Characters: Quentin Kinley, Tyler Jordan Graham
Word count: 2890
Notes: Werewolf/vampire AU. Sequel to Outcasts. Because I can't stop, now that I've started.
"You need to stop doing that," Tyler Jordan said. Quentin gave him a quizzical look. "Marking your territory like that."
"Well, don't say it like I'm pissing on trees or anything. What am I even doing?"
"You're shedding all over the place," Tyler Jordan said, holding up a clump of long brown hair. "You comb your hair with your fingers and then leave your hair all over the place. I'm going to have to start brushing you to keep you from doing it."
"That's not even a werewolf thing, that's a long hair thing," Quentin scoffed. "Marking my territory. Come on."
"I think you're just trying to compete with the cat."
"Ed knows what his place in this household is." Considering that Ed's place in the household was currently occupying Quentin's lap, that didn't mean as much as it might have. "I'm not leaving my hair on him the way he leaves his fur all over me. And you're one to talk about marking your territory! Leaving your bruises all over me. I'm not supposed to hold bruises like that, they should heal in a day."
"Next time you complain about it, make sure you say it like you don't absolutely love it," Tyler Jordan said dryly, and Quentin smirked up at him. "If you didn't enjoy it, you wouldn't ask me to bite you in a different place every time."
"Shut up," Quentin said, arching his neck when Tyler Jordan pressed his fingers to the bruise he'd left last night. "Maybe I just don't want to develop a weak spot from you biting me in the same place all the time."
"I enjoy the variety." Tyler Jordan sat on the couch next to Quentin, who wrapped an arm around him.
"Mm, you're still so warm. It's definitely lasting longer than it did at first."
"I know. I didn't time it the first time, but I started timing it after that, and I don't lose the heat for almost four hours longer now." He ruffled Ed's fur, and the cat purred loudly and kneaded Quentin's leg. "Are you noticing a difference, too?"
"Every moon night hurts a little less," Quentin said, and sighed. "I miss running. I feel like a house pet cooped up in here when I change. I know where the pack goes, I could avoid them."
"I don't want you to be caught alone."
"So come with me." Quentin pulled him a little closer. "The night we met, you said you wanted me to chase you. I know I wolf out before you wake up, but we could go somewhere and actually do it, I can behave in your car."
"I'm so afraid of something going wrong," Tyler Jordan said. "Getting caught. Or not making it home in time. Losing you in the woods."
"I'm actually offended that you think I couldn't track you under a full moon. Or that I'd keep you out past dawn. It's January, the night's as long as it's going to get. We could drive an hour out, stay out for twelve hours, and still be home before daybreak. And I don't want to stay out for twelve hours. I just want to stretch my legs and hunt a little." Quentin gave Tyler Jordan a plaintive look, and Tyler Jordan arched his brows.
"The puppy eyes? You're really giving me the puppy eyes?"
"Well, the puppy eyes work better on you than the alpha glare," Quentin said.
"I'm your pack, but I'm not your beta."
"No. You're my mate."
"And don't you forget it."
"I know my place in this household too," Quentin sighed. "Alpha in the sheets, beta in the streets."
"I like you getting all alpha in bed," Tyler Jordan purred. "That's one place you've got that alpha vibe down pat."
"I never know if you're just humoring me when you give in or if I'm honestly claiming you."
"Really? You should have more faith in yourself." Tyler Jordan nuzzled against Quentin's hair and murmured in his ear, "Right from the very first time, you've owned me."
"That can't be true."
"The minute you held me down against the bed, it was more than just sex. Every time I feel your hand on the back of my neck now, I go weak in the knees. I think I'm starting to develop wolf instincts. I want to bare my throat to you." Quentin sucked in a sharp breath and put his hand there, a firm clasp that made a shiver run through Tyler Jordan. "You're the only lover I've ever ceded dominance to."
"You're the only lover who didn't make me submit," Quentin admitted. "When you let me-- I'd always been the one on my back before that. The wolf girls thought I was a joke. A tissue to use and then throw away."
"Disposable," Tyler Jordan said, suddenly understanding. "No. You're not disposable at all. Fuck those bitches."
"Once was enough. You're the only one I'll ever sleep with again, now that I've found you. All my life I thought I'd never be worthy of a mate." Quentin turned to catch Tyler Jordan's lips. "Any way you want me, you can have me. I'll do anything you want and do it joyfully. All you have to do is ask."
"Oh, Q." Tyler Jordan caught his face between both hands and bit his lip playfully. "I want everything. When's the next moon?"
"Pick the wild place you want to run," Tyler Jordan said. "I want you to hunt me. I want to be your prey for a night."
"Really?" Quentin's eyes went as round as the moon itself. "You trust me that much?"
"You won't do anything to me that I can't recover from. I want to see you wild. You're right, it's a shame to keep you penned in like a pet dog when you should be running free under the moon. You shouldn't be bound by my fears."
"If you had a wolf for a mate, you'd be running with them every moon. I can't run with you like that, but I can give you this much."
"If I had a wolf for a mate, I'd be paired off with some bitch who would treat me like garbage," Quentin said, shaking his head. "I don't regret being with you instead of a wolf. I've been better off since I was cast out than I was in an entire lifetime of running with the pack. I'm actually learning who I am now that I'm not permanently cowering."
"I like who you are," Tyler Jordan said, kissing him again. "Even if you are neurotic and sarcastic and you never believe me the first time I say something nice to you. I get why you're like that."
"I'm trying," Quentin said. "I'm trying so hard. But I've been with you for four months and I was with the pack for twenty-six years and that's a whole lot of programming to undo. You have no idea how much good you've done me already."
"I have a bit of an idea." Tyler Jordan picked Ed up and moved him to the other side of the couch, earning a disapproving yowl, so he could occupy Quentin's lap himself, straddling his legs and curling a hand around the back of Quentin's neck. "You've done me a lot of good, too. Having someone to love... that's not a thing most vampires get. You make me feel more human."
"I love you so much." Quentin clasped the back of Tyler Jordan's neck again and pulled him down to press their foreheads together. "Thank you. For everything. Every kind word and every kiss and every bite and every day I live here with you."
"You're very welcome." Tyler Jordan gave him a soft kiss, laughing when Quentin pulled him closer and took a harder one.
The weekend couldn't come fast enough for Quentin. His sleep patterns had shifted dramatically when he moved in with Tyler Jordan, and it only took a couple of weeks for him to abandon his own bed and start sleeping next to Tyler Jordan, unfazed by the total stillness of the vampire's body when the warmth he'd taken from Quentin still lingered in him. He woke up before sunset on Saturday, feeling the promise of the moon just under the horizon, and went to go eat something before the change came over him. He'd chosen a state park two hours in the opposite direction from the pack's territory for their chase, and if he was hunting Tyler Jordan he didn't expect to go hunt anything else unless some animal was dumb enough to cross his path. Ed twined around his ankles, meowing insistently until Quentin fed him too, and then resumed meowing once he'd devoured his food.
"What's your problem?" he asked the cat, then sighed and dropped a piece of turkey from his sandwich that Ed gobbled up immediately. "You're going to get fat, buddy. A big old fat orange cat. You don't want to turn into Garfield."
The sky was vividly colored when he glanced out the window, and he stuffed the last bite of sandwich in his mouth and went in his own room, closing the cat on the other side of the door. His window faced west, but it didn't matter-- the moonlight didn't need to touch him to change him. He stripped down and stood next to the window, watching the colors fade to dark blue, waiting for the change to take him.
The change was never easy, not even for born wolves. The weaker the wolf, the more it hurt to transform, and it had always hurt like hell for Quentin, a blinding pain as his body reshaped itself, leaving him reeling for the first few minutes he was four-legged. He knew the pain like an old friend, didn't welcome it but expected it and accepted it. Pain was a hard thing to measure, but as it gripped hold of Quentin again, it had a lighter touch than it ever had before.
He came back to his senses lying on his side on the floor, hearing Ed meowing and scratching at the other side of the door, and he shook himself and got to his feet, waiting impatiently for Tyler Jordan to come open the door. It didn't take long-- it never took long.
"Good evening," Tyler Jordan chirped, fingers scratching through the thick fur of Quentin's ruff immediately. "Ready to go get wild?" Quentin butted his head against Tyler Jordan's knees, practically dancing with excitement, and Tyler Jordan laughed. "All right, come on."
It was a long drive to where they were going, but Tyler Jordan kept talking to Quentin like Quentin was actually responding to him with more than huffs and yips of laughter. Occasionally he'd crank up the music and sing along. It was January, but they kept the window rolled down anyways so Quentin could stick his head out and taste the wind as they drove out of the city and past the suburbs. When they got to the state park, Tyler Jordan turned the car off and sat there with his hand on the back of Quentin's neck for a moment.
"Okay. Give me a head start, you've got the advantage of legs here." Quentin gave him a look that clearly said that's not my only advantage, and Tyler Jordan grinned. "Don't bite my arm off, okay? I don't know what my blood might do to you. I know you can take me down without using your teeth." He dropped a kiss on the top of Quentin's furry head. "This will be fun. All right, let's do it!"
It had been an unusually warm winter; there were a few patches of snow here and there, but the ground was mostly clear. The sky was almost empty of clouds. Quentin looked up at the moon when Tyler Jordan let him out of the car, and it wasn't a bright thing to do in case there were other wolves in the area, but he couldn't stop himself from howling, full-voiced and joyful, like he hadn't been able to do since he ran with the pack. Tyler Jordan shivered at the sound and took off into the woods at a sprint, and Quentin followed him past the tree line at a leisurely pace, sniffing around, marking a few trees, reveling in the wind ruffling his fur and the delicious smell of wilderness and wildlife. He was impatient to begin, and after he thought enough time had passed he howled again and started tracking Tyler Jordan's path through the forest.
The vampire was light-footed, didn't leave much of a trail to follow, but his scent was unmistakable. Pack always was, and Tyler Jordan was all the pack Quentin had now. He didn't need to be a wolf to track him, but there were more complexities to Tyler Jordan's scent through the wolf's nose-- not just iron and granite and snow, but blood spilled on stone, a hint of freshly turned earth, a breath of dried leaves. Subtle, but recognizable: Tyler Jordan didn't smell of death like decomposition, he smelled like a cemetery in winter, and the fact that Quentin found comfort in the scent set him apart from his kind.
Tyler Jordan had taken a meandering path, changing directions randomly, looping back on his own trail, crossing streams and leaping down sheer rock faces. He wasn't making it easy on Quentin, and Quentin loved him for it, loved the joy of the hunt, the passion and playfulness that underlaid everything they did together but shone through brightest in moments like this. It took him almost an hour to get within earshot of Tyler Jordan-- no heartbeat or harsh breath to give him away, just the snap of branches and the freshness of his scent hanging in the air. That was it, though-- once Quentin could hear him it was puppy play to close that distance. He paced Tyler Jordan through the trees for a few hundred yards and then barreled into him from behind, sending Tyler Jordan sprawling against the forest floor with paws bearing down his shoulders. Quentin delicately set his jaws around the back of Tyler Jordan's neck, not a threat, just a declaration of victory. Tyler Jordan froze, then very slowly reached back to lay a hand against Quentin's muzzle.
"You got me," he breathed. "I'm all yours." Quentin replaced his teeth with his nose right against Tyler Jordan's nape, then licked him once and laid down on top of him. "Did you know that you weigh the same as a person and as a wolf? I'm so used to your weight on top of me." He didn't struggle, just crossed his arms under his head and laughed when Quentin nuzzled against his neck. "Is this payback for all the times I used you as a pillow on moon nights?" Quentin huffed. "You make a better blanket than you do a pillow."
Quentin was happy to stay there for a while, even happier when Tyler Jordan reached back and dug a hand into his fur, scratching right behind his ear, that spot that always made Quentin sigh happily. The sounds of the forest soothed his nerves, until he heard a snap of twigs off to the left and his head popped up to track the sound. Tyler Jordan turned his head too, and he breathed a laugh. “Go on,” he whispered, and Quentin was up and after it in an instant.
The rabbit didn’t make it far, and Quentin came back with it hanging in his jaws to find Tyler Jordan leaning against a tree. The vampire applauded only a little sarcastically, and after Quentin made short work of it he brushed two fingers across his bloodied muzzle and tasted the blood curiously. “Bunny blood, bleah.” Quentin huffed again and licked his face just to be a jerk, and they started walking back toward the car at a lazy pace, enjoying the freedom of the night out.
“Ready to go?” Quentin looked up at the moon again. There were still hours left in the night, but the pull he felt wasn’t toward the wild, but toward the vampire standing there with his hand outstretched and a smile on his face. Quentin butted his head against Tyler Jordan’s leg and pawed at the door of the car.
They were curled up in bed when the sun rose and the change happened in reverse, Quentin shivering with the aftershocks of pain as he regained his human form. Tyler Jordan brushed his hair back from his face and kissed his sweaty brow, fighting the sun’s pressure for him to sleep right away.
“Hey, sugar,” he murmured. “Have fun?”
“Thank you so much,” Quentin replied, turning his head to catch Tyler Jordan’s lips. “Thank you. I needed that.”
“I won’t try to keep you cooped up any more,” Tyler Jordan said. “You’re absolutely glorious in the wild.” His eyes drifted shut, and Quentin kissed his cheek and got up from the bed once Tyler Jordan went still, to shower and eat and think through the gift Tyler Jordan had given him once that it seemed he was willing to give again.