start with chapter 1
Content warning: this story contains adult incest and MPREG
Nor blinked awake to the sound of Mama calling his name. He didn’t want to be awake. He wanted to be right where he was, curled around his mate who was sleeping so peacefully and smelled so satisfied. His cock was hard against Toby’s ass. Not insistent, just happy to be there. He wanted to wake up like this every morning, and now that he and Toby were mated, he would.
The only thing marring his bliss was Mama’s insistent voice, which he realized too late was coming closer.
“Toby’s missing, Nor! You have to— Oh.” Mama stopped in front of the bed. Nor curled more tightly around Toby who was just stirring into consciousness, instinctively shielding him from the intruder. Mama sniffed the air, taking in the smell of sex. Her eyes landed on the claiming bite.
“Nor.” She clutched her chest.
“What… what did you do?”
“I claimed him.”
“But you can’t.”
“He’s mine, Mama. He’s mine, and so is the pup.”
Toby had tensed up in a wash of fear pheromones, but they dropped away when Nor claimed him verbally the way he’d physically claimed him last night. He smiled warmly and tilted his head up to offer his lips. Nor kissed him, helpless to do otherwise even in the face of his mother’s disapproval, caught between his satisfaction at being exactly where he wanted to be and the horror of seeing his every doubt and fear personified in Mama.
For now she was shocked to the point of silence, but he couldn’t count on that lasting for very long. He eased himself away from Toby, being sure to arrange the blankets over him to make up for the lack of body heat.
“I’ll bring you some breakfast, love. You stay here for me.”
“Yes, Alpha.” The impishness in Toby’s voice warned him not to expect obedience very often, but the relief in his eyes said what his ferocious courage would never allow him to say out loud—Toby needed Nor to take the lead here. And he would. Toby and the pup could never be subjected to any of the angry disapproval that belonged to him and him alone.
He herded his mother out of the attic to prevent her unleashing in Toby’s presence. They were halfway to the kitchen before she recovered enough to start.
“How could you do this to me? How could he?”
“It’s my fault, Mama. Leave Toby alone.”
“Leave Toby alone?” she screeched. “You certainly didn’t.”
“I shouldn’t have touched him,” he admitted as he rooted through the refrigerator, looking for food that didn’t need to be cooked so he could get back to Toby. “But I did and it’s done. I’m going to take good care of him and the pup. My pup.” He could say that now.
“Oh, no you aren’t.” Mama grabbed his arm to stop him from leaving. “He can’t have that baby. Two wolves from the same pack is bad enough, Nor, but you’re brothers. The pup is bound to have something wrong with it.”
Nor knew that couldn’t be true. The pup would be theirs—his and Toby’s—which meant it would be perfect. He backed Mama out of the way and headed for the stairs. Grandma Dalita was on her way down, holding onto the railing because her joints were stiff in the morning.
“Do you know what this fool has done?” Mama asked her.
“High time,” she said with an approving nod.
“How can you say that?”
“Because they love each other. Surely, you’ve seen how much.”
“But they’re brothers!” Mama wailed, working herself into a state of hysteria that was bound to attract Papa. “It’s an abomination.”
“Secrets never stop hurting until we stop keeping them, Marybeth. The time’s come to let it all out.”
“Nothing needs to be let out.” Mama huddled into herself as if someone were physically threatening her. “We can fix this. The pup will be aborted. Toby and Nor will be separated. Toby can go to people school, like he’s always wanted to, and Nor will stay here to help with the farm. And we’ll never tell anyone about any of it. Never.”
Nor agreed with some of that. Toby needed to be removed from Scottsdale, that was for sure. From the entire area, maybe from wolf territory altogether. But he disagreed about sticking around to help with the farm. Mama and Papa had a lot of children who could do that. Toby only had him.
He left Grandma Dalita to deal with Mama and went upstairs. Toby needed to eat, and it wasn’t like Nor could make Mama happy, not even if he spent hours at it. Toby, he could make happy. Or if he couldn’t, he’d at least die trying.
“How’s Mama taking it?” Toby asked. His adorable pink nose peeped out from under the blankets.
“About how you’d expect. How are you feeling?”
“Good. Really good.” Toby stretched, causing the blankets to fall away from him. His lithe body punctuated by the firm mound of his stomach had Nor hard in an instant.
“I was afraid I’d gotten too ugly for you,” Toby said with an admiring look at Nor’s cock, which was proving how much Toby hadn’t.
“Oh, love.” He got into bed and gathered Toby into his lap. “How could you ever think that?”
But he knew how. It was because he’d been trying so hard to avoid Toby. He was awful, terrible. He would never stop touching Toby again. Never. Which was too pleasant a punishment for such an awful crime.
Toby ate breakfast in his arms, trying to make Nor eat too. “You need to keep your strength up,” he said as he insisted on Nor having some of the bread. “There might be tough times ahead for us. We’ll have to leave Scottsdale. We can’t stay here with people saying…. what they’ll say.”
Nor had already figured out that they needed to leave. “I don’t know what to do about your financial aid though.”
“I guess it doesn’t matter,” Toby said with a sad shrug. “Mama’s right about school having to wait. Without any family to help, I’ll have to stay home with the baby.”
“But Toby,” Nor said in a voice too close to a whine. He wanted to keep the pup, but Toby shouldn’t have to sacrifice his dream.
“It’s okay. I’ll go in a year or two, when the pup’s older and we’re settled somewhere.”
“I can’t believe I ruined this for you.” He hated it. He hated himself. All he’d ever wanted was to give Toby everything, and here he was—the very reason Toby’s dreams were spoiled. He whimpered into Toby’s throat, sniffing at the claiming bite that comforted him even as it shamed him.
Toby squirmed around until he was the one doing the hugging. “Don’t be sad. Please don’t be sad. I don’t want you to be sad. I thought I was doing the right thing.” Then Toby started crying, which was unbearable.
“But Toby, love. You didn’t do anything. It was all my fault.”
Toby shook his head. “I knew my heat was coming. That first time, in the woods. I knew.”
“Mama did say it would come soon.”
“I wasn’t guessing, Nor. I knew. But I went with you anyway, because I wanted you. I wanted you to be the one to take me. I wanted you to fuck me and knot me—all those things you did. And I wanted you to claim me, but you didn’t. So I made you take me north and begged you to knot me again. I tricked you, and I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
Nor held his shivering mate as his mind rearranged itself in an effort to understand this new reality.
“You did it on purpose?” he finally managed to ask.
Toby nodded into his shoulder with a heaving sob. “Please don’t hate me.”
“Hate you? Love, I love you. I’ve always loved you.”
“But you didn’t want to fuck me.”
Somehow Nor found the strength to laugh. “Didn’t want to fuck you? I haven’t thought about anything else for a year.”
“But you didn’t want to claim me,” Toby said in a tiny voice.
“I wanted to claim you. You didn’t trick me into anything, Toby. You’re just smarter than I am, that’s all. I’m probably always going to need you to figure out what we ought to do. I’m sorry if that makes me a bad alpha.”
“It makes you the best alpha,” Toby said with a sniffle. “Do you mean it? You wanted to claim me?”
“I claimed you a long time ago. We just needed the bite.” He slid his mouth across Toby’s neck to take a quick lick at the mark there. It tasted like forever. “Now, tell me what we do next.”
There was no point sticking around. Every moment they spent at home put Toby at risk of having to hear Mama’s opinion. Nor kept close to him as they packed, ready to fend her off if necessary, but she only sent a single terse message, delivered through Papa: if Nor insisted on acting like he was Toby’s mate and the sire to his pup, then they weren’t welcome. Since Nor was Toby’s mate and the sire to his pup, he couldn’t act any other way, so he told Papa they’d be out soon and pushed Toby to pack faster.
On the outskirts of town, he paused at the crossroads. One road led to Pretoria where Auntie El might help them. She already knew about Toby being pregnant, but she knew about them being brothers too.
“Let’s go east,” Toby said, making the decision for him. That was good.
Nor fell in beside him. “Why east?”
“There’s a settlement right on the edge of wolf territory called Orlanta. It’s far enough from here that no one will know us, and one of the schools that accepted me is just over the border. Maybe I can manage a class or two.”
“I could stay home with the pup while you go to school.” He and the baby were going to have so much fun together. He couldn’t wait.
“You’ll need to work. It’s going to be rough, just the two of us.”
Nor thought about everything they were leaving behind: Mama, Papa, the farm. All their siblings and niblings. Grandma Dalita. He would’ve liked to say goodbye to Grandma Dalita, but he hadn’t wanted to risk a scene. If anyone said anything bad to Toby right now, he might attack them. That was how close to the surface his alpha instincts were.
“You’re going to miss having a community when the baby comes.”
Toby slipped a hand into his. “Scottsdale’s a two-bit town. They never liked me anyway.” And that was true. Toby had always been too good for Scottsdale.
“Let’s shift and run,” Nor suggested. “Shake the dust off our feet.”
Toby agreed by barking—already in his sprightly wolf form. Nor took a moment to give him head scratches while he still had hands to do it. Toby had grown awkward in human form, but his wolf form barely showed his pregnancy. Which was probably just as well. Pregnant Toby made him way too horny.
He shifted to join his mate and immediately the regret over leaving dropped away. This was an adventure—him and Toby, together forever, going all the way to the edge of wolf territory where neither of them had ever been before. They yipped as they ran, taking turns chasing each other across fields and through forests, not bothering to stick to any particular path. East. That was all they knew.
When the sun started to sink behind them, Nor steered Toby into a deeper section of forest and rooted around until he found a dirty hollow, formed when a tree upended. He plugged the entrance with a pile of leaves, sealing them in together, tight and close.
“Old times,” Toby said, not much more than a pair of eyes in the darkness. Nor felt around until he’d located all of Toby’s parts. There was his pretty face, hard to see but still kissable. And there was his distended belly with the button popped out like an extra nipple. That was his cock nestled beneath it. Nor had to dig for it, but it was there—hard and ready for his hand. Toby groaned at the contact, already eager.
“I’ve been so fucking horny.” He used his own hand to squeeze Nor’s tighter around his cock, encouraging him to slide it up and down, though his belly made the motion difficult.
“You’re not too tired from the run?” Nor knew what he wanted, but his wants weren’t important. “You’ve been so sick.”
“Horny,” Toby repeated. “This is medicine. I need you.”
So much had happened in the last twenty-four hours. So much wonderful had happened. There’d been the claiming. And even better, learning that Toby wanted the claiming—that everything Nor had done was exactly what Toby had wanted him to do. Nor had wanted it too. So much that he couldn’t help feeling guilty. He could never deserve to be this happy, but if it made Toby happy, then it was right and good. He would give Toby every bit of the love inside him, and it would only be exactly what he ought to do.
He laid Toby out on the spongy dirt floor of their burrow without any conflicted feelings. No fear of tomorrow, no regret for tonight. This was love they were making together—love strong enough to give rise to a pup and a claiming bite. Nothing about it was wrong.
He couldn’t see very Toby very well in the inky darkness of the hollow, but he had Toby memorized anyway. He imagined Toby’s body as he pleasured it, heard in Toby’s groans and sighs how well he did it. He couldn’t expect Toby to come over and over tonight, not after running all day, so he took his time with the one orgasm he was going to get, building Toby’s arousal slowly without paying any attention to his own. His cock was hard because Toby would need it later, but for now he licked and kissed and sucked and rubbed, hitting all the usual places but with a new sense of ownership.
When Toby started begging for a knot, Nor gave it to him. He put Toby on his side to support his belly, and eased into him from behind, his body sagging with the relief of coming home. He cupped Toby’s cock as he rocked their bodies together. Toby purred, already coming but so softly. Nor stopped moving so as not to jostle the pup.
“But you haven’t come yet,” Toby protested.
“Not important.” Nor couldn’t feel any better than he already did. His mate and his cock were joined by his knot, and Toby was satisfied, purring contently as Nor rubbed his belly and gently rocked his hips to stimulate his prostate.
“It is important.” Toby squeezed his ass muscles. “You’re my mate. I’m going to take care of you.”
“I’m taking care of you.”
“We take care of each other. That’s what being mates means. And we’ll both take care of the pup.”
“Always.” Nor steeled himself against the squeeze of Toby’s sphincter, but Toby kept milking him until he couldn’t help releasing. “Okay, love?” he asked as his knot contracted, filling Toby with seed that wasn’t needed.
“I’m fine. A little worried about the pup.”
“Did we hurt it?” Nor tried to withdraw, as if that were possible.
“Stop,” Toby complained. “Orgasms relax me, and a relaxed carrier is good for a pup.”
“Then why are you worried?” He sniffed through Toby’s hair, but everything smelled okay.
“I love you, Nor. Love you more than anything. I won’t ever be sorry we’re together, and it’s all my fault, I know, but—”
“Whatever it is, I’m not going to be angry.” He wasn’t clever enough to figure it out on his own, but if Toby would tell him what was wrong, he would find a way to fix it.
“I can’t stop thinking about what Mama always says, about pups being healthier when their parents are from different packs.”
“You’re worried because we’re from the same pack?”
“Not just the same pack. The same family. We’re brothers. We practically have the same DNA.”
Toby tried to explain, but Nor only got a vague sense of it. They were too much alike, that was what Toby was saying. Nor didn’t think they were alike at all. Toby was smart and adorable, whereas he was just a lumbering mass of muscle. But this DNA stuff they shared was hidden way down under their skin, so Toby said, and it meant their baby might be shaped differently or have a sickness or not be able to think so good.
“But we’d love it anyway,” Nor said when Toby had made him understand. His knot had shrunk while Toby was talking because he didn’t like thinking about anything being wrong, but it turned out nothing was wrong at all. He turned Toby around to face him, finding the gleam of his eyes in the dark of his face. “None of that matters.”
“Not to me. I’ll love our pup because it’s ours. And because it will need me. I won’t love it any different if it has three paws instead of four.”
“I guess not.”
“Toby.” Nor shook him gently. He loved Toby. He really, really did. But he couldn’t let Toby say anything bad about the pup. He’d have to put his foot down. “This is going to be your baby. Are you saying if it’s stupid like me instead of smart like you that you won’t love it?”
“I would never say that. I want the baby to be like you. I hope it’s exactly like you, because you’re the best wolf ever.” The tears in Toby’s voice made Nor regret the harsh tone he’d taken.
“Then what are you saying?”
“I’m saying everything that’s happened is my fault—Mama being mad, losing the farm, all of it. And if anything’s wrong with the baby, that’ll be my fault too. It’s all because of me.”
“It is all because of you, Toby. But it’s wonderful. So wonderful.” His words were clumsy, but he didn’t know how to say it better. “I’d give up a hundred farms for you, and I’m sorry Mama won’t see her grandpup, but that’s her choice, not ours. Only you have to promise me you’ll love the baby, Toby. However it comes out.”
“I will. I do. I’m just so afraid.”
“But there’s nothing to be afraid of. You’ve said it yourself before: as long as we’re together.”
“As long as we’re together,” Toby agreed between sniffles. “But please stop calling yourself stupid. You’re not. You’re the smartest of all of us.”
He wasn’t. Not like Toby. But it didn’t matter. Somehow he’d won anyway.
“Let me do something nice for you for a change,” Toby said, wiggling down to take Nor’s deflated cock in his mouth. Nor tried to explain that he didn’t need anything, but he’d never gotten the hang of telling Toby no. And it turned out Toby was up for more than one orgasm after all.
They spent more time in human form the next day, enjoying each other’s company without yesterday’s rush to escape. But somewhere around midday, Nor picked up on the sounds of an approaching wolf. He placed Toby behind him and turned to wait with his teeth and claws out.
“Who is it?” Toby asked with a loud sniff.
Nor sniffed too, catching a familiar overtone to the generic scent of wolf. Whoever it was, they weren’t a stranger, but that didn’t mean they were a friend. He kept Toby behind him as the sound of wolf feet running over dry leaves grew louder.
“It’s Grandma Dalita,” Toby said just before she came into sight.
Nor made Toby stay behind him anyway, but the longer Grandma Dalita stood there doing nothing except panting, the more he realized she wasn’t a threat. She wore a bag on her back, just like the ones they wore.
“I’m sorry we didn’t say goodbye before we left,” he told her.
She shifted into human form, keeping her distance because Nor still had his claws out. “I’m not here to say goodbye. I’m coming with you. You could’ve waited instead of making me chase you for a day and a half.”
“You’re coming with us?” Toby wiggled out from behind Nor’s protective stance and bounced over to her.
“Absolutely. You’ll need someone to look after the pup while you go to school.”
Toby flung his arms around her with a squeal. Nor joined in, wrapping his arms around them both. He should’ve known Grandma Dalita wouldn’t be unkind to Toby. He was just a little sensitive where Toby was concerned.
“So, where are we headed?” she asked. Toby explained about Orlanta, but when he was done she said, “You remember your mother’s from Umberland? We might consider going there.”
“Well, the last time she gave birth, that was where she did it. She’d had a difficult pregnancy, and she wanted the comfort of her own carrier.”
Nor remembered. Remembered her leaving swollen with child and returning with Toby in her arms, tiny and sweet. Nor had felt such a pull to him—an immediate driving need to make sure he’d never be unhappy.
“They’ll know who we are there,” Toby said.
“They might know more than you think about who you are.”
“What do you mean?” Nor asked.
“I mean that Toby has never smelled like mine. Marybeth was always so foolishly proud over how healthy her pups were. If something went wrong with that last pregnancy, she might’ve been unable to face it. I’ve never said anything before because I love Toby whether he’s blood or not, but I’ve always wondered if her last pup died. If we go up to Umberland, we might find out that you’re not really brothers.”
Nor didn’t care. Toby was his and so was the pup. And the pup would be whatever it turned out to be. Knowing whether or not he and Toby had the same DNA thingies wouldn’t change any of that.
“Umberland is way into wolf territory,” he pointed out. “And Toby needs to be close to people school. So I think we’d better go to Orlanta.
“You’re the alpha,” Grandma Dalita said.
That was right. Nor was the alpha. And this was his pack—Toby and the pup and Grandma Dalita. He would build them a farm, and Toby would go to people school. The pup would grow up knowing it was loved, and maybe someday there’d be others. Pups and grandpups. His mate and his family and his pack, all around a table filled with the meat he’d caught.
Nor got his pack moving, heading east to Orlanta. To home.
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