Moon and Rain
by Sammy Girl
Part 1 - 3 | Part 4 - 7 | Part 8 - 10 | Part 11 - 13
After Buck was released from recovery and moved to his own room, the team came to see him. He had slept through most of the move and was still sleeping when the others arrived. Six men waited for him to wake up. They paced, they sat, they talked - but not much - they drank coffee, and then they drank some more coffee and finally they drank coffee. Chris or JD actually sat in the room, at the bedside, while the others waited outside. When Buck finally woke it was JD's worry-etched face beside him, even as he struggled to remember where he was and why, the worry he saw on his 'brother's' face faded to relief.
"Hi," JD greeted softly.
"Hi yourself," Buck responded.
"Glad you're gonna be okay."
"You need anything?"
"Oh, okay. I'll get the others."
"All of them?"
"Well one at a time, but they're all here."
Buck looked up at his young friend, his family. "JD?"
"Promise me you'll trust me, what ever."
JD stood still, not understanding were Buck was coming from, finally he nodded. "Course Buck, I trust you. I'm gonna get the others now - okay?"
Buck smiled, his team, his 'pack' had come to him when he needed them. They didn't know they were a pack of course, but to Buck they were 'pack'. He had lived too long without a pack, the lonely years had eroded and chipped away at his soul, and then he met Chris. Larabee was an alpha male he could trust and respect. All his life he'd been seeking an alpha, a leader, someone to give his loyalty too. Once he accepted Chris as his pack leader all Chris' family became pack as well, Sarah - as Chris' mate - was also his alpha and Adam his cub, as much as theirs. It was a small pack, but small is better than none, something his mother taught him; they never had much but what they had they cherished. To lose an alpha is a blow to any pack, to lose an alpha and the pack's one and only cub could destroy a pack. It almost did destroy Buck's, but he had given his loyalty to his alpha - to Chris - and only if he walked away from it would the pack die, and that he would never do, no matter how hard Chris tried to push him away. They were pack, the two of them, bonded forever. Then the others came onto his life; he bonded with them and to Buck it was the greatest feeling of belonging, a real pack again, a cub to protect - again. Logically he knew JD wasn't really a cub any more, he was just that little bit too old now, but he needed a cub to protect and JD filled the role.
One by one they came to see him, to joke, the offer support, to worry and fret, but mostly to just be there. By the time everyone had greeted him it was late and the doctor was back to check on her patient and shoo them away. They all offered to stay with him - if he wanted - but he said no, he was all right, just a broken arm, no big deal, so reluctantly they went.
Once he was alone Buck set his mind to imagining. He visualised the team walking down the corridor, to the bank of elevators; he allowed three minutes by the clock in his room for the elevator to arrive and another three for it to reach the first floor. Then he visualised them climbing into or onto their vehicles. JD would be offered lifts so he didn't have to ride the bike in the bad weather - thought the rain had finally eased off some. Vin and Chris would drive his truck back to the ranch. Ezra would be the last to leave the underground parking area, he would turn left at the exit, then at the intersection he would go straight on. If felt good to know his Pack were all safe in their homes.
Before dawn JD returned, he couldn't sleep anyway, something was wrong, not just what had happened to Buck, something about the way Vin and Chris, especially Chris, were acting. Unnoticed by the staff he slipped into his 'brothers' room. As he stood there in the eerie blue glow of the night-light, Buck's undamaged hand stretched out, as if seeking something. Almost without thinking JD placed his hand in Buck's larger one. Instantly it was gripped, and as it was the plaintive whimper on Buck's lips withered and died, replaced by a sigh of such contentment, that some of JD's fears and worries died too.
What arent they telling us? What is really going on here? I know you have secrets. You don't finds it easy to trust, though you cover that fear so much better than me. I bet none of the others even realise - do they? They don't see what I see, what are you hiding so well and why did this incident cause that mask to slip enough for others to see in?
Buck's recovery was to the outside world normal. Even to veteran Team Seven watchers the team were behaving as they always did. Zealously over protective, supportive to the point of smothering. But there was a tension between them that only a very few could have picked up on. As if a stranger had been placed in their midst but not everyone noticed, but something was wrong, some unidentifiable piece of the jigsaw was missing and without it they weren't whole.
After a fairly rough five days in the hospital fighting off the worst of the infection, Buck was allowed home, and a week later was back in the office. He couldn't type except with his right hand, he couldn't do any filing and any kind of fieldwork was out of the question, but staying at home was hindering his recovery more than helping. So he answered the phones and trawled the Internet for unlicensed alcohol and tobacco suppliers and sights offering illegal arms. He appeared to be his normal self, loud, cheerful, big hearted, occasionally crude, always generous. And yet there were changes. He refused to allow the others to try to investigate who set the trap. Trapping wasn't illegal as such, but traps with teeth on the jaws were. Chris seemed more distant toward his oldest friend. Vin on the other hand was watching Wilmington more closely.
Buck had been injured before, he had been injured far more seriously before and every time he had railed and complained and driven Nathan and the doctors crazy trying to push himself too fast and not taking his medication. But not this time, this time he was a model patient following every instruction to the letter, he didn't even try to con Chris he could go on a bust once. Josiah concluded that Buck was afraid, afraid his arm wouldn't heal. There was, as far as he knew, no reason for him to feel that way and yet all his professional training led to that conclusion. In the past Wilmington always acted as if he was indestructible, so what had changed?
Six weeks passed slowly, but eventually they came to an end and Buck was admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay to have the pins removed. He insisted on going alone. If the doctor was going to tell him it hadn't worked, he needed to deal with it alone. Dr Shore had spoken to him at length about his condition. She tried - unsuccessfully - to get him to explain his objection to internal fixation. She told him that the external pins and rod were not as good, there was a risk the bones wouldn't knit properly. Even though Buck knew Two Blood bones healed better than One Bloods, he was still concerned. For six weeks there had been this tension in his gut, this little nagging voice that said 'Your life might be over'. Greeting the Hunters Moon so close to human habitation was risky, especially in Colorado - why the hell he had come to a supposedly wolf free state in the first place he still didn't know. But the moon called him, like it always did. Living as a loner, he often went weeks without ever changing, but he always had to give in to this true nature eventually.
"Mr Wilmington," Lucy Shore came into the room carrying a large folder.
"Buck darlin', call me Buck." He was sitting cross-legged on the bed. His left arm encased in a temporary splint, rested on his lap.
"Very well, Buck, these are your latest x-rays." She put the films up on the light box and flicked the switch. "Do you want to see?"
Buck shrugged and joined her as she explained the pictures. "See these white dots?"
"Those are the holes where the pins were, and they are the only open fractures left, you Mr Wil Buck have some amazing bones. I never expected this to work this well. Don't get me wrong I expected it to work, just not so well."
"So thats it? I'm outta here?" Buck asked hopefully.
"Not so fast. You still need a cast for another two weeks to be on the safe side and give these holes a chance to start closing before you start using it fully. You may need some physical therapy after that; we'll see when the cast comes off. How does it feel now?"
Buck looked down. "Bit weak, itchy, aches a bit, thats all."
"Good, I've put in dissolving stitches, so we can put the cast on and see you in two weeks."
"Two weeks and its over," Buck asked seeking conformation.
"Two weeks - hopefully, there are never any cast iron promises in medicine."
But the closer it came to 'Liberation Day' as Buck had dubbed the day his cast came off, the more distant he became. Once he was free, Buck had to tell the guys the truth, if he told Chris and Vin he had to tell JD.
Jeez Buck you're getting crazy in your old age! It'll never work, they're gonna freak, he told himself. But then the alternative was leaving Denver and the team forever.
The day the cast was to come off Buck knocked on Chris' door and let himself in without waiting for an answer.
"One day you're gonna actually wait for a reply before you come in," Chris commented without looking up.
"You're alone, no point waiting." Buck stood in front of Chris' desk, normally he just flopped down into a chair and relaxed. "I'm off to the hospital now, having the cast off."
Larabee looked up but said nothing.
"I've got some thinking to do, I'll come out to the ranch later, 'bout eight - okay?"
Chris felt a knot form in his gut. So this was it, he was going to find out what was going on. "Okay."
"I'll come over with the kid. Can you invite the others?"
For a moment Chris didn't respond.
"Chris?" Buck prompted.
"Will you invite the others?"
"All of them?"
"Yup, I'm done hiding."
Chris looked into those deep expressive eyes, eyes he thought he knew just like he had thought he knew the man behind them. He nodded once. "Yeah I'll invite them - you sure about this?"
"I'm sure," Buck stated quietly and with that he was gone.
Buck paced in his living room. If they were going to be at the ranch on time, they were going to have to leave soon. Buck had told his young friend he needed to talk, and JD had willingly sat and waited for him to start. That there was something bothering Wilmington was clear enough to everyone, but especially to 'brother'.
So far all Buck had done was pace. Finally he spoke.
"You remember what I asked you, in the hospital?" he asked with out looking at JD or ceasing his pacing.
"You asked me to trust you."
"Yeah, do you?"
Buck stopped pacing, but didn't look up or even turn to face him. "Do you really mean that, no matter what?"
"I do not say things I do not mean. You know that."
Buck nodded and resumed his pacing. "When Chris and Vin found me they saw something, something I have been raised my whole life to hide, to never ever show to the world - no matter what, no matter who. Can you understand that?"
"Yes I can understand, if you are not happy or comfortable telling me this, I understand, you don't have to."
Buck looked up, finally meeting his young friend's eyes, his own expression one of total gratitude.
"Thanks, but it has gone beyond that. I have to - it's gone on too long, things have now Chris and Vin know, things have changed." Buck want back to pacing. "The thing is I'm I'm not like you, I'm not like other people."
"Buck what is this about?"
"What?" Buck stopped his continuous, restless, movement and looked at JD. "I need to show you, I need to show the others but " Buck moved forward and sat on the coffee table in front of JD. " I dont think I can do it more than once, if I show you now, I'll have to explain it, then I'll have to do it again for them. I just don't think I can do it twice - do you understand?" he pleased, all but begging the younger man to understand.
To say JD was confused; was the understatement of the century, but one look at the pleading, beseeching look on his friend's face, made him want to instantly agree to whatever he wanted. So rarely did Buck ask for anything for himself, he was by far the most selfless friend JD had ever had.
"I understand," JD assured.
"Please remember that, because ya gonna feel betrayed, and let down and lied to. I didn't mean to, I swear. It's just the way I was raised, it's hard to change something that has been ingrained into you since you were well forever. I didn't mean to show the others first, it just happened, I "
"Buck stop. I understand what you're saying, whatever it is I'll understand, okay? So lets get to the ranch and get this over with."
"Okay, just well remember that I will never hurt you, that I am still me, the man you see will always be here. Whatever you are imagining is wrong, and I can't tell you what it is I have to show you, but promise me that if you can't live with it, you'll tell me - to my face, and you wont hate me."
JD was getting scared now, really scared. He had been imaging some very strange and scary stuff, now Buck told him that he was wrong - just what the hell was going on?
They drove in silence to the ranch. From the vehicles outside it was clear they were the last to arrive. Buck didn't know what Chris had told the others, he just hoped they would give him a fair hearing. What he was about to do went against everything he had grown up believing, but it had to be done. This was too big a secret, now that it was out it needed to be all the way out.
With JD following he mounted the steps to the house and, taking one last deep breath, pushed open the door and strode in. Five heads turned to look at him. JD, slipped past him and took a seat on the sofa next to Ezra.
"Hi guys," Buck said in a very uncharacteristic small voice. "Sorry to drag you out here, um what did Chris tell you guys?" He looked at Josiah, Nathan and Ezra.
"Well, not much," Ezra announced. "Just that you needed to see us and it was important."
"And you all came?" he sounded somewhat surprised.
"'Course we came," Nathan said, somewhat indignantly.
"There was never any question of not coming, brother."
"Oh, well thanks guys. You see when Chris and Vin found me I wasn't that is I didn't I wasn't " He started pacing. All the way there he had been rehearsing what to say, he'd been rehearsing ever since he came around in the hospital eight weeks ago. But it all evaporated as soon as he tried to speak. "Ok, that night it was the Hunters Moon - you know what that is?"
He turned to face the others.
"First night of the full moon," Josiah explained.
"Yeah, yeah that's right and it called to me. I try not to, sometimes I can resist, sometimes I just go up on the roof and do it real quiet, but it was such a warm night and it was so clear and I couldn't resist it, so I went out." He stopped speaking and looked at them, almost willing them to understand.
"What brother, what could you not resist doing?" Josiah prompted softly.
"The moon, I sang to the moon, I have to, I just can't help it. That's what I was doing, up on the mountain." He looked over at Chris and Vin, leaning up against the wall by the kitchen. "You heard?" he asked, and as the others watched both men nodded once. "Thought so, guess you weren't the only one, someone set a trap for me, and like and idiot I stepped right in it." He went back to pacing.
"Wait a sec here," JD interjected. "How did you step in a trap with your arm?" he asked.
Chris and Vin looked down, avoiding eye contact with Buck, a clear message that from now on he was on his own.
"Yeah, well thats the thing isn't it? See I had to do it because Vin was gonna shoot me."
"What!" Nathan turned to face Vin. "Just what the hell is going on here?" he demanded.
"It wasn't his fault, he was trying to do the right thing, I mean if I had found what they did, I'd have got my gun out too."
"Look Buck." JD had had enough. "Tell us what is going on, whatever it is just tell us."
"I can't tell you, I have to show you." He pulled off his sneakers. "You just have to trust me." He stared at JD as he pulled off his tee shirt. "No matter what. Please?"
"We trust you Buck, you have to trust us as well, trust that we are your friends," Josiah assured.
Giving one nod of his head and a half smile, Buck began to unbutton his jeans. JD was about to speak but was silenced by a gentle hand on his arm from Nathan. Once Buck was undressed he stood before them, naked and unashamed. He knew they were all watching as he initiated the change. The atmosphere changed, it became charged, as if a summer storm was brewing right there in the room and as they watched Buck dropped to the floor. Before they could react or even see what was happening a huge silver grey wolf stood before the stunned men. He cringed, flattened his ears, tucked his tail between his legs and tilted his head to expose his vulnerable neck to them.
For a moment there was silence. The four who had had no idea what was going to happen, just sat there, open mouthed and speeches. Vin, even though he had see it three times now, was still stunned, but after a second to compose himself he stepped away from the wall and moved stand beside the trembling lupus. Dropping to one knee, he gently ran a hand over the back of the wolf's head and down his neck.
"Hey there Bucklin," he breathed. "It's okay."
There was the slight wag of the tucked tail, Buck bent his head around and gave Vin's other hand a small lick. All the time his yellow eyes were scanning the others, trying to gauge their reactions.
"Um that can't happen, it just can't I mean medically it's impossible - isn't it?" Nathan stammered out.
"There are more things in heaven and earth than are described in Gray's Anatomy," Josiah commented.
Buck gave Vin's hand one more lick, then glanced at Chris, almost as if he was seeking his permission. To the onlookers there was no reaction on Chris' face but nevertheless Buck turned back and, still with his ears down, tail tucked and head out stretched and tilted he, crept toward the others. The first person he approached was Josiah, stopping just in front of him, he looked up pleadingly.
"That really you Buck?" Sanchez asked.
The wolf whimpered.
Josiah tentatively reached out his hand and patted the wolf between the ears. "God moves in mysterious ways alright and no mistake."
Buck reluctantly left the comforting feel of Sanchez's large hand and moved on to Nathan, he lay his head down on Jackson's knee and gazed up at him.
"This can't happen, it's a hallucination - that's what it is, or a dream or mass hypnotism," the medic tried to reason.
Buck moved his head and licked Jackson's hand, great wet slobbering licks up and down his hand.
"I think the hallucination just slimed you," Vin observed.
Nathan looked down at his warm wet hand and just stared, shaking his head gently. Finally after what seemed like and age he reached out one hand and felt the soft fur at the side of Buck's muzzle. "Well I'll be," he whispered. "Damn! You always said you had 'animal magnetism'."
Buck padded over to JD. He didn't need to be able to speak for JD to see the regret his friend was feeling. Buck and JD were as close as brothers and it had hurt Buck that he couldn't share the truth about his true nature with the young man. JD didn't hesitate, he reached out his hand and buried it deep in Buck's thick neck fur. "This is..." he gasped. " it's so, I mean it's like like something out of Buffy." His tentative smile became a grin. "Hell this is so cool!"
Buck gave a little jump landing with his forepaws either side of JD, then he licked the young computer whizz kid all over with unbridled enthusiasm, tail wagging frantically.
"Yeah pal me too, now get off before you drown me," JD joked.
Buck dropped down and walked slowly toward Ezra. The confidence and joy of just a second ago gone in an instant. He dropped his head and tucked his tail down.
"Come my friend don't cringe so, hold that wonderful head high. I cannot say I am not amazed and confused, but I am not repulsed."
Buck instantly raised his head and began to lick Ezra all over enthusiastically. As with JD he jumped up on the sofa to continue the greeting. After one last lick he dropped joyfully back down onto the floor. Had he been in human form, his friends would have seen him wince, as his left fore leg protested the sudden weight it had to bear. He turned away from Ezra and looked at Chris and Vin. As he padded across the room toward them he couldn't help but limp.
"You best get off that leg Buck, don't think the doctors expected you to be walking on it," Nathan advised.
Buck stopped and cocked his head in the medic's direction. It was so comforting to hear him fuss like that. No matter what he was faced with, Nathan couldn't help but fret. He shook his head slowly, but turned toward the pile of clothes in the middle of the room. There was a murmur of laughter around the room.
"What?" Nathan asked.
Josiah lay a large hand on his friend's back. "Nathan, promise me you won't ever change."
Once more the room was filled with a heavy, electrically charged atmosphere and Buck Wilmington in all his six foot three, naked glory, stood before them. Uncaring of his naked state, he rubbed at his newly healed arm, giving Nathan a shy smile. "Reckon you're right about my arm," he admitted. Then he began to dress, once he had his jeans and shirt on he strode over to the counter were Chris kept his liquor.
"Dont know about you guys, but I need a drink," he announced.
"Damn straight!" Chris muttered darkly and followed him.
Only when he got close to his oldest friend did he realise Buck was white as a sheet, his hands were trembling so much he could barely pour the scotch. Without saying anything or making a big deal out of it, he reached out and took both bottle and glass and poured out a large measure, which he handed back to Buck. Wilmington kept his eyes down; he closed both hands around the glass for a second, took a deep breath and then downed the drink in one go. Then he held the still trembling glass out for a refill. Chris obliged and then poured himself a stiff measure.
Quickly and in silence Chris gave everyone a drink, then they all sat down, six men forming a half circle around the seventh.
"Guess you got questions," Buck stated softly. "Well go ahead, ask, anything you want."
For a long time there was silence, the others just stared.
"Okay," Buck said. "I'll start, I'm not a werewolf, no full moons, a lead bullet will kill me just fine, no need for silver, I know who I am all the time." He looked up. "It's not a disease, or an infection, you can't catch it, not even if I bit you - which ain't gonna do," he added hastily.
"So," Chris began. " what are you?"
Buck looked at his oldest friend, his alpha, his pack leader, and saw the hurt and betrayal. As close as they were, as closes as they had been, he hadn't been able to share this thing that was so much part of his life, with Chris.
"We call ourselves Two Blood."
JD looked at his friend, surrogate big brother and mentor. "How did you get it then, if we can't catch it?"
Buck shrugged and gave a half smile. "I was born this way, my daddy was a Two Blood, my mom was a One Blood."
"Is that us? Are we One Bloods?" Josiah asked.
Buck nodded. "Two Blood have always been around, as long as humans, maybe longer. We don't show ourselves to One Bloods, not ever, where do you think werewolf legends came from? People see a Two Blood change, they freak out - well, most do - the story is told and retold and added to, and changed."
"People demonise what they don't understand," Josiah commented philosophically.
"Yeah, so we - my people - learnt fast to stay out of sight, we learnt to blend in with the One Blood world."
"Can you do that anytime you want?" Nathan asked.
"Yes, well, so long as I don't have something attached to me that would stop the bones changing."
Now Nathan, and indeed the others, learnt why he wouldn't let a doctor place a permanent plate or screw in his arm.
"Does it hurt?" The medic wanted to know.
Buck all but laughed. "No, no, it feels wonderful, it's like an addiction, I just can't imagine not doing it, I need to be the wolf sometimes."
"My grandfather told stories about the Sunkmanitu Tanka Wanagi," Vin started.
"Wolf Spirits, yeah, thats another name for Two Blood," Buck confirmed.
"But the way he told it, they lived with the People, not hiding from them."
"Well, living with Indians and living with white people is different, Indians were and still are more open to a different existence, a different world. And besides Two Blood are better hunters and trackers, so they were useful to have around."
"You reckon you can out track me, Bucklin?" Vin questioned with a laugh in his voice.
"I can see, hear and most of all smell better than you will ever be able to, Junior."
"Wait," JD interjected. " you can smell as good a wolf can, that is so cool, and at the same time yuck! Oh man, my sneakers must nearly kill you!"
"Your sneakers kill everyone JD, we should class them as a chemical weapon!" Vin joked.
Even Buck had to laugh, then he tried to reassure JD. "Don't worry, kid, natural smells, human smells, bodies, that don't bother me, it's chemical smells that I sometimes have trouble with, remember that new soap Ezra got you from Italy?"
"Yeah, that was good stuff, smelled great - wait! It disappeared! Was that you?"
Buck nodded. "Sorry JD, but it was making me wanna puke."
"You were sick as a dog - sorry wolf - at that bust in the paint factory," Chris remembered.
Buck shrugged, "Couldn't help it."
"That is something I should have known about, you could have endangered lives," Chris' anger was showing through now.
"Hell, Chris, he wasn't the only one having trouble with the smell that day, as I recall," Nathan reminded.
"If someone I am relying on, someone I place in a specific location, to do a specific job has a weakness I don't know about, it endangers lives. Why?" All pretence that what he now knew didn't bother him gone, Chris stood up and began pacing. "Why in the name of God didn't you tell me? It's been nearly fourteen years. We were as close as any brothers, you were my best man, you were Adam's God father Oh Jesus, Adam "
And right there Buck saw the look all Two Blood dread, the look that said 'You're a freak, you're not normal, I don't know what you are, but I don't want you anywhere near me or my family.'
"I would never have hurt him, I would never have let anyone hurt him if if I could have stopped it." Chris head snapped around, trying to work out how Buck knew what he was thinking. "I loved Adam, he was part of my pa family." Only just in time did he change 'pack' to 'family'; he didn't think they were quite ready for that yet.
That the six of them were his pack he had no doubt, it wasn't one any Two Blood would recognise but it gave Buck the feeling of belonging that he so needed. When Chris met Sarah, fell in love and married, that made her his alpha as much as Chris. Adam was a cub, automatically part of the pack. Now the others were 'pack' by association.
"I'm not a monster, Chris, whatever you see, it's still me," Buck pleaded.
Chris stopped pacing. "But I don't know who you are - not any more."
"Why? Because I kept something about myself a secret? We all do it, believe me. Don't lecture me about secrets, this is something that was drilled into me from birth, it isn't like 'truth or dare' here, you know?"
"I know." The voice was soft and quiet, but it made Buck spin around, this was the first thing Ezra had said since he changed back and got dressed. "You could no more stop hiding your true nature from the world than I can stop caring about appearances and money, we are what our mothers made us."
Buck turned back to face Ezra. "She was an amazing woman," he admitted.
"Of that I have no doubt. It can't have been easy for her."
Buck went on to tell them about his mother and their life together. That she had been a prostitute they all knew. It wasn't information he volunteered easily, but Chris had known for a long time and eventually he had gained the courage and confidence to share with his other friends.
"Guess the first she knew that something was different, that I was different, was when she went into labour after only six months."
"So you were a prem baby?" Nathan asked.
Buck laughed. "No way! Do I look like I was prem? Two Blood cubs are always born at six months."
"Cubs?" Josiah echoed, not entirely sure he wanted to know the truth.
Buck shrugged. "I was born human - luckily for Ma 'cause a cub would have been a shock - but it can be either way. Two Blood cubs have to be kept outta sight until they're two and a half to three, 'till they can control the change. Ma was lucky, I was an early developer."
He explained how she had kept on the move, that if anyone made any comment about her son being different or there was any rumours or stories about wolf cubs in the area or strange howling, they moved on.
"She was the best, I mean most people would have dumped a freak baby like me, or even killed it. But Ma, she was "
"A saint," JD said softy, reminding Buck of his often used description of his beloved mother.
"Yeah, thats right. She knew I needed help, someone to teach me. Somehow, and I never did find out how, she got in contact with an old, lone Two Blood called Sam. He taught me, about our laws, traditions, what I was capable of. He helped me come to terms with who and what I was. And he taught me how to hide it, how to live in the One Blood world."
"Wait, back up a bit?" Chris requested. "Your mom didnt know what you were I mean, while she was carrying you?"
"No. See, a Two Blood and a One Blood can make a baby - which will always be Two Blood - but it's rare, very rare. Guess my dad didn't think the risk was worth warning her about."
"Was he a client?" Chris enquired bluntly. Ezra suddenly glared at him, silently conveying his annoyance at Chris' whole attitude.
"No, she wouldn't have gotten pregnant if she had been working, she was a pro. The way she told it, he promised to marry her, promised her everything, and when she put out, he took off. She was a waitress at the time, no family, unmarried and pregnant. He didn't leave her many options."
The bitterness and anger at his father was there for all to hear, his head dropped, and his shoulders hunched. He had been sitting alone on the sofa, but now, and as one in perfect harmony, JD and Ezra rose from the floor and recliner respectively and crossed to the sofa, sitting down either side of Buck. JD put his arm across his shoulders. That physical contact was what he needed, just having them close, was helping to chase away the darkness the memories had raised.
"Can I ask something?" Nathan enquired, partly out of curiosity and partly to break the uneasy silence that had descended.
"I told you, Nate, you can ask anything," Buck assured, looking up.
"You got shot, year before last, you had blood transfusions, from human donors, I don't "
"I am human, Nate, right now I am exactly what you see - a man. I have heightened senses, my bones heal better than most, my temperature is about a degree higher than yours and my immune system is a bit better than yours - but not much. What a DNA test would show, I don't know, but a blood test right now would show nice, healthy, ordinary, type O blood."
"And if we tested you when you were a wolf?"
"Not sure, wolf blood, I guess."
Nathan just shook his head, it was really almost too much for him to take in.
Ezra had been trying to assimilate all he had heard and seen, trying to make sense of it all. As a boy he had once lived in New Orleans, the maid - who was acting as his nanny - used to tell him stories from the colourful city's past. One he remembered was about the Loup Garou. Like JD he had detected the undercurrents that had surrounded Wilmington and his two rescuers, like JD had had been trying to work out what was going on. All kinds of scenarios went through his head, ranging from bizarre sexual practises to Buck being a spy or even a drug addict. But never in a million years would he have thought about Buck being a Loup Garou. Well, okay, technically he wasn't a werewolf, but it was very similar and many of the stories he had been told fitted what he now knew about Two Blood better than werewolves. JD was right about one thing, it was like something out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ezra was a closet Buffy fan. Somehow the popular TV show, had made it easier to accept that supernatural stuff did happen - though to be fair the way Buck was describing it he wasn't a supernatural creature, just different.
Ezra knew about being different, and about hiding your true self. Yes, he was shocked, and amazed, and it seemed to him he should be freaked out - but he wasn't. All he had seen, in that cringing, cowering wolf, was the man he called friend looking so scared and alone, terrified that he was about to be rejected; or worse that his friends would turn on him. He hoped Buck could now see that would never happen.
Larabee had been watching his men, his team, his 'family', take on, assimilate, process and accept one very startling revelation about one of there own. To Vin of course it wasn't news, but it was still a lot to take onboard all in one go - but that was what they had done. And why not? In their work they did it all the time, busts, stings, undercover operations were very fluid things, everything could change and you and to go with it, think on your feet. Their ability to do this was what separated Team Seven from the rest. He was the leader, but they could all lead and all think for themselves, think for each other and even outsiders, more importantly they could 'think outside the box'. And if anything was ever, 'outside the box' - it was tonight's revelation!
He had been angry with his old friend; once he knew he was going to be alright, worry changed to anger, an anger that had been simmering and building while Wilmington healed. He felt betrayed, hurt that Buck hadn't trusted him, had kept something so totally central to who and what he was hidden. That look on Buck's face, when he all but implied that it hadn't been safe to leave his son with his 'Uncle Buck', now haunted Chris. Why had Buck hidden his true self from them, from him? Because he was afraid of being rejected, misunderstood, excluded. Which was just what Chris - and Chris alone - had done. He had ignored all he knew about Buck, his honesty, his loyalty, friendship, his tenacity and bravery, and gave vent to his prejudice and anger. But watching how the others, who knew less going into the situation then him, had reacted to all they had discovered shamed him. They, who had only know him a few short years, had simply added this new dynamic to his character, to what they already knew. They hadn't simply ignored what they knew of him; the way his oldest friend, the one person who knew him best, had know him the longest, had the most reason the trust him, the most reason to be grateful to call Buck Wilmington friend, had.
They talked some more, though not about Two Bloods; they just talked, like they always did.
Buck had deliberately not mentioned anything about bonding and pack law concerning One Bloods in a pack. Officially they weren't a pack, so there was no point scaring his friends. Half of him hoped there would be no reason to tell them, he might lose them. And yet half of him desperately wanted the closeness, the contact, the physical comfort that he imagined must come with pack life. Living in a pack was something he had fantasised about all his life. As a boy, he used to pretend his friends were his pack. An outgoing, fun loving boy, who was good at sport, precociously mature and good looking, he was never short of friends, but he was always leaving, moving on. Then he had to make new friends and start all over again. It was all pretend and fantasy, even in the police, until he met Chris. Chris was the first person who he felt close enough to call 'pack' and really mean it. Then he joined the team and six of them became a kind of family to him. He was as close now to his life long fantasy of living like a real Two Blood, in a pack of his own, as he ever thought he could get.
Buck and JD joined the others on the porch, as they got ready to head home.
"If it's okay with you, I'll meet you at the end of the drive, it's been a long time since I stretched my legs," Buck explained.
For a second Dunne didnt understand what he was talking about, until Buck started to undo his shirt, and toed off his boots. The others watched with awed fascination, as once more their friend's form was replaced, by that of a truly huge shaggy wolf. The wolf turned his head toward the open country beyond the yard and sniffed, his tail waved back and forth in anticipation. He turned his head back to look at JD.
"Well, you better go if you're going," the easterner encouraged.
With a glance at the others and a yip of pure joy the wolf trotted down of the porch and into the night.
"Damn!" Nathan swore.
"What?" the others asked.
"I meant to tell him to take it easy on his leg, oh well, too late now."
Chris watched the others leave. From the porch, he could see the end of the drive and the lights of Buck's old truck as it waited for its passenger. Eventually he saw the passenger side door open and a large form dart out of the trees and into the cab, before the door closed and the truck pulled away.
JD tossed the keys onto the kitchen counter and pulled a beer from the fridge before he turned to face the Two Blood.
"So " he started.
"So " Buck responded.
"You're a wolf."
"You were right, I would never have guessed, and considering some of the things I was imagining, this is "
"This is so much better."
"Oh God, yes."
"So you're okay with this, with me, what I am?"
"I told you, and please believe me, I trust you, I'm not going anywhere - no matter what."
"I guessed there might be."
Buck took a deep breath.