Power Games 5:
The BoogieKat Killer pt 3 of 4
by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M, M/F sex
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file
"Hi!" Tamera said brightly as she climbed into the front seat of Midnight's van, buckling in and holding her backpack on her lap. "Thanks for picking me up," she said, glancing back to see that the three kittens weren't along for the drive.
"How would you like to watch your father play softball with his squad?" she smiled over.
"Sure," Tamera said, looking over at her curiously. "They play softball? Thought they were always doing Enforcer stuff."
"After shift, the squad tends to do something together to wind down," she explained and pulled into traffic. "Tonight is practice, but they have tournaments against other units."
"How good are they?" Tamera asked with a bit of a giggle.
"Not champions, but they usually place well enough, and they have fun with it," she giggled herself. "It's fun to watch them all act like big kits."
"That oughta be something to see," she giggled. "It's kinda strange, you know?" She murmured, leaning back in her seat.
"What part of it?" Midnight glanced at her.
"Having a Dad ... having a family where there's time for things like that," she admitted. "I was in a few sports and stuff through school, but... I never really found out that much about what Mom liked to do when she wasn't working or taking care of me."
"I doubt she had time for much else," Midnight said gently. "I was raised by two working parents and no extended family to speak of. There wasn't time for much outside of the twice-yearly vacations. The big family is all Chance, and a few friends."
"Probably not," Tamera admitted. "I kinda wonder if she'd have been happier if she hadn't had me, sometimes."
"What makes you think that?" Midnight tried not to ask too sharply.
"She always had to work and do stuff to help take care of me; she didn't have time for herself or for friends that much," Tamera explained. "She never said anything like that, not that I heard, but it's just something I wonder about. And now... if she'd thought she'd make up for it later, she isn't gonna get the chance anymore," she murmured softly.
"It's not like that, sweetie," Midnight said gently, regretful that she was driving and couldn't hold her. "I'm sure Connie didn't want to have a kitten so young, but it's a joy to help your kittens grow up to be fine young adults. She raised you well. That wouldn't happen if she wasn't proud of raising you."
Tamera was quiet, thinking it over. She closed her eyes, but Midnight didn't need to see them to know she was hurting.
"I miss her," she murmured softly.
"You probably always will," Midnight said gently, bringing her tail up as the best she could do for contact. "You are handling it very well, you know."
"Have to," the kitten said, swallowing a lump in her throat. "Gimme a week to get settled," she joked weakly.
Well, that was definitely like her father. Get the crisis over with, then react to it.
"What's funny?" Tamera asked with a funny look in Midnight's direction.
"You never met your father before, but that is just like him."
"Guess that's a good thing," Tamera tried to giggle. "Midnight? What if I'm not? His daughter, I mean?"
"If you have nowhere else you'd rather go, we'd probably still adopt you," she said simply. "Your mother was important to him once, and you're a good kit. It'd be nice to have another pair of hands when I have a second or third litter able to walk all at once, and you have a good hand in the kitchen. Did you ever want little siblings?"
"Sometimes, I guess... be nice to have somebody else to get fussed over. Especially when my Katian grades are coming in," she blushed a bit under her fur.
"Well, until someone says otherwise pretty strongly, you have three," Midnight smiled at her and pulled into a park near Enforcer Headquarters. "If we're lucky, there will be another three or four in seven months."
"So I'd better be sleeping in my own room before too much longer," Tamera giggled, unbuckling her seatbelt. "Will it just be Chance and his friends here tonight?"
"On the field," she nodded and got out. "Family and friends, and the occasional opponent, sometimes watch. Though I'll be lobbying Meg heavily to take all kittens from the house for that week. No one would sleep, and kittens need their sleep."
"So that's why I'd always go stay with Roxie every few months," Tamera mused as she climbed out, looking around for the ball park and starting over towards it with Midnight not far behind her.
"Most likely," Midnight smiled. "What sports do you play?"
"Depends... used to play baseball, now it's mostly soccer, I was going to try for football and hockey when they open 'em up for me. Math team too, but that's not really a sport to most people," she shrugged a bit. "Good at it though."
"Very much like Chance," she mused as they walked up to the chain-link fence separating the spectator area from the field. "What else do you enjoy?"
"The usual sort of stuff," Tamera said, thinking it over. "Kittens, puppies... the four legged kind anyways. We couldn't really have pets at the apartment most of the time, but we had a cat that was hit by a car for a little while, before he got better and the manager kicked him out."
"Any preference, or just small and fluffy?" Midnight asked, really thinking it over. Her mother swore that pets were good teachers, though she never did understand why.
"Small and fluffy mostly ... friendly too," Tamera said, thinking it over. "Never had brothers or sisters to help take care of, guess I kinda treated the cat like one," she admitted.
"You have real ones now," she smiled down and put a protective hand on her shoulder. "We'll see if pets happen when they're a little older."
"M'kay," Tamera smiled up at her as Chance and his squad-mates came out to take over the field. "Whoa," she murmured as she saw the massively built Hyaenodon and Andrewsarchus appear.
"Yes, they are massive," Midnight nodded. "Their pups will be born only a few pounds smaller than you, I believe. R'ars and Seratilista's bellies are huge."
"I'll bet," Tamera murmured. "They're Chance's friends though, right?" She asked, looking up at Midnight.
"Yes," she smiled down and hugged her to her side gently. "They're friendly, just huge. Have you seen a Xanith before?"
"Yeah, but most Xanith couldn't swallow me whole," she giggled weakly. "Those guys ... almost look like they could."
"Mmm, A'zay in particular," Midnight nodded in agreement. "You don't need to worry about them though. They're good people. They've been Black Knights longer than Jake and Chance."
"Are we gonna meet 'em later?" she asked, her tail swishing behind her.
"If you'd like," she smiled down. "I know the squad's eager to meet you when you're up for it."
"I'm not sure," the tabby kitten admitted, shifting uneasily as she stared out at the mismatched group that formed the team. "Maybe for a bit though... you and Chance'll be right there, and I've already met Jake."
"Yes, we will be," she assured her. "There's nothing to be worried about with them."
"I'm sure there isn't ... I'm just not really up too much for being social right now," Tamera said quietly. "Did you ever lose somebody like that?"
"No, I haven't," Midnight admitted. "I haven't lost anyone close to me yet except Jake, and he doesn't stay dead. It's happened to those close to me though."
"He doesn't ... what?" Tamera asked, looking up at Midnight incredulously.
"Remember when I told you that your dream being real wasn't the most incredible thing I've witnessed?" Midnight smiled down in understanding. "I've seen Jake die, and recover from it. It's made him miserable most of his life, too."
"But... that just... it doesn't make sense," Tamera pointed out. "How... how'd he do that?"
"He doesn't," she tried to keep it relatively simple. "Bastet and Halikar have plans for him, and they won't allow him to rest until they are done with him."
"Oh...." Tamera trailed off, clearly trying to make sense out of it until she was distracted by the practice ending and the squad walking in from the field.
Before Midnight could draw her over to the team, Chance was waylaid by a golden tabby shekat.
"Glad I caught you," Seriad smiled weakly when he grinned at her. "Results came in from both DNA tests. Can we talk in private?"
"Sure," he nodded. "Hey guys, I'll catch up with you in a minute," he called to his squad-mates, heading off to follow her. "So what's up?" He asked as they headed towards the showers. "Paternity come back negative?" He asked her, trying to figure out what would throw her off like she was.
"It came back positive," she shook her head. "Look, you bolt on me and I'll be the one to skin you alive, but ... you're a good Enforcer and you've been a good friend. The DNA tests came back on Connie's assailants too. A dead Kat, a Panther and dog that aren't detailed enough to be real, and you."
Chance froze where he was standing, staring at her in disbelief.
"You're shitting me," he said bluntly.
"I wish I was, Chance," she told him, facing him squarely. "Right now you aren't as dead as it would normally be, but ... it's not going to be good until somebody figures out how the results happened."
"No, it's not," he murmured. "It'd be a halfway decent case too ... I swear, I haven't seen her since the execution," he said seriously. "And only for a few minutes from the other side of the glass. You said there were three others, and one of 'em was a dead kat?"
"Your saving grace," she nodded. "The other individual was Douglas Berten. A generic Panther and dog, as in the four-legged kind, were, were also in there, but they didn't have any individual markers."
"Berten was dead for days before she was killed," Chance pointed out irritably. "Somebody at the lab must've screwed something up, that's all there is to it!"
"That is being investigated, and the tests run again. Just don't be too surprised if you get stuck on desk duty for a while. If the results weren't so weird, you'd be under arrest by now," she warned him quietly. "It's one hell of a coincidence, no matter what you think of its validity."
"I know, I know," he muttered. "Look... what's this going to end up meaning, even with the weird shit?" He asked, glancing over at Midnight and Tamera. "And is there anything I could do that might end up making it a little less severe?"
"Cooperate, and be right about not having touched her in a decade," Seriad said quietly, aware that everyone was giving them space, but also knew something incredibly serious was up. "Right now, I'm using the weirdness as grounds to not report the findings until a second test says the same thing, if it does.
"If it does, it's going to SI for review, you'll be on desk duty if you're lucky, your daughter will probably be placed with someone else," she sighed. "If it goes that far, a lot will depend on what IA turns up, and how the DA and Mayor's office takes it. I'm sorry, it's the best I can do for you."
"I know," he nodded seriously. "You know this is bullshit, right? I wouldn't have lied about something like that."
"I believe you," she told him honestly. "Knowing ... that's harder right now. I wouldn't be doing my job if I just took your word for anything in a case like this."
"Fair enough," he nodded slightly. "What can I and can't I say?" He asked her. "I know they're going to ask what this was about."
"Don't say more than that there were complications with the test on Connie's killers," she told him. "Sorry, but the rest you shouldn't even know yet."
"No problem," he nodded. "The part about it coming back positive on Tamera I can say, right?"
"Yes, that's public record and it'll hold as is unless there's a challenge to it," she nodded and turned to leave. "Hope the rest of your night goes better."
"Well it'd have a damned hard time going worse," he half-laughed, grumbling as he turned to join the others, his face showing every bit of his irritation with the situation.
It had to be a fuck up in the lab. It could happen in the best of circumstances, especially if whoever was running the paternity test was near the test on the material from Connie.
Hell, if they'd been running a test to see if they could link Berten to another cold case, that'd even explain why his had been there ... and maybe why the Panther and dog's DNA was screwed up.
It all fit together well enough ... almost as well as the case against him would, if they decided to prosecute.
And he had to sit on it, at least until they had the second test back. If that one said the same thing ... shit. If that one said the same thing, he was royally screwed ... and so was Tamera, probably. If they were lucky, she'd be back at her friend's until they found out what happened in the lab. If not....
Now that he knew she was his daughter, he wanted to see her in the foster system even less than he had before.
"Spill it," Kathie walked up to him, just far enough away from the others that it could stay private if he wanted it to be.
"What I can spill, there's something up with the test on what they got from Connie's body," he told her quietly. "And off the record, I might end up on desk duty in a few days," he muttered lowly.
"Ah crap," her ears flattened. "You two and getting grounded," she muttered, more in frustration for them than at them. "Okay, I won't press, but tell me if I can help out."
"I will," he nodded. "And if it gets that far, I'll need all the help I can get," he admitted, his tail-tip still betraying his irritation as they went to catch up with the others.
"Well, I got some good news out of all that too, at least, and that's what's important," he told them, walking over to Midnight and Tamera.
"They proved you are my father," the kitten guessed with little effort.
"Yeah, they did," he smiled down at her, kneeling so he was more at her level and giving her a hug. "I'm sorry I haven't been able to be there for you before, but I'm gonna try and fix that now," he promised her quietly.
Tamera just nodded, a lump in her throat as she pressed tightly into the hug. "Why didn't she tell you?" she whimpered against his fur, unable to stop herself from breaking down in public.
"I don't know, honey," he admitted. "I really don't know, and I wish I did."
"Come on, let's go home, have a nice quiet meal and hot chocolate?" Midnight suggested, warding off Jake approach with an apologetic glance.
"I think that's a good idea," Chance nodded slightly. "Sorry to run off guys. I'll see you for shift tomorrow," he said as he stood up, and got a mixture of concern and acceptance from the rest of the squad.
Rock checked the clock as he toweled off after a shower; he'd taken a half-day from the work site to meet Kyale, at her request, and Jake wouldn't be home for at least an hour, more likely two. It was about time for her to arrive too; good timing, really, even if he didn't know why she wanted to talk to him, let alone with Jake gone.
If she'd been staying longer, he'd almost have wondered if she was going to ask his permission to court Jake, but she'd be leaving tonight, not long after Jake got home if plans went right.
He pulled on a t-shirt as the doorbell rang, and headed out to meet her, opening up the door to reveal the black-furred foreign shekat.
"Hi, come on in," he said easily, stepping back to let her in.
"Thank you," she inclined her head politely and stepped inside to put down her large duffle bag, a smaller one landing on the floor next to it. "I do not mean to go behind his back, to say, but I did not want him to take my gift a bad way," she started to explain as she picked up the smaller black bag, still the size of a large briefcase, and walked to the coffee table in the living room to put it down.
"Oh? What is it?" He asked her curiously. "If you can say, of course," he added, knowing she might want it to be a surprise for both of them, though it seemed almost like she wanted his advice about it instead.
"Yes," she nodded, unsnapping the latches of the hard-sided bag. "His issue with bedding a female ... the herbs I used may allow him to mate without pain. They make a female smell male very well."
"I see," Rock nodded slightly. "Thank you... do you know what they will do to the female? Especially if she's in heat?" He asked her, glancing at the packages of herbs and the instructions for their preparation and use.
"It depends on the preparation and timing," she reached for the pages of carefully hand written instructions. "If used as a paste, rubbed into the fur and flesh, it should have little other effect," she handed him one of the pages. "If created as a tea and drunk, it would disrupt her fertility."
He was sure, given her level of mastery of Katian, that it had been quite a labor for her to write.
"I understand," he nodded, looking over the page. "I will let him know you left it... are you worried that he'll think you're pushing him to take a female mate?"
"Yes," she nodded and stood, the other papers in her hand. "He would not be wrong that I find him appealing that way. It is not why I wish to make the gift. He has been kind to me the way few have. If my knowledge can make him hurt less, I would like it to happen."
"For what it's worth, I'm grateful for it," Rock smiled, standing and squeezing her shoulder. "He doesn't like to admit that it hurts him, but it does... I've tried similar things, but this might do the trick for him, if he ever decides to try for kittens."
She nodded, a somewhat surprised look on her face before she smiled slightly. "My thought was if he loved another female. He seemed content to be without kittens."
"I'll be honest with you, I'd be less surprised if he decided to do it for kittens than if he did it because he fell in love with another fem," Rock chuckled slightly. "There are some issues there... nothing you'd have to worry about. I'm sure he'll appreciate the thought, but I'll be sure not to tell him until after you've left, if you'd rather."
"I would," she nodded seriously. "I will be in MegaKat City in four months. Enough time I hope he will not see it as a proposal unless he wishes too."
"That's fine," he nodded, packing the instructions back into the bag and closing it up. "Would you like something to drink before I get dinner started, or you want to help in the kitchen?" He asked her easily.
"Yes, and I will with what I can," she nodded to him, staying where she was until he had put the case away in the bedroom, then followed him to the bar. "A sweet drink?" she half-asked, not sure what was available, or what he knew how to mix.
"Sure," he said easily, pulling out a bottle of kahlua and one of the chocolate liqueurs that Jake had a bit of a taste for and mixing the two, passing the glass over to her. "Simple, but it ought to work out for sweet," he grinned as he put the bottles back in the bar. "By the way, I didn't think to ask about this before, but you don't have any problems with eating beef, right?"
"No, no problem," she smiled and sipped the drink. "I like beef."
"That's good," he smiled back, pulling out the small steaks and setting them on the counter. "Could you pull down the pepper grinder, seasoned meat tenderizer, and paprika?" He asked her as he started fishing around in the fridge, pulling out a jar of minced garlic.
By the time he turned around she had the items next to the steak and slipped out of his way again. He couldn't help but wonder about how she picked out the containers so quickly, though it was a reminder that he was alone in the house with someone who could beat Jake into the ground.
"I'm glad you're friendly," he chuckled slightly, shaking his head and pulling a meat-tenderizer out of the drawer, bending down to pull out a frying pan and a medium-sized sauce pan. "Hate to think of what you could do to me if you weren't," he grinned over at her, putting the pans on the stove and heading back for the olive oil and a box of instant-rice mix. "Can you get the rice going while I prep the steaks?"
"Yes," she nodded, quickly moving around without seeming to hurry, pausing briefly to read the instructions on the rice box, clearly unfamiliar with the item.
"Measuring cups are in the cupboard above the sink," he offered as she started to look for them, spooning some of the garlic onto the steaks, then crushing some of the pepper on, and sprinkling them liberally with the tenderizer and paprika before starting to hammer them flat.
He noticed her watching the preparation with interest, even as she accomplished what he had set her to. Despite her grace, he was sure cooking, especially with these kinds of methods, was not a common event for her.
"Usually eat out?" He asked her easily as he flipped the steaks over and repeated the process with the other side while she waited for the water to start boiling. "At least when you're somewhere it's a possibility?"
"Yes," she nodded. "Where it is not, I can cook the way I know. I have never seen rice cooked this way."
"It's a lot easier than making it normally ... especially for rice pilaf," Rock admitted. "We'll do up frozen veggies too, but they can go in pretty much at the last minute," he explained, pulling down some olive oil and starting it heating in the frying pan.
"I can see that," she nodded. "Your easy to make foods are exotic to me. It makes for a interesting meal. Do you like to cook?"
"Sometimes; Jake's more into it than I am, but I've learned to do a bit better than the average bachelor over the years," he smiled. "Once in a while, I found out that clients liked actual breakfast in bed," he chuckled. "So it paid to learn how. By the way, when you put the sauce mix and rice into the water, maybe toss in a teaspoon or so of curry powder?"
"I will," she nodded before pouring the rice in, then the powder for the sauce and added the curry powder after a sniff to see what was in it.
"Great," he grinned, sprinkling a little water into the frying pan to test the oil, following it up with the steaks when the water started skittering across the pan, going for a meat fork while the steaks sizzled and browned. "Thanks for the help, by the way. I can do a meal like this on my own, but it's always more fun to cook with company."
"Faster too, I think," she nodded, casually stirring the rice and powder in the water as it began to bloom into the base of the sauce.
"Very true," he chuckled. "You want me to mix a little light 'nip in after the rice is finished?" He asked her, turning the steaks in the oil.
"I do not think so," her ears flicked uneasily. "I do not enjoy it," she said to cover the full extent of her reaction to this casual use of the potent herb.
"Fine by me," he said easily, looking over at her after a moment. "You're used to people talking about the strong stuff, aren't you?" He guessed, picking up on the more subtle signs of her uneasiness.
"Likely," she nodded. "It makes you see things, hear things, that are not there. Very dangerous to others. I might kill and not know."
"Oh Hell no," Rock said, shaking his head sharply. "That sort of stuff I wouldn't touch, certainly not that casually. Don't blame you for not liking it if that's the type you're used to," he chuckled slightly.
"Good," she nodded, watching the sauce thicken slowly as the rice cooked. "Smells good."
"Thanks," he smiled. "Go ahead and put a lid on it, and turn the heat down, it's pretty much set-and-forget from here." He cut one of the steaks through the thickest part, checking if it was done. "Lemme know if you don't like your steaks well done," he added. "So, where are you heading to next?"
"I like bloody meat," she said quickly. "Next is Lothos. They are offering their national champions for MMA challenges," she grinned predatorily.
"Too bad for them," Rock grinned, pulling the thickest steak out quickly, seared and browned on the outside, still bloody inside. "Following the circuit until the next nationals in MKC?" He asked her curiously.
"Yes," she nodded. "I make very good money. Every championship I win is more I can earn in demonstrations and training. I am not enough of a name yet, but I am making one well."
"Ever planning on settling down?" He asked her casually, pulling down the veggies to get them started. "I know Jake wouldn't mind you sticking around," he chuckled.
She smiled, almost shyly, and nodded. "When I am good enough to live well without fighting often. I do not know if it will be here. This city is not easy ... comfort ... it is very different for me. I do like Jake. I will speak to him when I return," she promised in a tone that reminded Rock a little too much of a blood oath from the streets.
"I think that'd be good," he smiled. "Whatever comes of it ... this might be kinda private for you, but what are your tastes in a lover? If you're interested in Jake, it might be good for you to know what sort of things he enjoys."
He kept his expression as neutral as he could as she worked through the shock of the question coming out of the blue, then watched her thing about it.
"You are not asking about what I find desirable ... appearance?" she asked, wanting to be sure she understood what he wanted to know.
"Not really," he acknowledged. "I kinda figure that if Jake wasn't your type, you wouldn't be interested, but... well, I don't know how much you know about his tastes, and I'm wondering if they're at all compatible."
She settled in against the wall, her eyes down, going over what she knew and what he was asking, and what he was really asking to know.
"I desire toms," she said, still a little uncertain. "I do not know more than that."
"Have you ever been with one before?" Rock asked her, trying to get a feel for just how inexperienced she was as he started putting things aside to stay warm for when Jake got home, rather than to cook.
"No," she shook her head slightly.
"Would you care to try some time?" He offered her neutrally. She was attractive, certainly, but he'd rather have her as a friend than anything more. "I'm a reasonably good teacher, I've been told," he chuckled slightly.
She cocked her head slightly, considering him on criteria he really couldn't be sure of.
"Yes, I would," she decided with a slight nod. "Most have been too afraid of me to show interest."
"Their loss," he chuckled. "If you'd like, I think there's time tonight, before your flight," he offered her.
She stepped up to him, caressing his jaw and chin with slender fingers even as he worked on the weird sensation of someone smaller than him having so much authority when they weren't paying for it. "Jake is not likely to mind?"
"No," Rock said, shaking his head slightly. "If he was, I wouldn't have suggested it," he said seriously. "Though if you'd like, we can wait until he's back and ask him first."
"I believe I would prefer to ask him," she decided after a moment. "He deserves a say in what his mate does."
"That's fine, though technically we're not mates yet," Rock smiled, giving her a light kiss. "Maybe after dinner, if you're up to it. Until then, if you're interested in finding out a bit of what he's into ... well, I know he wouldn't mind if you watched a couple of our home videos," he chuckled slightly, mentally going through their library and wondering if they had anything reasonably tame.
"That would be quite interesting," she sort of purred, both excited and unsure about watching her friend in porn.
"Very interesting," Rock chuckled. "I'll be nice, start you off on a slow night," he teased lightly, heading out into the front room and selecting one of their private tapes for her, loading it into the VCR. "Jake can go a lot farther than he did this night, and we haven't even really toyed around with how far he would be willing to go, thanks to the Enforcers," he explained, getting the tape started and checking the clock to see when Jake would be back.
"He has told me about that," she nodded, following him and finding a comfortable spot on the couch. "Few details, though I believe I understand what he likes the most."
"It can be a little out there for some folks, particularly if they're not used to kinks at all," Rock nodded slightly. "Freaked Chance out a bit, at first," he chuckled, watching for her reaction as much as the show itself as he started it running.
"Two toms, or what you do?" she asked, though her eyes were on the line of Jake's body, strung up in their large shower with water raining down on his nude body.
"What we do," Rock explained. "He's straight as an arrow, but he understands two guys. He just doesn't really get mixing pain and pleasure the way we do."
Kyale nodded, a shiver passing down her tail as Rock's strong hands ran down Jake's sides, drawing a whimper of desire from the lean tom. "He does not understand the joy of fighting as we do either. He fights to win, not to further himself as a warrior."
"He understands it, just not when it comes to fighting," Rock tried to explain. "In the air, he gets it ... in contests that aren't about fighting, he gets it, even in some of them. And there was a time when it was different, but ... Kyale, have you ever killed somebody before? Personally, using your skills?"
"Yes," she nodded seriously, a trace of pride behind her words. "I have three heads on my hand," she lifted her left hand, displaying a black palm.
He had to look closely, but under the good light he could see three lines of dashes tattooed on her skin.
"Each is a name. Each is a head I took in protecting my people."
"For Chance, it isn't a matter of pride, but he's killed before too ... it's put a different light on fighting for him, in a lot of ways," Rock explained, seeing clearly that she didn't really understand. It just wasn't part of her to regret a kill.
"Not everyone is meant to be a hunter," she made the best concession to the idea she could.
"No ... and not every warrior is meant to fight the same way," Rock nodded. "But that's a subject for another time, really. For now, we've got a show to enjoy," he chuckled, sitting down next to her.
"Agreed," she purred, shifting to touch him as she watched his naked and highly aroused body grab Jake's hips and slam into him with a groan bordering on a roar. "You enjoy each other greatly," she added, her tone dropping as arousal kicked in.
"The best way to do it, I've always thought," he purred, reaching down to rub her leg lightly through her slacks as she started enjoying the show. "Jake usually agrees," he winked.
"So he has said," she returned the touch, completely at ease with mimicking movements. "Do you enjoy more than that?"
"I do," he reassured her. "I won't say that I've never met a kink I didn't like, but I've experienced a lot that I do, from 'normal' sex on out to more extreme things. I've actually got a couple things that I've got some interest in that weird Jake out," he chuckled slightly, nuzzling her neck a bit.
"Truth?" she raised an eyebrow at that.
"Yeah," he nodded slightly. "Not serious interests of mine, more quirks that I get in the mood for sometimes. Very occasionally, I get in the mood to have a partner who plays the part of a four-legged pet, and ... uhm...." He trailed off as he realized that his other kink that Jake wasn't into might not be taken well by the current audience. "Well, sometimes I like the idea of a male lover playing the part of a fem, down to the clothes," he admitted, blushing a bit.
She cocked her head slightly, thought about it ... he was sure in context he had no familiarity with ... and nodded, apparently unperturbed by it. "He would look odd," she murmured, her eyes on the TV but he hand sliding up his leg and her scent decidedly turned on.
"He actually looks pretty good, but that's neither here nor there," he smiled, kissing her cheek lightly, running a hand up her side and fondling her breasts lightly.
A soft, half surprised sound came out before she pressed into the contact slightly. Her own hand slipped further up his leg, brushing the side of her hand along his groin and up his full sheath.
"Jake's home," she said with a quick breath just before he heard the door unlock.
Rock leaned back slightly, not at all worried about Jake spotting them so much as turning to greet him.
"Hey hon," he grinned. "Hope you don't mind the video, the conversation got interesting while we were making dinner."
"I bet," he looked at the pair curiously when his ears picked up his own moans. "Planning on taking it any further than teasing her?"
"That depends on you," Rock said easily. "Apparently she's never been with a tom before," he explained. "I offered to help her change that, but she wanted to wait for you to give your blessing first."
"Go for it," Jake grinned. "He's a great teacher, no matter what the specifics. Want me to find something to do for a couple hours?"
"I'm fine either way," Rock smiled at her and motioned to the tape. "I'm not shy about my body or sex."
"If you wish to stay, I do not mind," Kyale said, though she did blush a bit.
"I do like watching him enjoy himself," Jake rumbled softly and dropped his small duffel bag to the floor with a light thump. "Just forget I'm here," he suggested as he walked past her to settle down in an overstuffed chair not far away, but with a good view of both the TV and them.
"So, why don't we start up where we left off?" Rock purred, reaching up to turn Kyale's face towards him, kissing her lightly on the lips. "How far have you gone with a tom before?"
"This far, with you," she said simply.
"Let's change that then," he murmured, kissing her again, deepening it a bit as he started to pull her t-shirt from her jeans. It took her a bit to figure out what his tongue was doing in her mouth, but soon she murred and began to kiss back.
Rock slipped his hands up under her shirt, fondling firm, small breasts directly, rubbing her nipples with his thumbs as he murred into her mouth, trying to encourage her to start doing a bit of exploring of her own between surprised sounds of pleasure.
He didn't resist at all when she shifted forward, pushing him back on the couch and ended up straddling his hips. He felt as much as saw the intensity of her reaction to the hard cock trapped in his pants rubbing against her equally covered sex.
He pulled his hand out from under her shirt, pushing it up and off of her before starting to undo her pants, knowing that she wanted him to pick up the pace. He didn't mind letting her take more of the lead; it was a good sign, as far as he was concerned.
She was hungry, comfortable with it, just terribly inexperienced for her age on how to go about foreplay. How to move did though, and she pushed his shirt up as she leaned forward and brought her legs together, making it easy to push her jeans and underwear down, then off when she'd toed her running shoes off.
"Want room, or relative comfort?" He asked her with a grin, reaching down to undo his own jeans and start sliding them off when she lifted her body to give him space for it.
"Room, I think," she licked her lips before lowering her head to lick an exposed nipple.
"There's a bed too," Jake suggested with a throaty rumble.
"You want to wait that long?" Rock asked Kyale with a teasing rumble, scratching her back lightly with his claws.
"No," she rumbled, arching into his claws with a rowel as her legs slid apart again, pressing her swollen, slick crotch against his hard cock and rocked hips as the pleasure built inside her.
"Brace yourself then," he rumbled, giving her a moment to do so before twisting up and over, taking them down to the floor, putting himself on top of her. He reveled in how easily she moved her body to go with him, and the sensation of having her natural combat reflexes suppressed for his benefit.
He kissed her, hot and hard, rubbing his shaft against the slick lips of her sex. She spread her legs, her knees raised as she cried out, pressing and rocking against him, her body already twitching when she reached down to squeeze his ass, her fingers taking in every curve and contour.
She might have been a bit impatient, but Rock wasn't; he took his time, rubbing himself against her sex, his rubbery barbs brushing her clit once in a while as he made out with her and fondled her breasts, trying to push her over the edge once before he'd even penetrated her.
He knew he could, if she let him. He moaned into her mouth, enjoying the way she rubbed her legs along his as their bodies pressed and rubbed.
Abruptly she threw her head back, away from their kiss, her teeth fully bared and a sound that raised the fur along his spine erupting from her throat as her sex closed around emptiness while her lower lips tried desperately to suck him inside.
He nibbled at her collarbone, letting her ride out the pleasure, her legs tightening around him and her claws popping in and out as her muscles contracted through her body, largely out of her control.
"Good?" He asked her with a wise-ass grin once she'd come back down a bit. "'Cause it gets better."
"Intense," she shuddered, panting heavily as she brought her head up to kiss him more leisurely. "Show me."
"With pleasure," he rumbled, sliding down, then pressing up, his thick, barbed shaft sinking into her hungry pussy.
He was startled at how tight she was! More than most virgins even, the care she took for her body translated into an incredible, vise-tight grip around his cock, her slick, hot flesh clinging to every inch of him as she cried out sharply at finally feeling what he body had been so desperate for when he'd rubbed against her.
He drew back, lifting his hips until he'd pulled almost all the way out of her before driving into her welcoming body again. The incredible tightness just beyond the slick layer between them made him glad he'd gotten her off once already. He wasn't going to last long like this.
Knowing that he wasn't about to set any endurance records, he decided to give her a ride she'd be a long time forgetting instead. He shifted, searching for the rough patch of skin along the wall of her sex that he knew she'd never have felt before, finding her g-spot and starting to drive himself into her pussy with all his might.
She mewed and rowled, then squeezed her eyes closed when her breath hitched in a now-recognized build of unstoppable pleasure, this time with all her body's desires fulfilled with him deep inside her.
Her slick body rippled around his shaft, pulling at his barbs hungrily until he threw his own head back with a roar, his balls pulling up close to his body and began to pump his seed deep into Kyale's body.
He grunted with each following thrust that pumped another squirt against her cervix until he was finally spent and looked down at a very relaxed lover purring up at him.
"Think you have more in you?" she licked his nose playfully.
"If I don't, then something's seriously wrong with me," he teased playfully, nuzzling her neck with a grin.
"Wasn't sure how much the porn exaggerates things," she nuzzled him before he felt her tense and rolled with her shift that left him on his back and her straddling his hips, his hard cock still deep inside her.
He watched her eyes close in pleasure as his cock shifted inside her while she settled in place.
"Oooh ... with me, not that much," he rumbled up at her, leaning up to nuzzle her breasts, licking at them as she started to move on his still-rigid member. "Mmm ... think we've created a monster here, Jake," he grinned.
"Somehow, I doubt either of us are going to mind," Jake rumbled, through it was almost more groan from the efforts of his hand. "You know how much it turns me on to see you really get off with a shekat."
"Shame you're heading out of town tonight," Rock groaned, reaching up to take her hips, helping to guide her movements so he'd hit the most sensitive spots inside her body.
"I'll return," she breathed deeply, arching her body back as she road him, enjoying every motion nearly as much as she enjoyed a good fight. "Are all toms this good?"
"Mmm ... afraid not, beautiful," he chuckled. "Some are better, most aren't as good, I like to think. I've had a lot of experience with different people."
"Keep me returning," she groaned, then shivered as the pleasure began to mount. She reached down, bracing against his chest as her fingers worked through his fur.
He ran his own fingers through hers, leaning up to kiss her. They moaned into each others mouths, though the sound was soon overpowered by Jake's grunts as he came.
"Want to ... mmm ... try something different after this?" He offered with a low groan of pleasure.
"Sure," she breathed in deeply, squeezing her body around the thick, hard flesh inside her. "Just ... ohhh ... leave enough time for a shower and food."
"It's already cooked, that'll make it easier," Rock chuckled, then moaned as he came again, pushing to rub himself against her g-spot as he tried to give her a third orgasm.
He had to keep thrusting past his pleasure again, but as he came down he could feel her sex begin to quiver. It wasn't long, he knew how to push a female far better than she knew how to resist his efforts.
Once she'd come again, he pulled her down, kissing her tenderly.
"Want to see about working Jake into this too?" He asked her with a purr.
"If he wishes," she glanced over her shoulder at the highly aroused tom she desired far more than the one mating her.
"What's the plan?" Jake raised an eyebrow at his lover, a grin on his face.
"Triangle, give her a little experience with oral before we turn her loose on toms who aren't expecting to have to warn about teeth?" Rock grinned over at him. "You get to eat me out of her, I'll make sure you don't get bored while you're working on her?" He winked.
"Works for me," Jake chuckled as he stood and stripped the remainder of his clothes off. "Why don't we move this to the bed though, since you've both gotten off a couple times now?"
"That really would be the best idea, I think," Rock chuckled, moaning as Kyale reluctantly stood and slid herself off of his shaft. "Damn you're tight," he purred as he got up himself.
"Much less than two years ago," she chuckled and offered him a hand up. "Did not have tits then."
"Well, the ones you've got now are just fine," he smiled, leading the way into the bedroom. "Some guys like 'em big, but most who are worth anything won't fixate on it."
"That is good. I am not sure I like having them," she said as she followed him into the large bedroom and king-sized bed that was clearly one of their major investments. "I look female now?"
"Yes, you do," he reassured her easily, giving her a light kiss as the three of them climbed onto the bed. "Not always the case?"
"No," she shook her head and waited for a better clue as to what they had in mind. "Not female, not fully male."
"Spread your legs," Jake nuzzled at pubic fur that smelled more of his mate than a female. "Your nose in his crotch."
Rock turned around to give her a better shot at it, putting his own face between Jake's legs and nuzzling his balls lightly, licking his sheath and barbed shaft. "Just be careful about your teeth," he warned Kyale with a grin before taking Jake's cock into his mouth.
He knew she watched him for a bit, her fingers fondling his balls, then shifted to lick him clean of their mixed pleasure as Jake thrust his tongue inside her to begin licking his mate's seed out. Instead of following suit and taking him into her mouth, she turned her mouth to exploring his balls with a definite fascination for them.
Rock groaned, his own fingers working on Jake's balls and legs while he suckled his shaft. He didn't have any problems at all with letting Kyale explore, and it reminded him to take a little time of his own; he pressed a finger up into Jake's tight ass, searching for his prostate to add a little extra to the blowjob.
As much as he enjoyed giving this attention to his lover, his mind was on what Kyale was doing, on reading her reactions and what might be good to explore next. It was fun to have a newcomer like her; a virgin with no real inhibitions about losing it and a solid understanding of the theory of pleasure.
She could have definite potential as a third person in a triad, he thought... if either she or Jake was interested, at any rate. Except for Midnight, she was the first he honestly entertained the thought with.
Given a bit more experience and practice, he was sure she'd be damned good, and the control she had over her body was incredible. It gave him a bit more insight in how Jake had learned his body control. The combat training they shared had definite advantages in bed.
She moaned against his cock, her body responding to Jake's efforts even as Jake's responded to his.
"Kyale, to your back," Jake rumbled. "Let Rock take care of your mouth."
She nodded slightly and rolled, allowing him to spread her legs wide as he focused on her clit and the sensitive folds of her labia.
It only took Rock a moment to realize what Jake was suggesting. He turned around, kissing Kyale, nuzzling her neck and letting the lean tom beneath him focus on getting her off this time.
Chance smiled as he watched Tamera and Midnight help the kittens eat between working on their own meals. They'd only started the shift from puree to small pieces of real food, though Midnight still nursed them regularly as well. It was a pattern Chance didn't know from his own family, but she was firm that it was good for them and he wasn't about to argue with her.
"So, how were your days?" He asked once they'd settled in for their own again.
"It's good to be back in school, even if I wish everybody wouldn't look at me and be all nervous all the time," Tamera said, her mood mixed. "Thanks for letting me stay at CW for the rest of the year."
"Hey, you've got enough stuff changing on you," Chance said understandingly. "Your school doesn't have to be one of them. Plenty of time for that sort of thing later. And they'll start to adjust once they know you're handling it okay, I'm pretty sure," he added with a smile he meant to be reassuring.
"I hope so," she murmured, only picking at her food as she looked down at it. "Sorry, just everything reminds me of Mom."
"I understand, honey," he said, reaching over and squeezing her shoulder gently. "If I could help 'em find who it was that did this, I'd do it in a heartbeat."
"I know," she managed a smile at him. "Have they made any progress on it?"
"Not much," he said softly. "But I'm keeping tabs on it."
"Thanks," she murmured and made a concerted effort to eat. "You play well, even if you don't play by the rules," she managed a grin.
"Not sure if that's quite the lesson I oughta be teaching you right now, but it's usually the best way to play the game ... as long as you only bend the rules instead of breaking 'em," he chuckled. "So ... what sort of things are you interested in?" He asked her, hoping she'd settled in well enough to be able to talk about things without hurting too much.
"I like math, and sports," she giggled. "Midnight asked me that a couple hours ago."
"Afraid I wasn't really listening too well," he admitted with a chuckle. "Think at all about what you want to do, one of these days?" He asked her curiously. "When you get out of school?"
She blinked, then really thought about it. "Something where I won't have to work like Mom did," she said. "Programming, engineering. I'm good enough at a lot of sports; I can probably get a scholarship."
"I'll bet you are," he grinned a bit. "Ever think about flying?"
"Who doesn't?" she grinned up at him.
"Some people don't ... want me to see if I can talk Kathie into authorizing a trip up for you some time?" He offered her with a broader grin, glad to see her enthusiastic about something.
"Oh yeah," she lit up almost as much as he would have at her age. He could tell she wasn't as fixated as he had been, but she was definitely not faking the interest.
"Thought you might," he chuckled with a smile. "I'll see what I can do tomorrow... shouldn't be too hard. Might as well take advantage of being a pilot when I can, huh?"
"Yeah!" Tamera grinned, but Midnight caught the wording and looked at him curiously before the kittens demanded her attention again.
It was largely forgotten after that, the kittens and their conversation taking up the rest of dinner. Before too much longer, they'd finished, settling in the living room with the kittens to relax and watch TV, Tamera sprawling out on the floor as Chance found a late run of Scaredy Kat.
"Midnight?" Chance asked her quietly. "I've been doing a bit of thinking, and want to run it past you before I bring it up to Jake or anybody else."
"I thought something was up," she kissed him on the cheek. "What is it?"
"I'm thinking about transferring into SI," he explained. "Between the kittens ... you ... Tamera...." He trailed off, leaning against Midnight lightly and scratching his son's head. "She already lost her mother," he said quietly. "Doesn't need her father off getting himself shot at all the time."
"But you've wanted to fly jets your entire life," she kept her voice down, but not the shock.
"Yeah ... and there are probably some ways I can keep in the air part time. But I've got you and the kits to support now, and I think I can do it better if I'm not always on the line of fire."
"Is Supernatural Investigations really that much safer?" she looked up at him. "They seem to always be in the middle of the most dangerous crime sprees."
"I'm a solid five times more likely to get myself killed or seriously hurt as a pilot than working for SI, even with my luck," Chance explained quietly. "SI... you're investigating Omegas and the like, but most of them aren't the dangerous sort and those that are, you're not supposed to be facing off against. SI doesn't go charging into the face of a 50-foot lava monster ... pilots do. It's a lot safer than the other real opening I have, being Special Ops."
"Yes," Midnight shivered. "You know I'd like you to stay alive, but would you be happy in SI?" she looked at him in concern.
"That's what I've got to figure out yet," he admitted. "I could probably stay on call for serious problems, so I wouldn't be abandoning everybody... I'd be able to keep my license, so I could still fly, it's just a matter of figuring out the exact regs and what to do with them."
"Would civilian exhibition flying do it for you?" she asked softly, then smiled at Tamera when she glanced over her shoulder at the quietly talking adults.
"It'd be a help, at least," he chuckled slightly. "Just have to figure out how to get a plane for it. Mortgage comes first. Jake and I might figure something out."
"He's got at least two stunt-quality ones that I know of," she kissed his cheek. "I know he'd be thrilled to have to show them. I also happen to know, once he was convinced you weren't trying to do it for him, he'll be thrilled with the transfer."
"Maybe it'll help if I bring the idea up first," he mused. "I know he's loved working with SI on the Ghost Thief. It will probably mean a little less publicity," he added as he turned to kiss her, sure she wouldn't really care, but wanting to be sure she was aware of it.
"Makes you less of a target," she murmured, returning the kiss gently. "You already are one being so close to Jake."
"We'll see what he thinks about it then," Chance murmured, wrapping an arm around her and hugging her gently. "And don't worry, you'll still get up in the air some time," he added, looking over at Tamera with a bit of a grin.
"Enforcer jet or something Jake built, it'd be cool either way," she grinned back, flicking her tail out of Heather's grasp and over Pat's head, causing the slender black on chocolate brown tabby to roll backwards.
"Knowing Jake, it might be cooler going up in one he built," Chance chuckled, amused by the expression on Pat's face as she stared at the ceiling.
"Prrt?" she said quizzically, apparently trying to figure out just where she'd gone wrong to end up in this position before her father reached down to help her sit back up again.
"He's that good?" Tamera giggled as she watched the antics of the two little females while their brother watched from the couch where he had been sleeping next to his father.
"It's a bit of a sore spot for him, but he belongs on a Pumadyne design team more than the Enforcers," Chance admitted. "Just don't bring it up with him, okay? He likes it when people like his babies, but he doesn't like being reminded that there was a time when he wanted to do it for a living."
"I won't," she promised, nodding seriously. "Why couldn't he?"
"Company politics, as I understand it ... it's a long story," Chance admitted. "And not one that I know if he wants spreading too much...?" He asked, glancing at Midnight.
"No, he doesn't, but she's family," she nodded to the younger shekat. "She deserves to know why her uncle snarls every time Aerospace comes up."
"Okay," Chance nodded. "Somebody he interviewed with decided to steal his designs instead of showing them to other people as his designs," he explained. "Nothing that Jake could prove, especially not back then, and nobody believes him who could do anything about it. The guy who stole his stuff pulled enough strings from there that nobody else would hire him as a designer."
"That sucks," she flattened her ears in real anger for him. "A long time ago?"
"Yeah... you were probably just a year or two old," Chance mused. "At any rate, he tries not to think about it too much... and if it hadn't happened, I'd never have met him, and he'd probably never have met Rock, so things worked out pretty well in the end."
"At least there is that," she nodded, absently tugging her tail from Heather's grip. "He doesn't seem very angry anymore."
"He usually isn't, though it gets touchy when somebody brings it up," Chance agreed. "He just doesn't like having to remember what happened."
Tamera nodded, turning back to the TV while her tail entertained the girls. "I'll be careful about it around him."
Jake replayed the three hours after he'd come home from the after-shift softball for the dozenth time since he'd dropped Kyale off at MKC South International Airport.
She had offered him, not the kiss on the cheek or handshake he'd half-expected, but the MMA salute, her arm across her chest, then extended it with her fingers curled and claws gleaming. He knew it as an offering of mutual trust when you gripped another's forearm in her homeland. You put sizable veins in the path of another's claws and trusted them not to hurt you, even as they offered you the same.
It was the first time, since Midnight had began dating Chance, that he honestly wondered who he was hurting more with his issues about females. He was out of his mother's house. She hadn't spoken to him since he'd moved out. None of his relatives had. Even Bastet's priestesses were civilized around him.
Maybe it was time to look at his choices again. Everything was different from when he'd first made them, back when he was twelve, and even younger. He'd spent more than half his life resenting the world, resenting the things he couldn't control.
Now ... now he had a lover of almost six years who cared for him, whom he loved and trusted almost completely. He had a home that really was his, was theirs. He had a career he enjoyed, and prospects for the future that were almost as bright as they had been when he'd entered college.
Maybe it was time to change things, dramatically even, for his next quarter century.
He absently opened the door, and sniffed at herbal smells he wasn't used to.
"Hey Jake," Rock called out easily, setting down the small sheaf of papers he'd been reading and getting up to greet his lover with a kiss. "How'd it go?"
"Just fine," Jake smiled and pressed close to enjoy his lover's strength and warmth. "I saw her off on the plane. I think I'll miss her."
"You did spend time with her most days," Rock smiled and kissed his forehead. "She'll be back in a few months to whip you back in shape."
"Yeah," he chuckled. "What are you reading? It smells odd."
"Actually, it's a parting gift from Kyale," Rock explained easily. "She didn't want you to know about it before she left because she thought you might freak out a bit ... they're some of the herbs she used to take, they'll make a fem smell like a male, if you ever find one you want to try and have as a lover... or to have kits with."
He blinked, a half-shocked look on his face. "Given what happened ... I probably would have," he admitted reluctantly, lifting his muzzle up for a kiss. "What do you think of her?"
"In what way?" Rock chuckled, heading for one of the seats and pulling Jake into his lap. He started purring softly when Jake shifted to straddle him and snuggle close. "This afternoon was fun, but I wouldn't go pushing you into anything with her, unless you wanted it. She's an interesting female, even if she is still working on what it's like to be one."
"Some of the choices I made years ago ... I'm thinking it might be time to really look at them, figure out if I want to keep them," he tried to explain something he was only just working out for himself. "Figure out if we want to keep them."
"Okay ... is this something you want some time to think about on your own, or something you want to talk about now?" Rock asked him seriously, giving him a gentle kiss that was nearly melted into.
"Talk, then think," he murmured, settling in to relax in his lover's arms. "It affects you as much as me. You deserve to be part of it."
"Okay," Rock nodded slightly. "So... where do you want to start talking things over? Fems in general?"
"It works as well any anywhere," he chuckled weakly. "You remember why I turned against them?"
"Your mother was pushing you to have kits when you were way the fuck too young for it, as I remember," Rock grumbled, the tip of his tail twitching angrily at the memories. "The basics of it, at least."
"Not just her, but Bastet and her priestesses too," Jake nodded. "I'm not too young anymore. I'm not alone now either. I know how to tell if she's fertile now. I've met three now that have made me regret that I can't react right to her."
"Three?" Rock asked curiously. "Midnight, Kyale I'm guessing... but who's the third?"
"Felina Feral," he chuckled slightly. "She's ... well, she's a fighter, smart and tough as nails."
"Well, you certainly aim high," Rock chuckled, hugging him lightly. "So... are you thinking of trying to handle female lovers, or considering more than that?"
"There will be kittens if I accept females," Jake told him with quiet certainty. "By a priestess or two if nothing else. It'll bring my mother back into the picture too, and her determination to have Clawson grandkits without a daughter to have them."
"Do you think you're ready for that?"
He looked up, meeting his mate's eyes with all the seriousness in his life. "If you're there with me, if the idea appeals to you, I think I am."
"I... I'll admit, maybe not immediately," Rock admitted, kissing Jake gently. "But some time? Definitely, at least if the fem's any good."
"Love, you get to approve of her," Jake promised with a lingering kiss and relaxed a bit. "I was thinking ... start with Kyale when she returns. Just trying, see if the herbs work. Midnight's desires ... it's scary sometimes. Kyale ... she's doesn't want anything. She's just after living her life."
"And Midnight could get awkward, especially if she did end up having kittens," Rock agreed. "I would not want to get in the way if your mother insisted on raising the kittens as Clawson kits and tried taking them away. We... well, we could try finding a decent dame, just to have kits for you, but I don't think that's what you want."
"Any raised as Clawsons, I want us to raise," he said firmly. "I do not want my kin anywhere near them. They did enough damage already. And no, not really. She'd be with us at least a year. I want to like her."
"That's what I figured," Rock nodded easily. "If you want to try fems without kits before Kyale comes back, we can see about something, but... well, I'm willing to wait," he chuckled slightly.
"We'll see, okay," Jake smiled slightly. "As you said, there's a serious can of worms we'll be opening when it gets out I'm even looking at females."
"Yeah," Rock nodded slightly, then chuckled. "At least if it is Kyale, we know she'll be able to kick your mother's ass if she has to... and any of the Priestess'," he teased.
"And is more than willing to," Jake added with an amused rumble. "So ... well ... What do you think about making us a little more official?"
"I was starting to wonder if you'd ever ask about it," Rock grinned broadly. "Just haven't wanted to push you into it or anything."
"Thank you," Jake lifted his head to kiss his lover softly. "For being patient with me, and wanting to stay longer."
"You are worth it, Jake," Rock smiled. "Besides, we've practically been mates for years, it's just a matter of whether or not it's official," he chuckled.
"I know," he ducked his head a bit. "With all your family ... I don't have any kin who'd actually come. It's ... it takes a lot of nerve to stand there by myself."
"Jake... if you want, it'll just be the two of us there," Rock told him easily. "Honestly, I've never really been thinking of a big wedding or anything for myself. Hell... if you don't really want a wedding at all, I'm okay with it. I don't really think we need a priest to say we're mates."
He opened his mouth to say something, then closed it to work a few things out.
"Figured you'd want the same kind of event all your other kin have had," he murmured.
"Jake?" Rock chuckled. "Who am I going to be mates with; you, or the ceremony? A big one... well, it might be nice, but I'm not really that attached to the idea." He nuzzled Jake lightly, then chuckled as an idea came to him.
"Of course, I could always see what's involved in the weddings that Eshik and Marik preside over. Let Henry and Jordan handle it. That'd keep the families out of the big part of it, if we wanted."
Jake raised an eyebrow at that, then chuckled softly. "Though not many of our friends."
"Hey, it was just a thought," Rock chuckled. "Besides, I don't even know what's involved ... for all I know, it could be some sort of a mass transfusion. Y'want me to check with 'em though?"
"Why not," he shook his head with a chuckle of his own. "I'd say it couldn't hurt, but I'd not so sure if those two got you in a room alone," he added with a wink.
"I am," Rock chuckled. "Don't worry though, they also understand 'not right now.' So, maybe the next time you've got a day off we can talk to 'em about it, maybe see about when they'll be having a service we can sit in on?"
"Sure," Jake leaned up to kiss him. "Find out if they'll even perform ceremonies for folks who aren't members."
"Sounds good to me," Rock smiled, kissing him back. "So... have fun with Kyale earlier?"
"More than usual," he admitted with an affectionate nuzzle that turned into a line of kisses up Rock's neck. "Enough to make me very hungry for what you were giving her."
"I think we can arrange for that," Rock rumbled deeply, kissing Jake heatedly and reaching up to dim the lights.
"Shier, I am not a broken kitten!" Ulysses Feral glared up at his long-time lover in a kind of frustration he'd never expected the big Tiger to generate. While he had refrained from trying to stop him from going to the Tower, he was hovering of all things. Hovering!
"No, you are my lover, far more important to me than any of my wives or children, and you were nearly killed in my bed by a ghost we have not stopped," he replied, his thick stripped tail lashing in frustration. "Helpless is not something I handle any better than you do."
"We are not helpless here... not totally," Feral offered. "SI already had a briefing prepared before the doctors were done with me."
"That is good for you," Shier rumbled as he came around the desk to slid his arms over Ulysses' shoulders. "What can I do to protect you?"
"Tonight... you can make sure that if I have nightmares like that again, you wake me up," Feral told him seriously, turning to kiss him lightly. "Two other old victims of Berten's have died like that, and some kittens on top of it. We don't know if he'll only try once, or if he'll come back."
"I will," Shier promised. "Have you determined any links between the adult vics?"
"They... we," Feral muttered, "were all old victims of Berten's... we've all been attacked on the anniversary of our original assaults. And it seems he does leave behind DNA...." He trailed off, then snarled as a fresh thought occurred to him, shaking his head. "What do your people know about whether or not a ghost can sire kittens?"
"If it is in their purpose, yes, they can," he nodded seriously. "My great-great-great-grandfather did to have the son by his first wife he wanted."
"And if it isn't? It just occurred to me that if that son of a bitch leaves DNA the lab can find, then he could sire kits as well, if he left a female victim alive who happened to be in heat." Feral sighed, shaking his head. "That would be the last thing we need. Those Werewolf pups are enough trouble already."
"But the ones your officers are raising will make exceptional warriors when they are old enough," Shier reminded him with a kiss on the cheek. "Who is the next adult vic?"
"We're not sure," Feral admitted. "He was active for over forty years, and most of that we don't have records on. He's got different people for any time he wants, and we don't know who they each are... really, it's a wonder he's taken as few as he has already."
"He may ...." Shier paused and looked up at a sharp knock on the office door. "Come!" he looked up in annoyance as his estate truchsess all but rushed in with a mobile phone in hand.
"Apologies, sir, but it is a call from the palace. Most urgent," she said rapidly in her native Tusandrin.
"I'll take it here," Shier replied just as quickly, taking the phone. "Shier Khan," he said, his full irritation showing in his voice as his truchsess stepped back but stayed in the room for instructions.
"Sir," the male voice on the other end spoke in Tusandrin as well, though Ulysses could catch most of it. "There has been an attack on the palace. Several ...."
"What!" Shier roared, all his fur fluffing in a raw rage that still paled in comparison to the previous night.
"Kittens were killed, as well as Abha and Lakshmi," the voice continued unperturbed. "By what survivors said, it was a ghost."
"What more can you tell me?" Khan growled lowly, his tail lashing angrily. "Did anybody catch this spirit?"
"No sir," he said. "It was seen well enough to recognize again. The kittens were Yuvaraj, Phoolendu and Baldev, sir. It was, ahem, mating in nature, sir."
"Yuvaraj...." Shier's voice dropped to a whispered before he gathered himself. "I will return now."
"What is going on?" Feral asked Khan when he hung up the phone, having only caught half of the truchsess' side. "Your kittens... what happened?"
"I would hesitate to jump to conclusions, but it seems that Berten can strike in Tusandrin," he said, the phone slowly placed on the desk, his local truchsess no longer in evidence. "My heir, two other kittens and two of my wives were killed tonight."
"Berten was never in Tusandrin, even if he had the power to leave MegaKat City and strike, how could he...." Feral swallowed hard. "You'll have to return, of course. I'll come with you."
"And the case files, pictures of him over the years?" Shier let a slow breath out to focus. "At least someone saw the ghost well enough ID him."
"Of course," Feral nodded. "Officially, I'll be there to help with the investigation since we suspect a link to Berten."
"Good," Shier glanced towards the door when it opened again.
"The jet is fueled and ready for you," the truchsess said with a power. "Your helicopter is ready to take you to the airport."
Chance nursed a cup of coffee as he and Jake sat in Woodrow's Diamonds' back rooms with the door cracked open and silent alarms hooked up to each case to alert them and backup if anything was opened. It was one of the half-dozen shops SI had staked out in hopes of catching the Ghost Thief in the act, and after three nights locked up inside, both toms were getting restless.
"You know if they got anything on that wax yet?" He asked Jake quietly.
"It's enchanted, it's got spirit residue on it, and they don't know what it's from," he summarized the twenty-minute report he'd listened to in rapt interest down to its key points for his partner. "Top guess is some kind of Hand of Glory, but it's not the typical kind."
"Hand of Glory... y'know, if there was ever a decent argument against hangings, those things have to be it," Chance mused. "Still, not that handy... if it's not the usual type, we don't even know if it'll have the usual effect on us."
"One of the reasons for the extra alarms and backup outside," Jake shrugged. "Besides, we already know it messes up a lot more than the usual one would."
"True enough," the tabby admitted, half an eye on his partner and the rest on their excessively dull stakeout. "At least the guys outside can get fresh coffee that doesn't taste like sludge."
"You and that stuff," he snickered. "So what did Sandru tell you after practice?" Jake glanced at him.
"Ugh," Chance groaned, shaking his head. "Don't freak out, but it sounds like when they were typing the DNA from Connie's crime scene, it matched my profile. They must've had one of the new techs handling it and he screwed something up; they're sending it through for a re-type and they'll probably have the results tomorrow... y'wanna know the really rich part? They found Berten's there too. So if they're gonna arrest me, they'd better have a judge who'll swear out a warrant on a corpse too."
Jake groaned, rolling his eyes. "Well, at least that's enough reasonable doubt to keep the DA or Feral from stringing you up right away."
"Tell me about it," Chance nodded. "Anyways, they're sending it back for a re-test ... we'll have to see what turns up from that. They'll probably turn up some screw up in the lab and then they'll figure out who really did it... they did have some other profiles they couldn't ID, so I'm guessing it's got something to do with that. It'll work out... I hope."
"Me too," Jake nodded solemnly. "No one needs that kind of grief."
"Especially not with Tamera in the picture now," Chance nodded. "Speaking of that ... I've been doing a bit of thinking, about the odds we keep ducking. You ever think of transferring ... maybe switching to SI permanently?"
"A few times," he nodded with a curious look for his partner. "Thought of Special Ops too. Why?"
"Like I said ... odds of us living to a ripe old age as a pilot and gunner are pretty slim, even as good as we are," Chance explained quietly. "SI, the odds are a lot better, and ... well, to be honest, I'm not so crazy about Special Ops either."
Jake nodded, thoughtful about it. "What about being a pilot?" he glanced at his partner briefly. "That was your dream."
"Well, it's not like they'd take my license if I transferred," Chance chuckled a bit. "We could probably stay on call for the big alarms... and I might be able to figure out something to let me fly exhibition, for the Enforcers if nothing else. Besides... maybe I've dreamed about being a pilot, but Tamera already lost her mother. I've got more than just my dreams to look out for."
Jake smiled softly, somewhere between sad and proud in the expression. "You know SI wants us. It shouldn't be hard to arrange for the transfer."
"Here's hoping," Chance nodded slightly. "Midnight kinda mentioned something when I brought it up to her, thought I'd bounce it off of you ... after the transfer, what'd you think of putting one of your birds in the air shows? Something that'll burn the paint off Pumadyne's jets," he chuckled.
An absolutely evil look crossed Jake's face with the grin. "Now that sounds like fun, and I finally have a pilot that can do it too."
"Not to mention letting those jerks know -" Chance stopped mid-sentence as a strange feeling came over him, something like a static shock building in the air. "What the heck...?"
"Our thieves, or worse," Jake half growled, his ears flicking back as he got up and slipped towards the door to the main room where all the jewelry and stones were. "Call for backup."
"Right - don't do anything stupid, okay?" Chance reminded him, flipping the radio on and lifting it up to call it in before he followed his partner.
"Never do," Jake grinned back at him, his blaster drawn as the light brightened and three Kantin, all big dogs, walked into the room and began to quickly stripping the place clean, working as if there were no cameras turned on.
"Ready?" glanced up at him.
Chance nodded, trading his radio for his blaster and moving to follow Jake. The two of them turned, leveling their weapons on the Kantin in the room.
"Freeze, Enforcers!" Chance barked at them with all the authority and alpha-tone he could manage.
All three of them froze on pure reflex, then the largest of them, some kind of Wolf-Mastiff mix, turned with a snarl.
"Put down the diamonds and put your hands in the air!" Chance ordered them, ready to dive to the side if the mix charged them. He was pretty sure he could take him without having to shoot; he just hoped Jake would focus on the other two if it turned that way. He could see his partner using the deep shadows of the room and his blatant presence to sneak close to them.
"I said freeze," Chance growled at the mix when the big Kantin began to edge forward towards him while the two others, also mixed-breed Kantin from what he could see, moved towards the outer wall.
"What are you going to do, shoot me? I'm not even armed," the Wolf-Mastiff pointed out with a smirk.
"Blasters don't have to kill," Chance pointed out, his eyes flicking to the flash of light against the far wall as it dissolved for a brief moment; just long enough for the other Kantin, and Jake, to bolt through it.
The mix-breed charged, catching Chance and slamming him back into the wall, knocking the blaster out of his hand. Chance answered with a fist to the Kantin's kidneys, snarling as he tried to figure out what happened to Jake and the other crooks.
"Big mistake," he growled at the Kantin, slamming his hard head up into his jaw and knocking him back before following through with a high kick square on to the chest. He felt ribs give way, though not the crack of bone as the Kantin flew backwards into a case and lay there, gasping for breath as he was cuffed.
"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law," Chance told him, his card out though he didn't need it and only his determination to do things right keeping him from skimping on them.
"You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. We have no way of giving you a lawyer, but one will be appointed for you, if you wish, if and when you go to court.
"If you are not a MegaKat City citizen, you may contact your country's consulate prior to any questioning.
"Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me? It'll go easier on you if you tell me where the Hell your friends and my partner just went!"
"You're not about to find him," the mix-breed sneered back at him.
"You're on camera right now, so I'm going to be nice," Chance growled back. "Where will I be picking up my partner?"
"In a body bag if he catches up with them," he snorted. "Otherwise he'll wander home on his own."
"And do you know what will happen to you if they kill him?" Chance pointed out. "Murder charge. Murder of an Enforcer. And even if they don't catch your buddies, you will probably be finding out what death row's like unless you help us stop them from doing that. And if they are caught, then all three of you will be facing that. Will you let your entire pack go on death row, just so you can keep a few rocks?"
"You don't have anything on me except for B&E," the Wolf-Mastiff barred his teeth as lights and sirens pulled up outside.
"Any death that occurs in the commission of a crime is considered homicide, buddy," Chance pointed out lowly. "And if your buddies kill my partner, you're an accomplice. Same penalty as if you did it yourself."
"Furlong, what's going on?" a strong female voice demanded over his shoulder radio.
"We have one of three perps in custody. His two friends and Jake were teleported somewhere; he isn't saying where, but he has stated that his partners are willing to kill mine if that's what it takes to escape. I was trying to convince him that it was in his best interests to make sure that doesn't have a chance to happen. I'd open the door for you all, but I'm afraid the proprietor didn't think we should have the codes to his security system."
"You stay ...." her voice was cut off by excitement outside the front window. "Looks like they didn't go far," she picked up. "Clawson dropped his badge just outside the wall. We're tracking."
"Find him; I can stay here with our new friend all night long if I have to," Chance told her easily.
"The proprietor should be here sooner to open the door," she told him, settling into her roll as coordinator of two separate missions at once.
"Great; we've got a while to get acquainted then," Chance said, flicking off his radio and settling in to wait.
"I'm not telling you anything," he growled.
"Suit yourself," Chance flicked his ears back in annoyance but followed procedure and settled back to wait for the proprietor in silence. He hated it when they pulled this one and he couldn't talk any more.
It was only about a half-hour later that his prisoner started coughing, looking queasy and a little sick.
"You okay over there?" Chance asked, getting up from his seat but not going closer just yet.
"Wha'it look like?" he growled weakly, coughing again, this time spitting up a thick black goo.
"Shit," Chance growled, keying his radio. "This is Furlong, we've got a medical emergency in here, and I've got no clue what it is. Perp coughing up something black, no idea what's happening. We need medics, biohazard prepped now."
"Called in," the sergeant's voice came back to him a moment later. "You keep clear unless you know you can help," she added in a definite order. "We'll break the window if the guy with the key isn't here when the medics show."
"Right," Chance nodded slightly, swallowing hard. "Make sure a quarantine's ready too ... I think I'm going to need it after this, even if I'm the only one who gets out of here."
"It will be, Furlong," her voice became more reassuring in tone. "Try to get anything out of him you can. What it is, where it might have come from."
"Right," he nodded, cutting off his radio, his attitude towards the Kantin changed drastically now. "They're going to try and get medics in here, won't be more than a couple minutes. What did you guys use to get in here? It might be what's made you sick," he said, latching onto the obvious thing that could twist him up inside the way he had to be.
A spat of coughing held the answer back, but eventually the big Kantin looked up at him. It didn't take much for Chance to realize he knew he was dieing, and quickly.
"Hand of Glory," he got out before his body tried to expel more of the black gunk.
"A Hand of Glory doesn't do this!" Chance protested, though he knew it didn't really matter right now... it was doing this. "Where can we find your friends?" He demanded. "We might get them before this kicks in!"
"Probably too late," he shook his head, the black goo oozing from his ears, eyes and nose. "Can't stop."
"Then at least tell us where to find the Hand so nobody else does this!" Chance nearly begged him. They probably had it with them, but if they didn't ... shit, if some pup somewhere found it and this ended up happening....
"Don't know," he managed before sliding to the floor, no longer able to even hold himself upright. "Gone."
Just then, the door shattered, the alarm going off as the paramedics broke through wearing hazmat suits. Chance swore as the Kantin shuddered and stilled, what was left of his insides oozing out, leaving the stink of death behind in a sickly sweet cloud that made even Chance gag.
Chance shuddered and let the paramedics do their thing, spraying him down, stuffed into a quarantine suit and hurried off to Serenity Thorn for observation.
This week was really starting to suck on a whole new set of levels.
Lieutenant Commander Recka Thomas sat quietly as the jet she was in touched down at Shier Khan's private airfield outside his palace in Tusandrin. The palace was a beautiful one; spires and marble, moats and gardens.
And armed guards, doing their damnedest to secure a facility that hadn't been built for it, against a foe they couldn't do a damned thing against.
The Panther stood, grateful to be out of her seat after a long flight, and waited for her Commander and his lover to stand as well.
She could sense the tension throughout the entire compound. She hoped that Khan's presence would help to calm them... it was somewhat painful, being around this many people strung out as badly as they were.
She felt the relief the instant the Tiger was identified stepping out of the small business jet. It spread like a wildfire, but with it came a very different kind of fear. Guards afraid of their Lord when they had not protected their charges, and civilians afraid of what his rage might bring on them.
"Truchsess Niteesh," Khan greeted the slightly younger Tiger in a suit who approached them. "This is Lieutenant Commander Recka Thomas of the MegaKat City Enforcers, a Ghost. Assist her in any way," he instructed in crisp Katian.
"Yes, sir," Niteesh bowed deeply to his master before turning to Recka. "If you would come with me."
The Panther turned to do so quietly, still getting a feel for the place that resonated with an age and steadfast certainty of its place in the scheme of the universe that mirrored it's master's lineage and personal accomplishment.
"Lieutenant Commander Thomas, am I correct that you possess a mind-gift?" Niteesh asked with the same kind of reserved politeness that she could feel everywhere here.
"You are," the Panther nodded. "It's not an easily defined one... a mix of empathy and an ability to deal with spirits. It's one of the reasons I was chosen."
"It will not hurt that you are a Pantheress," he added evenly. "It is inappropriate for a female to speak of the kind of things that have happened to a tom not her husband. Do you wish to see the dead or the living first?"
"At the risk of sounding callous, the dead," Recka said. "The living will be there when I'm done with them, the spirits of the dead may not be. What sort of mages or psis are available here, preferably female?"
"What do you need?" he asked in tern, perfectly serious. "Master Khan will have them woken and flown in."
"A necromancer and an exorcist, first... I believe the local equivalent would be a sechena? If that covers both, I would only need one person. Beyond that, it won't be necessary, but another empath would be preferable. It's good to have confirmation of my own impressions. If it will take some time to get them here, then I can speak with the survivors first."
"There are two empaths in the palace now," he said, taking a wide hallway that sloped down somewhat into a living area below ground level that was many degrees cooler than the gardens. "A sechena lives in a village nearby. She should not take an hour to arrive."
"The sooner the better; in the meantime, I can speak with the survivors," Recka nodded, changing her plans and feeling the overall tenor of the space shifting to a very female dominated tenor. She was sure that the survivors were in a back space away from the central fountain and the public areas. "Thank you," she nodded to him while never missing an opportunity to check out the adult females of various ages that watched her. Most were Tigers, a few were other breeds, and all were strongly focused on their sensuality, though it was background now to their fear.
"Lieutenant Commander Recka Thomas, this is Lady Bakula, Lady Indukala, and Princess Salila," he introduced the two adult Tigresses and one very early teenaged one. "They witnessed the attacks. I will leave to arrange for the sechena, and send the empaths to you."
"Thank you; please knock before anybody else joins us," Recka said with a polite bow before turning to the three survivors, waiting for them to be alone before she spoke again.
"I'm sorry about what happened to you ... the empaths should be here shortly, I'll have some questions for you then. Before then, were any of you hurt during the attack?"
"No, ma'am the eldest of the three, likely almost Shier's age, drew herself upright to answer, her hand gently stroking the teen's hair. She was terrified, sick to the core of her being, but determined not to shame herself or her husband by acting less than dignified. "It was a horrible thing to see, nothing worse."
"I'm glad," she smiled slightly. "Princess Salila? Would you like anything to help calm your nerves?" She asked the youngest of the three Tigresses. Khan's daughter, she was guessing, likely an older one if his heir had fit Berten's tastes.
She looked at her nervously, then nodded. "If it would not be trouble, Ma'am," she spoke with the slow care of one that was less than confident with her command of the language.
"Is there anything specific you would like... or something I should ask for?" She asked, looking between the princess and the two adults, not sure what Tusandrin had.
Back home, she'd have recommended warm milk, or maybe a bit of brandy, but while she was sure she could get either, there might be something better here.
"Sula tea with some milk wine," Bakula suggested with absolute deference to the older Tigress, and got a nod in return.
"I believe we could all use a cup," Indukala agreed.
"I'll have it brought in," Recka said easily, standing to go step outside and ask the guards to have some brought in.
"It should be here in a couple of minutes. This will be easier on all of us if you're fairly relaxed. So... the two of you are among Shier Khan's wives, and you're one of his daughters?" She asked them, trying to find something suitable to talk about that wouldn't be particularly charged, emotionally.
"Yes," Indukala nodded, relaxing slightly as the subject shifted to things she understood very well. "I am his second wife. Bakula is his sixth wife. Salila is his second born daughter."
"Your daughter then?" Recka asked her easily, smiling at the younger Tigress.
"No, ma'am," Bakula blushed at the thought she might have born such a high-ranking kit. "Lady Aditi, Lord Khan's first wife, is her mother."
"Ah... is she busy elsewhere at the moment? " Recka began, only to realize from their emotions that the Tigress was most likely dead many years. "I'm sorry," she murmured before getting up as there was a knock at the door to admit the two empaths and the tea she was sure were waiting.
She said as she sized up the power and skill of the Tigresses, one cinnamon and one with rich flame-colored fur, both clearly older than Shier Khan though not yet with more than a fleck of gray.
"I am Trilochana," the flame-furred one inclined her head. "This is Daya. How may we be of service?"
"You can help keep me grounded, confirm or contest my findings when we are finished?" Recka said as she took the tray with a pitcher of warm milk wine, large tea pot and six small cups.
"Of course," Trilochana said as the two empaths settled down on the pillows, easily relaxed in this duty and among these people as Salila moved to pour and serve the tea.
"What would you like, Lady Recka?" Salila asked, her mind acutely embarrassed that she couldn't pronounce their visitor's correct title.
"A little milk and sugar, please, and none of the milk-wine. It can interfere with my gifts," Recka smiled.
Salila nodded and prepared it with quick, skilled hands, offering the first cup to their guest. The next went to Trilochana, then Indukala, Daya and finally Bakula before she prepared her own with a healthy dose of the milk wine.
For Recka, it was an insightful look into the relative rank of the five Tigresses in the room as she followed Salila's mind go over their preferences and work out who was served when, though all received perfect care.
She gave everyone time to relax, sip their tea, and generally settle a bit more before she spoke again.
"I'm sorry about what has happened here; what can you tell me?"
"It was a spirit, ma'am," Indukala spoke for them all. "We saw him, saw some of what he did. A small male Kat of three colors, near his prime. Not like the ones that live here.
"He took Abha first, then began to attack the kittens. Phoolendu and Baldev were killed. Lakshmi was killed when she tried to stop him from killing Master Khan's heir, Yuvaraj. She failed, Yuvaraj was dead before the spirit left."
"He attacked Abha first ... is she native to Tusandrin? Did she spend time in MegaKat City as a kitten?" Recka asked, reaching into her jacket for the file of data on the case, pulling out Berten's picture and a number of others, one of his old photo lineups. "And did he look like any of the toms here?"
The kitten screamed, her eyes fixed on the picture of Berten as she tried to crawl into Indukala's body for protection they both knew the elder Tigress could not provide.
"Yes, Abha was the daughter of a city noble. She was educated in many lands," Indukala said, her expression grim. "Yes, MegaKat City was one of them. The spirit is of that tom," she indicated Berten without hesitation. "His markings are most distinctive."
"I'm sorry, but we had to be sure," Recka said apologetically, putting the picture away. "Did he leave of his own will, or was he driven off?"
The attack here had been prolonged, sustained, even after he'd had his initial target if she was right. There had been kittens here, granted ... but he'd been interrupted attacking the Commander and left. Here, he had stayed, killed others.
Why the difference?
"I struck him with a prayer ribbon just before he vanished," Bakula offered. "It should have driven him away."
"How did he respond?" Recka asked, trying to place anything she knew about their prayer ribbons. Driven off... but this time, by something that should have hurt him, not by bullets he should have been able to ignore.
"He snarled, hurt, and disappeared," she answered quietly.
"What type of spirit was the ribbon you used supposed to work against?" She asked, running over the type of wards she was familiar with and what might have done it.
And then there was the big question... was Berten still a ghost, or something more? It would answer a lot of questions.
"A ghost," she said. "The soul of one who was once alive, and no longer is."
"Thank heavens for that," Recka murmured. If he had been affected, he was still a ghost. They could handle ghosts ... it was easier handling ones that needed to finish business that could be allowed to finish, but at least it wasn't going to take as massive an effort as it would for a demon.
"Can more of those ribbons be used to secure the palace and quarters? Our first duty should be to prevent another attack."
"We are working to do so, ma'am," Indukala inclined her head. "What can you tell of us him? Who and what he is after. Who is at most risk."
"Kittens," Recka said softly, getting up to get the door. "He was a pedophile... he raped and murdered kittens in life, and has done so in death. He has also attacked former victims of his. Assuming that nobody else here was a victim... then the kittens are the only ones in danger. But they will be in a great deal of danger, if he tries this again," she concluded. "We're hoping to find out more from the victims.
"Have any of you heard of Douglas Berten, or the BoogieKat Killer, before tonight?" She asked them. "From anybody else in the palace, or yourselves?"
The kit glanced at her elders before shaking her head.
"Only the news of him when he was arrested many years ago, then recently when he was executed, ma'am," Indukala said after searching her memory, and Bakula agreed with her.
"Is there anybody else here, besides Shier Khan, who spent any time before they were teenagers in MegaKat City, more than fifteen years ago? We need to know if he has any other people here he can come back to victimize in the future."
"I do not believe so," Indukala said after a long moment to think. "Few kittens are sent that far away that young."
"Unsurprising ... do you know about the guards? Might any of them have been in MegaKat City, possibly born there and moved here later? It's possible that Berten attacked because he came here for Abha, and so if we can find out about any other victims here he might have had, it would make it easier to keep everybody safe from another attack."
She opened up her senses fully, searching for any trace of recognition or fear beyond what she was already aware was there. She didn't think they would lie about this, but she was alert for that as well.
Still, they had every reason in the world to cooperate, and she expected them to do so for their sake as much as anything else.
"We do not know the guards well," Indukala told her. "They do not come into the wives quarters often. Truchsess Niteesh should know that information about all who live or work here. It is his purpose to know all that happens within these walls and make sure it runs smoothly so it does not burden our Lord."
"I will ask him then," she said easily. "Thank you for your time, and I'm sorry I had to ask about this. We will find the one who did it, and stop him for good," she promised.
"He has attacked the house of Shier Kahn," Indukala met her gaze firmly. "He has killed his wives, daughters and heir. Douglas Berten has declared war on the House of Khan. He will pay by your hands or ours."
"He will," Recka agreed. "We killed him once already. This time, we'll make sure it sticks."
Indukala flicked her ears at the next knock, holding what she was going to say.
Recka stood to answer the door again.
"The sechena has arrived, ma'am," the guard informed her quietly.
"Thank you," she said with a respectful nod. "We'll be out in a moment. Lady Indukala, did you have something else you wanted to say?" She asked, closing the door and turning back to her.
"No," she bowed her head slightly. "Thank you for your assistance. We will be in the wives quarters should you need us."
"Thank you. I may wish to speak with you again when I'm done with the spirits here." She bowed respectfully, then turned to leave with the other empaths.
"Your impressions?" She asked them quietly as the guard led them back out.
"Princess Salila is far more afraid than she is admitting to," Trilochana said evenly. "She expects she will be hunted by this ghost soon. She witnessed a great deal more than she can comprehend yet."
"Indukala is outraged," Daya added. "More angry than fearful. This is an attack on her home. It is a very serious offense to a noble. Entire bloodlines have been slaughtered over far less."
"My impressions as well ... I wish there was something I could say to help soothe the Princess' nerves, but I only know enough to scare her worse at this point. Perhaps that will change shortly. You won't have to join me when I speak with the spirits, unless you wish to," she told Daya and Trilochana seriously.
"Thank you. The sechena is more qualified to assist you with them," Trilochana said, not really trying to cover how uneasy she was at the prospect of facing the dead. "
"I would like to join you, if I may," Daya said, her mind somewhere between curious, nervous and grieving now that she was not trying to shield herself. "I was close to Phoolendu."
"I may be speaking with her," Recka warned her. "It may be a chance to say goodbye, or it may be very painful. I've learned the hard way that you can't always expect the best of such reunions, especially so shortly after death."
"I defer to your judgment," the younger Tigress bowed her head before they turned to a wide corridor that was very minimally lit.
Shortly, they reached the main room where the sechena was waiting for them. The others in the room were treating her with obvious deference, and Recka could tell why. The Tigress, all but gray with age and hunched over, leaning on a heavily carved stick, had to be well into her second century. Her body had clearly seen better days, but her eyes were bright and clear, and Recka could sense the power practically rolling off of her. She bowed respectfully, almost out of a reflexive urge to satisfy the wizened old crone of a Tigress as much as out of real respect.
"Sechena, my apologies for disturbing you at this hour," she said respectfully, struggling over the words despite using her best Tusandrin. "But I need one better versed in dealing with spirits than myself to continue my investigation."
"When Lord Khan himself appears at my door, it is good to take notice," the ancient chuckled. "What is it that you hope to learn from them?"
"First, I'll admit that I'm rather hopeful that we can find Berten there yet... can you bind spirits, as well as summon and exorcise them?" Recka asked her, honestly worried about her advanced age if they had to do so.
"Yes," Jagrati nodded slightly. "I am skilled in all of the sechena's arts."
"Good. I will want to try and capture Berten then, if we can. Beyond that, I'm hopeful that one of the victims might have some insight into how he did this, what his motives were ... I have my own thoughts, but this doesn't feel right for a typical attack."
"I understand," Jagrati nodded. "Let us begin. Spirits rarely linger, even without the funeral rites."
"Fortunately, it's only been half a day by now," Recka murmured as they walked through the palace. She looked around curiously, feeling the empathic traces of the attack dwindling. "We're not going to the scene of the attack?" She asked the other Xanith with her curiously.
"No," Jagrati glanced at her, curiosity in her mind. "The spirits will be with their bodies."
"Ah, I see; my apologies," Recka said easily. "Back home, traumatized spirits are more likely to be found near the site of the trauma, I wasn't aware that it worked differently here."
"We believe in the link between body and spirit," Jagrati said as two guards opened great double doors to a cool room lit only by torches and resonating preservative power. "Until the funeral rites are performed, it is a rare spirit that will abandon its body so soon."
"I understand, and that changes things," Recka nodded. "Thank you; you don't have to join us," she told the guards as she, Jagrati, and Daya entered the room with the five corpses resting on stone platforms draped in rich cloth.
The three Tiger kittens, all pre-teen, and two adult Tigresses, had been bathed, groomed and dressed in what Recka expected was their best finery that spoke a great deal to Shier Khan's wealth, given they were minor wives.
It also spoke to how important it was to their relatives that they did not appear to have been as mutilated as she knew they had been. She couldn't tell until she was very close, but paint and fur had been applied to cover what had been ripped out in their struggles.
"Who do you wish to speak to first?" Jagrati asked politely.
"If you think you can summon him, Douglas Berten, the BoogieKat Killer," Recka told her. "If not, then Abha, the first of his victims tonight."
"If he is still within Tusandrin, he will come." Jagrati nodded and glanced around the room with little movement and shuffled over to the circle of candles and incense pots to light them.
Both shekats watched in fascinated interest as the ancient Tigress settled in the middle of the gathering fragrant smoke. She began to chant, low and slow in a language that sounded like a distant predecessor to Tusandrin.
Minutes passed with no reaction ... no visible one, at least. Recka could feel the power build in the room as Jagrati's spell worked, but Berten must have been beyond the reach of the spell.
She pulled her phone out, flipping it open.
"Can I make a call without disrupting anything?" She asked quietly. "I suspect he's back in MegaKat City, and would like to warn our people."
"It should be fine," Daya replied quietly when it was clear that Jagrati was oblivious to them. "Technology rarely disrupts magic."
"Understood," she nodded, quickly speed-dialing the office back home.
"Felina, this is Recka," she said quietly, not wanting to distract the ancient Tigress. "Let SI know; Berten is back in MKC already, or has at least left Tusandrin. We may have another attack. I'm trying to contact the victims now, will report through the Commander later," she explained, waiting for an affirmative response before hanging up.
"Can you shift to summon Abha, or will you have to start over?" She asked Jagrati when the Tigress finally stopped chanting.
"Yes," she replied quietly, the word sliding into the ancient tongue of the spells. This time it was only a moment before the translucent form of a young Tigress sat up from her body in a bit of confusion.
"Abha?" Recka asked her gently. "I am Recka Thomas, of the MegaKat City Enforcers. Your husband, Shier Khan, asked us to help find the one who attacked you ... how much do you remember about what happened?"
It was always tricky dealing with ghosts. You couldn't be sure if they were aware of their death or not, this soon after. You couldn't be sure if they wanted to help or not, either, and those who didn't could be as dangerous as what had killed them.
The spirit shuddered, then nodded. "It was the one you killed for his crimes. He said he was to complete what he started."
"I'm sorry I have to ask you this, but what did he do to you?" Recka asked. "And could you pick him from a photo selection? I have to be certain that it's the same spirit."
"It was," Abha said with absolute certainty. "I can point him out."
Then she paused, looking at her body, then the ground, then anywhere but at the living around her. "Can you not find out from my body?"
"We could, but it would take longer... and we hope to find out things that we can't from your body. Did he say anything more than that he was there to finish what he had started? This attack... it was incredibly violent for him."
"He ... thanked me for giving him such an easy access to Khan's kittens," she barely whispered in her shame. "He was very angry that my husband stopped his last attack. This was retribution for it. I watched ... after my death ... he was drunk on the terror he created."
"This was not your fault, Abha," Recka told her softly. "Will you be able to move on peacefully before his destruction, or will that hold you here?"
"I will stay if I husband wishes me to," she said simply, the cultural training behind it intense despite her education around the world's great cities. "I have no wish to stay for myself."
"I doubt that he will want to keep you from peace," Recka said. "I only wanted to be sure that Berten would not hold you here ... do you have any messages you want delivered?"
"I will be waiting for him," she managed a small smile.
"I'll let your husband know," Recka smiled slightly, dearly hoping she'd interpreted the message properly. "Thank you for your help... can you tell us who else is still here? If we don't have to disturb someone who has moved on, we would rather not."
"We are all waiting for our funeral rites," Abha told her.
"Thank you. If you can, would you have Phoolendu come next? Daya wanted to say goodbye, and I'll need a moment before more questioning."
"I will," she inclined her head slightly before drifting towards the younger of the two female kitten's bodies. It took only a moment for her to rouse the five year old's spirit to join them.
"Phoolendu, this is Recka Thomas of the MegaKat City Enforcers," she spoke carefully in Tusandrin. "Tell her what she wants to know."
The kitten nodded, clearly scared but taking comfort from the spirit of the older Tigress behind her.
"Daya is here to talk as well," Abha continued with a reassuring smile.
"Don't worry, I'll keep it short," Recka promised, glancing back at the emotional Tigress with her. "If you want to say goodbye, now's your best chance," she said softly, not really wanting to get between them for the moment.
"Rest well in The Garden, Phoolendu," Daya knelt to be on eye level with the kitten she had begun to train. "We will meet again."
"Not too soon, I hope," the kitten said with a weak smile. "I'll meet you there," she added, leaning forward to try and hug her teacher. Her ghostly arms passed through living flesh, making Daya shudder and nearly whine in pain at the contact.
"Not too soon," she recovered and smiled at the kitten before standing and backing off a bit to give Recka the floor.
The Panthress, having arranged her questions mentally, stepped up to speak with Phoolendu.
"What can you tell me about the attack?" She asked in careful Tusandrin, kneeling to look into the young Tigress' eyes.
"It began as a good dream," she said, her fur fluffing and her tail tucked tightly between her legs and down one. "It turned dark, scary. Then he appeared as Siva. He took me as he would his wife."
"Did he kill you in the dream?" Recka asked her softly, knowing the girl was telling her the minimum she needed to. "Or outside of it?"
"In the dream," she answered, her eyes downcast. "He took great pleasure in it."
"Phoolendu, listen to me," Recka said firmly. "What he did is not your fault, not the fault of anybody but him. And we will punish him for what he has done."
"He said I was his now," she looked up in anguish. "I was promised to Lord Tanish."
"You couldn't stop him ... and when we destroy him, you won't be his any more," Recka said, her tail twitching behind him. "You're not going to be his."
All the same, she quietly made a mental note to check into Berten's faith a bit more deeply, and his knowledge of magic. It could have some sort of meaning, some importance to how he was operating.
Or to what his ultimate goal was, if he had one.
This had been a Homicide/Sexual Crimes case, then SI's, but now that the Commander had been attacked, the Ghosts were involved. Recka, unlike many of her comrades, didn't believe in cutting out those who had begun the investigations unless it was absolutely required.
She'd worked with Seriad and Sandru enough to trust them to be involved and know their value. Sashari and Toama as well, along with Furlong and Clawson, though she wanted the Champion of Bastet involved more to get to know him for future need than any use in this case. Such opportunities were not to be wasted.
The kitten nodded, still afraid but soothed by her words. "I like Lord Tanish."
"And you will see him again some day, just as Abha will see her husband," Recka promised, quietly praying that she wasn't promising more than she could grant. "Would it be possible for him to be brought here?" She asked Daya quietly.
"Yes," she nodded. "He should be on his way for the funeral by now."
"Do you want to see him again, before the funeral?" Recka asked the kitten gently.
"No," she shook her head quickly. "I will wait until it is time."
"I understand," Recka nodded. "Thank you, Phoolendu. I will leave you be for now."
"Thank you," Phoolendu bowed to her and went back to her body to settle down until her funeral.
"Who next?" Abha asked her politely.
"Unless anybody else wants to say something, knows something that hasn't already been said, there's no need to disturb them. Thank you for your help; if anybody else has messages they want to send back, I'd be happy to deliver them."
"He can kill outside of dreams," Abha said. "No one else wishes to speak to the living."
"Thank you for the warning; we will leave you be then. I hope that the afterlife will be pleasant for you all."
"Thank you," she bowed in respect. "May Maya aid your search and Shakti guide your hand," she offered before returning to her body.
Berten grunted raspily as he came, his pale, unearthly seed splattering over the sheets and soft, dark fur of Chance's three infant kittens.
He had some time left before he could take Chance. But once he'd tracked Tamera's mind here, he'd known that he couldn't just take to stalking her again.
Connie's little girl ... Chance's little girl too. It was too good to pass up.
So he'd left a little calling card in the room with the younger kittens, younger than even he had a taste for. He let his spirit fade out of sight, and slipped himself into Tamera's dreamscape, watching her silently from the closet.
She was restless, excited and afraid all at once. It was a sweet start to his evening with her. He was less thrilled with how disjointed things were in her dream. She was flying, he could tell that much. The air was crisp and clean. Beyond that, it was largely indeterminate.
Dull. Not much to work with... and yet, everything to work with. He had to admit though, he preferred the more involved dreams to play with. There was so much more involved... it usually meant a deeper dream, something that they valued. Her fairy meadow... that had been fun to play with.
The dream that Abha had been having... that had been a positive pleasure. She'd made it so much more entertaining too, dreaming about her childhood travels and excitement. Here though... not nearly as much to warp.
The clouds thickened and darkened as his influence began to spread through Tamera's dreamscape. The winds picked up, and her dreams of flying began to become more dangerous.
He felt her mind tense, then she went right for the storm, spreading biological leather wings to catch and manipulate the winds.
Clever... fairly clever, at any rate.
Berten spread wings of his own, the great, black, tattered wings of a fallen angel and went after her, extending his claws into great razors as he took off in pursuit of his prey, the clouds thickening into great black thunderheads above them.
He knew the instant she recognized his presence. She twisted around, lightning fast and full of rage, as her poorly visualized body flowed and set into a feathered four-limbed dragon with great eagle wings and dove right for him.
He twisted his form further, swooping out of the way. Muscle, feathers, he added more and more to his frame, searching through Tamera's nightmares for the biggest, nastiest creature he could.
By the time she had caught up with him, he had it. A grotesque, raven-like beast with black feathers, razor-sharp talons and a cruel, serrated beak that flashed up at her, cutting into her side only to find metal there.
He blinked as the flesh and blood dragon became one of technology built like a tank with wings and crackling with fury as it charged him heedless of the danger or risk to herself.
She was faster than she should be. Did she know he'd killed her mother? Perhaps... it could explain a few things. Rage and a youthful imagination could be a formidable combination here.
But he'd learned to manipulate dreams far better than she'd get the chance to. He swooped away, spreading his wings and commanding the gathering storm. Lightning crackled across the bottom of the clouds like a sheet, then down, striking the metallic form Tamera had chosen and super-heating the wings, shorting out systems inside. He took the offensive, diving towards her and hurling her stunned body towards the ground below.
Metal flowed to flesh again, the energy of the lightning absorbed and channeled as she spread her wings, then folded them into a dive that took her into the earth without so much as a rumble to mark her entrance.
Why couldn't she have been in her Fairyland meadow again? It would have been so much easier to work with that... he'd have had more to use.
While he was trying to come up with something, he was only vaguely aware of her reappearance behind him for a split second before she tried to pull him into a crystal that appeared out of nowhere. Caught unawares, he was dragged in and trapped.
He felt her pride swell, and with it the wild storm she was flying in, drawing it up to a true tempest that only magic could create.
Just then, at that moment of her supposed triumph, he shattered out of the crystal, his form changed once again. He was a fanged, slavering fiend now, muscles rippling, great wings unfurled behind him, a shaft bristling with dripping spines between his legs as he stole command of the storm, buffeting her with hurricane force winds.
"What do you think I am, girl?" He sneered at her. "And who do you think you are!"
"You are in my head," she snarled, fighting back with the kind of indifference to injury that only the young or the very experienced could exhibit. "You are not welcome here!"
"I may not be welcome, but here I am," he grinned viciously, swelling up to massive proportions. "I am the master of dreams, and you... you are a mewling kitten," he said, lashing out with the power of his will, enforcing the reality he wanted on her dreams, restoring her body to its natural form....
Without the power of flight.
He grinned even wider when all her bravado and will fled her into raw terror as she screamed.
That scream cut through the protective layer of slumber covering Midnight like a knife. She sat up bolt straight, registering the sound and quickly realizing that it was coming from Tamera's room.
She'd have thought it was a nightmare, but there was something different about the sound that hurried her natural dead bolt to the room just across the hall from the master bedroom. She flung the door open, unconcerned by normal niceties.
What she saw made her sick to her stomach. Tamera was awake now, crying as she was forced to suck the cock of a translucent piebald tom in his prime who looked like he was smoking faintly. He turned to look at Midnight, and as he did she saw the blaster wounds on the side of his head.
She already knew who it was though, just from his markings. Without thinking she rushed forward with a snarl, the power Bastet had once granted her to protect herself now called up to protect her kitten.
She felt the power surging through her, even as Berten turned to answer it, snarling, his claws out as he leaped at her, rage in his eyes at being interrupted.
"She's mine!" He snarled at her.
"Not while I live," Midnight retaliated, her open hand slamming squarely into his chest, channeling the power of the Mother of All Kats to mark and burn her enemies into his form.
He howled in pain, sinking his claws into her arms and twisting, throwing her back into the bed with Tamera where she scrambled to put herself between her husband's daughter and attacker.
"I can arrange for that to stop being a problem," he growled menacingly, flexing his hands... he didn't come after the enraged shekat though. "Now leave here while you'll still have three kittens of your own!"
He was bluffing, she was sure of it. And he was not doing it the right way.
"Bastet!" she called out, her tone more command than prayer as she focused inward on everything that made her a living embodiment of her deity. "Protector of hearth and home. Banish this Kat from your home," she demanded as her body began to glow, taking on the rounded form and brown-tabby colors of the one she was calling on.
He howled in rage, but fled, passing through the wall and fading from the house. She could feel his presence leaving, leaving Tamera shaking behind her, leaning forward to cling to her slender frame.
"He's gone now," Midnight said soothingly, turning to embrace Tamera. "Are you hurt?"
"N-no, not really," Tamera managed to get out. "A-are you?"
"I'm fine," she murmured, nuzzling her. "Think you can stand with me to check on the kittens?"
"Yeah," she nodded, getting up, shaking as she looked down at her torn nightgown with chagrin.
"You can change that before the Enforcers get here," Midnight promised as she helped Tamera stand. "I don't think we'll be sleeping in this house until this is over."
"Thanks," she murmured. "Let's check the others first though ... hope he didn't hurt them."
"They are younger than he likes by all accounts," Midnight said softly and supported Tamera as they made the short distance to the infant's room.
They arrived to the sound of the triplets mewling in general irritation at the sticky substance in their fur.
"They're okay, right?" Tamera asked, trying to look up over the edge of the crib, her tail swishing nervously.
"Yes, just very unhappy," Midnight held back her gag reflex at what she saw. "Bring the phone, please."
Tamera turned and ran off for the cordless phone, coming back with it a minute later.
"Can I change now?" She asked hopefully.
"Yes, just be very careful not to disturb anything he may have left on it," Midnight turned to hug the girl. "You were very brave, no matter what he did."
"Thanks... I'd feel a lot better if Chance were back though," Tamera admitted before turning to head back to her room and change.
"So would I," she murmured as she dialed.
"Captain Ricee," a strong and somewhat distracted female responded after three rings.
"Heather, it's Midnight," she opened, catching the sharp intake of breath on the other end. "I need a CSI team at the house, an hour ago," she said as she heard water running in bathroom across the hall, then gargling, and winced for the lost evidence. "Berten was here. Came all over my kittens and was working on Tamera when I interrupted him. I managed to drive him off."
"Oh crud," Heather hissed. "I'm sorry I can't send Chance home, but he's tied up in decon right now. I'll call Jake, and the SI CSI unit will be there soon. They can clean up at the jewelry store later."
"Decon?" Midnight asked incredulously. "What happened?"
And why was it all happening to them?
"He nabbed a perp who dissolved from the inside out half an hour later," Heather explained briefly. "He should be released by shift end if nothing happens."
"And he's planning on transferring there to get away from danger," Midnight murmured, shaking her head. "Please call me if anything does ... do you think what happened was contagious?" She asked. You could never be sure with SI.
"I'm sorry, but if we knew, he wouldn't be in decon, one way or another," Heather tried to be gentle. "SI has far fewer deaths, but we face stranger things than pilots. Do you have any detectives you'd prefer on the case?" she offered, a respect given to one she considered one of her own.
"Detective Seriad please," Midnight said softly. "Tamera knows her, and she's familiar with the background on the case."
"I'll send her as soon as I can," Heather promised. "The CSI unit is on its way with Jake. Please try not to clean the kittens up too much. I know it's hard, but we need as much evidence as possible to get all the cases shifted to us."
"For Bast's sake, make sure Jake knows that nobody was seriously hurt," Midnight said seriously. "Chance too, if we can't get there by the time he's ready to be discharged."
"I will," Heather promised, pausing as she sent that message. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Double check to see how much therapy is covered for Chance's dependents under his health insurance," Midnight chuckled weakly. "If Tamera didn't need it before, she certainly will now ... for now though, I think that's all. Thank you."
"I will," she promised. "Take care, Midnight. Do you have any friends in the temples? I would not recommend sleeping outside one until we get this guy."
"Chance has an Aunt who's a priestess of Bastet; we'll try staying there," Midnight agreed. "I should probably let you know; he responded very badly to Bastet's power. It might be helpful."
"Yes, thank you," Heather sounded decidedly pleased to hear that. "At least we know who and what we're dealing with. All that is really left to work on is how to stop him for good this time."
"Is that all?" Midnight chuckled weakly. It sounded so simple when she put it that way. "I'm sorry, I have to go check on Tamera. Thank you for your help."
"Anything for family," Heather said firmly. "Take care."
"Thank you," Midnight smiled slightly and hung up to go take care of Tamera. They should both be dressed before the unit, and Jake, arrived. It twisted her gut to leave the kittens mewing and messy, but she knew she needed to for a little while longer.
"Cops are coming, aren't they?" Tamera whimpered, her tail tucked firmly between her legs as she looked up from the bathroom sink and the mouthwash she was trying to use to get the taste from her mouth that was now more memory than reality. She was pretty much dressed already, her torn nightgown traded for a loose shirt and slacks; she'd expected to have to meet company.
"They are, and Jake," Midnight nodded, taking the mouthwash from her. "Do you want to stay with me while I get dressed?" She asked her.
She just nodded, hating to admit it but unwilling to be alone even that much now.
"It will be okay," Midnight promised with a kiss to her forehead and walked to the master bedroom for a quick change from her nightgown to a simple maroon dress that showed off her curves, though little fur. "We're going to stay where he can't come until he's destroyed."
"Where?" Tamera asked, looking up at Midnight and showing her fear plainly in young eyes. "He found me and Mom, he followed me here, he'll follow us where ever we go next!"
"Yes, he will," Midnight pulled her close for a hug. "He fled from the power of Bastet that I can call upon. In Her temple, there will always be a priest able to drive him away before he gets to you."
"What if they don't get there in time? He doesn't start out where they can reach him." Tamera shuddered, squeezing her eyes shut. "H-he did hurt me, in my dreams," she murmured. "Do you think that's how... how he hurt Mom?"
"Yes," she murmured, regretting the truth of it. "The priests can create protective wards, and others that will warn them of his approach. It will be enough."
"I hope so," Tamera whispered, hugging Midnight tightly. "They're going to let us stay?"
"Yes, they will," she said with the absolute certainty of knowing from experience how the request would be handled. "We will see the end of this nightmare. I promise."
"I hope that's Jake," Tamera murmured at a knock on the door, reluctantly disengaging herself Midnight's slender body.
"And CSI," she nodded and walked with her to the front door. "I want to clean the kits up."
"How long will they take?" Tamera asked, following Midnight, staying close, her tail swishing nervously.
"I don't know," she admitted and answered the door, not the least bit surprised to see Jake in front of the other Kats in uniform, or that he rushed the two steps to hug her tightly.
"Are you going to be okay?" he looked down at Tamera.
The kitten nodded slightly, hugging him tightly as the other officers came in.
"We'll all be fine, with a bit of time," Midnight reassured Jake. "I drove him off before he could do any major harm, thank Bastet."
"Where are you going to stay?" He asked as she all but hauled the CSI team leader into the kitten's room.
"Do whatever you have to so I can get them clean," Midnight practically ordered the startled detective before turning back towards Jake.
"You're not going to like it, but probably with Chance's Aunt 'Melia. It's the safest place right now."
"In the temple," Jake's ears flattened sideways in distress. "Why not Halikar's, or somewhere else? Somewhere they actually protect people."
"Because Bastet's priests can protect us against Berten, Jake," Midnight told him. "I don't know if Halikar's can. They defend, but Berten is a monster that preys on kittens. He flies in the face of everything Bastet's faithful stand for."
Jake nodded, reluctant but with much less fuss than she'd have expected.
"You can clean up the kittens now, ma'am," a CSI officer said after touching her shoulder. "Thank you for leaving the scene untouched for us."
"Thank you," she said, hurrying in to take them into the bathroom so they could be washed. "How's Chance?" She asked Jake as she started the water for the bath, trying to soothe the kittens with Tamera and his help.
"Pacing, for the most part," he chuckled weakly as he wiped the worst of the ghost-seed from Carim's fur. "We haven't told him just yet. I figured it would be better for him to hear about it along with how everyone was doing all at once. They weren't going to let him out either way."
"After I get the kittens cleaned up, can we go to see him? What's the...." She shuddered a bit at the thought. "They think he'll be okay, right?" She asked softly, cleaning up Pat's fur.
"I doubt they'll let you touch, but we can see him," Jake nodded as he got the nightclothes and diaper off Carmin, then put him in the luke-warm water with his sisters.
"That's good ... he'll hear about it soon enough, I know, but I want us there when he does."
"Agreed," Jake nodded, then leaned over to kiss her cheek while the three of them worked to calm and clean up the kittens. "He's going to have a fit about not being let to take this case," he tried to make a joke of what really would happen.
"He'll go absolutely ballistic," Midnight chuckled weakly. "Maybe he'll go back in the air for a while ... I hear you caught your Ghost Thieves, even if it wasn't for long for one of them."
"It won't be long for any of them," he nodded regretfully. "That thing they were using eats them from the inside out. Pretty gross, really."
"Creepy," she shuddered. "At least it shouldn't attack you or Chance ... I hurt him, Jake," she added softly. "Maybe badly."
"Maybe that'll make him easier to stop," he murmured, glancing up as a CSI officer hovered by the door. "Yes?"
"We've finished with both bedrooms," she said politely. "The detective is here to talk to Tamera."
"Tamera? If you can handle it now, it would be best ... we'll go see Chance afterwards," Midnight told the kitten, who nodded and got up to go answer the questions waiting for her.
Chance wrinkled his nose a bit at the chemical smells that still lingered on his gear as he walked out of the decon area. They'd disinfected everything, just in case, and while they were satisfied he wasn't about to dissolve from the inside out, he was privately wondering if somebody was trying to punish him for that. He just hoped it wasn't too strong; he didn't want to upset the kittens before he had a chance to change.
He walked out into the waiting room, and spotted Jake, Midnight, Tamera, and the triplets there, Tamera pressed against Midnight's side almost like she'd been welded there.
"Hey, I'm out, nothing to worry about," he told them cheerfully, thinking they were just worried about him. "Wasn't a big deal after all."
"Good," Midnight breathed a sigh of relief and nearly rushed forward to hug him. "A lot happened at home while you were on shift."
"What?" He asked her, glancing down at Tamera, who looked at least a little ill. He hugged Midnight tightly, then leaned back. "Midnight, what happened?" He asked her softly.
"Berten," she knew it was all he really needed to hear to have a fair notion of events; his fur stiffened and stood up just hearing the name. "I interrupted him before he got very far."
"Are you all okay?" He asked, looking at his oldest daughter in particular. She nodded slightly in mute response.
"He didn't really hurt me," she added, unsettled even more by his reaction. "Midnight scared him off."
"We're going to stay in the temple until he's caught," Midnight said firmly to forestall any other ideas he might have. "Bastet's power will keep him away."
"Melia should be willing to take us in for a while," Chance agreed, too stunned to really object to the idea just now. "Until then...." He shook his head, growling lowly. "Damn it, that -" He caught himself before his language got too much rougher. "Jake, any ideas how one of us can get somebody to let us into the loop a bit more here? If the rumors are right SI lost this case the other night."
"Not all the detectives are off it though," he nodded, thinking. "I'll work on it. You take care of family."
"Right," Chance nodded, letting Midnight go and moving to hug Tamera. "We'll get him," he promised her quietly, rubbing her back.
"What if he can come in the day?" she shivered, hugging him tightly.
"Ghosts don't do that, honey," he lied to her, quietly praying that he was right in this case. He usually would be; ghosts and daylight didn't usually get along. "Besides, during the day you'll be at school, or with one of us, and he won't come after you like that."
She nodded, more needing to believe that really believing. "What about everyone else?"
"The Enforcers are going to stop him, honey... we're still working on how to find him, but we will. Now that we know the temples can keep him out, maybe that'll help."
"Focus on yourself, Tamera," Midnight knelt to hug her as well. "Let the adults worry about everyone else for now."
"Okay," the kitten murmured, closing her eyes to try and hide the tears that were starting as she began to come down from the terror of before. "C-can we go somewhere safe now?" She asked hopefully.
"Of course we can," Chance nodded. "You'll be staying home from school today, don't worry about it ... just let me call Melia and we'll get going."
"I arranged it before coming here," Midnight said before he could go look for a phone. "The van is packed with what we'll need for a few days. We just need you."
"You've got me then," Chance chuckled slightly, standing back up. "Let's go... I'll drive, need to stretch out a bit after that quarantine cell," he grumbled.
"At least they didn't keep you in there for a week," Jake tried to tease him as they all walked out to the van, each adult carrying one kitten.
"Don't remind me that they wanted to at first, just to be safe," Chance grumbled. "If you hadn't caught the other two, I'd still be in there."
"Are you planning to stay at the temple too?" Jake switched subjects as they settled the triplets inside the van.
"I want to be able to do what I can to help protect my family, Jake," Chance told him quietly. "Can't do that from the house while they're somewhere else."
"Good," he nodded, letting his real reason for the question go unsaid as Tamera settled down in the back row next to him. "Everybody still think that SI is less dangerous than flying?"
"Jake, MMA for a living is less dangerous than flying," Midnight pointed out with a huff, making him chuckle.
"Hey, given why Chance brought up the transfer to us, it's a legit question," Jake countered in good humor.
"Well, Midnight's right," Chance chuckled slightly. "Besides, given what Melia kept telling Rock and me about you being trouble, SI might be good to have at our backs."
Even over the sound of the engine turning over, he caught the sharp sound of shock that came out of his partner and winced. How the hell did Jake not know about it?
"Okay ... what has she been telling you?" Jake asked evenly.
"Just that, with everything going on," Chance said, keenly aware that Tamera was listening in, "you'll probably end up being a bit of a magnet for weird stuff that's up SI's alley. And given what we've already gone through, I don't know that I'm necessarily going to disagree," he chuckled, trying hard to keep this light-hearted.
"Nothing exactly new there," Jake nodded and visibly relaxed. "Sorry, I'm still uneasy about what they say sometimes."
"What do they say?" Tamera asked, looking back at the two toms. "Is there something wrong?"
"No," Jake shook his head. "They just think I'm special. It's caused a lot of friction over the years, though things have mellowed in the last couple. They want me to be something I'm not, and I'm not willing to bow to the pressure. You can ask Melia about divine champions and my clashes with the priesthood if you want."
"Okay," Tamera nodded slightly, not really sure what was up, but knowing a 'not right now' when she heard it. This one even made sense. You don't want to rile someone about folks they were on their way to deal with, however briefly. "What's MMA?"
"Mixed Martial Arts," Jake smiled over at her slightly. "It's a kind of professional fighting, like boxers."
"Only faster and more bloody," Chance added. "I did it for a while, but, well, against the likes of him, a wrestler doesn't stand much chance. Just not fast enough, or prone to doing enough damage."
"You're a wrestler?" Tamera asked him, her ears perking up a bit.
"Well, that's what I call myself when I'm following the rules," Chance chuckled a bit. "When I'm not, I usually fight dirty, because it usually matters what happens then. More than just a win or a loss."
"A pretty good boxer too," Jake added with a grin, more than happy to help improve his standing with his new daughter. "He's still well-ranked among Enforcers."
"Cool," she grinned, leaning forward, dearly grateful for something else to think about. "Will you show me some moves?"
"Sure," Chance grinned back. "After things have settled down a bit maybe. See about getting you up in the air some time first," he smiled, not quite sure about the sudden cloud that crossed her expression before she pushed it away.
"Sounds good," she said with a shaky smile instead, her attention abruptly shifting to the grand primary temple to Bastet in MegaKat City. "It's huge."
"No kidding," Chance agreed. "Don't think I'll ever really get used to this place... it's something else when you're above it too."
"Especially at night, when a service is going on," Jake added with a slightly sad smile as they pulled into the parking lot where a heavily built priestess was waiting for them. "It's all lit up, glowing from the inside out through stained glass. It's quite a show."
"I'll bet," Tamera nodded, climbing out after they'd parked while Chance opened up the side door.
"Chance, Midnight, Jake, it's good to see you here... is this Tamera?" The Priestess asked, coming out to greet them.
"Yap," Chance grinned at his aunt before he got close enough to hug her. "Wants to learn how to wrestle like her dad."
"She'll be the holy terror of her school one of these days," Melia chuckled, leaning down to give Tamera a warm hug. "Are you okay?" She asked her gently. "I know it's been rough on you lately."
"I'll survive," she said with a grim determination she was far too young for. "I still miss my Mom, but Midnight and Chance have been great. She risked her life for me tonight."
"I heard," Melia nodded seriously. "If you need to talk to anybody, about anything, just let us know... I'll come over if you want to keep it in the family, but we're all willing to talk."
"Thanks," she murmured, clearly drawn back to what she didn't want to think about. "Just want a good night's sleep right now, ma'am."
"That we can do; come on, let's get you all settled in. Ah... Jake? Do you want to come along as well?" She asked the cinnamon-furred tom. "Everybody's promised to behave," she smiled slightly.
"For a bit," he nodded, both in thanks and acknowledgment that he would. "The next couple shifts are going to be very long ones."
"No doubt, but Chance and his family will be safe here," Melia reassured them all, turning to lead them in. "Come on, we'll show you your quarters, and how we will keep you safe."
"Thank you," Midnight inclined her head and picked up the car chair Pat was resting in. "Tamera, would you take Heather so Chance can bring the suitcase?"
"Sure," Tamera nodded, taking the kitten from their father. Heather opened her eyes sleepily as she was handed off, mewling a yawn and sticking a tiny fist in her mouth to suck on it as Chance got the suitcase and they walked into the temple together.
Midnight seemed almost at home, Jake clearly knew it well though he was uneasy. Tamera was wide-eyed as she took it all in, wealth, artistry and age on a level she'd never witnessed before.
"You can feel it, can't you?" Jake's voice was low, meant only for her.
"The hum?" she glanced up at him. "Yeah. Not everyone can?"
"Not these days, no," he shook his head as they were showed through the main chamber and into the areas generally off limits to the public.
"Why not?" She asked, only half paying attention to what Melia was saying at the moment.
"Some because they do not want to, others because they are so far out of touch with the energy of the universe that they can not feel it," he explained as best he could. "What you are feeling is the energy of sanctified ground and many people with access to great power. A mage's home will feel much the same."
"Oh... so most people could feel it, if they wanted to?"
"Yes," he nodded. "The calmness and soothing you may hear folks speak of when they talk of the draw of services is feeling that energy, when they do not understand what they are really feeling."
"Oh, okay," she nodded, thinking it over. "Is that what keeps people like him away?"
"In a way, yes," Jake considered the whys. "I believe it is more that they know the power means there are people who can find and destroy them here."
"With things like Berten, they also know that we'll follow them as far as it takes," Melia interjected. "You will be safe from him here, Tamera, and we'll show you how to stay safe outside our walls," she promised.
"Thank you," she nodded with a shy smile for the priestess that reminded her a lot of her father and grandmother.
"Would you like to have one of us stay with you today, to stand watch while you rest?" Melia offered. "I think your folks could use little privacy tonight."
"If you want us there, we'll be there," Chance added seriously.
"No ... I think I'd be okay, as long as somebody was there. I just don't want to be alone if he tries to get into my dreams again," Tamera explained, wrapping her tail around her leg a bit. She barely realized how soon Jake had his arms around her.
"I'll stay too, if you'd like," he offered quietly. "I'm an old hand at dealing with nightmares."
"Won't Rock be worried about you, after everything?" she looked up at this friend of her father's that resonated with a great deal of power and didn't act like he had any.
"I'll call him, but if you'd like familiar company, he'll understand," Jake assured her. "He's your father's cousin. Family is very important to them."
"I'll be okay," Tamera decided after a minute to really think about it. "I just need somebody who can wake me up ... that's how he's come after me."
"He won't get close enough to touch your dreams," Melia promised and opened the door to a large room with a plush bed, the floor deep in cushions and three cribs. "Initiate Lyth requested first watch," she motioned to the chocolate on red tabby tom barely in his teens.
"Hello," he smiled, standing up and bowing a greeting to the new arrivals.
"Hi," Tamera smiled a little shyly, looking around the room, and up at a long ribbon of paper with wards written on it in old Katian that ran around the outer edge of the room, ready to be brought up by the door.
"I took a few extra precautions, Priestess," the tabby told Melia. "Just in case, since we're not dealing with somebody who's really solid this time."
"You pay attention well, then," Melia smiled approvingly at him. "I was in my thirties before I could have attempted this."
"I'm just good at remembering shapes," he admitted, though it was obvious he was pleased with the praise. "Thank you. Do you want some help putting the kittens to bed?" He asked, looking between Midnight and Tamera.
"Yes, thank you," Midnight nodded and walked up to the cribs to put Carmin to bed.
Lyth walked up to Jake, taking Pat from his arms as Tamera handed Heather off to Midnight to put into the second of the three cribs.
"It's good to meet you, Mr. Clawson," he said respectfully, rubbing Pat's back and taking her over to the third crib, putting her in gently with a soft scritch between her ears. "Wish it was under better circumstances."
"That's usually the case," Jake admitted. "Life's not for the fair of heart."
"Maybe not, but we do what we can to improve it," Melia said. "Tamera; you and Lyth feel free to chat for a bit if you want, but try to get some sleep today. You're safe here, I promise," she smiled as the kittens quickly settled down to sleep themselves.
"The adults definitely need their sleep too," Midnight smiled at her in thanks. "It's a big relief to have someone who can watch over her so we can."
"It's a pleasure, Midnight," Melia smiled. "You know what we do here, and when there are kittens involved, it's all the more important to keep them safe. Come on, I'll show you to your room now," she said easily, leading the adults out of the room and leaving Lyth to put the rest of his ward up in place.
"We aren't kicking anyone out of their room, are we?" Chance glanced over at her.
"Nah," Jake chuckled. "They keep rooms free for stuff like this."
"Yes, we have an entire wing dedicated to people being stalked by vengeful ghosts," Melia joked. "Seriously though, putting a family up for a few days, or even a few weeks, isn't anything new to us. It may become more of an issue if we have to support large numbers, but we might be able to find ways around that too... I've spoken with Fela this morning about the possibility of trying to prepare wards for families with large numbers of kittens in Berten's preferred age range, and we're going to put out word about coming to the priests if your kittens suffer from unusual nightmares. SI informed us that that was one link between most of the cases."
"The other is being a previous vic," Chance told her quietly, making her tail fluff slightly.
"Yes, I'm sleeping here too," he sighed.
"We'll prepare a ward for your room as well then," Melia said firmly.
"Only on the day he did it before," Chance objected. "Only one night a year."
"Are they sure of that limitation?" Melia asked him seriously. "Have there been any survivors who weren't attacked again? That's the only way I would feel safe relying on that, and the only way you should. If that."
"You know we don't know who half his vics are, and I'm sure no one's admitting most of his earliest ones could even exist," he sighed. "I'll only sleep here though, if it'll make you feel better."
"It'll make us feel better," Jake and Midnight said in firm unison.
"We'll call it unanimous," Melia said. "We don't want to take any chances with this, Chance. We'll hold off on the full-wall wards if you want, but at least let us mark the doors and any other access points."
"Can't ghosts walk through walls anyways?" Chance pointed out.
"Yes, but there's a symbolic importance to marking the doors. He might be able to come through the doors, but a ward on the doors and windows does have impact; it makes it clear that he is unwelcome, and will rob him of at least some of his power if he enters despite the censure. It will also rob him of any divine patronage he might be benefiting from, unless they're willing to risk sparking another Godwar just to get at you."
Chance nodded with a sigh.
"Even when he's coming in through the dreams?" Midnight asked. "It's how Tamera said he attacked her."
"He'd have to enter the room you are in to enter your dreams, since you said he was physically there when you came in, and he leaves physical evidence," Jake added. "I don't think he hates you enough to risk that."
"Jake's correct, though it doesn't matter if he has to come in physically or not," Melia agreed. "Again, it's a matter of a symbolic protection that matters greatly with mystical concerns. You are in Bastet's temple, She has forbidden dark spirits to enter the room ... it is possible to find loopholes, but any loophole will have the consequence of seriously pissing off not only Bastet, but every one of Her priests and priestesses in this city. Not a good way to start your afterlife." She opened up the door to their room. "Make yourselves at home ... I wish we could offer you some other means of protection, but this is the best we can do for now."
"We're making progress on the case," Jake smiled at her, then hugged Midnight before turning to squeeze his partner's arm. "Between SI and Feral's Ghosts, we'll find a way to stop him for good."
"And you need to go home before Rock calls the Enforcers and finds out half of what happened without the part where everyone's okay," Midnight gave him a kiss on the cheek. "You sleep well. We'll be fine."
"I'll see you tonight, buddy," Chance smiled as Jake backed out and they entered the room. "Get yourself some rest, and let Rock know we closed our first case," he added with a grin.
"Will do," Jake grinned back over his shoulder before heading towards the front of the temple as the door closed.
"I hope they catch him soon," Chance muttered, his put-on good mood disappearing as he looked around the nicely appointed room that was all about comfort in down, velvet and cushions.
"He will be," she murmured, shifting around to slide her arms up arms his neck and claimed a kiss. "It won't be bad."
"Maybe not, but...." Chance sighed, returning the kiss, wrapping his arms around Midnight and hugging her close. "I'm supposed to be able to take care of you and the kits," he murmured. "And here we are, running away from that bastard, letting him drive us out of our home, because I can't."
"Because you care enough about their safety to take us where we are safe," she countered. "It may hurt your pride, but it means you are a good father."
"It still hurts my pride," he chuckled slightly, nuzzling her neck. "That's just a hurt I'll get over. You're sure he didn't hurt you when you saved Tamera?" He asked her.
"Yes," she relaxed in his arms. "He threatened, but he didn't do any more."
"Good," he murmured, rubbing her back. "I'm sorry I wasn't there to help you. I'm starting to wonder if Tamera's in more danger with us than with somebody else," he admitted.
"She's a target, has been before she knew you existed," she reminded him. "He was stalking her before Connie died. Now come to bed. We both need some rest."
"You're probably right," he agreed, stifling a yawn as they both undressed and he followed her to the bed of cushions waiting for them. "Hope this is over with soon," he murmured as they laid down next to each other. "Worst part is not being able to help with it."
"I know," she kissed his cheek and snuggled close to run one hand down his body.
"Is that a hint to shut up and stop thinking about it?" He asked with a slight chuckle, snuggling up himself, reaching up to scratch the back of her neck lightly.
"It's the best way I know to wear each other out enough to sleep quickly," she smiled and nuzzled him, sliding her hand down to play her fingers along his sheath. "It's sexy too, making love in the Temple of Bastet."
"You think so, huh?" Chance purred lowly, warming up to the idea a bit. He was tired, and the night had been Hell, but he could certainly come up with worse ways to get the day off to a good start.
"Very much," she purred, rubbing against his side affectionately. "But anything with you is sexy."
"If you're trying to fix my wounded pride... it's working," he chuckled, turning towards her, kissing her tenderly, running a powerful hand down her side. "Guess it'd be a shame to pass up a night of free babysitting, huh?" He asked, cracking a bit of a wise-ass grin.
"Almost criminal," she licked at his lips for admittance and fondled him to hardness, her chest vibrating softly in pleasure when he slid his fingers lightly across the lips of her sex, teasing her slickness.
He took her tongue into his mouth, suckling it lightly as he moved his hand up, fondling her breasts and spreading his legs to give her a bit better access to his sheath and stiffening shaft.
"Mmm," she finally broke it off and slid down his body, kissing along the way until she reached the tip of his cock and slid it into her mouth to play her tongue along the conical tip and rubbery protrusions down the hardening length.
Chance groaned, rolling to his back, rubbing her ears affectionately.
"Love you," he rumbled deeply, leaning up and reaching down to scratch the small of her back. "C'mon, let's not have you be the only one getting a taste," he grinned, pulling her around so she was straddling his face as she worked on his shaft, his own rough tongue sliding along her slick lips.
He felt her groan around him and shift her hips so his tongue ran easily along the path she enjoyed the most and put the heavy scent of her arousal right against his nose.
He moaned himself, his shaft twitching lightly against her face as he spread the lips of her sex, suckling at her clit for a moment before putting his tongue back to work, lapping at dark pink flesh framed with glistening black fur, slowly working his way back to the fragrant source of the enticing scent that still drove him wild after years of dating and sleeping together.
It turned his mind to the fact that she still enjoyed tasting him, never once less than enthusiastic about sucking him off if she was in the mood for anything. Through his groans of pleasure and enjoyment of her fragrance, he was grateful of how simple both their tastes were.
Not at all like how Rock described Jake. No matter how much his cousin enjoyed it, he never really knew what his lover would be in the mood for on a given night.
Chance ... he always knew what his lover wanted, and he'd gotten as good at giving it to her as she was at pleasuring him. He licked from her clit to the tight entrance to her pussy, wrapping an arm around her leg and pressing a finger up into her as her mouth bobbed up and down his throbbing shaft, the stiff hairs of his tongue working her sensitive flesh as it began to quiver from the attention.
With a low, hungry moan she drew her head back and tightened her body around his finger.
"Want something more than that in there, lover," she rumbled and rubbed her face along his cock in emphasis.
He rolled her off of him, turning around and straddling her hips.
"I've got something in mind then," he grinned, kissing her heatedly and spreading her legs with his knee, sinking his shaft into her sex as the sea of cushions beneath them gave way, spreading around their entwined forms.
Shier Khan groaned as hot water began to rain down on him in the room-sized shower in his private quarters, far away from his wives, concubines and harem. His entire body ached from mating repeatedly with three wives who were fertile, and several others so they wouldn't feel too left out.
It was a stark reminder of the disadvantage of not living in the palace; it made the times he was home far more wearing. He simply didn't have too many choices in the matter though, not given his business concerns.
He heard the door to the rooms open, and would have ordered whoever it was out if he hadn't realized from the massive silhouette in the door that it was Ulysses.
"How are you doing?" Feral asked him softly as he walked into the shower room, still on the other side of the translucent curtain between them.
"Well enough," he stilled for a moment. "Care to join me? I have far too much female-scent on me for my taste right now."
"Since you asked," Feral chuckled slightly, undressing and slipping the curtain aside to join his lover, helping to work the water into his fur. "For what little it's worth, Recka says that she's learned quite a bit on this trip ... and the Tigress you brought to help her has said that he's left Tusandrin."
"Which means he is likely back in your city," Shier pressed into the welcome contact. "Any assistance Tusandrin can offer is yours."
"According to Recka, Jagrati's help would be most welcome, but we'll settle that later," Feral murmured, kissing Shier's neck. "How are you holding up?" He asked him, the nature of his attentions shifting from cleaning him to working tension and rage out of his tight muscles.
"Better than many in the palace," he turned his head for a long kiss. "There are times I truly wish that I was not expected to have so many wives that do not travel. It would be much easier to keep them company if they did not stay here all the time."
"You need to start looking for them around MegaKat City," Feral chuckled, purring softly into the kiss. "They're more prone to traveling ... not that I'm complaining about you usually being alone when you pay a visit to my city. You'll be staying here for a week or two, I imagine?"
"Anything less than eight days after the funeral is an insult to them," he nodded reluctantly, though he cracked a bit of a grin after a moment. "I don't suppose your brother's daughter is available?"
"She might be, but I don't think she'd be all that interested," Ulysses chuckled, turning Shier around in the shower, kissing him tenderly. "Besides, can you imagine the rumors that would end up creating?" He purred.
"Less of a scandal in many lands than the two of us without her," Shier chuckled before claiming a long, lingering kiss as he ran his hands down Feral's body, enjoying the solidly masculine nature of his hard form. "Far too few understand the appeal of another powerful warrior and equal in bed."
"Too true," Ulysses purred, pressing Khan back against the tiled wall, running his broad hands down that powerful body, feeling the rippling muscle beneath his wet fur. "Not a problem back home, fortunately, and I doubt any would object to anything you did here," he observed with a chuckle.
"None would dare," he grinned and nipped Ulysses' jaw playfully. "There are advantages to rank, on occasion. Now," he claimed a kiss that sent an electric shock through both their bodies. "What can I do for my heart?"
"Let me help you relax," Feral rumbled, reaching down to fondle Shier Khan's sheath, his own filling out as he returned the heated, passionate kiss. He was used to that particular term of endearment from the Tiger, but he still enjoyed hearing it, especially now that he knew the full extent of what was meant by it.
"Mmm, it would be my pleasure," he claimed another kiss, his hands gripping Ulysses' ass as they shifted to rub against each other. "Too many females lately," he murmured, his tired body electrified by the masculine arousal against his abs. "Not enough strength."
"You don't need to be in charge right now," Ulysses rumbled, reaching down to grip his ass, powerful fingers slipping up to tease the tight pucker under his tail. "If you're up for turning around, I can handle the rest of the work from there," he winked playfully when the moment of surprise passed from his lover.
One more kiss and Shier shifted to brace himself against the polished marble wall and lifted his tail.
Feral wasn't as familiar with the bathroom here as he was with Khan's mansion in MegaKat City; it took him a few moments to find the lube he was sure was hidden somewhere in the shower, but when he did he made quick work of starting to prep his lover, leaning close and kissing his neck tenderly.
"Just relax and let me take care of you for a little bit," he rumbled deeply, pressing a finger up into Shier's ass. The tight muscle gave way, contracting briefly before he relaxed with a low rumble of pleasure at the infrequent experience.
"Sometimes we don't do this often enough," Shier moaned, pressing back against his lover's hand.
"Maybe not, but it makes the times we do better, I think," Feral purred, working on stretching his lover out carefully. "Besides, I don't think either of us really complains about the other way either," he chuckled. "You just seem to need something a bit more thorough this morning."
Shier could only nod, his awareness given over to what his lover was doing and the stinging pleasure of his body being stretched more than usual. His breath remained slow and steady, but his cock, well-used as it was, responded to the attention, as did the arousal in his scent.
After a few more moments, Feral pulled his hand free, guiding his own rigid shaft to the tight orifice, pressing himself up into Khan's ass with a low groan before reaching around to stroke his member as he started to thrust.
There was something to be said for this intimacy, he couldn't help but notice once again, that less invasive pleasures couldn't match. Still, they both had to be in just the right mood to step outside both their cultural baggage and let the other inside.
There were days Ulysses cursed that background, knowing that so many others raised in MegaKat City didn't think that way, but it also made these days very special.
He tried to let it go, to focus on the pleasure of what they were doing. To push out the thoughts of what had happened the past few nights, and just enjoy the time along with his lover.
He could almost do it too. Khan wasn't often beneath another male, but he was good at it when he was willing, milking his lover with a powerful body keenly aware of the subtleties of every muscle in both their bodies. Ulysses nuzzled his neck tenderly as they mated, his barbed shaft sliding in and out of the Tiger's tight, hot body.
He just had to keep from thinking about what had happened.
"Ever ... thought ... of retiring?" Shier asked as his breath shifted to a moaning pant, his tail wrapped around Ulysses' body. "Of ruling with me."
"Thought of it," Ulysses groaned. "Less since I got a competent second," he half-chuckled, playing lightly with Khan's rubbery barbs. "What brought it up today?"
"Realizing you would leave, and how much I do not want you to."
"I have to, love," Feral murmured softly. "Now ... I can't leave now. One day though, we will be together."
"I know," Shier groaned, his body beginning to twitch outside his control. "I understand every time I think of leaving to join you and not returning. Perhaps," he shuddered in the mounting pleasure. "It is time to begin planning for the day you step down from your command."
"Perhaps," Feral agreed, groaning as his own balls started to twitch. "Retiring before my first century," he chuckled slightly, shivering in pleasure as he pressed against Khan's back. "Cost half the Enforcers... nnngh ... their paychecks for a month," he chuckled.
"And another half on who your successor is," Shier grinned and tightened his body around his lover and pressed back, enjoying the attentions far more than those of even his most skilled concubine. "Close -"
Feral was more than that; he thrust forward, his conical tip rubbing over Khan's prostate as he roared, pumping his thick seed up into his lover's ass, stroking his cock hard and fast to try and bring him off as well.
"Yes!" Shier roared as his back arched in, thrusting his hips forward hard into his lover's hand as his body drew Ulysses' cock in even deeper with each powerful thrust until they were both spent.
"I love you, Shier," Feral purred languidly, turning his head back to kiss him deeply.
"I love you, Ulysses," he rumbled into the kiss and ran his hands down his lover's flanks. "Can you stay until dawn?"
"Of course," Feral nodded, rumbling and hugging him lightly. "Actually get clean this time, then I think you could use some sleep for a few hours. With no nightmares this time, for either of us."
"Yes," Shier rumbled and turned for a long kiss as they drew their hips apart. "I will join you within two weeks, my heart. Until then, sechena Jagrati will join you to assist your hunt."
"Thank you ... and I'll be waiting for you, eagerly," Feral purred, picking up the shampoo again. "This is one case I want over with as quickly as possible. Hate the ones like this."
"The enemy you know and can not fight," he nodded and poured some shampoo into his own hand, lathering it before doing to work on Ulysses' chest as they kissed. "He will be destroyed, for you and my family."
"He will be destroyed for everybody he has hurt, Shier," Feral said softly, helping to clean the Tiger's fur as much as he could. "It's not just me... not just your family. If he isn't stopped soon, he'll spread panic through the city you wouldn't believe at this rate."
"You may be surprised what I would believe," he chuckled lightly and claimed another kiss. "But panic in MegaKat City is a frightening thing, even for me."
Feral reached over to turn on the blowers once they had finished cleaning up.
"It's the sort of thing I'd have to retire after, if it got bad enough," he said quietly. "Let's not worry about it... we'll stop him before it gets that far."
"Yes, we will," Shier promised him with a soft kiss and all the power of his country and corporation behind it.
Power Games 5: The BoogieKat Killer pt 3 of 4
NC-17 for M/M, M/F sex
Het Level is High Het Smut Level is Medium Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Medium Femslash Level is None Herm Level is None
168 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Finished
Written November 5, 2007 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann
Setting: SWAT Kats
Primary Races: Kantin, Kat
Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M). Alternate Universe, Bestiality, Child Abuse (Sexual), Fantasy, Rape (M on M), Rape (M on M), Sex (BDSM), Sex (BDSM), Supernatural, Violence
Pairings: Chance Furlong/Midnight Raven, Jake Clawson/Rock Furlong, Ulysses Feral/Shier Khan, others
Notes: While the actual pedophilia is kept off screen, it is a central feature to this story and not a minor warning. If you made it to this far, you obviously have a strong stomach for violence, but this pushed even our comfort zone.
Blurb: When Chance and Ulysses' kittenhood nightmare finally faces death for his crimes, it is the beginning of the horrors, not the end, for MegaKat City and its defenders.
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.
Page Hit Count from December 3, 2007