Call of the Wild

The evening is a rousing success, as far as Brett Coleman is concerned. The Ft. Worth Stockyards bristled with activity with the coming of the warmer weather, and they were, for the most part, locals.
The main street is kitschy, lit in neon, and cowboys and cowgirls strolled beneath the coloured lights, entering and leaving well-known landmarks such as The Cadillac and The Pink Elephant. A good dance hall was easy to find, as there are many, and the music within was lively. Dancing. Laughing. And with each break of the dance, a tall glass of water, of lemonade, is purchased to quench thirsts. Would Brett be asked, his companion for the evening, no.. his date.. she outshone and outdanced every other lady in the 'hall.
Such was their enjoyment in the company, the music, the night air, that time simply stood still. Long before either of them considered the very idea of heading back home, the sun was beginning to rise in the horizon. The morning's light simply stated that perhaps a cup of coffee is in order to fend off the adrenaline crash until after both of them were at their respective homes, safe and sound, and under covers.
Coffee and quiet talk at a diner on the way out of Ft. Worth was the perfect spot. There, toast, eggs and grits could be had, and the last grasp of the evening spent in the company of the other is made. Light stories are told, soft, easy laughter, and the company is .. comfortable. Soon enough, however, the bill is paid and the pair begin their drive home. It's not too far, but a long enough drive to require a travel cup of coffee to keep Brett awake.
It isn't a work day, so the roads on a Sunday morning are remarkably empty. The church crowds stay close to home, and the day is still one 'of rest', even in the cities. Still, he knows backroads that can keep him off the main roads, for the most part, and is quicker, and it is on those that he travels. It isn't too far from Dallas' city limits that Brett begins to feel sort of.. odd. Looking beside him, there's a slightly.. concerned look in his eye. "Ah.. I think I should pull over.." is said quietly. "I think we've got a flat." He hits the right blinker light and turns onto the shoulder of the road. His main concern is that it really, really doesn't happen until he can get out and behind the truck.. and, well, he'll deal with the thought that he went off and abandoned her later. Some story about needing a spare. Who cares if he has a cell?
Pushing the door open, Brett only makes it outside the truck and slams the door shut before he doubles over and coughs.. and contorts. His bones shift and reposition themselves in a manner that would look quite painful; muscles shorten in some places, elongate in others.. and soon enough, there is fur.. a muzzle.. a tail.. and his clothes are on the ground outside the driver's side of the truck. Oh, great.
Quickly, the now coyote ducks his head down and heads to the back of the truck…

The issues with going out so close to the full moon mean that Summer is antsy. Not just antsy, but anxious. The dancing worked for a while, to distract her and give her something she could aggressively throw her energy into.
Still, the underlying issue of the ever-present full moon is there. During each break, she would excuse herself to 'powder her nose' and disappear for a while to splash water on her face, reapply her makeup, and come out looking fresh each time.
The coffee and all went well, though Summer is quite positive that staying out all night with a guy who is not her boyfriend is going to cause issues in her blissful relationship. Which generally only makes her more antsy.
When he pulls over and gets outside, she just blinks. Her feet start to tap, she watches him quietly. Then she groans. Full moon. Morning. A full moon in the morning. It's rare for it to happen, but when it does? It's just as hard to resist as a regular full moon.
When she spots the unmistakable coyote head going by the window? That's all it takes. Poor Summer, who's usually so good at controlling the shift, is actually tumbling out of the vehicle partially shifted. By the time she hits the ground, she's almost an exact duplicate of Brett — him being the last animal that she's seen. The only difference is that she actually looks like a female version, and a little smaller.

Coyote-Brett catches the motion of the passenger-side door, and poking his head around the corner from the back of the truck, his ears kip forward, his nose sniffing the air before him. He ducks his head down again and takes a step forward, his head cocking in coyote-quizzical. Another step forward is taken, and his muzzle circles slightly to catch the scents. A bark is given, a mix of a yip and yap, and it's followed by another. This is just.. there's another 'yote!

Already aware that there was another 'yote nearby, Summer is prepared. When Coyote-Brett comes toward her, she issues a small, territorial growl, and lunges forward. There's no bite, there's no actual physical contact. Just a loud warning for him to step-back. Testing her ground.

The growl and lunge is met with a feint to the side, followed by a circling around in a wide berth, his nose points in her direction, his head canted downward. His tail is straight out and slightly elevated as he moves, watching. Stopping at the front of the truck, the male coyote lifts his head and sniffs the air again before taking a step in again, pushing forward, ears forward. Curiosity.. and the need to take in the new scents, the 'new acquaintance', as it were..

Two huffley sniffs are taken, then her lip snarls upward. Coyote-Summer growls again, this time nipping at the air as he pushes forward. Afterward, she settles onto her haunches, then yips twice. A playfully, friendly yip. Now that she's made sure that this is her territory, she's happy enough to play. Her ears are straight up, eyes alert and following the other 'yotes every move.

Short yipyipps are given and coyote-Brett chuffs as he closes in, gently and playfully 'shoulder-checking' the other as he passes. He takes a long sniff in catching her scent and memorizing it before he jumps away sideways, another high-pitched bark given. Facing her again, his ears forward, there's an encouraging bark offered before he leaps again, sideways in preparation to lope off in a direction. To him, it really doesn't matter. He actually enjoys the moments as a 'yote.

Shoulder-checking is taken in stride. The smaller 'yote doesn't flinch, doesn't topple. Her ears flatten against her head, and she's preparing to lunge at him. Only, as she lunges at him to nip, he's leaping and loping off. Yip-yip-yipping at him, she takes off in the chase. The favorite part of the shift, is the run, the play, the hunt. The hunt will come soon enough. The hunt is here, actually, as she chases after him.

The run is the best part. From the lope, now that he knows she's following (at least for the moment), he breaks out into an all-out run; mouth open, tongue-lolling, nose quivering run. There's a freedom on four feet, and away from the city limits, away from eyes, it's good to be a coyote. It's not long before he slows, however. Not built for speed or any real stamina, it's back to a lope and then a trot. His head hangs slightly, tongue out, and he looks to the side, ears forward again. Next.. there's a hunt. Even though, in human form, he'd had a big breakfast, there's a lot out that lies before him. Armadillos, if he can find them, prairie dogs are a lot of fun.. pushing them up and out one hole, running them down the next. Sometimes, he's even lucky if he catches one!

The run, the chase (her hunt for the moment) is met with a cheerful yip. The female 'yote's nose twitches every so often, but before she catches up to the male, Summer is veering off to the side. Not too far from where he slows, but enough so that her own tongue-lolling adventure is taking her to the left. She disappears into a small brush, where it rustles and moves about quite a bit.
With another yip to alert her companion-coyote to her presence, she bolts out of the bushes, rolling a small armadillo toward him with her nose. The poor creature is curled into a ball, holding itself tightly as it becomes a toy for the dog-like creature.

The slow trot turns into a playful bound.. a straight-legged bounce as he whips around at the sound of the call. He vocalizes in return, the short, staccato'd barks and he joins in the play. Armadillo rolling is the absolute best game, ever. Stopping as it rolls toward him, he tries to get his mouth around it, but it's too large and the armour doesn't allow for a good grip. Instead, then, he paws at it, pushing and pulling it before he jumps away and jumps back, pushing at it towards the female 'yote, not giving it a chance of escape.

Armadillo in the middle!
Summer cants her head tot he side, watching him try to nom on her find. That gets a snarlish growl from her, but then he's presenting it to her again, and she yips happily, tail swaying back and forth. Sniffling at the armored-critter with her nose, she nudges it along the ground, slowly. Moving it in a circle before she drops forward, paws on either side of it. Then she spins and quickly noses it toward the male 'yote.

Ears forward, whiskers forward, there's an easy manner to coyote-Brett. He's having a great time, and watching the brief 'puppy stance', the two paws on either side of the embattled armadillo, he yips happily and moves in to make the 'steal'. Seems he doesn't have to, though, as the 'dillo is passed off, and pawing it to get a 'good grip' on it, as it were, begins to nose and paw.. and push it forward; very much like a dog and an overly large ball before it. Each step, and each pawing pushes it forward.
His tail is wagging, and he falls over it every couple of steps before he yips his encouragement to 'get the ball rolling' as it were. Now— it's a game of 'keep away'!
Armadillo soccer?

Hey! That's her armadillo!
As the male 'yote keeps pushing it forward, and doesn't seem to be returning her find, Summer takes off after him. She waits a moment, then two. There is barely a yip of warning as she becomes airborne, leaping up to pounce at him and settle her teeth at his neck. Not a bite, not a chomp. Just a gentle nip of warning that he stole her 'ball'.
That, and perhaps it is a subtle act of dominance as well.

The landing of the smaller 'yote and the grab at the neck brings around a quick response. Making a grab for the side of her neck, he's more than willing to show her that he's not willing to give up dominance, even if this act means that he gives up the armadillo. It wouldn't be a bite either, or any real pressure— simply a mouthing and a momentary 'gotcha', should he catch her, with a warning growled vocalization. She can have the armadillo.. after he makes his position known.

She may be the smaller of the two, but she again stands her ground. Growling, snarling, and stepping between the male 'yote, and her armadillo. Her nose tips up in the air, and she yips at him. Then she starts toward him. One paw in front of the other until she's near nose-to-nose with the male. Then she taps him with her nose, awaits a response, and stretches a back paw toward the armadillo and knock it between her legs.

What will he do? What will he do?
There's that part in the coyote that is all Brett and there's a moment during the standoff before he arches his nose forward.. and rolls out his tongue to lick her muzzle quickly. While in the canid world that's a submissive act, there's just something there that speaks of.. impish behavior. That roly-poly armadillo is.. just a whole lot of fun, and it'd be a shame if their ball sprouted legs and ran off before—
A step forward is taken, and he paws at her, moving to body-check her again, attempting to mouth her and convince her that it really is more fun if she releases the ball. Then, they can run across the flatlands again!

While the canine world will not see that as a kiss, the muzzle-lick is enough to have the female coyote backing down rather quickly. There's enough of Summer left in there to realize that while this is generally all in good fun, it's not really another 'yote she's playing with. It's another shifter.
Snout dipping forward, she paws the armadillo to the side just as she's body-checked and her legs buckle under her. Her body heaves to the side and rolls along the ground, though she's quickly up on her feet again trying to obtain her armadillo.

Brett's more than willing to walk almost over her, yipping at her before he bounces away to get at the armadillo. She'd put her nose out and he licked it! To him, it's the moral equivalent of kissing her nose to blow her concentration. After all, during a stand-off, who'd expect their muzzle licked?
The armadillo, however, has other plans, and it sprouts those legs and tries to move out of range. The little buggers are quick, but coyote-Brett is a little quicker and he heads it off at the pass, pawing at it and nipping. Curling up once more into a ball, the little terrified animal is in play again!

Walked over, yipped at, and her prize is gone again!
Summer growls, leaping to her feet and chasing the other 'yote again. This time, she body-checks his backside, attempting to paw him over onto his back so she can get the balled up critter.
Yipping a few times, she dashes off, then back, then off again.
There is no second armadillo to play with, though she does cock her head to the side trying to figure out how far from the vehicle they've gotten.

Nothing like feeling like your back-end is going down! Brett goes down, but only briefly as Summer checks him, keeping himself from rolling over. Now, if it were for a belly scritch, he'd give it serious consideration, but she's a 'yote too.. and she's after his armadillo!
Well, okay, 'hers', but—
Regaining his footing, the armadillo is scurrying off again, but Brett's not paying too much attention, remarkably. He's noticing that Summer's checking the air. He yaps and follows.. and bounds back, ears forward as he tries to work out exactly what's on her mind.
Looking around the terrain, he takes short sniffs on the breeze, checking for predators. Truth be told, they are the highest thing on the food chain, other than humans, at this given moment, so that can't be what's bothering her… right?

The battered armadillo manages to slowly scurry off, not grabbing Summer's attention either. It survived the playful attack, to live another day.
Sniffing the air again, she cocks her head to the left. Barking at him, she takes off at full speed in the direction they came from. The only stop is to duck behind a few bushes, then back out as she waits for him. Circling the bush, she starts to dig. Creating the beginnings of a small burrow until he catches up to her.

Following Summer's lead, Brett follows, but drops his nose to see if he can't scent the trail. They'd gone hither and yon, and was it that she was backtracking up.. for what? They were going to be like this for.. okay, no watch, but a little while, at least!
The male coyote reaches the bush and sits, his head cocking. A burrow? Wouldn't.. or shouldn't they get closer to the truck.. or?
Rising to all fours again, he mentally shrugs and begins to dig with his front paws just a little bit away so that he's got some room to settle in. He's getting a little tired; the coffee and the adrenaline is wearing off, and maybe a burrow might be a good idea.
Of course, the fact that should he fall asleep, then wake later, there is the distinct possibility that he'd be lying nekkid as a jaybird in the middle of the flatlands of Texas doesn't occur to him?! Maybe it might be a better idea to get closer to the truck?

Digging is just fun to do! Summer enjoys setting up random burrows everywhere when she's in her shifted state. Safe locations that she can hide if necessary.
Once the burrow is deep enough to fit her, she drops into it and snuggles down into the sand. Then she rolls a little, and paws her way out. Her tongue slips out as she pants a little, then she noses at his muzzle. A nod toward the burrow, and she drops on her haunches again, looking at him with an almost human curiosity.
The sit is only held for a few moments, then she's moving ahead a few paces. Afterward, she lopes back toward the burrow.

Digging isn't one thing that Brett spends much time doing in shifted form. He enjoys the runs, the hunts, the plays.. and eventually the slow, easy strolls through his territory. Nowhere to go, nowhere to be, it's a free and easy life for the coyote behind the man. The dirt feels funny between his toes, but he finds that he enjoys it somewhat. So, following her lead, he settles down into his hole before he crawls out to nose at Summer gently. Looking at the burrow, he steps in and rolls, feet in the air for a moment, the shape of the burrow cradling him before he finds his feet once more and he's up. Out of the burrow again, he shake-shakes the dirt off and trots in the direction that he believes they'd come from.. and sniffs around a bush before he starts to dig, dirt flying behind him.

More digging! Summer is just happy to trot between the already-dug burrow and toward the vehicle. But when he starts digging, she slowly paws at the ground, then begins to dig again. The dirt flies behind her as well as she hurriedly digs into the earth, trying to create another small burrow or find a critter to toy with. After several minutes, she stops and flops upon the ground. Her chin rests upon her front legs and she watches him dig.

Brett's making little burrows from the one Summer'd made to the truck. The truck..
Stopping his digging a moment, he cants his head and looks at Summer a moment as she rests, her nose laying on her legs. There's something— what is it?
Burrows? No.
Armadillo? Already grabbed one.
Prairie dog chasing? Nah.. little tired.
Truck.. what was it..
There's that little thought hanging in the back of his mind, but he just can't get the sentient part wrapped around exactly what it is that he needs to do.. should do?
There's only one way to jog his memory, however, and that's to go and return, and see if anything triggers it?
Yapping quickly, Brett stops digging and wheels off at a trot towards the truck. He knows that he'll work out what it is when he gets there, if not when he gets closer.

But there is digging! Lots of little digging! Summer loves the digging as much as she loves the hunting. It's almost impossible to get her to stop, so the fact that she has? It's significant.
As he goes through the thought process, she happily just continues to rest. Tiredly, though she's far from sleeping. Just tuckered out.
Yaps occur, and he's wheeling off. He got it!
With a long stretch and a slight little yawn, she gets to her feet again and slowly plods along behind him toward the truck.

Nose down, Brett can smell the path they'd taken. Yellow eyes can see the digs in the dirt, but that's not what guides his steps. It's all scent.
Over the horizon, he can see the truck in the distance, and he increases his pace to a slow jog. As he nears it, the human scent all around it is familiar. That one is..
Moving around to the driver's side, the male coyote noses around in the clothing. Jumping up onto his back paws, he can see the keys inside the truck. Great. Hope no one steals it.
Wheeling back around, the thought occurs to him to take his pants into his mouth and drag them back and off the road before the whole 'burrow' thing off at a short distance might be a good idea…

Summer has other ideas once they've found the truck.
When he starts dragging clothing back off the road, she just hops up into the passenger seat and curls up. Not sleeping, just curling up. Guard 'yote? It's possible. Hell, if his car gets stolen? They're stuck out here and so it's best to ensure that doesn't happen.
Her nose peeks out the door, and she yips at him once, though she doesn't go chasing after him again. She's aware that waking up in the buff in his vehicle will be quite difficult to explain, but it's better that she be here and safe than out there and get shot.

Brett's good with a guard coyote, he really is. The particular area the truck is in is pretty much flatlands. The joy of shifting into a coyote in Texas means your presence is expected. As long as he doesn't take out a cow, or a sheep, he should be fine.
The rest of it all; the ramifications of everything else just.. eludes him, and that's okay. He still has his pants in his mouth, and his drivers side door is closed. He can't open it, nor, honestly does he want to. Instead, he's going to dig.. and getting a few yards off the side of the road, Brett begins to dig into the soft earth, pants still in his grasp.
Getting it at a good level, he crawls down into it and lays down, his head on his paws. He's guarding the truck too— only from without.

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