Wafflish

Beast of Bodmin Moor 29

 

happy-new-year-rainbow-animation

Happy New Year to you all! I hope that 2020 is kind to you. Thank you so much for being here and for making this story such a pleasure to rewrite.

 

 

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

 

 

 

Jake

 

 

“I-I’m terrified…I’ll hurt you…but I—fuck. Please, Phin. Run. Go—”  Jake knew, even as he choked them out, that his pleas were the death rattle of a dying conscience. Knew too, that they would fall upon deaf ears. But he had to try. 

They sure as hell couldn’t stop now, which left only Phin to slam the brakes on. Jake had to be able to vow he’d done his damnedest to hand that power over—had tried to save Phin—even though he suspected it was far too late. As it had been from the first. This was inevitable…but he’d continued to torture them both; clinging to the belief that he could be better than he knew himself to be. For Phin’s sake. 

What a hero. Well, you’ve got the fireman’s lift covered…although, I suspect you were supposed to carry him out of the burning building rather than tucking him up in bed. Ah well, seeing as you have, can we get on with the sanity saving part now…while we’re here, an’ all? 

I wasn’t trying to be a bloody hero, smart arse. Honourable, at best. 

A better man than he was. A delusion that planted his palms on the duvet; he had to get the hell away from the body he must claim as his own. What the—?

Do keep up. Which part of ‘inevitable’ didn’t you quite catch?

“Jack!” Phin’s velvet voice rasped from his throat like the scrape of sandpaper. “I’m going to wish I was dead if you dare stop now. Take. Me.” Words that scythed through Jake’s threadbare resolve. His softly pleading, pliant Phin gone; midnight eyes ablaze with dark fire as he demanded far less than he deserved. 

Far less than he has every right to expect.

Jake could deny him no longer. 

Jack would not. 

Just following orders. Addressed to me. So, keep your snout out.

The jackal, much to Jake’s astonishment, had allowed thatpitiful attempt to steal Phin’s fate. Sat silent, serene; smug with triumph as the tattered shreds of Jake’s best intentions bit the dust.

“Fuck me, Jack…please” Phin’s voice may have gentled, but it remained as strong, sure, steady as his gaze; burning black holes of need that brooked no rebuff. Jake was done for. Outnumbered, outmanoeuvred, ousted from his own bloody bed. Jack, f’fucksakes.

On the bright side? Y’still have your body, numbnuts.

So he did, but for how long? Which was, of course, the issue that had been at stake from the start. The single sodding reason why Jake hadn’t claimed what he craved more than life itself. His own. Never Phin’s, which mattered far more. Jake surrendered. Bowed to the inevitable. Bent to capture Phin’s softly parted pout in a kiss as fathomless as an ocean, as timeless as the eyes that had ensnared his soul. Drowning deep; a tangle of entwined tongues and shared breath. 

“Phin…” Jake brushed his name across his lips as he pulled free, but only to smudge his mouth across Phin’s jaw…down his neck to fasten at the pulse pounding there. A god-awful groan crawled up his throat as Jake started to slither backwards, an incendiary smear of skin on skin that set his own aflame. He’d never felt more desperate to touch, taste, take.

His capitulation had but fuelled the need: it was an alcoholic let loose on a free bar. A raging thirst that could never be sated. Greedier, now that oblivion was oh, so near…for they had no intention of stopping. Ever. Phin arched off the bed with a sharp gasp when the tongue Jake had been trailing down his chest alighted on satin-suede flesh that puckered in an instant, allowing him to trap it with teeth that tugged a torrent of pleas from Phin’s lips.

“Jack…” he gasped. “Please, don’t stop, I needaah!

“I couldn’t if I wanted to…” Jake groaned, his senses so engorged on the scent filling—fulfilling—every fibre of their being that insanity beckoned if he tried to defy the need. As binding as an enchantment. Sentiments he would have considered hyperboletoo far-fetched to be feasiblebefore...Jack? Phin? Either, both, but that didn’t make them any less true. Or real.

“Hmm…I’m glad…” Phin’s whispersoft sigh was a symphony of sound. His skin, a silken snare. Jake shuffled back, tracing the rails of his ribs with tip of his tongue, cinnamon sugar growing more salty by the second; their sweat slick, the feverish flesh his chest ghosted across as he dipped his head to dapple in Phin’s belly button. He was trembling, strung so tight he barely seemed able to breathe. All Jake could hear were scrappy wisps of air escaping suspended inhalations shot-through with sharp gasps. His heart was hammering so hard, Jake might have feared for Phin’s welfare, had he never exuded more life. A vitality Jake could scent, taste, as he trailed his tongue down the tantalizing trickle of hair that made Phin’s hips spasm and his breath cut off completely. Jack clamped his palms to the top of lean thighs and buried his nose in scratchy-soft curls steeped in one hundred percent proof Phin.

“Jack!” 

“Hmmm?” he hummed, swiping a luxurious sluice along Phin’s twitching cock.

“No more. Just, please…now…”

“I’ve wanted nothing more…from the very first.” Jake admitted, in a rasp far too close to a canid snarl for comfort.

“Then why…?”

“Because I wanted you Too Much. Much too much to believe it could possibly be right.” Jake lifted his head, too deranged to care that his eyes looked inhuman. A fact too luminous to allow himself to hope otherwise, with the rest of the room cloaked in velvet darkness.  “Surely you know how that feels…?”

“Yes…” Phin’s smile was a brief flicker of sadness, before those inimitable eyes twinkled with mischief in mind. “Is Foxy okay?” 

“Yes…” Jake sounded as surprised as he felt; that it was true…but also because Phin had not only done wondering, he’d done so aloud.

Jack huffed a happy sigh, a small whine of want following in its slipstream.

“Good. I’m glad… Jack, I don’t want to do waiting anymore…please?” 

Jack huffed in agreement, lifting his muzzle off his paws to regard Jake with his get on with it, shit for brains face.

“No, nor do we…”  Their chuckle sounded like a trickle of treacle.

 

 

***

 

 

Phin

 

Phin was wound so twang-tight that something would snap if Jack stopped now; there would be nowhere for all the too muchness to go. The knot in the pit of his guts ratcheted up another notch, shooting sparks along his spine and tingles through his body.

Not even making their customary racket could be enough now…not with the promise of what could be fizzing through his veins, shimmering in the sliver of air separating them still

“Where are you going?” Phin humphed when Jack scrambled up and slid off the bed. The cosh of cold air felt akin to being clobbered.

“Nowhere…”

He could hear foraging, but it was too dim to see what Jake was doing, now he’d snaffled his eyes away, plunging Phin into darkness. “…that you wouldn’t be grateful for.” The grin in Jake’s voice was as audible as whatever  thudded onto the duvet beside Phin’s thigh. His own smile? Was unseemly with triumph when Phin curled his fingers around cool plastic. “Now that is a cat with the cream face, if I ever saw one,” Jake’s chuckle was Death By Chocolate Cake. Glistening with hot-fudge sauce. 

“You can see my face? Duh, I’m a daftie, of course you can. I keep doing forgetting.”

“I’m glad that you can—do forgetting—I mean.” Jake sighed, sobering in an instant. “I don’t…want you to think of me as a…freak.”

A freak? That’s barmy-bonkers. You’re still you—knowing doesn’t make you different from before. Not to me. Food doesn’t do tasting different if you know the recipe, does it? Anyhoo…’nuff nattering, I’m starving. I want my sandwich.”

“Your what?” Jake gaped. 

“When you kept doing worrying, it was like having a wasp buzzing round my head stopping me from scoffing my sandwich.”

“Is there a particular sandwich filling that tickles your fancy, Sir?” Jake smirked.

“Jack, I’m so starved, I can’t do caring. I’ll have the Chef’s Special.”

“Strewth, no pressure there then…” Those burning blues flared as if someone had turned their gas up. 

“Oh, shurruhmmm…” Phin made a most unseemly noise when Jake grasped a bicep and flipped him onto his front before he could do so much as blink. “Jake…? Just how fast can you move…?”

“Very…very fast…” Was a whisper of blowtorch breath at Phin’s ear. Then it was gone and Jack was tugging his hips up to prop Phin onto his knees. He’d scarce got his balance afore he almost fell flat on his face when Jack swept a searing sluice along the hypersensitive skin behind his balls… Up, up, up, to flicker at what felt as if ’twas pulsing with impatience. Doing waiting was never Phin’s best thing, but blimey, he’d waited a lifetime (in the last three days) for this. For him. 

“Ooh…” Hands, hot, clasped cool cheeks and tugged them apart a tad, then oh, help… “Aah!” He was never ever going to do getting accustomed to that. Even if he was fortunate ’nuff to do finding out… Was that even possible?

The whole world had done narrowing to his own butt again. The hyperfocus; fixed on the tongue flickering at his very core, doing prodding, before plunging inside with a scorch of breath-snatching bliss that sent shock-shivers here, there ‘n’ everywhere. From the roots of Phin’s hair to the tips of his toes; he felt as if he’d been plugged in and the power cranked to max hypercharge. His head might do blowing up before the best bit. Well…Phin bloomin’ hoped it was about to be served up…having bided way too much time on the bench of sexing shenanigans already. The swirling was driving him demented—or delirious—it was tricky to tell. If matters didn’t do progressing in a sharpish sort of fashion, he would be fit for nothing but a fancy buckled coat (far better that, than orange overalls; an evil sure to do finishing Phin off. Not in a fun way). 

Much to the relief of his last marble, his right hip was released and the mind-mangling tongue left a hollow ache in its wake; about the only thing on Earth Phin would have done noticing roundabout then. On accounts of the fiery fingertip Jack did trailing down the valley of Phin’s darkest, most delectable, dreams. 

“Okay?” Jack rumbled when he heard Phin’s choked-off squelch; aspiring to be a swallow. His throat—tighter than his hyperstrung everything else—seemed dead set on doing strangling him. A fate that would be an itty bit typical, it must be admitted. 

He’d been so, so scared Jake would stop…so afraid he would find himself abandoned to the darkness with naught but wasps for company as somewhere downstairs, a door did slamming on his dreams.

“Yessss…” Phin managed to croak. A word he would have communicated if he’d had to carve it on his butt with a switchblade. It was then that the press of a slick fingertip—at long last made its presence felt—where he craved it more than air in his lungs. Fact.

Sooo, it was p’raps for the best that there was no need to do choosing…

 

***

Wafflish

Beast of Bodmin Moor 28

 

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

 

 

 

Jake

 

 

 

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.

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.

Jack…

Not listening…falalala.

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.

Oh.

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 unfeasibleor downright ridiculousit 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…

Fuck.

*

“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 senseshould an angel-masquerading-as-man with excessive legs and magpie tendencies to matchever 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 locallyrather than onlinesaturated 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

 

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 ita lotbut 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 Ifuck. 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.”

 

 

***

 

Wafflish

Beast of Bodmin Moor 27

Happy Boxing Day 🥰 I hope you had a wonderful Christmas ❤️

 

 

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

 

 

Phin

 

 

Phin was grinning to himself as he ran back to the campervan. He was beset by such an excess of elation he felt as if his heels might sprout wings and whoosh him up the moors on the wind. That sounded daft, but why not, if he now inhabited a world where very foxy friends morphed into Foxy’s afore his very eyes? 

The self-same Foxy he’d befriended on the moor, which was p’raps why they were heading there now. Back to where it all began, before…oh. A bitalot belatedly, the Kypton Factor pieces fell into place. Jack must have ‘found’ Phin at his happy place, the night of the snaffled robe. Not after he’d fallen: Foxy had been there when Phin slipped on the rocks. That had been his own fault, he’d been too distracted by the whimper to do remembering to concentrate, then lost his footing as a consequence. Typical.

Had Jack fibbed about the bet to explain how he ‘lost’ his clothes? If he’d been Foxy when he happened across Phin, then he wouldn’t have had a stitch to wear when he…changed back into his human self. That sounded dafter still, even though Phin had seen the evidence for himself, except in reverse, o’course. Jack’s t-shirt and jeans had exploded into fluttery scraps, sooo...he must have wound up naked after turning back into his two-legged self. Dang…how Phin wished he could do remembering their stroll back to the van. He couldn’t even recall walking at all, let alone with Jake. Naked. Mmm…swishing and swinging in the wind. Bummer.

Phin couldn’t do thinking of a single reason why he shouldn’t meet Foxy at his happy place. He’d felt safe even before he knew Jake existed, let alone where. He must still be present, surely? Just wearing his furry outfit? Unless…Foxy was a sort of visitor who ousted Jake from his own home, as ’twere?

No, that didn’t feel right. He couldn’t explain why he believed they shared the same…spirit? Soul? Albeit ‘dressed’ differently, but he was still certain of it. Phin never knew why he thought stuff. His instincts told him, and that was that. If forced to rustle up a reason, he would plump for those bewitching blues. The eyes are the windows to the soul…after all. The view Phin saw through those windows was identical. This was just as true from Jake’s side; the gaze of both foxy friends felt the same. It was steeped in a similar…warmth. Acceptance; exactly as Phin was. Unconditional. Aside from his mum and sister, no one had ever made him feel that way.

It was as exceptional as say…a pink elephant. Instantly recognisable in a sea of grey faces. Not least when Phin could pick out the precise shade of things he hadn’t seen for decades. Match it, with one glance. He didn’t need to dither about doing ‘deciding’. It wasn’t a skill; he just could. Despite the fact he couldn’t do lots more stuff that was supposed to be bog-standard. Phin was buttermilk Andrex, with no loo.

Colour played the pivotal role in his perception; with all five senses. It did determining his reactions. Five hues that had to harmonize before things felt right. The essence shining from both sets of blues was singular. A metaphorical DNA match. So, why the bejeezus had Jake deemed himself ‘dangerous’ to Phin? Who was not as doolally as he looked; he knew damn well that he would be dead already, if he’d been a rabbit. In snackeroo terms? Phin felt about as imperilled as a teapot.

He wasn’t scared for the simple reason he knew that Foxy meant him no harm. Phin might get hurt as a consequence, but that was true when he crossed the road. He would rather get run over than potter around in a crash helmet and bicycle clips to be ‘on the safe side’. He didn’t want to live his life in a suit of armour. For a start, he was much more comfy naked than suffering stuff that made him scratchy. 

Feelings were lethal, full stop. They made you vulnerable. Phin suspected that falling in love meant you’d never feel safe again. None o’this would have ever crossed his mind if Jack hadn’t kept coshing him with constant frets for his welfare. It was a lot like having a wasp buzzing about his head, stopping him from eating his sandwich in peace. Phin spent the rest of the drive rustling up the perfect sarnie to describe Jack. Something spicy with a bit of bite…oozing relish.

Anticipation was fizzing through his veins when he parked the van, his heart aflutter like hummingbird wings. That was daft. He was meeting Foxy, and yet he felt just as he had when he’d walked into The Albion, which was more than a mite unseemly. Phin would do trying almost anything once and admit to many a kinky quirk, but his fondness for animals was the ‘exception that proved the rule’…and thus, not a jot excessive.

Foxy’s tail was swishing with much the aplomb of Jake’s bum when he bounded over to greet Phin, even his brief wuff of welcome sounded pleased to see him. A snuffabout seemed to satisfy Foxy that all was well, then he shot off across the stubbly grass, leaving Phin to follow in his wake. To the place he’d believed too perfect to improve in any way, whatsoever. In a lifetime littered with wrongness? Phin really had excessed himself.

Foxy was waiting atop their grassy mound when Phin arrived, his face raised skywards as if he were moonbathing. He looked serene. Proud. Cloaked in ancient majesty as he sat amidst the ruins. Phin paused beside a tumbledown wall and gazed up at him,  mesmerized. Too enchanted to shatter the silence, for fear he might spoil something too magical to exist beyond it. Too flawless to belong in Phin’s future. 

He was struck by the strangest realization as he crossed those last few feet to Foxy’s side; Phin could scarce wait to reach him and yet, he wasn’t beset by the fretful hyperneed to rushrushrush and stifle some fear he’d never been able to name. 

He just felt…right. Phin never felt right. The closest he’d ever known was not feeling wrong. That only happened when he was alone. But here, now, walking towards the two-for-one friend he’d never had, all was right in Phin’s world. Something had slotted into place. The piece he hadn’t known was missing. As if his whole life had led to this moment. A thought as demented as everything else he’d rustled up since Jake’s clothes exploded. Ooh, if only that came fully loaded with the symbolism it promised…

Foxy? Somehow looked content to sit and wait until dawn stole the dark away. He was serenity itself. As regal as a statue of Anubis (the Sphinx had a human head—Foxy thankfully, did not—that might have been a bit freaky).

“Hello Foxy…” Phin’s kept his voice soft, unwilling to shatter the spell hovering over them as surely as the blanket of stars. After sitting down beside his foxy friend, legs stretched before him, Phin was content to do waiting for Foxy to take the lead. As ‘twere. For a timeless moment they simply sat, facing forwards. If Foxy wanted to do so for the rest of the night, it was fine by Phin. He wanted Phin here, full stop; that was more than enough. 

Foxy turned his head towards Phin, who echoed the movement and found himself staring into eyes that no longer glowed the way they had back at the Albion. While they still glistened Starlite bright, they weren’t luminous; agleam from within. They didn’t look supernatural. Despite being far from ordinary. They could never be that. Simply because they were Jack’s eyes. Not a jot of doubt remained in Phin’s mind.

“You’re beautiful…” Words barely above a whisper, made all the more reverent for that.  Foxy did dipping his head…in negation of Phin’s words? Or, had they made him go all bashful? “You are. Either way.”

His head shot straight back up to spear Phin with cerulean; Jake’s eyes, wide with shock.

“You can’t be surprised I did working it out, so you must be shocked to be thought beautiful either way. You’re a daftie. I loved Foxy first, why would that change because he’s more than I thought? That doesn’t do making sense. It’s like ice-cream.” Foxy tilted his head, eyes aboggle. “It is! With a flake. Ice-cream is scrumptious, as are flakes. I sure wouldn’t be miffed if I was served a 99, after assuming I would get a cone. That’d be bonkers. They both taste better if you scoff them together.”

Foxy’s tongue did lolling, his breath huffing out in cloudy snuffs. “You’re doing laughing at me, y’scoundrel. Humph. I would rather have a 99 than a sandwich with a wasp, that’s for sure. So there.” Foxy rolled both eyeballs inwards, going cross-eyed at Phin. How rude. “I suppose you think it’s more akin to ice-cream with ketchup. Y’might like them well and good separately, but not together. Pfft to that. I’d be prepared to give it a bash before I did grumbling about it. Are you hungry? I am, it’s all this food chattering. Tell you what, let’s go back to the van and you can scoff the bacon. I might even throw in a sausage, if you’re a good boy.” Phin told him, reaching out to ruffle Foxy’s ears. It was irresistible; it made him go all daft.

“Jack, I’m not sure if you can do choosing to change, or if you can’t…control that. If you can, then I hope you’ll stay Foxy for a while. You’re welcome either way, but I’d hate you to think that’s not true. P’raps that’s why you brought me here, rather than my van, perhaps not…but it’s easy ’nuff to prove. You might not want to come with me whatever you’re wearing o’course…and that’s okay too. I could always scoff some ketchup ‘n’ ice-cream if you prefer…” Phin shrugged, casual as y’please, as if his heart wasn’t hyperfluttering with hope as he clambered to his feet. Foxy thumped his tail a few times, but its rhythm was a smidge stuttery. Hesitant.

“I don’t want you to feel obliged, but I’d love you to come visiting…” Phin added an ear ruffle, because he was monstrous and had no shame whatsoever. He didn’t mention that bit. It might be his joker card and Phin was not as loopy as he looked.

He couldn’t have been more chuffed when Foxy stood up and did swiping Phin’s hand a lick. “Feel free to have a runabout, if you wish, I know I’d want to…” Phin admitted when Foxy fell into step beside him to pick their way through the rocky rubble.

There it was again, that glimmer Phin was trying not to do wondering about, but it kept flitting through his head when he wasn’t doing concentrating. That, would be a very Bad thing to ask…Phin had a sneaky suspicion Jake might do demanding the gun again. There were a trillion other questions less likely to make him miffy though; all the hows ‘n’ whys ‘n’ wherefores. Mere…curiosities, compared the part that mattered too much more: what all this meant for...them. 

First and foremostest; Phin must prove that Foxy could do trusting him. Then, maybe-one-day-over-the-rainbow, Jake would allow himself to trust…his selves.

Phin was famished. He couldn’t help but do hoping he might get to scoff that sandwich, before he starved t’death.

 

***

Wafflish

Beast of Bodmin Moor 26

 

Happy Christmas Eve! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.❤️🎄❤️

 

 

 

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

 

 

Jack 

 

 

 

Jack stretched, relishing the ripple that trembled through his body as it settled into its reclaimed self, then shook out his fur, much as he might after a swim. After inhaling a long, deep lungful of crisp night air, he turned to face Phin. Eternal eyes stared back, wide with wonder. Where Jake had expected to see fear, there was fascination. Puzzlement in the place of panic.

“Foxy?”

Phin recognized him. Quite why they’d feared he wouldn’t, Jack knew not. Phin possibly didn’t happen upon many jackals hereabouts. This was Cornwall, not Kenya. He was itching to leap up and lavish him with licks, but hesitated, unsure of his reception. 

Shy? Really? Jake stifled a most unseemly snigger. The relentless stressing had patently driven him demented.

“How did you…? Where…?” It sounded as if Phin’s thoughts had simply leaked through his lips without purpose. Or…he’d realised that Jack wasn’t likely to prove a fountain of facts.

How did you…get here? Where…did you come from? 

Perhaps…where is…Ja/ke? Sulking in the back seat, that’s where. Hell-bent on proving, beyond all shadow of doubt, that he’d gone batshit bonkers; a fact as blatant as his astonishment when Phin dropped to his haunches.

The hand he extended their way was hesitant, but Jack could scent no trace of fear. Only wariness. He was worried about startling them off. A caution Jack returned in kind by stretching towards Phin’s hand, rather than stepping closer to snuff at the scent wafting from his skin. He smelled like the promise of Christmas. Mulled wine and nectarines speared with cinnamon sticks. Candy canes and pine cones. Gin fizz.

You forgot the dates. 

Correction: I did forgetting. Those things are ev-il.

This is like watching a Merchant Ivory movie. I’m waiting for you to bow before begging his hand for the next dance. 

A flight of fancy that proves you’ve utterly lost the plot, so I wouldn’t fret about ours.

…if I were you?

The loon sniggered. Okay, you’re just being weird now. Ironic quips and snickering!? You should have y’self a lie down, take a nap…I’ve got this.

Ha. H—fuck.

Someone, it seemed, forgot to finish that slice of snark when their nose brushed skin. The head rush of scent was as luscious as the lick Jack flicked across Phin’s fingers. Mmmm. There were no words to describe the rush of rightness that washed over him like a wave. As ineffable as it was irrevocable. Necessary.

‘Yessss…’ works for me.

That’ll do.

If you’ve quite finished flirting, don’t you think you should shift your furry ass before you’re spotted? 

Jealous. 

Of what? 

If Jake had access to his own body…he might have indulged in a folded arms humph. But it was finally, after a forever of waiting, Jack’s turn. Ha. So Jake had to content himself with a disgruntled huff. As he watched…and wondered.

At Phin. Us. P’raps. A bit. 

Phin, who seemed reassured that neither bolting or biting were on the menu, started stroking the top of Jack’s head. Oh, the feel of those fingers in his fur…his eyes drifted shut in sheer bliss. Or so he thought, until Phin went straight in for the killer caress. The ear fondling thing.

Thissss…was bliss. Hyper bliss. Hmmmore… The shivery rush of pleasure thrilling through his body was breath-snatching. As was the warm maple syrup scent seeping from Phin’s pores. How Jack longed to lick it off.

It’s all going to hell in a handcart. Ears flapping wildly in the wind.

You’ve lost your marbles.

Whose fault is that, you mangy mutt? No, I have not got the hump.

Keep telling y’self that, and while you’re at it, stop cussing, you’ll get your turn soon enough. But first… 

Pft, that won’t work, you pillock. D’you think he’s a mind reader…?  Snorted he after Jack visualized the plan. 

Ye of little faith… 

Jack sat down. Then very deliberately looked towards The Albion before returning his gaze to Phin, who glanced pubwards before frowning in puzzlement. 

“What are you trying to tell me…” he wondered, mostly to himself.

Jack turned his head to stare over his shoulder into the darkness, then focused on Phin…pub…shoulder…Phin... After dipping his head to give the cuff of the trench coat a tug, he released it to shoot another glance behind himself. Finally, Jack stood and turned to take a couple of steps into the night before returning to tug on the cuff. 

“You want me to follow you? D’you mean on foot?”

Jack sighed, dropping his head. Then gazed up at Phin and cocked his head, waiting for Phin to voice the other option.

“Um…in the van?” Jack lolled his tongue in a grin alongside a tail wag of glee. “Where? We’ve only met here and…oh. Up the moors?” Jack let out a yip of yes and capered about a bit before swiping Phin a lavish lick. “C’mon you slurpy scoundrel…” he chuckled, unfolding himself to his full, glorious height.

With a whuff of agreement, Jack turned tail and took off. He paused at the edge of the parking bay to watch Phin jog off towards the punter’s carpark with a huff of satisfaction. 

Smart arse… 

Opined Sir Snarkalot, from the back end. 

Touché. 

Cheer up, I win, you win…we’re going visiting. I’m parched. Our new diet might be protein rich, but it sure is salty. C’mon…I’ll let you share my bowl of brandy.

Thanks. Ever the gent.

Courtesy of the company I keep, clearly.

They kept to the shadows while slinking through the outskirts of the town, heading north. Moorwards.

Okay, I was wrong, he is a mind reader. Or you’re after Queen Una’s charades crown. 

That was a quick promotion, you only made her Dame Hudders last week. 

I was in a mean mood. 

Quelle surprise. That’s not all you were wrong about, by the way…

I am not wrong about ‘mating’ with him. You lost it after one whiff of that woman, so how can I trust you with Phin? I know you were angry, but that’s my point. Lust is as furious as rage. I can’t risk him, Jack. I won’t. Why the hell else would I inflict this on us? I haven’t sex for two years, purely so I didn’t slaughter some random shag. How can you expect me to endanger him?

That’s crap. You know damn well he’ll be safe. Coward.

I am not scared. Of what, exactly? 

You know exactly what.

That’s bullshit. I am not scared of my own feelings. Shut up. I’m ignoring you.

They reached the moor before Phin, so Jack indulged in a scamper about, soaking up the simple pleasure of running with the wind while they waited. He heard the van trundle up the hill long before it came into view. They stood, fur twitching with anticipation as Phin parked up and clambered out. After bounding over to greet him with a joyful wuff, Jack gave the Phin-infused air a last sniff, then turned tail and set off for the ruins of the old engine house. 

The most precious spot on the planet, for it had gifted them Phin.

 

***

Wafflish

Beast of Bodmin Moor 25

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

 

Phin

 

 

Jack’s very stance was that of a panther poised to pounce; dark, sleek, deadly… He was magnificent; somehow more than he’d ever seemed before. Majestic. 

*

Jack did not pounce. He stood, splendid, quivering, as if he were being tugged by a non-existent wind.

All Phin could do was stare, awestruck, at luminous whirlpools of blue. Eyes that seemed somehow lit from within…by the waves of energy rolling off Jack? That didn’t make sense, but other people never did. Phin had given up trying to fathom their whys and wherefores…until he met Jack. Who proved unfathomable, no matter how hard Phin did concentrating on his very own mission impossible. It didn’t help that those inimitable blues were too befuddling to focus beyond; even when they weren’t ablaze with topaz fire. A fact too doolally to be true. Phin had to be doing hallucinating, surely?

Perhaps he was, but he’d never conjured anything quite so magical, which made it a tad tricky to care. Being hypnotized by Starlite hues was far preferable to the scratchy crawl of insects up wobble-board walls. He watched, transfixed as they flickered, then flared to full beam intensity about a snatched-off breath before Jack turned on his heel and took off.

“Jaaack!” Phin bolted after him in a scramble of limbs as ungainly as it was useless…but blimey, Jack was fast. He didn’t so much as glance over his shoulder, merely carried on running hell for leather—which he wasn’t wearing—only a white t-shirt and skinny jeans. His legs were just a different shade of darkness, but his top half gleamed like moonlight in the glow of the lamps fixed to the pub walls. The pale beam they cast across the parking bay hadn’t reached Jack’s gloomy hideout behind the bins, where he’d seemed waxen white, rather than pearly gold. 

He was never going to catch up—Jack was whippet-quick—Phin felt like a dopey Irish Setter gamboling along in his wake. He wasn’t about to give up and go home though, even if he was doomed to being left for dust. A resolution that promptly paid dividends when Jack stumbled and fell, crashing to his hands and knees with an unearthly shriek. The instantaneous surge of guilt was scything. Had Jack hurt himself? If he’d broken his bloomin’ leg, it would feel as if Phin had wished it on him, to put a stop to his gallop. He’d better start praying for a twisted ankle, or better yet, a bit of cramp. 

When Phin was about ten yards from Jack a hideous crack of sound pulled him up short. No, a succession of snaps, like the peppering of rifle shots. These made Phin flinch, as did Jack’s howl of pain, but the sight unfolding before his very eyes was…too fast to do working out. Far too befuddling for a brain wired all wrong. It seemed as if Jack’s entire self was wracked by a series of shuddering spasms; jerky snatches of movement that looked agonizing. Phin was about to spring forwards to try and do helping when his sight was shattered by a sudden explosion of fragments; scraps of…fabric? They shot skywards, fluttering in the air that shivered above Jake’s huddled form. 

The noises that accompanied all this were more worrying, because Phin could make sense of them. They rang with utter clarity in the confounding clash of stuff assaulting his senses. A cacophony of snap, crackle, popping was followed by a strange grinding grate and deep raspy groans…and a weird squidgy-squelch like welly boots stuck in mud.

Most doolally of all, were the images being beamed to Phin’s boggled brain. The very darkness seemed to shimmer; as if Phin were seeing sound waves, which wasn’t all that odd when he’d always felt colour. He could taste and hear it too, which p’raps explained why he found new situations so scratchy—it was tricky to tell which was being weird—Phin, or the world itself. Familiar things and people were far more comfy, he didn’t have to fear appearing freaky, nor fret about being deemed so. 

The spookiest part happened when the shivery air settled; stilled to reveal a strange shadowy shape that was not a jot Jakeish. Figuring that the shimmer must have boggled his eyeballs, Phin scrunched his lids tight…then prised them apart. Nope. Exactly the same. Except, the shadowy form was starting to unfurl.

He watched riveted, with eyes wide—wider—breath abated…then blinked. Twice. Neither made a fig of difference, Phin still found himself staring into twin pools of luminous…blue.

“Foxy?” Phin wondered, barely above a breath, but he heard. He cocked his head to one side and twitched his tail a tad; as if it wanted to do wagging but wasn’t sure if that was the right reaction. Why was he uncertain if Phin was friend or foe, all of a sudden? Perhaps finding him here, when Foxy had only ever seen Phin on the moor? 

Phin often couldn’t place peeps if he encountered them out of place. Not just folk he’d only met a few times. He had walked straight past Mr. Neil in Waitrose with nary a glimmer of recognition. Even after he’d tapped Phin on the shoulder, which proved a smidge sticky. He’d asked if Phin had done forgetting him. On purpose. Oops.

Phin was so surprised to see Foxy here that he quite forget to do counting. Not a jot of ‘one and one makes’…well, anything crossed his mind. Nope, Phin was too busy rustling up daft questions. Scraps of which he actually wondered. Aloud. In English, not being fluent in Fox. Nor Coyote, or Jackal, for that matter.

“How did you…? Where…?” In his own defence? There was no one else to ask; Foxy was here and Jake was…not. Oh. 

That, was when the penny farthing droppedon Phin’s head—which was very much how the clatter-crash of realization felt. Phin had gone loopy. He’d either not cottoned onto the fact staring him full in the face. Or he’d hallucinated said fact into fruition. Two facts that added up to an impossible sum. One and one did not make one. Not even all-for-one-and-one-for-all pulled that off, and Jake was not a Musketeer moonlighting as a foxy friend. Did it matter what he was?

It sure as shapeshifters did, if Phin’s shrieking instincts were wrong. In which case, Jake had fled and left him, or fallen off the face of the planet. Both of those were bad things. Jake morphing into Foxy before Phin’s very eyes? Was not. It was a world away from bad—albeit a skewed sort of too perfect to be true one—but that had never stopped Phin before, so why start now? He liked this one way Too Much. 

Dropping to his haunches seemed the po-lite thing to do, being a tad taller than Foxy. He did howling, so he was unlikely to get a crick neck, but towering over him wasn’t considerate when Phin could half his own height in an instant. After resting his forearms on his knees, he held out a tentative hand, so Foxy could snuffle it if he wished. 

He should surely recognize Phin’s scent? It was arrogant to assume Foxy might think ‘oh I know him…he’s that tall bloke from up the moors‘ when most humans probably looked much of a muchness.

Phin was aware that suspecting his Foxy friend from the moor was also his very foxy friend going by the name of Jake, was barmy bonkery.

Something that would—at the very least—be considered the stuff of doing hallucinations. On the whole, Phin couldn’t care less. He was too busy doing hoping that he was right. If he was, then Jake had not vanished in a puff of shimmery air, pass the sick-bucket cracks, and welly boot-squelches.

If he was wrong, then Jake had Gone. P’raps forever. He’d told Phin to Go—who didn’t do listening—so Jake had scarpered instead. I don’t want you’ had been a definitive statement. Rather than an attempt to drive Phin away, to stop him seeing..this.

While he never wanted Jake to do hurting (it had sounded lots more painful than that), Phin couldn’t think of another reason why said sight should perturb him. Nor its consequences.

Foxy was his friend. It wouldn’t have been fun if he’d wanted to eat Phin…but Foxy had never seemed inclined to do him harm. On the contrary, he’d been a cosy companion in Phin’s happy place.

It was, he must admit, far comfier to think of Jake being partial to scampering about on the moors after work, rather than frequenting strip clubs with his mates. There were no doubt many reasons why Phin should be bothered. But he wasn’t. So, that was that. A plenitude of what-why-when-where ‘n’ how’s were hovering on his horizon, but for now? Phin just wanted to drop anchor for a while and do drinking things in.  

Foxy was snuffling Phin’s fingers. He had not bitten them off. Sometimes, things were that simple. If you let them be.

 

***

 

Wafflish

Beast of Bodmin Moor 24

Hi, I’ve finally finished gadding about for Christmas, so I’ll post the next chapter tomorrow, all being well. I hope that all your preparations are falling into place and that you have a wonderful Christmas and/or very Happy Holidays.❤️🎄❤️

 

 

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

 

 

 

Jake

 

 

 

“…Jack?”

Fuck, no. Jake hadn’t even expected Phin to follow, let alone find him out here. He’d been too crippled to run, too deranged to change and flee on four legs, so he’d staggered as far as he could before collapsing behind the bins. Thinking himself as ‘safe’ from discovery as possible. Jack—incomprehensibly—had not seen fit to snatch that ‘choice’ away; the very thing he’d been hell bent on in the bar. 

Out here, when that would have been, for once, bloody helpful, he’d point blank refused to co-operate. What the fuck is with the Hulk no-show…had been Jake’s last (ludicrous) thought before Phin’s presence saturated their senses. 

It would have taken Phin much longer to weave through the punters and leave the pub in the customary manner before dashing around to the rear, so he’d clearly come via the bar. The only surprising part of that had, of course, been expecting Phin to use the same exit as everyone else. Rather than disregarding all barriersboth literal and societalbetween himself and the dipshit notion he was dead set on at the time. Just as he’d barged through every boundary Jake had done his damnedest to enforce in a futile bid to protect him.

Having managed to stumble over to the bins, there had been bugger all else he could do. Other than pray Jack might let the fuck up with his grappling hook tantrum. Preferably while the explanation of having had a bit too much to drink would still suffice. The truth (partly), and Phin had already surmised as much. Disaster averted.

A hope that had been doomed from the off. The blame for that being every bit as blatant as Jake’s absence of fur. The Hulk-hound from hell had refused to play ball, let alone justify himself, leaving Jake to cower behind the bloody bins like the mangy dog he was.

“Gnnhh…g’way…” He groaned, a plea as pointless as arguing the toss with a post box.

A post box? That was random.

Opined the tosspot piping up now with barbs from fuck knows where. In the wake of being, for once in his bloody…existence, wanted.

“I’m not leaving you on your own in the dustbins, you daftie.”

“Fck. Off.” Cruel words that corroded Jake’s tongue even as it formed them. He was all out of options. “Go!”

Not cruel enough. Clearly. As far from paying any heed as possible? Phin dropped to his haunches and reached out with fingertips of flame to pour petrol on Jake’s shame. 

Jack had lost the plot the second he’d scented the girl’s desire; flagrant in the face of all he’d been denied. If Jake hadn’t got the hell out of the pub there would have been a damn sight more excitement than its regulars had bargained for after popping down the Albion for a swift pint.

Bursting from his own body in a fury of fur and frustration would have been fuck awful enough. Ripping her head off with his teeth? Might have proved a bit too much entertainment for one night. Lifetime.

But oh, so satisfying…you must admit.

Never.

Suit yourself. Like that makes it any less true…just sayin.

Leave me.” Jake groaned.

Me or Phin? Not that it matters…you’re barking up the wrong tree either way.

“I…I can’t…leave you. On your own.” The pain in Phin’s voice was more excruciating than the clawing in Jake’s guts.

Why wouldn’t Phin save himself? It couldn’t be more obvious that he was dead set on not ‘doing listening’. Dead set? Salt in the wound of an irony too brutal for words.

“Can. Just. Go. I don’t want yonnagggh!” The latter almost choked Jake on its way out. No doubt would have done, had that not been too dipshit, even for Dogbreath. 

Talking about yourself in third person is not the most illustrious illustration of your sterling faculties, it must be said. Quite aside from being a lie so blasphemous your cock should have shrivelled up and died of shame. In penance.

Shut the fuck up. Someone has to save him. From all three of us.

A profanity that proved as pointless as it was painful. A last ditch hope that Phin might flinch and flounce off in a huff? Every bit as futile as those it succeeded. 

Instead? With infinite tenderness, Phin started stroking Jake’s bloody back. He had to get away from that hand and all it promised. Flee the torment of silken caresses and sorrow steeped words, before he could not. Before Phin was killed by his own kindness. Most of all, Jake had to get the hell away from a compassion he did not deserve.

If he could just struggle to his feet...Jake could…what? Skip off into the night? He could barely stagger to his hands and knees; his elbows gave out the second he planted his palms on the floor. He could do this. Get up. He had to…For Phin. Get away. From him. For him.

“Has it happened before? Should I phone for an ambulance?”

Hell yes. Fuck NO. Pleeease, just GO. “Y’have to go. I can’t…hold…” Jake told the truthpart of itbefore adding (further) injury to insult with a glare Phin would be insane to ignore. Jake knew damn well what his eyes looked like, he could see them reflected in drowning brown; which just widened with wonder when Jake levelled him with the death ray lasers. 

Oh if only. I could have sizzled her slutty ass before she’d sullied his skin. 

You’re as impossible as he is.

Yup. Two for a pair…Perfect for one another…We’d spoil another couple…triple. Tralala… Take your pick. I have. 

‘My fated mate’!?  F’fucksakes.

Exactly.

No way. Over my dead body. I want him too, you cretinous mutt. It’s your fault we can’t have him. What!? Now? Here? Yes, I know we’ve done it before. But not in a bloody carpark, we haven’t. At my workplace. Quite aside from the fact you’ve got your furry arse in a flap. How the hell will you hold it together? 

Duh. 

What’s that supposed to mean? It will ‘work some steam off’? Oh strewth. Fine. Just for the record? That’s a crock of shite and y’know it, you conniving bastard.

Lunatics, both of them. With Jake cast as the asylum. He might have fully expected to find himself incarcerated in one, but really…this was ridiculous. An opinion that possibly snapped the last slivers of Jack’s patience. A split second later Jake found himself hovering over a supine Phin, swallowing his surprised yelp alongside kisses he plundered as if to stave off perishing itself. Then proceeded to swallow a whole lot more than that. As agreed. A win-win deal t’die for.

The rumble of contentment that rolled in Jake’s throat when he’d done savouring his fill might have been mortifying…had Jake not promptly been bludgeoned by a betrayal that swept aside all paltry human frailties.

“Nooooo!”  I will or you will? “No. Had..a..deal. No. NO!”

Jake had no idea how much of that he snarled aloud. None whatsoever. All of it? None of it? He could scarce breathe, think, move…feel anything beyond the agony wracking his body. Aside from fear. Fury. The jackal’s frustration.

“Jack!”

No. He doesn’t want you, he means me, you pillock.

“No! Phin. Run!”

“I-No…I..won’t!” Phin insisted, as stubborn as fuck, while clambering to his feet.

If the laser glare had been invested with the powers it appeared to promise, Phin would have burst into flames where he stood. Calmly tucking himself away. When he was done, he lifted his head. What he saw, made those eyes widen (which really didn’t help matters) while gazing unflinchingly into lightsaber blue. Twin beams mirrored back by midnight pools of darklight. 

I will or you will.

Christ. YouwillorIwill…Iwilloryouwill…over and over, resounding round Jake’s bell jar brain.

Tick tock… Jack sat, head tilted inquiringly as he waited, spearing Jack with his own bloody eyes.  Phin stood, mute determination emblazoned in unblinking brown.

Jake had but one option left. Act before Jack snatched that away too. Jake ran. He got about twenty yards before the fur hit the fan.

A distance he was permitted to cover purely so they didn’t scar Phin for life with a flailing claw. Apparently. The mangy mongrel patently didn’t give a flying toss about damage wreaked deeper than flesh. 

Fuck it hurt. The pain was far worse when Jake didn’t ‘do choosing’. As often proved true in everyday life. Perhaps pain was simply more bearable if walked into willingly. The ‘price we pay’.

Changing was just a matter of letting go if Jake elected to do it. A passing of the baton, rather than having it wrenched from his grip. Allowing the flame to flare to life until it radiated through his skin, rather than razing him to dust as he stood, steadfast.

If Jack forced it on him, it felt as if he were being flayed from the inside out.

Instead of fur flowing like water to ripple over bones that almost seemed to bend to Jake’s will? The jackal exploded from his human self in a frenzy of fury. An agonizing snap of bone and crunching joints. A searing scorch of muscles and straining tendons; stretched teeth shattering tight as the blood boiled in his veins. Jake could only compare it to being set on fire and thrown off a cliff.

This. Is what Phin saw. Heard. Endured. Fuck only knows how he felt.

 

***

 

 

Wafflish

Beast of Bodmin Moor 23

I’m sorry I’m a smidge slow, Christmas stuffs scoff a very lot of time. 😳

 

 

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

 

 

 

Phin

 

 

 

 

Phin could tell that Jake was more than a mite merry from the moment his face lit up with a daftly grin. It was the most unguarded, open expression he’d ever seen on it, unless, of course, there was a spot of slurping in progress, but that was ‘cause and effect’. Consequences.

Jake’s big ol’ beam when he turned around and saw Phin was more excessive than said sight could account for, unless tipple-time was added into the equation. It wasn’t just the radiance of his smile; his hair was a smidge mussed and he seemed to have mopped all spillages with his t-shirt. It looked a very lot as if he’d been ridden hard and put away wet. Mmm… Being greeted by such a giddy grin suggested Jake had possibly drunk more than he’d earned; which he denied, then confirmed in the very next breath.

“I’ve only had…well, a few glasses. I was…I um, thought you weren’t coming.”

Jake really did seem oddsome. Phin had spent the last two hours tootling around, willing away time, to stop himself turning up too early. He didn’t want to make Jake uncomfy by being a barnacle stuck to his bar, when he’d been worried Phin would get bored while he did working. The daftie had then gone and got more worried about his absence than Jake would have been if Phin was fed up.

Squiffy Jake was as cute as a button, but also a bit baffling…and even more confounding than self-contained Jake. Phin was still trying to shoehorn the two into the same bag o’marbles when Jake was besieged by a barmy army of punters, most of whom would die of thirst if they weren’t served yesterday.

Jake slinked off to attend to them, so Phin settled himself into a cosy corner to watch the bountiful bum wiggle as it worked. Bored? It was tricky to say which was more splendid; the sumptuous swell of the shrink-wrapped tush when Jake reached up to the drinks optic, which made his t-shirt rise to reveal a strip of honeyed skin and two twinkling dimples. Or that very view from another vantage point when he bent to grab a packet of crisps from beneath the bar. Both resulted in spine-swishing efficiency as Jake shimmied back and forth to the till, so it was a win-win, either way. Whatever he was paid, it wasn’t half ‘nuff for such sterling service.

Phin’s wiggle watching was sadly cut short all-too soon by a very friendly miss who plonked her person beside him at the bar. She seemed to take up hyperspace for one so slender and short, which was unseemly enough, before she was beset by ants in her pants t’boot. Phin did focusing on the pointy fingernails she rested on her cheek after propping her elbow on the bar to cup her chin, then rustled up a few hues for the shade they were painted: Purple Passionpants…Violently Violet…Indigo Eye-ache…

She seemed to want to chatalot while she waited, so Phin was forced to do concentrating and small talking, rather than wait with breath abated for someone to buy a bag of crisps. The small talking was…bearable, but she was so flippin’ fidgety that bits of her kept brushing Phin, which was not. He had to do gritting his teeth and shrinking against the wall and focusing very hard on not doing hyperventilating. He didn’t like her one bit; she seemed to be starring in her own movie, except she was acting as if she was on stage. Those were very different types of pretending. One being big with expansive gestures, to reach the back of the theatre, and the other, all subtle shades of emotion, laden with nuance for the all-seeing eye of a camera. 

Hypersenses felt akin to sitting in a sound booth with far-too efficient headphones blaring full-blast, even at the best of times, which this was not. He was so scratchy he could scarce sit still, but couldn’t do so much as flinch when she was in his space and face and everywhere else. He was suffocating…even before she did the thing. Phin saw it coming from the corner of his eye but there was nowhere else to put his hands, other than on his head, which was already the highest one in the room. He would look like a helicopter about to take off. If only… 

It would have been horrid, even if she hadn’t just been sucking her finger, which was still slithery with spit when her hand landed on his. Phin almost, oh so nearly did slapping it off like a pesky mosquito. It was perched on his hand, spitted on. No one should have to sit still and let someone splat them with slobber, surely? He had done his damnedest to be considerate, but blimey… He would rather lie across a puddle and let her use him as a stepping stone, than suffer snail trails of slimy touch that would need scrubbing with a scouring pad. 

Jack was finally free to ride to Phin’s rescue when all-of-a-sudden he stopped dead. His features froze and the gold drained away—blanched to a worrying shade of waxen white—nostrils flaring as if he’d whiffed a nasty niff. He was trembling so visibly it looked as if a thousand volts were surging through his system, even before his body sort of spasmed in on itself. One second he was all cramped up, crippled with pain, the next, he’d shot off as if the hounds of hell were after him.

Phin didn’t think once; just threw a leg across the bar, almost taking out Miss Slobberchops with a flailing foot, mid-scramble, before setting off in hot pursuit. Jack would need—at the very least—someone to do stopping his hair from getting sick splattered. This, was not a ‘least’ case scenario. Jack had not seemed green about the gills in a wee dram too many sort o’way; he’d been wracked with appendix-exploding agony.  

By the time Phin had dodged stacks of unpacked boxes and emerged into the hallway beyond, it was bereft of Jack. His co-worker stood, blinking, in his slipstream, more than a mite bewildered by his abrupt departure.

“This way?” Phin pointed, nipping past her. There were only two doors leading off the hall, both left ajar; the first opened onto  a staff/storage room, the second—at the far end—seemed to lead outside. 

“Yeah…he gasped ‘sorry, sick’ and bolted out back. I hope he’s okay, it’s almost time for last orders, can you take him home if I close up?” 

“Will do…” Phin called over his shoulder as he stepped out onto a deserted patch of pitted concrete. It was p’raps a parking bay for deliveries, with access to the cellar steps and space for a few staff cars.

The watery moonlight was too dim to see beyond the darker shades of shadow that were big bins huddled in the far corner. Jack had looked in too much pain to do running anywhere fast, so those seemed to be Phin’s best bet. Closer up, he could see that there were three; brown, black, green…but far more important was the gut-wrenching groan—like shackles dragged across cobblestones—coming from behind them. The sound of agonized despair, hollow with anguish.

“Jack?” 

“Gnnhh…g’way…”  It was too deep, too raspy, to sound like Jack, but it still was. 

“I’m not leaving you alone in the dustbins, you daftie.” Phin informed him, coming to a stop about five feet away, taking care not to crowd him. 

“Fck. Off.” Jack growled, “Go!”

Phin wasn’t doing listening. He was done with being considerate of aught but the fact Jake was hurting. He could be as miffy as he wished, Phin wasn’t doing as he was told, and that was that. The devil himself—let alone six burly care assistants—couldn’t shift Phin if he was dead set on staying, so Jack would have to lump it. The brown bin was skewed at an angle, making room for the dark shape crouched behind it. Jack was hunched on his elbows and knees, curled tight, forehead pressed to the ground, groaning.

“Jack…”  He was shuddering as if he was chilled to the bone, but when Phin hunkered down to reach out tentative fingers, they encountered a wave of heat as fiery as a furnace. Phin had barely brushed Jack’s back when he snapped his head up; jaw set rigid, teeth clenched in a tortured grimace. His beautiful eyes were ablaze with blue, as if backlit by Bunsen flame. 

“Leave me.” Jack’s snarl was the clang of a portcullis, cleaving Phin’s heart in two.

“I…I can’t…leave you. On your own,” he managed to force through tears thick in his throat.

“Y’can. Just. Go. I don’t want yonnagggh!” The latter was a blood curdling cry. Phin was less likely to walk away from it than sit down and do reading.

“Let me help…” He placed a hesitant palm on Jack’s back, trying to offer the comfort he didn’t want. From Phin. But you were supposed to do stroking when someone you loved was upset; slow, smooth sweeps, soothing.

Jack flinched from it as if Phin’s hand hurt, shrinking from the touch. A low sound of warning rattled in his throat when he tried to do clambering onto his hands and knees. He’d only struggled a little way up before his elbows buckled and Jack slumped down in a seething heap of frustration.

“Phin! Go!” he snarled, about a choked-off breath before his spine spasmed and he threw his head back with a howl of pain.

“Jack…has this happened before? Should I phone an ambulance?”

“Yesss t’asss…” he hissed through clenched teeth. “No phone. Just Leave!”

“No!”

“Have to. I can’t…hold…” Jack spat, raising his head once more to glare at Phin with unworldly blue. Then he clamped his lids tight shut, stealing them away, alongside a noise a very lot like a whimper.

“I …Hold?” Phin wondered, possibly for the last time. Ever. Jack moved so fast it sort of froze Phin to the spot. A whoosh of air hit his face when Jack sprang forwards, knocking Phin off the balls of his feet and bowling him over onto his back with Jake atop him.

Instead of the steel trap grip on his throat Phin expected, his wrists were snatched up and pinned to the ground. He sensed, rather than saw, the shift in Jack’s focus when that stained-glass gaze flicked to Phin’s lips. His tongue flicked across his own, as if in anticipation of something tasty, then melded their mouths in a hot, hungry, hyper-plunder of lips, tongue and blowtorch breath.

Kisses that made tumbleweed of greed. They were feast after famine, fuelled by a need that knew Too Much was never, ever enough. A knowledge that had no sooner seeped bone deep than Jack snatched himself free with a sharp gasp and began to slither backwards, down Phin’s body.

“Jack?”

“Phin. I need…you. I—” A frantic tug on the button of Phin’s jeans was followed by the wrenching rasp of their zipper and a clutch of chill air. A brief flicker of relief followed the brush of his bare bum on fabric, then Phin did forgetting to care about trench coats and all such fripperies as gravel rash.

Jack buried his nose into his down-there hair; inhaling as if he’d been starved o’breath. Phin’s head thunked against concrete, snatching his own away when he was engulfed in the molten heat of heady heaven.

“Jaack!” A rolling rumble of sound greeted his name as Jack slid his palms beneath Phin’s butt to scoop him up, taking him in still further, until he’d all-but swallowed Phin’s cock. “Aahhh….” The slurps had morphed into a noise like a noshing dog, possibly the most unseemly sound Phin had ever heard. It sounded every bit as luscious as it felt. A kaleidoscopic onslaught of sensation that shattered the spectrum; a light shot blitz of unfathomable bliss. “Ah-I…have t’come…” Phin gasped, all-too soon in the face of much-too-much.

Jack just flexed his fingers—and his throat—a spasm of muscle that made Phin’s entire system follow suit and his balls unleash themselves with nary a care for decorum. The shivershocks that sandblasted Phin’s brain sizzled through his body in a dazzling blitz of white hot intensity.  A low rumble of satisfaction vibrated his very bones when Jack gulped down every last drop before lapping Phin clean with lavish care.

The sky was a blur of black smudged with starlight, the air a cool caress on damp skin, about a sublime sigh before Phin blinked the world back into focus. Only to find himself staring into luminous pools of horror.

“Nooooo!” Jack’s shout scythed through the night, shattering its silken darkness. “No. Had…a-deal. No. NO!” He was gulping air when he scrambled to his feet, clutching his guts, his face contorted in agony.

“Jack!” 

“No! Phin. Run!”

“I-No! I..won’t!” Phin clambered to his feet, a mite creakily, but preferable to trying to stand firm when lying on your back with your bits bared. His heart was hammering away, yet his bones felt as liquid as the rest of him was languid. He wasn’t sure he could do running if his life depended upon it. He might find out in a mo.

The blue was aglow with aquamarine fire, ablaze with…feral intensity. Strangely familiar…sort of Jack’s eyes…but brighter, more brilliant still. But more, much more than this, was a sort of coiled energy rolling in waves as resonant as sound. A shimmering… power that enveloped Jack like wreathes of mist, even as it emanated from him. For an eternal second, they stood, locked in silent battle. A shriek of warring wills.

Jack’s very stance was that of a panther poised to pounce; dark, sleek, deadly. A thrill of fear skittered through Phin’s veins, fuelling the flames afresh; as lethal as Jack was alluring. Hypnotic breath clustered in ghostly clouds around his head, bathing him in a haze of light. Lazuli pupils, spearing Phin to the spot.

He was magnificent; somehow more than he’d ever seemed before. Majestic. 

 

***

 

Wafflish

Beast of Bodmin Moor 22

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

 

 

 

 

Phin

 

 

 

“More…? Then why?” How could Jack be more dangerous to Phin than anyone else, if that was true? It was all back-to-front, surely Jack was less likely to hurt Phin if he meant more than they did?

“Because you mean Too Much.”

Too Much? It sounded as if Jack had pronounced it with capital letters, like his own Too Much. That couldn’t be right—Phin must have heard it the way he was accustomed to hearing it—rather than the way it had been said. It didn’t have the same relevance for Jack…and yet, if he was aware of its significance, then the ‘more’ thing did sort of make sense. Too Much was a not-good thing; something to guard against. It meant Too Extreme for seemliness sake. It was Phin’s baseline. The way he had to do things to try and feel comfy, but it made other people uncomfy, which was inconsiderate

This meant Phin had to try to moderate himself, because he was the one at odds. It was a tad like being left-handed, there were more righties, so lefties had to bust their knuckles wrangling doorknobs and loo flushers with their right (wrong) hand. It was The Way Things Were, and that was that. Even its name proclaimed itself correct. They might as well go the whole hog and ask:  ‘Are you wrong or right handed?’ 

“Yes. In a Phin way,” Jack confirmed, even though Phin had not voiced any of that aloud. 

“I…” He ran out of words, but forgot to do remembering to shut his mouth. A fact that became obvious when plush lips smushed against Phin’s freeze-frame gape of amazement. One that thawed a smidge sharpish when he found himself with an extra tongue, one intent on turning him into a puddle of buttery-boned befuddlement. By far his favourite state o’mind, of late…and forever and ever, amen. Or thereabouts.

Jack clasped the back of his head, fingertips pressing into Phin’s scalp to deepen the kiss as he slipped his tongue beneath Phin’s top lip and slid it across his gumline. A sensation so strange, so intensely intimate, it thrilled through his veins as if Jake had dipped it in something decadentdivinefirst. When a knee nudged between his own to glide up his thighs in a soft scritch of hair, sparks sizzled up Phin’s spine, propelling his hips Jackwards. He had p’raps forgot the tray, complete with half-full cups ‘n’ saucers that clattered in a clinkling racket of tea slops and china. 

“Fuck…sorry.” Jack had pounced and whisked the wreckage away before Phin could blink, let alone flap about in a bid to avert dripping and duvet disasters. “I’ll just dump this,” he muttered, vanishing over the edge of the bed, tray and all. Strewth, Jack had Jedi reflexes to match his bad feeling about this. Instead of a far less fun damp patch, there was barely a splash on—what the…?

One of the pillows looked as if it had been chewed up and spat out. Phin was forever scratching and shredding stuff without noticing, but strewth, that was a meeny mite excessive, he had to admit. Unless…

“Jack? Are you a secret member of the Sith?” Phin called over the clatter of crockery coming from the ‘kitchen’.

The tousled top of Jack’s head appeared, swiftly followed by sinewy shoulders and sharply defined biceps that hoisted him aloft as if he weighed less than his scraps of pillow. 

“What would you do if I said ‘yes’?” Jake chuckled. 

“That’s easy, I’d ask you to teach me the ways of the dark side,” Phin grinned.

“Why did I even ask?”  A rueful smirk was accompanied by one of his wry head-shakes. 

“You wanted to know? That’s why folk do asking.”

“Good point.” Jake noted.

“I thought so. Thanks for saving my bed, I’m ‘an accident waiting to happen’.”

“How many times have you been told that?”

“This year?” Phin winced…then found himself admitting; “Sometimes they’re not exactly accidents…they sort of happen when something ominous makes me scratchy. Not this time, though, I didn’t want to stop doing kissing.”

“Nor did I, so I’m glad it didn’t ‘happen’ accidentally on purpose. It was prob’ly for the best, though…” Jake blew out a hair ruffling breath. “I should get my arse into gear and head home.”

“I answered your question, but you didn’t answer mine, by the way…” Phin pointed out.

“Which one?” Jake frowned.

“About the Sith. It was daft, I know…but a straight-up ‘yes’ would have been way less dodgy than your deflection. ‘What would you do if I said yes?’ That’s not a reply. It’s another question.”

“I didn’t think you were being serious!” Jake protested. Too much. “I didn’t flinch from ‘are you a mad-axe murderer’, so why deflect an even more far-fetched query? No, I am not Darth Psychokiller. What made you ask in the first place?”

“I was still pondering your Jedi reflexes when I copped sight of your pillow. Look at it! I don’t think it was me…so I figured it must have self-destructed or you’d unleashed the dark force on it.”

“A reasonable supposition.” Jack acknowledged, with utmost gravitas and a sage nod. “If only I were…that sounds much more fun than the truth. I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think the Sith exist, in real life.”

“Pft. Next you’ll be telling me there’s no Santa,” Phin sniffed.

“I wouldn’t be so cruel.” Jake did one of his regretful sighs. This one was self-directed. 

“Well that’s blown your Sith credentials good ‘n’ proper,” Phin tutted. “I doubt you need worry about blood tests disclosing your dodgy midichlorian count if you won’t even tell a twenty-two year old man there’s no Santa.”

“Well, some things are just unforgivable. I do have some morals left,” Jake smirked.

“You have far too many for my comfort…and you’re way too willing to share ’em around.”

“Well, my monstrous morals are insisting that sloth is a deadly sin…so I’d better go home and get ready for work.” 

“Okay, O principled one. Can I still come and watch, next time you play?”

“Of course you can, if you want to…just don’t expect much.” Jake warned. 

“Oh parp, that’s piffle. I don’t expect anything, except you, which you can’t help but pull off with aplomb…will I have to do waiting for very long?”

“A couple of weeks, but there’s live music every weekend.” Jake’s smile was too…warm to suggest he was the least bit bothered by the thought of Phin invading his proper life. “I’ve forgotten who’s on tonight, but you’re welcome to pop in if you want to.” The blue was too serene to suggest otherwise, but Phin wasn’t sure he could trust instincts insisting far too good to be truisms.

“Are you sure you don’t mind?” Phin narrowed his eyes in a ‘fess up’ sort of fashion, perchance Jake had just invited him to be po-lite.

“Not at all, but bear in mind that I will be rudely expected to serve people. Will you be okay, if it’s busy?”

“Yes. I’m always comfy left to myself. I’d rather be on my own than have to do small talking, so don’t worry about me.” Phin grimaced. “You have to do your job and I will have lots to watch.”  

“Okay, I’ll see you in the Albion later, then…I’d better get dressed…”

*

Having Jake seated beside him was brilliant on the short drive to his cottage. Lands End would have been better yet, but only because they’d run out of road after that. Nevertheless, Phin contented himself with a drive down to the village, where Jake pointed out a lovely little white-washed house, haphazardly Cornish, nestling beside the woods as if sheltering from the sou’wester winds.

There were three windows at the front; two large ones and a smaller one above the weather-beaten porch framing the front door. A cobbled path weaved its way through a tangle of ivy, wildflowers and weeds, tumbling in happy abandon with nary a whiff of butchery to shear them into submission.

Phin parked up, but left the engine running, rather than risk ‘obliging’ Jake to offer him a cuppa. He’d been far too greedy already…and Phin sort of needed to be on his own for a bit. He would see Jake later, which was more than he’d hoped, on top of more than he’d ever dared dream, which was too much to take in without time out. 

So, Phin did concentrating on shutting out any suggestion that he might want to go inside way Too Much. He understood himself far too well for his own comfort…far better than anyone should have to suffer. The moment he stepped foot in Jake’s cottage, chances were he would be seized by an urgent desire for the loo. In which case, it seemed a smidge possible that Phin would do forgetting the way and perhaps happen upon the wrong door. Gazing at the bed in which he would forever yearn to learn the dark side of the force might just blow his gaskets for good…

 

 

***

 

 

Jake

 

Jake glanced up when the door swung open for the umpteenth time, then sighed and returned his attention to the Guinness dribbling into the pint glass at its own sweet pace. He was accustomed to clock-watching, counting down the minutes until they could head off into the night, rather than guard-dogging the door…but then, he’d never expected the man he feared falling the fuck in love with, to walk through it.

It was nigh on nine…where was Phin? Had he fallen asleep? Got lost? Crashed the campervan? Fuck no…No. Or…had he just done forgetting. In a Phin sort of way.

This was the worst option; the only one done on purpose, proving that Phin didn’t want to come. If he’d crashed the van, he could be healed. A helluva lot faster than was credible, but that was the least of his worries. Jake refused point-blank to contemplate a fatal injury. Surely Jack would know? Somehow? Feel a disturbance in the fucking force, or something such. But. If Phin had ‘done forgetting’? Then, he was pretty much done with Jake. 

Much to his relief, it was busy enough to keep him occupied while gnawing the options to bone…and the music was inoffensive, which spared his musical sensibilities from the assault afflicting his nervous system.

Jake was just grabbing two packets of salt ‘n’ vinegar and some dry roasted nuts when he heard—felt—a soft rush of cool air brush the back of his neck. Jake huffed a self-despairing sigh; he hadn’t needed to do as much as glance at the bloody door all night. He was facing the opposite direction, but he still knew damn well that Phin had just walked through it. A fact as indisputable as the scent wafting Jake’s way. It felt very much as if he turned in slooow motion; aware of each and every hair that brushed his cheek when he whisked his head around…the ripple of goosebumps rising to greet him. Phin.

Jake watched his willowy frame weave through the cluster of punters, winding his way to the bar, the tufty top of his head always visible. He could feel the blood pulsing through his arteries, the adrenaline flooding his system. His heart sounded like an industrial sized sewing machine.

This was ridiculous. He was ridiculous. Phin had just walked into the pub, f’chrissakes. He hadn’t come to beg Jake to elope in a clapped out campervan. What? Back up a bit McCain. He’d not what? Matters were not helped by the fact that the mangy mutt was busy perfecting his Mutley impression.

Elope? What the—? He’d only met Phin two days ago, in person, at least. Furthermore, he’d quite clearly lost his bloody marbles, because the very notion supposed far Too Much. Can you please stop the fuck with the sniggering?

Beg your pardon, y’lordship. I’ll leave you in peace to ponder your nuptials, shall I?

Nuptials!? ‘Sorry darling, I had to…work late tonight. After-hours lock in, and all that. How the devil do I get through so many pants? Socks? Beats me. Where’s the raw steak gone, did you say? Oh, it isn’t in the fridge? I’ve no idea, I’m sure…’

You’ve gone bloody bonkers. On what planet might Phin care a toss about your lack of undercrackers?

Jake really didn’t need telling…but the underlying truth was…any sort of life with Phin would be founded on a web of lies. Maintained by many, many, more. Truth-twisting was about the highest low he could hope to sink to. All of this rioted around Jake’s head at shapeshifter-speed in the lifetime it took Phin to meander to the bar. 

“Hiya,” he beamed. Like a wrecker’s lantern luring Jake to his doom. He should possibly not have drunk that last double. Or the three before it.

“Hey…” he smiled. Although Jake had a sneaking suspicion it might look more akin to the expression donned by a dog after sticking his head out of a speeding car window.

“Have you been on the fizzy pop?” Phin chuckled.

Was it that obvious? How? Jake had served people and counted out (the correct) change, without tripping over his own feet and landing on his arse in a lake of lager. Nor had he,  inadvertently (or otherwise), spilled someone’s drink over them…and, most impressively of all, hadn’t punched any customers. See. Practically sober.

“I might have had a couple, but I’m sober as a ja…judge. A judge. Indeed.”

“You seem a teeny tad tipsy…and look all rumpled and cute.” Phin declared, with an ear-licking grin.

“Cute!? I am not bloody cute, nor am I tipsy, thank you very much. I’ve only had…well, a few glasses. I was…I um, thought you weren’t coming.” What the hell did I say that for?

You’re a jackass?

Opined he, from the back end. 

I will relish that particular snippet of snark when its biting your ass, shit for brains. Just sayin…

“Of course I was coming, I told you I was. I just…made myself do waiting” Phin bit his lip and dipped his head to bore holes into the bar-top. “I didn’t want to…overstay my welcome.” .

“It doesn’t have an…expiry date..” Oh Christ.

That’s the first thing you’ve said worth the airspace it inhabited. Frankly.

“Yes, but you’re doing working and I was worried about being greedy…perchance you didn’t ask me again.” Phin shifted his focus from the beer mat he’d been picking apart to dazzle Jake with an impish grin. “Speaking of which, are you going to do serving, at all? I think I’m supposed to have a drink to do proper bar hanging.”

“Oh, er yeah. Sorry…”, Christ, why did he feel so fuck awkward? The bar separating them felt like a gaping chasm, a shark-filled moat of uncertainty. “What would please Sir’s palette, this evening?” Jake hammed, masking his discomfort with am-dram theatrics.

Classy. Not. I had hoped there was Method in your madness, at least.

Ha. Ha. Cut me some slack, I’ve already nailed ‘jackass’. Joaquin should be quaking in his clown shoes, by rights.

“Gin please…I should have some orange juice in it, to make it last. One of us should p’raps do standing up straight…if only to hold the other one up.”

“Coming up.”

“Oh, I wish…” Phin sighed, limpid-eyed and lethal. 

“You are deadly.” Jake informed him, adding ice and a slice to the gin.

“Deadly? Me? I’m on my bestest behaviour. You’re the big bad beastie, remember.”

“If only I could do forgetting… but that doesn’t lessen your liabiliti-liness.” Jake managed to mumble. Eventually.

“You should try red lorry, yellow lorry next.” Phin grinned, fishing for the lemon slice in his glass. When he lifted it aloft in triumph, a globule of liquid trickled down his finger, glinting in the light as he brought it to his mouth. Ripe lips gleamed with juice when he popped the glistening fruit between them, then began to pull it back. When the pulp slowly emerged, sucked dry, a silvery strand of errant lemon straggled over his plump lower lip. Tantalizing. Taunting Jake from the other side of the gorge. Two more hours to endure. This, had been a very bad idea.

Phin’s tongue had just flickered out to catch the stragglers when a clutch of punters crowded the bar, trying to catch Jake’s eye. All armed with (not that I’m dying of thirst or anything, despite standing here for a nanosecond…but now would be a good time to acknowledge me. If it’s not too much trouble) laser gazes. A typical shift lurched from interminable periods spent twiddling his thumbs, to flurries of four-at-a-time to serve after a sudden stampede to Jake’s section.

It was a good fifteen minutes before he was done, in which he’d barely had time to glance Phin’s way while providing a gaggle of students with another round of snakebites and black. This, as one of their regulars launched into a lengthy soliloquy on Plymouth Argyle’s less than sterling season. Quite why imparting this particular opinion never got old Jake had yet to fathom; it was repeated ad infinitum every shift without fail. 

When Jake was finally free, he found that Phin had tucked himself into the corner closest to the wall. Possibly in a futile bid to be less conspicuous, when he stood, as lofty as a lone poppy on scrubby moorland. Too tall, too bright, too beautiful, to blend in. Anywhere. Far too Phin for comfort…while wearing skinny jeans and forced to snag bags of crisps from the bottom shelf with excruciating regularity. Is the chip shot shut, f’chrissakes?

Last time Jake had glanced Phin’s way, he’d been gazing around the room, people watching; head tilted to one side with an abstracted interest, much as a guest from another planet might regard some very curious creatures indeed.

On this occasion, Phin had a companion. A very attractive and convivial companion. Her elbow was propped on the bar, chin supported on the heel of her hand as she gazed up at him with adoring eyes. Rocking her hips from side to side as she listened with rapt attention and coquettish lashes. Jake couldn’t focus on Phin’s words, being far too busy glaring a hole through her head. Possibly wiser—far less preferable—to tearing it off with their teeth, which might not go down too well with the other patrons of the pub. 

Party pooper.

Phin’s smile was soft, those huge orbs lustrous, as he spoke. His focus total, unwavering, as if she were the only person in the room. The sane, rational part of Jake’s brain pointed out that Phin did everything that intently. Logic argued that he was trying to do concentrating in order to be po-lite.

But Jake could not ‘do concentrating’ on anything except the teeth-shattering tinkle of her girlish laughter as she ran a coy fingertip around the rim of her glass. Before raising the finger to her mouth. Jake’s top lip began to quiver as she lapped at the liquid with a kittenish tongue…then lowered her hand. Jake knew exactly where it was heading. Jack was computing the trajectory of her arm. But their instincts sensed it with unerring accuracy, even before it sullied Phin’s wrist.

Fuck. He could smell her. Jake was going to vomit.

His guts were writhing with toxic rage, phantom claws scrabbling with frustrated fury. Sweat was beading on his brow, prickling down his spine in a cloying shiver of heat. A trillion tiny stings like the snap of rubber bands skittered across his skin as Jake’s shoulders heaved with the force of the breath bludgeoning his lungs.

He had to get out, get the hell out, as far from Phin as possible. Fast.

 

 

 

***

 

Wafflish

Beast of Bodmin Moor 21

Hi…🥰

Phin will be driving Jake home next chapter, so I’ll post this last snippet of them alone in the van before their story ventures into the wider world. Thank you, truly,  for your support, it means so much.❤️ 

 

 

 

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

 

 

 

Ja/ke 

 

 

 

“I can’t do choosing about it. I just do think that. I’d do choosing if I could, cos I…don’t want to lose you. Which is doolally daft, when I never had you in the first place.”

 

The jackal raised his head, glaring at Jake as a threatening rumble of sound vibrated in Jake’s inner ear. What the hell did Jack expect him to do? Or say?

It was bad enough being chewed up with guilt, Jake could sure as shit do without being chewed out by Jack too. The mangy mutt’s muzzle started an ominous quiver that suggested he ‘might at least try, shit-for-brains’. Okay! Strewth, keep your fur on…

“Oh…you do,” Jake found himself sighing, bowing to the inevitable.

I hope you’re fucking happy now. We’ve made everything worse, not better. How can I keep him safe if you keep sticking your oar in? 

Have not. Who pulled the plug when you couldn’t keep it together? Who kept him safe? He’s hurting because you’re afraid of hurting him. That makes even less sense than your habitual twaddle. 

Hasn’t it crossed your tiny mind that slaughtering him is one hell of an extreme way to ensure I don’t hurt him more? Putting him out of his misery—literally—isn’t the best idea you’ve ever had, you must admit.

Of course it has, plumsack, and you know it…which is why I proved it isn’t a problem. You lost it. I fixed it. Remember? Not a hair on Phin’s head disturbed. If you haven’t got the balls now, that’s your problemliterallynot mine.

“H…How..?” Phin looked bewildered. 

How odd. Not. Pillock. Tell him.

Tell him what!? You do it, if you’re so sure I’ll fuck it up. Go on, have at it. 

Jake lifted his head and began to speak in a voice so calm, so controlled, he barely recognised it’s ring of clarity. He heard himself insist that Phin knew he had Ja/ke. A knowledge he must—apparently—be aware of, at some instinctive level, otherwise he would have left, rather than endure feeling unwanted.

Then, to put the tin hat on it, Jake parroted Phin’s no-so subtle hint to unwanted guests, and topped off the most asinine soliloquy on Earth with this ‘gem’: 

“Those hypersenses know damn well what I want—need. You.”

Phin blinked, lips parting on a soft ‘o’. Then, he scrunched his eyes tight shut, as if in hope the world might make sense when he reopened them. A forlorn wish, when bugger-all in the van could pull that off, let alone in the wider sense…but still, Jake watched, waiting. He’d begun to feel like a passenger strapped into a car driven by a dipshit dog with a bonkers back-seat driver.

“I did buy the campervan to potter off wherever I wanted and just…Be. But also because I made trouble for my mum and didn’t want her to be upset, nor my big sister, so I took myself off. But now I’m a problem for you too, so it is me. I’m a jinx.” Phin’s sigh was steeped in sorrow, echoed by his scent, amplified by those eyes, which could hold a world of pain with plenty of space left to drive a man demented. He scratched at his head, then cheek, jaw, thigh; as if his skin was one vast crawling itch.

“You are the least of my problems,” Jake promised him. “I’m the problem, not you. There’s nothing wrong with you, Phin…you’re perfect. Too perfect for me. I’ll…sully you.”

Sully?” Phin wrapped his tongue around the word with curiosity, as if he were tasting it before deciding whether or not to spit it out. “That’s spoiling the purity of something, isn’t it…making it dirty?”

“Yes.” Jake just confirmed, not wanting to interrupt Phin’s train of thought. To Tipperary or Tumbuktu, or wherever the hell he might go with this.

“But Jack, I want to be sullied. I want to be so sullied that I stink. Reek of you. It’s you I want. No one else would—could—be enough. I…” Phin dipped his head, staring at the sheet he’d switched to scratching. When he continued, his voice was so soft, it was hard to tell if he was aware of speaking aloud. “I want…I want my dream, Jack. I can’t change my mind or ‘make do’ and don’t want to learn. I’ve tried, but it makes me so uncomfy, I have to do Too Much stuff to…try and make the scratchy go away. I’d already done deciding before I met you. I was just waiting ’til…”

I found you.

“…you turned up. That’s how it felt—as if I was waiting for you—whoever you might be. I never expected to find you sitting in my van wearing my snaffled robe…but that made it more right. Too Much right…I didn’t even have to do looking. I just opened my eyes and there you were. So, it’s pointless saying: ‘Phin…please don’t think that‘. It’s too late. I never did choosing in the first place. Nor the second. Neither when I woke up, nor when you came back. I’d already told myself that I’d never see you again. You did the choosing Jack, not me.”

Jake was all-but swallowed by the whites of Phin’s eyes when he rolled them off top right, as if listening to a new proclamation from Planet Phin. One that would, without doubt, cut as close to the bone as those preceding it.

“When you said— you know you have me—that might’ve been a smidge true, but if I did, it wasn’t a conscious realization. I didn’t know that I knew,” Phin’s irises skittered off to the left, as if in hot pursuit of a thought. Jake could barely see the brown, he was in grave danger of getting lost in the whiteout. As lethal as they were inimitable; those eyes should come complete with a compass.

“But… even if a part of me does believe that, a bit, I still don’t think I do, which makes perfect nonsense. I’m trying so hard to do understanding you, but you’re even more tricky than everyone else. They always insist on one thing that makes me scratchy…but you seem…torn in two. Sometimes I think you’ve done deciding we can be together…and that a miracle might just happen if I hope hard ’nuff. But then you snap back into saying ‘no it’s too dangerous’. That’s very befuddling.”

“Phin, I’m sorry…so sorry. I hate hurting you, hate myself for it—” Torn in two. Fuck.

“I…”

“Let me finish, please Phin. Don’t try and ‘do white lies’ to make me feel better. The last thing I’ve ever wanted to do is hurt you. I do want you, but don’t deserve you. I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anyone, which makes this so much worse…and so much harder. If I didn’t want you so much—too much—I could walk away and leave you in peace…but I can’t force myself to do that. I’ve tried, you know I have. I did it. I left…but here I am. Again. I didn’t do choosing to come. I couldn’t stop myself. Can you understand that part, at least?” Jake pleaded.

“Your eyes are begging me to understand…and I do, a bit.” Phin reached out, to brush his fingertips across the back of Jake’s hand, a whisper of touch that made his skin scream.

“I understand not choosing and having to do things. I think you’re saying you want too much and that’s a bad thing. Like having to do things such as cutting.”

“Yes,” Jake confirmed, holding his gaze, willing Phin to understand more than he’d been told. “I need you…and that scares me.”

“You’re scared? As if I’m a hospital? That’s daft, I won’t do hurting you. I’m not dangerous.” When cherub lips twisted with a wry twerk, Phin amended; “Well, not to you, at least, so that’s alright.”

“I’m not afraid of you. Although you are frankly frightening, sometimes. It scares me that I can’t walk away. The fact that I have no control over Me terrifies me. Worst of all, when I’m with you, it matters more than ever that I keep myself…on a short leash. When, in truth, I’ve never felt less in control. That’s why I keep saying no…because I’m more dangerous to you than I am to anyone else…”

“Why?” Phin sounded dazed.

Odd that. You’ve said a helluva lot while somehow saying sod all. If Phin can fathom sense from it, he’s a bloody genius. You are batting waaay out of your league, y’know. Just sayin.

Tell me something I don’t know.

That’s less logical than anything you’ve uttered aloud, which is staggering. Frankly.

“Because…you mean more to me.” Jake owned.

“‘More’..? Then, why..?”

“Because you mean Too Much.” A flicker of hope flared in those midnight orbs. Jake couldn’t bear to banish it. “Yes. In a Phin way.”

Jake wasn’t sure that made sense whichever planet you resided on, but the brown blazed with warm wonder and Jack huffed a thank fuck for that snuff, so Jake figured it might be best to quit while he was ahead. Or behind. Clinging on for dear life.

 

***

Wafflish

Beast of Bodmin Moor 20

The Beast of Bodmin Moor

 

Jake

 

Jake turned over and clambered onto his hands and knees, hoping to hell that clutching this particular straw wouldn’t break the jackal’s back. Cool fingertips slalomed down his spine in a shiver of flame, igniting sensations so intense that singeing fur might have seemed a far-too fitting scent. For sanity’s sake, at least.

“Hmm…I have the finest view in all of Kernow…” Phin murmured, sandblasting Jake’s skin with blowtorch breath. He wasn’t sure if Phin was thinking aloud or talking to him, but Jake was wound way too tight to rustle up a coherent metaphor, let alone fathom Phin. He could scarce focus on holding them together, his entire self was snarled with anticipation; muscles bunched, tendons tugged so taut he was quivering like a snare drum.

The tongue that started to dapple Jake’s coccyx was a swirl of torture too incendiary to endure. Somehow, they did. Somehow, they remained riveted to the spot and survived Phin’s brain-battering, body blitzing assault on their senses. Intact.

“Gnnnnhhh…”

“Ha…your turn for tickle-torture, d’you surrender?” The glee in Phin’s tone was utterly unseemly. Jake must remember to point that out…later.

“Never,” he growled.

“Really?” Phin blew a stream of cool air across damp skin and Jake almost shot through the roof. The one thing tethering him to the planet was his lock-jawed death grip on the pillow when Phin began to meander his tongue in a mind-boggling trickle down the tightly clenched crack of his arse. If Jake so much as relaxed one muscle, he was convinced the rest would unravel with uncontainable consequences.

“Fuck…” he groaned, bowing his spine, arching his hips towards the fiery flickering dead-set on skewering his self control. “Phin…please…” he groaned, despite having no idea what he was pleading for. Christ, he might combust if this didn’t move on sharpish, or stop. Something…anything. Soon. Maddening slithers of moist bliss… coaxing his cheeks apart. Teeth clenched tight. Fists clenched tighter still. “Phin! F’fucksakes… Please!”

A brief flicker of teasing tongue was swiftly followed by a blistering spear that almost blew his mind. It really didn’t help that this first time for everything plunge into new territory went both ways. It definitely didn’t help that his cock was encompassed in a firm grip about a snatched off breath later. The former he’d steeled himself against…the latter was such a shock to his system, Jake damn near passed out.

“Phiiiin!” His head snapped back, every muscle trembling, teetering on the edge of endurance. Phin stabbed deeper still, fluttering the confounded thing while sweeping his goddamn wrist. “Gnnnngggh…” Jake tasted the bittersweet tang of his own blood when his guts convulsed, cramping in spasms too intense to—Fuck no…Jack…help me. The jackal whimpered but hunkered down, the scruff of his neck tremouring to attention, coat twitching as if a thousand fire-ants were scurrying across his skin.

Jake dragged in a jagged breath, then dipped his head to bite down on the pillow; teeth tearing into fabric as if it were rice paper. The blood boiling in his brain was so loud he could scarce hear the inhuman noises crawling up his throat. The back end of his body wasn’t faring any better, his hips were straining toward the tongue still swirling as Phin picked up the pace up front. He couldn’t hold—Jackplease—Jake threw his head back with a hideous howl when the heat crouched in the pit of his guts erupted like lava and scorched his system with an incandescent blitz of bliss. Then the world went black.

*

Jake hadn’t blacked out since the first year the jackal had entered his life in a frenzy of fur, teeth and claws. Even then, he hadn’t been engulfed in darkness without warning. That had only happened once before.

The night of the sex; the night he met the woman that changed his life…but not in the way Jake had ever expected. The earth had not ‘moved’. His whole existence had…shifted. A place of shadows, darkness, and loneliness so desperate, he’d never dragged himself from the pit of despair into which he’d plunged. Jake had felt safer huddled in his dank cave of depression; the too bright, too loud, too terrible truth dulled. Diluted still further by the drink that deadened his senses—but fuelled the flames of fury—rather than drowned them.

He wasn’t even angry with Her…his rage had only one enemy. Himself. Jake specifically. The jackal was just…being a jackal. Jake would rather he wasn’t one from his own body, but couldn’t blame Jack for that. It was clear they’d become something of a package deal, so it seemed ludicrous to apportion blame, but Jake didn’t initially think of Jack as an…extension of himself. He was just a squatter who didn’t have any more choice in the matter than Jake. That much was obvious; no one with the will to live would have moved in with Jake and his moribund wretchedness. Unless he was a masochist with a death wish.

*

Glastonbury Festival: 2 years ago.

Jake and a bunch of mates had sallied forth to Glastonbury for a (hopefully) hedonistic weekend immersed in music, mud, drink, drugs, and dreadful toilet facilities.

The weather had been the only thing that failed to deliver. It was actually rather mild and not-at-all muddy. He couldn’t remember a great deal about the Friday night. Suffice to say, Jake didn’t wake up next to anyone he could ever recall meeting before, let alone remember their names. He was fairly sure he’d only copped off with one of the tent’s inhabitants…which may have been wishful thinking; not being a fan of goatee beards, in general.

Saturday had dawned far too early at around midday. It was…bright. And loud. Jake felt a bit better after downing a plastic cup of flat lager and eating something inedible. The best that could be said of that was, it didn’t promptly reappear…at either end.

After a few hours of stumbling around greeting long lost strangers, Jake happened upon his tent rather by chance and was warmly welcomed back into the fold, as if he were a soldier returning from the trenches. The rest of the day passed in a blur of bodies, bands, dope and drink. Jake had a bloody good time. Probably.

Darkness had descended on their last night of revelry by the time he returned from his evening pilgrimage to the portaloo. Jake had been weaving his way through a sparsely sprinkled part of the crowd when he saw Her. She was standing in the shadows; the cool night breeze tugging at her rippling raven hair and the filmy fabric of her dress. She was alone—yet didn’t seem the slightest lonely—just utterly self-contained, absorbed in thoughts infinitely more interesting than anything happening around her.

Jake stood transfixed. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from her lithe form, which hinted at supple grace, even in stillness. Then she turned her head…and stared straight at him, through him. He couldn’t even be sure she was looking at him…except, he was certain of it. This being highly unlikely, nonetheless, he tore his gaze away and glanced over each shoulder to see if someone far more desirable was standing behind him. Apart from a few stragglers meandering in aimless circles, he was the only soul encompassed by her amber gaze. Jake could feel it burning through him like dark flame…as if in beckoning. He had smoked way too much.

Jake had definitely drank far too much, having not been entirely sober since Friday, but summoning ethereal temptresses with come-hither eyes still seemed excessive, as aspirations went.  Ah well, at least he was too wasted to be mortally wounded when she (rightfully) knocked him back. So Jake came-hither…

He’d like to believe he glided over and seduced her with a dash of debonair charm and charismatic allure. Jake did not. He stumbled, mumbled something incomprehensible (even to his own ears) and then stood blinking, struck dumb by her beauty and the fiery intensity of her gaze. It was like staring into goblet of whisky back lit by flickering flame. 

Jake couldn’t have torn his eyes from her face if his life had depended on it. It did. Or at least, his life as he knew it. Should he have fled? Beyond all shadow of doubt. But never once since that night had Jake believed there’d been a damn thing he could have done to avert the events that unfolded. His fate had been sealed from the moment she…found him.

Those being the words she’d whispered at his lips: ‘I found you’.

Her kiss unleashed a need so desperate it felt as if it would rip Jake to shreds if he didn’t act upon it. Deep, drugging, insistent, impossible to deny, even if he’d wanted to. There was nothing further from his thoughts—he had none—there was only the deluge of desire that encompassed them both. Jake knew she felt it too, he could sense it…smell it…which surely should have seemed strange, but didn’t.

He found himself tugged deeper into darkness and an onslaught of sensation; the scent of her skin, the sound of sighs, gasps and low, rolling groans. There was only lust; lips, teeth, tongues and nails clawing at flesh. They were just two creatures of the night, satiating a need too gnawing to resist.  Her arms clutched as if she were intent on imprinting herself on his very bones as she sank her teeth into his neck, and he tangled fingers into her hair to hold her there. More…was the only word Jake could remember, resounding ’round his head, drowning all else. He didn’t think to wonder who she was, why she wanted him, nor what she’d meant. Jake didn’t even ask her name.

The sounds drifting on the night air seemed as fitting as the lush grass he laid her upon. Burying himself in the body beneath his own felt necessary. Yet, even as he took her, Jake knew he’d been claimed too. She rolled him onto his back, eyes nailing him to the ground as her hands grasped his wrists like steel cuffs. Her hips were as hypnotic as the gaze ensnaring his own when she writhed above him—beneath him—when he flipped her over to take her from behind.

This was the sex he’d always craved but feared he might never find. He’d loathed himself for wanting it and coveting something darker, more…real. Basic? No…Primal. Feral. The sort of sex he wouldn’t dream of unleashing on a woman, for fear of being uncouth… cruel. Ignoble.

A need that had propelled Jake into new territory. He’d always found both sexes attractive, so he sought encounters with men, convinced he must have got it all wrong and must crave something other…rather than more. It was certainly more honest—far more fleeting—because they were shags with like-minded men, rather than lovers. It was more satisfying; Jake found that he preferred lean, hard bodies, but it still didn’t salve a soul thirsting for so much more…

His guttural growl alongside that final thrust had been unearthly; echoed in the cries that clawed the air alongside the scoring of nails across skin. The shuddering of his body had wracked his bones when the darkness exploded in a white hot rush that obliterated… Everything.

*

Jake woke, surrounded by scents of dawn; dew, moss, bark, grass, the ground itself. Scuffling critters scuttled in the undergrowth beneath the rustle of leaves. When he opened his eyes, Jake had to slam them shut, against a light so bright and colours so intense they seemed alive. Something was very wrong…and yet, very right.

There was no trace of the hangover he undoubtedly deserved. Jake felt…new. Renewed. Which was ludicrous, when he should have felt as sick as a dog with a banging head to boot. Instead, he felt…invigorated.

Jake lay there, pondering this for a while, luxuriating in the lush tickle of grass beneath him and the whisper of wind caressing his skin. Before abruptly springing to his feet when it occurred to him that he was stark, bollock naked. Outdoors. On the outskirts of a field. At Glastonbury.

Jake was more concerned about his lack of attire than the fact he’d just moved faster than he had ever done in his life. It customarily took him ten minutes to crank so much as a reluctant eyelid open…which was bloody weird in itself. Nevertheless, a flash of white alerted him a far more immediate concern; the presence of pants strewn artfully across a bush, not far from Jake’s jacket, crumpled jeans and the remnants of his t-shirt. Thank fuck for that; there was only so much coverage to be gained from two bandanas. Claiming festival chic would somewhat stretch credulity as a fashion statement.

Jake donned his pants and jeans and…arranged his tattered t-shirt around himself. Best of all—at least for the next five minutes—was the discovery of a slightly squashed packet of cigarettes and a lighter in the pocket of his leather. Jake parked his arse on a mound of grass and lit up, inhaling deeply. Better…

The strange intensity of the world he’d woken to and the fact he’d been starkers had been rather distracting, but as Jake smoked, memories of the night before finally began flickering to the fore. Quite where they’d been hiding for the last five minutes, he knew not, but once the floodgates opened, Jake was engulfed in the most vivid reel of images ever conjured by his mind’s eye. They were not hazy flickers of memory; it was akin to watching a blue(ray) movie inside his head.

Despite the fact he’d patently had the best sex of his life, he felt no pang of disappointment upon waking alone. There was no instant need to find her, no desire to hunt her down and make her his own. Make her his own? What the hell? He’d woken as Jurassic Jake. Well-weird turns of phrase aside, Jake knew—with bone deep certainty—that last night had been something other. Something that wouldn’t work, couldn’t work, if the world impinged upon it. He’d just doom himself to disappointment if he tried to track her down, but more than that…Jake neither hoped, nor craved, to see her again. That should have seemed strange in itself. It didn’t. It had just been…a moment.  A snatch of time out of time; one that could never be replicated nor confined to everyday life. She had left him, after all…she’d clearly felt the same. Best to let sleeping dogs lie…

 

***

 

Jake’s eyes flickered open and he found himself staring into drowning pools of beautiful, bewildered brown.  Phin. Cool fingers swept soothing strokes through his hair, smoothing it away from his face.

“Jack…” His angel face lit up with a beam of relief.

“Hi…um, sorry…” he mumbled.

“You don’t say sorry, you daftie. Does that happen lots?” 

“No…sometimes. Not for a while. My blood sugar must be shot t’shit…” Jake groaned, hoping the latter didn’t sound too blatant a lie. 

“D’you want a cup with a drop of tea in it?”

“Please…” Jake chuckled. Phin grinned and shuffled to the edge of the bed before slithering to the floor. 

“D’you need to eat?  Bacon, cereal, toast, fruit…” he called.

“Perhaps some bacon later if you’re making some, but a banana will do fine for now.”

“Yup..hang on.”  The scent of banana grew stronger, then a couple flew through the air to land on the bed. “Is two enough?”

“Great. Thanks.”

“S’kay, won’t be a mo…tea’s on its way.” Jake polished off the fruit while waiting for Phin’s return, which was preceded by the tray at the alcove opening. Once Jake had retrieved it from him, the sight of an excessive leg landing on the mattress damn near upended their drinks. Watching the rest of him wriggle onto the bed left Jake in no fit state to focus on whatever Phin uttered while doing so.

“Huh…sorry?” 

“D’you feel okay now?” Phin supplied, settling beside him.

“Yeah, I’m fine…thanks for the tea…I’m sorry I made you anxious.” He could smell the sharp scent of fear, riddled with worry, staining Phin’s own.

“You couldn’t help it. I’m just glad you came round. I…didn’t know what to do, whether I should take you to casualty or

“Fuck no!” Jake gasped when a surge of panic flooded his system.

“What…why…are you scared of hospitals?” Phin’s brow knitted with confusion, puzzled by the vehemence of Jake’s response.

“Um, yeah…that’s it. I don’t like the…smell.”

“Jack, you’re a bit of a puddleduck. You worry about hurting me as if you’re a mad-axe murderer and then have a panic about pottering along to casualty. That’s a smidge bonkers.”

“I’ve obviously come to the right place then.” Jake retorted, tongue in cheek.

“Ah! How rude! I was scared though…I thought…well, I was worried it was my fault. That I’d done it Too Much.”

“Phin…nothing is your fault. This is all on me.” The brown muddied with doubt. “Truly.” Jake stated, cupping Phin’s jaw to trap his troubled gaze with eyes thatfor onceheld only truth.

“Perhaps you need a Neil.”

“I need to kneel? Aren’t you supposed to shove your head between your knees when you feel faint?” Jake grinned. He wouldn’t have been the slightest surprised if informed that sporting a teapot on his head might help matters.

“Noo! Not kneeling down; a Mr. Neil. That’s not right really, I just call him that, it sounds po-lite. He’s Mr. Neil. Kelly. He’s my…I dunno what he is really, they sent me for cognitive behavioural wotsit, but that didn’t work out too well. I think he’s just supposed to keep me out of mischief.”

“…And does that work out well?”

“Er…sometimes?  I suspect he just spies on me for my mum, like an NHS minder,” Phin admitted.

“Doesn’t that piss you off?”

“Not really…the fact I go makes her worry less…and it’s better than anything else they’ve rustled up. At least I’m comfy with Mr. Neil…I like him, and I know the right words to say.”

“To keep him off your back?” Jake guessed.

“Yup. I do some listening, say some stuff that befuddles him a bit and then promise to do better concentrating. It’s easy. Jack, why are you laughing?” Phin asked, innocence personified. Guilty as sin.

“You’re priceless…Christ, I almost feel sorry for him,” Jake chuckled.

“Parp. He gets paid to put up with me. It could be worse, he could have wound up with a mad-axe murdering hospitalophobic.”

“True.” Jake fought to keep a straight face, then surrendered to the force of that incorrigible grin. “What am I going to do with you?” he spluttered.

“You could fuck me…but sadly, I think you did a rhetorical question.” Unleashing a sorrowful sigh, Phin turning huge, tragic eyes on Jake.

“Ph” 

“I know, I know…it’s too dangerous. P’raps we could do it in a cubicle at Casualty. That would solve matters a treat.”

“How d’you work that out?” Jake snorted.

“Well…you’ll be too spooked to do mad-axing…and if you do go beserker, I’ll be in the right place. Sorted.”

Wolverine? Oh fuck…they were all doomed. This really wasn’t going to end well. Jake had stopped suspecting that Phin was far more lethal than his foxy friend. He was certain of it.

 

***

 

Phin

 

 

“Well…you’ll be too spooked to do mad-axing…and if you do go beserker, I’ll be in the right place. Sorted,” Phin grinned, triumphant.

“I’m not listening.” Jack indulged himself in a theatrical groan, rolling his eyes as he raked a hand through his tumble of hair. “I have to go to work later, so I’ll need to make a move in an hour or so,” he sighed. It wasn’t one of his ‘despairing’ ones, it sounded regretful? That was wishful thinking too far, Phin decided.

“Okay, d’you want me to drive you home? Or somewhere else, if you’d prefer?”

“Y’sure? I can walk, it isn’t far.”

“I don’t mind. Unless you don’t want me to know where you live?”

“Why on earth would that bother me?” Jake (Phin seemed to be even more rubbish at remembering than usual. It was most odd, he could reel off reams of stuff he’d read just once, but could never recall a thing he was supposed to) asked. As if telling Phin his address was of no consequence whatsoever.

“I dunno…in case I climbed in your bedroom window, hoping you were too drunk to do worrying about being dangerous. Not that I would. At all. Ever. O’course.” Phin blinked, a bit, and aimed for an angelic smile.

You wouldn’t…”

Jaaack, I can’t help but notice you said: ‘you wouldn’t?’ rather than ‘I’m never that drunk’. Does that mean you’re oft too sozzled to insist on safe not-sex?”

“No! It does not. It was an instinctive response!”

“But your instincts would have said ‘fat chance o’that’ or ‘you’d be so lucky. I’m never that legless’. They did not though. You said ‘you wouldn’t…’ So it sounds a lot likely that I might well happen upon you in such a soused state.”

“I think I should walk home,” Jake groaned.

“Oh no, you don’t…you’ve already booked your man-wiv-a-van. It’s too late to do cancelling now.”

“No, it isn’t. I could scarper while you’re in the loo, or leap out whilst you’re driving.”

“That’s a smidge excessive. Are you sure you don’t need a Mr. Neil?”

Me!? Excessive? You’re the one having your wicked way with a helpless drunk.”

“Helpless? Then you won’t be able to do mad-axing.”

Hopeless. And yes. I would.” Jack glowered, which was way too sexy to be scary. 

“I could tie you up, that would work,” Phin mused.

“F’fucksakes. Phin, justit would not work.”

“Jack, I can’t help but notice that even though your voice and eyes are cross…not all of you appears thus afflicted.” Phin cast a glance towards the guilty party, making its presence more than a mite obvious in a most pointed sort o’way.

“Oh shit.” Jake snatched at the duvet, nearly upending the tray while trying to tug it over his lower half.

Why wouldn’t that work? I’m beginning to think you’re fibbing…about all of it. Please be honest…I can’t do working you out. If you tell me you don’t want me, that’s fine. I can understand that, I wouldn’t want me, but…” Phin flicked his gaze towards the fist clutching the covers across Jake’s crotch. “You keep giving me reasons, so I solve them…and then you make up more. It’s like the Krypton Factor. Except, I can’t win…I’ve no sooner popped the last segment into place, than you toss another piece into the pot.

“It isn’t solvable, that’s why…” Jake grunted.

“I don’t believe you. You think I’m a nut job, don’t you? So even though you might want me, you won’t, cos I’m…Too Much. There. That’s what I think. I don’t want to do beating around the bush.” Phin told him, too fed up of faffing about to pretend to be considerate. “Just tell me the truth and I’ll shut up and won’t do anymore asking. I can be just friends…or even go away, if you want me to. It’s just hard to do understanding, when you came here tonight. Then you kissed me…and did the…other things too. Even though I’d been so sure I’d never see you again. It’s…I’m just confuddled. What have I done wrong?”

“No. Phin…please don’t think that

“I can’t do choosing about it. I just do think that. I’d do choosing if I could, cos I…don’t want to lose you. Which is doolally daft, when I never had you in the first place.”

Jack flinched, sucking in a sharp breath. Then fixed him with a blue that burned like gas flame.

“Oh…you do.”

“Pardon…?” was but a waft of breath, barely audible even to Phin.

“Have me.” Jake clarified, so he must have heard, somehow.

“H-How..?” Phin was more befuddled than ever, because he didn’t have Jake. If he did, then Jake would want him, wouldn’t he? More than that, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself. Phin could not, if the decision was his to make.

“Phin…I…” Jake began, then narrowed his eyes and regarded him a smidge suspiciously. For all the world as if he’d just noticed Phin had a ferret secreted about his person, which might get up to mischief.

Then Jake nodded, almost to himself, and lifted his chin with granite resolve (which was hellish sexy). When he continued, his voice was a rich rumble that resonated with surety.

“You know you do. Have me. Otherwise you would have told me to fuck off, or just upped and offed to pastures new. You wouldn’t want to stay if you so much as suspected that wasn’t true.” Jake insisted. Scoundrel. “Why live in a camper van, if not to go wherever you want and leave whenever you wish? Never having to worry that you’ve outstayed your welcome? I refuse to believe you wouldn’t have informed me that: you’ve been here a long time, don’t you want to go home now? Those hypersenses know damn well what I wantneed. You.” Jake finished, with a flourish. If he’d had a cape to swirl, he couldn’t have been more magnificent.

“I….” Was he right? He was right about the camper van, of course he was. Phin had bought it so he could potter off as peaceful as can be and follow whatever fancy flitted through his head. But alsoyes he’d wanted to clear off and not cause any more friction for his family.

Phin didn’t believe Jake was his though, did he? If he did, then surely he’d be happy inside, rather than have twisty guts and scratchy skin? And spooks whispering stuff in his mind, which always made Phin have to do Too Much to shut them up.

If he was so sure Jack wanted him, then why did he feel so uneasy? Part of the problem was…he had no idea how such stuff worked; what was what, and what wasn’t, or what he was supposed to do. People were tricky at the best of times, even when Phin was in full possession of his faculties. He had no chance now; he hadn’t even been able to think with his top head since meeting Jake…let alone fathom a man as dumbfounding as he was drop-dead gorgeous.

 

***