A/N: Hey guys, sorry for the lack of update last week. I came down with a really bad stomach bug and just didn't have the energy to type up a chapter. By the time I was over the damn thing, it was closer to the next Saturday, so I just skipped the week. Anyway, this chapter is fun, and pretty long to make up for it - almost double my usual size. I hope you enjoy it, and please leave a comment if you do. It makes me happy!

Word Count (overall): 33945
Word Count (this chapter): 3877
Updates: Saturdays

Chapter Seventeen

As soon as the bolt slid into place, Sebastian turned and huddled by the door. He was scared. He wasn't ashamed to be scared, not when he saw Jasper. The thing that Jasper used to be. For the first time, Sebastian wished that he couldn't see in the dark. The thing was big, almost twice the size of a normal wolf, corded with muscle, its hair dark and bristly, coarse. Its eyes shone yellow in the darkness, picking up every bit of available light. And it prowled. Circled. Loped.

The slayers fired their useless guns, the silencers fading the sound into quiet zipping noises. They fired blindly until their guns were empty, the clicking of the barrel loud in the oppressive darkness. One of them fumbled with his gun and bullet casings hit the concrete with chinks of sound.

"Can you see it?"

The werewolf crouched, muscle cording.

"No, I can't see any-ugh."

There was a wet noise, followed by a gurgling groan, then a scream. Sebastian didn't want to watch, but he couldn't tear his eyes away. Jasper (or the thing that had once been Jasper) was a much more elegant hunter than Sebastian had expected. He'd pulled the man away from the other slayers and away from the guns. By the time that Sebastian focused, the man's guts had already hit the floor, dangling from an open stomach wound. They steamed in the cold air. Sebastian felt sick.

The room filled with the scent of blood and shit and death. The man stopped screaming as quickly as he'd started, and when Sebastian looked up, he realised why – he no longer had vocal chords. His throat had been ripped out. He collapsed into a bloody, fitting heap on the floor. Death throes. Humans died as messily as they were born.

There were no more bullets. The remaining man sobbed quietly, the woman stood tall and resigned.

Sebastian huddled by the door.

The woman was next. A swipe of the creature's claws broke her neck, nearly taking her head off in the process. Blood fountained from her in thick pulses, coating her partner. Her death was messy and quick – she barely had time to understand what was happening to her before she was gone. Dead before she hit the floor.

The werewolf retreated before the body even hit the ground, leaving one man. One man between Sebastian and his fate. For a moment, Sebastian almost pitied him. Then, there was nothing to feel pity for – the werewolf sliced its claws through the man's stomach and up, tearing out his guts. The man had time enough to look down. His astonished, disbelieving look would have been comical if not for the sheer horror of it. Then, Jasper ripped open his ribcage, and that was it. They were gone.

Sebastian tried to curl in on himself, protect his vital organs, even though he knew it was useless. It was just him and the werewolf, the it that had been a man. Sebastian suddenly regretted the missed opportunities. Jasper had given him so many fucking opportunities. Sebastian took in a deep breath and closed his eyes. He waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Something snorted against his ear, and Sebastian jumped a mile in the air. There was a low, threatening growl. He forced himself to stay still, tried to stop trembling. He felt hot, panting breath against the top of his head, then against his neck. Sebastian swallowed cautiously. The strike he'd been dreading never came.

Sebastian opened his eyes. A steady, yellow-eyed gaze looked back at him. He cringed. They stared at each other for an eternally long moment.

Then, the werewolf bent its head and started to lap at the bullet wound in his thigh.

Sebastian flinched, then held perfectly still as the wolf gave another low, warning growl. Each rasp of the wolf's textured tongue made the wound burn. Sebastian closed his eyes, trying to breath deeply and work through the pain. Jasper could lick at the damn thing all he wanted – when he was doing inexplicable things like licking bullet wounds, he wasn't killing anyone, and that was just fine with Sebastian.

After an excruciating length of time, the licking stopped. Sebastian opened his eyes and stared at Jasper. The werewolf stared back. Then, it stretched like a big, lazy dog and padded off to explore the limits of its temporary enclosure. Sebastian swallowed and hugged his knees, never taking his eyes from the beast.

It was the longest night of Sebastian's life. He didn't even try to sleep. Every time the wolf came close, Sebastian was sure that it would turn on him, rip him to pieces. If he had been mortal, he might have succumbed to shock. The room was cold, sending chills through him. Or maybe that was the blood loss. He'd lost a significant amount of blood. Not a dangerous amount, but enough that he felt it. His leg felt stiff, and there was only one wound – entry, no exit. That meant he had to dig the bullet out before he started healing. He couldn't bring himself to do it, too scared that the fresh blood would attract the wolf's attention.

The stench of death and shit was overwhelming. In the dark, black blood pooled across the floor. Sebastian was hungry enough to eye the corpse of the third victim, the one that had lost the least blood. He would be cold, now. The blood would be unpleasant, and hard to extract. His eyes lingered on the puddles of blood as they congealed and clotted on the concrete floor.

The wolf moved, capturing Sebastian's attention. He stared at it with a mixture of wariness and curiosity. Its fur was dark – almost the exact shade of Jasper's hair. It was big. Bigger than Jasper, bigger than a wolf, and muscular. It moved quietly, though its claws clicked across the ground every so often.

Sebastian watched as the wolf made its way over to a sticky pool of blood, lapping at the drying remains. Every now and again it snarled aggressively at nothing that Sebastian could make out. Its teeth were long and white, its dark claws thick and sharp. It was as deadly as any wolf, and twice as large. Despite its ugliness, it held the same animalistic grace as its brethren.

Where wolves were characteristically shy, the werewolf seemed emboldened by its size. It padded over to where Sebastian was sitting and just stared at him, its eyes an eerie mix of feral hunger and intelligence.

Sebastian pressed his palms down against the cool cement either side of his body. Every muscle locked into place as the beast nuzzled at him. It clawed at him playfully and Sebastian flinched. It took his brain a moment to process that he was still intact, that there had been no ill intent behind the motion. He swallowed hard and didn't move. He knew the creature could sense his fear, smell the bitterness of his sweat, and he just hoped it didn't set him off.

Eventually it stopped trying to get his attention and laid down beside him, placing its head in his lap. Its ears flicked, tuned into sounds around them that even Sebastian couldn't hear.

At some point, Sebastian's trembling stop. He rested his head back against the door, and against all odds, drifted into Morpheus' familiar arms.


Sebastian woke with a jerk. A low, desperate whine caught his attention. The werewolf was no longer beside him, its head no longer in his lap. It was lighter, now. Easier to see. It only took Sebastian a second to locate the creature – it wasn't so intimidating, now. It huddled in the corner, whining pitifully. Dry, snapping sounds reached his ears, and it took him a moment to understand that they were bones breaking. The whining turned into whimpering, then yelping, the wolf crying like any other hurt dog.

Sebastian watched. The wolf, looking more human by the second, vomited blood. Its bones cracked and re-mended. Its hair and snout retreated. The process took minutes. Minutes of unbearable pain. Perhaps that was where the real curse lay.

Jasper, whole again, a person again, took one look around the room and collapsed. Passed out. He was naked, the remnants of his clothing torn, scattered around the room from his transformation the night before.

It was hard to believe that it was over, that they were both still alive. Sebastian hesitated. His fingers twitched. He got to his feet, his leg aching dully. Slowly, Sebastian limped over to where Jasper was sprawled out on the floor. Unconscious. He nudged Jasper with his foot, just to make sure. Then, he sat down gingerly beside the other male and turned him over.

Where Sebastian was expecting a bullet wound, there was nothing but smooth, unblemished skin. Sebastian frowned and slid his hands up both of Jasper's arms, then examined the other man's shoulders. Nothing. No wound. Lucky bastard. Then, he remembered the pain in Jasper's eyes, the way bones had cracked and skin had stretched. Maybe not so lucky after all. Sebastian wouldn't wish that kind of horror on anyone, not even his worst enemies.

Sebastian shifted closer and eased Jasper's head into his lap. He tried to stroke a hand through the other man's hair, but it was matted with blood. So much blood. Dully, Sebastian spared a glance for the ruined, half-eaten bodies a little way across the room from them. The wolf must have gotten hungry. At least he'd been spared that sight.

Everything felt so distant. It was hard to believe that everything he'd seen was real. He felt numb. Some part of him registered that he was probably in shock, but he was too exhausted to care. The idea of getting up and finding clothes for Jasper seemed like an insurmountable task. It also seemed completely, bizarrely mundane after spending at least ten hours scared for his life. But Jasper couldn't walk out of here naked, looking like he'd bathed in the blood of virgins or something.

For a while, Sebastian just let everything go. He stared at the wall opposite him and just breathed, Jasper's head warm in his lap, the rhythmic sound of his breathing and heartbeat comforting. He couldn't leave Jasper like this anyway. The other might wake up, panic, think he'd been abandoned. Might even think that Sebastian was dead – Sebastian had no idea how much Jasper would remember from when he'd been... not himself.

Time passed. Eventually, Jasper stirred. He twitched and rolled onto his side slightly. He sneezed. Then, he sat bolt upright and snarled at Sebastian. Confusion crossed his featured. His eyes searched Sebastian's face. He relaxed. He looked around the room, grey eyes sweeping quickly before they returned to Sebastian's face.

"'m gonna be sick," Jasper mumbled. He lurched to his feet and dashed for a corner, bracing one palm heavily against the wall. He retched. Meat came up. The smell of bile and vomit joined the soup of unsavoury scents in the warehouse.

Sebastian sat and waited. Moving seemed too hard. Talking seemed too hard, too. He just watched, his eyes dull and dead.

When he was done, Jasper spat onto the ground and averted his eyes from the mess he'd left behind. He turned and looked at Sebastian, then wiped his mouth on his arm. "What happened?" he croaked out.

Sebastian looked up. For a moment, he didn't say anything. He cleared his throat. "You..." He coughed. His throat felt dry and scratchy. Unused. Thirsty. "You got shot. We both did. You were going to change, and I had to get you in here, so I did." He paused and glanced over at the corpses, then back at Jasper. "If they had stayed outside, they just would have killed us in the morning. But they came in, and I locked the door. And then they all died." He delivered the tale in monotone, no emotion to his voice. Something inside him felt brittle, like if he pressed it just a little harder, he'd snap.

"I thought it would kill me," Sebastian said, looking up at Jasper, his gaze almost challenging. "But it didn't."

Jasper looked at Sebastian, his gaze unwavering. He took deep, steadying breaths and clutched at the wall behind him. He shook, goosebumps covering his arms, the hair on his skin standing on end. His nipples were hard, diamond points. Cold.

"What did I do?" Jasper asked, his voice low. His eyes flickered over to the dead bodies, then back to Sebastian. "To you, I mean."

Sebastian took the hint – Jasper didn't want to know what he'd done to them, how he'd killed them, and what he'd done after. He could probably guess by the rawness of the half-digested meal he'd thrown up. Sebastian cleared his throat. "It," he corrected, his eyes flickering briefly over Jasper's gore-covered body. "What did it do. It's not you. It's an it."

Jasper hesitated. He licked his chapped lips, something pained crossing his face. Then, he nodded. "It," he agreed. "What did it do to you?"

Sebastian took a deep breath. He examined his nails. Blood was crusted underneath them. He looked back up at Jasper. "It came over and just... it didn't do anything, I guess. Smelled me. It pawed at me once. Like it wanted attention. I don't know, it was fucking weird, I never want to-" He bit his tongue and looked away. Jasper didn't need to feel more guilty than he already did.

"Shit," Jasper mumbled. He looked away, down at the floor, looking at anything but his vomit and the dead bodies he'd left behind. Then, he crossed the room and knelt down next to Sebastian. "Did I hurt you?" he asked urgently. "Scratch you? Even if it was only little, and it's already healed, you need to tell me." He looked at Sebastian, his eyes too-focused, alight with concern.

"No," Sebastian answered. "No, you were gentle." That seemed the weirdest thing of all – the werewolf hadn't even tried to hurt him, hadn't harmed a single hair on his head. The creature that had brutally and thoroughly killed every other living person in the room had acted like... like a big, overgrown dog. "It prowled for a bit. Trying to find a way out, I think. After a while, it got bored and came over to me. Laid its head in my lap. Scared the shit out of me. Then, it just went to sleep, and when I woke up, it was changing. And then it was you again, and I wanted to-" Sebastian cut himself off. He'd wanted to touch Jasper, to make sure he was real. Some part of him was still unable to believe that he wasn't dead, torn apart by Jasper's claws. Touching had grounded him. It helped.

Jasper reached for Sebastian, then hesitated. "D'you mind if I just-?" He plucked at Sebastian's shirt. "I just wanna check, just to make sure."

Sebastian hesitated and flexed his fingers. He looked down at himself and took a deep breath. Then, he reached for his shirt and undid the top couple of buttons before pulling it over his head, revealing his pale, slender body for Jasper. "Go ahead." It was Jasper, not the wolf. Jasper.

"Thanks," Jasper said. He could see immediately that his claws hadn't touched the other male – Sebastian's skin was smooth and mostly flawless. There was a small scar just above his right collarbone. Jasper hesitated, then reached forward, smoothing his warm hands slowly over Sebastian's skin. After just a few second, he pulled back. "It's fine. You're fine. You can put that back on, now." He averted his eyes.

Sebastian held his breath, closing his eyes and savouring the feel of Jasper's warm, calloused hands against his skin. He opened his eyes and nodded dumbly, pulling his shirt back on in jerky, awkward movements. Sebastian licked his lips and stared at Jasper.

"Why didn't you hurt me?" Sebastian asked, his voice quiet, a little subdued. He reached out to touch Jasper, placing a hand on the other man's forearm, needing the contact. "It tore everyone else apart. I mean- you can see what it did. I was sure it was going to- I'm a vampire. But it didn't, it just... so why? Why didn't it kill me?"

"I don't know," Jasper said. He looked down at the hand on his arm, then back up at Sebastian's face. Jasper sighed. "Do you really want to know? You might not like the answer."

Sebastian hesitated. Then, he squeezed Jasper's arm. "Yes," he answered. "Yes, I want to know."

Jasper just looked at Sebastian for a long moment, searching the other man's eyes slowly. Whatever he saw there seemed to satisfy him – he nodded and took a deep breath, preparing himself. "It thought that you weren't a threat." Jasper paused. "No, it's more than that. It thought you were its mate. It... recognised your smell."

Sebastian stiffened and pulled his hand away, clenching it into a fist. "Your... mate?" The word shocked him back into himself. Sebastian made a face. "What... like have your little wolf pups kind of mate?"

There was a pause. Then, Jasper grinned. He scratched at the back of his neck and looked at Sebastian, snorting out a quiet laugh. "Hey, don't look at me like that, whatever the damn thing thought saved your life. But yeah, kind of. Except I don't think it exactly thinks too hard about sexual orientation, so unless you have any weird shit going on that you want to tell me about, there won't be any wolf pups."

"I assure you that I don't have any 'weird shit' going on," Sebastian said, smirking over at Jasper. He looked down at his leg, eyeing the bullet hole. "So. Now that we've established whether we can reproduce, what're we going to do? I'd love to see you walk down a street looking like that." Sebastian poked at his wound and hissed.

"You know that poking at it isn't going to help anything, right?" Jasper asked. He stood, muscles sliding gracefully beneath his skin. "And you're going to have to get me some clothes." He eyed Sebastian for a moment. "Hold on."

Jasper cast his eye around the warehouse – his eyes were always sharper during the full moon. It didn't take him long to locate his wallet and pen knife. He snatched up both and grimaced. Covered in blood and other things that he didn't want to think about. "I hope we don't have to worry about infection?"

"Shouldn't be a problem," Sebastian said, his voice tight. This was not going to be fun.

"Good." Jasper flipped the pen knife open and ran his thumb over the blade, testing the sharpness of it. It was just a pen knife, but he kept it pretty damn sharp all the same. It paid to be prepared. "You wanna do it or me?" he asked, raising an eyebrow at Sebastian.

"Fuck you, there is no way in hell I am letting you anywhere near me with a sharp object," Sebastian said, snatching the knife from Jasper's hands, nearly stabbing himself in the process. He tested the blade himself and sighed – not as sharp as he'd have liked, but they didn't exactly have a lot of options. "I'd really kill for some alcohol right now. Don't look."

"What are you, a kid?" Jasper asked, rolling his eyes.

Sebastian just looked at him pointedly and raised his eyebrows.

"God, fine, fucking prude." Jasper turned his back on the other male, crossing his arms over his broad chest.

Satisfied, Sebastian wriggled out of his pants and examined the wound more closely. It was already starting to heal, a scab forming around it. He'd have to tear it open. Sebastian winced. He hadn't even started yet.

"You can drink alcohol, then?" Jasper asked, his nose twitching slightly at the scent of Sebastian's blood. He stared at the wall in front of him.

"No," Sebastian answered. "Well, not really. I suppose I can. It works better if I drink from someone who's drunk, though. So if we had alcohol, I could get you really, really drunk, and then drink your blood." But they didn't have alcohol. The world was a fucking cruel place – being drunk would make this so much easier. Gritting his teeth, he peeled the scab away with the knife. He was an idiot for leaving it this long.

"Oh. So does that work for drugs, too, or...?" Jasper asked.

"Yes. Shut up." Sebastian dug into the wound with the knife, extracting the bullet carefully. It took everything in him not to scream. He couldn't help letting out low, pained hisses. It was excruciating. Finally, the bullet clinked onto the floor. Sebastian relaxed, trembling. He slumped, his skin clammy and a little grey.

"Hurt?" Jasper asked, turning as soon as he heard the bullet hit the floor. He retrieved his knife with a quick smirk.

"Fuck you," Sebastian responded, too tired to put any real venom behind it. The wound was bleeding sluggishly again. "And I thought I told you to turn around." Fuck, he was tired. And hungry. And just... fuck.

"I did turn around," Jasper pointed out.

"I meant until I had my pants back on," Sebastian muttered. He groaned. The ascent up onto his feet was slow and painful. Sebastian retrieved his pants and pulled them back up, making himself semi-presentable. He did, after all, look like he'd slept in a dumpster. Also, there was a bullet hole in his pants. And his leg. He wouldn't be forgetting about the one in his leg for a while. He did his best to tidy himself up, running a hand through his hair and straightening his shirt out. After being shot and a night watching a werewolf tearing people to shreds, there really wasn't much he could do to save his appearance – he looked like he'd been dragged through a hedge backwards.

It would have to do. At least his pants were black – the blood wouldn't be too obvious. Hopefully no one would look too closely. He was good at being invisible.

"I'll be back soon," Sebastian said, heading for the door. He unlocked it. Funny how a simple bolt could be the difference between life and death. He opened the door gingerly, half expecting a dozen slayers to be waiting for them, but there was no one there. Sebastian looked back at Jasper. He smirked. "Don't go anywhere."

"Don't go anywhere my ass, you little shit," Jasper muttered, collapsing back against the wall and settling in to wait.

Sebastian grinned and stepped out into the alley, letting the door slam shut behind him.