RonanVulpes
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Joined: 12:58 PM - Jul 09, 2016

5:44 AM - Sep 04, 2017 #21

Ronan gets some good news and a fond farewell to friends

Chapter 14: Future perfect.

Days turned into weeks and started to verge on a month. With repetition the bizarre world of changes, feedings, sleeping in cribs and reversion to childhood became routine. Walking upright on two legs and talking made slow, frustrating progress but progress nonetheless. Our night time raids grew less frequent but more daring.

"Anyone know how four cleaning robots got combined into one giant cleaning robot?"

My tail swished in the water, churning up the thankfully scentless bubbles of my bath.

"No.. but i hear it can go up stairs now...

I put my paws over my eyes and got a bucketful of water dumped over my head, in response then got a few minutes to relax while the tub drained. I stood up taking the nurse's hand not because i needed it but because it was faster than fussing, and turned about so the dragon could blast my fur clean with a high pressure gout of water.

"So clean... squeak squeak squeaky clean.. Did someone see a little mousie here.?" She wrapped me in a warm towel and sat with me on a clam shell and handed me a tile like the ones dotting the room, a grippy laserscribe, and a color pallet. "Little tradition sweetie we have here towards the end of your stay. You get to leave a tile for the other cubs to see." I blushed a little. Progress on manual dexterity was especially slow.

"It doesn't need to be any good sweetie. Just needs to come from here" she tapped by chest. I held the pen in my fist, and shook it at the little dragon to try to tell the computer that yes that was how it was going to be used. The laser started to shift colors slowly, i pointed it at the orange fur on my tail and started to draw a little version of myself with a triangle head, black ears, and stick figure socks.

"Can I get a picture of our group?" I asked the computer, and got a picture of us neck deep in robot parts. Edda was absurdly good at turning bolts with her fingers, chuck was acting as the look out, and Mathias had arranged some spare parts into a crown while Suzie was helping me with some of the math on our modifications. I eeeped a little

"A picture that's NOT going to get me grounded!" I specified. The computer, being snarky, returned "Database Error. No such picture found", I stuck my tongue out at it.

The nurse smiled "I saw nothing" she hmms. "Sweetie, don't try to add more detail than your art can handle. A circle and some squiggly lines are fine.

I huffed a little. I was always bad at drawing but not THAT bad. I stuck my tongue out and concentrated, with miss Luna stroking my back encouragingly the picture came together rather quickly. The art was objectively bad but there was something about it i kinda liked, but i couldn't place my finger on it.

"Not using the palette?" she asked as I brought up pictures of my friends . " Probably a good call. I think your color visions even worse than mine"

That was likely true. Still got yet another view of my tongue as i held the tile up proudly. She kissed my nose and put it up on the wall "I'll have Creary cement it in later. Right where your little friend can see it" indicating Mr. Dragon.

The outfit was a light gray shirt and darker shorts today. Only my padding was pink and that was thankfully out of sight. Mostly, an examination of my rump in the mirror showed that the bulge was clearly visible no matter how i held my tail.

"Yes yes you have an adorable rump" the nurse said as she picked me up with a crinkly pat and took me down the hall.

For once, Dr. Bernard was being the cranky pants, sitting with his arms folded inside his slightly oversized lab coat. What little I could see of Dr Ockerman from around the computer screen seemed to be in a good mood. My tail tucked a bit as i was sat on the couch, wondering if i'd done something wrong. Miss Luna ruffled my headfur and pointedly said to the doctor "Tell her the good news. And wandered out with a wave.

"You got into Sturmholtd" Dr Bernard said with a huff

"What's that?"

Dr. Bernard was less than forthcoming so Dr. Ockerman took over " A school for kiddults. An especially good one considering. It's mostly lower income and hard luck medical cases mixed in with a few coming in from the criminal justice system like yourself. You didn't think you were going to stay here until you were all grown up again did you?"

I ermed a little. I'd been so busy just going through the motions, physical therapy nap eat speech therapy nap eat sleep I hadn't even thought about it.

"So why's Dr Bernard sad about that?

The little Doctor took his arms out of his oversized labcoat to gesture with his hands. " Most facilities won't let a correctional TG identify as the opposite sex. It forces you to at least try out the new gender for a few years. Sturmholtd will honor your identification as a boy... if you decide to do that."

"I can be a boy again?" My squee of delight probably should have disqualified me.

The lanky doctor sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "This is why i just prefer to alter DNA and bodies. Those are largely fixed. You can wear blue, go to mechanics classes, play junior crashball. You won't be able to surgically, prosthetically or chemically alter your body until you reach maturity. The state isn't that accommodating

"IcanbeaboyicanbeaboyIcanbeaboyicanbeaboy...

"That really is going to be quite difficult for you. And someone needs to explain why, or I'm putting them to bed.

Dr. Bernard closed his eyes and took a few breaths. His glasses lit up with a list of talking points.

"Sturmholdt subscribes to a very... free range attitude when it comes to children. Especially the boys. The monitoring levels are set very low. Supervision when not in class is woefully inadequate. To many immature minds you will BE a girl because of what's between your legs , and you'll have to try twice as hard to prove your boyhood because of it. You're a Kin, and a Reynard line Fox at that, so you'll be smaller than other boys your age and remember you're younger than most rejuves because we had to change... things. Needing diapers is going to get you a lot of grief if you don't grow out of them quick...

"IcanbeaboyicanbeaboyIcanbeaboyicanbeaboy..."

" ... and the changes we made to your brain while very minor now, will make the .. I'll be charitable and call it "stereotypical" emotionless ideal of "manly" rather hard to pull off. Especially once you get older. "

I stopped running circles around the couch "Am I going to like boys?"

Dr. Bernard taped the table for second and said "Maybe" while Dr. Ockerman chimed in "Yes". I gave them both puzzled looks.

"It's hard to say." Dr Bernard tapped the table a few times, a picture of my brain along with what I imagined were probability distributions for future brains " I've never adjusted the brain of someone that wasn't interested before. You're going to be feeling a lot of things that are confusing. I think some of them might be, or might be confused for puppy love. I don't think you need to worry about it too much."

" For now. But when you get old enough to undergo... certain changes, you'll desire male companionship. Even the rare Kin who normally prefers her own gender will find herself looking longingly for a boy for a few weeks in february." I harumphed at the irony. Dr. Ockerman had no trouble forcing my body to make those changes but was uncomfortable talking about them. Suppose it was harder when the person you were messing witho could glare back at you.

"You're growing at half speed because it's your second time through so you have plenty of time before you need to worry about that." Bernard put in gently, giving my ears a pet. "One step at a time okay?"

"If it's so great how come you're mad i'm..go...ing..." the now familiar sensation of the ear rub washed over me, making me feel very calm, relaxed, and trusting. The little boy smiled at the reaction and his mood brightened considerably.

" I didn't ask for you to go to Sturmholtd so you could go to Sturmholdt. I asked so you could go to Raxana or Nagjebi"

I snickered a little. "So you were trying to be sneaky and got caught. Doesn't explain why you're mad"

The doctor grumbled. " Identifying as a boy means that my work failed. It means they'll go back to re adjusting kin the old way"

Ockernman scoffed. " One data point over hundreds of years won't change anything. Sh..he..That's going to get complicated again isn't it? Your patient is a Reynard line Fox Kin. The only one on the planet likely to ever go through correctional re assignment. As far as experimental data goes they're a useless anecdote. No offense"

"You say anecdote. But I say story. Stories have more power than data with the people who make these decisions." The little physician was back into full on sulk.

"Wait... you want me to be a girl so they'll let other doctors...girlify convicts the way you do it instead of the way they do it?

Dr Bernard huffed no as Dr. Ockerman said "Essentially"

"Your obligation is to your patient and their well being, not your crusade or your pet theories. Congratulate Rona..n on getting into school"

"Congratulations"

The lanky Dr. Came around and held his paw out of mine. I shook it. And there was a sudden sharp jab from his ring.

"Ow ow ow ow ow what...." I whimpered a little, trying not to burst out crying. A little bit of water around my eyes didn't count. It was just a surprise that's all. "Hey why'd you.."

The cut expanded, a shiny grey expanding against the matte black. A second later my platelets and antibodies kicked in and sealed it, forming ...

"My scar...You gave me my scar back!" It wasn't anywhere near as good as having my dog back, but rubbing my thumb along the rapidly knitting flesh brought back some memories, sad and happy alike. But they were mine.

Crying over a little cut and hugging someone's knees as they awkwardly patted my head was hardly the best start to being a boy. But it would do.

That evening I was allowed to walk the halls alone. The place seemed oddly deserted when I wasn't being carried, and the window frames cast large, strange shadows by the light of both moons. The lion headed doorknocker door to the blue room nodded when I shuffled up to it, double checking the note telling me to be here. I wasn't sure what mischief the group wanted to get up to or how they'd gotten into the room, but a sniff revealed that the entire gang was there along with Miss Luna. Had she already caught them? Should I turn back?

"That's as close as you're going to get her, she sniffed you out" the cow shaped door knocker called out, and swung the door open.

"SURPRISE!"

Even with being able to see the group crouched under the table the sudden noise and everyone jumping up was a little scary, enough to frizz out my fur and send a rush of warm liquid between my legs into the padding. Despite that, a rising joy came out of the pit of my stomach at all the smiling faces, along with the handmade "happy birthday" sign with "& Sturmholdt" hastily added in mismatched letters.

"Awww.. you guys..." I devolved into a bunch of happy squeals. Luna quickly sat me at the head of the table and let me cut a piece of black forest cake with minimal hand holding.

"Two paws sweetie, the cake cutter's a little dull"

I couldn't quite cut the bottom layer of chocolate, but I did get a scoop full of cherries, chocolate cake and whipped cream onto my leaf. Miss Luna took the implement from me in exchange for a fork, laughing as I just ate the cake off the platter and got whipped cream on my nose.

"So I heard the good news, you going to try to be a boy?" Chuck drooled as the othe..as the girls got served.

"Not gonna try, I'm gonna do it!"

"Awwww you're too pretty to be a boy!" Edda interjected, picking me up. Ever since she'd gotten the use of both of her hands back and was talking slightly better than I was she'd decided I was her doll. Or little sister. It was hard to tell the difference as i was lifted up into her lap. She was feeding me, but it was her piece of cake so... totally worth it. I nommed what i could, but her coordination with this hand was still off, and depth perception around my muzzle was not my forte, so I wound up with a good bit on my chin.

"Smile!" Luna said, and snapped a picture. I heyed a bit and hid behind my tail, which just covered the fluffy appendage in more whipped cream. She tsked and took me away from Edda to try to clean it up, putting me in reach of Suzie.

"Awwwwwwwwwww" she squealed until i flattened my ears "I'm going to miss you all so much! " and hugged me hard. "Thank the hospital for the extra time together miss Luna"

"No problem sweetie." she twitched my tail a bit and declared it clean enough, and tried to take a few pieces of her own cake before the father and son finished shoveling theirs in.

Suzie started tying a ribbon onto my tail.

"Hey Come on. I can't wear stuff like that anymore"

"Relax! It's a boy ribbon because it's blue. And you like it i can tell. Your tail's wagging!"

"It's trying to escape!"

"Wagging! Waaaaaging" the father and son put in in a sing song harmony.

"Come on. If you're going to be a boy it means we can tease you" Bob was trying to steal off of Mathias' plate, with about as much success as Mathias had in stealing off of his.

"Dad, she'..he..they're still a baby. So... soft teasing. ANd soft noogies!" His noogie consisted of a scratch to the back of my ears with his knuckles.

"Not a baby!" I insisted, in a much higher voice than I'd have liked.

"Notta baby! Notta baby!" they mocked. Edda punched his arm. Suzie tried to hold her back. I started tickling Bob with my tail. We all started wrestling with each other for a few while, then exhausted, collapsed in a heap all at once, going from full speed to stopped in the blink of an eye the way only animals and small children can.

Miss Luna tosses us a random assortment of blankets and pillows, licked a few plates clean while she thought we were asleep, and let us have a sleep over on the floor.

Even though I couldn't wait for morning, it came too soon.
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RonanVulpes
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Joined: 12:58 PM - Jul 09, 2016

5:15 AM - Sep 26, 2017 #22

No good deed Chapter 15: Goodbyes and Begginings

Ronan sets out on a train trip to their new school

Chapter 15: Farewells and Welcomes home

Smooth white alabaster hands effortlessly lifted me out of the pile, turning and rotating me just so to cause minimal disturbance to Edda, who was using me as a teddy bear, and Suzie who was holding onto my tail. She slipped a teddy bear.. Mine in fact! Into the hole and pressed a finger to my lips and whispered "Shhh... Once your padding's dry okay?" I tucked my tail and didn't fuss as she laid me on a leaf and hummed a bit. She pet my ears, stroked up and down my arms and belly, and started to hum. Without realizing it I started lifting and lowering my legs in time with the song. A warm almost to the point of being hot rag was gently wiped between my legs and under my rump with minimal fuss and a maximum of delighted cooos. When she was done a very thick diaper spread my legs a little and provided some very comfortable padding as i rested in the crook of her arm.

"Going to try to be a boy still hmm?" she asks, holding a gray shirt over my head and pulling it down. I looked but there weren't any pants with it. It might cover me if it was tugged down. Maybe.

"That may be harder for you than you think child. Oh, I know you CAN do it. I don't think you'd be here if you weren't as stubborn as you are. But I want you to promise me you'll only do it if it's really what YOU want to do" she tapped my nose and nudged a white noise generator "Not just to spite someone making a choice for you."

I crossed my arms over my chest. "Someone else shouldn't get to pick how I act, much less how I should think or feel"

She bounced me a little. "And how much choice does anyone get in that hmm? You didn't say "Oh, let's put my brain in a testosterone bath for fifteen years to let it marinate did you?" she teased, inuit kissing my head fur "That was decided by chemicals the second you were conceived"

In lieu of a counterargument i "ewwwwwwwwed" I mean those chemicals were me. You couldn't separate them out like that without changing who someone was, but the ewww was what managed to make it to my muzzle first.

"Looks like someone noticed I stole their teddy bear"

Suzie was slowly waking up and rubbing her eyes, and by extension waking everyone else up.

"Noooooo" she said, holding onto my tail. "It's too earrrly" the other boys stopped hugging each other and pushed away, wiping themselves off. They then made a scramble for the door to get to the bathroom first, slowing themselves down by trying to go through the door three at a time.

Edda stood up, curtsies to miss Rabuka, looking down and blushing while muttering incoherently. The cream skinned woman patted her head and handed me over to the girls more than firm embrace.

"Come children. Ronan has a long way to go today. We don't want to keep the train waiting for them." and proceeded to shoo us down the hall like she was herding chickens. Chuck , Mathias and Chuck started running around in circles smacking my tail as they went by, bursting out the front doors into the orange light of the rising sun after the third revolution. The Spacer put a hand on Edda's shoulder and whispered "We all get to walk out of here sweetie. Hospital tradition" She awwwed but set me on my feet.

I'd hardly been deprived of being outdoors. But the hospital courtyard, as big as it was, was contained by the building. Watching the sun climb into the sky over the valley casting everything in orange light and sepia shadows stretched on and on without limit. I had a new future waiting for me with complete freedom...

And a baby pram.

I huffed a little. No wonder they'd brought out the heavy artillery with miss Rabuka.

"Hon, it's required to travel. It's the only way you can go on the train. And in the car when you get there. I'll let you all walk to the train but you have to promise not to fuss "

The father and son snickered. Chuck ermmed. "Maybe we can paint some flames on the side of it really fast?" The girls agreed it was very pretty, which was worse than the guys teasing.

"Come on. You're a boy now we can tease you..." Bob accentuated the point with a noogie, that left him rubbing his knuckles. "That IS a hard head.. Ow..."

The outside didn't seem familiar to me at all. Had I been conscious when I drove up? It was odd to think that there was something in my head that was completely gone now. Miss Rabkua saw me stopping to think and came back, leaning down to whisper

"Is this really how you want to spend right now hmm?"

She turned me so I could see Mathias and Bob running through the streets, which were completely empty. The girls were looking in the window of a candy shop. It might be the last time i saw them for years, or decades if not ever. I shook my head.

"Then don't..." she patted my rump to nudge me into the streets. The padding pretty much necessitated running on all fours, which let me dart under the other boys legs, stop, circle back and do it again. The second time they tried to catch me and fell over, bruised, slightly scraped.

But laughing and smiling.

The candy store opened for Miss Rabuka, despite the lack of any biological staff. She gave the girls three pieces, then the rest of us two for "showing up late". Which totally wasn't my fault, Chuck had tried to sit on my tail to give Mathias a head start. I got a pair of Gummi worms out of the kin section and chewed on one, slurping and wriggling it around. Edda "Ewwwed" but Suzie just started eating it at the other end.

"Come children we have to hurry now." and with a little bit of pre breakfast sugar in our systems we did, circling around the grown up pushing the pram and taking 5 steps to her one, and even trying a brief shortcut through the parkour path. We managed to exhaust ourselves and burn off the sugar rush in the few short blocks to the station. Which was probably her plan. By the time we walked up the ramp to a the train station we were exhausted. I even rolled on my back so i could look up at the roof, admiring the slate tiles shaped like individual leaves.

"Am I going to be an evil mastermind like you when I'm your age?" I asked as she scooped me up and set me in the pram. She eskimo kissed my nose and said, "Even more so I suspect"

The depths of her evil knew no bounds. Inside was my pink blanket. The scents of vat gel, cookies, a frog, and my friends infused in the fibers. Suzie looked in and awwwwed.

"Did you want me to get you a new one honey?" I shook my head. She reached over, put Mister Bear into my arms and gently put down the three point harness over my shoulders and padding. I fidgeted as little as i could, but it was a fair bit apparently. She leaned in and whispered, bringing a familiar straw scented sausage up to my snout and whispering very softly.

"No fussing. It's only fa... there you go" I nommed the proffered treat. She was right. She'd given me a great morning to say goodbye to my friends, hadn't steered me wrong yet. Whatever made my new girly brain different from my old one apparently didn't extend to being confined. Even if it was soft. And warm.

She wheeled the pram over to a bench, got a container from underneath, and let Suzie in to hug me goodbye. When she let me go my tail had a big ribbon tied on it. She wiped her cheek. "Boy ribbon, it's blue okay?" I blushed and nodded. "Boy ribbon" and gave it a little wag. Edda pulled the carriage closer to pet me between the ears, and gave me a wrapped up spicy fruitcake. The boys were next, gave me a fist bump and half a box of cookies. Bob sniffled and rubbed a hand over his nose , and wiped the snot off on his shirt. Mathias got off one "ha..." before the snot was wiped over him.The prams AI pulled it away from their ensuing scuffle until the trains arrival broke up the fight

With an ear flattening "toooooot" the garishly painted train rolled into the middle of the building. The last car looked like a puppy, and it extended a "tongue" through the safety wall and rolled up the sides. A bio 8 year old boy ran off the train at top speed, followed by a caretaker with a handful of bags.

A synthesized female voice informed passengers that the train would leave in 15 minutes. As the gang moved forward it added "Passengers only on the train." to a chorus of awwwws.

"I'm going to introduce you to my associate, and he's going to make sure you get to school safely okay?" And wheeled me to the only lone male on the train.

I was surprised, even if I shouldn't have been. The head of the hospital wasn't about to go on a two day train trip with me. And i wasn't allowed to take the trip by myself anymore. I peered out and UP at my new custodian.

Even without my reduced height he would have been big. Sitting in the pram he looked absolutely enormous. Tall, lanky, with shoulders that would have looked broad on a shorter male. He smelled of babypowder, children, milk, some sugary breakfast, gym sweat, a lot of soap and the tang of ozone from...A stunner?

"Hey.. you're a cop." I blurted out as soon as i put it together. Not sure WHY.. Like Chuck said, putting a gap between the brain and the mouth was the last thing to come back.

"Damn.. how'd you.." he looked left, right, and pressed his ring so it shone a badge.

Miss Rabuka Laughed. "Told you they were good."

"I showered TWICE. " he harumphed.

"Ronan, this is Sven. Sven, this is Ronan" Sven smiled and gave a big open handed wave. "Svens just here to make sure no one bothers you on your trip."

"So.. we're going with RonaN?" he asked, looking quizzically at my blanket and tail bow.

"Blue. Boy ribbon"

"So it is, so it is." he conceeded.

"They had a sleep over last night, so naturally there was very little sleeping. They're a little fussy with the harnesses so i gave them a soother, I bet the second the excitement of the train ride fades she'll pass right out. Ronan's padding should be good till the Central Terminal"

"So what about ...erm..."

"Not a problem but you'll have to take her. She may need a little help after though.

My ears flattened, my tail curled all the way around said padding and i felt my cheeks flush at the grown ups talking about me as if i couldn't understand "I'm right here you know..." not that i was showing a lot of my face while hiding behind my blanket.

"I think your friends are trying to wave goodbye sweetie, why don't you set it to window mode?" She clicked the pram into place in the wall and gave it a tug that could have moved a small pony, but didn't budge the integrated plasteel clamps. The "window" opened, revealing Mathias sticking his tongue out at me, and Bob spreading his lips so wide i thought it had to be a trick of the cameras. I waved back and gave the windows a lick, prompting the girls to ewwwww.

Miss Rabuka gave me as much of a hug as the seat allowed, and kissed my nose. "Be good sweetie..." and backed out, giving me a small bow.

The girl and her mother ran back onto the train at the "30 seconds until departure. Please stand clear of the doors. Yes. You. Boy in the red shirt." notice. The doors sealed shut, and the train tooted as it started to move forward. I sniffled a bit as the boys started to run after me, waving, and waved back.. Despite starting a second later, Suzie passed them and managed to climb to the parkour wall and wave at me until the train passed. I waved longer than they could possibly see me for, but in short order the train left them behind and took me forward into the sunrise.

End part I.
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RonanVulpes
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Joined: 12:58 PM - Jul 09, 2016

6:42 AM - Oct 31, 2017 #23

Ronans trip to school winds through the real world, giving readers a bigger picture of the world they live in

Welcome home

The train rumbled down the tracks at a brisk 45 kilometers per hour. Before my regression I probably could have kept pace with it on two legs as a sprint, or stayed by it for an hour on all fours. Of course now I could only watch the landscape go by and pray I didn't wet my pants too often.

Worse than the comparison to my former self was the juxtaposition between myself and my temporary caretaker. It wasn't JUST that he was tall and probably strong, though comparing that to my tiny, fluffy, and very weak body wasn't exactly helping. The big difference was that he'd made something of himself, a productive member of society. Here I was just a useless ball of fluff. Worse than useless. I needed other people to take care of me, right down to changing my diapers. 14 years of schooling and I hadn't managed to make anything more of myself than the average three year old. My eyes started to droop, but i crossed my arms and tried to will myself angrily to stay awake.

The girl from the train station must have gotten on recently. She was poking the green gel safety padding, and as his mother was too busy watching a movie on her datapad, wheeeeed and jumped into it, face first, sinking in a good three inches and hanging on the wall.

"DALILA!" she yelled, and stood up, trying to pull the child out of the goop by his shorts.

"You gotta stick your hands all the way in and get im by the waist" my guard said. The deep, resonant voice made me put a paw to my muzzle. Being surrounded by mostly girls and women I hadn't realized how squeaky and high pitched my voice sounded these days.

"First Timer?" he asked the woman as she used a hanky to get bits of goo off the girl before sitting him back in the seat.

"Yeah. Don't tell me the kidults do that too." She turned the squirming girl this way and that, cleaning bits of gel that were, in all likelihood, not there.

"Some take it differently. Some take to it differently"

"Yours give you that kind of trouble?" she asked, smiling at me and waving with a stupid grin on her face. I blushed a bit and waved back, tail thumping in the pram.

"Well, not yet. I'm just taking her home because her parents couldn't be here."

"Awww.. you got on at Hospital station right? She just get out of the vat?"

"Eyup. Just started her second time through. Little sweetie just needed a bit of an adjustment they didn't catch in time.

"Aww, I hope it works out better for you this time" and reached in to give my ears a pet. After weeks in the hospital i didn't hesitate to tilt my head forward to present them for a nice, soothing rub.

Once she was out of human earshot, i peeked back

"I didn't think you were allowed to lie" I harumphed at the officer

"I'm not. Usually. But your procedure is touted as a therapy right?"

I mumbled a bit "you would have made a good Fox"

He snorted into his sleeve. " I'll take it as a compliment. You want some juice?" He opened a compartment in the crib, unfolded a cup for himself and handed me a bottle. Pressing the cup to the crib brought forth an aromatic bouquet of deep, rich, caffeine infused dark gold. How had that been hiding under me the whole time! I leaned over as far as the restraints would allow and sniffed...

"Hey, you want some coffee?"

I murred "yes".... Both the officer and the mother giggled.

"Not for you sweetie. This is for grown ups." the woman unfolded a cup from her pocket and took hers with milk and sugar while my captor took his black.

"And you're not one any more remember? Besides, I heard what happened BEFORE you get your hands on caffeine. Exactly what did you DO to that washing machine?"

I flattened my ears a bit. Figures that wouldn't come under medical confidentiality. I brought the bottle up to my face to hide behind it, and with my mouth drooling from the coffee couldn't resist putting the nipple into my mouth and slaking my thirst with the sweet, cool juice and hoped he wasn't evil enough to plan that on purpose

"Can I pet the baby puppy?" The girl asked.

"Oh hon that's a Kin not a puppy they're people too remember?"

"Peoplepuppypuppypeople!" and bounced up at the side of the carriage.

The mother looked at me skeptically, seeming to think. She pressed a few buttons on her data pad with one hand while holding her child back and mmhmmmed.

"I thought so... she's not going to bite is she? I seem to remember a certain fox with similar markings having a bit of trouble with that..."

I shook my head side to side. Mister Sven vouched for me. "I'm pretty sure that was a one time deal. Even before.. Well..."

"You'll be a good little girl?"

I nodded before i realized what i was agreeing to.

"And you promise not to bite?"

I nodded up and down.

"Awww.. she didn't even take the bottle out of her mouth." she scooted over a few seats closer and hoisted her daughter up onto the chair, eliciting a soft crinkle.

"Do nice..." she told the girl, and demonstrated by slowly stroking along my ears. "And don't go near the eyes"

"She really does think like a little girl doesn't she? Is she still... you know? There?"

"I'm not permitted or qualified to speak on her mental condition. But I wasn't kidding about the washing machine"

The girl not only followed his mother's instructions, she helped hold my bottle. My paws didn't seem to be able to hold up the weight, and fell to my sides slowly, drooping in time with my eyes. I drank in the tea, suckling, relaxing. Suckling, relaxing,

"She's good. Does she have a little brother or sister at home?" Sven asked.

"Not yet but we've been getting her ready with a doll. We had to bribe her with a puppy though, and promise not to tell any of her friends. She doesn't like being thought of as "girly". Looks like it's paying off."

"You weren't supposed to tell ANYONE mom..." the girl huffed.

The train turned slowly, putting the sun on my face through the skylight and washing the world in orange even through my closed eyes. The soother, early hour, and bottle were more than enough to put me under, and soon i was snoring away down the tracks.

I tried to sit up, and whimpered when the restraint harness stopped me. The carriage was nice enough to bring me up into a sitting position though. I squirmed my legs a little bit at the squish, tucking my tail and hoping no one else noticed.

"Oh hey, look who's awake." Sven said, looking up from his foldable pad. "How'd you sleep?"

Both grown ups took my non committal grunt as a good thing.




"I was always worried about getting taken down that young. I went around the other way, but waited till I was 30 so I wouldn't have to go through this again. She looks so cute she's making me rethink that plan... " The mother was holding onto her daughter, who had fallen asleep in the sun and was drooling steadily.

"Couldn't tell you myself, this is my first time." Great. Mister Sven had managed to become a cop his first time around. He was definitely doing something with his life. Meanwhile I felt my bladder trying to give way, and after a few moments of squirming it did. I tried to hide the relief at the warm rush into the already wet padding but...

"awww.. I recognize that face. " she pet my ears soothingly "No point holding it in honey there's nowhere to go." hey.. I ..didn.t Want. to. Be..soothed..murrr.. What was i worried about again? "Maybe i did make the right call..." she pondered to herself.

"That's not what you told me" the girl woke up, rubbing his eyes. Her mother tsked. "Because she's a baby and you're a big girl" She looked up and, seeing the sign was green, shooed her daughter towards the bathroom.

"Nottabab.." i mumbled into my tail. Even with that limited, fluffy audience the lie died on my lips as the woman put my pacifier back in my muzzle.

"15 minutes until the terminal"

Dylila came out of the bathroom running into and bouncing off of the walls , and leaped into the gel again.

Her mother pinched the bridge of her nose. "That stuffs oxygenated isn't it?"

"Eyup" Sven replied, looking at the pad.

Mom went back to reading.

Seventeen minutes and one extraction later we waved goodbye. I was wheeled out into one of the larger train stations on the planet and felt my jaw drop in wonder.

The station was designed to seem enormous to a full grown adult human. To a FoxKin child it was positively planetary in scope. I had to lean back in the carriage to even try to see the famous Unity Sculpture. Humans and kin carved in basalt, marble, limestone, chert , and jasper interlinked arms and held up the ceiling. I'd never noticed it in 2d, but looking at it in person if you tilted your head just a little bit some of the art deco design elements looked a little like old fashioned circuitry.

Sven smirked "If you could see your face right now.." the carriage popped up a digital display of a cubs face mouth agape and eyes shining in wonder, tail thumping behind her as she stared up at the ceiling.

Sven sighed. "Right. City Settings. You know what as long as you're around could I get a copy of that?"

I huhed? And nodded, Looking around at all the people and trying to sort through the deluge of smells. Most were light skinned, but there was a family of nut brown, wrinkle skinned humans of circumpolar stock chomping away on some fried garnishes in very bright shorts and shirts. Odors of food wafted up from down below, prompting my guardian to hold me back with his hand. "Whoa there smallfry, do I need to get the restraints again?" I sat back and crossed my arms, stomach grumbling.

"We got some time till the next train. Out ticket was changed to wait for a different kids car. Good news, no pram heading north. Better news, If you can hold out for about half an hour I can get you the best hotdogs in the city...

"Granby!" Sven was a little out of breath from jogging all this way, but his call still managed to cut across the noise of the city. I was a little skeptical that it was faster than the train, but it was definitely more fun. Couldn't hang my head out of the train. "Got a special surprise for you"

The place certainly didn't look it from the outside. Concrete planter boxes sort of framed off a small courtyard with an even smaller... shack was probably the right word even if it was a bit charitable. Even the well done hand painted decorations couldn't save it, though the fact that a large number of them seemed to be Kin was a good sign.

" Something better than your pretty face I hope? " A curious figure replied in a gravely voice, moving through the tables with a grace that belied his girth. He was almost round, and all the hair missing from the top of his shiny head apparently migrated to his forearms. With a rib crushing hug he picked Sven up off the ground as easily as Sven could have scooped me up.

Once on his feet and breathing Sven wheeled me over to the counter in the corner while he started to catch up and talk about crashball. A server came around the back of the building and filled up a watering can from a spigot badly placed in the middle of a bear painting so it looked like the bear was peeing into the can. I snickered into my paws , and looked for some of the other pictures. There was an Otter swim team. The border on the bottom looked like a bunch of Rats from the Roden Rebellion of 48 92 if their armbands were accurate. And right in front of me I was face to face with a new painting of a Fox happily opening his muzzle to chow down on a mustard covered hotdog. A male Fox with a particularly large front right canine...

"H..HEY!.. Thatsme!" I pointed, interrupting the grown ups conversation.

"Yes that's a fox like yo...." Granby stopped talking to look at me, really look at me.

"Oh no way!" he smiled and took my paw, giving it a shake. "Nice to meet you..."

Sven cut him off looking around. "No names"

"...little guy. You're still you in there, right "

I stuck my tongue out at him. "I'm fine. I'm told the adjustments were minimal. "

"Yeah well. Get an independent scan first chance you get. Glad they didn't fry your brain along with...hey hold on. Which of you are working and which of you are hanging out? Table four needs their dogs"

A gaggle of bioteen waitresses giggled. One came over and pinched Granby's cheek. "You're so cute when you yell! Just like when you set up your first stand on the corner right there. "

"Yeah, well, maybe if you worked hard you'd own your own restaurant by now too. "

She giggled. "Why bother? This is just for something to do anyway" and sauntered off.

"Relax Gran. Bout the waitstaff too. They haven't done the kinds of alterations you're talking about in what, 20 years?"

Gran's mustache shot out like a squids arms when he snorted. " Unless they infantilize someone. Not that most of those creeps don't deserve it. You act like that's a long time. I'll bet that hot dog against your badge that the judge that ordered that is still on the bench. And will be for another 100 years minimum. I'm surprised you didn't make him keel over in a heart attack though" an enormous fist of a hand ruffled my ears, leaving a bit of relish behind. " "You're welcome! HA! That was great. Shame you can't profit from that meme."

I tilted my head some.

"Don't encourage he.. Him. And I don't want to restart this old argument now. On the way back gladly."

"Wait what were you two argu.." Sven handed over a hotdog covered in fresh coarse ground mustard.. It just hit me they were what was being grown in the pots. I lost my train of thought biting through the thick skin with a little pop and tearing into the synthmeat below. Sven took a great deal of care trying to bite into the Rube Goldberg pile of relish, pickles, and tomatoes without losing anything or getting it on his shirt and ALMOST succeeded. To drink i got a teddy bear shaped sippy cup with cool, fresh juice. Pineapple, apple, were the two biggies. Wasn't sure about the rest.

"And don't forget what they did to poor Bruin. That was what.. 10 years ago?" Grady took advantage of not having his mouth full to open.

" It's gotten better." a few more pickles wound up on the parking lot ground, under the table.

" Squirrels el get those. Has it really gotten better?t" Grady looked at me as he asked.

" Yes. That wasn't a misdemeanor by any stretch. Bruins Judge got an honorable but early retirement party. He's not making those decisions anymore, that's what's important"

"He shoulda got what he gave Bruin" the cook put in.

"I do have a point to settle in your favor when we get back though" Sven held his fingers almost touching. "A very small point."

"Me?"

"... smaller. If possible" he teased, and ruffled my headfur."

Sven then not so subtly moved the conversation away from Kin politics and back to crashball. But at least I got a second hotdog out of it, to go.

"Are you SURE you don't have to go?"

"YES"

"Positive"

"YES!" I huffed. Back at the train station we were waiting. Sven was watching a taxi cab race. I was trying to lean far enough over the side to watch the crash ball game in the bar. One of the swingers went around the side of the field and SLAMED his elbow into a jumpers head causing a spray of teeth and blood to fly out on the podium and...a camera must have seen me, because the vid screen paused the game, ran a commercial and scrolled "child watching. Video will resume when child is removed"

An angry awwww rose from the entire bar.

"Hey buddy, move your kid around the corner we're trying to watch the game here."

"Hu..OH! Sorry..." Sven said, and pulled the carriage back a bit.. " WHAT are you doing? You don't even LIKE crashball..."

"No, I don't follow the teams. I still watch the games sometimes"

"Sorry kiddo, gonna be a while before you can see it again without the censor. Might scar you mentally"

"It wasn't that bad..." but to be honest my stupid girly brain made me wince at the memory of another impact.

"The Tundra Express Will be arriving in 15 minutes." a computerized announcement saved me.

"Ermm...." i started to fidget.

Sven sighed. "You have to go now don't you?"

I nodded.

"Kids. Every time.. I swear...."

"It's not my fault! I didn't make my stomach."

"The tundra express will be delayed 5 minutes..."

"Oh good, we don't have to hurry..." i said hopefully, hopping off the train shaped potty. I didn't like thinking of it that way, but there was really no other word for it. Sven turned me about despite my protests and started to wipe me.

"HEY! I can get that..."

"We're WHY there's a delay. Let's try not to keep everyone waiting okay?" I tried to hold still, but he was waving my tail back and forth trying to get underneath.

"I thought you've done this before...."

"None of my kids have big fluffy tails. Hold still.

He shimmied the extra thick padding up my tail, had me hold onto it and hoisted me up onto the changing table. I felt my ears warm and droop as i was put spread legged onto the cushy surface, acutely aware of what Sven was seeing, or not seeing, between my legs. It wasn't something I'd thought about nearly as much as with the female nursing staff changing me.

"This is kind of awkward for me too. Just move your legs a little, no, wait, not that way. Hold the tail stil...stop wagging your tail you're getting powder all over the.. Ptooh...."

"The tundra express will be delayed an additional..." we walked out the door to the bathroom, giving nearly identical looks of embarrassment as we hustled onto the train with a mixture of dirty looks and knowing smirks from the other passengers. "Thirty seconds. All aboard"

This train was at least twice as wide as the other one, giving Sven plenty of time to slow down once he was past the closing doors. "Good news kiddo, you don't need to be in the pram for this one" A sudden sensation of weightlessness filled me and i was flying up and into and a crib made out of semi solid safety gel, and bounced twice off the floor before settling in with a jiggle and a "wheee..." He tossed the pink blanket inside and whispered. "Try to keep your legs covered okay? "

"They're gonna recognize me" I said, wrapping up in the blanket, feeling slightly nervous looking up at the largest crowd of people I'd seen since up close my transformation. The spacious car was by no means cramped, but there were a lot of families here. Mother's, fathers, daughters sons. The humans ranged from chestnut brown to so white I was surprised they weren't bald like Miss Rabuka. There was even a Momma bear in a long pink skirt looming over the crowd despite being seated. Her cub was in the crib...sorry, "child safety area" next to mine, visibly trying to keep herself awake despite drooping eyes.

"It's easier to hide in a crowd. Just don't attract any attention" Sven was looking at a data pad with some of the passenger's pictures on it, with the mother bears picture ranked near the top. "Well that's a relief..." he muttered, and gave my ears a pet. I didn't see what was to relieving. The Sow saw that I was next to her child, stared at me, and without thinking i dropped my eyes down. She nodded, and went back to watching her data pad. I could still feel her eyes on me though.

"So THAT'S what it takes to get you to behave. Now I know who to hire for a sitter."

I stuck my tongue out, but at least my guard offered some milk and cookies to go with the snark. Too bad there was no way to dunk them in the bottle. A boy who looked to be around six wearing dinosaur costume pajamas put his dinosaur head up against the bars and roared. I giggled a bit and shared one of the cookies with the "T rex" who rared again.

"Shhh... you'll wake the baby" His father chided. Pointing at the almost sleeping bear.

"Notta baby I'm two hundred and six." she complained. The Mama bear leaned in put a teddy human in her arms and put a blanket over her. "Go to sleep mom. You'll be there when you wake up. "

"This is undignified...." the baby bear protested

"Well, next time be more careful where you aim the hang glider.

Sven got himself seated down in the seat and mmmd. "Comfy" at the shape conforming padding. "And check this out. " he tapped a the wall and it not only showed the window, but let in a breeze from outside. I sniffed at the grease and ionization, and sickly sweet smells of water and garbage a city produced no matter how fast the sanitation bots tried to keep up and let the wind blow back my ears.

I watched the world roll by. It really did feel like the world was moving around the train it was so still. The city gave way for forests, which gave way to apple orchards ripe with fruit, which in turn gave way to forests. Which.. Stayed forests for a while. The "window" closed as I taped the datascreen on the crib to look at my selection. There was the view from the scout car, running half a mile in front of the train so... pretty much the same as the train. An educational channel, and a bunch of kids cartoons, some of which weren't bad. I flicked on toy wars, about rival groups of toys coming to life and fighting each other.

"Found something you liked?" Sven asked.

I ermmmed... blushing. "It'll do. Nice thing about waking up from the vat there's almost a whole year of tv waiting for me. " i pointed. "This is basically the battle of Adwa."

He looked at a teddy bear with an army of plastic army figurines behind him calling over the bed for another teddy bear, holding a plastic cup with the string cut off.

"Uh huh.

It didn't help when the raptor pajama'd boy perked up "Ooo toy wars..." and started watching my screen too. Svens grin grew bigger.

"Don't look at me in that tone of voice" I told him , and wrapped myself up in the blanket. My tail poked out , and as anything that soft and fluffy looking in a boys reach would, it attracted his hand to start petting it. A sense of warmth and well being similar to when my ears were pet started to flow through me, and the objection in my muzzle was replaced by my thumb.

"She okay with that?" the boy's father asked. How did everyone know I was a gi...oh. Right. Pink blanket. They could see it was pink, not some amorphous shade that might be red or pink.

"Looks it.

We were a few hours into the trip when the train stopped. We could see on the view screen that a baby mammoth had wandered out onto the tracks and was flapping their ears at the scout car and charging at it. Backing up and doing it again. A mother mammoth came over and none to gently shoulder blocked the child off the tracks.

"Awwwww" all three kids in the section and no small number of adults said at once.

A food cart came around for dinner. Mac and cheese, and a small mammoth shaped buttered roll filled me up in no time. I traded one of my cookies for a few bites of the bears lemon marang pie, but when the boy tried to do the same for the boys chocolate cupcake flagged a warning from the train.

"I wasn't gonna..." i told Sven as the boy was picked up and taken to the bathroom.

"I know" he gave my ears a pat. "Miss Mikhailov is going to look after you for a second okay?"

And headed towards the front of the train.

The Bear in question, or rather just her head, lowered down into the crib and gave her cub and myself a sniff. "Let's make this a two for one" she said, and easily picked us up one in each paw and took us to the family bathroom. Curling my tail between my legs apparently made for an easy ball sized carrying package, but slightly harder to change. She put us both on the safety gel changing table and stripped our bottoms off.

"RUBY! Not in front of the first timer..." the little Bear was wide awake now, fussing and kicking.

"Wha.. hey! I'm not a first timer..." i shot back. "I'm eighte..nine.." did birthdays in the vat count?

"Wait really? She looked at me in shock. "Oh. Sorry. You just seemed.. You know. Okay with all the babying. And showing off your diaper. As a second timer you really ought to be toilet trained by now. You're what, Bio seven? Eight?"

"FIVE!" I corrected.

"I told you, some furs can be mature enough to accept their limitations." the mama Bears rumble instantly had my attention. "Hold this" she said, and handed me my T shirt, flicked the sides of the diaper off with surprisingly dexterous claws, rolled it in a ball and pulled, tugging on my tail a little. I curled up a little , conscious of my nakedness. But she just took a paw the size of my.. Well. All of me and rubbed it up and down my belly for a few minutes in slow circles.

"Oh real mature..." she teased, but I barely noticed. A warm cloth was run over my slit gently, and my bottom got a very thorough cleaning. I squeeled and wriggled a bit. "So..sorry I can't..."

"Shhhh. It's alright." her tongue covered my entire head in a lick, and when i opened my eyes the padding was on.

"See how fast it goes when you cooperate?" The Sow told her mom, who lifted her legs and held them still. "I can be mature. You got lucky the first time but you are SO getting the cutest outfits when it's my turn to look after you again"

"Mhm..." she payed the lil cub no mind as she got her dressed as well. We were cradled in her tree like arms and walked outside. Sven looked mildly relieved to see me and gave me ears a pat once i was settled into my cri.. Safety area.

The Kin got bottles, the human got a sippy cup. None of us were happy, but after a few minutes and sideways glances we started to drink. And slump. The someone picked "Pretty Pony Princesses" to watch, and we had a small bout of "did not" in between sips. The sun sank over the horizon, and we sank down with it, slumping together where our cribs met, someone snoring like a rusty saw through a pine knot.

I awoke briefly, feeling a sudden urge to go, but slumped back down feeling the pleasant warmth trickle between my legs and well up at the waterproof shell.

Then I was being woken up for real. Sven had me in both arms, wrapped in the blanket. He made me wave goodbye to the lil Bear cub, the human was already gone. We traveled off the car, waved by to the train, and stopped in the bathroom for a quick change, probably done all the quicker because I was mostly asleep. The cold night air hit me as we walked out though, perking my ears and waking me up like a shot.

"Where are we?"

"Now you wake up... Naslow station. It's a car ride from here. You want to run around a bit? " The change had given the chance for everyone else getting off here to make their way out by car or bus.

OOOO. I didn't get to ride in one of those often. I'd either gotten a train, bus, or anything in town, my own two feet. (Four if mom wasn't watching). I got down on all fours and ran around the half dome shaped car. Its turtle like appearance enhanced by the green color and hexagon shaped moosecatchers.

"Greetings Officer. Are you ready to begin your journey?" the car asked. "We are behind schedule but not overly so"

Sven was taking the chance to stretch his own overly long legs "Yeah, just a second "

"Please allocate time to remove master vulpine from the moose catcher"

"Nah I got i..." Sven started and blinked as i darted between his legs and LEAPED onto the hood, smacking into the gel with a WOMPF and sinking in a little. He wrapped me up in the blanket as he got me out and took another lap around the car.

"Please allocate time to re extract master Vulpine from the gel"

"What are you..." the officer looked down to see the bundle of blankets in his arms, along with a teddy bear, while I'd slipped out the bottom and run under the car. He dashed around one way, then the other, not even coming close to catching me until i jumped as high as i could, not quite getting my uplifted paws onto the roof.

"An easy asignment they said. A nice relaxing trip they said. I'd rather be back at the drunk tank...shame we can't diaper them though." he buckled me into the seat and while his hands were occupied, gave him a big LICK on the cheek. "Do you WANT the TV to play pretty pretty ponies for the rest of the trip?" he pulled a game console over and handed me a toy steering wheel. "Here, you can pretend you're driving" I stuck my tongue out at him.

Without further ado he buckled himself in and drove off. The road alternated between winding around the sides of the mountains and going through tunnels. The moon and stars shone down over oaks, hemlocks, and maples clinging majestically to a granite mountainside

"Ooo pretty" I said, and pointed with one hand, my other "steering" the car."

"Both hands on the wheel squirt. It's good practice..." He hmmed. "Otto, how long have you been driving?"

"Since the parking lot sir."

"What are the chances of getting manual control?" and flashed his ring at the console, as if it needed the reminder.

"I'm sorry sir. But it is night, you are outside of your district, and there is a baby in the car. You can pretend you're driving if you want. Tomorrow on the way back, if the weather is good" he stuck HIS tongue out at the computer and folded his arms.

In response to my giggle he dug a soother sausage from his pocket and held it out palm flat "IF you're good an..." I nommed it, having put him through enough tonight.

We both "drove" for a bit, Sven looking confused when i tapped the brake. A raccoon ignored the lights flashing on the side of the road and walked out. The car had no trouble stopping in time.

"Oh that's no fair he can see in the dark...Computer, night vision."

"He was winning before that" the computer put in. I wasn't sure if he was serious or just wanted to make me feel better. Or Sven worse.

After few minutes of boring silence and broody thinking I decided to ask Sven something that had been on my mind since the Hot Dog Shack.

“So you and your friend, Grandy, were arguing about me?”

Sven winced. It was probably a good thing he wasn’t driving. “More like friendly political discussion. He’s kinda big into the Kin rights thing.”

“Oh...so...you think i should ahh uhmm…?” and fidgeted with my tail, lip whimpering a little.

“Well definitely not.. This…” he gestured a hand up and down. “Maybe spend your summer vacation doing community service. Anger management classes. Conflict resolution program. Something along those lines.”

“I WAS…” wow my voice was shrill when i was mad. “I wasn’t angry. I was sca..not angry.”

“Not even a little?” The cop asked.

“He punched me in the snout. Hard! And sat on me. What was i supposed to do? I couldn’t breathe.”

“Avoid the situation entirely. Run and call someone. Carry a com. Or if you’d been trained, come around the corner at a wider angle…Assuming the report is right. You didn’t ask to be, but you ARE carrying lethal weaponry kiddo. Or were. That gives you more responsibility to avoid trouble. And if you didn’t and it still went south you could have passed out and an ambulance would have been there in time before anything serious happened.”

“I scoffed at that. “My brains harder to fix than his…”

Otto cut in by HOONNNNNNKing the horn at a moose on the side of the road. The moose in turn munched on some branches and stared blankly at the car. The biologics in the car settled on agreeing to disagree in silence.


The road started to blur as it went by. Daydreams turned into real dreams, which turned into half waking half sleeping notions of being carried. The cold on my nose was the only thing that told me it wasn't a dream. I looked up to see a sprawling, multi winged building sitting atop a small hill. Standing in the light of the doorway was an enormous Wolf in a dark jumpsuit, who waved a baseball sized paw at our car.

"Hey, sh..he out?" the Wolf "whispered", or at least said breathily. A human probably could have heard him from the playground down the hill.

"Kind of. They're all yours" he ruffled my headfur. "Good luck kiddo. " and handed me over.

The Wolf held me awkwardly at arms length for a second "Yer kinda late for the tour. Let's just say "welcome home" and get you to bed okay?"
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RonanVulpes
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Joined: 12:58 PM - Jul 09, 2016

2:52 AM - Nov 02, 2017 #24

added a bit of convo between Sven and Ronan near the end.
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Panther Cub
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Joined: 4:09 AM - Mar 31, 2016

10:52 AM - Nov 02, 2017 #25

This story is very CUTE!
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RonanVulpes
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Joined: 12:58 PM - Jul 09, 2016

7:23 AM - Nov 11, 2017 #26

Panther Cub @ Nov 2 2017, 04:52 AM wrote: This story is very CUTE!

It's not cute. Its a tragic tale of the loss of agency in a world that doesn't need anything and adorable fluffy tails and ears and naps and bottles and...

dammit i a..it is cute. *huff*
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RonanVulpes
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Joined: 12:58 PM - Jul 09, 2016

11:44 AM - Mar 11, 2018 #27

First Day of School

"Hey, new kid. Rise and shine"

The voice was that of a boy, attempting to affect a posh and cultured Imperial accent despite the high pitch. I raised my head up, the corner of the blanket dangling down over my snout and looked left and right for the source of the sound. A sniff revealed he was a Fox like myself. There was the strong scent of bear, and some slightly odd kind of ..cat?

"Over here" a hand "gloved" in black fur waved to me. "Note or no note you don't want to be late for your first day. "  Rolling off the bed and onto the floor was about all I was capable of, but it worked.  I sat on my haunches, blushing at the sodden padding squishing under my rump and looking around and ughed at the soft pastel pink walls.  

"What the heck I thought they were gonna let me be a boy..."

"They are. The girls rooms are bigger though, and have a better view and their own bathroom. They kinda let us sort things out on our own in the Kin wing." He wasn't kidding. There was a big window with far too much morning light pouring through a forest canopy and a small stream trickling away outside. It was big enough to make me wonder why it hadn't been split in two. My apparent roommate had some sort of large metal canister opened on his half of the room, and tools across his desk

"Hey, that looks like a stasis pod they found the Popsickles in. They let you build a replica for class? Cool." I ignored the fact that my padding was drooping and stuck my nose into the open compartment. "Wow. this is detailed. Are those lug-nuts actually cast? WIRES.. You really went all out."

The other Fox chuckled. "Nope. Real thing. They're here. Sort of. "

"Really? No way. Can we meet them? I love the 23rd century. The movies, the frontier, the start of the Kin...

"I heard they'll be joining the general population soon." the other Fox stuck out his paw. "I'm James"

"Rona..n. " I hoped he didn't notice the pause. I was on all fours looking over his restoration project and just used a dogs shake motion.

"Yeah I know. Fair warning, everyone knows everything around here. " he wrinkled his nose. "Speaking of which, you want to hit the bathroom before class and you're out of time." he picked up an engineer's shoulder bag and headed out.

I looked down and blushed, ears flattening as they warmed. Mental note, really start trying to hide that, at least till I knew how bad the teasing about it would be. A lot of us were in the same boat right? We weren't actual cubs we could be mature about this.
With some trepidation I approached the only other door to the room. Inside was a surprisingly nice bathtub, a toilet that was almost short enough to be perfect for me and was far enough away from the wall to accommodate even my bushy tail. A pair of small doors to a cabinet seemed to be made of real wicker


"Hello theere" an oddly accented voice called from inside. It seemed to be a mix of imperial and hindi. "I'm your personal assissstant. I'll be out in a moment. Don't let my appearance sstartle you."

Why did I need a persona... I was reminded exactly why I needed one as the head of an enormous snake floated out of the doors of the basket and a rush of warmth trickled between my legs, leaking out and running down my fur.  I mean, it was a talking snake. I knew it had to be an animatronic AI, but my brain just froze as if it were a real snake.  

 "That's very good" a long sinuous body with red and white scale patterns followed the head and curled up in front of me. "I understand you want to get to class on time so we will have to move quickly. Please walk into the tub"

A little push from his tail got me walking. The door to the rub opened and I stepped in, keeping my gaze on the faucet.

"Armss up" he said, sticking to the shirt and pulling it up and off, then wrapping around my hips and pulling off both sides of the diaper with a small rip. I heard the nozzle detach and felt a spray of warm water and couldn't stop from squirming.

"S..sorry. Uhmm...

"Kaash. Or Mister Snake if you prefer. And it's okay. You just woke up. You're still a little sleepy. You had a long night. Just relax" I felt his coils wrapping around my waist and legs, the very bottom of the tail supporting the small of my back as he lifted my dripping form up onto the changing table. His voice was very calm and soothing though , and once he had me seated he started petting my ears  my eyes started drooping.  His head swung down into my vision, eyes shifting from their normal yellow to red to blow as his head swayed back and forth, up and down. I giggled a bit at the game and followed him, then he reared up so high I fell into my back when I tried to follow him.   

"Very good kit." his mid section coiled around my ankles and lifted my legs high in the air until I was almost vertical, then somehow stuck to the padding, slid it under my rump, easily guided my tail through the hole while another coil picked up some powder and sprinkled just a little bit on me.

"Heey.. the kin are going to smell that!" I wriggled a bit, or tried to, but the snake's coils were as solid as an oak branch.

"Unavoidable I'm afraid" he lightly put his tail down over my chest and pulled the padding up against me, one loop went to each hip and taped it in. I poked his scales a bit on impulse and he grinned. "Gecko Grip. Turns on and off as needed"
A loop around and under my arms was enough to set me on the warm limestone tiles of the floor. My assistant held a bright blue shirt that went onto my head easily enough, and the slit in the back fit my tail perfectly.  The grey tight sweatpant things were another matter, and required considerable time and wriggling to get on.

"Can't I wear shorts?"

"I'll see if you can get an exception. Tomorrow."
    I grumbled and headed for the door, tugging on the badly tailored garments. Figured the AIs around here didn't know how to tailor for digigrades. I was shifting the waistband about as I went out the automatically opening door, letting out a little OMF as I walked nose first into the slightly padded stomach of a security guard waiting for me

"Oh hey Ronan right? I'm Octak." If was was perturbed by the snout poke to the gut, he didn't show it at all.

"So much for not still being a convict..." I grumbled at him.

"Huh? Wha..oh no. It's not that. You don't have a tracker yet, so you can't go wandering off alone. Door won't open for you otherwise. Less there's a fire or something."

I crossed my arms and looked at him skeptically, which he ignored and started walking.

"Eh look I got one too" he held up a wrist band. "Don't want the Rats to dismember my body and leave it in a ditch without someone eventually finding me" he joked. I hoped.

"Oh cool is that Star Command?" I ran around him to take a closer look at the hematite colored band with a diamond patterned star made with what looked like real diamonds.

My escort blushed a little. "Yeah. I liked it when I was a kid. "

"When you saw them the first time was it with or without the screwups in them?"

" "There's no screw ups, only opportunities"..." he said with the mantra of a true fan.

I turned just in time to see a pair of Wolves running past us on two legs, panting, one knocked into me hard enough to knock me over, if I hadn't been knocked into the other one and then grabbed by the scruff by Octak.

"Hey no running in the halls! Or at least pretend to watch where you're going..." He shouted, mostly to a pair of fluffy tails going around the corner and out the doors.

"So you liked that episode where they accidentally crashed through the wall and then ad libbed that it was a foul mind control plot by Doctor Mesmero?"

"Eyup! And a photon blast to the a..rump of anyone that says that was planned ahead of time. And it wasn't an accident it was..."
"An opportunity I know. "

The doors opened, slamming us with the chill morning air. The kind of damp cold you knew would become hot as the day went on that practically screamed first day of school. I got my hands and feet soaked with dew running onto the lawn before looking looking back to see if it was okay. A wave of his hand and a smile from Octak said it was

"Just stay within about sixtyish feet of me, don't head for the gates, and stay off the slides till recess." he yelled. Not like I couldn't hear him even over my pounding paws, beating heart, and whoosh of the grass against my claws. The ground felt like it was shaking under me as I trotted across the field , stopping to look up the stairs to a slide before circling back to my guard slash guide. I hopped in place for a few steps, then ran off again as fast as I could and rolling into the ground at full speed watching the world spin around one two three four and a half times to wind up staring at a slightly spinning sun and clouds.

"Oh hell...." came from right behind me with a barely suppressed laugh

It wasn't till I stood up that I realized the grass was damp to the point of being soaked, and now so was I. "Well no time to get you dry. If you leave a puddle you're in trouble, if you're late I'm in trouble. Better you than me kid"  

I glared at him for a moment and tensed.

"Oh no. You wouldn't dare...."

Shakeshakeshakehakeshake....

The classroom was your usual white ceramic flooring with the same light blue walls they seem to have in every government building in the sector. I walked up to the door just as the belly rang, earning a glare from the large grizzled Wolf with dark over light gray fur, bright yellow eyes and a scar running from chin to ear.

"You are late.  

"But I just..."

"Are you in your seat? Are you ready to learn? Then you are late. And a mess. Somehow" He glared out the door and it didn't take a pair of keen Fox ears to hear Mister Ocktak gulp as he left, even over a snickering classroom. "Well MOVE. No one's going to hold your hand" he barked and pointed, the classrooms snickers rising dangerously close to a full on laugh as I scurried to the only  available seat, up front.

"For those of  you who couldn't be bothered to read your own schedules this is Imperial language and culture. For those of you who don't know who I am, this will not be the soft, mushy, touchy feely any answer you feel is right is right pap you may have gotten elsewhere. This will be cold, hard, objective facts. I don't care how well you can defend a bad answer. We'll start with Blue Sun Black Hole , and why everything you know about it is wrong...

I looked around for some paper and a writing implement. The blond human boulder of a kid to my right was using a datapad, there was a knot of Rats in the back but they were too far away to ask.  The rustle of paper behind me gave me hope. The wait for the professor to dramatically turn to the viewscreen wasn't long. Wheeling around brought me face to face with  the grey white and tan wolf from the center, who was already looking at me and smiling.  I blushed self consciously at the smile and being unprepared as I mimed writing something. He huhed for a second, snapped out of whatever daydream he was having and starting scribbling a note. I had to feign interest in the teacher again  

"And what do you think was the symbolism behind Bosen Doughboy Replacing his carbon graphite hand with one of brass Miss...ter Vulpes?" 1 of the rooms other three Foxes started up but slumped back down in relief when the teacher turned to me, just as the Wolf was handing me the paper.
I ermmed... "That he was...rejecting modern technology for something older and simpler?"

"No. There is nothing that is in the text that is not in the text. That is not in the text so. It. Is. not. There. Pay more attention to the lecture and less to passing love notes to your boyfriend"

"He'snot! " my voice squeeked and cut out as he took the note from my hand

" "You're welcome" " he read, smirking. For what I wonder..."

I stuck my tongue out at him "That wasn't in the text you can't assume it"

Having to stand snout to the corner was especially painful for a digitigrade kin,  but bending over to clean up the mud and dew from the chair and floor was pretty easy. Which was a good thing because I had to do twice before he let me go with a sigh. "I suppose that's as good as you'll manage"
Hah. I could see myself in the floor.

I stalked out tail bristling, right passed the Wolf until he barked a laugh. "Damn that took ba.." and clamped his hand over his mouth, pausing for a very long awkward moment.

"You've got engineering with me next class " he said without removing his hand or opening his muzzle. It was slightly muffled but still easy for a Fox like myself to hear. "I'm going to go now. Your next class is this way. I got the orientation" he still sneaked a glance at a map in his pocket and traced the route. Looked at me funny, then looked straight ahead. He went to turn left when I could smell sawdust and powdered plastic on the right we split.

"I think it's this way..." he turned his map a little "huh. Yeah. I think you're right. Right" he giggled and harumped to stop himself.
I was once again late, walking in just as the bell rang. This time smack into a bare digitigrade Wolf leg. "Whoa there little guy. No running in here.

"Bu bu" I looked up. And UP at an enormous Wolf in loose shorts and a tight shirt, with a blue braided collar about his neck of all things.   

"Yeah you're late, don't worry" he waved a paw the size of my Torso."First day and this place is a bit of a maze. Relax have a seat" he sniff sniffed me, making my face flush furiously and my tail tuck. "Did it rain this morning did it? I was dry for my run." he picked me up about the chest in one enormous paw and sat me down on a desk with a squish that  I prayed the rest of the class didn't notice. He pointed a strange, obviously makeshift device at me and hot air came rushing out without any of the ear flattening sound I was expecting.

"Oh cool "   I said, looking straight into the barrel, ears and gums flapping in the wind. "Hows thaawt whorrrrrrk?"

"Pretty cool huh?" it was quiet enough that he kept talking to the class while running it over my still damp fur. " Welcome to Engineering. The art and science of applying knowledge to solve problems. Step one, figure out what the problem is. In this case your standard hair dryer while mostly out of the range of human hearing, is going to send a Kin diving for a pair of ear muffs.

"Isn't that what the computers for?" The large kid from english class asked asked from the back, drawing a few laughs.

"Yes. And no. Computers might help you solve a problem you posit to them, but rarely offer their own suggestions. Furthermore  computers are limited in their thinking in no small part because of anyone...?

"The Circuit Uprising?" I blurted out without thinking.

"Correct." I got swatted in the face with an enormous bushy tail as he turned back to see me, then once again as he turned back to the class.  " We don't know how creative AIs COULD be, but we know how creative they can be within their given parameters, especially this far out in the rim. It's' pretty good, but hardly perfect and sometimes just plain weird. Understanding the fundamentals of materials, design, and composition will let you work with a design interface, and go past what they can. Cough, and maybe let you build something off grid. Cough. I'm mister Niklaas, welcome to engineering.."

He remembered to sit me down off the desk after a five minute lecture and let us try to build model catapults out of a box of spare parts. Mine shot the furthest, but with no accuracy and I broke it after three shots, but still had a lot of fun. The Rats were shooed into individual projects, but kept sneaking each other parts and complicated hand signals when the teachers back was turned. Their nearly identical  catapults hit the targets with a fair bit of accuracy, spinning the center about one time in four. A short, black haired human grumbled some nasty words that his project broke, while the otter got about halfway through his and "Assisted" it into taking a shot with the flick of his finger. The big kid had his shoot straight up and straight down, but it made an impressive clunk off the ceiling and his skull, earning a good natured laugh from him and the rest of the class, including the teacher.

"Alright, homework, find something around here that doesn't work as well as it could for you. Bring it in if it's not nailed down , bigger than your head, someone else's property, and not your roommate. " the class groaned a bit. "Ronan, see me after class for a bit."

I stayed after, tail tucked, which did not go unnoticed.

"Relax, you're not in trouble. Just need to get you set with your transponder. You want a collar, wrist, pendant, or ankle version?"

I ermed a little "what's the difference?"

"For the hardware? Not much. It's the same core anyway" he held up a small black stone with fine whispy tendrils coming out of it. "Huh. Never seen this model before. The neck one holds the most charge but doesn't charge up as fast as a leg or wrist. I don't like anything on my ankle, throws me off, and wrist gets in the way when I put my hands inside the machinery. I think I technically HAVE to mention the ring version but that's rarely an option for us"

"And if it bothers me like when I was a... older?"

"You'll have to wait for an escort to and from school, won't be able to go on the playground early, won't be able to access some of the school equipment, and running back to your room for certain... things can be difficult"  

"And you don't get dog jokes for wearing a collar?" pulling my shirt down a little as he alluded to my padding.
"Just the once" he said, showing off a set of steak knife sized teeth as he smiled.

"I guess I'll go with the collar then"

He nodded, set the stone inside a printer and let me look at a catalog of options. I picked one of the blue colors and an old style physical clip on the back. Even if it SAID it would let go with a certain amount of force I wanted a physical mechanism I could see. Nanosilk sounded a little girly , but I was hoping he didn't notice me picking it. Judging from the texture of his he'd picked an option that could double as sandpaper.

"If you want a different color just tell it which one and set it in the sun for a few hours. If you want something really weird like a UV reflection pattern or switch to a wrist band you'll have to bring it back here. If you want to reset the personality you're out of luck, that one came straight from the capitol and I'm not sure I could hack it if... I had any idea how to adjust an A.I. Which I don't..."
We sat in awkward silence with the soft whirring of the cord printer. He took it out and waved it about a bit to cool it off and held it out to me. I closed my eyes, felt him buckle it on and...
Nothing. Or well almost nothing. The miniscule weight felt soft and vaguely reassuring. I slid it left and right and it glided over my fur with almost no resistance, and gave it a thumbs up.

"Great.. For your first mission, Ronan and his escort are late with my permission. Signed Mister Niklaas"  He gave my entire head a soft re assuring pat and shooed me out the door "Off you go"   
The awkward wolf waited out front looking at his wrist band.

"Oh hey, cool collar" he reached out and slid a finger along it, then pulled his paw back. "Oh, sorry. Impulses, you know how it is with a new brain and everything." I shrugged, and held my chin up so he could do it again"

"What do we have next?"

"The ultimate terror of school.. Dun dun dun... gym class.

I took a deep breath "So it begins..."  and prepared to sniff out polyurethane and sweat when my guide got us lost.
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slith
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slith
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Joined: 2:35 PM - Mar 24, 2013

2:54 PM - Mar 15, 2018 #28

love the  story, cant  wait to  see the  terror  gym class will  be  when  they  get there
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RonanVulpes
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Joined: 12:58 PM - Jul 09, 2016

5:53 AM - Apr 17, 2018 #29

#19 of No Good Deed

What better way to re acquire muscle memory than ducking or being beaned in the face?
Gym Class

    The gym was fortunately not hard to find. The Wolf knew the floor at least, and once up the steps a leads us to a long straight shot down the hall past the library where we could see kids running in and out of the locker room. A very fluffy looking white and gray patterned Rat with a pink bow between her ears was waiting outside in the hallway, standing on her tippy paws and waving excitedly

"Oh hello, You must be Ronan"

"And his boyfriend" a human added from just inside the gym.

"Iamnot"

"heisnot" we both shot back in unison. My collar started to play a message using the gym speaker "Ronan and his escort are late with my permission. Signed Mister Niklaas"     

"Escort huh?" this time the Rat cracked her tail like a whip at the door, and the head retreated inside with but not before a chorus of

"OooOOOOOOoooooos" erupted from inside.

"I don't see the problem, you two are an adorable couple. " she nudged the Wolf into the gym and took me by the paw. "Migel, go get changed. Or don't. Ronan if I could see you a moment in my office?"

"Aw come on I had a note..."

"You're not in trouble sweetie, just some ahhh..." her nose twitched, sending her whiskers wriggling up and down "paperwork "

She lead me into an office which seemed too big, then I remembered it had probably been built for a human. The current occupant had adjusted for the unnecessary height of the ceiling by adding a second vertical layer connected with ladders , ring swings, and rope netting. My ears swiveled a bit as they caught the sound of movement in one of them.

"Coool" I said, looking up, surprised to feel her fingers under my arms lifting me onto a table with surprising ease.

"hey..."

"Sorry, the boys have a ball and that SHOULD keep them occupied for about 5 minutes before devolving into something requiring medical attention. And you, well, you're soaked"

My ears flushed red hot and flattened at her frank but she smoothed them out, putting her snout close to mine and giving me a nuzzle that was oddly reassuring. From straight on the white patch on her face looked an awful lot like a heart. From a quirk of genetics or did she have that...eeep
Strong, dexterous fingers reached into my pants and tugged them down in one pull, revealing the heavy sodden puffing padding between my legs. I tried to pick my legs up just as she tried to roll me left and wound up pulled into a ball. She smiled and grabbed me by the the scruff of the neck and rubbed it as she unknotted me.

"Thank you for helping. But since we don't know each other yet , and I can do this without you but you can't do this without me, how about I lead okay?"

While she was talking the Rat took my legs and twisted them, putting me on my belly. Something was slid onto my tail, she took my legs again and turned me belly up, where I could see her slipping some pink training pants over my legs.

"Heeeey They're pink...!"

The gym teacher hmmed? "Oh yes, so they are. Hush or you'll wake the oth.. the baby" she dropped her voice "I'm sorry I grabbed the wrong one. " I tucked my tail a bit at the reminder of what might have prompted THAT. She nevertheless pulled them up around my waist, gave the thin padding a pat and added a pair of terrycloth shorts that were a bit too big but had a very small tail hole. She flexed them open a little bit and put them on and stood me up.

"There, hows that?"

"Good. erm.. thanks" I said with a bit of a flush, my tail wagging a bit at it's relative freedom. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a young Rat with black fur stuck his head out of one of the compartments and climb down a rope head first and stopping halfway down. His timing was suspiciously good, had he been peeking?

"My turn mama?" he asked, toddling over and rubbing his eyes. He had a cozy looking one piece sleeper done up like a space suit over his chubby little form and an obviously  padded rump. My Gym teacher started washing her paws in the sink hard enough for me to take it personally, while the little Rat hugged my tail without batting an eye.

"Alright up you go" and lifted her kit as if all of his fluff were fur  "and out YOU go" swatting me with her tail to get me moving.
I poked my head around the door to the Gym, getting a brief glimpse of a bunch of other boys lined up on opposite sides of the room throwing a semi squishy ball at each other with a great deal of gusto and very little accuracy. A yellow haired boy with spiky hair picked the ball up to throw it, and halway through the throw turned and sent the ball flying at my head so hard the sphere went slightly oblong.

"AhhOMF!" I let out in surprise, reflexively biting the projectile. I staggered back a bit from the force of the impact but kept my feet, and the ball

"Figures she'd be good at keeping balls in her mouth..."a short kid in a red jersey quipped causing a moment of dead silence followed by uproarious laughter from the class, human and Kin Alike. Even Migel barked a laugh, putting a hand on the bleachers to keep from doubling over.
I felt my whole body tense and I took a step forward without thinking, only to be scooped up from behind and held kicking and squirming at waist height on the Rat, four paws just barely off the ground.

"Dodgeball it is. Jason, you start the game out. Twice

"Wait why....?"

"He caught the ball. " she tapped it to tell me to let it go. Which I did. Eventually. "AND no head shots, is that understood?"

"yes..
    "Yes What?"
    "Yes miss Rat"
    "I CAN"T HEAR YOU WHAT WAS THAT?"
    "YES MISS RAT"

"That your family's real name?" I asked. The coach shooed a pack of rats onto different teams and swapped them with the burly human from english class, then started tossing more foam dodge balls out to the class.  

    "Oh yeah, great...great...something Grandma just got tired of DUCK" I dropped to all fours and let the ball pass overhead "correcting people and just went ahead and changed it." She looked at her watch " Muligan, you're out. Ball says it nicked you! Don't wear parachute pants next time " She didn't literally throw me into the game at that point, but it was close. I scrambled across the floor like a feral, leaping into the air over a ball thrown at my feet and then rolled left left left as two of the Rats launched a one two combination from right at the line while I was prone. The Rodents on my team scooped up the ball and launched it at the humans in the back instead of their brethren scurrying away, prompting the coach to chide them

"Eh,you're on THAT team now you work with THEM. Miss an opportunity like that and I"LL bean you..." she chittered something too fast to pick out, but the next time they picked up the ball they chucked it at the rats as hard as they could.

  I dove head first, picked up a ball and threw it at the Spikey haired kid, but he easily stepped aside. Being semi quadruped had its advantages but a humanlike shoulder for throwing wasn't one of them.

"You throw like a girl" I grrrrred and ran for another ball bouncing off the wall, got hit in the butt and had to go to the wall to be out.
I wasn't the only one having trouble throwing. A fair bit of the class seemed to throw like they were using their off hands, or as if they'd never thrown anything before which... In a sense the probably hadn't if they were using new muscles.

The last one in was the big kid from english class. "Brock the rock! brock the rock!" Half the class started chanting.

"Wait.. that's. BROCK? THE Brock?" I asked the Rat next to me, who looked slightly surprised I was talking to her. "What's he doing here?"
The boy in question ran across the floor and stopped suddenly, arms out to stop suddenly and let a ball pass in front of him. It bounced off the wall and rolled back to the other team

"Oh yeah, you woulda bin in da vat for that. Got knocked off the court clear into a regression vat hehee. BABALITY! Well. Kidality. Dun think crashballs had a good bability in 50 years."

Despite being four to one and having all the balls the other team looked nervous.

Their fear was justified

"Alright guys, on the count of three we throw. One. Two..."
Half of them threw on three the other half waited for three then threw.
He sidestepped one ball with surprising agility for someone his size, stuck his arm out and palmed a ball moving past him, used it to bump another ball high up in the air and knock the fourth ball to the side. While moving backwards Brock beaned the Fox hard in the stomach and then put his arms out to catch the throw that had been bumped into the air

"Two catches. " Ms Rat called out "Lockford, Shnarl you're in, Vulpes you're in too because that was really good"
The Fox on the other team pointed at himself.

"Not you the other Vulpes. Did your team catch the ball? Ronan."

A large, gray and white patterned wolf welcomed me back on the court with a side armed blast to the chest that hit like a rocket launcher. Despite going head over tail over tail over head with the force off the throw I rolled to a stop and held up the ball. " Barry, you're in. Andy, yer out"  The other teams other wolf Walked with him to the sidelines and started arguing with him in low growls, not noticing when the rat I'd been talking to walked up, tapped his ankle with the ball, and retrieved it on the rebound. "Sere. Serenak...." she looked at her watch. "Fang. Yer out, since you want to talk anyway"

The Fox on the other team ran up with the ball right at Brock, who veered left along the center line, but then dropped the ball instead of throwing it.

The former crashball player whipped the fox in his tail with his own ball, but then a rat popped out from the Fox's tail and hit Brock in the foot, making him laugh so hard he had trouble making it to the wall to wait in line.
"Good one!"

I was really panting now, the spikey haired kid nodded to the one in the parachute pants and they both sent their shots at me. I ran into the wall past the first one, bounced off the wall and fell flat on my back to avoid the second, looking at a few stars as the wall had a fair bit less padding than I was expecting.

One of the Rats walked over my stomach to get a ball and tossed it to a human standing over me, who took it and helped me up. "Oh hey there, Barry. Big fan. I uhm. OW!"  The other Vulpes caught him on the rump for his sportsmanship. I picked up his ball and threw it back, but it bounced on the ground before landing and rolled to the spikey haired kid.

"you throw like a.."

"Don't even" the red jersied human cut him off  "I already did that one. Besides. he's throwing better than you "

"Hey!" one of the Rats tossed me a loose ball and I beaned Spikey hair while he was arguing and gave the Rat a thumbs up.

Brock went to throw a ball at one of the other teams rats and softballed it, letting the Rat catch it rather than nail him full bore.
RedJersey got a ball from one of his own rats and reared back. I ran for the wall planning on flipping off of it. Just as I got near the wall SpikeyHair whistled

"Your pink panties are showing foxy!"

I stopped, looked under my tail and got caught in the head with the ball and fell over.

The whistle blowing was almost as painful as the headshot.

Ms Rat dropped the ball, kicked it with the front of her foot hard enough to make it go obling and sent it flying right into Redjersey's midsection with a hallow PING. He doubled over laughing and in pain.  

"What did I say at the beginning?"

"No headshots Ms Rat!" Even Redjersey joined in , though his came out in a wheeze.

"Good" She got the kid on his feet and I slowly got up to mine.

I grumbled "He tricked me!"

" "All warfare is deception" Use it. Or at least expect it. Line up and shake hands"

We passed each other in a line slapping hands. SpikeyHair tried to put his hand quickly back behind his head, but at a cough and the warning of a dodgeball being tossed into the air From Ms Rat, he relanted. Red Jersey actually stopped to shake mine. "No hard feelings right? Just joking. Don't bite me"  The gray and black wolf on the other hand, while courteous to everyone else, walked by looking straight ahead when it was my turn. Ms Rat glared at him. He shook his head, she held up a pink slip. He nodded and took it and headed into the showers.
"Ass...inine Wolf" I caught myself just as the teacher caught my arm. "Come on, let's see how hard you hit your head on that last one"

"I'm fiiine...."

She stopped moving her mouth and dropped her voice very low. "Would you rather I tell the class you're getting your pullups changed?"
I tucked my tail, just realizing how damp I was. When did that happen?

She lifted me back up onto the changing table, took out a multi colored light and shined it in my eyes.  

"All good there. You've got a hard head. How are you feeling otherwise?"

"That stupid dirty trick and I can't believe I fell for it and WHY DID YOU MAKE ME WEAR THE PINK ONES!"

"Shhh sweetie he didn't see anything. See?" she turned me to a mirror. Swishing my tail around there was nothing to see but the shorts. Even the padding was only visible because I knew what to look for

"I'm so stupid because I fell for it and I want to punch him and bite him and I'm scared because I don't WANT to want to do that anymore after an an..."
Black and pink ears, a pink nose and glittering black eyes poked over the changing table from nowhere. The lip quivering that was threatening to descend into a full on bawl paused in surprise, and stayed there when tiny pink hands held up a soft godzillia plush.

"Awww.. Thank you Jacob. What do we say?"

"Thankyou..." I said as Ms Rat guided my paws into hugging the plush. It was soft, and cushy, and smelled so much like the toddler that it had to be one of his favorite toys, of not his favorite.

"Good kit" she plopped a cool bottle of orange juice in my muzzle, which started suckling greedy on it's own, the cool juice getting soaked up by a tongue that I suddenly realized felt like sandpaper. One arm occupied by the bottle and one with Godzilla made it easy for the instructor to lie me back, massage my legs into jello with a few gentle kneads. My eyes lowered along with the level of juice in the bottle, and I felt more than saw a thick pink pawper being shimmied up my tail , wrapped snugly around my waist.

"Collar, what is Ronan's next scheduled class?" she whispered.

" Study Hall. Should I inform Miss Herbinawitz that Ronan will be taking their nap here?" The nearby baby monitor asked.

"Yes please, thank you"

"Up you go" I was lifted into a tree fort esque section of the room. The little rat scampered in to join me and started to pet my tail.

" That's it Jacob, nice and gentle. You're in charge" He pet my tail softly, and I pet Godzilla softly. Gently. Relaxed. And exhausted from a hectic game of dodgeball, napped.
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RonanVulpes
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Joined: 12:58 PM - Jul 09, 2016

7:27 PM - Jul 25, 2018 #30

Chapter 20. Pride and Prejudice

Nice and gentle. Soft     
"I know you were here first. But you don't have class in 5 minutes
I felt my legs moving around and tried to pick them up, only to be told
"We're done with that part hon. You did great"
I blearily opened my eyes to find myself being put back on the ground into the waiting grabby paws of the little black Rat. The scent of babypowder, pawpers , and oil heavy in the air, along with the scent of a certain Rat who was in need of those. Small claws started grooming my headfur and angry chitters ensued if I tried to move so I found myself stuck in the doggie sit position.
"Little help here?"
Ms Rat chuckled and lifted him up onto the changing table , wiggling his arms in my direction.  "He can't help it. you're so fluffy..." and ruffled the fur on my head. Apparently he wasn't the only one.  Godzilla was removed from my paws and handed back to his proper owner... I hadn't even realized he was there.
"Up you go. You got art class next" she patted my slightly padded rump and shooed me out the door on all fours, almost walking into Brock's conversation with an even larger boy that had a pungent, acrid aroma even though he was coming to gym class rather than from it.
"There's nothing to apologize for. You earned everything you got. There's a reason no one ever suspected. You were the first in the gym in the morning and the last one running wind sprints up the stadium at night.
"Yeah Mom had some explaining to do but..." the  young giant stammered dumbly
"But nothing. They didn't give you guts and heart. THAT'S how you got where you got. You'd be just as good with or without em." Brock was being way too nice to him for.. whatever it was Brock was being nice to him for.
"Hey. Maybe we'll find out next time. I didn't want them changing anything you know?
" he glared waaay down to look at me "I'm sure you know understand. Erm. About. Ah uh. You  you not what you were just... " he looked stupidly passed Brock and muttered "Igottago" and shuffled off.
"Seeya Gerry. Back in the Hall of fame I hope" Brock started to walk down the hall and gestured for me to follow
"What was THAT about?" I hoped my voice didn't sound as loud to the humans as it did to me.
"Somebody getting some flack they didn't deserve."  the crashballer poked his wristwatch and pointed the light projection at the wall , then walked past the library and the up the stairs.  "Well two someones"
I was actually early for class once, and my ears could hear a flurry of activity coming from inside the classroom. The kid in the red jersey had swapped it out for a red shirt and was surrounded on one side by boys gaping like fish, breathing quickly and laughing at each other.
"No no no, You don't gulp in the air you swallow it. It's like, all the way in the back of your throat. Push your tongue against the back of your throat and try to say URK"
A series of weird breathing and funny faces followed. The spikey haired kid let out a soft burp, earning some cheers. Brock tried to repeat the move and thumped his chest, without any effect. I lolled my tongue got a good gulp of air and let out a long reverberating "buIIRRRRRRRRrRRRp" echoing off the walls.
There was a moment of stunned silence followed by laughter. My tail tucked for a second before I noticed the smiles.
"Nice one!" RedJersey put out a hand "I'm Dave."
"Ronan." He shook my hand up and down vigorously
"I thought you hated" the spikey haired kid looked around. "her" making my tail bristle.  
"What? No. Smack talks part of the game. " he smacked the Spikey haired kid on the shoulder "Not cool Mad"
The Door opened, revealing a human woman with large glasses and long hair streaked salt and pepper with gray, peering at the group through large round bottle like glasses.
"Making friends Maddorik?"  She propped open the door and ushered everyone inside to a cornucopia of smells. Oil paint, acrylic paint, artificial cherry, wood, clay, playclay, and machine oil all drifted about the room atop the wafting ghosts of kin and humans. Large colorful name tags in various media stood at the art stations. Mine had a long flowing foxtail under Ronan done in orange over a cream background. Miguel's had a spire rock against a blue background and white moon. The large black Wolf from gym class picked up a titanium backing with raised letters in hematite spelling out "Andy" which he hefted in his paws a few times before setting back down with a great deal of care.
"Why art?" the teacher asked, without making it clear whether she meant it as a noun or a verb. "Why not just download something off the net and have one of Mister Niklaas' machines print it off for you?" Apparently she thought the colored chalkboard full of butterflies spelling out M. Lepo were enough introduction for herself.

"You're giving a bit of yourself. The only thing you can give in a world where everyone has everything else" Andy muttered, low enough that I was surprised the human teacher heard him.
"Excellent..." she picked up a swirling glass ink pen from it's well. and wrote that down "Borrowing that for next year...It also helps stir creativity, helps you with a sense of design in case you want to modify something for the printer, and very importantly for the Repeating crowd helps you get some manual dexterity back. So enough gibber jabber let's get started.
My ears drooped a bit at seeing my project , color in dinosaurs with gooey paint. At least they were accurate, even if the stegosaurus was depicted next to the dimetrodon.   Brocks station was next to mine and he settled onto the built in chair on a potter's wheel and moved his leg back and forth experimentally making the axle let out an ear piercing squeeeeek. I ducked under the table and gave the mechanism a sniff, then searched the shelves. Linseed oil, nope. Turpentine, nope. Ah, here we go something silicon based.
"Crinkle crinkle...." the small human from gym class whose spun glass nameplate identified as "John Mangalore"  whispered from his bench. I shot up and hit my head with on the table with a thump, tucked my tail and pulled my shirt down. Brock Chuckled a bit but rubbed my head soothingly and gave the wheel an experimental kick  "Thanks Ronan".
M. Lepo shot John a glare and sat me down , opening a few jars of paint.
    "Where's the brushes?" I asked, looking around.
"We'll work up to brushes hon, let's see how you do with this okay?" and guided me by the shoulders back to the oversized desk. She dipped my paws in the green paint and smeared them over the paper. The rough pads of my paws scraped the paper a bit, making my ears flatten and the teacher hmm. "Well hadn't counted on that. We can work on it though" she splatted my hands into the paint and mashed them onto the paper. With a bit of priming the paint went on a little smoother, but was even harder to keep in the lines. I grumbled a bit, my little paws not seeming to do what my brain told them.
    "Relax..." she said, which just made me angrier until she pet my ears. "Look, Cloey. Show me what the picture would look like with that big one with the sail colored in this green" a computer screen half hidden behind some sort of twine showed the dimetraon all colors in. "and add some shading, and what the heck, some orange spots..." the picture changed as she directed. "If the point was to HAVE art I'd ask the computer. The point is to DO art" she said, splashing my paws in the paint and putting them on the paper. "See?"
    "Now I have paint all over my shirt..." looking at the green splotches  on my blue shirt and white belly.
    "No..." she said, and smeared paint all over my chin, shirt, and even lifted it to rub my belly. "NOW you have paint all over you." leaving the class snickering.
    I buckled down to the work and tried to ignore them, even with my tail tucking around the chair and getting paint on my shirt. There was something oddly satisfying about the slimy paint under my paws and splashing in the paint trays. Before I knew it I'd painted the dimetrodon in green and was trying to mix in a little brown to shade the edges when I felt a little tingle between my legs. The trickle of warm had barely registered at all until it reached my rump, but by then it was too late. Of course the human wasn't going to notice, but a quick look around showed that both of the nearby wolves were busy in their own project. Andy was doing laser etching on a sheet of metal while the white wolf was solidifying a gel sculpture with two opposing lasers.  
    "F,,,,..." Maldorik cursed and sucked on his finger.
"Maldorik, I don't care how you're used to doing it  you cut AWAY from yourself when whittling in this classroom. Understood?"
    "ywes mwam" he said through his finger. John Mimed sucking his thumb until Madorick punched him on the shoulder. At which point he mimed Bawling. The teacher rolled her eyes and glued Mals cut shut.
    I shared a laugh with Brock who by this point was almost as muddy as I was covered in paint, but he had a perfectly serviceable vase in front of him.
    "Sheesh, are you good at EVERYTHING?" I asked
    He laughed. "Nah, Ex wife number... 2... three? Wow those memories are jumbled up. Thought it would be good couples therapy."
    "Did it work?"
    The Crashballer lost himself in thought and almost lost the vase "Would depend on if it was wife two or wife three... " he chuckled. "Wow, thinking about women now is really weird. It's like I KNOW what you do with them it just feels weir erm.." he stopped suddenly and focused back on his project, but the top got wobbly. My own sauropod acquired a fin as my paw went way outside of the lines. I added some black lines to make it look like it had always been there and didn't do a TERRIBLE job of it. Bad maybe, but not terrible.
    "Yes excellent!" the teacher peeked over my shoulder. "Good improvisation Ronan. Brock, go ahead and call that one done and start the next one. My art teacher told me an old trick. He'd give an A to anyone that made 50 pots. Or he would grade one pot. People that spent 2 weeks trying to make the perfect pot usually failed. Those that made 50 pots usually made at least one or two perfect ones...I was stubborn and got a B" she pointed above the chalkboard to a beautiful butterfly pot with an antenna for a spout
    "That definitely looks like an A... I think he was mad you were being stubborn"
    The teacher laughed and ruffled my headfur. "I'll trust your expertise on the matter of stubborn" She wet down a rag and proceeded to rub some of the paint out. Or smear it around, it was kind of hard to tell.
    "Andy?" she asked the black wolf, who by now and a slightly scorched snout and the scent of burning metal "How'd you like a head start on the lunch line?  
    "I'm good thanks..." and picked a wire brush and went to work.
    "Fang?" The white wolf in question looked up. His opposing lasers met and his sculpture melted into a puddle. He sighed and flattened his ears. "Well it doesn't look MUCH worse like that" He gave his paws a quick wash grabbed his bag and tossed the gel in the trash. "Come on"
    His big loping strides took him down the hall. I had to run on all fours to keep up, and he actually turned around and didn't see me for a second before looking down.
    "Oh, there you are. Sorry. Not used to slowing down for ...non wolves.
    I heyed! "I bet I'm faster than you."
    "in your dreams shortfluff..HEY"
    He objected as I took off like a shot, jumping down the steps in a single bound and rolling up to a run. I heard a loud THUMP behind me as he staggered on the landing followed by him catching up as we ran past the library. We hit the door to the cafeteria first though , or at least my head did with a loud heavy thump followed quickly by much louder crash that almost took the door off its hinges.  
    "Not bad for a fox..." he said into his own tail.
    The door opened and a skinny human in an apron looked down. He tossed me a small sweet biscuit with a bit of jerky inside and shut the door.
"hey why s.he get one?"
"She won the race obviously. I don't think that was them on that second thump."

We both laughed and sat up against the door. He put his fist out and I fist bumped it back , despite my little glove paw barely being the size of his fingers.
"This is weird. Almost 80 years since I was in.. what are we in really? Second grade? And the old habits come right back. Sometimes it's like I only left for a summer vacation..." the big wolf sighed
"Well, I only got to college before....and this isn't that different"
He laughed. "I know college students would like to think so. And being a grown u..adult isn't much better. Either you're working and you have school like projects or you're just lazing around in a life long summer vacation. Either way, don't worry about how you got here and try to enjoy it okay? Live in the moment.
I snorted. "Easy for you to say, " I hmmed. You chose to go back right?"
"Yeah well.. beats the alternative doesn't it? I'm not one of those One Way Nutters " the wolf dusted himself off with an equally dusty tail. " Though I gotta say I regret putting it off so long. Those last few years were hell on the hips, meds or no. You don't know how much fun running around like that is till you can't do it" he ruffled my headfur, his paw taking up most of my head with room to spare. " This is a blast. even if we do have class." He started giggling incongruously into his paw at that.
"Some poet YOU are.
"Hey, Andy's the poet, I just work in publishing. Worked... I guess. Somehow I don't think my positions around anymore.
"Wait so you two DO know each other.
"That's speciest..." he put his hand over his heart and drooped his ears to look overly offended.  "Well yeah he's my roomate so i know him NOW. But I THINK I did some line editing on one of his poems. AI edited poems always sound off so it's the one field where"
I mimed falling asleep on him and mock snored loudly. He gave my shoulder an overly gentle punch as a gaggle of girls marched down the hall single file behind a VERY tall human woman. She gave him a disapproving glare and a tap of her foot, and he did his best friendly dog face, brushed a bit of his fur off of my shoulder and helped me up.  The Girls were peering around their teacher , awwwing and waving at... me?
"it's soooocute
"I wantone
"is that a boy or a girl"
"her fur looks so soft
"can I pet her
"awwww
"he's adorable..."

When everyone around you was a boy it was easy to forget that not everyone was so that you weren't... at least not in one respect. I fidgeted a bit thinking about the differences while hiding behind his big bushy tail.The squirming and hiding, which I couldn't stop, only seemed to make me look more adorable if the rising pitch of the awwws was any indication. Even the big sow bear in the back threatened to pass the normal range of human hearing.
"Where were you when I was dating? You're like a chick magnet. What are you doing in twenty years?"
"Soups on" I pretty much fell through door as it opened.
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