Ethan flinched, the cold painful on his already sensitive feet. Shoes had been lost sometime during the night, either shredded by sharp claws or simply discarded; he could not remember which it was. Shifts were always difficult, bones and muscles reshaping themselves within his body, pulled into the new form by the light of the moon whether he wanted it or not.
Every inch of his body ached and deep inside his mind the wolf was still active, pawing and scratching as his human side attempted to regain control once more. Ethan ran his hand through his hair while he walked through the cold London streets, hoping no one noticed his shoeless feet. His bedraggled appearance was easy enough to explain away as the result of a night of drinking. Having no shoes in London in December was more difficult to explain and he hoped to make it somewhere before anyone pointed it out.
The wolf clawed at his mind, desiring one more thing before he fell asleep until the next full moon woke him. Now that he knew the truth, the wall between them inside his head was gone, leaving man and wolf to interact throughout the month and not just at the full moon. The running had been wonderful. There was the hunt, the thrill, the adrenaline rushing through his veins. But at the end of each wolf-night, the wolf had one more request, one that tonight had Ethan stymied.
Where to go was the question that weighed on his mind. Ethan no longer had a home, not one he could truly go to. Brona was gone, the one he had turned to after his previous shifts in London. Sweet, wonderful Brona who never seemed to think a negative thought about him, even when she saw him at his worst, coming home after the moon covered in blood. Even then she had held him, rubbed his back and told him everything would be alright. And then they would fall into bed, the human satisfying his need for companionship while the wolf rutted to his heart’s content.
However, with Brona gone, Ethan didn’t know where to turn. There were plenty of prostitutes in London, ones that would ask no questions and let his wolf burn off the small amount of energy he still had. And yet, it was more to it than that. Ethan had known that Brona would not be his mate. It hadn’t made him love her any less but he knew that what they had was temporary, fleeting. Only certain humans could mate with a werewolf like himself and Brona was not one of them. She was a sweet girl, one who did her best with her station in life, but she was not an omega like both Ethan and the wolf craved. Still, she gave him love and affection, along with the sex, and a prostitute could not give that to him, at least not honestly.
Neither could Mr. Gray who had welcomed Ethan into his home but that man - human was something he could not be called - was more alpha than omega and the wolf had left with his tail between his figurative legs, unsatisfied and somewhat ashamed. There had been nothing in that encounter that made either Ethan or his wolf want to return for another moon cycle.
Ethan checked through the small list of people he knew in London, people who might be willing to give him the affection and physical attention he desired, trying to focus his thoughts on something other than the physical pain in his now frozen feet and the all consuming desire still flowing from the wolf. Sir Malcolm was in no way suitable, as there would be no way either would enjoy the encounter, with so little trust between them. Even if he was living with the man now, it was not the same and there would never be any desire on Ethan’s part for that.
He entertained the idea of Vanessa briefly, thinking of the kindness and trust between the two of them. He knew of no animosity that would come between them in such an act. However, the words psychosexual had fallen from the good doctor’s mouth when talking about Vanessa’s condition while under the possession of the demon. In no way would Ethan be willing to put her in a situation where it might open her to such a situation once more. Even if he was willing to risk her life and soul in such a way, his feelings toward her were more of that of a brother than a lover and the awkwardness of such an encounter would leave all parties feeling dissatisfied and disheartened.
Pausing mid-step, the answer came to Ethan so suddenly that he wondered how it had escaped him for so long. Pivoting in place, the change of direction startled the people behind him but Ethan was no longer in the state of mind to care. Everything was so perfectly clear in that moment that nothing could have stopped him from climbing that dingy staircase and pounding on the door.
There was one person Ethan had been growing closer to. One who stood up to him but also turned to him for help.
This same person was the only omega that Ethan had met during his time in London. And the innocent, untouched virgin probably had no idea what he actually was.
His voice echoed in the deserted hallway and even to his own ears, Ethan could feel the strain. With an omega so close, the wolf clawed to get out, nearly forcing a shift right there in the hall. Only Ethan’s assurance that Doctor Frankenstein might die of fright upon seeing their other form kept the wolf from coming to the surface. Though, as the seconds ticked on and no one answered the door, despite his nose telling him that Victor was there, Ethan was tempted to break the door down and find the doctor through force.
As Ethan stepped back, ready to put his shoulder into the door and most likely break it to splinters, the doctor’s face appeared in the doorway, the door barely cracked. “Now is not a good time, Mr. Chandler. If you could come back some other day?” There was the barest hint of a question at the end of the sentence, Victor himself unsure what it was that kept drawing the two of them together in general and what had brought Ethan here right now.
“Doc, I must speak with you.” It took every ounce of control to not push his way in and take the doctor right there. “If I might come in for a few minutes, I could explain everything.”
Victor glanced behind him, an action not missed by the werewolf but his desire was too strong for him to worry about Victor’s concerns now. “It really is not a good time,” he mumbled, still backing away and opening the door a little. “Just a couple minutes?”
Ethan took the opening as invitation and slipped inside, running a hand through his hair as he looked around Victor’s flat, stalling for a moment as he searched for the right words, the wolf making it difficult to think of anything but taking this man and claiming him for their own. Ethan knew enough to know that Victor would not appreciate being forcibly mated, and needed to make his intention known, getting permission from the doctor.
“Doc, was it true? What the....what Vanessa said when she spoke to you during her illness?” None of them had spoken of what secrets Vanessa had spilled. They were deeply personal and the unspoken agreement had been to never mention them again. However, it seemed the best way to bring up such a delicate topic. “Have you truly never been touched?”
The blush on Victor’s cheeks and ears told Ethan that it was true but Victor responded anyway, “I don’t see how that is any business of yours, Mr. Chandler.” He turned away, attempting to hide the truth they both knew was evident on his face.
Ethan stepped closer, almost touching but not quite, his larger frame looming over Victor. Victor could feel his warm breath on the back of his neck, cursing the fact that his body reacted to the other man’s proximity. “So you do not know? Your body wants me even as you wish to push me away. But you don’t want me to go, do you? You know deep down that this is what you have been waiting for. You hide away with your bodies and your morphine. You pretend to be absorbed in your work but you crave the touch, a very specific touch. The touch of an alpha that can satisfy that fire inside you, quench it in a way you have not managed yet.”
Confusion overrode Dr. Frankenstein’s embarrassment and he turned to look at Ethan, only realizing when presented with the face so close to his own, just how dangerous a situation this was. “What do you mean an alpha? You... You are making no sense, Mr. Chandler.”
Ethan stepped impossibly closer, an act that had the good doctor backing up to avoid being pressed against this man, terrified of the predatory look in the American’s eyes. Even as he did, Victor knew there was a part of him that wanted to push himself against Ethan and let the man do what he desired. But Victor was a man of science and he needed to know everything before giving himself over to his baser instincts.
For his part, both Ethan and his wolf were enjoying this hunt, feeling the fear from Victor and having it fan the flames of his own desire. He continued to stalk forward until he had the doctor pressed against the wall, Ethan’s hands on either side of his head, bracketing him in and keeping him close enough that when the omega’s fear scent inundated his nose, Ethan actually growled, a feral noise that had Dr. Frankenstein jumping slightly. “An alpha is a strong creature, one that commands respect from all around it. If you hadn’t noticed, I am an alpha and I crave an omega, someone who can act as a balm to my burn, to calm me and satisfy every need that I have.” Leaning in, Ethan trailed his nose along Victor’s jaw, feeling the smaller man tremble beneath him. Lips reaching Victor’s ear, Ethan practically purred into it, “While you may not know it consciously, you are an omega and your body cries out for me, even as you keep pushing me away.”
Victor continued to tremble, eyes going anywhere except to meet Ethan’s dark ones. He knew he would be lost if he were to look up into the taller man’s intense gaze. “I am simply a man, and I do not know what you are talking about.” He gasped, feeling Ethan’s strong hand move behind him, trailing down his back to press at the back of his trousers. Only then did his surprised eyes jump to meet those of the American. “What are you doing?”
“You say you are just a man but I can smell the desire on you. You are a physician, you know the body better than any of us in our little family. Tell me, it is normal for just a man to get wet there?” Ethan pressed harder, causing Victor to tremble and moan a little. “There is more to you than even you know and I will help you unleash your potential.”
Blinking up at him, entire body shaking in fear and desire, Victor raised a brow, “How is it that you know more about me than I do? What gives you the right to assume you know everything and I do not?”
Ethan smiled and Victor marveled briefly at just how canine his teeth looked at that moment. “Because I can smell it on you. I have traveled the world, looking for one like you. At first, I was too wrapped up in Brona to understand that the one I sought had been standing next to me the whole time. It wasn’t until we were in the basement at Sir Malcolm’s that I truly realized what you were. Your small body so close to mine, in such a small space, it would have been a wonder if I hadn’t noticed it. But then Brona died and everything with Mina happened. But now, dear doctor. Now I have the time and the energy and the desire. And so do you. You are scared but you want this, don’t you?”
Victor had listened closely, trying to absorb everything Ethan said. He had felt something when Ethan was teaching him to shoot. Victor had written it off as the adrenaline, the sheer relief of knowing he could now do something to protect himself, but maybe there was more to it. They had a very intense relationship, whether as friends or adversaries. Perhaps this was the obvious continuation of what had been building all along? If only he had more experience with this, to know if what he was feeling, if his body’s reactions, were normal or something unusual and specifically for Ethan. “And if I did? What would that change? You are still a man and I am a man, and this is not anything I have studied or know anything about.”
“Oh, Doc. Stop thinking and let yourself feel.” That was the only warning Victor had before Ethan’s lips were on his, the American’s body pinning Victor to the wall as his own hips hitched in response. For a moment, the doctor stopped thinking altogether, shocked by the sensation. He had never considered a man before. Biologically, he knew it was possible for people to be attracted to those of their own sex but he had never met one who acted on those desires. But with Ethan here, pressed against him and kissing Victor as if he was the sole source of oxygen in the world, Victor allowed himself to think that this might indeed be what he had been waiting for all along.
He brought a hand up, fingers tangling into Ethan’s long hair as he deepened the kiss, Ethan matching Victor’s moan with a growl of his own. Sensing how good and how right this felt, Victor let go of his hesitations for the moment. Following Ethan’s lead, Victor tentatively licked at the seam of the American’s lips, seeking entrance which was almost immediately granted. He knew the mechanics of kissing, which muscles were being used and the hormones that were released during intimate encounters. However, knowing the biological processes and experiencing them first hand were very different things. “Why?” he muttered against Ethan’s lips, more a question to the universe in general than the man who held the slight doctor tight against his body but Ethan answered anyway.
“Because you are an omega and I am an alpha. We are two sides of the same coin and one cannot live without the other.” If asked, Victor would say it was the most romantic thing anyone had ever said directed at him. But since no one asked, he put his mouth to better use, kissing Ethan again and again, unable to get enough. He still did not know what it meant to be an omega and if that was truly what he was, but he could feel Ethan’s desire for him and his own desire for being touched and loved. There was no doubt that he would do whatever Ethan asked of him.
“My room,” he mumbled as the American began to unbutton his shirt. “That door, there,” he tipped his head in the direction he was meaning, only to be rewarded by Ethan’s lips and teeth on Victor’s neck, a source of pleasure he had not anticipated and had him moaning erotically in return.
Unwilling to be separated from their omega now that they had found one, Ethan picked Victor up easily, hands under the man’s arse and carried him toward the other room, using the wolf’s senses tell him how to get there without tripping or running into things. Only when his leg hit the bed did Ethan let go, letting the small man fall onto the mattress while the American loomed over him. “So fucking beautiful.” Bracers were pushed from his shoulders before Ethan climbed onto the bed, eyes never leaving Victor’s. “You belong to me,” he growled, continuing to unbutton Victor’s shirt and waist coat where he had let off. “I will take care of you. I will protect you. I will love you.”
No one had ever wanted Dr. Frankenstein around in the way that Mr. Chandler was proposing. They tolerated his presence, enjoyed his expertise, and barely realized when he was gone. But looking up into Ethan’s eyes, Victor knew that every word the American said, he meant. “Please,” he begged softly, both for the words and for the actions. His cock strained against his trousers, aching for some sort of touch which still had not come. Forgotten was his fear over what was happening, his concern that Caliban and Brona were just upstairs. All that mattered was someone looking at him with that amount of desire and need. For a man who remained unseen, to have someone focus their attention on your was a truly heady thing.
The fear returned when he felt Ethan’s hands go to his trousers, unbuttoning the fastens one at a time, Victor’s breath hitched and heart raced. Certain Ethan could hear the organ threatening to beat out of his chest, Victor brought a hand up to cover it, embarrassed both by his nudity and the fact that he could not hide his desire for the man currently seated over him. Gently, Ethan paused and took Victor’s hand in his own, sucking on each of the fingers. Victor thought the world stopped for a moment, his hips arching up toward the other man and his breath catching in his throat. Fingers aren’t that sensitive, he thought technically, so why this reaction? The thought came and went as Ethan released his hand to the side of his body. “Do not cover yourself. I want to see everything.” Nodding mutely, Victor’s wide eyes stayed locked on Ethan’s as the man finished unbuttoning his trousers and pulled them down over his hips.
Already Victor felt utterly debauched, shirt and waist coat lying open, trousers and pants down at his knees. He was exposed and yet still wearing all of his clothing. Ethan, for his part had his shirt half unbuttoned and his bracers hanging loose from his waist but otherwise was completely clothed. Victor smirked, amused by the irony that he was the one exposed and on display. “Now that you have me like this, are you going to charge admission for others to come and gape as well?” Victor quipped, though there was a hint of distress in his voice. perhaps Chandler was doing this simply to embarrass him? It wouldn’t be unheard of, considering Victor’s history.
Instead, Ethan growled and ripped his own shirt from his body, falling forward so their bodies were pressed together, “No one will ever see you like this. This is for my eyes only.” The kissing resumed, more heated and desperate if possible and Victor wondered if he could drown in this affection. Squirming under Ethan - a movement that made the large man moan as they rubbed together in just the right way - Victor managed to free his arms from his shirt sleeves and wrapped them around Ethan, kissing with all the enthusiasm he had.
While it seemed silly to be shy after being exposed like this, as Victor’s hands trailed down Ethan’s chest, taking in the smooth lines and pale scars, they paused just at the top of the American’s trousers, eyes asking the question his voice couldn’t carry. Ethan nodded and his eyes fell closed as he leaned his forehead against Victor’s as he too was freed from the cloth prison which kept his erection trapped against his body. Victor carefully pulled the fabric over Ethan’s arse, hands trailing over the skin and marveling that he was allowed to touch living flesh in such a way.
Both men kicked off the remainder of their clothes, lying back on the mattress with arms and hands still stroking over every part of their bodies except the one part both wished to have touched most. Only as he settled back on the mattress did Victor notice the growing dampness under him, a small amount of concern written on his face. As if reading his mind, Ethan smiled - predatory and dangerous - “I told you that you were wet for me,” he purred. Ethan dragged one finger down Victor’s spine, trailing between the cleft at the base of his spine and touching the pool of slick that had become more obvious. His finger easily slid inside the other man and Victor gave a sharp cry of surprise and pleasure.
“What? What is that?” His eyes were wide in shock, unaware that a touch to that area would feel as good as it did. Even as he spoke, Ethan continued to work his finger in and out, spreading the slick over Victor’s opening, adding a second after a few minutes. Victor’s cock twitched in interest and soon enough, Victor found himself on his back, Ethan’s massive length pressing teasingly at his entrance.
“If you don’t want this, say something now,” the American growled, falling forward to catch himself on his hands, one on each side of Victor’s head. “Because once I feel you, I don’t know if I will be able to stop.”
Victor was seeing stars, just from fingers and tip inside him. He didn’t have the words and so he simply nodded, eyes wide with fear but dark with desire. Both men cried out as Ethan oh-so-slowly sheathed himself inside the small doctor, their eyes latched on each other as they came together as one. With trembling arms, Ethan held himself above Victor, keeping most of his weight off the smaller man but the effort from holding back only added to the tension in his muscles.
Taking a deep breath and then another, Victor closed his eyes to steady his own reactions. He had no idea his body could do this, that this sort of pleasure pain was even possible. The feeling of being filled, of coming together with someone in such a way had never crossed his mind and now it felt like the rightest thing he had ever known. Once his body relaxed, accepting Ethan even further inside, he opened his eyes and growled, “If you don’t start moving, I will never forgive you.”
That being what Ethan wanted to hear, the American pulled his hips back before snapping them forward, both men crying out in pleasure as Ethan took him again and again. When Ethan looked down at the omega, his omega, the wolf started to take control, fingers digging into Victor’s shoulders and eyes glowing in the dim light of the room. If Victor noticed, he was too far gone in his own pleasure to say anything, bringing his legs up to wrap around Ethan’s waist.
Victor knew it would be over far too quickly. There was heat building deep inside him, something he had felt a fraction of on the rare occasions when he took himself in hand. But this was something else entirely and he worried that he might break into a thousand pieces by the sheer power of what seemed to be barreling towards him. No words could properly describe what he was feeling and he had no idea how to warn Ethan just how close he was.
Ethan could feel the tension building inside Victor, feel the increasing slick that was bringing him closer to his own completion. His teeth, canine sharp, glistened for a moment before they sunk into Victor’s neck, bringing both men to conclusion: Victor with a startled cry and Ethan with a deep, feral growl.
Coming down from the high of his orgasm, Ethan licked the wound he had left on Victor’s neck. There would be a permanent scar, a sign that this man belonged to him and no other. The human, civilized part of his mind knew that he needed to explain this to his partner but right now he was too comfortable and content to ruin the peace just yet. He slipped from Victor’s body, pulling the panting smaller man onto his chest, rubbing his hand reassuringly over his back. “Talk to me, darlin,” he purred, kissing the top of Victor’s hair.
Victor, for his part, was trembling, unsure if he would ever get used to such an onslaught of emotion. There was blood dripping down his chest from where Ethan had bitten him and something warm leaking out behind. His stomach felt sticky and unpleasant and yet, he could not think of a time when he had been more blissful. “Is... Is it always like that?” he asked finally, raising his head to look at Ethan who smiled and kissed him softly.
“Not often. But don’t worry, Doc. It will only get better from here.”
The thought of this happening again had Victor smiling, resting his head back on Ethan’s chest. Neither bothered to grab the sheets to cover themselves, just curling together and dozing happily. Only when a calm, soft voice interrupted them - one that caused Victor’s blood to run cold - did they sit up, Ethan throwing one arm instinctively going in front of Victor to shield him from any threat while the other grabbed one of his weapons.
“Demon? So it appears you have found someone to love you. Do you think he will continue to do so when he knows everything you haven’t told him?” Caliban’s voice was like ice and Brona’s pale face peeked around to gaze upon them both.
Both Ethan and Victor’s eyes went wide, looking at the two in front of them; one set begging forgiveness while the other burned with fury.
Some major spoilers for Frankenstein's story line from S2 Ep2. Read at your own risk.
The one word went through Ethan's mind over and over as he stared at the healthy (if pale) woman in front of him. There was no doubt that it was his lost love, standing next to some monster who had the nerve to call his mate a demon. Wolf and human clashed in Ethan's head; wolf protective of his mate while human furious at the fact that Victor knew Brona was alive and hid it from him.
"Brona," he breathed, moving away from Victor and off the bed towards the woman he had loved. Even as he moved away from the doctor, the wolf foced Ethan to keep his body in front of his mate's, protecting him even in his anger.
Eyes widening as he watched Brona move away from him, sheltering herself behind the monstrous man and looking at Victor with fear and unease, Ethan felt suddenly out of place as if he were missing a large piece to a very complicated puzzle.
She looked from Ethan to Victor and back again before her eyes fell once more on the doctor. "Cousin?" Ethan’s eyes watered as he did not recognize the voice that came from that soft mouth. Maybe she simply looked like his Brona? But he was certain it was her, even if he had held her lifeless body in his arms.
Scrubbing his hands over his face, Victor knew there were some uncomfortable conversations in his future but he merely nodded and answered her in a small voice. "It's alright, Lily. Go back upstairs with John and I will be up in a few moments." Caliban narrowed his eyes once more before turning to escort his intended back up to the laboratory, leaving Victor with a small sense of relief that his first born had not killed his lover right then and there. Maybe Brona was a good influence on him.
It took but a few moments before Ethan decided that somehow his mate was connected to all of this. Obviously Brona thought herself to be his cousin and the creature she was with obviously knew Victor as well. If there was a center to this strange turn of events Ethan found himself in, Dr. Victor Frankenstein was it. Alone once more, Ethan had no intention of leaving until he understood.
Wheeling around, Ethan loomed over Victor, eyes burning with fury. The scents of fear and guilt rolled off the doctor which told Ethan everything he needed to know. Even as the wolf argued that the loss of Brona had led them to their mate, at that moment, Ethan felt too much anger to listen to reason. “Explain. Now.” His voice rumbled in Victor’s chest and where only moments before the Doctor had been feeling nothing but love and bliss, now he cowered under the strength of Ethan’s glare. “Choose your words carefully, Doc, and explain to me how my dead lover is currently alive in your home.”
Victor’s eyes darted around the room, looking for any escape that might save him from having to answer. He could see there was no sense in denying it was Brona; even with the resurrection, the lack of accent and the new hair colour, it was still her deep down and of course Chandler would recognize one he knew so intimately. Victor had to push away the tingle of jealousy running under his skin at the thought that Ethan had once touched Brona the way he had touched Victor earlier. Now was not the time to worry about those things, not with the angry American looking ready to rip his throat out.
Nodding fearfully, he stammered, “B-brona did die. I promise she did. But I brought her here. I was going to do an autopsy, see if I could learn more about her condition and…”
“Lies!” Ethan growled, inching even closer. “You know I can smell every lie you tell. Tell me the truth, Frankenstein, or you will never leave this room alive.” Even in the heat of battle, Victor had never felt such terror before nor seen the type of loathing and hatred on Ethan’s face; anger and disgust which was now directed at him from one who had promised love only an hour prior. Neither had bothered to put on clothes and now Victor scrambled to cover himself as best as possible, only to have the sheet snatched from his hand, the ripping of the fabric under Ethan’s fingers, impossibly loud in the silence of the room.
With a gulp, Victor looked down, wondering if Ethan could also smell his deep sorrow and regret. “The man that was with her, he is my…my first born. I attempted to play god and I succeeded, if that monstrosity could be considered a success. When I saw what I had done, I threw him out, unable and unwilling to look on so hideous a face. I wished to never have to think once more on what I had created.”
As he began to speak, the words came easier, tumbling over themselves as Victor felt relieved to finally share the story with someone besides the one most directly involved. “I cast him out, this creature with no knowledge of who he was or anything. And the worst part is, I almost forgot about him. Scientifically I didn’t because I made corrections, changing the parameters so the next one would be better. But as a man, I rarely thought on him again. However, he thought of me. He taught himself to read, learned the human condition and then he came back to me, a demon who haunted my every waking moment.”
Looking up at Ethan, Victor implored him to please believe him. “The next time I tried my process, it was a man who had died and I managed to bring him back, unlike the one you looked on who was made from a mismatch of parts I had collected. The new one took on the name Proteus and he was beloved to me. He learned so much, teaching me about the nature of life and death in his few short days after rebirth.” Tears fell from his eyes as his story continued, “And that was when John came back to me. Tore my Proteus in half before my very eyes. Promised me he would do the same to anyone I loved until I atoned for the sins I had committed against him.”
At this point, Victor realized he was going to anger his new lover. How he wished to pace the floor but Ethan would not let him up, still glaring at him, showing no mercy to the woe Victor expressed. “John had a request. A simple one but a horrible one. He wanted a companion. A wife. And he wanted me to make him one because no mortal woman could ever look on him and find something worth loving.”
“He followed me night and day. When we were in the house when Vanessa was ill, he stood outside. He is the reason I wanted to learn to shoot. I wanted to kill him but when the time came, I couldn’t. He is still my child in a way and I could not do that to him. And so, I gave him what he wanted. Brona was gone, she had gone to heaven or wherever you believe the dead go after this world. But her body remained. And so I played god once more, giving life to a new creation, to Lily. She believes herself to be my cousin, with no memories of her former life. She and John are.... not really anything to each other. I think she is as repulsed by him as the rest of the world is but she is too kind to tell him so. I suppose I only have myself to blame for the fact that no one can stand to be around John. For no one can stand to be around me either.”
Victor reached out, wanting to embrace Ethan, to have that comfort he had known not so long ago but Ethan pulled away from him, moving across the room to where his clothes had been discarded in their haste. “I never meant to hurt you. She was dying before I ever met her. You can’t blame me for her death. I should have told you but would you have let me experiment on her body? No, you would have looked at me as you do now; like I am the monster and not the creatures that I have created.”
“Do not touch me,” Ethan sneered. “You took the woman I love and instead of giving her a proper burial, you resurrected her to be a plaything for some creature you made. Because she did not suffer enough in life, she had to suffer after her death as well?” The American was pacing, his footfalls echoing in the room where the only other sounds were the heavy, panicked breathing of the doctor. “You are the monster, and not the man I thought you were. Do Miss Ives and Sir Malcolm know of these tests? Are all of you conspiring against me or has this been done behind their backs as well?”
“You truly are a sad and angry man, aren’t you Frankenstein?” Ethan continued. “You yell about a god whom you don’t believe in while pretending to be him behind closed doors. You wish so much for human companionship that you create it from spare parts and then become disgusted with yourself. That is it, isn’t it, Victor? Despite everything you have seen in our adventures, you still claim a disbelief in god not because you don’t want to believe but because you are afraid that he treats his creations the way you do yours?” As he spoke, Ethan tugged on his trousers and shirt, not even bothering to button them properly in his haste to get out of the dingy room that had seemed almost comfortable only minutes before.
“So desperate for the touch of another that you let a man you can barely tolerate take you in the most intimate of ways, eagerly and practically begging for it.” It was a low blow, Ethan knew, and his wolf was growling inside, wishing to tear Ethan himself apart before comforting his mate who looked on the verge of weeping. “You disgust me, Frankenstein and if I ever look on you again, it will be too soon.”
Ethan stormed from the room and the flat, slamming the door behind him hard enough that the bottles and dishes in Victor’s small kitchen shuddered with the force of it. Victor sat, trembling in fear and loss, staring blankly at the door as he attempted to process what had just happened. For a brief moment, the lonely doctor had thought he felt love for the first time only to have it snatched away by his creation, just as Caliban had promised he would do.
Though he couldn’t really blame the Creature and Brona, could he? It was his fault that they even existed. Without him, this would never have happened. Without Dr. Frankenstein, there would be no monster. Ethan was right, and so was Caliban or John or whatever he was calling himself now. Victor was the monster. Victor was the demon. He was not the victim but the perpetrator, the one who had subjected himself to a life of utter solitude and sorrow.
He couldn’t let himself cry, not now. There was nothing left to live for and Victor was certain the world be better off without him but at the same time he had a job to do. The witches were still out there and Victor felt an obligation to help protect Miss Ives as she had protected them. She was kind to him and it was something that seemed rare in his life. He had also given his word to Caliban and while he despised the creature, Victor decided that for once in his life he would do the closest to the right thing that he could. He would make sure everyone else was happy and healthy, even if he himself never would be.
Pulling himself from the bed, Victor found a flannel on the edge of the sink and began to clean himself, washing off all evidence of what had taken place. There was nothing to be done about the bite mark on his neck (which felt warm and comforting to his dismay and not painful as Victor thought it should) but he hoped that his shirt would cover enough of it that no one would ask. Only once he was clean and dressed did Victor feel strong enough to climb the stairs to the place where he knew he would find the condescending face of his first born.
However, he didn’t even make it up the first flight of steps before Lily met him. Her eyes were filled with tears and she looked as lost and frightened as Victor himself felt. “I knew that man, cousin. How did I know him? And why did he yell at you? Please explain this to me!” She threw herself into his arms, holding tight to Victor as if he were anchor, which in a way, he supposed that he was. Victor hadn’t let her leave the house, fearful of overstimulating her before she was prepared and so he was her only connection to the outside world. Stroking his hand over her hair, he laid his cheek on top of her head, contemplating how he could make this right for everyone and knowing deep down that he never could.
“You did know him. His name is Ethan and he is a friend of mine.” The word friend hung in the air. The contradiction between that word and what Ethan was to him seemed to weigh on Victor’s shoulders. Friend seemed too light for someone whom he had just been in bed with while it also seemed to familiar for one who had screamed at him and practically banished the doctor from his life. “We have a rather fiery relationship, Lily. You just have to accept that if Ethan and I are in the same room, it will be loud.”
Victor breathed a sigh of relief when Lily seemed to accept this answer, though there were still questions that he needed to answer for her, even if she did not know she had those questions yet herself. Still, for now there was a moment of peace as she retired back upstairs to quietly watch the women who bustled on the streets below.
“That did not last long, did it Creator?” came Caliban’s voice from where he had been watching in the shadows. “Did you honestly believe that he could love you?” Victor had no need to see his creation’s face to know the sneer that was painted all over it. “You are as unlovable as I. But you have created the perfect woman for me while you are destined to live out your life alone. An example of the son exceeding the father.”
The truth of everything (particularly Caliban’s words) felt like a punch to the gut and Victor’s knees buckled as he fell forward, certain his head would crack the moment it hit the stairs. However, instead of falling to the ground, Caliban caught him, looking as surprised by his actions as Victor did. “You are unwell,” he muttered, looking at Victor’s drawn, pale face; a statement of fact rather than a question. A look of concern passed over the Creature’s face but was gone as fast as it came.
Victor nodded, “I am.” His mind attempted to run through his symptoms but all he could find was a weariness that made his brain feel lethargic and foggy. “I… need to lay down,” he muttered as the world went dark and he fell into blessed unconsciousness.
Next chapter: Ethan mopes and has an argument with himself. Victor finds some allies in unlikely places.
Sembené knows all. (It's about time someone listened to him.)
Once more the snow crunched under his bare feet, the cold not bothering him as war raged in his mind. The wolf demanded that they return immediately to their mate. What Victor had done was no matter to the wolf, who wanted only to be close to the omega he had chosen. Ethan the man, however refused to go back and as the wolf-time had passed, he forced their body to continue to move away. Gone were all concerns about what people thought seeing a shoeless man walking through the snowy streets of London. He had no more desire to satisfy the wolf’s needs and wants. All Ethan wanted was to put enough space between him and the doctor before he did something both he and the wolf would regret.
Seeing a pub up ahead, Ethan made a beeline for it, needing something to wash the taste of his momentary lover from his lips and his mind. He took a seat at the bar, ordering two glasses of Scotch. “Missus kick you out?” the barkeep asked in a friendly tone. He eyed Ethan’s lack of a jacket and shoes.
Having no way to explain otherwise – telling someone that you turn into a wolf at the full moon and had just mated a male doctor colleague of yours was a sure fire method to get a one way ticket to the sanitarium – Ethan nodded, “Something like that.”
“Well, you are welcome to stay until she comes begging for you to come back. Handsome bloke like you. It won’t be long.”
Ethan simply snorted, downing the first glass in one large gulp. If Victor came begging for him to go back, Ethan feared a repeat of Mariner’s Inn. Not that the wolf would harm one hair on Victor’s head but just the appearance of his other half would probably be enough to scare off the doctor for good. As he drank, Ethan wondered just how much he truly knew about all the people in their little family. Sure, people had shared small bits of their stories with everyone and Ethan knew they all had dark skeletons in their pasts but what Victor had done? It was damn near unconscionable.
After his second drink, Ethan grew weary of the man behind the bar and his unending stories about all the times his wife had thrown him out for some transgression or another. All were silly things and there was a vindictive side of Ethan which longed to ask the bartender, "Has your wife ever reanimated the corpse of your dead lover in the hope of creating her to be a wife for his first monster?" Instead, he slapped some coins on the bar and left in a hurry.
The crisp morning had given way to an equally cold afternoon and people were hurrying to and fro, trying to stay indoors as much as possible. Ethan continued to wander the streets, his anger and the alcohol more than enough to keep him warm. The wolf continued to plead to go back to his mate, unwilling to be apart so soon after finding him but Ethan refused. He didn't even know if he could return to the main house, his unease was too great to see anyone who had any knowledge of him or Victor Frankenstein.
Approaching the second bar, a familiar scent hit Ethan's nose and he decided to walk on, hoping the man would disappear into the crowd and not notice him. One afternoon of peace was all he asked and certainly that could be granted without much fanfare.
A strong hand clamped on his shoulder and Ethan knew that was not to be. "Sembené! What a surprise," he enthused as best as he could. "It is so rare to see you out of the house. I should not keep you from whatever errand you are on."
"You are needed at the main house," came the sullen reply. "It is most urgent and cannot wait."
If nothing else, Ethan Chandler had a strong sense of duty. He nodded and accepted that this was going to happen whether he wanted it or not. At least he would be able to get some shoes. "Will I need my guns?"
Sembené shook his head and smiled a half smile, "No, only a constitution strong enough to face Miss Ives. It has not been a good day for the lady."
A threat to Vanessa Ives was the one thing that could pull Ethan out of his self-pity and set him right once more. "I will come at once, Sembené. Thank you for fetching me."
The near silent man turned and headed in the direction from whence he came, knowing Mr. Chandler would be following close behind. Nothing was said for the remainder of the walk and Ethan was forced to ruminate silently as to what could be the problem this time. After witches and vampires, the Lord only knew what other dark creatures would be set upon them this time. Neither mentioned the unmistakable state of Ethan’s clothes, something for which the American was thankful.
Reaching the house, Sembené stepped inside immediately but Ethan paused on the threshold. Something was off here. It took a moment for Ethan to process what held him back but when the unmistakable scent it his nose, the wolf in him howled while the man pulled away. Victor was in the house. “I’m sorry,” he muttered, turning to walk away. “I can’t right now.”
“Mr. Chandler,” Vanessa’s voice sounded from inside and she stepped to the door and leveled him with a look that would have brought lesser men to their knees. “If you walk away right now, you will never be welcome in this house again. We have a matter of utmost importance and you in particular must be involved in this conversation. If you choose not to, I will give you a twelve hour head start before I allow Sembené to hunt you down.” Sembené nodded beside her and Ethan knew how serious of a threat that was.
With reluctance, he stepped inside, looking in all directions for any sight of the doctor. Victor was in fact no where to be found but his scent permeated every breath Ethan took and he only hoped that he looked only half as distressed as he felt. Sembené escorted him to the sitting room where they had many meetings previously but this time Ethan felt a sinking suspicion that whatever was about to happen would not be pleasant for him in the least.
Sir Malcolm was the first to speak. "Earlier this afternoon, an unfortunate looking fellow dropped Dr. Frankenstein on our doorstep, explaining that his creator had taken ill nearly immediately after an encounter with you. He demanded that we fix Victor at once so that he might return to his work but nothing we have tried has done anything to rouse him. In fact, I would almost go so far as to say he is comatose. Mr. Chandler, you must see how this is quite distressing to us all and I do hope you can shed some light on the situation so we may best treat the dear doctor."
While at first Ethan was determined to defend himself, the knowledge that Victor was now in a coma affected him and he fell into silent contemplation for several minutes while the eyes of those gathered were on him. Eventually he spoke, "The doctor and I did have an encounter this morning. I was not feeling myself and went to him for some medical guidance. He helped to lessen my symptoms to which I was grateful but while there I found the doctor has been involved in some deeply troubling experimentation. We argued about it and I left abruptly. When I left, he was still walking and talking like he has always done. What happened after that, I cannot say."
"You use the truth to speak lies." All the heads in the room whipped around to look toward Sembené in the doorway. "Everything you have said is the truth but it is not the full truth and will not help us get to the bottom of what is ailing the doctor. You forget that we know what you are, Mr. Chandler."
"Does this have something to do with your condition? Did you attack him? We have seen no evidence of physical trauma." Vanessa asked, deeply curious as always about Ethan's lycanthropy.
Ethan nodded, rolling his hat around in his hands. "Last night was a full moon and I went out for my run. At the end of the night, there is usually one more thing that is necessary prior to letting the wolf sleep for the next month. It is referred to as a rut and is a desire for, um, sexual completion." This was not something he would have ever discussed without prompt and even so, it felt deeply personal and uncomfortable to say the words out loud.
"What does this have to do with the doctor?" Malcolm asked, quieted immediately by a look from Vanessa.
"As you know, up until the last month, I have had Brona to turn to on such nights, even if I did not realize the reason for my appetites. However, this month I am alone and while I sorted through my options in my head, the wolf seized upon the one he found the most desirable." The blush on his cheeks threatened to warm the whole room and Ethan stood to pace while he spoke. "There are things about Victor Frankenstein that even he does not understand, things none of us could have known. However, the wolf did and he picked Victor to be the one to satisfy those need.
Malcolm looked horrified, Vanessa had that sly half smile of hers that spoke of secrets beneath the surface and Sembené continued to stare straight ahead, giving away nothing. "I may have been a little overbearing but when I left, I promise he was fine. I did nothing to cause this sudden illness."
After listening to what Ethan said, neither Vanessa nor Malcolm could find fault with Ethan's actions. While he may have been in the wrong to use the doctor in the way he did, it did not explain Victor's sudden incapacitation. "Regardless, our doctor is ill and we do not know where to begin treating him." Malcolm's words brought a nod from both Ethan and Vanessa who looked deep in thought about what could be done to help Frankenstein.
"This is your doing, Mr. Chandler."
Turning to the back of the room, everyone looked on Sembené who stepped forward to explain his accusation. "We have men like you and like Dr. Frankenstein where I am from. I have often wondered if the two of you would end up giving in to the draw between your kinds." Ethan looked uncomfortable while the other two in the room looked upon Sembené with interest. "You know what he is, don't you, Mr. Chandler? That is why you sought him out in this way. He could off you what possibly no one else in London could."
"Yes, I knew."
Sembené continued, "I have seen the marks on his body. There is no mistaking what transpired between the two of you. You bit him but you did not kill. A bite in the heat of passion at the junction of head and neck. Between two such as yourselves, there is only one reason for that."
Vanessa stood, beginning to pace around the room. "I have read of something like that. It is a bond mark, signifying ownership of one over the other. An outward symbol of a mental bond. Do you think this has led to some sort of infection in our dear doctor?"
"No, Miss Ives. It means I have made a terrible mistake," Ethan drawled looking down at his hands. "I shouldn't have... But the wolf..." He trailed off once more, lost in thought.
"It is more than a mark. It is truly a bond between the two: mental, emotional and physical. You are already aware of Mr. Chandler and his condition."
"Victor Frankenstein is not a werewolf!" Sir Malcolm declared, rising to his feet. "He is like a son to me and I would know if there was something about him that changed with the moon." No one commented on how little Sir Malcolm had known his real son and in fact, no one said a thing about his comment, allowing Sembené to continue with his tale.
"No, Victor Frankenstein is not a werewolf. He is a human but a very rare type of one. In my culture, they are revered for they are one of the few who can tame the beasts."
Ethan nodded, "An omega. I have never come across an omega before and until today, it had not even crossed my mind that Victor was in fact one. But with the wolf so strong, I finally realized what I should have known awhile ago." Standing, Ethan leaned against the mantle, staring down at the fire. "An alpha werewolf and an omega human are said to be nature's perfect match. An omega can coax the wolf out from the man or the man from the wolf. They are generally frail and weak in appearance, though strong in temperament. It is an alpha's job to protect them with their lives if necessary. And a mating bond between the two is said to be stronger than steel, only breakable by death."
"You created that bond today, Mr. Chandler, and then nearly immediately took it away. The fact that the doctor did not perish is a testament to his strength, not yours." Sembené retreated back to his doorway, having said his peace.
Vanessa and Malcolm exchanged looks, trying to comprehend what had transpired. "So you mated with Victor Frankenstein and then had a domestic nearly immediately afterward that somehow led to him being unconscious?" It sounded ridiculous to Sir Malcolm's ears even as he said the words but both Sembené and Ethan nodded in agreement.
"The first few days of a mating bond are important to both. In my culture, the couple are given a week of privacy with no communication with the rest of the village. I once stood guard for them so they were allowed their time. Only after the bond is secure and their relationship solid are they reintroduced to the community."
"So what can be done? We cannot go back in time and stop Ethan from leaving him." Vanessa seemed torn between amusement and horror, but her sympathetic side won out as always. "We cannot leave the doctor like this either. He does not deserve it."
"Mr. Chandler needs to go to him. The doctor should rouse in the presence of his mate, though it may take awhile. He needs to explain everything. It is likely that Dr. Frankenstein does not know what he is, or what it means. It must be explained delicately and he needs to be aware of everything that could come from this union." The emphasis on the word caught Ethan's attention.
"Wait. Do you think...?"
"It is quite likely, evidenced by the strength of his response."
"Which room is he in? I must see him at once. I never thought... The first time..."
"Next to yours. Go, Mr. Chandler. I will sit outside the door and make sure you are not disturbed."
Ethan rushed up the stairs, followed by Sembené at a much slower pace, leaving Vanessa and Malcolm alone in the sitting room weighed down by the feeling that they were missing something very important in that conversation but neither of them knowing what it could be.
This chapter has a little of everything: reconciliation, smut, explanations, humour.
Also, in case you haven't noticed, we're starting to take a turn away from canon. There should be less and less spoilers for S2 as the story goes along. In my mind, this takes place after S2 and the events of these episodes have little bearing on what I plan to write.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Dim light made it difficult for Ethan to see the layout of the room. But once his eyes fell on Victor, nothing else mattered, the wolf’s desire affecting the man’s. He pulled up a chair, sitting by the plush bed - so much nicer than the one they had chained Vanessa to a month before - and looked at him with an expression of absolute devastation. Everything they had said downstairs was true. Victor was pale, his breathing shallow, and he lay as if in a deep sleep. Ethan brought a hand up to his mouth, trying to figure out what to do. Thankful for Sembene’s presence outside the door, assuring him that no one else would enter, Ethan eventually sat forward enough to take Victor’s hand in his.
“I’m sorry, darling,” he started, looking more at the doctor’s hands then his still face. It was difficult to focus on the features that once held so much emotion lying expressionless. “I shouldn’t have left. I’m still angry. Furious even but if I had thought, if I had paused for a moment I would have realized how dangerous leaving was.” Victor said nothing, did not show any sign of movement and Ethan sighed, sitting back in his chair but maintaining hold of the other man’s hand. It comforted him to feel the pulse under the skin and the wolf was mostly content though he would have preferred to be in the bed with Victor. Only Ethan’s concern that Victor might kill them when he woke kept the wolf from forcing his preference on them all.
The evening grew dark and even though voices could be heard from other rooms in the home, Ethan never left Victor’s side except the build a fire in the hearth, trying to make the room as comfortable as possible. Through the night he sat vigil, touching Victor at almost all times until he too eventually fell asleep, head pillowed on his arms which rested beside Victor on the mattress.
Heavy curtains blocked most of the cold winter sun from entering that morning but a few rays made it past the fabric and threw lines on the room. A small ray of light fell on Ethan’s eyes and he blinked rapidly, trying to adjust to the change in brightness. Only after a minute did he notice Victor was sitting up, looking at him with so many emotions warring in his eyes that Ethan couldn’t begin to count them all.
The two men stared at each other, both having been through a lot in the last twenty four hours and neither knowing where to start the conversation. The silence lay heavy between them until Ethan finally looked away, moving to open the curtains and let in some light. “The darkness seemed inappropriate,” he mumbled, staring out at the rainy winter day.
“I wouldn’t know. I spend most of my days indoors,” Victor mumbled, rubbing his eyes in reaction to the light. “I suppose the most obvious question is why am I here? Last thing I knew, I was in my flat. So to wake up at Sir Malcolm’s is most perplexing.”
“You fell ill. That man, John, he brought you here after they determined that nothing they could do would rouse you. Sembene tracked me down and brought me here as well.” Ethan looked at the door then back at Victor. “Sembene is sitting outside the door right now, apparently to protect us from any intrusion, however it is my belief that he is making sure I don’t do anything untoward. How are you feeling?” The last question was asked with absolute sincerity and he sat on the edge of the bed as he looked down at Victor.
The doctor shrugged then looked away. “Physically I feel worn down yet rested. I don’t know how better to describe it. Emotionally is a different matter.” Falling silent, Victor looked away, obviously deep in thought. “What happened? Not about my illness - I will figure that out on my own - but before that. The things you said to me both before and after. What was true?”
Ethan knew he needed to answer the question, as well as many others the doctor hadn’t even thought of yet, but he struggled to find the words that would explain everything without sounding crazy to the scientifically minded doctor. “Everything I said was true. Up until I told you that I was disgusted by you and never wanted to see you again. Those two things will never be true. They were said in anger.
“Even if I never wanted to see you again,” he continued in a gentle voice, “it would not be possible. What happened between us changed us both. I’m not sure even I realized it until last night but now there is no doubt that we are bound together. Where you go, I go. We will never be apart again.”
Victor started at that, and shifted away from the man, though he still didn’t climb out of bed. “I will not spend my every waking moment with you, Mr. Chandler. Regardless of how pleasurable that time together was, I have a job and a life of my own and you cannot come in and simply implant yourself into it.”
Some of the fire he normally exhibited began to shine through one more and Ethan breathed a silent sigh of relief that maybe the doctor was going to be alright after all. He shook his head, “That isn’t what I meant. What I meant was, our lives are tied together now. You may have your own life, never even see me again if that is what you wish. However, by nature of what happened, you are going to find yourself craving my presence, particularly at one time of the month.”
“You bit me. You bit me while we were.... while we were together. I’m going to become one of you, aren’t I?” By now, Victor had made it out of bed and was pacing the room, carefully choosing his steps so as to stay as far away from Ethan as possible. “You turn me into a wolf without my permission and have the audacity to yell at me over my work?” he yelled, uncaring whether the rest of the house could hear him.
“I did not change you into a wolf. You are now as you have always been, I promise.” Ethan took a tentative step toward Victor, holding out his hand to the skittish doctor. “But you do not understand what you are and I would like to help you understand it.”
Victor scoffed, “How are you - a gun for hire - going to help me, a doctor, understand myself? I feel you are highly under qualified for that particularly position Mr. Chandler.” Dr. Frankenstein stared at Ethan’s hand, not moving away but not reaching out to take it either. “What do you know about me that I myself do not?”
Closing the distance between them, Ethan took his hand without invitation, needing the security of feeling Victor there, “I know that you liked what happened between us. More than liked it, you crave it again, even now when you are furious at me. I can smell it on you. I know that you aren’t entirely sure how to process these feelings, having only considered women before now and wondering if it is possible to make this discovery so late in life. I know that you want to trust me and did up until this morning. Now you are unsure whether you will ever be able to have faith in me again. Am I close?”
Victor nodded, mouth closed tight as he processed what Ethan said. As angry as he was, he couldn’t deny the pull he felt toward the American. Even now, just their hands touching, Victor felt more centered and secure than he had ever felt in his life. And the moisture he felt gathering in his trousers left him even more baffled as there was no medical explanation for it. He couldn’t understand how this should be. Nothing in his medical training ever explained a situation like this and he struggled to find words. Instead, seemingly on their own accord, his feet brought him forward until their bodies were pressed tight together and their lips met in a tentative kiss.
Ethan's body tensed for a moment before he gave himself over to the kiss, one large hand cupping the back of Victor's head. Victor almost immediately parted his lips, giving Ethan access as his own hands rested on the man's hips. Ethan turned them and walked forward, pushing Victor towards the bed. The doctor fell willingly on to the mattress, pulling the American down with him.
Clothes were shed and soon they found themselves in the same position they had been in earlier that day. This time they slowed down, sharing kisses and touching each other gently. "Why me?" Victor asked yet again. Ethan's hand trailed down over Victor's hip, sliding around to cup his arse.
"You are my match, darling. The one the wolf and I have been searching for and I will never let you go. Even if you don't want me, I will never take another." The wolf growled at the thought of being without his mate and Ethan silenced them all with a kiss. Victor's hand found Ethan's length, tentatively wrapping around it and beginning to stroke, causing an inhuman groan to come from his lover.
Causing Ethan to make those noises was a heady thing and Victor gained some confidence, rolling Ethan to his back and kissing his chest. Ethan let him take the lead as the doctor kissed down his breast bone and to the toned stomach, running his hand over the smooth skin and enjoying the reactions he pulled from the man. Finally, Victor threw a leg of Ethan and slowly sank himself onto the American's length, knowing that nothing was needed as his body seemed to have prepared itself. The feeling of fullness he had enjoyed earlier that day returned and he thought of how complete it felt to be joined like this.
With eyes closed, Victor took several breaths, relaxing himself as best as possible. When he opened his eyes, it was with a new determination and fire that Ethan had never seen before. The American started to bring his hands up to place on Victor's hips but the doctor grabbed them and pinned them above Ethan's head. "No," he growled, lifting his hips before slamming them back down, causing both men to cry out in surprise and pleasure.
Each thrust was a demand and a promise. Victor refused to be treated as a toy that Ethan would discard later and Ethan accepted it with neither of them speaking a word. He would be an equal partner, valued and appreciated. He was beyond thinking at that point, running on instinct as he impaled himself on his lover again and again. Ethan struggled against Victor's hands at first but after awhile, realized this was what his mate needed. He bared his neck to Victor who bit it harshly, a feral look in his eyes as he came back to sitting, staring down at Ethan.
Victor's body reacted to the presence of Ethan as well, producing copious slick that ran over both of them as they continued. Ethan growed, enjoying the sensation and bringing his hips up to meet Victor's for every thrust. A heat began to build in Victor's belly and hips started to stutter, taking on a new urgency even while they lost their rhythm. When Victor spilled on Ethan's chest, crying out in the most primitive way possible, Ethan howled, broke from his restraint and grabbed Victor's hips, pinning the shuddering body to his own as he reached his own climax.
The doctor collapsed on top of Ethan, breathing heavily and slowly coming back to himself. Their sweat soaked bodies stuck together and there was an unpleasantly mess between their bellies. His mate's come dripped from his entrance and Victor felt utterly spent. He rolled to the side, letting Ethan slip out and lay on his back next to the American, panting heavily and staring at the ceiling. "They all heard that, didn't they?" he asked after several long moments had passed and his breath returned.
"Most likely. But I think they were expecting it. I had to tell them, um, intimate details in order to discover what happened to you." Ethan had the decency to blush at admitting aspects of their new sex life to others outside the relationship but Victor felt too blissful and relaxed at the moment to care.
Both dozed off, not bothering to clean the mess though Ethan knew that would only make it more of a challenge later. And when they awoke, Victor found he had rolled to curl his body against Ethan's muscular form, resting in the crook of his arm as if the American were made simply to hold him.
"I think you need to explain this." Ethan's eyes blinked open, and Victor continued, "Explain it without flowery language and legend. Science, facts and logic are what I want to hear, Ethan." It still seemed strange to call him by his given name but considering what they had shared in the last day, it was only right.
Ethan nodded, sitting up so his back was against the headboard, legs still covered by the duvet they had managed to pull over themselves in their sleep. "You know what I am. You have seen evidence of it. Even if it doesn't fit into your general idea of the world, I am what I am. I am a werewolf for lack of a better term and wolves mate for life. More importantly, I am an alpha wolf which means that I command the respect and obedience of other wolves around me. It is also my sole honor to mate and bring a new litter to the pack."
"Basic wolf biology, yes. That makes sense though I have never heard you mention a pack before. Are there others like you in London?" Victor also sat up, reclining next to Ethan and looking at him with absolute fascination.
"Not that I know of but if there were, they would most likely be betas and subject to my authority. But the mating is what is important. As an alpha werewolf our biology is a little different than that of a wolf. We do not require an alpha female to mate but instead what is known as an omega." Ethan paused, waiting for Victor to process the information.
"That's what you said I was. An omega. What does that mean exactly and how can you know what I am when even I do not?"
Ethan smiled, "I could smell it on you. I had never encountered one before so it took a wolf-time for me to really understand. What it means is that you are a human who has a specific biology that makes you an ideal mate for an alpha wolf. It means that like a human female, you produce lubrication to allow for easier mating. If you were to cut yourself open, you would see something you have never seen before. You have both male and female reproductive organs."
At this point, Victor froze, trying to think through the implications of these facts. He had already seen and experienced the lubrication. But the other part... "So, if I have these organs... Does that mean? Does that mean I am able to become pregnant?" It sounded ridiculous to his own ears but looking at the expression on Ethan's face, something that was fond and almost hopeful, Victor felt his stomach drop.
"Yes." Ethan looked away for a moment. "Are you upset about that information?"
Victor found himself strangely okay with that. For some reason, it made sense. His all consuming desire to create life where it should not be possible, all of his experimentation; maybe this was the reason for that, a way to create life in the only way he thought possible for him. "Actually, no. It is a lot to process and will take some time but I think it is okay. And you've made it clear that you have chosen me, a wolf mates for life you said. So I wouldn't have to go through it alone, right?"
"Oh no, darlin. I'll be right here by your side. And I suspect the others, when they get used to the idea will be there as well.”
“So does this have something to do with my unconsciousness? An overload of hormones or something?”
Ethan took Victor’s hand, tracing patterns on the pale skin. “Actually, Sembene and I have a theory about that. I left almost immediately after mating, yes?”
“Obviously you know that you did.”
“A mated pair shouldn’t be separated that soon after pair-bonding. And the effects can be particularly strong if the mating was successful.” Ethan paused, waiting to see if Victor caught on.
“So you think?”
“I think you are expecting.”
For the second time in twenty four hours, Victor found the room going dark. But this time, Ethan was pretty sure what had caused it without any input from the rest of the group.
I promise, no more fainting. It was just too funny not too. Victor isn't some wilting flower, as evidenced by him having his way with Ethan but seriously, the man just found out he was pregnant. It seemed an appropriate response.
They have a talk. Victor doesn't pass out.
“Wake up darling,” Ethan drawled, slapping Victor’s cheeks lightly in an attempt to wake his mate. “You can’t avoid this conversation forever and I can practically hear your mind racing so you aren’t unconscious.” There was an amused tone to his voice, knowing Victor was faking, most likely in an attempt to pretend none of this had happened. However, it had and right now they needed to deal with the consequences.
Making a show of waking up, slowly Victor blinked his eyes open, letting them stay out of focus for a moment before glaring at Ethan. “You knew, didn’t you? You knew this was a possibility and yet did nothing to stop it.”
“Stop it? Why would I? You are my mate and you are carrying my pup. This is what every wolf dreams of having and now I do. I would never consider trying to end this.” Only as he spoke did Ethan understand who he was talking to. One of two people in their strange little family who knew how to end a pregnancy and currently the only one who might be in want of such a procedure. They were unmarried and his pregnant mate was a man. It made sense if Dr. Frankenstein wanted that, even if Ethan saw red at the mere though. “Do not go to Miss Ives with this! Please, Victor.” His heart was racing and the wolf snarled inside at the thought that anyone might harm the pup Victor currently carried inside his belly.
The sudden change of tone had Victor recoil as if slapped, “End it? That wasn’t what I meant at all. But there are these things called rubbers? All the rage for promiscuous types. Figured you would know about them. Of course, if your intention was to claim me in the most visible and difficult to explain way possible, I suppose you have already done it.” His voice was cruel as he snapped back at his mate for thinking so lowly of him. But at the same time, how would he explain this to his patients? To John and Lily? To the family? While they were both in this together, Victor was the one who would have to deal with the stares and the whispers, not Ethan.
Ethan pulled him close once more, running his hand through the short hair on the back of Victor’s head. “I thought the way you were speaking... You are a doctor and a man and this is certainly not something you would have planned for your life. I could see you making that decision but I am sorry for not giving you more credit.”
“Would you have stopped me?” Victor asked, raising his head defiantly, even as he fought the instinct to curl up against the werewolf. “If I went to Miss Ives, or did it myself, what would you do?”
Shaking his head, Ethan honestly had no idea. “I am not sure. You are my mate and I would never harm a hair on your head but that is my pup and I wish to protect it with my life if necessary. Most likely I would yell and scream, then mourn in private.” Victor nodded, knowing that would be in keeping with what he knew about the American.
“If nothing else, I am a man of science, Ethan. This is something I have never encountered before and it would be ingenuous of me to destroy something I haven’t had a chance yet to study.” Probably not the most comforting assurance, but it was an honest one and Ethan could hear the sincerity in his voice.
With the decision that he had nothing more to say, Victor leaned his head against Ethan’s chest, sighing. The strong heartbeat under his ear relaxed the doctor, who found his mind (and his hand) drifting to his abdomen where Ethan believed new life was already beginning to grow. It was still a foreign idea but abstractly, Victor was pleased. John, or Caliban, or whatever he was calling himself that day, had been an utter failure. Proteus was wonderful for the day that he lived but who knew what would have happened if his first born had not returned to him. Lily started off pleasing but in the end, she too looked on him with disgust more often than with kindness. The idea that he might create life who would not see him as a failure or a monster was certainly appealing.
“I see that smile on your face, doc,” Ethan chuckled, dragging Victor from his ruminations. “When would you like to tell the others?”
The thought of explaining the situation to the rest of the occupants of the house had Victor sitting up, fretting again. “How will we explain this to them? I hardly understand it myself and now I am expected to tell others? If they find this repulsive or unnatural and throw you out, where will we go? John and Lily would not be the most accepting of housemates for us, particularly since they both already find me to be a monster.”
Ethan stiffened at the mention of Lily but forced himself to relax. “They will not throw me out. I have already explained some of this and while they were confused, they accepted my words as truth. I do not see why they would have any objection to you coming to live here as well.” Hope shone through every word of that sentence, Ethan’s belief that somehow this will work out.
To Victor, that sounded like the best plan. To be in a house where people accepted -even if they didn’t understand - was the best idea and he would be sure to ask Sir Malcolm, who had once said he was like a son to him.
“Do we need to leave the room today?” While Victor was beginning to accept everything that happened, he was not sure he could bring himself to face the others just yet. “Do you think they could be prevailed upon to bring us supper?” His stomach rumbled in agreement and he blushed, looking away. Their new intimacy would take some getting used to, both the sexual intimacy of their bedroom as well as the domestic situation, simply living with another who has faults and bodily functions all their own.
“Sembene said meals would be delivered at regular intervals until we were ready to emerge,” Ethan explained. The wolf inside him and calmed, curled and asleep deep in his mind so the human could get to know the man he was now mated to. The wolf trusted Ethan not to ruin the arrangement since it was beneficial to them both.
The rest of the day and well into the night was spent in bed, curled around each other, sharing histories and talking about their new future together. Victor was fascinated by the stories of the American west and of Ethan’s father in particular. He felt a strange pride in knowing that by mating with Ethan, he would have virtually assured that his mate would not need to return to what sounded like a truly horrible man. Victor had no family and while he did not relish explaining to Miss Ives that he had lied about Lily and having to reveal her true origin, he wished to start this new life on the right foot. Other points in the day found them sitting by the window, making comments about those who passed by. Victor pointed out Caliban lurking in the shadows and Ethan did the same for Roper, who also stayed away but kept an eye on the house. Both waiting for men who had no intention of leaving their refuge.
Past midnight, when the streetlights cast an eerie glow over the otherwise dark room, Ethan and Victor both drifted to sleep. The next morning promised awkward conversations and explanations but none of that mattered. Ethan pressed his chest to Victor’s back, spooning his mate with one hand protectively splayed across the man’s belly.
I apologize for how late this chapter was in coming. I fell ill a few weeks back and am only now starting to feel 100% again. I hope to get back on the schedule of one chapter per week from here on out.
Ethan woke first in the morning, looking over Victor’s sleeping body with a sense of calmness that contrasted dramatically with the concern and panic he had felt when he arrived at the house a day and a half prior. Where the worry he felt thinking he may have irreparably harmed his mate once resided was now a dedication to keep him safe at all costs. There was a love there - a love between mates - that he intended to foster so that it would grow to be love between men as well. But before they could move on with their lives, first they would have to face the rest of their adopted family and explain everything.
When Victor stirred in his arms, Ethan loosened his grip but did not move away, wanting to see him open his eyes and look on him with happiness instead of hatred. He got his wish a moment later though Victor almost immediately shut them once more, rolling to press his face to Ethan’s chest in an effort to hide the blush and smile that rose unbidden to this face.
“Good morning, darlin’” Ethan drawled, running his hand through Victor’s close-shorn hair. “You look healthier than I have seen you in days.”
The truth was that Victor felt healthier too. Without needing to focus on solving Lily’s situation, or his fear from the encounter with Ethan, or the constant dread that Caliban might end his life for a seemingly small transgression, Victor felt like a new man. The lightness in his heart and strange fullness in his abdomen (though he told himself it was far too soon to be feeling anything) aided him in feeling healthy and more importantly happy. He didn’t respond to Victor but instead stretched up to give Ethan a soft kiss, welcoming and content.
The kiss broke but the two men did not separate, sharing breath and looking into each other’s eyes. Intimacy was a rare thing for Victor and he allowed the feeling to wash over him before Ethan finally blinked and moved farther apart. Sniffing the air, Ethan sighed, leaning back against the pillows, “It appears that Sembene has left his post and there is no food for us. I think we should take the hint and go join the others.”
Victor did not wish to talk to the others or even leave the room but if there was nothing for them to eat, it was only a matter of time before hunger pulled them out. Better to do it now on what looked like their own terms than to risk injuring their child to avoid a little embarrassment. “You promise you will not leave me?” he muttered, the feeling of uneasiness foreign in his body. He had helped face down witches and vampires, had created life from where there was none, and yet speaking with those closest to him and his now mate seemed the most intimidating situation in the world.
“I will not stray from your side, darling,” was Ethan’s heartfelt reply and Victor nodded, accepting that answer with an ease that surprised even him. He watched as Ethan left the bed, stretching when he stood. Muscles and tendons moved under the taut skin of his back and while Victor had examined those strands in numerous corpses, it was something else entirely to see them moving within your lover.
Mouth dry, he left the bed as well, saying nothing as he began to gather the small amount of clothes he had, pulling them on while trying not to focus on Ethan. If he thought too much about his mate, they would end up back in bed and be no closer to moving on with their lives.
Soon, both were dressed, staring at each other in silence as they dared the other to be the first to open the door and leave the peaceful sanctuary that had enjoyed since Ethan’s arrival thirty six hours prior. Deciding to be the brave one for once, it was Victor who reached for the door, taking a deep breath before stepping out into the hall. Ethan followed close behind, one hand on Victor’s back.
The two made their way to the sitting room, Ethan having to push Victor lightly when the man began to overthink and tried to turn back to the bedroom. Faced with explaining this to others, Victor found himself paleing at the very thought but with Ethan there, he knew he would get through it. Whether he wanted to or not.
Sir Malcolm, Miss Ives and Sembene were all gathered in the room, talking quietly amongst themselves when the other two entered. Victor nodded at them all, keeping his eyes downcast to avoid meeting the gaze of anyone, particularly Sir Malcolm. The man had been a mentor of sort and someone who was like a father to him on many occasions. The thought that he had perhaps let him down was more than Victor was willing to bear on top of everything else.
Ethan guided him to the armchair which Victor took gratefully, still refusing to look up, hands fidgeting in his lap. The silence was stifling as the other three stared them down and finally Ethan spoke, “Victor has accepted me as a mate. If any of you have a problem with that, now is the time to speak because I will not tolerate any opinion that may cause him more stress than he is already under.”
Sir Malcolm opened his mouth to speak but was silenced immediately with a look from Vanessa who sat opposite Victor and looked at him carefully, willing him to look up at her. “Doctor?” she asked gently. “You seem ill at ease with this. I would think that with news like that, you would be ecstatic, or at least somewhat glad. Is something bothering you?”
Rolling his shoulders back, Victor looked her in the eye. The fear was still there but it was hidden well behind an air of confidence and challenge. “I am coming to terms with what it means to have a mate in a world I was unaware I had been born into. However, I am more concerned with the reaction of this family to the remainder of the news. I worry I will be tossed from the house or ostracized from the only community I now know.” After the loss of Dr. Van Helsing, the residents of this home were the only people in London that Victor truly felt he could turn to.
Ethan’s hand fell to Victor’s shoulder, squeezing it lightly, sensing how uncomfortable the doctor was. Victor brought one hand up to rest on top of Ethan’s, looking back at him with a grateful smile. “It turns out that as the mate of a wolf, it is possible for me to bear children. A state I most likely find myself in now.”
If Victor had been disconcerted by the silence when they entered, it was nothing compared to that which fell upon him uttering those words. Sembene already knew at that point - Ethan had told him as much - but he waited while the other two processed the new information.
Malcolm spoke first, “Nonsense. Men cannot bear children. So what does that make you?” His voice held undisguised disgust. Victor flinched from the tone while Ethan moved to stand in front of him. “I have been around the world and have never heard of such a thing.”
Only Victor’s hand gripping his stopped Ethan from attacking then and there, his entire posture defensive and tense. Instead, Victor stood, walking to stand in front of the patriarch of the house. “You question what I am? I am who I have always been but was unaware until Ethan brought it to my attention. My question is, who are you? You claim me to be like a son but I have witnessed you murder your only living child without a second thought. Your own son pushed from your mind in favour of your own pride and narcissism. Even Miss Ives is discarded when it is most convenient to you. So perhaps you should turn your critical eye inward before you ever question me again, sir.” With that, he turned and stormed from the room, his footfalls echoing through the house as he returned to the room he had recuperated in following his show two days prior.
The remaining four stared at each other having rarely seen such passion from the normally quiet and reserved doctor. Ethan stood taller with a quiet pride, Sembene’s eyes were narrowed and focused on Malcolm while Vanessa seemed lost in thought. Finally she stood and gave them a nod. “I will speak with him. I think you should well heed his words, Sir Malcolm. He is a powerful man in his own right and has the rest of us as his allies. If you wish to remain a member of this family, think heavily on your next words to Dr. Frankenstein or Mr. Chandler. We will all be listening.”
“It is strange how quickly someone can become accustomed to something that would have seemed odd only a few days prior.” Victor mused silently while sitting at the window sill, looking out over the dreary city, one hand resting lightly on his own belly. Before Ethan’s appearance at his home following the moon, Victor would never have spoken to Sir Malcolm in such a way. The man knew a great deal and Victor had always admired him and respected his opinion. Hearing the words spoken by Sir Malcolm this morning had been a shock, like being doused with cold water. However, instead of cowering in fear, Victor found a strength in himself that even he didn’t realize he had. He was the mate of an alpha wolf if Ethan was to be believed. He was the one man who could bring such an intimidating creature to his knees, both literally and figuratively. Who was Sir Malcolm to speak to him in such a way?
A soft rap on the door brought Victor back to the present. Neither Sir Malcolm or Ethan would have knocked, the former using his power as the master of the house to barge in while the latter would use his intimacy with the occupant of the room. Sembene would not enter as Ethan had explained that a mated pair’s residence was supposed to be considered sacred and for now, this room was their home. That left only one option and Victor raised his eyes as Vanessa called out to request entrance to the room.
Giving her permission, he smiled as she entered and stood to greet her with as much formality as he could manage. “Miss Ives, I must apologize for my outburst downstairs. It was most inappropriate.” Though Victor did not believe that entirely, he felt it his duty to beg the forgiveness of the one woman of the house.
Holding her hand up, Vanessa silenced Victor with a smile. “I’m afraid I should be the one offering apologies. I feel there must have been something I could have done to soften the blow but Sir Malcolm has always had such firm ideas of right and wrong.” Vanessa admitted to herself that often his ideas came down to the simple thought that if it benefitted Sir Malcolm it was right and anything else, therefore, was wrong. “Give him time and he will come around. Someone will talk to him. He will understand.”
As she spoke, Vanessa circled the room, giving the bed a wide berth before finally sitting in a chair by the fire. “Enough about him, Doctor. Please, come sit with me and tell me everything else. Capturing the heart of Mr. Chandler is not an easy task and you have succeeded where so many have failed.”
Indecision warred on the doctor’s face but in the end he consented as no one was ever able to tell Miss Ives no. Settling into the chair opposite her, straight backed and solemned face, Victor looked on expectantly, waiting for the questions he knew must be bubbling just under the well veneered surface.
“Did you know what would happen when he came to you? Did you know that you would become mated to him if you went through with what he was asking?” Vanessa knew the answer to that question, they had said as much downstairs but he also knew that this was a delicate way of asking about something else entirely.
Shaking his head, Victor let out a sigh, “No, I did not know. I have never harboured feelings for men in any way before Ethan let himself into my house and released havoc on my life.”
“So your cousin, Lily? She had captured your heart and now you are with another. Who will you let down gently, dear doctor, for I fear a heart will be broken whichever way you choose.” Reaching out, Vanessa took Victor’s hand between her own. The warmth relaxed the doctor who sighed once while he considered his words.
He sighed again after several moments, replying, “Lily was never mine. I loved the idea of her, of a woman who was dependent on me to teach her everything she needed to know. But the things I taught her, they were not useful and she did not need me. Lily had made her choice before Mr. Chandler ever set foot in my home. I was never what she wanted or needed and I do not believe she was what I desired either. We were simply convenient.” Victor did not know if Vanessa would accept that or not, but he could not bring himself to tell her the truth, to tell her that his Lily was Ethan’s Brona brought back to life. He could not stand to see that look of disgust on a face as lovely as Miss Ives;.
“Wise words, doctor. There is a man out there for Lily and I am certain she will find what she is looking for, if it is indeed a man she seeks. Perhaps your trait is genetic and she will find a wolf of her own.” Vanessa’s eyes twinkled with humour and Victor drew back his hand as if burned.
“I did not choose this life, Miss Ives. It was thrust upon me and I am making do with what I have been dealt. I do not appreciate being mocked and I certainly won’t stand for anyone to mock my dear cousin either.” Despite what had happened between them, Lily still meant a great deal to Victor as both a ‘cousin’ as well as his child of sorts. What a strange family he would have, he mused silently, glaring at Vanessa. “You can not appreciate the situation I have found myself in. And ridiculous though it may be, this is my life and I will not sit here and be laughed at.”
Miss Ives composed herself immediately and nodded, “I meant no disrespect, Dr. Frankenstein. I understand that these are troubling times you find yourself in. Have you given any thought to if you will continue with your work in your condition? It will be difficult to explain the sudden and isolated weight gain once you pass a certain point. It may be best for you to stay in the manor here, where the ones who know and understand will be with you at every turn.”
Taking a deep breath, Victor returned to the chair he had vacated in his anger, giving Vanessa a quick nod. “It would be best for us to remain within this small family we have composed here. However, if Sir Malcolm does not come around, Mr. Chandler and I will need to find someplace else to make our residence. Neither the Mariner’s Inn nor my small flat and workshop will provide us with the privacy necessary in the coming months, and without my being able to work in the near future, I worry how we will pay our debts.”
“Think nothing on Sir Malcolm. As I have said, he will come around. We have fought vampires and witches together, alongside a werewolf and my own personal demons. If he cannot handle this, then he is not the man we all believed him to be.” The chair creaked as Vanessa stood, arranging her skirts around herself. She placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled, “I should let you rest.”
Victor watched as she moved toward the door, trying to think of something to say that wouldn’t sound trite or condescending. It was nice to know the majority of their group supported this strange situation Ethan and Victor were in and he appreciated the sentiment immensely, even if he could not find the right words to express the gratitude.
As he continued to mull his words, Vanessa turned to speak once more, hand resting lightly on the door knob. “Do you have any idea what you shall do for clothes? I do not imagine most of those shirts and trousers will fit soon. We shall go shopping tomorrow, you and I. It will be fun and good for you to get out of the house while you still can.” Victor nodded, knowing there was no way to get out of it now that Vanessa had made up her mind. “Now, I shall leave you. I am sure Mr. Chandler is anxious to see if I have caused you to cry. Do tell him that I brought no harm upon you, will you?”
Vanessa hurried across the room to kiss his cheek once before leaving him alone once more, a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. The pregnancy and sudden mating had left him reeling but the thought of shopping with Miss Ives was almost more than Victor Frankenstein could handle. A more terrifying scenario had never been dreamt up and he returned to the window to consider if there was any way to relieve himself of such duty, knowing far too well that come tomorrow, he would be on the streets of London, accompanied by the tenacious woman.
Vanessa dragged the reluctant Victor from the house early the next morning, ignoring the good doctor's pleas that he would be much happier staying indoors and away from the public. He knew there was no point in arguing with her and yet he continued to try. "Really, Doctor. You cannot keep yourself secluded away. You will have plenty of time for that towards the end of your pregnancy. Right now you should enjoy the freedom you currently have and not waste it." He found he had no argument against her, regardless of how much he wished he did.
Even though he had only been in the house for a couple days, the world seemed different to Victor's eyes. Things seemed clearer and yet more dangerous. This was a city that had always been his home and never felt threatening to him and yet now, he knew that if they knew who he was, what he was, there would be people who would wish to destroy him. It was a strange feeling for someone used to being an outsider but always secure in who he was and his place in society. Now he was different, a freak even. He felt more confident in who he was, but that didn't mean the rest of the world would appreciate that as well.
Victor was pulled from his thoughts when Vanessa slipped her arm through his, her gloved hand resting gently on his forearm. "I plan on taking you to lunch as well as shopping for some clothing for you. You are going to need larger clothing soon and while they may not make specifically what you will need, I am sure we can find something that will suit your needs."
"Truly Miss Ives, I do not think this is necessary. I am only a few days pregnant. It will be many months before that is something we need to worry about." Thoughts drifting back to the last time they went shopping together, Dr. Frankenstein was not eager to repeat that embarrassment. And shopping for clothes for a pregnant male only meant he would be subject to more of Vanessa's admittedly good-natured ribbing.
A sidelong glance was cast in his direction and Victor sighed heavily, the sound of a defeated man. He would go along with this because he knew, he had no choice. When Miss Ives made up her mind about something, everyone in the group knew they would be going along with it or left out in the cold. Every one of them had suffered her wrath at one point or another and none, especially Dr. Frankenstein, were eager to repeat it.
At first, the shopping trip was manageable, Vanessa mostly shopping for herself and Victor nodding at whatever she asked, hoping that he could avoid being the center of her attention while in these shops. Eventually, however, he was steered toward towards a men's clothier and his hopes for escaping unscathed vanished. "I expect my friend here is to be gaining a bit of weight soon," she explained to the clerk who gave him a sympathetic nod before turning his attention back to Miss Ives. "I do not know how big he will get though so I think we should do a variety of sizes, that way he is prepared, no matter what his body might do."
And so Victor suffered through being measured and groped, having a pillow shoved under his shirt and the debate over whether or not he would gain weight (as he ‘filled out' in Vanessa's words) all over or just in his belly as many men tended to do as they got older. The shopkeeper seemed more amused than anything else and Victor wasn't sure whether to be relieved that he didn't suspect anything (though why should he?) or annoyed that he so easily accepted that Victor would soon get fat. Soon, they had spent more on clothing than Victor would make in a year and he was following Vanessa out the door, head hung low in humiliation as she directed the shop owner to deliver them to the manor that day.
Lunch was a subdued affair, Vanessa recognizing Victor's reluctance to talk about his situation outside of the home but still she prodded for some information. "Honestly, doctor, you do need to eat. It isn't healthy for you to exist entirely on a diet of bitterness and frustration." Glaring at her, Victor opened his mouth to speak but found he had nothing to say in his defence. What she was telling him was the exact thing he would tell any of his patients who were pregnant as well. It was sound medicine and not just a friend's chiding.
He picked at his food, taking bites whenever he felt he could keep them down. It wasn't morning sickness, but a nervous energy that caused his stomach to roil and food to be unappealing. "You are enjoying this, aren't you Miss Ives? Most people in your position would be horrified by the admission we made and yet, you find the whole situation amusing and maybe even pleasant. I have never met anyone quite like you before."
Whether Victor meant the words as a compliment or not, that was how Vanessa took them as she smiled at him. "Dr. Frankenstein, you have seen me at my worst. You have seen me at a point that most men who have turned and run away. And yet, you stayed by my side through all of it. The matter of a child? That is nothing compared to what I have endured in my life. A new life is something to cherish and celebrate, not to be hidden away. I understand why it will need to be secret toward the end, not many in our society are as open to certain ideas as those of us in our small family, but that does not mean you have to hide it away from us as well. I know Sir Malcolm will come around shortly, but you already have my support as well as that of Sembené. And never discount the love of your dear Mr. Chandler. He would kill for you and that child and you know it."
Victor glanced around quickly, hoping no one overheard what Vanessa had just said. Of course, no one was paying attention to them, everyone too wrapped in their own meals, conversations or minds to worry much about what was happening at another table in the restaurant but he still glared at her. "Please keep your voice down. I do not wish for the world to know about my affliction." The last word came out as a hiss and a pang of guilt stabbed Victor's heart. Their child was not an affliction, he knew that, but the rest of the world would see it that way and Victor could not get passed the way people were going to look at him if they ever found out. "I just wish to get through today without being seen as a freak or an oddity. I do not believe that is too much to ask."
"Of course not, doctor, but you must not be afraid to talk about it either. People will talk, it is what they do, how you handle that gossip is the true sign of character. Hold your head high. Know that you are loved and supported by the people who care about you and that the rest of the world, if they cannot handle who you are, are not worth your time."
"You make it sound so simple," he sighed, looking down at his tea. "I will lose my practice. I will have trouble paying my rent and will lose my home as well as my identity. If I am not a doctor, who am I?"
"You are Dr. Victor Frankenstein, one of the greatest minds of his generation. You have made some mistakes, but you have also made some of the greatest breakthroughs in scientific thought." Victor glanced up at that and Vanessa nodded, "Yes, Mr. Chandler told us about Brona and about the other. I do not judge, I only state what is fact. Regardless of if you are currently practicing or not, you are still a doctor and no one can take that away from you."
Victor let out a sigh, trying to hide the relief he felt at hearing her words. "Thank you, Miss Ives. You have helped more than you know." Not only had she told him that he would not be cast away for what he had done to try and rid himself of Caliban but she also reminded him of who he was. He had nothing for which to be ashamed, professionally or privately.
Lunch continued on with pleasant, light conversation, the heaviness of his current situation set aside for now having reached a tentative understanding. After they had paid were getting ready to leave, Victor nodded to her, "It has been a pleasant morning, Miss Ives, more than I accepted. Thank you for taking me out."
"Oh you do not think you are getting off that easily do you?" she asked, eyes twinkling with merriment. "No, doctor, I have one more activity planned for you and me today." A deep groan came from Victor as Vanessa linked their arms together once more and dragged him down the street, his feet following wherever he was led. Stopping outside a shop for a brief moment, Vanessa gave Victor a quick grin before escorting him inside.
The shop was warm and cozy and one look at the décor told Victor everything he needed to know. It was certainly something they would need, but he truly was not ready for the reality that set in around him as he looked around. Cots and cradles, baby clothing of all kinds; Victor's face showed a terror that he had only shown on rare occasions prior.
"Welcome," the shopkeeper smiled, coming to join them by the door. "What brings you out today?" Neither missed the way the man's eyes drifted to Vanessa's abdomen - flat as could be - and back up.
"My dear friend here is expecting and I wish to help the dear doctor and his love outfit their home for the little one," Vanessa smiled, pointedly ignoring the way Victor's eyes widened as he told his most private secret to a complete stranger.
The man, however, seemed not to notice what Vanessa had said or wrote it off as a slip of the tongue. "Of course, of course. Boy or girl? And do you have anything specific in mind?"
Victor sat back and gave nods to the few items he liked, letting Vanessa shop to her heart's content. Ethan would be pleased, Victor knew, that they had spent this much time together and had actually started getting ready for the baby. Knowing his mate would be happy brought a smile to Victor's normally stoic face and he relaxed a little.
By the time, they returned to the house that night, Victor happily fell into Ethan's arms, exhaustion seeping into his bones the moment he returned home. "You have a good time today, darling?" Ethan asked in the American drawl that made Victor's heart flutter in a way he would firmly deny.
Thinking about it, Victor knew he did have fun, but he was too proud to admit that entirely. "It wasn't completely unpleasant," he smiled. "But next time Vanessa wishes to buy us gifts, you go with her."
I want to apologize to those who have been waiting for this chapter for so long. My muse for this fic comes and goes, but I hope the chapter was worth the wait. Most likely the next chapter won't be available until December, depending on how National Novel Writing Month treats me. But I promise, there is so much more to come. Please be patient and I think it will be worth the wait. -J
In which Sir Malcolm is an arse, Victor is maternal, and everyone is scared of upsetting Vanessa Ives.
This update has been a long time coming and I hope it was worth the wait. My apologies for just how long it took me.
In case it isn't obvious, this is not canon compliant. I have yet to see any of season 3 so my versions of Ethan and Victor are just going to move along in theirr happy little AU and pretend that none of us know anything of what is happening in the show.
As the month progressed, they settled into a sort of routine. Vanessa continued to fuss over Dr. Frankenstein, always making sure he had eaten enough and was getting enough rest. The first few times, Victor snapped at her then immediately felt guilty. As a doctor, he knew that what she told him was for his own good, But as a man – particularly one inundated with hormones he wasn’t prepared for – it was hard to take any advice without seeing it as criticism and getting defensive. After the first couple of times, Victor took to wondering around, arms crossed and a permanent scowl on his face. Vanessa, as was her nature, took it with good humor, patting his hand or kissing his cheek whenever he snapped at her.
One of the few people who could actually get the now-surly doctor to calm and relax was Ethan. Tense shoulders slumped and scowl lessened the moment Ethan and Victor were once more in the same room. Victor even tended to relax if he heard heavy footsteps on the polished wood floor, knowing his mate was nearby. Sembene, already a normally quiet presence was nearly silent now, not wanting to spook Victor or make him think Ethan was near when he was not.
The only one in the household who could not accept what was happening was Sir Malcolm. He, too, walked around with a scowl etched to his distinguished face. At first, the discomfort and unease ate at Victor’s stomach, wishing for the paternal relationship he had come to rely on over the years. Sir Malcolm had been his patron, his friend, and something of a hero. Now, he was yet another father that Victor had disappointed. No one asked him about his family and he offered no explanation. If Ethan had asked, Victor would have told him since his mate (and wasn’t that a strange word to get used to?) had told him everything about his own familial history. That would have been the time to share his own, Victor knew, but he was unable to muster the courage to do it, offering only a meek “I'm sorry to hear all that you went through”.
Still, despite the obvious emotions, Sir Malcolm felt toward them, Victor and Ethan found themselves very much at home in the estate. They expanded their space into three rooms, keeping one for the bedroom, one for a sitting room and one for an office and small laboratory for Victor’s work. Dr. Frankenstein refused to outright give up his work. While he stopped seeing patients other than the four who resided in the same house as he did, his research continued.
While in the midst of one of his experiments, one involving a cadaver he had brought in for expressly this purpose, Victor was rattled from his thoughts by a pounding on the door to their suite. His hand flew instinctively to his belly as the noise rattled him to his very core and shook some of the beakers that stood at the ready to his side. Ethan and Vanessa were out, doing whatever it was that they did, and Sembene had left awhile ago to get more food for the household. Sir Malcolm had spent no time with Dr. Frankenstein since that fateful night several weeks back so Victor had not considered that this would be the day he chose to start talking to the doctor again.
“I know you are in there,” he bellowed, and Victor briefly wondered what this was about. “Open the door so we can talk like gentlemen.” The sneer attached to the last word caused Victor’s blood to run cold and he slipped his scalpel into his pocket, unsure what he was about to face.
Steeling himself, Victor opened the door, “Sir Malcolm? I was unaware you were around this morning. I thought you had gone out with the others.” An outright lie but Victor did not wish to say what he was truly thinking – that he did not think Sir Malcolm wanted anything to do with him anymore so what the hell was he doing right now.
Malcolm pushed his way into the room, pointedly ignoring the bed as he made his way into the sitting room. Placing himself near the mantle, he glared in Victor as the other followed him into the room. “Make yourself at home,” Victor stated as politely as he could, reminding himself that while this may be his home now, it was still Malcolm’s house.
“Explain to me what you are. Obviously, not human so tell me now why I shouldn’t kill you both and be done with it.” Direct and to the point, Victor could have respected that if it wasn’t directed at him, the man he was coming to love and their unborn child. Instead, his hand wrapped tightly around the handle of the scalpel, debating how fast he could dispose of the man before anyone got home and figured out what he had done.
There was no point in arguing; Victor knew that. Any anger he showed would only go to further Sir Malcolm’s fury. Best to stay as calm and polite as possible, and stall as long as he could. Perhaps Ethan and Miss Ives would be back before anything happened. “What do you want me to tell you? I am human. Have been my whole life. Just because there is one facet of me that is different than what we would expect does not make me any less so.” When Sir Malcolm didn't reply, Frankenstein continued, “You have accepted Miss Ives for who she is. You have accepted Mr. Chandler for who he is. Why is it so much more difficult to accept me? You once said I was like a son to you, and here you are, treating me like I am the most disgusting thing you have ever laid eyes on.”
Malcolm remained silent but Victor had nothing else to say so he continued to stand awkwardly in the doorway, waiting for a response of any kind. The palms of his hands were damp with sweat and his grip on the scalpel never lessened. “Men cannot bear children,” Sir Malcolm said quietly after some time had passed. “It is a biological fact and I would think that you as a doctor would recognize that. Because of that, it leads me to two conclusions. One, you are in fact a woman in disguise. Or two, you are not human. I need to know which it is.”
“Why?” Victor demanded, face reddening as he advanced on their patron. “What will you do once you have your answer?” He briefly considered refusing to answer but instead continued, “I promise you I have been male since the day of my birth. From the outside, I look just as much a man as anyone else. Not that it is any of your concern, Sir Malcolm. As for not being human, I can find nothing inhuman about me aside from this one small fact. Perhaps you should ask Ethan or Sembene when they get back. They both seem to know more than I do and have offered, in the past, to answer your questions. But know this. I am having this baby. All of my research up until that fateful night with Mr. Chandler had been dedicated to creating life. You’ve seen the consequences of my experiments. But here, growing inside me is the truest form of life I will ever create. I will not destroy this child for anything, Sir Malcolm. Even if I didn’t love it already, what sort of scientist would I be to let this previously unknown entity go without being studied.” Victor hated how callous and hard he sounded, knowing that his true reason for keeping the child was because it was his and he couldn’t very well destroy his own baby. He hadn’t even been able to kill Caliban and that monster threatened to kill him on a near daily basis. But at the same time, Victor felt certain to his very core that Sir Malcolm would not appreciate any sentiment. He needed the cool detachment of a doctor and not the joyous expectation of a new father.
Praying to non-existent gods, Victor was relieved when Sir Malcolm seemed to accept that answer. “Exploring a new frontier as it is,” he grumbled at last. “Can’t say I don’t respect that. But you do realize how unnatural this is? It isn’t right and I probably should just kill you.” Thinking of how callously he had taken his own daughter’s life and had thrown away his son’s wishes to further his own ambition, Victor wouldn’t have put it past him.
But as a strong arm wrapped around his waist and a large hand settled protectively on his belly, Victor felt a surge of anger toward Sir Malcolm rise up in him. It took a moment to realize it was Ethan’s anger he was feeling, mixed with his own. “You even raise a hand to them and you would be dead before you hit the floor,” Ethan growled, as Victor leaned back against him. It might not be love yet – Victor wasn’t even sure he was capable of the emotion – but his mate was attentive, protective and caring. Not to mention, great in bed. He could think of a lot worse people to spend the rest of his life with.
“I am capable of taking care of myself.” The words were grumbled but Victor looked at Ethan with equal parts amusement and adoration. Feeling protected and wanted still felt new and warmed him from the inside. To think how much had changed in such a short period, and how Victor welcomed the change. His life before Ethan was going nowhere. He was brilliant but unable to show his work to the world. He lived in a grungy flat with nothing to his name. His only friends in the world were now the people in this house and perhaps, Lily, though he admitted she had never been his in the first place. Now, he smiled at Ethan and felt like maybe his life was finally going to be what he hoped for when he was young.
A throat clearing pulled them from their thoughts, the smiles on both their faces dropping when they turned back to look at Sir Malcolm. “If you are quite done, I already told Dr. Frankenstein that I wasn’t going to hurt him. I was simply stating that we have killed others who are inhuman. You have proven yourself to be a worthy companion, despite your affliction. I am still waiting to see if the same can be said for Dr. Frankenstein.”
“Touch my mate and I will kill you.” The wolf’s fury shone through Ethan’s eyes and Sir Malcolm took a step back despite himself.
Victor smirked, “Not if I kill him first.” The scalpel finally emerged from Victor’s pocket and Ethan kissed his temple, grin firmly on his face. The wolf knew he had chosen his mate well and was proud that the man could hold his own, despite his rather weak appearance.
Malcolm had experienced many things over the course of his life and survived many things because he knew when it was best to run away. And facing down two angry wolves protecting their family certainly counted as a time to run, particularly when you have no weapon of your own. “I will get to the bottom of this one way or another,” he growled, pushing past them. “And when I make a decision, I assure you that you two will be the first to know.” The unspoken threat hung in the air as he left the room, door slamming behind him.
“Are you sure we can’t kill him?” Victor asked, turning rest his head on Ethan’s shoulder. “It would be so much easier.”
Ethan chuckled and sighed, “It would. But then we would have to face an angry Miss Ives and I’d rather take on Sir Malcolm than her any day.”
Privately, Victor agreed.
Here be some smut. Had to be done. XD
Alone in their rooms once more, Victor relaxed against Ethan, breathing in that comforting scent of his mate. He had never paid much attention to the smell of other people before – it certainly didn't relate to his work – so it came as a surprise how calming it was to be able to smell Ethan close by. And with that knowledge came another fact that caught the good doctor unaware – he was well and truly in love with Ethan.
“We need to talk,” they both said simultaneously before pulling back, eyes suspicious as they looked at the other. Victor only wanted to make his affections clear to Mr. Chandler but now he found himself reluctant, unsure what the American could have to say. When Ethan gestured for him to continue, Victor shook his head, “No, you first.” He wasn’t about to pour his heart out only to have it stomped on a moment later. It would hurt no matter what but at least he could keep his pain private instead of letting Ethan know.
Taking him by the hand, Ethan led him to the bed they shared, sitting on the edge and pulling Victor down to sit next to him. “We have been together almost a month now,” he started slowly, waiting to see if the doctor picked up on the reason that period was important. When Victor said nothing, he continued, “Tomorrow is the full moon. Which means that we are going to need to figure out what to do.”
“What do you mean by that?” Victor hated the shrillness his voice had taken on as a new sort of fear gripped him. “You said I wasn’t turning into a werewolf.”
Ethan chuckled, shaking his head. “You aren’t. I didn’t lie to you. I haven’t lied to you about any of this. But the fact is that I will change and you need to know your role in this.”
Brows furrowed as Victor tilted his head to study Ethan’s features. The idea that the man in front of him would shift forms due to the pull of the moon made little sense scientifically speaking but so little of what they had seen over the last year had. Van Helsing had begun the process of opening Dr. Frankenstein’s eyes to things science could not yet explain but it was still an uphill battle for him. “If I do no turn into a wolf but you do, what is it that could be expected of me. I have seen the evidence of what you can do. I saw the bodies from last month, had them brought here out of curiosity. I am incapable of holding my own physically against you under the best circumstances, and certainly not while I am with child and you are supernaturally enhanced.”
“Your physical strength will not matter. You have something even more powerful. You are our mate. The wolf claimed you as much as I did and he would not harm a hair on your head. Quite the contrary, if you told him to stop, he would probably heel immediately though I do not know that for a fact. This will be new for all of us.” Ethan pulled a small silver necklace from around his neck and placed it in Victor’s hand. “I am going to run tomorrow, at least for awhile. I do not want you to leave the house. While I have not seen another of my kind in this city, I cannot risk your safety. On that chain is a silver bullet. If any wolf other than myself attempts to enter this house, you take them down with that. I only trust you with this because our bond will let you know the difference between me and someone else.”
Turning the bullet over in his hand, Victor thought quietly for a moment. He raised his eyes to meet Ethan’s a small smile pulling at his lips. “It is well that I asked for those lessons in shooting. It would not due to shoot the wall when faced with an angry werewolf.” The concept of what he just said seemed so foreign; both that werewolves existed and that Victor could speak so calmly about facing one. “And will I see you in that form? Either before or after you run?”
“Of course, darling. I’m asking the others to leave the house for the night. I cannot be sure the wolf would not attack them. It will just be the two of us and I know he will want to see you.”
Victor’s eyes widened, “If I am the wolf’s mate and he wants to see me does that mean I am expected to…” He trailed off, letting Ethan finish the thought for him.
“No, that pleasure is for me alone. But when I shift back, I can assure you, we will need some time with just us and this bed.” Ethan leered, leaning forward to loom over Victor. Two months ago, the other held little appeal to Ethan and now he could hardly keep his hands off the man.
Victor, instead of being intimidated, smiled and laid back against the pillows. “Do we have to wait for the night to be over, or to even begin before we do that?” Now that he had a taste of what sex was like, he found himself craving it more and more. Placing the necklace and bullet on the table next to the bed, Victor pushed Ethan’s braces from his shoulders and began unbuttoning his shirt.
Ethan growled and moved to cover Victor’s smaller body with his own. “We never have to wait for that as you put it.” Words were not always his specialty so Ethan let his body do the talking for them both, hands deftly stripping them of their clothes so there was nothing between them at all.
Even after a month, Victor was still amazed at how his body reacted to Ethan’s touch. The biology behind it must be fascinating but he did know how to start studying it. Besides, when his body reacted in such a way Victor had something far more important on his mind, another fact that surprised him. Before Ethan, nothing had been as important as science and his research. Now, he had a mate and with that, the opportunity to have sex whenever he wanted. It was eye opening how much he loved it. As Ethan’s fingers probed his entrance, already slick with desire, Victor keened, pressing down against the intrusion.
“Look how much you want me,” Ethan purred in his ear, stretching his mate carefully. Though he knew Victor barely needed the prep but Ethan enjoyed watching Victor fall apart from just the simple actions of his fingers. As he stretched Victor, Ethan dipped his head to take his mate in his mouth. With most male lovers, Ethan would not do this, preferring to give rather than receive but his mate was different than just a lover he picked up at a bar. He wanted Victor to experience everything. Plus, with him being a virgin before they came together, he was still unsure about performing this act. The selfish part of Ethan hoped this would encourage Victor to reciprocate.
Relaxing his throat, Ethan moaned around Victor’s length, barely able to stop the laughs building in his chest at the utterly obscene moan that came from his partner. Tongue teasing the head, Ethan felt Victor relax under his ministrations and soon was fully prepped and ready. Pulling off, he looked up at Victor, lips reddened and hair a mess. “Do you want to finish in my mouth or with me inside you?” The smirk that accompanied that question would have made Victor weak in the knees if he had been standing.
“You inside me,” he managed, face red from the embarrassment of saying such a thing. It still felt wrong to want it, no matter how much Ethan promised him it was alright. Despite being an atheist and having not set foot in a church since he was a small boy, Victor had a strong sense of what was typically considered right and wrong, particularly when it came to sex. He wasn’t a prude, but he was a little afraid. Not that he would ever admit that out loud.
Ethan acquiesced immediately, removing his fingers from Victor’s slackened entrance, he moved up so he covered Victor completely, lips finding those of his lover’s. As they kissed, Ethan pushed himself inside, their lips parting in mutual gasps of pleasure. Fingers biting into the back of Ethan’s shoulders, Victor gripped him tight, waiting for the initial burn to fade. Even though it hurt, he still found it pleasurable and it wasn't long before he rolled his hips, allowing Ethan to go even deeper.
Neither man held back, their moans and blissful cries echoing through the room and most likely to the ears of their friends and family downstairs. Victor was passed caring what they thought of this arrangement. Outside of the home, he was terrified that people would find out what he and Ethan did in the bedroom, find out that they were together in a way their strict and prudish society would never allow. But inside this house, with the only people in the world he could count as friends, Victor didn’t care if they heard the two of them during their love-making.
Mind focused entirely on the feeling of Ethan moving inside him, Victor keened as he felt strong fingers wrap around his length, taking his pleasure to new levels. “Ethan,” he moaned, thrusting up into the welcoming fist and then impaling himself back down on his lover’s cock. It was all too good, so many sensations bombarding every part of him and it wasn’t long before Victor cried out, painting both of their stomachs with his hot release. The convulsions of his body around Ethan pulled him over the edge as well, howling through his orgasm before collapsing on top of his mate. They laid there, tangled together like that for a moment before Ethan pulled out and cleaned them gently.
Pulling Victor to lay with his head on his chest, Ethan kissed the top of his head. “So what was it you wanted to say?” Ethan asked as they curled together in bed. It took Victor a moment to get through the pleasurable haze brought on by his orgasm to remember that there was anything that he needed to tell Ethan that was more important than lying here in a comfortable silence.
When it came to him, he smirked, rolling on top of him and teasingly pinning Ethan to the bed. “Only that I am in love with you and if this is the way our lives are going to be from now until death, then I cannot complain. I love you, Ethan Chandler. And you have no idea how strange it feels to say those words. I never thought I was capable of loving someone and then you showed up and turned everything upside down. Thank you for that.”
The following silence had Victor’s heart pounding in his chest, worried he had made a mistake, but then Ethan rolled them so he was on top, staring down at him. There was no doubt that the wolf was in charge at that moment, gaze boring deep into Victor. “I love you, mate. You are mine forever and I am yours as well.” Victor smiled and pulled Ethan in for a gentle kiss, thankful for this in his life.
~ ~ ~
That night, as the sun began to set, Sembene, Vanessa, and Malcolm left the home for a night at the opera. Victor sat on the steps, watching Ethan as he paced the entry way, nervous energy making it impossible for him to sit still. He truly had no idea what to expect, having been fairly ignorant of Ethan’s condition until it impacted his life directly. Both Ethan and Sembene had warned him but still, when the change started to take his mate, Victor found himself equal parts horrified and fascinated.
By the time it was over, Ethan no longer stood there as a man but more canine and feral. Victor’s heart pounded in his chest but he did not run away, knowing deep down that Ethan would not hurt him. The werewolf’s eyes trained on him and Victor cast his own downward, seemingly on their own volition. Accepting that as submission the wolf pounced on him, pinning him to the stairs and pulling a strangled cry from Victor’s throat.
Fear gripped his heart and he stared up at the wolf, only to find himself momentarily breathless. While he had never seen the wolf before, he knew it as well as he knew himself. He could see Ethan shining out through his eyes. No longer was he afraid, but awe-struck that this magnificent creature was his. Maybe someday Ethan would let him study the transformation but it didn't really matter right now. This wolf posed no threat to him, whatsoever, and when Victor smiled at it, the wolf whined and nuzzled against his skin for a moment before leaving the house – and Victor – feeling a little colder and emptier.
The night passed quietly with Victor engrossed in his research. At some point, Vanessa and the men returned but Victor stayed in their rooms. At first, dawn, when he had finally crawled into bed and was drifting off to sleep, a warm body pressed close to him and woke him once more. A few hours later, when both men were thoroughly exhausted, Victor curled on his side - Ethan’s arm flung protectively over him and hand splayed on Victor’s slowly growing belly – they both fell asleep.
With one character a pregnant doctor and another a midwife, this had to be written. They always said doctors make the worst patients.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
If six months prior, one had asked Victor Frankenstein if he ever saw a situation where he would be in bed with Vanessa Ives trying to touch sensitive areas of his body, he would have laughed and called the asker mad. So, now finding himself in this position, Victor wondered where he had gone wrong in his life.
“Miss Ives, this is entirely inappropriate.” Victor was complaining from his bed, while doing his best to squirm away from Vanessa’s roving hands. “Please, I am quite capable of doing this myself.” His ankle caught in a blanket and kept him tied to the bed, a situation he found even more humiliating that it had been only moments before.
“Inappropriate?” Vanessa laughed, not ceasing in her work. “Do you realize how amusing that is coming from a man pregnant with another man’s child? I believe we are far beyond appropriate at this stage, don’t you think, Doctor?” Even after several months, Vanessa continued to find the whole thing quite a lark and while she was supportive of the two men, she still enjoyed ribbing them a bit. “Besides, there is no one in this home who is qualified to do this except me. So please lie still and we will get this over as quickly as possible.”
Victor’s swollen belly made it difficult for him to move around, and he kept bumping into things. He once fell over, caught at the last moment by Sembene who cautioned him to be more careful. That what he carried inside himself was blessed and should be protected at all costs. But right now the cost was Victor’s dignity, something he couldn’t quite bring himself to part with. “Does Ethan know you are doing this? He won’t be happy to know that I’m being manhandled in such a manner!”
“Manhandled? Really, Doctor. Who knew you had such a flair for the dramatics? You may have missed your calling to be on the stage.” Vanessa’s voice was kind but her eyes shone with humour. “If you would just sit still, this would be over by now. And of course Ethan knows. Who do you think asked me to look you over and make sure you were alright?”
Grumbling under his breath about betrayal and the unfairness of life, Victor finally lay still, trying not to grimace as Vanessa pressed gently at different parts of his belly. In one sensitive spot, Victor yelped and looked at her with death in his eyes. “If you could please cease in hurting me, I would be much obliged.”
He understood why this had to happen, of course. With as large as his belly was, he should have felt movement by now. While not an expert in pregnancy (that was a condition best left to midwives), Victor did know that by now, the quickening would have taken place in a normal gestation. But even with all his scientific knowledge, he was completely unsure how to best treat his own condition. It was so unusual, so far from anything he had ever read that Victor had finally just given up and started doing whatever felt right; a strange sensation for an analytical man.
And what Miss Ives had said was true. No one else in the house was more qualified than she to help prepare someone for birth and to diagnose any issues with a pregnancy. Even a man pregnant with a werewolf’s child.
After living in a house with Victor and three other men, Vanessa barely batted an eye to his complaints. She worked her way through her normal procedure, only pausing when it came time for the internal exam. “Dr. Frankenstein, I find myself a bit out of my depth here. Would you mind doing that check yourself or walking Mr. Chandler through it? I would prefer to keep our relationship as it is and I am afraid that doing that for you might cross a line neither of us wish crossed.”
Victor let out a relieved chuckle and sat up, “That would be much preferred. But from what you did check, does everything seem to be alright?” One arm instinctively wrapped around his belly as he struggled to get to his feet. Concern for the child he carried gnawed at him while he waited for Vanessa to answer.
“You and your children are just fine,” she smiled. “They are moving around in there, even if you can’t feel it just yet.”
His mind froze, focusing on the plural. “They?”
“It’s why you are so big, Doctor. You are carrying twins. I would imagine you actually have been feeling them move but aren’t in tune with what you are looking for. Soon it will become much more obvious.” Her smile grew as she moved to sit on the bed he just vacated. “Are you excited? Two children! Ethan will be thrilled, don’t you agree?”
There was not a doubt in his mind that Ethan would be thrilled but Victor was more overwhelmed than anything. “Do you need to sit down, Doctor? You look pale.”
Victor shook his head, trying to ignore his pounding heart. “We are having twins?” His voice was soft, barely more than a whisper. As he said it, the concept became more solid and a smile spread across his face. “I suppose that means you will be getting us twice as much in the way of silly little baby clothes, won’t you?”
Vanessa smiled and wrapped her arms around his growing frame, pressing a kiss to his forehead. “You know that I will. Those babies will be adored. They will want for nothing.”
“I had little doubt of that.”
~ ~ ~
As he suspected, Ethan was as thrilled as Victor was. Ethan took him to bed almost immediately, both offering their regrets for not joining everyone else for supper. But instead of their usual activities, Ethan stripped Victor down and proceeded to kiss his belly, rubbing his hands over the stretched skin and whispering words of love to their children.
They fell asleep that night, having eaten dinner in their room when Sembene delivered it to them, Ethan sleeping with his head on Victor’s chest, hand wrapped possessively around Victor’s belly. Victor slept soundly as well, his hand in Ethan’s hair and a smile on his face. At least until the early morning hours when one of the twins kicked, waking both men, who stayed up the rest of the night, experiencing the movements of their children for the first time.
So this fic will hopefully be updated again at the end of November or early December after NaNoWriMo is complete!
Hey, look who's back. Forgive me for being gone so long? I hope this chapter makes up for the wait.
It was only a matter of time before someone from outside their odd little family came to visit the house in order to see Victor and not Sir Malcolm or Vanessa. Most of the visitors were for the owner of the house. He was, after all, the highest ranking member of society. As a doctor, Victor didn’t come close to his status, which suited him just fine. But when two people showed up to call on Victor, the whole house went into a tizzy.
“Who is it?” Ethan demanded when Sembené came to inform them of the guests. “No one should know he was here.”
“They claimed to have been his flatmates, though I was unaware Dr. Frankenstein lived with anyone else.”
Victor sighed and pushed himself off the bed. “Is it a woman and a man named John and Lily? If so, they are family and you can see them in. I will be down in a few minutes.” Sembené nodded and closed the door on his way out, leaving a bewildered Ethan and determined Victor behind.
“How are you going to explain them to this, Victor? They may be your children, but I do not know if their understanding is going to transfer to our situation.” Victor knew that was true. He knew this could backfire spectacularly and it would destroy everything they had. But he also knew that both of them had violent tendencies, particularly when denied something they wanted. He wouldn’t risk the lives of his friends and family simply because he was embarrassed by the state of his body.
He cupped Ethan’s cheek, “I never thought I would be the one saying this to you but you worry too much. Lily and John cannot go to the authorities or really anyone because technically neither of them exist. And it is safer if I am the one to talk to them, rather than someone they don’t know. You are welcome to be there with me if that would make you feel better.” Victor already knew that Ethan would be there but it felt appropriate to make the offer. Made him feel like he had some control when it was painfully clear that the wolf had taken charge.
Victor dressed as quickly as he could, thankful that Vanessa thought ahead to get him clothes that would fit in his advanced state. He had taken to wearing bed clothes most of the time because he had no place to go. Victor certainly had no plans to leave the house in his current state. It wasn’t worth the strange looks. Besides, walking was exhausting.
Once dressed, Victor went down to the sitting room, trying to pretend that his belly didn’t extend far beyond where it had been the last time he had seen his two creations. His thoughts drifted to that day, the fear he felt when Ethan had confronted him followed by the bliss of finally just giving in to what had been building between them for weeks. He could admit it now that he had felt attracted to the werewolf, even if he hadn't been able to put a word to the emotion until well after they were mated.
The bannister was smooth and cool under his hand as he descended the stairs, holding onto it to keep himself upright. The belly had certainly thrown off his sense of balance and the last thing he needed was to make an entrance by falling down the stairs and sending his mate into a fit over his safety. He wanted to run back upstairs, to hide in their rooms and pretend he hadn’t been informed of their arrival but his fear of Caliban’s wrath propelled him forward.
His whole life, his first creation had referred to him as a monster but Lily had never expressed such sentiment. But her gasp upon seeing him enter told him enough. “Lily,” he smiled giving her a slight bow before taking his seat. Victor would play the part of dutiful host and then retire to the rooms for the night, where he wouldn’t have to see or feel the stares of anyone else. “You both look well. Has John been taking care of you during my absence?”
“What has happened to you?” Caliban's demanded. “We were informed that you were moving in here without so much as a word from you. I thought when I dropped you off, you would return once you were well. Instead I find that you are here, living the high life while we have to beg and scrape to get by. We have found a patron, at least. One who appreciates Lily and wishes to make sure she is well.”
That was both a relief and a terror to the doctor and he jumped when Ethan appeared silently behind him, a hand clasped tight on his shoulder. “Who is this patron? What have you told him?”
“He knows nothing of the demon’s experiments, only that Lily is a flower that deserves to live in the sun and not the rubbish heap our father left us in.” The words came out as a sneer and Victor began to wonder if Caliban was angrier about Victor’s desertion or the fact that it was Lily who was providing for them and not the other way around. He had hoped to be her husband after all, so it must be hard for him to watch someone else be that man for her. “What is it to you? You turned your back on us, despite knowing what he did. He took our lives, turned us into freaks and yet, you stand there holding him as if he were the victim.”
“I would never call the Doctor a victim. He is strong and capable and while I do not always agree with his actions, particularly as far as you both are concerned, I will support him moving forward. He is my mate and he bears my children. If I cannot stand by him, who will.” Ethan's growled defense had Victor smiling, even as his heart pounded while he waited for their replies. He had just admitted that Victor was a pregnant man and there was no way Caliban would simply accept that.
His first creation stared at them both, an unreadable expression on his face. Victor braced himself for the vitriol but nothing came. Instead, Caliban’s face actually softened. “You finally managed it?”
The question caught both men off guard and they stared, gaping at him while waiting for his words to process. It was not something either of them had expected and neither really knew how to respond to such an odd exclamation. “Finally managed what?”
“To create life without death. Up until now, we have been your greatest creations, for better or worse. Considering what we are, you were right to be ashamed of us. But that,” Caliban gestured to his body, “that is something to be proud of.”
The reaction was so far from anything Victor was expecting that he continued to stare at the two people in front of him. Ethan, thankfully, retained some sense and asked, “Is this your way of offering us your blessing?” His American accent more pronounced that usual, Victor shifted, not wanting everyone in the room to know how Ethan affected him so much. “Because, while we don’t need it, I think it would mean the world to the Doctor. And if he is happy, then so am I.”
“I am so happy for you, Cousin,” Lily grinned. It was the first time she had spoken since they sat down and it was words of kindness, though Victor had never known her to be anything less than sweet and gracious. She stood and made her way to him, kissing him on the cheek. “Do you know when the baby will be born? Can I make some things for your child?” Before he had moved to this home to be with Ethan, Lily had been learning to sew and knit.
He smiled, finally getting over his shock and nodded, “If you wish to make something for them, I would be very touched. Thank you, Lily.”
“Them?” Caliban asked, sitting forward in his seat.
Ethan nodded, “We are expecting twins. From what I know, this isn’t unusual but neither of us really know a lot about what is happening so we are learning as we go.”
Caliban considered this. “So we shall have to younger siblings? It is obvious that you did not succeed in getting me a wife but I now have a sister I can talk with and two younger ones running around would be nice. If you would let me help, I would like to offer my services.”
All the muscles in his body tensed for a moment and Ethan looked down at Victor in concern. Not too long ago, Caliban was threatening to kill him and everyone he loved but now he was offering to look after their children? It seemed almost too abrupt of a change of pace. “Why? I do not understand what would be in it for you.”
“Since you left us, we have been on our own, without your presence imposing itself into our relationship. I think Lily and I have come to an agreement, which is the reason we stopped by in the first place. We were unaware of your condition, only that you and the wolf had relations that required you to live in the same house. But while we were disgusted at first,” – and here Victor tensed once more though Ethan rubbed comforting circles on his shoulder with his thumb – “we agreed that neither of us are in a position to judge something to be unnatural. And if it results in new life, I cannot be opposed to it.”
“So why did you come here looking as if you wished to kill me? It wouldn’t be the first time you had attempted such a thing and I almost didn’t come out of the room for fear of what you might do.” Victor was slowly becoming convinced by Caliban’s impassioned speech but it still hadn’t calmed his worries completely. The other was known for being impulsive and easily angered. This could just be a moment of complacency before he lashed out once more.
Caliban shrugged, “If I had come looking apologetic and concerned, you would have been even more worried. You do not trust me, and I hardly trust you. But Lily and this man both vouch for you and the fact that you are able to bear life makes me feel that maybe their opinion is correct as you have been blessed with something I have never read about in another man. If you are willing to give me a chance, I will give you one as well.”
When their eyes met, silent conversation passed between Ethan and Victor. The wolf knew about his creations now, had since the first day of their relationship, and it had caused tensions between them in the past. But looking in his eyes, Victor knew that Ethan thought they could trust him and if his mate agreed, then Victor would give him the chance he requested. “Alright,” he said, turning back to his first born. “If you promise not to harm anyone in this family, we will accept you into it. I do not know if the others who live in this house will be as accepting as the two of us but I believe with time, they will come to appreciate what you offer. And all of us will be thankful for the help when the children arrive and we are running on next to no sleep.”
Only then did Ethan let go of Victor’s shoulders and move to offer his hand to Caliban in friendship. “If you will look after my family, you will always have a place in it.” Caliban took it, offering the American a terse nod.
Lily looked between the three men and stood to kiss Ethan on the cheek. “Thank you for loving my cousin. I know that there was once something between us and I wish I could remember but I do not. I hope it does not cloud how you feel about me.”
Victor watched with trepidation, unsure how Ethan would react but he simply nodded and kissed Lily’s hand. “You are right. There is a history between us but I think we can move past that, for the sake of the Doctor and our children. Thank you, dear cousin, for your warm acceptance.” He let her hand go and looked toward the door where Sembené stood, silent witness to the proceedings. “It appears that dinner is ready. I am sure there is more than enough for us all. Would you care to join us tonight?”
“We would be delighted, thank you.” Lily gave a quick curtsy and the four of them followed Sembené to the dining room to share the meal with the rest of the group.
While Victor knew it was bound to happen eventually, he was pleasantly surprised that it took until the final weeks of his pregnancy. They did well, keeping him tucked away in the home and limiting visitors to times when they wouldn’t even realize he was there. It worked well.
Until it didn’t.
After one of her travels out into the city, Vanessa returned with stories of the charming young man she met that day. He was well read, well spoken and they had a lovely walk in the gardens. The pleased smile on her face told them everything they needed to know. She liked this man, even if she hardly knew him. Judging by what she told them, he liked her as well.
“Unfortunately, I sent him away. We all know that romantic entanglements do not work in this family, our dear Doctor and Mr. Chandler aside.”
“Miss Ives, if I may be so bold,” Ethan smiled, setting down his drink. “Of everyone in this home, you deserve a chance at happiness more than any. If you would like, I can call on him and ask if he is interested in continuing to court you.”
Vanessa sighed, “Thank you but that will not be necessary.” She sipped her tea, obviously considering what she would say next. “As interesting as he is, there is a darkness about him. With our lives the way they are, I do not blue eyes adding anyone else with such an affliction to our small group would be a wise decision. Besides, with our new additions coming very soon, we should be focusing on that and not my personal life.”
“Miss Ives, you hardly need to put your life on hold because of my condition. The others of the house have done a fine job taking care of me whenever you are out and I am certain they will continue to do so. It isn’t like Ethan won’t protect me to the death, Sembené as well.” They rarely spoke of Sir Malcolm these days. He was a non-entity in his own home, unable to accept the change of his world view. When there was work to be done, he was there but then he retired to his study and shut out the rest of the world.
Reaching across the table, she patted Victor’s hand lovingly, “My dear Doctor, my happiness is currently tied to the two little ones you carry. Nothing will give me greater joy than seeing those two brought into the world.” None of them knew exactly how that would happen; even Ethan seemed a little in the dark about it. Victor spent the last few weeks explaining how to do the surgery to both Ethan and Vanessa in case that became a necessity. If it did, there was a good chance he would not survive, but if they could save the two children that was all he needed to know.
For once in his life, Victor Frankenstein found a cause for which his own life came second. He had finally created life in the most natural of ways (despite Sir Malcolm’s arguments otherwise) and he would be damned if anything stopped him from giving birth to two happy, healthy children. If he died, Then he knew they would still grow up surrounded by love, this small family they created helping them grow in a world that will not understand the beginning of their lives.
The conversation about Miss Ives’ suitor faded in everyone’s mind and no one really thought any more of it. With the impending birth only a few weeks away, the house was in disarray as everyone started to get ready. The nursery had to be set up properly, the baby clothes put away and they had to finalize the plan for the birth. There were far more important things to worry about than some man who once expressed an interest in Vanessa.
Or so they thought.
The first time Dorian Gray stopped by, Sembené opened the door and set him on his way. The younger man argued for some time, insisting that he must wait for Miss Ives himself. “I will wait as long as is necessary. It would not bother me one bit.” Eventually, Sembené closed the door in his face and he hoped that would be a sign that Dorian was unwelcome at their home.
The next time, Vanessa opened the door, sighing heavily when he stood there, holding a flower she knew he must have stolen from the greenhouse where they had their first – and only – date. “Mr. Gray, I appreciate your persistence but I must turn down your advances. My life is far too chaotic and busy to be adding a suitor into the mix. Please excuse me.” She smiled politely and closed the door expecting that to be the end of it.
Unfortunately, Dorian Gray was nothing if not persistent and he appeared at their door every day for a week, dealing with all but one member of the family. Even Sir Malcolm sent him away in the strongest terms yet, telling him he was unwelcome and he would have the man arrested the next time he set foot on his doorstep.
Everyone expected that to be the end of it. No one but the members of the family dared go against him, particularly when he explicitly forbade something. For two weeks, everyone settled back into their routine, certain the head of household had taken care of the problem.
Despite the babies being due any day, Victor found himself in the house alone one bright Thursday morning. Everyone was off on errands, getting the last of their business in order before the impending arrival. Victor had taken to reading in the sitting room, medical books spread around him as he rested one on his belly. He had long ago stopped feeling self-conscious about his size, accepting that this was his life for the next few weeks or so, and at the end of it, he and Ethan would have two wonderful children to look after.
Glancing at his book, Victor smiled as he realized he’d been reading the same page for the past half hour. It never failed that when his thoughts turned to Ethan and their life together, he couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
A knock on the door drew him from his musings and Victor froze as the pounding became more urgent. He had no intention of opening the door, trying to explain his appearance would be difficult, but it sounded as if the person at the door was desperate. They will be home soon. That person can wait, he finally decided, settling back in to read. Whoever it was, he couldn’t help him in his condition anyway so why put them all through that trouble if he didn’t have to.
Eventually, the knocking stopped and Victor threw himself back into his studies, hoping Ethan was able to pick up the new texts that he requested. He might not be able to practice medicine right now, but Dr. Frankenstein refused to fall behind in his field. He read nearly constantly, considering his pregnancy left him confined to the house. His thoughts on the latest uses of leeches garnered his full attention and it was only a sharp rap at the window that drew his eyes up and away.
In horror, he recognized Dorian Gray peering through the window, his eyes alight with mischief and evil. Ethan would accuse him of being melodramatic if he heard that description but it was the only thing close to the look on Dorian’s face.
In his state, Victor could not move fast though he tried, pushing the book to the floor and pushing himself up off the sofa. He tried to get away from the peering eyes of Dorian but no that he knew someone was home, nothing was going to stop the man from coming in. He had never been one of Victor’s favorite people and now he despised him more than ever.
Dorian let himself into the home, hardly pausing as he pushed the door open and stepped inside. “My dear Doctor, you really have let yourself go, haven’t you?” An evil grin played at his features and Victor backed away, feeling the creature in front of him was something other than human.
Ethan and Mr. Gray had met, right? He thought to himself, eyes wide with terror. Ethan would have told them if he was a wolf or something equally terrifying. Ethan aside, the idea of werewolves still bothered Victor, even though he carried two inside him.
“You are not welcome here, Mr. Gray. Please leave or I will be forced to call someone to forcibly remove you.”
He continued to walk in, hands clasped behind his back as he looked around, eyes not missing a single detail, a fact that chilled Victor to the bone when he saw Dorian’s eyes fall on his stomach. “If I didn’t know better, I would say you are with child, Dr. Frankenstein. Another of your experiments gone wrong?”
“Pregnant?” Victor exclaimed, putting as much disgust into his voice as he could manage. “Hardly. I seemed to have acquired a parasite from some of Sir Malcolm’s travel souvenirs. I have been living here so they could watch over me while I recovered.” The lie fell easily from his tongue and Victor was pleased with how simple it had been to explain away everything. Or at least, he thought it to be a valid explanation.
Dorian raised a brow, “I knew Miss Ives was hiding something. All of you, really. There is no reason for her not to be interested in me. Our darkness matches. We are meant to be together. But she kept rebuking me at every turn. Now I know. They were hiding you. So, really, what happened to you, Dr. Frankenstein?”
“I told you that I have contracted a tropical parasite. Sir Malcolm and I were going through his old trunks and I was bitten by something that traveled back with him. As you will see in the sitting room, I have been working on determining what exactly I have contracted so I can learn how better to treat it. I am a medical doctor and a scientist. While my condition is impractical, it provides me with an interesting research opportunity.” That much wasn't a lie. Victor was fascinated by the fact that he was a pregnant man and was looking in the medical literature for any sign that it had been studied before. “The others know that I am concerned about the way people will look at me, a valid concern I see now that you stand here before me. Now please, leave this home before the others return. They will not be as forgiving as I am.”
“I am not leaving until I see Miss Ives. And if you attempt to throw me out, I will tell everyone that Dr. Victor Frankenstein has been impregnated by another man.” Dorian’s face dared Victor to challenge him and victor’s ready mind hurried to find a solution.
He was saved that trouble by a voice sounding behind them both. “You will do no such thing, Mr. Gray.” Malcolm stepped out of the hallway. Victor wasn’t sure when he returned or why he was a standing up for him, but at this moment, he didn’t care. “Everything Dr. Frankenstein told you is the truth. Now, I recommend you leave here immediately unless you wish for me to spread word of all the indecent things you have done in the past few years? And who are they going to believe, Mr. Gray? I am an upstanding citizen of the Kingdom while you are nobody important, just a pretty face.” His eyes were dark and menacing and he seemed to tower over Dorian, the weight of the whole house behind him. “Leave and do not come back. If I see you around any member of this household ever again, or if I hear any word of you spreading lies about them, then everyone in London will know exactly what sort of degenerate you are.”
Dorian did not need to be asked again, turning on his heel and fleeing immediately. Victor sank to his knees in relief, trembling but otherwise alright.
“My dear boy, are you okay?” Sir Malcolm asked and Victor looked at him in sheer disbelief. “I know I have not been kind to you in the past few months and for that, I apologize. I do not take well to things I do not understand but it infuriates me even more to see people threaten my family.”
“Thank you,” Victor smiled. The fact that now everyone in the house supported him and Ethan was a weight removed he didn’t know he was carrying. “That means the world to me.”
Malcolm helped him to his feet and they almost made it back to the sofa before a strong pain wracked Victor’s body and he bent forward, arms wrapped around his belly. “Sir Malcolm? Will the others be home soon?”
“I believe so, why do you ask?”
Victor looked at him with wide, terrified eyes. “Because I think the babies are coming soon.”
Sorry about the cliffhanger but now that I have a rhythm going with my writing, I'm hoping to have this updated again sooner rather than later.
Two little bundles of joy make their entrance into the world.
My apologies! For some reason, I thought I had posted this already. It's been sitting in my cloud for so long, I'd just forgotten about it. Hopefully it was worth the wait?
“Where is Ethan?” Victor demanded through gritted teeth. “Get Mr. Chandler here now. Or Miss Ives. Someone.” If he had been of sound mind at that moment, Victor would have realized he was ordering around the highest ranking member of the household but a sound mind was not something Victor had and all he cared about was the pain stopping. Now.
He knew medications he could take but he didn’t know how it would affect the children and that was his biggest concern. They needed to be taken care of, protected, even if he suffered in the process. So he really needed someone who knew what they hell they were doing to show up and make this all better.
Sir Malcolm took the growled commands in stride, hardly pausing before telling Victor. “I have sent everyone in the household out into town to search for them. They will return as soon as they get the word, I have no doubt.” For the past few months, he’d seen the way the rest of the family grew protective of their young doctor and the knowledge that he was in pain would have brought them back quickly, even if he wasn’t about to give birth.
Another contraction hit and Victor cried out, tears burning in his eyes. Squeezing Malcolm’s hand, Victor tried to breathe through the pain as Vanessa had shown him but it was too much and he ended up panting and crying rather than doing as he was supposed to before collapsing back onto the bed the moment the contraction passed. Vanessa would be so disappointed with him when she found out. And she would find out because somehow, Miss Ives knew everything.
“I can’t do this,” he murmured, gasping for breath after the contraction lessened. “I don’t know why I thought I could do this.” Of course, the whole situation had been less of a conscious decision and more a series of reactions to events which he went into blind. But it led him to Ethan. It led him to a family. And despite the pain, Victor couldn’t be angry about any of it. Particularly when he looked at Sir Malcolm still holding his hand as if he had nothing in the world more important to do than sit at this young man’s bedside.
It took a moment but Malcolm replied. “You can do this because you were born to do this. Don’t let your mind tell you differently. Let your body take over.” Despite his fear and pain, Victor still raised a brow at Sir Malcolm, wondering briefly where that advice came from. “I remember when I was in Africa, climbing the mountain there they call Meru. As the air got thin, we all thought we would die up there. But our bodies were well trained and we just let them take over. Take your mind out of it and let your body lead. For a scholar like yourself, it will be a challenge but focus on something other than the pain. Your research or something like that.”
Victor’s analytical mind latched onto that. He would study the pain and birth as a scientist. Let his body do the work while his mind treated this like an experiment. He could do that, right? His whole life had been about the pursuit of knowledge and this would be no exception. Giving Malcolm a quick nod, Victor took a deep breath and tried to prepare himself for his next contraction.
However, before it hit, a flustered Ethan burst into the room, practically throwing himself at Victor’s bedside. “Are you alright, darlin’?” he asked, taking Victor’s hand and brushing the hair back from his face. “I am sorry it took so long but the minute I heard, I ran the whole way here.” His face flushed and his eyes wild, Victor could see the wolf just below the surface.
“It was bad but you are here now. Everything will be fine,” he smiled, the expression dropping as the next contraction hit.
While Ethan and Malcolm tried to coach him through the pain, Victor closed his eyes and focused on what he was feeling. With the contraction, his abdomen tightened, a rolling movement of muscle that whose purpose was to push the child down for birth. He noted which muscles he could feel, which ones he thought would be involved but weren’t noticeable. By the time the contraction passed, Victor was surprised by how much more tolerable it was.
With heavy eyes, he watched an interaction between Ethan and Malcolm. If he wasn’t exhausted and more coherent, he might have found it funny two of the most masculine men he had ever met were trying to coach him through birth. If he remembered, he’d tease them about it later.
“I thought you said they were bad,” Ethan was commenting, still holding Victor’s hand though his eyes were firmly locked on Malcolm’s. “He barely made a sound.”
Malcolm shrugged. “I promise you, Mr. Chandler, that the last one involved crying, screaming and him squeezing my hand so hard I thought it would break. Apparently, your presence is more therapeutic that we could have imagined.
Victor considered telling them that it was his own mind, and science, that made it far more tolerable that time, but he never wanted Ethan to lose that proud look that currently graced his features so he stayed silent.
Between contractions, he rested, analyzing the data he gathered and trying to decide what if anything he could do with it. Not like he could publish anything about being a man going through labor but he could still write it up. He never published his studies of Caliban or Lily either, so this would be no different.
Each contraction hurt - the worst pain he had ever experienced - but between his analytical mind and the feel of his mate’s hand in his, he made it through until Vanessa finally burst through the door. “Thank you, Sir Malcolm, for keeping watch on our dear doctor but I will take it from here.” The head of the household simply nodded and took his leave, knowing that this was not his place, not right now. “I would try and remove you, Mr. Chandler, but I believe Dr. Frankenstein would not appreciate it, so you can stay but do not interfere or I will make you leave.” Wolf or not, Ethan knew better than to challenge her.
Shedding her outer layers, Vanessa got to work. “I apologize for the intrusion on your privacy, Doctor, but I believe that this is better than the alternative.” His face burned in embarrassment as she checked and breathed a sigh of relief. “They look like they are almost ready and it does appear you will be able to give birth naturally, for what that term means in this particular situation.”
Victor looked at Ethan and an understanding passed between them. Victor didn’t know what this would do to him if he would be able to survive the trauma he was about to put his body through. But he would do everything he could and if he didn’t survive, then Ethan knew Victor loved him.
Remarkably, things went fast and smooth. Vanessa was a diligent and wise midwife and walked him through it each step of the way. With her and Ethan there, Victor found himself relaxed despite the terrifying situation he found himself in. And when that first cry sounded in the small room, Victor cried right along with the baby. He knew he had one more to go but to hear their child for the first time brought in so many emotions that Victor didn’t know how his heart could contain them.
Vanessa handed the baby to Ethan and delivered the second with a methodicalness that Victor could appreciate as a doctor and as a father. Just as the first baby fell silent, looking up at Ethan in awe, the second came screaming into the world and Victor collapsed back against the bed, utterly exhausted but still very much alive. “Congratulations, Doctor. Mr. Chandler,” Vanessa nodded, standing up and cleaning her hands as best as she could on her now bloody apron. “You have two healthy baby girls. I will leave you alone but I would guess that Sir Malcolm and Sembene would very much like to meet the newest additions to the family when you decide you are ready for company. Also, I will bring you some bottles for them in a few minutes so they can eat.” Vanessa really had thought of everything and Victor couldn’t have been more relieved that at least one person in the house knew what they were doing when it came to babies.
She gave a nod and left the two men to stare at their children in disbelief. Despite knowing they were coming for months, now that they were here, the moment seemed surreal. Both girls looked up at them with piercing blue eyes, inquisitive already and Victor knew that he would never love anyone the way he loved their daughters. “They’re beautiful, aren’t they darling?” Victor had never heard so much emotion in his lover’s voice and he pulled his eyes away from the babies to look up at Ethan.
“They really are,” Victor agreed, leaning in to kiss Ethan softly before turning his attention back to them. “They’re going to need names. Did you have that you would like to use?”
Ethan silently stared at the babies for so long, Victor thought maybe he hadn’t even heard the question but eventually he nodded, “I would like to name one after my mother. My father and I didn’t get along but my mother was a saint who didn’t deserve the husband she was saddled with. Did you have any names?”
“I did. A mathematician who was a brilliant mind and one I hope our girls will aspire to be like.”
They talked for a few more minutes and then nodded. Ethan took the babies and put them in the bassinet before climbing into bed with Victor so they could all get some well-earned rest.
Hours later, the girls had been fed and the men felt more rested. Victor was back on his feet and went down stairs to the parlour to introduce the babies to everyone else. With one girl in his arms and one in Ethan’s, Victor stood proudly in front of them.
“I would like you all to meet the newest members of our little family,” he smiled. “This little girl is Ada Ruby Chandler and the one Ethan is holding is Alice Pearl Chandler. I just want to say thank you to all of you for everything you’ve done for us.”
“And will probably continue to do if we are honest,” Ethan laughed and they all nodded. The family was together and it was finally complete.
“Papa! Hurry up!” The twins bounced around, like balls of energy that could hardly be contained. Aunt Vanessa was trying to get them into their dresses but the two seemed much more interested in getting Victor into his suit. “You look handsome! Daddy is going to love it!” Alice was by far the more outgoing of the two, constantly trying to get all the attention on her. Ada was quieter but always right behind her sister. If Alice had an idea, Ada wanted to help. They were inseparable and had been for the five years of their lives.
“Alright, alright,” Victor chuckled, finishing with his tie and smiling down at his two little girls. Their big eyes lit up whenever he saw them and the curls that fell delicately around their faces made them look like angels in his eyes. “Do you think Daddy will like this suit?” Victor knew nothing about clothes so Vanessa and Sir Malcolm had picked it out, saying it was the perfect look for him on this important day.
Ada nodded, “Oh yes, Papa! He’s going to be so in love when he sees you.” Victor laughed. After almost six years together, if Ethan wasn’t already in love with him, he doubted this suit would be what did it. Ada, misinterpreting his laughter, placed her hands on her hips and glared up at him. “He will! Stop laughing at me!”
He knelt in front of them both and pressed kisses to their foreheads. “I’m not laughing at you, my love. I just think Daddy already loves me. I don’t think the suit is going to make that much of a difference.”
“Right you are, Doctor,” Vanessa smiled, ushering the two girls out of the room. “You don’t have to worry about a thing. You and I both know that Mr. Chandler loves you, no matter what you are wearing.” Checking to make sure the girls were out of earshot, she turned back and winked at him, “Or what you aren’t wearing.”
Victor rolled his eyes and closed the door behind her, taking this moment for himself. He was in their bedroom, sitting on the bed he shared with Ethan every night. When the wolf had first come barreling into his life, Victor hadn’t thought much about it but now he couldn’t imagine his life without him.
Since the girls’ birth, the family had moved to the top floor of the house, occupying the entire level. Each girl had their own room, though more often than not, one could be found sleeping with the other or curled up in their fathers’ bed with them. On the rare occasion, they would sneak downstairs and sleep next to their Aunt Vanessa who was as close as a mother to them both. Their whole lives, they’d known nothing but love from the strange little family they’d been born into and tonight, they planned to make the whole thing as official as they could.
Fixing the cufflinks on his shirt, Victor was roused from his musings by a knock at the door. It was strong, certain. If he didn’t know better, he would think Ethan stood on the other side but knowing that Sembene and Vanessa had conspired to keep them apart until the ceremony, he really didn’t know who to expect.
Sir Malcolm was at the top of the list though and Victor gave him a small smile and stepped aside to let him into the room. It was rare for the patriarch of the family to come all the way up to their quarters, giving the small family the space they need to grow without being underfoot and watched. “Sir Malcolm,” Victor smiled, moving back to the bed to finish lacing up his shoes so he would be ready to go when the time came. “I wasn’t expecting anyone to come see me before the ceremony. Was there something you needed?”
“Yes. This will only take a moment.” Despite the house belonging to him, Malcolm looked exceedingly uncomfortable in the space that was decidedly Ethan and Victor’s. Except to help with the children on occasion, he never came to this part of the house anymore, having moved his office to the main floor to give them some privacy. Eventually, he sighed and rolled his shoulders back, looking more soldier than lord.
He gave Victor a small smile. “Once I told you that you were like a son to me. Then, things got difficult and I pushed you away without a second thought. I said cruel, horrible things which I only realized were such after the fact. I am an old man, set in my ways, and things that do not fit in my world view are to be feared and fought against.”
Malcolm reached into his pocket and pulled out a watch. “I realize that it will take time for you to forgive me entirely, but watching your family, seeing your daughters grow under the care of both of their fathers, you have made me as proud as possible. I still think of you as a son and if someday you could think of me as a father, I would be honored to carry that distinction.” Victor stared at him, trying to process the apology being spoken.
“This watch belonged to my father and he gave it to me when I married. I’d planned to give it to my own son on his wedding day, so.” He placed the watch in Victor’s hand. You are a good man and a good father, Victor Frankenstein. This family is lucky to have you.”
With a nod, Sir Malcolm turned to leave the room without another word. As his hand reached for the doorknob, Victor found his voice, “Wait!”
Malcolm turned slowly, hesitantly and Victor realized he was nervous. “Thank you for this,” he said softly. “It means a lot. More than I can say. But, before you go, I have a question.” He took a deep breath, releasing it slowly, “I thought we had already cleared the air between the two of us. Back before the girls were born, you came and talked to me about everything. I forgave you then. There was no need to go through it again.”
“They often say confession is good for the soul,” Malcolm laughed. I don’t know if that is true or not but it doesn’t hurt to try. Besides, Miss Ives told me that you can never apologize too many times. Please, accept it for what it is. A gift between father and son, with my blessings on your marriage and family.”
“Thank you,” Victor managed. “Thank you so very much.” Malcolm nodded and Victor was left alone once more.
The ceremony was a simple affair. Of course, there would be nothing legal about it. Society had made progress but two men marrying each other was something no one in the house expected would ever be allowed. But after everything they’d been through, they all thought Victor and Ethan deserved this, their girls deserved to grow up with parents who were every bit as committed as any other couple in London. As neither was particularly religious, they chose to do a handfasting, when Sembene recommended it.
With no bride to walk up the aisle, the two men met at the front of the room in front of Sembene who would preside. Alice and Ada, in their beautiful gowns, walked toward their fathers, sprinkling flower petals with the enthusiasm only little girls possessed. Both men smiled fondly at the two of them who stood between them, holding hands just as Victor and Ethan did.
“Victor and Ethan have come here today to pledge their vows of marriage,” Sembene said, as everyone settled into their places.
“Ethan, do you take Victor to be your husband? Do you promise to love him, to provide for him, honor him, and be faithful to him for as long as you both shall live?”
Ethan grinned, “I do,” and Victor felt his knees go a little weak. Two simple words with so much power.
Sembene turned to him, “Victor, do you take Ethan to be your husband? Do you promise to love him, to provide for him, honor him, and be faithful to him for as long as you both shall live?”
“I do,” he smiled, feeling their daughters bounce on their toes while looking up at them.”
At Sembene’s nod, the girls hurried off to grab a silken rope from the side and brought it back to him. “Ethan and Victor, present your wrists for the handfasting ceremony. As your wrists are fasted together by this cord, you become bound to each other and the vows that you have promised.” As he spoke, he wound the rope around their hands in an intricate knot, binding them together physically in representation of the emotional and spiritual bond they already shared.
The two men smiled at each other and almost missed it when Sembene spoke once more. “Alice and Ada, do you promise to love your fathers, honor them, and be respectful to them for as long as you both shall live?”
“We do!” the girls yelled, wrapping their arms around Victor and Ethan who bent to pick them up, an effort made more challenging by the hands still being bound together. The twins kissed each of their cheeks and beamed at the thought that their dads were now married, they were a family in every possible way.
Sembene let the family have its moment before he concluded. “I know pronounce you husband and husband. Introducing for the first time, Mr. and Dr. Ethan and Victor Chandler.” While Victor would still use his own name in the professional setting, he wanted the whole family to have the same name in private. Since the girls were already Alice and Ada Chandler, it only made sense for him to change as well.
Taking that as permission to greet the family, Vanessa came and gave each of them a kiss on the cheek, bestowing the warmest of blessings upon them both. Sir Malcolm shook both of their hands after Sembene released them from the cord, and then he took the little girls by hand to lead them to the dining room where there would be plenty of sweet treats. Sembene and Vanessa followed, giving them two of them a little privacy.
“Do you regret it, darling?” Ethan asked once they were alone. The implication of the question went far beyond their wedding that day.
Victor shook his head, “Not at all. I think it took me all of two days to fully accept the idea of what and who I am, and by then I was more than halfway in love with you.” He looked down at his belly, starting to swell once more and smiled as Ethan put his hand over it, feeling their child kick. “I haven’t looked back since.”
“Me either, darling,” Ethan smiled, pulling him in for their first kiss as a married couple. “Me either.”
And so we have reached the end. Two and a half years later, I can't believe it took me that long to write this but in the end, I hope the finished product was worth it.
The wedding ceremony came from here but otherwise, the work was my own.