Lions, Tigers and Bears. Oh My!
Part 21

Usual disclaimers apply.  The following contains male-to-male sex.
If you are under age or such reading is illegal in your country,
please go elsewhere. Otherwise, please enjoy.

Comments and Critiques are welcomed at

A Special thank you to Brett for his editing work


February 28th 2011


I looked at the envelope as I stood in front of the mailbox. It was an ordinary looking envelope, the kind anyone would use to send a letter. Mailing it shouldn’t scare me this much.

In it was another envelope. This one looked much older, and contained a letter, which also looked old, as well as being stained with tears. Accompanying the old envelope was another letter, on standard everyday paper this time. It explained to Mister Finsher that after my visit to Oxford, and his help, his name kept nagging at me. I went looking through the boxes where I’d packed my grandfather’s things after his death, and found this envelope, addressed to ‘Martin Finsher’. I didn’t know what the contents were, but I figured he should have it.

It was addressed to him, care of Oxford, England. He was well known there, so it would reach him.

If I put it in the mailbox.

It was only paper, I shouldn’t be this terrified of it. It wasn’t like Martin could track me down with it, if this turned out to be a colossal mistake. I was mailing it from one of the thousand mailboxes in Washington DC.

I had poured my heart in it, but it wasn’t doing any good in my hand. I took a deep breath, threw it in and walked away, my hands shaking. I didn’t feel any of the relief I thought I would.

That left only one thing to do before I could make arrangements to leave. I had to go see Robert, and it had to be at his home. As much as I’d like to do it in a public place, to protect myself from his wrath, being noticed here would raise too many questions.

* * * * *

The same car was in the driveway as when I’d been here last, so he should be home.

I told myself that I should just walk by, go around the block . . . in case he was out for a walk. I realized I was stalling immediately and forced myself to walk to his door.

I heard movement inside the house before I knocked and hesitated — maybe this wasn’t a good time for him, he might be busy with something important.

I was stalling again.

I knocked.

I heard his wheelchair move close to the door, I heard him move and the peephole cover open. Nothing after that.

“Robert?” I asked in the silence. “It’s me, Simon.”

He didn’t say anything.

“I know you don’t want to see me, and I don’t blame you. There’s no way I can ever be forgiven for the way I treated you. For the way I dismissed you out of my life when you needed me to the most.”

I rested my head against the door. “I truly am sorry for what I did to you. I was selfish and self-involved. I didn’t look past my own needs and fears, to take yours into account.

“I’m leaving the Country. You won’t have to worry about me coming back and reminding you of what I did. But I had to tell you how deeply sorry I am for not being a better man. The kind of man you deserve.”

There was no sound coming from inside. I wiped my tears and walked away.

I was almost to the sidewalk when he opened the door.

“What happened?”

I turned and I wanted him as badly as I’d ever had. All I wanted to do was run to him and hug him, but I didn’t move. I tried to tell him how much I was hurting, how badly I had been treated, but nothing would come out of my open mouth. I realized that wasn’t why I was here. “I’ve been made to realize how much of an asshole I’ve been,” I finally said.

I could see the debate on his face. “Come on in. You can tell me what happened before you leave. You deserve at least that.” He backed into the house, leaving the door open.

* * * * *

I must have talked for four hours, at some point gesturing while pacing around the living room. By the time I was done, I had cried, raged and completely exhausted myself.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that,” he said, squeezing my leg comfortingly. “Come on. You probably need a good night’s sleep after all that.”

I looked at him in surprise.

“I’m not going to kick you out in the dark, in your state.” He turned around and wheeled himself down the corridor. “You can use the guest bedroom.”

The offer of the guest bedroom stung, and I realized that on some level I had been hoping that after hearing my story, he’d take me back. That we’d be able to go back to the way things were.

But that wouldn’t happen. After what I’d done to him it probably would never happen. I should consider myself lucky he’d listened to me, let alone let me sleep here. Resigned I headed to the bedroom in question.

It hadn’t changed since when I’d lived here; an Elizabethan four poster bed, with a thick mattress, and a Louis XVI dresser with a reading chair from the Napoleon era. All originals found on our travels and carefully restored. The room hadn’t seen much use when I lived here, we hadn’t entertained much, mostly his family visiting for the holidays. From the scents in the room this hadn’t changed.

I slept fitfully, and woke to the sound of the shower running in the master bathroom. I was out of the bed and my hand on the door handle when I remembered that I couldn’t join him. My legs gave out and I started sobbing. I don’t think I’d realized how good I’d had it when I was with him, or with any of my lovers, and how I’d carelessly thrown all of them away the moment my comfort was threatened.

The shower was still running by the time I dried my eyes and got dressed. I went to the kitchen and looked in the fridge. A lot of the meats were gone, I’d been the one who really enjoyed them. Robert preferred vegetables, except for bacon. Robert loved his bacon, as much as I did. I grabbed the half eaten package, the carton of eggs and set about making breakfast.

I kept telling myself that I wasn’t doing it to try to get him to take me back. I was doing it to thank him for letting me stay the night.

The cast iron frying pan was where I expected it to be under the counter, that part of it hadn’t changed, only the sink area had been modified so his chair would fit. I forced my thoughts away from what had caused the renovation to be needed and set about making the bacon omelets.

Robert entered the kitchen as I put his omelet on a plate.

“Thanks,” he said, as I put it on the table. He wheeled himself to the fridge and took out a jug of orange juice and a container of greens.

I stopped myself from asking him when he’d started eating vegetables with breakfast and took a glass from the cupboards, placing it next to his plate. He didn’t wait for me to start eating.

I was half way through my plate when he put his in the dishwasher, and wheeled himself out of the room without a word. I forced myself to finish eating, even though the way he barely acknowledged I was here killed my appetite.

I spent the day moving about the house, putting things away, and doing some cleaning. Part of me said that I should just leave, that Robert had extended the offer only for the night, but another pointed out that he hadn’t said I needed to leave. So I made myself useful while he worked in his office.

He came out for lunch, and I had chicken soup and a ham sandwich ready for him. Again he ate silently before going back to his office. I set about preparing his favorite stew, setting it to simmer, before going back to cleaning the house.

Dinner was again silent, and this time I could smell how uncomfortable he was with having me here. I couldn’t fool myself anymore. I barely ate anything.

“I probably should head out,” I said, as I put the left over in the fridge.

“Are you sure?” he asked. I wanted him to be earnest about the question, but he was only asking because it was what was expected.

“Yeah. I need to make arrangement for my flight. It’s best that I get back to it sooner rather than later.”

“I understand. If you want to use the computer to book your flight, it’s in my office.”

“Thanks, but I’d rather use the phone.”

“Of course.”

It took me twenty minutes to make the arrangements. Five minutes later I was packed and at the door.

“Good luck with your expedition,” Robert said.

I wanted to grab him by the collar and shake him. I wanted to know why he was acting so cold toward me. But I knew the answer. I had caused him to become the way he was. I didn’t think he hated me, but he certainly didn’t love me anymore.

I steadied my voice as best as I could. “Thanks,” I said, before leaving him for the last time.

* * * * *

I had wanted to leave that night, but the were no available flights, for the next few days. A lot of people were escaping the winter to Greece, the woman on the phone explained. She offered for me to go on standby, but that would have meant staying at the airport. I didn’t think four days there would be a good idea. I considered asking Robert if I could stay until my flight date, but I knew I would do something extremely stupid if I’d stayed with him one more night.

I’d also considered going back to Paris instead, but I would just end up moping around, and who knew how long I’d delay going to Greece. The best thing was for me to go there as soon as possible. Get back to my work and try to put this behind me. I wandered around DC while waiting for my flight. I still had another two days to go before it would arrive.

I was so lost in my thought that I didn’t react when I heard the angry scream. Or when I was tackled and thrown into an alley. I took a moment to realize that I was lying on the ground, and that my backpack had bounced further down the alley.

“Where is he?” Someone asked. I sat up and looked at him. He was taller than I was by a good six inches, black hair cut short. He was wearing a white shirt, under a brown sport jacket, and some well used blue jeans.

“Who?” I asked.

“Don’t fuck with me. You fucking know who I’m talking about.”

“Look,” I said, standing, “You obviously have me confused with someone else.”

“I don’t fucking think so. I’ve been looking for you for long enough to know who I have. So you’re going to tell me where the fucking bastard who hurt George is.”

“Who’s George?”

Instead of replying the guy came at me, shifting in the process. His clothes filled out a little more with the black fur that grew out and his head reformed itself into that of a wolf.

He got in a punch while I tried to figure out who this guy might be out of the few werewolves I’d pissed off over my life. I blocked the second. Then he grabbed my arm and threw me over his head.

I landed near the mouth of the alley, my head ringing for a moment. When the ringing cleared so did my thinking. I quickly stood and took a few steps toward him to make sure no one on the street could see me.

“Okay, I have no idea who you are and what you want, but if that’s how you want to do it. I’m happy to oblige.” I shifted as I closed the distance between us. My clothes did more than fill out. They burst at the seam as I gained almost a foot in height and a few hundred pounds in mass.

I stopped in front of him, pulled my tattered shirt off my shoulders and threw it at his feet.

“Now,” I growled, “how do you want to do this?” I looked down and looked him in the eyes.

He didn’t move for a moment, mouth gaping, and then backed up till he hit the wall. “What the fuck are you?”

“I’m a werewolf, like you.” I crossed my arms over my chest and kept my gaze on him.

“Like hell you are. I’ve seen plenty of werewolves. And none of them looked anything close like you.”

“I’m unusual in my size, but I have the over revved sex drive like any other werewolf. You want me to prove it?”

“What? No! . . . Well.” He looked me over, and then focused on my crotch, which my tattered pants barely hid. “No, what the hell am I thinking? I’m here so you tell me where the guy who hurt George is.”

“I still don’t know who George is.”

“He’s my friend. The guy your lion friend mauled when you stole from him.”

“Oh, that.” I looked down, feeling my face heat up as I remembered what had happened. “I’m sorry about what happened. Is he ok?”

“He’s going to heal up,” the guy said, after studying me for a moment.

“That’s good.” I still couldn’t look up at him. “His name is Arsalan, but I don’t know where he is. We parted ways on bad terms after that. Last I heard he disappeared somewhere on the I80, between Oasis and Salt Lake City.”

The man cursed under his breath. “OK, I’ll track him down later, but in the meantime, you’re going to give me back the book you stole.”

“What? No.”

“That thing doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to George.”

“Like hell it does. Sir Richard Francis Burton was an explorer, a pioneer, a researcher. His journals belong to the scientific community, not in an old warehouse where no one can appreciate it.”

“It’s not your job to decide who owns it.”

I stared at him, and he stared back. I could see he wasn’t going to take an outright ‘no’ on this. He wanted something of a win to come out of this.

“Look. I’ll make you a deal. Once I’m done with it, I’ll give it back.” The lie came easily. I’d give them the copy. It wasn’t like they would be able to tell the difference.

“What do you need it for? I thought you just wanted to give it to the scientific community.”

“There’s information on where we come from in it.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m looking for our origin. The journal has information in it that is pointing me to Greece, but I’m not done figuring out the rest.”

“Our origin? You mean like how we came about?”


“Oh, I can tell you that.”

Now it was my jaw that dropped. I’d spent almost two hundred years looking for the answer, and this guy, who couldn’t have been a werewolf for more than fifty years, had it? “How do you know that?”

“I know the guy who made you and me into werewolves.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I know the guy who turned you into a werewolf. If you promise not to try to beat him up for that I can even take you to him.”

I vaguely remembered a man standing over me while I was dying. Was that who he meant? “I’ve been alive over two hundred years. What makes you think he’s the man who did it?”

“He’s been around a long time. And he’s the only one who can make werewolves.”

“Bu I don’t remember anyone biting me.”

“That’s legends and Hollywood. A touch from him is all it takes.”

“Just a touch? Then how come there’s so few of us? No, never mind. Was he there when it all started?”

“I don’t know. I guess. Probably.”

I grabbed him by the collar and lifted him so we were eye to eye. “I need to talk to him, right now.”

“He won’t be able to help you. He doesn’t remember anything past the last few centuries.”

I cursed and put him down.

“What’s the problem? I can still take you to him.”

“It won’t do me any good. I’m not interested in how I became a werewolf. I’m looking for the origin of all werewolves.”


“What do you mean why?”

“I mean, what does it matter where werewolves come from? We’re here, now. That’s all that matters right?”

I just stared at him. “You’re kidding, right? Knowing where we come from will help us figure out how we fit in the world, where we go on from here.” I looked down at the rags my pants were. “Are we done fighting?”

“Yeah, we are. My name is Dennis, by the way.”

“I’m Simon.” I ripped what was left of my pants off and walked by him, shifting back to human just as I reached my pack. His eyes followed my crotch as long as they could. “You know,” I said, as I pulled out my spare pants from the pack, “I have a hotel room not far from here. You’re welcome to come with me there.”


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