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634 Winning The Popularity Contest


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  1. Jack definitely goes with the flow, ha ha.
  2. Robert Fair was already at the end of his twelve pack when he dug up the album that he kept safely tucked away for the sake of his son. His denial ran incredibly deep at the worst of times. His wife had started the album. She was a bright and bubbly journalist with wild, curly brown hair and eyes. Finian had inherited her fair alabaster skin and the beauty mark beneath his left eye, in the same spot as her own. As he opened the album cover, the first set of photos were of his wedding. The pictures that followed featured an adorable baby Fin. By the time that he reached a picture of a three-year-old Finian giving Arleen a kiss, the tears began to pool and fall. The journalist had been involved in a car accident that not only took her life but the life of Finian’s unborn sibling. She had been four months pregnant at the time, and they didn’t even realize it. Fin had been nine years old at the time. For the first few years of her absence, Rob tried to busy himself in any way possible. He worked double shifts and ran errands. After wearing himself down, he began to look forward to the rare weekend out with his co-workers during happy hour. Occasional weekends became consistent weekends. Then, it was Wednesdays and weekends. Robert regressed further and further. His despair led him into his addiction…and his addiction fed into his despair. “Forgive me, Fin,” he whimpered. He loved his son dearly and was proud of him and his accomplishments. He ensured that the young man had a roof over his head and was fed properly, as he had vowed to the deceased Arleen to care for him. Drowning himself in memories and liquor was the only way he felt that he could still keep her memories alive in his mind’s eye. Robert felt a dizziness come over him just as a familiar figure walked right through his door and into his house. He sent a bleary glare towards a set of amber eyes. How did that jerk know where he kept the spare key? Just as his vision began to fade into darkness, his final thought was that, once again, his denial ran deeply at the worst of times. Habacuc rushed forward to carefully peel unresponsive fingers away from the album clutched in the human’s hand. The dark violet-haired Nightmare reached over to rake the sandy blonde hair back from the inebriated man’s face. “I wanted to give you time to adjust, Sir Robert,” he softly stated as he leaned down to press a kiss to Rob’s forehead. “But, I’m afraid that we’ve run out of time.” The Nightmare hefted the human up and then quickly turned around to loop both the man’s arms over his shoulders. He then shifted into his feral form, ensuring that the human on his back didn’t shift or slide, before enveloping them both in invisible shields and gently trotting towards the nearest dimension boundary. ::: “And just what is this?” Vilas questioned for the second time that day. “He hasn’t even pretended to sink his teeth into my hard labor!” He was Elder Galamin’s Chef. Though he had applied to work as a chef at Nightmare-owned restaurants, he was rejected because of his appearance. So, he had no choice but to work at the Unicorn-only establishments. Vilas was a mixed Unicorn, but his looks passed just enough to make him appear like a full-blooded Unicorn. He had a set of golden Pietersite-hued eyes, finger-curled hunter green hair down to his chin, and a lovely pale skin tone that caused the goldenrod tribal moon crest on his forehead to stand out in contrast. He was of average height, but he was svelte, which made him appear taller than he truly was. Vilas used that to his advantage, making himself appear more imposing to his Sous-chef and his team. He was also a Maiden, a secret that he guarded most carefully. Luckily, his scent was similar to desserts, which was easy enough to mask by constantly baking pastries, which he did. Though the staff had heard tales of other Elders doing nefarious things to Nightmares behind closed doors, Elder Galamin didn’t seem to partake in those kinds of things. He was dry and strict, but they had never seen him smuggle any Nightmare in off the streets. So, Vilas already found it strange when he was told to feed the ‘human in Elder Galamin’s chamber.’ Humans themselves were seen around often enough, but Elder Galamin had never bedded anyone that the staff had seen, and most certainly not openly. The human, however, kept refusing his culinary masterpieces. It ruffled Vil’s feathers so much that he decided to make his specialty, a luxurious white cheddar macaroni and cheese with truffles. He was determined to see the human eat the bowl with his very eyes. So, when he finished setting up the tray, he had the sous-chef cover for him while he made his way down the hall to the Elder’s bedroom. Vilas straightened his back and gave a sharp knock on the door. “Chef Vilas here with quite the treat.” he greeted. “Can I come in?” When there was no answer, Vilas carefully opened the door and walked inside. What he saw caused his heart to clench painfully. “Galamin, what’ve you done?” he whispered to himself before crouching down next to the human seated on the floor. The boy had managed to shred one of the thin, white bedsheets into long segments. The sides and the palms of his hands displayed angry red marks of friction. But, it was the human’s eyes that caused the most concern. They were dark and empty. “Please have something to eat, kid.” Vilas pleaded as he set his tray on the floor and took the bowl in his hands. Not hungry. Finian gestured with his hands in silence. The chef frowned. If he understood the movements correctly, the human didn’t seem to want to eat. “Just one bite,” He insisted. “That’s all I ask. This is my specialty, you know?” Don’t fucking care. Came more hand gestures. Finian had rarely, if ever used profanity in the past. In his current state, he was well beyond politeness. Though Vilas didn’t understand, he recognized the bitter expression on the human’s face. “Heh!” He huffed as he shifted to sit down next to him. “Anyone, and I mean anyone, would kill for a mere taste of my white cheddar mac and cheese with truffles.” Go away! Just leave me alone. Finian gestured adamantly, motioning to Vilas and the door, his anger seeping further through. “Want me to leave?” Vilas taunted. “It’s quite simple, really. All you have to do is take a bite. Just one bite and you won’t have to see me again for the rest of the day.” The expression on Fin’s face morphed into one of sadness and frustration. How can such a ‘famous’ chef like you work for the likes of HIM? It’s just wrong…EVERYTHING is wrong. “Fuck, I’m sorry…” Vilas gasped when the human began to weep. He reached out a hand to pat his shoulder, but it was roughly shoved away. Don’t touch me! He signed, his fury rising once again. “Alright, alright. I totally got that one, so you don’t wanna be touched.” The mixed Unicorn guessed as he placed the bowl down and lifted his hands in a surrendering motion. A pitiable expression formed on Finian’s face once more. He wasn’t normally like this, and he knew it. But, he was still coming to terms with the horror of what he had gone through. Still, the poor chef was just an innocent bystander. With a deep breath, he reached down for the bowl and lifted it, taking a spoonful of the food under Vil’s watchful gaze. He closed his eyes in bliss, tears falling down his cheeks. He had never tasted anything so good in his entire life. If Jack were there, he’d have surely seen him have his most disturbing ‘foodgasmic’ moment yet. But, even after he swallowed, the only sound that fell from his lips were gasping sobs. He couldn’t bring himself to moan appreciatively or break apart the different flavors on his tongue. But, he did eat every last bite, tears and all. The mixed Unicorn’s golden eyes softened at the sight. “My mom used to say that sometimes salty tears actually add flavor to what you’re eating.” He admitted. “But, when you’re upset enough to cry, you can’t really take in the flavors all that well. What a load of bull, huh?” Vilas held out a hand and gave Finian a smile when the human handed him the empty bowl. He set the glass of water aside for him and picked up the tray as he stood up. “I’ll be back in a few hours with something else for ya, ok?” ::: Jack hummed the Mission Impossible theme under his breath, pulling the black beanie lower on his head to hide his blond hair. The human hunched over, dashing for the cover of a lushly blooming bush next to the back door of the mansion. He tucked himself in the shadows, cocking his head to listen for anyone who might be out and about. Nothing. He shuffled to the side until he could reach the doorknob, turning it carefully. Not even locked. Cocky son of a bitch Elder. The thick wooden door opened an inch, allowing Jack to peer inside. It looked like a kitchen. There were things out for cooking, but no one seemed to be around that early in the morning. "I got up before noon for you, Finian Fair," Jack whispered. "You better be okay." The human pulled the door open just far enough for him to slip inside. He'd taken several steps into the room when he heard light footsteps outside the door. Jack glanced at the door behind him but refused to run back out when he'd finally gotten inside. Luckily, there was another door just a few paces away. Maybe a hall or dining room? Unfortunately, when he quickly shut the door behind him, it threw the space into inky blackness. Jack reached out blindly, trying to find a light switch. What he found instead was a pyramid of crockery. The first pot dumped something sticky and sweet-smelling on his head. The human barely caught the crock before it smashed on the floor. Jack quickly ran his hands up the pyramid, steadying the pots. He'd gotten almost to the top when another crock tipped, dumping heavy powder all over him. He grabbed the pot before it could smash on the stone tiles. Jack clutched the pottery to his chest as he listened to the soft footsteps in the kitchen. Whoever it was, didn't seem to be moving towards his hiding place or notice his presence. The blond heaved a sigh of relief. The puff of air disturbed the powder covering him, blowing straight up his nose. Jack sneezed reflexively, dropping both crocks to shatter on the floor with a crash. ::: Vilas was on his way to the kitchen when he heard the sneeze followed by the sound of ceramic breaking. After the initial cringe, the mixed Unicorn straightened himself up and took a sharp inhale of breath as he started thinking of ways to tell whoever was in the pantry that he was fired. But, when he entered the storage room, he came across a...thief covered in flour? "If you've come to steal, the only expensive thing we have are truffles." He spoke aloud. Vilas expected the burglar to dodge past him and run for the exit. Instead, the half-Unicorn was yanked roughly into the pantry, and the door slammed shut. A sticky hand slapped over the chef’s mouth, the overwhelming smell of molasses in the small space making his stomach churn. "Try anything cute, and you're dead," the thief growled. "I don't want to hurt you. I just want to know where Finian Fair is. He's human, blond. Your piece of shit boss kidnapped him." The muscular arm around the cook's chest tightened. "Nod if you're going to behave." Vilas nodded. Of course, he wanted to help the poor human! Just who did that thief think he was? The mixed Unicorn gently, but firmly tugged the thief's hand off his mouth so he could speak. "I know where he is," He whispered. "You're lucky that no one's here yet." He then frowned. "You're not going to like what you see..." "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Jack hissed, a spike of worry stabbing his heart. "Where the hell is he?" Vilas turned around and pulled back. "Follow me." He insisted as he took hold of one of the thief's hands and led him quickly through the hallways. When he reached the door, he knocked. "It's Chef Vilas again...and someone's with me. Someone you hopefully know." As the two of them made their way into the room, they saw Finian, fully dressed, sitting in front of a mirrored bureau. He slowly turned to look at them without saying a word. "Fin," Jack gasped, rushing over to his friend. "Shit, are you okay? What hurts where?" At first, Finian couldn't understand what he was seeing. Why was Jack dressed so strangely and covered in food? The chef from before, Vilas, was at the doorway looking around desperately. "You have to hurry!" Vilas urged. Physically I'm fine. Finian signed with his hands. Heart and mind are a little broken. Elder Galamin, he...he used me. Jack frowned, wondering why Fin was signing with his hands instead of talking, and just how the Elder had used him. "I'm gonna kill that asshole." Jack rumbled as he glanced at the door. "But it'll have to wait. Look, I was just supposed to be gathering info. But I'm sure as hell not leaving you here. Let's go." He tugged on his friend's arm. Fin tensed for a brief moment, but then relaxed and allowed his friend to lead the way. The chef took note of how the human allowed the thief to touch him and felt relieved. If Finian didn’t want to leave with the thief, he’d have surely shoved him away, just as he had done before. He truly hoped that the human would move past whatever happened. Jack gave Vilas a bright smile. "You should come with us. You don't belong working for someone like Galamin. We'll find you something better. I promise." Vilas felt a warmth inside at the thought. It truly was the oddest thing. They were complete strangers, but the thief still wished him well. "I'm not the one that needs to escape," The chef insisted as he glanced at Finian. "Your friend's the one that really needs to get out of here. So, let's go." The chef then led them through the same way they had entered while hugging the wall. But, when he heard voices, he motioned for them to stop. "Shit," He hissed under his breath. "We have to go another way." He explained as he led them down another hallway through a laundry area. Vilas looked on ahead while the other two crouched beside the wall of a pantry. As soon as the last maid made her way outside to the left, he rushed them out past the lawn and into the woods. When Vilas was about to turn back to the estate, Jack grabbed his hand. A thrilling tingle radiated from the touch. The human hardly even had to tip his head down to look into the chef's golden eyes. The green-eyed man’s heart thumped in his chest. "Come with me," he blurted. "Let me help you. You can't want to work for that monster." The mixed Unicorn felt his heart skip a beat. For a moment, he truly contemplated it. Elder Galamin hadn't seemed so bad for an Elder up until the moment where he saw the aftermath of what he did to Finian. The memory briefly flashed in the front of his mind…the torn strips of the sheet, some on the bed, some on the ground, one clutched in Finian’s reddened hands… "Alright, I'll-" He began to agree, but then his sous chef called to him from across the lawn. "Go! Go quickly before they see you!" He instructed as he tugged his hand back and rushed over to meet the sous chef half way. "Chef! The Elder's been looking for you! Said we have quite the banquet to prepare," The sous chef explained. "What were you doing way out here?" "Just needed to clear my head for a bit," Vilas responded as he followed the other man back inside. Jack and Finian looked on from behind a tree, both of them upset to see Vilas go. I never got a chance to thank him for the food, or to even tell him how good it was. Fin signed. "We'll be back for him," Jack whispered, carefully leading Fin toward the farm. "Galamin is going down. He'll pay for what he's done, and he'll never hurt anyone again." He let out a relieved breath as they crossed onto farmland. He grinned at his friend. "I know some people who are dying to see you." Finian continued to follow his best friend. Who? He asked, but then stopped in his tracks. Jack...thank you for coming for me. He signed, unable to figure out the words with which to truly express his gratitude. After all, it went beyond Jack’s actions, it was how much the brunette cared for him as a best friend, as a brother. How did you know that it was Elder Galamin? Jack wondered why Fin was using sign language instead of his voice but knew there wasn't time to talk about it. He was glad for all the friends they'd made when they were in school that had gone to the academy for the deaf in the next town over. Knowing ASL had come in handy more times than Jack could count. It definitely beat passing notes in class. "You remember Sy?" Jack asked. "He saw you get nabbed. He was about to have a job interview with Raj. He told Raj what had happened, but Sy didn't recognize you with your natural hair color." Jack saw the house ahead and let out a little relieved sigh. They were going to make it! "Anyway, Sy told Raj, then Al found out," Jack explained as they continued to rush through the farm. "Unicorns and Nightmares couldn't get in because the grounds are apparently warded with an alarm." Jack couldn't help his grin. "I talked them into letting me sneak in. I never hoped I'd be able to get you out on my first try. That chef guy really saved the damn day." Finian tensed at the mere mention of Alistair, his heart immediately dropping down to his stomach. But, he pushed on and tried to concentrate on the rest of what Jack said. Yes, Chef Vilas was very kind. I don't like that we had to leave him. "We've got a healer right inside, come on," Jack said anxiously pushing open the door to the farmhouse. "Did that bastard hurt your throat or something? I totally call dibs on punching that piece of shit Galamin first." "Fin!" Lee'en gasped as he rushed right over, nearly tackling the human to the ground as he held him tightly. "Are you ok? What did they do to you?" Finian took a deep breath and closed his eyes. The warmth of the Unicorn seemed to seep into his core. A part of him didn’t want to let go of such comfort. Raj, who had been carefully wiping off Jack's face with a wet towel, peered over at the other two. "If he's hurt, don't you think it would be best for the healer to see him, my peony?" Lee'en let out a loud gasp as he pulled away, taking hold of both of the human's hands. "Right! I'm so sorry, Fin!" Finian shook his head. It's alright. He signed. "He said, it's alright, baby. Where's the healer?" Jack asked as he looked up from where Raj was washing his face like he was a sloppy toddler. "Something's wrong with his throat. And we need to contact Al right away." “I’ll contact him in just a moment.” Raj replied. “First, it would be best to see to any injuries Finian might have.” The Healer was a Unicorn that worked for the Montcroix. They had brought him along to the farm house just in case anything happened to Jack. The man had pale blue hair down to his shoulders and Peridot green eyes. He slowly approached Finian and Lee'en until he was a few feet away. He then gave a slight bow. "Young master, I am Healer Nigel," He held his hands in front of him in invitation. "Might I assess your health? The only contact I need is your hands in mine." Finian looked from Lee to the healer to Jack and back. He had been able to touch and accept the touch of his best friends. But, he still felt a fear grip him at the thought of touching or being touched by anyone else. His hands shook as he slowly forced himself to place them on top of Nigel's palms. A green glow formed on Nigel's forehead leaf crest while another crest on his forearm, surely from a mate, glowed brown. "His hands had some abrasions, and there was minor rectal damage. His vocal cords were a little swollen, but he should be able to speak just fine." He explained. Jack's lips tightened into a harsh line. As soon as the healer was through, he pulled his friend into his arms, holding him tightly. "It's going to be okay," Jack whispered. "You're safe. We're gonna get through this. You know I'm always here for you, right?" Finian nodded, clinging tightly to his best friend. The healer might have healed his body, but his emotions were still quite the mess. He thought he had been all out of tears before, and yet they began to fall and fall. Heart-wrenching sobs shook his entire frame. "Fin..." Lee'en wrapped his arms around them both, prompting Raj to do the same on the other side until all four of them were huddled together. The warmth from all three of them was soothing, it made Fin feel safe and loved. His body finally stopped shaking, though the tears continued to roll down his face. Jack rested his forehead against Fin's. "We've got you."
  3. We can both be naughty saps at times, ha ha.
  4. Oh no, their security wasn't anywhere near as tight when he was taken! Mycha's parents poured on the pressure until they really stepped up their security. They didn't want another mysterious Murisian disappearance again.
  5. Yes, those two have a deep connection and find it hard to express it to each other.
  6. Yes! This defines Capin right here. Kinkiest little fox ever, ha ha ha!
  7. We can consider them an "extension" of the 'crew,' but they're their own mini team/family. Like Orin, Etsu, and Mycha's brothers, they're the crew's friends without benefits, ha ha! And a sequel might very well happen. We just haven't had time to fully discuss it yet.
  8. 04

    They're trying not to focus too hard on those concerns...it's probably why they're so eager to distract one another.
  9. The Viceroy's ship truly was well stocked with food and clothing. As promised, Tilbei had found several shirts long enough to be nightgowns for Jasper to wear without having to expose himself all day long. The hybrid kept true to his word of not wearing any of Yuffin's pants, which pleased the Nubra greatly. When they finally reached a decent relay spot, Tilbei sent a message to Pip's ship. "Pip, it's Tilly! I got away from the Hunnars. You don't have to come back to the port. I'm on my way home with someone special that I want you to meet. Message me soon, so I know you're okay!" "You...You meant me?" Jasper asked, sounding amazed. If he weren't so purple, he'd be tickled pink. "Of course you," Tilbei replied with a tender smile. "My mom's going to be so happy that I'm finally in a real relationship." "You're introducing me to your family?” The fluffy lilac tail was quickly wrapped around to Jasper's front where he could worry it with his fingers. "I mean, I'd love to take you to meet mine," the half-skunk said quickly. "But, well...Are you sure they'll be okay with it? With me?" "It's just my mom...my dad, he was caught and killed by Hunnars for his scales." the Nubra confessed with a frown. "The only blood family I have left is mom...though Pip and his parents are close enough to be family, too." "Oh, Bei," Jasper said softly, his voice choked. The hybrid drew close, wrapping his arms and then his tail around them both. Tilbei's heart gave a pained thud, but he allowed himself the comfort that Jasper provided. "You...you can be part of it, too. My family." The hybrid stared at him a moment, wonder in his eyes. "Which part?" he asked hesitantly, burying his face in the Nubra's shoulder. "A 'please be my mate forever' part," Tilbei whispered in response. "F-forever?" Jasper gasped. He pulled back to looked into Tilly's peach eyes. "B-but, what if you decide you hate how I chew? Or that I take too long in the bath? What if I steal the blankets at night? What if I snore?" The half-rabbit gripped the Nubra's shoulders, voice shaking. "Oh, shit, Bei, do I snore? T-tell me the truth. I can take it." The Nubra let out a stream of laughter. "Jas, I don't care about any of that. We have to chew to eat, my planet's full of water, and there's more than one bathroom. I'd rather have you for a blanket, and I have holes for ears that can be stoppered with my own tentacles if need be." he responded when he caught his breath. "And no, I didn't hear you snore, but I might have been snoring myself." "Your snoring is cute," Jasper told him, sounding offended on his behalf. His statement only caused Tilbei to laugh even more. "My mom's gonna love you." "Do you?" Jasper looked down, peeking up at Tilly through his lashes. "Love me, I mean?" Tilbei stared right into Jasper's gorgeous indigo eyes. "I'm seriously starting to," he replied with sincerity. "But, for a long time, I loved someone who didn't love me back the same way. You're going to have to be patient with me." "How could they not?" Jas asked in genuine confusion, stroking his fingers across an orange marking on Tilly's cheek. "It's a good thing. If they had, I wouldn't have been ready for you." the Nubra insisted as he leaned down to press a soft, tender kiss on the hybrid's plush lips. "I'm yours for as long as you want me." "I want you," Jas whispered, his cheeks flushing mauve. "I want to learn all I can about you," Tilly admitted. "And whenever you're ready to, I'd like to meet your family, too." "O-okay," the half-rabbit said with a wry smile. "But we're meeting your family first, right? We're going to your planet?" "Yes. Unless, as I asked before, there's somewhere else you'd like to go?" Tilly offered. Jasper shook his head, then let out a deep sigh, feeling tension flowing out of him. Tilbei wanted him, wanted to be with him, maybe forever. The thought should have scared him. He'd only known the Nubra for a short time. But it felt right. Being with Tilly felt like it was exactly where he was supposed to be, wherever that ended up being. He'd never felt the way he did about the Nubra before; excited, a little nervous, safe, sexy, and a riot of soft, warm feelings that swirled in his chest and stomach. Maybe Tilly would eventually decide he didn't want him, and the idea made Jasper a little sad. He was determined to stay with Tilbei for as long as it made them both happy, though. No one could really ask for more than that. It made little bubbles of happiness fizz and pop inside him. "What's your world like?" Jas asked, resting his cheek on the Nubra's shoulder and taking in his scent. It was a smooth, clean smell, like his world after a rain, with a tickle of something that was just Tilly that made him feel warm inside. Tilbei, like a lot of the species in their world, was stricken with the need to cuddle. So, he lifted Jasper into his arms and sat them both down on an incredibly comfortable couch. Jasper snuggled close, laying his soft fluffy tail over them like a blanket as he listened to Tilly begin to talk about his home. "Well, it's mostly ocean," the Nubra explained. "With ice caps at the north and south poles." Tilbei gave an exaggerated shiver. "Too cold for me there. Where I'm from is pretty temperate, though we can get some big storms that curl in from the north or south, bringing cold snaps or heat waves. The water temperature doesn't vary too greatly, so if it gets too cold or hot, everyone just spends a few days or a week underwater." Tilly idly petted the thick lavender and white fur laying over them as he continued his descriptions. "There's a ring of large islands where Pip and I live," he smiled softly, thinking of his home. "It's mostly Nubra and Sepida there. We have a cooperative relationship. That's how I met my friend, Pip. He was with a group of Sepida, learning to harvest. I was with a bunch of Nubra. We were learning how to watch for danger and protect ourselves and the Sepida." He winked at Jasper. "Predators learn fast that Nubra have a nasty sting." "So, you bumped into each other and found out you got along really well?" Jasper asked curiously. "Something like that," Tilly responded. He had seen Pipolphi from a distance and considered him to be gorgeous. "He was with a few other Sepida, but before I could reach them, they were attacked." he explained. "Pip shoved a few of the Sepida out of the way of an oncoming Hesserack attack, but I rushed in to help him fend the shark off." "You're a hero," Jasper breathed, looking up at his dark-skinned lover worshipfully. Then his brow furrowed. "What's a Hesserack?" "One of the worst predators in the water. But, since it was only just the one, he didn't pose too much of a threat." he continued. "Pip was grateful someone cared enough to help him. He's never been very liked among the other Sepida." "That sounds terrible," Jasper said with a shiver. He decided he'd only go in the water if Tilbei was with him. It sounded dangerous. "Why didn't they like him?" "They say he's too tall...he's about your height, actually. The other Sepida are about a head shorter." Tilbei explained. "To the Sepida, tallness is considered ugly. The Nubra could care less about height." "They don't like him because he's tall?" Jasper crossed his arms and frowned. "They should be ashamed of themselves. My mother would give them an earful and then spray them," he grumped. "They're lucky I can't spray anymore," he added under his breath. Tilbei squeezed the hybrid closer, pressing a kiss to his cheek. "Don't think too hard on that, you're amazing no matter what those damn Hunnars did." He smiled at him when something else came to his mind. "That reminds me, how do you know about the bounce codes on ships?" "Oh." Jasper blushed. "My mom taught me everything she knew about ships. She has several. She's been letting me tinker with them since I could hold a wrench." He let out a soft giggle. "Though she got a little grumpy when I was fourteen, and I completely disassembled her power drive. I was going to put it back together! I just didn't know she was planning on using that ship to take Papa to a fancy spaceport restaurant for their anniversary." Jas laughed again. "She about scorched my ears off." His smile faded. "I haven't seen them for months," he said sadly. "Do you think, maybe I could send them a message? Let them know I'm okay?" Jasper looked down, fiddling with his tail nervously. "And tell them about you..." "Yes, of course. Want to do it right now?" The Nubra suggested. "Mmmm, maybe later," Jasper purred, shifting until he was straddling Tilbei's lap. "Right now, I think I want to celebrate having a mate." He leaned forward, rubbing their noses together. "Maybe you know him? About your height, perfect ebony skin with gorgeous orange spots. Hmmm," Jas continued playfully. "He's handsome, brave, heroic, intelligent, kind, patient, and only snores a little bit." "Oh, I don't know about heroic and patient, but I'm certainly glad you think so," Tilbei responded. "My mate's a pretty lilac hue with a soft tail, quick reflexes, and lips that would make any shaft weep." he countered with a half smirk. Jasper blushed brighter but his smile was radiant. "I want to make yours weep," he whispered, licking his full lips as he slid down until he was kneeling between the Nubra's knees. "At home, we worship a goddess of love, sex, and family," Jasper said as he slid his palms up Tilly's thighs. "We learned that she gave us orgasms as a gift since she wanted us to take joy in sex." He leaned forward, nuzzling against Tilbei's stomach. He rolled his indigo eyes up to watch the Nubra's face. "When you cum, they say you've seen the goddess." Jasper nuzzled lower. "I want you to see the goddess. I want you to see her all over me. Across my body, my face, in my mouth, deep inside me." Tilly gulped hard. As the lilac man continued to talk, he felt both of his shafts respond. They unsheathed and rose as if Jasper was their one and true master. "Even I can't accomplish all of that at once..." the Nubra admitted. “But, give me some time, and I'll make it all happen." Jasper purred happily, finally allowing himself to look down at the twin cocks straining upward. He breathed out a soft sigh at his mate's beauty. Each shaft was inky black at the base fading to a delicious peach, the same shade as his eyes, which was darkest at the crown. Unable to help himself, the hybrid kissed each tip, smearing precum on his soft lips until they glistened. "Unh," Tilly grunted as his third shaft decided that it wanted in on the action, as well. Having all three of his shafts out at once was still something that was quite new to him, as it never occurred in the past, not even when he was in his ripe teens. "J-Jas..." "Mmmph?" Indigo eyes peeked up at Tilly as Jasper's mouth was occupied showering the third cockhead with welcoming kisses. "I-I've never had- anh!" he moaned when all three of the shafts were fully erect. "....all three out at once," he panted. Jasper pulled back from where he'd sucked one peachy tip into his mouth with a pop. "Is that bad?" he asked worriedly. Tilbei shook his head so hard that he nearly cracked it. "N-No...it's just rare is all." he explained as he tried not to squirm. The Nubra loved the idea of Jasper enjoying himself and experimenting, but he didn't know how much more he could take. "So..." Jasper said with a mischievous smile, grabbing the trio of peach lengths in both hands and pumping them. "You like it, hmm?" The hybrid's attempt at sensuous carnality was broken by a playful giggle, but his hands kept moving, squeezing, up and down. "Oh yeah," Tilly responded honestly as his hips moved on their own, thrusting against the hands. "I like it very much." "Fuck," Jasper whispered, rubbing his cheek across the leaking tips, leaving a wet streak. "I like it, too." "Want to try, Jas?" Tilbei asked breathlessly. "Want to see if you can fit all three at once down there?" The hybrid whimpered, dropping his handful to give the base of his own cock a tight restraining squeeze. "Y-you can't say things like that," he gasped. "You'll make me cum, Bei!" A wide, salacious smirk formed on the Nubra's face. "Then cum first and then try to see if all three fit at once." Jasper's pupils blew wide until only a sliver of indigo was visible outside the deep black. He let out a stuttering moan. Tilbei felt something warm hit his shin. The next shot painted his ankle. "Bei," Jas groaned, looking ready to melt into a boneless puddle. "You made me...Unnh." Tilbei was in shock. Jasper hadn't been kidding when he said that he was that close. "Did you just???" He mused out loud. He then reached down to scoop the hybrid off the ground and onto his lap. "Sorry," Jas mumbled, face hot with embarrassment. "Tried to warn you...And I got it on you. I'm really sorry." He hung his head. "I'll clean it up." "Don't feel sorry for that! It was so hot." Tilbei refuted. "You can cum on me anytime. It makes me very happy." He then gave Jas an appreciative Kiss. Jasper threw his arms around the back of Tilly's neck, purring into the kiss. When they came up for air, he was half-hard already. "Does that mean you'll still put all three of your dicks inside me at once?" Jas asked hopefully, like a kid wishing for three lollipops. "Now, that depends," the Nubra teased. "Do you think you can handle all three right now?" "Well," Jasper said thoughtfully, nibbling his lower lip. He wiggled his behind, rubbing the still-hard rods pressed against him. "Can we use extra lube in case I can't make enough of my own?" "I'll be right back!" the eager Nubra stated as he rushed over to one of the bathrooms to retrieve it. "Better to be careful." Jasper giggled where Tilly had carefully but quickly dumped him on the couch. He languidly stroked himself, the thought of being stuffed full having brought his erection back full force. When the Nubra returned, he had a flask in his hand. "Now, what would be a more comfortable position for you with your tail and all?" He asked. "Don't care," Jas stuttered out, his mouth watering at the sight of Tilbei's overabundant gifts down south. The hybrid flipped onto his knees on the couch, his arms across the head rests and his tail draped up his back. "Hnnh, fuck me, Bei." He gave his ass a wiggle of invitation. "Oh stars," Tilbei hissed, nearly coming then and there at the sight. "H-Hold on." He quickly knelt on the ground and spread the hybrid's small butt cheeks aside as he took note of Jasper's natural lubrication. "Not too bad, not too bad." he murmured as he coated his fingers with the oil from the flask and gently spread a generous amount inside the lilac man's inner walls. He quickly added finger after finger, feeling relieved when the flesh continued to give way quite quickly. "Ah, Bei!" the half-skunk wailed. "Pleasepleaseplease..." Tilly had the fingers from both of his hands carefully widening and coating by the time he deemed the flesh ready for three members. "Alright, Jas." he then said as he knelt between the smaller man's legs, urging them a touch wider. Tilbei took hold of the soft tail and tossed it over one shoulder as he held his three members to the entrance. "Don't move." he whispered as he wiggled his way in, the three heads slipping past the ring in a sudden second. Jasper squeaked, reflexively tightening up. Tilbei gasped, worried for a moment that one of his shafts might detach from the strain and completely freak Jas out. It was something Tilly had hoped wouldn't come up until a little further in their relationship, when they were both comfortable with each other and their love-making. But Jasper took a slow and deep breath, his body relaxing as he blew it out. "Let me know when you're ready for me to move," the Nubra whispered softly into one of the purple bunny ears. He had barely finished murmuring the sentence into one trembling ear before Jasper gasped "Ready," and pushed back with a desperate moan. It hurt a little, but it was a delicious burning sting that made the hybrid's cock twitch beneath them as he was stretched to the limit. He had a stray thought that when he went home, he should thank his father for the genetics that allowed him to be opened so far with such ease, and his mother for the ability to make extra lubrication to ease the way. Then every thought was knocked out of his head as Tilly sank deeper inside him. All he could do was clench his fingertips into the soft back of the couch and moan. Tilbei focused all of his concentration on slowly entering the hybrid before him. He held Jasper's hips tight so that he wouldn't do another ‘slide back' number on him. The Nubra didn't want to hurt him, in spite of his desire to just rock right on in with abandon. Jasper spread his knees wider, panting as a sheen of sweat broke out across his body. It was utterly overwhelming. He was already sensitive from his recent orgasm. Then to be forced wide as the triple shafts agonizingly slowly pushed inside him left him whimpering and trembling. But he didn't want Tilbei to stop. He didn't think he ever wanted him to stop. When Tilbei finally reached the bases, he held still. "Are you alright? Do you want to continue, or did you change your mind?" he asked, concerned. "If it's too much, I can take one out. I'd rather you not be hurt." "Don't you dare," Jasper hissed, his Polkin half showing its displeasure at the idea of Tilly even thinking about stopping. The Nubra felt a shiver rolling up it his spine at the lilac man's tone of voice. That was a mate's command. Jasper knew next to nothing about his culture, and yet he was still able to do such a wondrous thing? "As you desire, my mate," Tilbei whispered and pressed an apologetic kiss to Jasper's cheek. He then began to move slowly in and out of the taut depths, to start. The hybrid groaned. It was almost too much. Any more and he'd think Tilbei would tear him apart. His entrance burned. Jas panted, struggling not to tense up with every slow thrust. Tilly's strong hands slid over Jasper's flanks soothingly, settling back on his hipbones. The Nubra fought to control his movements, so careful of the lovely creature beneath him. His fingertips dug in, holding tight as he pushed himself deep. Something clicked in Jasper's mind. His chest dropped lower as he released a breathy moan. His lower back arched and his tail slid from Tilbei's shoulder to fall to one side. The almost painful tightness around the Nubra's lengths suddenly relaxed, causing him to unexpectedly slide further inside his mate as the resistance eased. "Jas?" Tilbei questioned as one of his hands gently raked and petted the base of the Polkin tail. His other hand stroked up and down the side of Jasper's body. "Still with me?" "Fuck me," the hybrid rasped, his body relaxing further around the thickness spearing him. Tilbei shifted impulsively, gently biting the edge of one of Jasper's rabbit ears. "Hang on," he urged as his hands took hold of the hybrid's hips and he leaned back to gingerly thrust into the heat. He went slow for the first few thrusts but picked up momentum when Jasper didn't tense up in pain. "Unnh," Jasper moaned as his ears twitched back, searching blindly for the teeth that had nipped him so perfectly. The sensation had flown straight to his cock. If he hadn't have reached his peak just minutes before, he would have shot all over the couch as Tilbei's teeth caught the sensitive flesh. "Faster, Bei," he whimpered. The Nubra held the thin flesh of Jasper's ear carefully between his teeth as he complied, shifting his knees slightly so as to keep balanced. The tip of his tongue flicked the edge of the hybrid's ear as his body rocked faster against him. The Polkin’s keened commands were so sultry that it caused his members to twitch and pulse within the lilac body. "Ah, fuck, yes," Jasper keened, arching his body like a bow and taking everything his lover gave. He was definitely going to have to give some thanks to a certain goddess after this. "Please," he whimpered. "M-more...Nnngh, it feels so good..." Tilly pressed them forward, one of his hands gripping the top of the couch right beside Jasper. The other hand slid up the front of the hybrid's chest until it found a dusky lilac bud, which was pressed down by one of his fingers. The change in position allowed the Nubra to shove himself deeper into the smaller man. Jasper lost the ability to form coherent words, whimpers and soft cries constantly fell from his lips. He slammed back into every thrust with a gasping moan, whose pitch kept rising. Tilbei drove himself harder into the hybrid before him. He was so lost in the sensation that he nearly forgot about the hybrid's more sensitive areas. He slowed down enough to grind his three shafts inside Jasper in a swinging motion until his mate cried out. With a grin, he began to thrust in that direction as his hand slid back down Jasper's chest to take hold of his shaft. "Bei!" Jas shouted, his body going rigid. There was a moment of silent stillness, with Tilbei buried to the hilt inside his mate. Then Jasper felt like his skin lifted a few inches off his body as his peak roared through him like a wildfire, scorching him inside and out. He wailed, his body rhythmically gripping and relaxing around the thick cocks filling him. Jasper's vision went blinding white. His balls tightened until it hurt. Then, he was painting his orgasm over the Nubra's hand and the couch below them. The sounds that Jasper made as he came, coupled with the pulses that surrounded his flesh, was more than enough for Tilly to fall over the edge. "Stars!" He hissed as he used both his hands to clutch at the couch so that he wouldn't crush the hybrid. Cumming with all three of his shafts at once was something he had never experienced before and, by the cosmos, he seriously needed to try it again. "Jas...I think you broke me." He whispered with a trembling moan as the seed leaked down between his shafts and dripping out of the lilac man’s entrance. "Sorry, not sorry," the hybrid wheezed. "Are you ok?" he asked between deep breaths. "It must be uncomfortable, what am I even saying? I've never cum so much..." the Nubra rambled. "I'm so okay," Jasper panted. "I think I'm gonna fall down." Tilbei quickly wrapped an arm around the hybrid, hugging him close, as he carefully slid out of him. He then gently laid them both down on the couch with Jasper on top of him. "No energy left...to take us to the bathroom." he admitted. "Don't care," Jas murmured. "Want snuggles." Unable to summon up the energy to even laugh, Tilbei let out a soft snort and kissed the top of Jasper's head. "For you, anything." He whispered, trailing his hand up and down the hybrid's back. "Mmmph," Jasper said in clear approval. A soft purr bubbled up from the hybrid's chest, vibrating softly against the warm body beneath him. Jasper's lids were far too heavy to keep open. In a movement that was much less coordinated than he'd hoped, Jas flopped his voluminous tail over them both. He knew he'd probably be sore in the morning, but he didn't care a bit. He felt more right than he ever had in his life. He felt safe, cared for, loved. His purr continued rumbling even after Jasper had fallen asleep.
  10. We're always glad to see others enjoying the story as much as we are! I can't promise anything for certain, but there have been talks about a potential sequel.
  11. Updates might be a bit slow, but we're still writing!
  12. Daniel paced around in the kitchen, feeling frustrated. His rubbed his hands against the soft, recently shaved sandy blonde hairs on the sides of his head as he let out a groan. "See? This is exactly why I didn't want to get married in the first place. It all starts with the hormonal insanity of pregnancy!" Jason looked on as the ferret continued to pace. "We just have to keep looking. Something's bound to be appetizing. How about that can of tuna we put in one of the cabinets?" he suggested. "And some of the potted meat and garlic bread..." The ferret pulled the long strands of hair on the top of his head back into a quick ponytail as he opened the cans and placed everything on a tray. "This better work, Biter," he grumbled. "He hasn't eaten a damn thing. And he keeps clinging to Fierce like he's some kind of stuffed toy!" The raccoon shook his head, his hazel eyes set in a frown. "Sneaks, he has his reasons for obliging him. None of us want the blood of the innocent, unborn lives in our hands," he pointed out. Daniel let out a snort as he lifted the tray and walked past the silver-haired man. "Well, it's a good thing that Terrin doesn't want anything to happen to him either, at least until the exchange's been made," he mused out loud. The two of them then walked into the room to find Nix brushing a grimacing, but silent, Pedro the Fierce in his animal form. "Stop squirming." Nix booped the put-upon chihuahua's nose. "Your coat is going to be so soft and shiny, puppy. Your wife won't be able to keep her hands off you." Daniel set the tray on the table beside them. "Brought something different this time," he announced. Pedro peered up at the Civek and let out a soft bark as if to urge him to eat. "See? Even Fierce wants you to eat something," Jason encouraged. Nix frowned, but looking at the three hopeful faces made him relent. He wasn't hungry. In fact, he was unpleasantly queasy. The stress and the pregnancy were tying his stomach in knots. Carefully fussing over the chihuahua had helped calm him a bit, though. And it allowed him to realize that he needed to eat. For the babies, if not for himself. The one-eyed cat took the potted meat and garlic bread but turned his nose up at the tuna. Before the pregnancy, he adored nearly any kind of fish. Lately, it just smelled awful to him. "Thanks," Nix told them as he nibbled the bread. "I'm sorry to be such a pain in the ass. It's just...I feel like I'm going a little mad. Like there's a crazed squirrel hopping around in my head half the time." "We won't let Terrin do anything to him or your babies," Jason suddenly spoke out. "Wait, we won't?" Daniel questioned, confused. "That's right, we won't," Pedro agreed when he shifted back into his human form. "We'll protect you both." Daniel's forest green eyes peered from the Kaynen to the Raccoon and back again. "When did we decide all this?" he keened. "Not that I would want anything to happen to you or your mate, that is!" "R-really?" Nix sniffled, the bread forgotten. "You aren't just saying that so I'll settle down and behave?" The ferret offered Nix up a bittersweet smile. "Hey, we're not monsters like Terrin. We're just thieves," he insisted. "She promised us a good cut if we help her get the bear, is all." He glanced over at the raccoon and sighed. "And the three of us really need the cash." "But, that doesn't mean that we'll just stand around and let her hurt you or your mate," Jason added. The smile the ferret sent his way made it all worth it then and there. Pedro leaned over to whisper into one of Nix's ears. "See? Told you they're like little love birds when they don't think anyone's looking." Pedro had tried everything he could to distract the cat from his steadily increasing stress. The best thing he’d stumbled upon was speculation on the state of the two other thieves’ relationship, or lack thereof. Sometimes, analyzing the glances and body language Jason and Daniel threw at each other was the only way to get the Civek to come out of his nest at all. A little chittering noise bubbled up from Nix's chest as he nodded his agreement. Maybe it was some kind of syndrome, but the cat genuinely liked these men. Not as lovers, he had enough of those. Under different circumstances, though, they could have been friends. Nix's yellow-green eye narrowed on the ferret and raccoon. Yes, the Civek decided. He needed a distraction, and he knew just what he could do that would be a good thing all around. Nix quickly ate the bread and potted meat, much to the thieves' surprise. The pregnant cat flopped back onto his nest of pillows and blankets and sighed dramatically. "I miss my Falorios...And my foxie, beefcake, bunbun, and mousie." He rolled over to rub his cheek on a pillow. "Especially, my Falorios, though. He's my sugar." Concerned, Pedro quickly shifted back into his Chihuahua form and softly padded over to Nix's hand, giving it a lick in sympathy. "So, uh, how'd you end up with so many mates, anyway?" Daniel prompted as he sat down at the edge of the bed. Jason, as always, stood by the door as a lookout. "They rescued me..." Nix said softly, petting the little dog gently. "From slavery. I was more than half dead when they found me. They took care of me. Loved me." His eye found Daniel. "And I loved them. Life's too short and painful not to accept and treasure that kind of thing when it finds you." The ferret shot a quick glance towards the raccoon and fought down a blush. "R-Right," he muttered. "It's just quite a bunch of different species, though." Nix fought down a knowing smile. This was going to be fun. "We're all different," the cat admitted with a shrug. "It adds this amazing something to it. It's like, I know that even after I've known them for years, there will still be a touch of mystery and wonder there." Nix scratched behind Pedro's ears. "Because they're so different from me and each other, I'll never get bored with them." The smile that pulled his lips upward was small but genuine. "Things are always interesting." Pedro let out a small, satisfied rumble under his ministrations as his eyes began to blink drowsily. "Wouldn't they...fight over the kids?" Daniel wondered aloud. "They can't all be willing to raise them..." "They've all decided to raise them together, with me," Nix said with a happy purr. "The kits have pulled us together instead of tearing us apart." The cat suddenly waved his hands in the air dramatically. "I'm lonely. Come join the cuddle pile, you two." Jason turned towards them and frowned. "I don't think that's wise..." Daniel's face glowed pink at the very thought. "W-we can't all fit on the bed, anyhow." "I’m just..." Nix stopped petting Pedro, wrapping his arms around his middle. "So lonely... I think I'm feeling sick again..." "W-Wait, uh... shit." Daniel hissed as he shifted into his animal ferret form. "Don't be upset..." he urged. He was the only one out of the trio of thieves that could talk while in his alternate form. "Cute little weaselkins," Nix purred, making grabby motions at Daniel. Daniel held his body low to the ground as he slowly crawled closer to Nix, grumbling. "I'm a ferret, not a weasel." "Weaselkins," the cat scolded, scooping up the ferret. Nix chittered in delight. It was like holding a creature that was half kitten and half slinky. He nuzzled the top of the ferret's soft head. "Where's the masked bandit?" Nix asked with a pout, looking at the raccoon guarding the door. "Cuz' he's not on the bed where he's supposed to be," he sang. Jason glanced at the door mournfully and then let out a sigh as he walked over, shifting into his raccoon form halfway there and climbing up the bed in a quick and agile manner, leaving his clothes behind on the floor. Nix would have clapped his hands in glee if they hadn't been full of ferret. "You know who you two remind me of?" the cat purred as he rubbed behind Daniel and Jason's ears. "Foxie and bunbun." "Foxie and what?" Daniel questioned. "How?" Jason merely tilted his head to the side. "Hmmm? Oh, I don't know," Nix said looking thoughtful. "Sometimes foxie and bun would do this one thing together...You probably wouldn't be interested." He tickled under the ferret's chin. "Aren't you pretty? Like someone dipped you in cream and then went wild shaking cinnamon on you." Daniel let out a fairly embarrassing sound of appreciation, but the Civek's sparing words made him curious. "What did they do?" he wondered aloud. Nix tried to keep his face as innocent as possible as he set the ferret on his little brown paws then scooped the raccoon into his arms. Jason didn't have time to struggle before he was deposited on top of Daniel. The raccoon's nose was pressed into the back of the smaller animal's neck, and his groin pushed indecently against the curve of Daniel's backside. "Yeah," Nix said happily. "Just like that." The ferret let out a ragged gasp, holding still. "Th-they didn't!" he responded in an accusing manner. Jason took deep breaths. He was in shock, but the shock was already wearing out, and other things started to wake up. He had to get off of Sneaks in a way that wouldn't offend him, and he just couldn't think straight at the moment. "Oh yeah, they did," Nix said with a naughty grin. "Not only that but while foxie was doing that to bun..." The cat gently pushed the raccoon's lower back, making Jason rub against the lithe body beneath him. "Sweet little bunbun was licking mousie. Mmm, he made the hottest little noises. And after he came, bun and foxie licked him clean while mousie looked like he'd been knocked unconscious by the fuck-train." The raccoon's muzzle opened, and he began to bite along the ferret's neck, living true to his codename of Biter. Immediately, his dark gray arms wrapped around Daniel's lower half as he began to hump wildly against him. The ferret beneath him began to make melodious "dooking" noises. "J-Jace!" he squealed in between the noises that resonated from the back of his throat. "What are...Jace!" In the heat of the moment, he didn't even realize that he was calling the raccoon by his real nickname and not his codename at all. Nix leaned back, wanting to watch but not intrude. The cat hugged Fierce to his chest, rubbing the chihuahua's round little noggin as he kept his eyes on the show. Pedro was part mortified, and partly relieved to see his two partners in crime actually doing something about their hidden feelings. Granted, it's not what the chihuahua had in mind. Jason's humping wasn't entirely aimless. His far larger erection rubbed against the ferret's testicles and part of Daniel's own feral member. Daniel couldn't believe how good it felt. If it had been anyone else that was humping him, he'd have probably killed them. But, it was Jason the Biter. In his dreams, the two of them were human and naked while humping. But, the ferret certainly wasn't going to complain. "Oh, fuck!" He keened. Nix gently set the little dog aside, his gaze focused on the couple before him. The cat whined softly before licking the palm of his hand and sliding it into his loose pants. He stroked himself quickly, furtively, as tears clouded his vision. It wasn't much longer until Daniel let out a trilling moan and spewed out his release, Jason following right after. "Biter..." he gasped. "I kinda wanna kiss you and punch you in the face all at once." The raccoon gently licked the back of the ferret's neck in an apology. He was too ashamed to shift back into a human right then. Nix covered his mouth with one hand as he came, trying to muffle his soft moan of release. He wiped the mess uncaringly on a blanket, then curled into himself. It felt like he had a knife buried in his chest. Playing matchmaker had lifted the Civek's spirits, but it hadn't lasted. Seeing the ferret and raccoon together so intimately had been desperately arousing while still starkly reminding the cat of the lovers he was separated from. He didn't truly even know if he'd ever see them again. Missing them was a physical pain inside him. Like they'd pulled out one of his organs when they'd stolen him from his mates. Feeling the shift in mood, Pedro padded over to Nix's face and licked his cheek. Daniel and Jason glanced at each other before padding over to Nix, as well. "Hey now, we meant what we said." The ferret stated. "We'll make sure nothing happens to you or your mate. I know it's hard to trust the thieves that took ya in the first place, but Fierce has his own pups at home...and both Biter and I have younger siblins' and all. We don't want nothin' to happen to your babies." "It's not that," Nix told them with a pitful sniffle. "I just..." The Civek fought back the sob building in his chest until it came out as a hiccup. He swept all three of the animals into his arms and pressed his cheek to warm soft fur. "I just miss them so much." Jason carefully pet the top of Nix's head with his small paw. Pedro and Daniel merely kept still for the time being. It took several minutes for the Civek to calm down enough to set the worried thieves back on the bed. Nix was about to thank them when an odd vibration rang through the floors and walls, making the cat swallow wrong and begin coughing uncontrollably. When Captain Terrin's orange and black face appeared on the room's vidscreen, she saw her furry comrades thumping their little paws on their captive's back. "What the everloving fuck is...No, I don't even care," she snapped as her inky black eyes glared at them through the screen. "We're docked at the restock port. I'm going to get supplies." She leaned forward until her face filled the screen. "Watch him. Don't fuck this up." Silence reigned in the room. Even Nix's coughs had fled in the face of Terrin the Terrible. Tears were still wet on his face when he turned away from the vidscreen to look at the trio of thieves left to mind him. "I'm hungry," the cat said, flopping back onto his nest of blankets and pillows. "Can I have more of that meat in the little can?" ::: Noel took another gulp of the juice Leon had brought him as his eyes continued to fly from one monitor to the next. He had three monitors displaying three different segments of data in the process of being decoded. Leon was no less focused on his current activity. "But the baby dragon was so grumpy, he totally forgot about his promise to the little jaguar prince," Leon whispered as he trotted a crudely cut-out drawing of a purple dragon around on the floor in front of Liam. "And he ate up all the fish in one gulp!" The Murisian dipped the paper dragon's nose in a tiny pile of scrap papers that had been crumpled into small balls. "Omnomnomnomnom!" Liam let out a gasp as he clutched Mr. Bear closer to him. The cardboard crown on his head tilting slightly. "Then what will the people in the village eat?" He asked. "That is exactly what the Prince worried about when he found out what had happened!" Leon smiled at the little boy. "You would be a wonderful prince. You'd take such good care of your people." He booped the cub on the nose before continuing his story. "Well, the baby dragon realized what he'd done and that he'd broken his promise. He felt so bad that he ran away and hid at the peak of the tallest mountain and cried until his daddies came and found him." From behind his back, Leon pulled out two sticks. Each had paper dragon wings taped to them. He zoomed them around before waving them in front of the little cut out dragon. "'Baby! Baby!' they cried and hugged their little one. 'What's wrong?'" Leon had the sticks gently poke at the paper dragon. "Baby dragon told them everything that had happened, even about getting scared when he sat on that singing frog!" "He was a big, meanie frog!" the jaguar cub recalled. "But, he had good songs." "I liked the song about burping the best," Leon confided. "But, do you know what the dragon daddies did then?" Liam scooted closer, leaning forward as his big yellow-orange eyes took in every second. "What did they do?" he whispered in concern. "The daddy dragons loved their baby soooooo much! Even though he'd been naughty, they still loved him and they always would," Leon said, leaning in as well. "So, they hugged him and kissed him until he stopped crying. Then they told him, 'You have been a very naughty baby dragon. Prince Jaguar wanted to be your friend. He even saved you from the old lady who smelled like turnips!'" Leon made a face. He hated turnips. "The baby cried that he was sorry, but the daddies only shook their heads." The mouse moved the tips of the sticks back and forth. "They told baby dragon, 'We aren't the ones you should apologize to. You must go back to Prince Jaguar and make it up to him. But we'll go with you, don't worry.'" The Murisian put the paper dragon on top of one of the sticks and held it as he whooshed it through the air. "Baby Dragon was so nervous about going back that when he got there, he hid under his daddy's wing. But they took him to find Prince Jaguar." The Murisian smiled at Liam. "Can you guess what the prince was doing?" "Fishing?" Liam wondered aloud. "Yes! He was fishing!" Leon tickled under the cub's chin. "You're so smart. He was fishing and fishing and fishing! He'd caught as many fish as he could, but it wasn't enough to feed his people. He saw the dragons, but he kept fishing. He didn't even turn around. He was still really mad. He said, 'Why are you here? You broke your promise, and now the village doesn't have enough food.'" The blond had the paper dragon hesitantly hop forward. "'I'm so sorry I ate your fish,' the baby dragon said with a sniffle. 'I came to apologize and try to make it up to you.'" The mouse had the cutout dragon nuzzle Liam's knee, making the boy giggle. It was such a sweet sound; it pulled a wide grin from Leon whenever he heard it. "'What will you do?' the prince asked. Baby Dragon thought. Then he thought some more. Then he waved his shining tail in excitement. He went and whispered to his daddies, and they flew off together. Soon, they were back, carrying a huge net full of so many fish they were falling out everywhere. Fish were dropping into trees, onto people's heads, even down the front of a snooty woman's dress! She was so shocked she fainted!" The jaguar cub clapped his hands in joy. "The village won't be hungry!" he deduced. "Exactly, clever Liam." The Murisian ruffled the boy's hair. "The dragons had found a new river! It was filled with yummy things. There were fish, mussels...those tiny lobster-things." Leon wriggled his fingers like little legs. "The baby dragon told the jaguar prince all about the river and how to find it." Leon danced the paper dragon and sticks around happily. "And they were all friends again!" Leon tossed the handful of crumpled paper balls in the air. "Baby Dragon made some big mistakes, but he said he was sorry and he really meant it. He made it right, and everyone forgave him. After that, the dragons and the village had a big yummy feast every month to celebrate." Leon booped Mr. Bear's nose. "Sometimes, twice a month. Just because." He lifted his hands with a flourish. "The end!" "Yay!" Liam exclaimed as he rushed over to give the Murisian a hug, bear and all. "Thanks for the story." "Thank you for listening and helping me with ideas." Leon gave the boy a gentle squeeze. "Having the pegasus help get things off the high shelves in the tower was very inspired." He leaned back with a grin. "You liked it? I don't know much about stories. I hope it was okay." The child's large eyes all but sparkled. "It was the bestest story I ever heard, Mr. Leon!" he exclaimed. "Hate to interrupt your bonding time," Noel said as he approached his brother. "But, you're going to want to take a look at this." "What did you find?" Leon asked, giving a quick scratch behind Liam's ears as he stood. Noel quickly led Leon to the monitors where columns and columns of bank accounts were displayed, all of them belonging to different politicians in their galaxy. "Looks like the Maivit Mafia have a lot of politicians by their balls." "Holy crap," Leon groaned. "No wonder the baddies want this back so badly." He glanced at his brother. "This is dangerous stuff to know." A shiver went up the Murisian's spine. "We have to get Nix out of there." Noel grimaced. "We should send a copy of this to Koby and the authorities." He stated. "Damn, that means that we'll have to listen to him rant about borrowing his ship first." Liam held his Mr. Bear close as he followed the twins into their work area. When he finally caught up to them, he latched himself to Leon's leg. "Yeah, Koby will be able to get this where it needs to go without having it point back to all of us." He looked down at the jaguar cub. "We can't just skip the drop and snatch Nix back, or it's going to blow up in our faces." Leon stroked the boy's soft hair. "We'll need a stand-in for Mr. Bear and the memory stick. How much time do we have?" A string of beeping alerted Noel to the other machine. The twins looked at each other before rushing over to it. "He's at a port near Tudlar!" Noel deduced in excitement. "That's not too far from our current location. I'd say we have plenty of time!" "Let's get everybody together," Leon said with a grin. "We're gonna get Nix back. We just need a plan." ::: The thieves had scoured the ship for little cans of potted meat. A little pile of empty cans sat forlornly next to the bed. Nix was buried under the blankets and pillows, clutching the small Chihuahua to his chest. There was a deep ache growing there. The Civek's tummy was full, but his heart felt dry and empty. "It hurts," the cat whimpered. "Where's my sugar? I need Falorios." Nix curled in on himself. "Why did they leave me? They don't want me anymore..." "Hey, it'll be ok. Soon we'll be at the drop-off point, and you'll see them again." Daniel tried to soothe him. "Need me to shift back into my feral form?" Jason looked on from a distance. Neither of them spoke of what had happened earlier in their animal forms, but he had to find a good way to apologize to the ferret. "We're not there, now?" Nix asked, peeking his head out from his nest. "I thought scary bitch said we were at the port?" "Yes, we're at the port, but it's not the drop-off point," Daniel explained. "The drop-off is on a moon." "The moon? Falorios and everyone is on the moon?" Nix tucked Pedro under his arm and struggled out of the blankets desperately. "I have to get there!" "Calm down. They're not there yet," Daniel insisted as he rushed over to sit next to him. "They're there!" Nix turned to the man but didn't seem to see him. His feline pupil was blown wide as his heart pounded and his breath quickened. "He's close! I can feel him!" The pregnant Civek heaved himself from the bed and ran for the door. Jason immediately caught the Civek in his arms. "Daniel, help me settle him back down!" he pleaded. The two of them managed to get Nix seated for a moment before he leaped off again. Pedro shifted from his feral form and held down the cat’s legs. "Calmate," Pedro begged him from the floor. "Think of the bebes!" "No!" Nix gasped. "No! Stop! I have to..." He struggled harder, nearly pulling free before he was pinned again. "Rios!" Nix screamed. ::: The men were silent, even Phen, as they snuck quickly but carefully through the ship. Leon and Noel led the way since they had memorized the layout and held the devices needed to electronically pick the locks. The air seemed heavy around them, filled with equal measures of worry and hope. "Just down this hallway, the last door on the left," Leon whispered, before shouting reached them, followed by a heartbreaking scream of despair. "They're hurting him!" Caspin gasped, lurching forward to sprint past the twins. The rest were right behind him. Rios reached the door first, rage and fear speeding his racing steps. "Shit," the twins hissed, hurrying after them. In moments, they were in their planned positions. Noel opened the door. Leon tossed in the fog canister as soon as it was wide enough. "Please, stop," they heard Nix cry from inside. "I can't..." The fogger went off with a pop, filling the room with smoke. Adrian and Loxias ducked through first, ready to tackle anyone blocking their way. Mycha rolled in low, a small stunner in his grip. Rios followed, with Phenner and Caspin fanning out behind him. "Nix!" the moth shouted, his gaze raking through the fog. He could make out a bed across the room. A familiar dark-skinned figure lay there, pinned down by three men. "F-Falorios!" the Civek wailed. "What do you think you're doing to my mate?" the moth roared. Loxias and Adrian tackled the two men holding Nix's arms and Mycha stunned all three of them until they were limp and passed out. Rios lifted Nix into his arms and nuzzled his neck. "Are you ok?" He whispered. "I was coming," Nix whimpered, clinging to the Alano. "I knew you were close. I was coming..." Phen kicked one of the men on the floor. "And that's what you get for stealing our Serai and being mean to him!" Nix looked up, shocked at the bunny's behavior. "No, don't hurt them!" The men stopped what they were doing. Mycha spoke up. "Can we at least tie them up?" he asked. At Nix's reluctant nod, some of the men laid the thieves down on the bed and tied their arms and legs together. "I was so scared they'd do something before we got here," the moth hissed. Rios continued to hold onto the Civek, forcing the others to have to kiss and touch Nix around him. Since Adrian was so tall, it was easy for him to reach out his hand over the others so that he could rub and scratch the feline's ears. "They were actually really nice to me," the cat murmured as he rubbed his cheek against Falorios's shoulder with a sigh. "I guess they don't normally do kidnappy stuff." "They didn't look very nice when we came in here," Caspin growled. "Oh!" Phenner gasped. "He's got that syndrome! Stalkerhomes!" He clenched his fists. "I'm going to kick them again." "No, no," Nix said, grabbing the rabbit's hand and twining their fingers together. "I was kind of having a hissy fit. They were worried I'd hurt myself or the babies. They were going to make sure nothing happened to us. I believed them." "Oh," Phen said again, shoulders slumping. "Love you, bunbun," Nix purred, kissing the rabbit's fingers before looking to everyone else. "What do we do now? Scary bitch could come back any second." "You mean there's another one?" Mycha gasped. "Everyone, quick! We have to figure out a way to catch her. If she manages to escape, she'll surely let the Maivit men know!" "What should we do?" The twins questioned. "Was she nice to you, Nixie?" Phenner asked, rubbing his thumb over the black cat's knuckles. "She just wanted me alive and well enough for the drop," the Civek said with a shrug. "I don't think she cared too much beyond that." Phen's pink petal eyes turned hard. "I'm gonna kick her," he grumbled. "I'm gonna kick her so hard, then Mycha can stun her, and Ade and Loxie can sit on her." Mycha opened his mouth as if to retort, but he then frowned. "Actually, that sounds like a great idea." He then took Phen's face in his hands and planted a kiss on his lips. "You're so brilliant." He then walked over to the Civek and stood on the tips of his toes to kiss his cheek. "Don't worry, we'll get her." Nix kept himself plastered against Rios but reached out to stroke the sweet Murisian's cheek. A gentle purr rumbled in his chest. When Terrin returned some time later, the lights were out inside the ship. "Damn idiots broke the modulator again," she snarled under her breath. "I'm lucky they didn't blow up the ship." She stomped inside, the airlock sliding closed behind her with a clang. As he passed by the first doorway, something leaped out of the darkness, hitting her in the solar plexus. Terrin doubled over with a grunt before she heard scampering feet. She spun in the darkness, claws raking the air in front of her. Her attacker was either crouching or unexpectedly short, however, and she missed entirely. The little bastard was fast, too, ducking under to nail her with a stunner. Her claws grazed his shoulder. Then, he'd darted out of reach again. She hissed angrily as she fell, limbs twitching. Loxias and Adrian hefted her up by the arms and dragged her over to where they held the other three. They tied her up, as well, even more securely than the other three. "I'm ok," Mycha whispered as Phen and Nix checked out his shoulder. "Now that we've found Nix and have the kidnappers captured..." Noel began. "Leon and I figure that it's only a matter of time that the Maivit Mafia will figure out that the swap never happened." "Yeah, we need to find out more about where they planned to turn the bear over," Leon added. "You should ask puppy, or the slinky-kitten, or Mr. Mask," Nix said from his seat on Falorios's lap. "They really are nice. I bet they'll help." "I don't think we have much of a choice at this point," Rios sighed as he continuously rubbed Nix's back and belly gently. Mycha frowned. "If we have to question those three, then I don't think it wise to keep that woman here so that she might overhear." "Adrian and I will watch over her in another room," Loxias suggested. "I'll just be a few rooms down, kitten," Adrian affirmed softly as he knelt to give Nix a kiss. The two of them then left the room with Terrin in tow. Nix whined softly, his gaze on the tall human until he disappeared. Rios was able to distract him with a gentle kiss, and the Civek was able to settle again. Caspin and Mycha removed the gags on the trio of thieves. They were waking up, blinking blearily at the light in the room. Phenner stood protectively next to Nix, looking ready to kick anyone that breathed threateningly. Daniel was the first to complain. "The hell happened...?" he griped weakly. "Are you alright, Sneaky?" Jason asked, worry etched in his voice. "A little groggy," Pedro responded. "He was asking me," the ferret whined. "Hi, guys," Nix said with a wave and a grin. "My mates came for me, isn't that great?" "That's wonderful, young one!" Pedro exclaimed, despite being tied up. "Yeah, but did they have to get so rough?" Daniel keened through a developing headache. "Wait, Terrin's still out there! You should escape while you still can!" Jason urged. "Nah," Nix said, his eye twinkling. "We've got her all tied up tight in another room." The three thieves let out a collective sigh of relief. Mycha approached the three. "We need your help," he began as he explained the situation. "The Maivit Mafia will be after us due to the object we have in our possession. With the help of my brothers, we can set up a sting operation in which we can all get out of this alive." The thieves simply gaped at the Murisian as if it all sounded like lunacy to them. "But, we can't do any of it if we don't know where you intended to swap the bear," Noel added. "Please," Nix asked, crawling hesitantly from his mate's lap to approach them. "You said you didn't like what they were doing, what was happening. What the mafia will ask you to do is only going to get worse. This time it was kidnapping a pregnant Civek." He wrapped his arms around himself with a shiver. "And I have to admit that I'm glad it was you and not someone who might have hurt me. I know I was lucky. But what will they want from you next?" He sat down next to Pedro, bumping their shoulders together. "I know you have a family, puppy. The Mafia want a stuffed bear because they were using it to carry something else," Nix explained. "But the bear belonged to a little boy. They were sending him to one of their fetish whorehouses where they'd sell him and take back what was in the toy." The cat let out a small distressed whine. "I know all that because they hired Falorios to transport the poor kit." He gestured to Rios, ears drooping sadly. "It's true," Rios affirmed. "We have a chance to take them down once and for all. Will you help us?" The thieves looked at one another. Daniel worried his bottom lip. "The dark side of a moon. The drop-off was on the dark side of a moon." "The third moon of Nainer," Jason added. "Por favor, don't let Nix out of your sights again. Keep him out of the fight, for the bebes!" Pedro pleaded. The Civek chittered softly, hugging Pedro to his chest. He licked the thief's cheek, wishing he was in his doggy form, so Nix could give him a bath. The cat smiled when he realized that he was back with his Seraglio, he could give Mycha baths again. Those were much more fun than bathing Pedro. He could always give Mycha a happy ending. "Do you guys want to get out of this business?" Phenner asked, deciding that maybe Nix didn't have a syndrome. They seemed like decent people in over their heads. "I mean, the bad guys probably aren't going to be very happy with you after this." The rabbit cocked his head, looking thoughtful. "The others are really smart. Between all of them, I'm sure they could figure something out where you wouldn't have to do kidnappy things anymore." Daniel looked at Jason. "We weren't kidnappers, just thieves." He insisted. "But, getting out sounds nice, yeah." "Puppy?" Nix asked hopefully. "How about you?" Pedro shrugged. "I have a lot of mouths to feed. If anything else paid as decently, I would stop. But, en general, I have no choice." "I've been thinking about expanding my company for a while now," Caspin said. "I have more interest than I can keep up with. If you can prove yourselves trustworthy, I could outfit another ship. You could work for me. Your family could even be with you." The Vulpan shrugged. "It's pretty much information gathering. It would keep you out of the Mafia's sight. If that doesn't sound appealing, Loxias and his son have a large company on my planet that could surely find a place for you." Three sets of eyes widened. "Are you freaking serious right now?" Daniel whimpered. "That would be..." Jason mused out loud. "Magnífico!" Pedro finished. Caspin just shrugged awkwardly, suddenly feeling a little shy. "Yay!" Phen cried, throwing an arm over his captain's shoulders. "You know, I bet Caspin could buy a planet if he wanted. He's loaded! So, a ship is easy for him." "Phenner!" Cas hissed. "What?" the bunny asked. "What did I say? You bought Mycha. He's worth as much as at least one or two planets..." Mycha blushed bright pink at the comment. Phen still looked confused as Caspin quickly tried to explain why telling people, especially thieves, that he was richer than most worlds wasn't a good idea. Nix just chuckled as he quickly untied the now ex-thieves. "So, what's the plan?" the cat asked. "Have the guys pretend I'm still their poor little captive and the fuzz jumps on the baddies when we go to the swap port?" "Actually, we'd have already traded you for the kid's bear." Daniel pointed out. "So, we'd have to go turn the bear in at the drop off on the moon." "Can we trust you to take the decoy bear to the mafia?" Caspin asked seriously. "It could be dangerous, but we'll do everything we can to make sure the authorities keep you safe." The fox nibbled his lip. "And I'll do everything I promised about your joining my company, even if you don't want to do this. I won't force you." He shook his head, his tail flicking the air behind him. "It wouldn't be right. So, we'll figure something else out if we have to." "We'll do it," Jason agreed. "It's our only chance to get out of the Maivit Mafia's grip, as well." "Great!" Leon spoke up. "Then, let's dump that crazy woman at the Enforcers' Station and get this sting operation started!" "Yay!" Phenner cheered again before plopping himself into the raccoon's lap. "I like your face," he said, tracing the mask that sat like a tattoo around his eyes. "Do you have markings anywhere else? It's really pretty," the rabbit continued, pushing up the man's sleeves to peer at his arms. "H-hey, hey!" Daniel griped as he clambered over everyone else to gently shove the rabbit's hands away. "He's mine and I ain't sharing!" The words surprised both the ferret and the raccoon. A slight blush formed on Jason's face. "We really should get going. And it's better if we use our own ship to not arouse suspicion," he said as he stood up and carefully set Phen onto his feet. "Just follow us to the moon." "Let me get you the stand-in teddy," Caspin agreed with a nod. Phenner let himself be shooed away from the raccoon, seemingly unfazed. "It has a codename Liam and I thought up," the rabbit told them proudly. "You can call it...Mrs. Bear."
  13. 03

    We are very honored that you've enjoyed our work thus far. We have so much fun with our stories, so it's great to see that we've passed on some of that fun to others!
  14. Thirdly: Robin lookit this! (providing a link to Ask an Author #49) "I guarantee that even if you think you’re prepared, you’re really not! Turn your common sense off and enjoy the show." - Best lines ever. Robin: I like @Parker Owens stuff. *giggle* I have an "interesting" sense of humor. Thirdly: I love your humor. Robin: Awwwww thanks! Thirdly: It's all kinds of shades. It can be light and fluffy or dark and sarcastic, making us all freak out about Mick nearly dying. Robin: Mick would make a sarcastic comment or joke even as he's bleeding out. Thirdly: Lordy, I just imagined if he'd ever be on a battlefield, he'd be the one saying something ridiculous like "Tell Kingie Tigger he can take whatever sperm I have left if he wants...the f****r"...and then, he'd pass out. Robin: lmao! He totally would. Thirdly: I love Mick. I worry to death about him, but I still love him. Robin: Tigger: *dragging him off the battlefield* Mick: This really isn't a good time...I don't even have any lube... * Mick is a character in Robin's story Prophylaxis. ::: @DarkNow you know how easily we get derailed AND just how goofy the two of us are in general. Many thanks for including us in this issue of Ask an Author and for the kind words!
  15. 03

    Yep, everything I thought of to respond to this is a spoiler, so I can't say anything other than to brace yourself for some Tilbei and Jasper in the next chap. Oh, and for anyone who isn't also reading our other stories, Zane's totally going off planet with him at some point or another, ha ha ha. Journeying seems to be a recurring theme in our stories. Great fun, though.