The Jascian's Toy copyright 2005 Rowan McBride

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This story may not be reproduced in whole or in part without author's permission.

This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to persons, living or dead (or undead), or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. They are a product of the author's imagination, or used fictitiously.

The following story contains erotic homosexual situations. If it is illegal for you to read this please leave now.

- Five -



My entire body... ached. A good ache. Like after a long, hard run. I used to run all the time, before work and life overwhelmed me. Even then, I usually managed to get onto the track about three times a week. Well, except this week, of course.

I tried to sit up. Nothing happened. I tried to raise my arms. No luck there, either. Come on, eyelids, don't let me down.

Ah, there we go.

I stared up at the ceiling. The smooth, white surface made it hard to tell whether my eyes were focusing. No light fixtures in this room. So where did the light come from at night? Was it night? Did Jascians ever install ceiling fans in their rooms? I missed my ceiling fan.

Alright. Enough of that. The eyes worked. What about the neck?

Slowly, I was able to turn my head to the side. If my eyes hadn't been in focus before, they sure as hell snapped to attention when they spotted Gavin standing stark naked in the middle of the bedroom.

I didn't know yet if my voice worked, and at the moment I was too stunned to try.

It was Gavin... but not Gavin. The being standing there was twice as tall as the one from yesterday, and his muscles had swollen--not only to fit his new frame--but beyond anything I could have imagined.

I watched in total wonder as he ran the palm of his hand over his tight, bare skin. He traced a plated wall of muscle up his mid-section, caressed the hard shelf of flesh across his broad chest. He lifted his other arm and his latissimus dorsi spread like a wing as he cupped the mountain of muscle that formed his biceps now. He lifted his head, looked at his expansive shoulders, his rounded delts.

His expression... he looked confused. I tried to summon my voice to say his name, but all that left me was a whisper.

He glanced up and smiled. "You're awake."

His face no longer looked like a teenager's. A man--a singularly beautiful man--stood before me, and his voice rumbled over my body like thunder.

Gavin crossed the room, knelt by the bed. He glided a gentle finger down the center of my torso. "Can you speak?"

Good question. I took a deep breath and tried again. "What... What happened?" My voice sounded rough. Why was that?

Oh, yeah. The sex and requisite groaning.

He grinned. "My transition. Happens to every Alpha around a week after their eighteenth birthdays. How do you feel?"

"Worn out."

Chuckling, he continued to stroke my body. "Understandable, with everything you did last night. You have no idea how impressed I am with you, Blake."

Right now, most of the details of last night were a little fuzzy. I remembered the first time Gavin came, but after that all I could recall were flashes of hot flesh, hard muscle. "Wh-What did I do?"

His grin widened. "You were my sole transition mate. I had planned to call Kieric after you were spent, but you carried me all the way through."

Kieric. Images of the arrogant, auburn haired boy floated through my mind. "Has he... transitioned, too?"

"Yep. A few days ago."

I wondered what he looked like now. As I stared at Gavin, I couldn't imagine anyone being as big as all that.

Gavin straightened, showing off his upper body as he proudly thrust his massive pecs forward. "What do you think? I look alright?"

Whoa boy. `Alright,' was definitely an understatement. I tried to sit up, but Gavin held me down with just his finger.

"Don't try and get up. Right now you should just rest."

I let my head fall back on the pillow that was serving as my bed. "Medical school, hospital residency, 72 hour shifts in the ER... All of that was nothing compared to this. I've never felt as wiped as I do now."

His brow furrowed in concern. "Blake? I didn't... Did I hurt you last night?"

A smile ghosted on my lips. "No. I'm just a little sore, is all." I thought about the wild glow in his eyes, the mass of twitchy muscle his body had become. "What about you? I can't imagine having your body change so quickly could have been comfortable for you."

Surprise flickered in his expression. "Even though it's my fault you're lying there, you care about whether my transition was painful?"

"Well... yes."

This time when he grinned, he reminded me of the teenager he'd been just yesterday. "Thanks, Blake."

My eyebrows lifted. "And? Was it painful?"

The same confusion I'd seen in him when I'd first opened my eyes returned. He looked down at himself, ran a slow hand over his swollen pecs. "No, actually."

"Isn't that a good thing?"

He glanced up at me. "Oh, I'm not disappointed or anything. It's just that I was led to believe it would be different."

"Ah." I wanted to ask more questions, but this conversation had drained me. I took a deep breath, liking the weight of his finger still on my chest.

That finger left my body and smoothed back my hair. "Go ahead and sleep. I have to run out and get some clothes, anyway."

It appeared I had enough energy for one more question, after all. "If you knew your transition was coming, why didn't you buy some beforehand?"

His mouth quirked. "I'm not an idiot, Blake. I bought several outfits. I just... well it appears I've overshot them." He reached down, picked a tattered piece of material off the floor. "See?"

It was a shirt. Correction. It used to be a shirt. The arms were shredded, the back was split down the middle, and most of the buttons were gone. "Oh...kay."

"That was pretty much my reaction." He stood, bringing attention to his nudity once again. I stared in awe at his cock. Now it was longer flaccid than it had been yesterday when it was fully erect. Hard to tell when I was lying flat on a pillow, but I thought that it was probably twice as long as my entire body.

The sound of his chuckling brought my gaze up to his face. "You shouldn't look at me like that. You're making me hot, and you really don't have the energy to go another round with me, yet."

Embarrassed and not a little frightened, I stammered out an apology.

His easy smile didn't leave him as he started to rummage through his drawers. It was strange to watch him--he had to bend almost in half now to get to the dresser. He pulled out a pair of sweat pants that looked brand new. "Let's hope these work."

He put them on. The material stretched tautly over his thighs and buttocks, but somehow managed to hold. He swore softly as he looked down at himself. "They look like girl's pants, don't they?"

The sweat pants stopped just below his knees, making them look like capris. If I'd had the energy, I would have laughed. "Yeah, they do. A little." Although the heavy muscles in his thighs and the massive bulge in his crotch assured that no one would actually be accusing him of looking like a girl.

Gavin grunted and bent over to tear the bottoms off his pants, making them into shorts. "That better?" he asked, straightening.

How someone with that much rock solid bulk could be so flexible amazed me.

His voice held a playful warning. "Blake, there's that look again."

I could feel my skin reddening and, since I was naked, I'm sure it was happening all over.

He winked and went back to his dresser, this time pulling out a tank-top. As he drew it on, his pecs put a little tear at the neckline, and his lats tore through the sides to make room for themselves. "Dammit." He sighed when he noticed that the hem of the shirt stopped above his navel. "I guess this will just have to do."

I exhaled on a slow, careful breath. The fact that he could no longer fit into his clothes, clothes that he'd bought specifically to accommodate his growth, was just torture on my battered libido.

The corner of his mouth lifted. "Maybe when I come back, we'll be able to play."

Gavin still wanted to play. I almost groaned. I didn't think I could take any more sex, even the less intense, playful kind.

Laughing again, he knelt by the bed and leaned his elbows on the mattress. "Is there anything you need before I go?"

Did they have Gatorade on Jasc? I looked Gavin up and down, noted that he exuded energy and vitality.

Probably not.

"I could use a blanket," I said finally.

"Sure." He reached down and removed the blanket from my bed, which was still on the floor. "Although I hate to cover up this body." He lowered his head, pressed his lips to my stomach as he nuzzled my torso.

It felt so good that I moaned softly, but it also made me sad as I realized that I was now too small for him to kiss me on the mouth. So that's what he'd meant that day he'd told me he would miss it.

Gavin lifted his head and suddenly I was very, very tired.

He covered me with the blanket and stood. Crossing the bedroom, he reached for the doorknob. His hand hit the wood several feet above, and he paused, looking confused again. He reached lower and grabbed the knob, then gave me a final glance. "Get some sleep, alright?"

Too tired to think about that, my eyes drifted closed. "Already there," I murmured.

I heard the door click shut, and I was alone in a world that insisted on getting progressively stranger.


I think several hours had passed by the time I awoke again. I eased up, propped myself back against the headboard. My limbs felt heavy, but at least I could move them. That showed improvement, which was comforting.

Something scratched at the door and I shuddered as I wondered if it was that damned cat. But soon enough, the scratching stopped, and I let myself relax. Unfortunately, the silence gave me time to think.

So I was a toy. We've established that. But now Gavin was even bigger. He'd seemed really sweet this morning, but I worried whether the greater disparity in our sizes would make it easier for him to see me as nothing more than an object. Remembering how he'd looked this morning, naked as he explored his new form, I absently ran my hand over my own chest. My muscles felt so tight and tender.

Maybe I should have thought to stretch before passing out.

I tried to recall more of last night. The images were clearer, but still disjointed. I seemed to remember scrambling over Gavin's mountain of a body, doing my best to accomplish an impossible feat--to please a giant. There was one time when I'd been sucking his nipple, and it began to grow in my mouth. I'd been so shocked that I snapped my head back, drawing a very dark growl from him. How could any Jascian expect an Earther to satisfy them?

And yet Gavin had told me that he'd been impressed, that I'd carried him through. He'd also made it clear that he wanted more of whatever I'd done last night.

My head fell back against the headboard with a soft thunk.

So he liked the touch of his little toy. So what? How long would it be before the novelty of having one simply wore off?

God, this was depressing. Not so much because there was no escaping my situation. Nor because the body rattling sex that had nearly killed me already had me craving more. No, the depression set in when I realized that I well and truly liked Gavin. Maybe more than liked.

Such futile yearnings, I know. But I couldn't stem them.

Another noise at the door caught my attention and I turned my head. Gavin walked in, wearing a white button down shirt untucked from a pair of loose fitting, black slacks. The loose attire couldn't hide the power of his pecs, his arms, or his thighs. Couldn't obscure his shoulders or traps in the least. Naked or clothed, he was a stunning man.

His face lit up when he saw me. "Hey! You're sitting up! Have you been awake long?"

He tossed his shopping bag onto the floor as he came to kneel beside me. I smiled. Apparently, on the inside, part of him was still a teenager. "No, just woke up a little while ago. I see you found new clothes."

Gavin rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I know they look like crap. But the Betas who made this and three other outfits for me had to work fast. They're functional, and they'll hold me over until they can make me some decent clothes."

"You got your clothing tailored for you?"

He grinned. "I like what I'm wearing to fit me."

Given the swank house, the upscale neighborhood, and his Alpha status, I supposed that was understandable. "I think what you're wearing now looks just fine."

He reached out and ran the pad of his finger down my chest. "You're always so nice, even when I'm scaring the hell out of you."

A reference to last night, obviously. But for the life of me I couldn't make the connection. "I was nice to you when we... you know?"

"You don't think I heard you, do you?" Looking embarrassed, he ran his fingers through his hair, causing the muscles in his arm to stretch his sleeve tight. "I guess I was kinda crazy. You kept whispering how good I felt. Murmuring what a great body I had. I... I liked that."

My lips parted. I didn't remember any of that, but I didn't want to burst his bubble. "I'm glad you liked it, Gavin."

His smile returned, but warmer somehow. "How does your body feel?"

I arched my back to confirm the aches were still with me. "Sore."

"The manual says I should soak you in warm water. Does that sound like something that might help?"

I raised an eyebrow. "That depends on your definition of `warm.'"

Chuckling, he gently scooped me up into his hands. It disconcerted me that I could easily fit in the cradle of his palms now. My raw nerves, my sore body, and my overwhelmed mind all added to my disorientation.

He walked into the bathroom and carefully placed me on the counter by the sink. I watched his powerful hands, which now dwarfed the water knobs, easily turn the water on. The sink filled quickly and after he stopped the flow of water he dipped his hand into it. "Check that, tell me how it feels."

Cautiously, I touched the tip of my finger to the water, relieved to find it just the way I liked it. "Perfect, like always."

He scooped me up again and placed me into the water. Then he leaned his elbows on the counter. "Is it helping?"

I don't know why the sink was my breaking point. I'd been taking a bath in it every day for a week. Maybe it was more the fact that, before, the sink came up to Gavin's chest, and now it barely made it to his hips. My breathing grew rapid, shallow. My skin suddenly felt cold, despite the warm water. Thank goodness my stomach was empty, because the nausea rising up in me was intense.

The doctor in me recognized this as shock. The man, however, really didn't care.

"Blake?" Gavin's voice sounded concerned, but I couldn't answer. I couldn't even look up. "Hey..." He reached into the water, his long fingers slid behind my back as his thumb brushed against my chest. "What's wrong?"

His hand, although it heightened the panic within me, did help me find my voice. "I... I don't think I can handle this. I-I'm not strong enough."

"Handle what?"

I struggled to come back from this void I was slipping into. "I think... I think humans..."

Jesus, that wasn't even the right term for me anymore.

"I th-think Earthers need at least one constant in their lives. If everything else changes, we need one thing we can hold on to. Like, I'll wake up in my bed tomorrow. I'll have a job to go to. The sun will rise in the East. I will always be my own man. Something." I tried to push his thumb away from me, but I couldn't even budge it. "I did not wake up in my bed this morning. I don't have a job to go back to. I don't even know which direction East is here. And I am definitely no longer my own man."

The cold from my skin seemed to spread to the water, the only point of warmth was Gavin's hand. Which only made things worse, because it wasn't the hand I knew. "As we got to know each other, I thought... I thought you could be my constant. And I started to settle. I wasn't there yet, but I was beginning to accept this new life. Then you changed. Dramatically. Overnight. And I realized that there is nothing I can depend on, nothing I can hold on to."

Slow down, I told myself. Breathe.

Gavin's gentle hold on me firmed. "Blake, look at me."

His voice, so different now, nevertheless pulled my gaze to him. His face jarred me. It was all clean lines and flat planes now. Masculine, powerful. So adult.

"Look into my eyes."

I looked into his eyes.

A gentle smile curved his mouth. "Don't my eyes look the same?"

They did. Bright, cobalt. Genuine concern there. As well as the touch of mischief that never really left them.

I nodded.

"I'm still the same man, Blake. Same mind, same emotions. If you need something consistent in your life, I can be that for you. I promise."

Promises again. But he'd never broken one he'd made to me. And I wanted--I needed--to believe he never would. My breathing started to even, warmth began to creep back into my body. "A-Alright."

His smile turned teasing. "Now, if I let you go, are you going to be able to hold yourself up?"

My soft laughter surprised me. "Yeah, I think so."

"Good." He slowly removed his hand, then watched me a few moments to make sure I didn't go under. "I've got something to take care of in the bedroom, but I will be back."

After my humiliating breakdown just now, I could use some time alone. "Okay."

He straightened, towering over me a moment before he turned to leave the bathroom. He paused at the door before glancing back at me. "Blake?"


"Thanks for trusting me."

I felt awkward again. "Ah... thanks for earning it."

He broke into a grin and left the bathroom.

I settled back and closed my eyes, trying to ignore the ruckus Gavin was making in the other room. What the heck was he doing in there?

After a while, I got so used to the noise that I really could ignore it, and I started to feel the warm water do its work on my muscles.

Which was, of course, when the noise stopped.

Expecting him to return, I looked up. But instead I heard the outer bedroom door open and shut. I glanced down at myself, sitting in a sink set into a twelve foot high counter.

Exactly how long did his manual tell him to let me soak?

Just when I started to look around for that handkerchief, the outer door opened and shut again. A few minutes later, Gavin strode into the bathroom. "Is the water still warm?"

I nodded, still feeling tired.

He walked to me, bent over as he slid is hand around my body. His thumb kneaded the tight muscles of my chest as his fingers massaged my back. "Does that feel good?"

"Oh..." My head dropped back a bit. "Wow."

His thumb and fingers moved over my body, taking the kinks from it. "I'm going to take that as a yes."

I could hear the amusement in his voice, but it didn't detract anything from this bliss I was feeling. "Did your manual tell you to do this?"

"Sure did. A Jascian's soreness leaves him after a minute or two, but it said that Earther toys need special attention because they can hurt for hours or days." His tone made it clear that he couldn't even comprehend that. "The warm bath, this little massage, it's all in the post-transition care chapter."

My eyebrows drew together. "Seems as if there's a lot of information in it."

"There is."

"But there was nothing in it about what to do if one of us gets scalded by hot water?"

His hand on me paused a moment, then continued with the massage. "No, there wasn't. But I wrote the authors and told them what you told me. They actually wrote me back yesterday to let me know they were including the information in the next upgrade, but I was too... focused on other things to tell you."

That was interesting, and important, too. But I couldn't concentrate with Gavin's hand kneading my body, and I gave up the fight when he reached his other hand into the sink to massage my legs. "That's nice," was all I could say, and I wasn't entirely sure I was talking about the manual upgrade.

His fingers continued to work their magic for several minutes. I didn't even realize it when my eyelids drooped closed.

"Blake, you're not falling asleep on me, are you?"

My eyes fluttered open as I looked up at him. "No. I'm just very relaxed."

The hand focused on my legs slid underneath me. "The water seems cool to me. Does it feel the same to you?"

I'd been so entranced by Gavin's warm touch that I hadn't noticed. "Yeah, now that I think about it."

He lifted me out of the water and held me against his body with one hand.

I could feel the muscled bricks of his upper abdominals through his shirt and, even as I tried to push away, I was shocked by their hardness.

"Why are you squirming?" asked Gavin.

"I'm trying not to get your shirt wet."

Chuckling, Gavin used his free hand to lift the front corner of his shirt and dry me off with it. "It's only clothing, Blake."

His firm hand pressed me against his abs again, and I couldn't see his face because of the massive pecs overhanging me like a roof. The friction of the cloth, coupled with all of this incomprehensible muscle, was ecstasy. My libido strove to rise to the occasion, but I was just too sapped from yesterday.

"I like touching you this way," he murmured. "I want more, but you still seem really tired."

I inhaled his scent. It too, had changed. Not in any dramatic way. Gavin still smelled like Gavin. But it was more masculine, more sensual. Something I wouldn't have believed possible. "Sorry about that."

"Not as sorry as I am," he said, leaving the bathroom. The surge of motion surprised me, and I twisted my fists into his shirt. He must have sensed it, because he slowed his step. "I'd never drop you, you know that."

No, I hadn't. But I believed him and loosened my grip.

"Oh, shit."

I grabbed his shirt again. "What?"

He abruptly changed direction and walked toward his weight set. "My mom's gonna kill me. I messed up the wall yesterday."

Twisting in his hold, I saw the barbell he had thrown aside so easily laying at the base of the wall, and a large, spider-like crack right above it.

He reached down and picked up the barbell as if it were nothing. "Maybe I can put the dresser there for now, fix it on the sly."

I stared at his arm. It didn't look at all strained by the same weight that had given him such a workout just yesterday. "Gavin... that's not heavy?"

"Of course not. It's a kid's weight."

I buried my face in his shirt to muffle a groan.

Gavin chuckled and lifted me higher, pressing me against the swell of muscle curving out from his chest. "That turn you on, Blake?" he asked, grinning down at me.

I glanced down at his hand again. What had I estimated that weight to be? Four thousand pounds?

A seductive quality crept into his voice, melding with the humor. "How about this?" He began to curl the barbell--smooth, easy reps. "Do you like that?"

Oh, god. Was that a whimper that just left my mouth?

Although the motion obviously wasn't giving him any trouble at all, his biceps and triceps bunched and flexed hugely with casual power. How big did they get when he really worked them?

He indulged my abject fascination a few moments longer before setting the barbell back onto its stand. "Come on. I'm starved."

When he turned, I saw what had caused all that noise earlier.

Gavin had single handedly taken apart his bed. The frame lay in pieces in the corner, much of it nothing more than splintered wood now. "Why...?"

"It's too short for me now, so I put two mattresses end to end on the floor. Not pretty, but it'll work until we move into the new apartment." He placed me onto the mattress, and for the first time I noticed the plate loaded with food. The felt bundle that contained my silverware was already unrolled beside me.

The cool air whispered across my bare skin, raising goose bumps on my forearms. I already missed the warmth of Gavin's body, and I drew my knees up against my chest.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. I just feel a little self-conscious, sitting here naked."

He grinned. "Is that all?" His long fingers flicked open the top button of his shirt and he drew it off over his head. Then he shed his pants, lifting his hips as he tugged them off and tossed them aside. "How's that?"

I lowered my legs, laughing softly. "Great." Definitely better than what I'd had in mind.

Gavin cut a few small pieces from each part of his meal and pushed them to my side of the plate. "Eat. With the workout I gave you, you must be hungry."

No argument there. I snatched up my fork and tucked in. As always, though, I was full after only a few bites.

"You've been living on Jascian food for a week, Blake. Is it agreeable with you?"

I put my fork down. "I think so. I mean, I feel good."

His gaze swept over me. "You look good, too."

A smile ghosted on my lips as I glanced away, scratching my cheek as I tended to do when I was embarrassed. I noted absently that I hadn't grown any sort of stubble overnight, but then it usually took a few days for me to get any decent facial hair. The razor and shaving foam I had would probably last a good long time.

"Oh, I forgot to pour your water." He lifted his glass and poured some into mine, filling, then overfilling it. "Oops, sorry. I'm not used to it looking so much smaller now."

"No problem." I took another look at the plate, at his own water glass. "Gavin... this set of tableware looks a lot bigger than what you used yesterday. Was that for children, too?"

He grinned proudly as he cleaned his plate. "Yep. Man, I am so glad I've finally completed my first transition. Been waiting for it all my life."

My head shot up. "First transition? There are more?"

His grin faltered as he placed his empty plate and water glass on his night-stand. "Just one more."

Panic started to rise up in me again. "Gavin, exactly how big are you going to get? Will it be as intense as last night? More intense? Will I even survive?"

"You shouldn't worry about it. My second--and final--transition is a year away."

"I shouldn't worry about it? How can you drop something like that on me and expect me not to react?"

"Blake," he said gently. "My eyes will still be blue."


His big hand swooped down and grabbed me, then tossed me onto a pillow at the head of the bed. "You seemed to have regained enough energy to argue with me, Blake," he said, bringing his head close to my body. "Does that mean we can fuck now? Because I've been hurting for you all day."

My eyes rounded, and a different kind of panic came over me.

"You smell so good." The tip of his nose touched my ankle, skimmed the surface of my body as he traveled upward. "My senses are much sharper now, you know. There's a depth to your scent that I couldn't comprehend before. It fills me, but makes me hungry at the same time."

His lips pressed against my stomach and I reached up, caressing his face with my hands. A sound similar to a purr rumbled out of him, sending soft vibrations through me. "Gavin," I breathed, my voice caught between a moan and a sigh.

"Hmm." He lifted his head slightly. "A drawback of these heightened senses is that I can tell you're every bit as drained as I am energized." He shifted himself to the side, propped himself up on his elbow as he stared down at me. "I can wait until tomorrow before having sex again. But only until tomorrow, do you understand?"

"Y-Yes." Although I didn't, really. Gavin always tried to be considerate of me (note to self: unless his eyes were glowing) and so I understood that part. But I was so tiny compared to him. Why did he even want to have sex again?

He glanced up at the door, then down at me. "Hey, my parents are taking me to a party to celebrate my transition. You just relax and build up your strength, alright?"

I nodded, watched him get dressed and leave me again.

This time when I nodded off, it was only for an hour or so. I got up and went to the edge of the mattress. It was only about six feet high, so getting to the floor wasn't too much of a problem. I made my way over the plush carpet to the bathroom, relieved myself, and took a walk around the room that had been my home for the past week. The dresser, the weight set, the desk... it all loomed high above me.

I was going to feel like an ant in the new apartment.

Some of my stiffness left me and I stretched a bit in an effort to banish the rest of it. Definitely a good ache.

Was Gavin having fun at his party? Was it `Alphas Only,' or would lessers be there as well? Did he leave me behind because he really felt I needed rest? Or because one didn't take toys to adult parties?

Thankfully, the sound of the doorknob turning saved me from yet another depression spiral. I looked up, stared in awe at Gavin as he walked into the room. It was one thing to see him from the bed, or from the sink, quite another to stand on the floor and experience his full height.

Before, I'd come up to the top of his knees. Now I barely reached the halfway point on his shin. The landscape of his body was amazing as I slowly craned my head backward, taking in his thick calves, his massive thighs, the shirt falling loose around his waist while it stretched tight over his jutting pecs. Higher, higher, until I finally reached his handsome face.

His eyes found me immediately. "Gone from sitting to standing. Nice."

I ran my hand through my overlong hair. "I'm feeling a lot better."

He leaned back against the door. "You sure you like wearing clothes? Because naked is a good look for you."

My eyes rounded. "Th-Thanks. But I really do like to be dressed." He chuckled, and I changed the subject. "That was a short party. I'm surprised to see you back so soon."

His smile faded. "Yeah, well, it's still going on. But I was bored, so I cut out."

I frowned. "You ditched your own party?"

"I stayed for the ceremony. And the speeches. After that it was just a lot of talk, and I..." His eyebrows drew together as he stared down at me.

"You what?"

He was silent a moment longer before shrugging. "I just wanted to come home and kick back. Maybe have some fun."

"What sort of fun?" I asked cautiously.

His mouth curved, a little sad. "Still scared of me, Blake?"

"Ah, no." Strange, but I really wasn't afraid of him anymore. "Just trying to figure out if I can keep up."

He laughed, walked to his dresser. It all looked like toy furniture now. He totally filled the room. "Actually..." He pulled out a square board and put it on the floor, then dropped a small bag beside it. "How about this?"

I walked to the board, one and a half times longer than me, and stared at the familiar red and black squares in shock.

"Blake? Too tired to play?"

I shook my head. "It's a checkerboard," I said, my mind a step behind.

He grinned as he sat in front of it, opened the bag and dumped the pieces onto the board. "Sure is."

In a daze, I sat across from him as he set up the pieces. "They have checkers on Jasc?"

"Nope. Had to make the board myself. It's not great, but maybe one of these days I'll have a Beta make one for us. They're handy at crafts. Would you like that?"

I looked at the two rows of red pieces set out in front of me, made from some sort of wood. The paint had faded a bit, indicating that the board had been used a lot. "Who do you play with?"

"Lucas, mostly. I tried to get Kieric into it, but he wasn't interested. Sometimes I just play by myself."

Any lingering depression left me at that moment. "You liked the game that much?"

"I had a lot of fun that night, Blake." He pushed one of his pieces into place, starting the game. "Your move."

I considered my strategy a moment and stood, walking to a piece on the far right of the board. I reached down and pushed on it, but it wouldn't budge. Frowning, I crouched and used both my hands as I gave it a shove. Slowly, it began to move, but my arms were shaking with the effort by the time I got it to the other square.

Gavin's laughter cascaded down around me. "From now on, tell me where you want to go, and I'll move it for you. I don't want you getting exhausted again."

My own laughter was embarrassed as I rubbed my arms. "Okay."

He slid another piece into place with this forefinger. "Your move."

I pointed to the piece I wanted, and then pointed to a square. Gavin pushed it into place. I glanced up, at the rapt attention in his face. Despite his mature features, right now I could see faint traces of the little boy I'd met eight years ago. I hoped that little boy would always be there, that he would always want to play. And I enjoyed finally being able to do something I was good at. My grandfather had taught me checkers, and I loved this game.

Gavin beat me five minutes later.

"Again?" he asked eagerly.

I laughed. "Sure."

Out of the thirty games we played, I only won three. And I suspected that Gavin let me win those, but my pride wanted to hang on to the fantasy. He set up the board for game thirty one, and I covered my mouth to stifle a yawn.

He glanced at me. "Tired?"

"I'm fine. Do I get the first move this time?"

A gentle smile shaped his mouth. "I hadn't realized it was so late. We'll play again soon." He scooped up all the pieces and returned them to the bag. Then he slid both bag and board underneath the dresser. "A lot has happened yesterday and today. To tell you the truth, I could use some sleep as well."

I yawned again, a loud one this time.

He unbuttoned his shirt, revealing the physical perfection I would have sworn was impossible only yesterday.

"I'm really glad you like my body, Blake."

I felt my skin redden again, but I grinned. "I'm no expert on what attracts one Jascian to another, but I'm thinking everyone likes your body, Gavin."

The corner of his mouth crooked. "True." He removed his pants--each head of muscle in his quadriceps was thicker than my entire body. "But that doesn't stop me from being glad that you do." He wrapped his fingers around me and set me on the pillow before crawling in beside me.

I sat up, looked around. "I'm... I'm not sleeping in my bed tonight?"

He loomed over me again. "No, you'll always sleep with me now."

I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but my bed... it still smelled like home. I wanted to hang on to it as long as I could. "I thought you were afraid of rolling over me."

His eyes narrowed, telling me he knew damn well why I wanted my own bed. "I'm so fucking aware of you now. I can hear your heart beat, I see every little move you make. It's now a physical impossibility for me to accidently roll over you. But none of that is the point, is it? I like you close. I want you close. So you will be close."

I shut my eyes, reminded myself that I had no power here, no autonomy. "I understand."

His voice dropped. "Blake, does the thought of being close to me really make you so sad?"

The tone in his voice had me looking up at him again. The naked vulnerability shining in his blue eyes surprised me. "Gavin..." Unable to resist that expression, I forced a smile. "It doesn't make me sad at all. But, in case you haven't noticed, it always takes me a while to adjust to change."

He retrieved my blanket and draped it over me. "Does this make it easier?"

My emotion cycle was spinning so fast that it was likely to catch fire soon. Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing. "Much. Thank you, Gavin."

He nuzzled my body a moment before laying his head right beside me. "Goodnight, Blake."

The lights went out around us. Voice activated? Come to think of it, they always went out when Gavin said his goodnights, and probably turned on automatically when the room started to darken. I caught Gavin still looking at me, and smiled, more genuine this time. "Goodnight."

A smile ghosted on his lips as he closed his eyes.

His content face was the last thing I saw before I drifted off as well.

My eyes fluttered open a short while later. It was still dark. Why was I up? My mind reconnected with my body.

Oh, I needed to make a trip to my toy toilet.

I eased up and started to slide down the pillow.

Gavin's hand closed around me. "Where're you going?" he asked, still half asleep.

God, he really was hyper-aware of me now. "Just to the bathroom."

"Want me to carry you?"

His droopy eyes looked so adorable that I smiled. "No, I can handle it."

"Mmm." He lifted me up and set me down onto the floor. "Hurry back."

I did, and when I reached up to pull myself onto the mattress, his big hand swept me up and placed me on the pillow, then pulled the blanket over me. I looked at him, and realized that he'd fallen asleep already.

As far as being a toy went, this really wasn't bad.

Impulsively, I leaned forward and kissed the tip of his nose. He smiled in his sleep, and I settled back onto my pillow.


Light shone bright in the room when I awoke again. As my eyes adjusted, I realized that I had a grinning giant staring down at me. "Good morning," I said, yawning softly.

"Good morning. How do you feel?"

I stretched. "Well rested. You?"

"Hot and hard."

All traces of sleep vanished. "Really. Well, I suppose I can--"

He stripped me of my blanket and trailed kisses down my body. My penis, rejuvenated now, sprang to attention. "Oh, you definitely can," he said, lifting his head.

Chuckling, I pushed myself up into a sitting position, ran my hand down the bridge of his nose. "Apparently."

He bumped me with his nose, and his tongue darted out to lick my chest, drawing another sexy purr from him.

"Candy?" I asked.

His eyes sparked, and I would have been alarmed if he weren't still grinning. "Candy."

"So how is this going to work, Gavin?"

He leaned back, scooped me up and dropped me onto his mountain of a chest. "I figured we could do it your way this time."

I tilted my head to the side. "My way?"

"You know. That stuff you said before about going slow to build a fire. I wanna try that."

His eagerness was making the heart and the libido happy. "Alright." I climbed higher up his pecs and trailed the tips of my fingers over his collarbone. "Do you like that?"

"Yes," he breathed.

From the strain in his voice, I already knew how this was going to end. But I continued on, leaning forward to lick that hollow at the base of his neck. "How about that?"

"I want more."

A problem, because he was thirty feet tall and I was, well, not. I stretched my body out on top of his, then slid myself downward.

Gavin moaned, and his muscles swelled, pushing me higher.

I rubbed myself against him a few moments more before swivelling around so I could grab hold of his nipple. Unsure whether he could even feel the force of my grip, I tried a different tact; caressing, tracing, using my fingernails at uneven intervals.

The moan turned into a growl and he snatched me up. "I don't think the slow thing is gonna work today, either," he said, his breath coming harsh.

A sly grin of my own shaped my mouth. "Frankly, I'm surprised you lasted this long."

His eyebrows rose, and then he burst into laughter, tossing me back onto the pillow. He crawled closer, the muscles working under his skin, making him look like a giant panther on the prowl. "You'll scream my name, right? Like you did last time?"

Again, I had no memory of that. But not a whisper of fear touched me as he approached. "That's the kind of thing you gotta earn."

He grinned, lowered his head, and showed me what a Jascian's mouth could do.


The next few days were nothing more than a blur of sex, food and sleep. Gavin spent all his time with me, leaving only to get sustenance for the both of us. I got to know every hill and crevice of his body, and he made sure that I was thoroughly sated before I went to bed. His eyes sparked from time to time, but they never actually glowed, and I counted my blessings for that.

The haze of pleasure was so thick that I lost all track of time. It wasn't until moving day when I was finally able to think clearly again.

I sat up in the empty bed, my attention caught by Gavin packing up some boxes in the center of the room.

I guess his new clothes had arrived. He was wearing a pair of skin tight jeans with a blue, short sleeved t-shirt tucked into them.

Gavin glanced up at me. "Good, you're up."

This hyper-awareness thing... it was kinda creepy. But I pushed the feeling away. "Yep. What's going on?"

"New apartment's ready, we're leaving today."

"So soon?" I tried to sort through the last few days, and all I got for my trouble was a goofy grin on my face. "Time really does fly when you're having fun."

He chuckled and left the boxes to scoop me up and set me on the dresser. "Pick."

All my clothes had been laid out for me. I thought a moment and picked up my scrubs.

His eyebrows drew together. "Those? You don't want to wear something new?"

I pulled my shirt on over my head. "It's because we're moving. The familiarity settles me. I fear change, remember."

He bent over and bumped me with his nose. "I'll always take care of you."

I dipped my head as I pulled on my pants, trying to hide my blush. When was the last time someone really wanted to take care of me? My parents, probably. I'd been looking after other people so long that I'd forgotten what it felt like.

Gavin set my doctor's bag in front of me. "Keep this close to you. I wouldn't want such a little thing to get lost in the move."

"Sure thing. Is there anything I can do to help?"

His laughter burst from him so fast that it came out as a snort. "Oh, man." He said, waving his hand when he saw the look on my face. "I'm sorry. I know you're just trying to make yourself useful. Just look after your bag, alright?"

I sighed. "Alright."

He opened a drawer under me, and his smiled warmed. "Wow," he said, pulling out a small, rectangular object. "I'd all but forgotten about this."

"What is it?"

He turned it toward me, showing me its flat screen. "It's the handheld I used to watch you when you were on Earth."

My lips parted, my heart skipped a beat. "Does it still work? Can I see home with it?"

His voice grew tight. "You are home, Blake. Well, you will be by the end of the day."

I glanced up just in time to see his eyes spark. So it wasn't just a response to sexual stimuli, then. "I'm sorry. Didn't mean it that way. But... I'd really like to see how Earth is holding up without me."

Slowly, the tension flowed out of him. "It doesn't work like that. This machine is linked to you." He touched the pad of his finger to my forehead. "Wherever you are, it always watches what you are doing." He pressed a button at its base, and suddenly I was staring at myself. "That's why I put it away. It's pretty boring now that I have the real thing with me. Useless, too."

I stared at the crystal clear image of myself. So this is how he'd watched me for two years. I tilted my head to the side, and the image tilted his head right along with me. Nice. It even worked in real time. "If it's so useless, why do you still have it?"

He pressed the button again, and the screen flashed to black. "You're right," he said, straightening. "I should have thrown it away a long time ago." He walked away, but instead of throwing it into the trash, he carefully placed it into one of the boxes.

Kind of sweet, really. Either that, or he was just a pack rat.

He glanced up, looked at the door. "Door's open, Kieric," he said without raising his voice. "Come on up."

I frowned. "Kieric's here?"

He straightened and looked at me. "Yeah, he's going to help us move."

"But... I didn't hear anything."

He grinned and tapped his ear.

Now that was sensory perception. "And he could hear you, even though he was standing outside the front door? Downstairs?"

He nodded.

"Wow," I whispered.

His head tilted to the side. "How funny. It turns you on, doesn't it? Maybe we'll play a game of hide and seek or something when we get to the new apartment."

I laughed, but before I could say something more, the bedroom door opened and Kieric walked in. "Hide and seek is pointless with toys after you transition. They're so fucking easy to find."

I stared at Kieric in shock. He'd grown--that was obvious. And his muscles were powerful, swollen tight all over his body. But that wasn't what had me stunned.

Gavin was standing right in front of him, and the top of Kieric's head only came up to his chest.

Kieric whistled as he looked him up and down. "Man, Gav. I saw you at your party, but I can't get over how well your transition went. You're bound to score a Council position for sure."

He grinned, full of pride. "Yeah, I know. Go ahead and set your toy on the dresser by mine."

Kieric didn't bother to acknowledge my presence as he dropped the man in his hands onto the dresser.

The man rolled forward and smoothly got to his feet, rolling his eyes at Kieric's back before looking at me. "`Sup, little man."

Lucas hadn't been exaggerating when he'd said Kieric's toy was much bigger. The man stood six foot four in army fatigues. He was missing the jacket, wearing only an army green t-shirt. He was fit and muscled, and his arms were thick and cut. His black hair was cut very short, his facial features and skin tone made me think he might have been Native American. "H-Hi. My name's Blake."

"Jack." He looked me over. "You a real doctor? Or did your Alpha just dress you up that way?"

I glanced down at my scrubs and back at him. "I'm a real doctor. Well, I was, anyway. What about you? Were you really in the military?"

"Army Ranger, baby." He glanced over his shoulder. "Man, your Alpha's huge! None of the others I've seen are anywhere near that big."

His language snagged something in my brain. "Why do you call him my Alpha?"

He turned to look at me again. "Why the fuck not? They need us more than we need them."

A skeptical grin shaped my mouth. "How is that?"

He walked closer, and I unconsciously took a step back, although his manner wasn't really threatening. "They call us toys, but Jascian Alphas can't go into government unless we're alive and healthy. Ruling is very important to them. We're a status symbol, and if they can't prove they're responsible enough to take care of us, then they don't get to do it."

His explanation took a second to sink in. "How did you find this out?"

"I listen, and I ask questions when Kieric's in a good mood. Every bit of intel helps if an opportunity to escape ever comes up."

"Escape? You think you might go home?"

"Yeah, I'll be damned if I let my unit think I went AWOL."

I didn't know what to think, but I was starting to like him. "You have a plan or anything?"

"No, not yet. But they brought us here, so there must be a way back. I haven't figured that part out. I was asleep when they snatched me."

"Yeah, I was too." Gavin's visit eight years ago flashed through my head. "Oh, wait. My Alpha--" Hey, that actually sounded pretty good. "--visited me when he was a kid. I remembered my wall was shimmering, and then he disappeared into it. A portal, maybe?"

He raised his eyebrows. "Alright, now we're getting somewhere. But how is it controlled?"

I struggled to bring back the memory. "He said... that he'd had to hack the system to get to me. Some sort of computer?"

He clapped his hand on my shoulder, almost knocking me to my knees. "Way to go, Blake!"

Total fantasy, this idea of going home. But Jack seemed so confident, and there was still a glimmer of hope in me. I was about to tell him what else I remembered, but then I saw his upper arm as his hand rested on my shoulder. He'd torn the sleeve off his t-shirt, and then wrapped it around his biceps and triceps. "You're bleeding."

He dropped his arm. "Yeah. Veda got me a couple days ago."

"That's a cat scratch?"

He snorted. "I guess you could compare it to a cat, if what you've got in mind is a sabertooth or something."

I reached up, held his arm in one hand while I untied the makeshift bandage. "If it's still bleeding after two days, you're in need of stitches. Have you been keeping it clean?"

"Man, I'm a fucking Ranger. I know how to keep myself tight until I get to a medic."

The bandage fell to the dresser top, revealing the red laceration slicing down his biceps. He was lucky. The claw had just damaged his epidermis; his musculature seemed unharmed. "Well, you just got to a medic."

"Yeah? And exactly how are you going stitch me up?"

I sat down, opened up my bag. "With a sterile needle and surgical thread."

Jack slowly sat beside me. "Yo, your Alpha get that for you at the toy store?"

"No, Gavin knew it was important to me, and so he made sure it came along for the ride."

He frowned. "Really?"

"Yeah, I don't understand it, either. But the bottom line is I can help you now."

He let me take hold of his arm again. Hard as a rock, and probably seventeen or eighteen inches around. "Man, all I got to keep was what was on my body."

I glanced at his hip and then back at the wound. "I'm going to apply some antiseptic to clean the area, and it's going to sting a bit." I removed a bottle from my bag. "So you were sleeping with your gun?"

"It wasn't lights out or anything. I was just taking a cat nap, waiting for one of my guys to catch up."

I put my bottle back into the bag. "Alright. I'm going to sew you up now. I don't have anything to dull the pain, though."

He rolled his eyes. "Please. Don't worry about me, Doc. I can take it."

I tried not to feel giddy over being called `Doc,' but there was no fighting it. "Ready?"

"Born ready."

Yeah, I really liked him.

He kept his arm perfectly still through the whole procedure, didn't make a single sound. Except for the occasional wince, you'd never know I was piercing his skin with a needle at regular intervals.

As was my habit with patients, I tried to keep an easy conversation going, to take their minds off why they were in my care. "So, why didn't you use your gun on that Veda?"

"Couldn't. Emptied the clip firing at Kieric when I first got here."

Surprise made me glance up briefly. "You shot him?"

"I woke up to a fifteen foot giant trying to feel me up. Hell yeah, I shot him! Fat lot of good it did me."

I grinned, finished another clean stitch. "How did Kieric take that?"

Jack groaned. "He took off his shirt and asked me to do it again. I think it tickled or something."

I remembered how Kieric had boasted that his toy had wet his pants the first time he'd taken off his shirt. Truthfully, if I'd received that sort of welcome to Jasc, I probably would have emptied more than my bladder. "Last stitch is in. I'm just going to wrap it up now, okay?"

"You're the doctor." He looked at my handiwork. "When and how do I take them out?"

My hands stilled and I dropped the gauze back into my bag. "Ten days. I have no idea when I'll see you again, so I guess I should show you how to do it on your own." I picked up a pair of scissors. "Take these with you, and--"

"No need, Doc." He pulled out a Swiss army knife, flipped open a pair of blades. "Got my own."

I chuckled. "Alright. I'll give you some disposable antiseptic pads to clean that with. In ten days, I want you to cut here," I indicated the point with my needle, "and then carefully pull the stitch out. You understand?"


Retrieving my gauze, I began to wrap his arm. "I'll give you some of this stuff, too, so that you can keep your wound clean and wrapped. I never want to see that bloodied shirt sleeve again, got it?"

He laughed. "Yes, sir." As I fastened the gauze, he asked, "Hey, Blake. Are you a pediatrician?"

My head shot up. "Yes, how did you know?"

"I'll bet you're good with kids."

I nodded. "How...?"

"You've got that look about you. Innocence. I imagine children gravitate to that." He lowered his head. "And you've got a gentle touch. I've been stitched up without anesthesia before, and this hardly hurt at all."

Memories of the last few days lazed through me, and I smiled, although I could feel my skin warming. Was I ever going to stop blushing? "If you had any idea what I'd been doing lately, `innocence' would be the last word you'd use." I glanced up and saw Gavin looking at me strangely, but then Kieric nudged him and they went back to packing.

Jack leaned back, bracing himself on his good arm. "Transition?"

I stopped wondering about Gavin's expression and returned my attention to Jack. "Yeah, it was crazy. Was yours crazy?"

He laughed. "Fucking insane. How long did you last?"

"The whole night. It nearly killed me."

His eyes widened. "Damn, Doc. Remind me to take lessons from you sometime. I only lasted three rounds."

I remembered how insatiable Gavin had been. "What did Kieric do after that?"

"Oh, the chick, Soria. She was waiting in the room, and she took it from there. I even got to hang out with her toy, Jenny, while they did it. Let me tell you, I was never so grateful."

This conversation was confusing me more and more. "Wait. Gavin said that if I had petered out, he would have called Kieric. But Kieric had a woman help him with his transition?"

His full lips twitched. "You still don't understand the sex thing on this planet, do you?"

I shook my head.

"There's no such thing as gay, straight, or bi here. With Jascians, they see someone attractive, they fuck. That simple."

"Wow," I said softly. "Must be liberating."

He laughed again. "That must be why so many of them have sex in public."

"I noticed that!"

Jack grinned, looked down at the bandage on his arm. "So I'm all good now? Before, it would start to heal, then start bleeding again for no reason."

"It's because you have very little body fat, and your muscles are big and hard."

He shot me a look.

I raised my hands. "It's not a compliment, it's a fact. When your muscles flex, they stretch the skin. In your case, your muscles actually try to tear free. I'll bet that when your wounds reopened, you were trying to lift something, or climb something. Right?"

"That's right. So now it's closed for good?"

He started to flex his arm and I fell forward, placing my hands on him to stop the movement. "The stitches will help, but you should take it easy until everything's healed."

He grinned down at me. "Hands on kinda doctor, aren't ya?"

And yet again, my skin warmed.

"And shy, too. Gotta be tough here for a man like you."

I stared up at him, but didn't think to move away. "Can't be easy for you, either. Going from protecting the land of the free, to being a toy."

His smile faded. "Yeah."

Kieric's voice cracked the little world we had made for ourselves on top of the dresser. "Time to go."

Jack stood, bringing me up with him. "Thanks for fixing me up, Doc. I hope we get to see each other again."

I held out my hand. "It was nice meeting you, Jack."

He grabbed my hand and yanked me against his body, wrapping his arms around me in a powerful embrace. "You're not a toy, you know," he said into my ear. "You're still human, and you're still a damned good doctor. No matter how big these guys get, they can't take that away from you."

I closed my eyes, enjoyed the feel of human contact, and tried not to cry.

And, again, Kieric's voice broke the moment. "Am I gonna have to pry you two apart?"

"Touch him and I'll beat you into unconsciousness."

Jack let go of me and I glanced up at Gavin in surprise. His eyes were bright, and his face was cold, hard. I'd never seen him look like that before. And the threat was real, because Kieric looked worried. "Sorry, Gav."

Jack started to walk toward Kieric, who was standing at the other end of the dresser. "See ya later, Blake."

"Hey, Jack?"

He turned.

I took a step forward. "Is it true... Is it true that Army Rangers never leave a man behind?"

He smiled and winked at me. "Yeah, it's true."

Kieric swept Jack into his hand, and I watched my first human friend on Jasc leave the room.

I looked up at Gavin again. "He seemed..." My voice trailed. If anything, Gavin's eyes were even brighter, and his fists were clenched tight. "What's wrong?"

He didn't look down at me. "You like that other toy?"

"Yeah, yeah I did. But... I'm worried."

He tilted his head downward, his eyes two slits of cobalt. "Why?"

Once again, I had no idea what was going on. I touched my arm. "I put some stitches into him. I taught him how to take them out, but he really shouldn't do it by himself. A lot can go wrong, including infection, which can be very dangerous for a human being."

"So you want to take them out yourself."

Why was he so angry? "Yes."


"T-Ten days."

I watched him force the rage from his body with willpower alone. "Kieric, get back here."

There was a brief silence, then Gavin's voice sharpened. "Now."

A few seconds later, he reappeared. "What do you need, Gavin?"

"My toy needs to finish what he started with yours. Be sure to come by the new place in ten days."

He waved him off. "We'll be seeing each other plenty of times before and after that."

Gavin's words were slow, measured. "You will bring him by the apartment in exactly ten days. You don't even want to know what will happen if I have to drag you."

Kieric blanched. "Ten days. Got it."

I caught Jack's expression, and he mouthed, `What the fuck?' All I could do was shrug before they had disappeared again.

"There," said Gavin. "You happy?"

I stared up at him. "Not especially. Have I done something wrong?"

"You seemed to connect very well with that toy."

"Jack. Yeah, I liked him."

His jaw ticked. "Liked that hug, too, didn't you?"

My eyebrows lifted. He couldn't be...? No, that was insane. "It was nice, being embraced by someone like me."

"Nicer than my touch?"

Oh, Mary in Heaven. He was. "There's nothing nicer than your touch, Gavin."

He finally looked down at me. "You really believe that? Even though I can't put my arms around you?"

I nodded.

"Why are you smiling?"

Was I? "I have no idea."

His face gentled, his eyes lost that sharp glint. "It's time to go now."

I put my things into my bag, fastened the clasp, and stood. "I'm ready."

Gavin scooped me into his hand and held me against his body before bending his knees to pick up the last box. He strode out of the bedroom and out of the house.

I blinked against the sunlight, took in that familiar fresh air smell. He walked around to the side of the house. "That's your car?" I asked.

"Yep. It was a transition present."

"Niiiiice!" A sports car, definitely. Its sleek, silver body held a simplicity of design and an elegant artistry that took my breath. It didn't have wheels, but it had a black rubber railing along the bottom. Why was that? It took me a moment to puzzle it out. Oh, because a Jascian car would need something to rest on when it wasn't floating.

Gavin chuckled, all of his good humor returning, as the doors lifted like wings in front of us. "I'm glad you approve." He dropped his box on the back seat, then slid into the driver's side. Carefully, he placed me onto the passenger's seat.

I was much too small to see out the windows, which was disappointing.

He pressed his hand to the dashboard, and the interior dials lit up as the car rose into the air.

"G-Gavin? No seatbelts?"

He glanced down at me. "What's a seatbelt?"

Oh, Jesus. Was it possible to see your life flash before your eyes when you weren't actually dying? "It's a band that straps across your body here," I motioned with my hands.

He frowned. "Why?"

"It protects you in case of a crash."

"Crash?" he asked, grinning. "There hasn't been a car crash in..." He paused as he thought about it. "Over a hundred years, I'm sure."

It should have comforted me, but it didn't. "But--"

"Blake, you worry too much. I'll keep you safe."

Yeah, like Kieric kept his toy safe from a rampaging cat. Before I could make anymore arguments, Gavin turned away from me, and I felt the car zip forward.

Remembering how fast these things went, and that somehow Jascians operated without the aid of traffic lights, I was suddenly glad I couldn't see out the window.

We took a sharp turn and Gavin reached out to steady me. His hand stayed after the turn was done, covering my legs. "Thanks, but I'm fine now."

"You're welcome," he said, keeping his eyes on the road. "But I like touching you."

Couldn't argue with that. I ran my hand over his long, thick fingers, lost myself as I traced each knuckle again and again.

"That feels nice, Blake. But if you keep it up, I'll have to pull over so we can fuck in the car."

My hand stilled on his. "Didn't mean to distract you. You have great hands."

"What do you like about them?"

I started tracing his knuckles again, but a low growl warned me to stop. "They're strong."

His mouth crooked. "Yeah."

"And graceful."

He frowned. "Graceful?"

"When you touch me," my head fell back against the seat, "God, there's an intricacy to your caress that," I chuckled softly, "that I only used to associate with surgeons."

I turned my head to catch sight of his profile, only to find him staring at me. "No one's ever said anything like that about my hands."

"Maybe because there aren't any surgeons here."

His blue eyes sparked. "I know what you meant."

"Gavin, does this car have an automatic drive feature?"

"What?" He caught on in a flash and whipped around to face the road. "Oh, shit!"

The car swerved, but thankfully my argument for seatbelts wasn't tested.

He took a deep breath, set both hands on the wheel. "Ten minutes. I can keep myself in check for ten minutes."

The evidence of his attraction was enough to keep me content and quiet for the next ten minutes.

Finally the car slowed, lowered itself to the ground. The doors swung up, and Gavin lifted me out.

The large building before us surprised me. "How many people live here?"

"Just you and me."

It didn't look like an apartment at all. It looked like a one level ranch style house. "That's... really big for an apartment."

He pressed his thumb to the keypad and opened the door. "I think we've hit a language barrier here, Blake. On Jasc, `apartment' refers to any dwelling with only one floor. Everything else is a house." He bent over and set me on the floor. "Go on, look around. I'll bring the boxes in."

I stood rooted there a moment, awed by the sheer size of my new surroundings. Then I picked a direction and just started walking. The place seemed to go on forever. Even if I were Gavin's size, I was pretty sure it had more square feet than my house on Earth. It amazed me that this was his first apartment. My first apartment looked more like a shoebox.

I wandered into the bedroom, padded across the carpet to stare at the huge bed. I had to crane my head all the way to the back just to comprehend it.

That meant my days of getting up on my own in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom were over.

A low growl sounded behind me. Not Gavin's growl. A feline growl.

Trying not to panic, I slowly turned to look at a veda for the first time.

The thing was ugly as sin. How could someone keep one for a house pet? Its brown, spotty fur looked more like the wire on a scouring pad. Its teeth looked more like a shark's than a cat's; its eyes were a flat, sickly yellow. Its long ears stood upright as they intertwined with a pair of horns, its nettled tail swished back and forth menacingly. Black, razor sharp claws made up most of its paws, and I was astounded that Jack had come away with just a laceration.

Its head rose several feet above mine, and it stared down at me, licking its scaly lips while somehow managing not to cut its own tongue.

I slowly lifted my hands, took a cautious step backward. "Hey, kitty. Nice kitty. You don't want me. You'd spend the next week picking me out of your teeth. And you have a whole lotta teeth, don't ya?"

It crouched low, ass in the air, tail straight up. I watched Animal Planet. I knew what that meant.

Pouncing position.

If you ever need me, shout. If I'm in the house, I'll come running.

I shouted his name at the top of my lungs. "Gavin!"

The veda leapt.

I crouched low, covered my head with my arms, and said my last prayers.

Last prayers are powerful things, I guess, because that veda never touched me.

Uncurling myself, I stared at Gavin, holding the writhing veda in his hands.

"You alright, Blake?"

Too shaken to speak, I nodded. The veda swiped at Gavin's forearm, but he barely winced as he took a look at its collar. "It's from down the street. I'll return it and come right back."

I sat hard on the floor and nodded again.

He left, and I hugged my knees to my chest and dropped my head down low. He was only gone a few minutes, but I hadn't moved from that position.

"Hey," he crouched down, scooped my curled body into the cradle of his palms. "Everything is fine now, I've got you."

"It almost killed me."

"No. I would never have let it." His fingers closed around me. "You're trembling."

"Of course I'm shaking!" My arm flung out as I pointed to the door. "That... That was NOT a cat!" Holy shit, I sounded like an hysterical Dr. Suess.

His thumb slid under my shirt, resting on my chest. "Your heart is racing. That can't be good." He brought me close, pressed me against his own chest. "There, listen to my heart. Does it make you feel better?"

The strong, steady beat sought out my racing one, slowed it, soothed the tremors from my body. "You learn this from your manual?"

"No. It just seemed like the right thing to do."

My hands crept up, and I laid my palms flat against his strength.

"Vedas don't usually get out of their houses without their owners. But I'll make sure to keep the apartment secure. I promise."

I could feel the beat of his heart through my entire body, but it wasn't all that different from mine. "I believe you."

"How about I give you a personal tour of the place? You'd be in my hands the whole time."

I straightened a little. "I'd like that."

Gavin showed me each room in the apartment, drawing laughter from me as he described, in graphic detail, how he intended to break in the kitchen, the livingroom, the hallways, the bathrooms, the dens and, of course, the bedroom.

Once we'd covered everything, he took me back to the bedroom, still holding me close to his heart. "So how do you like our new home, Blake?"

Home. Our home. "It feels nice. Almost like I belong here."

"That's because you do."

A soft smile played on my lips as the last images of the veda slipped from my mind. "I think..." I took hold of my scrubs, resolved to wear something different tomorrow. "I think I can get used to this."

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