Lloyd is an old wolf who’s given up hope on love, but a chance encounter in the woods proves that his heart isn’t as lost as he thinks it is.
Lloyd was old, even as far as werewolves went. Though he lived close to humanity in his latter years, he hadn’t really made much of an effort to integrate with the modern world. However far humanity had come since the days of his youth, Lloyd could never quite forget the days when his kind was actively hunted by minions of the Enemy.
Life seemed to be one endless blur of days and nights with little to do but get through to the next. If Lloyd had a pack, things would be different, but he didn’t. He’d had chances to start a pack, in his long life, but he’d always been too much of a coward to take the leap with a potential mate.
It wasn’t that Lloyd minded the sex. Sometimes, he still pursued it even in his age. He was actually rather comfortable being the dominant partner. But the openness and vulnerability that mating required made him uneasy.
Even once the world had moved on, when the Enemy was defeated, Lloyd’s survival instincts refused to let go. He was intellectually aware that the danger had largely passed, but the wolf inside him didn’t see it the same way.
Lloyd’s inner wolf thought the war was still going on, couldn’t justify having a mate when the Enemy could return at any moment. The thought of pups was terrifying, more so the thought of being captured and leaving his poor mate all alone.
For the better part of a century, Lloyd lived with the belief that he simply wasn’t meant for the kind of domestic life that he could never help but envy whenever he visited with other packs. He resigned himself to dying alone and loveless, until a chance meeting sent him careening into another fate entirely.
Spring had come. The gentle spritz of rain falling from the sky, muting all the sharper scents of the world, made it the perfect day for a walk in Lloyd’s mind. He looked out the window of his small cabin by the stream and looked up at the grey sky through the canopy of the woods. Yes, it was absolutely a wonderful day for a walk.
Perhaps it was a bit melodramatic to want to go for a walk in the middle of a spring shower, but Lloyd didn’t care. No one lived nearby to judge him, and he genuinely liked the season. He pulled on running shoes, sweatpants, a shirt, and a grey hoodie before heading out.
Lloyd was older, but that also meant that he was stronger, more skillful, and more experienced than he had been during the days of the war. Still, he avoided the human footpaths. His inner wolf sensed danger along them, and never let him take the risk of getting too close to people when he didn’t need to.
Some days, Lloyd just wished he could let his guard down without his inner wolf having a conniption. He hadn’t had a moment to just relax since the day he came into his own as an Alpha. His inner wolf spent every waking moment tense and alert, looking for nonexistent threats.
With a quiet sigh, Lloyd tucked his hands into the pockets of his hoodie. He trudged along through the woods, weaving his way past the trees and over knotted roots poking out of the ground. He savored the feeling of the cool air against his face, the gentle touch of the drizzle, the faint sound of leaf litter rustling under his feet.
A peculiar sound cut through the tranquility of the woods. Lloyd’s ears twitched as his superhuman hearing picked up the quiet sound of sobbing.
Despite his better judgment, and against his inner wolf’s insistence, Lloyd followed the sound. The source was a young man, sitting disconsolate on a rocky outcrop in a small clearing in the middle of a thick copse of trees.
The young man was beautiful. He had a light dusting of hair on his jaw, from what Lloyd could see, and an almond tuft poked out past the strap of the backward cap on his head.
The young man’s broad shoulders were hunched over. His thick arms were wrapped around his knees, which were pulled up to his chest. He slowly rocked back and forth on top of his rock as sobs wracked his muscular frame. Quietly watching the young man grieve, Lloyd felt a strange ache in his heart.
Lloyd wanted to get closer, and for once the wolf inside him had no qualms about approaching the human. Maybe it had to do with the smell of the young man’s sadness. It was pungent and clear, with no hint of deceit or dishonesty. There was always the possibility that the rain was messing with Lloyd’s senses, but somehow he doubted that was the case.
A twig snapped under Lloyd’s heel as he approached. The young man’s gaze snapped up to meet Lloyd’s. The young man had the prettiest brown eyes he’d ever seen. "Hey, it’s okay," said Lloyd, holding up both arms, palms facing outward, to show that he meant no harm.
The young man glanced off to the side, but for the time being at least, Lloyd seemed to have been able to head any attempts to flee. "I just want to talk," said Lloyd, as he approached the outcropping. He looked up at the young man and said, gently, "What’s your name?"
"Alex," said the young man, tersely. He looked Lloyd up and down as he wiped the tears from his eyes with the back of his hands. "Who wants to know?"
Lloyd smiled up at Alex. It was a pretty name. "Lloyd," he said. He didn’t bother extending a hand for Alex to shake. He doubted it would do any good. "Is Alex short for Alexander?" he said.
"Yeah," said Alex. "So what?" His standoffish tone, the hard edge to his gaze, signaled that he didn’t want any company. However, Lloyd could smell the abject misery just wafting off Alex in waves and couldn’t very well leave in good conscience.
"I think it’s pretty," said Lloyd. A tinge of pink crept into Alex’s cheeks as he quickly averted his gaze from Lloyd’s. Lloyd thought that was pretty, too. "What’s a young man like you doing all the way out here?" What’s wrong?"
"It’s nothing," said Alex, though Lloyd could see the tears welling up in his eyes again. "I’m just being stupid. Again. As always. I-I shouldn’t have come out here. I gotta go…"
"No, wait. Stay," said Lloyd. He jumped up, clearing the top of the outcropping in a single bound. Alex gaped at him, but said nothing more. "You look like you could use someone to talk to. It never helps to bottle these things up. I won’t say anything if you don’t want me to. I’ll just listen."
Alex’s lips tightened into a thin line as he rested his forehead against his knees. It seemed he didn’t want to talk, but the scent of his sadness only got stronger.
While he hated to compel Alex into opening up, Lloyd had no choice. Since the rain muted his scent, and since Alex wasn’t a member of his pack or even a werewolf, for that matter, his Command wasn’t likely to be particularly effective. Still, he had to try.
"Please, talk to me," said Lloyd. The authority of his station slipped into his words and insinuated itself in Alex’s mind. "If you do nothing else, please, talk to me."
Alex sighed. Tentatively, he looked up, his gaze meeting Lloyd’s. "I’m a failure," Alex whispered. "I always have been."
With great hesitation at first and then with the force of a damn that had burst, Alex told his story. As the tale unraveled, Alex came to lean against Lloyd’s solid frame, his body wracked with horrible sobs whenever the words became too difficult. But nonetheless he persevered.
By the time that Alex had finished relaying his story, Lloyd and his inner wolf were in perfect agreement—Alex was precious and to be protected.
For the longest time, Lloyd sat there with Alex. For once, he didn’t mind the intimacy. He just wanted to give the young man the benefit of understanding company without the judgment that he’d so frequently encountered through the years. It was all he could do to not immediately hunt down everyone that had made the boy miserable.
"You’re not a failure," Lloyd asserted. He rubbed his calloused hand up and down Alex’s arm as he held the young man against his side. "How can you be a failure if, as you say, you’re doing well in school, and are an important part of your school’s football team?"
After his first meeting with Alex, Lloyd took to waiting by the rocky outcropping for hours on end every day. He was hoping to be there if ever Alex needed him again. It was something to do, and certainly better than the monotonous days he usually spent alone at home.
While Lloyd and Alex had spoken and spent time together a few more times since the first day they met, today was the first time Alex came back in two weeks. His face visibly brightened when he saw Lloyd going through the motions of a martial art unique to the were-clans. Although it was clear he was curious, he never asked what it was.
"It doesn’t matter to them," Alex muttered. "It’s never enough."
Lloyd gritted his teeth. It wasn’t Alex’s fault his parents were worthless. It wasn’t Alex’s fault his parents thought he was a waste of time because he’d nearly failed out of high school. If only they bothered to learn more about the son they were only too eager to pawn off, they would understand what Lloyd saw in him.
"Why?" said Lloyd. Alex looked at him. "I mean, why does what they think matter? If they don’t think you’re worth their time, then you shouldn’t give them any of yours."
"They’re my parents," said Alex. "I want them to be proud of me."
Lloyd sighed and squeezed Alex’s arm. "I know," he said. "But they won’t be. They will never be. Even if you work yourself to death. Because you’ve done things any parent worth their salt would be proud of and they still aren’t."
"Maybe you’re right… But I don’t know if I can just let it go like that… After I realized I’d fucked up, all I’ve ever wanted was to make it up to them. I feel like I’d be lost without having them to work for." said Alex.
Alex draped an arm over Lloyd’s stomach, but quickly snatched it back. "I-I’m sorry," he stammered. "I-I don’t know what came over me. I just… I thought… I gotta go…"
Before Alex could leave, Lloyd gently pulled him back. Lloyd’s heart was pounding in his chest, but the wolf inside him had no objections. "No," he said. "You thought right…"
As Alex stared at him, stunned speechless, Lloyd leaned in and stole a kiss from the young man’s lips. "From the moment I saw you, I thought you were beautiful, and I don’t know what it was but I just wanted to be there for you."
"Lloyd…" Alex breathed. He leaned forward, crawling onto his hands and knees while reaching up to grab the side of Lloyd’s face. He pulled Lloyd in for another kiss. "Thank you," he said, tears in his eyes.
"You want someone to make proud?" said Lloyd, his heart racing. His lips were tingling. He couldn’t get the taste of Alex off his tongue and he didn’t think he ever wanted to. "Pick me. Let me be proud of you because I promise I will be. More than you know."
Alex laughed and threw his arms around Lloyd. "Of course, you big dolt," he said, choking halfway between sobs. "Of course."
Since he wanted to be closer to Alex, Lloyd sought some help from his few Alpha friends to secure a place to live in the city, as well as some work he could do to support the both of them. It was a big move, and completely novel to Lloyd, but he was excited about something for the first time in his life.
Although his presence proved to be a stabilizing influence in Alex’s life, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Alex was slowly shucking off the toxic influence of his parents, but he was still working way too hard. He was stressed and every day he cracked more and more under the pressure.
It all came to a head one day when Alex didn’t make it home. Lloyd tried to get a hold of him by calling him, but Alex never picked up. It was only later in the evening, when he made his way onto campus, that he found Alex staring blankly into space on a bench outside the residence.
"Alex?" said Lloyd, gently placing a hand on Alex’s shoulder. Alex flinched at the touch, but apart from that, he didn’t move one bit. "Is everything alright?"
"Too much…" Alex muttered, under his breath. "It’s all too much…"
Lloyd was struck by how desolate Alex’s voice sounded. Cautiously, he reached down and gently pushed Alex up onto his feet. He met no resistance. "I see…" he said. "Why don’t we get you home? We can talk, if you want. Or we can just have dinner, if that sounds too much right now."
Once they got back, life seemed to return to Alex. He blinked, as if confused about how he got there. "Hey…" said Lloyd, gently. "Welcome back. There’s some chicken carbonara, if you’re hungry. It might be a little cold, now, but I can reheat it."
"Thanks…" Alex muttered. "What… What happened?"
"I’d like to know, too, if I’m being honest," said Lloyd. "I found you staring off into space on a bench on campus when you didn’t come home. You weren’t picking up my calls so I got worried."
"Oh," said Alex. "I think… I think I just got overwhelmed. I have homework for three courses due on Friday. Then, I have a project deliverable due on Saturday. After that, there’s a midterm on Monday. There’s just… too much to do and not enough time to do any of it."
Alex looked up at Lloyd. The werewolf was surprised at the fear in the young man’s eyes. "I-I don’t want that to happen again," he said. "I don’t want to just… blank out like that… I’m scared. I don’t think I can handle much more of this… I need… I need a break."
Lloyd didn’t know why it was what leapt to mind, but he remembered one of his old subs who liked to do some puppy play as a form of escapism. "Maybe there’s a way I can help," said Lloyd. "Do you want to just get out of your head for a little bit? Live a simpler life. Not have to worry about adult stuff. Something like that?"
There was a faint glimmer of hope in Alex’s eyes that made Lloyd’s heart ache. Gods, he had it bad for this boy. "Yes. More than anything. But I can’t even close my eyes for a minute without a hundred thoughts going through my head, right now."
"Well, again, I think I can help with that," said Lloyd. he’d not brought up the topic before, since he and Alex hadn’t done much more than fool around. "Um… How do I say this… I’m not a normal guy."
Alex let out a quiet laugh. It was refreshing to hear, and helped to lighten the weight on Lloyd’s shoulders. "You seemed pretty normal to me, last time I checked… If maybe a bit big, and a bit hairier than usual," said Alex, a faint pink tinge creeping into his cheeks.
Lloyd tried to ignore the heat that was rising from his neck into his face. "I-I mean I’m not even human," he said. "I’m… I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but… I’m a werewolf. And I know that that’s not what you signed up for, so I understand if you need time to process this but I just really want to help you," he said.
"I figured as much," said Alex, much to Lloyd’s surprise. "I mean… I had no idea what you were, but I at least knew you weren’t just human."
"H-How did you know?" said Lloyd.
"Isn’t it obvious?" said Alex. Lloyd shook his head. "Well, you seem to hear what I’m saying even if I’m saying it under my breath. Whenever you hug me you tell me that I smell good… And the first day we met you jumped six, seven feet straight up without breaking a sweat."
"Ah… Dead giveaway, huh?" said Lloyd. The corner of Alex’s mouth twitched. If he was being honest, Lloyd was a bit disappointed Alex had known all along that there was something he’d left unsaid. He’d been hyping himself up for how to broach the subject and now he felt like the wind had left his sails a bit.
"How does your being a werewolf help me?" said Alex, looking up at Lloyd, his head tilted quizzically.
"I’m a special kind of werewolf," said Lloyd. "I’m an Alpha. And that means I can command other were-folk and, to a limited extent, humans, to do things."
Lloyd looked down at his feet. "I-I kind of did that to you the first day we met. I made you talk. But I promise I haven’t done it since. You just looked like you could use someone. Anyone."
The warm touch of Alex’s fingers on the side of his face made Lloyd look up at the young man. "I don’t care," said Alex. "Maybe it wasn’t my choice, but I think I needed that push. I wouldn’t be here today if not for what you did, so you don’t have to apologize or feel ashamed."
Lloyd’s heart skipped a beat. For someone that had suffered so much, it was remarkable how much compassion Alex still held in his heart. "Thank you," said Lloyd. "I really needed to hear that."
Blinking away the tears in his eyes, Lloyd continued. "A-Anyway, as I was saying, I can command people to do things. I had a sub, once, who really liked to escape into this simpler, sort of animalistic mindspace. I commanded him to put his human thoughts, worries, and personality aside so that he can be a randy, playful, carefree pup for me. Is that something that you would want to try out, maybe?"
Alex’s eyes widened. "Would I… Get to stop thinking so much?" he said, almost breathlessly. Lloyd nodded. That was kind of the whole point. "Then yes. Of course. I want to try it out!" he said.
Lloyd smiled. Alex’s excitement was infectious. "Alright. Do you want to do it right now?" he said. Alex nodded fervently. Lloyd placed a hand on Alex’s shoulder. He stopped suppressing his pheromones so much and watched as Alex’s breathing slowly evened out, his chest rising and falling as his body relaxed with every lungful of Lloyd’s scent.
"H-Holy fuck that smells so good, Lloyd… Is that you?" whispered Alex. "I-It is. It definitely is." There was awe in Alex’s voice that made Lloyd’s chest swell with pride. He suppressed the feeling. This wasn’t about him. It was about Alex.
"I want you to focus on me. Focus on my voice," said Lloyd. Alex nodded. "Just relax… Take deep breaths, feeling your muscles loosen, all the tension flowing out of your body… That’s it. Just like that. Now, I want you to listen to my words. Let them envelop you, let them move through you."
Lloyd gently squeezed Alex’s shoulder. He rubbed his thumb in gentle circles just above Alex’s armpit, coaxing him even deeper into a calm, relaxed state. "I want you to think of a name, a name that you can give a version of yourself that doesn’t have all those pesky human worries that keep you up at night… A version of you that doesn’t have to think so much. I want you to think of a name. A good name. And tell me as soon as you have it."
"Asch," said Alex. "That’s the name."
"Good boy," said Lloyd. He reached up and brushed his thumb along the ridge of Alex’s cheekbone. "That’s a good boy. Now, I want you to imagine that you’re holding a collar in your hands. It can be any kind of collar. It can be leather, it can be metal, it can be chain. As long as it’s a collar big enough to fit around your neck."
"I-I have it," muttered Alex, under his breath. "It’s very nice."
"Of course. It should be. It’s yours," said Lloyd. He gently eased Alex into a more reclined position on the couch. "I want you to imagine that there’s a name tag on the collar. I want you to imagine that it says ‘Asch’ on it."
"Aw," said Alex. "That’s cute."
Lloyd smiled. He’d never seen such a light and happy expression on Alex’s face. It made his heart soar. He realized he would do anything to protect that expression.
"Now, I want you to imagine that there’s a book in front of you. A big book filled with all of those pesky human thoughts, human words, human worries… All of the distractions that just end up stressing you out at the end of a long day," said Lloyd.
"Mm. I see it… It’s a very big book…" said Alex, his tone somewhat subdued.
"That’s okay," said Lloyd. "That’s not a problem. Now. Whenever you feel like everything in that book is being overwhelming and you know you’re in a safe place to let go—like at home—you’re going to be able to put that book away and just ignore it for a little while."
"H-How do I do that?" Alex murmured, shifting on the couch as his eyes flitted back and forth under his eyelids.
"Just put on the collar," said Lloyd. "When you put on the collar, you’ll be the happy pup known as Asch. You won’t have any human thoughts or human words, but you won’t have any silly human worries either. You get to just be playful and happy and carefree until you take it off."
A small smile tugged at the corners of Alex’s lips. "Whenever you put on that collar, the book goes into a box to make sure it stays safe. When you know you’ve had enough of a break from all those silly thoughts and worries, you’ll be able to put the book back where it belongs by taking the collar off. Do you understand?"
Alex let out a little yip, and the adorable little sound made Lloyd’s heart melt.
The jangling of keys in the front door made Lloyd perk up from where he was sitting on the couch, idly watching news while he did some work on his computer. He walked out of the living room and into the entrance hall to greet Alex, the words dying halfway out of his mouth as he noticed that Alex had just finished stripping down and had his collar in his hands.
"Bad day?" said Lloyd. Alex nodded, but said nothing. "Well, don’t you worry. You’re home now. You’re safe now. If you need to retreat a little, I’d be more than happy to help."
Alex smiled and held the collar out for Lloyd to take. So far, Alex had refused to collar himself, insisting that Lloyd do it because it felt better. It was nice, actually, knowing that Alex trusted him enough to do that.
The collar was simple, a short length of chain with a small padlock engraved with the name "Asch." Lloyd popped the lock open, wrapped the length of chain around the back of Alex’s neck, and then clicked the loop shut around the link on the opposite end of the chain.
As soon as the weight of the collar settled around his neck, Alex—or, rather, Asch—fell to the ground on all fours. Lloyd smiled, crouching on all fours and holding his hand out for the pup to sniff.
Lloyd was pretty sure that Alex was his mate, but he was also pretty sure that Alex wasn’t quite ready for that, yet. He was willing to wait. He had waited over a hundred years for someone to captivate him like Alex had. What was another few years?
Asch let out a playful little bark as he pounced on Lloyd. The sudden move caught the Alpha off guard, as Asch’s weight pushed him to the ground. Asch used his paws to spread his Alpha’s legs and, growling, carefully undid the button at Lloyd’s waist.
Lloyd couldn’t help but laugh, his cock twitching as Asch’s teeth dragged his zipper down. It didn’t take long before the precocious pup had pulled his pants all the way to his knees, with his underwear following suit quickly thereafter. Lloyd’s cock sprang free of his briefs and was only spared a moment before Asch’s tongue was all over it, licking and slurping and sucking at the sensitive skin.
Lloyd bit back a moan as Asch swallowed him all the way down to the root. He threaded his fingers through Asch’s hair and gently rolled his hips to fuck his cock into the greedy little pup’s mouth. He supposed he should have expected it—pups loved their bones, after all, especially after as long a day as he was sure Alex had had.
Since it was still pretty early in the evening, Lloyd didn’t bother holding back. Within minutes, he hit the edge. He roughly pulled Asch off his cock, using Asch’s hair as leverage and not one moment too soon as his cock started blasting right after. Thick wads of cum splattered right across Asch’s face like messy icing.
Laughing, Lloyd reached down and gently massaged the cum into Asch’s face. If there was one thing Lloyd knew Asch loved more than bone, it was wearing his owner’s scent on his face.