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Just Before Dawn

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Mark Bennett ran down the dirt path along Butterfield Lake, his paws digging into the soil. The first rays of the morning gleamed through a canopy of oak trees, bringing with them the promise of a new beginning. The last time he was here Thomas was the Alpha of all. And now Joe had taken on the mantle. Oh how things had changed over the years.  Memories of the past years flashed through Mark’s mind, a maelstrom of despair and comfort and joy and now pain again.

It had been one week since Robert and Gavin Livingstone’s dramatic exit. One week since a ripple of shock and uneasiness tore through their pack. Carter was a shell of himself. His eyes were sunken and faraway as he listened to Kelly’s and Elizabeth’s efforts to comfort him. They didn’t work. He spent most of the time in the wildlife refuge nearby, drowning in a sea of blue. One time Mark shifted to run along with him but Carter had snarled at him to stay away. Mark let him be.

Then there was Gordo.

A month ago, realizing that he had a secret brother was a revelation in itself. And now all of this. All Mark could do was be there for him.

Mark opened the door of the little cottage at the end of the dirt lane. He and Gordo were staying here for the time being, until they returned to Green Creek with Kelly, Jessie, Rico, Chris and the rest of the entourage. Joe and Elizabeth would stay behind to oversee their new allegiance in Caswell.

He shifted, his claws retracting and fur receding. He froze mid-shift. The strong pull of his tether took his breath away.

Leaves and dirt and rain

This was one thing he was thankful to Robert Livingstone for. His mate bond with Gordo was strengthened tenfold after he became a Beta again. There were bursts of green, vibrant relief. Sharper than before. The blue melancholy that he battled with for ages was fading almost.

He found his grumpy mechanic still in bed, skimming through a book. Gordo closed his eyes and smiled when Mark slid in next to him and pulled the covers over them.

“What’s the book about?” Mark asked, scarping his teeth over the mate mark on Gordo’s neck before kissing the spot. The raven in Mark’s throat fluttered its wings.

“Nordic witchcraft,” Gordo said, still smiling. He cleared his throat. “It mentions some rare instances of witches who’ve been bitten by wolves and lived to tell to the tale. Thought I should look into it.”

Mark pulled at Gordo’s shoulder till they lay facing each other. He traced his fingers over Gordo’s cheek, staring into the dark eyes that he loved so much. “We’ll figure this out, okay?”

Gordo nodded.

“We’ll get Gavin back, I promise you.”

Gordo scowled but he didn’t pull away.

“You know, I had a chance to kill him. Timber wolf—I mean, Gavin. Back when the hunters where holed up in my garage. It was before he started following Carter around like a puppy. I just couldn’t do it for some reason.”

Mark frowned at that piece of information. “What are you saying? Do you want to kill him now?”

“What? No! I mean, this was back when he was one of Elijah’s pets. Way before I found out that he was my—

Gordo groaned and rubbed his unharmed hand over his face.” This is so complicated, Mark. I feel like I’m losing my mind.”

“Hey, that used to be my line.”

Gordo laughed, the sound tinkling and full of relief. “Flash me your eyes again,” he ordered.

Mark obliged, his eyes turning deep orange before reverting back to the usual frozen blue. He was asked to do that a lot this past week. He didn’t mind at all. Gordo grinned and pulled him closer to press their lips together.

“I hated seeing the violet in them before,” Gordo whispered vehemently against his lips. “You have no idea how glad—

Mark cupped his cheek and kissed him again, slow and sweet. “I know. I know, Gordo.”

Gordo pressed his nose against Mark’s cheek. Mark pulled him closed and Gordo sighed softly and tucked his head under Mark’s chin. The roses on Gordo’s arms blossomed, covering the runes and other symbols. A din of PackMateGordoLove washed over Mark, and he let himself revel in the moment.

Over the past year and a half, a change had come over Gordo. Mark’s nephews and the shop guys still called him a cranky sonuvabitch, and most of the time he was just that. But within the four walls of Marty’s house, over late evenings and quiet dinners, Gordo showed a softer side of himself. He let himself be coddled by Mark and smiled and laughed and pouted and filled Mark’s heart with a joyous wolfsong.

He also grew more comfortable talking things over. He called it “feelings and shit” talk, but still. There was some progress there. And now Mark always knew when something heavy was weighing on Gordo’s mind—like it did right now. But pushing him would be a mistake, Mark had found. Gordo needed to mull it over and spill it in his own sweet time.

It didn’t take much long.

“You know that last video call with Michelle Hughes at the pack house? When my father spoke?”

Mark nodded.

“When my father said he wanted his son back, for a moment I….I was happy,” Gordo said, his voice wispy and faraway.

Mark stared at him.

Gordo flinched and closed his eyes. “For a horrible moment I forgot that he was an evil psychopath who murdered all those people. I just—the last time I heard from him was when I was twelve. Back when I thought he was this powerful and amazing witch who would do so much good in the world. And when he said he wanted his son back, I became that twelve year old boy again. For one horrible moment.”

“Gordo…” Mark started. His heart ached and he didn’t know how to reassure his mate.

“What kind of person does that make me?” Gordo whispered.

“That makes you a good son. Not that Livingstone deserves that from you.”

Gordo snorted. “You would say that. You’re my mystical moon magic mate.”

And then, "Argh! I hate Team Human for making that stick.”

Mark chuckled and ran his thumb over Gordo’s lip. “I kinda like it.”

Gordo stared at him thoughtfully, his forehead creased in a frown. “My father said Abel knew. About Wendy Walsh.”

Mark nodded grimly. It had been quite a shock to him when Robert Livingstone had said that his father revealed the true nature of wolves and witches to Wendy Walsh, in an attempt to separate them both. And it made Mark wonder if his brother knew about Gavin all along. Would Thomas have kept such a monumental secret from Gordo?

But both Thomas and Abel were ashes now. All Mark could do was speculate. “Since your father is a witch and Wendy is human, it is possible Gavin was born a witch too. And somewhere along the line he got bitten and turned feral.”

Gordo nodded, but he was looking at Mark oddly. Mark’s stomach flipped. He knew where this was going.

“You need to be bitten by an Alpha to turn into a werewolf,” Gordo said mildly.

“Gordo. My dad—he would never hurt a child, a baby, like that. He must have gotten something wrong.”

“But you gotta admit, Mark. For all his altruism and kindness, Abel always put his pack first. So if he thought my dad’s mistress and his illegitimate child were a threat to his pack, were a threat to me somehow, he would’ve resorted to any means to take them out of the equation. Maybe not by violence, but still.”

Gordo had a point there. Abel had indoctrinated in Thomas and Mark the importance of their pack, how it preceded everything else. “You’re right,” Mark said. “Dad was always a little cuckoo when it came to the pack.”

Gordo nodded. “We're just going round in circles right now. Speculating stuff. We need to deal with the current problem first.”

“What do you mean?”

“Carter.”

Mark sighed. His nephew was on the verge of a breakdown, looming over the edge. Something had to give. Gordo knew too. The whole pack knew. But nothing could get through to Carter. Kelly’s pleas. Elizabeth’s quiet assurances. Nothing worked.

“A change of scene could help him,” Mark said. “When we get back to Green Creek, he will hop on back to his mayoral duties. Maybe that’ll keep his mind off things.”

Gordo sighed against Mark’s chest. “Yeah you’re right. Fuck, I’m dying to get back to my garage.”

Mark hummed and palmed the curve of Gordo’s ass before giving him a good squeeze. “I could do an oil check, if you want.”

Gordo propped himself up on one elbow and glared down at Mark. “You did not just say that. You’re never getting laid again.”

Mark arched an eyebrow at him. “That was a lie.”

“Stop listening to my heartbeat, you asshole!”

Mark laughed and tightened his hold. Gordo continued to glare at him but he gasped when Mark’s finger brushed against his hole.

Oh yeah. Mark could see his resolve crumbling. Ever since Mark had turned Beta they were getting it on like bunnies. Gordo’s skin was adorned with indentations from claws and sharp teeth. He always begged for more. Pleading Mark to cover him with his scent. To claim him. And Mark did just that. Over and over again.

During the brief time Mark was Omega, their sex was cautious. Mark was worried about losing himself to his wolf and hurting Gordo. But now with his sanity intact all bets were off.

In one fluid motion Mark rolled them, Gordo still securely wrapped in his arms. Gordo laughed and wrapped his legs around Mark’s waist, latching onto him. A low rumble rose through Mark’s chest as he swept his tongue between Gordo’s lips, coaxing him open. Gordo moaned and kissed him back hungrily. His tattoos glowed brighter as they rocked their hips, desire slowly building between them.

Mark worried at Gordo’s lips some more, now slick and swollen pink, before nipping at Gordo’s throat again. Gordo’s hand skimmed over Mark’s shaved head as his kisses trailed south. Mark missed seeing them blackened with grease and oil.

Mark scraped his teeth over the tattoo of the brown wolf on Gordo’s chest. His wolf.  He still gave Gordo shit for it, but he secretly loved that Gordo chose to commemorate their relationship that way, even though he had done it for closure at the time.

Gordo cursed at Mark when he bypassed his hard and leaking cock entirely. The curse turned into a whimper when Mark pulled his ass cheeks apart and pressed his tongue against Gordo’s hole.

Mark loved eating Gordo out. For a man who was always so gruff and rugged to the outside world, Gordo was wonderfully receptive in bed. And Mark lived for it. Gordo gasped and arched his back as Mark lapped at his hole hungrily.

There had been days in the past when Gordo had come from rimming alone. When Mark would take him apart with his tongue for long, frenzied minutes, and Gordo would cry out with his head tipped back and toes curling as he came with only the slightest of touches to his cock. This time Mark wanted to be inside him when that happened. After licking Gordo one last time with the broad flat of his tongue, he pulled back and sat up, staring down at his utterly ravished mate.

Mark grinned lazily as Gordo narrowed his eyes at him. The raven in his arm had its wings outstretched, ready to take flight.

Still glaring at him, Gordo reached beneath his pillow and pulled out the bottle of lube they had been using. He swatted Mark’s hand away when he reached for it.

“No. If you’re teasing me, I get to tease you some too.”

Mark was on board with that. He sat on his heels and watched Gordo press a slick finger to his hole, his lips parting in a soundless gasp as he pushed in. Lust coursed through Mark’s veins, raw and primal, and he growled through a mouthful of fangs.

Gordo smirked at him and pushed a second finger into his hole, doing more prep than strictly necessary. They had fucked in the early hours of the morning.

Mark took himself in hand, not looking away from his mate as he stroked his cock slowly.

Gordo bit his lip and his gasp came out in a stutter as he watched Mark. He spread his legs wider, almost inadvertently, his body moving on its own accord, craving Mark’s touch.

The thread that bound them buzzed with a wild cacophony of GordoMateMineClaim. Mark could hear Gordo’s magic in his head, soaring and wild, and his wolf responded in kind. He swiped a thumb over the slit of his cock, now dripping precome.

“Oh fuck.” Gordo had his eyes closed as he fingered his hole. “I need you inside me so bad, Mark.”

Mark’s nostrils flared and he stroked himself faster. Gordo said his name so reverently. And Mark could see the desperation written all over him. But he couldn’t help but quip. “You’ve been saying that a lot this week.”

Gordo flashed him his signature murder eyebrows. “You wanna argue now or fuck?”

Mark waited with bated breath; he really didn’t want to ruin his chances. Gordo smirked evilly at him again. The bastard. After a tense second, Gordo beckoned him and Mark pounced on him in a flash. He gathered Gordo up in his arms and kissed him for all he was worth.

Mark angled his head to deepen the kiss. His fangs bruised against Gordo’s tongue, his hard cock nudged against Gordo’s slick hole and he thought he was going to lose his mind in the best goddamn way. Only this time his tether wasn’t his only redemption.

Gordo had one leg hiked up on Mark’s shoulder, and his eyes were full of unwavering devotion. That was all the go ahead Mark needed to push in.

The tug of Gordo’s body around him as he pressed in was sheer perfection. Gordo’s eyes never left his as he began rocking his hips slowly. The roses in his arm were fully blossomed, bright red petals covering the stump on his arm.

Gordo’s gasps turned into needy little whimpers when Mark began jacking him off. Mark could feel his magic roaring in the bonds between them, entwining with his wolfsong.

The rocking of their bodies and the slap of skin on skin became a rhythm that Mark breathed to, in and out. He exhaled and closed his eyes, trying to narrow in on the physical sensations around him;

The firm press of Gordo’s heel on his chest,

The loud hammering of Gordo’s heartbeat,

The hot clench of Gordo’s ass around him,

Gordo Gordo Gordo

Mark’s eyes snapped open as Gordo cried out and clenched around his cock, his orgasm washing over him. Thick white spurts of come shoot onto his chest as Mark continued stroking his cock. Gordo writhed and squirmed under him, chanting Mark’s name.

Jolts of soul-shivering pleasure coursed through Mark’s spine as he chased his own orgasm, and he leaned forward and kissed Gordo.

“Come in me, Mark,” Gordo begged, voice strained. “I want to feel your come inside my—

Mark’s body shuddered, and his every nerve ending was on fire as he growled and emptied himself inside his mate.

Mark gripped Gordo’s ankles, almost bending him in half as he slowly pulled his spent cock from Gordo’s hole. The mischievous glint in Gordo’s eyes told him he knew what Mark was up to.

Gordo’s hole was still a little stretched open, pink and slick against his paler skin, and looked obscenely erotic dripping with Mark’s come.

Mark had taken to sometimes rimming him after fucking him, as he was doing now, flicking his tongue teasingly around Gordo’s still twitching hole, trying to catch his own seed.

“Hnnnng,” Gordo moaned, his hips jerking.

Mark rolled and wiggled his tongue, licking and licking until his mate was all cleaned up. He gave Gordo’s thigh a spank before crawling up his body to collapse beside him on the bed.

Gordo’s eyes were heavy lidded and a thin sheet of sweat covered his forehead. Mark felt a surge of affection for this wonderful man who had always been the most important thing in his life.

“We’ll figure it out. What we talked about earlier,” Mark said, cupping Gordo’s cheek.

“What were we talking about earlier?” Gordo asked blankly.

Mark chuckled and kissed his mate.