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Hassan awoke to warmth encompassing him, finding his face pressed into a head of long, dark hair. He immediately recognised the scent of his mate, relaxing into their sleepy embrace. Soft, even breathing graced his ears-- the priest remaining asleep, even with the room illuminated by the morning sun.

The sheriff shifted slightly, hands finding hips, nose nuzzling lower, resting in the crook of John’s neck. He sighed, lingering a moment before placing a trail of soft kisses to skin. A hand ran through the priest’s hair, cupping his jaw-- the man humming in response as sleep gradually dissipated.

Neither man had slept quite so well in ages, despite their tall forms and small bed in comparison.

John pulled away far enough to allow lips to meet, stealing a lazy morning kiss, to which Hassan graciously accepted. What began as a greeting escalated; the kiss deepening with a mutual hum, fangs nipping at lips, the act becoming more passionate with each passing, fleeting moment. 

Hassan wanted to stay like this forever, be greeted by such a sight every morning from here on out--

But the wolf remained unconvinced that such a union would work.

Hassan broke away, face flushed with heat. 

“Live with me,” he requested against his better judgement-- words tumbling from lips before he could comprehend what he was saying. 

John chuckled. “You forget my place at the church.”

“I didn’t forget, per se,” Hassan breathed, biting his lip. “I just don’t want to be apart.”

“You know where my heart lay, first and foremost,” the priest replied, referring to a higher power. “But… this is certainly placing such faith into consideration.”

“I’d never want to purposely come between you and your faith, John. As you would do the same for me.” Hassan closed his eyes. “I do not mean to make your life more complicated than it needs to be. I’m just-- selfish.”

Tears fell from his eyes before he could comprehend it. The sheriff had not experienced so many emotions and felt such intense love and heartache since his last mate had passed. Now he’d been blessed with a second-- and did not want to lose them too.

That was not a reality his heart could take.

John cupped his cheek, lips pressed in a thin line. “You have loved and suffered great loss before me-- something which I cannot begin to imagine.” A thumb wiped away a stray tear with care. “I promise to let no further torment be inflicted upon you. But I need… time. To readjust.”

Hassan nodded silently, swallowing down the lump in his throat. The priest dipped closer, placing a gentle, tender kiss to his lips.

“Please remember this; I care for you more than I have for another.” John took in a deep breath, releasing it with a sigh. “I promise you an answer before the next full moon.” 

Although it wasn’t much in terms of an answer, the priest’s word was his bond-- a commitment that he would see to fruition.

Hassan was pulled into a firm embrace, head pressed into the priest’s chest. It was warm and comforting, familiar and homely; a place he never wanted to leave. John ran a gentle hand up his back, moving in circles, soothing the wolf. There was a kiss pressed to his forehead, words mumbled, barely above a whisper--

“Until then... please wait for me, my wolf.”


*   *   *


Three weeks had passed. 

Hassan was not a patient man, but he had no choice. The two of them kept up their usual charade of being nothing more than associates; the town sheriff, and the resident priest-- two completely different worlds, rarely colliding.

Time was running out. It wouldn’t be long until the next full moon, yet Hassan had not heard an answer from John since that night-- albeit their casual, platonic conversations when the situation arose. 

Awaiting the priest’s answer was only one of the sheriff’s current problems.

Several years had come and gone since he’d lost his wife-- his mate, who he’d expected to have for a lifetime, and taken from him far too soon. Since then, he could admit that he’d been afraid of finding such love again. Worse yet, Hassan wanted to ensure that his son would never feel that his mother was being replaced.

Loneliness was not something new to him; but it was not a life he desired. His son was already growing up into a fine young man-- no doubt he would one day awaken to find Ali living his own life, being his own, independent person.

Where would that leave him? A sheriff, on a tiny, remote island-- living alone in a town of people who had no care for him--

Other than one in particular. 

Hassan continued to cling to the hope that he and John could have something together, and if that were the case-- then it was important for him to have such conversations with his son, first and foremost-- before their relationship escalated further.

But for now, he was thankful that the sun was setting, allowing him to finally turn in for the day. Possible scenarios and conversations were playing over in his mind, and he pondered how Ali may react to discovering his newfound relationship with the town priest, of all people--

Considering his son’s newfound interest in catholicism, he couldn’t help but cringe internally at the sinful nature of the relationship he shared with the priest. Explaining how such a union came to fruition would be… difficult.

Stepping into his home, Hassan shut the door behind him, sighing with relief as he kicked off his boots. He promptly removed his jacket, hanging it the usual place by the door, allowing himself a moment to relax. He was tired, hungry, and in need of rest-- mentally and physically.

“Ali,” he called, walking into the living room. “Son-- I need to speak to you.”

“What’s wrong?” Ali asked, perking up from the couch. He was packing his bag with haste, paying only half attention to his father. “Is it about your new mate?”

“I--” Hassan paused, momentarily dumbfounded by the response, cogs slowly turning in his head. “How did you--”

“Come on, dad. I wasn’t born yesterday. I can smell them on you,” Ali smirked, before quickly adding, “and yes, I’m well aware that we are werewolves. You’re not subtle about that either.”

“But, I uh…” Hassan shook his head, stuck in a moment of pure bewilderment. “When did this happen?”

“Look, I get it, dad. You’ve had a lot on your mind recently, I can tell.” He raised an eyebrow suggestively. “And not once have you ever complained about attending mass with me lately, either. I see how you look at Father John.” 

Hassan had found himself completely speechless at the turn of events. Alright-- they were in dire need of a proper conversation at this point. But Ali had other plans, brushing past his father and heading for the door.

“Where are you going?” Hassan asked, almost stuttering the question from residual shock. “It’s getting late.”

“I won’t be long.” Ali rolled his eyes, pausing by the door. He sighed, face flushed-- hand behind his neck. “You’re... not the only one in love, dad.”

With that said, the younger man headed out with a parting smile, grabbing his bike on the way down the road. Hassan allowed his eyes to follow curiously, watching as the young Flynn came into view. The two boys greeted each other in an oddly awkward hug, looking away bashfully-- especially once they noted they were being watched. 

The sheriff simply waved as the two disappeared down the road, while his mind continued to make some attempt to catch up to the onslaught of events that had just occurred.

Hassan collapsed onto the couch, staring at the ceiling. He ran a hand through his hair, exhaling slowly, feeling that his entire reality shifted in such a short frame of time. Kids these days… How do they grow up so fast?

At least Ali was happy, and that’s what counted.

But now the sheriff found himself alone for the evening, unsure what to do with himself. He pondered for a moment, too exhausted to think clearly. Perhaps a book, or a film-- or maybe just give up and call it an early night. 

He’d barely rested five minutes before there was a knock on the door.

Hassan sat upright, brow furrowing for a moment. There were no guests to be expected, and it was rare for anyone to call for him outside of his usual hours. The knocking continued, to the point where he could no longer avoid it.

Opening up the door, Hassan paused at the unexpected company. He silently stared at the tall figure before him; dressed neatly in his usual attire, complete with a light cardigan and combed-back hair.

“John?” Hassan stated incredulously. 

“Hello again, sheriff.” The priest smiled, clearing his throat. “Hope you don’t mind me dropping by unannounced.”

“Certainly not.” He took a step back, making room with a gesture of his hand. “Please-- come in.”

John nodded graciously, accepting the invitation without a further word. Hassan closed the door behind him, turning back with a question on his mind. 

“What can I--”

Hassan startled, words stolen as lips found his own-- moaning at the unexpected contact. John’s hand slipped behind his neck, holding him close, as another found his hip, deepening the kiss with urgency. The moment was fleeting; the two men finding the air silent apart from gasped breaths.

“That was… unexpected,” the sheriff commented once they finally parted.

John smiled, fangs on display. “I’ve made my decision,” he replied, removing his clerical collar, and returning to the other’s lips. “My wolf… I could never deny you.”

Hassan melted as the onslaught of kisses continued, a hand slipping to his back, bodies pressed impossibly close. If their actions continued to escalate at this rate, they’d never make it to the bedroom in time. But there was a lack of clarity in John’s words, causing doubt to overcome Hassan once more. 

“Wait, John--” The sheriff pushed them apart, searching the priest’s reflective eyes desperately, unsure if what he was hearing was correct. “Do you mean it?”

“My word is my bond,” John replied, voice low and commanding. A brief smile graced his lips, hand brushing tenderly under his jaw. “And you are mine.”

Hassan couldn’t argue with that-- allowing himself to slip into the warm embrace and love offered to him, accepting every ounce of attention greedily-- and continuing to be desperate for more. As the two awkwardly made their way to the bedroom, neither wanted to part long enough to breathe-- choosing to rip clothes from one another until they were littered by their feet. 

John was quick to tackle the other man to the bed, straddling his thighs, hands roaming freely. He licked his lips, appreciating the sight of his flustered mate-- so very eager to have his way with the wolf until sunrise-- to which Hassan reciprocated without hesitation.

Although the evening would pass them by, their life together had only just begun.