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'summer - 13'
He was a summer kind of boy, all sunshine and smiles.
Wyatt always felt most himself when he was doing good for other people. To make someone feel included or cared for...that was what made him special. And special was something he longed to feel more and more these days because growing up with siblings as incredible as Peter and Tara was no small feat.
Tara was the princess of the family. His father's favorite and his mom's little mirror, she knew her place and used that to her advantage. She could do no wrong. Nothing she did ruffled their parents' feathers, no chore or duty left undone couldn't be forgiven when she employed the right facial expression or vocal inflection. She was working the system and working it hard, but Wyatt couldn't help but feel jealous. They were twins, but he was the middle child and it felt that way when he saw how much more easily Tara strolled through her daily life. Not that he begrudged her that; it wasn't her fault. Their parents were to blame. His relationship with Tara was complicated and occasionally abrasive, but he knew that she loved him. The bond that they shared as twins could – and often did – hide beneath sibling tension, but it was alive. No question. And in any case, Wyatt at least felt like her equal.
The same could not be said for his brother.
He didn't know much, but he knew that Peter was special. Different. Dynamic. In contrast with the passive, cool approach that they took with Tara, his parents watched Peter tackle the greatest life gymnastics with ease, day in and day out. And he always stuck the landing. Every. Damn. Time. Be it football or baseball or debate or even musical theatre, no one was as able as the eldest Hawthorne son. Where his sister could do no wrong because they were willing to adapt to her, Peter never did any wrong to the which they had to adapt. The golden boy and the faultless girl. It was the perfect storm of excellence to surround someone so thoroughly 'meh' as Wyatt. Of course, once again, this did not negatively affect his relationship with his brother. On the contrary: he loved Peter. Idolized him, even. They spent every available moment together and there wasn't a question in his mind that no one so thoroughly believed in him. But potential was different than practice, which was obvious in their relationship. After all, Wyatt's older brother was a superstar and it didn't take much effort to know that he himself was not.
Which, as it turned out, was fine.
These circumstances had shown the little wolf that happiness wasn't to be found in what the people thought on the whole. Not everyone could gracefully dance through their problems unscathed and few could burn through every obstacle with the force of their spirit, but Wyatt learned to be happy to just glow. To be a simple warmth that others could use when life was too cold or pain burned too hot. Especially on warm summer nights like this one, where his closest friend found herself in his arms out on the hammock, under the stars. To be so intemperate might have driven her away and that wouldn't do. Not when she needed him. Not when he'd started to need to her. Indeed, for most of the previous years, this had been enough. And it would continue to be enough for him. A place to gaze into the night sky, the sight of his mistress in the sky a beautiful reflection for his mistress here on earth.
'autumn - 17'
He was gone, which made no fucking sense at all.
Wyatt Hawthorne carried the beautifully crafted, golden bar that adorned the side of the casket, walking in effortless step with men from his family and pack. The box was lighter than it looked; could someone larger than life like his brother really have weighed so little? Did a personality so big that it had led Wyatt like a fiery beacon in everything he'd ever known really fit in so small a space? He didn't have answers to those questions and he didn't have tears to cry in their stead; the boy hadn't been able to cry at all since the accident. He walked back to his seat next to his sister, his movements wooden and stiff. The whole thing was awkward. Terrible. And it would only get worse. Speaker after speaker got up and did nothing but offend him. They called Peter things like 'nice'.
Wyatt's brother had been a fucking legend. A rising star in the pack, a student a the top of his class, and a young man so dynamic and charismatic that he could've talked a wolf out of his fur. He'd certainly talked a number of girls out of whatever they'd been wearing on several occasions. Peter had been a landmark in his life by the which Wyatt had always oriented himself. And he'd loved his little brother. More than anything. Wyatt's mind flooded with memories of the countless nights that the boys had gone deep into the early hours of the morning talking about the lives they'd lead, the places they'd go, and the way they'd always have each other. They'd sworn to for as long as they'd live. Was it really time for Wyatt to be relieved from duty so soon?
The speeches, fake and so romantic as to be syrupy, made him sick and after the fourth speaker he had to leave. Standing and ignoring the sharp glare he got from his dad, Wyatt walked out of the small chapel and into the foyer of the mortuary where he proceeded to have a panic attack. His breaths came quicker, his heart felt like it was going to beat out of his chest. Sitting on a bench near the chapel doors, the brunet buried his head in his hands and let his mind race.
Did nothing last? Did nothing matter? If he could lose Peter, what was safe?
And then he felt the hand on his back, a touch nearly familiar as his own.
Looking up, his eyes caught hers and his thoughts were still as stone. His breathing slowed and normalized, much as his heart continued to race. Rowan hugged him and he broke down, feeling for the first time in a week. Felt everything. Loss, heartache, anger, betrayal, confusion...the list went on and on. But most of all, Wyatt felt safe. He felt sure that he could go on because he was positive that he did have something that could last. Someone who wouldn't leave.
She held his hand for most of the rest of the day and he was especially grateful for it at the graveside. They were burying him. Throwing whatever was left of the possibility that this was all a mistake into the ground and pouring dirt over it. The autumn leaves rustled in the trees, life slowly leaving them, a reminder that some things couldn't last. It was cold outside and that felt right, but his hand felt warm in Rowan's and his heart couldn't help but keep some of that warmth for itself. It meant the world that she'd come home to Oregon for this.
She swore she wouldn't leave and that was enough for now. She'd stay with him. 'Always', she said, the word like music being played into his soul, a refrain that sounded as sweet as it felt eternal.
'winter - 22'
'Always' was just a word as it turned out.
The bourbon burned as it slid down his throat, but he didn't mind it. He hadn't cared about much since he'd relocated to the empty, upstairs bathtub about an hour and a half ago to be alone. The party music blaring throughout the house barely even registered with him beyond the occasional, uncomfortable rumble in his tummy; he'd likely see the contents of the nearly empty bottle of fine, Kentucky whiskey in his left hand again soon.
His stomach lurched.
Wyatt sighed and took another swig of liquid courage, unsure of when it would help him stop feeling so pathetic. He wasn't sure how his life had come to this. Sitting up straight in the spacious jetted tub, the young wolf took a tally of his recent choices. Dropping out of college, getting a job at a local gas station, downloading hookup apps, and blowing his paychecks on booze and partying. Impressive. Glamorous, even. His brown eyes rolled, somehow fighting the urge to close against the pressure of his heavy lids and heavier heart.
He was helpless. In life, in love, in everything. Stagnant and hurting, his feelings were festering more firmly by the day. His sister was busy growing up, much more successfully than him and his brother was dead. As useless as he was lifeless, which wasn't fair, but what was? His parents were no help either, content to let him fail left and right in his civilian life as long as he continued to grow into the pack asset he was slowly revealing himself to be. Wyatt scoffed; he was only as good as what he could do for them. Who cared what he wanted? The young man had been born to be a cog in a wheel turned by an ancient being to whom he'd been bound from birth, the brunet was as jaded as anything else. Choice was an illusion as a werewolf. Be it an alpha, the moon, or the necessary secrecy surrounding one of the most integral parts of his very being, Wyatt was decidedly not free.
He felt the tears welling up in his eyes as he turned onto his side and shame blew through his body like a windstorm. He'd never be enough, not for her. She was a student at Harvard, undoubtedly shining in all her classes as she always had. Soon she'd be an Ivy League graduate with a whole world of new opportunities at her feet. And Wyatt? He'd still be the same little wolf who'd befriended her before she'd realized how small a flickering light he was in the shadow of her immensity. Rowan was more than him, more than Oregon, more than the pack, whether or not she acknowledged it. And he wasn't about to hold her back, even if it cost him his happiness.
He had to move on. Hoping was hurting and he was full of both the longer he held on. The man would be her friend. Forever. He'd promised and he'd meant it. But that meant that the wolf would have to learn to be content with his situation, a moon who eternally chased the sun in vain, only ever close enough to reflect the light that beamed from its surface.
”Always...” he moaned with a scoff.
What a load of shit.
'spring - 27'
Wyatt removed his sunglasses as he entered the precinct. The flickering lights and flat facial expressions brought a smile to his face; this was his home. Where he did the good that filled his soul just enough day by day to keep on moving forward. These plain people in a plain place were keeping order. They were seeking justice. And that was something to live for. The universe wasn't fair. The wolf knew that as well as anyone. Learning that lesson had led him to fight for whatever fairness he could hope for. He wasn't going to bring his brother back, he wasn't going to free himself from the pack, and it looked clearer and clearer that his heart couldn't get first pick.
But he could bring in this perp. Which felt pretty damn good.
The man hopelessly struggled against Wyatt's firm grasp on his cuffed hands. If all things had been equal, he might have gotten away. Kevin Frasier was a full six inches taller and built like a refrigerator that had spontaneously sprouted arms. Fortunately for the detective and everyone in the precinct, Wyatt wasn't human. A secret which kept him among the most valuable members in the office, but one that he hadn't been able to keep from everyone.
Walking past his favorite lab tech's desk, he shot RJ a grin, confirmed their later meeting, and pushed the dealer away with a final, fond word toward his new squeeze. His best friend, his lone confidante in the office, and the one person who had almost immediately known what he was. The biggest secret Wyatt owned had been the one that RJ had gotten out of the way first and the truthful relationship that had led to their closeness seemed to follow naturally. It was all a part of his new life, his new person. And it was good. Better than good. RJ looked at him in a way that only Rowan had before. In those big, brown eyes, Wyatt was a king. A superhero. And that felt pretty fucking incredible.
Tossing Kevin into the holding cell, the man sat at a nearby desk waiting for the defense attorney the suspect had demanded and couldn't help but chuckle. How different this scene was from the one he'd imagined for himself five years ago! Hung up on Rowan, filled with self-loathing... He'd been miserable, he'd been broken, but he'd moved on. Wyatt had accepted his life and that acceptance had brought with it a confidence and ease that he'd never enjoyed before. The spring of his life had poked its buds up through the icy face of that dark winter and now it was almost nothing but sunshine. Summer was coming and that boded well for him because, underneath it all...
He was still a summer kind of boy.
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