Dating & Dinosaurs
“Dinosaur shifters don’t exist,” Trix shouted over the bar noise. “They’re extinct, jackass!”
Barnaby slid his glasses off his nose and rubbed the lenses with a bandana extracted from his pocket. “Yup.” He peered at his friend from under his ten gallon hat. “And there are no gay cowboys in West Virginia, either.”
Trix shoved a hand through his black hair. “If dinosaur shifters had survived, we’d notice. They’re too big to hide.”
“I dunno. Parts of West Virginia are pretty isolated.” Barnaby tipped his hat up with a taunting finger. “Maybe they’re tiny dinosaurs.”
Trix glared. “Jerk.”
Barnaby shouldn’t yank his chain, but Trix was such a contrary guy, Barnaby couldn’t resist. “What if I could prove it.”
Muscles stiff, Trix snatched his beer from the bar and tipping his head back, he emptied the glass. “Impossible.”
Smothering a snort, Barnaby shoved his glasses back on his nose and reached for his own beer. “Twenty bucks says I can.”
Trix frowned. “How much have you been drinking?”
“One beer, same as you, and stop trying to distract me.” He fished his wallet out and counted out five crisp bills. “Fifty bucks. If you win.” Barnaby smirked, waiting for his new friend’s ornery to over-ride his stubborn. “If I win — ”
” — you have to do what I want for the rest of the night.”
“What?” Trix’s eyes widened. “You mean you’ll prove it now?”
Barnaby grinned. “For a date, I will.”
Trix rolled his eyes. “Evidence of a carnivorous animal doesn’t prove dick. You understand that, right? You moved here a few weeks ago so maybe you don’t know, but bears and big cats roam the woods.”
“I know. We watch for predators near the herd.” Barnaby slid from his stool. “But I’m not showing you a kill.”
Trix’s eyebrow arched.
Barnaby snickered. “C’mon.”
* * *
Since there was zero chance of finding a place to pull over on the trail masquerading as a road, Barnaby stopped and shifted the truck into park. Yanking his keys from the ignition, he glanced at the rear view mirror to spy Trix parking his motorcycle behind him. In civilization, blocking a road wasn’t cool, but Barnaby had explored these hills since moving to Hampshire County last month. The only house on this road was an abandoned shack. ATV enthusiasts and hunters avoided this stretch of land, especially after dark. It was reportedly haunted.
Perfect territory for dinosaur shifters.
Barnaby climbed from the truck. Trix slung his jacket over the bike and joined him. “Oh, you’re going to show me the ghost of an extinct dinosaur shifter,” he drawled.
Barnaby couldn’t miss the husky note in Trix’s voice, though. He turned to the woods and speared into the plants, bushes and saplings that made up the forest floor. “Follow me.”
“If ghosts get you, it’s on your head, pal.”
Trix followed, though.
For a few paces.
Until Barnaby threw his cowboy hat aside and broke into a sprint.
“Hey! What’re you…Damn it, wait!”
“Catch me.” Legs pumping, Barnaby yanked at the buttons of his shirt. He stripped it down his arms and hurled it over his shoulder. He laughed at Trix’s bitching and the rustle of greenery gone silver in the moonlight. “C’mon, you pussy. Bet you another fifty that you can’t catch me!”
Barnaby ran, but not far. He stopped to jerk his boots off, which wasn’t easy, but necessary considering the sounds of pursuit had — predictably — lessened with each taunt he’d shouted during the chase.
Leaning against a maple for balance, he pulled off his other boot. He tugged down the zipper of his jeans. He shoved denim down his hips and plopped in the dead leaves littering the ground to slide his jeans off his legs.
A slight weight landed on his shoulder, claws digging to pierce bare skin. Tiny claws. Though he’d expected it, Barnaby winced because those claws were razor sharp. A growl at his ear was his only warning before a small mouth full of needle-pointed teeth closed on his neck, just over the skin covering the thud-thud-thud of his pulse.
“Took you long enough.” He chuckled when the miniature dinosaur clinging to him hissed. “Gonna eat me, Trix?”
The prick bit down hard enough to draw blood. “You better be fast,” Barnaby said. “If not, a morsel like you will make a tasty appetizer once I shift too.”
Trix chirped in annoyance, but he released Barnaby’s neck. He hopped nimbly from Barnaby’s shoulder to his thigh, small hooked claws puncturing flesh again. Half the size of a house cat, Trix blinked at him, moonlight glimmering off his scales and the long tail snaking behind him. “Hesperonychus. I thought so.” Barnaby gave Trix a rub at the base of his neck. “This plot of land smelled like family.” He winked. “Distant cousins, anyway.”
Trix cocked his head to a curious angle.
“Velociraptor,” Barnaby said at the unspoken question and laughed when Trix exploded in a flurry of hisses and berating chirps. “You need to get over your size issues, dude. A carnivore is a carnivore and a small version of me hides easier so you’re now the better predator.”
Trix huffed out a breath, then nudged the pocket of Barnaby’s discarded jeans.
“Yes, you still get the fifty for catching me.” Barnaby stood. “And I still get what I want: to hunt together, shift back to human form at dawn for a kiss and a cup of coffee at the truck stop. Sound good?”
Trix’s chatter indicated he was behind Barnaby’s plan.
“Perfect.” Barnaby smiled. “You sure make a man work hard to get a first date, though.”
(Please note the NON-cliffy HEA. Heh.)
And there you have it. My first flash fic, a bit of absurdity that was wicked fun to throw together. Anyone want to share the most fun/absurd shifter you’ve read (or would like to read) in M/M? Top (get your minds out of the gutter — I mean BEST) my dino shifters at brilliant WTFery in a comment below to steal my Are You Effin Kidding Me? (Yes, btw, I’m KIDDING) tiara away!