The Pack in the Snow

A little scene inspired by an image prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

Peter-MatthewMatthew had never really cared for the winter.  Some people loved the cold weather.  He knew that Samuel was always just glad that his allergies would take a break for a while.  For him, the change in the weather simply meant three months of being cold and miserable.

So it was, his first winter as a werewolf that he was shocked.  Even as he followed the other members of the small pack through the trees, he was warm.  He was shocked.  He was confused.  However, he was also really pleased.  Everything smelled fresh and clean.  He actually liked the feel of the snow under his paws.

He caught the scent of some small furry creature and nosed at it.  A moment later, Peter was sniffing the snow for it as well.  Samuel’s bark drew the beta’s attention away from the prospect of prey, but Matthew was determined to at least figure out what they’d found.

A moment later, Samuel had loped up beside him and nuzzled his side.  “It’s just a rodent,” Samuel told him, his ears pinning.  “It wouldn’t be more than a bite, love.”

Matthew looked up from the snow and then his tongue lolled out in a wolfish laugh.  “Sharpclaw’s got snow on his nose,” he said.  He bounced towards the beta and tilted his head.  “Did you know?”

Peter snuffled and shook his head, knocking the snow free.  “Pay attention, Sweet,” he said, before heading off through the woods once again.

Samuel nuzzled against his side one last time, before they set off once again.  They had quite a distance to go before it got fully light and they retook their human forms.

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Love is not a bandage to cover wounds

This is a little scene inspired by a word prompt (the phrase I used for the title) from the WriYe DreamWidth.  This is set after the main story in my National Museum and Archives story.  Oliver did something he shouldn’t have done and Peter is having trouble forgiving him.  What sort of relationship they have… it could be read as close friendship or something much more, depending on how you read this scene.

**

Oliver wasn’t sure what to do.  The fallout over the incident with Ackerley had gone so much further than work.  It was bad enough that he had to work to earn the trust of the rest of the security team at the National Museum again.  That, he knew, he could manage.  It would take time and effort on his part, but they’d get there eventually.  He wasn’t sure what to do about Peter.

He chewed at his lip as he watched the other man eating his lunch.  There had been a time when they’d been practically inseparable.  They’d done everything together – worked, played, eaten… slept.  He couldn’t remember a time when Peter hadn’t been by his side.  Now, he felt as if there was a wall between them that he couldn’t get around or through.

Peter said he still cared and Oliver certainly still cared for Peter.  However, he couldn’t find a way to repair the damage that was done to their relationship.  What could he do when simply caring wasn’t enough?

“You’re staring,” Peter said, his voice soft.  He glanced up and met Oliver’s eyes.  “If you’ve got something to say, just say it?”

Oliver heaved a sigh and set his elbows on the desk.  Resting his chin against his fists, he frowned.  “I’m trying to figure out… what to do,” he said, his voice soft.  “I know you’re hurt and – and you have a right to be.  I just… don’t know how to make it better.”

“The only thing that can make this better is time, Oliver,” Peter said, shrugging.  He grimaced and tossed his near-empty noodle container in the trash.  Shaking his head, he shrugged again.  “It might not be what you want to hear.”

“It’s the only answer I’m going to get,” Oliver finished.  He leaned back in his chair and shook his head.  “Apologies won’t fix it and neither will… your feelings haven’t changed.  Have they?”

Peter shook his head.  “That’s why it hurts so much,” he said, shrugging.  “If I didn’t care about you so much, Oliver, it would just be a matter of you proving to me that I could trust you not to betray us again, but… you didn’t trust me and that hurts a lot more than anything else you might have done.”

“I was scared,” Oliver said, his voice faint.  He swallowed thickly and ducked his head to hide the fact that he was near tears.  He didn’t want Peter to feel guilty, not when this whole mess was his doing.  He took a deep steadying breath and shook his head.  “I’ll just… give it time, then.”  There wasn’t anything else he could do, after all.

Swamps of Pavement

Oliver and Peter are security guards at the National Museum and Archives.  This story was inspired by the phrase that became the title, found at the WriYe DreamWidth

**

Oliver made his way down the street.  The summer was hot and sticky.  A part of him couldn’t wait for the seasons to turn and fall to come.  He loved the autumn, when there was a crisp freshness in the air and the leaves began to turn to red and gold.  However, he knew that the summer would have to end before the fall would arrive.

For now, he would have to put up with the heat that rose from the pavement in waves.  For now, there would be the hot stickiness that made him want to take off his jacket and loosen his cravat.  Even the plants growing along the margins of the walkways did little to cool the air.  Rather than the cool forest that the city planners intended, it seemed to Oliver that it was a hot, sticky swamp with paving stones in place of a river.

“I hate summer,” he murmured as he reached the entrance of the museum.  He sighed when Peter pointed out that he hated winter just as much – complained about it just as bitterly.  “I prefer the fall,” Oliver said, shrugging, “or the spring.”

“Around here,” Peter said, shaking his head and chuckling, “fall lasts about two weeks and spring is over in a day.”

Lightning and Fireflies

Another section of Samuel’s story, although Samuel isn’t actually in this section.  It was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

It was fully dark when the pack emerged from the den that Tobias had chosen.  Joshua scanned the horizon and then scented the air.  He glanced back at the others.  They were already shedding their clothing.  He followed suit and then, together, the group took on their lupine forms.prompt-100

Joshua released a soft howl and then he set out through the low grasses with the rest of the pack following.  Clouds had gathered overhead since he had found the missing member of the pack.  Lightning flashed overhead and then there was a low rumble of thunder.

Peter echoed the rumble with a low growl.  Joshua glanced back at his beta, his tongue lolling out in wolfish laughter.  Do you think you can scare the thunderclouds away, Sharpclaw?

Slinking lower, Peter ignored the question.  He moved out into the fields, where tiny pixies darted through the night like fireflies.  If they were in their human forms, they’d be elfshot in moments.  However, pixies didn’t pay animals any mind.

Esther drew up beside him, her golden eyes bright even in the dark night.  Will you let the pup join our hunts, alpha?

Joshua considered her question for a moment before he answered.  If he shows that I can trust him not to flee the pack the moment he’s allowed from the den, he said, finally.

Esther didn’t seem very pleased with the answer, but she better than to argue with the pack’s alpha.  A soft whine escaped her.

Don’t be too concerned, Goldeyes, he added.  I won’t leave him to starve.  We’ll bring food back for him and Ghosthowl.

His answer seemed to satisfy her.  She barked softly and then joined the others that were search the field for scent of prey.  Bartholomew was the first to pick up a scent.  He barked to the rest of the pack and then they were following the trail of deer through the fields.

They found the herd bedding down in a thicket.  Keeping upwind, the pack formed a semicircle around their prey.  They would only need one or two of the animals to feed their numbers.  The pack was relatively small, after all.

To the den…

Here is another section of the previous story… This one was inspired by a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

“Did you honestly think that little trick would work, pup?” Joshua said, his voice soft.  He chuckled softly when a whimper escaped Samuel’s lips.  “Now, none of that, love,” he murmured, caressing Samuel’s cheek.

“Joshua, please,” he breathed.  He gave a startled cry as Joshua stood and tugged him to his feet.  Then, he was viewing everything upside-down.  Joshua had tossed him over one shoulder like a sack of flour.

A moment later, Joshua was running down the slope to join the rest of his pack.  Samuel squirmed, cursing his smaller size.  In lupine form, he used it to his advantage.  He was quick and agile.  He could duck out of reach of larger specimens, like Joshua.  As a person, his shorter legs meant that Joshua could easily outpace him.

“Look what I’ve found,” Joshua said, as he set Samuel on his feet and forced him to turn to face the others.  “It’s our lost pup.”

The others howled with laughter and Samuel ducked his head.  He closed his eyes, pressing himself back into Joshua’s larger form.  His inner wolf bristled at the indignity of seeking protection from the alpha.  However, Samuel knew they didn’t have any choice.  Joshua wouldn’t let the others hurt him, if he thought he had Samuel cowed.

Laughing, Joshua shoved him over to one of the others.  Samuel gasped as he stumbled into a tall, lean man with dark brown hair.  “Bring him, Peter,” Joshua said.  Then, Samuel was being dragged through the tall grasses towards the low hills beyond the lake.

prompt-98“You were… you’re den was there all along,” Samuel breathed, realizing his mistake.  He’d thought the isolated cottage was the perfect refuge.  He’d never imagined that Joshua’s pack might be so close by.

Peter smirked.  “It took us a few weeks to find you,” he said.  “Joshua was determined, though.  I’m sure you know what he can be like when he’s determined.”

Samuel swallowed thickly and nodded.  He was unresisting as Peter drew him into a cave.  There was a strange sort of beauty to it.  The waters seemed to glow softly with a warm blue light.  It didn’t seem like the sort of place that Joshua would have chosen for a den.

Frowning, he looked up at Peter.  “Who chose this place?” he asked, his voice faint.

Peter jerked his head towards a man with light brown hair.  “Tobias,” he said.  He drew Samuel deeper into the cave, through water that lapped at his knees.  Then, finally, they came to the den proper.  There were blankets laid out for them to sleep on.  Each member of the pack had their own little corner, except for him.

I am seeing ghosts in everything I do.

Gregory stood on the high stone wall. The skirt of the frilly white gown that Ackerley had forced him to wear swirled around his ankles. He knew what he must look like: white hair, white dress, blood red eyes. From the way Oliver was staring at him, it was like he was looking at a ghost.

He’d come there with one goal in mind. Ackerley’s orders were clear: get the folia of dark spells that Oliver was transporting from the east warehouse and come back. Torsten’s orders were clearer: don’t let anything stand in the way of your success in this mission.

Sighing, Gregory awakened his staff. Then, he slowly drew the blade. “Hand it over, Ashley,” he growled, intentionally using Oliver’s surname. “Don’t make me kill ya and don’t think I won’t if you stand in my way.”

“I can’t just let you have this folio,” Oliver said, awakening his own staff. A soft rattling could be heard from it as it awakened.

Scowling, Gregory leapt at his former comrade. It reminded him of a battle against Starke and Glenmoore, where he’d done the same thing. Except, then, he’d been leaping off a wall to come to Oliver’s defense. The change haunted Gregory, causing him to falter at the last moment.

It was a costly error. Oliver swung his staff upward. As he did so, the rattling intensified, filling Gregory with fear. Even as he shrank back, he knew it was a spell. He gasped when someone caught him from behind. His staff clattered to the ground; then an arm was around his throat.

Gregory had enough time to realize that it was Peter who was choking him. Then, he blacked out and the ghosts of his past vanished.