Over the next several weeks Mitch progressed rapidly, becoming stronger and more competent physically. His was becoming more toned and it was starting to pay off. He looked better than he had in years and not just his musculature, his energy levels were higher and his past aches and joint pains seemed to have almost completely vanished and he had a healthier glow about him. The wild dreams of the first few nights receded somewhat and Mitch usually slept the night through though in the last week he's awoken from extremely erotic dreams and woke Walt by prodding him with a hard-on in dire need. His muscles and bones ached often, but it wasn't the arthritis anymore; and the vigorous workouts with Walt helped greatly to relieve the growing pains.
Besides it being fun wrestling with your lover in the snow, the activity was making Mitch a rather good wrestler. It was a good physical work out and a turn on, as was chopping the wood; he and Walt did it shirtless on clear days and afterwards he and Walt would make love, covered in their musky scents. The blisters on Mitch's hands gained from the work healed overnight and soon, he had work calluses. In a little over a month of work, the shed had filled, the covered overflow area by the porch was full, and there was plenty of wood in the storage spot by the fire. Weightlifting in the mornings got Mitch warmed up for the day. Walt added tree climbing and hiking on the sunny days and mindful of Mitch's accident, he never let him go alone. Walt's goal was to work off some of the excess energy Mitch seemed to have, but not so much that he burned all of the reserves Mitch was building for his change. Mitch looked in the mirror often and noted subtle changes and a few not so subtle ones.
"Walt, what size shoe do you wear?" Mitch called out from where he sat, trying to put his shoes on.
"Thirteen quad E" the voice came from the larder.
"I can't fit in my shoes any more," Mitch hollered back from the bedroom. He looked again in the mirror. "I need to make that trip soon, Walt; I'm getting broader and thicker. My clothes are all tight and I'll need new shoes. If I wait too long, people really will notice a difference in me."
Walt climbed the steps and walked down the hall to the bedroom. "Yep, cub. You ARE getting bigger. What say we go tomorrow?"
Mitch nodded and reached for pad and pencil. "I really should stop at the Institute and personally speak to the director... it will seem funny otherwise. I'll need to return the rental truck and get mail delivery changed. I need my laptop. I've got to get to the safe deposit at the bank and probably let them know about retirement checks and such." Mitch was writing rapidly. "I should get new clothes, too."
"Wait on the clothes, Mitch. We can do that here or maybe Reno. You won't wear much in the lodge, anyway... we never do," Walt gave his cub an evil grin. "and if you need larger clothes for public, Vic and I have spares, they'll be a bit loose, which is good, it hides your growth, but you won't exactly swim in them either with the progress you're making."
"You just want me all naked and horny all the time." Mitch grinned.
"You got a problem with that?" Walt growled and took Mitch in his arms. The pair spent the next few minutes kissing and fondling each other. As their heat rose, Mitch pushed Walt back on the bed. They struggled and wrestled with each other, the advantage passing from one to the other. Both were hard, both were slick with pre come Match had noticed that he was leaking much more now than he used to. At one point, he had actually mounted Walt and pressed his slick meat in between the bigger bear's ass cheeks before being thrown. The struggle continued, both getting hotter and sweaty as they fought for dominance. In the end, Walt won, holding Mitch belly down with his own body, his hefty cock seeking and finding his buddy's hole and pressing in past the muscle ring. Mitch stopped struggling and sighed, relaxing his clenched cheeks and allowing his love to enter him. They had agreed that once one or the other had penetrated, the contest was over and what followed would be lovemaking, not struggle. "House rules" as Walt called them. Mitch was still not fully were and Walt had no desire to injure his lover.
He stroked slowly, pulling nearly out and then sinking all the way back in until his bush was fully meshed with Mitch's butt fur. "Mmmmmmm, damn you feel good in me, bear!" Mitch moaned and grunted with Walt's increasingly vigorous thrusts. "Want me on all fours?"
"No, buddy... let me finish like this." Walt hooked his arms under Mitch's shoulders and rode the wind on his back. He nibbled on Mitch's ears and bit his neck gently, then licked the place and blew on the wet fur and skin. His desire rose and he felt every inch of his cock rub against the velvety warm inside of Mitch's ass. He could feel his tip swell as it rubbed along his cub's prostate, could feel the contractions of Mitch's gut as he slid in again and again.
Mitch had grown comfortable with Walt's impressive girth and length. The first time, in spite of Walt's extreme care and gentleness, there had been some pain. Now Mitch felt a sexual tingle spread throughout is groin when Walt mounted and entered him. It wasn't the same as coming, but it was equally enjoyable. When Walt pulled completely out, Mitch felt a kind of empty ache and when he came back into his ass, a contented fullness.
Walt looked down and saw the man lying under him; thickly furred back and shoulders already broader than they had been not long ago, head turned to one side, moaning with pleasure. Instead of the usually tidal swell of cum boiling up in his balls and churning out of his cock, he felt instead a kind of peaceful flow. This man who had almost died, this cub he had made, truly seemed to be coming to terms with what he was to be, even welcoming the change. Walt felt his bear seed flow into this man, felt his love flow into his lover. Spent, Walt lay on top of his cub, both of them softly breathing. Walt rolled slowly off to one side to lessen the pressure on Mitch and cuddled him close.
"You want to shoot, cubby?" Walt rose on one elbow and looked t Mitch.
"No, I'm good." Mitch eyed his bear and grinned wickedly. "Besides, its just one more for me to pay you back. I nearly got in you this time, didn't I? It's getting harder and harder for you to beat me, old man!" Mitch chuckled and licked one of Walt's nipples.
"Old man? You and I are the same age!" Walt grinned at the same words Mitch had used when objecting to being called 'Son'.
"Well, funny as it seems, I'm beginning to think of you as 'my ol' man'. You're the one who changed me and now you're the one that's caring for me as I grow into this new life. That's a pretty good definition of 'Daddy' to me."
"Yeah," Walt objected, "But did you have to make it sound like I was ready for 'Shady Acres Rest Home'?"
"Of course I did, old fart! Cub's gotta get his fun you know." Mitch smiled.
They continued trading mock insults for a while as the light dimmed at the windows. Finally, Walt smacked Mitch on the rump. "Get your list made. You know, I should come with you tomorrow."
"Oh, I can handle this. I'll drive down in the morning, stay overnight and..."
Walt interrupted. "Coach will skin me and put my furry hide over the fireplace if I leave you alone. You drive down in the rental; I'll follow in my truck. You do your business at the Institute and bank and such, drop off the rental, and I drive us back. OK?" Mitch nodded.
The trip next morning was uneventful. The first stop had been Mitch's condo. Walt parked the truck and did a quick tour of the place with Mitch. "You fixed up your cave real nice. You going to miss this?"
"Some things, yes," Mitch said. "My music, my movies; a few others."
"Cubby, listen. You go take care of your stuff. Is all the music here? I can pack it up in those boxes from the truck, along with the DVD's... that's some collection you got. Coach has a nice stereo setup so you won't have to take equipment if you don't want. I can have it all ready for you when you get back." Walt looked expectantly at Mitch. “I can't do any of the financial stuff, and you have to deal with the Institute personally, I know. But I can lend a paw here. Daddy'll pack... you take care of business.”
"Oh, man, I hate to stick you with that, but if you could, that would be great!" Mitch gave Walt a warm hug. "I'd like to take the headphone amp and the Stax phones; there and there." Mitch pointed out their locations to Walt. "Oh, and wait... there are some things from my mom and dad upstairs." In short order, Walt was packing and Mitch was back on the road.
The stop at the Institute took longer than he had hoped, but went smoothly. The director professed to be sorry Mitch had decided to retire, but was, Mitch was sure, secretly glad that his nephew would now have his chance at the Research Department before he himself retired.
"You sure about this, Mitch?" he'd said twice.
"Absolutely, Sir; Tahoe kind of convinced me."
"Well, you'll be missed." He said and took Mitch's hand to shake it. "You worked some calluses on your hands I see." Director Hutchinson said and gave Mitch an odd look.
"Heh, chopping wood for the roaring fires will do that." Mitch said cheerily. "Of course, doing some of my own repairs on my rental properties no doubt helped too."
As if a piece of a puzzle fell into place, Hutchinson's face returned to its normal, pleasant, unconcerned expression. "Indeed it will! My father used to get big calluses on his hands when we'd go on hunting trips. He always liked to chop the wood for the fires, never understood the attraction myself, getting shirtless and sweaty." A vision of Walt chopping wood without his shirt popped into Mitch's mind: the fur, the bear tattoos, the muscle and sweat, he felt a surge in his groin but maintained a placid look on his face.
"Good luck Mitch, I'll have the team send you reports from time to time, just to let you know how your projects are turning out."
"Thank you. It's been wonderful working here all these years. Good bye, Take care, and my respects to your family," Mitch said and inwardly sighed in relief. Obviously, Hutchinson had never worked at any physical job hard enough to get calluses; his hands were very soft and he hadn't realized that Mitch's calluses had been earned a little too quickly.
"Good bye Mitch," Hutchinson said and stood until Mitch had left.
The paperwork at Human Resources was involved, but while it was being prepared, Mitch was able to clear out much of the stuff from his office. He directed that the remaining papers and books be boxed and sent to the temporary address Vic had set up for him in South Tahoe. He signed numerous papers and said his goodbyes.
Comments from coworkers who stopped by were mostly that he looked really good and happier than they'd seen him in a long time. He looked 'rested' and 'healthy'. Some said they hoped to be as rejuvenated by at being unburdened when they retired. Mitch was glad he'd not been a 'personal contact' sort of guy with his coworkers. Hugging him just now might lead to some questions requiring quick thought and Mitch wasn't sure he'd be quick enough with all he had to think about today.
The next stop was the bank and here things were blessedly briefer. He got deeds and other important papers out of the safe deposit box and put them in the case he had brought with him from his office. The bank manager was an acquaintance and was more than willing to help with the necessary forms for direct deposit and transfer of accounts.
"Once you settle on a place, we'll be happy to handle transfer to one of our branches if one is close to you or to another bank if you prefer."
Mitch thanked them and headed off to the post office.
After filling out change of address papers and picking up mail that had been held for him, he returned the rental truck and called his home to let Walt know he was ready. Walt arrived shortly and they were off back to Tahoe. The back of the truck was securely packed with the things Mitch had asked for.
On the way back, Mitch reflected out loud to Walt. "You know, that took about six hours to close out a whole lot of my life, professionally and business-wise. Amazing. And kind of sad, too"
"Well, there's still work to be done; there's your condo to sell and your other properties. It'll be gradual, but it'll get done. The important stuff, the immediate stuff, is done."
Walt reached over and squeezed Mitch's thigh. "You done good." Walt scratched his nose. "Anyone notice that you looked a little... bigger?"
"You know, I really thought they would, but no. Not a one, especially in Vic's clothes. If anything, they might have suspected that I'd gained a bit of weight and was vain and hiding it with big sweaters and loose slacks. I guess I don't look that different yet."
"You do naked!" Walt grinned.
"I can't wait to see what my new bear body looks and feels like," Mitch said, putting his arm along the back of the seat and rubbing Walt's shoulder as he drove. Walt put his paw on Mitch's thigh. “You're on your way, cub. You're filling out nicely and you're already way stronger than you were before your accident.”
“Yeah.... I feel stronger, and I can tell I've got more endurance. I'm not getting winded, for one. Your shirts almost fit me now, too. “ Mitch paused. “How long until I change?”
Walt looked at his cub. “You getting' nervous?” Mitch nodded. “A little,” he said.
“You've got maybe another seven, eight weeks. Maybe a week early, maybe two weeks later.” Walt rubbed his nose. “The biology isn't exactly predictable, so I can't give an exact date. But Vic will be here. And I will, too... right here. Don't worry. It's kinda scary, I know; but we'll be with ya.” Walt pulled Mitch close and gave him a kiss, then returned his attention to the road.
It was dark when the two bears got back to the lodge. The winter days were drawing in, and the ample supply of firewood was a comfort to see as they drove up. Walt helped Mitch carry the boxes of his belongings inside. Flipping the lights on, he followed Mitch down the hall and set them down on the floor in what had become Mitch's 'den'. “I'll build us a fire, buddy, then give you a hand unpacking if you like.”
Mitch caught Walt in a bear hug. “Thanks for everything, Walt. I don't mean just helping pack this stuff.... I mean everything. Being here with me, answering questions.... working me out, getting me stronger...” He hugged tighter. “I love you, you big ol' bear.”
Walt squeezed back, and held the hug for a while, then padded out to build the fire while Mitch unpacked. His books went on the shelves with room to spare. His laptop fit nicely on the desk by the window. Walt had set up a wireless network in the lodge so Mitch could access the internet from wherever he was, and had linked the printer that sat on the desk to it so that Vic's desktop and the laptop could print to it. “You are quite the technobear!” Mitch had exclaimed when his laptop recognized the network instantly and connected without a fuss. Walt called from the living room, “Heh... You think an ol' biker bear doesn't know a few tricks? A lot of us werebears are computer geeks; its a good way to keep in touch, especially since so many of us are spread out in rural areas. I learned from them.”
The boxes of things from his parents, and the few items he had saved form his own childhood he stacked on shelves in the large closet. The CD's and his beloved Stax cans and amp went neatly on a shelf next to the big easy chair. The CD's took up a lot of the space on those shelves, leaving little room for the DVD's. “Walt?” Mitch poked his head out of the room. “Do you think Coach would mind if I put the videos out there, next to the player?”
“Hell, no. There's room, and it makes sense; the player and TV are out here. We usually watch movies out here by the fire anyway.” Walt chuckled. “The smaller screen and player in his bedroom are for porn!” Mitch lugged the box of DVD's out into the living room.
“You got porn in there?” Walt asked in a teasing tone as he pawed through the box as Mitch struggled not to drop it. He colored a bit and mumbled, “Some.” “Heh... good to see my cub has a healthy appetite. OOOOH... what have we here?” Walt held up a box. “L.A. Tool and Die... classic. Oh, and Bears Behaving Badly. Naughty, naughty!” Walt reached under the box and gave the somewhat embarrassed cub a friendly grope.
“Not to worry. Have Vic show you some of his vintage homoerotic postcards when he gets back. Those really ARE classics. I think he's even in some of them. They go back to the 1870's and '80's. “ Walt had lit the fire, and it snapped and crackled as they both unloaded the videos onto the shelves. “You got a nice collection of movies here, Mitch,” Walt said to his cub, rubbing his butt. “Vic loves the action movies, can't get enough of them. But you know what he'll really get off on?” Walt pointed to a boxed set. “That Metropolitan series on the Impressionists. He really loves that style... well, the whole era. 'Young man in Paris' and all that. You know, he knew Monet. Did some work for him in his garden at Giverney.”
Mitch turned to Walt. “Then the painting in the hall is original. I thought it was.”
“Oh, yeah,” Walt said. “Claude gave it to him to pay for the garden work. He never had any ready cash, he was nearly always skint.” Walt rubbed his nose. “I think Vic got the best of that deal, don't you?” Mitch grinned. “We should all be so well paid for pulling weeds and planting lillies!”
They finished putting the DVD cases on the shelves and were about to settle down to some serious snuggling on the couch when the phone rang. “Your turn,” Walt said, settling down on the couch. Mitch walked to the phone and picked it up. “Hello?” The ensuing conversation was long, and although Walt could only hear half of it, it was obvious that it was either Rusty or Moose, and that the news was a disappointment. “I will do that. Thanks for calling, and I hope it all gets sorted out soon, Rusty. Take care, and give Moose a hug for us both, OK? I'll let Walt know. Bye.”
Mitch hung up the phone and walked to the couch and sat. “That was Rusty. They are canceling for Christmas. He was worried that we'd feel they really didn't;t want to get together with us, but he says that there are family problems they have to take care of... Moose's family.”
“What problems?” Walt looked at Mitch, worry creasing his forehead. “I don't know... he was really kinda vague about it when I asked. It all seems a bit odd. You know them better than I do. Have they done stuff like this before? I mean, all mysterious, like?”
“Not really, no. Sometimes Rusty will get a bit cranky, but it doesn't last long, and he's a stickler for keeping appointments and arriving on time, so this is kind of weird.” Walt rubbed his nose. “I wonder what's up?” It was evident that Walt was a puzzled as Mitch. They sat on the couch and discussed the oddity. “Its only a few days away. I thought we'd be able to cover your increased size and muscle by saying you and I had been hitting the gym regular. Rusty's no fool, he'd notice a difference, and maybe my story wouldn't wash with him. So it might be a good thing; not going, I mean” Walt looked at Mitch, who looked back, doubt in his eyes.
“You're thinking it's you, aren't you?” Walt said to his cub. “Don't. They really liked you. Aside from the fact that you made Moose's ass really happy, you and Rusty share some of the same interests politically. Moose couldn't care less about current affairs, but you and Rusty chatted on and on about politics and such... it was a real treat for Rusty. Its got to be something else. I guess we'll find out eventually.” He pulled Mitch in close and cuddled him. “Let's not worry about it now. You've had a long day. Just relax with me now.”
Mitch sighed and nestled down in Walt's embrace, stretching out on the couch, his head in Walt's lap, his head cradled against Walt's warm belly. The two of them stayed that way for a long time, chatting and dozing, shifting only to put more wood on the fire. Sleep finally overtook them as the fire died to embers, its warm red light the only illumination in the dark room, and the gentle snores of two contented bears the only sound.