The rider glowered past his mount’s head as the beast trundled down the packed dirt road, eight sets of claws churning up little clods of dust. Neither of them had a countenance that brooked argument; the man had passed beyond surly long ago and was now downright thunderous, and while his hand was nowhere near the sword at his hip, still nobody wanted to impede the wearer of that crest when he was looking so incensed – it was known far and wide that Davion del Torim was very quick to find his sword when the need arose, and while he was also known as a kind, fair-hearted man, that made his palpable fury all the more frightening. None wanted to be seen as in his way when he was in that mood, lest he see violence as an expedient way past.

As for his steed, Winter was a full-grown gerwuhl hob, nearly as well-known as his rider. Most people who rode gerwuhlen instead of some more placid beast rode jills, in small part because the males were substantially bigger and thus harder to maintain and feed, but mostly because they could be so vicious, and in a species that could already be almost disturbingly clever about escaping restraints and the like, a vicious streak was the last thing anyone wanted to risk. Winter was a deadly fighter in his own right, with cruel weapons tipping each of his numerous limbs and jaws that could break through a man’s thighbone with scarcely a pause. Nobody wanted to feel his bite any more than that of his namesake.

It was a strange day when that wolverine-like countenance was the less surly-looking of the pair, and the gate guards instantly decided they wanted no part of it. Davion was familiar enough to them as to need no interrogation, and he had a royal exemption from the usual queries anyway; they just hauled the turnstile out of his way to let him pass, and Winter churned through the gate without breaking stride.

Davion kept his silence until the guards and everyone else were out of earshot, and only then did he start cursing. It was under his breath, but it went on for some time, with an extensive vocabulary that would have surprised most people who’d ever met him. Winter endured it stoically, just bearing his rider along the road with his usual steady, rolling gait.

When Davion finally ran out of steam and slumped over Winter’s shoulders, the silver-speckled gerwuhl flicked an ear. “You got through all that without ever saying just what it was that got your hackles up.” The words didn’t exactly arrive by way of Davion’s ears, but if a gerwuhl were to speak out loud, it would have probably sounded like that – deep, gravelly, with growling undertones.

Davion sighed, toying with the slack reins he’d otherwise scarcely touched. “People can be so damnably stupid, Winter.”

Winter’s answering snort was more conventionally audible, though the words that followed were still just undertones in an otherwise-inarticulate growl. “Nothing new there. You’re the only smart one I know, and even you can be thick at times.”

“You won’t know any other people if you don’t talk to them,” Davion shot back with a sigh. Knowing that for a futile line of conversation, he said, “Keep a lookout for a good place to den up for the night, would you? We won’t make it to the border in one day anyway.”

The gerwuhl huffed, starting to look about a little more than his usual wariness demanded, and that brought the conversation to a close.

Davion, looking around as well, at least didn’t have to worry so much about the business of moving, so his mind was a bit more free to wander.

He’d never got a clear answer on just what the limits of his unusual mount’s communication were. It wasn’t plain whether Winter couldn’t speak to anyone but him, or the hob could speak to others but chose not to. Maybe Winter himself didn’t know.

It could have been related to the same incident that had – presumably – given Winter his smarts to begin with. He’d been a green recruit with the Scarlet Eye at that point, tagging along on the investigation into a mishap at an alchemist’s shop. Mostly he’d been there to mind the kits, actually – his superior’s jill had a pair of kits in attendance, just weaned but still so young that she wasn’t willing to let them out of her sight for very long.

He’d kept the young jill in order, but the hob had squirmed past him to investigate some of the smashed jars. Davion had managed to grab the kit without making him squall in protest, but they’d both been splashed a little in the process. At the time he’d thought little enough of it – he hadn’t felt anything unusual, it could have just been water, and when he’d reported the matter, a wizard had looked over him and the kit alike, finding nothing unusual about either – but a few days later he’d started hearing the meaning under the little hob’s utterances. Words had supplied themselves to his mind – words that quickly grew more articulate.

So that mixture had amplified Winter’s thoughts somehow, and given him the ability to express those thoughts clearly – at least to Davion. The alchemist who owned the shop, on the other hand, had been reduced to a simpleton, lacking words of any kind, barely more than an animal in his responses to anything. Davion had later heard that the man had been trying to devise a concoction to enhance intellect – so he’d definitely been working on something relevant to Davion’s own concern – but something had gone wrong. He’d been too thorough, too scrupulously careful, to have just tested an unknown mixture on himself without recording that fact, but there had been a tremor in the earth in town that day, at about the same time; if it had upset a jar at just the wrong time, just so, nobody could say what the consequences might have been. More likely that the tremor had caused the alchemist’s accident than the reverse, though – the damage just hadn’t been great enough for a detonation of that force. The alchemist was still technically alive, for one thing.

Davion hadn’t known what to think at first, when he’d heard the kit speaking. Nobody else had remarked on it, certainly. At first he’d thought that the fumes had driven him subtly mad. But the words matched just too neatly with what the hob was up to for them to be just the products of Davion’s own imagination, diseased or otherwise.

And maybe because the kit had noticed that connection, he’d been remarkably biddable for a gerwuhl hob – at least where Davion was concerned. Davion had always had a way with gerwuhlen, but not to that degree. Seizing the unlikely opportunity, the kennel-mistress had officially paired them up rather than put the hob to no more use than guard duty and occasional stud service, and that was that.

Seeing a bend in the river shaped just so, Davion’s memory was jogged on a more immediately-relevant concern. “There’s caves where the Whiterill spills over the escarpment,” he noted. “Should be good shelter there if it hasn’t been taken already, or ruined somehow.”

“I haven’t seen better,” Winter replied, and swung about to where the river met the long rise of the Ochre Bluff. Davion lifted his standard’s pole free of its little stirrup, rolling up the banner and keeping the standard more in line with the gerwuhl’s long body as they left the road.

Davion had done conspicuously well, first as an investigator with the king’s law-keepers in the Scarlet Eye, then largely on his own as a knight-errant of the Clear Sky Order, in the greatest part because of Winter’s aid. Everyone knew gerwuhlen had keen noses, but it wasn’t until Winter had started feeding him details from crime scenes that Davion had any real idea just how keen. And while the directness of his thought meant he sometimes missed hidden complexities, Winter’s alternate way of looking at things sometimes uncovered possibilities that Davion on his own would have overlooked – and sometimes, those had been the right leads to follow.

He was also as canny a fighter as any man, but with a gerwuhl hob’s impressive strength and natural weaponry – a very useful combination to have on one’s side if things turned nasty. Together, they made one of the most effective units in the Clear Sky.

But that wasn’t enough for everybody, was it?

They’d used this particular cave before, some months back – days had been warmer, then, but the threat of rain had sent them looking for dryer shelter. A waterfall tumbled down next to the cave mouth itself, offering some discouragement to casual travelers during these cooler months; past that, it was as cozy a den as could be wished for. Enough travellers had used it, often enough, that the firepit was a permanent fixture now, and there was even some wood nearby, if not enough for a good night’s fire; a cleft in the rock provided a natural chimney, and while it wouldn’t allow a draft once the fire was going, there was enough air movement now that Davion could tell the way was still clear. There were two chambers to the cavern, each big enough to store all his gear and still have room for him and Winter to sprawl out, yet the mouth narrowed enough that he could drape some fur blankets over it to keep out the early-winter wind.

It was just barely big enough for Winter to get in without needing to squeeze through. Most gerwuhlen his size would be at best reluctant to try; Winter, of course, knew better. Davion did strip off the gerwuhl’s tack and leather barding outside the cave, though, just to be sure. It would be fine in the front chamber overnight, so he didn’t have to worry about moving it far.

Presently, he’d need to chop wood, but there was enough there to at least get a fire going. Once it was started, he slipped out of his surcoat; and while part of him resented the emblem upon it, the sun-disc on one field, crescent moon on the other, and three stars on the diagonal stripe between them, he wasn’t quite so far gone as to just hurl the thing into a corner; he folded it neatly and set it aside. His own leathers followed, then he tucked his cloak back around himself for warmth, covered the entrance, and turned to his mount.

Winter had curled up by the growing fire, but stood when Davion came near with a stiff brush. It was a bit coarser than what Davion would use on his own pelt, but otherwise it was quite similar; he could have used one’s brush for the other without too much trouble, though the stiffer one helped with the gerwuhl’s coarser fur and the greater abuse to which riding put it.

He took his time, brushing firmly over Winter’s neck, shoulders, chest, and along each limb as he worked his way back. The attention did not go unnoticed; shifting from foot to foot to make the work easier, Winter rumbled, “You’re not normally this thorough, prettying me up on the road. Was someone commenting about me, to have you all ruffled up earlier?”

Davion winced as he kept brushing. Their thoughts could be so alien to one another sometimes, it was easy even for him to forget that at other times the gerwuhl could be almost alarmingly perceptive. Inconveniently so, at times. “Apparently some folk think a man of my status should have a grander steed,” he grumbled.

“Like what, a pegasus?” A snort. “Good eating, but you’d get twice the brains on even the stupidest of my cousins.”

Davion carefully resolved never to ask just what Winter meant by a pegasus being good eating or how he knew it. He just kept brushing his way along, from one pair of legs to the next and all around the gerwuhl’s body on the way. “Or at least, they figure, I should get a ‘proper’ jill with a good fancy pattern.” Aside from the lighter fur speckling it, which had been more prominent as a kit and given the hob his name, Winter’s pelt was much like that of the wolverines gerwuhlen otherwise resembled. There were fancier, to be sure – all black, all white, patterns with both, other vibrant colours and markings in a wide variety. But what did that matter? Winter was his partner, not just an ornament.

“You seem as fond of the notion as I am, so I won’t bother telling you the ways that’s stupid.” Winter’s tail flicked against Davion’s leg as the man circled around him again. “Still holding that they’re worth talking to?”

“From time to time,” Davion hunkered down with a grunt to work along the gerwuhl’s left hindleg, “I meet someone who’s a delight to speak with, even if I don’t agree with all they say. But that lot…” He sighed, working right down over Winter’s toes, which the hob obligingly lifted off the rock for him. “Said that the way I stick with you, you might as well be my wife.”

He hadn’t the words to express how insulting that had been. Was that the only sort of loyalty they knew? Most likely some of them weren’t even all that loyal to their wives, willing as they were to flirt with the barmaids and the women of the castle staff.

Not that Winter saw it quite that way. “What,” he rumbled, “you pamper me, fuss over me, and in exchange I let you mount me now and then? It doesn’t seem that far off to me.” He twisted right around, nudging his snout against Davion’s cheek. “Sometimes it’s even the sort of mounting they mean, no?”

Davion flushed, ears pinning back. “Of all the people-habits to pick up, I have no idea how you seized on wordplay,” he confessed. “Especially that sort!”

“You know I always feel good after a good brushing,” the gerwuhl breathed over those furled ears. “Especially as you get back there.”

Davion had been carefully avoiding the plumpness of Winter’s sheath where it was shrouded in belly-fur. With that sort of attention called to it, though, it would’ve been quite hard not to at least glance; Davion glanced, and let his gaze linger when that glance noted bare, pink flesh pushing through the enshrouding undercoat.

Oh, yes, the gerwuhl enjoyed these attentions quite a bit…

But before he could decide to shift his attentions that way, the gerwuhl’s snout pushed against Davion’s shoulder, and the beast started to shuffle his hindquarters away. “Relax a little, yes?” he growled. “We’re out of the wind, the fire’s growing warm, and we’re safe. Together, with nobody else here to interrupt.” His forepaws, surprisingly nimble for the length of their claws, managed to unclasp Davion’s brooch, nudged his cloak out to his shoulders, and started tugging at the clothing beneath.

Winter wasn’t nearly so unpleasantly musky as wolverines and their similarly four-footed kin could be, but there was a distinct sharpness to the smell of his arousal – almost spicy; even after all this time together, it still seemed exotic, reaching into Davion’s mind and sending a thrill down his spine, awakening an answering tightness in his breeches. He groaned and sank down to his knees, head tilting back a bit and eyes closing, lifting his hands to loosen his tunic as Winter’s paws roamed on.

Those forepaws weren’t quite nimble enough to loosen Davion’s belt, but once he’d done that himself, they tugged his breeches down with a blend of tenderness and eagerness that was very much a lover’s. The broad snout pushed into the black fur of Davion’s stomach, breath slow, steady, and warm, and from there turned down without further ado to the man’s rising ebony manhood.

Not that he’d seen other men up close, but Davion didn’t think, from his stolen glimpses here and there, that he was anything but average. The gerwuhl’s muzzle engulfed his shaft without effort, tongue dragging firmly over it, swiftly coaxing it to full and rigid attention.

Somewhat awkwardly, Davion sat back and got his legs straight out in front of him, his tail frizzled out between them, rust and amber bands fracturing as it twisted like a trapped snake. He clung to the gerwuhl’s massive skull, already panting, as that tongue swiped over his length again and again – and while the beast’s rumble bore no words now, not even for him, it carried delight, approval, and affection aplenty.

In an embarrassingly short time, Davion cried out, shoving up against Winter’s muzzle, seed pulsing out over that merciless tongue.

That lack of stamina was yet another thing that didn’t escape Winter’s notice; once he’d gingerly licked the man clean and lifted off, and was nuzzling at his thigh, the gerwuhl observed, “You must be quite pleased with me today. I don’t think you’ve ever been that quick to offer up a treat – not that it’s effort of a sort I’ve minded, either.”

At least he’d phrased it as a good thing. Davion sighed, rubbing behind one of the gerwuhl’s ears. “I’ve been tense, and you’re at the heart of it,” he said. “That people should so casually dismiss you, when I know how special you are, how important to the very career they think has exceeded you…” He let it trail off; it was hard to stay angry, anyway, with the echoes of his pleasure still coursing through him and the source of it touching him so gently.

Instead, he turned to a laugh. “I’d thought you wanted me somewhere else, though, by your quip earlier.”

“The sun hasn’t even set,” Winter replied, very matter-of-fact. “There’s plenty of night left.”

“During which I need to find and cut firewood, tend to food and my own appearance, and sleep, while you can just doze by the fire, you lazy beast;” Davion shot back, his laugh coming easier this time.

The gerwuhl shrugged, in the expansive way his many “shoulders” allowed for. “Primed as you were, if we had taken the time and effort to get arranged in a more complicated way, it might have been over all too soon, no? This way some of that urgency is blunted, and when you’ve recovered, perhaps you’ll endure longer.” He flashed a toothy grin up at his rider.

Yet behind that grin, there was still tenderness in his dark eyes. It wasn’t often that he’d come out and say it, but he was as fond of Davion’s taste as the reverse – and each of them was far more fond of pleasing his partner, that way or otherwise.

Davion shivered. In spite of his protests, the gerwuhl was right; the night was still very young. And he was a fit man in his prime, who’d had little chance for release at all, much less affectionate contact, for quite some while now.

“I’d best be about the work,” he sighed, hitching up his breeches.

Winter pushed upright, starting from his forepaws and moving back. “There I can help. I’d rather not get sap on my fur when you’ve just put in such effort getting it neat, but I can at least find something likely.”

“Sap season is months away yet,” Davion laughed, “but suit yourself. Maybe you could find some likely dinner, if you can make a clean kill.” He had no doubt that Winter could hunt for both of them – an adult gerwuhl could take down deer with frightening ease, while still being nimble enough to go for something smaller and less wasteful – but even by the standards of hunting it was not normally a tidy process.

“Clean enough to wash off in the stream,” Winter replied, then, with one last nuzzle to Davion’s chest, turned away to eel through the opening and past the waterfall.

So much the better. Hunting for prey would be more to his liking than hunting for wood,  anyway.

Wood was not a problem; a recent storm had brought down a number of good-sized limbs and smaller kindling, so it only took a few minutes of chopping to break those limbs into useable pieces and split a few larger logs for the core of the fire. Some noises of intense but brief distress informed him that Winter was being just as successful; indeed, a few dead hares had been laid just outside the cave mouth by the time he got back to it, and the gerwuhl had waded into the river just downstream from the waterfall to splash around and rinse off.

Rather sure that he’d heard more than two kills, Davion was confident that Winter had suitably fed, and didn’t feel in the least guilty about snatching up both carcasses. There was his dinner and a hearty breakfast both.

And while it was cooking, he could set his identity aside for a while. There was nobody here but Winter, and Winter didn’t need him to be Sir Davion del Torim of the Clear Sky. Here and now, he could just be Davion – which, for the gerwuhl, could mean several things; rider, partner, even, somehow, lover – without adornment and artifice.

With the fire now built up enough to chase away the winter chill, there was something strangely peaceful about setting aside all his gear, being unadorned that way as well. It was, in a way, putting aside his identity that much more definitively; when he was clad in armour, he was one of the King’s knights, but clad in only his fur, rust and black with amber bands on his tail and white marks by his eyes, none of those responsibilities needed to weigh on him.

So, with Winter’s long body curled in a loose arc towards the fire, Davion slung an arm around the gerwuhl’s neck and leaned back against him, stroking his side with the other hand, and waited for the stew to cook.

Being that close to the gerwuhl, his thoughts kept turning back to the firm pink taper the hob had sported a little ago; and by the time he finished his bowlful of stew and set the covered pot off of but near the fire to keep warm, he was as eager, as excited, and most significantly as aroused as a youth.

“So what would please you tonight, dear heart?” he wondered, stroking the gerwuhl’s powerful jaw. “I’d not mind returning your earlier favour – even if it’d likely be more work than you needed to go through.”

Winter’s snout nuzzled into the side of Davion’s neck. “It’s one thought,” he granted, “but I’d prefer something… closer. We haven’t had a chance for that in quite a while, now.”

The words were mild, but there was a wistful tenderness under them that Davion could well understand. Theirs was a dangerous life; best they savour these moments together, away from anyone who might judge or interfere, while they had them. “I think you’re right about that,” Davion sighed. “So that bit of wordplay earlier wasn’t wholly idle, was it?”

That tongue which had so deftly pleasured him earlier slid more gently over the back of his ear now. “You feel good there, Davion, and you always seem so delighted to be there.”

Smiling, Davion ducked away from the gerwuhl’s muzzle and slid along his side. Winter rolled away from him as he went; by the time he’d reached the third set of legs, he was against, not Winter’s side, but his belly.

That was fine, and more than fine, he reflected, gliding his hand along the plump ridge of the gerwuhl’s sheathed maleness, feeling it swell under his fingers as Winter groaned and wriggled towards him.

Well, even if he wasn’t to finish like this, that didn’t mean he couldn’t take at least a brief taste while he was here.

He had to be a bit careful, even as he touched his tongue to that emerging flesh and kneaded what of it was still shrouded, coaxing it to full attention; the gerwuhl was big, and while not proportionally so well-endowed as even Davion himself, the size of Winter’s body still made for some formidable equipment, and even his uncoordinated, mostly-checked squirming could’ve sent that growing flesh jabbing all too deep into his mouth, gagging him – or, worse, it could have scraped against his teeth despite his efforts to avoid just that. So he only briefly and occasionally took the tip into his mouth, suckling on it, lapping up the strong-scented, slightly-salty moisture there; otherwise, he licked and kissed over the bare flesh, slathering it from tip to base in spit, leaving not one bit of skin untouched.

There was about a foot of it in all, very warm, an uncomplicated taper in profile, the gerwuhl’s heavy heartbeat a slow, subtle, but palpable force under the skin; and as he leaned back and ran his fingers along it, listening to his partner’s breaths – still much slower and deeper than his, but quicker than their usual wont, and much more irregular, even a bit hoarse – he was seized by an almost fey yearning.

Why not? Rare though it had been, it wouldn’t be the first time.

He planted one last kiss right on the fur-shrouded warmth of Winter’s balls, then drew back, stretching out full-length to dig in his pouch. Anticipating him, Winter shifted, stretching out on his back with all eight paws tucked in, spit-wet length bobbing over his belly.

But he hadn’t quite anticipated Davion; when the man produced a particular flask and tipped some of the contents onto his fingers, the gerwuhl was at rest, eyes closed, waiting languorously for him – but when Davion’s fingers, slick with thick, clear oil, instead slid over Winters rigid spire, the gerwuhl’s head snapped up, eyes going wide, paws jerking. He knew what his partner was about, of course; the next instant, shivering, he hissed with excitement. “You are treating me, today,” he rumbled.

Davion grinned down at him. “It’s not completely selfless, dear heart, I assure you.” He was much more generous with the oil than he would be if their roles were reversed; this would take all the help they could get.

But then it was time, and he slid forward, over the gerwuhl’s stomach, shivering as flesh slid past slippery flesh. For all their differences of form, it was moments of contact like that which proved to him that in some key ways, they were fundamentally similar, two hot-blooded males who lived every breath for one another.

On other occasions, he’d been quite happy to continue that contact, either straddling Winter or with the gerwuhl hunkered down over him, until whichever of them was underneath had been made very thoroughly messy with their mingled seed. This time, though, he kept going, let the bigger male’s slickened taper slide past the root of his own manhood, trail over his balls, and slip up to nudge against the root of his tail.

There he paused, drawing a deep breath. For all this could start easily, that was a lot of flesh he was pondering taking into him, and with it nestled along his tail as it was, that fact was impossible to ignore.

But then Winter’s third-paws came to rest against his shoulders, and he looked up to see his mismatched lover gazing down at him – and it was every inch a lover’s gaze. Yes, they both had a deep, animal need; but there was real fondness, too, real affection.

Davion twisted around somewhat, reaching behind and under himself with his oil-slick fingers, the other hand spread over Winter’s stomach for balance. He closed his eyes, tilted the hob’s shaft just a little bit that way, and leaned back against it.

Up over his head, Winter hissed in pleasure; under him, the gerwuhl’s long, muscular body shivered. But all those things, however delightful in themselves, waned in intensity and nearly vanished under the rigid heat spreading him open, spearing into him.

Winter’s hindpaws churned, haunches shifting against Davion’s hips, and the gerwuhl’s breath slipped free in a long, low growl. Those who didn’t know Winter might have thought the sound a threat – even if they’d been around mating gerwuhl, that sound was nothing that a normal hob would make when mating. But Davion had never had trouble hearing it for what it was: a lover’s moan of bliss.

For something like this, one or the other of them needed to be in full control. If Winter had been on his feet, those little twitches he couldn’t quite control as Davion rode his length would have had rather more impact than a slight shift under the man’s tail; they could have been disastrous. Oh, Winter was capable of keeping himself controlled, keeping his motions gentle, and indeed he had done on a few memorable occasions – but that was when he was in control,working in and out of his rider with smooth, shallow thrusts, not when Davion was the one setting the pace. One movement that Winter’s body wasn’t quite ready for, and that powerful form would twitch and shiver.

In spite of the implicit hazard, it was exciting, to know that he could do such things to someone who was so powerful. And that Winter let him do this – and everything else – made him feel special in a way no accolades and fancy titles could.

The few times they’d done this before, when Winter was the passive party, he was very passive – made a point of staying still so as not to do his smaller, more fragile lover a harm. So it was something of a shock when, in the midst of his smooth, churning strokes along that hefty spire, a third-paw slipped up to press against his cheek. “Davion,” Winter breathed, from over his head and very close.

Davion’s eyes snapped open. The gerwuhl had twisted right in towards him, propped up on a second-paw; even now his third-paw slipped free to lend some further balance, and instead his forepaws settled into place, one on Davion’s shoulder, one on his other cheek, and Winter nuzzled between the man’s ears. “If you can, save yourself for a bit longer yet, hmm? I do want to feel you writhing against me, shooting deep inside…”

Davion shuddered. When they were coupling, Winter almost never made any utterances that needed language to understand. This was definitely the first time he’d said anything so detailed, indeed, explicit. “Was hoping,” he gasped, “to feel that from you…

“So you will,” the gerwuhl husked, forepaws shifting down a little, slipping under Davion’s arms, spread over his ribs. “And soon. But…” He tugged Davion upwards a little, his “words” interrupted by a growl of much more primal need, one that only dragged on longer as he eased the man back down. He squirmed up towards Davion, sinking himself just a little deeper than Davion had himself done tonight…

Though not farther than he had before, and not so far that it went beyond an exquisite stretch to the point of genuine pain.

“When I’m done,” Winter huffed over his ears, rocking under him, into him, “I want you… to do the same for me.”

This was a side of Winter he hadn’t yet seen; the gerwuhl could be gruff, often took the lead physically, and hadn’t ever been shy about saying what he’d like, not starting from the very first time he’d brought up the thought of intimacy together in the first place, but it was the first time he’d actually taken steps to alter an intimate plan that Davion had set.

On the one hand, it was thrilling, to be so totally in the bigger male’s power – this, after all, was someone he could trust not to use that power against him. Winter might be the only one he really could surrender to so thoroughly.

And on the other hand, the very fact that Winter was willing and able to take charge like this was an assurance that Davion wasn’t abusing the power he had over his mount. That they were partners in all ways, that Winter wasn’t just doing this for the sake of service.

That made him tremble with joy.

“Do it, then,” he gasped, trying to match the way Winter was moving him, to make the strokes just a bit longer. “Ah…! Fill me, Winter…”

The gerwuhl shuddered under him, uttered a growl over his ears that would have been a bit more familiar to breeders if it hadn’t been so soft, and clutched him close. Had he been straddling Davion, mounting him that way, that surge of tension could have been what pushed him in just a bit too hard, too deep; arranged as they were, though, the tug of his forelegs actually lifted Davion ever so slightly off his shaft, enough to balance the surge in his hindquarters.

And he complied, very enthusiastically indeed.

Stuffed full as he already was, there wasn’t much room in Davion for the torrent of strong-smelling gerwuhl seed to go; as he kept rocking atop the bigger male’s bucking piece, there was a distinct feeling of wet warmth slipping out of them, and the smell of spilled semen was strong on the air.

As ever, the hob’s climax was much longer – and messier – than his own could ever be. Davion lost count after two dozen squirts of seed pulsed into him, and still Winter went on, and on, and on, panting over his rider’s ears, hot breath stirring Davion’s whiskers. And Davion just clung to a foreleg, crooning assurances and endearments that only had actual words about half the time. He was so charged from the force of the gerwuhl’s orgasm, every breath of air was a rush; every time coarse fur brushed his own aching member, he shuddered, expecting climax to sweep over him in turn.

It hadn’t yet by the time Winter finally fell still, drawing a deep, shockingly-unsteady breath and nuzzling Davion’s cheek. But the man could feel that release coming, just past the horizon of sensation; if he wanted to honour his bigger lover’s request, he’d need to do it fast.

Winter seemed to know it, mouthing at one of his ears, then letting go of him, slipping to his right where he already had two paws supporting him, the right forepaw finding place on the stone as well. “Go on,” the gerwuhl hissed. “Finish it for me, Davion…”

With shaking hands, Davion grabbed the flask of oil, spilling a fair bit of it in his clumsy haste. Even as he slathered it over his shaft, he could feel the surge rising in him, his breath quickening. A few quick strokes was all he could do; then he gripped his bucking length and squirmed in closer, steadying himself with his free hand on the gerwuhl’s haunch as he fitted the crown of his manhood into place behind Winter’s semen-damp balls and pushed forward.

It was a good thing Winter was so much bigger than he, parting without difficulty; even without needing to go slowly, he felt his pleasure surge again before he was even halfway in, ripping a cry from his lungs. Two or three frantic thrusts later, he couldn’t bear to keep moving; he just sank in to the hilt, slumping over Winter’s white-glazed shaft and gasping.

Intense though it was, his climax was quick to fade, leaving him trembling and dizzy. He leaned back, slipping free with a moan, and before he could contemplate what to do next, the gerwuhl was tugging him in. He fell against Winter’s white-speckled side with a grunt, and many strong legs shuffled him forward, until the hob – outstretched, now – could nuzzle between his ears some more, forepaws on his shoulders and second-paws cupping his rear.

And Winter held him there, against the gerwuhl’s chest, while he himself lay outstretched on his back by the flickering fire.

“This all may have started because of the needs of our bodies,” Winter rumbled softly over his ears, “but this… it does something deeper, now.”

“People would say that’s the heart,” Davion said, still feeling a bit dizzy, but at least breathing steady now. He twisted around, reaching for his pack and, within it, a rag to wipe their fur at least mostly clean.

A snort. “The heart’s just a muscle, hard-working and tough. No, this is… deeper than all that.”

Trust a gerwuhl to be pragmatic about anatomy. “The soul, then?”

Winter tilted his head, ears canting forward. “I suppose. That’s the intangible person-ness of someone, isn’t it?”

“And you,” Davion replied, “are far and away my most favourite person.”

In answer, Winter just held him a tiny bit tighter.