Power Games 2:
Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory pt 5 of 6

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

Earlier, when Zach returned to his own tent, he blushed to see Esta reclining on the sleeping furs, nude, obviously waiting for him.

"You weren't kidding about expecting me to bed you tonight, were you?" He chuckled shyly, starting to remove most of his outfit.

"Don't you want to?" she looked at him a bit hesitantly.

"I... that's a little complicated," he admitted. "Short answer? Yes, but I'm not sure if I should," he blushed. "I'm not used to girls actually wanting to be with me."

She cocked her head and patted the fur bed next to her. "Why do you question if it is acceptable?"

He sat down next to her; everything in her body language was telling him that she wasn't about to jump him, not that he thought she was going to. He was only really wearing his loincloth at this point, removing the vest as he sat down.

"I've already got a mate... well, technically lover, but at the moment mate's almost closer... back home," he explained somewhat awkwardly. "She isn't much for traveling, at this point, so she didn't come along. But we never really talked about whether or not we were going to be an exclusive couple... never really thought there was much need for it, on either side," he admitted.

"Having a wife has never been reason not to indulge in a bedslave before," she looked at him curiously. "Why would she be upset?"

"I don't know that she would be even," he admitted. "We're both just a little insecure, I guess. We're used to nobody being interested in us, for whatever reason, so we're more worried than most about losing the people who are... and I'm probably thinking about this too much," he smiled slightly. "It's not like this would be anything even potentially serious."

"No," she smiled. "I am merely the entertainment while you are here. She has no cause to be jealous of me. I could not follow even if I was inclined to do so."

"And if you were, I'd be very surprised," he chuckled, leaning over to kiss her lightly. "So, why don't I stop analyzing, and start taking advantage of having such an attractive, willing entertainer?" He purred, rubbing his hand up her side lightly.

"I think that is a good idea," she purred and pressed into his touch before sliding the hand on his leg up under his loincloth to stroke his sheath.

"So, what do you like to do?" He asked her, purring lowly as he undid the loincloth. As similar as this was to paying for it, she was enough of a volunteer and interested in talking to him enough that he felt like she deserved enough care to make it good for her too.

"The simple things," she purred and nuzzled his neck affectionately. "I prefer guys deep inside me, playing kitten in the basket, whether it's time for it or not."

"Is it?" He asked her, returning the nuzzle and tipping his head up to kiss her lightly.

"Not for three more moons," she giggled and leaned back, drawing him down on top of her.

"Good," he grinned, nuzzling her neck and reaching up between them to fondle her breasts, his shaft hardening against her thigh as they kissed and she ran her hands along his body, encouraging his arousal until he was ready to fill her.

He slid a knee between hers, spreading her legs and pressing himself up into her slick sex with a low moan of pleasure, pausing for a moment before he started to thrust up into her body.

It felt good, being deep inside a willing female. Not as good as Amy, but better than a prostitute, and Esta had skills in bed he wasn't going to forget soon.

He kissed her deeply, this fingers working her nipples and breasts as he sank himself into her again and again, purring hotly as the pleasure built. He tried to focus on the noises she was making, what felt good to her, though he knew he wasn't as good at this as a lot of guys.

It didn't seem to bother her, not from her moans and the slick heat of her body at least. "Give it to me, warrior," she purred deeply, squeezing her body around him with each thrust. "Fill me with your seed."

It wasn't long before he obliged her, groaning as filled her body with his thick seed, hearing a roar from Jake and Rock's tent and the more distant noises of pleasure from Amanda's and the chief's, and likely several others.

"More?" Esta purred, squeezing down around him again as he lay still on top of her.

"Mmm ... see if I'm up for it," he chuckled, licking her neck lightly. "Mind if I try something different?" He asked her, nuzzling her neck.

"I'm always up for something different," she nuzzled him and spread her legs for him to withdraw. "Should I clean you up first?"

"If you want, but you don't have to," he blushed a bit, pulling out of her with a low groan, his seed dribbling down over her tight anus as he slid down to nuzzle her breasts. "I usually need a little time between rounds," he explained, grinning up at her as he licked one of her nipples. "So I'm fine with just exploring you for a little."

"I'm not going to object," she giggled, running her hands down his sides and flicked her tail across his groin. "There are benefits to not being sore in the morning."

"Mmm ... what I've got in mind, there might still be a bit of soreness," he admitted with a low rumbled, nuzzling her breasts as his shaft stirred slightly at her tail's touch. "Is there anything that you won't do, either because you don't want to or because it's against the rules here?"

"It would be best if you didn't draw blood," she said simply, curious at what he had in mind. "My master doesn't like his slaves damaged."

He paused for a moment, looking up at her.

"Not my taste, but if it were to happen between warrior-lovers, would that likely be a problem for either of them?" He asked her seriously, thinking of the two toms in the next tent.

"I would not think so, as long as they could still hunt," she twitched her ears. "Jake and Rock have a taste for hurting?"

"Jake for being, Rock for doing," Zach nodded slightly. "They're careful, I just wanted to make sure I didn't have to go over there and tie one of them down before they got in trouble," he chuckled slightly, sliding down to nuzzle her belly, then her slick sex, finally letting the underside of his tongue brush against the tight pucker of her ass.

"Oooo, not likely," she slid her tail further out of the way and spread her legs for him. "I don't mind it like a tom," she grinned down at him.

"That's what I was thinking of," he grinned up at her, wrapping his arms around her legs to lift her rump a bit, giving him better access for the rimjob he was cheerfully giving her.

"Ohhh, yes," Esta cried out, her body squeezing out some of their mixed juices onto his nose. Her body twitched, adding a rhythmic edge to the way her tail rubbed against his balls and across his hardening cock. "Oh, you're good."

He blushed a bit, shifting up to lick up their mixed juices before returning to her tight pucker, lavishing her with attention to her sex and her anus as his shaft began to harden again.

Soon he slid two fingers into her sex before he began working her open, one finger at a time to moans and shivers of encouragement.

Before long, he was confident that she was stretched out enough for this to be comfortable, sliding up along her body to kiss her, lingering in the kiss as he pressed his hard shaft up into her tight, hot, surprisingly slick ass.

Zach panted, his entire body tingling from the sensation of being so tightly constrained as Esta slid her knees up and wrapped them around his body.

"Ah fuck yeah," he moaned deeply, starting to thrust carefully, doing his damnedest not to hurt her as he took her ass, licking her face tenderly and kissing her when their mouths met.

He knew he wouldn't last long, not even going slowly, and the vibration of her purring wasn't slowing the inevitable tumble towards emptying his balls into her body again.

He finally did, crying out as his balls pulled up to his body, his pelvis grinding against her clit as he worked her body as long as he could, his body shaking hard with pleasure and exhaustion.

"You don't get to play like that often," Esta purred, licking his nose playfully when he remembered how to breathe again.

"No, I don't," he admitted with a happy purr. "I don't like toms myself, and my lover isn't too keen on experimenting. It's nice when I can get it," he smiled, kissing her lightly.

"Well I happen to like it, so while you're here, we can have plenty of fun," she murmured, nuzzling him as they both relaxed.

"Sounds good to me," he purred, snuggling close.

Rock leaned back on a pile of furs outside one of the teepees and watched in private amusement with how entranced Jake seemed to be with young kittens. There were at least a dozen of them, from just old enough to really sit up without help to those nearly in their teens, and a few older teens and adult females that seemed quite willing to let him tell stories and play games with the youngsters all morning.

For somebody who wasn't likely to have them ... who didn't particularly want kittens, as far as he knew, aside from the fact that it represented freedom from the life he disliked so strongly ... he got along with them well.

The stocky tabby flicked his tail for one of the toddlers who was play-stalking it, keeping it just out of the youngster's reach. Some time he'd have to find out just what Jake did think about kittens and having them ... between them, they couldn't, but they might be able to adopt, or find a shekat who'd volunteer.

And there was how involved he might want to be with Midnight's kittens to find out too. He wanted to be close to them, to his cousin's kits, maybe this was a good sign that Jake was inclined towards it too, as long as some female wasn't trying to bed him in the process.

He started as he was snapped out of his distraction by the kitten he was teasing catching his tail, biting onto the end with kitten-teeth that weren't really sharp enough to do serious damage yet and grappling with the furry length.

"Sye Tril," one of the older teens waved at an orange and white tabby tom about her age, then screamed, her eyes wide in horror and the rest of her frozen as an arrow pierced his throat from behind.

"Rock! Grab kittens and get them inside," Jake snarled at his lover, his entire manner changing in a heartbeat as he launched himself to his feet and towards the direction where the killing arrow had come from.

The tabby did as he was told, scooping up the toddler and then going for as many others as he could grab quickly, hauling them inside and to safety as fast as he could, looking around for some sort of weapon he could use to protect them. Two of the shekats herded other youngsters inside with him. He knew he had at most a third of the kittens with him, but at least it was a fair number of them.

He spared a glance for Jake; knowing that his lover wasn't going to be permanently killed by what might happen here didn't make it any easier to stay back, but he knew he had to, for now.

Seven raiders on horseback, two of them with guns, others with bows, spears or spiked clubs ... and each one of them undoubtedly trained for years in how to use them to kill. Even as his hand closed around a stone knife, the weapon he saw here he knew how to use best, he knew that he wasn't up to fighting these warriors. If he had to, he would do his damnedest, but the chaos of a real battlefield wasn't something he'd ever had to learn to handle.

He kept himself hidden inside the tent, just peeking out to keep an eye on things, and prayed honestly for the first time in too many years, this time for his lover's safety. It didn't matter if he'd come back, he didn't want to see Jake injured like that. He never wanted to see Jake with dead eyes looking up at him.

"Oshen ni," one of the older teens breathed from behind him, her eyes on Jake as he swung up behind one raider and slit his throat in one clean move before throwing him from his mount and taking charge of it, and the spear its rider had been carrying.

Rock didn't know what that meant, but if it was a comment about it being impressive, she was right. Bloody as all Hell, but impressive, and his lover was far from done as he swung the horse around and charged one of the raiders who'd grabbed a young girl and was attempting to ride off.

Where would Jake have learned to handle a horse like that?

And what in the world was the faint golden glow flowing off him?

Rock was somewhat startled out of his contemplation of Jake in full-on battle by another loud snarl and a cry of pain from a raider elsewhere in the camp ... even more surprised when he saw Zach's lean tabby body launching into the fray, spear in hand and being wielded like he actually had some idea how to use it.

A damned good idea how to use it, Rock realized after watching him for a moment, the spear spinning around along with the inoffensive tom as he blocked two mounted raiders coming from him, then brought the stone blade around to kill one of the horses, animal and rider both screaming as the massive creature collapsed half on top of its master.

Without so much as a thought Zach leapt over the dying animal to drive the spear into the chest of the Wolf pinned under his thrashing mount.

A quick glance told him that the dead raider's spear would do better than his own, if he bothered to pull it out. The metal blade that had been carefully lashed to the sturdy wooden haft wouldn't be as brittle, and would last the fight better, so he switched over to it, throwing back his head and letting out a bone-rattling battle-howl that startled the other Kantin in the camp. One of them quickly regretted his distraction, taking a pair of arrows to the chest from the seneschal's bow before he fell to the ground. Another brought his carbine up, firing on Zach.

The tom twisted with a snarl of pain, but the shot only caught his shoulder ... painful, but not lethal, and not slowing him down overly much as he threw the short spear, catching the gunner's forearm with the weapon.

A heartbeat later Jake was on him. A lunge from the ground up that pulled the injured Coyote-Fox mix from his mount and to the ground, tumbling with him. He raised his combat knife for the strike. Then Jake froze, staring down at the male under him and frowned.

The red-tan Kantin gasped out something Rock couldn't understand in a whimpering tone.

Jake drove his blade into the Kantin's upper arm, threw it into the ground, and snarled something before he got up to join Zach in tackling the last two raiders.

The tabby was starting to slow down; whatever had spurred him on seemed to be wearing off along with the blood loss and pain, but he pushed himself through it. He grabbed the gun the mix had dropped, throwing it over to Jake, who fired without seeming to aim, and took the giant mixed breed down with one shot.

Zach retrieved the spear, took a moment to try and get his bearings and zeroed in on the last target. His throw was weaker than he'd have hoped, but strong enough to drive into the Wolf's gut and send him tumbling off his mount where Jake finished him off by slitting his throat.

Zach panted, covered with blood as Rock crept out of the tent, looking around to make sure all the attackers were down, and to see if there was anybody wounded who needed to be taken care of.

The tom who had been hit in the beginning was dead, two of the raiders were still breathing, but they wouldn't last long, even if Jake didn't finish them off. A black furred girl in her early teens was crumpled on the ground, her long hair covering her face and much of her body.

He went over to check on her, not sure if she was scared, hurt or dead. He put the knife away before she could see it, sure that wouldn't help either way, and gently touched her shoulder. She didn't twitch, and he rolled her to her back, carefully checking for breathing and a pulse, and found neither. Her blue eyes stared out at him without seeing anything, the only thing that gave any illusion of life. He closed them gently, shaking his head a bit as Jake went to check on Zach.

"How'd it go?" Zach asked Jake quietly, starting to shake a bit as the fight and what he'd done sank in, and he fought to control himself, his hand tightly over the gunshot wound.

"Three dead I know of, six raiders dead, one surrendered, and you were impressive," Jake said quietly after glancing at his new slave and nodded when he saw one of the older girls tending to his wounds. "Come on, let's get that wound tended to. There are real first aid supplies and native ones in the healer's tent."

"Who got killed who wasn't supposed to?" Zach asked quietly, though he followed Jake to the tent without resisting. "And what the heck did I do?"

"A tom and fem almost ready for their adulthood ceremonies by the raiders and a very young kitten was trampled by a loose horse," Jake answered as they were greeted by a still-frightened elder shekat, her piebald fur largely covered by her leathers that bore the marks of a healer.

"Have you seen the chief or seneschal?" she asked even as she hurried the bloody pair inside and assessed their injuries.

"Neither were injured, Healer," Jake told her with the full respect due her rank. "I saw them checking the perimeter."

"Not likely to be a second attack, unless I'm very sadly mistaken," Zach murmured. "Raiding packs don't usually split up, if I remember, not for multiple waves. Not unless the pack's so big they'd know about it in MKC. Did you get hurt?" He asked Jake, looking his friend over, not seeing anything serious as the Healer started to inspect his bullet wound.

He was lucky the one who'd shot him didn't have better aim. It was bloody, but through the meat of his arm; it had managed to miss the bone, and anything vital, though it was bleeding freely now.

"Nothing but bruises," Jake said even as he turned to leave. "I need to help out now."

Now that he was calming down, he shivered slightly as Jake left, but not from a friend leaving. Something deep inside him was very much afraid of the power Zach could feel still whisping around Jake's body.

"Whatever that was, it was impressive," he murmured quietly, leaving the healer to patch up his arm.

Outside, Rock was helping take care of the dead animals, putting his powerful body to use moving the heavy carcasses where the women wanted them. He glanced up as Jake came out of the healer's tent, relieved that he looked okay. Bloody, but he didn't think any of it was Jake's.

"You okay?" Jake asked as he walked up.

"Yeah; what about you?" Rock asked him. "You were ... well, you were glowing out there."

"Halikar's cloak," Jake shrugged. "He does that when I'm doing His work."

"Only you could make the direct intervention of gods sound perfectly normal," Rock murmured, shaking his head. "How's Zach, and what the Hell got into him?"

"He's injured but okay, and, well, what happened in a lesser form of what happens to me," Jake said softly, tugging Rock away to join him to wash off in a nearby stream. "I don't know who's involved, but I do recognize partial possession when I feel it."

"Do you think he knows?" Rock asked gently, joining Jake in the cool stream to wash off the blood and grime from their bodies and leathers.

"I doubt it," he admitted. "I know he'd dabbled in magic. He probably dabbled in something he shouldn't have at some point. It can't be strong, or I'd feel it normally."

"You might ask him about it, if you get the chance ... if something like that happened at school, he'd make the news in a bad way." Rock moved to help wash Jake off. "What was up with the one you only wounded?"

"He surrendered," he grumbled slightly. "Meant it, knew what he was saying. I couldn't. I just ... couldn't."

"Couldn't what? Kill him? I'd call that a good thing," Rock admitted. "So... what's going to happen to him?"

"As of his surrender, he became my property, my slave. I'm really not sure what to do about him now, either. I can't just turn him loose, not after all he's done."

"So ... give him to the chief, maybe?" Rock suggested, honestly not sure what to do.

Go on a weekend trip, get a slave after a bloody fight. He knew people who'd line up by the dozen for a deal like that.

"Maybe," Jake murmured, now clearly holding something back.

"You think he's cute, don't you?" Rock almost had to laugh. He'd noticed the reddish-tan Coyote-Fox's looks, but still ....

"He is," Jake said before he caught himself.

"You do realize there's no way we could take him home with us, right?" Rock asked him seriously. "Not legally, anyways, without keeping the nature of the relationship real quiet?"

"I know, but ... there are a lot of slaves in the city, they just aren't the true, legal kind," Jake started talking even as he was thinking. "Given who we hang out with, what we like, would somebody really think he wasn't the voluntary kind, which he kinda is."

"You would have killed him if he didn't," Rock frowned.

"Yes, I would have," he nodded slightly. "It's what he said afterward, after I agreed, that he'd enjoy warming my bed."

"He'd have to stay at my place," Rock murmured. "I'm sure they wouldn't let that fly at the dorms. How's he likely to handle that?"

"You're right," he murmured, clicking back in with the realities of his life. "The chief, or Amanda. He might be fun to have around when I visit."

"That might work," Rock nodded slightly. "The chief would probably work better... not like Amanda's around all that much more than you are. Though this means you could probably let Renzen off the hook, so to speak," he mused.

"I pick him to give him a break," Jake smiled slightly. "He despises being a slave, and a bedslave more than anything, and I don't ask much of him. I liked his looks the first time, since then ... I like him."

"Then I guess you've got two, for your stay," Rock chuckled slightly, helping Jake out of the water to dry off a bit. "Though given some time, your guy might find himself in the same boat."

"Quite possibly," Jake said, then blinked. "Actually, this could be what frees Renzen. I'm not a great judge of value yet, but the chief may be willing to trade the canine for Renzen. If I own him, I can free him."

"That's another option ... to be honest, I kinda prefer it, but that's my thoughts on slaves talking," Rock admitted.

"You really don't like it, do you?" Jake glanced at him before shaking his fur out a bit more.

"If the people volunteered for it, it'd be one thing, but if they're forced into it ... not really," Rock said, shaking his head. "It's got all the wrong connotations for me. If somebody's happy with their situation, like Patches, it's one thing, but when they're as miserable about it as Renzen is and don't have a choice, it all comes back."

"Then I will see if I can free Renzen with this," Jake smiled softly and kissed him. "Sometimes you have stronger morals than I do."

"I suspect Amanda or the chief might take offense if you told them that," Rock chuckled, kissing Jake back. "I think it's a good choice though, if you can."

"Likely, as will Chance and anyone else," he chuckled. Come on, let's get back to the teepee, changed into something dry and get ready for the funerals and hunter's return."

"Right," Rock nodded, a bit more subdued at the reminder of the victims of the raid as he followed Jake back into the village. The place was even bloodier than before, with the freshly dead animals being bled out and butchered. The bodies of people had been moved, though not the stains their dying had created in the dusty soil.

When they slipped into their tent, the canine was waiting for them, along with Renzen and Patches.

"That was very impressive, Jake," Renzen spoke with honest respect as he stood to help the lean tom undress from wet leather.

"Yes," Patches purred softly and moved to help Rock undress.

"So who are you?" Jake asked the canine whose arm was bloody and bandaged, but functional.

"Darien, master," he answered with his eyes lowered and long fluffy tail submissively flat, except for the white tip that was trying to wag. "Were you injured?"

"Only bruised," he answered. "What are your skills?"

"I am a reasonable cook, good at pleasuring males, I know how to care for horses, mend clothes and set a camp."

"You were the pack gamma," Jake barely guessed.

"Yes, master," Darien nodded.

Rock watched the exchange as Patches helped him change, only absently aware of the shekat's touch as she dried and groomed his fur quickly, and helped him dress in a different set of leathers.

That Darien was a gamma actually made the entire situation make more sense to him. That the canine would be willing to surrender like that, that he wouldn't necessarily mind ... Hell, it was probably a step up for him, in some ways, with the way some packs treated their gammas and how most slaves seemed to be treated around here. Even if he did stay here, rather than remaining Jake's property, he'd probably have a better life overall.

"Renzen, Patches, help Darien understand what is expected of him, and feel free to have fun if you feel like it," Jake told them and turned to leave the teepee with Rock.

"If you're reconsidering at all, I could see it," Rock told Jake softly as they stepped into the open air that still smelled strongly of blood. "He's ... a little different."

Jake glanced back at the tent, hesitating now that Rock had changed his mind. "I think I would rather have a free ally than a willing slave," he decided after a moment. "The chief will treat him well."

"I'm sure he will," Rock nodded, honestly grateful that Jake hadn't changed his mind. Even though it wasn't as bad a situation as he'd thought it would be at first, he still wasn't that comfortable with it.

"Come, let's see if the chief will deal," Jake spoke quietly, only pausing to glance up once. "Amanda's party is back."

"Your ears are a lot better than mine, I think," Rock said, shaking his head as he followed Jake to the Chief's tent. He couldn't hear a thing. "Hope it was a good hunt for 'em."

"I doubt they were out long enough to get much," Jake shook his head. "Riders were sent to fetch them."

"Ah, Jake," the seneschal greeted them as he opened the flap to the chief's teepee at the sound of their voices. "The chief would speak with you."

"Good," he nodded and slipped inside the large tent and noted that Zach was already there, still a bit dazed. "I wished to speak to him."

Rock followed him in, glad to see that the older tom was in good shape yet. Coming home from the hunt to find her father hurt wasn't something he wanted sprung on Amanda; the situation as it was was bad enough.

"Jake, Zach, you have proven your bravery and skill as warriors today," the chief spoke with quiet gravity and offered each a strip of soft black leather as black as squid ink. "Take these headbands as an outward sign of your deeds so all may know your status."

Even knowing it was coming, Jake seemed startled for a brief moment before he gathered himself and accepted the headband. "Thank you, chief," he added as he swapped his headbands out.

"Very much," Zach agreed, doing the same. He was a little surprised, though the Healer must have warned him. It looked a little odd, to see the subdued, small tom donning the warrior's headband indicating he had killed in battle.

"Jake, you had other business?" the chief turned his attention to the cinnamon tom.

"Yes chief," her nodded. "The canine that surrendered to me, Darien. I understand he is now legally my slave."

"Yes. The seneschal will carve his wand of ownership for you before evening," chief Pazuquista nodded slightly, allowing Jake to direct the conversation.

"He says he is a reasonable cook and bedslave for males, can mend clothes, tend horses and set a camp. I am interested in trading him."

"Understandable, given you must return to the city soon," Pazuquista nodded.

"I would like to trade him for Renzen."

That raised an eyebrow. "I am afraid I can not do that," he replied evenly. "Renzen's actions during the raid earned his freedom and warrior status with us."

"That was my plans for him," Jake chuckled slightly. "Though it does now leave me with a question of what to do with Darien. I can't really take him home, as cute and useful as he might be."

"I am sure you would find many takers," the chief suggested. "Why did you want Renzen?"

"Because he hates being a slave," Jake said simply. "Is there another like him here?"

One name sprang to Zach's mind almost immediately, though he caught himself before speaking up. Fern might not appreciate being forced into freedom that way.

It was interesting to watch Jake like this... he was much more familiar with the Karalanol and their customs than Zach had expected him to be. Of course, being one of Amanda's friends probably had a lot to do with that.

Hard to imagine him being a wife though, particularly by local standards ... at least a full-time one.

"There is one I would suggest," the seneschal said thoughtfully when the chief looked his way for suggestions. "Her name is Hathor, a Lioness that belongs to a distant cousin of mine. I understand he still has trouble with her after three years. They live several days ride from here."

"That is more complex than I had hoped," Jake admitted. "Though she sounds like the type I wanted."

"If you wish, I will trade them and free her in your name," the seneschal offered. "Darien is easily worth more than Hathor, even if my cousin is partial to her."

"Thank you, seneschal," Jake inclined his head. "Though I would like to meet her."

"Then I will contact Ees-ta-vina when I have acquired Hathor so you arrange a visit," he agreed with a slight smile.

"I look forward to my next visit then," Jake smiled and began to stand. "I hear Ees-ta-vina's warriors outside. We may wish greet them before they get too upset."

"Agreed," Pazuquista stood with them.

Rock relaxed back in his seat two days later as the plane settled in for the smooth portion of the trip home. They didn't have any extra passengers this time, making for a much quieter trip.

"So, what'd you think?" He asked Zach, who was reviewing and adding to the notes he'd taken during the weekend.

"It was a Hell of a trip ... the fight was a little unexpected, but it could have gone a lot worse than it did," Zach answered, glancing up from his notes. "Glad we were able to help with it."

"Yeah, where did you learn to fight like that?" Rock asked, honestly curious.

"I've used a spear before," he explained. "When I was staying with another of the Badlands tribes, I learned how ... as for learning to use it that well ... I dunno," he admitted. "I think I might have had a little help with that."

"Help?" he raised an eyebrow. "Like Jake did?"

"I think so," Zach nodded. "A few months ago, before this whole werewolf fiasco started, Lance and some of his buddies were threatening Amy. I used a spell to help me protect her, but our werewolf got to him before it came to a head."

Rock blinked. "You talk about casting spells the way Jake talks about meeting Bastet."

"Hmm? I figured that Jake had told you," he chuckled slightly, putting his notebook down. "I've learned to use a few spells ... nothing flashy, like the Omega mages, but quieter things. It's why I was so interested in the tracking spell for the werewolf; I was thinking I might be able to cast it."

"So we have a champion of the gods, a fledgling mage, a Karalanol weura-princess and a Furlong," Rock shook his head. "Boy, do I feel out of place."

Zach chuckled, hiding a bit of a smile behind his notebook again.

"You'll figure it out eventually," he smiled. "And like you said, fledgling mage. I've summoned lizards before, basically ... managed to bind a warrior spirit to myself too, apparently, but that's about it, and to be honest, that's not much in the way of magery."

"It's more than anyone in my family can do," Rock shook his head.

"And nobody in my family can pilot a fighter jet or put a building up ... or make Jake smile the way he used to," Zach smiled warmly. "It's all a matter of perspective, really."

"Yeah," Rock smiled privately as Jake's head ducked slightly. "That is something."

"You sound like a self-help book," Amanda laughed from the cockpit. "So, did you two enjoy the trip?"

"More exciting than I was hoping for, but I think I'd enjoy coming back when we have longer to settle in," Rack smiled at her. "I haven't felt that welcome by strangers in a long time."

"Agreed, on all fronts," Zach smiled. "Think you could talk to your father some time about whether or not he'd mind if I worked on a book on the Karalanol? Archaeology might be my focus, but your people are fascinating, and there's remarkably little that's really known about them by anthropology. Not the same way as we know about some of the other cultures at least."

"I'd be shocked if he objected," she nodded easily. "I'll be happy to ask him for you. Perhaps we can stay a couple weeks over the break."

"You know I'm in," Jake grinned at her.

"I would be too, after a couple other plans are through," Zach grinned back. "Might even be able to talk Amy into it, though I wouldn't count on it."

"It doesn't seem like the kind of vacation she'd enjoy much," Jake said. "She's even more the city type than the Furlongs."

"That's why I don't think it'd work," Zach nodded. "A cabin somewhere she might go for, but I really don't think she'd take well to the living out here. It's a bit of an acquired taste," he admitted with a chuckle.

"And it's still more civilized than some places you've been, I expect," Amanda grinned back at him briefly. "Just what societies have you visited before?"

"Xenquii, Golden Empire, a few tribes here and there... get me started, and I'll keep going through the rest of the trip," he chuckled. "Maybe not for long, but I've visited at least. By the way, those raids aren't common, are they?" He asked her.

"There will be a few a year, though it is rare for them to be deadly like that. Most of the time they are from other tribes who are just looking to snatch dinner and maybe an older kitten as a slave."

"That's good to know. I hope we didn't end up making things worse by fighting back?" He asked her hopefully.

"Considering they started by killing a youth not yet a warrior?" she shook her head sharply. "They weren't Karalanol either. No, the way you fought back likely saved many lives, and many wives and kits from slavery."

"Good to know," he nodded. "I keep getting told I'm not supposed to involve myself, not supposed to interfere ... this seemed like a time I was supposed to, even after."

"When you are as much a target as the person you are watching, getting involved isn't much of a choice," she pointed out with a slight smile. "Some of the elder women were out there too, distracting them or their horses so someone else could get a shot in. You said you've visited the Golden Empire?"

"Yeah," he nodded, taking the hint to change the subject this time. "Back when my folks were traveling more," he started, leaning back and starting to talk about his experiences abroad.

The Jade Dragon was a small buffet near the campus, popular with those who enjoyed the exotic tastes of the lands to the south of Xenquii. It was packed tonight with those grabbing dinner before the theater class' annual year-end show.

"Jake? Remind me never to argue if Chance and Rock ever suggest a buffet for a double date again," Midnight murmured, shaking her head as she watched the two tabbies putting together their plates. "That's ... impressive."

"Just never dare them to see who can eat more," Jake snickered with a wink between mouthfuls of his own second plate.

"You didn't," Midnight said hopefully, looking at Jake seriously. "Did you?"

"Nope," he winked at her teasingly. "Though I hear there is another bet going down tonight."

"Oh there is?" She asked, raising an eyebrow curiously. "What about, and what's the prize?" She asked with a chuckle.

"From what Rock let slip, it's about who can hold out the longest without screwing one of us," Jake said, snickering at the dirty look Chance gave Rock, and the shrug he got in return. "Not sure what the prize is, given it's not one of us."

"We're not letting that slip either," Chance said, shaking his head. "Though it's not related to the bet ... that much," he blushed a bit.

"Oh, I'm just wondering if it's in my best interests to try and make you lose," Midnight grinned. "Beyond the obvious benefits," she winked. "I should've known something was up when you guys suggested going to a play!"

"Well, it's supposed to be a good show too," Chance protested, blushing more. "And no, it isn't!"

"Mmm, so, do we want to try our own bet?" Jake asked with a teasing grin for Midnight.

"That depends on what you're planning on betting on," Midnight grinned conspiratorially, leaning in close.

"See who can get one to spill the details first," he purred low in his throat. "It's got to be good if Chance is that shade already."

"Agreed," she grinned. "So, what are the limits on how we find out?" She asked teasingly, looking between Jake and Chance.

"If one loses the bet first, ours is off," Jake suggested.

"Well of course," Midnight giggled. "If we just went that way, we'd find out real easy. So, what's the prize on the side-bet?"

"Mmm, if you win, I won't ask you to join me next heat," she suggested with a slightly guilty smile. "If I win ... a tape of you, Rock and a girl, light on the kink?"

"If we can find a girl who's interested," Jake blushed a bit.

"Somehow, I seriously doubt that'd be hard," Chance snickered. "I bet I could name half a dozen off the top of my head, and Rock knows more."

"True," Rock admitted, honestly torn by which side of that bet he wanted to win. Getting Jake out of her heat would be great for them both, but getting to make that video would be great fun.

"Chance, would you mind coming up to the buffet with me?" Midnight asked, putting her plate aside to be picked up. "Just in case anybody gets fresh," she explained.

"Sure," he shrugged slightly, getting up to follow her, curious as to what was up. She wasn't the type that worried about guys getting fresh, even if she was a little more edgy than usual after the whole katnapping attempt.

"Think you could let Rock know to have Jake win?" she asked softly as she set a layer of rice noodles on her plate. "I keep meaning to not ask Jake to come, but I'm not that strong when it comes down to it."

"I can let him know," Chance nodded slightly. "Though I really hope you guys'll let me win the first bet," he blushed, taking the chance to grab some extra stuffed crab puffs for himself. "Want me to look for somebody to take his place next time, or you'll handle that?"

"There are other guys like that?" she glanced at him curiously.

"Some guys who just can't," Chance shrugged slightly. "Not physically, but they can't have kits."

"If you know one," she nodded, a grateful look on her face. "It would be nice."

"I'll see what I can do," he nodded slightly. "Calico toms are a good bet, if you can find 'em, but they don't usually make it out of kittenhood ... you'd be amazed what you learn when you live with three fems who don't want kittens," he chuckled.

"And are tired of each other," she smiled a little teasingly. "Only a few more, and I won't have to worry about it any more," she added with a sultry purr that made no effort to disguise how eager she was for that time.

"Down girl," he chuckled. "At least until we get home," he winked.

"Then you are all mine," she grinned wickedly and turned back towards their table, where Jake had moved things around so he was sitting next to Rock, and being unabashedly affectionate without pushing polite limits.

"With pleasure," he purred, nuzzling her lightly after they'd sat down. "Already planning on losing this one?" Chance asked his cousin with a grin.

"Jake's planning to win," he countered, but turned into the nuzzle of his lover all the same. "Though I'm not about to turn down his attentions, up to a point."

"Fair enough," Chance chuckled. "Save us all a lot of trouble if you did though," he smirked.

"Oh, like I'm about to pass up on seeing whatever he managed to get you to bet to that turns you that shade just thinking about it," Jake laughed teasingly.

"Got more to do with who I made the bet with," Chance laughed, shaking his head as everyone settled back into their food for a while, the shift in positions made stealing kisses and the occasional feeding of a lover more common.

Chance's purr of satisfaction at the meal shifted to one of pleasure until he realized that Midnight wasn't playing fair.

"You know, if you don't move that, your bet might not play out," he rumbled lowly, kissing her as she rubbed his crotch under the table.

"I'm sure we have until the play, and low lights," she teased with playfully, though she moved her hand down his leg a bit.

"At least until then," he chuckled, giving her a light kiss.

"Anybody still hungry?" Jake asked around.

"I think we can get going any time," Rock said easily, noticing their waitress as she brought their bill over. "Meet you guys at the theater?" He asked, taking out his share and collecting the rest from the others, only that Chance picked up Midnight's portion.

"Sounds good," Midnight grinned and gave Chance a kiss for paying. "You're getting entirely too used to thinking that I don't have a job, you know."

"Getting into the habit for a few years from now," he winked. "Rock, could you hold up a minute?" He asked as they all stood up and got ready to go.

"Sure," the older tabby shrugged slightly, tossing Jake the keys. "Want to get the car started?" He asked him.

"Sure," he nodded with a curious glance at his lover, then slid an arm around Midnight as they walked out.

"So, what's up?" Rock asked, putting down a little extra for the tip and starting out with Chance.

"Midnight wants to lose her side-bet with Jake, so let him find out what our bet was about," Chance told him quietly. "Though I'm sure it'll mean that they both set their minds on you winning," he grumbled.

"Quite likely," Rock cocked his head. "Why does she want to lose?"

"She's been trying not to invite Jake when she's in heat for years, but she always breaks down when the time comes, and he won't say no," Chance said softly. "I think knowing he's so close ... knowing they're so close to what they both want, after a fashion, it doesn't do either of 'em any good."

"No, it doesn't," Rock confirmed with a slight nod and walked out with his cousin. "He was a couple weeks getting back to normal, and it wasn't from the good kind of trip. Sure, I'll make sure he wins, and maybe not even know it was planned that way."

"That's kinda what we're shooting for," Chance nodded. "If he asks, I tried to get you to promise you wouldn't make me wear a costume," he grumbled.

"And I didn't promise," Rock chuckled deep in his chest. "See you in a few, if you make it to the play at all," he teased as they parted to their separate cars.

"We will!" Chance smirked, heading over towards Midnight. "Okay, he knows ... so, let's get going?"

"Before I tempt you into breaking that promise," she giggled and slid into the passenger side, even though it was her car. "Not that I'm not going to enjoy getting you so hot and bothered you'd risk something terrible just to sink into me."

"You'll have to go up against how incredibly hot for it you'll be when we get home too," he teased, climbing into the driver's seat, not needing to move it back. "You're just as eager as I am!"

"Oh, but you're the one who'll loose the bet," she purred, leaning up against him unabashedly before he turned the car on. "I'll be hot, but you'll have to be even more, and you've never managed to say no to me yet."

"First time for everything," he smirked over at her. "Besides, if I don't manage to keep saying no until it's over, you might just dump me," he blushed.

That got her terribly curious, though mostly in shock. "What on Aristal could be that bad?"

"You'll find out when we get there," Chance blushed more deeply. "I'm sure Jake'll know by then, and be busy laughing his head off."

"Unless Rock's got his mouth busy doing something else," she giggled and slid her hand along his powerful thigh on the short drive to the theater. "Just how are you guys defining sex for this one?"

"Anything that gets either of us off," Chance chuckled, then licked his lips and grinned over at her at a stoplight. "So I could make sure you don't have to go without," he winked.

"Now this evening could definitely get interesting," she grinned back, an utterly devilish look on her fine features. "I'm sure Rock will take full advantage of it."

"If he doesn't, you can bet I will," Chance grinned, winking as they pulled into the campus theater's parking lot, and quickly pulled in next to Rock's car.

"Well, they're taking advantage of getting here first," she giggled before getting out to sneak up on the two toms making out in the front seat of the other vehicle.

Chance snickered, watching her move quietly. He didn't want to be too close when Jake got startled, but it was fun to watch all the same. It was hard to remember sometimes that she wasn't his sister in blood. At times, they seemed even closer than that, and times so far apart it was painful to watch.

She slipped a hand in the passenger side window and teased a cinnamon ear, causing it to flick, though Jake didn't seem to actually notice.

She did it again, and got batted for it, though Rock broke the serious making out session to figure out what had made Jake shift.

"Oh, hi," he grinned at her.

"Scat, you have your own tabby," Jake growled teasingly.

"But we'll miss the play," she countered with a pout she managed not to crack for a solid five seconds.

"He doesn't jump as well as he used to anymore," Chance snickered, climbing out of the car and walking over. "So, should we get going in?"

"Sure," Rock grinned, giving Jake a kiss on the cheek.

"You tell her," Jake snickered with a glance full of amusement for Chance. "I'd never tell it that good."

"Oh, all right," Rock smirked. "If I lose our little bet tonight, I owe Chance a good bottle of catnip-bourbon. He couldn't come up with much else to suggest. Then I put my terms down - if he loses, we get to hold a little karaoke party, and he has to do a piece of my choice," he grinned.

"Without costumes," Chance added firmly as they all walked towards the main entrance that already had a fair crowd moving through it.

"I still haven't promised that part," Rock grinned. "Besides, I'm sure I've got something that'd fit you," he teased.

"Given what you'll make me sing, that's just getting creepier," Chance muttered, offering their tickets to the bored looking student manning the desk of the souvenir shop.

"It might be a bit much, though I have one that could be hysterical with the right song," Midnight offered up.

"This is why I didn't want them finding out," Chance groaned, shaking his head. "C'mon, if we're lucky we'll find some seats that aren't taken by folks in Katian."

"Yeah, yeah, like this all wouldn't have happened if they found out after you lost anyway," Rock laughed.

"You know I'd behave if Rock just asked me to," Jake added with a teasing wink for his partner. "Even without a clue why."

"Yeah, but Midnight would probably behave better if she didn't know about the bet," Chance chuckled, giving her a quick kiss as they found their seats.

"Quite true," she giggled and leaned against him in their seats.

"Any idea if there's anybody else here we know?" Chance asked Jake quietly. "I know Zach said he had something else going on."

"Amanda is coming for the educational value, and I expect just about everyone with prospects for tonight is making this part of the date," he chuckled softly. "If half the audience isn't riled or sated by the end of the show, they didn't do well."

"Why do you say that?" Chance asked, flicking his ears at the curious look all three of them gave him.

"You don't know what 'Much Ado About Nothing' is about, do you?" Rock asked, only just controlling the hysterical laughter trying to bubble up.

"You know I don't usually go for plays like this," Chance shrugged. "Usually pretty dull."

Jake couldn't help it; he cracked up, drawing some attention from those around them. "Buddy, it's two hours of all but solid sex on stage."

"You have got to be kidding," Chance blinked, looking up at the still-curtained stage.

"They can't actually have sex, but everything I've heard says it's a very good fake out, and tonight they're going even further than usual," Jake told him, still chuckling deeply.

"I thought I recognized that voice," Amanda grinned at them. "Have a seat for me?"

"Sure," Jake motioned to the one on the far side of Rock.

"It's just rumor that they're going further tonight, of course," Rock said continuing the conversation as Amanda sat down. "Mostly because everybody who's interested knows the sort of things their writer does," he grinned.

"Great, just what I needed," Chance said with a resigned sigh. He was sure the show'd be interesting now, but with the bet going ... this was going to be interesting, he was sure.

"Did I miss something?" Amanda asked, cocking her head.

"Only that Chance is losing what little hope he had of winning the night's bet with Rock," Jake supplied. "They're trying to find out who can hold off the longest, and Chance didn't realize the content of the play."

"Poor tabby," she snickered, not sounding in the least bit sincere as the lights dimmed slightly, putting the emphasis onto the stage as the recorded reminders about not using flash cameras during the play were run over the intercom.

"You are not helping," Chance grumbled, but his attention was soon on Midnight as she leaned against him and played her fingers along his inner thigh. Though it was perfectly normal for her, tonight it took on a different meaning.

"You're having entirely too much fun with this," he murmured quietly, grateful for the interruption of the applause as the curtain rose.

"Not as much fun as I'm going to," she giggled, clapping along with the rest of the audience.

They quieted down as the first actors took the stage, setting the scene as the Lords accepted the hospitality of the local governor. Rock was passingly familiar with the plot, from his own time in school before he'd dropped out; the actors weren't bad, and they hadn't changed the plot or lines he remembered too much ... yet, at any rate.

From what he'd heard, especially in tonight's performance, that was going to change. Watching his cousin turn various shades of scarlet and blue trying not to give in to Midnight was going to be a blast.

He was just glad that he wasn't the target of choice, or he'd have to endure two sets of hands trying to tempt him. As it stood, Jake's hand in his lap and nose against his neck was enticing enough.

Still, it didn't keep him from doing a little enticing of his own. He rested his own hand in Jake's lap, lightly scratching his thigh as Claudio and Benedick settled in at their quarters, the two friends bantering about Benedick's discomfort with shekats and unwillingness to risk being tied down with kittens.

He hoped Jake wouldn't take anything out of this particular plot. He was pretty sure that Jake knew enough not to interpret it as being all that relevant to his situation, but it was never easy to tell with Jake. He occasionally seemed completely rational about it all, and then at times he would be set off at the smallest thing.

"You know there's nothing that said you can't get me off, you know," Jake purred in his ear.

"I know," Rock purred back, his hand shifting up higher as the banter started drawing to a close. "Just waiting for what I think they're going to do next," he winked, finding that he'd been right as Benedick started to demonstrate one of the advantages of the fact that he wasn't into fems, pushing his friend back into the bed and quickly undressing him. It was blocked incredibly well ... well enough that, combined with the noises both toms were making, Rock couldn't really tell if they were faking or not.

Not that he was particularly concerned with it; the scent of arousal quickly filled the air from the audience, and from much closer as his hand found Jake's crotch, and he started rubbing him through his pants.

"Oh yeah," Jake moaned deep in his throat and arched a bit to press into the touch, and against his lover. "Right there."

"Shu, quiet," Rock whispered, kissing Jake lightly, rubbing a bit faster, the heel of his hand working Jake's tip behind layers of fabric. He glanced over, and wasn't too surprised to see that Chance seemed a little pre-occupied with Midnight at the moment, his attention more on her than on the stage.

He was sure that would change as the play went on, which it was in the process of doing now ... answered the question of whether or not it was real pretty well. They'd have had to be wound up as all Hell to get off that loudly that quickly. The curtain dropped and lights dimmed as the scene was quickly changed.

Jake's breath came quickly, his hand in Rock's lap quickly finding his lover's crotch and shivered in excitement at the hard flesh under his fingers.

"Love how you touch me," Jake whispered, his eyes nearly closed as he pressed close.

"Good," Rock purred, though he still stopped rubbing as the curtain came back up, opening up on a pair of nude shekats snuggled up; Hero and Beatrice, he was sure, discussing their new guests.

Jake's response involved sliding the back of one claw down Rock's hard cock, a hard, even pressure along the sensitive length, before he slid his fingers down on either side.

"Revenge, kitten?" Rock whispered with a purr and a grin. "I get to tease too."

"It's your bet, not mine," Jake reminded him, nuzzling against his neck affectionately.

The two shekats were pushing the limits of what was allowed even more; he could hear a low grumbling from some older members of the audience nearby, who apparently hadn't realized that the school's rules would allow for the more blatant fondling and groping despite the obviously salacious intent.

It was playing well with most of the audience though.

Despite the focus much of the audience had on the foreplay they were watching, the actresses were nailing their lines. Beatrice warning her cousin about Claudio's possessive reputation, Hero waxing rhapsodic about the handsome Kat she'd only met briefly.

Rock could pick up one thing; the two actresses were definitely doing this because it was in the script. He was sure there wasn't any particular attraction between them; their touches were too stiff, scripted, and ... formulaic, really. He wondered if anybody else had picked up on it.

He did have to give the director credit though; he'd picked actresses who could pass as relatives.

A stiff moan from Midnight caught his attention, and he chuckled softly at the way Chance was making sure she couldn't tease him too badly.

"Why would anyone be possessive the way she is warning of?" Amanda asked from the other side.

"To some extent, it's a mix of ego and fear," Rock explained quietly. "At least to the extent it goes in this play. Some people get attached to the idea of being the only partner, of fulfilling all their needs, and others are just worried that a different partner might divide the attention and affection available for them, that they might lose the person they're in love with to another."

"Strange," she murmured, shaking her head.

"Somewhat," Rock nodded. "One of the themes here is how ridiculous it is to push that sort of thing too much," he explained.

"Ah," she nodded. "Do many toms need the lesson?"

"Not these days, but it was written about six-hundred years ago," Rock explained. "It was a lot more common back then, especially among the noble toms. Othello is similar, but a much more tragic, grim look at the consequences than this one."

"While this could rather easily pass for mild porn," she chuckled. "I think your lover wants your attention back."

"You noticed that too, huh?" Rock chuckled, turning to kiss Jake lightly as the scene moved on, the two lead couples meeting for the first time and the utter difference between the way they handled it; Beatrice and Benedick practically at each other's throats, Hero and Claudio's romance rapidly proceeding to a proposal. "Sorry about that," he whispered, licking Jake's lips lightly and found his mouth quickly claimed by a heated kiss.

"I was about to unzip your pants to get your attention," Jake warned him with a low chuckle. "We won't have to wait much longer."

"Oh really?" Rock grinned, glancing over to see that Chance's moves to stop Midnight were becoming more and more half-hearted, particularly as Hero ended up in bed with one of the toms who served the villain ... Chance wasn't really paying enough attention to know his name right now, but the well-arranged scenes were wearing down his resistance. "Just wait until the end still," Rock warned Jake, reaching down to start rubbing his crotch again, this time intending to get him off.

"Deal," he moaned softly, a sound nearly inaudible between the play and the audience, few of whom were as restrained as the two tabbies.

"I'm not sure which you are enjoying more, watching your cousin lose, or making Jake whimper like that," Amanda giggled, her own arousal evident in the air around them, though she made no effort to do anything about it.

"Oh, making Jake whimper," Rock grinned back at her. "Want some help?" He offered. "No strings, nothing but fingers," he promised her, his own cock stiff and bulging in his pants but Jake currently distracted enough that his hand was little more than a warm presence over it.

"No need," she smiled slightly at him, though her eyes were more on Jake's pleasure-drenched face as the lean tom quickly neared his breaking point. "I will be fine."

Rock glanced up at the stage, speeding up his own attentions to Jake's shaft, trying to get him off before the upcoming confrontation and suicide scenes. The last thing he wanted to do was link death and pleasure any more than it already was in Jake's mind.

Jake's breath hitched, and his hips thrust up hard against his lover's hand, neither of them trying to hold it back any longer. It was only a few moments more and he grunted through clenched teeth, his body tightening to empty his balls.

"So, how do you like the theater?" Rock asked him with a wise-ass grin, licking his cheek.

"Hell of a lot," Jake mumbled, leaning heavily against his lover. "Know where to find more shows like this?"

"Oh, I could probably find some," Rock chuckled, wrapping an arm around him to hold him close, leaning his head against Jake's. "Some that don't have as much fem action too."

"Cool," Jake sighed, his body relaxing into a near-liquid state, even as Chance's strangled moan made him look over his shoulder just enough to notice that Midnight had gotten his pants unzipped and had her head in his lap, slowly bobbing up and down.

"Any time now," Rock smirked, turning his attention back to the stage, where the final act was beginning, with Claudio challenged to duels by both of his close friends and Hero's father for her 'death,' and the villainous Don John gloating over the success of his plot.

Jake, predictably, was more interested in watching Chance get a blow-job than the fighting on stage; while well-done by college standards, they didn't work all that well for someone who knew how to fight for real.

Soon it ended, Benedick wounded and returning to argue with Beatrice about his unwillingness to fight with Claudio over her cousin's death. The part of the audience that was still paying attention to the actual lines, instead of their dates, soon found themselves caught up in the various puns, atrocious and otherwise, that were being slung back and forth once the topic returned to relationships in general, and theirs in particular, such as it was.

Amanda was paying attention, mostly, but that was about it; Jake and Rock were entirely too wrapped up watching Chance try desperately to hold off until Midnight decided to lay off for a while again.

He was also apparently the only one that didn't realize she wasn't going to.

"Damn they're hot," Jake murmured, mostly to himself, and felt his lover's hand working on his hard cock again.

"This is why I made the bet," Rock grinned, trying to split his attention between the two shows going on, word getting back to Claudio and the others that the tom he'd caught Hero with had been talked into saying they were going to leave the city by Don John, who had conveniently fled once he heard his accomplice was captured.

"Only thing that would make it better would be you riding me hard," Jake rumbled hotly, his own breath catching as Chance nearly bit his own tongue to stop himself from roaring as he came into Midnight's throat, his entire body rigid against the thrusting of his hips.

"Might be a little late, but if you're up for sliding over a seat...." Rock grinned as the big reveal at Claudio's wedding to 'Hero's cousin' brought on a heartfelt statement on the tom's behalf that he had given up his jealous ways.

Jake shivered in anticipation and shifted, squirming to pull his jeans down before sliding onto Rock's lap.

The actors started to dance ... and before long, the dance had changed its nature entirely, devolving into an orgy as Beatrice and Benedick started mating in a way that drew gasps from what little part of the audience was still paying attention and not expecting it.

No amount of blocking in the world could hide that, as the dance turned into an orgy, the actors were undeniably actually having sex on stage, not just faking it. There were some exclamations of shock, a handful of outrage, as some of the more conservative members of the audience got up to leave.

It still left the vast majority of the students cheering them on, as the director and other behind-the-scenes members of the production streaked out and joined in.

No one was sure who, but a call from the stage invited all to join the festivities, as was proper for a great celebration.

Chance, knowing he'd already lost his bet, pulled Midnight up, kissing her and shifting her over to his own lap, pulling her panties aside, both tabbies sinking into their respective lovers as some of the people in the front row rushed up to join in.

The next weekend, Chance was walking into the Temple where Melia worked. The entire campus had been buzzing since the last night of the play; the excitement, positive excitement, it had created, the lightening of everybody's mood and the fact that he could hear laughing more often than started gasps again, made being there to see it almost worth the fact that later today he'd probably be dressed up in something frilly and belting out 'I am Woman' for Rock's karaoke machine.

Almost worth it.

Still, campus had been a lot more fun lately, better than it had been since the murders almost a month before. And today he was going to get some answers, an explanation of just what was up with his partner's life.

He stopped just inside the temple, waiting for Melia to come and meet him, or for somebody to come and tell him where to find her.

"It seems it has been a good week," her familiar voice still managed to catch him off guard, his attention on all the regalia of his upbringing and trying hard not to think that the individual it was dedicated to was not only very real, but very interested in someone central to his life.

"It was, really," he smiled. "The consequences are going to be a bit iffy, but not bad. Folks have started to relax a bit ... hopefully not just in time for it to happen again."

"If the investigators are right, next week's full moon will be the next assault," she said unhappily. "Many of us will be on campus to help guard it. I just hope it is enough. Come, I'm not sure if my news is good, but it may be useful at least."

"That's all I can really ask for," Chance nodded slightly as they walked back towards her quarters. "And good ... just keep your heads down, okay? The cadets are all getting drafted for it too, but if this guy runs into any group ... it's not likely to end without bloodshed."

"If he runs into anyone, let it be us," she said with a calm certainty. "This is a beast of magic, of the spirit world, Chance. Only magic can slow it down. We may not use it often, but when Bastet deems the cause just, we have a great deal of power at our disposal."

"I'll still cross my fingers and hope that he's nowhere near ... any idea if they're right about silver not doing anything to it? They gave us a briefing after calling for volunteers for patrols, said it wouldn't do any good. Didn't have any better ideas what would work," he added with a half-laugh.

"Energy," she said simply, opening the door to her small room. "I don't think you have any weapons that would work yet. Perhaps something of Jake's, but nothing they could issue for everyone."

"I'll talk to him then," Chance nodded slightly. "He ought to be able to rig something up ... maybe some sort of a grenade or something he could make a lot of fast. Anyways, that's not what I'm here to talk about for now ... what did you find out?"

"More than I expected, honestly," she said as they sat down as they had three weeks before. "She wants Jake to lead the defense of Her territory here against the Champions of the Demon and His allies. She chose Jake because he can do what needs to be done."

"So what needs to be done, and what is this Demon?" Chance asked her.

"He, or a Champion he leads, must kill the Demon's Champion," she said softly. "The Demon ... we aren't sure what it is, only that it has gathered an impressive alliance of Powers, and there is word that it isn't from here, it isn't one of Them."

"That's going to go over so well," Chance groaned. "Is there any way this can play out without somebody having to kill somebody else? Probably with Jake as one of those somebody's?"

"Technically, a Champion can take themselves out of the game by surrendering completely to an opposing priesthood or Champion, though please do not tell Jake that. His throat will be slit for it, and there will be no coming back from it. Other than that, no," she shook her head. "I think you are worrying too much about that point though. As Enforcers you will be required to kill. I would be very surprised indeed if an opposing Champion does not set themselves up as a viable target."

"He'd need to find another of the Champions first, and I don't think the only candidates I've heard of for it would be people he'd surrender to," Chance pointed out. "But you're right, I won't. And you might be right about that, but that's a different situation. If Jake finds out that the only way to get out of this is to go out and kill somebody ... I'm not honestly sure he wouldn't, legally justifiable or not."

"That is another issue. It will likely end his Enforcer career, but it won't do much more than that, from the legal system at least," she said softly. "Like being resurrected by a Power, there are laws that cover it. Rarely used as they are, they are still on the books. If both parties are opposing Champions, it is legal. It doesn't matter how, or the circumstances, or even if the dead one saw it coming."

"Yeah, but what it'd do to Jake ... that could get nasty," Chance murmured.

"Didn't he already try his best to kill an opponent that needed to be killed?" she looked at him curiously. "At least I understood that he was injured trying to slit the werewolf's throat."

"Yeah, but that's different," Chance tried to explain. "It was in battle, protecting lives. Anyway, any other rules I ought to know about? Knowing the gods, there's probably dozens of 'em that aren't going to be a huge issue, but if there's something that'll end up being a problem for Jake or Rock, it'd be good to warn 'em."

"It would be good to keep in mind that while She can bring Jake back from death, She can not directly interfere with things, and neither can any of the others. They can evoke very specific abilities to help depending on what their specific fields are, but it is as far as direct actions go."

"Given Jake's opinion of her direct actions, I think he'll be glad to hear that," Chance murmured, still trying to deal with the idea that the gods were so very real and watching those close to him. "Did ... did you find anything out about their plans for Midnight?"

"No, and I still don't know if that means there are none, or She just isn't talking about it," Melia admitted.

"Well, if they're for Midnight and Jake, then She's going to have to figure out some way to change the way things stand. Any idea why this is all happening now? I mean ... things like this haven't been heard about for ages, and now all this coming together at once?"

"As we understand it, every dozen generations there is a major contest that determines a significant balance of power for the next dozen generations," she sighed. "Every generation has Champions and conflicts and small shifts in power, but these big ones ... apparently the latest Dark Age was in no small part do to Fahik and Izaris' Champion being defeated, and it ended when the next major battle went the other way."

"Okay ... so does everybody have a champion, or just some of them, the ones who've got a horse in the race, so to speak?"

"Everyone has a champion, it is their central link to the mortal world, but only a few are normally in the contest. Throughout history, very few champions are ever in the kind of situation Jake is in, though all could be. If your champion is defeated by another, all who invested in the champion have their power in the mortal world wane for at least a generation, sometimes much longer."

"So if Jake loses, and Bastet and Halikar have put so much power behind him...." Chance thought it over, and the results that could include ... particularly if they lost to the Demon. "And what happens if one of them changes allegiance?"

"It's the same as losing for the ones they left, and an incredible boon for their new Power," Melia said, though her expression said just how little she thought of the idea's plausibility.

"How much do you know about Jake's nightmares?" Chance asked her softly. "It's a pretty easy way to read them."

"Nightmares?" she went tense, her tail slightly fluffed at his tone. "Tell me about them, please."

"I don't know much about 'em, but from what I've heard from Rock and Zach, they're usually about a dark force, the Demon according to Jake, chasing him and devouring him," Chance told her quietly. "It could be dreams about the fact that the Demon's Champion is after him, but it could be about the Demon trying to convert him too."

"Or simply weaken him," she nodded uneasily. "How long has he had these nightmares?"

"To hear him, he never didn't," Chance explained. "Rock or Midnight could tell you more, but I don't know if they will. It's a touchy subject; most people think he's crazy, including his own mother, and you know how he is about priests."

"Unfortunately," she nodded. "Though apparently I made a reasonably favorable impression by not coming on to him. Perhaps he will talk to me, in time. Would you mind feeling out how Rock will take it if I try to spend a bit more time with Jake? I'm sure it will be uneasy at times, when Jake is trying to figure out why I'm not acting like others he's met."

"I can ask him, though I think he'll understand well enough," Chance nodded slightly. "Those nightmares worry me, a lot," he admitted. "And not just because of the Demon; it sounds like they're the reason he learned to live on a couple hours of sleep a night."

"I expect so," she agreed. "I would not be surprised if other things came of it as well. He has not been treated kindly by life."

"No, most of which he can turn around to blame on being a Champion," Chance half-laughed. "At least he's started to have a good time once in a while, doing more than just tinkering."

"At least Rock is good for him," she smiled softly. "It is good to hear he is starting to enjoy life."

"Yeah, reluctantly, but he is," Chance chuckled. "Honestly, I kinda wonder sometimes if the Enforcers really are good for him, given the effect Rock's had on him, but that's not my call and I'm not about to suggest he quit."

"Until he defeats the Demon's champion, it will keep him in shape and the right mindset," she reminded him gently. "It may not be best for him personally, but in the long run, it's a good idea. He will hopefully have many years once it is over to relax with Rock."

"Here's hoping," Chance nodded. "Thanks for the info, Aunt Melia. I'd better get going; I need to be at least mildly drunk by the time I see Rock this afternoon," he chuckled slightly as he stood.

"Why?" she looked at him curiously and stood to walk him out.

"Lost a bet; if I know Rock, I am not going to want to be sober when I pay up. Especially since Midnight and Jake are both in on it too, now," he said, rolling his eyes slightly.

"Did you make sure he isn't going to record it?" she asked with an amused chuckle.

"He wouldn't promise that, or that he'd pass on costumes," Chance grumbled. "At least the night was worth it."

"Good," she chuckled. "I also have news on the three who tried to take Midnight. The two Kats surrendered to us, and have named the Kantin to the Enforcers."

"They came to the Priests to confess?" Chance asked, cocking his head.

"In a way," she chuckled darkly. "They came to have the Mark removed. Apparently she called upon Bastet to mark her attackers as enemies and She did."

"The Mark?" Chance asked, trying to place it. He'd heard it before, but didn't clearly remember what it was.

"A magical mark visible to all who believe in Bastet, indicating that the person is an enemy of Her and Her people," Melia explained. "It will also make all of Her children, aware or not, uneasy and unwilling to deal with them."

"Ah ... so, did they get it removed, or do they get to wear it into Alkatraz?" He asked with a half-chuckle. "Deserve it for what they were trying."

"I believe High Priestess Fela agreed to ask Her to remove it if the Kantin was convicted, they assisted the Enforcers in recovering their previous victims, and pled guilty without a plea bargain. As I understand it, Vice is ecstatic."

"Heh - I'll bet," Chance chuckled darkly. "I'm sure the Enforcers will make sure, but remind the High Priestess that there's a Vixen who was working with 'em too, if you get the chance. They should have to bring it all down before they get off any of it. So ... this have anything to do with why the one called her a 'she-demon'? Or was that just the way she fought 'em?"

"It was a bit of the fight, but mostly it was the show and instinctive fear of what she did to them in calling on the Mark. It is very unnerving to suddenly realize you are on a Goddesses hit list," she grinned viciously and opened the outer door for him. "Good luck surviving your bet."

"Thanks," Chance laughed, stepping outside. "And I'll let Midnight know they caught the bastards; she'll be glad to hear it."

"I'm sure," she smiled and kissed his cheek. "Keep in touch, Chance."

Tony stretched out his thick, muscular arms as he walked back home from his new girlfriend's dorm. The last month, since Ghede had fingered the both of them for killing Lance and Yolanda, hadn't been particularly easy, but things were looking up now. He was still ronin, no pack was willing to take him in just yet, but that had its advantages, he was finding.

Like the fact that he didn't have to worry about whether or not his Alpha was going to stick to the old rules about being the only one who could date. That had been one thing that had always chafed about being under Lance, and now that he was on his own he was taking advantage of it. Trudy was cute, fun to hang out with, great in bed, and best of all, another Wolf. He probably would've still been at her place if her RA hadn't been a hardass about the fact that it was a female-specific dorm and threatened to call him in.

Hell, it meant he was out after curfew, and technically breaking the laws just leaving, but hopefully any of the Enforcers or Cadets who tried to call him on it would accept his explanation.

And maybe give him a ride; the night was warm and balmy, but there was something in the air that just put his fur on edge.

Something he couldn't identify pricked the hairs on the back of his neck and quickened his step. Could the Lions be after him too, another example like Ghede?

No ... that didn't make sense. He wasn't a Cheetah, they'd had a full month to come after him if they'd wanted to.

A full month ... and another full moon was in the sky.

His blood ran cold as he remembered just what it was that had killed Yolanda.

"Shit," he whispered, looking around, taking a deep breath, sensitive to any trace of a Wolf's scent he didn't recognize. A whisper of one from upwind made him shiver, the fur along his spine lifting in response to knowing he was being hunted by a greater predator.

He was here.

He couldn't be sure that the guy was after him. Logically, it didn't make sense. He'd killed Lance, but only to rape and kill Yolanda. The next night had been a horror show, but all against fems. Logically, there was no real reason that he'd be after Tony.

More likely hoping some girl from the dorm would be breaking curfew.

Somehow though ... that wasn't helping him. He just knew that he was the one being stalked.

He reached into his pocket, making like he'd forgotten his keys and turning to head back, cursing quietly, trying to make it seem like he hadn't noticed his stalker.

He didn't want to run. He knew it was the very worst thing he could possibly do. Even if he wasn't the target, running would make him a target.

"Boo," a deep, husky voice half-barked at him from his left as he looked right, but nothing was there when he snapped his head around to look.

"Look, I don't know who you are, and I don't care," he said lowly. "I'm not gonna call the Enforcers, just go play somewhere else."

"Oh, I want you to call them," the dark voice laughed, sending a chill right through Tony that quickened his steps. "I bred two of them, you know. Maybe your new bitch too."

"You stay away from her," Tony growled lowly, trying to figure out how fast he could get back to the dorm if he bolted.

A booming laugh of pure delight echoed from all around him.

"You're going to stop me?"

Tony licked his lips. This wasn't a matter of bravado anymore. He was going to die tonight, if this bastard had his way, he knew it. The question was if he managed to do anything before that, managed to be even a little bit useful before he went out.

He turned, bolting for the dorm, dropping down to all fours and throwing his head back with a howl of warning and danger as he tried to make it somewhere at least almost safe, where he could get the Enforcers called.

He felt one leg cut out from under him, sending him tumbling, but the expected killing blow didn't come as he scrambled back to four feet and continued his hell-bent dash for the dorm in full voice.

He couldn't hear anybody answering ... he just hoped it was because they were too busy calling the Enforcers or coming to help. He let out another distress howl before he reached the dorm, tearing around to the side door he'd come in through, hammering on it, hoping desperately they'd let him in.

"What the hell?" the RA, a big bitch of a Hyena, snarled at him, and was nearly slammed flat on her ass as he scrambled inside.

"He's here!" Tony said desperately, the fear pouring from his body giving her all the clue she needed to figure out who 'he' was.

"Phone's in the main lobby. I'll wake everyone," she ordered him and rushed off after bolting the door, not the least bit concerned that he might not obey.

He hurried around to the lobby, grabbing the phone and starting to dial. He'd almost gotten the number in when the front doors splintered, and he looked up at the hulking form of Lierok for a moment before the Werewolf was on top of him.

"Why?" Tony gasped out, his entire body going limp in submission on raw instinct to survive the assault from a much stronger Wolf.

"Because you deserve it just as much as your Alpha did," Lierok growled lowly, momentarily held back by the utter submission. Even today, it didn't sit completely right to kill a Wolf who'd surrendered the old way. "Because you wronged the one who called me to this world," he slashed down Tony's chest, ripping his clothing to tatters, but doing little other damage. "You, him, I'm required to kill. The rest, they're just fun."

"Look, whoever called you, I've only ever followed my Pack ... Lance is dead, I'm not gonna bother whoever it was anymore, I swear!" Tony said, hoping there was some way to reason with this ... thing.

He didn't really think it would work though.

"There's another reason I'm doing this though," Lierok smirked slightly as he used his claws to delicately cut the rest of Tony's clothing from him. "He wants to watch it, no matter how much he says it's not what he wanted."

Tony went pale under his fur, and the beast grinned even more.

"Just be grateful he doesn't like guys," Lierok chuckled as he slid a claw down Tony's chest, just barely drawing blood. "I won't play long, I'm sure."

"Just leave after you're done with me," Tony said, sounding sick. "They didn't do anything to you here!" He pointed out, hoping he could reach, if not the Wolf going to kill him, the person inside him.

"Technically, neither did those girls last month," he laughed deeply, then grunted as a powerful blow slammed his head down against Tony's chest.

He whirled around, grabbing the Hyena and slamming her back against the wall, cracking the plaster with her heavy frame. His next awareness was of incredible pain in his arm and the cracking of bone as jaws strong enough to shatter a femur closed around the arm and twisted to separate his forearm in two.

Even before he completely registered the damage, she kicked out hard from the wall and drove a fist into his throat in a perfectly placed kill shot.

He twisted his own head, spitting blood onto her arm as he grabbed it in his jaws and twisted, snapping the joint and whirling around, throwing her back into Tony as the Wolf tried to scramble for the phone.

Lierok smirked as her bravado and fight disappeared into a whimpering ball as she tried to stop her own bleeding.

"Not so tough after all, are you, bitch?" He grinned, then looked down at Tony, who'd frozen as soon as he'd realized the distraction was over. "Bind her wounds. And if you try anything stupid again, you'll die like that Lioness cunt did," he warned the Hyena as she began to go into shock.

Tony nodded slightly and did as he was told, as much on instinct as thought.

Even with all that was in front of him, Lierok didn't miss the low thud of feet hitting the ground outside, some distance away.

"Smart. Stupid, but smart," he growled. He was tempted to go after them, a hunter after prey, but he knew the Enforcers would be here soon.

He wanted some time to make sure he paid Tony and the Hyena properly for irritating him like this. It may be a short night, but it would be remembered well.

With the fight over, his brain caught on to what was so intriguing about the Hyena; she was heavy with the scent of Wolves in heat. At least three of them, and being here, they would be fully grown and fit to breed.

"Tell me if they're still here," he growled lowly. "They'll live," he promised her, picking her up off the floor. "And if you tell me where they are, you'll die much more quickly."

"Like you're believable," she spat at him, a bit of fire coming back as it sunk in she was the walking dead.

"I wouldn't murder the mothers of my pups," he growled lowly. "Now, tell me, or you'll beg the Enforcers to kill you when they find what's left of your body. Are. They. Here." It wasn't even a question anymore. It was an order to answer him.

"Yes," Tony said, visibly shocked at his own voice.

Lierok turned to look at him, smiling darkly.

"Where, then?" He asked with a low rumble.

Tony worked his mouth, not wanting to answer even as he knew he would.

"Second floor, room 231," he said shakily.

"Thank you," he rumbled appreciatively, dropping the Hyena. He whirled on Tony, grabbing his head with one massive hand and shaking him once sharply, snapping his neck and letting his body fall to the ground.

"I keep my promises," he rumbled to the Hyena. "If you're still here when I've finished, you'll find that out first hand," he grinned, stomping on her knee, breaking the leg before stalking up through the building for the she-wolves he could smell more and more strongly.

They weren't the same quality as the bitches he'd bred the month before, but they would do well enough. He was good enough that even a beta-grade female would produce fine pups.

His nose led him right to room 231, just as Tony had said, and he knocked lightly, a grin going ear to ear. At this rate, Wolves would rule this city in a generation.

"Go away!" She cried out, though her scent was begging for him to do just the opposite.

He had no intention of going away either.

"Open or I break the door," he growled at her. "You'll like it better if I'm in a good mood."

The door opened a moment later, revealing a half-dressed shewolf; she was a beta at best, but the scent of her heat was incredibly strong, and she looked up at him with a whimper somewhere between needy and pitiful.

He pushed her into her room and closed the door. A glance confirmed she was alone, and he looked down at her, his body already hard in desire as he ran a powerful hand down her body and slipped his fingers between her legs.

"I'm going to breed you," he said firmly. "I can make it very good for you." He left 'or incredibly painful' unsaid. He knew she knew it.

She licked her lips nervously, but nodded and knelt, inhaling his scent and nuzzling his thick, hard shaft.

"Mmm, good girl," he rumbled, stroking her between her ears lightly.

She shuddered, inhaling his scent and licking him from balls to tip, her tail tucked up between her legs submissively as she pleasured him. As much as she didn't want pups yet, at least he was a fine male if she couldn't avoid it.

With a deep breath she slid her mouth down around the massive cock in front of her, working her tongue around it as she swallowed him.

"Very good," he rumbled hotly, gripping her head, thrusting into her muzzle and throat. "You're good when you're scared," he grinned viciously, making her shiver again.

She was scared, and she wasn't sure what of. Of the possibility he might kill her ... or the stronger possibility that he wouldn't, since he was talking about pups. She might have to see him every month, and who knows what he'd do once the pups were born.

He grunted and thrust up hard, giving her just enough warning to be ready to swallow when he began to pour his seed into her mouth.

She choked on his thick semen for a moment, her loins burning with hot, hungry need to have it inside of her. She moaned unconsciously once he was finally finished and let her back, where she could breathe.

He let her catch her breath before he hauled her to her feet and pushed her back onto the bed.

She quickly rolled onto her belly, hoping desperately that he wouldn't want to face her as he did this. She raised her tail, opening herself up to him, squeezing her eyes shut in a mix of anticipation and shame.

The thick, hard heat of his cock pressing into her swollen sex dragged a moan from her throat and she did her best to forget her mind and body. He would take anything he wanted, leave what he wanted inside her, and her body would cry out for more when he finally left.

Jake closed his eyes and for the first time in his life, allowed the ebb and flow of power around him to come to his sense as Bastet had long ago told him would be important for him in his life. He despised using it, using anything She had given him, but there were just too many lives at stake to let his personal feelings get the better of him.

"This way," he motioned to those with him; Chance, Amanda and Terin Sandclaw.

"Right," Chance nodded, following along. "Are you sure these weapons are going to work?" He asked.

"They'll fire," he nodded, his voice low even as he was moving fast, tracking something he couldn't describe if he had to. "They'll kill a person. A werewolf, I don't know."

"They'll hurt it at least," Chance said with a sharp nod. "And it should last, according to Melia ... make him easier to find at least."

"And we're here because we're the only ones crazy enough to use untested weapons against a mythological monster," Terin muttered, shifting the heavy riffle in her hands in an effort to find it's balance point.

"The tested ones weren't exactly that helpful last time," Chance pointed out quietly. "I'd rather have something with a chance of hurting him," he concluded, his fingers near the firing stud of the heavy gauntlet-blaster that Jake had cobbled together during the last week.

How he managed these sort of things so quickly, he really didn't know.

"Keep complaining, and I'll give you the DND tomorrow," Jake warned her, both teasing and very serious.

"DND?" Chance and Terin both looked at him.

"Dirty nuclear device," Amanda provided.

"He's kidding," Chance said, shaking his head. "They wouldn't let him touch anything radioactive, I'm sure... got a bead on him?"

"Yes, and I still have the access codes for the nuclear lab," Jake shrugged without breaking stride. "Take me all of an hour with what's in there."

"Jake? This is the time when you stop talking before your partner warns somebody you need to be watched very closely," Terin pointed out dryly. "Now let's find this bastard and see how these things work."

"They can't watch me much more closely than they already are," he reminded her, far more matter-of-factly than she expected. "In there," he pointed to one of the only female-only dorms on campus.

"Oh shit!" Chance hissed under his breath, other Enforcer vehicles already gathering around the place, taking care of the females who'd fled. "Come on, if he's still in there he's probably got a vic yet!"

"Hopefully alive," Jake nodded and angled towards a window that wasn't well guarded by those in uniform, Chance on his heels without a thought.

Terin considered the situation ... then turned to head for the front door at a purposeful run.

"Hey, you!" someone yelled. "Halt!"

She did so, near the door, turning to face the Enforcer coming for her.

"Sir, if he's still in there, he might have a live captive," she pointed out, glancing back at the building like she wanted to go in ... she did, really, but she was more focused on getting Jake and Chance in there, and Amanda if she got in too like she was trying.

"SWAT is coming," the officer insisted. "This is no place for cadets."

"By the time they get here, anybody he's got inside could be dead," she pointed out. "Sir, I've seen what he did last month. He won't take hostages. He won't care about SWAT being here. He'll kill whoever he can and then take out the officers he has to on the way out. Right now, there's a chance we can take him by surprise!"

"With what?" the muscular tom demanded. "Last month proved nothing we carry can slow that thing down. Better weapons are coming. He's been in there for a while, and one of the survivors says he's here to breed, not kill."

"This isn't a regular rifle," she explained, raising the heavy weapon Jake had given her. "One of the cadets trained in weapon design; he put together a blaster rifle after we found out from one of the Priests that it would take energy weapons to hurt that monster. I don't know how many shots it's good for, but I only need one if he's distracted."

"Then set yourself up as a sniper until SWAT gets here," the officer ordered her, still focused on keeping a cadet as far from the line of fire as he could. "Talk to the team captain."

She went to do so, her eyes straying towards the window that Jake had been going through; satisfying herself that the others were inside already.

She just hoped they'd be there in time, and set herself up with the hope that if the werewolf was driven out, it would be on the front side of the building.

Inside, her friends were each fighting their personal demons of their last encounter with the beast they were hunting.

They were moving fast, Jake's track on the beast giving way to their noses and it's scent-trail.

"I'll get the door when we get there," Chance told him quietly, briefly, saving his breath. They could hear the sound of other officers in the dorm, securing the building more steadily, getting bystanders out as they could. If they were spotted they'd probably be skinned alive for this stunt ... Hell, they probably would be anyways ... but their noses all told them that the monster was here, and Chance's told him easily that he was busy trying to make more of them.

He'd rarely been so glad that Kantin in heat didn't hit him the same way Kats did, or that his partner didn't react to either.

The howl of a shewolf's orgasm covered their steps as they closed in on the room. Jake motioned Chance forward and readied himself to fire.

Chance silently prayed that the door wasn't locked, gripping the knob with his bare hand. He twisted it, throwing his body forward, knocking the door open easily and giving Jake and Amanda clear lines of fire on the massive Wolf rutting his reluctant mate.

He felt as much as heard both of them open fire, and knew Jake had gotten something right in the weapons when the monster roared in rage, but didn't heal instantly.

He whirled around, coming for Chance, the she-wolf screaming as his thick, throbbing shaft ripped out of her. The stocky tabby balled his gauntleted fist up, ducking under the first wild swing of the werewolf and planting his fist firmly in his groin.

Then hitting the firing stud inside the gauntlet, firing the blaster directly into his obscenely bobbing maleness.

With a howl of agony, the werewolf turned, hurling himself out through the window, shattering it and its frame and taking off into the night lit by flashing lights and alive with sirens.

"Dammit!" Jake snarled before jumping down himself and taking off after him, Chance only taking the moment needed to be sure he wouldn't break anything in the leap before following his partner.

Amanda rushed to the window and got off one well-aimed shot on the fleeing werewolf. "Goddess protect them," she whispered a small prayer and turned to take care of his latest victim.

Lierok snarled, his back burning from the last shot that had ripped into his flesh, even if the one between his legs was far more painful. It would hurt for a while too, leave him unable to do much of anything tonight.

Damn that tabby. He would pay before this was over.

He cursed himself for not taking his host's knowledge of the small tom for the reality it clearly was. He hadn't expected them to have firepower like that. He was sure that he could handle the two pursuing him, but if the rest of the Enforcers had upgraded as well, he'd have a much harder time with them.

Besides ... he didn't need the fallout from taking out the smaller tom again. Even if he had come back, he was sure the strain on his host would make him lose control again, especially tonight.

He had to lose them, and soon.

That meant losing the servant of Bastet, and that would not be easy.

For the first time in centuries, Lierok was trying to figure out a way to run away from a fight ... if he hadn't been so pissed off about it, he'd have laughed.

He bought himself some time by leaping down an overpass; they'd have to double back to find him, and he hid under the street until they did so they couldn't just shoot him. Stealth wasn't his strong suit ... that was Coyote's dominion. But he knew a few tricks he could use like this ... he'd just have to be creative.

When he heard them reaching the lower level, he took off again, snarling as one of them fired on him from the top. Clumsy, stupid choice! He should have known they'd split up.

He leaped up into a nearby house, crashing through the window and into the living room. An elderly shekat looked at him and screamed, but he just kept running. He needed time, space ... the Hunter's Blessing didn't just work on a whim! He twisted down, heading into her basement, finding a dark corner ... and blended into the shadows like he wasn't even there.

He could hear them arrive in the house above. One of them checking on the elder, the other, Jake likely, growling about the trail he was following having faded.

The door to the basement opened, silhouetting the lean tom and his gauntlet weapon for a brief moment before he was moving again and gone from easy sight.

His patrons might not have been hunters, but he clearly was.

Still ... the Blessing made it much easier to tell where he was, likely much the same way he'd tracked Lierok in the first place. The temptation was strong, so very strong, to lure him near and then remove the threat he posed.

But even thinking about it seriously made his hold on the body start to waver, so he held back. Besides ... killing Bastet's Champion again would have far more consequences than being defeated would.

He would have to be patient.

He trembled as the lean tom passed within inches of him, close enough they should have felt each other's body heat.

Yet the Kat passed him by, circling around to his partner before the pair left.

Cadet Terin Sandclaw was the last of the four hunters to arrive in the waiting room outside Academy Commander's office. Despite her dress grays, her short spotted tail twitched sharply, her nervousness early visible to everyone there.

"We won't be in that much trouble," Jake tried to assure her, and nearly made her break down in giggles when the only thing she would think of was how handsome he was in a dress uniform.

"We did not break any orders or laws," Amanda added calmly, her uniform perfectly regulation once you looked past the two feathers bound into her white and black hair on the left side. "He may be angry, but we did nothing wrong."

"From the sound of it, he's not the only one angry, but you're right," Chance nodded slightly. Dressed in his own grays, looking abnormally formal and only slightly more relaxed than she was. "Not given the results; they might bust us on using non-reg weaponry, but the situation makes that pretty unlikely too."

"Blackthorn isn't who you need to be worried about," the prim blond shekat that served as his secretary spoke to them for the first time since their arrival. "It's the Commander who's really pissed."

"Commander Feral's here?" Chance asked, his ears drooping at the thought.

"For the last hour," she nodded with a sympathetic look. "At least they aren't threatening each other anymore."

"Well ... there's progress for you," Terin chuckled weakly, the cadets settling in to wait until they were called and trying to control their nerves with the thought that at least one of the powerful toms in the room next to them was on their side.

"Get in here, cadets," a deep, gruff voice ordered them without preamble as the door opened.

"Yes, sir," Jake responded, taking leadership in the face of the consequences as he had in battle as they filed in to face the Academy Commander seated at his desk and the Commander of the entire Enforcers standing at his right.

They lined up, Chance next to Jake, Amanda and Terin bringing up the rear, and stood silently, waiting for the shouting to start.

They didn't have to wait very long. Feral might have been done threatening Blackthorn, but that didn't mean he was calm about things.

"What sort of a stunt were you four trying to pull?" He demanded, glaring down at them. "I should think the four of you especially realize just how dangerous that lunatic is! But when you're told to stay back, out of the line of fire, you don't do what every other Cadet is doing, but build yourselves unlicensed blast rifles and go out hunting it? What were you trying to prove?" He roared, finally stopping to give them a moment to dig their graves a little deeper.

Chance had the sense to look cowed, at least a little, but he knew, just from the spiking of fur along his partner's tail that Jake wasn't about to back down. He was probably stilled keyed up from the hunt.

"Kill it," Jake actually shrugged, the defiance that was usually turned on the older women in his life now focused squarely on his commander with the same lack of regard for safety or consequences.

Not the best career move, necessarily, but Chance couldn't really say he was surprised. Politics and Jake seemed to mix about as well as petrol and water, and was at least as explosive to the slightest spark.

"And just what would you have done if your little weapons hadn't worked?" Feral pointed out. "What made you think that you could do the job better than a fully trained, fully armed SWAT unit?" He demanded, focusing his attention fully on Jake and found the second year cadet utterly unflinching in the face of his wrath.

"Run, they weren't there." Jake pointed out. "You're not going to win this one Commander. You know who I'm used to facing off against."

"And you should know that this isn't going to be acceptable behavior, particularly not once you're full Enforcers," Feral pointed out. "I do not expect to loose any of you without a fireball involved. Understood?"

"Yes sir," they answered in unison, though no one doubted that he didn't buy it in the least, especially not from Jake, who at least managed to keep his mouth shut this time, even if his defiance hadn't dimmed in the least.

"Sandclaw, if you have a taste for this kind of thing, say so now," Feral continued, focusing on the startled Serval who tried to tuck her bob tail between her legs.

Still it made her think, really think, about why she was always getting into scraps and in the middle of just about every major brawl on campus before it was over.

It was his tone, though, the lack of condemnation in it, that got him the truth.

"Yes sir," she met his eyes, her submission gone, though not her deference to him "I like the challenge."

"You never tried for full combat training," Blackthorn leveled his gaze on her.

"I didn't know I could," she managed not to shrug.

"We will speak of your future later, then," Blackthorn rumbled, a moment that struck everyone with just how similar he was to the Commander.

"Yes, sir," Terin inclined her head.

"Clawson, just why are you a gunner?" Feral demanded. "You're clearly suited to commando duties."

Jake stiffened slightly and shot a look at Blackthorn that could kill.

"I didn't pass the psych for it, Commander," he answered evenly, the tip of his tail flicking in annoyance.

Feral raised an eyebrow, looking at the papers in front of him. "Is that the case?" He asked Blackthorn quietly, his voice stern.

"I don't recall about that one, but he is under watch for several things," he nodded to his distant cousin. "He's a damn fine gunner, but not the most stable person here."

"We'll discuss this later," Feral said with a sharp nod. "After the current crisis has been dealt with, Lieutenant Commander Blackthorn will decide on appropriate disciplinary measures. Do you have any further comments?" He asked Blackthorn, looking over at him.

The big tom looked at Jake, sure he was the ringleader once again.

"What do you know about this beast that no one else does?" He asked evenly, surprising nearly everyone there.

"I know how to find it, track it, sir," Jake answered politely.

"Only when it's in the Wolf form, or at any time?" Feral asked him, his interest abruptly caught by the lean gunner. "And how do you know this?"

"Only as a Wolf, sir," he confirmed. "In theory I could track it in any form, but I haven't had enough practice and this city is full of those with links; it makes tracking a cold trail very hard. I can track anything with a link to a deity or greater spirit power by following the taint we have in common. That werewolf isn't a natural one, it was created by a bargain with a powerful Wolf spirit, so I can feel its presence."

"I see ... tonight, I want you with the hunter unit, but out of the line of fire," Feral said, emphasizing the role he expected Jake to play. "He'll be out again, but if they can find him they can stop him."

"Yes, sir," Jake nodded.

"Dismissed; get some rest and then report to the hunter unit before patrol begins," he told them sternly.

The group gave muted 'yes, sir's and escaped at a dignified pace, leaving the cousins to face off again over what they'd just learned.

"He bears careful watching," Feral rumbled, displeased on more levels than he could name right now.

"On several levels," Blackthorn agreed. "He doesn't take well to being told what to do on the basis that it's for his own good ... they did save that girl last night and they were not actually forbidden from hunting it," he pointed out. "I didn't believe anyone was quite that intent on it."

"Why wasn't I informed of his ability to track this thing when it first came up?" Feral glared down.

"This is the first I've heard of it," Blackthorn could only shrug. "He is less than forthcoming when it comes to extra abilities."

"Neither are the clergy, apparently," Feral growled. "I want that changed; find out, from him or from them, exactly what it is that he's capable of."

"You are aware I cannot force them to speak any more than you can," Blackthorn said dryly. "I will get what I can."

"Remind them that the less they tell us, the more likely we are to have good Kats for them to bury because we didn't know what their pet Enforcer can do," Feral rumbled lowly, nearly growling. "Now, why wasn't Clawson's failing the psych screen in his file?"

"Since I doubt he lied about it, someone has altered his records," he folded his fingers in front of his face and glared at the offending bit of missing information. "I will speak to Dr. Camarn about his findings. It is unlikely that every copy of that report was affected."

"Agreed. If it was changed, I want to know who by."

"You clean your house, I'll clean mine, and we'll see what falls out," Blackthorn nodded and stood. "High Priestess Bast-Daughter is usually willing to see me on relatively short notice."

Rock woke up with a start as he heard Jake's key turning in the lock of his apartment. He'd been trying to wait up for him, but it seemed he'd dozed off. A quick look at the check confirmed that it was nine now, about three hours since he'd last looked, and he got up to go meet his lover at the door.

"How'd it go?" He asked after his first look confirmed that Jake wasn't hurt, but didn't look all that happy.

"We stopped the night at one dead, one injured and one raped, but he got away," he sighed and let his bag drop to the ground just inside the door before he stepped into Rock's welcoming embrace and willingly melted into it. "Then Blackthorn and Feral spent the rest of the morning chewing us out."

"Don't worry about them," Rock said firmly, kissing the top of Jake's head. "Sad to say it, but it's still better than last month ... how'd your new weapons work?"

"Hurt it bad, for a while," Jake managed a smile and nuzzled against his lover's broad chest. "We're on the right track at least, it just needs more power, or more hits."

"Good," Rock rumbled deeply. "So, going out again tonight?"

"With a hunter team," Jake grumbled with a sigh. "Right now, I just want a hot shower and few hours sleep. It's going to be a very long weekend," he murmured and stretched up to kiss his lover lightly. "I'm glad you're home, you know."

"Just try not to get killed again, please," Rock murmured, kissing him back. "I'm glad you're home and safe too ... I've got to go to work later, but for now, why don't we get you that shower?" He suggested, picking him up with a grin.

"You are hopeless," Jake laughed and wrapped his arms around Rock's broad shoulders. "And I will definitely try not to get killed. It is so not my idea of a good day."

"It's not any of ours," Rock pointed out. "Chance is okay too, right?" He asked. He thought for sure that Jake would have told him if he wasn't, but it didn't hurt to make sure.

"Frustrated, a little unsettled about getting chewed out by Feral, but he's fine," he gave Rock a nuzzle as he was set on his feet in the bathroom and began to strip down, eager to get the fear, Wolf-heat scent and adrenaline out of his fur. "I think he's spending the day with Midnight."

"If she's got the night shift, he probably is," Rock nodded slightly. "Well, as long as he's okay, I won't worry about it," he said, turning the water on hot and stripping down himself. The shower might not be big enough for two, but Jake would be out fast enough given how tired he looked.

"When do you go back to work?" Jake asked as he stepped under the hot spray and just stilled for a moment, letting it wash the night's issues away.

"I've got an appointment at two, then the night shift out at Manx Manors," Rock told him. "Assuming they don't bug me for overtime, I'll be home by the time you're back tomorrow morning ... it's just a few nights more, lover," he added softly, reaching in to help scrub Jake's back.

"Two nights, and a month of relative peace," he nodded, pressing into the touch with a low groan, though it got him to move a bit more. "I just hope we can end it before many more die."

"So do I love, so do I," Rock agreed, making quick work of shampooing him tonight. "Sorry I'm not lingering too much tonight; I think you need sleep more than our usual shower."

"For once, I'm not gorging to argue with it," Jake murmured, making quick work of finishing scrubbing himself down, cleaning the last of the night from his fur and turning the blowers on. "I'm beat. Nearly just passed out in my quarters."

"I could pick you up there tonight, on the way home," Rock offered gently, helping him out of the shower. "Then you wouldn't have to worry about it ... just about putting up with smelling what I'm like getting off a job site," he chuckled slightly.

"I think I can tolerate that," he smiled and leaned forward to kiss him. "Just hope this can end tonight."

"So do I," Rock agreed seriously, taking his mate to bed.

"How'd patrol go?" Midnight asked with a welcoming smile for her boyfriend as she opened the door for him.

"Better than last month," he said, stepping in and hugging her close. "Gods I hate this crap," he murmured.

"Enough you're doubting graduating?" she asked softly, trying to keep her hope he wasn't to herself.

"No, enough I'm gonna make damn sure I do it," he growled lowly. "It's not the chasing and the long nights ... it's the part where I come across some sick fuck raping somebody and lose him that I hate. Hope what I did to him sticks this time."

Midnight stiffened, her tail fluffing fully and ramrod strait. "Jake's okay?"

"Ah crap," Chance groaned, remembering only now that he'd taken some steps to make sure she didn't find out they were going hunting. "Yeah, he is ... he had some extra toys along this time, we hurt him ... damn near castrated him too, with a little luck."

"Not for long," she murmured, her body relaxing just a little bit even as the shock of terror reached her scent. "He's with Rock, then?"

"Yeah, he is," Chance nodded. "So ... you have to be in today?"

"No, and I've never been more grateful for it," she leaned against him. "Come on, let's get the rest of the night off you, and get some rest."

"I think so," he smiled a bit, pulling her close for a kiss that was returned with a fierce passion that had little to do with desire. "Glad you don't have to work... need you today," he smiled warmly and walked with her to the specious bathroom.

"Something else happened, beyond the fight?" she looked up at him even as she stripped down.

"Eh, got chewed out by Feral for not being a good Cadet and standing back while that freak raped and murdered somebody," Chance muttered. "I guess I've just really got problems with letting guys like that go, especially when we knew we had him cornered ... just couldn't find him down there."

"And Jake called it off?" she frowned over her shoulder. "Shower or soaking tub?"

"Jake could sense the thing ... it's how we tracked it as well as we did, but he couldn't sense it down there," Chance explained, stripping down himself. "Shower, I think ... I was surprised too, but I think he decided it must have magicked itself away or something."

"It wouldn't be the strangest thing I've heard of," she admitted and turned the shower on, letting it warm before stepping inside and trying to fluff her fur out to get wet down to the skin. "How's Jake taking it?"

"Planning on having enough firepower around him tonight that there's not a chance for the bastard to escape tonight," Chance said, following her in and wrapping his arms around her, holding her close for a moment to inhale her scent in the increasingly steamy shower.

"Good," she murmured, nuzzling him. "Is that all?" she asked, looking up at him. "You seem ... upset."

"After what I saw last night, thinking about what's going to happen tonight...." Chance sighed, then growled lowly. "I don't care how dangerous it is, I want that fucker dead. The girl he raped was in heat, and he went ahead and took her. She wasn't willing either; I could tell she was terrified of him, even if she was playing along to keep from getting hurt. I...." He shook his head. "Rapists bug me, a lot. Allen got off light because he was drunk and I didn't know what he'd done to you before. This guy ... he's just plain sick."

"What he did tonight bothers you more than what happened to those girls last month?" she looked up, openly confused.

"Yes and no," Chance murmured. "Last month was fucked up too, but ... well, I was a little distracted by Jake dying, I guess. Wanted him dead then too," he pointed out. "Them though ... he was planning on killing them all. Going to sound pretty twisted, but that ... I guess that doesn't bother me as much. He'd been planning on ending it after that night for them. This time, from the sound of it, he had no problems with the fact she's going to live the rest of her life with it ... maybe even with his pups."

"If he's trying to establish a power base again, it would make sense," she sighed, shaking her head. "A blood link is incredibly powerful."

"That could be, but I really don't care why," Chance admitted. "I'm just worried about her ... hope it didn't take. C'mon, let's get cleaned up ... I could use some sleep."

"I bet," she smiled softly and kissed him before squeezing a large glob of shampoo onto her hand. "When are you expected back?"

"Tonight, about seven ... they're hoping to get us all out before sundown," he said, taking the shampoo himself to start cleaning Midnight's silky black fur.

"Mmm, I think you've put on muscle this year," she purred, her hands working down his chest and abs. "It looks good on you too."

"Thanks," he chuckled, purring a bit at the attention, grateful for the new subject. "The working out's good for the body ... personally, I like you as is though," he rumbled affectionately, not fighting the way her touch affected him, though he didn't try to take it further either.

"Good," she smiled and stretched up to kiss him as her hands slid down further to rub the lather into the short, mouse-soft fur of his sheath and balls. "I hope you like me with more curves too."

"Oooh ... I think I'll learn to like it," he rumbled into the kiss. "And the practice before they're all there," he winked.

Midnight grinned and played her fingers delicately along his slowly filling sheath.

"I very much like that too, lover," she pressed against him, rubbing her breasts and slender body against his. "You make it something to look forward too a great deal. Glad last night didn't ruin your appetite much."

"Only for anything rough ... which we don't do, so I think we're good," he murmured into a kiss, pressing into her hand. "Best way to stay sane is to leave it behind."

"Then lets get the rest of the smells off you and put mine there," she giggled a bit and moved her hands down his legs to finish the washing a little more quickly so they could get to the fun part of going to bed.

Lt. Commander Jarrem Blackthorn straitened the overcoat to his uniform one last time before he walked through the great double doors to the most powerful temple of Bastet in MegaKat City. It was not the largest, but this one was home to the High Priestess of the city, and the respect due her residence.

As a Kat, he was very partial to Bastet, as the mother of his kind, but as an Enforcer, he was most devout to Halikar, the Hawk-god, who was so partial to the aggressive defense that Enforcers practiced so often. It was not a joke that He was their patron god, even more than She was.

He paused before one of the large statues of the Goddess, offering a quiet prayer that She protect her children tonight, and one to Halikar for good fortune in the hunt.

And protection for the hunters.

"It is good to see you again, Jarrem," Fela Bast-Daughter's silky, seductive voice greeted him, causing him to turn to face the brown tabby, her body well-rounded from many litters yet her manner placing her as someone who could rule the world.

"And a pleasure to see you, as always, High Priestess," he said with a respectful bow to the noticeably shorter fem. "Though I wish it was under better circumstances."

"Such has been the case with us," she admitted with a sad smile. "It is the fate of great rank to have little time for your own pleasures. Come. I am sure whatever brought you here with such little notice is not for the public halls."

"Agreed," he nodded. "And perhaps we can find an opportunity some time after dealing with our recent menace," he smiled slightly as they walked into the back halls of the temple to a private audience chamber decorated in soothing earth tones.

"Now, what did bring you here?" Fela asked as she settled into a large mound of pillows.

"One of our cadets, who I'm sure you know something about ... Jake Clawson," Jarrem told her, taking a seat nearby. "We need to know what it is that he can do."

"I was afraid of that," she sighed. "The short answer is that he can do anything he sets his mind to, including breaking natural laws. Most champions can. Your problem is going to be directing that determination. He's decidedly ill-tempered towards being ordered around when it doesn't follow his ideas."

"What did he mean when he told Commander Feral he wouldn't win, because of who he was used to fight?" he asked, sure he wasn't going to like the answer.

"He hates being a champion, and he's not at all shy about reminding both Bastet and Halikar of that in person."

"Wonderful. We've got a cadet who's used to being insubordinate to gods and my cousin as his Commander," Blackthorn groaned. "What can you tell me about his specific abilities, aside from coming back from the dead? He's scheduled to join the hunter team tonight, and they need to know if he's going to start doing anything particularly unusual."

"Coming back from the dead isn't his ability, it is something Bastet does to him, at least from his point of view. He'd really rather She didn't. As for tonight ... he can track anyone else with a strong connection to a god or greater spirit. They tend to be drawn to each other, either as friends or enemies. This werewolf is not a champion, but it is the servant of a Power, and follows many of the same rules.

"The way Champions work is that a deity invests a portion of their power in a mortal. Most of the time, only one is involved, but with Jake, both Bastet and Halikar invested in him. Jake's rejected Her as much as he can, but Jake likes Him, to some extent. They are much more kindred spirits."

"He's an Enforcer, I'm not surprised," Blackthorn chuckled. "So nothing that's particularly likely to help him in a fight against this thing, or the people around him?"

"Keep clear of him once you get close," she offered. "Let this be a battle between those invested with power. It'll save lives."

"It didn't go all that well the last time the two of them fought," Blackthorn pointed out. "With any luck, they won't get close. We'd much rather see that thing try to shrug off a sniper shot than fighting with anybody, Enforcer or Cadet."

"That would be my preference as well. If it gets to close-quarters fighting, let him do it," she nodded. "You might want to give Jake the rifle, and suggest focusing Halikar through it. It may work, and keep the bloodbath at a minimum. Jake is a tinkerer, a mechanic in the old sense. He is likely to focus whatever he can do through his creations and enhancements to existing things."

"I'll suggest it," he nodded. "So, in a larger sense, what is his being a champion likely to entail, particularly for the Enforcers?"

"He'll be in the middle of just about everything spectacular that happens, good and bad. Since both Bastet and Halikar are interested in protecting what is theirs, there should be little conflict in duties. I would recommend that Commander Feral, and anyone else likely to need to order Jake around, become very familiar with the laws regarding champions. There are a whole set on the books from when this was better known, and Bastet more influential. You might also caution against putting a female directly charge of him. He tends to react poorly to females."

"We've noted that," he nodded. "Are there any particular areas that he shouldn't be in, as a matter of course?"

"You'll probably want to try to keep him clear of Sniper Squad. Even if he could pass the psych for it, you do not want someone like him trained as a cold-blooded killer. Any other areas that don't socialize outside their squad much would be poor choices as well.

"You may also want to make friends with Midnight Raven, the only female he gets along with well, and Rock Furlong, another champion, though he doesn't know it yet, and Jake's mate. Not necessarily you or Ulysses personally, it would be far too obvious, and likely to annoy them all, but strongly encourage those you trust around him to stay close to him socially. I understand Shark and Rumble are already among his friends, as is Ees-ta-vina Mitsel-eman, the Karalanol princess in the Academy now."

"You just finished telling me how poorly he deals with females, and three of the five you've suggested I court are female," Jarrem chuckled deeply.

"I never have understood him well," Fela admitted. "If I did, I would have figured out how to coax him into bed. Those females are his friends, his near-equals. Think about the three people he hates more than anyone, and they are the females with power in his life. His mother, myself and Bastet."

"I don't know much about his mother, but knowing Bastet's general field and you in particular, it might be the 'coaxing him into bed' part," Blackthorn chuckled slightly. "Midnight's his sister, Amanda and he aren't involved to the best of my knowledge ... he seems to get along with fems who aren't trying to get him bedded."

"Fairly accurate summery," she acknowledged. "Which is going to be most females who know what he is," she shook her head. "He picked a particularly difficult aversion."

"As our counselors are fond of pointing out to people who say things like that, he probably didn't pick that aversion," Blackthorn pointed out seriously. "We'll try and keep a lid on what he is, though it's increasingly well known with the Enforcers."

"I understand," she nodded, equally serious. "Do what you can to keep it from spotlighting him. I'm sure it is why he chose to be a gunner. He can be in the middle of things and acknowledged for his skill, but his pilot can be the center of attention."

"Actually, according to the maintenance staff it's because he can play with his jet," Blackthorn chuckled. "So ... anything else you can think of?"

"A general bit of advice towards all champions. Let them run their course. I realize that is not entirely possible for an Enforcer, but you will get your best results by letting him have as little direction as you can manage. He has a destiny, whether he likes it or not, and nothing mortal can stop it. There are only three ways to interact with a champion. You can help them, you can hinder them, or you can get out of their way."

"I think I'll let you try to explain that to Ulysses," he chuckled ruefully. "Whether it's Jake or somebody else, you know how well he takes to being told there's anything he can't control, especially if it's something he ought to be able to."

"Yes, regrettably," Fela admitted. "He is one of the worst Commanders to have a champion on his force. I will try to get him to understand. You try and build enough of an Enforcer base around him that his loyalty to them might overcome how badly the Commander rubs him the wrong way."

"Will do ... if you can figure out if any of the champions have to be stopped, it might be easier to convince Uly to tolerate Jake in exchange for taking out a bigger problem. Omegas are getting to be more and more of a problem as time goes by."

"Several of them are champions," she nodded. "More will come. It is their links to the gods that make them what they are, whether they realize it or not."

"Wonderful. Will they all be coming back regularly, or is that Bastet's special gift for Jake?"

"Only a champion can kill a champion," she told him softly. "So yes, they will unless Jake or one of the others does it."

"Why is all of this happening now, rather than in the last few generations?"

"Because it is time," she said simply. "Every dozen generations there is a confluence of champions that determines the balance of power in the mortal world for the next dozen generations," Fela looked at him seriously. "If Jake loses, the Dark Ages will return, only far more vicious."

"Is there any good news related to this?" He sighed.

"Jake," she said simply, then elaborated when he frowned. "He is easily the most brilliant, stubborn, contrary, vicious and unyielding champion Bastet has chosen in millennia. As difficult as it will be for the Enforcers to deal with him, he is exactly the kind we need to win against Dark Kat and his friends."

"Dark Kat is one of the champions?" Blackthorn asked her, his ears flattening. "This is only going to get worse as time goes by then."

"Yes, he is," she nodded solemnly. "If it would be clear one side would win from the start, these contests would not happen. Jake is Dark Kat's equal, if he chooses to be."

"You'd think there'd be a way to determine this that wouldn't end up putting an entire city at stake instead," Blackthorn sighed. "Well... we'll just have to make sure he keeps himself safe then. Until the time comes."

"The city," Fela raised an eyebrow. "My dear Jarrem, the world is at stake this generation, as it is during every confluence. This city is nothing in the big picture. We are but one battleground of many."

"A battleground with a population larger than some countries crammed close enough that one good, big explosion could wipe out millions," he pointed out seriously. "Fela, the world might be at stake in the end, but that's not what I'm sworn to protect. The big picture is Bastet's concern, not ours."

"It is important that you understand the scale of what will happen here," she tried to explain. "It is not just about Dark Kat or Jake, and Jake may be drawn to battles away from this city in his duties. As much as it will drive Ulysses crazy, you will find that the laws are well-crafted to take into account what a champion is and does, and that this battle is not limited to one land. It may not be easy to understand these days, but they exist for good reason."

"I understand," he nodded. "And that is something that we will have to learn to deal with. My chief concern, however, is the safety of the civilians who will be caught in the crossfire as Jake and Dark Kat clash. I hope that you and the Priesthood will understand that as well."

"We do," she assured him. "They are our concern as well. We will be there picking up the pieces with you as we always have."

"I would hope for nothing less," he nodded. "Is there anything else?" He asked, checking his watch quickly to see how much time he had before he was expected elsewhere.

"Just one last warning," she said gravely. "Death is not the only way to lose a champion. If he is angry enough, we can also loose one to conversion. He will become the enemy. Jake is very unlikely to side with Dark Kat or his kind, but if he turns, he is likely to be far worse a threat."

"Is that likely to happen because of concerns in his normal life?" Blackthorn asked, raising an eyebrow. Having him deal with Ulysses might be more trouble than it was worth.

"Very unlikely," she nodded solemnly. "If anyone close to him dies, he is likely to turn his rage on whoever did it, but he knows that he will meet them in a few years. It is disillusionment with the side he is on that is the real threat. On that, Ulysses has one thing going for him. As difficult as he can be to deal with, he does care deeply for this city and is honestly interested in protecting it."

"That he is... though the special forces trying to get an immortal operative might do as much harm as good," he mused. "I'm assuming that Bastet would not approve of that sort of use of her champion."

"Not particularly, but Halikar is likely to find it appropriate," she chuckled. "Jake is His champion as well."

"I see ... well, that might not be too terribly bad then," he mused. "Thank you for the information, Fela," he said respectfully. "Do you have anywhere in particular you're expected to be soon?"

"No," she relaxed back with a soft purr. "You?"

"Not for a few hours," he smiled. "I think we could both use a little time to try and relax before tonight ... I know I could, before my briefing Ulysses," he chuckled and began to undress when she did.

"Here you go," the buff brown tabby bartender put down a second glowing red shot glass in front of Rock. "Haven't had anybody test my skill in a while," he added with a chuckle.

"Good to know I haven't lost my touch," Rock grinned. "Who'd have thought that the Bars would be where people would go to stay safe, huh?" He asked, indicating the unusually large number of students in the place as he took up his glass and sipped the potent liquor, not quite in the mood to get hammered the fast way yet.

"No kidding," the bartender agreed. "I guess anywhere is safer than MKCU on a full moon right now."

"Yep ... and guess just where my cousin and boyfriend are right now?" Rock sighed.

"Enforcers, hu?" the bartender offered his sympathy. "At least the beast isn't after them, it seems."

"Worse, Cadets who've got courageous streaks a mile wide. They're supposed to stay out of actual fighting, but it's the last thing they'll really do when it comes down to helping somebody. They mean well, but it's enough to make a guy feel a lot older than he really is," Rock chuckled slightly.

"I bet. Every courageous youngster needs a sensible adult to keep them safe, though," the bartender suggested. "At least when possible."

"Yeah ... who'd have thought that I'd be the voice of sanity?" Rock half-laughed, finishing his drink. "I'll take another," he said, pushing the glass towards the bartender.

"And I'll try one too," another voice piped up. Rock glanced up, surprised to see Zach taking the stool next to him. "Hope you don't mind me sitting here?" He asked Rock, seeming a little nervous.

"Not at all, just didn't think you were the bar crawling type," Rock managed a grin for him.

"I'm not, really," Zach admitted with a half-grin of his own. "But the campus lockdown ... I don't want to be anywhere near another night of rapes, murder, and mayhem, thanks much," he shuddered. "Besides ... heard you were in the neighborhood."

"That I am," Rock raised an eyebrow. "I'd have expected you'd be at your place with Amy, or somewhere with her at least."

"I can't really blame her, but she didn't really want to be somewhere she was the only target," Zach said with a shrug. "And to be honest, I'm happier this way ... if he did come around my place for some reason, what would I do to try and keep her safe? That raid was something I could actually win, this ... it'd be short, messy, and permanent."

"I guess so," he nodded slightly. "So what brings you looking for me?"

"Well ... I've been thinking a bit, lately," Zach said, taking his glowing drink and taking a cautious sip, coughing for a moment at the strength of it.

"Sorry about that ... anyways, like I said, I've been thinking a bit lately ... you know I'm not generally interested in toms, right?"

"Yeah," Rock looked at him more seriously now.

"Well, I've never really been interested in them, but I've never really tried being with one before either. I... well...." Zach blushed deeply. "You're an attractive tom, and I think I could trust you not to go blabbing it all around, however it goes."

"If you're sure you want to, I'm honored," Rock watched him, trying to understand the timing without scaring him off. "And you're right, it won't go beyond us."

"Jake wouldn't mind, right?" Zach asked him uneasily. "Screwy timing and all, I know, but ... well, I imagine you could use a distraction too."

"No, he won't mind," Rock smiled and downed the last of his drink. "We aren't an exclusive couple. Just understand that he'll be back around dawn and expect a spot in bed."

"I understand ... I might be gone by then, I'm not sure," Zach admitted. "So ... your place? I could drive," he offered.

"All right," Rock nodded and stood to walk out with the scrawny marmalade tabby. Zach wasn't anything close to his usual standards, but anyone who was a good friend of Jake's was worth adjusting that for, especially as a one-time favor.

"I think the hunting team got larger," Jake murmured as they approached the Academy's armory and heard Commander Feral arguing with a woman who didn't seem the least bit intimidated by him.

"You don't suppose the Commander ... no, he wouldn't be joining in," Chance said, shaking his head, dearly hoping he was right about that.

He'd had to fight just to get on the hunt team along with Jake. He wasn't happy about the idea of having the Commander breathing down his neck the whole time.

"Sure sounds like he's trying," Jake shrugged and knocked on the armory's door. "Clawson and Furlong," he called out.

"Enter," the female's voice called out as the argument stopped abruptly. They opened the door, revealing Feral towering over a woman who was obviously related to him; it was clear in her face, fur color, even her size. Despite being a solid head shorter than he was, she was at least that much taller than the rest of the guys on the team. Standing more quietly near the arguing pair was Blackthorn.

"Lieutenant Felina Feral; good to meet you, Cadets," she said, nodding politely towards them, though her tone and expression made it clear she still wasn't happy with the situation.

"Good to meet you, ma'am," Jake saluted respectfully, recognizing her name from the rumors that circulated with it.

"Very good to meet you," Chance agreed with a salute of his own. "Did we interrupt anything, sir?" He asked, glancing between the three officers, hoping to keep things from getting too much more uncomfortable."

"Just a dispute regarding who would be joining the hunt team tonight," Blackthorn said, downplaying the incident. "The Commander and I will be assisting this evening; we have every reason to suspect that tonight will be our breakthrough, and the hunt team will need all the help it can get if that's the case."

Jake just managed to keep his mouth shut this time about it, though Felina's displeased growl covered up what reaction he had before distracting himself with trying to place faces of the other hunters. He smiled and nodded at the three he knew the names of from various martial arts completions and demonstrations.

"So, how is this going to work?" Jake asked both Ferals.

"You track it from behind the front officers and direct us to the werewolf," she answered. "Stay out of the fight."

"We've issued every blaster we can get our hands on to the Enforcers on patrol tonight," Blackthorn added. "When we find it, after the hunt team engages you two call for additional backup."

"Yes, sir," Jake nodded his understanding. "This isn't the only hunter team, though, is it?"

"No, it's not ... just the only one with a tracker who knows how to find it," Blackthorn told him seriously. "If we get a call from one of the other units that they've found him, the two of you are expected to stay behind while we respond."

"Yes, sir," Jake nodded, seeming unusually agreeable to the order.

"So how does this tracking ability work?" Felina asked as they were issued blasters.

"It's kind of like tracking a radio ping," he tried to put it in a way someone who couldn't do it would understand. "The 'frequency' indicates who, or at least what kind of who, and the strength gives a sense of direction and distance."

"And what sort of range do you have?" Ulysses asked him, checking his own unusually large blaster.

"Five or six blocks last night," he said. "That was the first time I've ever tried it. I can probably cover the campus, but not the whole city."

"We'll be traveling in the two troop transports behind the building, so we'll cover ground as best we're able," Feral nodded. "I'd prefer to have you in a chopper unit, but those can cover ground too quickly at times."

"Agreed," Felina nodded. "Can you pick up anything now?"

Jake paused, focusing on the part of him that he usually ignored quite intentionally. "No," he frowned.

"So he's staying away from the armory... not surprised," Blackthorn nodded easily. "Suit up the rest of the way, and let's get moving. Any ideas on where to start?"

"Maybe," Jake said, taking the time it took to suit up in full body armor to choose his words. "Carterell dorms."

"Any reason?" Blackthorn asked as they started for the transports, the Special Ops silently making sure they would be between anything and the officers and cadets with them.

"A bad feeling I recognize too many things about the attacks," he answered quietly. "I just hope I'm wrong."

"If there's anything you can tell us that might stop this thing, now's the time," Felina pointed out as she climbed into the first transport along with her uncle, Jake, Chance, Blackthorn, and as many of the Special Ops soldiers as could follow.

"I don't know anything you don't," he promised her. "This isn't the kind of accusation you make on a gut feeling. There must be a hundred Kats in this city that know everything he does."

"Who is he?" Feral demanded gruffly. "That is an order, cadet," he added at Jake glare.

They locked eyes, everyone watching the stare down that shouldn't happen to see just how much control the Commander really had over this walking wild card.

"Zach Tanner," Jake said as he looked away.

"The student who's been working with SI?" One of the investigators asked, ears flattening. "I hope you're wrong, Clawson."

"So do I, Bermen," Jake sighed as the engine turned over. "I don't want to lose one of my best friends."

"You know me?" the detective blinked in surprise.

"I saw you crush the Savateur, Carmin De'rull, in the MMA championship," Jake grinned at him shyly.

"That was five years ago," Berman smiled at him, clearly a little surprised that a cadet was watching that long ago.

"It's hard to forget somebody who can move like that," Jake pointed out.

"That's the guy who got you into competition fighting?" Chance raised an eyebrow at the medium-built brown and black tom a bit taller than average.

"Yes," Jake nodded with a smile at his partner. "It's much more impressive if you've seen what a master Savateur can do, and know he won that fight with two broken arms."

"Okay, I'm impressed," Chance gave the guy a more apprizing look. Anybody who could impress his partner that much was someone who rated respect. Hell, anyone who would win a competition fight with two broken arms deserved a lot of respect.

"Let's hope our werewolf is as impressed ... whoever he is," he chuckled. "Let us know as soon as you get a feeling he's nearby."

"I will," Jake promised as the vehicle fell silent and Jake got a seat so he could focus inward, and towards the psychic ping of his target when he felt it.

Zach licked his lips nervously as Rock led him into his apartment.

What was he doing? He didn't like toms ... Rock was attractive for one, sure, but he didn't really think he was sexy....

But for the last few nights, he'd been thinking about it more and more, and the last day it had been almost maddening.

Well ... one night. One night didn't mean anything.

That was what he kept telling himself, anyways. It was a lot less irritating to keep telling himself that than to try and figure out why, suddenly, he was starting to question if he was straight despite a lifetime of not doubting it.

Besides ... even though he was sure that Rock wouldn't blame him for backing out now, he couldn't shake the feeling that he would.

"You uhm ... do have lube and stuff like that, right?" He asked Rock as he walked into the well-built tom's apartment. "I know Jake doesn't bother with it."

"Always," Rock turned his head slightly to smile at him. "It won't hurt," he promised gently as he turned the rest of the way to face Zach and drew him into a slow, gentle kiss.

Zach returned the kiss, albeit awkwardly, running his hands down Rock's side and fighting to convince himself he really did want to do this. For a moment, they both thought he was going to change his mind ... then something seemed to give way, and Zach pulled Rock into another, more heated kiss.

"That's more like it," Rock murmured as they parted and he slid a hand down Zach's chest. "Why don't you undress, and I'll get what we need."

"Sure," Zach smiled nervously, starting to undo his shirt as Rock walked into the bathroom to fetch the rarely needed lube. He'd managed to strip completely by the time Rock returned, wearing only his boxers.

"Uhm ... mind if we warm up a bit first?" Zach asked nervously, glancing down at Rock's crotch, focusing his nerves again.

"I don't mind," Rock smiled gently and put the lube on the nightstand before he walked up to Zach and kissed him gently, his hand sliding down to caress Zach's groin. "I'm not in a hurry."

Zach shivered as he returned the kiss, then slid down to his knees, nuzzling Rock through his boxers.

"Even if you are, I think you'll like what I've got in mind," he smiled up shyly, taking a deep breath before pulling Rock's boxers down, staring at the larger tom's sheath for a moment before he leaned in, nuzzling the soft fur, trying to figure out how to give something he'd only received before ... and not all that often, at that.

"You're more forward than most first timers," Rock purred in approval, reaching one hand down to caress Zach between his ears. "I hope you don't mind one in return."

"Not at all," Zach blushed. "And it's not totally my first time ... just my first with a tom ... so forgive me if I'm a little clumsy at this," he blushed again, before licking Rock from the base of his sheath to the top, shivering a bit as he ran his tongue around the very inside of the soft skin.

"Oh, yeah," Rock moaned softly. "You're forgiven," he promised, holding himself still for Zach's experimenting.

Zach reached up, gingerly touching Rock's heavy balls, fondling them lightly. He tried not to think about it too much, or about what Jake might think if he came home and found them in bed together.

He was sure Jake wouldn't mind, but something in the back of his mind was still certain that his friend wouldn't like what he saw.

He just didn't know why, and so distracted himself by trying to focus on the blowjob he was giving Rock, coaxing his shaft out and tasting it, closing his eyes as his rough tongue worked the rubbery barbs than ran from base to tip.

"Yes, good," Rock encouraged, his body making it as clear as his tone that Zach had a reasonable feel for this. He closed his eyes briefly before looking down to watch the kneeling tom, trying to judge him, much as he had done with Jake that first evening, before they were lovers.

He smiled and brought his tail between his legs to caress Zach's groin.

He wasn't nearly the sub that Jake was ... or, rather, he wouldn't enjoy being a sub the way Jake did. He'd do it, he was sure, but only out of the sort of numb acceptance that Rock remembered from some of his own earlier experiences.

The moan he got around the tip of his shaft told him that his tail's attentions were welcome though, and he kept it up, caressing Zach's ears as the scrawny tom started bobbing his head up and down Rock's swelling shaft, twisting his head a bit as he neared the bottom to rub his palate against Rock's tip.

It wrenched a deep groan from Rock's body at the sharp bolt of pleasure that soon evolved to quickened breath. "Oh, very good," he shivered, the effort to keep his hips still now noticeable.

Zach didn't respond, though he sped up his attentions, encouraged by the response he was getting. His teeth grazed Rock's cock accidentally as his hands worked the buff tom's tingling balls.

"Not going to be long," Rock warned him with a deep breath. "You don't have to finish," he offered.

Zach pulled back with a bit of a blush.

"Thanks," he said, though he wrapped his fingers around Rock's shaft, starting to stroke it. "Still want to get you off first," he purred, looking up at the top, exposing his throat and chest for the eruption he was expecting.

"Not going to be hard," Rock groaned, his hands on Zach's shoulders as he gave into instincts and began to thrust against the hand stroking him. "Oh yeah!" he got out before his breath was stolen by a roar.

Zach drew in a sharp breath at the rush of arousal and how his own shaft started to react to it finally. Spurts of thick, pearly semen shot up onto his throat and chest, dripping down his fur slowly as Rock came hard and heavy.

"You've gotten a definite talent for this, if you decide you like it," Rock praised him between pants. "That was good."

"Thanks," Zach blushed up at him, licking his hand clean. There was something different about tasting another male's seed, but it was hardly the first time he'd done that part.

Just the first time it hadn't been mixed with a female's arousal as well.

"So ... uhm ... you'd offered to return the favor?" He asked shifting to sit, spreading his legs to reveal his half-hard shaft.

"Yes," Rock smiled and gently tugged him to his feet for a lingering, heated kiss. "Why don't you relax on the bed?" he suggested, guiding Zach to the edge of the soft mattress and knelt to nuzzle his groin. "You want this to be fast and hard so you roar, or a slow burn until you scream?"

"Faster," Zach groaned softly, spreading his legs. "Save slow for the next part," he grinned down at Rock, reaching down to stroke his dark, soft ears.

Rock grinned up at him and closed his mouth around the half-exposed cock, sucking and lavishing it with his tongue.

"Oh yeah," Zach moaned deeply, leaning back a bit as Rock coaxed him to full hardness, his shaft throbbing in the larger tom's mouth as teeth and tongue gave each rubbery protrusion individual attention.

Rock's hand came up to fondle and caress Zach's soft balls, giving the smaller orbs their share of attention as pre began to leak from his cock.

It wasn't long before Rock's skilled mouth pushed Zach over the edge. He moaned deeply, his balls twitching as his shaft erupted into the tabby's mouth, filling it with thick seed that was easily swallowed. He continued to moan as his cock was licked clean.

"Ready to try taking it?" Rock asked as he stood and sat down on the bed next to him.

"Yeah," Zach murmured, kissing him lightly before turning to get up on his hands and knees, raising his tail. "Like this?"

"It works nicely," Rock nodded and knelt behind him to run the soft side of his tongue around the virgin pucker. "You've done this with a girl?"

"A couple times," Zach moaned. "Topped too."

"Good," he murmured and turned his full attention to beginning the stretching process with his tongue, and keeping Zach very hard.

It wasn't too hard to do; Zach could be vocal, and Rock managed to keep him moaning and shivering pleasantly until he was ready to start with his fingers and lube, spreading the thick gel around the smaller tom's tight pucker.

"You can tell me to stop at any time," Rock assured him before slicking his smallest finger down heavily and pressed the tip against the incredibly tight opening.

"Right," Zach gasped, squeezing his eyes shut as he was slowly stretched out, doing his best to shut out the stinging pain and alien feeling of being penetrated like this. He could sympathize with Amy for not being particularly interested in it, at least at this point.

Why would anyone not into pain be into it?

He shuddered as the finger pressed in further, up to the point where he could feel Rock's knuckles against his ass. Then he touched something inside that sent shocks of raw pleasure through his body.

That answered that question! He gasped sharply, his cock twitching in response as his ass tightened reflexively. He made himself relax again, trying to keep from making this hurt any more than it already did, and focus on the pleasure instead.

"That's the advantage guys have with this," Rock purred, drawing his finger out and pressing it back in to touch that spot again. "Girls, they don't have that spot."

"So how come some of them go for it?" Zach asked with a groan, pressing his face down into the pillows.

"Because there are a lot of nerves back here, and done right, it can feel really good just to be fucked," Rock licked the spot just above Zach's tail as he continued to fuck him with one finger, only adding a second one when he felt no resistance to the first.

"Mmm ... whenever you think I'm ready, go ahead and prove it," Zach grinned back at him shyly and got a kiss on the mouth for it.

"I will," he promised, though he made no real effort to speed his preparations up, finger-fucking Zach until the smaller tom was panting, nearly ready to beg for it.

"Much more of this and I won't be able to walk for a week," Zach groaned, shifting his weight, spreading his legs further apart.

"You'll be fine," Rock promised, though he withdrew his fingers and slid up along Zach's back to nuzzle, then bite his scruff as he pressed his hard, well-lubed cock slowly into Zach's ass.

Zach bit his lip, pain and pleasure mingling as Rock sank into his virgin ass. His shaft twitched, jerking as Rock's cock pressed against his prostate, and his fingers curling in the sheets as he gripped them tightly.

"Damn you are tight," Rock groaned around the scruff in his jaws as he pulled out and thrust in again, this time a little harder. Two more strokes and he reached a hand back to slide his fingers along Zach's cock, teasing the hard, sensitive length.

"First ... time!" Zach pointed out, grunting as Rock started thrusting more evenly. "Fuck ... you're huge!"

Rock let go of his scruff and nuzzled him instead, then curled his hand around Zach's cock to stroke him in a steady counter rhythm to his thrusts. He had to focus on controlling himself, or he'd get off long before Zach felt how good this could be.

Zach, for his part, was soon reduced to whimpers, moans, and the occasional cry as Rock's spongy tip found his prostate again and again, making his shaft twitch and ooze a little more pre between Rock's fingers, onto the sheets beneath him. He felt completely helpless, at the mercy of the tom above him, but he felt it in a good way for once.

He was barely even aware of the tightening sensation as he approached his next orgasm. He lifted his head a little as he roared, his body completely out of his control as he pumped his seed over Rock's hand and the sheets.

It was completely beyond him when Rock roared above him and began to fill his ass with the thick seed that he'd sprayed down his chest not too long before.

His eyes were wide as he felt himself filled, felt the thick, hot seed pooling in his insides. As his own moment passed, he slumped to the bed, panting hard as he recovered.

"More?" Rock asked him, his own breathing hard. "Maybe in me?" he suggested and licked his ear playfully.

"Oh, that's exactly what I was thinking," Zach rumbled lowly, chuckling himself ... his body starting to shift beneath Rock as he moved in ways that felt entirely unnatural.

"What the?" the buff tabby oriented himself fast, but not fast enough to avoid being pinned under the abnormally huge Wolf that had taken Zach's place.

"My turn!" Lierok grinned down at him, forcing his legs apart with a knee and ramming his throbbing, canine shaft deep into Rock's ass, drawing a roar of pain out of his victim.

"It's not our werewolf, but I think I see trouble coming," the transport's driver said to get everyone's attention.

"What do you have?" Blackthorn asked him levelly.

"That Cheetah's sister riding with four or five Lions. She looks downright friendly."

Jake groaned.

"She's setting up an ambush, I bet," a well-muscled black furred brunette officer commented.

Blackthorn glanced at Commander Feral, who nodded sharply.

"Follow them," the massive tom ordered. "Clawson, keep an ear out for that werewolf ... or whatever it is you do, but we have to keep this from turning into a real race war."

"You won't get an argument from me," Jake told him, though he shifted his focus fractionally to try and read the nearby bacons. "I think there are several priests of Bastet in that building," Jake pointed ahead of them and to the left slightly. "And a strong mage is just at the edge of my range to the south," he added as he felt more sure of his interpretations. "Not the one we're after, though."

"That would be Flametongue," Felina said certainly, picking up her communicator. "Should I call him in to help with this?"

"Until we've got a better fix on our quarry, I think so," Feral nodded. "If he's willing, at least."

"One of the mages we've contracted to help deal with the werewolf," Blackthorn explained briefly as Felina made the call.

"Good gods, these guys are idiots," the driver muttered. "They're pulling right into the Cayson Street parking garage. Follow, or let you guys out?"

"Let us out," Captain Sharten ordered, mobilizing his team, and both the SI detectives with them. "We can cover it better on foot."

The door opened, and Chance started to lean to get up... but a glance at his Commanders told him that wasn't going to get him very far.

He stilled, tail lashing beneath the bench seat as the full officers moved in stealthily to see what was going on and locate the shooters they were sure were there.

Not only was he stuck here with Feral and Blackthorn, but he was stuck here while the Commander's niece went into the line of fire. The only consolation for Chance was just how sure he was that Feral wanted to be out there as badly as he did.

Of them, only Jake seemed to be relaxed with the situation.

Not far away, Felina had far too much on her mind to be relaxed. On the one hand, she wanted to stop this before it went any farther. On the other hand, she wanted to get back on the move, find the werewolf.

Only the fact that she knew where this scenario could go kept her focused. She raised her blaster as she spotted one of the shooters, a lean Cheetah with a hunting rifle on the second level of the parking structure.

"If you even start to pull that trigger, you won't last long enough to see if you hit," she warned him quietly, and smiled just a bit when he jumped and slowly lifted the rifle in one hand as he raised his hands in surrender.

"Put it on the ground, slowly," she instructed him even as she activated her radio. "One in custody," she reported as she handcuffed him.

"We've got two more," Sergeant Helis replied quietly as the car parking beneath them and the door opened.

"I've got the last shooter, if we trust him," Sharten added. "Says there were only four of them."

"Looks like he's right. We're in position to cover the Lions," Sergeant Black, one of the SWAT officers, told them quietly as Sefra climbed out. "Half the team ready for the takedown."

The Lions started to climb out too, their eyes on the Cheetah who was flaunting her sleek form for them.

It wasn't long before she realized something was wrong though ... and as the Lions approached her, Felina could see the fear pass through her expression. The shooter she'd cuffed had a stricken look on his face; he glanced at Felina and her weapon, then decided to chance it.

"Run Sefra!" He bellowed.

She took that advice as the Enforcers rushed out of their concealment, weapons drawn.

The Lions looked around in confusion, not sure what was going on. Then they tried to pull out guns and knives to take on the force rushing in on them from all sides. It wasn't any good against fully armored commandos though, much less champion MMA fighters trained to take down groups armed with machine guns.

"Uncle, she's running!" Felina snapped into her radio, even as the girl picked up speed into the burst that almost nothing could catch.

She watched, helpless to do anything more, as a small form launched from the personnel carrier. It intercepted the streak of the Cheetah at an angle that sent them both tumbling, and ended with the commando-dressed one on top.

The officers made quick work of subduing the Lions, and they started out with their prisoners. As they reached ground level again, she realized that it was Jake on top of the Cheetah fem, who had gone submissively limp, though her tail twitched to show her displeasure.

"We've called in backup," Feral told Felina as they came out, Lions and Cheetahs both cuffed, though one of the Cheetahs was visibly fighting to keep from trying to go after the prey he'd been waiting for. She didn't doubt that it was only the number of keyed up officers around them that really stopped him.

"Here," Felina offered Jake her spare cuffs after she'd turned over her prisoner to the regular officers that were arriving so they could go back on the hunt.

"Thanks," Jake nodded and twisted up and off his prisoner without ever losing control of her as he hauled her to her feet and cuffed her.

"Once they're under control, load up, fast," Feral ordered them gruffly. "We've got to get back on the move and find the one who really started all this!"

Rock roared as the massive Wolf in his home slipped his claws through loose skin and into his flesh, giving the sadistic ... thing that had replaced the smaller tom what it wanted.

Ironically ... he'd taken worse before.

His ass was dripping a pink, frothy mix of semen and blood, tender skin and muscles ripped by the thick knot at the base of the cock that bobbed in front of his face. He knew he looked a bloody, needle-decorated mess, and every nerve in his body was burning with pain ... but he knew he'd taken worse, in terms of actual damage. Between sadists who didn't know what they were doing, and the ones who really knew it, he'd nearly been killed more than once already.

He just wasn't going to point that out to the werewolf that would set its mind to besting them if it knew.

Lierok looked down at him, growling lowly and picking him up by the scruff of his neck.

"You're good at putting on a show," he rumbled darkly. "I'm not playing though." He slammed a fist into Rock's stomach, and the buff tabby felt his ribs crack. Long claws came out, sinking deeper into his flesh this time, blood flowing freely from the long, ragged wounds that raked down his chest.

This was going to hurt.

His ears twitched at a knock at the door, desperate for any distraction from the damage he was taking.

Who? Jake wouldn't knock. Neighbors were quite used to these noises from his place. At this hour, no one else should be coming by.

The knock repeated to the werewolf's growl, and soon Zach's form was standing in front of Rock.

"You be good and stay quiet," he growled at his prisoner before stalking to the front door, his tail lashing.

Sweet Bastet, he hoped it wasn't Jake ... whoever it was, he prayed they'd just ask a question, get a brief answer, and then head out without any violence.

He didn't entirely understand what was going on with Zach, but the scrawny tom answering the door wasn't the same one he'd known. The Wolf was in control, and he was sure there would be more deaths if he thought there had to be. He closed his eyes, praying for whoever was on the other side.

"Zach? What the Hell happened to you?" Brad's voice asked from the door. "Jake I'd expect this with, but -" Mallion's voice stopped abruptly. "Back, against the wall, hands up," he said firmly.

Rock couldn't see him, or the other way around, but the blaster Brad hadn't yet turned in from his patrol was out, trained on Zach. It wasn't the blood on his hands, chest, or abs that had convinced him something was seriously wrong.

It was the smell of a Wolf in the room. He hoped he was wrong ... he really did ... but he wasn't about to take any chances on that.

"I don't think so," Zach's voice dropped to a deep growl, though he did take a couple steps back into the living room to give himself space.

"Zach, don't do this," Brad warned him, then opened fire as the small tabby's body warped, twisting and growing with a howl of agony that had nothing to do with the four blaster bolts that seared into his chest.

Brad wasn't a fool; as the werewolf charged, he dived to the side, pulling out his communicator.

"Werewolf sighted!" He shouted into it, firing a shot at the monster as he ran for the door. "Four-oh-seven West Chaney Lane, follow my location!"

He just hoped it would follow him ... and that he could stay ahead of it.

"Acknowledged," the female in the control center responded almost instantly. "Teams in route to your location."

"You aren't getting away that easily," Lierok snarled in a mixture of pain and rage and lunged at the retreating tuxedo tom in Enforcer fatigues.

Brad made it out to the street, dropping to the ground as Lierok dove for him. He fired a shot at the werewolf's back, scrambling to his feet and doubling back, going the other way, running as hard as he could, already panting from adrenaline and exertion. He could hear sirens approaching. He just needed to make it to backup.

He needed to keep the monster chasing him too, so that backup could stop him.

With a single movement he twisted, his feet off the ground, fired as he came around to face the monster only yards behind him, and hit the ground without missing a beat.

He had just enough time to realize how well that had happened when he felt a foot go out from under him.

He hit the ground hard, and tried desperately to roll out of the way of Lierok's massive swipe. He almost made it, but the werewolf grabbed his tail, hauling him up off the ground. Desperate to try and free himself, Brad brought his blaster around, firing it point-blank into the monster.

All he got for his efforts was a snarl before his arm snapped, then came off in that massive mouth. He screamed ... then was silenced as massive claws ripped his guts out, half his lungs with them.

"We have a sighting!" the driver of the slowly patrolling personnel carrier called out as he hit the gas. "Four-oh-seven West Chaney Lane, cadet is being chased by it."

"Fou ... oh dear god," Jake paled only a moment before Chance did.

"Who?" Blackthorn demanded, his tone designed to get an answer out of someone in shock.


"Cousin," Chance added, gripping his weapon tightly. "Rock Furlong lives there."

"Get us there now," Feral ordered the driver, the sirens on the transports blaring as they peeled off. "Why would he be attacking there?"

"Maybe we pissed him off," Jake shivered, forcing his mind back into thinking mode. "We were the first to screw up his plans."

"Jake, if the Enforcers are there, he won't stick around," Chance told him, taking his hand and squeezing it. "He doesn't like to stick around and fight, remember?"

"For whatever reason," he nodded. "Just wish I knew if it was before or after he got Rock."

"I think you'd know if Rock was gone," Chance murmured quietly. "Come on, focus on finding them."

"Cadet down!" A voice came across the radio. "Cadet... oh holy shit!" There was the sound of glass breaking that interrupted the sick-sounding Enforcer, followed by blaster fire and a howl of rage.

"Drive faster!" Feral roared, infuriated by being completely helpless to do anything while he had to listen to his officers die.

"Suspect on the move!" The officer told them. "Units in pursuit!"

"Keep us appraised," Feral growled, settling in for the unsettling trip.

Miles away, Lierok was panting hard as he ran from the Enforcers. He'd taken too many shots from that tuxedo tom before finishing him off, and too many after that ... he needed to get away this time. Really needed to. He knew one sure way to arrange it; he ran towards the broad river that flowed through the city, trying to stay ahead of pursuit vehicles and their armed inhabitants.

He could feel in the back of his mind the fire mage that was closing in on him, though not fast enough, and who he was sure was Jake, who was far too close for comfort.

Roof to roof, he cut across streets at angles that would make it as hard as possible for the Enforcers, even as the low thudding of helicopter blades heralded a pursuer that would be much harder to lose.

He leaped across the street as he heard the chopper approaching, blaster fire riddling a rapid-fire path behind him as he landed on the next building. He jumped down to a lower building, leaving a dent in the metal roof as he started running again, the smell of water and fish getting stronger as he rushed towards his goal.

If he could just make it to the water, he could lose them ... they could never track him in the current, or the bay.

He felt the bone in his lower leg snap from a heavy caliber bullet only a fraction of a second before it cost him his balance and he fell forward into a roll. It only took him a moment to put the bone into place and heal, but it was a moment too long as two more choppers closed in and opened fire, tearing into his body with bullets that would heal fast, but hit hard enough to knock him around.

He scrambled towards an access shed on the roof, ripping the door off and hurling it up at the choppers. He caught the blades of one of them, his body healing itself as the disabled vehicle crashed into the second one, buying him a few badly needed moments as the fireball distracted everybody.

His fur soaked in blood, his and otherwise, he took a massive leap off the building he was on, towards the river below. He plunged into the icy waters, and let them carry him away, holding his breath to stay beneath the surface as long as he could.

When Lierok finally had to surface, his lungs burning, he saw the choppers and lights behind him, and took the risk to stay up long enough to really fill his lungs. He slipped under the surface again and swam as hard as he could downriver, hoping that he'd be in the bay before they could block it off that far down.

Zach felt like shit the next day. There was no other way to say it; he ached, he thought he had a cold coming on, and his ass felt like he'd sat on a fencepost wrong.

Still, when he'd heard the news reports in the morning, heard that Rock had been hurt ... he knew he had to try to find Jake.

So he was carrying a bagged lunch up for his friend, who he was sure hadn't eaten since the night before. It was something to do ... even if Jake didn't eat, it would help him get his mind off the niggling doubts that were becoming harder and harder to keep quiet. The feeling that he was hiding from something he didn't want to think about, didn't want to do.

He got out of the elevator on the fourth floor and glanced for the floor plan placard that would give him a clue where to do. A quick examination turned him to the right and down a long, wide hallway with rooms to each side and periodic nurses' diamonds in wider sections where they kept the paperwork and such for that group of patients.

What was it about hospitals that always smelled so bad?

"Who are you here to see?" a prime-looking nurse that managed to convey an ability to kick anyone out she cared to asked him as he approached the end of the hall an ICU.

"Jake Clawson, who's probably here for Rock Furlong," Zach said quietly. "I heard Rock was hurt, and I'm a good friend of Jake's ... figured he'd be here and need some lunch."

She nodded and picked up the phone, speaking briefly before she hung up. "Room 617."

"Thanks," Zach nodded and walked through the heavy double doors that separated ICU from the rest of the floor. Inside, it smelled cleaner, somehow, and was a lot quieter.

"That one, sir," a young blonde pointed him to a room closed off by a curtain from the central nurses station. "Rock is asleep, but Jake's awake, and even less cooperative than Chance."

"That's why I brought food up," he nodded, indicating his bag. "Sounds like Jake." He followed her finger, poking his head into the closed off area.

"Jake?" He asked gently. "I've got lunch."

He winced when his old friend actually jumped slightly before turning his head. The expression on his face, if it was possible, was worse than after he'd broken up with Greg in the aftermath of being blacklisted. The stains of a long time crying were still clearly visible in his dry fur and reddened eyes, and he didn't make any effort to pull himself together to face someone.

"Hi Zach," he mumbled, subdued and uneasy.

"Hi," Zach murmured, stepping in, pulling a sandwich out of the bag and handing it to Jake, along with a can of soda. "Not much, but I figured you wouldn't be eating on your own."

"Midnight would have gotten to me," he said, though he accepted the food numbly and began to eat without any appetite; he just knew he had to. "She dragged Chance down to the cafeteria a bit ago."

"Yeah, well ... you've got more than just one friend," Zach smiled slightly. "So ... what's the prognosis?"

"He'll live," he let out a long breath and reached out to caress a bit of exposed fur. "They have enough blood for him, and the rest ... he'll hurt for a long time, but it won't kill him without complications," he paused and glanced up at Zach. "Any idea why Lierok went after Rock?"

"All I can think of is that he might've found out he was important to you," Zach murmured. "You've interrupted him twice now ... he might've wanted to try and send a message. Or it might've been a pure coincidence too; he was going somewhere there weren't as many Enforcers and Rock was unlucky enough to catch his attention. I ... I just don't know."

Jake nodded weakly. "You hear who else hot hit last night?"

"Brad," Zach nodded softly, pulling up a chair. "And a couple other officers... sounds like Brad saved Rock though, from what I heard downstairs."

"It's how I heard it too," he nodded and made short work of the rest of sandwich without really tasting it. "Nobody's sure what he was doing at Rock's place."

"At least somebody was," Zach murmured. "Sweet gods ... somebody's gotta stop him."

"He's lost even me twice now," Jake nearly sobbed, somewhere between desperate and angry. "I'm not sure anyone can catch him."

Zach wrapped an arm around Jake's shoulder, an unconscious gesture of sympathy he couldn't really say. He knew there was something he was missing. Something important.

"There's still the spell the Karalanol mentioned, right? Other mages might figure something out too...." He trailed off, squeezing Jake's shoulder and felt him relax against him, the lean tom's head against his shoulder.

"I know there are tracking spells, but they only seem to work when Lierok is out and in Wolf form and he's not using his own magic to hide," Jake squeezed his eyes shut. "We don't have anything to track the Kat he's riding. Not for months at least. He could kill thousands by then, and maybe those who could cast the spell."

"Jake ... it'll be okay," Zach murmured, turning to wrap his other arm around him, hugging him. "Somebody will stop him. It might not be pretty, but it'll happen."

Two words came to him, almost in a flash. The Wilding Tome. He hadn't taken the book back to the library yet ... he knew it had spells in it that dealt with wolves, that might help find this one. There might be something in there about how to stop a werewolf, or at least find one.

"I know," Jake said, then completely lost it and began to sob against his friend. Everything was stripped from him in a few minutes to show the lonely, terrified Kat Jake worked so hard to keep hidden.

Zach hugged him close, rubbing his back and nuzzling his head.

"Shu," he murmured. "Shh ... it'll work out, Jake. I promise." He hugged the younger, but larger, tom tenderly, remembering the last time he'd done anything like this.

Such a different situation.

"Jake ... I have to go soon," he murmured. "I've got an idea, but if I'm going to stop him before dark, I'll have to work fast."

It was more than enough to get Jake to pull himself together again, though only just barely.

"Need help?" he asked, his voice still carrying the tears that were drying on his face but his expression gaining strength on the hope of having something to do.

"I might," he admitted. "But ... if I have to ask you to go, please do. I don't know if having you nearby might screw up the spells."

"All right," he nodded and stood a little more shakily than he would have liked. "Just give me a minute to clean up, 'kay?"

"Okay," Zach smiled slightly, standing as well. On his way out, he paused by Rock's bedside, reaching down to give his shoulder a gentle squeeze before walking out to give Jake a moment of privacy before they left.

"I know there's something in here about werewolves ... there's everything else in here about wolves, has to be something about how to stop them," Zach murmured, looking through the heavy book. "Find anything in my notes, Jake?"

"Nothing about werewolves at all," he shook his head. "Any other name you might have used for it?"

"Skinshifters, spirit-binding... something that would unbind the spirit would be great, if you can find it," Zach explained, going back to the passage he was reading through. "This'd be a lot easier if the author hadn't started getting incoherent," he murmured. "Best section on werewolves in the whole thing, and I'm starting to think he was a raving lunatic."

Jake raised an eyebrow at him. "Even compared to the day I got drunk and you asked about Bastet and all that?"

"That was ranting, Jake. This ... this is somewhere between a sermon, a confession, and ... shit." He turned back several pages, reviewing the first part on werewolves, and what came before. His fur started to fluff out as he read, and Jake could smell his distress.

"You found it," he didn't have to guess as he stood to walk over and see if he could read over Zach's shoulder.

"I found why he was starting to go insane," Zach murmured. The writing was hard to follow, riddled with idiosyncrasies Jake didn't recognize and occasional spots of shaky handwriting. "Gods Jake ... I'm so sorry," he whispered, starting to shake and tear up as he closed the book.

"Zach?" he frowned and knelt to hold his friend in a strong embrace. "What happened?"

"I fucked up royally, and that's only half saying it," Zach told him softly. "I ... shit!" He shook his head sharply, focusing on what had to happen. "I've got to find an unbinding spell, and we've got to cast it fast. If we don't get it by ... eight," he said, glancing at the clock on his VCR, "you've got to get the Enforcers here with everything they've got. 'Cause they're going to have to stop me unless I'm very, very happily mistaken." He opened the book, flipping back through again, heading for the end of the passage he was reading.

"You bound Lierok to yourself when you cast that spell to protect yourself," Jake murmured, saying out loud what he had suspected since the raid on Amanda's village. "And you can't control him."

"Jake, I didn't have any idea," Zach said, looking back at his friend, his eyes somewhere between terrified and utterly, completely remorseful. He could almost watch as all the pieces from five nights of terror fell into place for him. "You have to believe me, I didn't know this was going to happen, it wasn't supposed to work like that!"

"Zach, if you get out of this alive, promise me you won't cast another spell," he said firmly, as close to a demand as anything Zach had heard from him. "Not without a damn good teacher watching you."

"Just one last spell," Zach promised. "To try and get us all out of this ... will you help me with that much, Jake?" He asked, looking up at his friend from the book as he found one, written shakily, as if the author had been fighting with himself while he worked on it.

"I will," he promised, leaving it unsaid that if it failed, he'd do what he had to, even to one of his best friends. "What do you need?"

"I should have most of it here ... here's the things that I don't think I do," Zach said, grabbing a list and starting to scribble it out for Jake.

"Thank you for agreeing to this," Jake spoke softly to the elegant brown tabby walking next to him in the full regalia of a territorial High Priestess of Bastet, and the most powerful one on Aristal. "Both of you," he nodded to the black-furred Panther-Wolf hybrid on his other side that was wearing the golden feather-cape and armor of Halikar's High Priest.

"Jake, whatever you may think of my interest in you, I am sworn to protect this city with my soul if need be," Fela spoke softly but firmly. "My life is nothing if it will stop this creature."

"Hopefully, it won't go that far, but you know that I feel the same," Hailen Farseer nodded in his agreement, pausing at the door, sniffing the air. "It seems your friend has made some preparations of his own."

"He did say he had some supplies already," Jake nodded before shifting his bag to one hand to knock firmly on the door.

"He will need a healer if he survives," Fela murmured. "Several of those are toxic."

Zach opened the door, taking a deep breath of the fresh air as the others all caught a hefty whiff of the heavy incenses he had burning.

"Jake ... High Priest and Priestess," he said with respectful bows to the both of them. "My apology for the smells, but I want to hedge my bets this time. If I'm right, I could unleash a powerful Wolf spirit, and if I'm wrong, I might summon him by mistake. I want him as weak as possible if either happens."

"We understand," Fela smiled softly at him. "Three others are expected shortly. The high priests of Rarzyn, Sheliel and Lyris have agreed to help as well."

"Sorry about calling in this much firepower, but I can't let him out again," Jake apologized, his choice still not sitting well with him, for all he knew without question it was the right one. "I'm willing to do what I have to, but it might not be enough."

"I understand, Jake," Zach nodded. "Honestly... if it's what it takes, I want them to kill me rather than let him go again. If they can restrain Lierok for a night, that'll buy us another month to do this, but otherwise ... better one more death than another score of them." He seemed disturbingly resigned to the idea, really. "Besides ... odds are, I'll be on death row after this anyways." He turned and headed in, to where he'd already prepared the casting circle.

"Only if you want to be," Jake said softly as he walked inside with Fela and Hailen. "There are more than a few extenuating circumstances here, you know."

"Jake, I've raped and murdered over a dozen people," Zach pointed out, his voice cracking as the stress of realizing just what his body had been used to do started to show. "I'm... I've just got to stop him, then they can do whatever they want." He said, getting a grip on himself again. He'd reviewed the spell he needed to cast time and again. He had to be in control for once in his life. Needed to be able to break the contract he'd unwittingly signed with the Wyld Lord's beta.

It was why the one time before that it had been cast, it hadn't worked. And that had been with a weaker spirit than Lierok. He just had to hope that it was the only reason, and not a flaw in the spell itself.

He stripped down, preparing himself, the knife he'd used in the first spell at his side as the two representatives of Aristal's Gods set themselves to be ready for the worst.

Zach was only absently aware when Hailen answered the door to the next knock and admitted three others to the circle preparing to deal with one of their own elevated to godhood and out of control.

He pushed the distraction to the side. He needed to focus on this. On what he was doing, and why he was doing it. He did have one advantage ... he knew who and what he was dealing with.

He took the last few ingredients Jake had gathered, and prepared them; a piece of fresh, still-bloody meat and a small statuette of a wolf. He set them together, etched a smaller circle around them, similar to the one around himself, and lit the candles, beginning the spell.

"Lierok, Dire Lord, I call you from my body," he intoned, taking up the knife and cutting across his wrist, blood welling from the wound, his fur turning a dark gray where it flowed. "I call you to answer the charge of breaching our Oath, of going beyond the limits set by our Oath."

Power flowed from him, all of Lierok's strength slipping from his blood with the spirit himself.

"I broke no Oath," the great Dire Wolf snarled in outrage, though deep inside he recognized the potent divine power of the five gathered outside the circle, the untrained power of the sixth, and feared it for it's ability to destroy him.

"I never gave you permission for the sort of slaughter you've committed," Zach countered, trying to be stern, though he felt weak as a kitten now. "Our Oath was for the strength to overcome my enemies, and for that I promised a follower in this world. I never promised my body and mind for the atrocities you've committed!"

"Your enemies are dead," Lierok pointed out with a low growl, stalking around the scrawny tom. "I gave you the strength to overcome them. My end of the bargain has been fulfilled, and now you do as I wish."

"That was not what was agreed upon; I never offered that sort of servitude," Zach growled himself. "The Oath has been broken, by you. You killed my enemies, but you also killed innocents, my best friend, his mate ... even if I had asked you for the deaths of my enemies, rather than the strength to face them, you have gone too far!"

"I have not," Lierok countered with a bit of a smug look. "You are too weak to demand anything of me beyond what I have done for you."

"I don't want you to do anything more for me," Zach pointed out. "I didn't want you to do as much as you have."

"And now you lie," Lierok smirked. "You wanted those three dead, and you wanted them to suffer more than they already did. You're just too much of a coward to admit it."

"You will leave my body, one way or the other, and return to the spirit world," Zach said firmly. "It is your choice if you will do so willingly, or by force."

"No. It is not a matter of choice, mageling," Lierok growled lowly. "The pact was made, the promise sworn. We are both bound by it. If you did not understand what you did, that is not my fault."

Zach was quiet for a moment. He hadn't wanted things to reach this point. He'd been half-hoping that Lierok would be as happy to be rid of him as he would be the other way.

But it didn't look like that was how it was going to play out. Just like the last time the spell had been cast, the spirit had followed the letter of a very informal agreement ... the Oath hadn't truly been breached, merely the expectations of someone whose heart had been in the right place ... once.

It was time for his last-ditch effort.

Zach picked up the knife again, opening the wound, drawing it further down his arm, extending his hand to drip the blood onto the meat.

"If you do not return to the spirit world, I will see that you are returned there," he said, giving Lierok one last chance to back out.

"I would like to see how," the Dire Wolf growled with low contempt.

"Very well." Zach swallowed hard, his head swimming from the influence of the incense and the blood he was losing. There was only one more way he could think of to break the Oath. Go over Lierok's head.

"Wyld Lord; your Beta has stepped beyond the limitations I had thought were placed upon him," he spoke. "I ask of you the power to set things right, to return Lierok to where he has come from and no more. In exchange," he said quickly, feeling the power begin to gather already. He didn't want to set an even stronger spirit loose to be rid of Lierok; that wouldn't help anything. "In exchange, I offer you my power, my Gift, the talent I thought I could control, but was beyond my skill. To you, and your purposes, I give it, for all time."

There was a long, still moment ... then a low howl from the statuette, which leaped upon the meat, seeming to swallow it as the agreement was made.

It felt like Zach's soul was being ripped from his body. He let out an unearthly scream, something like blue smoke flowing from his mouth and into the Icon as it swallowed the meat and spun about, seeming to grow as it faced the Dire Wolf, a four-legged wolf of porcelain that positively crackled with power.

"But Wyld Lord," Lierok cringed back, his tail tucked between his legs to avoid angering his Alpha any more than he already had by being summoned.

"No," the low response came. "What more would you do? It is not time for more. It is the season of the hunt; you belong at my side."

"Yes, Alpha," Lierok gave no more debate, and they both faded out of the mortal world, though the Wyld Lord cave a look over his shoulder at his successor's successor's territorial high priest before joining his pack in the spirit realm.

Zach dropped the knife, moving to put out the candles ... but he collapsed before finishing the job, utterly drained by what he had done.

"Get the windows open, and fresh air into the room," Hailen told the others, moving to finish putting the candles and incenses out. "Jake, call for an ambulance."

"Yes, sir," he nodded and hurried to make the call as Lyris' high priest knelt by Zach and did what she could to help him, even as an unnatural breeze swept the fumes from the room.

When everything was cleared out, Jake turned to the representatives of the gods around him. "What did I just see?"

Tol-Na, the powerfully built Wolf who served Rarzyn, looked back at the scene as he opened the last window. "You just watched him take a very big chance," he said softly. "When Lierok wouldn't nullify the agreement they'd made, he summoned the Wyld Lord to make him break it. Things are going to be ... very interesting over the next few years."

"As if a convergence of Champions won't be," Fela nearly groaned. "What is likely to happen?"

"This will be a smaller situation than that, for you," Tol-na reassured her. "However, I suspect that the Wyld Lord or one of his servants may challenge for the leadership of our gods, within a generation at least. Lierok's children and this increase in power ... Zach may not have been a powerful mage, but his power, willfully given, is a potent boon at any rate."

"So my successor may be dealing with his high priest, instead of Rarzyn's?" Fela nodded. "I hope it will be less bloody than when Kram took over from the Wyld Lord."

"Likely. Kram was far more ... primitive than the Wyld Lord. Less bestial, but more primitive. It's a strange distinction, but an important one. The Wyld Lord's priests will be more sociopathic than vicious, by modern standards. This, of course, is assuming a total takeover, rather than some other sort of shift in the pack dynamic. Rarzyn, unlike Kram, is willing to settle for a result other than the death of one or the other."

"As I understand all three, Rarzyn is by far the most moderate of them," Hailen commented evenly.

"I suspect that even with more raw power, Wyld Lord is not suited enough to the modern world to hold the Alpha position for long. Not in the cities at least," Chema, the Golden Tigress serving as Sheliel's high priestess, added. "It is the trouble that my Lady has."

"Quite true, though I suspect he'll hold power quite well in Lothos, once he has it there," the Priest nodded easily. "His philosophy will do well in most Wolf-dominant nations, particularly the ones who pride themselves on their traditions."

"There's a disturbing thought," Hailen mused. "Wolves with the dedication to their traditions that the Karalanol have ... no offense," he said with a nod towards the other priest.

"None taken. I agree with you, honestly ... it could be difficult for those who are in the cities. We already have difficulties because of those who adhere to the old ways too strongly, like the ones who set this tragedy in motion," he said with a nod towards Zach, whose wrists were bound and breathing more steadily as they heard the sirens of the approaching ambulances.

"Then here is hoping that we do not lose this convergence," Fela murmured. "I would not wish to see the results of the Wolf nations becoming ultra-national at the same time we fall into a Dark Age again."

"That... could be a nightmare. Though again, it would depend on how Rarzyn handled the situation, I suspect. He might serve as a balancing factor in the pack, if he were to join. These are concerns for another time though," Tol-na offered. "For now, I suggest we work on making sure we have the story straight for the Enforcers when they deal with our former mage."

"I'm fairly sure Zach is going to tell the most negative bent on the truth that he thinks of," Jake said quietly from where he was holding his friend's head in his lap while Windis did what he could to ease Zach's pain and injuries.

"The truth will serve us well here, I believe," Fela spoke calmly, taking her natural place at the head of the group. "The Enforcers already know much of it."

"Yes ... is there anybody else close enough to him that they might know about this, and what he did when it happened?" Tol-na asked Jake. "Somebody else who might know, and not put the spin on it that he's likely to. The Enforcers aren't going to have much sympathy for what I expect he'll say."

"His girlfriend, Amy Piercin," he suggested. "Abi Sinnian might as well. I suspect his best defense will be the five of you," he looked up and around the high priests. "We saw how it ended, you understand what happened. Possession is a strong legal defense, if it can be proven."

"It can be," Fela said firmly. "He may have to move, to get away from the consequences the public will have in store for him, but it can be proven, legally. That he came so close to killing himself to end it will speak in his favor as well."

"I doubt moving will be much of an issue for him, honestly," Jake smiled gently at his friend. "He's always loved field work, and his family has contacts all over the world."

"We'll hope he has the opportunity then," Fela smiled slightly, then turned to get the door as the paramedics knocked briefly on the way in. The two toms at the door froze momentarily when they saw five high priests of the city in full regalia, but focused on their job as soon as they spotted the unconscious tom on the floor.

Two weeks later, Rock was snuggling up with Jake, still sore but whole again. Melia had helped patch him up, coming in from the temple to help with his healing.

What he'd been surprised by, really, was how well he'd healed on his own up until that point.

Jake was still a little subdued; he'd heard about what had happened with Zach, it had been all over the news, but he still didn't understand all of it.

Or how it was affecting his lover.

"You okay?" Rock asked him gently, scratching his chest lightly and felt Jake's eyes close.

"Honestly? I'm not sure," he managed to say. "I'll be okay. I can't believe I didn't pick up on Zach's condition.""

"Jake, how could you have picked up on it?" Rock pointed out. "From what I've heard, it wasn't like he was a Champion or something... you wouldn't have been able to tell unless Lierok was in control. And except for right at the end, he was always that ... thing instead of Zach when that happened."

Jake nodded weakly and tried to relax. "Did you hear what Zach's fate will be?"

"Only that he's not going to prison, and that it sounds like we've got a few different lynch mobs trying to figure out where he is so they can be the reason why."

"They won't find him," he murmured. "He's not in the city anymore. Lierok is a spirit, a servant of the Wyld Lord, and possessed him with the full moon. Just before Zach surrendered, Lierok was forced back to the spirit realm. Five high priests were witness, and so was I," he shuddered. "I never understood how you could miss possession until now."

"Jake, it isn't your fault," Rock told him firmly. "From the sound of it ... it wasn't really anybody's fault, except maybe a spirit who's well and truly beyond anybody's jurisdiction. So ... wherever Zach went, do they know about it? I mean ... if he was possessed once, we won't know it won't happen again until the next full moon."

"Oh, Lierok isn't coming back, at least not by Zach. The Wyld Lord will see to that. And yes, they know. Zach wouldn't agree to any relocation without full disclosure before his hosts agreed. They still took him in. I think it shocked Zach a lot."

"Knowing him, probably would've been shocked if they'd taken him at all," Rock murmured. "So ... what about Amy? How'd she take it?"

"Freaked out completely and dropped out," he sighed unhappily. "I hope she's just trying to lay low for a term and enroll in another university, but here ... she's too well known as Zach's girlfriend not to be ostracized for not turning him in, even though she didn't know."

"Damn," Rock sighed. "Not that I can blame her, really ... hope she doesn't let this screw up her life too badly. Even without what it'd do to Zach, she doesn't deserve it."

"No, she doesn't," he agreed and snuggled close. "The only person who deserved to get hurt didn't. Lierok got out of this pretty much scot-free. It's just the mortals who paid for his little romp," he nearly growled.

"But it was another spirit who stopped him in the end," Rock offered gently. "Jake ... Zach's right about one thing. Ultimately, it's the mortals who put things in motion too. Not all the ones who paid for it, but the ones who started it. Besides ... who knows what's happening to him back with the rest of the spirits."

"Maybe," Jake acknowledged quietly and tried to put the level of injustice of it all behind him. "It just seems like it's not right."

"And it probably isn't," Rock agreed. "So ... have they held Brad's funeral yet?" He asked softly. "I feel like I ought to do something for him ... or his family."

"Yeah, it was three days after it happened," he murmured. "Pyre cremation by family tradition. It was kinda strange. They'd probably appreciate a hand-written card or something. They can put it in the memory box they made for him."

"Wish I could've been there," Rock murmured, hugging Jake close. "Wish I'd noticed something was wrong before it got bad at all."

Jake stiffened briefly before he forced his body to relaxed again "He didn't just break in ...."

"Jake ... I thought you knew, from the fact the door was in one piece," Rock sighed. "Like I said ... that night, he used Zach's body, his shape too. He ... tricked me into letting him in," he said, clearly trying to hedge around something.

"I really should have killed him when I had the chance," he growled softly, only to let it go with a breath. "I'm sorry," he nuzzled Rock gently. "I didn't see the place until a couple days before you came home when I came by to make sure it was cleaned up. I figured any bad damage had been fixed by then."

"Jake, it wasn't Zach," Rock said firmly. "Hell, he's almost as much of a victim, given what happened. I think... I think that spirit enjoyed taking control like that."

"I was talking about the spirit," Jake muttered. "I had a shot at him when he was dragged out of Zach's body. I should have taken it."

"Maybe... but if you had, and it hadn't worked, it might've been even worse," Rock murmured, hugging him close. "C'mon... it's over now. It's time for us to move on, right?"

"Time for everyone to try," he nodded with a sly smile and slid a hand between them to play his fingers along Rock's soft sheath. "Feeling good enough to do a little riding?"

"I think I could be convinced," Rock chuckled lowly. "As long as I'm the one doing the riding."

"You'll never hear a complaint from me when you are," he kissed his lover, slowly pressing his tongue into his mouth as knowing fingers took their time to arouse.

Power Games 2: Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory pt 5 of 6

NC-17 for M/M, M/F sex
Het Level is MediumHet Smut Level is Medium
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is High
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

206 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written September 4, 2007 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: SWAT Kats

Primary Races: Kantin, Kat

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, DarkFic, Death, Exhibitionism, Rape (M on M), Rape (M on M), Rape, Gang, Sex (BDSM), Sex (BDSM), Sex (BDSM), Sex (BDSM), Sex (Public), Supernatural, Violence (Graphic), Violence (Sexual), Voyeurism

Pairings: Chance Furlong/Midnight Raven, Jake Clawson/Rock Furlong, Zach Tanner/Amy Piercin, others

Blurb: With two terms together, just about everyone has settled a fair amount, and Jake's growing interest in detective work is being noticed by more folks of importance.

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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