*Warning: Strong Language*
Simultaneous sensations hit him.
Warmth spread across his jaw from the gentle touch of fingertips.
Heat from silk pressed into his lips.
It rendered him immobile. He couldn't process the overload of beautiful tenderness that was dancing across his brain.
So desperately his mind asked him to pull away. Push out of something that should have been all wrong. Stop staring at the blonde eyelashes on closed eyelids.
But his body said something else.
As he stood there, paralyzed by his first kiss, he felt his heart explode. Rhythmic brushing of lips teasing across his tapped into an ache.
Eyes closed. Lips with a mind of their own tried to capture the intoxicating dance. Keep collecting tingles of pleasure.
The bliss was abruptly cut short.
Eyes flashed back open.
The color of his contracting irises were a contradiction of brooding sky blue sparkles. He could feel the humid heat of breath rolling down his chin.
Chris's deep sensual voice reverberated through his lips and ribs, “Imprinting only works if both wolves are sexually aroused.”
Mindless shiver down through his bones.
Before his brain could register the meaning of his words, Chris pulled away. He disappeared into the hall.
Gasp of air.
He hadn't realized he'd stopped breathing. Stumbling in shock, he felt the cool door of the fridge hit his back. It helped support him as he slid down to the floor.
His fingers quickly flew to his lips. The jittery pads explored. As if they were trying to find clues to classify this experience. He stared at the other side of the kitchen in a haze.
So much confusion.
That was imprinting?
Would it be worth it?
Giving himself completely over?
To protect him?
His brain kept fumbling.
Why did he react like that?
Why did he want it?
It didn't make sense.
Logic and emotions were clashing. Fighting blindly with each other. Chaos rattled around inside his skull.
Only one thing was certain. Chris was right.
This wasn't simple.
But he wanted it to be.
With a stuttered breath he pressed his face into his hands. An unknown amount of time passed. He was lost to the world. Voices of his thoughts were the only things that rang in his ears.
For the first time, he wasn't so sure how well he knew himself.
Jitters turned into weak muscles. His lungs could finally catch a full breath. Even with a chattering mind, he was able to convince his body that it was time to get up. Like a zombie he wandered to the stairs.
There was an intense mix of sweet acid still lingering in the air when he took the first step. That sweetness at last had a meaning. As he pushed his body forward, his lungs ate it up. Savored it. Breathed out the spent air so they could refresh themselves.
Sweet meant affection. Attachment.
His words from two weeks before flooded his brain.
I care about you too much…way too much.
A positive soft feeling filled his chest at the recollection. Which splashed more gasoline on his already burning mind.
His bed was a welcome relief. The tactile sensations distracted him from the prison of his thoughts. Pulling the sheets and comforter up and over his head, he curled up. This would be his fortress of certainty for now. Buried in blankets, heat, and comfort.
Sleep was a black blur of emptiness. He frequently started awake. Part of him wished he could have a nightmare, so he could at least stay asleep a little longer.
Stinging acid in thick scent woke him for the last time. Chris was up. And just as stressed as he was. There was no way he going to get up and risk running into him. He's just suck it up and be late to class this one time.
In acute attentiveness his ears picked up every little sound that echoed up the stairs. He stayed in bed long after they stopped. Just to be sure.
“Earth to Danny…”
He flicked his unfocused eyes from the screen. Dave was giving him a quizzical look over the top of his laptop.
“Uh, sorry, what'd ya say?” He stuttered.
Dave let out a huff and rolled his eyes.
“Dude, what's your problem? You've been a damn space case for the last hour.”
With a weak half smile, he shrugged.
“Just really tired. Slept horrible last night.” He mumbled.
Dave raised an eyebrow at him.
“Bullshit you're tired. I know what tired Danny looks like. Fess up dumbass, what the hell is going on with you?”
Irritation hit his chest.
“I am tired, seriously. Fuck off.” He snapped.
Dave narrowed his eyes at him.
“Shut it, what the fuck is it?”
Dave's tone told him he wasn't getting out of this one. With a groan, he sunk his head into his arms.
He didn't even know where to start. Taking a couple breaths to try to organize his thoughts, he tried to form them into words.
“You know…how…” He sighed.
“Can't hear you.”
With another groan he straightened up in his chair. Blankly he stared out the library window.
“You know how I told you guys Chris's old pack was gonna kill him?”
“Well…they're still going to do it.”
“They're still coming after him. They want to make an example of him.”
“And my Dad pretty much doesn't give a damn. He's not gonna convense the pack to help protect him when they come. He says he's not an official pack member 'cause…”
He stopped himself. Dave didn't need to know the rest.
“…I actually don't know, he wouldn't tell me.” He mumbled his lie.
He flicked his gaze. Dave's face had fallen into seriousness.
“Yeah…I dunno what to do. I can't do it by myself and the pack wouldn't listen to me. I'm not a true pack leader yet.” He sighed.
Dave's eyes dropped down, seeming to search the desk for an answer. He went back to looking out the window. He felt so lost all over again as the silence grew between them.
“Let's get you a gun.” Dave's quiet voice broke it.
He jerked to look at him.
“Not a big one, just a hand gun. There's a couple beginner ones my dad sells.” Dave quickly added.
“Are you stupid? I don't even know how to use one!”
“I'll take you to the gun range, you idiot!”
He forced down a sticky swallow. Dave folded the screen of his laptop down as he leaned forward. His eyes were laser focused on his face.
“How long til they show up?” Dave asked.
“I dunno…” He quietly replied.
“Then we got time. We'll get your license application started and in the mean time I'll make sure you know how to shoot properly. ”
“I don't want to kill anybody!”
“You don't have to, dumbass! You can shoot a foot or something, incapacitate 'em. It's called self defense.”
“Shut it. You want to save Chris's ass or what?”
Another dense swallow. Dave's stare was beating him down. Clearing his throat he slowly nodded.
“My Dad has a payment program. Put a little down, and just pay monthly installments. I'll help you out.” Dave said flatly.
Nervous anxiety filled him. How was a gun even going to help? There could be dozens of wolves coming for him.
“Thanks…” He mumbled.
Buzzing of both their phones made them jump in unison. He grabbed it.
Jack: Yo, both still in the library?
Jack: Where you at?
Dave: The usual.
Jack: K, See you bitches soon. Oh and Danny boy, do I got a nice lil somethin for you.
His heart jerked. When he looked up, Dave was staring at him with that lifted eyebrow.
“What's Jackiziod so smug about?” He asked.
He sighed, “I asked him to look into criminal laws for me.”
“You asked him for help but didn't talk to me?”
He rolled his eyes, “What do you care?”
Dave snorted with a grin.
“Just playin', you know I gotta give you shit.” He chuckled.
That brought a weak smile to his face. Dave opened his laptop again, and he refocused on his. With a sigh he tried to follow Dave's pointer on their shared screen.
A wad of paper slapped down on his keyboard. He jumped in his skin. In a gut reaction he sunk a punch into Jack's shoulder as he slipped into the chair next to him.
“Fuckin'-A! Tone it down, Ric Junior. Is that any way to thank me?” Jack snickered.
“You're gonna break my laptop, dickweed!” He huffed.
Jack smirked as he leaned over and started flipping through the stack. He continued to glare at the side of his face.
“Dude, lucky for your ass, Kelly has dealt with this shit before,” His eyes started scanning a page, “I figured it was about Chris, so I told her what I knew.”
He turned his attention to Jack's finger. It was rapidly skipping from one highlighted line to another. A glance at Jack's face showed that his eyes were doing the same thing under furrowed brows and thinned lips.
“There!” He exclaimed in prideful satisfaction.
He snapped his eyes back to the place where Jack's pointer finger had hit home. Dave stood up to look.
“That's absolute immunity, bud. Whatever the fuck that means, you or Chris has gotta do it. Literally a trump card in court.”
The line of article was nearly crinkled up under the pressure of his finger. As he slowly read the words, lightening started building in his bones. Confusion evaporated. Fear, anxiety, and desperation exploded into singular determination.
The simple answer he'd wanted had been dropped into his lap.
He knew exactly what he had to do.