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Messages - tarotgal

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Writer's Den / Re: [M + Dragon + Messy + Magic] Day 9
« on: January 13, 2019, 02:10:11 AM »
Genuinely, the way you define all of the tickly little details and the way you 'pronounce' the sneezes is wonderful. You established a fluid believable connection between the adventurer and the dragon as well, and that ending is wholesome and sweet beyond words. Then again, I have a terrible sweet spot for large things getting along with tiny things, especially monsters~

YAY! I'm happy you liked all the little details and sneeze spellings. Those are so hard for me to get right when the sneezes are BIG (feels limiting in a way). And, in this case, I had to assume fire was part of the sound as well, so they really couldn't be too wet either--trickier than I'd presumed going into the project. I definitely had fun with the characters, though, and getting them to bond a little by the end. Jameson is just SO THRILLED to be able to tell stories to a captive audience. heehee

It's my first time with this large (grumpy) creature/small creature dynamic. If you have any tips of things to avoid or things that might work well, I'd love to hear them from someone who's more of a connoisseur! My plot bunnies always need feeding.

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Writer's Den / Re: [M + Dragon + Messy + Magic] Day 9
« on: January 13, 2019, 02:06:16 AM »
Leave it to an old school master of the fetish to produce something that generates this level of buzz.

I am, too! I still haven't heard back from the original requester (I don't think?) but this amount of positive feedback makes me hopeful that the original poster will like it! It's always tricky writing for people instead of myself, but I really enjoyed writing this one and am happy I can share it with others who like it!

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Writer's Den / Re: [M + Dragon + Messy + Magic] Day 9
« on: January 12, 2019, 05:47:01 PM »
I like how the narrative itself was describing through the knight's own personality. Dragon sneezes are a bit uncommon, but fairy dust is even more rare. I love the idea of it! All those descriptions are amazing and well done, not boring whatsoever, and Ludwig's speech sounds really sneezy/stuffy - I guess he does have a LOT of fairy dust in his snout. Really loved it! :D

Jameson was a lot of fun to write. He's kind of a pathetic adventurer, TBH, but that only makes him more endearing. I don't think a lot of true adventurers would give up their magic cloaks so quickly to a dragon to sneeze into. I definitely have a soft spot for dragon sneezes (there was a sneezing dragon animation on the front page of TOS for many years), but I'm glad you enjoyed the fairy dust cause! Originally I was going to go with just a normal cold, but once I came up with fairy dust, the story definitely took off on its own.

Thanks for all the kind words about the descriptions and stuffy talk, too!

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Writer's Den / Re: [M + Dragon + Messy + Magic] Day 9
« on: January 12, 2019, 01:24:56 PM »
Wow, this is nice. That poor dragon though.

Thanks! Yeah, I definitely feel bad for Lud, but at least he's got something to sneeze into now! And goodness knows he'll think twice about burning down any fairy forests now.

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Writer's Den / Re: [M + Dragon + Messy + Magic] Day 9
« on: January 12, 2019, 01:22:07 PM »
This is the most amazing thing I've read in a really long time!! Wonderful story telling, thanks so much for sharing! <3

Squee! I'm glad you liked it! I really enjoyed how it turned out, so it makes me happy to know other people like it too. Thanks for reading & liking it!

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Writer's Den / Re: [M + Dragon + Messy + Magic] Day 9
« on: January 12, 2019, 03:57:50 AM »
Darn! I wish I had been paying attention. Would’ve loved to request a story from you! Your BDSM club story is one of my all time favorites! I love the idea of spreading contagion intentionally, hehe. I’d also be willing to pay for a story. Anyway, thanks for sharing and I hope to see more from you soon!

Oh, I really loved writing the BDSM wolf pack series. I was working on another story in it the other day, in fact. It's definitely on my radar to continue as soon as I have some time. I just can't quit those guys.

I've been doing my annual holiday giftfic project for years now, and I should be doing it again next year. I don't want to promise to be able to do a commission at this point in time, but I'm not going to rule it out when my time frees up a little later into the year.

Thanks for reading this :-)



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Writer's Den / Re: [M + Dragon + Messy + Magic] Day 9
« on: January 12, 2019, 03:43:28 AM »
I really liked this.  What a neat concept! I feel bad for Ludwig though, that must be MADDENING!

I'm really hoping that I'll be able to pull off a sequel. I feel pretty bad for Ludwig as well, despite how sexy his sneezes are. I'd like to get him just a little relief after so long.

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Writer's Den / [M + Dragon + Messy + Magic] Day 9
« on: January 11, 2019, 01:23:31 PM »
I don't have a more creative title; this is part of my 12 stories project on my blog (where I write stories people have requested during the holiday season). This was the 9th story. As soon as I have time, I'm planning on writing a sequel, because this was just so much fun!

_________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ ______________________

Step by cautious step, I, Jameson Browner the famous adventurer, make my way down the narrow cave passage. Above the perfectly natural rattling of my armor, there is a low, steady, rumbling sound I have never before heard. If I have to make a guess about it, however, I would wager all I have in the world—which isn't anything more than the pack on my back and sword in my hand, actually—that the sound is being made by a dragon. The rumors of a dragon living in these caves followed me from village to village over the past few months. And though none of the villagers ever venture up this way nowadays, I am not now afraid. I was born to be an adventurer, after all. I come from a long line of them. So I live for moments like this one.

Apart from paintings and illustrations in books, I have never seen a dragon. And my little sister would be quick to tell me that books don't count for this sort of thing, not if you are a true adventurer. Which I absolutely am, of course. She, herself, claims to have seen three dragons during her travels. And our parents claim they kept a dragon as a pet before they started having children. I never quite found out if the dragons were the ones who had children first or if my parents were. They were a little dodgy about the details.

In any case, this seems like my real first and maybe only chance to see a dragon in person. Dragon sightings have become exceedingly rarer these days, what with farmers concerned about their crops and town development expanding into the mountain regions. So I am not about to waste this opportunity, no matter what my instincts say about wandering straight into a dragon's lair, meeting it where it is at home and most familiar. Not that I am scared, mind you. Adventurers don't get scared. We live for moments like this.

As I make my way onward, I see a faint glow at the end of the passageway. It grows brighter and brighter and larger and larger as I go along. It isn't until I am about halfway to it that I realize the sound I'd heard at the start is now gone. I listen hard, straining, and hear nothing at all. Wondering if maybe the dragon has moved on to another part of the cave, I move ahead, adventuring onward with bravery and might and

HERRRSHHHHHHHHHH!

The light flares brightly up ahead, making me throw up an arm to shield my eyes. But it is the noise that startles me more than anything else. The sound was harsh and growly and not the least bit friendly. I knew dragons weren't all rainbows and kittens. I knew that sometimes adventurers perished upon facing a particularly dangerous beast. But until now, I hadn't considered what finding a dragon might really mean for me. I have my sword in hand, but that will not do much to stop an already angry dragon.

Perhaps I should come back another time? I can journey back to that last village and check back into the inn. I can sit by the fire with a book and a steaming cup of tea and prepare for this adventure another time. Yes. That seems most sensible indeed.

I turn on the spot to make my retreat—ah, I mean to sensibly adventure back out of the cavern—when I hear a low voice the sounds like how sandpaper feels. “Who's there?”

I nearly wet myself. No. Of course I don't. I mean, I bravely turn back around and take a deep breath. I may be shaking in my armor, but my hand with my sword is steady enough. I pull my scarlet cloak around me, fastening it under my chin and at my waist and pulling up the hood, just in case. Passed down from my father's father's father's father, the cloak fire resistant, supposedly, though it has never been put to the test against dragonflames. “It is I, Jame—”

HURRRSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” I hear again, and the light in front of me is suddenly so bright I take a few steps back. Then I hear a sound which I can only imagine must be some sort of laughter. But it does not seem the friendly laughter of someone at a tavern greeting me and buying me a pint. And it is not the flirtatious laugh of an innkeeper's daughter asking if I want a refill. It is full of maliciousness and spite and danger.

I take a deep breath and try again, “My name is Jameson Browner of Morningdale! I am an adventurer in search of a dragon!” Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that last bit. Maybe I shouldn't have given my real name either. Who knows what magiks are at work here?

“Ahhhhh. Here you are. Best see for yourself. Forward!”

As if by their own volition, my feet stumble forward. My armor clanks and rattles as my body inside it trembles. My teeth chatter. I was born to be an adventurer, but even adventurers have their limits.

A few moments later, I step from the narrow tunnel into a glorious, golden cavern. Coins and jewels glitter from edge to edge of the room, rising up in piles maybe thirty feet high in places. I have never before seen so much wealth. Were I a man drawn to decadence, no doubt I would be greedily scooping up coins by the handful and stashing them away on my person by now. As it is, my hands touch nothing. Only my boots and armor-covered shins come into contact with it as I ascend the slope leading into the room.

For, in the center of the room, is a dragon. A real, live, honest-to-goodness dragon. Or, at least, parts of a dragon. There is a purple tail, slender and long, protruding from one pile of gold. A tip of a leathery, purple and blue wing shimmers from another section of the treasure. And a round mound, covered in purple and blue scales sticks out from a part of the gold-covered floor. In it are two black and white eyes, fixed upon me, half-lidded as if it were narrowing its gaze to study me in full. I find myself doing the same thing. Despite the danger this beast poses, I long for it to shake off the coins, rise, and show itself in full to me. And if I am to perish here on this adventure, I want to at least have seen properly what it is I came here to see. Maybe I am a true adventurer at heart after all?

HERAHHHH...” Part of the gold pile rises. The dragon sounds as if it is gathering its breath to speak, but I take no chances.

I pull the cloak up, and sink down behind it, curling in on myself.

HERRRRRSHHHUHHHH!

Flames lap at my front and sides. The sword handle in my hand grows altogether too hot to hold, so I drop it immediately. I can just make out its shape, melting, dissolving in the flame. My weapon is gone, but I remain unscathed apart from the uncomfortably intense heat surrounding me.

As quick as it begins, it ends. I stand back up, throwing the cloak back from my face in triumph.

The dragon's snout has emerged now, or most of it, at least. It is not the same blue and purple color as the rest of him but, instead, a bright red. Its nostrils flare as it inhales again, a sound far wetter than I was expecting, as if its head is underwater instead of under coins. It still stares straight at me, unblinking. “So loud outside. I should kill you.”

“I'd rather you didn't.”

It lets out a huff, like a single laugh, the coins rising and falling with each breath, some sliding down the great hill of treasure concealing its body. There is true anger in its voice. “You woke be frub a soud sleeb just to gaze ubod be. Do you dow how lodg it took be to fall asleeb? Ages. I... I... should... I... I... I...” Then out from the gold bursts a hand. Its curled fingers end in sharp, pointed claws that alone are the size of my torso, only there are five of them and only one of me. Instead of using his hand to pull himself closer to me, however, it goes to its snout.

I can see its nostrils twitching and some sort of wetness running from one onto its hand, which moves back and forth under its nose, rubbing furiously to no avail. It keeps trying to finish its terrible speech to me. “I... have... killed... for... for... for less...” It rears back with another mighty intake of breath.

I crouch down again, hiding myself under the cloak just in time.

HURRASSHHHHHHUHHHHHHHH!” Flames erupt all around me. I wince, bracing myself for the worst. But the cloak protects me this time as well. When I feel the heat die down, I part the folds of the cape and peep out. I see the dragon rub his hand back and forth under his snout, sniffing wetly.

I stand up slowly, understanding what's going on here. “You're sneezing,” I tell the dragon.

The dragon pulls his head up, there is a waterfall of coinage that slides down its face until its whole head is free. “You bust be the bost brilliadt hubad I've ever seed. Obviously I'b sdeezig. Have you dever seed a dragod sdeeze before?”

I don't want to tell him that I've never even seen a dragon before. “I haven't.”

Its giant head goes up and down. “Well, wait a few bore bidutes add you'll see it agaid. SNRFFFFFFF!” He lifts his arm this time in order to get to his snout—his twitchy, streaming snout. “I've beed sdeezig sidce... sidce...”

At first, I think he's going to sneeze again, so I grab for the edge of my cloak. But, it turns out, he's just trying to think very hard. He glances around and pulls a large clock out from the pile of gold treasures. He taps a claw at its face. Tap-tap-tap. Then he drops it. “By tibebiece is broked. SNRFFF! What day is it?”

That is a question I had not been expecting to need to answer. “I left home in April, once the snows had cleared. Then I made my way through the treacherous swamp, headed up the perilous cliffs, waded through the deathly bog...” I tick each off using a finger, calculating time. I leave off mentioning the month and a half I spent in the library of Monoacre but calculate it in the total. “It is very nearly December now.”

“Ah.” The dragon's head goes up and down. Its giant eyes close and open. “Thed eight.”

“Eight days?”

SNRFFFFF! Days? Ha! Doe... lodger thad that.”

“You've been sneezing for eight years?” That seemed quite impossible.

It makes a chuffing noise and quickly wipes its hand at its snout where it runs. “Doe... eight cedturies.”

Stunned into silence, I can only gape at him.

“It was a fairy, you see. A fairy who took offedse to by burdig dowd her forest. She got idto be dose add tickled it with her bagic. Add whed she left I started sdehhhhh sdeeehhhhhhhhhhh Hehhhhh! HEHHHHHH!” He sticks a finger right up against his nostrils, pressing with great effort, but his snout continues to wrinkle and twitch with the intense need to sneeze. I sense he can't hold it back for long.

Still shocked, I can barely move, though I know I must. Slowly, I manage to pull the cloak over myself and drop to my knees. But I still can't wrap my head around what it would be like to be this sneezy for eight centuries. No wonder his nose is so very red. No wonder he is upset about being woken up. Sleep is probably the only respite he has from sneezing.

HAHHHHH-HERSHUHHHHHHH!” Warmth surrounds me as the front part of the room fills with fire from the dragon's snout. I wait to make sure there isn't a second sneeze—my brother always sneezes in twos—then I drop my cape. The dragon blinks tiredly. I'd imagine sneezing for eight centuries would be extremely tiring.

“Bless you.”

The dragon gives a start. He snuffles and stares at me as if he's seeing me for the first time. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad. “Doe ode... id all this tibe SNERFFFFFFF!

“No one has said bless you?”

He shakes his head.

“Well, I'd say that after all this time, you're due for it.”

He stares at me for a little while longer. Then the corners of his mouth turn up into the briefest of amused smiles. “Well thadk you... what did you say your dabe was agaid?”

“Jameson.”

“Jabesod the advedturer.” He mulls this over. Then he sets his head tiredly back down on the gold. I can't imagine how it is comfortable; give me a feather mattress and thick quilt any day. But perhaps after eight centuries, he is used to it. Perhaps to a dragon, this is the height of comfort. Or perhaps compared to the discomfort of sneezing so much, anything else feels good. “I subbose I should SNRRFFF let you live after all.”

“Thank you,” I tell him, though I never intended to let him kill me anyway. “I appreciate that...” It is my turn to trail off. “I'm afraid I haven't learned your name yet.”

“Rude,” he says. “You dever eved bothered to ask. You cabe cladkig idto by boudtaid add dod't eved ask what by... what by... ohhhh...” He scrubs his hand at his nose then lifts his other hand out of the gold and rubs with it instead. “Oh, I feel like sdeezig agaid already.” He glances at me, actually looking a little worried.

“I'm all right,” I assure him. I finger my cloak, getting it ready. “Go right ahead and sneeze if you have to.”

“I have to. I always have to.” He wipes his hand from the tips of his fingers to his forearm under his nose with a great big, snuffling sound. It's a wonder that his sneezes have so much fire to them when his nose otherwise is so wet and runny. It must be a dragon thing. “By dose is just so tickly.”

I'm not sure what to say. 'I'm sorry you've been sneezing for eight centuries' hardly seems appropriate. The fairy had probably only been doing what she thought was appropriate for losing her forest. Perhaps she hadn't realized how long-lasting her magic would be against a dragon. My few meetings with fairies had indicated that they usually acted before they thought. And their fairy dust was certainly not to be underestimated.

HAHHH... HAHHH... HERRRRR-AHHHH... AHHHH...” The sneeze builds slowly, strong breath by strong breath. His snout wrinkles. His nostrils flare wide—so very wide. “HAHHHHHH!

I pull the cloak around myself quickly, hiding within it entirely.

HAHHHHHHH! HAR-EHHHHHH! AHHHHH...

I grit my teeth and brace myself for the fire to surround me yet again.

HAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

He sucks in the strongest breath yet.

But then he doesn't sneeze. The sneeze doesn't come. I don't dare emerge from safety until it does. But I wonder how long I will have to wait. I cannot wait another eight centuries, that's for certain.

HAHHHH!

I brace myself, closing my eyes tight.

HAHHHH! HEERRRR-AHH! AHHHHHH!

I wait.

HAHHHH! HAHHHHHHHHH!

And I wait some more.

AHHH! HARHHHHHH! HAHHHHHHHH! HUH HUH HUHHHHHHHH!” And then, suddenly, the dragon roars.

I open my eyes and look out from beneath the cloak in just the smallest gap between fabric. The still nameless dragon scrubs frantically at his quivering nostrils. “Stuck!” he groans. He buries his head back under a pile of gold. The sound of his heavy, heaving gasps is muffled but still there.

I emerge from behind the cloak. I step as close to him as I dare, feeling a bit braver now that I know the dragon is vulnerable but still cautious now that the dragon is frustrated. I don't trust a grumpy, angry dragon. It might be sneezy, but I bet his sharp claws and even sharper teeth probably still work fine.

“Ah... dragon?”

AHHHH! HAHH! What?” it snaps at me, and it takes all my willpower not to jump back and run straight for the entrance to the cave straight toward safety.

“I... I think I could help you with that sneeze.”

“HAHHH!” It lifts its head slightly, eyes coming up above the level of gold once again. It blinks at me. “I odce had a HAHHHH! a sdeeze stuck HAHHH HERRRR HAHHHHH for over a year. What could you do to helb?”

I swallow hard. I can't believe I'm about to make this offer. But I feel bad for the poor guy. I know what it feels like to feel like you're about to sneeze, and no one deserves to feel that for a whole year. Besides, this will make a fantastic story to tell later. My sister might have seen three dragons, but how many has she made sneeze? Now the trick is just to do this carefully so that I will live to tell the tale. “I think I could reach inside your nose pretty easily and tickle it into letting out that sneeze.”

He blinks at me again. “You would die. AHHHHH! The HAHHH the fire HURRRRAHHH would HAHHHH would HAHHHHH!”

“Not if you pull me out right before you sneeze. I've got a cloak to protect me as well. I think we can make this work.” I reach under my armor, which is looser on me in places than it probably should be if I were heading into battle. But it means I can reach things inside my pocket. My hand seizes upon the item I had in mind, and I pull it out. “Plus, I've got this.” Holding my quill pen at its inky tip, I twirl it between my fingers.

His pupils widen in understanding. He lifts his head again, just enough for his fierce, red snout to surface. His belly rubs against the gold as he frees his forearms from having to hold himself up. His hand shoots out and grabs hold of me, scaly fingers closing tight around my body, and I'm sure I would have been injured if not for the armor. “Blease tickle by dose. I deed to sdeeze so badly. HAHHHH! Oh, I've just got to sdeeze...”

“What is your name, dragon?” I ask again. If I'm going to die in this adventure, I at least want a few seconds when I understand everything. I don't want any unanswered questions remaining.

“Ludwig,” the dragon says without hesitation this time. Then he shoves me into one of his giant nostrils. There is just enough light coming in from the treasure cavern to see by. It is wet all around me and a trail across the bottom from the dragon's constantly runny nose. But what I mostly see inside is glitter. Glitter in every color of the rainbow coats the inside of his nose. It's the mark of the fairy's magic, and I know that no matter how much the dragon—Ludwig—sneezes, he'll never be able to sneeze this out.

I also know that this is what's making his nose so irritated, and so it's this that I target with my quill. The pen truly is mightier than the sword... especially as I no longer have a sword.

AHHHHH-HAHHHH! Hurry! HAHHHHH!” He gasps mainly using his mouth, but I can feel air rushing past me in both directions, chilling me as the breath comes in then warming me as the breath goes out. I think again about the fiery sneezes and worry about my fate. But it's too late now. I've gone too far to back out. I'm actually inside a dragon!

Or the front half of me is, at least. My legs are sticking out, and the dragon's hand is tight around me from the waist down. My only hope is that Ludwig is so grateful to feel a sneeze really coming on that he remembers to pull me out in time. And I hope his reflexes are as quick as they'll need to be. After all, only he knows when he's just about to sneeze.

Securing my nervously quivering lower lip between my teeth, I start stroking the end of my feather quill along the insides of his nasal passages. He gives an enormous huff of a breath and a shudder, and then his whole snout wrinkles and trembles, and I know then that this is working. The feather is small, compared to his mighty form, but he can still feel it tickling him. And it's going to make him sneeze.

I vary my technique, sometimes giving long, firm strokes and sometimes tiny, fluttering tickles. I rub the quill at the magic fairy dust, not dislodging any but using it to further irritate his nose. I feel his nostril expanding and contracting around my waist with each breath as his breathing grows faster, more urgent.

Deciding to increase the ticklish sensation, I reach out with my free hand and gently run my fingertips along the inside of his nose. The walls feel soft, tender like his poor red snout looks. And the dust is so fine I can barely detect it by touch. It's just enough to irritate him, but my tickling is more than enough to make him sneeze.

HAHH I... AHHHH I I I gotta HARAHHHHH! I gotta—!”

All at once, he pulls me out and flings me to the side. Relieved, I cover with my cloak, but it turns out I don't actually need to take such a measure. He's thrown me far enough back that I can feel the heat from the flames, but they're directed forward. I am safely out of their reach, out of harm's way. That doesn't keep my heart from pounding in my chest, however. It is a thrill to see him finally sneeze again and know that I had some small part in helping bring that about.

HARASHUSHHHH! HEHPZSHHUUU!” The sneezes are somehow both full of fire and wet at the same time. And Ludwig's entire body seems to give itself over to the sneezes. His eyes are shut tight, pearls of tears in the corners, but his long neck is stretched out as far as it will go and his snout, which surely must have been wrinkled was sleek and elongated now as fire bursts from his large nostrils and mouth in the shape of an O. “HERR-AHHHSHHTTZZZ! HAPTTSHUHHHH!

Feeling as though we'd shared an intimacy that allowed me now to touch him, I reach out and lay my hand on his side.

He flinches at this and narrows his eyes a moment. Then he rises fully out from under the rest of the treasure. He stretches his wings out, one at a time. Then one of his wings curves and folds around me, like a sort of embrace, perhaps a thank you.

He is otherwise incapable of thanking me verbally at the moment, however. “ERRR-HEHSHIKKKZZZZZ! HEHHHHH-EHHHHHH-HEH-URSHZZSHHHHH!

“Bless you!” I call out, and I feel his wing tighten around me just a little.

HEHHHHH! Oh... godda be HAHHHHH a big HERRRbig ode...” he announces, as if his other sneezes had come from a little kitten, like the ones that had played with my socks at the inn back in Uldrich when I sat by the fireside reading. I back away, wanting to give him as much space as possible. I can't imagine his sneezes being any bigger than they are already, so he impresses me when he takes in one gigantic breath and sneezes a sneeze that fills nearly half the room in flames. “HAHHHHARRRRSHHHHHPTZZSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

When the intense flames die down and wisps of black smoke waft from his nostrils and mouth, I move closer again. He sighs deeply and lifts his hand, rubbing a bent finger back and forth under his wet nostrils. “Ohhhh... that feels so buch better. What a great relief! SNRRTTTT! Thadk you, Jabesod. SNERFFFF! Hah-HAH-SNERFFFFFF!

His nose is running terribly now, dripping messily onto his scales no matter how much he sniffles and snorts and tries to keep it in his snout.

I act without thinking, which really is a first for me, and pull off my cloak in a flourish. I move away from his wing, walk around him, and press the cloak into his other hand. “Here,” I say as I stare up at the dragon's large, inflamed nostrils. “This has seen me through many an adventure.” I remember stretching out under the stars on it to compose poetry one night on the Forgotten Fields. I recall to mind the time I hunkered down under it in the snows of the Frost Forest and dreamed warm thoughts until the sun shone again. “I'm afraid it won't be much use in keeping you warm, it’s far too small for you to use as a cloak or a blanket. But I think it's just the right size for you to wipe your nose with. Maybe you can catch your sneezes in it even?”

SNRFFFFF?” His sniffle sounds like a question, but he lifts the cloth to his nose and hesitantly gives a gentle wipe. Ludwig the dragon gasps in surprise and then rubs it enthusiastically at his nose. He rubs and scrubs and snorts and then lets out a low, rumbling purr that fills the entire cavern.

As if entirely forgetting I'm there, he brings his other hand to hold the cloak between both of them and empties his nose into it with the wettest blow possibly ever heard in the entire kingdom. I don't see a single spec of fairy dust on the cloak afterward, which dries instantly with its own magic. He discovers this by giving his snout another hearty wipe and purrs again, overcome with delight.

I jump back as his wings suddenly unfurl fully. He raises himself into the air, effortlessly. The ceiling of the large cavern is big enough for several dragons to be stacked one on top of another, giving him all the room this single dragon needs to twirl in the air a few times before flopping back down upon his pile of gold, this time on his back. His soft, lilac-colored belly is exposed as it vibrates with purrs and rises and falls with snuffly breaths.

Then his chest quickly fills with a sharp gasp. “HURHHHHHH!” He clutches the cloak tightly, pressing it to his nostrils, which almost match the scarlet cloth in color. “HISHNNXXXXXXXX! Ohhhhhh yes!” He purrs again, his lengthy tail waving slowly from side to side among the piles of gold, overturning some stacks and making glittery jewels scatter throughout the room. I almost lose my footing as two golden dinner platters slide past me. Then the dragon rolls right over and looks at me. “You cad tage whatever you wadt for this. Sniff! Sniff! Tage by whole fortude, if you cad carry it.”

I laugh and reach down, scooping a few coins up. “This should cover the price of a new cloak and a few nights at an inn.” I scoop up a few more coins at a sudden memory. “And I'll need to replace my sword. But that's all I require.” I think about how many books and journals all this gold could buy me—more than I could ever read in a lifetime. But what would an adventurer do with so much? I can carry one, maybe two books with me at a time. “Though, if I should be back here some day...”

“Ady tibe. You're welcobe ady... ady Harrrrrhh... HAHHH... HEHJUXXXSHH!” The fire-resistant cloak blocks and contains everything he sneezes into it. I'm in no danger and his snout is all the better for it as well. He's purring unconsciously and without stop now, in and out. And the corners of his mouth show he's smiling again. “Ady tibe,” he finishes. “Especially if I have adother stuck sdeeze.”

“My, ah, my pleasure.” In truth, it had been a rather messy and terrifying venture, and I will certainly need a new quill pen at some point. But it had felt genuinely good to risk my life to help him out. “Though I suppose I should be going now.”

“Stay a little while lodger?” he pleads. “You cad't ibagide how lodely it's beed here, Jabesod. Sniff! Sniff! Sniff! SNIFF! Oh... I thidk I deed to... to blow...” He blows his snout into the cloak again and then turns it over in his hands, marveling at how dry it still is, how dry it always will be. “Just... sniff! Just stay udtil I cad fall back to sleeb? I thidk I will be able to fidally sleeb well, dow that I cad wibe add blow by ruddy dose. Snff! Tell be of your advedtures? Tell be a story? I love stories.”

My heart leaps. I was born an adventurer into a family of adventurers from a long, long line of adventurers. But, deep down, all I ever really wanted to be was a bard. “Oh,” I say, grinning from ear to ear now. “Oh, I have plenty of stories.” Some—the most boring ones—are my own. But there are hundreds of other stories I know—some I've read, but most I've made up in my own mind while walking through the lands in search of a proper adventure. “I'd love to tell them to you.”

So the dragon settles down, burying himself half under his gold, and gets into a position where he is most comfortable, though he keeps the cloak pressed to his sore snout the whole time. And I sit down next to him, leaning back against his side. It's smooth, and I slide against it a few times before I get stable.

HAHHH-HARRUXXXXXTTTT!” Ludwig sneezes into my former cloak, his new handkerchief.

“Bless you.” I wait for him to relax again beside me before I launch into my first story. This is what I truly live for.

9
Art, Art, and Art! / Re: [M + Messy + Sketch] You're SO SLOPPY, Viktor
« on: October 27, 2018, 09:51:34 PM »
My favorite dragon! Poor baby to have such strong, wet sneezes! Love this so much.

10
I Found Something! / Re: All Hail King Julien [M, Illness]
« on: August 15, 2018, 04:22:04 AM »
Aw, cute! Great sounds.

11
AMAZING! I love every bit of this!

1. She's writing fanfic (and probably totally ships them; I don't blame her)

2. The very first thing Craig does upon waking is tell Don he's going to sneeze. Like, the tickle is so overwhelmingly there, it's the first thing he knows in the morning.

3. Don & Craig being assigned together as roommates because of Craig's fur allergy is brilliant. But how does he get through mandatory dorm hall meetings? Or classes? Poor baby's got to have a tickly, itchy trunk after science lab, working in close quarters with classmates who have fur. Would love seeing him frustrated about that and Don doing something to make him feel better.

4. You totally gave us enough details to imagine what happens at the end. I would have loved to have seen the scene, but it was absolutely not needed. I love the way Don offers to help out, because he helped out before with the sneeze and so... yeah... and Craig immediately understanding and wanting in. Beautiful.

5. Love the setup, with Don waking up already thinking about his roommate and thinking the situation won't change, and then he gets brave and makes it happen. But the introspection and observation was well written and really helped set the characters' situations perfectly.

6. Don tickling Craig's trunk at the base, drawing his finger up like that, just knowing it's going to make the sneeze come out. So nice of him to help and so hot at the same time.

7. Craig's sneezes... so strong. They just fill his whole trunk up, don't they? Mmm.

8. Love the dynamics of a human and an elephant. It's really interesting, not just because of the size.

9. Every last letter in this bit:  “AH.... H-hhAHH... Oh... g-gonna sn-snee-hee... I got... Gota-ah-ah... gottasneeeheeee---”

10. Craig hugging his body pillow and being just as turned on as Don.



Thanks for sharing!

12
Art, Art, and Art! / Re: The Problem With Pepper (M, anthro, canine)
« on: April 15, 2018, 06:23:05 AM »
Love the paw on the muzzle. Adorable!

13
Oh man, that's fantastic. Thanks for sharing the links. His ticklish, cold-filled runny nose is just to die for :-)

14
Art, Art, and Art! / Re: Comission from Alrek! M, dragon, cold
« on: February 11, 2018, 02:15:21 PM »
This is so delicious. I love all his expressions as he deals with his cold and the horrible stuffiness and wetness of the powerful sneezes. Amazing job capturing all of this!

15
Ooooo the plot thickens! ;D  The dom is developing a sneeze fetish now too.  I really enjoyed this, just as much as the first one.  Very well written, and awesome plot line.  I look forward to reading part 3.

Thank you so much! I hope Richard developing a sneeze fetish made sense. It was just not something he'd ever considered before but now that the idea presented itself...  well, there's a lot of potential in it! It's another thing he might add to his weaponry, so to speak. I really appreciate this comment and hope you enjoy the other two stories!

16
I love your story so much!
All of it!
It's so great!
The part where Nose mourned Lewis in the last chapter made me cry, and you've really gotten me interested in getting back into the scene.
Thank you so much for writing and sharing this wonderful piece! :D

Thanks so very much! The stories were so much fun to write; it's great to hear you enjoyed them so much! I've some ideas about where the series might go from here, but I've got other stories I need to work on more immediately.

Happy to hear that moment with Nose wasn't too out of place. Though *hugs* sorry it made you cry. I had worried it was too dramatic for a sneeze story, but it was an important moment for his character. And after such a hard day, the poor pup deserved to have someone see him to bed, even if he couldn't be his Dom.

17
As you might have noticed, each part of this arc is told from a different perspective. In part 1, it is the submissive client. Part 2 is a club Dom. Part 3's is a club submissive. And this, the final part, is told from the point of view of a number of pack Alphas. Normally, a wolf pack doesn't have more than one alpha, but it takes more than one to run a BDSM club. And that also allowed me to show a whole lot of different aspects and scenes. So this one's a little different, but I hope you like it!

Title: Forever (Wolf Pack BDSM Club #4)
Author: tarotgal
Rating: NC-17
Contains: Cold sneezes, induced sneezes, contagion, mess, BDSM situations, pack drama, a lot of sappiness/sweetness
Pairings: Wolf/Rabbit, Wolf/Wolf


Richard lay on top of his sub, panting hot and heavy into his face. Nathaniel was pinned down helplessly on the black matted floor. His master’s hands were on his wrists, both to hold him down but also to massage a pressure point to calm him in this trapped position. Richard had achieved the perfect balance of this over years of being a Dominant in the club.

But this time, his submissive was thrilled to be trapped beneath him. “Tell me how it feels, Sir?” he begged his master.

Richard shook his head. “I’d rather sh-show you. Huhh!” His great black nose, tinted a little red, nuzzled the rabbit’s face, rubbing against the little pink nose. “Huh! Uhhh-SHOOO! Sniff! Just imagine… sniff!Sniff!  Imagine this big bad cold of mi-mine in that tiny little sniff nose of yours. Hah Hah HAH-URSchhhhhhhhh!”

The rabbit twitched his nose and whimpered happily.

“Ohhh, sniffffff I think you’re gonna catch my terrible, wonderful cold. Snifff! You won’t be able to help it after I sn… I sn-sn-sneeze all huh over you-huh-huh-SHUHhhhhh!”

“Master,” Nathaniel was almost out of breath himself from excitement. “Your nose is running so much. You’re all sniffly. Please let me help you!”

Richard nodded in agreement, but he didn’t release his sub. His thighs tightened on either side of Nathaniel’s and his thumbs worked small circles into Nathaniel’s wrists. “If… if you… if… uhhhh! Huh! HUHSHOOO! Sniff! If you idsist.” Richard sniffed long and hard as he ran his nose back and forth against the soft, warm fur of his sub’s cheek.

Nathaniel moaned happily.

“With this cold, I’ll make you sneeze for days. And every sniff every sniff every single time you sneeze, you’ll think of me.”

Nathaniel moaned again, nodding his head emphatically. “Yes, Sir. I won’t forget.”

“It’ll be me making you sneeze, even when we’re not tuh-together. Hah-HakkCHIHHHHH!”

Nathaniel cried out, his body straining not to get away but to get even closer. But Richard held him down well, masterfully. “I always want us to be together,” Nathaniel cried.

Grinning, Richard rubbed his nose against Nathaniel’s again. “I… I...” He wasn’t able to finish. “Huhhh-UHSHHHHHH! H’KSHOOO! HUHSHHHHH!” Gasping, sniffing, coughing a little even, Richard pulled back and finally reached for a tissue from the box next to them.

Obediently, his sub lay there as if he was still being held. Nathaniel watched him blow his nose with a look of jealousy and reverence and something else Airabella recognized all too well.

With a sigh, Airabella leaned back from the monitor. She turned and caught Bertrum's eye across the room. “We've got a problem with Richard.”

Bertrum rubbed a paw over his gray speckled face. “Is it the sneezing again? I thought that was going all right for him.” He crossed the room to her and placed hands on her shoulders as he leaned over to see what she was watching.

Richard and his sub lay side-by-side on the mat, a box of tissues between them. Richard wound up, breath hitching, and sneezed. He pulled a few tissues from the box and wiped his nose. Then he wiped his sub's face for him. His touch was tender, gentle, loving.

Bertrum sighed. “You're right. That is a problem. I'll get one of the subs to summon him to the office as soon as he's free tonight.” He shook his head. “He's such a great Dominant. I'd hate to lose him.”

“He's so fantastic with first time submissives—all his submissives, really.” Airabella nodded in agreement.

*

It was almost an hour before Master Richard appeared before them in the Alpha's private office. He was freshly showered, a few beads of water still clinging to his brown fur, but he still obviously looked sick. He tried to disguise this, though, as he stood in front of the desk in the office as if nothing were wrong. “Hello, Mrs. A, Mr. B.” As there was no chair on his side of the desk, he stood with his paws behind his back and his head tilted down toward their seated forms.

“Hello, Richard.” Airabella's tone was light and sweet. She cared about everyone in her pack so deeply, and she knew this was going to be a difficult conversation if emotions got away from them too early. “How are you?”

“I'm f... fine,” he finished hesitantly.

She cocked her head. “Really? You're not ill?”

He opened his mouth to respond but seemed to not know what to say. As much as he didn't want to admit he was ill, he couldn't lie to his Alphas.

“Come here, please.” With his ears flat back against his head and his tail tucked between his legs, he walked forward and leaned against the desk. Obediently, he leaned forward even further. Airabella touched her paw to his nose and he winced, instinctively pulling his sore, chapped nose away. His nose had felt dry and warm to her, though. There was no mistaking that. “You've got a cold, Richard. Maybe even a bit of fever.”

He nodded and shrugged and sniffed.

Bertrum forward and folded his paws on the desk. “You know we're going to have to remove you from the schedule until you get better. We can't have you getting the Doms, subs, or clients sick.”

Richard stared down at the desk, not meeting their eyes.

“Apart from Nathaniel, of course.”

Richard's head snapped up, eyes wide. “You don't understand... I... he... huhhh... he wanted… huhhhhh…” He dug a tissue out of his pocket and turned to the side. He wasn't about to get his Alphas sick either. “Uhhhhh HIHSHOO! Uh… sniff! Excuse me,” he mumbled.

“Bless you,” Airabella said. “Don't worry, Richard. We know all about Nathaniel's request and your scene tonight with him.”

He dabbed at his nose with the tissue. “You do? Sniff! You were watching?”

She nodded. “We know all about you catching Nose's cold. We know about all your scenes with Nathaniel over the past eight months. And we know you're in love with him.”

Richard recoiled, coughed, and tried to hide the looks of terror and confusion on his face. “With all due respect—”

“The more you protest, the more obvious it is to us,” Bertrum said. “Frankly, it's been obvious for a long while.”

Shaking his head, Richard tried again to explain. “No... I think you misunderstand. I put my heart into my relationships with all my subs, even the... first timers. It's impor... important to me to... to... excuse me-huh! My cold… I have to…” He fumbled for another tissue from his pocket. “huhhh-UHShhhoo! HUHSHOO!” He rubbed at his nose but winced a little because it was so sore. He cleared his throat and tried again to explain. “It's important to me to put emotion and feeling into a scene with any of my subs. That doesn't mean I... love... Sniff! I mean, I enjoy working with Nathaniel. He's a born submissive. He makes it so easy to be a Dominant. But that doesn't mean I'm in love.”

Airabella  narrowed her eyes. “No? What it is then?”

“It’s… it’s just lust. And kink. With caring… and respect… and trust… and…”

“Richard,” Bertrum said, “Stop fighting us on this and start owning the fact that you're capable of loving someone more deeply. That's just as beautiful a thing as being a professional Dom.”

“It...” He seemed to deflate right before their eyes. He looked defeated, lost. And that wasn't what the Alphas had meant to do at all. Airabella got up and put her arms around him. He tried to pull back. “I'm sick...”

“I know. But sometimes even a Dom needs a hug.” She gave him a tight, reassuring squeeze before pulling away and sitting on the edge of the desk in the front. She leaned back on her straight arms and gave a deep sigh. “Oh, Richard. What are we going to do with you, hmm? Falling in love with your submissive is a problem for us. But the fact that he's in love with you, presents you with a choice.”

“He's...” Richard swallowed. “Is he really?”

“Sweetie, he would do anything for you. Everyone can see it.”

“Because he's a sub.”

“Because he's your sub. Because he loves you.” Airabella cocked her head again. She had a way of looking at anyone that made them believe whatever she said. “Which means you're going to have to choose between the pack and Nathaniel, between a job working here as a Dom and a life outside with a devoted lover.”

Bertrum added, “Luckily, you have some time to think while you recover from your head cold.”

Richard nodded. “Can I... talk to Nathaniel about this?”

Airabella gave a laugh. “Of course! Talk to whoever you like—Doms, subs, anyone you trust. If you need to talk with any of the Alphas about this, we're here for you. You're not the first Dom to fall in love with a client. Above all, I encourage you to talk to him. You need to make sure he isn't married with three children.” Richard gave a start. “Like I said, you're not the first, and you won't be the last.”

With a paw to his muzzle, Richard quickly turned to the side again. “Excuse... huh! Huh! HUH-KTChooo! UhhhTCHOO! Uhhh... excuse be agaid.” He dug another tissue out of his pocket and blew his nose.

“Go get some rest,” Bertrum told him. “Have some medicine. Ask Howl to make you some tea. And go take care of your cold.”

Richard snuffled and wiped his nose. “Thank you, Mr. B. And thank you, Mrs. A.” He shuffled out of the office, still rubbing his nose.

Bertrum stood and came around the desk. Airabella leaned into him, putting her head on his shoulder. He rubbed her back. “Poor dear. He's really got it bad, doesn't he?”

“He'll make the right decision in the end.”

Bertrum nodded. “I'd better have Felix start putting together a list of his regular clients. They'll need to be contacted. And we'll have to let Jessamyn know not to send any subs his way while he's out sick.” 

*

Nibbling on a jam-covered piece of toast and clutching a large travel mug of coffee, Winston headed into the control room for his shift. “Anything happen this morning?” he asked as he settled into one of the rolling chairs and surveyed the monitors. He liked starting out by taking in where everyone was. Today, the kitchen was full of Doms and subs eating breakfast. There were a few Doms playing video games in the rec room. There were a few subs in the living room gossiping over coffee. Winston scanned all the monitors and asked, “Is he up yet?”

Theodore shook his head. “No drama, and he hasn’t come out of his room. He’s probably sleeping in. I don’t think anyone but the Alphas know yet. Speaking of which…” He gestured vaguely behind him. “I give him three days, ‘cause he’s head over heels.”

Winston looked over at the whiteboard. Instead of notes left by one monitoring shift for the other, there was a three week calendar grid. Winston recognized it as this month and could already see that his fellow Alphas had started placing their names on the calendar along with the words ‘staying’ and ‘leaving.’ Winston found today’s date and, three days later, spotted Theodore’s name and ‘leaving.’ He could hardly believe there was a pool for this already. But he quickly walked over and added his name in a blank space five days out along with the word ‘staying.’

“You’re crazy, man. He loves Nathaniel.”

“Course he does,” Winston agreed taking his seat again. “But he loves his pack more. He loves being a Dom. Where’s he gonna go work after this, McDonald’s?” He made a derisive noise. Winston finished off the toast and washed it down with a gulp of black coffee. He leaned back in the chair and took in all the monitors on the main wall at once. The scene room monitors were over on the other wall, but it was early in the day and no one was using them yet. He noticed a few Doms head to the gym for morning workouts; it was always enjoyable to watch Doms pushing each other harder on the indoor track or on the machines. And no one could beat Andy in weight lifting.

“Oh, get this! He’s up. And he’s headed for Nose.”

Winston abandoned the gym monitor and rolled right over to where Theodore sat. “Turn the volume up!” He nudged Theodore’s arm until Theodore had the volume up.

Nose was curled in a beige armchair, drinking what was probably his usual ginger-lemon tea with honey and reading a book on his kindle. Morning sun streamed in through the living room window on his right and Richard was headed straight for the empty armchair across from him.

“Hey, Nose.”

Nose’s head snapped up and he blinked. “G’morning, Master Richard. Ah… looks like you caught my cold?”

Richard nodded. “Yeah, it’s a doozy. Been sneezing my head off.”

A smile played at the corners of Nose’s mouth. “That’s, ah, a good thing for you, right?”

Looking only slightly embarrassed and mostly pleased, Richard nodded again. “Right. Nathaniel came in last night and… it was good. No, God, it was magnificent. It was everything I could have hoped for. But then…” He hesitated and rubbed a paw absentmindedly at his muzzle. “Then the Alphas called me to their office.”

Frozen with fear, Nose stared at him.

“You’re not in trouble,” Richard quickly explained. “Neither am I, actually. But…” He trailed off, and for a moment Winston thought he just needed to sneeze. He took a tissue out of the box and pressed it to his face. But then Winston leaned forward and could see wetness in the wolf’s amber eyes.

Nose set his kindle down on the arm of his chair and leaned forward. “Hey… what’s wrong?”

Richard looked back at him, sniffling and wiping away tears before they could fall. “Nose… what does it feel like to be in love?”

Nose hung his head for a few seconds, and when he lifted it again, Winston could see the smile on it. “You figured it out finally, did you?”

“Mrs. A and Mr. B told me.”

“Ah.”

“You knew?” He swiped at his nose. His muzzle was twitching. There was obviously a tickly sneeze on its way.

Nose nodded. “Wasn’t my place to say anything. But the way you are when you’re together…” He didn’t finish because Richard’s breath was hitching, but he probably didn’t need to.

Tissue already in hand, Richard cupped his paws to his snout. “uhhhhh huhhh-UHShhheoooo! Huhhh-UHSHOOO!” He didn’t open his eyes after the sneeze, looking both pleased and miserable for having sneezed.

“Bless you.”

“Thanks. Sniff! SNIFF!” He gave his nose a little bitty blow, just a small snuffle, really. Then he leaned sideways, pressing his face into the plush of the armchair where the winged back stuck out on the side.

“Master Richard, I’ve always been honest with my Doms. Lewis wouldn’t tolerate anything less, even if he didn’t want to hear what I had to say. May I be honest with you now?”

He opened his eyes and gave a little nod of his head against the chair wing.

“What you and your sub have is special. I could see it right away. It’s amazing when two dynamics just click the right way, but the affection you have for each other is a whole other level of beautiful. If you are being given a chance to have it forever, I think you owe it to yourself and to your sub to pursue it. Love at the core of a scene is hotter and stronger than any kink. Love shared in a relationship is the most wonderful feeling. It’s been two years since I lost Lewis, and I still love him as much today as I did when he was holding me in his arms or having me kneel beside him with my cheek on his thigh. I love it here at the club, but I’d never trade any lifestyle for what we had together. It can’t even compare.”

He blinked and sniffed. “But… I love being a Dom. I’m not sure I want to give that up.”

Nose laughed loudly. It was such a startling sound Winston rolled back an inch in his chair and Richard sat straight up, eyes wide. “Silly wolf,” Nose laughed. “You’re always going to be a Dom. That’s part of your nature. You couldn’t stop being a Dom if you tried. What changes is that instead of being a Dom to every random man who walks in here, you get to be a Dom to the one man who you’ll know inside and out, to the one man you love and are devoted to, to the one man who wants nothing more than to please you and only you as his master forever. Instead of playing out a scene and acting as a Dom for a couple hours, you get to be a Dom every second of every day.”

Overwhelmed, Richard looked like he didn’t know what to say to this. He shivered, even though he was wearing a sweater over his button-down shirt. His breath caught and eyes closed. “huhh… huh uhhh huh huh huhh HUH HUHHSHOO!” He sneezed into another tissue. But he didn’t stop there. “HUH HUHH-CHISHHHH! HUH-SHUHH!”

“Master Richard?”

“HUH-IHSHHHH! Huhh huhhhh HUH-SHOO! HURSHOOO!”

“Better blow your—”

“HUH-IHSHOOO! HAHSHOOO! HAH HUHHH HUHHHSHOOO!” His body shook with every strong sneeze.

Nose leaned forward and placed a paw on Richard’s knee, trying to get his attention. “Mas—”

“HUH… HUH-HRSHHHHHH!”

“Damn it.” Nose reached further forward and stuck his paw into Richard’s pocket. He pulled out a whole wad of tissues and he knocked Richard’s hands away in order to press the tissues to Richard’s nose. “Blow, Sir!”

Richard coughed and snuffled and sneezed again. “Huh-UHSHHHOOO!”

“Blow your nose!” the sub repeated.

And, this time, though coughing, Richard managed it. His paws took over for Nose’s as he got his breathing better under control. He blew his nose until his shoulders sagged and he relaxed back into the armchair. “Thanks,” he said weakly. “Pushy sub, giving me orders?”

Nose gave another laugh. He looked around to make sure he couldn’t be overheard by any of the subs or Doms in the room before whispering, “You know, Nathaniel would have loved doing that for you.”

Richard sniffled and stared at Nose for a few moments. Then his head tipped forward again, into the tissues. “huhhh-URSHUHHHH!” He winced as he gave his nose another strong blow.

Concerned, Nose patted his knee again. “Hey, have you gone to the doctors yet? I mean, I know you like sneezing, but they’ve got medicine to take the edge off. Your voice sounds really rough, and you look a little feverish.”

Richard shook his head.

And Nose tensed. “You owe me a favor.”

Richard lowered the tissues. “What?”

“I did you a favor, so you owe me. And now I’m going to collect. I want you to promise me to see a doctor.”

“Nose…”

“I mean it. We all have choices to make in life, and this is mine. I want you to go to the clinic and take whatever they give you. Promise me.”

“Nose—”

“Promise me, or I’m calling an Alpha to come here right now.” He lifted his head, looking around, and then stared straight at the camera.

Winston felt like Nose was staring right at him; he chuckled. “Clever pup.”

“All right,” Richard relented. “All right, I’ll go to the clinic.” He gave a massive yawn into the side of the chair and snuffled again. “But maybe a nap first. I’m beat.”

“Fine,” Nose agreed. “But you’d better not forget to go. If word gets around that you broke your promise to a sub, you’ll have bigger issues to deal with here in the pack.”

Richard smiled. “I do believe you’re blackmailing me.”

“Whatever it takes. Just think of how guilty I’d feel if your fever spikes and you pass out on the stairs or if this cold develops into a sinus infection or bronchitis. I would be devastated.”

“I’ll go,” Richard promised. “Sniff! Sniff! After I get some more tissues and some sleep.”

Another laugh. He had a kind laugh, Nose did. “Take care and feel better, Sir. Don’t make me sorry I gave you my cold.”

Richard got up and headed out of the room. Winston and Theodore both watched him on the monitors as he headed down the hall and then up the two flights to the Doms’ floor. He headed to his room and went inside, shutting the door behind, which was as much as their cameras could track.

“Think we should make a note about that?” Theodore asked? “Make sure he goes to see Morris or Rosie or Douglas today?”

“Nah,” Winston said. “If he gets bad enough, whoever’s on duty here will send a doctor to him anyway. But I don’t think he’ll break his promise.” Winston glanced back at the whiteboard, wondering if Theodore would notice if he changed his guess from ‘staying’ to ‘leaving.’

*

“There,” Douglas said, fitting the wrist support over Leon’s paw and lower arm. “Have you been doing the stretching exercises I showed you? Shaking your hand out regularly?”

Leon didn’t meet his gaze.

“Oh, you Doms always think you know best. Heaven forbid you listen to an Alpha with a medical degree who has your best interests at heart. And where did it get you?”

“Mr. D… I just forgot…”

“Ah. Well, how about remembering three times a day for the next two weeks.”

Lifting his hand, Leon winced. “How about some painkillers?”

“Nothing stronger than a regular dose of Advil. It’ll get better in time if you rest it and do the exercises. Keep the support on all day as long as it hurts, and all night if you sleep on your side.”

Leon snorted. “Oh, that’s gonna go over real well. When a sub needs a spanking, I’m just supposed to explain to him I need to rest my arm? Or I’ll have to bring in another Dom to discipline him for me?”

“You can do whatever you like,” said Douglas. “But I’d recommend wearing long sleeves and practicing swinging a paddle with your left.” Too much spanking was what had gotten him into trouble in the first place.

With a sigh, Leon hopped down from the table. He winced and held his right arm to his chest.

“If the pain and inflammation get any worse at all, come back right away and we’ll reevaluate. We can try physical therapy or injections, but surgery is our last resort.”
 
“Surgery?” Leon said with a bit of a whimper.

Douglas clapped him on the back a few times. “Like I said: last resort. Don’t worry. If you do what I say, there’s no reason it won’t get better with time.”

“Thanks, Mr. D.” Leon headed for the door, passing Richard in the doorway. Leon gave him a look, like he had a million questions for him. He looked him up and down, though, and seemed to decide his questions could wait. “You all right?” he asked softly.

Richard nodded, panting a little, straightening up so he didn’t look so miserable. “Will be. Snrt! Bad cold. You?” He glanced at the wrist support.

“Will be,” Leon echoed then headed out of the clinic.

“C’mon over here,” Douglas waved Richard over and patted the exam table. Rosie wasn’t working tonight and Morris was off in a scene room taking care of a couple who hadn’t been playing as safely as they were supposed to. Tail had reported it right away, just as he should, but it meant Douglas was covering the clinic alone for a while. “That cold finally get to you?”

Richard nodded, mouth open, panting.

Douglas felt his nose then the back of his ears, frowning. “You’re really warm.” He reached for a thermometer “Can you breathe through your nose at all?”

“Dot really. I… huh!” His eyes snapped shut and nostrils flared.

“Oh no. You’re not sneezing all over my clinic. Here.” He shoved a box of tissues at Richard.

Blindly, Richard pulled a few out and held them up to his muzzle. “huhhh-uhhptxxxsh!” he coughed and snuffled congestedly and didn’t open his eyes.

Douglas traded the oral thermometer for the ear sort. It went uncomfortably deep and wasn’t always as accurate, but at least Richard would be able to keep breathing. It was pretty fast as well. A few beeps later, the numbers 104 popped up on the reader. It wasn’t extreme yet, but anything over 102 was troublesome. Gently, Douglas removed it and set it down to be disinfected later. “Are you keeping food down all right?” Douglas asked, and Richard nodded. “Well, that’s something to be grateful for at least.” He got a cold bottle of water out of the fridge, cracked the cap off it, and handed it over. “Drink slowly. Just sip and keep sipping. Unless you need to sneeze, and then cover your nose and mouth, then go back to sipping.” Richard nodded again. Douglas checked a few cabinets and found a stack of washcloths. He wet one in the sink then pressed it to the back of Richard’s neck, holding it there. “Okay… we’ll just give this a little time. I might have to keep you here overnight. But you’ll be all right. I promise.” He flipped the washcloth over, so it was cool against Richard’s neck again.

Richard smiled weakly. “Heh. A Dob dever breaks his… his brobises. Hept!” He grabbed for another tissue. “huhhh-uh-shxxxt! Huh-shgxxxtt!” He winced at each painful sneeze. Then he panted, trying to catch his breath. Feeling anxious and twitchy, not knowing what else to do, he took another sip of the water.

“Good boy. Keep drinking that. You sound terribly stuffed-up. I’m going to see what I can do for your sinuses.” Douglas rubbed his paws together to warm them, and then he laid a gloved paw on Richard’s muzzle and started massaging. Richard exhaled sharply and coughed, trying to pull his head away. “Did you feel pain?”

Richard shook his head and tried to sniff, but his nose was too blocked. “Snrtt!”

 “I know it feels strange and intense at first, but trust me on this.” He kept rubbing, putting pressure on certain parts as he did so. Richard’s eyelids drooped. His nostrils flared again. His muzzle twitched. But Douglas kept massaging in small circles. He flipped the cool cloth over again with his other paw.

After a few minutes of massaging, Richard looked like he might fall asleep. Douglas quickly capped the bottle just in case. He took it out of Richard’s paw and replaced it with a handful of tissues. Richard’s eyes fluttered open for a moment, not wanting to stay like that. “Let me try just one more thing.” He pressed his warm palm against the tip of Richard’s nose. He rubbed in a clockwise motion five, ten, fifteen, twenty times. Then he switched to counter-clockwise five, ten, fifteen, twenty more times.

When he pulled his paw away, he could see Richard’s nose starting to run. He guided Richard’s paw with the tissues up to his nose just in time to catch a wet, productive sneeze. “uhh-HUHKSchhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh… sniff!” Quickly, he blew his nose and sighed deeply afterward.

Douglas smirked. “See? Didn’t I tell you? Can you breathe a little better now?”

Richard nodded. “Better.”

“Good.” He handed the bottle back. He got the washcloth wet again with cold water and pressed it to the nape of Richard’s neck again. Richard shivered initially then breathed out deeply. “That’s it. Slow and steady. Just relax.” He had just about relaxed properly when the door to the clinic opened again.

Richard sat up straight, hiding the tissues behind his leg, pulling the cloth away from the back of his neck.

We both looked over to see one of the newer subs with a hand pressed to the side of his head. “A rhino overreacted, bolted, knocked me hard into a wall. Head hurts. Alphas wanted to make sure I don’t have a concussion or somethin’.”

For privacy, Douglas drew a curtain around the table where Richard sat. He put the cold washcloth back in place. “I’ll be back in a couple minutes. Keep drinking.”

He disposed of his gloves, washed his hands, and put on fresh gloves. Then he guided the sub to an exam table on the other side of the room.

*

Airabella knocked on Richard’s bedroom door. She heard coughing and footsteps. The door unlocked and opened a crack as if by magic. One amber eye inspected her. Then the door swung wide to let her in. She slipped inside and closed it behind her as Richard was already retreating into the nest of blankets and pillows on his bed. He turned in a circle, settled down, and pulled some of the blankets over his lap and shoulders to keep warm.

As the bedrooms weren’t meant for visitors, there was nowhere else for her to sit. So she settled on the end of the bed. “How are you doing?”

Several blankets rose along with his shoulders as he shrugged. “Dod’t dow…”

“Ah. Maybe I was too general with my question. First, how’s your cold?”

“A lot better. Fever’s gode. Throat’s dot so sore. It’s bostly just the sdeezig.”

She smiled slyly. “And that part you like, right?”

He hid his face behind a blanket as he nodded. “Yes, Brs. A. Sniff!”

“Good. Second question, then. How’s your decision about leaving or staying coming along?”

He shook his head and poked it out from the blankets again. “I…” But as soon as he began, he had to stop. “Excuse be. I have to huh have to Huh-uhh!” He buried his nose in tissues. “huhhh-uhhTIHShhuhh! Uhhh-HIHShhhhhhh!” He snuffled into the tissues but didn’t indicate that he wanted to be left alone to do whatever the heck he did when he was sneezy and alone.

So Airabella stayed put. “Bless you. You were saying?”

“Oh sniff! Right. I talked with Dathadiel. Sniff! Sniff! With by sub. A lot.”

“And is he married with three children? Or more? He is a rabbit, isn’t he?”

Richard laughed. “Doe childred. He’s dot barried. Dot seeig adyode. Id fact, he’d give dub od a relatiodshib altogether before he started cobig to the club.”

“And then he fell in love with his Dom.”

This time, Richard nodded. “That’s what he said. He said he had’t wadted to but…”

“But it just happened? He couldn’t help loving you?”

Richard nodded again.

“And what did he say when you told him how you feel about him?”

Richard was silent. Well, not entirely silent. He sniffed a little.

And Airabella felt a bit of worry flutter in her chest. “You… did tell him, right?”

Richard sniffed. “I did. I told hib everything. He said it’s by decisiod, but he wadts be. Said I cad bove right idto his blace. Said we cad go tissue box shobbig together—which… yes, that souds stradge but…”

“But, to you two, it’s romantic. I get it. So you’re feeling overwhelmed?”

Richard nodded. “Yes. That’s it. Add other thigs…”

“Richard, you’ve been part of my pack for…” She did the quick math. “Eight years. You went from home to college to here. You’ve never lived with a mate. You’ve never had another job. All your needs have been taken care of for you by the pack here—room, food, healthcare, entertainment, workload, even your daily schedule. Of course you’re feeling worried about leaving, maybe even terrified or useless.” And he was a Dom, so he’d never admit any of that to anyone except, perhaps, his Alphas. In fact, he couldn’t even bring himself to look at her when he nodded yes. “Plus, you’re not feeling too good, so everything you feel is suddenly more extreme and out of control, and you don’t have your work to distract you from all of this.” She reached out, searching through the blankets, and found his paw. Airabella gripped it in her own. “I’m not going to lie. It’s not easy out there in the world. But if you find someone you can face challenges and hardships with, not just experience fun with, then the struggle doesn’t feel so hard.”

He squeezed back and looked into her eyes again. “How do I know if he’s subode like that?”

“I’m not sure you can know unless you give it a try and give him a chance. Sometimes you don’t know if there’s someone there to catch you until you jump. Here with the pack, we’ll catch you every single time. Out there… sometimes you have to have faith in someone else. Sometimes you even have to catch yourself. But playing it safe forever isn’t necessarily rewarding. Sometimes the best things are worth the fight. Sometimes the best things are worth the risk.”

Richard just sat there, looking so lonely and conflicted and even more worried. Airabella couldn’t stand it. She scooted over and wrapped her arm around him, blankets at all. She pulled him against her and rubbed his arm through the blankets. She gave him a tiny nip on the neck and felt him snuggle into her instinctively, calming, feeling cared for.

“I’ll support you, whatever you decide.”

He whimpered and nuzzled closer. Then his whole body tensed and he scrambled for tissues. “uhhh-HIHTchhhhh! HIHShoooo! Sniff! Excuse be.”

She rubbed his arm through the blankets as he relaxed back against her. After grabbing one of his pillows and putting it in her lap, she nudged him to lie down. Then she pet his head with firm, slow strokes. “Take all the time you need to decide.” This decision could mean losing Richard forever. And as much as she hated to lose a member of her pack, she knew it was his choice and she would have to let him make it.

They stayed that way for a long while. And just when she was wondering if he was falling asleep, he spoke up again. “What about by other subs if I leave? Will I be allowed to exblaid or say goodbye?”

And that was when she knew what his choice would ultimately be. “The Alphas will contact them to let them know the situation. If they want a new Dom, we’ll make sure they have one here. If they want to say goodbye to you, we’ll arrange for them to do so. Some will be happy for you. Others might feel let down or even jealous. But this isn’t the first time we’ve been through this. We know how to handle many different reactions.” He was a good Dom to be concerned about them. Airabella knew her pack would certainly be weakened when he left.

*

Normally, Norman liked a good party. There were always plenty of excuses for the pack to have one—the arrival of a new member, a holiday, a birthday. But there was too much of a bittersweet feeling to farewell parties to really enjoy them. In all his time in the pack, he’d only attended a handful of them, but he would have been happy to never attend another. Losing a member of the pack was like losing a limb. They would learn to cope. Eventually, they wouldn’t even feel the loss. But they would always remember it.

The best way to cope at a farewell party, Norman decided, was to get drunk. Normally, alcohol wasn’t permitted in the club. No one participating in a scene was allowed to have had a drink the same day. But during parties, the drinks were plentiful.

He spotted Richard across the room, laughing with a bunch of Doms. They were talking and shoving, even play wrestling each other a little. Looked like they were having fun. Norman got himself another drink, intending to try to have fun as well.

Richard’s cold was still hanging on; sometimes these things were tough to shake. But he looked a hell of a lot better than he had a couple days ago when he’d gone to the clinic. Airabella had been clear in her command to the other Alphas; none of them were to say a word about Richard’s cold or his little thing for sneezing. Some of the pack subs knew, and it was possible Richard had confided in some of his fellow Doms. But it wouldn’t be a good idea to embarrass him at his own farewell party by airing his sexual kinks. Norman found it hard not to smile knowingly every time Richard sneezed, however.

Before Norman knew it, he was three sheets to the wind. And he was feeling great.

He glided over to Richard like he was floating when he walked. Sure, he bumped into a half dozen wolves along the way, but it was definitely because they were the ones being clumsy, not him. He fell against Richard’s side, and Richard put an arm around his middle to steady him. “Whoops! Must’ve tripped!”

“Right,” Andy, one of the Doms, said, rolling his eyes.

“Just… wanted to say… I mean…” It wasn’t coming out exactly the way Norman had wanted to say it, for some reason. He suppressed a burp and laughed through an apology.

Another of the Doms, Derek, moved closer. “Hey, Mr. N, maybe you should have something to eat…”

Norman shook his head. “Don’t want food… I wanted to tell Richard… wanted to say goodbye…”

“Bye, Mr. N. I’ll, ah, miss you.” Richard tilted his head and nuzzled against Norman affectionately.

“Whoa!” Norman pulled away. “Not too close. Don’t want to catch your cold!” With a gasp, he slapped his paw over his mouth. “I didn’t mean to mention—”

“Okay!” Richard interrupted. “Let’s go find you some food.” He steered Norman away from the Doms, and Norman felt his stomach spin. He definitely didn’t want food. Maybe another drink would settle it.

“Don’t want food.”

“Okay then,” said Richard. “I’ll find you another Alpha to look after you. Or maybe a sub. Paws? You wanna talk to Paws? Paws is right over there.”

Norman wasn’t sure. He wanted to talk to Richard. But he was already talking with Richard. This was getting confusing. Not that he was confused. He was fine. The problem was everyone around him. Maybe they were the ones who needed drinks. They weren’t making sense. “Hey… d’you want a drink? I want a drink.”

“No thanks. I’m not drinking tonight. I…” Richard stopped and quickly covered his nose.

“Ohh, are you going to sneeze right now?”

Richard looked imploringly at him for a second before his eyes were forced closed. “uhhhh-HUHshooo! Huh! Uhhh!” He froze for a moment, looking like he was going to sneeze. His muzzle was raised, his eyes closed, his mouth turned down and open. But then he seemed to shake the feeling. He sniffed and wiped his paw on his jeans.

Norman laughed. “I really thought you were going to sneeze again. Did you think so?”

Richard steered him toward Paws. “I think you want to talk with Paws for a little while.”

Norman felt himself being handed off, but he didn’t mind much. Paws was nice. Paws always understood him. “Richard’s worried I’m going to tell about the sneezing,” he whispered to Paws, making sure his whisper was loud enough to be heard properly over the noise of the party. “But I won’t! I promise I won’t tell anyone that he and his sub—”

Paws shoved a drink in his hand. “Hey, Mr. N. Good to see you. Have you tried the samosas yet? They’re delicious.” He rubbed his paw up and down Norman’s back while exchanging a look with Richard that Norman sort of saw but didn’t quite understand. The samosa, however, was exactly as delicious as promised. In fact, he had two, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.

“Did I talk with Richard?” Norman asked an hour later, as two Alphas frog marched him to his bedroom all the way up on the third floor. “I wanted to say goodbye.”

“You told him,” Morris confirmed.

“I’m sure he’ll miss you,” Gregor assured him.

*

“The thing is, he's a heart breaker and doesn't even realize it.” Keith said, nodding toward the monitor showing the recreation room where Richard was saying his goodbyes. There were hugs and tears, there were well wishes and vows to keep in touch. Some of the pack submissives looked utterly devastated.

Leona watched as Richard gave a general wave of farewell to the room then headed down the hallway in the direction of the kitchen. “He's going to say goodbye to Howl now!” Oscar and Vincent sat at the table, finishing up a late breakfast, though. Quickly, she whipped out her phone and sent them emergency texts to get out of there immediately. “C'mon, guys...”

“Outa time,” Keith announced. He rolled his chair over to where she sat in front of the kitchen monitor. She turned the volume up all the way.

Richard hesitated in the doorway, and Oscar was the first to spot him. He looked from Richard to Howl and seemed to understand instantly. He grabbed Vincent's arm just as Vincent went for his phone. Vincent shook off the touch and checked his message. Oscar grabbed him again, pulling him up. That was when Vincent figured it out as well. He grabbed a cookie from the bowl in the center of the table and wiggled his phone. “Emergency. Gotta go.” On their way out, Oscar and Vincent said quick goodbyes to Richard. Not a minute later, they were both in the control room behind Keith and Leona, out of breath from the run. Vincent broke the cookie into pieces and handed them round as the four Alphas watched and listened.

“Do you have a couple minutes to talk?” Richard asked.

Howl, who was putting together some sort of casseroles for dinner, slowed to a stop. He stared down at the counter for a few seconds. Then, without turning to look at Richard, he nodded. “Sure.”

“May I close the door? I don't want anyone walking in. I've been saying goodbyes all morning and this one's just for you.”

Howl's shoulders rose and fell, maybe in a sigh or maybe in a sob; none of the Alphas could tell for sure. “Okay.”

Richard closed the kitchen door, which was hardly ever closed. Upon finding it closed, not one pack member would dare open it from the other side. Richard walked around the long wooden table to the side where Howl was. Instead of sitting down on one of the benches, though, he sat down on the tabletop itself, feet on the bench. He patted the spot next to him. “Would you sit beside me?”

Slowly, Howl put down the spatula and can in his hand. His shoulders rose and fell again. Then he rubbed his face with his paw and turned. They could see he'd been crying.

Oliver spoke softly, as though Richard or Howl might somehow be able to hear him. “His eyes were red like that when we got there. We didn't see him fall apart, but seems like he might have been crying all last night after the party.”

Howl climbed onto the bench and sat down next to Richard, keeping a few inches of space between them. “So... you're really leaving then?” Howl's voice was miraculously calm. He ran a palm over the smooth polished wood tabletop, watching his paw slide back and forth.

“Yeah, I am. I’ve gotta give this a chance. Nathaniel... well...” He smiled just thinking about his sub. He looked down at his own paws, the goofy smile showing in his voice. “He makes me feel like the Dom I've always wanted to be.”

At this, Howl let out a sorrowful howl that none of the Alphas could miss it. Three of them leaned closer to the monitor. The fourth glanced at the door, thinking about going to him. Two held hands.

Richard raised an arm but let it hover in the air. “Howl, would it be okay if I put my arm around you? Just... just a hug.”

Crying now, Howl couldn't answer. But he nodded hesitantly. The moment Richard's arm was draped around his shoulder, he leaned into Richard's side. They sat like that, side-by-side, until Howl had his hitching breaths and his tears under control a bit again. “S-sorry,” Howl whispered.

“It's okay. Tears remind you that you still feel. Sniff! I'm going to miss you too.” He smiled again, though not in that goofy way he had when he talked about Nathaniel. “I'll miss being able to wake up after an especially tough night as a Dom to find a great big breakfast waiting for me. I'll miss your mom's amazing tortilla soup you made me every year for my birthday. I'll miss having you to confide in, knowing without my asking that you'd never tell my secrets to another living soul.”

Howl gave a sad laugh. “I told Nose how much you like sneezing when he told me about your request to catch his cold.”

Richard laughed too. “I should have guessed.”

“How is your cold, anyway?”

“A lot better, thanks. Just a couple sneezes now and then.”

“Oh...”

“Hey, is that a note of disappointment in your voice?” Richard joked.

Howl shook his head. “Course not. Only... there was something I wanted to ask you about that.”

“Well, here's your chance. Fire away.”

“You'll think I'm silly, and I don't want you to remember me like that.”

Richard rubbed his hand up and down Howl's upper arm. “Pup, I've already told you how I'm going to remember you. You've been a great friend to me here. I promise that nothing you tell me now will change that.”

He took a deep breath. “Okay... I was... hoping you'd sneeze on me.”

Richard burst out with a laugh and clapped a paw over his mouth. “Sorry, but... really?”

“I'm so curious. I just want to find out what it's like, understand what you like about it. And... it would mean a lot if you did it to me.”

“Howl, there's a lot more to it than just getting sneezed on. It's about control and desperation or obedience play or—”

“I know. I just want to... feel it. Just once? Please?”

Richard sighed, nodding. “If that's really what you want, I'll do it. But it might take a few minutes to get a sneeze out of my poor nose. It's been through a lot this week. Can you hand me a napkin?”

Richard dropped his arm to allow Howl to lean over, stretching out across the table to reach the napkin holder in the center. He pulled a napkin out and handed it over. Then he scooted back a little so he could turn and watch what Richard was doing. The Alphas watched, too.

Richard rolled a corner of the napkin between his fingers, forming a sharp point. Then he inserted it carefully into one nostril. At once, his body reacted violently, making exhale sharply and cough, but he kept it there, and the feeling seemed to pass after a second or two. He bunched some of the rest of the napkin into his palm and pressed it under his nose. “Sorry... this makes my nose... run like mad...” He wiggled the sharp napkin point around. “hehhhhhhhh!” And wiggled it some more. “huhhhhhh uhhhhhhhhhhhhh...” His eyes watered and he coughed again. He pulled the napkin out and wiped it against his dripping nose. Then he held his paw out to Howl. “Cad I hab adother?”

“If you can't, it's all right, Sir. I—”

“I cad do it,” Richard assured him. “Just ode bore. I cad already feel the sdeh-sdeeze tick-ticklig. Just gotta... h-helb it alog...”

Howl grabbed another napkin and handed it over.

Richard wiped his tears away with the back of his paw then rolled up a corner of the new napkin, making it long and pointed like the last one. When he inserted this one into a nostril, he almost pulled back from it and coughed again. But then a look came over him. “Huh-here it cuhh here it cobes!” His mouth dropped open, tongue hanging out one side. His eyes closed. And his muzzle angled upward as he swayed back. “Huhhhhh!” And then snapped forward. “hah-SHIHhhhhhhhh!”

Having leaned in exactly at the right time, Howl caught most of the spray on his face, little droplets speckling his gray and brown fur. His eyes were shut tight and his expression was frozen into a grimace. 

“Uhhhh...” Richard blew and then wiped his streaming nose a couple times before opening his eyes, sniffling. “So... sniff! What do you think?”

Howl grabbed a third napkin quickly wiped his face off. Then he darted over to the sink where he splashed water on his face, scrubbed with both his paws and some hand soap for more than half a minute, and rinsed his face off again. When he came up for air, drying his face with a towel, he was smiling. “Your submissive actually likes that?”

Richard grinned that sloppy, love-struck grin again. “Yeah... he absolutely loves it.”

Nodding, Howl took a deep breath. “Then I think the two of you are lucky to have found each other.” He walked back over to the table and took Richard's paws in his. He tugged and Richard stepped down to stand in front of him. Then Howl wrapped his arms around the Dom in a fierce hug. He buried his face in the other wolf's fur to say a muffled, “I'll miss you so much, but I'm so happy for you. And if your sub ever wants my mom's tortilla soup recipe to make you a birthday treat, just have him contact me.”

Richard hugged back warmly, tightly. He was still sniffling, but only a little. It wasn't enough to prevent him from hugging the sub, of course. “Thanks, Howl.” He pulled back a little, so they could meet each other's eyes. “Promise me one thing?” Howl nodded. “You are so amazing at taking care of everyone here. Don't forget to take care of yourself too, all right? Tonight I want you to make that angel food cake you love so much and keep the biggest slice for yourself. Okay? In fact, have two slices—one in my honor.”

“Okay,” he whispered back. Then he let out a deep breath and showed the Dom a smile. “G'bye, Sir.”

“Bye, Howl.” 

*

Richard stood outside the club with one bag on either side of him, packed full of everything he owned in the world. Airabella stood not far behind him, waiting just to make sure Richard would be all right. He was still a member of her pack, at least, for the next few minutes.

Richard paced up and down the sidewalk then, not wanting to look anxious, he picked his ground and planted himself there. But he pulled out his phone and checked the time. Then he checked it again.

“When was he supposed to pick you up?” Airabella asked.

“Noon.”

She got out her own phone and checked. It was already a quarter past. Not a good sign at all. But she tried to stay positive. “He’s probably just running late.”

Richard rubbed a paw at the back of his neck. “Yeah… that’s probably it.” He looked back down at his phone.

“He didn’t call or text?”

“Not since last night. He was clear about the time, though, Mrs. A.”

“I believe you.”

And before they could speculate any further, a bright red Camero came racing around the corner. Its top was down, making it easy for them to recognize the driver. The car screeched to a halt in front of the club and the back trunk popped open. “Sorry!” Nathaniel exclaimed, rushing out of the car, white puffball of a tail swishing and ears flowing behind him as he ran. He picked up Richard’s bags and placed them in the trunk for him.

Airabella drew Richard close and licked the top of his head like she had on his very first day at the club. “Goodbye, dear Richard. It has been a real pleasure having you in my pack.” Then she stepped back, giving him room to stand straight and be his own wolf instead of submit to her. With a reassuring smile, she let him go.

Having closed up the trunk, Nathaniel circled around the car to Richard and took the wolf’s paws, squeezing them. “So sorry. I was running late. I woke up with an awful cold in my head.”

Richard smiled—a little sly and a little timid. “Yeah?”

“Oh yeah. Had a hard time getting out of bed. Been coughing and sneezing all m-morning ih ih ih-CHEEWW!”

“Oh!” Richard’s breath caught. Then he moved in for a kiss and a nuzzle and another kiss. “Well then, let’s get you back to your home and into bed, my sniffly little sub.”

“To our home, Sir,” Nathaniel corrected.

Richard nodded and tapped Nathaniel’s nose. Immediately, the rabbit’s face screwed up and his eyes closed. “ihhh ihh Ih-CHEEOW! Oh… sniff!”

“Bless you! Goodness, your nose is so sensitive today.”

Nathaniel hung his head and dropped his voice to a whisper, but Airabella had excellent hearing and could still make it out. “My nose is forever yours, Sir.” The rabbit climbed back into his car.

Richard headed for the passenger side and opened the door, but he paused there a moment, looking back at the club. He took in the sight, as though committing it to memory. He caught Airabella’s gaze and smiled back at her. Then he lifted his head and howled loud and proud, signaling his location.

Smiling, Airabella howled back. Not a moment later, the whole pack joined in from inside the building, letting him know right where they’d be if he ever needed to return.

18
Great story, great series, I am excited to see what you post next.

Thank you so much! Wonderful to hear you are enjoying it! The fourth story is a little different, but I hope it won't disappoint! I've got three scenes left to write for it.

19
As they used to say on the Blue Forum:

asawgwrgadfaaalshaershdfsdasdfadskjasgaiskdgkk!!

(Though, come to think of it, I don't think that expression has been in vogue for, like, years.  Hm.)

I like it as well, and am very happy to hear that you're happy to hear so, so I've said it again. ;)

I'm also fairly gender-blind with this stuff, and also find that colds are my favorite, so, you know... woo! etc.  And thank you, again, for sharing your work ~

Oh, I'm an old-timer in the SF community. That expression is perfect  ;D I'm glad you liked it so much! Thanks for reading and letting me know.

Cool to hear there's another cold fan as well--I adore a lot of the stories members have posted here, but there does seem to be a lack of that overall.

20
Oh wow, it's so big that you broke the previously thought-to-be-more-than-ever-needed character limit on the posts. I hope people end up enjoying this!!

I suspected that I might, and it didn't give me a character limit error when I posted, but it did cut off some. So I broke it in half. I'm used to doing that in LiveJournal fic memes, so it wasn't a huge surprise. It seemed unlikely that 25 pages would fit into a single post. But no worries!

I am definitely writing it for my own enjoyment, but if others like it as well, I'm happy to hear so!

Actually at this point, I'm curious if you've read my story "A Cure for Volpin" since it does have male content in it. Your motivations on content like this seem different in a positive way, so a fresh perspective would be nice. :3

I don't know. I read SO MUCH when I joined. I felt a little strange posting comments on things that were old, because I wasn't sure if that was something that was okay within the culture of the forum. But I'll certainly look that up some time when I'm in a reading mood. I mostly write male characters sneezing, but I'll read either (to me, it's about the sneezes and the situation a hell of a lot more than the gender of a character). And if I've got a good idea, I'll write anything.

I liked some of the nature of the previous comments, like how you do let the animal traits shine through and such. I think that's an important part of writing anthropomorphics. That the characters aren't just humans with ears and tails. It's hard to do with short stories but it sounds like you added some nice stuff to that effect. And so much inspiration! So little time since the first one; you're practically writing a novella here, haha.

Thanks! That's definitely an appeal to me--being able to make the characters have some animal traits/instincts. Creating my own anthro wolf pack has been soooo much fun in that regard!

And colds are my favorite, so I definitely got carried away with part 3. The story arc for these characters is done after part 4, though. I'll revisit the club again if a good idea pops up, but I'm feeling good about the series at this point in finishing this arc with Master Richard.

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