A Mouse Among Felsin 4:
The Heart of A Mouse

by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

Early one morning there was a knock on Vinnie's door, loud enough to rouse the reluctant Mouse after two tries. He was still naked and clearly half asleep when the door opened to Cazi.

"We're getting ready to move into orbit around Mars, I thought you'd want to see it from orbit." Cazi said quietly. After several weeks he still wasn't sure if this visit was really a good idea for Vinnie, as shaky as his sanity was at times. But Nareena thought it would be okay, and sanity was more her department.

"Mars?" Vinnie blinked a couple times as his brain kicked into gear. "Oh," he blinked in surprise as it sunk in what the Lion had said. "Oh, cool. Just a minute." He grinned and twisted around to grab his clothes.

"Oh, Trace and the Tyrfauns have put out pastries and coffee in the forward observation lounge." He chuckled when Vinnie stepped into the hallway several minutes later, clearly having taken the time to brush his fur out and give a little extra care to his newly healed and white-furred face. "We just crossed the Astalon line, so we've got about half an hour before we reach Mars."

"Just long enough to get a sugar rush down." Vinnie rumbled excitedly.

"Nothing like sugar and caffeine to start the morning." Cazi chuckled as they rode the lift up to the observation level.

"It's the only way to start," he grinned back. "At least if you don't have a cute playmate to wake you up."

"Which I'm sure you'll have as soon as you get to New Mars." Cazi chuckled teasingly. "Probably be overrun by them."

"No doubt," he grinned widely and swaggered a bit as they entered the lounge. "I am going to be one of the hottest commodities around."

"Oh, I'd say you've already got that sewn up." A sultry female voice said from just behind them. The speaker was a fluffy, curvy female with a light brown coat, bright blue eyes and no appreciable tail. She was definitely of rodent heritage, somewhat reminiscent of an Earth hamster. If you crossed a hamster with a five foot nine supermodel, that is.

Cazi chuckled. "Hello, Vicalla. Vinnie, this is Vicalla Sevarski of Malthus Six. Vicalla, this is Vinnie Van Wham from Mars, but not this dimension."

"A distinct pleasure." She smiled at him warmly.

"The pleasure is mine," he smiled with every bit of charm he possessed, giving her a half bow and curl of his tail that was all in appreciation. "Where has your lovely self been all these weeks?"

"I was at the annual conference on Artificial Intelligence." She smiled and did a short curtsey in response to his half bow before she even realized what she was doing. "I came on board once the ship came out of hyperspace. If I'd known what I was missing I wouldn't have waited."

"Major Sevarski is in charge of ship's computer systems." Cazi smiled.

"Duties that hopefully do not steal all of your time once we leave orbit." Vinnie rumbled and extended his hand regally, gently catching her fingers to draw them up for a light kiss. "It can be a very long trip to Draconia. I would hate to loose out on your company."

"The computer systems rarely require that much attention." She smiled demurely back as her fingers were released. "And I wouldn't dream of missing out on such handsome attention."

"I'm sure we will make it a trip to remember for both of us." He smiled charmingly. "Have you eaten yet?"

"A couple hours ago." She smiled brightly. "I was just coming up to get a look at Mars from orbit. This is my first time in this star system."

"Then please excuse me while I eat. It's very early in the morning for me, but the view is impressive." Vinnie's gesture took in both her and the planet coming into view.

"By all means." She smiled charmingly at him. "The Tyrfaun do a wonderful job with the pastries."

"That I have become quite familiar with," he smiled back before turning to claim a plate and selection for breakfast and glanced at Vicalla, inviting her to sit with him and watch the red world approach as he ate.

Vicalla smiled, claiming a Danish and a mug of coffee before sitting next to him. They were approaching from the nightside of Mars, and the twinkling lights of the domes could be seen below like strands of sparkling pearls across the night.

"So empty," he murmured, his breath catching in his throat and breakfast forgotten as he took in features familiar even in the darkness and placed where things should be, and weren't.

"Are you going down to the surface?" She asked quietly, as the ship slowly slid into orbit and moved across the terminator into day headed for the Olympus Orbital Station.

"Yes," he nodded, his natural charm largely abandoned in his shock. "It's where the places I want to see are."

"Something you need to do alone, or would you like company?" She asked quietly, startling him slightly into looking over at her as he thought about that.

"Alone," Vinnie said very quietly as his focused returned to the red world below them. "Some goodbyes only kin should be there for."

"Well, I'll be here when you get back then." She said softly. "Deck seven, starboard cabin twelve. If you need someone to talk to, or if you just don't want to spend the night alone."

He glanced at her again, curious now. "You can be sure I'll be taking you up on that last part at least." He smiled softly, instinct drawing his playfulness back to the fore, if not completely in charge. "That's too good an offer to pass up."

"Good." She smiled softly. "We don't have nearly enough non-predators on board."

"Oh man, you've got that one right," he groaned softly before downing a jelly donut. "But it is a cat-run ship after all."

"The galaxy is pretty much predator run." She shook her head. "Doesn't seem like many non-predators made it to sentience. And most of the ones that did are rodents like us."

"Says something about being small and fast," he grinned cheekily at her. "We're the survivors, who beat the predators at their own game."

"Yeah." She grinned. "I've never run into a sentient elephant."

"They'd never need to," he chuckled softly. "Nothing hunted them, and they breed slow. Face it, there's a real advantage to being able to has kids as fast as most rodents."

She chuckled. "Though at the rate they breed, they might make sentience if left on a planet by themselves for a couple million years."

"Maybe," he shrugged, seriously doubting it.

"Anything possible. I mean I've met sentient rocks." She chuckled. "Strange folks, damn good chess players though."

"Rocks?" Vinnie stopped eating and regarded her with real dubiousness. "How can a rock be smart?"

"Biology is not my strong point, especially not silicoid biology." She shook her head. "But 'he' certainly was, a damn good material engineer at that."

"Strange universe," he shook his head slightly and worked on another donut with his gaze on Mars. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised with the number of predators running around."

"Well, they're definitely not predators." She chuckled. "And certainly nothing anyone wants to hunt. I guess it's all in what you're used to ... I'd find it a strange universe without the predators."

"Strange, yeah, it would be." He nodded slightly. "It'd be a nice one though."

"Yeah, but without the predators we'd probably still be dumb, little non-sentients." She chuckled. "It was outsmarting the predators to survive that got us to intelligence."

"I do'now," he shook his head slightly. "Something had to get smart, and humans managed it without being hunted by a smarter predator."

"Oh, I don't think the predators are smarter normally just better armed." She chuckled. "And as natural armament goes, humans are pretty pathetic. They needed intelligence and tool making to keep them on an even footing."

"Which just means we could have evolved without intelligent predators." He said quietly. "Might even be why there aren't more of us. Too many worlds where the predators got the upper hand first and put a stop to the rest of us."

"Could be. My world doesn't have any intelligent predators." She said simply. "Or it could be that we just haven't been getting good rolls of the evolutionary dice. And I've seen worlds where no intelligent life evolved, there were lots of potential candidates but no one made it."

"I haven't seen those yet," he shook his head. "Sounds like way too much luck involved for my taste."

"When it comes to evolution, luck is all there is." She shook her head. "After all, the odds against intelligent life evolving on a given planet are heavily against. It's only when you consider the galaxy as whole that intelligent life becomes a certainty."

"I guess so," he nodded slightly and tried to push thoughts of what surviving the predators on his Mars had been like away.

Cazi was pushing his cycle close to it's safe long term limit, knowing full well that at the moment Girl and Vinnie could loose him in a race if they were inclined to, when he saw a shift in the white Mouse's body language. They were close to something he remembered. Something that was a very intense moment in the warrior's life.

Cazi kept pace slowing when Vinnie did. He was trying to be there, without being there too much. He was keenly aware that while Vinnie had agreed to his presence, the Mouse was making a concession to Nareena and the certainty that there would be someone following him, whether he agreed or not.

It wasn't long before Girl pulled into a spot that looked like any other to someone less familiar with it and stopped. For a long, silent moment neither Mouse nor bike moved, seemingly frozen in place.

Cazi followed at a respectful distance when Vinnie moved again it was with a slow grace of one who almost couldn't be ungraceful and caution of one who had learned to expect anything the hard way. Of course, here, there was nothing but the ancient red dust stained different colors, rocks scorched by blaster fire much older than human habitation and the evidence of a civilian hideout during a time of war.

Even the Lion's very limited bio-empathy ached against the slaughter of innocents still resonating here, enough he was glad there wasn't anything advanced enough to talk to him more directly. Cazi reflexively started forward to be supportive, before he caught himself. Vinnie hadn't really wanted company on this trip, so he needed to unobtrusive unless the Mouse reached out to him, or something drastically bad became apparent with him.

How the white Mouse, with his bio-telepathy, even at the limited touch level, could take this place was a statement to how numb he was to it, or how strong he was inside. Or more likely a mixture of both.

So he watched Vinnie move about, kneeling to touch various spots that were probably bloodstains before working further back with movements of one very familiar with the place, and a fairly good idea what he was looking for.

Cazi continued following unobtrusively with the grace of one who'd made a career of slipping in and out of places unnoticed. He stayed within sight of Vinnie as he moved further back and watched as the Mouse knelt to dust a hand-sized object off with his fingers and stare at it for a while.

When he stood, he was holding the soft object and brought it to his chest with an absent focus and tried to nuzzle it despite the interfering helmet that shielded his body from the cold, nearly airless atmosphere.

Cazi thought a moment, and then focused deep within on the magic he rarely used. What was needed here was air and heat, both found in the elements he was strongly attached to. It took a few minutes, but eventually the temperature and atmosphere reached a point that was safe for unshielded exposure. He was careful to keep the magic and it's effects gentle on any and all artifacts that might be present; especially the one Vinnie was holding.

Even without him saying anything, the Mouse seemed to pick up on the shift and looked around in surprised confusion until his gaze fell on the Lion and seemed to accept that this was his doing.

"Thanks," Vinnie murmured softly as he used to his tail to remove his helmet and set it on the top of a nearby bookshelf that was still standing in the middle of the room.

"My pleasure." Cazi smiled softly. Though he had basic mage training, he rarely used it for more than what others called parlor tricks, so it was pleasant to be able to use it to help.

Vinnie smiled slightly at him before turning his attention to brushing as much of the red dust from the soft, fluffy object he'd picked up until a little bit of color showed threw the reddish of the dust.

Cazi smiled inside watching the normally tough, brash Mouse take gentle care of what appeared to be a stuffed animal. It showed a soft side of Vinnie that Cazi had suspected existed, but that was kept well hid.

He gave the little toy a nose to nose nuzzle, all but oblivious to the rest of the universe for a moment and let a long, slow breath out before continuing further back into the complex where the signs of battle were fewer and made a rather direct line to one of the larger family livings rooms to be seen.

Like the rest of the complex, it bore the signs of being evacuated hurriedly. Everyone simply dropping everything and running for their lives. While the memories were brutal and painful, the relics left because of it were of everyday life. Children's toys and the scattered remains of adult board and card games.

Cazi followed quietly, much of his attention on slowly expanding the protective environment as they walked and the rest on watching the Mouse explore the obviously familiar environment for things and maybe even answers.

"What are you looking for, Vinnie?" Cazi asked quietly, after he'd watched the Mouse search for awhile in the latest site they'd visited. "Two pairs of eyes may find whatever it is faster than one." He suggested gently.

"One of the shields with my family crest on it." He explained absently as he worked over the badly damaged remains of a wealthy estate buried in dust and volcanic debris.

"What does your family crest look like?" He asked, as he began looking for shields of the sort many races used to display family crests.

"Ummm," he paused, trying to translate the names and creatures he knew into something recognizable to someone who knew neither Martian culture nor wildlife. "It's a oval with four star points on it," he motioned the rounded concave diamond with his hands. "A flame-blade and frost-blade crossed in the foreground, a simple crown above them and four fields in the background.

"When facing it the top right is a kneeling beheaded Garou. A Van Wham knight is in the top left facing forward with his sword pointed down and the top between his toes. The bottom right is a field of grain-plants, and the bottom left a set of three stylized arrows."

"Right." Cazi nodded as he began to focus on searching with skills honed in years of finding things people didn't want found. He refrained from commenting on what he thought about putting the execution of another sentient creature on one's coat of arms, and was a good enough actor that his scent and body language never strayed from calm and focused.

Vinnie was clearly not paying attention to him anyway, which was good. As it stood, Vinnie's body indicated he'd found something before Cazi, though the Lion had found several different coats of arms that didn't look at all like what Vinnie had described.

"Well, it's a little off, but this is definitely it." He murmured to himself as he knelt to brush off the worst of the grime from the large warrior's shield he'd pulled from the rubble.

"That's good. Is there anything else we're looking for?" Cazi asked, thinking that the odd creature being beheaded didn't look much like any Garou sort he'd encountered.

"Something that may not exist," Vinnie nodded with a surprisingly low guard considering a Lion was standing next to him. "A piece of jewelry that's very special to me." He shifted to pick up the shield with the ease of actually knowing how to use the awkward thing and started off to a place well away from the main house. "An engagement circlet."

"Is that like an engagement ring? Or something bigger, and what does it look like?" He asked, as he began to consider trying one of the minor air elemental based seeker spells.

"It's a thin golden band for the head. A simpler version of the crown here," he showed the family crest and pointed to the circle of gold and points above the crossed swords. "Mine was braided with silver and bronze with three light blue stones set it in. It's a set of two. One with my name on it, the other with Carmel Van Sur. That last bit is probably too specific for this world though. The design is a common one for my mother's line."

Cazi concentrated for several minutes before a small glowing ball of blue light materialized in the shattered room, and then began darting about looking around, behind and through everything as Vinnie watched with open awe and wide-eyed shock.

"Minor trick." Cazi said quietly, as he kept a mental eye on the minor elemental. After about five minutes, Cazi grinned. "Looks like it found something." He said, as he headed for where the seeker-imp was waiting with the white Mouse trotting along in fascination.

"Very cool trick."

"Okay, back off." Cazi waved at the blue-white globe, causing it to move away from the wall it was hovering at. "Hmm. Looks like a wall safe." Cazi smiled. "Combo lock."

"You want to crack it, or should I try the combo I know first?" Vinnie grinned at him invitingly.

"Well, you can give it a shot." He smiled. "Though I don't expect any real difficulty in cracking it. It's milspec secured so it should be no problem."

The Mouse chuckled softly and knelt in the rubble to spin the simple combo lock in the pattern he knew from so long ago. Much to his surprise the combination actually worked, releasing the safe to reveal a velvet and gilded box about the right size to contain what he was looking for.

With a hesitant hand he reached in to pick up the elegant container. He paused, his fingers trembling slightly before he popped the top to reveal the pair of engagement circlets, nearly perfect in their braided and engraved beauty.

It took him some time to realize there were subtle differences marking it, and the names engraved into the inner surface were different. The one that resembled his closely bore the name Arthur Van Wham, while the mate bore the name Amanda Van Sur.

"For a thousand years apart, so much is the same." Vinnie murmured and lifted both circlets so the front of the outside decoration touched the base of his antennae, seeking a bit about the ones who had been promised with these.

Arthur seemed to be in a similar position in the family as Vinnie. His image was of another pretty boy playboy like Vinnie, but not as buff from the battlefield. He had a scar across his right eye, but the eye was still intact. Amanda was in no small way drop dead gorgeous with the silver-white fur and sapphire blue eyes that were the classic Van Sur appearance. It was also quite clear that the two had been very much in love.

The white Mouse was smiling softly as he let the circlets down and very carefully set them back in their case. "So very, very much the same." He murmured with a quirking grin that spoke more of fondness than anything else.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same." Cazi said softly, gently when Vinnie stood with the box in his hand. "Was there anything else you wanted to find?" He asked quietly.

"No, this ... was extremely successful." He smiled at the Lion and tucked the jewelry box in his pocket before lifting the dirty shield with his left arm. "Thanks for the help."

"My pleasure, Vinnie." Cazi smiled. "I understand how important family is. Even if I am kind of the black sheep of mine." He chuckled softly as the Mouse stepped over to put a strong hand on the much shorter male's shoulder.

"Black sheep or not, you're a good one." He smiled, almost managing to keep 'for a predator' out of the thought. "And probably ready for a nice hot shower and real food again."

"Oh, we've only been in the field for three weeks." Cazi chuckled. "The Velshan Campaign had us deep behind the lines for almost three months at a stretch." He grinned. "But a hot shower and real food does sound good. You want to go into the nearest city, or shall I call for a shuttle to take us back to the Calypso?"

"A shuttle, definitely." He said a little too quickly, then let a breath out and shook his head. "I'm not really up for facing the new masters of my homeworld."

"Understandable." Cazi smiled. "Let's get to a clear spot and I'll call them. We should be back on board in time for dinner." He chuckled and Vinnie grinned.

"Works for me. I love the food on board. Those Tyrfauns can really cook."

"Yes, they can." Cazi smiled as they headed back the way they had come. "We're really lucky to have them, though they insist they're paying off some debt they owe us." He shook his head. "Twenty years and I still don't really understand it."

"Sometimes, it doesn't matter why." Vinnie said with a quiet certainty. "I'd be concerned for when they have paid the debt off, but I'm paranoid about that kind of thing."

"Honestly, I think they have." He smiled. "But we've always been good to them, and they've shown no interest in going elsewhere. As employers go, we're good to our support people."

"Most good power bases do." He nodded with a knowing smile. "No sizeable force lasts long without good home support. It's too difficult."

"No kidding." Cazi chuckled. "And cooking is not a skill that shows up often enough in commando types, nor is cleaning up after the cooking."

The thought was enough to make Vinnie laugh brightly. "Oh, I have no doubt. Not even as a self-defense skill."

"Most of us can manage to not starve, but that's about as far as it goes." Cazi grinned. "But I wouldn't force anyone to eat Ebon's attempts at cooking, for example."

"I'm sure," the Mouse smirked back. "He can't be good at everything, now can he?"

"Nope." Cazi chuckled. "One earful of him trying to sing will tell you that."

"I bet he could use it as a weapon. Drive a Syrin crazy."

"I'm afraid it's a bit indiscriminate." He snickered. "Affects allies as well as enemies. Fortunately, he doesn't try very often."

"Ah, that's when you get a team that's tone deaf and thinks he sings just fine."

"Most of the team is, and they still think he's awful." Cazi chuckled. "Fortunately we're a commando unit, and not a rock band. If he was our lead singer we'd be in real trouble."

"That's when it would be time to find a new career." Vinnie snickered. "Does he get better or worse drunk?"

"Beats me." Cazi chuckled. "I've never seen him drunk."

"Never?" Vinnie raised an eyebrow. "He doesn't drink, or he just drinks everything under the table?"

"Oh, he drinks." Cazi smiled. "But I've never seen anything get to him."

"Not even once?" The Mouse pressed, half fascinated and half all riled up to try to change that perfect record.

"Not in the thirty years I've known him." Cazi smiled.

"Now that is just not right," he huffed with a snap of his tail. "Something that'll have to change."

"Now that'd be interesting to see." Cazi chuckled softly, wondering what his mate would be like drunk. Part of him was curious, and the other part was more than a bit worried, and this Mouse at his side was definitely ramping up on the idea.

"We do have a few weeks." He rumbled in pure mischief.

"And we're not on a mission." Cazi smiled. "So Ebon doesn't have anything to keep him from relaxing."

"Leaders never relax enough." He snorted. "None of them. I swear it'd a job requirement."

"I'd say it was genetic, but they're not all related." Cazi chuckled. "Though to be fair, the ones who don't relax much, are usually the good ones, the ones you can count on."

"It's a paradox, to be sure. But it's our job to get them to relax now and then. Before they burn out."

"It's tough job, but someone's got to do it." Cazi smirked as Vinnie laughed in mischievous delight.

"I think we have a mission statement." He smirked in delight. "We must get him to relax."

"But you probably should stay clear if the guys head for the open court on deck 12." Cazi said seriously. "One of the forms of relaxation for the NightBlades is playing rugby..." He hesitated for a moment. "In war-form."

"Oh," Vinnie's entire body stilled in a muscle-tension contraction until he remembered how to breath again. "I will."

"Just didn't want you to run into that by accident, or unexpected." Cazi said gently.

"Yeah, thanks." he nodded and forced his body to move again, if a bit stiffly for several steps. "That ... would have gone poorly."

"I know." Cazi said quietly. "Nobody needs that kind of shock. Especially not someone who's healing." He said, staying close to the Mouse who seemed to be a bit in shock, though coming out of it.

"He must be one of the biggest things I've seen, at fourteen feet. Not many get close to that big." Vinnie murmured, only half really talking to Cazi.

"Um, he's not even close to fourteen feet." Cazi said quietly. "More like ten, maybe ten and a half."

"Really?" He glanced over at the shorter Lion.

"Yeah, I've never met a Felsin shifter who went much over twelve, and that's pretty rare."

"At least there's that. Not than many blackeyes are either." He shook his head. "But I never knew of one with a mouse-form at eight feet either."

"Eight foot is well above average for Felsin." Cazi nodded. "But then he's not average in anything." He grinned fondly.

"So just how common is it to be 'not unusual' and 'well above average'?" He glanced at the feline.

"In the NightBlades, the unusual is fairly common." He smiled. "But as an Elite unit, that's normal. But the average Felsin is around six and a half, but there's a wide range that depends on what Clan one is most closely related to."

"Oh," Vinnie nodded a bit. "Only a couple inches on me then."

"Yeah, Tigers and Lions tend to be the biggest in the seven to seven and a half range, with Caracals on the small end at around five and a half." He nodded, one Vinnie returned with a slightly uneasy chuckle.

"Have I gotten any better around you guys?" He suddenly asked.

"You seem to have gotten somewhat better, as long as we stay in one form." He smiled encouragingly. "Which is significant progress considering how short a time it's been."

"Good," Vinnie smiled slightly and a little shyly. "You've been really good to me."

"Like I've said before, we like you." Cazi smiled. "You're good company and a lot of fun to have around. We don't take a liking to everyone we happen to rescue, but you've still got spirit despite what you've been through."

Vinnie couldn't help but chuckle as they stopped to wait for the shuttle at the site of the estate's nuri racing track. "Spirit is one thing you can't take from me for long. It's just not in me not to have fun with whatever I've got."

"That's a very good thing, Vinnie." Cazi grinned. "Life is to be enjoyed as much as possible, whenever possible. Some people forget that."

"And they tend to be the leader-types." He smirked back. "They need us to remind them what they're fighting for."

"Well, leader types forget in one way." He nodded with a smile. "But some people don't have the spirit to bounce back from trauma and still enjoy life." He said sadly. "It's one we've seen too often."

"Yeah, me too," Vinnie dropped into a much more serious mood for a moment. "I think we lost more people to broken spirits than we really did to fishfaces. It's hard to fight when you're heart isn't looking forward to seeing tomorrow."

"Very true." Cazi nodded. "To fight, you at least need to see tomorrow as something worth living to see."

"Not everybody needs to, but those they didn't and still fought well are scary folks." Vinnie said softly with a shake of his head. "I've seen them, ones who don't care, but can't give up even to the extent to let themselves get killed. They're very gloomy, depressing folks."

"I would expect so." Cazi shook his head. "Though I can't say I've met any, but then I haven't been in that kind of war either."

"It's not a situation I'd wish on anything." Vinnie said quietly, then shook his head to shake off the mood a bit. "Some of them are really good folks, good warriors, just a drag to be around."

"That combination I have seen." Cazi nodded. "But we don't have any in the NightBlades."

"Notably," the Mouse cracked a grin. "You guys party way too much for a gloomy-guss to stand you for any length of time."

"We wouldn't have recruited them in the first place." Cazi grinned as the shuttle came into view. "We may be official, but we're very independent."

"I noticed." He smiled slightly. "I know enough about governments to know a normal unit would never get the kind of freedoms you guys enjoy."

"Well, they need us more than we need them." He grinned. "And they really don't like the thought of us working the mercenary circuit. Not that we really want to, but we could." He chuckled.

"And make a serious fortune at it," he chuckled as the shuttle came in for a landing. "Though I expect you could do nearly anything, and still be setting records."

"Yeah, but we actually like for something more important than just money." Cazi said seriously as they walked toward the opening door of the shuttle. "Not like I need more money than I inherited anyway." He chuckled.

"It always pays to have backup skills." Vinnie said softly. "Never know when your fortunes are going to change."

"That's what residual income, and patent royalties are for." Cazi grinned. "I'd made my own little fortune before I inherited. Hell, I wasn't even expecting to inherit."

Vinnie nodded acceptance and stepped onto the shuttle, setting the large shield in a holding bin and stretching before he settled into a seat with a look to make sure Girl had her position. Cazi sat down across from him while Blaze waved from the pilot seat as the shuttle lifted off.

"It'll be good to go home," he murmured softly.

"I'm sure it will." Cazi nodded as his companion relaxed in a way he couldn't on the surface.

"I think I'm going to miss you," Vinnie admitted quietly, then chuckled nervously. "That's just a way strange thought."

"Well, if your people decide to open up you might not have to for long." He smiled. "Besides, you never know where I'll show up. And I think I'm going to miss you as well."

"No, I don't suppose I would." He shook his head with a chuckle. "Have you picked up our form yet?"

"Yeah, I have." Cazi smiled. "I usually make a point of adding new races to my form library when I encounter them. Never know what I might need to be."

"Will you show me after lunch?" He asked, intensely curious. "Just come by in it."

"Sure thing, I can do that." Cazi smiled.

"Good, the mouse nodded and relaxed back, his new eyes closing for a short nap on the way to the ship in orbit.

About half an hour after lunch, there was a knock at Vinnie's door. When Vinnie opened the door there was a solid white male Martian Mouse with bright green eyes standing in front of him, wearing jeans and a black-shirt. He was about 5' 9", but was solidly muscular like Cazi's Lion form.

"So, what do you think?" The white Mouse asked curiously.

"Very nice," he rumbled in appreciation and guided the other male in. "Unusual eyes, but it makes you rather exotic. Especially with that build."

"Oh, is green an unusual eye color?" He asked curiously as the door closed behind him and Vinnie moved to take in the form from all sides, including by touch.

"Yes," he chuckled softly as he moved around to face the other male mouse again. "Red like mine are fairly common, as are brown. A couple bloodlines sport blue, but you don't look anything like the Van Sur. Green exists, but it's a real rarity. It's very attractive the way you present it though, if that's what you were aiming for. Quite memorable. And it works with the white well. Some colors wouldn't take it nearly so nicely."

"Oh, I always aim for attractive." Cazi chuckled. "Especially with the example I was working from." He grinned as Vinnie's fingers ghosted down his muzzle and across his face.

"You've definitely got it. Unless you're particularly attached to that build, there are some tweaks that would let you fit into the upper ranks better."

"Attached, nope." He smiled. "It's just what I came up with. So, tweak away."

"First, are you trying to fit into any particular family or social sphere, or something that can work as both commoner and noble?"

"Normally, I go for upper class, it's what I know." He said simply. "If there's a noticeable difference in appearance, I'll add a form for doing commoners."

"No, it just means you'll want to avoid the things that will mark you for a specific family." He considered the base and options. "First thing is going to be build. You're too stocky, especially for the noble bloodlines. A few more inches taller wouldn't be a bad idea either."

"So about six foot, and more like athletically buff, not weightlifter?" He said, making notes without shifting like he normally would to actually make the adjustments.

"Closer to six six. I'm short." Vinnie chuckled softly with a rueful look on his face. "And yes on the build." He considered the form again. "Are you any good with the tail and antennae?"

"Tail is easy." He grinned. "I've worked with prehensile tails before, it's just a matter of how strong and agile. The antennae I'll admit I'm less sure about, I'm not exactly sure what function they serve."

Vinnie paused at that, searching for a concise way to say it without letting too much out. "Mice are touch telepaths. The antennae are how we do it."

"Oh, that's not a problem then since I don't actually need touch to do telepathy, even if it does make it easier. Anything else I should know about them? Like how sensitive to touch are they supposed to be?"

"Very," he said softly. "As sensitive as what's between your legs, and about the same way."

"Right." Cazi nodded, and made a mental note. "That's an interesting development." He said quietly thoughtful.

"Do you want to know?" He offered with a mixture of hesitancy and wanting to.

"I'm game for most things." He smiled encouragingly. "And more curious than is usually good for me." He said, having made an unnoticeable internal shift to adjust the sensitivity of the antennae on both the touch and telepathic levels.

"I have noticed that," Vinnie chuckled a bit and closed the distance between them to carefully touch antennae and take control of the exchange with more care than he would with another mouse. With some care he picked out several of his better memories of antennae blowjobs and passed them to the other mind.

"Wow. That is sensitive." He nodded as he processed the memories and attached physical sensations. "Does add some interesting dimensions to bedroom play though." He commented thoughtfully.

"A skilled lover can make you come without ever touching you more than there," he nodded and backed off a bit. "A good set of antennae are an attractive asset too."

"Okay, do I have the appearance on the antennae right then?" He asked curiously.

"Looks like you duplicated mine." Vinnie chuckled and brushed the air a hairs breath away from one with a finger. "Yes, they look good."

"Well, I figured I could do worse than copy a few details from you." He chuckled. "I was going on the assumption that you're an above average example of your species." He grinned teasingly.

"I'm a survivor," he shot back with a grin. "And very well bred."

"My father's family would find it terribly ironic that I'm imitating someone who's well-bred." Cazi chuckled with a little self-deprecating humor.

"Half-breed?" Vinnie asked softly, tipping the shorter mouse's face up to meet a remarkably gentle look.

"Bastard half-breed to use the more common phrase." He chuckled slightly, though there was a bit of fatigue to the sound. "Fortunately, their own laws don't care much about either."

"Unusual system." He murmured softly, not really sure what to do with the almost-intimate contact he'd initiated. "Sounds like you've made it work for you though."

"By accident." He smiled up at the taller mouse. "My father forgot, for some reason, that disinheriting has to be done formally as part of a will." He chuckled slightly, not quite sure how to react to what could be consider an intimate touch by Vinnie. "As his firstborn, I ended up inheriting. Even though he'd ignored me and my mother since I was very young."

"Ah," he smiled slightly, not even noticing that his fingers moved gently along the fine, silky fur of Cazi's white chin. "Back home, we'd call it Mars' Will he 'forgot' to disown you."

"I guess I can't rule out the intervention of higher powers." Cazi chuckled quietly, as he reflexively leaned slightly into Vinnie's pleasant touch.

"You rarely can," Vinnie murmured as his fingers drifted lower on the shorter mouse's jaw, towards Cazi's neck. "They have their own ideas of why to do things."

"That's very true." Cazi smiled, enjoying Vinnie's touch but completely uncertain how or even if to respond. He wasn't entirely sure Vinnie was doing it intentionally. His answer came a moment later when the other mouse froze, his eyes going a bit wide as it registered what he was doing.

"Sorry," he stammered a bit and abruptly dropped his hand away and took a step back. "I ... I didn't." Vinnie shook his head with a sigh.

"There's nothing to apologize for, Vinnie." Cazi said reassuringly, with a soft smile that didn't ream to reassure much.

"I've been away from Mice too long," he shook his head. "And you make a good looking one, even as a guy."

"I have a good example to work from." Cazi smiled. "As long as it sounds like you've been away from your people, it's not surprising you reacted to having one around."

"Thanks," Vinnie relaxed a little at being let off the hook, even as he wondered just why he'd touched the other male that way. Another mouse, anyone who knew what he'd actually done, would have probably pushed him to the bed by now. It was blatant enough flirting.

"So, how about I go make a few adjustments to this form and come back so you can critique it?" Cazi suggested, acknowledging without saying it that the actual shifting made Vinnie uncomfortable. He also needed to clear his mind of the thoughts that Vinnie's touching had set off. With any other equally attractive male he would've taken the opening in a heartbeat, but Vinnie's complete disinterest in guys was too well established to just ignore, no matter how much Cazi wanted to.

"Sounds good," he nodded and let himself relax and drop the entire thought of why he'd done what he had. "See you in a few then?"

"About ten should do it." Cazi nodded and opened the door with his tail while Vinnie watched the movements and then him leave.

"See you then." He nodded and flopped on the bed. His hand instinctively cupped his crotch, wanting to know if what he though he felt swelling there was his imagination or not. With a soft, confused sound he unbuttoned his jeans to deal with the hardening flesh.

Out of a perverse curiosity he held the image of Cazi's mouse form in his minds eye and the Lion's almost-mouse scent in his nose as he stroked himself off.

"So what do you think, Vinnie?" Cazi said when he came back with his new form. He'd upped his height to 6' 7", and given himself a more athletically buff build, as opposed to the weightlifter he'd been before. Cazi had no doubt what his nose was telling him Vinnie had been up to in the last ten minutes, but Cazi didn't see a reason to mention it.

"Definitely closer to the norm," he nodded approvingly, more than a little relieved that he felt his neutral self towards this one as he examined the now taller mouse from all angles. He barely cared why he wasn't reacting, just that he wasn't. "With a nice mix of exotic with the eyes, but not so exotic that you'd be pegged for one of the smaller families immediately. Have you thought of a name to go by?"

"Not yet. Wasn't sure just how names went, and didn't want to pick something that would be inappropriate or terribly embarrassing." He chuckled. "I've done that a few times too many for my likening."

"I bet," he chuckled with a teasing grin. "Mmm, definitely a Van something. The white fur is very rare outside our lines. Van Ske, or Van Drall probably. They're minor families that don't breed quite as discriminately as Van Wham or Van Sur, so the mixed look would go well with them. Van Ske in particular have a tendency to have unusual lookers from the days when they were a leading family. They picked up our white fur and the Van Sur eyes in those days."

"So how's Michael Van Ske work?" He asked curiously.

"Michael?" Vinnie cocked his head and considered the form and his own response if he heard it in the clubs. "Mmm, yes, that works. You don't want a pure-blood name anyway. It's too accountable. I can see this working out." He nodded, still considering the mouse form a few inches taller than he was with the unusual eyes. "You should definitely make a splash in the club scenes I traveled in. Most will call you Mich, or even Mike, unless you make a point of correcting them. Both are acceptable shortenings, and most of us do it with our equals. Like I go by Vinnie with most, but servants and ranking family members still called me Vincent."

"Got it. Useful to know." He smiled. "Shortening of names is an interesting point of difference among cultures."

"That much I noticed on Earth," he nodded and relaxed, flopping back on his bed with a stretch he unconsciously made as sexy as he could. "It's a term of endearment there, it seems. Derogatory as often as not for the rest of the time." He shook his head. "For us, it's a rank thing. Though I haven't a clue how it got started. Probably the battlefield, knowing my family."

"So if someone does it they're basically saying they're either same rank or higher?" Cazi asked curiously.

"No, just the same rank, give or take." He corrected easily. "By calling me Vinnie, you're claiming to be within my social circle, Second or Third circle, and the upper end of the Fourth. Since I'm relaxed about it, I tend not to correct the Fifth or Sixth about it unless we're somewhere formal where they should be respecting my breeding. I'm Vincent to First circle nobles and the older, established Second circle ones. Master Vincent to servants and Lord Vincent to commoners and very low ranking nobles."

"Ah, a useful distinction." Cazi nodded. "So if you know one person's rank, you can get a reasonable feel for the ranks of those he interacts with. Approximately."

"Yes, and the older the noble, the more precise it will be." He nodded and gestured to include both the bed he was lying on and a couple chairs. "Have a seat. I think we have cultural notes to go over." He grinned with a soft chuckle.

"Always a good idea." Cazi chuckled, and sat down on the bed next to the relaxed mouse.

"First, I'd peg you for low Third circle, just on looks and bearing." He started. "Which is a good thing. It's low enough that a new face won't raise too many questions, but still high enough to get you places and answers. If you keep that form, that I recognize you is going to be to your advantage, since you can use me as a reference if you get called on it."

"Always a good thing." Cazi nodded.

"How deep a cover do you intend to try for?"

"Honestly, I'm not doing this as an Intel operation." Cazi smiled. "It was more of a way of being able to visit a friend while his world." He grinned.

"Then it won't be too critical to have names and nit-picky things right that some of the elders and smart-asses would catch." He nodded thoughtfully. "Just good enough to blend in in general situations?"

"General blending in, and not embarrassing myself." He smiled at Vinnie chuckling nod.

"That's not too hard," he promised. "A couple points that probably aren't very common. Antennae are sexual, so touching them is a lot like copping a feel. It's acceptable in public, particularly in the clubs, but it's not a move to take with someone you aren't sure how they'll react to such a blatant come-on."

"Much like copping a feel." Cazi grinned.

"Yes," he chuckled softly. "The other is the tail. You have had a prehensile tail, so you have some advantage there, but it's as much a part of body language as anything on us. Some moves to keep an eye for is bringing it around someone's middle. It's much like holding hands. It's fairly casual, and is used between friends and parents-kits as well as sexual interests, but it's more intimate to some, because of the trust involved in allowing it to happen. With a tail around your waist, you are fairly helpless."

"I can see that, it's very strong." He nodded. "So it's another gesture you don't use with just anyone, but not as intimate as the antennae."

"Right," Vinnie nodded crisply and sat up, "and there are other interpretations, while feeling someone's antennae up really is only one thing. This is a greeting," he explained as he brought his tail between them and set the last third or so flat. "It's rather formal, but variants exist in more relaxed situations. It's answered by draping your tail around mine very loosely, kind of like a tail handshake. You're trying to create a mirror effect where they look the same, just going opposite directions."

"Like this?" Cazi said, performing the tailshake as described. With a couple minor tweaks Vinnie nodded.

"It's ended by drawing your tail out of the loop, both of us at the same time." He explained and moved his tail back without loosing the raised portion.

Cazi nodded, and copied the motion. "That's something that's not intuitively obvious." He smiled.

"No, and every culture has it's set," he nodded with a chuckle and relaxed his tail back down.

Vinnie closed his eyes in the welcoming moist heat of the shower almost two weeks after the incident with Cazi, still unable to get the feel of the white mouse-fur from his mind at the most inconvenient times.

Times like now, with the water falling around him and his tail wrapped around his balls and cock to relieve the pressure built up in the night. And even worse, times like two nights ago, when Vicalla's mouth was wrapped around it.

It was getting predictable enough the mouse didn't know whether to scream, cry or moan. So he did what he knew, he moaned and explored this new desire when it came and gave little concern about why he was exploring a new pleasure when it came.

Cazi's knock on the door to Vinnie's quarters was greeted by a nervous mouse, which only increased the Lion's curiosity as to why Vinnie had asked him here, and to come in the shorter mouse form.

"Hi," Vinnie smiled, just a little forced, and stepped aside to Cazi could come in and the door shut behind him.

"Hi, Vinnie." Cazi smiled. "What's up?" He asked curiously.

"I've been thinking," he said quietly and more than a bit sheepishly. "Dangerous thing for me," he added and guided the shorter male to flop down on the bed much as they'd been almost three weeks before, but he couldn't quite get himself to really look at Cazi now.

"Oh, about anything in particular?" Cazi asked, trying to keep his intense curiosity in check as he look over at the taller mouse. He didn't want to make this any more difficult than it clearly already was.

"Why I touched you the way I did," he said softly, obviously having practiced this part of the conversation extensively. "What I felt, even in memory."

"I thought it was just reflexive." Cazi said quietly. "I guess you must think otherwise." He said gently.

"Probably was," Vinnie mumbled uncomfortably. "What stayed with me ... I can't brush off so easily. I keep feeling ... it ... at the worst times."

"New thoughts and feelings can be like that." Cazi said in quiet voice, trying to be encouraging to the distressed mouse next to him into continuing. At a loss for words, Vinnie finally looked up and shifted forward to reach out and repeat the touch that had been torturing him for weeks to have Cazi leaned into it encouragingly.

He reached his hand over to gently touch Vinnie's cheek the same way. "It's okay, really it is." He said softly, watching as the mouse's eyes closed for a moment before opening again. Vinnie leaned forward to touch mouths in a hesitant, uncertain kiss that his body clearly liked, even if his mind wasn't nearly so sure of it.

Cazi had to restrain himself to keep from going to fast. It had been a long time since he'd been someone's first time, and he didn't remember how it went all that well. But accepting the kiss, and letting Vinnie decide how passionate he wanted to take it seemed reasonably safe. Just a little hint of getting more passionate, to let Vinnie know that he could go further if he wanted to, but that he didn't have to.

Through their contact, he could feel a similar struggle inside Vinnie, though for very different reasons. It was well known the mouse's tendency to just jump in and get to the sex, but here, for all his body was keyed up for it, it wasn't exactly what he knew and deep inside, there was an old fear, and old pain, that held him back more than the uncertainty.

When Vinnie finally drew away, it was slowly and his breathing was much sharper. "Fewer clothes?" He suggested, one hand already working on his belt.

"It usually makes things easier." Cazi nodded and followed suit, slowly undressing so as not to appear over eager under Vinnie curious gaze. He felt the touch of skilled hands on his shoulders as he pulled his boots off, with the velvety wet trail of pleasure along his antennae a moment later.

"That feels good." Cazi shuddered lightly at the unfamiliar pleasurable sensation.

"Good," Vinnie's voice behind him was soft and low, and much more certain of himself as he drew Cazi back a little to take the full length of one red antennae into the knowing wet heat of his mouth and his tail would around to unbutton Cazi's jeans.

"Oh wow." Cazi rumbled as his jeans were unbuttoned and opened by a tail that soon snaked over his hip to curl around the soft white balls and swelling sheath. "Just incredible."

"Yes, it really can be," he smiled softly as he drew back to kiss his way down Cazi's ear and neck while skilled fingers continued to work the thick red antennae and his tail worked between the other male's legs.

"I bet." Cazi smiled and worked his tail up between Vinnie's legs. His attention was greeted with a low moan as the taller mouse continued his trail of kisses down Cazi's jaw until he turned the smaller male's face for a heated kiss warning of all restraints slipping away.

It was a kiss that Cazi accepted eagerly as he continued to play between the larger mouse's legs and the mood quickly shifted from teasing uncertainty and exploration to the heavy need of full arousal.

"Oh, yeah, a little harder." Vinnie moaned hotly, his own tail tightening its spiral grip on Cazi's smooth cock and milking it intently. Cazi moaned his own pleasure and tightened his grip on the Mouse's smooth length, milking it with strong strokes until Vinnie stiffened and cried out, his hot seed splashing against Cazi's broad back and dribbling down to slicken the spiral of pleasure around his shaft. The scent and sound of Vinnie's pleasure, provided enough stimulation to push Cazi over the edge, coming with as close to a roar as his mouse body would manage.

"Damn," he panted softly, leaning forward against the stocky body he'd been pleasuring.

"That was good." Cazi said as he caught his breath. "Very good."

"Mmm-hmmm," the mouse chuckled softly. "Not as weird as I was kinda expecting."

"A trip into the unknown rarely goes as expected." Cazi smiled, leaning back against the larger male, who shifted to lay them down on the big bed and rolled to lay against him.

"No kidding," Vinnie smiled softly and brushed one hand over the soft, short fur of Cazi's chest. "Thank you."

"My pleasure, Vinnie." Cazi smiled, and reached down to brush his hand along Vinnie's leg. "Is this something you'd rather I kept to myself?" He asked curiously, clearly okay with it being a secret.

"I ..." he startled for a moment. "Maybe for now." He nodded slightly. "I'm not really game to get hit on by everybody on the ship all over again."

"I doubt they would Vinnie." He smiled gently. "Everybody knows that predators make you uneasy, even if you have gotten better about it. But don't worry, the only people who'll know is my mates, and that's because we don't keep secrets from each other. And they both can keep secrets like nobody's business."

"I don't doubt it, healers and black ops tend to be extraordinarily good at that." He smiled softly as his hand drifted lower over flat, hard abs.

"And no one has ever called Ebon a gossip." Cazi chuckled, as his tail snaked up and around Vinnie's waist gently. "Hell, when I met him he didn't hardly talk outside of business."

"I expect you've loosened him up a bit since." Vinnie chuckled. His hand hesitated as it crossed close to Cazi's groin, then moved to cup firm white balls and gently roll them between his fingers.

"Hell yeah." Cazi chuckled as he shuddered in pleasure and slipped his tail down so he could gently caress Vinnie's balls. "Though the way we met sure didn't lend itself to that." He said before moaning at Vinnie's attentions to his balls and neck.

"Both on business?" He guessed with a soft nip to Cazi's neck and rolled to take a more dominant position half over his muscular lover.

"Yeah, we were both retrieving something from the same target." He chuckled and leaned up to kiss Vinnie. "We got into a fight thinking we were after the same thing, and well, he kind of kicked my ass, no big surprise. Still, I couldn't get the big hunk out of my head afterwards so I went looking for him."

"You are incorrigible," Vinnie laughed hard at that and claimed a much for fiery kiss. "So how did the healer end up with you?"

"I'd been dating her for about three months." He smiled fondly. "Ebon and I were mates already, so it was getting to the point were I really had to introduce them, but it wasn't easy. Ebon wasn't much on civilians at that point." He chuckled. "So I challenged him to a game of truth or dare. The bet was a threesome with a person of the winner's choosing." He chuckled. "I had no idea they'd hit it off so well."

"What in the world did you ask him that he'd take the dare?" He blinked in surprise and paused his fondling for a moment before bringing his hand up to close around the hot cock still laying against Cazi's abs.

"I asked him to tell me about a mission he regretted doing." He said softly. "I expected him to say there wasn't one."

"Oh," he stilled softly, closing his eyes for a brief moment with a nod. "I'm not surprised. It would be a lie."

"Back then it wasn't so sure." He said quietly. "He didn't seem like anything touched him. But we'd only been together for a few years, there was still a lot I didn't understand."

"It's not about him," Vinnie murmured with a gentle kiss. "I don't know him at all, really. It's just a truth. Anyone who says they don't regret anything they've done is either lying, or has no clue what they've done."

"Oh, regrets in general I know. I was more curious about missions." He smiled, and kissed the mouse back. "There was still a lot I didn't know about the NightBlades."

"I don't doubt it," he smiled and nuzzled the smaller male before gently laying on top of him, letting his lighter weight rub their hard bodies together.

"But what I don't know, always fascinates me." Cazi chuckled, and nuzzled Vinnie back as the mouse experimented with a little movement and laughed.

"I've noticed." He snickered as one knee found a home on the bed. As good as it felt on his erection, the lack of softness and breasts was a little disconcerting, but not all that bad as long as he focused on what did feel good.

"As fascinating goes, you're definitely high on the list." He chuckled, before reaching up to put his arms around Vinnie, running his hands through the fur on the mouse's back.

"I noticed that too," he murmured with another kiss and continued to rub their bodies together, rumbling both at the embrace around his back and the pleasure of being against fur.

"I'm sure you get that a lot." Cazi grinned, as he enjoyed the feeling of Vinnie rubbing against his fur and the other mouse's fur against the smooth bare skin of his erection.

"Tends to be more blatant," he snickered, moaning softly as his body started to really feel the attentions. "But, yeah, I do."

"Of course, you certainly deserve it." Cazi rumbled and pulled the Mouse tighter against him, intensifying the rubbing to the point Vinnie surrendered to the rippling pleasure and gave his voice over to moans.

When his hips began the instinctively rhythmic thrusting against his lover he claimed Cazi's face in both hands and kissed him with all the fiery passion his body was tightening with. It was a kiss that Cazi returned with equal passion, as he thrust his hips up at Vinnie. His hands eagerly caressed the hard, muscular form above him, drawing muffled moans and cries from the mouse until his body surrendered and tightened with a heavy, wet splash of slimy seed between them that slickened the path and made it even more intense.

The intensity of Vinnie's reaction, was an incredible turn-on as was the slickness between them as he continued rubbing against the body above him. It was only a short while before he came with a powerful near roar muffled by Vinnie's mouth.

"Damn, but you're intense." Cazi murmured breathlessly as their muzzles finally parted and he shifted his head to nuzzle the white Mouse.

"I enjoy life when I can," he chuckled and rested his head against Cazi's. "You're fun."

"Thanks, that's a real compliment coming from someone who's an expert on fun." Cazi rumbled both serious and playful while they caught their breath and cooled down a bit.

"From one expert to another." He murmured against the thick white neck. "You've got a few lessons to teach me yet on it."

"Any time you want, Vinnie." Cazi said with gentle encouragement, but no pressure.

"Now?" He murmured with a slight shiver.

"I would be pleased to." Cazi smiled warmly and reached a hand up to brush Vinnie's cheek gently. "Any thing that you wanted to explore in particular?"

"What I don't know," he murmured with a soft, lingering kiss. "I've only been with a male a couple times before tonight." He said quietly, leaving the circumstances intentionally vague.

"Have you ever mounted a male?" He asked gently, suspecting that the mouse's previous experiences might not have been willing.

Vinnie shook his head, though the shiver the passed through his frame spoke of a painful familiarity with the concept that stole his voice and squeezed his eyes shut until he pushed the memories away.

"Why don't we try something else first?" Cazi suggested. "Let me suck you." He rumbled, as his tail gently teased Vinnie's sheath and balls to the mouse's surprise.

"You ... want to do that?" He asked in a low, soft voice and looked down at Cazi curiously.

"Pleasuring a lover is something I enjoy." Cazi smiled. "Giving pleasure can be as intensely satisfying as receiving it."

"Well, yes," he nodded. "Never thought a guy would want to." he sort of chuckled and slid off Cazi and to his back, almost reflexively opening his legs and body up to his lover.

"That's because you haven't known enough guys who like guys." Cazi rumbled, as he playfully kissed his way down Vinnie's chest and abs. "Guys are usually better at it, in my experience." He murmured, as he rolled the larger male's balls in one hand.

"Oh, yeah," Vinnie moaned softly and relaxed his body, opening it up far more than most uncertain lovers.

As he continued to fondle Vinnie's balls, the smaller male took his playmate's softening cock in his mouth, and swirled his tongue around the sensitive head to an immediate response in the flesh and a very vocal encouragement from above.

While Cazi played with the hardening length and soft balls, he felt Vinnie reach down and instead of taking his head, he stroked and caressed Cazi's antennae. The still unfamiliar sensations from the sensitive appendages momentarily broke Cazi's attention, as he shuddered in pleasure and moaned around the hardening cock in his mouth. As he regained his focus, he resumed licking and sucking Vinnie's hard cock, and then slowly slipped his tail up to stroke and caress the larger male's antennae, imitating the motions he felt on his own antennae.

"Oh, yeah." Vinnie nearly howled and thrust his hips up reflexively, his body responding even more to the touch of the tail than the mouth around his sensitive skin. "Oh, gods, yes."

Taking note of Vinnie's powerful reaction to the tail stroking his antennae, Cazi continued his licking, sucking and stroking as he worked to intensify the Mouse's pleasure. His own empathy, weak thought it was, made the Mouse's pleasure an intense experience for him as well, on top of the sensation from Vinnie's hands on his antennae and the tail that had wrapped around his own erection at some point to stroke it inside a slick, strong coil.

His efforts were rewarded fairly quickly with Vinnie crying out sharply as his hips bucked up hard to shoot what little come he had left into Cazi's waiting mouth and continued to voice the intensity of his pleasure well after the spray had dried out.

Then the stroking of Vinnie's tail quickly pushed Cazi over the edge and he thrust involuntarily against the strong coil of tail as he came. As he regained his breath, he gently licked the larger male's softening cock clean before climbing up on the bed to collapse next to him and felt the taller mouse shift to pull him into a snuggling embrace with a playfully tired lick above on eye.

"That was fun." Vinnie murmured softly.

"That it was." Cazi murmured, as he snuggled against Vinnie. "But fun seems to follow wherever you are." He added softly.

"What can I say? It's a gift," he chuckled with a bit of a smirk. "You seem to appreciate it more than most, though."

"'Cause I happen to appreciate having a good time." Cazi chuckled. "I didn't get into covert ops nearly as early as the other guys. It kind of developed as a sidelight to hacking. But I was always looking for a good party, and someone hot to take home with me." He grinned.

"That last bit is definitely me," Vinnie grinned softly in the relaxed exhaustion of having come three times in half an hour.

"Definitely in the top five of those I've had." Cazi smirked, a bit winded in the pleasant way he usually got from sex with a hot partner.

"Not bad for pure natural talent." He laughed brightly and hugged the muscular white mouse. "It'll be interesting when I actually have a clue what I'm doing."

"Well, the fact that you're one of the hottest just on appearance certainly doesn't hurt." Cazi grinned. "And I'm sure you'll figure it out pretty quick."

"The antennae are a bonus," he nuzzled Cazi and stroked one softly. "Male or female, playing with them is basically the same."

"A useful plus." Cazi nodded. "But I think anything involving pleasure will come naturally to you."

"Well, there's that too," he chuckled with a bit of a smirk. "I am good."

"No denying that." Cazi smirked. "If you were more comfortable with predators and Ebon in particular, I'd be thinking about more permanent arrangements."

Vinnie looked sad for a moment, then shook his head. "Even if I was, home and that aren't exactly compatible. They're not exactly into aliens, or their own coming and going."

"I suppose that will depend on how things go in the future." Cazi said quietly. "If they decide to move out into the universe, your being connected with Dracon nobility probably would be viewed as an asset. At least, that's the kind of thing noble houses tend to think about."

"That's way into the future." He chuckled softly before turning serious and dropping his voice. "And that's only a maybe. Mice have never been much on the idea of half-breeds, even when the other half is just a commoner. It could get my tail exiled for trying it."

"Oh, well I wouldn't want that." Cazi said softly, clearly rather used to the situation. "But thinking in the future is normal for me."

"And I've spent my adult life and then some learning how not to."

"Understandable, considering the war you were in." Cazi said understandingly. "Thinking of the future in such circumstances can be a dangerous distraction."

"And just plain dangerous," he sighed and nuzzled the other male with his eyes closed. "No faster way to get yourself and your friends killed than by seeing the inevitable end result of what we were doing. 'To give them a bloody nose' was never enough for me."

"Knowing a fight in the end can't be won, is never good for morale." Cazi agreed softly, as he snuggled against Vinnie. "And loss of morale always degrades unit performance, sometimes fatally so."

"Frequently fatally so, just feed back into the depression." He murmured softly. "Just not something to think about."

"Nope, better to find something else, anything else to think about." Cazi agreed softly, and kissed Vinnie's cheek gently as the mouse sighed and relaxed.

"Yeah, anything else."

When Vinnie walked into the Cezzurin Club on deck six he caught even more attention than usual at a club, both for the fact that he was clearly already a little buzzed and more for the fact that he'd never came in alone before. He didn't even show up often when he had a date.

As he moved, there was no missing that he really was in a natural environment and something inside him had cracked for the better. He didn't radiate the unease he always had around them before, not even the tension of having it well buried.

As often was the case, one of the Cheetahs noticed first. Blaze nodded briefly to Sureshot and then walked over. "Hiya, Vinnie." He grinned. "Pleasant surprise seeing you here." He added, though he kept it strictly friendly, as tempting as the white mouse always was.

"Hi Spots," he cracked a grin back with a stunning lack of the undercurrent of tension that had permeated his presence for months. "I've been absent from the scene way too long. It's not healthy."

"The scene is definitely more attractive with you in it." Blaze chuckled, noticing that Cazi has a bit surprised by the mouse's entrance even as he moved on the dance floor with one of the recent Canem recruits, an athletically buff Black Lab male.

"Anything is more attractive with me in it," Vinnie shot back with a wider grin and his full bravado mixed with the utter certainty he was the best there was on offer. "If you'll excuse me, I have a Lion to catch."

"Lucky Lion." Blaze chuckled. "Have fun." He grinned broadly, clapped Vinnie on one shoulder in encouragement and then headed back to the table where his twin was waiting with a Lynx and a Puma to watch the mouse move on Cazi and his dancing partner with the sauntering, full up sensual sway as intentional as anything on the floor.

"Mind if I borrow your Lion?" Vinnie tapped the Lab's shoulder with his tail politely enough, though his manner spoke clearly of not being refused.

The Lab exchanged a quick glance with Cazi, before nodding and stepping back. "By all means." He smiled politely and moved away.

"I'm surprised to see you here." Cazi said with a smile that clearly indicated it was a pleasant surprise that only increased when Vinnie began to move to the music with an aura of pure seductive sexuality as he smiled back and drew the Lion close.

"It's not good for me to stay away from the parties, and it's been months." Vinnie crooned back and slipped his arms over the shorter male's shoulders. "I don't suppose you do black, mmm?"

"I can do anything you like." Cazi rumbled as he slipped his arms around the sensuous Mouse. "What did you have in mind?"

"A little more of what we did last week," Vinnie murmured hotly in Cazi's ear. "But with this mane intact." He added seductively while his tail slid up to stroke the entire top of the Lion's head in a clearly sexual touch that would have stroked the entire length of a mouse's antennae back.

"You want a Lion with antennae?" Cazi asked trying to fix an image to what Vinnie was asking.

"No, just you, as you are, in black." He crooned back and shook his head, thrown for a brief moment by what Cazi's suggested. "Something sexy about you in black."

"Okay, I can do that." He rumbled, nuzzling Vinnie's neck. "I'll be right back." He added, starting for the door out of respect for the Mouse's discomfort with shifters only to find strong arms aborting the movement with a muzzle against his ear.

"It's okay, right here." He replied throatily.

"As you wish." Cazi smiled and concentrated for a moment. As they continued to move to the beat of the music his tawny fur shifted out to black, complete with flowing black main. "This what you were thinking?" He rumbled seductively, once the fluid transformation was complete under the wide-eyed gaze of his companion.

"Yes," Vinnie rumbled with a light shiver and pressed close as he led the dance.

"Good." He rumbled as he sensually caressed the Mouse's back with his hands as they danced close. It was clear he was both used to and comfortable with letting someone else lead as his partner displayed a near gift for driving a partner crazy without breaking the social conduct rules.

It was a talent that Cazi had as well, though not quite as skilled, as his hands caressed pleasure nerve points without actually touching those not allowed in public. "I think you've been thinking again." He rumbled playfully in his partner's ear.

"You'd be right," Vinnie smirked back. "And getting way, way too isolated for my tastes. I haven't been clubbing in months."

"I'd noticed." Cazi smirked. "I'm glad you decided to come out." He chuckled, as he ran one finger along the edge of Vinnie's ear. "Though I think it leaves little doubt as to your interests."

"I know," he murmured softly and leaned forward to nuzzle the thick black fur. "Though not quite what they're hoping." He chuckled softly. "It doesn't work thinking about other guys like this."

"I'm flattered, Vinnie." Cazi smiled softly as they moved in a mutual focus on winding the other up to the limit under the jealous, fascinating and surprised looks from all around.

"Right place at the right time, with the right looks." He chuckled softly. "Or something like that."

"As they say, timing is everything." He chuckled back while Vinnie worked his way up the Lion's jaw.

"Yes, it is." Vinnie grinned. "Though now you have me at a real disadvantage. You know my kinks, and I don't know yours in this form."

"So you get to play around and find out." Cazi grinned up at the mouse, who shook his head with a chuckle.

"I suppose so," he murmured while his tail crept up the inside of Cazi's thigh. "Care to play in private?"

"Definitely," the Lion purred and willingly followed Vinnie out of the club. Their teasing in the halls earned almost as many calls to get to their room already as to slow down and give a show, but it was the startled looks of Vinnie with a guy that won out by far.

When the door to the guest suite shut behind them, Vinnie turned abruptly serious as he pressed against the shorter Black Lion. The arousal in his body was as clear as his nervousness where their fur touched.

"Top me tonight," he whispered between their mouths.

"Are you sure?" Cazi rumbled gently, intensely turned on by the offer of the incredible body pressed against him and the amount of trust he realized this represented for the previously avowed heterosexual virgin.

"Yes," he murmured back, cupping the Lion's black face in his hands for a long, heated kiss. "I want this, and I want it with you."

Cazi nodded and guided Vinnie to the bed to slowly undress each other. The Lion's arousal was tempered by his own nerves at remembering how to prepare such an inexperienced lover and a mantra to take it slow and take extra care to remember the mouse's particular pleasure points. He was not going to mess this up for the mouse.

Despite both sets of nerves, the pair were still fully hard when Vinnie willingly allowed himself to be guided down to his back with Cazi above him and the heavily muscular Black Lion kissed and rubbed their bodies together. The Lion had no intention of rushing any part of such a gift of trust and his lover wasn't about to complain through his moans.

"Take me," Vinnie finally gasped, arching into the pleasuring body above him without a care for what he was really saying. He trusted who he was with, he wanted the pleasure. It was just a ride he was on now, giving Cazi a rare glimpse of Vincent Van Wham being utterly submissive out of desire.

The mouse whimpered and shivered, his body aching for more as he was guided to his elbows and knees with his chest and head resting on a thick, fluffy pillow. Despite how hard he was, Cazi took his time, stroking Vinnie's flanks, ass and cock while a small pot of his favorite lubricant translocated next to him.

When he dipped his fingers into the shimmering, lightly magical goop he smiled to himself and focused, transforming his tail into the prehensile mouse-tail much like the one draped along his lover's leg, but with downy soft fur for extra soft texture. He kept his tail focused on drawing ever-sharper cries of pleasure from Vinnie by stroking the mouse's antennae while he gently coated the mouse's virgin tight pucker, slowly working the pleasure enhancing lubricant into bare skin.

Hw waited until Vinnie's entire body tightened and relaxed with each whimpering breath, only to realize the mouse was too wound up to relax for preparation, much less the sex. With a light chuckle to himself Cazi drew him upright, letting the spongy head and hard length of his cock slide between Vinnie's ass cheeks, then under the soft white balls. With Vinnie's back against his chest, Cazi began to stroke the achingly hard flesh between the mouse's legs and tipped Vinnie's head back so he could suckle on the sensitive antennae with all his skill at pleasuring males.

He barely had enough time to get a good rhythm going before Vinnie arched back against him, crying out unabashedly while his seed spurted out in thick spurts in time with the hand stroking him.

The mouse was still whimpering when he was lowered back down, his body sensitized to pleasure and felt nothing but it. When a finger was gently inserted into his ass he could only moan and spread his legs further apart, the pulsing in his body intensifying the pleasure of having the nerve dense flesh carefully stretched and stimulated.

"Do it," Vinnie finally moaned out, his body begging him to do something. "Gods, just do it."

A Mouse Among Felsin 4: The Heart of A Mouse

NC-17 for M/M
Het Level is Low
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Low
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

81 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Closed-Unfinished
Written May 16, 2003 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Todd McCall

Setting: Biker Mice from Mars, Galactic Alliance, Haloeth

Primary Races: Dracon, Feline, Martian Mice

Contents: Furry. Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, DarkFic

Pairings: Vinnie/Cazi

Blurb: Vinnie explores a Mars not quite his own and accepts that things just aren't what he expected, including a few things about himself.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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