Wolf Whistles #3
Author's disclaimer: Not mine. Never were, never will be. No infringment intended. No money now or in the future.
Blair's head came up at the same time Jim cocked his head toward the door. The detective looked down at the wolf, whose head was in his lap.
"Do you smell Simon, or hear him?"
Smell him. He's got a cigar in his mouth. Blair leaped off the couch and went to the door, beating Jim by a couple of steps. His bushy tail wagged, and his tongue lolled as he looked up at his partner. He's carrying something that smells really good!
Jim looked at the wolf and the expectant look in the bright eyes. "No, I don't know what he's carrying." Jim unlocked the door, pulling it open before the raised hand could knock. "Morning, Simon. What brings you over on a Sunday morning?"
Simon frowned at his detective. "Must you do that?" He brushed by Jim, stepped around Blair and headed for the kitchen counter, shaking his head. He set the bag he had in his arm down on the counter. "I brought Danish, bagels, some orange juice and" he dug into the bag, searched around and came out with a rawhide bone "this for the resident four-legged critter."
Blair bounced around Simon, tail wagging hard enough to cause his hind quarters to sway. Simon held it up high. Simon, don't tease! That smells great! Give it to me!
"Blair!" Jim made a grab for the wolf's ruff. "Since when do you act like a dog?"
Simon looked at the large gray-brown creature that was so excitedly dancing around him. "This comes with a price, Sandburg." He held the rawhide bone higher, then laid it on the counter, went back to his bag. He came out with a circle of leather and held it up. It was a thick, heavy collar, a shiny tag hanging from the center.
Blair looked at it, started backing up, tail down between his legs. No, I'm not wearing that.
Simon handed it to Jim, knelt down to be on eye level with the wolf. "Look, Sandburg, if you want to ride with Jim until we figure out how to change you back, this is the only way. You're going have to wear a collar and tag, and get a rabies shot, so you'll have that tag too. It's the city law. Every dog in the city limits, including police dogs, has to have a rabies tag and a collar, with ownership id."
Blair understood it mentally, but the part that was firmly inside his temporary four legged body, bolted. The wolf bounced over the couch and headed for the French doors that were once the entrance to his bedroom, knowing that the fire exit was unlocked and his gateway to freedom.
"Chief, no!" Jim lunged, his body blocking the French doors, causing Blair to change directions in mid-stride, his claws scrabbling on the hardwood floor.
Betcha when I'm human again, he'll make me sand those out. His hasty direction change had him facing Simon, who stood like a linebacker, bent over and balanced to block whatever direction he went. Blair feinted right, then left, over the coffee table and up the stairs to the bedroom. The chase was on for real as both cops charged up the stairs after the wolf.
"Chief, what are you afraid of? It's only temporary." Jim called as he followed Simon. The cops got to the top in time to see a long brushy tail disappear under the bed. Jim sighed, then got down on hands and knees to look under the frame. "I promise, I' won't laugh at you about wearing a collar. But Simon is right. It's the only way to protect you."
Blair barely fit under the bed and his feet dug gouges into the wood as he forced himself further. He looked back at Jim's face peering anxiously into the darkness. As soon as you get that collar on me, you'll have me wearing a leash. Then, you'll hand it over to Simon, and where will I be? Sure, you won't laugh now, but what about later?? I can just hear the jokes. The bed jumped as he worked himself further under it.
"Blair, all we have to do is wait you out. How long do you think you can stay under the bed?" Simon was looking under from the other side.
Blair thought about that one. He was already covered with dust, and his eyes were watering. When was the last time you dusted under here, Jim? He sneezed, hitting his head on the springs. That made him yelp in surprise and pain.
"Come on, Chief. Get out of there. We'll put the collar on, and Simon and I will take you for a run in the park."
As if that will make me feel better. I'm not a dog that you can play fetch with, Jim. Blair growled, looked at Jim, then looked at Simon, growling a little louder. Then he looked away, calculating whether or not he would fit under the railing and be able to land on the couch on the lower floor. Worth a shot. He dug in a little further, scooted closer to the railing, got his head out and looked down. Well, maybe not the couch. Bet I can hit the table, though. Blair's fear of heights was forgotten as he got his front feet out from under the bed and inched his back feet closer so he could spring free.
"Chief, NO!" Jim realized his intentions and was already boiling down the stairs, even as the wolf launched himself into the air. Blair landed hard on the table, teeth clicking in his jaws at the impact, before he was on the floor and heading for the balcony doors.
"Got you now, Chief." Jim was one step behind him when he cleared the glass doors.
Damn, Sandburg. That was really dumb. You're not jumping three stories. Give in gracefully. The wolf turned around, backed into the corner of the terrace, tail between his legs and watched as the Sentinel approached, Simon behind him, closing the doors firmly.
Jim knelt just out of arm's reach, unbuckling the collar, watching his partner. "I promise, Blair, I will not laugh, or hand over your leash to anyone, not even to Simon. And if we can avoid ever having to put a leash on this, we will. Okay?"
Blair whined, looked at Simon. Simon, no leashes, please.
"I promise, Sandburg. If there is anyway to avoid a leash, we will. You have my word."
Jim finally took a look at the tag. "Hey, Chief, it's a police dog badge. Look." He held it up so the wolf could see the shape. "It says" Jim turned it so he could read it. "Chief, property of Cascade PD, with the precinct phone number on the front. On the back it says 'owner, Det. Jim Ellison', with our phone number. Guess you're really a cop now, uh, Blair?"
You're funny, Jim. Really funny. The wolf looked back at Simon. That goes double for you. He looked back at his partner and watched as Jim didn't even try to move closer to slide the collar over his neck. Jim looked so apologetic at what he had to do. Alright, I'll wear it. He got up from his crouch and stepped closer, licked Jim's face. Then he looked the detective straight in the eye. But I'm nobody's property, man!
"Right, you're nobody's property. You're your own man. I understand completely." Jim buckled the collar, worked it down until it was under the fur and the tag was visible.
Simon heaved a sigh of relief. "Glad that's over." He opened the balcony doors and let them back into the loft. "Jim, you'll have to take him down to the vet tomorrow for his rabies shot." He looked down at the low growl, seeing Blair look back at him. "Sorry, Sandburg. I don't like needles either. But without it, if you bit someone, you'd be in quarantine. And that's not good either."
Blair ignored him, just darted over to the counter and with a smooth lunge, grabbed the rawhide bone off the counter and laid down on the kitchen floor. Boy, this tastes good! Wonder what is in these things? He chewed on the end of it, watching as the two men fixed their coffee and bagels.
Jim watched the big animal, shaking his head. "I think we found a way to shut him up, Simon. Next time he talks to much, just give him a bone to chew on."
Blair growled at his lover. Just wait until I can talk again. You're going to hear such a lecture..!
The ride to the park was accomplished a lot easier than putting on the collar. Blair hopped in the back seat of Simon's car when Jim opened the door and licked the detective's face as Jim fastened the shoulder harness around the wolf. Jim scratched behind the ears.
Simon looked over his shoulder. "You don't have fleas, do you?"
Blair glared at the police captain and without any real effort, reached over and licked the black man's face. Gotcha! Simon.
"Oh great! Doggy kisses!" Simon reached for a napkin out of a door pocket and wiped his face. Jim laughed.
"I wouldn't call him a dog, sir. I think he gets a little offended." Jim turned around, reached back and scratched Blair under the chin. "Don't you?"
Blair grinned at them, tongue slurping over Jim's hand. Open the window, man! I want to see what it feels like to have the wind in my face.
The car started down the city street and after a moment, Blair found the controls for the side window and pushed it, sticking his nose out, followed by his whole head. The wind felt glorious and Blair pushed his head out as far as possible, eyes squinting as the air rushed by. Oh, boy, does this feel good. Better than the blow dryer! Jim, I wish you could feel this! Your Sentinel skin would go nuts!
Simon glanced at the wolf, head out the window, tongue hanging to one side, eyes almost closed in bliss. He looked at his detective who was trying to ignore the nose that was right outside his window. "He's drooling on my car, Jim."
"I'll clean it for you, Simon. He can't help it. When he's himself again, I have a lot of questions."
"Why does he have to find the most disgusting, smelly thing he can find, and then roll in it? And why does he have to howl at every siren he hears? And why is licking your balls such a wonderful thing?"
Simon started laughing, and kept it up until they turned into the park. He finally parked the car and wiped the tears from his eyes as the wolf pulled his head back in. "Jim, just promise me that I'm around for that conversation."
Blair looked at the two laughing men. Okay, what did I miss?
Jim opened the car door and unlatched the seatbelt so Blair could bound from the car and shake himself. Then he took off for the nearest tree and hiked his leg. Jim watched him go, grinning. Simon climbed out and came around, handing Jim a long chain leash. Jim looked at him.
"I'm not putting this on him, Simon. I promised."
"Then you'd better explain to him what 'voice commands' are if you want to let him run. If a uniform sees him, he might shoot first and ask questions later."
"Good point." Jim wandered away from the car. "Chief!" He whistled. "Get over here!"
Blair looked up from the interesting post he'd been sniffing and wandered back to the car. He saw the leash in Jim's hand and stopped. You promised, man.
Jim knelt down. "I'm not going to put it on you, Blair. But I need to lay out a few ground rules if you want to run loose."
Rules! Jim, I'm getting real tired of your rules.
Jim knee walked to the wolf that had plopped down on his haunches and was glaring at him. He ruffled the ruff, scratched the velvet ears.
"I'm not going to put this on you. But you're going to have to play the game. You're going to have to pretend to be a well trained, well behaved dog, with perfect manners. Which means, coming when I call, and if need be, obeying any other commands. Like sit and stay. Can you do that?"
Jim, if that's what it takes to not wear that chain, I can do that. Blair licked the strong face. Jim wrapped his arms around the wolf's neck and hugged it.
"Okay, go play if you want. Or you can walk with us." Jim got back off his knees, one hand resting on the broad head. Human and wolf watched as Simon popped his trunk and took out a Frisbee.
"'Chief', ever played Frisbee?" Simon lightly tossed it to Jim.
Blair looked at the adults. You've got be kidding. Me, play fetch?
Simon took off across the park and turned around, running backwards. Jim threw the Frisbee and it sailed into Simon's hands. Simon tossed it back, laughing. Blair watched for a moment, then looked at Jim.
Okay, I'll play, but only if one of you miss. Blair lay down, nose to paws, eyes watching the Frisbee like a tennis match as it was tossed between the two men. The distance between each toss got further and further away until finally Simon's toss went completely off target.
Without consciously thinking about it, Blair was in a flat out run, leaping high into the air and snapping his powerful jaws shut on the spinning piece of plastic. He landed gracefully and trotted back to Jim, his prize firmly in his teeth.
Jim took the toy, ruffled the long fur with a grin. "Just can't handle having a Frisbee to close to me, can you?"
Ha, ha, Jim. This is me laughing. Blair flopped back on the ground, head turned away from his partner.
"Great catch. You want to do it again?" Jim knelt, rubbing the soft ears until Blair turned and looked at.
That was kinda fun, big guy. You're on. He lurched back to his feet, tail wagging, eyes gleaming. He trotted toward Simon, watching over his shoulder as he waited for Jim's quick wrist to let the toy fly. The orange disc went spinning into the air and the wolf watched the trajectory. Then he loped to where he could catch it with a small leap and snapped it out of the sky. He took it to Simon.
Simon knelt on one knee. "Good boy." He ruffled the fur, as he took the Frisbee, wiping wolf drool on the ground.
If you say 'fetch', Simon, I'm not moving a muscle.
Simon looked into the wolf's eyes. "I know you understand me, Sandburg. I just wish I understood you."
Ah, Simon. Don't get mushy on me, man. Just throw the damn thing. Blair licked Simon's face with a long swipe. Simon groaned, then pulled his tee shirt up and cleaned the side of his face.
"You make a fine dog, Sandburg. But lay off on the sloppy kisses, okay?" Simon stood up and sent the Frisbee flying.
Blair watched it, saw that Jim was going to catch it, so he just stretched out at Simon's feet, yawning. He watched as his partner ran and leaped gracefully, trapping the disc between both hands.
"Here it comes, Chief." Blair heard the soft warning without trying to hard and stood up, eyes following the toy. He tracked it for a moment, then took off, leaping at the last second. He brought it back to Simon, tail high in the air.
"Way to go, 'Chief'." Simon threw it again, but this time he was way off target and Blair took off, powerful legs churning across the grass. He passed the toy as it almost hovered in midair. The gray and brown wolf looked over his shoulder and almost spun in his own length to get in position before leaping. Snap!
This time Blair gave Jim the Frisbee and dropped, panting, tongue lolling. Jim kneeled beside him. "Enough?" He stroked down the long back.
The wolf nodded, then fell on his side, playing dead.
"Want some water?"
Blair lifted his great head. He nodded, then scrambled to his feet, following Jim back to the car. Jim opened the passenger door and grabbed a water bottle from a six pack cooler, and a bowl off the floor mat. He poured the bowl full and set it on the grass.
Blair lapped it up, then looked suspiciously at Jim. Who thought of the bowl?
"Don't look at me like that. Simon is the one who remembered a water bowl. I'm not used to having a dog yet." At Blair's glare, Jim amended his statement. "Excuse me, I meant 'pet'."
That's not much better, Jim. I'm only a pet because I happen to be stuck like this. Wait until I'm human again, then we'll discuss 'pet'.
Simon joined them, taking another water bottle with a nod of thanks. Jim was scratching the wolf's head. His hand went into the thick ruff, feeling the heat radiating from the muscular body.
"Worked up a sweat, didn't you?" He added some more water to the dish. "Finish that and I'll buy you a hot dog."
Blair looked at his partner. One lip raised in a slight curl, letting a fang show. You're all heart, Jim. But he emptied the bowl and sat down, watching impatiently until their water bottles were empty.
Simon watched the large animal as he scratched behind an ear. "Wish I was that flexible."
Not if you're seeing things from down here, Simon. He gently took Jim's arm in his mouth, pulling. You said you'd feed me.
Jim looked at the insistent animal. Blair had all four feet planted, tugging on his sleeve. "Are you trying to tell me something, Chief?" He grinned, then laughed, glancing at Simon. "I'm not a dog owner, Simon. You think he's trying to tell me something?"
Simon tossed his empty water bottle in the car, closed the door. "I think he's going to make your arm longer if you don't get him something to eat. Lead the way, 'Chief'. I'll buy you a hot dog, if Jim won't."
Blair looked at his partner, then leaped up, planting both feet on the large chest and licking Jim's face. See, Simon loves me. Then he started toward the closest hot dog stand, tail high in the air.
Simon watched him go, then back at his detective who was wiping his face. "Guess I know the way to a wolf's heart. Offer him food and he's yours forever." Simon followed the large canine.
Jim shook his head, then joined his captain. "Be careful, Simon. Remember, that's a large carnivore. One hot dog doesn't even begin to fill that gut. Your wallet may not survive."
Blair was dancing around the hot dog cart, waiting for Jim and Simon to arrive. He was trying to hang back, not frighten the children gathered there. He was drawing some anxious looks from several mothers.
Jim patted him on the head, then pounded on his sides, like any large dog being rough-housed with by its owner. Blair rolled his eyes but went along with it, tail whipping from side to side.
I'm hungry, Jim. Order all ready!
Jim laughed at him. "Okay, okay. Two extra long hot dogs with chili, right? Want some cheese?"
Blair woofed softly. You're going to play this to the hilt, aren't you?
"How about fries?"
Jim, when I'm human again, you're going to get it. "Woof."
"Okay, coming up." Jim looked at the eager wolf. "Chief. Sit. Stay."
Jimmmm, you just wait. Blair looked at his laughing partner, then obeyed, plunking his haunches on the ground, making sure his tail was curled safely around his feet.
"Good boy." Jim patted the broad head, then winked, before joining Simon and placing his order.
Simon had watched the by play with a broad smile. He caught his detective grinning. "You know, Jim. There's going to be a day when it's pay back time and he's going to get you good."
Jim placed their orders and paid for them. "I know it, Simon. But until then.." his voice trailed off when a small hand yanked on his jeans leg. He looked down at a little boy, maybe five years old. The big brown eyes looked up at him from a dirty face.
"Is that your dog, mister." He pointed at Blair.
Jim nodded. "His name is Chief?"
"Can I pet him?"
Jim looked at the patiently waiting wolf, knowing that he was opening up all sort of avenues for revenge if he kept going, but he couldn't help it.
"Tell you what." Jim knelt down so he was eye level with the child. "He's hungry right now. Let me feed him, then you come over and pet him. Okay?"
The kid nodded and turned away, running back to a picnic table where a group of adults and children were sitting. He announced his news and the kids all started bouncing around, begging permission to pet the pretty doggie.
Jim brought the paper tray back to Blair, Simon trailing with his order. They found an empty table and sat down. Blair looked at Jim, licking his chops as the order of french fries was poured onto a napkin and then placed on the seat so he could eat sitting down. A hot dog was unwrapped and offered.
Blair bit half the hot dog out of Jim's hand and gulped it down, then waited while Jim unwrapped the other half, before taking it from his partner's hand and devouring it. Then he started lapping up the french fries.
Jim watched him tear through the food. "You think I never feed him." He glanced at Simon, who was laughing while he tried to eat his hot dog. Jim unwrapped his hot dog, took a big bite. He glanced down to see that the french fries were gone and Blair was looking at him, then back at the other wrapped dog.
"Just a minute, okay. Let me have one or two bites while it's still hot."
All right, I can wait. But only for a minute. He licked the salt off the napkin, looking for any crumbs he might have missed.
Simon chuckled, dumped his fries into a napkin and reached over, placing them on the empty paper. "Here you go, 'Chief'. Can't have you turning into a bag of bones while your owner stuffs his face."
Thanks, Simon. Forget any unkind thoughts I ever had about you. The second order of fries followed the first. Then Blair was looking hopefully at the second wrapped hot dog. Jim finally took the hint.
"Okay, but if you get sick in the car going home, Simon will not be very happy." Jim unwrapped the dog and held it out so the wolf could bite it from the paper. Two bites and that one was gone.
Thanks, Jim. But the fries made me thirsty. Did you get me anything to drink? He looked at Jim's cup hopefully, then back at Jim. With a sigh, Jim got back up and bought another bottled water and empty paper cup. He filled the cup and held it while Blair drank.
"By the way, Chief. See those kids over there. They want to pet you. I told them that's it was okay after you ate. So you're going to be on your best behavior and not fuss, all right?"
Blair looked at the table full of four, five and six year olds. He looked at Jim again. You've got to be kidding. They'll pull my tail, my ears. Probably want to ride me. Tell me that you didn't say that. Blair showed his displeasure by lying down and placing his paws over his face.
Jim reached down and scratched him behind his ears. "It won't be that bad. Just be friendly, and when you can't take it anymore, shake them off and come back."
Blair sat back up. You owe me a belly rub for this, and a back scratch, and, and, I'll think of something else, I'm sure. He looked into Ellison's eyes, trying to voice his displeasure with a look.
Jim looked into the wise eyes of the wolf. "I'll make a fire when we get home, how does that sound? You can lie in front of the fire and I'll brush you."
That'll be a start. He let out a long breath, almost a sigh. The things I do for you, Ellison. Then he stood up, stretched his full length, and with another look over his shoulder, trotted over to the table with the children. Okay, kids. I'm here. But the first time my tail is pulled, I'm history.
Jim and Simon watched as Blair stood still and let a couple of grubby little boys wrap their arms around his neck, while a little girl scratched his ears. Little by little, the tail that had been dragging came up and started to slowly wave.
Another little boy was scratching the big wolf's back, laughing the whole time. Blair hesitantly licked a face, causing the child to back off, scrubbing his face with his hand before coming back to pet some more. A father got up from the picnic table and came over to Jim and Simon.
He stuck out his hand. "L.J. Davis. I take it that the dog is yours?"
Jim and Simon introduced themselves. "He's mine." Jim spoke up. "His name is Chief."
"Mr. Ellison, I don't know much about dogs, but he looks like he has a lot of wolf in him."
"I'm looking for a dog for my little boy. Would you recommend a wolf mix for a child?" All three men watched as 'Chief' rolled over on his back and three little boys scratched his belly.
Jim was honest with the father. "No. They take a lot of room, and a lot of discipline. They're pack animals. You have to be the leader of the pack, be the alpha male. If you can't do that, they take over the house and are very head strong and stubborn. While you'll never meet an animal more loyal or trustworthy, I wouldn't recommend one for a child."
"He seems well trained, and gentle. Would you be willing to sell him?"
Jim laughed. "No, sorry. Chief has been with me awhile."
"I'd give you a fair price."
"Get your boy a small dog for the city, Mr. Davis. One that will sleep on his bed and play fetch with him. Not one that out weighs him by three or four times and needs lots of room to run."
Davis nodded and shook their hands. "Thanks for taking the time." He returned to the table, speaking to the little brunette beside of him, pointing to Jim and Simon.
Jim looked at Blair. The wolf was lying on the ground, licking an ice cream cone that one child was offering, while another boy was sitting on his back. A third was wiping mustard off her fingers into the silky coat. Jim groaned.
"I just gave you a bath." He looked over as Simon fell off the bench, laughing. "It's not funny, Simon. You have no idea how tough it is to keep that coat from shedding all over the loft." Simon grabbed his sides and howled.
Jim got up, leaving his superior officer space to regain his composure and headed over to rescue his partner. "Chief, I think it's time to call it a day. Why don't you shake hands with the kids and we'll go home?"
The kids looked up at the tall man that was taking away their toy. There were mumbles and groans, but each pulled away, letting the wolf get to his feet.
Blair shook himself, feeling the mustard in his fur, the ice cream in his ruff and on his front legs. I need a bath. But he licked each child, letting each one hug him one more time. Then he sat down, offered a paw. The children each took it, thanking Chief for letting them pet him.
Several of the parents also came over and shook the solemnly offered paw. Davis was last. He glanced at Jim.
"You sure I can't talk you out of him?"
Blair looked from one man to the other. He wants to ~buy~ me? He trotted over to Jim, ducked behind the detective's legs and looked out at the man, ears laid back.
"I'm certain, Mr. Davis. If you're serious about a dog for you child, take my advice. A little one, not a horse like this one." Jim's hand dropped down to the wolf's head. "Let's go, Chief. You need a bath."
Blair agreed wholeheartedly and beat both men to the car.