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At first, it was a flash of red - a hint of scent - and the wolf followed, as wolves do, for it was impossible not to.

The red turned out to be a piece of clothing (a zip-up jacket with a hood), and huddled within it was a boy, a human boy of no more than sixteen, slender-boned and warm. The wolf could feel his warmth, for it traveled to him upon the breeze, sweet with blood-scent and skin-scent, and it seemed the very thing, the thing he needed.

The wolf was not the most patient of creatures. (The wolf was the most patient of creatures.)

So he followed, and stalked, and waited, and crept, and stirred not the leaves beneath his paws nor the birds in the branches above; he followed the boy week in and week out, on his jogs in the forest (sneakers dirty and grass-stained; sweat glistening in the hollow of his throat, a blatant, maddening invitation) and on his walks back home. Soon, he began following the boy to his home, and found no scent of another mate, there, which calmed him - only the old-man tinge of a father that apparently drank frequently but was not violent, and thus did not need to be eliminated.

The boy went to sleep each night, and sometimes, he pleasured himself - quiet and unhurried, when the mood struck him, or, at other times, quick and perfunctory. The wolf listened, and closed his eyes, and waited. His claws left gouges in the tree opposite the boy’s bedroom. And when he returned to his forest, he did so with memories of moonlit skin and thighs softer than the tenderest meat, of a throat arched and bared, of a mouth parted and wet.

The wolf - the wolf had to be patient.

It galled him that he could only watch over the boy at night; his father was not violent, but surely there were others that might be, or might want to touch him, taste him, bite him, as the wolf did. The thought could not be borne.

And thus the wolf donned his man-form, and followed the boy even during the day, learning his human name (Stiles) from hearsay and also that the boy was, in fact, tormented by bullies, by the very youths that had tormented him before. The wolf had expected as much; Stiles had that thing in him, the thing that called to predators, and it was no wonder that even those humans who hunted in packs had picked up on it.

And so he intervened, when the group of hooligans cornered Stiles, and was given the rare, powerful pleasure of terrifying them out of their minds. Stiles was grudgingly grateful, resentful as a young cub is when his prowess is challenged, when he is perceived as weak.

“You are not weak,” the wolf said to him, in his human-speech, and the boy’s eyes widened.

Of course, what the wolf had meant was, You are not weak, for I have lent you my strength, but Stiles smiled, regardless.

And asked him home for dinner.

For -

For dinner.

The boy’s father was not home.

They were alone.

It was a fact that Stiles seemed unaware of, and it was a good thing that he had not asked for the wolf’s name, for the wolf had no name. Wolves never do.

“I mean, uh, thanks for accepting my invitation, but... maybe you could stop lurking at the door? It’s kind of creepy.”

The wolf tilted his head. This human body was unsuited to him; it felt elongated and strange, and the scents were duller. It was a lot like being blinded, like being blind. He wanted only to change back, and to press himself against Stiles, to make the boy feel, against his own naked skin, the wolf’s rough-smooth fur. He wanted to feast on the boy’s neck, to lave it clean of blood, to mark and possess and take, to turn him into one of his own kind, so that when the spring-cycle came again, they could mate and mate and mate -

“Uh. Dude? You’re seriously freaking me out, here.”

“My apologies,” said the wolf, and smiled. And perhaps there was something in his smile that was a little sharp, a little hungry, for the boy’s breath stuttered. A trace of uncertainty crept into his eyes, but Stiles evidently thought that it would be rude to disinvite a guest, for he grinned, cheerful as ever, and withdrew into the kitchen.

“Let’s see what I can scrounge up for dinner, huh?” his voice called back, and it struck the wolf how trusting the boy was, to allow a beast into his den, into his home.

“Do not worry,” replied the wolf, and closed the door behind himself, locking it. “I know precisely what I will eat.”