Everyone starts at a different place in life. Often, we stop and start many times in our lives. This is no different for Matt. He had just became a Guardian publicly and was dealing with not really having any private time, Luke was being an ass to him, and Matt was being pulled in different directions by the Elders. Now, he is traveling to a meeting of friends, a little respite from the turbulence of his life.
A hot wind blew through the little hole in the wall town as Don leaned up against his vehicle watching the few people that were milling around the entrance to Charlie’s. This was a hole in wall even by the lowest standards, resembling a western saloon more than the modern sports bar it was. Don chuckled as he walked toward the entrance. A sign hung to the left that read, “All manner of Creature are Welcome at these Tables”. It fit. The patrons were mostly human, but this was neutral territory, located 192 miles from anything, in any direction. The big man was about to go in to snatch a table when he heard the squeal of tires on pavement, and the after snap of injectors releasing. Staring down the street he saw her come into town. ‘Fuck,’ he thought ‘… That’s a way to draw attention … real subtle young one … real subtle.’
She whipped into the parking lot in a way that matched her personality perfectly, aggressive and reckless. She drove a car that could only be described as something out of a James Bond film. It was sleek, all curve with no sharp edges, but underneath hid a power wild and uncontrollable. Low to the ground, it almost seemed to blend with the black asphalt, the matte black paint completely unyielding to the glare of the sun. Cringing internally Don watched as she skidded to a stop inches from his own car, praying that he wouldn’t have to buff out any scratches or dents after their encounter today.
His car stood out in stark contrast to her’s, it’s Dakota Red paint shined brightly in the evening light. He had worked for years to buy and restore his 1958 Cadillac El Dorado, and it would be a shame if it was destroyed by some deranged Pup in her souped up Spy-Mobile. The engine probably cost more than her whole bank account, not to mention the hours of work and amount of love he had put into it would be wasted. He turned and waited, watched her open the door and her black boots touch the pavement at the same time. She stepped from the vehicle, her steel gray and black hair catching the the breeze. She looked around, caught sight of the big man and sauntered over.
“Been a while Redskin … miss me?” snarked the pup as she tossed her hands up on his shoulders, coming to her tip toes, closing her eyes to kiss the big man.
“Yeah …Yeah I have … Been too long puppy-girl,” he trailed off as he kissed her, long and urgent. Lost in time, lost in the moment, lost in the longing for each other that had been denied for far too long. The sound of two high performance bikes pulled them from their kiss as they turned to look in the opposite direction up the street. “Looks like the dynamic-duo has arrived,” Don said as he kept an arm around the she-wolf, Zelka, and turned to watch them.
Cresting the small hill they could make out two motorcycles approaching at a very high speed. The heat from the road bent the image of the pair as they came into town with small contrails forming off the tails of the bikes. The engines were not stock. The high pitched whine and snap of them slowing down caught the attention of some onlookers as they pulled in and parked next to the line of Harleys and other cruisers. The riders, clad in snug fitting riding gear, had weapons holstered to both legs, blades on thighs, calves and forearms. It was Matt and Mizukia. Matt, the smaller of the two, wore the den markings of his elder, and Mizukia wore plain slate gray, nothing fancy. As the helmets came off, ponytails of steel gray hair fell out. They looked around, nodded in the direction of the two then started to stretch and take off and stow the riding gear.
Don and Zelka turned and went inside. They knew the riders would be along shortly. Once inside the two found a table and ordered a Toasting Tray of shots along with 4 pitchers of water. Both of them knew that riding in the desert heat is a test of endurance. The riders would need water, no matter what.
“So Matt, what the fuck you been up to?” Don asked, after both of them downed a pitcher of water and reached for the shots.
“You know, smoking and joking….same shit different day,” he replied.
Zelka chimed in, “So you like being a lap bear … that’s really a waste of your talent”
“Whatever it’s good work … a bit nasty, but good work,” snarled Matt.
“Stop shitting yourself cousin, you are a killer wrapped in the silken fur of the first tribe. That silver fur of yours can’t get you out of everything,” she scoffed, downed a shot and glared at him.
“Get the fuck off me Zelka … I saved your ass last time in Iraq … let’s not forget that May-Day call, and the shit storm I had to wade through to get you. Fucking press was all over that area. You were right in the middle of it. You got shot, and spiked to a damn wall … what the fuck were you thinking throwing in with that group anyway?” Matt snapped and downed his shot, adding his empty glass to the center of the table.
So, what’s your point … it was good money, paid in advance even … Besides, I got my target, unlike that old matted up Bear sitting over there,” she snapped and pointed the tip of her blade at Mizukia.
Being the oldest at the table, Mikukia downed his shot and locked eyes with the she-wolf. “Young One, you are so tripe. My target, like yours, was eliminated at the established time … and I without even a scratch. Tell me, how is that hole in your shoulder coming along? I know you Canines don’t heal as fast as some…” he smirked.
Don, sensing that a fight was about to start, changed the conversation. “So Mizukia, can you tell us how you came to know Matt? I hear that he was quite a terror in his cub years; not that he’s old compared to you or I…” Don finished and looked around; the mood of the were-creatures shifted as the Panda Bear leaned back in his chair and cleared his voice.
“Well, I first met him just after coming home; I was walking through the market after I had returned from the Arctic Den and the meeting of the Elders. I caught that wonderful sweet scent. You know, that freshly fucked, cum in the air kinda scent,” smirked the Panda as he smiled wide. Laughter erupted from the others.
Mizukia continued, “When I caught sight of him, he was stuffing his face at a cake vendor. He was covered in muck and mire, wearing almost nothing and carrying that old blade of his.”
“Wait, hold up … I heard that you two got into a major blow out fight, destroyed half a native village and kicked the shit out of each other for two days. That is, before a well placed grenade got you two to stop,” Zelka shouted, while leaning forward his her chair, resting her elbows on the table.
“That’s not what happend at all. Where did you get that load of shit from? Damn Zelka, if you spread that all over it would explain the crap I have been wading through lately. Shit…” Matt trailed off and pushed his chair back. Annoyed, he kicked the leg of the table and stood up giving them one last look before walking away, “I’m going to have Chuck work on my bike, you three enjoy the fucked up stories. I’ll catch up.”
“I think you touched a nerve,” Don muttered locking eyes with the Wolf.
“Well duh, Captain Obvious. He’s a fucking baby when it comes to shit like this. Fuck, he has nothing to fear. I think its stupid,” retored Zelka
“It’s not that he is scared. He is terrified of losing control of himself,” Mizukia sighed.
“Fuck that, he needs to lose control more often. That Bear he keeps locked up inside is going to eat him alive. Hell, I’ve seen him hesitate in a fight, and wound rather than kill, he’s even prolonged the fight so he wouldn’t kill anyone. Every time the opponents would have gladly killed him. Fuck … I am getting tired of working with him when he wants to play it safe all the damn time,” said the wolf as she pushed herself back in her chair and put one of her boots on the table with a resounding thud.
“Pup, you are so young and foolish. You and Matt are the same age, but you can’t even see what is right in front of our face. Puppy, would you like me to tell you what I found after Matt left that roadside vendor? Would you like to know the devastation he wrought, no matter if it was justified or not. He can kill and killing is what he does best. You missed it, you young brash puppy… tuck that tail between those legs of your’s and just listen,” Mizukia said, all the while rising slowly to his feet, his body shifting slightly under his gear. His voiced deepened as his eyes shifted from green to black. The Wolf and Panda stared at each other for a while … then he sat down, regained his composure and continued his story.
“Soon after I watched Matt depart and meld into the sea of people in the market, I heard a police officer talking about the mass murder of an entire cartel in the lower forest region. Normally, I don’t take issue with the cartels, either for or against. But something in my brain told me to investigate. After talking with a few natives in the market I made my way into the forest to the south of the city. This part of the forest isn’t developed and is kept as a national forest. It’s the entrance into the deep rain forest and where the remaining native tribes still live. Here is where I found the trail. When…” Mizukia was cut short.
“Wait, is this a long story? I hate fables and bedtime stories. Just get the fuck on with it!” snapped the wolf.
Mizukia just looked at her as he started again, “I trecked in a few kilometers when I found the first of many totems surround the area. Before you even ask, a Totem to my people is a warning sign; a marker that should not be crossed. What I found still makes me cringe. I found a cartel member, he was tied to a large tree by barbed wire. An AK-47 rifle stuck through his chest, impaling him to the tree. Hands and feet cut off and placed at the base of the tree. The man was gutted and the entrails hung around his neck, eyes gouged out.”Mizukia stopped … visibly shuddering.
“Wait, are you saying that baby-candy ass bear that just stormed out did that? I call bullshit,” snarked the wolf.
“I am saying he killed the entire cartel. Every man, every single person that was not native was killed over the course of the four months I was with the elders. Puppy, that candy ass bear you just poked fun at is a killer. He killed them with his bare hands, native weapons, and his own teeth. He left those totems, 45 in total, circling the tribal lands. He killed them when they came for vengeance. He set traps for them. Baited them with their own dying and wounded comrades. He enjoyed it. That Bear you make fun of so easily has seen the darkest side of himself and if it was not for the intervention of the Great Bear himself, I am sure he would have descended into that pit of darkness and never came back.
The three continued to talk and order more shots; the puppy asking lots of questions and the old Bear and Elk answering them in kind. Across the street at the garage Matt was having a conversation with the mechanic, Chuck. He was an old bear, one of the oldest Matt had ever met. Missing one eye, it was apparent that he had not shifted forms in many, many, many years. Sometimes Bears just want to be human, to remind themselves of what it means, and to never forget where they came from.
Matt left the group, more embarrassed than he was hurt, but he knew leaving was the easiest way to avoid any more questions. Looking up, he saw the garage was open. A few people were filling up on fuel, but otherwise it was a quiet evening in the high desert. “Hey Chuck, can I borrow a few tools? The bike needs some adjustment,” Matt asked as he walked his bike past two attendants and into the garage. The two garage helpers were Boar and some type of Bovine by the smell of them; they grunted and nodded as Matt passed.
“Sure, you know where they are and if ya’ need a lift it’s in the corner. Knew I kept it for a reason,” snorted Chuck, still hunched over the hood of a 68’ Cougar. As he looked up he caught sight of Matt’s ass and started to get an erection. Blushing, he looked away.
“Don’t be embarrassed Chuck, I really, really like you as well,” Matt said as he locked eyes with the old Bear. He could see the energy wash over the Old Bear; with his new senses, he was still making out the smaller things. Sexual attraction was something he was beginning to notice and understand. Pheromones are fairly accurate, but seeing the wash of internal Chi as someone gets an erection was like having X-Ray vision.
“Its been a while since anyone, of any species, found me attractive. I am pretty surprised at you Matt. Ya’ know how handsome Luke is, I don’t hold a candle to him,” the old bear let the last few words trail off as he put his face back under the hood, turning his back on Matt. There was a rattle and bang of a few things behind the Old Bear. Silently he was giving up on the brief notation of sex with the most handsome Bear he had seen in some time. Then there was silence. Turning around, Matt was gone. The bike was up on the stand and Matt’s jacket and weapons were hanging over the cowl. Looking around, he noticed that the garage door was closed. Turning a full circle, he came back to the bike and a half naked Matt, standing there. Shirt off, he was unclipping his boots when their eyes met again. They smiled at each other.
“Chuck, I want to have some time with you. I would like for us both to be as Bears and enjoy the life that we both have. I want to help you heal yourself, you have helped to heal so many others. Ancient one, you are wanted. You are needed. You have worth and value to this world. You are handsome and I must say … pretty well endowed by the pressing bulge in those coveralls.”
“I … I…-I have not changed forms in over a hundred years. I don’t think I can,” Chuck muttered wringing the rag in his hands as he stumbled a little, wobbling on his feet.
“I will help with that … Now, just exhale and relax. I want to make love to you. Because Chuck, my love for you and for everyone comes from my heart and some inner place that I cannot really explain. But, I do,” said Matt as he stood motionless watching the old bear start to process what was happening. A Bear, a Guardian, wanted to make love with him. To heal him, make him whole again. Chuck took a few steps and stumbled over the leg of the lift in front of him. Before he could process he was falling. Matt moved, he slid under the Bear, hugging and taking the impact for him. With a thud and a huff of air, they stared at each other nose to nose. Matt closed his eyes and started to gently kiss the old bear. From there, the kissing turned urgent and needed; the longing more and more intense. Chuck had suppressed his Bear for so long he had forgotten what he was. He was First Tribe. One of the original twelve. He had an internal power and brightness that had been dulled with centuries of loneliness and unreturned longing. Now, with Matt the very, very large man, shifted into his bear, clothing tearing and falling away. Chuck was a Kodiak; ten feet tall, broad shoulders, huge paws, equally large equipment. Matt, even as he shifted into his Bear form was dwarfed by this majestic creature. Chuck’s fur was almost white with age, soft as goose down, with a wonderful scent. The shift and the energy that Matt fed him renewed and healed the old bear. Chuck’s eye reformed, broken bones healed themselves and after some time the large bear was whole again. Laying on his side, Chuck licked and nuzzled the smaller bear. They made love to each other for some time, both of them lost in the moment, the longing, the passion, and the need to be with each other. Roars were issued as both Bears came to climax. The windows in the garage shook and people walking past stopped to look.
Outside, two stood guard. It was Dusty and Jim, the garage attendants. “Bout time the old guy got a quality piece of ass.” “Yeah, it is; glad he will be happier when he comes out, not to mention whole again.” “You’re right, he deserves a good time. Let’s just keep watch and keep it clear. Let them have as much time as they want.” “Agreed.” The two kept people away and kept the business going with the front garage, leaving the pair to be alone and have as much time as they needed.