A different take on the traditional M/M werewolf romance topic: less romantic, less traditional, more disturbing and with conniving wolves, vampires and submissive marines.

Comments or requests for more of Meta (& the Marines) can be emailed to Meta.JohnAR@gmail.com.

Depending on reception, I will post more chapters.

And if any military boy wants to start a MetaPack, let me know ...


Meta & the Marines


"A wolf," Prime stated, having barely noticeably lifted his nose picking up a scent.

"Of course," Colt said rolling his eyes theatrically, getting up to open the door. "I think we invited one," he couldn't help himself to comment.

"Please stay here, Colt," the Alpha responded quickly, overtaking the Meta within a second.

"Oh my gosh, really, Prime?"

"Really, Colt," Prime mocked him without regret.

"Okay. But only because it's you, Mr. Loope," Colt answered.

Prime had no clue what the nerd was referring to and made a beeline to the door. In the moment, the bell rang; he opened it and stared at the man with an open mouth.

This was Brian's twin: innocently blond, with icy blue eyes, a straight, elegant nose and a lean jock body. The man cleared his throat obviously uncomfortable to be stared at like that but also unsure how to handle an alpha wolf shifter.

"Oh, sorry, I'm Prime," the redhead finally said offering his hand.

"Nice to meet you Mr. Loope, Jared Pratt."

"Call me Prime, please."

"Of course, Al... ah Prime," he answered not completely sure about this offer.

Jared wore a suit. It wasn't the best Italian quality, but given his physique it looked cool; except he shouldn't have chosen a black tie which made look like an undertaker or an Elder in some foreign country trying to convert innocent people to the LSD church.

'Ding, dong,' Colt made in his head with a naughty smile.

"Hi, I'm Colt, thanks for making it all down from Utah."

"Jared, pleased to meet you," the handshake was appropriately strong, and the smile professionally friendly. "No problem, I had to get some things sorted in LA so it worked out very nicely."

"Please come in. Would like to drink something? Coffee, tea, beer?"

Jared looked a bit uncomfortable.

"Oh sorry, I forgot. What about orange juice?"

"That would be great."

Prime guided the guest into the main room. He noticed Jared tried to pick up the scents of the wolves, who had been in this room. His face started to become even more uncomfortable. He must have picked up Brian's smell. Brian was in class right now, but would be coming home in an hour or so.

When Colt returned with orange juice for the Mormon boy, a bottle of water for Prime and a Diet Coke for himself, Jared became all business: "So what do you think about our proposal regarding your Irish, Scottish and Danish ancestors?"

For some reason Colt felt Jared had lost confidence he would get that contract. He had expected Mr. Loope to live in a big mansion with lots of money so he could afford an expensive hobby like identifying his ancestors back to the 15th century in Europe. This house didn't looked like that of a millionaire and Brian's scent didn't help.

"We're still thinking about it. However, I'm much more interested in your knowledge about White Wolves," Prime said reasonably honestly.

Jared sighed as if his worst expectations had materialized. "I'm not sure I can add much more to what I've already sent you in my email."

Colt smiled. "We fully understand, but sometimes there is information which cannot by readily relayed in written form."

"Sure. Maybe I can help. What questions do you have?"

"We heard there the arrival of a White Wolf is imminent."

"Is it?" Jared pretended.

"Yes. Here in the States," Prime pushed with a hint of Alpha in his voice to intimidate Jared into answering.

Colt smiled amused, but suppressed it quickly -- as he did with his boner.

"As said, there have been many rumors about previous White Wolves. The latest in the U.S. supposedly being JFK. And yes, there is quite some talk that it is `the' time again. -- I mean there was even the story that Mr. Romney is White Wolf, in order to help his election chances in 2012; but that was obviously gibberish like so many other things which are said during elections."

"So how do White Wolves bring peace?"

"If we believe what history suggests White Wolves are wolf shifters who bring peace as humans; either by bringing the word of God close to humans, like Jesus, or by bringing an evil empire to fall like Charles Magne with the heathen Saxons or Gorbatchov with the Soviet Union. But none of this confirmed, and I believe more wishful thinking.

"So the White Wolf doesn't fight in his wolf form?"

"So it seems. Except." Jared hesitated and took a sip from his orange juice to collect his thoughts.

"Except?" Prime's Alpha voice again. Gently so far.

"Except there's kind of a fairy tale. Well, it's more a tale which is being told by wet nurses."

Colt's face twisted, but he suppressed the thought quickly. "Could you tell us?" Colt asked nicely. For a change, he was playing `good cop.'

"Well, it is quite heathen and blasphemous actually."

"You can be assured we will not quote you," Colt said with a charming smile Prime had never really seen on him.

"The story says that one day a mighty White Wolf will appear. And he will go to hell to fight the Lord of the Dark."

"The devil?"

Jared jerked but nodded. "We've always thought is was the wolves' interpretation of Judgment Day, but the fairy tale was unusually specific in certain elements."


"Well, for once, in that fairy tale, the Lord in his hell thinks he is protected from wolf shifters because he has bedecked the hell with heavy silver. No wolf could get ever close to him; except for the White Wolf, who is immune against the negative effect of silver."

"Interesting," Prime said, remembering the pain of a noose covered in silver dust around his neck.

"Secondly, the White Wolf was created or at least nurtured by the devil itself."


"Yes, it is the Sorcerer's Apprentice topos."

Prime looked confused. Colt said: "His own creation moving against him."

"Indeed. But the fairy tale never explained why the devil would create a White Wolf or how. And thirdly," Jared took a big gulp from his orange juice as if he needed courage. "The story never tells us how the fight ends. Normally, in fairy tales, the good trumps the bad; even if it is violent like Grimm's tales tend to be. But there is not such ending in this tale."

In this moment, somebody said: "Hello, Jared."

Jared swallowed, got up and wanted to say something, but he couldn't. He just looked at Brian. He looked at that good-looking innocent face, nearly a mirror image of himself.

However, he noticed Brian had changed quite a bit. His eyes were colder, as if they had seen too much evil in his early life. He was a bit more muscled than Jared; and he could see all those muscles under the tight gray T-shirt, which barely hid the tattoo. Jared quickly thought about tattoos. `Disfigurement, mutilation and defilement' was the answer, which came automatically to his mind. And what was it with that chain? Could he see a lock under the tight shirt, resting on the strong pecs? How would Brian allow to be chained like a dog?

"Can't talk, Jared?" Brian held his head high, showing his chain off, his tattoo, his tight jock body, rubbing it into his cousin's piteous face with unrestricted glee.

"Hello, Brian. It's nice to see you."

"Thank you. How are you?"

"I'm fine. I'm engaged, will marry in summer."


"Sharlene." Some Jared didn't sound so proud about this.

"Congratulations," Brian smiled forced. He put his messenger bag down.

"And you?"

"I'm fine. I found my new pack."

"That is good."

"And they are all gay." Brian did not beat around the bush.

"Oh. I didn't know ..."

"You don't know a lot of things, Jared. I see you have met Colt and my Alpha."

"Mr. Loope is your Alpha?"

"Of course, Jared, and you knew that," Colt said quickly. Seemed he could drop the `good cop' routine finally. "You didn't come here to sell your follow-up proposal. You are here to find Brian. Isn't that so?"

"That must be a mistake," Jared started.

"What would your father say about you lying?" Brian asked quickly, while Prime growled highly displeased.

Jared looked down as if he was deciphering some secret writing on the rug. "You're right. I knew Brian had a new pack. Somebody from the New Montana pack had told me. So when you wrote, I wanted to find you."

"Question is why?" Colt asked cold.

"You want to drag me back to Utah and put me into some conversion camp? Maybe lobotomy or electro shock to turn me straight?" Brian shouted at his cousin.

"No, I think all of them have forgotten you."

Brian whined. Colt closed the gap to him and put his hand on his shoulder, sending soothing grape scents.

The wheat smell cleared. "Well, all the better. So why?"

"I wanted to ... I wanted to apologize," Jared said quickly, fiddling with the seam of his jacket in his hands.

"You have already. It was a slip of your tongue."

Jared didn't say anything.

"I guess it wasn't," Colt said not surprised, he'd had feeling about this for some while.

Prime growled, Brian growled, and Jared got scared. He looked towards the exit but he realized even if he could shift quickly enough, he would have not chance against Brian and his Alpha.

"Jared?" Brian asked fighting with tears.

"It wasn't. I lied to you," Jared finally confessed.

"But why?"

"You don't understand."

"Then make me!" Brian shouted.

"Jared, sit down," Colt ordered, "and tell us what happened. -- And you Brian stop shouting."

Brian wanted to talk back, but Colt's cold look and Prime's growl made him stop, saying: "Yes, Sir," -- even if a bit in an insubordinate way. Nevertheless, Brian shut up and sat down at the opposite end of the room.

"Tell us, Jared."

"I ...," another sip of orange juice for courage. "I was confused when I was young. But it was just a phase."

"You had sex with men?" Colt asked quickly.

"No, yes ... I mean, I ..."

"Jared, the most piteous of all Pratt children is a fag?" Brian asked with a cynical laughter.

"No, I'm not. I was just confused. I'm straight."

"Sure, brother, keep believing that."


"Sorry, Colt."

"Go on."

"I fooled around. It was bad. But I did. I felt so dirty. And then ...," he emptied the glass with orange juice. "Then this woman approached me in front of school."

Nobody said anything.

"This woman had pictures. Pictures of me and this man." Jared started to cry, covering his face in his hands, sobbing loud.

"You got set up?"

"I don't know. I only knew they showed me and the body of a man. I was so confused."

"What did she want?" Colt asked not interested in the self-doubt of his hypocrite.

"She said, she would show these pictures to my father."


"Unless I made sure that everyone knew Brian was a pervert, that he was gay."

More silence.

"You're saying you outed me on purpose to prevent your own outing?" Brian didn't shout anymore, he just summarized the plot as if he was in his Shakespeare class.

"Yes. I'm so sorry, I feel so bad."

Brian snorted disgusted.

"I went into a conversion therapy quickly after you left. I'm healed now. I'm straight. I will marry. I'll have kids."

Brian dismissed him with his hand. "Sure go ahead living your little boring Mormon dream life. I hope you grow hair on your palms masturbating to pictures of naked men while your wife is gone."

"I'm healed!" Jared insisted a bit too loud.

"Sure. Do you have anything else to say?"

"I'm sorry. I know I failed you. It ..."

Prime got up and hugged his Beta, hugged him tightly. Colt could see that Jared was intrigued and disgusted at the same time.

"One more questions, Mr. Pratt," Colt went back to the formal address.


"Did that women look like this?"

Jared looked at the pad screen and quietly said: "Yes. That's she."

Prime and Brian stared at Colt.

"The Shaman? Betsy?" CE asked. "Again?"

"I think that's what we said," Colt answered patiently.

"That cunt," Sam wasn't very polite. "How should I believe now that my parents really fought courageously protecting their alpha when she got Brian kicked out of his pack?" Sam shook his head, looking at his Beta. "Sorry, Sir, this isn't about me."

"It's okay, big guy," Brian said with a caring voice, putting his hand on the enforcer's shoulder.

"It might still be true," Colt said lifting Sam's spirits. "In the end also Jared confirmed Brian's brother Bill was really at an East Coast university and had a son. Not sure why 19 year old college students should get married and have kids, but I'm not a Mormon."

Prime nodded solemnly, turning the beer bottle in his hands. "So where does that leave us?"

"We need to find this women," CE said. "She has a lot of questions to answer."

"But you've tried."

"Yep, she's gone, like disappeared from the planet."

"Maybe she isn't a cunt," Colt said.

Prime rolled his eyes. Colt's good turned bad turned good turned bad guys ideas.

"Saw that, Prime."

"I know, wanna spank me?"

"Later," Colt chuckled. He was sure he would more likely break his hand than do any damage on these rock hard ass cheeks. "Anyway, she did what she did with your father, Prime. She made sure you left the pack."


Colt shrugged. "Maybe to help Fate, maybe to make sure you guys met, to make sure you formed a new pack. If both of you had stayed, you might have never met. And even if, you Prime would be Alpha, and Brian, maybe an unhappy outer circle wolf in his pack."

Prime and Brian nodded in agreement. "She had a plan it seems," Brian continued.

"Yes, she had. And she never told us," Prime added. "We need to find her. She might have done even more. Maybe she got even CE kicked out of his pack."

"No, I left. I think I told you that, Prime."

"You did. But maybe she influenced your pack to arrange such a quick mating ceremony with a female, barely after your 18th birthday. Maybe she knew that that would make you quit?" Colt hypothesized.

CE stared at him with an open mouth. "You think? -- I thought it was ..."

Colt shrugged his shoulder as if this was unimportant. "That isn't the question."

"Not?" CE asked a bit hurt.

"Well, yes. We'll find out eventually. But the bigger question is what she knows about our future; as she had ensured that the future would happen with her actions in the past."

"Head ache, Colt," Prime complained.

"Of course, honey," Colt teased friendly. "Let me explain: Is the future given and she is just a little Fate's helper; or is she Fate herself making the future?"

"Betsy Fate?" Brian asked disbelieving.

"Well, you guys didn't know she was half a vampire," Colt stated dryly biting his lips before he said too much.

"What if she is Fate?" CE asked.

"I guess then somebody got her out of the way, making sure Fate would not help us anymore."

"You mean she was killed by the vampires?"

"Maybe, or she is held hostage somewhere. Or by some rogue wolves. Who knows nowadays?" Colt said a bit to distanced.

"We need to help her." CE's protective instinct kicked in.

"Find her, then we'll see," Colt said a bit absentmindedly.

"There is something else bothering you, Colt," Prime asked, having learned to read his Meta.

"Yes. I remember that Betsy was surprised about Sam coming from California. She thought he was from the state of New York."

"Well, you told us that she got the info from her secretary, no Shaman mind reading," Brian reminded the Meta of his skepticism.

"I know very well, Beta," Colt commented quietly. "But I think she had expected Isaac. He's from New York state after all."

"Fuck, I'm not sure anymore who scares me more. Betsy or you," Prime said, putting his bottle on the table and leaving the kitchen with big steps.


Prime knocked on his door.

"Come in, Alpha," Colt said, pushing his laptop aside. He had just sent his application for a job in one of the most prestigious global consulting companies, which looked for associates in the LA office.

"Hi, Colt. Sorry about before."

"No worries. Nothing happened. I know it's a lot to take in."

Prime set down on the floor putting his head against Colt's thigh, who started to caress Prime's hair against the grain, taking in the pleasant soft scent of just ripened strawberries, waiting to be picked. Colt was thinking of home made whipped cream as his grand mother had made in Poland. He missed her. He missed that smell of cream.


"You can smell my thoughts?"

"Sometimes. Smelled delicious," Prime licked his small pink lips.

"Nothing for wolves, pure fat."

"We'll run it off."

"I'm sure you do. -- So what is it?" Colt asked sensing the tension in Prime's neck.

"I made a phone call."

"Okay," Colt encouraged the redhead to continue.

"You remember the fight I had in the bar in San Diego?" Prime turned around so his green eyes look at the nerd.

"Where CE handcuffed you?"

"Yes. -- Stop it, Colt. You are getting hard," Prime said with mock irritation.

"Of course. A hunky redhead marine in handcuffs? Shall I tell you all my childhood wanking fantasies?" Colt said unapologetically. "JAG and NCIS characters feature in them prominently. Man, was I `in love' with the gunny."

"Not now; you are distracting me."

"Enough to make you take off your shirt?"

"Fuck yes," Prime took of his T-shirt leaning back again Colt's thigh, enjoying his hands massaging his shoulders. He growled with pleasure.

"Nearly like a cat, Prime," Colt teased him.

"There are no cat shifters," Prime corrected his Meta.

"Who knows? All the books are full with shifters, cats, bears, even some squirrels. I mean the latest I read was so bad it had whale shifters!"

Prime chuckled. "I think we've established you cannot believe anything in men on men romance novels written by women for women."

"So phone call," Colt focused Prime's attention on the topic on hand.

"Oh yes, my gosh, Colt what are you doing to my brain?" the marine complained.

"Do you still need it?"

"I guess not," Prime joked. "Phone call. I talked with the owner of the bar. After all I was a regular customer there, so we became friends. He also is a former marine."

"Of course, where else would jarhead get drunk? Not in a bar run by the air force?" Colt teased, not really expecting an answer to those rhetorical questions.

"Chair force? Never."

"Thought so," Colt smiled at the predictability of his boys, it made him cozy and warm. He played with the chain around the thick neck of his alpha, tanned despite January, and with lots of cute little freckles. The shoulders displaying all the muscles seductively, when Prime moved a bit sitting on the floor.

"Anyway I asked whether he remembered the day I got busted," Prime tried to keep to his story, which was tough, as he wanted the Meta's hand to do so much more to him.

"I'm sure he did."

"He did, indeed, so I asked him why I had gotten so drunk that night. Had never happened before. And wouldn't happen afterwards," Prime said, trying to convince Colt that he was a good boy.


"He said that I had a full bottle of vodka, not the best one, he apologized."

"I knew you could take a lot. Not getting the jist of the story, though," Colt confessed.

"So I asked him whether I ever paid for the whole bottle. I never took so much money with me even when it had been payday," Prime remembered.

"You've always been such a responsible Alpha," Colt added.

"Are you going to comment every sentence of my story?" Prime said smiling looking up at his Meta, who started to circle the nipples of his wolf shifter. He was getting horny in his cage.

"If I want."

"You're right, Meta's prerogative. -- Why do I think I'll have sore nipples tomorrow?"

"And why do I sense your dick tries to grow in your cage at the thought of this?"

"Mean." Prime pretended to be hurt.

"Story!" Colt said sharply.

"Yes. Anyway he told me that it wasn't me who had paid for the Vodka."

"No?" Colt stopped playing with Prime's nipples. "Don't tell me it was an unknown woman."

"You got it. Seems you think like her already. So Chad, the bar owner, told me she'd come that day just when he opened the bar and said that she wanted to make me an early birthday gift, given I was shipping out. She told him to give me vodka until I couldn't stand anymore and she would pay for it. Paid for two bottles in advance."

"She knew that you would become violent," Colt concluded.


"And she knew CE was on duty," Colt said more to himself than to Prime.

Prime nevertheless answered: "So it seems."

"She wanted you guys to meet."

"Colt, now it's you who states the obvious. I would have expected a bit more," Prime teased him, being rewarded with a painful twist on his left nipple. "Ouch!"

"Still complaining?"

"No, Sir. May this marine have more, Sir?" Prime asked trying to seduce Colt to sex.

"Not yet. This is getting interesting now. She made sure you left, Brian left, that you and CE met; I'm sure she found a way of all of you going to her to inquire about a meta," Colt summarized for himself.

"Still the obvious," Prime said, quickly putting his hands to protect his nipples.

Colt growled.

Prime looked a bit surprised and put his hands down pushing out his pecs a bit to touch Colt's hand, as if asking for punishment. "Sorry. -- You were saying?"

"I had never met her before in my life. I wonder, though, whether she had also influenced my choices, without me knowing."


"The money," he suddenly remembered the bank statements in his box. Statements he had found years ago when his mother had tried to throw them away.

"The money?"

"The bank statements. Somebody had transferred money to my parents until my 13th birthday; well, what I thought were my parents. And later made sure some money got directly to me. I had always hoped it was from my real family. But maybe it was her?"

"Have you tried to find out?"

"Tried when we were at Chase, but nobody was even close to have been in that bank at that time to even be able to read the transactions codes." But Colt felt he didn't need to inquire further, it must have been her.

"I see. Anything else she might have done?"

"Getting me into this school. Getting me the scholarship," Colt brainstormed.

"I thought that was your high school head master?"

"What if he had `help?'"

"I see. Wanna follow up on that lead?" Prime asked missing the little torture by Colt's fingers.

"Maybe. Maybe we have to go back to Texas and Flagstaff," Colt thought out loud.

"Not sure I like that thought, but maybe we should do indeed," Prime conceded smelling that he was successful in his seduction efforts.

"By the way, can you take off your shorts without getting out of your boots?"

"Yes, why?"

"Because I'm going to fuck you in your boots now."


Isaac looked through his infrared goggles. It wasn't really a quiet night. For some reason nights in Afghanistan were never quiet. Some stupid goat had to bleat all the time; if it wasn't some bomb going off.

He thought he had heard some voices in the distance, but he might be mistaken.

He looked around. Larry was sharing the watch shift with him; he was on the other side of their makeshift camp, on slight elevation overlooking the road into the valley. It wasn't really a road, more like a path for mules with too much sand and rocks.

He had never been in this part of the country. It looked even more dismal than the rest; barely vegetation, barely civilization. Just rocks and nothingness. He remembered when he thought this country looked like his soul, and that's why he had volunteered for another stint over here. But now his soul has risen like the proverbial phoenix. His soul was beautiful now; it wanted to be home with his men, like his wolf wanted to be with his pack. This country was nothing like him anymore. It was the opposite of him.

Nevertheless he had to do his duty, and he would do it well. He would be watchful protecting his fellow marines who slept.

He had been surprised when he was called into his Captain's office. Normally he only ended up there when he or one of his men had screwed up so heavily that even the NCO's couldn't deal with it. But this time it was different.

"Sergeant Sykes, at ease!" The captain looked tired and slightly annoyed. "Seems you have made some new connections in the HQ."

"Excuse me, Sir?" he asked confused.

"Well, I have orders to dispatch you to a unit I've never heard off, to participate in an operation they're not telling me about, for a time they didn't limit at this moment." The captain for clearly pleased with his choice of words.

"Sir, I'm not aware of any of that."

"Of course not. That's why they call it `secret,'" the officer chuckled at his own joke.

"Understood, Sir."

"The office will give you your dispatch papers. Make sure you follow them to the letter. And when you're done -- if it's before June -- you'll report back to here. But I assume that's not going to happen."

Isaac did not react; he had to process what happened.

"It was a pleasure having you in my team, Sergeant Sykes!" The Captain got up and offered his hand.

"Sir, it was a pleasure serving under you, Sir!" Isaac replied honestly and shook the hand. He saluted and left the office highly confused.

And now he was here in the middle of nothingness. With orders to catch a high-ranking Taliban leader. It wasn't Bin Laden, as he had been taken out months ago, but it seemed important.

What he didn't understand was why he suddenly qualified for this job. Some of his fellow marines had done that frequently, had gotten special training including recon; he was just a regular grunt. Maybe somebody in HQ knew he was wolf and could do much more in certain situations; or maybe he was on the black list of somebody he barely met, being punished now with that shit detail.

He again looked through the glasses trying to confirm that nobody was sneaking up on them. So far so good.

He wasn't cold. He knew Larry was freezing a bit, as he walked around a bit too forcefully to warm up in the cold of the Afghan night; but he as wolf didn't feel it, he was fine. Nevertheless, he missed the desert valley in Southern California. He missed his men. He missed Colt. He missed the pool although wolves normally didn't like water too much.

And he missed sleeping bundle style with this pack. He'd slept like that often in the military; soldier or marines were always tired and took every chance they could to catch up on their sleep. And if that meant that they had to sleep basically on top of each other, so they did.

But it had been different with his pack.

Was it already his pack? He hadn't gone through the ritual yet; wasn't wearing Colt's tattoo yet or his chain; but he felt being part of Colt's pack already. He had gotten his presents; the latest phone and this red T-shirt, which said `Property of CP.' Now he knew that CP stood for Colt Parker; so he rightly had assumed being already part of the pack.

Sleeping with `his' pack was different. First they were naked -- except for Colt, who covered himself with a blanket against the night's cold in the desert, the wolves only wore their chains and cages, which basically never came off as he learned. And they purposefully touched each other. Nothing sexual but connecting physically; he wouldn't do that with his fellow marines. And he'd touched Colt. The nerd had smiled at him, taken his hand as if he'd been a girl in the movies and whispered: "Good night, Isaac. Thank you for being here with us." He had melted. In this moment he'd decided he would do everything for this man, and he'd felt for the first time in a long time that his wolf agreed wholeheartedly. No more human wolf split in him.

And he knew he couldn't fulfill this vow in this fucking goat country. Yes, he'd been told to serve honorably, and he would do that; but it wasn't the same as serving his pack. He missed them, he missed them so much. It hurt when he got up in the morning, or whenever he had to get up. He missed them, when he went to sleep. He missed them the second he disconnected on Skype. And he missed them when he had smelled at the T-shirt. The scent had gone stale in the meanwhile. He had his whole platoon sign the shirt `for my family' and had it sent back as one of his two late Christmas gifts.

In his previous unit he could at least talk with Lucas, who knew by now that he was into Prime. Well, that's what he told Lucas. He wasn't ready to tell him the whole ménage story; that he would do after the Corps. But at least he could express his pain wanting to go home to his man. But with his new fellow marines he didn't have that rapport yet; he couldn't share yet that he was desperate to lose his virginity to a mean man who commanded four wolf shifters with a quiet voice and a steel-like determination.

He wondered whether Fate punished him. He wondered whether Fate had shown him a bit of paradise: a caring pack, a loving pack leader, a protective enforcer; just to rip it away from him. `Look, you can't have that!' it seemed to tease him the moment his fingers had touched it.

But he also wondered whether Fate tested him. Tested his resolve, his courage, his loyalty and his purity, to see whether he was worthy being part of such a pack. It was so unusual, so rare. Before they'd shipped back to fucking Afghanistan, he had done a bit of research on metas. And there wasn't a lot of info. A pack having a meta was rare already. The whole Inner Circle of pack, even if it was really small, being gay was rare as well. Both together was basically unheard of. And this pack wanted him, who barely would have become a gamma in his old pack, to be one of their enforcers. He was so proud, so eager. So maybe he was being tested. Maybe this operation was the final test for him to prove his worthiness.

He preferred to see it that way. That way he would his best; and he hoped it would be good enough for Fate to get him home safely and soundly into Colt's arms.

There was something. He felt it. He couldn't see it with his eyes. He couldn't see it through infrared. He couldn't even smell it, but felt it; felt it strongly. Something was going on. He didn't want to wake the Lt. Colonel, as he had nothing to show him.

This mission was important it seemed, as a Lt. Colonel was leading it. It was whispered he'd lead several missions, killing at least top five Taliban heads; all of them hidden in caves deep in the country. They said he could smell them like rats. And Isaac believed it. The Lt. Colonel was a wolf shifter. He had recognized Isaac for what he was in the second he had entered his office. Isaac had saluted correctly as he had learned in boot camp, but then looked quickly to the floor before he looked straight ahead as the Corps required. This way he had acknowledged the Lt. Colonel's authority as an officer of the Corps and as an alpha wolf shifter.

For a second he wondered whether Lt. Colonel Lunn had a pack in the U.S. How the pack would feel with their alpha gone so far and for so long. But he focused quickly when the Colonel welcomed him given him a very short pre-briefing, as he was new to the team.

Half of their 12 people were wolf shifters. I'd made him feel better, as their chances of survival were better, but also anxious. They would want to know his pack, his role in the pack and whether he was mated. And he couldn't talk about that. Seemed the Colonel picked that vibe up very quickly and didn't ask any deeper questions. He had sent the Colonel a thankful nod.

Something was there. Something in him told him that. Anxiously.

He looked around.

Infrared. Barely shadows.

Trees? No, they walked.

He checked the glasses. Were the broken? The heat signatures were off by 10 degrees it seemed.

Until it hit him.

Now he knew why the heat signatures were off; why he barely could hear them despite his wolf senses, and why he couldn't smell them.