(c) 2001 Acheron. Do not distribute. If you think someone would like to see it, send them here.
It was Friday night, it was raining, and Louis Blake was on the rocks.
He had a vocal exam on Monday, and he didn't have anyone to practise his harmony with. Also on Monday, his big Statistics assignment was due. He'd just got out of a gruelling Calculus midterm, and wasn't at all sure of his work on it, due to his distraction. On the way home he'd almost been the victim of another university gay-beating. The fact that the acerbic jackal Trevor King had been the one to spook the gang did not bode all that well for his future; Trevor's habit of sharpening his wit on others was legendary, and now that Louis owed him, he couldn't even protest.
Stumbling through his door, he was greeted by a bass rumble of "Hi, Louis."
Ah, yes. The icing on the cake. He still had to face his roommate.
Eric Fitzgerald was a timber wolf and very, very big. More than two feet higher than Louis and huge across the shoulders, he was well over three times the mouse's weight. He was also drop-dead handsome, with his strong-boned, expressive face, his thick-but-not-obscene muscles, his chiselled features, his long, bushy tail...
Don't, Louis told himself. He could snap you in half without trying.
With a muttered nicety, Louis sank into his chair. One wave of his hand over the projector and figures floated before his eyes. He buried himself in the cool logic of probability.
His assignment was mostly done, and focusing on it as he was, he finished it in record time; but it reminded him even more strongly of how unlikely he was to find even a simple companion in the foreseeable future. Not one that fit his wants.
Time to lower your expectations, kid.
Sighing, Louis dumped his work onto a data disc, shut off the display, and hauled his chair over to his keyboard.
The music was already in place from his last practise session. Softly, he plunked out the tenor part, humming along in the back of his throat. Once through, and then his hands switched to the piano score and he began to sing.
A few bars in, realising that he was falling into a minor key, he stopped.
Damn it. This was the easiest song of the lot, but it was very hard to sing about rejoicing when everything was the pits. Sighing, he went back to the top and sang once more.
This time, another voice joined him, singing the bass line softly but with confidence.
Somehow managing to keep singing, Louis craned his neck around. Leaning on the back of the mouse's chair, Eric smiled down at him as they repeated the phrase, and went on.
As the wolf sang, watching the score, it was all Louis could do to keep up. He hadn't even known Eric could sing much less this piece, or so wonderfully, the Latin words falling easily from his tongue... Oh, God, why can I not have this man? Despite his distraction, though, Louis was spot on.
After the last vocal note, his hands kept playing for a moment before settling on the last chord.
A big hand came to rest on his bony shoulder. "What's eating you, Louis?"
You, but not in the way I want, he managed not to say. "I might have got mauled on my Calculus midterm, and I very nearly did on the way home... If Trevor hadn't been there..." He shuddered, unable to continue. The alternative was just too horrible to contemplate.
Eric was staring. "Who'd want to hurt a cute guy like you?"
While Louis was still frozen in shock, Eric's other hand brushed across his cheek. "Want to talk about it?"
Louis swallowed around the nervous lump in his throat. "Eric, are you"
When he faltered, the wolf said, "What, gay? Yeah."
The mouse's jaw dropped. He'd meant to ask, "Are you serious?" To get told that instead it bowled him over.
The wolf's hand cupped his chin, amber eyes wide with surprise. "I thought you knew!" When Louis shook his head, Eric took a step back, one hand still resting on the back of Louis's chair. "Shit... Is this why you're been avoiding me all this time?"
So that hadn't gone unnoticed. He should have known better. Louis managed to nod his head up and down.
"Oh, man... Louis, I can understand your not making a pass at me over that... and the rest, too. I thought it was because I wasn't your type or something!"
"Eric, you're so much my type, it hurts."
The words were out of his mouth before he knew what he was saying.
Damn. Damn, damn, damn. That was stupid, Louis.
He'd never before noticed how the carpet had loops of thread sticking up, not individual strands and he was so engrossed in studying that, he didn't notice Eric coming closer until a wet nose pressed against his cheek, the mouth underneath that nose exerting a gentle suction.
As the kiss went on, Louis began to shake.
"You shouldn't have waited so long without saying something," Eric whispered. "It's noble of you, but you don't have to suffer in silence."
Louis sighed and put an arm around the wolf's neck. "I should've said," he agreed. If the wolf had been a homophobe Louis would have heard of it on the very first day. "But I was scared that you'd be angry, somehow."
The hand that stroked the back of his head was answer enough. "Things'll look better in the morning, once you've had some sleep. It gets better when you sleep on it," Eric said quietly.
Yeah. Sleep. Louis gave Eric's hand a squeeze and rose, shutting down his keyboard. He'd just stripped to his shorts and was about to climb into bed when Eric called out to him.
The wolf was sitting on his own bed, dressed in only his boxers. The sudden sight of his magnificent form knocked the mouse back a step.
Sure, he'd seen Eric shirtless, even nude, but he'd never let himself see how handsome the wolf really was, nor how kind was his face.
"I think you need some company," the big man said, rising to his feet. "How about it?"
At another time, just the sight of Eric standing up like that would set bells ringing all through his mind. Now, though, all he wanted his sole desire in life, now that it had been suggested to him was to be held in those huge arms until he fell asleep. "Yeah," he said, "I'd like that."
Eric smiled, turned, and grabbed his bed. Muscles flexing all along his huge back, he dragged it over beside Louis's bed and, with a bit of shifting around and a larger set of sheets he pulled from somewhere, made them into a single bed. Flashing a wonderful smile as he turned off the light, he crawled in, holding up a corner of the sheet for Louis. The mouse had never scrambled into bed so quickly and eagerly as he did then.
Automatically he went into a fetal curl, his whip-like tail over his nose. This time, though, a warm body pressed against his back, curling around him, filling every curve of his body. A bushy lupine tail brushed at the base of his slender one, and a broad hand rested on his thigh.
"I've wanted this for a while," Eric rumbled, his throat vibrating against Louis's neck. "Ever since I first saw you sleeping like that I've wanted to curl up with you. Sorry it has to be after such a bad day, though."
"It's looking better now," Louis said. Everything felt so warm, so right, at long last... "Eric?"
"I'm not sure, but I..." But... what? No, he had a good idea what it was that made this closeness feel so good. "I think... I think I love you."
There was a pause, then Eric's other hand slid under him and up his chest, lying across his breast, over his heart. "That's wonderful," the wolf breathed into his ear, "because I've loved you for a while. So nice... so talented... so beautiful. Sleep well, Louis."
Utterly content, Louis voiced a happy sigh and kissed the back of Eric's hand. "You too," said he, "amor mei."
Eric sighed happily as well, and gave a light kiss to the base of Louis's ear.
When, two minutes later, the moonlight slanted down on their faces, both were in blissful slumber.
This story is continued here. Not tamely.