Written for the prompt(s): “Why did you break into his house?”
|Word count: Approx. 3,200
Notes/Warnings: A bit of teenage canoodling.
“But—” Edwin Fuller begins, shaking his head and pinching the bridge of his nose. He switches his cellphone from right ear to left. “Why did you break into his house, Dave?”
“You know why!” David Chen hisses in an excited whisper, his voice breathy and humid-sounding in Edwin’s left ear. “I’ve been saying for months that I think there’s something weird going on with our new neighbor, Mr. Salinski.”
“Uh-huh. Something weird. Vague, much?” Edwin pinches a little harder, but that does nothing to stave off the throbbing caused only in part by his best friend. “And instead of telling an adult or something, you just hadda investigate?”
“Well. . . .” sheepish voice, but lacking in guilt or reservation. Edwin rolls his eyes.
“Jesus, Dave, we’re not eight, anymore. We can’t play Fuller and Chen Detective Agency just because our new neighbor weirds us out! We’re not detectives! You can’t go breaking into someone’s house just because you suspect them of being up to no good! That’s what the police are for!”
A soft sigh sounds on the other end of the line. “Listen, Eds, this isn’t something for the police. I think . . . Jeez, you’re never gonna believe me if I tell you what I think.” Dave sighs again, a sad, resigned sound that makes Edwin gentle his tone before speaking again, though his voice is raspy anyway.
“What is it, Dave? Just tell me what you think our neighbor is up to that the police won’t believe—what’s so freaky that you had to wait till you hope Mr. Salinski’s out, to break into his house, and—what, gather evidence?”
“Well, yeah. And Eds, it has to be me. Or maybe us, like it used to be, because I think—” Dave pauses and takes a deep, steadying breath. “I think Mr. Salinski is . . . is a werewolf.”
Edwin freezes, looking around the bare room—at the barred door set in one wall, and the plain blue yoga mat he sleeps on against the other . . . the big bowl of water shoved into a corner, and the drain in the floor where he relieves himself—and says from between numb lips: “A werewolf . . . but that’s silly. Why do you think that, David?”
“See? I knew nobody’d believe me. Not even you,” Dave mumbles, sounding downcast. “Even if they saw all the weird stuff he does around the full moon. One night, three months ago, I was watching his house and he came home with freaking chains and manacles!”
“So?” Edwin glances at the wall to the left of the yoga mat. He shudders at the sight of a puddle of triple-reinforced metal, lying silently, waiting for a bad month . . . like the one three months ago. That’d been, aside from the Change, several nights of incessantly jangling chains and trying to chew through the gag in his mouth. “Maybe he’s into kinky sex-stuff.”
Blushing, Edwin is glad when Dave dismisses that suggestion with a rude noise. “These weren’t sexy-times manacles. These were for business. Like something you’d see in the Bastille, or the Tower of London.”
“Dave—just because someone has manacles and chains—”
“And obviously he needed them, because after he got them—right after he got them—the Moonlight Marauder stopped eating people’s pets!”
Edwin closes his eyes, his face heating. “Some people’s pets ran away, big deal.”
“Mrs. Clofer swears it was a wolf that got her Pit Bull!”
“Mrs. Clofer also thinks she’s been abducted by aliens!”
“That doesn’t mean she didn’t see what she claims she’s seen . . . I think Mr. Salinski was tear-assing around the neighborhood, eating people’s pets, before he got the bright idea of chaining himself up when the moon got full.” Dave laughs a little. “That’s probably where he is, right now: chained up in his hidey-hole, wherever that is. The moon’s already rising.”
“Is it?” Edwin asks with casual curiosity, even as he feels quicksilver pain flash up and down his body, through his very marrow. “Dave? Buddy, I need you to listen to me right now. I need you to get out of that place ASAP. You hear me? Get out of there, before you find—”
“What? Answers?” Dave demands, sounding suddenly thrilled. There’s a distant sound of jingling Edwin can hear from outside his room and from over the phone. “Speaking of answers, I just found this dead-bolted metal door in the basement with the keys hanging on a nail just near the door. Not such a nice, normal thing for our nice, normal neighbor to have, eh, buddy?”
“Dave, please—” Edwin says, but it comes out on the back of a long, low groan as he sinks to his knees.
Jingle-jingle-jingle go the keys Dave’s holding, then the jingling stops, the other boy’s breath coming humid-close once more. “Eds? What’s up? Gonna puke? Jesus, I keep forgetting you’re sick—and you seemed fine, all day at schoo—”
“Dave, please, don’t open that door,” Edwin gasps as his muscles begin to seize and contract around bone. He can hear grunts of exertion as Dave really fights to turn the keys in the locks. Can hear the twist and whine of recalcitrant metal as he shoots the dead-bolt. “Begging you . . . please—go home . . . don’t open—”
“Got it!” Dave exclaims and laughs breathlessly, grunting again. “Door’s a heavy fucker, too! Must be made out of solid iron, or something! But I think I can open—”
Edwin, doubled over in pain, now, drops the cellphone from hands that have become little more than glorified paws. He crawls away from the growing sliver of light—too bright to be anything other than Dave’s trusty Mag-Lite—toward the yoga mat, which smells like plastic-familiar-home-self as the door to his prison, to his safety and everyone else’s, opens slightly wider. . . .
The grunts of exertion end—as does the whine of the door—and that Mag-Lite is shining directly on Edwin, who curls himself into a ball, taking up whining where the door left off as his bones begin to shatter and reform in supernovas of burning agony.
“Holy shit!” a voice shrills, seeming too loud, too high, and too flat in the soundproofed room, and to Edwin’s suddenly keen sense of hearing. “Holy shit, Eds, there’s a guy in here, and he’s naked and all messed up! I think. . . .”
And there, Dave falls uncharacteristically silent as he pads slowly across the room. “Heyya, buddy . . . my name’s Dave and I’m here to help. I’m here to get you ou—Jesus! Eds?!”
Edwin tries to hide his face, shame and mortification ratcheting up so that they’re even keener than the pain of the Change. But when Dave’s hand lands on his bare shoulder, Edwin is startled into looking up into dark, worried, horrified eyes.
He opens his mouth to explain, but all that comes out is a pleading whine. Dave smells like many things—packbrother-prey-mate-fear-fascination-food-home-soap-sweat-musk-worry-Edwin’s—all of them good enough to eat.
“Run,” Edwin manages to growl out in something approximating English. Dave’s brow furrows in confusion.
“Eds—I’m not going anywhere without—”
“RUN!” Edwin means to scream, but what comes out instead is a howl.
He sees Dave’s dark eyes widen in sudden understanding, his complexion go as pale as a cadaver’s. The other boy stands up to run, at last, but it’s too late. Far too late.
And even as Edwin’s consciousness is snuffed out like a candle-flame, he can hear the ominous groan-clank as the door to the room shuts and locks the second before Dave reaches it.
Edwin snuffles and snorts his way to wakefulness, sighing as gentle hands card his hair. He feels rested and content in a way he hasn’t in months. As if everything’s safe as houses, himself included, and all is right with the world.
Then the wrongness of that hits him, and he’s bolting upright, to his knees, hissing as the dim, familiar light of the outer basement shines in his eyes.
The door’s open. Mr. Salinski has once more deemed him fit to roam among the unknowing throngs of humanity. He’s—
Remembering the hand carding his hair, he looks around to see his best friend, David Chen, sitting on the yoga mat, dressed in a dark t-shirt and jeans—looking whole, but definitely worse for wear. Tired and wan. His dark, dark eyes study Edwin with a mix of emotions too complex for Edwin to interpret, so he looks away.
“Did I . . . hurt you?” he asks, rough-voiced and gruff.
“No, you didn’t.” David’s voice is as soft and supple as velvet. It makes Edwin shiver.
“I thought you were gonna for the whole night, though.” Dave snorts, brushing too-long dead-straight hair off his forehead and out of his eyes. “Thought you were gonna bite me . . . or eat me.”
Recalling last night, and that Dave had smelled good enough to eat, like a confused mix of packbrother-prey-mate-fear-fascination-food-home-soap-sweat-musk-worry-Edwin’s, Edwin hangs his head. “I’m sorry.”
“Jesus, Eds, you’re sorry?” Dave laughs wearily, but shakes head as if amused. When he reaches out to lay a hesitant hand on Edwin’s shoulder, it’s nothing either of them seems to expect, and they both shiver, Edwin leaning into the cool, comforting touch. When he pulls the other boy to him and into a tight hug, Dave doesn’t resist. In fact, he laughs again.
“You, coming over all touchy-feely?” Another snort and Dave’s hand strokes slowly up and down Edwin’s bare back. “Lycanthropy must be terminal.”
Laughing, too, as relieved tears spring to his eyes, Edwin inhales the scent of Dave’s hair, letting the familiar mix of shampoo-sunshine-boy wash over and settle him. “Smartass.”
“Better a smartass than a bareass. You do realize you’re completely in flagrante delicto?” Dave whispers in his ear. Edwin speaks next without thinking.
“We’d have to be caught either having sex or about to have sex to be in flagrante delicto, Dave.”
The other boy freezes in his arms for one telling moment, the hand stroking Edwin’s back gone utterly still in the midst of an equally telling flirt of fingers.
“Dave?” Edwin asks, leaning back a little to look at his best friend. Dave is staring steadfastly at Edwin’s shoulder. “Is s-something wrong?” Besides the fact that your best friend is a werewolf, that is?
Blushing, Dave sighs, but finally meets Edwin’s eyes. His own are excited and scared and wide as saucers. “Boy, do we need to have a talk, Edwin Blake Fuller. About a lot of things, it turns out.”
Edwin couldn’t agree more. But for now, he wants nothing more than to sit here, in safety, and let Dave stroke his back as if he was a big dog. And Edwin’s opened his mouth and is struggling with finding a way to say this when Dave leans forward and plants a soft, tender kiss on the corner of his mouth.
It only lasts for a few seconds—Dave shaking the whole time—before Dave’s pulling away, blushing so bright, Edwin could read by it if he had a book.
“A lot to talk about,” Dave murmurs, still redder, brushing his heavy hair back out of his face. It immediately falls forward again, and this time Edwin’s the one to brush it back and hold it there, so he can look into Dave’s clear, dark eyes without obstruction.
“Maybe not as much to talk about as you think,” he says finally, leaning in for a kiss that’s met halfway. This time, there’s nothing soft or tender or uncertain about it. Edwin’s never kissed or been kissed by anyone before and he’s briefly afraid that he won’t be able to keep up with Dave, who kisses like someone who’s had years of experience. But that fear is soon put to bed when Dave hitches closer to him, moaning and pressing against Edwin as if trying to climb inside his skin.
Dave’s arms wind around Edwin’s neck and Edwin’s arms wind around Dave’s waist as, laughing and gasping, kissing and clutching, they lay down on the yoga mat: Edwin on top of Dave, one arm suddenly come out to bear his weight up off Dave’s slender frame and Dave with arms and legs wrapped around Edwin, trying to pull the larger boy down on top of him more fully. When Edwin gets the hint, he settles on Dave who moans and throws his head back, arching up into Edwin’s body like a cat. Taking this opportunity to properly scent Dave for the first time since this whole werewolf mess came about, Edwin leans down and presses his face to the hollow junction between ear and collarbone, inhaling and licking skin that’s salty-musky-sweet with sweat and soap, hormones and pheromones, and lastly, but not least, something fragrant and honey-rich that’s all Dave.
“Oh, my God,” Dave keeps murmuring as Edwin explores his neck and throat. “You’re a-awfully good at this.”
“You smell and taste . . . unbelievable,” Edwin groans and growls, nipping playfully at soft, savory skin. “Like all my favorite things rolled up into one package.”
“I could say the same thing,” Dave says, turning his face to kiss Edwin’s unruly, disheveled hair. “Jesus, Eds, is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just really happy to see me?”
Blushing, himself, Edwin buries his face in that hollow junction and mumbles: “Don’t have any pockets. Or firearms, for that matter.”
“Hmm.” Dave runs his hands through Edwin’s hair, sorting out tangles and arranging curls, before tugging on it till Edwin gets the idea again, and looks up. Dave’s eyes seem to glow softly in the dim light. “I’m pretty happy to see you, too.”
And with that, Dave arches up against him again, rocking his pelvis up hard. Edwin’s eyes close and he brings his forehead down till it touches Dave’s. Then he’s kissing Dave again, as tenderly as he’s able, till Dave’s making soft, yearning noises high in his throat and gently cupping Edwin’s face in his hands.
And this goes on—the kissing, at turns tender and sweet, or hard and hungry; the clinching, as familiar and possessive as if they’d been lovers for years; and the touching, as desperate and right-feeling as it is new and strange—until desire and friction’s taken them both to a place where thought is nonexistent and all that matters is the race toward completion that feels as inevitable as the moon rising.
Edwin has, indeed, made himself at home against Dave’s right thigh—whereas Dave’s made himself at home on Edwin’s left—and is happily letting his inner canine out as he humps his best friend’s leg, when a throat is cleared from the direction of the door. Before Edwin can even register it, he’s on all fours, growling and putting himself between his lover and the interloper.
“If you’re quite done, Edwin,” Mr. Salinski says when Edwin’s had a moment to realize that interloper is none other than his benefactor. The older man’s amused grey eyes tick briefly to Dave—whose blush is almost audible, and is certainly present in his very recently changed scent—then back to Edwin. “I’ll expect you and your young man to join me in the dining room for breakfast. There are lots of things to discuss, and decisions to be made. And they need to be made now.”
And with a nod for Dave, Mr. Salinski turns—ever smart in his brown tweed suits and plaid waistcoats—and exists the sub-basement.
It’s only when his footsteps have cleared the basement altogether and are moving distantly toward the kitchen, that Edwin relaxes. Then he relaxes more when Dave’s hand settles on his back, stroking and teasing.
“Out of curiosity: Is he a werewolf, too?” Dave asks, and Edwin stretches, arching his back and leaning into the lovely touch.
“Mr. Salinski? Nah . . . he’s a professor, not a Were.”
“Ah. Mutually exclusive, those two.”
“You have no idea how good this feels. . . .”
Dave kneels next to Edwin and settles back on his heels. “I think I do,” he says, nudging until Edwin rolls onto his back. He blushes as Dave looks him over, eyes lingering at crotch level, wide and appreciative.
“How is hung like a werewolf not a common idiom in the English language?” he muses and Edwin’s blush feels like a five alarm fire under his skin.
“I wanna touch you, and have you touch me, until. . . .” Dave’s face turns a little red, and he rubs Edwin’s tummy playfully, as if Edwin’s a giant puppy. “But I guess we’d better head on upstairs before Mr. Salinski catches us in flagrante delicto—?” Off Edwin’s nod at the correct usage of the phrase, Dave goes on. “Again. He might turn a hose on us, this time.”
“I wouldn’t put it past him,” Edwin sighs, sitting up. His eyes meet Dave’s and he tentatively pulls the other boy into his arms, burying his face in Dave’s throat for that perfect scent. Dave hugs him back, his breath warm and steady in Edwin’s hair.
I think I love you, Edwin thinks with equal parts surprise and dismay. I think I have since we were little kids . . . I was just afraid to see it. To look at it and admit to myself what I felt. Because if I did . . . I’d have to admit that there was a huge possibility that you wouldn’t feel the same way about me.
As Edwin thinks this, Dave sighs in his hair. “You know, I’ve had a crush on you since we were six, and you rescued me from Jeremy Garraghan and Peter Cross. They used to bully me so bad . . . until you. You were—and still are—my knight in shining armor, you know? The older I got, the harder I fell.”
“Ditto,” Edwin looks up into Dave’s eyes and smiles. “It only took me eleven years to realize, but, yeah.”
Dave’s smile is so big and bright, it’s like the sun rising in Mr. Salinski’s sub-basement. It’s so beautiful, Edwin has to kiss it. And kiss it. And kiss it. And this is the first time he’s been genuinely happy in the six months since he’d started Changing.
He and Dave kiss for long minutes before embracing silently, tightly, listening to the faint sounds of Mr. Salinski puttering around above them.
It’s going to be a good day, Edwin thinks, despite the talks that lay ahead of them and the decisions looming like doom in their near future. He has Dave—and in a way he’d never expected to get him—and all is right with his world.
A really good day.