Author's Notes: This story is a WIP, but chapters should be submitted regularly. Feedback is always appreciated in any form. Email me with suggestions, pleas, or criticism! The basic beginning premise of the story was vaguely borrowed, with permission, from the lovely Lady Feylene's story "Beautiful Stranger."
Taming the Beast
By Lady Grey
Remus’ eyes snapped open at the sound of the alarm. The clock, he noted unconsciously as his arm flew up to silence the obnoxious thing, played a rather common drinking song. Not something, in his opinion, that anyone would want to wake up to if they had been doing any serious drinking the night before. As his senses expanded to include his general environment, he smelled the overwhelming odor of frying bacon. Mmm. Paired with the sounds of clanking and whistling coming from the kitchen, he concluded that Charlie was making breakfast. How nice. He couldn’t remember the last time he had woken up to someone making a breakfast for two. Shoving away the less-than-pure thoughts that accompanied this line of reasoning, he hauled himself out of bed, stretching.
He immediately reached toward the drawer for a shirt but paused, remembering the brief dialogue of the previous evening. Charlie knew, he understood, and he didn’t care. He still thought he was…beautiful. Interesting word choice, not something most men would say. Perhaps Charlie was…gay? Hmm, maybe. That would be nice, especially if… Remus exiled those thoughts for the second time this morning. Honestly, he chided himself, you act like you’ve tripped over yourself falling for him. Feeling impish and knowing Charlie wouldn’t mind the scars, he decided against a shirt and strolled into the kitchen in just his boxers.
“Mornin’ sunshine,” he smiled as he stepped beside Charlie at the counter. Charlie too had forgone other clothes and was still wearing the dragon boxers. Charlie jumped, then grinned.
“You scared me! Morning.” The redhead handed Remus four large eggs. “Here, make yourself useful.”
“How do you want ‘em?”
“Oh, whatever you feel like.”
Remus cracked them over the prepared pan, deciding on over easy. “I’m impressed you don’t cook magically, no one really does it this way these days.”
Charlie shrugged. “Well, I use magic to do dangerous things, like flip the eggs,” he teased. “But I enjoy the manual labor. I suppose there’s a lot more I could do here with magic, but I prefer working hands on. One of the reasons I got into dragons in the first place, I suppose; they’re sensitive to the use of magic, so I use as little as possible when dealing with them. Not that it harms them, just gives them a little high, I think.”
Remus laughed easily. “I understand, I’m the same way. There’s something so much more satisfying about doing it yourself.” With this pronouncement, he grabbed the handle of the skillet and expertly flipped the four eggs in it with a flick of his wrist.
“Ooh, now I’m impressed,” Charlie smiled.
“Thank you, thank you,” said Remus mockingly. “We all have our talents I suppose.” He winked flirtatiously at Charlie who returned it with a suggestively raised eyebrow. My oh my, Remus thought. Perhaps he is gay. That would be nice… Banishing those thoughts yet again, he slid two eggs on each plate sitting on the counter, to which Charlie added toast and bacon. They each grabbed a plate and settled into their seats of last night. The smell of fresh coffee wafted from the cups on the table and Remus gratefully took a sip before digging into breakfast.
“So,” Charlie began after he swallowed a bite of egg and toast, “how about we get the basics out of the way? I don’t know much about lycanthropy, just the stuff everyone knows, half truth and half rumor.”
Lupin immediately felt uncomfortable, but forced himself to be calm. “How about we start with what you do know, or what questions you have? Then I can fill you in on anything else.”
“All right,” Charlie began. “Lycanthropes, commonly referred to as werewolves, transform into their wolf shape on the night of a full moon. The have what amounts to an allergy to silver, it’s pretty much a vampire-to-garlic reaction. They don’t actually breed; werewolves are made, created by the bite of another werewolf.” He paused. “Does that mean a bite at anytime?”
Remus shook his head no. “When I’m in my human form, my bites are harmless, it’s only when I’m the wolf that I can change someone.”
“Good,” Charlie answered. Before Remus could speculate about the meaning behind that response, he continued. “The Change is supposed to be extremely painful, but is accompanied by a large increase in physical strength. Now I know that even in human form lycanthropes tend to be superhuman in their strength. After the Change a lycanthrope is at his most vulnerable; he is extremely weak and drained from the experience.” He paused. “That’s it, I think, except that werewolves are reputed to mate for life.” He eyed Lupin carefully.
Remus nodded. “You are, for the most part, correct, although we mate for life only in the same way that humans do. While we prefer to be…linked to one human, we are quite capable of meaningless affairs and can have more than one mate in a lifetime.”
Charlie’s eyes betrayed his curiosity. “Have you ever…?” he asked cautiously, hoping he wasn’t being too invasive.
Remus blushed slightly. “No.”
The werewolf hurried along with his lecture. “Werewolves are extremely protective of their mates, however, and will defend them fiercely. Also, it is safe for a werewolf’s mate to be with him during the Change; he will not bite his mate.” Remus abruptly changed the direction of the conversation. “Our senses, especially our sense of smell, are much stronger than human’s. Other than that, there’s very little else to tell about werewolves since their activities tend to vary with their personalities. I’m…” he paused, not looking forward to what he had to say. “I tend to be very self-destructive in my wolf form. I don’t try to hurt myself seriously, but I do tend to cut and scratch a lot, which shows on my human form… Luckily werewolves have slightly better regenerative systems than ordinary humans, or it would be much worse.” He looked sharply at Charlie. “But just because I tend to take out my energies on myself doesn’t mean that I am not dangerous. I am deadly to humans during the full moon. I have never killed, but I could very easily.” He took a bite of bacon and chewed it thoughtfully. “I was thinking that the best way to control me during that time would be to lock me in the pen with the dragons. I won’t hurt them, they won’t hurt me, and the magical wards would keep me inside. And I haven’t had playmates in a very long time.”
Charlie nodded in agreement. “Good idea. Not that I like the idea of having to isolate you, but at least for the first full moon it will have to do. After that, we’ll see what we can work out.”
Remus looked grateful and disbelieving at the same time. “Thank you,” he said softly. “I know you didn’t have to do this. I appreciate your help.”
Charlie beamed at him. “I want to help. Besides, I like you.” He blushed a little and buried his face in his coffee cup to cover it. “So,” he changed the subject. “Shall we groom Cressa today?”
His new assistant made a face. Cressa was a Blue Tornin Dragon, an extremely large breed with a fondness for breathing fire at annoyances, which would likely include two men scrubbing her scales. “Ugh, I suppose. Making my first day as hard as possible?” Remus grimaced.
Charlie grinned. “Absolutely. Hey, that way it only gets better from here on out, right?”
Remus offered a wry smile, but in truth he didn’t mind the work. He enjoyed spending time with dragons, even the nasty types.
“Works for me.” He gulped down the last of his coffee and stood up. Grabbing his dish, cup, and silverware, he headed to the sink and began to rinse them off.
“Don’t worry about that!” protested Charlie, who finished his own coffee and stood up. “You’re my guest, you shouldn’t be doing housework!”
“Oh please,” Remus replied as he snatched Charlie’s dish from the table. “I’m a working guest, remember? Besides, you let me do the eggs!”
“Only because I’m so terrible at making eggs. At least let me dry them, if you insist on being helpful,” Charlie answered, grasping a tea towel and wiping a fork before putting it in a drawer.
It only took a few minutes to complete the chore with both of them working. Wiping his damp hands on his boxers, Remus turned to Charlie. “Ready then?”
Charlie smiled at him. “Absolutely. I’ll loan you some of my dragon-hide pants though; they’ll protect you from any mishaps during grooming.” He laughed at Remus’ vaguely distressed look.
“Oh yes, that would be good,” replied the werewolf, following Charlie into the bedroom. The trainer dug around in a drawer for a minute before procuring a dark brown pair of pants.
“Here, these are about an inch too short for me, they should suit you perfectly.” He nodded toward the bathroom. “I assume you’ll want a quick shower first, since you didn’t get a chance yesterday. There’s a towel on the rack for you, help yourself to anything else you need in there. I’ll just meet you outside, okay?”
Remus nodded and headed toward the bathroom. Charlie stole a quick glance at his broad shoulders and back, covered in visible white scars but still elegant and attractive. He sighed and pulled on a pair of pants.
He was flirting with you this morning, you know he was, said that tiny, insistent voice in his head. Come on, make a move, you know you want to.
No, Charlie’s conscience insisted as he buttoned the tight pants. Remus shouldn’t be just a fling, a casual fuck. If there was going to be anything between them, he wanted it to be something…wonderful. Special. All that sappy romance stuff. Charlie was vaguely amused with himself; he usually wasn’t one to balk at a little uninvolved affair, but somehow this was different. Maybe he was tired of occasional casual encounter, or maybe he just liked Remus a lot more than anyone else he had ever stumbled upon. Either way, this one was going to be different. That is, if anything happened, he reminded himself. There was no guarantee that Remus wanted to sleep with him at all, let alone become involved in a relationship. He sighed. If only he knew the other man’s feelings for certain, this would be a lot easier.
Sitting on the bed, he pulled on his boots while whimsically toying with the idea of “checking” on Remus in the shower. As if that wouldn’t be incredibly obvious, he snorted to himself. Still, it would almost be worth it… No no no no no, he chanted to himself. Bad Charlie, bad thoughts. He finished tying his boots and strode out of the room, determined to collect the necessary grooming equipment instead of spying on a naked werewolf. Not a satisfactory trade, he thought sadly.
Once he reached the shed and started rooting around for the brushes and buckets, it occurred to him that he had left the soap under the sink. With a heavy sigh he trudged back to the tiny cottage. Why must his mind conspire to bring him so close to temptation at every possible moment? It was becoming downright cruel.
He absently noted that the water was no longer running in the bathroom as he stepped through the doorway. Walking across the room, he tossed a casual look into the bedroom only to see a very naked werewolf with his back to the kitchen. Immediately his eyes were glued to the sight of beautiful, pale, damp skin, especially that very nice, round…
“Ow!” Charlie cried as his shin connected sharply with the wooden chair. “Dammit!”
Remus immediately swung around at the sound and froze as he saw Charlie standing in the kitchen, rubbing his leg and assessing the naked man with veiled appreciation.
Oh, noted Remus’ mind inanely. Oh. Charlie’s here. Looking at me. And I’m naked. Oh. And, oh my, if he doesn’t look away soon or if I don’t put something on, he’ll be getting more than he’s bargained for.
“Erm,” he said awkwardly, snatching his towel from the bed and wrapping it hastily around his waist. “Um, sorry.” He wasn’t quite sure what he was apologizing for, but it was better than saying nothing.
“For what?” Charlie finally said, able to pull his gaze reluctantly to Remus’ face now that the towel was interfering with his view. “I’m the one who should apologize for, er, ogling you.”
Remus blushed at the admission, unsure how to respond. “Erm, well, it’s quite all right, I didn’t mind. Oh.” He blushed furiously. “Erm.”
“Okay, look, I think I need to say something here,” Charlie admitted. He took a seat at the table and offered Remus the other with a gesture. Remus, securing the towel tightly, padded forward and sat down gingerly.
Charlie took a deep breath and looked Remus in the eye. “I’m gay. And I’m attracted to you. Very attracted to you, I might add. I don’t know…” he faltered and looked down at his hands, folded on the table. “I don’t know how you feel about this, but I had to tell you. If we’re going to be living together, this is important information for you to have. Besides, I figure it was bound to become obvious any time now, if you hadn’t figured it out already.” He offered the man across the table a nervous smile. “So…” he shrugged, “I guess at this point it’s up to you. I promise not to harass you while you’re asleep or anything like that, but if you’re not comfortable with it, then…” he trailed off, his meaning obvious.
Remus thought about it. He wasn’t terribly surprised that Charlie was gay, he had suspected so right away. He was, however, somewhat startled that the redhead was actually attracted to him and had frankly admitted it. Hesitantly, he replied honestly to the straightforward speech.
“To be frank, I’m also gay. And attracted to you,” he said awkwardly, not used to such declarations. “But I don’t really know where that leaves us.” He paused. “What…what are you thinking?”
Charlie looked shyly at the adorably nervous man. “Well,” he said bashfully. “I like you rather a lot to be in it just for the, er, physical side of it. I was kind of hoping that maybe, um, we could take it slow and just enjoy each other’s company? You know, get used to and learn about each other and then take it from there. Um, how does that strike you?” he asked hopefully.
Remus broke into a genuine smile, eliciting one in return from the redhead. “It sounds perfect,” he said sincerely. They sat there for a moment, just sharing grins, before Charlie finally broke the silence.
“I’d better get that soap,” he said, “and you ought to get dressed before I regret my proposal to take it slow any more that I already do.”
Lupin blushed charmingly and teasingly batted his eyelashes. “Are you sure?” he said flirtatiously before Charlie chased him out of the room with a friendly glare.
Oh, thought Charlie to himself, this was going to be fun.
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