The Beast of Bodmin Moor
Jake felt as helluva lot as if he were hurtling along in a runaway minecart. This may have been true since first scenting Phin on the wind, but they’d hit hyperspeed the second Jack hitched their wagon to Phin’s.
In which alternate universe might Jake be found gamboling around Phin’s ankles, going for a sausage (if he was a good boy) in an Aladdin’s cave campervan? Fuck knows. You couldn’t make it up. Nor would you want to, unless you were batshit bonkers.
But here they were, capering across the moors at the heels of the most incredible, incorrigible, man he’d ever met. In either form. Was Phin entirely human? He’d always seemed so…other. Not in the negative sense; he was as entrancing as he was ethereal. The likelihood that Jack and his…
Dam? Why do I suspect that’s not short for ‘Damn woman’?
You’re not quite the cretin you’re at pains to portray?
Thanks. Are you feeling quite well?
Never better. Until I rectify that, o’course.
Liar. What the fuck is a Dam?
A Dam or Sire…unleashes your potential.
Christ. So, I shagged my jackal mum? Marvellous. And you didn’t think to mention this because…?
You never asked.
Technically, you did not. Except in retrospect, Mr. Squicky Knickers.
You’re starting to sound like Phin.
You might want to ease off on the compliments, before I start thinking you find me tolerable. Just sayin’.
Jake had lost his plot again…where was I?
The likelihood that Jack and his…
Dam—f’chrissakes—belonged to the only supernatural species on the planet seemed negligible. If shapeshifters could lead inconspicuous lives, it was hardly a leap to credit the existence of creatures he’d thought confined to the pages of fantasy fiction.
It was irrelevant if Phin was fae, or…a fallen angel; these being Jake’s most likely suspects. Even if he was just plain old McCain from Cornwall, he would still consider Phin extraordinary. While his ‘otherness’ might be attributable to the label he’d been landed with, his very Phin-ness defied definition, so Christ knows which drawer they’d filed him in. He was enchanting. Whether or not he also enchanted was incidental.
‘You are beautiful… Either way.’ Strewth. While the truth had been impossible to miss, it was hard to believe that Phin had needed it illustrating quite so graphically.
‘Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth’.
No mind that magical would dismiss the improbable, no matter how unfeasible—or downright ridiculous—it seemed. But beautiful? Either way? That was less credible than Phin’s unruffled reaction to Jack…but it soon became clear that he was far from done.
‘You’re a daftie. I loved Foxy first, why would that change because he’s more than I thought?’
‘I loved Foxy first…‘
“Here you go… I would have done tidying if I’d known you were visiting, so I’m sorry about the messy. It sort of happened while I was doing waiting,” Phin warned, opening the door and waving his hand in an ‘after you’ gesture. Jack jumped aboard and stood in the midst of the mayhem. In truth, it looked a helluva lot similar to last time he saw it, so gawd knows what now made it ‘messy’.
Aside from their own home, venturing indoors felt forbidden; as if it would be wise to scout out potential hiding places. That was as ludicrous as the suggestion that someone might drop by hoping to borrow a cup of bloody sugar. It still felt akin to being abruptly naked in the high street. Jake’s fear of exposure and the jackal’s survival instincts were an unholy cocktail. Tough to override in either form.
“Food first, I reckon,” Phin announced, shrugging off his trenchcoat. “I thought you were just starving that day you declared you’d eat your bacon raw…but I now suspect you prefer it that way.” Phin was chuckling when he bent to extract the bacon—and sausages—from the mini fridge.
“D’you want me to do cooking it?” he asked, dangling a pungent strip of smoked paradise above Jack’s head. A split-second later it was somewhat too late for such niceties.
“Scoffed in a flash…you must be starving. I’ll stick the rest on a plate and place it on the table, then you can sit on the bench and help yourself.” Phin emptied the packet of bacon onto what seemed to be part of the dinner service that matched his cups and saucers, then framed it with four fat sausages. Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppes would salivate if they had any sense—should an angel-masquerading-as-man with excessive legs and magpie tendencies to match—ever potter into their emporium.
“There you go, let me know if you’re still hungry…” Phin told him, placing the plate on the table. “I fancy a sandwich—oddly nuff—so I’ll be with you in a mo…” Jack leapt onto the seat and started tucking into the finest supper he’d ever been presented. “I’m having a nightcap with mine, so I’ll pour some brandy in a dish and fill a bowl with water, then you can just do choosing…” The scent of raw honey and bread so yeasty-fresh Jake could identify its baker if he shopped locally—rather than online—saturated the air. In his own defence; venturing into a supermarket had become a minefield of temptation too crippling to contemplate. Stepping foot in the butchers had all-but eviscerated him before Jake could say ‘steak’. Phin whisked their empty plate away and replaced it with two bowls, as promised. Eeny meeny…as if. They were furry not dead.
Speaking of which, Phin savoured the honey sandwich as if it was his last supper on death row. “To foxy friends…” he beamed, raising his glass in a toast. Jack settled on winking back before nudging the dish of water aside with his nose.
“You just did winking!” Phin’s gape was swiftly replaced by an ear-licking grin. “Ha, I knew it. I wondered if p’raps I was a loon for thinking you’re both you. That didn’t do making sense, did it?” His brow furrowed briefly. A consequence of doing concentrating, no doubt. “My instincts told me that you’re not Jake and Foxy. Just…Jaxy. Whatever you’re wearing at the time. Oh dear, the nonsense sounded less loonish. Ah well, no matter, I’m real glad you’re both here at the same time, rather than doing a time-share. I must have already known that cos it didn’t even do crossing my mind to put your food on the floor. Even if it had, I couldn’t have done it…that would’ve felt all wrong.
Blimey, what a lot of yappering. I should shush up before you bugger off for a bit of peace and quiet.” Phin rolled his eyes at himself while edging off the bench to stand up. “I need to get changed. I’m uncomfy, and most unseemly t’boot…my zip is a bit broke. Odd that,” Phin snickered, unbuttoning his waistband before shoving his jeans down. Jack sat, gazing at the lavish length of ivory unveiled by that slithering sigh of denim.
You, are actually panting.
At least I’m honest about it.
A thesaurus search would suggest: Blatant. As subtle as a brick.
“Are you too warm…or just thirsty?” Voilà. A query hot on the heels of Phin’s frown after glancing Jack’s way when he’d done stamping his jeans off. “I’ll get us another drink in a minute…” he added from the depths of a t-shirt while tugging it over his head.
Jack whimpered with want. Jake considered harikari.
“Are you okay?” Phin worried, dropping to his haunches again. Oh no…not the ear thing. Ooooh… They closed their eyes. It did not help. At all. There was an acre of cinnamon scented skin inches from Jack’s face. Nose. Fuck. They needed fresh air. Fast.
Phin was fondling silken fur when he found himself clutching empty air a split-second later. Foxy had shot to the door…to start a frantic scratching he paused only to spear Phin with a pleading gaze before redoubling his efforts. The moment Phin flicked the catch, Foxy barrelled past as if the hounds of hell were in hot pursuit and bolted into the devouring darkness. Phin stood, blinking into the night, uncertain what to do. Had the brandy been a bad idea in the bladder department…or, had Foxy fled, full-stop?
What should Phin do? Wait at the door, perchance he’d gone for a pee? Do hoping, hard? Go and do looking for him? The latter was a big bit stalkerish, if Foxy had scarpered to escape from Phin. But why? He’d seemed content at the table…what had happened to do changing that? Phin hadn’t done anything dreadful…had he said something amiss?
Foxy had whimpered, so Phin sank to his haunches and fluffled his ears, hoping it felt soothing, as he’d seemed to like it—a lot—but he’d snatched his head away, swiftly followed by the rest of his furry self to do scrabbling at the door. Oh.
Phin hadn’t done considering the consequences again, had he? Just followed his instincts and attempted something that was supposed to be ‘comforting’. For people. He must do remembering that daft human reasons ‘n’ rules might seem not-a-jot considerate to Foxy.
Was he miffed? Upset? Angry? What could Phin do? He would never find Foxy on foot, Jake was way too fast on two legs. He didn’t have a hope in hell of finding Foxy with four. Where might he go? Phin only knew two of places aside from The Albion; Jake had fled from there before he did changing, which ruled that out. This left the moors and Jake’s cottage.
If he’d done scarpering to outrun his wasps, then he’d head home eventually, wouldn’t he? The campervan couldn’t cope with rutted moorland, littered with rocks and random humps of hard-packed earth, even if Foxy couldn’t do leaving it for dust. All of which made it a good plan to do waiting at the cottage. What if Jake didn’t want to see Phin? Ever again? Well, he’d just have to do camping on the driveway till Jake changed his mind. Or took out a restraining order. That should take a wee while to come into effect. Okay. Now Phin just had to do hoping that the fox was in his den. Feeling peckish.
The cottage was veiled in darkness when Phin arrived, so he parked up and fetched a glass of brandy to drink in the driver’s seat while doing waiting. He was supping his second when a light flicked on in the large downstairs window. Jack had not sped past on any number of legs, so he must have come home a different way.
Foxy wouldn’t have turned the lights on, even if it was reachable, unless p’raps he wanted to do reading. Not very probable; turning pages would be a tad tricky with paws. It made a splendiferous image in his head, though. Especially if he’d donned a smoking jacket and monogrammed slippers to do puffing on a pipe. Posh apparel that reminded Phin he was wearing naught but his pants. It was a bit late to do bothering about that now.
There must be a back door because Jack was now inside and he sure as stingy lack of dogflaps hadn’t used the front one. He must have super-sensed the campervan, so it seemed a tad pointless to try a spot of catburglaring.
Nope…he’d just have to do hoping that Jake would rather not have a man standing shivering on his doorstep in his pants. What will the neighbours think!? Phin’s dad had liked that expression. A very lot. Ow…shoes might have been a splendid plan. Phin pressed the bell. He didn’t have to do waiting. At all.
The door burst open in a blaze of lightsaber blue about a snatched-off breath before Phin was indoors. Upside down. Staring at Jake’s delectable bum (sadly sporting sweatpants). There must have been some stuff in between, but the flipside came far too fast to do fathoming. Even if Phin had cared a fig. He did not.
“Jake, are you miffy?” he gasped.
“Not unless that was rhyming slang,” Jake snorted. Phin did shifting his leg a smidge to the centre. Hmm…so it seemed. He’d didn’t have time to do any more thinking after that, because they shot up the staircase as if they’d been fired from a cannon and Phin found himself tossed onto a bed. Jake’s bed. He’d scarce started marvelling at this miracle when it was eclipsed with sublime excess and an onslaught of never, ever, too much.
One moment he was flat on his back in his pants, the next he found himself engulfed in a brain-boggling blitz of hard heat and silky skin, with nary a stitch to his name. Naked. Both of them. Jake buried face in the curve of Phin’s neck and inhaled long and deep, with a groan to match.
“Phin…” Jake sighed, lifting his head to ensnare Phin with a blue that burned bunsen bright, ablaze with azure fire. Bewitching. The room was otherwise pitch black. There was only Jake, only those eyes; the heady scent of the hair tickling Phin’s face and the heavy heat crushed to his cock.
“I-I’m terrified…I’ll hurt you…but I—fuck. Please, Phin. Run. Go—” Jake’s voice cracked, his body wracking as he gasped great gulps of air.
“No. Never…you won’t, please…” Phin may as well have pleaded with a lamp post. The scoundrel just did planting his palms on the bed to push himself up. Off. “Jack! I’m going to wish I was dead if you dare stop now.” That came out as a snarl of sound; so thick it was scarce recognizable. “Take. Me.”