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Bliss

 
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Demeter Ashton
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:24 pm    Post subject: Bliss Reply with quote

((Contains material of an adult nature.))

Once the celebration was over, each of the four couples retired to their own suite, but it was Marissa who found herself still drawn outside, to the lights in the sky that were unique to this world and this place. Emrys had his arms around her, his hands protectively and possessively laid across the flat of her stomach beneath which their children were slowly growing. "It is beautiful here, isn't it?" Marissa mused aloud, content for now to just savor the moment.

"It truly is," he agreed softly, resting his cheek against her hair as they both looked out over the snow glittering beneath the dancing lights that lit up the sky. "Serene, and peaceful." A faint smile crossed his face as he considered his next words. "This may sound strange, but ... this view? This is almost as though what I feel when I'm with you has been painted on the world around us."

She arched a brow as she gave him a sidelong look, surprised and yet not so very surprised by his words. "That's lovely. I didn't know you were a poet," she told him with a soft smile, as she laid her hands against his and leaned back against him, savoring his closeness and his warmth.

"You make me a better man than I could ever have dreamed of being, Marissa," he murmured to her tenderly. "Just by loving me, you make me better. And I will be better still, every day, because I love you. I promise you, I will learn to eat with a knife and a fork. I will learn how to cook basic meals. I will build another bedroom and bathroom onto the cabin for our children. I will do anything and everything you need me to do, and an awful lot that you don't need done, because you are everything to me."

Marissa turned to face him, needing him to understand what she was about to say. "Emrys, my darling," she started, taking his hands in hers, a soft smile on her face, her eyes bright with happy tears. "It doesn't matter if you use a knife and fork or if you learn how to cook. Those things are not important. What is important is that I love you. You have made me so happy. Happier than I ever thought I could be. It's not because of the cabin or the pigs or our simple way of life. It's because of you. No matter where we live or what we do, I will always love you just for you. I cannot say it any plainer than that. You are everything to me, too, Emrys. Everything."

He smiled, drawing her close for a long, tender kiss. They still had their bumps, and there would be more of them over the years, but this, the core of what they shared, would never change. "You're still going to make me meet your matriarch though, aren't you?"

"Make you?" she echoed, chuckling. "You already passed the test. You met Rhiannon. I'm sure news of you will get back to Colleen. Besides, I had to meet Seren, didn't I?" she countered, looking amused at his worries and knowing they were unnecessary.

"Love, we both know Seren is about as intimidating as a drunk duck with a severe cold," he informed her laughingly. "The more I hear about Colleen, the more I feel like I'm supposed to have a job at the very least. But even if she hates me at first sight, she will never chase me away from you."

"A job?" Marissa echoed again, laughing at his worries, which were mostly unfounded. "You really don't understand, do you?" she asked, wiping the tears from her eyes. She wasn't laughing at him exactly, only at the thought that he was so worried about something that really didn't matter.

"No ... no, I think it's quite clear that I really don't understand much at all," he chuckled with her, hugging her close. "But that's all right. You do the thinking, I do the other stuff."

Her expression sobered a moment, as she realized this was something she had never really explained. She didn't think it would make a difference between them, but he did have the right to know. "Emrys, I know I never told you this. I never thought it was very important, but ..." She paused a moment, that worried look on her face again, though in her heart, she knew there was nothing she could tell him that would make him love her any less. "My parents left me a sizable inheritance. There's no need to worry about money or jobs, but so long as you are with me, I am happy with a simple life."

His smile didn't falter once. "You know, I never worried about money or having a job before we met," he said thoughtfully. "I worried about it afterward, when we were still finding our way to each other. But somewhere along the way, I stopped worrying. I love our life together, and we could live it without a cent or a penny between us. I trust you, and no, I don't understand money or how it works or how much of it we use in a week, but I don't need to. We both have our own strengths, our own skills, and we compliment each other. So until you tell me I need to worry, I won't."

"Then we won't worry together," she told him, touching a soft kiss to his lips, as if to seal that promise. "And Collie will adore you, but don't expect to meet her anytime soon. I'm told she is away from Rhy'Din right now, and I do not know where she is or when she will return."

"Ah, so I will probably be able to hide behind a baby," he nodded sagely, kissing her once again. "Works for me." With a wink and a grin, he swayed with her under the northern lights, basking in her love. "Want to run with me a while?"

Her smile reappeared at his suggestion. While other couples might want to get cozy in bed and whisper sweet nothings, Marissa and Emrys never felt so alive as when they were running together beneath the moonlit sky. "I thought you'd never ask," she replied, stepping back so that she could shuck her clothing and let the wild tiger inside her be free.

He took a moment to stow her clothes inside, his own with them, and conceal the key to their igloo beneath the snow. Yet just moments later, the large wolf that had only truly been his since he had known her was bounding out across the snow, tail wagging wildly as he nudged his tigress affectionately. New land to explore, new scents to learn, and a mate who was everything he could ever have asked for, all rolled into one. Not bad for someone else's wedding day.

She wasted no time in shifting, even as he stowed their clothes. It was cold here, especially at night, but the tiger hardly noticed. When he returned, she answered his nudge with a chuff of recognition, proving that what they had said before proved true. It didn't matter if one was a cat and one was a wolf; the bond between them was one of the heart and the soul. She bounded after him, eager to explore, eager to run, eager to let the wild part of her heart free, so long as he was by her side.

Not far from there, another couple watched that same sky from the comfort of their bed, warm and soft with their love. Kisses were shared, bodies tangled together, as they gazed up at the wonders of the Northern Lights. "Penny for your thoughts?" Dorian asked as he held Seren close.

She laughed softly, nestling just that little bit closer in the tangle of sheets. One hand rose to belatedly unwind the sparkle from her hair before it grew so entangled it would have to be cut out. "Am I supposed to be thinking?" she asked him as she settled down again. "I thought I was supposed to be delirious with lust around about now. Why, are you thinking?"

"And here, I thought you were always thinking," Dorian teased, touching a kiss to her nose. Wasn't that the way it was with women? Not a moment went by when their wheels weren't turning on one thing or another. "I am thinking about how happy I am," he confessed with a grin.
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Demeter Ashton
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seren giggled at the kiss, lifting her head to answer it with her own. "Are you happy?" she asked superfluously. "No regrets about how we got here?" After all, it had been a bumpy ride. A first meeting where love at first sight didn't even begin to cover it; attacked by someone she had once trusted as a friend; his entire being changed to save his life; his life itself changed from a wanderer to a man settled in one place; and now married, with a new brother and sisters to add to the brother he had come to Rhy'Din to find in the first place. It had been one hell of a year.

But it was because of all those things that he was happy. Where he had once been an orphan, he now had a family, brothers and sisters both of blood and of the heart. A pack, as Marissa had said. While the future might still be uncertain, he had no regrets in his past. "No regrets, Seren. Not a single one," he assured her with another kiss to her lips.

"I am very glad to hear it, Mr. Hadley," she grinned, crawling over him to deepen that kiss. Skin to skin, they lay together, trading kisses back and forth, until she was short of breath once again, combing her fingers through his hair. "I want to run with you under the full moon and the northern lights," she said softly, hoping he wouldn't be too upset with her for bringing this up now. "Do ... do you think it's possible?"

He arched a brow at her question, turning to face her with a serious expression on his face. They'd discussed the possibility of pushing her to shift before, but neither was quite sure whether it would work, and he had left the decision to try up to her. "I think it's possible, but ... I'm not born lycan, like you are, Seren. Are you sure you wouldn't prefer Emrys do it?"

"I'm very sure," she told him firmly. "You are my mate, my husband, and I want it to be you that makes me whole. I trust you, Dorian, with everything that I am. I know it will be hard for you, but I know you won't let your instincts carry you away with me."

He still remembered what it had been like to have been turned by her brother - the pain of the bite and the first change - without which he would have died. It was not the same for Seren. She was already of lycan blood; all that was needed was something to push her to be able to shift. Then she would truly be whole, and they would truly be the same. "It will not be pleasant," he warned her.

"I know," she promised him, still smoothing her fingers through his hair as though she were calming a fractious animal. "I'm not afraid. I have everything you have, love. The only thing I can't do is change my form. No matter how badly I'm hurt, so long as I'm not touched with silver and my heart survives intact, I will always heal again."

"I am-I am not sure what to do," Dorian stammered, though he knew well enough what Emrys had done to him. It had just been a single bite to his forearm, the lycan's saliva mixing with his blood that had infected him and eventually changed him, but how should he do it to Seren?

Thankfully, Seren had discussed this extensively with Marissa. They'd worked out how it should work. "You'll have to bite me, and hold that bite to let the saliva work into my blood before the wound begins to heal," she told him gently. "That's the most dangerous time. Your wolf instincts will want to rip my flesh and eat me, but I have no doubt that you will be able to control that instinct. Remember what Emrys did after he bit you? He threw up, every last drop of your blood was forcibly expelled. And that was a conscious decision. For you, it may not be a conscious decision. We are mated. Your wolf won't want to hurt me, anymore than the man you are does."

Dorian frowned, obviously not happy with the idea. He could have suggested Emrys do it instead, but with Seren and Emrys already sharing the same bloodline, it might not work, and there was no one Dorian trusted more to do it than himself. "It sounds dangerous," he said, especially the way she'd put it. What if he did lose control? Would some part of him that was still human be able to control the wolf? Could he trust the wolf to recognize his own mate and not cause her harm? "You want to do this tonight?" he asked, though that seemed to be what she was alluding to.

"It doesn't have to happen tonight," she promised him softly. "But soon. If you're worried, we can ask Emrys and Marissa to be here - if nothing else, he'll be able to override your wolf and order you off if things get out of hand. But I don't think they will. I love you, and I trust you. But this is your decision, love, not mine."

"It's our decision, Seren," Dorian pointed out. "But I would feel better if they were here." He wasn't trying to put her off or postpone it forever; just until he could be sure they had safeguards in place in case something went wrong.

"All right." She smiled, leaning down to kiss him tenderly. "Thank you. I know it's not an easy thing to contemplate. But thank you. It means the world to me."

"I want this as much as you do, Seren," he assured her, touching his fingers to her cheek before they wandered into her hair, his eyes meeting hers in hopes she understood. "But I couldn't live with myself if something went wrong." In short, it was better to be safe than sorry, and he trusted Emrys and Marissa to make sure nothing went wrong.

"Then we'll make sure that nothing goes wrong," she promised him in a fervent whisper, catching his lips in a slow kiss, trusting that they would go through with their little plan soon enough. "Of course," she drawled teasingly against his lips, "doesn't mean we can't have another practice at the babymaking."

"Practice does make perfect, or so they say," Dorian agreed with a grin, before kissing her lips again. Maybe they wouldn't run wild beneath the Northern Lights, like Emrys and Marissa, but making love for the first time as husband and wife beneath those spectacularly shifting lights was not such a bad alternative.

Giggling, she rolled over, pulling him on top of her as they began their own form of running wild together all over again, sealing the deal that had bound them together with far more than just a simple kiss.

Close by in that Nordic getaway, another couple was already doing just that - sealing the promises that had bound them together with more than just kisses, creating their own wild dance away from the eyes and ears of the others. Delilah tasted Kit's lips again and again, tangled together in a lovers' embrace that familiar but that never grew old. "What do you say we settle down and try raising a pack of our own?" she suggested between kisses. It was a question that had, up to this moment, gone unasked and undiscussed.

A little surprised by the sudden question, Kit paused, raising his brow as he considered his wife fondly. "Tired of roaming, Lilah?" he asked her gently, drawing his fingertips down her spine.

"I've been roaming long enough, don't you think?" she asked, having spent all of her life up to this very moment traveling from one place to another, with no place to really call home. "I've found my heart's desire right here," she said, tapping a finger against his chest, right above his heart.

He grinned up at her, catching her hand to brush his lips over each of her fingers with loving kisses. "You know what Rhy'Din doesn't have yet, don't you?" he mused, almost teasingly. Only someone who knew him very well would recognize that this was not a spur of the moment comment. "A school for performers to learn their craft."

"Rhy'Din City, you mean?" she asked, watching intently as he kissed each of her fingers, but determined not to let him distract her just yet. "Are you suggesting we give up acting and become teachers?" she asked, looking somewhat amused at this suggestion.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I might be," he shrugged, chuckling at the amusement in her eyes. With a sudden motion, he rolled her onto her back, fingers and lips creeping down over the well-loved curves and planes of her form. "Can't you imagine it?" he murmured, his breath warm against her skin. "Raising a new generation of Starlight players?"

He was distracting her with lips and fingers, kisses and caresses, making it difficult for her to focus on his words and their meaning. "Hmm? But Starlight is a traveling company, and the city already has the Shanachie," she pointed out. "So, what are you suggesting exactly, my love?"

"Who says that every actor has to perform in a theater?" Kit murmured, doing his damnedest to distract her even as he spoke. He was very good at it, too. "Best place to start, new show in every town or city. Worked for us."

"Yes, but none of us were ever formally trained," she pointed out, tilting her head so that he could have full access to her neck - or any part of her body he wanted really. Meanwhile, her fingers did some wandering of their own, down his back and up his sides, while she molded her body to fit his.

"And we were crap when we started," he laughed, raising his head to grin down at her. "Seriously. Have you ever heard anyone deliver Shakespeare the way I did those first years?" In a smooth motion, he sat up, pulling up up with him to straddle his thighs as he tucked her close. "We could give the touring company a fighting chance by sending them out ready to deliver a good performance. Take some of that stress away from their first professional shows."

"You were certainly unique," she replied, eeking a little as he pulled her up with him, her arms going around his neck, her legs around his waist as she settled herself as close as she could. Let him try talking coherently now, she thought with a grin. "You've done a lot of thinking about this," she said, as she pushed her hips against his, turning her head to nibble at his earlobe.

Kit let out a strangled groan as she slid just that little bit closer, ending the sound in a defeated chuckle as his teasing was turned around on him. "You want babies, do you?" he grinned back at her, bucking hard against her just to see what the reaction would be.

The bucking got a little whimper out of her, but only made her tighten her embrace, her fingernails raking his back as she practically purred into his ear. "I want your babies," she clarified, as she pushed him onto his back, straddling his hips and rocking back and forth in a steady rhythm.

"You'll have to take that up with my sperm," he informed her, dropping back with a low groan of delight. Quite how it had taken them this long to get here was anyone's guess, but now he had her, he was definitely not letting Delilah go.

"I'm pretty sure your sperm don't have much choice," she replied, tossing her hair back behind a shoulder as she leaned close, her lips almost brushing his. "What do you say, old man? Ready to settle down and be a father?" she asked, purposely tormenting him as much as he'd allow.

"Oh, there's life in the old dog yet," he laughed, surging up to knock her onto her back. "Shut up and let me screw you into oblivion, you unspeakable temptress, you."

She laughed as he finally took charge of the situation. No arguments there. "Yes, dear," she replied, grinning up at him and reaching for him to pull her down on top of her. Kit was one of the only people able to completed render Delilah speechless, but who really wanted to talk at a time like this? They might not have reached a final decision, but the door had been opened. They could discuss the details later, after they had worn each other out.

Laughter was never lacking in their relationship,; neither was enthusiasm. But it wasn't necessary for all encounters in relationships, and in the last glass-domed igloo, the last of the newly-wedded couples were lounging together in a nest of cushions, damp from a hot bath, sharing champagne and chocolate strawberries and simply enjoying one another's company.

Demi smiled as she sipped from her glass, reaching over to gently swipe a smudge of chocolate from Neville's lips. "Penny for your thoughts, husband?"

"A penny isn't worth much," Neville pointed out, wondering what thought he could share that was only worth a penny. "How about a silver?" he countered, touching a kiss to her fingers as she swiped the chocolate from his lips.

"How about a kiss?" she negotiated fondly, leaning closer to fulfill her end of the bargain with a tender touch of lips to lips. Neither of them were exactly dressed or undressed, making use of the hotel's complimentary bath-robes, but she'd never been uncomfortable about Neville. She didn't think it was going to start being uncomfortable now, just because she'd taken his name.

"A kiss?" he echoed. "If a kiss is worth a silver, what will a gold piece get me?" he asked with a grin. Neville had always been the more serious twin, even before he knew he had a twin, but there was something about Demi that brought out the playful side of him.

"Hmm ... a gold piece may well involve the girls making an appearance," she told him thoughtfully, breaking into a husky laugh at his playfulness. He had relaxed so much over the past year, and though he was still a little formal in public, he had definitely embraced her playful side whenever it came out to play.

"Oh, two for the price of one. Sounds like a bargain," he teased back. They'd already made love in the bath, but neither seemed unwilling to try again. He plucked up a chocolate-covered berry and offered her a bite, his gaze focusing on the soft lushness of her lips.

"Mm ..." Biting off a small mouthful from the berry, she blew him a kiss as she chewed, nestling close to look up at the electric patterns the lights painted over the dark sky above them. "You do realize you just offered to pay me for a look at my breasts, right?"

"What's yours is mine and mine is yours, so I'm really paying myself," he reasoned, knowing this line of conversation was silly, if nothing else. He slid an arm around her as she leaned into him, sighing with contentment. Part of him wondered what the others were doing, though the answer seemed obvious. He didn't really want to talk about them right now though. Of the four couples, he felt like the oddball of the bunch, only related through Dorian, but he was content here with Demi, and it was good to know they had family, even if they were an odd bunch.

"So does that make you the pimp or the prostitute?" she asked impishly, tilting her head back to share her grin with him as he sighed his contended sigh. "Oh gods ... now I can't stop myself imagining you in a hot pink zebra-skin top hat and frock coat!"

He laughed again at the image that brought up, flushing a little. "I think you have the wrong twin," he said, knowing Dorian was the flamboyant one. He was just plain old Neville, the cello player.

"Oh, I definitely don't have the wrong twin," she assured him, setting her glass down to curl her fingers through his hair. "I never had the wrong twin, even before we knew the other one existed. I always had the right man for the job, even if I scared him silly by saying I love you on the first date."
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"You said it was something with our chemistry, I think," Neville replied, though those had not been her exact words. He drew her closer, touching his fingers to her cheek before drawing it back through her hair. "You're so beautiful. How did I get so damned lucky?"

"You ... forgot to wear deodorant the day we met," she told him quite honestly, more than happy to inch over and lay her bare legs over his, her head tilting into the comb of his fingers. She wasn't quite purring, but it was very close, always thrilled when he touched her in such a loving way. "Did you make any wishes for the new year?"

"Wishes?" he echoed, eyeing her curiously, even as she settled herself close. "I have everything I could ever need or want right here," he told her, touching a kiss to her hair. "What about you?"

"Well ... I have one teeny hope," she murmured, hastening to add, "Not a wish, just a hope. Not even a major hope, just a little one, and it doesn't have to happen this year, or even next year. Just, you know, be possible now we're married and settled in together."

"What's that?" he asked, taking the bait. There were only so many things it could be that she still wanted - a house, a family; to turn him so he could run beside her beneath the open sky. On this last thing, he was still a bit hesitant, though the change seemed to have agreed well with his brother.

It wasn't in Demeter's nature to be embarrassed about anything, and she wasn't even starting to be about this. "Babies," she admitted with a cheeky smile. "But I know, it's a big step, and we only just got married, so we should take our time, and not fill our new house with squalling small beings that poop and vomit and cry for the first year of their lives."

He arched a brow, not entirely surprised to hear her say it, but wondering if it was Marissa's news that had brought it on. "Are you trying to talk yourself out of it?" he asked, a little confused by her reasons not to have children yet, even though she seemed to want them.

Demi laughed softly, shaking her head. "No, I'm not trying to talk myself out of it," she promised him. "I just ... I know it's a lot, and a weird thing to talk about on our wedding day." She nuzzled close, kissing his cheek fondly. "You've never really expressed an opinion about children, you know."

"Children," Neville echoed, his expression turning serious. Why hadn't this ever come up before, he wondered. Not even in therapy. "I don't know. I guess ..." He trailed off a moment, unsure how to reply. So much had happened since they'd met it seemed they hadn't really had much time to discuss children. "I haven't thought about it much, I guess. Not since ..." Again, he trailed off, reluctant to bring up Nellie's name. "Do you want children someday?" he asked, knowing right away that it was a stupid question. Why would she be bringing it up if she didn't?

Demi's smile softened, seeing hesitancy and reluctance in the way he trailed off and began again. "Bad timing, huh?" she said, shaking her head. "I'm sorry. But yes, I would like children. I'd like a family with you. Someday." But it seemed to be something else that was going on the "someday" list, and though she would never push him into agreeing to either of those decisions, it would be nice to get a straight answer before someday became never out of necessity.

He sighed, closing his eyes, knowing he was being a jerk. Or maybe he was just keeping too much inside again. He knew he didn't have to do that with her, and yet, there he was, falling back into old habits. "Someday is a bit vague, isn't it?" he asked, though the question was rhetorical. "I'm sorry, Demi. I don't know what's the matter with me. I guess ... I guess I'm just scared of losing you the way I lost Nellie."

She considered him for a long moment. Demi knew that there was a huge difference between knowing a person could heal from any injury on paper, and actually seeing it in person. She'd never demonstrated for Neville, pretty sure he wouldn't be able to handle it, but given his reason for not looking to the future with her ... it seemed time. "Try not to have a heart attack, all right?" she told him, unwinding from his lap to rise and retrieve the long ice-pick from under the mini-bar. She held it up for him to see. "Not silver," she promised, and stabbed herself painfully directly in the heart for his educational purposes. "Okay, you need to pull it out, please."

It took him a moment to understand what it was she was about to do, and he moved to his feet as quickly as he could, but too late to stop her. "Demi ... What the hell are you doing?" he asked, panic in his voice, his heart thundering in his chest. Yes, he knew what she was. He had seen her shift with his own eyes; she had demonstrated that much, but never this. He caught hold of her hand just as she plunged the ice picker into her heart, too late to save her, but she wasn't dead. She hardly even seemed hurt. His fingers curled around the ice pick, all the color draining from his face, as he slowly pulled it from her flesh, terrified his worst fears would come true.

She shuddered as he pulled it out, hating the sensation of the metal leaving her flesh almost more than the feeling of it going in. Her hand found his, holding him there, making him watch what happened next. Before his eyes, the puncture wound she had given herself healed within moments, until all that was left was a tiny trickle of blood to say that anything had happened at all. Just a few more seconds, and her heart was healed of the same injury, her pulse returning to normal as her 'shifter DNA did what it was meant to do.

"There," she said softly, reaching up to stroke his cheek. "As if it never happened." She drew his hand to her chest, where the wound should have been and now was utterly healed. "Only silver and old age can kill me, Neville," she told him gently. "Not even fire can kill me. Even if I seem dead, unless it was silver that took my life, moonlight can revive me. You aren't going to lose me the way you lost Nellie, I promise you. And I won't do that to myself again, I promise you that, too."

By the time she was done, there were tears on his face, despite the fact that she'd healed and there was no trace left of the wound that had been there just moments before, though the ice pick was stained with her blood. "Don't, Demi. Please, don't ever do that again," he whispered even as she promised him.

"I won't," she promised him again, curling her hands to his face. "Look at me. See me. This is what it means to be what I am. I'm all but indestructible, love. I need you to believe me when I say it. Really believe me."

He nodded mutely, though he couldn't seem to stop the tears. It was almost as though he'd watched her die, helpless to stop it all over again, but she hadn't died. She was fine, not a single trace of any harm, but for that damned ice pick. He threw the ice pick away - he didn't care where - and pulled her close, holding her tightly against him as he fought to catch his breath and calm the hammering of his heart.

Demi let him pull her close, let him hold her as tightly as he needed to, stroking her hands against his back, murmuring reassurance to him as he struggled to regain his composure. Of all the things she had shared with him over the past year, this had been the most extreme, but he had needed to see it. She could only hope that it would help him to move past that clinging fear of loss. In their relationship, she was the only one who needed to fear the reaper.

He wasn't sure what was the matter with him, but seeing was believing, no matter how shaken it had left him. She wasn't Nellie; she wasn't going to die the way Nellie had. After a few minutes, he slowly pulled away, just far enough that he could see her beautiful face.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"You know," he started, dashing the tears from his face and sniffling hard. "When I found out Nellie couldn't have children, it almost broke my heart, but once the shock wore off, I realized it wasn't the end of the world. We could still adopt if we wanted, and we'd always have each other. We'd grow old together. And then, well, you know. I never thought I'd meet anyone else ... never thought I'd fall in love again. And then I met you. I don't know what the future holds for us, Demi, but I want to grow old with you. I want us to have a life together - a home, family - the whole thing. That's what this was all about, getting married, promising to always be there for each other. I honestly ... I don't know what I'd do if I lost you. I know what you are. I know there's not much that can hurt you or take you from me. I want to grow old with you, Demi. I want us to have it all. I love you, and I don't want to be afraid anymore." It was a plea of sorts, though he was a little afraid even of what he was asking her for.

She kissed him softly, glad to finally hear him say all these things he had been holding back. Fear was her greatest enemy when it came to Neville, and somehow, some of those fears were finally subsiding. "You're not the only one who's afraid," she told him, a little tearful herself. "I can't really be hurt, but ... but you can. I could lose you, just like that, and it terrifies me. I want to protect you and I can't. I won't hold you back from living your life, and I have to accept the risk that life doesn't always last until grey hairs and old age. You will never lose me that way. But I might lose you, and it breaks my heart to know that."

Maybe it took tears and confessions to reach this point, to reach the decision he'd been avoiding for months. It wasn't just about being like the rest of them and not being the outsider anymore. It was, and had always been, about her, but until this very moment, he hadn't realized just how much she shared his deepest fears. "Okay," he said, nodding in understanding, and touching her cheek with gentle fingers to wipe away her tears. "Then do it. Make me like you, and we'll grow old together."

"Tonight?" She blinked in surprise, her own tears turning to almost disbelieving laughter at his very sudden certainty. "Are you sure? It's a big change, and it'll hurt, at least at first. But it is quicker than the wolf change. Cats do everything better." She couldn't help adding that, natural one-up-man-ship insisting that she get in a jab about lycans in general.

"I think we better do it before I change my mind," he admitted with a bit of a chuckle himself. It was fear that was holding him back, that had held him back for so long, but he wasn't as afraid of the change as he was of losing her or leaving her alone.

"All right." Gently, she drew back, pulling him over to the bed, easing him down to make himself comfortable. "You're going to pass out," she warned him. "But I'll be right here when you wake up, I promise. You'll see the world the way I do when you wake up." She kissed him, holding him close for a long moment. "Are you ready?"

He nodded his head again as he listened to all she was telling him, trusting her implicitly. After all, if he couldn't trust her, who could he trust. He savored her embrace for a long moment, his heart racing with mingled fear and anticipation and maybe just a little excitement. "I won't lie and tell you I'm not a little bit scared," he admitted. "But I'm as ready as I'll ever be." In fact, if he let this moment slip away again, he wasn't sure he'd ever gather the courage to let her do it again.

"The tiger adores you," she reassured him. "She's probably more excited about this than we are." She wished she could explain more clearly for him, but he'd know soon enough why she spoke about her animal half in the third person. With a last kiss, she eased back, shucking off her robe to shift without hesitation or embarrassment, easing from human to tiger with the familiar crackle and pop of bones realigning themselves.

When the white tiger was ready, she jumped up onto the bed with him, laving his cheek from chin to temple with a long lick of her tongue, the low rumble in her chest the closest she could get to a loving purr for his reassurance. Then, very gently, she took his forearm into her mouth, piercing blue eyes meeting his as she bit down, one heavy paw on his chest holding him down as she held on to let her saliva mingle with his blood. The taste of human blood was such a temptation ... but this was her mate. She could no more harm him than change the course of the stars in the sky, just the thought of it enough to cause her actual pain. Releasing his arm from her mouth, she licked at the wound, cleaning it as best she could, and settled down to wait, holding vigil over her mate through the long night ahead.

There was no way to prepare for what was about to happen, for what was happening. As terrified as Neville was of the change, of how it would feel and what he'd become, he had never feared the tiger. She was as much a part of the woman he loved as Demi herself, and he knew if he stopped her now, he might never gather enough courage to say yes again. It was now or never. Once it was done, it was done; there was no going back. Pale and trembling, he drew comfort from the knowledge that it was Demi's tiger who would change him, no one else. He grit his teeth against the pain as her teeth sank into his flesh, his fingers curling into her fur and holding on tightly as pain like fire shoot up his arm. Was this what it felt like for Dorian?

But Dorian had already been turned; Dorian was lycan, but Neville would be something else. His grip on her fur tightened as the infection worked its way through his body, altering his DNA. It was like every fiber of his being was burning away to be replaced with something else. He was biting his lip so hard he could taste his own blood, clinging to the last remnant of his humanity. After this, he realized, he would be human no more. It was the last thought that coursed through his mind before the agony became too much to bear and everything went dark.

As his body went limp beneath her, the tiger mewled in concern, turning her attention to licking fully at the wound she had inflicted, aiding its healing in her own way until the flesh was closed and no longer bleeding. Then she shifted back, and Demi took up her vigil over Neville as he endured the burning agony of that fundamental change in his very DNA. She changed the sheets underneath him, consigning the bloodied cloth to the laundry that would be collected the next day; she bathed his feverish skin with cool water. She stayed close to him throughout that long, long night, until the dancing lights retreated from the sky above them and finally she passed out herself, exhausted with loving concern, laying beneath the blanket at his side, her hand resting tenderly over his heart.

He was unaware of her tender ministrations that saw him through the night, the blackness of unconsciousness giving way to strange dreams full of teeth and claws and fur, as the tiger tried to imprint itself on his being. They weren't nightmares exactly, just strange dreams, like watching some foreign landscape from someone else's eyes. The nights were long here, and it wasn't until the first rays of morning chased the darkness away that he began to stir beside her. There were always some aches and pains upon awakening, his body stiff and slow to shed the bleariness of sleep, but when he at last managed to pry his eyes open, he found there wasn't so much as a minor ache.

He felt as vigorous as a young man again, and more alive than he'd ever felt in his entire life, but hungry. Starving, really. It took a moment or more before he remembered what had taken place the previous night - not the wedding, but what had come after. It hadn't just been some strange dream, then? He glanced at the arm where the tiger's teeth had sunk deep into his flesh and found no sign of a wound, not even so much as a scratch or a scar.

Beside him, his mate slept, dark hair spread over the pillow, smooth skin warm with slumber. Her fingers gently twitched against his chest as she sighed in her sleep, something beginning to stir in her, too, as he opened his eyes to his first morning as a tiger.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The vigor he felt wasn't just his imagination. He no sooner looked at her, and his body was answering, coming to life in ways even he hadn't expected. It wasn't so much like waking a different man as it was waking reborn. "Demi?" he called, realizing with wonder that he could hear her heart beating; he could smell the scent that was distinctively hers. It wasn't faint or uncertain but clearly hers, and something in his blood somehow knew that she was his, that they belonged together. He knew it as well as he knew the sun rose in the morning and set in the evening. It wasn't so much an emotional bond as it was a physical one. "Demi," he called again, more urgently this time.

Brown eyes slowly blinked open, answering him without the conscious need to choose. As she focused on him, breathing him in, her lips curved in a warm smile. "Neville," she breathed, relieved and delighted to see him awake, to smell his scent so subtly changed by the transformation he had slept through. Her fingers crept up over his chest, touching his cheek with no small amount of wonder. "Good morning."

"I'm alive," he murmured, sounding as though he was in awe of that fact, in a state of complete wonderment. It wasn't that he was alive that astounded him so much as it was just how alive he felt.

She watched him for a moment, seeing and sensing his wonder. She couldn't imagine how different the world must seem to him this morning, after a life lived with human senses, which were mediocre at best. "Welcome to my world," she whispered, sliding over to kiss him, thrilling to the way the tiger deep inside her roared with sheer bliss at knowing they truly were mated in every possible way now.

Even that kiss was different somehow, not only able to taste her, but to know and recognize without a doubt that she was his mate, his one and only equal. In that moment, there was so much he wanted to learn, to know, to experience, but he knew, also, that now that he was like her, he had more than enough time to catch up. "I'm hungry," he admitted with a grin.

She giggled softly. "I'll call for room service," she promised, easing away from him to slide from the bed in search of the telephone. Perhaps now he could understand a little better why she was so shameless; the tiger wore no clothes, after all.

It might take a while before he was as comfortable in his skin as she was, but he was starting to understand her a little bit better. How was it he'd been so afraid of this, when it was as if overnight he'd been reborn, reinvigorated, more alive than ever before?

Aware of his eyes on her, Demi couldn't help putting on something of a show, stretching luxuriously before lifting the receiver to her ear, toying with a curl of her dark hair as she spoke to the staff at the other end of the line. The breakfast she was ordering was heavy on the red meat side, perfect for a new 'shifter to fill his hungry belly and restore some of the energy used up while he slept.

He found himself salivating at the very thought of food, more so than he might have as a human just awakening from sleep. The thought of food made his stomach growl in a way that sounded almost foreign to his ears. Every sense seemed heightened. He could see more clearly, hear more acutely. What other surprises awaited him as the day unfolded, he could only guess. "Am I really like you now?" he asked, admiring her form before looking to himself for some sign that he was different.

"Yes, you really are," she promised him, setting down the phone to crawl back onto the bed and join him once more. "I can smell the difference. I thought you smelled good before, now you're irresistible." She grinned, nipping at his shoulder affectionately. "You won't be able to shift your form until you first feel moonlight on your skin, so I don't get to see you on four paws until tonight. I'll just have to find some other way to fill the time, won't I?"

"I feel different, but ... I'm still the same man, aren't I?" he asked, uncertain just who he was or what was expected of him now that he was like her. Would his life change or stay the same? Would the same things matter to him that had mattered before? "Will it hurt?" he asked, only a little concerned. He'd survived the worst of it, after all, or so he thought. "Will I know who I am when it happens or will I forget?" He didn't want the tiger to hurt anyone he knew and cared for. What would the tiger think of the wolves? Would they be friends or foes? Would he recognize even his own brother once he had changed form?

"The only thing about you that has changed is that you are a tiger now," she assured him quietly. "Your senses are heightened. Yes, it will hurt when you shift your form; it takes time to get used to the way your bones and muscles have to shift and change. But you will know your own mind, and you will know everyone. You will recognize them by scent. You'll know Dorian without needing to scent him, and through his scent, you'll know Seren, and through her, Emrys and Marissa. I made you, love. I won't let you hurt anyone, no matter how overwhelmed you get." She stroked her fingers gently against his cheek. "I'm a white tiger, love. It means I can dominate your mind when we're shifted, if I have to. You don't need to be afraid."

"What does that mean?" he asked, curiously. "That you're a white tiger? Won't I be a white tiger, too?" He had temporarily forgotten about the others, but he wondered what they'd think of him now that he was like them.

"I don't actually know," she admitted with a smile. "I'm as curious to find out as you are. I was the only white born into my litter; I think I was the only white for generations in my original pride. That's why they rejected me, for being different. But if you're white too, then your instincts won't ever overwhelm you. We'll be linked mentally when we're both shifted."

"And there's no way to know until I shift?" he asked further. That much seemed obvious, but he asked anyway. It was almost overwhelming to grasp the possibilities and a little scary, too, albeit exciting. "What am we going to tell the others?"

"No, not until you shift," she nodded in agreement. "In time, you'll be able to do this." She demonstrated - for a brief moment, her dark eyes became the piercing blue eyes of her tiger form before reverting. "But it takes a lot of practice. It's fun to use on drunk people who don't understand boundaries." There was her playful side, proven in her feline nature. She nestled in close to him, enjoying the warmth of his body against hers. "We won't need to tell the others, apart from Kit and Delilah, and Delilah might already know," she mused. "I'm not sure what it is about her ... there's something magical that clings to her, but I have no idea what it is. It's not something I recognize by scent."

He chuckled a little at the idea of pranking drunk people, though he couldn't very well see himself doing it. Tiger or not, it was not in his makeup to do such things. Though his DNA might have changed, his personality was still that of Neville. As far as Delilah was concerned, he could not very well comment. She was Dorian's friend, and he didn't know much about her, but he thought they might learn more in time. "Whatever it is, it's her secret to keep."

"Very true," Demi agreed, nuzzling to him for a long moment. A knock at the door interrupted anything more she might have done, however. "Oh, botheration," she grumbled laughingly, slithering onto her feet to grab her robe and wrap herself up in it, heading for the door to receive their room service from a young girl who was so bundled up against the cold, it was a wonder she could move. To a 'shifter's sensitive nose, however, the smells emanating from the covered plates she delivered were pure torturous bliss.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, at least she wasn't answering the door naked, Neville thought with a chuckle. Far more modest than she was, he was still in bed, beneath the covers, and determined to stay there until the girl left. The smell that was wafting his way was making his stomach growl with hunger, and he realized with further wonder that he could differentiate between the various dishes just by their smell, even mingled as they were.

Tipped more than generously for her service, the girl left giggling. Demi closed the door behind her, locking it tight, and turned back to Neville. "Well, come on then," she told her mate. "You did say you were hungry, didn't you?"

"I'm starving!" he confirmed with a grin. "Breakfast in bed?" he asked, unsure if she wanted to come back to bed or eat at the table. He felt like he could eat a horse or maybe a cow all by himself - literally.

She laughed, lifting two plates laden with sausages, bacon, and steak from the trolley left to them. "You look very comfortable there, I'd hate to put you out," she teased, laying the two plates down and skipping back for cutlery. "Go on, eat, I know you need to."

"I'm starving, but I can still wait for a knife and fork," he told her, even as he picked a sausage up in his fingers and devoured it, licking his fingers clean. "Why all the meat?" he asked, curiously, though he was making no complaints.

"Red meat is what a tiger lives on in the wild," she explained, crawling back onto the bed with him to take up a piece of bacon in her fingers and begin to eat herself. "It's the best way to recover some of that energy you've lost in the change. Whenever you have to heal something relatively major, red meat will always be your go-to meal afterward."

"I guess I've got a lot to learn," he admitted, wondering how much of being a tiger would be instinct and how much he'd actually have to learn. He took up a slice of bacon and took a bite, amazed to find that food even tasted different to him now. It was hard to explain, but it was almost as if becoming a tiger enhanced his senses so much that things like bacon and sausage tasted different, and he wondered why he'd never realized it before.

"A lot of it is instinct," she assured him, lounging on her side as she used a knife to cut her steak into four pieces. She wasn't usually so carefree when it came to eating, her habits at the table as fastidious as her bathroom habits, but this morning was a special case.

"And you'll teach me the rest?" he asked, though he already knew the answer to that question. She would not have changed him only to leave him to puzzle it all out for himself. "I feel so ... alive," he said, still in wonder of it all. "What happens now?" he asked, though she'd told him a little.

"Of course I will," she promised confidently, licking juices from her fingers. The meal was disappearing faster than she had expected it to, but then, she'd forgotten her own need for red meat after last night's little display of near immortality. "Now? Anything you'd like to happen," she shrugged. "We'll run tonight, when the moon rises. I get to share with you my favorite feeling. Oh! And you'll be able to understand what I mean when I say you smell like moonlight on snow!" Her eyes lit up, genuinely delighted to realize this.

"Won't I smell different now that I've changed?" he asked, each answer she gave spurring more questions. He cut into his steak, so hungry he just barely remembered his table manners. In all his life, he'd never felt so hungry, but it wasn't just the kind of hunger that was satisfied when one's stomach was full. There was a yearning in it that he couldn't quite place, a hunger of another kind.

"A little," she nodded. "It's a very subtle difference. To me, you smell incredible. But your brother and the others will know you've turned as soon as they sniff you. It's a very slight edge to your scent that gives away that you're a 'shifter, a predator."

"But he's a wolf, and I'm a tiger. Won't that make us natural enemies?" he asked, though he was well aware that Marissa was tiger and Emrys was wolf, and they were anything but enemies. He scarfed down the steak as he awaited her reply, quickly shoveling it into his mouth like he'd been starving to death.

"No," she smiled, shaking her head. Seeing how fast he was eating, she dropped half her steak onto his plate as well, knowing he needed it more than she did. "Tigers and wolves aren't enemies, exactly. In the natural world, they're both apex predators, so they find it difficult to share territory and, yes, they will fight over it. It's different for 'shifters; the hostilities are almost always caused by cultural differences, and that's just not what's happening with us. We're a pack, or a pride, or whatever you want to call it. Those ties bind us closer than a natural wolf pack or tigers' pride; they're emotional, more than instinctual. You're not going to come to blows with anyone the first time you show off your tail."

"We aren't identical twins anymore," Neville pointed out with a small frown. At least, not when they were in their animal forms, though he wasn't sure if it mattered. He could have asked Emrys to change him, and then he'd be wolf, but if he was going to change at all, he wanted to be like Demi. "I'm like you now," he added, still with that sense of wonder in his voice. It all seemed so unreal, like some strange dream, and yet, he felt more alive than he ever had before in his entire life.

"You were never identical to me," she pointed out gently. "Or to Seren. We could tell you apart every time, even if you'd tried to fool us. You can use all your senses to tell people apart; the way they look is such a small part of the way we see the world. Close your eyes, and you're not blind. You'll never lose your way in the dark, because the dark doesn't exist for us. We're cats; we have excellent night vision."

"Will I be a slave to the moon the way Emrys is?" he asked, wondering if he shouldn't have asked all these questions before he'd agreed to be changed, but it no longer mattered. The deed had been done, and there was no turning back, even if he'd wanted to. What he wanted most in the world was to be close to Demi and to share every aspect of their lives together; to that end, this was the only way.

"For the first few months, you won't be able to resist changing your shape when full moon's light touches you," she warned him. "But as you get used to the way it feels, you'll be able to spot the signs that it's happening and learn your own way to suppress it if you have to. I went through it when I was thirteen, and it really didn't take long to find out what worked for me. You need to be wary of your temper, though. Strong emotions, especially negative emotions like anger, or fear, or sadness ... they can exert the same pull on you that the full moon does. You've seen what I'm like - if I've had a really bad day, I have to go for a run. I can't not answer that pull. It's like my human mind needs to just fade into the background and let my animal instincts get rid of the agitation and anxiety and everything else that comes with it. Animals don't get emotional, after all."

He wasn't sure if he understood exactly what she meant, but he knew he'd find out eventually. Anger wasn't so much a problem for him as was fear and sadness, but he had Demi to help him with that, and these days, he had far more to be happy for than sad. "It sounds like almost a relief," he said, wondering what it felt like to make that change and escape all the problems that came with being human. "How do I hide what I am from other people?" he asked, knowing how some would react with fear and maybe even hatred if they knew the truth.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Most people won't notice," Demi promised him gently. "Humans certainly won't. Other 'shifters will know by your scent, but they rarely, if ever, acknowledge it, especially in company. Other races, particularly the fae races, the fairies ... a lot of them have bad blood in the past with various types of 'shifter, so they'll recognize what you are, but again, it's very rare that they will out you. So long as you aren't hostile to them, they won't be hostile to you. If anyone is hostile to you, you are more than capable of defending yourself. If anyone ever threatens you with silver, get out as fast as you can. Only those who know what silver can do to us will ever threaten you with it. And again, very rare."

"What about hunters?" he asked, as he finished off the last of the bacon. "There are stories about shifters who prey on humans and hunters who prey on shifters," he said, stifling a shudder. He could not imagine himself knowingly and willingly killing anyone, nor did he want to be hunted to death by someone who might think him a threat.

"You will never prey on humans," she told him firmly. "Never. I won't let you. Even if I thought it was possible you might go that way, I will make sure that it never happens. As to hunters, they're generally very good. They do their homework, and they make sure that they don't go after a 'shifter just because of what they are. There are some who might try it, but news of them travels fast, and we will know well in advance if a rogue hunter is in our territory, I promise you. Our community is a quiet one, but we share a lot." She bit her lip, trying not to smile. "I guess I should explain the whole ... wee-mail system to you, shouldn't I?"

"Wee-mail?" he echoed, brows arching upwards, completely at a loss as to what she meant. What was left of breakfast was forgotten in his curiosity and confusion. Just how much had she never told him before?

She laughed, trying to figure out how to put this into words. "Okay ... uh ..." Sitting up, she made an effort to take this one seriously. "You know how dogs wee on trees? How cats mark with wee? There's more in that chemical mark than just mine. It's a very basic way of sharing information. You can tell how old an animal is, how healthy they are, what they eat, what they were experiencing when they left that mark. So if a healthy wolf, for example, who doesn't prey on humans, leaves a mark that reeks of fear and pain, that means they're under a lot of stress and usually means there is a rogue hunter in town." She held his gaze for a moment. "Does that make sense?"

"Oh," Neville murmured, thinking that over a moment. "Yes, I guess it does. It all has to do with your - our - heightened senses. Will I know by instinct what all that means?" he asked further, wondering if he had to learn how to interpret what he sensed or if the tiger would instinctively know.

"As far as I know, the tiger comes with all these instincts intact," she nodded. "I'll be right there to help you make sense of it, I promise. It can be a little overwhelming, but you won't be alone. And you don't need to worry about hurting me, either. You may have big paws, but trust me, they don't hurt when your claws are sheathed."

There was something both intimidating and exciting about knowing he was a tiger now - or part of him was - and tonight, he would find out exactly what they felt like in full. It was an exciting, albeit scary, prospect. "Will I forget who I really am when I'm in tiger form?"

"No, you will always know who you are," she assured him confidently. "It's like ... like being in the back seat of a car. You are aware of everything, but you're along for the ride, not driving. The tiger isn't a separate being sharing your body; he's you. But your human mind doesn't change when your form does. It just takes a back seat and enjoys the view."

"But who will be making the decisions, him or me?" Neville asked further, each question seemingly leading to another, though maybe he should just wait and see for himself.

She had to think about that for a moment. For Demi, born a tiger as she was, these things came naturally. "Most things, he'll react on instinct," she said thoughtfully. "Things that require logic or reasoning, or even things that make him cautious but a human considers completely normal ... those ... It's like asking for directions. The tiger gives in to the human if the human is confident. So, for example ... the tiger would not approach a city, or walk down a street. It's not something a tiger would ever do. But a tiger like us? Has a human mind telling it that it's fine, that nothing bad is going to happen to it. I think it's something you need to experience, I'm not sure I'm explaining it very well."

That made sense, he supposed. A tiger walking down a Rhy'Din street was probably not a common occurrence or a good idea. Instincts, both human and tiger, would likely stop him from making bad decisions, though he assumed that whichever form he was in at the time would be dominant. "Will I have control over shifting, or will it just happen?"

"At first, it'll just happen," she warned. "Tonight, as soon as you feel the moonlight, you'll shift your form, and for the first few months, the same thing will happen under the full moon. It doesn't mean you'll be stuck as a tiger until the sun rises - usually the urge to stay cat fades after a couple of hours, and you'll be able to control when you shift back to human. But it's just a case of learning what it feels like, and teaching yourself to suppress it when it's inappropriate, and simulate it when you want to shift."

He took all that in, too, trusting what she was telling him. After all, she'd been born a tiger and had lived this all her life. "What about clothes?" he asked, always having wondered what happened if someone was wearing clothes when they shifted. He had only seen her shift when she'd been naked, and so, he wondered what would happen if she wasn't.

"Uh ... well, you can shift while wearing clothes," she admitted. "Pants tend not to survive the process, but tops and underwear generally do if they're stretchy. But then you're in the position of being a tiger wearing a bra and panties, or in your case, boxers." She snickered, dissolving into giggles at the thought. "It's just ... it's not dignified!"

"Oh!" He flushed a little at the presumed ridiculousness of his question, but how was he supposed to know? All he knew of 'shifters was what Demi had told him, after all, and what he'd witnessed with the others of their pack or pride or whatever they were calling themselves. "I'm sorry I'm so ignorant."

"No, I'm sorry, I really don't mean to laugh," she rushed to assure him, but she was having real trouble keeping a straight face. "It's just ... I've done it myself, and ... Female tigers have six nipples, so I ended up giving myself a bit of a complex for months afterward because, well, I had a bra covering one set, but the other four were just hanging free. I went through a phase of trying to put on three bras in exactly the right places before I shifted until the Alpha female in the pack pointed out to me that I looked utterly ridiculous."

"Why would you want to wear a bra when you're in tiger form?" he asked, assuming this must have been a very long time ago, as she seemed perfectly comfortable with her form now, both human and tiger, and adept at shifting.

"I was sixteen," she chuckled, shaking her head. "I was still learning to be comfortable in my skin, and suddenly I had a choice of two shapes to be comfortable in. It took me a while to get used to having fur, to not having to worry about being naked because it's completely natural. You may have the same sort of discomfort for a little while."

"But ... I'll have fur, so it won't feel like being naked, will it?" And he wouldn't be cold either, would he, with all that fur covering his body? He thought maybe it would be like wearing a coat.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"You have fur right now, you know," she pointed out with a smile, reaching over to run her fingertip along his arm. "All these little hairs? That's all humans have left of the fur their ancestors wore. It thickens up when you shift form. Wearing clothes over it - it's like wearing a tight hat over your hair. Takes a while to get used to it, but no, it doesn't feel like being naked. And the tiger will be driving, so it's just a case of trying to drop the human modesty."

Neville smirked, wondering if she minded all that so-called fur. If she did, she'd never complained. "I imagine when I'm a tiger, I won't be too worried about clothes," he guessed, taking her hand and touching a kiss to each of her fingers.

She bit her lip as he caught her hand, the sweet thrill of her mate's lips touching her skin - no matter how innocent it might be - having the kind of effect on her that he would not be able to miss, or misconstrue, any longer. Neville was never again going to be able to accuse her of not feeling as lusty as he did; he was more than capable of smelling her desire now. "You don't seem too worried about clothes right now, either."

"It's just us. What do we need clothes for?" he asked, pulling her close, his hands moving to explore the familiar curves and valleys of her body, now that they were finished with breakfast. It was their honeymoon, after all, and now that he had eaten, there was another kind of hunger on his mind.

One hand pushed the plates off the bed with a couple of thumps as he pulled her close, long legs unfolding to wrap about his hips as his hands began to explore her. Even this was different; she didn't need to be gentle with him anymore, secure in the knowledge that she wasn't going to break her mate if she got a little too enthusiastic. Grinning, she growled teasingly against his ear, ghosting her fingernails up along his spine. "Ready to claim what's yours, Mr. Ashton?"

Though he'd never thought to tell her, she'd never really needed to be gentle with him; even less so now that he was like her. "I thought you'd never ask, Mrs. Ashton," he replied with a grin, the sound of her growl doing something to the part of him that was tiger that only made him want her more, not to mention everything else she was doing to him. But she seemed to want him to claim her, not the other way around, and so, he intended to do just that, pushing her onto her back to cover her with his body, his mouth capturing hers while his hands moved in exploration of her body again.

It was his turn to claim her; she'd claimed him months ago, the first time they had slept together, marking her territory in love and lust and carrying his scent on her skin proudly in the aftermath. Now it was her turn to be claimed, but that didn't mean she was going to lie back and let him have all the fun. Small she might be, but Demi knew a few things about her husband, her mate, that could reduce him to putty in her hands if he let her play for too long.

He might have taken his time making his mark on her, if the tiger inside him didn't want her so badly. It wasn't that he wanted her more than he had before, but only that he seemed to have more vigor, more endurance than he ever had before, or so it seemed. He had only just been turned and was still learning just how much stronger he actually was. As it was, he felt like there was no end in sight to his vigor, and he wondered how long it would take before he tired. In the meantime, Demi was going to benefit from his newfound vigor.

Energy and vigor and loving desire fueled them both well beyond what they had shared before this moment in time, the world narrowing down to just them, just their touch, just their taste, their scent, the heady knowledge that this would always be at the core of what they shared. It was far more than simply a physical joining, this first true mating of theirs, and had they not managed to knock themselves off the bed entirely, it might well have gone on indefinitely. But as they landed with a thump amid the floating debris left behind by an unfortunate pillow that had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, Demi burst into giggles, truly delighted with her Neville in every single way.

It was only the thump as they both hit the floor that stopped them from going at it again. "Sorry," he apologized, flushing a little. Despite the change, it seemed Neville was still given to embarrassment from time to time. "I guess I got a little carried away." He hoped he hadn't hurt her. The truth was he'd never felt more full of life. If he'd wanted her before, that was nothing compared to how he felt now.

Laughing, she held him close, blowing stray feathers out of his face. "You can carry me with you any time you like," she promised him, nuzzling to his lips for a long, teasing moment. "I cannot wait to see you on four paws, love. You're going to be such a handsome feline."

"Will I look like you?" he asked, full of questions again, even as he picked a few feathers from her hair. He wasn't sure what he was going to look like as a tiger, nor did it matter much. It wasn't like the tiger would care.

"You'll be bigger than me," she admitted with a shrug of one shoulder. "We'll find out what your coloring will be tonight." She lingered with him for a long moment, her eyes soft and loving until suddenly she gasped, her eyes snapping wide with guilt. "I didn't take my pill this morning!"

Dark brows arched upwards, wondering just what it was that had caused such a reaction in her, before she admitted her faux pas. He chuckled, looking almost amused, his alarm fading as he visibly relaxed again. "So?" he asked, dark eyes bright with amusement.

She bit her lip, her smile almost shy but for the bright hope in her eyes as she held his gaze, her fingers teasing through his hair. "You never answered my question last night, you know," she mused softly. "Any new year wishes I should know about?"

"Which question was that?" he asked. A lot had happened between then and now, and a lot had been said. He didn't want to guess but be sure which question she was referring to. "New Year wishes? All I want is to be with you," he assured her, nudging his nose against her neck.

Demi laughed once again, letting her head fall back as he reacquainted himself with her scent. "Honey, you're not only with me, you're in me right now," she pointed out with a low chuckle. "Question is ... are you doing any gardening in there, or do you want to wait for spring to sow your seeds?"

"I don't think I have any control over that," he pointed out, making no move to stop planting his seeds, so to speak, nor reacquainting himself with her scent - memorizing it, really. He'd thought he knew all this already, but since becoming a tiger, everything old had become new again.

Just for that, she pinched his backside as she laughed again, lifting her head to try and catch his gaze. "You're avoiding the question, kitty cat," she pointed out in amusement.

"Oh, now, I'm a kitty cat, kitty cat?" he teased, a smirk at the pinch, which barely even registered. He rolled onto his side, propping himself up with an elbow to rest his head against a hand, while his free hand casually traced the curve of a breast. "Which question is that?" he teased again, feigning ignorance. "What about you? Any New Years wishes that haven't been covered yet?"
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Demeter Ashton
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She purred, arching into his touch even as he teased her. "Find me a pharmacy, and we'll find out," she murmured in answer, tracing her own fingertips over his hip. "You're such a tease!" Chuckling at her own assessment of him, she rolled in his direction, fully intending to pin him to the floor and try and force an answer out of her playful husband.

He arched a brow in surprise. "You can't be pregnant already, can you?" he asked, not alarmed so much as confused. Was she just teasing him now? "Seriously, Dem ... What do you want? I know I sounded less than enthusiastic, but things have changed." He wasn't even sure why becoming like her would have changed things so much, but it seemed it had somehow. He didn't only feel more alive, but he felt more confident and less fearful of the future.

"Well, I might be, but we wouldn't know it for at least three weeks," she told him, catching his hands to pin him to the floor beneath her. She leaned down, nose to nose with him as he turned the question around on her yet again. "Love, you know what I'm hoping for," she reminded him. "I'm hoping that we'll have a family sooner rather than later - this year, perhaps. But you haven't said anything about whether that's something you'd be hoping for, too. I won't leave things to chance unless you're happy for me to do that."

He frowned, knowing she was serious, and that the time for teasing was over. "Demi, there is nothing I would love more than to have a family with you," he assured her. He'd wanted one badly when he was with Nellie, but it wasn't meant to be. Now, it seemed, he was getting a second chance, and there was nothing he wanted more than to make Demi happy.

"Good, because I didn't actually bring the pills with me," she admitted with an impish light in her eyes, catching his lips with her own tenderly. "Don't look so worried. You can handle me, you can definitely handle two or three little people."

"Little people or tiger cubs?" he teased. "I don't know anything about being a father," he admitted, a hint of the old fears and nervousness making themselves known again.

"You think I know how to be a mother?" she countered warmly. "You don't get lessons on how to be a parent, it's something you pick up as you go along. Something we'll pick up as we go along. And yes, little people. I refuse to confuse our unborn children by shifting my form during pregnancy so that some are born human-shaped and some are born tiger-shaped. Puberty is rough enough without having one or more members of the litter having gone through it at the age of two, while the human-shaped one is still trying to figure out feeding itself."

There went those brows of his again, arching upwards at her statement. It just proved how little he knew, not only about parenting but about fathering children now that he was no longer entirely human. "Sounds complicated," he murmured with another frown.

"It really isn't," she promised him, settling down at his side affectionately. "I won't change my form from the moment we know we're pregnant, until after the birth. That way, we will have human-shaped cubs for twelve to thirteen years before we have to deal with puberty hitting at the same time as the freedom to change their shape. If they were born tiger-shaped, they would stay that way until their physical forms matured enough to sustain the shape change, and cats generally reach adolescence within two years. We'd have teenagers with less understanding of the human world than a toddler."

"But ..." he started, frowning worriedly again. He didn't want to discourage her, but what if she was already pregnant? How could she run with him then? How could she teach him? Dorian and Emrys were wolves. He couldn't count on them to teach him, and he didn't know Marissa well enough to ask.

"But?" She watched him, knowing he was worrying about something again, but unable to read his mind in this form. Even in feline form, she wouldn't be able to read his thoughts. "You need to talk to me, love," she reminded him. "I can't help if I don't know what the problem is."

He paused a moment, those worries plain to see on his face, if not the reasons for them. "But what if you are already?" he asked after a moment, letting her connect the rest of the dots. He'd just been turned; he was new to all this, and now she was telling him that if she was pregnant, she wouldn't be turning again until after the children were born.

Her smile softened as she stroked his cheek. "I'm not," she promised him. "You have only just changed; you won't be fertile until after your first full moon, and that isn't until next week. Plenty of time for me to find a pharmacy somewhere around here and pick up what we need. I won't risk getting pregnant until you're confident on four paws, I promise you."

He was still frowning, surprised to find he was almost disappointed. This from the man who had said he was terrified of having children just a night or so ago. But what he'd really been terrified of was losing her and being alone, and though it could still happen, it was far less likely than he'd believed. "Soon, then," he promised, soothed by the touch of her fingers to his cheek.

"Soon," she nodded with him, leaning close to brush her lips against his. "But we have a few hours to kill before the moon rises today. Whatever shall we do, darling mine, to wile away the time?" Her dark eyes sparkled mischievously as she grinned at him, her expression as innocent as she could get ... which wasn't very.

He laughed, practically reading her thoughts in the sparkle of her eyes, or thinking he did, though he had no idea what the others in their party had planned for the day. "Should we lock the door and spend the day in bed?" he asked, dark eyes matching the sparkle in hers. He wasn't sure if he wanted to share the news of what had transpired during the night or surprise them.

"I think that sounds inspired," she teased, forgoing the locking of the door to throw her arms about his neck, pressing giggling, loving kisses to his lips and face, as much a kitten in that moment as the moniker she had placed on him.

Neville couldn't wait to see the look on his brother's face when he found out what had transpired, but it could wait for now. With any luck, the other newlyweds were busy romancing their own significant others and wouldn't come around to disturb their bliss until at least the following day. Until then, Neville intended to test his newfound vigor and show Demi in no uncertain terms just how much he both loved and desired her. By this time the next morning, there should be no doubt left in her mind, if ever there was any. Newly wedded bliss was definitely well-named.
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