Nico just wanted to visit his sister. It wasn’t his fault that she lived deep in the woods with her lumberjack husband. And it wasn’t his fault that his father had made him stay in the town that was a half days walk away from Hazel’s cottage. But when the local messenger boy came through and said that Hazel seemed to be feeling under the weather, Nico decided to visit her and give her some medicine. And so he ran to the local pharmacy and got some cold medicine from the doctor’s son, Will, and then ran home to make Hazel some food. It wasn’t going to be any shrimp gumbo, Nico still burned that when he tried to cook, but the next best thing was homemade spaghetti and some sweet tea. After all, this is his sister that he hadn’t seen in a while so he wanted to make sure it was what she wanted. But before Nico left the house, he grabbed the red hood.
It was a little cliché that he had the riding cape. Nico still blushed slightly every time he put it on. But it was a gift from Hazel after his jacket had gotten torn up by a pack of wolves that he had managed to escape from protecting the Mayor’s daughter, Reyna, as she was trying to get home on the trails in the forest. She had said that she could handle it, and Nico didn’t doubt she could, but the thanks was understood. But Hazel had made him a thick riding cape that surprisingly kept him warm. The only thing was that it was a bright red, a way for her to get some color is his usual black wardrobe. Nico hated the brightness of it, but it was really warm and Hazel had made it for him so he wore it every time he went to visit her. As he left his house, he was greeted by Piper, the local tavern girl. She was nice, nicer than some of the other tavern girls, but he didn’t really talk to her much.
“Hey Nico! Are you going into the woods today?” She asked, seeming nervous. Piper lived in the forest as well, and worked as a spiritual nurse. If the medicine of the town couldn’t fix someone, they would go to her for answers. Nico nodded.
“Yeah, Hazel is sick, so I decided to bring her some things. I should be back before sundown.” He told her, passing by. Before he could get all the way, she lightly touched his arm.
“Be careful. It’s a full moon tonight. And the wolves are active today. I wouldn’t wander from the path, ok?” She warned him, something flashing in her eyes. Nico nodded and moves his cape some to show her his sword. His father had taught him to fight with it when Hazel still lived with them, before she met Frank. He had made sure to carry it every trip he made into the forest. The woods were filled with wild animals, the most dangerous being the wolves.
“Don’t worry, I can handle myself. But I’ll stay on the path. Be back by sundown, promise.” He said. Her eyes widened, and she let go, turning away quickly.
“Ok. Bye Nico.” She rushed out, walking away quickly, muttering something underneath her breath. She was walking in the direction of the blacksmith’s shop, no doubt to talk with the blacksmith’s son, Leo. They were always together and the town was starting to take notice. Nico had seen the way that Reyna was looking at Piper, but he knew that it wouldn’t happen until Reyna took over the town. Of course, it matter if Piper was interested in Reyna at all. Things were complicated, but Nico didn’t have time to worry about it. He was losing daylight and the path took a good portion of the day to travel. He headed into the first.
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Jason gasped for air as he sat up. The closer the full moon got, the worse it was. He was still having trouble controlling his inner wolf and the timing was terrible. Piper and Reyna had already visited him this week, risking their lives against the feral wolves that Jason had yet to control. Reyna had gotten attacked a month ago, and could have been severely injured if a boy from the town hadn’t been walking by and stepped in. His sword was shrouded by darkness and kept the wolves at bay, saving Reyna. She had told Jason that the boy’s jacket had been damaged, but that his sister had made him a cloak to keep him safe.
Getting off the forest floor, Jason grabbed his own jacket and sword, and proceeded to walk towards the path. He would take a short stroll in the forest before heading over to Hazel and Frank’s cottage to check in and see how they were doing. Frank had been able to control his transformations for a while now, thanks to the shifter blood in his family, and Hazel was happy enough to be their pack’s honorary member/resident witch and Reyna, with her experience with magic, was able to live in town and help the rest of the pack fit in as well. However, about two months ago, the wolves of the forest started acting weird and so Jason was asked to come and keep them in check. It was also during this time that he started losing control, meaning that he couldn’t come back to the town until it was dealt with. Reyna and Hazel had managed to suppress most of the town people’s memories of him until he could come back, but it was starting to wear off. Even Piper was saying that he only had until the next moon to find a solution.
The others kept on saying that it was his feral side finally coming out, since he never went through it as a newborn. Jason and Piper however, thought it was something else. It felt different then what feral was described. Piper had an idea, but refused to tell anyone. Jason sighed and shook his head. It wasn’t important, he would just hide away for a little longer and hopefully it will pass. Walking through the tree line, he saw the familiar path that led to Hazel and Frank’s cottage. Normally, he would just travel through the trees, but the path looked inviting for once. As he stepped on to the path however, he heard a gasp and a flutter of fabric.
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Nico was slightly surprised to see anyone in the woods at this time. What made him shocked was the fact that the man had walked out from the trees. No one ever strayed from the path, other than the hunters. Even Nico and Piper stayed on the path, unless absolutely necessary. But this man had so casually strolled out, right in front of him, causing Nico to gasp and come to a complete stop. His cloak swayed around him, covering the basket he was carrying and his sword.
The man turned to face him and Nico had to hold in another gasp. The man may have been a stranger, but he was a handsome one. He was dressed in a rather fashionable traveler’s outfit, one that was not fit for someone wandering the forest, and his bright blue eyes held a certain electricity to them that made Nico flush. And then there was the fact of the small scar on his lip, maybe from battle or an accident. He had chiseled features and Nico was pretty sure that he had to be a prince or something.
“Why are you traveling alone in this forest? It’s rather dangerous.” The man asked, concern in his voice. He looked over Nico, and Nico had to stop himself from shuddering. The man was looking at him like he was something to eat, and it was doing strange things to Nico’s body. However, he cleared his throat and put on an impassive face.
“I can be asking you the same thing. You don’t look familiar, and the path in these forests can be tricky if you don’t know them well enough.” Nico responded rather gruffly. He couldn’t trust the stranger, no matter how handsome he was. Any distraction in the forest could lead to a terrible death. The man chuckled.
“I know the paths well enough not to get lost.” He said cryptically, flashing Nico a grin. “I’m sorry I startled you when I came out of the tree line. I thought I had seen a rabbit and was intent on tracking it down. It must have been a trick of the light. The name is Jason Grace.”
Jason held out his hand to Nico and Nico shook it reluctantly. “I wouldn’t go tracking anything. The wolves in the forest are acting weird and attacking people. Only those who have the weapons to handle them can walk freely through here now.” Jason raised an eyebrow at that.
“And you have a weapon to handle them?”
Nico moved the cloak slightly to show the sword that hung at his side, causing Jason’s eyes to widen. “I am more than capable of handling the wolves.”
“That you are.” Jason agreed solemnly, gesturing or Nico to continue walking. Nico eyed him cautiously before continuing his pace. Jason fell quickly in step. “So what is a small thing like you going in this big, bad forest? The wolves aren’t the only dangerous things. There are other animals that would want to eat you up.”
“I’m going to visit my sister. I heard she was sick and as much as I trust Frank to take care of her, he isn’t the best when it comes to medicine and food.” Nico answered, choosing to ignore the comment about his size and ability to take care of himself. Jason nodded and looked off into the tree line, stopping suddenly. “What?”
“I have some business to attend to. I would stay on the path if I was you. There are somethings in the forest that not even the sword can hurt.” Jason said, flashing him a wolfish grin. Nico swore that he saw Jason’s eyes darken, but he turned away and waltzed into the trees again. “See you later, red riding hood.”
Nico stumbles upon an interesting clearing while Jason races to warn Hazel
Jason growled a little as he got deeper in the forest. He felt a shift in the air and the smell of blood. That could only mean that the rogue wolves were hunting again. With someone on the trail, it was urgent that he fixed the issue soon. As soon as he remembered the boy on the trail, he felt a shudder go through his body and heat flow to his face. He looked like an angel, which was ironic seeing that his father was the priest. And his sister is Hazel, which means that he knew nothing of magic or the pack. Hazel had made it clear that she hadn’t informed her brother of it, even though her father was well aware of her powers and the pack. That didn’t change the fact that his body had reacted rather violently when he saw the red caped boy.
“Get yourself together Grace. There are bigger problems to worry about. Like the wolves.” Jason muttered to himself. Stopping, he sighed and weighed his options. With the full moon this close, he needed to go to Hazel’s cottage to get ready for the change. Then he could handle the wolves properly. However, her brother was going to the same place and wasn’t aware of what was about to happen. Even with Frank being in control of his transformation, it was still dangerous for anyone outside the pack to be around. Groaning, Jason changed directions and started making his way to Hazel’s cottage. Hopefully he got there before the angel in the red hood did.
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Nico stood there for a couple of seconds in shock about 2 things. One being the fact that the man had yet again ran into the woods that was filled with dangerous animals. The other was that the same man just called him red riding hood. Nico felt his cheeks burn slightly as he continued his way down the path. He was only 10 more minutes away from the back of Hazel’s cottage, where she started a garden with the help of their stepmother. Looking up, Nico noticed that the sun was getting past the midpoint. If he wanted to make it back before sundown. The last thing he wanted to do was spend a night in the woods.
However, the rest of the way through the woods seemed more dangerous than usual. There was a constant shuffling through the nearby trees and bushes, causing him to get nervous and grip the hilt of his sword more securely. He would fight the wolves if he had to, but it wasn’t something that he wanted to do. The last fight left him with large scars on his arms and a shredded jacket. Thankfully, he soon came to the clearing right before Hazel’s cottage. It was in full bloom, with the loveliest of flowers he had ever seen. As he got closer though, he became confused.
“Wolfsbane? Night blooming jasmine? Moonflower?” He muttered, picking a few of the flowers to examine them closer. “Why are they growing in this part of the forest? In the middle of the day no less?” Nico settled into the clearing and opened his basket to grab an empty jar he had brought along just in case. He might as well take them to Hazel, seeing that she liked to collect flowers and herbs and could use the seeds to plant some in her garden. He started with the moonflowers, making sure to pick the whitest of flowers that were in full bloom, and then moved onto the night blooming jasmine. He took extra care to wrap the purple beauties in a napkin so that their scent could be contained. Finally, he took some wolfsbane. This could keep her safe from any wolf attack that may happen in the future. Nico stood up and stored the jar back in the basket, looking back up in the sky. He had spent way too much time picking flowers. He would be lucky to make it to Hazel’s before dinner, let alone make the journey back to the village.
“Looks like I am staying the night at Hazel’s.” He whispered to himself as he continued his way through the forest.
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Jason had made it to Hazel’s cottage just as the sun was getting low in the sky. He only had some time left before the pack would be going into the woods and he would have to join them. There was some shuffling throughout the building as he knocked 3 times.
“Who is it?” a sweet voiced called from the house.
“Hazel, its Jason. Something urgent has come up.” He called. Immediately, the dull thud of the wooden plank lock being taken off was hear and the door swung open. Hazel was in her usual yellow apron and green dress, her curly hair tied back with a matching bandana. He could smell the beginnings of a potion brewing.
“Come in. Frank just left to get me some last minute ingredients that I will need for a few brews that I’m going to spread around the house. He’ll be back soon.” She replied, grabbing his wrist and dragging him into the small cottage. Jason felt at home as soon as the door closed. “Whats the problem?”
“Well, your brother is on his way to the cottage.” Jason started out. Hazel froze slightly, her eyes widening.
“What! No no, he can't be in the forest tonight! Why is he coming here?”
Jason paused and tried to remember what the dark haired boy had told him. “He had heard that you were sick and came to take care of you I believe.” Hazel smiled slightly at that before realizing the actual situation.
“That’s sweet, but this isn’t good.” She went over the brewing potion and stopped for a moment. “Wait, if he left this morning, he should have been here by now. Do you think-”
“The rogues didn’t attack him. They were on the other side of the forest. I’ve been tracking them. He was on the north path last time I saw him.”
Hazel hummed. “Which means he might have stopped at the clearing. That would bring him to my garden.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, they heard footsteps coming towards them. Jason started towards the door before a smell hit him. He groaned and backed away. “Jason? What’s wrong?”
“Wolfsbane.” He whispered hoarsely as the smell got closer. He felt the familiar tingle go through his spine and hunch over. No, this couldn’t be happening right now. “Hazel get out of the way. Go get Frank!”
“I’m not going to leave you to change on your own!” She cried out, going to the shelves. “I think I still have an antidote for wolfsbane.”
“Hazel, go now! That’s an order from your pack leader!” He yelled as the pain shot through his entire body. He could feel his bones breaking and reforming. Quickly removing his jacket and vest, he struggled to get out of his pants. A sudden change didn’t give them enough time to get into safe clothes, which means that he would have to compromise. Hair started to form and his vision was becoming disfigured. Hazel screamed as a growl escaped his throat, causing Nico to run into her kitchen through the back door. The last thing Jason saw before the wolf overcame him was the fear in the red caped angel’s eyes and a puff of purple mist fill the air.
Wolves are strange creatures and Hazel jumps the gun a lot
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Nico stared in shock at the sight of the giant wolf in the middle of his sister’s cottage. The growling had stop, and a glaze had come over the wolf’s eyes, but it was still awake and moving. Nico drew his sword and began walking towards Hazel, making sure to keep his eyes on the wolf. Hazel held a jar filled with purple dust in her hand, panic evident in her eyes.
“Hazel, get out of here while I handle the wolf. I can’t let you get hurt.” He told her. His cinnamon haired sister shook her head.
“You can’t hurt him Nico. He didn’t mean to change! It’s the wolfsbane in your basket. Give it here.” She insisted. Nico glanced at her in confusion.
“Hazel, what are you talking about?”
“The wolfsbane! Hand it here so I can get rid of it! Then I can get Jason out of here and with the rest of the-” Her words were cut off as the wolf approached both of them. It wobbled on its feet a bit, but it was clearly walking towards them. “Jason?”
The wolf paid no mind to the witch, instead gazing at Nico. His legs quivered at the sight of the wolf making its way towards him. The wolves he had fended off before were 1/3 this one size, and he had barely managed. If this one attacked him, he wasn’t sure he would be able to survive it. However, the wolf didn’t seem to be wanting to attack. Instead, it started to make quiet whining noises as it got closer to Nico. Once it was right in front of him, the wolf slowly bowed to the dark haired boy. Hazel gasped, her eyes widening.
“Oh my-no wonder he hasn’t been able-we need to get to Piper.” She whispered. Nico looked down at the wolf in shock.
“Hazel, what is going on?” he asked, panic in his voice. The young witch sighed and grabbed another jar. This one was filled with some white powder, with flecks of green. Taking a bit in her hand, she turned towards her half-brother.
“Sorry about this Nico, but there is a lot to explain and not a lot time to do it in.” She apologized sweetly. Before he could respond, she blew the mixture in his face. The powder hit his face and he felt a wave of fatigue hit him. The world started to go black and he felt himself sway. The wolf in front of him stood up suddenly, concern in its eyes. The last thing Nico saw before the world went away was those big blue eyes that looked vaguely familiar.
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When Nico woke up, the first thing he realized was that it was morning. The next was the numerous voices talking outside of the door. The last thing he actually focused on was the body mass next to him. Specifically, the arm that was thrown around his waist that was putting off a whole lot of heat. Yelping, he quickly untangled himself out of the bed he was laying on, causing him to fall on the floor. A groan left his body. Next observation; he was missing his cloak and sword. He pulled himself off of the ground and tried to actually get his bearings. He was still in the cottage, in the guest room from the looks of it. His cloak was hung up on the rack, the sword leaning on the wall next to it. As he turned to look back at the bed, his breath caught.
A rush of feet followed his scream and the door burst open. His sister had changed clothes, now in what he would consider working men clothes. She had on a pair of trousers and a long sleeved shirt that was made of the same material as Nico’s cloak. He hair was tied back into a ponytail, with little spiral curls framing her face of concern.
“Nico, are you ok?”
“WHY WAS I IN THE SAME BED AS A COMPLETE STRANGER?” he continued to yell, ignoring the fact that they had an audience. The only thing that mattered at this point was the fact that he had woken up in the arms of the stranger he met on the path, Jason Grace.
Hazel let out a breath of relief and gave him a sheepish smile. “Well, he isn’t a complete stranger, is he? Didn’t you meet him on the path to my house?” She asked innocently. Nico’s cheeked filled with color at that. She wasn’t wrong.
He looked at the still sleeping form of the blonde haired man. He was wearing plainer clothes than the last time Nico had seen him, in a simple white shirt and hunting trousers. His hair was tousled, falling into his face. His face drew a lot of Nico’s attention. He looked so peaceful and happy, with a small smile on his face that made the little scar on his lip more noticeable. Nico cleared his throat and looked away, feeling guilty for indulging himself in staring at the man. His father would make him repent when he got home if he even had an inkling of the thoughts going through Nico’s head.
“He is still a stranger that I met once. And a rather unusual one at that. Now can you explain why he is in your cottage and why I was in the same bed as him?” he asked again, in a calmer tone. Hazel gave him a small smile and gestured to the others in the doorway. Reyna, Piper, and the one of the bartenders from town, Dakota, were waiting outside, all looking cautiously at him.
“I think it’s better if you get the full story from everyone. It’s rather complicated. We are about to have a meeting anyway, as soon as Jason wakes up. We can get you caught up then.” She answered rather cryptically. Nico gave her a look of utter confusion.
“Full story? Caught up? Meeting? What kind of meeting?”
A groan from behind answered him, causing a shiver to go down his back. Turning back around, he locked eyes with the vivid blue that stopped him in his tracks. Jason continued to stare at Nico with an almost hungry expression. Sitting up from the bed, his gaze never moved.
“They are talking about the pack meeting that usually happens after the full moon. Though I guess we should also talk about the fact that you are my mate as well.”
I feel terrible for leaving this story i am so sorry i will try and update but no promises because the only reason i got to do this one was because i am on break right now