Several days later, Boris and Robert stood on the deck, naked, looking down as Snake and Larry mounted their bikes and waved. Rick had decided that the bike he’d owned would only bring back bad memories and so he'd given it to Larry. He’d get another, he knew that. He enjoyed the open road far too much, it was one of the best things about being on his hawg with Sebastian. Maybe he’d even build one from the ground up. Larry could build good memories on his old bike and he would build good memories on his new one. Larry offered to pay but Rick turned him down saying that if he wanted to pay him back he should take long rides with Snake and enjoy riding.
So, Larry had cashed in his return ticket, and he and Snake had made plans to return to Texas on the road, with a stop in Colorado to see some old friends of Larry's. Rusty and Moose had left in Mitch's truck two days before, and Vic, Mitch, and Walt had hit the road in Vic's Avalanche the day after. Snake and Larry were the last to depart. After strapping on helmets, they gunned the scoots and roared off.
“You think they will make out OK?” Robert asked.
“Yes, I think so. I think it will be good for Larry to have the responsibility of a cub. Snake will need a strong hand, too. He was rather amenable here, but he was still a bit at sixes and sevens, still grateful to know where his next meal was coming from and happy to have friends he could trust. His natural independence will surface soon enough, and then he will be a handful.” The big bear laughed. “I don't envy Larry the task, but he will be equal to it, I think.” Boris's arm went around Robert's shoulder. “It helps that there is a bond of affection growing between them. They’re growing closer by the hour.”
“Heh. Thanks in no small part to you, you old grump. I noticed you kept arranging for them to have time together and jobs to do together.” Robert put his head on Boris's shoulder.
“And I think the next time you see Larry, he’ll look a bit different.”
“Really? How?” Robert asked his curiosity piqued.
“Well, I could swear that Larry’s grown in the last week or so. He seems taller and bulkier, not by much, but I’ve seen it before.”
“Well, long ago when my Alexander changed me, he too changed. I had known him, watched him filled with lust, memorizing every detail of his form for years before he showed me what he was and I accepted the gift we all share. Alexander was a bear of impressive size and bulk… and became more so after I became his mate. He told me it happens sometimes. I think it’s going to happen to Larry, too.”
Robert smiled, “Well, like he says, ‘ever’thang’s bigger ‘n Texas ’.” Robert had managed to capture Larry's facial expression, tone of voice and drawl perfectly.
Boris laughed, “Indeed!”
Rick, also buck naked, stepped out onto the deck with a tray of cold beers. He set the tray down on the table and joined the two in looking out over the scenery.
“I am very glad you decided to stay with us, Rick,” Boris said, taking a beer. Robert nodded. Rick colored slightly.
“I'm glad you asked me, but I'm still a little hesitant. Are you guys sure that...”
“Quite sure. It will do him good to have someone else around to argue with. OW!” Boris yelped at the slap on the rump Robert gave him. Robert softened it with just a bit of a smile.
“Well, it's true. I'm a solitary old grump, as Robert is always pointing out. He likes people around, so it's nice to have a third here with us and there is a small business proposition in Vancouver that I am interested in that will take my direct attention for a while. I will be away for a month or so. You are most welcome to stay as long as you want, Rick.”
Robert nodded. “As long as you want.” He looked at Rick, who smiled back at the two bears who had taken him in. They’d given him a sense of stability and belonging. They’d opened their hearts and home to him, something no one else had done so easily and without asking anything in return.
Boris raised his glass, “To those we love!” The other two clinked their glasses against his and repeated the phrase and all drank.
(The authors hope you have enjoyed this story. There is a sequel to Becoming the Bear and Being the Bear that involves Moose and Rusty, called Brown Bear Coffee Shop. You can contact the authors at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org .)