Author: Kracken
Disclaimer: I don't own them and I don't make any money off of this.
Warning: male/male sex, wereperv, violence, language, graphic, light were-bondage.

Instincts + Part 2
Hot Blooded

Nothing could outlast a loping wolf. Unfortunately, Heero had been confined to city walls and small practice yards. His wind was good, but not as good as his full blooded cousin. Luckily, the lion wasn't a runner either. He was stumbling and panting early on and it was obvious that the forest was confusing him. When he stopped and flopped down on his side, Heero was yards away. He cautiously closed the space between them, not fooling himself this time into believing that he had won. The were's large paws, with their deadly claws, could tear Heero open in a flash. "I'm not going to hurt you," Heero soothed. "I want to help."

"He wants to help," a laughing voice mocked behind him. Heero whirled, ears going back and his small ruff bristling. He nose caught the scent of mountain were wolves; mountain air, dung campfire smoke, and pine forests. There were five of them, ranged loosely to block any escape back to the city. Their black and white markings made them looked sinister, their black banded faces defying any accurate reading of their intentions.

"Look, it's a hound," another were wolf laughed. "Black legs, a black paw... definitely a hound."

"I thought we were hunting a prince?" Another snickered. "Maybe we should cut this HOUND up for our dinner?"

Heero weighed his skill against their numbers. Mountain were wolves were larger and stronger than forest were wolves. They were trained with the sword and often hired themselves out as mercenaries and assassins. Heero didn't doubt that he could handle one, maybe two, but not five trained weres all together.

"My warden will pay any ransom," Heero tried, head lowering in shame. He thought about Wu Fei, about what his best friend and guard would say to him when he arrived back at the city, the prisoner of mountain weres.

"Too bad," one of the were wolves replied, cutting his hope off at the knees. "The person who wants you dead payed us very well already and mountain weres never double-cross."

Heero backed up, ready to make a run for his life in the other direction. They grinned and tensed, expecting it, tails up and ready to enjoy the chase.

A body leapt past Heero towards the were wolves. The were lion, he thought, but the creature seemed to have doubled in size. Paws outstretched and claws extended, it roared, a sound Heero had never heard before in his life. He crouched to the ground, terrified, trying to make himself small as the reddish brown creature roared again, a sound that throbbed through the air and vibrated through Heero's body.

The mountain weres were as startled as Heero. They were all gone in a flash of silver tails, fleeing the unknown. Heero looked after them, whimpered, and wanted to follow, but his body was trying to melt into the ground to hide.

Clawed hands grabbed Heero's arm suddenly and hauled him up. He yelped in panic, even as a young voice said, "Run, hound!"

The were lion was gone then, his tufted tail and dragging chain trailing behind him as he disappeared into the forest at a run. Not terrifying, not larger than life, but smaller than Heero himself and weak from confinement. Heero shook himself all over, forced his ears up, and ran after him.

They slowed to a walk after a short time, the were lion staying ahead, panting. Heero paced behind, head down. His pride had taken a blow and he wondered if he could ever recover from it. The strong, brave Prince had offered ransom for his life to mountain weres and he had cowered and almost wet himself in fear of a scrawny were lion, a creature who could barely put one paw in front of the other. Remembering his assurances to Wu Fei that he could take care of himself, and how Wu Fei had felt confident enough in his abilities to let him go, Heero wondered if he could ever face the were-dragon again. It was hard enough facing himself.

"Go," the were-lion said without looking back at him.

"Where are you going?" Heero wondered. "If it's home, you're going in the wrong direction."

The were lion stopped. It looked back the way they had come, purple eyes anguished and very weary.

Heero wondered, "You can't tell where your home is?"

The purple eyes narrowed.

Heero had a sense of smell that was as good as any map. Every scent told him where he was in his world. The scent of jasmine and wood smoke, told him where his home was. The smell of fern and mushrooms, told him the path to the next city. If he concentrated hard, he could even catch on the breeze, a very faint echo of the brown grass scent that still clung to the hairs of the were lion. The Savannah, he guessed.

The were lion turned and began walking back. He snarled in warning as he passed Heero.

Heero started to follow, but then barely avoided a slash of the were lion's claws. They faced off. Heero told him, "My home is that way too. Where else do you expect me to go with mountain weres after me? You frightened them, but it won't be long before they get over that and come back."

The were lion stared at him, panting. It was clear that he didn't want to go back to the place where he had just escaped and it was very clear that he didn't trust Heero. Heero lowered his head, looking at the were in what he hoped was an understandable sign of friendship.

"I freed you when I didn't have anything to gain," Heero reminded him. "I didn't ask you to pay me back by saving my life. I didn't make a bargain. I just... I don't like to see anyone suffer. They were treating you as if you were a full blooded lion, as if you didn't have a mind or a voice. That's wrong."

The purple eyes didn't soften with sudden trust. They hardened, skeptical. When he turned and began walking again, though, he didn't slash at Heero when he followed.

The were lion was beautiful, despite the dirt and the fleas, Heero thought as he followed the creature. Flowing muscles under thick fur, legs that were long and springing, a braid that was like a tail of dark fire, and those eyes... Heero found himself following the swing of the were's tail, trying to see the tantalizing hint of maleness buried in the thicker fur underneath it.

Heero felt a hot flush. He had liked baiting Wu Fei, insinuating that he wasn't going to mate with females, but it was the first time that Heero began to wonder if his teasing didn't have some truth to it. He'd never been tempted to look under a females' tail.

Wu Fei, he thought, would not only have his hide, for thinking such things in a dangerous situation, but he himself should be volunteering for one of Wu Fei's patented training sessions from hell. Not one decision that he had made that day, had been a good one. If he continued on in that vein for the rest of the day, he'd be dead for certain by sundown.

"You're all alone," Heero said.

Rounded ears cocked back at him and then flicked in annoyance.

"There's nothing like you in this land," Heero continued."You can't blend in. You can't hide if those were-cheetahs decide to take you again." He licked lips nervously and then offered, "I'm a prince. I can protect you."

The were-lion was unimpressed.

"You are being a fool," Heero growled. "I'm offering you safety."

The were-lion laughed and flicked his tail insolently. Heero heard him say under his breath, "Hound."

"I am not a hound," Heero seethed. "I am a were wolf!"

The were lion glanced back at him and then ahead again. Heero laid back his ears and growled deep in his throat. Why was he bothering? He had done the right thing by letting the were lion go and he had been repaid for his kindness. If the were lion wanted to make his own way, why should he argue? Heero knew that he could make much better time alone and that he could certainly slip through the forest quieter than a were lion dragging a chain behind him.

Heero's chin was hitting the ground before he realized that the were lion was suddenly sitting on him. The wiry body was pressing him flat and his voice hissed in Heero's ear, "Be still!"

Heero almost rebelled, almost sank teeth into the hand nearest his face, but then he heard the sounds. The barest rustle above the normal sounds of the forest alerted him that the mountain were wolves had recovered from their fright and were hunting him again, expecting him to try and return home.

The were lion was a great deal heavier than he looked. He smelled of sweat, dirt, and savannah grasses. His fur was a pile of softness against Heero's body and his body warmth was intense. The throat, so close to Heero's face made a slight purr sound as the were lion breathed.

The sound of the were wolves faded. The were lion moved off and continued walking. Heero hurried forward to awkwardly pick the chain off the ground. The were lion stopped and glared, but understood the problem. Heero cautiously followed the chain to the collar, as close as he dared to those fangs and claws, and then flexed muscles. The links separated and those purple eyes widened in amazement as Heero softly put the separated chain down. Though a foot of chain was still attached to his collar, the were lion was free to move quietly.

"Thank you," Heero said.

The were lion snorted. "Cub."

Heero found himself grinning, "I think that's better than 'hound'. "

"Yes," the were lion agreed.

Heero followed the were lion again and he was allowed to walk closer. Somehow, his small act had gained him some trust, though he wasn't certain why. He decided to press his advantage. "I am Heero Yuy, Prince of Wing."

"Duo," came the short reply.

"Duo," Heero repeated. "That's your name?"

No reply. Heero had to assume that it was.

"Do you have princes on the savannah?" Heero wondered, intrigued by the were lion's lack of respect for his title.

"Kings," Duo replied and sounded sad.

"Ah," Heero said.

The were lion glared at him and put a finger to his lips. Heero felt even more foolish. He nodded and kept silent as they ghosted through the forest towards his home.

"Kiyaaah!" a reptilian figure catapulted out of the ferns ahead of them and twin daggers aimed for the were lion's heart. Green scales and skin, flaring head crest of black spines, and a long tail; Chang Wu Fei looked deadly and furious as he came to his prince's defense.

"Chang!" Heero shouted and sprang forward to the were lion's defense, just as the were lion backpedaled into him in panic. They tangled and went down in a pile of flailing limbs and tails while Wu Fei hovered and tried to make sense out of the situation.

"Don't kill him!" Heero managed to gasp out as he avoided a slash of claws. "He's under my protection!"

Wu Fei frowned and sheathed his knives. He glared down at them with an arched eyebrow as Heero attempted to stop the were lion from running away by shoving down on every point of the were's body he could manage to reach. Finally, they ended up locked together on their sides, panting in exhaustion.

"He's my guard," Heero told the were lion. "He won't harm you."

The purple eyes were fierce, but there was a scent of fear on the air. It seemed the were lion wasn't as fearless as he was pretending to be.

"I'm going to let go," Heero said cautiously.

Wu Fei warned, "Cat, if you harm my Prince, I will slice out your heart."

The scent of fear grew heavier. The were lion was looking at the were dragon now, wide eyed and obviously not sure what kind of creature Wu Fei was. He relaxed his claws, went limp, and Heero felt safer about letting him go. He moved away and shook himself, feeling bruises everywhere. The were lion rose more cautiously, ears down and hunched as if ready to spring away.

"A chain?" Wu Fei observed as he looked over the were lion. "My Prince, I am very sure that you did not leave my presence with enough credits to buy a were lion."

Heero flushed to his tail. It was time to face the music and he was suddenly tempted to run away. He bowed his head. "I... I freed him from the were-cheetahs. They were mistreating him."

"I doubt that unless there was good reason," Wu Fei shot back. "They won't purposely damage merchandise."

"They had him in a cage, a small one," Heero protested.

"Captives rarely go willingly to servitude," Wu Fei replied. "My Prince, you cannot go about freeing every creature in the market. Since I doubt this creature was purchased with pocket credits, I must assume that you freed him illegally?"

Heero said under his breath, "He escaped."

"While you happened to be there?" Wu Fei asked skeptically.

"Yes... The were cheetah opened the cage," Heero explained. "The were lion ran away."

"Into the forest," Wu Fei growled, furious, "and you followed him to... what? Capture him for the poor were cheetah?"

Heero's ears went down and he replied sullenly, "No."

"My Prince!" Wu Fei exclaimed in exasperation. "Do you have such little regard for your own hide? This were lion is young but their claws are formidable weapons. If he decided to kill you, I doubt there would be much you could do to stop him."

"He saved me!" Heero protested and then sank to the ground with a whine, knowing that he had said the wrong thing..

"Saved you?" Wu Fei jumped on that. "From?"

Heero tried to think of an explanation that didn't include mountain weres, but he knew he couldn't lie to Chang Wu Fei. "Assassins," he tempered.

Wu Fei's claws went to his knives. "What? Where?!"

"Back there," Heero replied. He felt safe with Wu Fei there. He couldn't imagine the were-wolves going against a were dragon, a were lion, and a forest were wolf trained to battle. Wu Fei wasn't so confident.

"We will discuss all of this back at the city!" He snapped. "Come!"

The order didn't include the were lion.

"Duo's coming too," Heero protested.

"Duo?" Wu Fei was looking around them anxiously. "The were lion? He is of no concern to us. You will have to compensate the merchant. Your Warden will not be pleased to be out that many credits for a creature he will never see a whisker of." He glared at the were lion. "Go. You are free."

The were lion twitched his tail, looked from Heero to the were dragon, and then slunk off into the ferns. Heero bounded after him. "No, wait!"

It was then that the mountain were wolves attacked.

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