Desmond had never been in a store like this. He knew they existed, there had been one in his house growing up run by a hedge witch who sold charms that worked half the time and potions that worked even less often. She hadn’t been a very good witch. But in New York there were a ton of witches. They came to the City and tapped into the human ley lines that powered their spells and strengthened their potions. Natural ley lines would work too, but according to the one occult class he’d taken in high school like seven years ago humanity was a stronger source of power than just fauna. But he’d never had to visit a witchery before, he never had a reason to. He was reasonably happy with his life and needed no potions or spells cast on or for him. He was here for a friend, and that sounded like the most weenie reason ever, but it was true.
The inside of the witchery was well lit and pleasant. It wasn’t very big but was crammed with stuff. There were several aisles with shelves on them crammed with all sorts of things. At a first glance he saw herbs and little dolls, clay jars and sticks of incense, as well as oddly shaped and colored rocks and dead things in jars. On one wall, behind glass with a sturdy lock and probably infused with magic to make it unbreakable, were dozens of different potions in glass and clay pots and pendants and tiny jars or vials in every color imaginable. There was a display area that held cauldrons and behind it hung spoons and whisks and knives both of the commercial variety and specialty, even a few sacrificial knives. On the wall opposite the potions were cages of animals. Chickens and rats and pigeons and he even saw a lamb. On the last wall were more shelves filled with potion ingredients. Things out of stories like eye of newt, frog legs, and wing of bats but also perfectly normal things like flour, sugar, and yeast. In the corner a refrigerator unit had been stuffed and while the sides displayed advertisement for Coca-Cola Desmond was sure he saw blood in there, and cartons of different sized eggs and for a second before he looked away to not get grossed out he thought he saw a pig head.
That left the counter in front of the wall of potions. There was a woman behind the counter tapping away at a laptop while on the counter next to her was a long haired cat with the silkiest fur Desmond had ever seen. It was white and light brown and it was sleeping in a cat bed at the end of the counter.
Desmond approached the counter where the woman was working. She wore reading glasses and had her blonde hair pulled back into a practical bun. She didn’t look like a witch exactly, but then Desmond didn’t really know what a witch looked like. There had been one in middle school named Rosemary Waters but she’d been… well, kinda weird honestly. This girl didn’t look weird. In fact she was kinda pretty. She looked up over her reading glasses at him when he got near and lowered her laptop lid a bit. She had blue eyes that, and this took him a second to realize, actually sort of moved and that was by far the dumbest description he’d ever come up with in his life. But there wasn’t any stereotypical romantic shit like they twinkled or sparkled or looked like something out of an anime or manga. No they were like liquid and every time they moved the color seemed to shift like water. It made Desmond uncomfortable as hell.
“Hello,” she said pleasantly with a smile, “can I help you?”
Desmond froze for a second, “Ah-- Yeah!” he stammered, “I uh, need an upset stomach remedy,” he said awkwardly.
She rose her brows at him, “If you want one of those there is a CVS right down the street where you can pick up some Pepto.”
“Its for a werewolf,” Desmond said.
“Oh, well why didn’t you say so?” she asked and pulled out a notepad and a cheap bic pen. “What are their symptoms?”
“Stomach ache mainly, and he can’t poop,” well that was super awkward.
She didn’t even give him a weird look, “Anything else?”
“Not really,” Desmond shrugged.
“He eat anything weird lately?”
“Uh… I don’t think so?” But Desmond also didn’t know what was ‘weird’ for a werewolf. They were fucking werewolves, they were weird by default. He’d never known werewolves before now. His town growing up had been small, mostly norms. The only sups were in the form of the hedge witch who ran the witchery in town, Rosemary Waters and her family and a herd of centaurs who lived in the forest outside of town who sent their kids to school but mostly kept to themselves. That was it and until recently had been about as many sups as Desmond had ever known. “He said he started to feel bad after dinner a few nights ago.”
“What did they eat?”
“Erm,” Desmond pulled out his phone and checked the texts Altair had been sending him of the list of food they’d had that day. “Werewolf snacks,” which could have been anything designed for werewolves or other shapeshifters like them, “juice, beer, jerky, steak and eggs, pork chops, mutton, artichoke and spinach dip, and kale,” he looked at her, still holding his phone like a crutch.
The pretty witch rolled her eyes which made them do a weird sloshy thing that was both cool and kinda freaky, “He ate vegetables,” she said like that explained everything, which to Desmond it didn’t. She wrote something down on her pad and then entered it into the store computer. She put her finger on the screen and mouthed a word to herself then turned to the wall of potions. The witch stood up and got a step stool to reach and then unlocked one of the doors and grabbed a large clay jar and brought it back to the counter. She took a quarter cup measure and scooped two scoops into a plastic bag, then she tied the bag with a twist tie and put it on the counter.
“Mix it with a drink, non alcoholic or lactic,” she said as she wrote the instructions out on a paper for him, “two tablespoons twice a day, when he wakes up and when he goes to sleep. It should clear up in two or three days if he takes the correct amount for the next two days,” and she finished writing and put the prescription and the medication into a bag. “And tell him not to eat any more vegetables.”
“I will,” Desmond said.
“All right, that’ll be twenty five dollars,” and Desmond nearly choked.
“Twenty five dollars?” he demanded, “for half a cup of powder!”
“Hey, witching isn’t cheap,” she said, insulted. “And I don’t set the prices here, I just work here. And yes, its twenty five dollars.”
Desmond grumbled but paid. Twenty five dollars for half a cup of powder. Malik better fucking love him for this. “So… are you not a witch?” he asked curiously.
“I’m a witch,” she said, “going to make something of it?”
“No,” Desmond said quickly. “Thank you, have a nice day,” and he left quickly with his little bag. He walked back to Altair and Malik’s place which was a few blocks away where he was currently sleeping on their couch after he’d been evicted from his apartment a week ago. The guy below him had claimed he’d been making a lot of noise even though Desmond wasn’t home half the time and had only started after his ex boyfriend had shown up at the complex looking for him a few weeks ago. So basically, fuck those bigots anyway.
Altair was home, vegged out on the couch playing video games, and Malik was probably in bed being as sick as a dog. Altair perked up when Desmond opened the door and Desmond could imagine his ears in wolf form sticking straight up in attention when he did. “You’re back,” Altair said.
“Yeah, and I got a potion for Malik,” he said and showed Altair the bag. “It cost me twenty five fucking dollars.”
“Wow. Sorry,” Altair said.
“Yeah, you’re telling me,” Desmond groaned. “I don’t know why you couldn’t have done it,” he complained.
“Cats man, witches always have cats with them. Werewolves and cats do not get along.”
“That’s got to be just a stereotype, that all witches have cats,” Desmond said.
“Did the witch in there have a cat?”
“See!” Altair cried. “Witches and cats. Hate ‘em.”
“Uhg, whatever,” Desmond said. “I’ll go give Malik his potion since you’re a giant weenie about witch stuff.”
“Thanks,” Altair grinned at him.
“I’m way too good for you,” Desmond sighed. Altair laughed a little and went back to his video game.
Desmond went to the kitchen and poured some juice for Malik and spooned in two tablespoons of the powder and then mixed it. It turned the apple juice pink… like pepto bismol. He wondered if that was intentional or not. He sniffed it, still smelled like apple juice but he refrained from tasting it in case it tasted like pepto bismol. He put the bag next to the half loaf of bread on the counter and went into the bedroom which was dark and Malik had taken up most of the bed. “Hey Malik,” Desmond said, turning on the light. Malik just whined and it sounded like a dog’s whine. “I went to the witchery and got something for your stomach.”
“No,” Malik complained that also came out with a high pitched whiny noise.
“Yes. Take your damn potion it cost me twenty five bucks, you’re fucking drinking it,” Desmond put the cup on the side table and made Malik sit. Then he shoved the potion into his hands and stood over him like a vulture until he drank it and drank the entire thing.
“There, happy?” Malik asked, though he looked a bit green.
“Yes, what did it taste like?”
“Apple cider,” Malik said. “It was actually kinda yummy.”
“... Okay,” Desmond said slowly. “Well you’re taking more tomorrow morning. I’ll make sure to tell your useless boyfriend to make sure you drink it before he goes to work.”
Malik chuckled, “He is useless isn’t he?”
“Wouldn’t even come with me. Now I need to get ready for work. I hope you feel better.”
“Thanks,” Malik said and laid back down. Desmond turned off the lights as he left. Altair hadn’t moved.
“He alive in there?” Altair asked.
“Yeah, he’s alive,” Desmond said. “There’s a bag in the kitchen with his potion, there are instructions for making it. He needs to take some tomorrow morning.”
“Okay,” Altair said.
“Now I need to get ready for work so fuck off I want some privacy.”
“Uhg, all right,” Altair groaned.
“Go pay attention to your boyfriend, he’s miserable and needs some,” and he pushed Altair towards the bedroom. Once Altair was gone he changed clothes. Good clothes, shirt and tie with black slacks and combed his hair. Then he made himself dinner, leftover tacos from last night which Altair had complained about all night because he couldn’t have any. Tacos were mostly veggies after all, and dairy. But other than that they couldn’t eat any of it. Altair had been salty about it all night because he always heard how yummy tacos were but could never have them. Such was the life of a sup, had to watch what you ate.
Once he’d eaten and watched some TV he pulled on a hoodie over his nice looking clothes and yanked the hood up before leaving. He stuck his headphones in his ear and headed for the subway. He would rather drive to work but it was broken. So no motorcycle for him.
As he walked to the subway he walked past the witchery just as the woman working there was coming out. Her pretty, long haired, cat was balanced on her shoulders as she locked the door. He stopped walking and watched her. From a distance where he couldn’t see her weird eyes she was really pretty. Apparently the guy walking down the sidewalk the other way thought so too and Desmond frowned when she got cat called. The witch ignored him and pulled down the grate to protect the windows. The guy said something else but Desmond was across the street and couldn’t hear what he said. He could tell the guy was annoyed though, and the cat was starting to get pissed and was puffing up.
Desmond crossed the street and as he got close he heard the guy call the witch an ugly bitch. The witch continued to ignore him. “Hey honey,” Desmond said. They both looked at him, the witch looking even more surprised than the man. “Sorry I’m late. Work,” and he looked from the witch to the man to signal her.
“Its all right,” she said slowly.
“You need something buddy?” he asked the man.
The man scowled at him, “No,” and he stalked away.
“You didn’t have to do that,” she said when he was gone, she was holding her cat now in her arms, the cat had the same sort of blue eyes as the witch.
Desmond shrugged, “I know. But I did. Creeps like that bother me. You going to be okay?”
“Yeah, my car’s just around the corner,” she nodded behind him.
“Okay, great. Have a nice night,” and he left and kept walking for the subway. He didn’t want anything from her, he just thought she was pretty. But pretty girls didn’t deserve to be treated like that by guys they were too good for. He got on the next train and headed for work where he was until nearly three, then he went home and went to sleep on Altair’s couch.
Officially Desmond had been a witchery more in the month than he had ever been in his entire life. Every time he walked down towards the subway he’d look in the window of the witchery. Sometimes he’d see a tubby middle aged woman with a lanky black cat at the counter, other times it was a teenage boy with a bad case of acne and no cat, or a young african american woman with a cat the color of fresh snow. And then sometimes he got lucky and he saw the pretty blonde witch with the long haired cat. He never stopped, but he’d look in the window on his walk to the subway. It was just… interesting in there but he had no real reason to go in there after Malik’s stomach ache had cleared up. But today. Today he was going to stop being a wimp and go into the witchery and talk to the pretty blonde witch.
He left for work early and stopped in, the bell ringing above the door. Desmond didn’t go over to the counter and thought about what he was going to say as he looked at all the things in the store. There was just a lot of stuff here and he could barely wrap his head around it all. The entire time the witch worked on her laptop at the counter.
Desmond jumped a bit when something brushed his leg. When he looked down he saw it was the fluffy cat. He crouched and the cat let Desmond pet it. It was a very pretty cat and purred when Desmond scratched its chin and neck. Well this was an in at any rate.
After mustering his courage while petting the cat Desmond stood and went over to the counter. The cat followed behind and jumped right up onto the countertop and draped itself over the witch’s keyboard. “Ahg, stupid thing,” she scolded the cat who just twitched its tail in amusement. Then she saw Desmond. “Hi, can I help you?” she asked him.
“What’s your cat’s name?” he asked.
“Her name is Laila,” and the witch scratched the cat behind the ears.
“That’s a pretty name.”
She smiled at him, “I think so too. Right girl?” and she ruffled the cat’s fur with both hands. Laila didn’t like that and got up to go lay in her cat bed. “Did you need something?” she asked Desmond.
“I suppose,” Desmond said, “I’ve never really been in a witchery before. Its cool.”
“Yeah, it is,” she agreed.
“I was just… curious. I don’t really know a lot of sups and not a single witch.”
“Oh? Thinking about getting into witchcraft?” she asked and leaned on the counter.
“I don’t know,” Desmond said truthfully. “I thought you were born a witch like other sups.”
“You are, but witches are a lot more common than other supers,” she said, “more common than people would believe.”
“Yeah,” she nodded, “you have as good a chance of being a witch as you do to not be straight.”
“Really?” she nodded again, “That’s significant,” and Desmond already fit into those odds. “Uhm, what’s your name?”
She smiled, “I’m Lucy.”
“Desmond,” he said. “So I don’t wanna be rude or anything, but what’s up with your eyes?” he asked and motioned to his own and included his entire face with the exaggerated hand gesture.
“Its something you take while you work here. It raises your brain’s awareness of the astral planes and lets you see things normal people or supers can’t see, does freaky shit to your eyes. Helpful when a demon shows up needing a cure for hog rot-
“Hog rot? Demons?” Desmond was at once freaked out and curious as hell.
“... So they aren’t normally like that?”
“Nope, just when I come to work. Gives me a headache sometimes,” she said and squinted a little.
“That’s… kinda cool,” Desmond admitted. “Its all kinda cool.”
Lucy laughed, “Yeah, it is isn’t it?”
“So you’re a witch but what’s your day job?” he asked.
“I’m a student, working on my medical degree for neurology.”
“That’s impressive,” Desmond said.
“Thanks,” she had a cute smile and once Desmond got over the eyes he didn’t even notice them.
“So then I guess this isn’t your witchery?”
“Nope, its Margaret’s.”
“The witch with the black cat?”
“Yeah… how’d you know that?”
“I live down the street a few blocks, this is on my way to the subway.”
“Oh,” she nodded, because yeah that made sense and meant he wasn’t creeping on the people working here. Nope, not at all.
“But yeah, that’s Margaret, she owns the shop. I wish my set up back home looked even half as good as this,” she sighed wistfully.
“Yeah? Tell me about it,” Desmond leaned on the counter. So Lucy did, telling him about her cauldron set up back in her apartment and the ventilation issue she had and how hard it was to keep her roommates from touching the ‘gross stuff’ she kept in her freezer since the one in her mini fridge wasn’t big enough. Like she understood that keeping a still beating chimera heart in the freezer was weird but it was also expensive and no they couldn’t throw it away. She needed it for rituals and for homework in her occult studies she took as a minor at NYU.
When she asked Desmond if he knew any sups he said yes, unfortunately. When she pressed he told her about Altair and Malik, the gay werewolves he was living with. Then it turned into a good twenty minutes of Desmond bitching about them. Like how they shed everywhere and literally howled at the moon or had that gross dog smell when they didn’t bathe, and then when they did shower they sometimes smelled like wet dog. And of course the ass sniffing and Lucy laughed when he admitted he didn’t know if that was a gay thing or a werewolf thing. They also always ate everything in the house and he was really grateful he worked at night because you knew when werewolves fucked. Lucy found it all very amusing and laughed at Desmond’’s complaints more than anything.
“They sound nice,” she said once he was done ranting, “and they must really like you to let them stay with you. Usually werewolves don’t let people into their territory unless they like them.”
“Really? I had no idea.”
“Also, I need to close up now,” Lucy said, getting up.
“Oh… yeah,” and Desmond checked his phone. “Oh shit,” he said. The store was open later than usual because of their talking.
“What?” she asked.
“I’m going to be late to work unless I run for the subway,” and he was literally about to bolt.
“Oh,” she made a bit of a face and then said, “you want to talk again sometime?” and Desmond now didn’t want to leave.
“Yeah,” he said.
Lucy wrote something on her notepad, tore it out and handed it to Desmond. “Text me when you get out of work,” she said and Desmond looked at what she’d given him. It was her phone number. Desmond had never scored a hot girl’s phone number easier in his entire life, and he hadn’t even intended to get it. He was honestly just interested in witch stuff and she was by far the least intimidating person who worked here. Margaret looked busy constantly, the black lady didn’t look like she’d humor his questions and the teenage boy would have probably sneered at him.
Desmond felt himself smile, “Okay, I will. Now I gotta jet,” and he motioned to the door.”
“Of course,” she said and waved as he left, Desmond waved too and then left. He literally did have to sprint down to the subway to catch an express train to get to work on time.
Desmond floated into the apartment with a dumb, dreamy, smile on his face. Altair was at the kitchen table working. He was a freelance artist and worked at home when he didn’t work his part time job as a waiter. Malik was at work still.
“Welcome home,” Altair said from the table, “where’d you go?”
Desmond fell onto the couch with the same dumb smile, but said nothing. This was the fifth time he and Lucy had hung out. They’d gone to a sups museum together and Desmond had finally worked up the nerve to ask if she just… wanted to go out. He hadn’t started talking to her with the intention of dating but she was just really nice and smart and pretty and shit he had to try at least. Between the friend dates and the texting and Desmond just dropping by the witchery while she was at work the past few weeks already sort of felt like they were dating.
“I have a girlfriend,” Desmond said happily, feeling warm and fuzzy all over.
He heard Altair turn around in his chair, “What?”
“Girlfriend, you need your ears checked? I have a girlfriend,” and he grabbed one of his pillows and hugged it. And his girlfriend was so cool and a witch and then he realized that since they were going out he was probably allowed to kiss her and he just got excited all over again. Desmond was the worst with crushes. He acted sort of like stereotypical teenage girl about them.
Altair was at the back of the couch, “Since when? How the hell did you get a girlfriend when all you do is work out and work?” he asked.
“I have a social life,” Desmond complained. “And I went out with that witch girl today, the one I’ve been telling you about who works at the witchery down the street,” Altair nodded slowly, “I’m going out with her.”
Altair made a low rumbling noise in his chest, “I see,” he said.
Desmond sat up, “Don’t make that noise. She’s great! You’re just bent out of shape she’s a witch.”
“Cats,” Altair said with distaste like he’d smelled something bad.
“Whatever,” Desmond flopped back down on the couch with a smile. “We’re dating now. Be happy for me, that’s what friends do.”
“Yeah but its a witch, she has a cat,” Altair wrinkled his nose.
“Oh shut up. You stink of dog like… a quarter of the time. You have no right to complain about a cat when they’re self cleaning machines. Fuck I’m lucky if you bathe every day. You and Malik reek.”
“Its called musk,” Altair grumbled.
“Its called dog smell,” Desmond said.
“Whatever,” Altair muttered and left, back to do his work. Desmond just laid around the rest of the day until work watching TV and floating on cloud nine about having a new girlfriend.
Desmond was on his way, for the first time, to Lucy’s apartment. They’d been dating about two weeks and he’d gotten sick of her complaining about her ventilation problems in her apartment on account of her cauldron. So he’d said he’d do something about it and had gotten her address and was headed there with his tool box. Desmond was pretty handy and knew a thing or two about building things. He’d built all his furniture which was currently still sitting in a storage facility waiting for him to find a new apartment. Altair and Malik never mentioned Desmond leaving and whenever he brought up if he was intruding the two werewolves made a big deal about how Desmond was totally welcome to stay as long as he wanted. At least he’d upgraded from couch to blow up mattress at this point.
He rang the buzzer and opened the door when it unlocked. Lucy lived on the third floor and there was an elevator. He took it up to her floor and found her apartment quickly and knocked. She answered the door and the first thing he did was say, “Hi!” and kiss her, because he was a sucker for it.
She just smiled and rolled her eyes at him, “I swear you probably came all this way for that.”
“Oh I definitely did,” he teased and she let him in. It was a four bedroom, two bath with a living room that was a fifth bedroom and a sort of bigish main room where that connected them all, and then a pretty big kitchen. Nice place honestly. “So show me the evil cauldron,” he ordered and she showed him into her room. It was like a mix between the witchery and a med student’s room, which wasn’t a surprise. There were plenty of things in jars and weird things on her shelves and a basket full of fresh and dried herbs. A mini fridge was under her desk and he had to assume she kept her perishables, both witch related and food. Which he thought was weird but whatever. She also had a big bet with floral pattern sheets and Laila had a cat bed and climbing tree as well as a scratching post. He didn’t see a litter box but whatever.
“That’s it,” Lucy said, pointing at the corner where a second desk was and her small cauldron, about as big as Desmond’s head. “I try and keep it near the window, but it doesn’t seem to help,” she lamented.
“It smells nice in here. I thought the potions would make it smell.”
“I cast air purification spells after I use the cauldron, otherwise yeah, it stinks.”
“Nifty, alright, lets take a look at it,” and he went over to the cauldron. It was above a simple burner that was lit by some unknown means, probably magical in nature and means Lucy didn’t have a tank of propane under her desk. It was near the window but the room itself had poor circulation, Lucy had no fans in the place. He opened the window and stuck his head out, leaning over the desk to look at what the outside was like. She had a window unit that was quiet since it was cool out. He could cook up a chimney for the thing pretty easily actually. He’d taken welding and shop in high school, so he had the skills to do it. He just needed the machinery, which he had no idea how to get a hold of. Or he could make it out of PCV and save himself the headache.
“So what do you think?” Lucy asked.
“I can totally work with this,” Desmond said. “I’ll need to take some measurements and go to the hardware store and I think I might be able to have a basic set up by the end of the day. I don’t know if its possible but could you create a constant airflow through a pipe?”
“I could,” Lucy said slowly, “might be a bit difficult given the space. Wind magic doesn’t do well in closed buildings.”
“Okay. Do you normally keep your windows open or closed?”
“When I work they’re open,” she said, “but as I’m sure you saw I live by a pretty busy street, I like to keep them closed and use the window unit.”
“Right. I’ll make it removeable then so you can move it around easily,” and Desmond opened his tool box and pulled out a tape measure. “Could you write these measurements down for me?” he asked.
“Sure,” and she scrambled to get a pen and her notebook. “Okay go ahead,” she said.
“Alright,” he said slowly and measured each thing he needed, calling them out to Lucy who dictated them. “Okay I’m going to make a run to the hardware store, you think about that wind spell,” he said and she tore out the page of measurements and gave it to him.
“Should, at the very least it’ll be a makeshift until I can make another one,” Desmond said grinning. “I’ll be back later,” he promised and left. He went to a hardware store a few blocks down and over, next to a convenience store and went in. He got the PCV pipes he needed and their connectors and some other stuff he’d need to make it work. The walked back feeling a bit silly with several bags full of hardware stuff.
When he got back Lucy had several books open on her bed with various occult symbols on them and spell instructions. “What’s all that?” she asked.
“Your new chimney,” Desmond said and sat at Lucy’s desk to start putting it together. “If you can get a spell to give you some air flow through it it should pump the air off the top of the cauldron and outside so no more ventilation problems.”
“Wow, that sounds great!” she said. “I’m looking for a spell for it. It should be possible, I might have to perform a ritual for it though.”
“Yeah?” Desmond asked as he started to fit the parts together.
“Yeah, hopefully nothing too complex.”
“Well if you can’t I bought a fan I can attach inside. It’ll spin with the rising air and draw more hot air out and push it out of the room.”
“That’s awesome,” Lucy said.
“I thought so.” Desmond worked for an hour or so on the makeshift chimney, lining it up over the cauldron so most of the vapors would go into the chimney and not clog the air in Lucy’s bedroom. “Alright,” he said proudly, “I think I’m done.”
“You are? I thought it’d take longer.”
“Nope, all done, I just installed the fan anyway, if you need it you got it and if you don’t, well, its there. Come check it out,” and he beckoned to her.
Lucy got off her bed and went over to where Desmond was sitting. He showed her the chimney and how to take it out of the window correctly without banging it and where to align it so it fit properly over her cauldron. “Its perfect,” she said and wrapped her arms around Desmond’s neck, “Thank you.”
“I do what I can,” Desmond said, grinning. Lucy leaned over and kissed him and that was pretty dang awesome.
“Wanna stay for dinner?” she asked, playing with his hair a bit.
“You ever know me to say no to food?”
“Not really, no,” she laughed a little.
“then hell yeah I’ll stay for dinner.”
“Alright. Go wash up and we’ll make something.”
“Okay,” and he hopped up. As he left for the bathroom he swore he heard Lucy tell Laila, ‘see Laila I told you he was a good choice’ and for some reason that made him happier. He knew witch familiars were more intelligent than normal animals and could understand human speech. Lucy said she could understand Laila too. It was a witch’s familiar thing. He didn’t really understand it, he didn’t really need to though, as long as Lucy said it was cool, it was cool.
He went into the bathroom and washed up. When he left Lucy was in the kitchen, Laila winding around her legs purring. “So, what’s for dinner?” he asked.
“I was thinking pasta,” she said, “and I got some really nice sausages from the store yesterday, we could do pasta and sausage.”
“Right,” Desmond said momentarily distracted by Lucy talking about sausage. They hadn’t had sex yet, but Lucy wasn’t allowed over Altair and Malik’s (cat smell), and this was the first time he’d been to Lucy’s. He didn’t think about it a lot really, he was okay with the kissing, but he sometimes got distracted when Lucy made references to phallic things. Like sausages. “I like sausage,” he said.
“Me too,” and he was pretty sure that was a thinly veiled dick reference. He’d said it as a dick referance cause he was comfortable enough with himself to admit he was bisexual as hell and yeah, he totally liked dick. Also liked vag. He liked everything. It was hard to find something he didn’t like. Wasn’t that pansexual? Not important. What was important was that he was into Lucy and all her everything.
“Well lets make some dinner then,” Desmond said and they went about cooking the sausage and the pasta. Desmond found some mushrooms in the fridge that were both for witch stuff but eating and sauteed those as well. Lucy let him do a lot of it, just sort of smiling and flirting with him while he cooked. He drained the noodles and threw it into a big pot with the cut up sausage, the mushrooms and the sauce and brought it all up to a simmer.
“You’re quite a cook,” Lucy said.
“I am a man of many talents,” Desmond said proudly. “I also lived alone and I got tired of ramen and cereal real fast,” and that made Lucy laugh a little. “Okay so… plates?”
“I’ll get some,” and Lucy went back into her room and came out with bowls. Desmond spooned the pasta into the bowls. “Perfect,” she said.
“So there’s no dining room table?”
“No, Oscar lives in the living room, so nothing like that,” Lucy said, “but that means we can eat dinner in bed.”
Desmond laughed, “Awesome,” they went back into Lucy’s room and they sat next to each other on her bed and Lucy turned on her TV and they watched The Wolf Pack, a dramamentary show on Discovery about a pack of werewolves who lived in northern Canada. It was totally stupid, and totally great. Altair and Malik moaned about the show all the time saying that they made werewolves look more animalistic than they actually were. Desmond didn’t care, it was mindless entertainment.
They spent most of the night laid out on Lucy’s bed. Desmond watched TV, Lucy read up on her wind spells and Desmond might have dozed off. He probably did because the next thing he knew Laila was laying on his chest looking at him with clear blue eyes. “Hey kitty,” he yawned and gave her a scratch on the head. She started purring instantly. “Did I fall asleep?”
“A little,” Lucy laughed a little, “you just had a nap.”
“I miss anything?”
“No, I just took a shower,” and Desmond finally looked for her, she was sitting at her desk in pajamas. Well, sort of. Rather she was wearing short little sleeping shorts and a tank top.
“What time is it?” Desmond sat up, pushing Laila off him a bit and she jumped off the bed and went into her cat tree.
“A bit past ten,” she said.
“What? Shit. I should probably get going,” and he rubbed his face with a groan.
“You could,” Lucy said and she sounded closer but Desmond was still rubbing his face. “Or you could stay,” and Desmond paused and pulled his hands from his face and his eyes widened a bit. She’d taken off her tanktop and her shorts and was now just in her bra and panties which was always a good thing. But a certain fact didn’t escape Desmond’s notice. The bra and panties matched. Desmond knew enough about girls to know that girls didn’t own a lot of matching underwear and the matching ones they did were only worn for special things. He also knew that when a girl wore matching bra and panties there was only one way this was going; you were getting laid, and you the dude had no say in the matter. Your girlfriend had decided to you doing bedroom acrobatics.
Desmond wouldn’t be lying if he said he wouldn’t be incredibly hard pressed to tell Lucy no.
Not that Desmond was able to say much about anything right now anyway as he just went “Uuuh,” as his eyes tracked up and down her body unapologetically. “You look lovely,” he said, at least able to string a sentence together despite being an absolute slack jawed knucklehead at the moment since holy shit his girlfriend was hot. Like he knew she was hot, but wow she was amazing. She walked over to the side of the bed he was sitting and Desmond watched her hips sway back and forth. He couldn’t have taken his eyes off her if he’d wanted to.
“You should stay,” Lucy said, putting her hands on his shoulders.
“I’d love to,” Desmond said, sounding in awe of her. Because he was. She was beautiful and perfect and looked amazing. She just smiled at him before leaning down and kissing him. She even smelled nice. Man he loved girls, and he loved his girlfriend and was so glad he was spending the night. He was even more glad when she crawled into his lap and pushed him back firmly onto the bed. “View’s great from down here,” Desmond smirked.
“That’s good,” Lucy said, “Because you’ll be enjoying it for a while,” and Desmond refrained from throwing his arms up in delight. He only managed not to because Lucy was kissing him and touching him. He quickly got with the program and had… a really great night.
When Desmond got home the next night he felt great. He’d spent the night at Lucy’s and then the rest of the day he’d gone with her to the witchery and helped her during her shift. Mainly reaching things too high on the shelf that she could reach and being a gross couple who played footsies and kissed constantly. Desmond was totally cool with that too. He was planning on going back to Lucy’s tonight too. But he wanted to drop off back home at the apartment, change his clothes, get some new ones, and get his toothbrush. He’d buy a new one for home and just leave the old one at Lucy’s.
Altair and Malik were on the couch together watching some reality show about Alaska and eating chips when he walked in. “I’m home,” he announced.
They both turned and looked at him, “What is that smell?” Malik asked while Altair’s nose wrinkled. “And where were you? We were worried.”
“I was at Lucy’s,” Desmond said.
Altair got off the couch and went over to Desmond and did some thorough sniffing of Desmond and his clothes he’d been wearing since yesterday. Desmond just held still, knowing they sometimes got weird about smells in their apartment. The apartment was always kept very clean and all soaps were mild because of their big (and he wasn’t just saying that middle eastern guys had some pretty big honkers) noses and made them sneeze like nobody’s business.
“You smell like a cat,” Altair said with a slight growl.
“Uh? Yeah? Lucy owns a cat,” Desmond said dumbly.
“Go take a shower, you reek,” Altair ordered.
“I smell fine-
“No you don’t. You stink, and that’s without the day old sex smell. Shower, go,” and he shoved a very red faced Desmond into the bathroom.
“Stupid werewolves,” Desmond muttered but did shower. He’d showered at Lucy’s place, but he was still in yesterday’s clothes and had been in the witchery all day. So he showered a second time and scrubbed down good. Once he was mostly dry he went back outside, Altair and Malik had left to give him some privacy so he could dress.
He was packing a bag with a space change of clothes when the bedroom door open and Altair and Malik slithered out. Desmond had about that long to realize they were there before he was being hugged. More like completely smothered when Altair and Malik dragged him to the couch and basically snuggled him.
“Ahg! Guys, what the hell.”
“You smell,” Malik said matter of factly, “we’re fixing it.”
“The fuck- are you serious right now. Oooh my god I don’t have time for this,” he struggled a little, but here was very little you could do against two werewolves who seemed to be hellbent on making sure their normal friend smelled correct. He wasn’t going anywhere. “I told Lucy I’d be back before she closed. C’moooon get up,” he groaned.
Desmond was not expecting the two of them to give him the two biggest set of puppy dog eyes he’d ever seen in his life. Altair also whined a little like a sad, dejected, dog. Well now he felt bad for wanting to leave. They meant well he knew. They were protective of him and in some weird way he was their ‘pack’. And pack meant smelling like the pack.
Except Desmond wasn’t a fucking werewolf!
“Guys… please. God what are you dogs, or werewolves?” he complained.
“Werewolves,” Malik said, but did so petulantly.
“Sure you are. Now c’mon, let me up, I got places to go and a hot girlfriend to spend the night with.” Altair and Malik looked between each other, not impressed. “If you prevent me from getting laid tonight I’m moving out.”
“Uuuuhg,” they both complained but did slide off him so he could stand, “Fine,” Altair said.
“Just no moving out,” and Malik ruffled his hair.
“You realize I’m going to move out at some point and this was just temporary, right?” he asked them.
They both gave him a look, “No,” they said at the same time.
“Guuuuys,” he groaned and flopped back on the couch. “I’m not a werewolf, you realize this right? I’m a norm.”
“Your our pack,” Altair said firmly.
“Yeah well I’m also dating a witch and I might move away to live with her at some point but until then you’re going to have to live with cat smell.” Altair growled a little unhappily. “Hey!” Desmond said with all the vocal authority of a rolled up newspaper being smacked on a dog’s nose. “That’s my girlfriend you’re growling about. My amazing, perfect, wonderful, girlfriend. Who you haven’t even met. Don’t you dare growl at her or her super nice familiar.”
“Cat,” Altair said sourly.
“Yeah she’s got a cat. Get over it. I’ll shower when I get home but you guys can’t do this again. I’m a normal, I have different smells. You can’t get all freaky possessive werewolves on me cause I don’t smell like you. For one its weird, for two its super unhealthy behavior, and for three you both smell like dog!”
“Dogs smell nice though,” Altair said.
“Uhg, nevermind,” Desmond got up. “I’m staying at Lucy’s again tonight. I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon before work in time for dinner and to let you two out,” and he picked up his bag and went and got his toothbrush. “Night,” he said as he left.
“Night,” they both grumbled, unhappy Desmond had put his foot down but were dealing with it.
Lucy was waiting for him outside of the witchery, Laila around her legs. “Sorry I made you wait,” he said, leaning down to give her a kiss. “Dog boys were mad I didn’t smell like pack.”
“Awww, poor things,” Lucy said smiling.
“Yeah, such poor things. Giant wolves with a possessive streak. Shall we go?”
“Yeah,” she nodded and they headed for Lucy’s car.
When Desmond got back the next day Altair and Malik were both home from work already and they were in their wolf forms and lying around Desmond’s inflatable mattress looking like sas, lonely, puppies. “I’m home,” Desmond announced.
Altair and Malik leapt to their feet and Desmond short of screamed when they tackled him and tried to lick his face off. “Guys. Guys! Holy shit that’s gross! Guys stop!” he yelled and pushed their giant furry faces away. They backed off and stood in front of him, tails wagging happily. Altair’s mottled gray tail wagged faster, but Malik’s pale, ashy, gray one, wagged in circles. “You two are ridiculous,” he told them. “Hi, hi, hi, I’m home,” and he scratched them both and they tried to lick his hands some. “Full moon, I know. Hi, I’m home, I’m home.”
Werewolves were less… monsters and more just turned into giant wolves on the full moon. During the new moon when there was no sunlight or even reflected sunlight from the moon was when the monsters came out. Altair and Malik knocked themselves unconscious during new moons so they didn’t go crazy. So during a full moon they were more like dogs and less like people and according to them they retained a lot of their memories and emotions during a full moon but acted more… well, dog like. They also both had off from work during the new and full moon because their hormones were the most insane during that time.
“Did you guys eat dinner?” he asked, they just shook their big, dumb, wolf heads. “Of course not. C’mon lets see if there’s something in the fridge. I hope you at least prepped for tonight,” and Malik barked. “Ey! No barking,” he scolded Malik who whined and lowered his head.
As Desmond was getting the steaks out of the fridge something occurred to him. Altair and Malik didn’t treat him like an underling dog. They were both super anxious when he didn’t come home when they expected him and when he scolded them they always just slunk around sulking before apologizing and wanting him to say it was okay and hoped he wasn’t mad. And they were always stupidly happy to see him, except when he smelled like cat. But possessively wanting Desmond to smell like them wasn’t… a behavior dogs had to those lower on the food chain.
Desmond looked down at the two of them sitting to the side, both of them as tall as his chest even sitting, wagging their tails ready for dinner. Waiting for a dinner Desmond usually made all the time and they whined at him until he made them food. “Motherfucker,” he said and they cocked their head at him in the typical confused dog fashion. Providing food wasn’t a typical low status wolf thing either. “How the fuck did you two decide I was your Alpha?” he demanded, holding the steaks in their package. Now a lot of their clinging behavior made a lot more sense. They weren’t protecting Desmond. They didn’t want him to abandon them for some person with a cat.
Altair and Malik looked at each other and then gave Desmond a big dog grin. “You are both straight stupid as shit you know that,” Desmond huffed even as he put the steaks down. They both barked. “No barking!” he cried and they both woofed softly like a laugh. “Fucking useless, clingy, beta, werewolves,” Desmond grumbled and opened the package and put each raw steak with a bit of the meat juice onto separate plates. Desmond took the plates and put them in the middle of the living room. The two of them went at it while Desmond went to shower. When he was done so were they and were gnawing on the T-bone.
They ran into their bedroom and jumped onto their bed when Desmond said he wanted to change and he closed the door on them. He got ready for work and let them out of the bedroom and took them outside to run around in the dog park for a bit and poop and piss and hang out with some other werewolves in the park and howl at the sky even though there was no moon. Desmond played on his phone while his two dumb wolves played and checked the time to make sure he wouldn’t be late for work.
Finally Desmond had to leave, he stood up. “Altair, Malik!” he yelled and two werewolves from the little pack running around the pack peeled off and ran at Desmond, panting, tongues lolling out of their heads. “Get your running out?” he asked them and they barked a bit, tails wagging so fast they could have taken flight. “All right, lets get going, I need to get to work,” and they went back to the apartment. Desmond got his things together while Malik and Altair collapsed on the floor, panting and happy, rubbing all over each other. “I’ll be home late, don’t wait up, kay?” they both just whined. “Don’t even with me,” Desmond said and they made a happy whine. “Okay, bye,” and he sighed when he left the apartment and called Lucy. He told her about his revelation on the state of the wolf pack in his home and then complained when she laughed at him. She was really no help at all.
When he got home from work he was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. The boys were still in the middle of the living room, sleeping, but perked up when he entered. “Hey guys,” Desmond sighed. They hopped up and licked his hands, making him pet them. Guess this was the whole Alpha thing. He’d been doing it already for months now but now he just had a name for it. “Yeah, I’m home. Do you need to go out?” Altair looked at Malik and Malik shook his head. “Okay, I wanna go to sleep-- guys, stop, I’m tired,” he said when they started to push him in a direction. “Guys,” he whined. Altair just woofed softly and pressed his head into Desmond’s back and pushed him to the bedroom. “What?” This time Malik sort of woofed. “Sleep in there?” they wagged their tails, nodding.
“... It smells like dog doesn’t it?” and they both whined. “Okay okay, lemmie change the sheets first, geeze,” and he went into the bedroom and sniffed the sheets. He was surprised when… they smelled clean. “You changed the sheets before you changed. Wow nice forethought. Lemmie brush my teeth and get ready for bed okay,” and was met by happy, wagging, tails.
Desmond got his shit together and went back to the bedroom where Altair and Malik were sitting on it. They had a king sized bed, and it was big enough for the three of them. Desmond was clearly meant to sleep in the middle. Then Altair laid down against his back and Malik near the foot of the bed on the foot, his head pointed to Malik.
“You guys are dumb werewolves,” he said. Altair just woofed. “My dumb werewolves though,” and he patted Altair’s ruff. “Sleep now, don’t be too annoying in the morning,” he yawned. The boys just put their heads down and closed their eyes. Desmond was out like a light. It was by far the best sleep he’d had at this place since he’d been kicked out of his old place, only the two nights at Lucy’s had been better.
“So… you’re sure you’re okay with this?” Desmond asked Lucy for probably the five thousandth time while they were getting everything together to rent the house.
“Of course,” she said and then reached up to pinch Desmond’s cheek, “like I could deny a couple of poor werewolves their Alpha,” and Desmond, and Altair and Malik who were starting to unload the moving truck, all groaned. Lucy just laughed, finding it hilarious. “Really, its fine, so long as they leave Laila alone and stay the hell off our bed,” she told Desmond.
“All right. You’re the boss honey.”
“I know I am,” she said smartly and then looked back at the werewolves, “remember that you two.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Altair said.
“Man, they’re so polite to you,” Desmond complained. “They still tackle me on the full moon like they thought I’d never come back from being out.”
“That’s because I’m momma Alpha,” she teased. “They know to listen to their Alpha’s mate,” and she got up on her tip toes to kiss Desmond on the cheek.”
“We gonna do this, or what?” Altair asked, he and Malik were standing in the back of the moving truck with all their boxes and furniture.
“Well we’ve only been planning this for like four months so I’d fucking hope so,” Desmond said and joined Malik and Altair up in the truck. “And guys,” he said as he grabbed a box, “you can’t howl when you fuck with a lady in the house.”
“We can’t?” Altair asked.
“No,” Desmond stressed, “not unless you want to hear how loud she can be-
“Desmond!” Lucy cried and he looked at her, she was red faced.
“Yeah… no thanks,” Altair said.
“Then no howling. Only do your howling in the yard.”
“Yeah sure. I mean now we have a yard how fucking cool is that?” Malik asked and hopped out of the truck with two boxes.
“Really cool,” Altair said, joining him.
“And remember I said be nice to Laila.”
“Right... the cat,” Altair said as they both wrinkled their noses.
“Cat that beats up dogs and is magic,” Lucy reminded them.
“Right… the cat,” Malik said. “This’ll take some getting used to,” he huffed and then went into their new home. One the four of them would be sharing because Desmond was tired of sleeping on the blow up or at Lucy’s place for the past year. And him leaving seemed to be painful for Altair and Malik. Lucy had been the one to suggest they all just live together. So now here they were.
Desmond foresaw a fiasco at the very least. But he was sort of looking forward to it anyway. At least he wasn’t living in a living room and this way they could all just smell the same so Altair and Malik didn’t get weird for a few hours when Desmond came home from his stay at Lucy’s. Yeap, definitely better this way. Total fiasco, but better anyway.
“So ready to live with two werewolves?” Desmond asked as he handed Lucy a box.
“I think I can manage. Think they’re ready to live with a witch?”
“Oh not even a little bit,” he laughed. “But, they’ll live.”
“I’m sure they will,” and they both followed Altair and Malik into the house to set up their new life.