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: I had planned to post this just after I got home from work. Instead I hit up Chuck E. Cheese with the little sis and won some shutter shades. After today updates should be consistent on Sundays.
Dinner, the meal, was over before Blaine got to the dining room, but a lot of the pack that stayed with the Anderson's liked to hang out at the table for a while after. When the conversations there got boring or sporadic people would start to drift off in ones or twos to lie around in puppy piles before waking up enough to do something fun before bed. Usually Blaine would leave with his friends and settle in for a movie or a round of video games. Tonight however he kept his seat. When the only people left at the table were the leaders of the pack Blaine pushed away his bowl and looked his father in the eye.
“I want to help you take care of this. As an equal. I know you want to protect me but keeping me from this isn't protecting me. It's stopping me from being a good Alpha. I can't lead this pack if you never let me help.” Blaine stared his father down. The best way to prove your worth was to look the Alpha in the eye and not back down.
Robert put down his glass and held Blaine's gaze, daring his son to look away. When they lasted nearly a minute with no break in resolve he clasped his hand across the back of Blaine's neck. He was proud. “I still don't want you back at that house. It's not about you being unworthy it's about you being my son. I don't want what happened to that boy to happen to you.” He kept his eyes on Blaine's, willing him to understand, and stoked his thumb back and forth across his neck.
“I can help in other ways though.” Blaine pulled his father's hand from his neck and held it against the table lightly. “I can. Let me do something.”
“Blaine.” Malaya catches her son's eye and pulls Robert back into his chair properly. “This boy is going to need a friend. Someone who he can trust. Someone who can help him get his strength back. You could be that person.”
Blaine fought the urge to roll his eyes or whine. “But mom I want to help.”
“What better way to help than to get that boy back on his feet. Being an alpha isn't always about action Blaine. Sometimes the best thing an alpha can do for his pack is take care of the people in his or her charge. Make this boy feel at home. It's what a good alpha would do.” She's looking at Blaine with that gentle 'you know I'm right' face. The same one she used when she encouraged him to join the Warblers. The same one she used when she reassured him that he wasn't the last choice for the next alpha but the first right one.
“Okay. How should I start?”
“Start by calling him Kurt.” All eyes suddenly snapped to Leah. “It was the only name I could find on anything. It was scribbled on the tag of the blanket you guys brought him in. It's a long shot. They could have picked it up at a thrift shop or stolen it. But we can give it a go.” On crossed arms she leaned forward on the table. “There's no identification on the computer. Nothing. Not even an iTunes log in. Whoever had this boy knew to keep him a secret.”
“Is there something we can get from his fur? It was all over the chain and floor. Or do you think his blood is a system somewhere? If he's a missing kid...”
Malaya smiled sadly but shook her head. “Blaine...fur color is about as useful as skin color. We can guess at descent but it's not really that helpful in this case.”
“But his blood.”
“He could be on file somewhere. Right now that's our best bet on a definitive answer. But the truth is that DNA tests take time. He's been abused and that's very sad but he's safe now. As a teenager he won't be very high on the priority list. It could be weeks, maybe months before something comes through. In the mean time we're going to get the most out of talking to him.”
Blaine slumped in his seat. The joy of being included had all but worn off now. He had been so hopeful. He knew real life wasn't like movies. A lot of procedure had to be cut out to make time but Blaine had thought it'd go quicker than a few months. Just how little did this boy's life mean to them? “Is there a missing person's file for us? Lycan's I mean?”
Leah nodded, more to the table than any of them. She was lost deep in thought. “There is a filter on the missing person's database for Lycan's and Were's. Your father has access. But I think...” Leah said nothing for a moment. Her eyes were focused on her folded arms and her brow was furrowed. “I don't think we'll find him there. The computer was definitely his. There were personal things on there. Nothing that gave a clue to his name but nothing that made it seem like he was in distress. There weren't any hidden notes asking for help or angry journal entries. I think this boy was with his father. Or an uncle. Or someone who took him a long time ago.”
There it was. The question now isn't just who tortured this boy. It's why. Did they have good intentions? Did they know him? Did they kidnap him? Was just a father who didn't know what else to do? “If...let's say whoever did this thinks...I don't know. Maybe they thought they were doing the right thing by keeping him locked up. What happens then?”
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Or so they say. It doesn't matter why they did it, just that they did.” Robert tried to catch his son's eye. “They're not going to get out of this on a technicality. The laws are very clear on these types of things. But Blaine,” he grabs his son's chin, “a good person, no matter how misguided would not leave someone they loved like that. Never.” Robert desperately wanted his son to focus. The faceless abuser was not worth their sympathy. He couldn't allow Blaine to humanize him. When you became the Alpha of a pack and territory this large you lost the luxury of giving the benefit of the doubt. Everyone was guilty until proven otherwise. It was too dangerous any other way. Blaine would have to learn that.
“I want to go see him again. To say goodnight.” The adults sent smiles his way and watched him leave, their heads turning in unison. As soon as he was gone they huddled close together and got down to the real business. Unaware of what he'd just left Blaine walked slowly to the guest room. He just felt like they would have made more progress by now. Yes the boy was safe. He was clean and fed and resting comfortably. But it wasn't enough. Blaine thought that by now his father would have the word out to all the major packs in America. Instead they were all lounging around talking about how sad it was and how long it might take to go an inch. It just wasn't fair.
“Kurt? Beta said you might be Kurt. That's...that's a good name.” He wasn't really sure what to say. More often than not when Blaine tried to be comforting he stuck his foot in his mouth. There were times when he said the right thing, when it was natural and there was no stress. But when he tried, oh it was a disaster when he tried. Too many thoughts and what if's swirled around in his head all fighting for his attention until he just blurted out whatever he could. He didn't want to do that now. He didn't want this boy's first coherent thought to be about an idiot babbling at his bedside. Blaine took a deep breath and held the boys hand. It was warm and bandaged around the fingers but clean. He stroked his thumb over the skin there and watched their clasped hands. Without seeing his face it was easier somehow.
“I don't know you. I don't know your name or how you got here. I don't know who hurt you or why. But when I saw you...something inside of me changed and I just knew. I knew I had to help you.” There's so much more he wants to say. He could just sit there all night talking to the boy about his pack, about the compound, about his school, but nothing comes. He doesn't want to ruin this peaceful moment by blathering on.
Late into the night when the only sound in the house is deep breathing Blaine starts awake. He'd been sitting in the chair beside the boy, hands still clasped, and he'd dozed off. He must have started tipping too far forward. His face scrunched up in a yawn before he looked around the room. All at once the air seemed to rush out of his lungs. The boy was awake and staring at him. Blaine gaped at him and bounced forward on the edge of his seat. His eager face and the excited waves rolling off of him must have upset the boy a little. He was sinking deeper into his pillows and watching Blaine like a frightened animal. “Hey, hey no. It's okay. It's going to be okay. I found you.” Blaine squeezed the boy's hand, desperate to show him that he wasn't a threat. “My name is Blaine. I carried you out of the basement.”
Blaine deflated a little. It was to be expected really. With all the monkshood in his system he'd probably be mildly incoherent for a little while longer. He just wished there was something he could say to show the boy he didn't mean any harm. Then it hit him. “Kurt?” The boy whined and tipped his head closer to Blaine. “Kurt, that's your name isn't it. Hello Kurt. I'm Blaine.” Every time he said Kurt it was like a light was going off in the boy's head. He recognized it and he liked it. So Blaine kept up a gentle stream of nonsense talk making sure to say the name as often as possible. It didn't matter that it was three in the morning or that he'd talked about everything from Jeff's magazine collection to his mother's rum cake recipe. All that mattered was the look on Kurt's face.
“So we started singing this song to tease him. You know Uptown Girl it's that one. I'm sure you know it. Everyone knows it, it goes: Uptown girl, living in her uptown world.” When Blaine stopped singing Kurt let out a soft howl, almost a garble. Too shocked to react Blaine just stared at him for a moment until Kurt started squeezing and tugging on his hand. “You want me to sing to you?” Kurt yipped and touched Blaine's face, running his fingers over his lips with a look of great concentration. “Here goes.” Blaine sang his heart out, one song to the next with no rhyme or reason. Every time one finished Kurt would whine or yip until he started again. By the time someone came and found them Blaine's throat was scratchy and all he could sing were slow soulful ballads.
“My my, a little concert for two?” Malaya had heard her son singing around six in the morning but left him to it to prepare some breakfast. She had pancakes, eggs, and bacon for Blaine, oatmeal for the boy. It would be best to keep him on bland light foods until he got use to eating regularly again.
“Kurt. He likes singing.” Blaine's voice was scratchy and deep like an old smoker. Malaya passed him a glass of warm tea and stared him down until he drank it all.
“Well maybe later you and the boys can sing him a little something. To introduce him to the pack.” She didn't want to overwhelm the poor boy, Kurt apparently, but it'd have to happen sooner or later. If he had a positive reaction to singing he might be more open to meeting them that way. Rather than letting curiosity getting the best of them and being on the receiving end of a barge in. Those boys could be like a herd of stampeding buffaloes sometimes.
“Yeah, something upbeat. Maybe Katy.” Blaine leaned back and started devouring the food on his plate, stopping here and there in thought. A million different choices were popping up in his mind. Obviously it had to be something happy, something uplifting. Firework was the obvious choice but he didn't want to be cliché. Not that it was a bad thing but he kind of wanted to make a good impression. He'd work it out with the guys later.
“Blaine I'm going to feed him now if you want to leave.”
“Huh?” He looked up from his plate to where Kurt was hungrily eying the bowl in his mother's hands. He looked for a starving toddler. Once Kurt came back to his senses he'd probably be embarrassed to know that he'd been seen this way. But at the same time Blaine wanted to be here. He wanted to help. There might come a time when everyone else was busy and he'd have to step up. “No, no I'll stay.”
His mother helped prop Kurt up with pillows. They were both happy to see that Kurt helped as much as he could, feebly leaning forward so Malaya could add more pillows. He tried to reach for the spoon but he moved as if his arms were filled with lead. Finally Malaya lifted a spoonful of oatmeal to his mouth with a gentle smile. “Here you are.” Even starving and half out of his mind Kurt was careful with the spoon. He held very still while Malaya fed him not spilling a single dribble on his face. His eyes still looked a little cloudy and his wounds still stood out in stark relief but he was clearly better. Malaya kept up a stream of soft chatter, never talking to him like a child. She just wanted to acknowledge him. Blaine was in awe really. She seemed so at ease taking care of him, like she'd read a handbook on how to deal with hurting children. Although, Blaine mused, she had done this before with David.
“Have we decided what we're going to tell the pack about him?”
“Your father and I feel it's best to not spread around his business. We'll have a meeting today and tell everyone that we found an injured Lycan and we all need to help make him feel comfortable.” Malaya was interrupted by Kurt's whine. His sight was fixed on the spoon full of oatmeal suspended in air. “Sorry dear.” She spooned it in his mouth. Keeping her eyes on Kurt she spoke to Blaine. “It'll be up to you to keep the boys from prying. I know they'll be curious but it's up to Kurt whether or not he wants to share. When he's feeling better.” As small a task as it was Blaine was eager to help. If he could gain Kurt's trust by keeping his confidence he'd be that much closer to keeping Kurt in the pack.
He was scared that Kurt would want to go back to whomever had done this. Or that he would brave the smaller packs and be lost from him forever. Blaine didn't think he could handle watching him walk out of the compound like some of the others. He didn't want to be a bus stop in this boy's life. He wanted to be friends with him. He wanted to run with him on the full moon. He wanted to see what he looked like healthy and happy. “Did Diana find anything yet? Or Retty or Cooper?”
“Not yet dear. Diana said she'd keep asking but so far everyone's been accounted for in Oregon. Retty is asking around today and Cooper plans on calling a meeting tonight. I think Leah was right though.”
“About it being a long time thing?”
“Blaine...” Malaya sighed and set the now empty bowl aside. While she composed her thoughts she ran her hand through Kurt's hair, gently scraping his scalp with her fingernails. He groaned happily at the attention and turned his sleepy head closer. “Kurt could very well have lived his whole life like this. There are cases...especially when the parents are human, where the family decides to lock up their child on the night of the moon. They do it to keep them from getting out and biting anyone.”
“But packs take Were's during the full moon if—“
“Blaine.” Malaya slid her hand down to Kurt's neck and rested it there, letting the boy take comfort in the gesture. “Humans are afraid of us. They are afraid of what we can do. To them we're monsters. Monsters who could just steal their children away in the dead of night.”
Blaine shook his head and grit his teeth. They weren't like that. Chaperoning Were's on the night of the moon was for everyone's safety. It was fun. It was like a daycare system. “That's not how it is.”
“I know that Blaine. You know that. Everyone in this pack knows that. But how are humans to know? Your father was right. No matter what his parent's reasons were it wasn't right what they did. But you have to be prepared for the possibility that they may use this fear as an alibi. They'll say they're in the right. They'll fight for him.” Malaya willed her son to understand. The world outside their pack was a dangerous and cruel place. Blaine was going to have to come to terms with the fact that people just didn't like them. No matter what laws were in place there were always going to be people who didn't understand. People who wanted to banish them all back to myths and nightmares.
Kurt whined again. His nose was seeking out Malaya's wrist, his face distressed. “Shh, shhh, it's okay.” Malaya scratched her nails through his hair again, cooing at him and trying to calm him down. “Blaine why don't you go down to breakfast okay. I'll calm him down.”
“But I can help you.”
“I need to help him Blaine.” She tisked at Blaine when he took Kurt's hand. “Help him do things he wouldn't want you to see if he was in his right mind.”
“Oh. Oh. Um I'll just...breakfast. I'll keep everyone out of his hair.”
“You do that dear.”
Blaine scurried from the room before he could embarrass himself any further. He hadn't even thought about Kurt's needs. If his mother was going to be helping him out Blaine would just stay away until lunch time. He didn't know how long anything like that could take. She might have to do another exam or something. When Kurt was better, more coherent, he hoped that they could have a friendly relationship. It'd probably be best for him to let Kurt keep some of his dignity. Not that Blaine saw him as any less because of his situation. It was just, it was hard for Blaine to put it to words. It was more of a feeling. He wanted Kurt to like him. He didn't want any regrets between them.
The hall leading up to the dining room smelt like sausage, bacon, and seared picnic ham. Obviously his parents told the Omega's to pull out all the stops this morning for the news. Blaine edged into the dining room, sliding into a set between David and Wes. They'd already filled him a plate and Blaine picked at it even though he'd already eaten with Kurt. A little extra bacon never hurt a Lycan. Robert and Leah waited until everyone was about half finished before drawing attention to themselves. All Robert had to do was clear his throat. In an instant all eyes were on him.
“Yesterday Blaine and his friends found a wounded Lycan boy on the West end of our property, in the abandoned Miller house. There's monkshood growing along the property. Unless you have my express permission no one in this pack is to step foot within twenty yards of the property. And no one is to bother the boy. He is being seen to by Malaya and when she deems him well enough we'll introduce him. I expect each and every one of you to treat him with the respect and love we would grant to any Were or Lycan that seeks sanctuary in this compound.” Robert took his time staring down everyone at the table. The main house in the compound housed the Omega's who didn't feel safe living alone, the family members of the Alpha and Beta, the children attending nearby boarding schools, and any number of transient wolves who needed a place to stay while they worked out where they wanted to go.
Even still Robert had no trouble commanding his people and keeping them in line. Even people who stayed on a single night knew not to test his patience or disobey him. Someday Blaine hoped to have the safe effect on his wolves. As much as Blaine wanted to talk about his developments with Kurt he knew he had to hold his tongue. His parents wanted Kurt to have some privacy and he'd have to respect that. But between him and his close friends he had a way of communicating. Nothing supernatural, just friends being close. At Dalton when any of them were in risk of saying or doing something unsavory because of their parentage they'd rock their foot from heel to toe over the other's foot as a reminder to calm down. When dealing with wolves people were more focused on what they were doing with their hands. So after everyone had gone back to eating Blaine stepped on Wes's foot, then David's. He knew they'd pass it along to the other Warblers.
They took their cues from him, keeping the same pace while eating so they wouldn't draw any attention. Blaine wasn't sure that he'd kept all the excitement off of his face because he could feel his father's eyes on him every now and again. If he could manage to leave the table without his father getting up he'd know he had his blessing. Not that Robert knew what he was going to do. Well maybe, with Blaine there was always music involved somewhere. By the time he'd finished all of his friends were already done and chatting. So it didn't seem odd when he stood and they followed. It happened most mornings, leave no friend behind and all.
Blaine lead the charge trying to stroll casually out of the dining room and nearly managed a clean break. Somewhere between his sausage and ham Leah had left the dining room and she caught them in the hall. “I heard what you're planning.”
Blaine tried to put on a surprised face. “What? We're just—“
“I talked to your mother.”
“Oh.” Blaine chuckled and looked back at his friends. Every face looked vaguely relieved. “Well in that case, any ideas?” Leah opened her mouth then closed it again. In the end she just shook her head and passed them by, ruffling Wes's hair along the way. This time it was Wes in the lead, clucking his tongue periodically all the way up the stairs. “Something you want to share with the rest of us?”
“It's a bad idea.”
“You don't even know what I want to do yet.”
“You want us to preform for that boy. He's sick, scared out of his mind, and you want us to ambush him with Katy Perry.” Wes sounded very matter of fact like he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that that was what Blaine had planned. Blaine didn't want to give him the satisfaction of knowing he was right. It was true that in the past he may have been overzealous in his attempts to cheer people up. Possibly. But his heart had been in the right place. How was he suppose to know Jeremiah hadn't told his boss about his condition?
“That boy is Kurt. I spent the better part of the early morning singing to him. He got upset every time I stopped. I think it'll be good for him.” Behind him Thad snickered. “No really. Mom wants him to get to know the pack. Until he's well enough to decide where he wants to go this is his home.”
David pushed his palms against Blaine's back, pressing against his shoulder blades and following him into the bedroom. “And does your mother know you want us to preform.”
“Well then, I'm sold.” It was easy to see that David was just as eager to help and connect with Kurt in any way possible. He knocked into Wes, sending them both on the bed. Jeff and Nick followed as easy going as ever. Thad joined them last edging into the bed with a constipated look but once he was in the pile you could see the tension drain from his body. Blaine smiled down at them and dove on top like an eager child, bouncing the mattress and sending everyone knocking into each other. He curled in close on top of David and breathed in the scent of his friends. There were the people he was going to command. These were the people who he'd share every moon with. Hopefully some day soon Kurt would join them.
“Wes did your mom find any music on his computer?”
“The Beatles. She said it was the only personal thing on there.”
Thad digs his face out of Nick's ribs and throws a confused look Blaine's way. “How is it he gets top secret information on the fly when you have to practically wet yourself for—“
Wes throws out a rouge kick that catches Thad's thigh and Nick's shins. “Because unlike Blaine I can actually sneak up on people. And mom talks to herself.” Blaine grumbled but he knew it was true. He had about as much quiet grace as a moose. He relied more on his speed and stamina when it came to fights.
“I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
“No thanks, smothering me is enough.”
Blaine groaned and tugged on David's ear while the rest of them dissolved into laughter. “For Kurt. I think he'll like it and then we can move to Blackbird. But we should end on something upbeat.”
“I said upbeat not drug happy.” Blaine rolled over off of David and onto Wes. He ignores the grunt he receives and wriggles around until Wes bucks and sends him sliding into Jeff.
“The answer gentlemen is All Together Now.” Blaine could smack himself for being so stupid. Trust Jeff to point out the obvious. Blaine was so excited to finally have a plan he bounced out of the bed knocking into as many people as he could along the way. Everyone groaned about it and scooted or slid off themselves. Blaine knew he had a pack of Beatles sheet music in his desk somewhere leftover from Valentine's day.
One of the benefits of being in a pack was the way you got to know the people around you. The way you learned to read each other. Robert could tell who was angry, who was upset, who was hopelessly in love all by looking at them. Most of the time it was their faces, their body language. Sometimes it was in their smell. Learning the little ques and quirks that made up a person was a part of his job as Alpha. Learning what each of those things meant for each and every wolf in his pack made him a good one. The problem was he didn't know this boy. He couldn't connect the stray thoughts and words to meaningful clues. He couldn't match his smiles or the furrow of his brow to memories or defined emotions. He had only the basics to go on with this boy. It scared him.
“Why don't you come say hello.”
Robert took a deep breath and stepped into the bedroom. The boy was awake and stroking his fingers over the pages of a magazine. He seemed to be deeply concentrated on a floral lace dress. He was definitely looking better today. It was amazing what a bath and a few meals could do for a person. Robert brought himself to the side of the bed and pretended to be interested in the magazine. “I don't understand dresses that tight. Aren't they suppose to be comfortable?” The boy tipped his face up to Roberts looking offended. He wasn't sure if the boy understood anything other than his skeptical tone. Malaya laughed and leaned forward resting her shaking head on the boy's bicep. “What?”
“Nothing, nothing.” Malaya's laughs started to tapper off. She smiled at him and wiped a non-existent tear from her eye. “Kurt's just quite the fashion guru. He's been showing me his favorites all morning.” Kurt whined and held the magazine close to his chest, then while looking discreetly at Robert he slid it away. Malaya caught it before it could slide off the bed and placed it back in his lap. “It's alright dear. I said you could look.” Kurt tried to shove away the magazine again. When Malaya caught it he growled at her and tried to push it out of her grip onto the floor. When she wouldn't budge Kurt started pushing and scratching at her arms getting more and more distressed with each passing second.
“Robert it's okay. He's still sick and—“
Robert scoffed and leaned over the side of the bed, grabbing Kurt's wrists firmly and pulling the boy to face him. He held tight, not budging in the slightest as Kurt tried to flex his tired muscles. When the young wolf refused to calm himself Robert pressed his forehead to Kurt's and stared into his eyes. At first the boy recoiled, his back arching in a tight bow. But Robert held tight and let him feel the soothing energy he was letting out. Watching him cave under the pressure of his influence was like watching a balloon deflate. His growl cut off like he'd lost his breath and his spine loosened slumping him forward into Robert's grip. Robert waited until Kurt was close to drifting off to sleep before he let the boy go, carefully laying him back on the bed. “He's never been in a pack with an alpha before.”
Malaya reached out and took Kurt's hand and loosely clasped it in her own. “At least not one that influenced him. It's even more likely that his Lycan parent died when he was young.” Robert knew she was right. A desperate parent could be driven to do crazy things. He wouldn't go back on what he'd told Blaine though. It was the truth. Every parent who tried to tie up their Were children, every parent who tried to beat the gay out of their sons, they were wrong. There is no good reason to abuse a child.
“When he comes to have the boys do...whatever it is they're going to do.” He strokes over Malaya's arms tracing the angry red scratch marks. “I'll be fine. Just scratches.”
Malaya hums then pulls her husband's palm up to kiss it. As he pulls away she rubs her nose across the skin of his wrist. For a moment she just enjoys the silence. The pack members are doing their best to keep quiet near the guest room so Kurt can rest and for that she's grateful. It's looking more and more like Kurt's never actually known another Were or Lycan besides his own parent. How could they tell him? When the monkshood was gone and the cobwebs cleared from his mind how would she look him in the eye and tell him his parent left him to die?
A thought for another day. With Kurt deep under the spell of Robert's influence she was able to get a better look at his condition. She'd cleaned and changed his bandages after his wash up. He was healing a little sluggishly. The monkshood no doubt. The boy was honestly lucky. It was rare for a wolf to survive an encounter with such a saturated area. His brain didn't seem damaged either, just addled. The fog would start to lift in a day or so. Then his healing factor would pick back up. And so would his appetite. She'd have to unleash the Omega's on him once he was ready for a full meal. They'd love him.
That's something else she was worried about. The pollen of the monkshood plant could alter a persons smell just subtly enough to make it impossible to sniff out an accurate calling. Usually it sweetened the natural scent making people seem like Omega's or in rare cases Beta's. It was something about the immune system shutting down. Omega's naturally had a weaker constitution. Nothing life threatening. But it was enough to send most of them seeking sanctuary in the compound. Until they could mate they were at the whim of every hay fever and influenza that swept past. For Kurt to have been left alone in the monkshood for son long, even going so far as to ingest some of it, he very well could be an alpha or beta. Regardless he'd settle in nicely with the pack. Especially if he turned out to be one of the unclassified wolves that simply existed in the continuum between beta and omega. They always had room for more. Her and Robert weren't foolish enough to turn wolves away to keep some sort of ridiculous quota. Two heads were better than one and a pack full of devoted alpha's and betas was better for a fight than one or two meat heads.