Talibus Laboribus Lupos Defendimus
[personal profile] ghostrunner
Teen Wolf
R

Okay, so this happened. Wherein [personal profile] robanybody conned me into writing ridiculous backstory for her through the use of pictures of hot people. (I whine a lot about how [personal profile] robanybody knows how easy I am and she tempts me shamelessly, but the truth is I wanted to write this and she just showed me that she’d be interested in reading it.)

Let this be a lesson to all of you. About… about how easy I am, I guess.

I love the icons, bb, I hope you like this.


Coda: Some stories are easy. This story was a total bitch.







--


The funny thing is, those scars on his ribs that he always said were from a youthful motorcycle accident? The ones that Allison clearly now thinks are the result of a hunt gone wrong?

They actually are from a motorcycle accident.

Of course, he'd only fallen when the wendigo jumped him.

--

Chris Argent spent a significant portion of his teens trying to figure out whether or not he actually wanted to be Chris Argent.

The Argents are one of the oldest hunting families in America and like any legacy, that's something of a burden.

But Chris was a good son and a good listener and when his father took him out of school or sports events to hunt wolves he never complained. He did it because it had been explained to him that what they did kept innocent people safe.

He didn't particularly care about the family legacy, and he didn't do it for fun. He's good at it, sure. He enjoys it, a little. The way you enjoy anything you're good at. Some people are good at cooking, or coding, or skiing.

Chris Argent is an excellent hunter.

He doesn't enjoy it the way Kate enjoys it. Fiercely and fully and ahead of anything else. And he didn't have to fight for it the way Kate did. Arguing with their father to come along, struggling to be accepted in a world that was almost entirely male.

So maybe he never appreciated it the way she did.

He doesn't think that's a flaw; hunting should be primarily an obligation, not a recreational activity.

--

In his twenties he spends several years on what most hunters euphemistically call “the circuit.”

Being on the circuit means you’re on the road. All the time.

Hunters are more of a network than a community and all it takes to be ‘on the circuit’ is a vehicle and the ability to stay in contact with the people who stay on the look out for the kind of problems that can only be solved with a silver bullet.

Or an aconite-tipped arrow, as the case may be.

Chris has a Triumph Bonneville T140 and an old family name.

The circuit loves him.

--

Cassie Campbell comes from another old hunting family. She’s got cropped light hair and blunt fingernails and she can put a knife into a postage stamp from fifteen yards.

She reminds him a little (very, very little, thanks) of Kate.

When the werewolf (beta, killed her human boyfriend last full moon) smacks her rifle aside Cassie kicks her in the face to gain space and pulls out a freaking desert eagle and fires twice, misses once.

The wolf howls in pain and rage, eyes luminous and mad in the dark and Chris puts an arrow through her spine. She drops to the ground and twitches, dying.

Cassie wipes blood off her face with one sleeve. “What took you?” she drawls.

Chris grins.

After the hunt Cassie’s down in the garage taking rifles apart and cleaning them. She’s very particular about gun maintenance.

He likes that in a woman.

Chris moves quietly from long habit, but he’s not making an effort and he knows she knows he’s there.

She smells like cordite and gun oil and sweat and she doesn’t startle when he takes her by the elbow and turns her to face him.

He gives her a second to tell him off or punch him or maybe shoot him, but all she does is smile, sharp and sly, and takes a step into him.

Her mouth is thin and she kisses like she’s trying to devour. She tastes like salt and coffee and she lets Chris peel her tank top off and throw it aside, lets him nudge her backward into the table.

The guns rattle under their weight and she grabs a handful of his shirt and pulls him closer. He kisses her when she looks like she might speak and she strips his own shirt over his head and tugs at his belt buckle.

Chris doesn’t have anything against nice girls and doesn’t mind being a gentleman. Certainly he knows how, naturally he’s happy to be chivalrous.

But there’s just something about a woman who’ll let you fuck her on the edge of a table covered in guns, clothes still partway on and streaked with sweat and dirt and werewolf blood, hands gripping too tight with short, practical nails, scratching over new bruises and old scars.

Hunting has few perks. The adrenaline high and the coming-down-off-adrenaline-high sex are Chris’ favorites.

--

He likes forests, which is good, because he spends a lot of time in them.

A lot of hunters find trees a nuisance, blocking shots, providing cover for monsters, generally being obstacles when you’re running for your life from something that can see in the dark.

Chris privately thinks it’s stupid to blame trees for your own shortcomings.

He likes to walk the woods in daylight before a hunt, partly because of the tactical advantage this familiarity provides, but mostly because it calms him, centers him.

He likes the constancy of trees. The enduring force of a forest. He walks the woods before a hunt and lays his hand on the trunks of trees that have watched hunters and wolves dance for decades, for centuries.

He feels connected.

Kate thinks he’s a dork, and tells him so. She doesn’t need anything before a hunt except a good night’s sleep. She certainly doesn’t need any girly crap like ‘centering.’

She’s going to get killed, someday.

It grieves him, but he knows it’s true.

Kate never knows when to stop.

--

Although, to be fair, he’s rushed headlong into his share of bad hunts.

Hey, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

--

The wendigo that knocks his bike flying and puts him on bed rest for a week and carves up his ribs as a constant reminder to watch his own fucking six is in North Dakota.

He wasn’t prepared for it.

That’s a hazard of the circuit; not every report of massacred animals and missing people is a rogue wolf.

When it is, he’s almost always the one who gets the call.

The Argents have been the head of the wolf hunters for centuries and Chris is his father’s only son. It’s a lot to live up to and frankly he’d just rather not deal with all the testing bullshit.

He gets a call about a possible wolf in Kentucky from a group of hunters who aren’t equipped to deal with it. Not everyone is on the circuit; there are plenty of people who stay in a hundred mile radius of their home and never deal with anything worse than an angry spirit.

Those people call in people like him.

--

He is, in many unexpected ways, a traditionalist.

One of his ancestors was also a crossbow man. He has a couple of silver bolts from the seventeenth century, quarrel headed, plated silver over steel. They’re interesting, but he just likes to look at them from time to time.

He’s not that traditional.

His crossbow is a rifle-stock, compound draw and it isn’t made of wood, thanks. Like most modern crossbows it fires fletched arrows, not bolts, and it can put one all the way through a charging werewolf.

Yes, he knows that from experience.

You can get a faster rate of fire with a conventional bow, but it’s also less accurate and less powerful.

A rifle will give you the rate of fire, the accuracy, and the power, but a werewolf who shakes off a bullet might think twice about a twenty-inch arrow through the chest.

You can fit a crossbow into a motorcycle saddlebag if you detach the prod from the stock and aren't too picky about the state of the bag.

--

Chris doesn’t mind bikers, or biker bars when you’re coming down off a hunt and just need to unwind a little, but he’s getting a little bored and a little antsy until someone new shoulders through the door.

He’s got loose dark hair and cool blue eyes and he’s wearing a leather jacket but he doesn’t look like a biker.

He looks like he’s cruising, matter of fact.

He’s lean and kind of scruffy and he smiles when Chris raises his chin coolly at him.

He walks like he’s more accustomed to running and he’s drinking a respectable microbrew when he sits down at Chris’ table and offers him a hand, but not his name.

Chris takes the hand, long, callused, strong, and doesn’t offer his name either.

This seems to amuse his new friend, who flashes strong white teeth in a broad grin.

Chris shivers.

Look, Chris has some bad habits, okay? Guys like this are one of them.

He’s got a lot of smooth muscle, but no scars and he runs his fingertips across Chris’ like they’re utterly foreign to him.

He gasps but doesn’t bite and he’s careful with his hands, so careful Chris wants to tell him not to be, that he can handle a little rough.

Chris doesn’t say anything, though. He can appreciate other peoples' issues and this guy doesn't make so much as an inkling of protest when Chris pulls his hair, and he has a kind of intense, quiet melancholy that's frankly really appealing.

It'll make it that much harder when, years later, Chris has to shoot him

--

Except for the aconite bullets and the flashbang arrowheads, which he makes himself, Chris mostly gets his weapons from WalMart.

The more esoteric (read: illegal) pieces are picked up from people with government jobs and hunter roots. The ATF in particular, is full of hunters and their kin.

He loves those guys and the system works pretty well, but he’s starting to think it’s not exactly the most efficient.

--

There’s a witch on the hunt in Kentucky.

It happens. Not every witch is an evil crone, or a grandmotherly healer. Some of them know hunters and are willing to help. Some of them are twenty-five year old firestarters with tattoos and wild dark hair and a voice like smoke and honey.

Personally, Chris has never much trusted magic, but he’s never been one to cast a weapon aside out of hand. Her name is Delilah Wisher and frankly, he likes his chances.

Of course, first they all have to survive this hunt

--

It's bad. He's knows it's bad because he can't really feel it. The wounds that you can't feel at first are always bad. The ones that go deep, down past the surface nerve endings.

It's really bad.

The woman holding his arm eases him to the ground on his back and kneels at his side. Her voice is husky and light, she's wearing silver bracelets and a black leather jacket and there are feathers in her hair.

Wisher.

"Go," she says to the other hunters. "Finish them off." She shifts to kneel across his body and rips his shirt open. "Go," she says again.

They go.

She murmurs his name once, again. "Argent."

He blinks. Her face swims into focus above him.

"Hold still," she says.

She strips out of her jacket and tosses it aside. The moonlight turns her skin into something unearthly, staggeringly beautiful, although that could be the blood loss talking.

He thinks at first that it's a trick of the light and his own growing delirium. Wisher tips her head back slowly and the moonlight starts to draw patterns on her chest and shoulders.

Power, he thinks, still only half certain this is actually happening. He is seeing her power.

She looks back down at him and seems to be bracing herself for something. Her skin glows. Her eyes burn. She smells like night wind and a forest after rain.

She folds herself forward and down, and she kisses him.

It's inexpert and off-center and more than a little desperate and he's dying on the forest floor.

And then she opens her mouth and tips her head a little, a kiss as a conduit, and her power spills over him, into him, and it's the best thing he's ever had in his life.

She's burning him from the inside, power howling down his veins. He curls one hand around her knee, sliding up along her thigh, kiss turning hard and hungry and he can't help it.

There's a roaring in his ears and the smell of something burning and he can't feel anything but Wisher's skin and pain.

Wisher drags her mouth from his and, arching her back, raises her head and howls something at the sky. It seems to take all her strength. The power in his veins flares and snaps.

Wisher sways, and collapses on top of him like a puppet with cut strings.

The world goes black.

--

There's a squirrel chattering somewhere overhead. Birdsong. Wind in the trees.

He opens his eyes to sunlight filtering down through the forest. He's staring straight up at the canopy because he's still lying on the forest floor.

It's been hours, he thinks.

Wisher is still lying sprawled on top of him. Her head on his shoulder and the soft weight of her hair tossed across his chest like a shipwreck.

He's lying in the middle of forest holding a witch watching early autumn leaves fall from the trees and drift idly to the ground.

Wisher shifts slightly and, noticing her movement restrained by his fingers in her hair, opens her eyes and blinks at him from no more than three inches away.

He resists the urge to say, "Good morning," and says instead, "I think you saved my life."

A leaf caught in one of her curls rests lightly against her collarbone. He finds it unexpectedly fascinating.

He feels fantastic, catches her waist as she tries to rise and rolls her over in the leaves. She smirks up him, pinned under his body only because she wants to be and the sunlight on her face is the most beautiful thing he’s seen in a long time.

Wisher shifts, drawing up one knee, his hips between her thighs and she lets him kiss her, slow and heavy. The slide and drag of his mouth is an exploration of living.

She laughs when he slides down her body, scraping his stubble over the tops of her breasts, tips her head back and moans, breathy and low, when he sets his teeth to her throat and bites.

Her skin is hot and her nails are sharp where she clutches at his shoulders and his knee slides on the leaves and he has never felt so alive.

--

The big secret to hunting is this:

Don’t let them get you.

Some people would say it’s ‘Be prepared,’ and, yeah, that’s certainly important.

But all the spare bullets, and extra flashlight batteries in the world aren’t going to save you if you let something with teeth and claws and superhuman strength get too close.

--

He’s not exactly certain what dragged six year old Sidney McKay out of her backyard and left her strewn across a quarter mile of swamp, but in his rather extensive experience, nothing really likes being shot in the chest with a crossbow.

This thing, it’s not a wolf, in fact it’s sort of reptilian looking, but it staggers when he shoots it and transforms jerkily into a short, bearded man with a beer gut and the soft, flabby arms of someone who works in an office all day.

“Please,” he coughs. The arrow in his side is making it hard to talk, but it’s not a fatal wound. “Please, I’m sorry. I lost control. I’ll never do it again.”

Chris nocks another arrow and says nothing.

The man chokes and sobs. There are tears in his eyes and he’s starting to blubber.

He still has Sidney McKay’s blood under his nails.

--

Chris thinks the Hunter’s Code is important because… Well, because it’s important.

That’s the way he was taught, the way he was raised and he’s never questioned it.

He understands that you have to be sure, before you hunt something to death you have to be sure it’s spilled human blood. That it’s a threat to the innocent.

This is not true for all hunters. Many, particularly those who hunt things other than wolves, things that never were and never could pass for human, don’t need to see a body before they take something out.

That the Code is both sacred and necessary isn’t true for everyone, hell, he suspects it isn’t true for Kate, seventeen and dangerous as hell, and he knows she grew up hearing the same lessons he did.

He worries about her. He’s seen people who have no limits and he’s seen what can happen to them on the Circuit.

The Code is important because it’s important. Because mistakes are made.

It’s so fundamental to him that he has trouble explaining it to others.

It just is. It has to be.

--

The big secret to hunting is this:

It’s not a job, it’s a calling.

That makes it sound like a holy thing, but to Chris it is a holy thing.

He has the family creed tattooed on the inside of his arm. He likes it there, likes to trace the black letters. It reminds him who he is. As his daughter grows up and Kate gets impossible to control it reminds him why he does this, even when it’s hard.

It's not for a legacy and it’s not for his pride and it's sure as hell not for his father. It's something he does because he can. Because he has to.

Because it's worth everything else.

--

By these labors do we keep the wolves at bay.

--

fin
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