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All the Little Lights

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“We're born with millions
Of little lights shining in the dark
And they show us the way
One lights up, every time you feel love in your heart.”

 

The sound was deafening in the stillness of nightfall, a hundred pairs of strong paws hitting the ground in tandem. It felt like they were creating their own earthquake, dirt rising into the air as they spread out over the city, hunting down a common enemy.

The moonlight came through in silver patches, illuminating sleek fur of different colours, strength coiled in the canine lines of their bodies.

Chanyeol looked to his side, Junmyeon in all his ivory furred glory was racing ahead, toned limbs eating the ground up in seconds as they made their way to the city center. On his other side, Jongdae, a russet wolf, was focused, leaping forward without looking around like Chanyeol was.

He couldn’t help it though, it was moments like these that he had craved his entire life. The brotherhood the pack offered him was comforting, but this, hunting together as one, it gave him a heady feeling of belonging. He knew he looked intimidating, he was large, even for a wolf, limbs rippling with muscle. His coat was pure onyx, absorbing all the light around him. Only his eyes shone amber in the darkness.

He looked elite, purebred. People kept their distance from him, not knowing he was the runt of his litter, abandoned by his mother days after he was born. The hottest fires forge the strongest steel, and so they did with Park Chanyeol. Through adversity, he rose, independent, brave, fearless to a fault.

Which is why he was running at the front, alongside the leader of the pack and as his second-in-command, even though he had joined the pack only a few months ago.

They stopped at the edge of the city, where concrete met wilderness. The siren was blaring louder now, ringing through Chanyeol’s perked ears. He had heard about the alarm only in folklore, when he overheard mothers trying to scare their children, or from an old shopkeeper who was tired of keeping his stories to himself.

It only sounded in the most dire of situations, a war call announcing the violation of the strictest rule of the supernatural: never harm an innocent human being. Attacking them was punishable by lifetime imprisonment, murdering them was so unthinkable that punishments were given only on a case by case dictum.

But on a foggy Wednesday night, the wolves had gotten news of something hideously macabre. A group of rogue vampires, almost twenty in number, were terrorising the city they all called home. Vampire attacks were common, many refusing to abide by the new Covenant to only consume animal blood or the blood of a willing, consenting, donor. The attacks tended to be minor, the victims usually left a little tired, a bit lost.

This, however, was not an isolated attack. This was a planned ambush, turning the city into a demonic purge. The rogue vampires had apparently unleashed havoc, raiding houses and draining humans until there was no blood left, killing children in front of their parents for the amusement of it.

Werewolves were upholders of the law in their hierarchy. None of the other factions contested it, and so the Lycaon had the final say on good and evil. Everything from petty theft to murders within the world of monsters and magic was under their control, and they wielded their power unscathingly, making sure the Covenant was unbroken, and peace was maintained.

It was why they were the only species who could hear the sirens in the first place, and why they alone had to face whatever it signalled.

Chanyeol was pulled out of his mulling when Junmyeon transformed back into his human form, not completely but just enough for him to be able to talk. His ears and tail were still wolf, lower limbs ending in paws.

“Alright, we’re going to spread out according to the divisions I already made. Any vampire you see gets arrested, no questions asked. We’ll detain them at Headquarters and interrogate them one by one.”

Chanyeol listened carefully. He wanted to make Junmyeon proud, show his appreciation for being allowed on this mission.

“We will meet at the city plaza in three hours with our captures. The first step is to round up the vampires, since we can’t be sure who are the rogue twenty and who are the ones who’ve decided to join for shits and giggles. Back up teams are on their way for first aid and relocation.”

“So we leave whichever human we find to just lie there, bleeding? And what if we finish rounding up the blood suckers before the three hours?”

Chanyeol whipped his head back at the slightly nasal and very insolent voice, not surprised at all that it was Park Hyungsik who had asked the question and even used a derogatory slur.

“Things will only get muddled if we try to do everything at once. There is a faction for human aid and we will not interfere with them. Is that clear?” Junmyeon asked pointedly.

Hyungsik scoffed, loud enough for everyone gathered to hear.

Junmyeon ignored it completely, looking over at each face in their group one by one. “If you finish before the three hours, you wait at the Plaza for the rest of us. We will lose no man in this mission, and I don’t want to see any of you trying to be a hero and getting yourselves hurt.”

If Chanyeol was in his human form he would have definitely turned bright red at how Junmyeon’s eyes lingered solely on him for the last part of his command.

“This is something most of you have never faced before, exercise caution and get the job done quickly. In and out. Is that understood?”

The wolves howled their assent, the sound breaking the eerie silence of the city. Junmyeon nodded once before switching back to his wolf form, white fur dazzling in the darkness.

They spread out as they made their way into the city, soundless. They were the apex predators in the small city and the forest that bordered it, ruthless when they had to be. This mission was almost a gift to them: a night where they didn’t have to tamp down their lycan instincts, but instead hunt like they were born to do.

Chanyeol’s footsteps were measured, sensitive ears perked for any sound. He could hear sirens blaring within different parts of the city, whining car alarms and the faint sound of cries completing the terrifying sonata.

The stench of death was heavy in the air, taste metallic when it hit his open mouth. He slunk across the shadows, flanked by Joohyun and Taemin on either side. Chanyeol didn’t like how silent it was, foreboding weighing heavy on his heart.

They made a blind turn only to realize it was a dead end. Chanyeol turned first and was about to go back when he heard a gunshot and a pained howl. He jerked to the side and saw a rail thin vampire holding an antique gun, cackling maniacally as blood dribbled down his chin.

The laugh sounded only for a minute before the vampire was tackled to the ground by Taemin. Chanyeol knew he would be able to take care of himself, so he ran over to Joohyun, nudging her prone body with his nose.

Her coat was a mix of greys, Chanyeol had to squint to see the blood on the lightest parts. There was enough to cause alarm to shoot down his spine. As he stood over her, her wolf body twitched twice before transforming back to her human form. She lay listlessly on the floor, breathing labored.

The blood was startling against her pale skin. The silver bullet had passed through her side, gashing a wound open. Chanyeol quickly took stock of the situation, there was quite a bit of blood loss, but not enough for the bullet to have hit a major vessel.

He spotted the bloodied bullet on the ground next to Joohyun, he had finally relaxed a little when he heard a low growl.

Taemin had wrestled the vampire to the ground, tying his hands back with a pair of handcuffs made of blessed iron. It seemed as if the scent of Joohyun’s blood had reached the vampire, for he was now thrashing on the floor, screaming every time his skin touched the metal.

Chanyeol morphed back and walked over to Taemin, controlling the urge to kick the shaking vampire, disgust rising in his throat like bile.

“Taemin hyung, Joohyun is injured. Take the monster with you and go to the plaza. I’m sure help will be there.”

“But what about you? It’s a pretty big area for you to cover alone,” Taemin protested.

“It’s fine, I don’t smell any traces of them here, I should be fine.”

And it was true, his powerful nose had just picked up the scent of the ambusher, nothing as strong as a large group of vampires. He was confident that he’d be able to handle this on his own.

He helped chain the vampire to Taemin, lifting Joohyun up and depositing her into his waiting arms. He looked at her beautiful face, sweat was glistening along her hairline. For all her usual ferocity, she looked years younger and terribly weak in Taemin's arms.

He began walking back towards the main road after seeing them off, speeding into a dead sprint before turning back into wolf form in mid air. He hit the road on all fours, growl rumbling in his chest as fury overtook him.

He stalked through the city with organized skill, making sure no space was left unsurveyed. As he had thought, the area was devoid of both humans and monsters. Chanyeol came to the last street under his care and heaved an involuntary sigh of relief at seeing it just as empty as the others.

He walked the length of it, not nearly as focused as he needed to be, Joohyun’s pale face constantly distracting him. He was about to turn back towards the plaza when he heard it.

A muffled whimper, scarily human and childlike. He could hear another voice trying to shush the insistent crying, and failing to do so. It was coming from the last alley that he had given up on searching. Chanyeol made his way back to it, and just as he reached the opening a figure flew past him, screeching.

Chanyeol barely got a look at the vampire's blood stained face as he sprinted past him. Chanyeol froze, knowing with a deep conviction that he needed to see what was in that alley. But he couldn’t let a rogue vampire go either, especially one that was in his area.

He was just about to run after the vampire when a russet wolf leapt over an abandoned trash can and almost covered the distance to the vampire. Chanyeol remembered that Jongdae was incharge of the area next to his.

Once he saw that the other wolf had the vampire crowded a few streets down, Chanyeol silently crept back to the alleyway. The whimpers were much louder now, and his wolf ears picked up on the desperation in the other voice trying to stop whoever it was from crying.

He stepped into the alleyway, paws soundless on the dirty concrete, and looked with dread at the scene before him. It was a vampire, that much was obvious from the pale, unblemished skin and otherworldly beauty. He was hunched over a small child, who was crying around the pacifier the vampire held to its mouth.

Chanyeol felt disgust roiling in his gut. How could these monsters feed on innocent children? He growled low in his throat, trying to warn the vampire.

He turned towards Chanyeol slowly, as if unaware of his presence, still low to the ground. Chanyeol wondered if this was part of the act, you could never take a vampire by surprise. Another thing that didn’t sit right with him was the lack of blood on the vampire. All the others he'd seen so far had been drenched in red, faces made up in a ghastly crimson.

This vampire didn’t have a smidgeon of blood anywhere on him. His clothes looked expensive, a well tailored suit which remained spotless even as he crouched in a dirty alley, surrounded by garbage and rot. His skin was ageless, pale under the waxing moon.

Chanyeol stalked forward till he was a mere foot from the strange pair. He watched, entire body on alert as the vampire stood up from his crouch. He had no doubt about the species, the moon made his skin nearly opalescent, his silver hair shone even in the dingy alleyway.

And more incriminating, Chanyeol could smell him. Blood, sharp and metallic, flooded his nostrils, along with the faint scent of bergamot and sage, a disconcerting sweetness underneath it.

Chanyeol morphed back to his human form, glad the child was facing away from him. He would have been faster and stronger in his wolf form, but it looked like he would need to talk his way out of this situation.

“Vampire, step away from the child. You are under arrest for breaking the Covenant, you have to come with me,” he ordered.

The vampire didn't speak, it was impossible but he seemed to get paler as Chanyeol's words sunk in.

"P-please..."

"If you don't struggle, this will be easier for both of us."

"You don't understand," the vampire's voice was rusty from disuse.

Chanyeol was about to tell the vampire to stop wasting his breath when the child's whimper interrupted him.

Chanyeol instantly turned tracks, stepping forward to take the child away from the monster still standing over him. He came to a startled stop when the child stood up on stubby legs and wrapped equally stubby arms around the vampire's leg.

What fresh hell was this?

The vampire leaned down to whisper into the child's ear, Chanyeol heard the happy gurgle in response loud and clear. He snapped out of his shock to crouch down and hold his arms out to the child.

"Here baby, come here baby," Chanyeol tried, pitching his voice as high as it would go.

The baby in question just gave him a strange look before burying his small face into the vampire's leg. Chanyeol heard a snort from above him and looked up to see the vampire smirking down at him.

"He is a child, not a dog. You can't just call him to you like that. Imagine how easy kidnappers would have it."

Chanyeol shot back up to his feet with a low snarl. "Is this that mind control thing your people do? The child is an innocent-"

"I would never do such a thing to a child. He knows me, please let me explain," the vampire interrupted with vehemence in his voice.

"You can explain to my pack leader. Hold your hands out so I can cuff you," Chanyeol said, pulling his cuffs out of his torn pants. He felt his pulse quicken when he saw the vampire's eyes trail down to his waistband.

Chanyeol knew it was too low to be considered appropriate, but he had to wear loose pants which would survive his transformations. Ignoring the heat sizzling in his stomach, he went to cuff the vampire.

The child's wail pierced through the quiet the second Chanyeol stepped too close. The vampire bent down to scoop the child into his arms and tried to shush him.

"Hey, hey it's okay Seojunnie, the man isn't going to hurt us. I'm right here sweetheart," the vampire whispered the last part right into the crying baby's ears.

It finally placated the child, who was now clutching at the vampire's neck and glaring at Chanyeol as if he was the cause behind all the wrong in the world.

"I don't really get what's going on here but that isn't a vampire fledgling so you can't be its parent. Both of you are going to come with me and we'll figure all this out back at headquarters."

"Look, I'm begging you. I'm innocent. I'm not one of the rogues. I've lived here my whole life and I only drink from willing donors. And Seojun here, I've known him since he was a baby..." The vampire looked down at the child in his arms, cold features settling into impossible fondness before they cracked into sorrow. "He's been through so much today, please don't put him through anything else."

Chanyeol knew vampires could manipulate people, cry on command to prey on the weak-hearted. So why was he hesitating now?

Was it because the man looked too neat and well mannered to be a blood thirsty rogue? Or was it the way the child was so comfortable in the vampire's arms, cooing happily at the monster instead of being frightened.

A voice reminded him that it was probably his eagerness to always save the day, rescue the damsel in distress even if the beautiful vampire in front of him was far from being any sort of helpless heroine.

He told that voice to shut up.

"I can't let you go free."

The vampire's face twisted, as if disgusted that he would be thought of as a common criminal. His voice was haughty and chin raised. "Then what exactly do you propose, dog?"

Why you little fucker, Chanyeol thought as he digested the slur. Junmyeon was probably going to kill him for what he was about to do, but with each second spent with the stubborn vampire and the clearly devoted child, he knew there was something more than what met the eye here. And he wasn't about to throw two innocents to the wolves, not yet at least.

"You're both coming home with me."

 

+++

Baekhyun stepped through the doorway with his panic cresting higher with each second he spent in the werewolf's presence. He barely remembered the journey out of the city and to the modest two storey cottage the wolf lived in, even though it took them almost an hour. They had taken winding roads, some couldn’t even be considered actual paths, looping around the woods to finally reach the house.

Seojun had fallen asleep in his arms, lulled to a fitful slumber after an exhausting day by the rhythmic jostling while Baekhyun tried to keep up with their captor. He had tried to initiate conversation, to explain their circumstances while still within city limits, but his words had landed on stubbornly deaf ears.

The wolf was walking behind them now, still eerily quiet. He supposed common hospitality was out of the question but shouldn't he at least be told where to go in a foreign house?

"I'm going to shower. There's a bathroom on the ground floor if you need to use it. You better be ready to talk once I'm back," the wolf hurled all of this over his shoulder as he ascended the stairs.

"I can only go once you're done, wolf," Baekhyun mumbled.

"My name is Chanyeol, not wolf, and why can’t you?" The wolf had stopped, one hand on the railing and an irritated frown marring his face.

Baekhyun willed his eyes not to roll but they did anyway. He lifted Seojun up in his arms as if presenting him to Chanyeol. It was a silly coincidence that the baby was happily clad in a lion onesie, Baekhyun smirked when he saw the wolf trying to control his smile. "Someone has to look after him while one of us showers."

Chanyeol grumbled something under his breath before climbing up the rest of the stairs, Baekhyun made out a whiny "Obviously. I knew that," but didn't comment further.

Once Baekhyun heard the shower running upstairs, he wandered around the house. A small voice in his head reminded him that the front door was right there and if he were to make a run for it, the wolf wouldn't be able to track him if he went fast enough. He even went as far as opening the door and stepping out, walking up to the high white fence. Immediately, he was both confused and disappointed, having no idea where he was, unable to see even the city lights from here.

He had a rash idea of just leaving anyway, trusting his predator instincts to get them back to the city. But one look at Seojun nodding off to sleep in his arms made his decision concrete. Here they had a roof over their head, electricity and running water and a man who, while infuriating, hopefully wouldn't let a child starve.

He went back inside the house, resigned. Baekhyun had no idea what had become of his own house in the city. The rogues who destroyed Seojun's could have easily ravaged his. Baekhyun opened the fridge in the small kitchen, pulling out a carton of milk. He scanned the shelves of the refrigerator: slabs of meat were abundant, fortunately there was also enough food to make a few meals for the baby.

One handed, he located a saucepan and set it on the burner before pouring milk into it, bouncing Seojun all the while. The baby was almost dozing off, cheeks pressed against Baekhyun's shoulder as he looked up at him sleepily.

"You've had a rough day huh Junnie? But you're such a strong boy. Your mom and dad loved you very much, you know," Baekhyun's voice cracked as he thought of Sooyoung and Sungjae. How would he even begin to explain their absence to little Seojun?

He was brought out of his rumination by the milk almost bubbling over. He switched off the burner and took the pot off the heat. Realising he didn't have a bottle or anything close to it, after some rummaging in the haphazardly arranged drawers, he fished out a bowl and a small spoon. He was just pouring the milk into it when he noticed the wolf had returned and was now standing at the kitchen entryway staring at him.

He was fresh from the shower, ends of his long dark hair dripping water. Baekhyun didn't want to focus on his large arms, still damp and shown off to their full effect by a flimsy tank top, or the way his skin was flushed, probably from the heat of the shower.

Unfortunately he had always had a weakness for beautiful things.

Ignoring the strange turn his thoughts had taken, he passed by the wolf with the bowl of milk in one hand, toting Seojun in the other. He sat down on the couch and settled Seojun into the crook of his arm. "Milkie? You want some milkie?"

The baby gurgled happily, opening up his tiny mouth immediately. Baekhyun blew on the milk till he was sure it wasn't hot enough and gently spooned it into Seojun's waiting mouth.

The child slurped down the milk in record time, Baekhyun barely had time to burp him before he fell asleep, right on his shoulder. Baekhyun couldn't help but smile, at least he'd sleep peacefully for tonight, forgetting about his parents.

The moment of contentment didn't last very long. The wolf took a seat across from him, leaning forward and clasping his hands together, contempt pouring from every line of his body. "Start talking, bloodsucker."

Baekhyun's hackles rose at the casual slur, but he remembered that he was entirely at this man's mercy. "My name is Byun Baekhyun. I've known Seojun’s parents for years. They were my students when I taught a class at Seoul National. I moved in next door to them when they got married. I practically raised Seojun with them, which is why he is so comfortable with me."

The wolf, Chanyeol, didn't seem to soften an iota, eyes still narrowed. "Why? Why were you so attached to them? Were they your donors?"

This time Baekhyun couldn't hold back the scoff. "Don't speak of things you know nothing about, child. I'm ancient, one of the Firstborns. I've lived for centuries on this planet, we have had great friendships with humans in all decades."

Chanyeol finally reacted, one eyebrow rising at the haughtiness in Baekhyun's voice. He looked away from him, face turbulent. "Tell me what happened today."

"I received a letter. While I'm no longer active in the Gualtiero, they hold a certain respect for me. It warned of a possible attack, but gave no further details." Baekhyun broke off, switching Seojun in his arms until he was lying flat on his lap. He traced his finger down one rosy cheek. "The three of us were in their living room, I went into the backyard for just a moment. Their screams brought me back inside."

Baekhyun closed his eyes. There had been blood, too much of it. Sooyoung had a gaping wound on her neck, still bleeding feebly, while Sungjae had been unrecognizable. The feral younglings didn't even acknowledge him, baring their teeth and charging towards him. He had snapped both their necks before they could realize what had happened. He had sprinted up the stairs, bursting into Seojun's room and nearly sobbing in relief when he saw him sleeping soundly.

It was after a long pause when he gathered enough strength to speak again. "I don't blame you for not trusting me. But this isn't about me, Seojun's parents didn't keep in touch with their families. I'm all he has. Please let us go."

Chanyeol's face was troubled, he probably wasn't expecting such a gory tale. "I can't just let you go. If you testify in front of the Lycaon-"

"You think they will let a human child stay in the custody of a centuries-old vampire? Even you can't be so naive," Baekhyun spat.

"Werewolves are an understanding-"

"I told you not to speak of things you have only a sliver of an idea about. I have lived multiple lives little pup, I've seen things you can't imagine in your darkest nightmares."

Chanyeol shot up, plunging his hands into his hair with a low growl. "Stop insinuating that I'm a child. I got you both out of there, didn't I?"

"We are nothing but your captives, do not try to romanticize it. There's no one around for miles, there's nothing a toddler requires in this house. Wolf-- Chanyeol," Baekhyun waited for him to turn before continuing. "Let me leave, I can leave Korea in a few days if need be. I have to start over, for Seojun."

The werewolf's face was stormy, eyes blazing with something Baekhyun hadn't seen in years. "Stay here. It's not safe for a child out there. I'll get you supplies. Let this die down, then you can go."

Chanyeol didn't even wait for a response, as if his say on the matter was final. "You can try running, but you won't get very far. Goodnight."

He left the room, footsteps heavy on the wooden stairs before the house was plunged into silence.

 

Chanyeol woke up from a terrible night of sleep when he felt someone staring at him. He tried to get his limbs ready for an intruder but sleep made them lag as he pulled the blanket away from his head.

Instead of a threat, there was a tiny human standing at the head of his bed, face cradled on crossed arms. The baby's eyes were bright and curious, no hint of the distaste he had shown yesterday.

"Papa?" Seojun squeaked happily. "Hungwy."

Chanyeol felt his heart throb painfully. "I'm not your papa, buddy. You can call me Chanyeol."

"Chawol?"

Chanyeol couldn't help the laugh that burst out of him. "Sure. Or Chan?"

The baby smiled, pleased at making the big man laugh. He opened and closed his little fists, jumping a little in place.

Unsure but understanding, Chanyeol sat up and pulled the baby onto the bed and his lap. "You sure are friendly with strangers huh? Are you hungry?"

Seojun nodded sagely. "Hungwy, Chawol."

Chanyeol snickered, the way the child spoke was way too cute. He was bouncing him on his lap and making silly noises at him when Baekhyun burst through the door, looking frantic.

"Oh thank God! I was just resting my eyes, and when I woke up he was gone," Baekhyun ran forward and scooped the child up.

"And what? You thought I creeped in and ate him?" Chanyeol snarked.

Baekhyun finally got a good look at him, eyes raking Chanyeol's bare chest before landing on his face, disgust in the set of his mouth. He turned back to the baby. "Don't scare me like that! What if something would've happened to you?"

Seojun lifted one pudgy hand to gently rub Baekhyun's cheek, as if to reassure him. "No, Baby. Hungwy."

Baekhyun melted immediately, pecking him on his little displeased pout. "Come on then, let's find you something to eat."

/Baby?/ Chanyeol wondered irritably, but didn't ask. With a resigned laugh, he flopped back onto his bed once the duo left. They hadn't even been in his life for twenty four hours and they'd already given him one of the most exciting mornings he had had in a while.

When Chanyeol finally came downstairs, the surprising smell of cooking assailed his nose. It was novel, he hardly ever cooked, depending on takeaways or just having his steaks raw. He stepped in cautiously, only to be even more surprised.

The vampire had not only managed to find multiple pots and pans but also a ratty old apron one of his friends had gifted him as a joke. Baekhyun had Seojun propped up on one hip and was lifting a spoon of something to the baby's mouth after blowing on it several times.

"Yummy? Do you like it Seojun-ah?"

Seojun nodded, excitedly craning his head for another taste. Baekhyun chuckled before giving it to him.

The scene was so domestic that it made Chanyeol's stomach twist. "How did you manage to find all this?"

He saw Baekhyun flinch at the harshness of his tone and swallowed the guilt it caused.

"I found some vegetables at the bottom of your crisper, threw a few things together to make a quick broth. And the rice was next to the rice cooker," Baekhyun answered blandly. "I could cook one of the steaks if you want."

Chanyeol shook his head and grabbed two bowls and spoons. He began serving out the rice and soup, feeling Baekhyun's gaze on him the entire time. He hoped it would make up for his unwarranted anger from just moments ago.

It seemed it had, because Baekhyun and Seojun smiled at him when he passed them a bowl. Chanyeol ignored how the simple gesture made his insides unknot.

Chanyeol was glad he had refused the steak. It was what most of his meals consisted of, but this bare-bones breakfast of soup and rice tasted like the best meal he had had in months. He reminded himself to thank Junmyeon for always stopping by every couple of weeks with groceries, making Baekhyun's cooking possible.

It would be easier than thanking the vampire for the satisfying meal.

He shamelessly had a second serving, this time taking the time to savour the clean, bright flavours of the broth while he watched Baekhyun feed the baby. Baekhyun had initially handed Seojun a small spoon but it had quickly proved futile: the baby had wanted to feed Baekhyun, and there was more soup on the table and the vampire's shirt than in Seojun's mouth.

After a few minutes Seojun had relinquished the spoon himself and was content being fed by Baekhyun. Chanyeol ignored the strange emotions twisting inside him, turning away from the pair of them and washing up his bowl.

"If you could watch Seojun for a while, I'll clean the rest of the dishes," Baekhyun piped up as soon as Chanyeol put his bowl on the dish rack.

"Don't worry about it, I'll do them."

"You are letting us stay in your home, it's the least I can do."

Chanyeol's jaw clenched at the sarcasm in the vampire's voice, so he sweetened his own. "It's only fair, you cooked so I'll clean."

Chanyeol watched with satisfaction as Baekhyun struggled to form a reply before hoisting Seojun up and walking to the living room without a word.

When Chanyeol came back after finishing the dishes, he found Baekhyun sitting on the floor, smiling widely as Seojun teetered over to him on wobbly legs. When he reached Baekhyun, he all but fell into the vampire, tiny hands clutching at Baekhyun's face as they both giggled at each other.

"What should I get for the kid? I mean other than clothes and milk," Chanyeol interrupted, uncaring.

"I've actually made a list. I had a lot of time last night. I know it's long but he is a baby so I can't find substitutes here. I will of course pay for it," Baekhyun answered coldly.

Chanyeol took the list Baekhyun fished out of his pants. It was even longer than he anticipated, everything from baby shampoo to hypoallergenic blankets.

"Toys?! I thought you were planning on getting out of here as soon as vampirely possible. Why do you need toys?" Chanyeol grumbled.

"Toys! Baby, toys!" Seojun squealed at Baekhyun.

"Yes Junnie, the nice man is going to buy you lots of toys since we are in a strange place with nothing else to do," Baekhyun's voice got higher with every word until he was practically cooing. "Isn't he? Yes he is, yes he is!"

Chanyeol looked at each of them in turn, scowl deepening as they both smiled at him like little cherubs.

He turned on his heel and walked out the door, barely restraining himself from slamming it on his way out.

 

+++

"Look Myeon, I know I screwed up but I almost passed out. That rogue used his mind control nonsense on me, I barely got home in time," Chanyeol said into his phone.

He was standing in the baby aisle of the grocery store, holding up two onesies with a furrow between his brows. The kid can't be more than two, and didn't they say you should buy clothes they can grow into? On the other hand, that snooty vampire could probably replace the kid's clothes every couple of months. Chanyeol was so lost in his thoughts that he didn't realize Junmyeon has been screaming his name over the phone.

"Ah sorry Myeon, I'm a little distracted today. What were you saying?" Chanyeol muttered, picking an entire row of onesies and throwing them into his shopping trolley.

"I was saying that we are having a meeting tomorrow once we finalise the number and identities of the dead. We've already started interrogating the prisoners." Junmyeon sounded exhausted.

Ignoring the guilt building with every second on the phone with the one person who had always believed in him, Chanyeol infused as much enthusiasm as he could muster into his voice. "I'll be down at HQ tomorrow to help out. Anything else leader-nim?"

"Nothing for now, take care of yourself and be prepared to answer the pack as to why you abandoned the search and rescue," Junmyeon answered. "And don't call me leader-nim."

Chanyeol laughed before saying his goodbye, glad to have lightened his leader's mood at least a little.

When he finally pulled up his truck into the driveway, it was almost sunset. He sat at the driver's seat and looked into the window of his living room. The lamps were lit, room aglow with the ambient light. He could see Baekhyun pacing, tapping Seojun to sleep on his shoulder, bouncing him gently.

His mouth was moving, Chanyeol wondered if he was talking to the baby like he usually did. Or maybe he was singing? The thought brought an unbidden smile to Chanyeol's face.

He shook his head to dispel it, huffing out a breath as he exited the truck and began unloading the ridiculous amount of shopping bags from the backseat.

He opened the door, careful not to make too much noise in case the kid was already asleep. He set them down in the hallway, straightening up just in time to see the vampire staring at him with an incredible amount of disdain on his face.

Chanyeol supposed that now that the child was asleep, Baekhyun had no pretense to keep. It irritated him enough to have his fists clench, his breaths become harsher. By the time he followed the vampire into the kitchen, his temples were beginning to throb.

It was easy enough to forget his troubles when he was contemplating between jars of banana-strawberry and apple-carrot in the baby food aisle. But there was still the mystery of the rogue attack, the verdict his pack would hand him for disappearing on a mission, and to top it all off, the cherry on top of a shit pile, the vampire who was looking at him like he was a cockroach.

"What the hell are you staring at, blood sucker?" Chanyeol snapped, tired of the tension in the room.

"You seem- er," Baekhyun cleared his throat. "Is everything alright?"

Chanyeol had enough energy to scoff. "What do you think?"

"If you would just let us leave-"

"I just spent my life's savings on baby supplies, so you aren't going anywhere."

"I said I would reimburse you-"

Chanyeol slammed his hand down on the table, not caring if Seojun woke up. "Please, Baekhyun. Just leave me alone right now."

It took a few minutes for the vampire to recover before he turned in place and left Chanyeol to his brooding self.

Chanyeol sighed heavily when he heard the guest bedroom's door close, standing up to sort out the shopping. As he put away the jars of baby food and multicolored cutlery, his mind was spinning a mile a minute.

Was Baekhyun telling the whole truth? Was he really holding two innocent people captive? His stomach churned when he thought of the consequences of his decisions. The Lycaon would have his head if Baekhyun was lying, especially when a human child was at stake.

When he was done sorting the rest of the supplies into neat piles in his living room, he sank down onto the carpet, head heavy under the weight of his thoughts. He didn't, couldn't, see Baekhyun as a villain. Not when the vampire doted on Seojun like he was his own flesh and blood.

Pain twisted Chanyeol's heart when he remembered that the love of a parent was something he never got to experience. Was he really going to rip it away from little Seojun, who was the only true innocent in all this?

For there was no way the Lycaon would let a Firstborn keep a human child. It was far too dangerous, not to mention unprecedented.

The old cuckoo clock on his living room signalled the hour, and Chanyeol had made up his mind. He pulled the do-it-yourself baby cot towards himself and started building it as night fell.

 

Chanyeol woke up late the next morning after spending the night putting together all of the baby things he’d bought and trying to baby-proof the house as much as his limited knowledge and budget would allow. When he finally made his way to the kitchen, still rubbing groggily at his face, he saw Seojun sitting on his new chair, happily waving his pudgy arms in the air. He had bright orange stains all over his face and little bib but he seemed unbothered, speaking rather seriously to Baekhyun.

The vampire was standing opposite him, elbows braced on the counter and palms cupped under his chin. He was nodding along to the baby talk, a content smile on his face. Chanyeol felt strange, a frisson of something that was dangerously close to happiness. Nothing good could come out of getting attached to this unlikely duo, he warned himself, clearing his throat to notify them of his presence.

Baekhyun startled a little, one arm slipping as he straightened and smiled at Chanyeol. “Good morning. Thank you for all your hard work yesterday, Seojun is very happy.”

“Sure, it was nothing,” Chanyeol waved the gratitude away. “Carrot and potato, huh lil buddy? Do you like it?”

Seojun seemed delighted at Chanyeol’s appearance, doing a quick baby dance in his chair. “Cawwot! Cawwot!”

Chanyeol couldn’t help his laugh. He poked a finger into the baby’s cheek, earning another laugh.

“I cooked you a steak,” Baekhyun murmured, sounding apologetic.

Chanyeol took the plate without comment, grinning to himself when he saw it was so rare it was still bloody. He cut a large piece off, chewing it slowly as he observed the vampire. Baekhyun looked even paler than usual, fine blue veins on his cheeks and neck when Chanyeol was sure they weren’t there yesterday.

“Aren’t you eating?” Chanyeol hazarded, pushing his empty plate away.

“Oh, I don’t need to eat,” Baekhyun answered, scooping the last of the baby food and feeding it to Seojun. He lifted him out of the high chair and carried him to the sink to clean him off, putting him on his hip once he was done. “We’ll be upstairs. Today’s your meeting with the Lycaon right?” Baekhyun’s voice held so much hope.

Chanyeol nodded, “I’m not going to be telling them about you.”

“What?” Baekhyun cried out. “Then when will this ordeal end? What’s your plan?”

“My plan is to not get killed for harbouring a fugitive in my house.”

For being centuries old, Baekhyun could roll his eyes just as well as any bratty millennial. “I’m not a fugitive. When will we be able to leave?”

“Answer me this Baekhyun, are you comfortable here?”

“That’s not-“

“Are you?”

“Yes.”

“Aren’t you safe, with a roof over your head and a cupboard full of baby stuff?”

“Yes, but that’s…”

“Well, out there, your kind are under heavy suspicion and scrutiny,” Chanyeol spoke with authority, rising from his chair. “You won’t get far before someone spots you because of the daily patrols, and once they see Seojun, you’ll be taken into custody right away.”

Baekhyun cursed under his breath, but only after covering Seojun’s ears.

“Tell me about it. I have some errands to run and then I’ll go to the meeting from there. Stay inside and don’t open the door for anyone,” Chanyeol instructed.

He could feel Baekhyun’s gaze on him, burning, as he took his jacket off the hook and pocketed his keys. When he turned back, he was still standing there, holding Seojun, who was sleepily waving at him. He wanted to say something, but he was just too stubborn. Without another glance he closed the door softly behind him and stepped out of the house.

 

+++

There were few places sadder than bars at midday. At the moment, Chanyeol couldn't think of any. The Cauldron was as gimmicky as its name, run by a warlock who knew more than he let on, and was frequented by all sorts of creatures. Its patrons were mostly werewolves, it being situated in the middle of the most populous lycanthrope community, but it was favored by vampires and fairies for its loose rules and cheap booze.

Chanyeol held his glass of water close to him, wary of the mischievous sparkle in Yixing’s eyes. There was only one other customer, an old werewolf hunched over a glass of murky, brown, liquid, muttering to himself. The warlock stood behind the bar counter, polishing mismatched glasses.

“You know what I’m here for, Zhang. Why are you drawing this out?” Chanyeol asked grumpily.

“I don’t divulge anything to people who don’t buy drinks.”

The warlock was young by spell caster standards, only a hundred years old. But he had a firm ear to the ground and connections everywhere. If there was something that needed to be known, Zhang Yixing would know it.

“It’s noon, Xing, come on. I have a meeting to get to.”

“Buy a drink.”

“God, okay! Give me an ale,” Chanyeol slammed some money on the counter, irritation sparking.

Yixing smiled serenely, filling a mug with deep amber beer. “From all your complaining, I thought a light buzz would help you in your meeting.”

Chanyeol accepted the drink morosely, taking a long sip. The warlock wasn’t wrong.

“The vampires are staying tight lipped, not wanting their own affairs dug up,” Yixing began, leaning close. “What I do know is that whoever is behind this, they’re not someone new and reckless, but someone with a great deal of power.”

The old werewolf at the corner snorted loudly, harrumphing a random mess of words before looking back down.

Chanyeol took another glug of his drink, letting his mind process the information. “Hmm. Will you keep me updated?”

“Don’t I always? I’ve already started contacting some old friends to see if they know something. And about the other thing you wrote to me about, they were a normal human family, no vampire connections for ten generations. Is that all?”

“Yes...thank you. I’ll finish this and head out, I won’t keep you for longer.” Chanyeol smiled at the warlock, tipping his glass towards him.

Chanyeol stared at the little bowl of spiced nuts Yixing had placed in front of him. They were tempting, but Chanyeol had learnt his lesson after one too many playful hexes. He checked the time on his watch, relaxing when he saw that he had another half hour before the meeting began.

He sipped on his ale, letting his mind drift. As he was about to finish his drink, the bell over the door tinkled, signalling newcomers. It was a pair of faeries, their hair vivid in color, turquoise and pink, but what gave them away was the subtle point of their ears.

Faeries didn’t really venture much out of their own circles, but one or two were always more adventurous than the rest of the rigid rule following fae. Chanyeol kept his eyes on his drink but his wolf ears were perked.

“This is why I told you not to get back with him, he was bad news from the beginning,” a ridiculously beautiful girl spoke up first, her long turquoise hair braided with wildflowers and nearly a hundred butterflies, their wings were lazily beating even though the air was still.

Either drugged or enchanted, Chanyeol thought. Her companion, the pink haired boy was dressed more subtly. His hair was cropped short and he was wearing a simple black shirt tucked into black pants, absolutely pedestrian compared to the girl’s glittering purple dress.

“How was I supposed to know, Rose? I met him at a club just like anybody else,” the boy pouted.

“Yeah right,” the girl snorted. “As if Nyctophilia is just any other club.”

Chanyeol had given up interest in their inane conversation but it was piqued by the mention of one of the most infamous vampire hotspots. Nyctophilia was a high end vampire club, completely exclusive and around for nearly three decades. They only allowed other creatures on one night every month, in an attempt to not alienate them. However it was well known that it was just a way for the powerful vampire clientele to prey on prospective blood donors and find someone to warm their beds.

“Whatever Rose, he hasn’t texted me since that whole attack thing so I’m just gonna forget I ever met him,” the boy announced, sitting down at the bar and pointedly ignoring Chanyeol.

“I hope it all works out Jaeminnie, I don’t think the Lady is very happy with you right now, you know how she feels about Selene.”

Chanyeol clenched his glass hard, these careless faeries had provided much more information than they realized. He finished the last of his drink and made to rise when the old werewolf started howling and laughing, thumping his glass on the counter and letting his drink slosh everywhere.

“You fools! You youngins have no idea of her power! The Lady will bend you all to her whim!” He screamed, pointing his glass towards the terrified faeries.

Before Chanyeol could try to stop him, Yixing came running out from the kitchen. “Sangwoo! I told you no more than one drink if you were going to create a ruckus in my bar you old mutt! You’re scaring the customers!”

The old werewolf sat down with a grunt, instantly subdued. The two faeries grabbed their bags and after throwing a look of utter disgust at the werewolf, ran out the door. Chanyeol stepped back to let them go first, receiving a saucy grin from the girl.

 

+++

In other, less monster-heavy populations, their places of gathering tended to blend into human architecture. The vampire headquarters inside the Vatican or the Lycaon parliament inside the Monte Albán in Mexico came to mind. However, since their town was predominantly occupied by various creatures of the night, they didn’t need to hide.

The glass structure of the Lycaon Headquarters rose above him, towering over the buildings surrounding it. It was made of two toned glass panels, the darker ones forming a hulking wolf's head on the facade. So much for subtlety, Chanyeol thought, as he climbed the stairs to the entrance. The entryway was massive, with marble floors and gold gilded paintings of former pack leaders. Several corridors lead to various personal offices and conference rooms.

Chanyeol took the one that led to the atrium, which they used when the entire pack gathered. It was a generous space, with a glass domed ceiling letting in plenty of sunlight. There was a circular stage at the center of the room, atop which there was a long marble topped table where the highest members sat, and circular rows of slabs for the others to sit on. Chanyeol spotted Joohyun and quickly made his way over to her, wolves tended to fall over themselves trying to be seated next to her.

“Noona, are you feeling better?” He whispered once he was seated, ignoring the glare a young werewolf shot him when he beat him out to snag the seat.

Joohyun turned and gave him a tight lipped smile, but she squeezed his hand quickly under the seat. “I’m fine, Chanyeol. They took good care of me. How are you? I didn’t see you at the city plaza after the mission.”

“Ah yes, I um,” Chanyeol scratched the back of his head. “I felt a bit sick, so I thought it was better to go home rather than slow everyone down.”

“I see.” Joohyun didn’t seem satisfied but before she could question him further, a loud gavel sounded, signalling the start of the meeting.

They all turned towards the center of the room. Junmyeon was seated at the head of the long table, Siwon and Changmin on either side of him. They were the leaders of the other two packs in their area, only meeting together like this when it was of utmost urgency.

“Good evening everyone. Thank you for coming here today. Whoever couldn’t make it, please keep them updated about what is discussed,” Junmyeon began. “I called this meeting to mention the new developments, or lack thereof.” Their leader joked, trying his best to put everyone at ease.

Changmin turned to him with a grin, whispering something in his ear.

“Right so, let’s just get started. The rogue vampires we rounded up are in custody, we have ten of them and according to their statements, they were sixteen in total, not twenty like we thought . The other six are dead,” Junmyeon began.

A round of chatter began, the members of the three packs digesting the new information. Chanyeol was tense, hands fisted on his knees as he listened.

“They’re not offering many details but we fear that’s because they’re newly turned younglings and have no idea themselves,” Changmin spoke up. “Our priority right now is of course to find who turned them. It’s an open and shut case.”

“Exactly. We will of course keep an eye out for anything suspicious, but at the moment talks of a vampire rebellion are purely fodder. Now, does anyone have any new evidence?” Junmyeon asked, looking around the atrium.

“I have a source,” a nasally voice spoke up and Chanyeol felt the hair on his neck stand up.

“He is a wolf who is rather…fond of vampires,” Hyungsik sneered once everyone’s attention was on him. “He claims that a rebellion is inevitable and this is only the first step to throw us off the scent.”

Junmyeon looked irritated but kept a pleasant smile on his face. “How reliable is your source?”

“Reliable enough pack leader Junmyeon. I say we stop wasting time on the ferals and start bringing in bigger fish,” Hyungsik rattled on.

“We have no grounds to call vampire leaders to be interrogated. It would be unprofessional and not to mention, disrespectful,” Junmyeon disagreed.

“I agree. Not to mention, at a sensitive time like this, we need to tread with caution,” Siwon added, nodding at the other two leaders.

“Sure! Let’s sit on our fucking asses and not do anything!” Hyungsik sat down with his head bowed, turning to glare at a couple of wolves who were snickering at him.

“Hyungsik, I’ll remind you of your place and the respect you need to show your fellow brothers and pack leader. Meet us after this ends,” Junmyeon ordered icily.

“Okay, before we move on, does anyone else have something to say?” Siwon quickly changed the topic.

Chanyeol felt his heart thumping in his chest, he wanted to lay low in this meeting but his mind was at war. He had to say something about what the faeries mentioned.

He stood up, raising a hand to get the attention of the leaders. “I have a lead...of sorts.”

Junmyeon smiled at him, nodding his head to signal him to continue.

“I was at The Cauldron today and I overheard some faeries talking about Nyctophilia,” Chanyeol started.

“So now we’re allowed to say whatever we did today?” Hyungsik interrupted. “I went to my girlfriends house and had cup ramen.”

Chanyeol grit his teeth and continued. “I think it’s worth looking into. They mentioned a vampire who they knew but disappeared after the attack. And…”

“Go on, Chanyeol,” Junmyeon encouraged.

“I also think we can look into the Lady’s recent whereabouts. Although that’s more a gut feeling than proof.”

“The Lady? Of the Faerie Court?” Changmin asked, brows furrowed.

“Yes...I just heard something that didn’t check out. But like I said, I think we should look into Nyctophilia first.” Chanyeol sat down, not wanting to draw any more attention to himself.

“Nyctophilia has been on our radar for years but we never found any solid evidence. If we find something now, we can finally put an end to the rumored illicit activities there,” Junmyeon said. “Chanyeol, you, Jongdae and Joohyun start investigating the club, keep us posted.”

All three of the mentioned wolves stood up and bowed, acknowledging their assignment.

“And as for the Lady, I’ll give her a call,” Siwon announced. “We were once friends.”

“To finish up, some more bullet points. All the humans killed in the attack have been accounted for. The missing ones were found hiding in cellars around the city. We don’t have a list of vampires residing there but we are waiting on one from the Gualtiero,” Junmyeon informed. “There’s just one thing. A child. Named Park Seojun. His body hasn’t been found and the vampires claim they can’t remember killing any babies.”

“Of course, we aren’t taking their word for it,” Changmin added. “If any of you have leads about the missing child, let us know.”

Chanyeol felt a line of sweat drip down his hairline, he held his breath for whatever came next.

“He was only about two years old so his survival is out of the question. No one has come forward to claim him either so it isn’t of high priority right now.” Junmyeon concluded. “That’s all for now, Chanyeol, Joohyun and Jongdae, stay back. The rest of you may leave.”

The gavel sounded again and the room cleared out until they were alone with the leaders and Hyungsik.

Junmyeon looked incredibly haggard as he stepped off the stage. “Alright, let’s go to my office, we’ll discuss this further.”

 

Chanyeol drove home with his mind in a complete frenzy. The clouds hung low and heavy, the threat of rain making the air muggy. Junmyeon had quickly briefed them about subtlety when they were to infiltrate Nyctophilia, proposing they get in on the list for their next open night. Chanyeol had easily lied his way through questions about his disappearance and the leaders had seemed too preoccupied to care.

Instead they were focussing on the first phase of investigating the club and how to go about it. The plan was pretty clear and simple for the first night: just a little recon, maybe try to initiate a few connections. He shouldn’t be as worried as he was. Yet, the uneasy feeling persisted.

Park Seojun. Chanyeol smiled despite himself, delighting in the fact that the little bundle of sunshine shared a surname with him. Much to his everlasting chagrin, Seojun had quickly crawled into his heart and taken residence there, even if he was going to fight it every step of the way. He could not get attached to the baby, this was just a pit stop before he and Baekhyun moved on to their next destination.

Chanyeol grit his teeth at the thought of the vampire. Ethereally beautiful and always trying to run away from him. As if Chanyeol wasn’t going out of his way to protect them, to provide for them. Yes, sure, he was constantly questioning his own motive, why was he taking in a pair of liabilities?

The answer is stupidly simple. Park Chanyeol cannot leave the damsel unsaved, and the knowledge that Baekhyun could easily rip his throat out did nothing to hinder his misconceived notions of saving the day. They were his responsibility now. His headache inducing, heart warming, madness causing responsibility.

“Honey! I’m home!” He called out as he opened the front door.

There was absolute silence and Chanyeol felt dread seeping into his spine. His wolf ears erupted from his head, trying to pick up any sounds. The house was eerily still, the living room and kitchen silent. With each step into the house, Chanyeol let go of the idea of an intruder and now there was only one option left to consider.

They were gone. They had left him.

With his heart thundering in his chest, Chanyeol gave up on being sly and ran up the stairs, shouting “Baekhyun! Baekhyun!”

When he reached the landing and saw no one, for one painful moment, his heart fell to his feet. He couldn’t even grasp his own sense of abandonment, they were strangers to him after all. And then the door to Seojun’s room burst open and Baekhyun careened out, looking furious.

“Why the hell are you making such a racket?! I just put him down to sleep!” Baekhyun fumed as he stepped close.

Relief washed over Chanyeol in waves, strong enough to have his knees buckle. He barked out a laugh, laughing even harder when Baekhyun stared at him incredulously.

“I’m going to take a shower,” Chanyeol announced breezily, thumping a still shocked vampire on the shoulder before waltzing into the bathroom.

Baekhyun had a pot of something bubbling away on the stove when he returned downstairs, still towelling his hair. It smelled fragrant and spicy and his stomach rumbled. Outside, a gentle drizzle smattered against the windows, making everything much cozier.

Chanyeol was wearing a sweater too big on him, tucking his hands into the sleeves for warmth as he sat on the kitchen counter. “Smells good.”

”Dakbokkeumtang,” Baekhyun murmured as he turned off his rice cooker. “It’s not too spicy, in case Seojun wants rice later.”

Chanyeol hummed, watching the vampire move around his kitchen like he had been there for years. He looked sluggish, hand movements a little slow.

“It’ll take another twenty minutes,” Baekhyun looked like he expected Chanyeol to leave. “If you want to watch tv or something.”

“This is fine.” Chanyeol belatedly realised this was the first time they were alone and not in imminent danger.

Baekhyun didn’t respond, taking a seat next to him.

“Do vampires often cook so much?” He ventured. “Seems a bit...pointless.”

“I suppose not,” Baekhyun chuckled. “I enjoy the process of it, it’s calming. I’ve collected all sorts of recipes through the years. This braised chicken was the favorite of a 12th century king.”

Chanyeol nodded, trying to hide his awe. “It’s one of my favorite dishes.”

Baekhyun smiled, turning to gaze at Chanyeol, lifting one hand to rest his cheek on it. “I’m glad. How was the meeting? Did you get in trouble because of us?”

“Surprisingly it didn’t come up much. There was a lot more going on. They know about Seojun.”

“O-Oh. What are they going to do about it?”

“They assumed he is dead and it’s not a first priority at the moment. Finding out who turned the rogue younglings is.” Chanyeol watched Baekhyun carefully.

He was too somber, eyes looking dim. On closer inspection, the veins he had spotted in the morning were much darker, criss-crossing across his pale skin.

“You’re...unusually agreeable tonight,” Chanyeol commented.

“Mmh. Had a lot of time today to think about it, and there’s really no point in constantly pushing back. I’m learning to adjust,” Baekhyun huffed. “Besides, it’s only for a few more days right?”

“Right.” Chanyeol ignored the prick of sadness hearing those words brought, forging on. “Soon you’ll be in Amsterdam or Australia.”

Far as you can be from me.

“I was thinking of Paris. I know people there.”

“So you’ve got it all planned,” Chanyeol whispered, hating his deep rooted aversion to goodbyes.

“Not at all. I’m...horribly lost, Chanyeol,” Baekhyun sunk down, resting his head on crossed arms and gazing at him from under his lashes. “I’m not a father, this is all...so terrifying.”

Chanyeol’s hand itched to cover Baekhyun’s, his need to offer comfort nearly paralyzing him. But he kept still.

“I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” he offered lamely.

Baekhyun hummed, rising on slightly shaky legs to check on the dakbokkeumtang. "It's almost done."

Chanyeol rose to fetch a bowl and cutlery. The rain was coming down much harder now. "I hope there's no thunder."

He felt a faint blush creeping on his cheeks when he realized that he'd said something completely random. "It uh...It might wake up the kid."

Baekhyun blinked before giving him a dazzling smile, his eyes crinkling into crescents. Chanyeol couldn't help that his blush deepened.

Baekhyun took the pot of steaming chicken and placed it on the table, as he was turning to get the rice, he stumbled. He would have crumpled to the floor if it wasn't for Chanyeol, who leapt forward and caged the vampire’s body between his own and the counter.

"What the hell? Are you okay?"

Baekhyun felt woozy, Chanyeol's face was swimming in front of him, he must be imagining the alarm in the werewolf's voice.

"You don't look so good, vampire." Chanyeol was still holding him up, one arm banded around his waist and a searing hand on his hip.

"Blood." Baekhyun felt his fangs slip out and pierce his lower lip. "I need blood."

"When was the last time you fed?" Chanyeol asked as he scooped one hand under the vampire's knees and swung him up.

He laid him down on the couch, terrified at how pale and out of it Baekhyun looked.

"Five weeks. Maybe more." Baekhyun's voice was a hoarse whisper.

"Where will I be able to get blood for you? Would you...um…" Chanyeol broke off, running a hand through his hair.

Even in his weakened state, Baekhyun narrowed his eyes. "You wish, dog."

"Glad to see you're still capable of humor." Chanyeol snorted.

"There's a vampire blood bank in the city, it's right on the outskirts. If you take your car it'll take maybe forty minutes," Baekhyun's speech was starting to slur.

"I'll be right back okay. Hang in there." Chanyeol added over his shoulder as he nearly ran out the door.

He stared at his car for a minute, trying to calm his racing thoughts. The rain had already started to soak his clothes and hair. He was scared for Baekhyun, scared of Baekhyun. The baby…

Without another thought he broke into a run, transforming into his wolf as he leaped over the fence. He landed on all fours with a low growl before tearing through the woods that separated him from the city.

Baekhyun tried to stay still on the couch, but he felt a sharp stinging pain at his core which was only alleviated when he curled into himself, knees tucked against his chest. He knew Chanyeol would be fast. As infuriating as the young wolf was, he seemed to have one hell of a hero complex.

Baekhyun smiled despite his pain. He’d seen quite a few men and women like that during his long lifetime. People with a fire in their eyes and righteousness blazing in their veins. But it was rare to see it juxtaposed with Chanyeol’s childlike softness.

He kept an ear out for Junnie. He wouldn’t even be able to hold him right now, let alone rock him back to sleep in this state. He settled back on the couch, placing a hand on his chest where it hurt the most. The worries came, as they often did when he was without Seojun’s cheeriness: their lives were in danger, they were homeless and under the charity of a stranger. Sometimes Baekhyun would see Seojun looking around the house with a confused pout on his face, searching for someone who wasn’t there.

Baekhyun sighed in frustration just as the door burst open and a hulking wolf stormed into the house, its deep onyx fur dripping water over the floor. Baekhyun shot up, terrified and weaponless.

“Who-who are you?” He stammered, trying to find a way to get to Seojun.

That’s when he noticed the red bags of blood gingerly held in the wolf’s mouth. The wolf came and dropped them at his feet before sprinting up the stairs. After a few minutes Chanyeol came down, jumping the last two steps and landing with a thump. He was now dressed in grey sweatpants and a loose tee.

“Why didn’t you drink it yet?” He asked casually.

Baekhyun was still a little dazed, in the same spot he was in before Chanyeol reappeared. “Because I thought we were both going to die.”

“Come on! I ripped my clothes while I was Changing earlier and I didn’t want you to...um. Yeah.”

Baekhyun grinned at the flush settling over Chanyeol’s cheeks. He picked up a bag and looked at the werewolf questioningly, sitting down on the couch.

“Hey don’t worry about me. Do it however you need to,” Chanyeol assured, taking a seat next to him.

Baekhyun shrugged and brought the bag up to his mouth, letting his fangs pierce into it and taking a long drink of the blood. It was warm and he usually preferred it cold, but it was fresher than he expected. He could feel Chanyeol alternately staring at him and looking away, as if he couldn’t decide between giving him privacy and idle curiosity.

He drained half the bag before pulling his teeth out of it, gasping in a breath even though he didn’t need to. The pain was already gone and he knew his veins had disappeared again. He finished the rest of the blood just as quickly, setting it down and leaning back against the couch, satiated. He wiped the corners of his mouth, feeling more than a little flustered that Chanyeol had watched him feed.

“How long has it-“

“You smell like wet dog.”

They both froze after accidentally talking at the same time. Chanyeol looked affronted, clutching at his chest with one hand. “Excuse me?”

“You’ve trailed water all over the floor and you smell awful,” Baekhyun smirked, trying to lighten the situation.

“I’m sorry I got drenched trying to get your food!”

Baekhyun laughed then, quick and bright. “You don’t have to sound quite so offended, wolf.”

"You tell me I smell like a wet dog after I ran for thirty minutes to get you blood and I'm not supposed to be offended?" Chanyeol pouted.

Baekhyun was reminded that for all his careless bravado, Chanyeol was only a child, centuries younger than himself and terribly easy to rile up. “Thank you for the blood. I hope old Kang didn’t give you much trouble.”

“He was a grumpy old man and I’m sure he wanted to chew me out but I mentioned your name and he nearly tripped over himself in his haste to get the blood,” Chanyeol said with a roll of his eyes.

“Ah, he is a good man. I’ve known him since he was a child,” Baekhyun chuckled. He felt so much better already.

“Don’t older vampires not need blood as often? And if you say you’re a Firstborn…” Chanyeol trailed off, playing with the frayed hem of his t-shirt.

“I can last for about a month without any discomfort. It just so happened that I couldn’t feed before that due to,” Baekhyun paused, unsure how to continue.

“Due to?” Chanyeol pressed, leaning closer.

“Due to some unfortunate circumstances,” he finished lamely, wanting to end the conversation. “I’m going to bed.”

If Chanyeol was surprised by the sudden exit, he didn’t show it, lifting his shoulders in a noncommittal shrug. Baekhyun reached the arched doorway of the living room and took a second to watch the play of light on the young wolf’s features, feeling something nearly painful twist in his gut.

“Goodnight Chanyeol,” he whispered, mostly to himself.

He didn’t wait to see if there would be a response.

 

+++

They fell into a routine, it was almost too easy to do so. Baekhyun would wake up first, only needing a couple of hours of sleep, and start on breakfast with Seojun keeping him company. After breakfast Chanyeol would take charge, sitting on the floor with the baby, surrounded by toys.

Sometimes he’d shift, after finding out that Seojun loved him in his wolf form. The child would climb all over Chanyeol, pulling at the wolf's ears and squealing at the top of his lungs. Chanyeol would lick his tiny feet, causing the baby to laugh so hard he would eventually burst into adorable hiccups.

“Doggie! Chawol doggie!” Seojun would scream over and over again, clapping his hands together as Chanyeol trotted around in a circle.

He didn’t mind acting like a common house pet, not when Seojun was so incredibly happy when he was with him. No one had ever looked at him with such unadulterated joy before, Chanyeol basked in it. He also showed Seojun his favorite thing to do on his off time, painting. He’d settle the kid on his high chair and just start painting with whichever color Seojun was most excited by.

Eventually the day of the recon mission came around and it seemed that Baekhyun was even more nervous than Chanyeol himself. He was pacing around the kitchen, bouncing Seojun in his arms. “You won’t stay long right? I mean it’s best to be in and out quick, don’t you think?”

Chanyeol laced up his boots and stared at Baekhyun as he worried. The setting sun blazed in through the windows, making the tips of his silver hair glow. He was ridiculously beautiful, the kind of eerie incandescence Chanyeol had never had the opportunity of observing this close up.

He smiled, the vampire’s concern was warming him through. “Have you been there before?”

“Only once,” Baekhyun answered with a grimace. “I didn’t enjoy it and the whole place was...I was very uncomfortable.”

“We’re just going to have a couple of drinks and try to engage with some of them. I’ll be back before Seojun’s bedtime story.”

“Stowyy!” Seojun gurgled, delighted to be part of the conversation.

“That’s right buddy. I’ll be back to read you a story,” Chanyeol stepped close to the pair and felt the weight of unsaid words on his tongue as he looked into Baekhyun’s eyes.

They were too intense right now, swirling with emotions he couldn’t make out.

“Bye, Chawol,” Seojun chirped, placing both of his pudgy hands on Chanyeol’s face. “Bye!”

“Bye, kiddo.” Chanyeol hesitated at the doorway, but Baekhyun was silent, already looking away. He grabbed his jacket and closed the door behind him on his way out.

 

The club was packed to bursting, creatures of all kinds milling around. It was so dark Chanyeol could barely see, he was glad he had his improved night vision. The entryway was a nondescript door at which a body guard was stationed. He let the three wolves in with a small nod of his head after checking their invitations.

The dimly lit hallway behind the door opened to a cavernous main room. There were stages, the purpose of which was yet unclear, and clusters of leather chairs. Huge chandeliers dropped down from the ceiling, giving a silvery blue glow to the room. The vampires stood out, skin translucent and lips dark red. None of them were alone, having one or even two people with them at all times.

“This is...surreal,” Joohyun spoke first, pushing a lock of hair behind her ear. She was stunning in a tight red dress. With her long, sleek hair and her rouged cheeks, she could easily pass for a vampire.

“Be careful both of you,” Jongdae warned, looking uneasy. “Let’s just stick together.”

He was unusually dressed up tonight, hair pushed back and a crisp dress shirt opened at the collar. Before they could move any further, an attractive vampire walked up to him, flipping her hair back once before running a slender hand down his chest.

“Hello love, are you new here?” The vampire’s smile widened at Jongdae’s meek nod. “Come with me, I’ll take care of you tonight.”

She slipped a hand around his elbow and forcefully tugged. Jongdae gave them a horrified look and helplessly followed the vampire deeper into the club.

Joohyun tucked herself into Chanyeol’s side, looking shaken. “Yeol, I don’t have a good feeling about this.”

Chanyeol had no idea how to reassure her so he just wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her to a loveseat. “We’ll stay together and the second something fishy happens, we’ll find Dae and leave.”

Several vampires approached them, some offering drinks while others were more forward, licking their lips and trying to caress their necks. Chanyeol used all his charm, getting more information as the night wore on and the vampires got drunker.

After a particularly touchy vampire finally got off his lap he turned to Joohyun, who was looking murderous.

“Noona, is everything okay?”

“Well, they’re bragging about it. Two out of three vampires here are talking about how their leader orchestrated it,” Joohyun bent to whisper.

“I heard that too. It was all newly turned younglings as well. They were basically just human pawns,” Chanyeol agreed grimly.

“I think we’ve gotten enough for tonight. Let’s find Jongdae and get out of here.”

Chanyeol understood Joohyun’s urge to leave as soon as possible. All night they had watched as the vampires present picked off the guests one by one, plying drinks and sweet words to the already enamoured victims before pulling them to one of the numerous hidden balconies and side rooms present all throughout the club. The drinks were obviously charmed, making the drinkers confused and pliant.

Of course everyone visiting had a vampire kink. They waited for one day a month when this elusive club would open its doors. Young girls fulfilled their vampire prince fantasies, lower ranking wolves and faeries basked in the momentary attention of creatures notoriously cold and aloof. Chanyeol saw more than one pack leader and faerie courtesan with a vampire on their arm.

It was twisted. They’d returned from the inner corners of the club looking pale and disoriented before men in black suits came and whisked them away, not to be seen again.

“Alright, let’s go,” Chanyeol stood up, looking around for Jongdae.

As Joohyun rose, the club was suddenly plunged into darkness. It lasted a few minutes and Chanyeol’s skin erupted in goose flesh. He found her hand in the dark and pulled her to his side. They needed to find Jongdae and get out of here.

Then the lights came on. Massive beams only illuminating the raised stages, leaving the rest of the club pitch black. Chanyeol felt a cold dread as each of the three stages suddenly had a pair of people, one immaculately dressed vampire and one drained looking human.

“Welcome ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Nyctophilia,” The vampire at the center stage boomed into a mic. “It is finally the time we’ve all been waiting for.”

A roar erupted in the club, the energy suddenly sky rocketing. The two wolves stood stock still, watching the events unfold.

The vampire slipped an arm around a frail looking girl, limp hair obscuring her face. It looked like the arm was the only thing keeping her upright. “Here I have a young, healthy 23 year old. No illnesses, will provide for a minimum of ten years. We will start the bidding at one million won.”

Joohyun made a choked sound, squeezing at Chanyeol’s hand tight. “Yeol.”

“Shit. Shit, shit, shit,” Chanyeol gritted his teeth, fury coursing through his veins, hot and red. “Should we stop them?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. There are only three of us, we’ll be ripped apart. Let’s find Dae. We need to leave,” Joohyun shouted over the clamor.

The vampires were buzzing, screaming out bids. Chanyeol felt bile rise up in his throat, this was the most sickening thing he’d ever seen. “Fuck. These bastards.”

“Yeol, come on,” Joohyun pulled him into the throng, searching for Jongdae.

They pushed through the writhing mass of vampires and dazed humans and creatures. The faces were blurred in the low light and Chanyeol could smell the blood hanging in the air, metallic and pungent.

“Jongdae! Kim Jongdae!” Joohyun screamed, looking frantic. “Yeol, I’m worried.”

“And the lucky lady goes for 13million won! Let’s see our next model.” The announcer's voice cut through the silence.

Chanyeol burst through the edge of the crowd and stretched his neck. His height gave him a vantage, which he used to scour the crowd for sight of their friend. When he couldn’t see Jongdae anywhere, his pulse started picking up.

He fished his phone out of his jeans pocket and was about to call the pack for backup when he spotted Jongdae with the vampire who had approached him earlier that night. They were at the bottom of the third stage, furthest away from where Chanyeol and Joohyun stood.

“Oh fuck! Oh shit. Jongdae!” Chanyeol felt his stomach flip violently when he realized what was happening. “Joo! They’re going to sell Jongdae. Let’s go, follow me!”

Chanyeol ran, half transforming for better speed and vision. In a few seconds he had reached Jongdae, who didn’t even look like himself. He was slumped against the wall, sweat beading on his hairline and collarbones, a thin trickle of blood running down his neck.

“Dae. Oh my god, are you okay?” Chanyeol pulled him away from the wall and spoke into his ear.

Jongdae slumped further into him, letting out a weak groan.

“Hey it’s alright. We’re getting you out of here okay?” Chanyeol slung one of his arms around his own shoulder and Joohyun took the other arm.

“What do you think you’re doing, dogs?” The vampire from earlier smirked, a thin trickle of blood dripped down her chin.

“We’re leaving. Our friend didn’t consent to this,” Chanyeol spoke, jumping in headfirst as always.

“Oh yes he did. He told me. Can you prove otherwise?” The vampire drawled, smacking her lips together.

“Look, we don’t have to prove anything. Move out of the way.”

“Don’t be so hasty, little dog, you’re just as pretty. You might even fetch more. Would you perhaps like to trade places with him?”

Chanyeol curled his fists, seeing red. Before he could do something Joohyun stepped forward.

“We are high ranked wolves in Kim Junmyeon’s pack. This won’t end well for you. Let us leave and we will forget what’s happened here.”

The vampire’s smirk fell. “You shouldn’t have come here if you didn’t know the terms.”

Joohyun simpered, her lips forming a pretty moue. “I’m sorry miss, we weren’t aware.”

The vampire was clearly hesitating, swayed by Joohyun’s obedience. Just then another vampire came scampering up to her before whispering something into her ear. She frowned slightly before tipping her head once.

“If you show your face in this club again, you will not be spared,” she spat out and turned to leave.

Joohyun sagged in relief next to him. “Hurry! We need to get him to a healer.”

They kept to the shadows, Jongdae sandwiched between them, not stopping till they felt the cold air on their skin. Chanyeol changed first, waiting as Joohyun hefted Jongdae onto his back, he was now lucid enough to take hold of Chanyeol’s fur and anchor himself. Joohyun leaped, transforming before she hit the pavement and began sprinting. Chanyeol followed and they ran into the night, as far away from the house of horrors as they could get.

 

It was nearing midnight when Chanyeol finally made it home. He had lost his jacket in the fray and he was almost feeling cold in his loose white dress shirt. He looked down to make sure there wasn’t any blood on himself. Seojun would be asleep but Chanyeol didn’t want to take any chances in scaring the little guy.

He was exhausted. The run back to headquarters had been gruelling, the hours of detailed interrogation of exactly what they’d seen even more so. They only let up when Joohyun looked near to collapsing. In the end they didn’t even let them see Jongdae, claiming that he will heal completely but their immediate testimonies were more important.

Chanyeol opened the door as quietly as he could. He stepped into the living room and nearly jumped a foot into the air. He put a hand on his chest and felt his heart thump forcefully. “You scared the life out of me Baekhyun!” He whisper-screamed, afraid of waking up Seojun.

The vampire had been sitting in a shaft of moonlight, completely still and almost dream like. Now he shot up, coming to inspect Chanyeol. “How did it go? I’m sorry for scaring you but I couldn’t rest,” Baekhyun apologized softly.

Chanyeol kept quiet as he walked to the kitchen, letting the warmth of Baekhyun’s concern comfort him. “It was bad. It was worse than we imagined, Baek.”

Baekhyun’s eyes widened at the nickname and Chanyeol cursed his unfailing idiocy. “They were selling people, bidding on them like they were furniture or something,” Chanyeol quickly rambled to gloss over his faux pas.

“They’re still doing it,” Baekhyun winced, mouth tightening. “I had hoped…”

“You knew about it?”

“Every vampire in the country knows about it, Chanyeol,” Baekhyun murmured, looking dejected.

“Typical,” Chanyeol scoffed. “An atrocity happening in front of their eyes and no one wants to come forward.”

“Not everything is in black and white, little pup. Especially not in our world.”

Chanyeol felt the usual irritation when Baekhyun reminded him of their age difference and of course his less than adequate intelligence probably.

“I’m not questioning your intelligence,” Baekhyun said calmly.

“What?” Chanyeol didn’t remember saying that out loud.

“You have that look on your face. The one you get when I mention that you’re younger. You always think I am insinuating that you’re naive or-“

“Aren’t you?” Chanyeol laughed bitterly.

“No I’m not! I’m just…”

“What? You’re just what?”

“I was worried Chanyeol!” Baekhyun exploded, hands fisting on the counter. “I was worried about you because I know some of our people are ruthless, and twisted. But not everyone wants to play the hero all the time!”

Chanyeol didn’t respond, turning to get a glass of water. The vampire had been worried about him, waited until he got home to see if he was okay and he had picked a fight as soon as he walked in. Just as childish as Baekhyun thought he was.

He heard Baekhyun sigh behind him. “You did well today Chanyeol, goodnight.”

Chanyeol turned around too fast, spilling a little bit of his water in the process. “Thank you, Baekhyun.”

“The sooner you solve this, the sooner you can wash your hands off Junnie and I, right?" Baekhyun smiled, unaware of the callousness of his words.

“Right.” Chanyeol nodded, watching Baekhyun turn his back to him and head up to the guest bedroom. It was always all about how fast they’d get to leave his life. Leave him.

It always had been.

 

+++

The next two weeks were slow, stilted and awkward as the werewolf and vampire tiptoed around each other. Seojun was their only connecting thread. Discussing his rapid milestones and putting together grocery lists to make sure all his needs were met were the only times they both spoke to each other.

Jongdae was recovering steadily and the Lycaon was launching simultaneous probes into Nyctophilia and the Faerie Court to cover all bases. Chanyeol took any call from Junmyeon to escape to HQ so that he didn’t have to spend more time in Baekhyun’s presence. The initial contacts from the club had all proven to be dead ends. They hadn’t gotten any further than confirming it was someone who held the reins at the club. The pseudonym ‘The Lady’ kept popping up, complicating things even more.

Chanyeol returned home after another fruitless day of questioning seemingly clueless vampires, shucking off his coat and dropping it on the floor, too pissed off to care. His ire only increased when he stepped into the living room and saw Baekhyun cuddling Seojun to his chest, softly singing to the baby. He was unfairly beautiful, dressed in another one of Chanyeol’s button ups that was comically large on him.

In another instance, in a club or a bar maybe, Baekhyun would have been someone Chanyeol approached immediately, exactly his type. His wisdom and dry sense of humor were both so refreshing after the vapid conversations Chanyeol regularly found himself surrounded with.

Instead of calling him a friend, however, Chanyeol had to continue seeing him as a foe, someone who clearly wanted nothing to do with him and was counting down the hours until he could leave his presence.

“Chawol! Channie!” Seojun had noticed him first, squirming out of Baekhyun’s hold to stand on shaky legs and run towards the werewolf with his mouth wide open showing all his little teeth. “Play!”

Chanyeol scooped the child into his arms, pressing a quick kiss to one chubby cheek. Kisses were definitely new, it had been more than a month since they’d moved in and at this point Seojun demanded them, used to being showered with them by his parents. The baby would refuse to go to sleep until each of them had given him a little peck on his lips, and there was only a little awkwardness left between Chanyeol and Baekhyun when it was time for their nighttime kiss routine.

“Hi buddy. Did you have a fun day? Were you good for Baby?” Chanyeol cooed, heading into the kitchen after throwing a quick smile at the vampire.

Chanyeol had learnt that Seojun had always had difficulty saying Baekhyun’s name and had quickly adjusted to calling him Baby once his mother had laughingly suggested it.

“Baby make soup,” Seojun offered, pulling on a tuft of the werewolf’s too long hair.

“Ouch! Jun that hurts!” Chanyeol yelled, setting the baby down in his high chair.

“Your hair is getting too long,” Baekhyun said quietly, leaning against the kitchen door.

“Yeah I know. With everything going on I haven’t had the chance to go to my hairdresser,” Chanyeol shrugged, reaching back and feeling how his hair tickled his nape.

“I could...If you want, I could cut it for you,” Baekhyun murmured. “I’m rather good at it.”

Chanyeol felt a flush crawl up his neck and he stood quiet for too long, helpless as Baekhyun’s face fell.

“It was just a suggestion,” Baekhyun brushed past him and reached for Seojun. “We’ll be upstairs then.”

“Baekhyun, wait. You sure it won’t be too much trouble?” Chanyeol asked, almost taking a hold of the vampire’s wrist to keep him from leaving.

Baekhyun straightened with Seojun on his hip, he searched Chanyeol’s face for a long moment before he smiled softly. “It’s no trouble at all. I’ll do it after dinner.”

 

Chanyeol was a fool. He was an absolute bloody masochist. Why else would he have willingly walked into the most abject torture he’s experienced in all his twenty five years of living?

Baekhyun was too close, flooding his senses. All he could see was the vampire's smooth, flawless skin, all he could smell was the cool, alluring scent of bergamot and sage, with that ever present sweetness underneath.

Baekhyun’s hands were in his hair, curling around the strands. His fingers danced along his nape, strong when they took hold of his chin and turned his head this way and that.

A few minutes ago his head had been in the sink, Baekhyun massaging his scalp with the shampoo before gently rinsing it out, humming a song under his breath. Chanyeol had felt so peaceful, so utterly relaxed and content.

Unlike now, when his pulse was thrumming and his stomach felt heavy with the weight of a thousand butterflies.

“You’ve got so much hair,” Baekhyun noted with a soft laugh, gathering up his bangs and clipping them away.

“It’s part of the package, abs and too much hair. Oh and a penchant for steak that’s still mooing,” Chanyeol jested, feeling his knuckles whiten as Baekhyun leaned into his shoulder to reach the other side of his head.

Baekhyun was quiet as he went about his work, expertly cutting his too long locks. Thick chunks of it floated down to the floor as Chanyeol was rendered drowsy by the soft snips and even softer hands sifting through his hair.

“Almost done,” Baekhyun said after a while, startling Chanyeol awake.

“I can’t believe I fell asleep, you’re really good at this. How-“ Chanyeol broke off on a choked breath.

Baekhyun was right in front of him, tipping his head back with one hand and cupping his jaw with the other. “Hmm, it's looking rather smart if I do say so myself.”

Chanyeol nodded, mute. Baekhyun trailed his hand up to push his bangs from side to side, deciding what to do with them. His other hand was on the werewolf’s nape, cool on his heated skin and leaving trails of rose blush.

“I kind of want to leave it longer in the front. You could style it more to one side, leave your forehead bare,” Baekhyun nibbled on his bottom lip, entirely focused on the task at hand.

“You can do whatever you want with me,” Chanyeol coughed loudly, clearing his throat. “I mean, with my hair. You can do whatever you want with my hair. I don’t really care about it.”

Baekhyun’s smile looked a little too smug for the werewolf’s liking but he didn’t say anything, nodding his head once and getting back to work.

After a few more minutes Baekhyun finally brushed his hands down his neck and shoulders, getting rid of any stray hair before firing up the hair dryer. Chanyeol sat still, basking in the tender attention, feeling as pampered as Seojun on hair washing days. He couldn’t help himself from leaning into Baekhyun’s touch, earning him an amused chuckle.

“An overgrown puppy,” Baekhyun commented, finally putting his tools away and stepping back to look at his handiwork.

He smiled wide then, eyes crinkling and teeth flashing before clapping his hands together. He spun around to pick up the hand mirror and excitedly thrust it in Chanyeol’s face.

“Oh wow Baekhyun, this is actually really good,” Chanyeol exclaimed, running his hands through his freshly cut hair.

It was neat and trimmed in the back and had the perfect amount of volume in the front. Baekhyun had even taken the time to style it, parting it slightly to the left and letting one side hang down his forehead in a comma shape. He looked handsome, maybe even slightly older. It suited him tremendously.

“Your shock wounds me,” Baekhyun feigned hurt, eyes twinkling with mischief.

“No seriously Baek,” Chanyeol stood up, grabbing the broom and sweeping up the hair. “I owe you one.”

“You’ve done more than enough,” Baekhyun shook him off. “I’ll head up to bed now. Sleep well, Chanyeol.”

“You too.” Chanyeol waited with a slightly dopey looking smile until he heard Baekhyun’s door close before resuming his task.

Chanyeol looked at himself one last time in the mirror before bed, pointing finger guns at his reflection and winking sleazily. He was in an amazing mood after what felt like forever. Yes, the investigation had effectively stalled, they had no new leads and tensions were running high between the factions. Yes, everyday he got more attached to a somber vampire and an affectionate child, knowing full well that they would soon leave him to his earlier breakfasts of soggy cereal and a house too quiet.

But tonight had been wonderful, domesticity dusted in magic. Seojun’s constant chatter over steaming tofu jjigae and Baekhyun’s hands caressing his neck. After weeks of awkwardness they’d found their rhythm again.

Chanyeol pulled his shirt off and crawled into his bed, turning off the lights and settling in to sleep. Just a few minutes in he heard Seojun’s muffled crying and before he could even fathom waking up he heard the pleasant buzz of Baekhyun’s soft voice.

He had just sunk back into the pillows when the crying got louder and Baekhyun’s words more distinct. They must be in the hallway.

“Junnie no! Stop that! Come back here!” He could hear Baekhyun shout, sounding strained.

He sat up, getting ready to get out of bed when his half open door was pushed in and Seojun came tottering in, looking sleepy but determined.

“Is everything okay?” Chanyeol asked, alarmed.

Baekhyun wasn’t looking at him, instead bribing Seojun with banana milk if he came back to bed. But little Jun was having none of it and was making his way over to the edge of Chanyeol’s bed.

“Sleep wiv Chawol,” Seojun declared, raising his arms to be lifted onto the bed.

“He wants to sleep with me tonight?” Chanyeol watched Baekhyun squirm at his doorway.

“Um...not exactly,” the vampire mumbled.

Chanyeol had lifted Seojun onto the bed and the baby had made quick work of climbing over the werewolf’s body to get to the middle and burrow into the comforter. He then popped his head out and stared patiently at Baekhyun.

Chanyeol felt his heart rate steadily increase as he understood what was happening. “Seojun-ah, I don’t think…”

“Baby! Baby, come,” Seojun pouted, patting the mattress next to him.

“Chanyeol, if you’re uncomfortable,” Baekhyun hesitated, face unreadable, “he’ll fall asleep in a bit and I'll carry him back.”

“Hey, no it’s okay.” Chanyeol was quick to interrupt, feeling his fingers begin to shake a little. “That might wake him up again. It’s just one night, right?”

“Right. Okay then,” Baekhyun climbed on to the bed, curving around Seojun but trying to produce as little movement and noise as possible.

Seojun fell asleep almost instantly, pressed against Baekhyun’s chest but trying to push his little leg into Chanyeol’s side. The vampire had his eyes closed but he was obviously not asleep, every once in a while he would jostle, before coming back to the same spot.

Chanyeol on the other hand was frozen, hands crossed over his chest like a mummy. Usually he was all over his bed, twisting this way and that before finally falling asleep on his stomach, one leg at 90 degrees and the other firmly tangled in the comforter. Now he lay unmoving, almost not breathing as his mind raced, thoughts whizzing past too fast for him to even catch them.

He realized that his bed would smell like Baekhyun tomorrow, his bergamot scent entwining with his pillows and sheets, the knowledge had heat shooting across his skin. Panic began to set in once he realized his thoughts about the vampire were quickly surpassing idle curiosity to something much more dangerous.

The vampire emanated no warmth, but he didn’t need to. It had been so long since someone had shared his bed that his mere presence was turning Chanyeol inside out. He was never going to fall asleep like this, this was a fresh hell. The haircut was nothing compared to having Baekhyun, beautiful and too quiet vampire Baekhyun, sleeping mere inches away from him.

“Chanyeol, hey, stop spiraling,” Baekhyun whispered, kindling his insanity by pushing closer.

“Wh-what? How did you…” Chanyeol turned to face him, seeing his eyes glow in the dark.

Baekhyun sighed. “I can, I mean we all can, to some extent, know what people are thinking?”

The vampire waited for a rebuke, possibly outrage, even disgust. It had happened so many times before. Chanyeol however, was utterly silent.

“Some lean into it, practicing and studying till they can fluently read minds. Others, like me, can only make out auras, strong emotions. I’ve always…I’ve always had a very rough idea of what you’re thinking.”

“Oh. I see.” Chanyeol swallowed, this was way too much information to process right now. “So you...?”

“I know you’re worried about this attack, you feel guilty about Jongdae, you love Seojun,” Baekhyun’s voice was akin to a lullaby. “I know you...are apprehensive of us leaving.”

Chanyeol wanted the bed to somehow consume him, he couldn’t bear to hear more. Did Baekhyun know of his conflicting thoughts? Torn between suspecting him and being smitten by him?

“That’s all. I can’t make out complicated emotions. It was never intentional, Chanyeol-ah. I would never want to intrude like that.”

Chanyeol digested the affectionate turn to his name, feeling all kinds of confused but not wanting to change anything about this situation.

“I’m not mad,” he whispered after way too long.

Baekhyun didn’t reply for so long that Chanyeol thought he had fallen asleep. He was just about to try to do the same when he felt a phantom brush of cold fingers on the hand he had placed next to Seojun.

“Goodnight, little pup.”

Baekhyun was a heavy sleeper. Chanyeol knew this because he had been woken up by Seojun hitting his back and yelling his name repeatedly.

“Chawol! Cha! Wol! Cha-Channie!” Seojun screamed, laughing like an adorable little maniac.

Chanyeol groaned as all the sleep left him and he blindly reached out to swat Seojun’s hands away, this of course only delighted the kid into thinking they were playing and he renewed his efforts to climb all over Chanyeol.

The werewolf gave up on fighting it and tried to get his bearings instead. That’s when he realised Baekhyun was still sleeping, and that wasn’t all. While they had started out on either side of the bed, now that Seojun wasn’t there to buffer between them, the vampire was pressed up against Chanyeol.

One of Chanyeol’s legs was caught between both of Baekhyun’s, and he was pretty sure that before he was woken up by Junnie he had his arm firmly around the person curved into his chest. Baekhyun had obviously been after his body heat because he looked so content, face completely relaxed in sleep.

Chanyeol’s heart was a wild thing in his rib cage, thundering so loud he was astounded that Baekhyun wasn't woken up by it. He wanted so badly to pretend to be sleepy and unaware, to wrap his arms back around the soft body next to him and go back to the way they were in sleep.

However, they had only narrowly escaped the awkwardness from last night, and this would make everything worse. So with a long string of whispered curses Chanyeol gently extricated himself from the vampire’s hold and picked Seojun up on his way downstairs.

“How about I make you something today huh, bud? Gyeranjjim maybe? It’s like an egg soup.” Chanyeol asked out loud as Seojun ran around the kitchen, occasionally falling on his bum but hopping up immediately and happily continuing.

“Soup! Soup!” Seojun agreed heartily.

Chanyeol had just switched off the rice cooker when Baekhyun padded into the room, eyes downcast.

“Good morning?” Chanyeol hedged, sensing the tension.

“Good morning,” Baekhyun mumbled. He picked up Seojun and began kissing him all over his face, eliciting loud squeals and giggles. “Good morning my Junnie! Hi sunshine!”

Chanyeol’s smile bloomed despite himself, he had come to love seeing Baekhyun interact with the child, it made his once dreary days so much brighter. “I have a meeting today so I’ll be gone for most of the day.”

The vampire was still not looking at him, pretending to be natural while avoiding the only other person in the room besides the baby he was holding close to his chest. But he brightened up when Chanyeol announced he won’t be home for a while.

“Oh. I’ll have dinner ready then,” Baekhyun’s relief was palpable and it stung more than Chanyeol expected.

 

+++

“This is getting ridiculous,” Siwon growled, slamming his hand on to the table. “We’ve faced much worse than this and one isolated vampire attack has us turned inside out. There are more concerns that this is building up to something.”

Junmyeon placed a hand on his arm, a silent command and a friend’s comfort. “Hyung, we can't panic or get frustrated, that’s exactly the kind of weakness we can’t afford to show right now.”

Siwon nodded, accepting Junmyeon’s gentle leadership. “The Faerie Court is threatening defection from the Covenant if we continue to probe into them when they claim they are innocent. Yet we continue to hear about the mysterious ‘Lady’.”

Chanyeol looked around the room. This was a smaller meeting, held in Siwon’s personal study. The three pack leaders were there, senior pack mates and the wolves who infiltrated Nyctophilia rounding out the crowd.

“Is there anyone else who is called the Lady?” Joohyun asked, looking at each of the clan leaders.

Siwon and Changmin exchanged a loaded glance before the latter spoke up. “This is more hearsay than history but there was rumored to be a vicious vampire who called herself the Lady. That’s pretty much all we know unfortunately.”

Chanyeol’s mind itched with a hazy idea and the way the pack leaders looked at each other could only mean that they weren’t letting them in on some big secret. As he thought further along the lines of a ruthless female vampire, it struck him.

“Nyctophilia is owned by a vampiress! I just remembered one of the vampires at the club telling me about her. She’s apparently really powerful but no one has ever seen her,” Chanyeol rattled on. “It adds up, I think we should look into it.”

“It does make sense. We will gather information on who owns the club and decide,” Junmyeon decreed.

“On to new business, the vampire government have finally given us a list of vampires who were residing in the city. Most of them fled during the attack as expected,” Changmin informed them, reading off a paper. “There’s one that concerns me…a Byun Baekhyun. He is a Firstborn, one of the oldest in the world.”

A cold trickle of fear ran down Chanyeol’s neck, making his hands clammy. This was bad.

“Are you suspecting him?” Park Jihyo, a senior member of Changmin’s pack spoke up.

“Not exactly, but we need to be cautious. None of the Firstborns have returned to Korea in decades. The presence and subsequent absence of a powerful vampire in an attacked city cannot be overlooked.” Changmin sounded grim.

“I need one of you to start tracing his whereabouts,” Junmyeon gazed at the gathered faces, hoping for a volunteer.

Chanyeol’s temples throbbed when he heard a nasally assent.

“Great. Hyungsik, you can get on it. We are just covering all our bases here,” Junmyeon said sombrely.

Once Junmyeon called the end of the meeting, Chanyeol was the first to leave. His mind was chaos, panic spiking. If they were to really trace Baekhyun, they’d only arrive at his doorstep. How in the world would he explain their situation?

The vampire would immediately be separated from Seojun and probably kept under custody till the leaders were satisfied that he was innocent. Through the quiet ride back home, Chanyeol felt guilt pushing against his chest painfully.

If only he had let them go…

Hyungsik was like a dog. Once he got the scent of fresh meat, he was completely focused and lethal when he needed to be. He would definitely not be put off Baekhyun’s trail so easily. Chanyeol hit the steering wheel with his palm, cursing loudly.

When did his life get so damn complicated?

He pushed open the door with barely suppressed irritation. He wanted to simply go upstairs and soak in a bath, maybe paint with Seojun to keep his mind off of things. His ears perked as he heard more than one adult voice coming from the living room.

When he stepped in, his heart pulsed a little dangerously at the scene in front of him. Seojun was on the lap of a tall, fair stranger. He looked like he had all the color leached out of his body, from his platinum blond hair that was nearly white, to his pale, porcelain skin. He seemed to be overly familiar, bouncing the baby on his lap and whispering to him.

Chanyeol’s fists curled of their own instinct when he noticed the second unfamiliar face. This man was the opposite of the first one, dark where the other was fair, muscled where he was lean. He was also astonishingly handsome, a face suited for elaborate designer ads. He was wrapped around Baekhyun, head tucked under the vampire's neck, limbs tangled as he rested on his chest. Baekhyun was running his hands across the stranger’s hair, a soft smile on his face.

A low growl escaped Chanyeol before he could stop it.

Baekhyun jolted at the sound, but relaxed once he saw Chanyeol at the entryway. His face sunk into a happy smile, eyes disappearing into crinkles. “Chanyeol-ah, you’re home. How did the meeting go?”

“It was fine.” Chanyeol knew he sounded curt, but to his disbelief, the man, a vampire now that he could scent him better, stayed curled around Baekhyun through their exchange. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?”

“Oh right! I nearly forgot. Chanyeol, these are Jongin and Sehun, they’re my friends from Seoul. They came to visit,” Baekhyun pointed first at the man still anchored to his chest and then to the one holding Seojun.

“And this is the werewolf who saved our lives,” Baekhyun beamed, gesturing towards Chanyeol.

“Hey man,” the blond boy greeted, giving him a tightlipped smile.

“Hey,” Chanyeol’s eyes were frozen on all the points Baekhyun was touching another man, unable to look away.

“Hi, Chanyeol,” the second vampire, Jongin, sing-songed. “Thank you for saving our Baekhyunnie hyung. He’s very important to us.”

“It was no trouble,” Chanyeol brushed it off and turned to go upstairs, not caring in the slightest that he was being horribly petulant and rude to Baekhyun’s friends.

After the day he’d had, he had been looking forward to a quiet night with Baekhyun and Junnie, even the mundane felt exhilarating with them. Instead, he had come home to the baby being excited by someone else and a stranger's hands all over Baekhyun.

After a quick shower, since the long bath didn’t sound appealing anymore, he changed into his sweats and headed back down, not wanting to have Baekhyun and Seojun out of his sight for another minute.

Chanyeol let out a relieved breath when he saw that the couch was free of the two entwined bodies, but it came out in a loud cough when he wandered into the kitchen. While Sehun had been back on the living room floor, letting Seojun climb on top of his knees, Baekhyun and Jongin looked entirely too cozy in the kitchen, looking like they were in their own world.

Jongin had his knees spread on the counter stool and Baekhyun stood in between his legs, looking happier than Chanyeol has ever seen him. There was a burn in his chest, a terrible moment of clarity when he realized that Baekhyun had merely been putting up with him. Yes, there was a legitimate danger to them being out in the open, but Chanyeol himself knew that wasn’t the only reason he had insisted on them staying.

It had gone from a day to a few more, a week had whizzed by and now it was well over a month since they’d been living with him. Chanyeol had gotten too used to the domesticity, the loud laughs Seojun filled every room with, the gentle affection Baekhyun showed him in all the little things he did around the house.

Chanyeol watched as Baekhyun touched Jongin’s face, clear adoration. It hurt to know that all the warmth he had felt was forced and that Baekhyun would never be like this with him. However, at this moment, it didn’t matter to him.

Wolves were incredibly territorial. Once a wolf had chosen a mate, they were the center of their universe, for their eyes only. It was a glorious love, heaven ordained, something mortals couldn’t dream of. Chanyeol felt the growl building in his chest, possessiveness coiling around his heart.

He had always felt emotions too sharply. Part of it was his lycanthrope blood, and part of it inherently him.

“Chanyeol, the irony of you moving as quiet as a cat is not lost on me,” Baekhyun was suddenly standing right in front of him, having moved away from Jongin as soon as he spotted him, smiling that too wide smile he secretly loved. “The boys bought some blood for me so I won’t be eating with you. I made you a steak though.”

“Is it-”

“Rare? Of course, Yeol-ah,” Baekhyun grinned at him, eyes shimmering with mirth. Like he too took joy in them having their silly little inside jokes.

Chanyeol’s heart flip flopped at the pet name, the way it had been doing for weeks whenever the vampire was near. He reached out and tapped Baekhyun’s hands with his. “Will you still sit with me?”

Will you still stay with me?

Baekhyun turned to the stove to get the steak out of the pan and onto a plate, which he gently placed in front of Chanyeol with another heart fluttering smile. He didn’t seem to have any problem meeting his eyes now. Clearly he only needed the day to recover from last night’s awkwardness.

Chanyeol was glad, all of the emotions that had been building up in him over the past few weeks had peaked, tumbling dangerously when he saw Baekhyun with someone else. He needed him close right now. So, with a shaky breath, he raised his arm and slipped it around Baekhyun’s waist.

“Thank you, Baek.”

Baekhyun’s eyes widened and were now shuttered. He placed a cold, slightly trembling hand on Chanyeol’s shoulder and squeezed gently. “You’re welcome, little pup.”

Chanyeol pulled out the chair nearest to him, coincidentally the one furthest away from Jongin, leaving Baekhyun no choice but to take the offered seat. He did so with a little laugh, clearly confused by Chanyeol’s sudden neediness.

“So what did you discuss in the meeting?” Baekhyun asked.

Chanyeol nervously glanced at Jongin. “Ah, I don’t…”

“I’ve known Jongin and Sehunnie for a long time Yeol-ah, you can trust them,” Baekhyun brushed the back of his palm with his fingers.

Chanyeol took a deep breath, hating that he had to do this. “They’ve put you on the list of suspects. Apparently it doesn’t sit well with them that a Firstborn was at the scene.”

Jongin made an affronted sound but Chanyeol’s gaze was focused on Baekhyun’s face. The vampire blinked rapidly before his mouth dropped open, stunned. “I’ve been living there for over ten years, I’m sure the Gualtiero will back me up.”

Chanyeol nodded, relieved. “That’s great, that’s really good. I’m just worried because the person put in charge of finding you is this total asshole, and he will definitely take the chance to try to hurt you while we wait for the Gualtiero.”

“That’s some bullshit,” Jongin spat, looking mutinous.

“Jongin-“

“No, Baek hyung, this is insane. Come on, pack your stuff, we can get you out of here tonight. We even have a plane at the hangar, ready to go,” Jongin pleaded.

Baekhyun’s response was interrupted by the loud slam of Chanyeol’s palm on the table. “No.”

“Chanyeol-“

“Listen dude, we are grateful to you for helping them. But we aren’t going to let them be sitting ducks in a werewolf’s house while the goddamn Lycaon is looking for them!” Jongin roared.

Chanyeol felt his wolf ears sprout and he knew his eyes were flashing amber. “I will protect them. They are staying. You, on the other hand, need to get out of my house.”

Jongin was next to Chanyeol in a flash, hauling him forward by his collar. “Who the hell do you think you are?”

“Jongin, stop.” Baekhyun’s voice was too soft and went completely ignored as the werewolf and vampire were each shaking with rage.

“I’m the one who saved them and gave them a home. And what do you have to show?,” Chanyeol jabbed, a muscle in his jaw twitching dangerously.

Jongin reared his arm back, instead of it connecting to Chanyeol’s face however, he found himself thrown against the opposite kitchen wall by an invisible force.

In the living room Seojun began crying because of the cacophony.

Baekhyun stood in front of Chanyeol, looking furious, arm still outstretched from when it pushed the other vampire away. “Kim Jongin, I told you this is why I didn’t want you to visit.”

“But Baek-“

“Jongin I know, I know you two are protective but I’m fine. I’m...I’m more than fine,” Baekhyun murmured.

Just then Sehun carried a crying Seojun into the kitchen, looking panicked. To everyone’s surprise, most of all Chanyeol’s, the baby reached for him, face twisting with his next sob. The werewolf immediately took him into his arms, shushing him gently and letting the baby burrow into his neck.

Jongin looked gobsmacked, coming to stand next to Sehun. “Oh.”

It was a loaded sound, all three vampires exchanging a glance.

“He’s been through so much Jongin-ah. I can’t just suddenly uproot him again. You can see why.”

Seojun had calmed down, cries dissipating into a few hiccups. He had his face pressed against Chanyeol’s shoulder, looking drowsy.

Chanyeol turned to see all eyes on him, one pair still hostile, one indifferent and the one he most cared about, looking lost and conflicted. He saw Sehun slip a hand into Jongin’s and tug slightly.

“Baekhyun hyung, we’ll leave first. Keep in touch,” Sehun said with a smile. “Thank you Chanyeol, you’ve helped hyung a lot.”

Chanyeol gave him a short smile, still reeling from everything that had happened, but stayed quiet.

“No...don’t leave yet. Come back tomorrow,” Baekhyun invited, cupping Jongin’s cheeks in his hand. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want you both fighting okay?”

Jongin muttered something Chanyeol couldn’t catch and soon they departed, leaving Baekhyun and Chanyeol facing each other, not speaking.

“Chanyeol-“

“You must already know. Since you can read my mind,” Chanyeol bit out. “I’ll go put Seojun down to sleep.”

He didn’t wait for Baekhyun to respond, brushing past him and climbing the stairs to the bedrooms. He sat with Seojun for a while, telling him some story about dragons and princes until the baby settled in to sleep, one hand clutching Chanyeol’s finger tightly.

He had gotten so attached to this loving little boy, he couldn’t imagine being separated from him. Yet, he knew that it was only a matter of time. He leaned down and pressed a quick kiss to one chubby cheek, whispering a goodnight into Seojun’s ear.

By the time he went back downstairs, Baekhyun had cleaned up the kitchen and set all the furniture back in place. He was sitting on the couch, looking deep in thought.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have acted that way,” Chanyeol started, taking a seat as far away from the vampire as he could.

“They didn’t tell me they were coming. I would’ve told you. Chanyeol, I…”

“He’s right you know. This probably is a dangerous place for you to be in. Hyungsik might do worse if he knew I…,” Chanyeol flustered, unsure how to continue. “If he knew that I hid you here.”

“What are you trying to say, Chanyeol?” Baekhyun asked icily.

Chanyeol finally turned to look right into Baekhyun’s eyes, uncaring if what he felt was too obvious on his face, too loud in his thoughts. “I’m saying that it might be safer for you to leave, but I want you to stay.”

Baekhyun jerked slightly, a fluttering hand coming up to push a lock of silver hair behind his ear. “O-oh.”

“I mean, Seojun is so attached.”

“Right. Seojun is definitely attached,” the vampire gave him a lopsided grin, eyes full of mischief.

Chanyeol held his breath, he didn’t dare hope, but Baekhyun’s face was so open, so honest. The vampire stood up and came to stand in front of him. He sank a hand into Chanyeol’s hair and chuckled when the werewolf let out a satisfied hum.

“Alright puppy, I’m staying. I’ll stay.”

Chanyeol woke up the next day feeling incredibly well rested. It felt like all their troubles were building up to a crescendo, but they were far away from the werewolf’s mind.

Baekhyun had said he would stay. Baekhyun had some inkling of his feelings and didn’t choose to get away from him with his friends. Instead he had sat with him for nearly an hour last night, hands carding through his hair and voice soft as he narrated bits of his long and interesting life.

Chanyeol felt on top of the world as he ran down the stairs, feet barely touching the wood in his floating haste. He burst into the kitchen, his smile so wide it was nearly painful.

The sight that met him was so natural, it was the same one everyday and yet he still wasn’t fully used to just how ridiculously happy it made him. Baekhyun was bent over the stove, wearing that ratty apron from their very first morning together, humming a song under his breath as he often did.

Seojun was puttering around at his feet, occasionally looking up and babbling a mess of actual words and baby noises, looking as solemn as ever. He was dressed a little sharper than usual, a bright blue shirt and a pair of adorable little overalls instead of his usual onesies.

“Good morning buddy, you’re looking rather handsome today,” Chanyeol cooed as the kid immediately made a run for him.

He swung him up and gave him a hard squeeze, earning a delightful little giggle.

Miyeokguk?” He exclaimed on seeing the pot Baekhyun set on the counter.

“Our Seojun-ah is turning two today!” Baekhyun chirped happily.

“Biffday! Biffday!” Seojun chimed in.

“No way! How can you be two already? Stop growing so fast!” Chanyeol feigned outrage. He gave a kiss to each cheek before quickly pressing his lips right on Seojun’s happy mouth. “Happy birthday Seojun-ah. May you have many more, each one better than the last.”

Seojun replied with a series of random sounds which Chanyeol took to be heartfelt gratitude. He lowered the baby back onto the floor and sat at the counter. “I wish you would’ve told me earlier. I would’ve done something.”

Baekhyun placed a bowl of rice and eggs in front of him. “That’s exactly why I didn’t tell you. You’ve already done too much.”

“I don’t mind.”

“I know you don’t. But I can’t have you going bankrupt over a pair of meddling intruders now can I?” Baekhyun’s smile was so teasing. “The boys are coming over later with cake, and I’m about to make some japchae. We’re all set.”

“Can I help?” Chanyeol asked, still a bit miffed.

Baekhyun seemed to understand, as he so often did, he stepped closer and placed a hand on Chanyeol’s nape, kneading gently. “You can spend some quality time with Junnie.”

“That...that sounds amazing actually,” Chanyeol replied, his neck feeling hot even though the vampire’s palm was ice cool on his skin.

The sunroom was Chanyeol’s favorite secret in the house. It was just big enough for a couple of easels and a growing pile of art supplies. Its speciality lay in the massive skylight which took up the entire ceiling, letting in glorious beams of sunshine.

It looked magical, tiny dust motes floating in the soft light, looking like fairy dust. Paint cans gleamed and walls were covered in colorful artwork. He didn’t spend nearly enough time in it, but he always felt the happiest when he was there.

Right now though, it looked like a tiny tornado had flown through. Brushes were scattered everywhere and both canvases and his carpet were sporting teeny-tiny footprints and handprints of various colors as Seojun tottered around. There was more paint on him than on the papers Chanyeol had handed him but the baby was unbothered, happily squealing as he squeezed a new color out.

Instead of being annoyed, Chanyeol could only laugh as Seojun created a rainbow hued mess of his special room. He had done a few idle sketches of things that popped into his head, and now he was focused on the one he had chosen to draw. A simple landscape of a snow covered valley, with a little house surrounded by a picket fence. A couple stood just outside the house, hands entwined as the sky above them flourished with the Northern Lights.

Chanyeol stepped back after adding the final spray of stars, admiring his work. “Right, your turn little bud.”

He sat down on the floor, pulled a new canvas out and settled Seojun in between his legs. “Enough fooling around. It’s time to show me what you’ve got.”

Seojun stared up at him and Chanyeol’s heart melted at the twin smudges of paint on each rose tinted cheek. “Paint Chawol?”

“Yes, paint,” Chanyeol whispered as he grabbed Seojun’s hand and dipped it into the first pot before dragging a line across the canvas.

The baby gurgled happily, thrilled with the current situation.

It felt like hours had passed when Chanyeol felt someone’s eyes on them. He looked up to see Baekhyun standing at the door, an impossibly fond expression on his face. The vampire's eyes were a little wet, shining with emotion as he watched Seojun excitedly add a few random splotches before clapping his hands together, signalling he was done.

“Oh wow! A true masterpiece Mr Park Seojun. Definitely museum quality,” Chanyeol enthused loudly. “What do you think, Mr Byun?”

“Absolutely inspired,” Baekhyun answered, holding back a laugh. “He must be a prodigy.”

Their eyes met over Seojun’s head and they exchanged a tender smile, full of meaning.

Seojun swivelled his head between them before getting to his feet and waddling over to grab Baekhyun’s leg. “Baby, paint.”

“No sweetheart, you’ve had enough painting for today,” Baekhyun gently admonished.

Seojun looked like he was going to refuse but Baekhyun reminded him that if he’s a good boy, he’ll get cake soon. The baby immediately dropped the brush he was holding.

The vampire scooped Seojun up, holding him at a distance. “Come on then, let’s get you cleaned up before your uncles get here.”

Chanyeol watched them leave with a chuckle. He stood up and cleared away the papers on the floor, propping up Seojun’s painting on the second easel. He walked by the bathroom where Seojun was sitting in a small tub as Baekhyun lathered his hair with shampoo. Seojun, unlike most kids, loved baths and didn’t cry at all. He had a collection of squeaky toys that absolutely had to be in the tub with him, the favorite of which was a tiny red dinosaur that he had fallen in love with as soon as Chanyeol had handed it to him.

He was gleefully splashing about as Baekhyun washed his hair, his little ducky visor keeping the soapy water out of his eyes.

“That’s the life huh, bud?” Chanyeol asked, tongue in cheek.

Baekhyun looked up with a smirk. “If I recall I’ve washed your hair once too.”

Chanyeol knew his face was probably coloring, but he held his ground. “I’d be happy to return the favor.”

Baekhyun looked genuinely shocked for a second before dipping his head down. “That’s...You…”

“Baby, where duckie?” Seojun interrupted, holding his dinosaur tightly to his chest. Much to Baekhyun’s relief.

“I’ll get it Junnie. You,” Baekhyun looked up, eyes narrowed. “Should go get cleaned up too.”

Chanyeol turned to leave before popping his head back into the bathroom. “It’s a damn shame vampires can’t blush, Mr Byun.”

He jumped back just in time to miss being struck by a swiftly thrown rubber duck.

Chanyeol quickly showered in his en-suite and stood in front of his mirror. He didn’t know if Baekhyun was going to dress up fancier than usual. Although the vampire had been dressed in an immaculate suit when they first met, these days he was mostly in oversized shirts, sometimes Chanyeol’s, and baggy pants.

In the end he decided not to embarrass himself, and settled for a loose sweatshirt and his best jeans. He took an extra minute to style his dark hair into the comma shape Baekhyun had shown him. He didn’t look half bad, he thought to himself as he went downstairs.

As he reached the last step he heard the doorbell ring. He could smell the vampires even before he had opened the door to let them in.

Sehun gave him a small smile, Jongin following behind without so much as a glance, holding a cake box in his hands. The vampire set the box down on the coffee table and sat down, face stony. Chanyeol was completely fine with that. He told them Baekhyun would be down in a minute and took a seat on the couch, scrolling through his phone.

“Do you know Joohyun?” Sehun asked suddenly.

“Uh...yeah. How do you know her?” Chanyeol asked, startled.

“Baek hyung mentioned you’re in Kim Junmyeon’s pack. I’ve met Joohyun a few times. She’s close with a friend of mine,” Sehun smiled.

Chanyeol was glad that the vampire had taken the initiative to make conversation, the air had been too tense. “Do you live in our area?”

“I come and go, sometimes Seoul, sometimes here. No chains anymore right?” Sehun quipped. “I think I might have even seen you at one of Seulgi’s parties?”

“Oh! Yes, Joohyun had dragged me to one a few months ago. Small world,” Chanyeol commented.

As he was fishing for what to say next, Seojun’s loud voice entered the room before he did, looking adorable in a little baby button down and his hair neatly parted. Baekhyun followed close behind, wearing his best dress shirt and slacks from that first night. He had foregone the suit jacket and left the first few buttons undone. His hair was styled up and his sleeves rolled to his elbows to help him easily set up the cake and wrangle Seojun.

He looked ethereal, heart crushingly beautiful and Chanyeol felt all the wind knock out of him when Baekhyun met his eyes. He stood up, unsure of what he was even doing.

“Happy birthday Seojun-ah!” Sehun and Jongin shouted at the same time, breaking the moment.

Chanyeol stepped back, dazed. He remained frozen as they got out the cake and added two long candles. Sehun whipped out a sizeable stack of presents from the bag he’d been carrying earlier. Seojun was beyond himself, cackling like a tiny madman as they positioned him in front of the cake and told him to first make a wish before blowing out the candle.

He seemed confused as Baekhyun squatted next to him and clasped his small hands with his own. But he took it in his stride, just excited to be a part of whatever was making the adults so excited. As they were getting ready to sing, Seojun suddenly looked around until he spotted Chanyeol standing at the corner of the room.

“Chawol! Come here,” Seojun demanded, as if shocked that he wasn’t next to him already.

“Ah it’s fine Junnie,” Chanyeol muttered, feeling Jongin’s eyes on him. “Baby is with you right?”

Sehun blinked at the exchange, staring at Jongin as if to say Baby?!

Seojun stomped one tiny foot on the ground. “Baby and Chawol. Come here.”

“Yeol-ah, it’s his birthday, all commands must be obeyed,” Baekhyun said serenely, one brow raised in challenge.

Chanyeol pushed past Jongin and knelt down on the other side of Seojun, grinning at Baekhyun over the top of his head. “Of course.”

So they all sang to Seojun, who took each of their hands in one of his and bent his head sombrely, making a wish of who knows what. He blew out the candles and threw his arms up in a happy cheer.

He insisted on feeding Chanyeol and Baekhyun cake first before they fed him and successfully covered the entirety of his Uncle Jongin’s shirt in frosting. They sat around the table and ate cake, everyone relaxed now that Seojun was there to brighten up the atmosphere. He hopped from one adult to the next, melting them until he had them all wrapped around his little frosting sticky fingers.

Eventually even Jongin cracked, having always loved kids. He laughed loudly at the stories of Seojun’s antics that Chanyeol narrated. The young vampires had bought a bottle of vintage wine, apparently the nicest one in Sehun’s collection. Baekhyun looked a little tipsy after a single glass.

They all ate dinner while still on the floor, Seojun having to be forced to eat at least a little miyeokguk since he was full from all the cake the adults had unknowingly sneaked him.

“He’s a dangerous one hyung, be careful,” Jongin warned jokingly.

Baekhyun laughed, tucking Seojun’s hair back into place. The baby had found his way to the vampire at the end of all the commotion and had slumped into his arms, looking sleepy. “All tuckered out aren’t you?”

“He looks like he’s about to drop off any second. We’ll get going, hyung. We are still staying in the city for now, please keep us updated,” Sehun said as he stood up and pulled Jongin to his feet.

Chanyeol walked them to the door, thanking them for coming. Jongin gave him a long stare at the door but nodded his head and flashed him a beautiful smile before getting into their car.

When he returned to the living room, Baekhyun was still on the floor, bent over Seojun and singing softly to him. Chanyeol cleaned up, as quiet as possible, letting the singing wash over him too. By the time he had everything cleared away, Baekhyun was back after putting Seojun to sleep. He was on the floor, sitting down with one knee propped up and his chin resting on it.

“A jeon for your thoughts?” Chanyeol sat down next to him.

Baekhyun startled, “Jeon isn’t even used anymore.”

“Neither are pennies.”

“Touché, Park Chanyeol.” Baekhyun was looking up at him through his lashes, lips stretched into a lazy smile.

“Are you really this tipsy over one glass of wine? Vampires are famous for their alcohol tolerance.”

“I’ve had a bad time with alcohol since my human days,” Baekhyun giggled. “You know I can only eat human food in small amounts, we did it for Seojun today. I’m already a bit weakened.”

“Do you want to lie down?” Chanyeol started getting up, alarmed.

“No, don’t be silly,” Baekhyun protested, pulling him down with a strong hand. “Sit here and talk to me.”

“Today was really great Baek, Seojun had such a great time.”

“He did, didn’t he? I’m glad. I just…” Baekhyun broke off, a shadow crossing over his features. “I feel so guilty sometimes, Chanyeol. It keeps me up at night.”

Chanyeol immediately took one of the vampire’s hands in his, squeezing gently. “Baekhyun, there’s nothing you could’ve done. You got him out at least. And you dote on him just as much as a parent would.”

“I see it on his face sometimes, the confusion. I think he’s searching for them, trying to remember them,” Baekhyun’s voice cracked. “It breaks my heart every time.”

Chanyeol forgot propriety, he forgot about the rigid control he’d been exercising for the past few weeks. He pulled Baekhyun to his chest, running one large hand down his back. “Hey, trust me, you’re doing amazing. He loves you so much and he’s going to have a great life. Later one day we can tell him the truth.”

It slipped out without him realizing, the ‘we’ divulging too many of his hidden wishes. He clamped his mouth shut, almost not even breathing.

Baekhyun tensed for a horrible second, before relaxing against him again. “He loves you too, you know. I’ve never seen him take to someone so quickly. Even everyone’s favorite uncle Jongin spent a couple of weeks buttering him up.”

Baekhyun’s voice was carefully neutral, as if he didn’t want to scare Chanyeol away. The werewolf was not scared though, they had been tiptoeing around each other, eyes flashing with emotion when they thought the other wasn’t looking, hands reaching out before dropping back down. It had been going on for way too long.

Chanyeol didn’t mind taking it slow however, not when it came to Baekhyun.

“You’re quite close to him aren’t you?” Chanyeol tried to keep the last vestiges of bitterness out of his voice, but he probably failed.

Baekhyun was fully leaning into his body now, running his slim fingers across the hand that was on the werewolf’s lap. “I’m close to them both. I sired them, the only two vampires in the world who have my blood running through them.”

“O-oh! I…I had no idea.” Chanyeol couldn’t hide his shock. “But also, isn’t that a pretty small number for a Firstborn?”

“Indeed it is,” Baekhyun chuckled. “I had no interest in siring new vampires. Some see it as an extension of their legacy. Why do you need a legacy when you’re going to be immortal?”

Chanyeol briefly looked at the man in his arms, his silver hair tousled as he focused on Chanyeol’s other hand, twisting it this way and that. With all the domesticity of their daily life, Chanyeol tended to forget that Baekhyun was almost a legend. There were only a handful of Firstborn, the small group of vampires who were rumored to be turned by Ambrogio himself. He was probably incredibly powerful.

And yet he felt small pressed against him, birdlike.

“I had known them when they were humans, Sooyoung and Sungjae had a large group of friends, they’re the ones who introduced me to Sehun and Jonginnie. They were young and in love, had their whole lives ahead of them,” Baekhyun continued on his own, knowing Chanyeol was listening. “It was a drunk driver, he had left them bleeding on the street. I couldn’t let them die so easily. I knew that maybe it wasn’t what they would have wanted, but I had to take the chance.”

Chanyeol could feel the way Baekhyun began to tremble slightly, this must be another thing that consumed him. “They seem very happy, Baek.”

“Yes,” Baekhyun pushed off him, finally looking into his eyes. “They get to travel and make memories together, they never forget to thank me. Sometimes I think it’s all fated, you know.”

Chanyeol held still as Baekhyun cupped his jaw, leaning so close that if he was still breathing, Chanyeol would feel it against his lips. “Written in the stars.”

Baekhyun pressed closer and Chanyeol felt his next breath getting caught in his chest. Just then both their powerful ears heard a soft mewl from Seojun’s room and they sprang apart.

“I’ll go,” Chanyeol stood up, nearly tripping over himself in his haste. He left Baekhyun staring at him, eyes wide and mouth still parted, as he turned and ran up the stairs.

Seojun was still asleep, he had only been whimpering a bit. Yet Chanyeol sat with him for long minutes, calming his thundering heart. Baekhyun had been so close, his eyes swirling with something Chanyeol was terrified to put a name to.

Yes, all he’s been doing is hoping, stupidly hoping for something. For Baekhyun to always be smiling at him, for Seojun to wake him up with his messy kisses. For them to stay just the way they were, in their own perfect little world.

He never had a family, never had anyone to call his own. From foster care in his childhood to hopping from pack to pack, staying on the fringes before cutting ties and moving to the next, he had never known permanence. And now he yearned, he wanted it so badly with Baekhyun that it hurt.

But wasn’t it only a matter of time before they left him?

After a few more minutes of cataloguing his thoughts, he closed Seojun’s door softly behind him. Hearing a noise from his sunroom, he walked in to find Baekhyun standing in the middle of the room, staring at the painting he had finished that afternoon.

“It’s beautiful, Yeol-ah,” Baekhyun breathed. “You’re so talented.”

Chanyeol scratched the back of his neck, acutely embarrassed. “It’s okay, nothing great. It relaxes me and...today I was inspired.”

Baekhyun remained silent, looking around the room until his eyes caught the edge of a piece of paper stuffed in between two canvases. He pulled it out, mouth dropping open when he realized what it was. “Is this…?”

Chanyeol tried to make a grab for it but Baekhyun had already gently placed it back. The vampire turned to look at him with those nearly drooping eyes, bow lips, bitten red.

“I was just messing around, sketching random things that popped into my head,” Chanyeol swallowed as Baekhyun sauntered forward.

“So I was in your head?”

He nearly tripped on his way over, letting out the cutest giggle, he caught on to the hem of Chanyeol’s sweatshirt and pulled himself upright, and much closer. The room was dark save for the moonlight streaming in through the ceiling, bright enough to see the subtle glow across Baekhyun’s cheekbones, the wetness of his mouth as a tongue came out to swipe at his lips.

“Why do you always wear such big shirts anyway?” Baekhyun sounded petulant.

“I think it’s time for you to head to bed,” Chanyeol chuckled. He remembered Baekhyun had been a little tipsy earlier, although he sounded serious while they were talking, maybe sobriety came and went.

“Chanyeol,” He didn’t look very tipsy as he gazed up at him, hands still twisting in his shirt.

In fact he had never looked this clear and determined in all the time they had spent together.

“Did you fully understand what it meant when you asked us to stay?” Baekhyun asked suddenly, startling the werewolf.

“Of course-“

“Do you want all the trouble, little pup?”

“Baek…”

“Do you really want us? Do you...do you really want me?” Baekhyun choked a little on the last word, his eyes imploring.

Chanyeol felt all the air leave his body in a whoosh. Of relief. Of anticipation.

Of joy.

“I think I’ve wanted you from the moment I met you, Baekhyun.”

The kiss was soft, so tender, but Chanyeol felt like he was swirling through the eye of a hurricane. One minute he had been looking down at Baekhyun, the next minute he was hauled down and feeling the wet press of Baekhyun’s lips against his.

Chanyeol’s blood was pounding past his ears, he never expected Baekhyun to reciprocate his feelings, knowing he had tried his best to keep him at arm's length from day one. Yet, the way he was being held right now, the vampire’s hands so gentle on his face, told him that maybe Baekhyun had been keeping some of his own feelings to himself.

Baekhyun cupped his jaw with one hand, wrapping the other around his waist, trying to press closer. Chanyeol brought both his hands up to hold Baekhyun’s face, feeling the magic of the moment cascade through him in waves. They kissed over and over again, barely there butterfly kisses that had Chanyeol’s stomach flip-flopping.

How long has he waited for exactly this, to touch Baekhyun, to be touched by him.

After a few minutes, the tender meeting of lips wasn’t enough. Baekhyun’s hand slipped from his jaw to the collar of his shirt, twisting and pulling down until he was nearly bent over the vampire.

The kiss turned ravenous, almost painful, as if Baekhyun wanted to devour him whole. His teeth grazed across the wolf’s bottom lip, tongue pushing at the seam of his mouth until it opened.

A delirious fire of lust burned through Chanyeol, his mind in a haze but with a singular focus. He sucked Baekhyun’s tongue into his mouth, swallowing his broken moans. His hands moved of their own accord over a taut chest before digging into his small waist.

Baekhyun wrapped his arms around the werewolf’s neck and hoisted himself up, never taking his mouth off Chanyeol's. “You don’t even...God you don’t know how much I thought about this. Chanyeol...oh.”

Chanyeol barely registered the words, he had his hands full of Baekhyun’s bottom. He kneaded the supple flesh, running his mouth along his jaw, licking where it met his ears, earning him a deliciously wanton sound.

With a grunt Baekhyun pulled his face back and reconnected their lips, tangling his tongue with his. He wrapped his legs around the wolf’s waist, grinding against the hardness he could feel between them.

Chanyeol managed to pull the vampire’s dress shirt from where it was neatly tucked into his pants, running his palms up his spine, feeling the cool, soft skin beneath them. “You drove me insane Baekhyun, I didn't know whether I wanted to shut you up or kiss you senseless.”

Baekhyun gasped as Chanyeol found his neck again, he sucked harshly, running his teeth over the pale skin. “Just for...ah, your information, kissing would’ve...ah, solved both your problems.”

Chanyeol smirked, it was so very Baekhyun to be a know-it-all even when his hands were nearly down the vampire’s pants. He walked them over to the nearest wall, feeling drunk with desire. He slammed Baekhyun against it, knowing the vampire could take it, his loud moan proving him right.

Chanyeol kissed up his neck until he could recapture those perfect lips, pulling at the bottom one before letting it go with a pop. Baekhyun chased his retreating mouth, “Shirt. Ah, shirt off.”

The vampire already had it hiked around his waist, Chanyeol only had to lift his arms. As he was about to, he heard a loud cry from the guest bedroom. It was as if ice water had been poured on them both, Chanyeol let go of Baekhyun and the vampire slowly slid off him and stepped back.

Seojun’s crying had softened but they didn’t dare move. They stared at each other, taking stock of the situation. Chanyeol’s hair was a mess from Baekhyun’s fingers, his sweatshirt still bunched up around his waist, his lips still swollen, glistening. He was breathing hard, chest rising and falling rapidly.

The vampire hadn’t fared any better. His pressed dress shirt was now a rumpled mess, more buttons open than closed. Faint bruises were already blooming on his neck. He staggered against the wall, pressing a hand to his chest. “I think...I think we should stop. Seojun…”

Chanyeol knew he was right, but that didn’t stop the disappointment  from seeping in. He was painfully hard in his pants. A quick look at Baekhyun showed he was facing the same problem. The vampire laughed softly, unable to resist the comedy of the situation.

He came over and straightened Chanyeol’s shirt and tried to get his hair to some semblance of normalcy. All the while looking so utterly enamored, heart achingly fond. He stood up on his tiptoes and pressed a soft kiss to the wolf’s lips. “We have a great deal of time ahead of us, this was only the first taste. Goodnight, little pup.”

 

+++

“Silence!” Junmyeon roared.

The atrium was full of noise, more so than usual. The werewolves were agitated, frustrated by how long this was taking to solve. Every new lead resulted in the same thing, a dead end with no further clues.

Now they were ganging up, turning on each other in their anger.

“I understand your frustrations, this is something we have not experienced before. The amount of damage, the lives lost, it’s no small number. However, I assure you, the Lycaon is doing everything in its power to track this monster down,” Junmyeon spoke in a calm and level voice, demanding attention.

“At this stage, we have completely eradicated the Fae from our investigation. The Lady of the Faerie Court cooperated with our investigation and was acquitted of any suspicion,” Changmin informed. “Unfortunately that has brought us to a cold lead once again.”

Chanyeol thrummed his fingers on his leg, anxious. He felt too useless in this situation. Out of everyone gathered here he probably wanted to solve it the most, to avenge Seojun’s parents, to clear Baekhyun of any accusation.

Something was niggling at the back of his mind, but he simply couldn’t catch it.

“I have something to say,” Hyungsik stood up.

Chanyeol felt the hair on the back of his neck rise up. This can’t be good.

“I found out some interesting information. The Firstborn, a Byun Baekhyun. He was close friends with a human family. Yook Sungjae and Park Sooyoung.”

“Does this have any relevance, Hyungsik?” Junmyeon interrupted.

“Of course pack leader Kim, I’m not one to waste the time of my brothers. They had a child, Park Seojun. If you all remember, he was reported missing.”

A wave of murmurs swept through the atrium, the werewolves looking at each other with grim expressions.

“I’ve begun tracking his scent, it disappears somewhere along the edge of the city, where our woods begin. I contacted the local blood bank but they told me the vampire hasn’t contacted them in months,” Hyungsik continued, clearly displeased.

Good old Mr Kang, Chanyeol thought to himself, feeling some relief.

“I think he instigated it. Those old vampires are usually bored. He took the kid with him and fled the scene. I think we should focus on him for now,” Hyunsik finished, looking at the pack leaders with one brow raised, as if challenging them to disagree.

“There are more leads pointing to Nyctophilia, it’s good work Hyungsik but nearly all hypotheses,” Siwon said gently.

Chanyeol sagged back in his seat, thanking every force in the heavens for Choi Siwon.

“And we’ve got jackshit from investigating that lead. I know our golden boy Park came up with that lead, but do we have anything to show for months of interrogations and surveillance?”

Chanyeol was on his feet before he knew it, hands fisted. “We are close to shutting down a front for what is essentially modern day slave trade. Is that not important?”

Hyungsik snorted. “Hero Chanyeol, well done. We still haven’t caught the perpetrator of the worst vampire attack in years. What’s to say they won’t strike again, with more numbers?”

“Hyungsik, Chanyeol…” Junmyeon tried to placate.

“This is a lead. He heard his in a bar and I did thorough work to establish mine. It would be more than foolish to ignore it Kim Junmyeon,” Hyungsik warned.

He sat down and several werewolves spoke out their assent of his plan, standing up and demanding they investigate the Firstborn vampire.

Junmyeon looked around the atrium, full of tired and frustrated werewolves. “Hyungsik, choose a team of three and follow your lead. Let us know of any developments.”

Chanyeol sat down, defeated. He ignored Joohyun’s concerned glance in his direction. His mind was spinning, he couldn’t see any way out of this. He didn’t realize the atrium had emptied out until he felt a soft touch on his shoulder.

He looked up to see Junmyeon standing over him, a kind smile on his face.

“Everything okay Chanyeol?” He asked, sitting down next to him.

“Oh yeah. I’m just a little distracted. This case is...frustrating.”

“It is. Knowing you, this must be killing you huh?” Junmyeon laughed. “You like to go in guns blazing.”

He did. He used to be like that. Things were different now, he wasn’t the only person he had to think of.

“I see your life is going interestingly. Did you meet someone nice at the club?”

Chanyeol whipped his head to look at his pack leader, completely confused. “What are you talking about?”

“Oh come now! You reek of vampire, Yeol.” Junmyeon nudged him with his elbow, no judgement in sight.

Chanyeol felt heat suffuse his cheeks, his ears were hot. His goodbye to Baekhyun this morning had been a little more...emotional than he had expected. He should’ve thought about this before pushing the vampire against the door and kissing him like he was never going to see him again.

“I never thought I’d see the day Park Chanyeol blushed,” Junmyeon stood up. “I’m happy for you kid, you deserve someone to love you as much as you love reckless adventure.”

Chanyeol chuckled, standing up as well. “Yeah he’s…he’s something.”

“Make sure you introduce me soon. And Yeol, people might talk, but that’s because of the situation right now. You know better than anyone that we are all just trying to survive here, don’t let anyone get to you,” Junmyeon gave him a last thump on his shoulder and left the room.

Chanyeol still felt incredibly lost but he was glad he at least had a handful of people within the pack he could trust.

There was music playing from the living room when Chanyeol stepped into the house. It seemed that Baekhyun had found out how to work his vinyl player, something the vampire had been tinkering with for days.

“Oh hi! You’re back earlier than you said you would be,” Baekhyun hurried forward and put both hands on his chest.

He leaned up and pressed a quick kiss to the werewolf’s lips. Chanyeol closed his eyes, never in a million years did he think he would be someone who got an excited welcome home kiss.

“Chanyeol-ah, what’s wrong?” Baekhyun was immediately worried, pulling Chanyeol to the couch.

“Hyungsik figured out about your connection to Seojun. He made all three packs agree to hunting you.” Chanyeol put his head in his hands, he couldn’t even look at Baekhyun right now.

The vampire was silent for a long time. When he finally spoke, his voice was brittle. “What would happen to Seojun if I...if I turned myself in?”

“Baekhyun! No! I won’t let you!” Chanyeol jerked off the couch, stupefied. “We’ll figure this out!”

“They might be more lenient, I have nothing to hide, little pup,” Baekhyun reasoned.

He looked calm as ice, but his eyes were shimmering with wetness and his hands shook when they came up to hold Chanyeol’s.

“Baek,” Chanyeol knelt at the vampire’s feet. “It’s not so simple...they’re frustrated and angry and they would rip you to pieces.”

Baekhyun sniffled once before schooling his features back to a solemn expression. “I’ll listen to whatever you say.”

“Good. Okay, great.” Chanyeol huffed a breath of relief. “Give me some time and I’ll figure this out okay?”

“Okay,” Baekhyun took his face in his hands, idly rubbing his thumbs across the werewolf’s cheekbones. “I really am glad it was you who found me in that alley.”

Chanyeol laughed, this time genuinely. He turned his head to press a kiss to Baekhyun’s palm. “Like you said, it was written in the stars.”

Baekhyun squeezed his cheeks before getting up to wake Seojun from his nap.

The next two days were tense, Baekhyun seemed to be waiting for the other shoe to drop and seeing the vampire worried made Chanyeol’s stomach twist.

He himself was barely holding on, distracting Seojun from Baekhyun’s sullen mood while simultaneously looking into anything that would tell him more about the Lady. He sent several messages to Yixing, begging him to help.

“So what are our options?” Baekhyun asked after they had finished doing the dishes.

“If we find the person who actually did it, they’d leave you alone.”

“And if you don’t?”

“Worse comes to worst, we face the Lycaon together,” Chanyeol sighed. “I testify for you. You said the Gualtiero will help. It might take a while but in the end it’ll be fine.”

Baekhyun looked distracted, hands clasping at each other uselessly. “Aren’t you worried about the repercussions? If you hadn’t saved me…”

“There’s no point in talking about that,” Chanyeol snapped. “You promised you’d stay, Baekhyun.”

Baekhyun only hummed, giving him a soft smile before going upstairs. Chanyeol trudged up to his own room after a few hours, eyes heavy with sleep. He lay on his empty bed, going over his options. Hyungsik could be at their door any day now, it would blow up beyond control once they found out what Chanyeol had been doing.

A safe house seemed their best bet, to hide Baekhyun and Seojun away until the true culprit was found. Chanyeol fell asleep in his jeans and shoes, mind crowded with half formed plans.

He was woken up in the middle of the night by a rustling sound. Still groggy, he wasn’t sure if it wasn’t a dream when he felt a cold hand caress his face.

“Seojun wants to sleep with you tonight,” Baekhyun placed the baby next to him, giving him a few pats.

It must be a dream, Chanyeol thought, because the vampire didn’t even sound like himself. He had confirmed it was a dream when he felt little droplets on his face, must be raining.

“I didn’t want it to be like this. But it’s the best way. I’m sorry Chanyeol and...thank you. For everything.”

Chanyeol snuggled deeper into his blanket, wanting this bad dream to end. He jerked a little, hoping it dissipated, and after a few minutes, when there was only silence, he sighed and sunk back into slumber.

 

The watery morning sunlight was only just filtering through the curtains when Chanyeol felt an insistent tugging on his hair.

“Ouch! Quit it!” He muttered irritably. “Seojun, go back to sleep.”

“Chawol~,” Seojun crooned, yanking another tuft of his hair. “Up up. Hungwy.”

Chanyeol finally opened his eyes, giving up on any extra sleep. “Didn’t Baby make anything yet?”

When he received no reply, he sat up straighter, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. Seojun immediately climbed on to his lap, resting his head against his chest.

“Aww, clingy today aren’t we? Are you just using me because Baekhyun is busy?” He laughed when the baby adamantly shook his head.

He heard for sounds from the kitchen, but the house was completely quiet. Could he still be asleep? It was unlikely, Baekhyun only needed to rest his eyes for a few hours, and he tended to wake up earlier when he was sleeping alone.

Just then, Chanyeol saw a piece of paper poking out from his unused pillow. With an uneasy feeling in his gut he opened up the neatly folded paper. Baekhyun’s loopy scrawl looked back at him and he felt his heart clench painfully.

My Chanyeol,

Please do not be angry. I can’t sit back and watch you be punished for something you never meant to do. Sehun and Jongin will come by and pick Seojun up, they can present him to the Lycaon as being safe and unharmed.

I did not want them to find you with me. I will wait this out until you find the culprit. I know you will do it.

This is for everyone’s well being, little pup, and I hope in time you can forgive me.

Yours eternally,
Baekhyun

 

Chanyeol read the letter twice before crushing it in his fist. He felt hot tears form behind his eyes as he tried to come to terms with what Baekhyun had done. Seojun made another displeased mewl and the werewolf felt a new wave of devastation. How the hell was he going to explain yet another loved one suddenly disappearing?

He cooked a soup that wasn’t nearly as good as Baekhyun’s and painstakingly fed it to the baby. He put all thoughts out of his head and played with Seojun until the child got tired enough to fall asleep right on the living room floor. That’s when Chanyeol sat back and let the tears finally fall.

He realized he’d been a fool from the start, to think that everything would simply fall into place because he so desperately wanted it to. Baekhyun’s reason was from the good of his heart, but Chanyeol couldn’t help his feelings of inadequacy.

It cut like knives, knowing he had been abandoned yet again. That he couldn’t even keep Seojun with him. Just as waters of sorrow crashed over him, rage came too. What gave Baekhyun the right to make this decision? How could he leave without a single thought for what he was leaving behind?

He stayed on the floor, nursing his head in his hands, emotions warring with each other. After an hour or so his doorbell rang. Chanyeol opened his door, expecting the guests already.

Both of them looked apologetic, even embarrassed to be there. Sehun gave him an awkward pat on the back before heading to the living room. It only infuriated Chanyeol even more, but he held it in.

“Chanyeol,” Jongin began and the werewolf curled his hands in preparation of whatever smug remark he would pass.

Instead his next words were a heartfelt “I’m sorry.”

Chanyeol jerked a little, as if he was hit. Everything suddenly was too real, too suffocating. They looked like they were here to deliver the gravest news and it put him on edge like never before.

“Where is he?” He got out through gritted teeth.

“We don’t know…” Sehun whispered, clearly feeling pity.

“Like hell you don’t! He can’t just run off in the middle of the night!” Chanyeol fought to keep his voice from cracking.

“Chanyeol, calm down. We’re telling the truth. Baek hyung called us and briefly told us what happened. He told us to keep our jet in the usual hangar but he never showed up. We even went by his old apartment and there was no trace of him,” Jongin explained.

Sehun nodded miserably, as if hurt by Chanyeol’s distrust.

The werewolf set his jaw and looked away, trying his hardest to not break in front of them. “So he’s gone.”

There was a long pause when no one said anything. After all Chanyeol hadn’t been asking a question.

“It’s only until this gets solved. He wouldn’t leave Seojun behind,” Sehun spoke up. “He’ll be back, I’m sure of it.”

Chanyeol wanted to ask him how he was so sure. Seojun might have gotten used to them but he was still young, impressionable. If he never saw either of them again he would still grow up to be a happy child who was loved. Sehun and Jongin adored him.

Yet, it didn’t feel right. Nothing about this situation felt right.

“Please call me if you hear anything. If you...if it’s okay with both, I’d like to still visit Junnie now and then,” Chanyeol murmured, head hung low.

“Of course Chanyeol! You can come by anytime,” Jongin said warmly.

Chanyeol nodded. He sank down until he was next to Seojun, who was still sleeping soundly. Understanding, the two vampires got up and left, telling him they’ll wait outside.

Chanyeol picked Seojun up and the baby slowly blinked his eyes open, a pout was already forming at being woken up. Chanyeol kissed the pout with a laugh. “Sorry, Seojun-ah. Although I’m not fully sorry that I’m giving you away to those pretty boys at your crankiest.”

Seojun gurgled and mumbled some sounds before closing his eyes again. Chanyeol preferred this, he couldn’t bear to say goodbye when Jun was looking at him, his little cherub face always glowing, always happy.

“This isn’t goodbye, not really. I’ll come visit you all the time. I’ll bring you strawberry cake and home run balls. You should be good with uncle Sehun and Jongin okay?” Chanyeol took a deep breath, not wanting to break down again.

“I’ll come back for you. I’ll find Baekhyun and I’ll come back for you Seojunnie. Your place is with us. I love you little one.” Chanyeol wiped away the tear that landed on the baby’s chubby cheek.

After staring at him for a few minutes, he finally stood up and headed outside to drop Seojun off. Jongin took the baby as Sehun loaded up the car with the things Chanyeol had packed.

“He doesn’t like kimchi but weirdly likes spicy food. Oh and he hates jazz, always cries when Baekhyun plays it,” Chanyeol told Jongin. “He won’t take a bath without his rubber dinosaur. He...he likes kisses before bed.”

Chanyeol stepped back, not wanting to stay longer. He didn’t know what else he’d blurt out. He nodded at both of them and closed his door, sliding to the floor once he heard the car start. Tomorrow they’d come to the Lycaon and claim they had taken Seojun out of the country to distract from his parents death.

Meanwhile he had to face an empty house, heartbreakingly soundless. He didn’t even feel like eating. Instead, he roamed around the same few rooms until he got drowsy. He entered the guest bedroom last, steeling himself.

It smelled of him, the now familiar bergamot and sage wrapping around him instantly. There were the piles of books he’d dug up from around the house and had brought over from his own library at home. His clothes were still in the small cupboard, neatly folded. Chanyeol sat on the bed and held back his anger, the crushing sense of betrayal.

Was this the only way? Couldn’t Baekhyun have confided in him? They could have faced it together, a team. But the vampire had decided to take things into his own hands, not leaving any room for alternatives, pushing Chanyeol out and leaving him all alone.

He regretted not saying the things he should’ve said, the feelings he had kept bottled up for so long because Baekhyun was supposed to be the bad guy. They’d had barely a day of hungry kisses and starved touches before he had disappeared.

Chanyeol’s hands shook with the unfairness of it all, the way he couldn’t decide between sorrow or anger, bitterness making him weak. Beaten, he sunk into the sheets that held Baekhyun’s scent, cocooning himself in the warmth and comfort they provided even when the person himself wasn’t there.

 

+++

It was the slowest week of his life. Chanyeol was constantly on the line between restless and exhausted. He had renewed his search for the true culprit, mapping out everyone he had spoken to, what they had said, the connections to Nyctophilia.

He delved into old news articles, around the time the club was established. Other than a few obscure stories mentioning the mysterious “Lady”, he found nothing concrete. It was like the founder of the club was nothing more than whispers and mist.

Sehun and Jongin spoke privately to the three pack leaders and planted their false story. They claimed they had found Seojun left behind at their friend Baekhyun’s residence. Believable since it was on record that he had known Sooyoung and Sungjae. They denied knowing about any of his whereabouts and added enough truth to their tale of grieving friends to sell it.

It didn’t end the search for Baekhyun, but it definitely slowed it down a bit. Chanyeol only knew about it since Sehun told him, it would have looked suspicious for him to have accompanied them. In any case, he wasn’t in any mind to even step out of his house.

He was a zombie roaming the now silent space, listless and morose. Sometimes he drove around the city, once even going back to where he had found Baekhyun that night so long ago. He couldn’t gather the courage to ask Jongin for Baekhyun’s address, his pride keeping him shackled. He sent continued to send messages to Yixing, imploring for any information.

At the Lycaon, things were cresting to an ultimatum and it was inevitable that he would be incriminated. Hyungsik was a pain to deal with but he was an infallible tracker. He will obviously be led to Chanyeol’s house since Baekhyun had spent so much time there. To mitigate some of the risk, Chanyeol cleared out the house of every trace of Baekhyun and Seojun.

It had hurt, ripping open wounds that were barely beginning to heal. Every time he found a spare toy under the couch or a tiny colorful spoon in the cutlery drawer he was immediately bowled over by the intense longing. He’d have to take a minute to walk away, breath deep and compose himself before ruthlessly packing the stray belongings into large boxes he put in a rented storage space.

At the end of two weeks he could barely smell the trace himself and he slowly began to relax. On a slow Tuesday morning, Yixing finally got back to him, asking him to come to the bar. Chanyeol didn’t want a repeat of the last time, so he took his time in getting to the Cauldron, well after sunset.

“Finally! Do you know how long I’ve been waiting?” Yixing exclaimed as soon as he entered.

Chanyeol frowned at him, annoyed that he was now the center of attention.

Unlike the day time, the bar was nearly full, big groups and couples occupied the circular tables, a row of lone drinkers sat at the bar counter. They all turned to look at the werewolf. Chanyeol took the only stool left, immediately ordering a drink. Anything to speed up the process.

Yixing slid his beer to him, placing a bowl of peanuts next to it with a wink. “You look like you’re in a great mood.”

“Zhang, I am not the best person to instigate right now,” Chanyeol muttered, taking a long glug of his drink. “What did you find out?”

“Many years ago, there was a very powerful vampiress. She was not particularly old, but had a penchant for evil,” Yixing immediately began telling the tale in his ludicrous way. “Some say she was attacked by another vampire, making her seek revenge. But if that was how it started, it soon devolved to careless murders and other atrocities.”

Chanyeol listened with an ominous feeling in his heart, he couldn’t explain why he suddenly felt a little sick.

“Unlike previous rogue vampires, she wasn’t seeking power,” Yixing continued. “In fact she was infamously reclusive, to the point where few even knew her name.”

A clearly very drunk faerie came up to the counter, thumping her delicate hand loudly on the wood. “A-another Vampire Vodka Twist and...and a Sorcerer’s Sangria p-please.”

Her face was flushed bright red but she kept herself upright as she waited for Yixing to make the drinks. Chanyeol smiled to himself at the kitschy names of the drinks. The warlock was so damn eccentric at times.

“Hi there handsome,” the girl crooned, putting one hand on his shoulder. “I’m Rose, what’s your name?”

Chanyeol was about to brush her off when he suddenly remembered her. “You! You were here the last time! With your friend who was dumped!”

The girl’s eyes widened, she stepped back. “That’s really creepy mister.”

Chanyeol twisted in his seat, hoping she wouldn’t run back to her friends. “No no, I’m with the Lycaon, I...we were investigating the vampire attack at the time, that’s why I remembered.”

This seemed to placate the girl, who glared at the person sitting next to Chanyeol until he gave up the seat with a grumble. “Oh! So you’re like a cop.”

She popped the ‘p’ and stared at him expectantly. Chanyeol kept his expression neutral so as to not give her any wrong ideas, but he definitely wanted to know if she knew anything else.

“Rose, did your friend ever get back with the vampire?”

“Ugh no, that dude just disappeared. Poor Jaemin was a wreck! He’s dating a werewolf now and honestly it’s so much better,” Rose pouted.

Yixing was putting the last few touches on the drinks, which meant Chanyeol only had one more chance. “You mentioned something about the Lady last time. Did Jaemin get in trouble with the Lady of the Faerie Court?”

“Oh no! She doesn’t really focus on trivial things. But she does get a little bitchy when it comes to Selene you know?”

Chanyeol jerked back. This was the name that was always at the back of his mind, he knew it had some significance. “Can you tell me more about Selene?”

“Um…our Lady just doesn’t like her...uh” the girl hesitated, clearly taken aback by Chanyeol’s sudden enthusiasm. She looked over at Yixing and frowned. “Hey! Why are you just standing there! Give me my drinks!”

Chanyeol was about to grab her wrist and keep her in place but thought better of it at the last moment and went back to his own drink as Rose hopped off the stool and flounced away. “Shit.”

“Sorry kiddo, I stalled for as long as I could. Why’d you have to jump at her like that,” Yixing admonished.

“Selene. It keeps popping up without any connections. Who is she and why does the Lady of the Faerie Court hate her?”

“The Lady has lived for many years and made many enemies. Using her to connect the dots would be exhausting just as much as it will be fruitless,” Yixing refilled the beer Chanyeol had finished without realizing. “Now where was I? Right the vampiress.”

Yixing’s fingers sparked blue and when Chanyeol looked down, he was alarmed to see a tiny sphere of blue light forming in the warlock’s palm. It wasn’t solid, and looked like it had shadows swirling around it. On a closer look, he realized it showed a scene in a field. There were rows of people, lying dead on the ground as vampires walked between their corpses, smiles maniacal.

“This happened around twenty years ago, maybe more, maybe less. It was one of the reasons why the Covenant was made, to protect human beings. No one knows for sure, but more than one hand points to the same vampiress. They believe it was the start of her descent into madness.”

Chanyeol felt sharp tingles of unease shoot across his skin. “Do you know who she is? Is she still alive? Could it all be the same person?”

“The name Selene makes me curious. If she were one and the same, things would be wrapped up pretty nicely don’t you think?” Yixing sighed, as if it was something impossible. He looked like he was in a dream, as if they were talking about flowers or poetry and not murder and evil.

The more Chanyeol thought about it, the more sense it made. An all powerful vampiress, who counted the Lady of the Faerie Court as an enemy, who killed humans for sport.

Chanyeol stood up, a little wobbly on his feet, having drank the two beers too quickly on an empty stomach. “This was really helpful Xing. If you could find anything more about Selene, the Lycaon would be indebted.”

“And what can a group of wolves who think too highly of themselves do for me?” Yixing challenged with a smirk.

“You’re right, we’re just loud and annoying,” Chanyeol laughed and then turned solemn. “Oh and...if you hear about the...other thing I told you about.”

Yixing’s expression softened, as if often did for the lonely, headstrong werewolf who usually claimed this very stool. “If I hear anything about your vampire, I’ll let you know.”

Chanyeol nodded his goodbye and left. He sat in his car for long moments, until he didn’t feel quite so woozy. He started on his way home before changing directions.

It wouldn’t hurt to check one last time right?

The city was desolate, as it had been since the attack. Humans were hesitant to return and the Gualtiero confirmed that all the vampires had made homes somewhere else. Chanyeol drove past the alleyway, feeling nothing as it lay as stranded as ever. Just as he was leaving the city limits, he thought he saw a light flicker on in a distant window. After a second when he looked back, it was dark once more.

The beer had begun playing tricks on him again. It was best to get home as soon as possible. So he drove back through the woods and to his house, knuckles white on the steering wheel.

On the following weekend, he got a message from Junmyeon. A group forward that informed everyone there would be another meeting for the entire pack. Chanyeol read the message and tossed his phone away, uncaring where it landed.

He’d been getting some updates from Jongin. A few pictures of Seojun in new pajamas and playing in the kitchen sink. Some sporadic messages that Chanyeol couldn’t bring himself to read.

It hurt so much. The pain was amplified by his abject loneliness after getting too used to Baekhyun and Seojun’s presence. When had he taken their stay for granted? Assumed they would have years together? It was foolish thinking after all.

Monday morning was dreary with ominous clouds hanging in the air. Chanyeol drove up to Lycaon HQ, toting a massive cup of coffee. He hated the bitter liquid, stayed away from it at all times, but he hadn’t gotten a wink of sleep last night, so now it was essential.

“Hi Chanyeollie, you okay?” Joohyun caught him by the wrist as soon as he entered the building. She had an encouraging smile on her face.

“I’m good noona. Didn’t sleep much last night. You want some of this?” Chanyeol tried to muster all his reserve energy to keep the pretense in front of the pack.

Joohyun scrunched her face in disgust and silently pulled him into the atrium with her, as if afraid to let him wander on his own.

The meeting didn’t last very long, it seemed less about the attack and more about some personnel changes within the pack. Junmyeon announced that Changmin will be leaving for an indefinite period of time and brought them up to speed on all the other petty cases they had to look into.

Chanyeol was finally beginning to relax when Junmyeon stood up and looked right at him.

“Park Chanyeol, please stay back after the meeting.”

Chanyeol’s blood ran cold at the frigid tone of their leader, one that has never been directed at him. Joohyun raised one brow at him, clearly confused. He gave her hand a quick squeeze, and told her not to worry.

Junmyeon’s office was large. It had wall to wall bookshelves and a massive mahogany desk that took up half the room.

“Come on in Chanyeol,” Junmyeon called out.

Chanyeol entered the room, his palms were already slick with sweat. As he expected Hyungsik was already in the room, wearing a sickeningly saccharine smile.

“Junmyeon…” Chanyeol began, silenced when their pack leader glared icily at him.

“Chanyeol, I’ll cut right to the chase. Hyungsik tracked the vampire all the way from the city till only a few meters to your house. Do you have anything to say?”

Chanyeol could nearly hear his heartbeat from how loud it was but he straightened his shoulders and faced them both. “He could’ve passed through when he was fleeing. I’m not sure how this has anything to do with me.”

“Yeah right! You’ve got a savior streak a mile long Park, did you take a liking to the pretty vampire and see if you could save him too?” Hyungsik sneered.

“How do you know he’s pretty?” Chanyeol countered, satisfied when Hyungsik roared in anger.

The other wolf turned to Junmyeon, face contorted. “He was missing from the mission that night and then we track the vampire nearly to his doorstep. Even you should be able to see that things are adding up.”

Junmyeon quirked a brow at the condescending tone. “I am trying to deal with it, Hyungsik. I advise you to exercise a little patience.”

Hyungsik sat down on one of Junmyeon’s chairs with a grunt. Chanyeol on the other hand didn’t move a muscle, trying to keep up his air of indifference.

“We have a warrant to search your home Chanyeol,” Junmyeon revealed.

“Okay. I will fully cooperate with you guys.”

Junmyeon smiled, obviously relieved, even though his eyes remained shuttered. “Thank you Chanyeol. We will come by tomorrow. Hyungsik, I’ll see you then.”

Hyungsik rolled his eyes at the callous dismissal and slowed down to give Chanyeol a smarmy smile before purposefully bumping into his shoulders as he brushed past him to leave.

Chanyeol sighed and sunk into a seat, unable to hold himself up any longer. He put his head in his hands, letting out a small whimper. Junmyeon immediately stood up, coming around the table and standing in front of him.

“It was him wasn’t it? The vampire I smelled on you.”

Chanyeol nodded miserably. Of course Junmyeon was sharp enough to immediately connect the dots. The leader pulled a chair close to him and sat down.

“What have you done, Chanyeol? Do you know how bad this is?” Junmyeon asked in a gentle voice.

“It’s not him Myeon, I can bet my life in it. I know him, he would never!”

“So where is he now? Doesn’t it look so much more suspicious that he’s disappeared?”

“I know...he...he probably thought he was doing the right thing,” Chanyeol muttered. “That if he stays away until we find the real culprit, everything would be fine.”

“This isn’t looking too good, Yeol.”

“Jun, it’s not him.” Chanyeol began to tell him of his hunch, detailing all of the random pieces on the puzzle. He confessed about what had happened with Baekhyun, the months in between, the fact that he really didn’t know where the vampire was now.

When he finished, Junmyeon’s face was stormy. He settled back in his chair. “It seems plausible that it’s Selene and not your vampire.”

“Trust me on this. Give me one last chance,” Chanyeol begged.

“I do trust you, but right now, with the way things are...you won’t be backed by the Lycaon. Since we won’t find anything at your house tomorrow, lay low for a couple weeks and then bring this up at the next meeting okay?”

Chanyeol agreed with a turbulent heart. He was about to get up and leave when Junmyeon took his hand. “I want you to know that this doesn’t change what I told you that day. You deserve happiness, Yeol.”

The wolf gave him a watery smile and thanked him for his understanding. His chest felt heavy with the weight of fear and disappointment. He had no idea where to go from here.

Chanyeol sat on the floor in his living room, his food gone cold already. He had tried to recreate Baekhyun’s dakbokkeumtang except his had turned out watery and bland instead of rich and spicy.

The Lycaon had searched his house a few days ago, going through each room without leaving a single paper or vase unturned. They only didn’t ransack the place because he was a wolf in the pack. Hyungsik had stormed out of the house, face blotchy and red, when they hadn’t found anything.

Junmyeon had stopped to give his shoulder a squeeze and an apologetic smile.

He forced down a few more spoons of rice, knowing he had been missing out on too many meals these past couple of weeks. He pushed his plate away, not having enough energy to wash up immediately. His phone rang and he made no move to answer it. It was only when it rang for a second time that he quickly grabbed it and checked to see who was calling.

On seeing Jongin’s name flash on his screen, his pulse immediately quickened.

“What happened? Is Seojun okay?” He barked into the phone, panic rising.

“Whoa whoa, calm down, he’s great, already asleep,” Jongin placated.

“Oh...ah I’m sorry. I’ve been a little on edge these days. Why are you calling?”

“Um...I shouldn’t be doing this. Sehun even told me not to,” Jongin hesitated and Chanyeol fought to keep his irritation controlled.

“He’s at the old house. We’ve been checking a few times but there wasn’t any sign of it being occupied. He called us now to help get him some blood.”

Chanyeol nearly stopped breathing, he felt lightheaded. “Jongin…”

“We will be dropping by the blood tomorrow but...he’ll be there tonight.”

Chanyeol’s fingers shook as he typed down the address the vampire told him. They continued shaking as he got into his car after nearly sobbing his gratitude to Jongin. He clutched the steering wheel with a white knuckled grip, heart thundering in his chest.

He ran up the stairs to the two story apartment. As he stood outside the single door, he knew Baekhyun was here. He could smell him as if he was already in his arms. He knocked on the door.

There was a thumping noise, as if something was dropped to the floor and then silence.

“Baekhyun, it’s me.”

Chanyeol’s powerful ears picked up the sound of shuffling feet before it was quiet again.

Chanyeol grit his teeth. “Byun Baekhyun I will break this door down.”

The door opened after a minute and the vampire stood at the threshold, chin held high but lower lip trembling. “Property damage is nothing to be joked about. I could have you arrested-“

Chanyeol didn’t wait, pulling Baekhyun to his chest and kissing him, effectively shutting him up, as he himself had advised before. He kicked the door closed once he was inside, not letting go of the vampire for even a second.

Baekhyun didn’t fight it. He mewled softly when Chanyeol pushed his tongue inside his waiting mouth. Chanyeol’s grip was too harsh, he knew that. The fury was simmering underneath the relief and happiness.

He hauled Baekhyun up until his legs were wrapped around his waist. “How could you leave me like that?”

He kissed him before he could answer, not sure he wanted to hear it anyway. Baekhyun licked into his mouth, clutching at his neck.

“You promised! You promised to stay and you...ah fuck,” Chanyeol broke off when he felt the vampire’s wet tongue on his ear, sucking at his earlobe.

“I’m sorry. I thought it was what’s best,” Baekhyun whispered, kissing along his jaw until their mouths were reconnected again.

Chanyeol growled. He moved through the house, Baekhyun hanging off him. When he found the bedroom, he stormed in and threw Baekhyun onto the bed.

“Do you even know how much I missed you? I can’t fucking live without you Baekhyun!” Chanyeol roared.

He pulled off his shirt in one smooth motion, satisfaction seeping in when he saw Baekhyun’s eyes darken. The vampire reached out to touch him but Chanyeol was quick to push him back down.

“You don’t get to touch. Not yet.” Chanyeol said, voice criminally low.

He pulled Baekhyun forward by his waist, then he yanked his pants down while pushing his legs towards his chest, essentially trapping him in place with the pants around his knees. He was flat on his back and only his ass was displayed.

Chanyeol bent down and licked a fat stripe across his cleft. Baekhyun bucked up, gasping, but he couldn’t move, caged with his legs in the air, still encased in his tight pants, knees against his chest. Chanyeol let out a low sound, a warning, before beginning to eat Baekhyun out fervently.

The vampire’s mouth hung open, moan after moan escaping as Chanyeol sucked on his puckered rim. The wolf had his entire face buried in Baekhyun’s ass, thrusting his tongue into the pink hole, feeling it slowly stretch. He would alternatively suck and thrust, making obscene slurping sounds as Baekhyun clutched at the sheets helplessly.

After a few more minutes of the sweet torture, Baekhyun found enough strength to bend down and grab a fistful of Chanyeol’s hair. “More. Give me more.”

Chanyeol pulled off with a string of sticky saliva still connecting him to Baekhyun, more saliva dripped down his chin. It was filthy and the vampire was soaring. Chanyeol grinned wickedly before bending back down, adding in one finger along with his tongue. One became two and eventually there were three fingers moving in and out of Baekhyun, copious amounts of saliva making up for the lack of lube.

Baekhyun urged him to hurry with broken moans of his name, promising he didn’t really feel the sting after these many years. But Chanyeol was resolute. He was sitting back on his haunches now, just watching as Baekhyun unraveled under his touch. He had slipped off his pants and the rest of Baekhyun’s clothes and he could see all of Baekhyun’s flawless, alabaster skin like this.

Chanyeol leaned down to suck on one gorgeous collarbone, laving his tongue into the hollow at his neck. Baekhyun took the opportunity to pull him down against him and plunder his mouth. Chanyeol didn’t resist this time, letting the vampire run his tongue along his teeth before pushing it into his mouth.

While until now the vampire had let himself be manhandled and held down, his own body held centuries of strength. He pushed Chanyeol off him and rolled to straddle his lap in one fluid movement, earning a delightful gasp from the wolf.

It was a sexually charged push and pull, two prime examples of the species, alternately seeking dominance and submission.

The moonlight filtered in through the curtain less windows, illuminating the blush across the wolf’s face as he stared up at the vampire sitting on top of him, pretty as a painting. Baekhyun smirked before swooping down and capturing his lips again.

Chanyeol grabbed at his hips and squeezed, hard enough to bruise. In retaliation Baekhyun ran his teeth across his bottom lip before biting down. When he pulled back there was a smudge of the wolf’s blood on his own lip, which he slowly licked off, making sure Chanyeol was watching.

Chanyeol brought him back down by his nape, kissing him until he was breathless. “Bite me. Feed on me. I know you need blood.”

Baekhyun reared back, shock written all over his face. “Chanyeol, no. I...no I can’t.”

Chanyeol saw how dark blue veins crept up the vampire’s slender neck, knew he was holding back for his sake. It wasn’t all impulse, Chanyeol’s heartbeat sped up at the thought of letting Baekhyun drink from him. The intimacy, the utter surrender.

“I belong to you. I want you to.”

Baekhyun groaned, hands coming down to rest on either side of Chanyeol’s head. “What am I going to do with you little pup?”

“Kiss me first.”

Baekhyun kissed him, slow and relaxed, one hand traveling down his muscled chest to squeeze at a pert nipple. He swallowed Chanyeol’s moan. They moved in tandem, over and over again till the wolf’s lips were swollen and red. Baekhyun kissed his chin, down his neck before latching on to the spot where it met his shoulder. He sucked hard enough to immediately draw blood to the surface, a bruise blooming in front of his eyes.

He didn’t stop, kissing all the way down his torso, stopping at random spots and sucking bruises onto the golden skin. He ran his tongue along the dips of his abdominal muscles until he reached his erection. Baekhyun took the tip of the cock into his mouth, it was hard and hot, pulsing precum. He licked at the crown, hand pumping the shaft as he sank lower on the length.

Chanyeol tried to buck into the heat but his hips were held firmly down. Baekhyun popped off his cock and kissed along his hip bones. Chanyeol looked down, already a little dazed, to see Baekhyun’s pupils blown wide with desire, nearly flashing red in the darkness.

The vampire mouthed along his inner thigh, softly sucking on the delicate skin there. His canines finally erupted down, piercing the spot where his legs joined at his hip.

As the warm blood flooded into his mouth, he simultaneously pumped Chanyeol’s cock. He took long drags of the blood, feeling Chanyeol shudder beneath him. Baekhyun kept a brutal pace as he pumped the hard cock in his hands. With the combined efforts of the feeding and the vampire’s cold, soft hands working him to a frenzy, Chanyeol came with a keening sound, spurting cum on his own chest.

A vampire’s victim usually felt a boost of endorphins during the draining process and it was no different now.
Chanyeol looked completely out of it by the time Baekhyun finished, as if he couldn’t bear to handle the dual pleasure of being jerked off and fed on. Baekhyun licked over the tiny puncture wounds until they began to heal immediately and seal closed.

He kissed back up Chanyeol’s chest, collecting the cum in his mouth and making sure the wolf saw him swallow it.

“Did I break you?” Baekhyun teased, thoroughly enjoying the spaced out look on Chanyeol’s face.

“Mhhm,” Chanyeol mumbled. He lay still for a few minutes catching his breath. However it seemed that wolves had an incredibly fast recovery time.

As Baekhyun laid on top of him, his own cock brushing against Chanyeol’s, it quickly grew to its full length.

“Okay, that’s impressive,” Baekhyun commented, lazily stroking it again.

As if electrified, Chanyeol shot up and pinned Baekhyun under him. “I missed you, every single day,” He punctuated each word with a kiss.

As he leaned over him, he saw the vampire’s pale skin blooming with pink, his face was flushed too.

“It’s because I just fed, and since it was live blood…” Baekhyun answered his unasked question.

Chanyeol swallowed, how was it possible for him to get more beautiful? His silver hair was fanned out on the pillow behind him, skin pure white except the parts that were the softest blush tone. His wide, taut, chest narrowed into a delicate waist before flaring out again.

Chanyeol pressed his face into the vampire’s neck. “You’re so gorgeous.”

Baekhyun laughed softly, plunging his hands into the wolf’s hair. “You’re not too shabby yourself.”

Chanyeol faced Baekhyun again, “Oh please. You love me.”

It was supposed to be a joke but Baekhyun’s face softened, his eyes filling with emotion. “I want you. Please Chanyeol.”

Chanyeol groaned, as if he could ever deny anything Baekhyun wanted. He knew they needed to talk, something monumental had just happened between them. But Baekhyun was so warm and pliant under his hands, asking for him.

Chanyeol flipped him on to his back easily, holding him down by his neck. He leaned close to his ear and whispered into it. “Make sure to be loud for me.”

Baekhyun’s gasp shattered as Chanyeol entered him in one smooth glide, not stopping until his hip was flush against the vampire’s ass. He immediately began pistoning in and out, watching as Baekhyun’s body bounced.

He scrambled to find purchase on a pillow, just taking each thrust, screaming Chanyeol’s name. His mouth was open, drooling with no shame as the wolf slammed into him, nearly ripping him in half with his sheer size and strength.

Without any warning Chanyeol twisted him on to his side, grabbing one luxurious thigh and hoisting it over his shoulder, never stopping his movements. It felt fantastic, indescribable to be sheathed so tightly inside Baekhyun. The recent feeding made his insides hot, encasing Chanyeol in wet heat.

“God...fuck Baekhyun,” Chanyeol panted, never wanting this moment to end.

Baekhyun looked up and took a minute to find his words, then his eyes glinted. “On your back wolf.”

“Huh?” Chanyeol asked, confused. The next minute he found himself thrown onto his back, dick standing upright.

Baekhyun straddled his hips with a devilish smile on his face. He made sure Chanyeol was watching as he began to run his hands down his chest, really putting on a show.

The wolf growled low in his throat, sliding his cock up and down Baekhyun’s cleft until the vampire’s hands stuttered in their movements. Giving up way too quickly, he scrambled behind him to guide the cockhead back into him.

They both sighed when Baekhyun sank down to the hilt. The vampire began rolling his hips, not in any hurry, but wanting to prolong the moment for as long as he could. His balls dragged along Chanyeol’s firm abdomen as he rocked back and forth, feeling so full.

Chanyeol kept his hands on his hips, guiding him and keeping the pace. He occasionally grazed them up and down his sides, watching Baekhyun shudder. He pulled him down into a messy kiss, mouths open and tongues locking against each other.

Baekhyun had sped up, bouncing up and down with a litany of moans and curses but eventually he slowed down, unable to hold himself up. Chanyeol was so close, he couldn’t wait to cum inside his vampire.

He laid Baekhyun down gently and pushed his legs up. He looked right into his eyes and felt his heart nearly burst from the depth of his devotion. “You’re mine, Baekhyun.”

Baekhyun nodded, he was a mess and Chanyeol was giving him everything. Holding him like glass and pinning him down with force, making his head spin.

Chanyeol slid in and this time had only his own release in mind. He canted up into the heat, bending Baekhyun nearly in half as he pounded into the small body. After only a few minutes Baekhyun came, gripping at Chanyeol’s arms hard enough to draw blood.

Chanyeol closed his eyes and continued to thrust into him, his balls hitting Baekhyun’s ass with a resounding smacking sound that filled the small room. His movements finally stuttered as he reached the brink. He sank his teeth into Baekhyun’s shoulder as he spurted thick ropes of cum into the vampire’s womb.

Baekhyun clenched around him, squeezing every last drop out of his softening cock until Chanyeol was shaking. He sank back down until he was flat against Baekhyun, letting his breathing slow down. Even though he had been the one on top, he felt like he’d been hit by a truck, boneless after the best orgasm he’s ever had.

Baekhyun didn’t make him move, wrapping one leg around him instead and caressing his dark hair in soothing motions. “Your hair is already getting too long again.”

“Hmmpphff.”

“Okay, okay.” Baekhyun chuckled. “Go to sleep, little pup.”

Chanyeol woke up when it was still dark. He’d had a horrible dream, flashes of violence, blood dripping off walls and a woman’s terrified screams. There was also so much grief, he saw glimpses of a baby’s tear stained voice, a small house and an endless river.

He felt wetness on his cheeks when he sat up and touched his face. His phone showed him it was 3am in the morning. He put his hand out to feel for Baekhyun but the bed was empty. Just as panic crested and crashed, the vampire slipped into the room, wearing only a loose pair of pajama pants.

“Oh you’re awake! I was just answering some phone calls.”

Chanyeol kept silent until Baekhyun neared the bed, when he grabbed him by the waist and pulled him into his lap, crushing him to his chest. He buried his face in the cool skin of his neck, wanting, needing the comfort. Baekhyun tensed for a moment, surprised, before wrapping his arms around him and rubbing his back in slow, soothing arcs.

“Nightmare?”

“Yes.” Chanyeol pulled back, keeping his hands banded around the vampire’s waist. “Let’s go home. I’ve never liked sleeping in new places.”

Baekhyun’s face remained carefully neutral, his eyes however betrayed too much. “Chanyeol-ah…”

“You’re joking. After...after what just happened, you still won’t come back with me?” Chanyeol accused, hurt building with every second.

“Why won’t you see that it’s precisely because of that? Because I-“ Baekhyun broke off, looking away. He sighed then, and cupped Chanyeol’s face. “It’s only until you find them. You just narrowly escaped Chanyeol. You don’t know the Lycaon like I do. You’re still under suspicion I’m sure of it.”

“I don’t care!” Chanyeol roared, startling them both. He placed his forehead on Baekhyun’s bare shoulder. “I don’t care what they do. I need you, Baek.”

“You can’t do this.” Baekhyun whimpered. “You have to be strong and find who did this.”

“Where will you go? What if this takes months? Years?” Chanyeol argued. “Was this a goodbye? Do you think you’re being fair?”

Baekhyun stared at him for a long time, rubbing his thumb across the wolf’s cheekbone. “You always see the world in black and white little pup, fair and unfair, right and wrong. This is not a goodbye. I can’t bring myself to say goodbye to you.”

Hot tears dripped down Chanyeol’s face, over the dried tracks from a few minutes ago. “You’re still leaving.”

“I am. But for now, you still have me. All of me.”

The stars shone brightest before the sun came up to hide them. Silver light glinted off the vampire’s hair as he moved, blood red tears cascading as he tenderly touched the wolf. This time it was slow, painful, nearly a goodbye. But not quite.

When the sun finally emerged, setting the entire room to light, Chanyeol was already gone.

 

+++

Now that he was essentially persona non grata at the Lycaon HQ, Chanyeol didn’t know what to do with all his spare time. Left without choice, he closed himself off in his sunroom. Initially he painted, going through three or four canvases a day. Some bright and cheery, most with dark blues and angry slashes of grey.

Then he moved all his paint supplies to one side and dedicated a wall to all the random scraps of evidence he had gathered to connect the Lady, Selene and the owner of Nyctophilia.

Vampires were infamously secretive, shrouded in mystery. It was what kept them powerful, invincible. No matter who he approached and in what way he did, no one was giving up the information as to who owned the hellish club. The Lycaon’s investigation was underway after the testimony of the three wolves but it would take months before they got to the higher management.

So Chanyeol switched tracks, looking into the mysterious Selene. She had emerged onto the scene two decades ago, even though she was a new vampire, she was immediately ruthless, nearly psychotic in the way she killed. Her first kill was another group of vampires, she dismembered them, hacking them to pieces to ensure they would never be brought back.

After that she laid low for several years and most forgot she even existed. Then she began sporadic attacks, one or two humans, some fae and some werewolves, sometimes months or even years apart. They couldn’t even all be attributed to her since no one had any hard evidence.

Chanyeol couldn’t see how a rogue vampire could be the founder of one of the most elusive businesses in their world. And it made even less sense when you saw that the attacks continued even after the club was up and running. After seeing the kind of atrocities that routinely occurred at Nyctophilia, it seemed almost annoying to go looking for trouble outside of it.

He still missed Baekhyun with every breath, jumping every time his phone pinged in the hopes it’d be the vampire come to his senses. It never was him. He visited Seojun and was happy for the hour they spent together, the baby had been thrilled with the chocolates and toys he’d bought. His heart had broken into pieces when little Jun had burst into tears the second he said goodbye. He could see him crying, struggling to escape Jongin’s hold as he drove away, his own eyes blinking rapidly, trying to focus on the road.

He decided that he wouldn’t put the baby through that another time. The next time he saw him, he would bring Seojun back home with him, where he belonged. He just needed to finish the job at hand, he needed something concrete to know his hunch was right.

It came to him on a quiet Monday night, through Yixing, as he always expected it to. The warlock had left him the following text message, one that made Chanyeol jump up and throw his fist in the air.

[ Zhang Yixing, 7:44pm ]

Monday tidings!

I bring you precisely the news you have been waiting for. On my hunt for our mysterious Lady Selene, there was one avenue I did not pursue. I had been hesitant to reach out to this particular contact, we had parted on quite bitter terms a decade or two ago. Vampires really make for poor bedfellows.

In any case I digress. He is quite influential in their little world and confirmed your theory. Nyctophilia is owned by two Firstborns who haven’t been in Korea in years and a vampiress, Selene.

It seemed that she used to call herself the Lady and was rather infamous for it. Most vampires would know the timings of the club. It’s where you’ll be able to find her.

I have truly descended myself to new lows to find this information, so you must repay. If you buy any less than ten drinks the next time you’re here, I might have to hang you up as a Christmas decoration.

Much love,
Warlock Zhang

 

Chanyeol couldn’t sleep that night, he was jittery, fingers shaking as he laid on his bed. He went over strategies in his head. Alerting the Lycaon seemed useless, at this point they seemed more against him than with him. It was crushing, the brotherhood he had believed in had shun him the second their frustrations had mounted.

By the time a fitful sleep claimed him, he had decided a rough plan of action.

“Joo noona, you’re going to have to trust me on this,” Chanyeol spoke into his phone. In his hands he toyed with the only thing he had allowed himself to keep, a tiny rubber duck.

“Chanyeol...things are so tense. What did you do?”

“Noona, I know who the owner of Nyctophilia is. We can catch her unaware, she would never expect it.”

“Then shouldn’t you be letting the Lycaon know?”

“They don’t trust me right now. Jongdae is still recovering, noona, I have no one else to turn to.”

He heard Joohyun hesitate, clearly torn between what years of pack loyalty told her to do and the thread of pain that laced Chanyeol’s begging. If a wolf as self sufficient and independent as Park Chanyeol was reaching out, it was only because he had no other choice and was in desperate need of help.

“Alright Yeol. Tell me when and I’ll be there.”

Chanyeol thanked her profusely, breathing out a huff of relief as he hung up. Without stopping he dialed Jongin’s number next.

Maybe Baekhyun would have better knowledge of the club’s working but asking him was out of the question. What he was about to do was incredibly reckless, and there was no way the vampire would let him proceed with it.

Jongin was surprised when Chanyeol asked about the club, never would he have expected such a random question. Swallowing his shock, he detailed the working days of the club and even included that on non working hours only higher management stayed behind.

It was strange that it was common knowledge to everyone about what he himself would have considered classified information. But he remembered that the Gualtiero relied on their own kin keeping secrets from other monsters, and chose to not keep their own sons and daughters in the dark.

On a Wednesday night, Chanyeol left his house with a mismatched collection of blessed knives and sabers, left over from their last raid of a church. He had no idea if he would even find Selene tonight, but one had to be prepared.

He parked two blocks away from the club and waited inside for Joohyun. After a few minutes, she opened his passenger door and sat inside, a waft of sweet perfume filling his car immediately.

“Whoa noona, you look...scary,” Chanyeol whistled.

“Thanks. Now can you tell me what the hell we’re doing here, alone against a powerful and crazy vampiress?” Joohyun didn’t look even slightly amused.

She was in head to toe black, tight black pants tucked into leather boots with a staggering heel. She had a scabbard with an emerald encrusted sword strapped to her back, a thigh holster held another saber. She looked entirely frightening and alluringly beautiful at the same time.

“Only higher management stays on the off days, supervising the deals they had made throughout the week. We now know that ‘management’ is none other than Selene herself. We fan out and once we find her, we do our best to subdue her,” Chanyeol detailed.

“She’s incredibly powerful.”

“Yes, but she’s not expecting this. We can do this noona, we can end this whole thing.”

Joohyun stared at the fiery glint of determination in the young wolf she had long since adopted as her little brother and set her mind. “Let’s go.”

The back entrance was deserted, after a few seconds of Joohyun bending over the lock with a hairpin she had pulled out of her long braid, it sprung open with a pop. The interiors were pitch black, the wolves had to take a second to let their eyes adjust. They moved down the hallway to the main floor, where they had been last time.

It looked almost dingy without the lights and the music, large white sheets covered the leather seats and the tables were awkwardly pushed together. Their feet were soundless, ears on high alert.

“There are only four floors. You start from the bottom up, I’ll start from the top and meet you in the middle. Keep me posted with texts,” Chanyeol whispered and set off after he saw Joohyun nod. At the last second he turned around and grabbed her hand, halting her. “Be careful.”

Joohyun smiled at him and confidently walked towards the doors at the back of the three stages.

Chanyeol walked to the nearest elevator and pressed the button for the fourth floor. He felt a heavy sense of foreboding, the absolute silence of the building not helping in the least. As the elevator door pinged and opened, Chanyeol’s heart was beating dangerously fast.

It opened up into a large penthouse which was clearly occupied by someone. There was an immaculate kitchen with top of the line appliances, a plasma screen tv and a wrap around couch in the living room, complete with an enormous crystal chandelier. The blinding light of the hundreds of bulbs was a stark contrast from the darkness of the rest of the building, and it took Chanyeol a few minutes to blink away the red spots behind his eyelids.

From his spot at the elevator doors, he couldn’t sense anyone else beside himself, he still proceeded with soft, measured footsteps. A haphazardly thrown scarf and a stained wine glass atop torn slips of paper confirmed his suspicion of the house only being recently vacated. He checked each room systematically, quickly looking through whichever drawers and cupboards were left unlocked.

There was already a ton of evidence, files on the victims they sold, cheques made out to the club for exorbitant amounts, even a list of their newest clients. Chanyeol didn’t bother taking any of them, that could be left to the Lycaon. Eventually he was back in the living room after searching the entire house, he couldn’t help the disappointment. If Selene had left when she sensed them enter the building, this would be for nothing.

He checked his phone and saw that Joohyun had cleared the ground floor and was now onto the first. Resigned, he stepped back into the elevator and went one floor down.

This floor was nearly the polar opposite to the previous one, dust and shadows where there had been opulence and light. It was probably a storage facility, Chanyeol thought as he cautiously moved towards the main room from the dark hallway.

Once he entered the large hall, similar to the club’s ground floor, he stopped and looked around. There were hulking figures covered in dirty looking rags, giving no insight as to what was inside. Strangely, the stages were also present, perhaps in a failed attempt to expand the club. There were small windows close to the ceiling, which let in random patches of moonlight.

Chanyeol felt a cold shiver travel down his spine. There was definitely someone or some thing here.

As he finished inspecting the perimeter of the room, he started moving towards the central stage, keeping the elevator door in his line of vision.

The room had been utterly silent, only his own footsteps echoing in the cavernous space. Suddenly, there was another pair, clacking across an unknown surface. Chanyeol whipped around but couldn’t see anyone else around him, the room was still empty.

Then a chilling giggle sounded, causing the fine hair on the back of his neck to rise. The footsteps became louder, harsher, as whoever it was decided to show themselves. Chanyeol heard her before he saw her.

“Ah the return of the prodigal son, well, to be precise,” A slender woman now stood atop the center stage. “I should be saying, the return of the prodigal mother.”

Chanyeol staggered back, completely confused. The woman looked young and stunning, as most vampires did, but instead of an aloof beauty, her face was twisted, eyes flashing red.

“Lady Selene, you are under arrest for repeatedly breaking the Covenant. Come willingly and we might spare your life,” Chanyeol ground out, breathing elevated.

“My my! Lady Selene, that’s rather formal for such close acquaintances don’t you think, love?” Selene laughed, a tinkling sound with an edge. “Anyway, I’m sure we’ll have time to get to know each other. I didn’t get the chance to speak to you the first time you came to my club, what with your friend nearly getting sold and such. Quite messy I’m afraid.”

Chanyeol’s mind was reeling, why in the world would this woman be insinuating that they knew each other? As stealthily as he could, he tried to type a message to Joohyun without being caught.

“Hasn’t anyone taught you that it’s rude to be distracted when an elder is talking to you? Huh...I guess no one would have,” Selene stepped to the edge of the stage before sitting down on it, her long silver dress settling gracefully around her. “If you’re trying to call that pretty little thing roaming around my club, don’t bother, she won’t be able to help you.”

Fury raged inside Chanyeol, his hands went to the blessed dagger at his hip. “What did you do to her?!”

“Come now Chanyeollie, this is a rare moment between us, let’s not spoil it hmm?” The vampiress crooned.

Chanyeol felt as if he was struck. The way she said his name, laced with familiarity, it jogged a distant fragment of memory, too small to piece into something real. “H-how do you know my name?”

He should have been focused, he shouldn’t have let down his guard. In a second a silver whip slashed towards his chest, hissing as it touched his skin. Chanyeol fell back, howling in pain. The whip had scorched a line of flesh from his right shoulder all the way across to his left side. It burned like hellfire.

“You silly mutt, did you really think you could face me alone? How laughable!” Selene had hopped off the stage, what little beauty left on her face was gone, replaced by the face of a beast. The silver whip pooled at her feet as she sauntered forward.

Chanyeol stayed on his back until she was close enough, then he swiped his foot out, bringing her down. He was on top of her in a second, dagger at her throat. Her eyes widened and she reached out.

Chanyeol moved his torso back, keeping one hand on her shoulder to hold her down, sure she was coming for his face. Instead the vampiress clutched the dagger with a smirk. The blessed metal burst into a cloud of dust, leaving only the hilt behind.

Chanyeol didn’t even have time to be shocked, the vampiress had pushed him back so hard that he flew over the room, crashing against the front of the stage and sliding down.

“My poor darling, did you hurt yourself?” Selene was already at his side, cupping his cheek with one hand, her long nails biting into his skin. “How could you be foolish enough to come in here with a few scraps of metal? Surely the Lycaon trained you better than this.”

Chanyeol spat in her face, spit tinged red with his own blood. She dodged it but a few drops stained her cheeks. Her eyes flashed crimson, dark veins suddenly crisscrossing across her face, she looked demented.

Chanyeol took advantage of her momentary surprise to slam her down with all his strength, he kneeled atop her chest when she went sprawling to the floor. With a swipe, he emptied an entire vial of holy water on to her face. The werewolf could hear the sizzle it made as it met her skin. Selene screamed, clawing at her face as the blessed water burned it away.

Chanyeol fumbled for another dagger when her hand came cracking across his face, sending him flying before he hit the floor with a sickening thud. His arm was twisted underneath his body, and pain shot up from it. Before he could stand, Selene was standing over him, she pulled him up by the collar before throwing him across the room, as if he weighed nothing.

He collided with the far wall, rubble raining down on him. Every part of his body throbbed in pain, blood coming up his throat. Between one second and the next the whip surged forward again, this time getting him across the abdomen. Chanyeol doubled over, seeing stars, he coughed up a bright red stream of blood.

He was dizzy, slipping in and out of consciousness. He felt himself being lifted and stretched out on a flat surface, the cold seeping into his bones. A dainty hand pushed his hair away from his face.

“You look just like your father. You’re brave like him too, brave and stupid,” Selene murmured to him, as if she was talking to a long lost friend.

Chanyeol fought to stay focused, head spinning when she brought up his father, who had left him when he was only a pup, just a few months after his mother had disappeared. He tried to speak, but it hurt too much, feeling like shards of glass were lodged in his throat.

“You came here to kill me. Did you ever think to speak to me? To wonder why I did what I did?” Selene asked, as if desperate to hear his answer.

She clicked her tongue when there was no reply, answering her own question. “I was unarmed, innocent, only having been foolish enough to fall in love. They were ruthless, my nightmares come to life.”

She sounded like she was sifting through her memories, it seemed likely that this was the first time she was telling this story. Chanyeol’s head felt like there were nails being screwed in, a rending pain that he could barely handle.

“So why shouldn’t I have my revenge? If my life was so meaningless, why must that of others have value?” She roared. “I lost everything. My husband, my home, my sons...I loved you the most out of all of them Chanyeollie.”

Chanyeol’s entire body spasmed, a sob was wrenched out of his throat. It couldn’t be, it didn’t make any sense. He refused to let it be true. He tried to move away from her but the vampiress held him close, brushing his hair again. Instead of soothing him, it infuriated him, he felt sick.

“You were a clumsy little thing, smaller than your brothers. They told me not to do it, that marrying a werewolf was asking for trouble. But I loved your father, and he loved me too. We had a lovely little house by the river. He was so happy when I got pregnant. He was ripped apart by them when he went to avenge me.”

Soundless tears fell from Chanyeol’s eyes, his chest burned.

“I killed them first, tore their heads clean off. It’s the surest way of getting rid of a vampire Chanyeollie,” she spoke of the atrocities she committed as if they were flimsy details, a small stain on her life story. “I wasn’t satisfied though, I yearned for blood, for life. It happens when a youngling isn’t nurtured, when you’re turned and left to bleed.”

Chanyeol stopped struggling against her hold, taking deep breaths through his nose. His lycanthrope blood made healing faster, he could feel the gaping wounds slowly starting to close. He just needed a little time. Even though his head felt like it was splitting open with this new truth, and his grief felt heavy as rocks pressing down on his windpipe, he needed to stay focused.

“So wasn’t I right my son? Wasn’t I right in killing parents in front of their children and children in front of their crying parents?” She laughed then, it was terrifying. “I watched you grow up, kept tabs on my littlest pup, you’ve gotten so big and strong. I saw you even found yourself a little vampire friend, I can’t say I approve but who listens to their mother in this day and age hmm?”

Chanyeol’s blood ran cold when this monster mentioned Baekhyun. He reminded himself to relax, Baekhyun was far away, safe. He realized Selene was completely unhinged, having a horrifyingly twisted sense of justice. Meanwhile he was regaining his strength slowly, he discreetly clenched and unclenched his muscles, warming up. He needed her to talk for longer.

“My little younglings did rather well that day but they weren’t perfect, then again that’s what I get for using children, I suppose. It was a pity they missed the baby, those human parents reminded me so much of myself, it would have been rather poetic I think,” Selene pouted, as if she was genuinely upset.

Chanyeol roared then, unable to hold back any longer. He lunged, hands coming around Selene’s slender neck. “You crazy bitch!”

“Now now, is that how you speak to your mother?” Selene smiled, face morphing into a hideous expression.

She easily threw him off, slapping him hard enough that another spray of blood flew out of his mouth. “Orphans really have no respect do they?”

Chanyeol eyes filled of their own accord, he cursed his pathetic life, his astoundingly horrible luck. This was his mother, the woman he had yearned for all his life. Except she wasn’t even capable of being a mother, she was a monster, cold and insane.

“Why do I have to respect someone as disgusting as you?” He spewed.

“Disgusting? Chanyeollie, I was only giving back what I had received. An eye for an eye, it’s only fair no?” She asked with mock outrage.

Chanyeol remembered how Baekhyun had once told him that he always thought in black and white, always wanted what’s fair to happen. He felt a dull pain in his chest when he thought of the vampire. He had to see him again, he had to end this.

Unthinking, he lunged, transforming in mid air. His wolf body rippled with muscle, he hit the floor with a resounding sound. Caught unprepared, Selene was thrown into the stage by one powerful paw. She stumbled when she got up, but looked ferocious as ever.

Chanyeol pounced, landing on her chest, his strong jaws closed around her shoulder. Selene cried out, trying to claw at him. He didn’t let go until her arm was dripping in blood. He slapped her across the face with a paw for good measure, watching with cold detachment as her head swung to the side.

He began dragging her to the elevator when she lay unmoving for a few seconds. When he was halfway across the room, he felt a searing pain shoot up his hind leg. He faltered, confused.

The vampiress had grabbed her whip and had it wrapped around his back leg, with a twisted smile on her face. She pulled it taut, bringing the wolf crashing down.

“You stupid dog! When will you learn? I’m Lady Selene, all powerful, master of Nyctophilia. You think a dumb. Little. Runt.” She punctuated each word with a sharp kick to the wolf’s sensitive underbelly. “Can best me?”

Although she sounded confident, Chanyeol saw that her arm continued to bleed from his lethal jaws, she seemed to limp a little as she walked. He had definitely caused enough damage to slow her down.

Wanting to build on the momentum, he swung up, swiping at her with his front paws. She was knocked to the side. She stayed down for a minute, when she faced him again, blood was dripping out of her eyes.

She swatted at him using all her strength, sending him soaring into the air before crashing down. “Just give up you dumb mutt. What are you fighting for? Your pathetic life, all alone in a cottage just like your weak father?”

She cackled then as if she had told a hilarious joke. “Oh don’t tell me Chanyeollie, do you want to go back alive for your little boyfriend? Don’t worry, I’ll make sure to spare him a bit of you as a present.”

As she spoke, the elevator pinged, signaling the arrival of someone.

Selene stopped and smiled suddenly, showing her sharp canines. “Goody! He’s right on time!”

Chanyeol’s ears were roaring, he had only managed to stand up on shaky paws. When the elevator door opened and Baekhyun stumbled out, looking around with a terrified expression on his face, the wolf’s legs buckled and he went sprawling onto the floor.

“Chanyeol!” Baekhyun screamed once he entered the main hall.

Selene clapped her hands together, seemingly delighted. “A lover’s reunion! How romantic! Why I could nearly cry.”

Baekhyun’s eyes widened at the scene in front of him, he looked devastated. “Wh-what have you done?”

“Good evening Mr Byun. I’ve heard so much about you, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. My Firstborn friends speak very highly of you.” Selene sing songed. “It’s so lovely that you could join my son and I tonight.”

Baekhyun’s mouth dropped open. “Your…?”

“I’ve heard you were one of the most eloquent of our kind, what’s gotten you all tongue tied now Mr Byun?” Selene smirked. “Oh, is it this?”

She kicked Chanyeol once again, right where the whip had burnt his fur and flesh. A whimper escaped him before he could stop it.

Seeing Baekhyun’s eyes flash red, Selene laughed and jumped back until she was back on top of the stage. “I would have hacked him into pieces by now but a mother’s love sustained him. Don’t you think that’s sweet?”

Behind all the jabs and strange questions, there was always a tremble to the vampiress’ voice, as if she really did want some sort of validation.

“You’re insane,” Baekhyun spat. “And you might as well give up now, both the Lycaon and the Gualtiero are on their way.”

For the first time all night, a genuine look of fear flashed across Selene’s face.

Baekhyun ran across the room, trying to reach Chanyeol. Selene’s silver whip sparked as it flew through the air, sending Baekhyun sprawling. She laughed maniacally before it stopped on a choked sound. Baekhyun already had his hand clasped tightly around her neck, having crossed the distance between them in seconds.

It seemed that Selene had forgotten that she was now fighting not with a young, inexperienced wolf, but a centuries old vampire, who had more power in one hand than she had in her entire body.

She tried to pry Baekhyun’s fingers loose, but the vampire was having none of it, he squeezed until blood dripped out of her eyes and veins erupted along her slender neck. With a heave of strength, she connected her hand to Baekhyun’s chest, sending him across the massive hall where he slammed into the wall on the opposite end.

The fight between the two vampires was horrific, rubble fell in sheets from the walls, dust and cement billowed as they continued to throw each other around. Baekhyun was bleeding from his lip but clearly had the upper hand. Not only was he stronger, Selene was also significantly weakened by the attacks from Chanyeol.

Chanyeol lay on the ground, unable to help and silently screaming from the pain. He knew that if he transformed back now, he would immediately lose consciousness. It was only his wolf body which was keeping him lucid, controlling the damage inflicted to his human form.

He closed his eyes briefly as he saw Baekhyun being struck repeatedly by the silver whip, the vampire clenching his teeth to keep from voicing his pain.
He had no idea how the vampire could have known he’d be here.

He had only ever seen him in their home, cooking and singing. He was an entirely different person now, almost unrecognizable as he clasped Selene’s throat and smacked her head against a wall.

It was all his fault, Chanyeol thought, his stubborn, idiotic self confidence and his need to always save the day. He cursed himself as he saw his own mother gain the upper hand on the only man he’s ever loved. It was sickening, the most improbable situation, and here he was living it, helpless and injured.

In front of his eyes, Baekhyun cornered the vampire into a wall, hand firm around her neck. Selene had blood dripping from her eyes and the corner of her mouth, her left arm looked like it couldn’t even be lifted from how mangled it was. Yet her face shone with an eerie light, it was blood chilling.

As he watched, Selene slipped a dagger out of her dress. Baekhyun hadn’t seen it yet and there was no way for Chanyeol to warn him. He dragged himself towards him, but the sudden movement distracted Baekhyun into turning around.

A sob got caught in Chanyeol’s throat as Baekhyun roared with pain. Selene had taken advantage of him letting his guard down for a mere second and slashed the dagger across his chest. Baekhyun staggered back, and Selene kicked out his legs from underneath him.

“A worthy opponent,” Selene complimented, spitting out blood. “However, you’ve annoyed me too much.”

Now she was the one who had Baekhyun pressed against a wall. Chanyeol could see him staring up at her defiantly, never one to back down. The gash on his chest was already closing and Selene tutted. She had dropped the dagger but summoned her whip.

She began tracing the whip softly across Baekhyun’s body, a perverse tease. As if deciding on a spot, she squealed and flicked her hand, the whip struck him exactly where the dagger had cut only seconds ago. Baekhyun bucked off the wall, convulsing in pain.

“I believe I’m about to be the first vampire to kill a Firstborn, it’s all rather exciting don’t you think. And with my son watching.”

Selene made to turn, searching for Chanyeol when her own dagger pierced through her back and came out the front, right where her heart was. She turned as if in slow motion, wavering on her feet, blood bubbling out of her mouth.

Chanyeol didn’t wait, taking his last knife, a spear pointed dagger that he had blessed by a priest, and plunged it into Selene’s abdomen.

She opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. Her eyes filled with blood and it rolled down her pale cheeks. She lifted her arm as if she was reaching out for him, her fingers brushed his cheeks once as she slid to the floor. Blood seeped ruby red from the twin stab wounds, a pool of it staining her pretty silver dress.

Chanyeol waited until she stopped moving and her eyes slowly drifted close. He looked up to see Baekhyun’s face, it was stricken, he was mouthing something at him.

The words never reached him. The floor swung up to meet him and he finally let go.

 

+++

In the end, Selene came to an end surrounded by everything she had painfully built from scratch. They razed Nyctophilia to the ground, a priest brought by the Gualtiero blessing the torch that they set to it. There were no screams, she must have already been dead.

The Lycaon had stormed the club a few minutes after she had fallen. They found Joohyun on the first floor, knocked out but otherwise unharmed.

When they reached the third floor, a bizarre scene met their eyes. The Lady Selene, for all her mysterious grandeur, lay unmoving on the ground, looking small and lonely. A dagger’s hilt protruded from her torso, gleaming in the dark.

A few feet away a vampire sat on the ground, with a wolf's head cradled on his lap. The vampire was bent over him, repeatedly stroking his hair back from his face, whispering to him. The vampire wouldn’t let the young wolf out of his sight, even though he himself was severely injured too, raw gashes oozing dark blood, a row of lacerations on his chest looking tender and painful.

They loaded them up into the same car and only convinced the vampire to leave the wolf when the healer had sedated him. Throughout the car ride Baekhyun hadn’t stopped talking, whispering words into Chanyeol’s ears whenever he seemed lucid enough. He tried to tell him about Selene’s death, fearing he didn’t understand what had happened to his mother, but Chanyeol twisted away at every mention.

Baekhyun had noted that the wolf had been eerily calm ever since plunging the dagger into his mother, when he’d woken up after fainting right after.

He tried one last time before Chanyeol spoke up, voice hoarse, barely above a whisper. “That...woman, is not my mother.” Baekhyun had stopped speaking immediately, taking Chanyeol’s hand in his and squeezing, but right before his eyes, the wolf let out a shaky breath and fell unconscious.

That had been three days ago. Chanyeol had not woken up yet.

Baekhyun gazed at the monitors beeping their rhythmic sounds. At first they annoyed him, but by now he had become used to it. The Lycaon used a combination of human medicine and their own strange methods to treat their werewolves. Chanyeol had two healers, a nurse and a human doctor who sometimes visited him.

He lay on the hospital bed, looking small even though he had a truly impressive stature. Baekhyun shifted to a new position on the uncomfortable chair, gazing at the wolf. Every few hours he’d run a wet washcloth along his forehead, trying to keep the fever that had ravaged his body for two days at bay.

The Lycaon never allowed visitors, let alone vampire visitors. Baekhyun had simply looked at them until they uneasily let him pass.

When he had gotten the call from Jongin, he had been looking through his options of getting out of the country for a while. He had thought living without Seojun and Chanyeol would be easy, but it had been anything but. He spent every minute missing them, Junnie’s slobbery kisses, Chanyeol’s fierce gaze on him when the wolf thought he wouldn’t be caught.

Jongin had told him that Chanyeol was asking around about Nyctophilia and that he had felt a strange dread ever since. Baekhyun went over as soon as he hung up the phone. He had expected to see him puttering around the club, not the heinous scene that had actually met his eyes.

His foolish, too brave Chanyeol. He reached out and stroked his sallow cheek, going through all their memories together, just to keep the fear from mounting.

The look in his eyes when he first told them they had to go with him, fear hidden by a blind confidence. The way he would smile when he thought Baekhyun couldn’t see him. Always quick to laughter, the kind that made everyone around him join in.

The little sound he’d make after his first bite of any dish he liked, completely involuntary, but music to Baekhyun’s ears.

The way he had first been hesitant and reserved around Seojun, only to quickly become his favorite. Baekhyun smiled in spite of himself. That would always be his favorite development, the one that had tipped his feelings over.

Baekhyun thought of the first moment when things changed. It had been a weekday like any other, only a few weeks into their living arrangement. He was already rendered a little weak since Chanyeol and Seojun had spent the afternoon painting. The wolf had sat Seojun down in the circle of his legs and with the patience of a saint, let him destroy his paint supplies and the living room carpet while Baekhyun had laughed until his sides hurt.

That same night, when he had finally finished putting away Seojun’s toys and was making his way to the bedroom, he saw that Chanyeol was already inside, sitting on the bed in front of the tiny baby bed he had insisted on getting. He was talking to Seojun so animatedly, arms waving wildly in the air. He had hung up the first painting Seojun had done, splotches of red and green with a spray of multicolor dots.

After he talked to the baby, giving pauses for Seojun’s input, a series of babbles with random words interspersed, Chanyeol reached in and pulled Jun out, settling him on his lap.

To Baekhyun’s complete surprise, the werewolf had begun singing, his deep voice soft and mellow. It seemed it was a routine the vampire didn’t even know of, with how natural it looked.

After the song Chanyeol gently kissed each of the baby’s eyelids before laying him back down to sleep. Next, he held up each one of Jun’s toys to get him to pick one for the night. Only after the baby was sound asleep did he get up.

Baekhyun had sprung back, already at the top of the stairs when Chanyeol came outside Seojun’s room. He had just given him a quick smile, dimple deep and a murmured goodnight before he had gone into his own room.

Like had steadily tumbled to love, with every caring gesture, with every bag of blood that magically appeared as soon as the last one was over, with every lame dad joke and every time his eyes sought Baekhyun the second he stepped into the room.

Baekhyun wished he had told Chanyeol how he felt, at least a little of it. That he was already dreaming of a future, in the same white fenced cottage, maybe with a garden or a swing for Seojun. That he had been waiting for nearly a month to finally hold Chanyeol in his arms.

Instead he had kept it all to himself and took the easiest way out when things were getting a little too real and a lot scary. He loved him too much to let him suffer on his behalf, just because he was too kind and well meaning for his own good.

Maybe if he had stayed with him, this isn’t how it would’ve happened at all.

The thought caused him to spiral, as it always did. His thoughts turned dark, his guilt consuming him. Just as he was about to fall deeper into the churning abyss, a monitor beeped loudly.

Baekhyun shot up and saw that Chanyeol was sitting up, staring at him. His sudden movement had disconnected one of his cardiac monitors and the machine blared indignantly.

Baekhyun didn’t give it any mind, he jumped off the chair and nearly tripped on his way to get closer to the bed. He wrapped his arms around the wolf, pressing his head to his chest, where if his heart was still beating, it would be doing so in double time.

 

+++

 

 

 

+ Epilogue +

 

Chanyeol stormed into the kitchen with a scowl on his face, slamming the small woven basket on the counter. “Look at these! They’re the size of my pinky! No wait, they’re the size of your pinky.”

Baekhyun put down the envelope in his hand, smile serene and eyes twinkling as he tried to keep his laughter at bay. “You pulled them out too early again Yeol-ah.”

“Google said they need seventy days! I counted and today is the seventy second day.” Chanyeol accused, brandishing the miniature carrots in front of his face.

Baekhyun came forward and pulled the carrots out of his hands and put them back in the basket. He gently pulled the gardening gloves off his boyfriend’s too large hands, rubbing at the slightly red palms. “Then we call them baby carrots and be proud of them.”

Chanyeol’s brows furrowed for a second before he laughed, shoulders shaking with it. “I can’t believe I’m the guy who gets this worked up about gardening.”

“This is only until you go to the academy in the fall, see it as a quarter life crisis since something big is coming up,” Baekhyun advised sagely.

Chanyeol had been admitted into the Lycaon Academy under Junmyeon’s recommendation after he brought Selene down last year. He would learn more about the inner workings and management within packs, and be equipped to be a pack leader one day.

Chanyeol bent his head until his forehead nudged Baekhyun’s. “How are you always right?”

“That’s not what you used to think!” Baekhyun snorted, trying to pull away.

“Well what can I say, you’ve charmed me.” Chanyeol kept his arms tightly wrapped around the vampire.

He freed one hand to trace Baekhyun’s lips, the way they dipped at the ends, forming a natural bow. “How can you have such powerful fangs inside such cute lips?”

Baekhyun rolled his eyes, used to the wolf’s incessant cheesiness. Instead of replying, he opened his mouth and slowly licked the finger that was still on his lips. He smirked when he saw Chanyeol’s eyes darken immediately.

The wolf backed him into a corner until the kitchen counter pressed against his spine. Chanyeol kissed him slowly, focused, with the edge of desperation that was there every time they came together, as if nothing could ever be enough.

He leisurely licked at his lips, not trying to rush the vampire but just enjoying the taste on his tongue. He slipped his hands under Baekhyun’s shirt, squeezing at his waist and splaying his palms at his lower back.

“Ew Appa! Gross!” Seojun screamed as he rounded the corner, witnessing his adoptive parents cling to each other.

Chanyeol groaned as he pulled away and faced the little devil. “Why am I always the gross one? Why not Baby?”

Seojun looked adorable confused, it was obviously impossible for his Baby to be in the wrong. “I don’t know. You’re gross.”

Baekhyun laughed out loud, unable to help himself. Seojun was almost three now and could definitely say his name. Somehow Baby had stuck, and the vampire didn’t mind in the least.

“I don’t like it when you both gang up on me.” Chanyeol pouted.

Seojun scrambled over and pulled at the wolf’s pant leg until Chanyeol hefted him on to the counter. “Ow, you’re getting too big to be lifted.”

Sensing his dad was still miffed, Seojun put both his stubby hands on Chanyeol’s face, rubbing his cheeks in soothing circles. “Sowwy. You’re not gross.”

Chanyeol chuckled, knowing full well his son could say sorry but was trying to be extra cute. “Okay, okay, I forgive you. Kiss?”

Seojun obliged, giving him a loud smack on the lips before starting a completely new conversation, hands wildly gesticulating.

Baekhyun smiled from across the room. It was just a little unbelievable to see how many of Chanyeol’s traits Seojun had picked up. While the child was definitely a little closer to Baekhyun, having known him for longer, his relationship with Chanyeol was something entirely different, so special and wonderful that the vampire was always left a little emotional watching it unfold.

Just last month Seojun had waddled into the living room and demanded his room be painted in “rainbow.” His room still had the non offensive pale yellow the guest room was originally painted in.

In fact the color of the wall was the only thing that had survived the renovation Chanyeol had started as soon as Baekhyun moved into his own bedroom. A race car bed replaced the queen, a glow in the dark galaxy spread across the ceiling and one corner even held a mini art studio, where the wolf unfailingly strung up every one of Seojun’s paintings.

So when Seojun asked for a paint job too, Baekhyun debated saying no since it was likely he’ll get bored of it in a month. He said as much but that very weekend Chanyeol came home with six buckets of paint and a smile too dazzling on his face. So they spent two days painting each wall a different color and Chanyeol spent another week on a massive rainbow mural on the wall opposite Seojun’s bed, complete with pink tinged clouds and tiny shimmering fireflies which he painstakingly filled in with gold glitter.

Seojun had hugged Chanyeol for extra long that night, clinging on to his neck and whispering to him for nearly an hour. The wolf had come to bed completely satisfied, eyes a little wet as he curved himself around Baekhyun, leaving an imprint of his smile on the vampire’s skin.

The next week Baekhyun and Chanyeol built a small hanging shelf on the wall, and placed two long ivory candles on it along with some of the pictures Baekhyun had with Sungjae and Sooyoung. Seojun never asked about it, but the vampire would sometimes find him staring up at the little shelf, eyes looking far away.

It had been the perfect finishing touch to their son’s new room.

Baekhyun was brought back to the present by both his boys asking what's for lunch, sporting identical puppy dog eyes. “Sujebi but it’ll take a while so wash up first.”

As they sat around the table, Chanyeol heartily slurping down the noodles and Seojun trying to first eat “the nicer noodles”, Baekhyun stirred his own bowl for the child’s benefit. Little Junnie knew that his parents weren’t exactly like him but they tried to ease him into their world slowly.

“Oh! I almost forgot,” Baekhyun exclaimed suddenly, putting his chopsticks down. “We got a wedding invitation from Sehun and Jongin. It’s next month!”

“I didn’t know vampires got married,” Chanyeol said around his mouthful.

“Some do, some don’t. It’s an individual preference. I know Jongin has been looking forward to a wedding since he met Sehunnie so I’m not surprised. It’s not a wedding in the traditional sense,” Baekhyun explained. “No priest obviously, just the vows and a gathering of their friends.”

“That sounds lovely. The symbolism.” Chanyeol commented, watching the vampire closely.

“We can go tux shopping next week! I’m going to be the best man and they want Junnie to be the ring bearer,” Baekhyun hopped a little in his chair. “Don’t laugh at me! I haven’t been to a wedding in centuries!”

“Sorry babe, you just look so cute when you get excited like that,” Chanyeol crooned, knowing full well his low voice was Baekhyun’s weakness. “Ouch, shit!”

Baekhyun withdrew his foot from where it kicked Chanyeol’s shin. “That’s what you get for making fun of me.”

Baekhyun hastily got up before he could be kicked right back.

 

The wedding was stunning, straight out of a gothic fairytale. The guests had been flown out to Italy and the venue itself was a gorgeous castle that stood atop a hill facing the water. They were isolated from everyone else, the entire hill belonging to them for the weekend.

It was dusk now, the sun had just dipped down when the vampires all gathered in the courtyard. Hundreds of tea lights decorated the aisle, scattered across tables placed all over the lawn. Rows upon rows of fairy lights criss crossed above them, a golden canopy.

Chanyeol sat in the first row feeling strangely nervous. To his utter shock, the person conducting the wedding was none other than warlock and bar owner, Zhang Yixing. He made a mental note to corner him later and ask him how the hell he knew these people.

The dulcet tones of a harp signaled the arrival of the wedding party and Chanyeol turned around in his seat. Seojun was the first person to appear, solemnly walking down the aisle in his tiny tuxedo, holding the rings on a little cushion. He kept his gaze directly on the makeshift altar, not even looking at Chanyeol when he excitedly took about a hundred pictures of him.

Next up was Baekhyun. Chanyeol lowered the camera, wanting to see this with his own eyes. He looked otherworldly tonight, resplendent in a black three piece suit, a white lily boutonniere pinned at his chest. His silver hair shimmered under the lights, standing out against his dark suit. Chanyeol forgot to take a single picture, unable to look away from the dream that Baekhyun made as he walked forward and sprinkled white rose petals along the aisle.

The vampire paused at the front row and winked at Chanyeol before taking his place at the altar. He barely paid attention to the two grooms walking down their own aisle, even though they looked straight out of a runway, outrageously beautiful in their white suits.

The wolf’s eyes were still on the best man.

The ceremony was short and simple. It was also incredibly heartfelt, both grooms tearing up as they spoke their vows. Baekhyun stood back, hands holding on to Seojun’s shoulders and Chanyeol could see the glimmer of wetness in his eyes.

The guests threw their own handfuls of white rose petals when the new husbands walked back down the aisle, it rained down softly on them, catching on their suits and hair. Sehun carefully picked them out of Jongin’s hair before bending down to kiss him.

The guests dispersed as private waiters arrived with shot glasses of blood and some light canapés. The band started playing some cheerful songs and announced the bouquet toss.

Chanyeol stood apart from everyone else, searching for Baekhyun, his own heart hammering. As the bouquet toss began, a cold hand slipped into his and he looked down to see the vampire smiling at him. One of those smiles where his eyes disappeared into crescents and his cheeks bunched up from the force of it.

“Hi handsome,” Baekhyun murmured.

“Hi. You...you look…” Chanyeol broke off stupidly, unsure of how to even put it in words.

Baekhyun laughed, his favorite sound in the world, before facing the front again. “Oh look! It’s their first dance.”

Chanyeol looked too, Sehun and Jongin were pressed closed, waltzing to a heartbreakingly beautiful violin concerto. He felt Baekhyun lean his head against his arm as he watched them with the softest smile on his face.

Is this something Baekhyun wanted for himself? Should he buy a ring? In his head they were already committed to each other, Baekhyun was the only one for him, till death did them part. But maybe he wanted a ceremony too? A symbol?

“Hey,” Baekhyun whispered, grounding his wayward thoughts. “I can hear you, your mind is too loud.”

Chanyeol blushed, caught red handed. “If this is something you want…”

Baekhyun chuckled and raised their joined hands to press a kiss to the wolf’s knuckles. Letting his lips linger, he spoke gently. “I’m perfectly happy with our life. I definitely don’t want anything similar. I’m just happy for my boys.”

Chanyeol nodded, strangely relieved. This sort of thing wasn’t his style either, he felt comforted by their love, it was concrete, steadfast and it was enough to sustain him, he didn’t need anything more.

“But I would still like to dance with my boyfriend in front of a castle in Italy,” Baekhyun teased, already pulling him towards the dance floor, where other couples were dancing together.

Chanyeol tried to refuse, he was never one for dancing in public, “We need to find Seojun.”

“Don’t worry, he’s in capable hands,” Baekhyun tilted his head in the direction of the clusters of chairs where Yixing had Seojun on his lap. The warlock was making colored flames shoot up from his palm, much to the delight of Junnie.

It was a slow song, the sad whine of the violin lifted by the happier notes of the piano. Chanyeol put his hand around Baekhyun’s waist, taking his hand in the other. The vampire rested his head against his chest as they slowly swayed from side to side, using dancing as an excuse to just hold each other close.

Chanyeol closed his eyes, the cooling aroma of bergamot and sage wafted around him, the way it always did when he had Baekhyun in his arms. He thought of the first time he saw him. It was almost serendipity.

He thought of all the times his heart thumped against his chest, wanting its feelings to be known and how he viciously tamped it down. He thought of silver hair that nearly glowed and cold fingers that fluttered across his skin.

He thought of how his life had been empty, lightless, and how Baekhyun and Seojun had illuminated every corner of it.

It was after long moments when Chanyeol finally spoke. “I didn’t have a lot growing up.”

Baekhyun made a sound of surprise and lifted his head to look at him, brows furrowed.

“Lately I've been thinking that maybe all of my good fortune was saved for until I met you.”

Baekhyun opened his mouth, surprised at the sudden burst of emotion. “Chanyeol-ah…”

“I know I don’t say it much, what with us raising a kid and all. But...I’m in love with you Baekhyun, and I’m grateful I get to spend the rest of my life with you.”

The vampire’s eyes shimmered before a pretty tear dropped down each cheek. “Well I’m glad, since I only had to wait centuries to meet you.”

Chanyeol laughed out loud, as Baekhyun intended him to. He kissed the vampire’s open mouth, happier than he’s ever been in his life. “What can I say, I’m the prize of a lifetime.”

Baekhyun took hold of his face with both hands, his gaze fond and so in love, the way it had been since longer than he would’ve admitted. “You are. I finally got my happy ending.”

They gazed at each other, as golden light danced across their skin and the smell of roses scented the air. The music crescendoed higher with the waves below adding their own notes.

It was as romantic as Chanyeol could have hoped, to kiss Baekhyun, to call him his for eternity. They were lost in each other. Just then they heard someone indignantly clear their throat and a tiny foot hit the ground in an angry stomp. They broke apart to see Seojun staring at them, clearly offended that he was ignored for this long.

Chanyeol lifted him up and tossed him into the air once, making him squeal and immediately forget that he was upset. Baekhyun quickly wiped his tears and grabbed Junnie’s hands to wave them around them in a little dance. The child giggled happily, keeping one arm looped around Chanyeol’s neck.

His heart filled at the sight, he couldn’t even bring himself to see it as an interruption. Their world wouldn’t be complete with Seojun, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

+ The End +