Author's Note: Read the keywords. If you don't like it, don't read it. If you're not into it, I encourage you to read through anyway for some nice romance between some adorable characters. Story is copyright to its author, and appropriate characters are copyright to Yiffyhusky. Many thanks to him for the support and patience during this story's creation.
"Ohhh God, honey, yeah...just like that, in between the toes...aww man, that feels good..."
The malamute at the other end of the couch glances my way, asking with his eyes if he's doing it right. Since I can't keep my tongue in my muzzle long enough to reply, he takes the hint and moves one set of gloved fingers down the ball, just past the pad into the arch where it's only fur. How can something you don't even walk on be so sore at the end of the day? Andrew presses in and I flinch, but at the edges of the pain is a pleasure I can't describe.
Did I mention I love foot rubs? Did I mention I love my hubby?
Did I mention I'm pregnant? Of course I didn't. But here I am, drooling onto our couch, my head laid back because I can't do much else with this belly.
"How was work today?" I ask dreamily, partly to make conversation and partly because he's still winding down from his latest derring-do.
"Both." Looking down at his fingers, he seems to ponder his response. It's a simple question, but I've gotten used to this sort of thing from him lately. We both have moments of introspection, but it's the conversations that really get things done. Like what to call the thing inside me when it comes out. A Dalamute? A Malatian? A Mutatian? I suppose it won't matter, because it'll be ours. Somehow.
Andrew (or should I say Timewarp, since he's still in his costume) considers my formerly-flat stomach, with its popped "outie" stretched so thin you can see the pink skin underneath. It's like the pup's pushed all my spots out of the way. How the hell will it come out?
"School was the same as usual. We're deep into continuum mechanics, and the students just got their midterms back yesterday. Had a special demonstration today with non-Newtonian fluids."
I raise my head and look at him with a sweet, endearing smile. "In English, dear."
"We put some oobleck on a subwoofer and played Skrillex. It was pretty cool." At least now I know what he's talking about.
"And the after-work work?"
"Feh." He throws his arms up. "Shadow Fang tried using his antimatter gun to rob a bakery downtown. It backfired and made a miniature black hole that ended up sucking the gun in before self-destructing." Glancing toward me, he grins, and I can feel his tail trying to wag against the back of the couch. "I kicked his ass a little anyway. I had to, it's what I do."
I'm not going to argue with him. He's good at most things that involve asses, especially mine. "Someone should've told him the cake was a lie."
"His whole M.O. is a lie," Andrew says, moving down to my heel pad, which is even sorer than my arch even though I only walk on my toes. Instead of pain, however, I feel a tingle that travels up my right leg and sits at the base of my tail, making me groan and scritch his ear with my other foot. We both notice the pink starting to show between my legs.
He's that good.
"Anyway," my malamute continues, "I think he's just given up. Doesn't think through his schemes, and everyone who's fought him recently just bitches that he's no challenge. But, I mean, it's what we do. We put them in jail, and they get out and hatch something different."
"At least you'll never be out of a job." Andrew grimaces, and even though I can't see his eyes through his mask I can tell I've struck a nerve. He's worried. And it's not just about money; I'm on medical leave from work and he's got tenure at San Diego State, so no problem there. It's the rest that's the problem.
I know he'll make a great daddy. We both will. If Timewarp can slow the world down to a crawl, Andrew Jordan can change a dirty diaper. Maybe combining the two will help in some way; I don't know.
Before he starts to brood, I say, "I love you," and his entire face brightens up, as if a veil had been lifted. It never fails. He can't stay down for long...in or out of bed. His paw leaves my foot and travels up my leg, his fingers splaying out around the base of my stretched sheath before sliding halfway over my belly.
The grin turns mischievous.
I've never been so glad to have been kidnapped from a supermarket in my life.
Fate could be a capricious bitch. How else would the husband of a superhero end up kidnapped from a supermarket?
Jason had only wanted some guacamole. Now he was naked, strapped to a table and rolling his eyes while the jackal laughed her ass off with sanctimonious pride.
All in all, not a good Tuesday.
It had all started, as most bad Tuesdays do, with noble intentions: the Dalmatian had been busy filling out reports (firefighting was all well and good, but a desk job was a much safer bet) when he'd been struck by a craving for something--anything--savory. And the bag of chipotle-lime tortilla chips in his desk drawer was calling to him. And a bag of tortilla chips needed guacamole. Not any guacamole, but Jason's own custom blend of avocados, garlic and onions. The "bad breath special," as Andrew called it.
On his lunch break, the Dalmatian had walked the few blocks down from his building to the local supermarket to grab supplies. If he hurried, he'd be able to get back and make a bowl in his office to accompany not only the chips, but some chicken enchiladas from last night that were to be his lunch for today.
What he got, however, after humming a tune all the way there and striding through the door, was a bunch of grief he didn't deserve.
As soon as the door slid closed behind him he felt uneasy. He couldn't pinpoint it at first, but when he saw the empty check stands and equally empty aisles, and realized he could clearly hear the Muzak for the first time, he suddenly wasn't that hungry for guacamole anymore.
"Hello?" Jason's voice was barely audible above the music, so it was no wonder he didn't get a response. After considering turning around and leaving, his curiosity got the better of him and the Dalmatian turned down the nearest aisle (cookies and crackers), tiptoeing as he went.
When he came to the end cap he peeked around the corner between bags of peanut-butter-flavored Milkbones. The cross aisle was littered with various and assorted food products, seemingly dropped as if their owners had quit their shopping and run out. Which was probably what they had done, and what Jason should have done if he were smart. But he heard voices coming from the back of the store near the pharmacy. One of them sounded upset.
The Dalmatian may have had a desk job at the Emergency Response Unit, but he was still a firefighter and a first responder. Before, the only thing keeping him from charging through the aisles was the chance he could get shot. That chance still existed, but at least now he had a semblance of the element of surprise.
After padding over to the household cleaning supplies and grabbing a broom handle, Jason zigzagged his way back to the pharmacy section. Once he was nestled safely between a shelf of insoles and a shelf of condoms (How ironic, he would think later) he brought the handle to bear and listened.
"Truly, miss, I don't understand what you--" came a male's voice.
"Understand? I don't expect you to understand, I expect you to deliver!" A female's voice, authoritative and quite bitchy. "I am Anubia, and you shall do as I say!"
Jason rolled his eyes. Anubia? That's the best you can do? But when he peeked around the corner the mean-looking blaster gun aimed at the head of the poor beaver pharmacist behind the counter gave him pause.
Behind the gun was a jackal, at least as much as the Dalmatian could tell from what little fur wasn't covered by her black-and-gold body suit. The tight material accentuated her athletic curves, with gold accents on her ears, eyes and claws. Glyphs adorned her shoulders and back, though what they meant was anyone's guess.
Anubia used her thumb to flick a toggle on the side of the blaster, and an electric whine filled the air. "Your job is to fill a bag with every birth-control pill you have in this miserable excuse for a pharmacy, or I'll make sure your wife and kids have nothing but a pile of ashes to hold a funeral for." Typical villain speech, but by the look of the gun Jason didn't doubt she could pull it off.
"Fine, okay," the beaver said, his paws going to his sides as he bent forward.
"No funny business!" the jackal snapped.
"No, no, just a bag." Holding up a white trash bag, the pharmacist shuffled around the counter, trembling. Eventually he said, "I-I have to go in the back. They're all in the back."
"So's the door. I see your game, Bucky."
"No, really!" The beaver looked close to fainting now. "All the bulk medications are shelved back there."
Never losing her aim, the jackal jumped onto the counter and then behind it. Jason saw his opening when her back was turned and stepped out from hiding.
He hadn't thought about the pharmacist seeing him, though, and when the beaver's eyes moved past Anubia Jason tried to get him to look away. That only resulted in the jackal turning around and spoiling the whole thing.
"It seems we have an interloper!" she announced, bringing the blaster to bear right between the Dalmatian's eyes, which crossed as they focused on the barrel.
Jason dropped the broom handle and raised his paws. "Why don't you put the gun down so we can talk about this?"
It was at that moment that three things happened almost at once. They heard sirens approaching quickly from a distance. The pharmacist took that as a sign and decided to be a hero by sneaking up behind Anubia and throwing the empty trash bag over her head. And the jackal reacted strongly, first calling out and then pulling the trigger on the blaster.
Jason had no time to react before everything turned bright white, then faded to black.
The first thing the Dalmatian thought (when the capacity for thought had returned) was Thank God I'm alive.
The second thought was Why the hell am I naked?
It was dark. It always seemed to be dark when one awoke from unconsciousness to find himself in an evil laboratory, and this was no exception. The exception was that, as he tried to lift his head to look around, all he could manage to see was the tip of his sheath before the neck strap cut off his air.
From what the Dalmatian could make out, he was in a space the size of an aircraft hangar. Soft beeps came from behind him and to his left, no doubt from some computer or analysis equipment. He heard mumbling off to his right, probably from the jackal. And right next to the cold metal table to which he was strapped sat a tank covered in lights and readouts, hissing gently. It was to this tank that the mask covering his muzzle was attached.
"Ah, you've come around," said the disembodied voice of Anubia before the jackal hovered into view above Jason's head. "Usually I kill interlopers, but you can thank that beaver for getting you transported here instead of merely being vaporized. I hadn't changed the setting yet, lucky you. You'll do nicely anyway."
"What do you mean?" asked the Dalmatian, his voice echoing back at him with an eerie hollowness. His own warm breath circulated back onto his nose, adding some unwelcome claustrophobia.
Bringing the stethoscope she was wearing to Jason's chest, Anubia felt around the dog's breastbone...heart...stomach...and got perilously close to his nethers before withdrawing. "Since you decided to be the hero and step in the way of my plans, you can be the first test subject. I was hoping to start with some women, but I'm not about to let a little Y-chromosome get in my way. And if it doesn't work, it'll at least be fun to watch."
All for some fucking guacamole. The straps over Jason's limbs felt even tighter now. And--it was crazy, but it was what he was thinking--he was worried about what the guys at the office would think about his disappearance from work. And then he thought about Andrew, and his heart just sank. He didn't even get to say goodbye.
Even so, he steadied his voice. "Why can't you just let me go?"
"Because you got in the way," the jackal snarked.
"What about the pharmacist?"
"He gave me what I wanted, in the end. After I blasted you, I got out of that bag and took control again. So, you see, you didn't really matter after all."
Jason continued. "If I don't matter, why not let me go?"
"Ah," chuckled Anubia as she maneuvered out of eyeshot to tweak a machine or somesuch. "Not only did you royally piss me off," she said, "but now you know where my lair is."
"No, I don't. We're inside it; how am I supposed to know where?" He cried out when he felt the jackal's paw slap across the side of his face, knocking the mask askew.
"I would hardly say you're in a position to argue." Anubia adjusted the mask back onto Jason's face and went back to her work.
For the third time in his life, the Dalmatian was legitimately scared. The first time had been the time he was trapped in the back of a burning house. The little lion cub was the last one to be rescued, and the roof had collapsed, trapping them in a back bedroom. If his team hadn't come through the outside wall with axes neither of them would have made it.
The second time had been the night the Stupendous Six had been called in to defuse a bomb--literally. Some wacko former nuclear scientist had found a way to re-commission radioactive waste and had raided Yucca Mountain with an army of minions. After a ten-hour standoff, the Six had had enough, storming the facility and dispatching most of the goons. But not until they reached the deepest chambers and confronted the guy did they realize he'd been activating barrel after barrel, planning to trap them and obliterate them. Timewarp had thrown a bubble around the group just as the explosion started. Even at speed, the malamute had been hard-pressed to outrun the blast as it vaporized everything for two miles.
And this time didn't look much better. Jason had put himself in danger many times before, but back then it had been his job. None of this was his fault. Well, maybe some of it. The broom-wielding part. But who could blame the husband of a superhero for being a little power-jealous?
He was just beginning to blink the first tears out of his eyes when the machines started to whine, a soft warble. But when he heard Anubia swear softly under her breath and run across the space, he knew something was up.
"Trouble in paradise?" Asked the Dalmatian despite his still-warm cheek.
"Quiet, you," the jackal snapped. "Shit!" She must have been looking out a window or something. Then the machines started to warble louder until they weren't machines anymore. They were police sirens. How they'd found this place Jason couldn't even begin to guess, but it was a miracle.
The second miracle came in the form of a loud crash, followed by a bright light that hurt the Dalmatian's eyes. He heard a cry from the jackal, and smelled a scent that sent his heart soaring.
"Who--no, it can't be." Anubia said in a dramatic tone. She couldn't possibly have been acting. "You're..."
Jason turned his head down as much as he could, barely catching sight of a flash of green boot. Timewarp glanced toward the table and did a double-take. Confusion clouded his face before he recognized his hubby. At that moment the Dalmatian knew it was all over.
"Your worst nightmare," growled the malamute. "I don't know what you're doing to him, but it ends now." Timewarp started to jog over to the table while the jackal went for her blaster.
"She's got a gun!" Jason yelled as soon as he thought the malamute was close enough to hear.
"Are you okay?" Timewarp's paws came out, ready to rest upon the Dalmatian's chest, but he pulled back before he could get himself in trouble by revealing their relationship. It was an unfortunate but cardinal rule of these kinds of things.
A pop rang out. Well, half a pop at least. Before the report was complete, Jason's ears clicked with a dull whump, a wave like heat-shimmer emanated from Timewarp's forehead and enveloped them both. The malamute looked to his right, then bent his head back just before the white-hot blaster beam crawled its way through the space separating them. Electricity and heat crackled and made the malamute's face look ghostly, but the effect was oddly romantic.
"Much better now that you're here." Jason chanced an air-kiss, hidden by both the mask and the time-bubble, and that made Andrew smile, his whited-out eyes somehow shining behind his own mask all the same. Then the bubble left the Dalmatian and his husband blinked seemingly out of existence.
Timewarp blinked back in again about ten feet from the place where Anubia's ray hit the side of the hangar and fizzled out harmlessly.
"Honey, you're gonna have to do better than that."
"Come on, husky boy," the jackal goaded, shooting again.
Timewarp blinked around the hangar a few times, always just a split second before he could be transported/vaporized/whatevered by Anubia's weapon. "I'm..."
"Dang it!" With those last words, Timewarp blinked in right behind the jackal and laced his fingers over her stomach, lifting her off the floor with her feet kicking to no avail. This, however, only succeeded in severely pissing off the jackal, who started firing blindly. One of the blasts came perilously close to frying one of Jason's floppy ears off, and it was shortly after this that the malamute decided enough was enough and just kicked the woman across the room.
Being the melodramatic villain, Anubia spun her arms wildly, which only served to throw her even more off balance. When she hit the floor the blaster skittered out of reach in about ten pieces. With the grace of a feline (and none of the subtlety), the jackal kicked back up to a crouch just as Timewarp lunged in an attempt to subdue her.
If he'd been just a little more sure on his feet. If she hadn't been such a bitch. If a lot of things, but as it was, Anubia delivered a roundhouse kick at the same moment the malamute had been expecting something lower, and even though he blocked it he was thrown back in his own comical interpretation of a windmill. Jason had only enough time to close his eyes before Timewarp slammed into the machine, denting it quite badly. He didn't even apologize; he just growled and launched himself back at the evil woman.
If he'd stopped to listen, he would have heard the soft beeping the Dalmatian heard, along with the whisper of gas traveling through lines and hoses, creeping up toward the mask. Jason opened his mouth to call to the malamute, but he only had time to suck his lungs full of clean air before the greenish gas filled the mask. Now it was up to Timewarp.
Jason needn't have worried. His husband had only been part of the Stupendous Six for two years or so, but in that time he'd trained with some of the best. Calmly holding his breath, the Dalmatian turned as much as he could and watched as the malamute summarily beat the shit out of Anubia, blinking back and forth so fast he was nearly invisible. In less than a minute she was coughing up blood onto the floor with nary a limb free to wipe her muzzle. Before Jason's lungs started to ache, the mask was off and so were the straps.
"My hero," murmured the Dalmatian dreamily, batting his eyelids. Timewarp would have been fine, but it was Andrew who blushed.
Just then, the police burst through the door on the opposite end of the hangar, guns drawn and flashlights searching. A time bubble whumped around them and the officers stopped moving, or appeared to.
"Come on," Andrew said, wrapping the dog in his cape. "Let's let the cops do their job now that I've made it nice and easy." Without another word, the malamute curled his substantial arms about Jason's waist. Five seconds later they were out through the hole in the roof and three hangars away.
As soon as the time-bubble whumped away, Timewarp's lips were on his in a deep, desperate kiss. Plastering the Dalmatian to the corrugated metal, the malamute first licked all over Jason's muzzle and then in it, as welcome as it was surprising. Cool air flapped the forest-green cape around his naked body, but he wasn't the slightest bit shivery.
After they parted, the malamute pulled his mask up and he was just plain old Andrew again. His eyes shone in the moonlight, a contrasting blue to the green-and-grey uniform. For the first time the Dalmatian realized night had fallen, and he wondered how much time had passed while he'd been unconscious.
"How in the hell did you get mixed up in something like that?" he asked, failing to cover the accompanying quaver.
"Wrong place at the wrong time," Jason explained. "I swear, that's all it was. I had a hankering for guacamole, so I went to the store on my lunch break. She was already there when I walked in; the whole store was empty except for the pharmacy." He looked away when Andrew's eyes narrowed at him. "I shoulda left, but first I was curious. Then it kinda got out of hand."
"No shit." Sitting back, Andrew continued, "The beaver said you saved him with a broom. He was pretty hysterical about it. He thought you were dead."
"I'm sorry, Andrew."
"I thought you were dead."
"I'm sorry!" Jason cried, holding the malamute to him. Only now the full effect of what he'd done, of what could have happened, dawned on him. He could have very easily gotten dead. But he was safe now, and that mattered more than anything.
"As long as you've learned to leave the crime fighting to the pros," Andrew murmured as he held Jason's nodding head in his lap. The malamute's musk permeated his skin-tight suit in comforting warm waves. It was almost as romantic as being lit by deadly blaster fire. He nuzzled Andrew's flat stomach. Then he nuzzled lower, near the essence of him. When the yielding bulge failed to yield, he brought his head up, dizzy from the scent.
Andrew said it for him. "I love you too much to have you do stupid shit like that."
This time Jason started the kiss. He didn't care that they were on top of a hangar near a crush of police cruisers and flashing lights. They were the highest thing out here, and if anyone were in such an impossibly advantageous position as to be able to see them, then the show would be worth the effort. This time they tongue-battled just as thoroughly as they had ever since they'd met, but it never got old.
When Andrew didn't resist the Dalmatian's paw roaming down his stomach to cup his hardening length, Jason kept his fingers there, feeling the ever-changing details through the thin green lycra separating pads from flesh. It quickly outgrew its confines and began to creep up the malamute's uniform, birthing dark spots as it went.
"You have to admit," Jason said between licks, "you like some of the stupid shit I do. This is pretty stupid, out in the open."
"I can fix that," Andrew replied, tugging his mask back down, rendering his eyes ghostlike once again. "Hold on." Jason knew what that meant, and as soon as he'd snuggled himself back-to, they began to hover a few feet above the hangar roof. Then they ascended, slowly at first for the sake of the Dalmatian's stomach, then faster until the whole of the city was spread out beneath them in a blanket of organic, twinkling light. Up here the sun was still setting, where on the ground it was full-on dark. The effect was nothing short of mesmerizing.
Once the traffic on the highways looked more like ants with lights, the malamute slowed them to a stop. "Five thousand feet ought to do it. Out of traffic patterns and too small to show up on radar. Now, where were we?"
Jason squirmed around until he was facing his superhero husband. He wrapped his legs around the thick, solid hips and squeezed until the damp bulge pressed under his balls. "You were kissing me."
"Oh, yeah. But first..." Timewarp reached down to tug his uniform out of the way, freeing himself to flop against the Dalmatian's sheath, which was also full to bursting. After skinning both back (to which they uttered twin sighs of relief), he held the hover while they made out yet again.
It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. The same could be said for crisis. Not only does it make you thankful for those you hold dear, the trauma swings the brain from one extreme to the other. When that surge goes between the legs, things go in the natural direction. And that direction, for Jason, was underneath his tail.
Timewarp started flying once he'd laid a good amount of pre between the Spotty's legs, which wasn't too difficult with the ten inches he sported. Dangling beneath him, Jason held on thanks to the malamute's strong arms and his own legs. Several times he felt the fat tip nudge his balls to one side or the other before sliding down to the cleft at the base of his tail. It even made its way inside, but barely. The third time it found its mark the malamute surged forward and rammed himself home, the first six inches splitting him open painlessly.
Jason was used to it, after all.
Floating slowly above the city, muzzles clamped together, the canines made love as the sun cast the last of its fading light over their bodies. Jason went from being grateful to have such a loving partner to being unashamedly horny, humping his own cock against the malamute's belly as Timewarp thrust more and more of his length into the Spotty below him. Eventually they had to break the kiss, but Jason settled his muzzle underneath the strong chin and rode it out, simultaneously hoping it would never end and silently begging the malamute to breed him.
Neither of them heard the ducks until they were engulfed in a cacophony of quacking, snapping bills and feathers everywhere. Jason felt like he was being attacked by a thousand soft swords all at once; though he felt no pain, it was an unpleasant surprise. Then his stomach lurched, he heard Timewarp calling his name and he realized his ass was no longer full of cock.
He was falling. The lights of the city rushed up to meet him at an ever-increasing speed. By the time he'd drawn in enough air to start screaming, he felt a tremendous jerk and suddenly he was back in Timewarp's arms again, accelerating back up into the night sky. Once they were hovering again, the malamute spoke into his ear from behind.
"You okay? I didn't see the ducks. Kinda busy."
"I didn't even have time to get scared," Jason replied, turning to lick the side of his husband's muzzle. "I'll never get used to your time bubbles though. Not when I'm on the wrong side of them, anyway." Insistent hardness prodded at his backside. "You didn't even get a little soft, you horn-dog."
Clutching the Dalmatian about the buttocks, the malamute had a grin in his voice. "How could I, when you're around?" Jason's left leg went up, and the cock returned to its rightful place, this time sliding in all the way to the knot. The swell of the shaft was a pleasant fullness under his tail.
"Oh, you," Jason said. Then he moaned. "Oh, Andrew..." And he would have moaned again if not for the malamute's tongue on his and the clasp of his fingers as he flew them both over the city with the effortless grace of the supernatural. It was times like this when the Dalmatian could be glad for the accident that led to the malamute's powers. Some can say they're part of the Mile-High Club, but no one besides Jason could claim to have taken it so literally.
Timewarp thrust his full weight against the Spotty, their lips never parting, and Jason never wanted to leave. His ears plastered themselves against his head with the force of the air as they sped up past what had to be a hundred miles an hour, racing to and fro and looping back again in sweeping arcs that made him giddy and lightheaded. He was heavy one second and floating the next, tied and then not, but fucked the whole time.
Grunting into his mouth, the malamute clutched him around the waist and held him fast, shooting forward until everything was a roar that drowned out all other sound. Timewarp tried futilely to tie again but only succeeded in flooding the Dalmatian's rump with cum, which was decent consolation. It blazed a fiery trail deep up in Jason, who came just from the pressure of it all. Each contraction was accompanied by splatters on his feet (and likely Timewarp's nice boots) as the wind scattered his seed like soda poured out of an open car window.
Jason almost felt bad for the people on the ground who would be victims of his climax. Almost.
They stayed that way during the flight home, and despite the evening chill the Dalmatian could have sworn he was glowing.
Jason stood in the dark bathroom, staring into blackness. The only sounds he heard were his own breathing and the hum from the fridge in the kitchen. He could feel his pulse, too, up in his ears, racing a mile a minute for no reason at all. Even though work had ended at five, he'd stopped off at the gym to work out.
For the second time that day.
He was exhausted and achy. He stank, and though Andrew might find that appealing the Dalmatian wasn't comfortable in the slightest. He would have taken a shower before coming home, but...
_But you couldn't bear to have them look. _ Which was true.
A pang of nausea rolled his stomach into a Celtic knot, reminding him of what he'd endured off and on for the past three months. At first Andrew had suggested it was the flu, but after two weeks and a visit to the doctor, they'd ruled that out. The malamute had suggested it might be post-traumatic stress from Jason's capture and rescue, though getting fucked senseless in midair had helped quite a bit.
And he hadn't inhaled any of that gas from Anubia's machine, so they ruled that out automatically.
But then it was stomach cramps. And vomiting. Usually twice a week, sometimes as much as five. It had tapered off until recently, and now nearly every day Jason went to work and munched on saltines just to keep his hunger at bay. He should have been down ten or fifteen pounds by now.
Except he was up twenty. Which was why the Dalmatian didn't want to turn on the bathroom light. But if he wanted to get on with his life, he'd have to take a shower and smell presentable before his husband came home. So he flicked the switch, wincing at his mostly-white fur in the harsh light before his eyes adjusted.
There it was, barely perceptible under his baggy shirt, but he knew it was there. He could almost feel it inside him, multiplying and just waiting to explode in a hideous blob of belly fat.
"I'm not even old," he mumbled, not at all liking the wimpiness in his voice. His stomach was sore from the two hundred crunches he'd done at the gym, but he might as well have been on the couch eating ice cream. When he pulled the shirt over his head, the same little paunch stared back at him.
His abs were history.
Well, not completely. What was left of them bulged gently below his pecs, still mildly defined but not for long if his body kept this up. It looked like someone had placed a big saline breast implant too low. And only one of them. In the wrong body. He looked fat.
Still, he brought himself to run his fingers over the stomach that used to be flat--concave, even. Then the thought entered his mind.
The big C. I have cancer. There's a giant tumor growing inside of me and it's probably already metastasized and...
He heard the front door open, its familiar squeak followed by the clunk of Andrew's briefcase on the tile entryway.
"Sorry I'm late," the malamute called. "I was grading papers and got called in to help with a couple small robberies. Nothing too bad, but I picked us up some Chinese to make up for it."
Jason doffed his shorts and jumped into the shower, turning up the water to mask his voice. "Thanks!" he shouted fake-cheerily. "I was feeling kinda chow meiny anyway." In truth, he felt like throwing up. Which wouldn't be good, because he hadn't had much to eat today. He'd be chundering bile and bits of cracker and coffee. He began to soap up, trying his best to ignore his midsection. He mostly failed.
Andrew had already set the table by the time the Dalmatian toweled off and padded into the kitchen, his robe tied loosely around his middle to hide his unsightly bulge. Plates of chow mein and fried rice sat across from each other at the small table, steaming. They actually smelled good, for a change. Coming around the back of the table, Jason hugged the now-shirtless malamute from behind as he poured glasses of water.
"Mmmm." Andrew leaned back into the embrace. "What's that for?"
"Cuz you bring me food and I love you." Jason realized he was hugging his husband like one straight man would hug a friend, a platonic A-frame. He felt ashamed, but he couldn't bring himself to get closer. His reflection was still too fresh in his mind.
Dinner was good. At least, the food was good. The restaurant had been family-owned for eighty years or so, and there was a reason it hadn't gone out of business. It was also close to home.
Jason engaged Andrew in conversation about his day at work, and the malamute did the same in return. It was pleasant, normal, everyday stuff, except at the back of his mind the Dalmatian was screaming. He ate a healthy portion of the chow mein, but skipped the rice. When he pushed his plate forward, Andrew gave him a dubious look. They had been together too long for it to not be unnoticeable.
"What do you mean?" Jason asked, picking up the rest of his place setting and reaching over for Andrew's empty plate. He couldn't help looking at the malamute's abs and feeling intensely, insecurely jealous. He didn't much like it. "I'm not that hungry tonight. Had a birthday party at the office, and there was cake."
"Why are you lying?" A paw lay atop Jason's wrist and kept him from clearing the table. He couldn't not look his husband in the face now. "I'm not an empath, but you're not fooling me. Come on, Jason, what's up?"
Jason should have known he wouldn't be able to hold it in for long, once the malamute caught on. When his chest started hitching, Andrew was around the table and by his side so fast he didn't have time for tears.
"Alright, well, that's not nothing, so you're gonna come with me into the bedroom and we're gonna lay down on the bed and you're gonna tell me what's wrong with you." He got as far as pulling the Dalmatian away from the table before Jason wrenched free. "What the hell?"
Off went the robe, and Jason stood nude in the middle of the apartment, which was nothing new except for the fact that he was trying not to cry. "Look at me!" he almost shouted, his voice breaking. "That's what's wrong with me." He placed his paws on his belly, his fingers splaying apart where they hadn't a few months before.
Andrew gave it nothing more than a cursory glance. "You gain a little weight and you go crazy on me? It happens to everybody at some time or another. We're both getting older, you know."
"You're still fine," Jason retorted. "And this isn't just normal weight. There's no reason for me to have put it on!"
"Maybe you've been skipping the gym lately. Skimping on the crunches."
"I'm doing twice as many crunches! I hurt all over, I was on the treadmill jogging for an hour after work, and it's not the first time I've done that, either. I can hardly keep anything down, and when I do, it's fucking crackers and not much else. I should be emaciated by now."
"You seemed to like your Chinese fine," the malamute pointed out. "Except for the rice."
"And I love the rice! But I'm fat!" Jason was pacing around the kitchen area, more frustrated than upset now. Seeing Andrew's cool head kept him from giving in to his own fears.
Andrew shrugged. "Maybe you're pregnant." When Jason gawked at him, the malamute shrugged again.
"Thanks for all your support." Now his stomach was beginning to roil around on itself, the chow mein settling uncomfortably like a blob of goo. And all through this--all through his suffering--the malamute was smiling as if none of it mattered.
"We can try it, you know. I've got a test in the bathroom."
"Why...why would you have a pregnancy test? You had better not be cheating on me, Andrew. Because I know you're not all the way on this side of the fence. But it wouldn't matter anyway, because we'd be totally over and--" He was surrounded by malamute muscles before he could go any further. He was panting hard, almost hyperventilating.
"Jason. First of all, it was a joke. Second of all, I'm not seeing any women. Ew. And third, if you knew me by now, you'd know I don't care what you look like because I love you. Just don't go becoming a doughball on me."
"I don't know what's going on," Jason croaked.
"Stressing about it won't help," Andrew soothed. "If anything, it makes it worse. If you're that adamant, let's make an appointment with the doctor and he'll check everything out. Aren't you due for a prostate massage...er, exam soon?"
Jason had to smile. He never lasted long under Andrew's constant levity. The more upset he got, the cooler the malamute became, always cancelling out his negative energy with positive, lighthearted thinking. "You do that just fine yourself, mister." He couldn't help his paw traveling down between Andrew's legs, feeling the potential there. It was reassuring, in a way.
"We can still try it out," said the malamute, pressing against the Dalmatian's palm. "I'll even help you pee on the little strip. Can you piss through a boner?"
"Depends on how boner-y I get."
Andrew led him to the bathroom by the paw, his tail wagging slowly. Opening the medicine cabinet, the malamute pulled a pink box from the top shelf (it had been hiding under Band-Aids and gauze) and took the test out. Looking at it for the first time, his stomach did a new flip. Though it was silly, it was the thing many women depended on for the most important news in their lives.
"Get in the tub," Andrew instructed. "Doctor's orders." Holding onto his husband, Jason stepped back into the tub he'd just showered in, feeling like a fool but loving the malamute all the same for it. The gesture was what counted, and it really counted now. Once he was over the edge, Andrew began massaging his sheath until an inch or so peeked out, enough to angle downward.
"I just peed, but I'll try," Jason said, giggling in spite of himself. Andrew reached over to the counter and turned on the tap to just a trickle. "You know that's a myth. It never works."
"Oh yeah? Hold yourself, will ya?" Andrew leaned in close, holding the test strip in front of the Dalmatian's groin while his other paw snaked around his back to press below his belly. In less than a minute, his bladder let go and he soaked the strip with a healthy stream. Since he was already there, the rest of it went down the drain. Having the malamute hold him the whole time was more romantic than he would have expected, and he made a note for the future.
Andrew said, "Now, we wait. Damn, and me without my cigars."
"Shut up and help me clear the dishes. We have five minutes before your joke's over."
"Yes, dear." It was more like eight minutes, after Jason discovered the dishwasher was full of clean stuff and had to empty it out before putting the dirties in. When that was done, the malamute sat the Dalmatian on the couch. "You and the baby can rest in here. I'll go get the test."
"Not funny!" Jason shouted after him, fuming. Even so, it was the way Andrew always reacted to problems. The tougher the situation, the more aplomb he seemed to draw from somewhere deep in himself. It must be part of the superhero thing, grace under pressure and all that.
But it wasn't very graceful when he heard the malamute laughing from the bathroom. He couldn't figure out what on earth could be so funny. Just when it was starting to get annoying, Andrew emerged from the hallway, still giggling, his tail twitching in time. He held the test up to his face and started up again.
"I knew I should have bought some cigars!" Jason almost didn't catch it when it was thrown to him, his first instinct being to duck away from the thing he'd peed on. But he grasped it by its other end, turned it over, and saw the two lines. An anxious knot blossomed deep in his gut.
"Why is the second line there? What does it mean? You read the instructions!"
Andrew was still laughing. He wiped his eyes with the back of a paw. "See? I told you it would eventually take. We're pregnant! The test doesn't lie. At least, the box said so."
The plastic strip trembled in the Dalmatian's fingers. "Pregnant with what?" He couldn't decide which was more unnerving: Andrew's lighthearted take on his condition, or the inexplicable second line on the test strip. It might have been a joke if the malamute had had time to somehow switch his urine for some from a pregnant female (and how he got it would have been an interesting discussion), but Jason was the first and only one to pee on it. Unless...
"Is that the same one? Or did you swipe it for another one? Because if you're joking, Andrew Jordan, you'd better tell me now." Now Andrew did calm down, leaning over the back of the couch to nuzzle against Jason's cheek. The normally tender gesture did little to comfort him. Something in his stomach fluttered.
Speaking into the Dalmatian's neck, Andrew said, "If I were joking, I'd be laughing harder. But isn't it ironic that you get a false positive on a preg test the same time you're getting a little paunch?"
"It's not funny to me." Jason started to rub his paws over the new roundness but stopped when he felt a pang. "Ow. Must have eaten too much."
"Indigestion?" Andrew asked, placing his paw where the Dalmatian had removed his. Now, that touch was comforting. Until the malamute drew back with a yelp, shaking his fingers as if he'd been burned.
"What the hell was that? D'you have some wicked gas or something? Swear to God I felt something move." As if on cue, that pang came again, and this time Jason saw his stomach twitch. He put his paws on either side, forcing himself to hold them there while Andrew leaned in and watched with wide eyes. After a minute, something thumped against the lower half of the Dalmatian's belly. They both screamed. Jason fell to the floor, clutching himself about the middle.
"That's not indigestion," Andrew said.
"It could be," Jason squeaked, trying to convince both of them.
"If this is your idea of a joke, cut it out."
"I'm joking just as much as you are."
"Then what, you're telling me you-you-you're pregnant? Do you know how crazy that sounds?"
"What's crazy is this thing in my stomach kicking around, Andrew! You try to explain that. Be my guest."
"I know I'm bi, Jason, but you coulda told me you were transgendered or...or a hermaphrodite, you know. Not that I care, really, but still."
Standing up, Jason pointed a stiff finger at his husband. "If I'm a tranny, I wouldn't have all these nice bits you love," he said, pointing out his groin. "And I only have one hole below my tail, as much as you've tried to rip me another."
"Maybe there's another...thing, up there, where it divides. And I hit that thing. I don't know about anatomy, I'm a physics guy!" Andrew paused, thinking.
"You're fucking crazy," Jason accused, folding his arms over his chest, paying special attention to not touch anything below. It hurt to say it, but the malamute was indeed acting crazy. Then again, this whole thing was insane. Whatever it was, it required attention. "I'm sorry, okay? I need to go to an Emergency Room."
"No." Andrew's muzzle was stonily set, his tail still.
"You're too embarrassed?" That hurt. Jason could tell by the way the malamute scowled at him, the way his whole face turned down.
"I have nothing to be embarrassed about." Andrew strode resolutely over to the door to pick up his phone. "I have a better idea. Get your flight suit."
The distance between San Diego and the Stupendous base depends on which method of travel is used. If Andrew had been restricted to driving his apparently pregnant husband, it would have taken them almost fifteen hours, and neither of them was in any kind of condition to make a long overnight drive. And even though he tried not to let Jason see or smell it, the malamute was terrified.
Taking a plane would involve a lot of scrambling and a lot of money, and it would only cut travel time in half. And then there was the car rental on top of that. More money.
But why take a plane when you can fly yourself? And why deal with the physics of time when you can slow it down and save a few hours?
The thing about time manipulation is that while it has its advantages, if one isn't careful, messing around with temporal law can get normal people hurt or killed. For instance, a motion meant to brush someone away might have enough force to break their ribcage or rupture organs in real time. It's all about the relativity.
Which was why Jason had a flight suit. Early on in their relationship, Andrew had decided to surprise the Dalmatian with dinner in Honolulu. He'd told Jason to close his eyes and hold on tight. Andrew threw a bubble around himself but not Jason, and the four hours it took him to fly felt like less than three minutes to the Dalmatian.
The problem was that Jason had had to suffer through the worst, scariest, most violent three minutes of his life. Buffeted unprotected by supersonic winds, he'd had the wind sucked from his lungs and his skin rippled so hard it had already chafed by the time they'd landed in Hawaii. He'd spent the next three days in the hospital with windburns and pneumonia that would have gotten worse if they hadn't started treating it right away.
Jason's "flight suit" was merely a tight rubber suit that enveloped his body, pinning his arms to his sides and keeping his legs together. Along with an aerodynamic helmet with its own oxygen supply, it formed a windproof barrier that could withstand anything Timewarp's bubbles could produce. Even at full speed, with time at its slowest, Jason barely felt his body shift, the wind almost imperceptible.
In the two hours it took to get to Los Alamos, the Dalmatian held still for all of ninety seconds until Timewarp (Andrew always flew in costume, just in case) gently landed them both on solid ground. Knowing they were headed to the base, Jason had dutifully kept his eyes shut so as not to compromise the location. As if he could tell where they were anyway; by his estimation, it was anywhere between eight hundred and a thousand miles out, and the desert that surrounded the base (it was nestled conveniently under a mountain) could be anywhere from Nevada to New Mexico. It all looked the same until you hit the plains.
Timewarp lay the Dalmatian on the ground and unzipped the suit, freeing Jason to take off his helmet. "Thanks," said Jason.
"Yup," the malamute replied. "Have a good flight?"
Jason stood to smooth the wrinkles out of his clothing. "Mostly." What he wanted to say was, "That suit makes me feel even fatter, it's so tight," but his husband was going out of his way to find an answer to his problem that it would seem petty. For some reason, though, he was concerned about hurting whatever was growing in his belly. It could have been Cthulhu for all he knew, but it didn't change the way he felt.
"I wish I could make it easier, but it's the best way to get somewhere fast. At least, to you."
"I know. And I'm glad you can," Jason said, which was the truth, and it must have shown on his face because Timewarp came over to him and kissed him. Not romantic, not erotic, just loving, and just enough. They touched noses before the malamute walked over to a cairn in front of a mostly flat wall of rock.
"Sci, you there?" he spoke to the wall. No response. Timewarp turned back to Jason, who'd come up behind him after folding his suit into a neat square. "Maybe we beat him after all." The end of the sentence was obscured by static from a speaker hidden somewhere in the rock.
"Sorry, there," came Sciyote's, clipped cadence. "The scent analyzers are a little slow on the uptake tonight. You have wind out there?"
Timewarp's ears flicked. "Not much, but it could be blowing away from your probes."
"Could be," Sci allowed. "Go ahead and do your thing with the info pad. I'll see you in a few."
As soon as the transmission cut off, the rock wall shimmered and flickered away, revealing an intimidating-looking door and something that appeared to be a glorified ATM to its right. Timewarp stepped up to it and took off a glove, pressing his palm to the angled glass panel. A red bar scanned it and turned green. Lifting the right side of his mask, the malamute stared into another red light that traced a minute grid on his retina before also turning green. A metal probe emerged from behind a small door, and he grabbed it. The air around his paw distorted into a mini time bubble and the machine hummed while it did its work. It made a pleasant beep and several heavy tumblers clicked over inside the door before it swung open a few inches.
"Come on," Timewarp said. Jason took his regloved paw and followed him in.
The Stupendous base was big, no doubt about it. With six superheroes from all over the country with his or her own powers, the base had to accommodate everyone separately as well as house everything conducive to their common goal of crime-fighting wherever they were needed.
The door slid shut behind Jason as soon as they'd stepped in, locking with a solid thunk. What stretched out before them was a corridor lit by row upon row of fluorescent lights. After descending a short staircase, they walked about a hundred yards before seeing a single door. The place felt like a bunker, which, basically, it was. But they weren't headed for a door. Timewarp led Jason to the end of the corridor, an elevator with only an UP button. They got in and rode up to the second floor (the corridor had been "C," obviously), where the doors opened up to an electronic din.
The base's laboratories spread out before them in a vast array of rooms, staircases and elevated platforms. Bathed in an eerie blue glow, machines of all kinds whirred and beeped in a constant hum of activity. Over to one side stood a Tesla coil at least thirty feet high, and up a staircase that seemed to float without support was a laboratory, bubbling beakers and all. The whole area was open, carved out of the heart of the mountain and supported by a matrix of rebar and other materials that didn't look like one could buy them for personal use.
"Sci! Where are you?" shouted Timewarp to as much of the space as possible.
"Up in the exam room!" came the reply, echoing off the walls so Jason couldn't tell where it originated. He didn't have to worry about that, though; the malamute had his arm around the Dalmatian's waist and they were floating past the various levels.
All the way across the cavern and up about forty feet (Jason's feet ached just looking down at all the stairs he would have had to climb), they landed softly on a platform cantilevered out from the smoothed-over rock face. It vibrated slightly under Jason's pads as he followed Timewarp across to a bank of equipment where Sciyote was busy twisting knobs and turning dials.
"Glad you could make it," he said, turning to face them. Multiple holographic information windows turned with him. He swept them aside with a paw and came over to Timewarp, shaking his paw.
"Sorry to drag you away from Los Alamos," the malamute apologized. "But we're both worried about this development." At that, the coyote turned to Jason, his goggled eyes no doubt studying every dimension of his body through his clothing. None of the glowing windows moved, though. His suit was body-tight, the drab and charcoal complementing his desert-colored fur, the glowing blue circuit pattern not so much.
Sci cleared his throat and clucked his tongue. "The city can do without me for one night. I can't get everything thrown my way. I'm on the tech side more than anything else, you know." He turned to the Dalmatian and spoke curtly. "Go ahead and strip and get on yonder exam table."
Jason cocked his head toward Timewarp, his ears flicking: Strip?
"Go on, silly," said the malamute with a paw on Jason's rear. "He's not gonna rape you. He's not even into...anything."
"Big deal," Sci remarked unremarkably. "Doesn't need any more explanation. Like, the millionth sheath I've seen in my life."
"Yeah, but do you really need to see a million and one?" Jason asked under his breath, though it wasn't enough to keep the coyote from tapping the side of his goggles. His ears twitched. A moment later his windows were swept away in a flurry of images. Of sheaths. Hundreds of them, big and small, furred and scaled, pierced and intact. Then, just as quickly, he swiped his windows back in front of himself so they surrounded his chest in a semicircle.
"You'd be amazed at what you can find in the vastness of the internet," the coyote snarked. He'd made his point.
Jason took his clothes off, piece by piece, handing them to Timewarp, who draped them over one arm and tried not to ogle as the nude Dalmatian made his way over to the table and lay down stiffly. His belly was unmistakable; where his ribs would have shown before, there was just a gentle dome-like bump.
"Oh my," Sci said when he turned around, swiping his windows to the side like French doors. "Malamute wasn't kidding. Okay, then, let's get you diagnosed." The windows disappeared when the coyote pressed a button on the side of his goggles, and he bent underneath the table, bringing out a wand in one paw and a tube in the other. "This'll be cold," he said, unscrewing the cap from the tube. "But you should be thankful your fur's short enough that we don't have to shave it." Jason yelped as the gel chilled him, but it warmed up quickly when Sci smoothed it out into an even layer.
While the Dalmatian got used to the feeling, the coyote plugged one end of the wand into the bank of machines across from the table, toggling on a screen mounted along an adjacent wall. Right now it showed nothing but static.
"That an ultrasound?" asked Timewarp.
"Yup," nodded the coyote.
"I thought those were bigger than just a wand. Came on a rack with wheels?"
"Ye of little technology," Sci grinned. "I took one of those behemoths and deconstructed it long ago and integrated it with the rest of my stuff over on that wall. All I need is the cord now, and soon enough I'll have it down to wireless operation." The whole time he was waving the wand around as if casting a spell. His nonchalance was at once irritating and comforting. "Now, let's see this baby bump of yours."
Jason flinched as the wand made contact with the gel, making for an odd combination of gross and interesting. The screen flickered and came into focus, but when the Dalmatian tried to crane his neck Sci told him to keep still.
"Oh, my," said the coyote.
"Holy shit," said the malamute.
"What?" panicked the Dalmatian. But no one spoke until the wand had completed a complete circuit around Jason's belly. The room rotated as Sci moved the table into a position where Jason could see the screen. Wand went to belly again, and in faded a grainy but unmistakable image of a fetus.
"Well," Sci said, "Unless I'm mistaken--and it's pretty hard to mistake something like this--that would be a baby. Phew. If that isn't a mind-blower."
Somehow, having his worst fear confirmed didn't shock the Dalmatian as much as he thought it was. Considering it could have been internal bleeding, a parasite, or even cancer, a baby was relatively benign. It was still a big deal, and completely fucked off, but he was as healthy as he could expect to be, given the circumstances.
Sci continued as if this were an everyday occurrence: "I won't be able to get a complete picture until I draw some blood and placental fluid. That is, if there's a placenta in there. Whatever's surrounding that fetus."
Timewarp had come over and was now holding the Dalmatian's paw, looking from belly to screen and back. Jason had started to tremble. They felt a kick, and the screen showed a tiny foot jabbing upwards. "It doesn't freak you out, just a little, that Jason is male?"
"Like I said, kind of a mind-blower," the coyote replied. "When Drench can kill a man by drawing the water out of his body through the skin, Ignition Vixen can summon fire from nothing, and you can make it from San Diego to here in two hours by your lonesome, a pregnant boy isn't a big deal. Well, it's a big deal to the mundanes of the world, but us heroes are kind of desensitized to the extraordinary. Doesn't matter how it's there, as much as taking care of what's there."
Neither malamute nor Dalmatian spoke. The coyote's words made sense, weird as they were.
"I'm going to have a baby, Andrew," Jason murmured, in a daze. And then his eyes went wide. "Where the fuck's it gonna come out?"
All three canines glanced between Jason's legs at the most obvious answer. Sci began, "Well, logic would dictate that--"
Jason blanched. "Logic? You're talking to me about _logic? _ What's logical about any of this?"
Taking the Dalmatian by the paw, the malamute tried to soothe him. "If it comes down to it, at the end, we can have a C-section." Jason looked like he couldn't believe he was hearing words like pregnancy and C-section coming out of his husband's muzzle, about him.
In a daze, he mumbled, "You're just gonna...cut it outta me--"
"Thanks, doc," Timewarp interrupted, turning to the coyote with a meager smile before regarding Jason again. Come on, you've handled bigger things than a baby up there."
"I don't wanna hear it," the coyote said, his ears already flat and turned away.
"Andrew!" Jason's eyes went wide with horror.
The malamute shrugged, grinning at them both. "What? S'true." His attempt at levity was not successful.
"Oh, God, I can't unhear it." When Sci crunched up his ears in his paws and started humming, Timewarp decided it was a good time to get while the getting was good.
The flight back home was lonelier than Timewarp thought it would be. For the first half hour he was fueled by the determination to find out what had happened to his husband and...do what? Punish the culprit? Reverse the damage? Give them a stern talking-to? That's when he began to think, and worry.
Jason was in the capable paws of Sciyote, the Stupendous team's techno-genius. Sci had the know-how, the machinery and the capability to give the Dalmatian anything and everything he might need in a situation like this. Everything except a malamute to be at his side. But that couldn't be helped. The malamute had to find answers.
He was so caught up in his worry that he got halfway back to San Diego before realizing it would be hours before the sun rose. With nothing else to do but wait, he detoured north from Phoenix and flew down into Winslow, Arizona. After changing into street clothes in an alley, he walked out onto the street and spent a minute standing on a corner, just to smile to himself. No girls in flatbed Fords, though. (Not that he was available anyway)
A few blocks down Andrew found an all-night diner, where he ordered a club, keeping the mayonnaise but switching the fries out for a side salad. Not thinking about anything in particular, he tried to distract himself by reading the calorie counts in the little binder on the table. Mostly, he thought about Jason, and about their upcoming baby.
Our baby. Our child. It still sounded crazy in his head, but that's what it was. And if they were lucky, they would have six months to prepare. Andrew had never thought about being a father; he'd never expected anything like this in his life. He scoffed in the mostly empty dining room. He'd only been able to bend time and fly for a little over two years, and knocking Jason up was weird?
His powers had been the result of an industrial accident, though. Could this be the same thing?
Anubia's gas. Yeah, the mask had been over the Dalmatian's muzzle, but Jason said he'd held his breath. Anything could happen during a struggle, things Jason might not have remembered. It was possible. After tonight, he thought, practically anything was.
He changed back and flew on, staying low, no bubble this time. He would at least give Anubia a chance to wake up and have some coffee before tearing into her.
The sun was just beginning to crest over the peaks in the Cleveland National Forest when Timewarp descended into San Diego, scanning for the old hangar from which he'd rescued Jason. Once he recognized a collection of buildings, he swooped down and entered the building through the same hole in the roof, which nobody had seen necessary to repair.
A quick look around the space, now empty and abandoned, and he was off to police headquarters.
As per usual, he entered from the roof to avoid attracting unnecessary attention from civilians. Unless it was unavoidable, he preferred to stay in the background. He threw a bubble while he made his way to the basement (via the stairs; he could wait weeks for the elevator to arrive in this state), sidestepping couriers and secretaries and detectives by a wide margin so they would only think they'd seen something blink in their field of vision.
He ended up at the front desk of Records, dissipating the bubble around the corner so he wouldn't "blink" into existence in front of anyone. Leaning on the counter, he tapped a gloved finger on the bell twice.
"Minnit!" came a gravelly soprano, tarnished by years of chain smoking. A chinchilla, who looked a size too big for her uniform and a day away from her pension, waddled out from between two aisles of floor-to-ceiling manila folders. She stopped short, shrugged, and came up to the counter. "Well, aren't you a dish." The sarcasm was as thick as her glasses.
The malamute squinted at her badge. "Hello, ma'am. Ms. Gomez. My name is Timewarp, and I'm--"
"A superhero, yeah, they told me about you guys comin' down here sometimes. Lookin' through records. You know the procedure?"
"Uh. Yes, ma'am," Timewarp took off his right glove and let the chinchilla roll each of his pads on the print reader. Then she handed him a moist towelette, which the malamute rubbed under the base of his tail where it exited his costume. Ms. Gomez fed that into a scent analyzer, and a minute later mug shots of Timewarp, mask and all, came up on the monitor behind the desk.
"No alias?" asked the chinchilla.
"I'm not in the system," the malamute explained. "I'm not a criminal."
"Fair enough. Well, don't see any reason not to let you have a look, so what do you need?"
Timewarp almost smirked, knowing he could have thrown a bubble and gotten what he wanted in a split second. "I need the file on Anubia. Villain, tried to rob a pharmacy about three months ago. Kidnapping, too. Uh, well, I may be wrong on that last one." Because he'd rescued Jason and taken him to the roof before the cops had a chance to ask any questions. Of course that charge wouldn't be in the file.
Gomez typed the information into her computer, and the database kicked back a picture of a disheveled-looking jackal. Her eyes were bloodshot, and there were streaks of gold down her cheeks where the police had tried to clean her up after taking her villain shots. She looked no better than the average DUI suspect, without all her fancy costuming. Then Timewarp craned his neck to look closer.
"Helen McCreery? Her name is Helen?"
"Not like her parents would name her 'Anubia,'" said Gomez. "You want her file?"
"Yeah, if you could give me a printout that would be great."
"Sure thing, hon." The chinchilla turned back to the monitor, and a few minutes later she was stapling about twenty sheets of paper together and sliding them across the counter to the malamute. Timewarp thanked her politely, went around the same corner and bubbled back to the roof to study.
Anubia's lair didn't look like a lair. It looked like a suburban walk-up ranch with a tile roof and a birdbath in the front yard. Timewarp hovered as long as he dared without attracting attention and landed on one side of the house.
This neighborhood wasn't on the wrong side of town. It wasn't on any side of town. It was roughly on the southeast side, in an upscale but aging section that ran the gamut from pretty to rundown. The address on record, the malamute saw, was an average between the two. The birdbath, pretty as it was, held no water because of a crack down one side.
Though it was still midmorning, it was late enough so that most of the people who worked would have left already, and those who didn't would be busy not paying attention to the superhero tiptoeing to the front door. Timewarp rang the bell and waited patiently, if self-consciously, for a response.
Less than a minute later he heard the soft thuds of footsteps approaching the door, and he held his thumb over the peephole until the person on the other side grumbled aggravatedly. When the door opened, his foot bridged the gap even before Helen McCreery peered around its edge.
Her tired scowl melted into a grimace of rage. "You!" And when she tried to slam the door in his face, she let out a shriek.
"Would you mind letting me in before you do anything suspicious? Wouldn't want your neighbors to see your new jewelry." He indicated the transponder bracelet around one of the jackal's ankles.
"You have some nerve coming here, to my personal property, and accosting me," Helen replied even as she backed away from the door to let the malamute in.
"I appreciate it, all the same," Timewarp replied, gesturing to a sectional sofa in front of a television. "I'm not here to beat you up."
"Again." The jackal plopped down opposite him, looking thoroughly put out by the intrusion.
"I'm not going apologize for that. I was doing my job. You had a hostage."
"He got in the way! What was I supposed to do, let him interfere?" There was the Anubia voice again, booming and self-righteous and haughty. But after she finished her screed, she seemed to shrink into the couch even more. She crossed her leg. The bracelet clacked, its LEDs blinking.
"Calm down, ma'am," Timewarp said, fanning with his paws. "I just came here to get some information. I'm sure things have been difficult lately."
The jackal scoffed. "You think? Just a little. My husband didn't understand it when I told him I was thinking of going into villainy. Didn't see why I would throw away my life to be a criminal. No one understands. He took the kids, you know?"
"I'm sorry." It was the most neutral thing the malamute could think to say.
"Sure," said Helen. "You get to fly away." She sat with her thoughts for a moment, sighing deeply. All in all, she seemed more peeved at having been caught and confined to house arrest than having lost her family and freedom to a failed chance at crime. Timewarp looked around the inoffensive living room that smelled of four jackals, two of them young, and wondered if this would be the last time he'd have to see her in this context.
"We're on different sides of the line." When she didn't respond, he continued: "I need to know what that machine was, and what you were planning to do with it."
"Oh, God." Helen put a paw to her muzzle, drawing it up between her long ears. "The failure." She could have just as easily been describing a day of shopping. "That's the last time I order insta-preg anything from China."
Timewarp raised a single eyebrow. "Go on."
"It was supposed to be an instant-pregnancy gas, like I said. My master plan was--"
"Doesn't matter now, does it?" Timewarp interjected. Helen scrunched up her slender nose at not even being able to describe what had failed before it had started. But the malamute simply did not care.
"Okay, fine. But I freely admit I didn't know what I was doing, not researching through the proper channels, not getting a bonded and insured dealer of villainy equipment." Seeing the malamute's unmoved disinterest, she gave up trying to justify her actions. "Whatever, so, I got this box in the mail that had a bunch of Chinese on it, and so were the instructions. So I followed the pictures."
"Where's the box?"
"Evidence," Helen said, waving her arms. "It's all at the station now. The only ones I bothered translating were in red, and it was pretty standard stuff."
Timewarp crossed his substantial arms. "Humor me."
"Okay. The translator said something like 'man caution baby.' You know, "Keep away from children,' that kind of thing."
Confirmation didn't lessen the blow any. The words rang in the malamute's ears like Helen's sentence must have rung in the jackal's before she had been sent home. It didn't change the fact that Jason was pregnant, that there was another life in his belly, and that it carried both their DNA. That thing was alive, and it was a child.
"Well, we have a problem then. You're responsible for what happened to that Dalmatian."
Helen looked dumbstruck. "Nothing happened."
"What, he's trying to stick some PTSD to me?"
The words didn't sink in right away. Helen seemed to have the same initial reaction that Timewarp had had when he couldn't deny the evidence. He watched her, from nonplussed to horrified to just plain amused, as she attached the vague phraseology to the result. Her muzzle wrinkled and contorted. Finally, she said, "How does that happen? I'd been trying on myself for a week. It was supposed to turn the Pill into, like, insta-babies or something." Clearly, she hadn't done her due diligence.
"You tell me." The malamute fought the urge to shake an apology out of her. "You're the one with the machine and the gas."
"It was supposed to take all my snotty book club friends and make them miserable and hormonal! There was maybe a thought of taking over the world, but that's years in the future. That aside, how am I supposed to take over the world with pregnant men?"
That was as good a question as any, under the circumstances.
Something else dawned on him about that night, something that didn't sit well. Anubia had been using herself as an experiment. Crazy, yes, but beside the point. She was overdosing on the Pill under the impression that it was the key to the machine's process. So she wouldn't have been doing anything to disturb that process. No sex. Unlike the awesome sex he and Jason had had that night after the rescue. Midair. Cum everywhere. Jason had been a primed pump, and the malamute had lain some pipe. It would certainly explain it, to some degree. Not like that changed anything.
"I've got one on my paws and I need to find an antidote."
"Don't look at me."
Timewarp was on her so fast it scared even him. He didn't throw a bubble, but he was up and across the space in a second, hovering three feet over her head, claws out. "You're the one responsible for this. If you're not going to be part of the solution, then you can stay part of the problem. But I'll be reporting this to the police department as well." He had no intention of reporting it, but the quivering jackal didn't have to know that. Bringing it out in the open would only publicize something that had already traumatized Jason. Timewarp couldn't bear to initiate that kind of muckraking.
"I-I don't know what to tell you! The police took the box and everything! I don't even remember the address, it was so funky looking! Some numbers and chicken scratch!" Helen looked genuinely afraid, but Timewarp knew she wasn't going to be good for any more information. A wannabe villain, idealistic but both amateur and immature, she would likely serve her time and go back to the suburban life she knew before she went crazy in the head. The damage to her family, though, might not heal so quickly.
Timewarp wanted to feel sorry for her. Wanted, but didn't.
He floated back down to stand imposingly over her. Hate and fear swirled from her to his muzzle, almost making him sneeze. Any more time spent here would be pointless.
"Well, thank you for filling me in," he muttered through clenched teeth. The jackal snorted and started to say something snarky, but Timewarp was out of patience, throwing a bubble to freeze her almost in place.
It took about five minutes of searching before the malamute found something helpful. Hidden under wrapping paper and bows in a box in the suspended ceiling of the family office was a piece of cardboard. Cut from the side of a box, it was filled with Chinese characters, six of them red. Man Caution Baby, no doubt. There was also an address with more characters and numbers, just like Helen had claimed she couldn't understand. Timewarp ripped the address portion and stowed it in his costume before putting everything back.
The rest of the house and garage turned up nothing of value, though he did find an assortment of dildoes and magazines that, if Helen ever found them, would make her look at her husband in an entirely new light. He slipped out the front door, waiting until he was blocks away before popping the bubble.
He had research to do.
One of the pitfalls of time control is its inability to affect temperature. Hot is hot and cold is cold whether you live at one second per second or ten years per second. And there is no wind in slow time. Technically there is, but when it's a gusty ten-feet-per-hour breeze you don't really notice.
Timewarp sat on a rock in the desert, ten miles from the Stupendous base, thinking. Here, he wasn't quite into the range of Sciyote's sensors, and the nearest road wasn't even visible. The afternoon sun beat relentlessly down on him, but it was of no worry. At this rate it would take a week or two for night to fall, so he had time to sort things out. He looked down at an ant taking a dilatory stroll along his thigh, watching each leg move independently of the others. It had no cares in the world except working for its queen. It knew nothing of the rest of the planet outside what was immediately in front of its antennae.
He flicked it off, watching it tumble end over end until it landed by his foot a minute later.
After dealing with Anubia the malamute had gone back to the police station to talk to the evidence department. Beyond paperwork, her costume, and the birth-control pills, there wasn't much to gain from the case at all. The police, in their righteous wisdom, had dismantled the machine as soon as the trial had ended, its parts sold for scrap and scattered to the winds since nobody could figure out what the thing did.
Disappointed, Timewarp had gone home for a much-needed shower and more research on the piece of cardboard. He translated the address and the name of the company, plugged it into the map site...and came up with an empty lot in the middle of a busy city named Yun Nanzi. He plugged the name of the business in and found no record of that company having existed. After a few hours of exhaustive clicking and reading Andrew gave up.
If China was hiding this kind of activity, they were doing a damn good job of it. If he flew to China (which might kill him if he tried it alone, even with a bubble) he'd be breaking international law, not to mention several superhero propriety treaties. And once he arrived, if he wasn't tracked down by authorities he would have nothing more to go on than a piece of damn cardboard, which was to say he might as well be shit out of luck.
"Fuck." The word was empty and echoless in the silence of his frozen world. He slammed his fist down, barking out at the sting from the sharp rock. That was something more suited to Barricade, someone who could probably fracture it just by flicking it with his finger.
Sighing, he let the bubble dissipate itself slowly, watching a distant dust devil come to life as if it were part of an old-fashioned zoetrope ramping up to speed. Eventually the world caught up to the malamute and sound burst the last of the bubble's grip on time.
He set out for the base, wondering how Jason would take the news.
Surrounded by windows, Sci didn't notice Timewarp's presence until the malamute was almost in front of him. Looking slightly annoyed, he swiped everything to the bottom of his holographic screen, where they appeared to flutter onto a worktable that was merely a suspended screen. As each document "landed" it popped onto the table, where the coyote rearranged them, ears atwitch.
"Find anything interesting?"
Timewarp tried to control the lashing of his tail. Interesting, yes. Informative, kind of. Helpful, fuck no."
"Really? I'd think this would be the kind of thing that gets headlines."
"I don't want headlines," said the malamute. "I want our lives back."
Sci looked up, his eyes hidden behind his goggles. "You find an antidote?"
"Nothing I can see."
"Then you'll get your lives back in about eighteen years."
"You really have a way with words, you know that?"
"I know." Sci busied himself with typing and tapping for a few moments before pulling the goggles to his forehead, sighing. "Look, Andrew...I'm not the best at relating to people, and I might come off as a douche sometimes. But it is what it is. I can't explain it any more than you can."
"Anubia described it as some personal vendetta with big aspirations gone wrong. It wasn't all her fault, though." He regretted fucking Jason that night, but only for a second. If it wasn't midair, it would have been at home. Or the next morning. And it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway. That was what he had to keep telling himself.
"Whoever's fault," Sci said, "you have a hubby with a pup. You either run away or you step up."
"I don't run away," the malamute retorted.
"Never said you did. Now, I have all the necessary equipment you guys could want for making this an easy deal. As easy as it can be, anyway." Sci spread his arms to encompass the vast space. "Whatever you need, I'll do my best."
Timewarp had to grin. "Thanks."
"You bet. Your Spotty's in Quarters A, if you wanna know where he is." That was about as much empathy as he could expect from Sci, and even that much he appreciated. He nodded and thanked the coyote again, and made his way down to the quarters.
Jason was in bed reading when the malamute walked in, but he was up and out and into Timewarp's arms in a flash, pressing against him with a belly that seemed to have grown in the short day he'd spent away. Just the same, it somehow made the embrace all the more intimate.
"I missed you," the Dalmatian said into the broad chest. "Did you find anything?"
He took a deep breath. "I found some things. Not a whole lot."
"That's okay," smiled Jason. "Get out of that costume so we can snuggle." When Timewarp was just Andrew again, he climbed onto the bed next to his husband. He didn't realize how much he'd missed the Spotty's scent until he could run his fingers through the black-and-white fur, stirring up fresh musk. He smelled different. It was thicker, not as sharp as usual. "So, what's up?"
"I tracked down Anubia. She bought a cheap Chinese machine and didn't know how to use it. She even tried it on herself, but she thought it turned the Pill into a pregnancy."
"False logic?" Jason lay a paw on the malamute's thigh.
"Something like that. Turns out the machine used a super-fertility gas to prime the subject."
"But I didn't breathe it in."
"It absorbs through the skin."
"How'd you find that out?"
Andrew shrugged. His tail thwapped the bed, impatient. "Process of elimination. But the subject was only primed. Super fertility doesn't work without super virility." He let Jason put the pieces together in his head, much the same as Helen had. But the Dalmatian grinned and giggled instead of looking horrified. He put a paw to his eyes and drew it back, flipping an ear that fell back into place anyway.
"You knocked me up in the middle of the sky above San Diego. All those times we joked about trying to have kids but it just wouldn't take..." He looked at Andrew. His face was glowing. "I guess we can throw that punch line away. Now it's just ironic."
Holding the gaze, the malamute said, "I couldn't find an antidote. The company doesn't exist anymore, I can't go to China, there's nothing online. I could ask Sci to do some hacking, but I don't see any way to reverse this. Aside from going to a clinic, but that's silly."
"What a waste of a life, yeah," Jason said. But that wasn't what Andrew had been thinking. While he was concerned about a scene and publicity, the Dalmatian was concerned about ending a life before its time. He'd changed in just the last twenty-four hours. Perhaps because he'd had some time alone to think. More time than Timewarp, who had the power to control time. Since the pregnancy test, he hadn't stopped to consider the actual outcome, or which outcome Jason wanted. It was their baby, but his body.
Andrew traced the edge of Jason's belly, over his navel and down to the very tip of his sheath. Six months to go, and it would only get bigger. Knowing Jason, he would be back to his old shape in no time after the baby came.
When it comes. As if it were inevitable, unstoppable. It was a matter of time, and for once in his life, in his short stint as a superhero, there was nothing he could do to forestall this. The pup would grow, Jason would do whatever he would do when it came time, and...boom...baby.
"You okay with this?" he asked.
"It's the way it is, isn't it?" the Spotty asked back. And there wasn't any good answer to that question because it answered itself. Beyond the Six and Anubia and the police, here they were. The three of them. That's the way it was. And Jason looked good like that, when all the fear and panic were stripped away. He looked like he was born for it.
The pup kicked between them, and they shared a lighthearted, unburdened laugh. It was surprisingly easy to grow accustomed to.
They touched noses. "I love you," Andrew said. "I'm pretty scared. But seeing you not scared helps a lot."
"It's easier to anticipate than to fear." He drew a knee up under the malamute's sac, a welcome pressure on his taint. "Plus, less stress on you-know-who."
"What is it?"
Jason shook his head, his ears flopping a beat behind. "I don't want to know. I figure getting pregnant was such a big surprise, leaving the gender til the end wouldn't be a big deal either."
"I like that. So, we just buy a bunch of generic furniture and clothes and a can of both blue and pink, and spend the first day spray painting?" Andrew didn't expect the Dalmatian to fall out laughing as hard as he did, but the levity was infectious. Soon they were both panting and crying in each other's arms. Then they were kissing. And, as often went with them, they were groping.
Pausing, mid-stroke on the malamute's length, Jason asked, "Does Sci have cameras in here like everywhere else?"
"Quarters are like private residences. They're not monitored." The Dalmatian responded with a crafty grin and a lift of his leg. Andrew found his tip nudging up against warm, smooth flesh amid short fuzz. He hunched up against the button, smearing slickness. "Are you sure this is okay, in your condition?"
"I did some reading while you were away," said Jason, moving his hips in such a way that allowed the malamute just the slightest bit of penetration. Andrew tried to feign worry even as he kept panting, the roller coaster of the past day funneling itself into a major hardon. "Turns out sex is great for endorphins, and that's good for the baby. And even you don't have to worry about hitting anything in there. From what I saw, there's separate compartments or whatever."
Andrew shifted, easing the first couple inches in, making the Spotty gasp and growl through his smile. "Good. I wouldn't want all this sex to damage either of you. Though, if it's a boy, he might turn out gay."
"Oh, and I wanted grandpups so badly," quipped Jason, rolling his eyes, and then the rest of him, so he was on his back and exposed.
"One generation at a time." The malamute got on his knees, hovering over the baby bump while he lined up, the Dalmatian eyeing his erection hungrily. "You sure I won't hit anything?"
Jason gulped. "Heh, not so much anymore."
They took the chance anyway.
"YOU DID THIS TO ME, YOU BASTARD!"
Andrew knelt in the bathroom next to his crouched husband, one paw on the Dalmatian's back while the other clasped Jason's fingers. A few breaths later the toilet received another offering.
"Keep it together, hon. It's just a little morning sickness. Remember chapter eight?"
"I'M DYING!" As much as he wanted to roll his eyes, the malamute forced himself to focus on keeping Jason's muzzle trained over the bowl. A whiff of regurgitated lasagna had his paw on the handle in a flash.
"You're not dying. You're hormonal. Remember the last few times?" As if either of them could forget. Sometimes the sex was amazing, and Andrew had even been getting into the fetish aspect of the pregnancy, when the sickness had started up again. Sci had assured them it wasn't connected to intercourse specifically, but when Jason got urpy in media res, less than a minute later the contents of his stomach would end up on whatever was closest.
One time it was Andrew's chest. After that there was an established procedure. Today it had worked.
Jason turned weakly, looking at the malamute with puffy, bloodshot eyes. Yes, Andrew thought, you do love this man. And he did, just not a hundred percent at this particular moment, with a long viscous strand of orange-tinted drool hanging from one quivering lip. Then the Dalmatian hiccupped, turned back and hurled another volley.
Time for another trip to the pharmacy for electrolyte pops. Ironically, the closest pharmacy was the same one Anubia had tried to hold up four months back. The awkwardness was akin to buying tampons for one's mother.
"Oh, God, it's kicking," Jason moaned. "I think it's throwing up inside of me."
Andrew just kept holding on. What could he possibly say to that?
"I love you," he said anyway.
"You know, it's not too late to get rid of it," Jason mumbled wetly. He wasn't fooling anyone, though.
Patting the Spotty's lower back, Andrew replied, "But I like you with a belly. I might even start subscribing to that Tumblr with all the beach-ball-lookin' dudes."
"Oh, Jesus." Jason tried to laugh, but ended up coughing up more mucous. "I can't wait to get back to the gym after this is over."
"How are you gonna work out with a new kid?"
"I'll make you buy me stuff. Unlike you, I can't fly off to New Mexico to exercise in a state-of-the-art gym." After a few deep breaths the Dalmatian steadied himself on his haunches and pushed away. "I love you, too."
"I'd hug you, but..." Jason followed the malamute's eyes to his chest, which had several dubious specks of color. His muzzle worked into several funny expressions before he fell sick again, all over his formerly white fur. Andrew barely got out of the way. "I'll go get more pops."
"Urp," replied the Spotty, who was more splotchy than anything. "I'll just stay in the shower."
Andrew secured his husband and got the shower up to a comfortable temperature. "Be back in twenty."
"Urp," Jason said again.
Looking at the calendar by the door on his way out, Andrew shook his head. "Five months to go," he groaned.
The problem with intrabullar flying was its knack for rendering technology useless. Partitioning the time-space continuum tended to confuse things like cell phones and GPS. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, but now that Jason had taken medical leave (he could get most of his work done by telecommuting anyway) Andrew had gotten used to frequent communication in his second capacity as mediator between the emotionally fragile Dalmatian and Sciyote, an unending fount of knowledge in all things pregnancy.
Since the diagnosis, Sci had taken it upon himself to brush up on his prenatal studies. After exhaustive tests on samples from Jason, the coyote had determined that this pregnancy was like any other, the only differences being the Dalmatian's Y chromosome and his absence of girly parts. Since the baby was already three months along when they discovered it, the origin of the placenta was, and would always be, a mystery. Sci's conclusion was that it had just grown right where it normally would, pushing out of the way whatever organs happened to be there.
At this point, it didn't matter how it began. Now they were concentrating on how it would end up.
Timewarp followed Interstate 10 from a few hundred feet up, traveling the equivalent speed of a passenger jet. Just east of Phoenix he had touched down out of sight of traffic and pulled out his phone, which beeped numerous times once he'd popped his bubble. Three text messages and a voicemail. He read the texts first.
"WHERE ARE YOU? WANT YOU."
"HAVE YOU LEFT YET? KINDA HORNY. ;3"
"ANSWER YOUR PHONE! FUCK!"
The voicemail contained only an exasperated growl and a noise that sounded like the phone striking something. Maybe a wall. It was almost cute, the way Jason played off the hormones. When they were good, they were really good. When they were bad, both males were miserable.
He tried twice to call Jason, but the phone couldn't hold a signal, even alongside the busy highway. He settled for a short text instead: "GIMME ONE HOUR. CAN'T WAIT." Just short of an hour later he was descending into San Diego, making a beeline for the apartment, keeping the bubble until he was just in front of the door.
When he walked in, the first thing he heard was the moaning. Then he saw Jason sprawled out on the couch, looking anything but comfortable. He was over in a flash, before he noticed the boner laying over one spotted thigh.
"Are you okay?"
Jason's head lolled from one side to the other; he was clutching his belly but he didn't seem to be in pain. "My hero," he said. "Now suck it." Definitely not in pain.
"You heard me." Jason bent his cock at the sheath, bopping the malamute on the nose. "Don't take the mask off. You deserve it." His tone was accusatory, but he was smiling all the same. The glint in his eyes got Timewarp's sheath to firm up a bit in sympathy. Not quite fully understanding, but not seeing a choice (it was a dick in his face, not a gun to his head), he stuck his tongue out and licked the seeping tip, coating his tongue with Spotty pre.
Good or bad, Timewarp enjoyed his ability to give pleasure to his husband in whatever form he could. As Jason's body had changed, so had his tastes. Certain positions took a back seat to comfort, and while they were missed it gave them new opportunities to explore. While not used to sucking dick on a regular basis, the malamute found he enjoyed it more every time. Something about looking up into Jason's eyes (when he could see them, which was rare nowadays) and watching his goofy expressions , especially how his eyes crossed slightly when he came.
The "subservient superhero" was a role he could get into. He had the muscles and the costume, so the rest was cake.
Timewarp's nose bumped up against fur, which was odd, since he should have bumped up against a knot instead. Only the knot was gone, and when he pulled off the sheath followed his lips and swallowed up the flesh he exposed. Jason was completely soft.
"Hon?" The Dalmatian was crying silently, his head hidden in the crook of an arm.
"Leave me alone, you fucker," said Jason in a tear-thickened murmur. "You don't deserve it."
Ignoring the obvious hypocrisy, the malamute kneeled and tried to move Jason's arm, to no success. "What's going on?" He tried to keep his voice even. Early on he'd figured it out as the easiest way to deal with unpredictable hormones.
"Obviously nothing," retorted the Dalmatian. "If you can't tell, then you can't help."
Fighting to keep from seething, Timewarp squeezed Jason's wrist. Quit being such a woman was the first thing to come to mind, but that would only cause more problems on more levels. "I can't tell because you won't talk to me. That's not the Jason I know."
"The Jason you know is gone!" He turned, his bloodshot eyes shining but dull. For a moment it appeared to be the truth; the Dalmatian bore little resemblance to the upbeat, peppy dog he'd been before this whole thing began. But since, it had been more up than down, until now. And they still had a whole trimester to go. "Somebody replaced him with a fat ugly fuck."
Now the malamute was mad. Whether or not the comment was directed at him, it was still a horrible thing to say, and it wasn't Jason. He tried to pull the arm away, finally yanking it and holding it down. The Dalmatian cried out in pain.
"It better fucking hurt," Timewarp snarled. Energy crackled around him, his powers barely held in check. Jason stared at him, his muzzle agape, unbelieving. "If this is what it takes to get through to you, because I've tried being nice and understanding. It doesn't work."
"Let go of me," the Dalmatian whimpered. "Please."
Timewarp forced his grip tighter. "Not until you calm down." The next moment he was on his ass, stars in his vision and his muzzle a blossom of bright pain. He assumed Jason had punched him, judging by the fist the Dalmatian still held shakily at the end of the arm he hadn't been holding down. After touching his fingers to his nose, he was relieved to see them blood-free.
He wanted to be angry, but it had all turned to pity. The horrified look on Jason's face as he realized what he'd done was even sadder. And because words hadn't done much to help so far, he leaned over and hugged the Dalmatian, nuzzling into his neck. His head rose and fell as Jason sobbed and eventually held him back, and enough tears fell to soak into his mask.
"I'm sorry," Jason would say at intervals, when he was calm enough to get the words out. Then he would start up again, holding the malamute even tighter.
"I can't pretend to understand what it feels like," said Timewarp, muffled by fur. "But I can listen."
"And I don't listen enough." A long, wet snuffle. "I need to m-man up."
"Hard to do when you're pregnant." That made Jason laugh, just a little, and it was better than nothing. It was progress. Eventually his mask soaked through, not just from Jason's tears, and he took it off and blew his nose with it. That got a goofy half-smile from his husband. "That's more like it."
"Thank goodness." Jason lay his head back, one ear flopping open to reveal its pink underside. "Is your nose okay?"
"Just fine." It was tender, sure, but "fine" was adequate. "Never thought in a million years you'd punch me."
"I told you, the Jason you knew was gone. Was gone."
"Is he back?" Andrew pecked the Dalmatian on the cheek for good measure.
Jason's smile clouded. "I hope so. I hate this part, Andrew. The not being in control."
"Not having control has its upside, too." The malamute slid a paw over his swollen belly. "You can't argue we've had some awesome sex since we found out."
Reminiscence curved the corners of Jason's mouth. "Does it make up for shit like this?"
Andrew saw his opportunity and moved his paw lower, finding the sheath again without having to look. It started to firm up immediately, and there was no faking Jason's reaction. "The sex by itself? No. But seeing you happy again, for real, helps a lot. You can't really fake a boner."
"Nope," Jason replied, arching his groin into Andrew's paw.
"It's going to be okay. You have to know that, deep down, right?"
The Dalmatian was hard to read, his muzzle expressionless after all they'd just been through. But his erection never flagged, and by the time he answered Andrew had pulled him free, knot and all. "Deep down, yeah. Doesn't mean it doesn't piss me off sometimes."
"I'd be worried if it didn't. All the more reason to enjoy the good stuff while it lasts." Jason flexed his cock in the malamute's fingers for emphasis. Andrew squeezed back. It was the way they made up. One of the better ways, at least. With his best puppy eyes, the malamute asked, "Mother, may I?"
"Call me mom again and you die," Jason smiled, even though his eyes glowed.
"Yes'm." And once again Andrew went down. Jason pushed him halfway, nothing he couldn't handle, but not what he was used to. This time the knot was there to block his progress. A squirt of salty pre landed on the back of his curling, lapping tongue.
"Such a bad boy," Jason spoke up after a few heated minutes, a bit off-putting compared to the spectrum of emotion he'd shown so far. But he was getting into it again, and even if it was a mood swing it was an upswing just the same. If Jason came back down they would deal with it. "Leaving me all alone here while you save the world. You're supposed to be taking care of me."
Andrew couldn't explain that it had been a simple training exercise for the Six to practice new coordination moves...mainly because he couldn't talk, not because it was classified. His jaw began to ache from the unaccustomed strain of the Dalmatian's length, from the pressure of the paw on the back of his neck. He was surprised Jason could reach at all. He was aware of his own sheath, uncomfortably thick against his costume.
When he tried to pull the lycra aside he got a cuff to the head. "Bad puppy," Jason pouted. "You only get to fuck me when I say so." Timewarp didn't much like hearing his own whine, but it was a reaction he couldn't swallow down as easily as Spotty cock. He just wanted to make some room for himself, but now it was almost painful, even with the give of the material.
Eventually the malamute got used to the fullness, as easily as riding a bicycle after years of driving. Jason muttered a few scattered words under his breath but became quiet once the pleasure took hold. He didn't even complain when the malamute grabbed his sac and massaged the contents between careful fingers. Andrew obeyed the paw on his head while he watched the other one rub over Jason's expanding belly. Several times the pup kicked him in the forehead, and the effect was oddly kinky.
After several minutes of tender deepthroating, he felt a pressure at his crotch. Without pausing he ground up into the warm softness of footpads, not caring if it inflated his knot too fast. He could stay submissive and keep a bit of control while Jason was occupied. The dog's body trembled with effort, making the couch creak under the strain.
Two squeaks and a muffled curse were the only warning before the Dalmatian thrust against the back of Andrew's throat; the malamute had to pull back to keep his fangs from locking around the base of the shaft. Hot, desperate seed flooded his mouth in torrents of built-up musk. It had been less than a day since they had played, but the taste and the volume told a different story. Jason's foot beat between his legs, claws arching and tearing the material from Andrew's body, his cock flopping out and swelling in relief.
Andrew stayed where he was until the length started to deflate, and only then did he release it from between his lips. It flopped back against Jason's belly, where it throbbed its way back into hiding. Jason's toes idly played with the malamute's shaft, pressing it into his belly. A runnel of pre ran down into the fur between them.
"You enjoy that?" he asked in a lazy afterglow voice. Andrew nodded, and not just to placate his husband. By the end, he'd actually been into it a fair bit, as evidenced by Jason's sticky foot.
"Good." Jason scooted to the edge of the couch and hooked his fingers behind his knees, giving the malamute a tempting view of the pinkness nestled between his cheeks. It glistened with lube. "You can fuck me now. Pity you had to get snot all over the mask. I love getting pounded by Timewarp almost as much as I love getting pounded by you." Tears brimmed his eyes again, but any trace of sadness was gone.
After a moment of stunned silence, the malamute got off his haunches, aimed up and did exactly that. As the hot, slick flesh enveloped his cock, he murmured, "I don't know if I can take three more months of this."
If you want to be technical about it, superheroes don't sleep. They do, of course, but they don't keep regular hours. They're on call, day or night, which is why the Stupendous Six train so hard. There are some things Drench can do that Ignition Vixen can't. Or a situation calls for Dash Hoof's real-time speed rather than Timewarp's manipulation abilities. In any case, a hero should be ready to save the day at any hour, in any weather, on short notice.
So why was it so hard to get up at three in the morning to cook another Vomit Omelette for Jason?
"Honey..." By now the tone of Jason's half-asleep voice was enough to tell Andrew all he needed to know. The Dalmatian rolled over but only got halfway before remembering the medicine-ball-sized obstruction that was becoming more burdensome by the day. "I'm hungry, could you fix me my usual?"
Andrew had swung his legs out of bed before Jason finished. He looked out the window and grumbled. He looked at the clock and growled. He felt the gentle paw on the base of his tail and melted again. And he started wagging, if sluggishly.
"Okay, be right back."
"I love you." The singular sound that came from the malamute's muzzle could have been the expected response, but just barely.
He didn't bother to put on a robe. It would just get in the way of his cooking, and likely end up dirty with food or on fire from the stove, anyway. Scratching his sheath, and clicking his tongue, Andrew padded out the door and down the hallway.
Halfway to the kitchen he stopped at the door across from the bathroom. It was closed, but it never stayed closed for long when either of them walked by. The malamute took a step, faltered, then reached for the knob and turned.
The scents of newness came wafting out of the darkness that had once been a spare bedroom. Paint, wood and plastic all mingled together with an undertone of talc and diapers.
Andrew didn't look forward to the diapers.
He flipped the switch, and the scents had sources. Jason had wanted beige, of all colors, but Andrew had talked him into a gentle green that lent a sense of calm to the room. In one corner, by the window, a crib sat, empty but waiting, the product of an afternoon spent fighting with the Dalmatian over its construction. The dresser was stocked with clothes (gender neutral, naturally), bottles, wipes and anything else a new life might need. It had only taken a week to prep the nursery, but while they were doing it time had seemed to stand still. There was a lot of fighting. There was plenty of crying. And there was a lot of makeup sex. Some of it while crying.
His fix obtained, Andrew sighed and flipped the light off, closing the door.
When he reached the kitchen, the malamute didn't have far to look for the usual ingredients. By now Jason's cravings were as normal as his mood swings, and Andrew had come to accept both with grace. That grace had been a long time in coming, though. More than once he'd had to hold his tongue when he wanted to tell Jason to "man up," but he knew there was only so much manning up a pregnant male could do.
So he cooked.
Peanut butter from the cabinets. Pickles from the fridge, along with eggs and milk and cheese and bacon. Chocolate from the bowl on the dining room table. Jalapeños. All in the same pan. Andrew grabbed a couple of nose plugs from the lazy susan and began assembling.
He didn't mind cooking, not really. Back before the pregnancy (that still sounded weird when he thought about it) they had taken turns cooking for one another, and they were both pretty good at it so there was no reason not to. Back then, though, things were simpler, like chicken and pasta instead of sushi with whipped cream. Just little things, like that.
But as time had marched on, and Jason's belly had expanded (maternity wear simply didn't suit him), the cravings had morphed into odd combinations that ranged from silly to creepy. The culmination of those cravings, the dish that satisfied every one of them, was the Vomit Omelette.
Andrew cracked four eggs into the greased pan and began to swirl, ensuring even cooking. Bacon for saltiness and extra protein. Cheese and milk for the dairy. Peanut butter for the sake of peanut butter. And chocolate...according to Jason, you just couldn't have an omelette without chocolate.
If he thought about it too much, the malamute would gag despite his plugged nose. So he filled the pan and tried to imagine more tasteful things like chorizo and onions and dill. He only partially succeeded. Thankfully his gag reflex had been mostly quelled with various and assorted "methods" over the years.
Ten minutes later he sprinkled some parsley over the finished product (to make it a disgusting concoction with style) and poured a glass of ice water. When he got back to the bedroom he found Jason up and wide awake, watching an infomercial about a fitness system neither of them could afford. His face brightened when he saw the plate, not the dog holding the plate.
"Thank you!" Jason said cheerily, which somehow made Andrew even groggier.
"Welcub," came the stuffed-up reply. "Cad I go to bed dow? Ah, shit." He just remembered he'd left the stove on. "Gudda burd the dab house dowd." A minute later he was back in bed, and the omelette was half-eaten.
"You know," said the Dalmatian between bites, "this thing here on the TV isn't a bad idea. You wouldn't have to go to the base so often, and I could get my figure back in no time!" Even Jason's voice was higher-pitched, as if a big enough wave of estrogen could suck his sheath into a vagina in seconds flat. But that was just Andrew's sleep-deprived mind talking. And it wasn't talking as much as mumbling.
"We cad't afford it," he countered, though he doubted his husband was being anything close to serious. The Dalmatian's ears remained perked, as much as they could perk.
Jason muted the set and turned, his muzzle full of food. Andrew didn't dare take the plugs out. "Sure we can! The nursery didn't cost all that much, and--"
"Two thousand dollars isn't that buch? And the delivery will add adother twenty grand to it, I'b sure. I'b a professor and a superhero, Jason, and deither one pays that buch. You're on bedical leave, thank God they swallowed your 'tubby troubles' excuse. But you're not baking ady buddy at all."
"I'm getting paid!"
"At a reduced rate," muttered Andrew. He waited for the indignant response, and when he didn't get one, he looked up to see Jason silently crying into his omelette. "Oh, cub od."
"You know, I didn't ask for this to happen," the Spotty bawled, the last few bites of his food ruined, or at least saltier. "I can't say it was all your fault."
"It wasn't eddy of by fault!" yelled the malamute, even though he knew he shouldn't yell without risking a full-fledged blowup. Anything was possible this far along; the stress they'd been under didn't help one bit. "You like to play the Dally id Distress so I cad fuck you subetibes, yet the one tibe I actually rescue you I ruid your life?" He couldn't take back the words now. Judging Jason's face, he wished he had.
"I...I thought we were...over this!" The last word was one big sob, and Andrew had to catch the plate before it dumped its contents all over the bedspread. Jason had his face in his paws, leaning against the headboard because his belly wouldn't let him sit any other way. He did look pretty pathetic, a far cry from the days when the malamute had sworn he could see a glow in the Dalmatian's fur, even in the black spots.
Andrew took the remote and killed the TV, running his paws through his head fur. The bed shook gently with each sob. He knew he had to do something to make it up to Jason, even if Jason was the provocateur here. The Dalmatian didn't mean it, and he'd never taken advantage of his condition to manipulate anyone, though it would only be Andrew he manipulated.
"It's okay," he said, petting Jason's neck in that I-don't-really-know way. And then he said the thing he'd been thinking all this time, but couldn't bring himself to say. "I'b scared too, you dow."
"I'm ter-ter-rified," Jason hitched, snorting and wiping his nose on his forearm. The malamute reached behind and brought out a box of tissues just in time to stop the Dalmatian from making use of the other arm. Jason looked especially vulnerable like this, more so now than ever. And it wasn't just the pregnancy talking. It was the realization of everything, the change from "could happen" to "will happen." Looking like a puffy, swollen version of his former self, the glow had dissipated, and all that was left was an overloaded body carrying a miracle. Because, no matter which way it was spun, "miracle" covered just about every aspect.
"It's gudda be okay." Ignoring the leftover omelette, the malamute took out the damnable nose plugs.
"W-what if I miscarry?" asked the Dalmatian, looking at Andrew with red, moist eyes. "What if it dies?"
"It's not, hon. Whatever Anubia did was meant to stick. I mean, look at you."
"What about me?" moaned Jason, grabbing for more tissues.
Andrew turned onto his side and patted the roundness. "You're the picture of health. That's no underweight pup in there. It's gonna be perfect."
Slowly Jason settled down. He didn't eat the rest of the food, but he didn't get sick either, which could happen once the Dalmatian realized the combination he was eating. Andrew did his best to hold his husband, which consisted of cuddling his belly and neck and any other parts he could reach, which wasn't much.
Eventually the fear melted away into something surprisingly unexpected: anticipation. Though Jason never said it aloud, Andrew could somehow feel it pass between them. They were going to be parents. They already were parents. And they'd done a pretty decent job so far. As if reading his mind, Jason's paw came around to massage the back of the malamute's neck.
"Mmmm," said Andrew.
"You know what?" asked Jason.
"We're gonna be daddies."
"The best daddies. Thanks to you." All he got was a nuzzle to the ear, but it was enough. "Only a month left. Doesn't seem like that long ago."
But Jason was already asleep. Andrew watched the Dalmatian's belly rise and fall, looking for the odd kick, but it seemed the pup had decided to turn in as well. Soon after, so did he.
"I love you," I say. His entire face brightens up, as if a veil had been lifted. It never fails. He can't stay down for long...in or out of bed. His paw leaves my foot and travels up my leg, his fingers splaying out around the base of my stretched sheath before sliding halfway over my belly.
The grin turns mischievous. "You know, I'm glad we have to go the C-section route." I can hardly see him over my puppy-bump now, and while I'll miss it, I'll be glad to get back to the gym. "Wouldn't want to spoil a perfectly good hole." He goes back to my feet, but the damage is already done. I can't see how far out I am, but I could feel my sheath peel away. I can't see Timewarp's eyes, but I know he's looking.
He takes my left leg and puts it behind his head so he can get at my right foot, intertwining his fingers with my toes, stretching them this way and that, just like I like it. I watch him work, wiggling until he tickles me lightly, and then I let him do his thing. Over the wide pad on the ball, down behind it and into the arch, where it's just as painful as pleasurable, and my cock likes them both equally. Eventually the tip pokes past my navel, which has gone from innie to outie in the last month.
Shifting in place, he pulls my leg closer and I feel the thick hardness of him pressing against his uniform. That's my boy. I know he'll make a great father.
It's been good having him around the house more. He cooks when I ask him to, he does the dishes and the laundry since I can't bend over worth a damn. He runs errands. And, despite the fact that I feel like a whale most of the time, he still fucks me when I want it and does other things when I don't feel up to a mounting. Like erotic foot massages.
San Diego State didn't make much of a fuss when he asked for a month off. He had the vacation coming, anyway, and his students can handle four weeks with a TA. The Six are more lenient with their requests for help nowadays, and instead of pulling him away for cross-country work Timewarp's been doing a bang-up job patrolling SoCal and the neighboring states. It's nice to have a husband who can commute to, say, Taos and back in a few minutes. Relatively speaking, that is.
I'm not worried about the delivery anymore. Past a certain point you stop panicking and being afraid of the unknown because you eventually know it's going to happen, one way or another. And when you accept that face, the rest is icing on the cake.
That, and the kid's going to be fucking gorgeous. I mean, look at us.
Look at him, trying to hide his boner blush. It's not going to work as long as my ankle's there, helping it along. I bet it's feeling trapped there behind all that lycra. I can help with that.
Grunting, I pull my leg back down and swing them both from his lap. He leans forward, meaning to help me, but I give him my most confident smile. "I'm not decrepit, Andrew," I say, using his name because, really, we're the only ones in the room. He still gives me that cute you're-not-following-the-rules look. It doesn't last long when I get on my knees and spread his legs.
"I love it when you try to cover up," I say, looking up into his face. His paws don't resist when I push them away from the substantial lump they're hiding. After a few moments of fishing around I find the hidden flap and pull it down. The blue-grey sheath and balls flop right out, and with them an invisible cloud of superhero musk. My belly may be big, but with equipment like his, reaching is rarely an issue. I lick him from taint to tip, using my tongue to help his sheath down a few inches of reddening shaft.
"You don't have to do that," he lies. I know I don't have to do anything, but when it gives him that goofy smile and that twitch to his tail, why would I want to stop? Why, when it's already leaking, just begging to be cleaned by my skilled Spotty tongue?
All I have to do is lean forward and the first four inches slide between my lips. Timewarp's paws grasp my shoulders and stay like that, not pushing, only holding. I get the same shuddery gasp every time I go down on him, as if it's the first time, every time. Salty pre coats my tongue, and swallowing it only makes him noisier.
"Damn, Jason...promise me you won't quit sex after the pup comes." We have enough straight friends whose love lives ended when their kids came along that I know exactly what he means.
I pull off long enough to say, "Not on your life," and go back down, all the way to the sheath this time. "We're gonna be up half the night anyway, so we might as well make the best of it." The little hairs there tickle my nostrils in the best way.
"I...like the sound of that."
Up and down, nice and slow, rolling my tongue along the underside just so, feeling his balls shrinking and expanding against my chin as he moves up and down his own little ladder of pleasure. I don't need to watch his face for clues, but I love seeing his expression change when I switch to something different. Like swallowing down to the knot, peeling the rest of his sheath back, coating the bulk of it in thick saliva. I need it nice and slick.
Kick. Right against the edge of the couch. Someone's awake. I'm sure my racing heartbeat isn't conducive to rest down in there.
"You want me to come?" he asks. He's throbbing like he's not that far off, but I shake my head, pulling away slowly. His length fwaps wetly back up against his belly. Using his knees as leverage, I push myself to my feet, only to step up onto the couch, straddling him. I unsheathe and milk my cock for a couple fingerfuls of pre, spread it under my tail (and in, that first claw-poke always makes me gasp) and settle against my hubby.
"Could you do the honors?"
He grins and holds himself steady while his other paw guides me down onto him, little by little. First the spreading and then the filling, until I'm settled comfortably on top of his knot. Neither one of us cares that I've leaked all over his uniform. That's what he does to me when that monster nudges my prostate around.
When he nips my ear and spreads my cheeks apart, I brace myself. He takes himself out slowly, letting me get used to him. I don't know how many times we've done this, but big is big unless you're into equines, and then everything else doesn't quite measure up. My malamute's just big enough for me. Because it's him.
I wrap my arms around his middle and nuzzle into his chest, wishing it were the creamy white fur of his belly instead of the stylized hourglass logo on his uniform. I can still smell him through it, though, and since I'm breathing pretty hard anyway I get my fill.
"You okay?" he asks, soft words in my ear.
"Alright," he says, taking it as a sign to go a little harder. The solid warmth under my tail begins to blossom outward, up my spine and between my legs to my own twitching shaft trapped between our bodies. At the very end of each thrust, when his knot finds too much resistance, his tip prods my gland, masturbating me from the inside out. The baby's rearranged things down there, and a good pounding is enough to set me off paws-free sometimes. It's getting to feeling that way.
My thighs are sturdy enough to keep me kneeling without fatiguing, so he can hunch up without having to hold me there. Every time, he drives me up against his neck and chest, and for a while I nestle my muzzle at his throat, licking where the blue-grey meets the white. And then he starts really going at it, and I'm too busy vocalizing to lick anymore. And then he finds my tongue and we're too busy kissing to do much more than moan.
I love being with him like this. Not pregnant, but close and raw and intimate. Well, and pregnant too, but not for long. It's only a matter of a couple more weeks before I'm due. Then the hard part begins.
Andrew stops, leaving me panting and quivering against him. "What?"
"You felt that?"
He pauses, half-buried. While he's thinking I slide down the rest of the way and feel his claws digging into my sides. More kicks. "Someone's either enjoying the ride or complaining about it," he says.
"Hormones are good for it. The book says so," I say into one of his ears, nibbling at the edge of his mask on that side. He chuckles and we share peck after peck, me baiting him by sliding up and down his length teasingly.
"It's going to be gay for sure."
"Not with all the cock it's gotten." And he shoves the retort right out of me with a hard thrust, turning it into a grunt. He slides down a little so his hips can fly and I just make out with him, taking what he gives, loving him like a man should. I'm dancing on the edge as it is.
Finally he has to break our kiss so we can both breathe. His hips are a machine, each movement blending into the next, warming my whole body with his glow. My claws hold onto him for dear life, and at one point I notice tears squeezing out of my eyes for no reason. Shortly after, I throw my head back and hold it there while I pump my climax onto his belly and his uniform. It splatters back onto me, dripping down past my balls onto his sheath. Everything is heat and warmth and heartbeat, mine syncopated with his in the ear plastered to his chest.
After a couple of failed tries to warn me, he growls and goes stiff with the exception of his throbbing meat inside me. The pulses back there supersede the warmth of my afterglow, and I want him inside me forever. I don't care that we're not tied. I got what I wanted. And I have what I want.
We stay that way for seconds or minutes, I can't tell. His heart slows gradually, and I could count the beats, but it's way too much effort. At some point I'm vaguely aware of him turning us to lie lengthwise and stretch out; my thighs scream in protest at having to straighten. Everything is warm and comfortable. Everything is Andrew. Everything is fading fast.
I can barely complain when he pulls out. Just like always, I feel empty but I still have a part of him inside me. And even when the cum goes away I'll still have the other part of him, the part that's mercifully stopped kicking since Andrew quit humping me. I'm sticky at both ends but I'm too tired to care. I'm too tired to notice the malamute tucking a blanket around me and asking me if I need anything. I want him again, but my body can't do it.
Watching through half-lidded eyes, I rub my belly under the blanket until my fingertips find the mess below my navel. A shower would be heaven, but sleep is closer and easier. Andrew strips and cleans off with a towel before changing into a new uniform. I wonder if anyone'll smell the sex on him. When he pads back over to me, I get a whiff of NeutraScent. Not the perfect solution, but good enough in a pinch.
He kneels, bringing his handsome (fatherly, I think hazily) face close to mine. "I gotta go patrol. You going to be okay?"
"Yeah." Of course I'll be okay. We'll be okay. All three of us. Especially the new one.
"Alright," he says, and kisses my forehead. I take in his scent and hold it there as I drift easily into sleep. My man. My malamute. "Love you, Jason."
"Luhmoonoo," is the best I can do, which makes him laugh before he turns and bubbles away in a whoosh of air.
Timewarp. Protector and defender of all things just, and also San Diego. Also, Dalmatians. And their improbable offspring. Dalamutes? Mutatians?
The next eighteen years are going to be some trip. I'm lucky to have him as a traveling companion.