“the wolf, which hunts in a pack,
has a greater chance of survival than the lion,
which hunts alone”
-. Christian Lous Lange
Parker has never belonged to a pack, not a real one, with an alpha pair and a packseat, one that runs together on the full moon and wakes up curled together in a contented pile of limbs like in those Hallmark movies. She ran feral through most of childhood, and the foster system isn’t exactly friendly to weres. But her wolf liked the solitude, liked running for miles and miles alone, with her own goals to pursue and no one to stop her. She’s pretty sure that this is supposed to bother her, she’s been told it’s unnatural for a wolf to live like she does, alone, packless. She’s not sure why. She was pretty much fine on her own, but she has to admit coming together like this in a team, as a sort of pseudo-pack, even though Nate isn’t a were like the rest of them, feels in a way like coming home. She had had to hold back a happy howl when they had all reunited.
It feels even more like home, like her wolf is settled, happy even, when she curls up with Hardison. But even with him it still feels like something is missing, a little off. Her wolf is smart, has gotten her out of major trouble for most of her life and Parker has staked a plan on her instincts many a time so when she gets that wild feeling, like the wolf is pacing just below her skin, like she hasn’t shifted in weeks instead of the days it actually has been, she pays attention. She doesn’t bring it up with Hardison, knowing that he doesn’t feel his wolf the same way she does, he isn’t as in touch with his own other self as she is.
Sometimes she thinks he’s more human that she is,more normal,which is fine she likes him anyway. But then he starts shift right in the middle of their bed to chow down on a milkbone like a domesticated dog and howling after he loses at video games and where as before Nate would have taken him aside and helped him handle whatever this is, it is now Parker’s job to take care of him. She has to be the alpha, the plan maker and people handler, or at least as close to one as the team has. She isn’t sure what to do, so she does what she’s always done before, she watches the problem, turning it over in her head until it solidifies into something that makes sense. The problem with people is that they don’t often make sense.
Parker shifts into her wolfskin, enjoying the feeling of muscles and skin stretching and flexing in their new form. Wolf-Parker knows exactly who she wants, following the tantalizing burnt caramel scent from the living room to the kitchen from the kitchen to the bedroom where it was fainter but still there. And all of the sudden she knows what her wolf had been trying to tell her. Elliot. Elliot had been here, it was Elliot’s scent she was following and Elliot’s absence that was riling up her wolf. That was human Parker’s problem though. It was human Parker that screwed it all up, who had leapt like a pup after a rabbit’s scent, not looking where she was going, checking that her footing was sure. Human Parker had taken and taken and taken and now both sides of her were left with a whining mate, smelling of the sour tang of misery and an empty space in their bed on the nights of the full moon. She had been so sure that they wouldn’t regret this, that she and Hardison knew what they were doing with Elliot, but she guesses neither of them were the best at reading people. They must have missed something, that Elliot for all of his bluntness had couched in subtle terms.
Parker fights the urge to howl at the moon angry at their loss, angry at herself and a little angry at Elliott for not being there. They had all promised to be there for each other on moon nights, even Nate, but two weeks had passed since the night that Parker had broken the peace by pressing a gentle kiss to Elliot’s lips, since he had relaxed in towards her with a careful humming noise before flinching back hands raised in surrender. It had been two weeks before Hardison had explained with a smile that Elliot wasn’t intruding where he wasn’t wanted but walking into a space where he was needed. Two weeks since they spent the night together in this bed, since Parket felt whole, since Hardison smelled happy. Parker has spent all of that two weeks running every moment of that night together over and over in her head, both as a human and a wolf but neither Parker can figure out where they went wrong, where they broke the fragile thing that was Elliot’s tenuous tether to their pack. Parker finally gives in and lets a piercing mournful howl out into the night, joined moments later by the raspier sound of Hardison’s wolf but where there should be a third howl in the harmony there was silence and parker collapses to the bed letting out a huff when hardison falls on her to groom her ears, something he once told her his Nana used to do for him when he was upset. She’s not upset, she’s confused, she’s concerned, she’s a little angry sure but mostly she’s just sad. Maybe it will all seem better after a full moon run.
Parker wakes up in the morning with gravel in her hair and squirrel fur between her teeth. Her muscled ache pleasantly uin that just been used sort of way and she feels calmer than she had the previous day, calmer and more determined. She was going to get Elliot back, or at least get him to tell her he’s ok.
She sends the first text. Are you ok we’re worried
Then three hours later We haven’t heard from you in awhile, are you alive?
There is no reply for hours and hours then: I’m ok. I just need time.
Parker’s heart leaps in her chest. He’s alive. He’s alright but he needs time. Time to do what? Time to be away from Parker and Hardison maybe. The thought makes her feel a little hurt.
Are you ever coming home?
There is no reply to this one even though Parker waits for hours.
Look, can we talk about this? I’m not going to go away and stop bothering you until we talk.
Still no reply.
I am prepared to be very annoying. She sends hoping to get some sort of reaction out of him but her phone remains blank and silent.
Are you mad at us is that why you left? Because we did something wrong?
Parker’s phone rings almost immediately after she sends that text.
“I just needed some time okay and I figured giving y’all some distance so you could get a handle on things wouldn't be a bad idea either.” Elliots voice sounds rough like he spent all night howling and it makes Parker’s heart clench a little to think about why that might be.
“We had a handle on things” Parker says “and then you left us. You left and you didn’t even say good bye.”
“I-I was going to but it was early and I looked down and saw you two again and I just, couldn’t.”
“Well, that’s a shitty thing to do to people who love you.”
“I know but I - love? People who love you? You love me? Both of you?”
Parker lets out a snort, this is why people are so much harder to deal with as humans not wolves. A wolf would never ask such a stupid question.
“Of course we do, what did you think was happening with all of the kissing and the sex and the inviting you to run with us on the full moon ?It’s not like we invite every strange handsome wolf into our bed.”
“I don’t know I just thought,” Elliot trails off sounding helpless and confused “I don’t know.”
“You thought we just brought you in for fun, for a fling, not for keeps.” She says with sudden understanding and something possessive rises up under her skin. She fights to keep the wolf out of her voice as she continues, “That’s not how this works. We want you, both of us want you, not just to join us but to be ours, to be our mate.”
Even with her enhanced hearing Parker can just barely hear the whimper Elliot let’s out on the other end of the line. Parker wishes she could scent him from here, so she would know with more certainty how he was reacting to , what was apparently news to him. Hardison, who hadn’t shifted back yet, echoes her distress with a whine and flops down at her feet.
“Elliot, it’s ok if you don’t want that” want us she adds silently “But please please come home, it’s not right without you here.everything smells wrong and I just really need to see your face ok?”
This time you wouldn’t need to be a wolf to hear Elliot’s sounds of distress. “I can’t make it all the way there tonight, I’m too far, but tomorrow, I can be back tomorrow and we’ll talk about all this, really talk then.”
“Good. We’ll be looking forward to it. We love you Elliot.”
“I-I’ll see you tomorrow” He’s not ready to say it back but that’s ok Parker can wait. She can be very patient to get what she wants.
She settles back into the couch and pulls wolf Hardison up onto her lap, burying her smile in his fur. They’re not broken. Elliot is coming home.They’re going to be a pack again and Parker couldn’t be happier to no longer be a lone wolf.