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The Moon's Not Full

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Philip expected it to be a lot harder to be away from the city. Although, it was difficult in the beginning. He felt like an intruder in Helen and Gabe's house. There was so much them in it. Philip knows it was obvious he wasn't comfortable, but he couldn't explain to them why. They were really nice and everything, but he didn't want to see how far that niceness extended. Philip knew it was dangerous to tell someone he was a werewolf. That's why it's a secret, Philip. He still remembered the sound of his mother's voice that first time she told him about what they were. It's been years, but it was a good memory he'd always kept close. Especially right now, when he needed good memories.

His mom was his pack. It was only them keeping each other grounded. Well, she grounded him more than the latter. Anne was too drugged up most of the time to need the connection like Philip did. The way he'd been lead to understand it, he was still sensitive to environmental stimuli. So it was easy to pick up on Gabe's inviting persona and Helen's uneasiness. She was hard to understand, very conflicted yet committed. He knew that putting down roots in Tivoli was a bad idea, but it was hard when his foster parents kept throwing pack signals at him left and right from the moment he arrived. Gabe was an open book of kindness. Helen was authority and council but utterly unavailable for it. A false broadcast. It was frustrating to take her seriously.

There was a lot for him to sort through during the first week of being relocated "for his safety". Thankfully, the last full moon had passed recently. Still, he needed to take the edge off the excess energy he'd built up over the week from all the stress. In the city he'd usually go to one of the clubs and lose himself on the dance floor. But in rural Tivoli? There were woods. Helen and Gabe apparently didn't think it was weird when he told them he was going to take a walk after he'd gotten home from school on Friday. Must be a country thing. They acknowledged him and waved him off, both engrossed with something on the computer.

He isn't sure how long he walks for. His pitiful converse probably don't appreciate it, though. Something about the woods he's in now makes him stop. It's still bright out, but Philip's not that worried about it. No doubt Helen thought he was around the property somewhere. He thinks maybe what drew him in to the spot is the way the light reflects off the leaves and makes it more green. Looking around and listening, he's completely isolated. The discomfort in his chest pulls at him until he lets himself unravel in the empty woods. He takes a few deep breaths and feels like he's missing something. These choked sounds keep coming, pulling from his throat. His fists clench while his brows furrow lightly.

"What's-"

His own whine cuts him off. It's long and falling in pitch. Philip groans and drops to his knees. The cold of the ground presses through his jeans and makes his knees feel wet. His body seems to know what it's doing as he takes deeper and deeper breaths. Just before it happens, he realizes what the problem is. He wants to howl.

That deep breath tears out of him in a loud, drawn sound that dances over his vocal chords. It surprises him enough that he can't stop the second one. Or the third.

He's never howled in his life. Why would someone howl in the city? Now he can't see why someone wouldn't want to. It's getting all these chemicals rushing through his blood; it's a relief. But there's still an innate part of him waiting to hear one back. Wanting to hear his pack. Waiting to hear his mom.

He falls onto his back breathless. It doesn't drain him the way he thought it would afterwards. It's just burned off the lonely feeling that was gnawing at him. He'll call his mom later. See if that helps. Right now his nails are pushing against his palms. He uncurls them and digs his fingers into the soft ground before pulling himself up. There wasn't a separation of him and his werewolf traits, like a separate entity. He was just Philip- in control of himself. So, it was easy to fall into what his body wanted. By the time he was finished, all the trees around him were shredded. A bit overkill, he thought. Hopefully there wouldn't be anyone to come through this way and see it. He plopped down against a tree and closed his eyes for a few seconds.

He swore it was only a few seconds. Apparently, that was enough time for something to latch onto him and start attacking. He was woken up by being jerked roughly back and forth. Before Philip could think about it, he was growling and springing from his spot. His attacker was pinned in seconds with Philip's claws digging into his throat and his eyes flashing a toxic green. Scared blue eyes looked up at him, frozen stiff. Philip flung himself away like he was electrocuted. He sat on the ground, propped on his hands, staring at the blonde boy he'd been posed to kill. His heart was in his throat waiting for a reaction. He could barely breathe.

The blonde boy pulled himself up slowly into a sitting position. He looks achingly familiar, but all Philip can focus on is the sound of his own deafening pulse. The other boy's eyes flick around at the trees and widen further.

"Are you gonna' kill me?" He blurts out.

Philip's shoulders tighten.

"No."

His nails kneed into the ground again, purely human this time. The boy sighs like the world has been taken off his shoulders and slumps to the ground again. Philip feels his mouth slip open in confusion. Then the boy is bouncing back up, as if remembering that the creature that made those marks was right in front of him. Philip watches him pull himself into something reasonably cautious.

"So, you're a..?"

Philip clenches his jaw, "Are you asking because you aren't sure or because you're embarrassed to say it?"

"Uh, both?" He says a little breathlessly.

Philip exhales slowly out of his nose, "I'm a werewolf."

He watches the other boy's Adam's apple bob.

"Wow. That's, uh, kinda' cool." He says hesitantly.

"Only kind of?"

He smiles, "Shut up."

Philip's breath catches in his throat.

"You're Lukas."

Lukas looks pleasantly surprised, "Yeah. I didn't think you knew who I was. Glad I got to say hello before you ripped my throat out."

The werewolf bristles at the joke, "You just startled me. I thought I was alone. How did you find me out here, anyways? I thought it was pretty out of the way."

"I wasn't following you or anything." He rushed to say. "This is part of my property, and I heard an animal- uh, I heard a howl that sounded like an animal was in pain. So I grabbed my rifle in case.."

"You were going to shoot me?" He asked incredulously.

"No! It was for protection! Lot of good that did." He gingerly touched his neck.

"Can..can I see?" Philip asked cautiously.

Lukas' eyes pierced him faster than any gunshot could. The icy blue was mesmerizing. At his nod, Philip crawled over to his side and ignored the enticing way his face flushed. He sat closer than was strictly necessary to see how Lukas would react. Lukas. Lukas Waldenbeck, the boy he developed a crush on at first sight. It was almost inconceivable he didn't recognize him right from the start, but Lukas was always surrounded by his friends with a smile on his face. It was difficult to correlate that to the fear streaked expression he'd gotten in the beginning.

Lukas tipped his head back so Philip could see. His eyes scoped it out hungrily, a hand coming up to brush over the slight pricks his claws had made.

"Oh no." He breathed through his teeth.

Lukas' head snapped up and they were suddenly very close.

"What? What is it?"

Philip smirked, "I barely managed to leave a mark. Does this mean I'm a bad werewolf?"

He smiled, "From where I'm sitting, I think it means you're a good one."

Slowly, Philip leaned in, "From where you're sitting...?"

The blonde boy leans in for a hint of a second before his hand is mashing against Philip's face.

"What the hell?" Lukas sputters.

Philip flails back a little and keeps his head down, "Oh, sorry. I, um, sorry."

He can't make him watch what Lukas' face does but listens to the painfully awkward way he tries to salvage the moment.

His voice pitches slightly higher, "So, I guess you're a dog person, huh."

Philip clenches his jaw, "Yeah, I guess." He can smell the anxiety coming off Lukas like a toxic perfume.

"I should.." Philip scoots away to get up. "I should go."

"Wait!"

Long, thin fingers wrap around his wrist. He stills and lets himself be pulled back to his original spot. The grip releases, and Philip can't hold himself back from looking at Lukas. He's hesitant, but his eyes hold so much want. He can't suppress a shiver as Lukas trails his fingers up his arm. Very slowly, until they're breathing each other's air, he gets in close. Philip almost forgets they're going to kiss by the time Lukas' lips brush his. Philip's throat catches, but he doesn't want to scare Lukas off again. He barely moves until he finds his space entirely crowded by blonde farm boy.

A smile ghosts his face, and he sucks on Lukas' bottom lip. He doesn't protest when the other boy pushes him onto his back. Warm hands trace his jaw and run down his neck. It doesn't set his teeth on edge the way he was afraid it would. He reaches his own hands out to pull Lukas down by his shirt. Their hips shift against each other through their jeans, and Lukas gasps. He twists his face away and knits his brows.

"No one can know."

He turns back and looks Philip dead in the eyes, "Nobody is gonna' know because you're not going to tell them."

A part of Philip muses, What would he do if I said 'no'? He would never take that choice away from someone, but the question is still there. What makes this human tick?

"Okay." He says simply, pushing himself up to capture his crush's lips again.

Instead, Lukas pulls further back.

"I'm serious."

Philip sighs softly and regards him with his whole body, "I know, Lukas. I won't say anything."

They lock eyes for a few second before Lukas relents and leans back down.

"Okay."

"Okay. A secret for a secret." Philip replies raspily.

He groans when Lukas pushes his tongue into his mouth. For a supposedly straight guy, he was surprisingly good at kissing, Philip thought. Before today he never imagined Lukas would return his affections. Figures he would be a huge 'no homo' kind of guy. Honestly, Philip's met worse in the city. And those guys are nothing like Lukas. They don't smile like him or laugh like him. They're not soft like him, even though a once-over of him will tell you he's all sharp angles and pointy limbs. His thoughts are disrupted by one of Lukas' hands going up his shirt.

With his vision crowded by green and highlighted softly by the sun, Philip can't help but think it's not a bad deal. A secret for a secret.