Rear

Erwer, Sulim 05, 01031

“How’s our patient?” I asked, looking down at the sleeping form in the bed. The subject of my inquiry lay silently, the machines surrounding him speaking for him, but saying to me only that he was still living. Even though I tend to learn written forms quicker than verbal forms for most languages, in the case of llerkin that pattern had been understandably reversed. I have acquired a passing skill at written llerkin, but the terminology of medicine is frequently yet another language entirely. Here, I knew only the pidgin.

Looking at his handsome frame I wondered how typical he was. The landing team had found him on the brink of death, face-up in a frigid swamp, after we had spotted what had appeared to be some kind of pitched battle. This barely habitable world, mostly frozen even at the equator, was the last known stop in the llerkin Western Conspiracy. And in many ways, it presented the greatest puzzlement, and the greatest problem. Intelligence experts had “acquired” from Conta siss-talek and his cronies the names of co-conspirators, the location of their weapons and information stocks, and this world, where a previously trusted arm of the llerkin military had contracted to create a new army– and a new species.

The whole idea of a new species just for war outraged me– and it didn’t make any sense. The cost of developing a species was so high that the resources would have been much better spent doing decanting and indoctrination of a species you already had. In fact, that was one of the few things that really scared me– the idea that someone with the power had developed a decanting clinic and was using it to crank out Pendorians who had no freedom and no knowledge of their heritage, to be used for– the idea made me shiver.

“Do we know anything about him at all?” I asked.

The doctor, a military llerkin looking smart in dress whites, shook his head. His name tag identified him only as “Lusk.” “He is quite an interesting creature, I’ll give him that. His genetics aren’t really like anything I’ve ever seen. Could I ask you to take a look?”

Reluctantly, I tore my eyes from the strange combination before me. His hide looked like a llerkin’s, but he was much larger than the average llerkin. His neck was long and would have hinted at the Han if the Han had been around longer. His eyes were large and his teeth looked frightening. “I’m not as familiar with the llerkin code as some, but I’ll surely give it a look.”


I sat back and sighed. “This doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen. It’s not llerkin at all. What the Hell are these creatures?”

“Yes,” the AI on board replied. “It is puzzling. It appears to have more in common with the some of the llerkin ground animals than with the llerkin species itself.”

I stroked at my beard thoughtfully. I had decided to let it grow again despite P’nyssa’s and Anni’s objections– Aaden liked it. I would shave it when I got home.

I had long been aware of the genetic difference between the llerkin population and the rest of the planet of llerkin. Although both had the same four-molecule sequences that defined their encodings, the encodings of the llerkin sentient species itself were so drastically different from the rest of the planet’s population that there was no way to trace where they had branched off from the rest. There were lots of theories. Four thousand six hundred years ago, a cataclysmic war had wracked llerkin; there was the suggestion that it had been nuclear in nature. It had left the world polluted and desolate, and there was little in the way of records from that time. The llerkin, even more curiously, showed little interest in their own past and had not, until recently, even had that organized discipline known as archeology. It was only with the Sinox War and the rebuilding of their world into a garden had any interest in reclaiming the past emerged.

There were numerous theories to explain the divergence. The two most popular (in the sense that they made the evening news digests) were that the prewar llerkin civilization had been so old that the rest of the world had genetically drifted very far away. While it might not seem a popular subject for drama, it gave writers a rich “past” to mine for decadence, warfare, romance, and all the usual nonsense writers seem to go for. The other popular notion was that a thus-far unknown alien species (some pointed fingers at that still-mysterious species, the Shriaa, or perhaps the unknown species that had built Hyzen) had engineered the llerkin to survive the postwar world.

I thought for a few minutes, then ran a couple of matches on the system. So many mysteries, so little time. What species was the mel in the sickbay, where had he come from, what was he called, why had the Conspiracy gone through the trouble of engineering him? “How goes the battle?” I asked Kain, the AI, mostly as a joke. Kain, it turned out, had little in the way of a sense of humor.

“The battle has become ugly, but we have thus far lost nobody. The species represented by our visitor in sickbay is resilient and appears to be heavily modified with the warfare tools common among unarmored troops. They are not, however, equipped to deal with tankers. There are two separate factions on the world, and one appears to be working with her Majesty’s troops.”

I decided to write a little mail.


I was awakened in the middle of the night by the chime of a phone call. It took me a few seconds to even recognize the sound; few people would have been able to convince two AIs that what they had to say was important enough to reach me, much less awaken me. Considering that I was currently attached to a top-secret mission for the Queen herself, I really started to wonder. Especially when I realized that I was talking to a civilian. “Good afternoon, Professor Shardik. I trust I am not interrupting you?”

“No, no,” I replied. “A good afternoon to you as well.” With the advent of interstellar travel, “good afternoon” had become a commonplace greeting at any time of day. It implied that you were available and that the interruption was no interruption. If the chain of AIs that had routed this call agreed on it, it had to be important and I was obligated to agree with their judgment.

My caller was a tall, light-hided llerkin with the markings that had once characterized the southern races of llerkin. “I hope I am not disturbing you, Professor Shardik. My name is Vishinu and I am a professor with the Queen’s archaeological society. We have been digging at a city in the New Southern Desert region of Kesena and we have found something remarkable.” He gestured to his left and a picture came up. It was clearly a fossilized skull; the fossilization process was still underway, however. “This was found in what we believe is some sort of formal grave-site. We have found many octets of these. We are calling them the prelkin, after some of the more popular fictional creatures, and we have some evidence that they were, in fact, the dominant species on llerkin before the war.”

I was stunned. The implications were frightening. He seemed to read the expression on my face readily enough, nodding. “It seems that we have new scenarios to work out. In any event, last night I received this from a colleague.” The model of the prisoner’s body appeared below the original image. “Correct me if I’m wrong, Shardik, but is this a medical image?”

“Kain, call General Pedrad now. Tell him we have a civilian security operation in the Kesena desert. Professor, how many people are there in your camp?”

Professor Vishinu looked a little surprised, but he answered anyway. “We have only seven here right now. It was useful to keep the numbers small. We wanted to keep this as much of a secret as possible so we could make it a surprise at a press conference six days from now.”

“Professor, your lives way well be in grave danger. I can’t explain right now. Maybe you’ll get the full story someday. But I’m about to drop a whole lot of soldiers on you.”

“Is that necessary?”

“Yes, professor, it is.”

“Can I ask why it is necessary?”

“No, professor, I can’t tell you any of the details right now, but you’ll find out soon enough.” I didn’t know if I should wring Furry’s neck or thank her for the breach of security. It was important that those students get protected, though. If there were any conspirators left, or allies, and all indications were that we hadn’t gotten them all, then those guys were in serious trouble. “Please, professor, take my advice and cooperate with the soldiers. They will have a password– For the honor of the queen. Do you have that?”

“Yes, yes I do.”

“Good. I will let you know, personally if need be, what it is you’re being protected from. But you may have to wait a few months.”

He shook his head in acknowledgment. “Thank you, professor,” I said. “I appreciate your help. I have to go.”

He nodded, and I closed the connection.


“You shouldn’t be in here,” Pedrad said.

“A Pendor-built starship, filled with llerkin soldiers, in a White’s Infirmary, with an AI watching? The best he can manage is harsh language!”

Pedrad grunted his acknowledgment at the truth of what I said. There was no risk involved in my attending the revival of our patient. All indications were that he was awake, but feigning sleep. His discipline was impressive; he had been awake for hours, but hadn’t moved or given away any sign of awareness. I walked up to his bedside and said, in llerkin, “I know you’re awake, soldier. All I need do is mention a subject and you cannot help but think about it, if only briefly, but that will be enough for our scanners to read it from your imagination.”

He opened his eyes. “You are not a llerkin,” he observed. Then he looked closer, started, and said, “You are… him. The queen’s consort. The one they said turned our land into a ruin and an evil.”

I sighed gently. “I’m actually just a friend of your queen. What’s your name, soldier?”

“Vayl. Vayl 75.”

Pedrad stepped in. “Vayl, welcome aboard her majesty’s starship Venaja. These two men will be escorting you to your debriefing. Will you come willingly?”

“I will, sir.”

He gestured to the two soldiers that he had indicated. They came and took Vayl away. As he stood, I was again impressed by his magnificence. He was thin, but sculpted, strong and muscular, and beautiful. I know I’m easily swayed by physical beauty, and I’m quick to trust people I perhaps shouldn’t, but I wanted to get to know Vayl, and to see him smile.


Lusk summarized what we knew. “He doesn’t know where they got the genetics from. They didn’t tell him very much at all. It looks like they were using a relatively primitive collection of Brace hardware to do decanting programming, and they were continuing with the programming even after decant. Somehow, though, some of them found the story not entirely convincing and began to ask questions. Without his permission, we’re not going to go digging into his mind and find out the truth, but our suspicion, based on his testimony, is that the programming was faulty. We think that the breakdown occurred when they were told they were going to uphold the law but rebel against the queen. Most of them took that to heart, but a few failed. The rebels have been hiding in the swamp for over three years, fighting a running battle with the conspirators. It looks like the only reasons they got away on a regular basis was that the conspirators couldn’t bring a full military scan to bear without worrying about raising suspicions.”

General Pedrad said, “It’s a good thing that the conspiracy occurred mostly in the army rather than the space services. That limited their access to ships and the kinds of tools that the navy brings to remote sensing. I am pleased to announce that we have gained control of the ground forces, although we think there are some handlers and a few guards hiding out in shielded bunkers. It’ll take a full neutrino scan to find that kind of thing, and those take time.”

There were more debriefings from the rest of the table, the eight llerkin who were Anlestin’s trusted circle. I glanced over at Nazrain, her new chancellor. I had never really liked Nazrain, but he did his job efficiently and well and, best of all, he tolerated no fools. He had held his silence until the end. Finally, it was his turn. “The Queen is under protection in a secret place, and we are most anxious that she come back out, that her people know what has happened, and that the trials begin. This ‘New Western Faction’ cannot be allowed to fester.” The pressed his fingertips together. “And we are very interested in the story of what appears to be the resurrection of the former inhabitants of llerkin.”

“We will do everything we can to get to the bottom of that particular mystery,” I assured him. “Although it may take some doing. Llerkin genetics is not my strongest point.”

“We will supply you with what you need, Ken. Good night.” His image winked out of sight.

I was more than a little surprised. “Ken”? Did that mean he was starting, finally, to accept me as a fixture in the life of the Queen? If so, good. Less stress was something we could all use.


“What is this I am eating?” Vayl asked me.

“I would call it chicken stew with forty cloves of garlic, but I’m not sure what kind of bird I used. It was a llerkin variant from the second recovery.” I watched as he tested the soup and the bread, nibbling on both, trying each. He seemed to like it, and dug willingly into the dinner I had cooked.

It had been two weeks since the battle had begun, and the world down below was now definitely under the control of forces loyal to the queen. Looking at the numbers, I couldn’t believe that the conspirators had ever thought they could win. The only chance they had was of killing Anlestin, and if that ever got back to Conta he would have been a dead mel long before he got a chance to pull the purple cloak of mourning off the throne and claim it as his own.

Vayl had gotten out from under his watchers with the assurance of the psych team that he was not a threat to the ship or anyone on it, himself included. It had taken some getting used to, the notion of freedom, and having little else to do other than be the Queen’s unassailable witness on board, I decided to try and befriend him.

“What was it like?”

“What was what like?” he said.

“Running away. Wondering every day if you were wrong, you were right, if your memories were at all true.”

“It was cold. Wet. Hard to move some days, but it meant that we did not go hungry all the time. Spent a lot of time hunting.” He indicated the deep bowl with his spoon. “This is wonderful.”

I smiled. “I’m pleased you like it. It didn’t take too much work, but it has to be better than swamp rats.”

“There was no search for us. I think they thought we would all die. There were only six of us to start. But more joined us. We would talk to some that we had known while they trained. They gave us blankets, heaters, food.”

“A lot of the prelkin we interviewed told us the same thing.”

“We did not trust the ones who did not look like us. And we learned that they did not have answers we needed. I think they were afraid of us. They were losing control of us.” He took another spoonful. “I wish Ado 61 had survived.”

“Who was he? A friend?”

Vayl nodded, but there was more to his face than that. “Our leader. And a… intimate.” I almost dropped my spoon, but I managed to keep my face straight and not give away anything. I could understand– the genetic and physical makeup indicated that there were two sexes in his species, but whoever was responsible for this had only decanted males. It made me angry to think that his intimacies had been forced on him. On the other hand, maybe it was natural for him to be intimate with his own gender, and even social expectations played a huge role in deciding sexual orientation. “Maybe it is better without him.”

“Why so?”

“He was not one capable of much kindness. He knew the handlers were wrong, but he could not think of what to do other than fight them.”

“And you?” I asked.

“I knew there had to be something else, but I never imagined it would happen like this.”

I sat down next to him. “I’m glad you decided to come out and talk to me.”

“My room was becoming too familiar.”

I nodded, understanding that all too well. “What really set you guys off? I mean, what made you think that there was something wrong about your handlers?”

“There was a conversation. We overheard two handlers talking, we who rebelled. One said that he wasn’t comfortable with our programming, he was afraid that there wasn’t enough conditioning and that we were going to be trouble to handle after the rebellion had begun. He was recommending to someone else that we be reprogrammed. I knew what programming meant, I had felt it. I did not want to be reprogrammed. Neither did Ado. The six of us who heard ran.”

He sounded immeasurably sad, and I reached out to console him. He reacted violently, pulling away, jumping out of the chair as if to confront me. Then he sagged. “I am sorry,” he said. “I do not know what happened to me.”

“Has anyone touched you since you awoke?”

He thought for a moment. “I do not think so.”

I approached him slowly. “Would you trust me?”

“Have I a choice?”

“You always have a choice. I would like to touch you, Vayl.”

He shook, mysteriously. “I am… I find myself wanting to be touched, but I feel the tension in my arms, that I am going to do violence if I am touched.”

“Can you control yourself?”

“I think I can.”

I reached out slowly and placed my hands on his shirt. His muscles tensed again. The effort showing on his face looked agonizing. “Vayl?”

“My arms want to move of their own will. But I have it. It is subsiding. What do you think it is?”

“Bad programming.” I sighed and took my hand away from his shirt. “I don’t get it. It’s one more sign of just how incompetent the whole thing been. You guys are really well-enhanced, but the equipment used was archaic. You’re really well-trained, but the Bracing is of a skill level that wouldn’t be allowed to get played into anyone. The leaders had access to the palace but hired incompetent assassins who decided to try their killing in the stupidest ways possible.” I sighed, then, steeling myself, I reached out quickly and touched him.

He reacted, but at the last second pulled it even as I ducked. He connected with the wall.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“No,” he growled. “Why did you do that?”

“Because if I’m to be your friend, we can’t have you walking around with the programming that makes you want to kill anyone who touches you.”


The next day, he showed up at my door. “Touch me,” was all he said as he stood there.

I put my hand an his chest, ready to duck if necessary. “They said that the programming was really easy to remove.”

“Apparently. You don’t give a soldier those kinds of instincts. There are other ways, and better ways, to instill automatic responses.” I was reluctant to take my hands off of him. He was so gorgeous, and his muscles wore so powerful, that I wanted to stay there. Finally I took my hand back and gestured that he come inside. “Want a bagel?”

“Is that food?” he asked. I grinned. Vayl was fast on the uptake, and food varieties seemed to be his newest thrill.

“It is,” I agreed. I tossed him one. “Here.”

He snatched it out of the air with fluid grace. He stuffed it into his muzzle with enthusiasm, then found himself confounded by the texture of it. He finally managed to swallowed the overlarge mouthful. “Another?” I asked.

“Please.”

I handed this one rather than throw it. “There’s a flavorful spread that goes with it, but I don’t think you should try it yet. It’s made of a complex fat that makes you sick if you’re not used to it.”

“I’ll try just a little.”

He considered the creamed cheese and found it not to his liking. I took back the bagel and offered him one with just smoked fish on it. He eagerly ate that one.

“So, what brings you back to my home?” I asked.

He shrugged. “You were kind to me. You’re not one of them,” he said, looking back toward the door. “You don’t remind me of a handler.”

“Well I’m not one of them, but they are my friends. I hate to say it, Vayl, but I think that your life is about to get a lot more complicated. You’re going to have to learn to make choices for yourself about right and wrong, who you want to follow and who you want to join. It’s not going to be easy. By the way, how are the rest of the prelkin?”

“The three who were still alive with me are well, the rest are going through deprogramming. I am told that the facilities on this vessel are rather limited and the process will take time.”

He couldn’t think of anything more to say, and oddly, neither could I. I am not usually good at flirting or any kind of one-on-one with someone I don’t know well. We looked at each other, smiling, but not sure of what would come next. I wanted to be an intimate, as he had called it, but I didn’t know how to get there from here. “So,” I said. “What happens next?”

“Is there anything to you would like to do?”

I scratched at my scruffy chin. “I usually go swimming three or four times a week. It keeps me in shape and it’s better than other exercises– less boring, at any rate.”

“You enjoy swimming?” he asked. “It is such a miserable task.”

“That depends.” I reached for his hand and he took up mine. “Come. Let me show you.”

We wandered down to the pool, where his eyes grew wide at the sight of so much clean water, and when he dipped his feet into it and discovered how delightfully warm it felt, he willingly joined me.

He and I were the only two non-llerkin in the room. This seemed to bother him, but I was used to being an alien.

I think the sport of volleyball is almost universal. Although the rules are different, the principle is the same– get the ball on the other guy’s side and then force him to make a mistake. “Mind if I join?” I asked the lovely, slim creature with the ball.

“No, we’re– ” She turned to look at me. “Shardik! I’m… I don’t know. You’re a little bigger than the rest of us.”

“What about him?” I asked, pointing to the prelkin. “He’s bigger than I am, but he doesn’t know the rules.”

She grinned, and only a little awkwardness showed, demonstrating how much she had taken to heart General Pedrad’s directives. “We can teach him.”

The game went well. Vayl figured the rules out pretty easily, but they’re not difficult rules. He figured out how to win, too, although his ability to team up with his mates was not as well developed as I would have expected. I couldn’t know if I should blame that on the programming or the training, but in any event it wasn’t a great sign.

I had seen him naked often enough during his medical examination, but this time he was awake, alive, and lively. I wasn’t the only one staring at his handsome form; many of the fems and a few of the mels were taking a close look too. He was very out of place. His body was as different from the llerkin as mine was from theirs. Naked, he was a gorgeous creature.

Later, I relaxed in the shallow end of the pool, watching him as he followed the exercisers as they did their laps. The length and shape of his neck make him a natural swimmer. I closed my eyes and rested. I’m not sure how long I lay there, floating with my head barely above the water, but I couldn’t have been very long. I didn’t feel that cold when I heard him move toward the steps. I opened my eyes. He was looking at me, his head tilted to one side. Although the muzzle was shaped differently than that of a Felinzi it seemed the same quizzical expression. To change that expression, I splashed him.

He splashed me back. I was surprised, but handled it well by returning the volley. It was fun, watching him. His eyes began to glitter, his smile spread wide, and suddenly he was enjoying himself. The poor substitute for childhood he had had down there on Scridan, as the llerkin had named the world below, would hopefully be replaced by a happier time here and on llerkin.

The water fight escalated, and I decided to end it in the family tradition– I hurled myself at him. Without his programming he didn’t know quite what to do, so he caught me and we fell into the water together. I helped him back to the surface without letting go of his body, and as we both took in air I realized that he was holding on to me just as solidly as I was holding him. “I’m not like you,” I whispered.

“I think that does not matter. You are not like them, either,” he said. “You were looking at me.”

“We were all looking at you.”

“I noticed. But why should you look at me?”

“Why not?” I asked. “We eat similar foods and our bodies are similar enough that we could share other things as well.” We were way beyond mere hints. “Shall we go share them?”

“I would like that.”

We hurried to pull on our clothes, nearly running down the hallway to get back to my room. Once inside the door, we worked to tear our clothes off just as hurriedly. I’m not sure what came over us. It was like we had been waiting for this, but the usual maneuvering and dancing that goes with someone just hadn’t been there. Gods, I hadn’t been like this since… since after Rhysh.

He smiled at me over his shoulder even as he crawled onto the bed. His butt swayed exactly like one would have seen in those old movies about dinosaurs, and watching him I got the impression that this was a deliberate and carefully practiced maneuver. Although I wanted, even needed, to get my hands on him, I also wanted to give him all the attention he deserved. “Stop right there,” I said.

“Hmm?” he asked.

“Just hold your place right there.”

He watched me approach the bed, and him. That long, sinuous neck of his made it easy. I gave him a smile as I bent down and placed a single soft kiss on his asscheek. He closed his eyes and let out a surprised sigh. “Never had a kiss there before?” I asked.

“No,” he replied, shaking his head.

“Pity,” I said. “You’ll like this.” I kissed his tail, right where the meaty width of it met his spine, then brushed my lips down along the curve of his ass, easing my way down under his tail. I found the cleft of his cheeks and pressed my tongue deeper between them. He moaned, anticipating what was going to come next. He smelled different than most other species, llerkindi included, which I guess shouldn’t have surprised me since most of the Pendorian species have their little differences between their scents in common. I pressed my hands to his cheeks, prying them gently apart. Before diving in I pulled back a little to get a good look at my destination. It was just three centimeters below his tail, black, both wrinkled and yet somehow shiny, like clean latex sometimes appears. He twitched it just once and it appeared to wink at me. “The way to a mel’s heart way be through his stomach,” I murmured, “But the asshole is the route to his soul.”

I leaned in between his parted asscheeks and, with the tip of my tongue delicately brushed that particular doorway. He whimpered as my tongue tried to memorize every wrinkle, every tiny fold. I could feel his hole twitching under my touch. “You want more?” I asked.

“Yes, please, yes.”

I grinned, tilting my head to get better access under his tail. I licked against the opening and his tail raised up. I poked my tongue in further. His hole dimpled inward, contracting at the unusual invasion. But while his body may not have been sure, his lust was very clearly in charge and with every soft thrust he let my tongue just a little further into his butt. Growls came from the other end of the bed and I heard the sounds of clawed hands scrabbling at bunched bedsheets. Fortunately for us both in this age of nanotech the sheets were self-repairing; in the interest of that Gothic touch they wouldn’t do so until both of us had been out of the room for a few hours, giving the impression that someone had changed the sheets.

I probed as fully as I could, getting a deep taste of his assflesh and loving every moment of his pleasure. I finally reached down between his legs to stroke his belly, quite deliberately letting my forearm brush against his cock. I was surprised by the sensation; unlike the stock llerkin penis which is long and thin, he seemed to be sporting a thick, short dick with a heavy, mushroom-like head.

I turned my attention back to Vayl’s backside. I had come here for anal sex, not analysis. I squirmed against his ass, reaching for his hole and feeling his body twitch against my face. His ass felt warm against my face. I wanted to eat his ass for so long that he’d be slimy with saliva and ready to let anything happen. I wanted more of him.

I touched his hole with my finger, gently probing my way inside him. He resisted only for a moment before he let my finger slide into the warmth of his rectum. He moaned as I slid it in and out a few times before taking it out. “Turn over.”

He eagerly did as he was told. I smiled at his easy willingness to let me play with him, but there was a curious look to his demeanor. “Why are you being so gentle?” he asked.

“Why shouldn’t I be?” he asked.

“Because most mels aren’t. Is it because you’re human, or just because you’re Ken Shardik, or is it something else?”

I crawled along the length of his handsomely muscled body to his equally beautiful muzzle. I kissed him gently and said, “I don’t think it’s either. My lover Aaden is neither human nor me and he’s a tender, gentle mel. I’ve known a lot of tender, gentle mels over the course of my life. You’re young, Vayl, and that horrible little planet we found you on hardly gave you the chance to learn about pleasure.” I kissed his cheek. “In desperate days, sex can become a frantic thing. Right now is neither desperate nor frantic. Gentle loving is a gift.”

He kissed my cheek back. Like many of the later ‘morph designs, we had learned from the propitious fortune of the Uncia and Felinzi designs that the flat, terminated muzzles had the best potential for expression. Some people even thought they had a wider range than even human faces. Maybe, maybe not. I liked the way he looked, though.

I pulled him to me, rolling us over in the bed until he was on top, and then we went a little crazy, kissing and hugging and groping hands everywhere. He pulled into the folds of the robe I had worn to the swimming pool, stripping me as easily as he had shredded the bedsheets. I was a little intimidated by that kind of strength, even though I’d had sex with centaurs before! Somehow, though, I knew I could trust him not to hurt me… too badly. His tongue, though, was much larger than mine. It was a little like the sensation I’ve felt with a dragon, come to think of it.

He took the opportunity of being on top to try and repeat what I had done. Sliding down the length of my body, he purposely ignored my cock as I had his, instead spreading my legs with his hands and pushing my knees up to my chest, exposing my asshole now to his tongue. He licked tentatively at my hole as if just getting used to the flavor, although after my shower and the pool the only thing that he should taste is just bare flesh. It was his turn to probe, to push, to invade this most private part of me with that most sensitive, flexible, and personal part of him. And I don’t know if there is an artistry to analingus– I think it only takes enthusiasm, a desire both for the pleasure of the other person and the privilege of this invasion. And he had it, oh he had it. He was trying to get into my body headfirst, licking, pushing, fucking my butthole with his tongue.

When he finally surfaced he looked up along the length of my body and gave me the widest grin I’d seen on his face since we’d pulled his ass out of that frozen, scum-covered river. “So,” I said, “Wanna fuck?”

“Yes,” he said, then looked at our relative positions and said, “You mean, me to you?”

“If that’s what you’d like,” I said, now holding my legs to my chest of my own will rather than with his hands. “You seem to have me right where you wanted me.”

He seemed at a loss for words, but found them with, “I don’t want to hurt you.”

I tossed him a small plastic bubble of lube. “Pop that in your hand.”

He closed his fist around it and it made a strange popping noise. “What is this?” he asked, sniffing his hand tentatively.

“It’s lube. It makes love easier for some. Especially among mels. Put it there, on your sex.”

He looked at me confused. “On your penis there.”

He instantly figured out what I was talking about and slid his hand along the length of his cock. He had a big grin on his face and seemed to have discovered the joys of masturbation all over again. “Don’t waste it,” I said. “Let me have some of that.”

His jaw dropped in a laugh without sound. He stretched out over my body and between my legs, his short, thick cock flopping against my ass. He looked into my eyes. “You won’t hurt me,” I assured him. “Believe me.”

He pressed that firm mushroom head against my asshole. I pressed back, relaxing the muscles that surrounded the opening and with a gasp he was inside. I took the whole length of his cock in one easy stroke. “Your weight. Rest it on me.”

He relaxed his arms and his whole body covered mine. I wrapped my hands around his back and held him. “Go ahead.”

“You feel so good!” he gasped.

“Fuck me. I’ll feel even better.”

He pumped his hips experimentally for a moment and I could feel the shivers running through his body with each movement. I pushed my hips upward to meet him, wanting his cock to really move inside my body. He was so wonderful already.

He began to thrust into me, his hips pressing up against my thighs and the bulbous head stroking over my prostate. I surrendered to him even as he came. It hadn’t lasted long. It didn’t matter. His body shook violently and his warm moan filled my ears as his cock streamed come into my guts.

He pushed himself back up onto his arms. “Was that too long?” he asked. “I wanted to make it last longer but I didn’t know…”

“It’s okay,” I said, reaching up to slowly slide a hand along his muzzle. “You were good. You could have made it last longer. You could have made it harder. I’m not a delicate flower, Vayl.”

“I’ll keep that in mind for next time.” He kissed me gently. We practiced that maneuver for a few minutes, hands roaming and caressing even as his cock slid out of me.

“Promise?”

“Promise,” he said.