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Claws of Winter

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Dean’s back was numb…after so many lashes, his body would just absorb the brutal hits, and after some time, he couldn’t even feel the blood sliding down between the crisscross of the new and scarred over lashes. He landed in a heap onto a pile of hay that served as his bed as the two Alphas dumped him and closed the poor excuse of a wooden door behind them. Even those two lackeys had stopped enjoying the pain they inflicted on him. It had been months since Dean had been in this hell hole. The Head Omega of this pack was an evil and ruthless bitch.

Dean sat up and rubbed at his face. He was exhausted after working the labors of chopping the wood and logging them to every pack cart for the many members to be able to have the pleasure of firewood in their homes for the coming winter. He gritted his teeth in annoyance. Packs were led by Head Omegas, always. As bearers of life, they were to be cherished and loved, respected as the ‘mothers’ of the packs, nurturing and yet powerful in ways Alphas and Betas could never attain to. While Alphas had superior physical strengths, it meant nothing when it came to being confronted by an Omega. They could manipulate with a mere charge of their scent. Their pheromones alone could render rooms full of Alphas into docile puppies. Of course, good and pure Head Omegas that led their packs with a clear head would use such gifts to help, not hinder or control.

Dean’s pack, once so long ago, before it had been destroyed in the blink of an eye in the middle of the night…with his pack, their Head Omega had been a loving and just female named Missouri. She had been a no nonsense and extremely protective and loving leader. She had been friends with his mother Mary, and had his father John on her counsel as one of the Alpha hunters.

Dean closed his eyes and clenched his jaw. There was a storm brewing outside. The winds blew cool and strong, the electric scent of thunder and lightning coming close. It was so much like that horrible night Dean had lost everyone, and he knew it was why he was thinking of them now. He had been only twenty and for some unknown reason, Dean had survived the massacre that had happened. Evil had come in the middle of the night, had slaughtered every single member of the small pack, and had left no one alive. When Dean woke amidst the broken bodies of his parents and his baby brother, it had taken him days to be able to function, to stop the tears and the cursed confusion as to who and why had killed so many innocents, pups, and elders in the mist of mamas and fathers. Blood had painted their compound, and Dean had never felt so helpless and confused in his life. Why had he survived? He had a gash on his side and a superficial cut to his throat with a concussion, but he had lived. For days he had gone through the grueling task of burying every wolf in his pack. He had retched with every pup’s mutilated body he had found as tears burned his eyes. He had fallen asleep for what had felt like weeks atop his parents and brother’s graves. The whole center of their modest compound had been turned into a graveyard.

The will to live had been vacant after he had finished his task, and yet, he could hear his Head Omega’s voice in his head, telling him ‘If the Goddess Asena kept you alive, it means you still had a purpose’. With those thoughts echoing in his mind, Dean had eventually hunted, despite his weakened state, to start eating and healing his body. Eventually, when his wounds had healed and his strength had returned, he said his goodbyes, taking with him his father’s satchel, his mother’s necklace, and a lock of his brother’s hair with him as he ventured out to find his purpose after such horrific events. No matter how he viewed the past, his survival guilt would plague him in his dreams at night, guilt at not being able to save his family; save his pack.

For years, Dean wandered as a rogue wolf. He had no pack, and he was alone and considered dangerous, because a wolf without a Head Omega to soothe and nurture it would leave them to the wilds of the rage in the Alpha. Yet Dean had never felt the rage or wrath to hurt anyone inside of him. He felt lost and broken, but kept on with Missouri’s words still so clear in his head after a decade. Dean would pass between pack territories, being careful not to trespass or upset any of the packs. Some packs had let him pass right through their lands, some hosted him for a night, fed him, and offered a bed for the night. Some asked him if he would like to stay, yet none had felt right to him. So he had continued on in his travels.

Then a few months ago, he had wandered near this pack. The stench of the marked territories had made him steer clear, and he had made sure to trek away from the pack. He had found a cozy cove in the depths of the forest and had hunkered down for the night, only to be jolted awake as six Alphas grabbed him and took him to this hell hole of a pack, run by a deranged Head Omega named Abaddon. Dean had passed through and around other more ‘savage’ packs, yet even those Omega Leaders had been sensible and weren’t out just to take and destroy. Abaddon, on the other hand, well, Dean quickly found out how vile she was. She enjoyed having Alphas fight for the ‘honor’ of bedding her. She enjoyed having Alphas fight for the simple chance to breathe another day. And she most definitely enjoyed having multiple Alphas beat down a new arrival until he or she submitted to Abaddon’s rule.

Dean’s first twenty four hours had been a painful one. Yet he had managed to impress her somehow, and he still to this day wasn’t sure that was a good thing. When the same six Alphas that had grabbed him in the middle of the night, then attacked him per her desires for Dean to ‘stay’ as one of hers came back, he had managed to kill two of them and severely injured three of the others before the last one had used a club to hit him over the head.

Of course, Dean being the Alpha he was, he had attempted to escape, many times over, and no matter how many beatings or death fights the Head Omega Abaddon made him go through, Dean was nothing if not a stubborn bastard. The fact that he was a rogue wolf did help in making others wary of him, and unless Abaddon ordered it, they would more or less leave him alone. Then one day, while he had been cleaning the pig pen, he was taken to be whipped again and in his next breath, Abaddon had secured a silver cuff around his neck and his wrists. They had been magically infused, etched with sigils that would make the cuffs impossible for Dean to break even with his brute strength. Abaddon had quickly and quite lividly figured out that her scent had no effect on Dean besides making him want to wrinkle his nose in disgust. She smelled evil, and he couldn’t take it. He had no idea how else to describe the stench. So the collar and the cuffs would make him submit…somewhat.


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Winter was coming. The cool air of the rainstorm that was rolling in made Dean wish he was anywhere else but here. He had become so accustomed to the random beatings and his back being a mixture of stinging and numbing pain, that he didn’t bother to move when he heard the wooden door being pushed open, followed by the silent small steps of the person coming to mend his marred back. The young male Omega knelt behind Dean and started to clean the wounds. Dean closed his eyes and clenched his jaw.

“Thank you, Alfie,” Dean whispered between them. The young boy had never said a word. Dean had only learned his name from other Alphas around the wooden cells. Alfie was the one that tended to all the wounded. From his nose alone, Dean could tell the boy was solemn, yet he was clean and clearly well fed. He had no idea what else Alfie did, nor what his role was in the pack beyond cleaning wounds, but he never sported any marks or bruises and Dean had to hope the young boy was okay.

Whatever salve Alfie placed on his wounds, it always took the pain away, and Dean was grateful. When new wounds would reopen old ones, the probability of infection was a fear he had, but Alfie’s concoctions seemed to be made just for that, to prevent, soothe and heal. It left a warmth coursing through Dean’s body, and it always made it easier for him to sleep after.

As Dean laid down to start to go to sleep as Alfie continued tending to his band, the Alpha moved his hand, expecting the telltale pull of the chain to restrain him, and he frowned when it never pulled back. He lifted himself up and looked over at the chain attached to his left cuff only to find it loose. The Alphas that had brought him back into his cell after the whipping had either not bothered or forgot to clasp it to the bolt in the stone floor.

Both he and the young boy looked at each other, and then back at the loose chain. Dean sat up quickly, and Alfie backed away from him all within one smooth motion. If Dean was going to run and have any chance at all, it would be now. He was loose, and there was about to be a hell of a rain storm soon enough that could help mask his scent through the forest. His only irritation was the damn cuffs. He couldn’t shift with them on. With any other cuffs, his shifting would break them instantly, but these had been purposely made to keep him from doing just that. He’d probably die if he tried. The cuffs would choke him to death. Still, he had to take his chance. He looked over at Alfie, who was silently watching him with wide eyes.

“Which way is the north, kid?” Dean growled out in a whisper. His heart had already started to race as adrenaline started to pump inside of him in anticipation of running away from this damned place.

Alfie pointed in the direction, and then he was standing. Silently, the boy made his way to the wooden cell door and pushed it open. He stood there looking every which way before he looked back into the cell at Dean and tilted his head to follow. The Alpha frowned, but he was going to take his chances. Alfie had no reason to help him and for all he knew, there were guards right there just waiting for him to make a move. Carefully, Dean inched forward, his bare feet cold on the stone ground as he peeked outside of the door.

There wasn’t a single soul.

Alfie pointed down a hall and then made a gesture to Dean, which he took to mean he had to make a right and then he would be home free. Too worried to make any noise, Dean nodded to the boy his thanks, wrapped the chain around his arm as quickly as he could manage and took off. He followed Alfie’s instructions, and once he was in the forest, he ran as fast as he could and never looked back.

 

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Dean had no idea how long and how far he had been running. He couldn’t feel his feet, his legs felt like lead, and he could still feel his pants clinging to him, soaked from rain and sweat. His lungs burned from exhaustion, and his whole body was on the verge of collapsing as he continued to push himself, stumbling through the forest. His vision blurred. He was starved and parched, but he hadn't dared stop, had pushed and pushed and pushed needing to get away. Freedom or death were his only options in regards to Abaddon.

‘If the Goddess Asena kept you alive, it means you still had a purpose.’

It had been a decade, and still, he couldn’t understand those words. They rang throughout his skull as his vision blurred, and he stumbled towards a clearing. He could just make out patches of green grass amid the snow covered grounds, and as he fell to his knees and collapsed forward, he begged for the Goddess Asena to simply take him. He had no meaning. He was a lone, rogue wolf with no one and nothing. How could he be meant for anything else but animal food? It wasn’t long before his eyes slid shut, and just before the darkness came to claim him, he heard wolves howl.

 

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Dean jolted awake.

“Shh, you’re safe,” a soft voice assured him, as gentle hands ushered him to lay back into the comfortable plush pillows.

Pillows.

The Alpha kept his eyes closed tight as his heart calmed. The careful hand on his left shoulder and chest felt soothing when he would have expected them to be constricting. The fact that he felt pillows and a downy mattress beneath him, if it wasn’t from the physical pain and the restraining cuffs still around his wrists and his throat, he would have thought the Goddess had finally come for him.

In his haze, as he slowly came to consciousness, he could hear hushed whispers in the room. From the scents, one was an Alpha, and the other an Omega.

“W-where am I?” Dean managed. His voice was gruff and deep. Exhaustion had sunk into his bones, yet he felt warm and oddly at ease, which only alarmed him all the more. There was a most pleasant scent in the air, and he couldn’t stop himself from seeking it out. Petrichor and aspen…fresh and crisp, and it made Dean’s body hum in glee as he took in the incredible scent. He managed to open his eyes, and at first, the sight that greeted him was of a structural pointed tent. It was rich in color, and was made of thick animal hide. It made him frown.

“You are in the Qocho Mountains, in Blue Moon Pack territories. I promise you are safe.” Dean turned his head carefully towards the voice. His head ached, but he managed to gaze into two wondrous and breathtaking cerulean blue eyes. They seemed to glow in the dim light of the tent. They reminded Dean of a dark evening sky, lit brightly by millions of stars.

Blue eyes’ face slowly came into focus, and Dean swallowed at the beauty before him. He had never seen such a beautiful Omega. Dark hair, soft unblemished skin, plushed pink chapped lips that smiled at him, and a sharp straight nose, not to mention those incredible blue eyes crowned in dark lashes…Dean couldn’t breathe for a moment. His heart raced, and his wolf stirred and whined and…what the hell was happening? His body tingled, and it was frightening and yet incredibly exciting…what could this even mean?

“I’m Castiel. We found you, and have been tending to you. You’ve been healing quite well, and now, since you are awake, you’ll be able to eat to gain your strength back,” the Omega that smelled like heaven informed him, and all Dean could do was nod numbly. “I will have Benny, our blacksmith, come look at those shackles to remove them,” Castiel added.

“They have been magically etched,” Dean supplied, as his throat reminded him he was parched. Castiel seemed to have read his mind, and leaned forward with a cup of water. Dean drank greedily and nodded his thank you after, which gained him a smile in return. “Yes, I saw the sigils. Rowena, our shamaness, will be by with Benny to assess them. We will get those off.”

“Thank you.” Dean smiled despite himself as movement at the far end of the tent caught his eye, and he chastised himself for not having paid attention, too lost in the swirl of comfort this Omega ‘Castiel’ radiated that he had forgotten about the Alpha scent from earlier.

“This is Michael. He has been helping to take care of you,” Castiel introduced. The man, Michael, nodded his hello, yet kept a guarded distance and kept looking towards the Omega. Castiel turned back to look at the standing Alpha, his head tilted ever so slightly towards the flat of a door. Michael’s jaw clenched, and he hesitated as his pale grey eyes flickered back to Dean’s before returning to Castiel. A breath later, he moved and exited the tent. It was then that Dean noticed just how large the tent was. This was a permanent fixture, a year long habitat, and as he watched Michael leave, he saw there was a double function to the flap. There was a sheer one that covered the second that led to the other side, and Dean saw white. There was snow outside, and yet the room was warm and comfortable. He then noticed there was a stone hearth at the other side of the room.

When Dean’s eyes returned to focus upon Castiel, he found the Omega gazing at him with fondness and curiosity. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to stare,” Castiel voiced as he blushed and looked away. The Alpha found himself smirking. The Omega blushing was completely endearing. “I, um, I know you must have been through quite an ordeal. Your scars…some fresh…the cuffs. You don’t have to speak of them if you don’t wish to. Just know you can tell me anything. May I just ask if you are indeed a rogue? Your wolf doesn’t seem to be in rage.”

Dean licked his lips. “I am a rogue, but I am not in rage. I haven’t succumbed to that yet.”

“Good, and well, now that we have found each other, you will never have to worry about it happening,” Castiel stated with a soft smile. However, when Dean frowned, clearly confused by his statement, the Omega rushed to explain. “I’m not sure if you have healed enough to feel it…we are true mates. You are my intended.”

As the word ‘mate’ slipped passed those flush pink lips, a resounding hum, excited and howling, came from within Dean. His wolf was overjoyed, and damn well dancing as it confirmed all of those happy feelings and sensations since he had woken up.

‘If the Goddess Asena kept you alive, it means you still had a purpose.’

Missouri’s words whispered in his mind and this...this must have been what it all meant. He had to end up here…to meet Castiel and find his true mate? Could he truly be this lucky? After everything that had happened…his pack, his family…

Castiel carefully took his left hand in his two. “I won’t pretend to know what your past holds, but I can promise you that you will never been alone again.”

Dean swallowed. “I, um, won’t your Head Omega need to approve of our union?” He desperately wanted to believe this was it, that this Omega, so welcoming and who smelled like home was his destiny and purpose, no matter how much he feared he didn’t deserve it.

“Oh! Um, well, I completely approve.” Castiel giggled and smiled at him as another blush caressed his cheeks. “I am the Head Omega of the Blue Moon pack.”

Dean’s eyes widened as the shock hit him, and he couldn’t find the right words. This beautiful and gentle Omega was the Head Omega…and his true mate. He was in awe.

“Now, may I know my Alpha’s name?” Castiel added. A mischievous glint in the depth of those blue eyes made Dean feel at ease, and elated that his Omega was of a beautiful nature.

“Dean, last wolf of the Hunter Creek pack,” he added quietly. Missing his family always made his heart ache painfully. He was sure they would have liked Castiel. Dean saw the flicker of recognition in Castiel’s eyes that radiated sorrow and empathy. What had happened to Dean’s pack had been widely known, and yet no one had claimed the destruction, and no one had ever voiced thoughts as to who and why.

“Hello, Dean. Welcome to the Blue Moon pack.”

 

END