Chapter 1: Headache (Ezra)
Hunter Riley -- They/Them
In a relationship with Finn/Ezra
Riley pushes open the door to Ezra shop, the warm room a welcome change from the cold night air. It had been snowing, and white smoke flakes dusted their hair, slowly melting.
Coco the cat was sitting on the counter, curled up in a white ball, tail flicking occasionally.
The cheery interior was a welcome site, as was the Witch who owned the shop. Ezra turned when he heard the door open, and he gave Riley a bright smile.
Ezra got up from kneeling on the ground as he had been shelving some books away, and took their hand.
“Come in, you must be freezing,” Ezra said, and Riley squeezed his hand gently.
Ezra pulled them in for a hug, and Riley melted into the embrace.
“I’m alright,” they said softly, “I’m warm now.”
As Ezra pulled back, he placed a hand on Riley’s cheek, and they closed their eyes briefly in contentment under his touch.
“Is everything alright?” Ezra asked, emerald eyes shining with concern.
Riley wondered at how Ezra always seemed to know when something was off, but the Healer was particularly perceptive. Or Riley was an easy read.
Riley shook their head.
“I’ve just had this headache that won’t go away,” they admitted.
Ezra stood on his tiptoes to kiss them very gently on the forehead, and Riley’s eyelashes fluttered closed.
“Here, come to the back and I’ll make some tea,” Ezra suggested, and Riley followed him as he took their hand, leading them to the back.
The strings of lights were warm and inviting, and Riley leaned against the wall. Their gaze flickered to the trap door, knowing that Finn would be in the catacombs, and they couldn’t help but smile even at the thought of him.
Ezra put the kettle on and went back into his shop, and Riley could hear him rummaging around. They rubbed their temples, wishing the pounding in their head would just stop, but it had been relentless for the past hour or two.
Ezra returned with a few herbs in hand, and poured two cups of tea, putting the herbs in one of them.
Ezra looked at them, “This should help. Don’t know what kind of Healer I would be if I didn’t know a good headache cure.”
“I’m lucky to have you,” Riley told him earnestly, “And for more than just a cure for a pounding head. I’m so lucky to have you in my life.”
Riley took his hand, and even just being in Ezra’s presence made them start to feel better.
Ezra turned and took the two cups, giving one to Riley and keeping one for himself. Riley took a sip, the warmth washing over them. They drank slowly, starting to feel a little better. By the time they had drained the cup, their head hurt significantly less.
Ezra took their hand again.
“It should stop hurting soon,” He told them.
“Thank you, Ezra,”
Ezra pulled them close, and Riley knew he always makes everything better.
Chapter 2: Paperwork (August)
Hunter Charlie (They/Them)
Charlie was leaning against the doorframe, staring into the Enforcer’s office. August was at their desk, thumbing through a stack of papers. They glanced up, their expression softening for a moment when they saw Charlie standing there, before their mouth was drawn together.
“Can I help you, Hunter?” They asked, looking down at the papers they were holding.
“It’s almost midnight, Gus, don’t you want to go home?” Charlie asked.
August let out a sigh, putting another paper on the stack that was piling high on their desk.
“I’ve still got work to do here,” August told them.
Charlie took a few steps into the room, “I’m not going to let you sleep in the office again.”
August raised an eyebrow, fixing Charlie with a look,
“You’re not going to let me?”
Charlie came up to the edge of the desk, grinning at their partner.
“I’ll carry you home, if I have to.” Charlie insisted.
August let out a quiet huff of laughter, “I’d like to see you try.”
“Is that a challenge?” Charlie asked, grinning.
They leaned on August’s desk, meeting eyes with them. August turned their head away, a blush adorning their cheeks.
“Are you blushing?” Charlie teased.
“No,” August said, turning even more red.
Charlie reached across the desk, taking a finger to guide August’s head to look at them. August went with surprisingly little resilience.
“I want to take you home, love,” Charlie insisted.
August’s lips parted, and they looked up at Charlie.
“All the paperwork will be here in the morning,” Charlie grinned, “Maybe I’ll even come by and help you with it.”
August raised their eyebrow.
“I seem to recall you saying that paperwork is incredibly boring,” they pointed out.
“But you’re not. We’ll find a way to make it interesting.”
August leaned back in their chair.
“Oh? Did you have something in mind?”
“I do for tonight,” Charlie was halfway crawling across the desk to reach them, leaning in for a kiss.
As they pulled back, Charlie grinned, “But only if you let me take you home where you can rest.”
August sighed and let Charlie take their hand as they grabbed their coat from the back of their chair, letting themself be lead home.
Chapter 3: Sweets (Omen)
Hunter Avery - (They/Them)
“Hey, Omen, I got you something,” Avery said, coming up to the demon.
He swished his tail, tilting his head to the side in curiosity.
They held up a bag, pulling out a baked good they had gotten from a bakers stall.
“The baker just had these fresh made, I thought you’d like one?” Avery held it out and Omen took it.
“It’s sweet—just like you,” Avery told him with a wink.
Omen bit into it, looking thoughtful for a moment before grinning, “It’s good!” He said.
Avery smiled, taking his arm as they walked through town.
“I’m glad you like it,” they said, kissing him on the cheek, feeling the incredible heart radiating off of him.
As they walked through town arm and arm, a few passerby stares didn’t relent at the presence of Omen, and he ducked his head to avoid eye contact. He pulled in closer to Avery, and they tightened their grip on his arm as if to say ‘I’ve got you’. But with Avery at his side, the townsfolk didn’t seem as scared as they had been before.
Omen had his tail wrapped around their waist, and Avery wondered at who it provided more comfort for. They leaned in, kissing him gently on the cheek when they were out of the public eye. Then, Avery took his tail and kissed the tip of that as well as Omen glowed.
“I never expected to find someone like you,” Avery admitted, “But I’m so glad I did.”
Omen smiled, so bright and warm.
“I’m so lucky to have met you and Alkar,” he said, his tail twisting around their waist again.
Avery pressed their foreheads together, the heat coming off Omen is waves that warmed them up on a snowy day in town.
“C’mon, let’s go back to the cave, I think our wolf is waiting for us.”
Chapter 4: Early Mornings (Piper)
Hunter Mariah (She/Her)
Sunlight was just pouring into the small window in Piper’s bedroom, making the room light up with a warm glow. Mariah yawned, stretching, just waking up. She blinked her eyes, trying to rub the sleep out of them.
She looked over at the sleeping form at Piper, marvelling at how beautiful she is. Along her back she could see the scars that webbed along her skin. Mariah traced them, feather light against Piper’s skin, wondering at each battle they had come from.
Piper shifted in her sleep, and Mariah just watched her in the silence of an early morning. It was stolen moments like these where she could just forget about everything and focus only on Piper.
Piper rolled over, and in doing so, shoved Mariah right off of the bed. She scrambled, trying to grasp at blankets to save from falling, but she landed hard on the floor.
Piper let out a grunt, opening her eyes, which were all bleary.
“‘Riah?” She mumbled, trying to talk through a yawn.
When Piper did manage to keep her eyes open, she saw Mariah sitting on the floor of her room, with half the blankets pulled off too. Piper blinked.
Mariah laughed, “You pushed me off the bed!”
Piper didn’t remember doing that, but it wasn’t unlikely.
“What time izit?” She asked, yawning again.
“Early, go back to sleep.” Mariah got to her feet, and kissed her gently on the forehead.
Piper rolled over, and reached up a hand to grab onto Mariah’s arm, pulling her back down for a proper kiss. Then she rolled over and said something that was muffled into the pillow.
“Yeah, I love you too,” Mariah told her, grinning fondly as she left the bedroom, going to make breakfast for the two of them.
Chapter 5: Reading by the Fire (August)
Hunter Charlie (They/Them)
Happy International Non-Binary People's Day!
The fireplace crackled, sending a warmth over the pair on the couch. Charlie was curled up with August, who was holding a book and flipping through the pages. Charlie had their head on August’s shoulder, taking a small sip of wine every time they finished reading the page they were on so August could flip.
Charlie was tired, and the words all muddled together in their mind as much as they tried to pay attention. Their wine glass was nearly empty, and they placed in down on the table to their side.
They nuzzled up to August, and kissed them very lightly on their neck. Charlie saw August smile, and then turn to face them, folding the book down on the table.
Their eyes were a swirl of blue and purple, but so warm in the light of the fireplace.
“You’re so beautiful,” Charlie told them in a rush of words.
August looked down, those long eyelashes fluttering.
Charlie took their face in their hands, running their thumb along their jawline.
They kissed, August’s lips so impossibly soft and Charlie wanted to get lost in the sensation.
As they pulled apart, August gave them a look of such endearment that it warmed Charlie’s heart.
They lie down Charlie resting on top of August, and running their fingers through that long, silky hair.
August smiled fondly at them, “You’re going to fall asleep on me, aren’t you?”
“You’re not allowed to get up,” Charlie mumbled, burying their face in their neck.
August wrapped their arms around them, know that they were trapped here now. They tried feebly to grab their book off the table, but they couldn’t reach, not with the heavy weight of Charlie’s whole, massive muscular Hunter body pinning them down.
So August just sighed, pressing their head against Charlie’s and let themself doze off.
Chapter 6: Loud Thoughts (Finn)
Hunter Riley (They/Them)
The night air was cool, and a velvet sky decorated with stars blanketed the earth.
Riley was staring out at the ocean, the memory of watching the fireworks there captivating them.
“It’s not safe to be alone after dark, you know,” said a voice behind them.
Riley turned, although knew exactly who that voice belonged to.
Finn’s golden eyes seemed to glow in the soft moonlight, and despite his words, he was smiling.
“Why, because the big, scary vampire will eat me?” Riley teased.
Finn chuckled, opening his mouth, and then closing it, as if he had a joke he wanted to say but decided against it.
“Am I big and scary?” He finally decided on.
Riley looked over the impressive stature of the vampire, their eyes drinking in the sight of him, so incredibly beautiful in the moonlit night.
“Big, for sure,” Riley said, stepping closer.
“But scary?” Finn questioned.
Riley was face to face with him now, and they could see the sharp glint of his fangs. Their Hunter instinct many times could not quench the instinctual fear of such a sight, but tonight…
“Not scary at all,”
Finn grinned, “I’ll have to work on that, then.”
“You really should,” Riley said with a smile.
Finn took their hand, bringing their knuckles up to his mouth, placing a soft kiss there.
The sound of the ocean washing against the shore filled the night air, and Finn pulled Riley in. Finn bent his head down so they could press their foreheads together, their fingers intertwining.
“You knew I was here?” Riley asked.
Finn smiled, and gently brushed against their chest, where their heart is.
“I can sense you, even more so now. You, Ezra, and I…all connected.”
That was true, Riley could feel Finn so clearly ever since he had drank their blood. His presence was so crystal clear in their mind, that when he was around it was hard to think of anything else.
As Riley looked into Finn eyes, the Vampire grinned.
“You’re a loud thinker,” he told them, “I don’t mean to pry, but I can’t help it, not when that thought is so powerful. It’s drowning out everything else in my mind.”
Riley tilted their head to the side, a smile tugging at their lips.
“What am I thinking then?”
“The same thing I am.”
Finn brushed against their chin with his cold hands, tilting their head up.
“I love you too,” he whispered.
They kissed, and it was like the world ceased to exist.
Riley could only think of him.
Chapter 7: Little Wolf (Alkar)
Hunter Avery (They/Them)
Curled up on the couch, Avery was getting tired. It was late, and they had spent most of the day patrolling the town.
Alkar and Omen were on the couch too, their tails intertwined. Omen was writing in his journal, adding notes and a few drawings that Avery couldn’t quite make out.
Avery was running their fingers through Alkar’s hair, and very gently ran a finger along his wolf ear. It flickered under their touch, and he shot them a look.
“It’s cute,” Avery told him, and saw his face go pink as he turned back around in a huff.
They gently scratched his ears, and saw Alkar stiffen, so Avery relented.
“Do you not like that?” They asked.
Alkar made a noise that Avery assumed was him trying to say something, but it just came out in a rushed jumble.
“Want to try that one again?” They asked teasingly.
Alkar was getting redder and redder, his human ears even burning up.
“S’fine,” Alkar said, obviously trying for casualness but failing pretty miserably.
So Avery resumed gently scratching his wolf ears.
“You’re cute,” Avery told him.
Alkar made an exasperated sound, rubbing the back of his neck.
Omen looked up from his book, grinning. He poked Alkar on the cheek.
“You are cute, especially when you’re all red like that,” he pointed out.
Alkar fell into the couch to bury his face into a pillow as Avery and Omen grinned and each other.
Alkar turned back around to face them with a half hearted scowl.
“Why y’gotta do this me?” He demanded.
Avery laughed, “What call you cute? Cause you are. You’re a cute little wolf.”
They delighted in seeing Alkar so flustered, and even more so at how easy it was.
Alkar crossed his arms, “You make me, feel things,” he muttered.
“Oh? Like what?” Avery teased.
Alkar poked the couch, avoiding eye contact.
“Stupid…sappy things,” he muttered.
Avery reached out and flicked his ear, and Alkar glanced at them, trying to fight against the smile that was threatening to form.
Avery leaned in and kissed him on the top of his head as Omen pulled in closer, resting his head on Alkar’s chest. Avery took Omen’s hand and they used their other run to continue running their fingers through Alkar’s head, perfectly content.
Chapter 8: Take a Break (Finn and Ezra)
Hunter Riley (They/Them)
Riley was hunched over at a table in the back of Ezra’s shop. They had been patrolling the town all day and were going over all their notes, writing some more in their journal about the case.
Ezra came in from his shop, finishing pack away a few things he had brought out for a customer. He stopped when he saw Riley sitting there.
“You’re still up?” He asked, coming over to where they were sitting.
Riley looked up from their journal, “Yeah, I’ve just got to finish a couple more reports.”
“But you must be exhausted,” Ezra pointed out, concern etched into his features.
Finn stood in the doorway between the shop and the back room, he had been helping Ezra clean up a few things.
“I’m sure those can wait until the morning, you’ve been working yourself half to death,” the Vampire said, “And I would know.”
He grinned, but it quickly fell when he saw the dark bags under Riley’s eyes.
“I haven’t been sleeping well anyway, so might as well be productive instead of just lying around,” Riley pointed out, “Besides, I’m not tired.”
Finn raised a dark brow, “Really?”
He then proceeded to perform a large, completely fake yawn, stretching his arms and everything. Riley tried to fight against it, but couldn’t help their body yawning in reflection. Their eyes watered from the intensity of it, and Ezra had to cover his own yawn behind his hand.
“Look, you must be tired, you’re yawning,” Finn said with a wicked grin
“That’s not fair,” protested Riley half-heartedly, yawning again.
Ezra put a gentle hand on their shoulder.
“You work so incredibly hard, Riley, you’ve put everything you have into this investigation and that’s incredible. But you do have to take a break and rest so you’re body can recover from the strain you’re putting on it all the time.” He said softly.
Riley was tired. They were exhausted. They had been fighting to keep their eyes open for ages, and had to force themselves bit by bit to do the reports.
Finn came up on Riley’s other side, leaning against the table and looking at them.
“You need to get some sleep,” he told them.
He brushed his thumb where their skin had gone purple under their eyes, and Riley leaned into his touch.
Ezra took their hand, their fingers intertwining so effortlessly.
“We really care about you, Riley,” Ezra told them.
Riley’s head was starting to feel fuzzy, and now that they stopped working, they’re body was shutting down.
They nodded, letting their eyes finally close and they were surprised they didn’t fall asleep on the spot.
With surprising ease, Finn pulled Riley from the chair and carried them upstairs to Ezra’s bedroom, his strong arms lifting them almost effortlessly bridal-style.
The witch and the vampire curled up in the bed with Riley, and in the comfort of the soft bed, they fell blissfully asleep.
Chapter 9: Nightmares (Alkar and Omen)
Hunter Avery (They/Them)
Avery sat bolt upright in bed, breathing hard. Their eyes were wide and they clutched the blankets in bed, hating how their heart thumped in their chest.
A nightmare, that’s all it had been.
They were shaking, and took a few calming breaths.
Omen stirred, blinking his eyes open.
“Avery? Are you okay?” He asked, sitting up beside them.
Avery nodded, their throat feeling tight.
“It’s just a nightmare, don’t worry.”
Omen curled his tail around their waist, concern across his face.
“You’re crying,” he pointed out.
Avery blinked, and realized they were. Omen used his thumb to wipe away their tears.
Alkar groaned, rolling over, and blinked open his eyes.
“What’s going on?” He asked, his voice raspy from sleep.
“I just had a nightmare,” Avery told him gently, “you can go back to sleep.”
But Alkar sat up instead, and tugged gently on their ear.
“You good?” He asked.
Avery opened their mouth to say something, but shook their head.
Alkar looked a little unsure of what to do, but he hesitantly open his arms, and Avery fell into his embrace. They felt a comforting pat on their back.
“Do you want anything?” Omen asked, placing his hand on their lower back.
Avery gave him a watery smile, “Just to be with you two.”
“You sap,” muttered Alkar into their ear.
Avery laughed, pulling back from the hug.
“Thank you, I feel a little better,” they admitted.
Avery curled up between them, both Lycan and Demon so incredibly warm they were lulled to sleep with no more thoughts of nightmares.
Chapter 10: Sparring (Piper)
Hunter Mariah (She/Her)
Mariah dodged, ducking down as the wooden stick passed over her head. She raised her own staff, and it met with the other with a resounding crack. Piper grinned, both of them breathing hard as they sparred.
Mariah ran back, parrying each blow that Piper struck at her.
Mariah tried finding a weak point in her defence, but Piper was good, seemingly anticipating each move.
Mariah dodged again but Piper caught her on the way back up, and she stumbled back.
They reach the end of the training room, and Mariah tried to, flip around her, but Piper was faster, pinning her against the wall. Piper had a hand on her shoulder, pinning her, and had her training staff resting against her throat. Both of them were panting.
“Pretty good,” Piper said, giving her a wolfish grin, “But I’ve got you.”
Mariah looked up at her, smiling coyly, leaning her head forwards so their lips were almost brushing.
Then she pulled back, wrenching out her grasp and tried to dodge to the side, but Piper brought her leg up and stopped her.
“Oh, don’t think you’ll get away that easy,” Piper told her, and Mariah went willingly against the wall, “But good try.”
“I had to at least try,” Mariah said, her head pressed against the wall.
Piper glanced down at her lips, and then back up to her eyes. Mariah dropped her training stick.
Piper brushed her thumb against her chin, grinning.
“I think we’re done with training for now,” Piper told her.
Mariah could just nod before Piper leaned in for the kiss.
Chapter 11: Freezing (Finn)
Hunter Riley - (They/Them)
Riley was curled up on the couch in Ezra’s house, the Witch dealing with a customer up front. Finn had just pride open the trap door hidden in the floorboards, his face breaking into a smile when he saw the Hunter sitting there.
The Vampire walked over, taking their hand and kissing the back of it gently.
Riley smiled, and grabbed his iron hand, trying to tug him down onto the couch.
“C’mere, stay with me a while,” They coaxed.
Finn was hesitant, and Riley tilted their head to the side.
“Is everything alright, Finn?”
Finn looked away, “Let me get some blankets first, I don’t want you to be cold.”
But Riley just laughed, “I like you the way you are, freezing. If you want blankets that’s alright, but I’m fine without them.”
Finn looked surprised, “You’re sure?”
Riley nodded, “I’ve always run hot. Honestly, you’re a blessing to have around.”
Riley pulled Finn in, cuddling up to him. His skin, both flesh and iron was freezing, but Riley loved it. They nestled themself so they were practically using Finn as a pillow.
Finn thought briefly of the things he had wanted to do in town, and realized he was stuck here for the time being.
And realized he didn’t mind.
Chapter 12: Touch-Starved (Finn and Ezra)
Hunter Riley - (They/Them)
It was drafty down in the catacombs. It had been a long day of patrolling the town. People seemed on edge, even though the monster was gone.
Raven had let them in, and they walked through the halls. They knew that Finn could feel them coming, in the same way they knew he would be in his room.
Riley rapped on the door lightly, and it swung open, revealing Ezra, those beautiful dark curls of his hair catching in the candlelight. His face broke out into a warm, delightful smile.
Riley all but fell into his embrace, resting their head on his shoulder.
Riley hadn’t realized how desperately they missed human contact. Being a Hunter they travelled from place to place, killing creatures and moving on. There was no time to form connections, like they had on Lunaris.
Riley didn’t realize how starved they were for human touch until, the first time Ezra had hugged them, and they almost started crying.
At first they had felt a little needy, but Finn and Ezra never seemed to mind.
Ezra ran his fingers through their hair, taking them by the hand where Finn was waiting on the bed. Finn pulled them in for a hug, kissing them gently on the forehead.
“How are you feeling?” Ezra asked, placing a hand on their thigh.
“Tired,” Riley admitted, “It was a long day.”
Ezra climbed into bed, and Finn patted the spot in between them. Riley gladly went, pressing up against the two of them. They could feel Finn’s cold feet against their legs, and Ezra’s head on their shoulder, his curly hair brushing against their neck.
Riley closed their eyes, letting out a deep breath they hadn’t realized they were holding.
This is what safety felt like. What home felt like. What permanence felt like.
They put their head on Finn’s chest, and all the worries in the world seemed to disappear.
Chapter 13: Umbrella (August)
Hunter Charlie - (They/Them)
“Enjoying the nice weather we’re having?”
Charlie turned around to see August there, holding an umbrella.
The rain had been coming down steadily for a bit as Charlie patrolled the area.
A rumble of thunder could be heard in the distance.
“I’m sure you love these rainy days,” Charlie said with a side grin.
August smiled, raising a dark brow, “I must admit I do. Unfortunately, it seems you don’t share my affection for this weather.”
They appraised the Hunter, seeing how absolutely soaked they had gotten.
“You’re the one who assigned my outdoors,” Charlie pointed out.
August sighed, “I did. That’s why I’m out here.”
Charlie looked at them curiously.
“I thought once the rain started you’d come storming back in the headquarters, but you…didn’t.” August paused, “So you’re out here, soaked to the bone and it’s my fault. I came to offer my apology and my umbrella.”
They help it up a little higher so they could both fit underneath. Charlie went gladly, and couldn’t help their cheeks grow warm in being in such close proximity to the Enforcer.
“Thank you, August.” Charlie told them softly.
August went a little pink, and cleared their throat, “I’ll take you to the Wolf, you must have some clean, dry clothes there.”
Charlie nodded, and then a wicked grin crossed their face.
“Or, we could go somewhere else…” they offered.
August sighed, but it was accompanied by their lip twitching upwards into a smile.
“I have a lot of work left to do today,” they said as the pair walked towards the tavern.
“And yet you found the time to go rescue me from the rain?” Charlie teased.
August shot them a look that was incredibly fond.
“I’ll always find time for you.”
They stood, shielded by the umbrella as the rain continued to pour.
Chapter 14: Warmth (Finn and Ezra)
Hunter Riley - (They/Them)
Riley was curled up with Finn and Ezra down in the catacombs, on the large bed. Finn was relaxing in the middle, his iron fingers running through Ezra’s curled hair. The Witch was pressed up against his shoulder and neck.
Riley had their head lying on Finn’s cold chest, not minding that his touch was so freezing. In truth it was comforting.
Riley looked up at the vampire and he gave them a lazy, content smile. His fangs showed off nicely, and Riley reached up and poked one of them. Finn chuckled, the sound so endearing.
Riley reaches out their other hand to intertwine fingers with Ezra, his body so impossibly warm, and they felt such a sense of comfort in the point of contact.
“You’re so…warm,” Finn said suddenly, and twin gazes of Riley and Ezra met him.
His golden eyes were so bright in the dim lighting, and his smile was so genuine and soft.
“I’ve missed that warmth that only comes from humans,” his voice had a soft rasp to it, “It means so much to have that again.”
Riley pulled in closer, wrapping their foot around his legs, reaching up for his hair, feeling the short undercut beneath their fingers.
Ezra grinned, his smile so bright. He placed a hand on Finn’s cheek, thumb brushing just below his lips. Finn kissed it gently.
Finn adjusted so he had his arm around Riley, pulling them closer in as they snuggled up.
Warmth radiated off Ezra and Riley, knowing they were keeping their vampire warm.
Finn had one hand pressed against their back, the other running through Riley’s hair. He had them pinned, and Riley was all too willing to go limp in his grasp.
Finn grinned, showing off those fangs that glinted in the light. His fingers twisted in Riley’s hair, pulling their head to the side, leaving an exposed throat.
His eyes traced the bare expanse of their neck, and he lowered his head, fangs still sharp.
Right as contact was made, he pressed the most gentle kiss along Riley’s neck, and it sent shivers and chills racing up and down their spine.
Riley made a sputtery gasping sound, looking up at the Vampire who had that trademark grin.
“What? Expecting something else?” He teased.
They kissed, and despite his lack of body warmth, that kiss was fiery.
Chapter 15: Stay Here (August)
Hunter Charlie - (They/Them)
Charlie opened up their eyes, blinking a few times as they stretched. The bed was so comfortable, so unlike their bed at The Wolf. Charlie rolled over, looking over and seeing August sitting up in bed next to them. They had a book in hand, flipping through the pages. Early morning light backlit the curtains in their bedroom.
“Good morning,” Charlie said, their voice slightly muffled into a pillow.
“G’morning,” August said, pushing back a stray curl that fell in Charlie’s face.
“Do we have to go in to work soon?” Charlie asked, their face smushed into the pillow.
“We’ve got a little time,” August told them, “You woke up early, for once.”
Charlie crinkled their face up, shooting them a look, but August was just smiling. Charlie pulled themselves up so they were sitting next to them, placing their head on their shoulder.
Charlie kissed them right along their jawline, loving the way a delightful pink coloured August’s cheeks.
Charlie fiddled with a raven lock of August’s hair, as it hung loose, spilling down their back. It was such a different sight than it being pulled up.
“Your hair is so beautiful,” Charlie told them, smiling.
August looked down, their long eyelashes brushing against cheeks.
Charlie ran their fingers through it, so silky and soft. August looked at them, and Charlie stopped.
“Is that okay if I do that?” They asked.
August nodded, a light blush adding colour to their cheeks, “It feels nice,” they admitted.
Charlie ran their fingers through their hair, loving the way it felt, and they ran their fingers against August’s scalp, and pulled their hair, braiding parts of it. August continued reading, but they were fighting up the smile as Charlie was all but draped over them, playing with their hair.
“Can I ask for the day off today, General? I don’t ever want to get up,” Charlie asked, running their hand against their jaw,
August melted into their touch, “I don’t want to either.”
“That works out well then, let’s just stay here.”
Chapter 16: Strays (Ezra)
Hunter Riley - (They/Them)
“Ezra, you’re amazing, you know that right?”
Ezra looked up, seeing his Hunter watching him from across the table, nursing a cup of tea in their hands.
Ezra turned pink, “That’s…very nice of you to say.”
“I mean it,” said Riley, “You’re so incredible.”
Ezra laughed, “I think you just like seeing me blush.”
“Maybe,” Riley said with a grin, taking another sip of tea, “But you are. You take in these…strays. The cat that follows you around, you scoop her up and give her a home. You open your heart and hearth to a wayward wolf, to a lost demon. So willing to love and forgive and look for the best in everyone.”
Riley smiled, making eye contact, “You take in the lonely Vampire and give him everything you have. The minute I came to Lunaris, you took me and…and gave me a home.”
They took a long sip of tea, “You take these strays, these misfits, and give them a home, a family. Ezra you’re…you just amaze me.”
Ezra had a lot of expressions moving across his face, and it settled on a smile.
“Riley, I…” he started, but they cut him off.
“I guess want I want to say is thank you. Thank you for giving me this home and this family. It’s been so lonely all of these years as a Hunter, but I’m so incredibly grateful to have to and Finn, and all of our other friends in my life, and it’s because of you.” Riley smiled, “I love you.”
Ezra reaches across the table to take their hand, “I love you too. That’s meant a lot to hear you say. Thank you.”
Riley squeezed his hand and took another sip.
Staring into his emerald toned eyes, Riley knew that here was their home.
Chapter 17: A Dream (Piper)
Hunter Mariah - (She/Her)
Piper and Mariah were sitting at a table in the Wolf. It was late, but there were still people sitting and drinking, murmured conversations passing through the tavern.
It had been a long day, so Mariah was happy to just be with Piper. She took a drink, the whiskey burning on the way down.
Piper flashed her a grin when she caught her staring, her eyes sparkling in the dim light of the tavern. Mariah really only had eyes for her.
“You’re so pretty,” Mariah said in a rush of words.
Piper laughed, “Ah, shut up.”
“You are!” Mariah said with a grin, “You’re so beautiful.”
Piper rolled her eyes, taking a drink, but she was smiling.
Mariah drummed her hands on the table, “One day, I’m going to take you to this lighthouse I found years ago. When the moon rises over the water, it’s the most beautiful place I’ve seen. It reminds me of—”
“If you say ‘my eyes’…” Piper warned with a laugh.
“It does remind me of them though!” Mariah protested.
Piper snorted, giving her a poke from across the table, “You’re such a sap.”
“What, because I want to take you somewhere beautiful?” Mariah asked.
Piper shook her head, but she was smiling, “Yes.”
The dream of travelling there was just that, a dream. At least as long as they were station in Lunaris, tied down to their jobs.
But Mariah had to dream.
Chapter 18: Cooking (Finn/Ezra)
Hunter Riley - (They/Them)
“Could you pass me that?”
Ezra gestured to a spoon that was just out of reach, and Riley grabbed it, passing it over.
They were in his kitchen in the back room of his shop, Ezra cooking a meal, and Riley trying to help him best they could.
They were…okay at cooking, better than Finn at least. The vampire was content sitting back and watching from the table.
Riley was chopping up chunks of chicken for the dish, feeling a strange comfort with a knife because they were used to weaponry.
It was a very different task they had at hand though.
They were struggling a bit, their grip unwieldy, so Ezra came up up behind them, placing his hands around their waist, making Riley smile.
“Can I show you?” He asked.
Riley nodded, and Ezra placed his hands over theirs, so soft and warm, showing them the right technique.
When Riley got it, Ezra rewarded them with a kiss on the cheek, as he went back to measuring out some of the spices and talking with Finn, who was shamelessly flirting.
Riley finished up with the chicken, putting in it a pot that they put over the fire.
Cleaning their hands, they went over to the table, leaning against it.
“I feel bad that you can’t eat anymore,” Riley admitted.
Finn shrugged, taking their hand, “It’s been a long time, I used to miss it but I don’t really anymore.”
He brought their hand over to his mouth, flipping it so he had unrestricted access to their wrist.
“Besides…I think I’ll have a meal later tonight,” he flashed a fanged grin, looking up at them as he pressed a kiss right where their veins gathered along their wrist, pumping blood they knew Finn could hear.
Riley bit their lip, their cheeks heating up as Finn grinned at them, and gave them a wink.
“Is that a promise?” Riley asked, quickly finding their voice again.
“You know it,” Finn told them.
Riley regained use of their hand when Finn let go, and they moved back to the counter, where they followed Ezra’s instructions on peeling some of the vegetables.
After doing that, Riley checked on the chicken that was cooking, poking around to make sure everything was being cooked through. It seemed just about done, so they carefully grabbed the pot to put back on the counter, but as they did so, their finger touched the hot metal of the pot, and they yelped, drawing their hand back. Luckily, the pot was already on the counter, so they didn’t drop it.
Riley winced, the burn not terrible but it really hurt in the moment. Ezra had dropped what he was doing at the first cry, and rushed over to take a look.
He took their hand in his own, looking at the burn mark. It was pretty small, and nothing compared to other injuries they had gotten in the past, so they felt almost embarrassed as his fingers started to glow with magic, healing the burn.
Riley blushed, “Thank you.”
Ezra brought their finger up to where the burn was and kissed so impossibly lightly.
Riley met his eyes, and they were very tempted to forgo the cooking attempts altogether, because they were starting to have some other activities in mind.
But they were expecting Alkar and Omen over, so Riley just smiled at their Witch, and leaned forward to kiss him on the cheek.
The rest of the cooking went smoothly, no more burns or accidents. Riley was all too willing to just listen and follow along to Ezra’s instructions, and was having a fun time doing so.
Eventually, they got everything together, and Riley tried part of it.
“Ezra, this is delicious,” they said, grinning at him.
“It’s because I had such a good helper,” he said with a wink.
Riley laughed, finishing off the taster portion, and sat down at the table across from Finn, taking his hand.
They were beaming, feeling just…so happy.
Wow, were they ever in love.
Riley laughed to themselves, and Finn squeezed their hand.
“What is it?” He asked.
“Just…I’ve never been in love like this before. It’s really nice,” Riley admitted with a smile.
His smile was so incredibly warm as he kissed the back of their hand.
Ezra came over, serving a plate to Riley, his hand trailing along their arm as he went to check the front of the shop for Omen and Alkar.
And Riley was happy.
Chapter 19: Need (Ezra)
Hunter Riley - (They/Them)
Riley stood in front of the backdoor of Ezra’s shop, wringing their hands as they stood out in the snow. The winter chill was strong that night, and they pulled their coat tighter around themselves.
They had planned on going back to their room at the Wolf, they really had, but when they got there and they just felt so…alone.
The stress of knowing they would have to face the Lieutenant-General was almost killing them. It was the waiting, the unsureness, the truth that was in their heart was a burden to bear.
What scared them the most was that they were unsure what they would do when they saw him again.
So although they tried to get some sleep, their thoughts wouldn’t settle, so they craved the company of those they cared for most in this town.
The icy wind picked up, and Riley winced as it cut into their cheeks. Knowing their options were to freeze to death or to knock, they finally chose the latter.
They didn’t even know if Ezra would be awake at this hour, he might be asleep and would never hear them knocking.
But after a few moments of waiting, the door unlatched and Ezra was standing in the doorway, face full of concern.
“Sorry, I know it’s late…” Riley started, but Ezra took their hand.
“Come inside,” he said, tugging on their hand gently and Riley went all too willingly.
The warmth of the shop and of the Witch himself washed over them, and Ezra brushed snowflakes from their hair.
“You must be freezing,” he said, cupping their face in his hand.
Riley melted into his touch, their eyelashes fluttering closed.
“I’m warmer now,” they said, wrapping an arm around his waist, pulling him closer.
They opened their eyes, finding solace in Ezra’s beautiful green ones. He took their chin, tilting it up, and they were so close, they could feel his warm breath on their skin.
Riley kissed him, getting lost in the sensation as he wrapped his arms around their lower back, and they ran their fingers through his hair. Their eyes shut, they let themselves be lost in the kiss, everything else melting away.
But the flicker of anxiety shot through them, and they drew back, remembering why they were here.
“Is everything alright?” Ezra asked, likely able to see the worry on Riley’s face.
“I…I just had to see you, I—” their voice cracked as the first few tears started brimming in their eyes.
Ezra saw this, and pulled them into an embrace, Riley burying their face into his shoulder. They let out a few sobs, clutching at the fabric of his shirt.
They pulled up for air, tears still streaming down their cheeks. Ezra brushed them away, looking at them with such fondness it almost took their breath away.
“I just needed to see you and Finn,” Riley said, their voice cracking with emotion.
He ran his fingers through their hair and they let out a breathless sigh.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Ezra asked, intertwining their fingers.
“I’m just so…stressed. I don’t know what’s going to happen and I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Riley admitted, “But I can hardly stand it. Every night I dream about that…that thing we killed. But when I look at it, I can see the face of the Hunter it once was. I wanted to go back to the Wolf, I tried to, but I just…I couldn’t stand being alone again. I’m sorry, I know this is a lot to put on you, but-”
“Riley, it’s alright,” Ezra promised, “I’m sorry this burden is being placed on you. Whatever Finn or I can do to help, we will.”
Riley leaned forwards, so their foreheads were touching. They glanced at his lips, and wanted nothing more than to kiss him again, to make the world disappear again.
“This will help,” whispered Riley, and kissed him again.
One hand was grabbing onto his hair, the other on his back pressing him closer. Ezra had his arms wrapped around their neck, as they kissed again, and again, and again.
They moved, thinking of nothing else. They pressed Ezra against the wall, each kiss more desperate, more needy, with more fervour.
Barely stopping to breathe, they needed him in this moment more than they needed air.
Chapter 20: Chasing Away a Chill (Alkar/Omen)
Hunter Avery (They/Them)
“I’m freezing, c’mere,” Avery beckoned.
It was a chilly winter night, and Alkar’s cave wasn’t exactly someplace warm. Avery had been cold all evening, the chill sunk deep into their bones.
Lucky for them, their partners were both incredibly warm.
Avery curled up in bed, running their fingers lazily through Alkar’s hair, the other arm wrapped around Omen’s shoulders.
Their demon had his hand resting on their chest, his head nestled into their shoulder, his tail twitching back and forth, occasionally rubbing against their leg.
“Are you warmer yet?” Omen asked.
Avery grinned, “Hold me a little longer just to be sure.”
Avery stroked a finger along Omen’s jawline, and drew his chin to face them, before kissing him softly.
They could feel Alkar’s tail against their leg, and caught Alkar looking up at them before quickly averting eye contact. Avery poked his cheek until he turned around again and they laughed, kissing him.
“Enjoying the view?” They teased.
“Maybe,” he said, trying for nonchalance.
“I know I am,” Avery told him, stroking his wolf ear as he turned a little pink.
Heat radiated off both demon and Lycan, chasing away the chill.
Chapter 21: Needed Comfort (Finn and Ezra)
Riley - They/Them
Riley found themselves at Finn’s doorway, their coat still pulled tightly around them.
They looked at their two lovers, Finn on his bed, and Ezra who had gotten up to let them in.
Riley scuffed a foot on the ground, looking down, “I’ve uh…” they paused, clearing their throat, “I’ve had kind of a rough day, and I just… I think I need some…affection?”
Ezra smiled at them, so warm that Riley felt themselves smile as he drew them into his arms. He ran his fingers through their hair, slipping it out of their usual pony-tail. Riley rested their head on his shoulder, clasping their hands together around his back as his other hand pressed against the small of their back.
He lead them over to the bed, guiding them down so they were in between both Finn and him. Finn pulled them against his chest, wrapping his arms around their waist, as Riley leaned their head back, nestled into where his neck was.
Ezra took their face in his hands, and kissed them softly. On the lips, cheek, and forehead. He rested their foreheads together, and Riley let a shaky exhale.
“Thank you for being here,” Riley told them, their voice a little quiet.
Finn pressed a kiss to their cheek, holding them tighter.
“Wouldn’t be anywhere else,” he promised.
Riley’s eyes fluttered shut in contentment, and all their worries and stress melted away.