Cub Steps, Life’s Journey #3

Cub Steps

In the morning Matt rose early; Luke was still fast asleep and snoring loudly, or at least it seemed incredibly loud with his new Werebear senses.  He eased out of the bed and noticed right away that his body no longer snapped and cracked as he moved.  For the first time in as long as he could remember his movements were quiet and fluid.  It was as though his body had suddenly developed both a deeper and faster connection to his brain.  As he made it to the bottom of the stairs his dog came up, sniffed the air and retreated to the other room.  He didn’t push it; he was sure that it was going to take some adjustment for everyone in the house Bears, humans and canines alike. 

Making his way outside, he looked over to the RV where his guests had crashed for the night.  Sniffing the air he could tell there had been some fun times amongst the occupants; his ears picked up their soft snores and he padded quietly past the RV to the storage shed at the rear of the property.

The shed sat at the back of Matt and Luke’s property and acted as a storage place for all of Matt’s military gear and possessions that couldn’t fit in the house.  It was as if he had collected an array of stuff that had not seen the light of day in some time.  Also, in that pile of random items in a corner were a few things his father had left him.  Given what had happened in the last few months, he needed to hold onto those things, to take solace in them being real and reaffirm his connection to his parents. He dug around for a bit and finally found what he was searching for, three bō-staffs his father had made for him before his death.  As Matt drug out the nylon carry bag it crumbled and fell apart in his hands; the contents were wrapped in plastic with desiccant packs. 

“Dad thought of everything, he always did,” spoke Matt, just over a whisper, to himself, no-one was around.

He lifted one of the staffs out of the plastic gripping it tightly.  It was handmade like many of things his father had owned, he could almost smell his father on the staff and feel his presence as he held it is his hands.  As he walked away from the shed he let the staff twirl expertly around his hands. He repeated a few practice patterns with the staff and then stopped abruptly.  His senses were on fire, he noticed right away that he could move much faster than before. Both his balance and his spirit seemed to be renewed.  None of the pesky injuries and quirks that had haunted him for years existed anymore. 

He smiled and spoke aloud to himself, “Let’s see what this new body of mine can do!”

He exhaled deeply, centering himself, and thought back to the many training sessions with his father.  After his change, the world was alive to him in ways that far exceeded human perception.  Colors were brighter, objects had a different hue, smells were more acute, and sounds were crisper. 

Finding his center was easy now.  His mind quieted and his senses came to the forefront of his perception.  Matt closed his eyes, allowing the world to explode into his mind, allowing its ever embracing arms to reach out to every nook and cranny of his being.  He moved through a pattern that his father had taught him just before his death; the patterns and movements came back easily, smoothly connecting his thoughts to action.  The pattern brought with it the energy of his body, the strength of his soul, and the life force of nature.  These parts were now part of Matt in ways he could never have imagined.

He heard his father’s voice in the air as he moved.  “Emotions are powerful.  Through focused thought and applied motion, emotions will become tangible.  Anger and fear become stone as you move.  Happiness and love become the wind.  Each has a specific use in combat and in life.  In most cases these two are the same.  You must learn where and when to apply them.”

His father had called the pattern “Gathering the Wind,” and Matt would do just that.  He found that pattern and movements were easy and just felt right; never before had he been so in-tune with his body and his mind. The pesky lag between thought and motion was gone. As he moved, his emotions came forward crashing over him like waves on battered rocks.  He was remembering his father, his mother, and his entire line. As his emotions intensified so did his movements, they became faster as he pushed himself further than he had ever been able to before. All the hardships of his life, all the happy moments, all the death and destruction he had seen washed over him; the emotions were unstoppable and urgent, like a leaking dam that was about to give way. All the compartments that the memories had been locked in were suddenly dissolving,  flooding his mind.

Round and round in the pattern Matt moved, repeating it over and over.  He moved with a liquid grace that had always eluded him before the change.  His father had moved with this grace just like his mother.  He had tried so hard for years to move with their speed and fluidity; however, until now it had been impossible for him.  He was finally able to achieve what he had always dreamed.

Entranced by his memories and the liquid movement of his body, Matt didn’t notice his visitors emerging from the RV and stopping to watch him. The Werebears, who had come to Matt and Luke’s aid, stood watching air and earth become one around Matt as he stepped and brought the staff around his body. He seemed to be commanding the energy around him, gathering it and pushing it out in the directions of his movements.  The wind had picked up and the air had a static charge to it.  Vic stepped forward, grabbed one of the staffs, and stepped into Matt’s path. 

CRACK! The sound was deafening when the big Bear locked staffs with Matt and brought him to an abrupt halt.  A noticeable rush of wind pushed past Vic, gusting out in all directions, moving the leaves around them.  Matt’s breathing was heavy and there were tears running down his face. He growled softly, eyes closed tight, ursine teeth barely visible from his panting mouth.   

“You need to get a hold of yourself before you change,” Vic spoke evenly.

“Back off I’m fine, just working out the kinks,” growled Matt as he opened his eyes.  His eyes were a brighter blue than before.  Matt was sweating and his whole body was tensing and releasing as he stood there.  The staffs bent and creaked as each Bear applied more pressure.

“No, you’re not in control, you are about to change forms,” Vic spoke evenly, trying an even tone to hopefully get through to him.  He knew from the description of how Matt found the Bears that he had skills and training, but he had no idea how much until today.  He would be a hard one to handle; most humans never come close to this level of connection to the world around them.  Most merely exist in the world.  Matt seemed to be a part of the earth’s energy itself and was able to command it, able to see it, able to feel it.  Vic had known that being changed by Rusty would have an effect, but this was unexpected. He was sure that at some point Matt’s human body was strong and he had connected to the world.  From the brief stories he had told it had only been in the most extreme conditions that he could do this.  Now that he was a Bear that connection was heightened, making it a constant in his life instead of a last resort.  If Matt wasn’t careful, he would be lost to his Bear and to that flow of energy unable to return to his human self. 

“I just want to work out for a while. Now leave me alone!” Matt growled and slammed the end of the staff into Vic’s chest; the impact took Vic off his feet and landed him on his back a good five feet away. Matt took a few steps back, brought the staff around him and slammed it into the ground, roaring a challenge.  Even though he was still human, Matt roared his challenge as though he was in his Bear form.  The other Bears stood stock-still watching from a distance and waited.  Luke had woken with the sounds and made his way outside; the Bears stood with him, holding him back out of the way.  Mitch wrapped Luke in a hug and held him close knowing he would have to keep him out of the fray.  Whatever was about to unfold Vic would have to handle it, but the others stood ready.  They were worried.  Matt was small compared to everyone else, but it seemed he made up for his almost diminutive size and stature in strength, speed and raw fury.

Vic shook his head to clear it and looked up at the panting, growling Werebear who was standing in a defensive stance looking for a fight.  “Ok whelp, you want to work out? Let’s see what you got.” He leapt to his feet with a liquid grace and speed that was unnatural, even for a Bear, and launched himself at Matt.

He thrusted toward Matt in a downward arc from the air and caught him in his mid chest.  Matt reacted flowing with the impact, letting it push him over.  He brought his feet up and kicked Vic’s staff away as he landed on his back.  He came around and up with his staff, attempting to impale the huge Bear. Defying gravity and the laws of physics, Vic glided over Matt in a smooth motion, rotated and landed on his feet. 

Matt, missing with the staff, pin wheeled to his feet and commenced to attack Vic.  The give and take of the match was a spectacle to watch.  Vic’s Cubs were impressed with their Papa’s martial skills, something that they’d never seen their Papa Bear display.  They were equally impressed with Matt; he was holding his own with the older Bear.  However, it was apparent that the older Bear was a much calmer fighter, compared to Matt who seemed to be lost somewhere between rage, his primal nature as a Bear, and sadness.  Tears were rolling off onto his cheeks like a burst dam.  The Bears knew that whatever he was going through or remembering, it had to have been horrible. Rusty started to cry, and almost crumbled to his knees, he could feel the waves of emotions coming off the new Bear. 

“Are you okay?” Norman asked Rusty, grabbing hold of him as he collapsed to his knees, then slumped to all fours looking out at the fighting Bears.

“Matt’s in a dark place … it’s so sad … so dark. Please, we need to help him,” Rusty almost cried as he spoke.

“Vic will have to handle it. We will be here if needed,” Norman hugged Rusty, looking out on the match unfolding. 

As they went after each other the air around them started to gust; trees were starting to sway and the air had a visible electric charge to it.  The clouds above them had started to gather and darken. Whatever type of Bear Matt had become, he was special, something none of them had experienced.  Rusty and Norman looked out at the match unfolding; both worried about their Cub.

“Please come back to us little-Bear …” Rusty spoke just over a whisper.  The darkness was getting stronger; Rusty could feel it come to this place.  The light was retreating as Matt slipped deeper into whatever he was battling.

Norman leaned in; hugging his Bear close “He will come around, you’ll see.”

After several exchanges, Matt was left panting, and Vic stood calm and collected. “Matt, get a hold of yourself. Calm down please,”

Although he was still in his human form, Matt spoke to Vic in Bear-like noises.

“No, you need to calm down and ease your mind.  It’s not going to get easier; you are going to have to work on control.  Get a hold of yourself, please.” Vic was speaking to Matt in a very even, slow tone. 

Matt stood there, panting, tears rolling down his cheeks.  It was apparent to everyone that he was in conflict with himself.  Whatever Matt was battling, the larger blond Bear was not going to leave until it was beaten.  Matt exhaled deeply, took a few steps back and dropped the staff behind him.  Looking over to Vic, he stood straight up and bowed to the older Bear.  He held a hand out to him beckoning to follow.

Moving to the center of the clearing, Matt faced a quarter turn away from Vic and started breathing deeply, he moved through a mediation pattern his mother had taught him.  It was called “The Song of the Four Elements.”  To everyone’s shock, Vic started the pattern with him.  As they moved they seemed to sync; every motion, stop, exhale, weight shift and punch was perfectly timed.  The pattern was repeated until the ground beneath their feet was worn down.  At the end, both Bears stood facing each other.  They stayed this way for some time, standing motionless, breathing deeply.  The clouds had cleared and the sun was coming through.  Both Bears were bathed in the sunlight and soft wind that was now blowing around them.

When Matt opened his eyes, he was standing in front of the much taller, much broader, much hairier Bear.  Vic put a hand on his shoulder, squeezed hard and walked away. 

The other Bears still stood, watching.  When Vic reached his Cubs he spoke to them.  “Matt is rare, just like you Rusty.  He is tapping into a lifetime of training and bringing it all forward into the present.  Combine that with being a new Bear and it could be disaster.  He needs our understanding and care, not a sparring match.  What happened today was the first step for him.”

He then turned to make eye contact with Luke, “He’ll be ok, but he needs much more training and guidance.  Little exists to slow his mind from reacting and his human training from taking over.” Luke nodded knowing exactly what he meant. He flashed back to the times when Matt had protected him; it was scary for him to that such a loving person could be completely un-remorseful when confronted with aggression. At times Matt acted as if he was two completely separate beings.

“Papa? He was just as fast as you, how’s that possible?” questioned Walt.

“Matt … Matt is a special Bear.” He smiled proudly at his Cubs and hugged them close. Inside Vic knew what Matt was and what he would become.  He knew this was not the end of his change, and that it would likely destroy the kind, loving, and jovial Cub. What they had all witnessed the night before was a birth, but just as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, so would Matt.

As they looked back, Matt had returned to his patterns.  The wind had started to pick up again.  “I think I’ll give him a try; let’s see if his ground game is as good as high game,” Walt said, turning.

Vic grabbed him by the arm. “No. He has too little control. Matt is much stronger and faster than he looks.  He would hurt or even kill you without even knowing what he was doing,” with that, Vic held up the palms of his hands showing the Bears the remainder of the blood bruises that had not yet fully healed/

“He was hitting that hard?” Walt asked, his mouth open wide in surprise.

“Yes, now leave him be.  He will work out the kinks and come back inside in his own time,” Vic hugged his Cubs close as he tugged them away from Matt, Luke in tow.  Luke looked back his lover, who was continuing his patterns, the ground already worn down beneath his feet. 

In the days following Matt’s change, it felt as though his senses were on fire and the couple had to make several adjustments to the house.  However, as a whole his change went without incident, strange but without incident.  Even after the sparring match with Vic, Matt was happy.  Luke thought it bizarre, but the other Bears loved the positive vibe that Matt radiated, not to mention his extremely alluring scent. 

Several weeks later, when everything had settled, the visitors left the couple to return to their own homes. Vic returned home, immediately contacting Boris; they spent many long hours speaking about Matt’s change and what it meant.  The sparring session presented itself as quite a concern for Boris.  At the end of the conversation they agreed that Matt would need support during his transition to his new life as a Bear, not supervision.  The new couple had proven both very capable and committed to one another.  The older Bears would be close by to ensure that Rusty and Norman were proud parents and that Matt and Luke were doing well while they adjusted. Everyone agreed that there was something special about the pair.

There were still a few months before it would be time for Luke to make his change, this lag time leading up to his change was emotionally hard on Luke.  Seeing what Matt went through, he was saddened to his core that his change was going so well.  He was also delighted that all the things Rusty and Norman spoke about were coming true.  The growth, body changes, sex drive, and appetite were the best parts.  Luke could finally eat whatever he wanted without worry. He had always been nagged with a body that did not match his desire for activity; mow he was becoming stronger, faster and more confident.  He noticed that he was a little less than graceful, but thought it was part of the change and shrugged it off.  The couple made it a point to have sex everywhere they could.  A few times people almost caught them in the act, they were an insatiable pair. 

Old Wounds

Matt had changed into his bear a few weeks earlier and was now out romping with Norman, romping was the wrong choice of words. They were shopping and Norman was attempting to keep Matt from buying the whole grocery store.  On the deck overlooking the backyard, Luke and Rusty were having a conversation.

“So, tell me why you are so territorial with Matt; last night in the bar you were literally guarding him.  I mean, it’s not like he can’t take care of himself? Now even more so than before,” Rusty asked as he brought out a fresh cold beer for Luke and pulled up a lounge chair.

“I don’t think I should be the one to tell you.  It’s a big part of a promise we made to each other,” Luke said taking a long draw on the bottle.

“Okay, but I am hard pressed to think of anything bad enough to have you both in this state, especially with brothers and kin around,” Rusty pried just a little.

Luke looked right at Rusty, a little fire lit his eyes. He sighed, “As badass as that little Bear is a situation got the best of him.  It crushed him, destroyed his self-confidence, broke his trust in men, and just about killed me.  It took over a year for things to get back some sort of normality between us.”

Rusty could feel the anger well up in Luke; he saw his hands start to tremble as the memory took him again.  “I’m sorry I dug up something this painful, but I just want to know if I can help.”

“Help me? No.  I am not the one with blood on my hands, Matt made sure of that.” Luke threw his beer across the deck and stood up.  “Damn it … wait here. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Rusty sat in shock and nervousness.  What could be so bad that it would cause such a reaction in these two?  Luke never once let Matt out of his sight last night.  The little bear did take the time to walk around and see friends, but he was never out of sight, not even to go the restroom.  What could it be? Rusty was still lost in his thoughts as Luke emerged from the house.

“What I am about to show you, only one other person has seen. I ask that after you read it, you don’t say anything to Matt or act differently in any way.  You know that Matt sits and writes in his journal as a means of therapy and to keep his mind in order. This is him at his most vulnerable and injured.” Luke handed the manila envelope to Rusty, and walked away. 

Rusty sat there for a few minutes not knowing if he should open it or just give it back to Luke.  He decided that he needed to know and to understand, so he could help, mentor, and guide the pair.

Inside the envelope were three pages of handwritten parchment paper.

‘Luke, this is for you, so you know what happened.  This is all I can remember, but I still get flashes in dreams and nightmares.  When you hold me at night, the dreams wash away.  I love you. I always have and always will—Matt.

….

It’s Hot

Scent of Asphalt, Earth, and Piss.

It’s still dark.

My body hurts. What the hell happened?

Where is my shirt?

I roll over, the moon is full.  Where am I?

I sit up, and searing pain racks my side, back, and my butt cheeks.

“Fuck…..” I scream.

Panic starts to take over.

I start my body recon, training kicks in, and panic subsides.

Wallet gone, shoes gone, most of my clothes gone…wait, there is my cell….How did it get over there?

I am injured.  Blood from my back and right butt cheek.

What the fuck happened?

Recall spotty, not sure where I am or what happened.

Cell phone, no charge…..Damn…My battery is gone, and my SIM chip…. What. The. Fuck.

I curl up and sit there for a few minutes.  Letting my vision clear, soaking in the surroundings.

Highway noise.  Busses stopping and starting; voices from the other side of the trees and brush.

Where am I?  I look around.  There, a water spigot.  A park, I am in a park.

I stand, pain from my right hip, thigh and my ass.  WTF happened.

Hobbling over, I turn the water on and kneel to wash myself and drink.  I drink lots of water. I wash my face, and upper body.  I see blood washing off from me.  Nicks and cuts all over my hands, arms…..ouch… Fuck, my shoulders are all skinned up…What .The. Fuck…

Vision clears, less wobbly.  I look around the spot where I woke up again; I see a table against the fence, under a tree.  There is my shirt….WTF happened.

I wobble over, look around.  My clothes are all over…My wallet is there, no money or cards, just my ID.  Was I mugged?

I start to get dressed.  Condom wrappers are everywhere.  My mind starts to rack and stack the details, the fog I am in starts to lift.

Everything but my shoes and socks….Okay, I can deal with this.  I hobble back to the water spigot and take another drink.  My mouth is pasty and dry, like I am dehydrated.

Walking down the path toward the sounds of people.

Pass a few and they take a step to the side.  A few more and the same happens.

I am in the park, adjacent to the Bar district. Where is Luke?  What time is it? What the Fuck happened?  I start to panic again.

Walking through the parking lot, looking for his truck.  Please let him be here, Please!

I catch my reflection.  My face, there is something written on my face.  “Cock Whore”.  WTH happened?

I can see the bar, it’s still going.  Still music, still people.  I see Luke’s truck.

Made it.  Doors locked, damn it.

I crawl up in the bed, horse blankets, something to lay on, safe.  There. My go bag in the locker.

My vision is off, can’t focus on the numbers of the lock.  I try several times. Finally I close my eyes and open the lock.

Backup Cell….Call Luke….Voicemail.  I leave a message, I am in the truck, and something has happened, please help.

I pull the drapes in the back, engage the 12 volt lights and start to really survey the damage.

I am cut all over.  Was I dragged across the pavement?  Wait, how did I get there?  I was in the bar with Luke, then nothing.  WTF.

First-Aid Kit, Rescue Tabs. I eat a handful, drink more water, and eat a Power Bar.  Open large kit; wipe face and body with anti-bacterial towels.  Pull mirror down from vanity, yep, I have been marked.  I get that off as well.  Notice that I have dried CUM in my hair, and smell remotely like urine.  Vision clear, mind clearing.  More antibacterial towels, I clean myself.  Grab the mouthwash and brush my teeth.  There is still a weird metallic taste in my mouth and it’s dry.

Memory kicks in.  Symptoms of Ruffie-ingestion.  Why?  Who? Anger builds.

I clean up all the way; use the mirror to look at the damage on my back and butt.  Yep, I was dragged.

I open and use the large area trauma covers for my shoulders, butt, thigh and arm.  Whoever did this is fucking dead.

Cell rings, its Luke.  He is coming to the truck.  I have been gone for about 4 hours.

Luke arrives, sees me, and starts to dial police.  I stop him.  “Too many questions, remember DADT is still in place, it’s going to cause more trouble.”  He gets mad, knows the guys that walked through the bar and talked with me for a few minutes.  Thought I was just bar hopping and talking to other friends.  He cries, says he should have watched closer.

I pull him into a hug and tell him, I will handle it.  My way, in my time.  He cried again and takes me home.

Next day through the next week, I recover.  Luke is a mess.  He wants to hurt them, wants them to pay.  I settle him, and tell him that I will be the one to handle it.  In my time, in my way.

Med check, clear of STDs and HIV, no detectable signs.  Recheck in 90 days, same, recheck in 90 days, same.  I am clear.  Now it’s time for my plan.

I found each of them.  Followed them, tracked their movements and patterns.  Jocks and bravado filled assholes all.  There were four of them that raped me.  Four of them that took advantage of a bouncy small cub that just wanted to dance and have a good time on the floor.  They took away my right to choose.  In the end I took away theirs as well.  The four of them no longer go out, and have moved away from the area to start life anew.

Within each person lies the capacity for evil and for good.  Most never look at the evil side of themselves and see what they are capable of.  Few ever carry through with that capacity.  I did, I have, and it felt good.

Rusty just sat and cried. It made sense now, why Matt was a bit weary of Bears; they were all much bigger than he is.  Why he was very hesitant with sex, why Luke watched him so closely, why they went to the bathroom together; it all fell into place.  The Spirit Bear sat for a few more minutes, and then walked to find Luke.

“When?” Rusty asked when he found Luke. 

“Seven years ago.” 

They stared at each other for a few tense seconds, and then Rusty handed the envelope back to Luke, hugged him, and then went out to his car, got in and drove away.  He had to clear his head.

~Interlude~

Even at a distance, Norman felt some of the emotional turmoil Rusty was going through; but he also knew Rusty well enough to know it was no sign of current danger. That same disquiet from the Spirit Bear caught the attention of others as well, and the deep-rumbling of growls filled a distant den.

“Shh Cub, it’s ok” cooed a very large tawny Grizzly Bear, who was slowly running his paw down the back fur of a Black Bear, calming him.

“Why didn’t we know about this, Papa? Why didn’t we stop it?”

“Bad things happen to good people sometimes.”

“But we should protect them …”

“We can’t protect everyone, nor would that be right. Everyone deserves to make his or her own choices, good or bad, those choices impact others. How do you choose whom to protect? The ones who did this to Matt, do you know all about them, what drove them to this?”

“It is still just WRONG!” exclaimed the black bear, the muscles in his body twisting as if he was about to go through a shift.

At the outburst, an immense white Grizzly, even larger than the Great Bear, looked up from his book. “You’re right, it is wrong. That doesn’t make it our place to fix it.”

“Why not?”

The Great Bear spoke again, “Because if everything is fixed for everybody, then there is no free will. Without bad things, there are no good things. No joy without sorrow. What sort of existence is that? It would be like putting everyone in a box to keep them safe. To live life, every being experiences a variety of things, which helps make them uniquely themselves.”

“Still, why not protect those we care about?”

“There are times to protect, and times to let others learn. By overprotecting, you stifle the other’s growth. We aren’t Gods to know what is best for everyone all the time, I don’t think even the Gods know that.”

The Black Bear thought in silence for a moment, “Well then, how ‘bout I just go teach those men another little lesson  …”

“And belittle the effort Matt put into it? Make his struggles less worthy? Because that’s what you would be doing, deciding that his way of handling it wasn’t good enough. Matt looked his fears and his tormentors in the face, bared his teeth and chose the path that was best for him.  Don’t diminish that, he is worthy of our respect.”

The Black Bear hung his head, “I didn’t think of it that way. I’m sorry.”

The white Grizzly padded over and placed his hand over the tawny Grizzly’s on the black bears back. “Don’t be sorry; it’s by expressing our feelings and thoughts that we learn and grow together. When we stop caring about others, we stop caring about ourselves.”

“Do you think I could at least go and check on him, make sure he really is all right?”

“There’s enough complexity in this new little bears’ life.  Let his sires and mate nurture him, that’s their right.”

“But, if things go really wrong, with how Matt is connected into both the spiritual and natural world, they wouldn’t know how to cope with that or help him.”

“And maybe it’s those connections that will give him peace and wisdom now.  He must control his own power; otherwise it will control him. Trust him, Cub. There are others who will help teach and guide him when he is ready. His story will unfold in its own way and in its own time.”

The three sat together in silence, digesting the events in their own ways, supporting each other with their companionship, waiting to see how the small bear evolved as this new chapter of his life progressed.

~~~~~

Dreams

Two month to the day after Matt changed, Luke made his change. Luke’s change went surprisingly well.  Like Matt, he changed into his Bear with ease and with little if any of the nasty or Bear-like chaos.  As it had been for Matt, after his change he was … just Luke; only a little taller, broader, and hairier.  The couple had time to plan where Luke would change.  They’d picked a remote camping spot that Matt had found on his adventures.  It was quiet and far removed from the public, but close enough for a cell signal and emergency services if it was needed.  At the couple’s request Vic, Norman, and Rusty were the only other Bears in attendance.  After, the group had a great weekend in the woods and returned to the human world as five Bears, not four and a human.

As time passed, the couple’s home life was growing increasingly more complicated in terms of feeding and clothing the household.  Luke ate like a Bear, no pun intended, and would pack away food at three and four times the rate of Matt and their daughter Susan.  This was putting a tremendous strain on their finances; both knew it would get better, but it was still penny-pinching time for them.

The couple had rebuilt a portion of the house to accommodate Luke and his need to be full Bear.  They decided to keep their home, a small cottage in the Virginia landscape.  The hobbit home hid quite a bit of space; albeit small for Luke, it was lavish for Matt.  Luke stood at six feet three inches after his change; his head just about touched the ceiling in the house.  He had to duck to go through all the doors and had to almost crouch in the bath.  It was amazing to see how Matt worked so hard to make sure Luke was always alright.  He bathed Luke and watched after him.  He lavished the same affection of Susan and the few Bears that came to visit.  He was truly a caretaker spirit and that was magnified by being a Werebear. 

A few years had passed and the couple avoided attending their first two meetings of the Werebears at the Lodge in Canada.  However, they pretty much got the ‘you both really need to come’ message.  Still, Matt had his reservations about meeting the large groups of Bears. He found himself uncomfortable in large groups and preferred smaller settings; Luke knew that this was something he just needed to get over.  There was nothing to fear anymore.  He was not in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bolivia, or any other place that put him in danger.  Neither Matt nor Luke was really a party all the time Bear, but being a were-creature changes a lot more than your sex drive.  It magnifies everything; your desires, your internal lust, your fears.  Everything! They were both coming to terms with that.

“Okay … okay, I give.  We’ll go,” Matt almost swore as he threw the dish towel in the sink. 

“What’s your problem today? You need to bring it down a notch, a big damn notch,” Luke scolded firmly. 

“Look, I’m really nervous about going to the gathering, and you know why,” Matt crossed his arms looking defiant.

Susan came bounding down the stairs, greeting them as the argued, “Morning, Pops and Pops!” 

In unison, “Morning Susan-pig,” the Bear-dads spoke.  Hugs were exchanged around the room and she sat down.  The two Bears just glared at each other. 

“Ok Dads, you two need to go to this camping thing; I’ll be fine in New Mexico with the grandparents for the whole month, so there is nothing to stop you.  Besides, you know the shop-folks said they would watch the dogs and house.  So what’s the deal?” She said matter-of-factly, while eating her Oatmeal. 

“Well, dear Susan … it has to deal with sexual partners and the swapping of such partners,” Luke said, while glaring at Matt in that ‘I love you, but you need to stop being a baby’ look. 

“Seriously? You two covered that like … years ago … What’s the deal, you can’t get it up?”

“Susan, stop taking his side.  No, that’s not it.  I just don’t love anyone but Luke,” Matt said in a defeated tone.

“Whatever … you need to let it go.  No one said you didn’t love him, but you have to want to have sex with some of the hot men I see stopping by.  God, my friends think Rusty and Norman are HOT, I’m sure you think the same,” said Susan as she got up, hugged them and left to catch the bus.

“From the mouth of babes,” Luke smirked drinking his coffee, listening for the closing of the back door. 

“We’ll fight more about this later,” Matt said. 

“OOOH … You know what fighting leads to?” Luke growled low at him and smiled.

   “No. No makeup Bear-sex for you. NONE!”  Matt was smiling as he returned to doing the morning dishes. 

Luke knew that Matt had been wrestling with the Bear urge to have sex.  Luke hoped that time would change that.  Matt never denied him from playing when he wanted or with whom he wanted.  Matt had played a few times, but was somehow less fulfilled by the sex.  If it wasn’t Luke, Vic, Rusty, or Norman, he was just not interested.

Luke came up behind Matt and snuggled him.  Now that Luke had changed, he easily towered over his pocket Bear; it was easy to lean down and snuggle the smaller man.  As Luke shifted to half Bear, Matt braced for what was coming.  Luke bit Matt hard on his shoulder; his massive maul covering most of it, he clamped down hard, lifting Matt off the ground. Matt moaned and relaxed into his Bear.  Luke mounted him there in the kitchen standing up with his teeth still sunk into Matt’s shoulder, nursing on his lover.  Both came to orgasm at the same time.

Afterward, Luke sat down in the kitchen chair and held Matt close.  He licked the marks as they closed, and watched as the bones in Matt’s shoulder realigned and healed. Matt was in a trance.  The smell of blood and the heady scent of Bear musk was mind blowing.

“Love you,” Luke said, licking at the wounds and cleaning up his mess. 

“I love you too Bear, I love you too.  Can you come home for lunch?  I’ve been bad and need a good spanking.”  Matt said with an evil grin. 

Luke twitched.  “Of course. For you, anything,” Luke gently stood Matt up, caressing him softly.  With a hard swat to Matt’s rump, he left to start getting dressed for work.

Outside, their papas had arrived and were ambling around on the patio.  “I hate that we’re spying on them,” Rusty said a little nervous. 

“It’s not spying … We parked and walked over, heard the sounds, and stopped.  If it hadn’t been for our enhanced hearing, no one would have been the wiser,” Norman replied. 

“That’s right, Matt added a whole bunch of sound proofing and window coverings,” Rusty let that trail off as the door opened. 

“Hey guys … what brings you all down to our little corner of paradise?” Luke asked as he loped out the door and over to the truck. 

“Matt invited us for coffee as we traveled through; it’s a good time to come say hi and check up on you both,” Rusty said, turning a few shades of red. 

“Okay guys, not a problem. I would stay for coffee, but I need to get to work.  See yah,” Luke gave a quick hug to his brothers, got in the old Ford truck and sped off to work.

Matt came to the door, “Hey guys, come on in,” he said in a very happy tone.

When they got in and settled, Matt fired off some questions that were bugging him a little.  He would have used email, but a face-to-face conversation over coffee was much better.  They discussed the Werebear opinion of casual sex not being a part of love or relationship, as humans would define it.  It was how Bears bonded and became comfortable with one another’s company.  It’s also how the Bears know who’s compatible with whom, and who’ll play well together. After all the talk about sex, the three piled into the living room and enjoyed some playtime with each other. 

Just Get Dressed

After some coaxing from their papa-Bears and a few more fights, Luke and Matt did attend the gathering in Canada.  On the way up, they stopped with Rusty and Norman to meet another group of Bears that were on their way to the same location. They met at a resort hotel just over the border in Canada.  The two weeks at the resort was awesome, and acted as a much needed break for Matt and Luke.  The Bears did all the tourist stuff.  It was kind of odd that a large group of burly bearded men were so into history and art, but they were.  Some had actually been present when some of the history was made or art was created.  Matt found them fascinating and ended up talking most of the afternoon with several of the Bears about the differences between history books and real life.

“Excuse me, was that Latin?” asked the curious Cub.

“Yes… Yes it was.  Who are you?” a large furry Bear replied.

“Hi, I’m Matt,” the curious Cub said, extending his hand almost bouncing on his toes.

“I’m Pat, and this is Alec,”

“Nice to meet you, sorry if I took you off guard.  I caught a few words, and spoke before I could think.  Please forgive me if I intruded,” said Matt a little embarrassed; he had barged into their conversation.

“Not at all.  It’s just a shock that someone picked up on it.  Do you speak the language?” Pat asked. 

“Sadly no.  In school it was a required language; but that was years ago,” Matt said as his nose twitched.  The Bears he was standing with were olive skinned and furry, they both had green eyes and hair that was pulled back and braided. 

“Well, little one, give me a hug and let’s sit and chat for a while,” Pat said as he reached for and engulfed Matt in a Bear hug, lifting him off the floor and sniffing him deeply.  Alec joined the hug and sniffed, Matt did the same.

“Damn you smell good,” both Bears said.

“So do you two.  Are you going to the gathering?” replied Matt.

“Yes, yes, we try to not miss it.  Boris is such a delightful host, and the eye candy is a spectacle,” Alec responded.

“This is our first time going, I’m a bit nervous,” Matt said, lowering his eyes.

“Don’t be.  There are some groups that hang close, but for the most part it’s just a couple weeks of Bears romping around in the woods,” Pat replied.

The conversations between the three lasted the rest of the afternoon; they spoke of art and history.  Through the conversation Matt knew they were very old Bears, he could smell that on them, but had no idea how he knew it.  Later, Luke found the trio sitting in the café.

“Hey Cub, where have you been?” asked Luke.

“Right here, talking to Pat and Alec.  Pat, Alec, this is Luke,” Matt stood as he made the introductions.

“It’s nice to meet you both, but our ride is about to leave.  We have to go,” Luke said as he looked around at them.

“Okay, not a problem, we will catch up with you both at the gathering,” Pat replied.

The two couples parted company with the promise to chat again at the gathering.  Luke whisked Matt away from the Bears and into the vehicle.  Luke was still very protective of Matt and did not let many Bears get close to him; he was a bit territorial in that regard.

“Did you see how the Cub was escorted away by his mate,” Alec said looking over at Pat.

“Yeah, I caught that.  Seems that Luke is worried about losing his Cub.  But, after talking with Matt all afternoon, that’s not even part of his equation.”

“I know, but did you smell him and see how his eyes glowed when he was excited?” Alec asked.

“Yep.  Sure did.  I don’t think anyone has told him yet.  It’s not our place to tell him, that’s his Papa-Bear and Elders’ job, not ours.” 

“I know, but he was cute.  Hell both of them were damn handsome,” Alec chuckled as they got up, kissed and walked out the door.

The ride back was a little tense between Matt and Luke.  Matt was excited to have met new Bears. He looked at the world with a childlike fascination and excitement for discovery.  Luke was still protective of Matt, obviously over-protective. 

“They were old Bears. I just know they were old.  They were at the fall of Rome, they speak Latin. Luke, Luke, they speak Lati-.” Matt was cut short with a paw placed over his mouth.

“Shh, all I want to know is that you will not play with them,” said Luke, looking over at him.

“What? Are you seriously going down this road again?” Matt asked his annoyance obvious in his voice.

“Yes.  You know I worry about losing you again,” Luke replied.

“Bear, we are a pair, a mated pair.  You’re my mate, and I’m yours.  No Bear will get in the way of that.  Now, we can both play if we want, that’s part of who we are.  You need to relax.  Besides, who else would deal with my snoring,” Matt teased, and winked at the brooding Polar Bear.

“I’m sorry for pulling you out like that; it was wrong.  Forgive me?” asked the Polar Bear with sagging eyes and pouting lip.

“You were forgiven before you did it.  Now, where are we going tonight?” Matt asked.

At night the Bears come out to play; tonight they were going to a large Gay Leather Biker Bar.  This was a culmination outing, since the other nightly trips were for food, theater, art and things of that nature.  However, Bears will be Bears, and the Bear has to come out to play.  Every Bear understands the need to blow off steam; to stomp around and rake their claws down a tree, to mark territory and eat raw meat.  This was no different, just more subdued.

“Just get dressed, please,” Luke begged. 

“Bear are you sure this will be ok?”  Matt asked like a little kid waiting to be told no.

“Yes, just get dressed; the others are waiting for us.  If you’re good I have something special for you, but I’ll give it to you outside,” Luke winked.

Matt smiled wide and started to dress.  Dark jeans, black thong sandals, white polo shirt a size too small, black leather bracelet on the left, gold cuff on the right, hair pulled back in a leather hair cup and secured with a steel pin.  Matt looked in the mirror, sighed and hurried for the door.  His ginger-blond hair was long and was developing steel gray streaks.  Luke made a few catcalls as they made their way out of the hotel room and downstairs. 

The others were waiting outside and continued the catcalls as Matt made his way down the steps towards the group. There were many ass slaps and Bear hugs. He stood out in contrast among the Bears.  He was safe with his brothers, but still a stark contrast in size. Matt while not as big or hairy as the rest was working on putting beef on his bones.  He looked damn good in that white shirt.  His nipples were erect and huge. His chest filled out and the shirt stretched around his small belly.  The low cut jeans and sandals gave him a jock-boy look that he pulled off well.  His bubble butt was straining the jeans and his package was defined without being obscene.  He was indeed a good compliment to the Bearish Daddy Bear that Luke had become.

  

Luke grabbed him, hugged him close, and turned him around as the group of Bears formed a close circle around them.  Luke cleared his throat, “Friends, I’ve come here today to present my lover.  He’s coming out of his shell and experiencing his true nature as a Bear.  Tonight, watch over him and protect him.  You can slap him.  You can pinch him.  You can bite him, but his ass is ALL MINE.”  The group erupted in barks, growls, hoots, and hollers.

With the last words, Luke produced a leather collar with ornate silver and gold inlay with a single stainless steel loop.  It was beautiful.  Actually, it looked more like jewelry than leather gear.  As it snapped into place, the group again erupted in woofs, catcalls and obscenities that would have made a sailor blush. 

Just outside the group, Norman looked over at Mitch and Walt who were a bit speechless.  They had arrived late to the resort, and had just dropped their bags and ran out to meet everyone.  Norman leaned over, “Don’t worry guys; that Polar Bear tears him up on a daily basis.” 

Mitch started to mumble, but Norman held up a hand.  “There is more in that small package that you can believe.  Don’t think for a second that Matt isn’t a predator and able to take care of himself.  Not for a second. Trust me, it’ll be ok.”

Rusty followed and filled them in: “Matt loves Luke deeply. He has been dealing with the casual Werebear sex trait since he changed and Matt is not overly comfortable with it.  He likes to flirt and have a good time, but always runs back to his Bear. This way, Luke can protect Matt and let him have space to grow.  Also, the collar lets him feel like Luke is with him.  Let’s pray that no one tries to cross the line Luke put in the sand.”

“I really hope we can get to know them more, they are such a low-key Bear-couple” Mitch responded.  Walt nodded in agreement.  They wanted to spend some time with them, but their home was super small and most did not want to create stress with their home life.  They were still raising their daughter and working full time. 

When the group broke up, a few of the Bears took Matt and led him to another big truck.  He looked back at Luke who winked at him and gave him their I Love You sign.  Luke jumped in the next available vehicle and headed out as well. 

“Ok, I just saw Matt get thrown into that truck.” Mitch said, obviously worried. 

Norman sighed, “Don’t worry about Matt.  I would worry about the Bears. The collar on his neck is a symbol of control, safety, and caring.  As long as it’s on, Luke has control. If someone tries to push it, they’ll get a little more than they bargained for.  If it gets really wild, which I doubt it will, it may take all of us to bring him down.”  The others in the car just sat quietly. 

“How ‘bout them Yankees?” Rusty said and the tension broke; a hearty Bear laugh was heard as the vehicle peeled out of the parking lot. 

On the ride over, Luke got a little attention from one of the Cubs.  After, he tamped down and lit his pipe.  He was a son-of-a-bitch when it came to this; Matt would have the tenderness, everyone else would have the Bear.  He was sure that Matt was riding in another vehicle, surrounded by other Bears and was safe. With a grin, he leaned his head back to enjoy the ride, he was sure he would find out later what went down.

Good Time Charlie’s

In another part of town, two Bears were making their way to the same bar.  One Bear knew Matt and Luke well, the other didn’t. 

“So what’s this Vic, a recon trip?” Robert asked while riding behind Vic on his Harley.

“Yes, I want to do some spying on the new ones. Besides, it’s easy to spy on them when we blend in.  There will be too many other Bears there to single us out. “Vic spoke fast as he gunned the Harley into the traffic circle.

The big trucks and other cars screeched to a halt in the parking lot, and Bears rolled out like swat teams.  Matt was grabbed and slung over a shoulder like a captive.

The place was truly a Bear-biker bar; smoke, stale beer and urine were common scents.  In contrast to the outside appearance, the inside was nicely laid out, ornate, and tastefully decorated.  A very well stocked bar on each of the far walls.  Entertainment was a central runway with a dancing pole in the center.  Carved Bear heads on the walls, Harley and other bike memorabilia completed the décor.  Not a bad place at all.

“Look what I got.  I got me a little Bear to play with,” a very, very, very burly Bear said.  This Bear walked around and let Matt get his ass swatted.  He lost track of the amount of swats before he was put on his feet.

“Thanks big-un,” Matt said and kissed him on the cheek and darted off to find his friends. 

The Bears turned to each other. “Do you smell that? I don’t know what it is, but I want to tear that little Bear’s ass up,” the burly Bear said to his friends.  After that brief exchange they slammed back some drinks and settled into a few games of pool.

Later, Vic and Robert walked in and instantly noticed the scent.  “What the hell is that?” Robert said, while his nose twitched. 

“It’s like Bears are getting ready to rut, but it’s so damn strong.  I want to find something and breed it.”  Vic said in a low growl. 

The two made their way into the main bar area, found a spot where they could see everything and turned to watch the action on the bar floor.  They had a vantage of the lower floor where the majority of the patrons were gathering.

The bar patrons were taking the normal courses of action; shots were being passed around, juvenile dares exchanged, jokes made, and bets lost.  It was slowly becoming more Werebear than human in the bar.  It was natural.  In large groups; Bears are intimidating.  Not that they mean to be, it just is.  It seemed to be something instinctual in humans; they know predators, even after millennia, genetic responses are strong.

Matt was moving around from one Bear group to another getting to know everyone.  He would come over and they would sniff him and work him over a little.  Nipples were tweaked, ass slapped, hair pulled, he was in heaven.  It was good for the other Bears to get close to Matt, and good for Matt to let go.  He was very apprehensive about the gathering and he would feel better if he knew more Bears, if not by name then by scent for sure.

What Matt didn’t know is that his scent was making the Bears crazy.  With his change had come a musk that was more of an aphrodisiac than territory marking.  Cubs bond to the scent of their daddy Bear.  Matt had bonded to Luke’s, and Luke to Matt’s.  In their solitude, it went pretty much unnoticed by the few Bears that dropped by for a visit.

Vic returned to the table with fresh beers and shots. 

“Damn, I’m horny.  What’s that scent?” Robert said panting a bit and rubbing his ever-expanding crotch.  “I tried to get a fix on it, but it’s everywhere.  It’s like someone sprayed Werebear musk in the bar. “

“The other Bears in here are getting very worked up,” Vic said before taking a draw on his beer. 

“There are only a few humans in here,” Robert said while looking around. 

“Humans can’t smell it, but they’ll leave soon enough,” Vic was quick to add.

   “Who’s that in the white shirt? Damn, he’s grinding on that tall Bear … talk about wanting it dirty.  Damn!” Robert said, pointing with his bottle of beer. 

Vic turned his expression priceless.  “Holy shit and hog feathers.  That’s Matt!”

“Who?” asked Robert. 

“Its Matt, Luke’s other half.  Looks like he’s getting used to being a Bear, but damn if that’s how he likes it … shit!” he said with a grunt. 

In the midst of the music and activity, Matt and Vic locked eyes.  It was like Matt knew he was being watched.  Matt lifted his hands and signed to Vic, ‘Are you Bear enough to take me down this time?  Come and get it old Bear,’ he punctuated it with a wink.

Vic paused and looked around the room; he looked back at Matt, who, while being handled and pawed, was still looking directly at Vic.  Matt blew a kiss at him, smiled and danced off.

“I want me some of that!” Vic slammed his shot back and headed for Matt.  Vic knew that Matt was playing.  He knew that Matt was mated to Luke and he was not going to mess that up. However, if he wanted to tussle in front of a crowd of Bears, this would be the place.  In the few years since Matt had changed he was always timid in groups, but in small settings he was energetic, alive, with no inhibitions.

Matt had his back to Vic as he approached, grinding on another Bear in time with the music.  Vic walked up and grabbed Matt by the back of the hair and pulled his head back and up so he could see him.  Growling, “What’ve I got here? A Cub in need of some rough and tumble? Let’s see if this old Daddy Bear came make you squirm …” he let his words trail off.  He grabbed a beer from one of the other Bears and poured it down Matt’s throat.  Matt gagged and tried to swallow it all.  Vic threw him down across the room.

“You want it rough little Cub?” Vic growled. 

Rising like a cat, “You really shouldn’t try to take what’s not yours, but if you want another shot at taking me down, here it is,” Matt let a shy grin escape his lips as he sauntered back up to Vic. 

He reached up and laid his arms loosely around the blond Bears neck and started to sway and move to the music.  The scent seemed to become instantly thicker; he wrapped his arms up, locked his hands around Vic’s neck and continued to grind and move around him. Catcalls and obscenities could be heard, but Matt was lost, somewhere in a trancelike state.  He could hear the music, but the rest was like background noise. When Matt closed his eyes, another world lit up. One of color and shapes, clouds and motion.  The energy around him led the way.  He was realizing he had an extra set of senses. 

Vic growled and attempted to grab hold of him.  Matt moved just out of reach and proceeded to dance away.  They were both fast, and both had stood paw to paw with each other on the wrestling mat, in the sparring ring, with various weapons, and in all types of situations.  There was a constant sexual tension between the two of them.  Neither knew where it came from, but both respected it.  Both saw the line and did not cross it.  Vic huffed, and went after him; Matt smiled and egged him on. 

Vic grabbed him in a Bear Hug and lifted him off the ground.  “Got yah, I’m going to drill that ass,” he growled out loud to cheers from the crowd that was gathering.

Matt broke the hug, dropped to the ground, grabbed Vic’s leg and took his feet out from under him.  “Told you once old-Bear … you can’t take what’s not yours.” Matt said, while on all fours, scooting across the floor like a feline in heat. 

“No house-rules here. Remember old-one, to control a thing, you must master a thing,” Matt looked back at him and winked.

The game was ON.  The two Bears were locked into a match of sorts.  Sparring with more than brute force, more than weapons; they were sparring with their nature and their desire.  They were tossing aside caution and letting the chips fall where they may.

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