*The following tale is fiction. It contains
graphic descriptions, intense situations, and consenting sexual material
men, women, and in some cases teenagers. If this kind of material is illegal where you are, if you are underaged, or if material of this
sort offends you, you are urged to turn back RIGHT NOW. Otherwise please enjoy.
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Denn's Mobile Circus
The Awe Inspiring Seers
The sound was like a large power switch being shut off. It'd come from up ahead. Looking toward the building, I scanned what interior I could see through the front door. Nothing out of the ordinary. I started to scan the exterior of the building.
The windows on the ninth floor of the building went dark.
The windows on the eighth floor went dark.
I took a step away from the building. I didn't know who was shutting off the lights. Wasn't sticking around to find out. Turning, I broke into a run down the pathway away from the building.
That was the sixth floor.
The fifth and fourth floors.
It was getting faster.
That sense of surrounding spoke up, bringing something to my attention. While I was clearly running (scenery was passing by and everything) it didn't feel like I was actually moving.
I looked over my shoulder and back at the building.
It wasn't at a distance like it should've been. It was still right where it...
Everything went black.
The ground I was running on went right along with the lights. My sprinting feet suddenly touched down on nothing, sending me tumbling forward through the pitch black.
The tumble was incredibly gentle. Much more than my momentum should've permitted. One complete forward flip is what I felt myself do before I settled into what felt like laying position with my back propped up.
It was also getting cold.
Along with all that, another sense. Aurey and Jo-C. They didn't feel as distant as they had before. They were quite a bit closer.
"Aurey? Jo-C? Can you guys hear me?" I attempted.
Silence hollered back.
I wasn't sure if they didn't hear me because we weren't close enough, or if they didn't hear me because they just couldn't, period. Wouldn't hurt to try again. Just as I got ready to something new popped into existence in front of (or rather above) me.
"What is that?" question overtook previous thought.
It looked like a star. Just a single one twinkling brightly from some distant place in the darkness. Wasn't entirely convinced that was what it actually was, though. A star didn't travel solo. One couldn't look up at the night sky and see just one star.
I hadn't made the decision to do it. Was still posted in the same laying position. But I could feel it. I was definitely moving. Like something was pushing me.
...Or pulling me.
And I was moving in the direction of the star-thing.
I went to move and discovered I could not. I was stuck in the position I was in.
"Aurey! Jo-C! Can you hear me?" I shouted out.
Something shimmered to the left.
Forgot I couldn't move and tried to turn.
"Don't worry. We're taking you back home." a voice spoke quietly.
"Back home to reality. Not heaven." the voice quietly spoke again.
Concept of response wasn't even done registering in my brain before the obscenely slow speed I was moving at became much less obscene. Like a pinball spring pulled back to start the game, I was launched forward suddenly through the darkness and straight for the star-thing.
It grew larger as I got closer, spreading out across the darkness. As it grew, I saw it wasn't just a ball of light. It was more like a peephole that was looking in on another place. The closer I got, the more I could see of this place. It was a ...shower?
Before question about that could form, I was out of the peephole and into the room beyond. The sense of movement halted. I felt (and heard) myself take a deep pull of air into my lungs. It felt like the sweetest thing they'd ever received.
"Keep breathing, man. Keep breathing." instruction came from my right.
I couldn't see who said it. Too bright and hazy all of a sudden. But I knew the voice.
"Just take it easy, Micah, and keep breathing." instruction came from right again.
Hadn't planned on stopping until the rage for oxygen in my lungs was finally over. I couldn't get air into them fast enough. Choked up and coughed hard a few times in the process.
When the screaming sensation was finally gone from my chest, I shut my eyes and made the move to rub them. Didn't remember I hadn't been able to move until I was already doing it. My arm felt like it was under liquid. That theory was confirmed as the sound of something coming up out of liquid hit my ears, as my hand came up to do its thing.
I blinked a couple of times. Yes. It was a shower I'd seen. I was in it. The tub actually. My body had been submerged in the tub, which was filled with water and...ice. No wonder I'd felt wet and cold.
My neck turned a little lazily toward my instruction giver. It was Denn, as the voice had told me. He was at the edge of the tub to my right side. A smile spread out across his face.
Seeing it gave me a feeling I hadn't felt in a very long time. It was like seeing my mother show up at my bedroom door whenever I'd woken up from a nightmare when I was a kid. It let me know that I was safe, sound, and at home.
"You're out." I detected a tone of happiness in his voice. "You made it out."
"Of what?" I just wanted an honest answer to what that meant.
One hour and fourteen minutes later I had that answer and more.
* * * * * *
I'd been told it before. Werewolves were not an affliction. They were a species. Like any other species they had a lifecycle and stages that took place at certain points.
The first stage happened in the womb. As the werewolf's mind developed, it would eventually become aware of the wolf-spirit/human body mismatch. It is completely unable to grasp the concept of it at this point and rejects it, suppressing it so deeply that it falls into a state of sleep.
To supplement, the mind creates The Ghost, a faux spirit in its vision of a human spirit. With the wolf-spirit suppressed, The Ghost is moved in as a cover.
Second stage hit the very moment puberty began for a werewolf. With all the heavy processes and changes taking place, the mind forgets to repress the wolf-spirit. Once puberty ended, it was like the wolf-spirit never existed to the mind. So it never goes back to repressing it.
A werewolf had potential to enter the third stage from the moment puberty hit all the way up to just before their thirty-first birthday. Moments of intense fear or anger would enter a werewolf into fight mode. Fight mode met Shifting. The better a werewolf was at controlling those emotions the more they pushed the clock toward edge of thirty.
Control only lasted so long, however. When it was lost, it reached into the real spirit, not the faux. The wolf-spirit's sudden and powerful awakening completely overwhelmed the mind and caused the sign that signaled the start of the third stage. The Blackout.
Under normal circumstances it took a week for a werewolf to recover from their Blackout, as the mind readjusted. By the second week, it would be strong enough to come face to face with the wolf-spirit that it'd forgotten all about. The mind is still unable to comprehend the mismatch and once again attempts to repress the wolf-spirit.
Unlike the first time, the werewolf is aware of this subconscious event. Anytime during that second week, while asleep, a werewolf would suddenly be locked into a mental trap. The setting would resemble confinement in some sort of way. It could be prison. A mental institution. A hospital.
In this trap was a sort of manifestation of the mind itself. It could be a correctional officer. A shrink. A doctor. Its objective was to convince the wolf-spirit that it was human and not wolf, which in turn convinces the wolf-spirit that it does not exist.
Because the mental trap operated on the same level as a dream, members of the trapped werewolf's Pack could Dreamwalk to enter it. This was called a Break Out. The objective was to reach the trapped werewolf and get them outside of their confined area as soon as possible. The longer the trapped werewolf stayed under, the more it raised the difficulty on entering the trap until it maxed out at impossible. Once impossible was reached, the werewolf would be effectively trapped. Locked into a ten year coma before they died.
Trying to execute a Break Out came with complication. Every person in the trap (aside from trapped werewolf and Packmates) was like a mobile alarm system. If they saw the face or heard the voice of the trapped werewolf in an area where it didn't belong, the system's alarm would trip. It would also trip if it heard the name of the trapped werewolf's Packmates. And when the system's alarm tripped the manifestation of mind came.
Under normal circumstances all Packmates and the trapped werewolf had to do was follow the rules. No speaking on the trapped werewolf's part or showing of face. No speaking of Packmate's names.
Me, Aurey, and Jo-C had done all that. The system was treating all of us as if we were a part of it, and ignoring us, as it should've.
Until we reached the lobby.
That's when things moved into what-the-fuck territory when the system did something it was never supposed to. According to Denn, mine doing so was the first time it'd ever happened during any Transition.
The alarm system could only monitor. If any of the rules were broken, it would simply stop and stare, alerting the manifestation of mind to the location of the trapped werewolf. It could not act. Only the manifestation could do that. And the two didn't bleed into each other's domain.
Somehow my system had acted. According to Aurey and Jo-C, there was no ball and no little girl at first. It was during a moment when they were both looking away that I got hit with the ball and the little girl showed up.
That glitch aside, system had reacted as it was supposed to. I'd been spotted, the alarm tripped, and the manifestation of mind came to intervene as it should've.
We still could've escaped.
The purpose behind the kisses Aurey and Jo-C had given me was to introduce me to their energy for the first time. This also introduced my energy to them. Because they were already connected to the Pack Bond, it also introduced my energy to it. That connection to the Pack Bond worked as a tether. Since I was trapped, all I had was the ability to speak telepathically to others of my kind that were in the trap with me. Being tethered gave me all my natural werewolf abilities back.
The three of us could've ripped through whatever came at us, including the manifestation of mind.
At least that was the opinion before my Ghost walked through the front door.
The werewolf meeting their Ghost was handled in a whole separate experience, called Ascension, which took place days after Break Out was done. Elements from Break Out and Ascension were not supposed to bleed into each other's domain. It'd, once again, not happened in Transition history until me.
Rules? What were they at this point? That was emphasized when my Ghost shot Aurey and Jo-C. Even the manifestation of mind wasn't strong enough to do what he'd done. He'd literally kicked them out of the trap and back to reality. Side effects from that included knocking my rescue time from the mind trap from achievable to not, as well as interrupting my link to Aurey and Jo-C, and my tether to the Pack Bond. So reacquired natural abilities were back out the door.
It was Aurey who'd saved the situation when he'd told me to find a way out. Under normal circumstances, Ascension took place on neutral territory. There was no mind trap, no blockage of abilities, no alarm system, and no manifestation of mind. The werewolf went in alone and with the purpose of killing their Ghost by any means.
Getting outside the building had taken me from one altered experience and into another. Outside had counted as neutral territory. It destroyed whatever interruption my Ghost had caused. Re-dis-reacquired werewolf skills back were in action.
By nature, my Ghost thought it was the real deal. It would do whatever it took to subdue me. I was the mistake. I was the error. It didn't fear me one little bit. And why would it? Who's afraid of the big bad wolf when all it's done until recent is sleep?
My Ghost never knew what I really was. Never knew what it was to go up against me unrestrained. When it'd tried to run was the moment it'd figured it out.
Werewolves who were experts on the Transition process said it wasn't possible to experience Break Out and Ascension at once as I had. Break Out was the end of the third stage. Ascension was the beginning of the fourth and final stage. Since it had never happened before, there was only speculation on what the repercussions could be.
"What do they think would happen?" I'd been curious and...disturbed to say the least.
I was out of the tub by this point and back in the room I remembered falling asleep in, sitting at the head of the bed.
Movement from it to tub had happened shortly after Aurey and Jo-C were ejected from my Break Out. I'd gone into a seizure just after. Bladder had lost all control and I'd pissed all on myself. It was while I was being hosed down in the tub that Denn noticed my body temperature was skyrocketing. So the tub had been filled with cold water and ice to help control it.
To my question, Denn had answered,
"Excluding the one exception, nothing but bad."
"So how did that not happen with me?" it was obvious it hadn't.
"Because you're the one exception. It's because of your Trait."
Old word. New context.
"Trait?" I'd inquired.
Jo-C, who was standing to the right and behind Denn, had raised his hand. He was completely out of Denn's line of sight, but Denn had still turned and looked over at him as if he'd been able to see.
"Can I explain it to him?" Jo-C had asked.
Denn considered for a moment.
"All right." he'd nodded.
I would've missed it if I would've blinked. The way Jo-C's eyes lit up like a kid who'd gotten the gift he wanted most on Christmas morning. A smile started to pull on his lips, before he came forward and stood next to Denn. Eyes on me. Face all business.
"Okay." he'd begun, "Have you ever played World of Warcraft?"
Unexpected question, but...
"Yeah, I have. Long time ago, though." I'd answered.
"Okay. You know how priests had the spell that would give you more life, and the mage had one that would give you more magic, and all that?"
"Yeah. Buffs, right?""
"Yes." Jo-C nodded. "That's what a Trait is like. A specific buff that you have. Remember how your specific buff always worked better for you than for anyone else?"
"It's the same thing with a Trait. And the name of yours is Adaptativity."
"Excuse me?" the Mexican girl with the face I hadn't seen back during the house incident spoke up from her seat on top of the dresser.
Turned out to be a nice face to see. A soft set of brown eyes and a set of lips that came close to full in size. I wasn't usually a nose person, but she had one that was perfect for her face. Not too big. Not too small. It was like her voice. Not so light that she still sounded like a little girl, but not so heavy that she sounded like she smoked a carton of cigarettes a day. That voice, along with her expression, buffed her disbelief in what Jo-C had said.
Jo-C had sighed impatiently.
"For those of you just now tuning in at home, let our studio audience remind you of what my Trait is." he'd rolled his eyes, but didn't turn to face her.
"There's been a whole lot of unusuality lately. What if you're wrong?" she'd countered.
"Guarantee you he ain't. N'less my game's off too." Aurey cut off Jo-C just as he'd prepared to give his counter.
She'd looked over at Aurey with the same amount of disbelief.
"We are both talking about the same Trait, right?" the look was still in her voice. "Not that our Pack is a poster child for common Traits, but that's...rare."
"Kyla, honey, do you need me to walk over there and slap you in the brain one time to help you out?" one of Kev's Packmates responded to her before Aurey could.
The responding Packmate, the female of a set of twins, was in the room with me, Kev and my entire Pack. They were the reason I hadn't been taken to the hospital when my situation went into seizureville. The two of them had what the majority of werewolves didn't. The only thing that was above a Trait. A Gift. They were Seers.
Because my case was in total foreign territory, they'd expected to fail in the attempt. The angle they took was what they believed allowed success. They'd entered the trap to observe, not to act. They'd tuned in right as I got shot and remained during my victory over my Ghost. After that, rule barring entry had vanished, which allowed them to enter what was left of the trap and lead me back to reality.
I hadn't been able to see them because they hadn't wanted to be seen. They didn't know how my mind would react if they'd allowed themselves to be seen. The female of had taken the risk of speaking to me when I was on the threshold of freaking out. Luckily, my mind hadn't reacted badly or unexpectedly to it.
Kyla hadn't given the female twin an unkind look. It was one of disbelief turning into uncertainty.
"For real, Imani?" she'd inquired.
"For real." the female twin, Imani, had nodded.
I'd raised my hand, needing to know what the fuss was about.
"What does my Trait mean, exactly?"
"It means that you naturally adapt to suit a situation on a mental and physical level." Denn had answered.
I hadn't seen how that was so rare.
"Doesn't everyone do that, though?" I'd said. "Things change constantly in the span of a day."
"Yeah, everyone does do that. But nowhere near your level."
"And what is my level?"
Denn had looked over towards the open bedroom door where the twins stood on the right side.
"Very high." Imani had answered.
"And how do you know that?" I'd been curious.
"You must've missed the part about us being Seers." the male had spoken up with a bit of attitude in his voice. "We can get into a person's mind. Not just on a basic level, like the Trait, but on an entire level. We can see a synapse if it fires in a fatal way. Your little seizure? Should've killed you without that Trait."
All thought had frozen.
"And I think you've said enough, Taj, thank you so much. You need to go outside and have a smoke. " Imani had said to her brother very sharply.
The male of the twins, Taj, had looked at his sister like he had not appreciated her sharpness, period. He opened his mouth to say something, before a look of grim realization took his face.
"Uh...yeah." he'd excused himself.
Nobody said anything until after he'd left the safehouse and shut the front door.
"Looks like its hitting him harder than it is you." the black female in my Pack had said to Imani.
"Nah. We're about equal. For some reason he's just doing a worse job of keeping it under control." Imani had said.
"Which is weird considering you're a lot more emo than he is." Jo-C inputted.
Imani had given him a look.
"Thank you, Jo-C, for that astounding insight."
"What?" Jo-C had shrugged. "It's true."
"Are you sure you two are going to be okay?" Kev had asked Imani.
"Yeah." she'd nodded. "Might need to take a nap, but, a-okay."
Imani's statement signaled the end of the hour and fourteen minutes.
Found I was in need of few minutes to myself.
Had some...reflecting to do.
I brought Denn to mind.
"I need to take a quick knee, man. Keep `em off me." I sent to him.
"My pack of Blues should be outside on the third chair if you need a smoke." his voice responded in my head.
Wasn't overly concerned with why his pack would be there. I just needed some space. I scooted over to the edge of the bed, got up and walked for the door. Imani, who'd been responding to another of Kev's check-up questions, paused as I walked past her.
I continued onward and out of the room. She resumed her answering.
I went down the hall, to the front door, opened it, went on out, and shut it behind me.
"Thank you." I thought of Denn again.
"I understand." Denn sent back.
Six chairs were out now in the yard in front of the safehouse. My eyes fixed on the pack of cigarettes located in the left corner of the centermost chair. I went for them, took one out...
And was going to light it with what lighter?
The faded blue jeans I had on weren't mine. They'd been donated to me.
"May I?" the voice of Taj from the right reminded me he'd come out before me.
I turned and saw that he had a lighter in his hand.
"It's the least I can do after what I spilled in there." he added.
Actually, I felt the least he could do was to get out of my face after what he'd spilled in there. His revelation was the icing on top of the reasons I was out there.
Speaking of revelations, I was going to ask Kev why the HELL he hadn't mentioned anything about Break Out or Ascension when I'd asked him what I could expect. That should've been close to the first thing out of his mouth.
At the moment, I could just take the light, thank Taj, then tell him I wanted to be left alone. Lucky for him I had home training. Would be rude to tell somebody to give me space at their own house. If Packs stayed together, I assumed he lived in the main house with Kev.
"We're you serious back there?" I inquired instead.
Sighing, he nodded.
"So if it weren't for my..." what was it called again?
"Trait." he filled in the blank.
"Thank you. I wouldn't even be here right now?" I continued my inquiry, then accepted his light.
He flicked the lighter to life and allowed me to light my smoke, before he put it away and took a pull on his own.
"No." he exhaled. "And you weren't supposed to know that."
"Why?" I didn't see the need to keep something like that secret from a person.
A look that said "seriously?" came to his face.
"Don't think you've been through enough already, huh?" he remarked, then shrugged, "Then again, given the Trait, I guess it is in your nature. So carry on."
The latter comment was barely been ruled out by the former. It was a question that kept coming to mind ever since I came too at the empty house. Why did these people seem to care about me? Kev aside, I did not know any of them and they did not know me. Yet, otherwise complete strangers had taken me in and looked out for me as if I was their responsibility.
"Because we're not like humans." Taj answered from out of nowhere.
My eyes fixed on him.
"No, I can't read your mind. It's the look in your eyes, your face, the way you're holding your Blue. I'm reading your body language." he was on point again.
I waited for a moment to see if he'd respond to my body language again.
"How?" I asked when he didn't.
"Skim level, me and my sister went into your mind. In order to do that, we have to be willing to let your mind become ours. When we step out of your mind, we don't forget it. For two days, it stays right here." Taj tapped his left temple a couple of times. "Every little thing about you."
"What do you mean every little thing?"
"I could make you think you were talking to yourself instead of a completely different person."
"Bullshit." I contested.
So had he.
Said it right when I had.
"I can convince you further if you want." Taj shrugged.
Didn't need him to.
"Well, that's really nice to know." I couldn't and wasn't sure I should help my anger. "I hope ya'll don't go around just doin' that shit to people."
"That's why it's illegal unless the circumstance absolutely calls for it." Taj said.
"Yeah? How often is that?"
"Think we were in our early twenties last time. We're thirty-four now."
Ten years minimum then.
"I want you to know I'm not comfortable with that at all." I spoke my mind and took a pull on my smoke.
"Hmm." Taj nodded, taking a pull on his own.
"Nope. Doesn't stop me from making the same decision if I had to make it again.
None of us knew what was happening to you. We had to do something. Imani and I did." he said.
"Don't get me wrong. I mean, I'm thankful you cared enough to help somebody you don't even know. But how would you feel if someone did to you what you and your sister did to me?"
"Considering you're still under the influence of your human conditioning, I'd feel exactly the same way you're feeling now."
That'd come out in a reproachful way.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I let my tone bite a bit.
"Related to the comment I made earlier, about werewolves not being like humans. Just ask yourself this; are you mad because we were in your mind, or are you mad because we know everything about you, including all your secrets?"
"Uh, both. No difference between the two."
"Big difference between the two. But explaining that is going to take us completely of topic, so I won't even try. Instead, lets recall your conversation with Kevin last night about the Pack Bond. What was that other thing, aside from having sex with a fifteen year old, that you weren't onboard with? I think it was your Pack knowing everything about you, wasn't it?"
I was now done biting with my tone.
I had come to learn and accept a lot of things in the past twenty-four hours, let alone all that'd come before that.
Mockery had not, and would not, become one of them.
Taj's shirt was balled up into my fist before I realized what I was doing. I pulled him toward me enough to bring us face to face.
"There you go!" Taj...cheered? "Let it out! Make me shut up!"
Unless a person put hands on me first, I did not put hands on them. If they used words against me, I knew how to use my words right back. Yet...
I let go of his shirt and fell back to my seat. He straightened out his shirt as he fell back to his. Somehow, neither of us had dropped our Blues.
"What you did right there. That was the real you. Not the front." Taj said.
"What?" my voice was still a bit sharp.
"The other thing Kevin talked to you about."
"What about it?" I invited.
That "seriously?" look came to Taj's face.
"What's the number one thing you don't want your Pack to know about you and why?" he inquired.
I returned his "seriously?" look with a "really?".
"Thought you said you had every little thing about me up here." I tapped my temple as he had earlier. "You tell me."
"I'll tell you that your big secret is as startling as finding out your favorite color is blue." You're homosexual. Oh my god, stop the press." he quipped.
This was an unexpected turn of events. With the way our conversation had been going, I'd expected him to fuck with me about it. And I would've been ready. I was not ashamed of my sexuality. It'd taken me time to get there, but I wasn't. However, I did not go around putting it out there that I was. Unless they weren't hetero themselves, people looked at and treated a person differently when they found that out about them. I'd seen it all through high school. Saw it at tech school. Saw it on my computer tech job with a co-worker. With the skin color and gender I already had enough of that.
"Since it looks like you want to know, werewolves accept difference. It's part of reality. We respect that. Humans, on the other hand, fear it." Taj spoke when I didn't.
Found I had to agree. They most certainly did.
"That's behind you now, though." he continued.
"Tell that to the thirty years I've been a part of it." I said exactly what was on my mind.
Taj took a pull on his Blue, nodding.
"Oh trust me when I say that I understand." he exhaled. "Werewolf never forgets Transition. That's why I want to give you some advice. Don't front. That's what humans do. Not werewolves. You've been taught to be afraid of yourself. Don't be. It's time to discover what and who you really are."
I took a pull on my own Blue, taking in what he said, then exhaled.
"That's advice I wouldn't mind taking if you weren't a bit of a dick." the words came out before I could catch myself.
"Actually..." Taj put his Blue-free hand on the crotch of his black jeans and tugged. "I'm a big dick. But I appreciate your modesty."
I cracked up laughing.
And I didn't want to.
Aside from that short moment of advice, my liking of Taj was leaning toward `did not'. But I couldn't front. Shit he's said was funny to me.
"Would be an even bigger one if you weren't swimming around up here." Taj tapped his temple again, as I collected myself.
"Why?" I found that an interesting statement.
"Side effect of being a Seer. Just because I'm out of your mind doesn't mean it's out of me yet." he answered.
"What do you mean?"
"Like I said earlier, when we came back into ourselves from being in your mind, Imani and I didn't just forget what we experienced. It'll linger for a couple of days, then it'll be gone."
Taj paused to take a pull and an exhale on his Blue. I did the same.
"During that time, though, there's a risk that we can take on certain personality traits of the mind we were in. If a Seer isn't properly trained, their own mind can be swallowed up by the mind of the person they're in. When they step back outside of it, they're like a carbon copy of that person for the next two days."
"Well, you don't seem like a carbon copy of me, so I figure you're properly trained?" I said.
"You figure right." he nodded.
I was curious,
"So which of my personality traits did you take on?"
"Eh, nothing for you to worry about. Let's just say that if you're around a couple of days from now, you'll see." he answered.
"Any reason why I wouldn't be around?"
"First, you need to get your Pack invite and decided if you accept or not. Secondly, you guys'll probably be heading to the Governess's house if you accept Pack invite."
"She's like what the governor is to humans, only instead of being in control of just one state she's in control of a zone of them."
"Why would we be going there?"
"If you accept your Pack invite, you'll be a W.I.L.D Agent. And guess who gives W.I.L.D Agents their direct orders?"
"No." I shook my head. "That might be good for them. But I am not any W.I.L.D Agent."
"Already made up your mind about the Pack invi..." the question didn't get to complete as a look of contemplation came to Taj's eyes.
"Which, actually, figures." he remarked, then continued: "Why don't you think you're any W.I.L.D Agent?"
"What figures?" I hadn't missed that.
"An equation. Now, I asked a question."
"So did I."
"You got the best answer you're going to get on that. Move on."
Just when he was starting to help out his `like' count...
"How many years have you been a W.I.L.D Agent?" I moved on to his question.
"Twenty-one years." he answered.
"Yeah? And I'm walking into this with not even a day's worth of experience. Gonna compare real well to twenty-one years."
"Weeee!" he made a gesture with his hand over his head. "Since you missed it, I was twelve years old when I became a W.I.L.D Agent."
"How could you be a W.I.L.D Agent at twelve?" that couldn't be true.
"It runs in your blood. It runs in your Pack's blood. That's how it's worked for every W.I.L.D Agent long before it was ever called W.I.L.D. We're born into it and made for it." Taj took a final pull on his smoke and exhaled.
I did the same. We both put our butts out on the grassy ground. I was about to start looking for the can when Taj lifted up half way and gave his smoked Blue a nonchalant flick forward. The butt sailed upward, passed me, and over to the right, where it descended and landed almost smack dab into the can. It had been placed out front two chairs down from mine.
"And there's the can." I remarked, leaning as close as I needed to and tossing my butt in.
I wasn't even going to try what he'd just done.
I leaned back into my original position and got ready to ask more about this W.I.L.D business.
"We're on our way out. You straight?" Denn's unexpected voice in my head almost made me pee a little.
Forgotten all about the telepathy thing.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm cool again." I answered him after the scare wore off.
"Forgot what you were going to say?" Taj must've seen me start to speak.
"Sorry. Still gettin' used to this telepathy shit. Denn just let me know they're on their way out."
"Ah." he nodded. "Rap time over then."
He stood up and stretched. I didn't need to do either and stayed where I was.
My eyes were getting ready to go over to the door of the safehouse when I realized that Taj's stretch had caused his light blue button up T-shirt up to ride up off his body, creating a gap that exposed the lower half of his belly button and down to the point where the top his jeans began. A dark trail of hair spread across his unexpectedly toned lower belly and disappeared under the top of his jeans. It was a complete contrast against his skin tone. It was like that right balance I'd worked to get with coffee when I drank it. Darker than a latte, lighter than a mocha.
My eyes continued downward.
There was something pressing against the inside of the fly of his jeans. It forced the fabric to bulge outward. Not a lot. Just enough to indicate that something was definitely on the other side.
It figured. Good looking and, from what I could see, with nothing to blush about between his legs.
No wonder he was so full of shit.
Taj ended his stretch and sat back down. It brought his face back down to my level. On that face was a grin.
...I didn't like that grin.
It lingered for a moment before he sighed.
"Do we really have to be little boys over this?" he shrugged.
"Most dudes don't react too well when they catch another dude checking out their junk." I could only be honest.
"So you assume I'm straight?" Taj responded.
"Aren't you?" I hadn't been given any reason to think otherwise.
"Yeah." Taj chuckled. "But who are you to tell me that I can't appreciate when I'm being checked out?"
The front door to the backhouse opened as I got ready to respond. My Pack, plus Kev and Imani began their exit. Looked like our time was up. I killed my response.
"Name's Taj." I heard his voice in my head.
Didn't scare me like it had before.
I brought him to mind.
"Sure you already know my name." I responded.
"Let's pretend that I don't." he remarked.
"Micahel." I humored him.
"Never heard that name before. I like it. It's been nice talking with you, Micahel."
Still didn't know how I felt about him. But I couldn't deny that our conversation had been...enlightening, among other things.
"Likewise. You BIG dick." I answered.
Taj physically cracked up laughing.
* * * * * *