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    Yeoldebard
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Brothers - 33. Chapter 33

JASON

 

The neko stared at the shoes on the table, feeling trapped. He wanted nothing to do with them, but they were a gift, even if it felt like he was paying for them with his blood.

“Devyn! Get down here and get your breakfast!”

His ears flattened against the yell, Jason sighing quietly as he picked at the toast and dry cereal. It wasn’t what he usually ate for breakfast before a run, but he hoped it wouldn’t be too far off from what he needed. And he had needed the spikes too. He was just having issues with the person who had gone out the night before and bought them, assumedly so he’d forgive her. It wasn’t going to happen. He couldn’t forgive Margaret for what she had done.

Grabbing his phone, he looked again at the directions to the nearest hospital, six miles that would become five miles once they were at school. It was a long walk, but he knew he could do it, even if Devyn was too tired after his race. He was going to check on Lysander, but he would make sure the elf didn’t know about Margaret. The last thing he wanted was to hurt Lysander or make him worry. Especially if he was paralyzed, though that should have been fixed by now. Surely Jerric wouldn’t leave his coworker unable to move.

He heard Devyn’s paws scrambling down the stairs, the wolf slipping as he hit the ground running, and Jason sighed quietly, hoping his brother didn’t hurt himself racing to get fed. There was little chance of seeing the wolf in human form today; he had already figured that out. Even Margaret seemed to accept it with less of her usual complaining about wolves, and Jason wondered if she just hated wolves. Maybe she had been turned by one before meeting Richard, though he had always thought she was a born wolf.

Not that it changed anything. He still hated her. And he hated the fact that he would have to wear her shoes. The werewolf would probably throw a fit if he tried to ignore them out of principle. Besides, he did need spikes. He just couldn’t get over the feeling that it was Devyn who actually bought them for him, his lost coins gone to the shoes.

“I’m driving you both to the meet,” Margaret said firmly. “Jason, after breakfast, you need to get ready. We’re leaving in thirty minutes to get there early. Devyn’s race is at ten, yours should be at… eleven.”

She set her phone aside, motioning toward the shoes on the table.

“Make sure you take care of these, they were nearly four silver. Don’t wear them on the pavement or you’ll wear the spikes out.”

Jason nodded silently, forcing himself to eat the dried cereal with banana slices mixed in. Beside him, Devyn gulped greedily at a bowl of cereal, the wolf seeming much more happy with the fruit in it than he had the night before. Maybe it had something to do with Margaret watching him like a hawk.

Minutes later, he was carefully making his way upstairs, locking himself in his room to change into his running clothes. The neko’s tail flicked in annoyance as he tucked it into the waistband of his shorts, Jason wondering briefly how he was supposed to get down the stairs when he couldn’t balance properly.

In the end, he slid down, step after step, until he was sitting on the ground beside the stairs. He could feel Margaret’s eyes on him, a silent scoff on the woman’s face when he looked up, and Jason looked away quickly. He was stressed enough as it was; there was no way he was going to meet the werewolf’s gaze. The last time that had happened… well, he just wasn’t going to do it again.

A bottle of water was shoved in his hands as he stood up, Jason nearly stumbling as he gripped the unexpected object.

“Devyn’s going to be in wolf form until Duya morning,” Margaret said, scowling at the wolf who was lapping at a bowl of water. “He usually sticks to this form on running days so we don’t have to fight about him getting dressed later.”

Jason nodded, staring at the bottle carefully to avoid eye contact with the werewolf. Stepping outside, the neko waited for Devyn to finish with his morning wolf routine, which seemed to consist of the wolf rolling in a choice patch of grass before marking his territory. Finally Devyn joined him by the car, Jason buckling him into the deathtrap before sliding in beside him. Part of the neko was grateful he’d have an hour to wait after getting to the school. It would give him a chance to settle his nerves after the car ride out there.

The ride itself was made in silence, wolf and neko holding onto each other as they both prepared for the day. Jason held the new shoes in his lap, not wanting to wear them, but knowing that eventually he would have to. He had a week of this to look forward to, a week of tiptoeing through his own life, doing his best not to get knocked down another flight of stairs, and the neko wasn’t sure he was going to make it. Already he was plotting against Margaret, and Jason wondered what had happened to the happy family who took him in. Maybe it was him; maybe he had fucked up the Farins in the two weeks he had been here. It was a terrifying thought.

 

DEVYN

 

The wolf jumped out of the car, stretching out cramped legs as he breathed in air free of nerves, free of constrained anger. His mother was pissed again, but then, that seemed to be the normal mood for her lately. At this point, Devyn was used to it.

“Yo Dogmeat!”

His ears flattened at Connor’s call, the human running toward them in a way that made Devyn want to chase after him. Spotting the wolf, the man slowed quickly, approaching them more carefully.

“I haven’t seen Brienne around. Did you two have a fight or something?”

“Or something,” Jason’s phone repeated, the neko shrugging it off. “I guess you’ll have to show me the ropes.”

The two wandered off, leaving Devyn alone with his mother. Margaret sighed quietly, leading the wolf over to a registration table. A trio of large wolves stood in front of the table, their humans helping them sign up for the run ahead. It didn’t take long before Devyn was through his own registration, the red wolf taking the opportunity to head toward Sandolin and the rest of his team with a small collar on his neck.

“We’re running Wolfbane today,” the elf said. “This is our territory. We know the course, we know the pitfalls. Devyn, the track is freshly scented. Focus on deer, not rabbit.”

The wolf huffed in understanding, Ruby coming up beside him to sniff him briefly. It was their usual ritual before a meet. All the wolves in the race would sniff out their teammates, refresh their scents in their mind. Anyone who smelled off was not their mate, and would be largely ignored in the run. It was a ritual started by Sandolin himself, after Devyn had been led off a competing school’s course by another wolf, costing him that race.

The wolf stretched into a play bow, his paws spreading wide as he wriggled his toes briefly. Stretching upward with his chest, Devyn shook out his legs one by one, loosening them before the run. They would go through group stretches, but he always liked to get some done beforehand.

“Alright everyone, I want a slow jog along the far track length and back,” Sandolin called, Devyn stepping out of his stretching.

The wolves trotted across the football pitch, Ruby remaining by Devyn’s shoulder as they lined up loosely at the end. They jogged slowly down the hundred meter length, before turning around and trotting back, Devyn’s tongue lolling out in a light pant. He headed over to a bowl of water, pausing briefly as a dark wolf stopped in front of it. Jason was standing by the bleachers, talking with Erith, and the wolf’s hackles rose slightly as he waited his turn for the water.

Lapping at the cool water, Devyn let out a low huff, bubbles rising in the bowl. He snorted again, enjoying the water on his nose, but finally stepped aside with his thirst sated for the moment. Jason had been joined by Blake in front of the stands, the three having a seemingly heated discussion with Erith and Jason both signing, the elf’s mouth moving to translate for Blake. Devyn took a step toward them, but a growl from Ruby directed the wolf back toward the cross country team, five wolves among nearly thirty others. Human runners stretched near them, Devyn snorting at their strange one legged stretches. The two-legs always seemed to want to make things difficult.

“Paws up!” Sandolin called as Ruby and Devyn rejoined the wolves.

Their team set their paws up on a low bench along the side of the pitch, Sandolin taking a few minutes to check the undersides of their paws for injuries. They switched paws, back legs on the bench as their front legs stretched out in front of them, and then the group took turns making a few jumps over the bench.

All along the track, the other schools had their wolves stretching out, preparing for their run. A gate at the far end of the track was opened onto an incline that led to the infamous Wolfsbane hill, a side track breaking off from the main path for a shorter run. Devyn stared at the hill in the distance, a mile of some of the hardest track in Astara. There was a tougher hill in Mydara, but that place was all mountains. It was supposed to be hard to run there. Wolfbane was Quarian Academy’s claim to fame in the city, and even if it couldn’t compare to the races in Mydara, it still knocked the wind out of both wolf and human runners from Astara and Sarelin.

It seemed to take forever for the stretches to finish, another short warmup jog seeing them to the starting line. Devyn stood near the front of the pack of wolves, his ears twitching as he heard a growl from a neighbouring wolf. Ruby shouldered her way forward, paws toeing the white line that signified the start of the race, and she and Devyn glanced at each other, before hunkering down slightly.

Bodies poised, claws digging into the track, the wolves waited as a speaker crackled to life. A woman’s voice spoke through the speaker, and a chime rang, the horde of werewolves surging forward before the sound had finished.

 

JASON

 

“Why are they sniffing their butts?” Blake giggled at Erith.

The werewolf sighed, lowering his hands, and Jason let out a sigh of relief. Granted, Erith hadn’t said yes, but the neko had done everything he could. With luck, Devyn would be taken care of.

“They’re trying to make sure they don’t get lost while running,” Erith said.

“But isn’t the track marked? It is when I run with them,” Blake frowned. “Devyn helped me stay on the track. He wasn’t there yesterday though…”

‘Devyn can’t see the flags,’ Jason pointed out. ‘And he went to his new job yesterday.’

Blake shied away from his hands slightly, the young wolf glancing up at Erith uncertainly.

“Still struggling?” Erith asked, and Blake nodded. “Jason, could you repeat that please?”

The neko held back a sigh as his hands moved slowly, noticing a hint of fear in Blake’s eyes as he signed.

‘Is he okay?’ he added as Erith translated for Blake.

‘Just skittish,’ Erith signed evasively.

“Yo Dogmeat! Get over here!”

Jason frowned at Connor waving at him, turning back to Erith.

“Go. And you better win or our deal is off,” the elf smirked.

‘So you’ll do it?’

“How could I not do it? You’re giving me a free pass. I just hope Devyn isn’t offended by it.”

Jason glanced over at his brother, the wolves working through their paces on the far end of the track. He blinked as they set their back paws on the bench, tails high in the air, and the neko wondered how exactly they did that without tumbling over.

A tap on his shoulder drew the neko’s attention back to Erith, the werewolf smirking as he signed.

‘Checking out the goods I see.’

‘No! I mean… no, I just… I’ve never seen wolves stretch before a race,’ Jason defended, fingers slipping up in his haste.

“Whatever. You better get going.”

Jason sighed silently, checking out the wolves one last time before hurrying toward Connor. Erith and Blake returned to the stands, where Dr. Marin was having a discussion with Margaret, and Jason’s fur fluffed out in horror. What was she telling him about Devyn? Was the wolf about to lose another ally? He had already lost his father; Richard wouldn’t do anything against Margaret now that she was back. The man had been miserable without her, and it seemed like he had chosen his mate over Devyn and Jason. If Dr. Marin fell to Margaret too… Jason didn’t even want to think about what that would do to Devyn.

“Wow, you break up with Brienne and you start chasing after a werewolf the next day? You’re playing a dangerous game Dogmeat,” Connor leered.

Jason shrugged. Better that the human think he was chasing Erith. The alternative still unsettled him. But he had agreed to it, and the neko would see his promise through. He would be his brother’s mate, but they would seriously have to discuss more than a few things. Preferably without Margaret hearing.

“We’re missing a runner today,” Alistair said as he approached the group of one elf, five humans, and one neko. “Hurdles and relay are scratched, distance is still open.”

A series of groans escaped Connor and the other humans, Jason frowning at their reactions.

“This early in the season, it won’t make much difference,” the man continued. “We can still make it to Mydara for relays. For sprints… well, that remains to be seen.”

Eyes settled on Jason, the neko shuddering involuntarily. He knelt, fingers fumbling with the laces on his shoes to avoid the piercing gazes. A chime sounded, a pack of wolves taking off nearby, and Jason glanced up, barely picking out Devyn among the various black, white, red, and grey bodies.

“The first heat is in ten minutes. Farin, that’s you,” Alistair grunted.

The neko nodded, frowning at the sight of a pair of suited elves approaching the team. The two headed straight for him, completely ignoring the other members of the team, and Jason shrank slightly.

“Jason Farin? You need to come with one of us,” the first elf said sharply.

“Excuse me, what are you doing here?” Alistair demanded.

The other elf flashed something at him, and the man shrank back.

“King’s business.”

A hand gripped around Jason’s upper arm, pulling him away from the group as the neko blinked in confusion. He couldn’t even question them; his arm was trapped, and Jason’s body drooped as he was led away, the neko trying desperately to think of what he could have done that would make the king himself angry enough to send people to get him.

Copyright © 2020 Yeoldebard; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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WTF is right! One more problem and Jason will become permanently insane.  Now, Devyn will be left to the danger of his psychotic mother entirely alone.  I am sure that someone's life will be taken unless the unresolved issues are dealt with quickly.  

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