balance (GH pt 6)

The night before the next full moon, Kyah and Astrid come over to watch a movie; for years it had been tradition, although the details had shifted some as they got older.

Still, it’s nice.

When the movie ends, Astrid pulls him into a hug before she goes in another welcome return to normal. Kyah walks out with her, much like always, returning alone a couple of minutes later. That part is new, but Tate doesn’t even have to think about it to decide he likes it better. She sits down next to Tate on the couch, curled up under his arm, the way he’d wanted her to be the whole night.

They talk some, mostly about nothing, but even more than that, just sit. He realizes, eventually, that Kyah stopped talking because she fell asleep – it’s a realization that does something to him. Tugs at something in his chest that he hadn’t even known existed.

Carefully, picks her up and carries her to bed. He strips to a t-shirt and his underwear and, after some debate, decides she’s not kicking him out of his own bed. They’ve been friends long enough that they can sleep in the same bed. It’s fine.

At some point, Kyah must have gotten up because when Tate wakes up in the morning she’s in a shirt that’s most definitely his and underwear, fitted very comfortably against him. It’s a precarious situation for so, so many reasons, and he can’t move because then she’ll wake up, and-

“‘M already awake,” she mumbles. “Just trying not to be.”

He kisses the back of her neck. “Sorry.”

She shivers and shifts, making him huff an almost-gasp. Because this is what he’s been reduced to.

“Kyah,” he breathes, nosing at the nape of her neck.

“Mhmm?” she hums, then arches her back so her hips are pressed flush to his.

“There are faster ways to kill me.”

“Who said anything about killing you?”

“Well it’s always seemed-” he tightens his arm around her, trying to keep her still, “-heavily implied?”

“Your bed smells like-” she starts, and Tate inhales reflexively. Picks up the scent of Ari beneath the far more present cloud of Kyah.

“Is that um. A problem?”

“M mm.” Kyah twists slightly to kiss him, her mouth warm and soft. God, all of her is so soft.

Tate groans and rolls his hips. He slips the hand around her waist under her – his – shirt, just ghosting over the smooth skin under her bellybutton at first, then creeping higher. Somehow, Kyah presses them impossibly closer. As close as she can, with clothes left between them.

He needs- he wants-

It’s part muscle memory, part thoughtless need as his hips rock against her and the arm not trapped under her head maps out as much as he can reach. He catalogues every little gasp and moan. Wonders if she’d sound any different if he were inside.

His fingers drift lower, teasing over whatever silky bullshit someone decided women’s underwear should be made out of; he wants to shred it – and could, easily – but she’d be mad then and that’s the very last thing he wants. So instead he just inches back up and slips his hand under the lacy waistband. Tate pauses again, there, but rather than any hint of hesitation, Kyah’s hips just stutter like she can’t decide if she’s going to keep grinding back against him or chase his fingers.

He smiles and kisses down the column of her throat. It makes his gums itch, some deep, hungry part of him desperate to sink teeth into flesh. But he won’t. He can’t.

He can maybe have this, though. The tip of a finger becomes one becomes two, and each time she makes the most perfect little sound. And fuck, he might come like this, rutting up against her like a teenager with her dripping down his knuckles.

Not might. He’s going to, and soon, if she doesn’t- “Ky-”

“Mmhmmm?” It trails into a little giggle that in turn pulls a desperate noise out of his throat. She twists again and kisses him, swallowing the tail end of it and that’s it; he’s done for. He moans and pants into her mouth as his fingers and hips alike lose their rhythm, just desperately seeking whatever friction he can get.

Still breathing heavily, Tate kisses the back of her shoulder. Her spine. He pulls his fingers free and kisses the question from her mouth. Kyah shifts onto her back, one hand carding through his hair.

Once he’s regained slightly more brain function, he starts to work his way lower. He kisses his way down her chest through her shirt until he reaches the bottom, then pushes it out of the way to make his way back up.

“Tate,” she whines, arching away from the bed when he sucks one nipple into his mouth.

He hums an acknowledgement and switches to the other, teasing over it with his tongue until it hardens.

“Oh fuck-”

He lets his teeth scrape over her ribs as he works his way back down, trailing more kisses and bites that only count in the loosest sense of the word until he reaches the band of lace again. Kyah lifts her hips immediately and Tate can’t even attempt to fight a smile. He just tugs her underwear off and settles again between her thighs.

“What do you want?” He kisses one thigh, then the other.

Kyah’s back arches again. “For you to stop fucking around,” she says, but it comes out breathless and needy.

Smiling, Tate noses closer to what she wants. Lets his breath tease and his lips drag until Kyah makes another hitched, desperate sound and sinks her fingers into his hair. Only then does he dive in, licking her open like he needs it to breathe.

And he might. He really might. His cock is still so hard it hurts, his knot thick and swollen; it won’t go down any time soon, especially without-

Above him, Kyah’s breath hitches. Good, he thinks to himself. That’s what actually matters. He’ll be fine. He redistributes his weight so he can push three fingers back into her, groaning when she clenches around them. It’s not a knot, but it’s the closest either of them can get to having what they want right now.

She comes with a shocked cry, her whole body tensing then releasing in waves. Tate works her through it, not stopping until her fingers tighten in his hair and she pulls away with a throaty laugh.

After pressing one last kiss to the inside of her knee, Tate moves to flop back down beside her on the bed. “Passable?” he asks quietly, pleased with himself no matter what she says. “Or still need more data points?”

“Mm.” Kyah kisses him, threading her fingers into his hair once again and stroking softly. “Both? Is both an option?”

He smiles against her lips. “Definitely.” And then, “Did you mean right now, or?”

With a laugh, she pushes him away. She yelps when he tries to pull her back, rolling out of bed and slipping out the door, still laughing.

Tate rolls onto his back and stares at the ceiling. So that happened. Happened, and would be happening again. Soon, if he has any say in it. He wonders if Ari and Kyah have done anything. If so, neither of them has mentioned it. Not, he supposes, that they have to, but he can’t help the curiosity. Can’t help picturing it, especially when he’s still so-

“You gonna be alright?”


“How long does it take to um- y’know. Without…”

He shrugs, refusing to look at her or at his dick. “Depends. They not cover this in werewolf med school?”

Kyah breathes a laugh. “Not exactly. We’re kind of literally trying to write the book.”

“So you actually want an answer?”

“At some point. Doesn’t have to be now.”

“Really am a science experiment for you then, huh?”

“Tate, I didn’t-“

“I know,” he says, turning his head to look at her. “C’mere?”

“I’ve gotta go. You’ve gotta go, but I especially do. I have to go home and shower and everything before we have to meet Astrid and Reuben and-“

Her dad. Because that’s going to be a great time. Well, he certainly has a fun card to play now, not that he ever will. Instead, he just holds out a hand and drags Kyah into his chest when she takes it. They can just be for a few more minutes. There’s time for that.

When it comes time to leave for the campsite, though, she won’t ride with him. With them, more accurately, because Ari has already established that Tate will be picking him up. Which, he’d hoped to do as much.

The ride up is peaceful, the incessant itch under his skin aside. Ari makes fun of his playlist again, but more than once Tate catches him mouthing the words.

They haven’t talked about things, but it hasn’t felt like something looming, either. It’s… nice. Easy.

Astrid parks right next to them, obnoxiously close to Tate’s door so he and Kyah have to time their exits and still end up breathing the same air.

“Hey,” he says softly.


“Long time no see.”

She rolls her eyes, but smiles.

“Yeah, less flirting, more setting up. Are we all taking the big tent or are y’all gonna be weird?” Astrid asks. Before either of them can answer, she sniffs the air pointedly and says, “Y’know what? Not gonna risk it. I’m gonna set up a spare. K, you still want the other, or…? Getting mixed vibes here.”

Kyah sighs and turns to face Astrid.

“Oh. Yeah see if I wasn’t supposed to mention that, you kind of should have said something. Because- very different vibe from what you were saying in the car.”

The scent changes then, rapidly enough that Tate notices immediately. And he’s not the only one.

“Hey is everything- uhh what’d I miss?”

“Great question, and I have no idea,” Tate says.

Ari catches Kyah’s attention, although Tate can’t even begin to comprehend the silent exchange. After a moment, Ari steps fully between them and pulls Kyah close, face tucked against her throat. He murmurs something that Tate can’t make out. Something that makes Kyah nod and turn her face into his hair, relaxing slightly.

When they part, Ari catches Tate around his waist and says, “C’mon, help me finish setting this shit up.”

Tate frowns, but follows him. “Can you explain what’s going on?”

Turning to walk backwards, Ari cocks his head and gives Tate a questioning look. “She’s just stressed, dude. You know what her parents are like. I dunno, just give her space and let her do her thing. It’s fine.”

Apparently Tate’s uncertainty shows on his face, because Ari sighs and closes the space between them. He pushes onto his toes and loops his arms around Tate’s neck, pulling them flush.

“Tell me something,” he says softly.

“Hm?” Almost reflexively, Tate ducks to try to catch his mouth but Ari pulls away.

“Answer first.”

He grumbles, pressing his forehead to Ari’s.

“Where did she spend last night?”

For some reason, Tate’s cheeks heat.

Ari breathes a laugh and kisses him lightly. “And what was she doing this morning?”

His ears join his face – he can only imagine the shade of red both must be, despite the fact that he hasn’t done anything wrong, Ari already knows, and they’re so close together that Ari can feel every beat of his heart and the rise and fall of his chest.

“Hmm?” Ari prompts.

“Well it sounds like Astrid knows, so I’m assuming you do,” he mumbles.

“I mean I know she spent the night, so if I assume it’s anything like when I do, I can guess.”

“Mm, what do you mean?” He ducks lower to tug at Ari’s earlobe, teeth catching on the opalescent glass plug.

“Are you hoping for a reminder, or?”

“Why, you gonna give me one if I say yes?”

“Maybe,” Ari admits, “but not right now. We have a tent to set up and shit. Kinda feel bad though, kicking Astrid out. I mean y’all’ve-“

This time, it’s Tate’s turn to interrupt with a bold hand shoved into Ari’s back pocket and the scrape of teeth on his throat. “If Astrid didn’t want to be kicked out, she wouldn’t. She’d stay and we’d just… adjust. This is basically her blessing.”

Ari hums an acknowledgement that’s slightly breathless, his body tantalizingly warm in the chill.

They get the tent set up, Astrid and Kyah drifting through the background with the smaller tents and their belongings like this is normal, instead of something strange and new.

Finally, the moon rises and the itch Tate hasn’t been able to shake rises to the surface. This time Ari strips in front of him, if facing the other direction. Something in it feels different though. The entire day has felt different in a way Tate can’t pinpoint.

Free of other responsibilities, the four of them seize the opportunity to fuck off. They mingle with other groups here and there. With other packmates they’re friends with, if less closely. Various relatives of Astrid’s or Kyah’s. But it’s fun. Easy. The way things should be.

Kyah keeps the same distance Tate has grown used to over the years, although Astrid and Ari both seem beholden to different rules. What Ari said earlier in the night still reverberates in Tate’s skull, though; Kyah spent the night in his bed and let him take her apart this morning. She’s just adjusting – like the rest of them – in her own way.

The lines blur a bit more once they shift back. A night devoid of responsibilities or signs of trouble means they’re also free to join the rest of the pack in downing inhuman amounts of alcohol, drinking until their heads swim and it’s not particularly clear who starts and stops where.

Tate’s aware of attention on him, of course. Of the way Kyah’s dad notices Ari leaning against his arm, then under it, then in his lap fully – all while talking animatedly to Kyah. He and Astrid talk overaroundthrough them, their conversations weaving together as seamlessly as something like that can happen.

Others come and go. Shawn, Jenna coming to see how they are, Kyah’s mother, unsubtly asking if Kyah wants to set up in their tent. And of course, there are those who are just curious. Who want to be closer, to be more. Who come asking questions that don’t quite border on impolite, but that nonetheless make Tate want to pull Ari and Kyah both closer. He can only do it with one, though, and he does.

In response, Ari tips his head up and presses a wet, dragging kiss to the underside of Tate’s jaw. The effect is immediate, and there’s no disguising it. Ari huffs a laugh against his skin.

“If you wanted that reminder, now’s a better bet,” Ari says, so low Tate feels it more than hears it.

He doesn’t realize his hand is on skin until then, apparently having wandered under Ari’s layers all on its own.

“Might be best to take that somewhere else,” Kyah says, voice tight.

Tate gives her a hurt look, silently pleading for her to come too even as Ari stands. But she doesn’t, her eyes hardening further instead, so they go.

Impossibly quickly, they end up in the tent, naked and hot under the blankets. Tate has Ari folded in half, giggling and shushing him. Because he’s the one letting out a constant stream of noises even though it’s Ari he’s licking open.

Annoyed for reasons Tate can’t fathom, Ari growls and drags Tate back up. Kisses him greedily, then rolls them.

The air is cool on Tate’s skin, but it just makes him more aware of everywhere they touch. It takes him longer than it should to realize what Ari intends. Not until Ari is seated on top of him properly, his cock trapped between them.


“I know. I know what you’re going to say and like- look unless you don’t want me to, please just let me-“

Tate pushes his fingers into Ari’s hair and nods, pulling him down for a kiss.

It starts slow. Just Ari shifting restlessly on top of him in a slow tease, their mouths moving together in an independent, breathless rhythm. But then Ari gets into it, the head of Tate’s cock catching and then suddenly he’s in. Just barely but it’s more than he’s had in so long now and before he can stop it a sharp whine has cut the air. Laughing, Ari shushes him and leans down for another kiss that tastes like beer. Like Ari. Like both of them and need and something else that Tate can’t name, but he needs.

By the time Ari is fully seated, Tate’s knot has already started to swell and he’s pretty sure he’s been on the edge of coming for an eternity. Their hips finally flush, Ari pauses, breathing heavily.

“I um,” Ari starts, fingers claw-tipped and dimpling Tate’s chest.

Tate hums his agreement and shuts his eyes, his own hands on Ari’s hips. He licks his lips after a second and says, “You’re gonna have to move if that’s something you want, though. Not a whole lot longer I can fight it.”

He hears Ari’s inhale. Feels the shift as he nods his head. But then there’s movement. Ari settles into a rhythm that seems like it has the sole intent of making Tate yell. It’s shallow and teasing, with a roll at the end that makes Ari gasp every time, claws raking little pink furrows into Tate’s skin.

“Ari. Ari, baby,” Tate groans, brain fighting toward the warning he intends to give.

In reply, Ari laughs and bends down to kiss him, turning the movement of their hips into a deep roll.

“Ari, fuck, if you keep doing that, I can’t- I’m gonna-“

“I know. I want- Tate, I need to- can I-” Ari asks and doesn’t around a mouthful of fangs, lips brushing over the join of Tate’s neck and shoulder and oh, fuck.

Tate needs it. Wants it so badly he can barely think, much less form words. He nods frantically and tilts his head back, baring his throat. Ari pushes down onto his knot with a wet pop that he feels, it’s already so swollen, and his teeth sink into Tate’s flesh.

He comes with a shout, his vision going white and spotty as he wraps around Ari in every way he can. He’s faintly aware of his own mouth closing over the ring of scar tissue on Ari’s shoulder. Of his fangs parting Ari’s skin again, and the taste of blood in his mouth.

Mine is the only thing Tate can really think think.

Then mine and this. That this is what it all was for. What he needs. What he wants.

As he returns to his own body, his breathing still unsteady and shivery, the reality of what he’s done begins to sink in and fear joins the contents of his head.

But he can feel Ari and there isn’t any of the tension or regret he expects. The same weight, yes, but that’s ok. That he can deal with. Otherwise, Ari is just as content and boneless internally as he seems externally.

Tate lets out a pleased hum at that realization and kisses Ari’s jaw. “Mine,” he says aloud.

“Mm, you already knew that,” Ari slurs, clenching around him.

“Fuck,” Tate laughs. His hips thrust upwards reflexively into tight, wet heat, not that there’s too far he can go in either direction, locked in as he is.

Exhaling a laugh of his own, Ari kisses Tate’s chest. “Didn’t expect it to feel so…”


“Different? But not in a- it’s good. God, Tate it’s so good.” Ari says. The sentiment echoes in Tate’s mind, a direct channel to Ari’s thoughts.

Tate groans, wrapping his arms even tighter around Ari’s ribs.

Mine comes the soft, lazy echo from Ari.

They stay like that until Tate’s knot goes down, comfortably tangled together and torn between seeking more and the call of sleep that tempts them. In the end, they do neither. Once Tate can pull out safely, they clean up and dress again before returning to the fire in search of food.

Astrid gives them a sly look, while Kyah- she won’t look at Tate, and it hurts because she should have been there too. Should let them in.

Time. It’s Ari’s thought, not his. All of this will take time.

And if that isn’t the truth. Already, he likes having Ari in his head. The easy certainty of it.

He’d heard what it was like, of course, but hadn’t ever quite believed it. Like anything, it was a bond that strengthened with time and use. But Ari is in his head now and he’s in Ari’s. There’s a fresh scar on his shoulder in the shape of Ari’s teeth and every inch of him smells like sex and mate and mine.

Baby, he thinks, stifling a groan because that’s also Ari’s thought instead of his, meant to rile him up.

Ari cackles out loud and turns, resting his back against Tate and bumping his knee against Kyah’s. Another loaded look passes between them; Kyah looks away first, her gaze distant.

Sighing, Tate lets his fingers sneak under Ari’s layers until they find skin, a burger that tastes like campfire in his other hand. Somehow, Ari gets away with things Tate knows he couldn’t: a heel slung over Kyah’s thigh even though her parents are just across the fire; a playful shove when she takes too long to respond to whatever Ari said.

If Tate did that right now, she’d snap.


Tate takes a slow breath and turns his head to press his face against Ari’s skull. He exhales, his lungs filling with a dozen different warring scents on the inhale. A few stand out more than the rest and make him shiver.


He huffs a laugh and pops the last bite of burger into his mouth before wiping his fingers on his jeans. In response, Ari twists to kiss Tate’s collarbone through his sweatshirt, just below the mark.

God, it’s so easy like this. When Ari can just know that Tate has zero intentions in hurting him and Tate gets a constant stream of silent-but-true feedback on everything he does. When they just fit.

“Fucking sap,” Ari mutters.

Finally, Kyah starts talking again. Not much, and not to Tate directly, but she at least is in the conversation instead of a thousand miles away and trapped in her own head.

It’s clear that she has something on her mind, but they don’t ask and she doesn’t bring it up. They just sit around the fire like it’s a normal night, talking about whatever weird bullshit comes to mind.

And that’s… nice. Normal. A new, better normal where he gets to sit there with his arm curled loosely around Ari and a beer in hand, watching his breath curl in the air from the cold. Ari steals his beer. Scowls at it, but does it more than once.

When they go back to the tents – eventually, and once the yawns have grown loud and dramatic – Kyah retreats to her own, leaving Ari and Tate staring at the door to her tent sadly. They’d both expected it, on some level, but they’d still hoped.

Ari sighs and catches Tate by the waist, using his surprising strength to drag Tate toward the big tent. They strip down to t-shirts and underwear, dozing and warm, tangled together comfortably except-


“We’re going, aren’t we.” It isn’t a question because Ari knows Tate’s answer before the words are even out.

Instead, Tate just squeezes him close and kisses him hungrily before they start scooping up blankets and sneak very unsubtly to Kyah’s little tent.

She makes a sleepy, confused little noise when Ari has the zipper about halfway open, but doesn’t wake entirely. The difference having a relatively peaceful, safe existence makes. Tate drops the thickest of the blankets on the floor, letting Ari slip in before him so he’ll be in the middle. Just in case. Because Kyah still seems to accept his presence more.

No she doesn’t.

Can’t argue with me in my own head. Isn’t fair.

Ari exhales a laugh and shifts against him, getting comfortable. The air heats quickly, with three of them in the tiny tent, but it feels right. Like this is how it’s supposed to be. Like balance and comfort and home.

Pressing a kiss to the back of Ari’s neck, Tate stretches an arm over Ari until his fingers brush Kyah. Just enough to know she’s really there. He takes a breath, lungs filling with their mingled scents, and gradually drifts to sleep.

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