A Teenage Werewolf in Hatchetfield - Chapter 9 - Haikyuuties_baeritto123 - Hatchetfield Series (2024)

Chapter Text

They’re out at the park for hours looking for Max. They walk through the woods calling his name like a lost dog until it gets too dark to actually see where they’re going without light. Then they drive around the block a few times, hoping to catch a glimpse of a hopefully human Jägerman.

His car is still there, but Max isn’t.

Eventually they have to give up, it’s not long until midnight and they have school tomorrow - wild thing to consider seeing as they’d almost murdered Max.

“He’s probably gone home, with his werewolf superpowers he’ll heal and be okay, don’t worry too much about it Richie” And Steph’s comforting words might have been more effective, if she didn’t still look like she’d come straight out back from Nam.

Richie’s the last one to agree to go home, he lingers around Max’s car hoping to see a sign the boy had been there. No such luck.

His heart feels heavy whilst they travel back home. His head pressed to the glass in the back and knees tucked up to his chest. Ruth leans against his left side, a comforting weight - not like Max though. Grace at least has the nerve to look guilty and make some kind of apology, but Richie doesn’t make her struggle through that. “You’re right, he could have killed me, thank you for protecting me Grace” She seems a lot happier after that.

He's the closest and the first to be dropped off by the gang. “Good luck with Ted” Richie pats Pete’s arm through the window, his best friend grimaces as if remembering his death sentence when he gets home.

“If I don’t come to school tomorrow, he’ll probably hide my body in the backyard, look there”

It's a joke but it falls embarrassingly flat, neither of them laugh.

“Bye Rich” Steph calls after him from the passenger side and he waves them off before limping up the drive.

Now that the adrenaline has worn off, Richie just hurts inside and out.

He’s definitely got a concussion, head throbbing in anger at any sudden movement. His knees are bloody, scraped and stained green by the grass not to mention his poor shorts look filthy. Somewhere on the way down, Richie had twisted something in his ankle, shooting a dull pain every time he took a step, so he favours his right side as he hobbles to the door and lets himself inside.

It’s just Richie’s luck that Paul waited up for him.

He’s sitting on the couch with his back to Richie, watching some sort of documentary on netflix. He sounds half asleep when Richie stops through the door. “Seriously kid you’ve got to give me a heads up if you’re staying out later than-” He turns to glance at Richie over his shoulder. Then promptly drops the remote in his hand to the floor, the small black device clattering away on the wood.

Paul’s up in the blink of an eye, practically vaulting the sofa to stand right in front of Richie. His hands clutch Richie’s shoulders so tight his knuckles go white “Paul-”

“What happened?” Paul’s voice is firm, looking Richie over from head to toe and assessing the damage. Richie doesn’t know how to answer that, hell he doesn’t even know how to comprehend what happened, how would Paul? “Richie, what happened?”

“I’m sorry, time just got away from me…”

Paul swallows, like he’s actively fighting the urge to bolt out of the house and track down Max to ask what happened. Good luck with that.

“Who did this? Was it…was it Max?”

Yes. Actually for once it was, or would it be classed as the werewolf? Were they the same being or different?

The longer he’s silent, the tenser Paul becomes. He lets go of Richie, leaving the ache of his fingertips against Richie’s shoulders “I’m calling the police-”

“NO!” Richie grabs Paul before his uncle can grab his phone off the couch, voice startling loud in the quiet of night. Dimly, the tv continues playing in the background. “Don’t call the police, nothing happened anyway-”

“Bullsh*t Rich, you look like you’ve been dragged through hell backwards!”

“I fell!” Paul scoffs, clearly about to call Richie out for his pathetic excuse. Right, exhaustion later, damage control now. “I swear, Max wanted my help practising for the next game so we went to the park to throw a football around” He keeps as close to the truth as possible “Max launched the ball at me and I wasn’t paying attention where I was running, Max knocked me down trying to catch it”

HIs uncle doesn’t seem convinced, but he at least pretends to actually consider the truth behind Richie’s story. Stopping in his crusade for justice to stare into Richie’s eyes, Richie stares right back. He’s not getting Max in trouble with the cops if he is still out there somewhere, that would make things ten times worse.

Please buy it.

“...You were helping Max practise?” He nods “Why did it take you so long to get home?”

“Like I said, I lost track of time and Max was checking me over from when I fell” Technically true.

It’s a sh*tty situation Richie’s putting Paul in, this is the second night Richie’s come home in less than one piece hanging out with Max Jägerman, decidedly more worse for wear this time around, and Richie’s not giving him much to work with here. He’s relying on blind faith.

“Promise me”

“Huh?”

“Promise me that’s what happened” Paul clarifies and Richie’s chest clenches uncomfortably. “That you’re keeping yourself safe and I’m not going to have to come identify you at the f*cking morgue or something Rich, I know you’re a teenager and you get into stupid sh*t but don’t put me through that”

Richie wants to believe that it would never come to that. Paul had been there for him one random day when he was 6 and had proceeded to spend the next 12 years of Richie’s life making sure that he always had someone in his corner. Through late nights as a kid looking after him whenever he got sick, all the way through the moody tween years and now into near young adulthood.

In that moment, Richie wants to spill the beans and tell Paul everything. He owed his uncle that much.

But fear keeps his words locked tight, because even if Paul does believe Richie, he’d never let him carry on trying to stop this werewolf sh*t. He’d probably up and move them away from it all if it came down to it.

Sorry Paul, but he’s got to see this through.

“I swear, I’m okay” The tightness in his chest is almost unbearable, his head aches something fierce and Richie has to avoid eye contact because lying to Paul f*cking sucks. “Look, I’m pretty tired. Can I go to bed? I’ve got school in a couple hours and there’s this pop quiz in history…”

Richie nervously fidgets with the sleeve of Max’s jacket, wincing when he hears Paul give a long suffering sigh. A comforting hand ruffles his hair, a lot gentler than usual but welcomingly warm, Richie leans into the touch. “Go to bed bud, we’ll talk more about it tomorrow”

The trek upstairs takes everything out of Richie, he tries not to limp too much in front of Paul but it’s pretty obvious as he makes his way to his room. Richie throws his backpack onto the floor and lets himself fall face first into his bed, not bothering with getting undressed.

Exhaustion drags Richie into a fitful sleep.

He wakes up sore, feeling like he’s been hit by a truck and showers off the day prior.

Richie catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror, his knees have scabbed over by now, not too bad but they’re clearly bruised. Speaking of bruises, there’s some in several places - his forearms, his wrists are a dark purple that he’s going to have to wear long sleeves to cover. There are finger shaped bruises along his shoulders and Richie twists his body to get a better glance at where they end.

There’s something red he can see, near the nape of his neck but Richie can’t get a good enough look at it. His fingers brush the sensitive skin; hissing when it protests beneath his touch. A claw must have caught him, but his hand comes away clean so it’s more than likely beginning to scab. At least if it scars it will be hidden.

He’s already running late but Richie just can’t be bothered to rush to school, his mind plagued by the thought of what if Max isn’t at school? If he was dead in a ditch somewhere and it was all Richie’s fault?

Paul offers him a ride, which will make he himself late, but it’s appreciated. They eat breakfast in companionable silence, a sort of unwritten rule that last night never happened and this is a fresh day for them. Richie still avoids looking at Paul, the concern is too much to bear looking at.

It’s only as he grabs his bag from his room, that Richie spots Max’s letterman still hanging on the door.

He puts it in his bag, it doesn’t feel right to have it in his possession anymore, and he’d promised Max to give it back to him back. It weighs him down considerably the entire walk downstairs.

When Richie gets to school, Grace is right in the hall handing out tardies - home room having pretty much begun at this point. Grace spots him just as she’s entering the office but doesn’t give him any grief. Richie must look like sh*t if even Grace is being lenient.

He receives a few rather concerned looks from his classmates but no one asks, leaving Richie to the back of the class.

A part of him wants to ask if anyone’s seen Max, but if they haven’t it’ll look suspicious so Richie’s just forced to wait and question Grace because if anyone sees Max enter the school grounds it will be her.

Richie doesn’t need to ask anyway, in the end. He starts heading to his first class of the day - when he hears “Go long Jägerman!”

He gets whiplash with how fast his head snaps around in the corridor, searching the crowd for the boy who’s been plaguing his mind. At first, Richie doesn’t spot him and assumes he’s officially lost it and is possibly hallucinating.

Until a football goes sailing over the sea of students, a few freshman girls shriek as it brushes a little too close to their heads. Strong, familiar hands catch it mid air and the crowd almost parts to reveal Max Jägerman.

He’s alive is the first thing that Richie thinks, the relief so earth shattering that he actually has to stop in the middle of the crowd not to collapse to the floor. A few students bump into him but Richie stands firm, staring towards Max.

There’s no blood, no visible injuries, no sign that Max is anything but a typical human highschooler.

He catches the football with a cheer, a few of his friends patting him on the back and he wrestles off one of them who gets a bit too handsy. He looks in one piece and happy, Richie’s chest burns.

As if sensing eyes on him, Max looks back towards Richie and locks onto him through the crowd. His breath gets caught in his chest, Richie unable to do anything but stare dumbly back at Max.

And Max just stares back, smile slipping off of his face giving nothing away to what he’s thinking in that moment.

Richie wishes he was more angry, like before, at least then he’d be able to tell how Max is feeling. Numbness isn’t a good look on him, Richie mourns the soft smiles and friendly touches like a missing limb.

Behind Richie, someone slams into him so hard he stumbles forwards, bumping into a few other students who nearly swept him away in the flow of traffic. He manages to side step out of their way to safety, frantically resuming his search for Max, to no avail.

Max is gone.

f*ck.

What did Richie expect? That things would just go back to the way they were? Max would be happy to see Richie after everything he and the losers did? f*ck he’d essentially set Max up, what kind of friend does that? Even if it was originally for a good cause.

His eyes burn and Richie turns around to head to literally anywhere else because dammit he’s not going to cry in the middle of the hall, that’s social suicide. He’s going to be a grown up and do what everyone else does.

The bathroom is unfortunately not empty when Richie gets there, already inhabited by a group of familiar faces.

“What the f*ck?”

Pete, Steph and Ruth are all waiting in the boys bathroom, they pause mid conversation. “See” Ruth gestures “I told you he’d come in here to hide”

“I’m not hiding” Which he totally was, but he feels less like crying now he’s been confronted by these three in one of the least expected places. “Anyway what are you guys doing in the boys bathroom? Did you…are you waiting for me?”

“We couldn’t find you before homeroom, so we took Ruth’s advice, turns out you’re predictable Rich” Steph smiles and Richie can’t help but return the gesture. It’s nice to know his friends care about him, especially enough to hang out in the bathroom because these places are f*cking nasty.

“Max is here, at school”

Pete brightens up “That’s good! He’s not dead!”

“Yeah but we also nearly killed him regardless” Steph reminds “He’s not going to be our best friend or anything, he could go to the cops still for attempted murder”

“Nah, Max isn’t a narc” Ruth sounds so sure of herself and yeah, Max doesn’t seem like a person to like any forms of authority. “He is a werewolf though, so that’s gotta a point for us”

“Oh yeah, Max is a werewolf who’s pissed off at us and will probably never speak to me again, talk about winning” Richie doesn’t mean to be sarcastic, grumbles under his breath but it’s quiet in the bathroom so there’s no hiding what he’s said.

“It’s not your fault you know” It f*cking is, the whole situation is actually entirely Richie’s fault, if he’d just kept his nose out of other peoples business they wouldn’t be here. If he hadn’t accepted going into the woods with Max, the guy wouldn’t be a monster and would live his life normally. “We’ll explain it to Max somehow”

“What would we even say, Ruth? Oh yeah we thought you were gonna kill our friend so we beat the sh*t out of you and left you to die in the woods? Oh by the way we might still need to kill you if we can’t cure your lycanthropy, lol”

Ruth’s brow furrows, clearly not having thought in depth as much as Richie. Luckily Pete intervenes “Look, we have to speak to him at some point and yeah the guy’s probably going to hate our guts” He places a hand on Richie’s shoulder, he tries not to wince as his bruises ache. “But for some reason, Max really likes you, like really really likes you Richie, if there's anyone who can get Max to come around it’s you”

How Richie wishes that were true. He knows by now that the feelings he has for Max is a flat out crush, as f*cked up as it is. He actually cares about Max and his well being, wants to know all the stupid sh*t like listening to him talk about sports or listening to Max tease him over the anime he watches.

But he’d taken it all for granted and Richie doesn’t think there’s any coming back from that.

Still, he’s gotta try, right? The werewolf thing isn’t going to go away on its own and he owes Max help.

The bathroom door slams open, hitting the tiles with a loud smack making all of them jump. “Jesus!” Pete yells.

“I have shown leniency long enough” Grace announces from the doorway, not hesitating to stride in. So she’s got a problem with Richie’s room but apparently the mens bathroom is okay? “Sorry but you’ll need to evacuate the bathroom and get to class otherwise I’ll have to write you all a detention” She actually looks a little guilty kicking them out, but this is a vast improvement.

They all comply, exiting into the hall.

“Goodbye dear friend” Ruth calls to the urinals as she walks out, downtrodden. Odd girl.

Richie’s the last one out, fully committed to finding somewhere else in the school to hide away from the prying eyes of people for a bit. He’s taken by surprise when a hand grabs his arm, stopping him in his tracks.

It’s Grace, she keeps her voice low, her eyes on Richie’s wrists, bruises peeking out beneath the fabric of his t-shirt. Richie pulls the sleeve down awkwardly “How are you holding up?”

“I suppose I’ve felt better, that’s what I get for trying to be a main character right?”

“You know if you need anyone to talk to about…feelings, my door is always open, I’ll even keep the more godly advice to a minimum” It’s such a genuine offer that Richie’s touched.

“Thanks Grace, I might just take you up on that” Awkwardly, he scratches at the back of his neck as an impulse, yelping when he takes the scab off the scratch at the back of his neck, fingers coming away bloody “Ouch f*cking scratch”

Grace yanks Richie’s head down, ignoring his complaints to get a look at where Richie’s bleeding. She pushes his hair out of the way, inspecting the area “Hmm, looks like you nicked that bite wound”

Pete and Ruth stop up ahead and turn to look at Richie eyes wide and fearful “BITE?!”

That’s how Richie ends up in the nurse's office. The nurse is apparently out for the day but it’s a blessing, after all how the f*ck would they explain a human shaped bite mark. Steph picks the lock on the door.

“Will you hurry up over there!” Grace yells from behind him, keeping Richie’s head bowed. She’s got a fistful of antibac wipes pressed against the bite mark “He could turn any minute!”

“I’m trying but this place is a sh*thole!” Pete yells back, yanking out drawers and throwing things out in order to get a proper look for whatever it is they’re looking for. “It’s worse than Steph’s room!”

“Hey!” Steph begins to complain from the desk but Pete reassures her.

“I love you for it, I do, but you need to watch a Marie Kondo video or something Steph it’s like an episode of hoarders-”

“Now is not the time for flirting!” Grace interjects, stopping the two lovebirds in their back and forth who go back to searching.

Ruth’s crouched down on the bed next to Richie, trying to peek a glance at the bite wound on his neck. She yanks his shirt; revealing the bruising all along Richie’s shoulders and winces “I dunno, if you were a werewolf I think you’d have healed by now at least, right?” She peeks at Richie over his shoulder “How long did it take Max?”

Richie tries to think, he hadn’t heard or seen a lot in the first few days after the attack. But when he had seen Max, still bandaged up in the hospital bed, Richie hadn’t really seen a lot of bruising, it was mainly left over scratches from gash wounds. Plus, Richie hadn’t experienced the so-called ‘feel good’ portion of becoming a werewolf, he just felt like…well, human. “I don’t know, but his injuries were like life threatening and gone in 4 days”

Ruth hums again, clearly thinking something in her head.

“Found it!” Steph rushes over with something in her hand and tosses it to Grace who finally lets up on holding Richie’s head down like a dog. His neck twinges painfully from the angle and Richie raises a hand to massage the sore muscle.

The only warning Richie gets is the sudden smell of chemicals before he’s being drowned and the bite on his neck screams in pain.

Of course, Richie shrieks, hand flying to cover the burning spot on his neck “What the f*ck?!” He tries to jump off the table and move but Grace keeps him down with surprising strength. Fluid drips down from between Richie’s fingers, already beginning to soak into the fabric of his shirt collar much to his annoyance, he’s forced to lean his head further down between his knees so that it doesn’t completely drown his shirt.

He doesn’t need anyone to think he’s sweat through his shirt again, that would just be humiliating

He risks a glimpse behind, Grace wielding the now empty bottle of rubbing alcohol, trying to move Richie’s hand so she can see if that’s worked at all. “How does that feel?”

“Like I’ve just been stabbed in the neck by several little katanas!”

“Well, even if it doesn’t stop the werewolf disease, at least you’re clean for once”

It takes Richie a second to catch on to that backhanded comment and he scowls “Hey I resent that notion-”

“I don’t think you’re gonna turn Richie” Ruth, having finally come to her internal conclusion, announces. She hops off the table to stand in front of him and the other Losers “They always have it in werewolf stories that there’s like the top werewolf who goes around turning people, if that wolf that turned Max is still out there then Max isn’t the Alpha and can’t change people”

Which actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

“Huh” Pete seems to have the same idea “Yeah that would make sense, if any werewolf could go around creating more there’d be sh*t tons”

“So what does that make me?”

“Max’s human chew toy” Steph so helpfully adds and Richie glares at her as best he can over his shoulder.

“I think I’ve got an answer to that one as well actually” Again, pretty surprising considering, but Ruth was knowledgeable about a lot of things, werewolf-ism just happened to be one of them apparently. She takes a deep breath, standing taller and everyone practically leans forward to listen intently. “Richie…you are…an Omega”

Richie snatches the empty bottle from Grace faster than she can stop him; hurtling the bottle straight for Ruth. Maybe it’s his practice with Max but for once Richie hits the mark. The plastic bottle bounces straight off of Ruth’s head and she yelps. “You f*cking suck Ruth! I thought you were being serious!”

“I am!” Ruth defends; backing up slowly but still standing her ground. She’s wary of any other potential weapons Richie’s going to brandish at her. “It makes sense-”

“This isn’t one of your f*cking Omegaverse fanfics! Stuff like that doesn’t exist!

“Neither did werewolves until yesterday!”

“I’m sorry to interrupt…whatever this is” Grace gestures between Richie and Ruth, rounding the table “But what’s an Omega?”

“That’s like the Greek alphabet, right?” Steph asks Pete but Pete doesn’t answer, in fact he just looks haunted - the face of a man who had also been forced to sit through Ruth’s very avid explanations of Omegaverse and fanfiction. In great detail.

“There’s no shame in being an Omega Richie, in fact this could benefit us-!”

“Um, an explanation please?”

Ruth opens her mouth to start her long, long tangent into the Omegaverse that they seriously do not have time for. That and Richie would rather die, he’d heard enough for a lifetime when they were Juniors, he doesn’t need a recap.

Richie searches for another projectile but Pete stops his attempt before it can begin, a sort of mutual understanding that Ruth must be stopped. “Okay, what I think Ruth is trying to get at, is that if Max wasn’t turning Richie, and he wasn’t trying to eat him, then he was possibly…marking him”

Oh.

Richie hadn’t really thought about that possibility. He knows from their research that Wolves claimed their mates or whatever, and the bite was in the correct place for it too, right between Richie’s shoulder blades, at the base of his neck. Richie strokes over the raised skin, no longer bleeding but still throbbing dully.

Max had marked him.

God does that mean Max had been trying to mount him?

Richie squirms at the idea, a mixture of uncomfortable, confused and something he’d rather not name.

“So what? He, like, claimed Richie as his own or something?” Steph laughs, lighthearted, but is met with a sort of solemn silence. “You’re f*cking with me”

“This is unbelievable, Omegaverse is real and Richie’s the first one to get claimed, no fair”

“Chill out Ruth you’d probably be a beta anyway”

Ruth gasps like Pete’s just slapped her; clutching nonexistent pearls. “You take that back! I’d be an Alpha!”

Pete holds his hands up “I’m not having this conversation again” Richie knows exactly which one, he’s had several with Ruth at sleepovers - say what you will but the girl was passionate. “But if Max has claimed Richie, he can’t possibly hate him, biologically anyway so-“

“There’s a chance Richie can get through to him still”

In a way, it’s relieving that he’s still got a chance to make things right by Max, even if it feels a little like a cop out to use Max’s newfound biology against him. Still, there’s a dark thought plaguing his mind that Richie has to speak aloud “Why is he ignoring me then?”

None of the Losers have an answer for Richie, looking between each other. Richie sighs and looks away from them, some things still need figuring out then.

For just a split second, Richie thinks he catches a glimpse of Max in the doorway of the infirmary, watching him with such intensity it makes the bite on his neck throb. Eyes gold like ichor.

Then he blinks and the apparition is gone, leaving Richie longing.

He digs his palms against his eyes. f*ck what was Richie’s life right now?

Grace is gracious (ha) enough to let them spend the rest of first period in the infirmary, she herself leaves to do some ‘thinking’ whatever the f*ck that means.

They don’t talk about the werewolf thing, they need a break from using their brains so they just chat about useless sh*t and Steph fills them in on the gossip going around the school.

Unfortunately it can’t last forever and the bell rings signaling the end of class. They’re forced to part ways and Richie faces the school alone again.

Richie doesn’t see Max for the next few classes, he completely skips calc and Richie finds he keeps staring at the empty seat a few rows ahead.

He’s pretty resigned to the fact Max is going to avoid him from now on, especially today so Richie cuts his losses.

It’s the second to last lesson of the day and Richie cuts through the music building, using those stairs to get to the second floor - it’s always empty, more of a walk than the main building but Richie welcomes the solitude.

Of course Richie’s not paying attention, too busy trying to unweave all of the thoughts mangled together in his trainwreck of a brain. So he doesn’t see anyone coming until he’s knocked flat on his ass.

He goes sprawling on the linoleum, which hurts his already bruised body. “Oh sh*t, it’s sh*tlipz”

f*ck.

Richie looks up, it’s one of Max’s jock friends, sneering down at Richie who wishes the floor would swallow him whole. He hadn’t been the victim of bullying in a fair time now, the universe's luck had to run out sooner or later.

“Hey, uh” f*ck he doesn’t know his name.

“Brodie”

“Brodie, yeah, sorry I wasn’t looking where I was going”

“No sh*t you weren’t” Brodie grabs Richie by the backpack and hauls him up roughly, tugging uncomfortably. When Richie’s on his feet, Brodie makes no intention of letting go of Richie. “Say, I haven’t seen you and Max hanging out, you not friends or anything?”

Richie gulps down a breath “Me and Max? Oh yeah we just, we were working on a project together so, he’s just really busy - wow is it hot in here or something?” Richie fidgets with his collar; tugging it. It’s still damp but Richie can’t tell if it’s due to the rubbing alcohol or sweat.

Brodie stares at Richie, weighing his options in his head. He comes to a conclusion judging by the curve of his mouth, smirking. “You know, you haven’t had your hall tax in a while”

“Brodie please just leave me alone-“

Brodie drags Richie to the wall before he can ditch his backpack and duck out of harm's way; pinning him against it with a chuckle that’s decidedly not friendly. For f*ck sake today of all days? “How about a flick it ticket? Just for old times sake, I’m sure Max hasn’t been keeping your shots up to date-“

Richie tries in vain to wriggle out of the hold, the hand at his shoulder moving as Brodie presses his forearm to Richie’s throat “Look can we do this at a different date? Reconvene maybe sometime more convenient?”

He’s slammed back against the wall so hard that Richie sees stars, great that’s gonna aggravate his already f*cked head. Richie groans, blinking to regain his vision “I tell you when and where, not you”

Man Richie really didn’t miss this.

There’s no way he’s escaping so he’s just going to have to take the beating and hope it’s over quickly. He squeezes his eyes shut when Brodie raises a fist.

The blow doesn’t come. Instead Brodie yells and suddenly he’s being ripped off of Richie.

When Richie opens his eyes, he doesn’t expect Max Jägerman in all his glory standing before him.

Max has got Brodie pinned against the opposite wall, much like he had with Richie. Only difference is, Brodie is dangling off the ground by a good foot or two; scrambling at his neck. “Don’t f*cking touch him” Max snarls with something not entirely human, shoving Brodie into the wall harder. “Don’t you ever f*cking touch him, you hear me?!”

Brodie nods, it’s all he can do because Max is very clearly blocking his airway.

“You don’t look at him, don’t touch him don’t even f*cking breathe in his direction, you got that sh*t?” Another pained nod and what sounds like garbled agreement. Seemingly satisfied, Max lets Brodie drop to the ground with a painful sound that makes even Richie grimace. “Apologise”

“Huh?”

“Apologise f*ckface!” Max kicks Brodie, he cries out and Richie almost feels bad. If it wasn’t so vindicating to watch Brodie get his ass beat.

“I’m sorry!” Is finally rushed out, Brodie covering his head to avoid another blow “I’m sorry I won’t f*ck with Lipschitz again!”

“Good” Max gives Brodie another shove, looking at him like he’s dirt on the bottom of his sneaker. “Now get the f*ck out of here”

Not needing to be told twice, Brodie takes off down the stairs with enough urgency you’d have thought Max had a gun. Hell, Max was probably more dangerous without one.

The doors at the bottom swing open and shut with a resounding bang, echoing in the now empty stairwell. Leaving just Max and Richie alone, the sudden silence deafening.

Richie hadn’t moved from his spot on the wall, too busy staring at Max who’s back is heaving, like he’s trying to contain his rage now that some of it had escaped. He’s not wolfed out though, eyes still human and blue despite glaring after where Brodie had once been.

Now or never.

“Max-“

He doesn’t even get to finish the sentence before Max is suddenly in his personal space; twisting Richie this way and that, looking him over, Richie’s jaw snaps shut, allowing Max to hold his face with surprisingly gentle hands “He didn’t hurt you did he? I swear I’ll f*cking kill him”

“Who? Brodie? No, no he didn’t hurt me” Richie readjusts his collar awkwardly, trying to lean away from Max’s intense searching.

Unfortunately it also shows off his lovely new purpling bracelets.

“What the f*ck?” Max yanks Richie’s arm towards him, tugging down the sleeve the reveal more of the bruising. It’s going more yellow now, but it’s darker than it had been yesterday. “Did he do this?”

“No, he didn’t, it’s just-“ Richie tries to take his arm back, but Max keeps a firm but gentle grip, tugging the sleeve further and twisting Richie’s arm to see how far around the marks go. They’re very obviously in the shape of fingers.

“Then who did?”

sh*t. Richie doesn’t want to admit it if Max doesn’t remember, but Max is staring, waiting for an answer, one he’s not going to drop anytime soon and really what choice does Richie have than honesty? “Uh, you…you did, yesterday”

Richie regrets it as soon as the words are out, Max sombers suddenly, letting go of Richie like he’d been burned. He looks like he wants to say something, brow furrowed and mouth opening and closing. “I…f*ck Richie I’m so sorry, I’m such a f*ck up”

Wait what?

“Wait, what?” He repeats aloud because, what the f*ck?

Max cards his hands through his hair in stress - he wasn’t using hair gel anymore Richie noticed. “You tried to warn me in a really f*cked up way but I suddenly got so angry and overwhelmed and I know I struggle with that sh*t but this was so much worse, I tried to keep it under control because I knew you were right but then my mind just went red” he gestures wildly, hands flailing like he can paint a picture for Richie “And all I could see was you and you smelled really f*cking good - like super good, and you were the only thing that helped me calm down before so I just…I was on you, I didn’t mean to hurt you but I did it anyway f*ck”

That’s a lot to take in and Richie has to kind of process it as he goes, it sounds like Max blames himself for what happened “Hold on a second, is that why you’ve been avoiding me?”

Richie watches Max physically swallow the words he was going to say, looking like he’s choking on keeping them down, his hands return to his sides in balled fists “No, why the f*ck would I…that’s not…Yeah okay! So what? I hurt you!”

“You didn’t hurt me!”

“Oh f*ck off Lipschitz you look like you’ve been in some f*cking torture p*rn dark web sh*t!”

A fair assessment considering Richie feels like he has, but that’s not what Max needs to hear right now “You were rough, but you didn’t mean to hurt me like you said, you couldn’t control it! I don’t blame you for that”

“You should, I knew what I was doing, that I was pinning you down” He points at the back of his neck “That I bit you, to like show other people to back off from you, clearly didn’t f*cking work”

Right, Richie touches his own neck, wincing at the dull pain. Max’s eyes flash gold, just for a second.“Steph called me your personal chew toy” Richie doesn’t know why he says it, maybe to relieve some of the tension. It works to a degree, it makes Max smile at least “You’re not a f*ck up Max, there’s just something different about you now”

“I don’t want to be f*cking different” He groans, voice sounding far too wet for Richie’s liking “I don’t even know who I am anymore, it’s like I’m wearing my own skin and I need to break out, I don’t want to hurt you again man”

Richie would be f*cking heartless if he didn’t react to the pure desperation in Max’s voice. This isn’t Max Jägerman standing in front of him - the literal monster that haunted Hatchetfield and believed himself to be a god. This was just Max, scared and confused and looking to Richie of all people for help.

It takes two steps to close the distance between them, Richie bundles Max up against him, well, as best he can considering the size difference. Max comes easily enough, practically sinking into Richie’s arms, squeezing so tight Richie has to focus on breathing just a little harder than normal. “What’s happening to me?”

He ignores the sniffling, instead stroking his hands up and down Max’s back in what he hopes is a comforting gesture. “We’ll figure it out together Max”

A promise Richie intends to keep.

A Teenage Werewolf in Hatchetfield - Chapter 9 - Haikyuuties_baeritto123 - Hatchetfield Series (2024)
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