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Running with the Wolves

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For six years Castiel managed to stay off his brothers' radars. Six years of peace and quiet for both him and his son, Samandriel. Then, Michael had found out about his unmated omega brother's young child and Castiel's life had been turned upside down.

The Novak family was large and well-known amongst most of the American population, be they 'civilised' or 'wild' folk. The Novaks were powerful due to their wealth and network of contacts, and few challenged their authority in matters of business, trade or finance.

Michael was the alpha head of the family (or 'pack' if you were one of the wild folk) and many people cowered from his intense gaze, stiff posture and ruthless manner of negotiation. He was intimidating not because of his strength or his growl (although those were also impressive), but because he could take away everything you'd ever worked for just by signing on a specific dotted line.

He was all about respectful appearances and how the public viewed his family, so for Castiel to have a six year old child he'd never informed his head alpha about was a very serious breech of family etiquette and protocol.

Thus, Michael had stormed into Castiel's home, growling threateningly and scent radiating anger and irritation as Lucifer, Raphael and Gabriel trailed him.

"Castiel!" Snarled Michael as he sniffed the air. "Reveal yourself!"

With no response forthcoming, Michael narrowed his eyes and stalked over to Castiel's bedroom, trying the door once to find it locked. He rumbled again.

"Open this door, Castiel."

Inside the bedroom, as Michael hammered mercilessly on the door, Castiel crouched in a corner, hugging Samandriel tight to his chest as they both remained as silent as possible. They knew what would happen if Michael managed to break through that door.

Samandriel had no desire to see his father's limbs broken or his body scarred and bloodied and Castiel refused to let his brothers anywhere near his child.

"I know you're in there, brother," hissed Michael. "Stand before your lead alpha."

Castiel tucked Samandriel further into his chest, nuzzling his hair comfortingly when the little alpha's eyes began to well with frightened tears.

"Is this why you never followed the family business?" Growled Michael. "You were too busy spreading your legs for every disgusting street alpha? You let yourself be knotted and bred by some low-life drunk and decided not to abort your abomination of a child? What is wrong with you? Mother and father raised you better than that; we raised you better than that!"

Samandriel let out a quiet whimper and Castiel kissed his forehead softly. He loved his son; nothing would ever change that, despite what Michael said.

"Michael, maybe you should calm down. Maybe this is the reason we were never told-"

"Silence, Gabriel. He knows protocol; this sort of behaviour can't go unpunished."

Castiel closed his eyes. Gabriel had always defended him when their older brothers scolded or belittled him. He was the only one in the family who had known about Samandriel from his birth, and he had been a very supportive uncle and sibling since knowing about Castiel's drunken mistake with that alpha all those years ago. Gabriel had promised never to tell their brothers about Samandriel for fear of what Michael, Raphael or Lucifer would do to Castiel or the young alpha if they ever found out the truth.

Yet somehow, Michael had found out and now there was nothing anyone could do about it.

"Castiel! Come here right now and I may not reprimand you as severely as I will if you continue to evade me."

The bedroom door slowly creaked open and Gabriel's eyes flashed with fear as his three older brothers growled lowly in anticipation of what was to come, teeth slightly bared in warning.

Then suddenly, a great black wolf with legs which faded to a reddish tan leapt through the door, ears flattened to its head and blue eyes cold and unforgiving as it snarled at Michael and tackled him to the ground, clawing and biting furiously at the shocked alpha.

Then Michael was morphing into a large white wolf, attacking Castiel with just as much vigour, and Lucifer and Raphael looked ready to join in.

Gabriel watched as Samandriel crept out of the apartment and as soon as he was out of sight, Gabriel transformed into a golden wolf and pounced on Castiel, pushing him away from Michael. The two tussled for a moment, snapping and growling at one another, before Gabriel whispered a "run" close beside his little brother's ear, and Castiel kicked his brother off him and scrambled through the door, after his son.

As Castiel sprinted through the corridors, snatching up Samandriel by the scruff of his white and black neck, he heard his brothers yelling over how Gabriel had let him escape, and soon enough, heavy paws could be heard pounding through the corridors of the apartment building.

Castiel pushed himself harder than he'd ever run before and he didn't stop until he reached the outskirts of the city, where urban civilisation met the rural wild lands. Castiel's brothers would never venture outside into the wilderness, but if Castiel attempted to stay within city limits, there would be nowhere he could hide where he wouldn't be tracked by his family members or their associates.

He had no choice but to flee civilisation.

The problem with that was he was used to living in humanoid form. In the city, people worked and lived in houses. They drove cars and bought their food from the local supermarket.

Wild folk didn't do that. They chose to live out their lives in their canine forms (slightly bigger than the regular wolf). They hunted in packs, killed whatever they deemed a threat and crowded into whatever pathetic shelter they stumbled across during their travels. They had territories and they followed the true alpha, beta and omega hierarchy, with omegas being at the bottom and alphas ensuring the rest of their pack did as they were told.

Castiel frowned. Samandriel would not be looked upon fondly by any pack leaders. He was the alpha son of an unmated omega which meant he was a threat to any alphas or betas who may want to take Castiel in as a breeder.

With Castiel being no good at fighting or hunting, his only option was to become a breeder if he was to join a pack and no one would want to breed him if he already had an alpha pup. They would probably try to kill Samandriel in fear of him being competition for their own unborn offspring. Everybody knew wild folk didn't have the same regard for life as civilised folk.

Castiel shook his head. No, no one was touching his son. It would be better if he stayed away from packs and attempted to live as an individual.

It would be nearly impossible with all the dangers of rival wolves, violent creatures and scarce food threatening their survival, but Castiel was determined to keep Samandriel safe.

"Dad?" Asked Samandriel uncertainly and Castiel leaned down to nuzzle his head. They had to leave now before Michael could track their scents.

"Come on," the omega murmured as he nudged his pup towards the forest and Samandriel hesitated slightly before carefully padding into the dark tangle of trees.

 

* * *

 

Living in the forest was a lot more difficult than Castiel had anticipated.

The only shelter available tended to be trees and bushes, and when it rained, the flimsy vegetation had a habit of collapsing or snapping and Castiel and Samandriel were left soaked to the bone for hours on end.

Food was also hard to come by. To eat, Castiel needed to hunt and being as inexperienced as he was, smaller creatures like rabbits and rodents tended to evade him; far too used to being chased for Castiel's disappointing attempts. Larger animals like foxes and deer could sense his trepidation and would fight back, and Castiel had a few antler scars to prove it.

Then there were the venomous snakes and arachnids that both omega and pup had to watch out for, and the other packs of wolves who didn't take too kindly to Castiel's scent being in their territory.

After two months of being cold and hungry, coupled with the various scars and bruises he'd accumulated from hunts or near-scuffles with other wolves, Castiel was ready to give up and return to his abandoned apartment despite Michael, Lucifer and Raphael still being on the hunt for him.

He limped into the latest shelter; a deformed shrub littered with purple berries which stained their fur an odd colour whenever they sat under it, and dropped their evening meal at Samandriel's feet; an anorexic rabbit which had definitely seen better days.

The little alpha glanced at his father gratefully as his stomach rumbled loudly, and he tucked into the meal eagerly, making sure to leave some good bits for his starving father.

Castiel sighed defeatedly as he lowered himself to the ground and began to lick a few cuts Samandriel had gained from their latest near-death experience with a particularly aggressive pack they'd failed to realise was behind them.

After the pair had polished off the measly meal, stomachs finally hardened to raw meat, Samandriel nestled between his father's front paws, curling into his mud-ridden fur as he tried to find comfort in Castiel's scent.

Castiel frowned unhappily, heart breaking at seeing his child looking so weak and vulnerable and he tucked him under his head as the pair began to drift off into a restless sleep.

An hour later they were startled awake by a low growl and Castiel immediately shoved Samandriel behind him upon spotting the yellow eyes staring at them not too far away.

The creature stepped out of the dark shadows and into the eerie moonlight and Castiel's breath hitched as a huge grey wolf riddled with deep scars bared his teeth in challenge.

Then there were more growls and snarls from all around them and Castiel's eyes widened at the realisation they were surrounded.

The grey wolf seemed to smile sadistically at them before snapping his teeth once and suddenly, about a dozen figures were leaping at Castiel and his son, and the omega grabbed Samandriel by the scruff of his neck and raced between two feral wolves.

He yelped as jaws latched on to his bad leg and he kicked violently at his attacker before sprinting further into the forest, heart pumping loudly in his ears as he heard the pack take up the chase.

Thankfully, the scents in the next part of the forest began to change and their pursuers began to slow to a halt, and the next time he risked a look behind him, the pack were slowly turning around and trotting back to wherever they had come from.

Chest heaving and leg burning with agony as blood trickled down it, Castiel fell to the floor and tried to catch his breath. Samandriel whined softly in fear as he tried to bury himself in his father's neck, and the omega licked his cheek gently.

"I'm okay," he assured and Samandriel released a breath of relief as he moved to clean the blood from his father's injured leg.

Both their heads shot up at the strange feeling of someone observing them.

Castiel dragged his son back between his paws when he looked up to find a lone brown wolf watching them from a fair distance away, atop a small hill.

Wary, Castiel scented the air and was dismayed to find the other figure too far away to identify.

To his alarm, the other wolf moved closer and Castiel gulped at the sheer size of the stranger. This was the biggest and strongest wolf Castiel had ever seen; stronger even than Lucifer. He would have no chance in a fight against the other male.

He was shocked by the scent of omega.

The other wolf, who Castiel could now see had chocolate coloured fur with flecks of pale brown interspersed between the base colour, scented the air cautiously before tilting his head.

"...Hello?" Castiel tried, hoping maybe this lone wolf would want to team up with him and his son. He may not trust anyone in the forest, but Castiel knew others would think twice about attacking someone of this stranger's size, even if he was omega. He could prove an asset to Castiel and Samandriel.

The other wolf took a step back, then retreated down the other side of the hill, out of sight.

Castiel sighed in disappointment and led his son towards a thick patch of bushes which should've provided some sort of shelter for at least a couple of hours whilst they slept. The autumn night was too chilli to be sleeping out in the open.

Just as they began to settle down, the brown wolf returned. With a friend.

Alpha.

Castiel stiffened and placed a paw in front of Samandriel. He scented the air, wondering if the two were mates, but whilst they had similar scents, they seemed to be more of a sibling nature. The two were brothers.

He bristled as they trotted down the hill and he poised to pick up Samandriel in case the need to escape arose.

"Back off," growled Castiel. "We're not bothering anyone. Leave us alone."

The intruding alpha rumbled threateningly. His fur was sandy with dark browns painting his legs, muzzle and the tip of his tail.

"You're in our territory," he said gruffly. "If anyone should leave, it's you."

Castiel narrowed his eyes. "We have nowhere else to go." He was tired of being pushed around; he just wanted to sleep.

"Not my problem," huffed the alpha and Castiel growled again. Arrogant alpha; always looking out for themselves.

The omega was surprised when the alpha's brother (the larger of the pair) nudged his side in reprimand.

The brothers shared a meaningful look and Castiel felt like squirming as the alpha's gaze landed back on him, scrutinising both him and his son.

He took in the blood pouring down Castiel's wounded leg and the amount of dirt caking both their bodies. He glanced at Castiel's protruding ribs and Samandriel's shivering, skinny form and sighed defeatedly.

The other omega twitched a triumphant smile before glancing at Cas with soft hazel eyes.

"Come with us," he said and Castiel knew it wasn't a request even if it sounded like one. He didn't want to follow them back to their pack or wherever they were taking him, but he knew if he didn't, he would be deemed an enemy and would be chased out of the area.

Castiel nodded warily and stayed a few metres behind them both, his pup by his side as they traipsed up the hill and into a lighter part of the forest, where the moon shone between the trees and provided visibility for the inhabitants of that part of the forest.

A few curious wolves of varying sizes and colours padded into the light, sniffing the air uncertainly.

"What's your name?" asked the large omega, glancing back at Castiel.

Castiel eyed his surroundings cautiously, working out possible escape routes.

"Castiel and this is Samandriel," he replied and the other omega smiled politely.

"I'm Sam and this is my brother and pack leader, Dean."

Castiel's eyes widened fractionally. Pack leader? Great; he'd practically led his pup into the claws of a lead alpha. He subtly slid closer to Samandriel.

"Would you like to bathe in the river first or sleep?" Asked Sam and Castiel hesitated. Sleep sounded wonderful, but he hadn't had a wash in weeks and he could barely smell his own scent any more from all the mud covering his body. Samandriel was no better.

"Bathe, please," murmured Castiel and Sam glanced at his brother before they parted ways and Castiel was left to follow the larger omega.

Sam trotted towards the sounding of flowing water and Castiel would never admit to the relieved sigh he made upon getting his first glimpse of the clear, inviting water.

"Take as much time as you need. I'll be back in a few minutes to take you back to camp," said Sam before turning and trotting back to where his brother had disappeared off to.

Castiel relaxed at finally being alone and slunk into the water, wounded leg rejoicing as the injury was cleaned. Samandriel carefully slid in beside him and began to clean himself, ducking his head under a few times and shaking when water got into his ears.

Castiel quirked a smile and began to clean the mud off them both.

A little while later, Sam returned, a small smile lighting his face and his tail up and obviously content.

"We've got a place set out for you," stated the chocolate wolf and Castiel blinked. A place set out for them? As in a place to sleep? Why would they do that for a stranger who had been intruding on their territory?

Sam looked mildly amused by his expression. "Come on," he insisted and Castiel slowly climbed out of the river, Samandriel copying.

Then Sam stiffened and his hackles raised as he lowered his head and bared his teeth.

Startled by the sudden hostility, Castiel took a step backwards, Samandriel cowering behind him.

"You're a Novak," snarled Sam and Castiel gulped. His family's reputation wasn't the best. They were known to be cold and cruel to others, and rarely cared about the needs of those around them. They were powerful and used people how they saw fit, and it was no secret they despised the wild folk. They made it nearly impossible for the wild folk to live in urban areas and they drove them out with threats even when they were trying to live in their humanoid forms.

"I am," agreed Castiel and Sam growled.

"You're not welcome here."

"I'm not here to threaten you. I've been driven out of my home by my family. They wanted to kill my pup. I promise you, I'm not like them," said Castiel quietly.

"Why should I believe you? This could be a plan to wipe out our pack. It wouldn't be the first time your family has done something like that," hissed Sam and Castiel winced. Throughout the centuries, his family had wiped quite a few pack names from existence. Mainly those who rivalled the Novak family in power and influence.

"I assure you I've never even heard of your pack. I stumbled across you accidentally. I'm just trying to keep my son safe."

Sam snorted in disbelief. "You've never heard of the Winchester pack? Right, sure."

Castiel's eyes widened. Winchesters? They were one of the largest and most impressive packs in the wilderness. They worked flawlessly as a team, were known to be intelligent and people looked to them for advice and help. They were like royalty amongst the wild folk and people looked up to them with awe.

And for those reasons, they were also one of the Novak's greatest enemies.

However, the Winchesters were too clever to be caught off guard by the Novaks and they continued to evade their attempts of assassination. Other wolves learned from them and rebelled against the Novaks and over the centuries, a deep hatred was formed between the Winchester and Novak packs.

But last Castiel heard, the Winchesters were led by a ruthless leader by the name of John. He didn't suffer fools gladly and was known to be an expert hunter and killer of anything he deemed a threat to his family.

So who were Dean and Sam? His sons?

"...I've heard of the Winchesters, but I had no idea you were them," said Castiel carefully. "I promise you this isn't a plot to kill you or your family. I really am just on the run."

Sam glared at him for a few moments, before he scowled and gestured for the black wolf to follow him.

"Fine. But one wrong move and I'll kill you myself."

Castiel let out a shaky breath and began to follow.

The camp was pleasant. More pleasant than Castiel had expected. It was light and a little more open than the rest of the forest, the trees here seeming to form a fence around the area the Winchesters had claimed as theirs, and the wolves residing there chatted amiably and quietly. A couple of female pups played nearby and a male pup stood by his mother watching them longingly.

A couple of adults were playing a game of tug with a thick stick, and they laughed when another wolf snatched the stick and ran off with it, a chase beginning.

Castiel cocked his head. Where was the brutal fighting and yelling he'd always heard wild folk partook in? Were was all the aggression and blood?

As Castiel neared the camp, a few wolves broke off from their conversations to stand and growl at him. They recognised his scent and didn't want him anywhere near here.

Dean appeared from a large patch of hollowed out bushes, and it was obvious they were sleeping quarters. They actually looked rather cozy and Castiel was impressed by the fact that they had obviously been created by the pack members through hard work.

The sandy alpha frowned at his suddenly wary pack and he scented the air to see what the fuss was about.

Then he snarled and stalked over to Castiel.

"Give me one reason why I shouldn't kill you and your pup."

Castiel stood protectively in front of Samandriel as he scowled.

"As I told your brother, I had no idea who you were. If I had, I would have fled the moment I saw you. As it is, I'm on the run from the rest of my family."

"Why?" Demanded Dean. "Why would Castiel Novak run from his family? Your brother is head alpha isn't he? Michael?"

Castiel nodded, heart sinking at the fact Dean obviously knew who he was.

"He didn't take too kindly to a drunken one-night stand," murmured Castiel as he glanced subtly to Samandriel. "Now I'm hunted and so is my pup."

Dean frowned. "Why? Why would he try to harm you for that?"

Castiel blinked, confused. Was Dean joking?

"I'm an unmated omega who didn't inform his pack leader of his pup for six years. Why do you think he's hunting me down?"

Dean pulled a face and even Sam was looking confused now.

"Why didn't you tell him of your pup?"

Castiel's eyes widened. Dean couldn't be that stupid, could he?

"Didn't you hear the part where I'm an unmated omega with a child?"

The sandy wolf frowned. "So?"

Castiel was speechless.

"...Wouldn't you do the same to Sam if he suddenly revealed he was carrying a pup when he wasn't mated? Wouldn't you want to reprimand him for going behind your back and being bred by an alpha you hadn't approved of?"

Dean huffed in disgust.

"Sam's my brother. I would never hurt him or drive him out of the pack. Sure, I might be a little annoyed he wasn't more careful, but accidents happen. As long as he wasn't forced by the alpha, he can do whatever he likes."

Sam tilted his head. "Why would your brothers want to hurt you just because you have a pup? You're the youngest and an omega. What makes you think they would kick you out of the family?"

Castiel raised an eyebrow. "Because Michael barged into my home and tried to take a chunk out of me whilst spewing obscenities about how I didn't join the family business because I was too busy spreading my legs for vile street alphas' knots."

Sam and Dean blinked, eyes widening in shock.

"...Your own brother said that about you?" Asked Sam and Castiel nodded.

"He attacked you?" Scowled Dean and Castiel nodded again.

The brothers shared a look, seemingly communicating telepathically with one another before reaching a decision.

"Fine, you can stay with us until you find another place," stated Dean. "But I swear, if we find out you're lying about any of this, you'll have more than a damaged leg to worry about."

Castiel nodded solemnly as he bowed his head in a show of respect and gratefulness, Samandriel quickly copying his movements.

Dean seemed a little surprised at the action but he turned to the rest of the growling pack and raised his voice for all to hear.

"Castiel is under our protection for now. We will not harm him unless his claims of amnesty prove fraudulent."

And with that said, the other pack members immediately relaxed and continued with whatever they were doing before the interruption.

Castiel was stunned by the sudden change in mood.

The Winchester brothers glanced at one another again, communicating silently before Sam gestured for Castiel to follow him. He led him to a small, hollowed out bush a little distance away from the others.

"You sleep here," mumbled Sam and Castiel had a feeling the end of that sentence should have been 'where we can keep an eye on you'.

The black and tan wolf nodded and slunk into the bush, curling around Samandriel as the pup cuddled into him. They really were exhausted, having not slept properly for days and as they settled down, Castiel protecting his pup like any good parent, the pair missed Sam's sympathetic gaze before he wandered off to chat to his brother.

For the first time in weeks, Castiel and Samandriel slept dreamlessly.