Catch Me If You Can

Chapter 9:

"Let it go, let it roll right off your shoulder
Don't you know the hardest part is over?
Let it in, let your clarity define you
In the end we will only just remember how it feels…
Our lives are made in these small hours
These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate
Time falls away but these small hours
These small hours still remain…"

~~ Rob Thomas "Little Wonders"

It was another week before Wile E. saw Roadie again. The small bird had come darting into the General Store, stuffing food items into a backpack, furiously wiping tears from his face before moving to the cashier, fumbling around in his pockets for money.

"Roadie?" Wile E. asked in surprise, the bird jumping and looking up at him in shock. The coyote had never used Roadie's name before…

"Where are you, you little bastard?" Rage's loud voice called and Roadie froze, Wile E. glancing up to see a small dust cloud approaching.

"Get back here." He hissed to the bird, shoving him behind the counter with his backpack and money, moving to look like he was restocking the shelves. "Not a word." He whispered as Rage slammed open the door to the general store.

"Where is he?" Rage squawked and Wile E. glanced up with a raised eyebrow.

"Where is who?"

"Don't act stupid." Rage growled, his gaze sweeping around the store. "Where is Roadie? You're the only one in this piss poor town who could actually help him."

"I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. If you haven't noticed, your brother and I have never had the best of relationships."

"Oh, don't give me that. I see the way he looks at you." Rage sneered and Wile E. felt his heart pounding in his chest. "He adores you and some day it's going to get him killed."

There was silence for a moment and Wile E.'s eyes narrowed.

"I think you should leave now." He growled darkly, towering over the smaller male. "And I don't want to hear you making trouble in my shop ever again, you hear?"

Rage simply sneered and shouldered past the dog, stalking out of the shop to race around the town again.

Wile E. paused for a few moments before walking back to the cashier, peering down at the cabinet beneath the counter.

Roadie was curled up with his arms around his knees, his legs pressed to his chest and tears running down his face to mingle with blood dribbling down the side of his mouth. He looked horrible. His feathers were matted with sweat and blood and a sticky white substance that Wile E. vaguely recognized but couldn't name.

Taking a deep breath the coyote reeled back at the stench of violence, sweat and musk on the bird, growling as he covered his nose with his arm.

"You reek like a brothel." He gave a nasally growl, grabbing Roadie and dragging him to his feet, the bird stumbling as the dog led him to the back stairway, pushing him into the bathroom. "Bathe." Wile E. ordered, moving to leave.

Roadie let out a panicked sound and grabbed the dog's hand, trembling violently as he, buried his face in the canine's chest. Wile E. felt a moment of disgust before pity replaced the feeling, sighing as he allowed the smaller male to sob into his chest.

"H-hurts…" Roadie whimpered and Wile E. had to physically resist the urge to wrap his arms around the bird and soothe his aches.

"Let's see, then… Sit down."

Wile E. dislodged the small bird from his chest, gently pushing him to the toilet seat. The bird let out a cry of pain and stiffened, clutching at the wall and bathtub edge to prevent himself from sitting.

"I need to see if anything is damaged." Wile E. sighed, looking at the panting, sobbing bird. Roadie shuddered and nodded, carefully moving to bend over the edge of the tub, feathered hands trembling as he undid the fastenings of his pants.

"Careful…" Wile E. gently slid the tight jeans off of Roadie's narrow hips, gasping slightly in alarm when Roadie's knees gave out and he let out a low keen of pain.

Blood and semen coated the inside of the pants and dribbled out of Roadie's entrance, the scent of violation becoming even more potent. The dog covered his nose with his arm for a moment before reaching over to turn on the hot tap of the shower, not caring as water splashed over the edge and onto his own body as he lifted and placed Roadie inside the tub.

The bird slumped against the wall as the cleansing water flowed over his body, pelting him harshly, seeming to bleach his emotions as he slowly relaxed and spread his legs.

"Here…" Wile E. grabbed a wash rag from a nearby towel rack and began to swipe at Roadie's shoulders and back, smoothing out the mussed up feathers gently. The young bird slumped even more, arching into the strong, smooth touches, whimpering as Wile E. carefully cleaned him, hand slowly moving down. Roadie gasped and stiffened when Wile E. touched his rump, whimpering and letting out a soft beep of apprehension as the dog carefully cleaned him.

"Relax… I won't hurt you." The coyote whispered, carefully cleaning every inch of the slim bird, feeling that if he pressed to hard or touched him in a wrong way the delicate frame would shatter like a glass vase. Roadie's chest was rising and falling rapidly in panic and Wile E. could smell fear and pain on the small bird… Mingling with a thick scent of desperate want.

The coyote slid his hand down from the base of Roadie's skull, smoothing down the feathers of his slender, arched back easily before curving up and over the bird's pert ass and the trembling, soaking tail feathers. The road runner's eyes rolled back into his skull and his legs finally gave completely, the frail form collapsing backwards. Quick thinking on Wile E.'s part allowed him to catch the bird before he hit the edge of the tub, hoisting the disturbingly light frame easily into his arms.

Roadie gave a weak smile and raised a hand to touch the dog's chest.

"You-caught-me…" He murmured and Wile E. blinked at the implications of the statement. For a moment he cast them aside and focused on carrying the small bird to his bed. He placed the soaked body on the sheets and quickly grabbed a towel, drying the blue bird off. He noted for the first time that what he had once thought was athletic muscles built from running was malnourishment, the bird's ribs easily felt and what little fat and muscle covering him being filled out by thick feathering. The young bird was exhausted and by the time Wile E. was finished drying him off he was passed out on the damp bed, eyes closed and beak slightly open in relaxed slumber.

How easy it could have been, in that moment, to simply sink his teeth into the bird's throat. To tear into his weakly heaving chest and kill him, rid himself of the nuisance that had plagued him for the past months…

Wile E. knew he would later blame temporary (and permanent) insanity when looking back on his decision to simply cover the bird with as many blankets as he could spare and move to build himself a temporary bed on the floor. Stripping out of his wet clothes Wile E. didn't even bother finding a pair of boxers or pajama pants, covering himself and curling up on his side to attempt to fall asleep.

Shortly after he drifted off to sleep, Roadie cracked and eye and watched him. The slender bird carefully crawled out of his own bedding and moved to curl up against the dog's furry arms. To his surprise and pleasure, Wile E. quickly opened his arms and possessively curled them around the slender frame in his sleep. Roadie smiled up at the sleeping dog and pressed even closer to the warm frame, combing his fingers through the thick, soft chest fur as he allowed himself to sleep peacefully.

For the first time in ten years, he felt truly safe.

"Let it slide, let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine until you feel it all around you
And I don?t mind if it?s me you need to turn to
We?ll get by, it?s the heart that really matters in the end…
Our lives are made in these small hours
These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate
Time falls away but these small hours
These small hours still remain…
All of my regret will wash away somehow
But I cannot forget the way I feel right now
In these small hours
These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate
Yeah, these twists and turns of fate!"

~~ Rob Thomas "Little Wonders"