Author: JtheChosen1 PM
Shon-Ai, MxM; A strange wanders into the town of Wolf's Howl. How will he affect the strange citizens there and how will one lonely rancher affect the stranger? As the moon changes, so do the feelings one man has for another, in the wild Montana land.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Supernatural - Words: 11,789 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 38 - Follows: 4 - Published: 12-30-08 - Status: Complete - id: 2615070
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The weather in Montana in mid May was just as cold as any of its southern states in their winter months. In the afternoon sun, people were walking around wearing thick sweaters and pants with the stereotypical cowboy boots. The town of Wolf's Howl was pretty isolated from any other populace, with its occupants being close knit. Everyone knew everyone else, neighbors were open and kind to each other, and life was good. The men would go out and hunt, corral the horses, or work in the stores. The women would do much the same, as the jobs were sexless in their demands. Plus no true man of Wolf's Howl would dare tell a woman of Wolf's Howl that she was incapable of doing something, unless he wished to spend his night sleeping out on the living room couch or even in the barn with the animals. All in all, life was fairly uneventful in town, with hardly any newcomers arriving to the remote settlement.
So when a stranger walked in on foot, it made quick news with everybody.
Drev was a strange man. He wasn't loud, but he wasn't quiet either. He would speak when spoken to, unless something happened to warrant him initiating the conversation. He was tall as well, standing at almost 6'1" with wiry muscles and a pale complexion. Walking into town, he wore ratty shoes that had seen better days, jeans that weren't faded from hard work but from poor treatment, and a threadbare sweater without any distinguishing feature on it. On his back was a simple knapsack with frayed edges. Ignoring the silent looks he was receiving from the townsfolk, Drev walked along the main street and into the small local hotel, holding the door open for a couple leaving, ignoring the curious looks he received.
He strode in and all conversation died as he silently moved to the front desk. Looking at the receptionist, he asked in a low, smooth voice, "Excuse me miss, but are there any vacancies here?" The receptionist stared at him for a moment, and then seemed to snap out of her daze. Nodding her head, she handed him a key and said, "Room 132. Down the hall and on the right. Fresh towels are under the sink and sheets are in the closet. Across the hall are the washer and dryer. You take your meals at the local bar." Nodding his head in understanding he took the room key, paid, and walked away. He could hear the low buzz of conversation pick up as he rounded the hallway corner.
Arriving at his temporary home, Drev opened the door and stepped inside. Greeting him was a small room with a single bed, small armoire for clothes, and a small porcelain sink with a mirror above it and cabinet below it. Off to the side was a door that Drev presumed led to the toilet and shower that he shared with the next room's occupant. Setting his sack down, Drev removed his shoes and shirt and silently sat on his bed. He had come far on foot, the calluses on his soles proving that. But even though his body ached from the constant walking, he never felt freer. He had left all that he knew behind, promising himself a fresh start somewhere north, where man and nature shared their life still, away from the constricting life of the city.
He didn't know how long he sat there in silent contemplation, but eventually his body demanded a nap. But not without a shower first. Stripping off his pants and underwear, Drev walked to the sink and pulled out a towel. Wrapping it securely around himself, he gathered all of his clothes and made the trek to the laundry room. Coming back, he walked into the bathroom. Sure enough, there was a door at the other end of the small room that was locked from the other side. After the shower, he dried himself off and once again made the small trip to the laundry room to move his old clothes from the washer to the dryer. Setting the machine for one hour's work, the silent man moved back to his secluded room and to his bed, letting the coarse yet comforting sheets take in his naked flesh. He would sleep for a bit, and then explore the town, seeking some form of employment for his new life. It wouldn't be long until his small cache of money would run out and he had no false views of roughing it out in the Montana wilderness with the freezing nights and any predators.
Walking through the town, Drev took in the beauty that seemed to just come naturally to the area. The setting sun was bathing the land in brilliant rays of gold, auburn and ruby tints. Seeing the sign for the local bar, Drev stepped in quietly, moving to the side of a passing family. It seemed that while the establishment known as "Old Tim's" was first and foremost a bar, there was still the atmosphere of a friendly family restaurant as well. Drev could see more families in the back, where the majority of the tables were. The bar took up almost half of the remaining area, with the final space being left open for a small dance floor. There were a few couples dancing to the tunes that fluted out of the old juke box.
Looking at the waiter on call, Drev spoke quietly, "Single booth please." The host looked at him with a slight grin and merely replied with, "Follow me." Drev shadowed the man, taking note of his surroundings. It seemed that every person was stealing a look at him. In some cases there was even blatant staring, from both the women and the men. Drev couldn't read all of the looks, but a few he could; interest and hostility were the dominant emotions. Drev attributed each to him being new and people not knowing anything about him. It wouldn't belong until he was confronted he figured.
Ordering a simple burger and fries, Drev continued to take in his surroundings as the night passed on. Gradually, all the mothers and fathers left with the children and the older and single crowd began to dominate the building. Drev eventually moved out from his booth after he paid the bill andf to the bar, listening to conversations along the way. Looking at the barman for his attention, Drev asked in a simple manner if there were any jobs available in the town.
The barman, Tim himself actually, looked down at the young man who occupied the stool for a bit. Finally, he cleared his throat and simply asked, "Why you lookin' for a job here boy?" The question seemed innocent enough, but Drev could sense the importance of the meaning hidden in the simple question.
"Name's Drev. Just looking for a new life, so I left the big city and decided to head north." He paused, taking a slow sip from his drink. "Just followed the road really. Ended up here, and the town seems nice enough." He continued to drink his beverage, looking at Tim with a calm gaze. Tim stared some more at the young man named Drev for a bit. He left to place the glass on the shelf behind and came back with a pad of paper and a pen.
Writing on it, he told Drev, "This here is a list of potential jobs. I know all of these people, and they could always use another worker. You better be willing to do some honest labor though." finished Tim, giving Drev a critical look.
"That wouldn't be a problem. Man's got to work for his living." countered Drev. "I don't take hand outs. I just need a hand up." Finishing his drink, Drev stood. "I will just have to adapt to the labor. I need a job."
A loud voice brayed out across the bar. "And what would a slick city boy like you know about hard labor?"
Drev turned to look at the speaker. On the other side of the hall stood a man with a face twisted in a sneer. On both sides of him stood another man, obviously cronies. But Drev wasn't concerned about them, it was the big guy in the middle that started the confrontation. He stood taller than Drev, but that was normal in this town it seemed. He was also more muscular, which Drev also noted seemed normal for the people in Wolf's Howl. Dressed in worn jeans and a flannel shirt, the stranger was casually making his way over to the bar where Drev sat. Slowly, Drev twisted his chair around so he had his back to Tim and the bar, keeping the three antagonists in his field of view.
"Now don't pay any mind here Freddy. You got no business with this young man."
Freddy, as he was now called, walked up to Drev. Drev stared up at him, keeping a calm face. Freddy, on closer inspection, wasn't the finest looking man in Wolf's Howl it seemed. His face was pocket marked, with a few scars here and there as well. When he gave another sneer at Drev, there were a few front teeth missing. Drev took note that Freddy's canines were still intact, looking quite intimidating. His hair was thin with the look of oily grease in it, an unhealthy look. "Young man is he? I thought you called him a boy earlier. A little city boy that doesn't belong here with us in this town." Freddy snapped, spitting down at the floor.
"I have no problem with you friend." stated Drev coolly.
Freddy smirked, "No but I have one with you." He grabbed Drev by the front of his sweater and lifted him up off the barstool. Drev's eyes widened in surprise and the bar fell into a cumulative hush, everyone anxious about the sudden turn of events. "You think you can walk in here and take our jobs from us real folk?"
Drev struggled to get loose when someone yelled out. "And what job have you kept for more than a week Freddy?"
Spinning around, still holding Drev by his sweater, Freddy yelled out, "Who said that? Who wants me to kick their ass along with this city bum?"
Drev looked over his shoulder to see the speaker. Parting like the Red Sea to the fleeing Hebrews, the native Wolf's Howl townsfolk stepped aside for the unknown speaker. Drev's eyes, initially wide from being hoisted up by Freddy, widened even further. The stranger was impressive and as he walked closer to Drev, Drev could almost feel a sense of feral energy radiating of the man like heat from the Sun. "Now what were you going to do to this young man, Freddy?" was all that was growled out in a deep voice.
"Thomas." whimpered Freddy. If Drev hadn't been there to hear it, he never would have believed that this grown man who was bullying him for no reason was now whimpering in practical subservience. "I was just having a few friendly words with our new neighbor here, weren't we boy?" He gave Drev a slight shake, silently demanding agreement to his words.
Drev felt the shake, but his eyes were still staring at the man now named Thomas still. Thomas was taller than Freddy, subsequently being taller than Drev. He estimated that newcomer was about 6'8", with a close cut beard and wild silver hair. He wore the jeans and boots like the rest of the people here, but instead of a long-sleeved flannel, Thomas had his rolled up, exposing the fur on his arms. And despite the thick material of his clothes, Drev could pick out all the massive muscles that were pressing for freedom against the fabric. Finding his voice, Drev spoke out in a normal tone, "Yes, we were just talking," He felt Freddy's grip loosen a bit, "until you started trouble that is."
He looked Freddy dead in the eyes at those words, seeing them grow large at his sass and then squint with suppressed rage. Drev could feel the fabric being clutched by Freddy tighten, and quiet sounds of tearing were being made as his sweater was slowly being ripped in Freddy's massive paws.
Before either man could get another word out, Thomas made another interjection. "Now Freddy," and here he placed an even bigger paw that doubled as a hand on both Freddy's and Thomas's shoulders, "put the man down. We don't want him thinking that we're all mean country folk now do we?" Drev could see Thomas's hand begin to tighten its grip on Freddy's deltoid, and a flash of pain crossed his assailant's face. The hand on his shoulder however was gently massaging his skin, in a soothing manner. Drev was dropped unceremoniously on the bar floor, luckily landing on his feet. Looking to either Freddy or Thomas for what to do next, he waited for a minute in silence. There was a low rumbling of conversations in the bar, and eventually Tim himself quietly motioned for Drev to leave. Taking the hint, he left the bar, with only a quick glance over his shoulder. Thomas and Freddy were still locked together, Thomas's hand still clenching Freddy's shoulder painfully it seemed. It seemed to be a trick of the light, but Drev could almost swear that he saw both men's eyes glowing a faint yellow from his distance. With a shrug he turned to go back to the hotel, the list of potential job owners in his pocket.
The night was calm and still, a polar opposite to what had just occurred in the bar. Drev shivered; his thin cloths and lean frame wouldn't last the winter unless he bought some appropriate attire for the climate. If all worked out well, he would spend his first paycheck on something thick and insulated.
With a silent exclamation of surprise, Drev spun around and came face to chest with his savior, the mysterious man known as Thomas.
The two men stared at each other, each assessing the other in their own manner. Thomas, judging by what Drev could see up close once more, was truly a beast of a man. Despite the cool chill of the night, the man's body was throwing off an absurd amount of heat.
"What's your name man?" Thomas questioned him.
"Drev…?" Thomas carried out the question, looking for more.
"…Drev Smith." was bit out.
Thomas chuckled. "You don't look like a Smith boy."
Drev flushed at having been caught at in his own lie. "It's because I'm not. But I am ashamed of my last name and don't wish to use it!" He replied in a hostile tone.
"Whoa Pup," said Thomas. "I meant nothing by it. I just wanted to see how trustworthy you were before I hired you."
Drev's eyes widened. Losing the disrespectful tone, he quickly amended, "Sorry."
Thomas nodded his head, looking down at him. "I'm going to interview you now. Respond how you like." Drev nodded in understanding. "And don't try lying again, I'll smell it." Drev was almost certain this man was certifiable.
"Are you a criminal?" Drev shook his head.
"Are you qualified to work on a ranch?" Drev shook his head, looking a bit dejected.
"Are you allergic to anything?" With a questioning look, Drev shook his head once more.
"Are you afraid of wolves?" Staring as though the man was insane, Drev shook his head slowly. With a grin that showed a mouthful of teeth, Thomas brought his hands down on Drev's shoulders heavily, causing the smaller man's knees to buckle a bit. "Then congratulations, you're hired Pup."
He removed his hands from Drev's body and held out his right one for a handshake. Drev stared at it and then at Thomas. "That's it?"
Still with his hand out, Thomas nodded, "That's it Pup, we just shake and you're employed."
Figuring he had nothing left to lose working for the man who saved him in a potential bar brawl, Drev reached out and had his hand disappear in Thomas's as the two shook.
"Grab your things from the hotel. All employee's of the Silver Fang Ranch sleep at the ranch."
The bright morning sun, along with the sound of a rooster cock-a-doodle-dooing woke Drev up from his deep slumber in the thick blankets. For a moment he wondered where he was and how he ended up in another bed beside the one in his hotel room. Hearing what sounded like a grunt, he twisted over and saw Thomas under the same sheets as him.
Memory flashed in his mind. Drev remembered stopping by his temporary home for a bit to grab his personal belongings before hopping in the old pickup truck of Thomas's. Along the way, Thomas further drilled Drev on what skills he possessed that Thomas could use. Since Drev had no experience working on a ranch, or with horses, which were Thomas's main staple, he would be delegated to strictly house chores, along with cleanup duty in the barn until Thomas could start to teach him the basics around the work area.
Once they arrived at the ranch, Thomas grabbed Drev's bag and told him that he would be sleeping in the bedroom next to his own. Drev had expected to fall asleep after experiencing all the excitement from the day. But the house was cold, without there being any form of basic heating system, and he kept shivering and chattering his teeth. It had gotten so bad that he had curled up in the fetal position, fully dressed under the sheets, to preserve any shred of warmth. His bedroom door opened and Thomas had stridden in, naked as the day he was born. Drev barely had anytime to question him when he was yanked out from underneath the sheets and carried to Thomas's own bedroom.
"Can hear your teeth through the walls Pup. Should have told me you were cold." was all that he said as he pulled Drev's clothes off him. Without another word, he yanked back his own bed sheets and pulled Drev into them with him. Soon Drev, despite his nakedness with a man he barely knew for less than five hours, found himself dozing off, lost in the thick wool sheets and the heavy heat from the other man's body.
And now here they were; Drev wiping away the sleep from his bleary eyes and Thomas still lost deep in his dreams. Taking advantage of the rare opportunity, Drev looked over his employer's body without the clothes blocking his view. Thomas was certainly a fine specimen of a man. Despite the deceptive silver hair, the main had a rock solid body with the full set of abs, a heavy pectoral chest, and a trim waist, where everything lower was hidden by the sheets. Drev wasn't feeling courageous enough to peek even more, lest the larger man wake up at an inopportune time.
With a final sigh at having to leave the cozy warmth of the bed, Drev swung his legs around and slipped out of the bed. He quickly got dressed, and for added measure, put the flannel that Thomas was wearing last night on as well. Feeling well dressed for the crisp chilly morning, Drev set to explore the ranch house and find the kitchen. Might as well start his duties, he figured.
Soon the delicious scents of bacon, sausage, eggs, toast and coffee wafted through the house, bringing a lumbering giant downstairs to the kitchen. Thomas walked in, seeing Drev wearing his flannel as he bent over the stovetop to remove the pan of eggs. He himself was wearing nothing but his jeans, no shirt or shoes adorned his body, hiding neither his large feet nor his expansive chest. "Good morning." he rumbled out with a wide-mouthed yawn, finishing it off with licking his lips.
Drev stared a bit at Thomas, wondering how any many couldn't be freezing at this temperature. But as he walked by Thomas with a quiet "Morning sir" he once again felt the absurd high level of body heat. Any man who produced that much internal body heat was illogical. He placed the various trays of food down on the table, creating a wide spread of food for the two of them. He would pick at his food, but he was certain that Thomas would wolf down the rest. Sure enough, when the two of them sat across the table from each other, Thomas immediately began shoveling food down with a seconds notice. He reached for the plate of sausage and nearly knocked it over.
With a 'tsk' of his teeth, Drev sharply rapped Thomas's hand and, without thinking, said, "Calm down, your food isn't going anywhere." Suddenly realizing the audacity of his words, he paled and looked down in embarrassment and mumbled out how sorry he was for doing that.
Thomas chewed on his current bite of food with a thoughtful expression. When he swallowed his food, he reached across the table and lifted Drev's chin, and subsequently his face, up. "Hey Pup. I have terrible manners. Been a while since I've eaten food this good so I'm a little bit excited for it." Drev looked at Thomas; the man had a twinkle in his eye and, if Drev could picture Thomas as a puppy, he would have been wagging his tail playfully.
Thomas held Drev's chin in his hand for a bit longer, slowly rubbing his large thumb underneath and eventually on Drev's lower lip. He stopped after a quick bit and pulled himself back. "On that note," he continued, "we shall go over the rules of Silver Fang Ranch Pup." Drev snapped out of the daze he had been caught in when Thomas began touching his face and leaned in to pay closer attention. "First off, total honesty. It's just you and me Pup out here, so we will be depending on each other 24/7." Thomas reached for a second helping, taking note to take his time as Drev watched him silently. "Secondly, when I ask you to do something, I expect it done in a timely fashion. I won't be giving you anything too difficult or confusing, but again, if I say clean the ranch house and put fresh hay down for the horses in the barn, I expect it done before the sun sets." Drev nodded, taking all of Thomas's words in. "Third, and most importantly," Thomas paused to make direct eye contact with Drev, his light grey eyes with Drev's brown eyes, "never, EVER, go outside at night under the Full Moon."
Drev couldn't hold back his curiosity. "Why?"
"The town isn't called Wolf's Howl for no reason Pup. There are plenty of wolves in the forests and mountains around here, and they get extra feisty when the moon is completely round. They have never bothered the horses, but they do come on the property every now and then." Thomas was finishing off his third helping as he explained all this. "I don't want to lose the man who can cook this well to a bunch of wolves now do I?" he finished with a grin. Drev flushed and stood up, taking some of the dirty dishes with him. Thomas followed, carrying the rest easily along with the conversation. "You can keep wearing my clothes, since yours aren't fit for either the weather or the work, understand Pup?" Drev nodded once again and Thomas frowned. "You're not much of a talker are you huh?"
Drev paused in washing the dishes. With a distant look in his eyes, he whispered, "No, sorry sir. I was raised to not speak unless spoken to, and that's always stuck with me all these years." He finished scrubbing, quickly wiped down the utensils, and turned to look at Thomas. "What else would you like me to do for you sir?"
"First off stop calling me sir." He accidently snapped out. The submissive attitude wasn't something Thomas appreciated, but it hurt his heart when Drev flinched at his harsh tone. "Sorry Pup. Just call me Thomas. I don't like people thinking less of themselves, but I do demand respect." He pulled Drev into a hug and held him there, slowly warming up the colder smaller man. They stood there for a bit, Thomas enjoying the scent of Drev and Drev wondering what it was about Thomas that drew him to the other man.
Soon they broke apart. Thomas looked down at Drev, his hands rubbing the other man's shoulders almost affectionately. "Now as for the first order of business for you today, I want you to go through the house and clean everything. You'll find all the supplies in the hallway closet, but I warn you, I haven't dusted, mopped or anything since last spring, so you got your work cut out for you. Also, when you get to the kitchen, I want you to take inventory of what foods we have and what needs to be bought from the feed store in town. I'll be outside with the horses and we can break at noon for lunch. Sound like a game plan Pup?"
Drev nodded. Cleaning the house didn't sound too bad, but he was not looking forward to the dusting part, nor getting on his hands and knees and bending down sweeping up dirt underneath furniture. But he needed this job, and Thomas had shown nothing but compassion and kindness. He had slept and eaten better in the past 12 hours than he had in the last week, so his life was good.
And that's how life went for the next few weeks. Drev would mind the house and supplies that he and Thomas went through, while Thomas went out and took care of the horses and other ranch duties. Eventually Drev finished off the house and moved to the barn where Thomas had him rake out all the old hay into the field and put in fresh hay. Drev thought he would always have the scent of hay on him. That and horse manure, since it seemed the equines liked to tease him by knocking him down in the dirty piles when he wasn't looking. Given enough time though he caught onto their trickery and would always be one step ahead of the crafty ranch animals. Soon enough the barn was in order and he and Thomas would be out in the pasture, Drev learning the ropes of raising horses and tending to their needs.
Every morning Drev would still wake up in the same bed with Thomas. Despite sleeping under thick linens and wearing wool pajamas, Drev would still freeze. The second night at the ranch, he was in his bed for a mere ten minutes when Thomas came in again and they repeated the process; him being dragged and stripped, them sleeping in the same bed naked, not doing anything, and then him waking up with the rooster, making breakfast before the two of them started out their days. Time came where Drev knew what needed to be done before Thomas told him. The two became like cogs in a machine, dependent on each other to finish the job.
Currently Drev was carrying tools from the shed to the barn where Thomas was re-shoeing the horsed for the summer season. He thought about the changes that had come in his life since he walked into Wolf's Howl; how friendly the townsfolk had become since he was now a familiar face, how Freddy and his cronies would scowl at him from a distance, how he and Thomas would interact with each other without using words. Drev felt a blush creep up on his face thinking about Thomas. It seemed that while the two of them were sleeping, they both unconsciously would move even closer to each other and, for lack of a better word, snuggle on each other. Drev would wake up in the mornings with his head resting on one of Thomas's pecs and Thomas would have both of his arms wrapped around Drev's lithe frame. Luckily he still woke before Thomas, and the bigger man was a heavy sleeper, so as of now, he was unaware of the sleeping position he and Drev would create subconsciously.
As Drev entered the shady barn, he called out for Thomas. No response came so he placed the shoeing tools on the workbench by the horse stalls and went in search of him. Hearing a muffled sound in the hay loft, Drev climbed the ladder, calling out Thomas's name again. Thinking that maybe a raccoon or some other furry creature had gotten up there, Drev went to investigate. All he saw was the hay loft, half of the floor clear, the other half covered with fresh hay from a few weeks ago. He would need to finish off this batch before getting some fresh hay, he thought randomly to himself. Since Thomas wasn't around, he figured he could slip in a quick catnap to refresh himself. Leaning against the hay, he plopped himself down and started to doze.
Suddenly hands shot out of the hay and grabbed at him. Drev reacted, screaming and leaping forward, but a bit too much. His foot caught the slip of the loft, and his balance twisted. The last thing he saw before he lost sight of the hay loft was a blurred figured shoot out of the hay after him. He now saw the ground rushing at him. He clenched his eyes shut, prepared for a broken bone, if not a dozen.
Large warm arms wrapped around him, and Drev never touched the floor. There was a loud crash and a slight gust of air. Opening his eyes he found that a pair of worried grey eyes were looking back at him, unblinking and unwavering in their concern. Thomas held Drev tightly to his chest, the smaller man being carried bridal style in the middle of the barn. The two stared at each other in both quiet shock and concern. The silence was shattered however when one of the horse snorted, showing its humor at the situation.
Drev snapped out of his daze that he found himself in again when he stared too long into Thomas's eyes, and tried to get down from the other man. Thomas held on tight, making certain that Drev didn't get loose. Finally growing exasperated, Drev looked back at the man and said, "You can let go of me now Thomas, I am fine."
"Don't want to Pup." came the response. "Besides, I feel bad for making you fall."
Drev looked at Thomas, questioning what he just heard when he gasped out, "That was you?!" He redoubled his efforts to break free, finally swinging one leg free. All it managed however was for him to hang facedown with Thomas still clutching him, one arm wrapped around his shoulders and the other hand holding his jeans by the waist band.
Thomas looked down at Drev apologetically, "Didn't mean to scare you that badly Pup. You moved quicker than I expected and I leapt after you." Drev wouldn't look Thomas in the eye, feeling both angry at his employer for playing such a childish trick on him, and embarrassment at himself for practically falling to his death. With a sullen look, he merely gazed down at the floor. Finally Thomas lowered him down and when his feet touched the floor, he immediately began straightening himself out. When Thomas tried to help, Drev merely shrugged away his hands. Thomas gave a slight growl, causing Drev to pause and look at him. "I said I was sorry Pup, there's no reason to act like a little brat."
Drev snapped. Turning to look at Thomas dead on, he stomped his foot and yelled out, "It's one thing to play a little prank on someone. It's another thing to almost cause them to die!" Thomas really did growl at that, but Drev wasn't about to be deterred by the strange behavior. "Don't scare me like that again Thomas, or I'll find work somewhere else in town." He turned to walk out of the barn when a familiar pairs of arms wrapped around him from behind. Drev froze at the contact, but slowly relaxed into the nook created by Thomas's body.
"Why do I get the feeling you're more upset by the trick than by me Pup?" was all Thomas said after a minute.
Drev didn't respond, lost in memories of the past. He thought of a special someone who used to play pranks on him all the time, how they laughed and got along so well, until the truth came out and he was forced to leave. Reaching up, he loosened Thomas's grip a bit and turned around. Unshed tears were in his eyes, and he didn't trust himself to speak. Thomas didn't saying. He merely retightened his hold around Drev and pulled him closer, his scent and heat washing over the smaller man, calming him and relaxing him.
"Whatever troubles happened in your past Pup, leave them there. Nothing bad will happen to you here, so long as I care and protect you."
The two men quietly stood together, both thinking about the other, wondering why they felt so at ease with a man they barely knew for less than two months.
It was though a veil had been lifted between Drev and Thomas. Over the next couple of days, Drev would sneak a look at Thomas, and it would seem every time the other man knew exactly when that happened. When Drev made eye contact with Thomas, brown with grey, he wouldn't become lost in a daze. Instead he would blush a bit, give a little grin, and look away, almost coyly. Thomas would give a toothy grin and laugh to himself quietly, enjoying the amusing communication between him and his ranch hand.
The day came when Drev noticed that their food supplies were running low and that a trip to Wolf's Howl feed store was in order. He called out to Drev as he leaned over to grab a few cans on the shelves, when he felt and almost smelled the other man silently walk up behind him. Nothing was said as Thomas reached and plucked the cans that were just out of reach for Drev and handed it to the other man.
Drev stood there, silently basking in the gentle and protective ambiance provided by Thomas. The mood was broken when Thomas asked, "We need to go out for more food?"
Quietly, Drev nodded.
Thomas gave a dramatic yet playful sigh and said to meet him around front in a bit. They would leave immediately.
Nodding once again, Drev quickly put away the displaced cans. He compiled a mental list and headed out the front door, locking it behind him. Thomas drove up, yelling loudly for Drev to get in. He smiled as Drev made his way over to the front passenger door and climbed in. Soon the duo was on their way into town. The drive normally took about twenty minutes, yet the time seemed to pass by more swiftly. Drev and Thomas didn't say a word to each other, but there was an air of intense conversation between the two, as if words weren't necessary or even adequate. Thomas would ghost his fingers across Drev's forearm in question. Drev would respond with a flutter of eyelashes and a serene smile. When the two pulled up in front of the feed store, Drev blinked in surprise at the speed of their progress.
Thomas jumped out of the truck and slammed the door closed. "I'm gonna see Jerry the owner about any new horse feed he got in."
Drev nodded, "I'll just be inside getting the groceries together." The two split up, and Drev couldn't help but feel a slight pain in his chest at watching Thomas walk away. Shaking his head at a silly notion, he turned and walked into the store, the front door bell jingling, announcing his arrival. Sue, Jerry's wife and co-owner of the feed store, waved merrily to him. Drev waved back and grabbed a small cart to start filling up. Soon the cart was filled almost to the brim and the mental list had all been checked off, except for the milk. Heading to the back of the store, Drev froze at the sight that he saw.
Down at the other end of the aisle stood Thomas, who was standing very close with another woman. It was the body language of the two that tore at Drev's heart; Thomas was completely at ease, like he was with Drev when they were working together on something, and the woman was actually leaning forward, subtly flaunting her body to the other man.
Feeling a flash of both jealousy and rage, Drev wanted to march over there and beat the tar out of the other woman for looking at his Thomas like that. Catching that thought however, Drev reevaluated what he was mentally processing. Since when was he so violent, and towards women? Never. But seeing her flirting back to Thomas was bringing out a side of Drev he didn't know existed. But Drev thought even more; why would Thomas want him? He was nothing more than a ranch hand, who had known Thomas for less than a couple of months. Plus he had nothing going against the beauty of the other woman, and the fact remained that he was a man like Thomas. Drev cast his gaze down – he had nothing to offer Thomas, whereas the woman did. He quietly turned around and walked to the front of the store. Leaving word with Sue that the food would be paid by Thomas, Drev left the store, his hands deep in his pockets and his eyes lost in misery.
He walked for a bit up the road until he reached the end of town. Stopping, he turned and looked over his shoulder. How long until Thomas realized that Drev wasn't there? Probably a while, he figured, judging by the way Thomas and the woman were flirting with each other. It may even be longer, since as far as Drev knew, Thomas had had no sexual relief at the ranch. He and the woman would probably disappear for a while, and the thought of that made bile burn in Drev's mouth.
"Hey city boy!"
The call cut through Drev's cloudy thoughts of gloom. Looking over, Drev saw Freddy and his two unnamed cronies standing next to a store, resting in the shade. They seemed to be lazing about, not doing anything in particular. Drev ignored them and continued walking.
"Hey you fag, I'm talkin' to ya!" came Freddy's angry yell.
Drev paused once again and turned to glare at Freddy. His henchmen snickered behind their leaders back, giving Drev leery looks of distaste. With a snort, Drev stared at Freddy, waiting for the next taunt.
Freddy sent a nasty look at Drev and spat on the ground. "So where's your master, huh city boy? Or did ya get kicked to the curb like a bad puppy?" Freddy sneered.
It was the word puppy that sent a spark to Drev's anger fuse. "What's your problem, huh Freddy?" he spoke out. Turning to face his provokers, he walked to the alleyway. "What did I ever do to you to warrant your hostility towards me, huh?" He stopped just short of entering the alley.
Freddy seemed a bit surprised that Drev was going on the offensive, but recovered with a spiteful laugh. "Ha boy! You think you're good here don't ya? That you're a part of Wolf's Howl because Thomas adopted you. Well," and here Freddy walked up to Drev, looking down at him wildly, "You're nothing to me, to the townsfolk, or to Thomas. You're just a stray pup that he pities long enough to help you out and then you know what he's going to do boy?" Freddy paused to let the question hang in the air, "he gonna kick you out because he's gonna realize that you don't belong here, ya damn underdog."
His eyes downcast, Drev felt Freddy's words ring out in him. With a trembling body, he looked up at the larger man, and simply said "Screw you." With that he leapt at Freddy, fists flying. He managed to catch one punch on the other's jaw, but that's all he managed. Soon fists and boots were raining down on his body, and Drev drew in on himself in a desperate attempt to protect himself from further harm. Soon the blows lessened, and he heard Freddy spit on his head as he walked away without another word. Standing on trembling legs, Drev gave himself a onceover; his lip was busted, probably his nose, and he had one black eye. That was it for his face. The rest of his body felt like one big bruise however, and he knew he would be walking back to the ranch with a limp.
Walking out of the alley, seeing no sign of either Freddy or Thomas, Drev turned and began the long walk back to the ranch. If he jogged it would have taken forty minutes. As such, with his limp he figured it would take a two hours minimum. Seeing no other option, since Thomas was probably busy, Drev began the long and lonely walk back. He was reminded, in a brief moment of melancholy, that this was how he walked into Wolf's Howl; alone and without any friends. Only this time he was bloody and bruised.
In a painful daze, Drev gradually made his way back to Silver Fang Ranch. Unlocking the front door, he went into the kitchen and reached under the sink for the first aid kit. Cleaning up his wounds, he began to do the rest of the chores that Thomas laid out for him. Other than restocking the food pantry, Drev still had a full days set of duties to perform. He rolled up his sleeves with a wince and set out doing them.
Soon enough, or too soon depending on Drev, the sound of Thomas's truck tearing up the driveway announced his presence back at the ranch.
"Pup!" Thomas roared out.
Drev stopped his work and made his way to the front of the ranch house to meet Thomas. Walking into the front hallway, he saw Thomas standing there with the bags of food by his feet. He looked livid as well and for a moment Drev wondered if the woman put out or not for his employer.
"Where in the world did you go? And what happened to your face?" questioned Thomas in an angry tone. Ah so that's' why he's angry, Drev figured.
In a neutral tone, he responded, 'You seemed busy in the feed store, so I left to head back to the ranch."
Thomas shook his head and stalked up to Drev. "You should have waited in the truck. And you didn't answer my other question; what happened to your face Pup?" He reached to touch Drev's cheek, but Drev flinched, staggering backwards. It was then that Thomas noticed the limp that Drev had hidden until then. With a growl he sprung forward and lifted up the front and back of Drev's fleece, exposing the darkening bruises that were now a sickly shade of either purple or green. "What. Happened?" He rumbled out. Sniffing the air around Drev, he looked the younger man in the eyes. "Tell me."
Having enough, Drev refused to look at Thomas as he broke free of the other man's grasp. "It was nothing, just a misunderstanding." There seemed to be a lot of those recently in Drev's life, misunderstandings. "Nothing happened."
Thomas took Drev's face in between his hands, cupping his cheeks with his massive paws. "Who hurt you Pup? Tell me." Thomas quietly pleaded. "I take care of my own, you know that."
Those words tore at Drev's heart. Pulling his face away, he called himself all kinds of fool and questioned Thomas, "Is that what you told that woman you were flirting with at the feed store, that you'll protect her?" He didn't know why he asked that, but the sense of betrayal he felt when he saw Thomas flirting hurt more than he knew.
Thomas reared back as if he was struck. "What are you talking about Pup?"
"I saw you!" he yelled out. Facing Thomas with his eyes wide with both anger and sorrow, he shouted, "I saw you flirting with that, that, that bitch and it tore at my heart!"
"Pup…" Thomas started, in what sounded almost like a condescending tone.
"Stop calling me that! My name is Drev, not Pup! And stop toying with my heart like it's a pastime of yours!" Drev had never been this worked up before, but Thomas's treachery and Freddy's words were echoing in his mind, granting him a moment of irrationality.
Quickly losing patience, Thomas snapped out in a barely suppressed snarl, "You think too much of yourself boy. Stop crying about your life and get over yourself, you weak little child. And what makes you think that would I care for someone who is as emotionally retarded as you?" He didn't want to sound so malicious, but Thomas was at the end of his rope with dealing with Drev. But once he said those words, he instantly knew he went too far.
Hearing the hurtful words that Thomas spewed out, Drev stilled where he was. Looking at Thomas with wide, disbelieving eyes, he stood there with his mouth hanging open in shock. Thomas stared back at him, also looking as though he couldn't believe what he just said. With a near silent heave, Drev drew himself inward and turned to walk down the hallway. Thomas made no noise, nor any motion to stop Drev. He just stood there, incredulous at what hateful words he spoke out against the man. He knew that he had just royally screwed up with his Pup.
Reaching the bedroom that had been assigned to him, Drev walked in and closed the door quietly behind him. He drew the curtains together, pulled extra blankets from the closet, and laid down on the bed. His body hurt, his mind hurt. Worse though, his heart now hurt, and Drev fell asleep, plagued with nightmares of Thomas hating him and Freddy beating him.
A couple of days passed, each with the same silence as the previous day. Thomas would wake up and breakfast would be there on the table, with no sight of Drev. He would go out and see his ranch hand working in the barn, making a pointed effort not to look over at him. His Pup was hurting, and he didn't know what to do. He knew though who it was that had attacked Drev; the scent of Freddy and his gang had been heavy on his Pup, and Thomas would make certain that they would pay. But he had wanted Drev to admit who it was that hurt him, to show a certain level of trust between them. And when Drev yelled about him about flirting with the woman in the store, it had hurt knowing that he had been caught. Nothing had come of the meeting, despite the woman wanting otherwise. The entire time Thomas had a guilty nagging feeling at the back of his mind while he was flirting with her, as though this was no longer acceptable behavior with Drev around. He hadn't paid the store door slamming shut any mind. He did however notice that the scent of Drev was nowhere to be smelled in the store anymore. So when he went to the front and saw the food there ready to be paid for, but no Drev in sight, he got worried. When he left and saw that Drev wasn't around the truck, he got anxious. But when he smelled Drev's blood in the dirt by that alleyway, he became livid. Speeding home in a near blind rage, only to have his fear and concern thrown back at his face, had been more than he take at the moment. So when he lashed out back at Drev's justified anger, he felt like a total fool.
Now here they were; Drev avoiding him for the past couple of days, sleeping in the room originally assigned to him, cold and alone. At night Thomas could hear the teeth chattering and the stifled sobs, but he could do nothing with that door locked between him and the one he came to care for.
By the end of the third day, Thomas was at his wit's end. Knowing that Drev was somewhere in the ranch house cleaning, he called out, "I'm going into town for a bit, be back tonight." He strode out the front, the door slamming behind him. As he started up the truck, he glanced at the windows, hoping that his Pup would be watching him depart.
No such luck. All the curtains were still. With a heavy sigh, Thomas steered out of the ranch, his mind focused on the task he knew he would accomplish.
Drev had heard Thomas, and had watched his employer drive away through a curtain. As the truck turned out onto the road, Drev sighed heavily and continued his work.
The daylight passed on. Soon Drev stopped his work and prepared dinner, making sure to leave some out for Thomas as he finished up. Looking out from the front porch, he saw a beautiful full moon rising up, basking the land in a brilliant yet soft light. Remembering Thomas's warning, he walked inside and checked all the doors and windows, ensuring that they were locked. Turning off the lights, Drev went to his room, for another night to be spent alone and cold. He had found the list of potential employers in Wolf's Howl that old Tim had written him. That night in the bar seemed like such a long time ago. But the relationship between him and Thomas was damaged, perhaps broken beyond all repair, and he was considering leaving Silver Fang Ranch.
He laid down under the woolen sheets, trying to fall asleep, but for some reason, Drev was restless. He tossed and turned, but sleep eluded him. Finally giving up, he threw off the covers and got dressed. Perhaps a night cap would help sooth his anxiety.
Suddenly a wolf's howl shattered the night's stillness. Normally Drev would have taken no notice of it, since coming to Silver Ranch he heard wolves practically everynight. But this wolf was close, perhaps even on the ranch, and there was something about the howl that made the hairs on Drev's arm rise up in fear.
Another wolf howled, and then another, and Drev became more and more agitated. Thomas still wasn't back, and Drev was beginning to fear what could happen if the wolves came any closer to the house.
The sound of horses shrieking followed one howl, and Drev bolted to the window. Looking out, he could see one of the barn doors had been smashed into, and the sounds of more horses screaming in fright were piercing the night air. Without a second thought, Drev grabbed his jeans and shirt, along with a coat and hustled down to the front hall. Finishing up his frantic dressing, he reached into the hallway closet and pulled out a rifle. Thomas had asked him on his first official day at the ranch whether or not he knew how to fire a rifle. Drev replied in the negative and he was promptly taught how to load, shoot, and reload. The lessons resurfaced as he carried the gun out the front door and across the yard towards the barn.
Quietly sneaking up to the large broken door, Drev peered into the dark building for the wolves. In the moonlight he could see the body of one of the horses; its throat had been viciously torn out, and its blood was now forming a pool around its head. Drev counted three dark pelted wolves, each massive in their own right, but one, clearly the alpha of the pack, was getting the best part of the slain animal.
Quietly cocking the gun, Drev shifted his feet. The wolves' ear perked up at the slight noise and paused in their feasting. Drev leapt into their field of vision and fired off a shot. Drev heard a yowl from one of the wolves, but didn't stick around to find out which one he wounded. As soon as he shot, he turned and started to run back to the house.
Out of his peripheral vision, he saw the largest wolf chase him down and cut him off from his sanctuary. Twisting mid run, Drev started to run back to the barn, hoping to secure the hayloft as his safety zone. The other two wolves, one with a slight limp, blocked that route. Surrounded by three huge wolves, Drev cocked the gun once more and shot at the wounded wolf. The beast leapt out of the way, but Drev took advantage of his poor aim and used the break in formation of the pack to run to the woods that bordered the ranch on one side. Hearing barking and howling behind him, he dashed blindly through the thick brush.
Keeping and eye out for any trees with low hanging branches, Drev wondered why he hadn't been caught yet. He knew he couldn't outrun a grown wild animal like a wolf. So why had he evaded his predators? Out of the brush to his right exploded the alpha of his chasers, snarling and snapping at Drev. With a cry, Drev swung with the rifle. The large wolf caught the metal part in its muzzle and began yanking on it. Desperate to hold onto his only weapon, Drev fired. The sound and sudden ejection of the bullet startle him, but the yelp of pain elated Drev as he quickly ran. Glancing back he saw the wolf still chasing him, but with blood now streaming from one of its front legs.
As Drev turned to face the front, he came sprinting out of the woods and onto a small clearing that ended with a cliff overlooking a large river, choppy white rapids roaring down beneath a fifty foot drop at least. Running to the edge, Drev peered about for any footholds he could use to scale down the sharp drop off. Having no luck, he turned and saw all three wolves stalking out of the trees. Each had its mouth open, licking their teeth in greedy anticipation for an easy meal. Drev knew he had two shots left. Cocking the gun once more, he aimed for the alpha. It leapt out of the way but Drev didn't wait. He cocked the gun quickly one last time as the other two wolves surged forward snapping at him. He fired blindly, missing entirely, as the biggest wolf ran at him and bore down, its eyes wild with the thrill of the hunt. Drev pushed back with his feet and was airborne.
The silence of the night was all Drev heard as the wind roared in his ears. He was falling, and this time, Thomas wouldn't be there to catch him. He lost consciousness as his body slammed into the freezing Montana river, the rifle slipping from his limp fingers.
The mist was slowly clearing. Birds, squirrels, and other forms of small woodland creatures rose to great the morning. Soon the sounds of life began to ring out in the woods along the river.
Silently, another creature came to the river. It was a huge wolf, its pelt a striking silver color, the fur gleaming in the weak morning sunlight. It was the size of a small horse and it howled once into the woods, commanding all others into silence. It lowered its head and sniffed the embankment, searching for something. With a whimper it continued on, its sharp grey eyes scanning for any sign of it quarry.
Sniffing the air once more, the wolf gave a bark and raced forward to another part of the river. Leaping into the water, the wolf reached forward with its muzzle and grabbed at a body that was clinging to a broken log. Pulling the waterlogged man to shore, the wolf gave another whimper and began licking at the face of the human. With a wince, the man leaned over and began retching out river water. The wolf waited patiently as the man continued to empty his stomach. Soon the man stopped and rolled over, his face down in the dirt. With a snap of its teeth, the wolf opened its mouth and gently bit around the man's stomach, being careful with its sharp fangs as it lifted the man up off the ground.
With a muffled bark, the wolf bounded off into the woods, running towards its destination, its prey safely secured in its jaws.
Drev passed in and out of consciousness, of reality, of understanding. He knew that he was no longer in the river, but he couldn't figure out how he went from being cold and wet wearing his soaked clothing to wearing nothing in a bed. He felt a presence near him all the time, but he couldn't pinpoint what that presence was. At times it would lean over him and spoon feed him hot soup. Other times it would lie on the floor or even at the foot of the bed. He would feel rough calloused hands stroke his face or a hot smooth tongue lick his nose and he slept on the pillow. He would try to roll over a few times, but would be prevented by the presence of another body holding him, or a large body comfortably covering him.
He even dreamed, he supposed, that he saw the silver white wolf that he had previously dreamed saved him transform into a naked version of Thomas, who leaned over to adjust the blankets before leaving. Drev wanted to call out, but his throat hurt too much, and he lost the will to stay awake anymore.
He slept, and he dreamed of the full moon, of wolves howling, and of Thomas carrying him to safety.
Stirring awake, Drev opened his eyes. Judging by the pictures hanging on the walls, and the arrangement of the furniture, he guessed that he was lying in Thomas's bed. Shifted his weight, Drev tried to roll over but found his feet trapped underneath a hot and heavy weight. Blinking, he leaned up on his elbows and gazed forward. He rubbed his eyes vigorously, clearing away the sleep dust from his eyes, making sure that what he saw was truly there.
At the foot of the bed was the enormous white wolf from his dreams. It was asleep, with its head resting off to the side on the other section of the bed, where Thomas would normally sleep. Thinking about Thomas, Drev went with is instincts. Slolwly pulling his feet free of their toasty prison, he silently pushed off the extra layers of covers and laid next to the wolf, his face mere inches from the wolf's muzzle.
Drev wasn't sure how long he laid there; he drifted in and out of sleep it seemed. He jerked awake though when he felt a tongue like the side of his face though, with hot breath being blown on his face. Opening his eyes, he stared deeply into familiar grey orbs that looked back him in hope, gratitude, and almost in fear. Drev did nothing except move himself into a sitting position, his eyes never leaving the wolf's.
He spoke one word. "Thomas."
The wolf stood on its paws, its chest to Drev's face, it looking down at Drev with an air of quiet dominance. Slowly, the fur receded and the sound of bones shifting and cracking back into place filled the bedroom as the wolf changed into a man. Soon the claws and muzzle were gone, to be replaced by a flat face and flexible fingers. With a roll of his neck to work out the kinks from the transformation, Thomas kneeled down and looked back at Drev. "How did you know?"
Drev sat in silence for a bit. He wanted to say he was in shock, it would have been the logical choice. But somehow, he just knew that Thomas would never hurt him, and that knowledge was what made him sit comfortably with the other man. "It just seemed right." He responded. "I don't know how to explain it; it was like while I was drifting in and out of consciousness, my mind just knew that you and the wolf were one and the same. I thought it was merely a dream, but something…" Drev paused, lost for a moment in quiet contemplation, "…something ancient, wild, feral…something just told me that you were the wolf, that you would never hurt me, that I was safe. Does that make sense to you, because it doesn't completely to me."
Nodding, Thomas shifted his weight and moved to sit next to Drev. It was then that Drev noticed that the tow of them were naked once again in the bed. "Just accept it. It's your mind's instinct letting you know, and you should always trust your instincts, your gut feelings." He placed a large hand on the side of Drev's face, stroking it soothingly. "Do you know what I am Drev?"
It hurt to hear Thomas call him by his name, but he didn't let it show. "I guess the proper term would be werewolf?"
"That's right, I'm a werewolf. The entire townsfolk of Wolf's Howl are werewolves. And the three wolves that you fought last night were werewolves as well."
Despite somehow know that part of the truth, Drev still paled a bit. He had gone up against three supposed mythological creatures and lived, just barely though. "Who were they, or did you not find them?"
Snorting, Thomas pulled back his hand from Drev's face and rested it on the bed quilt. "Oh I knew who it was. They were the same werewolves that beat you up back in town that day you left me in the feed store, the day we fought with each other, the day I said some terrible things to you Drev."
Drev didn't know which hurt more; Thomas's continued use of his name, or the reminder of that terrible day. With a wavering voice, he asked, "So I guess you know it was Freddy and company huh?" Thomas looked at him and nodded in confirmation. "What did you do to them?"
Clenching his hands tightly together, Thomas looked down at the blanket and growled, "I gave them a sound thrashing when I found them in town after I left the ranch yesterday. I couldn't put off their punishment anymore for what they did to you." He stopped and looked at Drev, "But when I found out they almost killed my mate, I killed them without mercy."
Not believing his heart could ache anymore, Drev felt it plummet at the word 'mate' coming from Thomas's mouth. So he had been replaced it seems. With a barely hidden sob, he looked out the window and asked, "So who is your mate? That woman in town?" His voice was devoid of any bitterness; in fact it was empty of any emotion.
Drev heard Thomas shifting his body and felt the other man push him down. Looking at Thomas in surprise, Drev let his body be directed until he was underneath the larger man, with Thomas looking down at him with the most expressive eyes he had seen. "You Pup. You're my mate." Drev started to cry at those words, silent tears that never landed on the bed, as Thomas lapped them up with gentle growls.
"What?" was all Drev could choke out.
"You're my mate Pup. I couldn't tell initially, for several reasons. One was that I've been alone for a long time, and had given up on ever finding my mate. Another reason was that you aren't the most expressive person, and werewolves, along with normal wolves, are always displaying their emotions. Finally, there was the fact that you were completely human; that masks the scent of matehood."
Drev had stopped crying at the explanations, but still felt small pangs of regret. "I'm sorry for making it so hard on you Thomas."
Thomas gave a little chuckle and rubbed his nose on Drev's. "Nonsense Pup. You didn't know a thing, and it all worked out."
Drev shook his head in disagreement, "But I need to tell you why I'm the way I am, or was I guess."
"Pup, I told you; leave your troubles in your past. They can't bother you anymore."
"This has to be explained Thomas, please." Drev moved and pulled himself out from underneath Thomas into a sitting position once more. Taking a deep breath, he started his tale. "My name is Drevlyn Emmanuel Frostburg, and I am the youngest of the Frostburg family. You may have heard the name as the Frostburg Oil Corporation. I came from a big family with old money; my siblings and I were groomed to be the perfect little ladies and gentlemen. I was the blacksheep of the family because of my homosexuality, and thus I was pushed out of attending social events and other big time gatherings my family hosted, which suited me just fine, since I had nothing but distaste for such things."
Drev wiped away a stray tear that had appeared from one of his eyes. "Eventually my parents couldn't control me; don't get me wrong, I was a social deviant or anything. I just wouldn't be their mindless drone like my other siblings were. So in time, we grew distant. It came to pass that I fell in love actually, or what I thought was love. His name was Karl, and he was perfect, at least in my eyes. We initially hung out, and then started dating, and we were quite serious. My family didn't like him, but that was just because he was gay and my boyfriend, or so I thought. One night," Drev paused, catching a sob in his throat, "I overheard him talking on his phone to my father, saying that he needed his next paycheck for pretending to be my boyfriend sooner than he expected. I stood outside the door, listening the entire time. When he hung up, he had confirmed my worst fears. My father had hired Karl to playact as my boyfriend so he could keep an eye on me and control me still. Karl had agreed because he had a gambling problem that I didn't know about. I confronted the two of them, and they didn't even bother to lie to me." Drev closed his eyes, willing away the pain and remorse he felt still. "So I left the next day without a word to anyone. I left behind all my things except for enough cash to just get away. And eventually I ended up here in Wolf's Howl, and you know the rest."
Thomas stared at Drev silently. Finally he broke the quiet with, "Oh my Pup." With a hug that engulfed Drev, Thomas squeezed him gently. "None of that matters to me. You were used by those that should have cared for you, but all that matters is that we're here with each other." He felt Drev nod and clutch at him, not letting him go. "There's one more thing though Pup…"
"What is it?" asked Drev, not liking the uncertainty that laced Thomas's voice.
"When I was carrying you back here to help you, my teeth ripped through your clothes and scraped at you skin. I accidently drew blood a few times."
Drev pulled back looked down at his stomach. He just noticed the scratch marks left over from Thomas's wolf teeth. He hadn't felt them before. "So what does this mean for me?"
Thomas shrugged, worried how Drev would react to his answer. "It means that come next full moon, you may or may not shift into a werewolf."
Sitting without making a sound, Drev stared at his scrapped stomach a bit more until he shook his head and climbed over to Thomas. Without a word he pushed Thomas onto his back, where Drev climbed on top of the other man. Thomas didn't say a word, seeing Drev's calm disposition as a good thing. Soon he heard gentle snores coming from the smaller man on top of him.
Shaking Drev, Thomas asked, "Pup?"
"It's okay…we're okay" was all Drev said, reaffirming his grip on Thomas's body as he nuzzled his face in the other man's chest.
Thomas leaned back, agreeing with his Pup. They would be okay. Whether his Pup changed the next full moon or not wasn't an issue anymore. They had each other, and that was enough.