Summary: When Alpha in training Blaine Anderson finds a wounded Lycan in the woods all of his training is put to the test.
A/N: Ugh, I wrote the whole fic in one document and let the chapters break naturally and now I have to go back and it's all a huge mess. Anyways I received such a great response that I decided to post again a little early.
On the ground floor of the Anderson mansion most rooms were common ground: living room, den, kitchen, bathrooms. The only occupied bedroom on the ground floor belonged to Robert and Malaya, kept there in case someone or something was reckless enough to break into their home. The other was empty and served to house any Were of Lycan who needed to be looked after by the alpha himself. Sometimes it was a way station for dangerous rouges, other times it was a safe haven for frightened Weres waiting to find their own pack and their place in it. For the foreseeable future it would be the boy's room. There was no doubt that Blaine would ask for the boy to be placed upstairs, somewhere closer to him, but Robert wouldn't have it. Blaine needed a clear head for this. And until he could learn to keep his emotions at arms length he would have to defer to his father's judgment on this.
Someone had had the forethought to draw a shallow warm bath for the boy. Robert carried him to the bathroom closest to his room and gently slid the boy into the water. He growled and weakly thrashed, still frightened and delirious. Robert held a firm hand to the boy's collarbone, holding him to the tub, then used his other hand to pour water over his chest. The soothing trickle of poured water and the feeling of being completely warm after so long in the cold soothed the boy. His whimpers turned to little warbles and almost yips. Someone outside might think he was washing a puppy.
The boy slumped into the tub, content to run his fingers through the water. He barely noticed when Robert left and Malaya took his place. She approached him like she would a child with slow exaggerated motions and a washcloth full of Johnsons, She started with his chest first then worked her way down. She avoided all the wounds she could, hoping that by saving them until the very end things would go smoother. He remained docile, even while she cleaned the caked dirt and grime from the backs of his thighs. If anything he seemed happy to be getting clean, even if he didn't quite understand where he was.
The last thing before the wounds was his face and hair. She wetted a new washcloth and held his chin in place then gently rubbed away the slime and dirt. Underneath it all he was a handsome boy. Someone surely missed him. She hummed to herself as she started washing the boys hair, just with a soapy cloth. He seemed to enjoy the sound. His eyes were still glassy and his limbs were lethargic so Malaya was hopeful that the boy wasn't developmentally delayed, just sick from the poison and malnutrition. The things she'd seen monkshood do.
The steady humming grew louder as the boy responded more and more to it. As she moved to wash out the wound around his neck she started to sing. He yelped and whined at the first touch. To Malaya he looked like a cub trying to curl his tail to his belly. But she kept on, singing louder and scrubbing efficiently to clean out the blood and grit. By the time she reached the chorus he was calming down. As she moved to clean the next would she gave her husband a discreet look. Singing could be important. Any small thing helped. It was possible that situations like this were common for the boy, however unfortunate that would be.
Scrubbing out the monkshood was a chore. The boy whimpered so sadly it tore at her heart. But she had to scrub hard. Any small trace of the pollen on the boys skin would keep him from getting better. It was a vicious plant. Even without any wounds of her own Malaya was feeling the effects. Though the smell was muted and the pollen was mostly washed away she still felt the faint dizziness, like she'd had a glass of wine or two. She wasn't worried though. Robert was behind her, ready to whisk her away if needed. He'd make sure she'd wash it all off and that the whole bathroom was cleaned properly.
“Come on sweet boy. Let's get you out and dry.” She pulls the plug on the tub and starts humming again to keep the boy calm even as the chill in the air settles in. Robert holds out the towel and folds it around the boy as Malaya lifts him. He warbles again at the motion, suddenly scared again now that he's out of the soothing water. Robert holds him tight and carries him to the bedroom. There are already people ready and waiting to clean out the bathroom and a little someone is holding a bowl of soup. She's one of the younger members of their pack, only six and very interested in medicine. Robert wants to shoo her away. No one so young should see something like this. The poor boy shouldn't have been displayed like he had to begin with. If Robert didn't have the utmost confidence that his pack would keep the boy's dignity in tact he would have ordered them all away at the start.
The least he could do was send the girl on her way. “Not now Angelica. Malaya will take the soup to him.”
“Okay Mr. Alpha. It's not soup though, jus' beef broth.”
“That's fine dear.” He gestures to his wife with his head and enters the bedroom. He can hear the little girl scampering away even as the door closes. “Why couldn't Blaine listen that well?”
Malaya scoffs and turns down the blankets. The soup is already on the nightstand. “He's your son that's why. He wouldn't be if he could just ignore a person in need that easily.” For the time being they leave the boy undressed. He doesn't seem too bothered by it, more focused on the feeling of a bed under him. He snuggles and lolls in the sheets like a lazy cub.
“So he's my son when he's difficult and yours when he's being sweet.”
“That's absurd. He's always mine. But sometimes he's yours too.” Malaya laughed at her husbands exasperated face and smiled down at the boy. They were going to take good care of him. They were going to give him a home and get him healthy and make the monsters who did this pay. “I'll feed him then examine him a little more. Go find our youngest will you?” Robert hummed and gave one last look to the boy. The bath had done him wonders. He was still too pale and too thin, his wounds too many, but at least he looked alive.
Upstairs Blaine was wearing a hole in his rug. He hadn't bothered to rush through his shower knowing that if he didn't do it right the first time his parents might actually come up and watch him bathe. Monkshood was no laughing matter. His friends were no more calm. The idea of a Lycan their own age being abused so close to home, it was unthinkable. They knew that some Weres and Lycans didn't have it as good as them, especially in the Southern states but the Midwest was their territory. They'd come to accept that under Robert Anderson's rule they were safe. It was a rude awakening to see tragedy that flew in the face of their contentment.
“Did he look familiar at all?”
“No Blaine. For the millionth time he doesn't look like anyone we know. Or anyone we've heard of. He's not a local.” Wes tried to be the voice of reason but Blaine wasn't having it. He'd been asking the same set of questions since they'd assembled in his room. No one had any answers for any of them. Wes's mother, Robert's Beta, had taken the computers and bags and they'd heard nothing since. Despite being next in line to lead the pack they didn't have much more sway than any other pack member. Until it was their time they were treated as equals. Sure they got a bit more respect from their peers but they had no real power other than what people gave them. It was rare for them to be involved in any grave matter personally. They learned by studying old cases and having discussions with their parents, almost like debates. It was good practice.
“Did they get anything from the computer yet? There has to be something. A name, a saved password, maybe even a bill or an e-mail account.” At this point Blaine is more talking to himself than his friends. He feels like he's going to vibrate out of his skin if he doesn't get some answers soon. He's just about to storm out of his room and demand answers when he smells his father coming down the hall. He faces the door, still standing in the middle of the room. His friends are clumped together on his bed, all feeling the subconscious need to be close and safe. When his father opens his bedroom door Blaine is very glad he didn't charge downstairs.
Robert's face is pinched. All of them can feel the anger and agitation rolling off his skin. It sends the wolves twitching under their skin. They want to help their alpha but have no clue how. “Where did you find him?” It's a command, not a question. No matter how he phrased it.
“The house in the clearing. I smelt him on the wind. At first...at first I thought he was a rouge that hurt a human. But then we got inside.”
“He was chained in the basement. It looked like he tried to claw his way out. He must have been locked up for a while, at least since the last moon.”
“And the monkshood?”
“It was growing along the wall. He was licking up the water that was leaking in too. He could have eaten some of it.”
Robert nodded once then motioned for Blaine to sit with his friends. “You boys did a very good thing. You saved his life.” The four of them preened under their alpha's praise, even Blaine. But it was a short lived feeling. “However you boys also acted very recklessly. That could have been a trap. There could have been hunters, or rouges. And driving while inhaling monkshood? Did you want to get yourselves killed?” Robert stared them down with his arms crossed. As proud of them as he was for saving the boy he couldn't just let them by thinking they were entirely in the right. They had protocol for these types of things. Measures to keep their pack safe and healthy. A good alpha couldn't rely entirely on his emotions. Blaine needed to be more logical. And he needed to show that logic to his friends, his future subordinates.
“We checked every room and the perimeter. We only smelt one wolf and one human.”
“Be that as it may, you still could have called for help. Your mother and I could have run to you. We could have started treating the boy there.” Robert stared down at his son and his friends until they all looked properly chastised. “You said you only smelt the two of them?”
“I'm positive. Just the boy and an adult male.”
“The house is really rotted out. It mostly smelt like mold and monkshood. I couldn't smell gas fumes or anything overly synthetic.”
“I'll send a search party. You and your friends are to stay away from that house.”
“But dad! We—“
Robert snarled and stared down the teenagers. In no time at all they were curling into each other and quieting down. “My word is final. You will stay away from that house. It's what's best for you and for the boy.” Robert stares them down until he's sure the boys get the message. It's not that he doesn't appreciate what they did. It's not that he isn't proud. It's that there is a serious risk involved here. This boy could be part of something innocuous. Maybe he's the sad victim of child abuse. He could be. But he could also be bait. He could be involved in a trafficking ring. He could be a part of something big. And as small a chance as it is, there's still a chance. It's a risk Robert doesn't want to take. His son's live, those boys' lives, are worth more than that. After they figure out a little more he might involve them.
After he'd left and the boys were sure he was downstairs Blaine leapt off the bed. “He can't do this to us.” Blaine ran his fingers through his hair and started pacing again. Wes, ever the voice of reason, stepped in front of him.
“He can Blaine. He's alpha and what he says goes.”
“But we rescued him.”
Blaine furrowed his brow and opened his mouth. “What? I don't know from what but—“
“Exactly.” Wes guided Blaine to his desk chair and forced him to sit. “We don't know what we saved him from. That's what your father is thinking about. So we only smelt one human. A group of rouges could have payed a human to drag that boy into the basement. Or that boy could have done it then chained himself up. It's most likely that this is an abuse case but we just don't know.” Wes put his hands on Blaine's shoulders and squeezed. If the situation was reversed Blaine would be running his hands all across Wes's neck. But he just didn't feel right doing it. That kind of intimacy was for an alpha, or mates and family. So Wes squeezed and rubbed Blaine's shoulders until he started nuzzling his wrist.
“I'm just so angry.”
“We all are.”
Thad and David have stayed quiet. Abuse is close to David's heart. He was a Were unlike Blaine, Wes, and Thad. He received his bite when he was only ten. His parents were not very understanding of his condition. And while what he experienced was more neglect than anything abuse was always a touchy subject for him. Thad on the other hand was emotionally stunted. There was no other way around it. He was just one of those emotionally constipated teenage boys that processed everything by sorting out quietly over a few weeks. Sometimes Blaine envied him for that.
Quietly David pushed himself to the front of the bed and faced Blaine. “Do you think he's turned?” It was probably just a token question, something to fill the air. There was no way of knowing by smell. Blaine had been to preoccupied with keeping the boy calm to examine him for bite marks or their bone markers. The boy could be anybody, turned, Lycan, second generation Were. He could be foreign even. They wouldn't know anything until after Malaya looked him over.
Blaine straightened up in the chair and nudged Wes away so that he was standing beside him instead of in front. His hand however remained on Blaine's shoulder, a calming point of contact. “I don't know. I wasn't really paying attention. My mother will find out. We'll just have to wait for her.”
“If he's been abused what happens?”
“The same that happened with you. We'll take him in and his parents will be punished to the full extent of the law. If they're Lycan or Were's they'll be punished under both laws.” Blaine couldn't remember anything from the court case with David's parents. His parents kept it all very hush hush around the children. One day the bedroom at the end of the hall was empty, the next there was a little black boy in it wrapped up in a fluffy towel. Blaine discovered him just after an Omega gave him a much needed bath. Blaine had been so excited to make a new friend he didn't bother asking why David had come to be there. Wolves came and went all the time through the Anderson compound.
There was really nothing else to say. They were clean. The boy was being taken care of. They wouldn't have any answers until at least dinner. Until then all they could do was waste time. Blaine didn't feel much like moving but he knew his friends would benefit from some fresh air so he lead them downstairs and out. In the sprawling backyard near the flower bushes Jeff and Nick were already rolling around tugging at each other's ears and yipping. They certainly didn't look like their lives were any different from this morning. It's just what they need.
The four of them bound down the grass fling themselves at Jeff and Nick with varied levels of enthusiasm. Blaine makes it a point to almost completely smother Jeff just because he can. For a while they don't talk about anything. They just roll around and tackle each other like eager pups and try to forget everything that's going on. The sweet smell of summer air and the giddy feeling of playing wolf carries them to dusk.
By now Malaya will know what the boy is. Maybe even a name. After all Robert and his Beta must have been working on the belongings all this time. There has to be some information about the boy. Together they race up to the house and tear through the corridors to the dining room. Blaine's parents aren't there. Wes's mother was there, helping some Omega's and children set the long table. There didn't look to be an extra setting for the boy. Understandable. The effects of monkshood lasted for days or weeks. But why weren't Robert and Malaya there? When something like this happened it was important for them to be present to show the pack that things were under control. To give comfort and show strength. “Go ahead and eat I'm going to find my parents.”
Nick catches Blaine's wrist. “I don't think that's a good idea.” He doesn't fight as Blaine pulls himself free and he doesn't say anything as he heads towards his parents' bedroom. It's not really his place.
Blaine knows Nick is right. If his parents aren't in the dining room or kitchen then they're discussing something important. Right now that could only mean the boy. He knows he's not suppose to interfere but he just can't stay away. This is too important. He's so close, so close, to being the Alpha of this pack. How can he take over if his father never trusts him with anything? How can he look at his pack and promise their safety if he's never done anything to defend it? He can't. But he can start.
Robert and Malaya are in their room talking about the boy. They haven't heard anything from their Beta Leah yet about the boy's identity. Now however they know what kind of wolf they're dealing with. “Were or Lycan?”
“He's a mix. One of his parents was Lycan. He has an extra set of ribs but no extra bone in his foot.”
“Do you think his other parent was human or Were?”
“I'm leaning towards human. It would explain a lot.” Malaya knows it's hard to hear but she has to say it. If the boy had a Lycan parent who'd died to left the human parent might do anything to keep their child. Sometimes humans would rather tie their children up rather than risk loosing them to the moon.
“It doesn't explain why he was alone and starving in a basement full of monkshood.”
“If the boy's remaining parent was human he or she might not have known about the monkshood. It doesn't grow everywhere. They could be transients. Something could have happened. A car crash, an illness. They could be sitting in a jail cell somewhere.”
“Or maybe some 'well meaning' human took this poor boy and tortured him. And yes Mal I think it could have been his parent. Humans don't like what they don't understand.”
Malaya clicked her tongue and approached her husband. She leaned in close to his body and nuzzled her nose across his neck. “We don't like what we don't know. Are we so different really? Every species has it's monsters dear.” Robert huffs and cups the back of her neck with his hand.
“Monster is too nice a term for something that abuses a child.” Truly Malaya agrees but now's not the time to get into it. So far all they've managed to find out is that the boy was born a wolf and that he had a Lycan parent. There's no way of knowing if it was the other or father or if the other parent was human or Were. If they got into guessing now they'd never make dinner. “You do realize—“
“Yes dear. Put him out of his misery will you.”
“Come in Blaine.”
Just outside the door Blaine starts. He'd never been able to fool his parents before but it never stops him from being surprised. Schooling away the sheepishness he opens the door and enters the bedroom like he's meant to be there. “Yes?”
“Anything you wanted to hear without a door in the way?” Robert stares his son down, pleased to see that they're keeping their eyes locked. His youngest had done so well. Even when Blaine made him want to tear out his hair he was proud of him.
“Do we know his name yet?”
“Not yet honey.” Malaya pulls herself away from Robert and pulls her son into her arms. He's the only one of her children that can comfortably rest his face in her neck. All of her others tower over her somehow. “We'll find out soon. He's asleep and clean if you'd like to see him.”
“Let the poor boy have a visitor.” Not wanting her husband to get another word in, Malaya pulls her husband out of the room and towards the dining room. They're overdue after all. Blaine can find his way over later.
Blaine didn't need a clearer invitation. If his father really didn't want him seeing the boy he would have demanded it. The bedroom door was closed. Behind it Blaine could hear the boy sleeping. The soft peaceful snuffles were a far better sound than the whimpers and yowls he'd heard earlier. As quietly as he could he eased open the door and crept inside. The boy was sleeping soundly and looking better. With all the dirt and grime gone he looked handsome, still young. His wounds stood out sharper, at least the ones not covered in bandages. The one around his neck was the thickest. Blaine could smell the faint scent of blood and antiseptic in the air. But underneath that he could smell the boy.
It was sweet like fruit. That was a sign he could be an Omega. That could make his recovery worse or easier. It depended on how badly he'd been abused before or what his old pack had been like. If he'd had a pack before. But the sweetness could be his body's reaction to the monkshood. He stuck his nose in the air to catch a better whiff and followed the sweet trail to the bedside. He wanted to reach out and touch the boy but he was afraid. If he was still delirious any touch would probably frighten him. And if he was lucid who's to say he'd be agreeable to a stranger fondling him anyways. He could have his own alpha waiting out there somewhere, his own mate, and friends. It would probably be best to wait.
He could look though. And look he did. Blaine dared not pull back the sheets but he committed every wound, every scratch, every blemish to mind. When he helped bring this boys' tormentor to justice he wanted to know exactly what for. Whether his father liked it or not he was going to be a part of this. Even if it was just speaking as a witness in the trial he was going to help this boy through to the end.
It was his sister who pulled him back to the real world. She was living in Oregon at the moment but pack news traveled fast when it passed through the Anderson compound. For a while Blaine thought she was going to be the next alpha but somewhere between middle school and high school she decided she fell madly in love with a Were who'd been passing through. Diana didn't want any children of her own. A very rare thing for a Lycan. But she cared for her family fiercely.
“Have you eaten yet?”
“Hello Diana. I'm doing well. It's so nice to hear from you.”
“Oh shut up. You act like we never talk anymore. I'm concerned now answer my question. Have you eaten yet?”
“Not yet. I'm sitting with the boy.”
“Well go sit with your friends in the dining room. You're not going to prove to dad that you're a big boy if you can't make an appearance at meals.” Blaine grumbled but stood. She was right. She was always right. If Blaine wanted to prove to his father that he was ready to be included in pack affairs he'd have to start showing that he could multitask. He could fantasize about the boy and eat dinner. Easy.
“He looks my age.” That's what really gets him. It was somehow easier to abuse little kids, horrible, but easier. They couldn't fight back. They couldn't get help. But a teenager? How badly must this boy have been beaten down to stop fighting, or to never fight at all? “Is there anyone missing in your area.”
“No. There's only missing humans in my area and none are teenagers. Not this month anyways.”
“But you'll ask around?” He could hear his sister huff. She was probably blowing a strand of hair out of her face.
“Of course.” Diana didn't say anything else. They just listened to each other's breathing while Blaine made his way to the dining room. He could smell the meat. It was venison stew tonight. “Let me talk to mom.” As Blaine handed off the phone with a soft goodbye his father passed him a bowl filled to the brim with stew. He could smell the thick gamey scent of undercooked venison. Without warning his stomach growled and Blaine blushed into his bowl, wasting no time in shoveling it down. A more cunning person would be using this time to eavesdrop on the phone conversation happening next to him for context clues. Blaine was not willing to try. Even worse than being left out of goings on was to be scolded in front of the pack for trying to weasel into goings on. If he acted like the mature alpha in training he was his parents would come around. Or he could call Diana later.