A Full Pack

by Anneack

Alternate Universe - Two Blood (sort of, all the guys can change into wolves)

Notes: This is a Buck story for Megan’s birthday day. Well, it’s a lot of Buck, but he kept inviting the others in. Anyway, sorry it’s late but I hope you like it and had a happy birthday.

ATF agent Buck Wilmington yawned and stretched. It had been a long day at the end of a long week. He watched as their temporary teammate collected the few personal items he had with him and nearly bolted for the door. It would be a relief when they finally had a computer man permanently assigned to their team.

Chris did not play well with others in the best of circumstances and this was not the best of situations. It was always hard to try and have a Single-Blood on the team when all the rest of them were Two-Bloods. They were pack; that created a bond that made it hard to accept a stranger into their family easily. Getting a tech agent like them was almost impossible; Josiah said he would try and talk to Chris again about going easier on the tech agents.

Buck clicked his e-mail open when he was flashed a message that he had mail. It was a Chris note, short and to the point. All it said was full moon. That was all it needed to say. Full moon meant a pack night; since Chris was the alpha it was understood that they would meet at his house. It would be great to see Rain and the kids again. Nettie and Casey would be there as well. Nettie might be getting on in years, but she could still take a piece out any of them that gave her trouble. He really hoped that they wouldn’t be losing Casey, but he would understand why if they did, she was a pretty girl and none of the pack were her age.

“Coming Big Dog?” Chris asked, grinning.

Buck grinned, he had gotten that nickname when he had been romping about as a wolf in Chris’s yard and a child from a family that boarded horses there had seen him and commented on the big doggy. “Right behind you.”

Buck shut down his computer and headed out. It was a good night for a hunt. It had been too long since he had gone wolf.

M7 M7 M7

Buck arrived to a large grizzled wolf and a long legged dark brown almost black wolf chasing two cubs around the lawn. Down by the fire pit a black wolf was growling slightly while a shaggy haired brown wolf tried to pin his tail to the ground. A red wolf was watching with amusement. By the pond an older, gray female was with a young light brown female and a dark brown almost black female. Yep, the whole pack was here. Buck smiled in anticipation as he ducked into what they called a changing shack, (Chris had put it up when the pack picked up female members) and minutes later a large gray wolf bounced out.

Seeing that Chris had finally decided that Vin needed a lesson in leaving the boss’s tail alone and was about to nail the youngster, Buck raced over and blinded sided Chris knocking the black over.

Vin and Ezra laughed as Chris whipped around and got into a wrestling match with Buck. No one else could have gotten away with that, except maybe Vin. There was no doubt as to who was alpha in this pack.

As suddenly as it had started, the rough housing stopped. Nathan and Josiah trotted quickly back to the others, each carrying a cub in his mouth. The ladies were coming over from the water to join the others.

All the men hackles were up.

Buck took a deep breath, checking the wind once more. Yep, it was still there, another Two-Blood was in their territory. Chris tilted his head back and howled; a clear declaration to the intruder that this area was taken. The others joined in, a united front against all interlopers. Even the cubs joined in, little more than yips, but one with the pack.

Casey looked imploringly at Chris; but turned away at the low rumbled warning from Nettie. Rain had helped the pack see off more than one uninvited guest, but with young pups she would be staying back. Giving Nathan a quick nuzzle for luck, she picked up one pup, Casey took the other and they followed Nettie towards the shack and house where they would wait.

Chris led the other five into the forest. Hopefully they would only find a lone wolf needing to be seen off or given a reminder to let the resident pack know if you were going through their land. If it was a whole pack, they might be in for a fight.

Being the best tracker of them, Vin moved ahead and took point. When he stopped suddenly, Chris tasted the air and growled soft and menacing. There was more than one now. They could ignore the pack and continue on the trail of the one they had picked up first, ignore the one and go after the pack, or break up and hope that the other group was not large and looking for a fight.

Decision made, Chris barked his orders, and they went after the pack. A single wolf was no real threat and could be dealt with later if he didn’t move on.

M7 M7 M7

The lone wolf took a deep breath. He had been certain that his goose was cooked. Leave it to him to land himself between a resident pack and an invading one. He hadn’t meant to encroach; he had thought this area was unclaimed. Not for the first time he wished he had grown up in a pack and knew the rules. His mother had taught him the ones she had known, but like him, she had never been part of a pack.

Once in the clearing by the road, the dark wolf with white markings shifted into a young man with longish dark hair and white skin. He had hoped that he could save some money by doing a quick hunt here and catching a squirrel or rabbit for dinner. One of the advantages of being able to turn into a wolf was that if money was tight he could catch his meals and he actually liked raw meat in that form. If the hunt went well he figured that maybe he would try camping instead of heading to a motel. Better to be broken than dead in a pack war though; he’d just have to make the funds he had last.

Quickly dressing and mounting his motorcycle, JD Dunne headed towards Denver. He had always wanted to head out west, and now he was. Well, he would be once he found a place to live. Thankfully he had a job. He grinned thinking of the expressions on their faces when he had turned up for his interview with the ATF. Admittedly at twenty-one he was barely over their ‘at least’ line age wise, but he had the required degrees plus three and a half years experience with the Boston PD. He had made enough of an impression to have been hired; now he would just have to convince Orin Travis and his new supervisor that he was the right man for the job.

M7 M7 M7

Vin stopped at the bluff, and turned to Chris, this was almost on the border of their territory. As alpha it was Chris’s call if they continued the pursuit until they found them or if it was enough that the invaders were gone. The rogues had been retreating since the group went after them.

The pack gave another howl to let their presence be known, and headed towards home. Hopefully the other group had gotten the message, if not then they would be dealt with. Turning, Chris led his pack back home. Considering that they had chased the visitor to Stuart James place, part of the black wolf was hoping that the miscreants were enjoying a steak dinner.

Buck followed, still curious about the lone scent they had picked up, it was possible that he had been a scout for the other pack, but somehow he doubted that. There were plenty of lone Two Bloods, especially young males; Buck wondered what his story was. If he was looking for a mate and hunting grounds then he would be crossing Chris quickly enough.

Returning to the house, they shifted back and got dressed. Casey was still in a bit of a snit about not having been allowed to go with. Rain had put the kids down in Chris’s spare room. Once assured that everything was okay, and in Nettie’s case to let them know if she picked up the scent near her place, the Wells and Jacksons headed home. As it was late, the other four took up Chris’s offer to stay the night. This was hardly the first time a pack night had ended up turning into a slumber party.

In the morning Chris was not shocked to find that Buck and Vin, who embraced their inner lupines at every opportunity, had opted to spend the night under the stars in wolf form.

Bleary eyed, Ezra was up, if not real functionally, by seven. Josiah had headed home to shower and dress before heading to the office. Vin and Buck both kept a set of clothes at the ranch so could leave for work from here. Vin was showering after having helped with the ranch chores. Buck had also helped with the chores, but after showering was now romping about the yard.

Vin chuckled as he entered the kitchen just as eggs and toast were done. Chris muttered something under his breath, and opened the back door.

“Buck, get in here or I’m feeding you dog chow and giving Sid your breakfast,” Chris called out. His lab perked up at the sound of his name.

The blond was nearly knocked over as Buck bounded in, grinning broadly and racing down the hall to dress.

“What ya thinking we should do about that other pack?” Vin asked, helping himself to some of the eggs. The Texan didn’t like the idea of strangers that close without knowing who they were, where they were and what they were up to.

“Got anything you’re doing this weekend?” Chris asked, smiling coldly.

“Reckoned I might do some hunting.”

“Think I’ll join you. You two in?” Chris turned to the other men.

“I think I could be prevailed upon to accompany you,” Ezra responded.

“I wouldn’t dream of missing a hunt, pard,” Buck said, buttering his toast as he joined them.

“After work then,” Chris informed them.

“I’ll see that the others are told,” Ezra offered.

“You two best wash up fast, we have to leave in ten minutes,” Chris grinned as he and Vin headed out.

“Mister Wilmington, I assure you that should I find myself wearing suds, you may expect retaliation when you least expect it,” Ezra warned as they began collecting dishes.

“Now would I do that?” Buck asked in mock outrage.

“With alacrity.”

Buck laughed and handed Ezra the rinsed dishes while the Southerner loaded up the dishwasher. Ezra wiped down the table and counters while Buck washed the pan and set it in the rack to dry.

M7 M7 M7

JD took a deep breath. He had taken his bike to a seedy bar that backed up on the forest. Taking an empty duffle bag with him he slipped away and into the forest. Normally he could take or leave being a wolf, but between meeting with ADD Travis and filling out all his personnel papers and getting the tour of the federal building where he would be working, his head was spinning. He just needed to run. Hopefully this was far enough away from the two packs he had run into last time to be safe. It felt a little weird to be doing this since he had spent most of his life hiding his true nature. His mother had warned him that packs did not take strangers in and his best and safest route was to hide his second nature. Even in human form a Two-Blood would know him, but they would not bother him. If he was a wolf he was fair game. JD still hadn’t figured out how to tell if someone was like him or not; maybe he had just never met one outside of his mother.

Stripping down, he shoved his clothes in the duffle bag, hid the bag and shifted. Taking a deep breath he didn’t pick up the scent of any other wolves. Sighing with relief, he saw a rabbit, and with a lupine grin shot after it.

Half an hour, and one rabbit dinner later, he was at a pond. He waded in and lowered his head before thirstily drinking.

Feeling a niggling urge to look up he did so. Swallowing, he stared at what must have been one of the packs from last night.

JD had watched enough nature programs to know what a submissive posture was among wolves, but these were Two-Bloods and somehow he didn’t think that would work here. More like it would get him killed. JD settled for the middle ground; he didn’t growl, but he also didn’t back down. He managed to, without breaking eye contact, turn so he was facing the others; unfortunately the only escape was to go farther into the pond. He was really screwed.

M7 M7 M7

The six lupines moved swiftly through the forest. Vin was once more on point following the rouge pack’s trail easily. If he had been a hound instead of a wolf he would have been bawling his fool head off. With tomorrow not being a workday, they would keep going until they found them this time.

Between the thrill of the hunt and the exhilaration of a fast hard run, their adrenaline was flying as they closed in on the intruders. If the invaders were looking for a fight, they would give them one.

Barreling into the meadow with the waterhole, Chris went straight for the rival leader. Vin lit into a lean scrapper. Two of the younger rouges jumped on Josiah figuring that his age would make him an easy target. They soon learned the error of that assumption. Ezra and Nathan leapt in going for whoever was closest. Buck saw a large male attacking another smaller one in the middle of the pound. It looked like the smaller one was about to be drowned. With a roar of fury, Buck leapt at the bully. You just didn’t do that to a man, er, wolf! Not to mention that he was evidently not part of their pack and he was not on their territory so there was not reason to treat him like that, unless he had started it which he had obviously not. The smaller one Buck rescued turned and ran out like an entire flea circus was after him.

With an ear laid open, a gash across his face and one non functioning leg, the rival leader decided that surrender was a viable option. Of the youngsters that double teamed Josiah one was laying next to a tree he had bounced off of and seeing stars; the other was on his back praying the grizzled brown didn’t decide to eat him alive. Vin was still tussling with his opponent. Ezra’s was licking several deep gashes and had lost the use of one eye; he did have a mouth full of red fur as a trophy. Nathan’s had opted to run for it, his own pack would deal with him later. The penalties for running out on your pack in a fight varied but were always high.

“Leave him, Buck,” Chris barked (literally).

The large gray wolf got off the combatant that he was nearly drowning. A few sharp nips on his hindquarters sped the miscreant out of the pond.

“Come here again and you’ll be taking home bodies!” Chris snarled at the other leader.

He diverted his eyes in submission and called his pack to order.

Under the watchful, and fully prepared to resume the fight, glare of Chris and his brothers, the others collected themselves and slunk off.

Buck turned and walked to the far side of the clearing where the forest began again.

Chris joined him.

“That kid was here,” Buck stated. Obviously he was without a pack, and if he was dumb or inexperienced enough to wade into a pond to drink without checking to see if there were other Two-Bloods around then he was going to be needing some help and sooner rather than later.

“Way he hightailed it out of here I don’t think that we need to worry about him,” Chris snorted.

“Shows he’s got brains, Stud; I’m more worried about those losers finding him on their way home and taking their tempers out on him,” Buck explained. He had also noticed that in the fight, while not backing down the kid had not kept his head lowered to protect his jugular. That was wolf fighting 101 so if this rogue pack went after him, he would be toast.

They looked over at the others. Vin and Nathan had shifted and the medic was looking him over. Other than some nasty bruises and one gash, he was fine.

“I can follow him on my own,” Buck responded. It was probably best that Vin head home.

Chris nodded, and headed back to the others. Buck trotted off with the wolf’s mile eating lope. He would have the youngster seen to in no time.

M7 M7 M7

JD was almost shaking when he pulled his bike into the motel parking lot and went back to his room. What had he been thinking!?! Obviously he had not been far enough away to avoid the territorial war. If that pack hadn’t arrived when it did, he’d have been one dead wolf.

Stripping down he stepped into the shower turning it on as hot as he could take it. Unfortunately it didn’t have a massage function. Still, the hot beating water was helping him relax as well as helping the soreness from the beating he had been getting before the wolf war started.

At least none of the potential bruises were on his face. He would have felt beyond stupid arriving at work and reporting to SAC Christopher Larabee with a black eye or busted nose or something.

Finally feeling human, JD stepped out. Toweled his hair dry, and wrapping a towel around his waist, he headed for bed. His mother had the right idea, best just to forget that he had a wolf side to him.

M7 M7 M7

Luckily Chris was a light sleeper or Buck would have been curling up outside for the night or driving home eight levels past tired.

Hearing the scratching on the door and knowing that Sid was inside; Chris got up and opened the door. Buck licked his hand in greeting as he passed.

The large man yawned widely as he shifted.

Vin joined them, the others having headed home.

Knowing, that Buck was not a modest man, they followed him headed to the guest room with the attached bath.

The two men sat on the bed and waited while Buck stepped into the shower, turning on the massage function. Turning so his face was in the spray he took a deep breath and let it out. Sighing happily as he felt the tiredness leave as though washed off, he turned again and felt it running though his hair and down his back.

Finishing his shower, he toweled off and slipped into the sweats that he kept at Chris’s and that had been left for him in the bathroom.

“Ya find out anything about the kid?” Vin asked. Chris had let the others know what Buck was up to. Josiah had offered to accompany him but Buck was already gone.

“Tracked him to Bunny’s. He must have had a vehicle he left there,” Buck told him.

“Hope ya didn’t go inside and ask about him,” Vin teased. He could only imagine the reaction if Buck had walked in that place naked as a baby.

Chris smirked and Vin chuckled at the rude gesture sent his way, but Buck was smiling too.

“We’ll have to assume that he got home okay,” Chris said, as he and Vin got up. “Maybe we’ll cross his path again.”

Buck yawned, and nodded, turning the bed down to climb into it.

As the three men settled in for the night, Buck wondered again about the lone Two-Blood and why he had not known to look out for danger when drinking. They had seen him twice in as many days; maybe he was going to try and settle in the area? Buck drifted off to sleep still wondering about the new comer and wondering why the stranger had caught his interest like this.

M7 M7 M7

Monday morning Buck was sitting at his desk make a quick personal call to confirm his plans for the night. Hopefully the long-legged Cajun beauty would distract him from the concern he had not been able to shake about that solo wolf.

An energetic kid looking like he should have been in high school entered the bullpen. Looking around he saw that he was the center of attention.

“Help you with something, son?” Josiah asked.

“Yeah, I’m J.D. Dunne; I’m the tech agent temporarily assigned to you,” he almost burbled with energy and excitement.

“I’ll talk to you later, Tina,” Buck ended the call abruptly and hung up. Well, the hunt for the lone wolf was over. Considering that he had just walked into a room containing an entire pack of Two-Bloods, JD should have been resembling a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers, but he was either oblivious or had nerves of titanium.

“Desk’s over here, kid,” the mustached man motioned to the desk nearest him.

“Thanks!” JD grinned. “I’m supposed to report to SAC Larabee.”

“He’ll come and get you in a minute when he’s off the phone,” Vin informed him.

“Okay,” JD sat at the desk Buck has indicated as his.

“I’m Buck Wilmington, explosives,” The mustached man introduced himself.

“Nathan Jackson; team medic.”

“Name’s Vin Tanner, I’m the team sniper.”

“Nice to meet you, brother, I’m Josiah Sanchez I do the profiling.”

“Ezra P. Standish, undercover agent.”

The men all introduced themselves and shook hands with the new arrival.

“Chris Larabee; I see you’ve met the rest of the team,” The blond stepped out of his office and joined them. Thankfully he had been in his office when he had picked up the scent of their mystery Two-Blood. It’d be interesting to see how this played out.

“Nice to meet you; you won’t be sorry for giving me a chance,” JD assured him.

“Wasn’t given much of a choice, hope you’re up to it.”

“I’ve got degree’s in computers and law enforcement and worked three years for the Boston PD. I’m no rookie,” JD responded boldly.

Buck smirked; the kid had guts. Getting in Chris’s face was usual tantamount to suicide, especially if he didn’t know you.

“Get settled in, we’ve got a briefing for the new case in half an hour,” Chris informed them all and returned to his office.

“How long have you resided in this fair city?” Ezra asked.

“I just moved here five days ago from Boston,”

“Where are you staying?” Buck asked.

“Sleep Tight Motel.”

They stared at him in shock.

“Kid, ya best keep ye gun and ammunition handy in that place,” Vin suggested.

“That place is trouble, stay there and we’ll be putting you to bed with a shovel,” Buck informed him. If someone didn’t do something, this kid was going to get himself killed; no one stayed in that dive.

“Yeah, I think the nightly raids are a clue; but I can’t afford anything else at the moment,” JD told them.

“I’ve got an extra room, you can stay with me,” Buck offered.

“I’ll be fine,” JD assured him.

With dubious looks from the others, the men settled into preparing for the briefing and learning about their next case.

JD’s peaceful and quiet night, likely had something to do with the large gray wolf curled up outside his door warning off troublemakers.

M7 M7 M7

Chris raised an eyebrow when he stepped out of his office on a coffee run and nearly collided with his temporary agent. He was pretty sure that all JD needed to break the space-time continuum and meet himself coming was rocket propelled roller skates. The kid had his own computer as well as a lap top humming away on his desk doing something or other, while he was going from desk to desk doing something on everyone else’s computers and making mad dashes at times to his own set up to check on whatever they were doing. Well, whatever else probationary agent John Daniel Dunne was, he was certainly not lazy. A chipmunk on speed would be slow compared to him.

“Hey Mr. Larabee, if you can give me about ten minutes on your computer at some point I’ll get it up to speed for you,” JD told him grinning, from Ezra’s desk.

“What are you going to do to it?” Chris asked hesitantly. One of the former tech agents had made him the same offer and accidently erased some very sensitive and important documents he had been working with. Buck had ended up restraining Chris while Vin and Ezra ‘escorted’ the idiot out.

“Just some routine upgrade and maintenance you were due for anyway. The tech department is back logged so I figured that I could easily run them while my computer was doing its searches.”

“Kid’s got mine running twice as fast as it was,” Buck grinned.

“Give me a minute and you can do it,” Chris told him returning to his office to close out of anything sensitive. Usually the tech agents were adamant that they were NOT tech services and therefore would not DO the routine maintenances, upgrades and such. It was a nice change.

Chris looked up at a knock on his door. Seeing JD, he got up from his desk and went around so JD could get at it.

“What’s that?” Chris asked as he saw a small device plugged into his computer’s USB port.

“A jump drive, it acts like a disk, you save things on it. As a safety precaution, I’m putting all your files and stuff on it so that if anything goes wonky, nothing’s lost.”

“I have some sensitive and classified information on there,” Chris informed him.

“I know,” JD confirmed and handed Chris the jump drive. “That’s why I’m giving that to you. Once we know that nothing was lost in the upgrades; you can watch while I wipe it.”

Chris nodded, that was completely agreeable to him and within safety protocol for standard documents.

Chris watched him and for a moment wondered if he had ever been that nervous and anxious to please?

“JD, you don’t have to impress me; just do your job; that’s all I ask,” Chris told him.

JD looked up at him. “I know that Travis assigned me here, I just want you to know that I’m right for the job.”

“I haven’t seen anything so far to tell that you aren’t; so just relax; you’ve been running around here all week like Tigger on speed. I appreciate the can do attitude but you’ll burn out or pass out at this rate.”

“Actually, even when I’m relaxed I’m like this. Mom used to say that I just had a lot of energy,” JD replied.

“Just so you know that you don’t have to do everything at once,” Chris said, and headed out for his coffee.

Chris stopped by Buck’s desk as the mustached agent yawned.

“Still sleeping on the kid’s doorstep or is there another reason for being tired?” Chris grinned.

“I wish there were stud; but no I’m still at the door. I think the dang place is giving me fleas though,” Buck sighed.

“Reckon you can keep them to yer self,” Vin told him, returning from a coffee run and handing Chris a full mug.

“Perhaps you should invest in a good flea & tick collar?” Ezra joined in.

“I could recommend a good powder,” Nathan chuckled.

“Haha, it ain’t that funny,” Buck snorted feigning outrage. “What he needs is the protection of a pack.”

“Buck, he hasn’t even admitted to us that he IS one, much less asked to join us,” Chris pointed out.

“I don’t think he knows that we’re Two-Bloods,” Vin commented.

“Sounds like he could use a little guidance,” Josiah suggested.

Buck nodded thoughtfully as he returned to his report and the others to their various tasks. From what he had seen, JD definitely needed wolf lessons, but how could he help if JD wouldn’t let him in on the secret?

M7 M7 M7

Buck trotted towards JD’s motel room. Maybe the best way to get JD to tell his secret would be for him to share his. If the kid knew he was a Two-Blood then he should be cool with sharing that he was.

Hearing a low growl, Buck whipped around to find three of the wolves that the pack had seen off. Damn it! He had been thinking so hard about JD that he had forgotten to pay attention. Forgetting such a basic thing was sheer, unadulterated, stupidity!

As they closed in, Buck raised his hackle and lowered his head to protect his throat. If he was going down, he was going to give them a fight to remember.

One leapt at the large gray and the fight was on. The youngest was soon out of the fight, he was young and inexperienced. The same couldn’t be said of the others. It was all fur, fangs, and fury. Buck had not had trouble defeating the youngster, but while dealing with him had taken several deep and painful wounds from the other two. Vin had made him watch one of his nature programs with him once about wolves in Yellowstone Park. It had told how a pack would bring down a prey by circling it so when it was fighting off one attack the rest could go at it. Eventually it would fall from the attacks and from the exhaustion of trying to fight in every direction at once. Buck was beginning to know how that Caribou had felt. While he was fighting off one, the other one was working over from another direction, when he began dealing with that one, the first one lit into him.

Just as Buck was about to go down; some hoods entered the lot, probably to take bets on them or something considering this area, and the three ran off. Buck had left them with some serious injuries to remember him by, but nothing like what they had given him.

Buck limped off as fast as he could, which was not fast, but from what he was smelling the boys had been more interested in smoking their weed than going after him.

There was no way that he could make it to Chris’s from here. Not to mention that trying to make a trek like that through the woods would be asking for another round with his two dancing partners. JD’s wasn’t far, so he took a deep breath and started towards his original destination, but now for a totally different reason. It looked like he was going to be telling JD the truth, just not in the way he had planned.

The ten minute trip ended up taking just over twenty, but Buck managed to limp, crawl, and finally dragged himself to the now familiar door on the second floor. He whined and scratched; hopefully JD wasn’t a heavy sleeper and would wake up.

Inside, JD yawned and rolled over. He lifted his head up; he thought he had heard something. There it was again. Throwing the covers back, JD got up and went to his door. Times like this a peek hole would be real nice, he thought as he slowly opened the door.

Looking down, he inhaled sharply. A huge gray wolf was laying there thumping his tail and whining. JD said nothing, his mouth working but no sound coming as he opened the door wide, not sure how to help the obviously badly injured animal. As a cop he had had first aid training, but it had not extended to animals.

The wolf licked his hand as he limped into the room.

Swallowing hard, JD locked the door and turned to see the large wolf painfully hop onto the bed and shift into Buck.

“Okay, vet or a doctor?” JD asked, blinking.

“Nathan; he’ll know what to do,” Buck hissed, and bit his lip against the pain.

JD leapt on this cell phone and hung his head. “I don’t know his number.

“303-554-6893. Sorry kid, forgot you haven’t been with us that long,” Buck gave him the number.

JD’s fingers flew as he dialed.

“Jackson,” a voice answered on the other end.

“Nathan! It’s JD!”

“You been jumped or something?” Nathan asked.

“I’m fine, it’s Buck. He’s really bad.”

“Okay, is he at your place?” Nathan asked.

“Yeah,” JD answered taking a deep breath.

“Is he conscious?”

JD looked over at the large man. “Yeah, he’s conscious.”

“No, I did not lose consciousness and I need them both,” Buck called out.

“He,” JD began relaying.

“I heard him; we’ll be there in ten to fifteen minutes. I’ll let the others know too. Vin might get there first since he lives closer to you.”

“How the hell did you hear him?” JD asked.

“I’ll tell you when we get there; just do what Buck says and you should be okay until then. If he loses consciousness call me immediately.”

“Got it,” JD said, ending the call.

Ducking into the bathroom, JD came back with all the towels and wash cloths and everything else he could find.

“Okay, these look worse, so I’ll start there,” JD told him, placing the damp cloth on an arm wound and starting cleaning.

Buck nodded and slightly elevated his arm into the correct first aid position.

“You’re a Two-Blood,” JD said, holding the cloth against the now clean wound and applying pressure.

“Since the day I was born; let’s talk about that later, okay?” Buck asked.

“Sure, guess you really don’t feel much like talking right now,” JD smiled, as he applied pressure to another wound. Well, he had a pretty good idea now who the pack he had met earlier was. Thinking about it now, it was hard to believe he had missed it. Hopefully they’d be cool with him staying in the area; maybe they’d even let him stay on the team. For now, he’d settle for just keeping Buck in one piece until Nathan got here.

M7 M7 M7

Buck smiled weakly from the bed as JD let Vin in. Only having seen Vin at work, the kid had never seen him in his black leather jacket and motorcycle boots. Those mixed with his standard jeans and t-shirt had him looking some a long haired Hells Angels or something.

“Hope the Harley doesn’t sprout legs,” Buck teased between gritted teeth.

“I ain’t riskin’ that, got the jeep. Anything happens to that and I can replace it,” Vin answered.

“They’d be doing you a favor if they were willing to take that thing.”

“I’ve just been cleaning him up and trying to get the bleeding under control until Nathan gets here,” JD explained.

“You’re doing fine,” Buck assured him.

“Got some bandages here, figured we’d need ‘em,” Vin opened the bag he was carrying and began pulling out medical supplies.

“Great, because I think I’ve used everything I’ve got,” JD told him opening up the door to a knock.

“Buck, baby, you look awful,” Rain told him breezing in with Nathan. Both of them had medical bags, but hers had DMV on it. Her being a vet explained why Buck had asked for both of them.

“Well, that’s just about possible,” he tried to smile at her.

JD stood back as the couple got to work.

“What happened?” Nathan asked as he began his examination.

“Well,” Buck began and nodded slightly to acknowledge the rest of the teams entrance, “I was heading here for the night and got jumped in the abandoned field between the High school and Cub foods, right behind the Owl Bar.”

“Same pack we’ve had trouble with?” Vin asked, almost vibrating with fury.

Buck nodded and hissed as Nathan used an alcohol wipe on a particularly nasty gash. “Three of them; two walked away and the other one crawled.”

“What’s the outlook?” Chris asked.

“He’s banged up good, but he’ll live to fight another day,” Rain answered.

“He’ll need stitches and lots of them, not to mention that I’m pretty sure his arm is broken,” Nathan informed them.

“I could do it at the clinic, but if I stitch him up and cast that arm he’d have to stay as a wolf until it healed,” Rain pointed out.

“They’ll be questions if we take him to the ER in this condition.” Josiah pointed out.

“How very unfortunate for Mister Wilmington that he was skinny dipping in the pound by the fence on the far end of Mr. Larabee’s south pasture and suddenly found himself face to face with a wolf pack that included young cubs. The adults took exception to this and attacked him.

“Naturally,” Chris grinned. Ezra could think on his feet faster than any man he knew.

“Good thing we heard it and were able to get there pretty quick or it might have been a lot worse,” Vin added.

By now Buck was smirking at the story they came up with; the pain killers Nathan had given him were making him a bit punchy.

Rain kissed Nathan lightly on the cheek and bid the others good night before heading out. Since Buck was needing a doctor and not a vet her job here was done, and she wanted to get home to the babies.

Josiah and Nathan helped the bandaged and slightly high Buck up and out to Nathan’s Subaru.

“Best get your things together, kid,” Vin instructed. “The two Buck left in decent shape or members of their pack might track him here.”

“You’re not staying here,” Chris informed him.

JD looked at them and nodded, he didn’t want to stay here now anyway. Turning, he started collecting his few belongings.

“Everything’s covered in blood,” he told them turning to the two men.

“Trust me, in this place, no one will notice,” Ezra assured him.

JD nodded, took two duffle bags out of the closet and quickly tossed all his worldly possessions in them.

The three men went with him as he headed down to the office and settled his bill. As Ezra has told him, no one seemed surprised when he mentioned the mess in the room from an injured stray he had tried to help. They merely told him that he would be charged for the cleaning fee. Ezra informed them that an itemized list of the expense would be required and gave his address as the place to send it.

Chris and Vin hoisted JD’s bike into the back of the Ram and set off for the hospital. JD followed Ezra to his Jaguar and climbed in.

“Might I guess that you have some questions?” Ezra asked.

JD looked at him.

“Obviously Buck is a Two-Blood and you’re all cool with that.”

Ezra nodded. “We could hardly hold it against him.”

“I figured that Nathan was one as well since he heard Buck calling to him when I called him. The rest of you are too aren’t you?”

“Yes indeed, we’re the Four Corner’s Pack.”

“So you’re not the Denver Pack?”

Ezra laughed, “No, claiming an entire city would be daunting to say the least. It’s also understood that since a lot of Two-Bloods reside or are employed in cities they are considered neutral areas.”

“If you weren’t born into a pack is there anyway to join one?” JD asked.

Ezra smiled, “You ask.”

Before JD could ask anything more, they were at the hospital. Apparently his mom had been wrong about packs not accepting outsiders. At least some packs evidently did. That meant that there was at least a chance that he might be able to join with the Four Corner’s Pack.

M7 M7 M7

By the time that they arrived Buck had already been taken in back. Everyone was in the waiting room. It was evident that they were not strangers to this place; for one thing they were on a first name basis with the personnel.

A young woman in a nurse’s uniform came out. “It takes Buck to get attacked by wolves while skinny dipping. Here’s his prescription, Nathan; I went ahead and e-mailed it to the corner Walgreen’s since the public pharmacy here closed at ten.”

“Thanks,” Nathan smiled as he took it and went to pick it up. Ever since the time when Chris had been shot and it had taken the pharmacy an hour and a half to get the pain killers for him, Nathan had gotten in the habit of getting the request in as soon as possible so that they would hopefully have it when the patient headed home.

“Dr. Richards wants to know which of you will be staying with him,” She told the five remaining men.

“I can,” JD offered. He didn’t have anywhere else to go right now, and if he had heard him right, he had been heading to the motel when he was hurt. If Buck had protecting him, then he owed the large man.

“Have you ever taken care of anyone?” The nurse asked.

“My mom died of cancer a year ago; I spent two years taking care of her,” he answered softly.

“Then you know what to do, son,” Josiah squeezed his shoulder. The loss was obviously still raw.

“You can work from home with your laptop right?” Chris asked.

“Yeah, I’ve got remote access.”

The blond nodded, “Why don’t you do that while Buck’s out.”

“Sure, happy to,” JD agreed. Buck likely wouldn’t be in any shape to be left alone.

Two hours later, a pale Buck slowly and carefully walked towards them with a nurse at the elbow of his unbroken arm, just in case. Frankenstein did not have as many stitches as he did.

“Thanks for grabbing the clothes for me,” Buck told Nathan. The medic had picked up Buck’s favorite, well worn sweat pants as well as a loose button front shirt while he had been waiting on the prescriptions.

Nathan nodded. “I gotta get going. I’ll drop by in the morning and see how you’re doing. JD’s got your meds.”

“Chris told me you’d come to your sense and taken up my offer of a place to stay, for the moment at least. Thank you, appreciate the help,” Buck smiled tiredly at JD.

“Where’s the truck and we’ll get it,” Vin offered.

“Mix ‘n Match; so many trucks get left there for the night that no one would notice one more.”

Chris shook his head; Buck hadn’t hung out at that place for years.

Josiah gave the two a ride back to Buck’s condo.

The large man sighed appreciatively as they made up his spare bed as well as the couch. The doctor had advised that he avoid stairs for a few days at least, and his bedroom was upstairs. He was soon settled in the bed and sound asleep. Thankfully JD was able to comfortable sleep on a couch.

Seeing Josiah out, the young man saw Vin pull up in Buck’s truck and helped them unload his Ninja from the bed of Chris’s truck, as well as tacking the bags he had forgotten that held everything he owned.

Considering he was only staying here long enough to help Buck recover and find a cheep apartment, JD felt strongly as though he had come home.

M7 M7 M7

Most of the next day, Buck did little more than relax in his easy chair. The TV was usually on, but he was dozing most of the time.

JD quietly worked away on his computer and helped Buck if he needed anything, usually before the large man asked. Nathan had dropped in, pronouncing Buck to be on the mend and assuring the young man that in a day or two he would be missing his easy patient.

By day two Buck was less out of it; day three saw him starting to get squirrelly just as Nathan had predicted.

“Kid, you are going to kill me with kindness,” Buck growled as JD trotted in with the drink that the large man had just been thinking he might want.

“Sorry, old habits I guess. When mom was sick I took care of her for so long that I almost knew what she wanted or needed almost before she did.”

“Was she a Two-Blood too?” Buck asked.

JD sat heavily on the couch. They had both been carefully not talking about their mutual dual heritage.

“I think so, she taught me a little, but I sure never saw her change.”

“Some of us don’t, we find it easier to live as Single-Bloods,” Buck said. “A single and a Two-Blood can have children together, but it’s rare.”

“So she probably was like me, but just chose to hide it,” JD sighed as he took in the fact.

“Did you shift much?”

“No, there aren’t many wolves in Boston so mom really drilled it into me how dangerous it would be if anyone saw me as a wolf. She didn’t care if I went wolf as long as I was in the apartment and we were alone. It was pretty boring, so I didn’t bother much,” he replied.

“I can see where it wouldn’t be much fun without anyone to play or interact with; and not being able to go outside,” the mustachioed man sympathized.

“If mom was a Two-Blood then why didn’t she have a pack?” JD asked.

“There could be a lot of reasons of it. She might not have been born in one; and as an adult either didn’t want to be in one, couldn’t find one, or didn’t know how to go about joining one. Most of us weren’t in a pack until we met.”

“I thought Two-bloods were always in packs,” JD told him, confused.

“How much do you know about us?” Buck asked.

JD thought for a moment about covering up is lack of information, but discarded it. “Just a little; Mom taught me what she knew, but it wasn’t that much.”

Buck nodded. “Well, we’re generally happiest in packs, but like I said there can be a lot of reasons why we might not be in one. A lot of time you get just grown cubs that are full off piss and vinegar and not ready to settle down or submit to a pack leader so go off and live on their own or in small groups of other youngster kicking up their heels and burning of some energy for a few years. Sometimes an adult leaves because of issues with the pack leader or because they want to form their own pack. Others weren’t born into a pack and don’t want to join one.”

“Are those the reasons none of you were in ones?” JD inquired, curious as always.

Buck took a deep breath, not sure how much of his pack-mates stories he was free to tell. “Some of them.”

“Why weren’t you in a pack?” JD asked, taking a sip of his ever present soda.

“I was; I was part of Chris’s pack. We meet in the Navy and I’ve been with him ever since. I’m one of the few that have a Single-Blood parent, my mother. My father was a Two-Blood and that’s about all I know about him. Like you, I wasn’t raised in a pack; I wanted one though. Didn’t know how badly until I was in the navy and met Chris,” Buck answered thoughtfully. He wasn’t sure how to describe how right it had felt to have Chris as his alpha, to have a leader, but mostly just to have the bond that went beyond friendship.

JD bit his lip, trying to process all of this.

“What, what exactly does pack mean? I mean, is it family or just like really good friends?” He asked.

Buck looked at him. “Last night, the way they all came, even though Nathan and Rain would have been able to handle it; the way they all stayed at the hospital even though it was late and only one person was needed to take me home, that was pack. Vin going after my truck, even though it was safe, because he knew I would worry about it, that was pack.”

“The way they made sure that you weren’t alone?” JD suggested.

Buck laughed. “That’s pack. Two-Blood’s tend to be social and they know I don’t like being alone, so even though I can handle being alone, someone usually stays with me until I can come in.”

An easy silence fell between them.

“My wanting you to come and stay here, that was pack too,” Buck said quietly.

“I’m not even part of your pack,” JD stared at him.

“No, but you were one of us, and looked a bit lost. Besides, I had a feeling you’d fit in with us,” Buck grinned.

“Do, do you think Chris would let me join you? I’m not real sure that he likes me,” JD asked the question, praying that the answer would be favorable.

“Trust me kid, if Chris didn’t like you, you wouldn’t still be there. He was just concerned about someone so young being able to handle it on the lead team. We get the worst or the worst and all the hot potatoes. We see some really bad stuff; more than most teams and he was just concerned about you. Now, as for you’re joining the pack; first step is asking. My guess is that Chris will say yes,” Buck assured him.

“I don’t know much about being a wolf,” JD admitted hesitantly.

“Don’t worry about that, we’ll teach you,” Buck told him, trying to sound too excited, He had missed having pups to teach. Nathan and Rain’s cubs were still little more than babies. Vin was the next youngest and he had arrived already having figured out most of what he had to know.

“You think that I could, even after, well, I did kind of bail on you all back at the pond,” JD admitted.

“Son, all you did was avoid getting into a fight that you knew nothing about, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It showed sense. There was no way for you to know which side was which and what pack you wanted to support. I’m guessing you learned a rule about taking a deep breath and checking scents before going into an area with no cover like that though didn’t you?” Buck chuckled.

“I’m definitely checking from now on,” JD laughed. He could imagine how stupid that must have seemed to the others. Awareness was one of the first things drilled into you in the police academy.

Buck suddenly smiled and looked at JD. Had Chris been there he would have known that the large man was up to something crazy.

“Every sung to the moon?” Buck asked.

“No,” JD answered suspiciously. Nathan had given him an e-mail of what Buck could and could not do while the cast was on. He hadn’t said anything about singing, but if it involved shifting that was a no-no in bold, capitalized letters and underlined.

“What say we take us a little drive into the country and sing to it?” Buck suggested.

“You can’t shift,” JD reminded him.

“I don’t need to and you don’t have to if you don’t want to but you can if you want.”

Shaking his head at how easily he was going along with this, JD got up and headed for the door with Buck almost bouncing behind him.

Half an hour later they were out of the city. Buck directed him to a place there they could pull over and see not only the moon but looked out over most of the city.

Buck chuckled a bit at JD’s slipping into the forest to change. It wasn’t like they weren’t both grown men.

Buck grinned as a smallish black wolf with white markings trotted over to him. He might not be large, but then neither was Vin.

Tilting his head back, Buck let out a note closer to a yodel than a howl. Sitting on his haunches, the young wolf joined in as well. In the distance three other lupine voices could be heard.

“Chris, Vin and Ezra,” Buck smiled recognizing his pack mates.

The two repeated their serenade to the night and the moon. Buck smiled down at the grinning wolf. There was no question that JD was pack, he just had to get him to officially join.

M7 M7 M7

Friday Buck was back at work. With one arm in a cast he wasn’t able to do much more than phone calls and typing up reports. But then that was a large percentage of what law officers did these days; calling on leads, calling witnesses and typing up reports. The big man didn’t mind in the least, he was back with the pack and happy.

JD was still busily doing six things at once, but with less of the nervousness that he had possessed before. He still seemed to have a respectful fear of Chris, but that was not necessarily a bad thing; and Buck had no doubt that if something was really important to him, JD would be in Chris’s face about it.

JD laughed when Buck had come back from running some errand. He had heard of people signing casts, but Buck not only had names on his but phone numbers as well. Megan, Katy and Jeannine had all signed it first as they had run into them on their way into work, and it looked like this last trip had resulted in a few more.

“Had the bike long?” Vin asked, bringing a coke over to JD. He had found that they both loved the cold caffeinated beverage.

“About three years; it was kind of a celebration. I had gotten a bachelor’s degree, was working full time with the police like I had always wanted to and had a full scholarship for my Master’s. I paid for half of it and mom paid for half it as a graduation present,” JD answered.

“Bet she was real proud of you,” Nathan smiled.

“Yeah, she kept saying I was the first one in the history of our family to get a degree.”

“I ride a Harley, we should go riding sometime,” Vin offered.

Buck smiled; he wasn’t the only one that had decided JD was pack. Whether on his horse or bike, Vin didn’t invite just anyone to go riding with him.

“That’d be great,” JD beamed. He had never had anyone to go riding with. His mom had always been nervous about him on the bike, but accepted it because it was what he had wanted for so long. Everyone else seemed to obsess on the dangers so he had always ridden alone.

As a celebration of Buck’s return they all decided to head to the Saloon for lunch.

Just before entering the western style bar and grill, Buck stopped JD.

“I want you to take a deep breath and think about what the scents tell you,” He instructed.

The tech shrugged, but did as he was asked.

“Okay, when we go in there, you’ll meet another Two-Blood. Let’s see if you can tell who. It’s always good to be able to tell another two-Blood if you meet one,” Buck told him.

JD nodded and went in.

As soon as they had sat down an attractive Hispanic woman came to get their order.

“Hey, Darlin’!” Buck greeted her.

“Hello, Senor Buck,” She told him with an exaggerated sigh.

JD just stared at her. He had done it! He had figured out who the other Two-Blood was!

“Oh, sorry,” JD grinned when he realized she was waiting for him. “I’ll have the number three lunch special with fries and a Dr. Pepper.”

“Thank you. You’re new on the team?”

“Yes ma’am, I’m JD Dunne,” He held out his hand.

“I’m Inez Rocillos; it’s nice to meet you,” she smiled and went away.

“Is she part of the pack?” JD whispered.

Vin smirked at JD’s excitement. “No kid, there’s another pack that borders our territory, Los Lobos; she’s one of them.”

“Do you get along?”

“Not as well as Buck would like,” Vin smirked.

“We’ve got an alliance of sorts, they stay out of our territory and we stay out of theirs; an intruder comes and we back each other up,” Chris responded.

“Cool!” JD grinned, he had never heard of packs that got along, but it was certainly better than fighting.

“A wise man once said that those who have babies in the cradle want peace in the world. We both have cubs in our packs so it’s better to get along than fight,” Josiah explained.

JD nodded, he could understand that. He remembered some of the time in Boston he had responded to calls in the bad areas and had to deal with the children after a gang fight had left adults dead. He had truly hated calls like that.

“Gonna be up to riding this weekend?” Vin asked, turning to Buck.

“Well, since unlike you I have a horse instead of a monster on hooves; we’ll give it a try and see how it goes.”

“Peso ain’t a monster! He just likes to play,” Vin retorted.

“You have horses?” JD was almost whimpering.

“Yes indeed; might I take that to mean that you are a fan of the equine species as well?” Ezra inquired.

“I love horses. I used to work after school and weekends as a kennel and stable boy at the estate where mom was a maid. I learned how to ride so I could help exercise the horses,” JD explained, munching a fry.

“Come on out this weekend and we’ll see what you’ve got,” Chris offered.

Buck smiled contentedly, if Chris was inviting JD to the ranch, he was one of then, even if it wasn’t official.

M7 M7 M7

Saturday they arrived with a twelve pack of soda, Buck was still on meds and not allowed alcohol and JD was not a big drinker, as well as a couple of steaks for the grill later.

Buck grinned at the young man’s reaction as he took in the slice of heaven that Chris called his own. JD stared in awe at the two mares in the smaller paddock with foals frolicking near them. The team’s horses and boarders were enjoying the beautiful day in the pasture.

Vin already had Peso tacked and was working him in the corral. JD watched in amazement as they ran a barrel racing pattern without the barrels. Apparently they were still discussing the necessity of changing leads when Vin said to. It was a fight he and the gelding had been having for a long time.

JD grinned at the large, graying wolf laying in the sun soaking up the rays. Nathan was beside him in a lawn chair and enjoying the sun as well.

Chris had a yearling tied to the fence and was busy grooming her and cleaning her feet.

“She’s gentling down real nice,” Buck commented as they walked up.

Chris nodded and patted her neck. “She’s coming along, easy to handle so should get a good price for her as a two year old.”

Her ears perked up as JD offered her a slice of apple. Buck had assured him before they left that Chris allowed the horses to be given treats so he had brought some apples and carrots in hopes of making friends.

Since Buck was one armed and JD was unfamiliar with western saddles, Chris tacked up Willow, Buck’s large gray mare. The young man watched with rapt attention. Buck explained how to shorten the stirrups, and he mounted.

She happily began walking when told to do so. When JD told her to turn she stopped and looked up at him in total confusion. He tried again, and she hesitantly moved as directed.

“Might I guess that you have not ridden western style before?” Ezra asked, approaching the corral that now held JD and Willow with Buck perched on the fence giving instructions.

“No, I’ve always ridden English,” JD admitted.

“Then like myself, you are undoubtedly used to traditional reining; where as that lovely mare is trained for neck reining,” Ezra informed him, remembering how he had been required to make the same adjustment after coming west from the South where English was the preferred style among most riders.

Grasping the difficulty, Buck showed his young friend how to hold the reins in one hand and direct the horse by moving the reins.

Understanding what was being asked of her now, Willow gladly went through her gaits, doing figure eights and even backing up and going sideways. She did so love to please her humans.

Chris had been watching while working with some of his youngsters on their ground manners. He did breeding on a small scale and a well mannered horse that was used to being handled got a much better price. JD was obviously not a novice rider; once he had gotten the reins figured out.

“Buck, lets see how JD does on Milagro,” Chris called out. He was a young bay Chris had bred that was little more than green broken; a good horse though, and would get some needed experience with JD taking him on the team trail rides.

Buck nodded. Willow was stripped of the spare gear that JD was using and released pack into the pasture. JD stared as Buck returned leading a handsome, energetic gelding.

He was easily tacked up and eager to do what was asked of him. The only real issues were that he would get so excited that he would forget everything he had been taught and that he had the curiosity of a cat and wanted to check out everything new and different.

JD loved him.

While Buck’s arm was okay for a ride, he had taken some nasty bites in his hindquarters, so it was decided that he should likely wait a week to subject those stitches to a ride. JD opted to stay back with Buck.

Buck watched as JD and Milagro worked in the corral a bit longer before the horse was put back in pasture with an extra treat.

JD saw Buck suddenly go stiff and turn towards the driveway.

Closing his eyes, the younger man took a deep breath.

“A Two-Blood is coming, and it doesn’t smell like you guys,” JD said.

“You’re learning. Go change and follow the others. Tell Chris that he’s needed here. The other alpha wants to talk to him,” Buck instructed.

Saying nothing, JD ran into the changing shack. Moments later a black wolf with white markings shot out and ran down the trail Chris had led the others down.

An older, rusting, but still functional car stopped in the driveway and two men got out. One was okay, but the other had a bandage over his ear, a butterfly bandage across his cheek and an arm in a sling.

“Help you two?” Buck asked casually.

“Need to talk to him,” The banged up man said, looking Buck up and down.

There was no need to ask what him he wanted.

“Someone’s going for him right now.”

The man nodded and went back to wait in the car.

“Couple of stupid kids,” The other visitor, a beta like Buck, sighed. “Name’s Jack Paulson.”

“Buck Wilmington,” he took the hand the man was holding out.

“We had no idea they were going to try something like that; thanks for leaving them alive,” Jack apologized.

Buck laughed weakly. “I’m just glad it got interrupted when it did.”

“They are three hurtin’ hot heads, and no sympathies let me tell you. Figured it was best if we got things settled.”

Buck nodded. The sooner this was settled the better.

M7 M7 M7

Thankfully JD had spent enough time around Chris to know his scent. Suddenly he stopped dead. Chris would get the message even faster if he met JD half way. Throwing his head back he howled.

A lupine voice that he recognized as Vin’s from the night he and Buck sang to the moon answered him. For the sound to have carried this far the Texan must have shifted. He headed towards it and in five minutes howled again. And he was answered again and shifted slightly towards it. The two repeated this until they were in sight of one another.

“JD,” Chris addressed him. The others had been following Vin, who had lead them to JD.

Taking a deep breath, JD shifted.

“Buck needs you back at the ranch. He said the other alpha wants to talk to you,” the young man relayed, trying not to think about the fact that he was standing in front of them all stark naked.

Vin shifted as well and collected his clothes from the bag on Peso who was being led.

Chris kicked Pony into a fast trot and was gone. The other five horses headed back at a good clip with JD in wolf form trotting along.

“Thanks for the help,” Vin smiled at the lupine and got a toothy grin and yip in return just before JD raced off after Chris.

M7 M7 M7

The young wolf was shocked to find that he had actually just beat Chris back, but then he had been able to run and lope most of the way and Chris had had to slow to a walk over some of the rougher areas.

JD dove into the shack and hurriedly dressed after shifting again.

Chris arrived while he was dressing.

The man in black dismounted and came up next to Buck and the other pack’s representatives.

JD said nothing, simply appearing and taking Pony, leaving Chris free to deal with the newcomers.

Chris nodded his thanks and handed the reins off to JD.

“Name’s Charlie Baker,” the visiting leader, who had gotten out of the car and joined the two betas and the other alpha, introduced himself.

“Chris Larabee; now, you wanted to see me, here I am.”

“We all have jobs here for the summer; we don’t want to leave because three young hot heads went stupid.”

“Those hot head hunted down and beat one of my pack,” Chris growled.

“I had no idea what they were up to, it won’t happen again, you have my word. All I’m asking is that we be allowed to safely stay in the area until our jobs are over, then we’ll move on.”

Chris looked over at his oldest friend, “Buck, you were the one that they hit?”

“Are those three idiots that attacked me staying in the area?” Buck asked.

“Wayne’s already gone; he wasn’t able to work in his current condition. I think it’s fair enough that Neil and Marc go,” Jack told Charlie. Maybe losing the jobs and so having to leave for a time would teach them some control and discipline.

Charlie nodded, “I’ll send them away.”

“You give us anymore trouble and the fight we had before will look like a summer picnic.” Chris informed him coldly.

“We won’t, we just want to do our jobs and not have to worry about being attacked.”

“It never would’ve come to this if you had just told us you were working our territory,” Chris reminded him.

“We didn’t realize your land went out that far,” Charlie explained.

Buck stared at him in disbelief. “You missed the markings?”

Chris raised an eyebrow and smiled coldly.

Jack hung his head and shook it. An idiot, his alpha was an idiot!

“It was an accident,” Charlie tried again.

“Well, there better not be anymore accidents,” the blond advised.

“There won’t be,” The rival alpha assured him.

“And just for the record, the kid’s under our protection, so he’s off limits as well,” Chris told them pointedly. As JD was not officially part of their pack it was possible that they might have considered him fair game.

Both men nodded, returned to their car and left.

Buck grinned as he turned to face their four pack brothers, plus JD, who had been right behind them ready for action if needed.

With the situation over, JD winked at Buck and headed to the shack. A few moments later a small, for a Two-Blood, black wolf was seen racing into the forest.

“He has some business he wants to get tended to,” Buck grinned.

“Does he?” Chris grinned. He had a hunch what was coming.

An hour later, JD came trotting back, carrying a squirrel, which he presented to Chris. Yipping what was clearly a request to wait; he dashed off and returned with a rabbit. By the time he had brought all his kills, each pack member had something. Normally something larger like a deer that they could all partake of was done, but as he was an inexperienced hunter he had figured out a way to fulfill the requirements of showing submission by offering a kill in a way that was safe.

JD now rolled on his back in front of Chris, who had shifted while JD was retrieving his kills.

In the way that Buck had told him to, he left his throat, belly and everything else exposed and vulnerable. He winced slightly feeling Chris’s powerful jaw on his throat in what could easily have been a kill hold, but the alpha closed just enough for his new pack member to feel his teeth and released him, accepting his submission and request to join the pack.

JD rolled back on his feet still shaking a little. He had never thought that Chris would hurt him, but that was still not an experience JD would care to go through again.

Both men shifted back and dressed; the ritual was over. Buck nearly broke JD’s ribs in a crushing bear hug. Vin was calling the Wells and Nathan was on his cell phone to Rain. With a new pack member they would all gather to welcome him in.

“Come on, I’ll show you how to get these ready for cooking,” Buck offered, leading JD to the shed/workshop that Chris used for such activities. The large man smiled thinking what Casey’s reaction was apt to be when she got a load of JD.

“Oh good, I was afraid we were going to eat them raw; as wolves, of course. Obviously I like my meat raw when I’m like that, I just really, really hate have to get past the fur. I end up with as much hair my mouth as food,” JD grimaced, setting his Red Sox cap on his head as the last part of dressing.

“Well, we’ll just have to do something about that. You just watch old Buck next time the pack goes hunting. And do something about that cap,” Buck mock growled taking a swipe at it that sent it to the ground. There was so much that JD had not experienced as a Two-Blood and Buck couldn’t wait to show him. To have him really experience what pack meant; that bond that there were not words for because it went so deep.

Vin grinned at their goofing off. “I’ll get the spits ready.”

“Thanks, junior,” Buck told him as the two continued towards the skinning area.

JD grinned and snatched it back up and put it on. “The Colorado Rockies lost to them last week.”

Buck just snorted good naturedly. “We’ll just see who wins more games. Now, if you’ve never had rabbit or squirrel roasted on a spit, you are in for a treat. Here’s how we’re gonna do it.”

The younger man eagerly followed, listening to the correct way to roast food over a fire. Never having hunted, he had no idea what was done with the animal after it was killed. He had read about it, but never actually seen it.

“You really think I can do this?” JD asked, suddenly a bit nervous.

“Yeah, you can do this. You were pack from the moment we first picked up that you were in the area,” Buck assured him. From the first there had been something about JD that had refused to be quieted until the kid was part of the pack. Some loners you just knew were that way by choice; but it just felt wrong for JD. The kid’s big grin told Buck he was right, JD had not been alone by choice, and had desperately wanted and needed a pack.

Chris watched them go and smiled. Buck had a cub, of sorts, to teach again and so was in his glory. Not to mention that he was a born protector and had been in desperate need of a ‘little brother’ to protect and mentor.

That night the sky reverberated with seven voices singing their joy of life and welcome of a new member. The ladies would be joining them tomorrow for a full pack gathering. Tonight, it was just the seven pack brothers telling the world of their unity.