Finding Comfort

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Finding Comfort

Postby Berserker » Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:52 pm

Predecessor: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=18484

----The tongue came over him again, wet, a cascade of carpet.

His instincts told him to shudder, but his body did everything in its power not to listen. He could not show fear—whatever he wanted to feel, he had to hide it. The water running behind him and behind Seranna overpowered the sound of his frail voice; even if he thought it the proper time to voice his complaints, they would go unheard and he knew it. Displaying any form of protest was not an option, and silence reigned the uncrowned king as a result.

And each day of the same only made such an act of repression easier on Isaac. It was a sad, sad thing that he had acclimated so well.

The panther turned him around and the wet force returned, this time going up his back, then again, and once more before a finger came to push back his raised, soaked fur into place. Finally the faucet squeaked shut with the twisting motion of Seranna’s only free hand, her naked torso bending over him to reach it. He might well have been red as a tomato if this was the first time he’d seen her like this, let alone in such close proximity—but even when she bathed, she made certain he was not even a snatch away.

Why did I try to escape, Isaac thought bitterly. Of course she was going to catch me. Cats can hear a pin drop and it’ll wake them up. The ordeal of his attempted hiding had left him—in addition to scarred by an experience his instincts were more familiar with than he was—scarcely coated with dust and dirt, and the gothic pantheress was having none of that. Scratch that, I wish I knew what kind of customer I’d be having before I signed the damn contract so I could rip it up before getting into this mess.

“I almost can’t believe how far you’d gotten last night,” Seranna said. The hand that held him in a palm set him down at the rim of the tub, meeting its kin in tandem to squeeze a shampoo bottle, then applied its contents to her hair. She threw her head back and combed soapy fingers through her black locks—but not without keeping a sharp eye on his location. “And now you’re dirty.”

Plain and simple, but true. She said nothing else of the subject, which Isaac took as a prompt.

“Seranna,” he started slowly, waiting for the nod of her head that signified the name was acceptable. “I wanted to—”

He was not allowed to finish. Seranna scooped him back up into her hand, submerged him into the water yet-untainted by product only to pull the sputtering thing out seconds later, and the licking resumed. No doubt she mightily enjoyed his taste on top of simply getting him properly cleaned. Yet part of it was surely impulsive, motherly almost, albeit with a taste of callosity with regards to the roughness and sureness of the act.

“I will let you speak when I’m done.” Noting the particular wording made him even more likely to shut back up than her frigid tone. “I won’t stand for how messy you’ve gotten. Give me a moment.” Seranna’s tongue spread wide and swept up his chest and beneath his jaw, smartly forcing his head to rear up. Defeated, Isaac simply let his bones and muscles loosen like laces so as to least resist her forceful cleaning. What would happen to him after the cat-bath? Was she simply making him that much more delectable, was she frustrated enough with him and his escapades to finally eat him?

No doubt he was in trouble. But ever since he had taken up the job as her birthday present one week before, he had always been in trouble. Just in a more subtle manner that was reflected in his inability to flee his captor, or live with a clear conscience around her. Whether he was in more or less of such trouble now remained a highly debatable thesis.

“Anyway,” she continued. “I understand you’re afraid of my parents finding you on the floor. In the middle of the night I’m sure they wouldn’t recognize one mouse from another. But there was no need to hide in the plant pot.”

Shit.

Isaac’s thoughts whipped in his head like a typhoon at the mention of the word ‘mouse.’ Here comes the other problem. He had to tell her at some point—he was not a mouse, but a pika, a pika!

But… maybe there was more to this. Did she not understand his intent behind not being within her ready vision the second she woke up? If she did and planned on eating him, she was putting on quite the act; if not, then… well, he didn’t want to think about that, let alone how she would take his silence regarding the reality of his species once it inevitably went discovered.

Or what if… what if she already knew both those things—what if she knew he had tried to return home in the middle of the night and had figured out that he wasn’t a mouse? Was she going to treat him like a delicacy? Was that the reason?

Big time shit.

No, no. It couldn’t be. She was much more forthright than that. If there was one thing he’d come to learn over the course of his “stay,” which amounted more to a kidnapping really, it was that she respected him, even if in the most... cosmic manner. Respect, he knew, only begets more of itself as long as it is earned—and telling the truth might do just that. But if it did not…

Well, he had a nice enough life. Worked out longer than he’d expect for the hand he was given, at least.

The pantheress above looked down upon her work. Certainly she’d done a fine job, she concluded with a hum. No more obstructions in the little thing’s fur; perhaps his demeanor would change as a result. That would be an interesting thing to monitor, no doubt. She’d have to look for signs of contentment in his compliance later on, or perhaps an actual show of gratitude.

Strange. He was intelligent, smarter than most of his kind at the very least, but she did not at all mind bathing with him. It was as simple as there being no implications—he was an entirely different species. Isaac was still hers as well, not somebody or something that could avail from seeing her bare.

And on top of all that, Isaac should never escape her, not ever. No doubt he’d try at her most vulnerable. Again, that is. Without him there would be nothing to show for their experience, nothing at all signifying that she’d come across a creature so extraordinary, and then she would go back to being alone….

“A… a couple things, if that’s okay.” Her thoughts were interrupted; Isaac seemed to realize she had finished grooming him.

Seranna’s eyes flashed over him. “It is.” He had come to know his place well.

“Well, first off—I thought you might know already, but I wasn’t hiding from your parents last night….”

Her gaze was expectant and looming, and his own did its damndest not to linger just a few inches lower, successfully skimming just above chest level. The larval stages of a smile cracked across Seranna’s features at his words, though its disgruntled half of a life only made it seem more deadpan.

“You were trying to run away. I know.”

Isaac swallowed hard as the deceptively gentle trickle of water filled the gaps of conversation. “You—you knew?”

Seranna’s head cocked. “What else would you be doing?”

“You just made it sound—I mean I interpreted it as you… well I thought you thought otherwise.” Should have answered her question directly before anything else, he suddenly thought. Thankfully Seranna did not press anything of the sort.

“No.” Isaac cringed as her free hand hovered closer. Rolling her eyes, she caressed his tiny, fuzzy head with a free thumb, pushing back any of the brown fur that was left ruffled or out of place. “I would not expect you to go against your instincts, even if we understand each other. You are a mouse, I am a panther—it is only natural that you would be afraid of me.”

What did that mean, then? So close, so far—no, this cat didn’t make half as much sense as he would much like. He’d come this far… no point in leaving it here.

“So what do you want?” The words slipped like soap from between his lips; he shuddered at the potential repercussions of how forward the question ended up manifesting. “I-I mean.”

Seranna sighed. Why could he not understand things the way she did? “Never mind.” She gave her prize one more gloss over with her eyes; yes, yes, he was fine.

Carefully cupping him back into both her palms, she stood and exited the tub, shortly thereafter setting the creature beside the sink. The muscle memory in her hands then forced the motion of sweeping behind her and finding a towel, which she rubbed coarsely over her head before wrapping around her torso like a robe.

The pika found himself looking away, at his feet, below him—as far away from Seranna as he could get for the time. The absent trickling of a faucet yet to be fully turned off proved ambience enough for his thoughts.

He did not hate her; he could not bring himself to. With someone that seemed so troubled, hating her would be like whacking a piñata after all the candy had fallen into the hands of greedy children, sending empty air wheezing from a broken shell. It wasn’t as if there was anything to gain from hating her to begin with, either…

But goddamn if he wasn’t still terrified of her.

Yes, he was under a degree of legal preservation given his contract that her parents had signed, and his literal crocodile of a lawyer would be there to flash her badge in half a second, but none of it meant anything when he had no way to contact her or anybody on his side. Perhaps that end of things should have been better prepared for. With no sort of phone or mobile contact, the best he could hope for was letter and carrier pigeon, and he had neither the money nor the networking to book someone. He doubted, somehow, that Seranna ‘knew a guy’ either.

Suddenly, he glanced up. Seranna’s golden searchlight-eyes were right atop him.

“What are you thinking about?” Seranna’s body followed her head, torso facing him as she knelt just the slightest closer. “You… hm.” She appeared to be in just as deep a mire of thought as him. Her ears were tilted to their sides, nearly folding against themselves, the fur thereof still gingerly wet. “Fine. I won’t beat around the bush. Isaac, I have a question for you.”

“Yes?” The pika shook his fur to alleviate the feeling of being soaked, but to not much avail. His ruffled fur spiked. The panther of enormous proportions once again took to pressing it back down with her fingers, flattening it to a satisfactory degree.

Seranna brought the towel over her head for a few brief moments, seeming to decide against it. Her gaze swung back to Isaac. “Tell me, Isaac…”

Isaac shuddered and swallowed. Was this it?

“What do I mean to you?”

“Er.” Not at all what he anticipated. The pantheress was simply full of surprises. “You spared me. I’m thankful for that—“

“That’s a lie,” Seranna hissed. Suddenly, she turned away ever so slightly, crossing one uncertain arm over the width of her bosom. Her gaze did not befall Isaac again. “Don’t… I don’t want you to lie to me. I know that is not true, and that you have other motives. I want you to be honest.”

Seranna could sniff out lies like blood gushing from an open wound. Ones that went unspoken, such as his true heritage, were safe—it was when he opened his mouth that her sociopathic ability to divine one’s feelings in a second came gnashing and clawing into being.

But honesty, honesty… he had to search himself for it. Not such a simple thing in the face of the predator. Isaac had figured that just to be the answer she wanted. But he’d questioned himself like this before—there was hardly another option.

“Well… you scare the shit out of me.” He braced himself for bemused anger, though none seemed to arrive quickly.

Rising to full height, Seranna’s eyebrow raised. “Fair enough. But I have you here with me because you mean something to me. Do you feel the same way or not?”

If he was the slightest insane, he’d laugh. But again, he could fathom her machinations to start with.

Trying to emulate them bordered on the impossible.

“I…” his breath began to escape him, heart palpitating like the beating of many drums. “I don’t. I can’t.” Seranna did not appear at all startled, as if she’d weighed this option before. Encouraged, he continued: “But I do respect you as well. More than any cat I’ve met.”

One of Seranna’s clawed fingers met her chin. “I see. Give me a moment to think.” The panther took Isaac back into a single hand, her grip decidedly less gentle than when she had taken him from the bath. The trek to her own room was a short one and laden with too many tense thoughts for the pika to be able to pick and choose.

Seranna sat and placed Isaac beside her. The creature was so small, so… fragile. She’d always seen mice like that, she always had. They were tiny, lesser, weak and stupid—all things they could not control. But while he was still small and so easy to break, as he’d attested to before, he was not a moron. Not even close. This was not news to her—no, no, the fact itself was not, but its repercussions she had not yet decided. If he was not stupid, then what did she want with him?

…After a moment, she knew what it was. Her lidded gaze opened up, a nervous draft of air stirring from in her stomach. Maybe she could relax now that she’d figured it out. “Isaac, I’m sorry. I care about you. What I want with you is for you to live, and to be happy—because I respect who you are. If you’re not getting that from being around me, then feel free to leave.”

“W-what?” Was he being… let go? No, that couldn’t be. This had to be a trick.

“Yeah.” The word was so simple—decidedly more so than any expected choice from her vernacular—but to the pika’s ears it came so slowly, and with immense power. “I don’t know what it is like to be a mouse and having to live on your own, and nor do I care. Probably surrounded by idiots who would sooner mistake you for bread and stick you in a furnace. Still, you’re smart.” Her ears drooped ever so slightly. “I’m going to go to bed. You may leave at your leisure, or you may not.”

Isaac blinked. “Just… right now?”

“Yes. I’m tired and I don’t want to stay up thinking about nothing,” she said firmly. And she would just be thinking, she thought again. Goddamn it all, if only Isaac could be more honest—even if he didn’t mean to, or if it was simply in his best interest to do so, it was painful in retrospect to know that he’d led her on.

It was the usual delicacy that Seranna stood up again. Isaac stood in awe of her immaculate posture, her stomach rising like castle parapets made of granite and fur. Her looming visage pored into the pika, trying to pry something from him, anything—but only for a moment. She’d made her choice.

Stress could be seen in the way she waltzed away to her dresser, slipped into the bare necessities, returned, pulled open her covers, and tucked herself in—one dainty paw, supple legs, and then the other paw again—sliding her lithe frame down until her entire form fit perfectly from ear to toe along the mattress like a lump of snow in the tundra of blankets and cloth. But most tellingly, it was all very sequential. Seranna wanted this to be over.

“Good night, Isaac.”

The ground’s tectonic springs groaned loudly. Isaac was caught flat-footed by Seranna’s choice to roll over on her side, glowing yellow eyes vanishing from sight as the pika tumbled against the pull of blankets from beneath him. Gathering his footing again, he took a few steps back to avoid the lumpy tail that swished like a subterranean serpent, anxious and upset.

“Seranna, you don’t have to do that.” Isaac said. It was soft. Her ears didn’t even flick. But she heard him. He knew she did. “You don’t get it. If you give me this kind of freedom, I will take it. I have a job and a life. I already tried once.”

He sighed. No response again, at least, none outside of a curl of the toes that peeked out from the edge of the blanket, pads tinted an obnoxious pink.

“So why are you only just now going back on everything you’ve said?”

He knew better than to say that one. But he thought it, and he clenched his fist, and he thought it so hard he swore any sleepy flick of the ears was a sign that she had heard it.

The fact that Seranna shifted, that she pulled her feet right back into her sheets moments later, that she coughed lightly—the fact that she was still awake, simply waiting for him to leave and not accepting any other answer—he didn’t like it. He sucked in his breath, and his courage, and almost enough dust to force a cough. “S-Seranna. Seranna. S-s… stop—stop ignoring me. Please.”

Dangerously did Seranna’s face once again return to view, glowering and patient. The latter aspect of her was far more terrifying than any expression she could have put on. Even from so far away, over valleys of curled knees and blankets wrapped around her torso, she was positively petrifying.

“What are you still doing here?” Her voice rang low with the timbre of a sepulcher bell. “Isaac, we had our discussion. You can leave. You just now said that you would. Quit wasting both our time.”

The pika bit his lip. “You gave me the choice.” Then he looked down, almost cheated. To argue with death… “Now reap it. Let me talk to you about my choice.”

The air fell deserted, even of sound. Seranna was thinking, but refused to show it. The sheer void of anything happening sent shivers up Isaac’s spine; the movement of her arm sliding backward was monitored heavily by his darting eyes.

The pantheress took note, eyes narrowed into his. Foolish prey. Her lip upturned into a subtle, predatory scowl of vexation. She decided to correct the distance between them, tearing the ground toward herself with tremors and shifts beneath him as she sat up, and took Isaac’s frail, squeaking body into her grasp. Her clench was tight against his lungs, but gradually loosened as the length of the bed passed beneath him, culminating in twin fuzzy valleys—was he that close?

Looking up confirmed as much with Seranna’s stern visage, eyes dead upon him. Yet, her intent was curious. “Speak it,” she said.

He had difficulty at first… but somehow, it became easier. “It’s funny. If you’d given me the choice any time before today, I’d have bolted, you have my honesty. But I mean… what’s my job other than putting myself at the mercy of somebody that wants to eat me fifty different ways, with only a few legally binding words to stand between prey and predator?” He looked away for a moment, ribs tickled by the thought. “And if anybody needs my help the most… it’s you.”

He looked up. Seranna only blinked in reply at first. Flowery laces braced her neckline and shoulders, while the small black ribbon in her hair had gone somewhat loose. Her thin frame, though exaggerated to several dozen feet of height and a fourth of that in width due to his size, towered menacingly.

She was, all things considered, still an attractive figure by his standards—not by those of his kind, but his. Bitter, it was, how often he was around species that wanted to kill him that he related with them better in any way at all.

“I’ve seen a thousand mice and known a thousand ways for a prey species to meet its end, Isaac. I wonder what yours will be like.”

“My choice is to st… stay.” His heart skipped merry miles ahead.

Amazingly, Seranna’s lips… quirked into a smile. “The irony of calling you dumber than I thought you were is not lost upon me.”

Somehow, his chest chose to lift at the sentence. “So are you going to call me it or not?” Isaac dared. The dare was met only with a yawn, which turned out to be a rather terrifying glimpse into what lay past her widening lips: mountains of alabaster death spikes flanking a long and wide carpet of tongue. The back of the chasm glistened, ever visible, more so by the second, and with her one exhale, death carried along.

“Nah,” she quipped. “Why salt the wound? You have a lot to worry about.”

Isaac swallowed a lump of nothing. “I always have.”

“But this time none of it’s me,” Seranna suggested, fingers curling about him protectively. A single saintly finger caressed against his cheek. “It’s just my parents. And out there, it would be a lot more than that, I’m sure.”

It took great care for Isaac not to squeak—in either protest or delight, he wasn’t really sure. “It was and has been. And yet for some reason, out of all of them you’ve been the one closest to making me think I was gone for sure. Multiple times.” He veered down and scoffed under his breath, round ears flicking. “It’s probably all the black.”

And again, amazingly, Seranna actually laughed. It was a low, attenuated chuckle… but unlike all of her others that had been fastened like steel bands to his memory, it wasn’t sarcastic. “What use is a birthday present that lasts only a day, Isaac? No.” Her black nose convulsed with a sniff that swept his fur forward. She took no time in turning the caress into an all-out grooming session once again as she continued to speak. “I’d aver that my parents achieved their goal more than they knew they would. You are, after all, doing quite a fine job of entertaining me,” she chuckled.

The dark feline brought her thumb to her lip for a brief splotch of pink to become visible. Glistening, it came back down and padded its damp surface against his head, then slid down to pry open the neck of his vest and mat down his chest. His arms were next, Seranna’s thumb joined by her index. Isaac knew better than to make any movement, though facing that was difficult. A prey’s arms were just as vital as his vitals, for they could be grabbed, hung, split off, or otherwise abused.

In fact, it went against all he was taught to let his arms unstick from his sides. Seranna was simply too intimidating to rebel against, no matter the present circumstance. Still, it was vastly preferable to being licked clean outright. So close to her mouth… ugh, the thought alone.

Once she was finished, Seranna simply reared back against her pillow, smoky locks billowing around her shoulders. The marbled motion of her gilded eyes settling back on him, full of intent, Isaac took that he could speak. “It is my job, you know,” he offered coyly. Confidently. Sort of.

That was all it took to cause Seranna’s cupped hands to pull forward and nuzzle him into her cheek. Isaac shut his eyes as black meadows bristled past him, up and down, slowly, wordless, and… altogether a little awkward. She had never done this before. She didn’t want to. But it would make him feel better… wouldn’t it?

“Thank you for doing your job, Isaac. Now don’t…” the words were difficult to corral from her lips. “Don’t leave.”

Isaac swallowed, and hard. “I-I won’t.” With what little courage remained in his feeble body, he leaned into the furred parapet in an attempt to return the gesture. He could have sworn he felt the temperature rise, but he wouldn’t put money on it.

Isaac wasn’t sure if he would ever feel comfortable. But it was a risk that might have been worth taking. Even now he wasn’t certain of how true that was—for it, he’d be given the prey award for “Dumbest Individual” in the seconds it would have taken for him to be killed and eaten by any old predator on the street, inedible bits stripped off and flung into the gutters.

But some people needed solace more than others. And... even at the cost of his own—and his job, his friends, his family that he barely had to begin with—he would grant it. Fuck it, right? It would make Seranna happy. It would make Isaac safe as safe got in his strange, backwards world.

In its own way, was that not love?----
Last edited by Berserker on Sat Nov 21, 2015 1:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Finding Comfort

Postby TendoTwo » Sat Nov 21, 2015 1:30 am

Charming setting, though at times I am conflicted between feeling sorry for Seranna and kinda agreeing with Isaac that she did basically kidnap him.... though I guess that depends what that contract stated on how long he was supposed to stay though.

Really makes me wish he was able to spit it out that he is a pika, that seemed to be the one thing Seranna hadn't figured out about him.

Difference in species and all that aside though, I am surprised she has no issues with bathing with him, that was odd to see.
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Re: Finding Comfort

Postby gadabout » Sat Nov 21, 2015 3:51 am

Well this is, as stated above, quite charming, but foolish none the less! >:o
RUN YOU FOOL! FLEE! SHES LETTING YOU GO! BE A FREE MOUSE(pika)

good stuff though, I have a good feeling about these two :I
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Re: Finding Comfort

Postby littlepeople » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:45 am

A great story! Suspenseful, kept me hooked til the end. It almost felt like a love story. I sensed almost a sexual tension between the two. Perhaps opposites do attract? :)
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