AGNPH Stories

Mutual Respect by Arcane_Reno


Author's Chapter Notes:

Pokemon is (c) of Nintendo. No infringement is intended.

Mutual Respect

She was late, according to my Anne Grautan watch—which was always accurate. I glanced across the candlelit tables to the front door of Appanato, just in case she'd appeared since ten seconds ago. But no, the maitre'd was ushering in an aging couple, who had perhaps thirty years on my prospective dinner date. Reaching into my slender handbag, I pulled out a compact and double-checked the fine details. Mascara smooth? Check. No blotches in the foundation? Check. Haute Mode lipstick free of smears? Check. Sighing, I snapped the compact shut and dropped it back in the bag.

I shouldn't feel nervous. Sure, it had been almost three years since I'd last seen Caren—“with a 'C'” as she'd introduced herself the first time I'd met her back in 4th grade—but we were hardly strangers. We'd kept up on TrainerPage, and exchanged IMs and the odd call. Nor was this a high-pressure business meeting with six figure contracts on the line.

Still, in a way, it held its own stress. How much had she changed? Probably far more than I had, despite a promotion to head of acquisitions since we'd last met. What if things were suddenly awkward between us? The transition from schoolmates and daily sleepover buddies, to university roomies, to post-grad close friends, to long-distance friends was one of gradual separation. Could we pick up where we'd left off?

I was going to need something to take the edge off. I started to signal for the waiter's attention, when fresh motion at the entrance caught the corner of my eye. There she was, dressed in a knee-length paisley dress and practical flats, looking as though she hadn't aged a day since we'd last met. Lucky girl. As usual, she held a touch of deerling-in-the-headlights look as she scanned the restaurant over the welcoming maitre'd's shoulder. I half stood and waved. Our eyes met. She broke into a wobbly grin, offered a quick apology to the maitre'd, and hurried to the table, keeping as much distance between herself and the other diners as possible.

As she approached, I rose to meet her, wearing a grin of my own. I shouldn't have worried. Carrie would always be the same sweet shy thing. "Look at you!" I said, reaching to pull her into a hug. "What a diva! And here I thought I was supposed to be the knockout. Have you lost weight since uni?"

She chuckled, returning the hug a touch stiffly at first, then melting into a more familiar embrace. "God, it's good to see you, Leslie. At first, I wasn't sure I had the right place." Pulling back, she cleared a stray blonde strand from her face. "I'm sorry, I hope you weren't waiting too long…"

"Not at all, don't be silly!" No need to tell her I'd been fifteen minutes early. She'd be apologizing for the rest of the evening. "Come, sit! There's a bottle of wine in the back just begging for us to entertain it."

"Alright, that sounds… nice. Um, you look good too. That blouse complements your eyes."

"Naturally, m'dear." I batted my lashes at her, blowing a kiss. "Mario Eu'clair only has made-to-order colours, and I was lucky to only wait a month for this. Blues tend to be backlisted longer."

She nodded, that wobbly grin reasserting itself. The black-jacketed waiter sidled up as we situated ourselves at the table, Caren tugging her dress as she sat, though it fit her slim figure perfectly.

"Signoras? May I offer our selection of wines?" His accent was faint, matching his perfect olive skin, narrow features, and dark hair. "Or perhaps cocktails? Aperitivos?"

"What's the vintage of your chardonnay?" I asked.

"'76, Signora."

Impressive! Rattled off without hesitation or need for a menu. Not bad for a perhaps twenty-something.

"That will do fine, thanks. And the piatto de pane, please."

"Right away." Dipping a tiny bow, he turned and departed with precise grace, hands clasped in the small of his back. Were their slacks supposed to be such a tight cut, or was it his own preference? Either way, it was a nice view. I smirked at Caren, wiggling my brows.

"Score, we've got a cutie to serve our whims tonight, don't we? I've always loved the South Kalos accent."

"What? Oh, the waiter?" Caren started to crane her neck about, but I stopped her with a tsk-tsk and a shake of my head.

"Lovely, you're only supposed to stare without drawing attention. Don't tell me you've forgotten all of my lessons!"

Yes, definitely the same Carrie. The rosy blush in her fair cheeks was just as easy as always to prompt. I laughed, leaning forward on the table and capturing her emerald eyes. "It's okay, we can go over refreshers later. First, you need to tell me everything! You've seen so much of the world now! The pictures you upload aren't enough, I need details, girl! What's it really like to be a globetrotting trainer outside the usual age bracket?"

"Well, I wouldn't exactly say trainer. Axel and I didn't spend all that much time in gyms. Oddly enough, I think we competed more in Alola than anywhere else, and they don't even have gyms. At least, not like we do here." Her features lit up, talking about her pokémon. "Axel was a lot more… energetic on the islands. I guess because of instincts, or something. He evolved again while we were there, and travelling has been pretty different ever since."

"No way! I mean, I'd seen the pictures you posted, but it's still hard to believe that cute little goober is a full kommo-o now! I remember how he used to ride around in your bag all the time, since you couldn't bear to keep him in the ball."

She laughed, her gaze falling as she fidgeted with the folded napkin on her bread plate. She'd even painted her nails. Soft pink—not exactly adventurous, but it matched the pattern of her dress. "That hasn't changed. It makes travelling more expensive, but he really doesn't like the ball, and I hate shutting him in like that. Not much choice on airplanes of course, but at least they let you keep them with you."

"Of course. Not much point putting pokéballs in with the luggage when they can just be transferred. Whenever Lydia travels along with me, I always send her ahead with a release script so she can come out right away and take care of any necessary prep-work before I arrive. Usually nothing major, but you wouldn't believe some of the snafus she's helped me avoid." My mienshao assistant had an eye for detail that even I envied, and between the business training I'd put her through and the latest translation collar from Clarity Envisioned, having her with me for a business trip was a godsend.

"I can't imagine sending Axel off on his own… Not that he couldn't take care of himself! But I'd worry… and he'd probably get into trouble from missing me."

"Afraid he'd beat up all the over-eager kids looking to battle something?"

"Well… perhaps, though he's not usually that gung-ho to get into battles. He prefers other kinds of challenges."

"I can see that. Not that he was ever timid—more like he's too proud to beat the stuffing out of another 'mon most of the time."

She laughed. "You got it. I think it's partly because he was my first—and only—and I got him so late compared to most. I guess I do spoil him a little."

"A little?" I shot her a flat stare. "Love, you used to bake your own puffs for him."

"Yeah… I still do."

I snorted, shaking my head. "Well, trainer knows best I suppose, but if you aren't careful, he won't listen to you when it matters."

"Oh… He'd never do that. We're far too close for him to be one of those pokémon."

"Good. Don't take this the wrong way, dear, but I can't picture you bringing a troublemaker under control."

She gave that wobbly smile. It wasn't fair, how cute it was. "Hey, I might surprise you!"

"Unlikely. I know you too well. Remember? When you called me all excited to tell me about the surprise grad gift your parents had given you, I not only called that it was a pokémon, I even guessed the region."

"True, you could always see right through me, Les." My name was nearly a whisper as she continued to abuse her napkin, twisting the corners into knots. After a moment, she looked up with her grin returning. "You didn't predict that I'd be travelling though! I still remember how shocked you were when I told you I wanted to go to Kalos."

"Can you blame me? It was always a struggle just to get you out of Castelia, let alone the region!"

"What can I say; getting a pokémon changes things, even if you don't think it will."

"I suppose, though I'm not sure that applies to traipsing off to see the world on your own when you used to avoid family vacations. You guys have beach condos—plural—for crying out loud, and you'd still convince your parents to let you stay shut in at home like Rapunzel."

"They were never really vacations, you know that." Her lips curved down. "Daddy always made them about business, and mom would spend all her time shopping or drinking."

I nodded, mentally kicking myself. Three years or no, her parents were a sore spot. Where was that waiter? The chardonnay would be perfect right about now.

"How is Lydia?" she asked after a moment, breaking the thin veneer of awkward.

I rolled my eyes. "How do you think? When she's not working, she's serene and 'one with all'. Aside from meals, I barely see her at home. Not that I mind so much; she was never much of a talker, even with the collar. She'd rather meditate than socialize, though I wonder sometimes if she wants a bit more."


"You know. A nice machamp or something. She's never said it, but the way she gets sometimes after I've spent the night out with a guy? God, the one time I brought one home with me, for the next week I swore she'd turned into a froslass." I shrugged.

"Oh… I'm sorry."

"Don't be, we're fine! I just don't quite get it." Frowning, I tapped on the table. "Not like I'd stop her, and I know she's straight. I caught her once with an open browser of some male pokémon models and one of my toys. But, she seems to be under the impression that she needs to ask my permission, yet refuses to ask."

Caren opened her mouth, then closed it, biting her lip. There was that adorable blush again. Way too easy. Just then, our waiter returned, bearing the wine and a tray ornately arranged with thinly sliced bread, colourful spreads mingling with the loaves.

"Signoras, should you wish to order your Antipasto?" Sliding the tray onto the table, he began filling our wine glasses. "If I could be so bold, a koril cocktail would make an excellent companion to the chardonnay. The shellfish catch is superb this season."

I glanced at Caren, raising an eyebrow. She hadn't yet recovered from the mental image of pokémon sex and was only able to offer me a half nod, half shrug. I turned back to the waiter. His nametag read, 'Stefan'. Delightful.

"M'dear, I'll happily allow you to be as bold as you like." I followed that with a coy smile that usually had younger men squirming. "The cocktails will do."

He didn't so much as bat an eye. Damn. Either I was losing touch, or he was one cool rawst. "Of course, Signora. Bon appetite." Placing the wine bottle between us, he marched off to another table. Oh, be still, my swooning heart. Maybe it had just gone over his head—he was young, but not too young, surely. Shrugging, I lifted my glass in toast to my crimson companion.

"You heard the man. Bon appetite, and mazel tov!"




Despite all of my nail biting leading up to tonight, I needn't have worried. Leslie had barely changed a bit since I'd seen her last, simultaneously drawing me out of my shell over the three courses of dinner and seamlessly filling in conversation gaps which might have been awkward silences with anyone else.

"...and then he says to me—and this is an official business meeting, recorded and everything mind—'Miss Duncan, if you are the one spearheading this proposal, it's one that I can put my stamp on to get behind, one-hundred percent.' So I said, 'Of course, sir, we are grateful for the support of Stone industries, and it will be mutually beneficial to this arrangement for you to have a secure location to export your built up warehouse stock.' Oh Carrie, the look on his face!"

Leslie collapsed into titters, slapping a hand on the table as though she'd just told the world's funniest joke. I smiled and offered a polite chuckle. If she realized her office humour was lost on me, it didn't show as she refilled her wine glass, positively glowing when she swirled the chardonnay and toasted me with a grin.

"After the meeting, I slipped him my card, and we met up at the hotel bar. Quite the night, that one! He wasn't incredible, but he made up for it by not trying to be clingy and ordering us room service while impersonating that Kalos comedian—what's his name? Petrif Russo?"

I nodded, which seemed to satisfy her. She took a sip of wine, then settled on an elbow, chin in her palm, giving me the look which said she was about to pry into my head. "So! Your turn, Carrie. You must've met a ton of interesting men in your travels. Spill!"

Heat rose to my cheeks. "Oh… not really. I've not been very um… active, with guys." Not at all, in truth. Not since Harry Carson back in university.

"You're kidding. You? With your looks, not to mention the fact you're loaded? You always had them drooling over you back in junior high, even if you barely noticed." She nodded towards the bar. "See the guy in the white jacket? He's been eying you since you walked in. Want me to wave him over?"

"No! I… No, please, Les. Let's keep it to just us, alright?"

"Suit yourself. He's cute. I'd do him." She tossed her dark curls and imbibed more wine. She was on her third glass to my barely half-touched second. How did she manage? I was already a bit lightheaded. It was a fine choice though, complementing all of the food perfectly. In meals as in most other things, she'd always had excellent taste. If only I could share her self-made confidence. But, that was part of what drew us together—she'd been the boisterous, in-control one, my shield against the frightening world outside my family's mansion. I'd always secretly wondered what prompted her to make friends with the introverted rich girl back in school, but I'd never worked up the courage to ask. Perhaps I was happier not knowing. With Les, it had probably been an act of pity to save me from my own shyness.

"Hellooo, paging Carrie from the real world! Something interesting behind me?"

I started, realizing I'd been staring off over her shoulder, and she was now craning her neck about to see. I dove desperately into my wine glass in hopes of hiding my shame. Three years, and nothing had changed. The wine burned in my throat—wrong way! My coughing fit brought Leslie's dark eyes lasering back to me.

"Shit, you okay dear?" She reached across, patting me on the shoulder until I was once more breathing air. "Easy. I didn't think he was that nasty looking."

"No," I gasped. "It's not that." I'd managed to spray chardonnay across the front of my dress too. Lovely. Sighing, I dabbed at the wet flecks. "You were saying something about dessert?"

"Absolutely! It's one of their best courses after all. What do you think, Tartufo, or Tiramisu?"

"You pick."
"Carrie…" She shook her finger at me as if I were a misbehaving school child. "Don't think I'll let you get away with letting me make all the decisions again!"

"Fine. Tiramisu."

"Good choice!" Grinning, she waved for the waiter, half-rising from her seat. The stretch showed off the swell of her chest in her low-cut yet tasteful blouse—another feature of hers that had me jealous. I tuned out the exchange as she openly flirted with the waiter during the order. Honestly, he had to be ten years younger than us! But, that was Leslie. Not man-hungry or promiscuous as many thought, but a coquettish tease who went after what she wanted when she saw it.

"Now," she said once the waiter had left. "You were about to tell me your wild tales of romance across the cafes and boutiques of Kalos, I believe."

"Les, I really didn't—"

She shook her head, wearing that devilish smirk on her rose shaded lips. "Don't believe you, Carrie! You honestly expect me to believe you went three years on the road without so much as a coffee date? Alola, then. The tropical sunsets over pristine beaches… Or maybe it was Kanto? Some smartly dressed businessman from the Saffron financial district?"

My cheeks and ears felt like they were on fire. Why did she have to press so much! Perhaps I should tell her, get it over with. Knowing her, she'd find out one way or another, and she'd already asked to come over after dinner. I'd known that would happen, and while nothing was wrong with it, a tipsy Les was likely to say or do something we'd both regret if I didn't fill her in beforehand. Yet… to let someone else in on such a secret? Even Les? This wasn't Kalos or Alola. I could get arrested.

"...allow it," she was saying. "The world is your cloyster, Carrie! You need to cut loose and enjoy yourself from time to time. Fine, if you don't want to let me in on this, I'll have to take some dramatic measures. There's a guy who works in my department I think you'd like. Real sweet kid—a bit geeky, and quiet. But, he's got his head screwed on straight, and I hear he volunteers at one of the local pokémon shelters, so he's got a good heart too. Hell, if he were my type? I'd give him a try."

I shook my head, wincing. If I didn't stop this train, I'd be set up on three dates before the week was out. If I couldn't trust Les with this, then who could I trust? "You don't have to do that. I… well, the truth is, I did kinda meet someone." It came out all in a rush before I could talk myself out of it. Too late now. There were no more brakes—I was committed.

"What? Why didn't you say so?! Is he some biker? Or part of one of those trainer gangs? Are you ashamed of him?" Her eyes narrowed, brows knitting together. "Carrie, this guy didn't hurt you, did he? Tell me he didn't. But if he did, tell me his name so I can kick his ass!"

She would, too. Leslie was a blackbelt in one martial art and proficient in another. I waved her off before she could bury me under more questions. "No, nothing like that! In fact, you've already met him, though it's been awhile…"

Ruby lips pursed, her forehead furrowed as the wheels turned. "Did you reconnect with one of our high-school friends? It's not Paul Barrington, is it? I recall you saying that one date was too many."

"No." I took a deep breath, leaning close and lowering my voice. "Les, it's Axel."

"Signoras, your tiramisu?"

I nearly jumped out of my skin. The waiter—ever professional—politely took no notice as he slid two elegant cake slices onto the table before us. My heart continued to beat a tattoo in my chest until he'd taken several steps away. God, had he heard? No, of course not—he would have no context for the remark even if he had.

Leslie hadn't even spoken to the waiter. I'd only seen her look so poleaxed once—when I'd told her of my planned trip. She stared at me as though I'd suddenly sprouted another head, which was better than yelling and storming off from the table perhaps… Her nails drummed on the edge of her dessert plate, like tiny judge's gavels silencing the court before the delivery of a verdict. Tink tink tink! We call the people to witness today, the end of a long-lasting friendship…

"Carrie?" she said at last, after I'd nearly died of dread several times over.

I swallowed; reached for the wine glass more to have something to hold onto than for a sip. "Yes?"
"You're a jerk."

I blinked. "Come again?"

"You heard me! How long has this been going on?"

"Um, about a year… Ever since Alola."

"And you kept me in the dark for a year? Holy shit, Carrie, what sort of monster are you?!"

"Look, this isn't easy for me either, I—" The first part of her statement sunk in, arresting my sudden lash of fearful anger. "Wait, what?"

She had both elbows on the table, cupping her chin in her palms, face alight like she was watching her favourite movie. The cake lay completely forgotten, along with her empty wine glass. "Details, now! Damn, girl, this is huge! What, did you think I was going to yell 'ew!' and run away? Please, have a little more faith in me than that! Have you two actually…?"

At least she had the grace not to say it in public. I released my death grip on the wineglass before it cracked, and offered a slight nod. Secret out or no, it wasn't any less mortifying to talk about!

"You and sweet little Axel. I should have known." She frowned. "Although, admittedly, I'd never have taken you for the poképhilliac type, Carrie."

So much for discretion in the public eye. "Could you maybe… lower your voice a bit?"

"What?" She gestured at the dining area with one hand. "Look around. No one is paying us any mind. Even your friend in the dinner jacket has found another date."

She was right—following her pointing proved that the closest table was barely within earshot, and it was inhabited by a doting older couple holding hands and staring lovingly into one another's eyes. The creep at the bar had a slim asian woman in a one-piece green gown on his arm, and they seemed to be sharing a hilarious story. Still! "Please, for me? It's still illegal here."

"And that's another thing!" She took the cue and dropped her volume to something less than outdoor voice. "You? Miss-always-follow-the-rules? I can barely picture you stealing someone's parking space, let alone committing a felony. How did this come about? I want everything, down to the last juicy tidbit!"

I resisted the urge to bury my face in my hands. I'd opened this Pandora's box, time to deal with the consequences. "It wasn't exactly an overnight thing. I guess it started when we were in Kalos. You've been, right?"

She nodded eagerly. "Lumiose is manifique! Though, I haven't spent nearly as much time there as you did."

"Right. Well, they're a lot more… liberal, than Unova is. Lighter alcohol restrictions, pinap extract smoking, clothing optional clubs—including ones that allow pokémon—stuff like that."

"You went to a strip club? My my, Carrie, you are getting adventurous!"

If my cheeks burned any hotter, they would catch fire. "No! I mean, not exactly. It was an accident! I'd heard about a popular nightclub that let pokémon in with their trainers. I'd never go to a place like that without Axel. I was curious, so I decided to go, and when we got there…" I bit my lip at the gaudy memory. Pulsing dance music, multi-coloured lights, writhing, barely clothed or naked bodies… "It was the craziest thing I'd ever seen. I would have turned right around and left, but Axel… He was still a hakamo-o at the time, and I don't know what got into him. His eyes got super wide, and he looked up at me like I'd just… I dunno, really. Les, he was excited. He grabbed my wrist and started tugging me for the dance floor. I could see a girl... grinding on this big typhlosion, and another guy between a chesnaught and a krookodile openly kissing one while the other made some… suggestive movements."

"Sounds like a good time."

I shook my head, leaning forward across the table and nearly whispering. "I was so scared, Les! And there was Axel, entranced by it all, and giving me this look I'd never seen on him before. Almost… hungry, I suppose. He was sniffing the air, and I could see his, umm… you know. 'Equipment', poking out."

"Dick. He's a male, they have them, you know."

Must she put everything into blunt terms?

I nodded weakly. "Of course, but I'd never really seen his before. Not like this! He wouldn't leave—kept trying to pull me into the club. Eventually, I had to get his ball out and return him. I felt awful doing it, but I had no choice! I ran for the hotel as fast as I could and spent the rest of the night trying to figure out what had happened."

Leslie quirked an eyebrow. "So, your boy got turned on, and you freaked out. Sounds like business as usual for you. Remember what happened when we had that cheerleader's dare in high-school?"

"Don't remind me." One painful memory was enough for the evening.

"Fine, but what then?"

"Nothing, for awhile. I didn't let him out of the ball until the next morning. He didn't do anything then, and we didn't talk about it, but he kept looking at me from the corner of his eye, maybe thinking I wouldn't notice. I think he was appraising me. Or maybe he thought I was trying to tell him something. He was almost… calculating, and the next time we were pulled into a battle, he was so much fiercer. I had to stop him from going too far—he nearly hurt another trainer's pokémon! But, it wasn't until we got to Alola that things really changed between us."
"Aha! I knew it was the sunset beaches!"

"Maybe. Remember I said he was more energetic? It was like he thought he had to prove himself all of a sudden. Every trainer we came across, he'd taunt into battling with us, no matter how strong they were! A couple times, he took on far more than he could handle, and I had to use Full Restores on the spot."

"Still one of our best products."

I nodded. "Yes, and I'm glad you talked me into taking some along. Anyway, eventually, with all of it, he evolved. I was so proud of him, Les! He wasn't just my little baby anymore. He could look me in the eye, and he was so strong. You should see his arms! I must have spent an hour just fawning over his new body, before I took him out for a special meal to celebrate."

"And then you fucked like lopunnies?"

That wine was looking appropriate right about now. I took a long sip, nearly draining what was left in my glass. I put the glass down and tried to scowl at Leslie, but her teasing grin sapped any heat from it.

"Please, Les, you're incorrigible!"

"It's my middle name, love." She made to toast me, realized her glass was empty, and topped it up with the last of the bottle. "But, do go on. This is getting to the good part, I can feel it!"

I sighed, shaking my head. "I'd heard about the Alolan luaus, and Axel's evolution seemed like the perfect excuse to celebrate at one. We were lucky—there happened to be one that very night at the island we were staying on—Ula'ula, I think it was? No, Akala. It was beautiful! Open fires on the beach, fish roasts, singing and traditional island dances… It was exactly what you'd picture Alola to be like. Axel seemed to enjoy it, though he was a little out of sorts. Quieter than usual, and he kept putting his paw on my arm or shoulder. Not getting my attention, just… resting it there, like a guy might do. I didn't think much of it at first."

"Of course. Why would you?" Her face was composed, but her eyes sparkled with mirth.

I took a deep breath, pretending I hadn't noticed. "Right. Anyway, in Alola, there's a tradition that any couple who wants to be married can do so at a luau. Unofficially, these days, but it's still allowed as long as they have it notarized later. Two couples came forward to do it, coming up on the stage with the performers and making the announcement. Each time, the party grew more excited, and everyone was so happy… Then, there was a man who came up with his zoroark. He said that he knew he couldn't make it official—even in Alola, they don't allow that—but he wanted to announce that she was the love of his life. Then he kissed her, right in front of everyone! The place practically exploded. People were giving them flowers, drinks; acting like they were league champions."
"Did you faint on the spot?"

"I'm not a complete prude, Les!"

"No, no, of course not. What then?"

"Well…" As pleasant as the memory was, the words seemed to stick in my throat. "Axel was growing antsy. I asked him if he wanted to leave, and he just gave me this look that I'll never forget. It scared me a little, how intense he was. Then, out of the blue, he picks me up, and starts carrying me off in his arms! I was too surprised at first to struggle, though I tried to tell him to stop. People saw us, but most of them either left us alone or cheered him on! The Alolans, mainly. A few of the other tourists. I was confused, though looking back, I suppose I should have seen it coming."

Leslie was nodding, wearing that knowing smirk. I forged onward.

"He carried me off to a deserted section of the beach. He was being so gentle, and I was curious about what was happening, so I'd given up trying to stop him. He kept giving these little nuzzles at my neck that were so sweet…" A phantom sensation of those loving touches sent a shiver down my spine. "He laid me down in the sand and started… well… exploring me. With his nose, then with his new paws. By then, I'd clued in. Maybe I should have stopped him, but God, Les, after everything we'd seen and done together? I couldn't imagine saying 'no' to him. He was caring, and treated me like I was the best thing in the world, and when he started to get excited… so did I."

"And that's when you fucked like lopunnies."

I rolled my eyes. "Not to put too fine a point on it, yes. We've been something more than partners ever since." The shame didn't burn as much as I thought it would. If anything, it was a relief to tell the story at last, to share my secret with someone else. I sat back, and hugged my arms across my chest. Come what may, I was no longer alone in my deviance.

Leslie let out a rich, throaty laugh. "My word! You paint quite the picture, m'dear. I always knew you were a romantic, but holy shit!" Shaking her head, she attacked her cake, reminding me that we still had a course to finish. I picked up my fork, but merely fiddled with it, unsure if I was still hungry.

Between bites, Leslie said, "So, go on, what's he like? You make him sound like the perfect partner."

"Oh, umm… It's a bit different, I guess. Pokémon don't see things like we do, no matter how smart they are." I glanced around, making sure the waiter wasn't coming back. "Sex is just sex, though I think he still sees me as 'more' than he used to. We've always been close, but now? He's even more protective, if you could believe."

"That's guys in general, hon. One of the reasons I broke up with Chad. He was practically smothering me, and would bother me when I went on business trips almost non-stop."

"Oh… I thought you two were still together?"

"Not for about three months."

"Last thing I remember you telling me was that 'it's complicated'."

"It was, but then it wasn't." She shrugged, though her eyes narrowed slightly. "He told me he wanted to settle down, and I wasn't ready for that. He didn't like it. Said I worked too much and needed to 'plan for the future'. As-if. My 401k is in fine shape, thank-you. We called it off. Tried a couple dates here and there, but it wasn't working."

"I'm so sorry." Chad had been her longest relationship, almost two years.

"Don't be. He was sweet, but lacked the fire that I need in a man. Not even sure how we stuck it out as long as we did." She levelled a lacquered nail at me. "But, enough about him. I'm still curious! How's Axel in bed?"


She grinned. "What? Can't blame me for wondering. You say he's some kind of knight in shining armour, but then you say he's still a bit of a beast. Come on, don't leave me hanging!"

"I can't talk about that here!" A chill ran down my spine. Please don't ask, please don't ask...

A shrug. "Alright. I see that stubborn look. If you won't tell me, then you'll have to show me! You already promised to let me meet him after dinner."

I should have known. Leslie was worse than a granbull with a bone when she latched onto an idea. Yet, the notion didn't mortify me as much as I'd expected. Perhaps I'd already reached terminal embarrassment. It was still further than I wanted to go, however… "Les, I don't know."

"What? Will he not do it if I'm there? I find that a bit hard to believe. Pokémon are creatures of instinct, and no matter how much you try to act like he's human, he's not."

"I'm well aware, thanks."

"I'll bet." The sparkle was back in her teasing gaze, a smirk on her lips. "Do you think he'd do me, if I let him? I bet he would. I've got to admit, I've always been a little curious myself. Illegal here or not, you've heard the stories, and I've seen some shit in my own travels."

A sudden urge to slap her had my arm trembling. How dare she! "Axel is not a toy, Les. He's not something to be passed around!"

She held up her hands, palms out. "Woah, settle down, girl! I didn't mean it that way. Of course he isn't. He's your precious companion, and I would never want to hurt that relationship."

As quick as it had arisen, my rage drained away. "Sorry."

"No, I should be the one saying that." Leaning forward, she put a hand on mine, her grin returning. "You remember our sorority initiation, of course."

"How could I forget?" It hadn't been the way I'd expected to lose my virginity, but it hadn't been bad. "I wonder what Parnesh and Vik are up to these days?"

"Taking the virtual gaming league by storm, I'm sure. I think the rest of the girls expected us to back out when we drew the VR club, but then you, not me, marched out of there like you were on a mission."

The cake looked awfully delicious. I fiddled with my fork. "I didn't like the way they were giggling at us. Is there a point to this?"

"Naturally. You've got more guts than you realize, Carrie. You're all shy and precious most of the time, but then it's like a switch flips, and you won't back down from an angry ursaring."

"I… thanks, I suppose. Still not seeing the connection."

She sat back, wearing a grin wide enough to check my appearance in. "The point, m'dear, is that it wouldn't be the first time we've shared a man, and that I don't believe you would have told me all this if you didn't secretly want to show off a bit. You said yourself—to him, sex is sex. I'm nothing special to him, but he isn't likely to turn down a bit of fun. I'm not out to steal him from you. I'm just dying to satisfy my own curiosity, and I can't think of anyone else I'd rather let guide me into the sundry world of…" she lowered her voice to a near whisper, a gleam in her eye oddly similar to the one I'd seen in Axel's. "Poképhillia."

I squirmed, clutching my hands in my lap. "I really don't like that word, Les."

"Fine. Poké-fucking?"

"That's worse!"

She snickered. "Oh, you are too easy to bait. Well? What do you say? I won't press you if you're truly not into it, but I'm not hearing a 'no'. You won't leave me to find out in some seedy establishment, I hope."

Would she actually? Knowing Leslie, of course she would. She'd bitten down on the bone and wouldn't let go until she'd had her fill of it, one way or another. "I'd… need to talk to him first. I don't want to just assume that he'd be okay with someone else there."

"Of course. I imagine he'll only have eyes for you, but perhaps if I put on my sexy face?" She tossed her curls, adopting a sultry pout and drawing in a breath that strained her blouse in just the right way… How did she do that?

"All I can promise is that I'll try. If he's not interested, I'm not going to press him."

"Perish the thought! Thanks, Carrie, honestly. I'm glad you trust me enough to tell me, and to do this. God it's good to see you again! Have I said that already? Of course I have." She reached for her purse, withdrawing a stylish wallet and removing a gold credit card from it. "Come on, let's pay up and get out of here, shall we? You going to eat that?" She waved for the waiter.

I stared down at my untouched cake. This was happening. What would Axel think? Hopefully, he wouldn't be upset. I couldn't bear to distress him. I took a bite as Leslie chatted with the waiter, still offering little flirts like nothing special had occurred. Sweet coffee and vanilla danced across my tongue. Incredible, and so much like her… Strong and eclectic at once, yet with a subtle softness that didn't become apparent until you took the time to really know her. She was my first and closest friend—even closer than Axel, in some ways.

I could only hope that tonight wouldn't change that.




The cab ride to Caren's apartment went by quickly, Friday night Castelia traffic be damned. We made light small talk, laughed over old stories, and generally acted like sorority girls again. The chardonnay was a pleasant buzz, loosening my tongue and fuzzing everything with a hint of excitement. I wasn't drunk—I'd made it to the cab without so much as a wobble on my heels, thank you, no matter what Carrie said—but I was ready to take on the world.

Or a horny kommo-o.

The deliciously taboo thought had me pressing my thighs together. Carrie was a tease, refusing to give me any more details until we got to the apartment—It wasn't like the driver would care—but that only allowed my imagination to run wild. I'd never gone looking for porn involving pokémon, or any anatomy pictures, but one didn't become a woman of the world without some measure of exposure to such things. I'd heard stories. There were always rumors, especially if one paid attention to the gossip surrounding some of the more well-known professional trainers. My company had even broken off a sponsorship deal with one poor girl because of them. The fucking prudish old fogeys in corporate…

Caren owned a penthouse suite in a swanky building overlooking the harbour. Not rented, owned, proving that, despite everything, she was still daddy's girl. I'd be lying to myself if I didn't acknowledge a small stab of jealousy. It wasn't like my own salary didn't afford me a comfortable standard of living with all the needed creature comforts, but I would never be able to casually spread money about like she could. The place had its own concierge, who greeted her by name as we walked in and escorted us to the elevator!

"So, um, just let me re-introduce you to him and broach the subject, okay?" Caren said once the elevator began its upward journey. She fiddled with the strap of her handbag, fingers bunching and worrying at the leather as though she were trying to make a hole.

"C'mon," I gave her a friendly nudge. "You think I'm going to throw myself at him? Give me a bit more credit, Carrie!"

"I know, I'm sorry, I just… I don't know how he'll react to this."

"Hopefully with a hard-on." She wasn't meeting my eyes. Too far, maybe? "Don't worry, I promise I won't lay a finger on your babykins until you give the okay. Until both of you do. Cross my heart, hope to die."

She exhaled slowly, but nodded, giving me a tiny smile.

The elevator dinged, marking the 30th floor. Caren led the way to one of the two suites occupying the entirety of the level and unlocked the ornate wooden door with a thumbprint scan.

"Fancy," I said. "Though I prefer retinals. These Alephite models can get a bit smudgy. If you want, I can get you one of ours?" Never miss an opportunity for a sale! Shame I didn't get bonuses for marketing.

She shook her head and pushed open the door, calling out, "Axel? I'm home, baby, and I've brought a friend with me."

We stepped into a small hardwood floored foyer that immediately widened out into a large open-plan room, the bay-windowed far wall offering perfect floor-to-ceiling views out over the harbour. The marble countered kitchen bordered a dining and social area populated by a small dinner table, modern style couches with swooping backs, a huge LCD screen above a fake fireplace, and…

I raised an eyebrow at my friend. "An ursaring skin rug in front of the fire? Really Carrie? My god, you are such a cliche right now."

She reddened. "Umm, it's not real, and it was a gift from daddy… I could never keep a real one."

"Appearances, darling, appearances." Doffing my jacket, I held it up, along with my handbag.

"Oh, here." She swung open a closet door, revealing several rows of mixed shoes—was it really the time of year for snow boots to be front and center?—hanging jackets and sweaters haphazardly organized by no discernable means, and not one, but three umbrellas. How very like Carrie. All in a jumble, but prepared in her own way. The chill of the wooden floors caused my bare toes to twitch as I stowed my heels away with the rest of the outerwear. Almost tempting to keep them on. Did pokémon find human clothing sexy? Maybe Carrie had some insight, though she'd probably clam up if I asked. No matter, I'd have to remove them to get rid of my slacks in any case.

"So, where is our handsome loverboy?"

"Not sure, he usually comes out right away when I call him…" I followed as she stepped into the living area between the couches, looking down a darkened hallway to the left. "Axel? We're out in the front room, sweetie."

"Mo." The deep, bass rumble reverberated from the hallway. A shape lumbered from the shadows, vaguely human at first, then resolving into something distinctly… not. Gray skin armoured in large, overlapping scales with yellow rims covered a mass of rolling muscle. Thick arms dangled, three claws flexing on each paw nearly as long as steak knives. Behind him, a club-like tail swished, more of those yellow scales rattling a distinctive tone that could be a greeting... or a warning. Imperious, slit-pupiled crimson eyes regarded us over a beak-like muzzle as he slowly approached, his stance relaxed, but still predatory with that stalking gait. My breath caught. I'd never seen one of the larger ones up close before. Only one word could describe such a beast. Dragon.

Damn, he was magnificent.

"Has your night been okay, baby? I'm sorry I was gone for so long." Stepping forward, Caren reached out to meet the pokémon with a hug, pressing herself between those powerful arms and against his scaled chest and neck. The top of her head tucked neatly beneath his chin. Just adorable. He returned the gesture almost absently, one clawed hand patting his trainer's shoulders, while he locked gazes with me over her head. Small nostrils flared, that crooked maw opening to permit a forked tongue to flicker out, tasting the air.

Pulling away from her partner, Caren brushed a strand of loose hair back and motioned me closer.

"Axel? You remember my friend Leslie, right?" She bit her lip, clasping her hands over her waist and hunching her shoulders like she was confessing a prank to a teacher. "It's been a while…"

The dragon huffed, taking a step and looking down his muzzle at me. There was a glimmer of recognition there—oh yes, he remembered me. But, that was where any hint of softness or affection ended. What remained was pure haughty superiority. Those unsettling slit-pupiled crimson eyes looked both at me and through me, discarding me as any kind of threat, and weighing what other use I might have to him. This was not the sweet, innocent jangmo-o I recalled. Gone was the docile house pet. In its place was something ancient, feral, and proud.

"Looking good there, sport." Dragon or no, I'd never met a man or 'mon who could back me down. "Grown up to be quite the ladykiller, haven't you? Just look at those guns!" I patted him on the scales of his upper arm. It felt like smacking a boulder. "Holy shit, boy! Are you sure you aren't part onix?"

He snorted, hot breath washing over my forehead, tossing my curls. That serpentine tongue quested, sampling my scent. Once, twice. My own nose twitched. There was something… not quite musk or sweat, but a hint of odour that I could only place as male. Not unpleasant, certainly, but it made me wonder what he'd been doing before we'd arrived.

"Kom. Omo." Apparently, I passed inspection. He tossed his head, the unusual hanging crest of scales rattling like castanets, and looked back at Caren. "Mo?"

Her posture relaxed, though she wasn't meeting my eyes again, and still chewed on her lower lip like she was trying to pucker them up for a hot date. "You know how long we've been friends, sweetie? Umm, please don't be mad, but, well, we were talking over dinner, and I… Ah… I told Leslie about you. About us, I mean. About what we've been… um… doing."

Castanets clattered, that tail swiping the air. "Komo?" He glanced from her, to me, back to her, eyes narrowing.

"Oh no, I didn't want to upset you, sweetie…"

"It's alright," I said, forestalling my friend's efforts to apologize. What was she thinking, acting like he was the one in charge? "I'm not here to lecture you on how 'wrong' it is, or about to go reporting you to the league authorities. More the opposite, in fact! I thought it was hot stuff. I mean, look at you, you're a stud!" I whistled through my teeth, flipping my hair and giving him the ol' up-and-down. "Damn, Carrie, I'm jealous now, but happy for you both."

All it earned me was a huff and a flicker of tongue. He took a step back, drawing next to Carrie, hovering over her as he regarded me, still with that appraising, weighing look. That must be what she'd been talking about. It was indeed a touch unnerving, but he was still Axel. He wouldn't hurt either of us, not even with all the changes; the hard edge replacing the former adorable softness. My instincts were never wrong.

But, there was something off. A niggling suspicion in the back of my mind, behind the happy haze of chardonnay and the prospect of sex to come.

"You can blame me for this if you like," I said. "After hearing her stories—before we got to the good stuff, even—I had to meet you and see how you'd grown. When she told me about the sex, that just sealed the deal. You've been taking good care of her, I hear, and it's a good thing too, or I'd need to smack you around a bit!" I laughed, mitigating the threat of my words, but damn, if he so much as laid a claw on her in a way I didn't like, he was going down.

"Mo." Was that a smirk? Definitely a smirk. Maybe I'd need to do it regardless, just for the sake of pride. Thought I was just an itty bitty lady, did he?

"Anyway!" Caren's suddenly over-bright tone didn't match her fidgeting. "I wasn't too sure at first, but it's alright with me if it's alright with you. Baby, Les asked if she could watch us… um… together. I know you prefer me alone with you, but I trust her, and besides…" Her eyes slid up to meet mine finally, her tiny smile reappearing. "It could be a lot of fun!"

"Not to mention," I added, placing one hand on my hip, the other on my neck, fluffing my hair and pushing out my chest. "You have two ladies for the night instead of one. I am just burning with curiosity, and would love to have it…" I licked my lips. "Sated."

Axel's maw opened, a low popping sound similar to the one produced by his scales emerging. Laughter? It must be, given how his eyes widened a bit, a feral gleam lighting them as he looked at me with new interest, before shifting his attention back to his trainer.

"So, you don't mind?" Caren asked, tilting her head back to meet his gaze. "You want to have fun with both of us?"

He didn't answer directly. Hefty shoulders rolled. A long draconic arm circled my friend's waist, tugging her close. She squeaked, shuddering slightly. His paw was nearly big enough to cup her shapely ass in a single grip, though he made use of the other one at her chest instead, groping her breast hard enough to make me wince in sympathetic discomfort. Was he always so abrupt?

"Ah, baby… I'll take that as a 'yes'?"

The paw on her ass slipped down between her thighs, casually flipping her skirt up and out of the way. He was almost… businesslike, as if he took no real pleasure in this, but saw it as a necessary precursor to getting what he wanted. Carrie gasped and closed her eyes, shivering in earnest as the front of her dress bulged and fluttered in suggestive motions.

"Doesn't waste time, does he?"

"N-no, he—ooh!—knows what he's about!" Her breathy chuckle trailed into a cry, a soft rip! indicating the activity under her skirt.

Despite my gnawing doubts, she was clearly enjoying his aggressive treatment, and damn if it wasn't hot as hell! The way her mouth formed that cute little 'o'... The disparate size between the petite woman I'd grown up with and the looming, mighty dragon… The sheer naughtiness of it all, of watching her give herself to this beast…

I really should have packed a spare pair of panties.

"If you two don't mind, I'm going to move to the court-side seats." The couches were inviting, and neither Caren nor Axel seemed to notice as I walked past them and flopped down, affording myself a perfect front-row view. His paw had her thighs forced apart with its sheer width, and he had one claw buried in her pussy while the other toyed between her cheeks, flicking past the remnants of her underwear. A lacy little piece of lingerie—Nupritelle, unless I missed my guess. Expensive stuff. Perhaps pokémon did enjoy such things?

Well, taking them off, at least.

Honey glistened on that flexing paw, a low growl rising over Carrie's moans. A rich, powerful sound, that. Even my knees felt a bit wobbly, and I was seated! No man could ever match the pure, bestial lust on display before me. No wonder porn of this was such a big underground business. You didn't have to be into it to get into it. I undid my pants, sliding them to the floor and kicking them free. What might those claws feel like? Slipping a pair of fingers below the band of my panties, I dipped into my own wetness, spreading my legs for better access. God, I hadn't been this horny since… well, maybe since school!

"Mm, that's it, boy, you treat her right." From my angle, I couldn't see much between Axel's legs. His swishing tail blocked anything from the rear, and his wide thighs and hanging scales protected his modesty from the other side. Doubtful that he was trying to be a tease, but what in the world was he packing down there? He had to be aroused, given what he was doing, the possessive grip on Carrie's ass and thigh dimpling her fair skin and flushing it with crimson. Budding pleasure seeped into my loins and belly, my folds clenching on my fingers. Would he enjoy his goods being played with? Of course he would, he was a guy, but… I'd heard that some pokémon were testy during mating. What sort of things had Carrie taught him about sex?

"Oh, Axel. B-baby, wait, not so—ah!—rough…"

My fingers ceased their circling of my engorged clit. It had been almost inaudible, barely a whine from my panting friend, but it had definitely been a command. Yet, he hadn't stopped what he was doing. Another long, reverberating growl coupled with a shake of scales rattled in my chest. The dragon reared back, heaving Caren up sheerly by the paw between her legs. She squealed, and I was about to leap up to intervene when he tossed her unceremoniously onto the opposite couch.

She landed with a 'Oof!' and immediately broke out laughing. "Oh, you silly!"

"Carrie," I said, prickles of concern cooling my libido for the moment. "Is that normal?"

"Oh, not really. He's usually a bit slower about it, but I guess he wants to show off, don't you?" She cooed at her draconic lover as he closed in on her, once again denying me any sight of his underbelly.

"Kom." It was terse; a clear command. He reached for her, grabbing her hips and flipping her over, ignoring her giggled protests. She was like a toy in his paws, bent over the side of the furniture, chest shoved down to the couch while he tucked his claws back between her thighs. Caren's knees shuffled apart at his urging, leaving her completely at his mercy.

"Showing off. Sure." Axel's tail served as a lashing barricade, blocking my view of anything but Caren's lower legs and upper body when he leaned over her. I'd have to get up close and personal if I wanted to see the action, but I wasn't sure I wanted to. That tail was more than just for effect—it was a weapon, and it was warding off any interference while he claimed his prize. I didn't think he would intentionally hurt me, but…

"Mo. Kooomm…" This last was a grunt of satisfaction, coupled with a moan from Carrie as his hips rolled. One paw around her hip, he rested part of his weight on her shoulder blades, pinning her to the couch in an act of unmistakable dominance. "Momo. Kom." If he'd been wearing a translation collar, the words might very well have been, "Down, bitch." Another thrust, punctuated by a wet slurping noise and more gasping from Carrie. Shit, how big was he?! Or maybe it was more the raw power with which he drove into her, seeming to care little for how frail her human body was in comparison to his.

"You alright, Carrie?"

"F-fine, ah!" Her voice was nearly a squeak, thanks to the pressure on her back. "I think he's just—Mmm!—excited. Les he feels—Axel, oh!"

Now that he'd settled in place, the big dragon began to really let loose, those mighty hips drawing back and slamming home with all the mercy of a piledriver. Each thrust shook the couch, their incompatible bodies meeting with a smack and a squelch! The heavy smell of sex wafted across the short space—guess that didn't change no matter what species were involved—and the scent I'd picked up earlier was present still, distinctly stronger now that Axel was worked up. Caren dissolved into a mix of squeals, moans, and gasped adoration for him, complimenting everything from his appearance, to his strength, to his prowess, to his tenderness.

Yeah, I wasn't seeing that last one.

Despite my doubts, I allowed my fingers to return to work, though more of a casual rubbing than the excited jilling from before. He wasn't truly hurting her, so might as well enjoy the show for what it was. After tonight, I might have to look up some of that interspecies porn, illegal or no. Maybe Lydia might appreciate it as well? Something to consider, and perhaps a way to break the ice surrounding my assistant's attitude towards sex. I tweaked my clit, stifling the moan, though neither of them would have heard me over their own racket. I had a pretty good idea of what was going on here now, and like it or not, my friend needed an intervention. Luckily for her, I was just the woman for the job.

The only question was, how to go about it?

"Oh god, Axel, baby, you're amaz—" She broke into a squeal, her body tensing. The sloppy noises of their activities grew a bit wetter, and that popping draconic chuckle coloured the next few thrusts. No way to know if he was happy or mocking, but I knew where my money lay. His tail smacked the floor, castanets jangling, and his motions tightened into short, quick humping.

Even the best natured creature would spoil under the constant pampering and syrupy affection she poured onto him. Throw sex and untamed male possessiveness into the mix, and you had a dangerous combination. Our shared activity was turning up the heat in the apartment, but I left my blouse on. This was all about control, and while there was something to be said for standing naked and confident in front of a man, leaving myself exposed like that would do me no favours here. Should I put my pants back on too? No. If how he'd gone after Caren was any indication, he might simply rip them off me, and I liked those pants. Breasts, it seemed, were little more than a novelty for him and not particularly a point of interest. My current state of dress would do.

"Yes, yes! Cum for me, sweetie, cum for meee!"

He didn't really need the encouragement. The paw on Carrie's back migrated to her hips, allowing him to put all of his strength into rutting her silly. His growling ratcheted up in volume, matching the intensity of his stance and general aura of 'take it, bitch'. A last, mighty shove buried him to the hilt and nearly overturned the couch, its feet slamming down with a loud thump! Axel's body stiffened, a pleased groan rolling from his throat. Caren crooned like a proud mother, her toes curling while she quaked and shivered. That rattling tail swayed, jumped. Beneath them, runny white liquid began dripping down to spatter the hardwood.

Okay, that was undeniably hot. My passage clenched, anticipating the sensations my friend must be feeling. I'd never been a fan of the pill's side effects, and didn't trust most guys enough no matter what they said, so it'd been awhile since I'd felt warm cum inside me, and never anything close to so much! One of the benefits of cross-species sex, perhaps.

His tail flicked up, abruptly awarding me an unobstructed view. Caren's stuffed and abused pussy was stretched around a meaty shaft easily as wide as my forearm. Only a hint of dark flesh peeked out from the curve of her mound, but the thing visibly throbbed, mirroring a clench of the area between his buried cock and a modest backdoor. Gray, pebbled flesh pressed tight to her pale cheeks, the absolute minimum of space between them. Lines of mixed fluids ran down Carrie's thighs, most of it runny white, but was that a hint of pink? So help me, if he'd fucked her bloody, I was going to absolutely destroy him.

His tail was still raised high. A glance upwards, and I met those slit-pupiled eyes, his forked tongue casting out. His maw cracked open, donning that proud smirk. 'Like what you see?'

Oh, it was on.

"How do you feel, Carrie?"

"God, Les…" She was panting, a light sheen of sweat on her face as she awkwardly turned her head to face me, hair dishevelled and eyes half-closed in delirious after-glow. "It's incredible. None of the other partners I've had come close, and after him, I don't think I could ever feel the same with another human guy." This brought a staccato chuckle from the dragon and an arrogant toss of his head. "Yes, baby, you're the best, aren't you? Yes, you are!" A shaking hand reached up to pat Axel's forearm. Shit, she needed an intervention even more than I'd thought. What type was kommo-o anyhow? If there was some psychic nonsense going on here, I'd have my work cut out for me.

"Uh-huh. How often do you two do this anyway? Just curious."

"Oh, um, it depends." She faltered, crimson staining her face, though how she could be embarrassed about this after what I'd just witnessed, I couldn't fathom. "A lot, I suppose. I don't know, is there such a thing as a normal amount of sex? We're rarely apart, so it's more or less whenever we feel 'in the mood'."

Or, whenever Axel did. "Is it always like this? Or have you tested out all the available surfaces in here? What about outside?"

"Les!" Caren pouted. "What do you take me for? I prefer to keep things private and safe of course. Hotel rooms and here. Well, except for that first time. And… a few others, I guess. He started to get excited, and we were alone, and I couldn't bear to turn him down, so…"

"Naturally. And do you do other things? Oral? Anal? Toys?"

"Curious about everything, aren't you? No, not really… I've used my mouth on him before, but he usually prefers this. I do too, to be honest." She giggled.

In other words, if Axel was horny, he got what he wanted, every time. No ifs, ands, buts, or compromises. Just great. I stood, stretched, rolled my neck back and forth. Shame I didn't have a strap-on with me, though that might be a bit too much too soon. "You two have certainly given me quite the show," I said, sauntering closer to the entangled pair. "But I hope that isn't all there is to it. As you said, I'm curious about everything, and have a few…" Meeting Axel's eyes, I laid a hand on his shoulder, tracing a line across it with my nail. "Desires of my own."

He regarded me with cool calculation, sweeping down to my exposed lower half, lingering, then gradually creeping back up to my face. His tail rattled—perhaps an affirmation? With a grunt, he shifted, rolling his weight back on his legs, allowing his softening tool to slip out of Caren with a lewd slurp. She whimpered softly—actually whimpered—and propped herself up on her elbows. I reached down and rubbed the back of her neck, earning an 'Mmm' of appreciation. First time I'd ever had to hold her hair.

"Give us a minute, handsome?" I flashed Axel my million-dollar smile. That smile had closed more deals than I could count. "Girl time, right?"

For a moment, he merely stared at me, looming, one paw resting on Caren's ass, as if he might prefer to go another round with her just to prove a point. Then, he rolled his shoulders in a shrug, tossed his head, and stepped back, giving the pair of us a bit of space. His cock had already retreated, tucking away neatly into a hidden slit on his underbelly. How convenient.

Leaning over, I whispered into Caren's ear. He might overhear, but no matter. I could almost feel his intense gaze on my own rear. Good. Let him have an eyeful. "You don't mind, right? I have a few things I want to try with him, if you're okay with it."

She'd mostly recovered, though she still wore that goofy grin. "Sure, it's okay. I think he likes you!" Yeah, we'd see how long that lasted. "If it was anyone else, I wouldn't, but for you, Les…"

"You're an angel." I kissed her on the cheek, then offered her a hand up, which she accepted with a grateful nod, groaning as she stood. She was a mess—dress rumpled, the front of her skirt stained with wet spots, her legs awkwardly spread while the mixed fluids dripped down to add to the puddle on the floor… Perhaps I'd look the same soon, but damn if it wasn't for a good cause.

"Listen, hon, I wonder if I might ask one small favour?"

"Sure, what's that?"

I slid my gaze over to the kommo-o. He was ignoring us for now, instead inspecting the couch where I'd sat, muzzle close to the cushion, his dark tongue flickering. Regardless, I kept my voice low. "Do you have his ball handy? It's my first time doing this, after all, and I'd feel a lot safer if… well, you know."

"Oh, he would never hurt you, Les. He knows how much you mean to me!"

"I know, but at the same time, it's a comfort thing. Please? For me?"

Confusion still peppered her green gaze, but she nodded. "Certainly. I'll just need to go get it. Back in a moment!" She tottered off towards the hallway, her gait decidedly lopsided. God, she was limping too?

"One other thing, Carrie?"

She glanced back. "Yes?"

"You might want to grab a towel or two."

There was that blush again, but she played it off with a laugh, shaking her head. "You're probably right. Be good until I get back!"

I waited until she'd disappeared into the hall to confront my adversary. It felt a bit bad to withhold the truth from my friend, but it was truly for her own good. Folding my arms under my breasts, I turned to Axel, fixing my mouth into a stern frown. "Alright, mister, you and I need to have a little chat."

If he'd been human, he'd have been lounging on the couch. The utterly casual nature of his posture said it all, and then there was that haughty crimson stare meeting my glare. He reminded me of some of the football jocks back in highschool, but with none of their insecurity barely covered with oversold bravado.

I stalked closer until I was in his face—no matter that he was taller, I'd backed down guys who were over six feet before. "You have things pretty good, don't you? A doting trainer, sex whenever you want, great food, a cushy life, and any other little need met."

A shrug. His eyes had narrowed ever so slightly, but so far, he was still relaxed.

"You ungrateful bastard."

That got a reaction. His maw opened in a hiss, his tongue flicking out and nearly touching my nose. I didn't flinch.

"That's right, you little shit." I kept my voice low, level. Shouting never accomplished much beyond a sore throat, in my opinion, and Carrie didn't need to hear this. "Think I'm scared of you? Well, I'm not. I don't care how many badges you've earned or other 'mons you've beaten. I was there when you were just a hatchling, and I know how you used to be. I remember the sweet thing that wouldn't leave Caren's side and would take a bullet for her. What happened, huh? Got a taste of pussy and now you're just the alpha male? Can't be bothered to so much as clean up after yourself? Let alone give to her a fraction of what she gives to you!"

A growl rumbled up through his long neck, those serpent's eyes squinting to a glare. His paw whipped out, making a grab for my ass. Time to teach the upstart bitch a lesson. I slapped it away, hiding my wince at the sudden impact with hardened scales. It'd been awhile since I'd undergone endurance training, and this wasn't so different from punching concrete.

"'No' isn't a word you're used to hearing, is it?"

"Kommm." Angry castanets buzzed. He grabbed for me again, this time with both paws. I danced away, avoiding the grapple—if he got me in those powerful arms, I'd have no chance—and socked him hard right in the muzzle. He staggered back, more shocked than hurt, eyes wide, maw opening and closing.

I resisted the urge to shake out my hand, despite the gentle ache in the knuckles. Geez, was any part of him not boulder-like? Then again, I suppose I should have expected it of his head. "Get it through your skull, doofus. I'm still going to fuck you, but it's going to be on my terms, for my pleasure, and you're going to goddamn like it. You're going to learn what it means to make love to a woman. You need to realize that Caren's your partner, not your bitch, or whatever it is you dragons call it. If you don't start treating her with a bit more respect and care, I'm going to come back, again, and again, as many times as it takes, and God help you if I find that you ever truly hurt her. I have a mienshao that could go to town on your sorry ass, but I wouldn't even need her, trust me."

He snorted, more castanets rattling as he shook himself. The raw anger had faded, replaced again with that cool superiority. Of course, he didn't have to listen to me. I was just some weak female who'd managed to surprise him. He'd have things back under control soon. He started forward, an intent gleam in his eyes, claws flexing. I stepped back, shifting my stance in readiness to plant a kick somewhere tender. Internal or no, a good ol' spinning heel strike would be a lesson he wouldn't soon forget.

"Back! Everything okay in here?"

Caren's spritely tone trailed off into concern as she walked back into the common room. She'd changed from her soiled dress into a fluffy pink robe, the garment tied at the waist, but with the top half hanging open enough to reveal the bare curve of her cleavage. Two purple bath towels lay draped across her arm.

Axel froze the moment he heard her voice, though his claws continued to flex, his gaze flicking from her to me.

"Absolutely pecha, m'dear." I feigned a stretch, as though I'd merely been limbering up, rather than preparing to defend myself. "Your boy and I were just getting reacquainted a bit."

A derisive snort from the dragon. Everybody was a critic.

Caren glanced between us, her brow furrowing slightly. "Okay, I thought I heard… Well, it doesn't matter I suppose. Here." Moving around the couch, she handed me one of the towels, wrapped around a small, spherical object. The other towel she tossed onto the puddle on the floor by the other couch, soaking the mess before it could stain the wood.

"Thanks. Have I mentioned that you're the best? Because you are."

"I don't mind hearing it again." She plopped down on the couch she'd been bent over not so long ago. "Just be gentle on him, okay? I need my sugar poo to be in good shape." Good god, she was making a kissing noise at him. There was naive and then there was Carrie.

"Sure." The pokéball dropped into my hand, though I kept the towel over it as I turned back to face down the beast. "Ready for some more fun, big boy?"

Axel was all but looming over me from barely a step away, nearly making me jump. How on earth was he so stealthy? If he'd grabbed me, I would've been in serious trouble. Perhaps I needed to work on my situational awareness a bit more. He regarded me with that infuriating, cool superiority, the knowledge of his small victory written all over his muzzle. Fine. That was how he wanted to play? I could work with it.

I thumbed the 'return' button.

Red light lanced out, enveloping the dragon. He only had time for a surprised, "Komm?" before being sucked away into the ball's containment field, the device snapping closed beneath the towel with a satisfying 'click!'

"Hey!" Caren protested. "What are you doing?"

"A necessary evil, love." I let the towel drop, examining the pokéball. A custom job, unsurprisingly, decorated in colours matching Axel's, and patterned to appear like scales. "I'm afraid I have some bad news for you, but don't worry—I also have a solution."

"Les… Is this like that time you had us hitching a ride to Nimbasa?"

"Not at all, promise." I looked at her—she had her arms crossed, a pout forming on her lips—and held out the pokéball, though I kept a tight enough grip on it to keep her from snatching it back. It quivered in my palm like a buzzing cell phone, its occupant displeased with the turn of events. "Do you see this?"

"Sure. I told you he doesn't like being in there!"

"Yes, but this isn't normal, Carrie." I shook it at her. "Do you know why this happens with a trainer's pokémon?"

The pout was escalating to a scowl. She shook her head.

"When that 'mon is out of control. He's not listening to you, Carrie."

"That's not true!" She was on her feet in an instant, fists clenched at her sides. "He loves me! Just because he doesn't act like you expect him to—"

"I'm not finished." My calm statement cut off her temper tantrum like a door slamming on a solicitor's face. Good. There was hope if I could separate her emotion from her sense of reason a bit. "He's your only pokémon, I get it. You've battled together, won badges together, been through hell and high water together. But so have we, Carrie. Maybe not the 'badges' part, but you get the idea. I know you, I know him, and goddamit, I know people. It's my fucking job. And this... this is a textbook example of an unruly 'mon running roughshod over a trainer."


"It is true. Maybe it didn't used to be, but it is now. He's lost respect for you. He's treating you like an object or a… I dunno, a breeding sow. That's definitely not what I'd expect to see from a loving partner, and it certainly is not how you deserve to be treated, Carrie. Not by him, not by anybody. Capice?"

"I…" Her mouth opened, closed. Slowly, she sat back down, the fury draining from her as she folded her hands in her lap, lowering her eyes. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have yelled at you, Les."

"Hey, it's okay." Dropping down next to her, I tugged her into a one-armed hug. "I know this is probably hard for you to hear, but the last thing I want is to see you hurt. You know that, right?"

She nodded. "Of course. But I think you're exaggerating things! Maybe Axel gets a bit rough from time to time, but he'd never hurt me…"

"Maybe, but you gave him a direct command, and he didn't obey. That's not how these relationships should work, Carrie. I don't go for that whole, 'master' thing with pokémon, but you can't let him walk all over you either. If he stops listening and you're giving yourself to him for sex… What if one of these times you say 'no' and he doesn't stop? What if he decides he wants to fuck you in a public place?"

"He wouldn't…" She paused, biting her lip. "Okay, there was one time. It wasn't public, but we were on a hiking trail, and he started to get frisky. I didn't really want to, but I didn't want to disappoint him either… Maybe you have a point. He's definitely become more forceful about what he wants since we came back from Alola. He does love me though, no matter what you say! I know he does…"

Progress was progress. I couldn't expect her to see the light all at once. "I believe you, hon, and I'm sure he does, but maybe he's forgotten how to show it. He just needs a little… help, in that regard. Call it 'training' if you like."

She snorted, but a grin was replacing the pout. "Let me guess. You know just what to do?"

"I have a few ideas, if you'll allow me. He's your pokémon, your partner, your lover. I won't do anything without your permission." My fingers were starting to grow numb from the angrily buzzing pokéball. I held it up gingerly. Would she grab it back or trust me? "What do you say?"

Her emerald gaze flicked from the ball to me, back and forth. Her fingers twitched, torn between gripping the fabric of her robe and taking back her pokémon. An agonizing moment oozed past. Finally, she nodded. "Alright. But if I see something I don't like, you stop whatever you're doing immediately, please."

"Scout's honour." I drew an 'X' over my heart. "Would you like to establish a safeword?"

"I don't see myself yelling 'stop' in any other context here. Do you?"

I laughed. "No, I suppose not." Giving her a last pat on the shoulder, I stood once more, steeling myself for what came next. There was one very pissed off kommo-o in the palm of my hand. "Let's get this party started then." Aiming the ball at the center of the room, I tapped the 'release' button.




This was a terrible idea. I bit my lip to keep from crying out as Axel reappeared in a brilliant glow of white. My poor baby was shaking. His scales from head to tail rattled in constant upset cacophony, his eyes narrowed to slits as he hissed at Leslie, who stood before him with his pokéball held out, looking for all the world like the warrior princess from that TV series… Xalia? Something like that. He took a step towards her, and for an instant, I thought I saw a wisp of smoke rising from his nostrils. He hadn't been this angry since Alola. I started to stand, to put myself between them and stop this craziness.

"That's far enough, mister." Leslie might have been addressing a misbehaving child, for all the aloof disinterest in her voice. "We've come to an agreement, Carrie and I, and you're going to listen to me for the rest of tonight. Understand?" She was always so cool, in control… No, I needed to trust her. I dropped back down, sitting on my hands to keep from biting my nails.

Axel's mouth opened, releasing a rolling growl. His tail lashed, adding his buzzing exclamation of displeasure. He looked past her, meeting my eyes, a wordless question melting into hurt disbelief as he realized I wasn't coming to his defense. My heart melted, but I nodded. "That's right, baby. She wants to try a few things, okay? Can you be good for her?"

"Komo." He snorted, rattling his tail once more. "Momo, ooo."

"For starters, you really need to cut the baby talk, hon." Les wasn't looking at me, her focus entirely on the dragon, a tension in her posture that hadn't been there a moment earlier. "It's not helping things."

"Whatever." Sometimes she could be such a know-it-all!

"Watch and learn, m'dear, watch and learn." She circled Axel, keeping her distance from him for now, and looking him up and down. "I think we should keep things simple to start. Cunnilingus. Is that something you're familiar with?"

"Kom." He shrugged, tracking her movement with his gaze.

"Show me." She stood off to the side, her legs spread slightly, the hand with Axel's ball behind her back. "You may take off my panties, but don't you dare rip them."

Another snort. He advanced, lumbering toward her with singular fixation—much like how he moved in a battle, come to think of it, though far slower. She had positioned herself at an angle to allow me to see everything—how his paws settled on her hips, flexing to feel her rear, even as he pressed in close, allowing her to feel his presence and strength. He'd done that with me more times than I could count, and it never got old, sinking into his powerful embrace, letting him whisk me away into a world of delight, forgetting whatever worries or cares I might have been chewing on…

"Easy…" Leslie's tone was firm, but level. "I said no ripping."

"Kom." It was almost comical, watching him work the lacy blue fabric down her hips, until it reached low enough to drop to her ankles of its own accord. True to her wishes though, he left them intact.

"Good. Now, you may begin with your tongue until I tell you to stop."

His tail rattled. I couldn't see his face, but I could picture his tongue flicking out the way it usually did when he was irritated. His paws whipped back to tighten on her hips, again squeezing her rear. A pang of jealousy died in my chest nearly as quickly as it arose. He was horny, yes, but he wasn't choosing her over me. I'd given permission. I couldn't afford to be petty.

"That's not your tongue. Last warning."

"Kom!" This last came with a throaty growl. He tugged her close, pressing his crotch to hers, thrusting his hips against her, preparing to claim her body…


Red light spilled out from behind Leslie. Axel roared, but the sound cut off in the swirl of particles as he was dragged back into the ball against his will for the second time tonight.

"Les!" I scowled at her. "You promised!"

"Promised what? That I'd be gentle?" She let out a long breath, a small crack appearing in her facade as she tucked back a loose curl of dark hair. "I did, but that doesn't mean I'll let myself be manhandled, Carrie. That's kinda the point here. Would you rather I beat the stuffing out of him?"

"I… No. Definitely not." True, she wasn't doing anything to hurt him, not really. But he hated being in the ball. I chewed on my lip, considering. Should I call a halt to this? Leslie was kicking off her panties, still breathing hard like she'd just worked out. Wait... she wasn't merely excited. My friend was… unnerved? No, impossible. Leslie wasn't afraid of anything, let alone Axel.

"Are we good? May I continue?" She held up the ball, her composure falling back into place with practiced ease.

Dumbly, I nodded.


A brilliant flare—my partner reappeared in the same place between the couches, this time facing me. Our eyes met for an instant, his red gaze narrowing. Then, he spun about, zeroing in on Leslie.

"Kom! Kommo!"

"Don't like it? Better get your listening ears on then." She was tossing his ball up and catching it, casual and cool as any ace trainer. "When I say, 'cunnilingus,' I don't mean, 'grab me and start going to town.' You treat me with respect, or you can stay inside that ball until you learn what that word means. Comprende?"

"Ommmm." He hissed, tail lashing.

"I'll take that as a 'yes'. If it's not…" She caught the ball and gestured with it, before tucking it beneath her blouse, lodging it in behind her bra, forming a conspicuous lump on her chest. "Don't think I can't quick draw that if I need to, but I think we're on the same page now. You get one warning each time. And each time, your time-out will last longer. If you want more pussy tonight, I suggest you play along."

"Ko." He was terse, settling into a hunch and glowering at her, but I knew that look. I'd seen it when he faced down a tough opponent in a gym or on the road. He wasn't sure what to do yet, so he would wait and figure out a solution.

"Good. Now we're getting somewhere. Come on then, I don't have all night." She snapped her fingers, pointing between her legs. "Tongue goes here, until I say 'stop'."

For a moment, he merely stood, examining her. This was new territory for him. I never gave him orders when we had sex, I just let him take the lead. Maybe Leslie was onto something? Since we'd returned from our travels, we hadn't been battling or training at all. It had just been day-to-day friendship as I sorted out life and affairs and sex whenever we were alone together. Perhaps he'd grown too used to taking what he wanted instead of asking for it.

But, that didn't mean she had to be rude about it!

"It's not going to come to you. If you want it, you come here." Another finger snap, gesturing sharply to her exposed crotch. She hadn't shaved recently, a light film of dark fuzz surrounding her sex. That might be strange for him. I always kept myself well trimmed. It was a bit of work, but I'd never been fond of bikini waxing, and that was the way he liked it…

With a low growl, Axel dropped to all fours, shuffling forward until his muzzle nudged between her thighs. He sniffed, inhaling her scent. His tail whisked back and forth, giving me a quick glimpse of his erection peeking out between his thighs. Not fully hard, probably from his trip inside the ball to kill his arousal, but certainly present. He liked what he saw and smelled. I craned my neck to see past the dangling scales of his crest. His tongue was flicking out, tasting her.

"Good. Like that, but you can be a bit firmer. It's a pussy, not a goddamn ice cream cone. Get in there." She put a hand on the back of his head, pulling him into her until his muzzle pressed against her snatch. "Lick."

His tail buzzed. For a moment, I thought he was going to jerk back. But he settled, his maw opening slightly. The angle of Leslie's thigh blocked my view a bit, but still allowed me to see the rapid lapping motions of his tongue teasing across her lower lips. Jealousy flared again, so sudden that I nearly didn't stop myself from letting out a petty huff. Maybe she was being overbearing, but… watching him do that for her was a little bit hot.

"Not bad. A bit more of that slapping thing, please. Mmm… good." Incredible how she could be so calm while an aroused dragon ate her out. She could have been having a conversation about groceries! "You like the taste of that? It gets you worked up, I'll bet. See? This can be fun for you as well."

A muffled grumble rose from between Leslie's legs. Axel lifted a paw to grope her rear, only to have it swiftly smacked aside with a harsh slap! I winced, though it surely hadn't hurt him, even if he growled and complained.

"Ah-ah! Did I say you could use your paws? Or to stop what you're doing?" She had his head again, keeping him tightly in place. "One more of those without permission and it's a time out, and I don't think either of us want that. Come on now. Good boy." A small shiver gripped her, coupled with a sharp intake of breath, straining her blouse with the bulge of Axel's pokéball. "Right there, yes! That little nub is a girl's best friend. Get familiar with it. This is how you should be getting your partner ready."

"Mmmo." His tail slapped the floor, shaking his warning scales.

"Sorry, didn't catch that. And you know what? I don't really care. You haven't earned the right to talk back yet. Show me that you can be patient and get me off, then we'll see about dealing with you. Provided you don't earn a time oohhhh… Better!"

Leslie's hips twitched, grinding across Axel's muzzle. Wetness glistened across the pebbled gray of his maw, his rapidly lashing tongue unable to keep up with her excitement. She had a death grip on his crest, her knuckles white as she coaxed and coached, riding his efforts with growing enthusiasm. Tiny trembles shook her, her moans stifled and disguised into further encouragement.

I bit my lip, pressing my thighs together and considering dipping a hand below my robe. I was still sore from the the pounding Axel had given me, but the stickiness rolling down my thigh wasn't just from more of his seed leaking. He'd eaten me out a few times, but not recently, and never quite like this. Had I ever cum from it? No, he'd always mounted me first.

"Oh fuck… See, Carrie? It's a matter of being in control and eliciting proper mutual respect… Mmm, almost there big boy. Focus on my clit. Yes!"

Axel's dark red shaft dangled prominently between his legs now, a glistening bead of fluid resting on the pointed head. My fingers twitched with the urge to jump up and wrap my hand around his beautiful maleness, to feel its tapered and knobbly length down to the wide bulge at the base. It felt so right to make him feel good, to give myself to him and… and… Drawing a deep breath, I crossed my legs over one another, ignoring the faint ache. At this rate, I was going to leave an unseemly wet spot on the couch.

Judging by the way his tail was lashing, he was barely restraining himself from jumping and pinning Leslie. Should I warn her? No, despite how she was riding his muzzle, he looked to be focused on his tongue-work and following her prompts to increase her pleasure. That was my Axel. When he had a goal in mind, nothing would stop him from chasing it down. What might might happen if he tried to take control again? The last thing I needed was my two best friends in a fight.

"Please, baby, just let her have this," I whispered.

"Come on… Just… a… bit… more! Oh fuck!" Leslie's lithe form tensed, jerking Axel's head tight to her sex. Her cheeks flushed, eyes squeezing shut for a long moment, a shaky moan escaping and cracking her composure. A phantom bolt of remembered ecstasy made me twitch, warmth radiating through my chest. My wonderful, amazing protector… My strong, handsome lover… My first true heartthrob… He'd just done something so sweet and powerful for my best friend, and I loved him all the more for it. Why wouldn't he do that with me anymore? Jealousy tried to rear up, but the joy of seeing him bring my friend such pleasure squashed it.

Axel wriggled in her grasp, yanking away even as she shuddered through the last of her climax. His tail buzzed as he stood erect, the gray skin of his muzzle positively soaked. A scowl painted his features, eyes narrowed and fixed on Leslie, who was panting and regaining her self-control. His claws flexed once, twice.

"Something wrong, baby?" I asked. Shouldn't he be pleased with what he'd done?

"Koommmmm." His tone was flat, his tail slapping the floor with a musical chink! He made a grab for Leslie, seizing her underneath the arms and hauling her off her feet. In an eyeblink, he had her like one might hold a young meowth, legs dangling, while he tried to wedge his lower body between her thighs, prodding and questing with his bobbing erection.

"Les!" Oh god oh god oh god… I tried to jump up, but my body wouldn't respond right, my legs weak and numb. What was he doing?

"Goddamit boy, couldn't let me enjoy that a bit longer?" She sounded a bit out of breath, but otherwise unperturbed, despite her compromising position in the claws of a horny and clearly annoyed dragon.

"Omm. Komo." He was having difficulty finding his target. She had her thighs clamped together, frustrating his efforts, but that would only last so long. I knew exactly how strong he was…

"Axel, stop that! Play nice!"

"Ko." He jabbed with his hips, shaking Leslie like a toy.

My heart froze. That could not have been a clearer 'no'.

"That's quite enough of that."

I couldn't quite process what she did. I saw it happen, but I'd never thought the human body could do such a thing. She seemed to simply… twist, planting a foot on his belly for leverage, executing a quick motion with her hips, and sprang away from him, landing with grace and poise like a gymnast dismounting from a perfect routine. I half expected her to bow.

"Time out." She reached into her blouse, found the pokéball.


Red light lanced out, snagging Axel as he started to lumber towards her, crouched in his battle stance. For the briefest instant, he turned to me, sweeping me with that terrible glare. My breath caught. This wasn't my baby. Not anymore.

Then, he was gone, whisked inside the pokéball, which snapped shut with an overloud click! For a moment, neither of us spoke. The absence of the dragon's presence was much like the eye of a tropical storm I'd witnessed while in Alola. Such utter calm replacing rage…

Leslie glanced at me, rolling Axel's pokéball in her hand. "Well?"

The room blurred. I sniffed, swiped a finger across my eyes. "Oh Les, I'm so sorry… What have I done?"

"Hey, come on now." She laughed—actually laughed!—and walked over to stand next to me, laying a hand on my shoulder. "It's okay. Nothing happened, alright?"

"Oh god, but Les! Axel, he… he…"

"I know. You finally saw it, didn't you?"

I nodded meekly, shame burrowing a hole in my chest. Everything she'd said before, it was true. I hadn't wanted to believe it, but... How could I have allowed this? He was always so sweet and caring before, and now… I'd turned him into a monster. My own weakness had spoiled him to the point where he didn't know right from wrong anymore. He took what he wanted, and while he wouldn't try to hurt someone, he wouldn't stop if they didn't submit to him.

"...not that bad," she was saying. "He's not listening to you, but he still cares about you, you're right about that. The problem is that he doesn't respect you anymore. You used to be his idol, but then you gave yourself to him and didn't set any boundaries for what he could have and when. At that point, you stopped being an object of desire and became a means of satisfying his lust whenever he felt like it."

I stared at my lap, twisting my robe in my fingers. "What do I… What do I do? Oh Les, I can't give him up. It broke my heart to see him like that, but to lose him…"

"That's not what I'm suggesting, love. Didn't I say I was the right woman for the job?" A fingernail caressed my chin, forcing me to look up and meet her warm eyes, her gentle smile. "I've got you, babe. This won't be fixed overnight, but we can certainly make headway. Do you trust me?"

I nodded. "Of course I do. But Les, what if he… Does that again? What if we can't stop him?"

"Let me worry about that. He's not going to like it, but we have to get this under control sooner rather than later. If he continues to run roughshod over you like this, you might lose him for good."

I swallowed hard. Pride was always the worst dish. "You're right. I should have listened to you in the first place."

"I've never been one for, 'I told you so's'. I'm just glad you came around." She leaned down, planting a gentle kiss on my cheek. "We're cool."

Despite myself, I giggled. "I haven't heard that since school."

"Me neither. My circles tend to be more about professional talk and subtle maneuvering. You have no idea how good it is to cut the shit with someone I really trust."

"Maybe I do. You know what my family is like."
"True." She held up the pokéball, which was ominously still, its twin buttons gleaming. "So, what do you say? Shall we give this another try?"

"If you think so…"

"Sure, but I might need your help. We don't want him only listening if I'm around. We need him to respect you. When I give you the nod, I want you to tell him how you feel about what happened, okay?"

I nodded, biting my lip. Don't cry again, don't cry don't cry…

"Here we go."

White light burst free, resolving into his familiar shape standing several paces away in the middle of the room. Immediately as he solidified, his tail swung, smacking into the other couch with enough force to send it sliding back several inches.


He was still partially erect, the dark red flesh mirroring the crimson glare he fixed on the pair of us, his maw opening and closing. He rolled his neck, clattering scales, limbering up as though for a battle.

"Ah-ah-ah." Leslie tapped a fingernail on the pokéball, her thumb hovering over the return button. "You can drop the tough guy act right now, or it's back in here again, mister."

"Ommm." Scales buzzed, but he remained where he stood, for now. Funny, how I'd never noticed the way he liked to subtly flex, tensing himself for action and making himself look bigger at the same time. A bit like a high-school boy showing off, in fact.

Leslie nudged me with her elbow. "You're up, hon."

My vision narrowed. Only he and I existed in the room. It all came crashing free. I was on my feet like I'd been tugged up on strings, fists clenched, my voice rising in a shriek. "How DARE you! I thought I knew you, I thought we loved each other, I treated you like a… a… a god! What happened to you? You used to be gentle, you used to take care of me and hold me, but now you just… just fuck me until you're done and walk away! Did you think that was okay? Did you think what you just did was fine? You nearly hurt my friend!"

Somewhere during the tirade, I'd stalked up to him, leaning up on my toes to press my face to his. The wide-eyed surprise didn't stop me, it only fanned my anger. "What, you didn't know what you were doing? Like hell you didn't!" Jabbing my finger against his chest hurt, but I didn't care. I did it again, barely noticing the snap of one of my nails breaking.

"I know that this is partly my fault. I never scolded you, never said no to what you wanted, never so much as batted an eye when you started getting more forceful. But I know you know better. You saw how I thought of you and used me. You treated me like some… some cheap prostitute, good for getting yourself off and nothing else!" My knuckle popped, and I switched to a fist, pounding it on his chest, not caring if I hurt myself. It certainly wouldn't hurt him.


"Shut up! Just shut-up and listen! I'm through with it, do you hear me? No more of this! I still fucking love you, despite how you've been acting! Why do you think I was so willing to let you do whatever you wanted? But no more. From now on, you do as you're told, until you can learn to control yourself again! I hate putting you in that ball almost as much as you hate being in there, but so help me if I won't stuff you into a PC if you don't smarten up and quick!"

The room was getting blurry again. I heaved in a quavering breath, trying desperately to control my trembling limbs. Stupid tears and stupid sniffles and stupid Axel and... and...

Stupid me.

"Mo?" A hesitant paw rested on my elbow. "Komo?"

"Get off." I couldn't look at him. Not yet. I brushed the paw away, stumbling back, collapsing onto the couch. "He's all yours, Les."

A pregnant pause settled over us, disturbed only by my pathetic sniffling. God, how could I have been so blind? My hand hurt. Not broken, probably, but I'd feel it in the morning for sure.

"Koooommm…" The mournful sound tugged at me. He was close, standing right in front of me, but I still couldn't look up. "Omo. Ko."

"You might want to give her some time, Axel. She's still processing all of this."

Leslie, my dearest, oldest friend. My shield against the cruel world. The only one who could tell me what I needed to hear, even if I didn't want to hear it. I owed her bigtime.

"Come on. Let her have a bit of space. I'm not finished with you yet."


"Don't give me that sulk. I'm not going to toss you back into the ball unless you misbehave. I made you a promise, and I intend to keep it. Do you want to show Carrie how much she means to you? She may not be ready, but you can demonstrate with me. How does that sound?"

A soft grunt. He was still hovering over me, his lower half obscuring my view. I was tempted to turn my back on him, but the cold cruelty of the thought froze me in place.

"You can't expect her to jump into your arms after that. What do you think this is, some stupid romance movie? You have to earn her back. A good place to start is proving that you understood what she said."

"Komo." He shifted, his clawed feet sliding back a step. Another. "Ko-o."

"Good. I know you're not quite ready either, but suck it up. You have a chance here. She truly loves you, you big doofus, and I know she wants to forgive you. But, you'll need to demonstrate that you're worth it."

He let out a long sigh. His tail swished, rattling. "Kom?"

"Come over here."

I glanced up through my lashes as Axel swung around, lumbering over to join Leslie on the rug in front of the fireplace.

"Lie down on your back, please."


"Just do it."

He shrugged, tail flicking, and dropped down first to all fours, then rolled over, neatly tucking his tail between his thighs to recline on the fake ursaring pelt. He looked strangely vulnerable like that. I'd almost never seen him on his back, since he usually slept on his stomach, and whenever we'd had sex, he was on top of me.

"Good." Leslie tugged her blouse over her head, tossing it behind her and baring her athletic body, breasts supported with a dark blue bra matching her long discarded panties. She still held Axel's pokéball in one hand, but no longer at the ready. Reaching behind her back, she released the strap on her bra, and it joined the blouse. Her shapely breasts were still firm, not over or undersized, and when had she gotten a nipple piercing? I'd have to ask about that later.

Smoothly as though she'd done it a thousand times, she straddled Axel, settling herself above the discrete slit between his legs. It was a position I'd been in hundreds of times, but never like this, with him below me and supporting me…

"Show me."


"Well, get hard then. You've got naked pussy in your lap. Shouldn't be difficult."

He turned his head and looked at me. Our eyes locked. All the anger and pride had vanished, leaving behind something… almost fearful, in his expression. A question lay there, a plea, a supplication.

Slowly, I nodded.

"Mo." A subtle tension in his posture relaxed, his head falling back to the rug.

"That's it. Yes, show her. Give me your paw."

He did, gently offering it to her. It looked absurd—her tiny hand guiding his massive paw to rest on her chest, positioning it over her pierced nipple. At first, he didn't react to the softness under his grip as she released his forelimb but, after a second, his claws twitched, kneading her breast.

"Mmm, good start. Watch the claws. Keep it gentle and don't twist. There you go."

His eyes were on me again, seeking approval. His nostrils quivered, tongue flicking out. I remembered that look. It was how he'd looked at me that first time, after the luau. He wasn't after just his own pleasure, but mine too.

"There's Axel junior. Don't be shy, I'm still ready from earlier." Leslie wiggled, repositioning herself slightly. "Right… there. I like the taper you have, makes for a smoo-ooh!"

A quick jerk of his hips I recognized all too well. It tended to knock the breath out of me too.

"Okay, that's umm… Wow. Didn't expect that. Goes from zero to sixty in a couple inches, eh?"

"Kom." His gaze remained locked on me. Leslie could have been a blow-up doll for all the focus he gave her, though his paw kept massaging her breast, and the dark red flesh of his maleness peeked out from their union, Leslie's lower lips spread to accommodate it. The plea remained in his eyes, but now his muzzle had closed, firming into that familiar determination.

"Well? Go on, I didn't say stop. Show us."

His free paw rested on her hip; not gripping, merely there as a guide. Powerful muscles clenched, his body flexing, bouncing her on his lap.

Leslie gasped, leaning forward and bracing herself on his chest, allowing him to set the pace even as she rode him, controlling the depth of his thrusts. Their bodies began moving in tandem, soft squishing noises peppered by the odd grunt from Axel or groan from Leslie. I could see it clearly—the meeting of their sexes, her entrance stretching around his growing rod, clear juices glistening on his pumping shaft. I could imagine the pleasure she felt, rising over the ache of forcing her body to take something larger than what it was made for. How his girth would fill those empty spots, how the delightful contours would rub and slide over sensitive areas no human could touch, how the incredible heat of him seemed to shoot up your spine and warm you like a delicious soup on a cold day…

"Faster… Show her how much you want her."


It felt like he was trying to burn a hole through me with his unblinking stare. His other paw dropped to Leslie's waist, and he began to buck in earnest, holding her steady beneath the impact of his ardour. His breaths shuddered, small growls and needy groans escaping him, though he wasn't moving with the desperation of trying to pound his way to a climax. He was controlled, letting her adjust to his size and strength, even while she gasped and writhed on top of him. Axel's pokéball fell forgotten to the rug as she grabbed her pierced nipple and pinched harshly.

"That's it! Oh holy shit… I'm beginning to see what she sees in you. That cock is really something…"

She was still calm, but she was no longer in control. He was leading their motions, pulling her down to slap their bodies together, grinding into her stuffed sex, then dropping away, the impact of his rear and tail creating a rhythmic thump, thump, thump, on the floor. Were the Kinnon's downstairs home? If they were, there wasn't much to be done—there was no mistaking what that noise would be, and they knew I lived alone with Axel.

But, that was a problem for another day. I couldn't tear my eyes from them, from my two dearest friends. There was no betrayal in this act. Both of them were doing this for me. Well, perhaps somewhat for themselves, but what had started out as a kinky venture had turned into something else. Leslie's rising pleasure tugged at the ice which had built up around my heart upon seeing Axel's transgression. I wanted that. I'd had it once, and I wanted it back.

"Kommo-o!" A noisy huff, followed by his popping laughter. His thrusts sped up, his focus never leaving my face even as he tightened his grip on Leslie, cupping her hips and rear in his massive paws. He drove into her, pressing every inch of himself home with lewd splats, need now etched all over his movements. There was no mocking in his mirth, only relief. His fear and aggression was melting away, and in its place was the creature I had fallen in love with over the course of several years.


"Oh god, oh god, oh god!"

Leslie's back arched, her chin tilting back to let free a wordless exclamation, her fingers locking tight on her breast. She was the picture of ecstasy—the empowered, liberated woman taking pleasure without a care for what those around her thought. As much as I ever had, I envied her, but it also brought joy to see her wrapped in a glorious release we'd both experienced. She spasmed once, twice, a third time, shudders animating her entire body. A gush of feminine fluids graced their coupled sexes.


Axel's hips seized on an upstroke, their loins squished as tightly together as possible. His powerful body quaked, bouncing Leslie even as she rode out the aftershocks of her own climax. I shivered, imagining the familiar sensation of that steaming liquid—not too hot, but certainly warm enough to feel like molten gold inside you—spilling forth to fill the deepest places, leaving you so stuffed and contented that you couldn't move, could barely think…

For several moments, they remained like a carnal statue, carved into the throes of passion. Then, together, they slowly relaxed, dropping exhausted to the rug. Laboured breathing and rattling scales punctuated the afterglow; Leslie coated in a light sheen of sweat, while Axel lay limp, only his claws moving to caress her rear and stroke her thighs.

He still looked only at me.

I drew in a shaky breath and tottered to my feet. My robe was hanging loose, exposing half of my chest, but I didn't bother to fix it. I shuffled over to them, dropped to my knees next to Leslie, almost mimicking her pose.

"Mmm. I can see why…" She swallowed, clearing her throat. Her hand fell to her belly, rubbing in lazy circles. "See why you were having trouble walking straight, m'dear. He's quite the ride."

I rolled my eyes. "Not now, Les."

"Right, sorry."

Axel. My dear, sweet Axel. He looked at me with such hope and expectation, that I nearly broke down again. It wasn't over yet. Like Leslie had said, he wouldn't change overnight, despite how… dramatic things had become. I would need to be careful how I dealt with him, to avoid slipping back into old habits. But for now…

"Come here, baby." I leaned down, taking his face in my hands. Hard, beak-like muzzle met my lips. Kissing wasn't an easy thing for him, but he managed to trade a bit of tongue with me. His taste was saltier than usual and a touch bitter. Belatedly, I realized I'd be sharing Leslie's… flavour, with him. Heat rose to my cheeks, but too late now. Perhaps it wasn't the strangest thing we'd shared.

"Komm…" His eyes were half-closed as we parted, and he sank back with a contented sigh. He usually did that after a climax but, this time, he looked peaceful as well as spent. Maybe, just maybe, I could have him back the way I used to.

A muffled grunt—Leslie was trying to stand, but her shaking thighs wouldn't hold her yet. She settled back into Axel's lap with an obscenely wet pap, runny liquid dribbling free around his loosened seal. I hid a smile, even as she laughed off her own absurdity. Now she knew firsthand how it felt to be at the mercy of another's body, in the best possible way. It felt… right, to share this wonderful secret with her. I ran my hands over Axel's crest, soothing myself with the familiar roundness of his scales. He was still mine, warts and all.

An elbow to my side jolted me out of my reverie. I looked over at Leslie, who wore her signature, 'I'm about to get us both in trouble' grin.

"So, same time next week?"

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