A week after he is rescued from conversion, Blake has a new problem to contend with: the crushing guilt that is piled on his would-be mate Aaron’s shoulders.

The air in the apartment was thick with the musk of an unwashed werewolf undercut with a heaping helping of misery. Blake couldn’t help but wrinkle his nose in displeasure. Day by day since Isaac rescued him, Blake’s senses had been growing sharper and more sensitive. He imagined that his old, "normal," self would have found the smell unpleasant, but in his current state it was utterly offensive.

For all the havoc that the noxious odor wreaked on his nostrils, though, Blake couldn’t bring himself to leave. Beyond the door he was standing guard over, the man he hoped would be his mate was buried in a pile of blankets.

The hairs on the back of Blake’s neck stood when he heard the apartment door open. He prepared himself for a fight. He wasn’t any good, yet, but Isaac had been teaching him little by little. He was at least improving.

A familiar pair of scents, mingled with the aroma of food, set Blake at ease. It was just Isaac and Kevin, back from another day of tracking down enemy operatives. Having not had anything to eat since breakfast, Blake’s stomach rumbled at the prospect of food.

Blake straightened as he saw Isaac approaching down the corridor. He still wasn’t accustomed to the whole pack hierarchy thing, but he felt that he needed to afford his Alpha some respect. "I’m not going to lie," said Isaac, "but now that I’m actually taking this starting a pack business seriously, a place like this seems like a good place to call home."

"We’re not going to go live out in the woods?" said Blake. He tried not to sound so relieved, in case Isaac had been hoping to do that, but he was absolutely not up for the wilderness life.

"What? Why would we?" said Isaac. He seemed almost aghast, eyes wide as if surprised that it was even a question on Blake’s mind. Despite his newfound self-confidence, Blake couldn’t help but feel a little embarrassed at his Alpha’s reaction. "We’re werewolves, not savages," said Isaac.

"The last time I spent more than a day in the wilderness was when Kevin and I went camping in a local state park something like two or three years before I got the gift," said Isaac. "While I like to think being werewolves means we’ll do alright, I’d rather not risk it."

"Whew. That’s good. I was just curious, was all," said Blake, trying his best not to sound like he’d been pondering the question for a while. It wasn’t his fault! Pop culture had conditioned him into thinking that werewolves and other sorts of shifters didn’t like cities and preferred to live in the wilderness.

Isaac reached over and patted Blake on the shoulder. "I love my creature comforts too much. You’d have to pry wi-fi, smartphones, and indoor plumbing out of my cold, dead hands," said Isaac, with a chuckle.

After a moment, Isaac cast a glance into the room that Blake was standing guard over. He turned his attention back to Blake when the mound of blankets failed to move so much as an inch. "How is he?" Isaac signed.

"Not better," Blake signed back. The necessity of sign language was something that Blake had learned pretty early on. Before Isaac had trained him to filter out most of the sounds his improved senses could pick up, even whispered conversations across the street were clear to him. Since Aaron hadn’t gotten out of bed for any meaningful amount of time, much less undergone the requisite training, he was likely still hypersensitive and neither Isaac nor Blake wanted to accidentally say something that would cause him even more distress.

Aaron’s current state made Blake profoundly unhappy, but he supposed it made sense. Aaron was the person he wanted to mate, and seeing him suffer while being unable to do anything was extremely frustrating.

"Come. Let’s speak over dinner. Kevin will watch him while we eat," Isaac signed. Just then, Kevin appeared at the end of the hallway. He nodded at Blake and kissed Isaac as he walked over to stand on the other side of the doorway. Isaac placed a hand between Blake’s shoulders, and Blake reluctantly followed.

It wasn’t that Blake didn’t trust Kevin to watch over Aaron. He just felt that Aaron was his responsibility since Aaron had been his friend before all of this started happening. Isaac led Blake over to the kitchen and sat him down at the island. "I just don’t know what to do," Blake lamented, staring at his hands.

Blake hated feeling helpless. Sure, he wasn’t powerless anymore, but he still couldn’t do a single damn thing to help Aaron out of whatever depressed stupor he’d slipped into since that fateful day. He just wanted to hold Aaron and magically make everything better.

"It’s guilt," said Isaac, as he peeled the lid off a bowl of soup that he and Kevin had brought in from the Chinese place down the street. Blake’s mouth watered at the smell. The gift had given him more than superhuman strength and superhuman senses, it had also given him a superhuman appetite.

Blake mulled over what Isaac said for a moment. "For what he did to me while he wasn’t himself?" he said, gratefully accepting the bowl and the chopsticks from Isaac. He dug in, despite the gravity of their conversation, utterly famished from standing around without a bite to eat all day.

"Slow down," said Isaac. "This is why it isn’t good for a new wolf to skip meals. Your body is still making up for all the energy that it had to burn to fuel your transformation."

Blake heard Isaac and wanted to do as Isaac advised, but his body had other ideas. Isaac rolled his eyes and chuckled. "Anyway, yes. Even if he wasn’t in control when it happened, he was still the one that did it," said Isaac. "I’ve seen it before. It happened to Kevin, too."

"Why are you just saying this now?" said Blake, in between mouthfuls of food. It would have been helpful to know a week ago that Isaac had been in the same position as him. "How did you fix Kevin?" he said.

"I had to give Aaron a chance to come out of it himself," said Isaac. "People deal with guilt in different ways. It’s kind of ironic, honestly, that someone whose job it is to help people overcome their inner demons can’t seem to deal with his."

"As for how I dealt with Kevin… Well…" Isaac scratched the back of his head. "After about three days of him moping around, I got irritated and commanded him to get a grip. Surprisingly enough, it worked."

Blake had frozen halfway to taking another bite of his beef brisket noodle soup. "You’re shitting me," he said. Isaac shook his head and crossed his heart. Blake pouted. "I’ve tried that already," he said.

Isaac chuckled. "I know. It was adorable," he said. "You should have seen yourself trying to command a pile of blankets to rise. It was priceless. Downright biblical." Blake made a face.

"Here," said Isaac, handing Blake a box of stir fry. "Aaron hasn’t had anything decent to eat in a week. He has to be starving by now, and honestly, that’s probably the point. He’s punishing himself. Take this in there, tell him you’re going to feed him, and that you’re not going to leave until he eats."

"How’s that supposed to help?" said Blake, turning over the box of stir-fry in his hands. He quickly peeked inside. The smell of beef was almost overpowering. Were it not meant for Aaron, he would have devoured it then and there.

"It’ll get him out of the blankets, at least," said Isaac. "One step at a time, Blake."

Blake supposed that was fair enough. He sighed and got up, grabbing another pair of chopsticks from Isaac as he did so. He left the kitchen and made his way back to Aaron’s bedroom. He took a deep breath before entering.

No sooner had Blake sat down on the bed than the pile of blankets beside him shifted. "Hey, Aaron," Blake said, in the kindest, gentlest tone that he could manage. "You must be hungry by now… I have some food for you."

All that Blake got in response was a noncommittal grunt. Blake sighed. He hated to torture Aaron, but Aaron was asking for it by now. He cracked open the box, letting the aroma of the stir fry waft into the air. After a moment, the pile of blankets beside him shifted, and a pair of eyes peeked out. "What is it?" Aaron murmured.

Blake tried his best not to look as relieved as he felt. He opened the box and dug through it with his chopsticks. "Beef stir fry," said Blake. "Come on. Let me feed you," he said.

"No," said Aaron, retreating back into his blankets. "Just leave it on the nightstand… I’ll eat later," he said.

Blake took a deep breath. He pinched the bridge of his nose and clenched his fingers around the chopsticks. "For fuck’s sake, Aaron!" he said, grabbing at the blankets. He yanked them off Aaron. "Sit up, open up, and eat your fucking food," he said.

Aaron glared balefully at Blake, but did as he was told. He sat up against the headboard and reluctantly opened his mouth to let Blake feed him. A fair few minutes of silence punctuated by chewing stretched between them. There were so many things that Blake wanted to say, but he wanted Aaron to start first.

"Why are you being so nice?" said Aaron, finally breaking the silence after getting some food in his stomach. "Don’t you hate me? Aren’t you angry? I tried to turn you into someone that you’re not. I violated your trust. I violated you!"

Blake might have jabbed the piece of beef a bit too aggressively in Aaron’s face because he missed his target. The piece of beef left a glistening patch of beef juices and oil on Aaron’s cheek. "I don’t hate you," said Blake. Aaron looked away.

"And maybe I am a little angry at you. For letting them turn you. For changing my friends. For changing me," said Blake. "But I was in the same boat. I experienced their power, too, and it would be hypocritical of me to stay mad at you for failing the same way I did. No normal human could have resisted that."

A single tear ran down the side of Aaron’s face. Blake leaned forward and brushed it away with his thumb. "It was still my fault," said Aaron. "I did those things. My practice led to plenty of proud gay men getting converted."

"It wasn’t your fault!" said Blake. He scooted closer to Aaron, grabbed him by the chin and forced him to look into his eyes. "If someone put a gun in your hand, put your finger on the trigger, and pushed on your finger so that the gun fired, should I blame you or the person who forced you to pull the trigger?"

Aaron was silent. "I am angry," said Blake. "But the only reason I’m angry at you is because brains are stupid and irrational. I’m furious at the people who took control of you and made you into someone you weren’t."

Aaron looked away again, tearing his chin from Blake’s grasp. "And of course I’m being nice to you. You’re important to me. You’re a friend," said Blake. "I want to get out there and hunt down the people who are actually responsible to tear them limb from limb, but I don’t want to be in the business of abandoning someone I cherish when he needs me."

"Fuck," Aaron said. He sounded a little bit choked up. His eyes were glistening as he met Blake’s gaze. "You’re too fucking nice, Blake," he said. He even managed a small smile that made Blake’s heart skip a beat.

"So I’ve been told," said Blake, smiling back at Aaron. He placed a hand on Aaron’s shoulder and gently pushed him toward the edge of the bed. "Now come on, let’s get you a bath, alright? You smell like a dumpster."

"Mean," Aaron huffed. "Besides, aren’t you supposed to wait an hour or two after eating before getting in the water?"

Blake slid off the side of the bed and helped Aaron to his feet. He shook his head and rolled his eyes. "Who cares? You’re a werewolf now, I’m sure it’s fine."

A pleasant silence had settled between Blake and Aaron while Aaron soaked in the bath. Blake was sitting on the floor beside the tub, one arm draped over the side, his fingers idly swirling the water by Aaron’s side.

"Blake," said Aaron. Blake looked up, frowning as he saw the troubled look on Aaron’s face. "Do you think you can do me a favor?"

Blake straightened. He wasn’t sure where Aaron was going with this, and he didn’t want to commit to doing anything unconscionable. "It depends what the favor is," he said.

"Punish me," said Aaron. He was staring at the water, twirling his fingers in the ripples of his breath. Blake’s heart dropped into his stomach. He couldn’t even begin to think of raising his hand against Aaron. "I need you to make it hurt. I need to feel it hurt," said Aaron.

"Why?" said Blake. He reached into the tub and grabbed Aaron’s hand to squeeze it. "Why do you need to be punished? I told you, it’s not your fault. I don’t blame you. Isaac doesn’t blame you. I’m sure when we rescue our friends they won’t blame you either. You don’t have to feel guilty."

Aaron snatched his hand back. He glared at Blake. There was fire in his eyes. "Maybe it’s selfish. Sue me. But I do feel guilty," said Aaron. "It’s like this suffocating weight just pressing down on my chest, making it difficult to think—to breathe!"

"Every time I look at you I’m reminded of what they were able to do with my mind and with my body," said Aaron. "I keep thinking, if only I had been stronger, if only I had fought more, I might have been able to resist it and you wouldn’t be in this position. I can’t stop thinking about it."

"I’m asking you because you said you wanted to help," said Aaron. He took a deep, shaky breath. He let out a little chuckle. "Punishment will help, Blake. Trust me. I’m a professional. Please."

Blake chewed on his lower lip for a moment. He wasn’t sure about any of this. He didn’t want to intentionally hurt Aaron. "What will you do if I say no?" he said. He didn’t think he really wanted to hear the answer to the question, but he knew he needed to.

"If you say no, then I’m going to ask someone who I know has the authority to punish me on your behalf," said Aaron.

The way that Aaron said it left no room for interpretation. Right now, there was only one person Blake knew of that had that authority, and only because of the pack hierarchy. "Alright," he said, reluctantly. "I’ll do it."

After Aaron got out of the bath and got dressed in something presentable rather than the pyjamas he’d been wearing for the last week, he and Blake approached Isaac about what they’d agreed upon. Since Blake believed that it was something that concerned the entire pack, given that there was only four of them, Kevin was also invited to the discussion.

With regard to the actual punishment, Blake didn’t really want to hurt Aaron too much. He proposed a light spanking which Isaac seemed amenable to. Both Aaron and Kevin, however, had other ideas. They objected, vociferously, on the grounds that a spanking alone wouldn’t meet the "make it hurt" part of Aaron’s request.

For two werewolves that were neither mated nor particularly well-acquainted with one another, Aaron and Kevin seemed to be of one mind with regard to the matter at hand. Neither Blake nor Isaac had anticipated it, and while they tried their best to advocate for options that they thought to be more reasonable and less likely to be injurious, Kevin and Aaron insisted on precisely the opposite.

It took them the better part of an hour to figure things out, but eventually they managed to come to a solution that satisfied most everyone. Blake didn’t think he would have been satisfied with any solution because he wasn’t looking forward to deliberately causing Aaron pain.

Together, the pack had decided to subject Aaron to ten lashes with a cat o’ nine tails, ten strikes with a leather crop, and twenty strikes with a wooden paddle. It was all well and good and settled until Aaron asked where the punishment would take place and where they could get the tools that they needed.

Up until that point, Blake had been working off the assumption that since Aaron had brought the pieces of gear up, he had them in his possession. Apparently that wasn’t the case, which was a significant hurdle since it looked like Aaron wanted to get the punishment done as soon as possible.

At that point, Isaac figured that it couldn’t hurt to ring up the man who’d given him the gift, Gabriel, to see if he had any of what the pack needed. It just so happened that Gabriel did indeed have the tools, and, fortunately, a dungeon space that they could borrow.

And so the four werewolves found themselves driving out of town in the middle of the night, packed like sardines into Isaac’s comparably-tiny sedan. The close quarters did nothing to ease Blake’s anxiety about what was about to happen, but he was glad to see that Aaron seemed at least more at ease than before.

The four were on their way to a small estate outside of town that Gabriel was currently staying at. From what Blake understood, Gabriel was an alpha from overseas who was in the country as a favor to some entity that Blake couldn’t quite comprehend at the moment. The estate was supposedly a gift given to Gabriel as thanks for the favor.

The first indication that it was a fancier place than Blake was used to was the fact that they had to pull up to an intercom right in front of the wrought-iron gates that straddled the road up to the manor house in the distance. "That you, Isaac?" said a gruff voice that had a visible effect on all four werewolves in the car.

"Yes, sir," said Isaac. "Nice place."

"Thought you’d like it," said Gabriel. "Come on in," he added, as the gate swung open of its own accord.

Isaac swung his elbow up onto the back of the driver’s seat and looked back at Blake and Aaron. "Better take a look around and see if you like the place, boys," he said, "apparently once Gabe goes back to his pack, he intends to gift the estate forward to us."

Blake winced as he clicked the last padlock shut on the last of Aaron’s wrist cuffs. Aaron was suspended from a metal frame in the middle of the room, his arms and legs strung up with chains that would keep him from moving too much.

Lightly, Blake traced the curve of Aaron’s back with his fingers. He lingered, for a moment, just above Aaron’s ass, and felt Aaron shiver at his touch. He pulled his hand away before he could be tempted to do anything else. His cock was hard, straining in the pouch of the leather jockstrap that was the only thing he was wearing apart from the leather harness strapped to his chest.

Gabriel was leaning against a bare stretch of wall next to the rack of discipline tools. Blake felt like his every move was being scrutinized. Despite his newfound self-assuredness, he couldn’t help but be a little bit conscious of what he was doing.

Taking a deep breath, Blake buckled the blindfold around Aaron’s head. The blindfold was one of Gabriel’s suggestions. Apparently, the inability to properly anticipate when the next hit was coming served to intensify punishment.

Blake shivered as his gaze wandered back over to Gabriel. There was something powerful and magnetic about the Alpha. He held himself with regal confidence, and as a beta, Blake felt altogether helpless in the face of the authoritative air that seemed to emanate from Gabriel’s mere presence.

Since his rescue, Blake had admired Isaac’s easy confidence and assertiveness. He had viewed his Alpha as an ideal leader, a man who would take no shit from anyone. Isaac had assured him that he had much left to learn about being an Alpha, but Blake had dismissed it as misplaced modesty until now.

Looking at Gabriel, being in the mere vicinity of Gabriel, was like being in the presence of a king. Gabriel put into perspective just how young of an Alpha Isaac was, how much further he had to go. It did nothing to degrade Isaac’s status in Blake’s eyes, but it certainly made him glad to know that he would play a big part in his Alpha’s maturation.

Blake shook his head. He had to focus on the task at hand. No more delaying. His joints felt stiff as he walked away from Aaron to retrieve the cat o’ nine tails. His cheeks flushed as he realized that Gabriel’s gaze was following him.

Gabriel grabbed the tasselled whip from the rack beside him. "You’re reluctant," said Gabriel, his deep voice sending a chill down Blake’s spine. The corner of his lip twitched as he smiled. "That’s perfectly understandable, if completely wrong."

Fast like a flash of lightning, Gabriel snapped his wrist forward, lashing Blake across the stomach with the cat o’ nine tails. The leather straps left burning stripes across Blake’s cobbled abs, forcing him to hiss from the pain. "Focus," said Gabriel.

The Alpha clapped a meaty hand on Blake’s shoulder. "Look at me," he said. Blake did as he was told, staring into Gabriel’s discerning, soul-piercing gaze. "I understand that this boy is the one that you want to take as your mate, and anyone with half a brain can see that the two of you have formed a nascent mating bond," said Gabriel.

Blake glanced over his shoulder at Aaron and nodded. "Then stop being so selfish," said Gabriel. "This isn’t about you or your hang-ups. This is about him. You’re reluctant because you’re afraid to hurt him. This is me letting you hear something you already know from someone else’s mouth. He’s already hurting because of his guilt. The best thing you can do right now is help him take that load off his shoulders."

The pain from the cat o’ nine tails had faded into a dull throbbing on Blake’s stomach. He chewed on his bottom lip. He knew everything Gabriel was telling him. He was just afraid that things might go wrong.

"The mating bond is about trust," said Gabriel. "You have your safe word. If you want to be with him, you have to trust him. Trust that he’ll be able to take the punishment you dish out."

Gabriel jabbed a finger at the center of Blake’s chest as he handed over the cat o’ nine tails. "Most importantly," he said, "Trust yourself to know how much punishment to give him. Trust yourself to know when he needs more, and when he’s reached his limit."

Hearing the issue framed that way helped make sense of the cold knot of anxiety in Blake’s stomach. Blake straightened. Gabriel was right. He wasn’t the scared, uncertain young man he had been a week ago. He needed to trust himself, to trust his instincts, to trust that he wouldn’t hurt his future partner more than necessary.

Taking a deep breath, Blake took the cat from Gabriel. "Thank you," he said. He tightened his fingers around the leather grip of the cat o’ nine tails and turned, walking with purpose toward Aaron. He drew his arm back and whipped it forward, laying the leather straps into Aaron’s back with as much force as he thought Aaron could take.

"Anh!" Aaron grunted, his body jerking in suspension. The chains jangled, but the frame was solid and remained in position. Blake gently brushed the tassels over the skin that had been hit before winding up for another.

Thin red stripes marked the skin that Blake’s second strike had made contact with. Aaron’s muscular ass clenched and unclenched as he shifted in his bindings. Though taut, the chains holding him up had enough slack to give him some space to move.

Blake walked around to stand in front of Aaron. Aaron’s jaw was clenched, his fingers gripping tightly around the chains that strung him up. Aaron was also hard. His face was flushed pink with arousal, and his cock jumped when Blake allowed the tassels of the cat o’ nine tails to graze it.

Taking a deep breath to steady himself, Blake delivered three blows in rapid succession. Each time the leather strips lashed against Aaron’s taut skin, he would jerk in his bindings. He kept his silence but for a few quiet grunts, but he was beginning to sweat.

"Are you okay?" said Blake, after landing another blow on Aaron’s back. Aaron only nodded in response. "I need to hear you say it," said Blake.

"I’m okay," said Aaron. His voice was somewhat strained and unsteady, but still determined. He cleared his throat and continued. "Please, sir, may I have another?"

Blake said, "You may." He was getting more comfortable in his role as Aaron’s punisher. Once he stopped doubting his restraint, the thought of watching Aaron squirm as he administered the disciplining that Aaron had asked for actually made his cock twitch. He continued to use the cat o’ nine tails until the ten lashes they’d agreed upon were done.

By the tenth lash, Aaron was trembling in his bindings. His face, neck, and collar were flushed red, while his cock dripped onto the rubber mat layered on top of the floor. To give Aaron a brief respite, Blake walked over to return the cat o’ nine tails, feeling strangely validated as Gabriel smiled at him and handed him the crop.

Ten strikes of the leather crop later and Aaron was shaking. Moisture dripped from his brow, and his jaw was set. His whole body glistened with a light sheen of sweat, bright red in spots where the crop had landed.

So far, Aaron had endured the punishment with grace, and had asked for more at appropriate times. Blake was starting to like it. Despite his clear suffering, Aaron looked more and more at ease with each sharp blow.

As he hefted the wooden paddle, though, Blake worried that Aaron might have misjudged the implement. It was heavier than he had anticipated, and Gabriel hadn’t looked too pleased when he said that Aaron had asked for twenty strikes with the paddle. "Trust your instincts," Gabriel reminded him.

The first strike of the paddle elicited a loud yelp from Aaron. He’d practically convulsed in his bindings from the solid thunk of the wood against his backside. Seeing the reaction, Blake elected to use less force for the second strike. The slap of wood against skin sounded only marginally less severe, but this time Aaron managed to remain quiet.

As Blake gently rubbed Aaron’s reddening ass cheeks after the fifth strike, he could see a single tear roll down the side of Aaron’s face. Aaron’s words were choked as he insisted, "I’m okay… I can take it. Go on, Blake."

Aaron asked for another after the sixth blow, though his voice was somewhat strained. He asked for another after the seventh, even as his arms and legs trembled, and the mere breath of air over his ass made him flinch. He asked again for the eighth, though couldn’t manage much more than babble for the tenth.

After a minute or so, Aaron managed to collect himself enough to ask for an eleventh strike, but hearing the whimper made Blake wince. Aaron asked for a twelfth through sobs, but Blake knew he could take no more. Blake shook his head. He dropped the paddle, letting it fall to the floor with a clatter.

Blake grabbed the keys hanging from a nearby hook and began the tedious process of undoing the cuffs that bound Aaron to the chains. As he undid the wrist cuffs, he leaned in and whispered, "Buttercup," in Aaron’s ear.

The lock clicked open and as Blake massaged the area, he said, "I want you to know that I’m not using the word because it’s an emergency. I’m not in distress, I’m not freaked out. This isn’t your fault. I’m just letting you know that the session is over. You’ve done well."

Aaron trembled as Blake undid the other cuffs. He was quiet until Balke finished. "No," Aaron gasped, sagging against Blake’s chest as he was unable to stand on his own strength. "No, I can do more."

Blake shook his head. "No, you can’t and you won’t," he said. He could almost feel the pain that Aaron was experiencing, but set aside his own worries to focus on Aaron.

Brushing his fingers through Aaron’s hair, Blake felt Aaron shiver in his arms. "You did good," he said. "You did so good."

"I didn’t finish the punishment," said Aaron, weakly trying to push off Blake but ultimately lacking the strength to do so. "I need to finish…"

"No," said Blake. "You’ve more than made up for what you did. I forgive you… Now, you need to rest, alright?" he said. Leaning down to hook his arm under Aaron’s knees, Blake heaved the other werewolf into a princess carry.

Gabriel was already holding the door open to an adjacent bedroom. Blake lowered Aaron onto the sheets and clambered onto the bed beside him. He grabbed a bottle of ointment on the nightstand and spread a dollop over his fingers before gently rubbing it in circles into Aaron’s back, ass, and thighs.

"I know you’re disappointed that you didn’t get to finish the punishment tonight," said Blake, letting instinct take the lead as to what he had to say, "but you did well. You did so well taking all of it. You’ve made up for your moment of weakness, and you’ve earned your rest, okay? Now just relax and let me take care of you."

Aaron sighed. He had tears in his eyes, but he seemed satisfied. He seemed to like the praise. "Thank you," he said. "I needed this, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it."

Blake smiled, feeling strangely warm and fluttery in his chest. "I… I appreciate that you stopped me," said Aaron. "I… I want you to know that you’re not a bad person for doing this… If anything, you’re amazing for doing this for me even though I know it made you a little uncomfortable."

Once he was satisfied that he had worked the ointment well enough into Aaron’s skin, Blake laid down beside him. He wrapped an arm around Aaron’s waist and pulled him close. He leaned in and pressed his lips to Aaron’s cheek. "Thank you," he said. "I needed to hear that."

Blake was awakened by Aaron’s tossing and turning. He somehow instinctively knew that it was the middle of the night, though the lack of windows into the basement bedroom made it difficult to confirm his hunch. Beside him, Aaron seemed restless, his face and upper body flushed while his cock stood ramrod straight between his legs.

Aaron’s eyes shot open and locked onto Blake’s. "Fuck," Aaron breathed. Blake reached down and placed his palm against Aaron’s forehead, snatching it back as soon as he felt how hot Aaron’s skin was.

"I… I think we need to get you to the hospital," said Blake. He didn’t need a thermometer to know that Aaron’s temperature probably wasn’t healthy. He was on the brink of full-on panicking, but Aaron’s hand on his arm helped to ground him.

"I’m… I’m okay," said Aaron, through gritted teeth. He placed his hands on either side of Blake’s face and pulled him down, smashing their lips together in a kiss that sent fireworks ricocheting around Blake’s skull. "I need…. I need you," Aaron panted. "My body… Hot… Take me," he begged.

Hot. The air was thick with the scent of arousal, not sickness, and it was getting to Blake. Every breath filled his lungs with Aaron’s intoxicating musk, and it didn’t take long for his cock to rise to full hardness. "I want to be your mate," Aaron panted.

Acting more on instinct than reason, Blake clambered on top of Aaron. He grabbed one of Aaron’s legs in each hand and spread them apart, bending Aaron over in the process. His cock, painfully hard, pressed against Aaron’s hole as Aaron mewled and whimpered, rolling his hips as much as he could.

Unable to resist the urge to mate, Blake used his weight to pin Aaron underneath him and slid his cock into Aaron’s tight ass. Aaron chute gripped him with a hot, velvety, vice-like grasp and it wasn’t long before he was rutting into Aaron like a wild animal.

The bed creaked and groaned under them as the brutality of the first mating rut overtook both of them. Blake grunted and growled as he plowed Aaron’s hole, while Aaron whimpered and moaned and whined as he was fucked open in a way that he might have never anticipated in his old life.

As their mutual orgasm approached, Blake leaned down and clamped his teeth around the curve of Aaron’s neck. Aaron did the same, and as their fuck turned less rhythmic and more frantic, every thrust becoming more ragged and less deliberate, they bit down.

Orgasm hit them both simultaneously as they marked each other mates for life. Aaron’s hot, sticky cum made a mess of their pressed-together stomachs while the knot at the base of Blake’s cock inflated and locked them together as he pumped Aaron full of thick werewolf seed.

When the rapturous orgasm finally tailed off, they collapsed on top of one another, panting raggedly but otherwise content.

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