Family Negotiations

Erwer, Urim 11, 0527

Sometimes I think of the beach at night as the perfect place to go and think. When I get there, though, I usually find myself distracted. It's my raw sensuality. I enjoy the feel of the sand and the salty water, the smell, the cool wind. It was a warm night, so I wore only a pair of jeans, no shirt or shoes. The sounds of gulls squawking in the distance, and the quiet roar of the surf, especially when they echo off the cliffs of Marbletop behind me, are old and familiar lulls.

Behind us, actually. Aaden and I had walked out here again, only this time we had decided to turn right and explore the 'northern' side of the beach. "Explore" is a silly word for me, since I had done this probably a thousand times with the children of Shardik Castle. We walked for a while.

"Ken?" he asked.

"Yeah?"

"You want to sit down?"

"Why, tired?" I asked.

He shook his head. "Not really. I just want to sit down with you for a while."

"Fine with me." He sat down and lay against a large rock that jutted out of the sand. With a smile he held his arms out and parted his legs, encouraging me to sit between them. I did, leaning back against his chest. He wrapped his massive arms around me and I just melted into him like I always do.

I wrapped my right arm up and over his, running my fingers through the fur of his arms. I was struck by the obvious masculinity of Aaden. In some species it's difficult to tell the sexes apart. Felinzi, for example. Although the fems have obvious breasts, they aren't usually large, and a flat fem looks pretty much like a mel. Uncia have no visible mammae of any type, and no tourist can tell them apart. Any Pendorian over the age of two can point out in a heartbeat the obvious sexual characteristics, but off-worlders always seem to have trouble. Mephits are similar to Felinzi, but what always strikes me about Aaden is that he is so obviously male. Even from the back the lines of his musculature show through his fur, and his wide shoulders and well-proportioned hips only emphasize it. There's even something about the way he holds his tail that suggests "I am male."

"Ken?" he said, his soft voice rumbling through his chest. I felt it against my back. I lay my head against his shoulder and sighed, happy. "Hmm?" I replied.

"Penny for your thoughts."

I laughed. "And a dollar to act them out, right?"

"What's a 'dollar?'" he asked.

"Where'd you get that phrase? By the way, good pronunciation."

"Thank you," he replied. "I found it while I was studying Anglic a few days ago. I understand the idea."

"Mmm-hmm," I replied, then explained what I had meant. He laughed gently when I was done. It felt like soft thunder against my head. "I was thinking about... Aaden, am I denied something by being as completely pansexual as I am?"

"I doubt it. What makes you ask?"

"Oh, I don't know. I was running drills with Steve this weekend, keeping in practice, you know. And he and Dillion went drinking together afterwards. What gets me is that I didn't really see the point. I guess what I've been thinking is that I've never really been anybody's 'buddy,' if you get my drift."

He shrugged gently and said, "You're my buddy," he said.

"No, I'm not. I'm your lover. I'm your friend. But I'm not really a 'buddy.' I guess I've never tried to participate in quote male bonding unquote. I've seen it happen, but I don't understand it."

"I think you're letting your imagination run away with you again, that's what I think. Ken, you've got plenty of friends, even some you don't want to have sex with."

"Name one."

"Dave."

I stopped and thought about that. "Well, he's an AI."

"Yeah, so? How long did you want to have sex with Lynn? I think the point is that there are some people you want to like that you don't want to have sex with."

"Think so?"

He shrugged. "I don't know. I don't know you. But I do have the evidence of The Journal Entries. As I recall, you were pretty celibate for a while there."

I smiled and said "Well, I guess. I don't know." We were both silent for a short while.

"My turn to ask a heavy question," he said.

"Go ahead."

"Do you ever think about running away?"

I stopped for a second and said, "No."

"Never?"

"I think about it. Usually it comes in tiny flashes that I snuff out as fast as I can. I don't really want to run away. I chose to do what I'm doing, and I like what I'm doing. I like what I am, Aaden. There are times when I get tired of playing the role of Vatare'. That's when I feel like running away." I leaned my head further back so I could look up at his face, even upside-down. "It's people like you I need, Aaden, people who can hold me and love me and yet tell me to go fuck myself when I need to be told."

He chuckled. "But you never want to leave it all behind."

"I guess there are times when I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't created Pendor."

"And what's the answer?"

"There isn't one. I see now that from the day I visited myself in my kitchen, there was no choice. From that day until the day before Decant, everything was set in motion."

"What happened the day before Decant?" he asked, confused.

"I took the box I had been given and gave it to myself."

"You time traveled to the same point where it had started. I read that."

"Yeah. Damned language isn't really equipped to describe the strange loops of time travel. See, once I'd closed the loop, I was free to go on. But that twenty-eight year period where I had Fawn I wasn't free. I was following a program that would only end when I got rid of her."

There was silence for a moment. "And you accepted that?"

"I accepted that I eventually would have to hand Fawn to myself, my past self. What I did with her in the meantime was entirely up to me. What I chose to do with it is collect the hardware necessary to build Pendor. I tend to think of time as a spiral, not a loop. Every Shardik in that loop may choose to do something different. This is my choice." I shrugged. "There is no 'running away.'"

We were silent for a while. "Okay, my turn," I said. "And it's a doozy."

"I'm ready."

"Do you really want children?"

"I've never had any. I've been here for nearly four years now, Ken. I've almost decided to accept P'nyssa's offer and shut down my residency at Rhysh. And all I can think about is, yes, I want children. I want to have them, here, in the Castle. I want you to be there for them. And I want P'nyssa there for them."

"We still have the trouble that we've yet to find the legendary 'nice girl.'"

He chuckled. "Yeah, that is a problem. But P'nyssa and I were talking."

About what? I wondered. I wanted to press him for more, but I decided to quell my curiosity. I could wait. But something he said occurred to me. "You and Nyss were talking? See, I think you two qualify as 'buddies.'"

He laughed. "No, that's not right, either. I don't think there's a good word for it. But I do like her. It's a nice feeling. It means that if I want you, I can accept her. Unconditionally."

"Well, on one condition."

"No, not really. P'nyssa's about as unlikely to try and seduce me as Ress is to visit Rhysh of her own free will." I chuckled, leaning back and closing my eyes as I rested against his chest. "I love you," he said.

"I know. I love you too."

He nodded quietly, his claws reaching up and scratching my chest lightly. I squirmed slightly under his touch. "Don't tickle," I said, "Or I'll do it back."

He smiled and said, "Good luck," as he gently pinched my nipple between his fingers. I sighed, going all limp and lightheaded on him. As he rolled it softly, I closed my eyes and sighed, concentrating, feeling this small point of sheer pleasure sending it's signals to my brain. "Oh, Aaden," I sighed. "I do love you so."

"Come on," he said. "Let's go back to the castle."

I smiled. "Yeah."

We walked back towards the light glowing through the crack in the rocks where the Castle hovered. It was still early enough at night that the garden lights were still on, and a few people lounged around the lagoon. "Can I ask you a question?" he asked.

"A serious question?"

"Not really. Do you really glue the caps to your pens?"

"Do I what?" I asked.

"Nyss told me that," he continued. "She said you would glue the caps to the backs of your pens so that you when you chewed them, they would last longer."

I chuckled and said, "Yeah, it's true. It gives one more layer to keep my saliva from reaching the ink." A thought occurred to me, one that made me changed the subject. "Aaden, do you know, I just realized that you're a missing two percent."

"A what?"

"A missing two-percent. Your genecode is absolutely unique of all the Mephits. You're a Tleil, and yet you've never had kids. You have a set of chromosomes that isn't part of the base Mephit genecode. Aaden, if any femMeph knew what you were, you wouldn't be able to keep them off you. I haven't gone back to look at the records, but I'd say you represent a systemic limit on physical size." I paused for a second, then added, "Including the size of your dick."

He smiled and said, "Your mind is a one-note song, Ken."

I shrugged and put one hand on his furry chest, trailing downwards until I ran my fingers over the bulge in his shorts. "But you like percussion, don't you?"

"Oh ho, so it's going to be one of those nights," he said with a smile. His tail trembled over his shoulder at my touch. "Race you to the bedroom," he said, leaping for the dry SDisk and vanishing.

"Bastard," I muttered under my breath, racing after him. I came running down the hallway towards my quarters, charging into the main room and diving headfirst down the portal to the bedroom. He caught me in his arms and held me close. "Love you," he said gently.

"I love you too," I said, closing the distance between our mouths. His lips parted gently as we touched, kissed. His tongue was forceful in my mouth, exploring my teeth. My hands wrapped around his back and I dug my fingers under his fur. He growled slightly as I scratched him, his back arching and trembling. His tail brushed against the back of my hand, and I reached over to grab it. As I ran my hand down his tail towards the base, I curved it around so that, as I touched the root I reached through the hole in his shorts to brush against his anus, and he moaned. "Like that?" I said.

"You don't know by now?" he growled softly. He unclasped my jeans and reached a hand in, his fingers lightly trailing over my cock. "What am I ever going to do with you?" he asked.

I pulled loose the snaps holding his shorts closed. I pulled his cock, still not quite erect, from its confines and stroked it in my hands. "I don't know. What are you going to do with me?" I pushed him back against the bed and held his cock in my hands, stroking it. It became a solid hunk of maleflesh, and I admired it as I stroked him, leaning over to slowly lick him from base to tip, then back down. He reached up and tousled my hair. I smiled, dipping down and taking part of his ballsac in my mouth, holding one testicle in my lips.

He sighed and said, "I want to fuck you."

"Oh, really?" I said. "Seems to me you're enjoying yourself enough already." With two fingers I lifted his balls aside and probed his asshole gently with my tongue, caressing it. He squirmed.

I moved back up, opening my mouth and taking the head in, suckling him softly. He sighed. "You're so good at that." I could feel my glands working overtime, getting him slick and wet as I sucked his beautiful cock. I rose off and looked up at him. "You want to fuck me, huh?"

"Yeah," he said with a smile.

"Then go ahead," I said. "I'm always ready for you."

We switched positions. I like it best when he takes me from behind. And he knows it.

"So, are you really ready?" he asked. He knelt on his knees behind me, his thick cock sliding between my buttocks. I looked up into the mirror we'd put on the headboard recently, and I could see the head of his cock pointing up over my ass.

He looked so overwhelmingly wonderful, I knew I was where I belonged. "I'm really ready, Aaden. Fuck me."

He smiled and slid a finger against my anus, pressing it gently inward. "You know, there are times when I wish I wasn't furry," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because then I wouldn't have to wear a glove just to put a finger into you," he said. "At least this isn't furry." He pressed the head of his cock against my asshole. The familiar pressure made my anus relax, almost out of habit, and he slid into me without so much as a pause. "How's that?" he asked, gently grinding his hips against my butt in small, massaging circles.

"Perfect," I sighed, feeling his thick cock press against my insides.

"I feel the same way," he smiled. I'm beginning to like that mirror, especially from this angle. He reached for my hips, holding tight and sliding until his hips pressed against my butt, pinning me down.

"Do it," I asked. He gave a few gentle strokes, just to give me measure, then slammed once into me hard, grinding his hips against me. I pressed back, responding in kind. He began a slow retreat, then slammed against me again, harder. I groaned.

His strokes became faster, quicker, but also just a little softer. I groaned as I buried my head into the pillow, just letting the waves of pleasure roll over me.

He stopped. "Ah-ah," he said, reaching forward and grabbing a handful of my long hair. "I want you to watch this." He pulled back, like he was pulling the reins of a horse, holding my head up, arching my back, forcing me to watch in the mirror as he slid forward and back, his cock filling me.

I felt like I was on the receiving end of a piston. I shuddered and shook with pleasure, with the demands being made of me. The way he held my hair made me feel like some hard-tamed animal. His animal. "I love you," I managed to whisper as he fucked me, harder and harder, relentless even as he came, roaring. He gave me one strong finishing stroke, then stopped.

I sighed as he released my hair, falling forward onto the bed and away from him. The feeling of his cock sliding out of myself was almost heartbreaking. I turned over and said, "Thank you," rising and kneeling myself, hugging him, holding him close.

"You're welcome." He pulled me over, down onto the bed together. We cuddled and kissed, making love softly after the wild fuck he'd given me.

We were both startled by a sudden shout from upstairs. "I hope you boys change the sheets before we go to bed!"

"Have you been listening for long, Nyss?" I asked suspiciously.

"Only a little while," she shouted back. "Can I come down?"

I looked at Aaden, who looked back at me with a smile and a shrug. He said, "Come on down then."

P'nyssa floated softly to the bed, curling into a sitting position. She leaned over and hugged me, saying "Sounded like you two were going to tear the bed apart."

Aaden looked over the side of the bed, sticking his cute ass up in the air, and said, "Never noticed that before. This is a Rocchodain, isn't it?"

I nodded. Then something P'nyssa had said occurred to me and I said, "What did you mean, 'We?'"

"Well, I want to sleep with you tonight, and I don't want to break up the little get-together you two are having, so..."

"All three of us?" Aaden asked, skeptically. Although we'd been sleeping around each other for nearly four years now, we'd never actually slept together as a threesome.

"I'm not asking you to have sex with me, Aaden."

"I didn't think you were, Nyss. What I meant was, will that work?"

"Well," I said, "it is a Rocchodain. There's no reason why all three of us won't fit." Rocchodain is the name of a mostly Centaur town near the Castle. I had asked one of the woodcrafters to make a bed for me, and he'd agreed. I had forgotten to give him dimensions, so a "small" bed for him was a virtual ocean of mattress for P'nyssa and me. There was room for six here.

Aaden nodded. "I'm willing to try," he said.

"Then let's change the sheets."

"We didn't get the sheet messy," Aaden said.

"No, just each other," I laughed.

"You two, go! Shoo! Go clean up and I'll tuck in the sheets," P'nyssa said.

I laughed and crawled out of bed, grabbing Aaden's arm by the wrist and hauling him along. He came willingly.


I woke in the morning to feel one of them snuggling close to me. The long fur and hard muscles told me which one: Aaden. I opened my eyes and tilted my head to look down at him. His eyes opened and he returned the stare. We laughed for a second, which woke Nyss, who raised her head and shook it slightly. I reached for her and pulled her down, kissing her.

Aaden, much to my surprise, leaned up and kissed her gently on the forehead. What he said next amazed me even more. "Good Morning, werren."

P'nyssa looked at him for a second, nodded, then said, "Be right back," disappearing into the bathroom.

I looked over at him and said, "Is that how you plan on handling this?"

"I don't know. I tried to think of a good word for it, and that was the best I could do. I've never really had a sister. I mean, I know I had one, but we didn't get along all that well. I haven't seen her since I went to backwater."

I looked at him querulously for a second, then said, "There are worse ways."

"Worse ways for what?" P'nyssa asked.

"Nyss," I said, "Come here." She walked and sat down on the bed, pulling an oversize terrycloth robe around her and tying it. "Aaden and I have been talking. He's a Tleil who's never had children, even though his species has been around for over four hundred years. You know what that means."

She nodded. "It means he's genetic gold. I remember that that was one of the reasons you wanted Carroll and Paul to have children so badly." She saw the expression on my face and said, "Sorry."

"Yeah. Anyway..."

"I get the picture. You want children," she said, pointing to Aaden.

He nodded. "The problem lies in two things. One is that I can't perform with a fem. My turn to say 'Sorry.'"

"For what?" P'nyssa asked. "You're not insulting me by telling the truth, Aaden. I don't expect every mel on the planet to chase after me, or to even want to."

He smiled sheepishly and said, "I'm glad you think that way. I've gotten some pretty strong reactions in my time."

"Like what?" I asked. I tend to be insatiably curious.

"Oh, you know." He paused for a second, looking off out the window. "Fems coming up to me and saying, 'If you spent one night with me, you'd know better.' What do they know?"

I shrugged. "There are bigots, even on Pendor. Anyway, the other problem is more complicated."

"Right," Aaden continued. "I want children. And I want Ken involved. And," he barreled on before P'nyssa could interrupt, "I want you involved too."

"That's why you called me werren earlier."

Aaden nodded. "There is absolutely no way I want to come between you and Ken. Despite the offer you made a few years back, I don't want you to ever go. To be completely honest, Nyss, if ever there was a fem I understood well enough to be curious about, you're it. I want, I need you to be here, for our children."

"'Our children,'" P'nyssa said. "As in, all three of ours, or just you two?"

"All three. Or four."

P'nyssa nodded.

Aaden continued, "In the case of you and Rael, you were experiencing one night with a mel you were very close to. I can't think of a single femMeph I've ever been even friendly with, and now I've got to ask one for two hundred days and childbirth." He laughed. "This is more complicated than I thought." He paused. "I suppose we should have asked earlier, but do you want to be a mother again?"

P'nyssa's eyes lit up. "Me? Aaden, I'd do it in a heartbeat, especially if it'll make you two happy. Dave! Tell Jean I'm going to need some hormonal balancers and a lactatant."

I laughed. "Calm down, sweetheart. We haven't yet begun to get down the final details."

She smiled back at me and said, "Can I ask a favor, then?"

"What's that?"

"Can I have one more of my own?"

"What?" I heard myself and Aaden say in unison.

"I want another child, Ken. Is that so much to ask?"

I sat there, open mouthed. Aaden reached over and pushed my chin up, saying "He doesn't think so."

I turned my head slowly in his direction and said, "Why you... I'll tell you what I think!" and tackled him, knocking him down onto the bed. His fingers dug into my sides, tickling me, and I tried to get back, but Aaden isn't very ticklish. He had me screaming for mercy before we finally broke. P'nyssa had retreated off the bed.

I looked up and said, "He's right. It's not so much to ask."

Family Negotiations
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is copyright © June 29, 1991 Elf Mathieu Sternberg and is available under a Creative Commons License.