The heat was oppressive, sticky and clingy, matting his fur and obliterating Hanks ability to think clearly for more than ten minutes at a time. He tried fruitlessly to pour over his research, or to construct more blue prints for his and Charles' increasingly outlandish inventions. When those failed, he turned to the half assembled realizations of those blueprints, hoping the physical work would prevail here mental had failed.
Instead, he just ended up dirty as well as sweaty. And he managed to drop an engine on his toe.
Hank endeavoured to stalk his way to the kitchen and was handily thwarted when he couldn't manage to walk without limping.
“Hank, my boy, we were wondering where you'd gotten to.”
Hank was sorely tempted to ignore Charles' pleasantries, to open the refrigerator and freezer doors and to bask in the rush of cold air that would breeze against his fur. Instead, prompted by a healthy dose of respect for Erik's ire, he paused in the doorway and directed a tired twitch that could only pass as a smile in certain circles in Charles' direction.
“Professor,” he mumbled, glancing briefly at Erik to be polite. “I was trying to distract myself. Fur is helpful during the colder months, but it becomes rather less of an advantage in heat like this.”
“Ah, yes. In hindsight, we should have hypothesized such an event.” Charles hummed thoughtfully and smiled. “Everyone else is out at the lake. Perhaps you should consider joining them. It would be a wonderful way to cool down. Besides, you look like you could do with a bit of a wash.”
Hank blinked, frowned down at himself, at the grease and dirt that clumped his fur and caked under his claws.
“I suppose a bath is in order,” he conceded reluctantly. “However-”
“Wonderful!” Charles enthused, clapping his hands and bustling around the kitchen, ignoring Hanks halfhearted protests. “The group of them have skipped lunch, so why don't you bring this out to them and have a picnic, you've all been working so hard lately. Erik and I have some documents to revise, some legal matters to attend, so we won't be joining you, but I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time. Ta!”
Before he was quite sure what was happening, Hank was ejected from the house tidily with a large wicker basket bearing a confusing assortment of food and drinks and Charles and Erik were disappearing, leaving the lingering scent of arousal in their wake.
Legal documents his right foot.
With a resigned shrug Hank eased his lab coat off his shoulders, draping it over a statue for later retrieval, and commenced on a slow trek out to the woods, following the faint echo of shrieking laughter, hollered taunts and playful arguments.
Hank paused on the edge of the wood, leaning comfortably against a tree to observe his fellows play and roughhouse without censor. Angel flitted effortlessly above the water, wings shimmering in the heat, dodging the mighty waves Raven was generating. On the dock, Alex and Sean were grappling, trying to overturn the other and tip him into the chill embrace of the water. It was clear to Hank that Alex was restraining himself mightily, barely budging even as Sean turned red from exertion and frustration. Hank chuffed softly, affection and amusement warring for dominance.
He wondered briefly where Darwin had disappeared to, until movement under the water caught his eye and Raven was pulled under with a yelp, emerging seconds later perched on Armando's shoulders. Together they pulled Angel from the air. Ten seconds after Angel's relocation to the water, Sean lets out a ringing screech and goes down, causing a small tidal wave that laps lovingly at the others, Alex laughing louder than Hank's ever heard before, his bare chest gleaming in the sun. He looks more alive than he had all winter, rejuvenated by the sun.
Hank can smell him from where he stands, clean sweat and warmth with a subtle tang of lake water. The salt from his skin tingles on Hank's tongue, sense memory from the night before , when Alex had been so energized that, even with the rigorous training earlier, he was still vibrating, too hyper to sleep. His tossing and turning had first kept Hank from furthering his work, and later from falling asleep himself, so after some minutes Hank sighed, lifted the sheets, nosed past Alex's shorts and sucked him until he came to take off the edge.
Hank coaxed Alex into five rounds of intercourse after that sloppy, careful blow job, four penetrative and superbly athletic, leaving Hank feeling boneless, muscles even looser and more supple than after a hard day of acrobatics and strength training. Somewhere in the middle Alex had stretched out atop Hank and rutted, rocking and grinding against Hank as they kissed and nibbled everything in reach.
Hank left a small puncture wound on Alex's shoulder when he came.
Alex paid him back for that first orgasm fifteen minutes after he pulled out the last time, catching Hank unawares and pinning him, shoving his shaking legs up until Hanks toes curled around the headboard, giving Alec easy access to the mess he'd made. He toyed with Hank, sliding his fingers into and out until Hank ejaculated, eased his legs back down, and collapsed, wrung out. Hank barely managed to arrange the sheet to provide some modicum of decency before he nestled against Alex's side and passed out.
Given the glow of Alex's skin as he basked in the sunlight, Hank was in for more of the same tonight. He couldn't quite find it in himself to be disappointed about the prospect.
Alex looked back over his shoulder and met Hank's eyes. Hank licked, slowly, deliberately, and curled his lips into a small grin.
“Hey, Bozo,” Alex called, an answering smirk gracing his utterly, absurdly attractive face, “come play!”
It wasn't a request. Alex could never seem to wrap his head around the concept of asking instead of demanding, a result of his years in the juvenile penitentiary system and his later incarceration, and it seemed to especially apply to Hank. But in the time since they had endeavoured to embark on their- whatever it was (he steadfastly refused to call what they were doing a relationship), Hank had gotten much better at responding to Alex's taunts in a confrontational manner instead of fleeing from perceived slights. In the spirit of consistency, Hank delicately placed the basket near the edge of the dock where it would be safe from enterprising woodland creatures and slowly stripped away his layers. He was vaguely aware of the tense silence from the others, all of them already down to their underwear, but his eyes and attention were locked onto Alex until at last Hank divested himself of his trousers.
Then, before any of them could react, he struck, moving on swift feet to tackle Alex into the water. They plunged beneath the surface, Alex's body tensing and struggling before abruptly going lax. Hank pulled them both up, reemerging into the hot, wet air and spit a mouthful of water into Alex's face.
Alex spluttered and glowered, hands clutching handfuls of Hanks fur. “Oh, you're gonna pay for that one Bozo.”
Hank bared his teeth in a deliberate, feral grin and replied, “have at thee, knave!”
They spent another hour roughhousing in the water, taking turns perching on each others shoulders and attempting to unseat their opponents. Hank and Raven were the reigning champions, but Darwin and Angel gave them a good run for their money. Sean and Alex were so hopelessly uncoordinated that they didn't last five minutes in the melee, choosing to sit on the edge of the dock and provide a markedly exaggerated commentary. Raven cackled triumphantly when they finally tipped Angel and bellowed, “Blue power!” Hank, for once, didn't feel the immediate and overwhelming compulsion to flinch violently at the reference to his current state of affairs.
One by one they crawled out of the water, squabbling over the smorgasbord Charles had haphazardly thrown together. The argument turned into an intense negotiation once they had each succeeded in snatching random items. Raven came away with the shortcake, but the accompanying strawberries had been traded to Sean for a container of pickled carrots. Angel had struck, viper quick, and snapped up three tuna sandwiches, which she refused to trade, no matter the insistent and increasingly valuable offers she received for them.
Hank watched them all, content with the small lamb shank he had scored by virtue of not actually being able to digest anything else. Alex nudged him and pushed a piece of chicken past his lips.
“Gotta keep your energy up,” he muttered under Sean and Darwin haggling over a bottle of Coca Cola, the condensation long since evaporated, the drink gone warm and syrupy. “Don't want you passing out too early tonight.”
“You should worry more about yourself,” Hank murmured back, filching the package of chocolates Alex had procured, mindful of the intent in Angel's eyes. He nodded at the much coveted tuna and she hesitated for all of twenty seconds before handing one over. He cocked a brow and waited until she grudgingly tore the second in half before surrendering the chocolate. Alex grumbled but accepted the sandwiches. Hank smiled and deposited the chocolate he'd help back on top of the sandwich.
“Sneaky bastard, aren't you.”
“I may have been born fleet of foot, but slight of hand is a talent I worked long and hard for,” Hank answered serenely, tearing small strips of meat with his claws and nibbling on them. “My formative years were largely dominated by a fascination with modern magicians.”
Alex snorted. “Loser.” The jab was softened by an affectionate smile.
“Jerk.” Hank jostled Alex's shoulder and stole some of his tuna.
After lunch, one by one the others retired, each citing a different excuse until only Alex and Hank were left, floating with their fingertips brushing. Occasionally one of them would dip under the water to soak in the chill, or they would playfully tug at a hand or foot until both of them were upright, inching closer until they were pressed tight together, biting and sucking. At one point Alex manoeuvred Hank towards the dock and they braced against the wood, rocking and grinding, Alex's hands insinuating themselves comfortably down the back of Hank's underwear.
Hours later they basked in the dying sun, pulling lazily at the grass and throwing it at each other with little enthusiasm.
“We should head back in,” Hank said, picking a blade off Alex's cheek. “It's just about supper time. The others will be wondering where we are.”
“Please, they know exactly where we are.” A dirty smile bloomed. “And they probably know exactly what we're getting up to. You're kind of a screamer Bozo.”
Hank snorted, contorting his body into a luxurious stretch, grimaced at how his fur was drying in scratchy clumps and rolled to his feet. “At least I'm not as bad as Charles. I know I'm loud; he's still in denial.” Hank held out his hand. “C'mon. If you help me dry off after a bath I'll let you do that thing you've been wanting to try.”
“Be a bit more vague, Beast, I almost know what you might be referring to,” Alex said, letting Hank haul him to his feet. They gathered the detritus of lunch and pulled on their trousers. Hank bundled their shirts into the basket for washing. The heat was still stifling, rising from where it was trapped in the ground to heat the cooling air.
“You know,” he insisted, “with the rope. And if you gagged me once in a while, the others wouldn't be nearly as privy to our sex life.”
“Deal,” Alex said immediately, setting off at a brisk walk into the shadowed forest. Hank chortled and followed him at a much more sedate pace, cradling the basket against the curve of his hip. He rolls his eyes and acquiesces when Alex yells back, “C'mon, Beast, move your ass!”
Bath time had never been so enjoyable.
Hank had his pride, but he was assuredly not above raiding the girls' rooms for their hairdryers to expedite the process of drying his body off. And so it was that he shuffled down into the main sitting room where everyone was gathered around the television, sprawled on every available comfortable surface. Raven was the first one to catch sight of him, inhaling her drink when she started to laugh.
“You deserved that,” Hank said over her coughing.
“Oh, God,” she sputtered, giggling between hacking up sparkling apple juice, “you look like a drowned cat.”
“You were with me the whole day and I looked like this,” he responded, plugging in the three blowers he had located. “Was your ignorance deliberate or are you just that lacking in observational skills?”
Raven blew a raspberry and threw bits of popcorn at him that stuck in his fur.
“Dude, we were mostly busy trying not to get caught to notice that most of your body mass seems to be fur,” Sean called, lounging upside down on the couch, legs pointed towards the ceiling. “Seriously, you look half your size.”
“Greatly diminished,” Darwin agreed, the only one close enough for Hank to swat lightly.
“You should see him before he brushes,” Alex said, dropping down behind Hank and taking up one of the driers. “Looks like an angry Pomeranian. Just as yappy too.”
“Alex, I'm seriously contemplating rescinding my offer,” Hank stated, too relaxed and calm from a day well spent to indulge in the regular routine of self-loathing and anger that would normally accompany an evening of teasing. He glanced over his shoulder, an expression of mock severity gracing his features. Alex held up his hands in surrender and flicked on the dryer. Hank wasn't exactly jazzed about the rush of hot air in the already hot room, but he followed suit and began the arduous process of blow drying his entire body.
Sean was delighted to discover that Hank did indeed look like a Pomeranian after they finished. He laughed so hard he slid off the couch and smacked his head against the leg of the coffee table.
Hank allowed himself a moment of vindicated pleasure before he and Alex settled on the floor, leaning against each other. They had the whole night to work off the energy of the day after everyone else fell asleep.
The next few hours were family time.