A unicorn shifter unashamed of who he is…
A werewolf with a crush who doesn’t want to overstep…
and a biological imperative that might take matters into its own hands.
Josh Parker is a digital artist, a documentary fan, and a unicorn shifter, to name a few things. He likes his life and he likes himself… even with the stereotypes that come with being a unicorn. Yeah, his body goes through a period every couple months where sex becomes a need over a want, but so what? He’s got his medications to regulate himself on top of finely honed self-control. Both good things, considering he’s nursing a huge crush on Raymond, his sweet, clever (and hot) personal trainer. Raymond’s a good guy, Josh’s friend, and he definitely isn’t attracted to Josh. Josh doesn’t want to ruin what they have.
Raymond Campbell may be altogether too interested in Josh, his smart and snarky (and ridiculously attractive) client, but he’s definitely not planning to say anything anytime soon. His sensitive werewolf nose can easily sniff out that Josh doesn’t have a whiff of interest in him, so Raymond knows there’s no point in making a move. He really, really likes Josh. The last thing he wants to do is make him uncomfortable.
When Josh goes to Raymond’s studio one rainy afternoon to work out, he thinks nothing of the fact that it’s his time of the month. He’s taken his usual precautions, so he can keep a lid on his own impulses without a chance of bothering Raymond.
Josh was bent over his desk, concentrating hard on his current design project, when he felt the beginnings of the itch. Just a niggling little ping in the back of his head to warn him of the upcoming nonsense that was about to take his body by storm. Or would try its damn best to do so, fighting the medications Josh took specifically to keep said storm at bay.
For Josh, it always started with feeling a little like his skin was too small. Then, of course, came the achy feeling and overall restlessness. Followed by his body happily doing everything it could to get itself ready for the fuck of its life.
Every eight weeks, like fucking clockwork.
Josh grumbled and decided to be stubborn. It wasn’t as though refusing to acknowledge the onset would stop it from happening, but god, it always managed to start at the most inopportune moments.
Having a regularly-occurring time of the month where your hormones went nuts, your scent turned stupidly enticing, and your body “prepared” itself for sex was probably the most annoying thing about being a unicorn shifter. Medical professionals had coined the term “the virile period” and the act of it was widely known as “going virile.” Which was plenty annoying in itself, for all the jokes made about the term on social media.
Most actual unicorn shifters, like Josh, pretty much just called it being Horny.
But going virile could also be near-debilitating. Far more than a simple annoyance that warranted a dumb nickname and some stupid jokes.
While the medical community had made some strides, especially in recent years, unicorn shifters were still rare enough that the scent blockers, libido inhibitors, and other tools they used to get through their virile periods could be hard to get prescriptions for. It also certainly didn’t help that some doctors were biased, deeming virile periods as “natural” and just something unicorn shifters “needed to learn to live with.”
It always made Josh mad, on behalf of his whole species. He in particular was one of the lucky ones. His virile periods only lasted a few days and weren’t that bad at all, even without prescription medications. For him, it really was just being extra horny for like three days. He still used libido inhibitors as needed though, since he preferred to work without the constant distraction of arousal, even if he had self control.
As for the scent blockers… those were to keep other people from losing their self control.
Josh had never had an issue before. Along with his virile periods not lasting very long or being very strong, the scent he produced during them was apparently below average in the alluring category. It was not something he was going to complain about. There were plenty of horror stories out there: people whose virile periods lasted a week or longer, who went so out of their minds with the need that it could turn into actual pain, or whose scent was so strong it attracted all sorts of the wrong kind of attention. The scent thing especially sucked, because it brought on way too fucking many, “oh, they were asking for it” and “why did you go out like that if you didn’t want it” flimsy as shit excuses and defenses.
Josh was among many unicorns who simply wore a scent blocker all the time, in order to keep people off his back. And even with his virile scent not being the strongest, he still wore a special heavy-duty scent blocker for when he went out on those days.
Most shifters who had really bad virile periods went on suppressants to stop it altogether, if they could convince their doctors to prescribe them. But suppressants had some issues all their own too. Being on them too long without taking a break to regulate the system could have serious side-effects.
Yeah, Josh considered himself very lucky indeed.
And right now, lucky meant that he could ignore the little warning signs and wait to get up, because he was in a creative groove and wanted to keep working.
Unfortunately, it was only a few minutes later that he could tell his body wasn’t having it. He could feel himself start to get wet, and no way was he going to put off dealing with that. Being able to skip fumbling for lube when stimulated properly was often a bonus. During his virile period, when the stimulation wasn’t required, it was mostly just an inconvenience. Especially because he’d get wet at the most inopportune moments possible.
Like right now. Forget the fact that soaking through a pair of underwear was gross—he was not about to let his favorite chair get drenched in pheromones.
Muttering unhappily about stupid biological imperatives, Josh set down his stylus and pushed away from his desk to head to his bedroom to grab a pair of briefs. The absorption pads he used to deal with the natural lubricant his body was all too happy to produce didn’t work well with boxers.
After he’d dealt with the pad, he swung by his bedroom to riffle through his medicine cabinet. He pulled out his little bottle of libido inhibitor and let the tablet dissolve under his tongue. It didn’t completely get rid of the urge to screw his responsibilities and find a partner immediately, but it kept the want at a manageable buzz. He left his scent blocker on the counter, as a reminder to apply it later. He wasn’t leaving his apartment until that afternoon, so there was no point in using it now. His insurance didn’t cover the higher-grade scent blockers on the market, so his wore off faster than he liked, and he had to be careful about timing applications, on top of applying it often. Just because his scent wasn’t the strongest didn’t mean he wanted to take chances.
With everything taken care of for the moment, Josh went back to his desk. He was working on a set of illustrations for a client for their book, and he was so close to being finished. He really wanted to get it all done before he went to brave the outdoors to go meet Raymond Campbell, his personal trainer.
Because Josh worked from home, having regular reasons to get out of the house was important, and scheduled physical activity helped combat the fact that he spent the majority of his time sitting at a desk. He had been going to Raymond’s studio every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for about a year now, ever since he’d moved to Florida.
He’d found Raymond simply because he’d been searching by distance when looking for a personal trainer. He much preferred walking to driving, especially when it came to dealing with Florida drivers. Besides, during monsoon season where rain fell so heavily you could barely see out your windshield? Josh was not a fan. So finding Raymond’s studio only a few blocks away from his apartment was perfect.
Of course, convenience didn’t matter when it came to a personal trainer if you didn’t get along with them. Luckily, meeting Raymond had definitely sealed the deal. Raymond was great at what he did. He really put the “personal” part in personal training, knew how to work with Josh’s strengths and weaknesses, and treated Josh like his time and care was important.
The fact that he was charming, funny, and so handsome that Josh sometimes struggled not to be caught staring didn’t hurt.
Josh had to admit, if only to himself, that going to train with Raymond during his virile period wasn’t easy. Raymond was strong and solid, attractive in all the ways Josh was into, and so earnest and sweet that it kind of made Josh ache. The fact that he was a shifter too…
It was nice that most societies had come far enough that shifters didn’t have to live in secret anymore, and because of that, most people were upfront about being what they were. It was on Raymond’s personal bio that he was a werewolf—which was another reason Josh had been interested in him at first. He’d expected Raymond to know more about how to treat shifter body types and the abilities that came with them.
Josh tended to keep what type of shifter he was on the downlow. Unicorn shifters were incredibly rare, because the genes were recessive and picky. Not even having two unicorn parents guaranteed that the child would be a shifter too. Neither of Josh’s parents were unicorns and Josh’s own sister wasn’t even a shifter. Which had been fine for him, growing up because he’d been lucky enough to have a family that accepted him and did their research and tried their best to make him feel normal.
As normal as he could, anyway, what with all the stigma that came with being unusual. Much of which was connected to the virile period, unfortunately. “Pushy,” and “lacking control,” and “emotionally volatile” had been just a few of the stereotypes Josh had dealt with as he got older. Even now, he continued to deal with them sometimes.
“Easy to bed” and other shit along those lines was another stereotype that Josh wasn’t exactly fond of. Though he was a lot better now at dealing with people who were assholes about it. Certainly better than when he’d been a poor kid going through puberty.
One of the stupidest fucking things about all that was yeah, the virile period did have a lot to do with sex and certainly the need to have sex was strong… but in truth, it was more so that being a unicorn came with an innate need for connection and bonding and tactility. There could be plenty about those desires that were innocent. It was one of the reasons why in fairy tales, unicorns always ended up with their heads in the laps of “innocent” virgins. They were based on real sightings of young unicorns seeking out affection from people who wouldn’t be threats or predators
It just so happened that for most people, sex was one of the easiest ways to connect and bond with someone else, and unicorn biology had evolved to best achieve that. Just in a way that was super inconvenient.
But there were also documented cases of asexual and sex-repulsed unicorns who simply were overwhelmed with the need to cuddle and cocoon and surround themselves with people they considered warm and safe. Even Josh, when he happened to be in a relationship, had moments during his virile period where his need for sex had been satiated and all he wanted to do was curl up in his partner’s lap.
Not that that information ever made the news. It was much less exciting. So mostly? Non-unicorns ate up scandalous articles about sex-crazed shifters, bodice-ripper books, and seductive movies.
And fuck that, because he wasn’t ashamed of himself, but Josh always braced for other people’s reactions anyway. He was not about to start a working relationship with someone if they believed in the stereotypes.
Of course, not only had Raymond been able to sniff out Josh was a shifter too—even though he hadn’t been able to tell what kind of shifter Josh was—but Josh knew that he’d have to own up to his type regardless. His abilities affected how he needed to train, after all.
It had been a sigh of relief when Raymond had been totally professional about it. He’d asked Josh the expected questions about how being a unicorn shifter affected Josh on a purely skill-and-strength level, but otherwise had been completely non-invasive. Mostly he’d been a little surprised to find that Josh wasn’t stronger than average, like a lot of shifters were. He’d been interested to learn that Josh could jump really high and had crazy good cardio though. And, bonus, Raymond hadn’t even twitched when Josh had told him that he had fantastic stamina. He’d just nodded and said he’d do his best to make sure Josh was actually being challenged. Raymond hadn’t even made the overly-common and very unappreciated joke about wearing him out.
Josh had walked away from two separate personal trainers for that joke alone.
All in all, he was really happy with Raymond. Possibly too happy, because after working with him for nearly a year now, Josh could admit to having a bit of a crush.
More than just a “bit” of a crush, if he was being perfectly honest with himself.
It was just… Raymond was so… he was so nice? Which was a stupid understatement but he… he was so genuinely good. He never said anything he didn’t mean, and most of what he did say was so positive and helpful. And he was so encouraging, which made sense from a professional standpoint duh, but that wasn’t how all trainers worked. Raymond was the opposite of the “tear you down to build you back up” mindset. Instead he focused on how much you had accomplished and pushed you to be even better. He made Josh feel proud of himself, somehow.
He was also so smart. Josh had never bought into the built-body-empty-brain stereotype—he’d had enough people judge him from just one trait, thanks—but Raymond was really brilliant. They chatted through their sessions a lot, because one of the ways Raymond had found to challenge Josh was to make him talk during cardio, and it seemed like every week Raymond had a different topic of conversation. Which was interesting for Josh too, because he also liked to learn new stuff, and it turned out they both had a love for documentaries, and before he knew it, Josh was swapping watching recommendations with Raymond. Which sometimes turned into one of them picking a thing for both of them to watch, which they then could talk about in the next session. Like a documentary book club or something.
Raymond also applied that interest in learning to learn about his clients too. After they’d spent a few sessions discussing what Josh did for a living, Raymond had asked for some resources to check out on his own time so that he could better understand Josh’s medium. That was above and beyond what Josh would ever expect from a personal trainer he was just getting to know.
Now, after a year of working with Raymond and being his friend… there was so, so much about Raymond to like. He was a really sweet guy who also happened to be capable and strong, both literally and figuratively, he was gorgeous and—look, okay, biceps did something to Josh’s hindbrain.
Which was only exacerbated by Josh’s virile period starting. But he was fine. He had a good handle on things. Especially with his medications. Josh wasn’t a danger to losing self-control and, with his scent blocker, Raymond never even caught on to what was happening.
Exercising under Raymond’s watchful eye, while Raymond gave instruction and encouragement, was always kind of its own little thrill nowadays. During Josh’s virile period… that thrill was slightly more elevated.
But it was nothing Josh couldn’t handle.