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The Wolfssegner and his Wolf

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 When I saw you, I fell in love

And you smiled because you knew.” - A.B.

 




“We are always, always late because of you.” Luhan huffed and puffed, looking accusingly at Baekhyun as they halted their sprint in front of the tall gates of their high school. The guards at the gate shook their heads at them yet again, before grudgingly letting them through.



“Why don't you kids arrive in time for once?” one guard threw as Luhan and Baekhyun walked past him.

“We would, if we only stayed close by. Whose fault is it that they won’t let us build houses in this area?” Baekhyun’s mouth usually ran off before Luhan could put a cap on it.



Luhan dragged his friend away from the guard. “This way, silly. We are already late.” Jongdae, Xiumin and their other friends had already raced ahead as Baekhyun lost valuable time gathering berries from the forest.



It was the first day of the new academic year, and keeping in line with last year’s tradition, they had managed to arrive fashionably late.



The Pyeonghwa Academy for Werewolves and Wolfssegners was situated in the middle of the dense Jangtaesan forest. Every morning, Baekhyun and Luhan had to trudge quite a bit under the ginkgo trees, through the many bridges and stone steps and hillocks to reach the Academy hidden from the view of ordinary tourists.

This morning, Baekhyun decided to spend extra time in front of the mirror because for the very first time since joining the Academy, they were going to share classes with the werewolves. At seventeen, you were supposed to learn to cohabit. And Baekhyun had always been curious about the wolves his age. He wanted to be friends.

But werechildren mostly avoided the wolfssegners. Didn't the old werewolf saying go somewhat like “look a wolf charmer in the eye and suffer seven years of bad luck”?



To Baekhyun, green and willing, such old grandma's tales sounded loony. He was not here to put any werewolf under any charm, was he? He was here to study, and mingle. His heart would righteously weep if no werewolf wanted to be friends with him in class.



Baekhyun and Luhan were no ordinary pupils, they were special. Well, not as special as the werewolves that crowded the campus but still. The best friends belonged to the dwindling population of a reputed wolfssegner clan - a whole tribe of wolf charmers.

Characteristic of mighty wolfssegners of yore, Baekhyun’s hair was a striking silver. Luhan retained the black hair of his childhood but Baekhyun’s hair turned a shiny silver as soon as he turned thirteen.



Centuries ago, their kind hunted werewolves and put them under spells in order to control the shapeshifters. Wolf charmers and werewolves learnt to live in perfect harmony by the turn of the 19th Century, but the wolves never forgot. Neither did the wolfssegners.



They coexisted peacefully, each species important to the other. The existence of wolf charmers depended on the prosperity of the werewolves and the health of the shapeshifters rested on the able ministrations of the wolf charmers. However, werewolves remained very suspicious of the naughty folk, as the wolf charmers were called. Mighty as the were, the werewolf clan forced the Wolfssegners to settle on the farthest side of the forest, as far from their own dwelling as possible.



Wolfssegners needed an inner line permit to enter the domain of werewolves. But the Academy was where the children of both factions interacted. Baekhyun was determined to make a good first impression. He had a pocketful of berries just in case he needed to bribe some werewolf into friendship.



Fact. You do not make good first impressions if you arrive in class (glances at the watch) fifteen minutes late! The teacher will stare at you and you will be nervous, nervous enough to occupy the first empty seat within reach.



Which is what Baekhyun did. He realised a minute too late that Luhan had not opted to sit in the same row but had taken the trouble to walk all the way to the other side of the classroom to sit in the opposite row. Where Jongdae and Xiumin were seated as well. And the other Wolfssegners he knew.



Baekhyun looked around curiously, even as his own row mates looked at him with barely concealed alarm. Oh! Perfect! He had nicely seated himself amongst the wolves. Because what else would the athletically built guy sitting in front of him be, if not a wolf. And the disinterested looking fellow sitting next to the athletically built guy - he looked like a wolf too. Baekhyun would later learn that their names were Jongin and Sehun. He would also learn other things about them, but that is for laters.



First things first. Baekhyun’s benchmate.



Baekhyun made quite a show of pulling his Hello Kitty notebook and pencil case out from his bag before chancing a glance sideways.



His pencil flew from his grasp and landed noisily on the floor.



Handsome.



The wolf charmer stifled his smile behind his lovely hand, growing restless at the discovery. An alpha? Wolf charmers were also driven by pure instinct. The call of their kind was always to become a wolf rider, an instinct they managed to push to the deepest recesses of their minds. But Baekhyun was too green. Uninvited flashes intruded his mind, of riding the alpha wolf one day, of taming him and claiming him.



Baekhyun coughed. The one sitting to his front, the disinterested looking one, threw him a dirty glare. The athletically built one loosened his collar too. Baekhyun smiled sweetly, cockily. He knew they could smell him, wolves were susceptible that way. They smelt danger and grew restless whenever wolfssegners were in the vicinity.



The alpha sitting beside him though, why was he not intimidated? Or irritated? The wolf maintained his erstwhile casual posture, long shoulder length hair hiding most of his face, long legs spread out in abandon, as if Baekhyun was not intruding his space at all.



What did he smell like? What would he smell like to the wolves? Would he smell like sunshine or rotting fish? God, he hoped he did not smell like a drainpipe. The wolf charmer quickly brought his knuckles to his nose and sniffed. The gesture drew his benchmate’s attention. Baekhyun turned sideways slowly to meet the inquisitive eyes of the werewolf.



He had meant to shrug, but turned to stone instead.



His benchmate blinked. Two lovely, brown dopey eyes.



Baekhyun’s instincts came to the fore, crashing down all the doors he had learnt to build to reign them in. He must have this alpha. He must. He must ride this wolf one day. Or he would surely die a painful death.  



As though the wolf knew what demons he was dealing with, Baekhyun’s benchmate smiled sympathetically. In this academy, they had been taught about each other’s purest instincts - the wolves wanted to mate, the wolfssegners wanted to ride. They had also been taught to tame their instincts but Baekhyun was having no luck that day.



A chalk came flying in their direction and hit Baekhyun’s silver head.



“You two. Pay attention.” the teacher growled.



Baekhyun quickly looked away, cheeks heated.

But he was not one to admit defeat. He fished out a handful of berries and placed them on top of the wolf’s notebook. He waited to see what the alpha would do. The receiver smiled at the bold gesture and plucked the berries one by one to put them in his mouth. A second piece of chalk flew to their desk and landed at the berry eating boy’s lap.



“Eating in class is not allowed, Chanyeol!” the teacher warned.



Those two sitting in front of them cast weird glances their way. Luhan was craning his neck from the other end of the classroom to see exactly what was going on.



Baekhyun chuckled. This drew the wolf’s attention as well.



“Chanyeol?” he mouthed soundlessly, pointing his finger at the wolf.



Chanyeol nodded, ducking his form behind the one in front of him so as not to get caught by the teacher. Baekhyun gestured to himself and mouthed “Baekhyun.”



Chanyeol creased his brow, not catching Baekhyun’s name. “Ramyun?” he whispered back.



Baekhyun shook his head, “Baekhyun.” he repeated, a little louder.



“Haewon?”



Baekhyun snorted. Then stopped. The entire class was looking at him. The teacher approached him and grabbed his ear, pulling it so hard that he had to stand up to avoid the pain.



“Byun Baekhyun! You naughty boy, you. You're not a middle student anymore. You are a senior now. Behave like a grown up.”



Baekhyun managed to slip away from the teacher’s grasp. “Ah. Yes sir. Yes sir.” But he could not help the chortle that burst through his windpipe.



“Do you want to go stand in a corner?” the teacher threatened. Baekhyun shook his head, managing to look chagrined.



“No sir.”



“Then pay attention.” The teacher walked off, leaving a hurting, red ear in his wake.



It seemed that Chanyeol did not fancy himself standing in a corner either, because he kept his gaze fixed on the teacher. However, he did find the time to hastily scribble a sentence in a piece of paper torn from his notebook.



“Pleased to meet you, Baekhyun.” it read.



Baekhyun was inwardly pleased too. Quite pleased in fact. He was looking forward to a proper conversation with the wolf at the end of the class. However, the minute the bell rang, the boys sitting to their front crowded Chanyeol, talking in low voices. The wolf charmer felt hostile eyes of those two on him.



The History teacher, Kim Heechul, was due next and the entire academy knew that he was always late. Luhan and Jongdae waved frantically from the other side, motioning Baekhyun to join their row. Xiumin looked peeved and entirely done with Baekhyun. He was dying to go home and complain about Baekhyun to the elders, no doubt.



Baekhyun sighed. He noisily packed his notebook and pencil case in his bag. But the minute he rose to leave the bench, Chanyeol magically turned and grasped his wrist.



“Sit with me.” the werewolf….commanded? Chanyeol’s friends exchanged glances. Baekhyun exchanged across-the-room-glances with his own. Jongdae was shaking his head. Luhan appeared as if he would cry, as if Baekhyun had served the worst form of betrayal ever by choosing to sit with the werewolves the very first day of class.



“What? Scared to sit beside me?” Chanyeol prompted. But he was smiling. Teasing.



“Hein? You should be scared instead.” Baekhyun hit back, lips pouted, “I could charm you into submission if I wished to.”



“I highly doubt that.” Chanyeol leaned towards Baekhyun, hands in his pockets, hair long and golden, “Your wolfssegner tricks won't befuddle me. But you are welcome to try anyway.” The wolf brought his hand out of his pocket and pointed to a tattoo on his forearm. A mark, to be precise. It was a mix and match of zigzagged lines, but Baekhyun could make out two moons quite clearly. The Protection. Chanyeol was protected from all wolfssegners. Protected by the two moons which gave werewolves their power.



“Ahh.” Baekhyun raised his brow, understanding perfectly why Chanyeol had been least bothered by his presence earlier. He also knew that not all werewolves had the Protection mark on their bodies. Only a chosen few.



“This is Sehun. And Jongin. But don't try to charm them either. I might not like it.” Chanyeol was saying. The way he said that he might not like it made Baekhyun feel a little jelly-like inside. But for the most part, he was composed, thank God. “And this is Byun Baekhyun. Wolf charmer. From the village?”



Baekhyun nodded. “Yes, I am from the village on the outskirts of Jangtaesan.”



The one called Sehun, the one who looked like he wanted to intimidate Baekhyun, whistled. “We have never set foot in the village.” he remarked haughtily.



“You are welcome to.” Baekhyun replied, feeling Chanyeol’s intense eyes on him and warming up subsequently. “I haven't set foot inside your town either. Not because we wouldn't like to, but because your elders are too scared to permit us entry.”



Sehun bristled at Baekhyun’s cocksure manner. He exchanged a 'what-the-fuck’ look with Jongin, but Chanyeol chuckled at Baekhyun’s reply.



“Why don't you go sit with the other wolf charmers?” Sehun shot. “You’re spreading that odd stench around.” The wolf made a show of clearing the air around his nose.



“Easy, Sehun.” Chanyeol reprimanded good-naturedly. “Baekhyun sits with me. He has a pocketful of berries I would like to eat in Mr. Heechul’s class.”



Baekhyun and Sehun were still looking at each other heatedly when their History teacher entered the classroom.

“Settle down. Settle down.” Heechul said. He picked up a chalk and made it screech across the chalkboard.



WOLFSSEGNERS, AND THE REASON BEHIND THEIR SILVER HAIR



“Class, we shall learn about this topic today.” Heechul announced.



Baekhyun immediately made of show of covering his hair with the hood of his sweatshirt, sliding down the seat. Chanyeol smirked but he did not look at Baekhyun. Sehun cast a backward glance at the silver haired boy and the latter reciprocated by sticking his tongue out. Sehun appeared shocked at this juvenile behaviour. He huffed and patted Jongin’s shoulder, whispering in the other's ear, no doubt ranting about Baekhyun.



Baekhyun offered his benchmate some berries.



“Class, as we all know, traditionally, all wolfssegners had silver hair - the silver reminiscent of the moon partially hidden by clouds. The silver also reminiscent of the only metal that can cause lasting injuries to you young fellas.” Heechul’s eyes were on the row occupied by the wolves, the same eyes which widened when he spotted Baekhyun sitting with the wolves in their row.



“Ehhhh? A wolfssegner sitting amongst the wolves! Who allowed this? Scoot off to the other side, Byun. Sit with your pals. Shoo. Don't you know you're not supposed to-”



Before Baekhyun could open his mouth to protest, Chanyeol spoke, “I allowed this.” he stated simply, sitting erect in his seat.



Heechul adopted a cautious tone in front of the student alpha. “It is not prudent to sit with a wolfssegner, Park. And you an alpha and all. And him a silver haired charmer. Think of what his presence would do to your fellow wolves. How will they concentrate in class with their hackles raised?”



“If any of them has a problem with my seatmate, they can come and talk to me about it.”



“Didn’t you learn in elementary school to be wary of silver-haired strangers?”



Baekhyun looked from one to the other, not entirely sure whether he was correctly following the verbal exchange.



Chanyeol did not reply. Heechul turned to Baekhyun, “Let's assume Park is going through his stubborn alpha phase. Shouldn't you know better to sit with them by now? The only reason why a wolf charmer decides to befriend a wolf is because deep down, he wants to become a wolf rider one day. Deny it.” Heechul challenged.



Baekhyun did not deny it. He had wanted to be a wolf rider ever since he learnt that their kind kept wolves as pets many many years ago. Not that he was planning to turn Chanyeol into his. An alpha would never succumb to being ridden by a wolf charmer. Never in a thousand years had an alpha ever willingly let a wolf charmer ride him.



“See?” Heechul said, vindicated. “He doesn't even deny it. I will tell you why. It's in their nature. All wolf charmers secretly dream of riding wolves and bending them to their submission. Byun is no exception! The silver in his hair only testifies -”



Heechul shut up mid-sentence. Not because the row of wolf charmers had begun to protest loudly, but because of Chanyeol’s glare. Heechul was but a biased omega. An unmated omega. A direct glare from an alpha quite above his station silenced him into submission in a microsecond. Tail between his legs, the teacher turned away.



Baekhyun was looking at his notebook. He did not notice the glare, or its immediate effects. Chanyeol extended his hand asking for more berries.



Heechul may have bent, but he was fuming.



“Silver haired wolf charmers were marked by nature with the colour as a warning to all wolves.” Heechul announced to the class, furiously pacing around. “As the two factions learnt to live in harmony, the silver in the hair disappeared. It is rare now to find a silver haired. The ones whose hair turn silver upon puberty are living, breathing examples of wolfssegners of yore. In them, the instinct to make a wolf submit is at its most primal level.”



Heechul’s eyes were shooting daggers but Chanyeol and Baekhyun simply split up the remaining berries among them. The teacher droned on and on.



When class dismissed for recess, Luhan pulled Baekhyun angrily away.

“Aren't you proud of yourself? You managed to create such a spectacle on your very first day.”



Baekhyun trotted behind him to the cafeteria. “The wolves don't smell bad at all. Why did you keep lying to me that they smell like dying donkeys?”



Xiumin came and smacked Baekhyun’s head, “That's not just any wolf you decided to sit with.” he admonished, “That's their chosen future pack leader. The one born with the pack leader mark. The Protection. Why do you think no one would sit beside him? As a mark of respect.”



Baekhyun wolfed down the contents of his plate. He had always been quite the foodie. Wolf charmers were all built genetically lightweight, so that they could ride a wolf with speed and without hassle, but thanks to Baekhyun’s erratic eating habits, he had rounded tummy and bums, fleshy thighs too. Jongdae and Luhan could run like the wind owing to their willowy shapes, but Baekhyun would waddle behind because he was heavier than an average wolf charmer.



“Who cares!” he dismissed offhandedly.



“You want to ride him hard, don't you?” Jongdae pinched Baekhyun’s bottom.



The silver-haired boy wriggled away from Jongdae’s groping hands. “Innuendoes, huh? No. I don't. I just want to befriend all wolves.”



“Slut.” Jongdae mocked. Baekhyun rolled his eyes. He was eager to go back to the classroom. And sit with his wolf. Cough. Cough. Not his wolf. Not his wolf. Baekhyun drank some water, washing down such treacherous thoughts. His eyes searched for Chanyeol around the Hall, and found him seated towards the far end of the cafeteria with Jongin and Sehun.



Sehun had been glaring at him all this while, Baekhyun registered with shock. A second later, Baekhyun waved at the boy merrily. Sehun looked away before Baekhyun could stick his tongue out and tease him some more.




“Why would you allow him to sit with us?” Sehun complained. “I was nervous all the time. And don't let him touch you. Charmers can cast spells just like that.” he snapped his fingers. “The next thing you know, you will have pimple breakouts and flat tyres and loose motion and what not.”



“Charmers are ill luck.” Jongin nodded, peeling his banana and gobbling it. “My father quarreled with a wolfssegner once and lost his wallet full of cash in the forest. That's how they are. They cause troubles just for the heck of causing us misery.”



“I did not allow him to sit beside me, guys.” Chanyeol said defensively, “He just swooped in and claimed the seat.”



“You should have poked him until he left. Didn't you see me sweating in his company?” Sehun said. Sehun was an only child. He was a little spoilt.



“If he wasn't so cute, I would have asked him to leave then and there.” Chanyeol said, and Sehun could not tell if he was teasing or completely serious.



“Cute? What? His barely existent eyes or foul smell? What is cute about him?”



“Everything.” Chanyeol shrugged.



“He is looking at you.” Sehun muttered after a while, sounding displeased, “He has his eyes on you Chanyeol. Mark my words. He surely wants to ride you, and not in that pleasurable way either. Don't take Heechul’s warnings lightly. Warnings exist for a reason.”



“Aye aye.” Chanyeol sighed. “Now can I please eat my lunch in peace?”



Jongdae and Luhan tried their best to drag Baekhyun to their row but sped away awkwardly after Chanyeol raised his brow in their direction. Although Baekhyun sat next to Chanyeol in the following study periods, the wolf did not initiate any discussion. There were no more berries in Baekhyun’s pocket to make up for the lack of conversation either.



Sehun and Jongin were still gruff. Baekhyun frowned. He had to clear a few things with Chanyeol. Friendships should not be built on mistrust, should they?



When class was dismissed for the day, Baekhyun asked Chanyeol to stay back. The wolf’s brows knit together at the suggestion but he did stay back, egging the disgruntled Sehun and Jongin to go ahead without him. As the classroom emptied, Baekhyun rehearsed his speech inside his mind.



“We are not natural allies.” Baekhyun began, carefully looking at Chanyeol in the eyes to convey his honesty. “And you heard what the History teacher had to say. And your friends seem to hate me too. But I want to clear this. I - I..ahem..I don't want to ride you…” Baekhyun blushed. Jeez, what an expression! “or whatever. You know what I mean? I mean, to be very honest, it's not like the idea did not strike me when I realised you were an alpha. The urge to simply own you was very strong -” he caught himself from blurting anything further at the wild look in Chanyeol's face. “But the urge subsided. I am sorry. I think it's basic instinct or something. Just like how you are naturally suspicious around me. I just wanted to clear the air that I mean no harm. I am sorry, but, can we still be friends?”



Baekhyun looked up hopefully at the wolf who had gone completely quiet, as though set in stone. The wolf charmer wet his lips.



“Sooooo.” Chanyeol began, drawing out the syllable, “when you saw me, you wanted to be my wolf rider?”



Baekhyun blinked, nervously nodding. “Instinct.” he whispered apologetically. “I know you are an alpha and all and-” Baekhyun snorted, “your pack would probably hunt me down for dreaming of something so outrageous.”



“You say your first instinct was to tame me. And now you want to be my friend?”



Baekhyun nodded, licking his lips.



Chanyeol caught hold of Baekhyun’s wrist, and lightly tugged the charmer closer so that their bodies and eyes were dangerously close. “Do you know we rarely shift? It's a tedious process. I hate shifting. It hurts.”



Baekhyun did not know.



“And do you know, when we do shift, we are actually stark naked?” To Baekhyun’s ears, Chanyeol sounded mildly offended. “So tell me Byun Baekhyun, would I or would I not allow you to ride me in that state?”



“You wouldn’t.” Baekhyun shook his head vehemently, wanting to say something more in clarification, but for Chanyeol’s finger on his lips.



“Wrong answer.” Chanyeol said, making Baekhyun feel all kinds of confused. The wolf took a long, hard look at Baekhyun, “I would let you ride me. On one condition alone. You will have to be just as equally naked as me.”



And Baekhyun, in spite of his buffoonery and bravado, colored a deep crimson red at Chanyeol’s words and their implication.Chanyeol looked very satisfied to see this.



“Are you mad?” Baekhyun whined.

“Are you shy?” Chanyeol teased. “Keep this a secret. See you tomorrow? Oh, and let me know anytime you want that ride.”





Park Yoora, Chanyeol’s elder sister, followed him to his room.  There was no fooling her. They were born of the same litter.

“Why do you smell so buttery?”

Chanyeol snorted. “Buttery?”



Yoora came closer to sniff Chanyeol all over. “Definitely butter, with a hint of custard. I have never smelled this on you ever! Park Chanyeol, are you seeing someone without Pa’s consent? You can't - you can't mate outside of the pack, you know that, don't you?”



Chanyeol pushed his sister away. “I know that. And I am not seeing anyone.”



Yoora crossed her arms and waited for an answer. She could be stubborn.



“I held a wolfssegner’s hand today. That is all.”



Yoora silently brought her hand to her mouth. “You are not supposed to talk to wolf charmers.” she said in an urgent whisper lest Mama Park overheard. And created a furore. Because werewolves have always been cautious of the wolfssegners. Especially alphas.



“I know. I know.” Chanyeol stepped away from Yoora, giving her his back.



“Is he a friend? Pa won't be happy.”



“No Yoora.” Chanyeol tsked. “Just a classmate. We are benchmates.”



“The smell,” Yoora sniffed some more, “is so addictive. How did you resist yourself from gobbling him up? I know your preferences. This fellow smells like your type.”



“I don't have a type, thank you very much.”



“Just let me bite into your veins and read your mind and then you can tell me this smell is not your type.”



Chanyeol smiled crookedly. “Alright. Alright. He is.”



Yoora had her hands on her hips. “Pa decides your mate, Yeollie.” she reminded.



“Relax, will you. I am not looking for a mate. I am just looking for some harmless fun.”



“Every love story starts like that - harmless fun. And next thing you know, you are in love. Just don't fall in love with Butters.”



Chanyeol threw a pillow at her. Talking about love at his age sounded so cheesy. Even if he were to be mated with someone in the distant future, he did not think love shall have that great a role to play. Just like the Tina Turner song. What's love but a second hand emotion? Who needs love when he could toy around with cute wolf charmers, and smell their buttery scent.



Chanyeol was a little cocky because he was the alpha to be. He had completely missed the point. That mating for their kind entailed love and devotion and absolute surrender. There was no other way of mating. And that fooling around in the nude with a wolf charmer, giving him rides through the forest with no one knowing would lead to a natural bonding of sorts, stronger than any ties his father could impose upon him.


Chanyeol did not know many things yet. He had no way of knowing just yet how hard he would fall for the silver-haired wolf charmer. He did not know that when werewolves and wolfssegners mated, no amount of physical distance could sever the bond.


 

 

Chapter Text

" Souls that resemble attract inevitably "



Baekhyun and his friends sat on the ground roasting meat with potatoes and herbs. A huge bonfire had been lit to keep wild animals at bay.

The silver-haired boy had plenty of questions to ask Xiumin’s grandmother that day.

“Who was the last known wolf rider, granny?” he asked, tugging the soft flesh off the bones of his chicken piece.

“That was even before our time, lad.” granny replied, serving the kids more meat, “I heard tales from Bavaria during the First World War. Long back, in any case.”

“Who was the last known alpha rider, granny?” Baekhyun prodded. Granny shook her head immediately, “No one. No alpha has allowed anyone to ride him ever.”

“Absolutely no one?”

Xiumin came and pulled Baekhyun’s ear. “Baekhyunnie is asking because he has set his sight on an alpha in school.”

Granny was not even surprised. “Alphas can never be your pets, Baekhyun.” she said casually, not paying the matter much mind. “I’d understand why you’d want to tame one, but maybe choose an omega instead. Alphas are not subservient to anyone.”

Baekhyun chewed on a bone. Chanyeol was an alpha in every sense of the word. If not a werewolf alpha, Chanyeol would still be an alpha male.

“Can't alphas be tamed?”

Granny shook her gnarly hands, “Perhaps the betas. Omegas were always the easiest to trap. Alpha? Nawwwww. You see, that's why our kind are always instantly attracted towards the alphas. Give me a man I can't trap and I will try my best to do so.”

Xiumin made yucky noises.

“What if they allow us to ride them?” Baekhyun asked tentatively, as if it were no big deal.

Xiumin tapped him on his head. “No. Alpha. Would. Ever.” He emphasized each word. “It's against their very nature. Would you do something against yours?”

Baekhyun shook his head, contemplating in silence. Later that night, Xiumin and Jongdae dropped him to his house. The former ruffled his silver hair which was glowing in the dark. “Don't get any ideas, kid.”

Baekhyun mumbled his goodbyes and goodnights and climbed the steep, slopey stairs to his family's treehouse. Wolfssegners in the village all preferred to live in intricately designed, sturdily built tree houses.

Baekhyun stripped himself of his clothes. He liked to sleep entirely in the nude. Nights in the tree houses were humid and thirsty. Welcoming the feel of the cotton bedsheet against his bare skin, Baekhyun stretched luxuriously. From somewhere inside the house, the housecat meowed. He allowed his mind to run at will, and found that it sprinted at breakneck speed towards the alpha.

Baekhyun’s body warmed. He imagined owning the wolf, having him all to himself. He blew a puff of breath. Silly. Alphas did the owning, alphas did the claiming. And yet. And yet.



Baekhyun could gaze at the midnight moon from his window as she made her journey onwards. Such a lonely night. Such a lonely journey. The moon must also long for a companion. Baekhyun fluffed his pillow and hugged it close. Maybe the answer to his silver hair was the alpha? Maybe he was supposed to be a wolf rider after all. Maybe he was reaching and had lost his marbles. The third option. Definitely the third option.

But was Chanyeol really serious when he said he would allow Baekhyun ride him? An alpha would never make such an offer to a wolfssegner. Baekhyun stared at the moon. Keep dreaming, she mocked.

To everyone’s surprise, Baekhyun got ready for school the next day as quick as lightning. He dashed ahead of the others, picking up berries on the way, not even stopping to say hello to the goats and cows on the way.



He was so early and eager that the school guards looked at him suspiciously. “What do you have in your pockets?”

Baekhyun shrugged. “Berries. And they are not for you. So don't demand a share.”

He stuck his tongue out at them as they looked on nonplussed.

Baekhyun had grossly miscalculated. The class was empty when he kicked his way through the door. His face fell. He was way too early.

Stupid, stupid Byun!

He slouched towards the row where the wolfssegners sat, his good mood seeing a tumble. Every time a student entered the class, Baekhyun would lift his head to check if it was his wolf - err - his alpha - err - Chanyeol. Shit! He was beginning to lose it. Staring at the moon all night would do that.

He should have known Chanyeol would arrive in style, with a whole entourage, no less. There were at least a six of them who stepped inside the class at the same time, all werewolves, all imposing. There was Sehun, who looked especially sprightly this morning, and there was Jongin, who was laughing giddily at a joke someone had cracked. Chanyeol seemed to be in a good mood too, but just like yesterday, he sat alone. They hardly glanced towards the row where the wolfssegners sat.

Baekhyun looked away before Chanyeol could spot him, chewing on his pencil. By and by, the gang settled in their desks and the class began to fill up. Luhan, Jongdae and Xiumin turned up as well, throwing him knowing looks.

When Baekhyun turned to glance at his classmate again, he found, to his slight dismay, those pair of brown eyes trained pointedly and especially at him.

Chanyeol had a slight, hardly noticeable frown enhancing his features.

Baekhyun gave him a small wave, his smile widening of its own accord.

Chanyeol did not return the smile. Instead, the alpha patted the seat next to him. There was something dark in Chanyeol's eyes, the meaning of which Baekhyun wanted to know very much. Chanyeol’s frown deepened at Baekhyun’s hesitation. The alpha narrowed his eyes. Baekhyun laughed at the alpha trying to intimidate him. As if!

Baekhyun wanted to go sit next to the alpha. He did. He had a pocketful of berries he wanted to share with the boy. But he hesitated in any case.

Chanyeol patted the seat again. A heartbeat later, the wolf got up from his seat and approached Baekhyun without hesitation.



The shorter boy waited for Chanyeol to say something but the latter chose to grab Baekhyun’s hands instead.

Baekhyun felt the attention of all their classmates on them.

“Coming?” Chanyeol said.

Baekhyun looked away to grab his bag even as an entire spell broke. He pouted at being half pulled towards the other row.

“You sit with me.” Chanyeol said, depositing Baekhyun in his rightful seat. “You don't sit anywhere else. You get it?”

“I can sit anywhere I choose to.” Baekhyun retorted flippantly.

Chanyeol took a sharp breath. He was obviously not used to being talked back to. “Fine. Then I will just go and sit next to you anyway.” The wolf grinned.

“Why would you do that?”

“Maybe I like the way you smell?”

“My smell? What - what do I smell of?”

“I dunno? Milk powder. Cream. Newborns. My sister had a sniff last night and she says you smell like butter.”

Baekhyun colored. He hit Chanyeol’s bicep but maybe you weren't supposed to hit an alpha because Chanyeol’s demeanour suddenly changed.

Baekhyun waited for the reprimand which did not come. He offered a handful of berries in penance.  

“Am I not supposed to hit you?”

“Wolves are not supposed to hit me. But you are a gobble worthy human, so you are forgiven.” Chanyeol grinned, showing a lot of teeth.

Baekhyun was suddenly reminded of Little Red Riding Hood.



Class progressed just fine. Baekhyun could concentrate too. Until Chanyeol decided to ruin it, his concentration, that is.

“So? What have you decided about riding me?” The way he said it made Baekhyun color down to his squiggly toes.

The boy considered the question before answering it. “Maybe I don't like your condition?”

Chanyeol sat upright, stretching his neck, first towards the left, then towards the right. “You’ll come around.” he said, mostly to himself. “There's silver in your hair. I know you will.”

Baekhyun blew a puff of air from his mouth, making his silver fringe dance.

“I can run as fast as the wind.” Chanyeol tempted, his dimple peeking out, “I could show you places in the forest you haven't seen before. The lynx’s lair, the silver stream where the moon reflects like the cobra pearl, the place where the bear sleeps, the outskirts where humans come to hike and erect tents.”

Baekhyun smiled.

“I could take you to a particular spot where no human has laid eyes on before.” Chanyeol turned sideways to look at Baekhyun, offer open in his eyes, in his lips, in his entire being.

Baekhyun returned Chanyeol’s gaze, biting his lip, contemplating. “I still don't like your condition.” he whispered back, because a whisper was what he could manage under those penetrating browns.

Chanyeol's lips curled. He was obviously not used to being turned down either. “You’ll come around.”

“I don't think so.”

“I know so.” Chanyeol pushed back his long, golden hair away from his face, as slowly and as elegantly as he had learnt to do so. It was a practiced move, which brought his jaw in the spotlight, his capable fingers in focus and laid his forehead bare.

Baekhyun’s rounded tummy twisted in an intricate manner at the elegant gesture. He was burning up on the inside. What would he not do to ride this alpha! He wouldn't strip, that's for sure. That's right. That's what he wouldn't do.

“Still no.” Baekhyun said, a little forcefully this time.

“No?” Chanyeol brought his face closer to Baekhyun’s and the latter found himself gazing at the artfully created nose. And the mole.

Sehun and Jongin, who were seated behind them today, kicked their bench. “Break it up.” Jongin muttered.

Chanyeol straightened. “Poor lamb.” he cooed at Baekhyun, “You are blushing.”

“Poor wolf. No one wants to ride you.” Baekhyun cooed back.

Jongin laughed audibly. He was warming up to Baekhyun. The teacher made his threat real this time. He made Jongin stand in a corner for disrupting 'proper classroom behaviour.’ Jongin stood in the corner, looking as though he would cry. Maybe he would hide himself and cry later.

Sehun kicked Baekhyun under the bench. Baekhyun retaliated by leaning back and grabbing a tuft of Sehun’s red hair and pulling hard.

“Ow. You brat!” Sehun hissed in pain.

“Byun. Come stand next to Kim. You too, Oh.” The teacher thundered. He was not playing around today.

So Jongin, Baekhyun and Sehun stood in line at the corner, heads hanging in shame in front of the whole class. Luhan pulled his cellphone out and clicked a pic to show to Xiumin’s granny later.



Baekhyun glared at the silently laughing Chanyeol. The wolf arched his brow, making a show of eating one berry after the other.

Baekhyun pouted his lips.

Chanyeol looked towards his left, then right, then blew Baekhyun a quick kiss.

Baekhyun suddenly found his toes very interesting. He hoped the class could not see how hard he had suddenly got.

Outrageous! The werewolf was outrageous!

By the time Baekhyun returned to his desk, his berries were all gone.

Are Sehun and Jongin mates?” he scrawled on his notebook during Yoona’s Geography lesson, and passed it to Chanyeol.

Chanyeol took his time scribbling his own answer.

No. Do you fancy Jongin?”

Baekhyun wrote “NO!!!” in capital letters, and three exclamation marks.

Fancy Sehun?”

Baekhyun crossed Chanyeol’s question in his notebook, and wrote, again in capitals - WILL BEWITCH SEHUN SOMEDAY. MAKE HIM FART BUBBLES.

Chanyeol stifled a strangled sob at the reply. But before he could add his own capitals, Yoona came and snatched the notebook from his hands. She hit both their heads real hard with the notebook.



“What's this?” she screeched, and read out loud from the notebook for the whole class to hear -



Are Sehun and Jongin mates?”

“No. Do you fancy Jongin?”

“NO!!!”

“Fancy Sehun?”

“WILL BEWITCH SEHUN SOMEDAY. MAKE HIM FART BUBBLES.”



“What behaviour is this!” Yoona hit both their heads again as the entire class laughed at Sehun’s expense. Sehun glared at the back of Baekhyun’s head as though his worst fears had been confirmed.
Sehun did not talk to Chanyeol at recess.

Baekhyun felt a wee bit bad for Sehun towards the end of the day.



As an equivalent of the fabled olive branch, Baekhyun surprised Sehun by kissing him smack on the cheek and running at breakneck speed towards the exit.

Sehun hated Baekhyun with a newfound vengeance now.

Baekhyun did not turn up at Xiumin’s place that night where he usually preferred to have dinner. Jongdae voiced that Baekhyun made himself scarce in order to avoid their barbs at him finding a new wolf bestie. Luhan frowned at the bonfire.

They had no idea that the resourceful Baekhyun had bribed their good for nothing junior, one pink haired Lee Taeyong, into smuggling him inside Wolf Town through the woods. Baekhyun just wanted to look around. Like a mongoose, he was naturally curious. If Baekhyun were an animal, he would surely be a mongoose. Mongoose on the Loose.



From the cover of the woods, Baekhyun and Taeyong watched the lights in the town go out one by one. It was well past dinner time. The streets were mostly deserted, glowing an eerie grey under the streetlights.

“This is as far as I said I will take you.” Taeyong grabbed hold of Baekhyun’s t-shirt. “No further.”

“But I want to walk around the streets.” Baekhyun whispered back, attracted by the many lights and beautifully constructed buildings.

Taeyong took a couple of steps back, his hands raised in surrender and his manner nonchalant. “I refuse to go any further. You can do as you wish. But pay first.”

Baekhyun pulled an old, crumpled bill from his pocket. His pocket money allowance was meager. “Here. Get going then.”

Taeyong immediately pocketed his earnings. “Take care, you. Stay out of the glare of the streetlights. There's silver in your hair, don't forget. Wolves aren't too fond of us.”

Baekhyun waved his hand to dismiss the younger boy. “Yeah. Yeah. I heard you the first time, didn't I? Run along now. And don't,” he grabbed Taeyong’s sleeve, “don't utter a word of this to anyone.”

Taeyong shrugged and disappeared in the woods. Meanwhile, Baekhyun grabbed one tree branch after the other as he slid his way down towards the plain ground. Baekhyun, as any child raised in the woods, could be noiseless and resourceful. He was accustomed to seeing in the dark. There were three gates, which opened in Wolf Town. The fourth gate did not exist. There was no need. The forest stretched towards the west.

Baekhyun cursed himself for not bringing a hoodie along to hide his hair but what was done was done. No use lamenting. He kept his head low and thankfully, did not bump into anyone. The town was much larger than your average town, and was equipped with all modern comforts. A huge Cinema stood dazzling near the edge of the forest, the word Whistle written with neon lights and all. Some superhero movie seemed to be playing these days.

Baekhyun shuffled off to another lane at the sight of late night movie goers walking towards his direction.

The lane he took to avoid the revellers led him to the residential area of the town. It was much quieter here, and the houses were oh so pretty. Some of them had swings in their garden, some others had fountains.

A little way ahead, he heard a girl giggling. It was a mellifluous giggle. Baekhyun was at once drawn to the voice. As the fog cleared, he saw a couple walking hand in hand a little way ahead. They appeared to be courting each other, and without caution too. Baekhyun smiled.

How do wolves court each other? Curious, he followed them as the couple walked on. Oddly enough, Baekhyun felt like the girl was a kindred spirit. He had only heard her voice, yet she seemed so familiar.

The couple led Baekhyun to a wide avenue dotted on either side with trees. They finally stopped in front of a gated mansion. When the girl turned to her companion to bid goodnight, Baekhyun quickly took cover behind the nearest tree so as to avoid discovery.

A gust of wind blew. The wolfssegner clutched himself at the cool of the breeze, feeling nervous and cold. Did you know, nature conspires against us too? If you stop only to dwell on it, you will see signs of nature's loving conspiracy everywhere.
Yoora kissed her boyfriend to thank him for the movie. She had just finished waving goodbye at the retreating Junmyeon when the gentle draft brought her tidings - a soft buttery smell. A smell so familiar, a scent which had clung to her brother these past two days. Yoora took a whiff, and turned towards the direction from which the wind had blown.

To her amusement, she saw someone quickly duck behind the tree that stood tall and imposing in front of her home. Ha? Yoora chuckled. Zephyr - they called the wind. From an early age, werechildren were taught to be grateful to the wind, which was their strongest natural ally. Zephyr would always, always alert them of stalkers, potential dangers, and in this case, buttery smelling wolf charmers.

A determined Yoora quickly unlatched the wrought iron gates and hurried inside, and upstairs to her brother’s room.  She kicked him and pinched him until he sat up on the bed, glaring.

“Shhhhh.” Yoora had a finger to her lips as she hastily beckoned, motioning him to follow.

A wild eyed and wild haired Chanyeol followed his elder sister downstairs, not the least bit curious, but a whole lot rankled at being woken up from his slumber. He had only begun to dream of a silver-haired bunny when Yoora kicked him hard in his shin.

She led him to their gate.

Chanyeol stood glaring at her.

Yoora waited.

Chanyeol kept looking towards Yoora for comprehension until he too could smell it too.That unmistakable scent of allure.

Yoora shushed Chanyeol and pointed towards the direction of the Gingko tree.

“He is not there anymore. But your Butters followed me all the way from the Cinema, I guess. Must have entered through the woods.”

The Cinema was built at the edge of the town, bordering the forest.


The wolfgirl had definitely, definitely spotted him! Baekhyun hastened through the woods. That was enough adventure for the day, he thought.

He was wrong. There was adventure aplenty in store for Baekhyun that night. His cellphone ran out of juice, for one. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Of all blasted things to happen! He did not know the way around this part of the forest either. There weren't any paved pathways or hiking trails or even animal crossings. It was all dark and unfamiliar wilderness.

Half an hour of wandering later, Baekhyun gave up. He knew he was lost, totally lost! His legs hurt from stumbling around and his fingers pricked from grabbing tree trunks and branches and blasted, blasted cellphone!

Baekhyun scanned the sky and observed the position of the moon. The Moon would guide him home, wouldn't she? If only she were visible through these thick trees.

He knew how to conjure light, knew the longish incantation by heart, but it would be no mere wisp. It would be as striking as lightning and who knew what wild animals his light would attract to his side! Baekhyun was confident of his sway over werewolves, but what of other wild animals?

Baekhyun felt around his ankles and gingerly sat on the mossed floor of the wild forest. The forest was being very unfriendly tonight. Perhaps he could just lean against a tree trunk and hope no wild animal would gobble him up as a midnight snack.

Brr. It was cold too. And he felt cold acutely, just his ill luck.

A twig snapped to his left, making him squeak involuntarily. Baekhyun went absolutely still, alert and poised to climb the nearest tree at the slightest threat. He counted the seconds like he had been taught to do in school, and counted five minutes. A rustle to his left now. Whoever it was, whatever it was, was carefully circling him, toying with him. Baekhyun slithered soundlessly, hands outstretched to reach out to the nearest tree.

He counted five more minutes. Another five minutes of such torture and he would have peed his pants. The Moon smiled at him. Baekhyun’s heightened senses made out a snout in the dark, a werewolf snout. The rest of the mammoth body loomed in front of his vision, knocking his wind out momentarily.

The werewolf waited.

An alpha.

Could it be...?

Baekhyun waited too.

The werewolf came closer and sniffed.

Baekhyun took heart in the fact that werewolves were forbidden from hunting humans. But no alpha would show itself to a wolfssegner, not unless…

The wolf’s tail brushed against Baekhyun’s bare calves. It was furry and fluffy and Baekhyun breathed a sigh of relief. The wolf meant no harm. He was not all alone in the forest anymore. No one will eat him and he would live to see the morrow.

Baekhyun lifted his hand to pat the wolf but the newcomer quickly moved to the side, growling.

“Okay. No touching.” Baekhyun lifted both his hands in surrender.

He watched as the werewolf, gigantic in form, slowly walked away. The alpha turned back to check if Baekhyun was following in his footsteps. It pawed the ground when Baekhyun did not.

Baekhyun realised that the wolf wanted him to follow. He smiled when he realised that the wolf might be guiding him home.

The wolfssegner was as wily as he was naughty. Besides, he knew without a doubt now who this alpha was. No other alpha would act as some poor lost soul’s guide through the forest. That just wasn't their jam.

“I can't walk.” Baekhyun moaned dramatically, “My legs hurt. I think my shin is bleeding too. Ahhh.”

The werewolf bared his teeth. Baekhyun was largely unaffected. He felt instinctively at home around this alpha. He wanted to ride this wolf home. No way would he walk all that way back. He was really tired.

They stared at each other.

Baekhyun knew he won when the werewolf started approaching him slowly.

His fingers tingled with anticipation.

The wolf barked when Baekhyun tried to touch him again. Yes, wolves do bark. They also whine. Which is what the werewolf did when Baekhyun turned away and sat on the ground.

“Go away, then. Shoo. Shoo. I am too tired to follow you.” Baekhyun crossed his legs and made himself comfortable.

The wolf came and sniffed him all over. When Baekhyun tried to touch the alpha again, it did not move away, or bark.

Submissive alpha, Baekhyun thought delightedly, bend to my will. The coat was lustrous and furry, and Baekhyun patted the wolf to his heart’s content.

“You know I really am very tired, right? Watch over me as I sleep? I am lost. Sit close to me while I sleep, ok? I feel cold.”

The werewolf regarded him, his nose in the air.

Not all spells have to be incantations. Wolfssegners’ words naturally held a power over werewolves. Not all spells are voluntary either. Sometimes, magic works its way on its own.

The alpha pawed the ground. He seemed to be thinking. Finally, the wolf came and bent his large form, just so Baekhyun could climb atop him.

The wolf charmer could not believe his luck!!

Tentatively, he reached out to grab the alpha’s collar, and hoisted his leg across the wide back. The alpha waited until Baekhyun was comfortably seated, and wriggled his body to check if the charmer’s clasp on him was tight.

“Alrighty. I think we are ready to go.” Baekhyun whispered.

The wolf snorted. It sounded like he did. He walked carefully in the beginning, lest Baekhyun tumbled off his back. Which was entirely possible, wasn't it? When they came across a clearing, the wolf broke into a jog, and Baekhyun laughed at the odd sensation of riding a wolf. He could get used to this, he thought. He squealed in delight when the wolf bounded across a stream, splattering water all over Baekhyun. Slowly, but steadily, the alpha quickened his pace, and Baekhyun learned to move his body in tandem with the wolf’s huge jumps and leaps.



The moon. She was the only witness to their ride. How she must envy their carefree ways right now! The wolf chose a roundabout way to the wolfssegner village, taking Baekhyun through wilderness he had never chanced upon earlier. He slowed down to a jog when they neared the village. Baekhyun hated how the ride seemed to have lasted mere seconds. He had tasted blood. He would need more of it later. The bloody alpha turned out to be cleverer than Baekhyun initially thought.

Perhaps it was the alpha who had won this round, after all.

Baekhyun slipped as he tried to set foot on the ground. If the wolf could snigger, he would. Baekhyun was back in his village. He was home. He was safe. He had just experienced the first wolf ride of his life.

The wolf turned away just as soon as Baekhyun steadied himself on his two feet.

My wolf, Baekhyun thought, as he watched the alpha jog away. Mine!




Baekhyun did not turn up in class the next day. How could he? He overslept. But one Park Chanyeol had no way of knowing that.

Chanyeol, groggy as hell, waited for his seatmate to turn up. When Baekhyun didn’t, Chanyeol became a little restless. Only a little, he told himself over and over and over again. Just a teeny, tiny speck. Just a sliver, no more. Mayhap it was lack of sleep.

Sehun was mighty pleased at the wolfssegner’s absence. He was delighted. He cracked double the amount of jokes today.


Chanyeol determinedly blocked Yoora’s path later that afternoon, stopping her from rushing to her date with the handsome Junmyeon.

“You know a mighty lot about humans, don't you?” he asked. Yoora studied in Seoul. She was much more accustomed to being around humans.

“Tell me something. What dangers do humans face on a daily basis?”

“What exactly are you fishing for?”

“Like we have to be careful about silver, right? What about humans?”

“Oh I see what you mean now.” Yoora turned away to swallow back a giggle. “Everything.”

“Everything?”

“Yeah, pretty much everything. A human could slip on the road and twist his neck and die. He could drown. He could also die if a flower pot landed on his head. He could die of heat, cold, snow, volcano eruption, earthquake, overeating. They could pass away in sleep just like that.”

Chanyeol’s eyes grew rounder and rounder. “Wow. It's unfair don't you think?”

Yoora played along. “Yep. A common cold could also kill. And a mosquito bite.”

“A common cold could also kill? How - how have they managed to survive so far?”

Dear Lord. Protecting a human sounded like the toughest job in the universe. Caring for a human even tougher.

Yoora pointed to the sky, “Up there. When you want to protect someone, say a prayer. Of Course the Moon shall heed.”

Chanyeol’s prayers to the moon that night were the lengthiest ever. He had let a wolf charmer ride him. He, an alpha. Had he committed a sacrilege? Will the Moon punish him?



Nah! The Moon had been an accomplice last night. She had seen it all and probably laughed at them for breaking rules. Yup. She would surely take care of Baekhyun. She would definitely see to it that Baekhyun turned up just fine to the classroom tomorrow. No cold. No mosquito bite, nothing.




Chapter Text

 

 

Baekhyun was known in his family of four for having wild, vivid dreams. It was not entirely uncommon for him to mumble whole sentences of pure garbage while still in deep slumber. Sometimes he made kissie noises too, other times he woke up with a noticeable boner.

The wolf charmer was given his own quarters when Baekbom, the older brother, had had his full of Baekhyun’s nightly monologues. Except for the housecat who climbed inside Baekhyun's room through the unlatched window, no one knew that the seventeen year old woke up on the floor most mornings.

At least, no one could say Baekhyun was not adventurous in bed.

The cat licked Baekhyun’s chin, who smiled in his sleep. He crawled onto the boy’s chest and meowed. He meowed a little louder. The other son of the Byun household had gone off to work and the Mother was too busy doing household chores. Since no one noticed that Baekhyun was still in la la land, the cat took it upon himself to scratch the boy awake.

Baekhyun opened one eye. “What is it?”

The cat looked at him with pure judgment in his round eyes. He came closer and purred.

Baekhyun rolled away on the bed. And suddenly realised that he was fully clothed!

He sat up on the bed so fast that the cat hissed at him. If he were a puppy, the cat would have slapped him ninja cat style. But he was Baekhyun the loser and the cat was fond of him. So, house pet merely made his tail dance to show his disapproval and prowled away.

The wolfssegner checked his cellphone. It was midday!! Shucks! How come no one came to wake him up? He could not believe he missed school today of all days. He had some confronting to do. Only last night, he was taken on the wildest ride of his life. He had to make sure that it was Chanyeol and no other.

His mother smiled at him fondly, then proceeded to tame his unruly hair. “My baby. Who woke you up? I wanted you to sleep some more. You came in quite late last night, didn't you? Did you and the boys go to steal some poor neighbour’s chickens again?”

Mama Byun loved spoiling her youngest. She would easily forgive him his every trespass.

Baekhyun played with the elastic band of his shorts. “Kyungsoo woke me up.” he yawned, “What's for breakfast?”

Mama Byun was an excellent cook. She served him bean sprout rice and spicy stewed fish. “Eat well. My baby never eats dinner at home these days. Always loitering around with friends.”

Baekhyun quietly pushed the cold cucumber soup away. “You should have woken me up.” he nagged, “I wanted to go to school today.”

“What's this?” his mother said, taking the bowl of cucumber soup away. “Suddenly you want to attend school? Here I thought I would have to chase after you to make you go to school like last year. Don't grow up so soon.” Mama Byun came and ruffled his hair.

Kyungsoo, the housecat, came and rubbed himself against Baekhyun’s ankle. Why do cats do that, by the way?

“I have made some new friends in school.” Baekhyun found himself blurting out.

Mama Byun puzzled over this. She counted   her fingertips. “But there's only Xiumin, Jongdae, and Luhan who are your age. Are you hanging out with those hyungs again?” Her tone grew acidic.

By hyungs, his mother meant Minho and his gang. One bad apple spoils the bunch. For Mama Byun, Minho was that bad apple. She had warned Baekhyun time and again to avoid his company.

“Not them.”

“Then who?” Mama Byun would not let her precious son run amok in bad company. Xiumin and company were responsible lads, she did not mind if Baekhyun spent entire days lazing around with them. But not Minho, the thief. Minho, the chain-smoker. Minho, the rumoured drug peddler. “Taeyong’s mother is worried for him as well. Says Taeyong is hanging out with Minho these days. Is it true?”

Baekhyun shrugged. “It's not Minho.” he cleared, making the irritating noises he made while eating. His chopsticks were working double time. “I made some werewolf pals.” He hid his face behind the bowl of rice.

Mama Byun knew all about his fascination with wolves. “Are they nice people?” she asked.

Baekhyun nodded, chewing cutely now. “One of them hates me, but I am sure he will sing a different tune soon.”

Mama Byun laughed at her child.

“One of them took me - cough - said he will give me a ride one day.”

But Mama Byun had turned away to feed Kyungsoo, “My Kyungsoo baby, awwwww - look how he is lapping up the milk! Isn't he the cutest? Mrs Kim next door thinks her cat is the cutest. Bah! Do you want more milk, Kyungsoo-yah? Some more?”

Baekhyun rolled his eyes. Mothers had too many things to do all at once.

He clinked the bowl of rice on the table to signal that he was done with breakfast, and was beginning to slide away to loiter around in the village when his mother stopped him.

“Since you are at home, why not do something useful?”

Baekhyun groaned inwardly. He was not cleaning Kyungsoo’s poop bowl again.

“Eh?” He scratched his tummy.

“Go to Jaejoong's place. He asked for a jug of milk today. Said he was preparing sweets. Loves to cook, that boy. And pretty too, just like you.”

Baekhyun’s mood immediately lifted. So long as he was not cleaning Kyungsoo poop. His mother neatly packed a box of rice cakes for Jaejoong. “Be polite. And don't ask questions.” Baekhyun pouted. He did not ask that many questions, did he? He was naturally curious.

Mama Byun pinched his cheek. “If possible, get the spindle Xiumin’s granny borrowed from me on your way back.”

Baekhyun carefully balanced the box of rice cakes on the jar of milk. “Is Jaejoongie hyung paying us for the milk?”

Mama Byun’s eyes widened, “How can I ask him for money? Don't utter a word about money, and if he tries to pay, politely bow and reject. Understood?”

Baekhyun understood. He set on his way.

Jaejoong lived apart from the other members of the village. Baekhyun had heard whispers from his elders, of strife within the community, and of some deep heartbreak Jaejoong had never been able to recover from. He did not know the entire story and even Xiumin’s granny would not tell him. All he knew was to not ask questions to the hyung who chose to live a hermit’s life.

Jaejoongie hyung was beautiful, so beautiful that people stopped in their tracks when he passed by. His beauty was his downfall, so said Xiumin’s granny. She would never elaborate though. Baekhyun found Jaejoongie hyung a sad, bent person. Xiumin’s granny said he had not always been like this.

Jaejoong too had been carefree and full of laughter once.

“Extreme beauty attracts extreme despair.” Xiumin’s granny would say sagely.

Baekhyun found himself walking in the narrow sloped path that led to the ‘beautiful yet misfortunate’ person’s dwelling. He took extra care not to stumble over a root or a stone and spill the milk, because that has happened before.

Baekhyun’s family were cattle breeders. They provided meat and milk to the people of the village. He had grown up herding hanwoo, a breed of native milk producing cattle. He would much rather herd his precious hanwoos than go to school. When he was still a child, Mama Byun would chase after him around the pastures to force him to put on his school uniform to go to school.

Ah, school! Baekhyun should have gone to school today. What if someone else came and occupied his seat? Baekhyun had conveniently forgotten that no wolf in their class sat beside Chanyeol. So he worried his lip.

All thoughts of school evaporated when he sighted the enchanting Jaejoongie hyung bent over his gayageum, a traditional musical instrument. He appeared to be tuning the instrument. Baekhyun paused to admire. He admired all beautiful things - the beehives, the streams, the animal trails, sometimes he would count the lovely bunches of berries hanging from tall branches he could not reach on his way to school and be terribly late. Other times, he would watch the hanwoos eat grass, and chew cud. Cud chewing hanwoos looked like Heechul, he had realised one day. Ever since that day, he had been fascinated.



“Jaejoongie hyung.” he called out softly.

Loveliest pair of eyes met his. Jaejoong came out of the trance like state he was in.

“I see you got the milk. And rice cakes? Your mother is kind.” the man straightened.

Baekhyun smiled shyly, “Are you practicing for the Fair?”

“The Fair is still some way off.” Jaejoong reminded, “I was just ... reminiscing.”

Baekhyun was curious but he heeded his mother’s advice. The wolf charmer quietly handed the jug of milk and rice cakes to the taller man.

“Your school bunking days not over yet?” Jaejoong teased when he emerged from his cottage, this time with an empty jug.

Baekhyun’s eyes crinkled. “I overslept.”

“Ah!” Jaejoong patted him on his head, “Must be fifteen now, eh? Still oversleeping?”

Baekhyun quickly shook his head, “I am seventeen.” He puffed his chest.

“Seventeen?” Jaejoong repeated softly, eyes full of questions he did not give voice to.

But Baekhyun noticed how the hyung’s eyes lingered on his silver hair. Jaejoong’s own hair was black.

The gayageum player reached a hand out to push a strand of hair away from Baekhyun’s forehead. “A beautiful color. Beware of the wolves, Baekhyun-ah.”



Baekhyun was halfway home when he paused by the tumbledown bridge that separated Jaejoong’s dwelling from the rest of the village. He sprinted back towards the cottage. Screw his mother’s warnings.

Jaejoong still stood where Baekhyun had left him, in the middle of his small garden.

“Hyung!” Baekhyun announced his presence. He had to sit down on the grass to catch his breath. He had sprinted hard.

Jaejoong looked at him, surprised. “You ran all the way back?”

“Is it true that you were in love with a wolf once?” Baekhyun blurted out. Excellent!

Jaejoong had clearly not expected the question. He stood there blinking.

“I am sorry.” Baekhyun apologised immediately. He waited for the other to say something.

The beautiful man smiled, mirth written everywhere. “You dashed back so you could ask this?”

Baekhyun scratched his nape. But I was curious, he thought.

A smiling Jaejoong looked like everything was right with the world. Baekhyun blurted this out as well.

Jaejoong looked up at the sky and laughed. “Your mother keeps saying you are a handful. I can see that now.” But the very next instant, the gayageum player was sober again, “What do they - what do the villagers speak about me, I wonder.”

“They say you fell in love with a wolf.”

“And?”

“They say the pack leader forced the wolf out of the town.”

“And?”

“Nothing.”

Baekhyun had heard that Jaejoong went half mad with grief once. But he did not say it out aloud.

“Can I ask you something as well?”

Baekhyun nodded.

“Why do you want to know? Is it because I asked you to be wary of the wolves?”

Baekhyun found that he could not gaze at those honest-to-God eyes, not when he was about to lie. “I was just - because you looked so sad while you were playing.”

He saw Jaejoong’s eyes flicker, with emotion? Foreboding?

“Baekhyun-ah.” and Jaejoong’s voice held all the softness and warmth in the world. “I see myself in you sometimes. Will you promise me something?”

“Anything.”

Jaejoong came and clasped Baekhyun’s palms with his. “Will you let me watch over you? Come to me, like you did just now, whenever your heart is filled with questions, and you have no one to ask them to.”

And Baekhyun saw Jaejoong’s eyes linger on his hair once again.

Baekhyun nodded. Jaejoong was a lovely spell caster.

“I did love a wolf once, long back. It did not end well.” Jaejoong spoke. “I was not as lucky. But  that's me and my bad luck, right? Not all bards tell the same stories, Baekhyun-ah. Ah! This silver in your hair is very distracting. Get going, then. Remember your promise.”



Baekhyun pondered over Jaejoongie hyung's words all the way home. He forgot to get the spindle for his mother from Xiumin’s grandmother.

“Did Jaejoong offer you money?” Mama Baekhyun asked suspiciously. She did not put it past her son to pocket extra earnings.

“No.” Baekhyun answered absentmindedly. “He offered advice. He asked me to be wary of wolves. He kept looking at my hair.”

Mama Byun petted her son’s cheeks. She smelled of lemon and sunshine. “Don't worry, Baekhyun-ah. Jaejoong is weird that way.”

Baekhyun eyed his reflection in the window pane. His thoughts went back to the night before. Wolf, he remembered. Wolf rider, he thought. It was surreal. Suddenly he was glad he had not gone to school today. He was feeling a little detached from reality. Is this what floating feels like?

Mama Byun, out of the corner of her eye, observed the play of emotions in her darling son’s face. She sighed wistfully. Children don't stay young forever. She knew that she could not be the one to guide her son forevermore, maybe Jaejoong could take on the mantle of a secret keeper and a guide.

Parents, miraculously, know everything. And yet, they have to keep pretences up.

She had had a good cry at Xiumin’s grandmother’s kitchen when Baekhyun’s hair turned silver.

“Let them come for my son!” she said of the villagers. “Let them try coming after my son!”



She patted her son’s cheeks again, drawing out a smile from Baekhyun. He loved to be made much of. Affectionate darling.

“Now be a good boy and clean Kyungsoo’s poop.”



The next day, Baekhyun walked to the school with his friends, with trepidation and tightness in his belly - a novel feeling. They just had to take the next corner and the huge gates of the Pyeonghwa Academy would come in view. Except, when they turned around the corner, who do they find? A werewolf leaning against the wide tree they sometimes climbed as a sport, his face turned to the sun, hands in pockets and long hair windswept.

Baekhyun’s steps dithered. The wolf regarded him lazily through half-lidded eyes.

Everything faded away in the background the instant their eyes met.

“Looks like he was waiting for you!!” Jongdae spoke in Baekhyun’s ear, but the silver-haired boy paid him no heed. He was busy smiling at his wolf.

Baekhyun stopped by the tree, motioning to the others to carry on without him.

“Waiting for someone?”

“Waiting for you.”



Baekhyun felt wicked sensations in his tummy at Chanyeol’s forward behaviour. His tummy quivered - the delicious quiver when you look at someone and your misgivings just melt away to nothingness. Was there anyone in school who could rival Chanyeol’s good looks?

“Why did you not come to school yesterday?” Chanyeol detached himself from the tree trunk, a million concerns in his brow.

Baekhyun puffed his cheeks, “Overslept.” He smiled brightly, “We had such an adventure the night before. I guess I was too tired.”

Chanyeol frowned. “What adventure?”

“Oh?” Baekhyun scanned Chanyeol’s face. Was the alpha going to act like that wolf ride did not happen! “Nothing.” he pouted, and kicked a stone.

Chanyeol smiled lopsidedly. “Shouldn't we hurry? Heechul is taking the first class.” The wolf tried to tug his arm but the charmer stood his ground.

“Are you really going to act like that night did not happen?”

Chanyeol took a good look at Baekhyun’s face, not like he wasn't looking intently earlier. “Have a care, wolfssegner. You make it sound like I outraged your modesty or something.”

“Or something!” Baekhyun declared hotly. “You - I - We -”

A smirk crept up on Chanyeol’s face. “We what?”

“Well. We rode through the night, didn't we? All the way from Wolf Town to the village.”

Chanyeol snapped his fingers and turned away, beginning to walk towards their school gates. “Keep dreaming. That's not happening until you are butt naked.”

Baekhyun hurried to keep pace with Chanyeol’s long strides. “So why did you allow me to ride you at all? I seem to remember I had my shorts on.”

Chanyeol scoffed, “Byun Baekhyun, you are so desperate to ride me that your imagination is serving you figments.”

Baekhyun wanted to debate hotly, wanted to launch himself at the wolf and shake him until he coughed up the grudging admittance. Fine. Desperate situations require desperate measures.

“You may keep your conditions.” Baekhyun overtook Chanyeol as they reached the gates. “I found another wolf then. And he is huge. I bet he is bigger than your wolf form. And he isn't so cocky either. I bet you couldn't ride as fast as him. He was so furry, he made me feel all gooey inside.”

Chanyeol clicked his tongue and shook his head. “Quit making things up.”

It was different in class today. Baekhyun did not feel the need to talk to the wolf. He was simply sated to just sit beside Chanyeol, and judging by Chanyeol’s behaviour, the wolf was too.

Baekhyun felt hyper aware of all of Chanyeol, his slight movements, the way the wolf’s fingers drummed the desk, the way he nodded at what Sehun had to say, the way the wolf’s eyes would flicker towards Baekhyun and stay.

He could not pull his eyes away from Chanyeol either. His benchmate was magnetic that way, even when he said nothing, did nothing.

Paying attention to class teachers was quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Waiting for Yoona to come teach them about selected indicators of human development, Chanyeol tapped Baekhyun’s head with a pencil. “What did you do all day yesterday?”

“I played with the housecat. Kyungsoo.” Baekhyun offered a faint smile. “Mama made me clean his litter box.” he grimaced.

“You make pouty lips even when you talk.” Chanyeol laughingly observed.

Baekhyun ignored this, but his cheeks warmed. “There's a hyung who plays gayageum. I had to go deliver milk at his doorstep. He is a strange hyung. But he plays gayageum so well, you should come see him play at the Village Fair.” He stopped short abruptly. Wolves did not enter their village. Wolves never came to their Village Fair. The thought suddenly depressed him.

But Chanyeol was watching him intently. “A village fair? I would love to come. If you act as my guide, that is.”

The wolfssegner’s eyes lit up. “There's still a couple of weeks to go.” Baekhyun supplied, “And you don’t have to worry at all. I shall personally act as your guide, and won't let anyone harm you. Bring this loser along, too.” He pointed his delicate index finger towards Sehun.

Sehun acted as if he couldn’t hear Baekhyun.

“You should come too.” Baekhyun smiled shyly at Jongin.



In Yoona’s class, Baekhyun passed the wolf a note. “Perhaps Jongin was the wolf I rode. Could it be?”

Chanyeol did not reply. He tore the piece of paper to bits and shreds.



The wolf gave his back to Baekhyun at the cafeteria during recess. The wolf charmer smiled and waved and danced a mini dance for Jongin instead, who was facing his way. Jongin was quick to laugh, quicker still to stifle that laughter because Chanyeol was not amused.



The week progressed, but Chanyeol still did not admit that he was him.

“If you want to ride me, you know my condition.” he would say suggestively.

And Baekhyun wanted to very much. He wanted to feel that delightful sensation again, of feeling the wind in his hair, of feeling that sense of oneness with his wolf.



Chanyeol was a good wolf, an attentive wolf. He would wait by the tree every morning so that they could walk to the school together. He asked Baekhyun all sorts of questions - did he sleep a lot, did he eat a lot, were there mosquitoes in his room, did he trip on his feet too often, was he susceptible to the weather, and so on and so forth.

But Chanyeol was also an impossible wolf. He wouldn't admit it was him that had taken care of Baekhyun in the forest.

Sometimes, Chanyeol was an infuriating wolf. Sometimes, the wolf would pluck Baekhyun away from his friends and make him sit beside him at lunch. That gimmick stopped after Chanyeol realised that the wolfssegner refrained from eating to his heart’s content in Sehun’s company.



The wolf had promised to come to the village fair, and Baekhyun was beyond excited. He simply could not stop gushing to Mama Byun about his new friend’s upcoming visit.

“It will be safe for him, right? The villagers won't make Chanyeol feel like an outsider, right?”

“No, honey.” Mama Byun was in his room, folding his clothes, while Baekhyun lay sprawled on his bed. It was a usual Sunday, and Kyungsoo was soaking the sun sitting on the window sill. “He will be your guest. It will be up to you to make him feel welcome, no?”

“Do you think I should introduce him to Xiumin’s granny? She blurts out the most unthinkable things.”

Mama Byun laughed. She could sense her son’s enthusiasm. “She would love to meet another wolf in her lifetime.”

“Do you think I should ask Chanyeol to stay over?” Baekhyun got up from his bed to drag Kyungsoo away from the sill. Also because he did not want his perceptive mother to see how his face had reddened at the thought of Chanyeol staying over.

He did not see Mama Byun pause in the midst of folding his clothes.

“Do you?” Baekhyun asked when his mother did not reply immediately.

“You have become good friends with this wolf, haven't you?”

Baekhyun smothered Kyungsoo. The cat did not like it. He tried to scratch Baekhyun’s pretty, perfect face. “It's been only three weeks, but it feels like I have known him for much longer? Ask Luhan. He says we are perfectly in sync.”

“Ask him to stay over.” Mama Byun carefully put Baekhyun’s clothes inside his cupboard. “Let me know what he would like to eat. Our Baekhyunnie is bringing a guest home. I will love to cook for him. I bet he will have a merry time at the Fair.”

Baekhyun clapped his hands enthusiastically. He had the best mother in the world.



In the days preceding the Fair, it was all Baekhyun could talk about. Chanyeol this. Chanyeol that. Baekhyun’s enthusiasm was contagious. The family of four waited in anticipation to play host to the wolf from town.

Mama Byun changed the curtains in Baekhyun’s room, and dusted the furniture. She discussed the menu with Xiumin’s granny too. Both ladies could not wait to meet the boy Baekhyun was bringing home, and they had their loving motives.



Meanwhile, Chanyeol found himself in a quandary.

“Yoora, I really, really need your help.”

“When have you not really, really needed my help?”

“Baekhyun has invited me to stay over at his place for two days during this weekend. I said I will go. I promised I will. But - but,” Chanyeol paced around, “what if Pa comes to know?”

“Then you just shouldn’t have accepted Butter’s offer, no? You, especially you Chanyeol, are forbidden to set foot there.”

The brother and sister stared at each other. “That's not helping, Yoora.”

“You know our rules. You know our laws.”

“But I couldn't say no to Baekhyun. He was so eager and enthusiastic and -”

“And you have a small crush on him.” Yoora added. She was smiling.

“I - no.”

“Yes, Chanyeol, you do. Don't lie to me if you want my help.”

Chanyeol looked sheepish.

“So, the truth then. Do you or do you not have a crush on Butters? Yes, or no?”

Chanyeol rolled his eyes. Trust his sister to be dramatic. He finally gave in and nodded.

“Hmm. Good. Crushing on a wolf charmer. Superlative. Do you or do you not know that you are the future pack leader?”

“I could easily ask you the same question -”

“This isn't about me. I have already chosen my path. This is about you. You cannot run from your responsibilities.”

“What's even the connection between me being a pack leader and crushing on Baekhyun!”

“You can't have a wolfssegner as a mate!”

“Who says I want him as a mate? I- just, Baekhyun is fun to be around, ok?”

“Yeah, I can tell. His smell is all over you, always around you. You’re having too much fun being around him. And soon, you will want more.”

“Says who?”

“Me. That's who. We are practically twins, Yeollie. I can sense your heartbeat from a mile. I am the superior wolf, don't forget.”

“So then, Superior Wolfgirl, help me.”

“I will. But you will have to promise me something in lieu.”

“Anything.”

“Yeollie, promise me you will always, always be true to your heart, no matter what.”

Chanyeol grimaced. Ladies and their drama. “Cross my heart and swear to die.” he recited.

“Good. The plan then. I will tell Pa that Junmyeon has invited you for a fishing trip in the weekend. Baby is conveniently away in Seoul and Pa won't smell a rat.”

“Yoora. How can I ever repay you.” Chanyeol mock sobbed.

Yoora smacked her brother’s head, “Be good to Butters, that's how.”



Chanyeol went to his room and unhooked his cellphone from where it was charging.


“Can't wait for the weekend :)”


Baekhyun’s reply to his message was lightning quick.


“Me too :)”


“Can’t wait to take you on your first ride.”


“ ?? ”


“ ;) ”


“ :/ ”


Chapter Text

 

It rained earlier that morning. Summer was almost upon them and it had brought its faithful friend, the pre-monsoon showers along. A testament to this very fact was that instead of his usual berries, Baekhyun had a pocketful of sweet peaches in his pockets - summer's treat. Summer's compensation for the humidity it brought forth.

The wolf charmer never spared the fruits atop the trees. If he had to grunt and scratch himself while climbing the branches, so be it. Luckily for him, fresh, tree ripened peaches were always well within his reach. Sometimes he had to hop to catch hold of a branch laden with fruit but no matter. All doable.

Berry season was gone. Baekhyun dearly hoped Chanyeol liked peaches. He hoped Chanyeol liked bruised peaches because he had gone ahead and slipped in a puddle of water, landed on his bum, muddied his trousers and bruised his pickings. Damn these pre-monsoon showers! Was there ever a time when he did not slip and made an ass of himself.

Xiumin and company had a hearty laugh at Baekhyun’s misery.

“You never fail us in summers.” Jongdae had wiped away a tear after clutching his sides, dying.

The wolf sniggered when he spotted the huge blot of mud on Baekhyun’s pants.

“What happened to being a nimble-footed wolfssegner?” Chanyeol asked, eyeing Baekhyun’s muddied bottom.

“I lost track of time while plucking these peaches. So when I tried to hurry I fell. Chanyeol, I fell.”

Chanyeol’s eyes were still on Baekhyun’s derriere. Peach indeed, he thought, chuckling to himself.

“Walking is hard, okay?” Baekhyun protested, “I would rather ride a wolf.” He threw a cunning glance at the alpha.

“I will allow it “ Chanyeol replied cheerfully, “Those muddied trousers will have to go though. And whatever’s underneath.”

“There’s nothing underneath.” Baekhyun declared, and watched Chanyeol’s eyes grow round. Baekhyun and underwear were not besties. He showed Chanyeol his fruit pinkened tongue.

“How many peaches did you have on the way?” Chanyeol was very amused. And taken by the wolf charmer.

They were almost at the school gates and the bell had, no doubt, already rung. But Chanyeol was used to arriving late in classes these days, courtesy of the cutest piece of wolfssegner shit he had befriended.

“I was not counting.”


The weekend was almost upon them.

The bruised peaches were confiscated by the teacher the moment Baekhyun positioned them carefully on his seat mate’s notebook.

“How many times do I have to warn you Byun? Eating in class is not allowed.”

“Those peaches are for Chanyeollie.” Baekhyun protested when the teacher carried the fruits away.

“And Chanyeollie can have them back when this class is over. Meanwhile, you exchange seats with Sehun.”

Baekhyun gave a squiggle on his seat, “But sir -”

“Exchange seats with Sehun. Now. Do not make me repeat myself.”

Baekhyun gave Chanyeol an apologetic glance and moved to sit next to Jongin, directly behind Chanyeol.

Sehun looked triumphant at Baekhyun’s punishment.

The lovely, ripe peaches now lay displayed on the teacher’s desk.

Baekhyun stared at Chanyeol’s long golden locks. Not sitting with the wolf upset him. His wolf had a broad back, a lanky frame. The wolf charmer found it very hot.

He sighed. Jongin looked at him with a sideways glance. Baekhyun blinked at his new seatmate. “ Does my smell offend you? ” he wrote in his notebook and passed it on to Jongin.

Jongin took the longest time replying to him. Chanyeol’s scribblings were much too fast.

Why do you smell like mud ?” Oh my! Jongin’s handwriting was horrible. Very tough to decipher.

I slipped on a puddle.” Baekhyun wrote in reply.

Jongin snickered soundlessly.

Baekhyun’s nostrils flared. He snatched his notebook from his new seat mate’s grasp.

Jongin pulled the notebook away gently and wrote in his ugly handwriting - You smell like popcorn most days. It is not offensive.

Baekhyun swelled, proud as a peacock. “ Chanyeol says I smell like butter.”

Butter popcorn.” Jongin corrected.

They shook their hands at that. Sehun turned around to give Jongin a very pointed, icy glare.

Baekhyun quickly changed seats when the bell rang, signalling the end of the period. His heart warmed when Chanyeol brought the peaches back.

“So I am Chanyeollie now?” the wolf drawled, flicking his golden hair away from his forehead.

“You mind?”

The wolf took a bite of the peach, skin and all. He was beginning to say something when Sehun interrupted, his voice thin and poisonous.

“You can call him Asshollie and he would not mind.”

Baekhyun grinned at Sehun, “Can I call you Asshollie?”

“Don't even dare!” Sehun threatened, his artfully shaped brows drawn together.

Jongin wrestled a peach away from Chanyeol’s grasp, “Bring fruits for me too, please.”

Sehun rolled his eyes.

“He invited the wolf to the Fair!” Xiumin complained to the others as they sat for lunch in the school cafeteria.

Luhan hit Baekhyun’s head seven times. “When. Were. You. Going. To. Tell. Us?”

Baekhyun massaged his head, “Why? What's the harm? Chanyeol has agreed to come.”

He lifted the omelette from Xiumin’s plate and chewed on it before craning his neck to search for the wolves. Why were none of them present in the cafeteria this afternoon, he wondered.

“What’s the harm?” Luhan echoed, “You are playing with fire, Baekhyun. That wolf, what - what do you suppose to gain by inviting him to the Fair?”

Baekhyun was about to give a sassy reply when Jongdae rushed to their midst, a little short of breath. He was looking at Baekhyun, his eyes wide. “Your wolf!” he announced, “There is something going on at the football ground. Your alpha is hitting some poor junior black and blue.”

Baekhyun scrambled out of his chair. Chanyeol hitting someone? Impossible. Chanyeol was a softie. He smiled at Baekhyun with crinkled eyes and laughed at his poppycock! He could never hurt a fly.

“Go see for yourself.” Jongdae challenged.

Shaking his head and abandoning his half eaten omelette, Baekhyun paced to the school grounds. The football ground was built on a clearing surrounded by tall trees on all sides. An ideal spot for smoking; school teachers hardly ventured to this area. Jongdae must have been lurking here, hiding away and smoking in secret.

Baekhyun came to a screeching halt when he realised that a dozen wolves were huddled on the corner of the playground, standing around a boy kneeling on the ground.

It was windy, and the sky was overcast. Gray! There were puddles of rainwater dotting the school grounds. Baekhyun shivered. He spotted Chanyeol, the wolf’s long, golden hair easily spottable in the gloomy weather. The alpha wolf was standing in front of the kneeling boy, his hand balled in fists.

Baekhyun was about to call out to his wolf when Chanyeol landed a sickening punch to the boy’s jaw.

Chanyeol !” Baekhyun screeched, the word like a dart.

The boy that looked at him at the call was not his seatmate, could not be his seatmate. His seatmate never looked at him in that murderous way. His seatmate was gentle and offered him rides despite being an alpha.

For a second, Baekhyun thought Chanyeol would look apologetic, ashamed…he was not prepared for the wolf to roll his eyes, mouth set in a grim line. There was raw anger, power, radiating off of him and Baekhyun was crushed. He did not know this boy, this wolf, this alpha!

The alpha spat two words in Sehun’s direction, and the latter immediately jogged up to Baekhyun looking mighty pissed.

“What are you doing here?” Sehun glared, dragging Baekhyun roughly away. “Scoot.”

“Why is Chanyeol hitting that poor boy!” Baekhyun charged as Sehun pulled him away from the scene.

“That is no poor boy! That was a stubborn wolf that needed to be put in place by his alpha. You need to be put in your place too. You have no business butting in our affairs.”

“That - that wasn't Chanyeol back there, was he?” Baekhyun panted in disbelief.

Sehun literally glared at Baekhyun. “What do you know about Chanyeol? Do you think you know him, just because he walks you to school and allows you to sit by his side?”

“Why was he - what's he going to do to the boy?” Baekhyun stumbled, trying to keep pace with Sehun.

“He is a pack leader in training. Keeping all others in control comes with the territory. And anyway, why do you even bother? Once Chanyeol is bonded, he won't even care about you.”

“Hitting someone like that is wrong, alpha or not!” Baekhyun grovelled.

“Look, you pest.” Sehun pushed him inside the school building, “Don't get above your station. You are no one to question an alpha’s actions. You’re just a distraction for him. Just a slight, slip of a distraction. And when he gets engaged to someone, which he soon will, you will fall by the wayside. So learn to mind your own business.” The wolf poked Baekhyun further inside the corridor. “Shoo! Pest.”

Baekhyun dragged his feet towards the cafeteria. His friends looked up at him expectantly.

“What’s happening there?” Luhan asked curiously.

Baekhyun’s mouth was set in a line. Jongdae shook him to get him to reply.

“Alpha business.” Baekhyun replied, still in denial over what he had witnessed.

Xiumin missed the fact that Baekhyun was in shock, “Chanyeol is a pack leader in training. Very nasty business, keeping other full blooded wolves in line.”

Baekhyun had no further appetite for lunch.

Chanyeol and the boys did not immediately turn up to class, they took their sweet time, no doubt harassing other poor boys into submission. What a sick thing to do, Baekhyun thought, biting his lip a deep crimson. He saw Chanyeol completely in a new light, the true light. Chanyeol was a wolf, wolves were animals!

The sickening punch swam in front of Baekhyun’s eyes, he felt breathless. And the awful way in which Chanyeol had turned to look at him, with disdain and scorn writ clear on his face. Baekhyun’s palms were sweating.

Baekhyun did not look up when Chanyeol and his boys entered the class. He hid his face in his History book.

Chanyeol did not immediately talk to him and Baekhyun concentrated on Heechul for a change. When the wolf nudged him playfully, Baekhyun did not pay the slightest heed, frowning at the teacher.

Baekhyun made an act of rummaging through his belongings when the bell signalled the end of the period.

“Why is this wolf charmer hiding his charming face from me?” Chanyeol teased, poking Baekhyun.

“Don't talk to me.” Baekhyun said as primly as possible, “You're scary. I don't talk to goons.”

Chanyeol stared at Baekhyun. “You mean - for earlier ?” He tried laughing it off, “It's regular stuff, Baekhyun. Nothing you need to -” He was beginning to turn the boy towards himself when Baekhyun freed himself violently from Chanyeol’s grasp.

The wolf blinked, astonished at the curt behaviour.

“Are you upset? That is just who I am!”

“Is that what you go around doing then? Hitting people? Is that what it means to be the future pack leader?” Baekhyun rounded at Chanyeol so fast, the latter was startled.

Chanyeol shrugged in defense, “If I can't intimidate -”

“Not listening to you.” Baekhyun cut him off, giving him his back again.

Sehun and Jongin whispered furiously amongst themselves.

Baekhyun stood turned away from Chanyeol until Yoona appeared.

“Sorry I am late, class.” Yoona trilled.

Baekhyun sat himself down.

Chanyeol did not attempt to talk to him again.

Baekhyun was aware that the wolf sent furtive glances his way, but he was determined. Very bad wolf. Very bad behaviour. If Kyungsoo would have shown such disagreeable behaviour, Baekhyun would have plonked him outside the house and waited for hours to let him in.

He scowled when he felt Chanyeol’s eyes on him. Baekhyun was rarely angry, but today, he was shaken to the core. Someone he thought of as his friend, as his wolf, had turned out to be a completely different person. To top it off, Chanyeol did not seem the least bit apologetic! Violent behaviour had no place in civilised society.

When the bell rang signalling the end of their last class for the day, Chanyeol held Baekhyun’s wrists firmly to keep him from leaving. The wolfssegner threw Chanyeol’s hand away. “Don't think for a minute that you can intimidate me, wolf!” he muttered.

Chanyeol let go of Baekhyun’s wrist in a millisecond. He was expecting Baekhyun to storm out of the room but the boy stayed back as class emptied of students.

Chanyeol waited for Baekhyun to start on a tirade, but the wolf charmer surprised him by sighing and looking at him squarely in the eye.

“I really don't know you at all. Sehun was right.”

Chanyeol frowned, “Sehun! What did Sehun say?”

“That this, it's in your nature. That it's to be expected.” That you would be engaged soon and you're toying with me. Baekhyun kept his eyes averted.

“Just answer me this, wolfssegner. Have I ever treated you like unfairly?”

“It's only a matter of time.”

Fuck , Baekhyun. Don't be so standoffish with me. At least look at me. I am not an insect. It is suffocating, okay?”

Baekhyun was emitting fire from his eyes, “And seeing you punch someone bloody, that wasn't suffocating at all! Imagine how it was for me. I discover this brutal, violent side to you.”

“Why is this even upsetting you so much?” Chanyeol groaned, at a loss for words.

“Why shouldn't it upset me? Someone I thought I knew turned out to be a monster.”

Monster ?” Chanyeol spat, now very much offended, “I am an Alpha! Haven't you been paying attention? That is what I do. That is who I am. You are offending me now.”

“Fine. Go ahead and be yourself then. No one’s stopping you. Just - don't even try to pretend that we can be friends.” Baekhyun picked up his bag and marched out of the room without a backward glance. He did not see the flash of hurt in Chanyeol’s eyes.

Chanyeol was physically present at the dining hall but his mind was elsewhere. Luckily for him, his father liked to talk whenever he had an audience. Today, he was talking about how his subordinates liked to kiss his ass. Chanyeol kept nodding between intervals, very much disinterested. The soup tasted bland and the meat was overcooked.

“The treasurer offered his niece’s hand in marriage for Chanyeol.” Mr. Park sighed, “I felt bad turning him down.”

Mrs. Park feigned interest. No one believed him though. The pack leader loved turning people down.

“I think the sheriff’s daughter would make a lovely match for our Chanyeol. You have met her, haven't you, at the Charity last winter?”

Chanyeol and Seulgi had been dance partners at the Charity Gala.

“Well, would you like her as your mate? Should I extend an offer to the family?”

Yoora sat very straight, her eyes pinned on Chanyeol. She narrowed her eyes when Chanyeol shrugged, “As you wish.” her brother said, looking as if he had not paid his father’s question the slightest bit of heed.

“That's my boy.” their father boomed. “More wine.” he ordered the servant waiting dutifully by his side.

“Chanyeol and Seulgi would indeed make a handsome match.” Mrs. Park smiled agreeably. “I am very fond of her.”

Yoora frowned. She kicked her brother’s legs under the table, but Chanyeol did not react. He stared at his plate. Something was not right. “Pa,” Yoora admonished, trying to save Chanyeol from hara kiri, “Let Junmyeon and I settle down first. What's the hurry to find Chanyeol a mate? Surely it can wait.”

She met her father’s eyes and held his gaze.

Their father grimaced distasteful, he had all the cunning of a wolf, “Wait for what? Until some lowly family’s daughter decides to ensnare the future pack leader with her charms? No. The wedding can wait but the mating cannot.”

Chanyeol excused himself from the table soon after.

Their father spoke in a low tone once Chanyeol vanished upstairs. “He is seventeen now. He cannot go unmated for too long. I don't want him to claim just any mate in the heat of the moment in his rut.”

Yoora offered a very insincere smile at her Pa.

Yoora knocked on her brother's door. “Chanyeol?”

He gave her a dark look; he was sitting on the edge of the bed, brooding. He looked as if he wanted to ask her to leave.

“I am going away to Seoul tomorrow morning. I wanted to sit beside you for some time. Can I?”

Chanyeol nodded and looked away. Clearly he was battling with some inner demon; he looked pained.

“Enjoy the weekend with Butters then.” Yoora prompted. “I have already set the stage. You are joining Junmyeon and I for a fishing expedition.” She looked expectantly at her brother, who offered a single grunt in response.

Wow, her brother could brood.

“At the dinner table, did you mean what you said? That you were ready for Pa to find you a mate?”

Chanyeol hummed. Yoora peered at his face.

“Is this affliction I smell?” she teased lightly.

Chanyeol scoffed.

Yoora sat herself beside her brother. “You were mighty broody at the dinner table.” She pinched her little brother’s arm, “Come on, Yeollie. Tell me what's wrong. Pa talking about finding you a mate soon, is that what’s bothering you? Do you want me to handle the situation for you -”

“Baekhyun saw me hitting a beta today.”

Oh!

Yoora did not immediately respond.

“It might have come as a surprise to him. Give Butters some time. He doesn't have any idea what being a pack leader entails. Ruthlessness and being an alpha goes hand in hand.”

“He called me a fucking monster !” Chanyeol positively glowered. “And I -”  The wolf’s voice rose, “I have always treated him like a baby rabbit, Yoora! Like a baby kitten wrapped in cotton wool!”

Her brother was hurt. Aww.

“He will come around.” she patted her brother’s back.

“He trips over roots and falls on puddles of rainwater. I am always worried about his safety. And he - he called me a monster. Am I a monster?”

Yoora clicked her tongue. “Not at all. Of course you treat him like a baby rabbit.” she cooed.

“And he brings these fruits for me and I know he takes great pains to pluck them off high reaching branches. Even if he tiptoed, he wouldn't reach my height. He brings peaches for me when he himself is such a peach. And I have never said or did something to hurt him. But he called me a monster today. What did I even do to deserve this?”

“There. There. Do not agonise over what the baby said. He will come around. Let him sleep over it. It might be a bit unsettling for him to know of our ways -”

Chanyeol scoffed bitterly. “Well. I don't remember him calling me a monster when I gave him a ride through the forest. He wasn't intimidated by my form then. How very convenient for him!”

Yoora gaped at her brother’s slip. “ Park Chanyeol .” she whispered urgently, “ You moron. You absolute shit!

Chanyeol glared at her, “Don't call me names. I am a little sensitive right now.”

Yoora facepalmed. “You are out there, giving rides to wolf charmers! And you are over here, saying it's okay for Pa to choose your mate?” Her tone was accusatory.

“Apples and oranges.” Chanyeol glowered.

“I - sometimes I want to hit your thick skull so hard. Argh. Can't you see it?”

Chanyeol rolled his eyes. “See what?”

Yoora fumed. But no, she won't spoil her brother this once. Let him take his own sweet time arriving at pretty obvious conclusions. She would not meddle. Well, she would meddle, but not in such obvious a manner.

“Nothing. And you are a moron. Good night. Don't come crying to me when Pa sets you up with Seulgi and you have to share the coldest bed on earth.”

Chanyeol frowned at his sister’s departing back. Sometimes Yoora talked in riddles and made no sense at all.

Baekhyun was never one to brood. He forgot about his spat with Chanyeol as soon as he saw the people gathered at the village square, erecting tents and giving finishing touches to the decorations ahead of the Fair.

He was a helpful darling. He ran around, showing the caravan people their allotted spots. He caught everyone's eye, with his cheerful manner and silver hair.

Mama Byun was also gathered at the village square with the other ladies, deciding which spot would be best to sell her milk cakes and sweet rice punch.

There was an atmosphere of gaiety and too much hustle bustle for the excitable Baekhyun to ponder over his skirmish with Chanyeol.

Dusk had settled but the village people were still crowded around the lively square.

The flute player offered Baekhyun a wad of notes for helping him set up his tent. Baekhyun also made a little money when he sold Xiumin’s granny’s meat to the travelling Charms seller.

Xiumin pinched his ears when he learnt that Baekhyun had profited like that.

“I didn't feel like eating. So I offered the vendor my dinner. Is it my fault he offered to pay me?” Baekhyun whined, afraid that Xiumin would go and complain to his granny.

Xiumin shook his head in disapproval.

Baekhyun also sighted Jaejoong. He waved happily at the hyung and the hyung waved back.

He was about to head home finally, his eyes beginning to droop, when he chanced upon a man bent over the objects he had spilled on the ground.

The ever helpful Baekhyun ran to him, “O Ho. What were you even thinking? Carrying all that stuff at once.” Baekhyun looked at the objects on the ground. Mirrors. Trinkets. Tiny globes. All silver and shiny. “Here, let me help you. Have you been assigned a tent yet? I can ask Papa if you haven't yet.”

Baekhyun helped the man gather his belongings.

“My tent is over there.” the man straightened. He spoke in a foreign accent. He was about Baekhyun’s height, but older. The sort whose age you can never guess.

Baekhyun helped the man carry his belongings to the tent. “If you need any assistance, feel free to ask for it. My name is Baekhyun.”

The man showed him a dimple. He did not say what his name was in return. Baekhyun was a tiny bit intrigued. A lot intrigued. He ran his eyes over the man’s belongings; they were a curious knick knack of foreign looking items.

“Who are you?”

“Give me your hand.” the man spoke at the same instant.

Baekhyun, ever trustful, extended his hand. The man touched it, turned it over and peered at his palm.

“Ask me.”

“Ask you what?”

“Anything you wish to know about your future.” The dimple showed itself again.

“You are the palmist?” Baekhyun squealed in delight.

“Go on. Ask me anything. It is free of charge. Just this once.”

Baekhyun did not even pretend to think of a question.

“Tell me about my mate.” he blushed, but he was never one to beat around the bush.

“Mate? Such an odd choice of word for a life partner.”

Baekhyun swallowed as if caught red-handed.

The man made no effort to hide his smile, “Nevermind. Cupid and Psyche.”

“Cupid and who-key?”

The man did not offer that answer. “I see a great bond between you and your other - physical and metaphysical. However, you will face many obstacles in your quest for love.”

“Oh. Okay.” Baekhyun shrugged. “See you around.”

He was beginning to walk away.

“You don't believe me, do you?” The palmist sighed, “I foresee an animal-husband for you, argentine. ”

Baekhyun whipped his head. “Animal-husband?”

“The stuff that fairy tales are made of. Husbands who are half animals. But we - wolfssegners - are also part of fairy tales, are we not?”

Animal husband!

Baekhyun kicked a pebble on the way.

He did not want any animal husband, thank you very much. They were cruel.

Besides, as Sehun said, Chanyeol would soon find himself a mate. And what would Baekhyun do then? Snivel around? He was better off without someone special if that was the case.

And just like that, the worry that he had pushed to the farthest corners of his mind came rushing back to the surface. Damn the palmist and his deception. His sleep was all gone now.

Baekhyun glanced at his mother, who was beckoning him from a distance to join her on the way home.

He shook his head and bounded the opposite way to the forest. He never meant to venture deep inside the woods, but as it so often happens when the mind is full of care, Baekhyun lost track of time and wandered quite a bit farther from his village.

The clouds had parted and his way was lit with the translucent shine of the orb of the night. It was a full moon. Baekhyun loved being out on such nights when everything was shimmery and magical. People went mad on nights of the full moon, they said, but Baekhyun always felt a heightened sense of awareness.

A heightened sense of awareness...Baekhyun whipped his neck around. There, someone hidden in the shadows of the night, slithering away…

“Who’s there?” Baekhyun called out, softly at first so as not to alert any wild animal to their presence. But the figure only moved away, cloak rustling as it slithered over leaves in the still of the night.

Baekhyun, like he almost always wont to do, pursued.

“Wait!” he shouted, throwing his caution away. The birds atop the trees flapped their wings in irritation as Baekhyun’s shrill voice rent the air, chiding him for disturbing the peace of the night. Nobody preferred to be disturbed at night, especially deep within the woods.

The figure turned slowly and started advancing towards Baekhyun in a leisurely manner. The wolfssegner’s eyes went wide when he noticed that this person was shorter than him. The hood fell off from the face and Baekhyun realised with a slight shock that -

“You are a girl!” he softly uttered.

“And you, wolf charmer, have summoned the beasts with your carelessness.” the girl lightly admonished. She looked like the incarnation of the Moon herself. Warm eyes, long hair holding magic in the wavy strands and an aristocratic, upturned nose. But the girl was smiling, least perturbed by the fact that quickening hooves could be heard in the distance.

By the time she reached Baekhyun’s side, a band of coyotes were almost them. The wolf charmer knew not to run from coyotes, that is the one thing you must absolutely not do.

“Relax.” the girl breathed.

Baekhyun tried to push her behind him to shield her from the coyotes. “I don't think they mean any harm but it is always good to be on the safer side.” he whispered to her.

She tilted her head, amused, pushing Baekhyun’s hand away and coming to stand in front of him instead.

“They do mean harm, but let's see if they can be persuaded otherwise.”

In a leisurely manner, in the exact same vein in which she had approached him, the girl stepped in front of what seemed like the leader of the band of coyotes. Baekhyun held his breath, mesmerised by her aura. In the deathly pale of the night, she looked like Moon’s very own child.

“Leave us.” she uttered in a firm voice. The coyote lifted his snout at that. The girl stared back.

Baekhyun forgot to breathe.

“Leave. Now.” the girl said with authority.

It was a while before the coyote changed his stance, he seemed to be almost bowing out.

Baekhyun waited until the coyotes disappeared in the shadows.

“Who are you?”

“You will come to know by and by.” There was a tease in her tone.

“Have I met you before? It seems I know you from somewhere.”

The girl smiled, “Do I look familiar?”

“You feel familiar.” Baekhyun whispered.

She regarded his words and pulled the hood over her face. “You should not wander so far away from your village.” she almost chided. “There are several wild animals prowling around at night looking for prey and unlike us, they swear no oath to harm no human.”

“You - you are a wolf.” It was a statement.

“Come. I will walk you to your village. A full moon does make beasts behave in crazy ways. Let me walk you to safety.”

Baekhyun nodded, still very mesmerised.

“Are you from Wolf Town?” he asked, but the girl did not reply. She merely led the way in her easy gait.

“I have friends from Wolf Town.” Baekhyun declared, in an attempt to start a conversation but the wolf girl did not pay him any heed. She knew a shorter way to his village, it seemed.

The lights from his village soon came into view. People were still up and about, judging by the moving torches.

Baekhyun came to a halt. “This village, you should not come too close. It might not be too safe for you.” he told her.

The wolf girl stepped closer.

“I have nothing to fear from the likes of you.” she almost scoffed. She extended her arm and showed him her tattoo - two moons. The protection!

“You - you are an alpha!” Baekhyun gasped.

“I thought you would be perceptive enough to realise that by yourself.” The wolf girl murmured. “Hmmm. You are too young.” She smiled.

She accompanied Baekhyun till the very edge of his village. The wolf charmer thought she would wordlessly bid him farewell but he was surprised when she spoke.

“Byun Baekhyun, we are vicious creatures. Vicious. Feral. Dangerous. ”

Baekhyun wanted to ask her how she knew his name.

“We are beasts. We are cursed night creatures. But if you look past that, you will find that we are more than our animal selves.”

Baekhyun nodded, as though chastised. What was she even chastising him for?

The alpha girl came nearer to peer into his eyes, “Of all people Baekhyun, I am counting on you to show magnanimity. Compassion. What are we but creatures ruled by the moon? We are bound to the Moon, to her cycles. But you, argentine, I expect you to be kind. I want you - nay - need you to be better than us. Can you be that?”

Baekhyun understood so little, but it was as though he could still divine everything the wolf girl was saying.

“Will you receive a talisman from me?” she whispered, drawing bearer still.

“T-talisman?”

The alpha girl smiled, “So no beast can harm you if you foolishly venture across one?”

Baekhyun nodded soundlessly.

The alpha girl bent forward to leave a kiss on his forehead. “And in return, I need you to show compassion towards mine.”

“I don't understand.” Baekhyun trailed off.

“You will, argentine . ”

Yoora waited until Baekhyun’s warm, buttery scent faded off, scattered by the wind.

She waited and waited. Finally, the village men settled down for the night and when there was no one awake anymore, Yoora slithered inside the village. The wind, her accomplice, led her to Baekhyun’s dwelling. She stood beneath the intricately constructed tree house and took it in.

The house cat was up and about. Yoora stared at it and the cat stared back. Amused, the wolf girl knelt on the ground and extended her hand. The cat jumped from the tree top and landed in front of her noiselessly.

“Fancy seeing you here, little one.” Yoora whispered as the cat licked her fingers. “How long have you been keeping watch?”

The cat gave a low purr.

“Oh! I see.”

She straightened and shooed him away.

Yoora made her onward journey. The wolf girl had been on her way to see her accomplice in the outskirts of the village when she had chanced upon Baekhyun. Curious about her brother’s crush, Yoora had made herself known.

He was indeed a dear. Yoora was mighty pleased.

She tapped gently on the window of her friend. “Jaejoong hyung.” she called out to rouse the wolf charmer.

A very sleepy Jaejoong let her inside the warmth of his small hut. “It is humid.” he complained, turning the fan on in his small living room.

Yoora took the proffered sweet, she always had a sweet tooth. “How have you been?”

“The years have been kind.”

“I am going away to Seoul tomorrow. Any message that I can bring?”

Jaejoong closed his eyes and shook his head.

Yoora extracted a small package from under her robes. “He sent this for you. With love.”

Jaejoong held his lover’s gift carefully in his hand. He did not ask how the other was.

“I met the silver-haired tonight.” Her eyes were dancing.

“And?”

“My brother is coming to stay here for the weekend. He does not realise it yet, none of them do.”

“That they are mates?”

“That they are mates.” Yoora affirmed. “To be very honest, I was apprehensive in the beginning. But now, I realise, this is the way forward. Two full blooded boys who are attracted to each other. A night stay and who knows what may happen. Tell me hyung, when did your hair start turning black? Was it when -?”

Jaejoong blushed. His hair was still highlighted with silver, but he preferred to dye it pitch black.

“You have to do me a favour.” Yoora’s eyes were blazing. She extracted a small vial from her person, and brought forth a ball of fire with a flick of her wrist.

Jaejoong observed with widened eyes. “Your power only grows and grows, Yoora. It is like nothing I have seen among your kind.”

Yoora made the fire flicker and dance on her palm. “Is it?” She poured the flames into the vial and capped the lid, trapping the fire inside. “I will be frank with you hyung. When my brother and Baekhyun mate, the argentine’s hair too will turn to black. We cannot let that happen.  No one must know. The boy’s hair should still remain silver. When the correct time comes, snip a lock off the argentine’s hair and burn it in this fire. You have to do it. We have to protect these two at all costs.”

Jaejoong’s face was grim. He nodded. “Your brother. Does he know of his powers?”

The wolf girl shook her head, “He does not know the sins of my father. He is unaware of the cruelties Pa committed to bring forth these powers in his bloodline. Chanyeol's powers lie dormant. Our parents are clueless as well.” Yoora looked sad, “I prefer it this way. Let only one of us carry the burden of our father.” She looked deep in Jaejoong’s eyes.

“You are too young to be so wise.”

Yoora laughed delightedly, praise from this good looking hyung never failed to flatter her, “The females of our species mature quicker than the male. I was birthed along with Chanyeol, and yet I am older age-wise.”

“It is late. I must go.” Yoora stood up to take her leave, “Just hang on a little bit longer, hyung. I will right all the wrongs of my father.”
Chanyeol was waiting for her. He gave her a suspicious look. “Junmyeon is in Seoul. Who were you out with?”

Yoora arched her brow. “A superior wolf need not reply to that.” She ruffled his hair and stepped around him to discard her robes.

“I was concerned for you. Come on, Yoora! And those robes, were you prowling around the forest?”

“Guess what? I am leaving for the city tomorrow. I needed to breathe in the forest air. You got any problem with that? No? Good. Why are you awake at this ungodly hour?”

“I couldn't sleep.”

“Butters?”

Chanyeol nodded.

“If it makes you sleep any easier, he looked fine to me tonight.”

“Yoora! You - you saw him?” Chanyeol’s hands were on his hips. “Why didn't you take me along?”

The wolf girl shrugged. “I was just minding my business, dancing in the moonlight. And then who should I chance upon? Your reckless Butters. Does he not have any sense of danger, wandering about like that, really?”

Chanyeol narrowed his eyes, “Danger?”

“I had to intimidate a band of coyotes away from him! And then I accompanied him to his village because he looked lost anyway. I worked so hard today Yeollie. But please, will you teach him to be more cautious?”

“I - well why should I? He called me a monster.”

“Go to sleep Chanyeol.” Yoora rolled her eyes. “Oh wait.” she squealed at her brother’s departing back. “There is a very curious creature at the silver haired’s place. It is disguising itself as a cat. I am sure you shall have fun when you meet him. I asked him to expect you day after tomorrow.”

“I don't think the invitation still stands.” Chanyeol frowned. “Baekhyun all but hates me.”

“No he doesn’t, you thick headed fuzzy. Go sleep.”

Baekhyun debated whether or not to pluck peaches for Chanyeol that day. Should he? Shouldn’t he? He was also a little embarrassed at the way he flew off the handle the other day.

All his doubts fell by the wayside when he spotted Chanyeol at their usual meeting place, leaning against the tree trunk, his eyes darker than Heechul’s scowl whenever he saw Chanyeol and Baekhyun sit together in class.

The wolfssegner could not tell which was gloomier - the weather or his wolf.

Baekhyun walked up to Chanyeol tentatively, but the latter dragged him to his side with a determined pull. The wolf did not say anything, focused instead on breathing Baekhyun’s scent.

The wolf took in the scent clinging to the boy’s neck with a desperation that clearly spoke of a lot of things. Baekhyun stood as still as he could, allowing his wolf this sensory pleasure.

He was pleased but also embarrassed. Chanyeol had never done this before - taking in Baekhyun’s scent as though his very survival depended upon it.

When Chanyeol was finally done whiffing Baekhyun, they made their way silently to the school gates. No one spoke of the argument of the day before. The spectre of the unresolved argument loomed over them, making them unable to look at each other’s eyes and properly exchange a greeting.

Baekhyun’s peaches stayed inside his pockets.



At lunchtime, Baekhyun found the wolf’s eyes on him, always on him, unwavering. Their friends knew something was remiss. The usually jovial Baekhyun sat quite straight, looking morose, his eyes droopier than ever.



Sehun dropped the fork with a loud clang on his plate. “That's it. You guys! Chanyeol, make nice with your boy toy. He looks like someone kicked him. I - I am starting to feel guilty, okay?”



Chanyeol caught Baekhyun’s eyes and held his gaze.



When class reassembled after recess, Chanyeol gripped Baekhyun’s hand on the desk.

Baekhyun sat up straighter. The wolf kept his eyes trained on the teacher but he grazed the wolf charmer’s fingers with his own. It was as though he desperately needed to touch Baekhyun, desperately needed to know that everything was alright between them.

Chanyeol looked defeated, like a lost puppy, a kicked puppy - he looked on edge. He kept grazing Baekhyun’s fingers with his own in all the classes.

Baekhyun decided to take pity on him.

Towards the end of the day, Baekhyun pried his hand away and grabbed Chanyeol’s fingers instead.

Chanyeol looked up in surprise as Baekhyun brought the wolf’s hand to his lap and kept it there.

Baekhyun offered his seatmate a small smile, the first tiny smile of the day.

The alpha took an audible sigh of relief. A cloud had lifted. “It is in my nature.” Chanyeol stated helplessly.

Baekhyun stuck out his lower lip at the wolf and blinked. “I am sorry.” he mouthed.

Chanyeol shook his head. Unmindful of the teacher, he leaned his head on Baekhyun’s shoulder and clasped their hands tighter.

Chanyeol walked Baekhyun halfway home in comfortable silence.

“You will come to the fair tomorrow, right?” Baekhyun asked, unsure.

Chanyeol nodded. How could he not.


Later that night, Baekhyun received a surprise call from Chanyeol.
“I just needed to hear your voice.” Chanyeol’s voice was hoarse.

Baekhyun smiled. He had just discarded his clothes and lain down on the bed. “I was just about to send you a good night message.”

“Sleepy?”

“No. I want to talk.”

“Tell me about the Fair.”

Baekhyun curled himself into a ball at Chanyeol’s sleepy voice. “I have already told you all there is to tell.” he whined.

It was true. Baekhyun had chewed Chanyeol’s ears off, giving insignificant details about the yearly event.

“I just want you to keep talking. I want to hear your voice. Help me sleep.”

“Are you having trouble falling asleep?”

“Usually I talk to my sister before bed. But she has left for Seoul. I can talk to you, can't I?”

“Of course you can. Why do you think we exchanged numbers? Fool.”

Chanyeol grinned. “Baekhyun?”

“Mm?”

“You have the loveliest fingers. Don't bruise them plucking fruits. Take me along and I will pluck them for you.”

Baekhyun curled some more. “You have fat fingers.” he threw.

Chanyeol laughed, “And your tiny mouth does not know when to stop.”

Baekhyun chuckled. He gathered Kyungsoo and sat the feline atop his tummy.

“Never get angry at me ever again. It nearly killed me.” Chanyeol said.

Baekhyun melted at the passion behind those words.

“You are being … dramatic?” Baekhyun whispered, his toes curling nevertheless.

Kyungsoo looked at him with judgmental eyes.

“Baekhyun, when I hold your hand, never snatch it away. It feels terrible.”

Baekhyun chuckled, the move making Kyungsoo lose his balance on the pudgy tummy, “Okay. I will not.”

Kyungsoo scrambled to get back up on Baekhyun’s abdomen.

“I will give you all the rides you want. I will be your wolf. Okay? Just do not walk away from me like that.”

“I won't.” Baekhyun promised shyly, then yawned.

“Sleepy?”

“I worked so hard today. I helped erect tents for the Fair. I ran around like a crazy ball. I met a palmist and then I met a band of coyotes and then a wolf girl swooped out of nowhere and chased them away.”

Chanyeol had difficulty following what the sleepy boy was rambling, but he became alert at the mention of his sister.

Baekhyun on the other side of the Forest, sat up abruptly too. “Chanyeol! Do you know of any alpha wolf girl in your town? The one I met in the forest was an alpha.”

Kyungsoo whined his displeasure at being toppled off balance once again.

“No. I don't.” Chanyeol lied, “Besides, what were you even doing, wandering in the forest at night?”

Baekhyun dragged the cat back on his lap, looking for warmth and comfort.

“For God’s sake, give me a call when you feel like going on these adventures. I will take you wherever.”

“But you want me naked on top of you.” Baekhyun yawned.

“I will be naked too, you know.” Chanyeol reminded, feeling flustered at Baekhyun’s choice of words.

“I am naked now.” Baekhyun teased.

Chanyeol groaned audibly. “Did you have to say that!”

Baekhyun laughed and Kyungsoo looked daggers at the boy. This fool, the cat thought contemptuously. He lightly bit Baekhyun’s fingers to remind him to be prudent.

“Do you always sleep without your clothes on?”

“Mm hm.”

“Will you sleep naked when I come over?”

“Chanyeol! I can't sleep naked with you on the same bed.” But the wolfssegner had curled up on the bed again. Kyungsoo’s tail danced slowly. This loser was having too much fun. He had heard enough.


Leaving the foolish boy to his simpering, Kyungsoo jumped out of the window and made his way to the kitchen. The mother always left a bowl of milk for him by the kitchen sink. Sometimes the neighbour’s cat came and lapped the milk together with Kyungsoo.

The cat carefully wiped his whiskers after emptying the bowl.

The kitchen smelled of the milk cakes the mother had made. For the event everyone was going crazy over. The cat just hoped they did not forget to give him his treats in excitement over the Fair.

The mother would never. Kyungsoo was her favourite. Baekhyun was Kyungsoo’s favorite but the loser was busy flirting with some loser. Loser, Kyungsoo thought, licking his paws clean, glaring at no one in particular.

The house had been given a spring cleaning because Baekhyun’s guest was coming. Hmm. Kyungsoo would try his absolute best to intimidate this human.

“Didn’t I tell you already? You are sleeping in the cowshed.”

Chanyeol growled, displeased, “Only if you come along.”

“You are sleeping with my brother.”

“But he is not my wolf rider. You are.”

Baekhyun again sat up at that. “Park Chanyeol, are you finally admitting you gave me a ride that night?”

Chanyeol sighed, “What were you even doing in Wolf Town, snooping around that night? You were lost and if I had not chanced upon you, you would have been someone’s late night snack.”

Baekhyun puckered his lips and blew himself a spit bubble.

“Oi. Wolf charmer. Sleepy? Go to sleep.”

Baekhyun rubbed his eyes. “Not sleepy.” he protested. “Let us talk some more. I like your voice. It is so mature and ticklish.”

“Ticklish?”

“Mmm.” Baekhyun scratched his tummy, then looked around. “Oh. Kyungsoo’s gone. He was here a while back.”

“Who’s Kyungsoo?”

“The house cat. My baby. My little meow who hates me, I think.”

There was silence on the other end for a while.

“How long has the cat been your house pet, Baekhyun?”

“For too long.” Baekhyun answered grumpily. “I don't know. Around my thirteenth birthday, I think. My hair was already silver when Kyungsoo decided to follow my mum around. He followed her everywhere around the village. Mama finally took pity on him and elevated him from the cowshed to our house. She might take pity on you too. She might allow you to sleep in the kitchen.” He sniggered.

“I am no house cat.” Chanyeol announced, “I am your wolf. And I will sleep beside you.”

Baekhyun’s cheeks warmed at Chanyeol’s brazen declaration.

“My wolf?”

“Yours.”


Baekhyun hid his face in the pillow. He produced a mewling sound. Chanyeol clutched the phone to his ears and teased the boy. “This must be a dream come true for you, isn't it, silver-haired? A wolf all your own.”

“Yeah. Yeah. Whatever. Go to sleep, wolf.” Baekhyun disconnected the phone before he produced more of those involuntary whimpers.

A wolf of his own.

Baekhyun was beyond pleased. He was red in the ears and there was smoke coming out of his nose.

It took a while before his heart rate steadied. Chanyeol was a very handsome wolf.


Tomorrow, come soon.

Chanyeol could not believe the boy disconnected the call without a proper good night. Severely lacking in manners, this wolf charmer was. Sigh! He could finally sleep in peace tonight and then tomorrow, if he was lucky enough, who knew what might happen.

He was a tad nervous at the thought of meeting Baekhyun’s parents but if truth be told, he was willing to sleep in the cowshed just to be near the boy and smell his warm scent. That alluring scent drove him crazy sometimes.


Tomorrow had better come soon.


 

 

Chapter Text

 

Bisou Bisou - a tiny kiss (French)



Chanyeol should have known the wolf charmer would be waiting for him at the exact same spot where they bid each other goodbye after school every day. The wolfssegner had the purest of grins on his face and not even the clouds overhead could wipe off that enthusiasm, Chanyeol was beginning to learn.

 

“It's going to rain.” Chanyeol observed, testing if he could dampen the spirits of the silver wraith.

Baekhyun scrunched his nose and shrugged the worry away. Traces of slumber had yet to leave the corners of his eyes and Chanyeol suspected very much that Baekhyun had slept very less at night.

 

The wolf wondered if Baekhyun too had woken up at the crack of dawn just like him.

 

“How did you know when to expect me?” Chanyeol asked.

 

Baekhyun, in his stead, tried to wrest his wolf’s overnight bag. Chanyeol did not ease his grip on the bag, “I can carry it just fine.” he lightly admonished.

 

He gave a sidelong glance at his companion when Baekhyun would still not say anything. And smiled at the lovely picture the droopy eyes presented.

 

“Did you walk all the way here straight after waking up? Is it the first thing you did?”

 

Baekhyun scoffed.

 

Chanyeol slowed down his strides so that the wolfssegner could easily match step with him. Walking side by side with Baekhyun in the morning felt very heartwarming.

 

There was something very soft about the morning sun and it felt as if the birds reserved their best songs solely for these hours. Chanyeol and Baekhyun were two persons who were rediscovering the magic in mornings.

 

The wolf also fully realised why Baekhyun was always late for school. On the way to the village, Baekhyun stopped every few minutes to point at the beehives hanging off trees. Each one of them. Baekhyun’s keen eyes missed nothing, he had mapped them all in his mind.

 

Chanyeol was not too hung up on being stung in the quest for quality honey and despite Baekhyun’s full usage of his lower lip, he refused to humour the silver haired.

 

“Watch your step.” Chanyeol said, concern lacing his tone. Baekhyun had a tiny smirk on his face; perhaps he found the wolf’s concern comical. The wolf charmer was wearing knee length shorts and an off white tee and Chanyeol found him absolutely adorable.

 

Chanyeol wanted to reach out and touch the softness in the silver. It looked particularly shiny in the morning light. Baekhyun bounded out of reach when he extended his hand to do the same.

 

“I hope you get nice and hungry by the time we reach there.” were Baekhyun’s first words that day. “Mama has prepared so much for brunch.”

 

Chanyeol smiled. Baekhyun smiled back. Chanyeol already felt full.

 

And now that Baekhyun had started, would he stop?

 

“I wake up early every day.” the wolf charmer supplied, skipping ahead on the grassy path, “I want to be there when Papa milks the cows, and then I take them out to the pastures. Baekbom herds the cows on school days, but even he has started to work and the poor cows have to fend for themselves now.”

 

Baekhyun's shoulders drooped but the very next moment his eyes lit up with pride, “But they are such intelligent darlings, they find their way home every evening all right. Occasionally, a calf gets lost and then we have to spend half the night looking for it. They moo so loud, it's never hard to locate them.”

 

Chanyeol imagined the silver haired looking for lost calves. Somehow, visualising a worried Baekhyun made Chanyeol creep up even closer to the boy. The wolfssegner was creeped out alright; he hastily put distance between them, laughing away Chanyeol’s sudden closeness.

 

“My cows would be very restless around you. I think you can still be friends though. They listen to me.”

 

“What about your cat?” Chanyeol grabbed Baekhyun’s arm and pulled him back to his side. The wolf charmer stayed put this time.

 

“Kyungsoo would never befriend you. He hates people who get close to me.” Baekhyun had a laugh hidden away somewhere in his proclamation.

 

Chanyeol looked away to hide his scowl before it showed.

 

“I brought home an injured bird in the winter. Baekbom had to keep constant watch over Kyungsoo because he was ready to eat birdie at the first opportunity.”

 

“What happened to the bird?”

 

“Flew away.” Baekhyun flapped his arms.

 

“Anyone else I need to watch out for?”

 

“None. I can handle all others, but I can't scold Kyungsoo. He is my baby. My meow.”

 

“Yeah. Yeah. Your meow.” Chanyeol grumbled, low enough so Baekhyun wouldn't overhear.


The wolf was indeed hungry by the time they entered the village. There were no gates or signboards welcoming visitors to the village. Chanyeol felt a slight change in the air, a slight shift in the aura around the place, and that was all. It was an aura that should have and would have scared all trespassers away, but the alpha was made of sterner stuff. Chanyeol noticed that Baekhyun stuck real close to him now that they had set foot inside the village.

 

Up ahead in the distance, the wolf spotted several tree houses. The wind carried the faint sound of drums and flutes and hurried human steps. And the scent of very many eatables. Laughter. Shouts. The village, placid looking at first, was alive with the noise of its people. And Baekhyun, standing right by his side, Baekhyun's heart was thudding too loud. The wolf charmer was looking at him with barely guarded concern.

 

“You will be fine here, won't you?”

 

Chanyeol leaned in to take in the smooth scent of his ball of butter. “I will be more than fine.” he said. “You are very pleasing to the senses.”

 

His eyes darkened when Baekhyun quickly looked away at his declaration.

 

“Yeah yeah. Let's hurry up. The trees have ears and the birds can sing. Let's get home before word travels that there is an alpha among our midst.”

 

Baekhyun grabbed Chanyeol’s sleeve. “The Village Fair’s the time when everybody runs around like headless chickens with thousand things to do. No one will pay you any mind if you don't go broadcasting yourself as a wolf.” Baekhyun eyed his wolf from top to bottom, “Unlike wolves, we can’t smell you out. So just try to blend in, okay?”

 

Chanyeol, who had not felt nervous lying to his parents that morning, was suddenly a little clammy in his palms. Baekhyun’s family.. Baekhyun's elder brother .. Baekhyun’s cat!

 

Chanyeol was worrying in vain.

 

As it turned out, Baekhyun’s father and brother had already left for the Village Square, and his mother was about to too.

Mama Byun greeted Chanyeol very warmly, fondly. She was a little shorter than her son and had cheeks similar to his. The wolf could see where Baekhyun got his brightness from. And his eye smile.

 

Mama Byun did not laugh out loud like her son when Chanyeol almost tripped on the wooden staircase that led up the treehouse. That is not to say she was not amused.

 

Baekhyun led him to his room, “You can put your things here. The washroom adjacent to my room might feel small, there's a bigger one down the corridor outside. Suit yourself.”

 

Baekhyun shrugged as if he did not care what Chanyeol thought about his room.

 

The wolf laid his stuff down and looked out the windows. The clouds that had gathered earlier had floated away. The sky was a clear blue, and the sunlight poured inside the room, illuminating every corner. He turned to look at his charming host, “it's just perfect.” he grinned.

 

Baekhyun looked triumphant.

 

Mama Byun looked at her guest appraisingly when they were comfortably seated around the dining table for brunch. “Baekhyun’s brought home such a tall guest. Please be mindful of the roof overhead.”

 

Chanyeol wondered if Mama Byun meant to tease him. Baekhyun beamed at Chanyeol. He looked proud of his wolf’s height.

 

“Where’s everyone?” the wolf charmer looked around.

 

“They already left. And I should hurry too. You know Xiumin’s granny. She will not stop complaining if I don't join her at the Fair soon.”

 

Mama Byun placed bowl after bowl of food on the table. “I trust you boys to eat to your heart’s content. I hope you like bokumbap.” Her eyes twinkled when they met Chanyeol’s.

 

The alpha hastily began serving himself from the plate of fried rice. “It's a favorite.”

 

Mama Byun smiled and brought out a pot of spicy kimchi soup. She ladled some in both  their bowls. “There is a feast tonight. Just us and some neighbours. Try everything they are selling at the Fair, but make sure to leave room for more. Here, taste these.” She handed the plate of pancakes with batter to Chanyeol.

 

Chanyeol suddenly turned to Baekhyun by his side who was taking the first sip of his egg drop soup. “Where’s your cat?”

 

Mama Byun and Baekhyun smiled at each other. They looked like co conspirators.

 

Mama Byun could not rein it in and just laughed. She placed the rest of the side dishes on the table and pointed towards the kitchen sink. “There. Don't you see him? He has been glowering at you ever since you arrived.”

 

Chanyeol craned his neck to have a better view.

 

The cat was there alright. Staring at Chanyeol with pure hatred.

 

Baekhyun giggled. “Kyungsoo-yah. Come and meet Chanyeol.”

 

But Kyungsoo did not move an inch.

 

“He would normally be all over my ankles by now.”

 

“I think he hates me.” Chanyeol said out loud, beginning to see the humour in this.

 

“Of course he does. Didn't I warn you earlier?”

 

“But does he have to glare at me like that?”

 

“It's his speciality.” Baekhyun said proudly.

 

They finished the meal in easy camaraderie. Mama Byun left as soon as she had ascertained that her guest was comfortable and eating well.

 

“You mum is sweet.” Chanyeol stole a pancake from the other’s plate.

 

“You should have seen her when I overturned her pail of milk the other day. She was screaming like a banshee.”

 

Baekhyun stole the pancake back.

 

They sat by the window in Baekhyun's room after washing the plates and bowls and cleaning the table. Kyungsoo plonked his fat self on the window sill, reminding them that they were not entirely alone in the house.

 

The drowsiness that sets in after a full meal made them lazy, lazy enough not to talk for a while. Baekhyun crept up close to his wolf and leaned his head on the wide shoulders.

 

Close was still not close enough. Chanyeol pulled Baekhyun closer to him and the latter succumbed. This intimacy with his wolf rider  delighted the wolf.

 

It did not delight the cat.

 

Kyungsoo abandoned the window sill and crawled on Baekhyun’s lap, demanding all his attention. Chanyeol rolled his eyes, but what could he do. Baekhyun was cooing at his meow.

“He is downright scary.” Chanyeol laughed, poking the cat with his index finger and pulling away before the feline could retaliate.

 

“Mmmmm.” Baekhyun dug his nose into the ball of fluff, “You could learn a thing or two from Kyungsoo.”

 

“Such as?”

 

“How to intimidate without physical violence. You go around hitting your - lesser wolves, and here's Kyungsoo. He can make people behave with a single look.”

 

“I can too. Besides, I think your cat will claw my eyes out at the first opportunity.”

 

“No he wouldn't.” Baekhyun was struggling to hold on to Kyungsoo. He had smothered the cat enough and the cat wanted to escape his clutches. “Sehun hates me too. You find that amusing, don't you?”

 

Chanyeol bent forward to have a clearer look at Baekhyun’s face. The latter was still leaning against his shoulder. “Does it bother you that much?” he asked, his voice a gentle rumble.

 

Baekhyun shook his head. “I don't mind Sehun.”

 

The wolf pinched Baekhyun's nose. “Not that. Me hitting others.”

 

Baekhyun took some time replying. “Of course it does! Won't people just listen to what you’ve got to say? You are their almost alpha afterall. How do you think you can win someone’s loyalty like that? You are just inspiring fear, not awe. Xiumin’s granny says a leader is someone who is admired, not someone who’s feared. That's a tyrant. Do you want to be a tyrant?”

 

“No.”

 

“What do you want to be?”

 

With you, like this, all the time. “ A leader.”

 

“A kind leader.” Baekhyun corrected for him.

 

“Very well. I will try.”

 

“They're already intimidated by you. No one wants to sit next to you at class. But do they respect you? Admire you?”

 

“Do you admire me?” Chanyeol blurted.

 

Baekhyun did not answer. He extracted himself from Chanyeol’s neck and stood up. “Come on. Time for the Fair. Chop chop.”


Chanyeol soon found out that Baekhyun’s excitement over the Fair was not unwarranted. It was a riot of colours for one. There was a mask drama being played out on a raised platform and most of the crowd had gathered to cheer. Nobody had any time to look at anyone. Everyone was busy doing their own thing.

 

The wolf was dragged to the stall where colorful shaved ice desserts were being sold. And who were the sellers? Luhan, Xiumin and Jongdae. Baekhyun promptly bought two green tea flavored desserts and handed one to his wolf.

 

“You should have let me pay.” Chanyeol complained, taking a bite of his dessert. But the boy was busy licking his spoon.

 

“You are my guest! Mama gave me pocket money to show you around the Fair.”

 

Chanyeol tried to wipe the green cream off the corner of Baekhyun’s mouth but the wolf charmer evaded his hand and licked at the corners of his mouth instead.

 

“We will go visit Mama’s milk cake stall and then we can start having fun.”

 

Chanyeol’s eyes grew round. “Baekhyun, I am so full already.”

 

Baekhyun gulped a huge spoonful of shaved ice. “Then we will ask her to pack some. But go we must. And then we can go wild.”

 

Chanyeol had to agree, Baekhyun’s enthusiasm was contagious. They nodded politely at the people who called out to Baekhyun, shooed away petty vendors selling their wares and bought colorful paper flags to carry around.

 

Mama Byun introduced Chanyeol to Xiumin’s grandmother who asked the wolf a hundred and one questions while Baekhyun’s mother packed cakes for them in white paper packets.

The cakes smelled divine but the boys really did not have appetite for food just then.

 

Chanyeol won a large and very ugly soft toy at one of the stalls after successfully aiming at and bursting all the balloons with the toy gun. Baekhyun promptly claimed ownership of the teddy bear and the wolf did not mind. He had won it for Baekhyun in any case.

 

The wolf alone was not encharmed, there were other souls just like him. People flocked to the silver haired charmer to tease him. Baekhyun attracted the young and old alike like bees were drawn to honey. Everyone enquired after Baekhyun’s tall and handsome companion and the wolfssegner proudly replied that he was a friend.

 

There was nothing wrong with the description but Chanyeol..perhaps..wanted to be called more than a mere friend? Why could not Baekhyun just introduce him as his wolf!

 

“I can't.” Baekhyun hotly replied when Chanyeol asked him to.

 

“You can't tell people I am a wolf?”

 

Baekhyun clutched his soft toy, “That is what I am trying to tell you! I cannot. Mama forbid me to announce it in the Fair like this. There are so many visitors from other places. She asked me to be careful. What's the matter? Why do you care?”

 

“Never mind, Byun Baekhyun. Where to next?”

 

The wolfssegner peered into his eyes, “You are enjoying, aren't you?”

 

Chanyeol narrowed his eyes. “How can I not? I am with you.”

 

Baekhyun bought it in a millisecond. “Of course.” he said, reaching for the other boy’s hand. And because Baekhyun was holding his hand in a tight grip, Chanyeol did not mind it as much.

Baekhyun knew almost everyone in the village, and could strike up a conversation with the old, middle aged, and children alike. He was reverential with the old, polite with the middle aged and absolutely playful with the children.


Time passed by in a whirl. Before long, plaintive notes of the gayageum could be heard.

 

“It's Jaejoong hyung!” Baekhyun practically bounced on his toes, throwing Chanyeol off gear. “I told you about the gayageum player, remember? Let's go watch him play.”

 

A sizeable crowd had already gathered around the raised pavillion where Jaejoong sat with his eyes closed, his fingers plucking at the strings and creating magic.

 

Chanyeol watched from the corner of his eyes how Baekhyun was literally melting. He did not like it. He did not like the admiration in the wolf charmer’s eyes. That was a look that was and should be more or less reserved for him. The boy was not even blinking, staring at the stage with an awestruck expression, swaying a little bit at the music.

 

The wolf lightly pulled Baekhyun’s fingers away from the latter’s mouth. Baekhyun frowned at him and trapped his fingers again inside his lips. It was a habit with Baekhyun, the alpha was beginning to realise.

 

“Jaejoong hyung plays so well.” Baekhyun whispered.

 

Chanyeol rolled his eyes. Baekhyun was not even looking at him. Mama Byun’s eyes were on him though. She had apparently stepped out of the stall to watch Jaejoong play. But she had been observing her son’s friend instead.

 

The wolf blushed at being caught rolling his eyes. Mama Byun hid a smile and looked away first.

 

Chanyeol clasped his hands behind his back. Something about Baekhyun’s mother made him very nervous. Maybe because her resemblance to her son was uncanny. He chanced another glance in her direction. She was looking at him alright. She was looking at them. Mama Byun smiled prettily at him, and Chanyeol felt as if she could see right through him.


Ah, but Baekhyun’s mother was bound to be extraordinary.

 

Chanyeol wondered if Kyungsoo sent death glares at Jaejoong as well. He wondered how many times Jaejoong visited Baekhyun, or vice versa, if they were close, if Baekhyun was as friendly with everybody.

 

Mid performance, Baekhyun sighed and leaned against him. Chanyeol was very, very aware of Baekhyun’s mother’s eyes on the two of them. He did not brave any glance in her direction this time. Why was Baekhyun so frightfully ignorant! Or carefree!

 

Baekhyun looked up at him just as the gayageum player took a break in between songs. Chanyeol could have sworn his ears were blowing steam when Baekhyun tiptoed to whisper in his ear. “Jaejoong hyung was in love with a wolf once.”

 

Chanyeol turned so quick to look at Baekhyun that they were about to accidentally kiss.

 

Startled, Baekhyun moved two steps back.

 

“What?” Chanyeol leaned towards his wolf rider.

 

The boy nodded at him. “Yes. He fell in love with a wolf. And then, the pack leader chased the wolf out of Wolf Town.”

 

Chanyeol’s heart was suddenly beating very fast. The idea that a wolf could be in love with a wolfssegner was .. novel. Jaejoong had started plucking the strings again - a doleful melody this time.

 

The alpha pondered over what Baekhyun had just whispered in his ears. It was like a revelation. Unheard of. Unthinkable. Or was it? Chanyeol’s palms were clammy again. At the sudden realisation that the pack leader who threw the wolf out must have been none other than his Pa. His father was very strict regarding codes of the pack.

 

Chanyeol stared holes at Jaejoong. Why would a wolf fall in love with a wolfssegner, he wondered. Why would they risk being thrown out of the pack? Because Jaejoong was extraordinary, his heart supplied. He turned to look openly at his companion now, the one who was swaying to Jaejoong’s music. Baekhyun was extraordinary too. Baekhyun was -

 

Baekhyun smiled and turned to him, but the smile fell at his expression.

 

“What happened?” the wolf charmer immediately sought to know.

 

Chanyeol shrugged.

 

“You looked pained for a second there.” Baekhyun prompted, brows drawn in concern.

 

The wolf drew his rider snug against him, throwing an arm over the boy’s shoulder. He forgot that the mother stood across them, observing her son and his friend. Chanyeol saw Jaejoong in a new light now, his aggravation from earlier all but evaporating.

 

The gayageum player lazily opened his eyes and stared directly at Chanyeol. The wolf felt hooked; he could not peel his eyes away. He felt as if Jaejoong had put him under a spell just then. It was the weirdest of sensations. The wolf felt goosebumps over his flesh.

 

Chanyeol saw the gayageum player’s eyes soften when they fell on Baekhyun. The wolf rubbed his hand on the wolfssegner’s bicep. He was next introduced to the real elder brother - Baekbom.

 

Baekbom was stockier and more sober than Baekhyun. But he had his own sense of humour.

 

“How come no scratch marks on your face yet? Kyungsoo did not welcome you?”

 

They laughed. They found a tree to sit under and the milk cakes were brought out.

 

Chanyeol tried to overlook how Baekhyun sat closer to his brother, and made dopey eyes at Baekbom. He tried to ignore how Baekhyun seemed to revere his brother, and how fond the brother seemed of his wolf rider. Chanyeol was a bit envious. He conveniently forgot that Yoora and he shared a similar bond.

 

“Jongdae’s father was looking for you.” Baekbom told the silver haired, and Chanyeol averted his eyes from them.

 

“Did you ask him why?”

 

“He wants to extract honey from a beehive.”

 

“Ahh.” Baekhyun said.

 

Baekbom tried to explain when he saw Chanyeol visibly bristle, “Baekhyun has a way with bees. There is nothing to worry about.”

 

The silver haired was grinning, “Once you have the queen bee in the palm of your hands, the other bees just follow and obey you.”

 

Chanyeol had half a mind to tell Jongdae’s father off for coming to look for Baekhyun. Bees! The wolfssegner’s skin was sensitive, Chanyeol did not want bee stings on the peanut butter skin.

 

Baekbom may have noticed Chanyeol’s protective stance. “Good luck with Kyungsoo then.” he said, patting Chanyeol’s back playfully and moving away to tend to his other chores.

 

The wolf charmer narrowed his eyes at Chanyeol once his brother was gone. “I have been trapping queen bees ever since I was a kid. My spells never miss their mark.”

 

The wolf rolled his eyes. He stuck close to Baekhyun nevertheless.

 

They walked out to the forest after making several rounds of the same stalls in the Fair. Baekhyun climbed atop a tree much to Chanyeol’s annoyance. He sat atop a high branch, his legs dangling in the air. “I have been climbing trees since I was a kid. Why do you worry so much?” The silver haired minx dangled his leg some more.

 

Chanyeol’s heart was in his throat. “Come down.” he whined.

 

Baekhyun shook his head and leaned over the branch, balanced precariously.

 

Chanyeol’s heart stopped.

 

“Baekhyun get down here.” he said in his best, authoritative voice. But would it work over the wolfssegner?

 

“Say that you will give me a ride tonight.”

 

The imp!

 

“Baekhyun-ah, haven't I already promised you rides? Dusk has set. Just get back down here.”

 

“Tonight?”

 

“Yes. Please come back here.”

 

“All night?”

 

Chanyeol would have promised him his heart. “All night.” he acquiesced.

 

Baekhyun, like a lightweight grasshopper, made his way down the tree. He landed next to Chanyeol gently. “See? No harm.”

 

The wolf wanted to roughly pull Baekhyun’s hair, he wanted to caress the silver strands. He was thoroughly conflicted. He wanted to ask what sort of spell Baekhyun had cast on him.

 

He walked a few places behind Baekhyun, not even aware that an involuntary smile had crept up on his face. Those are the best smiles.

 

Arms tightly folded behind his back lest he reached out for Baekhyun in concern, Chanyeol savored the view in front of him. Baekhyun had a peculiar way of walking, his hips moved in a lazy way, and his feet did not land on the ground in a straight line.

 

He will teach himself to not be concerned about Baekhyun all the time, Chanyeol told himself. Either that, or the wolfssegner’s glares.


The wolfssegner could roast meat and sweet potatoes, Chanyeol learnt that night. He watched as Baekhyun set the fire up and placed pieces of seasoned meat high over it. The sweet potatoes cooked much faster.

 

The wolf finally met Papa Byun, who he learnt, was not a man of many words. So it was all Mama Byun then. Mama Byun had transferred all her charm on her youngest. Kyungsoo was cuddled in Baekhyun’s lap and Baekbom informed Chanyeol that the cat normally did not prefer Baekhyun’s lap.

 

“That's good to know.” Chanyeol said cheerfully.

 

Kyungsoo opened one sleepy eye to glare at the guest.

 

Soon after, Papa Byun and Baekbom began barbecuing beef ribs. The appetising smell of roast meat, garlic and burnt wood permeated the air. Chanyeol and Baekhyun made do with scrapes of sweet potatoes until the meat was cooked.

 

Mama Byun and Xiumin’s granny were toiling in the kitchen, preparing side dishes and rice.

 

It was a feast alright.

 

Chanyeol felt sated just sitting around the fire. And stealing glances at the silver haired. Who was cooing at the cat. Who was glaring lazily at Chanyeol, supremely smug that he was the one who was nestled cosily on Baekhyun’s lap.

 

Baekhyun would sometimes catch Chanyeol looking at him and smile secretively. The wolfssegner was not in a talkative mood; he too seemed content to be just sitting beside his wolf.

 

Clouds had again gathered overhead. The magic when it's dark outside, and the wind is chilly with unshed rain, is a magic which cannot be described by poor mortals. The moon was nowhere to be seen, and the stars twinkled through the gaps in the clouds.

 

Chanyeol sat straight when Baekhyun inched closer to him. They were both drowsy. It had been a long day. And yet, the promise of the late night ride kept both of them alert.

 

The wolf could really do this everyday, sit beside Baekhyun and stare at the pitch black eyes of the wolfssegner.

 

There was so much chemistry, Baekbom had to avert his eyes from the two of them.

 

Sexual frustration, Xiumin’s granny would have pointed out in a jiffy. But she was thankfully not around. And she may or may not have been right.

 

The old lady was busy stirring the pot of boiling vegetable stew in Mama Byun’s kitchen.

 

“So, that alpha Baekhyun brought home, were you able to find out more about him?” her voice was a little sharp.

 

Mama Byun carefully stacked the plates and bowls she had to carry downstairs to the garden. “I haven't asked yet. Where was the time? There's plenty of time to get to know him.”

 

Xiumin’s grandmother huffed, “You are just hoping that the wolf isn't the pack leader’s son, aren't you?”

 

Mama Byun’s hands were steady, “The pack leader had his daughter with him when all of us met for parleys. Maybe he has no son.” She prayed the pack leader had no son.

 

“And maybe the sun rises in the west.” the old lady spat, “Don’t do this to yourself. Don't give yourself false hope. Baekhyun’s hair turned silver the very next day after Jaejoong’s mother cursed the pack leader.”

 

Baekhyun’s mother placed the cutlery back on the table. She shook her head, “What do you want me to do? Act against nature? Nature decided my son should have silver hair. Who are we to act against her designs?”

 

Xiumin’s granny placed a placating hand on her shoulder, “A timely warning can ward off so much harm. Warn your boy. It's high time now. He should know, before he loses his heart to that charming alpha. Let him know what Jaejoong went through, and how much he suffered. Tell him how dictatorial the pack leader is.”

 

“No.” Mama Byun’s voice was firm, “Baekhyun is too young. He is just seventeen! If he wants to fall in love, let him fall. Fall. He can get up again. These are life lessons everyone should learn on their own. I won't interfere. And I won't allow anyone else to interfere either!”

 

“You have met the pack leader. You know how he is! There is no way, no way this will be acceptable to him.” Xiumin’s grandmother warned.

 

“The wolf is still a kid. They are both so young. Let them be.”

 

“They are not kids. I peeked out the window. That wolf and your youngest are staring deep in each other’s eyes.”

 

“Then let them stare. There are not many things as beautiful as young love. Let's just witness young love. What the fates have chosen for Baekhyun is for Baekhyun alone to find out. Come. The stew is cooked and we should not keep everyone waiting.”

 

But Xiumin’s grandmother had to know. She kept sending furtive glances at the two boys who were so obviously into each other. She watched as they finished off food from each other’s plates and teased each other all throughout dinner. Her wizened eyes did not miss how Baekhyun perked up under the wolf’s attention. The wolf seemed to be oblivious of all else tonight, even Kyungsoo who was inching nearer, maybe in an attempt to claw at him. Her heart grew soft. She understood Baekhyun. The wolf was very handsome.

 

“Baekhyun-ah” she decided to butt in when their plates were put away. “Tell us more about your friend. You two seem to be very close.”


Chanyeol waited. He wanted to know how Baekhyun would describe him. But his wolf charmer merely yawned and leaned against him. “Wolf from Wolf Town. Close yes. Very sleepy. Me.”

 

The alpha smiled. The old lady was looking at him kindly. “Park Chanyeol, right? By any chance, are you related to the pack leader?” she asked.

 

Baekhyun giggled. “Tell her Chanyeollie.”

 

Chanyeol took a deep breath, “Yes I am. The pack leader is my father.”

 

The wolf did not feel the wary eyes on him at the declaration. He was only aware of Baekhyun’s giggle coming to a halt. The wolfssegner sat up straight. He would not meet Chanyeol’s eyes.

 

“But your father does not approve of amity between wolves and wolfssegners, not even a bit. I am surprised he let you come to our Fair.”

 

Chanyeol saw Mama Byun trying to stop Xiumin’s granny mid sentence. But what was the point in lying?

 

“Pa does not know I am here.” The wolfssegner looked at him. “I told him I am going to meet my sister and her fiance.”

 

He saw Baekhyun’s eyes narrow. “Why did you lie to them?”

 

“They would not have allowed me to come.” Chanyeol answered. “And I promised you I would.”

 

“Oh?” Baekhyun said. Just that small syllable. Just that small syllable and the look of incredible hurt on his face.

 

“And if he finds out? Won't you be in trouble?” Baekhyun’s mother was the picture of concern.

 

“He will not. I mean - he does not need to know.”

 

“He does not need to know.” Baekhyun parroted, “I let everyone know that you are coming to visit me. And you did not have the courage to let your father know that you are friends with a wolfssegner!” Baekhyun was disappointed.

 

Chanyeol tried placating the boy. “It’s not like that. My father will not let me be friends with you. I want to be your friend .”

 

Baekhyun did not say anything. He went quiet.

 

Chanyeol wished he had come clean to Baekhyun.

 

The silver haired was quiet as they readied themselves for bed.

 

Mama Byun came and deposited extra pillow on their bed. “It gets cooler at night.” She placed thin blankets on the chair for them to use if it rained at night and the air turned chilly.

Baekhyun dug himself under the covers, “Good night.” he said in a small voice.

 

Chanyeol lay down next to the boy, thinking of ways to set things right.

 

“Are you ashamed to be seen as my friend?” Baekhyun whispered out of the blue when a deadly silence had fallen over the entire house.

 

“Baekhyun, I hang out with you all day at school. I sit with you in class.” Chanyeol pointed out. “I am always seen with you.”

 

“But you did not tell your parents that you are coming here.”

 

“You don't know them.” Chanyeol fumbled around for the boy’s hand and clasped it hard. “They are not like your parents. They will send me to another school if they learn I have been hanging out with wolfssegners.”

 

“And you will go, just like that?”

 

“You don't know my father.”

 

“I think I know. He is the one who made Jaejoong hyung’s wolf leave your town. You are so sly. You kept quiet when I told you hyung’s story-”

 

“What would I have said? That hey - that person who broke up your precious hyung and his wolf was my father?”

 

Baekhyun extracted his hand from Chanyeol’s grasp and turned the opposite way. “If your father doesn't want you to be friends with us, let's not be friends anymore.”

 

Chanyeol wanted to hit his head on a brick wall. “Why do you always say that? Let's not be friends anymore! You are more than a friend to me.”

 

Baekhyun turned to face him, “Oh yeah? Like what? More than a friend, like a secret friend right?”

 

You're not a secret friend!”

 

“You are scared to tell your parents about me! I think I am your secret friend alright.”

 

I am your wolf! And I let you ride me! That Jaejoong hyung is so precious to you, isn't he? Why don't you go and ask him if his lover gave him any secret rides. Wolves never ever! And I allow you that. So yes, we are more than friends. Now stop behaving like a spoilt brat.”

 

Baekhyun fell silent at that.

 

The minutes passed.

 

Chanyeol knew Baekhyun wasn’t asleep; the latter’s breathing was erratic.

 

“What if your father really sends you away?” Baekhyun whispered, his voice soft now.

 

The wolf burrowed his head in Baekhyun’s nape and sniffed the sensitive area around the silver haired’s neck. “I am here now, aren't I?”

 

Baekhyun placed a hand on his wolf’s arm, “I won't let you go anywhere.”

 

Chanyeol realised that the wolf charmer was indeed scared that he would be shipped away someplace else. “Hey. I am not going anywhere.” He traced Baekhyun’s face with his fingers. “Do you know what we should do?”

 

“What?” Baekhyun snuggled closer to the wolf.

 

“I promised you a ride tonight, didn't I?”

 

Baekhyun sat up at that. “We can climb out of the window.” he said, joy returning to his voice.

 

“Wear something warm. I will try to keep you warm but it might rain and get cold outside.”

 

“But - but riding in the nude?”

 

Chanyeol chuckled, “Not today.” he said. 'Let not anyone say that I gave you rides because I wanted to see you naked.”

 

He could not make out Baekhyun’s expression in the dark, but judging by the absence of any retort, the wolfssegner was fine with things as they were.

 

He waited by the window as Baekhyun bolted the door to his room from inside. They sneaked out the window and felt their way to the staircase in the dark.

 

Chanyeol did not let go of the boy’s hand as they walked to the outskirts of the village. They were both excited to be up and about at night.

 

“Where are you taking me tonight?” Baekhyun whispered as Chanyeol let his hand go.

 

“Where it will delight you the most.” Chanyeol whispered back. “Now stay here. Don't come peeking while I undress.”

 

Baekhyun hummed. “Okay.” he said.

 

Chanyeol left Baekhyun at the narrow path and walked inside the forest, locating a tree with a hollow in its trunk where he could hide his clothes. He did not like leaving Baekhyun all alone in the dark and hastened to divest his clothes.

 

The transformation from a human body to the shape of a wolf was uncomfortable, always uncomfortable. It was like letting go control of one's own body for a minute or two. As the bones and flesh stretched and reformed themselves, the consciousness too went for a change. Everything was much more heightened as a wolf, every feeling, every emotion. Anger, hunger, affection, love - and the sense of smell.

 

The wolf turned his snout up to sniff at the delicate and teasing smell of the wolfssegner. He quietly approached the boy, and smelled him all over. The wolf rider touched him gingerly at first, then launched himself at his neck in adoration.

 

Chanyeol grunted in disapproval.

 

“My wolf!” Baekhyun was squealing, “It's you. It's you.”

 

Chanyeol licked the boy’s cheeks so that the latter would loosen his tight hold.

 

“Blerghhhhh!” Baekhyun stepped back, “Don't lick me! Bad wolf.”

 

The wolf yipped in reply. He bounded around Baekhyun for a while and finally crouched so that his rider could climb atop him.

 

The wolfssegner smelled of butter and the forest smelled of jasmine. Chanyeol purposefully took Baekhyun through paths where the low hanging branches would not hurt the boy.

 

He loved how the wolf charmer squealed whenever he picked up pace. But it would do none of them any good if Baekhyun were to topple off and snap his neck.

 

The forest was an eery blue. His heart was crimson. And Baekhyun’s spirit was silver. The wolfssegner had sprawled himself on his back, nose buried in the fur, hands clutching tufts of his fur.

 

Chanyeol loved the light weight on his back. He worried that Baekhyun would sleep off and tumble down.

 

The wolf took him to the small pool where water collected from a fall.

 

He was amused when Baekhyun refused to climb off his back. “No.” the boy said when Chanyeol shook his hind part.

 

So, with Baekhyun refusing to get off the wolf’s back, the two friends quietly listened to the sound of the waterfall.

 

“I came here with Baekbom once. We got lost. Years and years ago. I totally forgot about this place.”

 

The wolf stepped inside the pool and Baekhyun squealed when his ankles submerged in the water. “You are not going to completely drench me, are you?” he scolded his wolf, but snuggled close to him. “You are never going to leave, are you? Are you?”

 

It was foolish of Baekhyun to ask questions when Chanyeol was in his animal form. “Let's go running.” the silver haired whispered in his wolf’s ears. He was delighted when Chanyeol found a clearing big enough to pick his speed up.

 

Before the wolfssegner knew it, his wolf had changed course and was leading them straight home.

 

The return journey was in companionable silence, punctured by Baekhyun’s whispered observations about the night.

 

Baekhyun silently waited at a safe distance as Chanyeol put his clothes on. There was no need for conversation, not when they had learnt to be wolf and rider.

 

Chanyeol had no qualms bringing the palm of Baekhyun’s hand to his cheek as they lay down to sleep. “Good night, wolf charmer.” he whispered.

 

“Good night, wolf.”

 

Finally sleep took over. And they slumbered, happy in the knowledge that their noses were touching each other.


Chanyeol woke up because something tickled his nose. He smiled, was it Baekhyun’s hair, he wondered. He could feel sunlight on his feet, and the hustle and bustle of the village goers. He opened his eyes to greet the wolf charmer, maybe stare at how the other slept - only to get  the shock of his life!

 

Two green orbs filled with murderous intent were staring at him.

 

Chanyeol sneezed and sat up on the bed when Kyungsoo’s whiskers tickled his nose again.

 

“What the hell? Why were you creeping up on me like that!”

 

The cat blinked.

 

“Don't act innocent. I know you are more than a cat. So cut the act before I tell Baekhyun about you.”

 

The cat showed the wolf his pointy teeth.

 

“Better get used to me.” Chanyeol announced dramatically, “I took Baekhyun out for a ride last night, and I will take him again. If you don't like it, go cry in a corner.”

 

Kyungsoo regarded him loftily.

 

“You are totally going to shit in my food now, aren't you?”

 

The cat nodded. The gall!

 

“Come here, you slimey furball-” Chanyeol lunged at the cat. And missed.

 

“WHY ARE YOU SCARING MY CAT?” Baekhyun was standing on the doorway, his hands on his hips, his hair damp from a recent shower.

 

“He scared me first!” Chanyeol was indignant, “He was staring at me with his odd eyes. Woke me up, he did. With his staring.”

 

“That is how he wakes us up.” Baekhyun said fondly. “You will get used to it.” He scooped the cat in his arms. “Hurry up and brush your teeth. The breakfast is on the table. Mama is in the cowshed. There’s a cow who is going to calve soon.”

 

Baekhyun rocked Kyungsoo in his arms, waiting for Chanyeol to do his morning things.

 

“Do you want to go visit the pasture?” Baekhyun asked his wolf when they were done with breakfast.

 

Chanyeol was going to return home that day.

The wolf would do anything to prolong his stay.


Chanyeol never prided himself as a very patient person, but reclining against the trees and watching the cows chew cud was not entirely boring.

 

The sky was the brightest azure and the pasture was a delightful green, dotted with wild flowers.

 

“Xiumin’s granny says everyone should grow up herding cows.” Baekhyun declared. “To learn to be patient.”

 

Chanyeol scowled at the cows.

 

“Don't glare at my animals.” Baekhyun pouted, his pout glistening with spit.

 

Chanyeol, at the spit wet pout, stopped himself from leaning too close, stopped himself from - what? What was he just about to do? Smell the wolf charmer’s skin? Or more. There was too much ringing in Chanyeol’s ears, and pin drop silence.

 

Baekhyun’s eyes, nose, lips - totally captivating.

 

Suddenly the wolf was very relieved that there were ribcages - to rein his heart in. He should not lose it. He would not lose it, damn it!

 

Baekhyun gathered a bunch of flowers in his hand. “Can a wolf eat flowers?” the wolf charmer asked innocently, tease evident in his manner.

 

Chanyeol scrunched his nose.

 

Baekhyun made a face and proceeded to force the flowers inside the mouth of his red cow.

 

Watching the cow happily tug the flowers from Baekhyun’s hand, all Chanyeol could wonder was whether a wolf could taste a wolfssegner’s lips, if only for once.

 

Perhaps not.

 

Chanyeol stopped himself from imagining it.

 

Baekhyun reached for him, “Give me your hand.”

 

Take my heart, take all of it, everything I have. Chanyeol offered his hand instead. Baekhyun immediately pulled him closer.

 

He could not describe why he, all of a sudden, wanted to tackle Baekhyun to the ground, roll over the grass and make the other boy laugh. Chanyeol satisfied himself with just breathing in Baekhyun's scent. Thank God for all small consolations.

 

And the silver haired charmer was not paying him the slightest attention, breeze in hair, mouth spread in a wide, delighted grin. So many things delighted Baekhyun. Chanyeol hoped he delighted Baekhyun too.

 

He noticed that Baekhyun was sitting barefoot and proceeded to open his own shoes. It was the strangest of sensations, the tiny grass blades prickling him for stepping on them. They were nothing to the fluttering in his heart.

 

Chanyeol knew he had a stupid look on his face, but he couldn't help it. This whole village, the woods in these parts, even Baekhyun were dangerous in a very different sort of way.

 

Why hadn't he noticed the boy at school before? How could he have missed Baekhyun for so long, him with the silver streak of hair.

 

Jongdae found them half an hour later. He whistled when he saw them lying side by side on the grass, cows moving around them, the very picture of idyllic domesticity.

 

“Oi. Dad is looking for you. You promised to help him extract honey from a beehive, it seems.”

 

Baekhyun sat up.

 

Chanyeol wrapped his fingers around the fabric of Baekhyun's t shirt. His wolf rider turned to look at him, excitement in his eyes. “Let's go.” the silver haired said.

 

The wolf sighed.

 

The wolf was worried.

 

The hive was situated many feet above ground.

 

Baekhyun winked at Chanyeol, “Watch and learn.”

 

Chanyeol eyed the many bees swarming around the hive. Jongdae’s father handed Baekhyun a square box made of wood.

 

Chanyeol watched as Baekhyun let out a soft whistle and murmured words in his palm. The wolf charmer, silver haired and angelic, blew the words from his palm towards the direction of the beehive.

 

Baekhyun waited with his palm outstretched. Several heartbeats later, the queen bee flew to him and landed on his palm. “I have found a new home for you. From now, stay here happily.” He guided the queen bee inside the box and hastily put the wooden item on the ground.


A swarm of bees followed in the trail of their queen and crawled inside the box. Their new home. New hive.

 

Jongdae’s father patted Baekhyun’s back. “You have such a way with bees.”

 

Baekhyun pointed at the empty hive, “I want a jar of honey in return.”

 

“I will send two jars this evening. Your mother can make you your favourite hotteoks.”

 

They parted ways at that.

 

“I thought you were a wolf charmer. You turned out to be a bee whisperer.” Chanyeol put an arm over Baekhyun’s shoulder, clearly very proud.

 

Baekhyun turned a pretty shade of pink, and he smiled with his whole heart.

 

Streak of light. Ball of butter, thought the wolf.


The rest of the day passed by soon enough.

Baekhyun insisted on carrying Chanyeol’s bag for him on the latter’s walk home.

 

Chanyeol felt a wee bit heavy, leaving Baekhyun behind. But it was only a matter of twelve hours and they would again see each other at school.

 

Talkative Baekhyun was not talkative as they walked through the trees. The wolf charmer seemed to be debating something internally.

 

“I miss you already.” Baekhyun said when they reached their regular spot. “Don't go.”

 

Chanyeol pulled his bag from Baekhyun’s hand. “I will see you at school. Tomorrow.”

 

“Will you call at night?”

 

“The moment I reach home.” Chanyeol replied, worried at the look on Baekhyun’s face. He did not want to leave either. He wanted to stare at the sky with Baekhyun beside him, while the harmless cows grazed around them.

 

“So I guess - good bye?”

 

Baekhyun shook his head, “No Goodbyes. Only I Will See You Tomorrows.”

 

Chanyeol wanted to say a lot of things, trouble was he did not know what it was that he wanted to say. “I will see you tomorrow.” he said instead.

 

Baekhyun sighed, waved and turned around.

 

Chanyeol had barely walked a few places when he heard hurried footsteps behind him. He turned around, a smile beginning to form.

There was the tiniest frown on Baekhyun's angelic face, and Chanyeol found himself being tugged forward by Baekhyun’s hand.

 

Before the wolf could process a thing, Baekhyun stood up on tiptoes with his entire weight  against Chanyeol’s body and left a very audible smack on his cheek. The wolfssegner’s eyes were bright with secrets unrevealed. His smile after placing the kiss on Chanyeol’s cheek was brighter.

 

“I will see you tomorrow.” Baekhyun laughed at Chanyeol's dumbstruck expression. And the silver haired charmer bounded off.

 

Chanyeol stood rooted on spot, waiting to see if the wolfssegner would again come running after him, this time to leave a kiss somewhere else. He hoped Baekhyun would.

 

Baekhyun did not come.

 

The wolf felt funny all the way to his home. It was all he could do to restrain himself from changing to his wolf form because the feelings were too much for his inadequate rib cage.

 

He carried his involuntary smile all the way back.


Chapter Text

 



Baekhyun raced all the way home. His heart was racing too. Did he really do that? Grab hold of the wolf like that and plant a kiss smack on the cheek? But what else could he have done! The wolf simply refused to take the hint. He had been giving signals left, right and centre that he would like to be kissed good and proper, thank you very much. Chanyeol had to be a really stupid sort to not decipher his advances. The wolf was daft, really. There was no other word for it.

 

Daft and such a loser of a gentleman, he didn't even let Baekhyun strip! After teasing him and leading him on since God only knows when, the alpha didn't even let Baekhyun divest his clothes. Baekhyun was beyond disappointed.

 

How many more signals need a wolfssegner give? The weekend had been a heavy disappointment. Not entirely, but somewhat. Here he was, internally hoping that Chanyeol would jump him at the first opportunity, and finally shower him with some sweet, sweet love but the wolf was not done playing gentleman, it seemed.

 

Baekhyun fished Kyungsoo out from under the dining table and walked inside his parents’ bedroom, unconsciously looking for his mother’s calming presence.

 

Mama Byun looked up from her knitting as her youngest child noisily walked in and flopped on the king sized bed. She had been knitting a bright green jumper for the silver haired, but she set the balls of wool away as her child made his tummy comfortable on the bedspread.

She watched silently, a sweet smile decorating her lovely face, as Baekhyun hugged one very unwilling cat.

 

All the signs were there.

 

Her poor child was lovesick.

 

The wolfssegner had the habit of hopping and skipping around his mother on certain occasions. Whenever something troubled him, he would potter around her until she did or said something to calm him. Baekhyun further crawled under the bed covers, dragging the cat along.

 

The cat looked grumpy. Now that Chanyeol was gone, Kyungsoo was no longer interested in Baekhyun.

 

“Your papa’s down in the cow shed taking care of the cow. She's birthing. Don't you want to go assist him?”

 

Baekhyun absolutely loved to assist in birthing calves. He would run around carrying hot water. The silver haired could soothe any cow out of her labor pain.

 

“Isn't Baekbom there? I don't want to go.”

 

“Tired?’ his mother asked, playing with his soft, argentine hair. Baekhyun crawled out of her grasp, handing Kyungsoo to her instead.

 

His mind was elsewhere. Why did Chanyeol hesitate, he mulled. Why was there hesitation in Chanyeol’s eyes? Why couldn't the wolf just plant a kiss on his lips. Is it to much to ask!

 

Bloody wolf!

 

Baekhyun knew Chanyeol wanted to. He could feel it; there was a bond which had formed between them. It was intangible yet vibrating with potent force. Always.

 

If Baekhyun concentrated enough, he could almost see the bond with his eyes closed. Yellow and gold, suddenly coming into being out of nothingness. Baekhyun had felt it first when Chanyeol had given him his very first ride. However, he had been ill equipped to understand it just then -  the wonderful phenomenon of the emergence of their bond.

 

He felt it again when they went for their ride yesterday, this time more cohesively, with crystal clarity. The bond, now that Chanyeol had gone back to Wolf Town, was not letting him breathe. Hence the tossing and the turning.

 

“Do all wolves have mates, mum?” he asked.

 

“Yes, they do.” Mama Byun nodded, parting Baekhyun’s fringe to check his temperature for fever. Her child looked feverish.

 

“Can I have a mate too?”

 

His mother laughed. “Awww. Baekhyunnie wants a mate. We don't do things along that line. We choose someone for ourselves and decide to marry them. It's wolves who mate. You will marry too one day, but you have quite a lot of growing up to do for that.”

 

Mama Byun would have left for the kitchen to cook dinner but she sensed that her son wanted to stick close to her. She sat beside the curled lump that was her son and pretended to knit.

 

“Did Chanyeol reach home safely?” she asked.

 

Baekhyun shook his head, “I don't know. He said he would call but hasn't yet.”

 

“Is that why you're worried?”

 

“No mum. He is an alpha. The chosen pack leader.” Baekhyun was proud that his wolf was going to be the pack leader one day. He would have been proud of his lanky wolf in any case, pack leader or not. “No harm can come to him. He is majestic.”

 

Chanyeol had promised to call. Was the wolf upset with the kiss. Baekhyun pouted. Was Chanyeol acting odd because of the light peck on the cheek? It was a kiss on the cheeks for God’s sake, what was there to be so conscious about.

 

He suddenly raised himself up on his elbows.

“When do wolves mate, mum? Do they also mate when they grow up quite a lot?”

 

“It depends. For wolves, it is full and final. Some wait to find their perfect mate, some mate early because they find someone for themselves during their rut. Some mate early, some late.”

 

“But they always stick by their mates?”

 

“Baekhyun-ah, a wolf is as good as dead if they are separated from their mate.”

 

“Is Jaejoong hyung’s mate alive then?”

 

Mama Byun looked at her son sharply, “Huh?”

 

“Jaejoong hyung and his wolf were separated from each other. They were mates, weren't they? How're they living like this?”

 

“You've been going around asking questions.” His mother stated, clearly displeased.

 

“Please answer me. I want to know.” Baekhyun begged.

 

“The pack leader, Chanyeol’s father, gave the wolf a choice - either to let go of Jaejoong, or leave the pack. Jaejoong’s mate was a very proud wolf. He wouldn't leave Jaejoong, not for anything. Sohe chose to leave the pack instead.”

 

“Why didn't he take Jaejoongie hyung with him?”

 

Mama Byun sighed, “It is a long story baby. Wolf Park said he would sever all ties with us if we support Jaejoong. And you know how we are reliant on the wolves for everything. The pack leader wanted us to throw Jaejoong’s ailing mother out of the village if he left with Yunho. He said he would evict us out of our lands if we shelter Yunho. It was a terrible time.”

 

“Yunho?”

 

“Yes, Yunho. Jaejoong’s mate.”

 

“What happened then? Did all the villagers force Jaejoong to stay?”

 

“We couldn't risk the enmity of the wolves. Our clans have been at loggerheads for years and years. Who doesn't like peace? We owe it to our children to leave a legacy of peace behind.  The elders begged Jaejoong to not leave with Yunho. Jaejoong had to take his own mother into consideration. All said and done, Jaejoong just killed himself one night and asked Yunho to step away from his life forever.”

 

Baekhyun gasped. “For real? Jaejoongie hyung did that? Was he- wasn't he heartbroken?”

 

“Ofcourse he was. Grief stricken. But for him, it was always about love. It was never about possessing someone. He did not want violence in his wake.”

 

“Why is Chanyeol’s father so cruel?”

 

“I don't know, child. People in powerful positions somehow end up being cruel.”

 

“Chanyeol is not cruel.” he told himself. He would make sure that Chanyeol never ended up becoming this cruel. People ought to be free to love whoever they want.

 

Mama Park carried on, “Yunho was an alpha too, and he was a much better leader than Wolf Park could ever be. People loved him. They cherished him. Chanyeol’s father was very insecure of Yunho. He wanted to secure Chanyeol’s future as the next pack leader, because Yunho was growing to be a strong contender for the position. He must have seen this as an opportunity to drive him out.”

 

“How come nobody said anything! This is not done.” Baekhyun sat up, ready to fight the world for this injustice.

 

“People were very scared of Chanyeol’s father.

They did not want to openly disobey him. Why would they speak up for an orphaned alpha? Chanyeol's family had been the pack leaders for generations, and word has it that Wolf Park made great sacrifices so that his son was born an alpha.

 

“Why didn't you say anything? Why didn't you ask Jaejoong hyung to run away with his wolf? Why should we be scared of the wolves?”

 

Mama Byun smiled at her child. Always the crusader. “Because peace between wolves and wolfssegners was achieved after years of parleys. No one wants to derail that. It's bigger than all of us. Always remember that, Baekhyun.”

Baekhyun hummed, displeased with the world. “But Jaejoong’s mother is no more. He could leave the village, run away to his wolf.”

 

For someone as young as him, the idea of two people who loved each other but could not be together was frightening.

 

“Jaejoong gave his word. A man is only as good as his word.”

 

Baekhyun looked at his mother’s kind and understanding face, “Jaejoong’s mother must have been very hurt.”

 

He saw a flicker of pain flash in his mother’s eyes. “She didn't last two months after that. It ate away at her soul to see her son so lifeless.” Her voice quaked with anger, “And she was such a fine lady. Do you remember her? She was incredible. She helped bring you in this world. She was so fond of you.”

 

Baekhyun nodded. He remembered Jaejoong’s mother only slightly.

 

Mama Byun touched Baekhyun’s silver hair. “The night she died, we were all gathered around her, taking turns to keep her comfortable. With her very last breath, she cursed the Park family. I was there holding her hands. I heard her words. Sometimes, when you're at school and the house is silent, I can still hear those words.”

 

“What - what curse did she use?” Baekhyun’s eyes were wide.

 

“The curse of the last breath.” It is a curse, which when spoken while drawing one’s last breath, takes immediate effect.

 

“What did she say?” Baekhyun felt like crying. He did not want Chanyeol’s family to be cursed, even though what his father did was despicable.

 

Mama Byun thought it was about time her son knew. “She wished for him to witness a similar heartbreak. She said his own son will go through all the pain that Jaejoong and Yunho had to go through. She cursed that he will be betrayed by his own offspring.”

 

Baekhyun felt goosebumps over his body. This felt like a B grade horror movie.

 

“Why should Chanyeol suffer for something his father did? Does that make any sense?” Baekhyun was agitated.

 

“Baby, calm down. Jaejoong’s mother was the kindest woman I knew. I am sure she never meant to punish any innocent person in the process.” Her eyes were on the silver hair, “She meant the curse for Wolf Park alone. Rest easy. No innocent will have to suffer.”




Kyungsoo sat still on the armchair on the corner of the room, watching the exchange between mother and son. He, of course, knew the entire story. He thought it was good for the mother to give some sort of forewarning to the son for what was about to come.

 

The cat had witnessed it all, from high atop the tree, as the parleys failed and the young alpha wolf left town, never to be seen of or heard from again.

He was also in the vicinity when Jaejoong’s mother died. Kyungsoo had promptly alighted in front of the Byun family the night of the curse, the night when Baekhyun’s hair turned silver.

 

The pack leader’s son would fall in love too, with a wolfssegner no less. History would repeat itself and maybe this time, different conclusions would be drawn.

 

Kyungsoo had looked into Baekhyun’s past, present and future. He felt it was imperative that he stick close to Baekhyun. The silver haired was resourceful in his own way, the fool may never need Kyungsoo’s aid. But the cat had seen a very violent incident in the not too distant future, and he meant to thwart the danger at all costs. Baekhyun will never come to any harm so long as Kyungsoo was by his side.




Chanyeol’s parents were waiting for him with good news - they had secured Seulgi’s hand as his future mate. He didn't know what to do with the knowledge, he could only push away the many offerings which had come from Seulgi’s family.

 

“You should take her out on a date soon.” Chanyeol’s father suggested, following him to his room upstairs. Chanyeol knew what his father meant by 'date’; the pack leader wanted him to bed Seulgi, he wanted the deal sealed, he wanted them to mate.

 

“We will announce your engagement in a grand ceremony later. For now, do what needs to be done. She is a fine lass, she will produce healthy successors to carry our bloodline forward.”

 

Chanyeol felt a little sick in his gut.

 

“I need to use the washroom.” Chanyeol massaged his temple.

 

His father slapped his shoulders, “Better clean up well. The Kangs are coming for dinner tonight. You must look sharp.”

 

Chanyeol latched the door to his room.

 

What the hell was happening?

 

A mate? This soon?

 

And here he had been hoping for some more time. When wolves mate, their entire being focused on the one they bonded with. Newly mated pairs would die of agony if they were not around each other all the time. Nothing satiates them more than having their mate as close as close could be. Chanyeol had hoped for some more time. He was not yet done with Baekhyun, he didn't want to let go just yet. He still had a plethora of places to show Baekhyun. He had yet to see the boy naked, yet to kiss him properly, for Chanyeol was determined to steal a kiss. For keepsakes. For eternity.

 

He had difficulty concentrating during dinner. Seulgi was seated right across him, smiling at him with twinkly eyes. Chanyeol remembered, as if from a dream from ages ago, that he had flirted with Seulgi at the Charity Gala.

 

They had flirted so much, and he remembered kissing her hair, hand, or was it her lips? He couldn't recall. Their parents had observed them dancing and making merry. The Parks and the Kangs must have made their permutations and combinations that day and arrived at a specific conclusion.

 

Chanyeol was a catch. Besides being the pack leader designate, he was well liked for being largehearted, good looking and strong. Seulgi was striking, her ancestors had been powerful werewolves. She had a lovely personality.

 

The wolf recalled being overjoyed when Seulgi had accepted to be his dance partner back then. If that night had eventually led to their hooking up with no one knowing, Chanyeol would have counted himself twice blessed and dozen times lucky.  

 

But all of that was in the past, before Baekhyun. For him, time was now bifurcated into two large lumps - before Baekhyun and after Baekhyun.

 

Before Baekhyun, Chanyeol would have complimented Seulgi’s hair color - a fiery shade of red. After Baekhyun, Chanyeol had been blinded by silver. There was no colour in the whole wide world as striking and as elegant as silver. He was willing to fight anyone who contested this.

 

Before Baekhyun, Chanyeol would have found Seulgi’s tiny forkfuls endearing. After Baekhyun, Chanyeol knew no one could eat as cutely as his wolf charmer. Watching Baekhyun eat was such a delight, no amount of Seulgi’s tiny bites could topple that.

 

Before Baekhyun, Seulgi’s bubbly personality would have floored him. But now, after Baekhyun, he knew, didn't he, that there was not a soul in the world who possessed a brighter personality that his wolf charmer.

 

Baekhyun’s cheeks were mochier.

 

Baekhyun could certainly do better Pikachu imitations.

 

Baekhyun's smile was lovelier.

 

Baekhyun’s hips...let's not go there.

 

So, Park Chanyeol, alpha wolf from Wolf Town sat through the dinner comparing his mate to be with Baekhyun, and Baekhyun came first on all counts. In Chanyeol’s heart, Baekhyun would always be first. Chanyeol would fight anyone who so much as attempted to dismantle Baekhyun from his position.

 

Chanyeol walked Seulgi home. He tried to be as charming as ever, he tried to crack jokes. He soon realised that all the jokes he cracked were borrowed from his silver haired charmer.

 

Gosh! When did Baekhyun permeate his entire being thus? Chanyeol couldn't remember allowing this. Why had he allowed this to happen, and what if he stopped this?

 

Back in his room, he sent a short message to his sister - Noona. SOS.

 

A small voice in the back of his head, also known as guilt, reminded him that he ought to call Baekhyun and let him know that he reached safely. That boy was expecting a call. That boy had sent him off with a cheery kiss. That boy perhaps deserved so much more than he was capable of giving.

 

Chanyeol pushed his hand phone aside and flopped on the bed.

 

He tried to think of Seulgi, conjure her image. Seulgi had a nice figure, nice breasts, nice ass, nice legs, nice everything. Then why was his mind conjuring images of Baekhyun instead!

 

And the finest thing ever to happen in his fucking, fine life happened. He got hard. One small image of Baekhyun lying next to him and sleeping - that's all it took to send all sorts of messages to his dick. Just great.

 

Chanyeol sat up on the bed and pulled his throbbing member from his underwear. He suddenly recalled that Baekhyun hated wearing clothes to bed. The wolf gave slow, rhythmic tugs in the beginning, staring at the wall, pushing thoughts of Baekhyun and trying to think of Seulgi instead. But his mind drew a blank. God, the struggle. He was embarrassed at himself.

 

It was not the first time when his treacherous brain had supplied images of a naked Baekhyun in various forms of disarray while he masturbated. But it was the first time he didn't want to think of Baekhyun.

 

Baekhyun with pitch black eyes. Baekhyun with the button nose, fuckable mouth and conch shaped neck. Sweet damn..Baekhyun was sex on legs. In his wolf form, Chanyeol could smell the musky scent of Baekhyun’s sex. The alpha pumped his penis harder, thinking of Baekhyun with eyes closed and legs opened wide. With his free hand, Chanyeol played with his balls, trying to come to fruition with steady strokes because his mind could only take so much Baekhyun.

 

Baekhyun licking his lips..Baekhyun biting his lips..Baekhyun licking his penis…

 

Chanyeol groaned. He spilled his seed in his palm..he couldn't help groaning Baekhyun’s name, and deriving the deepest satisfaction from it.

 

He was mind fucked.



Baekhyun woke up at first light. He was fully dressed, having fallen asleep on his parent’s bed. Kyungsoo was curled on his feet, taking small breaths, ticking Baekhyun’s sensitive toes.

His parents must have shifted to the guest bedroom for the night. Again. Baekhyun yawned. Why was he so excited again? Ah, school. He was excited about going to school and meeting his wolf.

 

The silver haired charmer frowned all of a sudden. He pulled his cellphone from under the pillow and looked at his call records. No missed call. Baekhyun’s frown deepened.

 

What is this, he thought.

 

Did he really scare the wolf with his forward behaviour?

 

Baekhyun couldn't help sending a tart message to his wolf. “ Asshole ” he typed in and hit send. In all these days, Chanyeol never not called at night. His mind went back to what Mama Byun had told him about Chanyeol’s father.

 

The wolfssegner’s mood darkened.

 

Baekhyun decided not to ponder too much over Chanyeol’s mixed signals. He took the cows out to the pasture, watched them graze, said hello to the baby calf which was born last night, and hopped over to Jaejoong’s hut.

 

The gayageum player was preparing breakfast when Baekhyun filtered in.

 

“I don't like cucumbers.” Baekhyun scrunched his nose when the hyung offered him some cold cucumber soup. “Mama is making pancakes filled with honey right now. I will go home and eat.”

 

But the hyung insisted that he eat.

 

Baekhyun accepted the sweet egg sandwiches because they looked extremely delicious. He ended up eating more than he should have.

 

Jaejoong waited until the silver haired swiped all the sandwiches off the plate. “Your hair has grown so long, Baekhyun-ah.”

 

“Mph.” The long haired in question licked the sauce off his fingers.

 

Jaejoong straightened Baekhyun’s fringe and it reached to his nose.

 

“Look at you. Like a Lhasa Apso dog. How do you concentrate on studies when all your attention is spent on pushing this fringe away.”

 

“It's attractive.” Baekhyun declared.

 

“You’ll get prickly heat with all the running around and sweat and long hair. Do you want me to trim it just an inch?”

 

Baekhyun tried to slither away but Jaejoong’s grip on his nape was firm. “You can still pretend to be a Lhasa Apso when I am done with your hair. Your mother was complaining the other day how you don't trim it. It’s about to be peak summer. Come. Let me trim it just an inch.”

 

Baekhyun shook his head. “I am getting late for school.”

 

“If you let me trim your hair, I will teach you a new spell.”

 

Baekhyun mulled over the offer. “If I let you trim my hair, will you tell me about your wolf?”

 

Jaejoong’s eyes narrowed.

 

“Please.” Baekhyun put on his shit eating grin, puffing his cheeks and batting his eyelids.

 

“Fair enough.” Jaejoong decided.

 

Baekhyun chugged down the glass of milk laced with honey as the hyung left to find the scissors.

 

“Were you mates? Can a wolf mate with a wolfssegner?” Baekhyun asked without preamble.

 

Snip snip snip.

 

Jaejoong trimmed the hair on his nape. “Such long hair. You must allow the skin in your nape to breathe, Baekhyun-ah.”

 

“But, can they?”

 

“Of course. A wolf can mate with a human. An alpha can claim anyone as his mate, provided the knotting takes place during err - sex. I know so many wolves who pull out before the knot sets in just because they’re looking for fun and not to bond.’

 

Baekhyun closed his eyes as the hyung combed his fringe. “Do you have many alpha friends?”

 

“Some.”

 

“Tell me about the bond.”

 

“The bond is very hard to explain.”

 

Baekhyun peeped through the curtain of his silver hair. “Jaejoong hyung, your wolf .. he doesn't stay here anymore, does he? They say he left Wolf Town for good. How do you - do you still feel the bond?”

 

Jaejoong brushed the hair off Baekhyun’s clothes. “I can tell when he is asleep. When he’s sad. When he’s angry…the bond does not understand physical distance. It defies distance.”

 

“Can a bond exist without the...umm….claiming part?”

 

“Why not? Don't you share a bond with your parents, siblings? Bonds form without us realising sometimes.”

 

“This doesn't make much sense.” Baekhyun stood up, peering at himself in the mirror. He looked much tidier.

 

Jaejoong chuckled. “No. It doesn't make much sense.”

 

Baekhyun suddenly remembered something from earlier. “Did your alpha give you rides, hyung?”

 

Jaejoong laughed, “An alpha would never give anyone rides. They are not mules. I could never ask that of someone, least of all Yunho. He’d die before he’d let someone ride him. That's very degrading to them, Baekhyun-ah.”

 

Baekhyun felt a million butterflies in his tummy. “And if you asked nicely?”

 

“Not even then. Not a chance.”

 

“If you begged?”

 

Jaejoong sighed. “You brought a wolf to the Fair, didn't you? I hope you haven't been going around begging for rides because no alpha would ever. Not that alpha. He has a mark, doesn't he?”

 

Baekhyun gulped, looking guilty. So the rules didn't apply to them, after all.

 

“He said he’d give me rides around the forest if I ride him naked.” Baekhyun blurted out, desperate for some sort of explanation to Chanyeol’s deviant behaviour.

 

Jaejoong, who had been sweeping the hair from the floor, froze. When he looked up, his eyes were hard.

 

“This alpha you speak of, how -  how does he is behave around you?”

 

“He wouldn't let me sit anywhere but next to him. I may be assuming things but I think he dislikes my affinity with Luhan as well. I have just started being friends with his friends, and maybe he is not to keen on it either? I don't know if I am making much sense.”

 

“He is possessive.” Jaejoong scratched his chin. “Figures.”

 

“He is not possessive.” Baekhyun argued, “Just protective, I guess.”

 

“Borderline possessive.” Jaejoong declared, “Figures, too. How does he react when you have to walk in opposite directions after school?”

 

“That’s what.” Baekhyun shrugged, “He insists on walking me half the way home. If I’d let him, he’d walk me to my room.”

 

Jaejoong shook his head and smiled.

 

“What?” Baekhyun asked, curious. “We aren't dating.” he clarified quickly, lest Jaejoong get the wrong idea. “That's not how it's like.”

 

“Oh I get it.” Jaejoong resumed picking up the hair.

 

Baekhyun waited for Jaejoong to say something.

 

“Baekhyun, don't you realise it yet? It is glaring at you in the face?”

 

“What is?”

 

“That you are his mate.”

 

Baekhyun took a moment to marvel at what Jaejoong said, mostly because it sounded so appealing, and also because it sounded too good to be true. He let his breath out slowly.

 

“Can’t be. His father will choose his mate for him. And he seems to be okay with it.”

 

Jaejoong arched his brow, “Then that wolf has no idea that you are his mate either. You are telling me that this guy has been basically glued  to you ever since you met, and he hasn't realised why he feels the need to do so yet. Bah. Youngsters these days are really quite something. When Yunho and I met, we knew from the get go that we are mates.”

 

Baekhyun started biting his fingernails.

 

“But he says -”

 

“Forget what he says. He sounds like a bigger idiot than you Baekhyun. That alpha is an animal. They are animals who have learnt to adjust with society. Mating at family’s behest! And an alpha too? Don't make me laugh. An alpha can never not be with his mate. A marked alpha like him will fight against the entire world to be with his mate. You guys can bear being apart right now because clearly the bonding process is still underway. Wanting you to ride him naked is - is - first of all it is preposterous. Secondly, that's like an open invitation for sex. He doesn't realise it obviously, but this wolf subconsciously wants to claim you.”

 

Baekhyun blushed. He rose to leave.

 

“And another thing, Baekhyun.” Jaejoong added as a parting shot. “If he doesn't realise this now, sooner or later he will. A wolf will always recognise his mate, sex or no. It's just a matter of time.”

 

Baekhyun did not know what to do with the extra baggage of too much information. He was not the type to overthink. But when he pondered, he pondered deep and hard. He pondered all the way home. And then his mother’s angry shrieks broke his train of thought.

 

“Where the hell have you been?” she pulled his ears harshly, “The pancakes have gone cold.”

 

“Ah. Ah. I already had breakfast at Jaejoong hyung’s.”

 

“Then. Why. Did. You. Make. Me. Fry. These. Pancakes. This. Early. In. The. Morning.” His mother rained whacks on his body. “You're getting out of hand day by day. Dinner at Xiumin’s. Breakfast at Jaejoong’s. And what am I? Your servant, slaving for you in the kitchen everyday?”

 

“Ouch. Mum, it hurts.” Baekhyun tried to wriggle free of his mother’s hold.

 

“Byun Baekhyun, if I don't see you at dinner tonight, you’ll be grounded for eternity.”

 

An angry Mama Byun was a terrifying Mama Byun.

 

“Gerroff me.” Baekhyun whined.

 

Baekhyun made a mad dash to the bathroom. He had never dressed quicker in his life.



The buttons of his shirt were mostly undone and his shirt was not even properly tucked. Baekhyun didn't care. It was a new day and he was going to see his wolf, who according to Jaejoong, was also his mate. Baekhyun blushed at the thought.

 

Who knows, by the end of the day, he might also receive a kiss. Baekhyun did not pluck any fruits that morning; he had a boxful of honeyed pancakes to share.

 

The silver haired was overjoyed when he saw his wolf leaning against the tree trunk. A welcome sight, a regular sight.

 

“Why didn't you call yesterday?” Baekhyun’s tone was accusatory.

 

“You could have called too.”

 

“I fell asleep.”

 

Chanyeol did not tell the wolfssegner that he could not sleep last night. He kept thinking about the wolfssegner, the tiny smirk, the bewitching moles, the lips a welcome shade of red..heck..he had even found release in Baekhyun’s name.

 

Baekhyun sat closer to his wolf. When the period was over, he placed a hand on Chanyeol’s shoulder and turned to talk to Jongin, his knee on the alpha’s thigh.

 

“You should get a haircut like me.” Baekhyun told Jongin, trying to draw Chanyeol’s attention to his trimmed hair. Why hasn't he teased me about the haircut yet, he thought.

 

“And you should button your shirt properly.” Jongin replied, taking Baekhyun’s hands and buttoning the shirt sleeves.

 

“You shouldn't button the top most one.” Baekhyun opened the button on Jongin’s shirt collar and adjusted the shirt so that the wolf’s toned neck was visible. “Like this. This will make people go crazy for you.”

 

They exchanged silent sniggers.

 

Sehun looked at them furtively, mouth pressed in a thin line. He arched his brow at Chanyeol, who had turned to check what Baekhyun and Jongin were upto.

 

Sehun looked the silver haired charmer up and down, “You're the most unkempt person in class, but congratulations. You’ve successfully managed to set the bar even lower today.”

 

Baekhyun clutched the ends of his untucked shirt and flicked his hair at the frowning wolf. He was about to retort when Chanyeol wordlessly grabbed his waist to tuck his shirt inside his trousers.

 

Baekhyun stood absolutely still, allowing Chanyeol to make him more presentable. The wolf took his time. The wolf also brushed his hair with his fingers.

 

Sehun’s scowl grew darker.

 

When Baekhyun and Luhan went for a pee break to the washroom, Sehun followed them. The wolf accosted Baekhyun inside the boy’s toilet itself.

 

Luhan could only stare with wide eyes, quickly zipping his fly at the sudden arrival, when Sehun spun the silver haired a hundred and sixty degrees.

 

The wolf looked very angry. “Don't you think this has gone too far?” he spat.

 

“What?” Baekhyun asked, shocked for a second. He stepped back from Sehun.

 

This.”

 

Baekhyun flicked water droplets from his fingers at Sehun’s face. “What do you mean?” he asked cheerfully.

 

Sehun leaned against the mirror, not paying the slightest heed to Luhan. “This friendship thing you have going on with our alpha, it's not gonna go anywhere. I see you fooling around, clearly thinking you are the next best thing after sliced bread. When you are not. I have told Chanyeol multiple times to watch himself. But he doesn't listen to me. So you will.”

 

“Sehunnie -”

 

“You listen.” Sehun pushed Baekhyun’s hand away. “Chanyeol’s mate has been chosen for him. By his father. Seulgi is my cousin. I don't want to see her hurt. Okay?” The wolf gave a lopsided smile. “Chanyeol is such a good friend, isn't he? Did he tell you about Seulgi yet? What's he waiting for? To invite you to his mating ceremony?”

 

Sehun’s eyes softened at the confusion in the wolfssegner’s eyes.

 

“I warned you before, didn't I? You will fall by the wayside once Chanyeol finds his mate.”

 

“Sehun…” Baekhyun pushed past him, “You're too dramatic. Loosen up a bit, why don't you?”

 

Sehun found a pair of very accusing eyes on him. They belonged to the one they called Luhan.

 

“Happy now? Do you usually go around spreading such cheer?” the wolfssegner asked.

 

Sehun threw him a condescending look, “It's for everyone’s best.”

 

“And who appointed you the overseer of everyone’s best? Can't you just let two people be? Your alpha came to our village, walked around in our Fair, we didn't touch a hair on his body. What gives you the right to always look down upon us?”

 

Sehun took two steps back at Luhan’s aggression, suddenly scared of being turned into a turnip.

 

“It's your friend who’s getting above his station. Why don't you rein him in?” Sehun drawled.

 

“It's your alpha who keeps following Baekhyun around like a lovesick puppy. We have noticed it all. If you had the sense of a grasshopper, you’d talk to Park Chanyeol rather than try to intimidate Baekhyun.”

 

“I wasn’t intimidating anyone.” Sehun said defensively.

 

“Good.” Luhan barked, “Because if you ever try to do that, I will make pimples appear on your butt. Good luck sitting then.”

 

Sehun looked the wolfssegner up and down, the entire breed was a crazy sort. “I was trying to be helpful here.”

 

Luhan put on a high pitched voice, “Oh you were trying to be helpful. I am so sorry you are misunderstood by the world. Of course you were trying to be a hero! Hmph. Do us a favour. Mind your own business.”

 

They glared at each other.  



Baekhyun glared at Chanyeol. The wolf seemed to be aware that he was being glared at. He purposefully kept his eyes trained on Yoona, who was outlining some points if the chalkboard.

 

The silver haired poked Chanyeol’s bicep.

 

Yoona noticed him. “Baekhyun, if you have something to tell your bench mate, let us all hear it.”

 

Baekhyun shook his head. He blinked back at his wolf when Chanyeol turned sideways to grin at him. Hidden from Yoona’s view, Chanyeol gripped Baekhyun’s hand under the desk and didn't let go.

 

My mate, Baekhyun thought forcibly. Mine, he frowned. Sehun was a peeved pottyhead, he decided.

 

Behind him, Sehun was casting shrewd glances at the wolfssegner sitting across their row. Luhan. He couldn’t believe the cherub faced wolf charmer had just given him a dressing down. He started when Luhan looked directly in his eyes.

 

Sehun opened the top button of his shirt. Was it hot in here, or was it hot in here?



“How much do you like me?” Baekhyun asked Chanyeol as they parted in the cafeteria during recess.

 

“A lot?” Chanyeol replied, playing with Baekhyun’s now exposed neck.

 

“I like Jongin more than I like you.” the silver haired said spitefully.

 

Chanyeol scoffed.

 

Chanyeol’s eyes went wide when Baekhyun later approached their table and handed the half empty box of pancakes to Jongin. “Eat well.” Baekhyun smiled at the tan wolf.

 

Jongin accepted the box and immediately dug in the honey filled pancakes.

 

Chanyeol looked at Baekhyun quizzically. The latter merely shrugged.

 

Sehun, sitting quietly by Chanyeol’s side, watched Luhan beat Jongdae up.

 

Towards the end of the day, Baekhyun was mighty disappointed. He had been hoping for some acknowledgement of the teensy little kiss, and while his wolf was as precious as ever and couldn't keep his distance, Chanyeol made no move to return the favour.

 

If there was ever a specific kind of heartache for unrequited kisses, Baekhyun was feeling it now. He could not bring himself to fool around with the wolf as the latter walked him towards the village.

 

How close should people be and how much should they be into each other before they could share kisses? Baekhyun’s pout intensified.

 

And was begging necessary to achieve this? Baekhyun felt his lips, were they not kissable? He directed his glare towards the wolf, who put on a confused expression at Baekhyun’s glare.

 

“What?”

 

“Nothing.” Baekhyun replied grumpily. Only yesterday, Chanyeol looked as if he was hungering for a kiss. Today, Chanyeol was acting as if he they were nothing more than well meaning friends.

 

“You look like someone stole your lollipop.”

 

No, I am waiting for you to steal a kiss, you fool.

 

“Mmph.” he turned away and began to walk with haste.

 

“Oi. Wolfssegner.”

 

Baekhyun waved his hand without turning to look, his heart and pride slightly wounded.

 

“Don't you want to go on a ride tonight?”

 

Baekhyun took a breath, “Give me a call.” he shouted back.

 

Yeah right, he scowled, won't give me something as simple as a kiss but dying to give me rides. Such a confusing wolf!



Chanyeol rang him up a little after dinnertime. They decided to meet by the tree with the hollow in it.

 

“Baekhyun, you are supposed to sit straight. Don't go ahead and lie all over me like you do.That's the quickest way to fall and snap your neck.” Chanyeol was saying as he hid himself behind the tree to undress and shift.

 

The twigs cackled under Baekhyun’s footsteps.

 

“Hmph.” he said haughtily. He will show this wolf tonight, he thought.

 

Baekhyun waited until Chanyeol emerged from behind the tree. As the wolf stood by the tree waiting for him to approach, Baekhyun pulled his vest away. He threw a challenging look at Chanyeol, chuckled, and started kicking off his pants.

 

“Don't growl like that, Mr Wolf.” Baekhyun clicked his tongue, “Wasn't this your idea anyway?”

 

Baekhyun stood there butt naked, smiling, his clothes a crumple on the ground. He picked them up as the alpha pawed on the ground nervously. Baekhyun was pleased to note that the wolf’s stance was wary.

 

The silver haired found the hollow in the tree trunk and shoved his clothes along with Chanyeol’s and happily approached the wolf in all his naked glory.

 

Baekhyun giggled as his body made contact with Chanyeol’s furry back. “It's so weird.” he spoke out loud. He did not heed Chanyeol’s caution to sit straight and splayed his body flat over the alpha. Baekhyun rubbed his nose against the thick coat of fur. “I could fall asleep like this. You're so warm.”

 

The wolfssegner soon forgot about his nudity; it was pitch black. Feeling Chanyeol’s fur against his inner thighs and the breeze around his naked butt was a very novel, pleasing experience. Ah! He should have done this sooner.

 

The wolf took him to a place from where they could observe Chanyeol’s town and it's sparkly lights.

 

Baekhyun clutched his knees to his chest, and sensing that the boy was cold, Chanyeol wrapped himself around the wolf charmer.

 

Baekhyun sneezed. “Fur, fur everywhere.” he complained, leaning back against his wolf, covered on three sides by the massive body of the shapeshifter. “You're incredibly warm, my wolf.” he whispered, trying to pull the tail and play with it.

 

Chanyeol pushed his hand away with his snout. He put his nose against the boy’s.

 

Baekhyun wondered if this was a wolf’s way to show affection.

 

The alpha began to softly bite Baekhyun’s arm. The wolf charmer was sure this was Chanyeol’s way of showing affection.

 

They sat in silence for a long, long time. Baekhyun began to nod off. The wolf let the boy sleep. When he could smell the flowers which bloomed only at dawn, Chanyeol licked the boy awake.

 

Baekhyun twisted and turned against the comforts of Chanyeol’s large body, treating it as his personal mattress. “I wanna sleep some more.” he slurred, drooling a bit.

 

Chanyeol licked his face persistently.

 

Baekhyun whelped when Chanyeol licked his tummy. He was startled enough out of his sleep to realise that the birds were beginning to chirp overhead. Although it was still dark, dawn could not be far behind.

 

He stood up, then wished he could sit down immediately. He had a semi hard boner. Did Chanyeol notice already. Wolves did see perfectly in the dark, didn't they? Baekhyun wished he could give his back to the wolf instead of climbing atop him in such a state.

 

His wolf was as chill as ever but Baekhyun was massively uncomfortable. His member against Chanyeol’s heated body provided him some relief, but he was worried that he would develop a raging boner in no time.

 

In all his squirming and fidgeting, and inexperience at sitting straight atop the wolf, Baekhyun made Chanyeol’s worst fears come true. He slipped off the alpha’s back and landed thud on some very prickly twigs.

 

That did it for his boner, and bums on the whole.

 

“Oooooof.” he softly uttered, too embarrassed to whine loudly. His back hurt, but not as much. Baekhyun sat there silently, massaging his bums until Chanyeol hurried up to him. He had shifted in his alarm.

 

“Where does it hurt, Baekhyun-ah?” the wolf crouched next to him.

 

“My hip.” Baekhyun softly whined.

 

Blue had mixed with the black, and Baekhyun could make out Chanyeol’s alarmed features.

 

“Can you stand up?” Chanyeol looked terrified that Baekhyun was grievously wounded.

 

“I think I can.” Baekhyun took Chanyeol’s arms for support and stood up gingerly.

 

“I told you. I told you to sit properly, didn't I? You never listen.”

 

Baekhyun tried twisting his hip. “Mmm fine.” he murmured.

 

Chanyeol laid a large, warm hand on the wolf charmer’s hip. “Hurts?”

 

Baekhyun shook his head no, then nodded yes. The hand on his hip felt divine.

 

Chanyeol massaged the area. “Better?”

 

Baekhyun nodded, loving the attention. He stepped closer to his wolf. He put Chanyeol’s other hand on his waist too, clearly wanting a proper rub.

 

“My butt hurts too.” he pointed out cheekily.

 

Chanyeol cooed at the silver haired, and dusted away the dirt from Baekhyun’s bum.

 

Baekhyun waited with bated breath and was overjoyed when the wolf’s hands grabbed his fleshy bums. His boner began resurfacing slowly when Chanyeol softly kneaded his ass. Very bravely, Baekhyun looked up at his wolf, trying best to make out the expression on the face in the inky blue.

 

He could feel his own heartbeats - a constant flutter of butterfly wings. He wanted to hear the wolf’s too. In that moment, Baekhyun wanted to be taken by the whole, taken and eaten whole, not a drop of consciousness remaining.

 

He placed his palms on the wolf’s chest, feeling the quickening thuds of Chanyeol’s heartbeat through his fingers. There was no need to speak. He stepped incredibly close to the wolf, his fully awoken penis snug against Chanyeol’s belly, and tilted his head upwards, begging.

 

The warm hands were rubbing his ass cheeks, fingers drawing animal patterns on the baby skin.

 

Baekhyun never wanted to let go of. He was waiting, waiting for Chanyeol to close the minuscule gap between them. He had laid himself bare, the barest any one could lay himself.

 

And Chanyeol?

 

Chanyeol held him firmly by the hips and pushed him away. The kisses which the wolf left on either side of his hips were no consolation at all.

 

Baekhyun’s mind refused to process the fact that the alpha had turned his advances down.

 

“Let's not start things we can't finish, hmm?” Chanyeol attempted to chuckle, tickling Baekhyun’s chin. But the wolfssegner did not see the humour at all.

 

He was quiet on their return journey.

 

Baekhyun quietly put his clothes on, cursing the impulse which had led him to shed them in the first place. Chanyeol peered at his face.

 

“What's this about? Aren't you happy today?”

 

“I’m okay.” Baekhyun mumbled, shoulders squared.

 

“Then why are you so quiet?” Chanyeol pressed. “Is everything okay?” he nudged.

 

Is everything okay, he asks.

 

Baekhyun was fuming inwardly.

 

“Everything’s fine.” he said as bitchily as he could.

 

Chanyeol reached his hand out to touch Baekhyun’s cheeks, but Baekhyun stepped out of the wolf’s hold.

 

“I am sleepy. Will go ahead and sleep. Don't call me later.”

 

Chanyeol had totally ruined it, the stupid wolf from Wolf Town. Baekhyun was more than disappointed. He would have come clean if it were any other matter. But how do you beg for a kiss? How do you grovel to be eaten up alive?

 

Baekhyun lacked all sorts of finesse. He lacked the finesse to take rejection in his stride.

 

Chanyeol was such a stupid wolf, he would probably never realised why he was this pissed. But he was. Pissed.

 

The wolf grabbed hold of Baekhyun’s hand, “I am not stupid, you know.”

 

“You are the stupidest person I have ever known.” Baekhyun declared.

 

“But you are the smartest. And since you are so smart, why don't you go ahead and tell me what the matter is?”

 

The moon was playing hide and seek tonight. Baekhyun could not see Chanyeol’s expression properly.

 

“You lack common sense, that's why.” Baekhyun glared in the darkness.

 

“C’mon Baekhyun-ah.” Chanyeol stepped closer to his silver haired. “Let's not go to sleep angry.”

 

“I am not angry.” Baekhyun retorted. He wanted to snap Chanyeol’s neck, that is all.

 

“Yes, you are. You didn't squeal even once today. You were so quiet. My precious wolf charmer so quiet - c’mon, tell me what's wrong.”

 

Rather than replying, Baekhyun grabbed hold of the fabric of Chanyeol’s shirt and pulled the wolf towards him.

 

I -” Baekhyun closed the distance between their bodies with a single step, “ just ” he tiptoed, “ want my kiss is all.” His words were a whisper against Chanyeol’s lips, the demand an agonising roar for both their ears.

 

Chanyeol took the cue and bent a tiny fraction to join their lips. And they fit perfectly. The wolf slightly parted his lips to take Baekhyun’s lower lip between them, and gently sucked at the willingly proffered candy.

 

Baekhyun’s grip on Chanyeol's shirt was tight, his grip on Chanyeol’s heart tighter. With his eyes fluttering close, the wolf charmer tasted the wolf’s breath, he tasted the wolf’s lips. He also tasted heartbreak when Chanyeol pushed him away a little too soon for Baekhyun’s liking.

 

Chanyeol grabbed Baekhyun’s shaking hands and brought the knuckles to his lips to kiss them, one after the other - warm, kind, reassuring.

 

“Are you fooling around with me?” Baekhyun asked, his voice clear and determined.

 

“I - what?” Chanyeol frowned.

 

“Well. Let's see. I practically threw myself at you and you turned me down. But you don't let me out of your sight either. You look at me as if I am your moon. So, obviously, you are fooling around with me.”

 

“You are my wolf rider, and I would never fool around with you.”

 

“I am your wolf rider, but not your mate.” Baekhyun inferred.

 

Chanyeol did not let go of Baekhyun’s hand. “That's because you can't be my mate. Baekhyun, you are so much more.

 

“Why can't I be your mate?” Baekhyun challenged.

 

“Do you wish to be my mate?”

 

“Not if you don't want me to. That's for certain.” Baekhyun spewed.

 

“You want to be my mate!” Chanyeol said out loud, as if the fact had never dawned on him earlier.

 

Baekhyun was thoroughly insulted.

 

“Not if you don't want me to. Fuck. I should never have asked for the kiss. Now I know. You didn't even want to kiss me. You must be laughing at me. And I - I literally threw myself at you. I am so hard for you, even now.” The wolfssegner was agitated.

 

“Baekhyun-ah. Earlier - I pushed you away because I can't start things with you. It’s wrong, it will be wrong. I can't mate with you, baby. My father has already decided my mate. I don't - If I had a choice, it would be you. You are more than my mate, you’re my rider. You own me.”

 

“Is that supposed to make me happy? You are such an idiot. Can there even be someone who is more important to a wolf than his own mate?”

 

“You are. For me, you are more important than any mate my father can choose for me.”

 

“That's because we have a bond, silly.”

 

“What bond?” Chanyeol said, still trying to placate Baekhyun by holding on to his hand.

 

“Chanyeol, can't you see? We are already mates. We have a bond!”

 

“What?”

 

“We have a bond Chanyeol. I can feel it. I can feel it when you think of me before going to bed. I felt it when you got hard at seeing me naked. Don't even deny it.”

 

Chanyeol was silent for some time. “I don't deny any of it. I am happiest when I see you. I think about you all day. But it's not in my hands. You don't understand my position as a future pack leader.”

 

“Your life is not in your hands?”

 

“It isn't. I am the pack leader to be. I need to have a mate from my own pack. Please try and understand Baekhyun. My hands are tied. I don't have a choice.”

 

Baekhyun stepped back from Chanyeol, “You always have a choice Chanyeol. Just say that I am not yours. Go ahead and just say it out aloud. That you have never been interested in me. That you have been playing with me, I am just some toy to distract you until your mate comes along.”

 

“Not at all.” Chanyeol balled his fists. “I want to hold you and protect you and tease you and make you mine. I want to do all sorts of things with you. I - hell, Baekhyun! I can't get your pretty mouth out of my head whenever I masturbate. Does that mean I will seize you at the first opportunity and take what is on offer? No. Not when I can’t give you anything in return. I am too fond of you to hurt you like that. I have nothing to offer in return, except my friendship and these rides.”

 

Baekhyun took calming breaths. He looked at the handsome wolf. “Go Chanyeol. Go now. Leave me alone.”

 

Chanyeol gathered him in a tight hug. “You know what you mean to me, don't you? I just can't - can't - be with you in that way. I am sorry. Please, baby.”

 

Baekhyun allowed himself to be hugged. “It's fine.” he murmured, more to himself than to Chanyeol. “It's okay. Go. I will see you at school.”

“Please don't say we can't be friends anymore. I won't be able to breathe, you know.”

 

Baekhyun put on a brave face. “You think I will stop talking to you just because you turned me down? Don't worry. That's not going to happen. I’ll be okay. You're my wolf afterall.”

 

“I am your wolf.” Chanyeol rubbed his nose against the silver haired. Baekhyun drew comfort in the fact that the alpha looked more devastated than he himself.

 

Baekhyun reached his room, dropped to the bed, and howled. He howled so loud, not caring if he woke up the entire village. His heart was breaking into a million tiny pieces, and it felt like it was the end of the world for him.

 

His parents came and knocked on the door. Their voices were loud and frantic. Baekhyun quelled his sobs and rubbed his eyes.

 

“I am fine. Go away.” Baekhyun hiccuped. He brought his knuckles to his mouth and his entire body heaved with silent sobs. His parents stood by the door for another fifteen minutes and then they were gone.

 

Baekhyun curled himself up in a ball. Chanyeol was calling him nonstop, but Baekhyun could not pick up. Even more than the pain of rejection was the fact that Chanyeol was going to belong to someone else, and pretty soon too, if Sehun were to be believed.

 

They’d all lied to him - Jaejoong, the fortune teller..his own instinct. Chanyeol was not his. Chanyeol would never be his. It hurt so bad, how would he make it through the night.

 

There was only one person who could ease the pain, but that person was unwilling to accept him as his mate. He wanted to reach inside his heart and sever the bond. It was pulsating with energy, pulling him with such force towards Chanyeol, and he could do nothing about it.

 

Baekhyun spread his palms in front of his eyes. He wanted to claw at the wall, make his palms bleed. Perhaps Chanyeol would feel the bond then, if he bled until he lost consciousness.

 

“Don't do it.” a low voice whispered. Baekhyun didn't turn to look. He knew who it was - Kyungsoo, in Baekhyun’s navy blue shorts.

 

On the rarest of rare occasions, Kyungsoo abandoned his kitty shape to come talk to Baekhyun.

 

The silver haired wasn't startled the first time Baekhyun came down to have a chat with him, and he wasn't shocked now. Kyungsoo had introduced himself as his guardian spirit.

 

“I am here to watch over you.” Kyungsoo had said.

 

Baekhyun had tickled Kyungsoo’s tummy, “Okay. Fair enough.” he had said.

 

“It hurts.” Baekhyun slobbered, looking at Kyungsoo through his tears.

 

Kyungsoo tried to pat Baekhyun’s silver hair in order.

 

“You're crying like someone just died.” he observed drily.

 

“Go away.”

 

“I can’t. I have told you before, haven't I? I descended here only and only for you. I am not separate from you.”

 

“You're a far better friend.” Baekhyun wiped his tears, coughing a little, “You're a better friend than Chanyeol.”

 

Kyungsoo smirked. Of course he was better. “He cannot be me, that's for sure. And I can't be him. He is your soulmate, Baekhyun.”

 

Baekhyun scoffed, “Not you too, Soo.”

 

“But he is.”

 

“He says he isn't.”

 

“He is.” Kyungsoo smiled, looking horribly out of sorts with his messy hair and owl like eyes.

 

“He isn't.” Baekhyun protested, “And how would you know.”

 

“Just as I knew where to find you, when to find you. I know things Baekhyun.” he reminded.

 

Baekhyun swallowed his tears. That's right. Kyungsoo professed to be his spirit guardian. He was a hundred thousand years of age, tasked with the job of being a guardian to lost human souls, but took a boyish form whenever he appeared in front of Baekhyun.

 

“You're crying for nothing at all. Wait and watch. Bonds are eternal. They are not for half humans to tamper with at will. There's nothing to fear.”

 

“But Chanyeol just turned me down.”

 

Kyungsoo smiled mysteriously.



Chanyeol held great admiration for the silver haired wolf charmer. With puffy eyes and a broken heart, Baekhyun made it to class the next day, and even gave a wide smile to him.

 

He teased Jongin and Sehun just the same, and there seemed to be no let down in his energy levels.

 

Chanyeol noticed that Baekhyun avoided looking directly into his eyes. The silver haired did not loiter around Chanyeol during recess, and at class, he paid close attention to the teachers.

 

A wolf was dying for some attention.

 

Chanyeol walked Baekhyun home, and the latter kept conversation going, never letting awkwardness creep in. The wolf charmer talked about everything under the sun - Xiumin’s granny’s smelly farts and his brother’s bossy girlfriend.

 

Chanyeol was shown a hundred and one pics of the brand new baby calf, all clicked from different angles. Chanyeol was informed about the new curfew that his mother had imposed on him - a polite way of letting the wolf know that he couldn't meet for any more rides.

 

Clearly Chanyeol’s heart was breaking more than Baekhyun’s was.

 

He called Baekhyun to say good night, but his call went unreceived.

 

Chanyeol felt heart ache deep within his heart when Baekhyun did not appear for class the following day, or the day after that, or the day after that.

 

The week days flew by, and another weekend loomed ahead.

 

Chanyeol’s father was insisting that he take Seulgi out on a date on the weekend. The wolf swallowed his pride and approached Xiumin.

 

“Where’s Baekhyun? Why hasn't he shown up? Is he alright?”

 

Xiumin gave a look of surprise, “Baekhyunnie didn't tell you? He fell off a tree the other day. Broke his ankle.”

 

What? You're lying.”

 

“Why would I lie?” Xiumin said, “Happened right in front of me. He fell of a tree, broke his ankle, and got nicely whacked by his mother for being such a nuisance. It's just strange that you don't know. Aren't you two talking to each other?”

 

“They are not.” Luhan spoke out loud from a safe distance, “Baekhyun wanted to make out with the alpha but the alpha rejected him. So Baekhyun feels awkward talking to the wolf. Alpha calls him every night but Baekhyun disconnects his call.”

 

Chanyeol gaped, shocked that his silver haired didn't keep a thing from this abominable Luhan person.

 

Xiumin colored too. He didn't know what to do with this excess knowledge. “Sooooo….my granny fixed Baekhyun’s ankle up in a jiffy but his mother is quite something when enraged. She is keeping him under careful watch, not letting him out of her sight.”

 

“How long will this house arrest last.” Chanyeol asked Xiumin.

 

Luhan butted in, “It lasted for a whole week the last time.”

 

Chanyeol sighed.

 

“And you,” Luhan continued, “It's good if you maintain your distance for some time. Wolf.”



Exactly a week had passed since the day of the Fair. Chanyeol had a movie date with Seulgi tonight. He knew what was expected of him after the movie. Seulgi and he were supposed to ride under the stars to some cosy place and mate. Chanyeol had made out before, but never had he ever stuck his dick in anyone, knowing that he was meant to mate with the one his Pa chose for him. That person was Seulgi.

 

Every wolf knew, by pure instinct, what mating entailed. The first time, the very first time, the knot that set in place did not unknot for hours and hours. It was meant to be pleasurable, hours when you are inside your bonded person, spilling cum in between intervals, feeling nothing but pure ecstacy.

 

Full blooded wolves his age went around with raging boners trying to find a mate for themselves , just so they could knot and the never ending cycle of cumming could commence.

 

Wolves usually went through a period of rut during the winters, a time when their academy was closed for a few weeks so that the school did not end up becoming mating ground. Winter was still some months away. Chanyeol deceived himself saying that was the reason why he was not looking forward to claiming Seulgi as his mate.

 

Seulgi was wearing a little black dress and Chanyeol made out nets and pencil heels in the dark. All of that would be gone by the morning and his father would cheer by exchanging sweets with the Kangs.

 

Chanyeol loosened the button of his shirt collar. It was stuffy and he was sweating. By the time they were half way through the movie, the wolf was panicking. Something inside him, some fundamental part of him was revolting at the very idea of claiming Seulgi as his mate.

 

It would feel good, he reassured himself. He was so ready to be mated with someone, he told himself. Sex would feel good, sex would push thoughts of Baekhyun out of his head for once and for all. How long would he go on masturbating and taking Baekhyun’s name. He ought to do something about his sexual fantasies. He ought to stick it in someone’s welcome hole.

 

Seulgi is NOT Baekhyun, his inner voice hit back.

 

When the movie ended and Seulgi suggested a run around the forest, every pore of Chanyeol’s body revolted.

 

No . He internally wanted to scream. He already had a mate.

 

The words - I am very tired tonight. Can we do this some other time - tumbled out of his mouth as though his tongue had practiced the reply in secret. Waves of disappointment emanated from Seulgi. Chanyeol couldn't care less. He was dying to get away from her, get some fresh air.

 

The wolf walked Seulgi home and made a dash towards the forest. He didn't know where his clothes fell but he needed to charge around the trees in his animal form.

 

Chanyeol changed back to his human form when he reached the outskirts of Baekhyun’s village. He hadn't meant to come here, really, but his animal instinct knew better. He needed Baekhyun’s soothing buttery scent all around him, he needed the smell of Baekhyun’s sex to calm his swollen member.

 

He was dripping pre cum. He had dripped pre cum all over the forest floor on his way here, on his way to his mate.

 

His penis was like a compass that led him straight here.

 

Chanyeol hesitated. This was too embarassing. What would he tell Baekhyun - hey, I need you to spread your legs for me right this instant because I am dying to claim you .

 

The wolf leaned himself against a tree and took deep, calming breaths. He unwittingly thought about the night when Baekhyun had asked Chanyeol to massage his bums. How had he even resisted Baekhyun then!

 

Baekhyun was so right. He, Chanyeol, was incredibly stupid.

 

Chanyeol touched himself to let out his pent up frustration. Five minutes later, he spilled his cum on the bark of the tree and knelt on the ground to calm himself.

 

Should he do this? Could he do this?

 

The fuck with everything. No one stands between Baekhyun and him from today, he decided.



Baekhyun was waiting for him on the foot of the staircase.

 

“I saw you coming..it was a dream, but I was awake..” Baekhyun whispered.

 

Chanyeol felt the wolfssegner's cheeks in the dark. He felt the latter’s lips with his fingers. Baekhyun walked inside his embrace and hummed contentedly.

 

The wolf rubbed his cock against Baekhyun’s abdomen.

 

“You knew we are mates?” He asked, his lips finding Baekhyun’s and sucking them hungrily.

 

Baekhyun let Chanyeol kiss him good and proper before whispering back, “Ever since the Fair.”

 

“All along?”

 

“Mm.”

 

Chanyeol claimed Baekhyun’s mouth again, and again and again until the wolf charmer started pulling him towards the staircase.

 

“Come in.” Baekhyun invited.

 

Chanyeol rested his forehead against Baekhyun’s. “If I come in tonight, baby,” he whispered, “I am going to take a long time coming out.”

 

Baekhyun giggled silently. “Just come in.”

 

The wolf grinned. His mate was a delightful creature.





Chapter Text

 

Heaven’s not a place that you go when you die

It’s that moment in life when you actually feel alive.” - The Spill Canvas



Jaejoong woke up around midnight to a strange hissing sound coming from inside his bedside drawer. Eyes still closed, he fumbled in the dark to pry open the drawer. The vial Yoora had given him, the vial where Jaejoong gingerly pushed in a snipped silver lock of Baekhyun's hair, was aglow. The fire was not burning a deep red, or a fiery orange. All colours of passion. It was a swirl of blue of every hue imaginable, now violet, now indigo - the colour of the Third Eye.

Jaejoong stared at the dancing flames until who knows when, unable to pry his eyes away. The fire licked at the silver hair, creating dreams and mirages around it but not charring it to black. If Jaejoong looked carefully enough, he would have made out the forms of two persons locked in embrace.

At last, at long long last, the fire cooled down in wisps of indigo smoke. The vial was cold to the touch. Jaejoong brought it closer to his face and only then mustered up the courage to peer inside. The silver lock of hair remained unburnt, unharmed, almost untouched.

Outside his window, the birds were waking.

It was a new dawn.

“Yoora?”

“Jaejoong?” came the groggy reply.

“It's done.”

“...”

“The hair remains silver.”

“...”

“Erm..”

“Omigawd! Omigawd!! And it's four in the morning!!” Yoora’s voice must have woken up the entire neighbourhood.

“Yeah.” Jaejoong answered drily.

Yoora giggled. “That long, huh?”

“Erm - I thought I should let you know. Go back to sleep, Yoora.”

“Chanyeol has passed with flying colors.” Yoora laughed. “Thank you so much. Please look after them for a while longer. Omigawd. I still can't believe. That asshat has finally become a real alpha haha.”

 

Jaejoong disconnected the call. He returned the vial to its usual place in the drawer, biting his lip when his fingers brushed another object. It was the gift from Yunho, still unopened.

He found himself being curious about the gift for the first time. Jaejoong teared the packaging apart and opened the velvet box. It was a trinket. A token. But that was not what was important.

It was silver.

An elephant of silver with a blue gem for its eye.

Sparkling and shining in the semi darkness.

Jaejoong stared hungrily at the blue gem. When he slightly moved his hand, the pale blue of the gem danced as if it was filled with liquid sky.




Silver is what Chanyeol saw as he finally had the wolf charmer ensconced in his arms. Silver and the warm quivering one felt when one held a puppy tightly.

Chanyeol pulled Baekhyun to his side in a tight embrace as soon as they climbed inside the bedroom through the window.

Butter.  Love. Familiar warmth.

The argentine smelled of all that and more. Baekhyun was a smell that the wolf had been hungering for. Baekhyun filled his soul to the brim with his silver essence.

“I thought you didn't sleep with clothes on.” Chanyeol teased.

"You want me to -?” Baekhyun began pulling at his shorts.

“No.” the wolf stayed the silver - haired, “let me.” he whispered. Chanyeol knelt in front of his mate and attempted to rectify his mistake of a week ago. He tugged the shorts from the boy’s hips all the way to the ankles, and left kisses on either side of Baekhyun’s waist.

Baekhyun pulled his tee and threw it aside.

The last time Chanyeol had kissed Baekhyun’s hips was before slowly pushing the wolf charmer away. That was another time. Another wolf. This wolf knew only Baekhyun, knew no other and nothing else. He stood up only to draw the boy closer this time.

And there they were, lip-locked, just two little nude people completely into each other.

Chanyeol felt Baekhyun smile into the kiss, and realised how he had almost thrown it all away. So the wolf held his mate a little tighter, kissed a little harder.

The pad of his fingers touched the moist skin of the silver-haired, flew to his hair to check its dampness. Baekhyun must have taken a shower just minutes ago.

The wolfssegner, who was standing on his tiptoes to kiss his wolf good and proper, leaned forward letting go of balance. And Chanyeol checked his fall by grabbing onto the boy’s thighs and hoisting him up on his hip. He carried the boy to the bed, but didn't set him down, circling in the spot to make the wolfssegner laugh.

It was the loveliest sound Chanyeol had ever heard - Baekhyun’s laugh. It went straight to his heart. So, the wolf spun them around again, eliciting the giggle which he was so fond of.

This felt so natural, playing with his mate. Humid summer night, the breeze through the open window, Baekhyun’s silent laughter, Baekhyun’s warmth, Baekhyun’s semi - hard cock pressed against his body.

He’s my mate, Chanyeol thought to himself, marveling at his luck. He took a deep breath, taking in his lover’s moist scent. The buttery smell permeated through his every pore right down to his bared soul.

“Bed?” he whispered against Baekhyun’s chest.

“Mm.”

Despite being heavily aroused himself, Chanyeol knew he would have to restrain himself tonight. No one ever tells you that first times are beautifully chaotic. There's lack of surety, expertise, and there's only the basic instinct that acts as a guiding force. That, and attraction. And in this alpha’s case, affliction.

Chanyeol was so scared he would end up hurting his mate. The intensity of his desire would have scared Baekhyun too, had he felt the rabidness of it. So Chanyeol inhaled Baekhyun’s scent, grappling with sanity, trying to hold on to that silver wisp of self control.

He wanted Baekhyun.

So much.

He climbed on the bed with his knees and laid Baekhyun on the pillows as gently as he could.

Baekhyun is a human, he reminded himself. He couldn't just tear his way in. He wouldn’t do that to his human.

My human.

 

He grabbed the boy’s ankles and spread the legs apart to make space for himself. Baekhyun would need a lot of preparation tonight, and Chanyeol was willing to be patient for his silver - haired charmer.

Just how patient Baekhyun had been for him to come around!

Suddenly, he remembered something. “How's your ankle?”

“Completely healed, thank you for asking.” Baekhyun replied spitefully, smacking his bicep.

“Right ankle? Left ankle?” he asked.

Baekhyun shamelessly felt up Chanyeol’s titties before answering, “Leftie.”

Chanyeol leaned back to kiss Baekhyun’s left ankle. He rubbed his nose against the heel of the foot. “I don't like the idea of you hurting.”

“Is this your idea of dirty talk?” Baekhyun teased, his hands still roving Chanyeol’s chest. But his voice had taken a softer, huskier note. Chanyeol kissing each of his toes made him feel like he was halfway to heaven.

The alpha let go of Baekhyun’s leg and crouched forward. “I really don't like the idea of you hurting. So….” he gulped, then let out a breath. This was all so novel, so unlike what he thought his first time would be. And a million times better than any scenario of claiming he had ever imagined in his head. “So I am going to go really slow with you.”

Chanyeol bent further to leave a peck on the tip of Baekhyun's penis. He wiped away, with the pad of his thumb, the droplet of pre - cum which oozed out after his lips touch the head. While he was sucking on his thumb, Baekhyun delightfully quivering underneath him, Chanyeol remembered something else.

“Mm…” he began, “There's something I have to confess.”

Baekhyun chuckled, no doubt thinking Chanyeol had some sort of romantic confession in mind. The wolf felt like a fool suddenly. He couldn't believe he was about to say this.

“I came here straight from a date.” he blurted out.

Baekhyun’s hands on his chest went absolutely still.

Suddenly, Chanyeol was very scared of being clawed to death.

What did you just say?”

The most venomous words to erupt from the wolfssegner’s lips ever!

“I mean-it was not a real date-date, you know.” Chanyeol hastily added, feeling his dick shrivel up a bit in fear of Baekhyun’s wrath. The boy had been angry with Chanyeol just once in the past and it was not a very pleasant memory.  “My father wanted me to claim Seulgi as my mate. It was totally his idea that I take her out for a movie.”

You took her to the movie!”

Baekhyun pushed Chanyeol’s chest away and sat up on the bed. The wolf grasped the boy’s hands in his large ones to keep him from climbing out of the bed. “I walked her home after the movie and came straight to you, Baekhyun-ah. I thought you should know before we, you know?”

“Did you kiss her?”

“Yes - I mean no. I mean yes, but that was last year at a charity function. Totally ancient history for me baby. I mean - Seulgi who? What kissing? I only remember kissing you.” The wolf internally groaned. His voice was coming out all squeaky.

Baekhyun did not say anything, no doubt going over the merits of Chanyeol’s case. The wolf waited with bated breath. Would he now be shown the window?

“But I chose to come to you instead?” he lightly prompted, trying his luck.

Baekhyun still didn't say anything, his head tipped to one side.

Chanyeol cleared his throat. Let the wolf charmer get the confession he wanted, he thought. “Baekhyun-ah,” he began, in an almost coaxing tone, “I never thought of you as a friend, right from day one. I always knew you were more. You were special. My special silver - haired wolfssegner. My rider.” He found the courage to cup Baekhyun’s cheeks. “From the day I met you, my sweet, simple boy, I swear my fate was sealed. Right from that day when I asked you to ride me naked, my heart was yours, my time was yours. I needed your attention all the time. I needed you around me. I needed your scent. I should have been able to tell that you're my mate right when I laid eyes on you, your bright smile… Yoora implied this so many times, but I-I thought I could look away like a reckless alpha,” he gave a dry laugh, “like the fool I am, Baekhyun-ah, I thought I had some control over my heart. I thought I could bear to see you walk away. I thought I could bear to not see you every day. I thought I could leave it be with a single kiss. I couldn't have been more wrong. I admit, I took Seulgi out on a date tonight with the intention of claiming her.” Chanyeol grasped Baekhyun's hands again. “But I couldn't follow through. Every bone in my body was saying that you are my mate and I should be with you. You should belong to me. Please don't hate me. I was stupid. And now I am stupid for you. So, will you allow this stupid alpha to claim you as his mate?”

 

Really, there was no way for him to know that the boy who offered him berries at the start of the school year would turn out to be his mate!

 

“Baekhyun?”

 

“You've never taken me out on dates.” Baekhyun pointed out.

 

“All the rides I gave you, weren't they dates?” Chanyeol protested. “They were more , baby. They were our secret to keep.”

 

Baekhyun sighed, “I guess they were.” He leaned on Chanyeol’s chest, tickling the left nipple with his button nose. “But you're mine. ” He almost whined.

 

“Of course I am yours, baby.”

 

“So claim me good and proper.” Baekhyun ordered, finding the base of Chanyeol’s throat to leave a hickey.

 

Chanyeol let Baekhyun suck at his throat.

 

He cleared his throat again.

 

“Now what?” Baekhyun asked, hitting Chanyeol with his balled up fist.

 

“You know about the knotting thingy, right?”

 

Baekhyun lightly hit the wolf’s chest with both his fists now. “ I know.” he stressed. “We learnt that during our Sex Ed classes.”

 

“So you know I will have zero control once the knot sets in place? Like,” Chanyeol kissed Baekhyun’s palms, “It will subside on its own gradually. I literally can’t release it on my own. Eventually I may be able to but this is my first time -”

 

Baekhyun went back to giggling.

 

“Seriously Baekhyun, I can be stuck inside you for hours .”

 

I know, okay? Can we begin? I am dying to -”

 

Chanyeol stopped Baekhyun’s tantrums with a kiss. A single, sloppy, hungry kiss.

 

“One last thing.” he pulled away with a smile. He could literally feel Baekhyun roll his eyes, “Let me know if it hurts. Okay?”

 

“Alright. Alright.” Baekhyun grabbed Chanyeol’s shoulders and fell back on the pillows, dragging the wolf along with him.

 

They started on a new kiss, deepening it to explore each other with their tongues. Meanwhile, Chanyeol grabbed the boy’s member and felt it from base to tip.

 

“You know that first night I saw you naked?” he whispered against Baekhyun’s ears, biting the lobe, “couldn't tear my eyes from this. I can see perfectly in the dark and your penis was..hah! it was prominent that night.” Chanyeol gave Baekhyun’s penis a rough tug.

 

“Then...wait.” Baekhyun pushed free of Chanyeol’s hold, “Let me see yours.”

 

The wolf leaned back, thrusting his pelvis forward, “Take a look. All yours.” he said, and his voice deepened to a new low. A very seductive low.

 

Baekhyun reached out for his wolf’s dick with both hands and felt it in the dark. “It's...long….and...hard...and throbbing...and so wet.  Chanyeol, why is it so wet?”

 

“Precum, duh!” Suddenly conscious, Chanyeol tried to pry his dick free of Baekhyun’s hold.

 

“But that's a lot-lot.” Baekhyun would not let Chanyeol even die of shame in peace, apparently.

 

“It’s also supposed to act as a lube of some sorts.” Chanyeol wiped the fluid away with a single swipe of his hand and massaged Baekhyun’s bottom with the same hand. “See that's how it's supposed to work.”

 

Chanyeol quickly parted Baekhyun’s ass cheeks and found the entrance to the promised pot of honey. He pushed the tip of his middle finger, slick with his own pre - cum, inside the hole. “Ever done this before?”

 

Baekhyun nodded.

 

Chanyeol guided him back on the pillows, his finger slowly slipping inside Baekhyun, “How many fingers?”

 

“Two.” Baekhyun breathed, parting his ass cheeks so that Chanyeol’s finger could fully be inside him. The wolf made a come hither movement with his finger, and Baekhyun jerked involuntarily.

 

Chanyeol!

 

“Slowly baby, there's no rush.” Chanyeol pushed a second finger in after coating it with his fluids. Baekhyun moaned when it slid in.

 

“Shhhh. Not so loud.” Chanyeol touched himself with the other hand. “Such a good boy.” He whispered, sliding the third finger in.

 

“Ahhhh.”

 

“What? Hurts?” Chanyeol stilled the scissoring motion he had just begun.

 

Baekhyun shook his head, “ Feels so good.” he whispered.

 

“Okay. Hush now.”

 

The wolf was now rubbing both their dicks together, the other hand busy stretching Baekhyun’s walls. Chanyeol felt as if someone had let him loose on a candy store. Here was the naked length of Baekhyun, lazy and sprawled on the bed, for his pleasure alone, all for his taking.

 

The endless possibilities made Chanyeol delirious in delight.

 

Baekhyun had thrown his head back on the pillow, and Chanyeol could tell he was biting his lower lip to keep himself from moaning out loud.

Someday, Chanyeol told himself, someday soon, he would take his mate out to the woods and they could shout victoriously as they rubbed against each other.

 

When Baekhyun’s hands grabbed the bedsheets and thrashed from side to side, Chanyeol pulled his fingers out. He set their dicks free. He climbed on top of the silver - haired, cocks brushing against each other, and licked Baekhyun’s lips with his tongue.

 

“Don't move.” he said, and sucked at Baekhyun’s lower lip. His hand traced itself from Baekhyun’s slender neck all the way down to the curved tummy. Chanyeol’s tongue found one rose coloured nipple and began sucking.

 

Baekhyun’s hands were lazily circling Chanyeol’s bum, patting them, kneading them.

 

Fuck. I am so hard. My dick is crying.” Chanyeol whispered, teasing the nipple with his tongue. Baekhyun slapped his bum when Chanyeol bit on it especially hard.

 

They kissed some more, getting lost in each other's taste. Baekhyun started rubbing his cock against Chanyeol’s pelvis, up and down, in slow motions, demanding something.

 

Chanyeol sat up and busied himself around Baekhyun’s inner thigh, leaving behind an array of bruise marks. He fondled Baekhyun’s balls, tapping them until the silver-haired protested.

 

He dipped his tongue downwards towards Baekhyun’s most secret area, and gently licked the rim, before pulling away.

 

“Baekhyun, tell me if this hurts.” he cautioned.

 

Underneath him, Baekhyun parted his legs even wider in a gesture of invitation.

 

Chanyeol lathered his pre-cum generously around his dick. He held Baekhyun’s legs apart and pushed inside the tight opening.

 

“Baekhyun, relax. Breathe. Let me in , baby. Come on.”

 

Chanyeol gave a firm push this time, and he could feel the boy stiffen. Trying to quickly get this over with, the wolf pushed harder, sliding in further inside Baekhyun.

 

“Ah!”

 

“You’ll feel good. You’ll feel good.” Chanyeol whispered in encouragement, digging further inside the boy until he was totally buried. Baekhyun was letting out deep breaths, his face winced.

 

When Chanyeol started to slowly slide his dick out of the tight hole, grazing over Baekhyun’s sweet spot, the latter almost screamed.

 

“Chanyeol .” He whispered urgently, his hands grabbing onto the wolf’s arms.

 

“I know. I know.” Chanyeol whispered back. He did not fully pull out of the hole but pushed back in again.

 

Baekhyun’s eyes flew open, “ Chanyeol .”

 

Penis dug deep inside the boy, Chanyeol mumbled a “what?” He was beginning to lose control.

 

And he was not alone. “Keep doing this.” Baekhyun begged.

 

Chanyeol slid out, then thrust in again. “Like this?”

 

“Yes, yes.”

 

Chanyeol slowly and steadily built the rhythm up, aware that Baekhyun’s nails were digging in his biceps.

 

“Hurts?” He asked in between thrusts.

 

“Mph….no…Chanyeol, harder.”

 

Chanyeol please .”

 

Chanyeol pulled out this time only to ram harder inside the hole.

 

“Ah….yes…. faster Chanyeol.”

 

The wolf quickened the pace of his thrusts, his hand coming down to grab Baekhyun’s erect dick. He held it in a tight grip and slowly pumped it. He pressed the slit of the cock and slid his hand up and down its entire length.

 

“I am .. Chanyeol...ah.. . going to

 

Chanyeol palmed the crown of Baekhyun’s penis, waiting for it to be covered with the boy’s cum.

 

Baekhyun came undone in the next couple of thrusts, moaning out Chanyeol’s name.

 

Baby, I’m right here.” He rode Baekhyun even as the latter submitted to the spasms of his orgasm. Chanyeol collected the evidence of Baekhyun’s orgasm in his hand.

 

Baekhyun’s eyes fluttered close when he saw the wolf bringing the same hand to his mouth.

 

Watching Baekhyun surrender to the after effects of his orgasm, and smelling the cum, tasting it, led Chanyeol to the very edge. He could feel his own member engorging, swelling to accommodate itself inside Baekhyun’s walls, rooting Chanyeol to a standstill, and before he knew it, the wolf started shooting jets of sperm inside Baekhyun’s tight ass.

 

He couldn't breathe. He couldn't see anything except tiny stars. He fell limply to the bed, unable to move his dick a millimetre, and his tongue involuntary lolled out as the sexual sensations coursed over his mind, body and soul.

 

Baekhyun opened his eyes and locked them with Chanyeol’s. He too could feel the knot bind them in place. Chanyeol swiped Baekhyun’s chin, lips and nose, eyes half crazed. “ Mate.” he whispered, unable to utter anything else.

 

Chanyeol felt Baekhyun’s arms embrace him then. “I know. Mates.” Baekhyun was smiling.

 

Chanyeol chuckled in spite of himself, in spite of being in the heady calf throes of passion. Baekhyun smelled like a blossom, felt like a treat, loved like a blessing. Baekhyun was his one and only.

 

Chanyeol lay on top of Baekhyun, perfectly motionless, waiting for the next orgasm which could strike any moment now. He felt like he was floating in space, in a perpetual state of arousal. He could cum any moment, he was so aroused, so close.

 

Mustering the last of his strength, Chanyeol maneuvered their bodies in a way that Baekhyun was atop him now. They were joined in the most private of parts, joined together forever.

 

How long will this last?” Baekhyun whispered after some time had passed.

 

“Hours.” Chanyeol breathed, and God he hoped so. This felt incredible. He was not even entirely present there anymore.

 

Baekhyun moaned, no doubt pleasured by the swollen dick inside him.

 

The very sound acted as a trigger, bringing forth Chanyeol’s next orgasm. This one lasted longer, and he could tell he had shot off a heavy load inside Baekhyun.

 

“Feels so good!” Chanyeol whispered once his seizures had passed.

 

Baekhyun hummed and dug himself on his wolf’s chest. He played with Chanyeol’s nipple. “Sleepy.” he yawned after a while.

 

The wolf patted his mate’s head, “Go to sleep.”

 

“What about you?”

 

“I can't. I am going to come again and again.”

 

The very second Baekhyun started to drift off, Chanyeol’s jerks owing to his third orgasm woke him up. The wolfssegner stretched luxuriously, pleasure pooling in the pit of his stomach as Chanyeol’s dick continuously pressed against his pleasure point.

 

They came together after an hour.

 

Deeply buried inside Baekhyun, awake and aroused, Chanyeol had time to ponder. For some reason, the wolfssegner would not meet his eyes, but blinked now and then, more asleep than awake.

 

Chanyeol traced the boy’s back with his palm, drinking the sight Baekhyun presented.

 

The wolf gazed at the boy lovingly, with a slow smile. Deep in the marrow of his bones, he felt like he had known Baekhyun for millennia now, long before he was a wolf, long before he was a man, when they were moon dust floating around.

 

He studied the boy so carefully that night, if someone asked him to draw the silver charmer, Chanyeol could do so blindfolded. He committed the argentine’s face to memory, tiny pores, moles on the skin, the sheer translucence of Baekhyun’s fair face.

 

Love was a very heavy word. But looking at Baekhyun shying away from making eye contact, Chanyeol thought they were floating under the influence of love.

 

Love was disguised all around, it was the lyrics composed of Baekhyun’s silver hair. Love made its appearance as the sheen of moist and sweat on their bodies. Love called out to them as involuntary moans, love was Baekhyun’s walls tightening around Chanyeol’s member.

 

Love was all around.

 

Love was the goosebumps Chanyeol’s fingers left on Baekhyun’s skin, love was the slight opening and closing of Baekhyun’s mouth.

 

Love had crept up on them.

 

Love was a mystical silver of longing and desire and giddy feels and balled fists and Chanyeol’s body quivering due to his orgasm for the nth time that night.

 

Love had visited unawares. Love was here to stay.

 

“Sleep, wolf.”

 

Baekhyun sighed, hummed a satisfied note, then fell asleep with his mouth parted.

 

But how could Chanyeol? He couldn't get enough of this creature, as it is.

 

Chanyeol changed his position slightly, adjusting his body against the wolfssegner.

 

The silence of the night was beginning to be disturbed by birds. Dawn couldn't be far behind. Chanyeol rested his forehead against Baekhyun’s, not really wanting his knot to release just yet. His hands ghosted over Baekhyun’s skin, eyes touching where his fingers couldn't.

 

He could feel another orgasm building up. How many times had he spilled inside the boy already. Chanyeol had not kept count, getting lost in the headiness of the experience.

 

His body jerked involuntarily as he shot off his load. Baekhyun smiled, signalling that he was not entirely asleep, just tired.

 

Chanyeol, however, could never tire of doing this. Dawns and dusks, waning and waxing of the moon, ebb and flow of the tide, a wolf tangled in the sheets with his mate, knotted and spilling seed - all cyclical.

 

Chanyeol waited to see if the knot would release this time, and was mildly disappointed when, after hours of latching to Baekhyun’s inner walls, his dick slowly went back to its normal size.

 

“Mph.” Baekhyun sleepily whispered as Chanyeol slithered out of his ass.

 

The wolfssegner cupped Chanyeol’s cheeks, eyes still closed. “Phew.” he said, “Don't be gloomy, my wolf. We can do it again, later.”

 

Chanyeol perked up at the thought, and shut his eyes for the first time that night, sleep easily claiming him. Soon, he told himself and then dreams carried him away.



Miles away, Yoora put her phone away after her conversation with Jaejoong. She walked to the windows and pulled the curtains aside. The sky was an inky blue, heralding a new dawn.

 

Junmyeon silently approached her and kissed her shoulder. “Bad dream?” he asked.

 

“Not this time.” Yoora replied. Junmyeon didn't see the smile on her face. Or the determination in her eyes. “Junmyeon.”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“I think it's time.” She turned around to look at her fiance in the face, “We should call your Professor for lunch sometime soon.”

 

Junmyeon was aware of Yoora’s motives. “At such a short notice? Professor Jung is a very busy man, love.”

 

“I think he will like to hear what I have to say. I think it's time he stopped running and came home, don't you agree?”

 

“But what of your brother?”

 

“What of him?”

 

“Shouldn’t you consult with him before moving ahead with this? I mean - he might disagree with the whole idea-”

 

Yoora clicked her tongue. “I think he has made his position very clear tonight. His was the final puzzle. I have been waiting to see what he would do. What did he want most of all - to be a pack leader or to be with his mate. And he chose well.”

 

“You are very ambitious.” Junmyeon teased.

 

“That too.” Yoora laughed. “But I am doing the lovebirds a favour here.”

 

“Which pair of lovebirds?”

 

Both pairs of lovebirds.”

 

“And your father?”

 

Yoora’s mood darkened. “Him too. I am saving his soul from rot.”

 

“Do you still having nightmares about the sacrifice?”

 

Yoora closed her eyes, and opened them again when flashes of baby cubs burning in fire invaded her senses.

 

“I dream of a different kind of fire these days, Junmyeon. I see Chanyeol surrounded by fire. I see Chanyeol as fire.”




Baekhyun made sure his wolf was deep asleep before shuffling out of bed. Contrary to what he had heard about first times, Baekhyun felt little to no discomfort.

 

There was a dull throbbing in his rear but that was it.

 

He stood under the shower in his tiny bathroom until the stickiness fully leaked out. He brushed his teeth, marveling at the brilliant turn of events. Who would have thought. He peered at himself in the mirror, trying to see if there was any change in the way he looked. There were none. The same silver hair. The same droopy eyes.

 

How misleading!

 

His life had taken a dramatic turn and there was no way anyone could tell!

 

It was a secret just for Chanyeol and him to keep.

 

In a single night, he had lost his virginity, mated with an alpha wolf, and there was no way anyone would know.

 

Appearances were so deceiving.

 

Because he had changed.

 

He had looked in the eyes of his mate, been kissed to dizzying heights, coddled, fingered, touched, taken, and no one would know. His body bore the marks of a wolf’s unfettered desire, his hole was still leaning fluids as a constant reminder. Chanyeol’s member had expanded inside his walls, applying constant, unceasing pressure to his secret spot, and no one could tell!

 

Baekhyun touched himself. No, he wouldn't do the touching thing now, his wolf would. And the days would be endless and the orgasms would be ceaseless. Whoever wrote the script had written it so well, with such drama and flair. What magical wonderland of perfect bliss did he step into last night?

 

“You have a mate.” Baekhyun told his reflection in the mirror, blushing a little.

 

He felt immensely giddy.

 

Baekhyun found Chanyeol still snoring on the bed. He threw the thin bed cover over Chanyeol’s hips and quietly stepped out of the room. He went fishing for some loose fitting clothes in Baekbom’s cupboard and left them next to the slumbering wolf.

 

Baekhyun found his mother in the kitchen.

 

Usually, Sundays were reserved for the men in the house to cook. Today was Baekhyun’s turn. He set about adding rice in the rice cooker, and washing the vegetables for soup. His mother had been strict with him of late, ever since he broke his ankle.

 

Every year, for around a week, Mama Byun tried acting tough in the hopes that Baekhyun might remedy his impossibly naughty and hair raising behaviour.

 

Ever since he had turned fifteen, the complaints from the neighbours had ceased. Thankfully for her, Baekhyun now no longer found delight in stealing from someone's kitchen. It must be the worst possible feeling in the world to find cooked meals gone!

 

Mama Byun helped Baekhyun measure the salt and seasoning in the kimchi soup. She hung around just in case her youngest needed further guidance. She hung around also to prevent him from botching the meal, like he had done on plenty of occasions.

 

Baekhyun finally mustered up the courage to tell her about the house guest. He didn't, technically. Mama Byun just raised her brows at him when he set the table for five persons.

 

“Is Luhan dropping by for breakfast?”

 

“No mum.” Baekhyun turned away and made a show of inspecting the boiling stew. “Chanyeol...dropped in late last night. He slept over.”

 

Mama Byun observed her son’s wide, tensed back. Her eyes scanned her son’s profile and she sat back in relief to see that her son still had the lovely silver hair intact, the silver she was so fond of.

 

Still friends, she thought. Not that she minded the match in the least. She was just happy if her son would still be hers for slightly longer. Wolves were notoriously possessive of their mates.

 

“We have a guest for breakfast and you're still sticking to your rice, soup and pickle routine. Move aside, let me fry some eggs with toast. Coffee? Will your wolf like some coffee?”

 

Her son was quick to nod 'yes.” Mama Byun found it suspicious. Baekhyun scratched his head, gulping in a guilty manner. “We chatted late into the night.”he explained.

 

In a case of perfect timing, the wolf stepped into the room in Baekbom’s clothes with damp hair just as Mama Byun placed the pot of coffee on the table.

 

Baekhyun gave him an impish smile and Chanyeol returned this with the softest of looks.

 

Mama Byun’s face shone when she spotted Chanyeol. “Come, sit.” she called out, “Baekhyun cooked us breakfast today. So all blame lies on him if the stew is salty. Let me go fetch the others.”

 

Chanyeol bowed and offered his greetings.

 

Mother in law, he thought. Then died of his own sappiness.

 

He sat right next to Baekhyun, not an inch of space between them, and left a light peck on his mate’s cheek.

 

“Had a good sleep?” he teased, his voice a low rumble in the morning.

 

Baekhyun rubbed his hand along Chanyeol’s thighs, mischievous expression in place, “Did you have nice orgasms, Mr . Wolf?”

 

Meeaow.

 

They jumped on their seats at the sound.  

 

Kyungsoo’s tail….did not look very pleased.

 

“I hate that cat.” Chanyeol said grumpily. Never mind matter what he said, the wolf didn't dare look at his mate anymore during breakfast. Two pairs of eyes were trained on him. While Kyungsoo made no effort to hide his glower, Mama Byun eyed them covertly.

 

“Stay. Don't go.” Baekhyun glued himself to Chanyeol the moment they returned to the wolf charmer’s room, minus Kyungsoo.

 

“I’ll have to. I think I am already in trouble. My dad might disown me.”

 

“That's even better. You can come and stay with us.”

 

“And have Kyungsoo murder me in sleep? No, thank you.”

 

Baekhyun pouted.

 

Chanyeol smelled the buttery scent of his mate, “I’d like that. But I really have to go now.”

 

“It's Sunday! Don't go. I am your mate now. Aren't you supposed to cater to my demands and spoil me?”

 

Chanyeol laughed. He was handsome when he doubled over in laughter like that.

 

“I am afraid that's not how it works. But spoil you I will.”

 

“When?” Baekhyun was still pouting, “Aren't you supposed to crave my body or something?”

 

“I am. I do, wolfssegner. So much. Which is why I will see you tonight, okay?”

 

“I will spam your inbox. Just a warning. Hehe.”





Chanyeol took a deep breath before entering the gates to his mansion. The clock said ten thirty am. His father usually soaked under the sun during this time, reading the morning daily.

 

The pack leader stopped Chanyeol in his tracks on the garden itself. He seemed pleased to see his son.

 

“That took you a long time.” his father sneered, smug about the virility of his son.

 

Chanyeol did not want to leave any doubts in his father’s mind. “Yeah. I was craving a long run. So, I walked Seulgi home last night after the movie and went running with the boys.”

 

His father’s expression never changed.

 

“I see.”

 

Chanyeol lifted the newspaper which slid to his father’s ankle. He handed his father the paper, glancing at the headlines.

 

Annual Wolf Conclave to begin in Wolf Town soon; all preparations underway, it read.

 

Wolves from all over the country came to take part in these conclaves. The Alphas. The pack leaders. In Chanyeol’s opinion, the worst of the worst, vicious wolves.

 

“Don't you like Seulgi?” his father asked when he started to walk away.

 

Chanyeol kept his shoulders straight and looked his father in the eye. “We didn't click, Pa.” he said.

 

The pack leader sighed, his hungry eyes closing in disappointment. “That's such a shame. But I believe there are many fishes in the pond. With the conclave coming up, you can look around and choose anyone you take a fancy to.”

 

Chanyeol nodded.

 

“Anyone but -” His father’s voice took on a tone of caution, “I hope you know how much of a prized alpha you are, son. You make me so proud when I look at you.” The pack leader’s eyes went over his borrowed clothes, “I would hate to see you choose an unworthy mate, Chanyeol.”

 

“Father-”

 

“Now get indoors. Get some sleep. You look haggard. And whose vile clothes are these? They smell.”



Chanyeol could not rest. Baekhyun left him a hundred and one messages and voicemails on his phone. The wolf kept replaying last night.

 

He was a changed alpha. He was mated now. How long would it take his father to figure it out? How bad could it be, really? They couldn't force him to stay away from his mate, it was already done. They’d have to eventually accept it.

 

“Hello.” Yoora picked the phone on the third ring. Her voice was high pitched with excitement.

 

“Yoora, why didn't you reply to my messages?”

 

“I was furious with you, that's why?”

 

“Heh?”

 

“Mom told me you were courting Seulgi. I was furious. I am Team Butters.”

 

Chanyeol blew out a puff of air. Ladies. Drama. Pouting over such silly things. “Team Butters won.” He simply put it that way.

 

“When do I get to meet him?” He could hear the smile in his sister’s voice. Ah, he missed Yoora.

 

“Err… but you’ve already met him?”

 

“I’d love to be properly introduced to him.”

 

“Are you coming to the Conclave?”

 

“That's - when was it again? Ok yes. Two more weeks. Yeah, yeah. Make sure Butters knows who is the superior wolf among the two of us.”

 

Chanyeol chuckled. “Why not!”



The alpha read Baekhyun’s texts one by one next, laughing because some of them were lewd and pretty gross. He thought it was time Baekhyun met some of his family.



At night, they met by their favourite tree. They didn't make it any farther, losing themselves in each other, kissing and fumbling with each other on their hastily discarded clothes.

 

Chanyeol cradled Baekhyun on his lap as the knot set, the wolf charmer’s cum sticking on their bodies.

 

Just like the night before, Chanyeol had no idea of the times he came inside his silver-haired mate. Enough times to lose himself in a cloud of silver smoke, or was it Baekhyun’s hair.

 

Chanyeol combed his fingers through Baekhyun’s sweaty hair, trying to understand why knotting with Baekhyun made him even more virile. He should be tired, he should lose strength, especially at the lack of adequate sleep for the past two days.

 

But Chanyeol felt nothing if not refreshed. He felt all powerful, a male, an alpha, a mate to the most charming creature.

 

The sky was changing colours when his knot finally released. He had impaled Baekhyun’s butthole for a good measure that night, and his muscles were stiff from cradling Baekhyun to sleep. How anyone could lose themselves to slumber while a huge ( Chanyeol was smug about the huge bit) dick was sticking inside his hole was beyond him. It was one of the many endearing things about his mate.

 

Because of the position in which they sat, Chanyeol’s cock was still lodged inside Baekhyun. And although he loved being inside the boy, he nudged that it would do no one any good if lost control and started moving inside the boy again. Long hours inside the boy in the cover of the night felt like heaven, but being discovered knotted to each other, unable to move, would be akin to hell.

 

With some struggle, he managed to push Baekhyun off his lap. “Wake up, sleepyhead.”

 

Baekhyun whined in his sleep.

 

“Fuck me, alpha.” Baekhyun said, and Chanyeol wondered if he was dreaming, until Baekhyun opened an eye, “please.”

 

Chanyeol kissed the corner of his wolfssegner’s mouth, “I would in a heartbeat. That's all I want to do. But not now. Not here. See. It's almost daybreak already and I - I still can't control when to knot, and for how long.  I need to head home. I will see you at school.”

 

Baekhyun opened both eyes and sighed. His ass was all runny with Chanyeol’s cum.

 

“Can't you see I am hard all over again?” Baekhyun groaned.

 

Chanyeol looked pointedly at the object in question. “Very hard.” he corrected.

 

“Very very.” Baekhyun stressed, climbing back on Chanyeol’s lap.

 

“How about this? How about a quick handjob?”

 

Baekhyun heavily protested, “I think I gave you my ass for four straight hours. I think I deserve a blowjob at least.”

 

Chanyeol tackled him to the ground. “Little minx, yes you do.”




The school was terrible. As a newly mated pair, they hungered to touch each other every second of every minute.

 

Baekhyun imagined that if it was so bad for him, it must be worse for Chanyeol. There had always been a magnetic attraction between them, of the physical sort, which was quadrupled now. Their calves under the desk were locked with each other, and Chanyeol’s breathing was labored.

 

“You alright there?”

 

“Can't wait for tonight. I think I will die of blue balls by then.”

 

Baekhyun pulled his wolf’s ear. “If you follow me to the washroom, I will return this morning’s favour.”




“What's up with you and the wolf?” Luhan asked at recess.

 

“Nothing.” Baekhyun shrugged.

 

“That alpha had always scowled at me, but just now, when I wiped the sauce off your lips, he gave me the coldest look ever. I shivered.”

 

Baekhyun searched the cafeteria for his wolf. He was not looking his way right then, but when their eyes finally met, they were transported.

 

They were back in the forest, angrily moving in rhythm with each other’s body.




“I know that look.” Sehun drawled quite loudly for everyone to hear. “It's lust.”

 

Chanyeol dismissed Sehun’s comment.

 

“Chanyeol, do what you have to do to resolve these sexual tensions. But make sure you pull out in time. He's not suitable as a mate.”

 

Chanyeol rolled his eyes.   Too late, he thought. And stupid advice!

 

Sehun looked from the alpha to the wolf charmer. He stole looks at the wolf charmer next to the wolf charmer.



“You know, Oh Sehun keeps throwing me these secret glances. I don't know what to do.” Luhan huffed, as though it was a huge burden, as if he didn't return these looks.

 

“I think he likes me.” Luhan declared when Baekhyun kept quiet. “I think I will pass him my number one of these days. What say?”

 

“Baekhyun, you're not even listening to me!!”



That night, they decided to have sex in Baekhyun’s bedroom. Jumping on the forest floor, they had realised, was a bit uncomfortable.

“You still have to take me out on a proper date.”

 

What a Baekhyun thing to say, Chanyeol thought, and just when he had begun to thrust inside the boy.

 

“Soon.” he breathed, seeking the warm interiors with his cock again and again.

 

“I mean - since you took Seulgi out on one.” Baekhyun reminded. God, this wolfssegner would never let him forget that.

 

Chanyeol paused in his thrusts and rested his head against Baekhyun, “It was just a movie, my love.”

 

“Even so.”

 

“You're kinda killing the mood here.”

 

“Am I?” Baekhyun winked, grabbing his dick with his fist and rubbing it along Chanyeol’s body.

 

Chanyeol resumed his thrusts, “I will take you out soon babe.”

 

Baekhyun arched himself and scratched Chanyeol’s back, leaving red trails from Chanyeol’s shoulders to his hips, “When?”

 

“Soon. Baby. Soon. Just. Let's. Fuck. Right. Now.”

 

Chanyeol reached for Baekhyun’s dick, giving it short pumps, feeling the swollen member from base to tip.

 

Baekhyun closed his eyes, his teeth sucking his lower lip in and his ankles possessively digging themselves in Chanyeol’s rear.

 

Chanyeol left Baekhyun’s dick to pry his legs apart to dig even deeper into the pot of gold.

 

Baekhyun had lost all sense of small talk and was mumbling incoherently, making expressions that made Chanyeol want to reach the finish line, but he held back. He wanted Baekhyun to come before releasing the knot, he wanted to pleasure Baekhyun first.

 

Seeing Baekhyun squirt his cum out proved to be Chanyeol's undoing. He couldn't control himself any longer. He felt himself enlarging inside Baekhyun’s honeypot, and slumped over the spasming Baekhyun once he could move no more.

 

Baekhyun’s hand roamed over Chanyeol’s back and found the tiny crack in his ass. Just the slightest pressure on his rim and Chanyeol shot the highest load of ejaculate against Baekhyun’s walls.

 

“Oh. My. Stars.” Chanyeol cried out, completely in a trance and entirely besotted with his mate. He dug his teeth on Baekhyun’s shoulder and bit the boy, leaving a huge red mark. “Help me. I can't control myself around you.” he whispered. He left tingly pecks on Baekhyun’s neck, “I am really gone. I don't know where I end and where you begin. What have you done to me?”



There his boy was. There were no certainties in life, except that he was in love.



Time flies when you are having fun. Days flew by in a blur, and there was nothing outstanding about them apart from the fact that Chanyeol and Baekhyun were in love.

 

Since they were already joined at the hip even before, no one could really tell that there had been a huge shift in their dynamics. That their nights were not reserved for sleeping anymore, but for wild rides, in every sense of the term.



It was their date night. The wolf had promised to take Baekhyun to a special place that night. The forecast for rain later that night added to the thrill of the occasion.

 

As Chanyeol put his shoes on to leave the house, his father appeared out of nowhere.

 

“Where are you going?” his Pa asked in a very casual tone.

 

“To the forest.” Chanyeol shrugged, dismissing his father. He stood his ground as his Pa advanced to his side.

 

“You are gone every night Chanyeol. When do you sleep? When do you study?”

 

His father had never objected to his nightly runs. In fact, his father had always been vocal about the fact that the youth in the Town should often change to their wolf forms and prowl away in the forest.

 

We are wolves first, men later. We should embrace who we are - his father would often say.

 

In the dark, it was hard to tell what his father was thinking.

 

“Who are you going out with?”

 

“Alone.”

 

“Does Seulgi not join you on these runs?”

 

“No.”

 

“Go to sleep, son. I have something serious to discuss with you in the morning.”

 

“You told me to change into my wolf form often.” Chanyeol reminded.

 

His father placed a hand on his shoulder. “That was last year, when you rarely went out to the forest. This year, that is all you have been doing. Don't you have a huge study load? I see you yawning at breakfast every morning. Tsk. This won't do. Stay indoors for a while.”

 

“But Pa-”

 

“Go to bed Chanyeol.” His father spoke in his authoritative voice. A tone which was never used on his children.

 

Chanyeol found himself obeying because a pack leader’s words were law. And his father had spoken out the words like a command.

 

He noisily went up his room, nostrils flared. All across the forest, his mate was waiting for him. His mate needed him tonight, just like all the other nights that had sped by in a blur.

 

The alpha paced up and down the room. He felt like a caged animal.

 

He was fuming. Who dared to keep two mates apart, especially at such a crucial time. They needed to be around each other, madness would ensue otherwise.

 

Who dared ask him to stay away from his mate!

 

He was already half mad. He couldn't think beyond his mate.

 

Baekhyun.

 

Baekhyun.

 

Baekhyun.

 

Warm, sexy, supple Baekhyun. He wouldn't last this night without his mate by his side.

 

He could feel his body heating up already, every pore demanding to be joined with his newly mated wolf charmer. He felt like there was a fire within, waiting to lash out and strike every one who stood in his way.

 

Chanyeol grabbed the jar of chilled water, bringing it halfway to his lips to quench his growing thirst.

 

He stopped mid-way.

 

Water couldn't quench this. This agonising burn in his loins.

 

Chanyeol let the glass jar fall. It crashed on the floor and shattered into tiny shards. The servant rushed up the staircase to learn the cause of the commotion

 

“It fell.” Chanyeol said simply.

 

He was this close to picking up a rough edged shard and dragging it across his entire palm, anything to let the pent up fire out. His mind suddenly made up, Chanyeol barged out of the room and down the stairs.

 

His father, who was still standing in the hall, looked up when he heard Chanyeol’s noisy footsteps. He was surprised to see the look of frenzied determination in his son’s face.

 

“Where do you think you're going? Hey! Hey!”

 

Chanyeol pushed past his father, not heeding his Pa’s cries.

 

“Stop. I command you to stop.”

 

The words had no effect on Chanyeol.

 

He could explain later. Cook some excuse up. Or why should he even bother explaining himself to a mere wolf? He was alpha, he was king. He was born marked to lead the pack. He won’t go around explaining his motives to anyone!!

 

He was alpha. He didn't take orders.

 

He couldn't even hear his father’s angry bellows anymore. The air felt strangely void, as if he had sucked all the oxygen out of it. His ears were filled with a strange noise, that of fire licking away at his soul, urging him on.

 

His mate was waiting for him, all the way across the forest. And he was late.



Just as the servant finished picking the glass shards, he heard another heavy crash from the hall.

 

The pack leader had thrown a glass against the wall.

 

As the servant hurried to clear the mess, he heard Alpha Park angrily punching a number on the landline phone.

 

“Heechul?” the servant heard the wolf say, “Come to my mansion right this instant! I need to know who my son is hanging out with these days!”

 

The servant stilled. He had overheard some of the young master’s conversations over the phone late in the night. He knew exactly who the alpha sneaked out to meet at nights.

 

The young master had a rider!



Oh Sehun was pacing on the balcony, unable to fall asleep. He had a piece of paper with Luhan’s number scrawled in it in very messing handwriting. He was debating whether or not to throw the paper in the air.

 

“I know you like me.” Luhan had challenged him at school that day, pushing a piece of paper in his bag. “Here. Take my number. Man up, or should I say, wolf up?”

 

Ha ha ha. Very funny joke! As if he could like any wolfssegner. It was so funny, it was not even funny. Not even remotely. Not. Funny. At. All.

 

Sehun stared at the paper, burning holes in it, when a movement down below caught his eye.

From his high vantage point, he saw Chanyeol hurrying out of his home.

 

Wolves could see perfectly in the dark. What caught Sehun’s attention was the strange gait of his friend. Chanyeol, even in his animal form, was graceful. He never stumbled around like this. Like a mad man consumed!

 

Sehun frowned. How very unlike Chanyeol.

 

And then Sehun froze.

 

“Holy fucking shit!” He let go of the piece of paper. It fluttered away with the night breeze.

 

Park Chanyeol, all six feet one inch, barged through the street, emitting fire from his body.

 

Literally.

 

How was it a trick of light, Sehun asked the skies, gripping the wrought iron banisters, frantically thinking of a logical answer.

 

He was totally awestruck.

 

It was unmistakable. The flames which danced around Chanyeol, illuminating him. Red hot angry flames.

 

His friend was fire himself.

 

Sehun sunk down to the ground on his knees.











Chapter Text

 

Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.


Heechul knew this day would invariably come, the day of reckoning when Alpha Park would demand to see the balance sheet of his cherished son’s comings and goings. The History teacher had tried to prevent history from repeating itself, but to no avail. The friendship between the future pack leader and the silver-haired wolf charmer had only solidified in the meantime, despite his best efforts to warn them in the very beginning.

And now here he was, tired but all his sleep replaced by wariness, hurrying to the pack leader's mansion at a single call. He wiped dust off the soles of his shoes against the doormat, pressing the calling bell and clearing his throat.

Alpha Park swung the door open; he looked restless. He looked as though he had been waiting Heechul’s arrival impatiently.

Heechul bowed to the pack leader politely and stepped inside the large hall. The man surveyed him from top to bottom; the alpha always sent chills down the spines of lesser wolves like him.

“I know I summoned you at a very late hour.” the alpha huffed, looking this way and that, restless. It looked as if he was barely managing to contain his fury; as though something unprecedented had occurred.

“You are our alpha. We exist to do your bidding. Is there something you wish me to do?”

Alpha Park looked at him impatiently. “I told you over the phone - I need to know who my son hangs out with at school. He hardly stays indoors at nights!”

Heechul had his answer prepared. He pretended to be amused. He pretended to laugh. “Haha.” he covered his fake laughter with a dainty hand to his mouth. “I see. This is a complaint I often hear from parents. And you are no different. The age Chanyeol is in-students his age love to loiter around and defy parents. Almost every wolf in his class go to the forest to howl about at night. They’d yawn in class and invite punishments for not being attentive.”

Alpha Park pondered over Heechul’s words. “Chanyeol has always heeded my words in the past. I find him defying my orders too often these days.”

“All wolves his age are defiant.” Heechul tried to make light of the matter.

Alpha Park regarded him minutely, “So you mean to say that I shouldn't worry about my son, that he hasn't fallen in bad company?”

Heechul shook his head, “He hardly talks to anyone in class. There's a couple of wolves his age he’s friends with. Apart from that, he is pretty closed off.”

“Hmmmmmm.” Alpha Park seemed to be considering his words, “So I have nothing to worry about.”

“You have nothing to worry about.”

“And you-” Alpha Park looked at Heechul sharply, “You will continue to keep an eye on Chanyeol?”

“Just as I have done all these years.” Heechul affirmed.

“And you are positive that your future pack leader doesn’t interact with wolfssegners at all?”

“Not at all.” Heechul did not miss a beat, lying through his teeth.

Alpha Park appeared somewhat satisfied, but his brow was knitted still. He was a scary man; Heechul knew Alpha Park was a scary man who was capable of cruel deeds. “I’ll take your word for it.” the scary man said, and Heechul was internally relieved. “But the moment you see Chanyeol interacting with a wolfssegner, you must come and let me know. And I’ll deal with it in a befitting manner.”

Of course you would, Heechul thought spitefully Outwardly, he stood up and bowed, “I will, sir.” he said. He knew he would do no such thing, not now, not ever. He was mildly irritated with Chanyeol, for leaving his tracks open.

 

Once away from the vicinity of the pack leader’s manor, Heechul fished out his cell phone from his pocket. Droplets of rain had begun to fall from the sky and Heechul attributed his goosebumps to the icy cool of the raindrops. When he punched in the number he hadn't dialled in a long time, the History teacher realised that his hands were shaking. He knew Jaejoong was a person who loved going to bed early. “Pick up. Pick up. Pick up.”

Jaejoong picked up Heechul’s call in the third try. His voice was groggy. “Hello?” His voice was also tentative. They hadn't talked in months.

“It's me. Heechul.”

“I know it's you.” Jaejoong mumbled, sounding a teeny bit irritated. “What do you want this late at night? Did you hurt yourself again? Do you want me to heal you?”

Heechul rolled his eyes. “Byun Baekhyun.” he simply said. He smiled sardonically when there was silence on the other end. He had known that name would knock the wind out of his former best friend, former because they hardly kept in touch these days.

“Byun Baekhyun what?” Jaejoong’s voice was a whisper, almost a plea.

“The pack leader wanted to know who his son is hanging out with. He suspects.”

“Did you- did you tell him about Baekhyun?” Jaejoong stammered; but his words were also a warning.

“Do you take me for a fool?” Heechul hit back. He heard Jaejoong take an audible sigh of relief. “But those two certainly are. Fools.I doubt they even realise the kind of danger they have put Baekhyun in. I tried to warn them, keep them apart-”

“There's no keeping them apart Heechul.” Jaejoong stated simply.

“But we can still try, can't we?” Heechul pressed, knowing full well how a romance between the future pack leader and a wolf charmer was going to end.

“We can’t.” Jaejoong said softly. “They've bonded. They're mates now.”

It was Heechul’s turn to fall silent now. “That's impossible.” he finally barked, circling around his house in the dead of the night. “You know full well that a wolf charmer’s silver hair turns  black when he mates with a wolf. It happened to you! I saw Baekhyun at school all plastered over Chanyeol. Thankfully his hair is still silver.” Heechul felt like he was stating the obvious.

“Baekhyun’s hair is still silver because Yoora and I devised a way to keep it from turning to black. It's not because your students are prudes. They’ve mated.”

Heechul gasped audibly. “Yoora? Alpha Park’s daughter, Yoora? I didn’t know you knew Yoora?”

“There are many things you don't know. And trust me, it's better this way.”

“How do you know Yoora?” Heechul pressed.

“Yunho teaches at the University she goes to. She’s Yunho’s student. She came to find me in the village one night, said she will bring Yunho and me together one day. I laughed it off but I’ve come to realise that Yoora rarely says things she doesn't intend to do.”

“How-how did she break the barrier spells to enter the village?”

“You don’t know her, Heechul. You don't know the things she’s capable of.”

The was a pause in which Heechul gathered his thoughts. He digested the revelation that Yoora was more than met the eye. He bumped into Alpha Park’s daughter every now and then. Yoora was always gracious. He would have never thought that the girl alpha had her personal agenda.

“I’ll talk to Baekhyun.” Jaejoong was speaking at the other end, “I’ll tell him to be careful.”

“I’ll talk to Chanyeol and do the same.” Heechul added readily, “Byun Baekhyun is annoying but I don't want any of my students to get hurt. And you know what kind of cruelties the pack leader is capable of. If he realises that his own son has taken a wolfssegner as his mate-”

“Then all hell will break loose.” Jaejoong finished the sentence for him. Heechul sighed. He spent a sleepless night, tossing and turning in bed, imagining all sorts of possible, horrible endings for Chanyeol and Baekhyun’s little romance. Because in no way would Alpha Park let this slight go.

Alpha Park was a very different sort of man. He had a carefully cultivated exterior, but inside, he was all dark. In his quest for power, Alpha Park had shown remarkable cruelty and cunning. Heechul prayed that the father would never come to learn about his son’s affair, for Baekhyun’s sake.

 

Chanyeol didn't even realise when he abandoned his human form to shapeshift into a wolf in his hurry to get to his mate. He wasn't thinking straight; he was thinking in curved, jumbled lines, tangled in a mess of thoughts that all began and ended with Baekhyun, his lovely, curvaceous, bubbly, silver-haired mate.

The rain began to pour down heavily on him when he stepped inside the forest. He could see nothing, hear nothing, except the sound of thunderclap and the sharp silver of lightning overhead. He let the honey trail of Baekhyun’s scent draw him in.

Chanyeol heard the deafening sound of his own heartbeat when he made out the wet form of his mate under their favourite tree - the tree with the hollow. He slowed down to a jog, his eyes taking in the sogged form of the silver-haired.

He waited for the admonishment that was sure to come - he was quite late indeed. Baekhyun was drenched from head to toe.

But the wolf quickly realised that Baekhyun did not mind bathing under the summer showers a single bit when the wolf charmer all but smothered him with affection.

It would still take the wolf to get used to Baekhyun throwing himself at his wolf form, hugging him to death and whispering words of affection in his ear.

“My wolf!” Baekhyun laughed, launching at him, hitting him like a shiny silver comet, feet hopping on the wet ground, splattering mud water all over Chanyeol’s legs. “I missed you so much. I waited for you so long. Aaaaah, why is it raining on our date night?” he whined, then dug his face inside the wet fur.

“Aaaaaaaaachoooooo.” he sniffed the very next instant.

Chanyeol sniffed his favorite person all over, then bent so Baekhyun could climb atop him.

The caves where Chanyeol wanted to take Baekhyun to were quite some distance away from the village.

By the time the caves came in sight, the downpour had turned into a light drizzle.

The sky was still too cloudy for the moonlight to escape through it. It was pitch black. Baekhyun climbed off the wolf’s back and felt around in the dark. He could not see a thing. “Where are we?” he asked the wolf.

“At the heart of the forest.” Chanyeol replied, easily pulling Baekhyun in for a hug. His wolf charmer was drenched, and cold to the touch.

Baekhyun jumped on spot. He didn't realise Chanyeol had changed to his human form.

“Did you have to sneak up on me like that?” he squeaked, hitting Chanyeol’s chest but actually feeling the wolf’s tiddies in the process.

Chanyeol kissed Baekhyun’s cheek and whispered against his mate’s ear, “What are you scared of when I am here? I won't let a single harm come to you.”

Baekhyun sighed, then shivered on spot.

“Where are we?” he asked again, digging himself a home against Chanyeol’s chest because the wolf was warm, always warm. Warm and cuddly and huggable.

“The caves.” Chanyeol answered. “I set up a little something for us inside these caves earlier in the day. Come, let's get inside. It looks like it's going to rain again.”

The wolf held Baekhyun’s hand and carefully led him towards the cave. Baekhyun stumbled on a rock or two at the mouth of the cave. Chanyeol tut tutted and carried the wolf charmer bridal style the rest of the way inside. It was cavernous inside the cave.

He gently laid the silver-haired on top of the rugs on the cave floor. “Wait here.” the wolf whispered and kissed the top of Baekhyun’s head.

Chanyeol crouched against the little fireplace he had set up with Jongin and Sehun’s help, and felt around for the tinderbox. He next went around lighting the scented candles positioned around all corners of the cave. The fire from the dry logs made dark shadows dance on the cave walls.

It was primitive, just like sex, like mating. He turned around to check if Baekhyun liked it. The naughty wolf charmer had already thrown his soggy clothes away and was now wrapped inside a quilt like a burrito.

“I am not shy of my state of undress.” Baekhyun quickly explained when Chanyeol chuckled at the impossible sight he made. “I am just warming myself until you come and do the warming for me.”

“In a minute.” Chanyeol said, but his eyes stayed on Baekhyun even as he lit the candles with his matchstick. The wolfssegner looked around, curious, taking in the scented candles, the fireplace, the pile of dry logs and leaves, the makeshift bed on the floor.

Baekhyun whistled. “Somebody went all out to set this place up. Red candles. Red quilt. Red pillows. Somebody’s trying to seduce me, I can see that.”

Chanyeol flicked the matchstick aside, “You went on and on about a proper date.” His eyes roamed around, taking in every corner of the orange lit cave, “I thought I should go all out. But you should know, Jongin and Sehun did all the hard work. I just sat and ordered them around.”

“Bad wolf.” Baekhyun said, licking his lips, his gaze travelling from Chanyeol’s wicked eyes to

the semi erect dick. He patted the side of the rug, “Come here.”

Chanyeol went and knelt beside his mate, “Do you like this?” he whispered, his large palms encasing Baekhyun’s cheeks. “Is it the date you wanted?”

“I love it.” Baekhyun mouthed, “I love you.”

Chanyeol crushed the silver-haired’s mouth against his, sucking the shapely lips with more force that he intended to. He bit at those lips harsher than he ever had, earning a shove from Baekhyun.

“Easy, wolf!” Baekhyun pushed Chanyeol away, showcasing his wet pout.

Chanyeol did not heed Baekhyun’s words, he pulled the quilt away from the wolf charmer's body with a single, rough tug. “Need you. Now.” he said, his hands fumbling all over Baekhyun’s naked flesh.

“Chanyeol!” the silver-haired protested, wriggling out of the wolf’s hold and slapping the roving hands away.

Chanyeol groaned and balled his fists. He sat there obediently, not touching his mate. “Please.” he pleaded.

Baekhyun bit his lip and carefully observed the wolf. “Is everything okay?” he asked softly, inching towards his wolf.

Chanyeol shook his head, “I’m not okay.” he whispered back.

Baekhyun touched the wolf’s shapely nose, the plump lips, concern writ on his lovely, moon-like face, “What is it? Did something happen?”

Chanyeol shook his head again, “I just - I don't like the thought of being apart from you.” He lifted Baekhyun’s hand to his nose and smelled, “My father wanted me to stay indoors tonight. I-I sort of went mad at the thought of not being able to see you tonight.” He kissed Baekhyun’s palm, “I thought I would go crazy if I didn't see you tonight. What have you done to me? Why does it feel like I would die -” Chanyeol buried his nose inside Baekhyun’s palm, “I’d really die if I can't see you, smell you, kiss you, touch you.”

Baekhyun’s face showed understanding, and extreme fondness. Somewhere on his face, there was worry too.  

“Hey.” the silver-haired rubbed Chanyeol’s arm, “I am right here. But it would have been a better idea if you just sneaked out of your house.”

But in that moment, Chanyeol jerked as if Baekhyun’s touch had scalded him. “What?” the wolf charmer’s eyes went wide. “Does it hurt?” Baekhyun rubbed the pad of his fingers against Chanyeol’s skin.

The wolf winced slightly. He frowned. “I don't understand. My skin feels raw, as if I touched a very hot object.”

Baekhyun’s mouth formed a small O of concern. He touched Chanyeol’s chest. “Does it hurt here?”

“It burns” Chanyeol replied, “slightly.”

Baekhyun smiled, “That's okay. Come here, I know how to make it better.”

Chanyeol chuckled, readily closing the distance between them, “I know. Sex.”

Baekhyun laughed, then shook his head at the puzzled wolf. “No. I know a spell. To soothe you. You really seem on the edge tonight.” The wolf charmer leaned in and placed his lips against Chanyeol’s large ear. He whispered foreign words in the wolf’s ear, a string of melodious phrases, and Chanyeol instantly relaxed. He felt the curious burn in his skin subside, and the knots of tension in his body disappear.

Baekhyun whispered the charm against Chanyeol’s ears for several minutes, and the wolf took the opportunity to graze the flat of his palm against the wolf charmer’s naked ass.

“You made me forget some words.” Baekhyun complained, detaching himself from Chanyeol’s ear, but he was grinning widely. “Feeling better now?”

The burn in his skin was gone, he was feeling light-hearted all of a sudden. He was also feeling very, very horny. “But I thought wolf charmers can't put a spell on me.” Chanyeol placed a hand on Baekhyun’s waist and drew him against his body such that their dicks were rubbing against each other now.

Baekhyun pinched his nose. “My dear, I didn't put you under any spell. I just relieved your stress. It's a healing spell. No wolf would say no to a healing spell. Accept it, you're feeling better now.”

Chanyeol grinned, showing his teeth, “Loads better. And a lot hornier that I was before.”

He kissed Baekhyun, slowly this time,leaving gentle affectionate nibbles on the other’s lips. His hands touched Baekhyun everywhere, probing ever inch. His fingers found the wolf charmer’s belly button and played with it.

“Lie back.” he whispered, his nose playing with Baekhyun’s silver tufts of hair.

The wolf charmer fell back on the rug, with the wolf climbing on top of him.

Chanyeol placed Baekhyun’s hand on his rock hard dick now, “Check for yourself, what you do to me.” He closed his eyes and pushed his tongue out as the silver-haired played with his penis, wet with desire for Baekhyun now.

He let Baekhyun’s hand scrape all the slick off  his penis. “Rub this against your opening, Baekhyun.” he whispered, “finger yourself. I want to see you fingering yourself.”

Chanyeol grabbed Baekhyun cock and massaged it from base to tip and the wolf charmer followed his words and pushed his fingers in.

Baekhyun moaned from the pleasure Chanyeol was giving him. He also moaned from the pleasure his own fingers were bringing him.

“Chanyeol,” Baekhyun was beginning to pull his fingers out, “I’m ready.”

“Uh huh.” Chanyeol shook his head. “Keep doing that.”

Baekhyun moaned again. “If I- if I keep doing this, I am gonna come.”

“Then come.” Chanyeol said, his eyes glittering, hand still massaging Baekhyun’s dick.

“But I want you to make me come.” Baekhyun whined, pushing his fingers in and out of his hole. “I’m close Chanyeol.” the silver-haired begged, spreading his legs wider. “Please?”

“Tchhh. Such a baby.” the wolf grinned, not helping Baekhyun deal with his problem and shifting away from his mate.

“I’m just going to sit here and watch you fuck yourself with your beautiful fingers. And then, after you come, I am going to fuck you some more.”

Baekhyun closed his eyes, whining, his fingers buried inside his hole. He was so close, if only Chanyeol would help him with his problem. “I’m so gonna take revenge.” he gasped, moving his hips sensually.

The wolf’s eyes darted from Baekhyun’s sinful lips to his pale abdomen to his fingering.

“I c-can’t control this anymore. Yeol, please.”

“Fuck yourself.” the wolf teased.

“I’m gonna come.” Baekhyun almost cried, helpless with control ebbing away.

Chanyeol took pity on his mate at the very last moment. He bent over Baekhyun pelvis and engulfed the pink cock in his lips, tasting the wet saltiness of his mate.

“Ugh.” Baekhyun breathed, fingering himself with a frenzied pace now. Very soon, he lost himself to the pleasure of losing control, and came inside his wolf’s mouth. Like a good and considerate mate that Chanyeol surely wasn't, the wolf waited until Baekhyun emptied himself. The wolf waited for Baekhyun’s involuntary spasms to subside, and then sucked at the twitching dick for any leftovers.

“No, thank you, you evil wolf.” Baekhyun bitterly said as soon as he could form two words together. His dick slid out of Chanyeol’s mouth, steadily going soft now.

Chanyeol chuckled, further spreading Baekhyun’s legs apart. “Do you know how hard it made me, to see you finger yourself?”

“You’re a bad, bad wolf.” Baekhyun said, but there was only softness in his eyes and a sigh on his lips. The wolf charmer uttered no protest as Chanyeol gently slid inside him, filling him, tickling his sweet spot further.

“I’m very, very aroused.” the wolf said, thrusting inside his mate. “And you're very, very sexy. And I’m very, very close to orgasm myself after seeing your little show.”

Chanyeol increased his pace, “You've got the ripest penis and the perkiest set of tits. The roundest tummy and the tightest hole. I can't do without you, baby. I just can’t.”

Baekhyun’s eyes flew open, “Who’s asking you to do without me? I’m yours for life.”

Chanyeol held Baekhyun's gaze and dug himself inside the warm, welcome hole. The wolf charmer wrapped his legs around Chanyeol’s waist, winking a tiny bit.

The wolf charmer blew him a kiss. Chanyeol returned it with his own. He was wet, he was so wet that liquid, slapping noises were originating from his rhythmic thrusts.

When Baekhyun blew him another kiss, Chanyeol felt the beginning of the end. He gave a solid thrust, making Baekhyun’s eyes widen, then crinkle.

“Stop driving me crazy.” Chanyeol groaned, digging deep inside his mate and twisting his hip in a slow, circular motion. Baekhyun’s back arched. “You like that, huh?” He increased his speed, and the slapping noises echoed inside the hollow cavern of the cave. It sounded as if seven different couples were having sex at the same time, at the same place.

“You're so good. So warm. So tight. Mine. Mine. Only mine. All mine. Forever mine.” Chanyeol was ramming inside his mate now, his eyes unfocused. He fell on top of Baekhyun with a very primitive groan, his dick spilling seed inside Baekhyun’s tightness and enlarging to attach the mates with each other. He suckled on Baekhyun’s lower lip as wave upon wave of desire and fulfilment washed over him.

“Fuck. This was so good. Fuck.”

His wolf charmer was smiling, eyes hooded and sleepy. They had been having sex almost every night now, but it always felt better than the last time.

The best part was being knotted together. The best part was Chanyeol coming again and again inside his mate. The best part was nestling against each other in the summer heat, kissing each other slowly. The best part was Chanyeol cleaning Baekhyun later. The best part was Chanyeol kissing Baekhyun’s sore asshole and licking it until Baekhyun begged him to stop.

The best part was the smell of sex that wafted in the air as they lay attached to each other after a heavy session of lovemaking. The best part was the lovely licks Chanyeol would leave along Baekhyun’s neck. The best part was Chanyeol’s declarations of love.

“I love you so much. I was so mad when Pa asked me to stay indoors.” The wolf left twenty kisses on the base of his lover’s throat.

Baekhyun ran his fingers along Chanyeol’s arm, “You should have heeded him. We could've done this some other time.”

Chanyeol took a proper look at his mate, silver and sated and oh so lovely that the wolf was willing to lay everything on his feet. “You're kidding me right? You know I get crazy without you.”

The wolfssegner pinched his bottom.“You're crazy for sex.”

Chanyeol nuzzled against Baekhyun’s neck, smelling the soft, buttery scent. “That's right. I am crazy for sex with you. I can somehow control myself at school. But I can't go to sleep without hearing you moan my name. I can't. Not anymore.”

Baekhyun ran his hand along the wolf’s spine, “Go to sleep then. You heard me moan your name plenty of times tonight.”

Chanyeol’s lips found Baekhyun’s cheeks, “I wish I could take you home and introduce you to my father. I might do just that one of these days. I would have done it by now. But my sister asked me not to. I hate keeping you a secret. I want to shout from the rooftops that you are mine.”

Baekhyun’s eyes found Chanyeol’s, “I think your sister is right. Your father is not -” he bit his lip.

Chanyeol frowned. “My father, what?”

“Your father would never approve. He will try his best to separate us.”

The wolf put some distance between their torsos. “My father is not a monster, Baekhyun! He may not approve initially, but we are mates, right? Eventually, he will have to let you in. Because I am never letting you go.”

“Your father chased Jaejoong hyung’s mate out of your pack.” Baekhyun pointed out, not looking at his wolf.

Chanyeol was displeased at Baekhyun’s slightly accusatory tone. “So you keep saying again and again. I haven't met this alpha who abandoned his mate and I don't know what kind of wolf would do that. I know about myself. Don't compare me with him. I can't breathe without having you in the vicinity.”

Baekhyun frowned at the arrogance in Chanyeol’s tone, at the cocksure manner. “I am sure the alpha loved Jaejoong hyung very much. They were mates afterall. But your father-”

“My father-” Chanyeol hotly interrupted, “is well within his rights as the pack leader to discipline anyone he sees breaking our code. That alpha should have pushed his case-”

“He tried to.” Baekhyun pressed, “But your father warned my people of consequences if-”

“I don't know where you’ve been hearing this sort of baseless gossip about my father.” Chanyeol’s voice was stern now, “He is my father. I know him better than you and your band of gossip mongers. Don't forget this is my father you're talking about.”

Baekhyun fell silent at that. Chanyeol did not miss the way the wolf charmer pouted. The minutes tickled by. The fire had burnt low and a cool draft was trickling in through the gaps in the cave.

The wolf stretched his long hand to reach out for the abandoned quilt and draped it over them. The silver-haired's eyes were tightly shut but Chanyeol knew he was only pretending to be asleep.

Baekhyun had such a lovely face, the loveliest of faces. It made Chanyeol’s knees go weak. The wolf tapped his index finger against Baekhyun’s lips, but there was no reaction. Chanyeol pursed his lips, perhaps he had been too stern earlier.

But Chanyeol knew his father. He knew that if he begged, pleaded, or took a firm stand, his father would eventually Baekhyun in their pack, in their family. And who would say no to Baekhyun, he smelled so nice and looked like a faun. Who wouldn't want to spend their days idling by the side of this out and out charmer.

The wolf played with his mate’s hair, growing restless by the second with the fact that the wolf charmer was not talking to him. He rested his forehead against Baekhyun’s, tired all of a sudden. “How do I make you believe that I won't ever let you go?” he croaked.

He wanted Baekhyun to open his eyes, he wanted the silver-haired to talk to him, he wanted anything but his mate to pretend that he was asleep. He did not like it one bit. He did not like this silent treatment. He was hating it by the minute. He realised too late that he should have let Baekhyun talk about his fears and inhibitions. But now it was too late and the wolf charmer was already pissed, going by the cold shoulder that was being given to him.

Chanyeol kissed Baekhyun’s shoulder. There was no reaction, no mumbles, no smiles, no playful retort.

The wolf felt his dick shrivel in size. It was the first time this had happened this early. He blinked back when Baekhyun opened one eye. The one eye surveyed him cunningly as his dick slid out of Baekhyun.

Chanyeol immediately put some distance between them. He sat up and shrugged. “Performance issues.” he mumbled, knowing that it would bring a smile to his wolfssegner’s lips. But Baekhyun continued to survey him with his open eye, placid and silent.

The wolf carefully draped the quilt over Baekhyun, and shifted to the fireplace side to add more logs in the fire. He thought he should remain sitting by the fire, the wolf charmer clearly wanted nothing to do with him right now.

Chanyeol wasn't used to this - being ignored. Everywhere he went in Wolf Town, he was revered and welcomed. Lesser wolves did not look him directly in the eye and no-one talked back.

He kept adding log after log to the fire, upset and tired. It was funny because he felt that he saw moving shapes in the fire. It was not funny the second time he saw figures moving in the fire, two persons embracing? Chanyeol gawked. He squinted. But in that exact moment, he felt Baekhyun’s arm on his shoulder.

“Come to bed.” the silver head said in that sweet, sweet voice that made Chanyeol go weak. The wolf immediately forgot about the figures in the fire.

He looked up at his mate. “Baekhyun-ah, I can't do without you. I simply can’t.” Chanyeol stood up and pulled the wolf charmer into a hug. “If you have to believe just one thing about me, please believe that I’ll never, ever let go of you.”

He relaxed when the silver haired smiled against his chest. “Performance issues, huh?” the wolfssegner teased.

“Anxiety.” the wolf replied.

His mate laughed. That was what he loved about his mate, Baekhyun could never hold a grudge for too long.

 

On Monday, Oh Sehun saw his chance and followed Luhan to the washroom.

Luhan grabbed the fly of his uniform trousers as soon as Sehun whipped him around. “Seriously though, what's the matter with you? What's with you and accosting people in toilets?”

Sehun arched his brow but he had a clear cut agenda that Monday. “What did you guys do to our future pack leader?” the wolf demanded.

Luhan did his zipper and put on a blank face, “What do you mean what did we do to your alpha?”

Sehun’s eyes narrowed to small crescents, “Don't act innocent. You lot did something to him. He was literally on fire the other night.”

Luhan’s expression mirrored Sehun’s, “As in? Did he get burnt or something? He seemed fine this morning.”

Sehun rolled his eyes, “As in, he was emitting fire. I saw him do that with my own eyes!”

Luhan took a step back and sighed, “Listen dude, I know you're hot and all and you may not be interested in me. I get that. But there are other ways to shoo an admirer away. Why are you trying to chase me away with your stupid talk about Chanyeol on fire. You don't make any sense.”

“That's exactly what I am trying to say. Chanyeol burst into flames, he was like fireman walking around.” Sehun waved his arms around. “And it doesn't make sense because we are werewolves and not firewolves. So I thought, it definitely had something to do with you wolf charmers!”

Luhan crossed his arms across his chest, “Well, we can produce fire with our spells but here's the thing pretty boy! We can't turn a man into fire, least of all a wolf. So why don't you go and ask your alpha where he learnt this circus trick from?”

Sehun blinked and looked at Luhan as though the wolf charmer was being difficult on purpose. “That’s the thing, my dear enlightened wolf charmer, I did ask Chanyeol. Do you know what he said? He said I was joking. I, that I, was the one who was joking! He said “fire,what fire?”’

Luhan laughed, “Maybe you imagined it pretty boy.”

“Imagined, my foot! I saw it with my own eyes. So I tried dropping a burning wood on his feet at the BBQ yesterday. And he howled in agony. He has scorch marks over his skin. Fire does burn him. But he was fire that night. I don't know what to think!”

Luhan blinked, swift blinks, then slow ones. “I can tell you just this one thing - it's not us. Okay, pretty boy?”

“Maybe it's just Baekhyun then.” Sehun pursued relentlessly. “Maybe Baekhyun charmed him or cursed him or whatever while they were having sex.”

Luhan snorted. “They didn't have sex yet. Idiot.”

“I think they did.” Sehun argued.

“Why, did Chanyeol tell you they had sex?”

Sehun looked flustered, “Well, no. But-but we can tell mated wolves apart. And Chanyeol, recently he has been giving off the vibe of a mated wolf.”

Luhan snorted some more, “Listen, pretty boy. I really like you. So I am going to tell you a secret, okay? If Baekhyun sleeps with Chanyeol, his hair will turn black.”

Sehun gaped. “Why? How?”

“It's our thing.” Luhan shrugged. “Now don't tell this to Baekhyun because he doesn't know. Actually, I shouldn't have told this to you but you can keep a secret, right? Baekhyun’s mum doesn't want him knowing about this shit. So yeah, if he mates with your alpha, his hair will turn silver.”

Sehun pondered over this. “What about you? What will your hair color turn to if you mate with a wolf?”

Luhan grinned mischievously, “I don't know. Guess we’ll just have to try and find out.” He winked at Sehun.

The wolf backed away from the washroom.


Professor Jung said she reminded him of the place and the people he had left behind. The professor had also told her to appear before him sparingly, because it was only so much heartache that he could deal with at a time. Yoora smiled as she waited for the alpha outside the staffroom. The male alpha had been displeased when he found her loitering in front of his classroom that morning. But Yoora was hard to get rid off. She could be very pushy.

 Oppa!” she had finally admonished, when Jung Yunho kept citing his busy schedule. “You're being petty. You’ve been avoiding me like a disease, and I’ve decided that today’s the day when you can't avoid me any longer.”

Professor Jung scratched his temple, “Yoora, I’m really busy. I have a meeting with a delegation of lecturers from Stanford and then-”

Fifteen minutes.” Yoora bounced on her toes in excitement, “Give me fifteen minutes. Please.”

So Yunho had finally agreed to accompany Yoora for lunch. Her face broke into a victory smile when the alpha emerged from the staffroom, all harried and hurried.

“I can't give you more than fifteen minutes, Yoora.” Yunho reminded sternly as he sat on the chair opposite her at the cafeteria.

“I don't need more than that.” Yoora shrugged, smiling easily. She was in awe of Jung Yunho, she was.

Yunho drummed the table with his slim fingers. “I know what you want to speak about. You want me to go back to Wolf Town, defy your father, and bring Jaejoong to live with me.”

Yoora’s eyes shone, “Eventually you’ll have to do that.” she said flippantly, “You can't continue to live like this, both of you lonely and sad in different corners of the country.”

“I’m not sad.” Yunho protested childishly.

“You're a sad old man. And the sad thing is, you're not an old man yet. But you're a sad old man.”

“What is your point Yoora?” Yunho glanced at his watch.

“Actually, I haven't called you here to discuss you sad life story. Today, I have a very different agenda on my mind.”

“Oh really?” Yunho looked at her suspiciously, knowing her smart and conniving ways, “What is it today? Are we planning world dominion.”

Yoora banged on the table, “Exactly! You took the words right out of my mouth. And that's why you're my favoritest oppa.”

Yunho laughed, then sobered up. “What do you want Yoora?” he asked finally.

Yoora cleared her throat, “I want to tell you a story today. The story of-” Yoora sighed, “the sins of our father.”

Yunho held out his hand, “Yoora, I really-” he looked around for his stuff on the table, “don't have time to listen to this. I’ve left all of that behind. I don't want to listen to your father’s wrongdoings, of which I am sure are many. Okay? He ruined my life. But I still wish him the best. He can continue to play power politics in his little Wolf Town. I’m really not concerned, and I don't give a shit. Guess, I’ll see you around.” He was about to leave, but then he saw the expression on Yoora’s face. She was close to tears, and glaring at him through the pearly drops. Yunho rolled his eyes and sat back on his chair. “Wow. You really are not fooling around this time. What is it? You know you can tell me anything.”

“You don't understand. None of you do. I’ve been carrying such a huge burden inside me. I don't even know what to say, how to begin what I’m about to say.”

“Hey.” Yunho patted her hand fondly, “ Why don't you start at the beginning?”

But it took time for Yoora to compose herself again. In the meantime, Yunho ordered their lunch.

They were halfway through lunch when Yoora decided to continue, “As you know, our father was never meant to be a pack leader. He was promoted to the pack leader’s position when your parents died in a fire.”

Yunho smiled tightly at her. Yoora smiled back. “It was an accident Yoora. These things happen. Your father just got lucky.”

Yoora shook her head, “No, I have realised of late, our father is not lucky. Our father is power hungry, that's what he is. He swiftly exiled you at the very first opportunity, because he saw you as a threat to his position.”

Yunho pushed his plate away, “I never coveted the position of the pack leader Yoora. These titles are not hereditary. We don't allow nepotism in wolf packs. Anybody can be a pack leader if he has the right qualities.”

“True. True.” Yoora nodded. “That’s why he was wary of you. The title is not immediately bestowed on the son or daughter, but have you wondered why Chanyeol was chosen as our father’s successor?”

Yunho had the answer on his lips, “It's because he was born with the mark of the Two Moons. He is protected by the Gods. He has been chosen as pack leader by the Gods.”

Yoora laughed without mirth, “Gods?” She laughed some more. She displayed her Mark to the professor, “See? I have the Mark as well. Now, Gods are perfect, aren't they? Why would they bestow the same Mark on me as well?”

“What are you trying to say?”

Yoora shrugged, “I’m just saying, this Mark, it's not the Gods, it's the greed of one single power hungry man.” She spoke the words slowly, and with clarity.

“How do you mean?”

“Have you never wondered how Chanyeol and I came to be? I mean we’re born of the same litter. Litter.”

Yunho frowned, “What are you trying to say?” he whispered, absolutely befuddled.

“I am trying to say that our kind have almost stopped shapeshifting. We’re happy and comfortable in our human forms. So, when we have sex, it's in our human forms. When we conceive, it's in our human forms. When we carry a child, it's in our human forms. When we give birth, it's in our human forms. And thus, we don't carry around a litter. We give birth to a single child. You are a single child, aren't you. You were not born of a litter.”

“But you were. You and Chanyeol. What's wrong with that?”

“Awww, can't you see? Where are the other pups born of that litter? What became of them? What became of the other sisters and brothers that I might have had?”

Yunho went stone still.

Yoora’s face looked determined, “I’ll tell you what happened to them. I’ll tell you everything. I puzzled over the question ever since I was a child. I remember asking our mother when I was very young. I was forbidden to ask this ever again. And I wondered why. Why would she not give me a direct answer? Why couldn't she say there were just two of us? Chanyeol is so precious to me, I wondered, I wondered if I had other precious siblings hidden away somewhere. I was young. I was curious. I never got a straight answer.”

Yunho sat there, absolutely still, with a stricken look on his face.

Yoora continued. “A couple of years ago, our old nanny lay dying. Our mother was least bothered to go visit her at her deathbed. Chanyeol was too busy doing what boys of his age do. So I went all alone. And this nanny, there she lay on her small, humble deathbed, hardly senile. But she recognised me, and she recounted how she helped my mother give birth to the four of us. Four of us, hyung. Four. Not two. Not Chanyeol and me. But four pups!”

Yunho nodded along, forgetting to glance at his watch.

“I was physically sick that night. I debated whether or not I should charge at my mother, and demand to know where my other siblings are. Because I have a right to know. I love Chanyeol. I imagined having two more Chanyeols that I could be an elder sister to, look after, take care of. But, I had grown clever with age. One week later, I took apples to the deathbed of the same person. She recognised me. When I prodded sweetly, she told me the entire story.”

Yoora paused to rub her mouth, as though what she was spouting was pure venom. “Our father, in his blind lust for power, made our mother conceive in her wolf form. He made her carry the pups to full term in her wolf form. And that's not all, he arranged for a secret sacrifice.” And Yoora had tears in her eyes now. “According to the charm cast upon my mother by father’s hired black magician, two of her pups would bear the Mark of the Two Moons, thereby cementing our family’s place in the seat of power. Two of us would possess powers unimaginable. And the other two, born without the mark, will be still born. They'll have to be burnt in fire.”

“Yoora-”

Yoora continued, her voice shaky, “So here we are. Two of us. With the marks and all. And there are no more siblings. So you can well imagine what happened to the other two. They were still born and their bodies were burnt. Why? So that we could have the Mark and powers. If not for the spell, they would still be alive. And I would have more brothers and sisters.”

Yunho tried to interrupt but Yoora shook her head, “I hated myself for a while. I felt Chanyeol and I did not allow our siblings to live. I realised much later that it wasn't our fault. It was our father’s fault. But I bore the burden alone, of the sins of our father. I couldn't tell Chanyeol. He’s so young. I feel the extra need to protect him now. Chanyeol’s mate is a silver haired too.”

Yunho looked up in amazement.

“Yes.” Yoora said, “He's a silver haired, and he’s a darling. You should see him. He’s all curious and full of wonder. I enchanted a small vial with fire, so that Jaejoong hyung could burn a lock of his silver hair in it. I can do things like that, I can play with fire! I have useless powers like that, powers I don't know what to do with! And now my brother is mated to a wolf charmer whose hair remains silver. My brother does not know any of this. He doesn't need to know. His mate doesn't need to know of the cruelties of my father. Because if we work together, we can stop history from repeating itself. We can help these two. I am determined to. And I want you to help me help them.”

“How do you plan on helping them? Your father would never allow-”

“Our father,” Yoora pressed, “will have no say in the matter if he ceases to be a pack leader. You can go back and stay in amity with Jaejoong and Chanyeol can live with his mate. An alpha with a human mate cannot be a pack leader. Chanyeol knows this. It’s as if he has already relinquished his claim to the title. He has made his choice. A wise choice.”

Yunho eyed her suspiciously, “I can smell the stench of ambition coming from you.”

Yoora smiled, “I suppose ambition smells awful on a lady.”

Yunho shook his head politely. “It's refreshing.” he stated.

Yoora grabbed the professor's arm, “So will you help me, or not?”

 

With merely days remaining for the conclave to be hosted in Wolf Town, Yoora returned to her home with plans for a longish stay. She did see cracks in their father and Chanyeol’s relationship, but she chose not to comment upon it. She caught Chanyeol sneaking off at  night through the balcony.

Chanyeol smiled sheepishly at her.

“Be very careful.” Yoora warned, “There are wolves from all over the country in this place now. They swear no oaths to not harm humans.”

Chanyeol tsked, “Don't worry about me.” he said.

“I worry about your mate.”

Chanyeol bristled, “You think I can't take care of him?”

“I’m just saying that the forest is full of these outstation wolves. Go see your mate if you must. But it’s better if you hang around the Village and not this side of the Forest for the time being.”

Chanyeol tickled his sister’s jaw. “I’ll keep your warning in mind.” He laughed as he went down the drainpipe. Sigh! The things one did for love.

 

Fate works in mysterious ways. Chanyeol and Baekhyun could have avoided the turn of events that would turn their world momentarily upside down. But Baekhyun insisted and insisted that night that he wanted to visit the lake where the moon reflected like the cobra pearl.

“Please take me there. Please take me there. You promised you would take me there.” he begged, shitty grin in place, eyes droopy, the very picture of a guileless angel. And Chanyeol could never say no to his mate. He knew the lake was farther and farther away from the Village, where no wolves would venture about. But what could he do in the face of his mate’s tantrums. What Baekhyun wanted from him, he usually got.

So Chanyeol took Baekhyun on the ride, bounding through the hills. Baekhyun had not yet let go of his bad habit of lying face down on the wolf’s furry back, and whispering sweet nothings on the wolf’s ears.

The night was clear and the sky was starry. Baekhyun just knew that the lake would reflect the moon a brilliant silver that night. He couldn't wait to make love to Chanyeol by the lake, naked and yearning and joyfully giving. They were about to reach their destination, Baekhyun knew the lake was just beyond the hill, when Chanyeol suddenly slowed down.

The wolf charmer was immediately perplexed and worried when he found his alpha sniffing the ground. The wolf’s stance was wary as he shifted from side to side, sniffing the air. They were standing in the midst of a little clearing. Baekhyun’s eyes darted around. “What is it?” he whispered. He had never witnessed the wolf being wary of anything in this forest; Chanyeol moved around as if he was the king.

And as if in answer, three huge werewolves appeared in front of them, about twenty feet away.

Baekhyun relaxed. Chanyeol was the chosen pack leader. The alpha could make any werewolf submit to his whims. But the silver-haired tensed when Chanyeol uttered a low and menacing growl. To his surprise, the other three wolves replied Chanyeol’s growl with their own low warnings. They began to silently advance towards them. Baekhyun realised the kind of situation they were in when his wolf took a step back. Seeing this, the wolves further advanced, creeping forward.

“What the fuck.” Baekhyun muttered under his breath, “Are they not your friends?”

Chanyeol barked. No, he said.

The wolves paused in their steps when Chanyeol barked.

“There there.” Baekhyun whispered soothingly in Chanyeol’s ears, “Don’t step back. Hold your ground. You're with me, okay. Let me take care of this. Stay still. Still, okay.”

Baekhyun knew he did not have much time. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He chanted the spell to cast fire like a man possessed. The three wolves, their adversaries, immediately went on the back foot when fire encircled the wolfssegner and his wolf in a wide circle on the ground. The flames went as high as Chanyeol’s human height.

The wolfssegner and his wolf stared at the three wolves through the cackling flames. Their adversaries didn't seem willing to backtrack, they were the sort who looked liked they would want to wait it out.

Meanwhile, Chanyeol grew restless under him. Baekhyun patted his collar, “It's okay.” he whispered in a soothing manner, “It's not for you, my wolf. This fire is for them, to scare them away. Because they meant us harm, didn't they? I know this fire makes you restless, be still my love. It will all be over soon.” Baekhyun kissed Chanyeol’s ear. But Chanyeol bent on his legs. He was asking Baekhyun to dismount him.

Once Baekhyun’s two feet were safely on the ground, Chanyeol lightly sniffed him all over. The wolf charmer knew his scent soothed the wolf. When the wolf was done sniffing his mate, he turned his snout to the three wolves and gave a ear splitting howl.

Baekhyun’s heart went up to his throat. He had never heard his wolf utter such a feral cry. Before he could reach for the wolf’s collar and calm him, Chanyeol began advancing towards the enemy wolves.

The wolfssegner stood there, perfectly still, as he watched his wolf grow in height and stature right in front of his eyes, advancing fearlessly towards the fire Baekhyun had conjured to keep the wolves away.

“Stop.” Baekhyun called out, but his voice wouldn't come out of his throat. “Stop.” he croaked. But his wolf didn't stop. His wolf walked right through the flames, the flames that would make any wolf go mad.

Baekhyun leaned against the nearest tree, about to throw up in panic. But his wolf emerged through the flames, on the other side, covered in fire himself. The silver haired’s palm covered his mouth as he watched in silent awe. Chanyeol had turned into - Chanyeol had become a - a firewolf. The wolf was not on fire, rather, the fire was emanating from his body.

Seeing Chanyeol’s terrible form, the other werewolves started backing away. Chanyeol growled, a warning, a death threat. The werewolves turned tail and ran for their lives. And Chanyeol would have chased them to the pits of hell and would have ripped their throats apart but for Baekhyun.

Baekhyun was Chanyeol’s primary concern, only concern. Though blinded by anger and rage at the sudden intrusion, Chanyeol never lost sight of his mate. The wolfssegner watched as his mate returned to him, crossing the threshold of his fire, fire himself, no longer a wolf, but as man.

Baekhyun saw the concern for him in his mate’s eyes. “Chanyeol.” and yet no sound would come out from his throat. He dragged his feet to his lover who was covered all over in angry flames. But when Baekhyun reached out to touch Chanyeol’s arm, the fire danced away from Baekhyun’s fingers, allowing him to touch his man.

“You're on fire.” Baekhyun mouthed weakly.

“I know.” Chanyeol spoke, extending his fiery hand for Baekhyun to take.

The silver haired reached for Chanyeol’s hand eagerly. The fire did not burn him, not in the slightest. Baekhyun immediately latched on to his mate, crying against the wolf’s chest. “Why are you on fire?” Baekhyun asked, panicking.

“I don't know.” Chanyeol whispered calmly, “I dont know, Baekhyun. But it's all okay now. They're gone. I would never, ever let anyone hurt you.”

Baekhyun stood on tiptoes and licked the flames away from his mate’s mouth. They embraced each other, with the flames dancing around them. Fire reflected in their eyes and in that moment, fire became their souls.

 

Yoora was ready for bed, tucked under the soft cotton coverlet, but angry voices at the door roused her fully awake. She was on her two feet the very next second. Yoora rushed to the edge of the staircase leading downstairs and listened.

“You call yourself a pack leader!” An unfamiliar voice nearly barked. “Right under your noses, you are sheltering a renegade.”

“What are you talking about? Are you in your senses?” Yoora sensed anger in her father’s tone.

Another voice spoke up, not as loud as the first one, but with much more steel, “We encountered a wolfssegner and his wolf on our way here, Alpha Park. The wolf- he turned to a firewolf. He turned into fire. I have neither seen nor heard of the like.”

Yoora’s blood curdled at those words.

“Wolf rider! We have no wolf rider!”

“Alpha Park, you don't know what's happening under your very nose in that case. You give your wolves  a free hand and let them run amok. Shame on you. Shame on your pack. This is an abomination!”

Yoora would hear no more of this. She tiptoed her way to Chanyeol’s room and stepped outside in the balcony. Across the street, Sehun was also standing in his own balcony. He must have obviously heard the commotion. Zephyr carried words far and wide at night. Sehun stared right at Yoora. Yoora stared back. She put her index finger to her lips, asking Sehun for absolute silence. Sehun nodded in silent understanding. When Yoora heard her father's footsteps on the staircase, she hastily motioned Sehun to go to his room. Sehun left immediately.

A minute later, Yoora was staring at her father’s face. “Yes Pa?” she asked innocently when he stomped inside the balcony.

“Where’s Chanyeol?”

Yoora pointed towards Sehun’s now empty balcony, “He is at Sehun’s, having a late night movie marathon. I warned him to come back just a minute ago. Said you won't like the fact that he’s out of bed this late at night. Instead, he showed me his tongue from the balcony and vanished inside. He never listens. You must scold him Pa.” She gave her father the most striking of smiles. “Was someone at the door? I thought I heard some noise?”

Her father patted her head gruffly, “Late night arrivals to our Town from far off places, Yoora. Don't bother your pretty head about it. Off to bed, you.”

Yoora brought her father away from Chanyeol’s room and watched him descend to his room.downstairs. She snaked her way to the washroom and vomited the contents of her dinner on the washbasin. Her legs were shaking and her eyes were bloodshot. For once in her life, she did not know what to do, who to reach out to.




Chapter Text

 

The first time Kyungsoo laid eyes on Baekhyun was when the wolf charmer was three days old, a baby, a newborn baby who slept through the day and woke up cranky at night. The guardian spirit had not been assigned to a new soul in decades. He wasn’t complaining; he liked it in the spirit world. He liked to aimlessly float around the spirit dimension, passing days in the eternal garden of sunshine.

Kyungsoo was unlike Yixing, Yixing who was so taken by the mortal world that he periodically disguised himself to go visit the plane even when unassigned to any soul. Yixing brought back so many stories upon return, of changing times and changing people.

But to Kyungsoo, all menfolk were the same. Most of them were. They fought amongst themselves, envious of each other, greedy beyond measure, sinful. Being guardian spirits to such souls brought him no pleasure. It was hard work and Kyungsoo would always breathe a sigh of relief when souls he was assigned to breathed their last. He was apathetic towards humans, apathetic towards their sufferings and apathetic towards the new born baby recently assigned under his care.

 

Kyungsoo did not even go to bless the baby at birth, choosing to sleep dreamlessly than visit the human plane. What good would it do, the guardian spirit thought. Babies grew up only to become men who sin. He had seen enough of human behaviour, no matter how much he whispered into their ears, no matter how much he tried to keep them in check, men always fell. They always fell in his eyes.

 

It was a baby boy.

Yixing journeyed back to the spirit world just to inform him that it was a baby boy, a baby born into a family of wolf charmers. Kyungsoo’s curiosity was only mildly piqued.

“You should visit your ward.” Yixing had reminded him gently. “Babies should be blessed by their spirit guardians. It’s ill luck if they aren’t. Don’t forsake your ward so early on.”

Kyungsoo had the ill reputation of forsaking his wards. He could just not deal with the drama humans got into. Truth be told, in all his years posing as a guardian spirit to lost souls, he had lost all faith in humanity. The last time he had shepherded a spirit was when a World War had broken in the human realm. He was assigned to the worst soul, one who tortured men, women and children in gas chambers and killed them. That had been his worst experience. He had begged the higher ups to give him time to recover from the death and destruction he had witnessed.

 

His higher ups had given him ample time to recover.

 

“It will take you barely two minutes to bless the baby.” Yixing coaxed.

And so, prodded on by the relentless Yixing, Kyungsoo traversed the distance from the spirit world to the edge of a forest. There was magic in the air, and quiet resilience. The air smelt of tree ripened fruits and mirth.

 

Kyungsoo paused for a second to breathe in.

“It’s joie de vivre you are smelling.” Yixing said, a hint of pride in his voice. “The village folk here will never be accused of lack of jollity.”

Kyungsoo hummed.

“You’ll like it here if you decide to stick around.” Yixing suggested.

 

Quick work, Kyungsoo wanted to make quick work of it. In and out.

Invisible to human eyes, they strolled inside the village, stopping every now and then to take in the scenery. It wasn’t...bad, Kyungsoo admitted as much. There was abundant greenery here, and the people he encountered on his way were going through their chores in an easy, rhythmic manner, they seemed to be in no hurry and there seemed to be enough time at their disposal to enjoy all of life's pleasures. They were of course oblivious to their presence.

 

Yixing trailed behind him, opting to be invisible to human eyes for once. He refused to wipe that smirk off his face. It irked Kyungsoo. Guardian spirits were not supposed to look into the future of souls unassigned to them. Trust Yixing to take a peep anyhow. And what might he have found in the newborn’s future, for him to smirk like that?

Kyungsoo never did like blessing newborns. However, when he entered the tiny nursery that forenoon, his manner was respectful. Respectful because souls go through a cycle of multiple births as lesser beings before incarnating as humans. A baby’s birth is no coincidence, no chance happening. It takes years and years of patience, penance, not even Kyungsoo would deny it.

The babe was fast asleep on his crib, delicate pink lips puckered as though still feeding. His cheeks were especially round, and eyes were closed in blissful sleep. The mother was humming to herself in the kitchen and the gentle buzz of bees could be heard outside the window. A lazy, summer noon.

Yixing had not followed him inside the room, choosing to respectfully stand by the door. If the baby’s mother were to enter the nursery, she would find nothing amiss, just a baby taking its extended nap.

Kyungsoo bent over the cradle to get a better look at the baby, stretching his hands to rock the crib.

When spirit guardians bless babies, they touch the tinies on the cheeks, and tiny moles form at the places where they leave their mark. Kyungsoo tapped the little one’s lips gently, whispering a prayer for the newborn’s wellbeing.

And that’s when it happened. The baby opened its eyes at Kyungsoo’s touch and looked at him directly, eyes wide and round, fists balled and unmoving.

 

For a minute, the baby and his spirit guardian stared at each other. Baekhyun, they had named the tiny tot. Kyungsoo gaped at the newborn because humans were not supposed to see him!

 

The baby yawned, still eyeing Kyungsoo. When the guardian spirit moved a little bit to the left, the baby’s wide eyes followed his movement.

 

“He can see me.” Kyungsoo spoke out loud to Yixing.

 

Yixing sniggered by the doorway.

 

“You’re not supposed to see me.” Kyungsoo whispered to the newborn, playing with its balled up fist. The baby grabbed his index finger and blinked at him.

 

Yixing made a clicking noise with his tongue, “Shouldn’t we be heading back?”

 

“Hush.” Kyungsoo said, “He won’t let go of my finger.”

The baby was not supposed to be able to touch him either.

Curious and curiouser.  When he tried to extract his finger away from the baby’s hold, the newborn’s face wrinkled.

“I’ll come see you again.” Kyungsoo promised. He gently pulled his finger away and backed away from the crib.

 

By the time he reached the door to a slightly frowning Yixing, the baby started to cry.

 

A spirit guardian’s blessings kept a baby from harm and injury. Baekhyun grew up to be a slightly roly poly toddler but he grew up just fine.

His spirit guardian was there when the babe fell ill for the first time. Kyungsoo was there when the wolf charmer took his first baby steps. He was there for the first birthday celebrations as well.

 

Baekhyun was a quiet baby when he needed to be and a cranky baby when everyone was around. He was spoiled, utterly spoiled by his parents. Kyungsoo would smile quietly to himself when Baekhyun would cry at the top of his lungs, tears racing down his chubby cheeks, rousing the entire household to attention.

Baekhyun had everyone tied and tangled around his tiny toes and fingers, including Kyungsoo.

Rather than spending days upon days on end on the spirit world, Kyungsoo now preferred to while away his time in this idyllic village. Time seemed to move at a different pace in this habitat of the wolf charmers. There was always time for staring at clouds, collecting rainwater, chasing after butterflies, and staring at cud chewing cows.

Baekhyun’s spirit guardian discovered that he loved being around this white, sinless soul entrusted to him. It was not a rotten soul, the luminescence of the youngling shining bright from within even at that tender age.

With the grace bestowed upon him by his spirit guardian, Baekhyun started attracting all manners of butterflies and birds wherever his tiny toes went. No bee would sting him. He was charming to men and animals alike.

When Baekhyun was four, the child slipped in mud and twisted his ankle, certainly not the last of such opportune incidents. Seeing the child distraught, this grandfather like guardian spirit was almost about to break his self imposed rule - to not look into a soul’s future.

He wanted to save Baekhyun from all future harm. Kyungsoo stopped himself from doing so at the last minute, wise as he was, and knowing that the less he knew about Baekhyun's future, the better.

 

Human beings always disappointed in the end.

 

Baekhyun seemed to be growing up just fine. Days and weeks and months raced with each other and just like that, Baekhyun was old enough for school. Holding his older brother’s hand, the five year old walked all the way to school, his spirit guardian trailing slowly behind.

 

Kyungsoo was beginning to witness a strange phenomenon. From time to time, Baekhyun look straight into his eyes. The spirit guardian was always quick to dismiss the thought that the wolf charmer could see him. Spirit guardians were ether and energy, Kyungsoo did not even have a corporeal body to begin with.

 

And as his naughtiness increased, Kyungsoo found it harder and harder to return to the spirit realm. Naughty was not even a word that could describe this wolfssegner. There ought to be a better, more fitting word. Baekhyun always got into trouble. Never a day went by when Baekhyun did not create trouble, for himself and  for others. He insisted that he never meant to, he was just a very curious child. And curiosity in children is a bane for parents, is it not?

 

When he was seven, he learnt his first spell and set Xiumin’s grandmother’s hair on fire. That old lady refused to talk to Baekhyun’s mother for an entire day and a half!

At eight, Baekhyun fell from a tree chasing a black kitten and that’s when Kyungsoo realised that the wolf charmer had the softest corner for animals of the feline variety. Baekhyun dislocated his right elbow and needless to say, he was given an earful by his exasperated mother.

The Baekhyun who would chase cats up and down the village hated school; his brother had to drag him all the way there.

At age nine, Baekhyun caught his first queen bee. He was beginning to be real adept with his spells. It seemed as though he was a natural.

Ten, and Baekhyun nearly drowned in a forest pond, skinny dipping with his friends in what would be the humidest day of the year. Xiumin saved his life by pulling him out of the deep by the hair. They told no one about the incident.

 

By eleven, Baekhyun had learnt to identify the different aura surrounding people. Wolf charmers were taught all kinds of things, Kyungsoo was beginning to learn, and most of these invaluable lessons were taught by village elders.

The oldest tree in the village imparted enough shade for fifteen of so mongrels of Baekhyun's age to sit under its shade and learn from Xiumin’s granny. Baekhyun sat closest to the old lady; he would fan her from time to time with his handheld fan. He had no intention of flattering the old hag, he was just a darling like that.

Kyungsoo would sit on a branch and observe the proceedings. He knew all the kids’ names by now, Baekhyun being the chief mischief-monger among them. The others were no less either. He watched as they identified the colour of each other’s aura. Baekhyun was found to have a yellow aura, which indeed came as no surprise to any of them, least of all to Kyungsoo.  

The guardian spirit was startled out of his wits when Baekhyun suddenly angled his neck to look up at him. The eleven year old was grinning from ear to ear. “ Blue.” he mouthed slowly, so that none of his friends could see him whispering to a tree branch. Baekhyun looked as if he could hardly contain his glee.

Kyungsoo had no blood to turn cold but for ten or so seconds, he stared slack jawed at the boy.

Baekhyun tilted his head to one side, his wide smile making his cheeks look rounder, “ Blue aura!” He told Kyungsoo, leaving no room for doubt that it was Kyungsoo he was speaking to.

 

If Kyungsoo could fall down, he would have fallen from the tree branch and broken an ankle in the process. Baekhyun was grinning, looking supremely smug as he fanned Xiumin’s granny some more.

 

From that day on, the guardian spirit took extra care to not be seen by the young wolf charmer. He had never, in ages and ages of living among humans, ever been discovered so easily.

There had been prophets and charlatans  in the past who sensed his presence, but even then they could never point to his exact location. Or touch him.

And Baekhyun, this slight, slip of a boy, with twigs for arms and cherries for cheeks, seemed to have no difficulty pinning him down. The boy could even tell his aura!

 

To the guardian spirit's relief, Baekhyun never acknowledged his presence again, not for a very long time. Kyungsoo would walk right alongside Baekhyun sometimes, but the young wolf charmer pretended to not notice his presence.

Some of it was Baekhyun turning older, some of it was the wolf charmer turning wiser.

By the time Baekhyun was about to turn thirteen, Kyungsoo knew all the gossip there was to know courtesy Xiumin's grandmother. She was the chief gossip monger of the village.

As Baekhyun and his friends invented crazy games to play in the village square, the village elders watched on, picking one topic after another, exchanging stories about their neighbours.

Although Kyungsoo would never get why humans were so concerned about their neighbours, he had developed the habit of hanging around the womenfolk of the village, picking up tidbits of information. He paid especial care if Baekhyun at all came up for discussion, but did not linger around to hear about Xiumin’s granny’s erratic bowel movements.

“Psst psst. The wood cutter saw Jaejoong and his wolf friend again last evening. He spied them holding hands this time.”

Kyungsoo saw Baekhyun’s mother roll her eyes at the old lady. “There is no harm in holding hands. And Jaejoong is old enough to decide for himself.”

“Foolish woman,” Xiumin's granny chided, “Jaejoong has an ailing mother at home. He should be more prudent. Ties between wolfssegners and wolves are balanced precariously since time immemorial. One slight tilt, and who knows what might happen.” She wiggled her brows suggestively but Baekhyun’s mother was gazing in the direction of her child who was chasing after his playmates like a man possessed.

“Our children will be better than all of us, you’ll see.”

Xiumin’s granny swatted flies away from her arm, “If his mother were hale and hearty, I would have asked her to rein him in. She has a weak heart. I don’t know how to tell her about her son. Hanging around in the forest with wolves, this child will bring doom to our village.”

The younger of the two women sighed and set her embroidery aside, “Why do you speak of such ill things on such a bright day?” She stood up to leave the square. “Jaejoong has silver hair, he is a true wolfssegner. He will never bring doom to our tribe. He is destined to take our tribe forward.”

The mother hastily collected her thimble and

embroidery kit and bowed to the old lady.  Kyungsoo trailed behind her to their tree house. He knew she was especially fond of the silver haired wolfssegner they called Jaejoong.

She sometimes headed over to the Kim household to leave milk and rice cakes for the oft ailing lady and her son. The spirit guardian could tell that Baekhyun had inherited this  generous spirit from his mother.

Kyungsoo was familiar with Jaejoong and his lover, the alpha from Wolf Town. Over the years, he had seen them grow closer and closer with each passing day. He had been curious in the beginning, seeing the duo joined at the hip at all times. While other wolves and wolfssegners maintained a respectable distance from each other, these two seemed to trample across all boundaries but one.

It was a sedate kind of love, rooted in mutual respect and trust. There was none of the flightiness that is usually associated with teenage crushes.

After they graduated from school, Kyungsoo began to see less and less of the wolf. Xiumin’s granny said the alpha went to Seoul for higher studies. But come holiday seasons, Jaejoong and the wolf met up in the forest everyday, professing ardent love for each other.

Xiumin's granny was right, it was a doomed love affair. Kyungsoo did not bother himself with the affairs of people other than the Byun family; he was only mildly interested in Jaejoong’s love affair, and only because Xiumin’s granny often brought it up.

However, the events that transpired that summer in rapid succession shook Kyungsoo up from his complacent state. After all, these were events which would affect Baekhyun too.

The mother had already started making preparations for her favorite son’s thirteenth birthday. Her child was stepping into his teens in a week and no one was more proud or delighted than the mother.

The rest of the household had not roused from deep sleep yet, but the mother was already down at the cowshed, milking the cows. Kyungsoo often watched her go about the morning chores; he knew she was a young spirit, ages and ages younger than him, but he always looked at her in awe. There was something about motherhood that made even other worldly spirits bow in respect.

He accompanied her to the pastures, and watched her comfort the young calves and pick up wild flowers for the vase on the dining table. The mother was an industrious lady and Kyungsoo had nothing but respect for her. He often accompanied her to the pastures, especially when she was out alone under the inky blue of dawn. He could afford to, Baekhyun was not an early riser.

On her way back home that morning, the mother encountered Jaejoong. He looked different. His hair had turned black overnight!

The mother clutched her heart when she saw the distinct change in appearance. “Jaejoong.” she barely managed to whisper.

The young wolfssegner’s eyes were white, but an odd sense of calm surrounded him. “I regret nothing.”

“Oh, child!” The mother hastened to clasp Jaejoong’s hands, “I have always been proud of you. Nothing will change that!”

“I mated with a wolf last night.” Jaejoong recounted, as though still in a trance, as though he needed to say those words out loud to someone. “I regret nothing.” he repeated. “You always loved my silver hair, didn’t you?” Jaejoong smiled through his tears.

The mother collected her poise, she set her shoulders straight and patted Jaejoong’s hair, “It is not our outward appearance that makes us who we are. Remember that. You can always come talk to me, you know that, right?”

“I know.” Jaejoong nodded. “I have always known that.” He bowed to her and proceeded on his way.

“Oh dear. Oh dear.” Kyungsoo heard the mother recount all the way home. Baekhyun had just brushed his teeth and was throwing a fit at his brother when they reached. The young wolf charmer was surprised when his mother pulled him by the ear to hug him tight. “May the Gods protect each one of you.” she whispered in his hair.

There was no way she could protect Jaejoong now; the village elders soon got whiff of the fact that Jaejoong’s hair was no longer silver. His purity and standing as wolfssegner had been besmirched, they said again and again.

People were sympathetic to Jaejoong, they were. But some rules were not meant to be broken, some laws always to be followed.

The village elders went and put their stand in front of Jaejoong’s mother. “Please ask your son to leave this foolish business aside. He has mated with an alpha! What if the pack leader retaliates against us? Alpha Park is always looking for reasons to sever ties with us. For our children’s sake, we cannot allow this to happen. If Jaejoong refuses to budge, and if worst comes to worst, be prepared to leave the village and go wherever you please. We cannot tolerate this in front of our eyes.”

Jaejoong’s mother’s pleas fell on deaf ears. Her son remained adamant as well. “I love him. Yunho loves me. What can be done about this? I cannot unlove him.” he protested angrily, unhappy that third persons were interfering in his private affairs.

“You fool. You will bring doom to us all.”

“If love could bring doom, all of you would be in hell by now.” Jaejoong retaliated with fire in his eyes.

Kyungsoo secretly rooted for young love to triumph above all. There was a growing sense of disquiet in the village for the next couple of days. Murmurs followed Jaejoong wherever he went.

Yunho the wolf stepped foot inside the village on the third day, tall and handsome, with the towering presence that an alpha possessed in these ancient forests. He stood in front of the village elders, and spoke on behalf of his lover. “Why should us being mates invite backlash from Wolf Town? I am an alpha and only I have the right to choose my mate. And I choose Jaejoong. He is mine and I am his. Why should the pack leader interfere at all? I give you my assurance that your village will never have to face the wrath of my people.”

The young wolf spoke like a leader, and Kyungsoo sensed no lie in his heart.

“Go and get your pack leader’s permission then.” the village headman said, “We are not the ones opposed to your love. The real opposition will come from your end. We just want to live in harmony.”

Yunho seemed supremely confident of his convictions as he bowed for one last time before the elders. An equally defiant Jaejoong saw Yunho off till the edge of the forest.

Kyungsoo did not know what the future held for the young lovers. Curious, he followed Yunho to the Wolf Town.

The slap sounded like a whip in the corridor where Yunho had accosted the pack leader in the midst of his duties. “Fool! We sheltered you, looked after you. After your parents died, it was I, I who had set aside a fund for your sake, keeping your departed parents in mind. And this is how you repay us? By insulting our pack!” The pack leader spat at Yunho’s feet. “You would take a lowly wolf charmer as your mate? Not while I am alive. Not while I am the pack leader.”

“He is my mate. And I intend to honour our bond.” Kyungsoo did not sense the slightest bit of hesitation in Yunho’s manner.

Alpha Park would have launched himself at Yunho had not the onlookers stopped the pack leader from doing so. “I am your pack leader, and I command you to dishonor your bond.”

“You’re not.” Yunho spat back, “What kind of leader asks someone to dishonor their bond? That’s right, a dishonorable pack leader like you. Do natural laws mean so little to you? I willingly renounce this pack in that case. I will choose my mate over you any day. You’re not my alpha anymore.”

 

“Natural law! You broke all forms of natural law when you slept with a village rat. You.” Alpha Park pointed a venomous finger towards the young wolf, “You dare speak in such a disrespectful manner? I can rip you to shreds.”

Yunho scoffed, “If I challenge you, you’ll lose like the poor loser you. And what will your pack say then, that Alpha Park lost against someone who was not interested in being a pack leader in the first place. People will laugh in your face. Spare yourself the humiliation. You can keep your worthless crown. I refuse to have anything to do with you lot.”

The truth behind Yunho’s words pinched the pack leader most of all. Such an insult, and in front of so many people! Alpha Park was beyond insulted. He had to make an example of this upstart.

The pack leader called representatives from the village of the wolf charmers the very next day. He was seething inside. He was determined to make an example out of this.

 

Kyungsoo observed as the mother got ready for the parleys with a heavy heart. Her children were off at school; the village elders had conspired to keep this terrible business out of the children’s ears.

Before they set off for Wolf Town, Baekhyun’s mother reassured Jaejoong in every way she could.

“I never wanted this to become an issue between us and them.” Jaejoong said again and again, hunched by the kitchen door.

“None of this is your fault, son. You’ll see, we will be able to come to an amicable settlement.”

Jaejoong hid his face behind his hands. “Yunho asked me to run away with him to the city. He has been promised a job at the university he graduated from. Do you think if we leave, the pack leader will let this go?”

“He can’t be that bad a man.” Baekhyun’s mother reassured. “Your wolf has renounced that pack. He can’t touch you two anymore. Go home now, and rest easy. Tell your mother that you love her. Make preparations to leave with Yunho. You must leave with him, your heart lies with him after all, doesn’t it? Do not worry about your mother. I will take care of her.”

 

Kyungsoo had seen cruel leaders, he had seen a whole herd of men who thought those who did not follow their lead ought to be burnt at the stake. The pack leader was one of them.

It did not come as a shock to Kyungsoo when the alpha stated that he would disregard any treaty which existed between their tribes if Jaejoong were to leave with Yunho.

“Let me be very clear at the outset. If you allow your blood to mingle with my kind, I will retaliate in any and every way I see fit. I’ll burn the school that stands testament to the amity between wolves and wolfssegners. My kind will hunt your kind.”

“Is this tough stand even warranted?” the village headman rebutted. “We can simply ostracise them and forbid them from returning.”

But the pack leader growled in annoyance. He gestured to the young girl, standing unmoving beside him, “So your solution is to ostracise them! What of my children? What if they want to follow in the footsteps of these two? What if she, my daughter, decides to run away with some honey bee trapper or whoever from your village? Will I step aside and watch the madness in passive denial? No. I refuse to allow this. If your brat leaves with Yunho, I’ll burn your village to the ground, every tree, every animal.”

Kyungsoo sighed and turned to Yixing, who was sitting beside him, quiet. “I almost forgot humans could be this cruel. Cannot wait to get back home and watch the children play.”

Yixing smiled, a little too deviously.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Kyungsoo narrowed his eyes suspiciously.

“You’ll know soon enough.” Yixing said, “Did you just call your ward’s residence as home? Aren’t you getting a little too attached to the kid?”

“He is better than all of them here.” Kyungsoo swept his arm over the crowd gathered beneath them. His gesture caught the eye of the young girl, the daughter of the pack leader.

She glanced upwards, batting her eyes at the place where she thought she saw a movement.

“Let’s leave.” Kyungsoo muttered, “I don’t want to witness this drama anymore.” He would rather watch Baekhyun beat his elder brother at board games.

Baekhyun was indeed beating Baekbom in Snakes and Ladders when Kyungsoo filtered in through the cracks of the front door. He hovered around the kitchen, where the father was cooking dinner, adding too much salt than was necessary. He will again get an earful from his wife this evening.

The mother was not in a mood to reproach anyone when she returned in the evening. Her shoulders were drooping, but she still managed a lovely smile when her children welcomed her back home.

She laid her head on her husband’s shoulder by the kitchen sink, whispering so her children wouldn’t hear. “We failed Jaejoong. We failed them, honey.” she cried. “The headman and others have gone to the Kim household to let Jaejoong know of their decision. They’re going to tell him that if he leaves with Yunho, they’ll turn his mother out of this village. I couldn’t go along, I don’t think I can face Jaejoong.”

Kyungsoo stepped out of the kitchen area, giving the couple their privacy in this moment of shared grief.

He watched Baekbom tackling Baekhyun to the ground, ticking his younger brother’s stomach and making him squeal. They were totally oblivious to the heartbreak collectively being felt by a section of the village.

Kyungsoo wanted Baekhyun to be this happy and this oblivious to the harshness of life for as long as possible.

 

Jaejoong’s mother was dying, Kyungsoo heard the mother and father whispering to each other. The mother left home straight after dinner for two consecutive nights to keep vigil on the deathbed.

“How’s Jaejoong?” the father asked, voice low and concerned.

“He has gone quiet. He doesn’t want to talk to anyone.”

“And the wolf?”

“Yunho left for Seoul.”

“Ah….terrible business.”

“Terrible indeed.”

 

Baekhyun didn’t want his mother to leave the third night. “Don’t go tonight.” he grabbed her hand, “It’s my birthday. Cake at midnight? What about my gifts?” He knew his mother had baked a cake, the fragrance of vanilla essence was wafting around the house.

“We’ll celebrate tomorrow, baby. Jaejoong hyung’s mother is very ill. She may not last long. I have to be there. You understand, don’t you?”

 

Baekhyun let his mother’s hand go. “Then let me come along with you.”

 

The mother smiled tenderly, “But darling, it’s not a place for kids. Stay here. Your father and brother will bring you the cake at midnight, and gifts too.” She touched his chin, then hugged him tight. “Behave, okay?”

 

Kyungsoo had missed just the one birthday of Baekhyun, the very first one. The thirteenth birthday would be the second he would miss. Jaejoong’s mother would breathe her last tonight. Kyungsoo knew; guardian spirits were undeniably drawn towards births and deaths.

Kyungsoo glided towards the cottage built on the edge of the village, and waited.

A soul leaving the body and making its ascent to the higher planes is always a sight to behold. There is a burst of light, naked to human eyes, a riot of colours. With a sudden blinding clarity, a soul becomes independent of its body, suddenly realising that it never was the body in the first place. It walks into the arms of the guardian spirit, and embraces truth as is.

The dying soul of Jaejoong’s mother uttered the most bitterest of all curses. Hanging within life and death, seeing the light but still encased in flesh and bones, the old lady asked for justice. Revenge.

And Kyungsoo agreed, agreed that the wrongdoer should pay for his sins. He saw Jaejoong completely break down by his mother’s deathbed, his anguish and heartbreak affecting every sentient being within a radius of five miles in sharp waves. It was a starless night.

Villagers trickled in one by one, consoling him, offering condolences, never leaving his side, afraid of what might happen if they were to leave him alone. It was a dark, dark night.

Everyone present grieved along with Jaejoong, both for the departed and for the person Jaejoong had been.

The mother left the place a few hours after daybreak.

“Honey,” she despaired, breaking down in the arms of her husband, “Poor Jaejoong. Poor, poor Jaejoong.”

Her husband wiped away her tears, “There, there. Collect yourself. It’s Baekhyun’s birthday today. Cheer up. He waited for you to come home until dawn. I think he is fast asleep now.”

The mother sniffled, “Did he like his gift? Did he eat the cake?”

“He said he’ll open the gift when you get back. We saved you some cake. I’ll head over to the Kim household now. There’s a funeral to be arranged.”

The mother watched him leave, staring out of the window. She stood there for a while before making her way to Baekhyun’s room. Kyungsoo did not understand why the mother came out of the room in such a hurry, only to bend by the kitchen sink, gasping for air. He watched with surprise, and a slight amount of dismay, how the upper part of her body shook violently as she sobbed.

 

Truly befuddled, and sensing something amiss, Kyungsoo ran into Baekhyun’s room. Usually, Kyungsoo avoided his ward’s bedroom at night; the wolf charmer had a silly habit of sleeping naked at night and the guardian spirit did not deem it prudent to cross some boundaries.

Baekhyun had definitely fallen asleep while still waiting for his mother to come home. He had his clothes still on. But that was not what was shocking. The fact that Baekhyun’s hair had turned silver overnight was! A bright shade of silver for Baekhyun’s glossy mane.

Bloody Yixing! He knew, he had known this was in store for Baekhyun all along.

Kyungsoo kneeled beside the boy and touched the hair. It was really silver, and soft. So deceptive! Could it be possible, could heartbreak of such magnitude be in store for someone as sweet as Baekhyun? And then he remembered Jaejoong, sweet and simple. Jaejoong, feted for his silver hair, now a shadow of his former self. But Baekhyun is innocent, he thought.

Then, Kyungsoo did something which he had vowed never to do, he looked into Baekhyun’s future. He had to know. He had to know if something similar awaited this beguiling child.

 

He saw the moon, silver and pale and giving, hiding secrets for her children. He saw a tall boy with golden hair, charming and self assured. An alpha. As handsome as Baekhyun was pure.

He saw harmless rides through the forest. He saw the loveliest boy with silver hair, lovelier than Jaejoong, riding a huge wolf, laughing as raindrops hit his face. He felt more that saw their love. He saw soulmates, tied together with fate’s cunning string, coming together despite the odds stacked against them.

He saw a girl, daughter of the Moon, pale and determined and just as secretive. She was a girl Kyungsoo had seen recently. She was sometimes a girl and sometimes a grey wolf, sometimes an alpha and sometimes, a leader among leaders.

Then, to his surprise, Kyungsoo saw himself - a pale white cat, being lifted from the ground by an amused Baekhyun.

“But Mama, he’s the cutest kitten I have ever seen. Can we keep him as a pet, pretty please? I mean, he surely wants to be adopted. Why else would he follow you around? I know my birthday was ten days ago but can I have him as a birthday present, please?”

And then, for his ears alone, the boy whispered, “But oh, little meow, your aura is still blue.”

 

Kyungsoo saw fire. Fire, fire everywhere. Fire, fire, burning bright in the darkness of the night, burning everything and everyone that stood in the way. A ring of fire keeping two lovers safe, the gigantic form of a fire wolf, chasing lesser wolves away, and two people locked in the deepest of embraces.

 

That fire would be the beginning of the end.



Kyungsoo was waiting in his human form for the silver haired to climb inside the bedroom through the window. Baekhyun looked so shaken, so disjointed, the soul guardian wanted to reach out and protect the boy. But that had never been his mandate, and he had always let Baekhyun fall, then get up on his own.

“Kyungsoo, you won’t believe what happened tonight.” the wolfssegner whispered, with far too much excitement and trepidation in his voice. “Chanyeol, he - he burst into flames, do you know? It was majestic, it was downright scary. But look,” Baekhyun extended his arms for Kyungsoo to see, “I am unhurt. His fire wouldn’t hurt me.”

“I know.” Kyungsoo replied evenly, “I saw this happening a long time back.”

Baekhyun crawled closer to his spirit guardian, “What was that? What is happening? You must tell me Kyungsoo. Please. Tell me everything.”

“I can’t. I am forbidden from doing so. But the answers you seek, you’ll get them tomorrow at school. Your wolf will tell you.”

Baekhyun grabbed his hair with his fingers, “Chanyeol has no idea either. He just burst into fire. He says he doesn’t know what happened. ”

Kyungsoo looked at Baekhyun very gravely, “Your wolf will get his answers tonight. You should sleep.”

He meant to move away but Baekhyun grabbed his arms, “Is there something I should know?”

Kyungsoo looked at his ward at length, at the sinless eyes of the one who he still considered a baby. “Only one.” the spirit guardian smiled, “I shall protect you from all harm.”

“But you weren’t even there tonight.” Baekhyun protested, pushing Kyungsoo’s arms away.

“That is because I knew your wolf would come through.” He had a tiny smile on his lips, now fully assured that Baekhyun, though shaken by the events of the night, was still spirited.



On the other side of the forest, Chanyeol was not greeted with loving reassurances. Quite on the contrary. The very second he stepped inside his room, he was thrown with superhuman strength to the other side of the room. Before he could take his stance, a positively angry looking Yoora banged him against the wall, and pinned him down with force she never applied on her brother.

Chanyeol let his shoulders sag when he realised it was his sister. “ What are you doing?” he growled, biting down the instinct to throw his sister off of him with brute force.

“I told you to stay off the forest tonight.” Yoora snarled, not letting Chanyeol loose. “What part of that did you not understand?”

“You heard?”

Yoora shook her head, still so angry, so beautiful and powerful. “By tomorrow, there won’t be a single person who won't hear of an alpha giving rides to a silver haired. Those wolves came home, you idiot. They told Pa about you. Pa knows now. Do you even realise what you’ve done? You’ve undone everything. Pa knows there’s a wolf giving rides to a wolf charmer. Just great!"

“You’re spitting on me.” Chanyeol protested.

Yoora raised her hand, meaning to give her brother a back handed slap.

Chanyeol sniggered, “Go on. Hit me then. I’ll allow it. But go strike your Butters first. Do you think he listens to what I say? Do you think he is under my reins? When your mate begs you to take him for a ride, you take him. That’s what you do. That’s what I do. I am powerless in front  of him Yoora. It’s bad. I have caught it bad. If he wants the Moon tomorrow, I’ll get him that too. I love him,” Chanyeol proclaimed ferociously, “and if I have to burn down a thousand wolves in the process, so be it.”

Yoora rolled her eyes. “You're a fool. A fool.” she spat, before sagging against her brother's chest.

Chanyeol caught hold of her arms and made her stand straight. “Why do you worry so much? I can take care of both of us.”

“No Chanyeol. You think you can take care of yourselves, but things are not always black and white. Tact is necessary. You eliminate tact and you are just a gorilla trampling around like a fool in the forest.”

Yoora left his side and paced around the room. “They came and alerted Pa.” she was not done with her tirade. “They told him what they saw. Do you even know what Pa did the last time a wolf mated with a wolfssegner? Do you?” she barked.

“He..chased the wolf away.” Chanyeol answered haltingly, sobriety taking hold of his senses now, the exhilaration from the fire fading under the cold anger emanating from his sister. Yoora indeed was the superior wolf.

“Yes. I was there when the parleys took place. He threatened to burn the village to the ground. Did you know that? Well, did you?”

Chanyeol shook his head.

“He said, he couldn’t let the wolf and the wolfssegner be together. He had to make an example out of them. Why? Because he did not want his children to follow in their footsteps one day. Do you hear me? Do you understand what I am trying to tell you? Huh?”

 

“Pa..did not-”

“Oh yes he did.” Yoora cut in, venom in her voice, “I was right there. He turned down the suggestions of the village elders. He refused to allow Jaejoong to run away with Yunho. Pa said our blood mustn’t mingle with theirs. He threatened an entire village of women, children, elderly..Pa did that.” Yoora was on the verge of tears now.

Chanyeol reached out for her but she moved away. “Open your eyes, alpha. See, wolf, see. What do you think will happen when Pa finds out about Butters? Will he scold you, slap you? Haha. No. No. He’ll threaten the poor villagers again. Nothing you do or say can make a difference when he’ll threaten that village. Do you think your Butters would choose you over the safety of his family? Jaejoong could have run away with Yunho. Why do you think he stayed? So that he could protect his own. Baekhyun would do that too. They’re silver haired. They’ll think of their own tribe first. So when I say, please be cautious, that means you need to be cautious. You need to heed my words. I am trying here, okay?”

Chanyeol sighed in the dark.

“Chanyeol, say something.”

“I’m just - it’s a lot to process.” The wolf sank by his bed, “I didn’t know about any of this earlier. I didn’t know what was at stake.”

“Well, now you do.” Yoora snapped mercilessly. “It’s a very dangerous game you’re playing, Park Chanyeol, and you must watch your step.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Stay away from the forest for a while. The conclave begins soon. All kinds of wolves are here. As future leader, all eyes will be on you. Behave accordingly. You and Baekhyun, we will figure out a way. Give me some time to figure a way out. Don’t undo my hard work like this.” Yoora was about to cry.

Chanyeol was on his knees. “Eww. Don’t cry. Shit. Shit, okay? You’re scary. I promise I won’t meet Baekhyun outside of school for now, until after the conclave ends. I mean it, I swear. Stop crying. Ugh, I hate it when girls cry just for the sake of winning.”

 

It took Yoora all of fifteen minutes to calm down.

And then she shocked Chanyeol out of his wits when she produced a blue ball of fire in her palms. “Is this what you did tonight?”

Chanyeol stared at the fire, strangely transfixed by it. “No.” he answered after a length of time. “It was more like I burst into flames, kinda. Like, I couldn’t contain the anger inside me and it had to come out. Wait - how long have you hidden this from me?”

Yoora looked into her brother’s eyes, “For long enough.” She shrugged when her brother glared at her. “Well, your powers seemed to be dormant, so I thought I should keep it to myself.”

Chanyeol stretched his palm out, with a flourish like Yoora, but no fire erupted, “Why can’t I do this?”

“It takes practice.” Yoora finally smiled.

“I turned into a firewolf tonight.” He boasted.

“I’ve got news. I can turn into a firewolf too.”

Chanyeol cursed. “Can’t believe you kept this from me. I am hurt.”

“It’s because I am smart.” Yoora pipped, closing her fist. “Do you trust me, brother?”

“What kind of question is that? Of course I do.”

“Then keep this a secret for now. I promise to help you develop these powers. But no one must know. Not Pa. Not your friends. Okay?”

Chanyeol shrugged, intrigued, “Alright. And what about the silver haired?”

Yoora smiled as she rose to leave, “I don’t think of you as different entities any more. Sleep tight. It’s very late. We’ll talk some more at breakfast.”



Chanyeol learnt the next morning that possessing the Mark meant possessing powers as well. The Mark - a sign of a pack leader, which both he and his sister possessed.

Was he even qualified to be a pack leader anymore, Chanyeol wondered. He knew for a fact that alphas who married humans were disqualified from the position of power. And alphas who married wolfssegners..what right did they have to lead a pack.

Chanyeol snorted. Archaic laws, he thought.

He pondered over these and many other things as he waited for his mate outside the school. He hated to worry Baekhyun; worry did not suit his brilliant wolfssegner at all.

But worry indeed marred Baekhyun’s features as he walked up to where the wolf was leaning against a tree trunk. Chanyeol watched with concern, how Baekhyun took quick steps and quicker breaths, as though he had dashed all the way here.

“Hey baby.” Chanyeol smiled as widely as he could, stooping to leave a kiss on the side of his lover’s neck, “You’re early today.” Before Chanyeol could leave another kiss, Baekhyun pulled away.

“C’mon, I missed you, okay? Come here for a hug before classes start.”

“What was that last night?” Baekhyun uttered, not drawing closer for the hug. He blinked at his wolf, waiting for answers.

Chanyeol sighed, and then proceeded to gently tug Baekhyun’s ear lobe. “I’ll tell you after a hug?”

Baekhyun seemed to consider the proposal for a second or two, concern etched on his face. He then happily stepped into Chanyeol’s embrace. “All well, wolf? I was so so worried for you.” Baekhyun’s voice was all but muffled against Chanyeol’s chest. “I couldn’t sleep last night and I did not let Kyungsoo sleep either. But he wouldn’t give me any answer, you know, that stupid fat cat. No more treats for him.”

 

Chanyeol frowned. He pulled away from the hug. “Kyungsoo? What do you mean, Kyungsoo?”

 

Baekhyun stilled for a second, he opened his mouth to say something but no words came out. “Well.” he finally said, lowering his voice as students passed them by on their way to the school gates. “Kyungsoo is not Kyungsoo. I mean, he is not a cat. He says he’s my spirit guardian. He’s been around ever since I can remember. Sometimes he tells me things.” Baekhyun peered into Chanyeol’s face, as though raring the wolf to disbelieve him.

 

Chanyeol shrugged, “I could tell from day one. I didn’t know that you knew.” His voice was a little accusatory.

 

It was Baekhyun’s turn now, to tiptoe and leave a kiss on Chanyeol’s chin. “Now there are no more secrets among us...or are there?”

Chanyeol snorted, “As if I could keep anything from my mate.” He put his arm around the boy’s shoulder and steered him towards the school gates. “I couldn’t sleep either. My sister and I had a long discussion last night. About me, and you. We discussed about us.”

 

Baekhyun waited until they passed the school guards. “What exactly did you discuss?”

Chanyeol pulled his hand away from Baekhyun’s shoulder and ran his fingers through his locks. “My sister told me that it is in our blood. Fire.” He halted in his steps to look into Baekhyun’s eyes. “Yoora said that we are gifted.”

Baekhyun squinted his eyes under the bright sun, “Gifted? Do you have…” he waved his arms around, “powers or something?”

Chanyeol looked at his mate, only love in his eyes, “Yes love, precisely. Yoora has already mastered it. I - it had lain dormant in me all this while. But last night, when those wolves threatened us, threatened you, these powers surfaced. The very thought that someone could intimidate you let the fire loose, I am not kidding.”

Baekhyun sucked his lower lip in, ingesting the wolf’s revelation. He lightly touched Chanyeol’s mark, “I think I understand. Does your Mark have anything to do with your powers?”

 

Chanyeol shrugged, “Yoora thinks so. She has this Mark as well. And she can wield fire.”

“Who were those wolves?”

Chanyeol looked up to the skies, “There is an event going to take place in our Town. Wolves from out of town are congregating for the Conclave. The ones we met at the forest, they are from a different pack.”

“Why did they try to scare us last night? Are they dangerous? Do they hurt humans?”

“I don’t know any of that.” Chanyeol cried out, a little frustrated, “All I know is that if someone were to even look in your direction with the intent to harm, I will rip his heart out with my bare fingers.”

Baekhyun made a cringe face. “So cheesy, this wolf. Who says that?”

“I do.” Chanyeol said firmly. “That’s who. Yoora says not to take you out for rides until these visitors leave.” He raised his hands as Baekhyun began to protest. “And I agree with her. She makes sense.”

“But rides are our thing.” Baekhyun held his ground even as Chanyeol began to pull him towards the classroom. “It’s what we do.”

“Baby, just until the conclave gets over.” Chanyeol coaxed.

The wolfssegner stomped his feet noisily, pouting all the way to the classroom.

“For a few days, let’s meet only at school.” Chanyeol tried to deliver his proposal cheerfully.

Baekhyun frowned and punched his bicep.

 

The wolf observed from the corner of his eyes as his mate opened his notebook and started doodling on it, effectively shutting Chanyeol out.

“But what about our dates?” the silver hair turned to him after some time.

“Our lunch breaks will be our lunch dates from now on.” Chanyeol grinned.

“I like having lunch with my friends.” Baekhyun attacked him with his pencil.

Chanyeol smiled, shaking his head. There was no winning with this wolfssegner, how to make Yoora understand!

“What about ..what about..kisses?” Baekhyun asked after a while, as they pretended to concentrate in class.

“Let’s bunk the afternoon classes to kiss by the football ground.” Chanyeol offered.

The wolf charmer nodded thoughtfully.

“What about, you know, making out?” They always made love after their late night rides.

“On hold for now.” Chanyeol teased, then laughed inaudibly when Baekhyun bristled.

“Park Chanyeol, you mean we are on a break, right?”

All Chanyeol’s good humour disappeared from his face in a flash at Baekhyun’s thoughtless utterance. He grabbed his mate’s arm to make Baekhyun face him. “Take back your words, wolf charmer!” He growled.

“You’re the one saying we won’t meet outside of school. We won’t have rides, dates, and, and, and sex. You take back your words. Say that you’ll meet me every night. Say it.”

But Chanyeol wouldn’t budge. He had promised his sister. He had been uncaring earlier, but now he knew exactly what was at stake. He couldn’t risk his future with Baekhyun, not for anything in the world.

“I hate you.” Baekhyun said when Chanyeol did not bow down to his wishes, like he always ended up doing.

Jongin and Sehun had a free pass to this harmless lovers tiff. They watched the proceedings with unrestrained curiosity.

During the course of the day, Baekhyun whined, cajoled, pretended to cry, tried every trick in the rule book but Chanyeol did not waver from his stand. “We’ll hang out only in school for a couple of days.” he reiterated for the upteenth time, alpha swagger on display.

“I hate you.” Baekhyun repeated again and again, which only made Chanyeol love him more.

The mates bunked the last two study periods and hid themselves in the woods behind the school playground. Chanyeol reclined his back against a tree and sat cross legged on the ground. Baekhyun immediately seized the opportunity to rest his head on the wolf’s lap.  

 

Chanyeol played with Baekhyun’s hair, not minding the sunlight that tricked through the thick foliage, while his mate went on and on about how Kyungsoo came to live with them as their pet.

He wanted them to stay like this forever, frozen in time, without a care, the only two people in the world. “Byun Baekhyun, will you run away with me if I ask you to?”

His lover chuckled, “Why? How can you run away? You have to stay with your pack, my future pack leader.” Obviously Baekhyun did not read too much in Chanyeol’s suggestion.

Chanyeol remained silent, playing with the baby hair some more. How did this otherworldly creature fall into his lap, he wondered. How could the fates be so kind to him? What did he do to deserve this, this blessing?

“What if - what if I wasn’t a pack leader? Would you run away with me then?”

Baekhyun rubbed his belly, “But you were born to be a pack leader. My alpha. Mine. Do you know how proud I am of you? My parents think you will make a fine pack leader someday.”

“So you won’t run away with me.” Chanyeol pouted.

Baekhyun closed his eyes, shutting the sunlight out. He looked like a daydream when he smiled like that, all for Chanyeol’s eyes to lap up. “I like it here. I don’t want to leave. I belong here. We belong here. Our forefathers lived and died here.”

Chanyeol smiled sadly. “I love you.” he simply stated.

“I love you too.” Baekhyun said sleepily, eyes closed, relaxed, not a fear for the morrow. Chanyeol envied Baekhyun then. He watched his lover doze off. He sighed. How would he even survive a day without this faery. What if, what if... no! He would not think about that. He would not think about separation. Fate would not have brought them together only to pull them apart.

He recalled his sister’s words about his father’s threat to burn the entire village. The wolf’s hackles raised at the mere thought of someone posing harm to the village! Baekhyun’s home. Baekhyun’s cows. Baekhyun’s bees. Baekhyun’s lovely steps on the ground. Baekhyun’s fruit laden trees.

He, Chanyeol, had to protect it all. If Baekhyun was his, then Baekhyun’s village and Baekhyun’s people were also his.

 

From a distance, Kyungsoo and Yixing watched the two lovers spending the lazy afternoon in each other’s company.

“You love the boy, don’t you?” Yixing asked.

“I don’t know. Am I capable of loving?” Kyungsoo wondered, smiling gently as a breeze swept by the tree leaves. “Maybe this is what humans feel when they say they love their children even more than they love their own selves.”

Yixing turned to face Kyungsoo, “Is that so?”

Kyungsoo hummed. “Isn’t he precious?” There was a hint of pride in his voice.

“He is. When I met him at the Village Fair, he helped me set up my tent. I told him then, his path is not going to be easy.” Yixing looked over at Kyungsoo shrewdly.

Baekhyun's spirit guardian scoffed, “When will you stop playing the fortune teller? You’re not supposed to look into their future.”

“It’s a long boring life. Am I to be blamed if I want to spice it up? Aren’t you guilty yourself? You aren’t supposed to reveal yourself to your ward.”

Kyungsoo shrugged defensively, “What am I to do when he could sense me from the very beginning?”

“You’re supposed to maintain your distance. Not meddle.”

“Is that what you think I am doing? Meddling?”

“You looked into his future and just couldn’t keep away. Aren’t you planning to meddle anyway?”

Kyungsoo scoffed. “And if I am?”

“The higher ups won’t be pleased. We are here to observe and record, not meddle and protect.”

Kyungsoo looked at Yixing squarely in the eye, “You look into other’s futures, don’t you? Can you tell mine?”

He laughed at Yixing’s befuddled expression.

“Don’t do it.” Yixing gently pressed.

“Why not? In my ceaseless life, Baekhyun has been the only spark. He has a sinless soul. If I could do just one thing for him, I wouldn’t hesitate. I would do it over and over again.”

 

Several yards away, Baekhyun opened his eyes and smiled mischievously at his wolf. “Chanyeol.” he said, his voice clear and filled with untold pleasure.

“What, baby?” Chanyeol asked.

“Let’s run away together someday.” Baekhyun said.

“Why this sudden change of heart?” Chanyeol couldn’t help but smile.

The wolfssegner stretched and sat up straight, his eyes now level with his wolf’s. “I reconsidered. Anywhere is fine if you are around. But without you, nothing is.” Baekhyun’s eyes drooped, and lips trembled. “Please may I beg something of you?”

 

Chanyeol parted the messy hair from the forehead and left a tiny kiss, falling right into the trap. “Ask for anything, baby.” Ask me to lay down everything I have for you. Watch me reduce myself to nothingness, because losing myself in you suddenly feels better. What is my name, I forget so easily. I forget, and I don’t want to find out, because losing myself in you suddenly feels better. It feels right.

 

“Please let’s still go for rides at night?” Baekhyun asked tentatively.

 

And Chanyeol knew he was ruined from the inside out. His ruin began the day he allowed a silly wolfssegner with fruit laden pockets to sit beside him. “Of course baby.” He found himself blurting. “Have I ever been able to say no to you?” The wolfssegner sighed joyfully.

The wolf hid his face in Baekhyun’s shoulder.

 

I forget so easily, the promises I made to others. When I look at your beautiful, blinding face, I forget that I am a separate existence. You are as much me as I am you.

 

How do I live without you?




Chapter Text



Chanyeol had dinner with Jongin and Sehun that evening. Jongin’s father owned a restaurant in the heart of the Town, and the boy had called his friends over when he learnt that special rates for food had been arranged in light of the visiting werewolves.

Yoora was also dining in the same place, just a couple of tables away. She was out for the night with her own girl pals, what with Junmyeon still in Seoul, assisting Professor Yunho with a research paper. She looked especially resplendent, with hair coiffured into a loose bun, hair falling in lovely ringlets around her face.

Chanyeol had always been proud of his alpha sister, but that night, he thought she had never looked prettier. She caught his eyes and raised a brow. Scoffing, Chanyeol looked away.

The place was jam packed, and the waiting list was long. Chanyeol and his friends were onto their second steak when a group of travellers came and sat on the table next to them. The three wolves, all tall, dragged the chairs against the marble flooring to seat themselves noisily around the table. They were uncouth, no doubt hailing from places where civility and courtesy was uncommon.

Chanyeol observed from the corner of his eyes how they whispered and grunted among themselves, eventually ordering a whole roasted lamb, and food for ten people.

Yeri, a teenage omega who worked part time at the restaurant, was visibly nervous as the three visitors barked their orders loud enough for the whole floor to hear. Chanyeol was swept with an intense bout of protectiveness when she looked over at Jongin to bail her out.

Hunters !” Jongin grunted, rolling his eyes and standing up. He put on a polite, practised smile on his face before turning to Yeri, her rescuer for the night from these uncouth strangers. “Yeri, my dear. Why don’t you head over to Yoora’s table. She’s signalling for a refill.” Jongin said, calmly collecting the notepad and pencil from Yeri’s trembling fingers.

Yeri did not wait for any further prompting; Jongin had rescued her from unruly customers many a times before. She bowed to the guests and hurried over to Yoora’s table.

“And what would you like to drink tonight?” Jongin asked to the three wolves cheerfully.

The men looked Jongin up and down, then directed their gaze upon Chanyeol and Sehun.

“This place is teeming with alphas.” one of them said, tilting his head to a side. He was smiling, and not very good naturedly.

Another one, jabbed his companion in the shoulder, and pointed his chin towards Yoora. “That one over there, smells so alpha. You’d think a town hidden away in the forests would not have so much variety, but look at that! If that were on the menu tonight, I’d -”

Before Sehun could restrain Chanyeol, the wolf stood up to full height and glowered at the men. “ That is my sister.” Chanyeol’s entire aura radiated raw power, and one could tell that he was just raring for a fight. Years and years of being treated as better than other wolves had brought on a self assured confidence in the alpha. He was hardly one to back down from a fight.

For a few seconds, there was pindrop silence as alpha glared at alpha. “And she will tear you apart piece by piece under 30 seconds.” Chanyeol added menacingly, unheeding Jongin’s hand at the small of his back.

It was too humid even for the late summer night, and the young alpha was wearing a loose black wife beater. His Mark, etched the darkest black on the forearm, was openly displayed for all contenders to see and be wary of.

“We have heard of you.” one of the visitors said calmly, getting on his feet and bowing, “The Park siblings! Blessed by the Two Moons. Son and Daughter of the pack leader of Wolf Town.” He smiled, showing yellow teeth, “I am Siwon. And this is Yesung,” he pointed at the one ogling at Chanyeol's sister before, “and Shindong. We come from the north, we come in peace.”

“Then I suppose you eat your dinner in peace.” Chanyeol said, not breaking eye contact. “We do not tolerate loose talk in Wolf Town.” He glared some more. “This is not the mountains in the north. This is a civilised town. You are expected to behave accordingly.”

“Your father is a good friend of ours.” Siwon remarked, not a hint of smile on his face. “To be fair, he did say that his people were out of bounds.” The wolf shrugged, then looked at his companions,

“But he did say that there is a village of wolf charmers right across the forest and we are free to maul them as we please.” Siwon looked in Chanyeol’s eyes, as though looking for some sign, some reaction.

Before Chanyeol could claw his eyes out from the sockets, Jongin physically stepped between the two wolves. “So, a roasted lamb, five helpings of rice, spicy raw crabs and japchae . Is that all?”

Chanyeol felt his intense bout of anger die down at Jongin’s fake cheerful voice. He remembered where he was all of a sudden, there were families seated around them, children, his sister, Yeri..this would not do.

The alpha turned away from the men abruptly and sat down next to Sehun.

“Bloody outsiders.” Sehun mocked, sipping his lemonade. “If we meet them in the forest, I’ll break their jaws.”

Chanyeol did not acknowledge Sehun’s murmurs, but glowered at a distant flower pot. Baekhyun's village was his village, hearing these outsiders casually talk about wolf charmers made him mad, so so mad. Those poor, peace loving villagers with nothing but love in their hearts..His anger was directed at his father as well; apparently his father had given these visitors the green signal to play with their innocent folk.

“Don’t overthink.” Sehun warned in a low voice.

“I swear if they harm a hair of even one wolf cha-”

Sehun forced a piece of dumpling in Chanyeol’s mouth, “You’re being too loud. Eat. No harm shall come to the village people, you are worrying for no reason at all. Chances are, those people with their voodoo charms will end up doing more harm to such unruly wolves. Don’t you pay attention in class? Wolf charmers can more than  take care of themselves against wolves. No need to go all protective alpha over them.”

Chanyeol chewed the dumpling as though he was chewing a wolf’s arm. He was almost done with dinner anyway; he needed to see his wolf charmer. He needed to talk to Baekhyun, to touch him, to smell him, to convince himself that Baekhyun was real and not a figment that he had dreamt up.

He could feel Siwon's eyes on him; he threw the visitor a challenging look and did not look away until Siwon averted his eyes. Chanyeol stood up then, surprising Sehun, “Tell Jongin I said good night. I feel like I need a ride.”

Sehun would not look at him, he merely nodded. “It's best you leave. The way you smell right now, I am sure Jongin would not like a common brawl inside his father's restaurant. Go now.”

Yoora stopped conversing with her friend and arched another delicately penciled brow at him when Chanyeol walked past her table. He just rolled his eyes and marched on. Yoora, Yoora would easily smell the nastiness evaporating from his pores. Chanyeol even made it past the entrance and was nearing the car park when he heard footsteps.

“Gimme a break.” he muttered under his breath.

“I heard that.” Yoora said as she positioned herself smack in front of him.

Sibling stared at sibling. The alpha girl had her arms crossed. “You promised.” she reminded.

Chanyeol threw his head back and sighed in exasperation. “Did you hear them inside? The way they were speaking..made my blood boil. I need to see Baekhyun. I need to be around him. He calms me.”

Yoora advanced towards him, making Chanyeol take two steps back. “I heard them, which is why I warned you to be cautious in the first place. Why should it come as a shock to you anyway? When have wolves ever been in control? And I wonder, I wonder if you think about your mate's security at all. Or whether, you want to be with him for the long haul at all.”

Chanyeol snarled at his sister's airy tone. “Watch your words.”

“No, you watch your step.” Yoora looked around, keeping her voice low “You are dancing at the still point of a needle. How many times do I have to warn you to be cautious? What would it take to knock sense into you. Pa will-”

“I get it. I get it, okay. And I agree with you a hundred fucking percent.” Chanyeol freed his wife beater out of Yoora's tight grasp. “But Baekhyun - he - I promised I would meet him after dinner tonight. He begged, he begged to see me. Yoora, please understand. We are mates, I can't turn his wishes down. He is stubborn. He’ll wait for me by  the tree the whole night if I don't turn up. He's like that. I can't, okay?”

Yoora stared at Chanyeol's face some more, “Whew. Trust you to find the stubbornest mate. But then, only such a person could be your mate in the first place.”

They stood in silence for a minute, now unsure and careful around each other.

“Very well.” Yoora turned to Chanyeol at last, “How about I go and meet him tonight instead of you, huh?” She raised the palm of her hand to stop Chanyeol from launching on a tirade. “You owe me this. You owe me a meeting with your mate.”

But Chanyeol was shrugging defensively, “No. You don't get to meet him like this, not while I am not around.”

“Why? You don't trust he'd be safe around me? You think I'd do or say something inappropriate. Don't you trust me?”

“It's not that.” Chanyeol cried. “I do. Yoora, I trust you with my life -”

“Then trust me with your mate's life as well! Let me talk to him. Let me tell him that two steps back are sometimes two steps forward.”

“Arrrrrrrgh.” Chanyeol paced this way and that. “You two won't allow me to function in peace.” He muttered a series of curses under his breath. “ He's my mate, Yoora. I am naturally protective. I won't allow you, another alpha, more than my equal, to meet him like this at night. I understand that you have met him before, looked out for him. But my alpha cannot allow you to meet him at this ungodly hour without me being present. Just can't. Now move out of my way.”

Yoora rubbed her nose, her eyes brows, the back of her neck, “Damn you over protective and zealous alphas.” she cursed, then gripped his shoulders, “I am speaking to you, not as one disagreeing alpha to another disagreeing alpha, but as a sister to a brother. Look at me, forget who I am okay, forget everything. Look at me as you would look at your sister who has your best interests at heart. My love, my brother, please let me go talk to Butters and convince him. Once. Just once. If he asks you to take him for rides from tomorrow, you're free to do so. I won't say a peep.  But just this once - for today - can you please look away?” She let go of Chanyeol. “ And now, as one alpha to another, please can I go and meet your mate tonight? Please.”

Chanyeol huffed, “What are you even going to tell him? You'll take him by surprise. He won't like it. I don't like -”

“That's between Butters and me.” Yoora's eyes twinkled.

“I hate you sometimes.”

Yoora laughed, “Is that a yes? Can I go meet him?”

“Fuck you.” Chanyeol said, before marching back towards the restaurant.

Yoora watched him retreat inside, and smiled in pleasure and relief. It was in the nature of wolves to be guarded about their mates, against logic, against all reason. But she had known all along that Chanyeol was more man than wolf, hadn't she?

On the other side of the forest, their bone of contention was in deep reverie of his own.

 

Their entire lives lay ahead of them, a whole lifetime to spend together, and yet Baekhyun was greedy. He was restless, restless as only a young, silver haired wolfssegner could be. How could he explain to others what it felt like to have his wolf simply breathing by his side. Would anyone understand the hollow in his chest when his wolf was at a distance?

Theirs was a simple tale. A wolfssegner met a wolf once, deep in the forest, and gave his heart away freely without expecting many things in return. It was the simplest tale of affection given and affection returned in equal measure, as innocent as it was true.

Other people may have profound love stories, a deeper malaise, but Baekhyun did not concern himself with other people. What Chanyeol and he had was their very own pocket of sunshine. The world may destroy and rebuild itself a thousand times around them, but there would be no cloud in the little haven Chanyeol and he had built together. This was Baekhyun’s firm belief. He could weather and best any storm if Chanyeol were by his side, of this he was absolutely certain.

He was simply a wolf charmer from his small, insignificant village, and Chanyeol was his air, water, fire, earth, moon and sun. The one who had been earmarked for him all along, the one who he had found for himself. His. His. His. His wolf. His to ride.

Baekhyun was, truth be told, spoilt. Not so much by the villagers and his mother but his own wolf. The wolfssegner could not think of a single favour that the wolf had denied him ever since they mated.

The wolf charmer did not need riches, or clout, or power; he wanted his wolf beside him, and maybe a good dinner. He was not being selfish, was he? He was not being reckless either, right, he was just a little lovesick. Baekhyun had been a little lovesick for some time now.

He was infatuated. He needed his mate’s loving gaze on him, and ceaseless adoration. He wanted Chanyeol to look at him possessively and pull him impossibly closer.

Chanyeol took him for long rides deep into the forest, and held him tight in the still of the night. Baekhyun had grown used to sleeping with the smell of the wolf all over him. Sometimes, they sneaked inside Baekhyun’s room and hugged each other to sleep. The wolf looked at him like he was the only person in the world, and Baekhyun gradually realised the significance of being someone’s mate.

Chanyeol would fall apart without him. Baekhyun did not want his wolf to be antsy without the mate by his side. And so, he had made the wolf promise to come meet him at night by their tree-with-the-hollow.

“Why the hurry? Eat slowly. Chew your food.” Baekbom grabbed his nape at dinner, catching Baekhyun unawares.

Baekhyun wiggled out of his brother’s grasp. “I have a date.” he answered in a whisper, careful not to let his parents hear. He had not seen the need to hide from his brother that Chanyeol and he were sweet for each other.

“With Chanyeol, the wolf?” Baekbom teased, not bothering to keep his voice low.

Mama Byun looked up from her plate and arched her brow at her youngest son.

Baekhyun ducked his head and pinched his brother’s thighs. “Chanyeol, my wolf.” he corrected.

“What are my sons whispering about?” Papa Byun asked genially, focusing his attention on the brothers. Kyungsoo by his feet meowed for more fishbones.

“What is the only topic Baekhyun is capable of talking about these days?” Baekbom drawled loudly, not minding Baekhyun kicking him under the table.

“Aaaaah.” Their father bent to pick Kyungsoo up from the floor. “Baekhyun’s friend from Wolf Town.”

“I don’t talk about Chanyeol all the time.” Baekhyun retorted hotly, nom noming his food to avoid his parents’ eyes.

“You must bring him home again sometime.” Their father scratched Kyungsoo’s ears absentmindedly.

Baekbom snorted at the suggestion; his room was closest to Baekhyun's and the wolf growled loud in bed sometimes. “Yeah, you must bring him home.” he laughed devilishly, “Maybe he could stay overnight.”

Baekhyun was this close to snatching his brother’s piece of fish when their mother intervened. “Baekhyun-ah, eat.” Her eyes were twinkling. “And no sneaking out at night. The wolves are hosting a conclave next week. The town is full of outsiders. The forest too. We had a busy afternoon strengthening the spells around the periphery  of the village.” Mama Byun looked at her son. “Be careful, baby. Outsiders may not be as nice as Chanyeol.”

It was a miracle to have Baekhyun home for dinner. Mama Byun had lovingly prepared steamed fish for her son when he told her that he would have an early dinner.

“I’ll just go and meet Luhan and Jongdae.” Baekhyun blinked up at his mum, hoping that if he pressed his lips in that particular way and

puffed his cheeks, his mother would relent. Which she did.

 

Mama Byun tilted her head; she had raised this boy, she knew when he was up to no good. “Baby-”

“I promise to be safe.” Baekhyun batted his eyes, then grinned.

Baekbom sniggered. Young love climbed imaginary mountains and battled a hundred imaginary foes just to be with their chosen one. What would stop one such as Baekhyun?

Baekhyun smiled to himself as he waited by the tree, already anticipating the night ahead. The excitement from the events of the other night hadn’t fully abated yet, but here he was, ready for more adventure.

Baekhyun would not meet Chanyeol that night;  instead, he would come face to face with someone else, someone he never thought he would come across ever again. A girl with the Mark of the Two Moons. Consort of the night, daughter of the Moon.

Park Yoora.

The sky was clear tonight, with millions of white tinkering dots decorating it. Baekhyun liked to locate the Orion constellation in the sky as he waited for Chanyeol every night. Orion the Hunter. He smiled when he sensed someone approaching him through the trees. “Look Chanyeol, Orion's belt is shining so bright tonight.”

 

“Maybe signalling our chance meeting once again.” someone whispered, someone laughed, merry-like.

 

Baekhyun was startled out of his riverie. He whipped his head around and observed slack jawed as a wolf girl, from light years ago, advanced upon him. It had to be the same wolf girl, she was smiling and her feet were literally dancing on the forest floor. She wore no hood today, and the moonlight shone brilliantly on her face. The hair was pulled back into a bun, and like this, standing just like this and looking so cocksure, she resembled Chanyeol so, so much.

 

“Waiting for someone?” the girl teased.

 

“You..” Baekhyun stared at the moonchild's face, “I know you.”

 

She shrugged, “Because we met before?”

 

Baekhyun shook his head, “You're Chanyeol's sister.”

 

The girl looked delighted, “Bravo! Hi. I am Yoora.” She extended her hand and swung Baekhyun's palms with hers.

 

Baekhyun didn't stop the smile spreading across his face either. “I'm Baekhyun.”

 

“I know. Butters.”

 

Baekhyun threw his head back and laughed. They looked at each other for a few seconds, not knowing what to say, how to begin a conversation..

 

“Where's Chanyeol?” He looked around, but Yoora seemed to have come along.

 

Yoora suddenly looked serious, “I begged him if I could take you out on a date instead. He owed me this. I want to get to know my brother's mate..I hope,” she let go of his palm, “I am not overstepping boundaries?”

 

The wolf charmer shrugged, not knowing what to say for once. Yoora did not allow him to speak, “The protective charms around your village are too many tonight. But I suppose I can best them. Chanyeol tells me there is a lovely pasture around here.” She extended her arm, “Take me there?”

 

Baekhyun was surprised really, at  Yoora turning up instead of Chanyeol out of the blue. Strangely though, he was thrilled too, in a way. He had met this wolf girl before, long before he knew she was  Chanyeol's sister, and he had had fun that night. “This way.” he said, grabbing the wolf girl's hand.

 

Baekhyun and Yoora smiled and giggled as they stumbled in the dark on the way to the pastures that lay around the back of the village.

 

“Truth is, argentine, ” Yoora whispered, as they neared the pastures, “I have to discuss some important matters with you.”

 

Baekhyun helped the wolf girl climb the wooden fencing, “What about?”

 

Yoora gently landed on the other side of the fence, “Ah, the night is still young. We'll come to that, eventually.”  

 

Baekhyun found them a cosy spot to sit, and waited patiently. But Yoora was in the mood for mischief. “That lovely face,” she produced a ball of fire that came to float near Baekhyun's face, “let me see it clearly for once.”

 

If the wolf charmer was surprised with Yoora's fire, he hid it well and quickly. “Fire is visible from many miles.” the silver haired said evenly, and proceeded to whisper words in his palms. He blew the words from his palms and they scattered in the wind, taking the fire along with them.

 

“Oh!” Yoora exclaimed with surprise when her fire was blown out by Baekhyun. “Impressive.”

 

“At night time,” Baekhyun explained, “we prefer stars.” he spread his arm around in a practised gesture and a hundred teeny tiny stars materialised. Resembling the stars up above, these tiny lights flickered around them, lighting their faces. They hovered harmlessly around them, providing an ethereal glow to both their faces.

 

“This is a sweet trick.” Yoora clapped her hands, then pushed a flickering bulb away from her face with an index finger, playing with it. “If I knew wolf charmers could be such delightful company, I would have snagged myself a wolfssegner bestie too.”

 

Baekhyun chuckled, cross legged on the ground, waiting for Yoora to state her purpose.

 

“But among the two of us, I suppose Chanyeol was destined to meet an argentine. ” Yoora was now playing with another flickering wisp, “Did he tell you? We are of the same litter. And we both have the same Mark, except I matured into a woman a wee bit ahead of him.”

 

Baekhyun nodded. He was looking at the alpha girl with rapt attention. She had a quality, an air, very different from wolf charmers, very different from other wolves. He could not yet put a finger to it.

 

“Do you know, pack leaders are not decided by heredity?”

 

Baekhyun nodded slowly. “My mother said Yunho's father was the pack leader before your father.”

 

“You know Yunho?” Yoora sounded surprised. “But of course you will. You are close to Jaejoong.”

 

“How do you -”

 

Yoora waved her hand, cutting him off. “So, where was I? Yes, pack leaders..my family has been the pack leaders for generations upon generations without fail. I guess our family is blessed by the Moon, producing able ones to lead the pack. And good pack leaders too. Wolf Town was not built in a day, afterall. It was built with blood and sweat and wisdom of many, many, farsighted leaders.” She paused to look at him.

 

Baekhyun nodded. The wolf girl did not resemble her brother as much when she spoke in a sombre manner like that.

 

“My Pa, right from the age such as yours, prided himself as the next pack leader to be. How could he not? The blessing’s been in our family since ages, except, there was someone who bested Pa in every imaginable way right from childhood. Yunho's father was better than Pa in the playground, at school, he even won the hand of the lady both our fathers competed for. The pack of course chose Yunho's father as the next leader -”

 

Baekhyun’s eyes went wide.

 

“I know.” Yoora smiled, “Imagine the shock. You're raised to believe that you're entitled to the crown, and when you don't get it, you get a little mad towards the end. So, Pa, who lost his lady love to a better competitor, who lost his seat to the same better competitor, turned a little mad. He eventually married - not for love, but for clout. And then fate decided to shine upon him. Yunho's parents died in an accident. Pa was elevated. He swore to never let go of the position. As long as he was alive, the crown had to be in the family.”

 

Baekhyun waited for more. The wolf girl turned towards him.

 

“Chanyeol and I, we were raised to be different than others, raised to be a little ruthless.” She smiled. “My father did everything in his power to ensure that we were born with the Mark. He was taking no chances.”

 

Baekhyun thought Yoora and ruthlessness didn't go together at all. She reminded him of crystal clear water that flowed over beautiful green rocks,

not pausing for anyone, not stagnating, but rushing ahead to meet the endless possibilities in store.

 

“We produced a puzzle to Pa, both of us possess the Mark, you see. Which one of us would be the pack leader? But I- I had seen my father work. He was never my role model. I understand why Chanyeol sees Pa as this elevated persona, I guess every boy needs a father figure who they can look up to. But not me. I could tell he wasn't a good person at heart, you know. I could see he didn't love my mother. I don't think he loves us as fathers are supposed to love their children.”

 

She peered at Baekhyun's face, “Awwww. Butters! I am not saying this so you could feel sorry for me. Hardly. I expressed my disdain towards leading the pack. Thankfully, I was excused and all the spotlight naturally fell on Chanyeol. I thought he would make a great pack leader one day, better than my father at least. But a curious thing happened. He met you at school.”

 

Yoora shooed the tiny lights away from her face. They came floating towards Baekhyun and further illuminated his face. “You may or may not know this, but a wolf with a human for a mate cannot be even considered as a pack leader.”

 

Baekhyun froze, then frowned.

 

“Those are the rules.” Yoora stressed. “Don't worry.” Yoora smiled, “Chanyeol knows this. He trampled over every single rule out there to be with you. He didn't care if he got to become a pack leader or not. He's just..way too much in love with  you.”

 

“I didn't know.” Baekhyun began apologetically.

 

Yoora clicked her tongue. “Not your fault. Chanyeol's decisions are his to make. And he loves you so. Who wouldn't? You smell so good, he stood no chance.” Yoora laughed.

 

Baekhyun hugged his knees, training his eyes and concentration on the alpha’s smiling face to distract himself from the powerful feeling of foreboding in his tummy.

 

“Even I -” Yoora stopped smiling, “even I never thought Chanyeol's crush on you would deepen so suddenly. He became this person who always needed to be close to you. A little mad? As it became clearer and clearer to me that you were Chanyeol's mate, I had to rethink some decisions about my own life.”

 

Yoora paused and they went back to admiring the tiny flickering lights.

 

“I met this boy years ago. Junmyeon. I was very confused while growing up. I mean - try growing up in my Pa's household. I was very awkward, very mistrustful of people. Junmyeon made everything so easy for me. That one person you need who can be so accepting of every single thing about you that others’ opinion do not matter anymore? Junmyeon was that person for me.” Yoora's voice quivered with passion, “Thankfully for me, Pa approved of my mate. I had some plans already, but Junmyeon made everything so much easier. And honest to God, I thought I had a plan, a definite plan, which might take me years, but I still had a plan. But then you guys met each other, and before I knew it, Chanyeol was offering you rides through the forest. Day by day, he was getting crazier and crazier about you. Everything was happening so fast, I had to reroute so quickly.”

 

Yoora grabbed Baekhyun's hands, “I love Chanyeol. I want to protect him. I want to protect both of you. But I can only do so when I dethrone Pa from his seat.” She waited for her words to settle. Baekhyun didn't know where to look - the idea that a daughter would talk about dethroning their father was a bit -  “I can't do anything for you if I am not in a position of power. Right now, Pa is still the leader. The pack will do as he asks them to. If he asks them to burn your village, they will. If he asks them to hurt you, they will, my lovely wolf charmer, they will hurt you and take pleasure in it. Do you follow me?”

 

Baekhyun shook his head, “I don't think I do.”

 

Yoora sat back, “Ask Jaejoong. He and I have been working together to keep Chanyeol and you a secret from everyone. Because the minute people know, they'll tear you apart. They tore Yunho and Jaejoong apart, they will try to do the same to you. We can't let that happen.”

 

Baekhyun was quiet. He usually had a million questions to ask, but tonight, it felt like he had been pumped with way too much information. He needed his wolf by his side so bad. Why hadn't Chanyeol told him that he forfeited his position as pack leader by mating with him!!

 

He was suddenly pissed at his wolf, “Why didn't Chanyeol tell me? I would have..” he trailed away.

 

Yoora waited.

 

“You would have, what? Maintained your distance? That's not how bonds work, and you know it.”

 

Baekhyun nodded. The starlights floating around them dimmed a bit. His mind was trying to process things and put them together.

 

“Baekhyun.” Yoora prompted lightly.

 

“Hmm?” Baekhyun stopped tugging the grass.

 

“I think you make a lovely couple.” She meant it. “Chanyeol adores you. I don't think he can survive..when you're not around. You already know he cannot turn you down. He has never, has he? So I am going to ask two favours from you. It is entirely up to you whether you abide by them or not. But keep in mind the things I just told you.”

 

There was a pause, in which Baekhyun shivered because of the cool wind. Somehow, he was dreading the next words to come out of Yoora's mouth. “Firstly, I want your nocturnal rides to stop for the time being. Three wolves saw you the other day. They've already poisoned Pa's ears and they're not good people. Until they're gone from the Town, please put a halt to your rides.”

 

Baekhyun pursed his lips, “I guess we can..do that. We can meet at school.” Ah, he should have known Chanyeol's sister had come to meet him with a definite agenda.

 

The wolf charmer was pouting and Yoora would have laughed any other day. “The second request, please may I take your mate away to Seoul as soon as the Conclave ends?”

 

Baekhyun looked up, immediately beginning to shake his head but Yoora was having none of it. “Father is suspicious. Who knows what he might do? Chanyeol has not entirely been very low key, has he? If I take Chanyeol away to Seoul, and tell Pa that I have a couple of omegas in mind to set Chanyeol up with, he may be distracted for a bit from your Village, and a silver haired charmer.”

 

But Baekhyun was still shaking his head, “Don't do this. Please don't take Chanyeol away.”

 

Yoora knew she had to be firm. “In light of the things I just told you, and for my plan to materialise, I have to take Chanyeol away for a bit. There is someone in Seoul who needs to meet Chanyeol. Yunho. Don't you want Yunho and Jaejoong to get together? Won't you like that? I can't make Chanyeol come with me if you ask him to stay. Therefore, I am begging you. If you ask him to come with me to Seoul, he will. He will only listen to you. Are you getting my point?”

 

“For how long?” Baekhyun moaned, mood absolutely gutted now.

 

“Not more than a month, I promise.” Her tone was that of one talking to an errant child.

 

“A month! A whole month! I'll die.” Baekhyun clutched his knees even tighter, the starlights now disappearing to nothingness, pitch dark surrounding them.

 

“No, you won't.” Yoora laughed, “This will cement your bond further. You'll feel him around you all the time.”

 

“I'll die without Chanyeol.” Baekhyun protested. He wanted to be nice to Chanyeol's sister but she was asking for too much.

 

“No, you won't” Yoora rubbed his back, “There there. If you convince him to come with me to Seoul, I promise you upon all that I hold dear, I will protect the two of you with my last breath. I promise to take care of your village. Anybody who wishes harm upon you or yours will have to go through Park Yoora. Help me Baekhyun so I can help you.”

 

“I want Chanyeol.” Baekhyun said,  stupidly stubborn and freshly in love.

 

Yoora said nothing. She simply sat there, staring at the wolf charmer. A  few minutes later, Baekhyun huffed. “Just one month, right?”

 

Yoora crossed her heart, “Just one month. After that, all yours.” She tucked a strand of Baekhyun's hair behind his ear.

 

Baekhyun nodded grudgingly, “I think I can live with that.”

 

The alpha girl looked relieved. “I knew I could count on you. Now convince Park Chanyeol like the charming wolfssegner you are.”




Park Chanyeol would not be convinced. He stared at Baekhyun with disbelief, large, warm brown, dopey eyes searing into Baekhyun's. “She asked you to - what? I swear, sometimes Yoora -”

 

“She made sense though.” Baekhyun said, shrugging and pouting and latching on to Chanyeol's body in their school playground.

 

The wolf snorted, “Oh, suddenly Yoora opens her mouth and everything starts making sense to you. I am not leaving.” He rubbed Baekhyun's back with his large hands, spreading his warmth through the shirt to the wolf charmer's skin.

 

Baekhyun sat up straighter to put distance between their bodies. “She said you need to meet Jaejoong's mate in Seoul.”

 

Chanyeol snorted, “What do I care about Jaejoong, or his mate.” He looked displeased, but still so very handsome. Baekhyun thought there was not a more handsome wolf around.

 

“I care. I care about Jaejoong hyung.”

 

The wolf's eyes were on his lips, plush animal lips slightly parted. Baekhyun leaned in for the kiss.

 

“Who'll kiss you like this when I am gone?” Chanyeol asked cockily when they paused in their kissing to draw breath.

 

Baekhyun pushed at his wolf with his hands, “You can come back and give me all the kisses at one go.”

 

His wolf shook his head, glorious golden hair swishing this way and that. “No can do.” Chanyeol lay back on the grass, white uniform shirt stained here and there with the brownish stains of fresh grass. He closed his eyes against the sunlight and lay there unmoving, perfect in repose.

 

Baekhyun grabbed his collar and shook it roughly. The wolf's brows creased in irritation but the eyes didn't open. “Stop ignoring me. Wolf. Oi.” He next tugged one ear lobe but Chanyeol continued to pay no heed.

 

The wolfssegner pouted, then was visited by a brainwave. He edged closer to Chanyeol to whisper in the ear, “You can no longer be the pack leader. Do you want me to get angry over this?”

He knelt back on the grass and waited.

 

Chanyeol was on his knees too, the very next instant. “How - ? YOORA TOLD YOU?”

 

Baekhyun crossed his arms across his chest, “You should have been the one to tell me. Why didn't you tell me?”

 

Chanyeol wiped the dampness off his face; his eyes were suddenly shifty, “It was my decision to make.”

 

Baekhyun looked to the skies - a clear cerulean blue overhead. “It's my burden to bear now.”

 

“How is it your burden?”

 

“You did this for me afterall. It's all my fault.”

 

“It's not anybody's fault Baekhyun. You are my mate. What was I supposed to do, look the other way? Come here.”

 

The wolfssegner shook his head.

 

“Come here.” Chanyeol cupped Baekhyun's cheeks with his warm hands, “You do have an idea of how much I love you, don't you? Babe. People move mountains to be with their mate. Giving up the leadership of my pack is the least I could do for you.”

 

“You should have been the pack leader. You can still be. Don't you want to be?”

 

“Hey.” Chanyeol flicked Baekhyun's nose, “Don't speak like that. I ..” the wolf engulfed Baekhyun in his arms, “Baekhyun, I really don't know about the future. I couldn't care less whether they choose me as their pack leader or not. All I care about is this human in my arms.” He parted the silver hair and left a kiss on the forehead. “This lovely human who produces the awesomest sounds from his mouth.”

 

Chanyeol smelled Baekhyun's neck, “I should have told you. I would have, eventually. But nothing you could have said or done would have made me change my mind about us.”

 

Baekhyun pulled away, and angled his head so their noses could rub against each other. “Go to Seoul with Yoora, Chanyeol. Please?”

 

“No.” Chanyeol breathed.

 

“Please?”

 

“Nope. Not happening.”

 

“I'll still be here after one month, waiting for you. And nothing will have changed.”

 

Chanyeol gripped Baekhyun's hair tight, “A month has thirty days Baekhyun-ah.”

 

“I'll send you nudes every day.” Baekhyun licked his lips.

 

The wolf laughingly let him go. “You're impossible Baekhyun.”

 

“Please? Yoora says it'll be best for Jaejoong hyung as well. I want to do something for him.”

 

Chanyeol gazed into the eyes of his lover, “Is that what you really want? To help those two?”

 

“Yes, I want. Very much.”

 

“And you won't miss me, like at all?”

 

It was Baekhyun's turn to scoff now. “I'll cry into my pillow every night.”

 

“Idiot.” Chanyeol said, but he was looking at his idiot with only love in his eyes. Baekhyun had the prettiest little finger and Chanyeol was nicely wrapped around it. “I'll do it because I love you. Not because I want your Jaejoong hyung to get together with his missing alpha. I couldn't respect an alpha who left their mate all alone. I would never do that to you, come what may.”

 

Baekhyun hid his satisfied smirk, “Now, about those nudes..”





Kyungsoo, despite himself, despite Yixing looking at him openly, had a pained expression on his face.

 

“Who asked you to get this attached to the boy?” Yixing's tone had the barest note of accusation. “Ready yourself. Your time has but almost arrived. This is the last of the rosy days of this couple. You'll have to steel yourself for what is to come. How would you help Baekhyun survive post trauma otherwise? Hmm?”

 

Kyungsoo closed his eyes. Yixing went on.

 

“The onus will be on you now. Your real work shall begin. Will you be able to steer Baekhyun's soul from the depths of his misery?”

 

Kyungsoo opened his eyes, now ablaze with determination, watching Baekhyun and his lover walk back to the village.



As promised, Chanyeol and Baekhyun no longer met at nights, or even at school. The alpha and his friends were volunteering at the Conclave, and had been excused from attending school for a week. It was a busy seven days at Wolf Town, and Baekhyun did not see Chanyeol at all.

 

Baekhyun grew antsy sometimes, but resourceful as he was, devised novel ways to keep himself occupied. Kyungsoo watched him like a hawk, tagged behind him everywhere. When the wolfssegner laughed with his friends too loud, Kyungsoo took the scene in huge gulpfuls, scrambling to preserve the memory of a laughing, carefree Baekhyun.



Even the damned weather seemed to know that something was off, something was imminent. Something was about to happen. Towards the close of the week, Kyungsoo the cat was hardly seen lurking around hidden corners of the house; Mama Byun looked around for him everywhere.

 

“Do you think someone just grabbed Kyungsoo and ran?” she worried.

 

Baekhyun, who knew the cat's true nature, clicked his tongue, “If you think that cat would let himself be caught by anyone, Mama, you don't know Kyungsoo at all.” He made a series of funny poses to make her laugh, “He'll slink in by nightfall. Don't worry about it at all.”

 

But Kyungsoo didn't slink in by nightfall. The spirit guardian was all the way across the forest, slithering through the guests at a very lavish garden-style party - the official closing ceremony of the Conclave.

 

Alpha Park was giving the keynote address, eulogising about the greatness of wolfdom, but Kyungsoo's attention was not on him. He sat still at an unoccupied chair, invisible to all, eyes trained on three nasty wolves from out of town, the ones who had chanced upon Chanyeol and Baekhyun in the forest that night.

 

His attention only wavered when one of the Park siblings came in view - Park Chanyeol. Kyungsoo watched the alpha dispassionately as Chanyeol, surrounded by cronies his same height, wandered from guest to guest, shaking their hands and making small talk. So very well poised to be a pack leader, Kyungsoo thought.

 

The spirit guardian noted how the three wolves from out of town threw covert glances in Chanyeol's direction. There was wariness, and a sense of awe in how they were looking at Chanyeol, and something cold and calculating.

 

The young alpha would keep checking his phone from time to time. Kyungsoo rolled his eyes. He'd never seen a more lovesick duo in all his time shepherding human spirits. Sickly sweet, Kyungsoo thought grumpily. Gag-worthy. Blerghhh.

 

The spirit guardian’s scrutiny of Chanyeol ended when the people gave a rousing applause to Alpha Park's speech. “Ladies and gentlemen,” Alpha Park was grinning into the mic, “Let the fun and frolic now begin.”

 

The local band, Loud Howl, immediately started playing. There were cheers from the young crowd as they took their partners by the arm and moved to the dancing area. A garden party. A garden dance and dinner. Alpha Park hadn't shied away from spending at all.

 

But Chanyeol was hardly paying any mind to the frolic around him; he was busy smiling at his phone, hastily typing the night away, foot tapping to the music but heart soaring due to different reasons altogether.

 

The other Park sibling, Park Yoora, was dancing with Chanyeol's friend, the one they called Sehun, the one who went around saying he did not like Baekhyun that much.

 

Kyungsoo waited for the song to end. He knew Yoora would walk up to her Pa as soon as the song ended. Which she did. The spirit guardian followed her to eavesdrop in on the conversation.

 

“What a lovely party you have thrown Pa!” Yoora grabbed her father's arm and steered him around to face her. The wolf bowed to her, “I am glad my children are having fun.” But the wolf's eyes were on his son standing inconspicuously at a corner, chatting on his phone and grinning away.

 

Yoora followed her father's line of sight; her face nearly fell at the sight of Chanyeol cooing at his touchscreen. “Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about him too.” She waited for her father to look at her. “So, like we all know, Chanyeol's courtship of Seulgi did not go too well.”

 

Alpha Park's entire attention was on Yoora now. She produced a magnificent smile. “I know a couple of omegas back in Seoul. Junmyeon's circle. Very suitable. ” she shrugged, wild excitement in her eyes, “I showed their pics to Chanyeol and,” she bent to whisper in her father's ear, “he seemed interested. I have asked him to tag along with me this time, and guess what? He's totally ready to. We are all packed to go to the city tomorrow.”

 

“Uh huh?” Alpha Park smiled crookedly, “well, that's very sisterly of you.”

 

“Oh, you know,” Yoora shrugged airily, like she had no care in the world, “I don't want some common trash as Chanyeol's mate.” She waited for her father to smile and agree, but he just stood there, scanning her face.

 

“You’re all packed to go to the city tomorrow?” Alpha Park enquired.

 

“Yeah.” Yoora did not let her fake smile falter. “Chanyeol's more than excited.”

 

“I see. Is that why he is slithering away from the party, to pack?” Alpha Park wasn't smiling.

 

Yoora looked around to where her brother was bare seconds ago. He was nowhere to be seen now. She looked like she had swallowed ash, “We..we are leaving for the city at the crack of dawn. I think he..must have left for some last minute packing.”

 

“Hmm.” the wolf turned his daughter's chin so she could face him. “You must keep an eye on him in Seoul. Tell me everything he gets up to.”

 

“Oh Pa, you know how he gets about his privacy and all. Pshhhh. But I'll keep you posted.”

 

Her father gave her the coldest smile, more sneer than smile. “I am counting on you Yoora. You know I always treasured you more than Chanyeol, don't you?”

 

Kyungsoo saw Yoora ball up her fists.

 

“You were the first choice as my successor. You know it. You were always so…” Alpha Park hunted around for the word, eyes lighting up when he finally found it, “clever?”

 

Yoora adopted a serious stance now. “Pa. You're forgetting. I told you at the very outset that I do not wish to be your successor. I will happily settle down with Junmyeon, and Junmyeon's whole life is in Seoul.”

 

“It's a shame, really.”

 

“I don't think so.” Yoora backed away from her father.

 

Kyungsoo stayed back. Alpha Park did not look happy. The spirit guardian edged closer as the three wolves approached the pack leader.

 

The ring leader spoke first. “Are you sure you're gonna take this news well? You don't look too happy to be able to bear this, alpha.”

 

Alpha Park turned towards him, “Don't speak in circles, Siwon. Tell me whether you were successful in the task I set for you.”

 

The one called Siwon scratched his chin, “Oh, we were very busy all this time. As desired by you, we went around, meeting folks, talking to people. Our initial suspicion seems to be correct though. Between then and now, my answer is the same, leader. Your son, cocky little bastard, is definitely the wolf we met in the forest that night. He smells the same, he smells funny, or haven't you noticed yet. There's another smell always clinging to him. You say he is not mated yet, but we beg to differ.”

 

Alpha Park poured himself a glass, “How can you be sure my only son has been going around the forest giving rides to wolf charmers?”

 

Siwon came very close to whisper in his ear. “We couldn't get very close to that blasted village, but, we camped around the perimeter one night. We found out two things - the silver hair was no play of the Moon. There is indeed an argentine in the village. You wanna know what he smells like? He smells like your son.”

 

Kyungsoo thought the glass would shatter in Alpha Park's hand.

 

“Oh don't look so gutted. We can make him go away, make him disappear.”

 

The battle hardened wolf steadied himself. “By tomorrow, I want the silver haired gone. I don't care what you do to him, make  him disappear. I'll  pay you your asking price.”

 

“Consider it done.” Siwon said, plucking the glass out of Chanyeol's father's hand and downing the drink.  

 

Kyungsoo walked back to the village, his mind a jumble of emotions. He had foreseen it all, hadn't he; he had spent days upon days doting on the wolf charmer, praying for time to pass slowly, for it to crawl. And now that the imminent disaster was upon them..what could he do? What would he do, except stand by and observe. What should he do, should he do something, to alter Baekhyun's future, to halt Jaejoong's mother's curse coming to play?

 

The spirit guardian stopped right under the tree house. He never prayed, but he was praying today. For a sign, any sign, any signal that he could go ahead and save his boy.

 

Kyungsoo heard silent giggles originating from Baekhyun's room. It seemed Chanyeol had come to say goodbye before leaving. They were whispering sweet nothings and reassuring each other of their love. Kyungsoo wanted to not hear for once, his heart came very close to breaking.

 

“I promise to come for you as soon as possible.” Chanyeol kissed his mate goodnight by the stairs.

 

Baekhyun wouldn't let go. “I'll miss you something terrible.”

 

“Baby, I'll always be available on the phone. All the time.”

 

“All the time.” Baekhyun grinned back, tiptoeing to steal another kiss from his wolf's lips.

 

Oh, time! Kyungsoo thought, not wishing to witness this goodbye at all. Because this was it. Chanyeol and Baekhyun would get no more goodbyes, this was their final farewell. Come tomorrow, everything will change.

 

Those wolves would wait for Baekhyun to walk home to the village after school, all alone, and accost him. Baekhyun would survive the attack by the skin of his hair, but, but, he would be disfigured beyond recognition.

 

A distressed phone call would be made, from Jaejoong to Yoora.

 

The careful balance maintained for years and years by the two species would be rent asunder.

 

And Chanyeol, Chanyeol would descend upon his father like hellfire. He would go after the wolves, track them down with Sehun and Jongin and make them beg for death. He would be a changed person forever.

 

Baekhyun would change forever.

 

They would never be whole again, just empty halves. Baekhyun would refuse to show his face to Chanyeol, too ugly, too broken. The curse would come to full effect with Alpha Park's public hanging.

 

Chanyeol and Baekhyun would be star crossed forever, making Yixing's utterance come true.

Nothing would ever be the same, in spite of Yoora's best efforts.

 

Kyungsoo tugged at his hair, banging his head against a tree trunk. He hadn't watched Baekhyun grow up to be a darling boy, his darling boy , just to see his ward suffer in the end. He wouldn't let it happen. If he had to grab Fate by its horns and beat it into submission, so be it. He was willing  to pay the price. Providence was cruel, but not that cruel surely. Providence must have placed him, him of all people, in Baekhyun's path for a reason.

 

It took him mere minutes to make his mind up. The next day, half an hour before Baekhyun was to walk that same pathway, whistling back home from school, Kyungsoo came and stood before the three wolves. He was in corporeal form, a simple stranger, a hidden danger.

 

“Oi. Who are you? Be you man or wolf, step out of here. Something very nasty is about to take place.” Siwon.

 

“That's right.” Kyungsoo laughed, he laughed like a mad spirit and his laughter chilled the air. “Something terrible is about to happen.” He turned to Siwon, “You, you were supposed to live for twenty more years. Your end was still ignominious though. And you,” Kyungsoo turned to another one, “Two years from now, you were supposed to be killed in a fight with another wolf, your own cousin.”

 

“What rubbish!”

 

Kyungsoo laughed some more, he finally felt free of all the weight he had carried for years and years. “But too bad. None of you are going to live to see any of that. You see,” Kyungsoo extended his hand gently, “all souls are attracted to the call of the guardian spirits. Yours too, weak as they are, would come flying out of your pathetic bodies to answer my call. And I won't even have to try. See? Feel that? That is the feeling one gets when one is at the brink of death! You see, I can't let you hurt him.”

 

Minutes later, Kyungsoo gazed at the lifeless bodies on the ground. “You see.” he said, gripping the three struggling souls in his hand as hard as he could; they were struggling to pass on, pulling him to the other world along with them, “I could never let anyone hurt him.”

 

The guardian spirit pocketed the souls, knowing that he did not have much time to spare. He was being summoned. He had broken a few laws. He was being tugged forcefully along by the souls he had collected, pulled towards the judgment they would face on the other side.

 

Kyungsoo wanted to say goodbye very much; why did everyone get to say their goodbyes except him? Why couldn't he see his ward grow up to be the finest of all men anymore? Why couldn't he see Baekhyun's altered future?

 

He dashed towards the village, he wouldn't leave just like that, like he had never even been there in the first place. He wanted Baekhyun to remember him by. His sweetest Baekhyun. His very own.

 

The mother was probably out visiting neighbours. Thank the goodness for the empty house. How would he have explained who he was, and why he was spilling all kinds of stationery in Baekhyun's floor, looking for a pen, pencil, anything to write with.

 

He tore a paper from Baekhyun's notebook and shook as he wrote his farewell. The souls tugged him on with such force, Kyungsoo choked on the floor. The pencil rolled away from his hand, now no longer corporeal. He was back to being ether and energy, reduced, being pulled back..Kyungsoo looked yearningly at the window sill in Baekhyun's room.

 

“Forget me not.” he thought. Then, he was gone.



Baekhyun came back to an empty house, his mother must be off at some neighbour's, he thought. He called out Kyungsoo's name, once, twice, thrice, but the darned cat was nowhere to be found.

 

“Kyungsoo-yah!” he called out his cat's name from room to room, desperate for some company. School sucked without Chanyeol and life was definitely bearable with the cat around.

“Oh!” Baekhyun stopped short by his doorway, surveying the mess of pen, papers and crayons on the floor. For no good reason, his hair stood on end. He looked around, Kyungsoo never made a mess, ever. Not even when he was really grumpy, or angry.

 

The windowsill was empty, a Kyungsoo less space. Where was his friend when he needed him the most. A gust of wind blew through the open window, a paper fluttered in the air ..

 

Baekhyun watched the paper's gentle rise and rise in the air. It was beginning to fly out of the window, but as a last minute decision, the wolf charmer stuck his hand out to grab at it.

 

It was a note.

 

“You touched me even when I had no body. Seeing you grow gave me the greatest pleasure yet.

 

You never disappointed me, not once.

-Kyungsoo”



For a long time, Baekhyun stood as still and silent as stone, his blood turning ice cold. Then, with a crumpled face, he looked towards the empty window sill. It was so difficult to breathe all of a sudden.

 

Kyungsoo had been a constant ever since he could remember. He could not have left just like that, out of the blue, could he?

 

“Kyungsoo.” Baekhyun went calling and looking from room to room. Was this one of the cat's practical jokes! Because this wasn't funny. Nobody should joke about leaving.

 

The wolf charmer went from one house to the other, crazily calling Kyungsoo's name,  the piece of paper clutched tight in his balled up fist. He spent the afternoon wandering around the village, so much so that Jongdae and Luhan joined him in his search.

 

But Kyungsoo was nowhere to be found. He was gone, and suddenly, Baekhyun was all alone.