18. Why He's The Boss

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The scent of home, wilderness and pack suffocated Adam as he kicked off his sensible shoes and shook out his limbs. Abel, beside him, grinned in his shifted form and nipped at Adam's shoulder to get him to set the pace. "Just like old times, Abe," Adam beamed back, nuzzling his petite nose against the massive snout. "For the Hunt!"

He left behind gawking Jinn and wolves alike, the alpha following not two steps behind. Two legs against powerful four, Adam laughed as he ducked and slid around trees and fallen trunks alike. The creatures of the woods scurried for cover or, like a disgruntled badger, watched them pass with angry chitters. Adam tipped forward when a heavy weight caught him around the waist and his brother had him on the ground and pinned.

He managed to wriggle until he could slip out and over the massive back, burying synthetic fingers through the fur. Abel howled his 'welcome home' into the charged atmosphere. Adam's followed, a softer and loving tenor. He only wished his mate were here to feel the tree boughs bending, the wind ruffling through hair.

The chimes that echoed around the tree branches in a sudden gust were nature's own way of greeting and Adam could scent something heavy and delicious on his tongue. The forest was giving him an offering.

The buck stood taller than Adam, a proud creature with doe eyes that surveyed the creek for any sign of danger. The rest of the herd gone, it left the stag alone. Adam wanted to pounce, sink his teeth into the heart but Abel would have to do that. The suppressants and his own recovery meant that even if Adam could muster the strength to catch up to the creature, he'd still be trampled within an inch of his life. Better to leave that sort of work to his brother, or mate. Vitesh had been trying to provide food for Adam for a long while now.

Instincts had always been what led Adam and Abel. It took a lot out of Adam to rely on anything but each other and their own bodies. Those instincts were what made it possible for Abel to tackle the deer and kill it with a clean snap of teeth to its jugular. The massive herbivore still twitched but the heart stuttered to a stop. Adam loped out from where Abel had nudged him to stay, in the safety of a wide birch tree. He licked his lips as Abel tore out chunks of hide and dropped them into the space beside the fallen stag. Adam latched onto the heaviest chunk with his own lengthening teeth and still-warm blood flooded his tastebuds.

"Good," He moaned through another chunk of meat. Abel shifted with the cracking of his bones a symphony of pain. Abel said that the pain and Adam were the only constants that he needed. "Mmm, eat too."

Abel accepted the half-eaten chunk with his teeth alone, sitting next to Adam and pressing his entire body against his. "Want the heart?" He asked his little brother.

Adam dove for the exposed ribcage, digging with his prosthetic hands for the artery. It took a moment to tear out when you weren't using razor-sharp teeth but he managed to pull from the vascular arteries and other stringy parts. The heart big enough to fill his small stomach he licked off the juices as Abel swallowed a massive slab of rump whole. "Abe," The smaller curled up against his side. "Full?"

The growl was sending vibrations through the taut muscles against Adam's. "Eat more."

Adam huffed, nuzzling his head under Abel's jaw. "Full. Can we run?"

"Run," The elder agreed with a gentle nip to the nape of his neck. "I'll follow."

Adam loped off into the familiar copse of trees and dark soil. It had rained heavily and he wasn't sure how he could have spent so long away from his home. His bare feet squished and kicked off from a jutting root cluster. It sent bunnies scattering.

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