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Badar Consultant Agency
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1 - Entropic Spiral - 4B
Apr 15, 2018
16 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!ZcVAbXxfnVZ8gRCXv6Hyposted on PENANA

Present… copyright protection12PENANAiCSCH40q3a

“How’d you know I used to do barber work?” Woody asked as he sat Jude in a chair in front of the fireplace.copyright protection12PENANAp2mkCxhaMF

“I didn’t pull it out of your head if that’s what you’re wondering,” the vampire said. When Woody only gave him an uncommitted grunt of disbelief, he said, “Ally told me… Maybe you should wear a tinfoil hat if you’re so worried about my intrusions, huh?”copyright protection12PENANA6MNmEpk9v2

Woody chuckled under his breath. “I was only curious… So what can I do ya for?”copyright protection12PENANAIOFArmFsMJ

“Can you give me something that says I work for a living, but hate my job? Something that says I like to work out, but I want to eat an entire burrito baby from Chipotle too. Something like… I love The Sound of Music, but I don’t want people to accuse me of loving musicals. ‘Cause that shit’s gay. Maybe a little faded so it seems like I give a shit, but not so perfect that people think I care too much about my appearance.”copyright protection12PENANACbMZwoxNzk

Woody laughed out loud. “I gotchu, fam.” He misted Jude’s hair until it looked like wet hay and started cutting the unkempt mop from his scalp with practiced ease.copyright protection12PENANAsF6g2KFmUb

“You don’t know how to do nails too, by chance?” Jude asked as Woody tipped his head forward.copyright protection12PENANApD04esqUVd

“You’re SOL on that account,” the werewolf said with a grunted laugh.copyright protection12PENANADxppxVO4Jn

“Damn… Sugar scrub?”copyright protection12PENANAob3vr5g7sb

“That’s a negative, Boss-man.”copyright protection12PENANAjROkV3NmYI

“Mm… How about a nice aromatic massage?”copyright protection12PENANAABgZ1NVQRE

Woody grinned as he said, “This isn’t a retreat, ya know.”copyright protection12PENANAdgQgLim1qO

“So, that’s a no to the massage, then?” He lifted up his head as Woody focused his attentions on his overgrown bangs. The scissors clipped away for a time. Jude watched the way he pursed his lips to the side in concentration, his brow furrowing slightly.copyright protection12PENANAcKF14B5RX3

Woody smirked when he noticed the scrutiny. “Well, I took a physical therapy class in Colorado once, but I’m pretty sure I’d probably do you more harm than good.” He rolled his eyes and backed away for a moment. He said, “I’ve been told I’ve got a heavy hand. Ally hated it whenever I tried to treat her. She said it was like getting pounded by a waterfall. Said she felt like a karate student returning from the mountains.” He chuckled under his breath at that.copyright protection12PENANAzyEPyGDtwu

“Shit, really?” Jude turned his head so Woody could get light on his left side. “That’s pretty legit that you’ve at least had training though. I’d be willing to take the risk if you’re serious,” Jude said. Woody turned his head again to get the other side. There was a confidence in his movements, which made Jude wonder how long he’d actually been a barber. Ally had made it seem like a casual thing. He caught himself not breathing again and commenced to inhale and exhale mindfully.copyright protection12PENANA8KKY1wgnxH

This was where he’d wanted to be for that last two months: at Woody’s mercy.copyright protection12PENANAbKrRLvsQnq

“Yeah, if we’ve got the time,” the werewolf said quietly, fixated on making his sides even.copyright protection12PENANATXYyMwfp0L

“I’m feeling lighter already,” Jude said. “I let it get out of hand… for too long.”copyright protection12PENANAU8wF6xbnUI

Woody started grabbing his hair at the roots, pulling straight and clipped away. “It’d be easier with clippers, but there’s something about cutting that I like,” he said softly.copyright protection12PENANA55twWe2p5p

“It’s intimate,” Jude said unthinkingly.copyright protection12PENANAPZmOy9kNzk

Woody paused for a second’s breath, but then he resumed cutting. “Yeah… I supposed that’s it, isn’t it?”copyright protection12PENANAztt59ADkXx

“No homo,” Jude mumbled as an afterthought.copyright protection12PENANA32DwzALBZQ

Woody barked a laugh. “Right, right.”copyright protection12PENANA0PQnDowYc5

The sounds of the fire, Woody’s deep breaths, and the swishing click of the scissors lulled the vampire into a sort of trance. Jude felt… human. It had only been two full days since their egress from the Crimson Circle, but it felt like an eternity. It felt like concentrated R&R. He closed his eyes and before he knew it, Woody was shaking his shoulder. He looked up sleepily. “Mm? How long was I out?”copyright protection12PENANAjMzMSImv3k

Woody laughed. “Literally two seconds. Sorry, just wanted to make sure you were okay.”copyright protection12PENANA26nGCWgnyg

“Oh, I’m great,” the vampire said with a little bit of spice. “Just a million bucks, really.”copyright protection12PENANAez55WJutHG

“Oh, well that’s just excellent to hear,” Woody said dryly, recognizing the sarcasm for what it was, but playing along.copyright protection12PENANAz0t8NlRaQU

Jude waited until Woody went behind him again before he asked, “What’s the deal with your mother? She’s in a home or something? What are you protecting her from?”copyright protection12PENANAvT1SzEPP2o

He heard Woody take a few slow breaths. He restrained himself from reading his friend’s mind. He would let Woody run the show. He wouldn’t take over like he so wanted to. He wanted to pry the information from him like they had stolen information in the past during their honeymoon period. That golden age of money and peace… seemed like a distant dream now--a time that didn’t exist anymore--swallowed by his own pride, his own misgivings. Black Heart had brought them together… and her ghost had pulled them apart. Now, where were they? Healing? Bridging the gap?copyright protection12PENANA5gXblTUQmC

He wanted to know what the werewolf was thinking, but he didn’t dare.copyright protection12PENANAwWDZ4qlWBb

Did Woody understand that? Or was the taller agent waiting for him to read him?copyright protection12PENANAR64SZDwOty

Woody finally returned to cutting as he said, “I was ten when my dad and I fought the first time. He was pack alpha. My mother was beta. I was the unspoken heir. There were eighty of us… All of us either wolf or soon-to-be… It was the turn of the millenium. Times were changing faster than ever before. We were in danger of being discovered then more than ever before. I can’t remember what started the fight. I think I said something cute… something that I thought everyone would laugh at and let go, but I misread the situation and my father was at my throat in the next second… But I was smaller than him. While he was trying to get a hold of my neck, I went for his sack. I tore him from taint to groin.”copyright protection12PENANAczPaLb4G1r

“Fucking Christ,” Jude said tightly. “So… things were strained after that, I take it?”copyright protection12PENANAiynVyrmToX

“For two years, he tried to get my mother pregnant again. If he could just get her carrying, he’d have an excuse to kill me off for good… But it wouldn’t take. He was too damaged… There’s a thing a bit like law in the pack. You don’t kill each other without good reason. You don’t start a war with another group without good reason. You run with the pack or you get… eaten by it. Well, I was the heir. He couldn’t kill me. But… he could fuck me over. He could destroy my mind. He could make me incapable of ever living a normal life. He could torture me…”copyright protection12PENANA5f3972NERh

Woody fell silent then and Jude knew he was exhausted, mentally fatigued by just recalling that much. He didn’t need to read his mind to know that.copyright protection12PENANAc4R2eCdjie

Jude began, “I hadn’t realized that there was a… You… We can talk about this later, if…?” He couldn’t finish the offer. He really did want Woody to finish his story. The suspense would eat him alive if they paused now.copyright protection12PENANAKAM7wlzTeX

“You’re not that patient,” Woody said quietly, his voice just above a whisper. He started in on Jude’s hair again. “Almost done anyway…” He cleared his throat before he began in earnest once more. “Pack law… It’s an unquestionable thing. It’s instinct. If my father couldn’t perform as alpha, someone else would have to. The responsibility to continue my father’s line rested with me. I would have to take my mother as my mate.”copyright protection12PENANAQjcUtkXhYP

“No!” Jude blurted. “No fucking way. That’s… That’s…”copyright protection12PENANAzbUqd92qsl

“Gross. Despicable. Alien. Disgusting. Inhuman… Yes. But I had a responsibility.”copyright protection12PENANAFcWsjsNSm2

“You didn’t.”copyright protection12PENANAQdl37Pn57m

“I couldn’t. I told him No… and damned me and my mother both. My father hunted us down against the wishes of the pack… We hadn’t even had time to pack. My mother kept trying to convince me to see reason. But I couldn’t. I wouldn’t bed her… The fucked up part is that pack law is instinctual. When the alpha commands you to do something, you want to do something. And you know what desire does to us. It consumes us… I wanted to be with my mother. I stopped seeing her like my mom… I stopped seeing her like my sire. She was my mate. Pack law had made her into just Tsumia Sherwood.”copyright protection12PENANAVGxP6LY9cr

Jude didn’t know what to say.copyright protection12PENANAuRDqkXT8Qf

“It was fucked up,” Woody supplied and Jude gave him a no-shit sort of expression. “When I refused pack law, the pack refused me. My mother tried to convince me to go back and tell my father that I changed my mind. She went for her gun, hoping to have something to defend herself against him if he came at her as a man… But he didn’t, of course.” Woody swallowed. “The short of it? When my father attacked us as the wolf, we fought him as wolves. I don’t remember much of the fight, only that Tsumia was confused. She had a duty to her alpha, her sire, but she had a responsibility to protect her mate, her son. We ripped each other apart. When the dust settled, I had eaten my father… Tsumia hadn’t been so lucky.”copyright protection12PENANAaGswJAl7Gt

“Hadn’t been so lucky?” Jude repeated the words.copyright protection12PENANAuB92qfNpo0

Woody sighed, setting the scissors aside. Jude stared into the fire as Woody wrapped his corded arms around him. It was a comforting thing, feeling his weight on him, holding him down. He knew the werewolf was using him as an anchor, a foundation to stand on as the memories threatened to take him off his feet once more. The vampire knew that feeling, the need to grab onto anything or anyone to keep from slipping and drowning in the undertow.copyright protection12PENANAQSSujcrckh

“She was blinded in one eye. Teeth were still embedded in her skull. My teeth, broken off in the fight. She was… bleeding everywhere… I thought she was dead. She was mine and she was dead. I left her there. The pack law was broken with my father’s death. I was the new pack law. I didn’t think of my mother as my mate. I was the alpha, but the pack was scattered, ruined. They wouldn’t hear me. I was too young. Maybe now, I’d be able to bring them together again, but it would take too much time… too much coordination… and there’s still no guarantee after all that.” He sighed, all the fight going out of him in one breath.copyright protection12PENANAsvYU1IvnPb

“But your mother is alive?” Jude prompted quietly, leaning his head against him.copyright protection12PENANAQkM0mdfaDE

Woody nodded, his beard scratching at the side of his neck. “I found out years later. You see… I was still messed up about it. I didn’t think of her as my mate, but the memories were still there, fresh. It was maddening… What was she to me? What could have happened if I’d given in? Would she still be alive? Ally helped me after we ran from her father’s… She severed the tether between me and the memory of my mother as my mate. Without her, I’d probably have an oedipus complex or something.” He laughed humorlessly.copyright protection12PENANAauw2YQep3z

“So… how did you find out she was still out there?”copyright protection12PENANAHv5Fq7nVvd

“Ally told me five years ago. Severing the connection had connected her briefly with my mom. She’d kept it secret for that long. She’d been afraid that I’d leave her for my mother. She had to be sure the spell had worked before she told me.”copyright protection12PENANA7mxTmU7B4L

“That’s a little insecure, even for her… but it makes sense. You’re important to Ally.”copyright protection12PENANAfefMhdCwDG

“I left her anyway,” Woody admitted. “It was time to put old ghosts to rest. I’d already encountered Black Heart by then. I thought I was grown. I was done running from the past anyway. I found my mother in a hostile in Chicago. Her mind’s still in those days before the fight that killed my father. Every time she looks at me… she just sees Glenn Michael, my father. She doesn’t see me as her son. Sometimes, if I call her, she’ll remember who I am, but after listening for a time, she’ll revert back. I put her in a nice home near Ally’s place. Ally checks up on her for me…” With that, he petered off into silence.copyright protection12PENANA5lbb1BioxN

“Maybe she’s trying to forget what they did to you two?” Jude speculated.copyright protection12PENANACE9ayv4F79

“No… In her mind, she’s still mated to my father. It doesn’t help that I look so much like him… It doesn’t help that I sound like him. She sees me as her mate.”copyright protection12PENANArnoG9FUMby

Jude reached up and held his arms. “Your father was a real sonuvabitch.”copyright protection12PENANAshUEsVfLjN

“Mm. Yeah.” Now that the words had been said, he felt Woody’s energy had all but left him, coring the werewolf into a hollow, sad husk. “He was a piece of fucking work alright.”copyright protection12PENANAyWrI7ZebFl

“My dad works in airliners. Airline food quality in the nineties? His doing.”copyright protection12PENANAl7IJNSoIFA

“Alright, you win the Shittiest Dad Award,” Woody said, and Jude could feel his smile against his skin.copyright protection12PENANAh7RbLk615q

“You’re… heavy,” the Holland boy stated, a smile of his own tugging at the corners of his cupids bow.copyright protection12PENANAPEmgnugCFW

“I know,” Woody said airily, but then he seemed to realize himself and he relinquished the vampire in a rush. He grunted as he stood up straight and Jude heard him flattening out his shirt self-consciously. “Sorry…”copyright protection12PENANAX14GKRz9Ae

“I don’t mind,” Jude said, then rolled his eyes. What the hell am I doing? he wondered to himself. He rubbed at his scalp, scattering all the loose hairs still clinging to him. “Thank you… for telling me about her… I’m sorry it happened like it did.” He turned to look over his shoulder. He was surprised to see Woody watching him, the supernatural’s cheeks flush with embarrassment, his expression a mixture of shyness and relief. “So… the reason why you’re reluctant to give in is because of her, isn’t it? You think you’ll hurt someone again?”copyright protection12PENANAJRmB38W9a2

“You know my greatest fears have already come true on that front,” Woody said.copyright protection12PENANAAZGXg4rxG6

“I can help. What’s the worst that could happen? You kill me again?”copyright protection12PENANAtE8xlSpU20

Woody shook his head, but then he ran a tired hand through his hair. He seemed done fighting. He looked away and shrugged meekly. He seemed like some angsty teenager, scared of his own strength, scared of his own lack of impulse control. He’s aware of it, isn’t he? He’s aware of what he does to people? He has to know he’s got those kicked puppy eyes… Jude thought idly to himself. I thought I understood why Gene fell for him. I thought it was because of the stupid broad shoulders and roguish smile. I thought it was because he can make anyone feel like they can take the world by the balls and squeeze… But I get it now. He’s a mess. He’s a beautiful goddamned mess, just like she was.copyright protection12PENANA9MSvnVEk5O

“Can we talk about the blood issue before we talk about the wolf issue?” Woody deflected.copyright protection12PENANAmFN3C373AO

“Blood issue?” Jude repeated, startled back into the present.copyright protection12PENANAa4siCOb2Jd

“You’re going to need blood if we’re going to return to Dareklind.”copyright protection12PENANA3SZVonR3HW

“Do you remember the first thing I said to you when you found me on that slab?” The vampire stood up, pulling his shirt from his torso to shake out the loose hair. He could feel the other supernatural’s eyes on his marks, but otherwise, Sherwood didn’t say anything. “Well, do you?” He balled his shirt up and threw it in a corner of the living room. “I want to hunt the other cells down. But I don’t want to turn into their monster… I’ll go back, but not on their terms.”copyright protection12PENANAR3CF6eIeij

“We’ll need your magic, no matter what we do,” Woody said, insistent, and Jude could tell he was trying to keep his anger in check. “Whether we go in under the radar or guns blazing… I’m sorry, but when you couldn’t access your magic after you died, you were lucky to be able to read minds. For all your contacts in the city, without your magic you’re just another casualty waiting to happen, Jude.”copyright protection12PENANA2sovL1jW43

Useless. Powerless. Vulnerable. A fucking liability?copyright protection12PENANA97W83kvVod

The vampire’s anger was white hot. “A year playing Black Heart’s blood bag wasn’t enough for you?” he snapped, instantly regretting the words.copyright protection12PENANASfguUnIDB1

Jude wondered, not for the first time, how extensive Black Heart’s torture had been. Woody kept himself so grounded, so covered up, it was hard to tell where the real holes in his armor were; hard to tell what about his trauma would make him laugh, and what would make him break down.copyright protection12PENANAXEtmaeoubs

Jude’s words broke him down.copyright protection12PENANAxkAttEOZzc

Woody blanched. He put his scissors and comb on the coffee table and shook his head like he was trying to shake off ghosts. His breathing became erratic. “You didn’t mean that,” he stated, trying to convince himself, but then he grimaced, looking down at his feet. “I’m sorry I put it so bluntly…” He tried to take a deep breath, but he didn’t get halfway through the draw before he had to brace himself on the armrest of the couch. “You need blood. I won’t back down on that.” Jude could see a bead of sweat roll into the collar of his shirt. “Listen, I…”copyright protection12PENANAcrssVmQE0s

The werewolf looked up then, panic in his expression. “I need to find a place to change.”copyright protection12PENANAFY69khoILz

“Now?”copyright protection12PENANAbjUMMnqBmZ

Now.”copyright protection12PENANANyrg1mDR1D

Jude crossed his arms, looked guilty for Sherwood’s sake. “It looks like neither of us is going to get what he wants. So let’s agree to a compromise.”copyright protection12PENANAjHBqQWIfFt

“Jude!” Woody whined, a warning more than a plea.copyright protection12PENANAPQMJCz72bt

“I take from you if you agree to let me help you control it.” He’s not really alright with the idea, Jude thought. He just doesn’t want me unprotected, is that it? That’s sweet. And unnecessary. “I know you’re looking out for me, but you said someday I wouldn’t have to sacrifice so much.”copyright protection12PENANA2Z2tf4QSVR

Woody stilled, but his breathing still had a stutter to it, his body tense like a whipcord.copyright protection12PENANAvfz7Gq4oFJ

“I don’t want to give up the last of my humanity,” Jude said. “But it might be too late for that… Too late for a lot of things.” He met Woody’s eyes. “It’s your turn to make the sacrifice.”copyright protection12PENANASuzFecflfq

Too many things passed behind the werewolf’s gold eyes. Unspoken things, painful things. Then he let out a groan. “You’re not turning into Black Heart. I keep telling you that…”copyright protection12PENANAPipRLEVCwR

“Apparently I’m not the only one you need to convince,” Jude said simply. He came over to Woody and grabbed up one of his arms to support him, pulling him close. “Glenn… Come on. Let’s get outside.”copyright protection12PENANAu273aNtec8

The older one leaned against him gratefully. “I had time. I don’t know what’s happening.”copyright protection12PENANAX4DxJSKYdZ

“I pushed you… I’m sorry.”copyright protection12PENANAo3hNU3sQFZ

“No, you’re not.”copyright protection12PENANAH92OdcCGrO

“No,” Jude admitted. “But you won’t see reason until it’s tearing at your throat.”copyright protection12PENANAPpStXBlHAz

“Right back at you,” he said stiffly.copyright protection12PENANAHZCZNx2fnI

The Holland boy huffed a laugh. “Look at us. Two idiots in denial.”copyright protection12PENANAf5ShT5uwMW

Outside, darkness had swallowed the perimeter of the property. Woody groaned, falling from Jude’s grip to the porch. The last time Jude had seen Woody transform near a full moon, it had been from behind the comfort of a panic room’s six-inch-thick steel door and it’s little window of shatter-resistant glass. Now, as exposed as he’d been when they’d first encountered Black Heart four months ago, his heart was thudding slowly, dully in his chest--what passed for excited beating.copyright protection12PENANAkBlc5iOq0p

He helped Woody to the grass, but then the werewolf pushed him away. “Get inside.”copyright protection12PENANA0HoDHbaJrx

“I’m not going anywhere.”copyright protection12PENANAsGDlYwrs2d

“Jude, please don’t do this… Not like this.”copyright protection12PENANApnPKzU3ol4

“I’m not going anywhere.” I meant it when I said it before, stupid. I’m never leaving you again, Jude thought and he considered repeating it telepathically, but he didn’t know how the other one would react to that kind of manic-sounding conviction. Maybe Tristan was right. Maybe I love him. Jude shook off the memories as he pulled Woody toward the treeline. Holy shit… Maybe I actually love him. copyright protection12PENANANlMcYtn9dP

What the fuck am I doing?copyright protection12PENANAHFvk0uRsWU

Comments ( 2 )

Mikha'il - *le shocked but curious gasp*
2 weeks agoreply

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