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were_ghost bq_tristan bq_x_stain

Mun’s Note: Takes place after Part 3

René undid the lock and peeked from a small opening in the door, biting tentatively on his lower lip. Taking a deep breath, he stepped back out, his eyes still yellow and wolfish. “Yeah, I think my wolf is mad at me.” He looked concerned. “I will try and see if he will speak to your wolf.” René closed his eyes and the angry wolf emerged in his head, disoriented and confused. It reached out to Ghost’s wolf, howling its displeasure at having the vampire blood keep it locked up, like in a cage; a very small cage.



Ghost’s wolf took the brunt of its mate’s displeasure. It was so strong that the elder were gasped and took a step back. Not wanting René to think Ghost was repulsed by his appearance, he shored up his resolve and stroked the young man-wolf, trying to calm him. It would not be easy. The creature had been forcibly restrained for far too long. The first time René allowed himself to change would be an explosive event, that would be best done in private and out away from humans. Ghost noted the eyes. “You are beautiful. He is beautiful, even in his anger.” Ghost inched toward his mate slowly. René’s wolf may have some sense of the link between the two, but it was on the defensive right now and liable to strike out blindly at anything. In turn, Ghost’s wolf approached the enraged wolf and reached out a tentative paw to make contact. The elder wolf didn’t back down, even if the other looked like it might snap at him. Ghost’s wolf remained a constant presence that neither retreated or intimidated the agitated animal.

René’s wolf growled, baring its teeth, the psychic image showing that it was wounded. It was on the defense even if the other wolf’s scent was familiar. It crouched down when the other wolf approached, ears back, ready to snap. “See? He’s pissed off, royally,” René said, trying to calm it, but he didn’t know how. All his wolf did was reproach him, warning the human side to leave it be, that it could not be trusted. “What do I do, Ghost?” René asked, worried about his inner conflict. He had no idea how to resolve it, but felt that the wolf side wanted to dominate him.

“He has a right to be pissed. He has been caged and closed off for a long time. He had no connection to you as he should have.” Ghost decided to keep a comfortable distance between them to allow René’s wolf to get used to his presence. “Even as a pup. the transition can be a challenge, but it has been made harder for you but....we will get through this.” Ghost reached for his phone. “First, I think I’ll stop Tristan from coming back up to the loft. I’ll ask if he can drop off the food in the lift. No reason to add another were to the mix. After that, we can just relax in the living room and talk a bit. Give your wolf a chance to relax.” Ghost punched in the familiar number.

“No, I told you I want my friend here too, Tell Tristan what is going on, let the choice be his--don’t push him away, he can help. My wolf trusts you but also him, as it was his blood that gave him consciousness,” René stated calmly. “Babe, let our friends help. We’re not alone in this.”

Ghost cancelled the call and put his phone away. “All right, baby, we’ll do that. I’m sorry. I’m not used to this depending on others. It just doesn’t come natural to me.” Ghost suddenly felt very tired. He couldn’t get close to his mate, and he had to depend on someone to help him. The elder were sat down heavily in the nearest chair. “How do you feel now?”

“Exhausted.” René gave his love a fading smile. “No worries about not depending on others, I know you’ve led quite the secluded life.” He gave Ghost’s arm a gentle squeeze. René noted that Ghost had put his phone away, and René figured that the roller-coaster events of the evening had the poor man more than just discombobulated. “Please call Tristan and see if he wishes to be here or not.” René sat on the sofa and picked up the tea cup.

“I don’t think that’s necessary. He will be back soon with some nourishment. Something we both need. Tristan said you’d be pretty ravenous, and if I have to keep us both fed we’d be in real trouble.” Ghost moved cautiously to the other end of the sofa. He wanted so badly to reach out and take his mate in his arms and hold him close, but distressing the vulnerable wolf wasn’t going to help. His own wolf wasn’t helping. It was pacing and rubbing at his insides, trying to get him to move closer. Ghost had already dampened the connection between them so the other were had some breathing room, space to test out the new world around him without feeling threatened. Despite his reservations, Ghost felt himself unconsciously inch closer to his mate. René and he were like magnets and the pull was irresistible. He edged closer and closer, testing the waters.

René’s wolf sniffed the air and warned Ghost’s wolf not to come too close because the human could not be trusted. However, the wolf did reach out to communicate, though its voice was more of a snarl than anything else. This one poisoned me with vampire blood and if that was not enough, all the binging he did with the drugs and alcohol. I refuse for him to abuse me like that again. Now that I am awakened, I will fight back if he tries such things again.

Ghost let the shock show on his face for a second before pasting on a more neutral expression. ‘René’s wolf is suspicious of René. True, he did take the drugs, but not the blood, not voluntarily.’ Ghost stroked his wolf, encouraging him to approach his mate. To make contact and sooth the agitated creature. Now that he knew he was not the problem, he moved closer to his mate and gently coaxed René to relax in his arms. He would “attack” the newly emerged wolf on two fronts and show it that his human was not one to be leery of. “René, come here. Lean on me. I need your warmth.” Ghost was going to have to find a way to get René to apologize to his wolf so that the two could live in harmony. Ghost knew just the speech needed. It had been a few years, but he still remembered what he had said after his binge.

René leaned his head on Ghost’s shoulder, still avoiding to look at Ghost with his yellowish eyes. The inner wolf accepted the approach of its mate, it seemed less aggravated now that it made some contact with Ghost’s wolf, however it was still mistrustful of its human.

Ghost sighed and smiled. Finally, a hint of peace since Lucius busted into the cabin. It seemed like ages ago. He moved closer and gently stroked his mate. He rolled his eyes at the downcast face. Like Ghost had never seen the eyes of a wolf. “You know your eyes are not new.” He kissed the top of René’s head. “I have seen it before. It is a warning of the power within. I kinda’ I wish I had that color. It is definitely fiercer than my baby blues. How can you intimate someone with these silly things?”

“When they bear down on you like cold steel, that can be quite intimidating, love,” René commented, touching Ghost’s cheek. “Any ideas on how to calm this wolf? He’s not really listening to me.”

“I think we might want to let the furries work that out. I don’t think you want to deal with him right now. He needs someone closer to himself.” Ghost nuzzled his mate’s ear. “We just sit here and cuddle. Give a good example of a mated pair and hope he gets the idea.” Ghost kissed down that little vein in his mate’s neck. “And if that doesn’t work, then maybe Tristan can pull our butts out of the fire.”

“Mmm, sounds good,” René said, leaving his wolf alone for now. He just hoped it would settle down and talk to him. Seemed René had a lot of making up to do to his injured wolf.

***

Tristan had swung by the restaurant and spent some time assembling a generous assortment of food from the large store of leftovers from the previous day’s business, as well as one of the folding carts that he used in his catering business. He wasn’t tremendously knowledgeable about newborn wolves, but suspected that a lot of food would be needed in any case. Arriving back at Ghost’s place, he got the cart out, loaded it up and headed for the elevator.

Ghost jumped when he heard the buzzer. He was more nervous about this werewolf business than he thought. “Sounds like dinner is here, or breakfast or whatever. I’ve lost track of time.” He kissed the top of René’s head again and released his firm hold. “I better let Tristan in or he might take it away again,” he joked light-heartedly. They needed a little levity after the night they had experienced.

René sniffed the air. “Oh, that does smell good,” he said, his stomach rumbling. He rushed upstairs to their bedroom to grab a pair of sunglasses as he was still unnerved about the wolfish eyes. He donned them quickly and headed back downstairs, eager to dig into the goodies Tristan brought. René had not realized how very hungry he was all of a sudden. His stomach growled again and he hushed it with a firm tone. “Stop, food is on its way.”

***

Having been let in, Tristan pushed the cart inside and over toward Ghost’s kitchen. He began opening the lids of the large insulated containers, nodding in satisfaction at the savory smells that emerged. He’d brought enough to feed a dozen or so very hungry humans, which he figured would be about right. “So, who wants to eat?” Tristan called out, laughing.

Ghost watched Tristan head into the kitchen and his mate dash upstairs. He wanted to follow the good smells but concern for his mate won out. His stomach could wait until René came back downstairs. Last thing he would be accused of was feeding his face when his mate was sick. He stayed rooted to his spot until René returned wearing a pair of sunglasses and headed into the kitchen. Now the elder were could eat.

René smiled shyly at Tristan, trying not to stare at his boss--a were bear--how did he not catch that before now? The name of his restaurant was very clever and aptly named, The Den. Hello, René, wake up and smell the coffee...oh, and the stew and chili Tristan brought as well.

René adjusted his sunglasses and grabbed a plate, quickly fixing himself a heaping portion of meat with some vegetables. He glanced over at Tristan, about to say something, then stopped short. He wasn’t even sure how to begin this conversation on how his wolf trusted him and maybe Tristan could help calm it down somewhat--it sounded so--preposterous.

“Feel like you’re about to jump out of your own skin yet?” Tristan said, teasing gently. “You’re bound to be keyed up for a while, but it’ll pass.”

“Will it pass soon?” René tried to laugh it off, but the fact that he wore the sunglasses meant he was a long way off from accepting himself. Funny that, he could easily accept Tristan as a were bear and his mate as a werewolf, but when it came to himself? Yeah, now that the pain from the silver bullet had passed, René was slowly freaking out.

“Probably not soon enough,” Tristan said. He stepped closer, giving René’s shoulder a squeeze. “The best thing for getting through it is to remember that this is just another part of yourself. I know the new things that you’re feeling seem like it isn’t you, but it is. You have to accept and make peace with it. I’m sure Ghost had his own struggles with it, early on. You’ve just come into things sort of late. Just remember that you aren’t alone.”

Ghost stood in the doorway, just watching his mate get his food. He was trying to be a quiet support but Tristan’s comment sounded very familiar. “Tristan’s right. Neither of us is alone. We have friends. Isn’t that what you’re always saying?” He gave his mate a knowing smile and moved further into the room and took up his own plate. His stomach had decided it was hungry too as soon as the tempting smells had reached his nose. “It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve been a pup, but if you could talk with my father, he’d have told you I loved it. Maybe a bit too much.” Ghost leaned on the counter and munched on his cornbread. He’d let René decide what he needed to know.

René smiled over at Tristan and Ghost. He was fortunate to have two such caring people in his life. “I know I’m not alone, it’s just that--I have a thousand questions swirling in my head and the wolf inside of me is too pissed to answer anything, but he does seem to trust both of you. Maybe--if you want to--you can talk to the wolf, see what I can do to get him to stop being so pissed off.” He shook his head. Did he sound as insane asking that request as he felt?

“You guys have it a lot worse than us bears in that way,” Tristan said. “Or at least, that’s been my experience. Everyone’s situation is different, but we’re just not as aggressive as a rule.” Of course, the bear’s wrath was truly terrifying once roused. It wasn’t something that Tristan had experienced very often. “Still, I find that good food and a sense of security can work wonders with just about anyone.” It was a subtle thing, but Tristan’s bear was already playfully calling to the newborn wolf - teasing just a bit and inviting it to come out.

Ghost couldn’t feel the subtle advances of the bear, but it seemed his wolf could, and he was highly protective right now. A growl issued from the elder were before he could squelch it. He didn’t want to stop the conversation, but a change for a moment would make it easier to calm his wolf. “Why don’t we make ourselves comfortable,” He suggested, motioning toward the living room. “Tristan, would you please stay awhile with us and lend your presence? We haven’t gotten a chance to just sit and talk for awhile. Stay over if it gets too late.”

René’s wolf, however, reacted favorably to the bear’s light teasing. It reached out to Tristan’s bear, curious as it had never encountered anything quite like Tristan. It was you that healed my spirit as well as my physical form. I thank you--humbly. The wolf spoke so that both the bear and Ghost’s wolf could hear him. My human likes to consort with the blood suckers, but he cannot take any more of their blood, lest he declare war on me. Perhaps if René did not listen to his own wolf, then he would heed the warning from his friend, Tristan, and from his mate, Ghost.

I think it was not his choice, the bear replied. Such creatures have power over the minds of others, and the taste of their blood carries its own brand of control. It is they who are your true enemies - the ones who forced him onto this path.

“The bear is correct. The human has been deceived. He is good and loyal,” the elder wolf replied. “He needs your help, not your anger.” The elder reached out to stroke his young mate. “Your presence was hidden from him. He would never want to hurt you. You and he are young, but together you will make a suitable mate for my human.”

“Deceived? No, the human partook of the vile blood willingly,” René’s wolf answered most seriously.

Talk about inner conflicts, Part of René wanted to argue with his wolf, explain why he gave into Doviculus and later to the drugs and alcohol, but he felt embarrassed of his actions and remained silent.

“You see, the human does not deny it,” René’s wolf continued, his voice still angry.

“He went for something that was pleasurable. Are we any different? We are all rage and gentle pleasure. There is little in between for us. You rage at him without looking to see if he offers something of value. I bonded with him before I knew you existed. Do I seem the fool? What he was before no longer exists, only what he is now.” Ghost’s wolf had been listening to his human heart. He had seen the acceptance that his human had for René despite his past, but René’s wolf was young and might only see what comfort and security his human could offer him. “My human once partook of potent drink until I thought we would expire. I railed at him terribly for his foolishness, but it passed and we survive. They can do things that can hurt us, but they have greater capacity for affection.” The elder slid mentally along the young wolf’s side. He took in his scent and nudged gently at him before playfully nipping his long slender nose. Ghost took the hint and put aside his plate and pulled his mate to him, trying to duplicate his wolf’s action and flood the young wolf’s system with affection. Ghost knew in his heart that René would never falter again and that the memory of this time would fade.

Tristan was quiet for the moment, snagging some cornbread and nibbling on it. Things seemed to be going well, and he’d be making his departure as soon as he was certain that he wasn’t needed further.

René’s wolf nuzzled Ghost’s wolf, accepting the contact by nipping back gently. He considered what the bear and his mate told him about René. “Very well, I will grant the human another chance, provided he no longer consumes the tainted blood. It kept me at bay and asleep. Now that I am awake, I fear the consequences of such an action will be dire. He has to promise, then we can begin to co-exist as it should have been long ago.”

“I had no idea that I was still being feed vampire blood,” René immediately spoke. “But I know what it smells like, should I come into contact with it again. I promise no more vamp blood--I don’t want it--that’s a part of my life I wish could just disappear.” He wrapped an arm around Ghost and held a hand out to Tristan, silently thanking him for being here for him. René knew he could not have done this without the two of them.

“I will hold you to that promise.” René’s wolf nodded. “I accept,” he told the bear and Ghost’s wolf. “This is going to take time. We have lost many years due to the vampire’s corrupted blood, but we will get through it together.”

Tristan took René’s hand briefly. “There’s plenty of work to do, but you’re off to a good start.” He smiled. “I’m thinking that some alone time is in order, so I’ll be on my way. I’ll transfer the food onto your table and just take the cart with me.”

“Thanks, Tristan--for everything. I don’t even know where to begin to say how very grateful I am. It meant a lot that you were here for me.” René pulled away from Ghost for a moment to give the giant bear a hug. “I’ll see you at work. I’ll try not to stick out,” René said, assuming all patrons at The Den were human.

“You’ll be fine,” Tristan assured him, hugging the young wolf back. He turned to Ghost. “I know I don’t have to tell you to look after him. Call me if there’s anything else I can do.”

“All right, I’ll try and believe you.” René managed a faint smile. “And Tristan? Please don’t think you’re invading on anything private here tonight. I wanted you here ’cause, well, you’re really the only friend I have other than my mate. I would like to think that you are always welcome here.”

“I concur. You are always welcome here, with or without food. You are the best, man.” Ghost put out his hand. “You saved my life tonight by saving his. I will always be grateful.”

Tristan took Ghost’s hand. “I’m just glad I was able to help. I’d not mentioned it to you before, René, but you should know that a lot of the regulars at the restaurant are wolves. It’s neutral territory, though, so you shouldn’t worry.”

Ghost drew René back to his side and secured an arm around the slender waist. “Besides, as often as I’m in there eating Tristan’s food, the regulars know you’re more than just my boyfriend and definitely off limits.”

“That’s good. I’m not looking for anyone else. I found what I want.” René nuzzled against Ghost for a moment, then turned his attention back to Tristan. “What do you mean, it’s neutral territory? Do wolves fight a lot or something? I mean, I’m cool with weres being in the place, may be the safest spot in New Orleans--no vamps go in there, right? They don’t eat and stuff.”

“Weres can be pretty territorial - particularly wolves,” Tristan said. “I do get the occasional vamp - some of them can eat, or at least can enjoy the experience of eating. I don’t put up with any nonsense, though. Anyone causing trouble will get grabbed up by the scruff and tossed out. The locals get that - for the most part, wolves respect strength.” He grinned. “But yeah, Ghost has claimed you pretty obviously in the eyes of the regular crowd. Short of taking you on one of the tables, he really couldn’t send a stronger message.”

René was grateful that none of the other wolves would hit on him. He didn’t want any friction with his love, Ghost. At least weres seemed to be more respectful of one another’s mates, unlike some vampires. Wait! Did Tristan just say that-- “Vam-vampires go to your place?” René asked, eyes wide, his natural fear of them coming to the forefront. He pressed closer to Ghost, seeking shelter in his arms.

“It’s rare, but it does happen,” Tristan said. “They know better than to start anything, though.” He wondered for a moment if it were a mistake to mention it, but René would be able to smell them out now in any case.

“Hmm, I will just have to watch myself then.” René pressed his lips together worriedly. “Friends of yours, these--vampires?” he asked, worried that they too would be friends of Doviculus.

“A couple, yeah,” Tristan admitted. “Everyone knows that you’re under my protection, though.”

René nodded, but it did scare him a little. “Okay, I guess they all can’t be sadistic bastards if they come in to enjoy your fine cuisine.”

“They aren’t all alike, no,” Tristan agreed. “The same goes for weres. Some of us are pretty vicious, and others are just sexy like me.” He grinned, winking.

Tristan’s comment relaxed René considerably. “Shh, my mate is here,” he teased and gave the were bear a wink. There was nothing going on between them, but it was fun to play along--as long as Ghost didn’t take it too seriously.

“Yes, and he’s not deaf.” The elder were wrapped his arms more securely around his wolf mate. He liked the thought of that. To think that René would be able to change with him, run with him, and make love in two different forms. They would never get out of bed--then again, they wouldn’t need one.

“See, now my mouth got me into trouble.” René laughed. “Go before I say something else that ends up with my foot in it.”

“Oh I think he’ll forgive you,” Tristan said, chuckling. “And I’ll be fine as long as I keep plying him with desserts.”

“This is true. The man is the wizard of sweet things. Well, except you, my love.” Ghost laid his face against the side of his mate’s and lowered his voice. “Learn how he makes those things and you will break his spell over me.” Ghost didn’t really think he could keep the were bear from hearing him; he just wanted to keep the conversation light.

Tristan had made his way, laughing a bit, back over to the cart and had begun transferring items to Ghost’s table.

“Here, let me help you, it is after all my kitchen,” René offered, taking out some Tupperware to place the goodies in. It had been a crazy evening. So much had happened and emotionally René was worn out, but physically, thanks to Tristan’s blood, he felt fantastic--better than he had in a very long time. “Tell you what, you teach me the recipe to make those pastries that my Ghost loves so much and I will teach you my father’s secret recipe for homemade baklava--I remember it was delicious.”

“A fair trade, I’d say,” Tristan agreed. He looked over what he’d brought. “You can just hang on to the canisters, if you want, and bring them back in and we’ll toss them in the washer.”

“Sure thing, bossman,” René answered, quickly putting everything away. He looked over at Ghost. “You sure you shouldn’t check on your nephew? Yeah, he’s wolf, but apparently so am I.” He shook his head; it was going to take some getting used to. “Doesn’t mean we are automatically immune to harm or danger.”

Ghost grunted. “I’m still not sure whether to rip him a new one or kiss him for what he inadvertently revealed. He is fully changed and had a very normal upbringing, if a tad harsh at times. I will go and check on him from a distance if you want, but if he is fine I will leave him there to think and return to you. He needs time to think about what he has done. He has shelter and food in the area.” He paused. “I have to figure out what to do with him. He’s not used to civilized places. He is a wild wolf...but he is also pack.”

“Send him my way,” Tristan joked. “I’ll mellow him out quickly enough.” He checked the cart and nodded. “Ok, ready to go. You know, René, once your wolf settles in a bit, he’s probably going to get severely interested in getting to know his mate.” Tristan smirked. “I hope you’ve stocked up plenty of lube, guys.”

René laughed. He could definitely feel the pull of his wolf toward Ghost’s and all the implications that came with it. He would spend many an hour on his back or on all fours in the days/nights to come, of that he was certain.

Ghost chuckled. “I’ll add it to the shopping list. You might want to meet Lucius first before you make any offers, though...you might be able to teach him a thing or two.”

“I’m sure I can come up with something to teach him, anyway,” Tristan agreed. “René, don’t worry about getting back to work too soon. Give yourself some time to get used to things.”

“Let’s see what the wolf says, I still have to earn his trust. I did abuse my body and in turn, him. I don’t much blame him for being pissed, but I will do what I must to live in harmony with him. I owe him that much,” René said.

“Just remember that he’s you,” Tristan said. “Later, gators.” He chuckled and waved, pushing the cart toward the door.

Ghost operated the lift and let Tristan out and then returned to his mate’s side. “You want to eat some more? I don’t know about you, but our last meal feels like it was ages ago.” Ghost glanced up at the skylight to see the sky turning pale blue with the impending sunrise. “Looks like it is time for breakfast. Lucky for us it is already served.” Ghost tilted René’s glasses down to check on his eye color. He wasn’t repulsed by it, he was curious. He wanted to see his mate’s wolf.

René grabbed Ghost’s wrist to stop him from peeking at his yellowish wolf eyes, “Don’t,” he said softly, wanting to push the sunglasses back up. The wolf eyes looked at Ghost with admiration and love. It pleased René’s wolf to see his mate with his own eyes, and he did not understand the distress of the human.

“He is beautiful. You are beautiful.” Ghost lowered the glasses without removing them completely, leaving them resting on the end of his mate’s nose. “Tristan is right. He is you and you are him and both of you are beautiful. My wolf approves and so do I.” Ghost smoothed his mate’s hair.

René could not help but smile. He took off the sunglasses and pressed his lips to Ghost’s, kissing his mate tenderly as the first rays of dawn spilled through the window, illuminating the lovers in its warmth.

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