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September 2015


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back to Part 1

“’s been around forever! It’s not like it’s some whim that people just suddenly dreamed up when computers were invented!” Chad is gesticulating wildly, poking random people in the shoulder, or eye, or whatever was nearest as they walk through the hallway.

“What the fuck do you know, Chad? You still think that whoopie cushions are the apex of hilarity.” Sandy hitches her bag higher on her shoulder as she rolls her eyes. “Jared, back me up here.”

Honestly, Jared has no idea what they are arguing about and really couldn't care less. Sandy and Chad could and did argue about almost anything. Once they’d actually argued over how deep a pan could be before it became a pot. There was no point in him getting involved. He shrugs and says, “No comment.”

Sandy makes a disgusted sound at him and then turns back to Chad, “Seriously, if people spent as much time on actual life as they did on playing video games…”

Jared peels himself away as they approach his locker. He had spent the better part of the last week hoping for another glimpse of green eyes and freckled skin, but so far there’d been no sign of the guy. He’d spent more time watching the lean form in his mind bounce and dive gracefully into the pool than he’d spent thinking about anything else, even the start of school. He’d had green eyes and bowed legs start and finish him off in the shower and in the bed pretty much every day since seeing the guy.

He opens his locker and throws his newly acquired physics book in with his trig text and a random assortment of binders. He reaches into his backpack to dig around for some candy—he could use a pick-me up—when a shiver travels down his spine and the hairs on the back of his neck rise. Then a scent, faint, but unmistakable hits him. Most smells he ignores, goes nose-blind to. Friends, family, the crush of a crowd, but this one, this one seems to float up above the dull rush of the others, as if seeking him out. He stands stock still for a minute, wanting to be sure, wanting to be positive that this isn’t just some fluke. But the longer he waits, the stronger that smell gets, a singular aroma that seems to be filling him up from the inside, demanding that he pay attention, that he look, that he see, that he find.

He turns around and scans the hallway searching until he sees Danneel and Misha bracketing him. The guy from the pool. He’s tall, taller than either Danni or Misha and just as gorgeous as Jared remembers even though he looks slightly different in combat boots, cargo shorts, leather wrist cuffs and the blue hair a stark contrast to an orange t-shirt with the Reese’s logo on it. The smudged eyeliner is still there rimming startling green eyes, but Jared is fixated on the plush mouth as it moves and smiles in response to something Danni says. He stands fixed to the ground as he realizes the scent is coming from him.

He’s torn between wanting to stalk over and demand to know who the guy is and walk over casually and get Danni to introduce him. An almost uncontrollable surge of lust threatens to overwhelm his better judgment and compel him to tackle the guy to the ground just to feel his body underneath his own.

“Hi Jared!” Danneel flings her arms around him in greeting.

“Hey Danni,” he hugs back, eyes closing momentarily to get his bearings. When he opens them again, he forces himself to look down at Danni rather than searching out the delicious smelling guy again.

“I feel like I didn’t see you all summer,” Danni pouts dramatically.

Jared smiles at her, “Well, I was working on my uncle’s farm over in Charlottesville until this last week.”

Misha pipes up, “Jared, have you met Jensen yet?”

Jared looks over at him and then at the guy—Jensen, “No, no I haven’t.”

Jensen sticks out his hand and Jared takes it, intending to shake it like any normal person would do and instead finds himself using it to pull Jensen close to him, feel his body, his heat, snug up against his own. He’s oblivious to anything else as he wraps his arms around Jensen and buries his head into Jensen’s neck drawing deep breaths of scent that reminds him of cinnamon, rain and an overwhelming sense of home.

He’s not sure how long he holds Jensen but he knows it’s not long enough—he can feel the panicked rabbiting of Jensen’s heart and all he wants to do is take him away from here and protect and soothe him. Make him not be afraid or nervous. It’s the frantic beating on his back that Danni is delivering while she hisses his name that makes him refocus on the world around him.

“Jared, what the fuck are you doing?” Danni’s voice is low and alarmed.

He looks at her and feels himself begin to snarl...

Distressed, she says, “No! Not here! Not now!” He feels the underlying whine in her voice.

He pulls away from Jensen and it’s alarming how much he misses the warmth of the slightly smaller form pressed against him, but he sees Misha looking at him with wide eyes and registers that other students have stopped around them and are staring.

It’s only then that he steps back a little and looks at Jensen. Jensen’s lips are parted and he’s taking short, rapid breaths, while his eyes dart back and forth across Jared’s face. He’s trembling and there’s color high on his cheeks.

“What the fuck?” Jensen pants out, he pushes Jared away from him, “What the ever-loving fuck?”

He starts backing away and when Jared reaches out a hand to stop him, to try to reassure, Jensen bolts, darting through the immobile crowd and down the hallway.

Jared finds himself restrained from following by much larger hands than Danneel’s.

“I guess that answers your question about who he is, huh?” Tom’s voice is gruff and his grip tight. “You’ve got to pull it back. Put it away.” Tom enunciates clearly, “Right. Now.”

Jared realizes that all his senses are sharpened and he can feel the tell-tale surge of strength that says he’s a hair’s breadth away from shifting. He draws in some deep breaths, breaths that are still slightly tinged with the sharp scent of Jensen and desperately tries to calm down.

Danneel looks at him for another second and then grabs Misha and darts off in the direction that Jensen took. It takes everything Jared has not to follow them.

Jared looks at Tom, “Shit.”

Tom looks back, “You ain’t kidding.”

The rest of the day, Jared drifts from class to class, feeling disconnected, a bit desperate and utterly confused. Tom is the only one who seems to understand what was happening to him, and even he's being enigmatic. Jared feels like he knows what is going on, that he knows what his reaction to Jensen means…somewhere, but when he tries to focus on it, call whatever it is he was searching for to mind, it flitted away. Like having the word on the tip of your tongue and then suddenly forgetting it.

It isn't until he and Tom are in Tom’s jeep driving back home, that Tom finally says, “Do you know what it is yet?”

Jared glances at him, but Tom's watching the road, jaw clenched.

“I feel like I should know what it is. What’s going on, but I just,” Jared’s voice cracks with frustration, “I can’t pin it down.”

Tom sighs. “I don’t know that I should be the one to tell you. You’re probably better off asking Jeff or even Jim, but…”

“Fuck that, Tom!” Jared snarls at him. “If you know what the fuck is happening, just fucking tell me!”

“All right, all right. Cool your jets.” Tom finally looks at Jared, examining him for a few moments before looking back to the road. “You’re imprinting. He’s your mate.”

Jared blinks, and then looks to see if there is any hint that Tom is messing with him. Tom’s eyes are still on the road and the muscle in his jaw is twitching like it does when he is tense or nervous. Shit, Tom is telling him the truth. Or at least the truth as he knows it.

“How do you…”

Tom cuts him off before he can finish, “Remember last summer when I was dating Danneel and then…and then I wasn’t?”

“Yeah.” Jared and most people wouldn’t soon forget the shit-storm of their breakup. They’d seemed perfect for each other and then, then they weren’t speaking to each other—or anyone else—for almost a month.

“Mike and I imprinted.”

“Wait, what?” Jared is having difficulty wrapping his brain around this bit of information. “Michael Rosenbaum? Rosey? As in takes-nothing-seriously, bald, not-all-there, Rosey?”

Tom swallows heavily. “Yes. That Mike.”

“But...but…but, you never even talk to him!”

Tom coughs uncomfortably. “Not in public. No, we don’t”

Jared shifts in his seat so he can look directly at Tom, “What are you saying?”

Tom inhales deeply and twists his head to look out his side window for a minute. “We meet up every night. We spend a lot of time together, just…not in front of anyone.”

Jared is confounded. Why in the world would Mike and Tom keep something so…so amazing a secret?

As if reading his mind, Tom says, “It wouldn’t fly here, Jared. Not here in the middle of no-where’sville where we’re just barely tolerated as it is. Not only are we…different—and you know how long it took for that to become even moderately acceptable to the townsfolk--but gay too?” Tom shakes his head dejectedly, “No. That’s just a step too far.”

Jared slumps back into his seat. Christ. Tom and Rosey. Shit, that in itself is something to wonder at, but the idea that Jared himself is imprinting...Fuck. He doesn't even know this Jensen kid, and he is absolutely positive that Jensen knows nothing about him. About any of them.

Later that evening, Jared is helping his mother with the dishes when she asks, “Sweetheart, what’s going on with you?”

Jared brushes her off with, “Nothing mom, just first day jitters finally working their way out I guess.”

She is silent for a minute and then says, “Okay. Just remember that I’m here if you need anything.”

It’s the first time in his life that he hasn't told his mother about a problem. But this one, this one seems so big, and it affects more than just him, it's about their entire community. Their entire way of life. If only Jensen were…but he wasn’t and Jared is going to have to figure it out on his own before he drags anyone else into it.

He's sitting on the couch with Megan watching a re-run of Full House when she shoves him and says, “God, Jared! Knock it off, you’re making me all itchy!”

Jared looks at her quizzically, “What are you talking about, Weirdsville?”

“You’re just sitting over there…rumbling.” She rubs at her arms, “ It’s making my skin all vibrate-y.”

Snorting, he pounces on her, “I’ll show you vibrate-y!” and while she giggles, he proceeds to growl and sub-vocalize until she shrieks and pleads for mercy.

Satisfied that his brotherly duties are fulfilled, he stops, grins at her and then leaves the couch in favor of the backyard. The sun had set about an hour ago and Jared thinks that maybe a good run would help. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

He shifts, sliding through the hole in the fence and loping off into the woods that edge their property, seeking the refuge of the wild to soothe him. He runs in and out of a stand of saplings, as if slaloming his way through the forest, but all that does is make him feel more frenetic and pumped with adrenaline. He pads through the creek and chases a rabbit for awhile, until he reaches the edge of the trees that border the clearing outside Danneel’s house. He sits on his haunches, panting, catching his breath when he smells it. That same compelling scent that had called to him at school.

Heedless of his current form, or the fact that it isn't the middle of the night, he follows the intoxicating aroma to the fenced yard next to Danni’s. He noses at the boards until he finds one that is loose and nudges it out of place to make room to slink through. Once he has, he isn't sure what he expected to find, but Jensen standing in the middle of the yard staring directly at him wasn’t it.

Jared stands and watches the human for a minute, taking in the way the moonlight makes his skin glow and his eyes glitter. He raises his snout and sniffs, drawing in more of Jensen’s smell, finding a base note of fear off-setting the comforting cinnamon scent. He steps forward, instinctively wanting to comfort, but Jensen takes a step back in answer. Jared whines slightly and then sits on his haunches. He will wait then.

Jensen’s brow furrows at Jared’s action and a few moments later, moves back into his former place. A few moments after that he edges forward again. Every few seconds Jensen moves incrementally forward, as if he isn't really aware that he is getting closer to Jared, until finally he reaches out his hand.

It isn't quite close enough for Jared to touch, not yet, and he somehow knows that if he were to bridge the gap rather than allowing Jensen to, that they very well may end up back on opposite sides of the yard. Jared forces himself to stay still, to be patient, to wait. It is not Jared’s strong suit and by the time Jensen actually does reach close enough for Jared to sniff the length of his fingers, he is trembling.

Jared smells the strong, broad fingers of the human in front of him and let's his jaw drop open and tongue loll out in pleasure. Jensen chuckles, and Jared looks up quickly, watching the amused expression flit across Jensen’s ethereal features.

“What are you?” Jensen whispers as he becomes more daring and places a hand on Jared’s head, causing Jared’s eyes to close in the pleasure of being touched and caressed by this one, this human, this…mate.

Jared tilts his head just enough that Jensen gets the idea that he wants his ears scratched and chuffs happily when Jensen obliges. Moments later, Jensen is on his knees in the grass next to Jared, both hands buried in his coat, scrubbing his fingers back and forth over Jared’s ruff. Jared isn't sure if he’s ever felt this good being touched, even when he was little and his mom would massage his growing muscles after his change.

“Jensen!” The call comes from inside the house.

“Shit.” The reverie is broken and Jensen pulls his hands away from Jared’s fur as if he were on fire. He gets shakily to his feet, “What the fuck am I doing? There’s a fucking wolf in my back yard and I’m petting it like it’s a puppy.” He looks down at Jared, eyes wide and startled, “Jesus, I must be going crazy.” He backs away and Jared can't help the whine that escapes him.

“Jensen!” The voice is more insistent, and closer this time.

Jared watches as Jensen reaches the sliding glass door. The wolf then turns and slithers away back the way he came as Jensen opens it.

Jared makes it as far as the center of the field before he stops and howls out his grief at being separated from his mate. His mate. HIS. MATE.

Part 3

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