding ringer, expecting to be greeted by a male’s voice.

There was a functioning line, but no one answered.

Well, this was unexpected. Even though Xiumin should’ve seen it coming – Suho had not called Chanyeol from their little hideout in the woods, so he might’ve gone out in the meantime. Good thing that Suho had had the forethought to give Chanyeol’s phone number to Xiumin – once more, there was great praise for Suho’s abilities inside Xiumin’s mind.

Xiumin stepped into the portal just to shelter himself from the waning sunlight, strategically choosing the one side casted in shadows. Since he hadn’t locked his phone, at least he didn’t have to put himself through the ordeal of pressing keys he couldn’t even see. The little plaques by each ringer let him know that one of the first-floor apartments was being used as a dentist’s consult, so he rang it just to be let into the building. He mentally prepared himself for having to say some quick words to whoever was on the other side of the line – but he was let inside without having to say them.

Good luck today. And, considering how insistent those government men had been with his Wolfpack, it would be much better to first make sure that Chanyeol had just gone out for a spell, and not abducted – or something worse. He could call him from inside the building, too; once he was out of immediate view. His fashion sense clashed with what regular Humans seemed to wear in that city, so this really was the safest option.

There was a perfectly functional elevator, and yet Xiumin opted for the stairs. It was only a third floor anyway, he could climb to the fifth without having to stop to catch his breath – thank the Wolf’s nature for that stamina.

His moon was grateful for that stamina, too.

But this was not the time, nor the place, to think about that.

Chanyeol’s door seemed closed… until Xiumin got closer to it. Then he could clearly see that it was opened just the slightest bit, merely to prevent it from closing, as if whoever had left it like this didn’t have a key and didn’t want to be locked outside.

Xiumin’s instinct growled awake. It didn’t make any sense for Chanyeol to have left it like this. Had those Wolf-hunting men been here, too?

He changed forms in the privacy of the third floor, gently nudged the door opened with his flank. It was lighter than he’d expected, though that could be only because his strength was greater in his Wolf form than in his Human one. He couldn’t turn the lock once he was inside, so he had to content with pushing it closed – completely closed. If there was someone in here, they would have to square up. If there was someone outside, they wouldn’t be able to get in. It was perfect, because Xiumin knew (both from Tao’s experience and Xiumin’s own) that small spaces made for perfect ambushes.

His pack had already been ambushed twice – once outside Suho’s city, one within. Xiumin did not want to go through that again. Not when he was alone.

Yet he would always choose to willingly walk into an enemy ambush if it meant his moon didn’t have to.

Chanyeol’s apartment was so different from Suho’s that Xiumin had to halt for a split second, flank to the wall. For one, it seemed darker; the blinds were halfway down in almost all the rooms, most likely so that direct sunlight wouldn’t discolour the wooden furniture. There was only one bedroom, a kitchen, a living room, and a poor excuse of a bathroom – definitely tinier than Suho’s abode.

It also smelt different, less refined, in a way. When Suho’s guest bedroom had smelt of clean sheets and lavender, this apartment’s only bedroom smelt of faint beer, old leather, and cleaning products for musical instruments. In fact, there was a hardcase for an electric guitar right by the bed – Chanyeol must be the type to really value his guitar if he had a hardcase but not a softer one.

And it was empty. But it also looked like it had been abandoned in a rush. Which explained the front door being ajar – and the mess of clothes on the floor by the wardrove, on the single bed, half on the table and half falling off it…

Xiumin quickly made sure that the other rooms were as empty as the lingering scents suggested, not surprised to find out that Wolfish senses were right. He remained in his Wolf form even then, simply because his perception of the world was better – acuter, sharper, allowing him to perceive even the smallest traces.

For example, it allowed him to see that the reason why the bedroom was in such a messy state was because there had been a fight here. The wall by the door was scratched, as if someone had tried to hold on to it while being literally dragged away, out of the tiny apartment. There was no carpet on the floor, which meant that Xiumin could clearly see – could clearly smell – dried blood-droplets on it. He lowered his head, brought his nuzzle closer, examined it better.

Dry blood mixed with rusted iron, dulled but still lingering.

Xiumin growled, recoiling as if he’d been hit – and, in a way, he had. His Wolfish senses resented the disgusting scent, hated how poignant it was, how easily it crept inside of him, how it lingered at the back of his nose even when he no longer wanted it to.

The worst part was that he couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d smelt this already.

The living room was quite messed up, too; but it was a different kind of disorder. While the bedroom looked like someone had been forcibly taken from it, the living room looked like someone had been searching for something. Whether they’d been successful or not was anybody’s guess at this point, because the only witnesses were the furniture, and those didn’t speak.

Yet the disorganised bookshelves still managed to tell a story to Xiumin. A story of desperation, of running out of time. A story which climaxed into the little alcove in the highest shelf, out of reach for the average-sized Human – and definitely out of reach for a Wolf in Wolf form, too. Knowing that he was alone in this apartment gave Xiumin a certain tranquillity, a definite respite from the whirlwind overtaking his mind.

He really needed to find Chanyeol. Quick.

Those men hunting their Wolfpack were definitely not to be trusted. They could, and would, hurt whoever got in their way – whoever they thought was in their way. Suho’s kids weren’t smack in the centre of their hunt, but they weren’t completely outside of it, either. Getting abducted and interrogated for hours on end was the most benign outcome for them.

Just realising that sent a thick bout of vitriol up Xiumin’s throat – choking him for a second.

Then, he reached the semi-hidden alcove.

Chanyeol was smart, Xiumin had to concede that – he’d hidden a note, quickly scribbled with a pen’s blue ink. Its chicken-scratch was almost impossible to decipher, though; it was a good thing Xiumin was the one in charge of Chanyeol, because this note would’ve been downright impossible for any other Wolf – they didn’t share Xiumin’s, the note’s, mother tongue.

It took him some minutes, and turning the paper every other way, but he finally managed to read the few words. An address would’ve been asking for too much, he knew, so he wasn’t completely disappointed with the results.

my phone nº + gps on! Pls help!! – PCY

Xiumin assumed that “PCY” was synonym with Chanyeol – the Wolf didn’t know the kid’s last name, so he could only guess that’s what the “P” was. The “CY” part was very easy, considering that, in this country (in this language) given names could be written either as one or two words.

But that was completely accessory. The main point was that Xiumin already had Chanyeol’s phone, courtesy of Suho, so he also had a means of finding Chanyeol. Wolves didn’t usually have GPS-tracking apps on their phones, but years of living amongst well-prepared folk had readied Xiumin for things like this.

Locating the signal that he was looking for only took him five minutes.

But he still felt them as five minutes too long.

Having to follow it through to its origin in his Human form was both a blessing and a curse, he found out. A blessing, because it allowed him to move undetected, just another young man staring at his phone as he walked, either texting someone or looking at a map – not to mention that it had allowed him to find a silver key to Chanyeol’s house and to lock it closed for the time being. A curse, because he couldn’t move as quickly as he’d liked to.

Still, he eventually reached the apartment complex that his phone’s tracking app had marked as the place were Chanyeol’s phone was emitting a signal from. There was a security camera right in front of the front door – one of those round black ones, not the typical shape that most people pictured when thinking of a video-camera. Smart. Those covered more ground than the other types, and tended to be more discreet too – if only because most people didn’t know them as well.

The first floor had a window opened, though. And it was far away enough from the front door that the camera surely couldn’t cover it. Still, Xiumin took an ample oblique to avoid the camera’s vision field – better safe than sorry, as Yixing would always say. And when an experienced healer says that, it’s bound to be the best possible advice.

The building’s interior was sunnier than expected. Xiumin didn’t bother closing the tracking app before he locked his phone, securing it in his pocket. He was currently in someone’s private property, he had to be careful…

Humans were oblivious, though. It played to his advantage when he scurried over to the front door and exited this apartment, utterly and completely unseen. There were no cameras out here, so he was able to retreat into the stairs – there was a little “floor” in between the first and second floors, so he was able to pause without being in anybody’s direct eyesight if they came out of their homes. He checked that app again; alas, it didn’t give him much more information. It offered a bird’s view from above, so Chanyeol could be in any floor, and the app wouldn’t be able to separate floor from floor, nor convey that to Xiumin.

A change of forms was in order, then. He still remembered Chanyeol’s scent from how thickly it had coated his apartment – dry blood and rusted iron notwithstanding – his Wolf form had much better chances at succeeding. And this floor-between-floors gave him more than enough privacy to change forms undetected. So he did.

Dried blood and rusted iron instantly flooded his senses, poignant and unwelcome.

Xiumin recoiled even more violently than he had back in Chanyeol’s apartment. But he pressed onwards, climbing the stairs in strong leaps, up to the fifth floor. It was, if memory served from having seen the building from the outside, right at middle-height. Perfect for hiding, not so perfect for torturing information out of someone.

Scorched lands, vivacious flames, a lively stream of pure magma, soft soot under the naked foot. Warm. Open-hearted. Steady.

A great contrast to the tortuous scent that mixed with it.

Xiumin nuzzled the door under the 5-D plaque. It was hard to say if Chanyeol’s scent prevailed over the men’s – almost impossible to know which scent he was tracking the most, what with how mixed they were.

And Xiumin didn’t like that. It meant that there were enemies in here, that Chanyeol wasn’t alone, that there would surely be a fight to be won.

A fight that he would rather let his Wolf form’s battle-instincts fight for him. Not because his Human form couldn’t win, of course – it was just much more convenient. Humans generally could fight another Human, but they weren’t as great when it came to fighting wild beasts.

Some Wolves might not like to hear it, but that’s all they really were. Wild beasts, with fangs always ready to tear flesh from bone, to bleed out prey without any second thoughts. Wolves were equipped with the instinct to survive, to reclaim all wretched Earth once Humans had gone extinct. That’s what the legends of old said. That was the truth, known in his pack by only Yixing and Xiumin himself.

Getting on his hind legs to press the ringer was easy. Jumping to the jugular of the man who opened the door, smelling like dry blood and rusted iron, was even easier. But getting the taste out of his mouth, or prevent it from touching his tongue, was much, much harder.

Navigating the apartment, following Chanyeol’s scent of scorched lands and lava, was relatively easy. Another rusted iron tried to shoot at him, but the bullet ricocheted and ended embedded into the floral wallpaper – a horrible choice of wallpaper, really. The gun had made no sound. The shooter did, shouted all the way to the floor, where pointed fangs coated in red silenced his groans of pain.

The only source of dried blood was in the living room, so Xiumin headed there, flank to the wall, tail and body puffed out to appear bigger than he really was. He knew his Wolf form wasn’t as impressive as, say, Kris’ – but hells be damned if that was going to stop him.

“Stop or I’ll shoot him!”

And, of course, the “him” in that sentence spoken by dried blood, was Chanyeol. The poor tall thing was literally handcuffed to the metal chair he was sitting in, right in the middle of the room – a crystal coffee-table at his right, the gun-bearing enemy at his left. The gun’s silencer was almost leaning on Chanyeol’s temple, so close it was to him. At that point-blank distance, any shot would take his life away.

Xiumin let himself growl with all the depth and grit that his Wolf form allowed – low, menacing, resounding crystal-clear in the wallpapered room. He stared the dried blood down, bringing his resolve down a notch. He saw how both Humans trembled, and took a single step closer.

The gun was turned in a too-tight grip – pointed to the advancing Wolf instead.

Xiumin didn’t really care; he could read in those Human features that he would not shoot to kill. He was much too shaken for that.

But that didn’t mean that he wouldn’t shoot at all.

Xiumin growled again, as deep within his throat as this form allowed him to. It sounded much lower than a Human could ever reach – not even the best Heavy Metal growlers could match an adult Wolf’s depth. The dried blood in front of him trembled. His grip on the handgun was rectified.

Xiumin jumped as much to the side as the crystal table’s edge allowed him to. Chanyeol moved his feet closer to the chair, trying to get out of the Wolf’s way. Xiumin looked at him with golden eyes, the fur at the top of his back shining black-blueish under the last sunrays of the day.

That look lasted only a split second – yet it felt like an eternity to Chanyeol.

Then, Xiumin jumped onto the dried blood, who had not yet recovered from the sheer speed with which the Wolf had moved, narrowly avoiding being shot. A blood-curling scream filled the air until broad fangs coated in shiny, deep red put an end to it.

When Xiumin changed forms, already knowing that the front of his t-shirt would end up covered in blood if he wasn’t careful, a new scream was heard.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!

Xiumin used the shirt on the man he’d just taken down to wipe his face clean of blood. The scent had been poignant enough on his nostrils, on his Wolfish taste-buds – he really, really didn’t want a repeat of that for his Human form.

“It’s alright.” He said once he was done, glancing at his own t-shirt. No blood had landed on it. Good. “Suho sent me to pick you up, so I went to your house. I found and read your note, it brought me here.”

“You’re a WOLF?!”

“Yes, I am.”

Silence. Even though there was no reason to deny the obvious. Not after Chanyeol had seen him change forms right in front of him.

“… Suho sends you?”

“Yes. He’s rounding all his kids up in the same place. Some announcements need to be made… though you already know parts of those.”

“I… guess.” Chanyeol’s voice faltered just the slightest bit. It accentuated its deep quality. “Hey, could you… untie me now?”

“Sure.”

Nonchalant enough to provoke a reaction out of most Humans – but not from Chanyeol – Xiumin found twin silver little keys in the dried blood’s pockets. When he moved to turn one inside the handcuffs securing Chanyeol’s left wrist to the chair’s left side, Chanyeol observed him closely. Xiumin couldn’t blame him for that – not after what had just happened, after having been abducted from his own home. So he simply kept quiet, said nothing, allowed his sheer presence to be comforter enough.

He didn’t even know if Chanyeol was the type to need any other form of comfort. Truth be told, he only knew his moon and his pack well enough for that. Some might’ve felt lonely upon such a realisation, but Xiumin wasn’t among them.

“Thank you.” Chanyeol said once both his wrists were free. Xiumin leant back, sitting on the crystal coffee-table. It felt cool under his palms – he silently thanked the fact that he hadn’t needed to turn it into a weapon during the little fight. “So we need to get to Suho now, right? I assume you know where he is?”

Damn. Chanyeol really could go from freaked out to calm in a single heartbeat. Xiumin could admire that – the Humans he was used to encounter weren’t like that at all.

“Yes.” He said, lengthening the final “S” just because he could. The sound glided effortlessly into his next words, “So we’ll need a way of getting there. It’s in the outskirts, after all.”

“If you don’t mind riding pillion, we could use my bike.”

“… “riding pillion”?” Xiumin repeated, not bothering to hide his confusion at the slang. He followed Chanyeol outside of this apartment, but took the lead upon the stairs.

“Sitting behind me while I drive.” Chanyeol explained, letting himself be guided down to the first floor. He kept his volume down, not liking the immense reverb of these naked walls. “I just sip into slang really easily. Sorry…?”

“Don’t be, this way I can learn more.” Xiumin looked around the first floor’s space – the elevator was on one side, between two doors to apartments. Another two doors were directly across those. The stairs occupied another wall, while the fourth had three small windows; all closed. Xiumin raised an eyebrow at them. “Aha!”

“Why not use the front door?" Chanyeol questioned. "That dome already saw me going in.” Once more, Xiumin held his good sense in high regards.

“Because this way it’ll lead the baddies to a dead end. You came in, but never went back out, but you’re also not inside.”

Chanyeol pulled a face, silently agreeing with that sound logic. Xiumin looked at him, smiling, thanking him for not fighting him on this. Sure, it might not be the most conventional plan – Wolves were known for thinking outside the box, though. And it had the added benefit that the dome above the building’s front door didn’t cover this wall too; and the side-alleyway it opened to was much quieter than the main street. They could easily keep a low profile, to mingle with the young Humans going out for dance and sex.

It might’ve been a weekday, but the bars they passed along their way, Chanyeol guiding them steady, all held signs announcing “tonight’s special deal! Girls enter free!”. Xiumin wrinkled his nose at the alcoholic stench coming out of one such bar when a man opened its door. Chanyeol looked at Xiumin in sympathy.

“That deal is only on once a week, so everybody’s using it.” he explained.

“Ew.” Xiumin replied. The stench had invaded his senses and didn’t want to get out, no matter how desperately Xiumin wanted it to.

They had to take a slight detour into Chanyeol’s apartment, during which an uncharacteristically shy Xiumin had to reveal that he’d taken the keys. Chanyeol didn’t seem frazzled, but Xiumin could see how affected he really was by it – considering he was practically a stranger still, this move was invasive at best. Still, Chanyeol didn’t say anything about it beyond a quick “better you have them than those kidnappers”.

Ten minutes later, Chanyeol was kicking his impressive Harley into roaring with all the potency of a caged lion staring down their meal. He’d put on a leather jacket that looked simply great on his tall frame, accentuating the breadth of his shoulders, and tight around his muscled arms. He straddled the Harley with an impressive easiness, one that could only come from practice, from frequent escapades out of the city’s confines. The traffic regulations seemed quite lax, though; he hadn’t put on a helmet, despite having given one to Xiumin.

Xiumin, who felt much graceless when he got on the Harley. The engine roared loud underneath him, the sound staccato until Chanyeol started to drive them down the street. Then, it became a steady purr, louder when Chanyeol revved it up a gear, softer when he stopped at a crossroads. There weren’t a lot of people waiting, but there was no streetlight in that intersection – Xiumin was left to wonder why Chanyeol had stopped; it was an unwritten law that, in such cases, cars tended to have priority (if only because they were more powerful than mere pedestrians).

Scorched lands, vivacious flames, a lively stream of pure magma, soft soot under the naked foot.

Xiumin pressed himself slightly closer to Chanyeol, blamed it on the temperature getting colder as the late evening took over the skies, and on himself clinging to Chanyeol instead of to the Harley. He felt Chanyeol’s laughter, heard his playful quip – had to delay his answer until they were riding steady enough to be heard over the powerful engine beneath their pillowed seats.

“Don’t even try, I’m taken by the moon of my nights.”

“I wasn’t trying anything.” Chanyeol replied. Some tall trees could already be seen over the buildings, which were getting shorter and shorter the further away they got from the city’s centre. “Just do something for me? Even though I technically still have to repay you for saving me?”

“You don’t owe me anything, and what should I do for you?”

“Give your moon a big snuggle. I doubt she’ll like you having my scent all over you.”

Xiumin smiled wickeldly. His moon was usually the teasing one out of them two, but this chance had been presented in such a silver plate that he couldn’t let it pass.

“Oh, I will kiss him, hard and deep and long.”

“Argh, too much information!” Chanyeol protested - yet Xiumin could feel his friendly laughter in the slight shake of his shoulders.

The Harley’s engine roared once more, already protesting not being revved a gear upwards. Chanyeol acquiesced, and the roar got wilder, carrying them into the woods before the police-cars at an unfamiliar roadblock could stop them.

Chapter Text

Kris didn’t like to see worry painted so clearly on Suho’s face, but he also didn’t know what he could do to ease his pain. All he could do – all he allowed himself to do in the middle of the street – was to brush his fingers against Suho’s, hoping that the simple gesture would convey a fraction of his feelings.

You’re not alone, I’m right here with you, the world will not end on you while I’m here to prevent it.

Suho’s fingers brushed against Kris’, softly, almost yearning. Kris’ heart skipped a tiny beat – yet he still couldn’t bring himself to hold Suho’s hand more fully… until Suho himself hooked his fingers around Kris’.

“Do you think I can go back to my house to catch some sleep after making sure my kids are safe?” Suho asked, his voice neutral – but Kris could read worry in the curve of his shoulders.

“It’d be best if we stay at our pack’s place tonight.” Kris replied. “If those men know where each of your kids live, they also know where you live. It’s too dangerous to go to your house, we could be walking directly into a trap.”

“That’s what I fear.” Suho smiled a little thing that made Kris’ heart shrink. “Hey, at least I’ll know my kids are all safe. That’s more than enough for me.”

Kris let go of Suho’s hand to wrap his whole arm around those slim shoulders, heart light upon feeling Suho leaning towards him. What little space had been in between them was now reduced to mere millimetres, and their hips occasionally touched when the flow of their steps coincided in just the right way. Kris smiled, happy despite the dire circumstances, loving the light dusting spreading sickly-sweet over Suho’s cheeks.

A young woman across the street caught Kris’ gaze for a second, and smiled at him – Kris wondered if she, too, had a lover that she would pluck stars out of the night-sky for. A white bus with bright letters painted across its belly passed through the road in between them, and Kris took that as his cue to look back at Suho. Besides, his beloved one was speaking up once more.

“Could you… accompany me back home, then? Just once, I promise. Unsafe or not, there are some things I’ll need to have with me. Like my phone charger… I had to put it on Ultra-Battery Mode because it’s about to die.”

“Don’t let it die, your kids might call!” Kris said, trying to see the sunnier side of things. It was just as much for Suho’s benefit as it was his own – after all, he’d been the one to send his pack-members out; whatever injuries they got in this mission was Kris’ fault.

Perhaps it was a quite self-centred way of leading, considering all his Wolves could defend themselves just fine on their own, but such was Kris’ leadership. No one had revolted against him, nor tried to forcefully gain control of their pack, yet; so he must’ve been doing something right.

Then again, only Xiumin had experience in living with a functional Wolfpack. Tao had been born in one, but from what Kris had been able to see – from the little vestiges of Tao’s dark upbringing that still remained in him – he hadn’t truly lived in a Wolfpack until Kris took him into his own.

“That’s why I put it in Ultra-Battery instead of shutting it off.” Suho was replying, taking Kris’ arm off his shoulders just because it was a bit difficult to walk. He held his hand instead, so Kris had absolutely no complains. “Though I don’t think they’ll call me. They usually don’t call me, ever. Selfish little kids…”

Kris giggled. He’d instantly recognised the fondness inside that last sentence – he himself used that tone to reply to Tao’s and Luhan’s playful quips every once in a while, when Xiumin refused to control his moon, when Yixing was simply too tired to take sides. The timely reminder that Human parents used that same tone with their Human children felt like a blast to the gone past for Kris – he promptly returned to the now, before all those memories could consume him.

“You love them just the same.” Suho gave him a look, as if to questioning why exactly that was. “Even the most reckless of them. You’d do anything for your kids.”

“True. But can you blame me? They’re all I have.” A slight pause, and a descent in volume so sharp that only Wolfish senses could catch the next words over the drifting traffic. “…they’re all I’ve had for years.”

“I feel you. It’s the same with my pack. “Us against the world” kind of feel.”

Suho smiled, turning his head to look at Kris. The glowing streetlights overhead gave a reddish hue to the top of his head – Kris still thought that the greenish one, acquired when the lights changed colour, suited him better. The red made his pale skin look sick.

Suho didn’t say anything, but he really didn’t need to. Kris could read his gaze as easily as he could pick up Suho’s scent, even here in the outdoors. And it wasn’t only due to the short distance in between them, either – Kris knew he would pick it up anywhere, knew he would notice it from here on forever.

Knew his heart would grow ill the day Suho wasn’t there anymore.

But when that day came, Kris wouldn’t be there anymore, either.

Suho tugged on their joined hands to get Kris to snap out of his own reveries for long enough to cross the road before the streetlight changed (again). Kris almost missed the cue, tangled up in how absolutely delightful Suho looked under the neon signs that some shops were lighting up under the fading daylight. Those gave a more golden quality to his skin, reflected off his dark eyes until they were cast aflame. And that was all without even mentioning Suho’s bright smile, the lean curve of his expression a downright offer – kiss me.

Kris unconsciously leant towards Suho, bending down to salvage the difference of their heights. Suho smiled more, leant both hands on Kris’ shoulders to try and stop him – Kris did stop, but not before he realised what he’d been about to do.

And then he blushed. Deep. Like a deer caught in the headlights. Which he was, since the cars were passing by their side. The streetlight had turned red for pedestrians.

“Kiss me when I know Baekhyun is safe.” Suho muttered. Then, he reached up (he had to grab the fabric under his hands to prevent Kris from standing at his full height) and gave Kris a kiss on the cheek. It landed closer to his jaw, though; leaving Kris to wonder if that had been on purpose or not. He got his answer when Suho spoke again, right against his blushing skin. “…you can kiss me more tonight, too.”

Kris was a bit too stunned to give a proper answer to that. All he could do was stand there like a downright idiot while Suho slowly slid his hands down his body – from shoulders to chest, and then off completely. And then, he was holding Kris’ hand again, looking as innocent as ever, and not at all like he’d just teased his boyfriend to Hell and back.

“Son of a thousand Wolves…” Kris grumbled under his breath, falling into step once more. Suho gave him a tiny yet sultry look over his own shoulder, tugging him even closer, until they were walking side-by-side once more.

And so, Kris followed Suho’s lead, into a part of the city that he hadn’t yet been in. It was less residential than the centre where Suho lived, though definitely not as spartan as the outskirts were. It couldn’t even be considered middle ground in between those two extremes, what with how many shopping centres and bigger, two-stories shops appeared on both sides of the two-way road. At least Kris could be sure that it was the same two-way road that crossed right through the city’s centre; that same white bus from before was currently parked at the only bus-stop of the place. Well, maybe it wasn’t the same bus, but one from the same company – Kris hadn’t paid enough attention to the driver to be sure.

Suho led him around a two-story shopping centre with a big “CINEMA” sign hung across its second floor. It caught Kris’ attention, if only from how bright its LED-lights illuminated the street in front of the sliding, crystal doors. There were different, small pictures glued to the inside of the glass by those doors – probably a condensed version of the night’s movies.

That reminded Kris of a certain romance drama that Suho had been watching.

“Did you ever catch up with that drama?” he asked Suho.

“Not really. And I skipped pretty much the entire episode I watched with you.”

“Wait, what? I thought you stayed up to watch it?”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t.” Suho giggled like he was about to make a great confession. “Between your teasing, my brain jumping to conclusions, the commercial breaks… I really didn’t get any of that second episode they showed. Even if I watch the third and fourth ones this next week, I won’t follow the plot. It’s a sixteen-episode drama, the plot moves really fast.”

“We could always binge it after this mess is dealt with.” Kris wasn’t looking at Suho, although he could feel Suho’s gaze on him. “You know. Get a day off, laze around and watch it start-to-finish.”

“That sounds great.” Kris could hear the smile in Suho’s words. “For now, though, we need to check up on Baekhyun. This is his building.”

Kris followed Suho as he opened the front door with his own key – which wasn’t too strange, considering that he’d mentioned his kids had all a key to Suho’s house; it made sense for Suho to have keys to his kids’ houses as well. Suho called the elevator down, planning to ride it up to the very last floor. Kris was more amused than he probably should’ve been upon watching Suho preening (there was no other word to describe it) in front of the mirror mounted on one wall. He accommodated a few locks so that they fell right over his temples, straightened the lowest parts of his shirt until it looked mildly ruffled up.

“Don’t judge me, Baekhyun will do that for you.” Suho defended him when he caught sight of Kris’ raised eyebrow and amused smile through the mirror.

“I don’t doubt it.” Kris replied, making no motion to preen himself.

He really had no need to do so; it was much more fun to let Suho get his hands on Kris’ chest. Kris’ breathe caught in his throat, threatening with choking him fully, when Suho circled around his neck, adjusting the way in which his shirt’s neck fell down. It looked much more homogeneous once he was done – Kris was still out of breath.

Suho’s gaze raised enough to glance at Kris’ half-opened lips. For a moment, neither spoke – time wasn’t even passing around them –

Ding! The elevator’s door opened.

Suho immediately backed off, both his hands trailing off Kris’ body. The Wolf within growled at the elevator even as followed Suho out of it. Baekhyun’s front door was completely closed, which was a good sign. What Kris didn’t know how to judge was Suho’s tranquillity; so he merely asked him about it, careful to keep his voice down – Human buildings had a lot of echo inside their tiled walls.

“I’m not afraid.” Suho smiled a small shy thing at him. “How could I be? You’re right here with me.”

Kris had no shame in admitting that such a concession had lighted him up inside.

But he didn’t move immediately after Suho did. In fact, he remained anchored to the ground until Suho turned the key to Baekhyun’s apartment, making it slide into place with a dull, metallic click.

Kris pointedly refused to acknowledge the other things that he wanted Suho to slide into place.

The very moment in which there was some opened space in between the door’s wood and its frame, a muffled exclamation could be heard. It reverberated cleanly through the air, making Suho’s light blush go away completely – it also made Kris’ instincts stand on edge, awaiting the fight that he knew would break out.

“Don’t you fucking dare!” Dry blood mixed with rusted iron. “Leave me the fuck alone!” Poignant and invasive. “Touch me and you’re dead!”

Suho gave Kris a worried look, and scurried into the apartment’s hall. It was a tiny flat, much smaller than Suho’s own; which probably meant a cheaper price. Ideal for a twenty-something, fresh out of mommy’s house. Or simply someone trying to save some money; there were magazines spread out on the kitchenette’s table, full of dog pictures. In passing, Kris could read only the title at the top of the page, due to its bigger typography – Small Dogs: Best Advice!

“GO AWAY!!”

Suho recoiled upon hearing that scream, his expression growing even warier. Kris didn’t need many more hints to know that the screamer was probably Baekhyun himself. Kris also had a good idea of why he was screaming like this, but decided to not say it to Suho – he just didn’t want him to worry. Besides, Kris was probably the better fighter of the two. It would be better if he advanced first; Suho could guide him from behind. Not to mention that those endless shouts were guidance enough – even when Kris didn’t know the distribution to Baekhyun’s apartment.

“There!” Suho whispered to Kris’ broad back, reaching out with one arm so that Kris would see him pointing towards a half-opened door. There was a shadow looming on the opposite wall, foreshadowing that there was someone standing right on the other side of that door. “Main bedroom!”

Kris took Suho’s hand and lowered it. Suho allowed him to – Kris heard him gasp when his grip fell away in time with Kris changing form. The black Wolf was tall enough to be level with Suho’s thighs, his back arched tightly, and his head hung low. Suho had spent more than enough time amongst Kai’s and Sehun’s dogs to know that this posture was an indication of aggression – a deadly threat that shouldn’t be overlooked.

So when his Wolf marched towards the door Suho had singled out, Suho decided to stay out of it. He just crouched low, musing that he would be harder to detect at first glance if he wasn’t at eye-level with an adult Human. His Wolf was completely silent; not even the most rebellious wooden planks would creak upon withstanding his weight. Suho could only admire that elegance, the cadence of his prowl, the tightness of muscle and sinew beneath the fluffed-out fur.

He knew by heart that his Wolf’s fur was much softer than it looked like.

When his Wolf was directly by the door, he paused. Suho couldn’t see what he was doing, but let him be just the same – he trusted his Wolf. He knew Baekhyun would be safe in the end; and he also knew martial arts, he could defend himself proper if need be.

As if right on cue, something hit the wall by the door with enough force to make the painting hung on the corridor shake. Suho shook too, recoiling from the exclamation of pain that followed that one hit.

His Wolf jumped into the room, disappearing from Suho’s view.

Suho stayed outside, crouched on the corridor, curling tighter into himself every time that he heard a landed hit or a scream of pain come from within the room. He had no idea how much time passed between his Wolf jumping inside, and the door opening fully. It was such a red herring that he didn’t move – he just whispered into the heavy air, knowing that Wolfish senses would hear him no problem.

“My Wolf…?”

A rumbling growl from inside the room. It didn’t sound like those warning growls he’d received when his Wolf had had blood-matted fur on his side. So Suho took it as a better signal. Not a good signal, just something in between “I’m wounded” and “everything’s fine”.

“Is Baekhyun–”

“MOM?!”

Suho darted into the room before he knew what he was doing.

A rounded, black something flew by.

“AH!”

When Suho opened his eyes again, Baekhyun was on the floor, screaming bloody murder. A big, black Wolf was on top of him, stopping him from moving, but not really attacking him. Two men dressed in sporty black clothes were lying unconscious – one half-propped against the bedframe’s feet, the other face-down on a pile of rumpled clothes (dirty laundry, Suho supposed). And there was also a scratched frying pan on the floor, right by Suho’s feet.

The absurdity of the situation sunk in after some panicked breaths.

“Baek, it’s alright.” Suho started, moving towards his Wolf. When he leant a hand on his crown, right in between the ears, the Wolf stopped moving. He was still staring Baekhyun down, though. “This Wolf is safe.”

“Wolf?! Weren’t those only legends you use to jack off?!”

Suho blushed beet red, silently thanked that his Wolf couldn’t see it from his current posture – and pointedly ignored that, maybe, Wolfish senses could catch even this tiny detail. He manoeuvred his Wolf off his kid, noticing how those powerful paws were never leant fully on his kid’s body.

To further complicate the situation, his Wolf decided that this was the perfect time to just change forms.

“WHOAH!” Baekhyun scrambled onto his feet with all the agility that his training in martial arts had given him. Big brown eyes stared into the crouched Human by Suho’s side, watching how the latter was still leaning his hand on soft-looking, black hair. “Wait! You’re a Wolf?! For real?!”

“For real.” Kris answered before Suho could. “Name’s Kris, by the way.”

“Aaaaah!” Baekhyun extended the sound as much as his lungs allowed him to. He was still staring at Kris, much more intently than what was polite. Suho was half mortified by his kid’s lack of manners, but Kris didn’t mind much. Half of his own Wolfpack were much worse when it came to Human manners, anyway. “You’re Kris? Hi dad!”

If Suho had blushed before, now all his blood was on his face.

“I’m not your dad!” Kris protested. Baekhyun snickered, a defiant smirk drawn in his mischievous features. Kris observed him while he straightened the lowest ends of his white t-shirt – it was stained bright red at the chest. “…what.”

Suho instantly noticed that Kris hadn’t worded his question as a properly intonated question, instead allowing the faintest traces of a growl lace the word. It was a clear display of authority, perhaps even of power – it was meant to intimidate, to make others cower in either crippling fear or thinly-veiled admiration.

In the split moment before Baekhyun answered him, it was clear that Kris was used to being the leader of a Wolfpack. But then that smirk augmented exponentially.

“Well, that’s enough.” Suho cut in before Baekhyun could say anything – he knew his kid well enough to read the filthy words inside Baekhyun’s mind. Suho could stand being teased to hell and back, but he wasn’t so sure if Kris would take kindly to it when it didn’t come from his pack-members. Especially when he didn’t know Baekhyun at all. “Baek, you need to come with us. And tell us what happened with these… men.”

“Ah, yes.” Baekhyun looked to the one propped against the bedframe. There was blood running from his nose to down his chin, dripping to the front of his shirt. “They came in earlier than you two did, said something about me needing to go with them. I don’t trust them, mom.”

“With good reason.” Kris grumbled while he changed his posture – instead of crouched by Suho’s feet, he was now sitting down on the floor. Suho’s hand couldn’t quite reach his hair now, though.

Maybe that was why there had been a hint of a growl in his voice.

“I was in the kitchen, organizing things.” Suho looked at Baekhyun, incredulous. “What? It’s time for spring cleaning!”

“It’s not even spring…” Suho sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. Damnit, he already felt sorely underprepared for dealing with Baekhyun today.

“So what? It’s just the name.” Baekhyun retaliated without missing a beat. Suho groaned out loud – Kris seemed really amused by that. He looked upwards, to Suho, dark eyes darkening even more when Suho returned the look. “Whoah, you two are whipped.”

Neither Suho nor Kris said anything. There was nothing to be said against that.

Baekhyun snickered again, almost like he’d just discovered some big secret that he could later brag to his brothers about. Suho was too tired to call him out on that, so he just let it be. Kris didn’t say anything either, eyes following Baekhyun as he bent down to take the frying pan. Somehow, it looked less an inane object and more a weapon in his hands.

“I defended myself with this.” Baekhyun examined it closer. “…and ended up loosening the screws, fuck…”

Taking the frying pan by its handle, he shook it until the rounded part swung quite uncoordinatedly. Baekhyun pulled a face, histrionic down to these little situations. Suho sighed, advanced, and took it from him.

“Nothing a screwdriver can’t rectify.” He declared.

“The only screwdriver I need is alcoholic, between having a dad and dad being a Wolf, I’m sure my bros will flip.”

“About that…” Suho started, bit his lip, trailed off. Kris tried not to stare – failed – saw that Baekhyun had noticed.

Son of a thousand Wolves. Suho hadn’t been kidding when he called Baekhyun his most troublesome kid.

But there was also something endearing about him, Kris mused in silence while Suho made his kid change shirts. Baekhyun did so right in front of them, no quarrels about privacy at all, though he did advice Kris to “stare all you want, make mom jealous” in a sing-sang tone and a wink that reminded Kris of an overly excited corgi. Suho chastised Baekhyun right away for that – he appeared so much like a proper mom…

Kris’ mind drifted a continent away, to a peaceful little city, to the way it had been racked by war and hunger. To a kind woman he’d loved literally until the day she died, her long skirts always had been Kris’ refuge from the world’s evil. Until the day she died. Until death had destroyed his dreams.

The only good thing to come out of that had been the Wolfpack he shared with Tao, Yixing, Luhan, Xiumin, and Suho.

“Kris…?”

“I’m fine.” His fingers found Suho’s. “Don’t worry.” Suho took his hand fully. “Just remembering.” Their steps fell into perfect synchronization. “Let’s head back.” Baekhyun was staring at them. “We have explanations to make.”

“True, true!” Baekhyun said, his boisterous voice a welcomed distraction from the cold of the past. The cinema’s neon sign illuminated his face from just the right angle to highlight his cheekbones. “And presentations, too! I gotta meet all the Wolves! And my bros, too!”

“Oh, you all will.” Suho smiled at his kid. Then, he turned his head to the opposite side – towards Kris. “Just one more thing.”

“EEEWWW!” Baekhyun protested when his old mom kissed his new dad.

Chapter Text

The abandoned building was much livelier now than when it had been only four Wolves living in it, Xiumin mused. He swung his arm more fully around his moon’s slim shoulders, heart bursting upon feeling how Luhan moved closer to him. Xiumin adjusted the way his hips were leant on the beaten sofa, which in turn caused Luhan’s own hips to clash with Xiumin’s.

“Gross.” Sehun stated, pulling a face from where he was sitting cross-legged on the carpet-less floor. Janga licked his hand, requesting more pets.

“You say that ‘cause you’ve got no one to smooch.” Luhan retaliated, tone much less biting than it could really be. Xiumin took that as a small victory; one probably due to Xiumin’s own presence by his side.

“I don’t need anyone to “smooch”.” Sehun rolled his eyes at both Luhan and Xiumin, already petting Janga with one hand. Vivi shook her head on Sehun’s opposite side.

“So thought I. Then, I found my moon.” Xiumin looked at Luhan with a smile, leaning down to kiss the hairline at the top of his forehead. Luhan allowed him to do so, still staring into Sehun as if the gesture alone would prove Xiumin’s point.

“Urgh.” Sehun protested.

“Don’t mind them, they’re greasy like that.” Tao told Sehun. When the younger Human looked at him, Tao was lying face-up on the floor, playing with Janku. Tao snickered giddily, letting Janku lick all over his face. “Oy!”

Janku tilted his head to one side, tail flapping about a million times per minute. He opened his mouth to bark, or maybe to whine –

GRUF!”

Monku had landed right on top of Janku. And Tao was still underneath them both. Which sent Kai into a flurry.

“JANKU! MONKU! Get off him!”

Neither golden seemed really okay with that order, even though they obeyed like the well-trained babies that they were. Kai looked at Tao with apprehension and apologies in his face – they all melted away upon seeing Tao’s blinding smile.

Tao was still lying face-up, arms spread on both sides of him, his whole chest heaving up and down in time with his laughter – that silver t-shirt did a poor job of hiding the ladder of his ribs, crumpled towards the sides as it was because of the dogs. It was possible to see the bone structure underneath the thin fabric, the roll of his abdominals whenever he took another breath – he exploded in giggles soon afterwards.

And, when he turned his head to look at Kai, all attention went directly to his sharp jawline – how it went from three-quarters into front-view, cutting a river of molten lava through Kai’s heart and air alike. But its most delectable aspect was that it drove Kai’s attention back to Tao’s mouth, made him focus in those kissable lips.

Kai knew exactly how they felt against his own. That was why he couldn’t help the blush from overtaking his features.

Then Tao had the audacity, the gall, to bite his lower lip and lower his eyelids, still looking directly at Kai.

“Get a room!”

Oof!” a light jacket had landed right onto Tao’s head, covering him fully. “What the hell?!” he asked while he struggled to take it off his vision, using his upper body’s strength to sit up. The jacket fell to his lap, letting him see an unamused Baekhyun in front of him. “What’d you do that for?”

“Stop ogling my little brother like you wanna eat him up!” Baekhyun protested right back – funnily enough, his tone was almost as whiny and airy as Tao’s had been.

“Who knows, maybe he already has.” Luhan teased before either Tao or Kai could get a word in sideways.

“Shut up, Lu!” Tao twisted his torso to look at his pack-member, cheeks aflame and fangs bared. It felt somewhat strange to call him by only his name’s first syllable, but it was also strangely satisfying at the same time – probably because of the age difference and the expectation for Tao to treat his elders with special deference.

Luhan shrugged much more elegantly than he was given credit for. Xiumin moved firm fingertips underneath Luhan’s chin and tilted his head upwards, not unlike how he’d do to a rebellious cub. The unamused look in his moon’s face wasn’t anything special – yet the gleam inside those dark, dark eyes told Xiumin everything he needed to know.

Lost in each other as they were, they never noticed the tentative look that Kai and Tao exchanged – it only lasted mere seconds, though; then they both got incredibly shy, and looked away to opposite directions at the same time.

“Man, I’m hungry as fuck.” Sehun intervened not long afterwards. He was trying to get Vivi to pay him attention, but she was refusing – as she always did. “Weren’t mom and Kyungsoo in the kitchen?”

“Kyungsoo is, I’m not.”

“Mom!” Sehun turned towards the door that Suho had just crossed. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, signalling that he’d been cooking before entering the living room. “What’s for dinner?”

“Impatient.” Xiumin observed while Suho took a seat on the opposite side of the couch. Luhan instantly snuggled closer to his moon, although Suho had left plenty of room in between himself and Luhan. “You should be able to wait some minutes more, Human or not.”

“How do I know you’re not Human, too?” Sehun replied indignantly.

Xiumin gave him a curious look – Sehun returned it, though it was clear that he was feeling just a tiny little bit intimidated by Xiumin’s intense stare.

“Call your brothers. Food can wait.”

Sehun and Kai both shivered at the sheer authority inside Xiumin’s tone. Luhan and Tao merely smirked, used as they were to this sudden strength, to Xiumin turning on his most leader-like qualities. But the most interesting reaction came from Suho.

“As long as you explain things proper instead of terrorising my kids, alright.”

Xiumin instantly looked at Suho – and found such a quiet, understated dominance in the curve of his shoulders, in the quiet steel of his gaze, that Xiumin could do nothing more than obey. His head gave a little nod before he even realised it. The tiny smile in Suho’s face felt like a grand reward.

Suddenly, it was obvious why Kris loved Suho so.

The next thing Xiumin felt was a swift slap to his arm. When he looked to his side, Luhan was sporting the crossbreed of a pout and a glare. Xiumin smiled, moved a hand to Luhan’s crown. His playful moon tried to nibble on it, as if he were in Wolf form, but failed – Xiumin’s reflexes were too fast, attuned to sparring with all his pack-members.

Not to mention that he knew his moon better than anybody else did.

Suho’s children slowly yet surely joined them in the living room. Some seemed a bit wary – Xiumin easily recognised that sentiment in Chanyeol. Luhan looked amused by how other kids were trying to hide their caution, almost like that reluctance would make the Wolves resent them. Which was ridiculous, really; their Wolfpack already expected such a reaction from them. Almost all Humans invariably looked at them like savages, like monsters, out there to scare children and take adults away to do their dark biddings.

From a Wolf’s point of view, it was too easy to read those signs in Humans. It was just too easy to pick up on their fear, enhanced Wolfish senses or not. And it was another reason more why most Wolves preferred not to mingle with Humans – after all, nobody likes feeling alienated.

Yet it was also the root of an irrational desire to find the one Human who did not treat the Wolf as a thoughtless monster.

“Well, we’re all here now.” Suho declared, looking at Kris. If he was feeling as reluctant as his kids, he did a fine job of occulting it – no Wolf could really read him easy. Except Kris, of course. “There are explanations to be made, I’m afraid.”

“True.” Kris didn’t tug Suho closer, but the way his gaze fell on him felt much more like a physical gesture than it truly was. It prompted a small chorus of “ewww” from some of Suho’s kids – namely Baekhyun and Sehun. Kris cut through that by sweeping a look over all six kids. “I’m assuming most if not all of you know we’re Wolves.”

“WHAT!” exclaimed Chen. His volume hadn’t been extremely high, but the sheer emptiness of the building made it resound louder. Tao recoiled. “Ah, sorry…”

“Am fine.” Tao assured him, trying to hide that Kai’s fingers had instantly moved to touch his own. What he couldn’t hide was the smile on his face – still, he masked its true root by petting Vivi by his side. “Hello, lil’ lady.”

Vivi gave him a slight gruff, but didn’t resist being pet – much to Sehun’s chagrin and Kai’s amusement.

“Sorry for the surprise, but it’s true.” Kris said to Chen, whose face still held pure surprise. Suho gave him a tiny look – sorry for not telling you sooner – and Chen shook his head.

“It’s fine. Really.” Chen said. His gaze fell upon Yixing almost instantly. “I just… didn’t see you turn.”

“Change.” Yixing subtly corrected him. “That’s because I didn’t change forms in front of you. I didn’t need to do so, and I figured it’d be too much information to give you all at once.”

“I'm not sure if this is better.” Chen whined. Yixing looked so apologetic that he immediately added on to his sentence, “But it’s fine! Really. I’ll be fine. Just explain everything to us. Slowly. Please.”

“I was going to ask for that, too…” Kai mumbled, eternally awkward (and downright adorable) when it came to these kinds of things.

“Slow it is, then.” Kris nodded. Then he looked at Suho. “One by one would be fine, yes?”

“Yes.” Suho confirmed – and that was good, since he knew his kids much better than the pack did. His gaze went from Kris to those same kids. “Interrupt or ask at any time, though. There’s… a lot to say. And I mean a – lot.

Baekhyun and Chanyeol instantly paid more attention, prompted by how Suho had intoned those last two words. This felt like something important, something of which they could miss not a single syllable. It was important to Suho, too – and that meant that it should be important to his kids. Because they cared about Suho. As a mom, as a big brother, as a best friend, all rolled into one person.

“So. I’m Kris, I’m this Wolfpack’s leader, and I’m also Suho’s boyfriend.” And, without waiting for the kids’ choir of hellos, he changed forms.

Suho could only look at him in awe as a big, black Wolf was left sitting where a tall, black-haired Human had been. Baekhyun’s and Chanyeol’s mouths fell open when his Wolf’s black eyes settled on them. In this posture, his back was arched slightly; but not even that could dissimulate the sheer size of him. Chen looked at Suho, a question in his eyes, and Suho answered by letting his hand rest in between his Wolf’s ears. He was rewarded with the Wolf’s growled equivalent of a cat’s purr. The sound seemed to make Sehun and Kai recoil – funny, considering they were the most used to canine behaviours.

Kris returned to Human form a couple seconds later, figuring it’d be better if he didn’t have to rely on his own pack-members to communicate with Suho and his cubs – his kids, he pointedly reminded himself as he completed his change.

“I’m Xiumin, I’m kind of a second-in-command, I’m also the only one in the pack who shares your mother tongue, and I’m taken by Luhan.”

“That’s me!” Luhan added, raising a hand up into the air as he did so. Xiumin changed forms then, making the most of that split moment when all attention was focused on his moon. “Oh, and this is my moon’s Wolf form.”

“I didn’t know Wolves could be blue.” Kyungsoo muttered, volume so low that only Wolfish senses picked his words up. They caused Kris to smile and Luhan to smirk – which, in turn, made Kyungsoo realise that Wolves’ senses were more acute than those of Humans.

Maybe to distract himself from his own late realisations, Kyungsoo focused on Xiumin’s Wolf form. The blue of his fur gave way to the blackest of blacks when he shifted in place, probably doing the Wolfish equivalent to rolling one’s shoulders. Golden eyes looked at Chen, almost as if gauging his reaction to not only one but two Wolves openly changing forms in front of him.

Kyungsoo saw Chen swallow, but he also had to commend his brother’s aplomb. After all, Chen wasn’t one to get scared easily; and this situation did nothing other than prove his fearless fame to be completely true.

Xiumin and Luhan then changed forms at the same time, which meant that Suho’s kids were almost overwhelmed by it. Their coordination spoke clearly about their love-link – Kai, always the romantic one, could almost see the red thread of fate connecting them forever together.

He idly wondered if he, too, had one end of a red string tied to his body.

“You’re tiny.” Sehun was saying to Luhan’s brown Wolf form. Luhan growled in return, the sound not unlike what dignified Vivi would make when she didn’t want to be petted. For Sehun, the familiarity of that sound was jarring. “Don’t grr me, you tiny, tiny Wolf!”

“The white socks are cute, though.” Xiumin praised his moon, letting his hand fall on the back of his neck, right where the back met the head. The gesture was more a way of making sure Luhan wouldn’t pounce on Sehun than a sign of love – yet it absolutely was a loving gesture, too. “All of my moon is cute.”

“You say that only ‘cause you love him.” Chanyeol observed. He seemed reluctant to criticise a Wolf whose teeth could tear him apart, but he did it anyway. “Then again, it’d be kinda weird if any of my brothers said that same thing to him, so…” he shrugged to end his sentence; and it conveyed everything his words hadn’t said.

“I’m Yixing, I’m the Wolfpack’s healer. Nice to meet you all.” Yixing intervened before Luhan could change forms to snarl a vicious phrase in Chanyeol’s direction. “I’ll change forms, then.”

Kyungsoo appreciated getting a warning, if only because he could see that it had taken tension out of Suho’s shoulders. He pointedly looked away when Kris’ hand moved closer to Suho, though.

“You’re what most people think of when they hear “Wolf”.” Kai said to the lean Wolf that Yixing had changed into. His dark brown fur almost seemed to glow under the last sunrays of the day, his black eyes capturing them until there were flaming reflections at their edges. “You know, bigger than a dog, lean and brown with black eyes.”

“He says “thank you”.” Tao translated Yixing’s Wolfish language to the Humans, too aware of the language-barrier that existed in between them.

“How do you know?” Kai asked him.

“I speak the Wolves' language, too.” Tao replied, shrugging only one shoulder. “We all do. But Humans don’t, and I don’t think they can learn it.”

“Ah…” Kai’s shoulders slumped in defeat.

Tao immediately wanted to cheer him up. And the only thing that sprung to mind was changing forms, too, letting his black-and-white Wolf form do all the talking that his Human form could not do. He growled just the slightest little bit, playful, unthreatening, knowing that Kai would read him right – if only because regular housedogs used the same kind of growl to convey the same exact meaning.

“Whoah, you’re adorable.” Kai immediately said to Tao, forgetting that they were not alone in the room. Tao tilted his head to one side, just like Kai’s three goldens did sometimes, prompting Kai to stroke the fur at Tao’s chest. “So soft…”

Tao growled a happy Wolf’s equivalent of a purr, wiggling his whole body, tail flapping onto the floor with enough force to make audible sounds every single time. Kai giggled, let his hand fall to Tao’s white legs.

“He’s like a Panda-Wolf.” Baekhyun commented. He’d fully meant his words as a tease, but no one took it like that – Suho and his brothers were too used to his jabs; and the Wolfpack simply knew that Tao’s colours were those of a panda.

Or a zebra. But Tao liked pandas better. So the rest of his pack teased him with a panda’s image, and not a zebra’s. For some unfathomable reason, it kept Tao happy.

“An adorable Panda-Wolf.” Kai corrected his brother.

A new round of “ewww” followed his words.

“Now then, let us grab something for dinner while we explain the whole deal about bringing you all here, and about those men in black.” Kris said. He sounded like he had the world’s biggest headache.

Since dinner was mostly meat and rice, Luhan and Tao remained in Wolf form as they gulped meat down with voracious appetite. Besides, they were both being petted – by Xiumin and Kai, respectively – but Yixing changed back into Human form quite quickly, wanting to eat the rice that his Wolf form's stomach couldn't stand. Chen was downright staring at him while he changed forms, admiring his effortless elegance. But when Yixing returned the stare, frowning a little, Chen quickly looked away. It reminded Yixing of a small kid who’d been caught with an arm down the cookie-jar.

A fitting mental image, considering Chen was one of Suho’s kids, one-year difference in between them or not.

To the kids’ credit, they remained mostly calm during Kris’ explanation, though perhaps only because Suho intervened every once in a while, to remind his kids that he himself was alright. He explained how he’d found Kris’ Wolf form in an alleyway on his way from work, and Kris jumped through time, explaining how he’d reunited with his pack a couple days afterwards. From that point on, both the rest of the Wolves and the kids were more vocal, adding whatever information they knew.

The story grew exponentially as dinner went on, signalling that their combined efforts would put a seasoned storyteller to shame. When it reached the crucial point – when they spoke about those Governmental men being after the Wolfpack and Suho and his kids – a choir of airy protests arose. Suho was able to calm them down for the most part, and Kris’ leader-like tone took care of the remaining issues.

“But we’re unsafe!” Kai protested when Kris was done speaking, sounding like he was on the brink of freaking out. Tao, still in Wolf form, moved his head as closer to Kai’s torso as he could, half-lying atop Kai’s lap. Kai pet him without even looking – his gaze was still fixed on Kris and Suho. “What are we supposed to do? We can’t fight the whole Government on our own!”

“No one said we will do that.” Suho said, voice gentle, volume low – incredibly reassuring, even given the circumstances. “You’re right about us needing a plan, but I’d say that can wait until tomorrow at least. I don’t know about you…” he looked at his six kids, “… but I’ve had enough for today. I’m tired. Let’s go to bed for now.”

“Right.” Kris added. “Let’s just divide the rooms and call it a day.”

“Tomorrow, we plan.” Suho said, smiling, looking at Kris. Their chemistry was so painfully obvious that all six kids looked away – and that amused the Wolves to the point of giggles. “What?”

“Nothing, mom.” Sehun said before Suho could realise what had just transpired. “How many rooms are there?”

“Six.” Xiumin said, voice unwavering. When he found himself on the receiving end of eleven questioning, amused, looks, he clarified. “What? I counted them ages ago.”

“If Suho and Kris share a room, and Xiumin and Luhan share another, that leaves–”

“I’m sharing a room with Kai!” Tao cut directly through Yixing’s words. Their healer seemed slightly upset by that, judging by the tense line of his mouth, but he didn’t say a thing in return. “It’s you six who need to negotiate!”

For a moment, no one spoke; perhaps they were all too taken aback by Tao's sudden outburst. Yixing didn't break the silence - he merely rose from his seat (some of Suho's kids interpreted it as a quick retreat), and he was soon followed by Chanyeol. Together, they started to tidy the plates and glasses the twelve of them had use to dine with.

“I’ll take my three goldens with me.” Kai mumbled, blushing furiously – how could he not blush when Tao, now in Human form, was lying half on top of Kai. HIs arms were sprawled across Kai's lap, elbows close to his crotch, head leveled with the middle point of Kai's chest. Kai's blush intensified upon noticing how Tao's torso was parallel to Kai's leg. True, Tao's Wolf form had lied on top of Kai in the past, so this shouldn't be such a problem... but such a posture felt much more intimate now that Tao was no longer a bicolour Wolf. “Sehun, could you take Vivi?”

“Of course!” Sehun replied, huffy. “Who do you take me for? I take care of my dog!”

“…no one said you don’t.” Xiumin commented. There was an amused smile on his face; it made him appear foreign to such Human affairs, as if Xiumin himself was in a whole another league. The gesture couldn’t be blamed on his Wolfish nature, though; the rest of the Wolfpack didn’t have that aura around them. “Who needs a room, then? Raise your hand!”

Kyungsoo, Sehun, Yixing, Chen, Chanyeol, and Baekhyun all raised a hand to varying heights. Suho facepalmed, a tiny exasperated sound escaping him – not only was his youngest in need of a room, but his most troublesome kid was, too?

Son of a thousand Wolves, as Kris would say. This was a recipe for disaster.

“Any preferences?” Kris asked the six room-less ones. He figured that would be a fine place to start from, since Suho was too exhausted to take the reins right then.

“No Wolves for me.” Sehun said immediately. “Sorry, but I can’t trust either of you just yet.”

“I don’t blame you for that.” Yixing answered evenly – yet there was a hint of… something, within his voice. Baekhyun perked up instantly.

“I want to share a room with the Wolf!” he declared, shooting his right hand into the air as high as he could reach. Yixing looked at him curiously, his black eyes shining with that same undetermined something.

“What you want is to cause trouble.” Sehun chastised him as he rose from the table, attention focused on Vivi – for once, the little lady was letting him play with her. Sehun’s smile at that wasn’t tiny, his eyes becoming crescent moons.

Baekhyun stuck his tongue out at Sehun, but didn’t take his statement back.

“Fine.” Kris said after he’d shot a look to Yixing, confirming his consent. “Since the remaining four are brothers, just decide amongst yourselves. I’m going to bed. Good night.”

He’d used his “leader voice” to bid them farewell for now, so no one dared say anything to him. Kris rose from his seat, taking Suho with him, and disappeared into the building’s interior. Xiumin and Luhan took their leave too, though not before they’d explained to the kids where their rooms were.

Tao was the next one to raise from his comfy half-seat atop Kai’s lap. He extended both hands towards him, smiling – his smile grew even more when Kai allowed him to help him up. A three-headed, golden frenzy followed them. The biggest, most complete room was already taken - somehow, it wasn’t surprising to see that Kris had taken the best bedroom for himself and Suho.

The surprising thing (and what made Tao curse, Kai chastising him right after) was that Xiumin and Luhan had taken the next best room. Tao felt it like a direct blow to his pride; it had been him who’d discovered the functioning rocking chair inside of it. And it was also one of the least beaten-down bedrooms, with no worm-eaten furniture. Stars above, it even had some semblance of a blanket on top of the mattress!

Kai took his hand, reassured him that he didn’t mind the trade-off. Tao only let himself be guided into the room in front of Xiumin’s because Kai had given him a kiss on the cheek – well, and because those three goldens were literally pushing him into the room.

Impatient little housedogs…

Then again, Tao couldn’t really be mad at them. Not when it meant that he could close the door, blocking all the ruckus still coming from the living room. He didn’t even notice that Suho’s kids were still arguing, voices raising above their usual volume.

But who could blame him?

No one.

No one, because Kai was standing in the middle of the room, stretching his arms wide above his head (he was so tall that his fingertips almost reached the ceiling). A sliver of tanned skin appeared in between his raised shirt (Tao almost missed the crop-top) and those dark, low-riding jeans.

The mere vision of those centimetres of skin, of the ending curve of Kai’s spine, made Tao’s brain short-circuit aloud.

Chapter Text

The first sign that Kai received of Tao’s brain malfunctioning was a small gasp, tiny enough to let Kai know that Tao had tried to minimize it. Maybe he’d miscalculated how sensible Human senses were – maybe he was so used to a city’s bustling that he hadn’t realised Kai could hear him easily in this quieter setting.

Kai looked over his own shoulder, half afraid that Tao was crashing down on him or something like that. He still remembered that incident inside the room with the rocking chair, with Tao lying down on the bed and Kai on that same rocking chair.

What Kai saw took his breathe away, made him freeze in place, biceps contracting on pure instinct.

Tao was staring at him, unabashed, mouth hanging open, gaze fixed at some point lower than Kai’s chest. There was a faint colour spreading through his face – it was the only thing still moving; even time seemed to have halted. Well, the three goldens were snooping around the room, true, but they were the last ones in Kai’s mind – as bad as that sounded, considering he was the dogs’ owner.

“Tao…?” Kai asked, his voice a perfect reflection of how tentative he felt. Tao didn’t answer him immediately, still staring into Kai’s figure. Curious, Kai followed the invisible line of that darkened gaze, and ended up at his own– “AH!”

“N-no, don’t do that!” Tao whined as soon as he saw how Kai turned around fully, facing Tao, hands immediately flying to the lowest edges of his shirt. Kai was blushing as he tugged them down, uncaring if it brought his collar down a sliver. But Tao noticed it. “Ah…”

“Why are you staring at me?!” Kai half mumbled, half asked. Embarrassment was so clear in his posture that Tao couldn’t help but give him a direct answer – much as it embarrassed Tao to do so.

“You just… looked really good when you… were stretching…”

Silence fell as Tao trailed off. Kai was looking at him so closely that he caught the exact moment when Tao’s gaze went from Kai’s body to the floor at Tao’s right side. Kai interpreted it as sheer embarrassment, since he’d seen his brothers do such a thing in the past – not to mention that Kai himself had done it too sometimes. And some romantic dramas loved to play that card for their lead actresses as well, perhaps to enhance her shy innocence.

But Tao wasn’t shy – innocence was a different concept altogether – Kai knew that. He knew it well, because Tao has initiated some of their kisses. Well, okay, Kai had started most of them… but that didn’t mean Tao was shy enough to not kiss Kai. Because he had. Kissed Kai. More than once.

Damnit, his thoughts were just running circles around his mind. It wasn’t a pretty sensation, it reminded him too much of being stuck in an exam’s question with no idea of how to answer it – never mind getting the right answer, at that point Kai had only wanted to write something down. He’d at least get points for the effort, right? Most teachers did that.

“Sorry…” Tao muttered – his volume didn’t really say that it’d been a whisper, but Kai chalked it up to the differences between Wolfish and Human senses. That must’ve been difficult to calculate, he couldn’t blame Tao for getting it wrong sometimes.

“…do I really look that good?” Kai asked quite innocently. “When I do this?”

And he raised both his arms again, unconsciously resting his wrists against one another, fingers curled as if they were grabbing at something. His shirt rode up again, the collar somewhat incommoding Kai just because he’d messed with it before. Kai let his legs fall open a little, figuring that if he was going to do this, he might as well let Tao enjoy it fully.

A new gasp, louder this time, signalled another short-circuit of Tao’s brain. Only this time it was worse – because Kai was smirking at him, as if he were fully aware of the effect he had over Tao. Which wasn’t surprising at all, considering Kai’s physique, but it still sent electricity surging through Tao’s system.

“Y-yeah…” he offered lamely, eyes roaming all over Kai’s body. It was downright impossible not to extrapolate that posture into other situations – maybe against a wall, or lying on a bed… Everything would be fine as long as Kai kept that sultry smirk on his face. “Just like… that…”

“What’s on your mind?” Kai asked, lowering his arms – Tao gasped a protest, but also shut up when Kai kept his wrists together, levelled with his belt.

“You.”

Kai’s smirk disappeared for a second while he processed that simple answer. His blush returned in full force once he did, however; a little shiver running down his spine, arching his hips forward just the slightest bit. Kai hoped Tao wouldn’t notice – a soft little sound told him otherwise.

Tao took a couple of steps towards Kai, gaze lowered to those well-formed lips. The same silence from before fell upon them, so thick it could be cut through with a knife, and yet light enough to be dispersed with a single sentence. And, this time, Tao’s volume matched the grain in his voice, plummeting to unexplored depths that left Kai feeling raw, exposed even while completely clothed.

“Kiss me.”

Kai could do nothing more than obey, leaning in to hold Tao by the waist as he did so. Something brushed against his leg – he knew it was one of his dogs, so he brushed the touch off. The only one he wanted to be touching right now was Tao, because the way he was exploring his mouth was…

Kai really had no words to describe it.

Then again, “indescribable” was an adjective, too.

Kai was the first to break the kiss, already gasping for air; he knew it was more due to the pounding of his pulse against his temples than because his lung capacity was small. Tao allowed him enough room to breathe, though he also remained close enough to share the narrow air in between them. Kai was gasping, warm, onto Tao’s lips – it was too much to resist.

The sound that Kai made when Tao kissed him again was downright filthy.

It made Tao’s hands fly to the front of Kai’s shirt, grabbing fistfuls of the fabric, clutching to it as much as its tightness over Kai allowed him to. Kai didn’t seem to mind one bit, judging from how he just pressed closer, deepening an already deep kiss. Tao was utterly distracted by the velvety feeling of Kai’s tongue sliding against his own – so much so, that he missed Kai’s hands lowering from his waist to his hips, to his ass.

But he didn’t miss how nicely those warm hands fit against him. Even when Tao didn’t have the best ass around.

When they came apart once more, Kai was gasping, and bringing Tao’s hips closer to his own. Tao giggled, breathless – the sound was abruptly cut off and morphed into a moan when he clashed with Kai. Their relatively similar height meant that their hips fitted together nicely, levelled against one another. Tao gasped when Kai held him as close as humanly possible – Kai, of course, used that to kiss Tao – deeply.

Tao’s arms wound up around Kai’s shoulders. Smiling, he kept them there even after they’d come apart, content with feeling Kai so close. All of his Wolfish instincts screamed within his heart – the sheer intensity of it made him shiver, made him growl.

Then he felt Kai’s hands moving to his waist once more.

Tao smiled, grateful for the gentle care that was being displayed to him. He knew it wasn’t really needed – Tao could control himself, after all – but such the gesture still hit him in all the right places. Simple as it had been, it’d also reminded Tao of the romantic daydreams he used to have every day, back when he’d been living with his older pack.

The memories were colder than the snowy winters he’d spent in the mountains.

Citrus, pine, sunshine on a beach.

“Tao…” Kai’s voice was so soft, so adoring, that Tao trembled like a leaf in strong winds. Stars above, he couldn’t even look at Kai right on. “Um… have you noticed?”

“Noticed what?” Tao asked. He sounded much more strained than Kai, though that could also be just because his voice was lower.

“Um…” Kai’s hold on him turned insecure out of a sudden. It felt so much like a change-of-heart that Tao instantly looked at him – directly into those dark eyes.

But Kai was not looking at him.

“Tell me.” Tao prompted him, waving his hips forward. He was no dancer – yet the motion was enough to make Kai blush a little more.

“…there’s… only one bed…”

“Huh?”

Kai was still not looking at him, so Tao directed his gaze elsewhere. It fell to the side, where a bed’s long side was propped against a wall. It was a bit bigger than the usual single-bed that most stores had, but at the same time it was smaller than a proper double-bed. The covers were light grey, discoloured on the edge where sunlight hit it every day. Still, they seemed functional enough. More than the worm-eaten desk and the beaten-down cupboard, at least.

“I can change forms, if you want.” Tao said. “I assume you’re more used to share a bed with your dogs… I’m not really much bigger than them.”

“N-no, don’t.” Kai sounded shy all of a sudden – even when he was still holding Tao’s hips against his own. The strange mixture of confidence and shyness was alluring, different from what Tao had seen in all the other Humans he’d encountered over the years. “It’s fine… I’m fine.”

“Sure?” Tao leant in to whisper against his skin. “You don’t wanna cuddle me?”

“I can cuddle you right now.” Kai replied, that confidence back inside his voice. Tao gasped a moan – Kai was pressed so close to him that he’d been able to feel the slight drop in Kai’s tone. “Unless you don’t want me to…”

Tao’s answer was to kiss him again.

Kai giggled against him, adorably into it. When he tried to put some distance in between them, most likely to breathe, a Wolf’s strength denied him. Kai protested, hands grabbing at the front of Tao’s silver t-shirt. He knew he was no match for Tao’s Wolfish strength, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t try. Besides, he had a feeling that just signalling his discomfort would make Tao stop.

He was not wrong.

“Sorry!”

And just with that, Tao was completely off him.

Kai couldn’t stop staring at Tao – at the downwards curve of his shoulders, at how his head hung low, at how he seemed physically unable to raise his gaze from the floor. Kai observed him for some seconds, silent, too aware of how not even Monku’s insistent headbutting could make Tao move a hand to pet him.

Gruff.” Monku protested, the sound a rumble against Tao’s well-defined thigh. Then, it morphed into a happy sound – Tao had finally started to pet him, right in between the ears. “Woof!

Janga walked to Tao too, tail waving wildly from side to side, hitting Monku right on the flank. The other golden didn’t seem to mind, so Janga moved to Tao’s other side, seeking to be petted. Tao allowed him, mumbling muted apologies to Janku – sorry lil’ one, I only have two hands.

That loving moniker made Kai’s mind go to… places. Places that it shouldn’t go to, considering they didn’t have complete privacy. Never mind the other occupied rooms in the building (one of which was just across Kai’s and Tao’s), Kai’s three goldens were there. That felt like a true problem, if only because they were Kai’s babies.

... “Little one”.

Was Tao older than Kai? If he wasn't, the scenario within Kai's mind wouldn't work.

Then again, Kai believed Tao was slightly older than him, though only by a couple months. At some point during their shared dinner, someone had mentioned that both Kai and Tao were twenty-three – the two youngest after Sehun. So that nickname could have well been directed at Kai instead of Janku, and not have lost any meaning.

It was intoxicating.

“Kai?”

“H-huh?”

“I asked what side of the bed do you want~” Damnit, the sing-sang way Tao ended his sentence got to Kai really quickly.

“I don’t really mind…” Kai answered. His hand instinctively moved to Janku’s head, petting him. Truth be told, it was complicated to distribute pets evenly amongst his three dogs because Humans (and Wolves in Human form) only had two hands - so Janku had gone to unoccupied Kai, instead of begging around Tao’s busy hands. “You can pick the side you want.”

“Left for me, then!” Tao smiled, broad and bright like the sun. Kai returned the gesture. “But I don’t think the mattress is gonna stand us and these three.”

“How many blankets are there?” Kai asked, head tilting to one side as he looked at the bed. The covers looked thin, as if there weren’t many bedclothes dressing the mattress.

“The bottom sheet that you sleep on, a thin blanket, and the top cover.” Tao listed, bending down slightly to better reach the overexcited dogs at both his sides. “Or that’s what most rooms have. I haven’t actually checked this one.”

“I’ll check!” Kai said, moving towards the bed. He pulled back the top cover to reveal a white, thin blanket. There was only the bottom sheet under it. “Ah, you’re right. Do you think we could do without the top cover?”

“You wanna put it on the floor for the goldens?” Tao asked. “Oy!”

When Kai looked at Tao, curious about what had provoked that last annoyed sound, he saw both Monku and Janga crowding Tao from both sides. For a moment, it looked like Tao was about to lose his balance – then he fell – then he managed to catch himself at the last possible minute.

“Ouch…” Kai muttered, even though he wasn’t the one on the floor.

“Tell me about it.” Tao replied with more grain in his voice than usual. His posture resembled the one for push-ups; he was so close to the floor that Monku literally jumped over him to playfight Janga. And, of course, Janku joined his brothers. “Urgh… you gotta teach them some manners. And that’s fancy coming from me.”

“I know…” Kai moved towards Tao, fully intending to help him up, but Tao’s Wolfish strength was quicker. “You’re alright, right…?”

“Yeah…” Tao took two steps and let himself fall on the right side of the bed – on Kai’s side of the bed. “But it still hurts a little bit.”

“Really?” Kai felt guilty, even though he wasn’t directly responsible for his dogs’ behaviour (not when they hadn’t bitten Tao, at least). Somehow, he managed to get the top cover from underneath Tao’s body. He then threw it onto the floor, folding it in half to give his three babies more of a mattress to lie on. “What can I do to help you?”

“Why don’t you come here and cuddle me.”

Kai blushed. Tao hadn’t intoned it as a question, despite having phrased it like one, and yet Kai’s mind went to places. Again. Because he couldn’t help it when it came to Tao. Or so it seemed.

Kai wasn’t sure when he’d moved to obey Tao, but he suddenly found himself lying face-down by his side. Tao smiled up at him, one hand close to his own hips. Kai noticed it instantly, hyperaware of anything even remotely suggestive – he blamed his own state of mind, though; never Tao himself.

Tao raised his other hand, bringing it towards Kai’s face – slowly running his fingertips down Kai’s jawline. It made Kai’s breathe hitch for some reason. The same reason that drew him forward to kiss Tao – Kai felt him hum contentedly, felt him turn his body as if he wanted to lay on top of Kai.

But Kai didn’t let him, happy as he was with their current posture.

And so, Tao started whining as soon as they came apart.

Kaaaaai…” If Tao thought the extended vocal was effective, well… it was. Still, Kai wanted to hide that from him as much as he could. He hoped those acute Wolfish senses couldn’t pick up on arousal too. “Why aren’t you letting me? You don’t want to?”

Kai kissed him again, since answering that way was easier than with words. Tao allowed himself to be kissed, apparently fine with letting Kai have the reins. However, he raised an eyebrow once they separated – he evidently wanted his question answered.

“I… do…” Kai started, unsure. Tao merely looked at the darkening colour spreading through Kai’s face, his gaze never meeting Kai’s directly. Perhaps that’s why Kai found just enough courage to keep talking, “But maybe… can I touch you?”

“Only if I can touch you, too.”

Kai nodded – Tao’s request was only fair. He opened his mouth and was about to verbally agree when Tao spoke up again.

“But can I sit on your lap?”

“Yes!” Tao giggled at how eager Kai had sounded, at how quickly he’d answered that.

Kai blushed upon watching Tao’s reaction. Embarrassed yet determined, he didn’t waste any time in sitting up on the bed, the back of his knees against the mattress’ edge. Then, he leant back, both hands on the bed to support his weight. The motion left his lap on full display – even more so due to his parted thighs. Kai slowly raised his gaze without raising his head, looking at Tao with the kind of sultry look he unconsciously used when dancing to a particularly suggestive choreography.

Tao’s breath hitched in his throat; the thin air thick enough to make him gasp. Son of a thousand Wolves – he hadn’t expected Kai to be so seductive out of a sudden. Still thunderstruck in the best of ways, Tao quickly scrambled onto Kai’s lap, wasting no time, grabbing him by the back of his neck and crashing their lips together.

Kai allowed him to do so, unmoving – if he moved his hands from the mattress, he would fall backwards. It gave Tao all the leverage he needed – and all the freedom he wanted – to drop his hands to their joined crotches. He didn’t stop kissing Kai, though; the feeling was too good for that.

Fresh citrus, underlying pine coming and going at will, warm sunshine on an equally warm beach.

Tao moaned, unable to stop himself from doing so, hips trembling against Kai’s, his own hands in between their bodies. This time, it was Tao who broke the kiss, looking down just enough to see exactly how much he was fumbling with Kai’s belt. Kai kissed his jawline, once, short and sweet – then he moved to Tao’s neck.

Tao moaned again, a bit louder this time. He felt Kai smile against his skin, silently wished he’d suck a mark onto Tao’s skin. By the Moon above, even some light nibbling would be alright with Tao right then. Just kissing wasn’t cutting it anymore.

Kai made a small sound when Tao finally liberated his cock from the confines of his clothes. Embarrassed enough to not want Tao to comment on it, he rested his fingertips on Tao’s chin, just to turn his head enough to kiss him again, forcing Tao to just touch, to just feel Kai in his hand.

It wasn’t like Kai thought himself small, though – he was proportionate all over – he just didn’t want to deal with any lovers gawking wordlessly at him. Mainly because he never knew how to take such behaviour – was it a sign of intimidation at Kai’s size? Silent praise? Something else entirely? Kai really didn’t know. Hell, he wasn’t sure if he even wanted to know.

He died of embarrassment enough as it was. He really didn’t need to add more to the insecurity pile.

The way Tao’s fingers were running up and down his length felt like silent praise, though. And so did all those gentle kisses.

“You’re gorgeous…” Tao muttered against Kai’s lips.

“Thank you…” A new kiss. “… you’re really handsome too…” A forward roll of Tao’s hips. “Ah!

“Undress me a bit…” Once more, Tao was using that half-whiny, half-grainy tone of voice that drove Kai out of his mind. “Please…”

Kai obeyed him, fully conscious that Tao was practically leading from the bottom. Or not, considering he was sitting on top of Kai. Maybe he was just a bit brattier than Kai, who tended to remain tender and attentive to his partner’s needs all throughout his sexual encounters. Then again, did that matter?

Not really. Not as long as they both were having fun. Which they most definitely were. So expectations could get fucked.

As fucked as they both were going to end.

Tao couldn’t look down anymore once his cock was out in the open, unknowingly making Kai feel better about his own embarrassment earlier. Kai smiled, kissed Tao’s neck, felt him tremble. When he brought his own hand closer to Tao’s crotch, all motion over his own dick stopped.

It made Kai think that he’d done something wrong. So he stopped, putting some distance in between him and Tao to look at his face.

Tao was blushing, though the colour was a bit hard to spot on his tanned skin. He was also worrying at his lower lip, trying to hold in all those moans and gasps – and only succeeding halfway. It was a good look on him, though confidence suited him better than insecurity. Tao also insisted on hanging his head low, avoiding Kai’s gaze – so Kai softly tilted his head upwards. Tao immediately closed his eyes – Kai read him easy – the kiss they shared was their softest until now.

When they came apart, Tao smiled. He moved a hand to the back of Kai’s neck, physically moving him closer, until Kai could mouth freely at Tao’s neck. He kept his hand in place when Kai kissed him, tightening his grip just the slightest bit. Kai got the memo quite quickly.

Ah…” Tao moaned upon feeling Kai sucking a mark into his skin. His fingers twitched where they rested around Kai’s cock – that tight friction made Kai moan a little, too. “Touch me…”

Kai hummed, moved one hand to Tao’s crotch once more. Tao didn’t stop moving this time, something which Kai took as a green light forward.

Kai didn’t know what he was expecting out of touching somebody else’s dick, so he had no way of knowing if the weight and length of Tao filled all his expectations. But the way Tao moaned when Kai ran feather-light touches up and down him, imitating what Tao was doing to Kai, definitely were a thing Kai enjoyed. He truly enjoyed those moans a lot. And he couldn’t stop himself from applying a bit more pressure on his way down.

Tao arched his back, tightened his hold on Kai. Tao bit his lips not to moan too loud, too conscious of his pack-members in the rooms around. He knew he could stand a bit of teasing once morning came – but he didn’t want Kai to go through that. Especially not Luhan’s teasing; he could bite too much after thinking too little, as Yixing had once put it (Luhan hadn't heard him say that, of course).

Kai’s fingers reached the flared head of his cock, and all of Tao’s thoughts went out the metaphorical window. Tao looked down in time to see Kai caressing him around the slit at the top, around which precum was gathering, easily running down his length. Tao felt Kai moan against him – passionate sunshine on a beach – Tao wrapped his hand fully around Kai.

Kai moaned more; for a moment, he was almost nibbling on Tao’s neck. Tao felt his heart skip a beat at that – then Kai ran his tongue over the reddened skin, moving up to Tao’s jawline. Tao threw his head back, his hand a frenzy around Kai – he wanted it fast on himself, so he moved fast on Kai. The motion gave Kai better access to his heated skin, let him leave hot little kisses along Tao’s jawline. Until he couldn’t reach any more up; Tao was sitting higher than Kai, and their height was too similar to allow that. Then he groaned – the sound came out perfectly timed with Tao’s tugging around his reddened head.

Kai wasn’t above begging, but he quickly found that he didn’t need to resort to it to make Tao do what Kai wanted him to do. Kai could simply hold him tight around the base to make those slim hips wave against his own – when he did the same right under the head, Tao keened. Kai kissed him as quickly as he managed to move, not wanting him to get too loud.

Not that Kai was in any position to criticize Tao’s high volume, though. Because Kai was being just as loud.

In response to that, Tao moved even faster, up and down until Kai’s mind was a mess – until he could not think anymore. Until he could only look up at Tao, both in a literal and metaphorical sense, through half-closed eyes. Until he could only moan, loud.

Until he knew he was coming spectacularly hard.

Kai’s back hit the mattress, making those old springs protest as loudly as his own moans. He was still trembling all over, no longer holding Tao to him, eyes closed, mouth opened. He felt warm hands running over his abs, his shirt raised up to the indeterminate space between his chest and the last stretches of his ribcage.

Then, he felt something falling more fully over his body. He opened his eyes, too aware of the warm breath hitting his neck, of those low moans he could hear right by his ear.

“Kai…” He moved one hand to hold Tao closer – grabbing as much of a handful as that flat ass allowed him to. “A-ah!

“Make yourself feel good…” Kai muttered against Tao’s ear. He was a bit hoarse from having moaned so much, which dropped his tone an octave lower than usual. A full-body shiver ran through Tao, his back arching towards Kai. Until there was no space in between them. “Grind on me…”

Tao didn’t need to be told twice. His hips fit perfectly against Kai’s – and yet even such perfection could be improved, Tao realised when Kai spread his thighs further. Now that Kai didn’t have to support his own weight on one hand, he could hold Tao’s ass with one hand and let Tao hold his other one – though neither knew when exactly they’d started this handholding.

Kai dropped the hand on Tao’s ass as far down his body as he could, nudged Tao’s thigh until he swung that leg over Kai’s. The new posture gave Tao more friction, more hard muscle to grind against – Tao moaned, gasped, no coherent word escaping him. All his cries of Kai’s name were lost as soon as he reached the "A", where they morphed into fully-fledged cries of pleasure.

Kai kept him against his own body, waved his oversensitive hips upwards to meet Tao’s thrusts as often as he could. Tao appreciated every single one of those rolls, even though he had no words to express it. He looked like he was drowning in sensation, burying his face in the crook of Kai's neck – Kai supposed it was a Wolf thing and held Tao closer.

To his credit, Tao didn’t bite Kai when he came – but he did choke on Kai’s name. He fell onto Kai, his full weight almost crushing Kai; yet he couldn’t be mad about that. Not when it meant that Tao had just come as spectacularly hard as Kai had.

Kai moved a hand to Tao’s hair, held him close even if it meant having his own breathing cut off for a moment. Tao seemed to notice it much quicker than Kai had anticipated, gasping, moving off Kai until he was once more sitting atop Kai’s hips. From his higher seat, he could clearly see their combined mess on one another – and it made him blush.

Not to mention how absolutely breath-taking Kai looked after coming, all raised clothes and dishevelled blonde hair and flushed skin. Tao moaned involuntarily, hyper-aware that he’d never seen anything as handsome, as adorable, as Kai was in that moment. This was a mental image he wanted to keep within himself forever, to come back to it when he was feeling lonely.

To think they hadn’t even had penetrative sex… he couldn’t even think about that right then. He was too spent to consider a second round. Besides, he needed at least some lube for that. Which he didn’t have.

Tao was brought back to reality by Kai motioning him closer. He obeyed, letting Kai tuck him into bed. Tao allowed himself a contented little sound when Kai tugged him closer to his chest, letting him cuddle Kai as closely as he wanted. Tao easily moved to fit himself against Kai’s toned body, one hand slipping in between the shirt’s undone flaps, right at Kai’s chest. He rested his palm flat against Kai’s skin, feeling it warm and soft – Kai’s heart was still beating wildly, Tao could feel it.

When Kai brought the blanket high enough to cover Tao’s shoulders, Tao wiggled in protest. Kai’s arms retreated from his body, letting Tao take most of his clothes off. He remained in his underwear – and Kai quickly did the same. Then, he covered them both with the blanket once more.

Tao was already drifting off into sleep when he heard Kai mutter a question against Tao's hair. A question for which Tao had no answer, whether he was awake or asleep.

“…why didn’t we take our clothes off way earlier…?”

Chapter Text

Xiumin groaned when Luhan ran his tongue up from his collarbones, all over his neck, ending right by his ear. It wasn’t that unusual for his moon to initiate sex at night, especially if he’d been driven half mad by something during the day, but this viciousness was on an entirely different level.

Luhan bit him, right above the pulse-point – Xiumin felt him rumble a groan, knew it was because Xiumin’s heart had missed a beat. He didn’t even bother holding his moon closer, already sensing that he was about to move.

He wasn’t wrong; Luhan promptly moved to the other side of his neck, biting it. At the same time, he crawled a bit further onto Xiumin’s lap, throwing him back onto the bed’s headboard. Luhan was keeping his hips raised above Xiumin, thus denying them both the friction they truly needed. Xiumin growled a warning – he wasn’t in the mood to be teased.

“Luhan.” He called, voice quiet yet authoritative. His moon trembled in his arms; Xiumin felt warm breath hitting his neck, right at the same spot that Luhan had bitten earlier. “Don’t test me tonight.”

“I just wanna fuck you.” Luhan replied, a full octave below his usual voice. This tone reminded Xiumin of his Wolf form’s lowest growls.

“What got you so fired up, my moon?” Xiumin teased, grabbing Luhan by the hair to make sure he wouldn’t try to kiss him just to not have to answer.

Lo and behold, that was the first thing Luhan tried to do. Him moving meant that Xiumin tugged on his locks, although Xiumin himself hadn’t moved. Luhan groaned at the slight pain, mouth falling open enough to expose his fangs. Xiumin’s gaze caught that, eyes darkening more the longer he stared. Luhan noticed that intensity and played with it by running his tongue over the pointy edge of his fangs.

Xiumin wasn’t the type to choke on air, no matter what was being displayed right in front of him. But, even so, his moon’s half-lidded sultriness, combined with the blatant sexuality of his mouth –

Xiumin growled from deep within his throat, using his leverage on Luhan’s hair to crash their mouths together. The kiss was more tongue and teeth than lips, letting them share the viciousness they were only half aware of. Their Wolfish nature could be downright demanding at times, true; but it was quite rare for them to indulge in their own dark instincts as much as they were right now.

Luhan groaned when they came apart, hands leant heavily on Xiumin’s shoulders. He slid one down to Xiumin’s collarbone, which was in plain sight due to him already being shirtless. Xiumin observed all the little reactions in Luhan’s face as he ran a single fingertip over the hard bone, tracing it from the shoulder to the hollow below Xiumin’s neck.

Xiumin almost couldn’t resist the urge to throw his head backwards – the last time he’d had his moon like this, he’d thrown his head backwards, and his moon’s fingers had gone to Xiumin’s neck. The sensation had been slightly ticklish, though not any less delectable because of it. In fact, Xiumin had enjoyed that feeling a lot; it’d felt like being overstimulated, in a way, even before he’d come.

“What had me so fired up…?” Luhan repeated Xiumin’s earlier question, correctly reading that Xiumin had all but forgotten about it already. “Well… maybe it started when you got so bossy with our pack’s mom…”

That finger slid upwards, leaving molten magma in its wake. Xiumin swallowed, feeling wildfire against his Adam’s apple. He managed to look directly into Luhan’s eyes, conveying all the coiled want within him. Luhan stared right back, biting his lower lip – Xiumin knew his moon was aiming at seduction, but it came out adorable instead. Which was not a bad thing, since Xiumin loved it just the same.

“So you want me to order you around…?” Xiumin used his hand on Luhan’s hair to tilt his head backwards, exposing his neck. Luhan gasped – Xiumin smirked. “My moon wants it rough tonight?”

Luhan growled, though more as a warning than a truly frightening thing. It bared his fangs (again), letting Xiumin know just how much Luhan wanted to bite him. Xiumin let his gaze grow heated, intense in that understated way that suited him so much, sexual without being over the top. Luhan trembled – he’d never been able to withstand that gaze for long. Not without wanting to rip all clothes off Xiumin, at least.

When Luhan tried to move, merely a desperate attempt at regaining some of the control he’d lost the moment Xiumin got his hands on him, his moon denied him.

Xiumin…” Luhan half-growled, half-moaned.

“Oh?” Xiumin sat up a little, his back slowly separating from the headboard – the motion highlighted the definition of his muscles. Xiumin wasn’t the most muscled one out of all their pack-members, but the vision still made Luhan’s mouth go dry. “You’re going to be good for me?”

“Fuck you…” Luhan gasped, sounding completely out of breath. Xiumin’s smirk widened a fraction. Luhan gasped more.

“Then I’m going to have to teach you…” Xiumin started. His voice didn’t waver, but he still left his words a bit vague. Luhan had enough demons as it was; Xiumin didn’t want to invoke them. Not tonight, not ever. “If you’re up for it.”

“I’m not gonna obey you.” Luhan bit back. Xiumin unconsciously relaxed his hold on him – if Luhan noticed it, he didn’t say. “Just be rough with me. I’m… very worked up right now.”

“I can tell.” Xiumin moved to mouth at the pulse-point at Luhan’s neck. His moon threw his head back more, until his spine arched towards Xiumin. “I’ll have all control tonight.”

“Okay.”

“Call me anything other than my name and I’ll get off you.”

“Okay.”

“Can I go on?”

“Yes.”

Xiumin smiled, letting his moon feel it against his skin. Then he moved, until he was kneeling on the bed, Luhan sitting by his side. His hand remained on Luhan’s blonde hair, providing their only physical contact at this point. Luhan easily kept his posture non-threatening, even when rebellion painted clear inside his gaze. Xiumin smiled upon seeing it – he loved it when his moon fought back, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Up.” Xiumin told Luhan, sotto-voce. He accompanied it with moving off the bed, leaving Luhan no option but to follow.

“Don’t order me.” Luhan bit out – then he kissed Xiumin, rough.

Xiumin allowed himself to be kissed this ferociously, knowing Luhan needed it more than Xiumin himself did. When Luhan broke it, Xiumin remained close to him, that damned smirk still on his face. Luhan didn’t resent him for it, of course, but he acted like he did.

Xiumin’s free hand went to his moon’s belly, directly underneath the edges of his t-shirt. His fingertips ran over those form-fitting trousers, playing with the hem above it. Luhan held his breath, and Xiumin felt it through the touch on Luhan’s abdomen. When Xiumin started to lift Luhan’s shirt, his moon didn’t cooperate.

“Not yet?” Xiumin asked, kissing the little area where shoulder met neck.

“You’re too soft.” Luhan protested. Xiumin smirked, making sure Luhan couldn’t feel it.

Then, he yanked the t-shirt upwards until it was off Luhan. The fabric caught on his head only enough to dishevel his hair, making it stand at odd angles. It looked a bit like it did after he’d been fucked against a mattress. The mental image alone made Xiumin growl – and he only got louder once he’d heard Luhan’s moans.

“Still too soft?” Xiumin teased, throwing Luhan’s t-shirt onto the bed behind him. It landed so silently that not even Wolfish senses reacted to it.

“Could be better.” His moon answered, because of course he did. He just couldn’t admit out loud that he liked this rougher treatment, no matter how many times he’d asked Xiumin for it.

“Oh?” Xiumin teased right back, loving the back-and-forth. His hands went back to Luhan’s waist, moving him until they stood facing one another, hips glued together. “Let me try something else, then.”

“I’d love to see you try.”

Xiumin smirked just enough to let the tips of his fangs be seen. It felt like further teasing to Luhan. The next thing Luhan knew was that Xiumin had undone his trousers’ button and zipper. Xiumin shot his moon a heated look, almost like asking for permission – the look Luhan gave him back was meant to chastise him for even having to ask, but it was read as mere rebellion.

Then, Xiumin tugged the fabric down, both trousers and underwear in one swift motion. For a moment, Luhan thought that Xiumin would get on his knees in front of him to get the clothes fully off him – he’d done so in other occasions, and it never failed to excite Luhan even more.

But Xiumin seemed hellbent on surprising him.

“Get them off yourself.”

Luhan gasped upon hearing the sheer intensity in Xiumin’s voice. It was just so… evident, as if he’d given up on trying to hide his intentions. Either way was fine by Luhan – and yet he couldn’t stop the moan that escaped him.

Maybe that aroused surprise explained why he didn’t chastise Xiumin for having given him an order. Or maybe it didn’t. Luhan didn’t know. All he knew was that he had moved, obeying Xiumin.

“Thank you.” Xiumin muttered against his lips, right before kissing him again.

Luhan moaned, held Xiumin close by swinging both his arms around Xiumin’s shoulders. His moon allowed him to do so – Luhan felt him take the clothes from him, still mid-kiss. When they came apart, Luhan could see that Xiumin had thrown them onto the bed, too.

Before Luhan could comment on his own full nakedness compared to Xiumin’s half-nakedness, Xiumin was using his full strength to move him around the room. Luhan gasped, clinging to his moon, unable to stop the blush spreading through his face – nor the heat spreading through his lower body.

He ended up sitting on the rocking chair in front of the bed, though slightly off it; which meant that his back was slightly bent, and that Xiumin could easily manoeuvre his slim legs onto the armrests at both sides. Luhan blushed even more, feeling exposed. His hands flew downwards from Xiumin’s body, covering Luhan’s dick even though he had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

Xiumin smiled, never stopping him – almost as if that possibility hadn’t crossed his mind. Then he moved closer still, until the front of his trousers rested against the back of Luhan’s hands. His moon gasped, looking up at him, fiery rebellion inside his gaze.

“Should I guess what you want?” Xiumin asked, carefully tilting his head to one side.

The movement had been calculated to expose his neck, to further drive Luhan up the wall – just like his words, too. A slightly teasing question was always preferable to an outright order.

Luhan stared at him, more to keep his own challenge up than because he truly was feeling it. Xiumin knew his moon could grow shy sometimes, so he let him be – if his moon needed time to gather his thoughts, that was okay. Slowing down their pace could be a form of teasing, too; denying his moon of all touch.

“As if you could guess what’s on my mind right now.” Luhan finally said. He tried to appear confident, but Xiumin didn’t miss the slight tremble of his knuckles.

“Maybe how you want me to fuck you.” Xiumin leant in into his moon’s personal space – if such a thing existed in these circumstances. “Hard and fast, to make you forget everything aside from my name.”

“That’d be good.” Luhan’s gaze went from Xiumin’s eyes to his chest. The vision of that pale skin, framed by Luhan’s own legs, was almost too much – it made him blush. “But that’s not it.”

“Tell me.” Xiumin implored, tone halfway in between demanding and whiny.

“I read a new SNS thing today.” Luhan started. One of his hands traced the zipper at the front of Xiumin’s trousers. Luhan pretended not to notice how Xiumin’s gaze grew darker at the touch. “It was… interesting.”

“About?” Xiumin asked while he leant in to kiss one of Luhan’s thighs. For a split second, he contemplated whether to kiss the back of his hands as well – ultimately, he didn’t do it. It would’ve been giving too much at this point; especially when his moon hadn’t told him much just yet.

“About Wolves and how we fuck.”

Xiumin wanted to answer – hell, he had a response in mind already – but Luhan got playful enough to suddenly tug his zipper all the way down. It was done in a single fluid movement, deliberately leaving the button done. Xiumin hadn’t been expecting such a move, so it rendered him speechless – breathless – for a moment.

Luhan smirked, looking into his moon’s eyes. That same challenge from before was back in his posture, and Xiumin loved it more than mere words could express. Once more, Xiumin took in a steadying breathe, fully intending to speak.

His moon’s hands uncovered that gorgeous cock.

Xiumin couldn’t help the impulse coursing through him, strong enough to make him growl, to lunge forward just enough to wrap a steady hand around his moon’s base. He swore he could feel it pulse in his hands, right on time with Luhan’s little gasp.

“What did you read about, my moon?” his voice had dropped to his lowest octave; a definite proof of his own horniness.

“About how Humans want a half-shifted Wolf to – fuck!” Xiumin had moved his grip, easily sliding upwards, until he was holding Luhan right below the head. “– to fuck them– ah!

Xiumin’s pressure around him had increased. Luhan’s head rolled back, until his nape was rested just barely on the chair’s headrest. His breathy little moan dissolved into a colourful curse right after, swearing that same rocking chair he was resting against. Its motion brought him first far away from his moon, then closer, and then farther again. It was maddening (even more so when he couldn’t make it stop from his current posture), but he also knew it was Xiumin’s way of retaining some control.

Considering how restless, how desperate, Luhan was growing, the decision made sense. One of them had to keep their head clear – especially because they didn’t want to be caught.

“I thought they knew we can’t half-shift, whatever than means.” Xiumin muttered. He sounded thoughtful, though maybe only due to how well he was managing his volume, his airflow. Still, Luhan knew he was more affected by their sex than what he looked like. “I’ve read some ridiculous lies before, but this one takes the cake.”

“They want the movie-monster to knot them deep.” Luhan said, all in one breathe, no pauses allowed in between – lest he moaned halfway through again. Not that it would bother Xiumin, of course. His clothed moon would just get even more turned-on.

“Mmm…” Suddenly, Luhan resented their posture – he wanted to feel that hum reverberate through him. “Not a half-bad thought. Unrealistic, but all fantasies are.”

He moved his hand up and down Luhan’s cock, much gentler than what his moon had been expecting. A single stare was enough to remind him of that – and yet he did not pick up his pace. Teasing Luhan was always fun; even more so when it granted him the kind of heated stare that he loved to receive from him. It was full of fire, of passion, of all those unspoken truths his moon couldn’t bear to say out loud.

It was equal parts a plea and an order.

“Do you want more?”

“Fuck you!” Luhan responded, fangs bared in passionate violence. Xiumin merely smirked, never taking it as a threat. He knew his moon too well for that. “Just rough me up, you fucker!”

“How am I a fucker when I’m not fucking you?” Xiumin asked, his tone teasing and his tone raw.

Luhan choked on a moan – he’d never admit it out loud, though – eyes closing almost completely. Xiumin’s voice was almost too much to bear, and the pressure on his cock was too little…

“A Human wrote, he wanted a monster Wolf to fuck him raw, and claw at his sides. until he was bloody…” the more he went on, the more unsteady his voice got. Still, he pressed on, interjecting slight pauses for his own comfort.

It was better than admitting to Xiumin that his eyes were closing more due to the mental image than because of Xiumin’s actions.

A kiss upon his inner thigh.

“Undress me whenever you want.” His words were gentle, his tone was soft, but his gaze was hard and hot and piercing. “It’s your call. I’m not going to fuck you until you do.”

Luhan growled, just like he’d do if he’d been in Wolf form. That strange mixture of soft-and-rough made his head spin on its own axis, made his thighs quiver. Luhan arched his back forward, spreading his legs as much as he physically could, and batted Xiumin’s hand away from his own cock. That way, he had much better access to Xiumin’s trousers, to the button he’d previously left perfectly done. He managed to undo it in a swift motion, both hands tugging the cloth to both sides to expose a sliver of Xiumin’s dark blue underwear – it appeared more black than blue under the scarce illumination.

But the whole “black with blue hues” business was very much Xiumin. It always reminded Luhan of Xiumin’s Wolf form, slick and slender but with muscle to his frame. That, coupled with the mental image provided by their conversation, made him moan.

“Eager…” Xiumin commented, more to further tease him than to be truly mean.

“Shut up and take your clothes off, I can’t do it for you.” Luhan replied, blushing. He sincerely hoped Xiumin wouldn’t question him about the brusqueness in his voice.

“Alright then~” his moon sing-sang. He stopped touching Luhan for a moment, did just what his moon had requested – ordered – and spoke up again, “Better now?”

“Not until you’re inside me.” Luhan replied easily, too used to their lovemaking to hold his own filthiness back.

Xiumin smiled, eyes dark and unreadable. Then, he regarded what little he could see of the wooden armrests in between Luhan’s thighs. The rocking chair had stopped moving at some point during their conversation, something which Xiumin didn’t like that much. He preferred the unpredictability that came with its movement – couldn’t help but wonder how it would affect their sex.

Perhaps that’s why he was so quick to drop his hand in between his moon’s thighs, gentle enough to not startle him, yet rough enough to keep him interested.

“I’m fine! Just fuck me!” his moon protested, trying to rock his hips onto Xiumin’s fingers. To prevent it, Xiumin used his other hand (and his Wolfish strength) to rock the chair. “Oy!”

“Couldn’t we try that?” Xiumin pleaded – he wasn’t above begging to his moon. And, if he was using his best puppy-eyes, well. Pure coincidence. “Please? I’ll stop and take us to the bed if you don’t like it.”

His moon fell silent for a moment, considering. Xiumin didn’t interrupt him, even while his fingers didn’t stop prodding around his entrance, teasing without penetrating.

“… okay.” Luhan muttered finally. Xiumin leant in to kiss him. Luhan leant his fingertips against his lips, stopping him. “I’m ready, though. Be rough.”

“As my moon wishes~” Xiumin replied, so sincere that it was Luhan who moaned, who initiated the kiss this time.

It turned filthy quite quickly, both trying to bite at their other’s lips, trying to prove that they could do rough much better. In reality, they were a perfect match – and they knew it, too – but that didn’t mean they couldn’t have some fun. Playfighting was fun, both in and out of bed. Out of bed, it could lead to sex, too. Another reason to like it.

Once more, Xiumin moaned in amazement. His moon truly was prepared, though the exact how was anybody’s guess. Either way, Xiumin wasn’t about to question it right then. Not when it allowed him to slide within his moon with surprising ease – there was no pain in Luhan’s features, no flinch in his body. Still, Xiumin made sure to kiss him all though it, until he bottomed out. There was no reason to do something that could hurt his moon – being rough didn’t mean hurting him.

Xiumin didn’t want to hurt him. He only wanted his moon to feel good.

And, if he hurt the moon of his nights, he would deserve to be left forever in darkness.

Luhan moaned when the ebb of the rocking chair brought him away from Xiumin. He saw him smirk, unmoving, letting the chair’s motion carry the brunt of their fucking. It was lazy in the best of ways – it felt like they were using furniture as a sex-toy – it made Luhan’s head spin.

“Good?” Xiumin asked. He moved to meet Luhan when he rocked closer.

YES!” Luhan moaned – shouted – throwing his head back. One of his hands moved to his own cock. Xiumin didn’t stop him; his moon was in the better place to jerk himself off. “Xiumin…

Xiumin moaned at that, the sound changing into a growl halfway through. As strange and farfetched as the rocking chair idea had been, it seemed to be working – somehow. Maybe it worked only because his moon was so slight. A taller Wolf would’ve grown uncomfortable rather quickly.

Luhan was growing more and more desperate. His cries were getting louder, and louder, and louder still. Xiumin had half a mind to try and quiet them, but he loved them a bit too much for that. And all those sounds were also letting him know just how much his moon was enjoying himself. Which was Xiumin’s main intention.

XIUMIN–!!!

Luhan choked on his own words, on his own cry, as he came. Xiumin halted the rocking chair for long enough to observe how that beautiful cock exploded all over his moon, painting him white from hip to chest. Luhan didn’t stop moaning all throughout it, as if he feared he’d stop coming if he stopped moaning and gasping and shouting.

He slowly went quieter; his moans, less loud; the jerking of his hips, less erratic. Xiumin realised just then that he, too, had stopped his own in-and-out. He supposed he could continue – wondered if that’d be too much for his oversensitive moon.

Then Luhan was using his full strength to switch them.

Xiumin moaned when he found himself seated on the rocking chair, no longer inside his moon. He searched for him with his eyes, wanting an explanation – usually, Luhan was too boneless to move right away. Tonight, however, it seemed that his refractory period had gone away on vacation.

“You haven’t come yet.” Luhan offered as he climbed on top of Xiumin. He was just slight enough to make it work, his inner thighs framing the outer side of Xiumin’s own. “Use me. Come inside me.”

Xiumin could only look at him – for once, no teasing remark came to his mind. This felt too good to be real, his mind was too disconnected from his body. His moon encircled him once more, moaning all the way down. Xiumin’s hips snapped upwards, meeting his moon with force, with passion, with all those unspoken I-love-you he could not say in that moment.

Wolves didn’t have a half-shifted, monstrous form; but if they did, Xiumin knew he would’ve changed into it without even noticing it.

His moon didn’t move up and down – he was probably too spent for that. Instead, he kept Xiumin buried deep within as he rocked his hips back and forth. The chair picked it up, serving as the extra strength that his moon didn’t have access to – only because he was tired, though. Xiumin had been ridden enough times to know how much his moon liked it.

Stars above, Xiumin himself liked it a lot, too.

They didn’t last for long – how could they, wound up as Xiumin was, boneless as Luhan was feeling. But when Xiumin came, he felt slender arms circle his shoulders, felt his moon choke on a moan against his neck. Xiumin bit his moon’s neck, overtaken by instinct and passion and a pleasure so blinding, so hot, that his vision went white – as white as he was painting his moon from the inside out.

“Xiumin…” his moon moaned, feebly.

“Are you alright, my moon?” Xiumin muttered against his skin, voice husky and raw and rough. Luhan trembled in his arms – Xiumin leant both hands on his back, to support him in case he fell back.

“How couldn’t I be…” he sounded already half-asleep. Xiumin smiled, tracing the bitemark on his moon’s neck with his tongue. Because of that, Luhan moaned his next words, “… when I came twice…”

Xiumin could only smile and hold his moon close to his chest as he carried them both into bed.

Chapter Text

Suho let himself fall face-up on the double bed, grateful that Kris had picked the best room for him and Suho. He closed his eyes, happy enough that his kids were all safe – happy that he could take the rest of the night off babysitting duty. His back protested, a soft crack resounding loud enough for Wolfish senses to pick it up.

“You alright?” Kris asked. Suho felt the mattress ebb when Kris sat by his side.

“Yeah… just a bit tired.” Somehow, he could tell that Kris was leaning just above his head. “What is it…?”

“Earlier today you said I could kiss you more tonight. It’s night now. Can I kiss you?” Suho smiled at Kris’ slightly petulant tone. Then, he opened his eyes.

Kris was right where Suho had thought he’d be, sitting on his left and leaning over him. Some of his dark locks appeared thinner than usual, shining wet under the artificial light coming from the bedside table. The abandoned building had no electricity, so they were using the flashlight setting on Kris’ phone to be able to see what they were doing. The original plan had been to go to bed right away, to prevent his battery from draining too quickly – but the way Kris was looking at Suho told Suho that the plan had changed.

“Do you want to kiss me that badly?” Suho asked slowly. Kris’ gaze grew a bit darker. Suho felt his own abdomen quiver.

“Honestly?” Suho nodded just to fill the small pause that Kris did, “Yes.”

Suho extended both his arms upwards, trapping Kris inside them. His Wolf never turned an invitation down, he knew – and this time was no exception.

Kris was upon him in a heartbeat, kissing him with all he had. Suho let his arms fall around Kris’ shoulders, keeping him against his own body. Kris’ sitting position did not allow them to have enough leverage for the type of kiss they were both craving, which bothered them to the point of coming apart.

“Come here.” Suho said, sitting up on the bed. Kris obeyed him instantly, thinking that Suho wanted him between his legs. But when he reached the narrow space between Suho’s thighs, he was stopped with an intense gaze and a devilish smile. “Not there, just lean against the headboard.”

Kris could only blink at Suho, speechless. He already knew that this man could tease him to hell and back with just a gesture – just like he’d done that afternoon, in the middle of the street, and then inside the elevator to Baekhyun’s apartment. But Suho’s current playfulness was something else altogether; less contained than before, less airy, in a way. As if he knew that he had Kris all for himself – the night was young, not even midnight yet. And they were alone in this room…

Kris didn’t even realise that he’d moved to fully obey Suho until he felt that heated gaze upon him once more.

“Thank you.” Suho muttered – Kris was grateful for his own Wolfish senses. He would’ve missed it otherwise. “You’re stronger than me, but tell me if I’m too heavy.”

“Not in a million years.” Kris replied. His voice sounded husky even to his own ears, making him bite his lower lip.

Suho’s smile broadened for a second. Then, he bit his lip too, mimicking Kris.

Only difference was, the gesture looked much better when it was Suho doing it.

Kris’ hands flew to Suho’s ass – he had to lean forward slightly to reach it, but he didn’t mind, and neither did Suho. He hauled Suho onto his lap, revelling in how he didn’t need to use even half of his full strength to do it.

The little gasp that left Suho’s lips at being handled so carefully, so easily, was intoxicating.

As intoxicating as his kisses.

But the tiny wave of his hips against Kris’ was even more delectable. It made Kris moan into Suho’s mouth, tightening his grip over him by just a fraction. Suho moaned too, lips falling open. Kris leant in to kiss him again – Suho leant back, half teasing, half trying to regain his breath.

“Come here…” Kris whined – his tone was too deep for the whine to be effective, though. Or maybe his depth was what made Suho tremble.

“We can’t have sex now…” Suho muttered. A deep blush was spreading quickly through his face, as if he was embarrassed to say these words aloud. Hell, he wasn’t even looking at Kris. “I… don’t really want my kids to hear…”

“Understandable.” Kris replied. An image of his pack-members crossed his mind. “I don’t really want the rest of our pack giving us lip tomorrow.”

“And with all that mess about those men in black hunting us for who knows why…” Suho trailed off, took a new breath. He looked so tiny, so defenceless, that Kris’ protective instincts flared up. “… I don’t think sex is a priority right now. Sorry. I kinda led you on… again.”

“Huh?” Suho opened his mouth to explain it – Kris got it at the same time. When Kris kept on speaking, it almost felt like he’d interrupted Suho; even though Suho hadn’t spoken up yet. “Oh! Don’t worry about the whole, “you can kiss me tonight” thing. I’ve already kissed you tonight. And I can kiss you more, as long as I don’t fuck you, right?”

“Right.” Suho agreed. “You can cuddle me, too.” He blushed even more. “…if you want.”

“I always wanna have you near.”

Suho’s heart skipped a beat. It reflected in his features – the shock, the blush, the half-opened lips, the dark eyes. Heated surprise looked really good on Suho.

Then again, what didn’t look good on him.

Suho moved closer again, slowly, hips undulating until his crotch brushed against Kris’.

Their eyes met.

Kris knew his gaze was dark, and as hot as he felt – son of a thousand Wolves, he was burning from the inside out. He wasn’t going to do anything to Suho, of course, but he knew he would have to jerk himself off later, once Suho had fallen asleep. It was the only way he could think of that didn’t involve Suho doing something that he didn’t want to do.

Suho undulated his hips once more, most likely unconsciously. Kris didn’t blame him for it, even though it made it harder to concentrate. He had to physically restrain himself from crashing Suho against his chest by grabbing fistfuls of his ass instead. Suho gasped, faintly enough that Human senses wouldn’t have caught it in full.

“…I’d ask if you want to undress me, but that would be pushing it, wouldn’t it…?” Suho muttered. Once more, he wasn’t looking directly at Kris.

“It’s fine. If you want me to undress you, I will.”

The shy smile in Suho’s face made Kris’ heart skip a beat. The worst thing was that Suho wasn’t even trying to be seductive; it just naturally came to him when he least expected it. Kris looked him up and down – from that smile to his crotch, displayed due to his legs being swung over Kris’ own. Kris couldn’t resist the urge to accommodate him better on his own lap – “better” meaning “closer to his crotch”.

Suho leant forward. Their height difference was thankfully salvaged by him sitting on Kris’ lap; they were levelled enough to allow Suho to rest his forehead against Kris’. The gesture was soft, adoring. Suho didn’t dare lift his gaze from whatever low point he was staring holes into, but Kris didn’t mind it.

He had Suho close to him – his crotch close to his own, his hands on Suho’s ass, Suho’s arms around his shoulders. His heart was so full that it might explode at any time soon.

Flowing water and steady earth mixing together, intoxicatingly sweet, like a river running through a lively forest.

Kris didn’t realise he was purring until he heard Suho’s breathy giggles.

“You’re adorable.” Suho was telling him in a whisper. Kris knew from this volume that Suho’s words were for his own ears only, and it made him appreciate Suho even more. If that was even possible at this point. “Did you know that? My Wolf…”

“Call me that and I’m gonna rip your clothes off.” Kris warned him, his voice dropping to those unexplored depths that always ripped a shiver from Suho’s spine.

“You want me that badly?” Suho muttered, still shaking. His fingers were opening and closing very fast where they rested against Kris’ shoulder-blades – another sign of how badly he was trembling at this point.

“Do you want me to answer to that?” Kris replied. Then he leant in to capture Suho’s lips in a new kiss.

It took all air out of Suho’s lungs – but he didn’t break it. He didn’t break apart from Kris even when he started to grow desperate for breath, abdomen quivering wildly. Kris noticed it, because of course he did. He decided to move back as much as the wooden headboard behind him allowed him to, giving Suho some room to breathe.

“No…” Suho whined, extending that “O” as much as his own breathlessness let him. “Don’t move away…”

Kris chuckled, one hand going from Suho’s ass to the back of his neck to hold him close. Suho made a content little sound that sent Kris’ heart further aflame – this time, the one trembling wasn’t Suho.

Suho moved his hips closer, until his lower body was resting directly against Kris’ own. It gave him a certain feeling that he couldn’t even explain in words – something that made him feel that he belonged there, in the security of Kris’ arms. His eyes closed slowly without him noticing; his breathing slowed down, grew less frantic. His arms relaxed their grip, but kept their hold.

“Good night… I’ll take care of you.”

Suho was too content to answer to that. He could feel that his heart was so close to bursting at the seams with unsaid emotion. He wondered what it would take for him to explode, still enveloped in Kris’ arms as he was.

AAAHH!

Suho instantly jumped up into the air. The only reason why he didn’t fall off Kris was those warm hands holding him steady. Suho immediately looked towards the room’s right wall – that was where the pleasured scream had come from.

Son of thousand Wolves!!” Kris cursed, low and dark and dangerous. “Don’t tell me I’m gonna have to hear Tao all fucking night long.”

“…literally.” Suho muttered in response to that last curse. Kris groaned again. Suho looked at him, sympathetic. He knew he would feel the same aversion if that scream had come from any of his kids.

Then he remembered that Tao was sharing a room with Kai.

“Son of a thousand Wolves indeed.” Suho groaned, burying his face in the crook of Kris’ neck. “I don’t want to know anything about that tomorrow.”

“Neither do I, to be hon–”

XIUMIN–!!!

Kris growled, shook violently enough for Suho to fall onto the mattress with a thud, and rose from his seat to pace around the room. Suho observed him for a moment, silent only because he didn’t know what to say. Filling the silence sounded like the best way of not listening to their pack-members scream in pleasure, though.

“Son a thousand – fucking – Wolves.” Kris growled, one hand tangled in his hair. “Do they not have any respect?!”

“Maybe they just don’t realise their own volume.” Suho mumbled. “That happens to Wolves sometimes, right? When you’re not sure if Humans can hear you or not?”

“Only when we’re whispering something, not when we’re fucking screaming your ear off!” Kris replied, frustration evident in his voice. A new growl tore from deep within his throat when someone screamed again, the sound coming from the room adjacent to Kris’ and Suho’s. “Fucking hell!”

“Come here.” Suho extended one towards Kris, who didn’t even see it – he just kept pacing around the room as if that could stop him from hearing those loud screams. “You’re not going to do anything useful if you’re just pacing back and forth. If you don’t give your mind something else to focus on, you’re only going to hyper-fixate on them.”

Kris stopped pacing, his back turned to Suho. There was so much tension in his shoulders that they looked even broader than usual. The noises coming from the other rooms had stopped, which was good. Kris sighed – or maybe he growled; the distinction was less than clear right then. Then he turned around to face Suho, whose arm was still extended.

“You’re right.” He walked to the bed and let himself fall face down on it. “I’m gonna chew their fucking ears off tomorrow, though.”

“Would that be worth it?” Suho caressed Kris’ hair in gentle movements. There was an evident smile in his next words, prompted by Kris’ Wolfish purring. “I’m half sure they heard us last time. If this is their revenge, it’s better if we just let them be.”

“Or we’d never hear the end of it?” Kris guessed, that low purr still inside his deep voice. Suho trembled. “Why are you trembling? That scares you?”

“Ah, it’s not that…” Suho knew he was blushing, but he didn’t know how to stop it, so he just let it be. What other option did he have?

Suho wasn’t about to tell Kris that all those low sounds coming out of his Wolf were making him feel some type of way.

“Then what is it? You know how to deal with–” a new scream. Kris knew it had been Tao. He also knew that he didn’t want to linger on exactly how he knew that. “–THAT?!

Kris buried his face on the bedcovers, growling just like he growled to warn enemies to not get too close to him. The posture was honestly uncomfortable, especially for a long period of time – his nose hurt, and he almost couldn’t breathe. But at least this way he didn’t have to deal with seeing where he was. Maybe this way he could imagine being somewhere else, somewhere without his lousy pack-members…

…somewhere where Suho’s hands were on his shoulders. Somewhere where those long fingers were following his shoulder-blades’ bone structure, since Kris’ posture was making them more pronounced than usual.

Somewhere where he could feel Suho rolling him over on the bed, crawl on top of him, accommodate his body along Kris’ own. Kris had closed his eyes, so he reached blindly above his head, trying to get one pillow underneath his neck. He eventually got one, not the softest he’d ever touched (that honour went to the one on Suho’s bed), but still good enough for tonight. Good enough to have been found in an abandoned building with no water supply and no electricity.

Speaking of that, he should really turn his phone off for the night, save battery…

A light went off – he could feel it even through his closed eyelids. He rumbled a low and jumbled thank you to Suho. He got a little hum in return. Then, Suho’s weight returned fully over him. Kris’ hands instinctively tried to grab at him – Suho caught them, though, pressed them against the mattress at both sides of Kris’ head. Kris tried to speak, to say that he wanted to touch Suho – Suho spoke first.

“Don’t listen to them. Listen only to me.”

Kris growled, low. He could feel the sound reverberating through his own chest, wondered if Suho could feel it, too. They were pressed so close that he could make out all the little details in Suho’s voice – all the inflections, the little pauses to breathe, how he undulated his tone slightly up and down to keep Kris interested.

Flowing water and steady earth, sickly sweet, like a river running through a forest.

“Where are we, my Wolf?”

“In your room…”

Kris could feel Suho’s smile against his neck. His shiver was interrupted by Suho kissing his neck – goosebumps arose easily.

“You’re lying on my bed, aren’t you?”

Kris could only hum. It sounded more like another faint growl, though not like a warning. This one was much tamer, less aggressive. Somehow, it felt reserved – for Suho only.

“And we’re alone in my room, right? I can kiss you as much as I want…”

Suho kissed Kris’ neck again, soft, gentle. Kris’ muscles twitched on reflex. Suho giggled, airy, right by his ear. When he kissed Kris’ neck again, the Wolf’s purr echoed it.

“I can touch you as much as I want…”

Kris’ hands tried to raise from the bed. A futile little thing, since Suho held him in place, gently yet firmly. Kris knew he could break free easily, but he didn’t want to. It felt good to have Suho above him like this. It felt good to be the one pinned to the bed. Maybe it felt even better because, usually, Kris was the one pinning his mates to the bed.

“Ah, stay still, my Wolf… let me do it myself… just stay here with me, tell me if it feels good…”

Suho ran feather-light touches on Kris’ right wrist, tracing the translucent veins. Kris shivered, purred. Suho kissed his neck, humming. Kris’ volume got slightly louder.

“Oh, you like that? Good… ‘cause I like doing it…”

Suho’s fingers reached the sleeve’s hem, and stopped. Kris immediately resented the clothe being there. His growl carried that sentiment, made it evident to Suho.

“Do you want this gone…? I can help you with that…”

For a moment, Kris lost track of where he was – of where Suho was. When that sweet scent reappeared by his side, there was bare skin pressing against his own chest.

“Better now…?”

Kris growled in agreement. The sound transformed halfway, into that low purr that Suho always brought forth from him. It came from within his chest – from within his heart. That sound was everything his instincts could produce to let Suho know how much his Wolf appreciated him. He could only hope that Suho interpreted it correctly every single time.

“I thought so… now I can touch you better, my Wolf…”

That nickname, combined with Suho’s right hand running down his arm, made him shiver again. Suho giggled against his neck, light, but no less attractive because of it. Kris’ chest raised from the mattress just a tiny bit, trying to get even more direct contact with Suho’s skin. He could feel his body-heat irradiating off him, steady earth lacing the edges of the flowing water in Suho’s scent.

Kris’ head spun while his body returned to the mattress, gently pushed by Suho’s hand.

“Stay here…” Suho had whined enough for his words to not feel like an order. It compelled Kris to obey him, even though he wasn’t conscious of exactly why he was so malleable to Suho’s desires. “Stay with me, my Wolf…”

Suho’s hand caressed his chest from side to side, his fingertips carefully avoiding his most sensitive spots. Kris growled at that, not fully knowing if it was a tease or a good thing – his hips felt on fire even when Suho hadn’t strayed that far down just yet. If he were to be touched in his most sensitive areas, he knew he would come undone without having his cock stroked to perfect white.

“Let me touch you, from here…” Suho’s fingers circled around his heart. “…to here…” they’d travelled downwards, to the hem of his trousers. “Or even here…”

Kris growled in pleasure when Suho’s fingers slid beneath his clothes, straying dangerously close to his crotch. Suho mouthed at his neck, kissing and nibbling on equal parts, driving his Wolf even further out of his mind. He didn’t even realise that his trousers had been undone, that Suho had taken him in hand.

Kris could only listen to the steady cadence of Suho’s voice as he kept muttering details, sharing fantasy and reality with him. And if he growled almost as often as he breathed, well…

… it only meant that he was enjoying himself beyond what words could convey.

When he tuned into the specific words Suho was saying, instead of just focusing on his voice as a series of notes, he couldn’t help the trembling of his hips.

“… maybe you’d just overpower me, because you’re so much stronger than me, maybe you just want me on the bed instead of on top of you. But, if you do that, you will have to take care of me, too…”

Kris growled as low, as deep from within his throat, as his Human form allowed. His upper body flexed in a silent warning – Suho clung to him just in time – then, Kris turned them around. Suho gasped a delicious little sigh when his back hit the mattress, the springs protesting a little bit – but neither man realised it. Kris kept a hand on the back of Suho’s neck until he’d positioned his Human better, head on the pillow. Suho’s hips arched upwards, correcting his posture as best as he could with Kris’ weight directly leant on them. The motion created some friction, which made them both moan.

Suho’s first instinct was to open his thighs wide, but Kris stopped him with a new growl, half-drowned against his neck. He felt Suho’s fingers tangle in his hair, gentle – he couldn’t stop himself from biting at Suho’s neck. That got Suho moaning, tugging a bit harder on his locks. Kris moaned, tugged his own clothes down to his knees, aligned his hips with Suho’s. Then, he closed Suho’s trembling thighs, letting his own legs frame them.

“What…?” Suho asked, feebly, breathless, although he hadn’t been the one most touched tonight. “What are you…?”

Let me.” Kris growled, so low that it sounded like a single suspended note instead of two words. He paused for a moment, letting Suho decipher the words. Then, he spoke again, “I want to fuck you… I know I can’t. Just let me have this… I’ll do whatever you want.

Suho trembled in his arms, moaned, let himself get slightly louder with each word that his Wolf growled into his ear. Whether his reaction came from Kris’ voice or the words themselves was up for debate, though. It was most likely a combination of both things – mixed with Kris’ actions, of course.

Because now that he was disrobing Suho, lowering his trousers and underwear to expose the upper part of his thighs, Suho finally got what he’d meant.

Suho closed his thighs, trapping his Wolf’s hard cock in between them. It rested against the underside of Suho’s own, sliding wet and slick over his balls with each gentle thrust. Suho moaned, loud and unrestrained – his Wolf kissed him, swallowed his sounds, made sure he didn’t get too loud. A futile thing to worry about, really; especially when other pack-members were being much louder than them – but Suho could understand the pack-leader’s desire to remain discreet.

His Wolf’s movements were gentle, soft like he feared hurting Suho. It was quite ridiculous – Suho knew himself well enough to know this wouldn’t turn him off at all. It was only turning him further on, really.

Because he could feel his Wolf really, really close. Because he could hear his growls close to his ear. Because he could run his hands down his Wolf’s back.

Because he could kiss his Wolf as much as he wanted to, and know his passion would be reciprocated.

Kris’ movements gradually turned harder, jerkier, signalling that he was edging closer and closer to release. Suho didn’t chastise him for seeking his own pleasure before Suho’s own – usually, his Wolf was really attentive; so this change was new, and thus welcomed. Suho could allow it once or twice (once or twice a week, not a lifetime). Not to mention that he already knew what he wanted his Wolf to do to him afterwards.

He’d said he would do anything Suho wanted. The least Suho could do was take him up on that offer.

Kris drowned a final, growled moan in the crook of Suho’s neck when he came. Suho held him against his body, closed his thighs as tightly as he could. He moaned the very second in which he felt warm come falling onto his own cock, dripping down his length and onto his balls.

“My Wolf…” he moaned.

Suho knew Kris probably needed to catch his breath, but he still kissed him while he was consumed by the pleasure of the afterglow. Kris allowed him to, trembling and malleable to the extreme. Suho moaned into his mouth, letting his tongue play with Kris’. It was maybe too intense for Kris, but he didn’t protest – true to his word, he was doing what Suho wanted.

Suho only allowed him to breathe freely when Kris’ chest was heaving heavily from lacking oxygen for so long. Kris moaned a little thank you that sounded pathetic to his own ears – but it made Suho hum and play with his hair, so it was alright.

“Are you tired?” Suho muttered into his ears. Kris’ body trembled with the desire to change forms – he’d always been more comfortable in Wolf form. But now he consciously chose to remain in Human form, figuring that was what Suho wanted.

To answer to Suho’s question, he merely shook his head “no”.

“It’s okay if you are.” Suho muttered back.

“I’m fine.” Kris rasped – the deep grain in his tone made Suho shiver. Kris held him closer on sheer instinct. “I’ll do whatever you want.”

“Could you…?” Suho blushed. Kris physically felt that heat, his own chest making his growl reverberate wild and untamed. Suho gasped, clung to him even more. “… could you… finger me?”

Kris kissed Suho’s head, let one of his hands slither in between Suho’s thighs. He wasn’t surprised when Suho blushed more, when he tried to hide his face. Kris let him, too spent to start an argument only because he wanted to watch his love’s every reaction. Besides, this was about what Suho wanted. And if he wanted to hide his face from Kris, so be it.

There was enough slickness pooled in between Suho’s legs to allow him to breach him relatively softly. Kris knew his own fingers weren’t the smallest ones around – knew he could hurt Suho if he wasn’t careful. That explained why he’d started with only one finger, entering just to the first joint. Suho sighed but didn’t seem to be in pain. So Kris slowly pressed further inside, to the second joint.

That made Suho gasp, but not like those gasps of pleasure he’d been making before, back when his Wolf was fucking himself between his thighs. Kris immediately stopped all movements, even considered pulling out – he started the motion when Suho spoke up.

“No, don’t – don’t stop – ah…

“I’ll do whatever you want me to do.” Kris leant down to kiss the point where Suho’s thigh met hip, right below the marked bone. Suho trembled underneath his lips.

“Just make me feel good… I want to be… full of you…”

Kris growled in pleasure, too conscious of how much effort it’d surely taken for Suho to say that out loud. He kissed his heated skin again, tasting salt enveloped in earthly waters, hoping it’d feel like reward enough.

But it would never be reward enough for Kris. Suho deserved the world – he deserved only pleasure, and not a sliver of pain.

When he resumed his movement, slow and steady (because he knew what he was doing, even though it seemed he didn’t just because he didn’t brag about it), Suho moaned a little. Kris kissed him, tantalizingly close to his hard cock – Suho trembled, which made his cock ebb up and down, too. Kris rumbled a moan upon seeing it. Suho giggled, airy enough to let Kris know how breathless he really was. His love was still covering his eyes with his arms, but at least Kris could see that blinding smile.

There was no light lit in the room, but it seemed brighter just by virtue of that smile being there, plain and on full display.

AH!

“There?” Kris muttered, heart almost bursting. Suho nodded so furiously that he almost uncovered his face fully – and, thankfully for Kris, he didn’t bother covering it again afterwards. His arms fell onto the mattress on both sides of him. “Good… tell me if it’s too much. I don’t want to hurt you, my love…”

Suho moaned. Kris didn’t even realise how he’d called Suho until he had two fingers buried in him – but when he did, he blushed deep crimson. His colour was almost as intense as the one on Suho’s face.

Kris was too conscious of this being Suho’s first time, so he barely brushed against that place within his love that made him moan every time it was touched. There wasn’t nearly enough lubrication for him to draw his fingers out and back inside with easiness, so he just didn’t do it. It was much more attractive to see Suho enjoying himself from tiny, contained motions.

Kris saw him closing his eyes tightly, mouth opening wide almost every time he moaned – whenever he tried to close it, or to bite his lower lip, Kris would touch him just right, and he’d moan again. One of his hands had grabbed part of the pillow, twisting it so much that Kris half-feared it’d slide away from underneath Suho’s head.

Suho’s other hand had conformed with fisting the bedcovers by his body – regretfully, the fabric as so tight (due to him lying on it) that he could only grab it partially. Kris quickly moved to hold his hand, deciding that it’d be better if he was the one with little crescent moons on his palm. He didn’t want his love to feel any pain.

“My Wolf…” Suho moaned. He sounded so breathless, so lost in pleasure, that Kris growled – his heart was on the brink of bursting at the seams. “Ah… my Wolf… more… give me… ahmore…

“As you wish, my love…”

Suho moaned more, unabashed, too gone to even try to control himself. Kris sped his caresses within him, revelling in how his love arched off the bed. That gorgeous cock jumped on its own, thick beads sliding down its length in a steady flow. It was impossible to distinguish if it was only precum, or if Suho truly was coming – Kris’ mind exploded into thoughtlessness at the possibility of him provoking these reactions out of the love of his life.

Suho got even louder, his hips moving up and down, uncontrollable and wild and so mouth-watering that Kris couldn’t help himself.

AH!!

Suho kept on screaming for far longer than he’d thought his lungs would let him, both hands tangled on his Wolf’s hair. It was too much – his Wolf was inside him – and also sucking at his head – it was – ah – it was –

Kris’ enhanced reflexes were the only reason why he managed to move so quickly, kissing Suho, swallowing all those screams of pleasure. His love let him, boneless, still coming waterfalls onto his hips, onto Kris’ own.

When they settled back onto the mattress, bodies tangled so intimately that it made them both moan, Suho curled further into his Wolf’s powerful arms. Kris opened his own thighs to let Suho fall more comfortably in between them, happy with feeling his love’s breathing as it steadied. Suho had managed to get half-dressed again, though it was true that he’d thrown his t-shirt somewhere else before rebuttoning his trousers.

Kris remained shirtless, however; too tired to bother with searching for it. He didn’t even adjust himself back inside his trousers – what for, really. He knew he’d change forms as soon as he fell asleep. Perhaps even before that. He almost felt bad for Suho. He supposed most Humans preferred to wake up cuddling their boyfriends, not an overgrown Wolf.

Yet he slowly rejected all thought. And, somehow, flowing water and steady earth occupied the sweetest dreams he’d ever had.

Chapter Text

The young Wolf that they’d captured was suspended in mid-air, silent. That was neither a good thing nor a bad thing for the numerous men surrounding him – they knew the Wolf was conscious. The rest didn’t matter. Even if the monster tried to remain silent, to not spill any information, it ultimately would not matter. All the details would eventually be wrung out of the monster. At this point, that stubborn silence was only a way of prolonging the torture.

One man took some steps closer to the Wolf. He’d shed his jacket a long time ago, as if fearing getting it stained by the monster’s blood. The other men at his sides could understand it; most of them had families to return to for the night, wives who didn’t know this side of them. It would’ve been quite problematic to let their relatives catch a glimpse at this violence.

It was a necessary violence, though. It was needed – for the greater good. For the state itself to function properly. Even if they hadn’t liked the procedures at first, those were now so ingrained inside their brains that executing them to perfection was pretty much second nature.

Their jacketless colleague walked to a little, low table by the Wolf’s side. They’d left it just outside of the monster’s range, so it wouldn’t be touched. It wouldn’t do them well to let such a wild beast grab a weapon.

“Boss.” Said one man, hands tight around two thick chains. When he tugged down on them, the Wolf was suspended further up. Now, the monster’s naked torso was fully exposed.

“We’re ready.” The jacketless one answered him. He sounded monotone, composed – only someone who’d done this a thousand times could sound like that. The men around him knew nothing of his personal life, but they supposed their Boss, too, had a wife to go back to in the morning. “Keep the monster hanging.”

“Yes, sir!”

Then, he tugged on the chains again, keeping the Wolf aloft through sheer strength alone. A couple of other men moved to him, sharing the burden. They received no thanks, though. It was their duty; they shouldn’t be thanked for doing what was expected of them.

The Wolf didn’t show signs of discomfort, didn’t move at all, even when the chains were tightened even more. The Boss took an already-bloodied knife from the low table, and walked to the monster. The creature’s eyes were half-closed, glazed over and bloodshot. It was unclear whether the Wolf was unconscious or not – but that was alright. If the monster wasn’t conscious, they had methods to bring some life back.

Only to take it away again, of course. Such dangerous beasts should never be left loose. The greater good demanded that – for the people, for the state. Death was a lesser evil to be chosen.

The knife was raised to the Wolf’s torso. A deep red line appeared on the monster’s skin, right along the last ribs. No sound came out, but that didn’t deter the Boss. This session had been prolonged for hours; the creature shouldn’t have the strength to scream anymore.

Blood dripped down onto the floor, which was already tainted by so many bodily fluids that the men around the monster didn’t look downwards – not even once. The stench was already enough. But they needed to resist it. There was no civilian who could withstand this – civilians shouldn’t be asked to withstand this. Only they could. That was why the state had recruited them, created them into these perfect executors.

“Speak.” the Boss said, still in that monotone voice. The Wolf didn’t move. The Boss turned to one of the men not holding the chains. “Electricity.”

“Yes, Sir.”

The monster screamed when a painful bolt of electricity surged through their whole body. The Boss’ face didn’t change at all – he merely ordered the electricity off with a single gesture. The Wolf’s head hung low once more, remnants of a pained growl still lingering in the empty air.

“Speak. It will be the best for you.” The Boss said to the monster.

“Fuck you…” the Wolf retorted, spitting a mouthful of blood onto the Boss’ shoes.

He received another electricity surge for that insurrection. The knife was applied right away, sending more blood onto the floor. The monster growled, but took the pain far better than the men was expecting.

Not that the Boss was impressed, anyway. He’d tortured too many of these monsters to be surprised by their endurance.

“Where is the five-member Wolfpack with a wounded leader?”

“I don’t fucking know!” the Wolf spit more blood out. This time, it landed on the floor. The Boss merely stared holes into the monster’s wounds. “I’m not one of their pack-members!”

“You know all the monsters in this city.” The Boss doubled down, raising the knife so its tip rested against the Wolf’s skin. It was good that pain had made the monster forget how to change forms; it was easier to extract information out of a Human than an animal. “Where are they?”

“Fuck if I know!” the Wolf half screamed, half growled. The Boss asked him something else, burying the knife’s tip into the Wolf’s chest. “Who the fuck is that?!”

“A traitorous Human who’d taken in the pack’s leader.” The Boss replied. If the men around him thought it suicidal to reveal that, they didn’t say. Then again, this monster would be dead before morning came; so maybe there was no harm in revealing some intel. The monster wouldn’t be able to tell it to anybody, after all. “We have seen different his kids with some members of that pack.”

“Then go ask them, leave me the fuck alone!” the monster screamed, lunging forward. The chains kept the Wolf in place – the knife was further buried. A new growl tore from the creature’s throat. “Fuck – you – all!

“Unacceptable.” The Boss said in that monotone voice. “We will not back down. We have been tasked with keeping this city safe and free of monsters like you. No one who helps your kind will be spared.”

The Wolf didn’t say anything. The Boss had enough experience to know that the monster’s breathing had thinned out, as if the creature was about to pass out. He made a gesture to one man behind and at his right. The Boss wasn’t good at reviving monsters, although he understood why that was a necessary skill during these interrogations. Knife still in hand and dripping bloody, he stepped aside, letting this man work the Wolf into half-life once more.

This was the fourth time this had been done tonight. A quick glance at his watch, which he refused to take off during his sessions even though he really should, told him it was past three-thirty in the morning already. This session needed to end soon. Civilians would start waking up at five and six in the morning – the timeframe he still had was getting smaller by the second.

That explained why he rushed the medic (veterinarian? who cared) away. The Wolf glared at him with bloodshot eyes.

“For the last time. Where is the pack? Where are the traitors?”

“Who the fuck even told you they existed?” the monster spit out. There was blood in between the broken fangs, half coagulated. The Boss made sure he wasn’t in range, just in case the monster decided to spit at him again. “No Wolf would help you sons of a whore.”

“A friend of mine is far kinder than you; he let me know as soon as he saw his colleague walk through rainy streets with a wounded Wolf in tow.” The Boss ran some quick lines over the monster’s exposed skin. The Wolf’s nakedness made it so easy to keep him humiliated, to make sure it was easy to hurt him. “Considering he works at the same place as the traitors’ parent, it will be better to not involve him in these… bloody affairs.”

“Fancy words for a fuckin’ corpse.” The monster replied. The Boss could see how those hands were grabbing fistfuls of the chains, even though all ten fingers were broken. It was futile, though; if the Wolf hadn’t been able to escape when healthy, there was no chance of escaping now, wounded and broken and vulnerable.

“I must use fanciness with someone. My friend is a foreigner, you see, I can’t well use these technicisms with him, lest he grows confused. And we don’t want our friends to feel bad… though I’d wager monsters like you don’t observe that kindness.”

“…monsters like me…?” the creature’s volume had gotten so quiet that the Boss almost missed those words. “MONSTERS LIKE ME?! You wanna see a monster?! I’ll give you a monster!”

The Boss had quick reflexes, but there was no way a Human could compete with a Wolf’s monstrous strength nor agility. He only managed to jump to one side, hearing his own pulse hammering in his temples – then he heard the medic-slash-veterinarian scream. The Boss didn’t need to look to know that life had been slashed in half.

He didn’t lament it, though. These men had bene placed under his command for tonight, and tonight only. His superiors already expected something to go south – they always seemed to expect that. It would be easy to report a casualty or two. He just needed to make sure the monster didn’t live.

A round of new screams, and animalistic growls. There was more than only one casualty, then.

When the monster tried to attack him, the Boss calmly shot him. The shot rang darkly clear in the building. The bullet went clean through the creature, sending it back. The Boss took aim again, seeking to end what he had just started.

The monster charged at him.

The next thing the Boss was conscious of was the sound of a window breaking. A swift glance around – the same glance Special Ops personnel used – told him that he was the only man still alive.

Disappointed in his own lack of foresight, he just took his phone out. There was no point in trying to pursue that monster; death was imminent. There were too many cuts and wounds in the Wolf’s body – not to mention the bullet. Blood-loss would claim a new life before dawn broke.

The Boss marked the Government’s phone line, knowing he needed to report in immediately. They couldn’t leave a Wolf’s body lying around, dead or not. It was already hard enough to deal with the legends, with the public’s generalised horniness for these monsters. This city, these people, this state… they needed no such complications.

Chapter Text

Suho looked at his side, happy that Tao was right by his side. Truth be told, he was slightly nervous about going to work that morning, as if his absence the day before had never happened. Sure, he knew he’d had to explain it to his boss, or at least tell him about it so that his day-off yesterday could be deducted from Suho’s earned holiday hours, but it all seemed so… trivial.

Someone was sending men after him, after his Wolfpack, after his kids. Hunting them all down.

It was such a crucial issue that whether he’d needed to explain things at work or not was completely irrelevant by comparison. And probably a bad idea – he was being hunted, it wasn’t a good idea to just turn up at work, where anybody could get at him. Hell, he ‘d already been kidnapped once on his way to work. Suho really didn’t want to push his luck on that front again.

Especially not when Kris wasn’t there with him. Then again, someone needed to watch over their abandoned hideout and the kids – not to mention the other Wolves. So when Tao had volunteered to accompany Suho to work, make sure he got to and from it safely, no one had said anything against the idea.

Besides, it gave Suho the perfect chance for speaking one-on-one with Tao. Considering that Tao seemed to be involved with one of his kids, Suho really wanted to know what kind of person (what kind of Wolf) Tao was. Not that Suho was about to criticise Kai’s taste in boyfriends, of course – there would be no third degree done. Maybe some questions, sure, but nothing too extreme.

Kai’s instincts were always too on point; there was no way he’d choose a bad guy as his boyfriend.

“So… you and Kris.” Tao started. If he was trying to sound nonchalant, he was failing – but it was so endearing that Suho couldn’t be mad. Even when, apparently, he was going to be victim of that same third degree he’d spared Tao from. “It’s… long-term, right?”

“I hope so.” Suho answered, looking to Tao. He had to raise his head to look him in the eye, since Tao was taller – but Suho was used to that. Tao and Kai were about the same height; and Kris was even taller than them. “I really like him, to be honest.”

“Good, ‘cause he loves you too.”

Suho blushed. He promptly looked away from Tao – he saw their reflections in the glass door of the shop at his left. Tao had automatically positioned himself in the side closest to the road, letting Suho walk on the safest part of the sidewalk. Still, Suho could clearly see Tao’s smirk through the glass. Suho could also see that Tao had styled his hair upwards, raising some locks above his forehead. Suho wondered how much hair-gel had been needed to maintain the heaviest locks raised like that. Then he wondered for how much time they’d stay still, right where Tao had intended them to be. It’d hold for some hours, he supposed, but probably not the whole day.

Someone exited the jewellery shop at Suho’s left, making the light dance in all directions. It caught in the multiple tiny metallic buttons of Tao’s shirt. Their brightness contrasted quite nicely with the fabric’s colour – the darkest of blues, one that was almost entirely black. It went down just enough to cover Tao’s crotch, which was most likely a good thing, considering how tight those ripped jeans were.

Suho didn’t want to dwell on how the person exiting the jewellery shop hadn’t been the first (nor the sixth) to stare at the slivers of skin at Tao’s thighs.

Tao caught his gaze through the glass and smirked more.

Suho just shook his head with feigned exasperation – but he was smiling too, and that diminished the effect.

“Am I one of your kids yet?” Tao asked. If it had a double meaning, it flew right by Suho’s oblivious head. “Since you’re now our pack’s mom.”

“What, so Kris is the leader but I’m the mom? Why can’t I be a leader, too?”

“You two are the leading couple.” Tao shrugged one shoulder. The motion carried the same easy elegance he had when fighting. “The rest of us Wolves will follow. I don’t know what your kids will do, though. I don’t have much experience with Humans.”

“You’d do well in trying to gain some.” Suho modulated his voice to take all the edge and harshness out – this wasn’t a patronizing speech; it was only friendly advice. If Tao didn’t take it, that was alright. “Especially if you’re planning on dating Kai long-term.”

Tao went red in the face at that, much like Suho had done earlier. For a moment, Tao was speechless – Suho could’ve definitely taken it as a small victory, but he didn’t. Not when Tao looked mortified beyond all reparations.

“I… am planning on that.” Tao muttered, sounding like all his self-confidence had disappeared. It made Suho feel protective of him – as if he suddenly had a new kid. “But I don’t… want him to feel pressured. I’ve too much…” he clicked his tongue, sighed out. Suho didn’t say anything, wanting Tao to feel enough at ease to confess whatever was on his mind. “…baggage.”

“We all have baggage.” Suho shrugged one shoulder, gently swerving around an old lady’s shopping cart. Tao kept on observing him even after he was done moving. “Even the chirpiest of us has a past.”

“Kai too?”

Suho smiled. He’d already been anticipating such a question, even though Tao was much more direct than Suho had thought he’d be. That was good; Kai tended to not do too well with subtext. If Tao was direct with him, Kai’s fears would be non-existent.

“Yeah. I’ve been a mom of six for almost ten years now, and I can tell you that Kai’s the type to want a serious relationship out of every person he’s ever taken on a date. Which has brought him pain in the past… in his mind, romance should be like a drama.”

“Romantic and over-the-top?”

“Romantic and loving.”

“If you’re the same, Kris is going to disappoint you, he's not romantic at all...” Tao muttered under his breathe – Suho still caught it, used as he was to Baekhyun and Sehun mumbling in much the same way after they’d been ordered to do something.

“I’m not disappointed. In fact, I quite like him. I want to keep him around.”

Tao smiled broadly at that. The light reached his eyes in all the best ways, making his gaze shine. Suho smiled in return, feeling at ease with Tao. In a way, the feeling was akin to having Kai walking by his side – but then Tao waved his body to one side before some schoolkids flew by him, probably running late to class. The motion highlighted Tao’s reflexes, and made Suho aware that Tao was a Wolf, a creature trained to fight.

Tao could destroy literally anybody who stood in his way. It was incredible to know that he blushed every time Kai was mentioned.

“Here we are!” Suho said, perhaps chirpier that what the situation warranted.

They’d arrived in front of a four-story office-building, its exterior walls painted the dullest shade of light grey that Tao had ever seen. It was also smaller than the buildings on both sides, and definitely tinier than the one directly across the street. Its front doors were made of glass, and they reflected the light enough to make passer-by’s regret not wearing sunglasses. Only a bit of the hall area could be seen through the doors, and a wooden desk – there was a sharply-dressed woman on its other side, most likely a receptionist.

Tao wasn’t sure why an office building would need a receptionist, but he wasn’t about to ask. He figured that’d be common knowledge to Humans, and he really didn’t need to out himself as a Wolf (or a terrible social outcast, at the very least).

Something reflected the light above Suho’s and Tao’s heads, lightning quick.

Suho didn’t seem to have seen it – but Tao had. He looked upwards, to the quick lights.

There was someone in the second floor, right by the window. The light’s reflection came from their wrist, near enough to their face that Tao supposed they were on the phone. Regrettably, Tao was too close to the building to see the figure’s face; and their posture hid whatever curves there might’ve been on their body.

The only thing he could know for sure was that this building was most likely full of gossip. Especially when workers were only spying at the street through the windows, and not actually working.

Then again, that might’ve only been Tao’s instincts bracing for the worst. He had never shaken that habit off, after all. Humans didn’t really function by those hidden rules, they just lived through their lives like violence was irrelevant – like they had never been screamed awake by the ongoing murder of their pack.

Coldness spread through him. Tao looked away from the figure at the window, lamely trying to stop the cold from setting in. That made him notice the letters above the building’s front door – it took him some seconds, since he wasn’t the best at reading this country’s language. Still, he managed to recognise the big SM – even though he had no idea what the rest of the smaller-font text said.

He was just about to ask Suho about it, and for more information about what Suho did for a job, and about whether Tao should just leave now, when a young woman and a man older than Suho walked up to them.

“Hello!” the woman said. Her long hair was wavier than most, and had quite a lot of volume as it fell around her form. Tao’s attention was pulled to its colour – not quite purple, but definitely darker than the darkest of pinks. Almost like brown with a dark purple ombré from root to tip. “It’s good to see you again, mister Kim.”

“Hello, Rosaura.” Suho greeted her with a smile. Tao stood by Suho’s other side, in between him and the older man. “Did you finally find your wallet?”

“Yes!” her smile got brighter. “I left it in my jacket, but I forgot my jacket at work, so I got my wallet back yesterday.”

Tao couldn’t help but notice the repetition in her sentence, and her accent – then again, her features were definitely foreign. It made sense that her ability in this language wasn’t the best. Or, at least, she wasn’t quite yet at the same level as native speakers.

Then again, Tao had no room to comment on that – he wasn’t a native speaker either. So he kept his mouth shut.

“That’s good to hear!” Suho told her. His attitude towards her let Tao know that he was cordial just because she was a younger colleague.

“The boss was furious at you disappearing.” The older man said. Tao observed him in silence, ready to intervene if he needed to. Tao really didn’t like the way this man was sternly gazing towards Suho. “You should explain before checking in today. Who knows… maybe you’re not even employed here anymore.”

And then he entered the building, not even waiting for a response.

How fucking rude.” Tao mumbled in his mother tongue, too quietly for Human ears to pick up on his words. Besides, Suho didn’t speak this language… and he doubted this Rosaura did.

Lo and behold, she just turned towards him – her expression changed completely. If she’d been warm and cordial to Suho, now she was speechless and open-mouthed. Her big brown eyes roamed all over Tao’s face, and down to his chest. The scrutiny was half flattering, and half off-putting. Still, he took it in stride, offering her a smirk and an intense gaze. Since he was much taller than her, the effect was immediate.

“Sorry!” she exclaimed, louder than it needed to be.

“No problem, I know I’m good to look at.” Tao teased, making sure he was clearly pronouncing his words. The grain in his voice made him sound even more enticing, which Tao was fully aware of.

If it worked on Kai, there was no reason why it shouldn’t work on this girl. Not that he was trying to seduce her, of course – Tao already knew that his own heart was Kai’s to keep.

“You are.” She said, completely unabashedly. Tao smirked even more. “Mister Kim, I didn’t know you knew so many handsome men!”

“I…” Suho looked so uncomfortable that Tao almost pitied him.

“You’re so tall…” Rosaura muttered, looking back at Tao. She hadn’t yet realised that she wasn’t using her mother tongue, thus making it easy for both Suho and Tao to understand every single word she was saying. “And in good shape too…”

“Isn’t it time to start work already?” Suho cut in before Tao could answer. Suho then turned to Tao, “Come by in about five hours, we can have lunch together. I’ll have to go work afterwards, though.”

“Will do.” Tao nodded to Suho. He smiled to Rosaura, halfway between polite and teasing. “It was nice meeting you, miss.”

If she thought it annoying that Tao hadn’t even tried to pronounce her name, she didn’t say. She merely bowed a little, probably doing what she’d been told was polite even though Tao couldn’t really care less about such formalities. Then, she trotted into the building, Suho following her closely.

Tao waited until their elevator’s doors closed before walking away, fully intending to spend some hours training alone.

 


 

When Tao returned to Suho’s office building, the sun was high up in the sky, warming everything to the point where raw eggs left on a windowsill could be cooked sunny-side up. The intense heat made Tao regret his choice of clothing – long sleeves were definitely fashionable, and underlined the toned muscles underneath, but they were also uncomfortable at this moment.

He let out a sight of relief when the front doors opened without any resistance, without him having to ring anybody to be allowed in. The temperature inside was much more benign – something which Tao appreciated greatly.

The area in which he was now standing could only be described as a hall – there was the front desk right across the front doors, that same woman from before standing on its other side. Her face was buried in an open book; she hadn’t even noticed Tao entering. He had to smile at her obliviousness – Humans really were something else.

Then his peripheral vision caught sight of someone waving their arm from side to side.

Tao followed the motion with his gaze, leaning his body to the opposite side – just like the battle stance he’d adopt in a fight. Suho was waiting for him right in this small area, halfway in between the elevators and stairs behind him, and the front doors in front. He smiled broadly upon seeing Tao – that made the Wolf feel slightly more at ease in such a Human environment.

“Hope you didn’t wait for too long.” Tao said as he followed Suho into the elevator.

“Not really, I just got here.”

“You’re a terrible liar.” Tao laughed. With the elevators’ doors closed, they were in relative privacy. “Still. I’m not too late, right? I don’t want you to have less time to eat just ‘cause you were waiting for me.”

“In theory I can just walk into the resting area for a coffee without that hurting me.” Suho explained. The elevator emitted a soft ding from somewhere above them – Tao immediately looked up, ever alert. “We’re here! I think it’ll be better if we stay in my little office, though. The resting area isn’t… as private.”

“Did something happen?”

Suho didn’t answer right away, probably because they were now in a long corridor leading to numerous small cubicles. Those were distributed evenly through the central area, creating a small labyrinth going almost from wall-to-wall. Almost, because there were smaller, individual offices at both sides, all their walls and doors made of transparent glass.

Tao raised an eyebrow in their general direction. He could see one man standing in the middle of his transparent little office, one hand on the belt circling his waist, the other raised as he argued with someone over the phone. Two women were chatting and smiling inside the adjacent office, their colourful and short dresses the only brilliant thing in this dull environment.

At least their conversations were private – could glass be soundproof, though? Tao really didn’t know that. Not to mention that someone who could read lips didn’t even need to enter into these individual offices to spy all those private conversations.

So no place in this floor was truly private. It didn’t matter if the resting areas were even less private. This… wasn’t ideal. Not by a long shot.

But Tao trusted Suho in much the same way that he trusted Kris. If Suho said this was okay, then Tao would go along with it. Sure, his Wolfish instincts would flare up at literally everything. But that only meant he could protect Suho.

He owed Kris much more than that. And Tao owed it to Suho, too. Especially after he’d been so kind as to let the whole Wolfpack rest in his apartment that one time.

“I know I don’t have the fanciest office in here…” Suho mumbled torpidly.

“You don’t have to apologise to me.” Tao replied as quickly as he could. “This is better than all the other places in this building, right?” Suho nodded while he closed his office’s crystal door behind Tao. “Then it’s fine.”

“You’re too kind.” A blinding smile, though still not as blinding to Tao as Kai’s own. “Baekhyun said this was lousy as fuck in comparison with my boss’ office.”

“It’s nice enough. It’d be worse out there.” Tao pointed to the cubicles outside with one finger, letting himself fall onto one of the soft chairs on one side of Suho’s office. “Gossip is rampant here, isn’t it.”

“It’s that easy to notice, huh.” Tao shrugged one shoulder. “Yes, that’s why I don’t like this place at all. My boss is awful, he makes me work additional hours but doesn’t pay me more… my co-workers care more about who’s fucking who than about their work… I get constantly asked who I am sleeping with…”

Suho trailed off into a heavy sigh – it sounded much more like a groan, though. Tao observed him pace a couple of laps up and down the narrow office. Then, Suho sat down on the black chair on the opposite side of the desk. A desk that, now that Tao was consciously noticing it instead of letting his instinct take care of that, was full of stuff.

A bunch of papers on one side, folder on the other, a table-top computer in the centre. Its monitor was slightly off-centre, though; tilted towards the chair but not directly above the keyboard on the desk. The distribution was different than the one in the other crystal offices (Tao knew that even when he didn’t consciously know how he’d noticed it; blame his passive perception). Suho had probably adjusted all things to suit his liking – which made sense, considering he spent most of his day in here.

“Honestly, I’m just here because it pays the bills and I need to support my kids. Otherwise, I wouldn’t spend a single second more in here.”

Tao looked back to Suho in time to see him run a hand over his hair, messing some locks up. They flowed downwards on their own when Suho moved his hand away.

“You won’t need this job for very long, don’t worry.” Tao leant back on his chair, testing it. No sound came out, which pleased him. “With everything that’s going on, our pack can’t stay here for very long. And Kris will not leave you behind. And I won’t leave Kai behind, either.”

“So I and my kids are now part of the Wolfpack…?” Suho asked – his voice was just as tentative as his words.

“Of course you are!” Tao frowned. “What kind of question is that?! You’re all in at this point!”

Suho’s smile lit up the whole office.

It made Tao miss Kai’s smile even more.

 


 

In the end, Tao stood around to watch Suho work. Nobody questioned it, so Tao supposed that his presence there wouldn’t bring Suho any trouble. Besides, staying with Suho meant that Tao could react even quicker if something happened.

Not to mention that all his questions about Suho’s job, workplace, and colleagues, had been answered.

There was only one thing that bothered Tao – something that had been bothering him ever since he’d started to notice it.

“That blonde man is there. Again.”

“Oh, leave him be.” Suho didn’t raise his gaze from the papers he was revising. One rebellious lock had fallen onto his forehead as he worked – Tao knew Kris enough to know that their leader would’ve loved to set it back into place. And, if it made Suho look up, all the best. “He’s a foreigner, and relatively new in here. He’s still gathering his bearings, so to speak.”

“He’s been looking inside your office at every opportunity he gets.” Tao replied, battle instincts flaring up at the blonde’s continuous presence. “I don’t trust him.”

“He’s probably trying to get dirt on me, most likely related to you and-or your presence here.” Suho still hadn’t looked up. “Gossip… gotta hate it.”

Tao leant an elbow on top of the chair’s backrest, which naturally corrected his whole posture just enough to let him glance behind him in a more natural fashion. He didn’t look like he was downright staring into anything other than Suho’s desk, or his pen when he moved it over the paper to scribble something on it.

“If this is something else, though…”

“It really isn’t. Don’t worry too much. I told you, this place is full of snakes.”

“Huh.” Suho sounded so dismissive that Tao’s instincts rebelled even more.

Tao had too much experience, too many horrors within, than to dismiss a possible threat. Still, he knew why Suho was reacting like this – and he couldn’t blame a Human for acting in true Human fashion. Suho’s position in their Wolfpack notwithstanding, of course. He still had much to learn about the Wolves’ world. All the newly acquired cubs had much to learn.

The next thing Tao caught sight of was the blonde person turning around – he was undoubtedly a foreigner, just like Suho had said. He had big eyes, and a beard styled so unlike what was fashionable that Tao, ever the fashion-lover, almost had to do a double-take. A series of quick glances told the Wolf that the blonde was trying to discreetly press some keys into his phone-screen.

That did nothing to alleviate the tension surging through Tao’s muscles.

The sensation followed him as he followed Suho out of his office. Tao barely registered that Suho had locked the glass door with a small key, or that he’d waved goodbye to the receptionist, who was still immersed in her book – she did return the gesture without looking, though. Suho turned to look at him then, and Tao’s instincts screamed.

Chapter Text

“What’s wrong, Tao?”

Oh, not this.

“You don’t look so good right now…”

Anything but this.

“Is it too hot still? You’re wearing long sleeves…”

Tao shook his head – every single instinct inside of him wanted to change forms, to let the beast inside out. He knew too well that he wouldn’t be able to say words in any Human language for some time, caught up as he was in the quickening thrum of his own blood hammering against his temples.

But he couldn’t change forms now. He was in the middle of the street. Suho was at his side, and Tao knew that his Wolfpack’s mom wouldn’t care, but–

–SM was right there, directly behind them. Full of Humans. Tao could smell their mingling scents. They were too far away for him to follow them individually.

But he didn’t care.

The only important one was the mixture of water and earth by his side, refreshing like a river running through a forest.

“Tao…?”

“…am fine.” He managed to rasp out. Every word felt like the roughest sandpaper on his tongue, scrapping against his teeth only to leave them aching.

“Alright.” Suho stepped slightly away from Tao, giving him some more personal space. Tao’s Wolfish instincts appreciated it. His softer heart did not appreciate it. “Then, let’s go back to our pack. Would that be okay?”

Tao nodded his head. The up-and-down motion took some of his locks out of their careful hairstyle – they hung over Tao’s forehead until he ran a hand over them, pushing them back. It messed his careful appearance up, making him seem less prim-and-proper; yet he didn’t look like he cared much about it. At this point, Suho had seen enough of Tao to know that fashion and style was his area of expertise – if he was this careless, something was definitely up.

Not that Suho was going to ask him directly, though. He had a feeling that Tao would never answer him directly.

“Not this path.” Suho was stopped abruptly by Tao’s hand grabbing his arm, by Tao’s voice rasping by his side. “Here.”

Suho didn’t fight Tao’s grip, didn’t say anything against being tugged into a secondary street. It was still the same general direction, so it was most likely a detour to ease Tao’s instincts. The image of Tao’s nervousness back inside Suho’s office was still fresh in Suho’s mind – the last thing he wanted was to further stress Tao.

He’d been told that Tao had the most powerful battle instincts – that Tao was the one pack-member whose Wolfish nature burnt the fieriest underneath his skin.

Tao didn’t turn around to stare behind them, but he did glance at every reflective surface they came across. Suho didn’t recriminate him for not letting go of his arm right away; and he still didn’t say anything when Tao finally let go. He was much more careful while releasing his grip, Suho noticed – he gave Tao a smile, simply because it seemed like the correct thing to do. Tao didn’t seem to notice the gesture, though.

A streetlamp lighted up above them. Tao blinked, his head tilting upwards at the same time, lightning quick. Suho wanted to reassure him that it was alright, that this was normal at this hour and in this part of the city, but didn’t say anything. He wasn’t sure if it would be too much for Tao’s instincts to handle.

“Someone’s trailing us.”

“What?!” Suho’s first reaction was to try and look behind them. Tao stopped him – again by grabbing at Suho’s arm, perhaps more forcefully than necessary.

“Don’t turn around. Don’t look back.” Tao’s voice was the roughest Suho had ever heard from him. It reminded him of how Kris’ voice got lower when his body was heavy with sleep. “Keep walking.”

Suho did just that, trusting Tao to protect him. That was why Kris had trusted Tao to accompany Suho – because Tao could protect him from anything. His instincts were almost too acute, too used to find himself in the middle of fights that he hadn’t started. Suho would pity him, but that felt condescending – Tao didn’t need pity. If anything, and going off what other pack-members had implied in passing, he only needed lots of acceptance and reassurance.

Which was why all that Suho said to him now was, “I trust you.”

Tao’s mouth twisted in a feral curve that resembled a smile somehow. But it still looked like he was trying to make a Wolf’s expression in his Human form. There was something eerie about it – even more so when he walked under a streetlamp, which acerbated the shadows playing on his features.

Suho didn’t know if Kai had seen this side of Tao. What he did know was that Kai would be either really afraid or really turned-on.

And Suho really, really didn’t want to know which one it was.

He was rendered speechless, and surprised out of his own mind, when he saw Tao taking his phone out of the shallow depths of his trousers’ front pocket. Suho didn’t even know how there’d been any room for it, since the fabric was stretched tighter than tight over Tao’s lower body – but he was sure there was a trick to it.

His surprise did nothing but grow when Tao typed his password in. Then, he pressed some keys and raised the phone to his ear. Suho kept walking by his side; and if he intentionally brushed against Tao’s arm, oh well. Tao seemed more relaxed every time he physically felt Suho, so it was fine.

Tao let himself relax into Suho’s touch every time it happened, the phoneline still ringing intermittently. He appreciated his attempts at calming his instincts down, even though he already knew they’d all be futile. The Wolf within growled insistently, aching for being released. But that could put Suho in greater danger, because the beast didn’t always know when to stop.

Tao knew he would never do anything to consciously put Suho in danger.

But he also knew that the Wolf inside of him would take no prisoners. If Tao let it out, if he gave in to his own instincts and changed forms…

Hello?

“Xiumin.” Tao growled into the phone. He’d had half a mind to not pronounce Xiumin’s name out loud, just in case whoever was following them could hear it – but it came out before he could stop himself. Another sign of how gone his Human mind was. “I… can you come?”

What’s wrong? You sound like you’re about to change forms.

“I… will try not to.” Tao took in a steadying breathe that only left him even more shaken. Suho brushed his arm again, lingering a bit longer than before. “I… mom’s with me. Could you come by? I can’t fight right now.”

Tao could feel Suho staring holes onto his jawline. Tao couldn’t blame him – he wasn’t acting like himself at all right now. He knew it. But he also didn’t know how to stop it.

A lingering image of citrus and pine, of sunshine on a beach.

Tell me more.

“Remember the city of stone and birds? This is like that. But only one. Smells like expensive cologne over rusting iron. I don’t like it.”

Another one?!

Tao growled as a response. There was a certain panic in Xiumin’s voice, but mixed with surprise. Almost like he couldn’t believe this. He was always so calm that Tao felt himself growing even more hyperaware of his surroundings.

Never mind. We will deal with that. We are pack-members. I will not leave you two alone.

“Xiumin, I…”

Save it.”  if Tao was annoyed by the interruption, it didn’t show on his face. “I’ll be with you two really soon. Tao, stay with Suho. Please. Don’t do anything else.

“I will.” Another heavy breathing that sounded like a growl.

Don’t lose control, Tao.

“I won’t.”

Or, at least, he would try his fucking hardest.

Good. I’m on my way.

Tao hung up at that. Xiumin would need to change forms and trail their scents (but mainly Tao’s) to find them. He couldn’t remain on the phone to do that. So it was okay for Tao to hang up first. Not that Xiumin thought much about those kinds of things. Not when he wasn’t speaking with Luhan, at least.

Suho brushed against him again while Tao put his phone back into his pocket. He didn’t say a word, which Tao’s flaring instincts thanked him for. It was calming him down just enough to keep himself grounded to his Human form. Which sounded crazy, even to Tao’s own mind. But it was also half the key to not change forms unconsciously. to not move only by battle instincts. To not let the Wolf within take all control.

The Human trailing them wasn’t there.

Tao growled, unable to stop himself. Suho took his hand, so quickly that Tao completely missed the motion. That upset him – why hadn’t he seen it, he saw everything around him – Suho’s touch ground him more.

“I’m here.” Suho whispered. “I’m this Wolfpack’s mom. I will not leave you alone.”

“You can’t fight. I can’t fight.” Tao growled. He tried to keep his volume down. He managed to do it. But it also jumbled his words together into a single, sustained note. “We can only wait.”

“Then we will wait.”

“Where? I don’t know where the expensive iron is.”

Suho’s pressure on his hand augmented a bit. Tao sighed out, head hanging low. The Wolf inside growled – no, Tao growled. Suho walked closer to him.

Then they reached a wider space, their secondary alleyway opening up into a four-street intersection. The ampler space had been utilised to construct a public park, in which a slide and some swings could be seen. There were some wooden banks limiting the kids’ playing ground, all partially bathed in the light coming from the streetlamps. The whole place probably looked warm and inviting during the day, but it only was soulless during the night.

Tao recoiled from the faint sound of the wind making one swing’s chains screech, although the sound hadn’t been above a whisper. That was all it took for Suho’s suspicions to be confirmed – Tao wasn’t doing so great right now. Suho swallowed, thick and unpleasant, as if he had a lump lodged deep within his throat. He wasn’t a fighter, not by any means, but…

… he would always protect his Wolfpack. It was his family. Suho would do almost anything to keep his family safe and sound.

Even if it implied tainting his hands beyond all reparation.

Tao sat down on one of the swings, legs folded at an odd angle – he was a bit too tall for the swing’s height. One of his hands closed around the chain at his side, and his head hung low until he was looking only at his own lap. Or at least that’s what it looked like; but all those locks that had been raised above his forehead had fallen onto it, thus obscuring his eyes.

And Suho knew better than to simply assume Tao wasn’t keeping tabs on literally everything around them – the wind picking up, the rolling clouds, the reigning silence, that one annoying streetlamp that didn’t stop flickering on and off and on again.

Not to mention the scent coming from whoever had been trailing them. Tao might have lost it for a moment, but that didn’t mean it was lost forever. There were no other Humans out on these streets; and they could see far and wide around them, since the playing grounds was smack in the middle of the four streets’ intersection.

Dry blood mixed with rusted iron, invasive and unwanted, the putrid stench of a fight about to break.

Tao didn’t have any time to change forms before a myriad of men clad in black rained upon them. Suho exclaimed something that Tao’s battle instincts didn’t understand at all. Tao jumped up, away from the swing, pushed Suho behind him without thinking. Suho let out a surprised sound at that – Tao would’ve whispered an apology, but–  

But he couldn’t remember any word in any Human language.

One man ran up to Tao, holding a two-handed, blunt weapon.

A lean, black Wolf rushed him onto the ground before Tao could even raise a hand to adopt his preferred battle stance. Even such artificial light could tear blue reflections out of the Wolf’s fur. Tao recognised his pack-member on instinct alone – honed in more than a thousand fights as Tao was, it was surprising that he hadn’t joined into the fray just yet.

The Wolf tore the man’s throat out. Then he turned around to stare at Tao, to growl at him in a low warning tone that made Suho shiver behind him.

Tao didn’t think twice about grabbing Suho by the arm and rushing him out of the playing grounds, out of the streets’ intersection, out of the men’s sight.

The last thing he was fully conscious of, right before the Wolf within took over, was Suho’s steadying weight on top of him, rusted iron and fresh blood fading away.

Chapter Text

Xiumin remained in place, unmoving, until he saw Tao and Suho disappear upon turning a corner. That was good. They didn’t need to see the bloody butchery that he was about to commit.

Suho was just too good, too innocent in a way – so removed from the violent world of Wolves that he just didn’t deserve to be thrown into it this suddenly. He should have a slow descent into the truth, step by step, be assured at every turn that there was an easy way out for him. It would break Kris’ heart if he went out, of course, but that was better than watching Suho die slowly inside.

And Tao… Tao could take the violence, the gore. Usually, at least. But not now. Xiumin had needed him to string only two words together to realise that he was in a bad place – at least mentally. Physically he seemed to be fine, if too inexpressive for Xiumin’s taste. Tao was always smiling, always pushing their Wolfpack forward, always making sure they never dwelled in their respective past horrors for too long.

It just wasn’t fair to expose Tao to his own past horrors.

The man that Xiumin had jumped on remained limp under his paws. Which was normal, considering that Xiumin had literally tore his flesh from the neckbone, making deep red explode all over his nuzzle. There were other men in front of him, cutting all his escape routes. But that was okay; he wasn’t planning on escaping anyway.

He only planned on taking them all apart in the bloodiest ways that he knew. And whether he did that in Wolf or Human form was irrelevant. They had made his pack-members suffer – and for that, they would pay.

One man aimed a gun at Xiumin, right in between the eyes. He saw it, but didn’t move; he was too used to Humans trying to contain him with such trickeries. He would not be shot. He’d make sure of that. It was enough for Suho and Tao to grow worried over him, he didn’t need Yixing to fret too. Yixing was always the one who worried the most about their Wolfpack, perhaps because he was the one entrusted with bringing them all back to full health. He had enough stress on his shoulders already, Xiumin wouldn’t give him any more.

Xiumin growled, thus delaying the imminent shot – the man apparently had been expecting the Wolf to pounce. Still, Xiumin knew he needed to move. He would be an easy target if he remained in one place. That was why his moon’s agility and speed were deadlier than most Wolves’ jaws – because he didn’t give the enemy any chance of even brushing against his fur.

And so, Xiumin moved. Towards his left. Towards a man holding a wooden club in both his hands.

The weapon was swung fiercely, against him, the metal spikes inserted around its head trying to get at him. Xiumin was too tall to just lean down to avoid the hit. He kept moving to the left, circling the man. As soon as his back was exposed to him, he jumped.

His height instantly transformed into an advantage – he didn’t have to carry much momentum to reach the man’s throat. Xiumin leant one of his paws on his shoulders, sharp nails piercing his clothes and skin while his equally sharp teeth tore the jugular out.

Xiumin let no thought invade his mind, even when that disgusting mixture of dry blood and rusted iron filled his senses, his instincts. He recognised the scent – and immediately wished he didn’t.

Because this familiarity meant that these were the same men who had attacked his pack before. The same men who had threatened Suho, and all of his kids. The same ones who were trying to kill his Wolfpack.

Xiumin would never allow that. Even it meant committing bloody murder, even if it meant throwing away all those year-long promises he’d kept since – since.

This was not the time to dwell on that. Tao would never allow him to do so. Not when there was a fight to be fought and won – and not at any other time.

Xiumin fell half onto the ground and half onto the corpse he was still sinking his teeth into. Somehow, the Human he was latching himself onto served as a meaty shield for some bullets. His instincts knew that a silencer had been used, but his conscious mind had not caught up with that just yet.

He wouldn’t realise any details until the fight was over. He knew that. It was always the same. That was why Yixing had gotten so good at running damage control, at telling them time and again that better safe than sorry.

Yixing knew too damn well what Wolves could become when their Wolfpack’s survival was on the line.

Xiumin released his jaw’s grip, let that motion carry him into another man’s thigh. Xiumin’s head was bowed, because he was too tall to reach his target if he didn’t bow. He kept his ears as close to his head as they could bend – his every instinct told him that it was a good idea, so he did. He had no reason to fight with his instincts. Or, at least, not in the same way that Tao did.

The man screamed, swung a blunt weapon and hit Xiumin’s back with is full force. It stung, though the hit hadn’t been strong enough to even bruise him lightly. The man kept hitting him, screaming for his life. Xiumin could feel another two men approaching them.

And instinct took over. Because the Wolf within was now the Wolf outside. He was not Human right now. Therefore, he should not hold back.

The black Wolf lunged from the wounded man onto a slimmer one holding a gun in one hand and a switchblade in the other. Growling, he opened his jaws – blood poured out, menacing – he jumped.

Too much impulse. He flew over the man’s shoulder. But his hind legs caught on his shoulder, on his face. They made the man topple onto the ground. The Wolf turned around, quick, growling, blood and adrenaline and instinct burning him from the inside out. When he bit the double-wielding man’s head right off, the men around him took a step backwards.

Good. They should be afraid. They should all be afraid. He was a Wolf, a creature of legend, a monster to fill Human nightmares with. Every single Human should be afraid of him.

He raised his head, let blood coat him thick. His jaws opened, a new growl coming out. His posture was low, back arched tightly, legs opened just enough to give him agility. He could move as quickly as needed. That was good. Humans were treacherous weaklings who used weapons because they had no physical strength to match their big words. Not like him. He was strong. He didn’t need these toys that Humans called “weapons”.

His point was proven when he took another two men down in quick succession.

The one man who had aimed a gun at him earlier on was staring at him. The Wolf stared right back, golden eyes boring holes into the Human.

The gun trembled.

The Wolf opened his jaws more. Blood dripped onto the ground, thick red drops weighting like the whole world tumbling down from his fangs. The dry blood hung heavy in the air in between the Wolf and the gunner, rusted iron clouding the Wolf’s vision.

The gunner started to move. But the Wolf was faster – much faster than any puny Human could ever aspire to be.

The Wolf’s full weight fell upon him, choking oxygen out of his lungs, sending the gun far away. The instincts outside slowly returned inside, retreating into the profound darkness of his unconsciousness. The Wolf felt himself changing, and didn’t fight it. Why fight it? None of these Humans would live to see him again. It was irrelevant. They were irrelevant. It was alright to let them see both of his forms. None would ever see anything else. Ever again.

Talk.

Xiumin’s voice sounded so rough, as if he had scratched his vocal cords with the cheapest of sandpapers. This always happened when he let the Wolf within take over him, when he changed forms completely unconsciously.

The gunner tried to raise from the ground, where he had fallen face-up when the black Wolf had jumped onto his chest. Now Xiumin merely adjusted his posture, legs keeping the gunner’s own broken ones against the ground. They were close to the kids’ playground’s edges, which meant that there were panels installed on the floor, made of a softer material so that kids wouldn’t hurt themselves when they fell.

When, not if, because all Human kids were torpid. Wolves’ cubs tended to be a bit more stable on their own four feet.

The Human underneath him moved his head from side to side, brushing his nape on that softer material. Xiumin just tilted his head to the left, regarding him with a mixture of curiosity and a threat – try me, let’s see how you end up. The Human stopped moving, eyes glazed over and looking directly at the slim man on top of him.

“I don’t have anything to tell you…” he rasped out. Xiumin’s gaze grew darker, the streetlamps illuminating him from the side. His visage was one that imposed respect on all those who gazed upon him – and this wounded Human was no exception. “Argh…”

Talk.” Xiumin repeated. His voice didn’t feel as thick now as it had before. The more time it passed since his change of forms, the more like himself he would sound. Still, there were enough remnants of that feral authority in his tone – and those made the Human cower.

Cower, but not talk. Xiumin had met more than enough Humans to know that this resolve wasn’t usual in most of them. Most Humans were easily broken, mere flesh to eat and bones to chew when there was nothing more to consume. That was the Wolves’ vision – one of blood, of violence, of being on top of the food-chain despite what Humans told themselves.

The Human’s eyes were still glazed over with a thin layer of dirty white. It didn’t look like mere tears, but the edges were too bloodshot to distinguish what that substance was. Ultimately, it didn’t matter. Not when Xiumin knew he could invest some time in this… interrogation.

Yes, that word sounded good – sounded accurate. He could work with that, use it to justify his actions later on. His Wolfpack would never ask him why he was covered in blood from head to toe, he knew. But Suho and his kids were only Human. Their curiosity was normal, Xiumin would never blame them for it. Even when it meant that he needed to fabricate excuses and sugar-coat the atrocious truth.

Xiumin moved his right hand to the Human’s left shoulder. His fingertips curled around the bloodied edges of the wound there – enough to hurt, to make the man open his mouth in a wordless, soundless, scream. Xiumin merely observed him from up top, his expression as vicious as it had been before. The only true change in his demeanour were his eyes – darker, and darker still. Not even the light coming from the streetlamp at his side was able to illuminate them. There were no reflections in them, only black pools of steel.

The same steel that made the Human’s eyes widen, mouth opening in another completely silent scream. Xiumin didn’t say anything. He’d already given the Human the order to speak. There was no reason for Xiumin to say any single word more. Not until this filthy Human obeyed.

“We were summoned here…” the Human started, slow and raspy. Xiumin knew it was due to the wound – due to his own fingers being inside that wound. His stare grew more intense, if that was even possible; a visible storm lacing the darkness of his irises.

Then the Human shut up. Xiumin could read conviction in those glazed eyes, though it was muted by fear and blood-loss. Those strange vibes were back in full force – reminding Xiumin all too clearly of that time he’d gone out to rescue Chanyeol. The dried blood had been pointing a gun to Chanyeol’s head, and then to the black Wolf within. That dried blood’s eyes had had terror reflected plainly in them, but with a certain underlying resolution.

And the wounded Human underneath Xiumin had that same mixture of resolve and fear inside his eyes.

Xiumin wasn’t quite sure of what it meant – he’d been removed from the Humans’ world ever since joining his moon’s Wolfpack. He couldn’t understand Humans anymore. Then again, he’d never fully understood why Humans did the things they did. Xiumin just knew too well how to play Humans, how to plan around them to get his own way without giving his true intentions away.

The Wolf within growled loud enough to deafen his senses.

Talk. You don’t want me to make you talk.

The Human trembled. It sent even more of his scent into the air – dry blood and rusted iron, too close and too invasive. Xiumin’s senses recoiled. He growled again, low and menacing and all those adjectives that could only be applied to Wolves, never to mere Humans. The Human’s eyes unfocused.

Xiumin took his fingers out of the wound. Humans were brittle little creatures; too much pressure and they’d faint. He needed to let go, but only slightly. If he backed away completely, he’d lose his chance. The Human wouldn’t see him as a threat if he softened at the crucial moment.

It was like sex, really. Even when he hadn’t had that kind of extremely rough sex in almost ten years. He could never treat his moon that roughly. He didn’t want to. So he never did.

The Wolf within wasn’t even sure if his moon knew this side of him. Xiumin was terrified of the mere possibility of Luhan finding out about it.

“We… are hired by the Government…”

“Tell me something I don’t already know.” Xiumin replied easily. His voice still lingered in that growled octave, much lower than his usual speaking voice.

It was almost too reminiscent of the Wolf within.

But he didn’t care.

There was nobody else here to see his own darkness.

“We… were called… over the phone… by an SM worker…”

Xiumin blinked with interest, tilting his head upwards. A faint light appeared at the edges of his eyes – only a reflection from the streetlamp, of course. It still made him even more dangerous, since the motion had shifted the shadows on his face.

“Tell me about this worker.” Xiumin ordered.

The man didn’t answer right away, chest heaving heavily as he fought the unconsciousness that wanted to take over. Xiumin didn’t change his posture, even though he knew that it would ease the Human’s breathing. Why should he even care for this tiny creature, the Wolf within whispered darkly. This dried blood has tried to kill your pack-members. He deserves no mercy.

“…he’s… blonde… foreigner…” A strangled, wet sound. The Wolf within rumbled a growl, pleased with the Human choking in his own blood. Xiumin accentuated his own weight over the Human’s stomach, one hand leant so heavily on the Human’s chest that it made him cough blood. “… please…”

You tried to kill my pack.” The Wolf growled, “You will know no mercy.

The pathetic Human coughed out again. The thick droplet landed on his own skin, all around his mouth, dripping down his neck. He should count himself lucky, the Wolf mused – if any of that tainted blood had stained his fur – no, not his fur – his skin, he was still in Human form.

…right?

“We had to c-capture the traitor alive!” the Human screamed. There were tears at the corner of his eyes, shining under the streetlights. When he opened his mouth to breathe in as much oxygen as the Wolf allowed him to, which was not a lot, it was possible to see that his gums and teeth were covered in red. “Bring him back to HQ!”

The Wolf rumbled a new growl, threatening with spilling more life onto the dirty pavement below. For a moment, Human words were impossible for him to pronounce, his tongue too set on not moving, his throat stubbornly refusing to produce anything other than the rough language of Wolves.

What HQ?” he finally, finally, managed to ask.

The Human trembled even more, already half-dead. The Wolf screamed awake, knowing there wasn’t much time left. If this interrogation was going anywhere, it needed to happen now. Otherwise, there would simply be no one to interrogate.

“… city’s centre… close… to… SM…”

The Human’s head rolled to one side. The glazing over those eyes grew matte. The body went completely limp underneath the Wolf.

Xiumin rose up, his clothes wholly tainted the deepest of reds. He stayed there for a moment, towering over the now-dead Human, taking in the bloody scene under him. There were no thoughts in his head, no tension in his limbs, no movement in his body.

Then, he turned, changed forms, ran back to his Wolfpack, already knowing all too well that he needed to get out of this violent, bloody mood before his moon could see.

Chapter Text

The moment when Suho and Tao entered the abandoned building, all their pack-members looked at them. Tao felt Suho getting off his back, one hand brushing over his fur as Suho went slightly away from Tao. The contact was eventually lost, which left Tao feeling like he was floating in darkness, no longer having anything to ground him into the present.

Tao stayed right where he was, unmoving, ears against his head, tail lowered and almost in between his hind legs. His posture was the least threatening he could keep it, even with all his battle instincts burning him from the inside out – he was away from the fight, yes, but he could still feel it happening.

He had left Xiumin fighting alone. That was not good – was not honourable. Yes, Xiumin could fend for himself perfectly fine. But that was not the point. The point was that Tao was not there with him to help him. Even though Tao was their Wolfpack’s best fighter. And not anybody else.

There was a mixture of scents going around Suho’s own, surrounding it. There was one of scorched lands, contrasting a lot with Suho’s water-and-earth scent. Others mixed much more, too Human-like to register as individual people to Tao’s overworked senses.

Citrus, pine, sunshine on a beach, right by his side, comforting and familiar.

A warm hand slowly running over his back, up and down. Citrus and pine quickly coalesced around him, making him turn his head towards them, wanting even more.

Kai was standing there, right where his scent was the most powerful. He was much taller than Tao’s Wolf form, but he wasn’t looking down on him. Or, at least, not in the metaphorical way. The literal way, yes; he was taller after all. But there was such warmth inside his gaze that Tao got lost inside of it.

It heated him up inside.

“Do you mind if I stay with you?”

Stars and Moon above, Kai sounded so… tentative, so careful, as if he believed Tao would push him away. Which Tao would never do. Never. Kai surely knew that.

… right…?

Tao nuzzled his head closer to Kai’s legs. Their height difference meant that he ended up pressing his nose in between his inner thighs, not unlike a housedog’s greetings. Kai giggled, opened his leg a little. Tao didn’t need to take even a single step towards Kai to be able to drown in his scent, to make out every little trace in that intoxicating scent – the only scent that made him lose his head every single time.

Overtones of citrus and undertones of pine, interlacing so intimately that his mind disconnected. Refulgent sunshine on a beach, making all shadows disappear into dearest nothingness, shining bright, almost as bright as that blinding smile that made his heart skip a beat.

“Do you want to go back to our room?” Kai mumbled, barely above the general ruckus of their pack-members fumbling over Suho. Just like mother hens. Even though Suho was the pack’s mom. Weird. “There will be less noise in there. All the dogs are still playing around here, too.”

Tao nuzzled half of his face against Kai’s thigh, rumbling the Wolf’s equivalent of a purr. He didn’t know if Kai had heard this sound before. But Kai had experience with dogs. And the language of Wolves was only a bit more refined that the dogs’ own.

Kai smiled, letting out some air, making a soft sound that Tao’s senses revelled in. He followed Kai almost by pure instinct, following that scent that he loved so much. Kai looked behind him a couple times, making sure Tao was following him. Every single he did that, there was a smile on his handsome factions, lighting up the dark corridor.

That smile always made Tao’s heart skip a panicked beat, right before it transformed into the most marked of staccatos.

Kai entered the room first, turning around by the door to let Tao inside. Then, he closed the door – its wood didn’t protest, although the jambes did. Tao walked almost to the centre of the room before he took a detour towards the bed, probably deeming the small space between the beaten-down cupboard and the worm-eaten bookshelf a more strategic point.

From there, he could see the door, not to mention the whole room, while still being protected from someone looking in through the window. Kai wondered if Tao had chosen it because of those battle instincts, or if this had been a conscious choice on his part. Well, it truly didn’t make much of a difference – Kai was just curious to know Tao’s train of thought.

Then again, he wanted to know everything about Tao.

Kai took two steps towards Tao’s Wolf form, and then got on his knees to crawl what little distance remained. The Wolf followed the gesture with that deep gaze – the same one that made Kai halt all movement, thinking that his own heart had stopped too.

Tao didn’t move, didn’t growl, didn’t do anything beyond observe him. In Kai’s mind, that was a good sign – something to tell him that it was okay to come closer.

So he did, crawling on the floor until he was close enough to touch Tao’s fur if he wanted to. But he didn’t know if Tao was alright with that. So he didn’t touch him. Kai just stayed close by, sitting down on his ass. He was tall enough to be all awkwardly bent legs, however; which meant that the tendons (or maybe the muscles, he wasn’t sure) on his thighs protested.

Kai groaned softly, trying to change his posture into something a bit more accommodating while still giving Tao as much personal space as possible. The Wolf by his side emitted a rumbling purr, not unlike what he’d let out when his nose had been buried in between Kai’s thighs.

The mixture of citrus and pine was still there, but fainter. Tao didn’t like that. He wanted them close – so close that he could drown in their warmth, in the sunshine on that paradisiac beach.

A hand appeared at his crown, right in between his ears. Tao unconsciously closed his eyes, seeking more of that contact. Kai caressed him back-to-front, then side-to-side, fingertips barely brushing over his ears. It was almost feather-like – so much so, that Tao wanted more. More of what, he wasn’t sure. Just – just more.

More of Kai.

“Mom will be alright, even if he was shaking before.” Kai muttered, intentionally keeping his volume down. He’d already learnt that Wolfish senses were more sensitive than his own Human ones, and he didn’t want to overstimulate Tao. Hell, he didn’t even know if Tao was overstimulated right now. “And I’m sure Xiumin will be alright, too.”

Tao nuzzled his head closer to Kai’s chest. Kai gasped – he hadn’t been expecting that – but he still turned his body towards Tao. The gentle motion brought them closer to one another, let Tao lean his whole weight on Kai’s chest.

“O-oy!”

THUD!

“Ouch…”

The Wolf rumbled another purr, as if saying sorry. Sorry for suddenly leaning so much on you that I made you fall over backwards, until your whole back hit the floor – and did you hit your head?

“I didn’t…” Kai raised an arm to serve as an improvised pillow, quite content with letting Tao lay on top of him. Kai’s goldens did the same sometimes when he played with them, this wasn’t a new sensation by any means. “I’m okay. Come as close to me as you want.”

Tao curled his body against Kai’s side, one front leg swung over Kai’s stomach, his paw almost touching the floor on Kai’s other side. Then he leant his huge head more fully on Kai’s chest, inviting him to get his free hand on Tao’s fur. Kai smiled, read him correctly, and did just that.

“Do you like it when I’m here with you?”

A rumbled sound, not unlike the Wolfish version of a cat’s purr. Kai’s smile got wider. His hand run down the back of Tao’s neck, as further down his spine as their posture allowed, and then slowly back up again.

“Then I’ll stay here with you. All night. If you want me to.”

The Wolf nodded once before settling down again.

“Did you want to fight?”

No sound came from the Wolf. Kai interpreted it as a “no”, since all the previous sounds had been a collection of “yes”.

“You didn’t want to fight.”

A little sound confirmed that sentence. It also confirmed Kai’s interpretation of Tao’s silence for “no” and sound for “yes”.

“But you wanted to help. You didn’t want to leave Xiumin alone, right?”

Tao moved his head until his nose was against the side of Kai’s neck. Kai felt his heart skip a beat – whether from fear of suddenly being attacked, or from the sheer closeness, he didn’t know. The leg swung over Kai’s stomach kept him in place.

Then Kai felt Tao sniffing him. And he giggled like a schoolgirl in love.

“O-oy! T-that t-ickles!”

The Wolf made another sound, though not like those purrs. This one sounded like he was laughing – or, rather, like he was trying to laugh like he was in Human form while still in his Wolf one.

“You can’t laugh as a Wolf!” Kai giggled, his hand running up Tao’s back and stopping at his nape. “Change forms if you want to laugh.”

The Wolf suddenly stilled. Kai stopped all movement, suddenly fearing he’d said the wrong thing.

Then he remembered something that other Wolves had mentioned in passing, some time before Suho and Tao had returned home.

“… you can’t change forms right now? Did you forget?”

The Wolf didn’t look at him while nodding his head, once, so quick that the longest parts of his fur whipped Kai’s body.

“That’s okay, you’ll remember eventually.” Kai resumed his caressing, figuring that it was a good idea. If Tao enjoyed it, Kai would make sure his hands always remained somewhere on Tao’s body. “Meanwhile, you can stay here with me. I can cuddle you all night.”

The Wolf relaxed against Kai’s body, his limbs losing all tension. Kai’s neck had started to hurt at some point, probably due to the forced angle in which he was leaning on his own arm, but he still kept caressing Tao. His own discomfort was secondary right now – the important one was Tao, not Kai.

But Kai’s mind couldn’t focus. His thoughts kept running panicked circles around his skull, never setting on any concrete sentence yet still worrying him. Had Kai not known what had brought this state of mind on, he would’ve feared for his own sanity. As it was, though, he could only wonder.

Wonder what Tao had lived through. What horrors had he witnessed. This reaction wasn’t usual – at least not in a Human. But all the other Wolves in their Wolfpack didn’t behave like this, either. So this panic, or whatever the hell this truly was, was unique to Tao. Just like the panda’s pattern of his fur, or the way his confident smirk melted away every time Kai kissed him deeply.

Maybe Tao had survived a million different battles while his loved ones had not. That would explain why he was so upset about not having been able to support Xiumin in a fight. Maybe he had seen his loved ones die in front of him… that would be more than enough to traumatise anybody, Wolf or Human or anything in between. And could Wolves and Humans even reproduce? “Breed” seemed like a too-technical term, as if he was observing an experiment in a lab – “reproduce” sounded better. But that was straying away from the topic at hand. Or, rather, the topic at brain.

What exactly had Tao witnessed? It must’ve happened before he joined Kris and the others. Tao’s instincts were so sharp… his life before the pack must be the cause. But that directly implied non-stopping violence around him. Leaving Tao no other choice than to notice every little thing going on around him. To fight. To protect himself first and his pack second. Even though that would hurt him every single time. Kai knew Tao’s heart was soft and sweet at its core. Leaving someone behind would make him despair for days on end.

Maybe it hadn’t even been only violence. Maybe it had escalated into gore. From the way Tao fought, Kai knew that Tao could seriously maim anybody in his path. He never did, of course. Tao never wanted to hurt anybody. But he could. He absolutely could. And you don’t learn how to gore without having seen gore being used. That phrase made no grammatical sense. “Gore” wasn’t a verb. It was only a noun. But that was his thoughts straying away. Again.

A gentle kiss upon his neck. Kai shivered. Then he looked down.

“Hello…”

Another little kiss was left on his tanned skin. Kai shivered again, gasping – it had been so, so close to that sweet spot that always made him moan when it was kissed. He shivered when he felt Tao moving even closer, his long limbs tangling with Kai’s own.

“Are you feeling better…?”

Son of a thousand Wolves, Kai was breathless just from feeling Tao kiss him like this. Somehow, Kai felt virginal, as if he’d never been touched before – as if Tao was the first one to make react like this.

Then again, he was. Kai had always reacted positively to these attentions, true. But when Tao was the one giving them to him, well…

… it felt even more special, more intimate, more like something he wanted to keep forever in his life.

Tao moved slightly, angling himself towards Kai’s jawline. He left a new little kiss there, too; gentle and feather-like and so, so much like everything Kai loved. His hand moved on its own accord, settling on Tao’s shoulders, close to his neck but without directly touching it. He didn’t know if Tao could bear that touch right now.

Kai got his answer when Tao groaned, physically moving Kai’s hand to where Tao wanted it rest upon.

“Should I hold you…?” Kai mumbled. Tao nodded against his skin, warm breath making goosebumps arise. “Okay… I’ll hold you however you want me to.”

Tao moved closer at that, eluding Kai’s lingering gaze. Tao hid half his face on the crook of Kai’s neck, knowing that he wouldn’t be seen that way. Kai allowed him to do so, his fingers carefully curling over his sensitive neck. Tao shivered, breathed a shaky sigh, trembled against his body. His hold around Kai’s torso shook for an instant – then it grew tighter, perhaps on time with Tao’s resolve.

“Do you want to move onto the bed? We’ll be more comfortable there.”

Tao violently shook his head no. The motion was so quick that his hair whipped Kai, but he paid it no mind. Tao was communicating with him. And that was the important part.

“Alright, we won’t move. Can I grab a pillow, though? My neck will hurt…”

Kai had deliberately omitted that his neck was already hurting, not wanting to make Tao feel bad about wanting to stay on the floor. He couldn’t bear to see Tao in pain. So it was a surprise to see Tao moving away from him, kneeling by the bed, stretching his long limbs as far as they could go to grab a pillow. Kai slowly raised his upper body from the floor, ready to take it from Tao – his surprise grew even more when Tao placed the soft pillow underneath Kai’s head.

His every touch was cautious, even when he was only smoothing the old fabric to get rid of all wrinkles. And it remained careful as he slowly moved Kai down, setting his golden head onto the pillow, then giving him enough space to accommodate his posture.

Kai smiled up at him, as warm as knew how to smile. His legs fell opened on their own accord, leaving more than enough room between them for Tao to settle in. Kai’s smile broadened when Tao did just that – lay down on top of him, head still on that indefinite spot between Kai’s neck and shoulder. Tao’s arm wound around Kai’s stomach once more, both his legs fitting nicely within the frame of Kai’s own.

Tao let out the crossbreed of a sigh and a moan when Kai circled both arms around him. Kai giggled airily, leant down to press a kiss to Tao’s head – felt Tao move closer, and closer still. Until there was literally no space in between their bodies.

“Are you feeling better? Does this help?”

Tao seemed to omit an answer to the first question, but definitely nodded along to the second. Good enough, Kai thought, both hands running over Tao’s clothes.

“Was all that just Wolfish instinct?”

Another little nod, though more tentative this time. Kai looked at Tao – well, he tried to look at Tao. As it was, he’d already hidden his face in Kai’s neck again. When Kai caressed his hair, not unlike how he’d caressed his Wolf form’s fur, Tao moaned.

“It’s… hard…” Tao mumbled. The usual raspy quality of his voice was there in full force, jumbling the sounds together. Kai had to take some seconds to roll them over in his mind to be able to make out the individual words. Eventually, he got it. “I… don’t want to fight… but I have to…”

“Xiumin will win.” Kai let his touch become firmer, more reassuring in a way. He wasn’t completely sure if it helped Tao, but he could still remember that a teenaged Suho used to calm younger Kai down like this. It had worked wonders back then, so why would it not work wonders now, too? “I know he will. He can fight, too. You don’t have to fight tonight. Just stay here with me.”

“But it’s not… fair. I’m the fighter!” Tao exclaimed, raising his head from Kai’s shoulder to look at him.

There was panic in his eyes, so clear that Kai almost drowned in it. Yet there was also an underlying hope, as if Tao wanted to believe that what Kai was saying was true. Kai knew that Tao was perfectly aware of Xiumin’s fighting skills – this mixture of fear and hope had been prompted by something entirely different.

Kai didn’t know how to answer with words, so he answered with actions.

Ah…” Tao moaned at the touch, though it was feather-light. His eyes closed a little. He let himself be pulled back down on top of Kai. “Kai…

“It’s alright.” Kai kept caressing his hair, the back of his neck, his shoulders. His other arm rectified its grip around Tao’s waist, keeping him firmly in place. “I know you were shaken. But it’s fine. We are all fine. Xiumin will come back, and he will be alright.”

“I… know…” Tao muttered. He almost sounded like he was about to cry – so tiny, so… vulnerable, that it made Kai want to protect him from all harm.

But how do you protect someone from their own internal struggles? You can only support them, be there for them at all times, let them lean on you.

And hope that you’re doing the right thing.

“Stay with me.” Kai whispered – it was a plea, it really was. He knew Tao would be able to tell. “Please…”

“I’m not moving.” Tao replied. The rasp in his voice, the warm breath caressing Kai’s neck, the fact that he was speaking more properly now… it all made Kai’s heart feel less heavy. “But you stay too.”

“I will.”

And, somehow, that felt like a promise.

 


 

A full hour had passed in silence. Xiumin had returned, said hi to the whole pack, and then locked himself away with Kris and Suho in a room at the back of the building. It had probably been because they didn’t want to be heard, because what Xiumin had to say should be heard first by their Wolfpack’s leaders.

But it still exacerbated the uneasiness growing within Tao. Because Xiumin had not said anything to him. And he had also deliberately avoided Luhan. Which was never a good sign.

Still, Tao had let Kai take him back to their shared room for more solitary cuddles. But they had settled right on the bed this time – more to not further strain Kai’s body than because Tao had a clear preference for it.

“So you don’t want to fight, but you’re the Wolfpack’s best fighter?” Kai asked him suddenly.

“Yeah.” Tao answered simply. It was such a loaded question – at least for Tao – that he didn’t know what else to say. Better to keep it brief than to monologue for three hours.

“But they all can fight.”

“Yes, but I’m the best.”

“But it takes a toll on you.”

“Maybe, but only I can do it.”

“You just said they all can fight.”

“True, but I’m the best.”

Kai groaned, let himself fall onto the pillow with a muffled thud. Tao just turned his head to look literally up at him, curiosity and care gathered inside his gaze.

“Then why don’t you just take the toughest enemies and leave the rest to them?”

“Because I’m our Wolfpack’s best fighter. I can take them all on and leave without a scratch. But they aren’t always able to do that.”

“Is that why you strain yourself so much? Until you crash like this?”

Tao moved away from Kai at that. Kai immediately regretted ever having opened his mouth. He was about to apologise, to plea with Tao to please not leave Kai alone with his thoughts and the knowledge that he’d hurt Tao deep, when he saw Tao just sitting on the bed.

Tao sighed out, letting his head roll back. He was almost on full profile-view to Kai; and that, coupled with the motion, highlighted his Adam’s apple and the length of his neck. He didn’t speak for a moment, looking like he was carefully choosing his every word, racking his brain to come up with the best way of explaining things to Kai.

When Tao started to speak, he still wouldn’t look at Kai.

“I haven’t crashed, this is just… me trying to contain myself. Because, if I don’t, someone will have to take me on. And no one in our Wolfpack can take me on in a fight. So I can’t let myself go. If I do, I will hurt someone. And no one in our Wolfpack deserves that.”

Kai remained silent for some endless minutes after Tao was done speaking. It worried Tao. A lot. His limbs got antsy, trembled, made him shake in shivers – just like he’d do in his Wolf form, to be honest.

“… so when your instincts act up, you get rough. Why don’t you just come to me, then… fuck me so hard you make me scream. I can take it.”

“Wha – no!

When Tao turned around to stare at Kai, alarm and horror in his blushing features, Kai just lowered his eyelids and bit his lower lip. The effect was downright sultry, making him appear almost like a devilish tempter, ready to seduce Tao until he exploded in fiery white. Coupled with the halo of messy, blonde hair falling wildly over his temples, over his forehead, Kai needed only to partially raise one toned arm towards Tao to complete the sultry image.

Tao’s breath hitched in his throat – Kai could see it in how his marked Adam’s apple moved. But then Tao was moving closer, inside Kai’s arms, throwing one leg over Kai’s own to straddle him fully.

“You know what?”

Tao smiled, his fingers raking over Kai’s chest, ruffling his clothes. When his gaze met Kai’s, the previous mixture of panic and hope was gone. Now there was only warmth, and playfulness, and that mirth that was so intrinsic to Tao that Kai’s heart started to sing.

His hips rolled against Kai’s – once, honeyed and swift. Just enough to leave sweet Kai gasping for more.

“… maybe I will fuck you hard next time~”

Kai’s heart was so full that he could only smile widely, aiming to be kissed. He was blushing, and he didn’t even care.

He didn’t care, because Tao was blushing too when he leant down to kiss Kai in full.

Chapter Text

Kyungsoo settled better into his seat, looking out the window at his right side. He could see the sunny street outside, illuminated by the tender sun of the mid-afternoon. Lately, it had been quite rare to get such a warm day, which made him appreciate today’s weather even more. Kyungsoo didn’t really mind cloudy skies and looming rains, but there was something to be said in favour of soft winds and a sun so gentle that sunglasses weren’t even needed.

Kyungsoo had chosen this seat specifically for the nice view out of the window, even when most of the café was empty at this hour. There was a couple seated at his left, sharing a huge pint of vanilla ice-cream with red coating running down it – strawberry icing, maybe. Kyungsoo couldn’t help but hear their enamoured laughter, as if the small distance separating him from the two lovers meant nothing. Then again, the café was so empty, so silent, that it truly didn’t matter.

All that mattered was that he had been waiting for about five minutes, and she still hadn’t arrived.

Kyungsoo didn’t really mind having to wait – it was said that all good things were worth waiting for – he just minded the slight impunctuality. She was foreign, though; her concept of punctuality didn’t always match her colleagues’, nor Kyungsoo’s, own.

But that was okay; she’d expressed her interest in him more than once at this point. He was alright with waiting because he knew that she’d eventually appear, most likely showing off those voluptuous curves, and wearing her hair down in careless waves, just because Kyungsoo had once mentioned in passing that they fitted her well.

“I’m so sorry! Did you have to wait for long?”

Ah, there she was – Kyungsoo rose from his seat to greet her. It was instinct on his part, merely what he’d always been told was polite to do – first by the parents he almost couldn’t remember anymore, then by Suho. But it must’ve looked strange to her, judging from how she paused for a second, mouth opening in a pretty O-shape.

In that split second, Kyungsoo realised that her lipstick was a bold display of red, directly complimenting the darkest of pinks, almost purple, of her dyed hair. There was almost no eyeshadow lining her big eyes, their brown quality shining brilliantly due to the sideways sunlight.

She truly looked stunning. Even more so because of that damned blue-and-white summer dress, its colours contrasting her hair and make-up. Kyungsoo wasn’t the type of man who stared at women (nor at men, to be honest), but she deserved to be gawked upon.

Not in a sexual way, though – at least, Kyungsoo could never see her that way. He wasn’t sure if she knew that, though.

“It’s alright.” He said, tone gentle, volume down. He offered her a smile that set her cheeks aflame. “I’ve only been here for five minutes.”

“Sorry, I’m usually more on time…” She sat on the seat opposite to Kyungsoo’s, a table in between them. He did the same as soon as she was seated – again, it was only polite to do so. “And thank you.”

“Why?”

Okay, he was staring now, his eyes shining chocolate-brown and just as inviting as the food in the metaphor. In his mind, there was no reason for her to be thanking him. All he’d done was agree to come out here to have a coffee with her – she’d been the one to ask it out of him. She had been brave, blushing crimson red and tripping over her own words, half-hiding her face with her long hair. It had only been fair to repay her valour with an affirmative answer.

Kyungsoo hesitated to call this a “date”, however – he wasn’t interested in her that way, she was a friend at most. And she was probably only infatuated with him, not truly in love. If she was in love, though, he would let her down in the gentlest way. He didn’t want her to get hurt, and especially not by Kyungsoo himself. She was far too kind, both to him and in general. She deserved better.

And, considering all that was going on with their Wolfpack, keeping her away was for the best.

“I… didn’t think you would say yes.” She played with her hair as she spoke, as if she was embarrassed. “So… thank you. For saying yes.”

“Rosaura, you don’t need to thank me.” He leant back on his seat, now feeling awkward – he had a feeling he’d mispronounced her name somehow.

Besides, how could he possibly respond to her sentence without making it seem like he wanted a relationship?

“Still…”

The rest of her sentence, if she had been planning on saying more, was lost by the waitress approaching them. Kyungsoo noticed how Rosaura shifted in her seat, probably dreading having to order. Considering that this wasn’t her mother tongue, and that the waitress spoke fairly quickly, Kyungsoo could understand it. So he took initiative for a moment, quietly asking Rosaura what she wanted to order. She mumbled her answer, a tentative smile on her face. Then, Kyungsoo turned to the waitress and ordered for both Rosaura and himself, easily getting through the interaction.

“Thank you…” Rosaura told him once the waitress had gone to get their orders. “I didn’t understand her very well, haha…”

“She spoke fast and had a southern accent.” Kyungsoo explained patiently. He knew Rosaura was trying her best every time she spoke this language; the least he could do was explain the difficult parts to her and help her as much as he could.

“But that wasn’t dialect, right? I don’t understand dialect at all.”

“No, it wasn’t.”

The sound of a coffee machine filled the café. The ice-cream-sharing couple rose to pay, and left shortly after. Kyungsoo tried to not focus too much on how he was now more alone with Rosaura than he had originally planned to be.

It wasn’t like he was uncomfortable in her presence, or anything like that. He just did not know how he should act – careful and gentle and polite, of course; but he also did not want to lead her on. The line between them was surprisingly thin sometimes, making him feel like he just flirted without even realising it. Which was bad – not in and of itself, of course. It just meant that he was left in uncertain territory, and trying to backtrack and take the flirting back without hurting her in the process.

And that was messy. Hence why Kyungsoo stuck to just being polite and gentle. And also why he never used double entendre nor difficult phrases, while making it pass for a “you’re not a native speaker and I don’t want to confuse you”. He’d never stated that much directly to her face – yet he got the feeling she understood.

“Thank you.” Rosaura told the waitress when she came back with their orders – a foamy and cold frappé for Rosaura, a simple black coffee for Kyungsoo. The waitress left them alone soon afterwards. Rosaura fell into silence too – but then she spoke up, “Anyway. How have you been? I haven’t seen you with Suho since I asked you out.”

And there it was. The dreaded sentence. The one thing indicating that, for Rosaura, this was officially a date. Even though Kyungsoo disagreed with that.

“I’m… sorry.” He started. He made a well-needed pause in his speech by putting a couple of white sugar cubes into his cup, watching them melt quickly. Kyungsoo could feel that Rosaura was staring at him. “I… didn’t think of this as a date.”

“Oh.”

Kyungsoo didn’t look at her. How could he? As gentle as he thought he’d be, he would completely understand it if she was upset or angry about his rejection. And maybe he should’ve clarified that right when she’d asked him out, shouldn’t he?

Oh.”

Rosaura sounded like she had just fully understood what Kyungsoo had meant. He swirled the sugar around with a tiny silver spoon – he was sure that the silver was only there in colour and not in material, though. Kyungsoo could feel the sugar’s resistance to being pushed around, the friction slowly reducing more and more as time passed.

And Rosaura still had not said any other word.

He raised his head, figuring that he owed her at least an explanation, or something of the sort. Kyungsoo didn’t have any experience dating, but he figured that was the right thing to do.

“It’s okay.” She said before he could even open his mouth. “I… kind of knew that… I’m not… you don’t…” Rosaura groaned, hung her head, long waves hiding her face, and then she cursed in her mother tongue under her breathe. Kyungsoo caught the word, though he didn’t understand the meaning. “How can I say this…”

“Take some time if you need to think.” Kyungsoo muttered. He didn’t want to sound patronizing nor condescending, but immediately thought that he had – and mentally cursed himself for it.

“I thought, you don’t want to date me. But I wanted to ask you out. To see if you say yes. And you said yes. I though, you want to date me. But you said, you don’t want to date me. I’m confused now.”

Kyungsoo noticed that the difficulty level of her phrases had gone down quite a lot, but didn’t say anything about it. He could understand her just fine, there was no need to make her feel bad over her language level. This wasn’t an official level-exam; it was completely alright to fall back on slang and shorter sentences for the sake of getting her meaning across.

“Rosaura, you’re an amazing girl and a lot of people would love to have you as their girlfriend.” Kyungsoo started. He sounded less assured than usual, which made her raise her head to look at him. “I’d love to have you as a friend, but I can’t be your boyfriend.”

“I understand.” She smiled a sad little thing that didn’t reach her eyes. “Thank you for telling me.”

Rosaura raised her cup and took a sip, closing her eyes when the cold drink hit her tongue. Kyungsoo saw her almost recoil from the difference in temperature. The frappé was foamy enough to leave a milky trace above her mouth, which she proceeded to wipe as quickly as she could. It made Kyungsoo smile – Rosaura was a cute one. He didn’t need to be romantically interested in her to recognise it, to appreciate her kindness and her manners and her general disposition towards him.

Not even towards him exclusively – Suho had told him that Rosaura always tried to be helpful around the office, even though she was only doing an internship at SM. It counted only as practice hours for her university degree, not a fully-fledged job position, so she wasn’t earning much money from it – if she was even being paid at all. Kyungsoo had listened to Suho’s complaints about SM more than enough times to know exactly what a dumpster fire it was.

“It’s alright that you don’t want to date me. I won’t be lonely.” Rosaura said suddenly. Kyungsoo wouldn’t be surprised if she’d thought the sentence, then proceeded to spend some time making sure she got it correct in this language before speaking.

“I’d hope not.” He commented, raising his cup so that he wouldn’t have to say anything else for a moment.

“I took in another stray.” Rosaura smiled broadly.

Kyungsoo knew that she regularly took in stray cats and dogs, to avoid having them killed by kennels who couldn’t hold as many critters as they advertised. Most of those little creatures arrived at her household extremely malnourished, and usually with more than one health problem to their non-existent name. All Rosaura could do for them in those occasions was make sure that they had a few somewhat pleasant last days before dying peacefully in her apartment.

Before he could comment the things that he should be warning her about regarding these ill, half-dead, sometimes aggressive critters, Rosaura spoke up again. The smile had not waned in the slightest, giving her appearance an even brighter quality.

It made Kyungsoo stare, though not with the kind of gaze that she would’ve loved to witness from him.

“He’s a really big dog, bigger than the Huskey I had last month. But he’s so wounded… I wanted to help him, but he wasn’t collaborating at first.”

Those words stunned Kyungsoo into silence. That… reminded him too much of how Suho had met Kris. Still, Rosaura didn’t seem like she was done speaking. So he did not say anything – he merely let her say everything she wanted to say, incorrect grammar and prepositions or not.

“There was a deep cut on his ribs… and scars from electricity… I don’t know how he walks, his fingers are all broken… and a bullet!”

Rosaura shivered visibly, much more sharply than she’d done when first drinking her cold frappé. It reminded Kyungsoo that she was far too kind-hearted to withstand such a wounded Wolf.

Because there was no doubt in his mind – Rosaura’s new “stray” had to be a Wolf. One of those unlucky ones without a Wolfpack, easily caught by the Government to be picked apart.

If Kyungsoo had wanted to warn her before, now he really needed to do so.

“Rosaura, you need to be careful. Please.”

“I know! Wounded dogs will attack threats.” She sounded like she was reciting what she’d learnt from a textbook. “My older sister is a veterinary. I helped her study when I was in high school. I know veterinary too!”

“Still. I don’t want you to get hurt only because you wanted to help him.”

“I won’t!” Another blinding smile, the afternoon sun making her hair gleam just as much as her eyes did. “I’m used to strays acting up sometimes. They get aggressive, I give them food and water, they calm down, and I heal them. It’s always like that.”

“But this one is bigger, right? And more wounded. He might die soon…”

“No he won’t!” Rosaura stared Kyungsoo down, suddenly exhibiting some of that fiery temper that had earned her a quick-tempered reputation at SM. “I will take care of him.”

“He’s stronger than you…” Kyungsoo slowly leant both hands on the table, unconsciously presenting himself as a non-threat to her.

“He let me heal him last night.” Rosaura said simply. Her temper seemed to have calmed down – if it had even flared up at all. Kyungsoo was used to his brothers being a bit bratty sometimes, but Rosaura’s temper was a whole different beast. Just like a dog was totally different to a Wolf. “I spoke… to? With? Him…” Her gaze told Kyungsoo that she was unsure of which preposition to use.

“You spoke to him and he didn’t answer. You spoke with him and he answered.” He explained, ever patient with those who wanted to improve themselves and learn new things. The sheer fact that she knew two different prepositions for a single verb told him that she wasn’t a lazy student.

“I spoke to him.” Rosaura smiled at Kyungsoo as she spoke, silently thanking him. He acknowledged her with a slight bow of his head, which made her smile throughout her next sentence, “I think, he knew. He knew all I was saying. Crazy, right?”

“Not really.” Kyungsoo muttered before he could stop himself. He immediately scrambled to cover his slip-up, to not tell her outright that her “pet” was a Wolf. Hell, he didn’t even know if she believed the legends – she was a foreigner, after all. She might not be as informed as this country was. “Some dogs are incredibly intelligent.”

“True!” she agreed. “Darío called me stupid, though.”

The purse of her lips, coupled with the lipstick highlighting them, made Kyungsoo look away, half-shy. The other half didn’t even know how to feel. He knew she probably hadn’t intended it as a flirtation.

Keyword being probably.

“Who is he?”

“Oh! True, you don’t know him…” Rosaura finished off her drink before speaking again, words flowing out of her so fluidly that it was almost impossible to guess that she wasn’t a native speaker. Kyungsoo was impressed – maybe she was better at this language when she didn’t overthink her choices. “We work together, but he’s a permanent worker like Suho, and I’m not. I think Darío was transferred from an office overseas… he and I come from the same country, so I was originally placed under his supervision.”

“But you’re not right now?” Kyungsoo guessed.

“Nope!” Rosaura shook his head once, long waves ebbing like a moonlit tide. “He got tired of me pretty quickly, so he requested that I was placed under someone else. I don’t know how he did that, but he did. So now I work for whoever needs me. Each day it’s a different person. I like it best when I work with Suho, though. He’s kind.”

Kyungsoo smiled at that. It made him happy to recognise the warmth in Rosaura’s tone – it indicated that she genuinely liked Suho. And Suho sincerely deserved to be liked, Kyungsoo knew. He’d spend so many years taking care of his six children, even raising the youngest two himself.

Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, and to a lesser degree Kyungsoo, could all remember having parents at one point. But Kai and Sehun had never known any other mom, any other parent. Only Suho. That irremediably placed quite a lot of responsibility upon Suho – a responsibility than he shouldn’t have had to shoulder alone at age fifteen.

“Suho is an amazing person.” Kyungsoo agreed. His tone had gotten slightly quieter without him fully realising it, as it did every time that he dished compliments out. “I’m glad I can call him brother.”

“He always takes care of me in the office.” Rosaura stated. The smile on her face disappeared as she kept talking, “Darío is… the opposite.”

“Has he given you a lot of trouble?”

“He… gave me his address when I didn’t have my own apartment here. He said…” she modulated her voice to be deeper, as if she was mocking someone with a lower tone than her own. It sounded purposely comical, since she was good at charades. “Rosaura, you can spend the night with me.”

Kyungsoo’s gaze immediately met Rosaura’s. That double sense had been laid on so thickly, and accentuated even more through her ample gestures, that it made him sick to his stomach.

“Yes, he meant it… that way.” She shifted uncomfortably on her seat. “I never went with him. I don’t like him at all… I told him, I have an apartment, it’s okay. He… insisted…”

Kyungsoo’s gaze turned as hard as steel. If it had ever been comparable to rich chocolate before, now it resembled too-toasted coffee beans. Not even the sunlight could make his eyes shine bright now.

It was fair to say that his current impression of this “Darío” wasn’t a favourable one. And he doubted it’d change at all after speaking with Suho – because Kyungsoo was definitely going to ask Suho about this other foreign colleague of his.

“But then Suho came closer to me. I felt safer. So I said, no Darío, I am okay. Darío said, okay you know where I am. And left. I told Suho about it. He helped me, and I found my apartment the next day.”

“I’m glad you’re alright.” Kyungsoo said. It was the truth; there was no point in trying to hide it, or even in lying.

“Thank you!”

“I kind of want to meet Darío now…”

“Oh, you will recognise him easily. He wears very, very expensive cologne…” The more that Kyungsoo listened to Rosaura describe Darío’s scent, the more he was sure of the hunch lurking at the edges of his brain.

Expensive cologne over rusting iron.

That was what Tao had said – Xiumin had had to fight in Suho’s and Tao’s stead, because those attackers had been summoned by “expensive iron”. The fact that this person worked at SM, that Suho knew him personally… it could only mean more trouble. Trouble that he could lessen. Especially with sweet Rosaura’s unassuming help.

Kyungsoo slowly leant across the table, inadvertently flustering her into stunned compliance, asking her for the impossible. It was a surprise when she acquiesced without even asking why – something that he thanked her for by accompanying her all the way back to her apartment.

Chapter Text

Chanyeol didn’t comment on how tightly Baekhyun was clinging to him. It wasn’t rare to feel Baekhyun doing this, however; he always did so when he rode pillion on Chanyeol’s powerful bike. There was no way in hell that Chanyeol would ever, ever, let him fall off – yet Baekhyun’s grip around his waist tightened when he took a sharp turn to the left in an intersection.

They hadn’t exchanged any words since they got on the bike together, since the engine’s loud purring drowned all sounds. Chanyeol was keeping it revved only slightly, probably because it was already late at night. After all, it was in Chanyeol’s nature to be somewhat gentle, and always mindful of others’ needs.

Baekhyun tapped his older brother’s tummy with impatient fingertips when they reached the halfway point in between the intersection they’d passed and the pedestrian crossing in front of them. Chanyeol looked over his shoulder quite easily, considering he wasn’t wearing a helmet – it was a good thing that road security wasn’t taken too seriously in this city; Chanyeol only owned one helmet, and he always gave it to his passengers. Baekhyun could admire that care, and he knew that Suho did to, in spite of how often Suho nagged Chanyeol for it.

“Here?” Chanyeol asked, barely above the rumour of the motorbike. Baekhyun just nodded, knowing the helmet would muffle his voice too much. “Okay.”

Chanyeol proceeded to park the bike in between a small family car and a huge, black Jeep. That Jeep cut an imposing figure under the reigning darkness, merely a darkest-than-dark spot that attracted Baekhyun’s attention even before he’d taken the helmet off.

He exchanged a look with Chanyeol. This Jeep was exactly like the one Yixing had described – Yixing had seen it parked in front of Chen’s girlfriend’s apartment, and then the Wolf had had to fight two men clad in black. And they knew that those men were sent by the Government.

And now, the exact same kind of car was parked under their target’s window.

The logical conclusion was that their target had a strong connection with either the Government, or those men clad in black. Chanyeol didn’t know which possibility he preferred; both were equally horrible for them. Especially when they were going to enter what could very possibly be a deadly trap.

Baekhyun hung the helmet on the motorbike’s handle, securing it with a thin wire. He kept a similar cable in his pocket, just in case he had to tie their target up. Chanyeol looked literally down at him, though that was only due to him being taller than Baekhyun.

“Let’s get this over with.” Baekhyun mumbled, so low in volume that not even the people on the other side of the opened window on the first floor could hear him. “If he insists on being a problem for mom, I’ll have to take care of it.”

“We all will.” Chanyeol remarked. He loved Suho too much to let Baekhyun handle this alone, even though Chanyeol couldn’t fight like Baekhyun or Tao could. He wondered, and not for the first time, if he should try and learn some martial arts. “We all care for Suho.”

“Yeah, I know.” Baekhyun started to walk towards the portal, and Chanyeol followed him closely. “But we’re not like Kris and his gang.”

Chanyeol got his meaning instantly – we’re not Wolves – and merely shrugged, even though Baekhyun couldn’t see it.

“That doesn’t mean we’re useless.”

“Fucking true!” Bakehyun answered, tone firm and determined. “Now let’s see…”

Chanyeol looked back to his bike, to the black Jeep by its side, while Baekhyun fumbled with the ringers and the names written below each address. It was strange to realise how tiny his bike looked next to the Jeep, because it wasn’t a small bike – the engine was a powerful V-shape, it had more potency than most family cars. It was most likely on equal grounds as the Jeep, incredible as that might sound to those unfamiliar with vehicles.

“Last floor, right-hand.” Baekhyun read aloud. His voice took Chanyeol out of his own thoughts. “Now how the fuck are we going to…”

A loud roaring interrupted him. The happy voices were accompanied by equally loud music, its heavy bass booming from somewhere above them.

“That’s our way in!” Chanyeol exclaimed. “If there’s a party, they’ll be waiting for more people to join.”

Baekhyun didn’t mention that that might not necessarily be true – he knew that Chanyeol already knew that. Still, it was worth a try. They didn’t have any other idea. That window on the first floor was still opened, but neither wanted to go through it. Who knew what was waiting on the other side… the hour was just too late. No self-respecting Human would leave it completely opened past midnight, not when the window was levelled with most pedestrians’ heads.

Chanyeol took some steps back to look up the building – the party was on the third floor, right in the middle. Its volume would probably get super annoying for the people in the other floors. But that wasn’t Chanyeol’s nor Baekhyun’s problem, so they didn’t give it much thought.

When Baekhyun rang the third floor, a teenager answered him. She sounded drunk out of her mind, which explained why she opened the portal’s doors for them without even asking their names. Baekhyun had to smile at that.

Then he remembered that most of their Wolfpack’s Wolves would’ve done the same thing.

“We’re not so different after all…” he mumbled.

Chanyeol didn’t request an explanation, despite how contextless those words were for him. He just followed Baekhyun into the building, making sure the portal’s door was closed behind him. They took the stairs out of habit, climbing them slowly enough to not waste too much energy. If they were going to do this, they needed to be feeling fresh and strong when they reached their destination.

The last floor was also the tiniest one, since this building had a tendency to thin out at the top, almost like a four-walled pyramid. The architect must’ve been drunk, or something worse, when designing the whole thing – only two apartments per floor, one in front of the other. Chanyeol idly wondered how the thinning out affected the price – the last floor tended to be the most expensive; but in this case, it was also the one with the tiniest apartments in the whole building. And a tiny apartment was cheaper.

Then again, their target was a foreigner. He probably could pay for even an expensive apartment. Even if he worked at SM, renowned amongst their employees for not paying them what a normal company would pay.

Baekhyun went directly to the apartment on the last floor’s right hand and checked the door. Chanyeol didn’t understand why until he saw Baekhyun position himself on the same side as the hinges. When the door was opened, Baekhyun wouldn’t be seen right away, which gave him an edge over whoever was inside the apartment.

Chanyeol mused whether this came from Baekhyun’s own martial training, or from his incessant conversations with Tao – after all, that Wolf also knew martial arts. It probably didn’t matter that Tao and Baekhyun knew different disciplines; the basics had to be similar.

Baekhyun made a couple of fast, impatient gestures to Chanyeol. He raised his own hands in a silent apology, and walked to the opposite side of the door, where the ringer was. They silently counted up to three together, and Chanyeol rang the ringer in time with the “four” they hadn’t said.

The door opened to the inside, which was perfect for Baekhyun’s plan. It allowed him to literally jump onto Darío as soon as he opened the door enough, pushing him back inside through leaning Baekhyun’s whole bodyweight on him. Chanyeol followed them, closed the door behind him and locked it by moving the chain-lock into place. He didn’t touch the key, mostly because it wasn’t in the keyhole – it was effectively out of his immediate reach.

Baekhyun had managed to push Darío against a wall, probably because Darío’s initial confusion hadn’t worn off yet. Darío growled, low and menacing, from the back of his throat. His speaking voice wasn’t low enough for this growl to carry much weight, though – and that explained why Baekhyun didn’t back off.

Chanyeol stood some steps away, since he couldn’t fight as well as Baekhyun. Still, he stood his ground, keeping his expression as firm as he could manage. A part of him wished they could resolve this without violence – but he knew Baekhyun was too fired up for that.

After all, Baekhyun was feisty, he’d always been. When his siblings or mom were in danger, he didn’t hesitate – he jumped into action, perhaps much more recklessly than he should. His family was everything to him. Chanyeol could understand that, because he was the same way, but…

Sometimes, Baekhyun’s ways were too extreme. Suho was always trying to reel him in, to pull him back, to avoid Baekhyun having self-destruct.

“Who the fuck are you?!” growled Darío. His back was pressed so tightly against the wall that his neck was craned in an awkward angle. Chanyeol knew that must’ve hurt him, but he didn’t really care. This was the man who’d repeatedly tried to hurt Suho. He deserved no mercy. “And what the fuck are you doing here?!”

“Why did you open the door then?” Baekhyun replied easily, never losing an inch of his edge. Darío pushed his own chest out, and Baekhyun drove him back against the wall with a well-timed kick to the inner thigh and a push of the chest.

“Fucking door is badly constructed.” Darío mumbled, his growled words almost an unrecognizable jumble of sounds.

Chanyeol blinked a couple of times, confused – then he remembered that he hadn’t seen a peephole in the front door. That was probably what Darío was referring to; the door was built in such a way that he couldn’t know who was ringing the bell unless he physically opened the door. It was such bad design on the builders’ part, but it had worked so well in Baekhyun’s and Chanyeol’s benefit that neither of them would ever protest.

“Then fucking change it and stop whining!” Baekhyun exclaimed, probably loud enough to be heard from the apartment across the last floor.

Baekhyun almost missed the split second in which Darío’s muscles coiled tightly – then, Darío lunged forward with such a raw, vicious strength, that it sent Baekhyun tumbling backwards across the hall.

Chanyeol moved quickly, trying to grapple Darío. They needed to interrogate him, he couldn’t get away, he couldn’t be allowed to reach the phone…

“Fuck you too!” Darío growled, sending a powerful punch to Chanyeol’s face.

Chanyeol gasped, surprised – he lamely raised both arms, trying to protect himself on sheer instinct. He was taller than Dario, but was now realising that he wasn’t stronger. If he picked a fight with Darío, or if he picked a fight with Chanyeol, well. Chanyeol would lose, and spectacularly so. There was no two ways about it.

Thankfully for everybody involved (except Darío, of course), Baekhyun quickly stepped in between them. His martial arts training seemed to have kicked in – finally, Chanyeol thought, although he didn’t know if it was a good thing or not. Baekhyun didn’t block the punch, but he managed to divert it to one side, which left Darío’s torso opened to a new assault.

Chanyeol stepped aside, not wanting to get in Baekhyun’s way. His older brother didn’t fight like this very often; but when he did, things could get very bloody, very fast. It was almost concerning – as if Baekhyun accumulated aggression, only to let it all loose in his next fight.

But he never let himself go when play-fighting his brothers. Which was why Suho didn’t nag him for his explosive tendencies nearly as much as he sometimes should have.

Chanyeol was brought back from his thoughts by a low growl. Darío’s chest was pressed against the wall, his head turned to one side so that he could look over his own shoulder at Baekhyun – Baekhyun, who was twisting his arms at odd angles. Darío tried to shake free, and Baekhyun augmented the pressure. Dario growled out in pain. Chanyeol shivered on reflex, not used to such blatant violence taking place in front of him.

But he didn’t move. He was here to support his brother. He only needed to look tough. He didn’t need to fight. Baekhyun had told him that he could handle that part. Just drive me back and forth, I’ll fight for us. For mom.

“How the fuck did you get my address?!” Darío roared, a new growl slipping into his every sound. A split image of Kyungsoo texting them the address he’d obtained from a co-worker of Suho’s appeared in Chanyeol’s mind.

Yet he kept silent. Darío didn’t need to know that.

“We’re making the questions now.” If cold words could hurt, Darío would be frozen dead by the time Baekhyun ended that sentence. “Why are you trailing Suho?”

“You think I’m gonna tell you that?” Darío had the gall to laugh. It sounded like a threat, downright dangerous. Chanyeol reached into his pocket, making sure Darío saw it. “Hurt me all you like, I’m gonna win this war anyway.”

“War…?” Baekhyun repeated. For a second, he allowed the pressure on Darío’s arms to soften. The other shook, trying to break free – the pressure returned in full force. “Oh, don’t you dare. Don’t give me the satisfaction of breaking every bone in our body.”

Darío laughed, low and dangerous and menacing and all those dark things that only well-trained fighters would allow themselves to produce. Chanyeol shivered again.

“You can only lock me in place when I’m Human, and this one can’t even block a punch on his own. You really think I’d be afraid of you two, pathetic as you are?”

“When you’re Human?” Chanyeol immediately jumped up, exchanging a meaningful look with his brother.

Only the Wolves in their Wolfpack would use such an expression. And not even that – they’d revert to “Wolf form” and “Human form”, not this cryptic terminology. This made Chanyeol think that Dario thought of his Wolf and Human forms as two separate entities, and not as one unitary being – himself. It seemed like such a contrast to how Tao and Kris carried themselves.

Yet it almost reminded Chanyeol of that one fleeting impression he’d gotten of Xiumin that one time, when he’d changed from Human to Wolf form in front of their whole, current Wolfpack. Almost like Xiumin-the-Wolf and Xiumin-the-Human were two different people.

And Darío’s words indicated the same. But there was another problem pending over their heads like a proverbial sword. A much more urgent one.

“You’re a fucking Wolf?!” Baekhyun exclaimed.

“Now you get it!” Darío roared. Then he did something – Baekhyun wasn’t sure why, even though he was this close to Darío – and then Darío-the-Human wasn’t there anymore.

“AH!” Baekhyun shouted out in pain when a powerful, light-brown Wolf jumped up from in between his legs. Its force was more than enough to send Baekhyun face-up onto the floor, the Wolf landing on top of him. “FUCK YOU!”

Chanyeol moved instantly, even though fear had a terrible grip on his heart – fear for his brother’s life, not for his own. He would be fine. Even if he ended up wounded, that would be alright. Baekhyun was the important one here. Not Chanyeol.

So he grabbed the Wolf as though it was one of Kai’s dogs, his hands not burying themselves into the coarse fur as much as Chanyeol had thought they would. And hells under, this Wolf was definitely heavier than a golden retriever. Which wasn’t surprising – or it shouldn’t have been. Wolves were all muscle and sinew, whereas housedogs didn’t have to maintain that level of fitness. Housedogs didn’t need to hunt their food, after all.

Chanyeol wasn’t the strongest in their Wolfpack, that title was reserved for the Wolves – and he doubted he was the strongest of Suho’s kids, either; though Kai would’ve said Chanyeol was stronger than Kai himself. Still, he managed to pull the raging Wolf upwards just enough for Baekhyun to roll to one side.

And it turned out that the thin wire, twin to the one on Chanyeol’s bike’s handle, was a delightful way of tying a Wolf’s jaws together. The Wolf growled, and this time it sounded lower, even more dangerous than when Darío had been in Human form. It made Chanyeol shiver even more, but he kept his grip.

The Wolf tried to fight the wire around his nuzzle – and only managed to get itself bloody. The wire dug into his skin as acutely as a razor, making the Wolf roar and thrash, paws raising to his nuzzle, both Human adversaries completely forgotten by now.

Chanyeol and Baekhyun caught their breathe side by side, watching the Wolf thrashing about. Those powerful legs were a challenge – they didn’t have any more wire to tie them back with. They exchanged a quick look when the Wolf whimpered. The wire was now buried deep on some points, thick blood oozing darkly onto the floor.

“Stay back and do as I say.” Baekhyun whispered to Chanyeol. Both knew the Wolf was perfectly able to understand them no matter their volume, but this whispering was much more a Human’s instinct than a conscious thought.

Chanyeol nodded to his brother, fear and concern for Baekhyun painted clear and deep inside his dark eyes. Baekhyun gave him a quick smirk, one side of his mouth raising up just barely. Ever the trickster, Chanyeol thought. Somehow, that smirk calmed his fears down. It was irrational – the Wolf could hurt Baekhyun just the same, smirk or no smirk. And yet…

Every single cell in Chanyeol’s body screamed bloody murder when he saw how Baekhyun approached the Wolf. The screams only got deafeningly loud when Baekhyun climbed on top of the wounded Wolf, lowering himself enough to whisper something into his ear. Chanyeol could see that the Wolf was listening, though only because those ears moved from side to side, almost twitching – as if Baekhyun’s words hurt as much as the wire did, or even more.

Suddenly, the Wolf morphed into a Human. The wire came loose. There was blood dripping down the Human’s face, a deep-red gash around his mouth.

Baekhyun knelt, took the wire, and tied Darío’s wrists together behind his back. Darío remained unmoving, though he did twitch and shiver and moan pathetically. He was lying on his side on the cold floor, neck bent at an odd angel due to having no support underneath his head.

Not that Baekhyun seemed to care much about that, to be honest. He just rose up again, moved across the hall, and sat down on the floor, back to the wall, right in front of Darío. Then he gestured for Chanyeol to kneel down too, but in such a way that he was bodily blocking the way to the front door.

Chanyeol obeyed, unable to shake off the feeling that this had been too easy. True, he only had the Wolves in their Wolfpack to judge from, but still. He’d expected much more of a fight that this. And what the hell had Baekhyun whispered to Darío-the-Wolf?

“I came here before…” Darío started. Then he whimpered, probably due to the bloody wound around his mouth. Baekhyun didn’t pressure him beyond an intense stare – it wasn’t even a glare, surprisingly. “… before the anti-Wolf laws got so bad…”

Chanyeol guess that, by “here”, Darío meant the country. There was no reason to verbally fight him on this, so both brothers stayed silent. According to what they already knew about Darío – what Suho had reminisced to them both, either separately or together, about – certainly supported Darío’s statement.

“I… transferred… from a sister company… in another continent…”

That wasn’t new information either, but the brothers remained silent still. As long as Darío was talking, he could start the tale however he pleased. Baekhyun would be sure to further interrogate the lying bastard if he omitted anything.

“… they discovered… that I’m a Wolf…”

“They?” Baekhyun interrupted another whimper. “Who’s “they”?”

“SM higher-ups… they… rattled me off… those men in black came for me… iron and blood… I fought… lost… they offered me a deal… I said yes…”

Another whimper morphed into a moan of pain. Chanyeol’s heart was too kind to remain unaffected, and it could be seen in the hunching of his shoulders. Baekhyun looked firm and unwavering, though – yet Chanyeol knew it to be just a front. His brother had a soft core underneath all that snark and sass.

“Now I work… with them… for them? I don’t know… I say, Wolf here… they let me live… if I don’t… I will be dead… a pack-less Wolf is a dead Wolf… we all know that…”

Neither Baekhyun nor Chanyeol had known that those words were commonly said amongst Wolves. They made sense, Baekhyun supposed – or, at least, they explained why Tao had been so anxious to reveal why their five-member Wolfpack had been considered so weak.

Baekhyun had had to prod and nag and borderline interrogate Tao for almost a full hour before they’d settled in a friendly match – if Tao lost, he’d have to spill the beans; if he won, Baekhyun would leave him alone. They came from different martial arts, their disciplines and trainings were not the same by a long mile, and yet they’d been quite equal in a fair match.

Until Tao had used his full strength – then Baekhyun had lost embarrassingly quickly. How not; he was merely Human, he could never compare to a Wolf’s superior strength. And yet Tao had answered all his questions after helping Baekhyun up, off the rough floor. Everything that Baekhyun had wanted to know about the Wolfpack, about their lifestyles, about Wolves in general – Tao had answered to all of that with a courteous smile on his handsome features. Baekhyun had appreciated that kindness beyond what he’d told Tao about.

“… and now… now I’m dead anyway…”

“Not yet.”  Baekhyun mumbled to Darío. “Not until you tell us about those men in black, about the Government’s plans for Wolves.”

 


 

Chanyeol looked over his shoulder, looked to Baekhyun, concern inside his eyes. They were on their way back, both seated across Chanyeol’s powerful motorbike, feeling the engine’s protests directly underneath them. The traffic-light was red for them, and Chanyeol always respected them, even though they were the only ones in the street. The pharmacy’s neon-green clock by their left marked four-seventeen in the morning.

“How did you know how to keep him in Wolf form?” Chanyeol asked, voice low in both volume and tone – but high in concentrated concern.

“Tao told me after we sparred.” Baekhyun leant his head on his brother’s back, making full use of their height difference. He looked tired and tiny. The helmet dug into Chanyeol’s skin, but he didn’t protest. Baekhyun needed this. “Why did you stop? We’re alone.”

“It’s too late already. We can speak with Suho and Kris when morning comes.” Chanyeol answered instead. He knew that Baekhyun’s question had been prompted only by sleep making him whiny.

“Mom will kill us when he learns of this…” Baekhyun whined. He whimpered when Chanyeol revved the bike just enough to keep moving forward. “Loud…”

“This is the minimum volume I can drive at.” Chanyeol mumbled. Everything was so quiet around them that they could speak even despite the engine’s purring. “Sorry.”

“Fuck, it’s okay… don’t apologise because of that. You can’t control it.”

Chanyeol used the shop’s windows as impromptu mirrors to glance at his sleepy brother. It was almost impossible to believe that Baekhyun was months older than him – he just looked so tiny, so vulnerable.

“Don’t fall asleep on me, please. It’s dangerous, even if I drive slowly.”

“I know, you asshole.” Baekhyun groaned. His grip tightened around Chanyeol’s waist – almost as if proving a point that he hadn’t really made. “Just get me home safe…”

“I will.” Chanyeol’s smile could be heard on his tone as he kept driving smoothly, always keeping his bike as steady as he could, even as he took an elegant turn that made Baekhyun whimper more.

Chapter Text

Suho smiled at Kris, happy to have him by his side once more. The hour was late, and he couldn’t deny the tiredness spreading through his limbs after his workday, but something about having Kris nearby made exhaustion go away. Maybe it was only Suho’s imagination, blowing things out of proportion just because he liked Kris so much.

Well, erase that.

Suho knew himself well enough to know this wasn’t merely “liking” Kris. He really, genuinely, loved Kris. There was a difference – a very marked difference. One that he should do well in remembering from now on.

Even though it made him blush every single time.

“You look really cute when you blush.”

“Thank you!” Suho said on pure instinct upon hearing Kris’ low voice right at his side. His knuckles brushed against Suho’s – Suho immediately longed to hold his hand. “Um… do you mind if I…?”

“Go right ahead.”

Suho moved his hand closer – yet Kris was faster, lacing his fingers with Suho’s, never the shiest of the two.

Or, at least, he wasn’t the shiest one right now. Suho had seen him get awkward and tiny before, in spite of his imposing height. It was simultaneously the most adorable thing, and extremely endearing.

“So where are we going?” Suho asked, curiosity as plain as his smile in his voice.

“Depends on how tired you are.” Kris looked at him then. The headlights of an incoming family car illuminated his features directly. Then the car kept moving, the lights changing positions on Kris’ face. When the car passed them by, Kris’ dark eyes went from being alight to the darkest of pools – Suho’s breathe caught in his throat. “What…?”

“You’re more handsome than you give yourself credit for.” Suho smiled, as warm as his cheeks felt. He would’ve raised their joined hands to kiss Kris’, but he knew better than to do so in the middle of the street.

“I could say the same about you.” Kris replied softly, smiling too. He’d lowered his volume for some reason, as if there was someone spying in on them. Or, maybe, he had to whisper these sweet confessions to Suho – maybe he couldn’t shout them from the rooftops.

But that was okay. Suho wasn’t about to shout anything either. He was content with this – he knew he loved Kris, and he knew Kris loved him too. That was enough. It was more than enough.

His grip around Kris’ fingers tightened just a fraction, merely an insinuation of his feelings. Kris got it, because he always did. The smile on his face got wider.

“I’m not too tired right now.” Suho said, swinging his arm just slightly. Kris’ own waved too, since they were holding hands, but he didn’t seem to mind. “Did you have any place in mind?”

“Xiumin told me about a forest near the city, we could stargaze from there.”

Suho hummed, not really in agreement; yet not in disagreement, either. Kris took it to mean that Suho was considering stargazing as a possibility, not as the first option for tonight. That prompted him to keep on talking, wanting to find something Suho liked before Suho had to say it outright.

After all, Kris wouldn’t be a very good boyfriend if he couldn’t even think of a good date to take Suho on.

“Yixing also told me that there’s a bowling centre a couple of streets from here. Apparently he got invited by the shiest girl he’s ever seen.”

Suho half giggled at those words, as if the mental image of Yixing, always gentle and polite, getting invited to such a physical activity was shocking. Then again, bowling wasn’t the kind of date that their Wolfpack would associate with Yixing – it sounded much more like what Suho’s kids would enjoy.

Yixing looked like the type of man (the type of Wolf?) to take his dates out for a nice dinner, maybe even a home-cooked one, if they were alright with that. Even stargazing sounded like the soft, gentle activity that Suho had come to associate with him. Bowling was… more a bonding activity with friends than a proper date.

Then again, Suho himself had thought that way too. Until Kris had proposed it to him.

“I’ve never been to this bowling centre, there’s one closer to Kai’s and Sehun’s place, so we usually all go there.” He sounded thoughtful, as if he was still considering what to say “yes” to. Kris awaited his answer with bated breath. “… but it doesn’t sound half bad. It should be almost empty too, so no one will judge me for losing.”

“Only I.” Kris playfully brought himself closer to Suho, and then away once more. Suho laughed a little, pleased laugh that set Kris’ heart aflame.

This was the kind of softness, of gentleness, that he adored so much. It was nice to be on the giving end, of course, but there was definitely something to be said in favour of receiving it – and from Suho, no less. Kris knew that he loved this even more just because Suho was the one giving it to him.

“But you don’t judge me, you just tease me to no end.” Suho looked at him, a tiny smirk tugging the corners of his mouth upwards.

“You say that and you tease me at the same time. Nice.”

“Son of a thous–” Suho started to curse, but never finished it. They’d stopped at a pedestrian cross, which meant that Suho could turn his whole body to playfully hit the centre of Kris’ chest. “You know what I meant!”

“You’re a true Wolf now.” Kris’ arms were suddenly circling around Suho’s torso, barely above his waist. “Even cursing like one…”

Then he leant in, until his lips brushed against Suho’s. This display of affection was perhaps too blatant for the nocturnal streets, even though there was absolutely no one around them. Suho let his own hands remain on Kris’ chest during the whole kiss, happy with holding on to his Wolf’s red leather jacket.

Suho really had no idea where or when had Kris obtained this thing, but he could appreciate how it looked on him. It clung to his shoulders quite nicely, bringing attention to the white shirt he’d put on underneath it. But not even the undone button at his collar could compare to the wonder that was the leather – Suho found himself downright staring at it, admiring it both from a distance and from up close. Like during this passionate kiss.

It felt rough in the best of ways, like all treated leather did – and it wasn’t the faux kind, this was genuine leather of the upmost quality. Suho would’ve asked about it, but he was much too out of breath after their kiss.

“It’s green already, let’s go.”

“H-huh…?” Suho could do nothing more than look up at Kris as he took his hand again, tugging him across the thick, white stripes painted on the road. He didn’t let go of his hand as they walked down the street in front, either. The cuff of Kris’ jacket brushed against Suho’s wrist. “Where did you…?”

“Hmm?” Kris’ hum made Suho shiver for some reason. His gaze followed Suho’s own. “Ah, you mean the jacket! I… obtained, it, while you were at work the other day. Tao went with you, remember?”

If Suho caught what he was referring to by that special intonation, he didn’t say. And Kris didn’t clarify either – somehow, admitting to this was more of a confession than saying “I love you”.

And that reminded him… he still hadn’t said it out loud to Suho. Kris knew that Suho knew how he felt. Just like Kris knew how Suho felt. But the fact that they hadn’t said it out loud was a bit… not bothersome, of course. It would just feel nice to hear it, Kris supposed. And it wasn’t like he heard those three little words often, platonically or not.

“I do remember.” Suho recovered quite quickly, although he had to take some steadying breathes first. “It looks perfect on you, you know.”

“That’s why I chose it.”

“You’re a cocky one, you know that?”

“I’ve been accused of that before, yes.”

Kris’ serious tone made Suho stare at him, fearing he’d said the wrong thing, that he’d somehow spoiled the whole night. The mixture of surprise and panic must’ve been clearer on his face than he’d thought, since Kris stared right back at him.

“You didn’t say anything wrong, Suho.” Kris reassured him, keeping his tone as unwavering as he knew how to. Unbeknownst to him, he sounded just like he did when he comforted Tao after a nightmare – soft yet firm, just the right degree of commanding. If only to leave no room to argue against him. “It’s fine. I kind of am cocky, anyway.”

“Only when you need to be.” Suho brought their joined hands up, until his lips rested against the back of Kris’ hand. His eyes never left his Wolf’s, which let him see the exact moment when the blush appeared. “Other times you’re downright adorable, though. Just like right now.”

Kris smiled, turned their hands around, leant in.

“Complementing you, perhaps.”

This time, the one who blushed was Suho.

“S-stop it already!” Suho half stumbled over his words, half laughed. He felt so at ease with Kris that he dared to even playfully push him, knowing that his Wolf wouldn’t budge. There was an abysmal difference in their strengths, even when Kris wasn’t tapping fully into his enhanced, Wolfish senses. “We’re here anyway, aren’t we?”

Kris looked away from Suho’s handsome smile, his brain obviating the subtle bite of his lower lip – Kris needed to keep his sanity, his wits. He wouldn’t be able to do so if he focused too much on how Suho was looking at him, care and passion mixed on equal measures inside his dark eyes, his mouth still curved in a smile despite the lip-bite. There was no wind, and yet Kris could pick up all the insignificant details of Suho’s scent.

Steady earth grounding him to the present, the benevolent soil barely present at the edges of flowing water, lively like a creek, singing like little summer waves in a happy river.

The next thing Kris knew was that he’d been tugged inside a building. There was a neon pink sign right in front of him, the characters reading Bowling Alley! in Suho’s mother tongue. It took Kris longer than he wanted to admit to read them, perhaps due to how some lines kept blinking on-and-off – this was no new sign, that was for sure. Still, it contrasted enough against the white wall it was mounted on, which made it easy enough for Suho to read.

Kris allowed his boyfriend – he would never have enough of calling Suho that – to tug him further within, to the front desk. Suho was also the one doing all the talking with the bored receptionist, a petite little thing that looked sleepy beyond the meaning of the word. There was an opened biology book on top of the desk, though a bit to the side, so that it didn’t obstruct any potential clients.

Kris had lived the nomad life of Wolves for far too long to have any similar experiences to this high-schooler with a part-time job, but he recognised a struggle when he saw one. A super long shift didn’t sound pleasant, even if it was overnight, when clients were scarce and far between. And, if that opened textbook was anything to go by, their whole schedule was tightly packed – why else would they study on the job, even as they were practically falling asleep on top of it?

Suho kept a really sweet tone all throughout his interaction with the student – Kris squeezed his hand a little, discreetly, knowing the receptionist wouldn’t see due to the desk being in the way. Suho returned the gesture, instinctually knowing why he’d earned it.

When they reached the bowling alleys, the first thing that caught Suho’s attention was how empty the whole place was. Its distribution was practically identical to the one that he and his kids were used to – then again, the same sport equalled the same rules and the same playing grounds.

Suho let go of Kris’ hand for the first time in what felt like an eternity – Kris resented the loss of contact more than he was ready to admit out loud. He contented with watching Suho shed his coat, leaving it on the chairs behind the alley that he’d chosen to play on. The short-sleeved t-shirt that he was wearing underneath strained at the shoulders when he bent to smooth out the edges of his coat.

It also made Kris’ breath catch in his throat.

“It’s been weeks since I last played, I don’t know if I’m on top of my game right now…” Suho rambled on as he chose a ball, a slight echo following his words even when he was done speaking.

“I’m sure you’re better than you think.”

Suho turned around at those words – just on time to see Kris walking to the same chair that Suho’s coat was resting on. Suho admired how his Wolf moved, almost as if he was permanently on the prowl. There was a certain elegance to his movements, that imposing height only accentuating it, drawing attention to the curves of his arms, muscles evident through the thin shirt he was wearing.

It didn’t take him long to notice Suho staring unabashedly at him. Kris raised an eyebrow at Suho, the ghost of a smirk playing on his lips and adding to the overall effect. Suho let out an undignified little huff at that, incredulous despite the smile that followed suit.

“So?” Kris asked as he came closer to Suho once more. “Who do you think is going to win, you or me?”

“You, without a doubt.” Suho held the ball with both hands. Kris idly wondered if it was so heavy that it warranted being held like this. “That’s why I’m going to go first.”

“Feel free to do so.” Kris took a step to the side, letting Suho have the alley all to himself. He received only a smile as thanks

But it wasn’t like he needed more, anyway.

He could focus on Suho’s scent much better in this place than in the streets outside. That was reward enough. More than that, actually.

His Wolfish senses detected when Suho threw the ball at the pins much quicker than his consciousness did. He could only look to the pins in time to see six of them falling over, the ball disappearing into the ditch behind them. Suho let out a soft curse, which prompted a little chuckle from Kris – six out of ten wasn’t bad, it was more than half. But it also meant that Suho had to throw his ball a second time to send three of the remaining pins tumbling down.

“I hate when this happens!” Suho groaned at the upright pin.

“I hate it more when two pins stay, one on each side.” Kris replied. “It’s physically impossible to get them both.”

“That’s the worst, too.” Suho agreed while Kris took his place. It was his turn to throw, after all. “What a horrible start… see why I said I’d lose?”

“You will if you keep thinking this way.” Kris measured the ball’s weight, angled his throw. “What about we make this more interesting? So you have something to fight for.”

“What do you have in mind?” Kris wasn’t looking at Suho, but he the fluctuating intonation was enough for him to know that Suho meant trouble – or, at least, teasing Kris.

“Why don’t we bet? The loser does what the winner wants during our next date.”

Suho fell silent for a moment, most likely considering the bet, pitting the rewards against what he could potentially lose. There wasn’t much to lose, though; not when he knew Kris wouldn’t take things too far if he ended up winning. Kris was always gentle and accommodating with Suho, there was no reason for him to think that his Wolf would push him too far.

And, if Suho won, well…

The potential rewards were just too good to pass up on. Especially if the mental pictures assaulting his mind were anything to go by.

“Oh, it’s on.” Suho smirked to his Wolf – that tight curve gave a special intonation to his words, made Kris turn around to watch him.

Suho could’ve sworn he saw a rosy red spreading all over Kris’ face in the split second in which he remained facing Suho. But then he was turning around, angling the ball, throwing it. Eight pins came tumbling down, but two stubborn ones stayed upright, one on each side. Just like Kris had said he hated. Suho giggled, feeling giddy, like he had no single worry in the world.

Kris always made him feel safe in this way. And Suho couldn’t love him more for that.

 


 

Around an hour and eighteen ball-throws later – nine by Suho, nine by Kris – they both moved closer to the monitor showing them their points. Kris’ amount was not small by any means; Suho had to admit that he was impressed by his bowling prowess. It almost reminded him of competing against his kids, years ago, when they had still had more practise than Suho himself.

In those first days of calling them his kids, some had rebelled quite tremendously against that collective title. Suho hadn’t pressed it, had let them come to terms with it at their own pace. Sehun and Kai had never had any trouble with it, perhaps due to being the two youngest – but getting Baekhyun to agree had been such a struggle.

It was almost crazy to think that, nowadays, and ever since he’d ironically started calling Suho “mom”, he was the proudest of being one of Suho’s kids.

Suho smiled at the thought of his troublemaking kid – and then he smiled even more, to the point where Kris thought he was being blinded by it.

His point-count was slightly higher than Kris’. Not by much; barely fifteen points above. Kris looked so dumbfounded by that… Suho started to giggle without meaning to make fun of his Wolf.

“Don’t laugh at me! I know I lost!” Kris playfully moved closer to Suho, both his arms circling around his boyfriend, trapping him against Kris’ chest. Suho wriggled for a moment, still giggling, happiness clear in his every motion. “Oy…”

“Sorry, sorry!” Suho managed to say in between giggles. Kris’s hands were resting against his belt, right by his abdominals due to Suho’s posture – and he could feel those marked muscles quivering with every breathe that Suho took. It was almost to knock all air right out of Kris. “I just can’t believe I won…”

“You did.” Kris spread one hand against Suho’s stomach, noticing for the first time how tightly Suho’s back was pressed to Kris’ chest.

All his Wolfish instincts shouted at him – touch him more, keep him close, drown in his scent. Kris growled, unable to resist that last urge. Suho turned in his arms, looked at him in the eye.

“Sorry…” Kris mumbled. He loosened his grip on Suho’s hips, one hand at either side of his boyfriend. “I just…”

“You’ll get satisfied, don’t worry.” Suho’s arms wound around his shoulders. He could physically feel the little increase in pressure, signalling that Suho was reaching up, salvaging their height difference. When he spoke again, it was right by Kris’ ear, his voice reduced to a little, low whisper that rendered Kris speechless, “I’m reserving my right to do what I want with you, though~”

The damned way in which he sing-sang the last note embedded itself deep within Kris’ heart. Suho noticed it, smiled a kind little thing that set Kris’ heart further aflame, and moved until he could properly kiss his Wolf.

Kris returned the kiss, passion and warmth intertwining within him, creating a vortex of emotions. He couldn’t get enough of this – knew he would never be satisfied, knew he would always, always, want to kiss Suho more.

They had to come apart for air at one point, but still chose to remain pressed close to one another, enjoying each other’s presence, the body-heat they could feel irradiating from one another, even through their clothes. Then Suho laughed a little breathless thing that made Kris’ grip on him tighten.

“Tell me you’ll always be with me…”

When Suho’s gaze found Kris’, his Wolf trembled in his arms – was Suho holding his Wolf, or was his Wolf holding him? He didn’t even know. Yet he didn’t care. Not when they were together like this.

“Forever.” Kris replied instantly. Suho could physically feel the low rumble of his Wolf’s voice against his own chest. “I will be with you forever, if you let me.”

“I would love that.”

The sweet kiss they shared solidified the promise within their hearts.

Chapter Text

Monku let out a soft gruff and jumped over Vivi’s smaller frame, landing right at Tao’s feet. Tao smiled, giddy, and bent down just enough to pet Monku. Kai moved a bit closer, since he wanted to keep the leash on his three dogs as short as possible during the whole nocturnal walk.

“Oh great! Now the leashes are tangled up.” Sehun jabbed at both his companions. He was much less irritated than what his words suggested, though; it was just in his nature to tease his brother and his boyfriend.

It was still strange to refer to Tao as “Kai’s boyfriend”, almost as strange as it was to call Kris “Suho’s boyfriend”. Sehun had known Suho for such a long time, and Suho had always remained single… it had almost made all his kids think that he would always remain single. Not that Kris wasn’t a bad choice, though. Sehun and his brothers fully supported that relationship – even when most of them hadn’t told that to neither Kris or Suho.

Kai and Tao, though… now that was a completely different story. Or, at least, it was in Sehun’s mind. Kai was a hopeless romantic, he’d always been. Sehun had living with him for long enough to have witnessed how Kai’s fragile heart had been carved out of his chest, fallen onto the cold, hard ground, and shattered into a million little pieces.

Every single time it had happened, Sehun’s first instinct had been to cut whoever hurt his brother into those same million little pieces, but Kai had always said no. And that had, in Sehun’s mind, aggravated Kai’s internal injuries, until his heart was so shattered, so broken, that it was to never be fully put together once again.

But then Kris and his Wolfpack had wandered into their lives, brining sweet Tao along with them.

Sehun still wasn’t so sure if Tao was the right fit for Kai – sweet as Tao seemed, he was also a Wolf, and so attuned to fighting, to brutal instincts, that Sehun couldn’t help but worry. He didn’t think that Tao would ever lash out at Kai, of course – Tao was too self-contained for that. He knew how to restrain himself, knew how to not lash out blindly.

Sehun had seen more than enough of Kai and Tao together to know that, if it came to that, Tao would always choose to self-destruct before laying a single finger, a single paw, on Kai.

But it was entirely possible that Tao’s battel instincts would make him lash out at another Wolf, or even at another Human. Kai wouldn’t even have to witness that to start trembling upon seeing Tao again, Sehun knew. Kai would surely freak out the moment he realised what Tao had done – what he was capable of doing.

The worst part was that Kai stubbornly acted like Tao wasn’t the ruthless killer that he most definitely could be – if he wasn’t one already.

“Move that way, Sehun.” Kai asked, his voice too soft for it to have been an order, in spite of having been worded as one. “Please.”

Ah, there it was. Kai was always too gentle for his own good. The fact that he’d felt compelled to add a “please”, even though it wasn’t really needed, only reinforced that thought in Sehun’s mind.

“Are they always like this?” Tao asked, slight laughter evident in his rough voice. Kai downright stared at him at that, almost mesmerised by that intonation, by the accent impregnating every syllable. Tao pretended not to notice, a trickster’s smirk in his mouth. “All four of them seem… excitable today.”

“It’s been long since they had a walk all together.” Kai replied, passing both legs over Janka’s leash to untangle Monku’s. “Tao, move around me, please.”

“No need to please me.”

Sehun looked away from Tao and into the distant street, his mouth a tight line – all to pretend that he hadn’t noticed the innuendo within Tao’s words. Damnit, when he’d agreed to go out for a walk with all their four dogs, he hadn’t been expecting to become a third wheel to his own brother.

Then again, was he really a third wheel when there were four dogs there, too? It seemed much more like Sehun was the fifth wheel.

Somehow, being the fifth wheel hurt more than being the third one.

“And who’s fault is it?” Sehun asked instead of focusing on his own feelings, his internal frustration definitely showing in his tone. Still, he wasn’t even trying to dissimulate it. What for, really – Tao and Kai had prompted this, so now they could deal with it as they pleased.

“Yours.” Kai replied easily, half a smirk on his face. Sehun tried not to notice how Tao stared at Kai’s lips. “You never want to go outside, so I end up walking Vivi too.”

“That’s false!” Sehun gasped, perhaps more dramatically than what the situation called for. Tao giggled somewhere at his left – and how fitting, that the Wolf and dogs were walking in between the two Humans. “I’ve been taking her for regular walks every day for the past month!”

Kai and Tao exchanged a look. Then Tao looked at Vivi, who returned it for only a second. Then the spoilt little lady was tilting her head to one side, as if accusing the person at her right.

“She disagrees with you.” Tao told Sehun, his tone as grave as his voice.

“She does not!” Sehun replied.

Vivi barked, the sound a bit too loud for the late hour. Janka and Janga crowded her instantly, almost bodily forcing her to shut up. Vivi let out what was possibly the most dignified gruff Tao had ever heard from a housedog, and simply kept walking. Tao didn’t miss how she deliberately went closer to his own legs than to the three goldens.

“Hello lil’ one.”

Sehun obviated how Kai was downright staring at Tao, probably due to the damn pet-name he’d chosen for Vivi. It probably didn’t help that Kai was nine months younger than Tao, so the pet-name struck true – maybe not in height, but definitely in age.

Tao noticed how Kai was staring at him and just bent over, the teasing devil – the teasing Wolf – under the fake pretence of petting Monku between the ears to make him pout less after Vivi rejected his advances.

Truly, Monku was just a much more playful dog than Vivi; it was predictable that she’d just choose not to play. So Monku had whined after the inevitable heartbreak of not being corresponded, and Tao was now leaning down to alleviate his pain.

Well, and to showcase himself to Kai no doubt.

Sehun had never played these games before, but he knew perfectly well how they went. Every single dinner they’d had with Chen and his girlfriend resulted in endless dark gazes from both of them to one another – making most of their kids quite uncomfortable to be in the same room as them. Baekhyun always returned the teasing with an airy “get a fucking room”, to which Suho always replied “language”, even though there was no need to watch themselves when they were amongst family.

Still, Tao bending over made Sehun roll his eyes.

“Haven’t you had enough of living with dogs?” Sehun asked to Tao, if only to make him change his posture. Kai looked like he was almost about to drool – something that Sehun didn’t want to witness.

Being a third (or fifth) wheel was already enough of an ordeal, thank you very much.

“Wolves aren’t housedogs!” Tao replied instantly, shooting Sehun a dark look. Dark because there were shadows playing on his face, not because he held any dangerous intentions. If he did, and Sehun didn’t want to think twice about it, well…

… Sehun would be dead and Kai would be traumatised for life, wouldn’t them?

“No, they’re wild creatures.” Sehun agreed. Kai shot him a look, but Tao’s sweet smile made him drop the act fairly quickly. It seemed that Tao wasn’t affected at all by Sehun’s sarcasm – which was probably a good thing, considering that Sehun never talked without it. “And supposedly legends. Supposedly.”

“Oh, we’re real.” Tao smiled, petting little Janka by his thigh. The dog waved his tail so violently that he hit Monku, who in turn whined and hit Janga, who turned around and made a mess of the leashes. Again.

“For fuck’s sake!” Sehun groaned. “I told you that having three dogs would be a big hassle!”

“They’re not a hassle, they’re lovely!” Kai replied, ever so quickly to jump at his dogs’ defence.

“And all three love you very much. Vivi, too.”

Kai and Sehun both stared at Tao after he’d spoken with such conviction. Tao had knelt on the floor at some point, and was now at eye-level with the three goldens, Vivi standing slightly shorter. Both brothers couldn’t help but to believe Tao, for whatever reason. After all, Tao was a Wolf – and forest wolves were canines too, just like housedogs, so there had to be some connection there, however slight, right…?

The looks on their faces must’ve been priceless, for even the four dogs crowded Tao to get a better look at their owners.

“Wow, they really like you…” Kai said, staring at how even Vivi was keeping her whole side against Tao’s calf, using her own height as an advantage. The goldens were merely a flurry around Tao’s thighs, tall enough to brush their ears against his hips. “They took a while to open up even to me, but they adore you so much…”

“How not? He’s a Wolf.” Sehun remarked, as if that explained everything.

Tao gave out a little laugh, not fully incriminating, but absolutely not innocent either. Kai stared at him, at those half-shadowed lips, at the soft curves of Tao’s arms and shoulders. He was seemingly drawn with all straight lines, sans for those muscles – and certain memories set Kai’s cheeks alight.

Sehun looked away into the distant street in front.

Again.

“Are Wolves more aggressive than housedogs?” Kai asked then, tone tentative and inquisitive on equal parts. Sehun knew him enough to know that he was asking this from sheer curiosity, and hoping it didn’t land him in hot water.

Past experiences were heavy in Kai’s scarred heart whenever he used this tone, Sehun knew. He wondered if Kai could tell too – the slight hunch of Kai’s shoulders, the way he was angling his chest further away from his interlocutor.

“Not if we like you.” Tao replied. He’d risen from crouching on the floor, which meant that Kai’s attention could be better focused on their conversation – and that Sehun wasn’t feeling like was violently intruding a date. “I won’t attack any of you, if that’s what you’re worried about. Not your brothers, not your dogs, not your mom.”

“Such a relief to have your word on it.” Sehun mumbled. Kai shot him a pained look, himself looking like Sehun’s irony was an affront to Kai just as much as it was for Tao.

“Isn’t it?” Tao teased back, his smile growing wilder, more feral. A sliver of panic flickered within Sehun’s eyes, clearly visible due to the lamppost they’d all just walked by. “I’m serious, though. I’d rather crush and burn myself before hurting any of you.”

Sehun didn’t need to look at those burning charcoals that Tao had for eyes to know that he was being sincere. He could feel it irradiating off him, fiery white, like the hottest part of an opened flame.

And he didn’t need to look to his side to know that Kai was feeling the brunt of it, too.

 


 

Kai followed Tao into their Wolfpack’s hideout not a full hour afterwards. The other Wolves paid them little to no mind, too busy with making sure those three goldens didn’t fall asleep on top of Luhan, who’d unconsciously changed forms in the middle of a dream. Tao couldn’t help but notice that Xiumin wasn’t right by Luhan’s side – that made him antsy, made him feel like something was wrong.

He was about to ask Yixing about it when a tiny white blur passed him right by his side, making battle instincts arise, gaze instantly following it.

Turned out that the blur was Vivi. She’d run directly to Yixing, allowing the Wolf to sit on the floor to pet her. Sehun groaned at that – once again, the spoilt lady preferred the touch of others above her owner’s own. Yixing gave Sehun an apologetic little smile, ever the polite one in their Wolfpack, but didn’t stop petting Vivi.

Tao followed the sound of Kai’s giggles and found him standing in the middle of their shared room, shirtless. The clothe was still caught around his toned forearms; a clear signal that he had just taken it off. Kai didn’t bother to hide his half-nakedness to Tao – he just let his shirt fall on the back of the only functioning chair in this bedroom.

Then he noticed Tao staring at him, and smirked a devilish smirk.

“You look like there’s something on your mind.”

Kai’s jeans weren’t riding low, Tao knew – and yet the effect was almost the same, maybe due to how intensely he felt towards this adorable creature. All the confidence Tao had exhibited during that walk with Sehun and the dogs was suddenly thrown out the window, so quick that it was like it’d never existed in the first place.

“I…” Tao trailed off much faster than he’d thought he would. He mentally hit himself upside the head for that.

But Kai looked like he didn’t mind waiting. He just moved to close the door, moving around Tao with the fluidity that only trained dancers or martial artists possessed – and Tao knew which one of those Kai was.

All those teasing remarks he’d heard Humans make about Yixing and his “dancer hips” suddenly had a new meaning.

“Can I… tell you something?” Tao mumbled, still so uncertain to his own ears.

“Of course.” Kai was standing in between Tao and the door now, the moonlight coming in from the curtain-less windows hitting his golden skin just right. He was almost glowing, as physically impossible as that was. “I’ll always listen to you.”

“It’s…” Tao couldn’t look away from Kai’s eyes, even though it was so fucking embarrassing to admit this out loud while looking at Kai in the eye. “… um, it’s sexual…”

Kai blinked, tilted his blonde head to one side, half-opened his mouth. He looked downright delicious to Tao – his conviction faltered again. But at least Tao had said as much; now all he could do was wait for Kai to give him the okay to keep talking.

“I don’t… mind…” Kai sounded just as uncertain as Tao felt. Somehow, that little fact made Tao feel better.

Tao took in as much air as his lungs allowed him to. He knew he had to say this in one single go – otherwise he really wouldn’t say it at all. It made him blush, his whole face heating up down to his neck, but he needed to say it. He wouldn’t get his way if he didn’t. Kai was good at getting sexual innuendos and double senses in wordplays, but this was one of those things that should be said up front. And hope for the best afterwards.

Iwanttosubmittoyou.

For a moment, Kai didn’t react at all.

Then he mouthed the same words Tao had said, though slower, as if playing them back inside his mind, trying to understand them. When he got them, he blushed – but he was also smirking, that incubus incarnate.

“I will let you.”

Kai took a step closer to Tao.

“I will take care of you.”

Tao looked down from that dark gaze to those well-formed lips.

“Can we do it now?”

Tao could only nod. He hadn’t even finished the motion when Kai held the back of his neck, pushing Tao closer while he moved towards the Wolf too, so that they met in the middle.

Tao moaned into the kiss almost right after it’d started. He could feel Kai was a bit more demanding than he’d been in previous encounters, and he loved it. If Kai was going to remain like this, demanding and slightly rough around the edges, Tao knew he would be screaming Kai’s name until the walls came tumbling down.

Tao ran out of air first, maybe because he was way more riled up than Kai. He tried to move slightly away, but Kai denied him, kept him panting against his lips. Tao unconsciously raised his hands to grab at Kai’s clothes – his fingers found only warm skin at Kai’s chest, making Tao gasp. In turn, that prompted Kai to kiss him again, rough and moaning. Tao’s fingers curled against his chest, grabbing only air.

Kai broke the kiss fairly quickly, probably due to Tao still being quite breathless. His free hand moved to Tao’s hip, holding him directly against Kai’s own. Tao gasped again, gaze immediately falling in between their bodies.

It was one thing to feel Kai pressed close to him like this, and another, very different thing, to see how tight Tao’s trousers were quickly becoming. The sight alone made him blush more, even more than admitting his desires out loud had made him blush. All his usual spunk was gone, replaced by a mixture of emotions so heavy, so heady, that Tao could only moan and tremble in Kai’s firm arms.

“Bed?” Kai muttered against Tao’s neck. The Wolf within growled out of sheer excitement, impatient for more. Tao tried to contain it – a moan still spilled forth.

“Please…” Tao mumbled, sounding so weak to his own ears that the Wolf inside barked a mocking laugh at him.

Being able to feel his own Wolf form as a separate entity surprised Tao to the point of fear – he was the Wolf, the Wolf was himself. That was how it’d always been. Tao knew other Wolves in their pack distinguished both forms – like Yixing or Xiumin – but not Tao. His Wolf form and his Human form were the same. He was still Tao, no matter the form. To feel them separate was…

Kai put some distance between him and Tao when he felt him tremble much more violently than before. This was not usual, this was not how Tao usually reacted to Kai’s actions, whether in or out of bed. It made Kai worry, and it reflected in his eyes – he was much too soft, much too caring, than to not drop the roughest edges of his dominance.

“Tao, we can stop if–”

Don’t you dare.” Tao growled. When he stared into Kai’s eyes, his gaze was dark and full of unspoken pleas. Kai held him closer without even thinking about what he was doing. “Just fuck me. Please. I…”

Kai gave him a searing kiss to prevent him from pleading more.

“You don’t need to beg me…” Another little kiss. “I’ll take care of you.” Tao sighed, Kai smiled. “You always take care of me, too. This is the least I can do in return.”

Tao smiled, and it was his usual playful smile. Kai’s heart felt less heavy as he guided Tao to the bed, making him sit on it, then gently pushing him until he laid down. Tao followed his commands without any resistance, which pleased Kai maybe more than he was ready to admit – after all, Kai wasn’t really one to take the reins in these situations. Kai was always happy to let his partners do whatever to him, to put their needs well above his own.

But now the tables had turned; Tao needed to be pleased and cared for and ruined in all the best ways. And Kai would indulge him, of course he would. Seeing Tao happy was already one of his favourite things, one that he doubted he would ever grow tired of.

Disrobing Tao was an easy task when he was so pliant to Kai’s touch – but that easiness didn’t mean that Kai didn’t enjoy it just the same. Kai knew he would enjoy it too if Tao had been fighting him at every step, taunting him with his words to the point of Kai having to physically shut him up – maybe with a tight cloth, maybe with incessant kisses.

Kisses like those Kai was raining all over Tao’s chest, softly nibbling on all the most sensitive spots just to watch Tao’s back arch off the bed and into Kai. It was truly an intoxicating sight – eyes half-closed, mouth opened to moan freely, all that tanned skin exposed for Kai to see, and touch, and taste…

Kai…

If Kai hadn’t been moaning before, he definitely was now.

“Tao…” Kai kissed him directly in between the pectorals, felt how his heartbeat jumped at the kiss.

Tao only moaned as a response.

“Do you want more?”

Tao nodded his head, unable to form any coherent words upon hearing how low, how… dangerous, in a way, Kai’s voice had sounded. If Kai was going to let his tone drop like that every time he dominated Tao, Tao definitely wanted to submit more often.

The thought alone was enough to make him blush crimson deep – so much so, that even his tan couldn’t fully hide it. He looked down at himself, embarrassed, hoping that Kai wasn’t looking at his face.

His nerves calmed down when he saw Kai was too busy with taking himself out of his clothes. There was a marked urgency in his very motion, as if he needed to be quick, or else this moment would be over. As if Tao would never let him take the lead ever again.

“We can do this again, you know…” Tao mumbled, a lazy smile on his face. He felt how the Wolf within was about to protest again – then Kai moved closer, until he was kneeling in between Tao’s thighs, until his hips rested against Tao’s.

Tao could only look literally up at Kai as he accommodated them both, slightly adjusting both their postures. Tao let himself be moved, never resisting Kai’s warm touch. His obedience earned him a warm smile and an even warmer caress, gentle fingertips sliding down the side of his face, his chest, deliberately brushing over one nipple on their way down.

Tao’s back arched off the bed at that – a moan escaped him – he heard Kai chuckle above him – he fell back onto the bed.

Then Tao felt Kai grinding his hips against his own, cocks touching for just a split second. Tao turned his head to the opposite side, whining. Kai smiled at him – passionate sunshine on a beach – and caressed Tao’s hip, gentle.

But the way in which he rolled his hips again had not an ounce of that gentleness.

Kai…” Tao moaned again, eyes half-closing again. There was a certain warmth overtaking his heart, as if he could do nothing more than let Kai do as he pleased. “Kai…

“Yes?” Kai leant down, supporting himself, letting his cock lean against Tao’s to make him moan. “Tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you.”

“More…” Tao whined. In any other circumstance, he would’ve felt quite pathetic begging like this – their Wolfpack’s best fighter, reduced to a whimpering mess. But this was Kai he was with. There was no need to try and stay stoic and unaffected by anything. “Give me more…”

Thankfully, Kai didn’t make him beg. He just leant even further down, intending to brush his lips against Tao’s cheek. The Wolf turned his head just in time to get kissed in full – he was half expecting to be chastised, but all Kai did was breathe a giggle and roll his hips again.

Tao whimpered softly once again, both arms raising to circle around Kai’s broad shoulders. Neither of them deepened the kiss, content with only grinding onto one another and sharing the same batted breath. Kai grinded his hips down with all the finesse that frequent dancing had given him, and Tao could only take it and moan.

But then Kai gave his neck an open-mouthed kiss, warm breath hitting heated skin, making him shiver and hold Kai even closer. Kai chuckled against him, his cock sliding ever so deliciously against Tao’s own. Tao’s hips snapped upwards – Kai’s firm touch forced them back down.

Kai…

“Take what I give you.” Kai mumbled, so close to his ear that Tao felt it – then he gasped out loud. “Try not to move too much, okay?”

“Don’t leave me hanging…” Tao whined, voice heavy with intention and rough with desire.

“I won’t.” Kai kissed his neck again and, in true Kai fashion, it turned out to be much softer than he’d planned for. “Trust me, I won’t.”

“I trust you.” Tao said, firm.

So firm, in fact, that Kai put some distance in between them to look him in the eye. Tao’s arms slid away from around his shoulders – both resented the loss of contact. But this look was necessary. Kai needed to know that Tao was alright. He would never, ever, continue if Tao wasn’t.

Tao returned that intense, almost questioning, look with what little confidence he had left – he needed Kai to know that he was alright. His own instincts felt like part of himself once more. Everything was alright now. He would be alright. He only needed to have Kai nearby once more. In between his arms. In between his legs.

But the dark look inside Kai’s eyes was too much. Tao moaned just from the force, the sheer desire in those dark embers. Kai rolled his hips again, tugged Tao closer, until Kai was practically cradling Tao’s body in the warm cocoon of his arms. Tao happily allowed him to, content with feeling his own moans reverberating through his own chest – and, due to the inexistent distance, through Kai’s chest too.

Tao kept his legs against the bed. Only because they felt too heavy to lift. He’d love to wrap them around Kai’s hips, though. Kai was holding him so, so close… Tao wanted, needed, to hold him close, too. But every time that he tried–

Stop – that. Let – me – do.” Kai growled into his ear, so low and so charged that Tao shivered and moaned every single time.

It all reached such a heated point where Tao could focus on nothing other than the controlled, rhythmic motions that Kai was drawing against his hips. Their cocks fit so, so perfectly together. They slid together, wet from their combined desires, so marvellously in synch.

Tao moaned into Kai – Kai moaned into Tao. They didn’t even need to turn their heads too much to kiss each other. Tao knew he was mouthing at the corner of Kai’s lips more often than he was fully kissing his beloved. But he didn’t care. Kai didn’t seem to care. And if Kai didn’t care, why would Tao?

Kai let out a little sound – he choked on it as if he was trying to hold it back. His hold around Tao trembled violently. Tao’s arms tightened around his shoulders. All those controlled motions were erratic now. Tao braced himself. Kai did too.

Tao felt warmth falling upon him. One of his hands travelled downwards. To Kai’s hip. Holding him close. Holding him right against Tao. It prevented Tao from moving. Kai had said he couldn’t move. So Tao wouldn’t move. Even though he was about to burst.

Kai moaned something against Tao, and then dismounted him. Tao whined his most desperate sound yet. He followed Kai. He mounted him again. Their cocks were against one another again.

“Tao, I’m… Aaahhh…” Kai dissolved into moans as Tao kept grinding into him, hot and heavy and desperate. “Tao…

The Wolf keened, arching so acutely that it almost looked like he was broken. He shook, too; so much so that Kai instinctively raised from the bed to hold him. Kai could feel that same white warmth that he’d rained upon Tao falling on Kai himself. But he did not care.

Or, more precisely, he loved it too much. He couldn’t stop staring at Tao’s face as he came down from his high, all breathless whines and soft gasps.

Tao was supposed to be the strongest one out of them two, but right now it was Kai guiding him down onto the mattress, covering them both loosely with a blanket.

The last thing that Tao’s slipping consciousness could register before he fell asleep were soft hands caressing his damp fur, and Kai’s grounding weight right against his side.

Chapter Text

Chen had to admit that this was not what he had been thinking of when he’d been assigned to the “surveillance team”. Then again, calling it a “team” was a bit pretentious when it was only him and Yixing. Upon hearing Kris and Suho dividing the day’s tasks to their Wolfpack, something dark had flickered in the Wolf’s eyes – literally, too; Yixing had been in Wolf form.

Tao had too, walking so close to Kai’s thighs that Baekhyun had cracked a crude joke. That’d earned him a smack upside the head by Kyungsoo, since he’d been closer at that point… and a chorus of mirthful laughter from virtually everybody else.

But Yixing hadn’t fought against the decision; and so, Chen hadn’t, either. He still felt a bit awkward amongst the Wolves – and hey, maybe this was why he kept a relative distance as he walked side by side with Yixing. He was quite sure that the Wolf could tell his reservations – from what Chen had seen so far, Yixing always noticed things but didn’t expose them out loud too often.

Just like right now; Yixing wasn’t saying a single thing as he walked. At the same time, he observed the buildings at his side, and also at those across the street. He kept his gaze light and curious, maybe for the sake of the scarce passers-by that were out at this early hour. It might’ve been a workday, but it was also so close to the weekend that even the few small kids awaiting their school-bus seemed full of restless energy.

They reminded Chen of his younger brother, Chanyeol and Baekhyun – well, not exactly. Baekhyun was eight months older than Chen. It was just that his attitude and outlook in life made it so damn difficult to remember sometimes.

Yixing noticed him staring at the kids, but didn’t comment on it right away. The sly Wolf waited until Chen had turned away from the bus-stop, until he’d fully exposed that sweet smile to Yixing, to ask him about it.

“You seem to like Human cubs.”

“You mean babies?” Chen didn’t lose the smile, the cheerful tone, as he looked back at the kids. They were now getting into their bus, waving at their parents through the windows. “Those are more like… children, than babies.”

Yixing looked at him, head tilted in confusion. The gesture looked almost out of place in him – it was so reminiscent of what Chen had seen Kai’s three goldens do, that it gave him whiplash. Perhaps that explained why it took him a while to answer. They crossed the street, leaving the bus-stop behind, long before Chen could regain his wits.

“Babies aren’t even one year old. Then they become toddlers, until they’re around five or six. Then they’re children. Then they become teenagers, and then adults.”

Skies above, it was so… eerie, to have to explain this to another Human.

Then again, Yixing wasn’t a Human. He was a Wolf. He might be in Human form, all contrasting colours and exposed skin, but he wasn’t a Human. Chen had to admit that he completely understood why the two teenagers walking in their opposite direction shut up and stared at Yixing when he passed them by.

It wasn’t even that Yixing was taller, he was the same height as the rowdiest teen – but he carried himself in a wholly different way. That white jacket he was wearing was made of true leather, and it was also sleeveless. It all gave him quite an edge, a “bad boy” attitude that Chen knew had nothing to do with reality.

And yet Yixing had combined that edge with a plain, black shirt – no sleeves, of course. The only flashy thing he’d done with that was raise the collar; the wind insisting on exposing the white-and-black pattern on its inside. The sunglasses that were halfway down that low collar drew some attention to it – especially when the grey clouds shifted overhead, brilliant sunrays falling directly onto Yixing.

The Wolf pursed his lips at the sunny influx, raised a hand to undo a single button more, the sunglasses falling down a little bit. The gesture didn’t expose much skin, but it did let that intricate necklace be seen. Chen wasn’t sure if Yixing had always been wearing it underneath his clothes or if he’d chosen it specifically for today’s outfit; but it suited the Wolf anyway.

“Aren’t you going to overheat?” Chen asked when it became obvious that the sun would give them no quarter today.

“Why would I?” Yixing asked, turning his head to briefly look at Chen. It lasted for so little time because the wind had pushed some of his dark locks onto his forehead, and they almost reached his eyes, clouding his vision. Yixing ran a hand over his hair, smoothing those locks again, while he turned away from Chen. “I’m not wearing heavy clothes.”

Chen looked at him up and down, and then up again. If it unnerved Yixing or not, Chen honestly couldn’t tell. To his credit, however, Yixing didn’t ask – he just waited.

“You’re wearing tight leather as trousers and more leather in your jacket. All black except the jacket. Today’s going to be a sunny day. You’ll overheat easily.”

“I don’t think I will.” Yixing made a negative gesture with his head, although a slight one, as if to not send his locks flying once again. After all, the wind had finally calmed down. “And you’re much more covered than I am.”

Chen immediately pursed his lips and breathed heavily – he couldn’t just slap Yixing’s arm like he’d do his brothers’, he didn’t know how the oblivious Wolf might interpret that. It helped calm down, though only marginally so.

After all, Yixing was right. Chen was wearing a leather jacket too – a black, long-sleeved one. And the turtleneck he wore underneath it was equally black, as were his cap and shoes. All that black made him a prime suspect for overheating; never mind the blue jeans or the fact that he intended to keep his head covered the whole time they were out.

“I didn’t know today was going to be this sunny!” Chen protested, whining more than he’d intended to. Still, it only added to his words; so he didn’t mind it much.

“Those clouds say otherwise.”

Forget passer-by’s, now Chen was the one staring at Yixing. And when he looked up, there wasn’t a single cloud over the sun, only puffy traces over the building at their left. But Yixing had spoken like he was confident in his words, as if he’d only said hard truths and facts. Chen wasn’t extremely gifted in meteorology, but he’d always thought that white clouds were benign, and that dark clouds meant rain. And the ones above them were white and puffy, they shouldn’t have rain within…

“Not those ones, weather will change later today.”

Chen stared at Yixing again, silently asking him how the hell did he know that. Yixing smiled a dimpled smile that Chen could see reflected in the shop-windows at the Wolf’s right, but didn’t explain himself further.

“You’re cruel!” Chen whined, much like those Human babies they’d been talking about earlier.

“All Wolves are in some capacity.”

“That’s not an excuse.” Chen whined again. He wondered if he could keep it up for long enough to unnerve Yixing.

Chen had never seen this Wolf angry, or even annoyed, and he was curious. It was too damn easy to rile Luhan and Tao up, and even Kris with certain topics. Xiumin could hold his own for longer, but he also stared everybody down when he got annoyed; a pointed warning that even Baekhyun knew better than to push.

But Yixing always remained calm, cool as a cucumber. Baekhyun’s incessant pranks, his brothers’ usual chaos, four dogs play-fighting, the Wolves’ crude teasing, the whole fucking Wolfpack being confined into the same tiny space…

Absolutely nothing could get a rise out of Yixing. Almost like he was made of cold, uncaring steel. Which was not true – he was the Wolfpack’s healer, and he wouldn’t be very good at it if he didn’t care about his patients. Not to mention that Yixing himself had referred to the other Wolves as “family” when Sehun had asked him about it.

So there had to be something more. An underlying issue, maybe. Something so, so bad that the other Wolves refused to even acknowledge its existence.

“Maybe I am cruel, but I can’t ignore my nature. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to stand by your side.”

That gave Chen quite a lot of pause. Those words… they weren’t what he’d been expecting out of Yixing. He could only stare at the Wolf by his side, completely sure that Yixing would notice it and add something more.

But Yixing didn’t say a single word more.

So Chen didn’t press the issue, either.

 


 

“We’re so close to mom’s office, I can’t believe he’s been in danger all this time!”

“He’s only been endangered because of our Wolfpack.”

“Well now it’s our Wolfpack too, so it’s our problem too!”

Yixing looked at Chen with the expert eye he usually reserved for analysing those who were strangers to his Wolfpack. He knew perfectly well that Chen had meant no disrespect, no harsh words – yet they’d almost come across that way for Yixing.

He was too damn used to deal with potential threats and suspicious Humans. He knew his loyalty extended to the seven Human newcomers. But there was a small part of him that still refused to listen to his own logic – Yixing wondered if this push-and-pull was what Tao had always been forced to live with.

If it was, he suddenly understood why Tao always awoke violently from all those nightmares.

Meanwhile, Yixing was pulled much too deeply into them than to even awake mid-scene. And that, he knew, was the true nightmare. Something that he hoped no one in his Wolfpack would never, ever, have to live with.

“Suho will be safe. He has eleven members to look out for him.”

Chen looked up from his phone and smiled to Yixing. It was a sincere smile, bright like the sun above them. He pressed something into the screen without looking at it, and loud music started.

“OOPS!” Chen exclaimed, hurriedly pressing the phone a couple more times to make it stop. Yixing smiled his trademark dimpled smile, quite amused by this one’s antics – they reminded him of an over-excitable Wolf cub. Then Chen looked at him, and Yixing blinked, willing the amusement away from his face. “Not yet, right?”

“Please.”

Chen made a dismissive hand gesture, phone clutched tight in his other hand. That was all Yixing needed to look away from him and to his right.

They were standing in a two-story building’s plain rooftop, its small, white tiles reflecting the sun a bit too much for the naked eye to withstand. That was why Yixing had put on the sunglasses that he’d had until then halfway down his collar; and Chen had imitated him fairly quickly. The street under them was transited enough for a low, general rumour to reach the rooftops, although never invasive to the point of disrupting their conversations.

And they really couldn’t care less about this rooftop. After all, they were only in here because of the excellent view it had of the Government’s building, right across the street. That was a higher structure, painted the dullest shade of grey in some places, small red bricks with cement outlines lacing the underside of the windows. It didn’t attract any unwanted attention; it was much too plain for that. Its normalcy had stumped Chen upon first seeing it – that can’t be a Government building, there aren’t even security cameras!

But then Yixing had pointed out the little domes mounted above the front doors, alongside the camouflaged security guards standing tall across the building, and on all the nearby intersections. Chen’s mouth had opened quite comically at that, closed again with no words being spoken. Yixing hadn’t chastised him for it – he knew Human senses were not as accustomed to noticing these things as his own Wolfish ones were.

Now the Wolf just looked to the building, noticing that curtains were drawn in most windows, leaving him no room to spy at its interior. It was good foresight by the dried blood and rusted iron within – that fucking scent had been the sole reason why he’d located the building so quickly – but it didn’t work at all in favour of Chen and Yixing.

“For how long has this been here…?” Chen mumbled behind Yixing. The Wolf resisted the urge to turn his head and merely glanced over his shoulder – the Human form equivalent to turning his ears to better catch the sound. “Mom has been working at SM for years, and we never noticed the security guards…”

“That’s not your fault. Most Humans never notice them, and especially not when they’re not in uniform.”

“You did!” Chen whined, one finger accusing Yixing as much as his words did.

Yixing turned around then, frowning in confusion – were all Humans really this forgetful, or was this one the exception confirming the rule?

“I’m not Human.”

Chen emitted a soft “ah” and slowly lowered that accusatory finger. He looked, for all effects and purposes, like he’d just remembered that Yixing was indeed a Wolf. It made Yixing frown deeper, turn fully to him.

“I know you aren’t, and I still manage to forget.” Chen leant his free hand on the back of his neck. The gesture gave him an apologetical aura, even when he was smiling as bright as ever. “Crazy, huh?”

“Only a bit.” Yixing smiled too, though much more contained than Chen.

“Almost as much as knowing that all those men in black came from here?” Chen pointed to the Government’s building with a single nod. “I guess that’s why they came so quickly that one time, when Tao escorted mom home.”

Yixing couldn’t contain his giggles at that turn of phrase.

“Don’t let Tao hear you say that!” He managed to say in between his own laughter. If he’d looked composed and dignified before, now that image had flown right off him.

“Why not? It’s nothing negative.”

““Escorted” brings a different meaning to mind.” Yixing admitted, feeling rather awkward. This was not the kind of conversation that he’d anticipated having with one of Suho’s kids – and especially not with one who had a mate. “It makes us Wolves think of mates.”

“Ewww, no!” Chen whined, face scrunched up in disgust. “I never meant that!”

“I know.” Yixing half smiled again, that damned dimple on full display. It was just as marked as it was when Yixing laughed wide and warm – though these little smiles were much more common in him than unadulterated laughter. “But it doesn’t matter right now. We need to concentrate on this building, not our phrasings.”

If Chen thought it odd that Yixing had changed the topic so abruptly, he didn’t say. He barely tilted his head to one side, observing Yixing so closely that the Wolf felt almost threatened. It was a ridiculous feeling, Yixing knew – he was much stronger, much faster. He could absolutely destroy this Human (or any other Human, really) without any trouble. Sure, Yixing wouldn’t attack without a reason. But this stare almost indicated he would, in fact, lash out at Chen.

So Chen only turned his whole attention back onto his phone’s screen and pressed the Music icon at its bottom part. It opened to the same exact song that had blasted at full volume earlier, though this time Chen made sure that the reproduction was paused before checking the volume. Once it wasn’t as loud as before – once he knew his own eardrums wouldn’t explode – he rewinded the song back to its start, pressed play, and looked up to Yixing.

The Wolf was standing in the most neutral posture Chen had ever seen in him – and that was saying something, considering that Yixing was never ruffled by anything. The song started quite softly, nothing like the baring, bass-heavy volume of before. Chen couldn’t help but stare as Yixing moved with the rhythm, his every movement expressive and explicit like his words never were. He wasn’t dancing dirty by any means; he was keeping things as classy as Yixing himself – yet the ebb and flow of his body were more than enough to mesmerise Chen.

He suspected Yixing would mesmerise about anybody who saw him dancing like this, not just Chen.

The song’s pre-chorus wasn’t a boom in energy, but the chorus definitely was – Yixing adjusted his movements as if he’d heard the song a million times already, as if he knew exactly how the instrumental would change. There was a singer – of course there was, Chen wasn’t known for having a lot of instrumental pieces in his phone – but Yixing seemed to not be paying attention to the lyrics at all.

Chen considered himself a decent enough dancer, even if he didn’t have the easy confidence that Kai possessed, but he also wasn’t going to kid himself. Yixing and Kai were most likely the best dancers in their Wolfpack, there were no two ways about it. Of course, that didn’t mean the others were bad – well, Chen thought, Chanyeol was a clumsy giant, and he imagined Kris wouldn’t be much better – but Baekhyun was quite good too, even if only because of his own perfectionism.

The song ending took Chen out of his little reverie. His phone automatically played the next one – not in alphabetical order, though; Chen had it always set to Random – and Yixing laced his ending pose with the first move of the new song.

That prowess caught Chen’s attention even more.

“Don’t watch me, watch the building!” Yixing admonished him, tone soft yet firm, like it always was when he knew he was right.

“Ah!” Chen gasped, his gaze immediately falling past Yixing and onto the plain building they were supposed to be spying at. Or into. But those blinds prevented that from happening. So they could only watch its front doors and hope the blinds would be drawn. “True!”

Yixing’s frustration manifested in the tightness of his next move – a tiny little thing that fully displayed his control over himself.

“Hey, Yixing…” Chen started, voice barely above the music coming from his phone, still in his hand. The screen had already gone black, so Chen tilted it down. He didn’t want it to reflect too much sunlight; that would give their position away. “You’re a healer, right? So you studied medicine?”

“Not in university, if that’s what you’re getting at.” Somehow, his voice sounded perfectly even. It made Chen’s awe grow. “But yes, I did. At least some of it.”

“Some?”

“I wouldn’t be of much help in a Human hospital…” a pause, a pointed intake of air. Chen resisted the urge to look at him again. “… but I’m a good healer for a Wolf.”

That phrase could be interpreted as a subtle insult – oh, Wolves are oh-so-terrible, but you’re not too bad, even though you’re one of those beasts too – it made Chen half angry on the Wolves’ behalf.

“Yah!” He whined, staring at Yixing. “That sounded like an insult!”

“It’s not!” The Wolf stared right back, dark sunglasses reflecting the light as much as his equally dark eyes did. Until some clouds rolled over. “I meant that I’m a good healer, yes, but only when my patient is a Wolf!”

“You cured Kris in Human form!” Chen whined again. At the ends of his sentence, his voice didn’t sound too different from a small kid begging their parents to buy them a new toy.

The song playing had an abrupt pause – and Yixing spoke right in its midst, which accentuated his every word.

“He’s still a Wolf.”

The music resumed before Chen could rebut that, and it was annoying. He had to wait another thirty seconds until the song was over – then he lighted the screen up, and pressed pause. Yixing looked at him as soon as he noticed that there was no new song. Chen smirked at him, defiant, maybe more arrogant than the situation warranted.

“Then shouldn’t you learn veterinary too?”

Everything that Chen received as an answer was an unamused stare and thunder rolling from above. He choked on his own half-scream upon feeling the first raindrops on his jacket, heavier and more insistent than what a light drizzle would’ve been. This was probably the change in weather that Yixing had foreseen on their way here – and damnit, all Chen could do was put his sunglasses back into his pocket and literally run for cover.

He got a small kick out of seeing Yixing do the same thing, though.

“OY! That’s foul play, you son of a thousand Wolves!”

A lean, brown Wolf merely glanced at him with brilliant, mirthful black eyes before sprinting out of the rooftop and into the stairs.

“Damnit!” Chen cursed, much lightly than some of his Wolfpack’s members would have cursed. He followed Yixing… and found him waiting for Chen by the stairs’ bottom step. “And then you say you have the most manners!”

The Wolf opened his mouth in a gesture that closely resembled a Human’s smile. Chen couldn’t help but to return it, never one to bear resentment towards others. The Wolf brushed his thigh as he walked to the front door – Chen immediately opened his mouth to protest – what the hell are you doing, this is a Human city!

And then Yixing changed forms just as he crossed the threshold. When he turned around to face Chen, the heavy rain had already made his hair stick to his forehead.

“You won’t be the only one suffering the rain.”

Chen couldn’t help but smile at that – after all, Yixing truly had some manners.

Chapter Text

Xiumin tossed and turned, uncomfortable with the way his back had been leant on the tree-trunk behind him. Its wood was rough against his green shirt, protruding enough at some places to make the fabric catch. Xiumin cursed, softly and under his breathe, at the umpteenth time it happened.

Why had he even come out into the forests surrounding their hideaway? It was much safer to remain inside – especially when he and Luhan had been appointed to guard it. True, it had already been a full day since Yixing and Chen had gone to spy at that Governmental building near Suho’s office, and nothing bad had happened – they hadn’t been spotted – so their hideout must still be safe.

Then why the hell could Xiumin not relax at all?

Maybe because his whole Wolfpack was elsewhere, working (in the case of the Humans) or prowling (in the case of the Wolves). Well, except for Xiumin himself. And for Luhan.

His moon… Xiumin couldn’t even think of him right now. He wasn’t proud of how he’d sneaked out of their ruinous hideout, seeking to put some distance in between himself and the moon of his nights.

It was ridiculous, Xiumin knew. But he couldn’t bring himself to do anything else. And his every instinct said he was doing the right thing by avoiding Luhan – and so, he did just that. He knew Luhan would be pissed at it by now, because his moon had never been the most patient one around – that title went to Yixing, to Xiumin himself, and even to Kris sometimes.

Xiumin turned his body more fully to the right, shoulder leant against the tree. If he had less surface against the bark, it couldn’t hurt him as much. Or so he reasoned; his mind felt a bit disconnected from the rest of himself as he mused – for the umpteenth time – how the hell was he going to explain all of this to his moon.

Xiumin just couldn’t let Luhan see how deadly, how cold, he became every time his Wolfpack was threatened. He didn’t even know if Luhan already knew of it – because their frequent fights and even frequenter banter didn’t hide their hidden aggression. And yet…

“Here you are! I thought you’d disappeared. Why didn’t you even take your phone?”

Xiumin flinched on instinct, closed his eyes without meaning to. His moon’s voice had come from behind him, from the other side of the tree. All he gave as an answer was reaching into his trousers’ back pocket, left side, and taking his phone out for Luhan to see. Words seemed like such a gigantic ordeal that Xiumin just didn’t bother – even when he was speaking his own mother tongue, unlike Luhan.

“The fuck? Then why didn’t you answer me? I’ve called you like five times, you idiot!”

Xiumin didn’t react at all to the insult. He knew much too well that his moon was fretting so much only because he’d been truly worried. Usually, Xiumin would’ve opened his arms and let his smaller moon settle in between them, close to Xiumin’s chest. But now…

“And why the fuck aren’t you speaking to me? Did I do something or what?”

“Wh–” Xiumin turned around then, leaning his other shoulder on the tree, looking to Luhan. His moon was still standing, forcing Xiumin to throw his head back to look him in the eye instead of in the crotch. “No, you didn’t do anything wrong!”

“Then why are you avoiding me?!” Luhan let himself fall onto his knees in time with his last word, the impact making him sound rougher, more aggressive. His usually soft voice was now lowered into a growl, his gentle gaze transformed into a dark stare – he wasn’t even blinking.

“There are certain things I don’t want you to see…” Xiumin mumbled. He knew he sounded like he was giving nothing but excuses to the one who could read him better than anybody else – and wasn’t that truly futile?

“Like what? I’ve seen all of you.” Luhan remarked a single word, intonating it so pointedly that Xiumin smirked faintly. His moon only used that shrewd tone for sexual innuendos.

“This is not about sex, my thirsty moon.” Xiumin smiled – yet it didn’t fully reach his eyes. And Luhan noticed it right away.

“Then what the fuck is it.” The low growl took the interrogation mark out of his sentence, but Xiumin heard it anyway.

Still, Xiumin didn’t answer right away. He wasn’t even sure of what to say – yes, the answer was yes. But he couldn’t let his moon know that.

For a moment, Luhan didn’t say anything either. Then he raised his head, an idea shining as bright inside his eyes as the metaphorical lightbulb above his blonde head.

“… wait. Is this about that one time when you fought alone?”

Xiumin looked away from his moon. That told Luhan everything he needed to know.

“It fucking is.” Luhan moved a knee closer, parting his thighs enough to make his faded jeans strain against his skin. “What are you worried about? Dried blood and rusted iron?”

Xiumin turned his head all the way to his right side to hide his smile from the moon at his left. Luhan always found a way to make him smile – it was one of the things that had attracted Xiumin to him when they’d first started to know each other, all those years ago. Of course, that wasn’t the only reason why he was now dating Luhan – nor the only reason why he’d fallen in love with him – but it was so present now…

… it made Xiumin feel years younger. He’d been so wild back then, always so ready to scam any Human for food or shelter, sometime sunder the false pretence of sex. Xiumin still didn’t know if most Humans were submissive by nature, or if they couldn’t help but submit to Wolves even when they didn’t know that their dominator was indeed a Wolf. Son of a thousand Wolves, Xiumin couldn’t remember a single Human from back then who’d had any intention of dominating Xiumin instead.

Not that he’d ever looked, nor carried himself, like he would ever let anybody have that kind of control over him.

But then he’d met Luhan, and his worldview had shifted entirely.

“You think I can’t take some opponents unscathed?” Xiumin asked Luhan while he turned his head again, staring right into his moon’s dark eyes. The light fell directly onto Luhan, leaving Xiumin’s front shadowed – it made him look even more arrogant than he’d planned for.

“Physically? Yes.” Luhan corrected his posture, sitting down by Xiumin’s side. They were now sharing the same tree-trunk, Luhan’s knee resting against Xiumin’s thigh with that easiness that only familiarity could bring. “Mentally or emotionally? I’m not so sure.”

Xiumin didn’t answer right away. He understood all too clearly what Luhan was referring to.

“My scars are not physical…” Xiumin started, looking down to his own hands. Luhan didn’t interrupt him; he just let Xiumin pause for as long as he needed to. It was clear that Luhan, too, had scars of his own. “… but that fight didn’t give me any new ones. It only made me more aware of… some parts of myself.”

“The bad parts?” Luhan guessed. His voice had abandoned the worried growl from before; now he sounded much more like himself.

Xiumin couldn’t look at him in the eye anymore – he could only nod his head a couple times while still looking down to his own hands. They rested on his lap, unmarked by either age or violence, and still rougher than any Human’s of his same age.

Luhan moved closer, perhaps intending to lean his head on Xiumin’s left shoulder. He was halfway through when he seemed to think better of it – he leant on the tree instead. Xiumin noticed it, and tried to act like it hadn’t affected him.

His moon rejected him. Because Xiumin had rejected him for days. It was what Xiumin deserved. He knew that. The Wolf within was deadly, took no prisoners, didn’t care for any life but the Wolf’s own. Xiumin couldn’t let the Wolf within hurt his moon. He needed to protect his moon. What kind of mate would he be otherwise?

“You helped us all. Whatever you did to those men, they deserved it.” Luhan was firm, and there was determination in his voice. But he couldn’t read Xiumin, because he wasn’t looking at him. Thus, he didn’t see the wicked, pained smile in Xiumin’s face. “They dared hurt our Wolfpack. You did the right thing by protecting Suho and Tao.”

Luhan didn’t mention how Tao had been rendered useless by own demons – after all, Luhan himself had enough of those to relate to Tao’s struggles. Xiumin didn’t raise that point either; it was beside the main conversation topic. And it would’ve been quite rude to hold things against Tao when he wasn’t present to defend himself.

“You don’t know what I did, Luhan.”

The mere fact that Xiumin had used Luhan’s name and not the endearment he reserved for him made Luhan stare at Xiumin.

“Why should I care about that? You did the right thing. I don’t need to know any details.”

Xiumin’s smile grew wider, though it remained just as wicked, just as pained.

“What do you think I did?”

Luhan frowned; and not even such a gesture could make his soft factions look any less young. He hummed a long note as he let his head fall back against the tree, his right shoulder and leg against Xiumin’s left. He looked so lost in thought that Xiumin could do nothing but stare – Luhan had always been an attractive one. Xiumin was just lucky enough to call him his moon.

… and not even that anymore. They’d rowed before, but this felt like a different issue altogether. One that could break them apart forever.

Xiumin was terrified of that. He’d lived in darkness for so long that he now fully depended on his moon to light the way. As unhealthy or clingy as that might’ve seemed to Humans, Wolves followed a different logic. Luhan followed a different logic. And so did Xiumin.

Neither could ever forget that they fit so well in their current Wolfpack precisely because of not being like the average Wolf. It had been so even before they’d become a mixed Wolfpack of Wolves and Humans, the very thing that Kris had always sworn he hated. And it had always been clear that Kris held a deep resentment against mixed packs – though he’d never said why, and nobody dared to ask. They knew better than to annoy their leader too much.

“You interrogated those men!” Luhan said suddenly, pointing at Xiumin with one index finger. “That’s the only way you would’ve learnt so much. They never say anything useful in the middle of a fight.”

“I did interrogate one of them.” Xiumin conceded. This was the lie he’d fabricated back when he’d been fighting, to tell it to Suho and-or to his kids if they’d asked Xiumin about what had gone down. In the end, Xiumin hadn’t needed it – because he hadn’t been asked. But he still remembered it. “But that’s not all.”

“Oh, I kinda knew that already.” Luhan made a dismissive gesture with the same hand he’d used to point at Xiumin. “You wouldn’t be like this for such a simple thing.”

Xiumin had to smile, warm and sweet, at how well his moon knew him.

“Was the change difficult? It wasn’t a full moon…” Luhan trailed off, frowning, almost as if trying to remember if there had been a full moon that night.

“It wasn’t.” Xiumin confirmed. “But it felt like there was.”

Luhan gasped, looked at him – the tree’s bark was needling his sides, close to his ribs, but he seemed unbothered. His mouth hung opened as he stared at Xiumin, trying to read any emotions off him. Xiumin knew his moon more than enough to know better than to try and hide those emotions from him.

“You got carried away…” Luhan mumbled, trembling like he didn’t know whether to go closer to or further away from Xiumin.

Xiumin didn’t chastise him for that – he simply nodded. He knew this was not a pretty struggle to get caught up in. Even when every single Wolf out there eventually had to come to terms with their mate’s violent tendencies, this was different. This was Luhan. The moon of his nights. Xiumin couldn’t blame him for wanting to get away from Xiumin.

Especially because Luhan had always known Xiumin was deadly – but had never witnessed exactly to what extent.

“You killed them?”

“Blood loss did.”

“All of them?”

Xiumin nodded.

“Did it feel intense?”

Xiumin nodded again. There was no point in trying to hide the truth.

If Luhan ended up breaking up with him for this, Xiumin would understand. Some Wolves just didn’t want to deal with unstable partners, and that had to be respected.

Even if Xiumin himself was only unstable and violent and downright cold when his Wolfpack was threatened, he would understand. Luhan abhorred violence, was gentle even when fighting… he truly deserved better than Xiumin’s deadly rage.

“What happened to you?”

“Do you truly want to know?”

Luhan shivered at the sheer low tone, but ultimately nodded. This was just another side of Xiumin, bloody or not. And Luhan was already in love with Xiumin, there was no possible way this would end up being a deal-breaker.

Luhan just wondered why the fuck hadn’t it come up much sooner.

“The Wolf within becomes too dangerous when my Wolfpack is threatened. More than the average Wolf. Stops at nothing to protect those I care about.”

Luhan didn’t comment on how Xiumin referred to his Wolf and Human forms as separate entities, since he was already used to it. It wasn’t the most unusual thing, either; some Wolves had instincts too strong to resist. Like Tao. For them, it made sense to try and rationalise them, to give them a separate identity. Especially when they were living primarily in Human form, or even amongst Humans who didn’t have those same wild instincts.

Then again, Tao didn’t make that distinction at all. Only Xiumin did. And Yixing, to a lesser extent – though Yixing admitted the existence of a connection in between both his forms; something that Xiumin didn’t.

“I… let the Wolf within free. And… mutilated those men. Tore their throats out, bathed in their blood, until their scent was all I could smell. I didn’t think at all. The Wolf within fought them all. Killed them all.”

Xiumin made a pause, never daring to raise his gaze – let alone look at Luhan. His moon said nothing, barely breathing by his side. Xiumin would’ve felt him tremble even if he hadn’t been paying attention to Luhan.

“I changed forms, barely contained the Wolf within. I was… cold. I interrogated the last one alive, got the information, saw him die. Then, I returned.”

Luhan didn’t ask for a definition of what “being cold” meant in this context for Xiumin. He already knew what it entailed – or, rather, he’d read it off Xiumin on multiple occasions in the past. It wasn’t always a pretty sight, but it showed that Xiumin was able to concentrate so fully, so ardently, on something.

That inner passion despite the shining ice around him had been one thing driving Luhan closer to Xiumin. He couldn’t very well resent it now, even if his understanding of it was now broader.

“You won’t be like that towards me.” Luhan rested against the tree once more, making sure he was closer to Xiumin’s side than before. “I know you.”

“How can you be so sure that I won’t?” Xiumin looked at him – no, stared at him with an intensity that almost made Luhan recoil. “I call myself your mate, but the Wolf within doesn’t. I…”

Luhan saw the exact moment in which Xiumin cut his own sentence short, saw him gulp and look away. Xiumin looked so utterly distraught that the only desire in Luhan’s mind – in his heart – was to help him. To calm him down. To make him see that Luhan loved him just the same, predator or not.

And, hey, maybe that was a good angle to try. It’d still allow Luhan to backtrack if it wasn’t successful, so he could at least try it.

“All Wolves are predators. Myself included.” Luhan shrugged one shoulder, already knowing that Xiumin’s perception would catch the motion. If his piercing eyes didn’t, his smell would.

Luhan’s scent ebbed and flowed in time with his movements. Xiumin closed his eyes almost completely. Luhan kept moving, leaning this and that way, gesturing more than usual. If this was helping Xiumin, he would keep it up.

“I don’t really care that you’re dangerous, Xiumin. Honestly, I feel more secure knowing you’re a Wolf too. I could never date a Human like Kris and Tao are doing.”

Xiumin smiled the same sharp half-moon he always smiled during a hunt. Luhan smiled too, because he knew that this was an indication that Xiumin was doing better.

“You say you don’t mind, but you’ve never seen me like that. You don’t really know what you’re speaking about.”

“Don’t treat me like a fucking cub!” Luhan gestured again, ample and vehement, sending more of his scent flying into the air. Xiumin closed his eyes, leant the back of his head against the trunk. Luhan saw his chest expand with his breathing.

“If you truly knew how I got, you wouldn’t say these things so easily, my moon.”

“I’d say it just the same and you know it.” Luhan moved, leaning his head on Xiumin’s shoulder, his hand falling onto Xiumin’s thigh. Luhan wasn’t rejected this time – he took it as a small victory, counted his blessings, and didn’t move. “I love you, Xiumin. I’m not going to leave you just because you get bloody when you’re hunting.”

Xiumin moved them both so quickly that Luhan couldn’t gather his bearings in time – he gasped – both hands flying to find support – they didn’t – but he wasn’t falling – and–

Xiumin was kissing him, deep and passionate and so, so loving

Luhan’s head spun. His heartbeat hammered in his temples, in his chest. His hands grabbed his moon’s shirt, forcefully enough to crumple the fabric between his fingers. Yet neither Luhan nor Xiumin himself minded it one bit, too occupied with kissing one another.

Xiumin held Luhan aloft all throughout the kiss, took him even closer to his own chest once it was over. Luhan allowed him to, wrapping both arms around Xiumin’s slim shoulders. He felt himself be moved, until he was resting against Xiumin’s body, the tree-trunk supporting them both from behind.

“I’m glad to know you don’t hate me for this.” Xiumin mumbled from somewhere above Luhan’s head. He had one hand on the bark behind him and the other on Luhan’s pullover. “I was so, so sure you would…”

“The fuck?!” Luhan revolted, trying to look him in the eye. Xiumin held him too firmly, though; so Luhan had to give up with a groan. It reminded Xiumin of how his moon twisted and groaned during sex. “Why the fuck would I hate you, a Wolf, for being a Wolf?”

“I’ve seen stranger things.” Xiumin’s darkness manifested in his eyes, in his tone. Luhan shivered. Xiumin tugged him closer, perhaps misinterpreting it.

“Is that why you avoided me so much? Because you thought I’d break up with you if I found out?”

Xiumin was too ashamed to look at him – too ashamed to answer him. Luhan read it off his posture, hummed, and let his whole weight rest on Xiumin. There was no point in trying to force an answer out of Xiumin. If he didn’t want to speak, he wouldn’t. It was pure self-control, Luhan knew, not stubbornness. But it frustrated him just the same.

“I don’t care, Xiumin. Honestly, I like it. ‘Cause now I know that, if something happens to me, to anybody in our Wolfpack, you’ll hunt them down for us. That’s all. It makes us all feel secure.”

Xiumin stayed silent. He hadn’t considered his own bloodiness from that angle. But he should’ve known that his moon would offer him a whole other point of view. They both had such different backgrounds and upbringings – not to mention characters, and even experiences… It was only logical that they wouldn’t see things in the same way. But they always saw eye-to-eye. Strange. Yet endearing. And probably why they worked so well together.

“I love you so much.” Xiumin muttered, raw emotion in his voice.

When Luhan moved again, Xiumin didn’t deny him. Why would he do that, really, when all his moon was doing was kissing him again.

Chapter Text

Luhan embraced the opportunity to be able to move from their hideout as soon as it presented itself. After all that heavy talk with Xiumin earlier today, he was more than ready to just go out, stretch his legs – even if he would have to remain in Human form – and give Xiumin the solace he probably needed to get his thoughts in order once more.

Sure, his moon wasn’t feeling stressed and afraid out of his own mind anymore. But that didn’t mean that he was out of trouble. Luhan knew him enough to know he’d quickly bounce back from the turmoil; but even the most easy-going Wolf needed some time to adjust to a new situation. And Xiumin was no exception to that rule – much as he tended to ignore practically every other rule.

Kai arrived with Sehun somewhere after lunch, happily exclaiming something about not having to work the rest of that day. Luhan chuckled when he saw how Sehun raised a hand to smack Kai upside the head – turned out that Sehun didn’t have to work either. Which should’ve been predictable, considering that both he and Kai shared the same workplace.

Xiumin stayed away from the two Humans, probably because of all that emotional turmoil still weighing his heart. Truth be told, Sehun didn’t look like he wanted to spend time with people either. And that explained why Kai and Luhan went out to the woods nearby – as long as Xiumin and Sehun were both at their hideout, nobody would storm it by surprise.

That was the way the Wolves had been organizing their Wolfpack ever since their ranks had grown, anyway. No important place was to be left alone for too long; especially since those Government’s men could return at any moment soon. They’d already lived through enough fights with them – lived through enough fights, period – to figure these things out. The Humans didn’t have the same foresight, since they had never had to resort to these measures, but that was okay.

The Wolves could handle the Wolfpack’s organisation themselves. At least until the Humans learnt – and Suho really was a quick learner, from what Luhan could see. He had quickly accommodated himself into his newfound position as half of their Wolfpack’s leading couple. Sure, the Wolves would never call him parent like the other Humans did – Luhan was pretty sure of that, because most of them didn’t remember their own parents.

To call Suho “mom” or “dad” would imply that the Wolves knew what a parental relationship felt like. And they couldn’t lie to Suho like that. Not when he was being so, so helpful, trying to understand them, to learn more about them as individuals – not even as fearsome Wolves.

Any Wolf would’ve appreciated that devotion. Their Wolfpack functioned better because of it.

They didn’t say it out loud, though.

“You look really bored.” Kai commented as he bent down to avoid crashing his head onto a low tree-branch. “Was today so dull?”

“There’s not much to do around.” Luhan jumped down from the tree he’d climbed to, ever the excitable one. There was an urge within him to change forms, to run wild and free, to howl at the inexistent moon in the sky.

An eternal, ethereal, image of Xiumin crossed his mind.

It made him smile.

And, of course, Kai saw it.

“You know you can change forms, right?”

Luhan stared at Kai, mouth opened in surprise. He hadn’t been expecting Kai to read him so well, but now that he thought about it, it made sense. After all, Tao had chosen Kai as his mate – and Tao would never fall for someone who couldn’t understand Wolves at all.

Still, this way of reading others was… effortless, Luhan mused in complete silence as he changed forms. He felt much better now, even though he was used to spend long periods of time in his Human form. He let out a sound not unlike a sigh of relief, and was unsurprised when Kai read him correctly once more.

“You look happier now. I know I can’t understand you if you speak to me, but I can understand you in other ways.”

Luhan moved to face Kai, and then tilted his head to one side, just like a housedog would do. Kai smiled, almost giggled, brilliant like the sunrays coming in from in between the leaves above them. In that moment, Luhan understood why Tao seemed so transfixed every time he looked at Kai – it was the same effect that Luhan himself felt when looking at Xiumin.

Before Kai could say anything else, Luhan ran a couple laps around him, utterly preventing him from taking a single step forward. Kai opened his arms, as if he would lose his balance if he didn’t. He tried to spread his legs a little bit wider, too, but Luhan stopped him from doing that too.

Son of a thousand Wolves, it felt so fucking good to be a Wolf… Luhan almost pitied the seven Humans in their Wolfpack, for they would never experience the euphoria that came with changing forms and running free.

“I knew you’re playful, but come on!” Kai laughed from above, sounding as happy as Luhan felt. The Wolf stopped for only a moment, tail waggling excitedly, chestnut eyes staring at Kai. “You look like you want to play.”

Luhan nodded, the gesture much more Human than he’d ever admit out loud. Kai seemed highly amused by his antics, since he laughed again, sharing Luhan’s excitement. He couldn’t fully understand why changing forms made such a marked difference, since he’d only heard Tao’s point of view about it – and, for Tao, both forms were still himself, so there was no real difference.

Then again, usually neither did Luhan. A form was a form, it only affected the battle skills he could use and how people reacted to him. But today felt different – the full moon would rise soon, he could feel it. Every Wolf could. That brilliant celestial was still growing, waxing – astronomers on television described it as “waxing gibbous”, whatever the term actually meant.

Luhan took off running, further into the woods. Kai exclaimed something behind him, but Luhan wasn’t paying much attention to this language that wasn’t his mother tongue, and so he didn’t understand the words’ meaning. Still, he heard Kai chasing after him shortly after, slower than Luhan – two legs could only carry someone so fast, after all. Humans weren’t built for running like four-legged creatures were.

Luhan didn’t want to wait idly by, but he also didn’t want to go so far ahead that Kai lost him entirely. He found a neat compromise in running tight laps around the nearby trees, his natural agility making it easy to brush the bark without making splinters fly off. His fur remained unpierced, even though the underbrush was close enough to tickle his legs as he ran past it.

There were no real clearings in this part of the woods, but Luhan didn’t mind. He preferred it this way, honestly. A clearing would’ve made him an easy target – not only him, he realised as he started to pant from running around so much, but Kai as well. And Luhan needed to protect Kai, because Kai couldn’t fight like a Wolf could. Kai couldn’t fight like Tao could.

Tao… Luhan truly cared about him. And not for a shallow reason, either. Sure, Tao was their Wolfpack’s best fighter – added Humans or not, that fact hadn’t changed – it would make perfect sense to care for their fighter because, without him, their whole Wolfpack was weaker, easier to attack. But that reasoning was too impersonal for Luhan. Maybe at first it would’ve made sense, when he was still new to their Wolfpack. After all, Luhan had been the last to join before they hopped continents and found Xiumin. But not anymore.

It hadn’t made any sense in literally years. Luhan had quickly learnt more about Tao’s character, about his nightmares, about all those horrors that he faced alone. He tried his damnedest to not let the rest of their Wolfpack see him lost to fear and adrenaline, just because he cared too much about them all. Luhan had never understood why Tao wouldn’t just lean on them like they leant on Tao.

Then again, Xiumin was the same in that sense.

But Xiumin leant on Luhan more heavily than he let the others know. That made Luhan think that, maybe, Tao could learn to let Kai in. But if Kai wasn’t ready for that, it would be disastrous for both him and Tao.

Luhan could let that happen. He just couldn’t. He cared way too much about their Wolfpack’s integrity, and about Tao himself, than to let just anybody wander into their lives and ruin it all. Not that he thought Kai would ruin anything, though. It was just that Kai was… too Human. Too sweet. Sure, he could read Wolves well. But Luhan doubted that would be enough.

“Better now?”

Luhan’s Wolf form jumped, and Luhan’s Human form fell back onto the ground.

Kai just looked at him, mumbled an apology for having startled him.

“That’s my own damn fault!” Luhan replied, turning around to face him. “If I can’t focus my own senses enough to know what the hell is going on around me, I deserve to be startled.”

Kai’s gaze told Luhan that he disagreed, but at least he didn’t voice it out loud.

“Oy, Kai. I gotta talk to you about something. Might as well do it now.” Luhan let himself fall onto the floor, cross-legged, still facing Kai. The impact didn’t hurt his bones, since Wolves knew how to lessen it by letting their muscles take it instead. “Come here.”

“What’s up?” Kai asked as he sat down in front of Luhan.

The thick tree-trunks on both sides of them hid them from view, so they kept their voices down to not be heard. Besides, there was no need to disturb the singing birds in the branches above, their little shadows crossing over Luhan and Kai from time to time.

Luhan wasn’t sure how to start this conversation – nor if he would be able to carry it through without resorting to threats like a possessive father to his daughter’s boyfriend. But it needed to be done. So he would at least try. It would perhaps be too harsh for Kai’s gentle nature – then again, he needed to toughen up a little if he was to live in a world of Wolves from now on.

“You’re Tao’s mate. You know that he can need a lot of help from time to time.”

“I am and I know that.” Kai leant one hand on the forest floor, taking some weight off his lower back. Luhan could hear the faint panting coming from him, could smell how his scent had changed slightly – still, the Wolf didn’t focus on that. Those words were far more important now. “He doesn’t ask for help very often, though.”

“He asks you?!” Luhan leant forward, surprised once more.

“Well… yes.” Kai moved back a little, keeping the distance in between them. It was a sign of respect, Luhan knew, not a sign that Kai was intimidated. Human or not, he still was taller, broader, physically stronger than Luhan’s Human form. Kai didn’t have much to fear if Luhan attacked him now. “He doesn’t ask you?”

“If that means the Wolfpack, not really. And definitely not me.” Luhan leant back, letting Kai correct his posture in turn. “But it’s good that the trusts you.”

“I want him to know he can lean on me.” Kai smiled.

Luhan couldn’t help but smile too, suddenly understanding that there was much more to Kai than met the eye at first glance. It explained why Tao had been pulled to him so much – and also why the other Wolves seemed so at ease in Kai’s presence. He wasn’t the one with the most calming energy – that title should go to Yixing, probably – Kai just had a way of making people feel at ease in his presence.

Chanyeol and Chen also had that ability, but theirs extended to Humans more acutely; whereas Kai’s seemed to attract Wolves and dogs alike. He was a great addition to their Wolfpack, and not just because of his connection with Tao.

Luhan still caught himself reluctant to let the Human in on some Wolfish secrets, but he already knew he would get over it. All seven of them deserved to be members of their Wolfpack. They had demonstrated it more than enough times already.

“Don’t you dare break his heart.” Luhan threatened. His voice was much too soft to carry the same weight that, say, Kris’ would – yet Kai recoiled just the same.

“I’m not planning to do that! I don’t want to hurt him! Ever!”

“Good!” Luhan offered Kai his sweetest smile, but so heavily coated in venom that Kai didn’t lessen the distance in between them. Both his hands were close to his chest now, not on the floor – as if he felt like he needed to protect himself. Luhan could’ve laughed, but that might’ve been too mean, so he contained himself. “Because, if you do, the rest of us will kill you.”

Kai didn’t need any clarifications to know that the “us” in that sentence applied only to the Wolves. His brothers wouldn’t kill him, they’d just close files and comfort Kai’s own bleeding heart – because there was no way Kai wouldn’t get hurt too in such a heart-breaking scenario. Suho too would check up on him often, offer comfort and the kind of parental care that Kai associated only with Suho – he’d never met his biological parents; and, if he had, he didn’t remember it. Sehun was the same way, but there was a marked aloofness in him that was inexistent in Kai.

Sehun would bounce back from a heartbreak after having suffered through it all alone. Kai would immediately seek comfort in his family.

“Now seriously…” Luhan added when he was satisfied with Kai’s reaction. His voice was equally soft as when he’d literally threatened Kai’s life, which made Kai perk up enough to listen to him. Luhan couldn’t help but smirk when he noticed that Kai was not meeting his eyes just yet. “… it’s cool that you two are together. Really.”

“… sure?” Kai asked. He felt like he was digging his own grave just by saying something other than a “thank you”, but he still plunged on.

“Regretful for our Wolfpack’s “only-Wolves” rule.” Luhan’s tone dropped maybe half a semitone while he said that, which made Kai open his mouth to apologise. Luhan kept talking before Kai could say anything, “We approve, though!”

Kai could only smile a tentative little thing to match Luhan’s grin. There was still some vitriol in the Wolf’s expression, but Kai could read lots of sincerity off him. Luhan was genuinely happy that Tao had found his mate. That made Kai smile brighter, which made Luhan smile more too, until there was no edge in his features.

“Want to race me back?” Kai asked, happy that he could play around like this.

All the answer he got was a wicked smile and a Wolf changing forms.