Crypsis (No Man's Land)

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Re: Crypsis (No Man's Land)

Postby gadabout » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:29 am

BULL POWERS ACTIVATE

well then looks like that rally isnt going so well, I wonder whos gong to rescue Rey...

Ah well good stuff, want to see more from you sir :D
RIP Baggy52.

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Re: Crypsis (No Man's Land)

Postby Berserker » Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:22 am

Well, here's the ending to No Man's Land. It's a setting I'd love dearly to work with again, but the 'main storyline' (or 'rally arc', if you'd prefer) is officially over.


----Strangely, his senses remained intact; his sight, touch, everything was fine, but his hearing was the first to inform him of that via a piercing yelp that jolted him into a heightened state of confusion. Rey shot up to his feet and his eyes sprung open—the collie had retracted her foot and held it with a hand to rub a bruising ankle, balancing precariously on a single paw.

“Fuck! What the hell—”

What was happening, what was happening? Everything was suddenly chaos! The rabbit swung his neck around looking for some answer, backing away from the closest form of danger—being Elsa, who might kill him more by accident now. The jaguar was the first thing he could see in his mania, who was decidedly unaffected by the discord aside from having a shocked look plastered over her face.

The second was his savior.

“Heh, really thought it’d be a good idea to stay out here by yourself, eh Rey? No backup, not even me?”

Rey managed a mix of a nervous laugh and emotional sigh, backpedaling parallel to Dexter. “Still a better idea than punching one in the ankle, holy crap!” Rey’s breathing was quick and harsh, the burning rush of adrenaline forcing him to smile. “Scared me so much, holy—well what do we do now? And what are you doing here?”

“What do we do now?” Dexter made a passing glance at the enraged collie above, who was beginning to realize what had just happened. “Well, now we see what we can make of the situation.”

“And if we mess up?” Naturally failure was where his mind shot to.

“Then we go down trying. I ain’t running. Are you?”

Rey shook his head. Normally he’d be off in a second, but Dexter’s ambition was infectious. Inspiring, proud—reckless nonetheless, but just his presence made the rabbit feel too safe. Like the odds of survival suddenly evened out, like he had just realized that he’d faced much worse. He could survive this!

It had been far too long since the last giant encounter he’d had alongside Dexter. Once, maybe twice it had happened before, and those were easily the greatest successes he’d had in his line of “work”.

“It’s hit the point where I don’t care enough. And heck, maybe if we’re audacious enough, we can make posthumous news!”

The giantess snapped back into the focus of the tinies’ attention. The first drunken stomp was too slow and too haphazard for Dexter’s faster impulse, the bull laughing heartily at the failed attempt. Something had happened while Rey was away—it was as if Dexter had nothing to lose. The rabbit couldn’t help but laugh himself, a nervous, manic one.

“Ah, now that’s the talk I like to hear! That’s the plan then, make her look like an idiot, right?” Dexter then cupped his hands and aimed his words upward. “Gotta try a little harder!”

By now, Elsa had mostly recovered from her initial shock. Anger returned to her, anger at her lost captive and at the pain she could not possibly have expected to receive. She scowled horribly with teeth bared while Sam continued to watch with a mix of amusement and bewilderment, never moving a muscle.

It was a tad unsettling, for it did strike Rey briefly that the feline could pounce and make a move of her own while they were occupied. But it also brought some amount of its own levity, as she seemed utterly entertained and showed no clear signs of joining in.

“You…you both are just asking for it!” Elsa growled, visibly and audibly upset. She tried a kick at the taller bull, but it was like she couldn’t see where he had started to move until he was already there—and by that time she had already missed. However, the paw nearly caught Rey on its return trip, which would have set him up to be finished off right away. It had only barely been avoided.

“New plan, I really don’t like this one anymore,” Rey said, losing breath while strafing to his side. He still ached from Elsa’s constriction and was already panting. He couldn’t keep this up for long. “We’ve made our mark, let’s get out of here while we still can.”

Unbeknownst to them, Elsa looked…frustrated, personally frustrated. Her face was wrinkled with a level of embarrassment on top of anger. It was clear she wanted to get back at them—mostly the tiny rabbit she could have sworn she had moments ago, who had the mind to humiliate her and to stick his nose where it didn’t belong; the nerve of him! She didn’t ask for any of that…

She set her gaze on him, waiting for him to stop completely.

“You’re the one that got yourself stuck out here, Rey,” Dexter grunted, speaking quickly. Quick to save his own breath, Rey noted, and quicker to put Rey in the limelight. “I’m not going anywhere. You refused to take me with you. And you didn’t even take that girl of yours.”

Rey started. “Er, what girl? Alice—”

“Don’t worry Rey,” Dexter said with a chuckle. “Big mean wolfie’s got you like gum under a table!”

Rey halted, now thinking, still in the bubble of safety cast by Dexter’s powerful presence. But how could he know? Rey had only told Max, and he hadn’t really made a big deal out of that, or didn’t seem to. He also doubted Max could have or would have spread that anywhere—no way to do that and no real reason to. It didn’t make any—

“Watch out!”

“Ack!” The rabbit tried to dodge, but like before he had realized the danger moments too late.

Rey was scooped into the air, now sporting a coat of five brown pythons. Any air that remained in his lungs was forced right out of him. His thoughts shattered, his heart began beating faster, his eyes wavered madly—and damn his chest was in pain. Elsa had a shining moment of cleverness, waiting for him to stop moving to strike.

There was one thing he regretted, Rey admitted, and that was that he always took a swan-dive if he was ever prompted to think. It hadn’t been as much of a problem before; before, with Fiela, it always ended differently. It ended with his safety; how it went about varied from her simply teasing him to him using his own guile to escape; things that could not and would not happen here. Elsa was positively vicious, and dead-set on enacting sweet justice on him for his last-breath taunting.

“Gotcha,” she whispered victoriously. Rey couldn’t imagine the intensity of pride and satisfaction she now felt—she caught him! She caught the little bastard that mocked her right to her face and almost got away, literally and figuratively, and while she was plastered no less!

What would she do with him first? He might be a bit dirtied up by now, but he’d still make a good quick bite. She couldn’t afford to make it nice and satisfying anyway, not if she didn’t want the bull to interfere again.

But then, maybe she could. She let her eyes drift to the ground just slightly.

Stay still Elsa, just keep your eyes on him…

“Let him go!” The bull charged, but this time Elsa was ready. The collie lunged her paw forward to slam into his chest. It was a lucky hit in all truth, but no less effective by any measure for the force launched him a few feet away. He landed prone on his back, hand to his chest; the wind had been knocked right out of him.

He’d recover soon, Elsa surmised given his obvious strength, but for now she could turn her full attention back to the thing in her hands. This time she made sure her hold was tight, this time she was learning from her mistakes. Hell, if this was all it took to come out victorious over a tiny, she wouldn’t mind having them in her house at all!

“Fiela’s lucky that she gets you guys in her house all the time,” she blurted, brushing aside fluffy brown bangs. “I dunno why she complains about it. It’s like free stuff coming to you. One might make a good pet, or a snack.” She licked her lips. “Or something else. I’d have to see for myself.”

The white rabbit was hers to do with as she wanted. The big brown one couldn’t do much of anything this time. Oh sure, she could put that one out right now, but why would she? He had made her look like a fool too, but it was unnecessary effort. The rabbit was first. What would she do…

Eh, she thought, I’ve wasted enough time, I guess.

Snack would work fine.

Suddenly a claw prodded her shoulder, interrupting her mental game of options.

“Uh, Elsa…” Sam muttered.

Elsa ignored her, glaring into her captive’s eyes, though right away she realized the reaction she would then receive. She saw fear in them—an unsettling feeling, in all truth, it decidedly wasn’t what she liked about the situation at all. It was weird, it made him seem more…relatable, she could put it. But she’d prefer not to; other terms and phrases would work better. Too weak, messed up, afraid, silently wondering what would happen to him; it frankly made her feel a little sick. She didn’t like to have taken it this far—but she starkly concluded that such was not her fault. She might even have begun to reconsider—

However, the fearful gaze itself was directed somewhere behind her. Not at her.

“What the fuck are you doing.” The voice came from the target of her detainee’s attention.

Elsa stuttered, rapidly turning to meet the newcomer, instinctively tucking away the tiny rabbit further into the confines of her grip and away from sight. “Huh—Fiela? What are you—”

A coarse slap echoed loudly. Eyes and ears from several parts of the square briefly turned to the spectacle, then slowly retracted.

There stood the proud figure of Fiela, the black wolfess in denim, disappointment prevalent on her face. She stared down Elsa coldly, punishingly, but gave off no vibe of weakness. Rey’s heart leaped at the sight that he could barely make out—but just why she was here, none of them could rightly figure.

“Looks like I’m late. You're not in any condition to be outside,” snapped the wolfess. Rey immediately understood that she was not here to rescue him, and subsequently that he was still in danger. “How many times do we have to have this talk? One bottle, one hour in. You're clearly not...” Fiela trailed off as she had now noticed Sam, who was just about frozen. Fiela’s green, purposeful eyes narrowed and her lips frowned.

All of a sudden the fight had changed. The conflict between a tiny and a giant had switched to two tinies, then one again, and was now a crippled and one-sided verbal free-for-all the second Fiela entered the ring. Surprise was glued onto the—reddening in Elsa’s case—faces of those who knew they would become the victims.

For Elsa at least, she and Fiela had suddenly become temporary rivals, the result of something comparable to a pack instinct. Elsa, the lesser, the omega, had to be wary of the newcomer as she was pressing her dominance. As long as Fiela was angry at her, it would remain that way and any attempt to usurp her would be met with hostility.

“Uh—” the jaguar stuttered guiltily, knowing that her blunder had been caught.

“Sam.” Fiela sighed; she must have half-expected her presence. Any anger she might have had she now stuffed away quite well, while surprise simply dissipated. “Honestly what the hell. The least you could do is be a little responsible.”

Rey thrashed as best his prison would allow as the scolding outside continued, but Elsa’s hold on him was all-encompassing. He had to somehow get Fiela’s attention or she might just pass him up, and then his doom would be entirely certain. In response to his struggling the pressure increased just slightly—too much longer and his chest might just cave in.

“I just thought we’d go somewhere else,” Sam said softly, nervous now. Her eyes drifted to the now-recovering figure of Dexter and she shuddered. As far as she was concerned, the jaguar was pinned by two scary things. Not just Fiela being mad at her for taking Elsa outside after one too many drinks, but a tiny bigger than the rest who could hurt her, despite still being less than two feet tall. “Listen, I swear, going here was her idea!”

“Sam showed me the flyer and said it would be fun to go!”

Fiela shook her head. They’d play the blame game now that they’d been caught…

“Oh yeah, because you can’t say no to Elsa, Sam?” There was no canine rivalry with Sam; Fiela could be genuinely scary. “I’m sure she’d find some way to...I don’t know, be nice to you and make you feel bad for not going or something. Give me a break.” The black wolf calmed herself and sniffed, tapping a paw on the concrete. “I didn’t want to blow you two off, but that doesn’t give you the excuse to be so irresponsible. You’re supposed to be keeping her inside when she gets like this, Sam. Do I have to babysit you or can you handle things on your own every now and again?”

Sam brought her head down, clearly ashamed. It was much too fun to watch Elsa make a fool of herself, but getting caught red-handed wasn’t part of the plan. The jaguar conceded, frowning, absently fiddling with kempt fiery locks hanging too close to her face.

Elsa drew her fist close like a child hiding candy from a snooping parent. Fiela noticed the action and her attention snapped straight to the collie.

“What’s that?” she demanded, sizing her up.

“A tiny,” she said nonchalantly, though continuing to hide it.

However, a sharp pain struck the inside of her palm and she let out a contained gasp, partially revealing the contents of her hands. “Ouch!” They cracked open just enough to permeate two stiff white ears due to the intent of his struggling—and apparently biting now; oh, he was gonna get it—but that was all she would allow.

“It f-fucking bit me!” Elsa looked up after a brief fit, seeing her adversary’s brow raised with suspicion. Whatever Fiela’s intentions were, Elsa could tell that, for whatever reason, she was the one that would get it if the wolfess found out just what she had.

The wolf’s eye twitched once or twice due to impatience and lack of sleep, while her nose twitched for an entirely different reason.

Fiela sniffed again; there was a familiar scent in the air, a phantasmal trail leading straight to the collie’s fist. It was aromatic, euphoric—she might even say delicious, filled with cowardice, timidity, uncertainty, a melting pot of things her instincts told her to enjoy, and a unique mix at that. It was the same fragrance she’d come to know so well…

That was it, it was definitely Rey. Her eyes suddenly flared with a defensive rage that surprised even herself, but she attempted to keep her cool.

“Give him to me. Now.”

“He’s just a…a jerk!” Elsa’s tongue rolled over her own words like boulders over a mountain. Her hand still stinging, she attempted to continue. “He—”

“Enough!” Fiela barked in interruption, growing anxious at the sight of Rey in Elsa’s grasp. Her mask of calm couldn’t be managed for long. If the collie so much as laid a finger on him beyond having him where he was, so help her. “I didn’t come here to have you bicker at me and BS your fucking mistakes. We have rules with each other, you have to go by them since they’re what we all agreed on. That includes you.” She paused, letting it sink in, being decidedly evasive about just why who Elsa had in her hands was important. “Elsa, you’re fucking hammered and you’re not supposed to be out here. Give me the tiny or you’ll get more than a slap.” Her teeth bared, she snarled at the collie, letting known her superior strength and willingness to hold up her threat.

Elsa was reluctant; the last thing she would consider doing was tempting Fiela, who would remain the alpha as long as she had a reason to be cross. However, she could do what she wanted with the rabbit quickly, with no time for the wolf to react. The idea passed through her head and taunted her—and oh, how it did—but then, where would that get her with Fiela? Hell, she’d tear her apart if it so pleased her. Maybe not literally, but she wasn't entirely willing to test that theory.

Although…

Her hand was fast, lurching with dark purpose toward her open, toothy maw, but Fiela’s reflexes were faster still. The rabbit halfway carried to her lips, a hand plowed smartly and viciously across Elsa’s face—this time as a closed fist—forcing a pained whine, then an instinctive growl that devolved into a pitiful whimper the second the guttural sound was returned by the wolfess. Fiela’s was more powerful, more demanding, more angry—and Elsa could do nothing about it. Poised to strike again if necessary, Fiela glowered harshly.

“One more move like that,” Fiela snapped, provoking. “I fucking dare you.” More quick looks from surrounding giants, but the circumstances of the pack rivalry became evident, which most then decided was none of their business.

It seemed so uncharacteristic of her friend to suddenly get angry about some tiny, but it was obvious there was either rhyme or reason to it. Fiela was mostly loose, though when she had a set mind and choice that went opposed she did not like it. Perhaps it was…just punishment? Fiela taking away her prize and claiming it for her own because she got caught?

Elsa cast one more glassy glance down into her hands, rubbing the aching jaw that should have been carrying him by now. Damn it, she…she almost had him, she was this close! With the subtlest and most attenuated of whimpers, she acquiesced and handed him over. Her place in the two-member pack was cemented.

But whatever rhyme or reason there must have been, she wanted to know.

“Geez, Fiela, set your stove to simmer...you’re being so defensive about this! It’s about the tinies too, isn’t it? It has to be!” Used to tell me how annoying it was when you found tinies in your house, she thought. Deciding which things to say and which things to think in this situation was tricky for her. “Why do you care?”

“Because.” Fiela breathed and calmed herself again, relieved now that Rey was in her control. She caressed her prize, inspecting him; he was mostly okay, Elsa hadn’t done anything severe. The overpowering gale of confidence returned to swirl around her while the sharp muzzle reverted its attention forward determinedly.

“This rally isn't quite over yet.”

Sam and Elsa exchanged varied glances and one or two mutters.

“Now trust me,” Fiela began, voice reasonably powerful. “I’d be the last one to advocate for stuff like this. I’ve had experiences of my own that have taught me otherwise, and frankly, what just happened is the only reason I’m saying anything at all to you two. You two should understand where I’m coming from at the very least since you don’t have a clue. See, it’s one thing when a tiny comes along, steals your stuff and walks away taunting you. I don’t like that one bit.

“But the thing is that I’ve met a few that just aren’t like that. They are people—they’re all different, they think,” she tossed the quickest of teasing glances downward, “Sometimes too much, they do their own things, and some of them make good friends.” She then held a limp Rey with two fingers pinched around his stomach, unaware of his somewhat pained wheezing. “This guy’s one of them. He’s shown me what I know. Sure, sometimes he’s got balls where they don’t belong and sometimes he just does stupid stuff, but he’s genuine. He’s real. I can talk to him and about him and describe him like he’s somebody I know—because he is.

“He hasn’t stolen from you two, has he?” Two uncertain shaking heads, though one looked ready to protest until Fiela continued. “Wasn’t he just standing here telling you the same things I’m telling you?” Now they nodded in unison. “Good. Anyway…I’m sure you’ve gotten a mouthful of all that by now. So I guess that’s all I really have to say. Be a little more open-minded.”

It seemed the pack mindset was all but dissipated, for Elsa seemed more than willing to speak up now. Fiela had what she wanted and said what she had to say; she had no more reason to be upset, Elsa reasoned. The wolf seemed much less likely to lash out.

“You think I’ll respect him when he goes on talking shit about me to my face? That little bastard—he…” Elsa trailed off. Fiela wasn’t listening, instead giving her an unamused look with studded ears folded back, aloof. It just wasn’t fair. Now she’d been locked out of comeuppance three times consecutively!

“Maybe he wouldn’t if you didn’t try to kill him, Elsa.” She possessed no doubts to her words. “Think about that.”

“Actually, Elsa,” started Sam, looking almost apologetic, “She is kinda right.” Sam knew nothing of tinies either; she’d seen one or two in her own house, but she was never able to catch them, nor did she try very hard to do so given how few she’d seen. “I dunno. I’m…not all for it, but just let it go, okay?”

Fiela smiled. “Thank you. I don’t care how far you take it, really,” she said waving a hand. “Maybe I’ll talk to you about it more later. Right now, you two go home so Elsa can sober up.”

“Yeah, okay,” said Sam. “Come on. Let’s go.” Elsa grumbled with her hackles raised darkly, but sighed, shook her head, and proceeded with Sam.

Rey looked on from his new perch, sighing deeply. He had the most frightening feeling that the collie hadn’t changed all that much, and if they ever met again, the circumstances would be hardly any more friendly—the opposite, most likely, he thought with a shudder.

What a day. The rabbit had more than expected that it might be his last, but his fate had been prolonged, pushed back, saved, then brought back into reality so many times that he’d been damn near desensitized.

The titanic protector veered her gaze downward, pulling him from thought. “You okay?”

“Beaten, battered, a little bit shocked—overall, yeah.”

She sighed. “Elsa’s generally a really nice girl. I hate to have to get all mean at her. This is honestly kind of a problem she has. She drinks a bit and she’s off, and then the littlest thing will tick her.” She paused. “Speaking of which, what the hell did you do that she was going on about?”

Rey’s ears sprung up. “I might not have said the nicest things to her. I thought I was finished and that she was being cruel.”

Fiela scoffed. “She might have been, though, is the thing. Guess I don’t blame you.” She then smirked. “I’ll leave just what you said to my imagination,” she said playfully.

“Gee, she’s normally nice huh? I’d like to think so, at least if we put enough modal auxiliaries in front of it.”

Fiela cocked her head. “I wasn’t referring to her attitude towards tinies, Rey. Far as I know she’s never met one before.” Rey’s shoulders slumped. “She can pretty much be a moron when she’s drunk. Don’t fault her for it if you can help it.”

“I’m just so glad that you came…just think, if Elsa had her way with me I’d be a crumpled pile by now. She’s made it a teeny bit obvious that she hates me.”

“Well…part of the reason I got so uppity was because if you were gone, then it’d seem like wasted effort on my part. To be honest it would be a shame to have to go through all this advocating and hiding our relationship only to have you get killed on a whim.”

“Ouch,” Rey said dejectedly. “That’s it?”

“Hey now, that’s not the only reason, you know that’s crap. Would I really have bothered if that was it?”

Rey smirked. “Just joking.”

The wolfess chuckled, then put on an almost stern look. “Ah, my bad. You get so easily offended it’s hard to tell.” Rey shook his head, subtly admitting defeat. “Wait, wasn’t Max supposed to be here?”

“Huh? How’d you know that?”

Fiela suddenly recalled that this was a surprise of sorts. She told nobody. “Well…let’s just say I learned a thing or two today.”

Rey didn’t seem to entirely know what she meant by that, but answered regardless. “Max left about midway, that’s when the trouble started—”

“Hey, so,” came a rough voice from below, “Would anybody like to explain to me what in hell just happened?”

“Is that—” started Fiela.

“Yes,” Rey finished. “This is Dexter.”

“Good to know we’re all so tight-knit, then.” The bull stood a good two feet away from Fiela, still uncertain. “Gum under a table, Rey.”

Rey spoke a little more hurriedly. “Yeah, hey, by the way, about that—Fiela, could you put me down for a sec?”

She shrugged. “Sure.”

Rey daintily jumped from the furry platform as it lowered to the ground. “Tell me something,” Rey started. “How do you know about that?”

“I’ll be honest. When you started disappearing by yourself for longer periods of time, I got suspicious. I followed you once and…well, definitely got to see something I never would’ve expected. Nothing explicit, don’t get me wrong—and thank God for it—just you two together. I was a little mad at first. Not gonna lie, I looked at you like something of a traitor for a couple days. Kept it to myself.” He wiped his brow and looked away, rubbing a horn absently. “But then I realized it was…actually a good thing. It was and is a good thing. Some people are dead-set on thinking tinies and giants can never get along.” His gaze glinted behind him, in the direction of the area he abandoned Randall. “If anything this proves otherwise. All we have to do is make it until then.”

“Wow.” It was frankly one of the most powerful things he’d heard from the bull. “You’re right. Until then, though.”

“I was going through some serious stuff today,” Dexter said, clapping a massive hand on the rabbit’s back. “Something you don’t know about and honestly, you might never. I was considering leaving. All you need to know is that I won’t. I’ll keep pushing like I always have and nothing will stop me.” Monotone triumph was imbedded in his voice like invasive weeds, never to leave.

“Ahem,” echoed calm thunder. “If you’re finished, I’d like to wrap up a few things and head home.”

“’Course,” Dexter answered for Rey. “I’ve said all that needs to be said.” He started off, walking slowly in the direction of the place he grew damn too close to ostracizing. “See you later, Rey. Dunno how long you’ll be gone this time, but I’ll keep an eye on Alice. You have fun with big mean wolfie.” He made a flicking motion with his wrist and a loud sound imitating a whipcrack.

Rey was embarrassed into silence as Fiela hoisted him up again.

“Sounds like there’s some stuff that I don’t need to be concerned with. So I won’t bother concerning myself with them.” She started walking, poised. “C’mon Rey, I’m kidnapping you real quick.”

“Uh oh. Out of the frying pan, as they say,” Rey joked.

“Oh come off it, you. This is the thanks I get?”

There was a bit of contemplative quiet. “This whole thing really puts stuff in perspective, doesn’t it? I mean in the end that’s all anything is, just perspective. I never, ever thought I’d be able to look at you like a hero.”

“Trust me, neither did I…heh. Though it makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, I’m not one for the whole ‘damsel-in-distress’ thing. Like, at all. You make a much better damsel. And I bet I’d have more chances to play the hero than you would, little bunny.” She chuckled to herself while Rey flushed the faintest red in her palm. “You know Rey, I do things on my own agenda, I do them how I feel like doing them, and…okay, sometimes I can be a little harsh.”

Rey stifled his opinion on the understatement.

“But I’m not evil.” She paused. “First time we met I told you the same thing, huh?”

“Yeah…guess you did.”

“Things have changed a lot. For the better, too.”

Rey didn’t bother answering that. There was nothing he could add at the time and he felt that she summed it up well enough.

Suddenly there was the jingling of keys, then a fresh gale of air as the door to Fiela’s home opened. It was the first time he’d experienced it; normally he went through the hole—that, mysteriously enough, she still hadn’t gotten rid of—and this blast of air represented something new. Refreshing and welcoming all the same.

The towering wolf entered and stood a few feet away from the door’s arch, deciding that there was no better time to strike a devilish glance at Rey. There were certainly some things on her mind she wouldn’t address in public.

“Now that we’ve settled down…we have to have a little talk. I swear Rey, if you weren't so small I'd slap you for being so dumb.” Fiela laughed softly, part serious and part teasing. “You owe me. Big time. Hell, just for future reference, how often should I expect you to get yourself into trouble like this?”

“Worth it, whatever 'it' is, to be honest,” Rey said, able to puff a massive sigh of relief while reclining into a sitting position with his back against her thumb. “Heck, it's better than being on your bad side. I just never want to be on that side of things again, ever.”

“I wouldn’t get so comfortable there if I were you. I can see why Elsa would try to come and eat you. You’re sweet in more ways than one…” she bared teeth dangerously close to him. “And just the right size.”

Rey leaped from his recline and stood straight. “That’s not funny!” Such forced a quick laugh from Fiela, who clearly thought otherwise.

“Aww, it's okay now baby bunny,” she cooed disparagingly. A clawed finger nudged him, eliciting a cringe and a shudder from the rabbit. “Oh come on, I’m only teasing. You get uptight so easily.”

“Yeah, I guess I do,” he admitted, recomposing himself from the false threat. “In my defense it’s a lot easier to live without the threat of being eaten.”

“Suppose I can imagine. That’s what the prey does though, isn’t it? They adapt, they conform to the things around them. Like…” She paused. “Bigger things. Protection.” A knowing smirk. “But y'know, sometimes I get the feeling this is a horribly one-sided relationship, not all that symbiotic. And to think I could've just stepped on you and been done with it. Would've made my life a whole lot easier, huh?”

“Gee...if I didn't know any better, I might just call it an abusive one,” Rey quipped, playing the role.

“Whatever, you're just saying shit. You don't like calling the shots—that's where I come in.” A hint of a smile escaped her upon mention. “Speaking of which...”

“Uh oh. What?”

Fiela shut and locked the door behind her, shortly thereafter setting Rey upon the dining room table.

“Now, normally after you visit I send you back down and you find your own way. I think they can handle themselves for now.” The wolf shed her jacket and tossed it behind her, landing somewhere on the couch. “I'm not gonna let you sleep in that dump anymore—not when there's an available house with plenty of free space.”

His confidence cracked. Never took much, Fiela mused internally.

“Uh, I—”

A finger twice his size shushed him.

“Nope, not gonna hear it. We’ve had this talk before anyway. You're staying with me and that's that. Don't think you can get out of repaying me for saving your ass, bunny boy.”

Rey stammered again, trying desperately to think of something—though part of it was in the hope that Fiela could say something to prove it wrong. To quell his anxiety, he might say.

“There's still a lot more work to be done, though—like, today won't count for everything! I mean thank you of course, you did do stuff—good stuff—I just think that there's more stuff that still needs to happen, really high up in terms of priority...”

“Ah, okay. It's funny because, hey, I’m pretty high up myself in terms of not giving a damn.” Fiela wasted no time in pouncing on his words. “If you don't want to think of it as your end of the trade, then you can always consider it a test.”

At first Rey looked almost huffy. “Well, with all these options at my disposal I might consider myself a pretty damn lucky guy...” he said, but Fiela was undaunted.

“You've got two lucky rabbit's feet to work with, I'm not all that surprised. But then it's probably not luck, it's just me carrying the relationship on my back. Points for you being adorable when you try to give me backtalk, though.” Her voice hinted at a degree of ambivalence she might have had toward Rey's fulfillment of such a hypothetical quota, but he could never be rightly sure.

“Clarity” toward her inner machinations would be too strong a word; Rey would opt for the more flexible “insight”.

“What if I get you a visit to the chiropractor in return, then?”

The wolfess released a rumbling giggle. “Okay, okay, that was cute. Don't bother with the chiropractor thing though, you're far too light for it to be a real problem anyway,” she said with a gentle smile, all but confirming his former belief. All she wanted was for Rey to keep it interesting. “Still, you gotta pay me back somehow.”

“O-okay. Um…” There was a somewhat lengthy pause.

“Something up, Rey? You’re spacing a bit.”

“Hm? Oh, well…no, it’s nothing.” That wasn’t true, she could discern. His voice wavered and he spoke too fast for it to be.

It would always disappoint the wolf just the slightest that her quickness, her wit, her ability to note sparse detail couldn’t be used in quite the same way they had been before…but Rey would certainly provide juicier opportunities of his own. She had no regrets.

“No, you’ve got something on your chest—I mean, more than normal.” Genuine concern, spiced though it was with her trademark aloofness. Almost pretending she didn’t care—but Rey could see through it and discern otherwise. “You can talk to me if you need to.”

“Okay, well, it’s nothing groundbreaking I guess. It’s just that I…well you were there at the rally, kinda, you know what our problems are,” the rabbit concluded. “I don’t want to ask anything from you, but I’m not sure that everyone in the Undersector will be totally okay without me.”

“Hmm…” she contemplated for a few moments, then shrugged. “Different circumstances than before. I suppose some donations could be arranged—just remember to ask nicely, yeah?”

“Oh, thank—”

“But,” Fiela continued, wagging a finger, “Before I go off doing you more favors you don’t deserve, you and I gotta work out some kinks.” The wolfess’ tone became impish as she crossed her arms atop the table and rested her head sideways on them. Her tempting gaze fell atop him like twin green boulders. “Talk to me, Rey. Let’s start paying off your debt there. I wanna hear what you have to say about me.”

At first Rey was mum, but he made his best attempt at summoning words. “Y-you do?” he stammered, easily put off by Fiela’s expectant loom. “Oh. Well, um, y-you’re very pretty, Fiela…”

The wolf’s expression went flat with curvature only at the ends of the lips, disappointed yet amused.

“Come on, you’ve done way better. That all?” Silence. “Well Rey…you’ve just turned on Good Friend Fiela, who’s here to let you know that you’re pretty bad at traditional flirting.”

Rey’s throat loosened as he put on a somewhat disbelieving look. “Who’s the other Fiela then?”

“Girlfriend Fiela,” she continued matter-of-factly, stroking his ears with monolithic deft fingers, “Who totally loves it when you try. You’re cute as a button and just as easy to wear.”

Damn. She won.

“Er, sorry…can I try again?”

“You’ll get your chance, don’t you worry. Either way there’s certainly room for improvement, so I’m in no hurry. Good for you to have someone understanding like me who’s willing to help you with your slip-ups, isn’t it?” the wolfess sang tauntingly.

Rey waved a hand, suddenly deciding to ignore his proposed place in the hierarchy for his cloud of confidence had returned to him. “Whatever, one criticism after another. Between us, you're the half with all the freedom anyway—I'd say that's what you're getting out of it.”

Just then Fiela flashed a dirty smirk, one that unsettled Rey no less than others of its ilk ever did, cleaving the certainty he'd codged up in twain. The difference here was that there was a button-pushed glee that lit up her eyes, as if she both unabashedly knew how right he was and loved it.

This was what she’d been waiting for. Compliments be damned.

“Ooh, got a mouth now, do we Rey? Go on, tell me more,” she said randily, looming over the rabbit with expectation prevalent in both her voice and her eyes. The strangest thing was her ability to make her urging sound both like sexual temptation and a death threat, or worse, some clever, aggressive cross between the two. And knowing her, the last wasn’t too unlikely in Rey’s eyes.

Fiela caught the rabbit shivering slightly with delicious, sheepish timidity. He was slowly realizing in part where the talk was going, and just the precise degree of nothing he could do to change it. To boot, Rey could not assert that being due solely to duress if he could rightly call it that, not if he were to be honest. He was well aware of the terms of his circumstances and that was certainly coming back to bite him.

The wolfess, however, while confident in her control, still studied him closely. It was always worth checking for she’d found the rabbit could be quite tricky when in the mood. Another reason she could tack on towards what made his company so interesting.

“Well, I—how do you want me to pay you back?”

Oh no, the cards were laid bare on the table. She had him utterly cornered.

Then it was like the wolfess had been subject to some anomalous chemical reaction. Fiela's ears and eyes flared dangerously at the question, all forward and giddy, as if that was just the answer she wanted but not the one she entirely expected to receive. The hackles along her neck subconsciously raised in a manner that least resembled their normal purpose—a powerful, predatory lust.

Fiela now knew just what it was that she wanted from him, and that it wasn’t something that had to be given to her. Rather, it was something that she would prefer to take, for Rey was just about dangling it on a stick before her and she wasn’t about to pass it up. There was a word to describe the best part of it all, which was that he had essentially handed her the permission to do with him as she pleased on a silver platter. But what was the word…

Ah yes, she thought. Tantalizing.

The femme fatale leaned in even closer, treating Rey to a view of nothing but the runway of her muzzle, the two joyful, focusing eyes, and a toothy smile in his peripheral vision. He was the slightest terrified, but equally excited.

Nervous of what she had planned with her prisoner, however, would describe him right then quite well.

You just said the magic words,” she whispered softly, a hand skittering behind him. Before he noticed the trap, it sprung; the wayward fingers began pushing him toward her chest and the gargantuan canyon thereof. His face reddened madly as he was pressed into the ebony valley for those few moments.

At the first sign of struggle from her plaything, Fiela pressed harder. She would have none of it.

“You ask way too many questions, and sometimes you're pretty tactless, but damn if you don't know the right things to say to me. Forget the fact that you're sweet, I like this about you way more.”

Apparently deciding he’d had enough, a pair of crane-like fingers then pinched the hem of his shirt and laid him flat along the table upon his back. Fiela poked a claw at the prone rabbit’s stomach and skillfully drew an indistinct pattern along it, forcing a gasp. Her eyes dreamily bored into his being, studying him, making known the level of ownership she possessed, while simultaneously sending the message for him to simply signal if it was too much.

There was no such signal, though perhaps she moved along too quickly for him to react.

“We'll see what happens, got it? But you can start today, whether you like it or not. And hey, if you somehow don’t, I know I sure as hell will. Now…”

Whether anything Rey wanted to say would have been in shy objection or not was never discovered or given any thought; the huntress resumed her grasp over the rabbit and possessively stuffed him into the confines of her cleavage, tilting her gaze toward the white speck in her shirt.

“…How about you show me Boyfriend Rey?”

The wolfess then started off, the faintest of elated skips to be found in her steps.----
Last edited by Berserker on Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:28 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Crypsis (No Man's Land)

Postby macrokat » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:00 am

Nice. Not exactly an ending, just like you said.
But a good (for now) conclusion.

Far from perfect, seems that Rey (understandably) is still anxious about the whole thing being the smaller partner, but he survived, that's step one. And Fiela actually seems to be getting caring and playful not to mention a bit (bit is really an understatement with her actions at the ending XD) enticing and alluring. Which is definitely signs of a hopeful future for them. Seems now the ball is more in Rey's court with becoming more confident around her and figuring out how to live together as well as bridge some of the gaps between their kind.

Nice work. As always, love to see a happy ending. Even if it isn't necessarily an ending. ;)
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Re: Crypsis (No Man's Land)

Postby Duct Tape Fanatic » Wed Jun 19, 2013 7:48 am

Certainly went through a lot just to end up as a couple. Fiela didn't seem as mad as I thought she'd be at Elsa for trying to kill the guy she likes----then again maybe she didn't think the collie would go through with it. Best of luck with whatever your next project is, while I'm always sad to see a long-running story close, it's still nice to have closure.
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Re: Crypsis (No Man's Land)

Postby gadabout » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:03 pm

Well you certainly did set it up so that there seems to be a bit more to write about, but you did tie up some loose ends in this arc, I certainly would like to see what else you can do with this setting, it is quite interesting :D

In anycase, congrats on finally getting a story done, I know from experience that it sometimes is a hard thing to do but it certainly is a good milestone, so congrats once again :D
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Re: Crypsis (No Man's Land)

Postby Berserker » Fri Jun 21, 2013 4:38 am

Best of luck with whatever your next project is, while I'm always sad to see a long-running story close, it's still nice to have closure.


Thanks, and I can't help but agree about closure. I've actually wanted to be done with it for...some time now, and I think a year was a bit much to stretch it. Even taking into account the hiatuses I took. Still, hope I wrapped it up for now in a pleasant enough way.

As for future projects, well, I wouldn't expect another long-running series like this one was. Most likely I'll add onto previous short stories, but nothing quite like NML. My plan is to keep writing new things and working to add onto older ones in fresh ways, like standalone sequels for, say, "The Promotion" (and NML, even), which allows me to be much more consistent and open-ended in terms of what I actually end up writing.

gadabout wrote:Well you certainly did set it up so that there seems to be a bit more to write about, but you did tie up some loose ends in this arc, I certainly would like to see what else you can do with this setting, it is quite interesting :D

In anycase, congrats on finally getting a story done, I know from experience that it sometimes is a hard thing to do but it certainly is a good milestone, so congrats once again :D


Definitely room to work with it in the future, though to be perfectly honest I've had my fill of it for a time. It actually feels pretty weird to have it completed. But hey, thanks, and I'm glad you liked it!
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