In The Running

Levon snuck out of bed, leaving Joe asleep, head buried in the pillow and sheets wrapped over one shoulder. Levon didn't think his lover would wake up for anything short of coffee, the alarm, or the sharp voice of someone telling him he was late for work.

The last two weren't likely to happen, since they had the day off. The first -- well, it could wait til later. Joe had been up late and not got home until well past midnight, stuck helping transfer a prisoner from Galveston to Houston, then sitting around the station for the paperwork to catch up so they could actually process the guy.

Levon tip-toed out of the bedroom, leaving the lights off. He didn't want to wake Joe, because he knew if he did his partner would insist on crawling out of bed and joining him.

It wasn't that Levon didn't *want* Joe to join him. But he wanted to let Joe sleep -- and they could go out again, after Joe woke up naturally and had some breakfast.

Probably closer to noon.

Levon grinned, and headed towards the back door. When he stepped out, he eased the door closed, then walked just far enough away that he had room to change. Then he did so, and shook himself.

Sometimes he felt like he hadn't been able to change for days -- weeks, sometimes -- even when it had only been one day. He sometimes did go long stretches without a chance to change, especially when his partner had first begun spending so much of his time outside of work, with Levon.

Worth it, but Levon was grateful he didn't have to hide anymore. He walked slowly, and quietly, away from the house. The weight of carrying the secret had nearly broken their relationship in half. Now, though, Levon knew he could go back inside and crawl into bed -- after changing forms back, of course -- and invite his lover out for a run. Or wait for a counter offer to stay in bed.

Levon grinned. Maybe after the run.

He'd lain in bed watching Joe sleep for fifteen minutes, before he'd got restless. Not that he was never able to sit still for hours at a time -- too many stakeouts or days' worth of paperwork chaining him to a desk had cured any failure to reign himself in. But with a day off facing him, and plenty of sleep on *his* part, if not Joe's, he'd seen no reason not to come outside.

Levon got away from the house far enough that the pounding of hooves would only disturb Fooler. She was in the barn, though, and any fuss she raised wouldn't wake up Joe. He knew he could easily go around and let her out, let her join him for the run -- but this morning he wanted the time to himself.

He leapt into a run, kicking dirt and grass up as his hooves dug into the ground, and restrained the urge to yell. Nothing surer to bring Joe out, guns in hand and a sheet wrapped around his waist. Defeat the whole purpose of letting Joe sleep, while Levon took the chance to stretch his legs.

The morning was cool, though the Helios' chariot was just climbing above the horizon, spreading sunrise across the sky. Levon could tell the day would remain cool, though, from the cold bit of air left by the night and the thick spread of white clouds hanging overhead. Not rain, but enough to hold the heat away.

The perfect kind of day to stay home, tackle the myriad of chores that were piling up, and stop often throughout and head for the pasture. Levon grinned. Or the bedroom. They might not get too many chores done, but at least they could have fun trying. Levon glanced over his shoulder at the house, already growing small at the distance covered so quickly.

How far did he want to run? How long should he let Joe sleep, before he headed in, and let the noise of a shower wake him up before Levon joined him back in bed? Assuming Joe didn't join *him* in the shower, of course.

Levon shook his head and faced forward. Another thought like that one and he'd not have brains enough left to make the decision. He'd be turning and running full speed and... well, it wasn't like it was such a bad thing. But he owed it to his lover, and the exhaustion that had been hard on his face and in his voice, to let the man sleep.

Levon ran back and forth the length of his property twice, before he let his hooves carry him back the way they'd kept trying to go. The house came into view, and he heard Fooler whinnying at him -- complaining that she hadn't been let out to run with him. He grinned, and shook his head. Fooler tended to complain when he came out half an hour late, or cut the run short -- Fooler would only be happy when Levon was out at the crack of dawn and stayed out with her til it was too dark to find a decent spot to sleep.

Actually, that didn't sound half bad. Maybe he'd take vacation time and do just that, someday. Not any time soon -- their day off today was just one bright spot in a schedule of too many open cases. But Levon headed towards the barn, and took both Fooler and her breakfast out to the corral. Breakfast quieted her complaints, though he promised her to go out again, later, once Joe was awake to join them.

Then he headed for the house, changing back to human form as he walked up the porch step. Long as he'd run, he hadn't run very hard -- anticipating plenty of exercise later -- so he wasn't in need of a shower. He considered heading for the kitchen to brew some coffee. Wasn't like he needed it to wake up, though, so he headed for the bedroom instead to check on his partner.

He found Joe lying under the blankets in exactly the same position he'd left him in. With a grin, Levon snuck around to Joe's side of the bed. Joe opened his eys and smiled.

"Morning," Levon wasted no time crouching down and collecting a kiss.

"Morning." Joe inhaled deeply, and stretched where he lay. "Enjoy your run?"

"I thought you were asleep."

"I was. I woke up a few minutes ago."

"If you just woke up, how do you know I was gone long enough to be out running?" Levon teased.

"Where else would you be?"

Levon grinned. "How do you know I wasn't in the kitchen making breakfast?"

Joe laughed. "So where's my breakfast?"

"Didn't make any for *you*," Levon countered. "Reckoned you'd be asleep til noon."

"*That* sounds good. Bed til noon." Joe rolled onto his back and closed his eyes. Levon watched him for a moment, then stood up to leave him to it. Joe opened his eyes again. "Where are you going?"

"Going to let you sleep."

"Did I say I wanted to sleep til noon?"

Levon stood still for two seconds, before deciding that answering him out loud was a waste of breath.

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