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Under Moonlit Mercy

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.oOo.

 

He had to run...

 

Bucky wasn't sure how far his legs would take him. How far they had taken him. Burning pain in them already too much, but he could hear the voices behind him.

 

He couldn't let them catch him...

 

He couldn't look back, if he tripped he got back up as fast as he could. Cuts, bruises, a few scrapes were far better than what they would do to him. A branch cracking under his bare feet, dead leaves crunching as he kept running. Further and further up, the colder it got. It wouldn't matter.

 

He had to get away...

 

The cold numbed the pain. Running until he felt snow on his feet, until he couldn't hear them, until he—.

 

Hit a fucking wall? And fell stumbling back on his ass. He gave a slight groan.

 

“Ow...”

 

He heard a growl.

 

Looking up, he saw golden eyes staring back at him on an unfriendly bearded face.

 

'He'll protect you.'

 

And then he heard them again.

 

He quickly got up, running to hide, barely taking in his surroundings before he'd taken refuge in this stranger's territory. Anything he could dish out after the fact couldn't be worse than what they would have done to Bucky. And if it came down to it... no matter how his legs protested, he'd keep running...

 

He paused to stitch up his wounds with what little salve he had, listening... his magic was gone for the moment, barely residue left to influence nature...

 

He heard them... his heartbeat still too quick, trying to calm down.

 

You there... have you seen a boy run through here?”

 

Define 'boy'.”

 

... A young man with brown hair and pale skin, he'd be roughly the height of your shoulders.... likely barefoot and bleeding. He's a thief and crimina—.”

 

No.”

 

The man stayed quiet a moment but Bucky could hear the annoyed huff.

 

Are you the owner of this estate?”

 

Yes. And you're trespassing. Leave.”

 

I don't think you understand the—.”

 

Leave.

 

More silence...

 

Bucky was sure he'd hear fighting next but... instead, he simply heard the man shift, maybe sizing up the stranger as he told his men to head out. They probably wouldn't be going far... It got quiet... All he would need was the full moon to replenish his magic... After a while, he heard footsteps. Further hiding in the foliage of the bush but peaking out through the spaces, trying to calm his breath...

 

He wasn't seeing the—.

 

He couldn't help gasping as he was dragged out of the rose bush, Bucky may have been able to avoid the thorns but the stranger didn't seem to have any care for how they raked his skin. This time, blue eyes seeming to stare at him with a furrowed brow before they widened. And he started pulling Bucky along.

 

'He smells like an animal in rut.'

 

“You need to leave.”

 

“No wait! Please! I—.”

 

“It's not safe for you here.”

 

It's not safe for me out there! Please!

 

He paused, staying quiet a moment.

 

“You'll have better chances out there.”

 

“N-no! You don't understand, if they catch me—.”

 

'Offer him something.'

 

Bucky squeezed his eyes tight, he'd seemed to stop dragging him, waiting for an answer. Every time... those damn sprites... the whispers... but he couldn't deny that they'd helped him thus far... He just needed one full moon...

 

“I just need one night...”

 

“Take any other night... tonight's not one I can offer...”

 

“W-wait—please!

 

Bucky hesitated.

 

I can offer myself! I—... I don't have anything else to give but... I—... I can...”

 

He seemed to stop again, shock on his face before he turned to Bucky once more with a raised brow.

 

“Is that really what you'd want?”

 

No... but he... Anything was better than what they'd do to him... Bucky couldn't help feeling small under that gaze, blue eyes glancing over him in the tattered clothes he'd stolen...

 

“Why were you running from them?”

 

The tears started welling before Bucky could fight it, then they both heard it.

 

“Go inside, wait for me.”

 

Bucky ran at the chance, watching from the windows as he saw the men outside surrounding him, there were less this time but... if he... if they killed him, nothing would matter. He'd be a sitting duck... but he could still bide his time. He quickly locked the door, still watching.

 

'Don't look!'

 

He closed his eyes tight. Trying to hold in the souring feeling in his gut.

 

He heard it. The gunshots and then screaming. Fighting. Running. Sickening cracks and bones crunching...

 

He held his breath.

 

Silence...

 

After a moment, opening his eyes...

 

The man, the owner of this place... he was still outside, chopping wood. Now alone... There was blood on the ground... in the snow... but not much, on him, and his clothes were torn in a few spots. Whatever he'd done to get them to leave... He saw him move a hand over his side and then pull away with red... he must have gotten shot. Then he saw him break a piece of wood with his bare hands. Turning to the window, another flash of gold in his eyes that made Bucky back away.

 

What... happened?

 

'You should clean yourself.'

 

'You're dirty.'

 

He took a breath at the whispers... he still didn't know what the stranger expected but he'd... if he could stall until the full moon... He glanced at the lock on the door... he'd make due...

 

.oOo.

 

Steve took a breath calming himself down... he'd grown used to being alone...

 

I can offer myself!”

 

That kid... he was desperate...

 

The fight had settled Steve's blood a bit and his—... but he'd still have to mark him to make sure he'd be safe. He'd already wasted enough hours. The sun was setting. And as soon as it was gone and the moon rose...

 

He took another breath, staring at the blood spilled and then the woodpile. Now or never...

 

If he waited long enough, that kid would meet the same fate. He could smell his blood, there was... something about it... even as he could hear him washing it away, scent the fear still on him. He picked up some wood for the fireplace, held on one side under his arm as he walked to the door. His eyes narrowed when he found it locked. He let out a soft sigh, listening to small footsteps in the house. Padded. He must have found some slippers or socks.

 

He forced it open.

 

He'd worry about replacing it later, he always had to anyway. Though he figured, the look of surprise on the kid should have been expected. He stood there shocked, staring at Steve. He'd found some clothes, dried himself off. Towel over his shoulders for his wet hair, a simpler white tunic, one of the older fashioned ones long enough to cover him without pants, like a short nightgown, and socks. He certainly took liberties as a guest...

 

Steve raised a brow. The kid seemed nervous but Steve figured his own state wasn't exactly... easy to understand. There were tears in and blood on his clothes, what had otherwise been clean and well managed. The shirt he had was missing a few buttons from being torn open, and left in that state. And of course, there was still the bullet in his side. And his shoes were...

 

“Y-your lip...”

 

'He's not hungry anymore...'

 

Steve rubbed his free thumb along his lower lip quickly. Blood. It wasn't his own but he figured he should have smelled that, licking it to wipe it clean before taking the wood to start up the fireplace in his own bedroom. The boy didn't stray far though he seemed like he wanted to, Steve didn't blame him as he poked the flames.

 

“Guessing you learned your way around this place, considering... get to know it well enough?”

 

“... There's no one else here... I didn't want to dirty anything...”

 

'That's not right.'

 

Bucky shut his eyes a moment, willing the voice to go away.

 

“I live alone...what's your name?”

 

'It's not safe for others...'

 

He stayed quiet for a moment, if he was scared, his scent didn't show it.

 

“... James...”

 

“Grant.”

 

Steve got up, glancing over at James. He was staring at the wound now.

 

“You're...”

 

Steve didn't say anything, ushering him to the bed, setting the towel aside to have him sitting against the headboard in the very center. And it was clear James was frightened by his reaction. Steve paused, looking him over and raising a brow.

 

“Do you plan on going back on what you said?”

 

“N-no! No... I just... I didn't think... weren't you planning on... on... eating maybe?”

 

“I'm full... you?”

 

“I-I'm not hungry...”

 

Bucky almost cursed himself. It was the wrong thing to say if he'd wanted to bide his time, but it was the first thing that slipped... and the truth. Grant gave a soft hum in response, pulling away from the bed and removing his shirt. Bucky bit his lip trying to think.

 

“... But... isn't it early... I thought you might wait... until... until the moon rose...”

 

“It's a full moon...”

 

“Y-yes...”

 

“I've never known her to give mercy... call it superstition... or loneliness.”

 

'He has a secret.'

 

'But you should trust him.'

 

Bucky could feel his heart beating faster as he watched the man undress. He thought he'd have more time... It was only the one wound. Watching him take the bullet out, clean and dress it. Every other part of him was unmarked... Strong... clear cut muscle practically sculpted on him. And he could see it now, his shoes were nearly destroyed. He wasn't sure what had held them together... And without so much as a bruise in sight... it was... unnerving...

 

“What... what did you do to them?”

 

“I scared them off. They won't come back.”

 

'They can never come back.'

 

“H—... how do you know that?”

 

“They won't... at least... not that group.”

 

He cleaned himself briefly with a washcloth. And it was clear he wasn't... shy... either. Bucky couldn't help holding his breath when Grant had taken off his pants. Near panicking when he sat down close to him, moving himself to loom over Bucky.

 

'Calm. He won't hurt you.'

 

'Only if you let him do this.'

 

He couldn't help it under that gaze, no matter what the whispers told him, because of what they were telling him. He let his legs be spread despite himself. This wasn't what he had wanted... but...

 

Steve lifted the tunic slightly. James wasn't wearing underwear, he hadn't had much to begin with so it wasn't surprising... but he could see him in full. A young man like any others, his cock laying soft over a decent pair of balls. Not very big by comparison... but maybe that wasn't really fair... Except...

 

Steve's brows furrowed. He was hairless, Steve very much wasn't... even less so than before... and...

 

“How old are you?”

 

'He's going to find it...'

 

“... 19... I...”

 

Bucky cut himself off when Grant spread his legs further and ran his fingers over the seam on his perineum. It was puffier and softer than normal. Hiding something that most males wouldn't have. But Bucky wasn't like most males... not human ones anyway... He almost panicked when he felt it spread.

 

'Don't fight him!'

 

'He needs to mark you.'

 

'He can't protect you without his mark!'

 

Steve glanced at the folds hidden in the spread seam... using his thumbs to spread it further. Now he knew why this had been offered. A true hermaphrodite...a small clit angled on the secret cunt and slick already wetting the folds. Maybe an involuntary response... He wasn't human and maybe that's why his scent was off, but... Steve checked him with two fingers, dipping all the way in. Hearing the muffled sound, James trying to keep in his voice. Pulling them back out and staring at the string of slick that had come with them, connected to the tips of his fingers.

 

He used it to start stroking his own penis to full hardness. The scent already affecting him. The dusk... He used his other hand to play with James' cock, the soft skin twitching, tensing, sensitive to the sensations. His thumb dipping to massage the hidden clit while his fingers massaged James' sac and brought him to hardness as well. Once he was, moving his hand to stroke James with his own slick, slow to start, giving a squeeze as he paused... then rapidly. Admittedly... a much faster reaction than he was expecting as he ended up dirtying the tunic fairly quickly. A more watery, slightly foggy cum.

 

“Have you ever done this before?”

 

James shook his head. He was trembling. Barely able to relax. Steve sighed. Leaning forward and pulling his hands away from his mouth to kiss him, just to see if it would calm him down. The hand that had been on Steve's own dick moving his fingers back into James' pussy, thumb massaging his clit for the same effect while his fingers thrusted evenly. Not 2 minutes later, the same reaction, a fluttering sensation around his fingers. He was very sensitive...

 

Maybe it had something to do with what he was... or simply him being overwhelmed in his inexperience, but it managed to get him to relax a bit and Steve figured that was enough with the time he had left.

 

He pulled James down a bit, thighs over his own, moving his dick along those slick folds to pick up some of the fluid. Nudging at the small hole to get him somewhat used to the feeling, spreading the seam and folds with his cock head. James was looking down, holding his breath again and grasping the pillow behind him tightly. The flush on his cheeks should have been criminal, but maybe what Steve was doing to him was worse. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't doing this for selfish reasons. And he knew that damn well. He wasn't the man the world had thought he was...

 

Not anymore...

 

He started pushing, putting pressure on the same spot and watching James wince. He got the tip in and heard him stifle a whimper, tensing up. Quickly leaning in to have him relax with another kiss, slipping his tongue in James' mouth at the first opportunity. Pushing forward slowly as he did, feeling the slight resistance and pulling back out. He kept managing, slowly, to adjust James given the disparity between them. He knew this was likely to hurt him but he didn't have the luxury of time to avoid it. Nor the self restraint to hold himself back from the slick squeeze around his cock. And when he felt the sharper resistance and snap like tear of flesh around him, slipping in suddenly much easier, feeling the whimper in the kiss, he knew he had. Immediately scenting the blood and barely able to stop himself.

 

He didn't wait nearly long enough for him before pulling those legs over his shoulders, a growl escaping him as he started pushing deep and pulling back to the tip in firm, even thrusts. Maybe too much for the kid given the fidgeting. This probably wasn't how he pictured his day going. Or losing his virginity. But it was better he face this bit of pain than—...

 

He slowed his pace to let him catch his breath. The dim light of the sunset barely peeking in through stained glass windows and sheer curtains, the light of the fire flicking along with it. He watched him. James' face changing, the furrowed worry in his brow and his chest heaving from catching his breath after trying to hold it in. The gasps interrupting him at each thrust. He pushed forward, firmer thrusts, deeper, his own breaths getting heavier before he swallowed up James' next gasp, mouths sealed together. Pulling back just enough to take the tunic off of James. A hand running through still wet hair. Still thrusting as he pulled the socks off similarly. James' toes curling as Steve fucked him through the same fluttering sensations.

 

He wondered if James had even fully understood the implications, what would happen when he... if he was taking advantage of the younger male.

 

He could feel his own blood heating, like an itch in his veins, under his skin. Each fine hair standing on edge. Every muscle tensing up.

 

He pushed forward again, another growl, spreading James' legs on either side of him, fucking him much harder and faster. Losing track of time in his own selfish chase, hoping to beat the rising moon. Ignoring what he gave James and how it was affecting him. The younger man's cock easily falling over that edge a second time once it managed to get hard again. The squeeze and continuous clench on Steve's cock repeating in smaller intervals against James' control.

 

The moment he found that edge, pushing to get himself over it, one pulse and he pulled out. Using his hand for those last few thrusts, ensuring he marked James' skin in full. Heated ribbons of thick, bright white cum painting James' flat stomach. The kid seemed shocked. Shuddering at the leftover feeling. But Steve knew this game by now, the one his own body played. At least in this instance, it would work in his favor... He was far from done, and by the look on James' face, the slight fear... he knew it too. It was barely a moment, before Steve pushed back in.

 

And he wasn't any nicer. James seemed worried, scared even, but his body was pliant and soft for the taking. Steve slowed it down at the whimper, lifting just one of James' legs to get deeper and place him on his side. Teasing James' cock to full hardness again, a tight squeeze from tender touch keeping him just on the edge to see how long he might be able to hold it in. Not very long before he was squirming to escape it. Cute in a way.

 

Steve couldn't help leaning in for another kiss. James seemed to want to hide and Steve let him, letting him pull his leg down and forward, but lifting his hips to get deeper. Pushing harder for a long while before he felt the next build up. The swell in his cock just barely starting but still pulling out to mark his back in the same way. And still not done. Helping James onto his hands and knees as he could, sweat dripping, blood boiling, the light of the sun already nearly gone.

 

He couldn't help the growl or the feeling, but the urge to mate was strong enough. Pushing back in once again, feeling the swell at his base start to grow. His mark on the beautifully toned and lithe body in front of him. His mind already starting to leave him.

 

Bucky could barely breathe, Grant hadn't stopped. He was starting to wonder if he would. He knew what he'd offered, how he'd put himself in this situation, offered something he shouldn't have, but he hadn't expected—. He gave a gasp, hearing another growl. There was something that kept pushing inside of him. Something different. Odd. A node at the base of Grant's penis. Building, growing, making it harder for the man to pull out with each thrust, but it barely hindered him. It still hurt, but he couldn't fight the sensations over his body. Overwhelming, incendiary, strange, unlike anything he'd felt before.

 

He felt ashamed. He hadn't known pleasure would be among the feelings of offering his body to a stranger. He'd always been told this was precious, sacred. The spot reserved for the person he loved, that he would love when the time came...

 

But he knew that time was long passed.

 

And it wasn't worth protecting if he would die anyway. Not to him. He shuddered as another wave crashed over him. His pussy twitching, spasming, trying to pull the other male in. The tears rolled down his face, small hiccups escaped him. Still trying to hide his shame, barely keeping awake at this point. The sprites had gone quiet and it was his one solace in this mess, but he was still wondering if all of this would be worth it.

 

He tried to lift himself, to look back. He heard another growl. Something... felt different... The node was growing, heightening the pain as it forced itself in and out, as he felt the other male get closer, press him down. Still trying to gasp for breath without a single break. Even as he felt the moon rising, he couldn't fight this.

 

The last he saw was a hand changing. Sharp claws growing in as they ripped the blanket beside him. The swelling too much to take any more and too much to pull back out, shoved into the deepest point, his body clenching tight to keep it in.

 

He didn't feel the flood of heat in his lower belly.

 

He blacked out before he could.

 

.oOo.

Chapter Text

.oOo.

 

The light of the moon created a glow on his body, his wings growing back after they'd been brutally ripped away.

 

The Wolf had knotted him, marked him. Bucky under him as limp prey, but the scent was enough to keep him safe...

 

He faded... In and out...

 

In the night he saw a shadow under the locked door. Heard claws tapping on the floors in the hall. Screaming. Men running. Familiar voices causing rising dread in Bucky. Trespassers.

 

The fire had gone out but the light of the moon spilled through the windows. Shadows on the stained glass. One overtaking the other as a deep red fluid spilled down them.

 

Quiet.

 

Bucky slept...

 

.oOo.

 

Bucky woke up sore. Sticky and tacky from the night prior. An... odd feeling in his lower belly. And then he realized, a wet feeling still between his legs. He remembered... Grant pulling out twice, choosing to cum on him like some sort of animal marking its territory... he hadn't remembered...

 

It wasn't something that mattered anyway...

 

Clothes had been left on the bedside end table beside him. He turned to look at the windows... his heartbeat getting a bit stronger, faster.

 

There was no bright red spilled on the opposite side of them.

 

But there was a dark residue of stain blocking small pieces of light. He gave a shaky breath. If anything, he should clean himself. So he did. Taking a warm bath to soothe the soreness. His cuts from running were healed, the soreness in his legs. But new bruises and soreness had taken place on his hips, in a few more spots on his body.

 

There were 4 distinct cuts on one hip.

 

Bucky remembered Grant's hand placed there, but he didn't remember nails digging into his skin. His magic had come back, but... there was only one way to truly check.

 

He finished his bath, looking over his skin, feeling what the moon had given him back. And then his wings... He had to check them and he could feel his heart sinking when he did... They were still... far from healed. The frame of them had come back, and he'd known they felt different from before... they always seemed to, the mirror finish was... darker towards the edges... but there was no glow of magic, and there were gaping holes where the thinly veiled chitin should have been. He felt the tears welling... He couldn't...

 

He tried to swallow down the feeling. Glancing forward. The window was clean—.

 

'He's coming.'

 

Bucky could barely grab anything to cover himself or make his wings disappear by the time the door opened. A flush quickly coloring his cheeks. Grant paused, glancing over him. Something near... hollow in his eyes, the light of them dim. For what reason, Bucky couldn't tell.

 

“There's breakfast in the dining room... for when you're ready. Did you...?”

 

Bucky gave a hesitant nod. He'd explored enough when he'd had time alone in this... castle. Grant gave a short nod in return before leaving. It took a moment, but Bucky figured he was expected to eat at this point. He was a guest in someone else's home, though he wasn't quite sure what constituted this dark and lonely place as anyone's home...He took another breath, his hand running over the... tear in the blanket... swallowing the feeling as he put on the clothes. He supposed he should be grateful...

 

Whatever this was... it was still far better than where he'd been...

 

.oOo.

 

Breakfast was quiet.

 

Enough so to hear the clack of fine silverware against porcelain. Even sitting all the way across from him at that table. He'd set up a portion of foods at the center and told Bucky to pick what he liked and sit down. Breads, cheeses, fruits... diced ham in a large portion of scrambled eggs. Simple oatmeal. Sugar on the side to add. Coffee or tea, cream. Milk. Fresh orange juice.

 

Rather a lot to prepare considering he was alone...

 

And another thing... it all seemed strangely... fresh. Like he wasn't too used to having food or maybe guests? Like he'd gone into the town specifically to get it...

 

Not that Bucky wouldn't be thankful if he had, just... He took a breath, eating more. Quietly staring down at the spoon for a moment. It wasn't... typical. In fact, for an estate so grand, it wasn't silver at all.

 

“It's glass.”

 

Bucky looked up. Despite the distance, it was quiet enough to hear Grant clearly.

 

“The utensils, they're glass. It seemed the least pretentious of what this place offered, part of the inheritance.... They... didn't have regular silverware.”

 

“Oh...”

 

That made sense...

 

Grant had finished first and waited patiently for Bucky to do the same, and when Bucky had finished, asked him if he was going to eat anymore. Bucky shook his head, Grant calmly took his plate to clean up. Coming back to put the food away, though there wasn't much left. There had only been a bit of oatmeal to begin with and certainly not any eggs left which had surprised Bucky. Though he figured with the amount of muscle on the man, doing everything alone... he must be getting all that protein from somewhere.

 

Once clean up was done, he came back with something for Bucky.

 

A backpack...

 

Bucky furrowed his brows, a different sort of worry and fear creeping up on him. Confirmed by Grant's next words.

 

“I've put together some supplies for you. Clothes, basic necessities and survival essentials, a canteen, some dry food. It should help you—.”

 

“You mean to send me back out there? W-what about those men? What about—.”

 

“They're all gone.”

'They're all gone...'

 

Bucky's eyes widened. The sprites having said it at the same time likely meant something had happened... Bucky took a breath, trying to blink away the tears welling. It should have been a good thing... but he couldn't stop feeling hurt.

 

“So what... you just fuck me and kick me out?”

 

Steve didn't react for a moment. His face was calm, the sigh through his nose just as much. He pulled out the chair beside James, sitting down and setting the bag down.

 

“You said you only needed one night. I figured you wouldn't want to stay after I fucked you.”

 

“I—... I have nowhere else to go...”

 

“It'll be safer for you if you don't stay here...”

 

“P-please. I... I can make myself useful, I can help you... Or I can—...”

 

Bucky hesitated, fidgeting a moment. Did he really want to be a stranger's whore?

 

“I can... offer myself. In the same way...”

 

“You're scared...”

 

Bucky's eyes widened once more, tears welling as he forced himself to speak.

 

“There are more of them than just those that were in the woods. If I go into town, if I—...”

 

'They'll find you.'

 

He didn't need the reminder.

 

“I know I said I just needed the one night... and you've done far more than I should ask... but—.”

 

“What did they do to you...?”

 

The tears fell before he could stop them. He bit his lip as if to stop himself from answering, to stop from whimpering, but he—.

 

'Tell him...'

 

He swallowed the feeling.

 

“... They cut me open... I was awake... They took pieces of me and they...”

 

'Better to be a whore than an experiment...'

 

“Stop...”

 

Steve took a breath, watching James silently cry in front of him just at the idea of having to go back out there. He'd marked him so he could live another day and it had worked. Keeping him would be ill advised. But throwing him out would mean he'd delayed that fate and taken advantage of him just for him to have to deal with what might kill him anyway. And if he stayed too long...

 

He sighed. Standing before walking over and picking up James, carrying him to an empty guest room and setting him down on the bed.

“This place isn't easy to take care of... Take some time to find your bearings. I'll come back with something for you to do, okay?”

 

Bucky gave a hesitant nod and shaky breath before watching Grant leave. Curling in on himself once he was gone. Even if just one more day... anything was better than where he'd been...

 

.oOo.

 

The forest is always beautiful. But it's also big. And scary...

 

The Elders say that the moon will always guide them, but Bucky's not sure how long he's been lost here.

 

He got separated from her hours ago, and he hasn't been able to find his way home. Worse, he can hear the cracks of twigs, the rustles in the bushes. He knows something is following him. But he has no idea what it is.

 

The noises are enough to have him running again, but it follows him just as quickly. He loses track of how long but he eventually stops hearing the sound. He's in a clearing of the forest. The full moon shining down on him.

 

But he's still lost.

 

Trying to blink away the tears before—.

 

Something pounces on him. Growls escaping it and—.

 

He throws it back with magic. His wings making themselves known. It won't be much but if it can make him look slightly bigger, let whatever it is know what it's dealing with, it will—...

 

He's staring back at it. Him. Wide blue eyes fading from gold on a blond haired boy. He's thin, and small. He looks younger maybe. Staring at him in awe.

 

Whoa... you're a Faerie!”

 

Bucky can't help but blush staring back at the other boy. He wants to hide his wings but he knows it would be pointless now. Instead, he gets angry.

 

W-who are you? Why were you chasing me?”

 

He shrugs. Because of course he does. Bucky frowns.

 

I'm Steve. You smell nice! Your wings are pretty. Hey, what's your name?”

 

He gets closer and his eyes light up and shine like a puppy that's just made a new best friend and—oh... he practically is a puppy... Bucky calms down a bit when he notices the tail wagging. A Wolf pup then... but...

 

... Bucky... b-but you shouldn't pounce people like that, it scares them!”

 

Were you scared?”

 

N-no!”

 

It's asked innocently but Steve's smile to Bucky's reaction says a whole lot more.

 

Watcha doin' out here, Bucky?”

 

I—what about you? Shouldn't you be with your pack?”

 

That makes him stop. The smile suddenly fades as his expression falls.

 

... Got lost. But then I smelled you! Faeries know the forest better than anyone, right?”

 

They were supposed to... Bucky can't help how the tears start welling. He doesn't have sprites to help him. Not yet. He isn't sure he'll ever get them. But if he tells them she left him—.

 

Why are you crying, Bucky?”

 

“Why are you crying, Bucky...?”

 

.oOo.

 

Bucky woke with a start. And alone... again.

 

It took a moment for his heart rate to settle. For the tears to stop falling. He curled in on himself, waiting for the calm to finally come back... seeing the light through the space just passed his arms. He looked up, taking another breath at the sprite. Waving it away.

 

Manifestations of Faeries' magic... Of their spirits. Meant to guide. Aid. Provide clairvoyance of a sort. Voices meant to listen to nature and reflect pathways. To light them for the Faerie they belong to.

 

It was considered a blessing to have more than one. A sign of powerful magic.

 

Bucky had 3. At least. And he'd never been very fond of them.

 

'You can stay...'

 

'He'll keep you safe.'

 

'He's tending his roses.'

 

Bucky sighed, getting up to look out the window. Sure enough, he saw Grant. Tending to the rose garden... He hadn't taken the time to admire it before, but the roses were well cared for. The garden was beautiful... but there was almost something... melancholy about it.

 

He turned around to see more that Grant had left for him. Clothes. A good amount for someone who was staying. All well sized so they should fit him. Bucky figured he shouldn't have really been surprised with how... intimately familiar he'd let a stranger know his body. And he couldn't help his cheeks heating. But he was a bit surprised he'd paid enough attention. Wondering how he hadn't noticed the first time either.

 

He'd even left a few well off pairs of shoes... he'd left slips before. Now a few more. Boots as well. Fairly new, clean. Comfortable.

 

He took another breath, watching him in his garden. If anything. He should thank him. Ask him what he could do. He slipped on a pair of boots that could handle the snow. Put on a set of clothes and cloak, tied and warm. And went outside.

 

Grant noticed him immediately, but he didn't react. He was placing a powder of some kind, maybe a fertilizer, in the soil. It took Bucky a moment to speak.

 

“You left me sleeping...”

 

That made him pause.

 

“I could've helpe—.”

 

“No.”

 

He looked at Bucky. Almost wincing from the surprise on his face, but then clarifying.

 

“I—... you've already given more than I should have taken. You don't have to do anything else. You can stay.”

 

'He feels guilty...'

 

A moment of quiet passed before Grant continued what he was doing. Bucky walked over. The flowers were in bloom. Winter roses... in a gorgeous blood red. Deeper towards the outside of each bloom, bright in the center. A light frost dusting them... He leaned down, crouching next to him. Watching as he spread the powder...

 

“Bone meal... the soil here doesn't have much of what they need... I hunt. Try to use every part I can.”

 

When Bucky reached for it, Grant flinched, tensing up. Bucky was surprised but tried to push a bit more, if still softer than he was used to affirming.

 

“I can help.”

 

“You don't have to, you're my guest...”

 

“I'm very good with plants... and I want to help.”

 

He glanced at Bucky for a moment but measured out a small bowl for one of the bushes.

 

“I... I'm sorry, I'm not the best with... company.”

 

Bucky gave a short nod and took the bowl, helping him finish up with managing the flowers. Using a bit of his magic to coax more blooms, whisper and listen to the flowers when he wasn't looking. And they were very well cared for, that was true... they wanted for nothing... but held so much pain. As if they were weeping for someone... Bucky looked back over at him as he gathered his materials to put them away.

 

“They're beautiful...”

 

He seemed surprised a moment but responded.

 

“... Thank you... they're all I have...”

 

Bucky furrowed his brows a moment, glancing at the practical castle before Grant clarified.

 

“They're the only companions I have... alive out here...”

 

'He's lonely...'

 

Oh...

 

Bucky took a breath at the words. He wasn't sure what compelled him to say the next words. Barely a whisper but the other man heard them clear enough.

 

“Maybe not?”

 

That made him smile if barely, but it quickly faded. He didn't respond.

 

.oOo.

Chapter Text

.oOo.

 

The next few days were quiet.

 

Grant wasn't very talkative. Maybe not so surprising for someone who'd had limited contact with anyone for a very long time. But Bucky had caught him staring a few times.

 

He wasn't quite sure why.

 

True to his word, he didn't make Bucky do much. Treating him more like an honored guest than an unwarranted stranger, making sure he was fed, safe. Bucky might have been able to relax if it weren't for... what he'd run from. The sprites had reassured him but the lack of task also left him without much to do at all.

 

Grant let him help in the garden, and the times spent in quiet comfort doing so had been... enjoyable. But apart from that, there was almost nothing. Grant was always working on something, but he wasn't fond of Bucky wandering off either. Always going to find him when he noticed.

 

Bucky had asked if Grant had kept him for sex.

 

But his response was only a pained and guilty expression. Before telling Bucky that he'd only touch him if he truly wanted it, and he wasn't going to kick him out if he preferred not to. It was... considerate.

 

But also different from his first response. Which had almost been like sating a deep hunger. Desperately. For Bucky, it didn't matter as much as he thought it would. It didn't matter at all anymore, though he couldn't remember why... and he couldn't remember why it should.

 

Grant was peculiar, if nothing else. Sometimes he'd disappear. But when Bucky would go to find him or explore the mansion to stave his boredom, he'd reappear, almost upset. And there were certain areas he'd always steer Bucky away from.

 

He was also kind... but distant.

 

The sprites had told Bucky to trust him... but the fact that he hid so much made it rather difficult. It almost made Bucky want to misbehave just to get his attention. Though he supposed that could be blamed more on what he was... and the curious part of his nature.

 

Weeks passed. He ended up wandering off to explore often. Almost evading Grant this time.

 

And it was then, he came across it.

 

A door.

 

Completely made of iron.

 

Of all the things to have in such a grand estate, it seemed almost random. Out of place with decorum and luxury. Eerie.

 

But Bucky wasn't finding that he got the same chills he used to coming near the metal. He lost track of how long he stayed staring at it. And it only raised more questions.

 

Grant found him after some time.

 

“James. Where have you been? I've been looking all over for you, I—...”

 

Steve paused... noting the oddness of James staring at the door. He hadn't even reacted when Steve walked up to him.

 

“James...?”

 

“Why do you have this?”

 

Steve was almost caught off guard by the question, and a bit surprised.

 

“Have what? It's a room I keep locked.”

 

“The door... it's made of iron. It doesn't fit with the rest of the house.”

 

That surprised Steve a bit more. James didn't seem affected in the same ways one of them might be, but he didn't seem unaffected either. And not just in a curious way. Steve took a breath.

 

“Very astute. I put that in to keep one of my nosier visitors out. She hates it enough to not bother.”

 

“I thought you said you weren't used to company.”

 

“She doesn't come around often.”

 

“What's in there?”

 

Steve raised a brow at the question. James seemed a little... distressed, almost hostile but not quite.

 

“Something I like to keep private... sometimes people do that.”

 

The soft 'oh' that slipped from James said something else. But he had the decency to blush. Steve waited another moment, James' attention on him, before walking back to the latest task taking up his time.

 

Bucky followed.

 

He sat down, watching Grant for a while as he continued to work. Fixing something maybe. Polishing something? Bucky hadn't cared much for it. And it didn't take long for him to feel tired in all that boredom. He had been feeling tired lately...

 

.oOo.

 

Steve...

 

Steve looked up from what he was doing. His heart immediately racing. He certainly hadn't expected to hear his name from the lips of his guest. Not when he'd refrained giving him that particular one. But it didn't take him long to realize that James was sleeping...

 

And he calmed down with the realization. Maybe someone he'd known... Someone else with the same name. Steve was about to continue when he noticed him fidgeting. His breaths a bit harsher. Steve set down his tool and picked him up. James clung. He figured the kid would fall asleep eventually with how bored Steve normally left him.

 

Some host he'd been...

 

James had been patient, if a bit curious. And some part of Steve wanted to trust him, he just... He moved some of his hair out of his face.

 

Beautiful...

 

And it seemed like the longer he stayed, the more Steve noticed. But the longer James stayed... the more danger he'd be in. Weeks had gone by in quiet company. James made no indication that he planned to leave and the moon was already rounding its cycle, reaching its apex. Just a few more days... He spent so much time quietly paranoid and something had made him trust Steve, but he wasn't so sure he deserved it.

 

He sighed, carrying James back to the guest room and setting him down to rest. He knew there had to be something in this old place that he could give to James. Some old room he didn't use and wouldn't mind—.

 

Stevie...

 

Steve's eyes widened and his breath hitched. He waited, as if to hear it again, only able to stare.

 

He took another breath. He needed to... he needed to...

 

He left.

 

And it wasn't until he was standing in front of the iron door that he realized where he'd gone. Sighing, he unlocked it, stepping in and closing it. Locking it behind himself. Two sets of stairs staring right back at him. One leading down. The other up. Rooms blocked off from any other place in the castle. He followed them upward. As high as they went.

 

He hadn't been here in a long time... but there was a reason for that.

 

A red door. More iron lacing it. He unlocked it, closing it behind himself, taking in the room he'd left behind. The attic.

 

After so long, those dreams had stopped. And the boy he'd hoped to remember, the face he'd hoped to see... it had faded from his memories. She said that maybe it would be better for him this way, a fresh start, moving on. She just didn't seem to understand.

 

There was a large round window. Stained glass in a picture of one of the Fae, adding a beautiful bit of color to the room. 12 sprites, near glowing in pure white light, brightening the room.

 

Paintings. Left unfinished and covered lined the walls of the room. He uncovered the one left on the easel.

 

The painting was of a boy, a Faerie, standing with his wings spread. He had short brown hair in neat soft curls and pale skin. Glowing under the moon in the garden of roses. Nothing but a shawl of Faerie's silk barely covering him, he was mostly turned away from the viewer, just barely looking over his shoulder. It was the closest Steve had ever gotten to finishing a painting of him.

 

But the face was still blank.

 

Moonlit wings stared back at him on the boy with no face. The frame of them, silver, a near mirror finish he'd been quite proud of. Two on each side, sharp and elegant. Something between a butterfly's and a dragonfly's. Transparent and iridescent chitin inbetween each space. A bluish tint like stained glass in the chitin towards where his wings met his skin. A subtle glow in the magic of them near matching the moon.

 

They were beautiful... perfect. And yet they somehow felt wrong.

 

In a different way than he remembered...

 

They'll never grow back, Stevie...”

 

He couldn't help flinching at the faint memory of that voice crossing him. He wasn't sure what compelled him to set up his paints and brushes. He wasn't sure how he'd finish, but...

 

.oOo.

 

Bucky...”

 

“...Ja...

 

...ames...?

 

“James—hey, hey... it's okay...”

 

Bucky woke with a bit of a start, Grant not quite looming over him but by his side. And those same blue eyes looking at him... but with far more sorrow. He let his breathing calm.

 

“I... what happened?”

 

“You fell asleep. I brought you here, you were fidgeting, it looked like you were having a nightmare...”

 

“I wasn't... not quite but... thank you.”

 

'What a dream~.'

 

Le Fae, what a dream indeed... It felt like too much, and he knew his heart was still beating too quickly and his face just had to be flush. Grant handed him a glass of water to drink and Bucky took it, then he noticed.

 

“There's paint in your beard.”

 

“I—um... I was... painting.”

 

The blush he gave was sort of cute. And maybe a bit too familiar. Bucky felt his heart clench, but he hid his smile with the glass. He heard Grant sigh.

 

“I... haven't been as gracious to you as I should be.”

 

“You don't have to be... I'm a stranger who nearly forced my refuge on you, on your home—.”

 

“No, Jamie—James... you're... You were running from people that would've hurt you. I made the choice to let you stay and said I'd treat you as a guest. You've been here for weeks, I wouldn't call you a stranger anymore. And I...”

 

He paused, looking at Bucky. And Bucky could guess what he was about to say by the way his gaze traveled, even if he didn't want it to show. And if he was honest... Bucky could say he'd merely trusted the sprites with his decision, but he knew there was much more to it than that. Even if he wasn't ready to admit it.

 

“I made the choice to stay here...”

 

Grant seemed surprised a moment, but quickly responded.

 

“Of course... but you fell asleep. I doubt you stayed to be bored out of your mind and I've been a bit unfair with how I'm watching you. You're not my prisoner.”

 

“You haven't treated me like one. You're just always... working.”

 

“I'm always working...”

 

There was always something to work on...

 

“It still doesn't mean you have to sit through it. You only wander off because I give you nothing to do, right? I'm sorry if I seem guarded, just seems like I should keep you safe.”

 

“You're territorial.”

 

Grant gave another pause in surprise but he didn't deny it. He gave a huff.

 

“Can't seem to tell the difference anymore... come with me?”

 

Bucky set the empty glass down and got up to follow him. Grant led him through the halls and to another room he had locked. But this one held beautifully adorned double doors. Grant unlocked them, holding one open for Bucky, who hesitated for only a moment. The sprites were buzzing with excitement but it was somehow odd. Familiar even.

 

His breath hitched as he entered. Distinct and intricately designed walls surrounded him with polished floors and incredible architecture as well as bookshelves embedded in those walls for miles. On two floors even, stairs leading up to them on both sides in gorgeous spirals.

 

A library.

 

“There's a lot to read here. It's a quiet and... nice place to be. Just to be in peace if you'd prefer something else maybe.”

 

“Grant... it's beautiful... I actually... I used to love reading so much, I just, I've been so worried I... it's been a while, but that love never left. But why keep this room locked? It seems like such a good place to relax—... to wind down... for you...”

 

“Because it used to belong to someone else... someone I—... I can't remember... I still clean it on occasion but the house doesn't get as dusty as others might. Eventually, it just became a reminder that I was forgetting something... someone. And as you know, I'm always working. I thought you might enjoy your time here where I couldn't...”

 

He made to leave and Bucky wasn't sure what made him stop the man. But he could feel the magic singing in his blood.

 

Sanctuary.

 

And he wasn't sure how, but he felt at peace here. Like this place had been made for him.

 

“Stay.”

 

Grant seemed surprised.

 

“I still have work to do, I—.”

 

“Please...?”

 

Steve couldn't help taking a breath, those wide eyes staring back at him. James had grabbed his hand and Steve could feel himself leaning closer. So much time spent in solitude and one boy had his control slipping. James didn't seem to mind when he got closer, his eyes darting from Steve's lips to his eyes again, a slight flush coming over his cheeks.

 

If he was going to stay, maybe it would be safer for Steve... to be able to mark him again.

 

He didn't want to hurt James.

 

But part of him didn't want him to leave either... and the closer he got, the deeper that feeling would get...

 

He nearly pulled away before James pulled him back, a hand on his cheek as he pushed himself up on his toes and closed the distance. The kiss was chaste. Sweet. Held for barely a moment.

 

And Steve wanted far too much more.

 

“I should go...”

 

He said the words, but he knew he didn't mean them. And at James' face falling, he didn't stop himself from leaning in again. Or the kiss from getting deeper, taking the first chance to slip his tongue in at the slight gasp James gave. Pushing for more, for dominance. His hands pulling James further in, his grip tightening. Chasing the small moans he gave.

 

Until a fang grazed James' lip and he tasted blood.

 

He pulled away, abruptly. Forcing himself to calm down. But it didn't leave him hungry, it—.

 

He needed to leave.

 

Please...

 

And just like that, the dam broke. He was already wearing thin on control and the full moon drawing closer wasn't helping. James' scent.

 

He didn't have enough self control to pull away when he heard the plea. Nor to at least take him to a proper place or bed, or even take their clothes off. He crowded him right under one of the staircases. Turned him around and pinned him there not even hesitating to find his prize and slip right into it. Holding his hips tightly as he fucked into the secret slit James had. As he took without care. Without reason. Dominating.

 

Hearing him mewl and cry softly and sweetly. Feeling him clench up tightly around his cock. Nipping his neck, barely stopping himself from sinking in a firmer bite.

 

This time, he didn't bother pulling out at any point. It would just make a mess. And he couldn't help relishing in how well James took all of him in. Tried to pull him in deeper. Tried to keep it. In how amazing it felt to spill himself inside the deepest part of the younger man's body. In how responsive he was.

 

Steve couldn't stop himself and he dragged James down with him. Quite literally. He took him again, pinned to those polished floors.

 

He barely managed to stop himself from knotting him. And it took that much more as a reminder just to leave him.

 

.oOo.

Chapter Text

.oOo.

 

Dinner was a quiet affair. Quieter than usual.

 

Bucky wasn't quite sure what to make of it. There was something... bestial... about Grant. Primal. But it was also something familiar...

 

He almost felt ashamed of himself. He'd woken up from that dream, from seeing those eyes... Sweet blue on a handsome face, looking down at him. Gentle caress... sweet touches in a different place. A different time... Waking up had left Bucky wanting. Hoping for that smile. He had to admit, it was a bit unfair to push that on Grant. Under ordinary circumstances, he wouldn't be able to. He shouldn't.

 

It felt like betrayal. Like he should be deeply repulsed, but he wasn't.

 

They weren't the same person. Bucky still wasn't sure who the young man he was dreaming about... even was. But he had an idea of who he must have been... it shouldn't be possible but—...

 

Grant held him differently and—... He felt guilty for how badly he'd wanted it. How shaken the man was when he'd forced himself to leave. Not even fully satisfied. Maybe he thought Bucky hadn't noticed but...

 

“I'm sorry...”

 

Grant's eyes widened as he looked up.

 

“It's not—you didn't—... You're not the one who should be sorry. I almost hurt you, James.”

 

“You didn't...”

 

'You wanted him to.'

 

“But I could have...”

 

Bucky didn't say anything. They finished up in similar silence before they went their separate ways. A simple 'goodnight' had become commonplace between them. And somehow it didn't feel right. It had never felt like enough. Something had drawn him to this place. To... Grant. And he could still feel his body wanting. Craving more from the man.

 

It didn't make any sense, but he...

 

Bucky took a breath before getting up and walking down the hall to the other man's room. He'd been tossing and turning for what felt like hours. He caught Grant removing his shirt to get ready for bed and he had to stop his breath from hitching. That he stayed up much longer wasn't really surprising. But then, it also seemed like he was trying to ignore or deny certain needs for his own body. Faeries were nocturnal. With the exception of a few very specific types. Grant seemed the same way.

 

“James, I though—.”

 

Bucky didn't bother answering. He didn't bring clothing, he'd taken it off before he'd left the room with one goal in mind, and had used a shawl to cover himself. Enough to silence Steve the moment he dropped it.

 

James...

 

“You said you wouldn't touch me unless I wanted it...”

 

“I—... I know... I'm so sorry...”

 

“I wanted you to touch me.”

 

He took a step back when Bucky stepped forward, as if trying to find himself while not being able to pull his eyes away.

 

“I should have... better control than that...”

 

“... Maybe you don't have to?”

 

You don't know what you're saying...

 

Let me find out then?

 

Bucky was close enough now that they were nearly chest to chest.

 

“The times I touched you... I lost control... if it keeps happening...”

 

“Every time I touch you, I lose control... what're you doin' to me, Buck...”

 

“I won't mind... I don't mind... I want this...”

 

“I don't mind... I want this, Stevie...”

 

He stood stone still, looking down at Bucky as if waiting for the next step or trying to stop himself. But he responded just the same when Bucky reached up for the kiss.

 

It felt like coming home. Like something had been missing and they'd found it. Though neither could remember why. It was all too easy to get lost in it anyway. Steve quickly picked up James and dropped him on his bed. Looming over his form. His pants went next as he caged the boy under him.

 

This was a bad idea.

 

He knew that.

 

If he let himself get attached, it would hurt that much more if... when James left him. But he couldn't find it in himself to stop. And if he needed to...

 

No.

 

He couldn't take that risk, not with James. Not with—...

 

He leaned down for another kiss, letting his arousal fog his mind, the scent of James edging him on. He was still wet, dripping slick and cum from earlier as he let Steve spread his legs. The seam on his perineum a little swollen and agape from the abuse, just barely revealing the soft pink lips hidden inside. A light blush coloring the area. Likely tender.

 

Steve almost pulled himself back at the sight. James just grabbed his hand.

 

“I trust you...”

 

It just made Steve feel more guilty hearing those words. A better man might deserve those words... Steve was far from that.

 

But what little care he had for the fact was fading as he gazed at the young man below him. As he brought his thumb to that same slit, spreading it and dipping in. Watching him gasp. His own dick already well passed hard, impatiently waiting. And Steve wasn't one for patience or control right now. He pulled his thumb away before placing his cock at the entrance and slipped the head in, hearing the gasp of a moan that followed. Staring down as he pushed further, watching himself disappear inside of James, hearing the slow sound, the obscene wetness of him.

 

He took a moment to admire it. The beautiful blush that came over James, the way he held tight, trying to hold himself together. How he clenched up when Steve had entered him. How gorgeous he looked, spread around Steve. How tight he felt, soft, warm, wet. Pale skin only highlighting each pink place. His cock, sweeter and twitching with excitement it could barely contain. His nipples, pure and rosy, waiting to be played with. They were bigger than Steve's. Bigger than the average male's as far as Steve could tell. And he couldn't help reaching a hand toward one. Hearing the gasp.

 

More tender, and sensitive too.

 

He hadn't taken his time that first night...

 

Hadn't had the time to. In the afternoon, he'd simply wanted. Pushed him down and took. And James hadn't seemed to mind if he was here asking for more. But Steve wanted more. Wanted everything he had to offer. He'd been denying himself before, and now that James was here, in his arms, clenched tight around him. As if prepared and served. A proper meal on a silver platter. Steve didn't have the control to deny him. He took a breath as he pulled back.

 

Seeing the slick and cum glisten on his cock. Feeling James shudder at the feeling. Feeling him fidget as Steve started to play with one nipple. Just barely grazing, circling his thumb around the pretty pink bud.

 

Grant...

 

He slid back in just as slow. Feeling another clench and taking note of those inner walls surrounding him. How they clung to him, squeezing his cock. How the tip easily found the end of the passage, pushing it, teasing it, every time, being begged to come back. Wanting nothing more than to oblige that.

 

He took it slowly this time. Controlled... By some miracle. Taking his time to relish each slide, every detail. Both hands coming to the boy's hips, lifting them so he could push deeper, so he could feel more and give more. And still not much in light of tolerance when he felt the familiar fluttering. Seeing him try to keep his breath in but the lovely moan still slipping.

 

He leaned down to take a nipple in mouth and felt James clinging. One hand pushed around to hold him by his waist, to keep his hips lifted as Steve pushed further into him, spread his legs further. His other came to the sensitive cock caught between them. Teasing it in the same stead. James arms wrapped around his head, fingers through his hair trying to keep strength and barely hanging on as Steve sucked on his nipple, tongue circling, offering no reprieve. Still thrusting into James, slow and even.

 

Taking in everything. Making sure they both felt everything.

 

He wasn't sure how he managed to stay gentle in the night. How he managed to avoid knotting him. But all he could think of was one thing, buzzing in the back of his mind. The Wolf in him humming with contentment at his claim.

 

Mine...

 

.oOo.

 

He woke up with James in his arms. Their legs well tangled. Proof that the previous night hadn't been a dream. His own scent smothering the boy. The sweetness of his natural scent enough for Steve to pull him further in as he glanced at the clock and sighed.

 

He'd slept in.

 

James was still sleeping. Steve had managed not to knot him, but he'd certainly tired him out if anything. Still, he couldn't help thinking that he'd really wake up any moment. He couldn't help himself as he lightly scented him, feeling the puffs of soft breath against his chest. James smelled different. Something gradual from the first night he'd stayed, but growing stronger every day. Something that deeply satisfied Steve, made him want to keep him more, to protect him.

 

He almost didn't want to get up. So he waited. Waited for James to wake up with him, almost holding his breath when his breathing changed and those eyes finally fluttered opened.

 

But he only yawned before snuggling further in.

 

You're still here...

 

Steve couldn't help the smile.

 

“You seem upset each time you wake up without me...”

 

His only response was a soft, slight grumbly groan.

 

Steve kept half expecting the fantasy to suddenly fade. But James had stayed. He was real. And something that Steve had managed not to hurt... or break. It had been so long that he... he just wanted to be near him the whole day. Beyond just watching him to make sure he didn't get into anything Steve didn't want him near. And seeing him smile...

 

Steve couldn't help but feel his heart clench at that beautiful face.

 

They spent the next few days until the full moon almost like long lost lovers that had found each other again. And the more he had James, the calmer his blood felt, but the more he wanted. James didn't return to the guest room Steve had given him. Every night, he'd come back to Steve's bed. Even if not for sex and just... to not be alone. But he was less shy than he initially seemed. Every morning, they'd wake up together. James would try to convince him to sleep in. Nearly every moment, they spent together. Steve would work and James would sometimes help, but more often try to pull him away from working.

 

He was sweet. Mischievous. It was hard to imagine why anyone would want to hurt him. The reminder just made Steve want to protect him more.

 

When he'd let James stay, he'd just wanted to make sure he'd survive. And he guessed that was the reality check he needed. If he wanted to keep James safe. He'd have to make sure the beast couldn't get to him. Anything was better than that.

 

He'd considered it...

 

The first night James stayed.

 

And maybe it was selfish of him to not have used this method, but he'd figured it was always less dangerous when that beast was allowed to roam free rather than chained up. He couldn't take that risk this time. And he didn't plan on it. Whether he marked him or not, and especially not if James wasn't up to it before moonrise.

 

Still. Staring at that silver door always made his skin itch. His blood burn inside his veins. At least the weakness still stood. Even if it wasn't nearly as strong as it was before...

 

He took a breath.

 

.oOo.

 

Bucky looked up from his book. He'd been enjoying his time in the library and was thankful for the space. He felt at peace. Though he knew it wasn't something that could last forever. Grant had proven difficult. The sprites had been right, he was protective... Kinder than Bucky had expected from that first day... But as much as Bucky tried to get him to relax, it always seemed like there was something to work on. Which maybe wouldn't be a problem if Grant would take time to himself every now and again on his own. Bucky watched him close the door.

 

He'd thought things were getting better, he knew he'd have to leave sooner than later. But he was starting to worry... about him. About what might happen once he left. The moment his wings were healed, he planned to. But still, he couldn't stop himself being drawn to him. He thought it just might be a sexual attraction he'd be able to sate and move on, but it seemed like the more either played this game... the deeper they both fell.

 

He wanted to stay with him but he knew they should stay apart. And whatever Grant was hiding...

 

He sighed, it wouldn't matter, he couldn't let himself get attached. But he couldn't exactly stop his curious nature either. Or wanting to help or know the man who'd given him refuge for the price of his body. Sometimes it meant Bucky took his book and followed him, other times it meant trying to convince him to stay in the library. And sometimes...

 

“You disappeared...”

 

“I had... something to do.”

 

Bucky looked at him for a moment.

 

“Privately.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“... You could have said so...”

 

“You seemed content to keep reading.”

 

“And you're always working...”

 

“There's always work to be done.”

 

Of course there was... His hands were fidgeting with the key ring. He was nervous and Bucky could guess why from the first night he'd stayed.

 

“It's a full moon...”

 

“Yeah... still got a few things left to do. Firewood—.”

 

“You have plenty...”

 

“The roses—.”

 

Just his luck, the keys slipped out of his hand and when he reached down, he accidentally kicked them and they slid across the floor. Far enough to be closer to Bucky. He gave a sigh, seeming slightly upset before Bucky set his book down and crawled over to the keys. Low enough to the ground from the elegant sofa he'd been laying on that it made it the easier option. He paused on his hands and knees, looking down at the spread of keys. Counting. Some of them iron... Barely pausing as he closed his hand around it... and felt nothing.

 

He stopped at the shadow that fell over him.

 

A Wolf.

 

He heard the man take a breath before seeing the same shadow move a hand through his hair, the image suddenly gone and recognizable as the man it belonged to. Then moving as Bucky felt him lean over him. Almost like a dog might mount a bitch, though he hardly seemed to notice as he reached for the same ring.

 

And Bucky's hand tightened on it.

 

He paused, but one of his arms wrapped around Bucky's waist. He seemed like he was trying to hold himself together, still nervous. Another part of him seemed... disappointed? And when he spoke, it was soft.

 

“The roses could use some attention...”

 

“We gave them that yesterday... They'll be okay...”

 

He tried to take the keyring, but Bucky still didn't let go. At that, he pulled Bucky with him, into his lap as he sat back, a brow raised. Bucky could feel the bulge in his pants pressed against him, still soft even, from how he was seated in Grant's lap. But he was fairly sure Grant hadn't noticed the position he'd put them in. Even if he'd stopped to stare at Bucky's ass before leaning down to get his keys back.

 

“James...?”

 

Bucky stared at him another moment before handing it back.

 

“One's missing.”

 

Grant looked unsure before counting them for a moment.

 

“Oh... did you see one fly off or—... no, it looks like all of them are here—.”

 

“There's one more lock in your home than those keys would unlock.”

 

Grant seemed surprised a moment before his brows furrowed.

 

“You counted the locks in my home?”

 

“I didn't have much else to do before...”

 

Steve glanced at him taking another breath. As if he'd been trying to decide if he should be upset over the fact or not.

 

“You can trust me...”

 

His expression softened at the words but he took another breath. His next movement bringing a hand to his shirt, undoing a few buttons and pulling out another key. One made of... glass... intricately made and beautiful.

 

“It's more delicate than the others...”

 

It also wasn't made of glass. Not really. Bucky could feel the hidden magic pouring from it, the signature all too familiar. The glass was just an amorphous cover for a key that would change for equally magically adjusted locks. It was an old fashioned way that Faeries could create skeleton keys, and a basic spell but effective. Especially to keep unwanted parties away. Likely turning to iron if any other Faerie tried to touch it.

 

And under Bucky's touch, it remained that beautiful glass... But that wasn't possible...

 

His breath hitched and he felt Grant flinch under his touch, realizing his fingers had brushed a pectoral, the fine hairs on his skin... and becoming well aware of the position they were in once more. Grant must have fallen under the same realization because Bucky could feel the man's grip around his waist get tighter... and the bulge grow firmer.

 

Bucky took a moment to let his magic flow through the key, to read it. This one only adjusted for three doors but he was able to see which, and exactly how. No mistake in the familiarity of the magic... Grant took his hand to stop his fingertips, the light touches still affecting him and Bucky couldn't help but blush at the feeling...

 

“... It's still early, I—.”

 

Bucky kissed him before he could talk himself out of staying. Sex was an easy way to manage that, to get him to let go.

 

Grant kissed back, with equal fervor. Ready and able to take it a step further even. Before Bucky stopped him.

 

“I... want to try something...”

 

He moved himself to straddle Grant. Shuffling their clothes just enough. So that the spaces they'd need clear would be free. His hand sliding up and down the thick member he knew he was more than ready for. Grant still restless, but he'd been calmer. His own fingers came to check Bucky's pussy. His hands helping him when he finally positioned himself to slide down onto Grant's penis. A firm grip on his hips steadying him, patiently waiting while he adjusted.

 

Le Fae... he remembered something like this in his dreams. With someone else... but it was different then. The feeling, the place, the person, the—... all of it was different. And he was still getting used to using his cunt so frequently. To using it at all. He'd hardly known it could feel like this but they'd... they'd always avoided it before, promises that after the war they'd—.

 

He closed his eyes, willing the feeling to go away as he started moving his hips. Getting lost in the pleasure of it. Grant always reached the deepest place of him, managed to fill him completely. Cover every sweet spot. Bucky could swear they were made for one another, could swear by how much he wanted it, by how dangerous this would be if Grant were truly—.

 

He'd been more than prepared to make himself someone's whore, at the expense of his own discomfort even, just to get away from those men. But in truth, he'd become more of a slut. Willing to do this regardless of whether he needed to. Regardless of whether or not he was betraying someone...

 

Regardless of who he used to love...

 

Rocking his hips back and forth on him, in his lap. All he could think of was the man inside of him. How far had he fallen...

 

.oOo.

Chapter Text

.oOo.

 

Steve tired him out.

 

Almost too easily. But he realized it was maybe for the best. Even as he moved the strands of hair from James' face, captivated by him, by the peace and innocence of his sleeping features. The beauty in it... Steve knew that everything he wanted from this young man, so vulnerable and trusting in his arms... it was wrong. Wrong of him to want. Wrong of him to take... But he couldn't stop himself. From wanting. From taking. The familiarity of everything that James was...

 

Like a lost piece he never wanted to let go of. He knew he was losing himself. But he'd already lost him... He couldn't lose James too...

 

He pressed another kiss on his forehead.

 

The earlier the better. Less chance of the beast taking control before he could get what he needed to do done. Get where he needed to be. Everything else was set. The last he could hope was that James would sleep through the night. That he could come back to him sane by the time the moon faded from the sky.

 

Still, part of him didn't want to leave James. But if he was completely honest with himself... this should have been the option he'd chosen from the start.

 

He never claimed to be perfect.

 

He hardly noticed by the time he'd walked to that silver door. Knowing he'd locked up everything behind himself as he felt it burn under his skin when he touched it. Locking himself in. Setting the key aside. Staring at each silver shackle laying open on the ground. Slivers of additional unrefined silver ore in the brick of the walls, dried wolf's bane lining them at every corner of the room. The ground, packed earth. The same wolf's bane, hardened by a Witch's blessing, the only thing that could grow through that dirt, towards the edges. Where it wouldn't get ripped up but keep him in place. Built in irrigation kept them watered, silver in the filtration system heightened their nourishment, and toxicity. The only light they ever saw existed in the near nonexistent windows at the very edge of the basement room. And the angle of their placement ensured it was only ever moonlight. Maybe the only comfort this room could offer.

 

The aconite alone could easily kill a normal wolf. A normal Lycan... To anyone, this room would be an inescapable hell. A torture chamber for Steve's own kind. But it was the only thing that existed able to contain him. He only stopped using it because he had to refine it every damn time. His body trying to develop a tolerance for the only things that might save someone from him. Magic held every bit of sound in, and gave push back to help contain him when all else failed.

 

He could already feel himself getting sick. But he could also feel the moon getting stronger... without even a drop of light in sight.

 

The first in 12 generations, and not the slightest control...

 

He took his clothes off and set them aside. With any luck, they wouldn't become the target of aggression in this cage. He walked over to the shackles, locking them around his wrists and holding in the growl at the sting on his skin.

 

With any luck, he'd be too weak to move.

 

.oOo.

 

Stevie, look!”

 

Bucky can't help being excited or proud. It's not every day this happens. And he can't help smiling at the mesmerized look his friend has, staring at the glowing sprite that brightly floats in front of him.

 

Whoa... what is it?”

 

What... is it? Bucky frowns.

 

“It's a sprite, you stupid punk! My first sprite!”

 

“Oh! Well in that case, congratulations Bucky!”

 

And just like that, Steve is wagging his tail again and Bucky can't hold onto the anger. Ever since that day, they became nearly inseparable.

 

Stevie had helped him find his way home, even if it had seemed like dumb luck then, he'd followed his nose and caused enough disturbance in the forest that the Elders had been able to find Bucky, at the same time finding his own way, or rather a family of wolves that knew the way and didn't seem to mind the pup. The Elders had scolded Bucky. Not really giving him much chance to explain himself. Despite the Princess having left him, standing there without a word to say, letting him take the blame.

 

Steve might have jumped in and started barking if Bucky hadn't put up a magic barrier to stop him. Weak, but enough to stop him. They'd certainly heard the growling. But he didn't want to be in any more trouble than he was then, and he didn't want to get anyone else in trouble either.

 

Still, he'd felt the need to thank Steve. Being one of the Fae meant being honor bound to do so. And when he found him again, the pup didn't contain his excitement. Happily jumping him and licking his face. But when Bucky offered to repay his debt, of course the pup would say there wasn't anything he wanted. Insisting they were friends.

 

Naturally, this meant Bucky had to come back to him until he thought of something. Always with Steve helping him get back well before the Elders would have cause to worry. Helping him know the forest...

 

Now that Bucky has his first sprite though, his magic is getting stronger, hopefully enough to make Steve think of something. He isn't the brightest Wolf Bucky's ever met, not that Bucky's met many Wolves. He knows they share a connection to the moon, like the Fae, but the few he has met are big and scary.

 

But Steve is... Steve's just Steve. He's sweet and stupid and always so full of life, despite being small. Full of fight and rambunctious nature. He makes the forest seem less scary. And he's made it so that Bucky doesn't have to worry about getting lost again. And with his first sprite, he can finally do something amazing for Steve in return.

 

What's a sprite for?”

 

Le Fae! How could this—.

 

Bucky can't help the frustrated blush from blooming. But it quickly fades as he struggles to find a coherent answer. Starting and stopping repeatedly, staring back at an innocent smiley face on the young Wolf waiting for an answer.

 

I... um... they help the Fae... with magic... and stuff...”

 

Steve's still looking at him expectantly. Bucky takes a breath before continuing.

 

It means my magic's getting stronger.”

 

Still staring.

 

So I can... you know... do something for you? So I won't owe you anymore...”

 

Oh.”

 

Steve's got that face he gets when he's thinking hard on something. Bucky knows it's coming before it's plastered on his face, but he still wants to kick himself the moment he sees that puppy pout.

 

But you don't owe me anything, Bucky. We're friends—... I mean... aren't we?”

 

Bucky can't help returning his own pout and blowing the loose hair on his forehead out of the way. It falls back to the same place.

 

I—... that's not fair. I just... you helped me. I'm trying to do the right thing and help you back but you won't let me.”

 

Steve smiles at that, big and bright before he's on Bucky, squeezing him tight.

 

That's real swell, Buck. I'm happy you wanna do something good for me. But the thing about friends is... they do good stuff for each other without needing anything in return. That's why you don't owe me anything. I was just doin' what friends do!”

 

Bucky sputters at that. Steve says it almost every time but he just knows he's gotta do this. If the butterflies in his stomach every time he's around Steve are anything to go by, he just knows.

 

But I... as one of the Fae, I'm honor bound to repay my debts. We weren't... we'd just met then, Stevie. We couldn'ta been friends yet...”

 

Steve's tail stops wagging at the words and he looks thoughtful again. Before he can say anything, they both hear the rustle. The plants laying down to make way for someone else. And he senses the familiar magic. His sprite hiding behind him. Standing in front of Steve as if to hide him too. Bowing his head to show the respect he already knows she'll expect.

 

Princess...”

 

James.”

 

She's staring at him with those blank and dark eyes of hers. The ones that feel like they're looking straight through him, every time. They're cousins. With an equal chance for rule according to the Elders. But the disparity is clear. She's always been so much stronger. She was born with 2 sprites present, and had already gained her 4th. The blood of Morgaine Le Fae clear in her features alone. She was favored. She would be Queen.

 

Bucky was the extra. A weak, poor excuse for the Le Fae bloodline. The delicate disgrace. The Elders coddle him because he's too fragile to be on his own. Because his family is gone and the Elders are kind. The only reason they deem him worthy of rule because their mothers were twins. And his mother was born in the light of a full moon, her own mother born just shy of catching it, under the guard of clouds. She was born under a similar guard of clouds, but he was born in the same light of a full moon. Supposedly something special. But there's nothing special about him.

 

His mother was weak and delicate, just the same as him. But at least she'd been born with a sprite and strong magic to show for her bloodline.

 

He has nothing.

 

She makes sure he knows this every time.

 

What are you hiding?”

 

Bucky shakes his head but he knows what's coming.

 

Do you intend to defy me, James?”

 

Steve peaks out along with Bucky's sprite before he can muster up a response. And the disgust on her face is immediate and clear. A small, dirty Lycan pup. Trying to catch a single, measly sprite.

 

Is this what you've been doing with your time? Wasting it away with a mongrel? I wonder what the Elders would say...”

 

N-n—... you ca—... please don't tell them! Stevie's my friend!”

 

“Stevie... Royalty should not be making friends with dogs, James. And what's this, your first sprite? How... cute.”

 

She says it but it's clear she doesn't mean it. Steve doesn't get the memo.

 

Yep! Super cute! Bucky's got his first sprite! His magic's getting stronger!”

 

She stares at Steve with that calculated anger of hers. Bucky's scared enough to have the sprite pull Steve away from her. But he doesn't expect the strong magic she uses to catch his sprite, like a magnet, flying straight to her hand.

 

Is that so? A reward for misbehavior? I don't think so. I think you and I both know you don't deserve any.

 

He feels it before he knows what's happened. Sharp pain coursing through him as she uses dark magic to corrupt the sprite. To siphon what magic it holds. To kill that part of Bucky's spirit. He knows. It's natural to their bloodline. He never thought she'd—.

 

He hears the growl before he sees what happens.

 

Steve doesn't hesitate. Jumping her and biting her so she has no choice but to let go. The pain stops. But by the time Bucky can register, the damage is done. He runs over, pulling Steve off of her. But she's furious. And hurt. And bleeding.

 

.oOo.

 

Bucky woke up nauseated.

 

He barely managed to pull himself to the bathroom in time. Flushing down what he'd coughed up by the time he could think.

 

He remembered... He'd been remembering. Moments he'd spent with that boy. He hadn't even remembered she was capable of causing him so much pain...

 

But she was only a child then. Still learning her way.

 

Children can be cruel.

 

Elegance and poise, always focused on what's proper. She was likely Queen by now. The very picture of everything a daughter of Le Fae should be.

 

He gave a humorless huff before getting up to clean himself.

 

That day, he'd discovered Steve was a Prince. He'd only bit her on the wrist, but it was enough to have her running back to tell the Elders. Steve wasn't willing to back down. Bucky almost couldn't stop him, the pup proving so much stronger than his small stature made him look.

 

The Elders were livid. Enough for Bucky to try to explain his debt. Steve's help. Anything to protect him.

 

That mangy mutt bit me, and you would defend him over your own family!”

 

I only bit you cause you were tryin' to hurt him! You ain't got no right to call him family when you treat him like he's less than you!”

 

They'd detained Steve, trying to figure out what to do with him. He was only a pup after all. But he'd also harmed Royalty. It was only when his mother came, looking for him with a familiar and very important Lycan, one of the Royal Guard, that anyone had realized who he was.

 

She'd quickly managed to diffuse the situation.

 

If you believe my son is lying, then look into his memories. He'll give you permission.”

 

They did. Seeing the truth for once. It was the first time they scolded her. It also made them worry and coddle Bucky more. Still scolding him for not having told the truth before, but otherwise allowing his friendship with Steve. A Royal connection seen as a boon they might collect in the future.

 

After all... the Wolves used to be Guardians of the Fae.

 

A connection Bucky never wanted them to know about when it finally became real. Once they grew older...

 

He took a breath as he rinsed his mouth. He couldn't keep doing this. Not to himself. Not to Grant...

 

To Steve...

 

He could deal with the dreams of shared company, of being in the young man's arms, of intimate moments with lasting effect when he woke. The dreams of the boy he knew, the reminders of who he was just made his heart hurt that much more. Even as he felt the moon shining in, the glow of magic flowing through him, refreshing him, healing him. All Bucky could really feel was the guilt and pain of his own betrayal. Of who he'd become.

 

Of what he'd done to the memory of the person who'd never done anything but love him.

 

He needed to leave. No more waiting, no more delay. He couldn't keep doing this. He gave a shuddered breath, waiting a long moment just feeling the moon flow through him...

 

And then he noticed...

 

Grant wasn't there.

 

But maybe that was for the best. He'd insisted Bucky shouldn't stay from the first day. Tried to convince him to be on his way the second. Had even prepared a bag for him... maybe he should have listened from the start. He took another breath, quickly heading back to the guest room. He'd eaten the snacks and drank the water on a day Grant had taken him through the forest for hunting and some foraged supplies. He'd still seemed wary to have Bucky around him at all then, but still grateful for the company by the end of it.

 

Bucky quickly dressed himself, packing an extra set of clothes, the same supplies, then going to refill the canteen. He waited, sitting in the light of the full moon, as it poured in from the window. Watching as his wings stitched themselves back together. As the final piece of chitin healed into place. His magic wasn't at its strongest yet, but it was enough. If he could fly, he could escape. He half expected to run into Grant, suddenly asking him what he was doing up. But he only felt his heart sink at the absence of him, convincing himself that this was better. This was for the best.

 

Ignoring every murmur the sprites could muster.

 

He tied his hair up, ready to go. The moment his hand touched the doorknob—.

 

'Stop!'

 

He took another breath, fully ready to ignore them—.

 

'He's hurt!'

 

'He needs you.'

 

'He'll protect you!'

 

'They're coming.'

 

Bucky's eyes widened. A full moon cycle and—. No, it couldn't be. All of them were gone. The ones that knew where he'd gone, what direction, the one's that followed him—.

 

'They're running out of time.'

 

'Desperate.'

 

He had his magic now, he would be fine.

 

'Not recovered! Not enough!'

 

'He won't be.'

 

'They have a Witch.'

 

'She helps them!'

 

'He loves you.'

 

'He always has...'

 

The last one near broke him. But he found himself pushing with magic to confirm what they told him. Torches in the distance, guns. Dark magic aiding them in blessing, but not directly. Their Witch wasn't physically present but she was powerful. Insanely so. An immediate push back near too much. He could barely dispel it.

 

'Find him.'

 

He ran, knowing he didn't have much time before they got there. Looking for Grant. Looking for any trace of him. He could feel their presence closing in on the house. See the light of their torches as he still hid in the shadows. Coming across the last door.

 

The iron door. Another shuddered breath as the sprites went silent.

 

He used magic to make a phantom key, a copy from the glass one he'd observed on Grant. Adjusting accordingly, unlocking the door.

 

Two stairs. One leading up. The other down.

 

He knew which way to go.

 

But it wasn't until he saw the silver door that he felt any unnerving sensation.

 

His stomach hurt.

 

He opened it. The same as before. And what he saw...

 

A Wolf. A Lycanthrope.

 

Huge. With dark golden fur. Streaks of lighter tones patterned in. A near moonlit glow of goldish white on the lightest parts. From the slivers of light barely managing to peak in. He was abnormally large. Much bigger than any Wolf Bucky had ever seen... Big enough that it wouldn't take many bites for him to devour someone. The muscle on him enough to show for a perfect predator. It wouldn't take much for him to win the fight.

 

Any fight.

 

He was shackled. Chained to the wall. Weakened. Pure silver cutting into his skin, burning into his bloodstream, surrounded by poison.

 

This would kill a normal Wolf...

 

Bucky's breath hitched. And the growl that followed said he was far from dead. Golden eyes were staring back at him.

 

Familiar.

 

Wolves are dangerous creatures, but they had once been Guardians of the Fae...

 

The hostility when Bucky approached was clear but he made no move to bite. Rage poured from him. He was barely subdued by the Fae's magic Bucky had. And still... there wasn't the slightest recognition in the golden eyes staring back at him.

 

He heard the lock of a door break in the distance.

 

Bucky felt his heart clench. But still, he pressed on. Allowing the Wolf to scent his palm, the growl calming to something low in warning as his hands hesitated over the shackles to unlock them.

 

He let him go.

 

.oOo.

Chapter Text

.oOo.

 

The little Fae would have been easy to devour.

 

He was small. Sweet smelling. His skin soft. Flesh tender. But the little Fae had a different purpose. The Wolf remembered. The claim in his scent clear enough. The mark mixed with his own scent. He'd been inside this little Fae.

 

He remembered knotting the little thing. Marking him. The temptation to do more, but the poor Fae had lost consciousness. The changes in his scent were satisfactory. New. He would serve this purpose perfectly... beautifully...

 

No, this one was not for eating. He's too valuable for that... too... precious. Too familiar.

 

He's in pain, the Wolf noticed. Quickly pushing him out of the room. Away from the toxins present.

 

His blood was strong, but one who had yet to draw the first breath of life would not have the resistance he's built. The weakness enough to take that chance away from it. He could not take that risk. It's clear his growl startled the Fae. But he did not fight. There was fear in his scent, but... strangely... not meant for the Wolf.

 

He let the Wolf scent him. Nose brushed where it was strongest. Where he last marked the little Fae. He could scent himself. The two of them mixed. A breath blown from his nose to show the Fae he was no threat. Not to him. Never to him...

 

He wanted to lick him. And fuck him. And knot him. But he smelled other scents in his territory. Scents that were... that were causing his little Fae fear. Scents that must be eliminated. That could be devoured.

 

He pushed the Fae a safe distance, then went for his hunt . For his meal .

 

He ran.

 

His prey always seemed surprised but the Wolf had never understood why. He very rarely chose stealth as a means to kill. He often preferred the taste of fear on them. Fear is delicious.

 

Their screams were a familiar sound. A recognized mantra that followed his hunts. The taste of blood and bone were welcome. He abandoned half a body for the prey that shot him. They didn't stay embedded in his flesh for long. Iron bullets. They saught to hurt his Fae.

 

They would suffer for it.

 

The moon gave him strength. Healed what the toxins wrought, what pathetically small wounds they might inflict. And he announced the coming deaths of the remaining intruders with a howl.

 

They would not escape.

 

They could not escape.

 

But they were welcome to try...

 

.oOo.

 

Steve woke up with a shudder. The prickle of cold making itself known on his bare skin.

 

He was naked. Curled up in the snow.

 

Half covered in blood.

 

A human arm in his mouth, half stripped of the meat on it. Fang indents drilled into the exposed bone from knawing.

 

Another shudder and he dropped it. Tattered cloth remains were scattered in a few spots. He remembered the rush. The adrenaline that filled the hunt. The screams that filled their lungs. The taste of every victim giving their last breath. Glimpses of the night the moon had given him. There was a reason he tended to stay alone in this manor.

 

He didn't recognize the arm. Or what was left of it.

 

And it brought a sickening relief to him.

 

He didn't... recognize it...

 

Oh god...

 

James.

 

He couldn't remember his face or a scream from him but he remembered the scent of fear thick on him. And—.

 

Oh dear god, please no.

 

He ran. The sting of the ice and snow weren't enough to hinder him. He couldn't get hypothermia. But he only had one thought in mind as he rushed to find him. The feelings of relief, subsequent guilt, and additional fear only heightening with each new piece of a body he'd managed to find. He was sure that some traces of victims were completely gone. Every part of them—... as if wiped from existence.

 

The worst part was knowing he'd been guilty of that before, while fully conscious, without influence of the beast that lurked within. The monster tended to be messier.

 

He gave a choked, humorless laugh at the thought. As if they were any different.

 

Impulse.

 

Instinct.

 

The only difference was his own inhibition. He always figured it was less painful, the quicker the death. Didn't want to be reminded with clean up afterward. The moon gave him a different approach. Pride for his kills. For the remnants. For their pain.

 

No... the worst part was knowing how little he cared. Regardless of what part of him took control.

 

But James... god, James... the sweet and naive boy who'd come here seeking refuge... Steve's mind was reeling. He could catch his scent, his blood—.

 

He took a breath to calm himself down. The chance that he survived was... he stared at the broken lock on the front door of his home. No claw marks, which meant those people had broken in. A different sort of rage filling him. If they were the reason he—...

 

He paused. He heard it... A heartbeat.

 

The quiet overtaking the house making it clear in his hearing. Faint. Weak. Someone was alive.

 

His own heart beating faster as he tuned his hearing to it. In hope he knew shouldn't be there... was likely misplaced. Barely a whisper of a choked name escaping him. Before a firmer call in question. And he heard the heart quicken. Following it, the nerves leaving a sinking feeling in his gut. Fear. He could sense it. Scent it. Following the faint sound to the locked door of the guest room. Claw marks were on this door. But not persistent. Like he'd lost interest. He'd marked James the night before. Maybe not thoroughly, maybe not... but maybe...

 

The heartbeat kept getting faster, the fear even thicker. He forced the lock and could sense the panic. He saw the blow coming before it hit him. His reflexes moving to stop the arms, holding firm, and the growl escaping him before he could stop it. Staring at the scared young boy he'd met one month ago, one moon cycle...

 

There were bruises on him. On his arm. On his shoulder. On his cheek, just under one eye. His lip cut. His clothes torn. His hair had been tied up, but had fallen out of place. Things misplaced and broken in the room. He held a priceless vase he'd been more than willing to smash over Steve's head.

 

Over an assailant's head, more likely.

 

There was a dead man on the floor. A body still intact, which meant the Wolf hadn't been the one to kill him.

 

Tears welled the moment he recognized Steve. Nearly dropping the vase as Steve quickly caught it and set it aside. No sooner did James tightly hang onto Steve from that moment.

 

Wailing.

 

He was wailing. Sobbing. Crying in the deepest pain as Steve barely hesitated to hold him just as close. Fingers through his hair, holding his head at Steve's chest. The other hand tightly wrapped around his waist. A mantra of his name escaping Steve once he could realize it, as if confirming that he was real and safe.

 

He just continued crying.

 

Steve pressed a kiss to the top of his head, on his hair.

 

James was alive...

 

.oOo.

 

Steve checked him over. There were no scratches. No bites on him. But James hadn't spoken. He cleaned the cut on his lip, gave him a crushed herbal remedy, some of the yellow mountain flowers he'd gathered, to help with the bruising.

 

He'd also put on pants. And made him tea to warm up. Broken locks and doors weren't great for keeping the cold out.

 

He could only hope James hadn't seen enough to make the connection... that the Wolf hadn't... hurt him.

 

He handed him the cup of tea. Quietly watching him.

 

“James...”

 

James closed his eyes and set the tea down, wiping at them before the tears could fall.

 

“What happened...?”

 

He stared at Steve for a moment. Maybe gauging him but his expression wasn't readable beyond a boy in pain, there was a blankness to it that might be unsettling for someone who wouldn't know what he must have seen... He just shook his head as Steve sighed. He moved to take another sip of the tea but quickly stopped, eyes widening as he covered his mouth. Steve barely reacted in time. Quickly grabbing the nearest waste bin and then watching James throw up.

 

The reaction wasn't surprising although delayed. If he'd witnessed any of the horrors that took place last night, it would be all too appropriate. Maybe he hadn't seen enough to make the connection, but undoubtedly... he'd seen enough...

 

Steve knew he might end up coughing up jewelry later on too. He could digest almost anything on a body. The fibers of cloth, hardened leather, bone, cartilage. All of it fairly easily dissolved. He just couldn't digest metal or stone. But rather than passing it, he always ended up hacking it back up. Not the most convenient, but a natural reaction, in case the metal ingested was something toxic he shouldn't be eating.

 

He should know. He's tried.

 

He helped James, cleaned him up, made sure he could rest.

 

But he also knew he had more to clean up.

 

The Wolf...

 

He looked up at the words spilling from James' lips. Voice soft, nearly lost like he'd cried himself hoarse. Steve wasn't really surprised. He'd spent so much time just crying when Steve found him. He stared back at those tired eyes that suddenly seemed to have a lifetime of sorrow behind them. Steve took his hand, listening, James squeezed back.

 

He protected me... he... they tried to hurt me... tried to-to capture me... There were so many, I just couldn't—...

 

They tried to rip his wings away. Again. The sprites had been right. He hadn't recovered enough. Not for the magic that protected them...

 

“Hey... James... it's okay. Nothing that happened last night was your fault—... I... whatever they wanted, whatever they were doing here...”

 

Me... they wanted... me... but he... he didn't hurt me...

 

Steve stayed quiet a moment, taking a breath. Maybe the mark had been enough then. But some things still weren't adding up...

 

“Who were they...?”

 

“... Hydra...

 

That... what?

 

When Steve didn't respond, Bucky continued.

 

A group that hunts Cryptids... trying to purge or control them for humanity's gain... to rid the world of impurity... they've been around since the second world war... but...

 

There were always those that hunted them...

 

“I... I know who they were—are... that's just—.”

 

Steve cut himself off. Not possible. He wanted to say, he'd made sure of it. In the worst way possible. He fought in the war, lost the love of his life to those—... he made sure. But did he really? It only took one full moon to break the ice he was trapped in. But he'd still had control then, he'd still had...

 

“How long did they have you?”

 

I don't know... I... lost track after the first few years...

 

There stopped being a reason to count. To hope after the first few months...

 

Steve gave a nod before leaving Bucky to sleep. At this point, he needed it.

 

.oOo.

 

He felt like a butcher.

 

He'd gone through and collected every single body. Or what was left of them. The bones could be dried and ground for the roses. The meat... a good part of it had already been stripped. But it helped to put the remains on ice for the next full moon. If there's less hunger, there's less danger. It had been a while since he'd made himself kibble. But then, it had been a while since he'd had a fully intact body to cut up... come to think of it, his first assumption would be maybe a blunt trauma for how James had managed to kill this man.

 

But there was no mark, no bruising. He was completely clean... Maybe he'd ended up dying of fright. Wouldn't be the first time...

 

He took a breath, setting the cleaver down as he felt a different sensation run through him. Yeah, seemed about right.

 

He moved over to the sink, washing his hands of the blood before he felt his stomach turn again, the feel of metal coming back up. It took a few coughs before it was out, and he could see what was in his hand.

 

A ring.

 

Large, clunky. Platinum by the looks of it, and... a red gem. With a familiar emblem.

 

As if mocking him. Confirming what James had told him. A skull with tentacles, curling as they stretched from it. He clenched his hand around it and felt the gem crack. When he opened it, he saw the metal misshapen.

 

This... couldn't be. She would have told him if... He took another breath. Shuddered. Years after his death, and he still couldn't—. He still hadn't done right by the person he loved.

 

He couldn't even fucking remember him, and here he was, fawning over some kid that—...

 

Never again.

 

He'd be damned if he let James suffer the same fate. He'd be damned if he let him suffer at all and fade from his memories... He couldn't let that happen. And maybe... maybe whatever James was... maybe it could keep him safe from the Wolf, at least—.

 

He protected me...”

 

Maybe... he could actually save someone for once...

 

.oOo.

 

When Bucky woke up, Grant wasn't there. It wasn't surprising. Expected even, with everything that happened last night, it was easy to see why there was always so much work to do. With what Grant—...

 

No... If he wanted to keep his secret, Bucky would let him. After all, he still kept his own. Even more now that... he was different. Because of what Hydra had done to him. And he still wasn't sure whether they were blessings or curses. They certainly weren't intended from what he could tell. The men had brought iron with them to hurt him, but... touching it didn't seem to hurt anymore.

 

Still, he couldn't help feeling a little disappointed, waking up without him...

 

And the Lycan...

 

It was easy to see why the sprites had brought him here, why they'd said he would protect him. To trust him. Why he'd been drawn to him... The fear Grant had. Of hurting him, of—... he'd chosen to mark Bucky that first night... and hide himself this night. But he'd saved Bucky. Twice now.

 

'The Fae are honor bound.'

 

'To repay debts!'

 

'He's happy you're safe.'

 

'But confused.'

 

'He'll be happier if you stay.'

 

'He doesn't want to lose you again.'

 

Again?

 

Bucky took a breath. Honor bound... to repay debts. And his magic still hadn't fully recovered. Whatever they'd last done must have slowed his healing process, he knew that. But his system should have filtered it by now. It felt like something different was slowing his magic now. And it almost felt deliberate. Or... purposeful, something like a natural response in his body. Maybe it was his punishment for betraying the Fae's Handfasting...

 

He took another breath before getting up to go find Grant. The mansion felt more empty than usual as he walked through the halls. But the cold draft that had been there wasn't as strong. When he looked, he could see certain spots marked for repair. Grant must have cleaned up the bodies and gone through checking over what was broken. The lock on the front door was already fixed, but Bucky didn't see Grant.

 

He used his magic to sense him. He was—... oh...

 

He walked over there. Quiet as he saw Grant sigh and close the iron door. Locking it. He seemed frustrated.

 

“Did you see them pick the lock on this door?”

 

Bucky shook his head. He knew what he'd done. But telling Grant might just make him upset or angry.

 

“Are you sure? The lock isn't supposed to be pickable...”

 

Bucky might have flinched if he had a better sense of shame. Instead, he just shook his head again. Grant looked at him a moment, his brows furrowed but his face passive. He took a steady breath before walking closer to Bucky. His hand came to Bucky's cheek, thumb softly brushing by the bruise under his eye.

 

“What are you doing up? You should rest more...”

 

He was about to pull away before Bucky tugged on the sleeve of his flannel. Grant didn't say anything else, but he understood well enough, just holding Bucky close at the silent request.

 

.oOo.

Chapter Text

.oOo.

 

Stevie, wait—.”

 

She's gone, Buck...”

 

Bucky remains quiet a moment. Steve knows he's worried. If there were ever a time for him to need his mate, it would be now. But he can't decide. He wants to be alone. He wants Bucky by his side. He doesn't want to see Bucky worrying. He doesn't want Bucky to see him like this. Answer should be simple, right?

 

But some part of him needs Bucky to get through this.

 

His Ma was the only person who knew. She'd planned on organizing a formal ball to announce their union, make it official. Compared to the hidden backwater thing they did when they were too young to really understand what it meant, it—... it would have been special. The Wolves never took much stock in her word, even as their Queen, but she... she'd been so proud of them. For choosing love, for—...

 

A disgrace.

 

Some King.

 

Can't even turn.

 

Halfblood weakli—.

 

Stevie...”

 

Steve takes a breath. Then finally unlocks the door with the spare key Bucky hands to him. He might be the only blessing he has left in all of this. He sticks close to Steve. And when Steve sits down, Bucky's there, down to his knees just to comfort him, arms resting on Steve's lap and lookin' at him. He's pulled down the hood of his cloak.

 

Steve wants to cry, he wants to let go. But despite it, the tears won't come.

 

His Ma's gone, and he can't shed a single tear for her.

 

The house is empty. And Bucky notices.

 

Where... where is everyone?”

 

I sent them home...”

 

Like... fired them?”

 

Not exactly...”

 

Then why would they just... Steve?”

 

I told them all to go home, Buck.”

 

But—.”

 

Ireland. They all went back. I didn't give them a choice.”

 

Bucky's eyes widen at the implication. There's only one designation of Lycan that can do that. He knew Steve was special, he didn't think...

 

First one in 12 generations and I'm a piss poor excuse for a Wolf. They wouldn't say, but they're all afraid of me. Can't even turn, and they're all afraid of me. She never told them. She was going to... but she didn't get the chance.”

 

Stevie... they just don't understand. It's been so long, but they'll need you. You're their King and—.”

 

M'not... I can't be. I'm just a kid with the King's blood in me... a halfbreed. Never even met him. I don't know who I'm supposed to be or what I'm supposed to do, Buck...”

 

You don't hafta be anything, Stevie... and no matter what happens, I'll be with you... I'm with you 'til the end a the line... you know that...”

 

It's those words that finally have the tears streaming down Steve's face. He knows he's crying on his mate. He knows he's not anything he should be for a pack Alpha. For a King of his people. But somehow... as long as he has Bucky, that's okay. With him, it's always been okay...

 

Bucky comforts him, and Steve leans down to take that comfort, kissing him like they haven't done in a while. He knows he shouldn't. They shouldn't fall on this pattern. This habit of using sex to wash away all the bad and not think about it. They'll make mistakes if they do this. But some part of him can't help it. He needs Bucky...

 

And he doesn't want to think right now...

 

Still...

 

He has to force himself to pull away. He can't do this to Bucky, use him like this when...

 

I should probably get the fire going...”

 

The house is cold. It has been since...

 

Bucky only looks at him a moment, then with a wave of his hand, the flames are lit. Strong and warm. That warmth spreading through the room quickly enough with his magic. Steve doesn't smile or smirk like he normally does. He can't bring himself to, even if he knows Bucky is worrying.

 

And those eyes, glowing like the moon. A stunning silver as if toned with ultraviolet and the soft blues of his magic. The only silver Steve's ever been able to be anywhere near. That he's ever thought beautiful...

 

It's okay, Stevie...”

 

And Bucky knows how to break him down, every time... he's the only person who can. Who Steve would ever let in. He kisses him again. And the next he knows, he's pushed Bucky onto that carpet. Looming over him, sitting between his legs and Bucky's letting him. Steve may not be able to transform, not in any way that counts... but he still feels the moon like any other Lycan...

 

They lose their clothes before he notices, and now Bucky's under him, naked and moaning softly, trying to catch his breath. He always cums so easily, but then, the Fae don't take that long to couple. Short, rapid, and repeated sessions are what the species prefers. Almost like rabbits. Steve had found it cute that first time. Wolves are almost the opposite. Especially with knotting.

 

He's dipped two fingers where he shouldn't, and looks at the surprise on Bucky's face passively. He knows what he's doing and what he wants to do. What he shouldn't do, but it's not until he scents the fear rising in Bucky's scent that it really weighs down on him and he stops to look.

 

He's lined up on Bucky's pussy. The seam spread and those slick folds being rubbed by the head of his cock. Bucky hasn't made a move to stop him, but he's trembling.

 

Steve pulls away. Bucky protests when he notices enough to open his eyes and stop trembling.

 

Stevie—.”

 

You don't want this...”

 

I—.”

 

You're scared... I can scent your fear... You're not ready, Buck. It's okay... You don't have to do this for my sake.”

 

I... I'm just... *sigh*... I'm only scared for what it might mean for the future. I don't know if my magic's strong enough, I don't know the spells. I've caught glimpses, but...”

 

The Elders still didn't know and Bucky might as well be as sheltered a Prince as they come. He's supposed to preserve himself until he forms a bond with another Fae the Elders might approve of. Or another moon blessed, compatible Cryptid of Royal lineage. The Elders may like Steve, but it's clear Bucky's not the person they would consider his union to be the most beneficial with. And he's still too young in their eyes...

 

I'm not ready for a... a baby... but I want this, I want you... I'll have time, right? To get used to the idea... if it happens. Or... maybe it wouldn't, maybe I could—.”

 

No... you're at your most fertile right now, I can smell it. You always are during the full moon... think I was actin' on instinct. If they find out like this... We shouldn't.”

 

... Are you sure we can't—.”

 

I want to get you pregnant, Buck... Every full moon, even if I can't... change... I can feel it. Whatever we could do, I wouldn't trust myself... And I wouldn't wanna do that to you...”

 

But you're still—.”

 

I can manage... I have before...”

 

Bucky stays quiet a moment. The red that's come to his cheeks is beautiful. But there's never a moment he isn't... the Fae are famously known for it, after all. Steve picks up the nectar sweet scent after a moment. Floral. The Fae tend to have a floral scent... Bucky always smells like a rose, but sweeter... Familiar enough, it calms him down.

 

You don't have to... I don't want you to. Even if we don't... there are other ways.”

 

Steve's breath hitches when Bucky pushes himself closer, taking his hand and intertwining their fingers as his other wraps around Steve's hardened length.

 

Bucky—.”

 

As long as you're with me, I'll be okay.”

 

Steve takes another breath. It's the easiest way they've managed to avoid it. Bucky's not as sensitive there, but it's still good for both of them. Enough to stave off the worst and keep it a secret. Steve just isn't sure he can stray like he has for much longer. Every time, the urges get stronger...

 

Are you sure?”

 

I trust you...”

 

He gives a nod before kissing Bucky again. He doesn't wanna pull away this time, but he has to pause to make sure he's not gonna mess this up and hurt Bucky. In the end, he manages. Bucky's looking up at him while Steve pushes inside him. Magic used to ease the path and make it slicker than it could be on its own. The seam on Bucky's perineum stays closed. But Steve can see it. See the way the pressure of each thrust just under it is affecting Bucky. See the way it opens slightly with the movement. It's a temptation, but this is enough.

 

He's satisfied with just this.

 

.oOo.

 

When Steve woke up, it took a moment to realize he'd been crying. His eyes opened slowly and he took a breath. James was curled into his side, clinging tightly. He'd held himself closer to Steve, as close as he could since that night. Always scared to step away, to...

 

Bucky...

 

He remembered... the name of—. His face...

 

He took another breath as he sat up looking down at James. From the angled jaw with softened edges, the cleft in his chin, sweet eyes, plush lips... god... everything in his dream had been James...

 

The only difference... eyes that stared back at him with an innocence and purity Steve still longed for... James looked at him with eyes that had long since lost any hope...and even those had been one and the same... His hair was longer, darker. But those same beautiful curls existed in those brunet tresses.

 

But it just couldn't be—No... he was projecting... he had to be. He was sure they shared some resemblance, maybe... but he knew this was just his mind playing tricks on him, pushing him to believe what he wanted more than anything to be true. But he knew it couldn't be.

 

He knew it far too well...

 

Maybe it had been the reason he couldn't deny James... the reason he found himself wanting to protect him, to keep him, falling for him...

 

There was a blush on his cheeks as he blew a puff of breath. He was still trying to hang tight, but his limbs were limp in his deep sleep. Steve laid back down and pulled him in, feeling James unconsciously cling tighter. Whatever he was dreaming, Steve could scent how it was affecting him... smell the slick wetting his cunt.

 

Considering his own dream and half hard state, it was probably a bad idea to hold James so close. But Steve had been just full of bad ideas lately, hadn't he?

 

It didn't take much longer for James' breathing to change in that state either. For his eyes to open, looking at Steve before taking in his surroundings. His skin was flush and it was clear, he still felt the effects of whatever he was dreaming. He blushed deeper looking at Steve, who despite everything, couldn't help the smile.

 

“Hey...”

 

“Did I do something?”

 

Steve couldn't help the smile getting a little bigger when he saw James blush even deeper.

 

“No... you were... dreaming...”

 

“Oh...”

 

James seemed a little embarrassed, but only curled himself into Steve's warmth as if to hide it, rather than pulling away. Steve pressed a kiss to his forehead, holding him closer, hearing James gasp when he felt Steve press into his thigh just slightly. Steve was embarrassed to admit it only made him harder. It had been a few more weeks since... and they'd fallen into a habit. James only seemed to want more sex, as if to distract Steve. As if to hide something else. But Steve couldn't deny him.

 

The moon was fast approaching once more... but he couldn't let go...

 

James leaned up to kiss him as he brought a hand down to start stroking Steve. The taste of sugar on his lips, always sweet. Steve sometimes wondered how he tolerated what must have been the permanent taste of blood and bone in his mouth. The permanent taste of hunt. By comparison... flowers, stone fruit, sweet and soft... Roses... peaches and plums, nectar and blossoms, sugar from fruit and the heavy lace of milk, cream. The undertone. The change. The stronger it got, the more Steve wanted to bury himself in it. By comparison... he'd expect James to be repulsed.

 

He never was...

 

Steve barely managed to pull himself away, now fully hard, scenting the sweetness of James' matched arousal. He took another breath as he felt James slide one of his legs over Steve's hip. So he could barely feel the wetness of his cunt right on the head. All it would take was a single thrust...

 

“We can't... spend the day having sex. I have to...”

 

He lost track of his words as he felt James take in just the tip. His hand came to grip the boy's thigh, keeping him in place as he rolled them both. To have James under him, sitting between his legs once more. He took another breath. But he couldn't help himself, slipping further in as he pulled James up so he'd be sitting in his lap. Hands gripped on his ass as those legs tightened up around his waist. James pushed himself forward for another kiss, clenching around Steve now filling him, stretching his pussy as much as it could take. His hips taking a slow movement in Steve's lap as they met with each kiss.

 

Steve let himself be toppled over, looking up at James, holding his hips steady as he moved them, meeting him with small jolts of his own hips. It was almost too easy to watch him be unraveled... every time. The small gasps and moans he let out. And still, there was something in him that unraveled Steve. Not able to stop his own breath hitching when he felt delicate fingers barely brush his abdominals. He grabbed his wrists and pulled him further in, stealing another kiss before taking a firmer hold on James' hips and ass. Helping him fuck himself down on Steve's cock.

 

When he felt James' movements falter, his hips stuttering as the tightened fluttering started up, Steve rolled him back over to fuck him through it. A nip at his neck as he dug into the flesh of a smooth thigh, pulling it over his hip. James was losing the grip of his legs around Steve's waist.

 

Steve was fine with that.

 

He thought it was beautiful. Could barely help himself.

 

There were so many qualities James shared with the Fae... so many... too many. He might have thought he was one. He hadn't remembered but... now... he remembered too well. From the feel of his skin to the lack of body hair, the secret slit that almost seemed like a hidden prize. Curiosity and mischievous behavior. The beauty in everything he was...

 

But iron didn't seem to have any ill effects on him.

 

A reminder he couldn't be...

 

Grant...

 

Steve came back to himself as his first orgasm shook him. Long since losing track of time or how many times James had come apart in his arms. Feeling him tremble and clench up under him. As he filled him, buried in the deepest part of him. He could feel the cum that James had released splattered on his own abdomen, still warm but already cooling. He knew they couldn't waste the day having sex... but he wanted to... and he was having trouble finding reasons not to.

 

He was still hard but he pulled out anyway. His body had been aching to knot since that second time he'd fucked him. Steve had been denying himself every time, but he managed. He didn't want to hurt James. He knew he had the first time. He was satisfied with just this...

 

He carried James to the bathroom. The least they could do was get a shower out of the way. But James seemed to sense that his body wanted more. Not even bothering to clean himself as he made to be that much more enticing in Steve's arms. The cleft of his ass pressed against Steve's dick. When Steve made no move, he leaned forward so the man could see what was offered. He couldn't have ever hoped to deny the invitation.

 

He leaned over James and firmly placed a hand on his hip, slightly tugging him and keeping him in place. He used his other hand to guide himself there. That same place, still slightly swollen and agape. Used. Claimed. Still wet and leaking. He entered James slowly, watching his penis slip into that warm and welcoming body. Pausing to admire the scene once he was fully seated inside of James' pussy.

 

Steve could see both. Both holes, both prizes... A reminder... he swallowed thickly. One plugged up, stretched tight around him in pure euphoria... But he wanted both. To claim him fully. In every place, to know every part of him. The hand he used to guide himself slipped a thumb along the second hole. Pink and soft, a puckered puff of skin. It stretched fairly easily. And Steve couldn't help but relish in the gasp James gave before he moved that same hand over the younger man's belly to pull him tighter against him. To push deeper into him.

 

The hand that had been firmly holding James' hip came to his mouth, two fingers slipping in and the boy didn't bother hesitating. Licking and sucking as Steve held him tight, thrusting into him from behind as the water fell.

 

They ended up wasting all the heated water.

 

But Steve managed to quell the feeling, the need to knot... if only by satisfying a different urge altogether. One he regret immediately. The moment he realized what he'd done. He barely noticed when he'd started nipping on James' nape, his neck, his skin. It was something he did often, but he always stopped himself from sinking his teeth in.

 

This time he didn't.

 

This time... he didn't notice until after he'd bit down on that delicate skin. Until after he could taste sweet blood on his tongue, lapping up the wound so it would close, heal and scar over. He didn't notice until he saw James looking back at him, wide eyed in surprise. Embarrassment and slight fear in his scent. The mating bite clear as day marked in his neck. On his nape. Blood missed slipping down with the water.

 

And Steve could only stare in his own surprise once his actions had fully registered.

 

What had he done?

 

.oOo.

Chapter Text

.oOo.

 

It wouldn't take...

 

It couldn't take.

 

And still, Bucky found himself worrying. Clenching his fists near tight enough to turn his knuckles white as Grant cleaned and dressed the wound. The bite mark. The bond mark.

 

He hadn't meant it. Bucky knew that. He was likely just acting, or rather, reacting to his instincts. He'd protected Bucky... it wasn't a far stretch for the Wolf to want to mate him. He'd certainly been mating with him. Even so, Bucky couldn't get rid of the different feelings that came with it. A strange form of relief and something... something else... Something he knew shouldn't be there, couldn't be there.

 

Hydra couldn't have undone him so much that he—.

 

No, it just... Steve and him had formed a Fae's Bond... a Handfasting when they were young... and it would have kept him from being bound to anyone else. It was supposed to... But then again... it was also supposed to keep him faithful... make the idea of betrayal repulsive and cause pain when he denied the bond. It was supposed to last forever... even in death. Even if—.

 

Hydra had wanted to use him for so much, but they couldn't have—.

 

“I'm sorry...”

 

Bucky's breath hitched at the words... He knew Grant was, but maybe worrying for a different reason than just a bond...

 

Steve never bit him. It would have completed their marriage in every sense, strengthened their bond. In magic. In blood. They'd performed the Fae's Ceremony, but not the Wolves'... They wanted to... but with their relationship kept a secret for so long... They never got the chance to... There were so many things they never got the chance for...

 

It's... okay...

 

Bucky said the words, but the immediate sigh Grant gave in response told him he knew it was a lie. He felt the tears falling before he could stop them. His mind reeling over impossible possibilities and his heart beating too quickly over what he felt.

 

“James...”

 

Bucky wiped at his tears, unable to respond for a moment. Grant's response was even softer...

 

Jamie...

 

The tears fell harder as Bucky had to catch his breath. He'd called him that a few times. Bucky was too ashamed to admit that hearing a nickname, a pet name... from Grant's lips made his heart sing. But how much further did he have to fall?

 

If there was anything of the bond left—.

 

I'm sorry—I... it's just... hurts—... t-the... it's painful...

 

An easy enough excuse. But maybe a different type of pain than what Grant could assume. He only gave pause for a moment before getting up to get something else. A salve of some kind. Smooth and soothing... it calmed Bucky down with each small mark he passed it over, enough to stop the tears and sting of the bite. Enough to ease the pain. The magic of it was... familiar...

 

He took another breath, wiping the last of the tears as he turned to look at Grant. The apology written on his face was enough to make Bucky feel guilty. He'd pushed him into this, his company on Grant when the man—the Wolf—had been without contact for what had likely been years.

 

Play with fire, expect to be burned...

 

'There's more to this.'

 

'Yes, yes.'

 

'Not your fault.'

 

'Not his fault.'

 

'He needs you!'

 

'You need him...'

 

Le Fae, this was not the time... He took a glance at the small pot in Grant's hand. Small, but beautiful. Colorfully decorated ceramic with intricate gold vines laced in the design. Small gems in each flower... roses, and a much larger gem on the cover with the mirage of a rose inside, more gold vines spreading from the center. A simple spell of magic so it would seal perfectly and preserve what was inside. A sweetly calming fragrance. Minty, herbal... notes of honey to promote healing. Soft magic entwined with the cream.

 

A Faerie's Salve...

 

A real one... not like the crudely prepared version he'd managed to scrounge together when he escaped Hydra. No, this one was... made with immense love... for someone who—for someone who—.

 

H-hey! It's fine! I'm fine, Buck, it's just a scratch!”

 

But it couldn't—.

 

He knew his mind was playing tricks on him, but he couldn't stop himself from asking before he realized.

 

Where... where did you get that? W-what is it?

 

Grant seemed to take a breath before responding. Topping it before he did.

 

“I... someone I cared... deeply about... gave it to me. Supposed to help with healing... Hardly use it. Hardly ever have a reason to... I...”

 

Something in Bucky could see the way Grant was affected. Speaking before he could continue on that track.

 

It works... thank you...

 

It didn't seem to do much. He'd been the one to bite Bucky, and yet it was clear he was on the verge of breaking down.

 

I'm so sorry, Jamie...

 

Bucky shook his head, or tried to, to reassure him. He couldn't think of words to say, and he was at a loss watching the shame consume the man he faced. His heart seized. His chest hurt. A man with so much strength, and so easily broken. Bucky had been his undoing. And the longer he stayed...

 

“I'll be okay...”

 

Grant didn't seem to believe him as he tried to hide his own tears from Bucky. Bucky made sure he knew he was forgiven by moving to sit in his lap and taking both large, rough hands in his own smaller ones, closing them over the small pot before one moved to the side of Grant's face, fingers run through his beard. Bucky made sure those blue eyes saw his own and that what he'd said was true.

 

He would be fine. If the bond couldn't take, then it wouldn't. And if it could... Then would being bound to this man really be so bad?

 

Would he really deny him just to hold onto faded memories of a boy long since dead?

 

Every part of him begged him to stay, screaming, desperate. Every part of him drew him closer to Grant, yearning for him. And even through the man's own fears, his own worries and instincts, Grant had done nothing but protect him when he could have just been rid of him from the start, thrown him to the hunters and spared himself the trouble. When he could have just eaten him.

 

Bucky had been so caught up in his own selfishness that he hadn't stopped for a single moment to simply think and ask why—...

 

“I'm okay...”

 

Grant ended up holding him close until he calmed down. While the salve did it's work. And when he finally did, he finished up covering it with soft cotton gauze and medical tape. And even then... something in him still wracked with guilt, worry, fear... He held Bucky close when he finished, pressing a soft kiss over the covered wound. Holding him as if he might lose him... as if he already had. Bucky wasn't sure what else to do but let him.

 

Eventually, Grant forced himself to pull away.

 

“I have to... head into town today... I... we need some supplies. Have a few things to trade...”

 

'He doesn't want to leave you...'

 

“I... you're leaving?”

 

Bucky tried not to let the near panic show but he couldn't help the sudden overwhelming sensation.

 

“Not if... not if you don't want me to. I didn't think—... I wasn't sure you'd want me to stay after I...”

 

'He needs to...'

 

'But he's worried.'

 

Bucky knew that if he asked Grant to stay, he would. If he asked... If he asked, Grant would continue where they'd stopped. Hold him throughout the day, wasting it away at Bucky's request. He also knew he shouldn't have this kind of hold on him. Not when he'd imposed his stay, not when Grant had only wanted to be left alone.

 

'He's happy you're here.'

 

'He wants you by his side.'

 

Bucky also didn't want to be alone... not right now. Not after—...

 

He held his tongue. And after a moment, Grant gave another breath but got up to go. He seemed to pause and pace for a minute, then took one of the keys from his key ring and handed it to Bucky. He recognized it. The one from the library... gorgeously matching the doors it was for. Golden, ornate, another rose design and a gem met—... at the center. Upon closer inspection, smaller ones aligning it in peculiar pattern, each with their own unique magical signature. Likely meant for the doors to not be able to unlock without them. It was designed to come apart if needed... and more magic held it together.

 

More Fae's artifacts... a Sanctuary key. But he hadn't felt unwelcome when he...

 

“It's the key to the library. It's the safest room here. If anything happens...”

 

He looked as if he wanted to say more but refrained from speaking. He didn't need to mention Hydra. How he knew Bucky was worried. Or that he was worried about Bucky.

 

Bucky closed his hand around the key, remaining silent as Grant left. And as soon as he did—.

 

.oOo.

 

Grant!

 

Admittedly, Steve didn't expect to hear from James for the rest of the day. Not after what he'd done. Not after—.

 

His breath hitched when he saw him. The same cloak that... Bucky wore. In his dream, in his memory...

 

His heart clenched as his mind flashed images before him. An overlap of the boy he loved and—. He had to turn away for a moment, force himself to calm down. He didn't know. He didn't know. Steve hadn't even remembered when he'd given him that cloak. And still, he couldn't pull away for very long, wanting to see him.

 

James was so gorgeous... more than words could describe, more than he knew. The curls of his hair fell out of the hood just slightly, and the pure white fur of the trim highlighted the color in his hair and skin. Pale flesh, almost ethereal, but with a near constant peachy blush from the cold of winter. His hair was starting to lighten at the ends. Likely from the days he spent in gentle sun with Steve, tending the roses. His lips were a vibrant vermillion with a touch of pink, the color still managing to hold a softness to it that almost looked how they felt. And his eyes...

 

Moonlit silver with an undertone like ultraviolet...

 

He took another breath. The tones of magic, the soft blues... weren't there. And yet...

 

“I can—... let me come with you...

 

Steve hadn't wanted to leave him alone in this place. But he hadn't suggested it either because he knew he'd already done enough. He could already feel the new bond settling into place...And he was starting to wonder if James would ever be able to forgive him once he fully understood what it meant. He was still worrying about what it might mean for the next full moon...

 

“I thought you might—.”

 

I don't want to be alone...

 

It was more than that. Steve could tell. But James' eyes were still a bit red from all the tears he'd wiped away. And every part of him had hated the idea of having to leave him here alone. He gave a sigh before a nod. James pushed himself closer as Steve unlocked the shed, remembering—.

 

“I—wait here.”

 

Maybe not the best thing for James to see right now...

 

He went in and closed the door, making sure to lock it. Even if he'd cleaned up, kept everything neat and organized, it didn't change what was there. He moved passed the knives to his other tools. Checking each of the gas canisters. It couldn't hurt to refill the empty ones, the one he'd been using was close to it but it had enough left to manage with. He opened up the garage area and set them down, making sure to close and lock it once he'd got them all. Then finally unlocking and sliding open the double doors for James to come in.

 

He looked surprised but quickly walked to Steve. Quiet as he saw him refilling the tank and loading up the extra empties in one of the saddlebags. The other one was already loaded with what he did have to trade. Steve paused when he finished, taking another glance at James.

 

“I don't really... I never got the chance to put in a passenger seat...”

 

He'd lost his reason to after... after...

 

“Oh...”

 

James' blush gave a more clear response, but Steve made quick to amend his words.

 

“I can... If you sit in front of me, I can make sure you're still safe. I can go slow if that worries you.”

 

James shook his head but he blushed deeper. Steve sat down and helped him settle in front of him, adjusting his cloak so it wouldn't get caught on anything but keep him warm. He could feel how tense James was and his reaction was almost instinctive, wrapping his arm around his waist and holding him tight. He immediately felt him relax... and Steve's mind drifted to his scent as he held him close. Always sweet...

 

The ride there was nothing special. Steve tended to avoid as much attention as possible, but he could immediately note the difference in how many people noticed him once he got there with James. Parked and chained the bike.

 

He supposed he couldn't blame them... The beauty James held was fairly difficult to ignore. And as far as towns went, this one was mixed. Sometimes they weren't. But this one was close enough to a major city for Humans and Cryptids to live together. Just maybe not as peacefully as one could hope. Steve stopped giving a damn a long time ago.

 

He took what he had to trade out first, handing the satchel of materials to James to carry. The gas canisters could wait for the moment. James seemed wary and kept close. Enough to end up bumping into Steve a few times, but he couldn't say he minded. Just that he was worried. Still, it was business as usual. He sold what he had to move on to the next task. Although James did seem a bit surprised by something. And then something else that made him cling tighter...

 

They were getting a few groceries when Steve felt James grab his arm.

 

He almost wasn't sure how to respond.

 

“Jamie?”

 

But he only shook his head and said nothing.

 

Steve could only sigh as he paid for what they needed. Fresh bread, some cheeses, milk, livestock meats, eggs, rice, oats, potatoes, and a variety of other vegetables. James had wanted a few more things. Flour, a variety of sugars, butter, cream, fruits, a few pastries and candies. Even what he liked... Steve couldn't tell him no. The saddlebags were fairly large, always enough for the necessities in one. And while the other would be occupied with gas canisters and a few other tools and materials, he also knew anything extra, James could carry in the satchel and hold it on their way back.

 

He organized them as best he could before locking up the saddlebag. The sweets and sugars James had wanted ended up being what went in the satchel. Steve helped him organize them so nothing would get damaged, hoping it wasn't too heavy. James insisted he was fine and it was clear he had his own strength, but Steve couldn't help but worry. The next step was filling up the canisters which was easy enough. He filled up the tank along with them. There was enough gas to get back but it would put more time between now and the next time he needed to do this.

 

James watched him and still stuck close by as he did. When he finished, there were still a few more things he needed from the hardware store, but he could already tell that James was getting tired. He was likely bored out of his mind but he tended to keep quiet when he was.

 

“James? I'm almost done here, was there anywhere you wanted to go before we left? Something you wanted to see?”

 

He shook his head at first, but when he started blushing, Steve raised a brow. His glance over at the Hex shop and additional blush gave him away. He'd noticed him looking in the same direction earlier, specifically when they were at that same Herbal shop and Nursery next to it. He'd also noticed James staring at the seeds and saplings but he hadn't said anything then either...

 

Maybe it was time he...

 

He took a breath. If he ended up back here sooner rather than later... it would be worth it. He told James to wait outside as he got what he needed. Polish and varnishes, a glossy coating resin, wood stains, nails, screws, a few door hinges. He still had wood scraps back at the mansion but he could add a few to the order. Mainly, he needed locks, both for replacing the ones he couldn't repair and extras to have when new ones broke. He remembered the measurements perfectly in his mind but it would be easiest to order larger pieces and cut them down to size himself. There wasn't a lot he couldn't remember. Ironic how the one thing he cared to was the one thing that faded...

 

Almost too perfectly selective.

 

“Sir?”

 

He looked up before finishing up writing down the order. Glass panes. The framework should have still been intact, but if he needed to repair it, they wouldn't be able to provide what he needed. He ended up spending much more than he made but that was never really a problem for him. Some of the townspeople still seemed stunned when he paid them with Celtic gold though. When he finished up, he loaded in what he bought with the filled canisters and locked up the saddlebag.

 

He also noticed James still looking at the shop. James pulled down his hood and Steve could see the covered bite just under his hair... it reminded him of something else...

 

He'd already needed to talk to her, but this was more important...

 

“James...”

 

Bucky turned around to see Grant before putting the hood back up. He couldn't help blushing as the man crossed his arms and raised a brow. He supposed it was obvious by now and he couldn't stop the sigh either. Grant just gave a soft if slightly sad smile before walking over. But something in Bucky had him pull away when he reached out. And he wasn't sure why... it wasn't what he intended to do.

 

It felt unnatural.

 

But Grant only seemed surprised before giving a nod.

 

“I have... one more thing to do, someone to talk to. You're welcome to come in if you change your mind. I may be a minute.”

 

Bucky could only give a nod, but something was wrong, he could sense it, he could—.

 

He watched Grant enter the store, heard the little chime of the bell. Minutes passed but they stretched on. Too long. He felt locked. Trapped. Something was—. Someone had a hold on him. He knew this feeling. He knew this magic. Unraveling it would be—.

 

He only noticed them when they were close enough to recognize.

 

.oOo.