Disclaimer: not mine

Chapter 7

Riku sat on the bed, hand pressed to his stomach, the discomfort was fading at least which was good. He still wasn't used to the different sensations but most of the time he could not think of how his body had changed. Cloud said it'd been almost a week since he'd found them and Riku found it strange how he no longer paid attention to time passing. Before, it was very important to keep track, to know the moon phases, but now…he didn't care. Which was weird because Sora's life, and therefore his, was now ruled by the moon.

In three weeks, Sora would have the first shift he'd actually be aware was going to happen. He was worried for Sora; it would be traumatic. With everything that had happened, Sora didn't remember his first change, probably never would. Riku had never seen a wolf change for himself, but he'd seen images. Sora going through that every month for the rest of his life made Riku feel sick, but there was nothing he could do, no cure, nothing. And if he had children, would they be condemned to the same fate? Part of him really wanted to have Sora's children, he figured that was part of being his mate, but another part didn't, couldn't bear the thought of having children who would suffer every month.

Cloud would be leaving for the Islands in the morning, to help cover up what had happened to him, working with the pack. Cloud…he never would have believed it if someone had told him the blond was dating a werewolf and had been for years. He could feel the way Cloud watched him, considering. He knew he was different, but were the changes all from the bite or were some from the trauma? He didn't even know. He tried not to think of that night, of the monster that had… he took a shaky breath and then a warm hand was on the back of his neck, stroking over the one bite that had scarred.

Riku shuddered and twisted to lean into his mate, whining softly. Warms hands drew him in, cradling him protectively.

"It's okay Riku, you're safe, I've got you," Sora whispered in his ear, and Riku moved enough to brush their lips together.


Sora kissed back softly, holding Riku. He hated Xigbar for what had been done to him, his Mum, but what he'd done to Riku…had planned…that had rage surging through him, making him bite back the need to growl. Growling could upset Riku more. Would Riku ever fully heal from that, or would he suffer flashbacks for life?

Cloud had talked to him about it, about moving slowly, letting Riku know he was there, that he was safe. But to also not pull back thinking Riku would want to be alone, when Sora's presence could help him. And Cloud was right, as soon as he'd touched Riku, he'd started to come out of it.

"Sorry," Riku mumbled.

"You've got nothing to be sorry about," Sora promised, running his fingers through silver hair. He really liked Riku's hair.

Cloud was leaving in the morning, but he'd called someone to come stay with them and talk with Riku about, well, stuff Sora didn't really want to think about. He was going to help fake Riku's death believably in a way that wouldn't have the Hunters descending on the Islands or get the police after anyone. Apparently, Sora had been wanted for questioning because he vanished when his Mum died but Zack had arranged an alibi for him and Riku. So now they had to work out his death around that since the Hunters would be able to access the police records.

"Feel up to eating?" he asked after a while, and Riku slowly pulled back, eyes a little red but no tears or anything.

Sora got up and offered his hand, Riku taking it and letting him pull him to his feet. He'd only had that small time before the full moon to get to know Riku again, but it still felt strange to be as tall as him now. If they did go back, how would they explain his sudden growth spurt?

Holding hands, they headed out to where Cloud had dinner waiting for them, blue eyes dark with concern as he took in how subdued Riku was. Sora wished he could know the Riku that Cloud had for years. Riku had been hiding a lot when he came back, had been holding back, so Sora really hadn't truly known him since they were kids.

But he wanted to know Riku, he didn't just want to be together because they were stuck as mates for life. He wanted to know all about Riku, what he liked, the things he'd seen…and he thought Riku wanted the same. Not that Sora had a lot since he'd never left home before. It was going to take time though, they had a lot to deal with that frustratingly, was more important than getting to know each other properly.


Cloud opened the door and immediately was wrapped in a hug. He hugged back, enjoying the cool wash of her magic. "Thanks for coming," he murmured before releasing her.

"You called, of course I came," Aerith smiled up at him. "What's going on?" she asked as he let her inside.

Sora froze in the bedroom doorway, watching her warily, blocking the way to the room.

"Sora, this is Aerith. She'll be staying with you and Riku while I'm gone. She's a powerful healer and can help Riku sort out more what has happened to him."

"Oh, what did happen to him?" she asked, looking between them.

"He was a Hunter and now he's Sora's mate."

"Oh, congratulations!" she smiled at Sora who seemed very confused by her.

"Thank you," he finally said, still blocking the door. That was to be expected, a newcomer onto what his wolf was likely beginning to see as his territory would be a threat and Sora was very protective of Riku, not that Cloud blamed him.

"Sora?" a sleepy voice called, and then Riku appeared, hair a mess and eyes half closed. Till he spotted Aerith at least, adrenaline bringing him fully awake even as he shifted to be behind Sora.

Aerith clasped her hands behind her back, body relaxed, as unthreatening as could be. "You must be Riku, it's nice to meet you. Congratulations on your mating."

The problem with pale colouring, blushing was very obvious. Cloud was very happy to not quite be as pale as normal for a Hunter, and that was one of the reasons why.

"You'll come back?" Riku asked him, and Cloud nodded.

"I'll come back," he promised.


Aerith hummed softly as she set the table. She'd barely seen the boys since Cloud had left but that wasn't surprising. They'd obviously had a very traumatic experience and she was new, even if Cloud vouched for her. Cloud hadn't told her much, said that was for them to decide, but it was obvious something very bad had happened. Sora was a wolf, that much was obvious to her senses but…it was confusing. He felt like he'd just been infected but also like he'd been one all his life. He was too old to have only just have shifted if he was born one though.

She didn't believe young Sora had mated Riku against his will, Cloud would not have been so worried about both of them if that was the case, but the mating bond was very new, as was the trauma they both carried. So, it had happened under bad circumstances…had he done it to keep the young Hunter safe from another? Had they been both been forced into circumstances they shouldn't have? Cloud hadn't told her where he was going, just that he was going to help cover up the fact that Riku was alive and that there was a pack there. She had a feeling they could use her talents though.

She looked up and smiled gently when they left the bedroom, Riku protectively behind Sora, but they didn't even seem to realise they were doing it. It was behaviour like that, that made Sora seem like an older wolf. They were holding hands and it was so adorable!

"Help yourselves," she told them, squealing inside when Sora made sure Riku was seated first. So cute.


Riku watched her but…she felt safe. He trusted Cloud and she was Cloud's friend but there was something, a slight sensation…oh! She really was a Healer. And he could feel it, barely, nothing like he used too, but he could. So were his powers not as fully gone as he thought or what?

"Riku?" Sora asked softly.

"I can feel her," he murmured in reply.

Sora blinked in confusion. "What?"

"I'm a Healer, Sora. Many of us work with Hunters and they can sense our powers, you might be able to eventually as well," she explained to Sora. "Which might be why you can still sense me," she told Riku.

Riku nodded, that made sense he guessed.


Cloud stepped off the boat, looking around at the sun-drenched beaches. It was beautiful. And then he spotted the man waiting for him at the end of the dock, forcing himself not to run as Zack grinned at him. It was a tired grin, but still a grin.

Zack wrapped his arm around Cloud's waist, drawing him in close, inhaling his scent, and Cloud pressed closer.

"You're okay?" he asked quietly, and Zack hummed softly.

"Glad you're here."

"We should get off the street," Cloud urged, feeling eyes on them. Dating was allowed, even outside of the Hunters, but they were expected to do their duty, and he didn't want anyone linking him to Zack and the Islands, not when he was now Pack Alpha. If that got out…they were dead.

Zack took his hand and lead him into town, heading for a small but nice house. Cloud put his bag down and got his boots off and then Zack was wrapped around him again. "How're the kids?" he asked, head buried in Cloud's shoulder.

"Better. Riku's speaking properly but…I don't know if he'll ever fully recover from what was done to him," he admitted softly. "And…it turns out those old stories are true. I gave him an exam to make sure he was healing okay and found…well I had to go get them supplies."

Zack pulled back to stare at him with wide eyes. "He's…oh…"

"Yeah. He's almost acting more wolf than Sora is too," he explained everything as they curled together on the couch. This was Zack's home! He'd never thought he'd see it; never thought they could just be together somewhere like this.


Zack ran his fingers through spikey blonde hair, breathing in Cloud's scent, the scent that meant home to him. He hated how little they saw of each other, but Cloud travelled everywhere as a Hunter.

He'd hoped…but surely Cloud would never want any of what he'd seen in Riku. All he could do was enjoy having Cloud with him for a little while, to show him his home, introduce him to the pack to get them used to the idea that Hunters didn't have to be enemies. Xigbar had used the pack bond to do terrible things to them, and some were having a harder time than others of getting back to their normal selves. He'd warned Reeve about Xigbar, knew he hadn't been the only one to do so, if only he'd listened.

And…he hadn't even thought about Kairi. Poor kid. And he knew her and Sora had been pushed at each other, how would she take losing Sora to Riku, not that Zack thought Sora had ever been interested in her that way.

The story of the boys going out to sea and ending up in trouble had worked for the police, but they needed something else now. Riku had to be dead and it'd be best if Sora was too, but the Islands were too small. It would be cruel to restrict them to the Pack Island for life, even if they built them a house with all the mod cons there. The Hunters believes Riku was dead, but Sora showing up with someone else would be suspicious. They could probably die Riku's hair, make it darker, cut it differently…contact lenses maybe to change his eye colour?

It would take planning and thinking to find a way to bring both boys back, he'd talk to Axel about it, he had to deal with making a new life thanks to the whole immortality thing and yet no one ever got suspicious of him. Maybe Cloud would have ideas too, he had to be able to sell the story to his superiors after all.


Roxas looked up as a familiar scent hit him, seeing Zack, but then he tensed as he took in the man with him, every instinct screaming, but…he didn't look…he was…and then a warm arm wrapped around him and he relaxed back against Axel. No one was allowed to fight in his bar, he was way too powerful for anyone to piss off, surely that meant Hunters too?

"Easy Roxas," Zack murmured, running a hand through his hair, and Roxas relaxed at his Alpha's touch. "Cloud won't hurt you."

Roxas' gaze moved to the blonde warily. He…didn't look much like Riku, his hair was definitely blond, not silver, he was short and wiry but still strong looking.

"Cloud, this is Sora's cousin, Roxas."

"You've seen Sora?" Roxas asked, torn between hope and dread.

Cloud nodded. "I found him and Riku the morning after on the mainland."

Sora had really swum that far and with a passenger! Incredible. And he'd even saved a Hunter rather than give into instinct to kill him.

"They're okay?"

Despite knowing what Riku was, he hadn't been able to help liking him, even when he was trying not to blame him for everything that had happened since he arrived. He'd been so polite, kind and softly spoken and Roxas had seen the way he looked at Sora.

"They are traumatised and I think Sora is still having trouble believing everything, but they have mated," the blonde man explained gently.

They were mated! That was moving fast but then…if Xigbar had bitten Riku and the others said he had, then it was good that Sora had bitten Riku to override his claim. So, he had a cousin-in-law…

"Kairi's going to freak," he muttered. Everyone knew she was infatuated with him, not helped by Aunt Jessie pushing them together. Axel snorted, even he knew about that drama.

He very vaguely remembered Riku from when they were kids, though he hadn't seemed to have recognised Roxas till Sora had come to the hotel. They'd never been close or anything so it wasn't surprising. And he knew…Sora had never gotten over Riku leaving. So, them being mates wasn't really surprising. Just the fact Sora's had the control to bite without doing harm was interesting.


Riku retreated to the bedroom, trying not to die of embarrassment. It'd been bad enough when Cloud had examined him but it'd been even worse with Aerith. And with magic, she'd been able to actually check everything was okay on the inside. It was good to know there was nothing bad he supposed, but still… and having that talk! Ugh. He was male! He'd barely been around girls since being taken to the Hunters, so he hadn't known a lot of what she'd told him, but she'd also admitted she didn't know how much of it would be necessary for him, how those parts would function.

"Okay?" Sora asked gently, and Riku leant against him.

"She, uh, said everything looks good. I've healed and everything inside is okay."

"That's good," Sora whispered in relief.

Riku curled deeper into Sora's side, feeling his arms wrap around him, a kiss pressed to the top of his head. He craved being close to Sora, wanted to make him happy, and he knew it was the bite making him feel that way. He felt sick at the idea of what would have happened if Sora hadn't broken him out, if he hadn't overridden the others bite. He remembered…the wolf's words… "You'll sit at my feet like a dog, do anything you're told."

If…if Sora told him to do something, would he do it? Would he have a choice? Or would the fact that Sora was nothing like that man make a difference? He didn't think Sora would ever try to make him do something he didn't want to. And…he really liked it when Sora played with his hair, he'd never cut it again so long as he kept doing it.


Aerith leant on the railing, staring into the trees. Riku was healthy at least, that was a good first step. But she didn't think they were ready to return, not yet, maybe not ever. But where else could they go? Trying to join a pack would be dangerous. Could they just stay at the small home in the middle of nowhere forever? There was plenty of forest for the full moon, no packs around, which was why Cloud had bought it, so that his boyfriend could run on those nights if he was there. If she and Cloud ran supplies for them, it could maybe work. But it would be so isolating. And if they had kids?

She sighed, wishing Cloud would call and let her know if things were going well.