Noren, Urim 15, 00523
I hate dancing. Can't stand it, don't like it, won't do it except under duress. Dancing is not having sex standing up, because I've done that. The basic reason behind my dislike of dancing is that I think I look like an idiot out there. I'm sure I have no rhythm, no grace. Oh sure, give me a suit of Shirow and I'll do pirouettes, but that's only because I've pre-programmed the routine into the suit and string them together. People who dance professionally tell me that's what they do, but the 'routines' are in their heads. I guess I don't have programmable legs.
But P'nyssa loves to dance. Adores it. And every once in a while, we go dancing together. I drag her to readings and rock concerts, so I suppose it's only fair that she drag me to a dance every once in awhile. But, as always, I ended up standing on the sidelines praying that she won't ask me out there. Begging whatever deity watches over me to let me stay in peace.
I enjoyed watching, to be honest; there are few things sexier than watching a Felinzi who knows how to dance. Especially since this years' fashion was particularly revealing.
"Want to join me?" she asked, smiling. I sighed inwardly and said "Sure." She reached out a ten and pulled me onto the floor, where I proceeded to do my best to keep up with the tempo. But I still felt spotlighted, watched by a thousand judging eyes, just waiting for the thumbs-down. Call me paranoid, but that's how I felt.
The song ended and I hoped for a quick retreat. The next tune the CJ pulled up was a lot slower. That I can handle. It gave me an excuse to pull P'nyssa closer. She laughed when I whispered that into her ear.
We danced slowly on the darkened dance floor, cuddling under the slowly turning lights, surrounded by dozens of other couples doing the same. Every once in a while I would sneak a hand down and squeeze her ass through her skirt. Her response was to do the same to me.
We were barely moving when P'nyssa looked up over my shoulder and said "Hi!"
I broke away from her to see an old friend standing behind me, Aaden Satpulov. He cocked his furry head querulously and said, "May I have this dance?"
P'nyssa and I at once said "Of course." I looked at her, she looked at me. We laughed. "I think he meant you," she said.
"Indeed," Aaden said.
I stammered for a second, then said "I accept." She smiled and wandered off through the crowd. The music changed; another slow song. Had he known, or merely hoped? It didn't matter; I opened my arms and took him in, cursing my predilection for full-length sleeves. I wanted to feel him.
He put his arms under mine, around me, laying his head on my shoulder. I reached around and put my hand on the back of his neck, just at the collar, the other around his middle. We danced. This time the music was a little faster, but not much; there was no reason to move apart. He chuckled gently, and I felt it reverberate through my chest. It felt good.
As we danced, I thought about my feelings for Aaden. When we met, it was at opposing ends of a game of wrestling and ravishment. We snarled at each other, glared, fought. I won.
He exacted his revenge by arranging with P'nyssa and three other males to tie me down and take me. We've met occasionally since then, usually in scenes that involved one of us being 'on top' of each other.
His hands ran along my back, his knuckles sliding gently over my spine through the shirt. I replied equally, stroking under his deep, long fur, enjoying the feeling. I love long fur; sometimes I wish I had it. And his is so soft, so caressable.
The song ended, and a faster one took its place. We moved apart, and he was smiling at me, a strange sort of smile. "Want to get off the floor?" he shouted over the music.
"Yes!" I replied. We walked off the floor quickly, taking cover from the writhing bodies. Once we were off the floor, I set about looking for P'nyssa. Although the club we were in was small, I couldn't find her. I walked over to an interface and said, "Josh!"
The AI took it's sweet time getting back to me. I waited at least half a minute before he said "Ken, whaddya need?"
"She left a few minutes ago!" he replied. "With Wilshas. Didn't you see?"
"No!" I shouted back. This music is too loud. "Thanks!" I wandered back to where Aaden sat, waiting. I took the seat opposite him, pushing a few buttons and ordering a drink from the food server.
"What's up?" he asked.
I shrugged. "P'nyssa took off," I replied. For some reason the music seemed quieter here, even though we were closer to the actual dance floor. A waitress came by with my drink. "I've been abandoned by my date."
"Well," he replied, "I can stay if you'd like company."
"Actually, I'd like to get out of here. If I stay any longer, my ears'll start to bleed."
He laughed and said, "I know the feeling. Come on!" He rose, pushing the chair back, cursing as his tail got caught in the split of the backing. I smiled. He cut a quick swath through the crowd; although he's just my height, Aaden's huge, especially for a Mephit. He spends at least two hours every day in the gym, and he's earned every milligram of muscle he has. My problem is if I spent that much time in a weight machine I'd go out of my mind. For me, exercise is sex and karate. Weight lifting seems like work to me.
The crown parted as we exited out the front door. Aaden made no apologies- people just moved out of his way. He acted as if that were how they should respond, too.
Outside, the sounds dimmed into the background, but my ears were ringing. Every sound came through with a dulled quality. "So," I said. "Where to, now?"
He shrugged. "'Sup to you. We could go home."
"Your home, or mine?" Gods, did I just say "Your place or mine?"
He missed the reference and said, "Well, that depends. You've a live in who may or may not be interrupted by our stumbling in. You should call ahead."
I nodded. I found another intercom a few steps down the hall from the door to the nightclub and toggled it. "Josh, can you get me Dave?"
"Sure thing," he said.
"Dave? Is P'nyssa home?"
"No she isn't. She told me not to expect her home tonight." My eyebrows shot up at that. "Is there a problem?"
"No, no. No problem. Just wondering. She left me at the Arc nightclub without telling me."
"That is unusual. Should I contact her?"
"No, that's okay. I might be home shortly."
"Okay. I'll keep an eye out."
"Goodnight, Ken." There was an audible click as Dave detached from the speaker.
I turned to Aaden and said, "Well, looks like I'm free for the evening. We could hit another bar, maybe even Rick's, or someplace in Rhysh or Downtown. Hell, we could go to the old Underground now that it's been rebuilt."
He looked up at the ceiling amusedly and said, "Why don't we go to Lithe park? It's in daylight now."
I shrugged and said "Sure." It was a strange suggestion; a child-oriented theme park didn't seem his speed. We walked down to the nearest SDisk and he led the way, giving instructions to Josh as we walked. The SDisk transition was easy, but I blinked, groaning, as we stepped out into a daylit sector. "Easy," he said.
"I'm okay," I said, shielding my eyes. People were apparently waiting to use the SDisk so we stepped off, making room. "Where are we?"
"Back in the quote nature trail unquote section. It's one of my more favored sections- not as busy as the rides or the shows, and a lot quieter."
"Okay." There were childish screams and giggles coming from somewhere around me. I turned around to find a large swimming hole almost literally crawling with little kids splashing, screaming, and making a mess. "This is quieter?" I asked.
"This way," he said, leading me down a pathway. Once through a cut in the trees the sounds faded quickly into the background. "One thing I've never understood is the need we seem to have for the artificial."
"All those kids back there. Do you realized that that pool is kept sterile by circulating it's entire mass of water every hour almost a klick underground to a superconductor storage ring next to a fusion plant just so the gauss can shred anything going through it? Why, when any natural swimming hole will do, and is chemically probably a lot cleaner? As far as I know, there's nothing artificial about the lagoon where you live."
"No there isn't."
"Then why is Lithe so popular, even as just a swimming hole? Doesn't make sense."
"Look whose talking. You enjoy the artificial yourself."
"How so?" he said.
"Your favorite form of sexual expression is the only one that requires hardware."
"Not really," he said. "I don't need rope and chains. Just a mel with the right voice, the right attitude, and boom! I'm on my knees."
I shrugged. "Still..."
"Still, nothing. Unless I've really missed my guess, you own a vibrator, don't you?"
"Two," I admitted, smiling.
"See? That's artificial, but you don't need it, do you?" I shook my head. "Making love or dominating is all attitude... the toys make it easier, make it louder, make it harder and faster, but they don't make it."
I smiled. "Do you know, I know nothing about you?"
"What's to know?" he said.
I switched to Anglic; it would serve the pun in mind. "This is starting to get monogamous."
He didn't get it. Damn, he doesn't speak Anglic. I explained the joke and he smiled, nodded. "It is," he agreed. "But not monotonous."
"Is P'nyssa monotonous?"
"Hardly," I said.
"Then why should I be?"
"Like I said, I know nothing about you."
"Let's start with the basics. Everybody knows what you do. I drive atmospheric shuttles when I want to, paint when I want to, and tend the Rhysh gardens when they need it."
We stepped out onto a wide road on the other side of which the path continued. The smell of horses was in the air.
"You're the gardener?"
"Just one. There are others. Borodir tried to get me enrolled into cooking school, but I told him to forget it. And as for the physical department, I'm not a trainer. I could only serve- as a good example, of course."
"Of course," I said. I reached out a hand, and he took it. His paw felt warm clasped in mine, my fingertips curling around it and touching the short fur on the back. He reached out with his other hand and hugged me, like we had been at the dance, only out here there was no pretense, no "reason" to be this close, other than because we wanted to be. "Aaden," I said into the fur ruffled at his neck, "I think I'm falling in love."
He chuckled again. "You do that all the time."
I laughed briefly. "Yeah, guess I do. The funny thing this time is who it is."
"Why is that funny?"
"Because I'm really straight, I think," I replied in a wistful sort of matter-of-fact voice.
"Now that's ridiculous."
"Is it?" I asked. "Aaden, I can bottom out to a man for the same reason you do, except you do it exclusively. They terrify me more than women do. But I've never really thought of loving a mel."
"What about, oh, what's his name, the Felinzi- You know, your stardiving friend."
"Who, N'Nance? That was a one-time thing. Mostly because he was lonely, bedridden, and I was in a mischievous mood."
"But you do love him, don't you? You did it because you wanted to make him feel good. I read that entry, and I saw a lot of you in it, Ken. Not just the mischievousness, either."
We walked along silently. Did I love Nance? He was a friend, surely, had been for centuries. I had panicked when he had been nearly killed. "You're right," I said.
"It's not my being right that matters, Ken. It's that you see it. You said yourself that it's silly to exclude half the sentient population from the fun part of sex. But what about love?"
"Aaden," I said. He turned to me. I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Fair enough. I. Love. You."
He laughed, and I laughed along. He pulled me close and said, "That's my Ken." There was nothing sweeter at that moment than being in his big, furry arms.
"Let's go home," I said.
"Let's take the long way," he replied. I nodded. We walked along the trail, eventually coming back to the beginning again, full of screaming children. A few even recognized me. They didn't even begin to question the big Mephit I had my arm around.
We got onto the SDisk and headed back to the Castle. I almost never call it "Shardik Castle," that's just too damned pretentious. But when I call it "The Castle" people ask "Which one?"
We took the easy way into the residential floor, walking along the corridors quietly, waving to Ember who was doing her usual impression as nightowl. The door slid open easily and we walked into my residence. It looked as homey as ever, although P'nyssa had left the sliding glass door to the patio open again. Still, it was a warm, clear night with almost no chance of rain, so I figured it wasn't a problem. "Can I get you anything?" I asked.
"What have you got for wines?"
"Wines? You want wines? Let's see, we've got more wines than I know what do with, including a deSchane."
"You've got deSchane?" His eyes lit up like a little boy's being given his first yoyo.
"deSchane dry, '49. Like a glass?"
"If it doesn't sound to eager, please!"
I found two wine glasses and poured them full, re-corking the bottle and putting it back into the cooler when I was done. I handed him a glass over the bar. He sniffed it, gave a puzzled look, then drank a small taste. "Doesn't taste like his usual."
"Shouldn't. That's his ceremonial batch, not his commercial." I thought Aaden's eyes were going to bug out.
"Ceremonial batch? You've got a bottle of the batch he does magic with?"
"Well, the remainder of a year's batch. He prepares a new one every year, you know."
"I know, I know, but still... How?"
"I'm not permitted..."
I shrugged. "It's okay." I walked around the bar and kissed him on the muzzle. "I figured you would ask. It's all right."
"No wonder I felt so weird."
"Makes you lightheaded?"
"Just a little," he said, smiling.
"Yeah, even the commercial stuff has that effect, but when you get a whiff of his consecrated wine, you know what power is." A thought hit me, one which I disliked intensely.
Aaden noticed. "What's wrong?"
"I just used something... artificial... to take control of a situation. I knew showing you this would... "
"Put me in your power?" he said.
"Something like that," I said. I sighed. "I'm impossible."
He shook his head, put down the glass and said, "Come here."
I stepped forward and he put his arms around me. I melted against him; almost immediately the thoughts went away and I was his again. I closed my eyes and sighed.
"See?" he said. "A good hug cures everything." I smiled, tears welling slightly in my eyes. I felt so good just being there I barely noticed the hardened shaft pressing against me. Almost without thought I reached down and ran my open hand along the length showing through the black silk pants he wore. He inhaled, hissing slightly. "You are impossible."
"Only in some things, sex being one of them."
He chuckled. "Keep that up, and you'll get more sex than you can handle."
"Think so?" I asked. "I've already proven I can handle this oversized monster." We were joking like old lovers. We were old lovers; it was only today I realized we were friends, too.
He laughed as my hands found the lace on his right hip and pulled the bow free, pulling his pants open and dropping them to the floor. His cock waved, only semi-erect. Aaden's penis isn't that overly long, only about 185 mm, but what it is is thick. It's hard to find something to compare it to, except maybe a soda bottle. He laughed as I ran my hand over it, closing into a fist around it and stroking him.
"You like that, don't you?" I asked.
"Of course I do," he sighed. His paw found my erect cock through my jeans. "As much as you do."
As he undid the buttons on my fly I nodded. He had to put some effort into pulling my pants off, so I helped him. Once I stepped out of my jeans, we stood there, looking at each other. I still had my shirt on; Aaden, like many furries, wasn't wearing a shirt, just the small leather vest that is his statement. I put my hands on each side of the vest and said, "May I?"
He nodded, and I slowly slid it off and down his back, carefully folding it and placing it on top of the bar. He wasn't so kind with my shirt, pulling it off brusquely. But he was careful with the cloissone on the collar, removing it from the shirt, replacing the clasp and putting it atop his vest.
"Now that the rituals are over," I said with smile, "Where were we?"
He chuckled again. "We were about to go into the bedroom."
"Were we?" I asked. "What's wrong with here? The rug's shaggy."
"That's the problem. We've never made love in bed, Ken. On floors, in chains, on slings, tied to posts, but never in bed."
I paused, then laughed a short laugh. "You're right. And when you're right, you're right. Follow me!" I said, skipping across the floor to the portal and jumping down. By the time he had gotten down to the bed I had thrown the covers aside. "Welcome," I said.
He sat down on the bed and said "Thank you."
I leaned over and kissed him on the muzzle gently. He parted his mouth slightly and his tongue pressed against my lips. I opened my mouth, letting his long tongue enter me and explore. My hands explored him. For the first time in all the years I've known him, I had a chance to touch him, to play with him the way I wanted to. I pressed my hands against his fur, feeling it slide between my fingers, feeling both warm and cool. Underneath it I could feel his pectorals, hard and unyielding, warm and wondrous.
He sighed gently as we kissed. "Do you know," he said, "I've wanted you to do that for years."
"Just stroke me. All our meetings were hard, fast, brief. I never got a chance to do this-" he put his paw on my chest- "and just feel your skin. Always fighting, following orders, fucking."
I shook my head. "Why didn't you ask?"
He shrugged. "Didn't know how." He paused for a second, then said "I have a confession."
"I spent yesterday afternoon with you coimelin. I asked her permission for this."
I wonder what the expression on my face was. Not really knowing what to do, I slowly caressed his fur with my left hand. He continued, "Not really permission. I wanted to know how to get your attention."
I shook my head. "All you had to do was ask, Aaden. You don't know how long I've wanted you like this."
He nodded. "I know that now." He leaned over to kiss me again. My right hand trailed down his chest, circling the root of his cock to cup his warm balls in my hand, rotating them gently in my fingers. My left hand still against his chest, I pushed him down onto the bed, leaning over him. "Shh..." I said, leaning over. I nuzzled his neck gently, diving into the deep white fur of his chest, making my way down. I licked his nipples playfully, but not with any seriousness. My right hand idled up from his balls to play with his erection, teasing it to life, then letting it ease back down. I wanted him to wait, but more importantly I didn't want him to be completely hard when I first tried to get him into my mouth.
As his erection flagged, I made my way down quickly. His body tensed, and I noted with precision his ticklish spots. I barely noticed when a single finger of his paw touched me on my back, but it came through very clearly as he eased down between the cheeks of my ass, over my anus. That made me swoon.
I nuzzled up against his cock, erect and out of its sheath, lying peacefully amidst his bellyfur. I licked at it playfully, taking the head of it against my lips, into my mouth. I felt the soft sponginess of the head on my lips and tongue, and slowly I eased him into my mouth. I had taken him before, I could do it again. I felt the head against the back of my throat. All my attention was there; I literally did not know what, if anything, he was doing with my cock. His was all- important. I paused, inhaled deeply through my nose, felt the air rush past that place where his penis lay, and eased forward, grabbing for more length with my lips, opening my jaw further.
My gag reflex didn't even complain. It slid down easily, filling me in ways even being fisted didn't compare to. Sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound contributed to the overwhelming feeling of completion. I loved him, and he me. He trusted my teeth and I guess I was trusting his claws, although I couldn't have told the difference. I began to slid back up off of his full cock, then back down again. With each easy thrust down my throat I felt my air blocked off, then restored as the head returned to my mouth, reach of my tongue.
I was worshipping him. Utterly and totally. I wanted to feel him climax, wanted to slowly and surely push him over the edge, with nobody watching us and making demands. It was him and me.
Slick with my saliva, the flesh of his cock was satiny sweet. Even though his size pressed my tongue to the floor of my mouth I managed to excite him. He growled. His hand came up under my hair, grabbing me in just that way that turns me on. "I'm going to come soon," he growled, his hips starting to buck. I wanted to smile, but didn't have the room. I concentrated on his cock, stroking faster, demanding more. Come on, Aaden, I thought. That's it.
He groaned, his hand pushing down, his hips pushing up, thrusting all of his length into me. I accepted it, taking it down my throat as he shuddered, his body quivering under me.
As his cock slowly shrank in my mouth I eased off of it, closing my lips and slurping up as much of the moisture as I could, not want to completely mess up his fur. His cock dropped to his belly, and I ran my finger along it gently, watching it twitch. He groaned.
I turned around to look at his face. He blinked and said, "Thank you."
"For what?" I asked. "Night's not over yet."
"No, it isn't." He chuckled as I lay down next to him, cuddling him close. His left hand, which lay underneath me, found my cock between us. His fingers stroked it gently with what little room he had. He pushed gently against my side, and I turned over onto my back. "I'll show you how it's done."
I smiled. "You didn't just show me how it was done a few minutes ago."
"Are you telling me you're upset with my performance?" he asked, incredulous.
"Let's just say I like the taste, and my tastebuds don't go this far down," running my finger down the length of my throat.
He laughed and kissed me again. "I'll remember that next time. But we all have to make sacrifices, Ken." He turned down and took my cock into his mouth without much preface, sucking it down as expertly as I thought I had his. He was so good, his tongue pressing strong against the sides of my cock, his hand playing with my balls and fingering my asshole as he did so. He had me at my hardest quickly.
I was more than a little surprised when he stopped. "Ken?" he said.
"Yeah?" I said, husky, horny, and breathless.
"I want you to fuck me."
"Now?" I asked. I had been enjoying his oral ministrations.
"Just like we did it on the floor."
I laughed, thinking what that meant. "I haven't got any olive oil, but I can find the... Ah, here it is," I said, rooting about in the toybox I keep under the bed. We traded positions; he got on all fours and I got behind him. His tall tail bent vertically at the base, so it wasn't in the way at all. I brushed his fur out of the way between his buttocks, applied a little lubricant to him, and a lot more to myself. With a few suggestive presses he spread his legs a little further apart, and I aimed my cock at his asshole. "Easy," he said.
That was a surprising request, but I complied. I pressed the head against his asshole with very little pressure, and I knew what he was waiting for- the right moment, when the tension gives. It came, and I slid into him, into his hot meltunnel. He seemed to close around my cock, to grab me and suck me in. I pressed into him, my thighs against his, hips against his furry buttocks. He moaned, "yes..."
"Good?" I asked, smiling.
"Yeah..." he said. "Do it."
I began stroking him slowly. In a mischievous bent I grabbed his tail and pulled it towards me, holding it against my chest with one hand, the other hand on the small of his back, in his fur, holding on. Looking down I could see my cock sliding in and out of him, his strong masculine buttocks shuddering with ever stroke.
I began to lose control, and the more I lost it the louder he got, moaning as I fucked him, loved him, wanted more of him. I let go of his tail and fell forward as he did, burying his head in the pillow, my hands onto the bed by his sides. Both of us on all fours, me inside him, making love to him, stroking, harder, faster.
I came inside him, shaking and shuddering, groaning aloud and collapsing against him, thrusting once or twice more. I rolled off to the left, he to the right, so we ended up on our sides, facing each other. His eyes were closed and he was quivering slightly. "Aaden?" I asked, worried.
"Yeah?" he asked, his eyes snapping open.
"You okay?" I asked.
"Oh, I'm okay." I laughed, then wiggled closer to him. His cock, despite his previous orgasm, was rock-hard again.
I reached for it and began to caress it gently. "We could do something with this," I said suggestively.
"Like what?" he asked.
"You could put it inside me."
"Are you sure?" he asked.
I laughed. "You're acting like I've never done that before."
"No, but you just came. Are you sure you want to?"
"You did. Come on, Aaden." In a deeper, slower voice I whispered, "Fuck me."
He searched my eyes, then nodded. I rolled over onto my back and said, "Like this."
He rose to kneel between my legs, squirting some of the lubricant onto his cock, then pushed my legs up until they against my chest. It's moments like this I'm happy I'm so flexible. He shoved a pillow under my back to raise me a little further, then pressed his cock against my butt. "A little higher," I suggested and he grabbed his tool and slid it up. "There," I said, and he pressed.
My asshole revolted, not yet convinced. I held up my hand, and he paused. I consciously forced myself to relax, and as the tight ring of muscle gave way for just an instant he took advantage of it, pressing ever-so-slightly. My ass gave up and he sank into me. I could feel the head of his cock expanding my insides, pressing up into me, making it's way deeper into my body.
I relaxed my legs a little, pressing them against his chest. He positioned his hands at my sides and raised himself off his knees, starting to slide back and forth. Starting to make love to me.
I looked up into his face, but he wasn't paying attention; he was watching where his hips and my butt met with each stroke. He was slow and easy and I felt lightheaded as he did so. I reached down and began to stroke my own cock as he fucked me. I wanted him more, but that slight cramping as our bodies met told me I didn't have any more depth, thankful that I had enough to take all of him.
"Harder," I said, and he looked up, nodding, speeding up.
"It's going to be a while," he said as he stroked.
I reached up from the bed to curl my fingers in the fur of his chest, reaching up to touch his neck, his muzzle. "Good thing you're so healthy," I replied. He slammed once into me hard and I said, "Yes!"
He smiled. "Patience, dear love," he said. He was teasing me, taking his time, knowing. I smiled and nodded.
His cock felt wonderful inside me, stroking my insides. He began to speed up, and my own cock hardened. I began to stroke it. "Harder," I begged him. "That's it," I sighed as he began to fuck me. Not just make love, but really fuck me, wonderfully. "Yeah," I said. "More," I pleaded as he went further. The bed creaked under us, shaking, the headboard knocking against the wall. "That's it!"
Why am I so verbal today? The thought flashed across my mind as he pounded into me, my body being pushed and pulled by his enormity, his hips slamming against me, his fur against my skin, deeper and harder and better. "Come on Aaden!" I screamed as he began to pant, feeling my own orgasm churning inside me. Little groans escaped him with every thrust. He slammed against me one more time, hard, and screamed, a pealing, bestial scream, his body melded to mine in force, and that scream was all I needed, screaming along with him, howling.
When it was over, I looked up at him, and he down at me. I could feel the big smile on my face, and could see it on his. "Well?" I said.
He laughed and said, "I think I've had enough."
"Awww..." I pouted.
"I think you have too," he said, smiling still.
"Yeah, I think so. C'mere." I pulled him down, feeling his cock slip out of me as I lowered my legs. He shuddered a little as it did. "How wuzzat?" I said.
"Wonderful," he said, still panting with exertion. "Tiring, too."
"I bet." As he lay against me his legs trembled slightly. "Rest for a few minutes and we'll go clean up." I closed my eyes and sighed. "Dave," I said to the Castle AI, "don't let us fall asleep." Dave didn't answer; he would do as asked without interrupting the illusion of privacy.
I stayed conscious anyway and after a few minutes I nudged Aaden. "Hmm?" he said.
"Let's go clean off."
"Okay," he said.
After a quick shower, we eased back into bed together. The night hadn't cooled off at all; it was still a hot autumn night. I threw the blankets off and cuddled close to Aaden, happy in his arms, happy burying my face in the furry crux of his throat. Happy being his.