She probably wouldn't stop bouncing like that until she reached her thirtieth birthday. Not for the first time I wondered where kids her age get so much energy. There are some mysteries even I don't comprehend. "Five," I said. "Four..." When I reached "One," the stars stopped sliding by and suddenly we were looking down on the most beautiful sight in all of space as far as I'm concerned-- down onto the blue and green ribbon that is Pendor.
"Hello, Parma. This is Starcruiser AG-36-R out of llerkin, requesting permission to dock."
"Permission granted, Starcruiser AG-36-R. It's wonderful to have you back, sir."
"Good to be home, lieutenant," I agreed. "Where am I parking?"
"Shuttlebay F-54." I pulled up a display and saw where she was pointing. It was far away from the usual traffic. A greenish overlay coverd the section with the legend 'under repair.' "Thank you very much."
"You're welcome, sir. I figured you'd prefer that to a public landing."
"I'm grateful. What's you name?"
"T. Patrinan Thesa," the voice said.
"Thank you, Patrinan." I closed the connection and looked at my flight path. She had given me a very standard flight path, taking me out of the current docking rotation at the usual spot where people entered into traffic, making it easy for me to sneak around to the underside of the station and dock.
Twenty minutes passed before I brought us into contact with the docking arm. It grabbed the ship and pulled us towards the conical safety door. A moment later the door opened up onto an abandoned hall. Abandoned but for a tall, gruff-looking Uncia leaning against the wall opposite the airlock. He had a big grin on his face and a few scars marring his white fur. He wore little more than a kilt accompanied by a single strap that started at one hip, crossed his chest and disappeared over the opposite shoulder. I should know the name for that article of clothing. (Dave informs me as I record this that it's called a 'baldric.')
"Shardik?" he growled as I examined him.
"You're not... Uncle K'Nash, by any chance?"
He smiled. "Ah, I am."
"Nash!" Tylia's voice exclaimed as a little black bundle hustled past me into the waiting arms of the ferocious-looking snow leopard. She kissed him on the cheek. "It's good to see you!"
"And to see you, dirty snowflake." I thought that a strange pet name, but let it pass. "Were you well cared for?"
"Nash, Ken is going to let me study on Alpha!"
"Is he now?" K'Nash sounded dubious.
"We haven't made any agreements yet," I said hurriedly, still bewildered by the extended family before me. "I'm going to talk to her parents in the next couple of days. But if all goes well, she'll be taking tutorials and an introductory apprenticeship at Alpha starting in the next two weeks or so."
K'Nash looked surprised. "I always knew she would sneak into someplace and cause trouble. But the heart of Pendor itself..." He chuckled, shaking his head. "She is amazing. You'll have your hands full!"
"I bet. Now, if you'll excuse me. I have to head home. Tylia's bags are in the back. She knows how to take care of them. A crew will be by shortly to turn the ship around."
"Of course," K'Nash bowed. "Please."
"I'll be in touch!" Tylia cried as I departed.
"We both will," K'Nash advised.
"I'll remember." I grabbed my flight bag and headed for the Sdisks. Down the hallway, three waited off to one side, although at the current time none of them were being used.
I felt... reluctant to get onto the SDisk. It would take me home, and I had no idea what "home" would be like once I got there. I felt... anxious. Nervous. Scared.
I took a step.
Everything was the same. The walls were the same color, the hallway the same shape. I had been here so long and so many times over the centuries that the place in which I stood possessed me. I believe in magic, sometimes, and this place had it. It tore at me, greeted me, infused me, hurt me with power I hadn't felt in ages. Shardik Castle. When I thought the name, it rang, sang, and screamed its welcome to me.
I fought down the tears that had been missing from my eyes for nearly a decade, the tears of home. I could feel them welling up into my eyes and finally I let them go, crying hard as I collapsed against the wall. I couldn't believe how powerfully this place affected me now, how much it meant to me, how much I had missed it. I let the tears rip through me and caress me inside as I cried with... I don't know. I was neither happy nor sad, just... glad to be home.
"Ken?" Dave asked. "Are you going to be okay?"
"Huh? Yeah... Yeah, I think so." The words came through sobs that said the opposite, but truthfully, I knew I should be fine. I slowly pushed myself to my feet and wiped my tears off on my sleeve, walking unsteadily down the hallway. I left my flight bag behind me as I walked... home. A right, a walk down a hallway, a left, a door.
Even the room looked the same. I imagine that the plastic coverings had been removed in the past four days, but the furniture itself was all still in the same place, still taking up the same corners of the room. The photo of Donna and Carroll still held its place of honor in the kitchen, as did the Kaluta painting of Shalla on the wall by the door. The sliding glass door to the balcony lay open and a pitcher of iced tea, half-full with the ice almost completely melted already, told me that someone was hard at work.
Something didn't fit right, though. Something I couldn't discern just standing there. It took me a few minutes to place it. Something smelled wrong. Not just out of place or musty or anything like that, but I smelled actual spoilage. Then it clicked.
I checked myself in the mirror and decided that the crying didn't show. Looking out over the balcony, I found that my conclusions were correct. Aaden's Garden had gone to Hell, as probably had the one over in the Touring Attraction. I was almost sorry I had missed his reaction to seeing his masterpiece in such sorry condition.
He, on the other hand, was still a masterpiece in his own right. From this angle, his back to me, bent over, tail in the air, wearing only a pair of cutoff jeans that didn't do much to confine his prodigious privates at all, he looked marvelous. "Hey! Looks like a mess!"
He turned and blinked up at me, shielding his eyes from the sun. "Hey! Welcome, um, home!"
"Where is everybody?"
"Still moving in. Ress and the Lewis' are still packing up their other homes, and we've got a lot of vacancies besides." He trudged down the hillside and across the sands, diving into the water.
A minute later he joined me, wrapping his arms around me. "It's good to have you home,finally. Trip okay?"
"More or less," I said. "I was flying a 454."
"That's what I mean," he chuckled. "I like the birds too. Missed you."
"I missed you too," I said, turning in his arms and looking into his eyes. "You're gorgeous." My hands strayed along his body, finding the blunt bulge of his cock through his shorts. "Missed a lot of you."
"We've only been separated a couple of days. You didn't miss me this much on your trip to New Haven. What happened?"
I must have stiffened slightly. He chuckled. "What?"
I decided to evade. "Ask me later," I said. "Right now, I think... I don't think. Aaden, I need you."
He knew something was wrong. He held me at arms length and gave me his critical eye. "Tell me later?"
"Promise," I nodded.
He pulled me back into his arms, roughly and kissed me, hard. "You know I need you, too," he sighed gently, his hand now reaching down and caressing my crotch.
I've gotten used to the strong shift in emotion, the one that goes from mere desire to real lust. Blood flowed to my face, my hands, my cock, as our tongues wrestled and licked.
I broke away from him and stepped towards the grav tube leading to the bedroom, holding out my hand. He smiled and joined me. Together we fell down Alice's rabbit hole and tumbled into bed. Our bed. Damn, it was still hitting me hard how long I had missed this familiar place.
His hands were on my shirt, tearing at the buttons. Likewise, my fingers found the only buttons on the only scrap of clothing he wore-- his blue denim too-short cutoffs.
His cock, not hard but already heavy, sprang out from his shorts. I had to take my hands off him long enough to let him pull my shirt off over my head. "You're looking good," he commented.
"Thanks," I said. I looked at his face, his glittering black eyes and the smile on his muzzle. Sudden desperation ran through me. I grabbed him, pulled him closer with handfuls of fur. We rolled on the bed, his wonderful body against mine, on top of me, underneath me.
We turned and twisted, hands lusting for more, voices laughing, until we ended up upside down to one another, my head in his crotch, my cock before his eyes. I pulled us closer together, opening my mouth to receive him. His cock slid past my lips and into my mouth. A moment later he did the same. The shock of his warm muzzle surrounding the shaft of my cock almost distracted me from my precious present.
Almost. I concentrated on what I was doing. This time, I hungered for him so much that I succeeded. The yinyang position is less a mutual give and take with us than it is a competition. I wanted him to give up and accede that I was going to pleasure him, not the other way around. It was my turn to direct. And he relented and allowed me to suck him without interruption.
And, oh, I did worship him. His cock was thick on my tongue, the blunt head pressing down the back of my throat. I took more of his shaft, trying to get more of him. He had been working in the hot sun all day. Matted under his fur, the sweat and stink of the day came free with my rubbing and touching, and the familiarity of this, too, drove home every memory I had of this place. Of him.
His body tensed as I sucked on his cock. I could feel the muscles in his thighs tensing and releasing, over and over, as I fed on that gorgeous shaft. I closed my teeth around the corona and licked at his tiny hole. He had precome flowing already and I greedily sucked at the silky saline manna. It just made me mad with lust. I sucked him down, pausing just enough to get him into my throat until I finally had my nose buried in his balls His body became unbearably tight against mine, and a "K... Ken!" growled through gritted teeth told me that I was definitely close to what I wanted. His paws were in my hair, insisting I stay in place until I was done-- until he was done. My jaw ached.
He exploded in a shout that could have been heard out in his beloved garden. His cock sent jets of warm and salty come into my mouth, and I captured it all, too overcome with lust to acknowledge anything about it other than that I wanted it.
His hands were grabbing at me, pulling me up to kiss him, to share with him the rewards of our efforts. We pressed our mouths together and his tongue took from me what little semen I had left on mine.
"Murr!" I gasped aloud as our kiss broke forcefully.
"You'd better have more strength where that came from," he replied.
"I do!" I clamped one hand onto his shoulder and pulled, sending him sprawling back down onto the bed. I grabbed the lube just long enough to squirt some into the crack of his ass then tossed the bottle aside. I straddled his thighs with my own and shoved my cock between his cheeks. It knew where to go. That familiar field of Aaden's ass let me plow right in.
He gripped the pillow and just sighed. "Oh, yes!" His sphincter griped me tightly. His tail bumped against my pelvic bone as I fucked him. Hard. Carelessly. I pressed my chest to his back and bucked against his ass, feeling the solidity of his asscheeks slam into my hips with every thrust.
Aaden shivered uncontrollably, the fur on his arms standing in response to the sensations from his prostate. I grinned and used him as he let me, buttfucking my beloved without mercy. My cock was seized by the walls of his rectum, stroking me to ecstasy.
I knew I wouldn't last long. The sound of his growls and gurgles, the fur of his body, the heat of his guts wrapped around my cock were more than I could stand for any length of time. With a joyful shout I came inside him. I pounded out the last of my desire and left its aftereffects within him.
I collapsed on top of him. We were both breathing hard after that, and neither of us spoke for a few minutes. My cock subsided after a minute or so and slid out of him. I grabbed the towel we keep by the side of the bed for moments like this. "Messy," I commented.
"Manure occurs," said Aaden. "If you'd told me when you were going to be here-- and that you were going to be in a rape and pillage mood-- not that I mind!-- I might have had a chance to clean up."
"Nah, 's okay," I gasped, tossing the towel onto the Sdisk in the corner of the room. I lay down beside him with a satisfied sigh. "Not like it's anything new."
"So," he said while I was still in my post-orgasmic vulnerable state. "What's gotten you so riled?"
"Her name is Tylia."
"A woman?" Aaden asked, surprised.
"A girl," I mused, finally putting it into terms I could deal with. "A thirteen year old girl. Well, twelve. Thirteen in a couple of weeks."
"Ah," he said. "Sounds interesting."
"Yeah, to you, you pervert. Anyway, she's a geneticist. Or wants to be one. Knows one hell of a lot already. She's smart, and studious, and she has that intuition--"
"And I bet she wants to fuck you, too."
I nodded. "That's about the right picture."
"Sounds like just the kind of person to make you uncomfortable." He chuckled but didn't wait for my reply. "Listen, lover, you can make your own decisions, but there will never be a time like this. Between the Han and the Ritachans--"
"Ritans," I corrected him.
"Ritans," he continued, "Alpha may well be so busy you won't have time to think of anything but work."
"So you think I shouldn't."
"No, I think you should! Ken, if she frustrates you enough that you have to come down out of you ivory tower and have your way with me, then I, for one, want her around."
I chuckled, grabbed one of the throw pillows, and cuffed him with it. "Why, you selfish bastard!" I laughed and we rolled over. I landed on top of him. "I love you."
"Love you, too. You better be nicer to me than the time with the Pamthreats. You were up there for six months and neither P'nyssa or I ever saw you. But more than that I think if this Tylia is smart enough to make you even think about letting her into Alpha-- and believe me, I know she doesn't have your hormones so stewed to threaten your loved ones-- then you should. She can sink or swim on her own."
I sighed. "You're right."
"As right as you were a decade ago when you told me to go into space."
"But what about her wanting to sleep with me?"
"What about it?" He lay back down on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. "You can handle it. You will know when you're both ready."
"She's too young."
"Hmm." His voice rumbled softly. "You'll only know that after knowing her a little better."
"I guess." I curled up next to him.
"Don't get too comfy. I should get up and wash up."
"And out," I said.
"Aaden?" I asked as I sat up to let him get up. "I love you."
He kissed me. "I love you too."