SA Collins

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A Quarrel of Sparrows - A Sparrow’s Hollow Lycanthropic Adventure

Cal and Harrison

A work in progress - subject to change.

Submitted: August 26, 2017

CHAPTER ONE

Cal — Three Months Later ...



I sat at the window, trying to keep my breathing steady. It had been three months since I’d returned to them. Three months since I haven’t been able to sleep an entire night comfortably. Three months where I would look into my boy’s eyes and the overwhelming joy I felt in having him close again. Three months to contemplate how much of his life I’ve allowed to slip by.

“Cal?” Ruth murmured sleepily from our bed.

“Still here, Ruthie. Just can’t sleep again. Go back to sleep. I’ll be fine.”

She rolled onto her back and drew a hand up over her head onto the pillow. Her eyes opened just barely enough to let me know she was rapidly waking.

“They back yet?” she yawned softly, bringing that hand from the pillow to her mouth to stifle it back.

“Yeah, ‘bout fifteen minutes ago. They’s settlin’ down now.”

She sat up onto her bent elbows to watch me at the window. “How is it that their parents don’t fret too much about them being gone all the time? You’d think their mas would be a wee-bit concerned.”

“They’s grow’d up men, now. C’mon Ruthie, even you know how the kids run around here and the next towns over. Hell, I’m amazed that we didn’t have them around before Hank accepted who he was to them.”

“There were times that Cory thought it’d never happen. We both did.” She rolled onto her side and pulled the covers back for me, beckoning me back to her arms and our bed.

I missed this. I missed them all, far more than I ever wanted to admit during those terrible long years of exile while I watched over them.

She watched my naked form move to her, her eyes riveted to my more than ample sex. Even in her drowsed state, she didn’t bother masking the lust that lingered there. She’d been denied the pleasures of her flesh for too long. As of late, we’d made our love-making a nightly routine. Sometimes more than once a night. All I could think was thank the maker that we were both talented enough to silence the sounds coming from our room while I took her to new heights of sensual pleasure.

There was one thing we hadn’t talked about since my return. The fact that I knew that she was with child again. The wolf must have its way. Every one of those boys were going to have to sort out how they were going to balance a family life of their own with some girl in town and their absolute devotion to my son.

Not an easy proposition by any stretch.

I was lucky enough that what I was kept me from being bound to anyone in that way. When I shared the pleasures of my flesh, of what prowess I had in sex, it was a conscious choice I made. And given how the wolves who were not of my kind – which admittedly was a very long list since there were only two of our kind consisting of just me and my son – could feed upon the power we carried within us, I had to keep a very careful eye to anyone who approached Hank.

Cade has slipped by me once, nearly did us all in with that singularly brilliant move. I won’t make that mistake again. Not with my boy. But with the wards we placed on Hank’s room when we rebuilt it, converting it into a single room with a massive homemade mattress that sprawled across the floor for the boys to stay connected to Hank after a hunt, I knew we were in an okay place so I could try to sleep each night. Didn’t mean that I did sleep.

As I slipped under the covers of the bed, pulling my wife to me allowing her to move on top, drawing her simple nightgown up enough so I could slip into her as we began a slow arduous fuck, my mind did wander a bit over what was Cade’s end goal. One thing was sure: he had become far more smooth in his approach and his delivery. That pit stop in the shop that Cory relayed to me with Riley and Tanner was just his way of playing the crude card so if I was around I wouldn’t think that he’d changed much. 

“Sssst, yeah baby, right there,” she whispered as I let her use my thick elongated cock to pleasure herself, angling her body to use my sizable girth to stimulate herself, bringing a fair amount of shuddering to me in the process. I grunted in response. I didn’t think she knew I had sort of checked out. In a way I knew I could keep from blowing inside her if I did. It was definitely a big check mark in the plus category between us. She continued to milk me for all her worth, my hands slipping up under her shift to grip her hips tightly so I could drive a few times forcefully into her. It seemed to please her, so my thoughts moved elsewhere, my body on automatic as she continued to use my body to satiate her carnal pleasures.

A small smirk coursed across my lips as I pondered where my life had gone over the past decade. I wasn’t always around during that prolonged exile from my family. I spent a fair amount in Charleston. I even took to taking classes in Morgantown at the University so I could further educate myself. I got a degree in engineering so I could gain employment in any number of well-established companies along the eastern seaboard. Didn’t mean I did that, only ‘cause I didn’t. My manner of speaking had greatly improved, though I found it so easy to slip back into Sparrow’s manner of speech from the moment I returned. It wasn’t that I thought they needed talking down to any. Because it ‘tweren’t like that at all. There was just a comforting rhythm to it that I found I needed to feel connected to the world I’d grown up and felt deeply rooted in continuing to call her home.

I gently rolled her onto her back and kissed her passionately as I began to fuck her in earnest. I relished the way her small feet would come up alongside my narrow waist as I fucked her relentlessly with long strides of my cock. She writhed under me, whispering to me that she liked what I was doing. ’Tweren’t like it was when I was with the boys, and that was a very good thing ‘cause it helped me keep this part of my life completely contained. I didn’t think I could ever keep her happy, keep my family together, and still have my way with the boys as I needed to if this ever started to bleed over into that wolf-infused life.

Twenty or so minutes later and a solid round of her climax before I’d allowed my own, we spent a few minutes cuddling before I rolled onto my back next to her as she slipped into slumber again. I stared up into the ceiling trying to work out what was Cade’s endgame.

Power, that was definitely on the list.

Cade was nothing if not about power. He’d wanted it then; he seemed to still want it now. I even recalled in that hellish moment when he was fucking Hank that I saw a malevolent glee in his face – as if he knew what he was doing was aimed solely at me.

But what else could he be needling at? The pack?

Would he move to destroy what I put into place to protect Hank?

I knew the answer to that. It could only be yes, and that troubled me. Mostly because in those intervening years Cade had to have been waiting and watching just as much as I was and I didn’t detect him none until that gut-wrenching night when he made his move.

In a very real way, while he was rather slick about slipping past Ruthie and Cory’s protections, he was also tenacious about how he slipped past my own – even going so far as to mask his scent until he got too worked up in fucking my boy.

That was his singular mistake.

It was epic, in that his failure to keep in place the veil that would prevent us to see him, was the only thing that had allowed me to move in and save my boy from something that would’ve messed him up. Probably for the rest of his life, too. I shuddered inwardly just thinking about that – how close it had all come crashing down around us.

I knew I should be more angry about Cade’s rape of Hank. But the wolf controlled those baser instincts. It had an off-switch that wouldn’t allow us to wallow in that sort of thing. I had to explain that to Hank after he’d had a solid round of being sexual with his boys only an hour or so after he’d been taken by Cade. 

He didn’t understand it. Riley and the boys had to help me explain it to him that the wolf protects what it needs to. It only increases clarity of mind in the hunt to shutter up those feelings of guilt and remorse. The wolf won’t allow those feelings to fester.

It’s why Hank seemed to bounce back from it all so easily.

The wolf must always win. That’s its endgame. It’s what made being a wolf so challenging, that duality that was at war inside. It was something you felt the entire time even if he was in the background while you were human. He constantly stalked you, waiting for a moment to come to the fore.

Sometime between all those thoughts I found sleep. It would have to do, even if it was only for a few hours before I had to get up and tend to the store and the surrounding chores what needed to be done. That part I always looked forward to, mostly because that was quality Hank-and-me time. Having my boy near me was the greatest feeling a father could have. His smile did more for my soul than anything else in this world could.

He was mine.

He was a part of me.

He was my greatest effort and my greatest work.

And I’d be damned if Cade Bowen could come along and tear that down. That man had better watch hisself. Shit was about to get real.




Ruth and Cory had breakfast all laid out when Hank and I came up from moving stock around downstairs. In truth, the entire store room needed tending to but it would’ve been a monumental thing to undertake – even though Hank had grown up to be very able bodied in most of the menial chores that occupied life at the store. But between the two of us, we were able to reorganize the entire lower floor into a system that actually made the load-in of goods easier to process and get upstairs that even Ruth and Cory were pleased with the results.

In the months since I’d been back, Hank and I just couldn’t stop smiling whenever we were doing something together, which was nearly all the time. We didn’t talk too much, as men folk often don’t feel the incessant need to blabber on and on about stuff. He told me about his fears now that he’d allowed the wolf full access to him, how it was with having eight boyfriends who kept him very busy in the loving department. I had a few words to guide him about that seeing how I’d been in that position with Randy’s pack sometime ago.

That was something that created a bit of an awkward conversation to talk about sexual things with your son as he struggled to understand that I could be a sexual being too was a bit hard for him to grasp. Until I allowed him to see some of it in my mind. Then he understood. Not everything mind you, just that my experiences were no different than what he was going through. It made things a whole lot easier to talk about after that. Only cause we didn’t have to go into it so much. A few words here and there more than covered it.

He asked me about his boys and how I brought them to their pack life. I told him what he wanted to know. Yes, I’d been with each of them. They knew they could still come to me that way but we both knew that with their binding to Hank, that was a thing of the past. Riley told Hank that his Alpha status was only because I’d abdicated my position in creating the pack and bringing them to their wolf state. He was right about that. This confused Hank a bit and I had to spend some time explaining the hierarchy of pack life. 

This is where it got a bit dark for him. When he said he was very fearful over something Riley had told him early on – how he could destroy his boys if he ever repudiated them, I had to confirm that for him. That wasn’t an easy thing to hear or take in. But it was what it was. Hank needed to understand what he and I were. 

In the line of Greek terms we had for the ranks in a wolf pack, Ruthie came up with the term for what Hank and I were: Gamma.

She got it from her studies at college about cosmology and the energies and forces in space. She said that like the gamma rays in space, Gammas to her way of thinking are powerful forces within the pack, just like they are in the universe. They can destroy anything in their path. Now, I’d know’d this to be true, too. My tearing Cade away from Hank had taken very little from me compared to the force I’d let loose. The physical cost to me was minimal. My anger did all the driving. And it tore an enormous hole in the side of the store, too.

“Y’all eat up now,” Cory said as the mess of boys piled in with me, “‘cause I know y’all have a mess of training to do.”

“And I can’t get that goin’ until we get that copse in the woods a bit more cleared out. We need us a proper training arena. But one that will allow us some peace to do what we gotta do.”

“There is that cave up a piece toward where the Mingo used to call home. It’s not too far from here and could do nicely,” Maynard said with a small glance Riley’s way.

Riley sort of shrugged and nodded, “Yeah, it’s got a good view from above because it’s up high in the mountains a bit. Hard to get to,” he smirked, “but not for us.” 

He wiggled his eyebrows a bit and we all sort of chuckled. 

“That’s promising, right?” Hank asked.

I nodded. “Could be very useful.” then to Maynard and Riley, “Any use of it lately by anyone that you know of?”

Maynard shook his head and Riley seemed to concur.

“We go up there sometimes to shoot the shit and hang out. It’s kind of known to us already. We sorta marked it a bit.” A dark twist to Maynard’s face was all we needed to see. Yeah, it was our turf.

“Might be a bit too prominent. Could see the lights and flashes from your training if magic is involved, Cal,” Cory said as she laid a plate full of bacon on the table. The boys and I piled in like the ravenous beasts we could be. A couple of the boys snarled but with a snap of Cory’s fingers they was properly reprimanded and quieted down some.

I smirked at how this pack had already become so cohesive. They moved as one, looking out for each other but mostly with an eye to Hank. They loved my boy something fierce. It was a raging river of affection that they just heaped on him twenty-four hours a day.

It was Hank’s idea to wipe all furniture from his room when we got to fixin’ it up the day after Cade’s invasion. The boys didn’t know how to act when Hank hatched his plan for an overhaul to his room. But he seemed to embrace his boys in a way that just told them that he was taking them all to heart and not playing favorites if he could. Though it was clear to them all that pack hierarchy was in the mix as Tanner and Riley dominated things whenever Hank was around.

And it ‘tweren’t easy bein’ around them all the time. Their wolf-cravin’ ways was eking into my mind and body more than I wanted to deal with. Spending intimate time with my wife was all well and good but it didn’t supplant the sexing that I got from being with others of my kind. And my body was craving it something fierce.

That became all too apparent as we made our way out to the cave that Maynard and Riley had told us about. We made sure to cut out at dusk, leaving Cory and Ruth to fend for themselves after supper. We had plans to go hunting after we scouted out this here cave.

We left our clothes along the back fence of the store’s property and slipped into our wolf form just as night started to take hold. We was all fairly tired with some of the work we’d put in clearing out the back of the property that had become quite overgrown since I’d made myself scarce. I didn’t blame Hank none for letting it go. As things went in their lives, the encroaching brush and trees were the least of their worries back then. Only now, with Cade and his rival pack a real threat, we wanted the land cleared away so we could definitely see them coming when and if they did.

 Within seconds we all had successfully shifted to our wolf forms and bounded through the forest.

.:UP:. 

.:FASTER:.

.:MORE:.

Those were the pulses of thoughts along our shared link. Each one pressing our prowess in navigating the brush, rocks and trees as we made our way to the cave northwest of Sparrows.

.:UP:.

.:YES:.

Hank was taking point as if he knew all along where we were heading. I was but a stride behind him with Riley and Tanner just behind me. I knew I was pressing as hard as I could and yet, in the exuberance of the chase, Hank pressed ever harder than the rest of us. Even Riley and Tanner were a bit surprised with the ease Hank had outstripped us all. He was flying, taking leaps and bounds, bouncing off of trees and rocks at all angles. There was a rushing glee in his stride that easily eclipsed whatever effort the pack could put into the chase up the hillside.

.:HANK:. I pushed along that link to him.

.:SLOW:.

He had only one thought for me, for the rest of us: .:FOLLOW:.

He wasn’t giving up the chase. It was up to us to keep up.

So we pressed on, I couldn’t help but nip at his back paws as he made the final push to the crest of the cave.

Within seconds the rest of us were up there.

As the last of us changed, we moved slowly around the mouth of the cave area, taking it in.

To be honest I found it far more valuable as a training area than I originally thought. It was more of an overhang, an outcropping of rock that overlooked a flattened plateau that gave the effect of it being a cave without actually being one. I walked out to the precipice of the plateau and looked over the edge. It went down at least a good fifty to seventy-five feet. It was a decent place to do what we needed to do. The width and depth was adequate enough.

Only one thing was an obstacle – the tree tops barely concealed the happenings that we’d be getting up to here. There was one ultimate benefit though – the boys had sufficiently marked it. It reeked of the pack. I smirked just knowing that we could safely come up here and not find a wayward bear or some other predator who would think of taking over the place. There’s one thing about wolf urine marking its turf, but it is another thing altogether when it comes from our kind of wolf. That sort of predator tends to tilt the scales. Bears don’t want to tangle with us. I should know. I’d taken a few out of commission very quickly that tried.

 I turned to them all. They watched me standing there along the edge of the plateau. Each of them stopped their wandering around and all turned to look at me.

“I think it’ll work, but we’re gonna have to conceal any magical tests.” 

I drew an imaginary line along the tops of the trees which poked up about ten feet above the line of the plateau. They all looked from that imaginary horizon up into the sky. There was also a bald patch where no trees grew to even remotely obscure our activities and that portion was unfortunately placed in direct line of sight to Sparrows.

“But yeah, it’s gonna be tricky.”

The guys walked around a bit before joining me along the edge, looking down on the town in the distance below.

A rumble in someone’s stomach nearby me had us turning our attention to him.

Mike nudged me. 

“What? When we gonna hunt? I’m really hungry.”

“You’re always hungry, Mike. Whether it’s for sex or food,” Maynard mumbled shaking his head.

“Well, what else does a guy need? Answer me that Mister Stud Man?” Mike tossed back with a flick of the back of his hand to Maynard’s ass before he scurried away from him to stand to my left.

The other guys chuckled. 

It never failed to strike me how odd it was that there were ten of us butt-naked up on a plateau exposed to the world talking about magic and marking our territory with man-wolf piss and yet it all seemed so natural when we were doing it. That was the wolf in us. It wouldn’t allow that sort of examination to take root. Even now I could feel it pulling this thought away from me, stamping it out. Well, not so much the thought as it was the emotion I could’ve attached to it.

It was how I explained it to Hank after Cade had taken advantage of him why he didn’t obsess over it.

I remember him coming to me the morning after he and the boys had spent time cleaning up and being with them all in that way that was distinctly ours. He was confused about how he could go from having that violating sex with Cade, to wanting to be with his boys right after. 

“How does that make it right? ‘Cause that’s the way it feels. Like I had to do it with them in order for them to lay claim to me again.” He held up a hand before I said anything so he could finish his thought. “And I know they don’t claim me, I claim them. I know how everyone says it, but that ain’t the way if feels to me.”

Now he let me have my say on it. I scratched my head for a bit only ‘cause I’d been in a similar situation before he was born. Being the Omega-type wolf tended to draw other wolves to you. You smell different to them, a scent that begs to be bred with. They want to bind to you, even if you’re from another pack. I learned later that when Ruth and I tried that spell that only made it multiply tenfold. So much so, that when I was in exile I found men circling my small cabin away from nearly every pack in the state. 

Didn’t matter. They still found me. 

Many times it was more than one. Fights would break out over who was gonna have a go with me first. Sometimes I watched from a perch high up in a pine tree. Other times I’d soothe them all until they realized that I wasn’t going to put any of them off. Depended on my mood and the desire to be with my own. This is what I had to explain to my boy. This was how his life was going to be, what his mother and I tried to spare him from.

And with him, it was going to get far stronger than I ever was. I could feel it. Hank just put out those signals already. It also didn’t help that he was a very pretty man. Everything that made Ruth attractive to me, the gentleness of her face the careful arch to her brow. Hank had that all as well as the physical strength he got from me, from the wolf in me. I suspected there’d even be boys who weren’t of our kind that might even pick up on it, too.

That allure thing that Cade had learned from me, Hank had in spades. His pull was strong already. It’s how Cade found him. He definitely was ripe for the plucking. I had to goad Riley to do what he was supposed to do. Don’t know why Riley fought it as long as he did. Fear of the unknown, maybe. I told him that he’d settle down and marry and have youngin’s of his own. Only he swore he knew once he’d been with Hank, that’d be it. He’d never want another. Prolly why he got it out of his system before hand. He’d had more than his fair share of girls and boys before he was with my Hank. I could see it now in ol’ Riley. He’d been right all along. Hank had infected him something fierce. But what did that mean for my boy?

For the rest of his life, he’d have his choice of bed partners. There was only one thing that separated Hank from other Omegas – like me, he had a big heart. And he was gonna be at war with it for the rest of his life. But how do I tell him all that? How do I let him know that I know what he’s going through?

“The wolf won’t allow you to wallow in what Cade did.”

Yeah, that’s all I had for him. Not very fatherly, I know. But it seemed that there was so much to say on it that I knew it wasn’t the only time he’d seek me out. We were the same, he and I, so he only had one place to go for advice on it: me. I knew it was a conversation we’d be having off and on. But I felt off-kilter about it. I’d missed out on those intervening years between being a father to a five year old and suddenly finding him discussing with a frank ease on being violated by Cade and having sex with multiple partners from his pack only an hour later. 

Even for the most loving fathers, that was a huge leap to make and take on. But I loved him more than anything. I knew it bothered Ruth where she was in it all. But she’d been right about that. The only one I ever required in my life was my boy. And ‘tweren’t nothin’ funny about it. I just enjoyed his company the most. My love didn’t know any bounds when I was with him. I could just watch him for hours and never tire of it. He knew it. I never had to say. The wolf took care of that for both of us.

There was no way you could ever have an intelligent conversation about this with anyone who wasn’t what we were. That thought wasn’t kept only to myself and the boys all sort of smirked at it as well.

Hank came up beside me. I pulled him to me and he rested his head on my shoulder. I felt a huge rush of love he had for me the moment we touched.

“We better get to huntin’ ya know. Mike’s stomach is only gonna get louder,” he murmured into my chest so softly that I knew it was meant for me.

“Uh huh. So you good with this?”

He glanced around, before turning back to me and with a slight frown he nodded a couple of times, “Yeah, I am.”

“Great! Can we go hunt now that we have our party place all set?” Spike tossed out as he walked right up to the edge of where we’d come up a few minutes ago.

I let Hank go, shrugged and held a hand out to where Spike was standing.

“Lead the way …”

“Oh, thank God!” Mike said as he scrambled to beat Spike over the edge with the rest of us following.




Thus began our weekly training sessions. At first it was in combat. The boys got scuffed up some, but the wolf wouldn’t allow those wounds to linger. Whether they cleaned themselves up after, lapping at the open wounds on each other or just heading into the large shower stall we had in the basement of the store and seeking solace in each other there – they were there for one another – as it should be. It was tenuous at first, but grew in strength with each passing day until it became so tight that the boys never felt the need to question what they were doing.

I know it rattled Hank’s cages sometimes, only ‘cause he was a thinker like me. He tended to ponder on things that he probably shouldn’t too much. But he never seemed to go so far as to wallow in them so I tended to let him be.

As I watched them skirmish in our man cave, I caught Hank’s eye. Maynard and Riley were having a go at each other, with Maynard getting the upper hand a few times more than I thought Riley’d care for later. That was ended when Riley saw his moment and walloped Maynard so hard the ground shook with it. Hank was on his feet from leaning against me for most of the boys sparring sessions. He was usually nestled against me whenever the boys got to playin’ around. They were getting quite good at it. Hank was rather proud of his boys. They felt it coming from him in waves so I knew that only pressed them to get better and better at their craft of warfare.

That word ate away at me.

War.

I didn’t want this for them. Neither did Hank, or hell, any of the boys for that matter. At least that was what our human sides were saying on the subject. The wolf side? It craved it something akin to outright hunger for battle. They wanted to prove themselves worthy of having Hank as their own.

There was almost a slovenly nature to it all. We craved blood, the rending of flesh from bone. It was in our nature to do so. It was something that we constantly wrestled with inside. Man against wolf. It was also why sex with each other was necessary. It allowed us to connect on a human level – man to man, seeing each other for who we really were and not the wolf that kept eking its way into our humanity. Sex between us allowed us to keep rooted in who we were. It just wasn’t the same as with a woman. Those sensations were superficial. There was no mind connection during it so it paled by comparison. When we fucked we felt what we felt but also what the other man was feeling. So it fed upon itself during the mating to where it took on a passioned frenzy until we found sweet release. The cummin’ from that was nothin’ shy of mind-blowing. And the exchange of that held its own certain magic, too. That moment of release and you knew the other man on such a basic intimate level that it overwhelmed you. There simply was no comparison. With the boys and an Omega-like Hank and me, yeah, not so much as a mind blowing experience as it was life-altering. A duality that we had to maintain if and when the desire to actually create youngin’s took over.

So we knew of war with our wolf part of us, only because we was wagin’ it from the time we took up the mantle of being one.

I watched Hank as he slowly made his way to where Riley was panting over a rapidly changing Maynard from hurt wolf to battered man. The bruises along his body were going to take some definite healing. But that was Riley’s task. He had to keep order and that wasn’t an easy thing to do with Maynard and Tanner being as big as they were. As an Alpha, you had control of the pack, but only so far as you were able to control it. By putting Maynard down as roughly as he had, while not wholly necessary, was his way of sending a message to the rest that his word was still law. His paw lay squarely on Maynard’s chest, before he snarled loudly.

“Enough,” was all Hank had to say and Riley relented the moment it left Hank’s mouth. Even in this, Hank trumped us all. 

He slowly padded his way to a groaning Maynard. Hank waved a simple hand at Riley who was flung gently but resolutely from hovering over Maynard.

“I understand you have to assert yourself, lover. But not at the expense of another like this.” Hank’s leveled a pointed gaze at Riley who had returned fully to his human self. “You’d do well to remember this.” 

He stood up and eyed the rest of the pack. While his words were soft in tone, the magic he put into them was like he was burnishing his thoughts on the group for eternity. Riley’s word may sound like law them. Hank’s was the law. It was times like this when Hank made it clear who was absolute ruler in this pack.

“I know we must improve our fighting technique if we are to remain untouched by other packs who run in this here state, but let’s be clear about this. Unless we say gloves off or something of the like, then acts like this are not to be tolerated.” He squatted down so he could look directly into Maynard’s eyes. “From either side of the fight. Am I clear?”

Maynard thought about it. We could all feel it. There was something festering there that we couldn’t put a finger to, not just yet. We was missing a piece of the puzzle. But something had put Riley and Maynard on edge. Only I think we all knew it wasn’t between them. But their fight just now had been the clear expression that something was indeed off. I could tell that Hank sensed it but he was playing it cool with them all. A distanced approach to a very touchy problem.

Finally Maynard nodded twice curtly and then coughed and a fair amount of blood sputtered from his lips. Hank didn’t waste any time and wrapped his arms around Maynard’s torso and kissed his bloody mouth. We all watched in wonder as the bones and bruises healed far more rapidly than even our wolf nature allowed. Even I sat up at this. This here was new. Before I realized what Hank was doing the crack of a rib sounded from Hank’s own body, the bruises transferred there, blossoming on him, causing him the pain and stress. The boys all scrambled up and started to move toward them both. Finally Hank couldn’t take the pain any more, he was vibrating from it. He released Maynard who immediately swapped places with Hank and embraced him in his agony. I roughly cut through the boys to make my way to Hank who had coughed a bit, the blood coming from his own mouth. He ran a slightly quivering hand across it and the sound of the rib snapping back into place, as if ‘tweren’t hurt at all, the bruises rapidly diminishing from his skin. By the time I knelt next to a confused Maynard, Hank had fully recovered. He reached out for my hand and I pulled him up with me. The boys were all confused, looking wide-eyed at one another, wondering what had just happened.

“Let that be a lesson. I can pull you back from just about anything, but I feel it. I take it all on. The pain, the danger to myself in order to heal you. So keep that in mind when one of you decides to test Pack order again. Because the wolf you’ll have to answer to isn’t Riley. It’ll be me.”

He moved from the rest of us to Riley and kissed him deeply. The boys and I felt the love between them flush our bodies. Hank was already becoming a master of communication with us all, myself included. It was heady and slightly awkward being his daddy and all. But it was all part of the game. No secrets he’d said, and it seems he meant it in every possible sense of the word.

They parted and Riley blushed a bit with Hank securing his hold on the pack, even if it was only because Hank wished it to be so. Hank was quite settled with the pack order. But he stopped as he moved away from Riley and took in Spike who had lingered back just a bit from the others. His gaze took on a more quizzical nature. As if he was seeing something in Spike he hadn’t noticed before. But those thoughts were kept from us all.

Yeah, Hank was becoming a master at it all. I didn’t even expect what he’d just pulled off with healing Maynard as quickly as he had. I didn’t even know where he got the idea he could do that. Hell, I’d never done it! I couldn’t even begin to think of where that’d come from.

They regarded each other for a moment longer before Hank seemed to come to some sort of decision on it and moved on. “Spike, you and Mike are up.”

He snapped his fingers as he continued to where I had laid with him earlier.

He stopped and turned to the boys who hadn’t moved a muscle save for slowly turning around on the spot they was in to watch this sudden change in Hank. He’d never been this way with them before. Even I was sort of startled by it all.

“Well?” he widened his eyes as if he thought we’d suddenly all gone deaf and dumb, “git to it!”

The boys sort of looked at each other. I could sense them all poking and prodding at Hank, trying to tentatively sort out what he was doing now. Only he wasn’t letting them in just yet. It seemed whatever had happened between Riley and Maynard had really disturbed him and he wasn’t being so warm and inviting just now. I had a feeling this little lesson was going to stay with them for some time to come.

Hank stood there and nudged with a nod of his head to where I was that he was expecting me to return to our previous arrangement.

“Mmm-kay,” I mumbled, more to myself than anyone else.

This whole thing was off. I sat down on the floor of the plateau again with my back to the rock face that was so flat it was as if it was carved out for just this purpose. As soon as I was in place as before he laid back down only this time instead of simply lying on his back with his head on my shoulder, he actually turned to lie next to me and curled a leg over mine with his head on my chest.

I knew that he was struggling with something big but he was trying to find a way to say it. Riley and Tanner watched the whole thing from the other side of the cave. I felt Riley mentally poking at me. I looked his way and only shook my head slightly to say now was not the time. I’d find out what it was.

Daddy?

Here it comes.

Yeah, son?

Something ‘tain’t right. I can’t say what it is, but it’s bothering me something fierce only I don’t rightly know why it is the way ’tis. Ya know?

.:Not entirely, but I do know that you just scared the bejeezus outta your boys. And you ain’t let ‘em in yet. They’s only gonna get a bit more stirred up and we could really have a problem on our hands. :.

.:I know that. Believe me I learned that from you early on after you came back. But I need to say this to you ‘cause you know I trust you more than anyone. :.

.:But they’s your boys.You can trust them. They love you something awful. You gotta know that. :.

.:Oh, I do. But it don’t mean that something isn’t off that I can’t sort out or fix. :.

Spike and Mike started to spar, their wolf selfs squaring off, pacing in a circle of one another gauging when and where was the best place to strike. Mike seemed to find it and the battle raged for a few while we watched. Then Hank’s thoughts bubbled in my own again, only this time ’twas laced with a fair amount of fear.

.:I can’t rightly say why, but one of us ain’t wholly honest with the rest. And its startin’ to fester, Pa. I think I’m gonna need you to stay closer than ever. Something is coming after me in a big way. That’s why I snapped with them. We don’t have time for this pissin’ contest they got going on. I need their head in the game. :.

As the boys wrangled and snarled in battle, I noted that Hank was withdrawing further into himself. This wasn’t a good thing. Not for any reason he could come up with either.

Listen to me, boy. Are you listening?

He nodded slowly, turning his head slightly to watch my eyes looking down at him.

You need to let go of this now. I know we gots to sort it. But leave it for now and let your boys in. They’s only going to get more pent up for you. Can’t you feel them pawing at you?

He nodded and I felt him open up to them and they came at him in a collective rush, even going so far as to bring Spike and Mike to a complete stop as it seemed even in their sparring they were getting upset at being shut-out from Hank.

I got up, nudging Hank from lying against me. He sort of sat up.

“Enough sparring for the night. You boys need some loving now. I’ll leave you to it.” I turned to Hank.

“You owe them this. Make it right, son.”

Without waiting for any sort of response I took for the edge of the plateau at a run and by the time my feet hit the side of the mountain I’d successfully made the shift to my wolf form. For the next hour I hunted, finally settling on a wild turkey that seemed to satiate my desire for raw flesh for the moment. All the while I could feel the impassioned feelings of their lovemaking coursing through me while I ate. He was a large tom, it’d have to satisfy me as I picked past feathers for the warm flesh underneath until I found it’s now still heart, engorged with blood and I bit of it, savoring the savagery of it as it spilt down my throat. I felt my boy find release with the first of his lovers before I closed my mind to it all.

I needed some space. I needed to be with men of my kind. There was only one place for that for me now: Morgantown and a lover from my University days that I’d hoped would be happy to see me again. Ruth knew I’d be out with the boys tonight so I knew it was a safe thing to take in for myself. I could be there and back within a few hours if it all timed right.

I left the turkey carcass for other predators and scavengers to sort out and slipped down the embankment to the river and did a vigorous wash up before I changed form again and made my way north.




Covering the distance of well over one hundred and fifty miles from Sparrows to Morgantown where the remnants of my University life were still there. Going back and seeing it, seeing him, was going to prove disorienting as it was painful. I left another life there. And in grand werewolf fashion, I didn’t do it cleanly either. No, I’d made a right mess of things. I left a man’s life in tatters and a broken heart that never fully healed myself. 

How could I possibly think his had after all these years?

I stopped just shy of the building I last knew where he lived when I left him. Under the cover of night I slipped between some bushes and returned to my former self. I slipped as quietly as I could along the few houses that were next to his. Luckily enough for me the couple, that lived next door to him had their laundry out. She was wont back then to forget things, it looked with the passage of time that she was still forgetful. But this was to my advantage. I found a pair of jeans that should fit me just fine from the looks of them. I glanced both ways to see if anyone would spy a large framed naked man darting into their yard. When it all seemed clear I made my quick dash to the line, snatched the jeans from it with the clips flying into the air as I wrenched the pants from it, and made for the cover of the brush and trees just outside the line of their property.

I shucked myself into them and eyed the surrounding area to see if my little action had gained any notice. Not much it seemed, though I noted that the light in the back of his house had gone out.

“Well at least I know he’s home.”

Then another thought occurred to me. Maybe it wasn’t him? Maybe it was someone else who called this place home? Call our place home? Part of me rankled at the thought of anyone but me making a home with him.

Though it wasn’t our place any longer. Hadn’t been for quite some time. And I made more than enough of a mess that I suddenly wasn’t so sure why I was even doing this. Part of me thought I should just chuck the jeans into the yard and make my way back home. But there as a part of me that truly wanted to see him again. To smell him, to see his eye light up. Those dark brown eyes that always seemed to gleam with the slightest touch of amber to them.

I was thankful for the cover of night that I could slip from my protective covering of the forested area along the mountain I’d come down to his home. It afforded me the ability to slip down between the properties and make my way to the front of his house. I knew it would be highly suspicious of me to have anyone spy me coming up between them with only a pair of jeans on. It was the dead of winter, even if the air had started to stir up a fair bit of unseasonable warmth. To my wolf infused body the low temperature of night didn’t give me any pause for thought.

I slowly came around the corner of his house and made sure that the street was quite deserted. It was.

So I slipped across the frost bit lawn and strode to the walk way. I made my way up the eight steps to the porch and just before I rang the doorbell I noticed the name on the mailbox and smirked. 

Yup, still him – H. Langley, Ph.D.

I went to ring the doorbell when it suddenly swung open and there he was.

Only he wasn’t.

Or at the very least, he wasn’t the Harrison Langley I’d left behind. The Harrison Langley I’d loved so passionately for his brain as well as his heart. The only man who kept me sane while I tried like hell to right my fucked up life. A life that sorely missed my family, missed my boy.

No, not him. Gone was the studious professor like appearance of our days together. No, now he was smartly dressed. Almost suave and imperious, a tumbler in hand with what looked and smelled to be whiskey. He still had the horned rimmed glasses but I quickly noted that they were fake glass. He was wearing them for show to remind others of who he was, and not because he needed them. No, I’d seen to that.

But those glasses were about the only thing that remained of my Harrison.

His dark black hair had gained some grey, tastefully along the sideburns that were extravagantly combed through the sides of his head, giving the vision that the sides of his head were alight with silvery flames. Gone was the simple sweater and rather bland button down shirt. No, now it was a proper smoking jacket and an ascot of all things. He looked smart. Too damned smart. Too … studly. A man of the world, not the adorable, slightly clumsy and shy English professor who’d nurse held me through my language studies. Not the same man who helped me mend my broken heart at losing nearly all connectivity with my wife and son.

He snorted in a rueful manner before taking a final swig from the tumbler and stepping aside to allow me in. Probably more in pity for being slightly more than half-naked on his porch in the dead of night than anything else.

“Well look what the wolves dragged in.” Was all he said as he made his way from the front door, not bothering to close it behind me. No, he was leaving that to me. Old habits, I supposed.

“You know, it’s quite amusing you showing up just now. I only ran across our photo album you put together for me after our first year living together. Isn’t that odd?” He was pouring himself another stiff drink, and hadn’t bothered to ask if I wanted anything. Actually, he was rather pointedly not taking me into consideration at all. I began to see this was a huge mistake.

“Look, uh, Harrison …I’m sorry about …” I never got to finish and had to duck as the tumbler came flying at me, liquid and all. It shattered loudly behind me with part of it stuck into the banister from the large staircase that I was standing next to.

“You don’t get to be sorry about anything! You FUCKING don’t get to have a say in anything about how we ended it!” 

Panting loudly, he stopped himself, turned and gripped the credenza we had purchased together on a road trip up into the Adirondacks the first spring break I shared with him while attending UWV. It was singularly the best vacation I’d ever had. We made love so many times during that buying trip to furnish our home that I cherished those memories as if they were some special gift that kept me going through those hellish years alone in the woods.

“Look, this was a mistake, I think I should just go.” I began to turn and make my way to the front door but the tremble in his words stopped me cold.

“That’s what you do best when you feel threatened by me, isn’t it? You just create devastation all around you and then you just go. Leave me to mire in the mess and struggle to sort out what you left me with. What I became, by … your … own … hand!” He banged his right hand firmly on the surface of the credenza like a judge passing judgement of the accused.

He slowly turned around, tears falling silently down his face. There as no loud remorseful whine to his voice, and the anger that sprang up so violently had been somehow quelled to leave behind a pained but eerily quiet disposition. Measured, cold in its judgement of me, of what I’d done. I tried to feel him out as we had for so long before, but he was closed off to me. A wall of silence there, epic and vast. No way to breech it and let him find the pain I carried about how it had all ended between us.

“What I want to know is, how many others have you torn apart like me? How many other’s hearts have you broken along the way? Or can I go so far to think I was special enough to be the only one? Do I at least get that honor? Or was I one of a countless number of faces.”

I wanted to tell him about it all. I wanted to go to my knees to beg forgiveness. I had wronged him in so many ways and he didn’t deserve it. Only I hadn’t been in my right mind when it happened. I hadn’t told him everything in the right way. His refusal to hear me out, to banish me from our home, from the life and love I’d grown to count on to get me through my own hellish pain – that’s what I wanted to tell him. But to what end? He’d never let me finish. I could see that now.

“You were always special to me.” It was all I had that seemed to fit the crime. My only plea was that I deserved everything he wanted to fling against me. I’d foolishly ran when I should’ve stayed my ground and let him process who and what I was. Instead, I reacted violently against his disbelief about my wolf nature. Instead, I decided to show him the monster within. Of course he’d panic. Any sane person would. But when he threw me out, when he panicked and abandoned me I couldn’t take it. I needed him to stand with me. I needed him more than I’d ever needed a single soul before. And maybe in that singular moment, maybe even more than my own son. Hank I knew was strong and he’d survive my absence. But I was already crumbling inside. I was a patch of parched earth struggling to grow anything of beauty and stability. And Harrison was nothing but water and sunshine, a man of love and compassion. In that last night, as violent and as horrific as it was, I committed the ultimate sin: I turned Harrison, the man I loved more than any other mate I’d ever had, into one of us. It seemed however, that while he had walled himself against me, he wasn’t beyond listening in on my own thoughts.

“Yes,” he nodded emphatically, “yes, you definitely abandoned me. YOU DID THIS TO ME! You said you loved me, you said what we had was for life.”

“And I meant it, only you didn’t believe me and tossed me out for being crazed and a bit touched. And I panicked, so help me God, I panicked! But it wasn’t like you were supportive of me either. I didn’t have any place to go when you threw me out of here. Out of what was our home. I didn’t know what to do, where to go.”

“It was never meant to be a banishment, you ass! I fucking threw your keys at your head as you left, you fail to remember that part of it. Why would I possibly do that if I wanted you gone?”

I held up my hands in surrender, only because I would surrender to whatever he had for me. I needed him to have it out. I deserved it. If I was going to salvage anything from our past, even if it was a tenuous friendship, I needed to let him have his say. I needed to pay up and agree to whatever he exacted as a price for my crime.

“Not that it’s an excuse for my behavior. But what’s done is done. I can’t change it, even if I wanted to. And,” I took a cautious step toward him. He stiffened slightly but didn’t do anything else to warn me off so I stood where I was, even if I’d only gained six inches or so between us. “Please believe me, Harrison, I want to more than anything I’ve ever wished for. I regret it, in more ways and deeper than you can possibly imagine.”

Ever the exacting mind that I’d fallen head over heels in love with, he raised a quizzical brow over my last. Though I’d noticed that his body language had softened considerably from earlier.

He chuckled slightly, though it was laced more with irony than any amount of humor, he looked away at the wall somewhere completely unfocused before turning his pointed gaze back to me. I found I would submit to whatever he wanted if he would only take me back to his bed for one more night. “Fuck, you look good, Cal. You’re even more beautiful than I remembered. How is it that you can do that to me? That’s what I want to know.”

I shrugged. I didn’t know what else to say, except, “You look good, too.” I ran a hand up along my neck, this was as awkward as hell but I knew I needed to say what I wanted to say, too.

I started to step toward him but he countered by pulling back just the slightest. I had to come clean.

“The truth is,” my lip quivered, followed by a single tear of my own, “I’ve missed you so …” I stuttered, the emotions of this moment became all to real for me, “so … much. You were the only one I’ve ever loved. I swear to you. I know you can see it in me. I’m not hiding from you. You can have it all. I am laying it all bare before you. I know it’s a risk, because there’s so much I haven’t told you. But now you are, well, what I am, I know you’ll understand. At least I hope you will. You see, I’ve never had a choice in most of my life. I took what was handed to me and made do the best way I knew how. Never once thinking I had any choice in the matter. Just didn’t seem to be in the cards for a guy like me.” 

I took a couple of more steps, he seemed to watch me intently but didn’t make any move to stall me at all. I could feel him tentatively reach out to me, the feel of him overwhelmed me. I sank onto my knees from the weight of him pouring into me. I’d missed him far more than I realized. I sat back onto the heels of my feet, my hands on my thighs and wept silently.

“Then … you …” I couldn’t finish I had to get through this but I didn’t see how.

“You …” I stammered, unable to give voice to the words that were screaming for release but I suddenly couldn’t find the oxygen to them to get them out.

He came to me, a slow steady hand that reached the side of my face and I leaned into it and broke at his touch. I wept silently for a minute or so at his caress. He slowly slipped his hand from the side of my face and I whimpered the tiniest bit from his absence. A second later and he backhanded my face with the back of his hand hard enough that it sent me reeling into the cupboard door that was under the staircase.

I shook my head, bringing a hand to where he’d struck me. In truth it only stung my face a little. The pain in my heart from it cut me far deeper. He bellowed and raged at me. Before I could get back up he was on me again, a flurry of fists and hand swipes at me. Punches to the ribs, hard enough to crack one. A jab to my jaw and I felt my lip swell from being split open. But I took it all, I let his rage pour into me because I had what I came for. His love for me was strong. It was what was driving his anger right now. I knew he wasn’t giving me his all, only because I could feel the power of his love for me pull the punch just enough so he wouldn’t cause me any lasting damage. But the wolf required an extraction of pain for what I’d caused him. I knew I was here to pay up. After about five minutes of some serious pounding – sufficiently closing one eye from the swelling, my lip so battered that I knew it would take me quite a few minutes to restore itself, he finally relented in a shower of tears and regrets that tore through me like water on tissue paper. I was shredded by his onslaught. He overwhelmed me as he always had.

While his touch had been nothing short of violent to this point, the love he still bore for me seared in my veins unabated. I let him have his way with me, no restrictions, nothing to impede him in whatever he wanted to press upon me. I owed him this much. I left him as a newly turned wolf and didn’t bother to instruct him in our ways, or assist him with his first transformation. I just left him behind to cope with it all. I deserved so much more from him. I’d deny him nothing.

But he still loved me. Christ on the mountain, did he ever still love me.


And that was enough.


For now …