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Sometimes, Shouto gets lonely.

He doesn’t like to admit it. Nearly 300 years in this form, he figures he should be used to the isolation at this point. To be fair, he is… mostly. Most of the time, he doesn’t mind roaming through the echoing, empty hallways and traversing the narrow winding stairwells of his stone tower. He doesn’t mind combing through tome after tome from the collections Uraraka brings him, until he’s not even sure what day, sometimes even what month it is. He doesn’t mind strolling through the dense forest surrounding his castle for hours on end, from the moment dusk hits to very seconds before sunrise.

He doesn’t mind it all, not really.

But occasionally, as he tucks himself into his favorite arm chair and sits by the fire that does nothing to warm his cold, undead skin, he allows the solitude he usually blankets himself in to curl around him just a bit too tightly, suffocating his mind in place of the breath he no longer has. He allows himself to be not just alone, but lonely.

It’s not like he doesn’t know what it’s like to have companionship.

After he became of age, he didn’t interact with anyone for an exceedingly long amount of time. He avoided even his father, who called his behavior childish, but never made any attempts to really stop him. His siblings fret over his wellbeing, but knew to leave him be when he chose not to contact them. His mother, long driven mad by the man who’d made her a vampire to begin with, came to Shouto only in fleeting glimpses—memories, of sorts, that he clung to after she was sent away.

Perhaps a century had passed like that, with Shouto avoiding any and all contact with other beings, alive or undead. Even with his victims, he’d feed on them quickly and in an instant, so there wasn’t a single word spoken between them.

That didn’t change until the tower he’d been living in began to crumble before his very eyes. While in his many years he had learned plenty, he had never particularly taken to repair work. So, with the most valuable of his belongings packed, he set out to find a new home.

It was then he had discovered the castle he lived in now, as well as the spirit that inhabited it: Midoriya Izuku. He’d haunted those decrepit stone walls that he’d died in for nearly a decade on his own, and he’d taken Shouto’s arrival as a sign that his days alone were over. Shouto hadn’t noticed him at first, not knowing any of the signs of a haunted home, and he’d settled in comfortably into what he thought was an abandoned castle. If there were interesting happenings, like falling plates stopping in midair or books being rearranged, then, well, Shouto didn’t question it.

By the time he’d noticed, it was too late. After nearly two years in that home, he was suddenly bombarding with a very enthusiastic, talkative ghost with bushy green hair and eyes who called himself Izuku and claimed they were going to be best friends.

As was to be expected, Shouto tried to run immediately.

Outside of the strange implications that a ghost had been watching him silently for two years, he certainly wasn’t mentally ready to begin talking to anyone again. Izuku didn’t seem to care, though, and it was then Shouto realized the folly of trying to escape from an enchanted castle. Every window, door, or passageway he could try to sneak out of it was barricaded up the second he approached, trapping him in like an impenetrable barrier.

After a while, he’d gotten so frustrated with the whole situation, he’d considered just tearing the stone walls down with his bare fists. He wasn’t terrible brutish compared to some other vampires, his strengths lying more in the intellectual capacities, but he was certainly magnitudes stronger than a normal human, or, well, a ghost of one. So, he’d readied himself to break through the walls, only to be startled in place when confronted with a sobbing Izuku wailing about how he didn’t want to be alone anymore.

He gave up on running away pretty quickly after that.

Izuku was bright and energetic—everything Shouto wasn’t—but he soon found himself enjoying the company, beside himself. It took probably a good half a century before he really started opening up and talking to Izuku outside of basic small talk, but the time passed by surprisingly quickly. Years went on, and he started to think of Izuku as not just an annoying house guest, but a friend.

As Shouto’s 200th year rolled around, he’d realized that he’d given into Izuku’s demands to be best friends, and he surprisingly didn’t hate it. They cohabited the castle together, with Izuku playing pranks and Shouto only leaving to take two to three day trips to the nearest towns to feed. It was comfortable, and he didn’t feel so alone anymore.

Things didn’t last that way, though.

Years passed, and mortal settlements were starting to pop up more and more around these dense woods. While Shouto didn’t approach any of them unless it was to feed, it seemed like more people began to come his way anyway. From curious humans to other supernatural beings, many wandered their way. Izuku, ever personable, would welcome anyone he didn’t see as dangerous, in an attempt to make them more friends.

Shouto hated how much it worked. From the river spirit Asui Tsuyu, to the devil Kaminari Denki, to the zombie Iida Tenya, their castle ended up having more visitors than ever. Shouto didn’t speak with them much, being polite but letting Izuku entertain them for the most part.

Maybe that had been his mistake.

One moment, the witch Uraraka Ochako was knocking on their doors asking for shelter from the rain. The next, Izuku was hugging Shouto and excitedly saying that he was going to leave and be Ochako’s familiar. It felt like it happened in the blink of an eye, even if the decision had taken nearly a year.

Shouto doesn’t blame Ochako though, or Izuku for that matter.

They love each other—it was clear back then, and even is now. Being her familiar meant Midoriya was no longer bound by the castle walls he died within. He could even use her magic to take on a corporeal form for a few hours a day, and in return, his powers as a spirit helped protect her. They were a perfect match, sappily in love, and Shouto was happy for them. He really was.

And so, he squashed the disappointment churning in his chest as he watched the bonding ceremony, and saw them off with a smile.

Both Izuku and Ochako still visit him now when they can. Ochako’s quests take them to places far and wide, though, so they can’t come as often as they’d like. One particularly long bout took nearly 30 years for them to return from, and Shouto tries to ignore the bitterness he had felt then as the years went by.

But still, they try to come, so he can’t really blame them.

Every time they do, though, they always ask him the same question: has he made any new friends? It’d be annoying if he didn’t know just how concerned those two always were for him. He knows that they worry about him, can tell from the way they make a fuss when he’s a day or two behind his feeding schedule or when his chambers are a little messier than usual.

They don’t want him to be alone, he knows that. But it’s not like he can help it. He’s never been a social sort of person, so even if he wanted to, he doesn’t have any idea of where to start. He supposes he could meet with their mutual friends, like Tenya and the others, but it just feels so unnecessary, so out of the way, that he never really goes ahead with it.

And so, he waits out his days mostly in solitude and, on rainy nights like this, lets himself feel lonely.

Ochako’s just left the castle a few hours ago. She’d been nearby investigating the case of some ferocious beast in these woods, apparently, so she thought to stop by and say hello. Shouto had welcomed her in and cooked her up some dinner—he was, by no means, good at preparing normal meals, but Ochako didn’t complain. It was nice, to catch up with her and Izuku again, even as they stared at him judgmentally when he admitted that, once again, he hadn’t tried to reach out to any of their friends.

Shouto sighs as he puts away a few books in his library.

It’s better this way, he tells himself. He’s not great with friendship in the first place, not understanding most modern social cues or conversational skills. Not to mention, most people fear his kind anyway—even if strides had been made against vampire hunting and the like, prejudice runs deep. Really, it’s a wonder Izuku and Ochako stayed around for as long as they did, when everyone else left.

Including… him.

Shouto doesn’t allow himself to think of him that often. Only on nights like these, where he’s completely trapped in his own isolation, does he let his mind wander. His thoughts meander through past memories, to those ten years where he wasn’t alone even if Izuku and Ochako never visited. He thinks of sunny days spent outside under the shade, just so Shouto could watch him play happily. He thinks of cold rainy nights spent warming his fur by the fire. He thinks of wrapping wounds after a particularly rough hunt that he was probably too young to go on anyway.

He thinks of the puppy.

The sound of rumbling thunder cracks through the air, and it’s loud enough to startle Shouto out of his thoughts. Narrowing his eyes, he looks out to the nearest window, where he’s opened the shutters to be able to look outside. The storm’s awful tonight, worse than many other night, and he can’t help but feel a bit disconcerted.

Perhaps he should have made Ochako stay for a little longer? At least until the storm passed. Surely, navigating through the woods when the weather was like this is hardly safe. Even less so if she’s investigating some vicious creature roaming about in the forest.

Biting his lips, Shouto tries to think of what it could possibly be.

It only appeared a few days ago, but it’s apparently already wounded several travelers severely, and even killed a few. From what Ochako and Izuku said, no one has been able to get a good look at it yet. For one, it only attacks in the dead of night when light is already at its sparsest, and it’s incredible stealthy and sly. One of the survivors had said that it slinks around in the darkest of shadows, its wry behavior a startling contrast to its ruthless savagery.

Shouto immediately crosses off hulking creatures like ogres and trolls from his mental list. Low in intelligence and cunning, they’d be able to pull off brutal attacks but would be practically incapable of disguising themselves. He considers the possibility of it being an angry forest spirit, capable of prowling through the woods and attacking unseen, but most of them can’t manifest as anything but an apparition. For it to be able to physically tear apart victims in the way Ochako described—it just doesn’t seem possible.

Frowning, he thinks back to that again.

That’s right, Ochako had described some of the most common wounds to him. Bite marks, clawed or torn skin and limbs, heavy internal bruising. All intensely violent, non-magical injuries, but too big to be from just a wild animal. Perhaps a hellhound’s escaped from the underworld…?

Shouto considers summoning Denki to ask, when a sudden shriek in the distance cuts through his thoughts.

Standing up immediately, he shoots his head in the direction of the scream, shoulders tense and fists clenched. With his hearing, it’s not all that odd to hear noises coming from afar within the forest. He’s learned over his few centuries to block them out at his whim, so that he could go about his days in peace and quiet.

Now, though, he can hear that shrill scream clear as day, even as the sounds of pounding rain threaten to muffle it.

Ochako.

He’s rushing out of his castle before he can even think.

Winding through the dense forestry with practiced ease, he strained his senses to try and track Ochako down. The storm impeded his hearing with the sounds of pouring rainfall and rumbling thunder, as well as his smell, by masking any blood scents. All he can do was navigate to where he had heard Ochako’s scream, and hope he’s not too late.

He should have asked her to stay, should’ve told her and Izuku to crash for the night in the castle. He’d already been a bit disgruntled when Ochako said she wanted to try and encounter the beast herself, to subdue it on her own. She’s plenty skilled as a witch, and Shouto knows that, but he still hadn’t been so comfortable with the thought of her and Izuku facing such an apparently rancorous, ruthless beast on their own. Still, he hadn’t said anything to risk sounding overbearing. Now, though, he only wishes that he was more overbearing.

He’d rather deal with an annoyed Ochako than lose the only real friends he’s made in the past 300 years.

A shout—Izuku’s this time—has Shouto whipping his head around and surging forward.

He’s close.

The familiar thrums of Ochako’s magic can be felt strongly in the air, and it’s both comforting and disconcerting. He’s not sure if it’s a sign that she’s winning or losing this fight, but at least it means she’s still alive and well. Not to mention, if she’s still able to keep Izuku summoned, it means she’s not running herself the risk of depleting her mana just yet.

They’re small comforts for Shouto, but comforts none the less.

He rounds the corner to step out into an unfamiliar clearing, and he can’t stop himself from freezing at what he sees. Vaguely, he notes Ochako and Izuku’s presence in the corner of his eyes. From what he can tell, they’re mostly uninjured, if not exhausted.

He can’t think on it more though, because all his attention is enraptured with the creature before him.

He takes in the wild, sandy-colored fur, the mouth open wide with ravenous hunger to reveal numerous sets of sharp teeth, the slanted eyes that glowed bright red like Shouto’s did after a good feed. He thinks of the injuries Ochako had described to him, thinks of the fierce slashes he’d seen marking up nearby trees in his rush to get here.

Pounding rain showers down upon them, but it’s not loud enough to cover the rumblings growls the beast makes. Even if the clouds obscure his view, Shouto remembers with startling clarity the small, white circle he has marked on today’s date in his calendar.

Today is the full moon.  

“Fuck,” he swears to himself, clicking his tongue when his voice only draws those red eyes to him.

The beast is a werewolf.

This just got a hundred times more complicated.

“Shouto-kun!” Uraraka calls, and Shouto’s by her side in an instant. She’s shocked to see him, there’s no doubt there, and even Izuku looks horrified. “What are you doi—”

“You need to go,” Shouto says. “Return Izuku to your staff.”

He doesn’t give her time to react, before he’s picking her up in a bridal style carry. He only gives her half a second to comply with his demand, watching as Izuku’s corporeal form fades into mist, before he’s running.

“Shouto-kun, what’s wrong?” Ochako’s screaming as he winds through the forest once more. He can’t take them back to the castle now, it’s not safe. Maybe the nearest town, or— “I almost had a sealing spell completed!”

The words only send more relief down Shouto’s spine, when he realizes he got there in the nick of time.

“It wouldn’t have worked,” he explains through grit teeth, trying to focus on going as fast as he can without running into a tree.

“What?” Izuku questions, now following along with them in a spirit form. “Why not?”

“Full moon,” he says curtly, sighing when the two look at him in confusion still. “It’s a werewolf.”

“What?!”

“I thought they were extinct—”

“Endangered, not extinct,” Shouto interrupts.

That’s what he says, but really, they’re as good as extinct from what he knows. There used to be more of them back a couple centuries ago, but the years haven’t been kind on the race. Considered a menace for their transformation and the marked lack of control they face during the full moon, clans and communities grew to detest any and all werewolves. Hunting werewolves became a bigger sport than vampire hunting, and even Shouto had expected the race to be obsolete at this point.

The puppy…

No, no, Shouto can’t think about that now. He has friends to save.

“This is a bad time to confront it,” he continues. “Werewolves are notorious for losing all rationality during the full moon, especially if they’re not with a pack. I’m pretty sure this one’s on its own, so it won’t have any kin to calm it down. They’re too strong during the full moon to face directly—you’ll end up with all your organs gouged out.”

Shouto tries to ignore the queasiness the thought gives him. If this is the same wolf responsible for the previous attacks over the last few days, then it has to be both incredibly powerful and incredible bloodthirsty, even amongst its own kind. With the severity of the injuries its victims have had, Shouto can only imagine how vicious it is tonight, as the moon shines with full brightness above the clouds.

“But I could seal i—”

“They’re practically impervious to magic when they get like this. Maybe if you had a whole mage circle, yeah, you could contain it. But on your own? It’d kill you before you cast.”

Ochako goes silent at that, and Shouto can see her shivering, both from the cold rain pouring down upon them and from the fear that was no doubt wracking her system. Shouto can’t blame her; Ochako’s plenty powerful on her own, so it’s likely not every day she’s told there’s nothing she can do. But this isn't just any monster, this is a ferocious killer beast terrorizing the forest who, more importantly, has a human buried deep within.

It’s something Shouto can understand all too well—falling prey to one’s own brutal, bloodthirsty instincts. He understands how dangerous creatures like him and the werewolf could be, when left to their own devices, and that’s why he’s so adamant about keeping Ochako and Izuku away.

Still, if there’s any chance of subduing the beast without killing it, of letting it revert to its human form so it can run free before it could get hunted down… it’s a dangerous idea, but one that’s all too tempting for Shouto to ignore.

Is the puppy still running free, or has he been hunted down too?

Reluctantly, Shouto comes to a stop at the edge of the forest.

“Go,” he commands. “Teleport out of here, at least to the next province, if you can manage it.”

“Come with us—”

“No. I know you don’t have enough mana for that right now. Just go.”

“But Shouto-kun!” Izuku says. “You said it yourself, it’s too strong now—”

“I’ll be fine.”

He tries to give them a shaky smile, but he ends up flinching when he hears a distant roar. It’s too far for Ochako to pick up with her hearing, but he can hear it clear as day. They don’t have much time before the wolf tracks them down, and he needs Izuku and Ochako out of here before that happens.

“Go,” he hisses once more, and Ochako frowns and glances back at Izuku.

“Be careful. Please.”

It’s all the warning he has before Ochako and Izuku are disappearing in a puff of smoke, and tension drips from Shouto’s form immediately. Though he knows he can’t stay off-guard for long, with the wolf still coming, he allows himself a few seconds of relief as Ochako’s scent disappears completely.

Good, they’re gone. Now, about this wolf…

He only has a few seconds more before he can hear pounding footsteps trekking over in his direction. Cursing inwardly, he starts running again, this time to the side instead of forward. It’s risky, giving the wolf a chance to pick up his change in direction and catch up to him, but if he goes any further forward, he’ll end up at the outskirts of the woods.

He knows there are quite a few towns and settlements directly outside of the forest in this area, so he can’t risk stepping out. It makes things trickier, but he needs to keep the wolf on his trail and away from large communities, to keep the casualities as low as possible.

It seems to work, from what he can detect. He can hear and even somewhat smell the wolf changing direction, turning about face when it realizes that Shouto’s going in another direction. Good, it’s targeting him. Now, he just need to keep it occupied until sunrise, and he’ll be fine.

Fuck, Shouto really wishes he fed before this.

It’s easy at first. He’s just a tad bit faster than the wolf, so he’s able to lead it around all over the place without too much risk. It’s clear it’s targeting him specifically now, following all the minute twists and turns he makes with exceedingly impressive focus. It’s a little more than just concerning, and Shouto wonders if he should be trying to run faster.

He does keep some distance between them, but he knows he can’t stray far at the same time. If he does, it might lose interest in him, and after that, there’s no telling what other unsuspecting victim it would sink its claws into. These woods are hardly ever truly empty, after all, with travelers wandering in and out despite the copious amount of horror stories and warnings.

He fears that exactly that happened, when suddenly, the wolf’s presence was fading.

Not much time had passed—maybe an hour, if that, but Shouto can no longer hear the wolf darting around behind him. It doesn’t help that the storm’s picking up even worse than before, the thunder and the water clogging his senses of smell and hearing and dampening his tracking.

Maybe the same thing’s happening for the wolf? From what Shouto knows, they rely primarily on smell, then hearing, so it’s possible the storm’s affecting the beast as well. Maybe it’s lost its trail on Shouto and given up.

He’s not all too confident, but the temptation to return to the castle is greater than ever.

His energy is running low quicker than he’d expected, but he supposes he can’t be that surprised. It’s been a couple of weeks since his last feed, and while usually he could go a whole month without problem, he’s exerted himself in leading the wolf all around the woods. He knows he can’t keep this pace up for the whole night.

He knows if he can’t risk going out into the towns now to feed, but if he can just get to some of the blood sachets he leaves in his chambers…

Mind made up, he weaves through the forest back in the direction of castle. He still makes sure to go the roundabout route, so his scent would be spread out all over the place. It’s not the most foolproof method, but hopefully it’ll have the wolf running on a wild goose chase for a little bit.

It’s not as much a relief as he expects to see the familiar walls of his castle come into view, but he ignores the unsettling squirm he feels in his chest in favor of wandering towards the back of the building. He turns the corner to stand right beneath the window to his chambers, at the top of the castle’s east tower.

With one powerful jump, he launches himself into the sky, and only just manages to catch himself on the sill. Pulling himself up onto the stone ledge, he allows himself a second of pause before he goes in. He has wooden shutters up in place to keep the rainwater out, but they’re all too easy to bust open. He can replace them later—he’s in far too much of a hurry now.

He slips into his room quietly, but he’s immediately taken aback at what he sees.

It’s plenty bright enough, with the oil lamps Ochako enchanted for him to light through the night and on command. In the flickering candle light, he can see the chaotic mess his room was in. Papers and books were shredded and thrown to the side. Night tables were demolished and knocked over. Clothes were crumpled and scattered across the floor from his seemingly ransacked wardrobe.

But what takes the cake, is the figure on his bed.

The once pristinely made sheets were wrinkled and torn into under its weight, while feathers from ripped pillows surrounded it. In the yellow lighting, the clean white bedding almost blended in with pale blonde hair and… fur…?

No, no it can’t be—

The figure’s much smaller, more human-like even if it’s covered in fur, compared to the behemoth of a creature Shouto had seen before, out in the woods. It shouldn’t be possible, but a deep inhale immediately proves his suspicions right.

Shouto freezes as piercing red eyes snap his way, a growl resounding through the room.

Well, no doubt about it now. It’s the werewolf.

There’s a split second where nothing happens, and Shouto uses it to plot. Should he change into a bat and fly? No, the rain would only beat down on his wings and slow him down. Fuck, if he could get to his emergency blood packs, he’d have more strength to maybe knock it out without killing it, but—

Mine!”

Too late.

Hissing, he barely manages to roll of out the way from a swiping hand—hand, not paw, oddly enough—coming his way. He narrows his eyes at the word. He swears that he heard the wolf speak, gargled and warped as it was, but it only serves to confuse him more.

In all his years, he’s never heard of a werewolf able to revert back from full wolf form on the full moon. Even now, this wolf’s not completely back in human form, but it’s clear he’s somewhere in between. Its body’s lined with chaotically messy fur, though it has a clearly humanoid face, and its claws and teeth are more receded than before.

It’s almost more frightening like this, half-formed in a way where Shouto can’t exactly predict its strength.

His miscalculation becomes obvious as he throws a table, only for it to be dodged and thrown to the side easily. Even like this, the wolf’s quicker ands stronger than he expects, and he’s rushing to dive out of the way when it lunges at him once more.

He’s not fast enough, though, and he can feel half-extended claws tear into the side of his arm harshly.  Crouching at the other side of the room, he doesn’t bother to hold or even look at the wound. It’s not like there’s any blood coming out—just hollow slashes of pale skin and white sleeves.

There’s no time to think about that, though, not when the wolf is charging again. Shouto doesn’t try to evade this time, pushing forward and keeping his body low as he slams the back of his fist into its side. He hears rather than sees his bookcase across the room clattering violently when the wolf is thrown directly into it.

Giving himself no time to recuperate, Shouto pounces in once more.

The wolf’s whimpering a little against the bookcase, eyes shut and body limp against the wood as it reels a little from the pain of the throw. He’d been as forceful as he could muster with his limited strength at the moment, but even then, Shouto’s slightly surprised to see the beast so affected by just a single throw. Maybe the chase through the woods tired it out more than expected, or it’s not nearly as powerful as Shouto had assumed.

Either way, he doesn’t question it. Instead, as he nears the wolf, his hand extends out to grab it. He can throw it out the window—tired or not, it won’t die from a fall from this height… probably. If he can at least get some space between them for a moment, he can find his emergency feeding pouches and regain a little more strength before he tries to confront the wolf again.

He’s almost there, his fingers just ready to curl around sandy fur, when red eyes snap open once again.

Suddenly Shouto feels his outstretched hand being snatched by an unrelenting grip. He doesn’t have time to even think of pulling away, when he’s being slammed to the floor. There’s a heavy weight straddling his hips and abdomen while one of his hands is held against the floor, pinning him in place. Using his free hand, he attempts to punch and push off at the wolf above him, but all he gets in response is a furious snarl as red eyes narrowed in on his face when it wouldn’t budge.

Fuck, he got to reckless, he needs to get out—

Shouto clenches his fist immediately when he feels something nuzzling at his neck. A low growl reverberates through both of their bodies, and the unmistakable scrape of sharp canines against his skin has his mind spinning. The action is slow, almost gentle, in a way that certainly doesn’t make it seem like he’s about to get his throat ripped out.

His head is spinning, mind hazy as he’s suddenly assaulted with the wolf’s smell. There’s something painfully overbearing about the scent, pervading all of his senses and locking him in place. It feels like something’s unravelling in him each time he takes a breath in, his sensibilities clouding from a scent that reels from a scent that feels so inexplicably familiar yet painful foreign at the same time.

Shit, that doesn’t matter right now.

He squirms and thrashes violently under the imposing weight on top of him, but that only makes the wolf hold him down tighter. Sharp teeth dig into his neck, deep enough to be a warning but still surprisingly shallow and less violent than he expects. The bite’s not sharp enough to hurt, not with his higher threshold for pain, but it’s enough to make him flinch, kicking a leg up instinctively.

He freezes when his thigh brushes against something firm.

Werewolves lose all sensibility and rationality during the full moon if unaccompanied, he remembers reading. They are reduced to basal instincts found in their animal predecessors, including hunting, fight, and claim-staking.

Basal instincts.

Claim-staking.

“Mine.”

Fuck.

His struggles renew in earnest, as clawed hands release him in favor of tearing at his clothes. It’s no use, though; he’s not up to full strength right now, and a full-moon-driven werewolf is already nearly too ravenous to control. Shit, if he could just feed—

Sharp teeth dig more into his neck, and a terrible idea flashes into Shouto’s mind.

The wolf’s hips rut down on him once more, making clear its bulbous hardness, and Shouto’s mind’s made up. Shooting his hands out as fast as he can, he practically locks the wolf in place with hands on its back as he tilts his head up and parts his lips. He gets a face full of fur, but he ignores it in favor of biting down as hard as he can.

Usually, feeding off non-humans is a pointless venture. Animals or even other supernatural beings just didn’t have the nutrients and vitality in their blood to sustain his needs. But fuck if he has the luxury of choice right now, and if can just get some blood—any blood—to give him a temporary boost, he can deal with unpleasantness of drinking a wolf’s blood.

The wolf actually pulls away when he bites down. Releasing Shouto’s neck, it throws its head back and howls loudly into the silence of the room. It’s all Shouto can do not to flinch at the sound, and instead he focuses on piercing its thick skin as deeply as he can.

Detaching his fangs from the wolf’s neck, he braces himself and dives in with his mouth wide open.

He startles, though, when the first droplets of blood reach his tongue. Shudders wracking through his spine, his brain goes blank as his mouth sucks on the blood mindlessly. No, no, his subconscious was screaming out at him. This doesn’t make any sense— non-human blood is supposed to taste repulsive. Absolutely horrendous, in every way.

So why does this taste so good?

Shouto finds himself shaking for reasons he can’t explain, as he drinks more and more with invigorated hunger. No, it’s not just that it’s good. It’s warm, it’s comforting, it’s so damn familiar that he swears he’s about to start crying. He tastes sunny days, he tastes soft fur, he tastes gentle kisses on the cheek and chirpy words of “I love you, Shouto!”

No, it can’t be, it can’t—

But it is, it has to be.

Despite everything in him screaming at him to drink more, to drain the wolf dry, Shouto pries his face away once he’s had his fill. He lets his head fall back against the stone floor weakly, as he gapes up at the creature trembling above him. They’re both trembling, really, staring each other down in agonizing silence.

He takes in the light blonde hair—hair, now, not fur, as the wolf gains more and more human features as time goes on—that’s an all too familiar chaotic and spiky mess. He takes in the quivering, pointy wolf ears atop its head, the wide red eyes swirling with a flurry of emotion. He takes in the lightly tanned skin, the sharp front teeth even as wolf canines disappeared. He takes in the thin, peachy pink lips wobbling with tremendous sorrow that shone through even past wolf instincts.

Oh, how Shouto wants to kiss the frustration off that twisted face.

“P…puh…puppy.”

The wolf snarls suddenly, and Shouto winces as sharp claws dig into his shoulders. Its—no, not its, his claws and sharp teeth are slowly growing out again, as fur begins spout again from all over his bare body. Those emotional eyes, so close to tears, are warping once more into an unreadable rage, as howls and roars are falling from quivering lips.

The full moon.

He’s losing control.

“Puppy, wait!” Shouto tries again, trying to raise his hands and grunting when the claws only sunk deeper into his shoulders. “Wha—wait, you, you need to sto—wait! Stop—Katsuki!”

He screams the name that hasn’t touched his tongue in years, and he nearly sobs when the wolf freezes above him.

Weak whimpers resound through the room, and Shouto heaves a sigh of relief as sharp claws curl out of his shoulders. The paw-like hands release him completely, balling into fists as the wolf rests his forearms on the stone floors beside Shouto’s head. The position still cages him in, but it brings the wolf’s face, hung low as it is, closer to his own.

Perhaps Shouto should be more cautious, but god, he doesn’t care anymore.

Not when he’s here.

“Katsuki,” he says again, throwing his hands up to wrap around the wolf’s neck when he gets another whine in response. “Katsuki, Katsuki, oh my sweet pup, Katsuki—”

“Sh-Shouto.”

The stammer of his name is low, so quiet and gargled it’s barely comprehensible, but Shouto understands perfectly. He tightens his grip as he pulls Katsuki down for a weak hug, holding back a soft sob of his own when he feels wetness drenching into shirt.

“Y-you need to run,” Katsuki continues.

Shouto tries not to think about how different he sounds. Back then, he was just a small pup, his voice still high and a little squeaky in all the most endearing ways.  Now, though, it’s low and raspy, though part of that might still have been from the full moon’s effects.

“No,” Shouto refuses immediately

“Please,” Katsuki begs. “If, if ya don’t, I’ll fuckin’, oh shit, I don’t wanna hurt you, god, not you, Shouto please—”

“You won’t,” he assures, not even flinching as Katsuki’s hips roll down onto him this time.

“Fuck, you don’t understand, I needta claim y—fuck—gotta make you mine. It's my instincts, I-I can't control it. Fuck, only you, just you, Shouto please—”

Shouto’s not even really sure what Katsuki’s begging for, but he doesn’t care. He’s made up his mind; he’s helping Katsuki if it’s the last thing he does.

Because that’s how it’s always been, hasn’t it? All those years ago, when Shouto found the small wolf pup curled outside his castle on a rainy night just like this, he brought him in and dried him off. When he found out that Katsuki was a werewolf abandoned after his whole pack was hunted and killed, he took him in. When Katsuki grew up in his castle needing education, real food, or even just companionship, Shouto provided for him. Werewolf though he wasn’t, he always helped Katsuki back then, as the pup he’d grown to dote on and love.

None of the love and care he had for Katsuki back then disappeared even after he thought the boy had abandoned him years ago. Even after Katsuki had left, he’d still find himself worrying for his safety, wondering if he was taking care of himself or if he was being targeted by hunters.

And now that he’s back, nothing has changed.

Even now, as Katsuki laid above him, fully an adult and left vulnerable to the urges of the full moon, Shouto knows it’s no different. Katsuki may look different, may look older while Shouto hasn’t appear to have aged a day. Katsuki may have been gone for years, off to develop a personality and live a life Shouto knows nothing about. But that doesn’t matter. Shouto knows that he’ll still go to the ends of the earth for this boy, forever his puppy, and deep down, he knows the feeling is reciprocal.

Without a single shred of hesitation, Shouto reaches his hand up to the pointy wolf ears atop Katsuki’s head. The action’s so familiar, so engrained in his muscle memory, that he doesn’t have to look away from Katsuki’s face to find them. He lets his fingers trace them lightly, before pinching gently at the base of one comfortingly.

The reaction is instant, as a deep, pleased rumble erupts from Katsuki’s chest.

“You won’t hurt me,” Shouto says, his voice just above a whisper as he continues to rub at the spot on Katsuki’s ears. “If this is what you need, then please, do it.”

“But—”

Shouto cranes his neck up, letting their lips brush ever so softly against each other's.

“Take me, Katsuki.”

That’s the final straw, and Shouto doesn’t even yelp as he’s picked up and thrown over Katsuki’s shoulder.

Time passes in a sort of blur. It’s a flurry of growls and fabric tears as he’s thrown to the bed hastily. Shouto can barely think, and it feels as though adrenaline is pumping through his non-existent veins keeping his mind dizzy but body enthusiastic. The post-feeding frenzy, the return of Katsuki, and the warm hands rubbing at his most sensitive places all come together to turn his brain into mush, and he can’t say he hates it.

He’s barely cognizant by the time Katsuki’s inside of him.

He’s on his hand and knees, only barely able to hold himself up on trembling limbs as Katsuki kneels behind him and pounds into his ass with reckless abandon. He’s so large and so rough, it’s almost too much for Shouto, who hasn’t indulged in this sort of intimacy for centuries.

He doesn’t complain though, letting Katsuki fuck into him wildly as nothing but moans tumble from his lips. Katsuki’s leaning over him to pant heavily in his ears, the sound so erotic it feels almost wrong, when he realizes that this is the same person he took care of as a pup. Were he even a little bit more rational, perhaps, Shouto would care, but now, all he can do is keen as Katsuki slams into his prostate relentlessly.

One of the hands gripping at his waist disappear, reaching down to cup at his cock instead. Shouto cries out at the feeling of a calloused hand wrapping around his heavy, hard shaft tightly and pumping. When had he gotten hard? Was it after the feeding, or just from the feeling of Katsuki on and in him? He’s not sure, but he doesn’t care as he bucks his hips desperately into the hand on him and the cock inside of him.

“M-more, more, please,” he whines, biting into the shredded pillow in front of him when Katsuki nipped at his ears.

“Gonna make you mine,” Katsuki growls, his voice even less understandable than before, but Shouto moans regardless. “Mine, all mine, never gonna let you go—ah, hah, Shouto—gonna take you like I shoulda all those years back, fuck—”

“Ka-Katsuki, need, I need—god, I’m so close—”

“Fuck, me too, Shou, me too.”

Katsuki’s pounding into him more erratically now, his rhythm thrown off as each thrust is deeper and stronger than the last. It has Shouto gasping and sobbing as he rolls his hips back into Katsuki’s pleadingly. He’s so close, his climax approaching faster and faster as Katsuki litters deep bites and kisses across his neck.

“Cu-cumming, Katsuki, I’m cu—ah!”

It’s all he can blabber out before he’s toppling over, his orgasm hitting him like a ton of bricks. He screams as he cums, spilling messily onto Katsuki’s still-jerking hand until there’s not a drop left to him. Katsuki doesn’t stop moving through, and Shouto can only whimper as he continues to slam sharply onto his swollen prostate.

“You belong to me,” Katsuki snarls once more, latching on for one more bite when finally, he’s cumming.

He releases as deep within Shouto as he can manage, their hips practically melded together as his hot cum fills him up in large spurts. Shouto trembles as he takes it, his hands giving up beneath him as his head and upper body fall to the bed. He’s sure that his legs would be doing the same, were it not for Katsuki’s firm grip on his hip holding him up as he pumps him with cum.

Shouto wills himself to calm down, taking deep breaths to steady himself. He doesn’t need the air, but it’s useful to clear some of the haze clouding his mind post-orgasm. He lets Katsuki hold him close, their bodies warm and slick as familiar scents mingle together comfortingly.

He’s pulled out of post-coital bliss, however, at the sudden movement in his ass.

No, not moving, growth. He doesn’t realize at first, thinking that it’s just Katsuki’s cock twitching or something in its last throes of orgasm. But soon enough, he starts to feel uncomfortably stretched, more than he had been before, and he stills entirely. The stretch doesn’t stop though, and he feels the bulbous head of Katsuki’s cock press even more firmly against oversensitized prostrate even as the wolf doesn’t move an inch.

There’s no doubt about it: Katsuki is expanding inside of him.

“Wha—” he chokes, instinctively trying to crawl away and whining when Katsuki growls and holds him in place by the hips. “What is that?”

“My knot,” Katsuki says lowly. His voice is less rabid, more coherent now, but Shouto can barely pay attention to that as the swelling inside him continues. “God damn it, hold still.”

“Eas…hah, easy for you to say,” Shouto snaps, trying to relax as best he could. “What on earth—”

“I told you, it’s my knot. It’s supposed to plug my cum up in you ‘til you’re fat with my pups.”

“O-Oh.”

He’s never heard of that before, though to be fair, his knowledge on werewolves isn’t immense. He knows more than the average person, both because there had been more of them around when he was younger, and because of his past with Katsuki. But even then, he knows there’s a lot of things he doesn’t know including, apparently, this knot thing.

He takes another deep breath, when he suddenly processed the meaning of Katsuki’s words.

“Wait, are you breeding me?”

“God, calm fucking down,” Katsuki hisses as Shouto shrieks and tenses up. “You’re gonna break my dick.”

Katsuki nuzzles further into Shouto’s neck, licking and sucking along the pale column gently as he rubs circles into his hips. Despite himself, Shouto quickly finds that the familiar presence and scent is just enough to make him ease up a little bit. His walls loosen up a tad bit more around the expanding cock around him, while the tension in his shoulders melts away a little.

“It won’t actually work, dumbass. Ya ain’t the right species for that. It’s just… instincts, making me wanna claim you as mine. It’ll go down after a while.”

“Ah.” Shouto bites his lip, before craning and turning his head back as much as he could to make eye contact with Katsuki. “Does it help? With, y’know…”

“With taking the edge off? Fuck yeah.” Shouto tries not to yelp when Katsuki rolls his hips a little. “Clears up that full moon fog and shit, now that I got you under me trapped on my dick.”

“Oh. That’s…good.”

Silence falls over them like a blanket, but Shouto can’t find any comfort in it. He has so many questions, so much to say, and at the same time, he can’t entirely adjust to the ballooning cock throbbing inside him. Vaguely, he can feet wetness splashing in him in pulses in time with each thrum of Katsuki’s knot, and he knows that if he still had his own blood circling within him, his cheeks would be hot and red with an embarrassed flush.

Unable to stop himself, he starts to squirm a little. Not too much, just in vain attempts to get even a little bit more comfortable, but Katsuki notices anyway. Sighing, he gathers Shouto in his arms and, in one smooth movement, pulls them down to lie on their sides. It’s a little more comfortable like this, letting them relax on the soft sheets instead of straining on their hands and knees, and Shouto allows himself to melt into the bed beneath them.

He hums softly, even pleased, when Katsuki returns to nuzzling into his neck, and he’s only barely able to pay attention when he starts talking.

“Mine,” Katsuki murmurs into his nape, taking deep inhales. “God, never thought I’d be able to do this. Wanted this for so long, to have you stuck and crying on my dick, make you belong to me and just me. Fuck, you’re so damn pretty, I missed you so fucking much, Shouto. So fucking much.”

Shouto listens quietly, something in his chest swelling, and he knows he’s just seconds away from breaking down with all the emotions flooding through his system. He wants to respond, wants to say just how much he missed Katsuki as well, but the words aren’t coming to him. Instead, he just coughs awkwardly and hums.

“Hm. You were cuter when you were younger, y’know. You’re so crass now.”

“Hah?!”

Katsuki shoots up, clearly about to shout, but Shouto winces as it tugs roughly at where they’re still connected.

“Don’t move,” he snaps through grit teeth.

To his credit, Katsuki immediately wilts, falling back onto the bed and wrapping his arms around Shouto again in silent apology. They sit there quietly for another moment, and Shouto uses the time to think. He tries to rearrange his thoughts before he speaks again.

“I missed you too,” he starts softly.

Katsuki’s arms tighten around him, and it’s all the reassurance he needs to keep talking.

“I didn’t understand why you left. I thought…I thought you liked it here, but then you disappeared that night, and I, I wasn’t sure what I did—”

“It wasn’t you,” Katsuki interrupts, his gruff voice a stark contrast to his gentle hands. “I… When I was reaching maturity, I started getting these urges I couldn’t control.”

“Urges?”

“Violent ones.” Katsuki’s voice is so low now, almost quivering. “Of me holding you down and taking you ‘til you bled blood you don’t have. Biting you to mark you as mine, even if you don’t have scent glands. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I knew it was getting worse the closer it got to the full moon. I didn’t want to hurt you, so… I left.”

Shouto listens carefully, gently resting his hand atop Katsuki’s on his stomach.

“Where did you go?” he asks finally.

“Away. As far as I could get, really. I tried to find others like me, other werewolves who could tell me what was wrong with me. I ended up stumbling across a few packs and rogue wolves, who helped me, taught me more about myself. It made things easier, made me feel more normal.”

Something unsettling churls up in Shouto’s chest.

“I’m sorry,” he blurts out, and Katsuki’s hand freezes. “I should’ve researched more, learned more about werewolves for you, so I could help—”

“There was nothing you could do,” Katsuki snarls, before continuing more softly. “There are some things you can only learn from your pack. Since I didn’t have one…there wasn’t anything you could learn to help. Meeting others like me helped, though. They taught me about our kind, my impulses, and how to control them. Well…not like I did a great job of controlling them today.”

Despite himself, Shouto laughs, and he’s grateful when he feels Katsuki smile as well.

“I didn’t want to come to you like this. I…I really did want to come back properly, tell you what happened, all of that. Planned a journey and everything, even if I wasn’t sure you were still here. But I fucked up. I underestimated how long it’d take me to get here, and pushed it too close to the full moon. My urges were already acting up, and the second I reached the forest outskirts and smelled you…I lost it.”

Shouto frowns and squeezes Katsuki’s hand in his.

“Fuck, I didn’t want to—I mean, I did, but not like this, not fucking tearing into you like an animal, god I was so—”

“Katsuki,” Shouto interrupts, “stop that.”

“I hurt you, I told myself I wouldn’t but I did—” Shouto scoffs.

“You’re gonna need to do a lot more than that to hurt me, puppy,” he says, the familiar nickname rolling of his tongue easily with a smile.

“But, still, I’m sor—”

“If you try to apologize, I’m draining all your blood,” Shouto warns.

It’s an empty threat—he doesn’t think he could ever make himself even try to kill Katsuki. Still, it makes him shut up, which Shouto’s grateful for.

“Seriously, there’s nothing for you to be sorry about. I’m… if it’s you, there’s no way I’d ever say no.”

Katsuki doesn’t say anything, but just rolls into him further. His cock’s finally stopped growing, thank the heavens, but he’s still unimaginably large inside Shouto. There’s no doubt that he won’t be able to pull away for a while, so Shouto just settles in to rest. It’s probably nearing sunrise anyway, judging by the exhaustion slowly starting to wear into his bones.

“We’ll talk about this in the evening,” he says, words slurring together a little bit as he reaches behind him to pat vaguely in the direction of Katsuki’s face. He feels the bump of his nose and a little bit of his cheek, so his aim’s not too bad. “Sleep now.”

Despite the tension still lingering in the air, Katsuki snorts and pulls Shouto’s hand away from his face. Their fingers intertwine together so naturally, resting in front of them comfortably. Shouto listens to the steady pounding of Katsuki’s heart.

“Hey… did my blood taste good?”

If Shouto had any more energy, he might have laughed at the sudden question. Now, though, zapped to the core with exhaustion and melting into the comfort that is Katsuki’s warm presence, he’s just humming happily.

“Delicious,” he says as his eyes flutter shut and his lips curl into a smile. “Best I’ve ever had.”

He half expects Katsuki to make some sort of snarky retort to that, but instead he just squeezes their hands together tighter and chuckles.

“That’s…that’s good. Great, I mean. That’s…I’m glad.”

Shouto supposes he should pry a little more, figure out what that’s about, but he’s practically goo in Katsuki’s arms right now, his body heavy and mind hazy, so he just purrs lowly.

“I missed you tons… Love you, puppy,” he manages to get out, voice just above a whisper, but it makes Katsuki’s breath hitch anyway.

“Y-yeah.” Katsuki swallows loudly. “I did too…and I…I love you too, Shouto.”

Katsuki’s words echoing gently in his head, Shouto falls asleep with a smile.

And for the first time in years, he’s not so lonely.