No Return
By Ever-Frost © 2006
Sequel to "I Remember You"

He had just put his briefcase down and put the camo-vest to the rack, but then he was tackled down from behind. Bryan managed to fall down softly, thanks to the thick rug in the hall-floor, but was pinned down badly by a slightly heavier attacker. By putting all his strength to the game he managed to push the opponent off him, and tried to use the motion to get the upper hand. For a moment the pair rolled on the floor, but in the end the wolftaur was forced to submit. For a moment the attacker stood victoriously on him, pressing him to the floor with two front paws. Then shi lowered hir sharp-teethed muzzle towards his face... and gave him a sweet and long kiss.

"Did you miss me that badly?" he asked as soon as their muzzles parted.

Scarletpaws smiled heartily and hugged hir mate tightly. "What does it look like?" Then shi gave him a lick-kiss and added, "I haven't seen you for a week because of that practice-flight."

"It's not that long time." He frowned.

"Yes it is!" shi protested and hugged him even more tightly.

"Now you're being silly," he answered and returned the hug. This welcome was not the first of its kind, and it most likely wouldn't be the last one either. He didn't mind though, perhaps it was because he had learned to live with the chakat who seemed to react to everything wholeheartedly. Sometimes this drama was a drag, but in moments like this one, it made him feel more loved than ever. Then the pair noticed two chakats in the doorway.

"So he's finally home?" One-Ear asked with a snicker. The large tiger-patterned chakat had trouble not bursting into laughter as shi observed hir daughter and son-in-law lying on the floor like wrestling kittens. Rainwalker, the brown and black tortoiseshell-patterned chakat who was holding hir arm on One-Ear’s shoulders, also watched the play with amusement. Shi had entered the family only few weeks before Bryan, but in a way shi could understand Scarletpaws’ impulsive behavior much better than the conservatively brought-up wolftaur. Being mated to hir sire had probably something to do with it.

"Aww... you two look so in love when you lie in that position. Should One-Ear and I excuse ourselves?" shi teased the couple.

"Oh, please! Don't encourage hir any further!" Bryan yelped half-seriously, and was awarded with a hearty laughter.

Then, of all possible moments, the comm rang. "I'll get it!" Rainwalker announced and trotted out of the sight, followed by One-Ear, who apparently had to make some preparations for the dinner. Soon a delicate scent drifted from the kitchen, and both sharp-sensed taurs realized that they would eat lamb today.

"So, you'll be a ready pilot after one more flight?" Scarlet asked after shi had given the wolftaur one more quick kiss.

"Two," he corrected, and suddenly became much more serious. "Then I'll be most likely stationed on some starship. I'm afraid that then a week separate will be a short time."

Shi pulled a smile. "Not necessarily. I've been thinking of moving on, and a starship sounds like an exciting workplace to me. I already have the training of Star Corps, so a little transfer shouldn't be a problem."

"But... that's great!" he yipped, and in turn pulled hir into a new kiss and hug.

Then Rainwalker appeared in the doorway with a comm-phone in hir hand. "It's for you," shi said and tossed the phone to Bryan, who caught it in flight. Scarlet lifted hir paws from his chest.

"Hello?" he answered as he pushed himself back on all four legs and brushed back his ‘hair’ with his hand. Then the good mood was wiped off from his face at the exact moment that he heard the name of the caller. For a moment the wolftaur looked like he had gotten a strong punch to the stomach, stunned, and just staring to the distance and soaking up the words that he could have never believed to hear.

Then he managed to gather his wits "How...How did you find me? Where did you get this number?" The voice in the phone sounded very tired, and he listened carefully, clinging to every word.

"Is that so? Wh...When did it happen?" he interrupted. Then he looked away from the two chakats, out of the window to the darkening evening. It didn't take a genius to find out that something was terribly wrong.

He remained silent for a long while. Then he finally spoke. "I...I...I don't know what to say." At this point Scarlet put hir arm on his shoulder and pressed hir free hand against his furry chest, looking for an explanation in his deep blue eyes. All shi found was shock and welling despair. Rainwalker too drew closer, for shi had suddenly taken interest to the situation.

He went on. "But... after all this time... and wasn't he...?" Then he became silent again, and listened to the voice that echoed through the phone, perhaps from a thousand miles away.

"I'll think about it," he said and he hung up. Then he sighed heavily and laid his eyes on the floor.

"Trouble?" Scarlet asked.

"Much more," he answered and took hir hand into his own, and looked hir deeply into the eyes. His look was troubled enough to make hir heart break like a frozen flower under a rubber boot.

"What is it then?"

"It's my family," he sighed.

This was something that shi didn't expect. "Your family? You haven't even mentioned them since the first week we met at the cabin."

Rainwalker put hir hand on his shoulder. "Perhaps you should tell us about this, for something is obviously wrong."

He let go of Scarlet’s hand and turned to face the chakats. "Ok. I guess this was bound to happen sooner or later."

Then he sat down and took a comfortable position. "Well, where should I start? Like I told you a long time ago, they are actually my foster family. Not that it matters, though, for I never knew my biological parents. Anyway, my childhood over there was hell, no less. I was always the Omega-male both inside and outside family, and especially my foster father was displeased about this. He thought that I harmed the family’s reputation. Even my siblings didn't like me because of that."

"How many siblings do you have?" Scarlet interrupted.

"Two. Jack is a bit younger than I am, and Elsie is now seven, I think. Now, where was I? Oh yeah... So it was no surprise that I got out of there as soon as I could, hence I was so anxious to apply for pilot-training, for that would have gotten me a million light-years away from them. Then, dumb that I was, I got involved with that incident at the airport. It forced me to consider their help, even if that was the last thing that I wanted to do. At that point the options were few, however, so I decided to swallow my hatred. Then I ended up meeting you, and you probably know the rest. That's about the whole story cut short."

This was much more than shocking news for Scarletpaws. Of course shi knew that the wolftaur had had some troubles with his foster family, but it was just plain hurtful to realize how deep the roots of his troubles seemed to grow. "So, what was that phone-call about?"

"It was my foster mother. She told me that they had been looking for me for the past few months, for there has been a tragedy in the family. My foster father left them about six months ago." Then he sighed "...and I don't know whether I should even care or not."

"So, what does she want? A reunion?" Rainwalker asked.

"Yes. After a whole lot of tears, she has done some soul-searching and wants to see her adoptive son again."

Shi was still a bit skeptical. "And she wants to fix things, just like that?" shi snapped hir fingers.

"That's what it looks like."

"So, what are you going to do?" Scarletpaws asked with hir expression full of sympathy.

He sighed and closed his eyes. "I don't know. If you had asked me that some time ago, my answer would have been to tell her to shove the entire family in whatever shithole she likes. But I am not so sure anymore. I..."

Then One-Ear appeared to the doorway. "Dinner's ready." Shi took a look around. "Did I interrupt something?"

The trio looked at each other. "I'll explain at the dinner table," Rainwalker told hir.

The meal that was supposed to celebrate Scarlet’s and Bryan’s beginning holiday turned out to be much gloomier occasion than it was supposed to be. The wolftaur couldn't help feeling like a bird of ill omen as Rainwalker told his story to the attentive One-Ear, who was a bit surprised about the revelations. In a way this explained his lack of trust and nervousness in groups, for a chakat coming from a loving, if broken, family could only imagine what it felt like to be scorned by virtually everyone. Such treatment could truly lace even the strongest heart with cold steel, even without an poor father-figure.

Then the conversation turned to the coming future, as Bryan tried to make up his mind whether to go to meet his remaining family or not. One-Ear and Rainwalker tried to offer their advice to him, but avoided taking sides on the matter. After all, the final choice would be his alone, and the consequences would weigh on his shoulders for the rest of his life. Normally that wouldn't have mattered to him, but now he had too something to lose. All in all, he had to choose between facing the pain that had driven him to this point and regret to live forever as a traceless shadow, tormented by his past.

Scarlet saw this and offered hir comfort to the troubled soul. "Our hearts beat as one. I will stand by your side, no matter what you decide to do," shi encouraged him and put hir hand on his shoulder.

The final words of wisdom came from One-Ear’s mouth. "Whatever you choose, know that you'll always have a home here with us," shi concluded, and put hir hand on his free shoulder. Rainwalker silently agreed by looking him in the eyes and nodding. At least now he had a loving family to support him, and this help would be needed to face the one that he had thought to have belonged in.

Well, no-one ever said that life was easy.

A few hours later, everyone was going to sleep. One-Ear and Rainwalker bade the couple goodnight and left for their sleeping den, as Scarletpaws and Bryan went into theirs. Actually, it had been reserved for visitors, but now One-Ear had given it to the use of the "lovebirds", as shi still liked to call them. It didn't matter though, for their den had had too many rooms for just the sire and the daughter anyway.

The orange-furred chakat was just finishing hir evening exercise with twenty taur-style pushups. Basically this meant: back paws and body straight, front paws off the ground and push with your hands. It was pretty damn hard, since taurs had to lift about twice the amount that bipeds did. However, shi considered a bit of a sweat being a reasonable price for an advantage of strength, for in hir job such an asset had saved hir hide in few occasions.

While she was exercising, Bryan lay comfortably on a large futon, and watched how shades danced their macabre dance on the roof. His tail slowly waved back and forth, as he rested his head on his crossed hands and pondered the recent events. Then he used a while to scratch an itching spot on his chest with his front paw, and stretched with all his six limbs. But no matter what he did, gears just didn't turn in his head. He just couldn't choose whether to issue this challenge or not. At this point he felt a bit like before an epilepsy attack that never came, so you actually start to hope that you would begin to suffer to get it over with. The only thing that held him back was the fear of losing what he now had.

"Tsch... This is getting me nowhere." he sighed and rolled around to assume a half-lying position. From there he watched as shi wiped sweat off hir forehead and started doing sit-ups.

"Will shi be able to understand?" he thought. "Shi says that I can trust hir, but I wonder if shi'll think the same way after shi sees what is waiting for us there..."

Suddenly shi spoke. "Still trying to make up your mind, huh?"

He sighed. "Yeah." He looked away. "Normally I would hate to chicken out from something like this, but I have run from it so long, that I don't know whether I dare to look back anymore."

"But that's not the whole story, is it?" shi noted as shi went on with hir exercise.

"You're right. There's something else too." He looked hir straight into the eyes "I just don't know if you'll be ready to face this."

Shi rolled around, stood up and dried some sweat off hir head with a red towel. "What do you mean?"

"You'll undoubtedly see sides of me that you'd more likely prefer not to see at all. I just have a feeling that coming home would really open a new world, but could also wreck the old one."

Shi put the towel on hir shoulders. "So you're afraid that I'll leave you after I see your family?"

He sighed and looked away. "It would be much more than that. You can never fully understand my mind and soul, and perhaps it's much better that way."

This moody wolftaur was something that shi had seen numerous times before, but it was also this wolftaur who shi loved, with all his flaws. Knowing this shi came forward, and gently stepped over his lower body with two of hir paws, and hence stood over him, pretty much in a same position that he sometimes used in their couplings. Instead of that, though, shi gave him a hug from behind, pressing hir head against his back, and putting hir hands on his heart to feel it beat. He put his hands upon hirs, like a scared child after a nightmare, as if to ensure that shi would not go away. For a moment they didn't speak a word, but a deep connection between them made something that not even a lifetime of talking could have never made. Such were the matters of heart.

Then he closed his eyes, sighed and, after a moment, opened them again. He had now made up his mind. "I'll go for it. I'm just too tired of running away. Perhaps it's time to give peace a chance."

Shi lifted hir chin and leaned it on his shoulder. "I agree, and I'm sure that you'll do just fine." Then shi whispered into his furry ear "Broken wings will heal. Soon you'll fly again."

He managed to smile, closed his eyes and leaned his head against hir silky-soft furred, fair breasts. Shi, in turn, leant hir chin on his head and just enjoyed the proximity. Then shi moved hir head a bit, and this made hir long, dark hair fall over hir shoulder and tickle his chest. The wolftaur moved his muzzle and inhaled the scent of hir locked (and still a bit sweaty) hair. Even for a human, the smell would have been recognizable, but to a sharp-nosed taur it was mind-blowing. The scent of someone who he cared about more than his own life, the scent that was blessed with the wonder of pure love, was what rocked his consciousness to the darkness of the night. In that night there would be no more words, no more worries, just the two of them.

In the next morning they woke up quite early, for there was much to do and not much time to do it. After a quick breakfast, Bryan headed to the town to rent a car, while Scarlet packed up a couple of necessary things. Fortunately shi was an experienced hiker, and hence knew what things were truly necessary, even if shi didn't have a clue about how long this trip would be. However, shi managed to squeeze everything into two neat bag packs. Besides those, the only things they would take with them were the usual clothes they wore. For hir, this meant the usual blue top, and for him, the camo-vest and the lucky-scarf. The couple was quite used to trailer-lifestyle, which at least made sudden traveling a bit more easy.

Just then shi heard a horn honking outside. Over there Bryan was waiting for hir in the rented, jet-black and taur-fitted Aztec Ranger, a 24th century equivalent to a jeep. It was probably one of those remodeled army versions: rugged, but still roared like an old lion. Shi couldn't help pulling a little smile as shi threw the packs into the boot and climbed onto the front seat.

"A Ranger?" shi raised an eyebrow.

"What's wrong with some solidity?" he asked and smirked. Then they waved goodbye to One-Ear, who was currently working in the garden, and speeded out of the suburb to the highway.

The day happened to be quite a hot one, and the two furries in a pretty-much closed vehicle had to put the air-conditioning to the max to prevent heatstroke. Even for a hairless human, the weather would have been awful, so one could only imagine what it was like for two large taurs covered with fur coats. The wolftaur switched on the radio to keep the trip comfortable, and Scarlet opened hir window, and let in the breeze in. This trip would be sweaty, but they would endure, at least because neither of them knew what waited for them at their destination...

The day had already turned into evening when they finally found their way to their destination, the village that Bryan had spent his childhood in. As they pulled off from the main road, Scarletpaws took a look at the place through the car window. The view that opened before hir was an insignificant small town, or more like a village. It was one of those settlements for taurs who wanted to deal with an outside world as little as possible. After the wars, these had been pretty common, especially among wolftaur-kin, and some of them had actually endured the test of time, if barely.

Then the wolftaur turned to a familiar road, marked by a mailbox that stated "Hudson", and after a while he pulled into the yard of an oldish wooden house. There was no parking lot nearby, so the side of the yard had to do. Not that it bothered anyone, for the yard was already big enough for a helicopter to land, even with all the trees and a garden shed.

After parking, they hopped out of the vehicle, took their bags and walked through the yard. The anxiety grew with every step they took towards the house itself, and the nature of the building became evident. The walls had been painted some time ago with a deep blue paint, but Bryan could still remember the original warm-red color they had when he had last time seen them. Some other repairs had also been done, but there was no hiding the fact that the whole thing was built before either the wolftaur or the chakat had been born. Perhaps it was just the atmosphere that the whole thing had. However, the living room window was partly open, so their arrival had not gone unnoticed. "She's probably spent the entire day gazing through that thing," he thought.

The doorbell let out a hollow bong as he pressed it. They didn't have to wait for long, as he had suspected, for after a few short moments they heard numerous paw steps from inside, and then the door opened.

A middle-aged wolftaur bitch stood in the doorway, regarding both taurs with a mild suspicion. Her fur was a typical gray, with a little lighter fur on the side of a bit saggy stomach and mid-sized breasts, being only a bit darker than her hair. She wore a plain, green shirt with a wide neckline, and with hir guard’s eyes Scarlet noted that she wore a smallish gold watch on her right wrist. It was most likely a gift, and an appreciated one for the slightly timid person that she apparently was. That didn't help connecting her with Bryan, and the fact that neither hers nor her children’s pelts sported the same black streaks that Bryan’s did. What next caught hir attention was her hazel eyes, for with a mere look on them one could read a whole sob-story. She had gone through a lot in such a short time, so she had to be Bryan’s stepmother, whose name Bryan had mentioned during the drive. It was Sharon, if hir memory still worked.

Right next to her, shi noticed a young male wolftaur, who was apparently Jack. He was tallish and rugged, the kind of person who was used to physical labor, and shared almost the same fur color as his mother next to him, but his coat was even a bit lighter on the back and the sides. The fur on his head was normal length, unlike Bryan’s black and short ‘undercut’ and his ears twitched as he evaluated the arrived guests with his sharp eyes.

Between them stood a young female wolftaur, who was partly hiding behind her mother. "What was his stepsister’s name...? Elsie?" shi thought, as shi looked back at the shy little girl. Her fur was a bit darker than her mother’s, and her hair was distinctly dark gray and tied into pigtails. She regarded hir with a surprise and mild fear, but also with an equal interest, as her eyes measured every inch of the newcomers, and the mind of a child tried to understand what had arrived to their door.

Then Bryan broke the silence "Mom..."

She seemed to awake from the trance and smiled. "It's so good to see you again," she said and gave him a motherly hug that was filled with longing.

"Mommy, what is that?" Elsie asked shyly and pointed at Scarlet when the mother and son drew apart.

She silenced her with a small gesture. "Shh. That's not polite." She turned to face hir "I'm sorry dear, but we don't usually have many visitors over here. So, who are you?"

Shi quickly collected hir wits. "I am Chakat Scarletpaws, daughter of Chakat One-Ear and Twilight. I have been Bryan’s mate for the last five months." Then shi offered hir hand.

Sharon was stunned for a while. "Oh... umm..." then she managed to smile and shake hir hand. "I'm sorry. I know that he's not a puppy anymore, but you just surprised me. Nice to get to know with you, Chakat."

"Actually," shi corrected, "Chakat's not my name, but my kind. That's just how we introduce ourselves."

"Oh, sorry. We just haven't met your kind before. Like I said, we get very few visitors."

Jack looked Bryan in eyes and opened his mouth for the first time. "Well, it's good to know that you've found someone. Congrats!" he smiled and shook the hands of both taurs. Then they looked at little Elsie, but she apparently didn't feel like shaking hands.

"Oh, please come in. Dinner's almost ready." Sharon noted and directed both visitors in.

The first thing that both taurs noticed inside was the scent of the old house. It was not a strong or unpleasant one, but it just told that there had been much movement and lived moments in this house, both happy and sad, perhaps more of the latter in recent times. However, once they got past the plain lobby, they saw that the insides of the house were exactly what the scent suggested.

Everything in the furnishings seemed like it had been scraped from the last century. Of course it wasn't, but the worn furniture and old-looking decoration strongly defied that conclusion. For Scarlet it was quite a contrast to what shi considered homey, but shi considered it to be just nervousness, nothing more. Bryan, in turn, sunk into his memories. He recalled how he used to play in these rooms, stare out of the worn-out windows and sneak into these corridors at night-time, afraid to get caught. Then he sighed, for there was also so much into this house that he had wanted to forget, but now it returned to his mind as clear as day.

Then he snapped out of his dreams as he saw something on the dark wood shelf, something that he would have preferred not to see at all. It was a framed photo of a wolftaur family: Sharon in her late thirties and wide smile, Jack wearing a badge of Technical College that he had been accepted into the day that the photo was taken, a bit younger version of himself leaning against a nearby tree and a little Elsie playing with her toy-pony. This was not shocking, but what had caught his eye was a tall male wolftaur standing behind his stepbrother and holding his hand on Jack’s shoulder. Those cold blue eyes, short and messy "hair", lean yet strong figure and a short scar in the corner of the mouth had been burned in his mind in those long hours spent crying in the darkness.

Bryan grabbed the shoulder of his stepmother "You still have a picture of that bastard?!"

Sharon turned around, but said nothing. The look in her eyes told that she would have not wanted to go on with this, but he just didn't let it drop "Jerry's gone! You can't be serious about still missing him!"

She spoke with a calm voice. "He is still your father, no matter if he will not be here with us anymore. You can't change that."

"He was never much of a father to me! You're not..."

He was interrupted by Jack, who calmly put his hand on his shoulder. "Let it go. He's gone, like you said, so let's not start our reunion with fighting for nothing."

Bryan sighed and nodded. Then he looked Scarlet right into the eyes, and with a single glance he told just how hard this homecoming was. He had carried so much hate within, but even more was left behind. Handling it would be difficult, and now shi too started to understand that this trip wouldn't necessarily be an easy one.

Both guests used the mealtime to get to know Jack and the still-shy Elsie, while the stepbrothers quickly filled each other in with the current situation. The gray-headed wolftaur listened in amusement when Scarlet and Bryan told him about the adventure that had brought them together, and shi could see a tomboyish glister in Elsie’s eyes when the elder brother described the couple’s escape from the forest fire. She had apparently taken a great interest in chakats, and managed to ask a couple of questions of hir. With a warm smile shi replied to each one, yet avoided being too precise.

Then Jack quickly told the couple what had happened after Bryan’s leave, for he had apparently kept no connections at all. All in all he managed to conclude the whole time with short facts about the father’s problems in the service station he owned, the increased drinking and bitter fights with mother. Eventually it had come to the point where the road ended, and he had left the family to survive on its own. "What a surprise." Bryan thought sarcastically.

After some time, Sharon brought the food to the table (motherly disregarding Scarlet’s volunteering to help) and the conversation started to turn to the guests.

"So..." she crossed her hands, "what are you two planning to do in future?"

He swallowed a mouthful of potato mash. "Hmm... Live together, I guess."

"You have an apartment together?" asked Jack.

"Actually," shi corrected, "we have been living with my parents so far. We chakats favor extended families y'know."

"We're not so different after all," Sharon noted and smiled, and then she went on. "Would you like to move in with us, for a short while at least? We have plenty of space and it would be nice to have new and old faces around."

"We'll have to think about it," he said half-truthfully and pushed his plate a bit forward to indicate that he had had enough. Then he went on. "There's just a one little problem. We both work now in Sydney and, after my training is finished, we'll go to space commands. That's a bit too much distance between there and here."

"In space?" Elsie interrupted. "Are you going to fly a big spaceship, Blyan?"(she still had some problems pronouncing the letter r.)

"Heh. Not necessarily. I prefer smaller ones."

"Gleat, me too. I'll become a pilot when I glow up and then we can lace!" This made both Scarlet and Bryan chuckle.

"Elsie..." Sharon snapped, and then quickly changed the subject. "Is that so? That's too bad, but you'll come to visit us every now and then?"

He was starting to grow bored with this conversation, and avoided the question. "Maybe. By the way, Jack, what are you doing nowadays?"

"I try to keep the station standing. The income isn't great, but it's enough."

"Do you now legally own the place?" Scarlet asked.

"Yeah. Dad left papers behind."

Then Bryan stood up on all fours and looked at hir "Would you like to see the neighborhood?"

Shi drew a smile "Sure."

"We'll be back before midnight," he announced.

The pair took their time to stroll around the town, taking a look at the places that the wolftaur remembered quite well. He noticed that nothing had really changed, as they usually didn't in this place. The only thing that had changed was the way that he looked at this place. Now his perspective was somehow wider. Probably because this place had been the entire world to him in his early years, but now he had seen and experienced a lot more. It was not like he would have been proud to show this place to his dear chakat, but he tried his best to bring out the happy moments, even if they were few in number.

What Scarlet noted, however, was the reaction of the townsfolk, all of whom were wolftaur of course. Heads turned and conversations stopped as the couple passed by, and shi began to understand Sharon’s words about their few visitors. Most of these furries had most likely never seen a chakat before, and hence shi didn't take their surprise as an offence. Hir tolerance was tested a couple of times, however, for example when shi saw an elderly female wolftaur shooing her cubs inside at the first appearance of the passer-bys. Shi also made a mental note about hir mate, for he seemed to know everyone in this place, but still remained distant. He greeted no-one they passed by, and the onlookers did the same. Not even one of them came to them to share a quick chat or greetings, nor they asked about the new face. This just seemed a bit odd to the social soul, and shi didn't feel quite as at home as the beautiful, rural surroundings normally made hir.

In time Bryan led them a bit further from the town, to the nearby hills. Without much searching, he found what he was looking for, namely a large rock that rested against the cliff. From the old memory he climbed the gently sloping cliffside to the top of the old giant, and gave hir a helping hand so that shi could follow. Of course, this would not have been necessary to the agile feline, but it was the gesture that mattered.

"This place is exactly as I remembered it to be," he said as he settled down on the stony surface.

Shi scouted the darkening landscape, and with hir good night vision, shi was still able to see the small houses from the distance. "Did you visit this place often?"

"More often than I bother to remember. This was a good place to unwind my mind."

"Your own little retreat?"

He sighed, "More than that. Believe it or not, but this is a landscape of my heart."

Shi settled down next to him, wrapped hir arm around his waist and allowed him to do the same. Then lifted his chin with hir free hand and came to meet his eyes. "Can you see me in that landscape? Can I be a part of it?"

A faint smile appeared on his gray muzzle. "No, that landscape is part of you, not the other way around." He took a look at the view and returned to hir warm eyes. "This place might be big, but there is a world beyond the horizon too. You are way above this place."

Their tails entwined as they shared a tender kiss in the moonlight.

When they departed, Scarlet noticed a small tear rolling over wolftaur’s hairy cheek, and asked, "What's wrong?"

"It's just..." he swallowed, "...that this place holds so many memories, both good and bad, for this was also a place where I came to cry out my pain. And now I'm back, with the kind soul I never expected to find, or so I thought in those long hours."

Shi let him lean his forehead against hirs, and quietly let him know that shi was there both in flesh and spirit. After a while he lifted his chin up. "Enough of this now. We didn't come here to grieve."

Then he slowly lifted his free hand and stroked hir hair, and put it on hir shoulder "Oh, and please forgive my mother. She hasn't seen me for a long time, so it was no surprise that she immediately wanted us to stay. She just has a bad habit of expecting that everything goes as she has planned."

Shi smiled. "It's understandable." Then shi took a look at the moon. "It's getting late. Should we get going back?"

"Oh, sure. I wanna say goodnight to Elsie, for first time in five years."

As they left the rock, Scarlet somehow came to look behind hir. In the side of the rock shi saw a small, fairly old engraving, made over many hours, most likely with an pocket knife or such. It had become eroded over the years, but one could still see the word "dad", and a big, wound-like line scratched over it. As shi turned away, shi remembered Bryan’s words about this place holding so many good and bad memories, and that this was the retreat where the little wolftaur came to cry out his pain.

The rest of the evening turned out to be quite uneventful, and was mostly spent on socializing. Somewhere around nine o'clock they had a modest meal, and after that little Elsie was ordered to go to sleep, much to her disappointment. The protesting stopped when Bryan rumpled her hair and gave her a goodnight’s kiss, however.

A few hours later, the chakat and the wolftaur excused themselves and steered towards the guestroom that was reserved for their use. This was not the original plan, but since Scarlet had shown up, it seemed evident that more space was needed than just for the room that Bryan used to share with Jack. The quite old and mildly decorated guestroom seemed to serve this purpose well though.

"I remember this room," Bryan said when he took off his vest and jumped on the bed and rested there for a while.

"How's that?"

He pointed to the taur-fitted closet. "That was my favorite hideout when me and Jack played hide and seek." Then he took the familiar scarf off his neck, and threw it on the table under the window. "Some things I miss, but most I don't."

"Are you that bitter about your life?" shi asked when shi settled down next to him and hugged him.

"Maybe. But what I am most bitter about is myself." He sighed as he lifted his torso up and answered the hug. "I have made so many bad choices."

"Really? Do you really regret everything?"

"Well, not everything." He looked hir straight to the eyes. "The choice of standing by your side is one of those I don't."

Shi smiled. "That's what I thought too. Sometimes you are just being such a crybaby."

He smiled back and rubbed his head. "Heh. I guess that's true."

"I have something that'll cheer you up," shi whispered and gently pulled his muzzle to a long kiss.

"Feeling any better?" shi asked when they finally parted.

"Much," he answered and gently stroked hir cheek. For a moment they just looked each other into the eyes, and wordlessly let two hearts beat as one. Then the kiss led to another, and they started fondling each other’s body, letting their touch feel the perfection of furry form. At some point Bryan started kissing hir neck, and slowly proceeded lower as shi sighed in pleasure. Scarlet couldn't resist running hir claws along his backbone, and shi didn't have to wait long for the response, as shi felt his growing erection against hir belly. Shi felt hir own member starting to respond too, as shi welcomed the ecstasy.

At this point the wolftaur gently placed his muzzle on hir breasts (still covered with the blue top), closed his eyes and inhaled. The scent blew his brains and gave him a nearly aching boner, but after a while he took another sniff, and opened his eyes. "That scent... is it...?"

Shi gave him a smile. "It is. I've come into heat today." Then shi whispered into his ear "It's been so damn hard keeping my paws off you for the whole day."

After that, shi locked him into another bold kiss, lowered them both into a lying position and rolled on him, for this night shi would take the lead. Shi also let hir hair free with hir free hand, and let the black silk fall to the side of hir head. It was just more comfortable that way.

After a long while, they parted to draw some breath, and let their eyes spark with the force of love and desire. Then shi erected hir upper body and took off hir top, to proudly display hir assets. At that moment he had the best view of hir beautiful figure against the moonlight, and he enjoyed every second of it. Hir orange fur and black hair created a nice contrast with the pale moonlight, which also brought out hir already delightful curves. For a long moment he was hypnotized by the view, as shi stroke a sexy pose to further enhance the effect.

He could resist no longer, and slowly crawled downward to better reach hir lower body. After getting into desired position, he started rubbing hir lower belly with his other hand, and hir back with the other. From there he proceeded downward, until he reached hir genitals. At that point he slowly caressed hir moist lips, and after he felt that shi was ready, started to stimulate hir vagina with two fingers, while his other hand started to stroke hir swollen cock, sometimes giving the head a teasing lick. This made hir moan in pleasure, and as hir breath grew heavier, shi started to caress hir own erect nipples with hir hands. The ecstasy grew as they did this for a while, but neither of them bothered keeping track of time.

When the craving became irresistible, the chakat turned Bryan onto his back, and resumed hir position on top of him. Then shi directed his cock onto hir vulva, and with a steady push and sigh, let him enter into hir. The wolftaur grinned and sighed heavily as the pleasure struck in waves. For a moment they just lay still, enjoying the mutual feeling. Then Scarlet slowly started to ride him, and the pressure built, as shi stroked hir own cock with hir hand. Bryan, in turn, took a grip of hir hips, and slowly proceeded to caress hir breast with his free hand. As sound of heavy breath and groans filled their ears, the taste of saliva filled their mouths and the pure, raw ecstasy filled their eyes, the two taurs felt what the word "paradise" was made up to mean.

In time Scarlet felt hir climax coming, and without being able to resist, shi let the double orgasm sweep over hir body and give hir a shot of the best drug ever, while shooting hir cum on his chest. Hir low roar and vaginal spasms was the last straw for Bryan, as he took a firm grip of hir hips and, with a small howl, filled hir with his seed, giving into the mind-blowing euphoria.

For a while shi just let his erection fade, and then rolled off him. The pair hugged tight, and took a long while to catch their breath. Then the wolftaur pressed a brief kiss on Scarlet’s muzzle "Thank you. That was something that I could have never even dreamt about."

Shi returned the kiss. "Likewise my love, likewise..."

Thunder boomed in the distance, as the little wolftaur sneaked through the corridor, his little heart beating like a submachine gun. The fear haunted his mind as he slowly made his way through the empty halls, the guestroom as his goal, praying not to wake up anyone. He knew that he would be safe in a closet, for the lightning flashes would not show there. If he only would...

"Where are you going, son?" boomed the voice all of the sudden. The pup froze in fear, but forced himself to turn around, and face the two, blazing eyes that regarded him with mild irritation.

"I asked you: what are you doing, you little brat?!" he bellowed as he drew closer, and the little one could smell his breath, and a whiff of whisky in it. In the ears of every little cub, the voice of a father was a voice of a judging god, but it was too bad that this ‘god’ had cursed him so many times with names that he couldn't yet understand.

He forced himself to answer, "Nothing dad."

The adult grimaced in anger. "Bullshit! Don't you lie to your father! Now, what are you doing up at this time of the night?"

"I...I..." he gagged as the words stuck into his throat, and he couldn't bring himself to meet the furious gaze of his father.

Then the adult grabbed him by the throat, and lifted him couple of feet on the air. Then he roughly pushed him against the doorframe. The child knew not to cry, however, for he knew that much worse would follow if he did. The father forced his child to look into his eyes. "! Spit it out you little shitbag!"

The tears pushed their ways into the cub’s eyes, as he sobbed. "I...I was just scared. The storm..."

"Scared?! Hah! And you dare to call yourself my son?!" Then he took a firm grip of the cub’s disgusting black ‘hair’, and banged his head against the wooden doorframe, and a hard punch followed.

The cub fell to the floor, and blood started dripping in a steady pace to the carpet. The father snuffled. "You know what happens when you're not in bed when you're told to, and you know what happens when you break the rules! Don't you?!" The little one could not answer because of his sobbing, but managed to nod.

The father picked up a piece of firewood from the nearby cardboard box. "Looks like I have to give you a reminder."

The little wolftaur crawled backwards, trying to escape his fate. "" he sobbed.

"You have no right to call me dad, you little sniveling rat!" he bellowed, and from the shadows one could see how he lifted the weapon, and brutally beat his victim, as disgusting thuds and cries of pain echoed through the halls.

Bryan woke up into his own shout, and just took a moment to look at the tranquil dance of shadows in the roof. Then he lifted himself in a sitting position, and wiped cold sweat from his forehead, still feeling a bit dizzy. Then he gathered the shards of his mind "He is still haunting here after all this time," he thought.

Then Scarlet turned hir side and mumbled half-asleep. "What is it dear?"

He gave hir a kiss into the forehead. "Nothing." Then he rested down next to his mate, but it took him hours to get back to sleep.

Scarletpaws was the first one to wake up in the morning, as shi felt "nature calling". Shi slowly climbed out of the bed, careful not to wake up the still-sleeping wolftaur, and headed to the hall. Whether it was due to hir disturbed sleep and drowsiness or a slight illness, shi didn't feel quite well. Hir going was wobbly, and hir sight was a bit misty. "Damned be if I've fallen ill, now of all times." shi thought as shi nearly stumbled into hir own tail.

After a while of looking shi found the toilet, and sighed in relief as shi saw that at least the seat was a regular taur-fitted model, a bit like Japanese one. The last thing shi wanted to do right now was to go to the bush, or something like that. Without further thinking shi turned around, parked hirself on the bowl, extruded hir penis from the sheath and begun to empty hir bladder. While doing this, shi took some support from the wall, hung hir head and shook it a bit to shake the drowsiness out of hir eyes.

But then shi lifted hir head and froze in panic, as the door suddenly opened. In the doorway Sharon looked evenly shocked, for she hadn't apparently expected to meet hir any more than shi had expected to meet her. Yet something in the view disturbed her even more, other than the embarrassing situation, for there was something in the picture that she just couldn't understand. Something unexpected between hir hind legs had caught her breath so well, that she could do nothing but stand still for a while. Then she finally managed to mumble "Sorry. I didn't know that this was taken," and closed the door.

While Scarlet swore in the loo, she made her way towards the door to get some fresh air. Suddenly she met Bryan, who had just gotten up and was now stretching, as he made his way to the living room. He smiled widely and bid her good morning, but then the expression on her face wiped off his good mood. Her gazing was frozen in shock, as she said, "...and I thought that I had raised you..."

His expression was a one big question mark. "What?"

She didn't hear his question as shi stepped out of the door, with another "What?" echoing behind her.

The rest of the morning turned out to be quite uneventful. Sharon seemed to avoid Scarlet at all costs, despite of hir numerous attempts to explain the situation, and the growing friendliness between her and the guests had been wiped out. She just kept doing her regular duties like a living dead, ignoring everyone around. Apparently she hadn't gotten over the unpleasant meeting with her "daughter-of-law", but the whole group decided that it would be best to just let her be, at least for now.

Scarletpaws spent most of the time playing with Elsie, who even gathered enough courage to show hir all the dolls that she had. While taking a look at them, shi picked up a one, which happened to be a male foxmorph, probably modeled after some teen musician. At least his pink T-shirt sported the disgustingly sweet name of some band. That brought a question into his mind. "What's his name?"

"He's Gally, and isn't he just abdolable?" came the answer.

"Heh. He sure is."

"Did you have any dolls when you glew up, Scallet?"

Shi scratched hir temple. "Umm... I think I did..." and then gave her a wink, "...and I had some toy-cars too."

"Toy-cahs?" shi asked and giggled "Gils don't play with cahs you silly!"

Shi gave the comment a laugh. "Don't be so sure," shi said as shi rumpled her hair.

In the doorway, Bryan leaned on the doorframe, with a bit worried expression on his face. Elsie’s comment, childishly innocent as it was, revealed what she had learned here, perhaps the hard way. Then he soothed the troubling thoughts from his mind and cleared his throat "S'cuse me dear, but Jack's going to make a shopping trip to next town and he'll drop me to the car service station. Wanna come along?"

"Sure, I want to see this family business of yours"

"I wanna come too!" Elsie noted.

"Sorry, but don't you have some cleaning up to do? Mommy will be mad if she finds your room in this condition."

"Aww!" she hanged her head.

"Don't worry sis, we'll be back before dinner," he said, grabbed her shoulders and looked into her eyes. "Keep the house running, cadet," he went on as he patted her head and drew a smile, and she returned it.

"Ok captain. See you then."

The trip to the service station wasn't really that long, but since Jack was driving to the shopping anyway, he had offered to take the couple to the station while he was at it. Not many words were exchanged during the trip also, and Scarlet could even sense a bit of a tension in the air, which was not welcome in the hot day.

Finally they reached their destination, and shi hopped out of the pick-up at the first opportunity. Bryan was also leaving the vehicle, but suddenly his brother stopped him by grabbing his arm "May I ask you a question, between us brothers?"

"Sure. Shoot."

He looked at hir distancing back. "So you two are...y'know?"

"Yes, we are. Why?"

"Well...she's cute and everything, but are you sure about your feelings?"

The black-‘haired’ wolftaur frowned. "What do you mean by that? Of course I am."

"I mean that..." he sighed. "Look, you know that she's not like us, right?"

"Okay, what are you trying to pull here?"

"I'll speak to you straight." He drew closer. "Look, she's not going to fit over here."

"Shi," the elder brother corrected.

"Whatever. You know that shi will never find home here. Shi'll never be welcome."

He was getting the idea of where this conversation was going. "Does it look like I care?"

"You should. You seem to have forgotten what living over here means. You just don't want to get on the bad side of too many."

"So you're saying that I should just dump hir, huh?" he asked with an irritation clearly showing fro his voice.

"Not necessarily now, but you'll need to think in long term. Shi can't stay much longer."

"If shi leaves, then so will I."

"Look, shi has already upset mother, and is a bit too friendly with Elsie. I don't know what will happen to this family if..."

He broke free from the gray wolftaur’s grasp and hissed from between his sharp teeth "Listen, I don't give a crap about what happens to this family! Shi is what shi is and you can't change that!"

"Watch your mouth, brother! Think with your brains, not with your dick! This family is more important than your..."

Bryan cut his brother off by poking his clawed finger on his nose pad "Then fuck this family! Fuck the family name, and fuck you!"

Then he slammed the door shut, and watched as the one whom he once called brother drive away. After that, he heard hir voice from the distance, and saw hir giving a tailwave. "Hey! You coming or not?"

He shook his head and trotted trough the station yard. "Yeah!"

The station itself had seen better days, for now it was old and weather-beaten (such as pretty much everything in this village), but still bull-headedly defied the time. Its walls begged for new paint, and the rusty weathercock on the roof creaked its lonely song. Yet the fuel pumps seemed to be in order, and Bryan told hir that they needed to be checked every three months, for a fuel fire was not a risk worth taking. Then the sign on the roof caught hir attention, for it looked quite new, but a couple of missing screws and large dents revealed that it had just been repaired recently. It required the sharp vision of a chakat to see all that, though.

"Hmm... Looks like Jack's been busy," Bryan muttered as he fished a couple of keys from the pocket of his vest.

"Is it actually okay for him to leave this place to go for a long shopping trip?" shi wondered.

"Believe me, it's perfectly okay. This village has so few vehicles, that most repairs are prearranged, and the visitors are still quite rare."

"How sad."

"You said it, but I guess that the guy has a right to scrape his living from wherever he likes," he shrugged, and then used the keys to open a large garage door. Then he took a firm grip of the handle and lifted the sliding door out of the way, and watched the rays of sun pierce the dim room.

The first thing that hit their noses was the greasy smell of old motor oil, accompanied by a faint smell of dust. The light shining through the partly broken window showed some of this floating in the dry air, while the tools hanging from the racks on the walls seemed too clean for infrequent use. Wrenches, welding equipment and oil canisters stood in biblical order along the walls (seek and thou shall find), and the metal-laced service pit in the middle of the floor seemed to be older than both taurs combined.

"Hmm... Nothing has changed in here," Bryan snorted as he entered the hall, followed by a curious chakat.

"Your first workplace?" shi asked as shi weighed a heavy adjustable spanner in hir hands.

"Yep. Not much to do though."

After a moment of annoying silence shi started shyly, "Bryan..." and put down the spanner "...there's something I've wanted to tell to you. I..."

Suddenly shi was cut off by unfamiliar voice. "Well! Look who's here."

Both taurs turned to face the newcomers, who turned out to be a group of four male wolftaurs, each about the same age as Bryan, their furs being typical gray on the white belly side. None of them sported his black streaks, though, and none of them had ‘hair’ to speak of. Their clothes were also limited to simple utility belts, the only exception being the peaked cap-wearing front man.

Black-haired wolftaur’s eyes flashed with a spark of recognition. "Randy. What are you doing here?"

The leader approached them. "I heard that you came back in town, so I wanted to check up on ya, y'know."

"How touching. You shouldn't have bothered." His voice has a touch of sarcasm in it.

"Oh, come on. I had to see my favorite ‘friend’ for the first time in years. You look well, and you seem to have" He gave hir a dirty glance. "And you are...?"

Shi didn't like the way this meeting was going. "That's none of your business, Randy, and I doubt if you have any business over here whatsoever."

He gave hir a laugh and turned to his group. "Hear that boys? She says I have no business in here." Then he turned back to hir. "Talk about yourself, punk. Take a hike if you know what's good for you."

Then he turned back to hir mate. "And you think that you can just rush back here like that?"

"This was my home as much as yours," he replied.

"As much as yours," mocked one of the wolftaurs.

"We'll show you how much of a home this place can truly be!" added another.

"Looks like you've forgotten you manners old friend." Randy said, and moved even closer. At this point Bryan started to feel a bit chilly, and he noticed drops of cold sweat on his own forehead. This was not a good sign.

"Come on pal. Don't give me this now."

Then Randy grabbed him by the scarf around his neck and drew him closer. "Huh? I'll give you something all right."

Shi could not stand idly anymore, but shi knew that by coming between them shi would most likely start a fight. "Let's settle down here!"

He gave hir a furious glance. "Shut up freak!"

"Freak...freak...freak..." the word echoed in Bryan’s mind and beat the pain sensors in his brain. The feeling was just too much for his mind to bear, and for an eye blink he traveled into another world of mixed memories, hate and pain. Then it all blew up on his face, and he felt a crimson light exploding inside his eyeballs, the full-volume scream thundering in his ears, the taste of fresh blood (probably his own) in his mouth, and a smell of grilled flesh in his nostrils. This led to an enormous shot of adrenalin, and one could see how his body strained under the new strength. At this point Randy turned his grimacing face in slow motion back to him, but where he had moment ago held a calm and collected wolftaur, he now held a grimacing wild beast of pure muscle, teeth and hate. The last thing to do at the moment like that was to blink, but that's exactly what he did. Well, too bad that he was a stupid fuck.

With a vicious snarl, Bryan drove his fist into Randy’s face, coloring the nearby wall with the small splatters of blood. Then he grabbed him by his throat, quickly turned around and with a small acceleration smashed his opponent’s head into the concrete wall. Grey wolftaur slowly dropped into lying position, leaving a bloody mark on the wall. Then Bryan unleashed his fists and claws on him, hitting, ripping and growling.

At this point Randy’s peers had collected their wits, and now rushed to help their leader. The attempt ended quickly, though, as Scarletpaws grabbed the first two by their throats, and brutally smashed their heads together. This was enough to knock the both out of action, and then shi turned to face the third one, with a blood-stopping grimace in hir muzzle. This was not necessary, though, for the last one had lost his bravery, and did not apparently want to charge on the larger chakat. He swallowed, and decided to stay back for now.

Meanwhile Bryan took some support from the rack with his left hand, and kicked his opponent’s head with both of his front paws, and Randy fell. Then with bloody foam dripping from his muzzle, he picked up the first thing that happened to be near his hands. Unfortunately for Randy, this happened to be a heavy crowbar. As he lifted up his beaten head, Bryan growled and brought down his weapon, hitting straight into corner his opponent’s left eye, most likely making it useless for the rest of his days. Before he fell against the nearby rack, the new blow landed on his head. Then the black ‘haired’ wolftaur used his front paw to kick him into the soft-furred stomach, using the mass of his lower body to back it up, making him half-knowingly to gape his breath, and then kept on kicking and beating his helpless opponent.

After many blows and kicks he backed up a bit from a bloody mass that once was a wolftaur, and lifted his weapon with both hands to give the killing blow. But just when he was about to strike, something stopped his hand. He turned his head and saw the orange-furred chakat holding the crowbar at bay with hir strong hand. His rage grew as he growled, "Let go!"

"Haven't you had enough? Stop at once!" shi shouted, and refused to let go, meeting his eyes with an equal blaze.

After a moment of panting the crowbar grew heavier in his hands as the rage left him. The whole fight had lasted less than a minute, but the rampage had taken its toll. Shi let go of his weapon, and he put it down, noticing that the patch of Randy’s bloody hair and skin had stuck into it. He felt ill as he took a look at the bloody being lying in the corner, and stepped back with the chakat. Randy’s revived peers used the moment to retrieve their unconscious leader, carefully avoiding the two violators. Then they dragged their load outside, and neither of the remaining taurs bothered to look their way, while they took their leave from the bloody scene.

The pair slowly made their way back home after the horrible event. As Scarlet still tried to understand what had happened, Bryan tried to ease the bleeding in his mouth with his hand. He had apparently ripped his lips open with his teeth.

Shi was first to break the silence. "What was that all about?! That guy was an asshole, okay, but that's no excuse to..."

"I know," he mumbled. "But that doesn't matter. That's the same thing that happened at the airport, and the same thing that always gets me into trouble."

"You should really take some anger management, or something. You can't just solve all your problems with fists."

"That wouldn't help." He spit some blood. "Don't you see?! I can't control it! No one can! It's not like I want to be this way, but I'm just too afraid to resist! Returning here in my nightmares has only made it stronger, and encountering Randy just was the last straw."

Shi stopped. "How's that?"

He cast down his eyes. "He had a major part in my hellish childhood, for he made sure that my diversity from others didn't go unnoticed. Mocking and beating was more of a rule than an exception, and that's why I didn't have many friends. You can't possibly understand." Then he lifted his bloody lips and pointed his teeth "These five teeth had to be refitted after he knocked them out with a baseball bat."

Shi could say nothing. The wolftaur spit some more blood off his mouth and went on. "I told you that you would see new sides of me, very ugly sides. That's the true me, and don't I just hate it!"

Then he lifted his head. "Not to worry though. He would rather die than admit that I beat him, so we don't have to worry about any lawsuits, if anyone in this place even knows what those are. That's just not how justice is carried on here."

"Then what is?" shi asked, perhaps out of professional interest.

He looked hir straight into the eyes. "The strongest tells the weaker what to do. That is the only law here." Then closed his eyes. "Believe me. I know that pretty fucking well." He then started sobbing, and Scarlet offered him some support, as they slowly carried on their way.

Of course shi was used to seeing violence in hir job, but witnessing someone shi loved falling prone to it was something that shi just couldn't let pass. Not that there was much to do, however, and shi just decided to keep a closer eye on him at the future, but now the support of hir shoulder would do. At that moment shi did not know whether to blame or encourage him, so shi just decided to say nothing more. There was also something else that shi would have wanted to tell him, but this was not the time or place to do it.

The annoying bleeding fortunately stopped before they got back home, but Bryan still had to lie that he fell to curious Elsie. This vague explanation was tested when the elder brother took some alcohol from the closet to sterilize the wounds, and noticed that his knuckles were also bleeding. Fortunately Elsie settled with the explanation that, "...I tried to take support." Sharon didn't seem to take notice of the entire matter as she started to cook dinner, as expressionless as before.

In time, Jack returned from his trip, and the entire family gathered around the table for a joyless gathering. Everyone just chewed up their meal in silence, and previously friendly Jack and Sharon gave the chakat a suspicious looks at the times. The garrulous little wolftaur also knew to remain silent, for she sensed the heavy atmosphere. Even the food itself tasted somehow more lame.

Then Jack broke the silence. "So Bryan, have you decided yet?"

"Decided what?" he said as he swallowed a mouthful of macaroni.

"About your staying here."

"Yep. I don't think that we'll stay here much longer. Scarlet will return to hir duties in the Corps, and I still have some flights to do before getting the job."

"That's too bad. I would have needed some help on the station."

"Sorry, but you got your life and I got mine."

"Is that so? You just put your own desires over the family’s, right?"

He gave him a dirty look "I'm not going to have this conversation again."

The brother’s irritation grew "What conversation?"

He dropped his fork on the plate "About my responsibilities to the family going over my personal desires. My mind is made up and I'm not going to change it. Period."

Jack leaned back "That's so like you. Every time you are asked to do something you start this rambling about your problems."

"Well, haven't you thought of one thing - perhaps I don't feel like doing any favors to this family anymore. Perhaps I am sick of playing happy family while the old bastard tortured me on behind the scenes, and now you demand me of accepting it all."

The younger brother leaned forward and snarled, "Don't you speak about him in that tone! That's exactly what caught you in trouble in the first place!"

Scarlet could not help interfering "Hey! Break up you two! First you were so blood brothers, and now you're on each other’s throats. Can't we just talk this through?"

Then Sharon spoke for the first time in many hours "Oh, I think you have done enough talking ‘miss’. You have already talked yourself into this family, and now you have messed up just about everything."

Shi was stunned. "What? Are you blaming me for this?"

"Am I blaming you? Of course I'm blaming you!" she stood up from the sitting rug, and seemed to have found enough bravery to say things that she had bottled up for the entire day.

"Since you came the entire house has been in chaos! You have ruined your family, but that's not all! You have also messed the head of my son, and dragged him into your...perversions! You have turned him into some kind of homosexual freak!"

Bryan could not understand a word of this, but the expression on hir face told him everything that he needed to know.

She turned into him "And you! Do you think that you can just burst in here and do what you want? You have already brought us disgrace by running away, and now you did horrible things to that kid, Randy! You're such a great role-model for Elsie!"

Bryan swallowed. "So, you know."

"Of course I know! Everyone's speaking about it! Everyone's speaking about you, wreaking havoc on our peaceful town!"

"He saw it coming. How is it that everyone else in this town has a right to hit but me, anyway?"

She pointed her finger on him "Don't you speak about it on that tone! Even with all his faults, Jerry was a good husband and a father! At least he taught you to respect the rules!"

Now he had had enough. He stood on all fours, and despite of hir grabbing his elbow, stepped in front of his mother "A good father? The only reason for you to say that is that you closed your eyes for all of his abuse! He never was my father, good or bad!"

Now Sharon’s anger had been partly replaced by sorrow. Jack tried to say something, but his brother stopped him by pointing him with his fist. Then his tone turned as icy as possible. "Yes. I know that I'm adopted, so don't you dare to preach me about my responsibilities to the family."

"So you knew. And you still dare to blame us for taking you in?"

"Sure the hell I do! You and the old bastard didn't even have enough backbone to tell me about it, but you seemed to think that beating it out of me was a better solution, right?!"

Then Sharon lifted his hand and gave Bryan a hard slap into the muzzle. When his eyes returned to her, he saw tears in her eyes. Then Jack stood up and comforted his mother putting his hands on her shoulders. Then he spoke "You two better leave now. I think you have done enough damage."

Bryan met the eyes of his stepbrother, but found only stranger. Then he sighed and laid his cold eyes into the family "He's still here. He's gone but you pretend that he isn't. You still want someone to beat and torture you, someone to keep this family together, but that's not me. I've sacrificed too much for your sake already." Then he wiped his paws on the sitting rug as Scarlet too stood up "You are fools. He's still holding you in chokehold, and you'd rather die than get free. I've had enough of this crap." He laid his eyes on his stepmother "If you want to weep again, then go on, for now you have lost both a husband and a son."

Then the exiled wolftaur turned his eyes to sobbing Elsie, stepped closer and gave her a comforting hug. "I'm sorry. This is not how this was supposed to go." Then he whispered into her ear. "Remember this: I'm proud of you and I will always believe in you, even if no-one else will. Just don't let them steal your dream, for it's all that you have really got." Then they drew apart and Bryan turned his back to the mess that he had once called family, without being able to bring himself to say goodbye.

Then he walked to the door, followed by a surprised chakat. Shi would have liked to see this thing talked through, but apparently that was not the way to get things done in this family. Shi also knew that no matter what they would do, Sharon would most likely never learn to accept their relationship. In her mind she had already cast her son and the ‘sexual freak’ out of the family, and there was nothing that a stranger could do about it. ‘No point in trying to convince her otherwise, for her opinion is her own,’ shi thought as shi too turned hir back on the broken family.

But when the wolftaur got to the shelves, he took a last glance at the pictures on it. The sight of painful moments on gilded frames was just too much, and he released his anger by smashing down the entire collection with his arm. The broken glass spread all over the floor, and he could clearly see the shocked expressions on the faces of each family member. Elsie was still sobbing, and Sharon could not stop crying, but that did not matter to him, and now he could admit it. Then he stepped out of the door with his mate and slammed it shut, breaking one hinge in the process.

Bryan leant his head on the driver’s seat and sighed deeply, as they entered their vehicle. Scarlet could not help feeling sorry for what had happened, even if shi knew that hir mate’s family took all of the blame. For a moment they just sat in silence and watched the sun go down to the horizon.

Then shi spoke, "I guess this was not supposed to go that way, huh?"

"You said it. This time I screwed up worse than ever. And they sure didn't give us much encouragement."

"Well, at least no-one can blame us for not trying."

"I wouldn't be too sure about that." He closed his eyes. "Or anything else upon that matter."

Then shi gathered some courage, "Bryan, about that thing I've wanted to tell you..."

"Just get on with it."

Shi sighed. "I'm pregnant."

He opened his eyes, and slowly turned to face hir. "What?"

"I'm pregnant, and it's yours."

"But... how can you know?"

"We chakats know these things. Believe me, for I know."

"But...we've done it many times before... and you have never... the chances are... with my low fertility score and all..."

"This thing was bound to happen. The chance of me becoming pregnant by you is small, but it existed, and now it has happened. Remember last night? I had come to heat."

"Oh great!" he sighed and leaned back, closing his eyes. Of course he loved hir and wanted to give hir a child, but this had just come in a very bad time.

Shi put hir paw on his chest. "What are you going to do now?"

He pondered for a moment, but then he put his paw on hirs, and looked hir straight into the eyes. "Drive us out of here, to home, and I mean the real home. This place is not for me, or you, or the child."

The pair shared a kiss, and then he looked out of the window "I promise that shi will grow up being loved, unlike hir father." He looked hir into the eyes one more time. "Together we will make it."

Shi returned the look. "I am sure of it, my love."

Then he started the engine, and steered the car out of the yard. As they reached the rusty gate, he switched on the radio. A song started playing, and they both leaned back on their taur-fitted seats to listen to it. From the speakers echoed the song of Whiplash, called No Return. They both let the steady beat of the rhythm-guitar fill their bodies, and listened the lyrics, and they could not help wondering about the sense of humor that fate sometimes had.

As the breeze takes away
The blood and sweat of the day
And it makes me think
How I stand in the brink (of my life)

Then came the guitars, and the whole piece turned out to be sort of a mix of punk, blues and rock.

Now I loose my grip
And take this trip
For it's time to make
The leap of faith

There's no return
No coming back
Into this inbred pack
'cause there's no return
I'm not coming back
By following my own track

As the sun dies
Upon the bloodshot eyes
It makes the familiar mourning sound
And that's why I don't want to turn around

What I've done today
The tomorrow will soon take away
Yet one thing's sure, what might it be?
It's that now I'm finally free

There's no return
No coming back
Into this inbred pack
'cause there's no return
I'm not coming back

And as the solo came, the two lovers drove out of the village. If you looked from the petrol station, you could see how the two taurs disappeared into the setting sun.

That would be the last time that they would be seen around this place.


Story copyright © 2005 Ever-Frost   (

Chakats and the Chakat Universe are the creations of Bernard Doove and are used with permission.

Link:  Return to the Forest Tales main page.

[Link to the main Den page]
Follow the paws back to the Chakat's Den™ main page.