Mentorship Opportunities

By Dace - Dace.mcgraw@gmail.com
published August 10, 2020
5800 words
Summary

Aed’s taking shit from the other War Dogs because he’s hot for Sgt. Yates. They aren’t wrong, and it’s been too long since he had a good rut. But the wolf curse is capricious, and often gets in the way.

The lowland air was humid, flush with moisture in a way that the mountains never seemed to replicate. Aed’s wolf-spirit seemed contented by it, like some element of the morning dew or thick breath called back to its ancestral homes in the Old World. He much preferred it to the dusty, dry air of Afghanistan, full of unfamiliar and overwhelming scents and the rank smell of terror and uncertainty. The casual tension all the Romans seemed to hold around him and the other werewolves wasn’t pleasant, but at least it was familiar. 

Aed’s shod feet padded softly across the loose loam of the forest on his morning run, contemplating the strange position he’d put himself in when he signed up to work with the Romans. At first it had been exciting - the recruiter said he’d never seen someone enthused by the procedure of filling out paperwork before, even if half the necessary lines and boxes had turned up blank in the end. Boot camp had been lonely, surrounded by mistrustful and curious men and women, many of whom had strange motives that Aed couldn’t fully understand. Afghanistan had been worse, with undercurrents of adrenaline, hatred, and fear flushing through everyone nearby with every heartbeat - the fact that such things weren’t directly solely at him personally made it bearable, until it was directed at him. 

Leaping casually to a perch on one of the sprawling trees of the training grounds, he paused to survey the land and clear his head. The wilderness here wasn’t fully wild, he knew, but it was the closest thing one could get in Roman - no, in the United States of America, he corrected himself. Even after sneaking off for years as a pup to investigate how humans lived and teaching himself how to blend awkwardly into their society, he had trouble escaping the clan’s way of thinking. He often wondered if the entire effort was a terrible mistake of some sort, with some cosmic revenge patiently stalking him as he led himself and his littermates into damnation. Well, at least they’d take Kean with them if they were all damned, he mused. 

Hopping back down to the ground, he made for the den - no, the bunker, that’s what Yates had called it. Aed found himself growing fond of the Sergeant; his smell indicated that even when he was frustrated with the War Dogs it came from a place of patience and compassion, more frustration at himself than at his charges. That was a good leadership, the kind of personality that werewolves naturally found attractive. The fact that he was good-looking and had the smell of a Roman who enjoyed the company of men in bed didn’t hurt either. After they’d returned to find the other War Dogs rutting to blow off some steam, he’d been worried that Yates would blow up at them; humans were often very confused by how casually the clans treated sexuality, even the ones that weren’t afflicted by that strange brand of prudery that had taken root so firmly in the New World. Aed had been so fearful of them losing the respect and protection of the one Roman who seemed sincerely on their side that he’d summoned the Wolf Spirit’s voice without even realizing it, rooting his words deeply in Yates in a fashion that he’d sworn to himself not to use frivolously while away from the Clan. 

Thankfully he hadn’t misspoken or stumbled over his words in the moment, and Yates seemed unfazed and unharmed when he returned the next day to run them through more training exercises. There were abundant stories of werewolves using the Voices poorly or incautiously, typically with tragic results for either werewolf, human, or both. Since the clans lived in seclusion there wasn’t much opportunity for young pups to learn to use them well, as using the Wolf Spirit’s voice didn’t much affect other werewolves and the Divine Voices weren’t exactly under a werewolf’s personal control. It was said that back in the time of the druids, training in the use of the Voices was handled as a matter of religious significance, preparing young werewolves for their responsibilities as protectors and guardians of holy places. Since the last of the druids had died out, the opportunities to fine-tune such skills had slowly withered away. Nearly everyone had used them once or twice to evade suspicion or calm an alarmed Roman, but the risks were always significant. The fact that Yates had come through his experience so well even left Aed with a little bit of pride in his skill. 

Returning to the den, he smelled Caron about but didn’t bother trying to look for him. All his littermates were unusually curious and footloose compared to most of the rest of their clan. In Caron that manifested as an insatiable need to vanish off and explore - or sneak about and prank the unsuspecting, which was a remarkable challenge among werewolves with keen senses. If he smelled Caron, it’s because Caron wanted him to know he was around. Entering the den itself, he could tell that neither Emrys nor Kean were awake - Kean snored, and if Emrys was awake, he’d be puttering around investigating strange stains or other features of the dilapidated structure and making a racket. It was still quite early - or late - by human standards, but werewolves slept a lot less. Nevertheless, he knew that the Army tended to do surprise inspections and other early-morning adventures, and as Yates had been explaining to him, that was an area where the War Dogs could really excel. So he was very pleased indeed to have everyone awake, showered, and cleaned up before Yates showed up around 5:30, clearly attempting to be stealthy even though he’d arrived driving his automobile. 

“Atten-shun!” Yates called out, then started in the doorway when all four werewolves snapped to attention instead of scrambling out of bed, surprised. Nevertheless, he grinned. “Damn! Thought I’d get you this time!”

“Sorry.” Emrys smiled back, already getting the hang of Roman humor faster than the others. “We could go back to bed if you like?”

“No, we’re gonna go spook the shit out of the rest of the company. Rhetorically!” Yates held up a warning finger at Caron. “Unless you want to clean it up!”

Sgt. Yates had led them in a number of similar tasks in the past few days, testing the capabilities of the War Dogs in various ways. Some made a lot of sense to Aed, while others were merely confusing. Today it was more a matter of infiltrating the barracks without alerting anyone, then running down the hallways slamming doors as loudly and quickly as they could. Yates didn’t say it, but Aed immediately saw it as training for creating a massive amount of distracting noise and confusion in a short amount of time - something a War Dog could do with little risk, compared to a normal soldier. It was clever, and doing it to their own company wasn’t showing off so much as it was getting the other soldiers used to the capabilities of the werewolves in their midst. 

It worked pretty well, until one of the soldiers dashed out of their barracks room buck naked and bounced off Emrys, who affectionately began wrestling with the naked soldier like they were all pups frolicking in the den. Aed barked at him to lay off before anything got out of hand, but seeing one of their own casually manhandled by a werewolf, even in human form, left a slightly chilly reception to the lesson. Yates had them jog along in formation with the rest of the company and chant marching songs, but Aed - and presumably, the other War Dogs - could tell that there were still some hurt feelings. Every day after their exercises, he and Yates took a walk away from the bunker to discuss things and strategize a little, and Aed found himself opening up about how the werewolves could smell the emotional reactions of the other soldiers, so Yates would know what was working and what wasn’t. 

For a Roman, Yates was pleasantly curious and open-minded, freely asking questions and just as easily brushing past if Aed or one of the other War Dogs expressed discomfort in explaining something about their culture or background. It didn’t hurt that he gave off little spurts of admiration and lust from time to time while around them; compared to the miasma of contempt and fear they usually provoked when out and about, it was almost narcotic to have a companion who admired them instead. He was fairly attractive, too, and Aed idly entertained the thought of what he’d be like in a rut more than once. 

“Why don’t you just bed him, Aed?” Emrys asked earnestly after Yates had left for the day. “He smells like he’d be interested, after all.”

“Emrys, they don’t do it like that here.” It had taken Aed a long time to fully understand that Roman society wasn’t just prudish, but also expected monogamy by default. He’d tried explaining it to the others, but Emrys had brought up all these examples of infidelity and overheard chit-chat about affairs that had derailed the entire discussion. “Besides, he’s our … commander. He’s senior to us. They don’t like that.”

“It’s not like he can hurt you or anything.” Kean interjected. “Are all Romans as obsessed with hierarchy like this, or is it just the Army?”

“Kean, it’s not like - no, it’s mostly just the Army, but there’s rules in normal life too. And laws!” Aed knew there was a difference between the two, but was hazy on the details. “Anyway, I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as pulling his pants down or kissing him.”

“Seems more complicated than it needs to be.” Kean growled, then went back to carving at a branch he’d scavenged from the woods. The older man was a skilled artist, gently peeling away at the grain of the wood with a delicately transformed finger-claw and filling the room with the scent of fresh-cut wood. 

“I don’t - Brigid’s tits, guys. Just because he’s cute and thinks that we’re attractive doesn’t mean he’d be receptive, or that it wouldn’t cause trouble.” Aed tried to be patient, pacing back and forth through the larger room in the den. “We have to think long-term.”

“What’s to worry about?” Emrys mused, scratching curiously at the surface of one of the folding plastic tables Yates had brought the day before. “If it goes badly, we just get a new sergeant, right?” 

"What happened with me wasn’t - " Aed stopped himself. He really didn’t like thinking about how Afghanistan had ended. “No, it’s not like that. And anything we do here reflects on the Clan, on all the wolf-spirited.”

“Well, fine then. Stay all pent-up like a Roman matron.” Keane rolled his eyes. “We can all smell that you haven’t blown off any steam since you visited the Clan, before we joined you here among the Romans.”

“And I don’t need you reminding me of it!” He snapped at Keane, earning him a concerned look from Emrys. “Look, I’ll be fine. It’s nothing personal, I’m just … I really want this to work.”

“So you can do this jee-eye-bil thing they tried to explain to us?” Keane sounded out the unfamiliar term with an awkward drawl. “I still don’t see what’s so special about the idea, if you can’t even rut while you’re working towards it.”

“Then just— stay out of my way, if you can’t understand.” Aed growled to his clanmate. What a strange world, where Yates, a Roman, was more sympathetic and understanding than his own clanmate. “I didn’t ask you to come along, after all.”

“Hey, buddy, it’s fine.” Emrys sat gingerly on the plastic table, which creaked alarmingly under his weight. “I know you want to do this ‘right’ - the Roman way - even if it seems strange to us. That’s like, the point, right?”

When Aed nodded, Emrys continued. “And I like being able to ask questions - they’re all so intimidated by us they get flustered and wind up answering instead of telling me to fuck off!”

“Emrys, language!” Kean chuckled, joking. “I still can’t believe they think rutting is profane.”

“See! Things like that!” Emrys pointed enthusiastically. “It’s so strange, and I love it! And I know Caron is just happy that he can sneak off at night and explore, just like when we were all little whelps.”

“Where is he, by the way?” Aed asked. “I haven’t seen him since we go back.”

“For all we know he’s getting his dick wet.” Emrys joked. “What? You’re not the only one who thinks some of these Romans are cute.”

“I’ll deny that, Aed is clearly not right in the head.” Kean laughed. “Well, fine, some of them are quite well-made. He said something about going hunting, though, so he might come back with food.”

“You know we’re not supposed to slaughter animals here. Though I guess I should just be glad you’re cooking them instead of eating them raw in the wolf-form.” Aed mused, looking over at the blood-stained area they’d successfully concealed from Yates thus far. They were all capable hunters in the wolf-forms, but Caron was a virtuoso in any form, and wherever it was that he went most nights, he almost always dropped off some prey when he returned. Aed had impressed on them that the Romans didn’t prepare food like that anymore - well, most of them - but he considered the fact that Caron now showered after a hunt to be a sufficient victory for their first two months.

Even though he’d dismissed their ribbing out of hand, Aed couldn’t quite get the idea of rutting with Sergeant Yates out of his head. The man was attractive, but more importantly his welcoming and uncomplicated demeanor resonated with Aed, giving him a sense of comfort and security. It wasn’t uncommon for werewolves to develop emotional bonds with humans, if they were in frequent enough contact, but the fact that nearly all werewolves had sexual interest in men and very few Roman men did - or admitted to it - meant that he felt like he was on unstable ground in navigating the feeling. It was certainly very different from the fragile friendships he’d formed in his last unit. That relationship was tested only a few days later when Yates proposed a new exercise for the War Dogs.

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but why don’t you guys … do your thing in the field?” Yates asked, their boots crunching on the loose gravel of the path near the bunker. “I mean, you’re werewolves, but so far every time we’ve done training you’ve kept to your human forms.”

“Well … it’s a little awkward.” Aed admitted. He’d worked out this bit in advance, in his last unit. “Part of it is that we know Romans are uncomfortable with nudity, and clothing usually … doesn’t survive the transformation.”

“I can understand that, but surely we can just have spares on hand for you. If it’s a matter of buying more uniforms, we can figure something out …” Yates offered. Aed had to suppress a chuckle: Emrys had already bought three spares. “What’s so funny?”

“Nothing, nothing. Don’t tell Emrys you’d buy him more clothes though, he’s fascinated by military fashion.” Aed grinned, then felt a grimace on his face. “The other thing is - well, the transformation tends to have an embarrassing side effect when we’re around other men. Around other werewolves it’s easy enough to control, but not so much among Romans.”

“What do you mean?” Yates asked, surprised. His scent radiated sincerity, and just a hint of … curiosity. "I mean, I know you’d be naked, but what … "

“Like I said, it’s a little embarrassing, Sarge.” Aed felt his reluctance begin to fade, though. If they could trust anyone not to freak out, it was Yates, surely? “It’s um… well, maybe you would understand.”

“I’d certainly like to try, if that’s OK.” Yates shrugged. “Not just because it’s my job, you know.”

“I know, I know.” Aed said shyly. Was he really going to do this, right here in the forest? Well … now or never, right? “All right, I’ll show you.”

He buttoned down his jacket and peeled off his shirt before Yates realized what was happening, and Aed had the satisfaction of dumb joy flickering on the Roman’s face before surprise and alarm led him to turn around and look away.

“Oh! You mean, like right now. Naked.” Yates stumbled over his words, alternately trying to look and not be seen looking as he faced away. “Oh.”

“You can look, Sarge. At least for now, we all have the same equipment.” Aed joked, bending down to undo the laces on his boots.

“Easy for you to say. I gotta ask, are all of you built like gods sculpted you out of marble?” Yates asked, now openly examining his subordinate. Aed didn’t mind though - the sergeant’s smelled of appreciation, on almost an aesthetic level, though there was a reassuring whiff of lust as well. The feeling of bare earth on his soles was a comfort - he’d forgotten, somehow, that he’d spent most of his life barefoot. By the time he shucked his pants and skivvies, his skin cried out with joy at being skyclad again, and he took a moment to revel in it before opening his eyes and exchanging a look with Yates.

“Uh, looking good there, Specialist.” Yates said stiffly, shifting a little to try and hide his erection. “Jesus.”

“Well, if we were sculpted by the gods from marble, that’s one god that certainly had nothing to to with it.” Aed joked, though he could see the meaning flew over Yates’ head. The smell of the Roman’s excitement was arousing him as well, so he decided to hurry things along. With a relaxation of will, he reached out to the Wolf Spirit, and …

The first change was the ripple of fur that shot out along his spine, flooding past the trim military haircut to cover almost every inch of skin. The wolf-claws pressed unpleasantly against the bones of his fingers before sliding through the skin with a tingling, fuzzy feeling; the rippling change of muscle then swelled along his bones, tendons going slack then filling out with bursts of blood and sinew that resolved into the incredible mass of the spirit’s form. The ambient tingle of the change took on its customary pleasure as his skin rippled and stretched, his face and jowls becoming snout and fangs - but more importantly, for what he needed to show Yates - his cock slid firmly into it sheath, swelling and thickening like the rest of him even as it retracted - then began to peek out, reddened and firm, slicked with juices. His sense of smell burned with the energy of the transformation, but it caught perfectly the shock that the Roman sergeant was giving off - and the sudden, fierce lust that followed.

Aed let out a low growl, letting the sound resonate pleasantly in his chest cavity and send trembling vibrations along the structure of his cock-sleeve. The transformation was already on the edge of orgasmic; the flex and tension of muscles pressed against his awareness like the most intense fucks of his life, and he just barely resisted the urge to revel in it and burst all over the forest floor. The wolf-spirit actually snarled at the restraint, urging him to give in to his needs, but Aed firmly pressed down the animal drive of the curse and took a deep, even breath to center himself. Once the curse settled into place, he opened his eyes to take in the reaction from Yates.

The other man was staring at him in awe, eyes travelling slowly along the furred muscle and hard panes of his spirit-cursed body, his face alit with rapture. The forest clearing was thick with the musk of Aed’s transformation, but floating through it was the unmistakable scent of raw, stunned lust, the kind of wonderment a blushing virgin felt upon first beholding the form of their beloved. And moreover, Yates’ uniform trousers could do nothing to hide the thick, rigid erection trapped within. Aed felt himself chuckle, the sound becoming a low, huffing growl in the reshaped larynx of the spirit-form.

“Well fuck.” Yates muttered finally, his eyes still awestruck as he took in Aed’s majesty. "I could have never imagined … "

Then his eyes caught the bend of Aed’s waist and crotch, and the still-obscene erection there, shining with a film of lubricating precum and giving off an insatiable scent of hungry lust. Lumbering down on all fours, he advanced slowly towards the sergeant, letting his cock slap gently against the muscled wall of his abdomen as he did. Sniffing gently at Yates’ chest, he gently pressed the wide plate of his head into the man with a playful nudge, almost knocking him over.

“Whoa!” Yates laughed, reflexively steadying himself by gripping the ruff of fur and corded muscle of Aed’s neck. Regaining his balance, Yates locked eyes with the now-massive lupine face, regaining his balance and losing his composure as his face went slack. Slowly running his hands through the coarse hairs, Yates’ smell carried undertones of wonder and awe. “… whoa.”

So Aed licked him, full in the face.

Yates laughed and gripped his neck tightly, turning away and resisting as Aed licked along his jaw, nuzzled his neck, and nudged his chest. It was eventually too much, and Yates fell flat on his ass as Aed loomed over him - cock still rampant. Aed could feel the joy and confusion simmering over into tension and … lust. There it was. Yates’ erection reached out and just barely touched against Aed’s groin, the slick mucus drenching the human’s uniform. The sexual tension simmered, with Yates reaching deep into the furred musculature and thumbing along the contours of sinew.

Aed restrained the wolf-spirit, beginning to reverse the transformation and resuming his human form. Yates snapped his hand back in surprise as the muscles trembled and fur retracted, sloughing away as sinew flexed and bones snapped back into his human form. Just like most uses of the curse, it left him feeling hollowed-out, weakened, and hoarse - but he was still looming over Yates, naked, with his cock trembling just above the slick mess of his sergeant’s uniform. As his lupine head cracked and reformed into his human face, the confusion on the human’s face transformed into comforted delight and a small smile. They sat, for a moment, the werewolf suspended over the prone Roman, breathing deep of each other in the open cathedral of the forest. 

“I don’t see anything embarrassing about that.” Yates whispered into the silence, eventually. His scent carried the same wondrous awe as before, laced with desire and hungry lust. “That was amazing.”

“I think you might be biased.” Aed hummed, with a smile. He and Yates both knew what was going to happen next - Aed just didn’t know if the human was brave enough to do it. Finally, a hand gently reached up and brushed his side, another resting on his hip. The werewolf grinned, feeling the stirring in his cock and the racing heartbeat of the Roman beneath him. Fuck, it had been too long, the others were right. But it had led to this moment, and for that he was pleased. Aed leaned down, slowly, letting Yates guide him in to a kiss. 

At first, it was tender, almost chaste; the gentle contact of flesh and the warmth of presence. Then Yates leaned into them, the deep breath of satisfied hunger radiating off him waves. Aed let his body relax onto the sergeant’s, resting his cock on the rough uniform to get more of his thighs and chest pressed against his lover. Yates groaned at the weight of it, cock painfully caught in the fabric below as Aed gently nibbled at his neck and nipped at his earlobe. 

“Fuck, Aed.” Yates breathed. “This feels so good ….” 

“I want it too, Sarge.” Aed stopped and pulled back at the look on Yates face. “What, no ranks?”

“Uh, look, that just feels weird right now. I … my first name is Timothy. Call me Tim.” Yates blushed, then smiled. “And who said you could stop kissing me?”

With a happy little growl, Aed lunged forward, pressing himself into the kiss and rolling his hips onto the prone soldier. Yates’ hands groped at him, feeling up his muscles and clenching at the bare skin. Aed sat up on his waist, impatiently undoing the clasps and pulling his jacket and shirt off, just barely resisting the urge to rip the tough fabric to shreds so he could get to the man beneath him. 

“Goddamn where did you learn to -” Yates gasped, “- never mind just don’t stop.”

Aed kissed along his bared chest, gripping and rubbing along the planes of the other man’s flesh. Yates was almost hairless, with only a treasure trail from navel to waistband. Compared to the dusting of auburn hair all over Aed’s skin, it was almost like fondling warm stone, hewn smooth by a master sculptor. The werewolf slid one hand into the uniform pants, groping ass, while his other hand helped the sergeant pull the rest of his shirt off. Liberated, Yates grabbed him by the neck with both hands, locking them in a long, slow kiss as their bodies wrapped around each other.

Yate’s ass flexed nicely in his hand, thrusting hips up into his bare, messy crotch. Aed’s arrowhead cock stabbed into the wet, tense fabric of the uniform, his foreskin rolling along the fabric so the angry purple cockhead rubbed into the hardened, excited flesh beneath. Yates trembled, his scent flaring with lust and stunned delight.

“Fuck, Aed, it’s a zipper not a damned lock, take my pants off.”

Aed chuckled and slipped a hand down into the sergeant’s front, making him gasp as fingers gently slipped along either side of a thick, hard cock. A gentle twist and pull later, Yates’ fatigues loosened and Aed casually lifted the other man off the ground to pull them off entirely, leaving only the haphazardly draped underwear of his superior between them.

“How’s that, Tim?” Aed growled as the human’s legs wrapped around his waist, suspended in midair.

“Fuck.” Yates craned his neck around, his ass clenching against Aed’s dick. Slicked with precum, he could feel the supple flesh tense, almost guiding him in. “You’re not even flexing to hold me up like this.”

“It’s not my preferred way to rut, but I can appreciate the novelty.” Aed grinned, taking two smooth steps to a tree with low branches. He all but draped Yates over some low-lying branches, leaning down and kissing, licking, and breathing deep of the rich scent of the man’s crotch. Yates’ thick cock was swollen with lust, his balls loosely draped and hanging with a neatly trimmed patch of tawny pubic hair. The scent was heady - precum, sweat, the hint of cum, the synthetic fabrics of the uniform, soap and shampoo, the cotton weave of underwear, even the faint metal scent of trimmers and the trace minerals of the water he’d showered in. It was sublime, a blend more unique and intricate than a fingerprint.

The trickling precum down the swollen shaft carried a taste more complex than rich honey. The intense heat of Tim’s hot flesh against his cheek was like a brand. Aed licked carefully along the base of flesh, feeling the sergeant arch and writhe at the slow, sensuous movement, letting his tongue slowly trace down to the slack, sweaty flesh of the other man’s balls. Each orb rose gently at the pressure as Tim moaned, hips twitching gently and flexing in time with Aed’s touch.

“Fuck, Aed, that feels good.” Tim managed to force speech. Aed chuckled into the muscled abdomen of the other man, humming with delight. After a slow, sensuous pass along the length of the sergeant’s thick cock, the werewolf slid forward, pressing their chests together to slowly kiss and embrace. They laid there for a few minutes, fondling and caressing each others’ bodies, heads locked together in deep, thrusting kisses.

Tim broke their kiss and held the other man back - barely - for a moment. “I’m gonna pop off if you keep that up, man.”

“Sounds like fun to me.” Aed chuckled, going in for another kiss.

“No, fuck, I mean … I want this to …” Tim giggled, fending off the werewolf as he kissed and licked at his pecs and a muscular hand cupped his balls.

“We can do it again, as often as we like.” Aed growled, nibbling at his ear. That hand moved up to the shaft, thumbing along the head and pumping slowly but decisively in the slick precum.

“Holy shit that feels good.” Tim’s hand groped at Aed’s ass, clenching as his body resisted the handjob. “I couldn’t stop you if I wanted to, could I?”

Aed froze, releasing the other man as if shocked with ice water.

“No, Tim, I’m sorry.” Aed scrambled away.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, big guy.” Tim sat up, confused. “What? Was it something I said?”

“Tim, if you don’t want to…” Aed stared, appalled. Beneath his skin, the wolf spirit roiled, like he’d only felt once before - that terribly moment in Afghanistan when it had almost seized him entirely. “We don’t - we can’t -”

“Calm the fuck down, soldier.” Tim barked, and the little jolt of it shut Aed up, even as his heart throbbed and stuttered with the weight of the curse fighting within him. “I’m here. I want this. I know you’re stronger than me, and it feels great to be in your arms.”

"Yeah, but - " Aed gasped, clutching at his pectoral. The pain became searing, healing even as it tried to rip his heart apart. “Fuck, it’s like a brand on my chest -”

“What? Aed, talk to me, man.” Tim stood up, wrapping an arm around the other soldier. “Are you having a heart attack or something? What?”

“We can’t -” Aed took a slow, shuddering breath. “The wolf - it punishes us, if we … do things like that.”

"Like - " Tim looked him up and down. “Oh! Aed, no, no that’s not what I meant, it -”

“Yeah, I -” Aed breathed low, letting the pain flow away. “Fuck. Yeah. I know. Wolf didn’t. Got hairy there for a second.”

Tim laughed, and Aed looked up at him, confused. The sergeant shook his head, practically choking from the laughter. Cocking his head, Aed gave him a curious shrug.

“Sorry, sorry -” Tim apologized. “It’s just … you’re pretty much hairy everywhere, all the time.”

Tim gestured to the fine auburn hair that ran over most of Aed’s body, and once he caught the joke they stared at each other, chuckling and leaning into each other until they were on the forest floor again, laughing.

“Sorry, I killed the mood.” Tim whispered, Aed on his chest. The werewolf relished the low, even breaths and their sympathetic rhythm with the strong heart beneath.

“I think the wolf did that.” Aed murmured. “He’s not terribly civilized.”

“You talk about it like it’s a whole other person, inside you.” Tim asked, gently. Aed could smell the gently curiosity in the man’s scent, a kind of prying, fragile reach for intimacy.

“It’s easier that way. Makes it easier to control. Easier to deal with what it does when it has your body and all you can do to keep it in line is steer where it goes.” Aed squeezed into the firm flesh of the other man, enjoying the comfortable heat and firm musculature.

“I can’t imagine.” Tim scratched the standard-issue haircut gently, letting his other arm drape across Aed’s flank to rest on the thick, bulky waist of the werewolf. “But I’m glad … you seem to know how to handle him. It? It has a gender, right?”

“Yeah, we’re all male.” Aed laughed. Oh, wait. They weren’t supposed to talk about that with the Romans. Aed groaned, then took a deep, even breath. “It’s a bit complicated, sort of a family thing.”

“I’d love to hear more about it sometime.” Tim said, the scent of curiosity sated and replaced by a warm, even tone of … contentment? It was a strange scent, on a Roman - or maybe just around the ones Aed had seen. “But uh …. we’re naked in the forest.”

“Yeah, so?” Aed looked up at him, then down at their skin. What was so strange about being skyclad in the forest, it was the most natural - “Oh! OH!”

“Hey, it’s ok there.” Tim chuckled. “But, uh, how about I have you over for a beer tomorrow and we can talk about it, OK?”

“About my dumb, trigger-happy wolf, or about …. this?” Aed asked. He didn’t really want to talk about his curse with Yates. Tim was the first Roman he’d really befriended, and even though he’d enjoyed the prospect of rutting with him - enjoyed it a lot - didn’t want to fuck that up simply because of stupid Roman hangups about sex.

“Having a beer and talking is a euphemism, Aed.” Tim gave him a stern look. “We might have a beer and talk a little as a formality, but I firmly intend to have a nice time with that cock of yours.”

“Hmm, is that so sergeant? I guess you’ll have to show me the ropes, then.” Aed grinned. That was something he could look forward to.

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