Lions, Tigers and Bears. Oh My!
Part 4

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.

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September 25rd, 2010

We did good time to Lima, all things considered. Me and Lao shared the driving, he wouldn’t let Arsalan get behind the wheel. We had the necessary pit stops during which we fucked. Driving through the mountain at night made me look forward to being back in Paris, where I’d be able to forgo a car in favor of a bicycle.

Lima was like an oasis of civilization hanging on the edge of the mountains. In the darkness we had the city lights making an abstract piece of art. By the time the sunlight came over the peak we were close enough to make out the larger building.

I had Lao head to the airport. There I dashed inside to the locker’s whose key I had opened. I took out a small satchel and came back to the car. The satchel contained my Simon Berger ID, local currency as well as US, Euros and even a few Francs, and the address to my hotel, as well as the keycard to my room.

The hotel was good quality one. Nothing too extravagant, but fitting of a history teacher on sabbatical who was treating himself before having to head back to work. Lao abandoned the car a block away and we walked there. The place was classy enough to have a doorman dressed in the regalia of those European luxury hotels who stopped us.

“Excuse me sirs, but where do you think you are going.” He was of European descent, and his accent was from Boston.

“Je suis Simon Berger,” I said in perfect Parisian French as I pulled my key card, “ah have a rum here. Douze soixant-huit.”

“Oh, forgive me.” He opened the door for us.

We attracted many stares as we crossed the lobby to the elevators. We got one to ourselves as we went up to the twelfth floor.

The room matched the rest of the hotel; it was spacious and had an old feel to it. The bed frame was solid wood, which Arsalan put to the test by throwing himself on the mattress. Lao took off his hat and duster and hung them on the coat rack while I checked the closet. I had six freshly pressed suits in shades of browns and grays in it. I took one out to better look at it. It was brand new, had a classic cut and made of good quality wool I wasn’t surprised when the inside tag showed it was made by Tommy Hilfiger. It was a little lower quality then I preferred, but it was reasonable for a teacher. There was the same amount of button up shirt, in varying light colours, still in their wrapping, on the shelf. There was also a pair of dress shoes, walking shoes and one pair of hiking boots.

I nodded in approval at the selection and took one of the shirts before heading to the bathroom. I shook my head at Arsalan who was trying to make the bed knock on the wall. Lao was by the window, looking outside.

I was happy I locked the bathroom door when not thirty second after I got in Arsalan was trying to get in too. He banged a few times but I ignored him as I took off the rags I was wearing and threw them in the trash. I went through the toiletries; with the usual, straight razor, shaving cream, toothbrush and tooth paste was a bleaching kit and a box of hair colour; red hair colouring. It had been a long time since I’d worn my natural colour.

I started filling the tub before I bleached my hair and then applied the colour. I then shaved, brushed my teeth and took care of business before stepping in the tub now full of almost searing water.

Baths were a forgotten luxury, there was a time when they were the only way to get clean, and back then you couldn’t afford one everyday so you really relished it. Today the average person barely fits in a bath so they had to settle for a shower. I was lucky that at my height I could actually stretch and really enjoy it.

When the water turned tepid I drained the tub and turned the shower on to wash of the excess colour. I kept it colder then I normally would, the soak had made me sleepy but I had no intention to sleep. I wanted a real meal, a glass of good wine, and ice cream. Man did I have a craving for pistachio ice cream.

I washed my hair out three times an even after that the towel I used to dry it was still pretty red, but now my hair was back to a copper colour. It no longer matched my pubes since I’d had to dye those too, but I wasn’t going to shave them until some red had grown back out.

I got dressed and left the bathroom finally feeling like a human being.

“You look hot,” commented Arsalan, “You planning on trying to impress someone?” He added with a lewd grin.

“No, this is actually how I prefer dressing.”

“You’re joking, right?”

I looked at the way he was dressed, dirty and ripped jeans and a wife beater that had seen better days, and I had no trouble believing he wouldn’t get the comfort that came from dressing properly. So I didn’t bother trying. I took a pair of socks out of the drawer and noticed I had a return ticket to Paris, and it included the cancelled stub from the flight that took Simon Berger to Lima two weeks ago.

Harker had mentioned those during the call, but I was still impressed with his forethought.

I put the dress shoes on and all I felt I was missing was my cane. I would have to get one later.

“Are either one of you interested in food? I’m paying.”

“Hell yeah,” Arsalan exclaimed before jumping off the bed.

“Yah, food would be good ‘bout now,” was all Lao said.

We went down to the hotel’s restaurant. After the host sat us down and placed a basket of bread sticks in the center of the table Lao took some finely carved ivory chopsticks and used them to push the silverware across the table, away from him. Once I was with both sets he put the chopsticks down next to his plate and took off his gloves.

I raised an eyebrow. I’d never had a civilized meal with Lao before so I had never seen this behavior. “You don’t use a fork?”

“He’s afraid of the silver,” Arsalan said as he munched on the bread, “He won’t go anywhere near the stuff if he can avoid it.

I picked up my fork and smelled it. Arsalan was right there was a faint scent of silver. I put it back in its place. I didn’t have any problem with silver unless it was in the hands of someone trying to hurt me.

The waiter arrived with another basket of bread to replace the one Arsalan had cleaned out. I ordered the most expensive tenderloin with a Cesar salad and a glass of their best wine. Arsalan ordered three of the biggest steaks they had with a pitcher of beer. Lao ordered a chicken stir fry with water.

“When did you two meet?” I asked them taking the basked out of Arsalan’s reach.

He scowled at me. “Was in sixteen something.”

“Eighty-six, by roman calendar,” continued Lao. “Ah was bodyguard to a war chieftain.”

“Which I’d been hired to kill.”

“What happened?” I asked since neither continued.

“The chieftain lived,” Lao answered simply.

“Yeah, the tiger cut me up pretty badly. But the guy only lived till the next year. I killed him after Lao moved on.”

I looked at the Chinese man. “You never mentioned before you knew another were when we met.”

“The three times we met before this weren’t really conductive to discussing our past.”

I had to nod at that. “Considering what Arsalan knows about me I take when you two meet up it’s friendlier.”

“Oh yeah. When me and the tiger hang out it always turns into sex parties.”

I raised an eyebrow and looked at Lao.

He just shrugged. “He’s more into sex than ya werewolves are.”

I didn’t doubt that. “I’d you become a werelion?”

“I slaughtered a pride of lions,” he answered casually

“I didn’t know Mongolia had lions.”

“They don’t. I was in Africa at the time.”

“When was that?”

“When the Khan ordered us there.”

“Khan, Genghis Khan?”

Arsalan looked at me and smiled. “Was there ever another one who deserved the title?”

I stared at him. “That’s bullshit. There’s never been any records of Mongol presence in Africa during that time.”

Arsalan reached over the table and snagged a few bread stick. “That’s cause other than me no one was left alive to talk about it.”

“So you just went about killing lions?”

“Didn’t have anything better to do.”

“And it just made you a werelion?” I asked incredulously

“Nah. When I was done and bathing myself in their blood this guy just shows up out of nowhere. I think he’s just some local guy so I go to kill him, but turns out he’s some sort of spirit that was looking over the pride. He said that since I had killed all of them I was going to have to live their lives. Next thing I know I remember everything the lions had done up to the point I’d killed them.”

The server arrived with our food, preventing me from asking more questions. We ate in silence, I relished the well cooked meat, it had been months since I’d had something like this, at the dig most of the time food was cooked over a fire and while it had its charm it didn’t measure up to a professional chef. The wine was delicious.

Arsalan devoured his food with such ferocity that I was surprised he wasn’t eating with his hands. How he managed to not splatter sauces and juices all over the table still escapes me.

Lao slowly enjoyed his food, ignoring Arsalan, while I couldn’t stop glancing at the Mongolian.

“Your hair colour changed then I take it?”

“Yeah,” Arsalan answered as he chewed, “went from black to the colour of my mane.”

The sight of him talking with his mouth full convinced me to keep my other questions for after he was done eating.

“What did you mean when you said you remember everything they had done?” I asked him once he’d cleaned off his plate.

“Just what I said. I remember everything. I can tell you that giving birth sucks.” He looked across the room. “Speaking of which, you’ll have to excuse me.”

He got up without another word and headed for the bar. I watched him lean against the counter next to a woman in a business suit and start talking to her. She gave him the once over and her body language stiffened. I could understand why, he might look good with his wild hair and solid build, but he certainly wasn’t dressed to play that up, except maybe the wild part.

I could tell she was ignoring him, but that didn’t stop him, and within two minutes her posture softened enough that I became curious as to what he might be telling her, but at the same time I was pretty sure I didn’t want to know either, this was Arsalan after all, and I knew how coarse he was. I decided not to bother trying to listen in.

I few moments later I knew I’d made the right decision when Arsalan grabbed his crotch as squeezed it as the woman looked at him. She blushed and look away, but then looked at him again with a shy smile. She said something, he grinned and they left together.

I shook my head and rolled my eyes at his behavior before stabbing my salad with my fork. I froze with the fork almost to my mouth. “Wait a minute. Did he just leave with a woman to go have sex?”

“Ah told ya he was hornier than ya,” was Lao’s simple reply.

“I thought he was gay, like us.”

Lao shook his head. “He’ll have sex with anything that doesn’t run off screaming when he asks for it. And sometime he chases those.”

“Does that mean there’s a bunch of small Arsalan’s running around all over the place?” I shuddered at the thought.

Lao shrugged, “Ah doubt it. ‘least ah never heard him talk about it.”

“What about you? You never told me how you became a weretiger.”

Lao paused, “Unlike Ya, I didn’t start human. Ah was a Tiger. Cihang found me and made me human so ah could get to know humans and better mahself.”

“That’s it?”  I asked. It seemed a rather simple story.

Lao shrugged. “That’s the short version. The long one takes days to tell. But after that ah was found by humans, learned to talk, walk, work. Ah lived there for a few years and then moved on, traveled saw the world.”

“I take it they’re the ones who named you.”

He nodded. “They knew ah I was tiger. They didn’t question it, they were closer to nature back then.”

I slowly finished my salad before continuing. “Did Cihang make you gay?”

Lao thought about it for a moment. “Don’t matter he did or not. Ah am the way ah am and ah have no complaints.”

            I nodded and left it at that.

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