Title: sunshine turns the sky to gold
Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they’re not mine. Written because lunardreamedis an enabler. Title from “The LA Song” performed by Christian Kane.
Warnings: Major AU. Character death. Rape. Pedophilia. Serious abuse. Cannibalism. Roundabout spoilers for season two, though nothing blatant.
Pairings: OMC/OFC; OMC/Dean; Gordon/Dean; Dean/OFCs
Point of view: third
Notes: so, lunardreamedmade this post of plotwolves in need of good homes. The result of me reading said list is the darkly depressing story that follows.
More notes: I’ve made Gordon eight years older than Dean.
Also more notes: I’ve AUed werewolves. They’re people who fully change into wolves, though about twice as big as normal ones.
Still more notes: when I refer to a moon within the story, I mean all three nights spent as a wolf.
Spouse of notes the first: werewolves, in this lil’verse of mine, are immortal. They age from the moment they’re bitten, stopping at about middle age. Two werewolves mating results in a born ‘wolf, which have high status in the pack.
Dedication: lunardreamedwho told me to go for it; tru_faith_lostwho read over it and told me it was good enough to post; violetlily18for reading an early version, even though it’s not her cup of hot chocolate; and tigris_lilsisfor listening to my rambles over the last month.
Storm rollin’ in. Gordon Walker strides outside, bare as the day he was born, and watches the sky. Dark on the edges, a loomin’ gray—gonna be a bad one.
“ Rome!” he calls, pitchin’ his voice to echo across his property, so the summons can reach wherever his pet has got to.
Cool breeze feels good on his back, chasin’ away the early heat. He can taste rain on the air.
“ Rome!” he hollers again, wantin’ his pet inside ‘fore the storm breaks. Won’t be any good if he’s hurt by fallin’ branches or struck by lightnin’—ah, there he is. Lopin’ across the ground in quick, smooth strides. Gorgeous creature, really. Best choice Gordon ever made, pickin’ his pet.
Dark blond hair, tanned skin, hazel eyes the size of planets—willin’ to do anythin’ and everythin’ Gordon wants.
Rome stops in front of Gordon and lowers his head, avoidin’ Gordon’s eyes. “Have a good run?” Gordon asks.
“Yes’re,” Rome answers softly.
Gordon reaches out to caress Rome’s bare shoulder. “Anythin’?”
“No’sre. The wards’re strong.” Rome doesn’t move at all, doesn’t raise his head.
“Go to my room,” Gordon commands. “I’ll be up after breakfast.”
Rome moves past him and Gordon adds, “After the storm, we’ll head out. There’s a psychic in Phoenix we need to deal with.”
“Yes’re,” Rome replies and goes inside.
Gordon looks back at the sky, watches lightnin’ streak in the distance, and he smiles.
Dad’d said not to leave the car. To watch out for Sammy. Keep him calm and happy and safe. But Dad’s been gone for three hours longer than he should’ve been and Dean’s worried. Really, really close to crying like a baby, too, which’ll wake Sammy up and break Dad’s orders.
He’ll only be gone a minute, and he’s got Dad’s extra key to the Impala.
Dean checks on Sammy one last time before slipping from the car and locking the door, vanishing into the woods. He follows what he can of Dad’s trail, all the way until—darkness.
The first vision makes him pass out, the second makes him collapse, and the third causes a migraine.
The doctors can’t explain it—and Sam Velasquez doesn’t mention the things he saw, the fire or the blood or the screaming woman—and write him prescriptions. Mom and Dad do the best they can, and slowly Sam begins controlling the visions, not the other way around. He writes down everything he sees, sometimes calling up Aunt Missouri in Lawrence if things get too bad.
She tells him about his birth parents, John and Mary, about the fire and the hunt gone wrong. She also tells him about his brother, who has never been found.
Sam doesn’t tell Aunt Missouri, but he often dreams of his brother. And he searches for any trail.
By June of ’99, after his sophomore year, Sam decides he can’t wait anymore and goes on the road, following his dreams and his instincts, determined not to stop until he saves his brother from the man he sees in his visions.
He kisses Mom and hugs Dad, and is gone. He loves them, but he doesn’t look back.
Aunt Missouri tells him, “Sam, sweetheart, this road won’t end well.”
“I know,” he responds. “But I have to find him.”
“Okay, baby.” She sighs. “Be careful. There’re forces out there aligned against you. They don’t want you and Dean reunitin’.”
Sam knows who she means—the dark man with his brother and the yellow-eyed shadow that often laughs in his dreamscape.
Rome lays spread out over the silk sheets, tan and beautiful. As always, Gordon’s breath catches. He can’t believe his luck, even now, that he’s the one who took this boy.
The scar on Rome’s arm, a nasty bite, is almost unnoticeable now. The parallel claw marks across his chest have paled nearly out of sight.
Rome watches Gordon step closer, eyes hooded. Gordon honestly doesn’t know if Rome enjoys this—and doesn’t care. He belongs to Gordon, bought and paid for by blood.
Gordon kneels on the bed, over his pet, and holds out a hand. Rome leans up, moves into the touch. “Good boy,” Gordon purrs, and pushes Rome back against the pillows.
Dean wakes to pain and the cloying stench of blood. Large shapes move around him, growling and grunting, and Dean flinches.
His arm hurts. Burns, actually, and he whimpers. One of the shapes—gigantic and furry—leans in close, shoving something cold behind his ear. A low growl echoes in the space around him.
Dean tries moving back, but the fire shoots from his arm outward, stealing his breath. All of Dad’s training flies right out of his mind; he’s never been so scared.
Another beast settles beside him. He tries shifting away, but the creature follows. For the life of him, Dean can’t remember what Dad's been hunting.
Sammy. Where’s Sammy? Is he safe? Scared? Alone? Sammy hates being alone. Dean has to escape, has to get to Sammy.
Instead, he sinks back under, the pain becoming too much.
Sam picks up his birth father’s trail in Montana. Aunt Missouri pointed the way, told him where John's last hunt had been.
“Your father was found, baby,” Aunt Missouri said softly, handing him a mug of hot chocolate. “In pieces, spread out on the forest floor. You were passed out in the car. No trace of your brother. The official explanation was your father came across a wolf pack with pups.”
“What really happened?” Sam asked, a flash of blood and dark gray fur in his mind. He could hear snarling and someone’s scream.
“He was huntin’ werewolves, Sam. The largest pack in North America. He killed one, I think, the alphas’ pup.” She patted his hand. “So they punished him with death and took your brother.”
Sam nodded. That fit with his visions.
“Whoever you find at the end of your journey, it won’t be your brother. That boy died years ago.” Missouri caught his eyes. “You hear me, Sam? Dean is dead. The man you’re lookin’ for is just a shell, if that.”
“Aunt Missouri,” Sam responded, “I’ll find him. And I’ll heal him.”
He will accept nothing less.
Storm breaks midmornin’ and Gordon watches through the window, Rome kneelin’ before him, puttin’ that pretty mouth’a his to use. Boy’s talented, no doubt’a that.
Gordon tangles his fingers in Rome’s thick hair, pullin’ at the strands. Rome pauses, meets his eyes. “Up,” Gordon commands, and Rome rises, waits. Gordon spins him around, pushes him into the wall.
Rome doesn’t make a sound. Gordon takes his pleasure with no concern of whether or not Rome enjoys it: his pet is nothin’, no one. He bites Rome’s shoulder as he comes, breakin’ the skin. “Mine,” he mutters, voice low and growlin’. “Say it, slut.”
“I’m yours, Master,” Rome whispers, voice as empty as his beautiful eyes.
“Damn right you are,” Gordon laughs, slappin’ his pet’s ass. He pulls out and rolls his back, crackin’ his neck. “Check the ammo; I’m goin’ get a sandwich.”
“Yes’re,” Rome says.
He wakes to people on either side of him. The woman is watching him, eyes sad, and the man still sleeps.
“I’m sorry, sweetie,” the woman says softly. “But you’re Pack now.”
He stares at her, uncomprehending. The man at his back rolls closer, his body warm and strong.
The woman continues, “I’m Katharine. He’s my mate, Stephen. The hunter, your father—he killed our son, Nicholas. So we killed him and took you.”
His arm hurts. His chest hurts. He strains, trying to recall anything, but it’s all a big blank. He looks around, pulling away from Stephen, sitting up.
“What’s my name?” he asks, voice wavering and hoarse. He can’t remember.
Katharine’s smile is sadder than her eyes. “We don’t know. What do you like?”
He looks at the ground, smells dried blood. “I like Sam.”
Katharine reaches out, tucks him against her. “Sam it is, then, sweetie. You’ll replace our Nicholas.”
It feels wrong, but he just can’t remember what was right.
Sam speaks to hunters—contacts of Aunt Missouri—about werewolf packs. The largest, the one that killed John Winchester, was called the Nox Pack—dangerous and deadly, like a wolf pack on steroids.
One of them, an older guy named Bobby Singer, says that werewolves are just humans who turn into gigantic wolves three nights of the month—night before, night of, and night after a full moon. Not bloodthirsty monsters, just a family trying to survive.
Not many hunters share his views.
Rumor has it that John killed a pup—on purpose or not, no one knows—earning the Nox’s enmity. So after he tracked them to their woods, they attacked en masse and tore him apart.
No one knows about Dean.
Sam was found by a pair of hikers, Daniel and Rosemary Velasquez, and they took him in after the discovery of his father’s fate.
Sam spends a month in Montana, from the end of November to Christmas, and learns that the Nox Pack was massacred in early 1990, from the alphas and their pups on down. No member was spared, not even newborns.
A young man named Gordon Walker led a group—considered wildcards, most other hunters had nothing to do with them—that vigorously believed in the supremacy of humans and the extermination of all else.
Most of the group died in the woods, but Walker and a handful of others escaped. By all reckoning, Walker is the man from Sam’s visions.
And Sam hates him.
The storm blows through by late afternoon and they’re on the road less than an hour later.
Rome has a leather bracelet on his left wrist, and Gordon smiles every time he sees it. Less noticeable than a collar and far less cause for civilians to worry, it still symbolizes his control over Rome.
Rome silently sits shotgun, only speakin’ if Gordon asks him a direct question. He doesn’t move or make a single sound.
To think, this obedient pet is that same feral boy he found in those woods—Gordon chuckles deeply and reaches out to grip Rome’s shoulder, pullin’ his pet to him.
“When’s the next moon?” he asks, even though he knows, pushin’ Rome’s head down.
“Day after next,” Rome answers, undoin’ Gordon’s jeans. He’s a good boy, Rome is, the best pet a man could hope for.
“We’ll stop for food at sundown,” Gordon says. “Wanna get to Phoenix for the moon, that way I can put you to good use.”
Rome doesn’t respond, not that Gordon wanted a reply.
With knowledge of the pack’s death, Sam travels south, heading for Walker’s last known location. He’s a hard man to track, one of the best hunters in the northern hemisphere, a man with few friends and numerous enemies.
Sam discovers that he can move things with his mind in February, and that he can manipulate people in March. He practices with those abilities, too. He can’t force visions, unfortunately; they still come when they will. But they get steadily clearer, longer, and he can remember everything about them.
In mid-March, he finds Gordon’s house abandoned. But inside, there’s long-dried blood and a bit of black cloth. He touches the rancid puddle and the fabric, getting a vision—hate-filled hazel eyes and Walker with a whip.
When Sam finds his brother and his brother’s captor, Walker will die. Painfully. Slowly.
Sam will kill him with a smile.
He knows nothing but Pack. Katharine treats him with kindness, though Stephen is gruff. The pack accepts him.
He is the alphas’ pup, Samuel. The name never feels correct, though no other ever comes to him. He answers to it readily enough.
Monica, an older ‘wolf, is his teacher. He has much to learn: the history and lore of all ‘wolves, the particular legends and history of Nox, the ceremonies and procedures of his pack. He is being groomed as the heir, the future alpha of the pack once Stephen steps down. There is much he must know.
Other pups shy away from him, either put off by his status or that he wasn’t born a ‘wolf. He doesn’t know which, nor does he much care.
Monica tells Katharine and Stephen his training is coming along well, to be proud of him. The elders respect her word and treat him accordingly.
His first moon is also his first hunt; he helps Stephen bring down a buck. No one can deny him after that.
Samuel learns to fight as a wolf, though he is already proficient as a human—part of the life before the pack that he cannot recall. By his fifth moon, only Stephen and three others in the pack can defeat him in combat. By his seventh, only Stephen does.
The pack controls from North Dakota to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico—the largest territory of any ‘wolves in the world. The only other major pack in North America rules part of Canada, the Azure. Their alpha, Darius, acknowledges Samuel easily.
In his ninth moon, one of the males, Adam, follows him down a path away from the pack. Samuel delights in running alone beneath the dark sky, howling. He never knows whose call he waits for, but he always waits.
The pack respects his need for solitude and leaves him be until sunrise. But the third night of his ninth moon, Adam follows him into the woods, runs beside him. Samuel is half-grown, though strong, and not on the lookout this night.
So when Adam lunges for him, knocking Samuel to the ground, all breath gone from his lungs, Samuel is shocked. Almost a year he’s been safe, protected by the whole pack. Adam’s jaws close around the back of his neck and Samuel knows better than to move.
He whimpers and Adam growls, settling his weight on Samuel’s back. Samuel knows, though he isn’t sure how, that sunrise won’t save him.
Gordon gets them a hotel room for the night. Rome waits till he’s settled before crawlin’ beneath the blankets and curlin’ beside him. Gordon gently rubs his head, threadin’ his fingers in Rome’s hair.
He’s in a good mood, and Rome was excellent for the whole day. So Gordon asks, “Have I told you how you got your name, Rome?”
“No’sre,” Rome replies softly.
Gordon pulls his pet closer, kisses his neck. “I saw you in the forest, covered in hunters’ blood. You were in wolf form, snarlin’ and growlin’, most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. George took aim at you and you lunged for him, tore out his throat, then bounded off through the trees. I followed.” He nips at Rome’s skin, tightenin’ his grip on Rome’s hip. “You covered miles that night and I barely kept your trail. As the sun rose, I found you. You’d collapsed by a tree, pantin’ for air, and you watched me with feral, wary eyes.” Gordon pauses. “Do you remember, Rome?”
“Yes, Master,” he whispers, nuzzlin’ close, barin’ his throat.
“The sun hit you and your fur rippled, a half-grown wolf turnin’ back into a boy. You kept pantin’ and scurried back, hit the tree. You never made a sound.” Gordon smirks, rememberin’ that boy, with his long, dark blond hair and huge hazel eyes, his tanned, half-grown body, defined well for someone who couldn’t be more’n thirteen.
Gordon wanted him. Still wants him. Can’t get enough of him, of his mouth and his ass. Took him in those woods, a massacre miles away. Spent all day makin’ that wild, dangerous boy his own. Fucked him with only sweat and blood for lube.
And the boy never made a sound.
“You were a wolf-boy and I remembered my history, of Romulus and Remus.” Gordon pushes Rome over and his pet spreads himself on the bed, silent as always. “My sister wanted to go to Italy,” Gordon murmurs, sinkin’ all the way in. “And so I named you Rome.”
Sam goes home to Tulsa, stopping in Lawrence to see Aunt Missouri. He tells her everything he’s found, everything he suspects.
“Gordon Walker is dangerous, sweetie,” Aunt Missouri says, patting his shoulder. “You don’t want him for an enemy.”
“He has my brother,” Sam responds. “So he can’t be anything else.”
Aunt Missouri shakes her head. “You still have a future, Sam. You can go back to school, can become something. You don’t have to let this crusade consume you.” Like it did your father goes unsaid, but he hears it loud and clear.
Sam looks at her. After a moment, Aunt Missouri drops her gaze. “I will find Dean,” Sam vows. “And I will save him.”
Aunt Missouri sighs, nods. “You will.”
Stephen meets hunters in town. They don’t recognize him as an alpha. He hurries back to the pack and tells them to go to ground. The pack scatters, mothers hiding with their pups, sentries taking position.
And then the sun sets.
With the moon come the hunters, over two dozen, armed by guns and blessed silver bullets.
Stephen, roaring, lunges for the leader, only to be felled by a dozen shots. Some ‘wolves flee but most fight and die. They take their killers with them.
Samuel flees into the woods and a dark hunter follows. He does his best to lose the human but cannot shake him. Finally he falls, collapses at the foot of a tree, unable to run any farther, and recognizes the place as where Adam had him.
The sun rises and Samuel warily watches the human as he changes back into a boy. The hunter stares at him and Samuel moves back, hitting the tree. The man steps forward, kneels in front of him; Samuel bares his teeth but keeps quiet. He has no fight left.
The pack is dead, and that’s all he was.
The man grabs Samuel’s shoulder, yanking him forward. Samuel remembers Adam sharply and almost resumes his struggle—but he’s tired. So tired.
There is snow on the ground and the hunter drips sweat. Samuel has a cut on his back, where a bullet grazed him. Flurries fall, freezing and delicate. And Samuel doesn't fight as the hunter mates with him even though it hurts.
Gordon wakes and watches his pet sleep. Gorgeous boy, all sleek muscles and silky skin. Obedient to a breath, quiet and deadly—the perfect soldier. The perfect hunter.
And the best part? Gordon thinks, trailin’ his fingers along Rome’s ribs. You got no mind of your own.
Rome opens his eyes, watches Gordon. “Get up,” Gordon says. “We’re showerin’.”
Rome slips from the bed and pads to the bathroom, starts the shower. He gets under the spray and Gordon joins him, soaps him up. Rome preens beneath his attention, archin’ into the touch.
“Say it,” Gordon whispers, pushin’ Rome into the wall, pressin’ against him.
“I’m yours, Master,” Rome breathes, nuzzlin’ into Gordon’s neck, lickin’ a stripe from the base of his throat to behind his left ear.
“Good boy,” Gordon mutters. “My pet.”
Rome rubs against him, silent but pleadin’—so Gordon gives them what they both want.
Every night in June, Sam dreams of his brother and the hunter who has him. He sees the pack’s massacre, the death of elders and pups. He sees Gordon Walker following Dean into the forest. He sees Gordon taking Dean in every way possible.
And Sam loathes him more by the night, until the hatred almost consumes him. He leaves Tulsa again, picking up the trail. He follows the mad hunter across the country, practicing his gifts—telekinesis, telepathy, and the newest: pyrokinesis.
Sometimes he hears the yellow-eyed shadow speaking to him, telling him to harm those who get in his way, to kill hunters before they turn on him. Sam ignores the shadow, does his best to drown it out with exhaustion.
By August, he’s back in Montana, back in the bloodstained woods, back where his father died and his brother was taken.
He spends a week beneath the moon, beneath the naked sky, seeking a hint of where to turn now.
His eighth night, he hears a low growl as he attempts sleep and shoots upright, meeting a large gray wolf’s amber gaze.
He’d forgotten tonight was the pre-full moon.
Samuel wakes in the back of a car, wrapped in a blanket. His whole body aches, burns.
The radio plays jazz. Samuel forces his way up, realizing his hands are bound wrist-to-wrist. The driver is humming, drumming his fingers on the wheel.
Samuel glances around, searching for a way out. He tries the door but the lock won’t budge. He slams his hand against the glass, feeling trapped, gasps for air.
“Calm on down, boy,” the driver calls, voice deep and smooth. But it just adds to Samuel’s terror.
He wants the pack, Stephen’s gruffness and Katharine’s scent. He wants the wolf den and the human house, wants the forest.
Samuel remembers the massacre, the death and the blood, the roars and the screams. He remembers this man.
It’s still snowing outside.
“You got a name, boy?” the hunter asks. “Mine’s Gordon Walker, but you’ll call me Sir or Master.”
Samuel bares his teeth. Only Pack gets such respect, and this hunter is not Pack.
They’re in the middle of nowhere, a lonely stretch of road. Samuel knows it as part of the Nox territory. Walker pulls off the interstate a little ways and gets out of the car, opens the back door. He has a knife—curved and gleaming, smells like wolf blood—in one hand and reaches for Samuel with the other.
Samuel scurries back, plasters himself to the opposite door. He’s snarling and angry, more scared than he’s ever been.
But Walker grips his wrists and pulls, yanking him out. Samuel fights but he’s tired and aching, bound, nowhere near his top form. The blade bites into his throat and he freezes.
“You will call me Sir or Master, boy. You’re mine now. No one’ll come for you—your entire pack of monsters is dead. You’re a werewolf; no one cares about you.” Samuel trembles, heart pounding, and Walker chuckles. “Now you’re gettin’ it, boy. What’s your name?”
Samuel doesn’t answer, can’t—chest heaving, he can’t think of any words. Samuel is not his name, anyway; he still has no memory of his life before Nox.
“C’mon, boy,” Walker says, pulling away the blade.
Samuel sees no way out. The pack is dead. No one will take him from this killer.
“No name?” Walker asks. “Fine—I’ll call you Rome.”
Gordon sends Rome to fetch breakfast and calls up Nathaniel Roberts to triple-check the plans.
The psychic he’s after is legendary, though young. Didn’t appear ‘til about five years ago, already powerful beyond belief. Nathaniel tells Gordon it’s still on, that the group is ready.
“ Winchester hasn’t left his house for two days,” Nathaniel says. “Up to you if you wanna go through with it.”
“This monster needs to go down,” Gordon decides, turnin’ to watch Rome enter the room, a tray of food in his grip. “He’s a threat to everythin’. We’ll do it.”
“Good luck, Gordon,” Nathaniel says. “Call me when ya’ll’re done.”
Rome sets the tray on the table and serves Gordon, hands him the plate. He waits until Gordon is eatin’ to serve himself.
“You ready to hunt?” Gordon asks, sippin’ his apple juice.
“Yes’re,” Rome answers, bitin’ into his sausage biscuit.
“He’s a psychic named Dean Winchester. Leader of the freaks in the US. He’s a dangerous, crazy sum’bitch.” Gordon scoffs. “Sick fuck. World won’t be safe ‘til he’s dead.”
Rome looks up. “May I ask what abilities he has?” Rome keeps his tone soft and respectful; Gordon grins. He did good when he broke this boy.
“All of ‘em, from what we can tell. That’s why we need to hunt him, you and me.”
Rome nods. “Will we wait for moonrise?”
Gordon pushes back from the table, lets his knees fall open. “C’mere, boy,” he commands.
Rome puts down his forkful of strawberries and smoothly rises to his feet, strides around the table. He kneels before Gordon and watches him with calm, beautiful, empty eyes.
Gordon touches his cheek, trails his knuckles along Rome’s jaw. “What’re you waitin’ for?” he rasps.
Rome reaches out and Gordon says, “Good boy.”
The wolf doesn’t move; neither does Sam. He barely breathes, doubting his eyes could get any wider.
The wolf inhales deeply and cocks its head; Sam doesn’t know if it’s male or female, since it’s crouched down.
He doesn’t sleep that night, never looks away from the wolf. It’s the longest, most nerve-wracking night of his life.
But finally the moon sets. The wolf ripples and groans, becomes a naked woman with dark hair and sad eyes. “You’re Samuel’s brother,” she says. “The son of Nicholas’ killer.”
Sam gapes at her “Dean?” he exclaims. “You mean Dean?”
She shrugs. “I am Katharine, the alpha of Nox Pack. My family is dead. Why are you here, boy?”
Sam slowly climbs to his feet, rifling through his bags for a shirt. He tosses it to her and she shrugs again, pulling it on. “I’m lookin’ for my brother. Everyone tells me he’s dead, but I know he’s not.”
Katharine’s large green eyes stare at him. Sam can tell she’s not all there—part of her, a huge part, died with her pack, ten years ago.
“Samuel was a good pup,” Katharine says. “He would have been an excellent alpha, perhaps the best our pack ever had.” She rises to her full height, nearly as tall as Sam’s six feet. “I searched the bodies, identifying who I could. I never found Samuel. I followed his trail—I’ll take you there.”
She strides off to the north, Sam running to keep up with her.
Walker—Sir, Master—drives. Samuel— Rome—sits in the backseat, hands still bound, buckled up. He watches out the window as they cross the territory, ever east. Samu— Rome. He is Rome now, Walk—Sir’s property.
He almost wants to fight. To make Sir bleed, to rip out Sir’s throat. But there is no point, no point at all. It would only result in more pain, and that’s something he’s sorely tired of.
The pack is dead. He must survive, to carry on the memories, so the traditions remain.
Sir speaks. “Hungry?”
Rome waits a moment.
“Well?” Sir demands.
“Yes’re,” Rome says, quietly and carefully.
“Quick learner, huh?” Sir asks, chuckling. “Good. That’ll make things easier.”
Silence for a bit, then Sir inquires, “Any questions, Rome?”
Rome searches for how to phrase it. He keeps his tone respectful and soft as he asks, “What do you… Sir, what are you goin’ do to me?”
Sir turns his head and smirks. “You’re my property, boy.”
Rome stares at him. He’s tired and he’s sore and the pack is dead and he’s terrified—and anger settles in his belly. Rage and fury mix with hatred, swirl around in him. But not yet whispers in his blood. He drops his gaze from Sir.
“You need a keeper, a teacher,” Sir continues. “Someone to show you the ropes. That’ll be me.”
Not yet whispers again, lighting a fire in Rome’s soul. Wait ‘til we meet up again—wait ‘til you learn your name.
Rome listens as Sir keeps talking, listing what is and isn’t allowed. Instant obedience, constant respect, no backtalk or hesitation when Sir gives an order. It’s almost familiar and Rome nearly slips into the role—but something seems off.
Before the pack… was this his life? A slave? No… not quite. Before, there was love.
“You hear me?” Sir barks, turning in his seat to glare at Rome. “I asked you a question, boy.”
Rome bolts upright and replies, “Yes, sir!”
Master smirks again. Rome already loathes the expression. “If you leave the car while I’m gettin’ food, I’ll shoot you without blinkin’. We clear?”
“Yes’re,” Rome says.
Katharine remembers when bison herds stretched across the plains, when the Earth-children respected Pack power. She recalls wind in her fur as she raced with Stephen beneath the summer storms, the pack at their heels. They were as numerous as the stars and their territory touched two oceans, spanned a continent.
She is old now, weak, leading the powerful boy to his brother’s resting place. She’d known Samuel was more than a hunter’s pup—strength sang in his blood, called to her.
Stephen told her they should kill him, but Tyrese—the oldest member of Nox, a wolf who crossed the Atlantic to settle Jamestown—cautioned them, said the Spirits were in the boy.
“He is wolf now,” Tyrese told Stephen while the boy slept that first night. “We must keep him until his brother returns.” Tyrese looked at the moon, their goddess. “And then…” He threw back his head and howled packsong.
But the hunters came and the pack died, and Katharine has waited. Finally, the brother is here.
His step is loud in her ears, his breath harsh at her back. Power sings in him, more even than Samuel, who’d more than Tyrese had ever known.
Katharine stops at the base of the tree and settles, back against the trunk. “I wish you luck,” she says, already fading. “Find your brother. Remind him that he is wolf.”
Katharine remembers nights with Stephen, remembers holding her newborn son, remembers packsong. She has done her duty; Samuel’s brother has finally come.
She can go home now, return to Stephen and Nicholas. She is finished.
Gordon dresses in his usual outfit: jeans and a T-shirt. No need to stand out. Hunters who attract attention don’t last long. He arms up with three daggers—all blessed silver—and two guns with holy silver rounds.
Rome also puts on jeans and a T-shirt. Gordon wishes his pet could go naked, a beautiful sight, but that would definitely catch eyes and be easy to recall.
They scope out the house. “One psychic inside,” Rome confirms. “Two humans.”
“Get in there and kill the humans,” Gordon commands. “Do not engage the psychic. Kill the people and come out.”
Rome slinks up to the house and vanishes around the side.
The woman settles against the tree; Sam can hear the forest moan.
“Ma’am?” he asks quietly. “Ma’am?”
She smiles up at him, eyes still sad but also at peace. “I wish you luck,” she murmurs. “Find your brother. Remind him that he is wolf.”
Sam reaches out with his mind; her eyes blink once and she’s gone. He waits by the body for hours, just to be sure, but her spirit doesn’t come back.
The sun sets and he summons fire, holds the flame on Katharine’s corpse, burning her to ash.
The forest is empty, but he hears howling. Night of the full moon and there’s rushing through the trees, wolves calling to each other.
His link to Dean is gone. For all his power, he can’t find his brother. Can’t even find that bastard hunter who took him.
Sam rises to his feet. Nowhere to go but back to Lawrence, and leave the ghost wolves to their forest.
Rome shares Master’s bed, bathes when Master bathes. Master trains him in fighting and tracking, honing the skills the pack taught him. Master only punishes him—with flame, leather whip, and mating—if he fails at something or talks back.
Rome quickly learns to only speak when spoken to, and to never offer his opinion.
His first moon with Master, Master confines him in the pitch-black basement. Rome beats himself bloody trying to get out. His second moon, Master chains him in the barn out back and holds fresh lamb meat just out of reach. He speaks commands, but Rome is too crazed to understand.
Master punishes him at moonset with three knife slices and seven lashes from the whip, and no food for the remainder of that month’s moon.
The third moon, Master chains him in the same barn and holds a man at gunpoint. Rome sits on his haunches, silently watching.
Master prods the man forward and he hesitantly steps, never taking his gaze off Rome. Once the man is in reach, Master murmurs, “Attack.”
Rome lunges, jaws closing in the man’s throat. He rips and tears, bringing the man down.
Master calls, “Stop!”
Rome doesn’t. Hungry and maddened by blood, he feeds, yanking out large chunks of the man’s flesh, gulping it down. Master steps forward and Rome snarls.
Master yells something and brandishes his gun; Rome leaps up, teeth bared, and Master cracks him across the jaw. Rome falls on his side, dazed, and Master pulls the corpse to the edge of the barns, then leaves.
Rome paces the length of his chain, whimpering and whining. Those few precious bites of meat barely whetted his appetite; his stomach demands food and he can smell it—but can’t touch.
Just after dawn, Master comes back. Rome lowers his head, kneels at Master’s feet. His punishment will be severe—he tried attacking Master.
“ Rome,” Master says, using a dagger’s blade to raise Rome’s chin. “What happened last night?”
“I was hungry, Sir,” Rome explains, avoiding Master’s gaze.
“You think that excuses your actions?” Master’s voice is soft, firm. His touch is gentle on Rome’s face.
Rome hates him.
He answers, “No, Sir. I have no excuse.”
The fingers on his chin tighten, digging into his skin. The blade bites his neck and Rome raises his eyes to meet Master’s. “I beg forgiveness, Master,” he whispers.
Master pulls away the blade. “Eat your supper,” Master says, popping Rome across the mouth. “I’ll be back later with your punishment.”
Rome waits until Master is gone from sight then grabs the key from its hook, beyond his reach as a wolf, and unchains himself, crouches over the man he killed.
He feels no guilt as he eats, savoring the taste of bloodwarm flesh.
Later, Master mates with him again and puts him the basement for the next two nights of the moon. As Rome slips into sleep, his back still burns from the dozen lashes, and he knows Master will be down to mate at dawn.
Rome is gone for near-on twenty minutes. He hurries across the open ground and halts before Gordon. He is calm and efficient, quietly says, “Sir, the humans are dealt with. One in the kitchen, preparing a meal; female. One in the first floor bathroom, showering; male. The psychic is on the second floor, sleeping.”
“Good job, Rome,” Gordon tells him. “We’ll wait for moonrise.”