Author : J. Loseth, Staff Writer

“To employment!” Skye burst into the apartment with a bottle raised, cheeks pinked. He already looked like he’d had a toast or two before coming home. Fauntleory looked up from the armchair he was draped over with a frown, then got to his feet and deftly nipped the bottle from his roommate’s hand.

“Vodka? Since when do you drink vodka?” Of course, Fauntleroy wasn’t complaining. He grabbed an ornamental glass from the shelf behind him and filled it, too lazy to go to the kitchen.

“Since I got a job.” Skye had a big, sloppy grin on his face. He plucked the bottle back from Fauntleroy and helped himself to a sip right out of the container. His eyes were sparkling.

Fauntleroy frowned. “Is this some crime syndicate job or something? On the run from the law just like you?”

“Since when can I not hold a real job?” Skye asked, mock-affronted, though he still couldn’t hide the twitches of his mouth. “I am a perfectly respectable citizen!” He slurred his words just a little, flopping indolently on the couch and taking another swig of liquor.

“Yeah. You were a respectable citizen,” Fauntleroy said. “Until that little incident last week that you seem to have forgotten. You were found out! You’re registered now! No one in their right mind would ever hire a registered lycanthrope! Unless… you found some way to clear the federal records?” Fauntleroy’s eyes widened, and he did a poor job of concealing his hope. Luckily, Skye was the drunk one for once, so Fauntleroy figured nobody would notice.

A grimace broke through Skye’s alcoholic glee and he shook his head. “Sorry, nothing that good. But the next best thing.” He paused for dramatic effect, straightening as that incorrigible grin crept back onto his face. “I’m going to be a police dog. Sniff out drugs and other illegal stuff. They need someone they can communicate with to do the job.”

For a moment Fauntleroy just stared. “I thought you could only do the man-beast scary thing.”

“Shows how much you know.” Skye stood and set the glass aside, concentrating. His body shifted, muscles bulging and tightening, bone structure melding into something else. Black fur sprouted from his dark skin, and in moments an admittedly wolfish dog stood in a pile of Skye’s clothes. His canine mouth gaped and his long pink tongue lolled out in a grin.

“Well I’ll be,” Fauntleroy murmured. “Makes sense, though… a versatile officer with talents they don’t have. They need you, so they’ve got to give you some rights, even if you’re registered. What a scam.” His head tilted as he looked down into Skye’s warm brown wolf eyes. “Let’s just hope they don’t send you sniffing for faggots.”

Skye’s body rippled and changed, returning to his normal form, albeit with a frown on his face and nothing in the way of clothes. “I thought I told you not to use that word,” he said, giving Fauntleroy a disapproving look. “And if they do…” He took a step closer, then smirked. “I’ll just sniff your crotch and move right on by.”

At that, even the cynical Fauntleroy had to grin. He raised his glass and was rewarded with the return of Skye’s infectious grin. “To your new job, then, Officer.” At last, things were looking up.

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