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They came upon the cliff, which was Changkhyun's favorite spot to chill, spotting Alice standing by the edge. Somehow he wasn't surprised that she'd be here, during one of Wonho's runs he had spotted her just standing there, staring into space. He decided to head home, letting Kihyun continue the run on his own before coming back in human form after he was dressed to see her still standing by the cliff.
"It's a nice day isn't it?" Asked Changkhyun, starting up the conversation first. Around her, Changkhyun felt calm, like he didn't have his power. He felt the most [i human] around her, and that was one of the very few perks he could associate with her. Not that he'd admit that out loud. His pure blooded self meant that he was never truly human in the first place. A literal wolf in sheep's clothing kind of thing if you will.
"By the way, whatever you know about my kind, forget about it," he said, an icy tone to his voice now. "If it were the case that mates would be nothing but pets to us, then Minhyuk and Hyungwon's mates would still be here, and [i alive]," he said. He stared out at the water, just letting the soft breeze blow through his hair. "Humans are complicated creatures," he said suddenly, turning to see Kihyun coming back over to them and sitting down, still in his wolf form.
"You're lucky, you know, not to experience the things that I personally have seen," Changkhyun said suddenly. "How much longer can I keep this charade up I wonder? Before we have to move again," he said. Kihyun snorts, bumping Changkhyun with his snout. "I guess it's time then," mumbled Changkhyun as he turned to Alice.
"I'll be back in class tomorrow, I've already finished my side of the project, I wasn't just slacking off at home you know," he said. "I have quite the reputation to keep," he said. "I best be getting back then," he said, starting the walk home with Kihyun following after him.
"Did I take it to far?" Asked Changkhyun as he walked with Kihyun. Kihyun shook his head no. "I guess not huh?" Asked Changkhyun. "Well, let's get some dinner then," he said, entering the house with Kihyun going to change and join the others for dinner after putting on some clothes. Changkhyun went to see how Shownu was faring before joining the others for dinner, sitting with Minhyuk who was keeping to himself again, not wanting to project his thoughts.
A light breeze ruffles the edge of her homework. She tucks a stray strand of hair behind her ear and chews the end of her pencil. Alice chose to do her homework outside in the bright fall colors and the rare sunlight. Carefully she reread the assignments directions and swirls her pencil centimeters above the paper. She knew the answers, but how to word them?
Tucking her leg under her she adjusts her position on the flowered cushion tied to the patio chair. The table she diligently works on is glass and sparkling. The sun feels warm on her skin as she pencils another answer. Her black hair reveals brown streaks normally hidden by clouds. Several minutes pass before she finally leans back, stretches, and sighs. For some reason she couldn't force herself to continue. Standing she starts toward the forest. In the last week she felt the thick shadows, changing colors, and soft undergrowth call to her. Bright yellow and orange leaves swirl around her and dance to the ground, only to be swept away by the very breeze that made them fall. Reaching up she catches a passing leaf between her fingers of her right hand. The leaf is a bright orange on its way to brown. Eventually the leaf would meet its siblings on the ground and lose its bright color. The leaf would disappear amongst the others.Gently she turns it in a slow circle. Would that happen to her? Would she accept him and just become one of them? She didn't know much about wolf life, but the books she had read protrayrd the mates of wolves as domestic slaves that cleaned house and raised pups. Alice couldn't imagine herself slaving over a hot stove for hours, cooking enough food to feed an army, just to have yo do the dishes afterward. Let alone she wasn't sure if she was ready for 'the' relationship. The relationship that was the last. There were still so many things she wanted to do, to experience and she couldn't see herself doing those things with Changhyun, but what if she was his one and only. By refusing him she was altering his life, possibly limiting and changing the pack forever.
Alice's mind continues to toil over itself as she approaches the cliffside. Below the waves crash against the rocks, covering the flat parts with sea foam. Sea birds squwalled above her head and flew in large circles. Picking a large rock, she resolves to let her mind figure it out listening to the water on the rocks.
“I think I’m ready to return to school tomorrow,” Changkhyun said suddenly. “I don’t know if I’ll be alright, but I have to right?” He asked. Minhyuk hummed, nodding. “Will you be alright then?” He asked. “I have you there don’t I?” Asked Changkhyun.
“We’ll be here when you get back,” said Kihyun. “Hyungwon has to go back and finish his work anyway,” he said. “Right,” said Changkhyun as he sighed, leaning back in his chair. “We have this stupid project to do,” he grumbled.
After catching up in all his classes and making sure he had his part of the project done Changkhyun went running again. He needed to clear his head, and swore to be back before dinner. He missed those days, before his power activated. He could be as normal as could be but now he had to worry about his power, and even if Alice did end up not wanting to be with him he still had his pack. At least he still had their support in things.
He was soon joined by Kihyun in his run, the two of them running in comfortable silence. Kihyun felt the most comfortable in his wolf form, and more often than not Changkhyun let him run with him.
Scoffing, Alice watched him leave. After class was over she returned to her locker to find Emma waiting for her. Since distancing herself from anything having to do with him she found Emma to be a quick friend. As they walked to their next class together they chatted idly about homework and books. Alice faked interest as they talked. Maybe she was being selfish. Though could anyone blame her? Looking around there seemed to be Changkyun's name on everyone's lips. This kind of absence was unusual for him. Not that Alice would know, she didn't even know him personally. Emma had gotten quiet after a few minutes, noticing that Alice's heart wasn't into the topic.
Safely in her next class, Alice waited for the long day to end. So far she hadn't made any progress on getting into the popular crowd, though she was starting to learn their names and make a few friends. As she draws lazy circles on the edge of her notebook, she notes that there seemed to be heavy blanket hanging over everyone's heads. Part of her wondered if the blanket was caused by him. He was a part of the popular party crowd. A lot of people knew him, but she doubted they knew the real him. Hell, she didn't even know the real him and she was supposed to be his mate. Granted she didn't give him a chance. Chewing the inside of her lip, she mentally kicked herself.
"I'll be surprised if he wants to even talk to me." She whispers aloud to herself, The circles she traced got darker on the paper and she wondered what it all meant.
Minhyuk was minding his own business, keeping his thoughts to himself. His expression didn't betray his inner turmoils as he was half listening to the teacher.
He turned to Alice when she asked the question with an eyebrow raised. "Soon," he said. "Surprisingly enough, he's done fine on his own, it helps, at least to have someone to help," he said. He didn't mean to sound like he was blaming her for his absence, but he had enough of having to deal with the two being separated.
[i Look], he said, keeping his power focused on her to not alarm the other humans in the room as he doodled in his notebook. [i I know you feel something, I can see all your thoughts], he said. [i I'm not going to push this anymore than I have to but], he said.
"The funny thing is, he's not alone either," he said out loud with a humorless chuckle. "It's a repeat of history, it happened to me, it's happening to him," he said, getting up and asking to be excused. Once he was allowed to he left the classroom, not returning until class was over, grabbing his things and heading out, skipping the rest of his classes to go home and cool off.
Minhyuk wanted to do [i something] but he can't do anything until Changkhyun made the decision in the matter. Granted, having to listen to the youngest in their pack was annoying as all hell but he knew that in the end Changkhyun was a good alpha regardless. He got home to find Changkhyun and his betas working on some work for his other classes and went to join them, telling Changkhyun about what had happened that day.
The first week after learning about them passed faster than she expected. Track practice started, which helped. Though with her running shoes laced tightly on her feet, her mind couldn't help but wander away. Part of her wondered what happened to him. Minkhyuk wouldn't answer anyone's questions about him. Alice avoided anyone having to do with either one of them. When they were forced to work together in class Alice kept the conversations strictly on their topic. Now she understood their amusement when choosing wolf attacks to research. Tapping her notecards impatiently on her desk, Alice watches students file in before the tardy bell. Minkhyuk sat across from her as for the last week they had been working in their groups. Straightening in her seat she waits for the teacher to begin teaching or to give them instructions.
School had gotten harder, longer somehow. Alice didn't think it was because of the overwhelming amount of homework or having to balance track, but she couldn't quite put a finger on it. Calling the students' attention, the teacher holds up a dark clipboard well scribbled on.
"Today we're signing up for presentation orders. If one of your partners or yourself is absent the day of the presentation, the missing student will receive a zero. The other group members will be graded individually and on effort put into the presentation." The grey haired woman's voice faded away from Alice's mind. When they had first gotten the assignment, she memorized the rubric and the "rules"; as she called them. Eventually the clipboard was passed around to them.
"When will he be coming back?" Alice asked, watching Minhyuk's face. This was the first time she mentioned him since knowing. Her question was more of an attempt to be polite and save his grade rather than a hope to see him. Though her heart started beating a little faster at the thought of him. For the last week she had been playing the hardest game of tug-of-war with herself. Endless questions of what if, what could be, and what would happen, kept her awake at night. Heavy bags under her eyes looked like bruises and her eyes didn't sparkle as much as they used to.
“She’ll be back,” said Minhyuk. “That wasn’t a direct rejection,” he said. “She may have said those things but deep down she knows it’s true,” he said, sighing as he got a text pinged to his phone. He went to see who it was from and looked slightly relieved. “Hyungwon’s on his way home?” Asked Wonho. “Yep,” said Minhyuk. “Good, Changkhyun needs the break,” said Kihyun.
“A week, we’ll give her a week for her to decide to approach us again,” said Minhyuk. “That’s a good idea,” said Changkhyun as he came downstairs. “I need to work with my power in the mean time,” he said. “It’s funny how you have a dark energy as your power while Hyungwon’s power is this light energy,” said Minhyuk. “We both do the same thing though,” said Changkhyun as he scratched the back of his head.
“I’ll get Shownu to get a doctor’s note for you so you’ll be excused from classes,” said Minhyuk. “I’ll work on the group project while we’re out too,” said Changkhyun. “Don’t have to,” said Minhyuk. “I’ll pull our end of the project, I don’t think Alice will be a problem,” he said.
Changkhyun was excused from his classes for a week, which proved to work, as Hyungwon had indeed come around to help him at least have him in control of his power. “We have basically the same power, that’s just weird,” said Hyungwon. “Yeah,” said Changkhyun.
Minhyuk pitched in on working on the project like nothing was going on, continuing like he [i didn’t] just reveal to a human about their pack. He figured that Changkhyun’s absense was having some sort of effect on her, as the other students were wondering where their resident party goer went.
It was another day at school, and Minhyuk went to school like normal. Training had been going well for Changkhyun but he didn’t want to return to school in case something happened during class. Minhyuk avoided all questions about Changkhyun, just going through his classes like normal.
Shock still controlled Alice, though she could breathe a little better. Struggling to her feet, she managed to compose herself better than before. Taking several deep breathes, she waits for her nerves to strengthen before attempting to speak.
"So, you're all werewolves, or whatever?" She asked, watching them carefully. She wasn't sure if anyone of the others were going to randomly break out in fur. This was something straight from a movie, or a book she used to read in junior high school. A magical part of her world had been discovered and she couldn't quite believe it.
"And you think I'm his mate?" She finished. Clenching her fists, she shakes her head. There was no way in hell that some guy she barely knew was going to tell her who to love; or mate with. Shaking her head, she starts for the door. High school was supposed to be perfect. A complete and total rebranding for her, and werewolves were no where in the plan. All she wanted was to be a normal teenager, the type of girl that went to parties and stayed out late. The one that everyone knew and the one that was always laughing. Outrage fills her veins as she pictures her chances of being prom queen slipping through her fingers.
"I don't care what I'm supposed to be, and I don't care how scared you are. I'm just a normal teenaged girl. Wolves, of any kind, do not belong anywhere near me." With that she leaves the house, leaves the too perfect boy behind her.
James greets her with a worried look as she walks into the kitchen. Since moving in, the kitchen has turned into neutral ground for them. A little piece of no man's land where they can eat in either total silence or awkwardly chat about their day. Usually James filled the silence with a long boring speech about doing the right thing or not being an idiot teenager. Today he waited for her as she opened the refrigerator, closed it, and reopened it. Alice's mind was tripping over itself, clawing at scientific explanations, and impossible possibilities. James pulled her from her thoughts by asking her friends.
"I don't know, but they said he'll be fine." With that she retreated upstairs, her stomach empty, but her mind free to think and wonder.
Minhyuk expected a different reaction, maybe her running out of the house screaming. He shook his head and went to grab the clothes before going into a different room to change and put on the clothes. He came back in human form once he was dressed, rolling his shoulders some.
"You see," he started. "Changkhyun, he- he was born a werewolf," he said. "When a pure blood, those who were born werewolves, finds their mates their power activates," he said. "I think you're his mate," he said. "But I'm not sure," he said.
"I can read minds, but I can also see what mental powers people have," he said. "Changkhyun's... His scares me," he said. "But you may be what can help him control it," he said.
With a soundless yelp, Alice flinches back, one hand over her mouth. Her eyes widen further as she takes a few steps back. The voice was back, louder this time. Every muscle in Alice's stomach clenched. The blood drained from her face. Dark purple splotches filled her vision. Suddenly she was on the floor, her knees having buckled under her. Blinking she tries to chase the spots from her vision. A light sweat breaks out on her forehead.
"Holy shit!" She cries, watching the wolf where Minhyuk had been. Even though she was seeing with her own eyes, she couldn't bring herself to completely believe. If werewolves existed, what else did? Did this mean that goblins, orcs, elves, and all other types of creatures did? This changed everything, she doubted she could look at them the same. Alice's mouth opened and closed several times as she choked on her words. She couldn't speak, couldn't think, could barely breathe.
Minhyuk let a bitter smile appear, before shaking his head to clear it. “Well,” he said. “I think it’s better if I showed you,” he said, getting up and putting his phone on the couch. Wonho looked skeptical, but shook his head and went back upstairs to grab a change of clothes for Minhyuk and coming back down with it, putting the clothes on the coffee table.
“Well,” said Minhyuk. “Here goes nothing,” he said before moving to a bigger area in the living room and stretching and changing to wolf form. “If you heard voices, it’s Minhyuk,” said Wonho. “Granted he wasn’t careful anyway,” he said. Minhyuk snorts. [i Oh shut up], he said.
[i We’re werewolves, though not everyone here has powers], he said, turning to Alice. [i I was really hoping to save this part until Changkhyun was awake but], he said, huffing.
The connections between the wolves and them didn't make any sense. Why would the fact that they live so far into the forest relate to the wolves in any way shape or form? These questions filled Alice as she watched them. Minkhyuk kept using names that didn't have faces for her. Deep in her blood she knew there was something bigger going on, let alone the voice she had heard before, that voice that she had convinced herself was her imagination. Now, standing in front of Minkhyuk, she remembered how close it had sounded to his. How sure she was that it was his even though when she heard it she didn't know him.
Wetting her lips with her tongue, she waits for him. She would wait as long as it took him to finally spit out whatever it was that he needed to tell her though his connection to the wolves puzzled her. Alice's heart hammered against her ribs, she couldn't be sure why, but she felt that something deep inside of her already knew what he was going to tell her. Taking a deep breath to try to steady herself, she tries to add confidence to her voice while letting a little of her impatience leak out.
"What do the wolves have to do with anything; and yea, I've seen them before. I got really close to them and they didn't seem to mind me." She said.
“Well,” said Minhyuk. “I guess we have to spill the tea eh?” He asked, turning to Kihyun and Jooheon. “I guess,” said Kihyun. Jooheon hummed. “Oh, right,” said Minhyuk as he got up and went to grab his phone. “Let’s see if we can get Hyungwon to come home early,” he mumbled as he went to sit down and message said person.
They were stalling, and they knew it. No one was sure of how to approach the subject, and Minhyuk cursed his power for this in the first place. “Well,” he finally said, spotting Wonho coming downstairs after putting a shirt on. “I’m sure you’ve seen and or heard the wolves around here,” he said. “I’d be surprised actually, if you haven’t seen them yet,” he said. “There’s a reason no one lives this far into the forest except for us,” he said.
Alice's eyebrows knit together as she follows Minhyuk into the living room. The house itself was beautiful, but somehow she expected that. A lot of the houses in the area were higher end, built for the upper class. In the few weeks that she had been here, she quickly noticed that there were a lot of retirees in their neck of the woods. This made her believe that the houses weren't built with families in mind. Standing awkwardly, she waits for her explanation, feeling a heavy weight settle on her shoulders and chest. If it wasn't for her ribs containing her heart, she was sure it would escape her pale flesh and land with a wet thump on the floor. Questions bubbled on the tip of her tongue, but she managed to control herself.
Minhyuk sounded sorry that he had to be the one to tell her. Whatever it was that he was going to tell her. Alice's insides screamed that there something wrong. She faced the unfamiliar pair and Minhyuk.
The car ride was shorter than expected, something Wonho took note of as they arrived home a few minutes later. Minhyuk was indifferent the entire time, hiding his worry for Changkhyun.
Wonho moves to shake Changkhyun awake when they arrived. “Hey, pup come on, we’re home,” he said. Changkhyun hummed, opening his eyes. He moved, and Wonho helped him out of the car, slinging an arm around his shoulder. “Come on, we’re almost inside,” said Wonho as he helped Changkhyun inside. Minhyuk followed after them, motioning for Alice to follow after them.
“He wasn’t assaulted,” said Minhyuk as he spotted Kihyun and Jooheon in the living room watching a movie. “This something different,” he said. “I’d hope to have Changkhyun explain it but,” he said, sighing. “I guess we have no choice at this point,” he said, going to join Kihyun and Jooheon on the couch.
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