After a punishing rescue Sean ends up in the hospital and suffers an unpleasant experience.
Ashley and Taws square off and investigators come to visit.
In the end they're heralded as heroes and Sean prepares to ask The Question...
At the hospital Sean was wheeled into a trauma room and put under the clinical regard of a no-nonsense staff of medical professionals. They reduced the battered remnants of his expensive suit to so many rags with practiced ease as they worked him over from head to toes. The doctor paused when he got to Sean's groin, looking up with a lift of his brows.
"Son, I've got a pretty touchy -"
"Yes," Sean hissed, his eyes rolling up in humiliation, "I was sexually assaulted by a cougar, doc."
The man frowned and nodded with a soft sigh, muttering something to one of his nurses. She slipped out quietly. "I know this is going to be hard, son, but I will have to conduct a rape kit."
"You gotta do what you gotta do, doc." Sean groaned though the exposure and vulnerability of the situation left a hard pressure in his chest, pressure echoed in his hands as he squeezed them into tight fists. "Guy who did it won't ever do it again." The nurse returned with a small box and the doctor went about the examination with all due gentleness.
"Why would you say that?" he asked as he worked, the poking and prodding making Sean wince and gasp anew. It was like being violated all over again; cold instruments going where he had never intended anything to go, ever. Not a cat, not a doctor, not even a hemorrhoid suppository. Tears welled up in his eyes and he blinked them away.
"I took his gun away and blew his balls off," he eventually managed to gasp out.
The examination stopped momentarily as the doctor looked up at him, judging how serious Sean was about that statement. After a moment he went back to work. "Bravo." The doctor grunted and let Sean's legs down, passing the tools and swabs back to the nurse. "I'm sure we'll see him soon, then." His hand gripped Sean's shoulder as he moved up to check the settings on one of the many devices wired to Sean, "And I shan't be gentle, if I get him. A bullet wound there won't bleed out, unless you got his tool with his sweetbreads, so he should arrive very much alive." He was trying, ever so hard, to be light about the situation, but not so much he belittled it. Sean, glad that the examination was over, tried to relax.
The drugs that the doctor injected into the IV line helped with that, relaxing him profoundly. "No, just balls and tail."
"Double ouch." He sat back against the other bed in the trauma room and rested his hands on his knees, "The good news is that, other than the expected rectal tearing from forced entry, you're not badly injured. Owing that it was a cat, and the signs indicate such, you will heal just fine in a few days. The memory, however, will stick with you like a tick. It's natural to be traumatized, so expect that. We can help coordinate with local counseling services if that's what you want. You should not feel less a man because you were overcome by another male that way and, besides, you turned it about on him." Stripping off his vinyl examination gloves he met Sean's exhausted gaze levelly, "I did not find evidence of ejaculation, only preseminal fluid."
"Small blessings, doc, small blessings indeed." The drugs were making it hard to think, hard to hold onto that terrified tension that had become a very real part of him. "How am I, otherwise?"
"We'll conduct an X-ray panel in an hour to ascertain your internal injuries. I would wager you have a few cracked bones, but nothing broken. A whole hell of a lot of soft tissue injuries; bruises and lacerations. The cuts on your face may scar, but only slightly." He picked up the chart and flipped through the pages, "High possibility of a cracked or fractured orbital socket, ribs, and some bones in your right foot. You've been through hell, son, and walked out alive if the report that wolf gave me is accurate. Double takedown of armed criminals; after being involved in a head on collision; after the beating the neutered puma dished out. Perhaps you should consider boxing?" He smiled warmly.
"Advertizing is so much easier on the body, doc." Sean relaxed back onto the thin mattress of the gurney and let out a long sigh, "Mhhh, a collie or two may come by... male and female. They're friends, if you'd let them in."
"After X-ray, son. We'll move you to an ICU overnight and if no complications arise release you in the morning. I'll clear them to visit all they wish. And the human woman who arrived with you? The wolf told me you rescued her from the crooks?"
"Ex, doc, she's my ex... she can come, I guess." He cracked open one eye drowsily and fought back the demands of his body to just give in and sleep, "She's gotten worse than me, many times over. And she's been ... uhnf ... where's my phone?" The doctor dug into a plastic bag on the tray beside him and extended the phone. Sean blinked at it blearily, tabbing through the contacts.
NA. ash in S9uthern hills. DOc eeds inf on drugs givwn. She a.ive.
He dropped back with a bone weary sigh and propped his arm against the side rail to read the phone when it buzzed a few moments later.
I got out, all good. You okay? Send name of attending, will send records.
He tried to answer after asking the doctor who Ashley's attending physician but, after many failed attempts to get the name right, he simply handed the phone to the doctor. After the information was sent the phone was handed back.
Am in hosp, hrt bt aluve. juicd
He handed the phone back to the doctor and as the man returned it to the bag his world faded into drug induced darkness. He was awakened some time later for the X-ray panels but was so doped he could only lay there and let them do the work. When he awoke again he was in a glass-walled room with drawn blinds. Taws sat nearby with her chin tucked to her chest in slumber and the fingers of one hand laced through his. When he squeezed her eyes snapped open and she looked up.
"My hero," she breathed with a warm canine smile, tightening her fingers in his own.
He could still feel the drugs in his system, the sense of deep, languid torpor they produced still fogging his head. Yes, he was more awake than the last time, but he felt no urgency to truly sober up and was content to just ride it out.
"I didn't rescue you, love." He murmured drowsily. Shadows moved back and forth beyond the blinds; doctors and nurses and visitors about their duties.
Taws shook her head slowly and moved her chair closer to the side of the bed, reaching across to stroke his cheek with her free hand. "You rescued Ashley, and that makes you my hero, because you did so much for someone who hurt you."
Closing his eyes briefly he swam in the lazy haze of the drugs, the touch of her fingertips against his cheek the most pleasant sensation he could imagine. "I was raped, T." he murmured sleepily, barely aware of what he was saying. "It hurt."
Taws head lifted higher and she blinked in surprise, "Sean? Sean, what? You were what?"
"W-" he popped his lips, a cotton muzziness in his mouth, "Water." He turned his head slightly and cracked an eye open, "Wuz cat, cougar, uh... puma. Fight in vid room, an he ... he raped me." Incongruously he smiled though he meant to frown, feeling as much cotton batting his thoughts as leaving his mouth dry. Maybe the drugs were a bit stronger than he thought. Maybe he should just go back to sleep until they worse off.
Taws gazed back, her muzzle agape and tall, shaggy ears pinned forward. She blinked rapidly a few times before swiftly rubbing the back of her free hand across her eyes. "Sean, oh dear, I'm so sorry!" she murmured in a soft, plaintive whine.
"Mmhmm, hurt .. but!" he held up a hand with one finger in the air, "Shut him... neuter. Shot!" he grunted, but the drugs were too heavy, too smothering, and it was getting annoying. "Shot 'm inna nuts. Splat!"
Light spilled into the room and Taws looked up as the door opened. In the hallway beyond a uniformed police officer sat next to the door. Two others, in plainclothes but with badges hanging out of breast pockets, stood nearby. A shadow stepped in and slowly closed the door, but approached no closer.
"Who are you?" Taws grunted with a sudden harsh growl at the interruption. Sean lifted his head slightly, making out a vague human form, but could not hold his head up long enough for a good look.
When the form spoke, though, it was like being bathed in ice water. "Ashley." A feminine voice replied diffidently, "You're... Taws?"
"Yes. Why are you here?" the collie snarled, her fingers tightening against Sean's hand. He squeezed back with that hand as he brought his other up to rub his eyes. Damn it, he knew he should say something, but his mouth hung open in parched torpor. He tried to concentrate on making it work, to say something.
"I - I wanted to see how he was."
"Hurt!" Taws snapped fiercely, hackles lifting and ears backed, "Because of you, for you, he's fucking beat to shit."
"I know, I saw him in the ambulance, but I -" Ashley leaned back against the door not daring approach the dangerous glare of the collie. "I was juiced up pretty bad. Doctor told me I can come off of it, because of how they did it, but..." She trailed off. Had she a tail it would've been securely tucked.
"Listen, lady, he got pounded into mince trying to get you out of there. You up and fucking god damn kicked him to the curb, but he was, is, still man enough to feel he owes you."
"He took on two of Sharpson's best men to save me, too." Ashley nodded, slinking to one side and dropping into the chair near the door, huffing in exhaustion. "Taws, please --"
"Please nothing, lady!" Taws snarled fiercely, but low enough not to attract the curiosity of the officers posted outside.
"Taws, please --"
This time it had been Sean who said it, though it was barely a croak. Still, it was enough to make the two women in the room stop and stare at him. He had his eyes open and was looking up imploringly at the collie. "Taws, please... I can't... I need to talk to Ashley. And I would like... to do it alone. Please."
Taws' ears were folded back as she squeezed his hand tighter. Sean could clearly read the hurt in her golden eyes and could only hope she could read the same in his. "Okay, hon," she whispered, letting go of his hand but reaching up to run the soft backs of her fingers over his cheek as she got up to leave.
Despite the bruising she had taken earlier and the bags under her eyes, Ashley still had a haughty air about her as she walked past the abashed collie, to take Taws' place at Sean's side with his hand in hers. Taws spared one last look before the door hissed closed, though she missed the tired and dispassionate look on Sean's face as he said, "Hello, Ash."
The hospital coffee was much like Taws expected it would be; rough and bitter and stale. The waiting room was too far away. Eventually she settled herself in a chair across the hall from the cop and plainclothed officers guarding Sean's door, seething and drilling daggers into it. After far too many minutes for her liking the door opened once more and Ashley stuck her head out. "Oh... there you are. You can come back in. We're... done talking." Taws could see the smeared trails of dampness glistening beneath her eyes.
When she got into the room she could see that Sean was still in his bed, though appeared to be sleeping once more. Instead of going over to him, she stayed next to Ashley. She couldn't help it; Ashley looked terrible. The ingrained haughtiness that had survived her months of imprisonment which had been present when Taws left the room was now gone, replaced with sorrow and loss. It was clear the woman had been weeping, her eyes gone red from having rubbed away the tears. "It's done between you two. Over and burned, you're out of his life," Taws said, keeping her voice more neutral than she felt.
Ashley nodded and looked at her hands where she had been wringing them together. "Forever, I know. The FBI says I'm going into witness protection after I testify. I'll never, ever, get to see him again. I just had to tell him thank you. And goodbye."
Taws blinked, half lifting her ears, "Oh. You get a new life, and he gets to remember what he went through to give it to you. I want you to remember it too."
"I will." Ashley nodded, "Our love is gone, but I still have him in my heart." At the angry fluffing of Taws' fur she held up one hand, "For what he did for me, not for what we had. I - I handled that poorly, I know that now. I knew that months ago. I knew that a year before I ended it; I did not Love him, not as you appear to. I didn't expect him to fall for a dog, no offense, but I could see in his eyes when he asked that wolf about you that ..." Ashley looked to her lap again, "There's more room in his heart for you than I ever had. I want you to know I wish it works happily-ever-after for you two. I'm not going to try getting between you; I can't and I won't." She finally looked Taws in the face. "You were right; it's over between us."
Taws nodded in return and huffed a breath through her thin canine lips, slowly forcing her ears to fully lift and her fur to settle. "I guess I should say thank you, though, Ashley. I never really thought much of you humans, either. The way you look down on us as mere beasts. But Sean, I always knew from the day I was first asked to work with him on a project, was - is different. He does not see the fur and fangs; he sees the heart. More should have his vision."
Ashley nodded slowly, "I think I begin to understand it. I've had to -" she halted with a hitch in her throat, grimacing as she fought it down, "But it's ... a dark vision. I've been forced to serve, to service, them for months. Can you understand how it taints my view?"
"Perfectly." Taws offered gently with an inner shudder. She could not begin to grasp what the human woman had suffered the last few months. "Don't think less of us for it."
"No less, and no more, than I would of humans doing the same." Ashley admitted with a nod. She hugged herself tightly, looking away from Taws, at the door and at the ground. "I will miss him. His memory kept me going these last few months. And the thought of being able to make it up afterwards..." Ashley grimaced and shook her head. "Just... be what he deserves you to be."
Taws nodded soberly, "Thank you, Ashley. For understanding what he went through to save you." She smiled softly in the dimness of the intensive care room, "And for breaking up with him, even the way you did it." Ashley offered a wan smile in return and slipped out of the room with a soft goodbye. The cop glanced up at her, and then back into the room while the two others escorted Ashley away, before the door quietly clicked shut.
"Hey there, love," said Taws as she slipped into the chair next to Sean's bed, taking his hand in hers once more. "I'm back."
Sean murmured softly as he smiled and cracked open his eyes, his grip tightening on hers. "Thank you for that, love," he whispered. "I needed her to understand it was over between us, because of us and no one else. It was a hard thing to do, seeing her again. Telling her it's over. But the thought of you -- the thought of us -- got me though it."
Taws lifted his hand to her muzzle, imparting it with a quick kissing. Thinking better of it, she leaned over, eyes gleaming with tears, and kissed him on the lips also. "Then I know we can get through anything. For now, though, love; sleep."
The door opened again some hours later to find Sean sitting up, sober if sore, with the bed raised to let him relax. Taws sat nearby and Oda lounged in the chair by the door regaling Sean with an eye-witness' viewpoint of his furious assault on Ashley's captor. The bald man had gone down so swiftly that he was little more than an afterthought. Both of them had been scooped up by the FBI, yanked out of local jurisdiction, and hustled off to an undisclosed location for interrogation. Sean winced when he laughed at the wolf's recounting of his devastating kick to Ashley's stomach.
"Shoot the hostage, eh?" Oda winked with a toothy grin, turning his head and looking up as the door clicked and swung open. Two starkly dressed men strode in as if they owned the place and moved to stand at the foot of Sean's bed. Oda grumbled irritably and stood, moving around to stand at the head of the bed in a pose of dangerous potential.
"Sean, I am special agent Marshal, and this is district attorney Sammuels. We'd like to ask you a few questions, purely off record, to clear up some points of our investigation." When Sean nodded cautiously Marshal took a breath and laced his hands behind the small of his back. "Firstly, let me explain a small - gap in our investigation that I would like to get pieced into this fray. Yesterday afternoon an undercover agent of the DEA was shot three times in the back while attempting to make a drug sale in the hotel you were... how should we say... infiltrating. The weapon used was a thirty-eight caliber pistol with a suppressor.
"This weapon has subsequently been secured, and the fingerprints on it belong to you. Could you explain this?"
Sean winced, fearing for a moment that he was going to be arrested for the murder of a federal agent, "Did you find the puma?"
Marshal nodded soberly, "Yes, he was transported to Nevada General. And the agent survived, by the way. He is recovering from emergency surgery. Anyway, the puma that was found sorely injured on the seventh floor is still in ICU, not talking. Gunshot residue testing indicates he used a firearm recently so he is in custody pending a full investigation. We need to know what happened from you."
Sean nodded slowly and took a long breath, glancing over at Taws. He felt Oda's powerful hand resting upon his shoulder reassuringly. "He found me in the video room. I was rerouting the video so that agents Lazarus and Oda could get to the thirteenth floor, secure a woman named Ashley, and get out undetected." He paused and let out a breath, looking down at his bruised hands for a moment. Raising his head he looked to Taws, speaking again as he gazed into her gentle golden gaze. "He attacked me. We fought. He... raped me. Or near enough as to call it that." He managed to sigh after several breaths. Taws' hand tightened in his own and Oda's paw gave a squeeze upon his shoulder. The wolf hand known; he had smelled the puma's lust stench on him in the truck. Admitting it now, with him present, was not unexpected news to him. Sean looked back to the two stoic men at the foot of his bed. "I managed to turn the tables and got his pistol. It went off during the fight and the cat went down."
"Must've been one hell of a fight." Sammuels interjected blandly, "That cat was beaten to a pulp." Sean could only shrug. "Did he have a satchel? A gym bag?"
Sean nodded, "Yeah, I grabbed it on my way out not knowing what it was other than something the puma valued. Once I looked at it and found out what it was I ditched it in the trunk of a car. That was before those two men showed up with Ashley and took off in it. They didn't see the bag in the trunk. There was a third man; tall and late forty-ish. One of the men from the car called him Abe,"
"Abraham Sharpson." Oda interjected flatly, still pure menace.
"He told the tall man, not the bald one, to make Ashley disappear; for good. I could only imagine that they meant to take her somewhere out into the desert and kill her. I caught up with agent Lazarus outside the hotel and joined the chase that was shown on the news this morning."
"Would you testify to what mister Sharpson told his men?" Marshal asked with a curious lift of his eyebrows, entreaty in his cool stare.
"He's a member of a powerful criminal cartel." Sammuels added in caution.
"He's scum. I'd help you put him in the ground tomorrow if you got me a shovel. I'm kinda laid up today."
"As we see, and we're pretty damn glad you survived. The local police were very keen on leveling charges on you, and your compatriots, but we've put that to bed so you don't have to worry. There is a small matter, though, in which the DA and I feel your testimony is... inaccurate." Marshal glanced to the stoic attorney at his side. Sammuels merely nodded. "You said that you took a gym back off the cat after the attack. That is incorrect. You never saw it, touched it, or moved it. So far as anyone needs be concerned, that bag was put into that car by Sharpson's men. The cat caught you, but he didn't have the bag when he did. Is that a problem?"
"What gym bag?" Sean replied, understanding exactly what he was being told. "I fought the cat, and I won. I was too distracted to see if he had anything other than that gun."
Marshal nodded and, moving around to Taws' side of the bed, extended a hand, "That is all we need, sir, and we thank you for the service you have done our respective agencies. You've cracked a defense we've been working against without a scratch for years. We would like to have a statement from you when you're well enough, and we'll need your testimony when the trial reaches that point, but other than that you're free to go."
The night was wonderful and cool, the waxing half moon hanging pale white in the clear sky. Its light dampened out much of the galactic rim sprawling across the night sky but did little to dampen the fiery magnificence of the Nightfire comet almost directly overhead. Over the last couple of days the comet's corona had begun to flare with a blue-white cast like that glittered like a gem.
Taws stretched out against Sean on the blanket that had been rescued from the ruin of Lazarus' precious truck. The beast was now undergoing major emergency surgery to correct its many injuries, having come off the worst of all the rescue party. Sean reclined against the smooth coolness of a rock and Taws' head rested on his stomach while she gazed up at the spectacular view above. They had not chosen to spend their last night in Vegas under the glittering lights of the Strip, or the hotel room where Lazarus and Oda remained, preferring to enjoy the stars some distance into the desert, away from all contact, driving an hour in a random direction out into the wastes with Lazarus' rental. It was still a truck; big and beefy but not nearly so well appointed. It was a hulking shadow behind them, cold and silent.
Taws took a slow draught from the bottle of expensive Merlot they had brought with them before handing it up to Sean and stroking her muzzle with that long, skillful tongue of hers. White teeth glimmered briefly in the moonlight and her dark eyes switched from the stars to his own downcast gaze, smiling as their eyes met. Sean tilted the bottle and took a slow drink of the dry, robust wine before setting the almost empty bottle aside. It had already worked its warming magic through him, banishing the mild chill of the night and softened the edges of his many healing aches.
"I think I understand why city folks are so... immune to beauty so much." Taws murmured, as pleasantly buzzed on rich wine as he. "They can't look up and find it in the stars."
Sean chuckled softly and stroked the moonlit paleness of her throat ruff just above the deep cut neckline of her blouse, "I don't have to look up, love." He replied warmly, head spinning with pleasant warmth. "I need only look to you, each morning when I wake, and know that I've found it." He paused and leaned down to kiss the cool black tip of her nose, "Or, rather, feel renewed joy that it found me."
Taws chuckled softly and patted one of his knees with her hand, shifting comfortably against him. "Sap." She grinned and licked slowly across the palm of his hand. Tomorrow evening they would be leaving Vegas, and the marvel of that night sky, behind to return to the hustle and haste of New York City; returning to work, and the humdrum sameness of one day leading into the next. But for all the beauty they had found in the Nevada desert, in the stars under which they lay, there was a strong twinge to get away and leave this place behind. It was an unobtrusive feeling, but in the quiet moments he could feel it there.
Still, it was something he could drown out. Chuckling in return, a soft sound into the cups of her velvet ears, he brushed his cheek across them, pausing to give the furry inner warmth of one a nuzzle. "I've got some sap for you, luscious lady." He chided pleasantly. Splaying the fingers of his hand he turned it and slipped it beneath the neck line of her blouse, satin fur coursing under his fingertips as they sought, and found, the warm curve of a subtle canine breast. Taws rumbled a soft, laughing growl and lifted her chest to his touch, dark eyes gleaming in the moonlight.
"Will you love me?" she crooned warmly, hissing briefly through her nose when his thumb brushed naked flesh buried deep within soft fur, "Gently, under the stars?"
Sean knew what she wanted, and was never one to pass up such a kind invitation to enjoy the warm sensuality of her most enjoyed intimacy. Carnal though it might be, burying himself into the tight heat of her ass, it was also their most passionate joy. They always undertook that sharing with the utmost care and love; less lustful rutting and much more sharing of their love. It was as close he could ever come to the canine nature of tying his canine lover as, once fully paired in that union, they would rest together unmoving to do nothing more than enjoy each other.
"Until the last stars go dim." He breathed into the soft furry hollow of her ear and gave that breast a gentle squeeze. The collie let out a slow, rumbling sigh and caught her hand over his own, pressing down gently and writhing against him for several seconds before sitting up. Once freed of her weight Sean stood and, while she watched, slowly worked his shirt open, button by button. She stood to help him draw it off while he worked his pants loose and then reached over to unfasten hers and then each button of her blouse in turn.
He left her to remove her own shirt without his aid and knelt before her, catching the waist of her loosened pants with his hands and inched them downward slowly, leaning in to bury his nose in the open fly. Her aroused musk hammered him with its deep, heady warmth and he drank it in as her pants slipped from her hips and dropped to the steep angle of her hocks. His face pushed deeper into the lush fur of her loins, nose slowly working from side to side as he nuzzled the fur out of the way of his questing lips. Those lithe, fur softened hips shifted against his face as she stepped out of her pants, gentle fingers capturing the back of his head and pulling his face fully between her thighs. His lips found her canine nether lips and kissed, slowly and heatedly, pressing the soft out-thrust diamond of her labia flat, before his tongue parted them with a slow lick.
Stroking his hands upward and inward he cupped his own chin in his palm, extended fingers tickling about the root of her very inhuman labia under his kiss. Drawing back slightly he replaced the touch of his tongue with that of his fingers, slipping two digits gently between her lips and stroking slowly against the silken smoothness of her heat. Slick, clinging wetness warmed his fingers as the bitch moaned and dug blunt claws against his scalp, body bowing back to push her pelvis forward into his kiss and burying his face in deep, lush fur. Gentle, claw-less fingertips pushed back into the cleft of her labia, nudging the hood of her clit from the firm bud and grinding gently against it as they continued to slip back, and with a gentle hook, upward into the clenching tightness of her entry.
"Oh!" Taws yipped softly, claws digging against his scalp as her hips jerked forward solidly, burying his fingers beyond the second knuckle in the snug tightness of her pussy. Slick wetness coursed down his fingers and Sean smiled into her fur, withdrawing his fingers slowly. Still cupping his own chin upon his palm he pushed forward against the shuddering of her pelvis, touching his lips to the point of her labia as his fingers extended outward beyond them. He felt heat once more upon his fingertips; but more muscular, less silken and fiercely tight. While his tongue flicked teasingly at her labial point and coaxed those pouting canine lips apart he rubbed the slickness of her juices upon the flesh of her anal ring, pressing lightly against the dimpled center. "Tease!"
"Mmhmm," Sean rumbled in a passable facsimile of her own growl against the lips of her pussy, letting the tip of his tongue find her clit and circle it with smooth warmth. After several seconds working the slickness of her arousal onto the heat under her tail he drew back again, using different fingers to dip once more into the fierce, slick heat of her entry. He slowly eased them deep into her, past the sharp demarcation of her vaginal sphincter, and hooked them forward against the textural difference that they found within her. That small swath of inner flesh was not so silken as the rest; subtly rough like her tongue. She let out a deep groan and shuddered muscularly against him as his fingers teased her, pressing deep and drawing back only to press deeply again, each time sliding across that ever-so-sensitive inner flesh. Each stroke was met with a shudder and buck against his face, a fresh rush of slickness trickling down his fingers. Drawing them out once more he reached back to rub that slick warmth upon her ring.
Raising one leg she pushed a stout foot paw between his thighs, claws catching his pants and pushing them downward to his knees. Without removing his face from her furry loins he moved his legs to kick them off, rendering them both naked under the stars of the desert night. Giving him a last taste of her slick arousal Taws stepped back and dropped down to her knees. The moonlight gave her a ghostly aura; the long, pale fur catching the wan light far more differently than his northern pale skin. Slipping both hands about the back of his neck she drew him close, head tilting and muzzle opening as her tongue slipped out and drew across his lips. Dark eyes gleamed and her cold nose brushed his cheek while Sean parted his lips, letting her taste himself as they drew close in a passionate kiss. Blunt human tongue caressed long canine tongue in the seal of muzzle to mouth and Sean buried his fingers into the fur of her rump, stroking just beneath its root with the backs of his thumbs.
The short expanse of her tail root, a place she called the flare, from the very root and out to perhaps six inches where the longer fur began to thicken, was very sensitive. He had learned this from her, and had no way to understand how it felt due to his own lack of a tail, but he had become very skilled at learning new things. Often just a gentle rub along that flare would send her into writhing fits of deep desire that had nothing to do with lust. At the stroke of his thumbs her tail lifted and draped off to one side, exposing her rump fully to the gentle grasp of his fingers.
Breaking their kiss she smiled, dipping her head before him and stretching out on elbows and knees to give his very erect length a slow lick, pressing it against his stomach as she drew from his balls upward to his tip and lapped lightly across it to taste his pre. Opening her muzzle with a pleased growl at the taste she engulfed him fully with a single dip of her long, tapered muzzle. Sean let out a loud grunt and shuddered much as she had moments before, hips tensing and fingers clenching into her fur. "Ungh! Now who's teasing?"
Tightening her jaws she pressed the length of her facile tongue upward, capturing him from tip to balls, she slowly drew back. The curved columns of stout canine fangs drew downward along his length, the rasp of her upper teeth made soft by a subtle tilt of her muzzle and the touch of her lower teeth softened by the tip of her tongue curled outward beneath him. Reaching his tip she drew a warm stroke across it once more and then turned slowly sideways to him, lush tail uplifted and draped to the side away from him. "Not teasing, love." She growled, her hips swaying coquettishly with a flick of her tailtip, "Savoring." Stretching cat-like she lay herself down upon the blanket on her side, back to him. Looking back over her shoulder, upraised tail slowly wagging against his knees, her eyes gleamed, "Let's share the stars together, love, for one last night."
Moving to stretch out behind her Sean nuzzled into the ruff of her nape and put one arm over her side, slipping his hand upward to cup her breast as he shifted himself close against her back. She had no need to reach back and guide him for his erect cock settled into the furry satin cleft of her rump with practiced ease. Drawing her back, his face buried in the warm depths of her ruff, Sean slowly eased himself upward along that warm valley until his saliva and pre slickened tip came to rest against the pussy slickened heat of her ring. Bracing himself on her hips, he gave a short thrust and felt the head of his cock pop in past her tight ring.
"I'm gonna make ya scream!" The voice lit through Sean like a lightning bolt, his entire body going tense in an instant as the puma's furious snarl burned through his memory and sent a fiery twinge exploding through his ass. He could not feel the smooth, satin heat of Taws' ring around his tip; he felt the rasp-like tip of the cat against him. He twitched against the collie's back, hips drawing away as a snort of breath exploded into the fur of her ruff. He could see only the furious bronze of those feline eyes before him; the looming shadow of the cat above him as that burning rasp slammed home in his ass.
His ass, Taws' ass... was that the sensation? They were one, but the cat was gone, Sean was safe. He tried to force his panicked tension into abeyance and slipped forward again. His shaft was not nearly so rigid as before and when his tip came to rest against Taws once more he stopped, "I'm gonna make ya bleed!" He could hear it as clearly as if the cat were right there, lying with them, his presence a very real thing as Sean's ass clenched in pained remembrance. Even as he strove to overcome the memory he found his erection had failed completely, falling away in impotence as he heard Taws' concerned rumble.
"Sean?" She turned her upper body slightly, shoulders lying flat as she turned her head to him, "Are you okay?"
Pressing his face into the hollow of the collie's neck, hiding his agonized tears of fear and pain in the thick ruff of white fur, "Oh, god... no." he moaned, his manhood hanging limp and lifeless. "I -"
"Sean, it's okay, it's all right." She flipped herself over, throwing one arm over his side to pull her close as her tail tucked down against her rump and away from him. "You're safe!"
Raising his head he drew her tightly against his chest with one arm and tried to regain his labored, hastened breathing. "I know, Taws, love... but... I -" He blinked back tears and tried to focus on something, anything, other than the furious bronze glare filling his mind. "I can't."
Kissing softly at his cheeks Taws' tongue swept away his tears. Gentle arms reached out and pulled him close in a tight hug, burying his face into the hollow of her throat; into the deep warmth of her collie mane where he would often sleep in comforted repose. "It's okay, love." She crooned softly, her earlier passion dashed in concern for him. "The cat?"
Nodding woodenly into that blinding embrace of white fur Sean heaved a huge sigh, "Yeah... I can't escape him. God, Taws, it's like I'm under him all over again!"
"I'm here, love. I'm here." Her muzzle brushed the top of his head consolingly while she held his shivering, fear wracked nakedness close. "I'll be here, always. I'll help you exorcise him."
Sitting up onto his knees Sean scrubbed at his face with both hands before looking at her once more, "Thank you, love." He rocked his head back and stared sightlessly at the red swath of the comet dominating the sky overhead, blue corona winking against the ebony backdrop. Turning to one side slightly he fumbled at his pants, "I'm sorry, I just - it's -" He shrugged and tossed them down after a few moments. "Too soon, after."
Taws rolled up onto her knees and faced him, resting both hands upon his shoulders, "Time, love. It will take time. And love." Leaning forward she dipped her muzzle to rest her brow against his, knee to knee, naked in the desert dark. "As long as it takes, I'll be here to help you."
Raising his hands from his lap, Sean wrapped his arms around her and pressed his brow against her's in turn, taking a long, slow breath. "Always?"
"Yes," she crooned in a soft howl, "Yes, Sean. Always."
Pulling her fully into the embrace, Sean sought to drown his memories in the now; the feel of Taws' mane, damp with his tears; the scent of her need mixed with the dust of the desert around him; the sound of her breathing and soft whines as she offered him comfort. It was all supposed to be so special; not like this.
What he had intended as a grand coup de grace after their adventures had turned to utter failure.
Four months ago, when they were window shopping the day before Christmas, Taws had spied a ring in a jewelry store window. A simple seeming loop of unadorned, polished tungsten. She had admired it's simple, utilitarian perfection. A few days later he had returned and purchased it; intending to offer it as a gift; a way of repaying the comfort she had given him. He had stopped short of giving it to her then due to the crassness he felt the gesture would convey. Unlike the one he had intended to give Ashley, he held on to the simple metal band rather than return it. Purchased on a whim all those months back, it had sat in the disused change pocket of his wallet, never quite fogotten and only needing the proper moment for presentation. Over time he had come to feel that its purpose was more profound; awaiting the moment for the meaning that it had attained in his mind. He wanted this to be that moment. Tonight he had intended its delivery to be his grand gesture, the finale to his old life and commitment to his new life. A commitment he wanted to share with her.
Instead, the ring sat, still tangled in his pants pocket, as useless as the rest of him.