“This is perfect,” Faolán declared as soon as he and Brice landed in the Woods. “Are you going to join me when I run?”
“Oh yeah.” Brice shifted almost before the words were out of his mouth.
Faolán smiled as he watched the tawny wolf impatiently pace the glade. Then he joined him, his deep gray and auburn fur contrasting with the brownish-orange and lighter gray of Brice’s. He was smaller than Brice in this form but equally as muscular and swifter—which they discovered when they began to run.
When they reached one of the ponds they stopped to drink then lay down side by side, the moon bathing them in cool light.
"There are times I wish I could stay like this forever” Brice said. His thought carried a wistfulness that touched Faolán.
"I understand perfectly," Faolán responded. "But your dual nature would make that impossible. We’re meant to be both. If you didn’t change you would soon forget that you were also human."
"Just as I forgot for so long that there was a wolf within me. Logan says that’s why my temperament was so erratic at times. Because it wanted out."
"I suspect so. But now you have the best of both worlds, human and wolf."
Brice nodded slowly. "Still, my human half is pretty fucked up."
"Then change things. Stop letting what people might think rule your life. You won’t be truly content until you do."
"Are you content?"
"As much as I can be, yes," Faolán replied. "I have a lot to learn about finally being free to be me and out in the world, but I’m not going to hide what I am." He chuckled low. "Well just like all of us, I’ll hide my dual nature of course, but not the other."
"I think you’re right, it’s time for me to be me. Hell, the tabloids can’t be any worse on me than they are already."
"Oh I suspect they can, from what I know of them. But you might also find out that you have supporters. People who don’t give a damn, and will stand behind you when that happens."
"Here’s hoping." Brice stood, stretched, took another long drink from the pond and then shifted, saying, “I guess we should go back. It’s late.”
Faolán shifted as well but stayed where he was, and turned onto his back to look up at Brice. “You’re quite magnificent in either form.”
Brice smiled unselfconsciously. “You’re not so bad yourself. In fact you’re quite sexy. Especially lying there like that. It gives me ideas that I probably shouldn’t be having.”
“Why?” Faolán beckoned to him. “I’m having them so you might as well join me.”
Surprised, but far from unhappy at his words, Brice knelt down beside him. Then he paused, staring at Faolán suspiciously. “Is this where you suddenly vanish, leaving me feeling like three kinds of fool?”
Rather than reply with words Faolán gently tugged Brice down so he was close enough to be kissed—which he proceeded to do with a great deal of enthusiasm.
“Damn,” Brice gasped out when he could speak again.
“Was that a good damn or a ‘what the hell do you think you’re doing’ one?”
“Definitely a good one, an ‘I want more’ one in fact.”
“So what’s stopping you?”
Brice grinned as he leaned in to repeat the kiss. “Nothing. Not a damned thing.”
* * * *
“You don’t hold anything back,” Brice said much later as he stroked Faolán’s sweat-soaked hair.
Faolán’s lips turned up in a cocky grin. “Should I have, for next time?”
“Umm, no. I wasn’t complaining, just commenting.”
Faolán nodded. His expression turned serious then, as he traced the line of Brice’s jaw. “It was nice to…make love, instead of…the other.”
“That is never going to happen again,” Brice replied emphatically. “Not to you, not to me, not to any of the others he’s forced himself on.”
Faolán smiled slightly. “What is that saying? Your words to God’s ears?”
“My promise to you, God’s ears or not.” Brice cupped Faolán's face in his hands to kiss him gently. Faolán sighed as he returned the kiss, which caused Brice to pull away to look at him. “Don’t you believe me?”
“That was a happy sigh, not a disbelieving one.” He looked past Brice to see the moon low in the sky. “We should go back.”
“Much as I wish we didn’t have to, I guess so.”
Seconds later they were in the middle of Brice’s king-sized bed. Brice laughed when Faolán told him that, all things considered, the bed was much more comfortable than the ground, even though there had been a nice thick carpet of grass on it. He wrapped his arms around his new lover and soon both of them were asleep.