Wolfie’s survived his father’s dismissal at birth, but where is he now? Keep reading below…
Bloodling Wolf: Episode 1, Scene 2
“Halfie! Halfie!” The taunts ringing out across the playground would’ve made you think I was surrounded by a pack of wolves. Oh, wait, yep—a pack of wolves.
My age-mates and I were now old enough to shift, but since we studied under adult shifters in a werewolf-only schoolhouse, we generally took whatever form felt the most comfortable. For everyone else, that was human. Me? I stayed wolf.
The girl being taunted was two-footed, although fear would have made her transform to wolf shape if she’d been of age. Her face was flushed and her eyes frantically scanned the grounds in search of an adult to stop the bullying, but older shifters tended to let these matters run their course. Halfies weren’t as disdained as bloodlings, but those werewolves with some human blood often gave birth to pure-human sons, and their halfie daughters did the same. In a pack obsessed with the male lineage, halfies were considered bad blood—allowed in the village, but definitely not good enough for a dominant wolf to mate with.
Or to talk kindly to, apparently. At the moment, the most dominant youngster of all was hurling insults toward the halfie girl. He wouldn’t admit to our relationship, but this was Justin, my biological brother and a scaled-down version of our shared father. Justin was slated to become our village’s next alpha wolf, and he already acted the part in the schoolyard. As a result of his dominance, everyone with any sense was afraid to take him on, which was why even the better wolves around me were looking the other way rather than helping the taunted halfie. The worse wolves were joining Justin in his sadistic game.
Luckily for the halfie girl, I didn’t count myself among those who possessed sense, and I was quite willing to take advantage of my wolf form’s ability to act now and think later. Pure protective rage led my charge through the throng of Justin’s cronies and up to the halfie in the center. As I faced my bullying brother and bared my fangs, I could feel the girl’s hand close onto the fur along my raised ruff, testifying to her relief at my presence. Unlike most members of our community, she was happy to see my bloodling face.
Turning my attention back to my brother, I hoped a show of teeth would be enough to deescalate the situation. While he would never admit it, Justin was scared shitless of his little brother since I wasn’t really his little anything, except in age. One of the benefits of being a bloodling was that I’d grown up on a wolf’s schedule, not a human’s. Justin was two years older than me, but I had a man’s body while my brother still looked like a teenage boy. In wolf form, the difference was even more pronounced since Justin’s scrawny ribs stuck out through his fur and his paws looked huge on the ends of his feet. On the other hand, no alpha male could back down from a challenge if he wanted to maintain his position within the pack, so despite being outclassed, Justin ripped off his shirt, kicked off his pants, and started to change.
The girls all averted their eyes, and I couldn’t blame them. There was nothing sexy about my brother’s naked form, either as a man or as a wolf. Definitely not during this in-between stage when his bones were shifting into new arrangements and hair was sprouting out of his ears. It made a difference, too, that my brother was still learning to control his wolf limbs. Something I’d learned…oh, around about when our shared father tossed me out into the snow.
So I wasn’t worried when I growled at the wolf in front of me and Justin bared his teeth in reply. The kids around us probably couldn’t tell with their untrained human noses, but I could smell the reek of fear on Justin’s breath. I knew I’d won before we even started.
I could almost hear Chase telling me to do the smart thing, to use Justin’s anxiety against him, giving me time to back the girl out of the bully’s way and defuse the situation. But my wolf brain just wanted to tear Justin apart and usurp his position within the pack. I did, however, reserve enough of my human self to nudge the halfie into flight before I let my wolf have his head. The girl scurried between the ranks of Justin’s lackeys, her face trained onto the ground and relief evident in her scent.
Justin took advantage of my distraction by charging, his shoulder knocking into mine, but even the element of surprise couldn’t gain the smaller wolf an advantage. It was as if my brother had hit a brick wall, and I barely swayed on my feet at the contact. Too bad I wasn’t two-legged, or I could have laughed in his face and watched my blood brother’s face turn red with anger. But the chagrin now coating his scent was satisfying enough to feed my wolf’s appetite for submission, and I opened my mouth in a doggie grin.
If my brother had taken a step back then, I might have let the altercation go, but Justin’s fangs remained bared, so I prepared to retaliate. Before I could tear into the smaller wolf, though, a raised adult voice rolled across the playground and stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t focus my human brain enough to catch the words, but I did understand the rough hands that pulled me and my brother apart. Our fight was over before it really had time to start.
As adults converged on us, Justin was yanked away and then set loose, and my brother shook his fur angrily at being manhandled before stalking away. In contrast, I was rolled over onto my back, belly exposed to the air, and the rebuke was strong in the voice of the teacher above me. I didn’t protest, even though anyone could have told the adults that Justin had been the bully in this situation, not me. It was par for the course—our teachers wouldn’t protect a halfie, but they would protect an alpha’s son.
The struggle of being the unwanted, halfie son is just beginning. Read on to scene three to learn more about Wolfie’s bloodling differences.