"Somehow, it all seems so unreal to me," I said, watching quietly as the maintenance crew slowly tore down the main tent. "We've been here so long."
"I know," P'nyssa said, her mitt on my shoulder. "Noah's all grown up now, and Sheja's just about there herself." She leaned against the table and gave me a long and careful view. "Do you think you'll be wanting children again soon?"
"I don't know. Why?"
"Oh, just wondering."
"You're starting to like having children, aren't you?"
"The last two weren't mine," she said, rubbing her belly with her free mitten. "The Han have virtually been shooting them out under automatic fire, and... Sorry."
"That's okay," I said. "Four months should be long enough for me to be over a gunshot. I've been shot before. It's not a pleasant experience, but I'm not about to give up sex because my dick got bent out of shape one night."
She laughed. "Aaden's right. You do have a one-note mind."
"A millennium of sleeping with me and you've only just noticed?" I asked, giggling. "Besides, any band will tell you that it's difficult to function without percussion."
She smiled. "Watching all these people give birth around me is starting to get to me, and... I just want one of my own again."
"We can talk to Aaden. I doubt he'll say no."
"Then you'll let me?"
"Let you? It's not like I have much choice in the matter."
"Yes, you do. I hate when you say that, Ken. It's not true. You do get a say in what I do with my body, because I choose to let you have one."
"And you could withdraw that say at any moment."
"And lose the two men I love more than life itself in the process. No, Ken," she said, shaking her head. "If you want me to hold off, I will."
I grinned. "It'll be pretty empty at home without Noah and Sheja around."
"I knew you were going to say something like that."
"But what if we get another Dommi?" I asked.
"I promise, I'll use euthemol if it gets out of hand."
"We had to use it on Dommi anyway. She was quite the teek." I smiled, remembering the angelic little face that could cast the firepower of an exploding grenade wherever she wanted just by crossing her eyes. "We were lucky her power reserves were small. Just enough to blow up something once a day or so. Are we going to be traditional?"
"Well, we've always had one of each... one boy and one girl. I was thinking maybe just having one, or maybe three? Or how about two girls?"
"We should ask Aaden if he wants another so soon. We know you won't contribute anything. Silly rules."
"Yeah, well, they're my rules," I said.
"And I say they're dumb," she shot back. "Pendor is all grown up now, Ken, and I don't think anyone will think less of Vatare' Shardik because Ken Shardik, the mel, chooses to have children of his own. Really."
"I see it differently," I replied.
"I know," she sighed. "I love you, Ken, but sometimes you can be so damned exasperating."
"My life," I replied.
"Mine, too," she said, giving my cheek a peck. "Come on. We should get ready. It'll be night fall in an hour and I want a shower before the event tonight. It should be interesting."
I smiled. "That it will be. Are you still going through with yours?"
"Of course," she replied with a smile.
"Close your eyes," Aaden said. Standing naked on the beach with him, I felt more vulnerable than I was used to. I had leather restraints on my hands and feet and a leather collar around my throat, and that was about it for personal decoration. I did as commanded, and he fit a blindfold around head, shutting out the dim light. "Now walk," Aaden said, tugging on the D-ring in the collar, hauling me along. I scrambled to keep up, trying desperately not to trip on the loose sand. He pulled me along for a good long while, until I started to hear the crackle of fire along with the light sussurus of the surf and realized we were near a bonfire. Compared to the night's breeze, it was pleasant to feel the heat coming off the burning logs even if I couldn't see them.
"I'm in a mood..." Aaden began, "to make you suffer, Ken." His palm came down solidly on one cheek of my ass, and he said "Hands in the air!"
I raised my hands over my head and heard the sounds of chain. Soon thereafter he pushed my feet apart with his and I felt a spreader bar being affixed to my ankles. Slowly he walked around me, one hand on my chest. "I love you, Ken, and I'm going to make you hurt so much tonight you're never going to forget it."
I kept my mouth shut as he walked around me slowly. "I've got a bench full of supplies here that should keep me entertained for a good long time." He came to a halt in front of me. "Kiss me."
I leaned forward, my mouth meeting his muzzle, his warm lips peeling back to expose his teeth and his tongue to mine. I shuddered softly as his claws ran down my left side, slowly biting as they got closer and closer to my ass, and suddenly he was digging in. I gasped.
"Heh," Aaden chuckled. "You'll do well tonight, Ken. Trust me." I heard a loud clunk sound to my right and wondered what it was before figuring it out. Aaden's toy trunk. "Hmm, let's start with this, shall we?" I felt something cold touch my leg.
Up until this point I'd been pretty cocky. I love when Aaden and I play like this, and I knew that, so far, I had been able to handle anything my furry lover had thrown at me without complaint. But as the tip of the cane ran along my legs I began to get nervous.
That's actually normal. It's always something of a struggle when we play to get 'in the mood.' Not because I don't want to, but because I don't know if this time I'll get 'there.' I start to fear, because my body is always redefining itself; sometimes I can take a lot, sometimes not very much at all. It's part of our play to find out where we are today.
He started to swing the cane back and forth between my thighs, very lightly. It struck with a soft thwacks each time it struck, a rapid staccato of impacts that didn't hurt very much at all. But each time the cane hit someplace it had hit moments before, the injury it caused redoubled, and my skin started to get tender and hurt.
A burning sensation, like my thighs were on fire, starting running up my body to eventually reach my brain. I started to moan softly, a keening moan that even I call 'eerie.' It's such an unusual sound-- I can only make it when I'm in pain, and nobody else I know sounds anything like it.
I started to moan louder, the pain getting more and more intense. But still, this buildup was slow and I wasn't really having any trouble dealing with it.
Then the cane went away. "That's not having enough effect on you," he mused softly. "Maybe this will!"
The cane came down across my chest! Barely missing a nipple, he slowly drew it away. The pain was so intense I barely remembered my scream afterwards. Another followed, and another. "Stand still!"
I tried, and succeeded. I had no idea where he was for a moment, until his body pressed up behind me, his groin grinding against my naked ass. "You and knives," Aaden hissed softly. "I know how you deal with them, lover." His arms slowly encircled my waist, and I felt a cold leaf press itself against my ribcage. I gasped loud. In my brain an alarm went off, and that irrational part of my brain that's completely and utterly afraid of knives starting shouting at the part of my brain that's in charge of calling safeword.
He chuckled softly as I spasmed against him. "Easy," he said, slowly turning the blade to draw it across my chest. "I'm not going to cut you," he murmured less-than-reassuringly. "Not yet, anyway. But the knife does leave nice red trails as it goes. It's so much fun to play with someone with skin."
"A...a... Aaden," I whimpered.
"Didn't say you could talk," he whispered in my ear as the knife ran slowly across my stomach. I was keenly aware of the point, the tip, as he drew it across my body, getting closer and closer to my cock and balls. It burned in my imagination like the image of a skater drawing a figure on ice. I shuddered. "Don't move," he said. "I wouldn't want to cut!... you by accident."
I nodded, shaking softly. "See," he said, "You're doing pretty well." The knife went away, and then so did he. "But you've had enough time to recover." The cane again, this time across the backs of my thighs. I screamed as it came down again and again, building in intensity with each impact, hitting my butt and my thighs. Once he hit my bicep, then against down across my ass. I started trying to dodge, twisting and turning. "Stop moving!" he barked, grabbing my chin.
I breathed hard as the pain slowly subsided. He had me; I melted under his touch, would do anything he said. And he knew he had me at that point, too.
"Now then," he said cheerfully, "We have an audience here watching you get abused, Ken. Can you guess who's here?"
"Huh?" I asked, looking up. My mouth was dry from all the panting I was doing.
"Guess who's here," Aaden teased. "Come on."
"Okay," I said, shaking my head. I could barely think at all and he wanted me to think of who he'd invite to watch me get beat up? "P'nyssa."
"That's one. And that was the easy one. Oh, if you're wrong, I'll hit you on the chest with the cane as hard as I can."
"Kathy." I waited. Nothing. That meant the next one had to be "Trianna." Again nothing.
"That's three," Aaden said.
"Dao," I said. "Tonni."
"Four and five," Aaden said. "You might actually get out of this intact."
I tried to think, my brain roiling. Who else could there be? "Beth?"
"Very good," Aaden said. Nothing happened. Silence for a moment. Then the cane came down across my chest. I screamed.
"You missed one," Aaden chided.
"Who?" I asked.
"It's up to you to guess." I closed my eyes and thought. Who could be here? Who else? "Amanda?"
"Wrong!" Aaden said. The cane rose and fell three times. The chains rattled; my legs hurt as I squirmed in pain. "Try again!"
I shook my head. "I... I can't think of anyone."
"Want to introduce yourself?" Aaden said to someone standing in front of me.
The voice stunned me. "Lindsay?"
Aaden yanked my hair, pulling my head back roughly. "You missed it, dear. You need to take five for that."
I closed my eyes and waited. The cane fell roughly, striking my chest, crossing my nipples. I moaned as they fell, screaming at the last one.
"You took those pretty well," Aaden said.
"How the fuck was I supposed to guess you'd invite Lindsay, of all people?"
Dead quiet. And then he punched me right in my solar plexus.
Pain burst through me; I was sure I was going to be nauseous. All I managed as protest was a sickly gurgle, and my breathing refused to kick on as seconds ticked by. Finally, I managed a gasp. I started to shake, and I know the symptoms of shock better than most people. Aaden grabbed my hair and held me up. "Stay with me," he whispered softly. "Come on, Ken, stay here. Stay with me, love."
I nodded, and the shock slowly receded. I felt his hands run along the insides of my arms. "Skins's a little too tight here," he mused. "I'm going to let you go," he said, reaching up. I heard the click of the clasp as he let first my right, then my left hand free. "Grab the chains at about shoulder height, love."
I did as I was told, feeling stronger all the time. "Guess what we're gonna do now?" I didn't answer. "We're going to play with clothespins!" I whimpered softly. "You're going to love this, Ken."
He ran his hand slowly along my right arm, and fixed one clothespin to my arm right along the bicep. Then another. And another. I closed my eyes and started breathing harder, taking deep, controlled breaths in the hopes of maintaining a balance. "That's it," Aaden said softly. "Keep tight." He stopped after he had six under that side. "Okay, you in the audience. How many clothespins do you think are in this bag?"
"What do we get if we guess right?" Kathy shouted back. I trained her far, far too well.
After a moment's thought, Aaden said "The person closest to the right number without going over gets to take them all off!" Everybody guessed a different number, going down the line; the lowest guess, Lindsay's, was around forty, the highest, P'nyssa's, was over a hundred. Thanks, sweetheart. Wish for my demise.
Aaden chuckled as he slowly began applying more to my other arm. "That's twelve," he said, batting at them playfully and making them wobble. "Doing good."
I moaned. I could barely think coherently, the pain searing like hot wires. Every pin was a point of suffering. Three more went across each nipple, and then he began applying them to a row along my lower ribcage, four on a side. More attached to the loose skin over my forward hips, and then he began attaching them to my balls. I moaned and squirmed as he attached two to my perineum, and then started down the top of my cock, finally attaching two to each side of the corona. I was breathing hard, and my mind was totally blank. Not a single straight thought occurred; I was nothing but a suffering mass of pain, and I loved the mel who was doing it to me.
He chuckled softly. "Trianna, you guessed seventy, and there are seventy-two. So you get to take them off."
I heard her pad softly over the sand to us, and Aaden stepped back. She asked Aaden something I didn't hear, and then her fingers reached up and pulled off the blindfold. Suddenly free, I blinked, looking into her face. "Hi," I gasped.
"Hello, Father," she whispered, slowly brushing her fingers over the clips on my chest. My shoulders knotted in pain. "No..."
"Where shall I start?" she asked. Her hands reached down and grabbed my cock. "The first man I ever had inside me. It's a shame to watch you suffer like this." She opened the two on the head of my cock and pulled them off. The pain and the relief were both immense. She started systematically taking them off my penis and testicles, and as sensation flooded back into each little pinch I moaned and whimpered. The shaking returned, this time in my arms as well. I felt control slipping away again. She stood up and looked me in the face as her hands brushed the ones on my hips, slowly removing one. "Are you going to make it?" she whispered.
"If I... If I fall... to my knees..." My voice wasn't more than a whisper, but I had to tell her. I had to let her know. "Tria... if I'm still conscious... don't stop!"
The trembling in my arms grew worse; my right hand slipped on the chains, and I reacted reflexively, wrapping the chain around my wrist. Not that it would have helped; I was so sweaty the chain would slip right through my grip the second I truly lost it. Slowly she pulled off the last one, stepping back and announcing "That's it."
"Good," Aaden said, grinning. He stood up in front of me and pulled on the D-ring, pulling me to my knees the rough way. Not that my knees were going to hold me up much longer anyway. "You're so brave," he said. "It's amazing how easy it is to make you cry." He held the knife in front of my eyes again. Twelve centimeters of cold blade, the handle was just a continuation of the steel that made up the knife, carved to fit a hand. Holes had been punched through the steel to make it lighter to hold. It was double- bladed; there was no safe side. Slowly he placed it against my cheek, and I did start crying, shaking.
"Please..." I begged.
He ignored me, slowly holding the blade against my cheek and sliding down over my jaw and down my throat. I stared up into his eyes the whole time, whimpering softly as he threatened a nipple with it, then slowly slid down to my crotch. "I could just... cut it off, right here," he said.
"Ah-ah," he said, slowly circling my cock with his knife, then bringing it back up to my throat. He placed the tip right under my right ear. "You know, that throat armor isn't everything. Why, someone who knew what they were doing could slip right under it." He slowly traced the line where the armor ended and my collarbones started; my heart went into rapid palpitations, as did my breathing. I knew I had to bring myself under control, but I couldn't. I just couldn't. That knife, my crying, it was all crumbling away as the knife traversed my throat and came to a stop under my left ear. He pressed just a little harder, and I felt a sudden soft tearing; he was pushing it into me, and I felt for sure I was going to die.
Then the knife vanished, and Aaden's hand slid under my chin, a finger touching where the knife had been a second ago. He raised that finger to my lips. "Suck," he ordered. I pulled his finger into my mouth with both hands and tasted the tiny drop of blood he had collected there with a reverence and a worship I hadn't felt in a long time. Then he pulled his hand away.
"Look up at me," he ordered. I did as I was told. "Your turn to thank me."
I looked up at him. Somewhere in my brain, I found the strength to form the words. "Thank you."
"I love you," he said softly as he dropped to his knees in front of me.
I almost literally fell forward into his arms, wrapping mine around his. "I love you, too, Aaden. Oh, gods, I love you."
We sat there on the sands, holding each other, as the small crowd slowly gathered around us, applauding gently. Aaden and I looked around, and I suddenly reached out and pulled P'nyssa into the hug with us. Aaden didn't object. "Thank you both. Thank you so much," I gasped.
"What are friends for?" Aaden said, chuckling. "You looked like you were ready to lose it a few times during that."
"I think I was. I'm not sure why, but for some reason it was really hard to keep going."
"I was sure you were going to call safeword, oh, six times."
"You surprised me," he admitted. "Even though we haven't played that hard in a while, you came up to it pretty quickly."
"I do pretty well by water," I said. "I think it's being able to hear the surf and the fire." I looked out over the beach, where tonight was just one of many important and loving nights I had spent here. I was glad tonight was the last night on Battia, but I was sad to leave it. And I never did go surfing with Kumy; I still owed her that.
"How about when I punched you?"
"That really surprised me. But it was like a lot of other things; just more to take."
"You should have seen the look on your face," P'nyssa said. "You were stunned."
"In more ways than one," I admitted.
"Here," Aaden said, handing me a bottle with a wide-mouth top. "Drink this. You look like you need it."
I thanked him and proceeded to force most of the cool liquid down my throat and into my stomach. It tasted wonderful. It was just water with some sugar, salt, and flavoring in it, but in my endorphined state it was simply wonderful, affirming that I was still alive.
I looked at the crowd who sat around us. "So, Lindsay, what did you think?"
"You like that?" She sounded somewhat stunned herself, as if still processing that I was the same mel she'd slept with.
"Uhm, it's not something you say you 'like' the way you like pleasure. It's... it's a challenge, it's an animal thing about being alive, being sentient. The fact that Aaden does it lets me take it in knowing I'm completely safe. He cares for me." I reached up and put my arm on his shoulder.
"I love you," Aaden said, tossing me a smile.
"That's... I don't know." Lindsay looked confused.
"Well, you're going to stay for the second part, aren't you?"
Lindsay gulped, looking around. "There's a second part?"
"For some of us, yes," Katherine smiled.
Aaden grabbed my hair and pulled me down to the sand "And we're going start on Ken!"
My heart started up again, but this time I was ready. I knew what was coming, and I had had enough time to recover.
Trianna brought forward a heavy wooden box, held shut with brass fittings and lock. Kathy produced a key and placed it in the lock. P'nyssa laid a large blanket of dark-blue wool on the sand and Trianna set the box onto the blanket. A large paw covered my eyes; Dao's, I surmised from the smell.
"On Pendor," Aaden began, "We have this belief that we call mind-body integrity. For centuries, certain religious beliefs and certain scientists have maintained that what goes on in our heads... what we call the 'soul'... could be moved somewhere else without the body." He crossed my arms on my chest and began winding two-centimeter thick cord around my wrists.
"Which is all bullshit," Aaden continued. "Both Christians and honest spiritualists know that. The silver cord and the resurrection existed in their mythologies because they knew that what goes on in their minds has a lot to do with their brains, as well as everything else in their bodies." I felt his hands on my legs, by my ankles. He clicked the spring catch on the spreader bar and pushed my legs further open.
"It's true that the mind is not some ghost in the machine of the brain, easily moved from one place to the other. But it's also true that you can't, by any means at all, read what the 'brain' is and automatically assume you have a model of a mind you can move from one place to another." I felt something cold between the cheeks of my ass as Aaden slowly slid a gloved and lubed finger past my sphincter and into my rectum. "Watch this. He'll get hard almost instantly."
I felt my erection swelling as the blunt end of his finger slowly tickled my prostate gland. It hurt, but it also felt wonderful. "There's more to us than just the two kilos upstairs. Part of what we are is built by how we react to our environment. Change the environment in any radical way and you change the reactions. You change what the person is. Tape."
I felt a cold strip of body tape get laid across the head of my cock. "P'nyssa, you'll have to do the prep. As I was saying-- If this weren't my body, all this fur and muscle and bushy tail and big dick and strong scent, I'd be a different person. I don't want to be a different person. It's the ultimate application of being proud of yourself." I felt a coldness on my erection, somewhere near the base, right above my scrotum, and smelled alcohol. Then I heard an odd clicking sound. "Okay, a little pinch, Ken." I felt a cold clamp, not unlike the clothespin earlier, around the same spot.
I heard Lindsay ask, "What's the flashlight for?"
P'nyssa answered, "To make sure I don't have a vein in the clamped area. See? Okay, Aaden, he's ready."
Aaden's finger slipped out of my asshole easily, and I heard the snap of a glove being pulled off. My erection started to subside almost immediately, so Aaden stripped the tape off my cock, but that hardly mattered. He had the two spots he wanted. "Okay, Ken, take a deep breath through your mouth and then exhale slowly through your nose. Ready?" I nodded. Dao's hand still covered my eyes, and I felt P'nyssa's mitt on mine. I grabbed it and held her tight as I started to exhale. There was a sudden pinch, and a soft scream escaped my clenched teeth, my bottom lip between them, as I felt the needle push through two layers of skin... of my penis. I gasped, taking a deep breath because I needed one.
"How do you feel?" P'nyssa asked, smiling down at me as Dao took his hand away.
"Endorphins," I joked, looking up at her, "are my friend."
She laughed. "I love you."
I mouthed the words back to her as I felt Aaden manipulating my now completely soft cock. "Okay, now this is going to hurt with the alcohol all over this barbell." Actually, he lied; I didn't feel a thing. The endorphins must really have hit for that to happen. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized how little that had really hurt. It had been more the shock, the realization that I was allowing someone to, in all honesty, mutilate my manhood, that had made me scream.
"Okay," Aaden said. "Take a look." I sat up slowly, Dao putting his hands under my shoulders and lifting me up as Aaden untied my wrists. I looked down and saw the barbell, only two millimeters thick but that was thick enough for me. The bar itself was just long enough to fit through the wound channel; all I could see were the two small beads affixed at each end. I was surprised; there was no blood.
I lunged for Aaden, taking him in my arms and holding him. "Thank you so much for everything!"
He grabbed me in response and held me tight. "You're welcome!" he laughed. "But we still have more to do!"
I nodded, sitting back up. "Yuch. We've got sand in everything."
"Well, go stand by the fire and towel off. We're keeping this area as clean as possible. Dao, go with him and make sure he doesn't fall in."
"I won't fall in!" I smiled.
"You're still stoned out of your mind," Aaden pointed out. "Dao?"
"I'll watch him," the very sexy Ssphynx replied. "He'll be okay."
Aaden nodded as I stood up and, sure enough, he was right. I was still pretty woozy. "Thanks for comin' along, Dao," I said slowly as I walked downwind of the blanket instead of towards the fire and brushed off the sand.
"No problem," he smiled.
"What did you think?"
"It was interesting. I know it's nothing I ever want to try, but I can understand now what Tonni's after."
"Are you afraid of losing him?"
"I don't know," he replied, his tail dropping. "I keep going back and forth. Right now, I don't think so. I just think I'm going to have to learn to deal with this thing in him that I don't understand yet."
"On the other hand, your sudden interest in females must be something he's finding confusing, too."
He nodded. "I think we'll work it out."
"Keep me posted, would you?" I asked. "I'm interested in how my friends are doing."
He nodded. "I will." We walked back.
"Your turn, Aaden," I snarled softly as we walked back into the light.
"Wha?" he asked as Tonni grabbed his arms and pinned them behind his back.
"Hold him just like that, Tonni." I knelt down in front of him and smiled. "You said you wanted them back, Aaden. And I'm going to give them to you."
His face dropped slightly as I spoke. "Ken..."
"Shh..." I said. "This will barely hurt a bit, and you know it."
He nodded, gulping softly. I rummaged into the wooden box which Lance had assembled from our collective requests and found five small surgical clamps. With careful deliberation, I reached up to Aaden's left ear and ran my finger along the almost hairless outside edge. I measured the distances I wanted from the bottom with a short ruler, and one by one fitted the clamps into place. Then I washed the region carefully with alcohol and, like P'nyssa had done with me, checked through the open hole in each clamp to make sure I didn't have a vein or artery dead center.
"Five rings, Aaden. Two and half millimeters thick, going down from thirty seven to twenty five mils in three-mil increments. From the bottom up. Ready?"
He nodded slowly. "Dao, hold his head."
"I don't need that."
"But I want you to have it," I said. "I think that you should."
"Okay," he said, taking a deep breath.
"Come on, Aaden. Compared to what's going to happen to Trianna, this is nothing." I found the first needle, lubricated it with antibiotic-laced petroleum jelly, and aimed it from the front through the bottom clamp. "Okay, deep breath." He inhaled. "Now release." As he breathed out, the needle slid through his ear easily. "Another one."
Aaden took all five bravely. He didn't even make a noise as the needles slid in. "Okay, lover," I said, looking at his ear. "We've got five needles through your ear, now we need to put in the jewelry." I found the largest of the five rings, and fitted it behind the opening in the lowest piercing needle. I slid it through easily and the jewelry followed. Within two minutes all five were done. I slid the surgical clamps down and around the jewelry and then fitted the clasps into place. Aaden shook his head and they tinkled softly. "I can't even hear these!" he said. "They're perfect!"
"They sound loud enough to me," I said. Inside each ring tiny computers powered by thermocouples and controlling microvibrators calculated the sounds made by the rings and followed the movements of Aaden's ear, issuing cancellation waves for the tinkling of the rings. Aaden had removed his first set several centuries ago complaining that the noise they made when he moved had been too loud. I held up a mirror, not so he could see them, but so the sound would reflect off and he could hear them, and said, "Shake."
He shook his head playfully. "Now that I can hear." He grinned up at me, his eyes as wide as a child's with new toys. "They're perfect. Thank you, Ken."
"Hey, don't thank me. I asked Lance if there was anyone here qualified to find a solution to the problem. Sure enough, he found a few folks willing to look into it."
"They're perfect." He smiled and looked around.
"I recognize that look," I said, smiling. "It's your turn. You're stoned. Dao, walk it off with him, would you?"
"Sure thing," Dao said, taking Aaden by the arm and leading him around the bonfire. I sat down on the beach towel and said "You're next, P'nyssa."
She grinned. "I know."
"Ready?" I asked.
"Everybody gets their ears pierced once in their life. I mean, one hole. It's just an ear."
"It's not just an ear," I growled softly. "Why do you say that? It's an ear, yeah, but it's your ear. And I think you and Aaden are a lot braver than I am."
"That's ridiculous! You had your dick pierced!"
"But who's going to see it?" I asked. "I mean, be honest. Unless you start wearing hoods and a veil, Nyss, everybody in the world is going to be able to see that you let someone mutilate you. Me, only my lovers get to see that."
"Do you always have to word it like that?"
"Isn't that what it is? It's mutilation, an alteration of the integrity of the body." I looked over at Lindsay. "That's what Aaden was talking about earlier. On Pendor we have a real respect for the... for the shape of our bodies. Even in this age where a one-time shape change is simple and becoming a shape-changer isn't all that difficult after all, we are very loathe to change how we look. Fashion... how we wear our clothes, our hair, our fur, even those are complicated issues about appearance, self-image and narcissism. To make a shape change is to become a whole different person, a whole different kind of person. And we start to worry... If you want to change, does that mean you hate who you are, or are you bored with who you are?"
I opened up the wooden box and took out the needle and the 2.0mm thick hoop, about four centimeters in diameter, that would hang against P'nyssa's right ear. "I'll wait until Aaden gets back. But that's why I can't stand when people say 'It's just an ear.' For some people it is just an ear. But depending on your commitment, it's something you'll have to care for every morning and every night possibly for the rest of your life."
P'nyssa looked embarrassed. "I didn't mean it that way."
"Well, yes you did. Piercing isn't something that happens instantly. It takes forever. And the appearance of that mutilation, that adornment, changes you. It changes how other people react to you. Especially when it's something visible and public like an ear. Piercing your ear, your muzzle, anything like that... is a minor shapechange. And it's more shocking than most, because it's a visible mutilation to a standard form; it's visibly not organic, not natural. It's just not to be taken lightly."
P'nyssa nodded, smiling abashedly. "How's the ring?"
"Hurts a little," I admitted. "A dull throbbing pain, but that'll go away eventually."
"I'm back," Aaden said, stepping up on us. "I see the lovely lady is ready."
"I am indeed," P'nyssa said politely. "Which of you two ham- hands is going to do it?"
"With an attitude like that, I could go find some kind Uncia to do it," Aaden growled. "With his teeth."
I chuckled. "You do it, Aaden. I've been involved in the last two."
"So have I!" he replied. "In case your brain was on hold, Ken, we just did each other."
"So we did, so we did," I admitted. "Okay, you're right. I still want you to do it, Aaden. I'll get behind her and hold her up."
"Fine with me. You do Tria."
"No problem there," I said, scooting around behind my beloved coimelin and wrapping my arms around her. "Ready?" I said.
"Yes," she replied simply.
Aaden washed the top of her ear carefully with a compressed cotton ball and alcohol. "I'm going to do this one by hand, Nyss. This part of your ear is a little too complicated for me to get a standard clamp on, so I'm just going to mark it with the pen and go from there. Ready?"
"Uh-huh," she affirmed.
"Okay. I'm going to move the ring down your ear. Tell me to stop when it's where you want it."
"Stop!" she said after his hand had moved just a few centimeters. The fact that he moved so far reminded me of just how large P'nyssa's ears are; they're each almost as long as my hand and just a little narrower. "Right there."
"Okay," he said, taking a fresh surgical pen and marking the spot. "Close your eyes and get ready. On the count of three, Nyss. One." He drove the needle through her ear just after that.
She gasped, then looked up, smiling. "You bastard."
"It's true," he said, smiling back. "My mother was a tank, my father was a laser. So was yours. Now hold still. I still have to put the jewelry in." A second later the ring shook free along the back of her ear. "How do you like it?"
"Feels weird," she admitted. "I'll get used to it eventually."
"Does it hurt?" Lindsay asked.
"Not really. It might a little later. We'll all hop in the showers and clean off when we get home."
I looked around the fire at people who were lounging or talking. "Kathy!" I shouted. "Guess who's next?"
Kathy smiled softly and led Trianna over to the blanket. She settled down onto her Ssphynx belly, her legs outstretched in front of her. I knelt down on my knees before her. "You're last, Trianna," I said. "Are you ready?"
"Trianna, I'm going to be your piercer. Now, Kathy knows that she could get this done in a million places, but I did her and I'm going to do you as well, because she has asked me to. She knows that I could, if I wanted to, say no, and if I said no she might not get it done somewhere else." I took a deep breath. "This is a big decision for you, and you're only forty-two. Tell me clearly, who asked for this? You, or your Daddy?"
Trianna looked straight into my eyes. "Please, Ken. I did."
"You're sure." It wasn't a question.
"Yes," she replied, adding one short, simple nod.
"I even tried to talk her out of it," Kathy said. "I think it's a little extreme."
"They're going to be beautiful," I said, looking up at Kathy. "If they're what she wants to feel beautiful." Trianna nodded slowly. "Okay, Tria, look into my eyes again." I rested my hands on her shoulders and tried to find the words to express my feelings. My heart actually hurt a little to think of what we were about to do. "You've been one of the best friends I've had on this trip, and I have to thank you for more than a few idyllic afternoons together. And while we've made love and I've helped your Daddy along, I've never hurt you. I'm going to inflict pain on you tonight. Are you ready to love me like the friends we are afterwards?"
She looked hesitant at first, then nodded. "I think so."
"I can't know. You know that, Ken. Any more than Daddy Kathy knows."
I nodded. "Trianna, one of your strengths is that you know the truth about yourself, and you always have. I love you for that. I think it's incredible how ready you are to be honest with yourself. Okay." I shivered to look at the 2.5 mm silver hoops I was going to be putting through her nipples in a few minutes. They sat in a small velvet-lined wooden box inside the bigger box, and I took them out and laid them aside. "Trianna, do you want to be restrained?"
"Yes," she said after a moment's reflection.
"Got it," he said, tying her hands behind her back with the rope he had used on me, then taking two lengths free and tying them under her rearlegs.
Her back was arched slightly. "Stay up, Trianna."
"I've got that, too," Aaden said, standing up behind her back and leaning forward, providing something for her to press against. "Okay," I said. "First the left one." I took a small brush and scissors and slowly clipped away at the fur surrounding her left nipple, and then I did the same with the right. Trianna has small, soft breasts, but she has very large nipples atop average aureoles, and when I tweak them to hardness they're easily something I could get a clamp on and aim properly.
With an ice cube I teased them into solidity, and with a pair of short-handled forceps placed the ring clamps onto each one, providing for perfect aim. "A little like clothespins, right?"
She nodded. "Okay, Trianna. I'm not going to blindfold you. I want you to watch what happens." She nodded again. I picked up a long 2.5mm needle, lubricated it with a vegetable grease, and placed it against her nipple, right at the circle defined by the clamp. "Deep breath, and exhale through your nostrils."
She did as she was told, and as the needle slid through she screamed. I didn't wince at all, but grabbed the first ring and slid it through while Aaden grabbed her shoulders and kept her from squirming too much. "Okay, Trianna, that's one."
She whimpered. I looked up into her eyes. "You asked for both. And I'm going to do both."
I stroked the side of her muzzle softly. "It's okay. It's what you wanted, remember? Want it now. It'll all be over in less than a second from when it starts. You can't even feel the other one like you did when I pierced you. Pain is gone, you can't remember what pain feels like. You know that," I coaxed her, trying to soothe her fear.
She nodded. "All right. Do the other one."
Carefully, I aimed the second needle. "Same thing. Inhale..." She held her breath for a moment, and then let it loose. The needle slid through the base of her nipple, and the only sound she made this time was a soft "rrph!" as the ring followed. I found the two tubes that screwed into the bases of the rings and closed them. Aaden took out his knife and cut her bonds free, and she immediately reached forward to touch her nipples.
"How are they?" I asked.
"I don't know," she said. I smiled up at Kathy. "They're so beautiful, just what I wanted. But they hurt. Will that go away?"
"Eventually," I said. "Mine hurts right now, too. I bet even Aaden and P'nyssa are feeling a little strange right now."
"Actually, mine itches," P'nyssa said.
"That's not unusual," I pointed out.
"Thank you, Ken," Kathy said as Dao and Lindsay took the now- dorphed Trianna for a walk.
I pulled her down into a soft snuggle. "Hey, anything for my first slave. You know it was you who taught me how to top."
"Rings, we were both so incompetent back then."
"Being a good bottom does not mean you automatically know how to top," I said. "It just means you've got an empathy for your bottom. But knowing how to whip, cane, punish... hell, just knowing how to call up your sadist... those take a little while."
She nodded. I reached out unconsciously and pulled at Aaden. He crawled over and I gave him a soft kiss. He returned it gently, his rings tinkling softly. I giggled.
"We should take showers before we go to bed," P'nyssa said. "I know the stalls are still up. I can't believe this our last night groundside."
"I can," Aaden said. "We're taking three seeds with us, and the next mission ship will be here in five years to pick up more. Since Battia doesn't have to concentrate on launch mechanisms anymore she can make them much quicker. Also, I get the feeling this sector of space isn't going to be all that bereft of our inhabitation until then."
"You got that right. Guess who're already on their way here?"
"No need for guesswork," Aaden said. "The Shigokais."
"You got it. The whole family and a crew of nearly two thousand, just like ours. They're going to dig up New Haven."
"That what I liked about them. They never do anything halfway."
I laughed. "That's because you're Alanailen, Aaden. They teach you to be excessive."
He tossed me a towel. "Are we going to go get clean, or what?"
"At the rate he's going, it's 'or what,'" P'nyssa said. "I'm ready."
"I'm comin', I'm comin'" I said, following them out onto the grassy field. Many of the tents had already been picked up, but we had felt like sticking it out to the very end. Not sure why, really. Maybe it's inertia; we just don't like moving much. Or maybe we really have become attached to this land, which has killed one of us and tried to kill others.
Aaden held the quaint spring-loaded door to the showers open and we stepped into the plastic-laid circle. Around us the shower stalls were all empty. "Pick one," Aaden said, gesturing. I did, stepping in with my new bottle of bactericidal soap among my washing things. Being fond of both very hot water and of long showers, I quickly had the place steamed up. Aaden and P'nyssa did the same. I hissed softly as the soap found its way into the wound channel of my new piercing, but already it didn't hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would. In fact, the pain was almost nice, by my usual s/m standards, and I started playing with myself, stroking my cock gently. With enough soap to slick my hands the barbell barely hurt at all. I leaned back against the wall and began masturbating, watching myself with each stroke. My cock was fully hard, the head bright purple and flared as much as possible.
Then I heard P'nyssa chuckle. Looking up, she was blocking the door to my already miniscule shower stall. "Uh... Hi."
"I don't believe you," she said. "You're masturbating again?"
"I'm in the mood. Can you blame me?"
She shook her head. "I guess not." She stepped into the shower and leaned up against me, her beautiful breasts pressing against my chest as she kissed me. With a muffled "mrph!" I kissed her back. "I love you," she said. "Thank you for everything."
"Hey, thank you. I don't think I would've gone through with it if you hadn't been there to hold my hand."
She smiled as I hugged her. Her mittens crept down my back and she began stroking my ass, pressing between my cheeks and running the edge of her soft mitten against my asshole. "Nyss," I sighed as I returned the favor. "I want you."
"Then... " she grinned. "You want to do something completely obscene?"
"Like what?" I said, eyeing her suspiciously.
"Everyone is asleep after the big public party except us. The steam is making this place warm. If we asked Aaden to be a lookout, you could fuck me from behind on the showerroom floor."
The mischievous look in her eyes was undeniably lustful as well, and I laughed. "Hey, Aaden!" I shouted.
"How close are you to being done?"
"If one of you would come over and help me with my ear, I'll be done in a few minutes. Why?"
"P'nyssa and I would like to ask you for a favor," I said as I stepped out and walked over to his stall. "Okay, lean over. And be careful, this stuff is really harsh on eardrums sometimes." I washed each ring carefully, making sure to get the soap completely through the relatively shallow wounds. Eventually, he was done.
"Okay, so what do you two want?"
We explained, and he laughed when we were done. Pulling on a heavy terrycloth bathrobe, he said "Sure, I'll be lookout." Then he stopped. "Isn't that going to hurt your piercing?"
"No pain, no gain," I laughed. "Besides, I want to."
"Pervert," he complimented me. "Have fun."
"Thank you," P'nyssa said, taking me by the hand and leading me to the center of the showerroom. I pulled her close and kissed her, pressing my hands against her soft ass. Her mittens found my balls and tugged on them, and I gave a little "Eeep!" of pain. "Don't. That hurts."
"But playing with this doesn't?" she asked as she wrapped her mitt around my cock instead and began masturbating me slowly, pouring on some of the liquid soap we all used in the process.
"No..." I sighed, placing a hand on her shoulder to stay standing. "I'm probably going to pay for this in the morning," I said, "But I'd really like to fuck you right now, lover."
She grinned. "You're always so randy, Ken."
"It's what I am," I said, slipping out of her grasp and dropping to my knees with a k-thud against the floor. I pulled her close and pressed my lips to her cunt, flicking my tongue between her labia, teasing at her clit. She moaned softly. "Careful," she sighed. "That's so good." She slowly came down to the floor with me and laid down, throwing her bathrobe down underneath her. I crawled between her legs and began licking her cunt like a desert-dweller at a watering hole. It had been almost two weeks since I had slept with her and it told in how her scent sparked memories in my mind and sent me reeling with lust and desire for her. I dug in with my tongue, playing with her outer labia and then with her inner lips as well. She moaned and cooed as she grew wetter and wetter.
"Turn over," I ordered, and she did. I reached down and pulled her up onto her knees, spreading them apart with mine. I aimed my cock for her cunt and with one easy thrust, facilitated by saliva, juices and soap, I had my hips pressed against her buttocks. I could feel the jewelry just barely pressing against her hole. I smiled.
Withdrawing just enough, I slid back into her, and she moaned at the feelings. "Right there," she sighed. "That's nice."
"Thanks," I said as I grabbed her hips and pulled us together again. With slow, methodical thrusts we began to set a rhythm on the steam-filled floor.
I looked up to find Aaden doing a poor job of look out when he was busy looking in and watching us. I laughed and began stroking her harder, fucking my coimelin of the past millennium or so as I had so many thousands, hundreds of thousand of times before. I could feel her mitten pressing against her clitoris as she rubbed herself. "Does it hurt?" she gasped.
"No. It doesn't quite go in in this position."
"Good position then," she gasped. "Slow down a little."
I did as I was asked, looking down to watch my hard cock slowly sliding into and then withdrawing from her swollen cunny. I ran my open palms against her blue-furred buttocks, reveling in the soft tickling sensations against my hands during a slow insertion, and as I pulled out the sensation of her cunt pulling on the flared corona of my cock sent wonderful shivers up my spine.
The expression on what I could see of her face was concentrated. "Faster, now," she said. "Oh, faster!" I began fucking her as she asked, stroking her cunt. My hips met hers with every thrust, and she moaned as she came, her whole body shaking.
I kept going, feeling the fatigue of our scene at the beach and the socializing and dancing afterwards burning in my thighs. I hadn't done much of either when he had returned home, but I couldn't tear myself away from the Terran friends I had made over the past years and had forced myself to stay among them.
Now I paid for it. My cock, my body craved release, but it also wanted relief from this final exertion. Exhaustion and orgasm warred for supremacy, but I knew which was going to be the winner. Even when I'm nearly dead I can still find the strength to make love, and I could feel that strength coming now as I got closer and closer to my climax.
"Come for me, Ken... it's starting to burn."
"I'm right there... right there... YES!" I shouted as I came, slamming my hips up against her one last time.
I slowly pulled myself into an erect posture before keeling over onto the floor. "You okay?" she asked.
"I should ask that of you. Why was it burning?"
"I think it was the soap. It does that sometimes when I'm close to my period, you know."
"Oh, right," I said. I should have remembered that.
"Go rinse off," Aaden said, his muzzle opening wide with a yawn. "We still have to get up and pack tomorrow."
"I know," I said, yawning back at him. "That's catching, you know." I helped P'nyssa to her feet and led her into the shower. With a free showerhead I rinsed us both off quickly. "I'm ready for bed," I said.
"So am I," she admitted. "Come on, let's go."
We grabbed the big Mephit on the way out. Aaden made one last check of Sheja's room and she was there, sleeping, before he joined P'nyssa and I. I was so tired, I barely noticed.