This Valley Of Ours
I blinked once, then again. Something moaned then rubbed against my body.
"HANNAH! God whaÖoh," I relaxed as Hannah grumbled.
"No need to yell, Iím about as close as you can get," She shuffled then pushed me back from where I lay on my side.
"Wait, did I do anything stupid last night?" I asked, afraid of the answer. I was sure I fell asleep instead of doing anything to Hannah.
"What? Other than getting me in the wrong spot?" Hannah grinned.
"WHAT! Are you telling me I didÖanal!" I almost yelled. Hannah laughed as I cringed when I tried to move my left arm instinctively over me through the sheets.
"No, Iím just joking. God, you didnít do anything last night, I swear." Hannah rolled atop of me, her breasts pressing into my chest. "But if you want to help my issue with my heat, youíre more than welcome."
"Can I use the bathroom?" I slowly tried to move, my body was too drained to do much.
"Well, you have to clean thatÖgunshot," Hannah sighed and looked at the patch, a brown spot already on the top.
"Well, If you let me move, I could." I shifted as Hannah grinned then traced my jaw.
"Fred, can you please help me with this heat?" She slowly ground her hips. She had taken her skirt off during the night, I noticed.
"I need to think, Hannah, and right now Iím not even in the best shape to do that. I mean look at my arm! GOD! I feel like crap," I groaned, mustíve lost a lot of blood.
"Well, I expect an answer by noon." She slowly rolled over and got out of the bed. She was only wearing her underwear.
"Well, letís start on washing that out," Hannah said as she put on aT-shirt. Only the T-shirt I noticed.
It was a long while before I was done washing myself. Hannah sat at the door the whole time making sure I didnít fall. She wasnít looking in, which I was grateful for, just sitting outside, leaning her head on the doorframe.
"You want a breakfast?" Hannah asked. I had only come out with a towel on; I was too tired to even think of bringing in clothes with me.
"Umm, yeah if I donít fall down the stairs," I replied and slowly walked past her. My whole body was shaking and everything seemed so otherworldly to me.
"HEY!" I yelled as I felt Hannah goose me.
"You want me to bring you breakfast, or do you want to try and get downstairs?" Hannah winked as she stood back.
"Umm, Iíll try and get down the stairs. You donít need to bring me any breakfast," I replied and looked at the door. I didnít exactly want her here when I was changing.
"Awww, are you nervous about me watching you change?" Hannah smirked. I could feel my face growing red as I unconsciously rubbed the bandage. "Donít worry Iíll go downstairs and wait for you." Hannah turned and walked out the door.
I started changing, jeans first, worn ones that were always kept here for the summers and winters when my family came for a short vacation. I slowly pulled the jeans up, and gasped as pain shot up my left arm. Note to self: donít use left arm for anything for a while. I sighed as I looked at the shirt. I couldnít lift this damn arm up, and I sure the hell wasnít going downstairs topless. I looked down at my chest; no I wasnít going down topless. There was a huge bruise on the right side of my chest from being kicked by the rabbit morph. I looked at my right hand, and noticed for the first time the swelling. All around my wrist the hand was swollen, the recoil from the S&W .500 was definitely not for a single-handed shot, I thought to myself. Then my right shoulder, the crook of where the arm connected to the torso. A huge black and blue bruise bisected the point, the size of a brick. I nudged my shoulder and grimaced. That 20mm wasnít friendly either. On the other shoulder were four neat little holes from a week ago. Cloud.
Hannah laughed as I came downstairs; I hadnít bothered to put my left arm into the sleeve of the shirt, rather keeping it within the shirt making an odd lump on my torso and looking like an amputee with a malignant tumor as I sat down. My left hand poked out of the bottom of the shirt to half-way down my forearm, where the hem of the shirt began.
"You know you donít need that shirt, especially when Iím going to see you without that later," Hannah said, referring to her heat problem.
"What if I donít agree to helping you," I shot back, tired from the walk down the stairs and annoyed at her blunt comment.
"You said you would let me try," Hannah replied, sounding hurt.
"I said I would only let you try a relationship," I shot back yet again, frustration creeping up on me. I knew I might hurt her feelings but at that moment it felt like I didnít care.
"Why are you so grumpy all of a sudden? Is it because I grabbed you when you had your towel on?" Hannah replied, only then did I look up to see her holding a plate. But she wasnít smiling as she stood by me at the table, looking rather dour instead. I shrugged as she looked at me.
Hannah only stood for a moment longer before setting the plate down with a loud clatter in front of me before turning and walking up the stairs, I could hear the door to the master bedroom slam shut as I looked back at the food. My left arm twitched under my shirt.
"God-damnit," I hissed under my breath and got up, not even touching the food. I slowly walked up the stairs; I stumbled up the last step, dizziness making black spots appear in front of my eyes. I leaned for a moment on the railing before continuing down to the master bedroom. Just before entering, I listened at the door. Nothing. The door didnít even creak as I slowly turned the handle and nudged it open. Hannah didnít even look up from the bed as I looked in at her from the open door. I slowly walked over to the bed and sat at the edge next to where she lay. Hannah instead turned her head the other way, leaving matted fur on her arm where she had been covering her eyes.
Only after a long pause did I reach out and touch her. Not getting a reply, I slowly rubbed her back with one arm, the palm of my hand rubbing through the soft fur. Not that I could use both anyways.
"Do you remember when we first met, Hannah?" I whispered as I rubbed her back, her breathing still ragged, but silent. I waited for a while before getting a response.
"Yes," Hannah replied softly.
"You were the first thing that I saw that Iíve really ever felt any feelings about, did you know that?" I replied, still rubbing her back in gentle circles.
"I always suspected something," Hannah whispered but still looked away.
"Do you know what I promised when we carried you back home and took care of you?" I turned a little her way, my arm was getting sore but I didnít stop. Hannah didnít respond so I decided to keep talking.
"I promised that I wouldnít have any harm brought to you." I paused. "I didnít imagine hurting you like I did just now, and for that Iím sorry." I stopped to let the comment sink in before continuing again. "Now do you understand why I didnít necessarily want to get into a relationship? Because I personally donít want to hurt you like I just did."
Hannah turned and looked at me. The tears had matted the fur around her eyes. I looked back, I looked like an ugly duckling compared to her beauty. Blood patching the bandage, thick hair, slightly narrower eyes than most, plain face, not that Iíd ever been called ugly. But Iíve never heard anybody call me a saint with my looks. My mom always told me I looked fine, and so did her friends, and Hannah. But I always seemed to have something wrong with my looks when I saw myself in the mirror.
"Why do you always have the right things to say?" Hannah whispered as she rubbed her eyes.
"I donít always have the right things to say, donít you remember when I asked the cop Ďarenít officers supposed to be fit?í or when I asked Avery to buy soundproofing for the walls before he rubbed one off next time?" I smiled at both memories. Hannah giggled, having been there for both of them. One got me a ticket; another had me shunned by classmates for over a month after Avery made up some lie of course. Not that I minded.
"So do youÖ" I began but Hannah cut me off.
"Yes, Fusatani, I forgive you." Hannah flipped over and I stopped rubbing her back, but before I could stop her, she had pulled me in, but stopped short of actually touching my lips to hers.
"Youíre the one person whoís made me feel better than anybody else. Can I return the favor?" Hannah spoke; meanwhile I could only stare into her eyes, almost becoming lost in them before refocusing.
I sat there looking back at her. All of a sudden I was scared. What was I doing? Why was I here with her this close? What had I gotten myself into?
"Iíll give you till noon to relax," Hannah blurted out after a long pause. But before she could get up, I took the plunge. I could feel her tongue dancing from mine as I rolled back.
"That big ass gun of Fredís did a number on that guy didnít it?" Cloud asked Wakan as they looked into the alleyway. Two bodies, no, three lay in the alley, cloying the air with its smell. The first one had a huge gaping hole in the chest. The second had a smattering of holes from buckshot. The third person, if it could even be called that anymore was mostly gone. Chunks of gore were on the walls, and what looked like an arm or a leg was laying next to a wall further down the alley. When the bullet had hit the amour it had partially mushroomed before entering the person, the shape tearing and rending his body apart, his death quick, painless even. But behind where the man had stood a huge chunk of concrete ground was gone, the bullet had ricocheted there. Then on the building across the street there was a cracked wall, where the massive magnum bullet had lodged itself.
"I wouldnít wanna be the one staring that down," Wakan mused as they collected the guns. Mostly Bushmaster ACRís like Clouds, except they were the standard issue carbines, all of them using the weaker 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. Whereas Cloudís had the bigger 7.62x39mm cartridge, he wasnít going to trade his for one of these. Fred has said that his hit harder, it was slower, but in a close-range like the town the harder hitting bullet was better.
"Hey Cloud, check this out," Wakan picked up a black Squad Automatic Weapon, a SAW. A Mark 48 machine-gun to be exact. All the belt-fed ammunition was gone though, spent casings and black pieces of disintegrating-belt links were all that remained of the ammunition.
"What are we gonna do with that man?" Cloud asked as Wakan turned the black rifle in his hands. The picatinny rails making sharp bumps around the gun. The bolt clacked as Wakan checked and cleared the weapon. No shells came out.
"We could collect all this stuff and bring it up to the house, ya know," Wakan replied and walked out of the alley with the machine-gun. Cloud followed with more rifles, both of them making multiple trips to the truck at the end of the alley and the rifles, helmets, grenades, pistols, ammunition, and medical packs making their way into the bed. The pickup was then driven to the supply truck from the day before.
"What do you think this thing has in it?" Wakan asked Cloud as they stared at the truck. The covered cargo area was long. When Cloud had looked inside of it all he had seen were boxes, cases to be exact, large and bulky, lining one side of the truck. They began to search the equipment.
"You feel any better now?" I asked. Hannah and I hadnít even done anything serious but my mind was spinning, how I could even form words was a mystery. Wait, wasínt making out with your best friend serious? Wasnít lying in your dead parentsí bed with a half-naked ex-slave vixen serious? I slowly got off the bed and began to walk to the door.
"Where are you going, Fusatani?" Hannah asked and swung her legs out of the bed.
"Doesnít it feel weird to you to be making out in mom and dadís bed?" I pushed the master bedroom door open. Slowly walking down the hall, only to be pushed into my own room by Hannah, who had silently followed me down the hall.
"You can eat after you actually help me get rid of my heat," Hannah sighed into my ear, slowly sidling up to me.
"What, making out for at least twenty minutes isnít helping?" I asked and walked again to my bed and sat. I was breathing hard and I was already tired.
"No, Iím afraid it made it worse," Hannah said and lay back onto the bed. She sighed and put her feet up on my back, propping them on my right shoulder. I reached up and tickled them until she dropped them. I couldnít hold them down with my left hand to tickle more so I simply looked back at Hannah.
"How do you expect me to help you when I have a hole in my arm and feel like crap every time I walk around?" I didnít expect to be of much use to her in this condition.
"Who said youíd have to do all of the work?" Hannah grinned then tousled her hair. "Seems like this is your lucky week."
"How so?" I scratched at the bandage.
"Well, you get to live on your own, get drunk, meet new people, gain riches, then get laid. Seems to me that youíre having a good week, excluding the violence." Hannah sat up and wrapped her arms around my chest from behind. I sat silently considering what she said. I didnít even notice the bra on the floor next to me till she hugged me again.
"Wha? Hey, are you really sure you want to go through with this? I mean what if you get pregnant?" I asked and got pulled back. Hannah smirked before pulling my shirt off and replying.
"You think youíre really going to get me pregnant? Iím a fox-morph and youíre a human. Itís almost impossible," Hannah started reaching down to the jeans before her hand was slapped away.
"Have you heard of it being totally impossible?" I asked and looked up at her as she kneeled on the bed next to me as I lay down. The sight of her furry breasts was distracting.
"Iíve heard of it but I donít mind. Now will you please relax and let me get those damn jeans off?" Hannah gave a frustrated sigh as I moved to lay my head on my pillow. It was uncomfortable laying with my feet dangling off the side of the bed and laying horizontally to how I usually laid.
"You still havenít answered how Iím supposed to be able to help you with my messed-up arm," I replied and gasped as Hannahís claws on her fingertips scratched my hip all the way down to the knees as she yanked the jeans. I instinctively covered up my privates as Hannah looked at the long scratches, four of them on each side. I cringed from moving my left arm.
"Awww, youíre still nervous about your privates." Hannah shifted the jeans off. Then crawled up to me and laid down on top of me. I almost cried out as she lay on my bad arm.
"If you want the pain to stop, youíre going to have to move your arm off your equipment," She rolled slightly to my left and I quickly complied. She then looked at my right arm. Still in place. Not that it was helping; I could feel her fur poking in between my fingers and getting a response that was making it harder to cover up the growing mass.
"You said youíd help," Hannah whined and jabbed at my throat with a finger. A trick I had taught her long ago. Poke anybody in the esophagus right where your collarbone goes into a hollow V-shape, and you get what I did. I reached up with my right hand and gagged, at a loss for air.
"Aww, thatís better isnít it?" Hannah whispered as I coughed and felt her grind up against me. Even if I said Iíd help, this couldnít be happening, not with a friend! Not with her! She wasnít even my species, I thought as another part of my mind nagged at me, saying this was the right thing to do. Youíve always known that she liked you. But she only liked me because I had helped her in her time of need. Only because I was the only man she knew for any length of time. It wasnít like she had a choice. It wasnít like I had much of a choice now either. I went along with Hannah, deciding finally it was too late to change.
The minutes melted into one continuum of frenzied lovemaking, carried out by Hannah. She had insisted that she do the work, not that I was complaining. Not that I could.
It was a late afternoon that greeted me as I woke up with the sheets tangled around me and Hannah. She was still there, I thought to myself. No it hadnít been a dream. I shuffled slightly, my body drinking in the warmth from Hannahís fur. Damn, if she didnít have all that fur. I sneezed once and wiped some loose strands of copper hair and tiny tufts of red and white fur from my face. Of course Ė summertime shedding, right.
"You awake?" Hannah asked as her eyelids flickered once then fluttered an emerald stare.
"Yeah, awake," I sighed out. Damnit, those black spots were showing up in my eyes again.
"It wasnít so bad was it?" Hannah reached over and tousled my hair then traced the stubble growing on my jaw line, probably a little pseudo-moustache growing there by now also.
"You know, it woulda been better if you didnít have all that fur to shed you know," I grumbled half-seriously, then tried in vain to pull back only to find the sheets restricting me as Hannah slid out partway and grinned.
"What do you think youíre doing?" I asked staring straight at her breasts, again.
"MMFMM AHHHHH," I gasped and choked for air has Hannah rolled onto me and giggled.
"GEOFFAME!!!"I yelled and grabbed for anything with my right hand. Then felt something soft and grabbed and twisted, getting a yell from Hannah as she pulled back.
ĎWhy do you have to be so rough when you grab these?" Hannah whined with a small smile and rubbed her left breast as I sputtered and wiped some more fur off from my face, all white fur.
"Well, I hope you feel better," I grumbled and tried to move, only to find that Hannah had my legs pinned with hers in the sheets. "What? You didnít get enough?" I looked at my arm, bleeding again.
"Do you need another bath now?" Hannah asked and slid in the sheets until she was level with my face again. She looked at my arm and felt the now-loose bandages.
"Doesnít feel like Iím going anywhere now does it?" I grinned at her finally then tried to move again, no use, the sheets were too tight. Apparently Hannah could move, but why was I the one that had to be tangled up? I thought to myself as Hannah began to move around again, this time pulling her tail up in between us.
ĎWhat! HEY! Stop with the fur deal!" I yelled as Hannah shifted to push her tail in my face, the very tip of it hitting my eyes.
"Party pooper," Hannah pushed her tail back down and finally got up and sat. Kneeled, on the bed, completely naked and straightening her fur out with her fingers. I sat and watched.
"You still havenít told me if it was that bad, Fred," Hannah looked down and started working on her hair. The dark copper strands slowly falling in place.
"Well, it wasnít horribleÖ" I snickered and blocked a swat with my right arm.
"Really Fred, was it good or bad?" Hannah had her hands on her lap now. I stared past them.
"It was good," I tried to turn the other way to keep her from seeing me blush. Only to remember the wound, and stopped. Hannah sat there and looked at me, then leaned forward and kissed my forehead.
"Letís get you cleaned up." Hannah pulled back some of the sheets, yanking where they were folded under me until I could move out. I slowly got out, then realized halfway I didnít have any clothes on.
"Aww Fred, I already know whatís down there. Just get over it and come out." Hannah pulled me out and walked me to the bathroom as I tried to avoid eye-contact. I knew that she had seen me naked, but why did I stop? I didnít mean to. The embarrassment of the moment made my face feel hotter.
I started the water and dropped into the tub, only to have Hannah step in on the opposite side, shifting to let the water run over her fur from the spigot. I tried to look up to the ceiling casually, only to feel claws scrape down my chest, lightly, but still enough to make dimples.
"You can look, thereís not much you havenít seen," Hannah said as I tilted my head back. It was awkward, losing your virginity to somebody you knew as a friend. And now talking like this? It had to be incest, at least some small part of it. She was like a sister!
"What are you thinking about?" Hannah whispered as the tub filled and she shut the water off, leaving us in relative silence. The only noise came from Hannah rubbing her fur to pull out any loose strands.
"Donít you find this odd?"
"Find what odd?" Hannah asked, moving her legs down from my chest to rest on the top of my thighs, where the hip joined my legs.
"Find thisÖtalking, implying, or just everything associated with what we did. I mean I didnít ever think of what just happened. I mean, dream. I havenít, in my wildest dreams ever thought of having sex with, with you! Of all the people Iíd ever had dreams about, if it had you, it was you walking in on me!" I leaned back and sighed as Hannah stared.
"I dreamed about you," Hannah whispered and grabbed a bottle of shampoo.
"You really didnít even dream of me?" Hannah said again after a pause, sounding hurt.
"ItísÖ what happened was absurd, weird even," I looked at Hannah. "Iím not saying that I think youíre ugly, or even wrong for me to associate with you on an everyday scale. But this? Donít you find something wrong with what I did?"
"Actually you did pretty well for your first time," Hannah snickered a little.
"But, I used you as a slave, not as a normal being!" This was too confusing for me to grasp.
"Do you believe you used me as a slave? Or do you think I did it on my own accord?" Hannah said calmly, she wasnít yelling or walking out. She was reasoning with me. And now that I thought about it, she could have stopped at any-time. I wasnít going to be able to stop her even if I had wanted to, and now I was sitting naked in the same tub with her.
"Fred, youíre wrong, and you know it. Just because itís different doesnít mean itís bad." Hannah sighed and looked at a bar of soap. "I always expected this to go differently. In my dreams you were you, accepting and open-minded. But I guess that was too much to ask for." Hannah sat and stared at the bar of soap, the shampoo sat in her hand, forgotten. I slowly reached out and took it from her, and set it on the counter.
By the time I was putting my clothes on, I guessed it to be four oí clock. Maybe even after that. Hannah was working on her fur still in the bathroom, and had insisted on cleaning up the spilled water all around the tub. The shampoo had been knocked onto the floor also. This time though I grabbed a new bandage, threw the old, soaked one away, and placed the pressure patch over the gauze. And over the top of that, a simple open-front button up shirt, one that could simply be draped over my shoulders.
"You feel alright?" Hannah asked from the doorway, I looked up. Slowly I steadied myself as black spots erupted in front of my eyes again. Hannah was at my side as I slowly sat down.
"You know, you should watch what you do," Hannah said and lightly rubbed my chest, her fur still moist. Like grass in the summer, seemingly dry, but wet when you push on it.
"Youíre one to speak," I mock-glared at Hannah and laid back as the squinting shot pangs of pain through my head. Hannah laughed and flicked her tail across my face. She had some control over it, not enough to do anything but make it go in a general direction. I laid there as Hannah kept rubbing my chest.
"OH CRAP!" Hannah jumped up from the bed, her tail flicking again over my face as I flinched. I looked at Hannah as she spun around. "We forgot the breakfast downstairs," Hannah looked at the mirror on the wall. The display flickered once as she commanded it.
"AHH! We were supposed to call Wakan and Cloud thirty minutes ago!" Hannah dashed downstairs as I got up, slowly this time. Least I get lightheaded. I stopped at the door as Hannah scraped the ruined breakfast, what was ruined, into the trash disposal in the sink. I could hear her shuffling, then movement flickered across the windows.
My heart stopped a beat as I picked up the S&W .500 inside the doorway of my room, some specks of blood on the slide. I hefted the dead weight in my right hand and walked to the top of the stairs and leaned on the wall, using it as a support. My left arm was useless at my side and right wrist swollen from firing one handed yesterday. The front door opened.
"Hey! Whatís up you, guysÖ" Cloud froze as he saw the handgun. I slowly lowered it as Cloud looked around.
"Everything alright?" Wakan asked then walked in, oblivious of what had happened. Then froze and sniffed the air as Hannah walked over.
"Hey, something smells," realization dawned upon him. "You banged her, didnít you," It wasnít a question; Hannah froze mid-step and cursed as she spun around, her ear-tips red. A silence followed as Cloud and Wakan looked at Hannah, then grinned at me with a thumbs up when Hannah wasnít looking. I answered with a middle finger. The handgun was returned to my room on the night-stand.
Wakan sidled up to me while Cloud went and left his rifle in his room when I came downstairs.
"Hey, we found some stuff you might want to take a look at," Wakan said then pointed out the window. The supply truck was sitting in the driveway, next to the MAV. Hannah looked over as I was about to go outside.
"Checking on some stuff," I told her as she looked curiously. She walked away from making her dinner and followed, Wakan shrugging behind her.
Guns, mines, grenades, and ammunition, cases of it in the covered bed; then something I didnít recognize. Slowly I grasped a handhold on the edge of the bed and hefted myself up with one arm and stopped, letting the black spots subside. Then helped Hannah up, Wakan and Cloud watched, they named the various cases until I looked at a long reinforced plastic case.
"You guys opened this one yet?" I asked and knelt, Hannahís ears went back.
"Nope, we decided to make it a surprise for you," Cloud said, they were standing at the back of the truck on the ground, Hannah and I had walked up to the very front of the bed. They wouldnít be able to see whatever was in there. Hannah hefted the case and it slid out with a grating noise. I slowly worked the latches on the right side while Hannah flipped the latches on the left side.
L-AA 77, Made in the U.S.A. printed on the base-plate on the foam-padded interior. Sleek olive-green, a shoulder or tripod mounted anti-aircraft missile system lay there, an optical sight on the left-hand side, and a guide.
"Light-Anti Aircraft 77mm surface-to-air missile," I said out loud as Wakan and Cloud looked and grinned.
Guns, all types of squad weapons; assault rifles, all the way up to heavy machineguns, grenade launchers, even an auto cannon, and the landmines. There were even several door breachers, food, radios, satellite uplinks, body armor, and finally, the ICS. Integrated Combat Systems, I picked up the helmet and pack, a clear OLED screen flipped down to where the eyes would be. Like two separate square visors. Each one was a rectangle, a sleek matte-black metal holder coming down on either side connected to the helmet. It looked like a wire-rimmed rectangle-lens pair of glasses, with a split in the middle where the bridge would be. Each one could be put up at the same time, or alternated, or put down at the same time.
"I think youíll be the only one that can use that Fred," Cloud snickered as I weighed the helmet in my hands. I turned and placed the weapons back in the cases they belonged to, and walked out the tailgate and into the house; night was approaching as we all grabbed our separate meals and sat.
Silence, the chandelier, rustic, hung above us, the kitchen overlooked a part of the drive, and the sloping incline of the mountain forest. Granite boulders permeating the spaces in between the trees, I stared out the window as Wakan and Cloud chuckled. Hannah was staring out the window also.
"Hey, Hannah, remind you of anything?" Cloud chuckled and spoke as Wakan mumbled something; I turned at the same time as Hannah, only to freeze. Hannahís ears went red at the tips.
"You like swallowing large things donít you?" Cloud said as Wakan wriggled his muzzle around a group of sausages. Then grumbled something before moaning loudly, and erotically, Hannah put her ears back. I could feel a flush creeping up my ears.
"It wasnít like that," Hannah mumbled, probably not meaning for it to be heard. But Cloud picked it up anyways, and grinned.
"So was it like this?" Cloud chuckled and went to the counter, shuffling around until he found a can of compressed whipped cream. Wakanís eyes widened as he tried to shake his head. He began to try and swallow on the sausages, only to gag on one, then stopped as Cloud jammed the whipped cream into the space in between the sausages and sprayed.
Whipped cream spurted out from the corners, some landed on Hannah who quickly brushed some of it off as if it was poisoned. Wakan gagged once and swallowed the sausages, then coughed. More whipped cream flying out in flecks, even a chunk of sausage, precooked that they had unpacked, covered in white cream flew out. Only to land on Hannahís lap. Wakan heaved great gulps of air as Cloud looked nervous, then finally spoke to Hannah.
"It was like that, huh?" Cloud asked Hannah, who sat, nervous.
"I think thatís enough for now," I said then finished off the glass of water. The Jack Daniels was forgotten next to the counter, a plastic seal over the top.
"Alright," Cloud said as Wakan wiped his muzzle. Hannah looked a little dejected before I spoke up.
"You know, if those guys were prepared. We could all be dead by now," I said. Hannah looked sharply at me as Wakan and Cloud quieted down.
"I think itís time we rethink our strategy here," I said. Then was cut off by Wakan.
"Oh, speaking of which. Hoover was nuked."
Three weeks, three long weeks since we left, I lay in the hotel. Hannah lying next to me, we were on the night-watch. Two weeks ago we had decided to always have a pair of people in town. The other pair would stay at home and bring anything down if needed. It was a nice system. Two of us would be able to watch the monitors from the traffic cameras on the highway while the other two rested at the home.
Two weeks ago we had decided to begin using strategy in defending our town. Hack the traffic cameras on the highway, out forty miles into the mountains, thirty to the edge where the highway led into the plains and into Denver, what was left of it. Hook up a laptop to the system to ring an alarm when it tracked movement. Then the two people in the town would be ready to grab more info, radio the other two. Have them bring whatever was needed at the time.
Then we started with the supplies, slowly working on moving the foods from the different zones into our house, when the basement was full we began on another house further up the road leading to my house. We hadnít filled that one up.
"Canít sleep?" Hannah mumbled as she shifted so she could sit up. I looked over at her. She was sleepily looking back, concern etched on her face.
"Yeah, too much to think of." I rolled back while Hannah crossed her legs.
"Your arm alright?"
"Yeah," I mumbled back. The Spray Seal we had put on the wound a week and a half ago had tightened the skin together and was healing the arm much faster, only leaving a dimple in the skin which would become a scar. Wakanís leg had also healed from when we met. My left arm twinged.
"Are you sure youíre alright?" Hannah whispered and rolled back so her back was snuggled against the side of my chest, pulling my arm over herself.
"Iím sure. Why are you worrying too much?"
"Well, youíve been quiet lately and not sleeping much." Hannah had taken to sleeping in the same bed when we stayed in the resort-hotel when we were assigned to the town. The six-storied hotel was up against the ski-slope on the opposite side of the town from the highway, it was right next to the road that led to the cabin, house, whatever.
"And why do you think thatís a problem? Iíve always never slept much," I replied with a partial-truth. I had been perturbed by something, but what exactly still eluded my grasp.
"Well, you keep waking me upÖ"
"And for which you could go sleep in another part of the Grand suite," I said. When we first began to sleep here, we had decided to sleep in the top level. A three thousand square foot suite that cost, as the roster said, four thousand dollars a night to stay in. I grinned.
"Thatís not the point, Fred; if youíre going to be up all this time, donít you want to do somethingÖ productive?" Hannah looked back. My grin disappeared as Hannah giggled and rubbed her back against my chest and turned so she was face to face with me.
"Not tonight, Hannah," I said then, leaned forward and pecked her muzzle. I didnít sleep.
Morning brought the sun peeking around the terminus of the valley. I sat and watched as Hannah slept. The sunrise peeked over the railings of the verandah, automatic street-lights flicking out section by section in the town below. I picked up the helmet, the glass OLED screen flicked down as I tapped the comm link once. Since I slept down here and didnít have as good night-vision as Hannah, or anybody else. I had to wear the helmet. Not that I complained. The world was a different place through those screens. A soldierís world, I thought as I turned the helmet around.
"You awake?" Hannah stood next to me with the thick white blankets wrapped around her. Her red and white legs showed through the slightly-parted front, claws scratching the surface of the carpet.
"No, Iím not awake," I replied and got up, another uneventful day. Since we started our watches nothing had happened.
And we had found the journals, I thought to myself. The officer in charge of that force that ended up shooting my arm had kept immaculate journals. They had deserted. All of them, taking as many weapons as possible. They had wanted to push east and blow past the seemingly un-motivated Furs and gain riches. Gain the spoils of war, then settle down somewhere and wait the war out.
Then the part that Cloud confirmed by web. Hoover had been nuked. One week after fighting had started, the Humanists had pushed the Fur-Forces into the dam itself. The Humanists had decided to persuade them to talk of a possible surrender, fewer resources, and a "public demonstration", as the journal had written, confirmed by Cloud. A video we had found showed the furs in the dam watching a conference with a few humans, fur supporters, talking with Humanists. The Humanists in clean armor, the fur-supporting humans looked dirty, red dust caked on their pants. All the Humanists and furs stood about, holding weapons nervously. Then a single man had walked up with a briefcase. The two parties seemed to have reached an agreement, the live-camera feed Cloud had found, recorded and stored somewhere showed the human, a fur supporter look up, scraggly and defeat etched on their face. The briefcase was set on the table with an audible thud, then the video-feed showed both parties recoil from the briefcase as it was opened, and the uplink cut-out.
Hannah sighed, "So, whatís on the agenda today?"
"Well, gather more supplies, see what we can do for more deterrents. Something like that, maybe show you how to use a scope," I put the helmet on the coffee table. "Have I showed you how to use a scope?"
Hannah shook her head, her tail swished once, making the blanket around her twitch, restricting the white-tipped tail.
I looked up to see black specks flying westward. UAVís, theyíd been doing that now for four days, going at evening, returning at daybreak. Most of the time all of them came back. Most of the time.
With a flick of her wrist, Hannah activated the window, a clear screen showing information of the hotels services. She tracked her hand across the glass and selected music. A library of thousands of tracks glowed in front of us, each one with a price-tag for a download from the hotelís collection. The screen flickered as Hannah selected all the tracks, then turned for a shower. Just as Hannah passed, she grabbed my wrist and began pulling me to the shower. I relented. In the background I noticed a song playing Ė Forever. A song from one of the old CDís my father had.
Hannah stopped pulling at my wrist as I stood still, looking through the window.
"Do you love me Fusatani?" Hannah whispered as she stood behind me.
"Itís hard for me to wrap my mind around,"
"Why?" Hannah still stood still with the blanket around her.
"How is it hard when I love you?" Hannah interrupted before I could speak.
"Because I donít know what love is," I answered. Yelling wasnít going to help, even though I felt like it now. "Is love just some chemical called Oxytosin? Or is it an actual smorgasbord of feelings creating emotion?"
Hannah took her blanket and slung it around my back as she walked in front of me.
"Love is caring for those in their highs and lows," Hannah said, then, with the blanket around both of us, hugged me in the sunrise peeking through the mountains.
It was only when Hannah started taking a shower did I relax, slowly sinking down into one of the couches, the music slower now, the water running in the background as I waited my turnÖ.
Wakan and Cloudís truck turned the street as Hannah and I watched, waiting. Today was supposed to be another supply run through the town, stockpile everything we could. Then swap places, Hannah and I sleeping at the house, Wakan and Cloud sleeping down at the hotel.
A high whine filled the air as Hannah and I looked up. A UAV, slow and low.
Hannah waved her arms as I pointed, then tried the HAM radio, trying to get them out of the car as they rolled to a stop. A thin grey missile darted from the car, the impact shaking the ground. First a plume of dust overwhelming the street, then the black smoke and fire rising.
I spun, in an eternal movement. Hannah ducked back through the glass doorway just as it shattered from small arms fire. A single bullet whizzed past and snapped the helmet from my hands and fell amongst the crystalline shards of glass. Hannah yelped once as a round hit her M1 Garand. She dropped it.
I ran for the first door down the hallway to the right of the lobby, the ballroom. Hannah followed closely. She hadnít unholstered her 1911. The doors to the kitchen thundered open with a crack as the butt of my M24 slammed into them. It was dark, but just enough light to see. There was a light on the far end leading outside.
Halfway through the kitchen the lights flickered once, then glared from the ceiling. I spun as Hannah gasped once.
The curved tip of a knife poked through Hannahís soft stomach as she gurgled once. A chill creeped up from inside my chest, men around the room raised their rifles as the one behind Hannah kicked her down. My rifle limp in my hands, I stood and stared. Hannah looked up once; her green eyes flickered as a tear seeped from one eye, then gone as another man kicked her head back. A snap resounding through the room as another man raised his black ACR to point at meÖ.
Hannah brushed her smooth pads over my face again as I flinched awake. The pillows from the sofa on the floor, Hannah crouching on the couch next to me with a towel around her, Wakan looked from the main lounge. I could see Cloud shift behind him.
"Heís alright. Weíll meet you in the main lobby." Hannah watched the two leave on the private elevator then turned to me.
"Are you alriÖ" Hannah gasped once as I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her tight, one hand probing her back through the towel for that wound, her damp fur soaking my chest.
"Whatís wrong Fred?" Hannah whispered.
"I think, I think Iím in love with you," I whispered into her shoulder, the lingering cold in my chest still making my heart race.
Hannah pushed her arm around my neck and waited until I relaxed before shifting to a more comfortable position.
"Do you understand what love is now?" Hannah whispered as she shifted her towel.
"Understand, maybe. Feel, yes,"
"Well, I love you, Fusatani, and Iím not leaving you,"
"What made you think I thought you were leaving me?" I asked and let her slide so she was lying next to me on the oversized couches.
"You were screaming,"
"Oh," I started pulling the fur straight on her forearm. Hannah sat there and pulled her hair straight. She slowly got up from the now-wet couch then pulled me up.
It was another hour before both of us walked out into the glass and wood lobby. Wakan and Cloud rising from one of the areas where the floor led down a step into a sunken lounge.
To be continued.
Story and Characters are copyright © 2009 G.F.D.
Questions? Comments? Always here to reply, firstname.lastname@example.org I'll try to get back to you as soon as possible. By The Way, if you feel like sending an e-mail but afraid it's stupid, don't worry. I don't mind stupid e-mails, SPAM I mind, but Gmail takes care of those ;)
Chakat universe is copyright of Bernard Doove.
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