Black and Calyx took a shortcut through an alley, and soon a rustling sound had Black reaching for his gun. He signalled to Calyx to hang back, ignoring the blond's eye-rolling as he advanced. The sound was coming from a dumpster. As Black approached it, senses sharp, high-pitched barks erupted from the container.
Calyx chuckled. "The citizens of Juxtapose City are safe once again."
Ignoring him, Black opened the dumpster. The mottled mutt of a puppy inside was filthy, staring up at him with big brown eyes before settling to chew on a fast food wrapper. How did he even get in there? With a shrug, Black left the container open and turned to continue down the alley.
But Calyx didn't follow. "You're leaving him there?"
"He can jump out."
"He might hurt himself."
Black sighed, not stopping. "He's a puppy. He'll bounce, dust himself off, and move on."
"What if the trash truck empties the dumpster and he can't get out in time?"
Seriously? Black turned to see that Calyx was peering into the dumpster, watching the pup with concern. "So get him out."
Calyx bit his lip and looked like he might actually do it, but then wrinkled his nose and shuddered. "What if I need to sex someone up for you? It won't work if I stink."
Black wanted to be annoyed, but there was something endearing about the way Calyx stared at the pup. His lover worked hard to come off as jaded, but he didn't need to be an empath to see that Calyx felt some sort of kinship with the creature. "If I get him out, you'll owe me."
The relief in those emerald cat's eyes was reward enough, really. But the heat of lust that burned there after was a whole different kind of warm fuzzy.
"Sweetheart," purred Calyx, slinking closer to melt that long, lean body against his. "I'll owe you whatever you want."
"What if that means extra laps during training?" Black asked, his mouth dry.
The blond eyes nearly sparkled with amusement. "If that's what you want."
Great, no way out of this now. Black let out another sigh. He reached in, not even wanting to know what the pup had been rolling in, and soon found himself under attack by flailing paws and garbaged tongue. It took all his self-control to set the thing gently on the ground rather than tossing it.
Of course, the pup didn't scamper off. It hopped up, pawing at his jeans, determined to share more dumpster-scented love. Black groaned. No good deed ever went unpunished.
He shot an annoyed glance at Calyx, who just beamed at him.
"You have a big 'ol love muscle, sweetheart."
"You'd better be talking about my heart."
The blond just flashed an impish grin, which faltered when Black grinned in return.
"I know what I want."
Black's grin widened. "A hug and a kiss."
As he opened his arms, Calyx backed up, shaking his head. "Sweetheart, you need to bathe in bleach before you get that."
The puppy was still bounding at Black's legs. He looked down at the determined little thing. "Maybe he should kiss both of us."
"No fucking way." Calyx was seriously backing up now. "You try that and I'll call for backup."
It was a rare chance to turn the tables. Why the hell not? Black picked up the pup, who showered him with more licks, and took off after Calyx. The blond screeched like a girl and took off. Calyx might have longer legs but Black was a natural runner. Eventually they all tumbled into a heap, Calyx making the most horrified noises as the pup danced over them and showered them with kisses.
Black hadn't laughed this hard in a while. "Should we take him home? Make him a bed in your room?"
The pup apparently liked how Calyx played and was trying to do its best to lick every inch of his face. "I changed my mind! Put him back in the dumpster!"
"We could name him Diver," said Black, sitting up. "Or Scraps."
Calyx finally got hold of the pup, pushing it as far from his body as he could before trying to get up. "There aren't enough showers in the world to get this off."
"Still think I have a great big love muscle?"
"I think you're a great big something," the blond grumbled, heading back toward the craft with the puppy bounding at his heels.
Smiling, Black followed. When Calyx glanced at the pup with another hint of relief, he knew he'd done the right thing. Though if the pup jumped into the craft he had no idea how they'd get the smell out. Maybe just put the whole thing through an auto-wash with the doors open. With the pup inside. And both of them, still fully clothed.
But Calyx wouldn't want to bring the thing home, would he? Probably not. Unless it happened to get into the craft and refused to got out. Then the boys back at the house fell in love with the garbage rat.
That wouldn't be Black's
fault. Not at all.