One bite has never been a life changing decision but it is now --- to bite or not to bite that is the question.
All Lucius needs is his family. They might be a mismatched and unconventional group but they're the only "real" family he knows and wants. What Lucius doesn't need is the strange, beautiful man who arrives as a last minute dinner guest and knocks him and his wolf on his ass, literally.
Just being in the same room with the mysterious Nicu proves disastrous. Lucius knows without a doubt he doesn't need the havoc Nicu threatens to bring to his predictable, but comfortable existence. But when he stands to lose the man who is tearing his life apart, Lucius realizes he doesn't know what he needs at all.
"They're dirty and smelly, not to mention nosy and rude. I can't believe you invited them for Yule dinner."
"I've already warned you more than once, Lucius. We're part of the human world not the other way around so get over yourself! Another word about it and you'll be sorry."
Lucius Moretti huffed out a breath, snorted then smirked while he searched his brain for one more retort. He knew Ali wouldn't do anything drastic to him anyhow. He was Ali's Luscious Lucius after all. "Whatcha gonna do, Ali? Turn me into a stinky human?"
He didn't have time to revel in his amusement since his knees suddenly folded beneath him and he crashed to the floor. He tried to speak but all he managed was a hoarse noise followed by a puff of feathers filling the air. He flailed at the sound of his own voice.
"Trying to say something, Luscious? I can't seem to make out your words through the mouthful of crow you're eating." Ali flipped back his multicolored, waist length hair, rested one hand on his hip and let out an ear-splitting cackle. "Or should I say mouthful of fowl?"
Lucius struggled to voice his anger. A loud "bock" rolled out of his throat, startling him and making him tip over on his newly-formed pencil-thin legs. He fell back on his feathery butt. "Ba-gock!"
That bastard! He couldn't. He wouldn't. He fucking did! Lucius was a goddamn chicken-a goddamn chicken with goddamn chicken feathers and goddamn chicken legs. He clucked again in disgust, the sound made him even more frustrated and angry. He moved his arms to flip a double-fisted bird Ali's way but all he accomplished was a meager flap of his pathetic wings and another burst of feathers into the air.
"Now, now. Don't get yourself in a flap, love." Ali chuckled at his own joke and at Lucius' obvious expense, throwing his lithe body into one of the kitchen chairs. "It's customary to have turkey for Yule dinner but if you continue to cross me, I have no problem making an exception this year."
Lucius clucked once in what he hoped was a display of surrender. He was still pissed, but he was a wolf dammit, not some stupid chicken, and there was no way on Earth he was staying that way. How dare Ali turn him into a lowly farm animal simply because he couldn't handle the truth about his human lover? Humans were to be ridiculed, ignored, and avoided, not invited into the home of supernatural beings with much higher intelligence and wit and, well, everything else.
And not only had Ali befriended and invited the commoner to their home, to what he always referred to as their most important family dinner, but he had been sleeping with him in the room right next to Lucius'. Ali had been subjecting the entire household to raucous barnyard noises and human sex smells simply so he could get his rocks off. There were nights he had to cover his head with his pillow to avoid Ali's sex talk - on your knees, suck harder, ass in the air, I'm gonna come! It was obscene and made his skin crawl. Lucius had never actually met the man, only seen him when he snuck in at night and out again in the morning, and that alone told him that Ali had to be at least partially ashamed of his choice in species.
Why couldn't he find someone of his own caliber to bed? Not a wolf of course, they were far too fussy to sleep with witches, but another witch or even one of those friendly vampires that ran the local after-dark beauty salon? Goddess knows Ali spent enough time there keeping himself beautiful. Last year, Ali had even canoodled the ugliest troll known to well... trolls, but his current human far exceeded even that disgusting display in smell and appearance.
"Even as a chicken, I can still hear your wheels spinning," Ali said, rising from the chair where he'd been casually perched. "Would you like me to think of something even worse than fowl? Or are you going to give up this prejudice bullshit that you have against my lover and his kind?"
Lucius clucked and staggered his way across the floor, skidding to a stop at Ali's feet. He pecked gently against Ali's calf, through the long silky material of his robe, and clucked again. He wasn't giving up, but Ali didn't have to know that, now did he?
"What do you think would be worse than being a chicken, Luscious?" Balls! The bastard and his psychic hearing. "Perhaps Manny can think of something. He's always ripe with creative ideas."
Lucius backed away when Ali called out "Manny" and a scattering of feet scrambled down the hall.
"Holy Christ on a cracker!" Lucius flinched at the voice, ducking his chicken head and moving closer to Ali. "Ali, do you know there's a chicken in the kitchen? Do you want I should eat it and get it out of the way?"
Lucius gasped in a way only chickens could, more of a regurgitated burping sound than a real gasp, when he heard the crackle-crunch-pop of bones shifting into place and skin stretching followed by the low moan of pain that usually accompanied Manny's shifting. He looked up, staring bug-eyed-well, chicken-eyed-into the glowing golden orbs of the mountain lion who growled as he stalked closer to Lucius.
"Ba-gock!" Lucius screamed. He flapped his wings to no avail and ran about the kitchen like an actual chicken with its head cut off. "Bock! Bock! Bock!" he continued to squawk, throwing his round, downy body behind Ali's legs and cowering.
Manny continued to advance on the chicken, lowering his head as he ducked under the table before crawling under the chair, heading straight for the bird. Fear and anxiety ripped through him, his body shuddering and shaking as the head got closer, big white teeth almost smiling as Manny closed the gap.
The mountain lion came nose to beak with Lucius who'd backed up as far as he could into the wall, his little chicken feet scratching madly against the hardwood floor. Lucius squeezed his eyes shut and prayed for a quick death, his entire life rushing past him in a totally cool Technicolor way. It occurred to him he'd never realized chickens could see color. He flinched when hot breath teased over his face before something wet scraped over his eyes... what the fuck?
"Okay, Manny," Ali's amused voice called out. "That's enough. I think we've gotten the message across. Stop drooling on the chicken."
Manny stopped licking and Lucius opened his eyes very slowly. For the love of the goddess, now he smelled like barnyard animal and stinky cat breath. Disgusting. He watched as a grinning-widely, man-Manny returned and the horrible feline disappeared, but he was still apprehensive when he stepped out from behind Ali's legs. He hoped like hell he hadn't let loose a pile of chicken turds or even worse laid an egg when he'd nearly been frightened to death. Someone was going to pay for his humiliation and he was already plotting some bad-ass revenge.