This is a story that came to me when I was writing Cats and Dogs. It's about how Peter and Michael, the were-lions who turn up in Chapter 5 of that story, met and got together. It's a gay story so if that's not your thing look away now.
If you have read Cats and Dogs you'll know that these guys don't really 'get it on' until then, so this is a fairly slow and sweet story. For the avoidance of doubt, this takes place a few months before Cats and Dogs so they're probably aged about 19/20.
And while I'm on the subject, for those people (quite a few, thanks!) who asked about the continuation to Cats and Dogs, I am working on it. I'm up to chapter 5, I think, but I have 8 other stories of various types in progress as well - I'm good at settling down to write, just not so much at concentrating on one thing at a time!
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As I packed up a few possessions to take with me to the training camp I was really excited. It was going to be a lot of hard work training as a commando for the Were units, but I was more than ready to do it. It had been my dream for many years, and now that my school education was over it was time to start the process. My physical training had been intense for some time but that was nothing compared to what would be expected of me.
I slung my bag over my shoulder and headed into the main room to see my Dad. His face was a mixture of pride and sadness. I knew he was immensely pleased that I had passed selection and was going to be trained, but I also knew he would miss me. I was the last of his children to leave home, and it was going to be tough on him. Even though the training camp was in the grounds of the Council headquarters where we lived, it's not like I would be able to pop and see him any time I wanted. He used to head the camp at one point but now he lead the Were government, and was head of the Council. Pretty much the most important job there was. I was going to do well and make sure he could continue to be proud.
He gave me a big hug before I headed out. We'd had a long chat about everything the night before, and although we would miss each other it was going to be a big step for me and we were both glad I was doing it. I kissed him on the cheek and tried not to look at him too much for fear that I might end up shedding a tear or two, or my strong Dad might do the same. It seemed almost as though I was going a million miles away, but it only took me five minutes to get across the gardens and down through the training grounds to the camp.
Not surprisingly, I was the first one to move into the barracks. I sighed when I realised this tiny room was for six of us. It didn't take long to unpack and get my bed made, and I was soon called into action to help direct the new arrivals to their quarters. It wasn't to be made known who my father was, and we would only be using first names while we trained. A few of the instructors knew who I was but I was sure they wouldn't let me off any easier because of it, and some would probably be harder on me to make sure I had earned my place properly and wasn't there because of who I was.
It was quite a mix of species arriving, but mainly wolf, panther, and lion. We seemed to be the species more inclined to this type of work, and also the ones who had been involved in Council for the longest period of time. Some species were not interested in, or designed for, combat missions, but generally all the cats and dogs were if they wanted and were good enough. I took stock of the others who would be sharing my quarters more than most of the arrivals, knowing we would all get to know each other eventually but they would be with me a lot of the time.
Paul and Seb were cousin panthers. Paul was certainly the leader of the two and I was immediately on my guard against him. He wasn't the type of person I wanted to be particularly friendly with, but I would at least be civil even if I didn't want to get close. He struck me as the type who would climb over anyone to get what he wanted, and he had a willing sidekick already. It might be unfair of me, but I could imagine him as the school bully.
James was wolf, and perhaps a little vain since the first thing he pulled out of his pack was a small mirror. Mind you, if I looked like that I'd probably want to keep looking at myself too. His chest, arms, and abs were well sculpted from plenty of time in the gym. I schooled myself to stop stealing glances, wondering to myself at my sudden envy. I wasn't that buff but nothing to complain about. I was tall and broad with some good definition, and had long curly blond hair. The curse of being lion was that you really did end up with a mane unless you cut it short. The second wolf was Theo, another guy who was built, but looked less like he cared too much about it. He was quiet but friendly and I was warming to this arrangement. At least I wouldn't have to spend time alone with Paul.
Glad as I was that James and Theo seemed nice and friendly, I couldn't help my excitement when the last person showed up and he was lion. Our prides probably had little to do with each other but he was still my kind. He had a similar build to me, but unlike me he clearly didn't enjoy having a mane and his blond hair was cut short. He introduced himself around before ending up at the final free bed which was next to mine. I grinned at him.
"I'm Peter. Nice to meet a fellow lion."
"Michael," he replied, smiling and his face lighting up as he did so. He must be happy to see another lion too.
We all chatted briefly that night. For various reasons a lot of our backgrounds were kept to ourselves. It was generally considered inappropriate for us to share too much since we could end up in battle situations, and the less we knew the better. When we were finally assigned to teams, in about a year, our colleagues there would know us properly. It seemed a little overcautious sometimes, but now I was in the situation I realised I was quite happy that Paul and Seb knew next to nothing about me.
Next morning was the first shock to the system, up at the crack of dawn for breakfast and immediately being sent out on stamina tests and training. As lion and human I trailed up and down assault courses and across country for much of the day, along with my fellow room mates. It was pretty clear we were all fit, and it was also clear that Paul wanted nothing more than to take charge of the whole situation, even though we all knew what we were doing and there was no need for anyone to take the lead. Encouragement at the harder obstacles was all that was required, and I soon found myself slipping into that role, especially at the water tunnel that Michael struggled with. When he finally made it and I pulled him upright I couldn't believe the relief I felt.
There was very little let up in the training for the first two months. They were making sure they weeded out those who were not up to it either physically or mentally. We spent mornings studying tactics and other important skills like mapreading and camoflague, and then spent hours on physical training of one type or another. Quite a few did end up leaving, but most were prepared for this part and coped, although we were all shattered every evening. It wasn't uncommon for someone to fall asleep at dinner, but thankfully I always at least made it to my bed.
Despite it being really hard work, I relished it. Every day I got through brought me closer to my aim of making a real team and doing some worthwhile work. Alongside that, in the few off hours I had when I was still awake, I managed to make a firm friend in Michael. It wasn't just that we were both lion, we were very similar in personality and had the same sense of humour. He was a little quieter and more reserved than me, but I was probably too chatty and outgoing sometimes, so it balanced out quite well. He was good at what he did too, and everything that we were taught we seemed to pick up at pretty much the same time. In fact, we were the star trainees in the classroom, and Michael wasn't that far behind me when it came to the physical either.
I ended up spending almost all my time with Michael, working with him on the classwork because we were at the same point, and doing the physical training together because we usually worked in our dorms. I noticed over time as his body developed more, probably the same as mine was from all the activity. His hair grew a bit longer too, and he often ran his fingers through it even after he had been crawling through mud. It always made me grin when he ended up with streaks of mud and grass through his curls, and he tended to look a bit embarrassed when I did but didn't take my teasing to heart.
Finally, at the end of the eight weeks, it was time for a week break. One or two had been asked not to come back, but none of my room was involved in that. Michael and I were the last ones left when he started to head out. Given that I was just heading to the main house I was waiting for everyone else to leave first so they didn't find out, particularly not the panthers. Michael finished packing his bag and turned to me.
"Guess we'll see each other in a week then. I take it you haven't got far to go since you've not even packed yet."
I couldn't help laughing. It didn't seem wrong to share with him either, so I told him the truth. "I live in the mansion, so it should take me about two minutes to get home."
He looked at me wide-eyed. "Really?"
"My Dad is Council staff, so he's got rooms in the house." I left out what my father did, not entirely sure I should share the whole truth just yet.
"Cool. Aren't you tempted to slip back and have a nice warm room all to yourself though? I think I'd be sneaking off every chance I could!"
That made me laugh even more. "The trouble I would get in from the instructors for doing that would be nothing compared to what Dad would do to me if he thought I wasn't taking the training seriously. Trust me, it's far better here than facing his wrath. Plus, I wouldn't get to laugh at your bed-head in the mornings if I did that!"
He blushed. "It isn't that bad."
"It's quite cute really," I replied.
He blushed further, and I started wondering quite why I'd worded it like that. Still, he said goodbye before I could analyse it further, and I headed back up to the mansion, looking forward to seeing Dad. I could have spoken to him, but since we were both busy and I was tired the rest of the time and couldn't know whether I was interrupting him in Council meetings, we'd agreed not to unless it was essential.
When I did get back to the house I was greeted by lots of the staff who knew me, and everyone wanted to know how I was getting on. I was polite to all but really I just wanted to get upstairs to see my Dad. I swear we didn't let each other free from our hug of greeting for about five minutes. And then he spent the next three hours cross-examining me on everything I had been doing, all the marks I had received, and all my strengths and weaknesses. He was pleased to hear I was doing well, but still thought I could do better.
I loved seeing Dad, I really did. I knew I'd missed him even though he'd not been that far away. I was the youngest of his cubs by a good number of years, a rather unexpected child after my mother thought she was past having any more children, and it had been just the two of us for nearly ten years after she passed away. My older siblings had moved out and had families of their own before that, so we were used to being together.
As the week progressed though, I found myself missing Michael more and more. I'd only known the guy two months, but he already seemed closer to me than most of my family. I was looking forward to getting back to training just so I could see him again, run through the woods with him, laugh together at our bad jokes, and watch his hair get messed up whether he was awake or sleeping. Never having a sibling of my own age, I hadn't had the opportunity to do a lot of that when I was younger. I was always surrounded by my elders and rarely anyone young. I kept thinking about him, wondering what he was doing with his family, and remembering things we had done together while he was around.
I'd never imagined a week with my Dad would drag so much, but all I wanted to do was get back to camp and see Michael. I was the first one back, despite the fact I could have left it much later. Dad had a Council meeting anyway so he didn't take it badly, and he was glad to see I was enjoying my training so much that I was so eager to return. It made it worse though, being around camp and not having my friend there. When he finally did arrive the massive hug I gave him was returned in kind, but he seemed a little puzzled. I wasn't quite sure I could explain it myself.
It was back to reality with a big bump though. Training was just as intense, but more specialisms were added to both types of training. We started to plan small scale infiltrations and attacks. Working in the team that we did it was hard not to thump Paul half the time, because he often refused to accept that we might have some good ideas too. It was probably a good thing that the instructors decided who would be team leader in each case or none of the rest of us would ever get a look-in. He followed orders begrudgingly, but at least he didn't compromise any of our exercises and we soon gained a good reputation for our work in that area.
Over the two months of this second phase of training things started to happen that confused me. I still spent most of my time with Michael, but it seemed to me it was never long enough. I found myself feeling possessive of my time with him, annoyed if we got split up for exercises or in the classroom. I was glad that the first thing I saw every morning when I woke up was his sleeping face on the next bed, his hair usually gone wild as he slept which made me smile. And I noticed more and more about him. The way his cheeks pinked when he saw me laugh at his hair; the dimples in his cheeks when he smiled; the twinkle in his eyes when he joked with me, and the way his muscles played when he was working out or running.
It was about six weeks into the training phase when I had the first dream. I was by myself wandering in the woods outside the camp where we trained, and I knew that I was looking for something. It was one of those dreams where you have something you must do and it takes you on the journey to sort it out. I was running through the woods in my human form, searching for whatever it was that was so important. I suddenly had the sense of being close to it, and I slowed my footsteps, not wanting to disturb my quarry. The trees became less dense and I saw the clearing, aware that this was where I needed to be. There was a pool in the centre of it, and as I watched, Michael emerged from the water naked. I watched him while he stretched and shook off the excess water and then he lay down on the grass. Somehow then I was being drawn towards him, and I headed towards his prone body. I reached him and he smiled up at me, opening his arms in welcome. I sank down to join him, laying my body on his and pressing our lips together, and then...
The alarm went off. I jumped, and became very aware that I was glad I hadn't jumped straight out of bed at the shock, because I had morning wood like I never had before. I grabbed a towel and ran out of the room to the showers, hoping desperately that I would be alone and if not, that it would be anyone except Michael. I ran the shower cold to get rid of my erection, trying hard to forget the dream before I made things worse, but all I could think about was what that brief kiss had been like.
That must have been the first day of training I was actually quiet. I didn't dare look at Michael when we were in the classroom, and thankfully we weren't working together that day. I was overwhelmingly glad when we were instructed in the afternoon to do a solo trek that would be timed. I had miles to cover and could be alone with my thoughts. I tried to convince myself it was just a dream, but I kept thinking about what happened in my imagination and what had happened between Michael and I since we met, and I realised I was attracted to him. That realisation made me happy and unhappy at the same time. At least now I knew what the confusion was about, but on the other hand, what the hell did I do about it?
It wasn't the first time I had thought about a man sexually, it was just the first time it was anyone I knew, and it was far worse that it was a guy I shared a room with at camp and who was my best friend. I'd never told anyone that I had those kind of thoughts either, and I didn't know how my family would react. More important though was how Michael might react. The more I thought about that, the more I decided that he wasn't going to find out. I wasn't quite sure how I would do it, but I was going to keep my desires secret. I couldn't suddenly stop spending time with him, and I didn't want to, but I was going to make sure nothing changed between us.
The next two weeks were a mixture of agony and ecstasy. Now that I knew what my feelings were towards Michael I noticed him even more and appreciated what I saw. He was good-looking and had a nice body, and on top of that we gelled in so many ways. I stole glances whenever I could, always making sure that I would not be noticed. I couldn't stop myself from doing it but I sure as hell didn't want to get caught. The last thing I saw before I fell asleep was his face, and it was the first thing there when I woke. I started sleeping on my stomach so there would be no tent in the sheets for anyone else to notice.
He was almost always in my dreams as well. They weren't always sexual, but when they were, they had moved far beyond us having one little kiss. Even in the two weeks until our next break I lost count of the number of times I dreamt about us holding and kissing each other, caressing bodies and erections. I sucked him and fucked him in my dreams and he did the same to me, and it was always incredible. Even in my waking hours I found myself imagining him kissing me for real, wondering if I would ever dare tell him how I felt. I became glad that we were always so tired and almost never alone, because if not I didn't think I would be able to contain myself.
All the time I did my best to try not to let it affect our friendship, and I didn't think he had noticed anything different about me. If so, he certainly didn't let it show. We still laughed and joked together when we could and worked together when we were instructed to. I wished I knew what I was going to do about this situation. The irony was that the only person I felt close enough to share such thoughts with was him, and he was the last person I could talk to about this problem.
It was with a mixture of sadness and relief that I said goodbye to him when he left for his next leave. I headed back to the house, and was told that Dad was in a meeting and likely to be there for much of the day. Suddenly having time completely alone was something I had got unused to. When I let my mind wander though the first thing that came into my thoughts was visions of Michael, his toned body moving as he ran and his eyes shining at me when he made me laugh. For once I had the opportunity to do something about it. I headed into my room and threw my clothes off, taking my erection into my hand.
Despite my best intentions I could only think about Michael. I wanted him, and in my imagination he wanted me too. I pictured his body, his gorgeous face, his lips that just begged to be kissed, and I shot my load in moments. Whether getting some relief this week would help I seriously doubted. Living as we did in camp it was difficult to get a private moment to sort yourself out, so I hadn't been able to do it. Now a week of wanking wasn't going to be enough, and was probably only going to make things worse when I next saw him, knowing I had been using him as a fantasy for all that time. Taking advantage of the time I had alone I tried not to think about him, but he always slipped into my fantasies and my dreams anyway.