He walked up the path and found himself in front of the concrete apartment building. A small open area in front of it was partly littered with junk as evidence of previous occupation. He wiped the sweat of his brow, looking up for any sign of movement inside. As with all the other apartment buildings he had encountered so far in this part of the country, be it jungle or savanna, this one too was a lifeless concrete shell with the various colours of paint peeled off slowly by the weather.
The weather was turning bad now. Rain started to fall in thick drops and he decided it was late enough already to get some rest. He didn’t go all the way to the top floor but searched for a good hidden corner on the next to last floor. He found a small room with an old mattress in it and a door he could close. Before he closed it he carefully arranged a couple of empty crates and boxes in front of it to make it look like the room’s not in use.
He laid down his weapons next to the mattress, two silenced automatic pistols, although he rarely used both together, a tricked out sub-machine gun with silencer, detachable barrel extension for sniping, scope, laser, flashlight, double width magazine for extra ammo and even a grenade launcher. He still wondered after all this time he owned it how anyone was able to pack all that firepower and accessories into this fairly compact thing. His backpack was too large for a pillow so he rolled up his jacket after removing all the ammo packs from it and his pants. Having all sorts of hardware stacked on your body does not make for comfortable sleep.
With the door closed the room was quite dark and he went to sleep quickly.
‘Why didn’t you kill me when you could?’ she asked on her knees, looking up at him.
‘I have no interest in hurting you.’ he said putting back his sword.
‘But we’re enemies!’
‘We’re supposed to fight to the death!’
She stood up. ‘You’re supposed to kill an enemy!’
‘Says who?’ he asked as he gathered his things.
‘That’s just how it is!’
‘Well, looks like I don’t follow procedure and will let cute girls live.’ he said and got ready to walk away.
‘No buts, unless you offer your cute one.’ he grinned.
She blushed. ‘Don’t you walk out on me!’
‘I’m walking, but if you don’t want to end the discussion you’d better start walking too.’
‘Why you..’ she muttered as she grabbed her own things and hurried after him. ‘What kind of fighter are you!?’
He turned towards her and stroked her cheek. ‘One who prefers to enjoy cute things instead of killing them.’
She blushed again and looked away. ‘I’m your enemy, not cute!’
‘I’ll be the judge of that.’ he said and whispered in her ear. ‘And I prefer to enjoy you.’
She started shaking. ‘You own my life if you don’t kill me..’
‘You own your own life. I will only take what you freely give me.’ he whispered, pulling her muzzle back to him and kissed her softly. He then started walking again.
Soft sobbing made him stop though. Looking back he saw her crying softly and sighed.
‘Okay.’ he said, grabbed her hand and pulled her along. ‘From now on you’re my girlfriend slave, alright? Does that make you feel better?’
Surprised she let herself get pulled along with him. ‘But..’
‘No buts I said. If you can’t do things on your own then I’ll just take you as my personal love slave and have you stick by my side for the rest of your life. Don’t want that? Then you tell me right here and now.’
Blushing hard she muttered. ‘I., but I’m not human..’
‘So what?’ he said and she saw how his face turned red. ‘You’re really cute so you’ll satisfy me.’
After walking for a long time in silence she dared to ask him. ‘You really mean it?’
‘Me, being your slave..’ she said meekly.
‘And I can choose not to?’
She stayed silent again until they stopped at a stream.
‘So? What will you do?’ he asked.
She looked down and shuffled her feet. ‘..don’t know..’
He squeezed her hand lightly. ‘Honestly I want you to say you’ll stay. And until you make your decision I’m not letting you go. That means bathing together now and you’ll be sleeping in my arms tonight, understood?’
She nodded, feeling a bit nervous and excited at the same time.
She woke up from the slumber only to see the familiar face of her kidnapper. ‘Not again..’ she sighed.
‘I’m afraid so Missy.’ he said grinning. ‘Struggle all you want, you’re not getting away.’
She raised an eyebrow looking at him.
He watched her not struggling for a moment. ‘Anyways,’ he coughed. ‘Unless your father pays up he’s not getting you back.’
‘So how much this time?’
He laughed. ‘I want the country!’
She laughed back. ‘You’re dreaming!’
‘We’ll see who laughs last!’ he said and leaned close to her. ‘In the meantime you’re mine.’
She smiled deviously. ‘You really think so?’
‘M-mm.’ he hummed and laid down on his back on the couch with his head on her lap. ‘Get used to being my pillow for the rest of your life!’
She kicked up her leg. ‘Like that would ever happen.’
He pinned down her legs. ‘Oh, it will. When I have the country you have no choice.’
‘Why would I have no choice?’
‘Because I will make the country suffer unless you obey me.’
‘Wait, what? You want me to obey you!?’
He nodded. ‘You’ll be my pillow when I’m tired, feed me when I’m hungry, wash my back every-‘
‘What am I!? Your wife!?’
He coughed looking away. ‘Well..’
She raised her eyebrows in surprise. ‘You’re kidding…’
He fiddled his fingers.
‘Not kidding..’ she muttered.
She stood up suddenly, making him fall on the floor. ‘What are you thinking!? We’re not even the same species!’
He rubbed the back of his head, then looked up carefully at her.
‘You’ve kidnapped me a dozen times, and now you want me to be your wife!?’
‘You’re just too cute to let go.’ he muttered sitting up.
She blushed. ‘What are you talking about? I’m kanine, not human.’
‘You’ll be my kanine wife and if anybody got a problem with that I’ll fix that permanently.’
She sat back down. ‘You’re nuts.’
‘Maybe.’ he said and laid down on the couch again with his head on her. ‘But ruling the country is no fun without you as queen.’
‘You don’t want to be queen?’
‘Yes. I mean no! Not like that!’
‘Like, like normal!’
‘Then marry me!’
‘I don’t love you!’
‘You’ll get to love me in time.’
‘What!? But you’re human!’
He sat up, looking into her eyes. ‘I fell in love with you, so that’s no excuse.’
He stood up and rummaged with the things on the table.
He took a deep breath, walked back to her and untied her. ‘I expect your dad will be here soon for your rescue.’
‘Wait, answer me!’
A horn sounded.
‘That’ll be him.’ he said, took her hand and led her to the main gate.
The king arrived with a division of his best soldiers.
‘I’m here to get my daughter!’ he shouted.
‘Daddy!’ she shouted, wanted to go over to him but he didn’t let go of her hand.
‘King Leonard!’ he said. ‘I have your daughter! And I won’t hand her over!’
‘What do you want this time?’ the king sighed.
‘And what do you want to do with it?’
‘Rule it with the queen.’
‘With my wife!?’
‘Well, the future queen actually.’
It took a moment for the meaning to sink in. ‘Who’s that..?’
‘Your daughter obviously.’
Another moment. ‘My daughter..?’
‘Yes. I want to marry her.’
‘That’s what everyone keeps reminding me of! Who cares!?’
‘I do! ‘she said.
‘A human isn’t good enough for you?’
‘Yes! I mean no. I mean.., you’re confusing me!’
‘Look, I love you, I want to be with you for the rest of my life so you have to be my queen as I rule this land so deal with it.’
She felt his hand tighten as he said that and her heartbeat quickened.
The king rubbed his beard. ‘You know no-one has ever liked her that much?’
He shrugged. ‘Can’t help it. It just happened. I’m not going to deny it.’
He hummed in thought.
‘Dad! You’re not actually thinking!?’
The king coughed. ‘Well, it would solve that problem…’
He pulled her against him and gently stroked her cheek. ‘See? All it takes is for you to accept me.’
‘No buts, not giving up on you.’
She looked at him. ‘You mean it.’
‘I’m horrible, you know?’
He nodded again.
‘And you still?’
‘I don’t love you.’
He shrugged. ‘I’ll wait.’
‘I’ll woo you every moment I get until you give in. Do whatever it takes.’
‘What about the country?’
‘Well, have to keep it happy and running so it won’t get any ideas of turning against me.’
She sat down in frustration. ‘Argh!’
He turned to the king. ‘I’ll just keep her here until everything’s settled.’
The king agreed and rode back to his castle.
She opened her mouth to say something but stayed silent.
He sat down next to her, caressing her hand. ‘I can’t imagine life without you. Even if you don’t love me I want to see you every day.’
‘Don’t I get a say in it?’
‘Of course it all depends on you, but I hope you’ll accept me in time.’
‘You’ll not give up?’
‘Even if I make your life a misery?’
‘Stay by my side, let me cuddle you and there’s no misery involved.’
He nodded. ‘True, can’t help it. Don’t want to change it. Only desire is to have you for my queen.’
She sighed. ‘Alright, don’t dare to regret it though.’
He looked at her in surprise. ‘You mean it?’
She looked away shyly and nodded quickly.
He pulled her hand close and caressed it with his lips.
He walked down the avenue, neon signs lighting up the street and people going about their business there. He dropped by the mini market to get some wine and snacks, the afghan cashier knew him as he was just about a daily occurrence there. It wasn’t quiet, but it wasn’t the same noise as daytime. Things seemed more relaxed somehow in the dark. Especially during the hot season. Everyone feels happy that things are cooling down for a bit. He sat down on a bench eating a few snacks while watching the people pass by. He got up again and walked further home until he reached his favourite bar, an old, small bar playing jazz music at a decent level visited by mostly older folk during the day. He greeted the barman and ordered his usual beer, then continued his observation of people on the streets.
They lived underground. The only proof they were there were the various height towers strewn over the landscape. These round towers had 360 degree slits with a mirror system inside which projected a full view down to the watch chamber underneath the tower. On top of the tower was placed a lens projecting a bundle of light down the centre to another lens spreading it underground. Some towers sucked in air as others sucked out the air to keep it fresh underground.
There were thick stone gates to go in and out of the underground cities but these were deep into hills and mountains so there was no way to breach them. Even if they could there was another gate after that one, then another as the city was made up
of sections that could be closed off.
Takeru walked around the isles leisurely in search of a gift for the imouto when he saw a girl from the back acting excited around the big plushies. Her tail was wagging furiously, her ears were almost flapping like wings and he had to smile at the sincere happiness she radiated. He heard her asking the shopkeeper if she could hug the white bunny plush for just a second.
The shop keeper thought she was so cute he let her hug it for a little while.
When she turned around a bit he recognised her to his surprise. Minerva, who was one of the fiercest fighters from the enemy, stood there smiling like a little girl holding the best ever present in her arms.
“So, she’s just like any other girl on the inside as well.” he thought and felt somewhat relieved.
She looked longingly at the bunny when she had to reluctantly put it back on the shelf. He saw her pull out her money and look sadly at the amount she had on her.
‘I just wish I brought enough with me..’ he heard her say to the shopkeeper.
‘I could give you a discount, but that wouldn’t be enough unfortunately.’ said the shopkeeper stroking the bunny’s head. ‘I’m sure you would take good care of it.’
‘Then with this it should be fine, right?’ he said to her surprise as he dropped the missing amount in her hands.
She looked shocked at the face of her enemy who just gave her enough money to buy the plushie.
The shopkeeper nodded and smiled at him. ‘Yes, I’m happy to see it get a good home.’ he said and held it out to her.
‘Wait! What’s going on!? Why are you here!? What are you doing!?’
‘Well, I thought I might do a good deed today.’
‘I don’t want your money! I won’t owe you anything!’
He leaned closer to her. ‘What’s wrong with granting a cute girl’s wish and making her happy?’
‘Who said that would make me happy?’ she huffed and blushed.
He took the plushie and smiled at it. ‘Well, you looked very happy holding it, then sad when you had to let it go. And honestly, I’d rather see you happy.’
‘I don’t need your pity! You want me happy, then die on my sword next time!’
He snickered. ‘I’m afraid I can’t do that. I’d rather live and see you happy.’ He pushed the plushie in her arms. ‘Just accept this as a loan. How you pay me back is your choice, be it money or going with me on a date.’ he said and walked out the s
hop waving his hand.
She watched him leave, looked at the shopkeeper, back at him, back at the shopkeeper who smiled. ‘It’s now payed for, so be sure to cherish it.’
She looked confused at the plushie, then held it tightly and ran out the door after him.
She grabbed the back of his coat. ‘Wait!’
He turned around looking nonchalant with his hands in his pockets. ‘Hai? Want to give the plushie to me instead?’
She looked at it, at him, then back at the bunny. ‘No.’ she said softly.
‘Good. I’m sure it would be much happier to live with you.’
‘Look, I know you see me as your enemy, I thought the same of you, but then I thought you were so very cute holding the bunny in that store that I just had to make sure to make it reality. No matter what.’
She blushed and stroked the bunny’s ears silently.
‘I wish you’d allow me to get closer to you because I’ve never met a cuter girl in my life before but knowing we’re not exactly on friendly terms just grant me this moment of bringing you a piece of happiness.’
They stood in silence for a few moments, then he leaned closer and kissed her cheek. ‘Just forgive this man’s desire.’ he whispered and walked away reluctantly.
‘I hate you!’ she screamed across the square, surprising the people.
He stopped, grinned and looked back at her. ‘Yeah, so want to go steady with me!?’ he shouted back.
The people at the square had stopped their business and now looked at her awaiting her answer.
He walked back to her. ‘I’m saying I’d like to spend the rest of my life with a cute girl like you even though we’re supposed to be enemies. Seeing the defenseless side of you makes me want to protect you instead of anything else in this world.’
He smiled softly at her. ‘So please go out with me and give me a chance to be the one for you.’
She didn’t reply so he lifted her muzzle a little. ‘If you don’t stop me I will kiss you.’
She looked nervous and closed her eyes. He stroked her cheek gently, then kissed her in public.
When the people around her saw her returning his kiss someone started clapping and others followed.
‘I guess public opinion of human and furry species mingling is in our favour despite political animosity.’ he whispered.
She looked at him still feeling confused.
‘I know, I’m pretty nervous myself opening up to someone else, let alone different species and supposed to be an enemy. But, since this is how I feel I might as well just give in and pursue it with all I have.’
She grabbed his shirt. ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’
‘And what if I try to kill you in your sleep?’
He smiled softly. ‘Guess that means I’m lucky enough to spend a night with you.’
She sighed and rested her head against his shoulder. ‘How am I going to explain it to the king?’
He stroked her head and kissed it. ‘Isn’t he your uncle?’
‘I’ll go meet him.’
She woke up feeling very groggy and moaned. Slowly the memories of the drinking binge came back. She got frustrated about the new guy getting a lot of attention from the girls at work and worked him really hard. When it got him even more sympathy she dragged him to the bar to get him drunk and show them what kind of fool he’d be. But then it seemed to have backfired.
“I got drunk too.” she thought “I remember us two being the last to leave.”
She rubbed her face to wake up more and see if more memories came back. All she got was the feeling of embracing him and it made her heart beat faster.
‘Oh damn, what did I do?’ she said looking at the ceiling. ‘And where the hell am I?’ she said as she didn’t recognise it.
She sat up looking around the unfamiliar room. A wall closet, stand with TV in the corner, small table against the wall, couple of pictures, a pretty standard one room apartment. She looked at the futon, then noticed she was naked as well. Images of being undressed by him came to mind and she got angry at the thought of him taking advantage of her while she was unconcious.
She turned around to see where he was and found him asleep in a corner.
‘What did you do to me!?’ she shouted hitting him.
‘Wha!’ he yelled out.
‘What did you do!?’ she shouted again, still hitting him. ‘You took advantage of me!’
He rolled over trying to shield himself. ‘What are you talking about!?’
She embraced herself crying. ‘You! You stripped me, then, used me..’
He sat up and sighed. ‘I didn’t do anything to you.’
‘But, I’m naked..’
‘I did take off your clothes, yes.’
‘So then you admit it!’ she shouted and hit him again.
He grabbed her wrists. ‘You were soaked to the bone after falling into the fountain at the door! I couldn’t let you sleep in wet clothes and become sick!’
Now another memory came back.
‘Of couse not! I just got you quickly in the warm futon! I slept here in the corner!’
She saw the plush he had used as a pillow and the blanket on the floor. ‘You never..’
‘You think I’m the kind of guy to do something to drunk women?’
She sat back down ashamed of herself and shook her head.
He got up, opened his closet and took out a shirt to drape it around her shoulders. ‘I don’t have anything else that might fit, sorry. But it’ll have to do until your clothes are dry.’
He stepped into his kitchen heating up water for tea and to make breakfast.
‘I don’t have much but you’re welcome to it.’
‘You must hate me now.’
He turned around with a couple of plates and saw her standing meekly in his shirt. “Wow.”
‘I don’t hate you.’ he said and put down the plates on the table.
‘But I treated you so bad while you were so good to me. And at work because all the other girls just kept coming on to you.’
‘So, it was a misunderstanding. And I’m not really interested in those girls. They just think I’m novel, being the first fur at the company.’
‘Don’t you find them pretty and sexy?’
He put down the pot with hot water and teabags. ‘Right now I only think of you as pretty and sexy.’ he said, then quickly moved back to the kitchen to get the food.
‘You mean that?’ she asked and touched his back.
He could feel her fingers go through his fur making it stand up and tried to hold back wagging his tail. ‘I feel proud to work for a pretty and hard working boss.’
She leaned her head against his back and wrapped her arms around him. ‘I somehow remember embracing you.’
‘Well, you did cling a lot to me when I undressed you. I had to pull you off to get you in the futon.’
‘Did it feel bad, being touched by a human?’
He coughed. ‘I, no, it wasn’t bad..’
‘But not good?’
‘Yeaiidrtherfeltverygood.’ he muttered.
He took a deep breath. ‘It felt really good.’
She pulled him around to kiss and hug him. He felt surprised at first but then embraced her, kissing her for some time.
She pulled back slowly. ‘I felt really jealous when you paid attention to those other girls. Sorry.’
He smiled softly. ‘I’m flattered. I’ll try to only pay attention to you.’
‘I feel you do. It seems your tail at the back isn’t the only one wagging at me.’
He felt a little embarrassed. ‘Yeah, it’s hard to keep both in check when dealing with a sexy woman wearing my shirt.’
‘Any sexy woman?’ she asked pretending to pout.
‘As long as she’s you.’ he said and she kissed him again.