Frank wakes to the sound of a distant howl. He tosses his head, pawing at the moss clinging to his snout and snorting hard to clear dirt from his nostrils. As much as he likes the smell of his forest when he's a wolf, he's not a huge fan of it jammed up his nose. He gives his brain an extra minute to adjust to his new body, then lunges to his feet and shakes the rest of the dirt off. His shirt and jeans are in an abandoned tangle on the ground behind him. Almost cut it too close tonight, and it'd be Gerard's fucking fault if Frank ended up limping naked back to his car because he tore through another set of clothes. The wind is weak, barely stirring the underbrush, but it was enough to carry a hint of Gerard's scent to him before he changed. He warned Gerard this is his forest. It's about fucking time he proved it.
A quick test of the breeze doesn't cough up which direction Gerard took off in. Without that to guide him, he pricks his ears to the fading howl and sets off at a trot parallel to the anaemic river. If Gerard was smart--smart, right--he would have doubled back over the water to confuse his trail. Nose to the ground for a good half mile, Frank finds nothing. Even Gerard's ridiculous baying has gone quiet. Snuffing in irritation, he turns back to where the river is narrowest, and crosses to the other side on a tangle of old branches caught against worn rocks.
When a swift, thorough sweep of the opposite bank turns up nothing, his lips peel back from his teeth in impatience. Trying to calm it down only makes it worse, giving it a foothold and infecting him with the need to let slide, just run, run. He paces back and forth, growling softly. How's he supposed to enjoy a good run knowing Gerard's out there pissing all over his trees? Last thing he wants to do is plough head-first into that stink again.
A long, thin howl echoes through the trees. Frank's head snaps up. He's off and running before he realises Gerard's got to be close, not much more than a mile away, downwind. He circles around until a slight change in the breeze tells him they're almost parallel, then slows to a walk, belly low. He knew Gerard wasn't gonna be smart about this. It's like Gerard fucking wants to piss him off.
Gerard's scent grows stronger, a strange mix of chemicals, old sweat, and the thick musk of a wolf. Something else, too, that takes a minute to figure out, and by then, it's already lodged deep in Frank's throat. He skitters back and shakes his head violently, trying to force a sneeze to get it out. Fuck, fuck. It fucking figures. Gerard is fucking horny.
Frank flicks his tongue over his muzzle, hoping to dull the scent that way, but it's too late. He hunkers down low and bites back the eager growl that wants to start up in his belly. He's so not playing that game. Gerard can scratch his own fucking itch.
Just when Frank's got a handle on his instincts, a twist in the wind shoves his face full of Gerard's scent. Bolting to his feet, he throws his head back and howls, cutting it off abruptly as an answering howl goes up a few hundred feet away. He takes off in the other direction, spitting curses in his head that come out as short, choppy snarls. He's not fucking doing it. He doesn't give a shit how good Gerard smells, how fucking amazing it would be to have his jaws clamped tight on Gerard's neck, to force him into the dirt on his belly. It's not gonna happen.
Leaping over a mouldy log, Frank pulls off a pretty sweet ninety-degree turn and darts for a narrow opening in the jumble of jagged boulders that leads to the bottom of a short cliff. He scrapes his shoulder wriggling through, but ha, fucking take that. He'd like see Gerard fit his smug ass through there. Half a minute later he bounds to his feet and shakes out his fur, tongue lolling out triumphantly. So what if he didn't kick Gerard's ass tonight. Gerard's stuck riding out this moon alone and horny, and it fucking serves him right trying to pull that shit. Fucking prancing around up there with his fucking hormones, or, or, pheromones or what the fuck ever all outta whack. Trying to ambush Frank with 'em. Freak.
Trotting off due north, Frank shoves Gerard and his fucking scent out of his mind and thinks about killing some time chasing rabbits. Like hell he's ever gonna eat one of the little critters, but they're kinda fun to scare. Way more fun than deer. He got clipped across the muzzle by a deer once, and it fucking hurt. He spent most of his moon that night curled up in a hollow licking his own nose to soothe the angry throb, and feeling totally sorry for himself. All he'd wanted to do was play, for fuck's sake.
Snorting away the memory, he turns his attention to flushing out a couple of rabbits. He gets a good bead on a burrow and snuffs along happily, glad it isn't prime bunny season. Last time he startled a nest full of babies, it started out kinda fun, but then he ended up feeling like an asshole. Life's probably tough enough for rabbits without having the shit scared out of them before their eyes are even open. Poor little fuckers.
And there goes his desire for a good bunny chase. Heaving a sigh, he flops down on his belly, tucking his nose under the crook of his paw. Fucking Gerard, this is his fault. Frank had a motherfucking plan for tonight, and now it's ruined. Yeah, okay, he could head back for the smackdown, but knowing Gerard's all hot and bothered takes all the fun out of it. Like, Gerard probably wouldn't even put up a fight. Trying to picture Gerard ever putting up a fight, human or wolf, is fucking hilarious, but this would be worse than scaring baby bunnies. It'd be like bringing a fucking rocket launcher to a fistfight. Totally unfair. He flops his tail over his muzzle and heaves another sigh. This sucks.
Bored beyond all belief, which is rich considering he's a fucking werewolf, Frank closes his eyes and drifts into a doze. His forest's pretty quiet, especially compared to the screaming racket of the city assaulting him for days up to the full moon, and it's nice to just listen to all the little sounds. A bird flitting through the branches overhead makes his ear twitch. He swivels both of them around to track its progress, wondering how close to dawn it must be for a bird to be out looking for food already. He's concentrating so hard on pinpointing exactly where the bird is, just to see if he can, that he almost misses the dull clack of displaced pebbles. He freezes, keeping his head down and ears up. Fucking Gerard. Downwind again, and really fucking close.
The short yip Gerard lets out jolts Frank back to his feet. He turns around in a quick, tight circle, trying to figure out where the fuck Gerard's coming from without getting too much of that scent caught in his nose. He starts to head southeast, hesitates, and takes a few cautious steps to the west instead. His gut says go north, the way he came, but his head says south, and the valley is totally fucking with him, messing up the way sound travels, making the breeze twist weirdly. He's got to get away before Gerard finds him. He can't let Gerard corner him like this. Not with that scent layered so thick in Gerard's fur, not when Gerard fucking knows he's not mated, not when there's no way he's gonna--
The fur on the back of Frank's neck prickling, he looks slowly over his shoulder. Gerard's right there, barely ten feet away, sitting casually on his haunches like he's just waiting for Frank to get a clue. He tilts his head in a question that Frank answers with a low growl--the only answer Frank's fucking capable of giving with that fucking scent nailing his feet to the forest floor--and gives another short, sharp yip, like he just doesn't fucking get it.
When Frank doesn't answer a second time, he rocks up onto all fours, snuffling softly. Whatever he scents seems to make him happy, and he trots closer with his tongue out, dappled moonlight bright on his sleek black coat. Frank, trembling with the throttled need to run, lowers his chest, lifts his tail high, bares his teeth, and growls.
Gerard stops short, tongue vanishing, one forepaw hovering in midair. He tilts his head again, makes a show of scenting the air, and looks back at Frank like he's asking what the hell. Frank would totally fucking love to know what the hell. This is his fucking space. His time alone to fuck off and not worry about anything, not rent or bills or grades or his future or even how far he's gonna have to walk to get back to his car when the sun rises. He sure as hell didn't invite Gerard to come tromping all over the place smelling so damn good. Two fucking months he's been hanging around. Frank was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt--Gerard's not the most observant dude around--and then he figured Gerard would get bored, go find another wolf to fuck with, and now-- Now he's standing there looking fucking hurt Frank doesn't want to roll around in the dirt with him.
Fuck you, Frank thinks, letting another low growl trickle free. If Gerard wants to be locked into a fucking pack, then fine, fucking fine, he can deal with the fallout. Gerard's ears perk and he puts his paw down. He drops down to mirror Frank's pose and scoots back a few steps like he thinks they're gonna play, and gives another one of those muffled yips, eager and happy and totally fucking oblivious, letting it trickle off into a growl like he's ready, let's go.
He's so not fucking ready. Frank bowls him over like he's made out of fucking leaves. He thrashes around, legs flailing, and almost makes it back to his feet before Frank grabs onto his scruff and drives him down again. He paws hard at Frank's face, forcing Frank to squeeze his eyes shut or risk losing one, and starts making this fucking pitiful, heart-wrenching noise like a whine caught deep in his chest, hurt and lost and so fucking confused, Frank actually stops. It takes everything he's got to do it, and fuck, his nose, his throat, his fucking lungs are full of Gerard's scent, thick, hot, sharp, because there's no way. Gerard's got to know what's going on here. Gerard's the one in fucking heat. Gerard came looking for him.
Backing off fast, Frank keeps his teeth bared and ears flat as Gerard scrambles to his feet. He's panting hard, his ears up, but he's not looking so playful anymore. He looks kinda like he's working his way around to pissed, and Frank can fucking smell the moment it hits him, right before his lips peel back in a snarl and his ears go flat. That's all the warning Frank's got before Gerard is fucking on him.
And fuck, he's tougher than he looks. He goes straight for all the tender spots, ears and eyes and belly, distracting Frank long enough that he manages to get his jaws clamped tight on Frank's forepaw. One good yank has Frank yelping in startled pain, and that's it, fuck, they're gonna do this. For real. Gerard fights mean and fast and so far from anything Frank ever expected from him, the best Frank can do is scramble trying to keep up. He gets in a few good hits, a solid bite to Gerard's haunches that has Gerard's leg going out from under him, but where Frank would use the proximity to twist, do some damage of his own on his way down, Gerard barrels straight into him. He hits the dirt on his back and flips quickly over onto his belly, but he's not fast enough getting to his feet. Gerard's over him, teeth digging hard into the back of his neck, straddling his shoulders in a clear warning to stay the fuck down. One hard buck up earns him a guttural snarl and jaws clamping tighter, breaking skin beneath his thick fur. He goes limp.
Gerard holds on a minute longer, making sure Frank's not trying to psych him out, that's Frank's got who came out on top here. He's got it, alright--he's got himself totally fucking screwed. He closes his eyes and whines. Why does being a wolf have to be so fucking complicated? He didn't want a fucking alpha. He liked ranging free, claiming territory like a modern-day vagabond and spending his moons catering to nobody's whims but his own. Frank's hung out in the same crowds as Gerard outside the full moon. He's kinda reclusive, in serious fucking need of some personal hygiene lessons, whip-smart even when he's drunk off his ass, and Frank would go there, yeah, but it's not like he's the kind of dude Frank wants to dedicate his one night a month as a wolf to.
And now he's fucking pack.
Gerard digs in harder and Frank doesn't even try to silence the miserable self-pitying whine in his chest. He keeps his belly down when Gerard's weight moves off him, fully expecting the brutal swipe of claws across his muzzle to shut him up, because fuck, he's heard all those stories, seen those fucking scars, and he doesn't fucking care how sweet a dude Gerard is every other night of the month, an alpha's a fucking alpha--and almost swallows his own fucking tongue when what he gets is the soft, wet rasp of Gerard's tongue against his nose, like Gerard's fucking nervous. Instinct alone keeps him from jerking back in surprise. He can't help whining harder as Gerard's jaws close gently over his muzzle. Gerard's breath is warm and hot, and Frank deliberately slows his breathing to match. When Gerard finally releases him, he stays on the ground, not sure what the fuck happens now.
Gerard fucking lowering his head to rub muzzles with him again is the last fucking thing he's expecting. The bite he understood--Gerard's his alpha now. But Frank's the one on his belly. If anybody should be doing that shit, it's him. Really slowly, he lifts his head and gives it a shot. Gerard's tongue flicks out again, no mistaking it this time. He is nervous.
Frank stays with his muzzle pressed softly against Gerard's and tries to think. He knew playing track the wolf with Gerard would end up here, but he was expecting Gerard to roll belly-up, not for his instincts to tell him to bare his own, and here Gerard is acting like he hasn't got the first fucking clue what to do with a submissive packmate now that he's got one. Frank kinda wants to punch him in the face. He settles for a huff and shoving his nose harder against Gerard's. Gerard gives an aborted snarl and shoves back just as hard, and for a minute Frank thinks they're gonna get stuck in some fucked up argument about who's supposed to do what when neither of them can fucking say a single word. But then Gerard moves back over him, boxing him in on all sides, head down so their faces stay pressed together. There's this weird feeling of safe right before Frank flicks his tongue out, really kinda seriously nervous about this pack shit too.
That turns out to be Gerard's cue to go all gung-ho alpha on his ass again. Except, kinda, it's not like that. He can smell how into this Gerard is, feel it pressed into the fur on his haunches as Gerard's weight settles onto his back, and he's about as okay with being this dude's beta as he's ever gonna be, so he's not sure what the fuck is going on with Gerard still trying to, like, prove it or whatever. But Gerard keeps licking his face, biting at him all soft and gentle when he tilts his head up into it and licks back, and he's starting to think that maybe he doesn't have a sweet fucking clue what this means after all. There's this spike in Gerard's scent, thick enough that Frank can barely smell the dirt he's lying in, and he's still trying to figure it out when it happens, when Gerard fucking-- Gerard fucking mounts him.
Frank throws his head back in a howl that cuts off the second Gerard's jaws snap tight on his throat. He gives in to the urge to whine, instincts picking up where his brain leaves off, and Gerard makes these short, sharp little noises low in his throat in response. His body feels lax, heavy, and he can feel the part of him ready to run all night, stick to his fucking guns about not fucking scratching Gerard's fucking itch--but it doesn't want to run anymore. It wants the press of Gerard's belly against his back, Gerard's claws digging into the dirt beside his, the fact that Gerard's fucking mating with him, and of fucking course that's where he gets caught. He lays his ears back and whimpers quietly when Gerard's rhythm speeds, hips snapping hard against Frank as he licks sloppily at Frank's face. He didn't know it could be like this, and it's more instinct than thought that has him biting at Gerard's muzzle. Gerard doesn't just let him get away with it, he fucking shoves into it, buries himself deep at the same time, and Frank doesn't have to smell it to know Gerard came. A couple seconds later, Gerard's full weight presses him into the torn-up earth. He huffs a surprised breath and starts to twist around, but Gerard butts at his chin, telling him to settle down. Butting back, he growls and tries to get his legs back under him, and oh. Oh fuck, wow. Neither one of them is going anywhere for a long while, because Gerard's fucking tied them together, fucking hell.
Gerard gives his muzzle a self-satisfied lick. Frank huffs in his face and bats him away, and Gerard doesn't even care, just licks him again and makes a happy noise when Frank licks back. The fucker's already drifting off, his paws all tucked in around Frank holding him secure, his head nestled in the crook of Frank's shoulder. Frank listens to his breathing turn slow and shallow, and while his ribs are going to have something to say about waking up squished beneath Gerard's solid weight, he's gotta admit there's not much else to do.
Dawn finds Frank flat on his back in the dirt as fucking naked as the day he was born. He unglues his eyelids with a whole hell of a lot of effort and gets an eyeful of Gerard's lily white ass sprawled out on top of him for his trouble. Dude's heavy, and kinda smelly, but it's not like Frank's a bed of fucking roses after a night running his wolf. He grins at the twigs all snarled up in Gerard's hair, reaching to pluck one free before exactly what went down last night ploughs into him like a fucking freighter. Shit.
"Ugh," Gerard grunts, stirring. His eyes stay stubbornly closed. "I hate this part."
"What part, asshole," Frank says, and shoves rudely at Gerard's dead weight. "Get offa me."
One of Gerard's hands snaps out to clamp around Frank's wrist. Frank's grudgingly impressed. No way is he gonna be able to move like that til at least noon. Slowly, like he's making a point, Gerard lifts his head from Frank's chest, and cocks an eyebrow. "That's not what you said last night."
Frank snorts a giggle. He chokes it back fast, but not fast enough. That's totally what he was trying to say last night. Right before he went and let Gerard fucking mount him, Jesus Christ.
Pushing up a little, Gerard drags tangled hair out of his face and fixes Frank with a look that Frank's not so comfortable meeting head on. His gaze drops to the angry red marks clawed into the skin just below Gerard's collarbone. "You still don't get it, huh," Gerard says, not like he's talking to Frank at all, like he's fucking crushed or something. "That really sucks."
"Hey, what the fuck," Frank snaps. He gives getting riled up the best shot he's got, but he's beat all to shit from the change and their fight and the craziness that followed. And his body knows Gerard now. Knows pack. "I'm right fucking here, dude."
"Yeah," Gerard says, and tilts his head in a way that reminds Frank way too fucking much of the wolf, "but do you wanna be?"
"Kinda too late now."
Gerard says, "Maybe," and sighs, levering himself up the rest of the way. Frank doesn't really mean to look, but the guy is naked, and right fucking there, and hell. Too late, right? He's actually pretty hot. Wiry limbs, soft around his belly and hips, not a whole hell of a lot of hair on him, and that pretty face doesn't hurt. It hits Frank square-on way down deep. "You smelled like you got it. You sure as hell acted like it."
"Got what?" Frank asks. "You wanted a pack, man." He spreads his arms wide. "Congrats, here I am."
"Frankie," Gerard says, and it sounds kinda good aside from that weird scent like sadness clinging to his skin. "I was looking for an alpha. Fucking, you know." He gestures sharply. Frank widens his eyes, all what already? Gerard widens his right back, and shoves both hands through his hair. "Fuck. A mate, okay? An alpha mate, and I thought you were making me fucking court you or something, all old school."
Frank shoves up on his elbows and stares. As if he had a fucking clue that was something they did, holy shit. "Are you kidding me?"
"Do I look like I'm fucking kidding?" Gerard counters.
Forcing his whirling brain to hold on a minute, Frank actually takes the time to look. Gerard looks like a mess. Despite that, he also looks really good. What he does not look like in any way is the punchline to a joke. Well, maybe, but it's not a very funny one. "Shit," Frank says.
"Yeah," Gerard agrees grumpily.
"You, like, seriously? All this time, you've been fucking, shit." Frank drops back down in the dirt and lets that sink in. "Fuck, I totally put out on the third date."
Gerard snorts, then bursts out in this crazy-loud laugh. "Yeah," he says, sucking down air and choking on it, still laughing, "yeah, you fucking did."
Shoving up out of the dirt, Frank catches Gerard in a half-assed tackle and knocks him on his back. He laughter cuts off like somebody flicked a switch, but he doesn't fight, not even when Frank climbs on top of him, pinning his wrists to the ground. Even though the next moon is almost a month away, Frank can feel its pull under his skin, something he's never experienced before so soon after a shift. The draw spikes when Gerard moves under him, knees coming up, spreading wide. There is a whole lotta shit going on here Frank never had a fucking clue about.
Dragging in a deep, shuddering breath, Gerard lets it out again really slowly. His eyes are dark and heavy in the early-morning shade beneath the trees, and his mouth looks soft, wet. "You know what?" he asks.
"No," Frank says, sinking down over him, "what?"
"I woulda put out on the first."
Frank bares his teeth in a grin. If it's alpha Gerard wants, Frank can show him alpha, wolf moon or not.