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[cross posted to were_ghost and were_lucius

Takes place a couple of days after Meeting Lucius

Ghost had covertly checked on his “nephew” the day after the confrontation with the young were and Ghost’s mate. The pup was happily gnawing on a bone from his latest kill. The elder were remained upwind of the sensitive nose and circled the area to make sure no other weres had been there. Lucius seemed to be okay, so the elder were hightailed it back to his mate. He would give the young pup another day to stew and then sit down and talk.

Lucius for his part had checked over the whole area the following day. He tried to define the edges of the pack lands, but the sentries didn’t always stay to the same course. There was at least one who couldn’t seem to keep his mind on the task at hand and frequently darted off the clear path to chase prey. The pup wrinkled his nose in disapproval. That would have been a clear violation of pack protocol back home.

Lucius returned to the shack and laid in the shade provided by the structure. The place really looked pathetic from the outside, but the inside was a totally different story. Ghost had shored up the sagging beams and built a whole other cabin inside. It was smaller but was wind and waterproof. It made a nice change from sleeping outside, though the pup still wouldn’t venture near the bed. He didn’t know what Ghost would do if he smelled the pup’s scent on it. The young were would just return to wolf form for naps and settle on the floor.

He was having a particularly cozy sleep following a large meal when his nose twitched. Even in a semi-conscious state, his nose still worked, evaluating the were’s surroundings. The sensitive orifice had picked up the scent of wolf. The pup was instantly awake. He breathed in deep and quickly identified the scent as being that of Ghost. The calm cozy feeling was quickly stripped away. His “uncle” was back, and Lucius had much to answer for. He rose slowly and slunk out with his belly close to the ground. He didn’t risk looking at the mighty wolf before him. He could tell Ghost was in wolf form from the soft, steady panting.

Ghost looked at the submissive posture of the young wolf. Gone was the anger and bravado of the other day. Lucius had obviously seen the error of his ways and put himself in his proper place. Seeing the red wolf, all the frustration and chaos of that night came back. If he didn’t change back soon, his wolf would seek his vengeance on the young foolish wolf. His wolf was not as forgiving as he was when it came to his mate. Ghost’s wolf circled around the crouching pup and entered the cabin. He changed to human form and grabbed some clothes to don.

Seating himself at the end of the bed, he called to the pup. “Lucius.” The call was stern but not angry. He would let Lucius speak his peace, and then they would decide what to do next. He watched as the young pup crept into the cabin. His posture was still that of submission. Ghost shook his head. He couldn’t talk to the young one like this. He needed to see the human. To see if the regret translated to that part of Lucius too. “Please change and get dressed. I can’t talk to you like that.”

Lucius was shaking. He didn’t hear angry in the elder’s voice, but there was annoyance. He could still be bracing himself for a smackdown. He kept close to the ground and floor, not wanting to meet the elder’s eyes. Afraid of what he might see there. Ghost was all he had in the world, and the elder wolf was not even family. He could send the young were away for the disrespect Lucius heaped upon Ghost’s mate. The elder were had no real responsibility for the pup. He was not pack and he was not family, but he was all that Lucius had, and the young were would do what he could to keep in his “uncle’s” good graces.

The command to transform and dress shot through him. There was no questioning, just doing. Lucius scrambled to his feet and changed back to human. He snatched up the “borrowed” clothes he had found in someone’s backyard on the way to New Orleans where he met William. The were gasped. ‘William!’ Would Ghost smell the vampire on him or around the cabin? William hadn’t come in. They had made love outside the cabin in the grass. That was a nice memory. Lucius would hold on it for the coming days. Maybe if he survived this encounter, he would have the chance to see the sexy pirate again.

Lucius tried to school his features back to repentant and wiggled into the tight clothes. They weren’t a perfect fit, but they were the only ones hanging on the line so he’d snatched them. He would have to find a way to return them to their rightful owner. With the jeans fastened up and the t-shirt pulled over his head, the young were crouched back down on the floor.

Ghost huffed. He was tired of all this submissive posturing. He knew that something tragic must have happening to drive the young were out of the wilderness. “Stand up, Lucius! I can’t talk to you like that either. Go get that chair and bring it back here to sit on.”

Lucius rose slowly and carefully to his feet. The annoyance was still there. How was he ever going to explain things if Ghost was pissed at him all the time? He obediently fetched the wooden chair and placed in the spot where he had been crouching. He seated himself and stared at the floor.

“Lucius.” The young were heard it again. This time it didn’t sound annoyed, just tired. He cautiously raised his eyes to peer at the blue-green orbs shining back at him. The green tinge was a little brighter, which suggested the annoyance lingered but was fading.

Ghost watched as the pup pulled himself together and, after settling in the chair, slowly dared to look at him. Ghost gave a lopsided grin. He had only known the young were for a short time, but he recognized the turmoil rolling through the pup. Ghost needed to assure Lucius that he wasn’t going to take his head off, or this was going to be a long and painful session.

“Lucius, I need to know what has brought you here.” Ghost spoke slowly and tried to sound genuinely concerned. “I am angry for the disrespect that you showed my mate, but that can wait until I know what has happened.” Ghost tried to look positive and open, hoping it would encourage Lucius to speak.

The talking started slowly, and Lucius’s words were halting and whispered at times. It was a good thing that Ghost was a were, or the young one would be repeating himself, and that would have been more mental torture than Lucius could take right now. “The others are...are gone. I f...failed them and you. I...I couldn’t be what you are. I’m sorry.” Lucius hung his head as if the revelation was too much for him.

Ghost sighed. It was obvious that the others were dead. Lucius being here told him that, but what happened to them? He asked Lucius the question. Lucius responded with a deep shudder and composed himself. “We couldn’t keep it together. We tried, really we did, but the others wanted the security of a large pack. You remember Ben. He was the oldest of us and close to the time of mating. He wanted a she-wolf and living in a den with three males was.... frustrating for him so...we petitioned to join another pack - a neighboring pack. They had managed to settle right at the edge of Mitch’s old territory. We couldn’t patrol it all, so our scent grew thin in places.”

Lucius shifted uncomfortably. This next part was going to be the hardest. He would have to admit how they had conned the new pack into taking them. “We told the pack that I was your nephew and that you would be returning soon. You would help defend the pack.” Lucius hurried onto the next part before Ghost could reply. “I’m so sorry, Ghost. We just weren’t making it, and your reputation was still strong in the area. Any other pack would have accepted you gladly. They would have tossed she-wolves at you for the taking. It was Mitch’s arrogance that spoiled all that.” Lucius hung his head again. “I am sorry. I let a little comfort and security rule my reason.”

Ghost smirked inwardly at the young one. He had to admit to a certain amount of pride in how the four pups had used their wits to the fullest. They did what they needed to survive, even if it meant lying. “And if I hadn’t returned? How long could you have kept up the charade? I applaud your courage, but obviously it didn’t work. What happened to the others, Lucius?”

Lucius huffed. Now to explain his final defeat. “We only hoped to fake them out long enough to prove ourselves to the new pack. Ben was doing well. He had been courting a she-wolf. The other two were filling out. I was the only... throwback. The fact that we survived the massacre of our pack helped a bit too. Everything was going well until the news came that a pack further north was moving south and wished to claim Mitch’s land. With us part of the pack, the leader argued that the land now belonged to them. A war broke out, and I watched as one by one Ben and the others were cut down. I was hit hard and could have been killed, but my attacker was distracted by another. I took the opportunity to get out of there while I still could. I was pursued at first, but they broke off to rejoin the others. One skinny injured pup wasn’t worth the effort.”

Lucius took another deep breath and finished his tale. He told how he had followed Ghost’s trail until his strength gave out, and of the meeting with Walker. Lucius told Ghost that he wouldn’t have survived without the kindly were cat. Ghost vowed to thank this Walker properly when he got the chance. The story concluded with Lucius approaching the cabin and verbally attacking Rene because he thought that the young human was hunting his uncle, and then of course of trying to seduce his uncle. Lucius finally fell silent and waited for the elder were’s judgement.

The response wasn’t long in coming. Ghost’s mind had been filtering through all that Lucius told him. It was obvious that Lucius was alone in the world and still too young to survive without family or pack. Mitch’s teachings had not prepared the young were for life among humans. The young were had been through much, and his attack on Rene had been the result of a misunderstanding. Ghost could see that now, when the facts were laid out. Lucius could never have gotten close enough to Rene to hurt him. Ghost would have prevented any kind of physical attack, but the young were had caused the evening’s mood to be ruined, which resulted in Rene getting shot. That of course led to the realization that Ghost’s beautiful mate was in fact were. Ghost smirked at that. He wasn’t about to tell Lucius that yet. It might downplay the severity of the young were’s actions.

“That does not excuse your attack on Rene... but it does explain how it happened. You will apologize as soon as my mate is willing to see you. Right now he may not feel too safe around you. The next order of business is what to do next. You came here to see me. What do you want of me, Lucius?”

The young were’s head bobbed nervously. “Yes, Ghost. I will apologize.” He had expected a big lecture about busting in on the elder during an intimate moment. The lack of clothes and the strong smell of sex told the young were what had just transpired. He would at least expect a chewing out over the damaged door that Lucius had only been able to patch. He didn’t have his uncle’s woodworking skills. What he didn’t expect was to make a decision on his future. Maybe Ghost didn’t really want Lucius here. It was obvious that the elder were had a mate to take care of and defend. What did he need with a pup who knew nothing about living near or with humans? “I don’t know.” He responded at barely a whisper.

‘Well, that went well,’ thought the older were. Ghost stood up and went to kneel in front of the young pup. “Lucius, we may not be related by blood, but you are were. I would have thought of you as family if Lucinda and I had mated. You are my own kind, and we need to stick together. The humans of this world outnumber us, and they fear us because we are different. I would never leave you to their mercies.” Ghost grasped the slender shoulders and pulled both of them to their feet. “You can stay here for as long as you need to. There is a local pack that I can introduce you to. They are much different from the wilderness packs of the north. These are urban wolves, many have been displaced or driven from their own packs, and they seek comfort and belonging here. The alpha is not vengeful and plotting like Mitch’s alpha. I believe he will accept you for what and who you are as long as you are honest with him.” Ghost held the young wolf at arm’s length so he could see Lucius’ reaction.

“Are you pack now, Ghost?”

‘No, Lucius. I have never had the desire to be pack. I would have done it if Lucinda asked it of me, but in time I would have desired the solitary life again. Pack life is not for a Ghost.”

Lucius thought about that. “This alpha. You have met him?”

“Yes, and his beta.. You’ll be surprised by this fellow’s appearance - this beta. He looks a bit like me. Well, more than a bit, actually. It turns out that he and I are related. He is from a branch of the family that moved from this land long ago. The alpha is a little stern, but his beta easygoing and accepting of the underdogs of this world.”

“They are both big men, then.” Lucius was always aware of his smaller stature and the problems it caused in the were world.

“Yes, Lucius.” He knew how the young pup felt about his slender build. “But that doesn’t matter here. You won’t have to constantly fight for your right to exist. There are rough weres here that have more brawn than brains, but there are those who protect everyone’s right to survive.”

Ghost looked the slender and very fair wolf over. He was very pretty for a male. That could be a plus or a minus here. There would be some who would be drawn to him because of his looks and others who would try to manipulate the young were and use his inexperience and innocence against him. Lucius definitely needed to spend some time with an older were who could show him the ropes. Ghost wasn’t sure he was the right were for the job. He didn’t have the patience. Perhaps an introduction to Hoot was in order, and soon.

“They won’t care that I’m skinny?”

“No, they will look past that and see your worth as a surviving were.”

Ghost looked around at the cabin. Lucius had not made a mess and seemed to have acquired some clothes. He would need more for sure. Ghost would work on that. “Are you all right here? I have a loft in town, but Rene lives with me full-time now.”

“That’s all right, Ghost. I am comfortable here. There is food and water. The door needs fixing.” Lucius glanced at the half-ass job he had done and ducked his head.

Ghost chuckled. “I can fix that. You have some hidden strength in that skinny body. You took it down with one hit. I’m going to need to fortify it. Want to help?”

Lucius smiled proudly at his uncle’s comment. He was strong. He had broken down something that Ghost had made. Of course he couldn’t fix it again, but the young were would cling to that compliment for a while. It boosted his sorely sagging ego.

“Sure, but I don’t really know how.”

Ghost proceeded to show the young were how to properly build a door. The remnants of the old one couldn’t be salvaged. Ghost rummaged through his supplies to find enough wood to construct a replacement. The two worked together quietly for hours, the only sounds being Ghost’s soft instructions and Lucius’ questions and the noises of the tools. It was a start for them. Lucius had a home and Ghost had a were mate. Each needed time to grow and develop before coming together as a family. Ghost would find a way to bring that about.




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