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Soulbound ‡ feral

by Wes Leigh

Chapter 1

This is a work of fiction (or is it?) intended solely for the entertainment of my readers; any resemblance to any real people or places is purely coincidental. This story is the property of the author and is protected by copyright laws. The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Death stalked toward us on padded feet. And it was not alone.

-- From Corcitura by Melika Dannese Lux

Crashing through underbrush, frantic and reckless, he escaped them momentarily.

Heart pounding, pounding, pounding, he ran on.

His furry limbs stretched to increase his speed by the smallest of margins, and still the hunters came closer. He was alone, and there were many of them.

With desperation fueling his flight, the feral lycan ran along the edge of the river until it became clear he would have to risk the icy waters. So late in the year, the waters were bitterly cold. Not iced over. Not yet. But so frigid they would quickly claim your life if you were foolish enough to fall in.

The feral lycan was no fool, but he was out of options. The hunters now surrounded him. Behind. In front. Closing in. He could hear their panting as they chased after him. Their growls and snarls guided their movements, encircling him, giving him no choice but to leap desperately as far out into the river as he could. The freezing waters soaked through his fur and stole his breath. With his snout held above the surface, he paddled furiously, striking out for the other side.

The hunters gathered on the shore behind him, some of them transforming from wolves into human form, shouting for him to come back. He ignored them, striking out for the opposite bank.

He felt his strength ebbing, swept from his body each time the freezing waters washed over him. He struggled on, fighting to reach the far shore. It wasn't far now. Just a bit more, and he would make it, but his stamina was fading quickly. Struggling mightily, he sank below the river's surface, snorted out water, and fought his way back up into the frosty air. So close. He was still thrashing when he sank below the surface a second and final time, realizing in sudden despair that his fight was over. He had lost.

He felt a hand grab him by the scruff and haul him from the water up onto the snow-covered ground.

A gruff voice muttered, "Damn fool boy. We're not tryin' to hurt you, so stop fightin' us."

He looked up into the bearded face above him. The mouth was snarling, but the eyes were kind. Whatever fate awaited him, he couldn't stop it now. He closed his eyes and passed out.

The man stood up and shook his head slowly, watching as the young wolf before him transformed into a naked teenage boy. Lean. Muscular. And far too thin.

The man waved at the other lycans on the far shore. "I have him. Head back to the Lodge."

They signaled their understanding, then shifted into wolf form and ran as a pack back down the shore.

The man knelt down and lifted the naked youth off the ground, carrying him in his arms up the slope to where an old Dodge pickup waited, heater running. The boy would need that heat if he was to survive the night.

He felt hands moving over his body, touching him gently here and there. Moving an arm in every direction. Pressing his ribs, his stomach, his sides. He heard voices.

"No injuries I can find, Dre. He appears sound, though certainly underfed." It was a soft voice, a woman's voice.

"No surprise there, Gabi," said a man's voice, rough and raspy. "He was feeding on scraps when we found him. Probably an old kill from a pack of coyotes. Doubt he could have brought it down on his own."

The boy felt warmth wrapping around his body, covering him, holding him securely. Hands gently patted his body, soothing his frantic thoughts. Hovering over him, he heard the woman's voice breaking with sadness. "Poor lad probably had to scavenge for his food. It's no wonder he's so thin."

"But he's healthy?" the man asked.

"Aye, Andreas. For all he's gone through, he's in good health. He's a stout lad, there's no question."

The boy slowly opened his eyes. The bearded man who'd pulled him from the river was standing next to a woman in a white smock. They both saw him open his eyes and leaned over him.

He panicked, struggling to roll away and escape, but his body was securely wrapped in a heavy blanket. He moaned and whimpered, fighting to free himself.

"Shhhh, lad, don't do that," the woman urged, reaching down to stroke his cheek.

He pulled away, snarling at her.

She chuckled. "Feisty you be, lad. But it'll do you no good. Now lie still and let Gabi take care of you." She reached behind her and picked up a cup. He caught the scent of cooked meat. She held the cup to his lips and urged him to drink. Rich broth touched his lips. His tongue flicked out. He lapped the broth and his eyes opened in surprise. He leaned forward and eagerly began drinking the warm soup.

"Not too fast, lad. Just a bit more. That's a good boy." Gabi pulled the cup away and wiped his lips with a damp cloth. "Would you like more?" she asked, eyes twinkling.

He nodded hesitantly.

Gabi turned to Andreas. "You see, Dre. He understands. He may be feral, but he knows what we're sayin'."

Andreas nodded. He put one hand on the teen's shoulder and squeezed it gently. "You're safe here, lad. Don't fight us. Let Gabi tend to your hurts and feed you up proper."

The boy nodded slowly. Then he glanced at the cup of broth, hoping the woman would understand.

She smiled and lifted the cup to his lips, helping him to drink deeply.

"What shall we call him, Dre?"

Andreas frowned. "I think he's the son of the Flynns."

The woman grimaced. "They haven't been heard from for years."

Andreas nodded. "I warned them about that area. But Gavin Flynn was a stubborn man on his best days."

Gabi studied the boy carefully. "Their boy was five when the Flynns headed north. That was… nine years ago… so that would make the lad fourteen now. I think you're right, Dre. I think this is their son."

Andreas sighed. "Most likely. Don't know what happened to 'em, but it looks like he's the only one who survived."

"What was the boy's name, Dre?"

Andreas had to think for a moment to recall, then replied, "Connor. I believe his name was Connor."

Andreas held out his hand. "Connor. Come with me, lad. It's time for you to meet the Pack."

Connor blinked and shivered. He felt trapped inside the wooden walls. It was like a cage. A cage made of planks of wood. There were windows, but they only teased him with glimpses of the forest outside, the forest where he would rather be, running free on two legs or four, feeling the wind in his fur, scenting the air for prey.

They hadn't hurt him. They'd been kind, giving him clothes to wear. He remembered wearing clothes, though it had been years since he'd worn any, and it still felt strange to have his body covered in the soft fabric. But Gabi insisted he wear something, and she was always so kind to him, feeding him nourishing meals and sneaking him tasty snacks, so he did as she asked and wore the clothes, though he would go shoeless as often as he could.

Connor was his name. He remembered it from another time. A happier time. He remembered the ones who had called him Connor, who had loved him, who were long gone.

Gabi and Andreas called him Connor too, and he answered to it, coming when they called, doing what they asked, silently obeying.

And now Andreas asked Connor to come with him, to meet the Pack. Connor was nervous. He hadn't seen anyone but Gabi and Andreas, though he'd heard other voices talking to Andreas in another room.

Connor reached out a hand and took Andreas' rough paw in his own. Andreas smiled encouragingly and led Connor out into the main hall.

They were standing around the room. Men. Woman. Teens and children. They all stared at Connor, eyes eagerly devouring him.

His heart began to pound. He felt his legs shaking, urging him to flee. But he clinched his teeth and commanded his legs to stand firm and his heart to slow.

Andreas led Connor to a large fireplace in the middle of one wall. He pulled Connor in front of him and turned him to face the Pack. "This be Connor. The lost son of the Gavin and Trish Flynn."

The eyes of the Pack studied Connor, sizing him up, silently questioning his strength.

Connor stared back, defiant.

Andreas began pointing to members of the Pack, naming them. "Sean Allen, my beta. Liam Byrne and his pups Joshua and Jacob. Patrick and Shauna McCoy with their youngsters, Donny, Ethan, Becca, and Suzanne…"

The naming went on, a blur of faces and names Connor couldn't remember. But he did remember the eyes. Some stared at him with curiosity. Others with concern. Some with interest. He returned their stares with brash confidence. He'd fought off packs of coyotes and once a starving cougar. He was Connor. Wild, untamed, and unbeaten.

Andreas finished naming the members of the Pack. "These are you packmates, Connor. We are the Silvermanes. We work together, fight together, protect each other and provide for the weaker ones. The Silvermane Pack is your home now."

Connor growled low in his throat. Perhaps so, but if they weren't strong enough, he wouldn't stay.

Connor stood in the midst of the Silvermane younglings, studying them as they sized him up. His hair was auburn and wavy. His eyes were deep blue. Dimples graced each cheek. And though Connor didn't know it, he was strikingly handsome. The young bitches in the Pack gave him coy glances, and the males shifted from foot to foot, unsure whether they should challenge him or curl up at his feet and expose their bellies.

Connor was oblivious to the effect he was having on the others. He only knew that they were surrounding him, crowding him, making him want to change into a wolf and run out into the forest. Or change into a man-wolf and challenge the lot of them to a fight.

As a wolf, he was fast and agile with the superior hunting instincts of the wolf. It was then he appeared to be a wolf in every way, though his fur was an unusual dark red in color and his body was larger than the biggest timber wolf. He could become a wolf and run away from this strange pack that surrounded him, and they would never be able to catch him, not if he didn't want to be found.

Or he could change into a man-wolf, that strange hybrid every werewolf could take, half man, half wolf, looming over his foes, powerful and strong. As a werewolf, his long claws and sharp fangs could take down a deer singlehandedly or disembowel a cougar. These wolf pups around him now would not be able to stop him if he chose to transform into a werewolf.

But he chose neither wolf nor werewolf, standing before the other young people in his human form, that of an insecure fourteen-year-old boy. Still the largest lad of the bunch by far, strong and muscular and unafraid, but shaking deep down inside. What did they want from him?

Standing directly in front of Connor were the McCoy pups, all blonde haired, like their mother. Donny was almost as tall as Connor and slightly heavier. Donny thought he could take Connor, but he knew it would be a close match. Donny's brother Ethan was a year younger and slightly smaller, but he showed signs of quickly catching up to his older brother. Ethan knew he couldn't take Connor and wasn't about to try. Becca was another year younger, 12 years old, with bright, inquisitive blue eyes. Suzanne was the youngest McCoy at 10 years of age and painfully shy, hiding behind Becca the entire time.

The Byrne twins, Joshua and Jacob, were the same age as Connor and Donny, but the similarity ended there. They were both taller by a few inches with raven black hair and bright green eyes. They studied Connor carefully, trying to decide how being feral had affected him.

Caleb Murphy was 13, outgoing, sandy-haired and constantly in motion. His body was short but stocky and his legs were thick and powerful. He had already decided he wanted to submit to Connor, but he was waiting to see how the other boys reacted. His sister Deborah was the oldest at 16; she wasn't hiding her interest in Connor. It wasn't often a newcomer came into the Pack, especially one as handsome as Connor.

Dennis Doyle was ruddy in complexion, much like Connor, but with bright red hair and a face covered in freckles. His smile was contagious and made it clear he had clever tricks in mind for the unsuspecting. He liked Connor already, and he was sure they'd get along fine.

The Allen children completed the group. Dillon was the oldest, a quiet but friendly lad. His sisters Ciara and Aisling were just as quiet, peeking around their brother at the new boy before them.

Donny, who had been the frequent leader of the younglings in the past, started things off by walking slowly up to Connor and staring him in the eyes. "Pa said you were feral. Said you've been living on your own up in the high country. Is that true?"

Connor didn't reply. He stared at Donny, unmoving, his eyes flicking up and down the other boy's body, silently evaluating him.

Donny chuckled. "Pa also said you haven't said a word since you got here. I guess you can't talk. Right?"

Connor shrugged.

Ethan put his hand on Donny's shoulder. "Maybe he doesn't have anything to say, Donny." Ethan didn't like the way his brother was acting toward the new boy. He was worried Donny would start something, and of course, Ethan would have to jump in and help his brother.

Donny continued staring into Connor's eyes. "Is Ethan right? You ain't got nothin' to say?"

Connor pursed his lips, as if considering Donny's question, then raised an eyebrow and shook his head no.

Donny smirked. Lifting a hand to his collar, he began unbuttoning his shirt, exposing his broad, muscled chest. He slowly slid the shirt off and stood before Connor, displaying a broad chest and muscular arms.

Connor unbuttoned his own shirt. When he slipped out of the shirt, the rest of the younglings gasped. His body was powerfully muscled, despite being lean and ripped.

The Byrne twins leaned in. Joshua asked, "How did you get like that? From being feral?"

Connor shrugged.

Jacob reached out and gripped Connor's bicep. Connor flinched, then flexed his arm. His muscle became stone hard and was so large Jacob couldn't quite fit his fingers around it.

Donny nodded at the other boys and they all quickly pulled off their shirts, tossing them aside.

Becca tugged on Donny's arm. "You're not supposed to be shifting, Donny. Pa and Ma both said not to."

Donny pushed his sister's hand away. "We aren't shifting."

"But you will," Becca insisted. "And you're not supposed to."

Donny turned to Deborah. "Take the girls into the other room, will ya', Deb?"

Deborah tilted her head slightly. "Maybe I want to watch you boys shifting." She glanced at Connor, making it clear there was one boy in particular she wanted to see.

Donny rolled his eyes. "Come on, Deb. Take 'em out so we can do this."

Deborah huffed, but she gathered up the girls and herded them out of the room.

Becca called over one shoulder, "I'm tellin' Pa you boys are shifting."

Donny glanced at his sister and said, "I'll tear the head off every one of your dolls."

"You better not!" Becca cried.

"And then I'll eat them," Donny added.

Becca stomped her feet and ran out of the room.

Dillon followed the girls to the door and closed it behind them, then returned to the other boys. They all stood in a loose circle around Connor, studying his tight upper body with obvious awe and some jealousy.

Donny was the first to slide his pants down, dropping them on the floor and standing naked in front of Connor.

Connor glanced down at Donny's cock. Thick, hanging down over large, hairy balls with a dense forest of blonde hairs curling above it and up onto his stomach.

Ethan followed his brother's example, stripping down and tossing his pants aside. His cock wasn't as big, but his balls were almost as heavy and his hair was coming in nicely.

The Byrne twins were the hairiest, with thick furry patches of dark black hair creeping up onto their stomachs. Their cocks were long and thin.

Caleb was the only one with an erection, and he didn't seem the least bit embarrassed to be sporting wood in front of the others.

Dennis and Dillon were not as far along in development as Donny or the Byrne twins, but they stood there with the rest, comfortably naked, displaying their bodies unashamedly.

Connor was the last to remove his pants. He unzipped and pulled the pants open, exposing a dark red bush of hair above a thick cylinder of flesh. When he dropped the pants, his cock was clearly the biggest of the group, thick and long with the foreskin half covering a dark purple cap. His ball sack was snug against his body, holding his two large balls tight. He kicked the pants to one side and stared at Donny, waiting.

Donny smiled and closed his eyes, concentrating. His muscles rippled and he grew taller and broader. He arched his neck as his face elongated into a wolf's snout and his teeth morphed into fangs. Now half-man, half-wolf, a thick coat of golden brown fur sprouted all over his body, partially covering his cock that had swelled and lengthened, now standing up at almost seven, thick inches in length. He snarled at Connor, challenging him.

Connor immediately transformed before their eyes, shifting into a werewolf faster than any of them had ever been able to do it. His man-wolf form was taller than Donny's by several inches, bigger, stronger, broader, covered in dark red fur. His eyes glowed a deeper blue than before, and his fangs dripped.

Donny glanced down and saw Connor's cock was now over nine inches long, massively thick, and throbbing. Donny whimpered and shifted again, this time transforming from a werewolf fully into a wolf. He was still large for a wolf, the only indication he was more than a natural Canis lupus. His fur a deeper brown now, with a golden band of fur around his neck. He rolled over onto his back, exposing his stomach to Connor.

The other boys shifted into werewolves, then wolves, and sat down on their haunches, waiting.

Connor, still half-man/half-wolf, leaned down and sniffed Donny's belly, his cock, his balls. He moved to the other boys and took their scents as well. Then he moved back to the center of the room and turned to Donny, nodding his head slightly.

Donny moved carefully forward, tail wagging in a quick, jerking motion. He knelt before Connor and put his snout next to Connor's cock, sniffing. When he finished, Donny moved away, allowing the other boys a chance to take Connor's scent too. They all moved cautiously forward, sniffed Connor, then backed away and lay on the floor, looking up at him, waiting.

The door opened and Patrick McCoy stepped in, with Becca peeking around him. He took one look at the boys and shook his head. "Fine," he grumbled. "Should've known I can't keep you lads from shifting, but stay inside. No running around in the woods. And food will be ready in fifteen minutes. You lads get dressed before coming to the table. Not gonna have a bunch of naked wolflings at the dinner table."

He pushed Becca ahead of him out of the room and pulled the door closed behind him.

Connor shifted back into human form and started to get dressed, but Donny reached out his paw and stopped Connor. Connor frowned, silently asking Donny what he wanted. Donny's body rippled as he shifted back into human form. Kneeling down, Donny picked up Connor's pants and held them open for Connor.

Turning to the other boys, Donny said, "We'd best get dressed, lads. You heard my pa." He turned back to Connor and waited for Connor to stick his feet inside the pants. Then Donny pulled and tugged on Connor's pants until they were up in place. He looked up at Connor, seeking approval, and smiled when he saw Connor grinning down at him.

The meal was finished. The Pack was gathered around the fire in loose family groupings. Andreas and Gabi Finnigan sat in their high-backed chairs next to the fireplace, watching over their pack. Connor sat on the floor in front of the fire, staring at the flames, enjoying the heat on his face, but missing the wide-open forests.

Liam Byrne asked the question that was on every pack member's mind. "And what of the lad, Andreas. How are we to call him? Connor Flynn?"

Gabi shook her head. "No."

Everyone turned to stare at Gabi. "No," she repeated. "His name will now be Connor Finnigan."

Andreas stared at his mate, surprised by her statement. "We're taking him in, Gabi?"

She nodded. "He's our son now, Dre."

The rest of the Pack nodded. The one thing you avoided doing was to defy the Alpha's Mate. If Gabi Finnigan had decided to adopt Connor, then that was that. They raised their voices as one and began howling, confirming Connor's new place in the Pack.

Connor looked up from the fire and squinted at Andreas, then glanced over at Gabi. He swallowed hard and accepted his new life as the son of the Pack leaders.

So be it. He was now Connor Finnigan of the Silvermane Pack, the werewolves of North Dakota.

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