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stray dogs always find their way home

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It was most likely too late for an evening walk, but Hux decided to go out anyway, at least for a breath of fresh air. Having spent the majority of the day doing work around the house, he needed to stretch his legs and remember what the outside world looked like, even if it was currently cloaked in the inky shade of nighttime. So, without bothering to change out of the robe and sleeping pants he'd put on after his shower, he toed into a pair of pink satin slippers, grabbed his keys, and left out the front door.

Hux didn't stray far from his porch, only going as far as the automatic lights would illuminate. It wasn't too cold, just brisk enough to preserve the condensation clinging to the blades of grass in his lawn. He took a deep lungful of air, then another, enjoying the relative peace of his suburban neighborhood, with only the faded hum of the local highway interrupting the quiet. 

He had been outside for about ten minutes, when a strange feeling began to creep into the pit of his stomach. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up, his body abruptly warning him it was being watched. 

Hux dismissed it, at first. Strange sensations abounded in the dead of night, and the mind was predisposed to interpret harmless presences as something more nefarious than the truth. But then the feeling only grew as the seconds ticked by. And as it grew, it refined, like a candle burning through its fleeting top notes towards a stronger, muskier core, strengthening into something that Hux recognized, a split second before some huge, ragged shadow rustled out of the bushes on the other side of his driveway.

Though the average human would’ve no doubt pissed their pants at the sight, Hux’s heart settled once he spotted a pair of glimmering yellow eyes beneath the messy crown of black hair, confirming the source of the unsettling feeling. 

“Ren,” Hux said with a sigh. “I thought you were out of town.”

The shadow barked a laugh and shook out its shocks of wild hair. Hux narrowed his eyes as it stepped out into the glimmering moonlight proper. 

Of course, he had no shirt on. Hux could count the times he’d seen Ren wearing proper clothes on one hand. The man loved to show off his chest and well-chiseled abdomen, and while Hux internally didn’t mind the glimpse he caught of sinuous muscle wrapped in pale, scarred flesh, he put a frown on his face nonetheless, focusing on Ren’s smug grin and radiating, almost odorous overconfidence. 

“Was. Came back to see you. Did you miss me, Hux?”

Hux cast an eye up to the moon above. Waning gibbous. Meaning Ren had last changed only a week or so previously. Well, that would explain his sudden trip out of town. Hux breathed an inward sigh of relief: at least he wouldn’t have to worry about managing a lugubrious lycanthrope tonight. He looked back at Ren, who had crossed the driveway and was now standing only a few feet from him, bare feet planted in Hux’s lawn. 

“Hardly. I’ve just gotten the stink of canine out of my carpet.”

“And your bed sheets, right?”

“Lewd as ever, aren’t you?” Hux fiddled with the cuff of his robe, still feeling tense, his eyes fixed on Ren. “What do you want?”

“I thought we could catch up. It’s been a few weeks. And I could use some company…you know how it is after I transform.” Ren raised a thick eyebrow. 

Hux huffed and rolled his eyes. “And you presumed I would provide that? Go away, Ren. You’re testing my patience.”

Even after the passing of the full moon, Ren retained some wolfish features that were hard not to ignore. Apart from the yellowed eyes, his canines curled over his lower lip, giving him a perpetual, amused snarl. His unkempt hair reached his shoulders, badly tangled in spots and sporting stray leaves in others. Hux spotted no furred ears atop Ren’s head, but the dark prevented him from seeing whether or not Ren still had his tail. Contrary to the legends Hux had heard of such creatures as a child, Ren’s transformations were often piecemeal, taking up to a week to fully fade away. 

Unfortunately, these lingering feral features only added to Ren’s overall allure, rather than detracting from it. It made it hard, even for someone as rational and no-nonsense as Hux, to resist him. From the very beginning, Hux had always found something attractive about him, some animal magnetism that drew him in, made him more likely to agree to whatever Ren was proposing. Usually, a foolish or risky venture. That weakness of his was the main reason Ren had decided on Hux’s home as his post-transformation hangout. 

“Hux, come on. Please, gingersnap?” Ren’s voice took on a dog-like whine around the pet name, his eyes widening. They were dark and moist, the waning moon glistening in their depths. His pink lower lip stuck out in a slight pout, which Hux had to admit looked somewhat adorable, despite the large fangs. 

Lord. He was not going to get out of this one, was he? And he thought all this time, that he never liked animals. Where had this soft spot for wayward mutts come from?

“Alright, fine. But you’re sleeping on the couch for the evening. And no funny business, I mean it!” Hux added when he saw a lecherous grin start to spark across Ren’s face. 

“Maybe you should collar me, like your neighbors do their pets, just to make sure I don’t get into any trouble,” Ren offered, still smiling slyly. For a moment, Hux entertained the notion, mind conjuring up an image of the naked werewolf sitting obediently on his floor in an attractive, studded leather harness. Like a proper dog, bound and tied up until it was trained well enough to properly please its master. But he banished the thought from his mind the next second, and scoffed. 

“You would like that far too much. Just get inside, before I get my silver.” The pointed cross hanging in Hux’s foyer was not merely there for decoration, Ren knew that. 

Yet the wolf continued to smile as he followed Hux into the house. “Whatever you say, gingersnap.”

Ren must still have his tail after all, because Hux swore he could hear it wagging. 

As someone in less denial than Hux might have anticipated, Ren didn’t stay on the couch for the entirety of the night. 

When Hux wakes up the next morning to the stink of wolf in his nose and his face pressed into the warm side of Ren’s chest, memories of the night before come rushing back.

And yet, there’s a distinct absence of shame in allowing Ren back into his bed. When he recalls the way the man had pinned him down, wet mouth at his neck and heavy, bulbous cock leaking the hem of his robe, Hux simply sighs, smiles to himself, and snuggles back into Ren, twining their bare legs. His hand comes to rest on Ren’s broad chest, hair bristling against his palm, yet softer than it was last night. Ren’s transformation must be continuing to ebb, though he had behaved like quite the animal last night. Maybe the last of Ren’s feral energy, flowing outwards, extinguished inside of Hux. Or perhaps some things just never changed, not even after the ears and tail disappeared for another month. 

Hux lets his eyes flutter shut again, after checking that Ren is still asleep, dark, unassumingly delicate eyelashes resting against his sallow cheeks, shrinking fangs just barely poking over his plump lower lip. By the time the mutt wakes up, Hux reasons, he will no doubt resemble a regular human again, all canine features vanished to leave nothing more than an inordinately muscular, hirsute man. There's little harm in sleeping away the rest of the morning, until that happened. Then they could discuss what their next step together would be. For there's little point in pretending there isn't a "together" when it comes to them. Not any longer. 

So, with a content sigh, Hux slipped back into dreams—dreams where he ran, through endless, free woods, with a black wolf at his side.