*Leo settles back into the pack, but something still feels off, accentuated by a peculear scent*
The tiny puppy’s hand sat in Leo’s the way he always encouraged them to do, both before and after his sojourn with Sage. He pushed throughts of them out of his head. No point dwelling. He had been back with the pack almost a whole month, the itch of the full moon burning under his skin the way it always did only a few days out. “Now close your eyes,” he said. “And picture yourself as a wolf. What do things look like? What can you hear? How does it feel to be on four paws? What can you smell?”
He inhaled deeply, in unison with the pup sat before him.
“Wait.” He closed his hands around the pup’s. “Something’s up. Let me just check on it, okay?”
The pup nodded.
Leo pushed to his feet and inhaled deeply. Something smelled different about the pack. Something familiar and all too strange all at once. He followed the scent – nose in the air like a lovelorn adolescent, all the way to the pack gates.
Alpha stood, barring the strange scent from entry and view.
A small collection of ‘wolves clustered nearby.
Leo squeezed in next to Raffi. “What’s going on?”
“That bloodsucker is back.”
Leo’s heart leapt into his throat. “Sage?” What could they be doing back at the pack? Had something happened? Were they here to see him?
“The one who imprisoned you.”
“I was sent there by our alpha.” Recompense for someone higher up in the pack trying to kill the nearby vampire. Even if Sage had never set foot on pack property before or since, until today.
Raffi shrugged. “Either way, they’re back.”
“That I don’t know.”
“Do you think I should…?” Was Sage here to retrieve the blanket? Had it been packed accidentally? Or were they here for some other purpose? What could it be? Had the pack done something else to harm them? Leo’s hackles raised at the very idea. Why couldn’t his pack just leave Sage in peace? They weren’t hurting anyone.
“Do not try to instigate a revolution in my pack, Vampire!” Alpha snarled loud enough to carry.
“I’m not—” they huffed out a breath and turned on their heel. “Never mind. Nothing is worth this.”
Leo’s heart sank.
“Should have known better than to come this close to a moon anyway.” Sage disappeared back up the road.
“Good riddance,” someone muttered from the group of clustered ‘wolves.
Leo dipped away from Raffi and back to his room. He should go finish up with the pup, but he couldn’t face the thought of putting on the child-friendly persona right now. Someone else would be able to help them with their transformations.
Despite his best intentions, despite his promise to himself to let go of the memories of Sage, Leo pulled his bag from underneath the bed and gathered Sage’s blanket up in his arms. He buried his nose into the soft fabric and inhaled deeply. The smell of his own scent mingled with Sage’s filled his nose. It had been the smell of home for a year and it was still hard to have to let go.
He stayed curled up with the blanket until the moon summoned him to change and crawled right back to it immediately after.
Eep, two weeks in a row of sadness for Leo. My bad. Let’s hope things improve for him next week.
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