A/N: Thank you all for your support, I appreciate every single alert, every favorite, every review, and every hit I receive. You all really are the best. Thank you so much for reading, I hope you've enjoyed it.
Again, much thanks to Tattooed Soul.
It had been over a month since Pierre and Tanner's union. The Frenchman hadn't believed it possible that he would be this happy so soon after his own family's rejection. Although the pain still ran deep, Tanner somehow managed to make it bearable. No doubt he would have faltered without him, perhaps even committed suicide. Somewhat like a werewolf pack, hunters weren't meant to be solitary creatures. Even though they were apart, Pierre knew that he had his family and that had been a great comfort to him, though it had taken losing them in order to see that.
Today, the teen was going to make a surprise visit to Tanner's home with Rav. Normally he wasn't allowed to see them during certain times of the month because the two brothers would go and see their remaining family for a weekend, but Rini had revealed that the two came back home in the early mornings sometimes. He hoped she was right this time, because he honestly couldn't wait to see his lover, his amour. No one could make him feel like Tanner did, so complete, so joyous; as if he was living a life composed of pleasant dreams and fairy tales.
Smiling to himself, Pierre crossed over the wooded path that led to his lover's home, the smell of fresh pine reaching his senses as he walked. Pine. Everything that nature held reminded him of the blonde in some way. There was something rugged about the other boy, something wild and untamed, like nature's deep forests. He was refreshing and sensitive, gentle and caring. He was everything that the black haired teen could possibly never be. They completed each other. Where Pierre began, Tanner ended. Everything was perfect. Life was perfect and as long as he and Tanner were in love, things would always be.
The moon was still out, full and luminous in the sky. It was so beautiful, and for once in his life, there was no pain attached to the sight. The moon was only something to be beheld as beautiful and ethereal. His old life could no longer touch him, he was free now.
He was free to love and live as he pleased. He was free to be more than he could have ever thought possible, he was free of his name and freed from the burden of crimson on his hands. He was freed, by love.
Adjusting the strap of the bag he was carrying, Pierre turned his eyes from the bright, silver orb in the sky and towards the little house he had come to feel was his true home and as a result, dropped the bag onto the forest floor.
There was only the sound of a cricket's chirp as the teenager's life was once again torn asunder.
Pierre's mouth dropped open in horror. It couldn't be. It couldn't be. It was impossible! He'd left his old life behind, it couldn't touch his new family now, it couldn't touch Tanner, not the one person left in this world that he loved and loved him in return.
Yet his greatest horror had been realized in an instant.
Standing tall and proud in the light of the full moon was the golden wolf of his past, still as beautiful as it ever was. Yet, in that moment, its beauty was nothing more than a cruel guise hiding the very image of death itself.
The werewolf still hadn't noticed him; instead it was staring up at the moon, its eyes closed as it panted up into the blessed orb. A small brown wolf sat near its haunches, chewing on the corpse of an opossum happily, occasionally pausing to lick at its brother's paws.
Pierre reached for his holster, only to touch nothing but air. What a fool he had been! He had sent all of his weapons back to his family and now he was defenseless. He could only hope that tonight he would die alone, that Tanner and Rav were still safe with their relatives. Oh, but how he wished he could say goodbye! How he wished he could kiss the very lips that made him feel whole once more before fangs ripped into his flesh as homage to their dead mother. All the things he wanted to say, to do, would all disappear, gone in an instant.
But was it not a fitting end for someone like him? A murderer murdered? This was only justice at its best. To be ripped away from life at his happiest moment was appropriate, that must have been what he had done, so many times. All the former hunter could want would be for Tanner to go on without him, for his parents to watch him from above, to bless him with love again after his passing. It was all he could do...to accept his fate.
As the resigned young man took a step forward, the sky parted and let in the light of the sun. Wolf became man, sprouting up majestically into the sunrise with a roar becoming of any man turned monster.
Blue-gray orbs widened before a head shook desperately in denial.
"Non, non..." He fell to his knees. "Non!"
How could he have been such a fool? A hysterical laugh burst free of his lips as tears ran rampant down his cheeks. His hands shook as he attempted to pack his things. Rini was behind him, hovering like a mother hen, begging him to tell her what was wrong but he could hardly hear her.
Tanner was a wolf. Tanner was a wolf. He had been betrayed in the worst possible way, in a way he had not even dared to imagine.
As he reached into a suitcase he could never manage to open during the school year, his hands touched cold metal. Silver. A silver handgun.
A bitter laugh ripped through Pierre's throat before he grasped the gun, slamming the hard metal into his skull again and again until he felt blood running down his fingers.
Rini screamed from behind him, startled not only by his masochism, but by the fact that her roommate had hidden a gun amongst them this whole entire time. Why did he have a gun? Why was he so upset? What was happening?!
The Frenchman stopped, frozen. That voice, that honey-sweet voice...how he despised it! Blood covered his hands as he roughly pushed the blonde girl aside, not even blinking as she fell, her wrist letting out an audible pop as she tried to stabilize her fall. He swung the door open, blood dripping into his blue-gray eyes down to his ashen chin. In his head, his pupils dilated, as if he was intoxicated and truly he was. He was intoxicated by hate.
Tanner turned in the hall towards him, tears in his eyes, arms open wide only for a gun to be cocked and placed in-between his eyes. "Pierre..." he whispered with need in his voice." Please, please just listen to me," the werewolf whispered again in an effort to placate the younger boy. "You're bleeding, let me help you."
Another hysterical laugh burst free but in the guise of a sob. "Help me? You mean to destroy me! You...you monster! Did you think that you could trick me forever? How did you plan to do eet? Eh?! Vas it going to be during lovemaking? Make me feel whole before you ripped out my throat?" It was the first time he had ever spoke English so well, but he wanted to be understood. He wanted his hatred to be known, he wanted to see at least a glint of shame in those brown eyes he had come to love before he pulled the trigger and blew Tanner's lies apart.
The blonde shook his head, a single tear running down his tan cheek. "No. Never. I love you."
"Lies! Nothing but lies! You bastard, you sick bastard. You remembered me, you wanted your revenge." To think that any creature, even a werewolf could be so cruel as to make him fall in love and then throw him away...it was worse than any pain he had ever felt. He wished Tanner had just killed him. He wished Tanner had ripped his throat out the very same day his blue eyes met Tanner's brown, because the pain of having something and realizing it was a complete and utter lie was filled with more suffering than even he could take.
Unabated by the silver gun, Tanner took a step forward, the nozzle pressing further into his forehead and searing into his skin. "No. I swear to you, I would never hurt you. It's true, I'm the wolf from that night, the one that you saved and I have never forgotten you. I know now that they forced you, that you never meant to hurt me or my people...our parents."
More and more tears ran freely down Tanner's cheeks, staining his face with salty streaks. "You set us free. You never hurt us. I love you, I trust you. I should have told you the truth. You don't hold the same prejudice as them. You're different, special, perfect." A sad smile formed over his handsome face as he looked at his love, his mate, the only one in this world who could bring him back from the edge of oblivion. "Pierre, you're my soul mate. We're meant to be together, I knew that as soon as you let my brother and I go, when you looked at our mother's corpse with disgust because of what they did I-"
"I killed your mother."
A painful tightening of Tanner's chest made him lose his breath. "What? No you didn't, they did. The sniper, the sniper from the mound was the one who..."
Pierre let a smile, filled to the brim with insanity, come onto his face. "I was the sniper. I blew her head off clean. It was the proudest moment of my life." He laughed derisively. "I was proud to be a murderer...I've always been proud of being a murderer," the next words were spoken softly, gently, as if Pierre was in a dream like state.
Growling, Tanner shook his head roughly, ignoring the way the nozzle dug deeper into his forehead as a result. "No, you wouldn't! I know you wouldn't. I love you, I know you!" By that point he was screaming, shaking, and desperately trying to assure himself and Pierre of this truth that his mind had formulated. But the sniper...hadn't Pierre been carrying a rifle that night? A rifle...a rifle with a scope. No, it couldn't be...
Pierre sobbed aloud, his arm dropping as the gun hung limp in his hand. His eyes closed desperately, trying to block out the truth. "You know nothing. You know nothing of me. You never did. You never will. Never," he let out in a short breath before he scrunched his eyes closed, his hand moving too fast for the mortal eye to see as he raised his own gun to his head.
There was a roar, so loud it echoed through the hall. "No! Don't!" Tanner leapt at him, intent on pulling the gun out of the other boy's hand before it was too late.
There was the sound of a gunshot, and it was the last audible sound he heard. Eyes bulged out painfully, lips spurting dying words before a body fell to the ground and before warm arms wrapped around him.
"It's alright, mon petite. I'm here," Jean-Marie whispered against Pierre's neck, his lips as warm as the smoking gun which had stolen Tanner's life away.
Horrified, Pierre looked on with an open mouth at the blood draining across the hall floor and the bullet in his lover's back.
Jean-Marie pulled away from him, the soft glistening of tears in his eyes. "Pierre?" he questioned. "It's alright; I knew something was wrong as soon as I received your letter. The wolf must have bewitched you, tried to take you away from us. But I am here and I will never leave you alone again. I love you, mon frère. Our bond is all that matters."
With a sort of tenderness that Pierre had never thought his brother capable of, Jean-Marie slowly lifted Pierre's hands, stripping him of his gun, before kissing the back of his hands. "You're safe and everything will go back to the way it used to be."
The way it used to be…
Yes, everything would return to the way it once was because hope and Tanner, had died.
He didn't speak even as his family flocked around him. His lips didn't twitch in a smile as Amelie embraced him, whispered that she missed him and that she knew it wasn't true. Her little brother just couldn't be an abomination, she knew him better than that.
And maybe he wasn't? Maybe Jean-Marie was right and Tanner had deceived him all along. They never loved one another. How could they? They were too different and the hatred between them ran too deep. Their destinies were written long before they met and they could not change fate's hand.
Everything was a distant hum in his eardrums and a blurred vision of life. The Frenchman thought he might be seeing in red, as if everything was highlighted in the bitter crimson of Tanner's blood.
He stared down at his hands before he fisted them. Why was the world so bitter to the taste? Why was it that the things that he loved were always taken from his grasp? Pierre could not hold onto anything, not even love.
No matter how fiercely he might clench his hands and fight for what was his, he failed. Why was happiness so fleeting and misery, so constant?
A heavy hand came to rest at his shoulder and he blinkingly recovered from his daze. Kind blue eyes stared down at him in a nest of shockingly orange hair. Joseph. "I'm sorry," he whispered, just low enough so that only Pierre could hear.
The somber teen shook his head. "Eez-" he started before cutting himself off with a brutal shake of the head and switching to his native language. "It is no one's fault but my own; you do not need to apologize."
Joseph shook his head with a sad smile. "I did not apologize to you out of guilt, but because you suffer now because you have lost a great gift."
Frowning slightly at the words, Pierre cocked his head slightly. "What gift? My trust in this horrible world we live in?"
Had he been any other person within their extended family, he probably wouldn't have noticed the way Joseph's ocean blue orbs drifted subtly towards Henri lounging in the corner. "Love, Pierre. I meant love."
For all of Joseph's kindness and all that he had given even in this murderous life, he was not spared.
They were hunting up near the Tundra, which was a common stomping ground for the wolves. The beasts were able to live amongst their brethren and go undetected by sating their hunger on their brother's natural prey. Humanity was none the wiser to their deeds, except for the few hunters that remained.
And truly, there were few now. Sometime since Pierre had ventured into Tanner's trap and into what he thought had been a whole new life, a series of killings had taken place all over the world. A deadly war was now raging, more deadly then any that had ever taken place before.
The American hunters were nearly nonexistent now and they had been the strongest anti-werewolf force available. How it was that they had nearly been dropped to a quarter of their numbers in less than a year was impossible to tell. Even Jean-Marie didn't know the details. The Frenchman only knew that the Americans had been brutally compromised and that they could no longer rely on their strength.
Now, with less hunters there was a resurgence in werewolf numbers and there was very little that even Pierre's family could do about it. Nearly all of their hopes lied with the next generation and that the Germans, once the strongest and rumored first hunters, would soon rebuild their numbers.
With all of that hope placed on the future youth of the hunters, Jean-Marie had taken it upon himself to marry and quickly impregnate his new wife, Hélène. It chilled young Pierre to the core to know that very soon he might have to do the same.
Claude, a new and somewhat obnoxious hunter was attempting to converse with him over a prostitute he had met and the size of her ass when they heard the screams.
Joseph and Henri, the typical scouting force of their team, had gone ahead to search for signs of the wolf. As always and on any full moon, their act was dangerous, but they were honed in their craft and typically always came back unscathed.
But not tonight.
It was the first time since Pierre's time in America that he took initiative. Joseph and Henri were all he had now. Although neither of them ever spoke of their love for one another and were careful not to display any overt signs of affection, both men knew that Pierre knew of their bond and as a result, there was a commonality between the three of them, a brotherhood had been forged from stronger ties than blood.
He ran, nearly blinded by the harsh wind that nearly sliced at his flesh to the sound of the screams. The blue-gray eyed youth could hear his brother calling to him but he ignored it in favor of listening to his heart pound in his ears.
"Please, please," he murmured rhythmically beneath his breath. "Please be alive, mes amis."
He knew his pleadings went unheard as screams turned to sobs. Squeezing his eyes closed, he increased his pace until his muscles screamed and pleaded for him to slow down. "Henri," he yelled for his friend as he broke into the clearing. "Vous etes…"
His question was cut off, as was all the breath in his lungs as tears sprang to his eyes. "Oh, Henri," he whispered the other man's name in pity. On reflex, he held his arm out to the other man, only to be rudely smacked away.
"Non!" Henri screamed, tears streaming down his cheeks as he held Joseph's bloody, lifeless body in my arms. "Non! I won't let you take him away from me!" His cries grew muffled as he buried his head in the crook of Joseph's slit throat. "Wake up for me, Joseph… Please…Don't leave me."
Overcome by loss, Pierre thought he would feel sadness, but instead, he felt hatred well up in his gut. Why Joseph? Why one of the only good men in a band of killers and of thieves?
With a strangled growl, he lashed out, striking the nude and now human form of the werewolf that had killed his friend. The man's body jiggled somewhat, revealing his face.
Jerking, Pierre stopped his onslaught and backed away, afraid. Those lips parted in surprise, those bulging eyes, and that long, crooked nose. All of those things made up the face of a boy, even younger then he was.
So often after killing Tanner and Rav's mother, Pierre had hated himself for what he had done. He wondered if the wolves regretted their actions too, if this boy would have felt guilt later for stealing a life.
Silently, he bowed down near the body, before his fingers outstretched and he closed the youth's eyes. Now, he was free from this endless war and so was Joseph. It was the people left behind now that suffered.
Henri's voice went from sobbing to hopeful all of a sudden. "Joseph?" he questioned in wonderment. His large black eyes were filled with joy as he removed his arms from his lover's person to brush his hands through his hair.
Joseph grunted and then he convulsed. Froth sprung from his mouth as he writhed on the ground, his limbs twitching and his eyes wide as saucers as he looked up into the full moon.
Pierre grimaced in horror before bowing his head in sorrow. "Non," he begged aloud, "Porquoi Joseph?"
He had been bitten.
At first Henri was so happy that his lover was alive that he didn't even recognize what was happening. An elated smile had flitted onto the older man's face along with happy tears. However, as Joseph's limbs snapped and cracked grotesquely, the smile faded.
Regardless of the change, Henri tried to hold onto his lover, forcibly holding him down and he begged him to fight it, to stay human but it was useless. Once you were bitten on the full moon, it was over.
"Henri," Pierre shouted before gesturing for him to move, pistol in hand.
Instead of moving away, he clung onto Joseph even harder, rubbing his rough cheek against his lover's in a desperate gesture. The brunette shook his head, sobbing anew.
The youth's hand shook as he aimed the gun straight between Joseph's eyes. "Je suis desole, mon ami…" He squeezed his blue-gray orbs shut as he pulled the trigger, but at the last moment, he felt a hand grab his wrist and push the gun skyward.
Blinking in surprise, he looked into Henri's desperate brown eyes. "Please, just let him go."
But Joseph was already gone.
He had done all he could to comfort Henri, but the man would do nothing but stare out the window of their cabin and stare up into the full moon that night.
Angry that he could not help his friend and sobered at the fact that he had lost another, the younger Frenchman had retired to bed early, giving up on trying to fix what was unfixable.
Henri was gone the next morning.
The found him later in the Tundra with his throat ripped out and Joseph lying naked next to him in the snow, a bullet in his head and a smoking gun in his left hand.
Yet, all Pierre really noticed were the tear stains on both of their cheeks.
Above all, at least they were together now.
6 years later...
This was all his life would amount to, killing and hoping to be killed. His blue gray eyes had long since dulled and become nothing more than a dusty gray. His eyes had lost all of their vigor, all of their strength just as his soul. What did it matter if he died? He was already a corpse, a tool for war. He killed on sight, waiting for an opponent that would take its vengeance and take pleasure in the taste of his broken body. What more did Pierre have to live for?
Joseph and Henri were dead and gone, now two taboo names that were never to be spoken in midst of their hunter's clan. Amelie was dead, her child mauled to pieces in her arms and her husband lie in the ground next to her, his worthless brain having been crushed by the angry jaws of the wolf. Why hadn't it been him? He asked for death, yet she never came to take him. Was this to be his eternal punishment, to live a meaningless existence, waiting for an end that would never come?
Jean-Marie looked at him from the corner of his eye. Pierre's lips twitched. They truly were brothers. Both of them were broken men. Once a beautiful, exemplary man, Jean-Marie was now becoming haggard, weak. The lines on his face were becoming more pronounced, his neck was beginning to sag and the set of his shoulders sloped downwards as death beckoned at his door.
Soon he would be gone and then Thierry, his prodigy, would lead them to victory, making a new cycle of hate and of vengeance until all of them were dead.
Pierre smiled at the thought. Atop his white stallion in the light of the full moon, a cry of warning reached his ears, but he reacted too slowly. Jaws sharps as daggers clamped onto his arm.
He was one of them. How ironic.
Jean-Marie looked towards him, his eyes widening but a fraction of an inch before the glistening of tears reached his usually cold orbs. The older man's jaw twitched in a repressed sob as he shook his head in denial.
Pierre could feel the beast pulling at his arm, dragging him off his horse but he didn't care, he wanted this. He found it strangely…perfect. He would go just as Joseph had, becoming the beast before his life ended. His eyes met his older brothers and he nodded, just as a tear escaped Jean-Marie's eye.
The older Arceneaux gave a wry smile before he pulled out his gun. Killed by own of his own? It didn't hold the same meaning but he would die all the same. He closed his eyes and heard the bang of the gun before he fell into peaceful oblivion. Yes, death's arms had wrapped around him at last and he welcomed her embrace.
Little did he know that a broken brother, afraid to be alone, had taken the bullet meant for him. Jean-Marie was many things, a saint in some groups, a monster and a murderer in others, but above all of those things, he was a brother and a father and family would always come before duty.
He'd only wished he had told Pierre that before he died and he hoped, that maybe he would have another chance to in another life.
It was just before dawn and he was faced with the sun's golden rays on one side and the dark, cool light of the moon on the other. The two forces moved towards one another, rising like the waves of the sea before crashing into the cliffside.
They were never supposed to come together. East did not meet west and the Sun and the Moon were not meant to exist in the same instance, in the same place. And yet, here he was.
There was infinite darkness at his back and glorious unending light in front of him. A figure began to shift out of the light, as bright and as beautiful as the sun itself as it reached out to him.
Pierre shied away at first; unsure of how he should respond to what was happening. He didn't think this was what death would be like. He thought it would be like what lie behind him, darkness with the promise of no pain, but here he was standing before what should have been impossible.
Regardless of his fear, he liked the promise that the light made, he liked its warmth and its forgiveness. In it, he felt loved. He was caressed by its graciousness and he fell into it, body first and fears thrown to the wind.
The warmth of the sun embraced him back, smoothing its hands over his back with near scorching hands. "I love you," it whispered, voice magnified and echoing a thousand times until it was broken apart by the darkness of the night sky.
"I will always love you, even until the end of time. Even if it was never meant to be this way," it promised.
He knew that voice and despite the emptiness he felt inside after living for six years as a murderer, that voice could still do the most amazing of things to him. "I love you too," Pierre stuttered out between his sobs as he tightened his embrace on the figure.
Suddenly, the figure pushed away from him and the petit Frenchman opened his mouth in surprise, only for a warm finger to press against his lips before the figure moved further and further away from him. It kneeled down on the floor and bowed its head in silence.
There was a flash of light, so bright that he was forced to close his eyes. He was not used to the light; he had forgotten it because he had been consumed in the darkness for so long. He knew the dark and he could hide in it and maybe it was simply that, he didn't want to be revealed as something ugly and he couldn't hide in the light of the sun.
When the figure revealed itself anew, Pierre knew it well. It was a golden wolf, shining in the sunlight, staring at him with intelligent amber eyes.
He smiled before he felt his own body shift as the darkness raced forward from behind him. Then he stood as a brilliant silver wolf in front of the golden vision before him.
Light surged and darkness rumbled thunderously as they both raced to meet them. Tanner lifted his head to the sky in a howl and Pierre joined him easily until they were singing into the heavens.
There was a crack as darkness and light met and as sun and moon touched. All was one.
Everything now, complete.
When he awoke, it was in the arms of his lover, in a house that he knew, in a house that he loved. Living a dream, that he thought had vanished.
Living la vie en rose.