It's my 21st wedding anniversary today and I am in a romantic, fluffy mood, so I decided to share it. This is some flash fiction I threw together today. It has magic and werewolves and romance, and I hope you enjoy it.
It has not been beta'd by anyone but me, so I apologise if I missed any mistakes.
by Natasha Duncan-Drake
Pytar slammed the door behind him and turned the key in the lock for good measure. Only then did he look at Lunis. Not unexpectedly, his best friend was raising both eyebrows at his behaviour.
"I think I did something stupid," he said, even as he heard distant howls in his head.
"Not really anything new," Lunis pointed out, "but you don't usually barge into my rooms and immediately bar the door."
Pytar would have protested, but his friend had a point.
"It's worse than usual," he admitted.
"How is that possible?"
Again, a fair point. It wasn't Pytar's fault he was a mage with too much power and not a lot of control. He was doing his best. When he'd been hit by a mage storm at the age of seventeen, ten years after most children with any ability had started training, and suddenly found himself with powers, he'd become a headache for everyone, including himself.
"I found a statue," he said. "It was a wolf and I knew you'd love it, so I bought it."
Lunis sounded resigned. Not that Pytar could blame his best friend, well only friend really. Everyone else seemed frightened he'd do something spectacularly dangerous and stayed well away from him.
"When I got it home it felt weird," Pytar explained. "I didn't want to give you something cursed, so I used a little magic to examine it."
He paused, embarrassed.
"And?" Lunis prompted.
"And I think I activated the spell on it rather than just looking."
When he stopped again Lunis made an agitated hand gesture.
"I heard howls," Pytar said. "In fact I can still hear howls. I think," he was so embarrassed, "I think the statue is quite old and it might be an ancient mating talisman."
"By all that is holy," Lunis said, pinching the bridge of his nose. "You're telling me you just declared open season on yourself to every unmated werewolf in range?"
"I think so," he admitted in a very small voice.
He'd studied these things, but mating talismans were history, there weren't supposed to be any left. Once upon a time werewolves had held a yearly festival for those among them not lucky enough to have found a mate, and willing humans had used talismans to declare their interest. These days werewolves tended to use the internet like everyone else.
"Can you stop it?" he asked rather desperately and fumbled in his backpack for the damn statue.
He almost dropped it as he finally pulled it out, it was glowing. Instead he held it out to Lunis in perfect faith. Lunis knew everything there was to know about wolves, were- and natural. He'd come to the academy a year and a half after Pytar, an independent researcher with his own funding, and the only person who seemed able to drag Pytar out of all the trouble he found on an almost daily basis.
Surprisingly, Lunis did not immediately reach out to take the statue. In fact, he stepped backward.
"Oh god," Pytar said, "I'm sorry, could it affect you too."
He hadn't thought of that. Two of them attracting werewolves would be even worse.
Howls sounded in his head again, louder.
"What do I do?"
He didn't know how to turn this off.
"How many howls do you hear?"
"Um," the question caught him off guard, but helpfully the howls came again. "Six," he said.
Lunis sounded even more exasperated than usual.
"You've activated it at full strength," Lunis said, pinching the bridge of his nose again.
Pytar made him do that a lot.
"Can I turn it off?" He could hope.
"It's too late," Lunis said. "The magic in such things was designed to override the natural proclivities of the werewolves taking part in the festival. Once caught by the enchantment the only thing that can stop it is for the spell to be completed by the initiator mating with a werewolf."
"That doesn't sound very safe."
"It wasn't supposed to be safe," Lunis told him in a very pointed tone, "it was supposed to work, and werewolf mating is complicated. But I don't understand, everything I've read suggested that the charm could only be activated by someone who really wanted it. That was the safeguard."
Pytar swallowed. He was beginning to get a clue as to how this might have happened. This was going to be even worse than he thought.
"Tell me," Lunis said even though he hadn't said anything. "You know something," his friend added, "I recognise the guilty expression."
Taking in a breath Pytar went to speak, but nothing came out. He couldn't just tell his best friend he'd been harbouring a crush for almost as long as they'd known each other. Lunis had never shown any interest in relationships, ever, and Pytar had come to the conclusion his friend was either asexual or just completely focused on his work. They didn't really talk about things like that. It wasn't as if anyone was interested in Pytar, he was too dangerous in most people's books.
"Pytar," Lunis said with a very stern look.
"I may have been thinking about someone when I was examining the statue," he said as the damn thing glowed even brighter.
It was definitely mocking him.
"And your magic acted," Lunis concluded.
Pytar nodded. That was why his magic was such a problem, because he had not been trained to use it from a young age, sometimes it did what he wanted at an unconscious level without him consciously trying to do anything.
"Who are you in love with?"
"What?" The question caught him completely off guard.
"This is mating magic," Lunis told him, "your feelings must have been profound to have affected it. We may be able to salvage this situation if we get you to the object of your affections before any of the werewolves find you."
Love? It blew his mind. He'd never admitted that to himself. It had to be just a crush.
"This is no time for bashfulness, Pytar," Lunis said. "If you are close to the person you love when the werewolves arrive it should throw off the enchantment, even if that person does not return your feelings. You cannot form a mating bond with a werewolf if you are in love with someone else."
Pytar's mouth moved, but his larynx seemed to be frozen.
"Pytar," Lunis said sharply.
"You," he blurted out. "It's you."
Lunis froze, mouth just slightly open and eyes wider than they should have been. Pytar didn't think he'd ever seen his friend stunned before. Exasperated, bemused, resigned, but never stunned.
Pytar nodded, biting his lip.
He totally didn't expect Linus to sit down heavily on the nearest chair.
His heart twisted, he'd never seen Linus like this. Linus was one of the most controlled, careful people Pytar had ever met.
"I don't expect anything, it's why I didn't tell you. And I thought it was just a crush. I know you don't like me like that and I would never think ..."
"I'm such a fool."
Those words made Pytar shut up. His stomach clenched as he saw the only friendship he had crumbling before his eyes.
He wanted to run and hide.
"No," Lunis said, coming back to his feet before Pytar could so much as twitch towards the door.
Power rippled up Pytar's nerves as a spell flared somewhere close. It took him a moment to realise it came from Lunis.
"You're a mage," he said, as he looked in Lunis eyes and saw a spark of mage fire.
In the year they had known each other he have never remotely guessed. Lunis had never given the remotest hint at being anything more than sensitive.
"How?" He had never felt anything, he didn't understand.
"Magic," Lunis said. "I blocked my own power."
"Why? Lunis, why would you..?"
"My name isn't Lunis," the man he clearly didn't know at all said, "it's Fenrir."
It was Pytar's turn to want to sit down.
"Only one person is given that name," he said.
"High mage of the werewolf council," Lunis, or rather Fenrir confirmed for him.
"But you're not..."
Fenrir pulled up the sleeve of his shirt to reveal a very ornate silver armband with a large symbol in a circle on one side. Pytar had only seen much planer versions on TV. It was a werewolf suppression band, usually only employed on werewolves who were criminals to contain their abilities.
"Who did that to you?" Pytar demanded as his protective instincts fired.
"I did," were the words that froze him again.
"Why?" It seemed the only valid question.
"The mage storm that changed you," Fenrir said, "I created it. At the time I thought I'd had a magical accident. It took me months to figure out what I'd actually done. Then I heard about you and realised it wasn't an accident at all. Part of me did it deliberately, the wolf part."
"I don't understand," Pytar admitted. "What? Why me?"
That storm had come out of nowhere. It had taken him from his safe little life as a regular human and thrown him into the middle of the magical part of society.
"You're my mate."
Now Pytar did sit down, directly on the floor.
"You know how your magic does things you want without asking for your conscious consent?" Fenrir went on. "Well occasionally it happens to the rest of us too. I didn't understand until I found you. I knew I had to help you, it was my fault, but I wanted you too much. I did the only thing I could, I suppressed my magic and my wolf and I came here."
"Were you ever going to tell me?"
Fenrir sat down again, running his hand through is hair.
"I don't know. I didn't want to force you into anything, I'd already done that."
Pytar didn't know how to react, so he sat there and let the ideas run around inside his head.
"Do you believe in destiny?" he finally asked.
"No," Fenrir said.
"I didn't either," Pytar said, "but then a mage storm appeared in my bedroom, it put me in a coma for a month and gave me all these powers that I can't control properly. Ever since I've felt like there's something out there waiting for me. It's what's kept me sane."
He hadn't even admitted that to the councillor helping him through the transition.
"You think you became a mage for a reason?" Fenrir said. "But that reason was me."
Pytar looked at the statue in his hand.
"Part of that reason was you," he said, "but I think this is bigger than both of us. I do think the universe wants us together though," he added. "How likely is it that one of these would surface now? Wasn't the last one found dug up twenty years ago and put in a museum?"
Before Fenrir could reply the howling ripped through Pytar's head again, this time very loud.
"What happens if you take that off?" he asked, pointing at the band on Fenrir's arm.
"All the urges I've been suppressing come out," Fenrir said, voice completely devoid of emotion, "and I become prey to that as well."
He pointed at the statue.
"And what would you say to that happening?" Pytar asked.
"Me, what about you? Mate bonds are for life, Pytar. There's no going back. It's why we don't use magic like the statue anymore. Why they are so rare."
"You just pointed out I'm in love with you," he said.
"I could have been wrong," Fenrir said.
Of course Fenrir would have doubts now.
"Bollocks to this," Pytar decided and knelt up. "Can I kiss you?"
Fenrir blinked at him.
"We might as well find out," Pytar said.
He waited as Fenrir thought about it, and finally nodded, just a little. The wooden floor was hard under his knees, but he didn't bother standing up, crossing it quickly. Leaning forward he closed his eyes, putting his lips against Fenrir's. He should have known it wouldn't be that simple though, with him it never was.
Just the simple action was like lighting a touch paper. His magic jumped for joy, his hormones weren't far behind, and he had no choice but to lean into the kiss. Fenrir responded in kind, mouth opening almost immediately, and tongue darting out to skip over Pytar's lips. By mutual consent they deepened the kiss and Pytar hummed in delight as strong arms wound round him to pull him closer.
There was a fizz, a bang and sparks erupted from Fenrir's right arm. With a clunk the heavy silver band split in two and fell towards the floor.
Pytar had just enough time to watch it hit the floorboards and look back at Fenrir, before he was flattened with the werewolf right on top of him. However, that was where Fenrir froze, eyes squeezed tight shut.
"If ... if you don't want ... this ... do ... something and ... run."
It seemed to take every ounce of will Fenrir had to force the words out. He was shaking and Pytar could feel the werewolf's magic swirling. To see such control was breathtaking.
"I broke the band," Pytar said and eyes that were no longer blue, but deep orange opened to stare at him.
With all the magic swirling around he couldn't actually be one hundred percent sure it had been all him, but he was pretty certain. At least it made his point.
The statue had fallen from his hand as he was pushed back. It glowed so brightly he could see it without turning to look at it, and when he did, it flashed and dissolved into a pile of ash on the floor.
"So that's why there are so few of them left," he said.
Teeth biting into the side of his neck brought him back to what was going on with a bump. It wasn't hard enough to break the skin, but it did hurt. Surprisingly he found he didn't mind and he moaned as his nerves lit up. He'd read about werewolf love bites, but he'd had no idea how much he would love them.
"Oh hell yes," he said as Fenrir licked where he had just bitten. "We should have been doing this ages ago."
Fenrir's only reply was a growl and bite off Pytar's top button. The howls sounded in Pytar's head again and this time Fenrir put his head back and sent one of his own.
It made Pytar shiver as something magical clicked into place. He was pinned down by a full grown werewolf who also happened to be a high mage, and he wasn't the least bit afraid. For the first time since magic had invaded his life, he knew where he was supposed to be. He grinned as Fenrir looked down at him hungrily.
"Just so you know," Pytar said, "you're buying me a new shirt."
"I'll buy you some new pants too," Fenrir said, voice deep with an underlying growl that spoke of barely controlled power.
He never got to finish the question as Fenrir sat back, took hold of the top of his trousers and casually ripped them down the middle. Pytar couldn't help being impressed with the impressive strength that must have taken and, throwing caution to the wind, he grabbed Fenrir's belt to reciprocate in a much less showy fashion. The future would undoubtedly be messy, but he was going to enjoy this.
~*~BTW - if you like paranormal fiction and would like to read another freebie, I have a new novella up on Wattpad. Wattpad is a completely free to read platform, that you can read on your phone/tablet with the ap, or on the web. In case you can't guess by the title, it's a vampire novella ;).
If you enjoy it, I would be so very grateful if you click the little vote button on each chapter - they help the story go up the rankings on Wattpad and be seen by more readers.