The dream images seemed too random, and he struggled to wake himself to get away from them. He saw the face of the Ōkaminingen in front of him. Its eyes pleaded for the mercy of death. He felt the resistance of the blade he held as it broke through the space between the black, humanoid wolf’s ribs. He saw the brief spike of pain shine in the creature’s eyes before the life in them began to fade. As the Ōkaminingen fell to the floor, the knife pulled free, making a wet sucking sound.
Tomiroc glanced at the blood soaked blade. His paw relaxed, letting the long steel blade clatter to the floor with a seemingly loud ring. He stared down at the dead beast’s vacant eyes. He said into the silence that followed, “I wonder who he was before he was transformed?”
Then the scene shifted, and he saw the Lynn Leakey, and two women he didn’t recognize. One was a small and petite human with raven black hair, and the other was a woman of average height with dirty blonde hair. Both had green eyes, the raven haired woman’s eyes were the color of jade, and the blonde’s were emerald.
In his mind, a voice made up of alien words came to him. But oddly, he understood them, though he had never had heard this language before. The voice questioned, “This is the most powerful being on this planet? It only seems to represent one part of a coastline on one of the four major land masses. The leader of this one seems to have no physical form. We need to establish who is in charge of the other continents. We need to make our intentions clear, soon if we are to help our dying race.”
As if he were speaking, “I am aware of our limited time. But we must first establish that we are not here to invade their home. And they must be warned about the T`ik`urimoti horde.”
The other alien voice filled his head again, “Then we must show them and stand together.”
“We have some time, before the next culling.” The eyes that Tomiroc looked through turned and regards the aliens next to him.
Tomiroc jerked awake with a start and sat up abruptly in bed. The image of the alien still lingered in his mind. Her tall, slender form, her forward facing eyes on each side of her long furred nose. Her eyes were large and brown, and her nose was black. The alien was so deer like, yet she had forward facing eyes. The female’s face, if in fact, she was female, was wider than an earth deer, allowing the eyes to face forward.
A soft, quiet knock on his door brought his attention from the images of his dreams. He watched as the doorknob turned and the door opened enough for Kaniko to slip in. She touched his mind, “You’re awake. Are you okay?” She came across the small room and sat down on the edge of his disheveled bed.
“You were talking in your sleep.”
He raised a dark brow and asked silently, “What did I say?”
“I don’t know. It was in no language I know or ever heard.”
He sighed and laid back down with his paws behind his head. “I was dreaming again. But this time two different dreams. The first was the black wolf I killed and the other…” His mental thoughts paused mid-sentence. In a whisper, he said, “I was inside the mind of one of the aliens. I don’t understand how that is possible.”
“You mean you were talking to one?”
“No. I mean, it was like I was inside of its head, looking out through its eyes.” He sat up again and took her paw in his. “Does Dohi Aleutsi’s wife have Raven Black hair and green eyes?”
Excited now he said, “Then the blonde human female must have been Laira Marshall.”
“But it doesn’t explain why you were able to see and hear the alien.” Kaniko pointed out.
“No, but it seems that I am.” He looked into her eyes. “Remember what I said about the first dream?”
“That we would or might be fighting for our very planet?”
“Yes. I have a name now for what is coming.” She squeezed his paw for him to continue. “The aliens called them, the T`ik`urimoti horde.” Giving voice to the name caused him to shiver as if he were suddenly cold.
Kaniko responded to his shiver by wrapping her arm around him and pulling him to her. She whispered into his ear. “Whatever they are, I’m sure the adults have a plan.”
He gently shook his head. “The aliens, I think, haven’t spoken about it yet.”
“Surely, Aunt Chris and the Marshalls already know.”
He conceded that thought with a nod. “Maybe they don’t know the whole story.” He sighed. “I hate having this knowledge and being helpless to do anything about it.”
She reached for him and pulled him to her. “We’ll tell Nonna. She’ll know what to do.” She nuzzled her nose bridge along his jaw bone. She felt his slip around her waist. She said, “It’s still very early. Lay down. I’ll stay with you until morning.”
He started, “You need not stay, Kan.” She leaned into him and pushed him down to the bed.
With one paw on his chest, she kissed him, pushing her tongue into his mouth. Silently to him, “Shut up love. Maybe I’m the one who needs you.”
Instead of simply accepting her advances, he slid away from her and stated, “You’re confusing me.”
She brought herself up short and looked at him for a long moment. In a husky whisper, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…” Her eyes fell to the bedding, and she kneaded at the comforter with one paw. Not looking at him, she continued, “Our scents are mingled, and I am driven to want to touch and hold you.”
He slid back to her and stroke her ear back and asked, “What of Mathias? I’m not blind. You love the wolf, and I can see you two are bound even now.”
Her heart beat painfully in her chest, for she knew his words were true. Desperately she said, “Why must I choose? You are like brothers, are you not?”
His eyes closed slowly, and he nodded. “Yes. I would give my life for him.”
She reached to his jaw and ran her paw pads along its length. “I am bound to you as much as I am bound to him. Do you not see that?”
He opened his bifurcated eyes and looked into her golden ones. “What has changed since the hospital? You didn’t want to discuss it then. Do you want to now?”
“Oh, Tomi. I don’t know. I only know I am bound to you both. I don’t know what to do.” Her frustration manifested itself as she dropped her paw from his jaw and gripped the bed covers. She felt him slide his paw down along the back of her head to her shoulder. She looked up at him in response, with a questioning look. There she found him smiling at her. She said in defense, “You’ve known that I love you, since that terrible night in the cages when we were sure we would die.”
He shrugged. “We were under a lot of stress. I wouldn’t ever hold you to your words.” Then he conceded, “But that was the moment when we three were bound together, wasn’t it?”
He pulled her to him and rolled her, so her back was against his chest. He rested his paw on her smooth hip. “I don’t want to do anything that might hurt my wolf brother.”
She turned on her back, letting his paw rest on her flat belly below her navel. “What we do here will not hurt him. He knows we are all bound.” She felt his paw start to draw away from her. She placed her paw on his and pressed firmly down.
“How can you be certain?”
“Because, he is here with us.”
Tomiroc stiffened suddenly and looked at the door.
She reached up and turned his head to face her. She put her paw on his chest. “Can’t you feel him, here?” She watched him relax a little. She could see, now that this wasn’t the time to advance their relationship. “Look, Tomi, I don’t expect you to mate with me tonight. But I want to hold and be held by you. Can you do that for me?” After a minute, when he made no move to answer, she added, “I don’t sleep well by myself anymore.”
Tomiroc could see the ghost of the past flicker in her eyes. He knew that same torment from having killed another conscious being. He nodded and said, “Stay and I will hold you.” He reached, pulled her into his embrace, and settled back into a comfortable position.
Kaniko sighed and spooned in tight to his warmth. A purr of contentedness escaped her, and she felt his embrace tighten. Sleep quickly followed, and she didn’t dream and neither did he.
She wasn’t aware when they had fallen asleep, but the sun shined in through the narrow break of the curtains. A light knock at the door brought her up into a sitting position. Momentarily confused, she looked around the room and then down at the male Otokononeko looking up at her. His eyes were still sleepy as he gazed at her. The light knock came again. This time with a request.
“Tomiroc. Are you up? Kan and Nonna must have gone downstairs already.”
Kaniko bound from the bed toward the door. She opened it and looked up into his yellow hunter eyes. On impulse, she pulled him in and shut the door. She watched as he surveyed the room and finally his eyes came to rest on her again. She stood on her toes and licked his muzzle and nose.
He drew in her scent and noted the intimate mingling of Tomiroc’s scent around her. He felt her tug on him, pulling him towards the bed where his cat brother sat. He let her lead him to its edge and sat when she pushed him down. She climbed onto the bed so that she was between Tomiroc and himself.
Kaniko took hold of both her companions paws and held them for a long moment. Her eyes were cast down at the rumpled covers. Both the male cat and the wolf felt her paws tighten on theirs. She sighed and began, “We are bound to each other, are we not?” She looked first at Mathias and waited.
“I have known this, since the first time I saw you in the wood.”
She smiled at him and turned to Tomiroc. He ducked his head down a little and gave her slow blink of his eyes. She took in an exaggerated breath and then blew it out. She began, “I… I want you both to know that I would never intentionally hurt either of you. If you both accept that we are all bound to one another then…” The sound of the outer apartment door invaded her attention, and she stopped mid-sentence.
A knock on the room door and Nonna asked, “You guys going to get up today?”
Kaniko looked sorrowfully at her companions. She answered her cousin, “We’re up, just talking. Be out in a moment.”
Nonna’s voice seemed to be further away as replied, “Okay, I’ll be downstairs having my third cup of coffee.” The outer door clicked shut, and silence filtered back into the room around the three of them.
Without warning, Kaniko fell back on the bed and started to giggle and laugh. Tomiroc looked down at his lap where her head lay and asked, “What are you laughing about?”
Laughing, she started, “She thinks…” and laughed even harder.
Mathias looked from kaniko to the door and then at Tomiroc. His expression turned from puzzlement to a canine grin.
Irritated, Tomiroc asked, “She thinks what?”
Mathias answered for Kaniko, who couldn’t seem to stop laughing. “She thinks we three are mating.”
Tomiroc’s eyes got large, and he looked from the wolf to Kaniko and back. “I, I…” Kaniko burst into more laughter at his reaction.
A low chuckle came from Mathias as he watched Tomiroc’s reaction. The cat fixed his eyes on him and looked at him for a long moment. Mathias reached out to him and touched his shoulder. Beneath and between them, Kaniko’s laughter quieted down to a murmur of mirth.
Tomiroc directed his gaze to the female in his lap. “My mother will not accept this.”
Kaniko sat up and used Mathias’ outstretched arm as a back rest. “Then, she can’t accept Dohi Aleutsi for who she is.”
Confusion colored his eyes. “What do you mean by that. My mother holds Dohi Aleutsi in the highest regard and respect.”
Kaniko sighed. “She is mated to two people. Uncle James and Aunt Chris.”
He blinked hard and said, “Oh, I knew that. But this is different.”
She cocked an eyebrow at him. “How so?”
He started, “Well, they’re humans, and we’re Otokononeko.”
She turned to face her wolf companion. “Funny, Mathias doesn’t look like an Otokononeko.” She smiled at him and stroked his cheek and jawline.
Tomiroc chuffed behind her. “You know what I mean.”
She turned toward him again. “No, I really don’t. You’re going to have to explain it to me.”
He knew that he was about to dig his own hole and fall into it, but he had committed himself at this point, so he continued, “My mother expects her children to mate with another Otokononeko of the opposite gender.”
Kaniko conceded that with a nod and a knowing smile for him. She voiced, “And you will, someday.”
He frowned at her but pushed on. “She expects that relationship to be between only two Otokononeko. Not a triad.” She glanced back at Mathias and watched him take in these words of Tomiroc’s.
She turned back to Tomiroc. “She’ll either accept it, or she’ll have to get used to it. I’m not going to be swayed by her archaic notions of coupling. Especially if our spiritual leader is living in a triad.”
The male cat grunted he murmured, “Sharri said she was not pleased at all, about her and Domic’s union. At some point, those two have promised to reaffirm their vows with Dohi Aleutsi.”
Kaniko nodded. “As it should be and should have been. They should have waited till they had been given Dohi Aleutsi’s blessing before exchanging union loops.”
Tomiroc seemed to relax a little with her summation of her feeling about her brother’s unsanctioned union. But in his eyes, she saw he was still worried. “Tomi, it will be fine. We will wait for mother Lacey’s blessings, before exchanging earrings. I only, really, wanted to us to be all on the same understanding. I want you both, equally.” She watched his eyes flick to Mathias.
When they came back to her, he nodded and leaned into her. His mouth lightly touched hers, and she felt his tongue fishing between her teeth, seeking her tongue. She embraced his tongue with hers. She felt Mathias’ strong arms enfold her and Tomiroc. His damp nose snuffed at her neck and collarbone. Kaniko turned and switched nip at his thin black lips along the side of his long muzzle. With her right eye, she watched Tomiroc’s reaction as the wolf licked the male cat’s cheek and mouth. To her delight, he was enjoying the attentions of Mathias. She added tongue to Mathias, savoring them both.
Breathless they pulled apart to breathe and bashfully looked at each other for a long moment. Their hearts were racing and their breaths coming in short rapid breaths. The room seemed to have gotten several degrees warmer in the last five minutes or so.
Taking in a big gulp of air and calming her beating heart she said, “We had better get downstairs to eat. Much more of this, and I won’t care about eating breakfast.” She smoothed the soft leather vest and tried to ignore the pleasure that moved through her as her paws pressured on her raised teats. An image of Tomiroc and Mathias pleasuring her filled her mind, and she struggled desperately to move to the edge of the bed before the fantasy consumed her.
Her feet touched the floor, and the whirl of the passion in her calmed even more. She stood and looked at her two lovers sitting close to one another. Their eyes were still brimming with passion and blatant desire. Her own resolve weakened, and she started to climb back into bed with them. With one knee on the edge of the mattress, she stopped. “Breakfast and Nonna are waiting for us.” Before she completely lost her will, Kaniko turned and quickly walked to the door. With each step, it got a little easier and the flutter in the small of her belly subsided.
Out in the common room, she turned to the room that she shared with Nonna to use the restroom. When she emerged, she found both waiting for her. They stood near one another and watched her enter the room. Kaniko noted a small smile tug at the male Otokononeko’s thin lips and Mathias was wagging his tail. She walked up between them. They turned as she continued between them to the door. She let her paws slide along their waist in a light caress. Together they exited the room and trooped downstairs to the dining room.