His, Truly

Warning for: twincest (twin incest, brothers), accidental pregnancy, accidental sex, angst, isolation, unrequited feelings, more angst.

For Heidi, Cheryl and Ashley on their birthdays, March 11th, March 19th and March 24th, 2019.

 

 

Prologue

Shane had noticed the unusual hunger—he’d practically finished half a deer by himself in the last moon run before Halloween, and he’d been twitchier than normal lately. An itch not even transforming could soothe for long.

Just like Timothy before he’d presented earlier that year.

He’d been a little annoyed when his twin had beat him to it, but the genes were finally coming through—it already felt like the moon was tugging at him harder than usual. Of course alphas felt the moon more strongly, especially alphas about to present for the first time.

He grinned around his burger, earning himself an eye roll from Timothy, who tossed his head back and made his dark curls bounce like he thought he was in a Pantene commercial.

Shane flipped him off, his jerk of a brother would see what was what when Shane’s alpha hormones kicked in. He couldn’t wait to be strong enough again to wrestle his brother to the ground. Timothy was a solid guy, as the large group sitting with them at the pub more than proved, but in private, he was a right peacock about his popularity and his pretty blue eyes both

And sure, he had the arms to prove he was an alpha, thick with muscle and capable of incredibly and totally useless things like lifting a table with four girls standing on it. If anything, Shane thought, the girls had to be given credit for keeping their balance. It had got him work at a construction site, he supposed, but you hardly needed to look like an underwear model to qualify for that.

Shane was just doing his brotherly duty in taking him down a peg when he needed it and for months now, he hadn´t been able to do much against the supernatural cheat.

“Next round’s on me,” Tim called out to the group. Shane sighed but kept his mouth shut—if Timothy wanted to blow his money playing big man, he was free to do it. As long as he kept paying Shane back when he borrowed from him to be able to pay for gas, it wasn’t any of Shane’s business.

***

Despite the alcohol in his system and the orgasm courtesy of a cute girl who hadn’t even made him work for it all that hard, Shane couldn’t sleep.

“Shane,” Timothy groaned from across the room they had been sharing since baby Helen had come along. “I got work tomorrow, what the fuck is wrong with you?”

“Fuck off,” Shane responded, but he got to his feet and headed for the door. Maybe some food…

As he passed by Tim’s bed, a hand shot out and yanked him sideways, making him yelp in surprise. “What—”

Timothy rolled him over, pressing him down into his tangled blankets. Shane froze under him, disorientated. After a moment, his brain woke up and he elbowed his twin. “Get off, you idiot, I was gonna leave!”

“What’s the magic word?” Timothy tsked reprovingly, breath stirring the small hair on Shane’s neck in a way that had his canines lengthening.

“Work,” Shane told him, annoyed. “As in, you got to go in tomorrow at six and my first class is not till 10.”

That made Timothy groan, grip tightening painfully for a second before he let go and rolled away. The bed was just about big enough for them both to lie side by side if one of them was relying on the wall keeping them on the mattress.

“Just jerk it,” Tim said, unexpectedly.

Shane’s heart skipped a beat. It was a sensible solution, really. Even if his first orgasm of the night hadn’t done much good. “No,” he decided, sitting up. “I’m not—”

“I’ll give you hand.”

Shane froze. It wasn’t like they hadn’t… well, given each other a hand. But they’d been kids just desperate to know what it was like when someone else did it, and they’d figured it was practically the same as doing it to yourself, so why not? He didn’t know what had got into Tim today; it was probably just the moon. “Go to sleep.”

He got to his feet, not looking at his brother as he headed back for the door.

He´d just go for a run on his own, let the wolf run around and see if the pre-full moon jitters went away. It wasn´t the first time he'd been too antsy to wait for the pack run, although he couldn´t remember when it´d got bad enough he´d needed to go out on his own.

***

Despite his own excursion the previous day, he was jittery he could hardly wait for his family to be ready. The moon was more beautiful than ever, so luminous Shane could almost not look away from the sky. He felt loose and easy, with a bubbling energy beneath that just waited for the goddess in the sky to call it forth.

It was going to be awesome, he could tell.

He dropped his clothes in the cubbyhole next to the door his dad had setup for the purpose and transformed at once, rubbing his nose against his little sister’s furry side. Helen was only two and a small pup but then again, his mum and dad would keep them well away from any of the nights less child-friendly activities.

But first, they’d all enjoy the hunt as a family. Shane aimed a half-hearted bite at Tim when he tried to herd him towards the door, then did he head that way on his own.

As the night progressed and the moon rose higher in the sky, Shane’s certainty that this night was different for him grew. He’d never felt this connected to the moon before, like it was not simply a phenomenon in the back of his head but almost another person next to him—always about to speak words that would change everything.

They always ran with their friends during the full moon, they’d done it all their lives and they’d do it until they were mated, most likely. The few guys who were alphas already went at the front, their superior speed and strength were an asset for hunting and it was just natural for betas to feel submissive. Or for alphas to be cocky jerks who liked to order people around, whichever way one preferred to see it.

Leshan brushed past him, close enough to make him stumble a little and growl a warning, but strangely Leshan didn’t react to the provocation by trying to get Shane to show him his throat. It was odd enough for any alpha wolf to ignore something like that even Shane’s wolf mind took notice, but a moment later he heard Tim howl at the front and he could do nothing but open his mouth and answer. He heard the echoing sounds all around them, amplified by the mountains surrounding the valley where they hid from the human world.

And then they were running without conscious thought, flowing into the wind, paws barely grazing the ground as they gained speed, so perfectly synchronized they could touch the wolves on either side, a tail brush a nose, a tongue lick an ear, and it would be as flawlessly executed as if it each of them were a limb belonging to the same body.

This was pack.

All the petty disagreements, all the long-held grudges and resentments… It was all gone in the face of the deep and undeniable truth that they belonged together. Under the full moon, free of all rules except the need to protect each other. Free of all need except the most primal of hungers.

The moon rising fully was always a joyous moment, full of noise and tumbles. This time, though, Shane actually stumbled at the intensity of it.

He didn’t quite understand he was on the ground until he opened his eyes again and found himself surrounded by his mates. No, his brain supplied. Not everyone, just…

The alphas.

Leshan, Joseph, Valentin, Harry, Paul… Timothy. Shane turned to look at his brother, his body felt heavy and liquid and he needed… He needed to get up, of course. He was becoming an alpha and the others must have felt it too. He found his feet and before he could look back up, someone nudged the side of his neck. It was an open threat and he immediately stumbled back, growling a warning.

Of course there was another wolf at his back and when Joseph refused to move out of the way, he had to step back in the centre of the circle. He turned his head, teeth bared.

He caught the flash of movement out of the corner of his eye and then Timothy was throwing himself at him, rolling them over, his naked body probably getting scratched as he curled up around Shane.

They were no longer surrounded, but Timothy pushed Shane behind him. It was crazy, no one was going to hurt them and if they were, Shane was the one who could do the most damage…

For some reason, the others didn’t seem dissuaded. Harry and Joseph took a step forward.

Timothy growled at them, eyes flashing lightning blue. “Stay away,” he commanded. “He is mine.”

For a moment, the words did not make sense to him. Then they settled something in him; it was true, of course, Shane was Timothy’s twin—there was no one he belonged to as truly and absolutely.

Timothy shouted something at the others and they took off. Shane let his shaky legs give under him, knowing he was safe. He felt Tim’s hands in his fur, familiar and soothing, as were his incomprehensible words next to Shane´s ear.

“Shane,” Tim said his name like it was a magic word and Shane lifted his head to nuzzle at his brother’s bare side. His skin was soft and he smelled like home. “Shift back, I need to talk to you.”

He didn’t remember pulling the wolf back from the forefront of his mind, just found himself shivering as his skin was exposed—only warm where he was leaning against Tim’s naked side.

Shane’s head was throbbing, and so was… He was hard. It happened during the full moon, of course, but he felt odd now, and Tim…

“Shane,” his brother repeated, and then he put his hand to Shane’s neck and forced him to tilt his neck back. His lips were cold on Shane’s, and then his mouth was hot, burning even, and… Shane felt himself go lax as his twin kissed him harder, following him down until he pressed him to the ground, bodies perfectly aligned—Tim´s alpha presentation hadn´t changed him enough that they weren´t able to lodge their bodies together from head to toes.

Tim’s cock was hard too and it felt so good, so right to… Tim pulled his hand away, kissing Shane’s face and neck, half licking, half brush of lips, clumsy with a lust Shane felt bloom through his own body, as if they were truly one, almost like— Tim pushed his legs apart, clumsily shoving his erection against Shane’s hip and groaning. Shane shuddered, his dick twitching against his belly as if it’d felt the stimulation directly.

Then Tim took hold of the back of his knees and lifted them both to expose Shane’s hole to the night air. He clenched, trying to— He whined, tossing his head to the side. He needed it, but he just couldn’t figure out what it was. He reached out and tugged Tim closer. Or tried to; Tim resisted and he was stronger than Shane now. All Shane could do was beg, half broken and incoherent.

Tim gave in, leaning in to kiss him again, shushing his desperate pleading with his own mouth. Shane sighed in relief, ignoring the discomfort of being bent over in half. Even that felt good when his dick rubbed against Timothy’s abs.

It almost seemed an accident when his brother’s cock nudged at his hole. Shane clenched again at the rush of pleasure that went through him and Tim shushed him. “It’s okay, I— I know you need it. I’ll—” He shoved his hips forwards and he went into Shane like he’d been made for it. Shane was still gasping in shock and ecstasy when his twin pulled on his hips and seated himself fully inside, cock buried as far as it would go into Shane’s slick hole.

The sensation registered as overwhelming for a moment, then he howled and clutched at Timothy’s shoulders, pushing back against the penetration. He couldn’t have stopped himself if his life depended on it and Tim started rutting in him like he’d have rather died than stopped.

Sometimes, as his brother fucked him, Shane had moments of clarity in which he knew what was happening but even then he didn’t stop moving and neither did Timothy, burying himself fully each time, kissing any part of Shane’s face and neck and shoulders he could reach. Then, as he screamed in ecstasy and started coming deep within the confines of Shane’s body, he pressed his long canines to Shane´s neck and bit deep enough to draw blood. Shane shook as his own dick erupted, untouched, between them, and kept still as he felt his brother’s knot forming to tie them together.

To ensure the breeding was successful, his drugged brain supplied. Tim raised his head and met his eyes as Shane’s every muscle seemed to unlock, pleasure flooding him in waves as his brother’s seed entered his womb.

Tim had fucked him again after that; neither of them would ever be sure how many times.

It didn’t really matter. Once had been enough to change everything.

It would have been even without the bite.

 

Chapter one

Even though they were in the middle of a field and the rest of the pack could not have missed them, the sun had woken him. He’d hid his face from the light and only when he’d registered the strong smell of sex and his brother had he become aware of where he was.

He could hear Tim’s heartbeat and knew he was awake already. As Tim must have known he was awake too.

Neither of them moved. Shane wished he could move away from the warm of Tim’s side without having to face him. This. What… what they had done.

Tim broke first, rolling away so they were no longer touching, leaving Shane’s face and side bereft of his warmth in the cold morning air.

“Let’s get to the house,” he said. “I— We should eat.”

Eat? But of course they had to, their bodies had used up a lot more energy than usual during the full moon, with the run and the hunt and then… Shane shifted.

It was a mistake. That’s all he could think, standing in place, frozen in shock. He couldn’t feel… He tensed, tail twitching and the absence was confirmed by the new feeling between his legs, a sensation he had never experienced, except… Except the previous night when Tim had fucked him and he’d gone wet for it.

He wasn’t wet now, but he could be because his cock and sack were gone and instead he had… He felt a touch on his flank and jumped, teeth bared.

It was just Tim, of course, also shifted and with his ears and tail down.

Suddenly, the humiliation was too much to bear in front of another person and Shane turned tail and ran, as fast as he could, stumbling a little as he grew used to the slight differences in balance but too desperate to care if he fell.

He heard Tim following but his brother didn’t try to catch up with him, keeping his distance as they headed home.

He’d have liked a shower before facing the rest of his family. It was absurd, what they… what had happened could be no secret from the pack and so even if his parents and younger siblings hadn’t come across them—if the Moon be merciful—they’d still have heard.

It was still difficult to cross the doorway and get his underwear from the cubbyhole. It was early enough and a night after the full-moon and maybe he could get to the bathroom…

His mother was standing in the corridor, clearly waiting for him. Her eyes roamed up and down, just like always, checking if he was unhurt. Except this time they returned to his face. No, not his face, his neck. Shane lowered his gaze to the ground, face burning with the fair skin she’d passed on to him.

“It is done,” she told him, voice tight. “Under the Moon, whatever her reasons.”

That startled him into looking up. It sounded like she thought it’d been…

“It was an accident,” he said, his own voice was rough, used.

“We will discuss it later,” she decided. “Go shower, there’s food in the kitchen when you’re done.”

And because he was weak and tired, he went.

Tim was in the kitchen tearing into a piece of chicken when Shane got there after his shower, fresh and smelling of soap instead of…

Timothy still smelled of it, of alpha and sex and—

No, Shane told his brain firmly. His wolf whined in his head, but he was determined to ignore it. Listening to his wolf, to the— the fucking Moon had landed him here.

It had just been an accident. Wrong person, wrong place, wrong time. And it’d be awkward, of course, but it didn’t… He couldn’t get his mother’s words out of his head. What did she mean by it’s done? It was, obviously, and it couldn’t be taken back, except…

You did take things back when you made a mistake. Shane wanted to take this back.

“Please eat,” Tim said, bringing him out of his circling thoughts.

Shane gave him an incredulous look. Because, fuck it, maybe he was an omega, but he wasn’t stupid or a child.

“I just—” Tim raised his hands.

“Why the fuck are you talking to me like that?” Shane growled, then bent over as pain ripped through his head and down his spine.

“Shane!” Tim shouted, dropping something as he came to take him by the elbow. “Are you okay? What… Oh,” he said, tone turning shocked. “It’s… you were being... I mean, your wolf thinks you shouldn’t do that. Because you— Because I´m an alpha.”

Your alpha. Timothy didn’t need to say it; they both knew it. Shane could feel it in the way his body had gone pliant in his brother’s careful grip.

“Let go,” he said, hoarsely.

Tim did, not too fast, though, like he thought Shane would fall without his support.

The egotistical prick.

“I’ll just… Gotta shower,” he explained. Like Shane suddenly needed to know his every move.

But at least he’d left him alone.

He couldn’t leave him alone for long, of course. After eating as fast as possible, Shane had closed all the blinds in their room and curled up under his blankets, trying to ignore how all of a sudden the room smelt like alpha to his broken brain.

And how that made him feel.

Tim had come in before he’d managed to fall asleep, smelling of soap and vapour and obviously perfectly capable of telling Shane’s heartbeat was too fast for true sleep.

Shane tracked him as he crossed the room to his bed, dropping what was probably a towel on some wooden piece of furniture—Shane’s chair if he knew his brother at all—and then making his mattress creak as he laid down.

The sound brought back the last time he’d seen Tim in bed. When he’d pulled Shane with him, when he’d offered… He’d known. The certainty was so intense and terrible, Shane’s stomach pulsed and he rolled over, heaving. A noise escaped him.

That, Tim couldn’t ignore and he was across the room in an instant, as if he’d been waiting for the chance. He reached for Shane´s elbow. “Shane, what’s wrong? Do you—”

Shane ignored his babbling, inhaling through his nose and focusing on not throwing up and not punching his brother in the face. Would the wolf hurt him if he pretended it was an accident?

As his body came under his control again, Shane pushed his right arm, which Tim had taken hold of, away from his body and retreated back into his bed.

His twin didn’t try to follow, but he did not move away either.

“I’m sorry,” he blurted out and Shane glanced up and caught sight of the anguish on his face before he thought better of it and looked back down at his tangled blankets.

“Go away,” he growled, then froze, afraid of a lash of pain. But whatever line he’d crossed earlier, he’d respected this time.

Timothy had never listened to him, even though Shane was technically older, and he didn’t now. “Shane, I didn’t— I was trying to protect you! You saw how they all—”

“Protect me?!” Shane spat, suddenly so furious he had to take hold of his pillow and the bedding to avoid physical violence against his brother. “You— You were making sure they didn’t get to—” He couldn’t say it, not after what Tim had done.

“Of course I was!” Tim sounded indignant, standing there with his arms crossed and his claws out, the scent of his blood clear in the air between them. “Did you want half the pack to mount you?”

“I didn’t want anyone to mount me!” Shane shouted, and the anger crumbled into desperation like glass shattering against marble. He bent forward, scrunching his eyes shut as if that would help him keep the pieces together, as if…

“I know,” Tim said, low and defeated. He fell to his knees next to Shane’s bed—a perfect supplicant. “I’m sorry.”

“You did it anyway,” Shane spit out the words like he was vomiting blades.

“I… You wanted it too,” Tim countered, sounding unsure.

“My wolf wanted it,” Shane corrected.

“And mine!” His twin said quickly. But Shane knew Tim, and he remembered the way he’d offered to jerk him off the other night.

He knew what he was saying. Tim had wanted it, and now, when Shane had no other choice…

But no, it wasn’t like that. Tim might have wanted it, but he wouldn’t have forced him.

He didn’t have a choice about what had happened either.

“I want a doctor.”

For a beat, his brother was quiet, then he nodded. “Yes, of course! Who… Yolanda?”

“Yeah,” Shane managed. He didn’t really want to think of talking to Yolanda about… this, but who else could he trust?

Yolanda had babysat them back when they were in primary school and she was finishing secondary school. Shane’s crush on her had been so obvious, even Tim had given up teasing him about it, claiming it was too easy.

But maybe Tim had had his own reasons.

Fuck, that was crazy. Maybe Tim wouldn’t mind… Maybe Tim was gay. That was fine by Shane. And maybe he liked the idea of… of them together. People had fantasies about twins, right? But he’d most definitely not had any thoughts like that back when Yolanda had come over to help them with homework and tell them stories until they fell asleep.

They sneaked out of the house before the rest of the family woke, still shaky with exhaustion but knowing they wouldn’t get another chance. When their mother woke up…

Shane shook himself and sped up, Tim immediately picked up his pace to keep up with him. Shane didn’t look back or acknowledge him in any way. For the first time in his life, he wanted to forget Timothy existed.

Unfortunately, he had to concede that his brother had a point when he insisted on being the one to knock on Yolanda’s door.

It was only 7.30 and the day after the full moon was a holiday in the pack, but only a few minutes after they rang the bell, Yolanda’s father opened the door. Shane had forgotten he was an alpha and it made him tense up. The man raised his eyebrows at them.

“We need a doctor,” Tim said, stepping up. “Please, could you get Yolanda?”

They’d been asked to wait in the living room and the silence between them had stretched like a dead weight hanging from his fingernails, unbearably painful and sure to get worse once the string finally broke.

“Shane,” Yolanda said as soon as she walked in. “Oh, Tim, hi.” She stayed in the doorway, glancing between them. “I was hoping it wasn’t true.”

Could she see...? It was probably just that neither of them looked like they had slept and if he looked anything like he felt, Shane’s face must have been a sorry sight all on its own.

He looked down, feeling his face burn with shame, skin crawling and muscles twitching. He just wanted to get out. It got worse when she took a seat next to him and put a hand on his knee. “It’s okay, you did the right thing coming to me,” she said soothingly.

The kindness was almost more than he could bear after everything, but luckily Timothy spoke up, “Can you fix it?”

He heard her swallow. “Have you shifted?”

She was speaking to him, not Tim, but his brother answered for him. For this, Shane didn’t mind in the least. “We shifted this morning.”

“And… it took?” Yolanda asked as delicately as possible. Her hand on his knee felt like an unshakeable weight.

In any case... what did it matter if he said it or not? The real weight... He swallowed and gave an almost violent nod, terrified of what his brother could say in response if he didn’t.

“Okay, so I could… I could fix it. While you’re shifted, not like this,” she added.

The relief was so strong he collapsed forward, a high pitched sound escaping his lips. Yolanda put her hand on his back, stroking it firmly. “Shh… It will be okay, Shane. Just a—” Her hand stopped.

“What is it?” Tim asked, obviously hearing her heartbeat skip as well.

“Did you bite him?” she asked, voice urgent and angry.

“I…” Tim trailed off, his scent turning sour. He had apologized for the sex and in a way, Shane could understand he hadn’t meant to do it any more than Shane had, and this...

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s just… It’s just a mark. It doesn’t matter, you can still—”

“No, I can’t,” she interrupted, voice full of pain. “It will just happen again.”

“What?” he said, finding her eyes. She couldn’t let him... let this...

“Shane, I thought it was a pregnancy. This…” She waved a hand between them, her green eyes shone with pain. “Once an alpha takes an omega as his mate… You know that’s forever.”

“No,” Shane said in a small voice. “It wasn’t really… It was a mistake.”

She turned to him and dragged him into a hug, as if she could drown his pain with her strength. Her scent hadn’t changed, honeydew and spice. “I’m sorry, Shane.”

He struggled weakly in her hold, even as she shushed him. “Just let me, I can’t... I’m sorry I can’t do more.”

“Yolanda, you have to,” Tim said suddenly from across the room.

Her hold on Shane loosened enough for them both to look at Tim.

“What do you mean?”

“I... We—” Timothy was normally such a smooth bastard it was almost painful to see him like this.

Yolanda apparently didn’t need more than that. “How many?” she demanded.

Tim shook his head, eyes on the ground—so unlike an alpha, so unlike Shane’s outgoing twin brother that... “I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?” she repeated, voice going thin, her scent wasn’t so much sour as putrid. She was beyond furious.

“I didn’t mean to!” Tim exploded, anguish starting to morph into anger. “You know I love him more than anything, you think I did this intentionally? Look at him!” He waved towards Shane. “You think I want a mate who can’t stand the idea of being mine?”

Shane’s heart twisted. Tim was right, of course, but Shane hadn’t meant... He didn’t want Tim to suffer.

“I’ll leave,” he said after a moment.

Yolanda turned back to him, expression softening. “Leave?”

“You do it and I’ll leave,” he explained, following the pattern of the carpet instead of looking at either of them. “And then Tim can...”

He found himself unable to finish the sentence. Tim could find another mate, someone who would make him happy.

Someone who could make him happy.

It took him a moment to parse the sound he’d heard as a whimper and another to look at his brother, who’d made the sound and looked so close to tears it was all Shane could do not to take it back.

It would be for the best. For them both.

“Boys,” Yolanda said after a moment. “This is... This is fucked up. We all know it, and not just because you’re brothers. You should get a choice. I know it was an accident and for most people, even most werewolves, accidents can be fixed. But... Alphas and omegas who are separated from their bondmate for too long either break down and seek each other out or... Or they have a mental breakdown.”

“And you think I won’t go crazy like this?!” Shane spat, gripping at his own arms so his claws wouldn’t touch anything or anybody else. “Just become Tim’s mate and spawn a bunch of babies, and then do it again and again until...” He crumpled forward, panting and shaking. His chest hurt and he was having trouble drawing in enough oxygen, and he just couldn’t... If this was...

He didn’t notice anyone approaching until he felt hands on his shoulders and knew at once they belonged to his twin. It wasn’t scent, he couldn’t sort out anything that complex with the way his mind was reeling. It was...

“Calm down,” his brother told him with a little squeeze.

It was a stupid thing to say. Except when it was an alpha saying it to their omega.

Shane’s body reacted as it was meant to, slowing down and relaxing against his own knees. Tim never let go of his shoulders but he didn’t try to hold him.

The part of his brain that wasn’t being flooded with oxytocin was grateful. “Okay?” Tim checked after a minute.

Shane nodded, still shaky but... calmer. He had no choice about it, but who complained about feeling better?

“Okay, here’s what we’re going to do: Yolanda will... fix it.” He had obvious difficulty saying the words and it suddenly occurred to Shane that they were talking about— About fixing a mistake. That was all. Except Yolanda had said they would just make the same mistake again; she was right, why fix something that was fundamentally broken. “And then we will leave. Just go somewhere else and do whatever we want.”

The doctor didn’t speak to object again so Shane had no choice but to do it himself. “I don’t understand.” His voice was a wreck.

“We don’t have a lot of choices,” Tim explained, thumbs rubbing against where his hand still rested on Shane’s arms. “But a multiple pregnancy is a lot harder than a single one.”

A single one. It seemed to echo inside Shane’s brain. He’d have an abortion, he’d... he’d ask Yolanda to kill the babies growing inside him. And then next month as soon as the moon rose, if not earlier, he’d... he’d be here again.

With Tim’s child in his belly, with Tim’s mark on his neck.

He’d still be Tim’s mate.

“Where would we go?” he asked, hopeless.

“It doesn’t matter,” Tim said. “I’ll... I’ll find some seasonal work. We’ll manage.”

“And the pack...”

“They’ll be fine, and we could visit, later, if you wanted.”

If he wanted to see his mother’s judgemental looks and have his life micromanaged once again, only without the hope of ever getting out.

Except Tim’s plan was ridiculous; he’d seen how often omegas had babies first hand, how was he supposed to cope without a pack with betas to help him?

“Tim,” he said softly. “I can’t... we can’t do this on our own.“

“You don’t have to,” Yolanda said suddenly. “I’ll help.”

Shane turned to her. “What? You’re going to babysit?”

“Sure,” she said with a sad smile. “But I mean now; you can go away for a bit. My family has a cabin up in the mountains.”

“For a bit?” Tim asked.

“My parents will eventually want to use it and... Shane’s right, raising children alone isn’t feasible for a bonded pair.”

Shane closed his eyes, trying not to let her words get to him. She didn’t need to tell him that no two parents could cope with the sheer number of babies a bonded omega would give birth to during his fertile years.

“And...” she added. “I’ll do it if you ask me, but I don’t think you should terminate this pregnancy.”

“What?!” Tim actually got to his feet, fists clenched, towering over Yolanda where she sat on the end of the sofa.

“It’s an extremely traumatic procedure, Timothy,” Yolanda told him, staring up at him with complete disregard for his status as an alpha, it was the exact same tone she had used when they’d refused to go to bed.

“I don’t want you to,” Shane said before they could keep arguing.

Timothy turned around to face him again. “I... I don’t get it. You know how many times we...” He stopped, hunching a little. He was standing and Shane was still sitting so it didn’t help much with the looming.

Shane sighed, looking away, he thought the effect of his brother’s order from earlier still lingered. Or maybe he just couldn’t keep fighting anymore. “Tim, think for a second; these are my children.” He gulped, even without looking at him, the words seemed stuck in his throat. “Your children.”

Tim didn’t speak for a long moment, then said, in a whisper that was nothing like the prepotent way he’d been speaking to Yolanda, “And you’re my... My mate.” It was the first time he’d said it, and despite everything, it tugged at something in Shane’s chest. He didn’t know if it was the magic binding them together, or... “I don’t want you to suffer.”

It was a sentiment kindly meant and undoubtably sincere. As well as ridiculous enough to make Shane want to slap him.

It was like a crash course on all the ways an alpha could piss off an omega, courtesy of one Timothy Jonathan O’Callan.

“Having multiples will slow him down,” Yolanda piped in.

Shane turned to her at once. “What?”

“It makes the next heat take longer,” she explained. “An alpha doctor figured it out. There’s... well, there’s information about it all, how to make it easier.”

“How to stop it?” He knew the answer before he asked it, but he had no ask nonetheless.

Yolanda shook her head.

“But couldn’t you...?” He closed his eyes and exhaled. “Couldn’t you remove the... organs?”

He ignored his brother’s gasp by his side and Tim thankfully didn’t try to speak.

Yolanda didn’t answer right away, which was an answer in itself. Or perhaps she just found the prospect distasteful, but a different doctor... “It would all... It would all regenerate the next full moon when you shifted.”

And if he didn’t shift... Except that was impossible. No werewolf had ever resisted the call of the Moon, it didn’t even matter if you could see it, it’d pull on your bones and your entrails until you... “Okay,” he told Yolanda and stood so abruptly his twin stumbled back to get out of his way. “I need the toilet.”

Neither of them tried to stop him.

Tim was alone when he returned, just staring out the window into their valley with the blankness of exhaustion, his dark brown curls a frizzy mess on his head, his elbows resting on his own knees. Shane’s first impulse was to send him to bed.

“Can we go?” he asked instead.

His twin jumped a little, even though it was impossible he hadn’t known Shane was there; from now on, he’d always know, no matter how far Shane was.

“Um, where?”

“Home,” Shane said simply. He needed sleep too and he couldn’t... He couldn’t think of anything else right now. He just wanted to go somewhere safe.

“Sure.” Tim got to his feet and stopped a few steps away. “You’re standing in the doorway,” he pointed out when Shane kept watching him.

Shane shook himself and turned around, heading towards the exit.

“Don’t you want to say goodbye to Yolanda?” Tim asked from behind him.

He waved his hand. “She’ll understand.”

 

Chapter two

Tim had stopped him from going in through the front door; instead he dug his claws into the wood of their bedroom window to force it open. Shane followed him in that way, grateful but without the words to say so. It was fine, between twins, favours weren’t counted. He supposed that much didn’t need to change now that... He pushed the thought aside with the blankets, and allowed himself to collapse, eyes already closed, mind shutting down with them.

But even though they were allowed to sleep until well into the afternoon, the knock still came.

Shane was still pretending to be asleep when he heard Tim’s footsteps and the door creaking open.

“Are you both okay?” their dad wanted to know.

“Yeah,” Tim said, not sounding all that convinced. It made Shane feel a little better, he could admit it. He didn’t want Tim to suffer either, it was just... Tim was meant to be his companion, his ally, his... his partner. “Just tired.”

They had been born on the same side, equals. And now...

“You should come eat something, there’s a lot of food ready.”

“Okay, I’ll...” The rest must have been a gesture.

“Sure, we’ve sent the kids away so we can talk. You don’t need to... You don’t need to worry.” With that and, Shane was willing to bet, a meaningful look from his deep dark eyes, their father left them alone again.

Only now Shane was awake and Tim knew it.

“We can sneak out the window,” he offered. “Go ask Yolanda where the cabin is.”

He was joking, but Shane was also fairly sure he’d do it if he asked. Not because... not because Shane was his omega, he’d have done it before.

Shane would have done it for him, too. Only... Only he was starting to think it wasn’t for quite the same reason. Or it was, really. It was all love, wasn’t it?

He grunted and sat up. “She’ll just hunt us down.”

“Probably.”

Normally, they’d have discussed what they’d tell their parents beforehand—they were good at reading each other, but they weren’t psychic.

Now, faced with the question of where they had gone that morning, Shane realised that Tim’s alpha instincts were about to get the better of his sense only a moment before his brother met their mother’s eyes and told the truth. “To see Yolanda.”

“What for?” The edge in her voice was unmistakeable.

But Tim kept going like he was unaware of the danger. “To ask her what our options were.”

“Options?” their mother repeated.

“Yes, mum,” Tim said mockingly. “Options. Choices, we get to make them now. We’re adults.”

“What options are you speaking about, Timothy?” Their father was much more mild-mannered but he wasn’t to be toyed with either.

“It was an accident,” Shane said. It was better if he spoke, even if he had nothing they’d like to hear, at least he could say it without actively antagonizing them.

“We know that, of course,” his dad told him, nodding but not quite meeting his eyes. “But we must all live with the consequences of accidents, too.”

“We just—”

“What have you done?” his mum demanded, suddenly standing up from her place at the head of the table.

“Nothing.” Shane shook his head. “I only wanted—”

“You will not speak about such things in my house,” his mum told him angrily. “And if you... I cannot believe a son of mine would think of defying the Moon.”

“A son of yours? Really?” Timothy had got to his feet as well. Shane turned to him; he could have asked him to stop. Hell, he could have just shaken his head at him and Tim... But he didn’t and Tim spoke on, “Two sons of yours, I think you mean. And if we’re thinking about it, it’s because your precious goddess screwed us over. We didn’t just fuck,” he added, making everyone else at the table flinch. “We are mated.”

This, at last, came as a shock to their parents.

“Are you...?” his dad stopped, maybe realising how stupid the question was.

“It doesn’t matter,” their mother said, relentless. “It was meant to be.”

Tim snorted, then picked up his glass and dropped it on the kitchen tiles, grinning as it shattered and they all flinched. “Guess that was meant to be too,” he commented cruelly. “Doesn’t mean I’m not gonna sweep it up, does it?!” he added, sneering for all he was worth.

“Timothy,” their father said acidly. He was really angry, enough it was obvious in his scent, enough it was making something inside Shane cringe like when he’d been a child.

Oh, fuck, he thought in realisation, his body was so stupid it couldn’t even tell when an alpha was angry at someone else, just their displeasure sent his heart into a rabbiting mess.

Tim could tell, of course. He seemed to forget all about their parents to step up to where Shane was still hunched over his seat and place a calming hand on his shoulder. “Hey, don’t, just...” He leaned in close and said the next words so quietly Shane half thought he’d imagined them. “Calm down.”

It worked anyway. Maybe Tim didn’t even need to say it, he just needed to want something from Shane’s body and it would happen.

“You did the right thing,” their dad sounded calmer too. “You came home and you didn’t... you didn’t let Yolanda do anything to you. And now we’ll sort this out like a family. It will be fine,” he insisted once more, but Shane could hear how hollow the words were in the way his heartbeat skipped.

He didn’t believe it.

Neither did Shane.

***

“Do you... do you want to be alone?” Tim asked once they were allowed to go back to their bedroom.

Tim had said they were adults, but Shane didn’t feel like an adult. He felt like a mess, he needed help, and if a doctor couldn´t provide it... Except his parents couldn’t save him from this.

They didn’t even think he needed saving. He´d heard his dad was upset but he wouldn´t go against his mum´s wishes.

Shane raised his head to stare at him. The question seemed absurd. “I don’t care.”

“I... I want you to know,” his twin said quickly, then stopped, rubbing at his own arms like he was cold, gaze flickering all over the place like he couldn’t bear to look at Shane. “I mean, you do know, right? That I will do whatever you want?”

“You can’t do whatever I want,” Shane told him. It was petty, but...

“Whatever you want and I can do, I will,” Tim insisted, ignoring his tone. “I’m... You’re in charge now.”

Shane snorted, then told him, “I want you to— I don’t want you to treat me differently.”

Tim’s surprised look was irritating, but understandable. Right until he spoke, “Like... I won’t touch you or...”

“Fuck you,” Shane told him, clawing at his bedding to stay put. It still hurt a little when his wolf whimpered in his head, torn between its own submissive urges and Shane´s rebellious attitude. It wasn´t that bad, really, not compared to what had happened when he’d been aggressive towards his alpha before.

His brother was staring at him, actually gaping.

“You will, you know you will, so don’t fucking make promises you cannot keep,” Shane warned him. It didn’t seem to trigger his wolf’s stupid instincts, at least, but he made himself inhale once, then exhale. Then again. “It’s not difficult; don’t talk to me like... like I’m different. I don’t want that.”

Tim’s silence spoke volumes and Shane knew what he was asking was... hard. But surely if Tim was willing to do anything he wanted...? “Okay,” he said at last. “I won’t. Or I’ll try, it’s... My wolf is a little...” He waved around instead of finishing the sentence.

“Yeah,” Shane agreed. “Me too, but don’t be weird.”

It was a pretty stupid thing to ask under the circumstances and Tim snorted.

“Don’t be weird?” he repeated and that was his best mocking tone. “Of course, I’ll just not be weird!” he said with a laugh that sounded a little hysterical. “Let’s play video games, shall we? It’s just another day in our lives, really.”

“Tim,” Shane said, watching him a little sadly. He’d heard the pain in his brother’s voice earlier. “I... I don’t blame you.”

Tim closed his eyes, mouth twisting as he turned his face away. “Shane?”

“What?”

“Don’t be weird.”

They put a movie on Shane’s laptop—Tim´s had not survived being left in the living room where their younger siblings played and somehow he’d never bought a replacement—and opened some crisps from the stash they kept in the wardrobe.

Timothy sat on his desk chair, right knee drawn up and eyes focused on the screen. But sometimes he did that instead of sitting on the bed with Shane.

It wasn’t weird.

The kids either didn’t know or had been firmly instructed not to mention their new situation and dinner was loud and chaotic like only a family with thirteen children could be.

It was loud, but Shane found it soothing. Familiar. Normal.

Then Frances spilled her juice all over the table and Nadia huffed and got up to clean it. Nadia was just twelve, but she was a girl and she was expected to help with the babies.

Because one day she’d have her own.

Shane had helped too, when he’d been little and Nadia herself had made the messes, but... He’d stopped, he realised. He’d allowed his sisters to take over, never questioning it. As had Tim, long before he’d presented alpha.

He didn’t know what was worse: the knowledge that he’d benefited from the stupid rules that said girls looked after babies and the house or that he would be expected to fill their role now that he—

He was on his feet before he knew it and he practically ran from the room, covering his mouth as his stomach twisted and heaved.

He didn’t expect to be followed into the toilet, but if anyone was going to...

Except it wasn’t Tim who opened the door—Tim and he had broken it playing around and it´d never got fixed—and came in, but their mother.

“Do you feel sick?” The question was innocent enough, until Shane realised...

“Not like that,” he told her, too cutting.

“Shane,” she said warningly. “I’m your mother and you will show some respect.”

“I don’t want to talk to you,” he said, turning around and facing the window.

“So you will simply ignore the situation until you cannot longer do it?” she demanded. “We will have to expand the house, you realise. I do not know how many pups—”

“Shut up!” he screamed, turning around, fists clenched. He wouldn’t... He would never hit her, but she couldn’t... “Can’t you just leave me alone? This is hard enough and...” He didn’t realise the wetness on his face were tears until she stepped up to him and gathered him in her arms and he started sobbing outright.

“Shhh,” she murmured. “It’s okay, Shay. It’ll be fine, I know it seems scary now, but I will help you. You aren’t alone with this...”

“I don’t... I can’t. It’s Tim,” he tried to explain.

“I know,” she soothed. “I wish it could have been different, but... it doesn’t have to be bad. You and your br— your mate,” even she had to pause after that, but then she resumed her petting and continued, like she was determined to make it real by saying it. “You have always been close. This is only a different way of being close, and you’ll have...” He tensed but she held on. “You will have the children to think of. It’s... I know you don’t like the idea right now, but you will love them, and you will do anything for them. Believe me, it’s... it’s worth it. That kind of love is worth it. I promise you, Shane.”

He kept his eyes scrunched shut and let her hold him. She didn’t try to speak any more and as long as she was silent, he could take comfort in her presence, the warmth of her, her familiar scent.

Once upon a time he’d known in her arms nothing bad could reach him.

It wasn’t true, of course, but it was okay to indulge in the fantasy for a few moments.

“I want to go,” he said as soon as they were alone that night.

Timothy got it at once. “To the cabin?”

He nodded. “For now.”

Tim frowned, glancing around the room. “I think the bags are in the corridor, I’ll get them...” The sounds of their younger siblings being herded to bed interrupted him. “Later,” he concluded. “We’ll probably need warm clothes,” he continued. “We could always shift if it gets too cold. We’ll definitely need to hunt...”

“Or we can stop by the supermarket on the way there,” Shane pointed out sensibly.

Tim rolled his eyes at him. “Sure, and you’re gonna eat tinned beans for months on end?”

“If I have to.”

“Well, you don’t, I—” He stopped and made a show of smiling smarmily. “I don’t want to, either.”

Shane appreciated it, but of course he had no way of saying so without making it weird himself. “We should leave a note.”

“That’s your job,” his twin said at once.

“Really?” Shane asked. “Because you seemed to have a lot to say earlier.”

“Exactly,” Tim said cheerily, opening the wardrobe and starting to sniff the clothes he’d been collecting on a pile to see if they were clean. “We don’t want to piss them off. We want sensible Shane.”

“Ugh, okay,” he conceded. “But you owe me.”

He knew it had been a stupid thing to say as soon as it was out. But Tim didn’t react at all, which was telling in itself but was better than promises of eternal servitude or whatever the hell it was called.

Once they’d decided, it wasn’t hard to do it—as the oldest, they had the bedroom further from their parents, on the ground floor instead of on the first store like the rest. It was just a matter of opening the window that looked into the back of the house and passing his bags to Tim for him to carry to the pick-up truck they’d bought with the earnings from their first summer jobs at sixteen.

The letter wasn’t as easy.

Because it was a letter, not a mere note.

His mother was a difficult person, but facing the life she’d led for eighteen years, Shane didn’t dare blame her for it—if she didn’t believe the Moon Goddess had set them on this path... What did she have left?

Shane could hardly deny the power of the moon, but he didn’t believe it had any conscious plans—not any more than any other force of nature. Oceans and rivers drowned people, fire burned and the moon... the moon did this. Uncaring of the creatures it affected as only nature could be.

Not cruel, simply indifferent.

He tried to explain it in words his mother could accept, never denying the goddess’s power but insisting he could not just subject himself to it. He promised her he would not see any doctors because that was as specific as he could be without his hand shaking too hard to trace the letters. And he promised to return, which he wasn’t sure was true.

Then he went out and joined Tim in the car, the silence between them like a leash.

Their hands almost collided reaching for the radio and Tim laughed. “Twin powers activate,” he joked, withdrawing his hand and letting Shane select the station.

“Did you call Yolanda?”

“Texted her, figured that was less obvious.”

“Is she coming with us to the cabin?”

“No need, we have GPS. Reception isn’t great up there, but they got a dish so it mostly works.”

Shane gave him a look at the wealth of information.

Tim shrugged. “Doesn’t hurt to be prepared,” he said, making a turn.

Of course Tim had known what Shane would decide, but he hadn’t pushed him for it. He’d just... He glanced out the window, feeling strangely exposed.

“What about the supermarket?” he asked after a while. It was around 1 am, there would be nothing open until the next day at least and by then they needed to be at the cabin or...

“24 hours Asda,” Tim replied, smirking.

Shane smacked his arm. “Goddess, you’re such a show off.”

Tim gave him his trademark heavy lidded look, perfectioned with sunglasses but equally intense without. “If you got it, flaunt it.”

Shane rolled his eyes at him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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