wheels_shadow: (Default)
A year isn't a long time, but a lot of change can happen in a year, especially after they return from the road trip. A year can feel like an entire lifetime, entire universes shifting and passing when there's so many changes to adjust to.

Sam has family, a brother. He knows where he comes from, but he still wants to come back home with Rhys. And in that one night of revelation, he gave himself over to Rhys, one night to prove that he could still touch and be touched without the weight of his past.

In that night was the promise that one day Sam could be whole again, and that with patience and trust there could be intimacy. So they come home, and start on the promises Rhys has made, building what is going to be their life together.

With Cyrus dead, tentative deals are made with the new pack leaders. No one really misses the old Alpha and his vicious ways, and reparations are made with money and promises, not blood. Things are fixed, and with the new plans in place, they can start working on the changes to the house.

Sam can have his upstairs room. It's a project that they can bond over, working together on new furniture, new paint, and whatever other furnishings make Sam feel at home. The house needs work anyway, and renovating the heavy, stuffy Victorian into something newer and brighter seems...appropriate. The renovations mean new surroundings and all the small steps while Sam learns how to be free and Rhys learns how to be alive again.

And of course, there's always room in the master bedroom for Sam. No matter what Sam is willing to share, the offer is always there of safe, comfortable space with no conditions. Whether he wants to share the bed or simply curl up in the reading chair, he's welcome.

The rest is a strange sort of blur. Chasing leaves and drinking cider in the fall. Play-fighting in the snow and watching movies on the couch on long winter nights. Thorough brushings on the porch followed by naps in the spring air. Long video chats and a couple of visits with Dean and Benny, catching up on an entire lost lifetime as Sam bonds with his brother again and Rhys makes new friends. Slowly, they are building a life.

Then it's summer again, almost a year to the day since Rhys walked into the dirty, miserable warehouse by the water, looking for someone to save.

Date: 2015-10-13 10:34 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] wolfy_sam
wolfy_sam: (smile)
So much had happened in a year.

A slave, owned for as long as he could remember, Sam had resigned himself to his fate and his life as dispensable. A piece of property to be shuffled from owner to owner until he outlived his usefulness or was killed for some slight. Then Rhys had found him. Treated him gently, offered him small kindnesses to draw him out. Weeks of slow and gradual progress as he let go of the conditioning of a lifetime of slavery.

Sam was treated more like a companion and friend than property. So when the wolves had come to attack, he'd reacted to defend both his home and his friend. Not his owner. His friend. Finding his brother and Benny, remembering who he was and where he came from and every dawn Sam knew he could curl into cool, pale arms and be safe. No expectations, just the comfort of contact.

The idea had come to him at Christmas, when the house had been warm and brightly lit and Benny and Dean had come to visit. Dean had pointed out a perfect clearing not far from the house following a snowball fight while the vampires slept the afternoon away. A perfect place for him to grow a garden. Dean even promised to order all of the seeds and have them sent to the house for Sam. All he had to do was grow them.

So he did. Once the frost subsided, Sam went out every afternoon while Rhys slept and worked. Tilled the ground, planted the seeds and tended them through the spring and into the summer. He took care to shower and change his clothes after his visits to the garden, not wanting to tip his hand until it was ready.

Sam was curled beside Rhys in bed when the vampire began to stir as dusk fell. Tonight. He'd show him before it got too dark. Sam wanted him to see the bright lavender, the shiny mint leaves, the chamomile. Every herb Rhys had taught him about. "Can I show you something?"

Date: 2015-10-14 12:47 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] wolfy_sam
wolfy_sam: (watching)
There's still a moment of nerves, asking for something for himself. Over the past year Sam has gotten better with a lot of very patient help, but some things will take years for him to completely shake off. But that sleepy, warm smile helps and he slides his warm hand over Rhys's cooler one. "I've never been able to find the right way to say thank you. For saving me, for helping me find my brother. I don't even know if there are words for it."

He chews on the corner of his lip for a moment. "So I want to show you. But we have to go, before it gets too dark." They both have excellent night vision, but Sam wants him to see the greens, the colors of the flowers. The life of the garden he'd tended for him as a way to try and thank him for breathing the same life back into him.

Date: 2015-10-15 12:44 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] wolfy_sam
wolfy_sam: (Default)
Sam has grown used to the gentle teasing over the course of the year, gentle ribbing from Rhys, even the occasional joke from his brother. Slowly Sam was finding his own quiet sense of humor along the way. Another discovery, another milestone.

He waits as Rhys pulls his clothes on, taking his hand as they step outside, breathing in the fresh air, still warm from the day's sunshine. It had been a good summer, warm and bright with enough rain to keep the garden flourishing. "It's not far." This is the first real gift Sam has ever given and his pulse is skittering as they climb the small hill towards the garden.

Long timbers mark it off, flat rocks marking paths through the bundles of bright herbs. Mint and rosemary, lavender with bright flowers, chamomile, a riot of basil with bright green leaves and even purple leaves. All carefully arranged to grow well together in pleasant patterns. Two seasons of careful, detailed work. The best way Sam could say thank you for saving his life, for giving him more than he'd ever dreamed for.

"I can build a drying rack too. So you can keep stocks in the attic this winter."

Date: 2015-10-18 01:48 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] wolfy_sam
wolfy_sam: (listening)
Sam waits quietly while Rhys takes in the garden and the hours of careful attention he's given it since spring. When he finally speaks, Sam turns his eyes back to his face. Not the ground, not his own feet, Sam has learned to meet his gaze and know that it's all right.

"You've given me so much. This is something I can give you. Do for you." Rhys cares for him, keeps him safe and helps him with all of the terrifying decisions that come with freedom. Growing and tending a garden seems small in comparison. "You were turned, same as me, but you're still who you were. Good. A good person."

Date: 2015-10-27 01:37 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] wolfy_sam
wolfy_sam: (hee)
"I know. We both are," he answers softly, reaching to gently wrap his hand around his.

Proud of him. Sam smiles in the dusk, breathing in the cool and familiar scent of Rhys mingled with the warmth of the summer night and the blooming garden. "Trying. We're both trying."

There are steps forward and even steps backwards as they make their way along. Nightmares still take Sam some nights and he retreats to his quiet room for peace and calm. But Rhys has never had to use his power, never had to control him to bring Sam back from his terrors.

Progress. Every day they make a little more progress.

"I made it this far because of you."

Date: 2015-10-28 12:11 am (UTC)From: [personal profile] wolfy_sam
wolfy_sam: (smile)
One day, Sam will be able to tell Rhys that he loves him. That he thinks about him every day and the thoughts always make him smile. Rhys has become more than just the savior that rescued him from the market. Tentative trust to start, then a companion and now edging towards something more intimate.

A moment of hesitation before he slips his arm around Rhys's shoulders. "So do I. And next year? I'll even put in a vegetable garden." Setting down roots literally, making it a home that's full of life. The perfect place to heal, however long it takes.

Date: 2015-10-30 11:45 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] wolfy_sam
wolfy_sam: (Default)
"I think we can stay out a little longer?" The night holds just as much fascination as the brighter morning hours and Sam could be perfectly happy just exploring and chasing every new, lovely scent. "Then we can put in a movie?"

After they've had time to take in the garden, and perhaps watch a movie, they can devote the night to working on the new banister at the house and fixing the last of the squeaky wooden stairs before Rhys feeds and they drift off to sleep together. Settling into a comfortable routine.

Date: 2015-11-13 11:08 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] wolfy_sam
wolfy_sam: (Default)
The patience has been good for both of them and Sam always breathes a little easier when his gestures are met with a quiet smile. Years of training are slowly melting away with every smile, with every gentle reminder that he doesn't have to ask, that he really is free. And it helps when his gestures to Rhys help soothe him too - a warm hand when he feels him twitch in a nightmare, or when the cool autumn rain leaves him unhappy and distant.

"Go explore," he offers quietly after a moment. "I read the books you have in the library, I think Dean ordered most of the main herbs that you might use."

Tonight. Tonight he was ready to try again, to let Rhys top and to feel him inside. They had tried before - and Sam had backed off in a panic when memories threatened to overwhelm him. Rhys was understanding, letting him either flee the room or simply bury his face in his chest and quietly shake himself apart.

The gift was a good start, a reminder to both of them that they were still alive despite everything. They had one another, they were safe and they could always reach out for that reassuring touch along the way.

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