Chapter 1: Archbridge High
A/N: This is another one of my early works. I wrote it alongside Pet. My writing wasn't the best and I hope you'll check out my newer works: Companion and Whole 🖤
Kim shivered in the wet grass and eyed the large building before him. The old church had been renovated and was now an institution for orphaned shifters who couldn't, or wouldn't, fit into society. Some were enrolled by force, others from sheer desperation. Kim was in the latter category.
He tucked his tail tighter around his stomach, flinching at the resulting pain, and rubbed his paws over his face to clear the water from his eyes.
He didn't want to enter those tall, ominous gates. As a squirrel he was at the bottom of the food chain. Prey. A building full of aggressive and unstable shifters was one of the last places he wanted to be.
But what waited for him at home was worse. His mother was an addict and her boyfriend was an abusive dealer.
To make matters worse his new stepdad hated shifters - and when the man had snuck into Kim's room the previous night, and touched him, the fear had triggered the boy's first shift.
The resulting chaos had nearly killed him and the base of his tail still ached from the reminder of a hard grip.
Kim heard a smattering of laughter, followed by the sound of running steps and ducked back into the bushes.
His heart pounded when he spotted two teenagers kicking a ball around the wet field - fluid movements a sure sign of their shifter heritage.
A dark haired boy, with a long braid, shoved his shoulder violently into a larger boy and seized the ball, whooping in triumph.
The tall boy had a thick head of shaggy blonde hair and he released a rumbling grow, that had the squirrel's limbs twitching.
Kim decided to keep moving. This wasn't safe.
Suddenly the blonde pounced, muscles rippling, as he reached for his opponent.
The brunette snarled and kicked the ball hard, aiming it straight for the squirrel's hiding place.
Kim released a squeak of terror and tore through the shrubs, as the ball crashed into the branches above him.
Feline snarls approached fast and a hand caught his injured tail. He squealed in pain.
"What's this?" A second hand wrapped around his middle and Kim was lifted into the air. The world spun sickeningly, but he managed to focus on a pair of bright green eyes.
"Aw, look Mikkel, this little guy is barely hanging in there! Isn't he the cutest?" The green eyed boy laughed, showing large canines.
Kim heard a muffled grumble from the blonde boy and shivered pathetically.
"What's your name, red?" Kim's chitter was cut off by a hard shake. "Can't you talk in your animal form? Or are you just rude to friendly strangers?" Those sharp fangs flashed again and the boy laughed at Kim's tremble.
"Silas!" A young voice barked and the green eyed boy, Silas presumably, groaned.
"Ugh! Does he have eyes everywhere?" Silas looked back at his large, silent companion who shrugged.
"Silas! Mikkel! Get out here now!" The voice barked and both boys set through the bushes - Kim dangling absently from a fist, like a rag doll.
The blonde swept the branches aside and revealed a slender boy on the grassy lawn. His skin was bone white, with the slightest flush of anger in his cheeks and silver hair fell in waves to his shoulders. His large grey eyes were fixed icily on the taller boys who visibly hunched beneath the weight of his stare.
"You were supposed to clean the lunch halls an hour ago. Get to Katherine's office now!" The stranger snapped.
The tanned boy scowled and his fingers tightened around Kim's belly, making him squeak.
"Robert was doing it! We switched chores." Silas protested.
The silver haired boy wasn't listening, those steely eyes were now fixed on Kim and he held out one elegant white hand.
"You're hurting that squirrel. Give him to me!" The stranger demanded.
Both Silas and Mikkel snarled. The nails digging into Kim began lengthening and he squealed in alarm, small paws scrabbling uselessly.
"We don't answer to you, Chilla!" Mikkel finally spoke, voice gravelly with an inhuman growl.
Through panicked and blearing eyes Kim saw the silver boy bare his teeth to reveal long incisors.
"Stand down!" Chilla ordered, stormy eyes flashing. "Or I'll have you assigned to community service for the next month!"
The boys reluctantly calmed. Kim could feel Silas' fragile grip on sanity as his hand tightened and his claws slowly retracted.
The dark haired boy abruptly flicked his wrist and Kim was suddenly airborn. He heard Chilla shout as he tumbled through the air. Hands caught him and he was cradled in a gentle embrace.
"That's three weeks of community service for abusing a shifter." Chilla spoke coldly above him.
Kim heard Mikkel and Silas roar out their protests, but couldn't catch the words. His eyes had closed and his ears were ringing.
A gentle hand stroking down his back was the last thing he knew.
Bright lights woke him and Kim squinted behind closed lids. His body felt sore but warm. The sheets against his skin felt crisp and clean and the surrounding scents were sterile.
"Are you awake?" The female voice, gentle though it was, had his heart galloping and his eyes flew open.
The woman watching him had a plump face lined lightly with age. Her greying hair was pulled back in a bun and she wore a white lab coat.
"How are you, dear?" She smiled, revealing slight buck teeth and Kim's heart immediately slowed. This was no predator.
"I'm better." He tried to say but all that escaped was a few squeaks. He looked down and saw his red furred limbs and plush tail - now with a bandage around the base.
"I'm Milly. Head physician at Archbridge High. You've sprained your tail and there's some nasty bruising around your ribs. No broken bones, thankfully. I have a sling for you." She showed him a length of cloth. "Can you shift?"
Kim lowered his head in shame. He didn't know how.
"That's fine, sweetheart. I have another option." She turned, placing the fabric back into a glass cabinet and returned with a padded band of elastic.
"I'm going to show you how to put this on. I'll have to touch you, dear. Is that alright?" Her brown eyes were warm and patient.
Kim slowly nodded but his heart still quickened when her hands moved towards him. They were small, even for a woman, but so much bigger than his current shape.
He squeaked softly with stress when she gently fit the band around his tail and slipped it over his small shoulder.
"Oh, I know." The woman tutted in sympathy. "It's going to be a little uncomfortable for a while, but your tail will be good as new in a couple of weeks." She straightened and smiled at him.
"I'm going to fetch one of our teachers now - to help you get you settled." She turned to leave and Kim chirped out an involuntary breath. The woman glanced back from the open doorway. "Don't worry. I won't be long."
The door shut and Kim was alone in the large, white space. Light flooded in from glass windows and a few stood open to let in a gentle breeze. It would probably have a calming effect on most patients, but Kim felt exposed. His fur was bright red and he imagined himself as a target sign.
The door opened and he hunched down instinctively, huddling into the white sheets. At first he felt silly, it was probably just the nice physician, but the steps approaching him were lighter, and faster, than Milly's had been.
He squeaked with stress, cursing himself for the involuntary sound. The steps immediately slowed and then stopped before him.
"Hello?" The voice was soft and Kim recognized it as Chilla's. "I won't hurt you. I've come to see how you are."
Kim took a few calming breaths and slowly ducked out from beneath the covers. Chilla's long lashed eyes were dove soft, so different from the icy exterior he'd shown the two predators earlier.
"How's your tail? Dr. Fowler told me you sprained it." One elegant hand hovered above Kim's shoulder and the squirrel trembled.
Despite his sharp fangs earlier the boy didn't feel like a predator, but he was male and Kim still felt the ghost of his stepdad's hard hands on his skin.
Chilla hesitated and then smiled gently, revealing two adorable dimples in each of his smooth cheeks.
"You're safe from me." Chilla spoke softly. A gust of air from the windows tousled the silver waves lightly around his shoulders and Kim caught a cool and earthy scent with the faintest hint of strawberries.
His trembling eased and long fingers touched his back. Chilla's touch was feather light as he stroked down the squirrel's spine and Kim's tension drained away completely.
He squeaked softly, this time from contentment and leaned into the touch. The boy sat carefully on the edge of the bed.
"Can you shift yet?" Chilla asked quietly and Kim flinched. Those soft eyes blinked in understanding.
"That's okay. A lot of new shifters take a while to learn. We have some great teachers here." A fingertip stroked over Kim's head and he raised his chin.
He knew it wasn't a normal reaction for him to enjoy being petted this way by another boy. But he was a squirrel now. His senses were heightened to an extreme degree, making a whisper of sound seem like a gunshot.
But Chilla's touch was gentle and warm. His smell was calming and Kim's exhausted body was able to relax for the first time in months.
The door opened and Milly breezed in, followed by a large man that smelled like predator.
Kim's tail twitched with anxiety, causing him to squeak with pain and he ducked behind Chilla's thigh.
"There now, sweetheart." Milly spoke gently. "This here's Mr. Faisal, our headmaster. He wants to ask you a few questions."
A deep but friendly voice spoke.
"I want to welcome you to our academy. You are safe with me, I assure you."
Chilla's hand settled warmly behind his back and he looked up into those silver lashed eyes. The boy winked and gave him a slight nudge forward. Kim obeyed the pressure and peeked up at the massive shifter.
The man was perhaps in his late thirties, with dark skin and ruggedly handsome features. The squirrel shook and Faisal's mouth quirked in understanding. Without a word the headmaster turned and pulled up a chair to sit in. Kim immediately felt more at ease without the predator looming over him.
"Charles informed us of your unfortunate run-in with two of our students." Faisal spoke more crisply. "They've been assigned to three weeks community service and their chores have been extended." He smiled wryly at Kim, shaking his head.
"Some of the younger predators have poor impulse control but we keep them under strict surveillance. That is also why we assign all new..." the man hesitated for a brief second, "less aggressive shifters with a guardian. Since you've already been introduced, I thought Charles might be a good fit. He's also headboy of his year. You certainly seem to be getting along." The man looked back and forth between them expectantly.
Kim blinked up at Chilla in confusion. His name was Charles? Then again Mikkel had spoken the name in a derogatory tone. Perhaps it had a negative connotation, but Kim felt it fit.
Charles inclined his head. "I agree to this." The teenager said seriously. He looked down at Kim. "Do you accept my guardianship?"
Kim felt the warm fingers against his back and a rush of relief poured through him. He wouldn't be alone and defenceless in this place. This strong and beautiful boy was offering his protection and Kim's heart swelled with gratitude.
He nodded eagerly and Chilla's serious eyes warmed to a sky grey. Kim somehow couldn't think of him as Charles. Faisal chuckled, drawing their attention back to him.
"You'll be sharing a dorm room and schedules, until we measure your level of education and then we might reassign your classes to fit you better. Until you've healed it's best that you stay on the top level of the dorms." The headmaster smiled to soften his words. "It's for your own safety. Once you've shifted we can fill out your application forms and hear what you have to say. Charles, I'll leave him in your capable hands."
"Yes, sir." Chilla nodded respectfully and Mr. Faisal nodded and turned to Milly. "Dr. Fowler, good day to you." The large man bent and kissed Milly fondly on the cheek.
Kim was a little surprised by the familiarity between the staff but the gesture didn't seem romantic - more like a greeting between mother and son.
The headmaster exited the room and Milly packed a bag of painkillers and fresh bandages.
"You'll have to assist him with these, Charles. Change them every few days and keep them dry. Remember his sling."
Chilla seemed withdrawn as he accepted the package.
"I'll be sure to bring him for regular checkups dr. Fowler." He told Milly and the older woman smiled.
"Very good, Charles. He couldn't have a better guardian." She turned to Kim and smiled warmly.
"I'll be seeing you soon, dear. Be sure to keep that tail resting now." She stroked over the squirrel's little head and Kim fought not to flinch.
Chilla carefully lifted him off the bed and Kim settled into the curve of his arm as if it was the most natural thing in the world. They stepped out the door, into a long hall and Kim's heart rate increased.
Students greeted Chilla and stared curiously at Kim. A few gasped outright and approached them eagerly to ask questions. The headboy evaded them all, cool persona firmly in place, but the hand on Kim's back was warm.
The impressions and predator smells were overwhelming and the squirrel turned into Chilla's arm, burying his face in the soft fabric of his shirt. He felt the boy's thumb slide soothingly over his spine, before the touch abruptly stilled.
"Chillaaa, where've you been princeling?" A cheerful voice shouted and Chilla's body jolted from impact.
A tanned, muscled arm rested casually across Chilla's shoulders. Kim squeaked and looked up into dark blue eyes in a sharply handsome face. Full lips parted, revealing sharp fangs and Kim smelled blood and humid forests. He chittered, heart pounding out of control.
"Watch it, Jonathan!" Another boy laughed along with a group of friends nearby.
"Who's your friend, baby?" Jonathan growled into Chilla's ear, watching Kim with rapt interest.
Chilla snarled, pink mouth flattening and white cheeks flushing. He cradled Kim with one hand and moved fast - ducking and swinging his elbow into the larger shifter's throat.
The curly haired teen crashed to the floor and rolled into a liquid crouch. He held his throat and coughed, blue eyes flashing with hurt.
Chilla's large eyes were slitted, cold depths cutting like steel.
"Don't call me that!" He snarled, then turned and strode down the hall, silver hair glinting in the intermittent light from the windows.
Kim glanced back as they turned a corner and was speared by a furious blue stare. He squeaked and scrabbled against Chilla's shirt.
"There, there." Chilla murmured, lips barely moving as a few more students passed them and his thumb resumed stroking down the squirrels back.
They moved up several flights of stairs and finally made it to a floor full of blue doors. Chilla moved to one that had a silver mountain emblazoned on the front and opened it with a key.
Chapter 2: Trust
Chilla shut the door and sighed out a breath. Kim sighed too, breath peeping out and the headboy smiled down at him.
"The halls can get rowdy, but you get used to it." Chilla assured and stepped into his room.
It was nothing like Kim's shabby quarters back home, where every surface was covered in piles of laundry and filthy dishes. Kim had attempted to clean a few times, only to find the place trashed when he returned home from school.
But Chilla's space was pristine and cool toned, like the boy himself. A tapestry of a snowy mountain hung above a pale oak bed with dark blue sheets. In the light of a large window stood a black desk and shelves, stacked neatly with school supplies. A cove was fashioned into the wall, curving into a dome shape, and shielded by grey curtains.
A boy with long white hair peeked out of the curtains. He was nearly as pale as Chilla, save for the flush of red on both cheeks, as if he'd arrived straight from the cold. His full mouth was a deep red and his eyes were a startling pink with blood red pupils.
The boy spotted Kim and his timid smile froze.
"Yas, this is my new roommate." Chilla said gently and knelt before the albino. Yas stared at Kim with wide red eyes, shoulders hunched beneath his bulky white sweater.
Kim stared right back, clutching the headboy's shirt. Yas' scent shared a touch of Chilla's cool earthiness, but there was something else as well. A mustiness that had his tail twitching painfully and an involuntary chitter escaped.
"He's injured." Chilla continued, still speaking in that soothing tone. "And stressed. I'm going to fetch us some lunch and I need you to watch him a moment."
Yas' red eyes flickered with something like panic.
"You know what he's going through." Chilla said, low voice gaining a firm edge that had Yas swallowing and nodding his head jerkily.
The silver boy smiled and made to pass Kim into the albino's hands. The squirrel squeaked out a protest and scrabbled against his shirt. Chilla frowned down at him, eyes darkening.
"Don't be rude. Yas is a good person." He said and pressed Kim into those pale fingers.
Yas' grip was hesitant and the squirrel easily wriggled free and dove into the cove. A string of lights softly illuminated the space and a wealth of soft pillows and blankets covered every surface. Kim dived beneath the blankets and curled up as small as his injured tail allowed.
"I don't think I can..." A hoarse voice started.
"You'll do fine." Chilla interrupted.
There was a whisper of cloth followed by the unmistakable sound of lips parting. The meaning behind this dimly registered, but with a predator's scent so close Kim's mind easily dismissed it. Light steps moved across the floor and the door closed.
The blankets shifted and Kim shuddered, heart racing.
"...Please come out." Yas croaked.
Kim twitched with nerves but remained in the superficial safety of the blanket. The white haired boy took a shaky breath and spoke again.
"I...I hurt my tail once too. I was attacked. I don't like violence...I don't..." Yas paused and swallowed loudly.
"I don't have many friends..." He finished quietly.
The squirrel opened his eyes and stared blankly at the fabric. Yas' hoarse voice carried a well of vulnerability and his tentative offering cut through Kim's defenses like razors. He hadn't had many friends either. It was hard to open up to people when you were ashamed of your life.
The blankets moved again and the floor creaked as weight pressed onto it.
Kim braced himself, brutally forced down his instincts, and poked his head out. He squeaked softly.
Yas turned from the opening, red eyes wide with surprise.
The two shifters stared at each and the albino wet his lips nervously.
"Can I sit?" Yas whispered.
Kim felt his ears twitch with shame and he nodded quickly. This wasn't his territory and he was inadvertently driving Yas from his hiding place.
Yas moved back inside and carefully settled his thin limbs into the corner, tucking a blanket up to his chin. He wet his lips again and glanced uneasily at Kim.
"I-I've been here for a year now. It's a good school." He mumbled.
Kim watched him, still lying tense beneath the blankets. Yas tucked his chin down and his frothy hair tumbled forward, like two curtains shielding his face. The squirrel understood. Hiding was comfortable and the cove was perfect for it; cozy and soft with no bright lights to showcase his fur.
Yas wasn't prey. Not exactly, but he seemed almost cripplingly shy and Chilla said he was a good person.
Kim cautiously chittered a greeting.
Pink eyes peered at him through long white lashes and Yas licked his red lips.
"Do..do you want to sit here?" The shifter whispered and briefly tapped the blanket beside him.
The squirrel hunched further into the blankets. That was simply asking too much.
Yas looked down, hair sliding forward once more, and clutched the blanket tighter.
Fear battled with guilt and Kim twitched in agitation.
The door opened and the squirrel started. He was going to have a heart attack at this rate.
Chilla's light steps neared and the headboy climbed inside the den. He placed a bowl of nuts, fruits and berries before him and smiled at Kim.
"Are you hungry?" He presented a strawberry between his slim fingers.
Kim's stomach growled urgently and his mouth watered. He hesitantly moved out from the blankets and stretched to reach the berry.
The headboy pulled away at the last moment and placed the fruit in Yas' startled hands.
Kim chittered with stress and scuttled towards the bowl. The silver boy frowned and pushed it away.
"No." Chilla said sternly. "If you're going to share my room you need to get along with all of us."
The squirrel stared wide-eyed and Yas lifted the fruit towards the bowl.
"Maybe this is a little soon..." He mumbled and Chilla caught the albino's hand, silencing him with one hard look.
Chilla pulled Yas forward and held the berry before Kim.
The squirrel's stomach clenched with hunger and he took a fortifying breath before darting forward. He snatched the fruit from those pale fingertips and returned to his blanket, biting into it with gusto.
It was fragrant and juicy, without a trace of pesticides to sour the flavor. He finished it far too soon and licked his paws before looking up eagerly.
The albino held a shelled hazelnut between his fingers. It was still green, as if just plucked from the tree. Kim surged forward and Chilla moved lightning fast, snatching up the squirrel and pressing him into Yas' arms.
Those white fingers trembled around him and Kim squealed and writhed - causing shards of agony to pierce through his tail.
"Hold him properly! He's hurting!" Chilla ordered.
Yas' hands firmed and pressed Kim against a plush sweater.
Kim was incoherent with fear and his heart thundered.
Yas began humming softly. The tune was slightly off-key and fragile with uncertainty, but after a long moment his voice strengthened, becoming steadier and deeper.
Gentle fingertips eased over the squirrel's spine and the nuts enticing scent neared. Kim's nose twitched and the shell pressed against his mouth.
His stomach growled insistently and he gripped it with both paws, rotating the shell as he bit mechanically. The hard surface fell away and the flesh was fresh and sweet, heavenly compared to the dried brown hazelnuts from the supermarket.
A piece of carrot was presented to him next and he gulped it down. Before long his stomach bulged and he sagged in those immovable hands.
That disturbing, musky scent was everywhere, but it was an innate fact that food represented safety and Kim's exhausted eyes drifted shut. He faintly heard Chilla whisper.
"See? You did fine."
"...Thanks." Yas husked.
Kim dreamt he was a child again, sleeping in his mother's arms. It hadn't happened often and she usually stank of booze and cigarettes. But in those rare moments Kim had felt wanted and safe.
When his father left, her affection dwindled entirely. Then the lunches stopped and the clean clothes. Men started coming and going.
The dream took a dark turn and he opened his eyes with a squeak. He was tucked beneath a smooth chin and icy white locks brushed over his fur.
Yas' unnerving scent clouded his senses, but something strange had happened during the night. His heart wasn't racing.
The albino's breathing changed and Kim knew he was awake. He stretched his front paws and settled deeper into the curve of Yas' neck.
The door opened and closed, but the body against him didn't tense. So neither did Kim.
"Yas?" A bright voice called and the curtains to the cove parted in a ray of sunshine. A cherubic face with honey blonde curls ducked inside.
"Honey, it's almost noon." The boy stilled when he noticed Kim and his large brown eyes widened.
"Oh." The boy said, voice softening and knelt down until he was level with the squirrel. The scents of fresh grass and sun warmed fur filled the small space.
"Hi, sweetie. You're just like a little puff aren't you?" The boy's heart shaped mouth curved, revealing two slightly pronounced front teeth, and his tanned fingers reached out to stroke softly down Kim's spine.
The squirrel only tensed slightly. Yas' pulse against him was steady and the blonde had a gentle feel to him. In fact, he seemed familiar.
The boy snuggled in beside them and curled his arms around the albino.
"Who cares if it's noon." He whispered and kissed Yas' jaw. The white haired boy stiffened.
"And sunny." The blonde kissed Yas' slim neck, lips inches from Kim's tail.
"And warm." He stretched above Kim and pressed that heart shaped mouth to Yas' red lips.
"Cassius..." Yas whispered and drew back slightly. "He's new." Two burning spots of red had gathered in the albino's cheeks.
Cassius smiled down at Kim and stroked his head.
"So? He's a sweetheart. Otherwise he wouldn't be here with you." The blonde reasoned, smoothing the white strands away from Yas' face and pressing into him.
"Not now." Yas mumbled, even as his red mouth parted against Cass' demanding lips.
"Mmm." Cassius hummed and his hips started grinding against the albino.
Kim squeaked. His animal form didn't find this behavior abnormal, but he wasn't in heat and the sight only brought discomfort. He pressed into the blankets and carefully moved out between them.
"Ah!" Yas drew back and his pink eyes focused blearily on Kim. "Y-you said it was sunny? Let's go."
Cassius' hips eased somewhat and he blinked wide eyed at Yas.
"Really? You'll go? A bunch of us are heading to the lake." He grinned happily and mouthed down Yas' neck. "But it can wait."
Kim pushed out the entrance and squeaked against the flood of light. His fur lit up like a fire hydrant and he crouched uncertainly by the opening.
The door opened and Chilla stepped into the room wearing a lavender t-shirt and black sweatpants. He blinked at Kim in surprise before the hisses and moans registered.
"Cassius!" The headboy barked and stormed forward.
Kim chittered in alarm and hurriedly ducked back into the cove, followed closely by Chilla.
The blonde looked up, curls disheveled and mouth swollen. Chilla shot him an icy look.
"Control yourself! You're unforgivably rude." Chilla snapped.
Cassius flushed and hastily lifted off the albino. Yas looked dazed, white hands curled on either side of him and red hickeys blooming on his pale skin.
"I leave for twenty minutes and you're going at it! He's injured!" Chilla gestured to the squirrel huddled in the corner.
Cassius cringed and shot Kim an apologetic look.
"I'm sorry." The blonde mumbled. "I can't help it. I'm horny all the..."
"Stop!" Chilla pressed his fingers briefly between his eyes and took a breath. "He needs to master transformation. That's your area, Cass. You can help him today."
Cassius bit his lip.
"Actually, I was thinking of heading to the..." He trailed off at Chilla's hard stare and turned towards Kim.
"Come on, sweetheart! We're hanging out today." Cassius smiled warmly and lifted Kim gently against his chest.
"No guests or loud noises. Bring him back around four." Chilla ordered.
Cassius hastily nodded and leaned in to press a swift kiss against Chilla's pink mouth.
"See you!" Cassius stepped out, with Kim tucked against his arm, and briskly exited the room. Just before the door closed Kim heard Chilla mutter.
Chapter 3: Shift
Cassius stepped down the corridor with a light bounce in his step. He didn't seem affected by the headboy's scolding or the abrupt change to his plans - simply humming a pleasant tune and absently petting the squirrel's back. They passed several blue doors before the blonde opened one with a gold burrow on the front.
"This is me." He told Kim and aimed straight for an enormous wooden bunk-bed with moss-green curtains.
Cassius moved at a dizzying speed and Kim struggled to take in his surroundings. There was a photo collage covering an entire wall, several potted plants, a treadmill, a mini fridge and another cove carved into the corner.
The blonde jumped lightly up the ladder to the second bunk and pushed past the curtains. The elevated height, combined with the darkness, immediately set Kim at ease.
Cassius grinned at him.
"I thought you might enjoy that." He stretched out on the bed and folded his arm around the squirrel, arranging him until their faces were level.
"Ok. Transformation." Cassius said promptly and ran his slender fingers down Kim's spine. "Your body already knows how. Your mind just needs to be told. Close your eyes."
The squirrel twitched with sudden unease. His eyes were vital; placed high on his head to allow focal and peripheral vision without turning. Closing them felt extremely vulnerable. Cassius watched him closely and grinned.
The boy's pert nose suddenly flattened and his arms seemed to push into his body. Kim squealed in horror and clawed at the curtain behind him, but it was sealed in place. Heart galloping he turned for the opposite side and froze at the sight of a blonde rabbit with long, drooping ears.
"Sorry, honey. I should have warned you." Cassius' voice spoke from somewhere inside his head and Kim nearly jumped out of his skin.
He panted as the rabbit slowly moved closer and pressed its plush side against him. Cassius' fur was unbelievably soft and warmth radiated from his skin.
The rabbit turned to blink at him with those gentle eyes, pressed its head against the squirrel's neck and produced a soft purr - a sound that was somewhere between a light clicking of teeth and the whir of a fan.
Gradually Kim's tight muscles eased and he pressed into that silky warmth. Cassius gently licked the squirrel's fur, still rumbling with that soothing purr.
Kim buried his nose in the blonde pelt, inhaling the sweet scents of grass and clean fur. He barely noticed his throat respond with a sound of its own.
A soft chuckle sounded in his mind.
"I didn't know squirrels could purr. That's a lovely sound."
Kim didn't know he could purr either and he wasn't sure about it being a lovely sound, but it felt good.
Cassius moved closer, folding around the squirrel until Kim was almost completely hidden in satiny fur. It was wonderful and the squirrel's eyes slid closed without thought.
"Do you want to talk to me, honey?" Cassius asked softly.
Kim stopped purring and chittered quietly. Cassius laughed warmly.
"Try speaking to me this way. Send me a thought."
The squirrel found himself smoothing his cheek against the rabbit's side, scent-marking, and thought hard about mangoes. It was lunchtime and he hadn't had breakfast.
"Try voicing the word in your mind. Spell it out and then push it towards me." Cassius explained patiently.
Kim rubbed his brow to ease an oncoming headache. Mango. Mangoes. M-A-N-G-O. MANGO.
The squirrel chittered in excitement and nodded his head eagerly.
"Good job! You're a little muffled but it's almost there. You should feel a slight buzz in your head. An energy."
It was in his skull and it was starting to pound. Kim squeaked in frustration. Cassius licked his fur again, purr thrumming steadily.
"You're doing so good, sweetheart. Relax and send me a word."
Grapes. Grapes. The buzzing increased to a roar and Kim chittered in distress, lifting to stare into one warm brown eye. A strange crackle touched the back of his head and he pressed into it. Something slid into place, like a muscle unlocking, providing immediate relief.
The rabbit jumped against him and a delighted laugh sounded.
"There you are! Hi sweetie, what's your name?"
"Hello. It's Kim." Kim tucked his head back into the plush fur. The depth of the connection was suddenly incredibly intimate and he felt exposed.
"Don't you just have the cutest voice." Cassius rubbed his chin against Kim's head and back, leaving a strong scent. "Mangoes and grapes. I have a salad in the fridge, but there's a greenhouse downstairs."
Kim chittered at that and lifted his head eagerly. Cassius pressed their brows softly together, whiskers tickling.
"That buzzing in your mind. You should find it in your stomach too. Like a popping or a fizz."
Kim turned his attention inwards. He definitely felt something, but it might just be his stomach growling.
"I think I feel it." He said anyway.
"Good job. Now picture yourself, honey. What does that boy look like? Your face. Your legs. Your skin." Cassius guided gently.
Kim thought hard. What did he look like?
He had his mother's pale skin with freckles running over his face, arms and chest. His hair was the same startling shade as his fur and just as unruly. He needed a haircut. His eyes were green with deep purple shadows underneath from too many sleepless nights.
He was scrawny and short with a too thin face. His mouth was the only soft thing about him; swollen as though he was suffering an allergic reaction or a bee sting. It had led to relentless teasing in school.
Warmth was suddenly building inside him, rushing down his arms in a wave of pinpricks and surging up his neck to sting his cheeks.
"That's it. There you go, sweetheart." Cassius praised warmly.
The prickles travelled lower, bubbling into his legs and building in his crotch and ass. Kim gasped and resisted the surge of pleasure. Forcing it down. It stuttered and churned until the sensation seized entirely.
"Oh!" Merry laughter sounded and a gentle touch brushed over his cheek. "Of course."
Kim opened his eyes and stared into Cassius' dancing gaze once more. The boy seemed smaller now, more his own size. The blonde smiled and his long lashes lowered.
"Look at those." A thumb brushed down the centre of Kim's lip. He reached up and caught Cassius' slim wrist, startling at the sight of his own pale fingers.
"You did it, honey. Almost perfectly too." Kim looked up and Cassius was suddenly inches away.
This close Kim noticed a warm ring of mahogany around a rapidly expanding pupil. Cassius' tanned skin was perfectly clear and his glossy curls tumbled over his brow and high cheekbones.
His scent was everywhere. In the bed, on Kim and the touch of his voice still weighed like a warm pressure in his mind. It was overwhelming.
Cassius stared right back and his smile had a knowing tilt to it. He tugged gently against the hold on his wrist and Kim hurriedly released him.
Those tanned fingertips were instantly back on his lips, smoothing across the surface before pressing against the seam.
Kim opened in a daze and slender fingers slid inside, tasting warm and a little salty. The blonde's gaze fixed on Kim's mouth, watching lazily as his digits slid in and out. Pleasure returned in a tingling rush, pressing like an ache in Kim's groin.
Those beautiful eyes lifted, heavy lidded and with a steady burn in the dark depths.
Cassius pulled his fingers slowly from Kim's lips, traced the wetness across his cheek and cupped the redhead's face. The blonde then leaned in and pecked Kim's mouth once, twice - then laved his tongue across Kim's bottom lip before pressing their mouths firmly together.
Chapter 4: Senses
Kim felt lightheaded and completely overwhelmed. His cock filled and his hand shook lightly when he clutched Cassius' arm.
Cassius' warm tongue pressed into his mouth and he ran his hands down Kim's bare chest, fingers brushing over his nipples, before gripping him around the waist.
He tugged Kim closer until their bodies fit flush together, crotches pressing. Kim was so hard it throbbed and Cassius started grinding into him.
"Ah!" Kim pulled his head back, throat arching as he gulped in deep breaths of air.
Cassius lapped down his neck, breath hot and mouth sucking.
Kim panted and his hips pressed up eagerly. No. No. No.
"I'm..." He gasped out and Cassius circled his hips deliciously.
"I'm not..." Kim desperately tried again. I'm not gay.
Cassius lifted and stared down at him with hungry eyes - smelling like warm fur and aroused male.
"I'm not..." He repeated weakly.
He had never thought he liked men. Never felt the attraction. Then again he'd never actually felt a pull towards women either. He'd had urges, like any healthy teenager, but there'd never been a specific sex attached to it.
Cassius leaned down and caught Kim's mouth in a deep kiss - mercilessly pushing his tongue back inside as far as it could go and thrusting it steadily. A hand slipped between them and gripped Kim's cock; stroking firmly in synchronicity with his tongue.
Kim moaned and pushed urgently into that tight fist. Moisture slid down his length and produced slick sounds as Cassius jerked him, while intermittently rubbing the sensitive head with a fingertip.
The blonde abruptly released him and Kim gasped out a protest. Cassius sat up and pulled his pale blue t-shirt over his head, revealing hard brown nipples and tanned skin. He dropped his shirt and eyed Kim through long, dark lashes.
Kim's shaft quivered at the sight and he shuddered with a combination of yearning and fear.
"You're not?" Cassius asked quietly and arched a brow in clear disbelief.
Kim suddenly felt vulnerable and foolish - and his eyes made it so much worse by stinging with tears.
Cassius watched him silently for an agonizing moment longer, before his flushed pink lips curved in a smile and his face softened.
He tugged off his shorts and knelt between Kim's legs, gripping the smaller boy's knees and guiding them around his slender waist. Their cocks slid together and that calming rabbit scent flooded Kim's senses, easing the thump of his heart.
"Oh, honey." Cassius kissed him gently and ran his hands penitently over Kim's skin. Soft lips moved over his face, tasting tears until they pressed against his cheek.
"I'm your first?" Cassius whispered.
Kim sniffled and nodded tightly.
"Then hold onto me." Cassius breathed and moved his hips. Kim had never been this close to another person. Physically or mentally and his breath shuddered out at the immensity of it all.
Each movement had tingling fire shooting through his pelvis and hot skin and damp breaths only made it better. Cassius drew back and caught his mouth with a deep groan and Kim's hips spasmed.
It was all the encouragement the blonde needed and he was suddenly humping. Cocks rubbing with savage pleasure and a wave quickly built inside. The confusion and uncertainty faded.
Kim wrapped his arms tight around that golden neck and panted hard against Cassius' wet, open mouth. He came with a wail, tearing his mouth away and thrusting mindlessly as his cum slicked the blonde's stomach.
Cassius moaned loudly and spilled over Kim's softening shaft.
The blonde sagged against him, still grinding his hips and Kim was just far too sensitive.
Kim whimpered and strained away, but Cassius held him tight. The pressure was painful and he shook his head frantically.
"No, sweetie." Cassius breathed and ground ruthlessly, until the Kim's spent cock stirred.
"That's it." Cassius whispered. "That's it, sweetheart."
Kim's pained breaths changed to a moan and he hardened completely.
"There you go." Cassius' mouth fused to his neck. Teeth nipping, before laving the sting. "One more time."
Cassius brought Kim to the peak again and again.
Afterwards Kim lay spent and exhausted, arms wrapped around the blonde's waist and legs tangled together. Tanned fingers stroked softly down his side and Cassius' lips pressed to his brow.
A brief knock sounded and the door opened.
"Cass, we're going..." The voice stopped abruptly and Kim dimly remembered the curtain was open. He felt Cassius lift his chin.
"I'll try to make it tomorrow, Oli." He said softly.
"...uh...yeah." The boy stumbled and hurriedly shut the door.
Kim was too weary to feel embarrassed, let alone open his eyes. Cassius kissed his brow and settled firmer against him with a contented sound.
Some time later the blonde retrieved a damp cloth and tenderly wiped Kim's skin before leaving to fetch lunch. He returned with his arms full, but Kim only managed to down half a mango smoothie before he curled back into the green duvet.
Cassius drew the curtains to provide Kim some soothing darkness and put the food in the fridge. Kim was nearly asleep when a second knock sounded and the door opened.
"It's past four." Chilla said in mild reprove. "How's he doing?"
"Very good! A little tired." Cassius answered brightly. "He achieved partial transformation."
"Can he speak?" Chilla asked.
"Yes, he's a natural." Cassius announced proudly.
"Then let's go to your aunt's clinic in a few hours, when he's rested." Chilla sounded pleased.
"Maybe not today." Cassius said in the same cheerful tones.
"Why not?" Chilla demanded sharply.
There was a brief moment of silence and light footsteps quickly approached the bed. The curtains were ripped aside and Kim flinched at the glare of light on his closed lids.
"Cassius!" Chilla barked.
Kim woke to a light touch on his cheek and squinted into the dim light. Pink eyes smiled at him tentatively.
"Hungry?" Yas whispered.
Kim licked his parched lips and nodded slowly.
Yas carefully placed a tray on the mattress, bearing a bowl of steaming soup, a plate of toast and a glass of water. He then moved back and watched Kim uncertainly.
Kim's stomach growled as he struggled onto his side and twinges of pain shot through his tail. He blinked in confusion and twisted blearily. A large, puffy squirrel tail was still attached to the base of his spine.
Thinking back Kim realized Cassius had never actually pushed him to his back, but his tail had still suffered because the pain was getting worse. He groaned and his arms trembled against the mattress.
A pale arm slid around his waist and Yas climbed in beside him. With assistance Kim managed to drink the water and finish the entire bowl. It was a creamy cauliflower soup, spiced lightly with nutmeg, and the toast was crisp and warm with salty butter.
Afterwards the albino pushed the tray to the edge of the bed but stayed beside Kim.
"Don't know why I'm so tired." Kim muttered against the softness of Yas' black hoodie.
The albino's arm was firm around him and a smooth cheek rested against his hair. In the face of Kim's helplessness Yas' nerves seemed to have disappeared entirely.
"It's normal," Yas husked, "your muscles will be sore and your senses are heightened. Cassius shouldn't have pressed you so soon." There was a faint admonishment in his hoarse voice.
Kim's breathing had deepened and Yas' cool skin and comfy clothes felt so good, but his brows furrowed at that.
"He didn't." Kim mumbled. "I mean he...I wanted it." He struggled to lift his head. He remembered Chilla's furious shout and knew it was important to clarify this.
Yas' chin tilted until his red eyes stared down at Kim. The redhead licked his stinging lips and forced his heavy eyes to stay open.
"I wanted it." He insisted quietly.
The albino watched him silently for a moment longer and then his chin slowly dipped until those blood-red lips pushed gently against Kim's mouth.
Yas' lips were full and velvety soft and the kiss felt soothing and comforting. Peace flowed through Kim's limbs and his eyes drifted shut.
Yas lifted and the redhead snuggled back into him. White fingers combed steadily through his hair and Kim slept - feeling completely safe for the first time in far too many years.
Chapter 5: Hope
Kim woke to shooting pains. The base of his tail was cramping and he hissed out a breath.
Yas' arms were tight around him; feeling like slim bars of steel and their legs were woven together.
Kim tentatively lifted his tail, hoping to ease the pain with a shift in position. Agony tore through him and a squirrel-like squeak burst from his mouth.
The albino shifted beneath him, arms tightening further.
"Kim?" Yas croaked.
"It hurts." Kim gasped and Yas' grip left him so fast the redhead yelped and toppled against the mattress.
"I'm sorry!" Yas rasped. "I didn't mean to..."
"My tail." Kim squeaked and carefully lowered the offending limb to the green sheets.
"...oh." Yas breathed and the mattress dipped as the albino hurried down the ladder. There was the sound of the fridge opening and a hurried riffling through a cupboard, before Yas climbed back up.
"Here." A cool palm slid beneath Kim's nape and lifted his head - fingertips pushed a couple of pills into his mouth and a cold bottle pressed against his lip.
Kim swallowed and tasted the remainder of the mango smoothie. He made a face and turned away. It was far too early for thick drinks.
The bottle followed and pressed insistently against his mouth.
"It works faster with something solid in your stomach." Yas explained quietly. Kim knew this from past experience, but the pain was clouding his judgement.
He forced down the rest of the smoothie and Yas folded back around him.
"Tell me when it's working." Yas whispered, cool breath drifting over Kim's cheek.
He nodded jerkily and shuffled back into the albino's arms. His nose settled against sharp collarbones and inhaled that strange, musky smell.
Kim folded his arms around Yas' waist, feeling the hoodie bunch between them and his hands touched cool skin.
Yas swallowed audibly and Kim could imagine him licking those red lips. The albino's thin limbs slowly twined back around him, muscles firming, until breathing became a little difficult.
But it felt so good to be held and Kim rubbed his cheek into that translucent skin, leaving a satisfying layer of scent.
A second cramp ripped into him and Kim breathed high and fast. Yas' lips whispered over his brow and cool fingers stroked his jaw lightly. He lifted his chin; encouraging more touches and plush lips pressed against his mouth.
Yas' kiss was gentle and slow. A stark contrast to the deceptively slender frame wrapped around him. Kim knew he couldn't move an inch, but the thought only soothed and Yas' red mouth moved so softly against him. So soft.
The albino's tongue whispered against his lower lip and Kim opened. Yas' kiss felt certain and experienced, but his touch was gentle and patient enough that it wasn't intimidating for Kim to carefully meet that cool tongue in a slick slide.
Yas' fingertips whispered over the smaller boy's neck and the pain faded into the background, as Kim's shaft warmed and hardened.
Yas' lips closed gently around Kim's tongue and suckled lightly, before releasing and pressing his tongue forward in a gentle bid for Kim to return the gesture. So he did.
The redhead swallowed their combined saliva and Yas sighed sweetly, tilting his head and soft white hair flowed over Kim's cheek.
Those light caresses trailed down Kim's throat and chest - tongues still swirling silkily - and Yas' leg eased a fraction to allow his fingertips to feather over Kim's cock.
The smaller boy trembled and he would have curled his hips - causing himself a well of pain - if not for the albino's iron hold. He could only lay still and endure while his shaft twitched and strained towards those teasing fingers.
Kim whimpered and Yas took pity; wrapping his cool fingers around hot flesh.
Yas stroked leisurely - hand making wet, squelching sounds as he worked Kim - as if he had all the time in the world.
Pleasure built steadily, until it blazed like an inferno. Beads of strain gathered at the back of his neck and thighs. His balls tightened to the point of pain and he moaned.
Yas' hold loosened until just the tips of his nails glided down the underside of Kim's shaft, burning like scorching trails of exquisite fire.
Kim whined in frustration and the touch left him entirely.
He sobbed out a breath and moved his head back as far as the albino permitted.
"No. Please!" Kim gasped and Yas' lips curved, looking about as timid and vulnerable as a shark. His red mouth glistened temptingly and his pupils were hardly more than vertical slits behind white lashes.
"What do you want?" Yas husked and his tongue snaked out to taste the air just above Kim's trembling lips.
"I...you!" Kim heaved. He was so hard it hurt and his body shook with tension. "Please."
Yas chuckled lowly and moved closer, pressing that long, wet tongue back into Kim's panting mouth. Those white fingers tightened and stripped once.
"Mmm!!" Kim's release roared through him and he whimpered into the torturously slow kiss.
He moved his lips faster; needing more pressure. More friction. But Yas' free hand gripped his jaw. Not hurting, just pressing a thumb into the joint and stilling Kim's movements, while the last drops of cum were massaged out of him.
The hand on his cock finally stilled and Yas held his softening shaft while the urgent need faded and Kim's ragged breaths calmed.
He sighed and moved his mouth to Yas' tempo peacefully. The pain had dulled and tingling aftershocks left him so relaxed. So comfortable.
Yas drew back a fraction and pressed their brows together, breaths mingling. Kim closed his eyes tranquilly, feeling the albino's hand cradle his shaft gently.
"Do you need me to..." Kim whispered.
"No." Yas interrupted softly. "I love this."
"That has to be one of the hottest things I've ever seen." Kim started at Cassius' voice, but Yas only smiled. He must have heard the blonde enter.
Cassius was perched on the edge of the bed, smile warm and brown eyes heated.
The blonde leaned over them, honey curls sliding across his brow and caught Yas' mouth in a deep kiss. Kim watched them blearily. It was hard to focus.
Cassius lifted and turned to Kim, bracketing him with one tanned arm, and claimed his mouth. It was almost difficult to keep up with the regular pace of the kiss.
Kim closed his eyes and tasted Yas on Cassius' warm tongue. The blonde stroked a hand over the smaller boy's chest and lifted.
"That was beautiful. But really, honey." Cassius fixed Yas with a mock frown. "You're crueler than me in this."
Whatever confidence the albino had during sex was fading and Yas licked his crimson mouth, flush deepening. Cassius grinned.
"It's one of your biggest charms." Tanned fingers brushed tenderly over the Yas' red cheek.
The door opened and Chilla's earthy scent breezed in.
"Cassius..." The headboy started warningly and Cassius shook his head, laughing.
"It's not me you have to worry about!" Cassius grinned, dark eyes dancing with humor.
Chilla climbed up beside them. Silver hair lightly mussed from sleep and white t-shirt falling off one slender shoulder.
He took in the scene, grey eyes widening and his nostrils flared delicately.
Yas hunched around Kim and his pupils expanded into red ovals.
"It's ok." Chilla said gently and Yas flashed an uncertain look up. Chilla smiled and Cassius pecked his pink mouth.
The headboy playfully pushed Cassius away and leaned over to stare searchingly down at Kim. The redhead blinked sleepily; euphoric from his orgasm and lightly medicated.
Chilla's long fingered hand hovered above him.
"Can I touch you?" Chilla asked softly.
Kim blinked and looked uneasily to Yas and Cassius. Strange how he had been most attached to Chilla at first, but now he was conflicted. He wasn't sure what this relationship was. What it meant. If it was just the nature of shifters or something more. Something that might grow and he didn't want to ruin it.
Yas blinked back at him with those snowy lashes and smiled sweetly. Cassius winked, dark eyes bright and expectant.
Chilla seemed to take his silence for assent because that slender hand smoothed up his face and slid into his hair. A fingertip touched a new appendage on his scalp and Kim's ears twitched. Ears. He still had tufted squirrel ears. Kim felt his face heat with the realisation.
Chilla smiled, large eyes cloud soft, and lowered until that grey gaze was all Kim could see. Long lashes glinted silver in the light and those perfect, pink lips pressed lightly onto Kim's.
He opened on reflex and Chilla made a small noise, as if surprised, but tilted his chin accommodatingly and smoothed his tongue into Kim's mouth. Chilla tasted like mint, strawberries and male. A heady combination.
Curious fingertips played over Kim's sensitive ears and Yas' cool lips pressed to his jaw. His spent shaft stirred.
"I can't believe I'm the one saying this, but we should take him to Milly while he's awake." Cassius chuckled.
Chilla hurriedly lifted, cheeks flushing and he flashed the blonde a glare. Cassius just grinned.
The albino reluctantly unfurled from around Kim and together they managed to lift the redhead down the ladder. Kim wobbled precariously on his feet and Yas' arm curled firmly around him.
Cassius fetched a damp cloth and wiped over Kim's stomach and crotch.
"That'll do for now." Cassius smiled at him and leaned in to peck Kim's lips, while the cloth slid warm and wet between his buttocks.
Chilla riffled through the drawers - selecting a purple t-shirt and the comfortable black shorts Cassius seemed to favor. Chilla flexed his hand and sharp claws snicked from his fingertips.
Kim blinked in surprise; those were the claws of a predator, but that didn't match Chilla's scent at all.
The headboy deftly ripped into the back of the shorts.
"Hey!" Cassius protested. "That was my last pair!"
"I'll buy you another." Chilla said and knelt before Kim. His nails were blunt and harmless when he pressed the shorts to the smaller boy's ankles, encouraging him to step into them.
Kim hastily complied. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been cared for like this. Dressed like this. Maybe in nursery school? Maybe even before that. His chest swelled with gratitude and his eyes misted.
Chilla fit the stretchy band around Kim's thin hips and Cassius attempted to thread his tail through the hole. The redhead's eyes teared for a new reason and he squeaked.
Chilla simply ripped through the elastic waistband and tied it loosely around the base of his tail. The pressure hurt, but it was far preferable to the humiliation of walking bare down the halls.
Next, Chilla fit the t-shirt over Kim's head and Cassius lent him a pair of white socks and sneakers that were a size too large, but they were quality running shoes. Nicer and more comfortable than any Kim had ever owned.
"Don't know how Milly is going to tie this." Cassius chuckled and feathered his hand lightly across the fuzzy strands at the tip of Kim's tail. It was a good point - his tail was nearly as large as he was.
Chilla opened the door and Yas' hand tightened around Kim's waist.
"I think I'll shower." The albino rasped and licked his red lips twice.
Chilla paused and frowned at him.
"There's hardly anyone awake yet." Chilla protested and Yas seemed to shrink on the spot, white hair tumbling forward to cover his face.
"I really want to shower." Yas whispered and stared at the floor. Chilla's frown deepened but Cassius squeezed the headboy's shoulder and skipped to Yas' side, kissing his red cheek, while smoothly replacing the arm around Kim's waist.
"Go shower, honey. We'll see you after." Cassius said warmly and Yas flashed him a tremulous smile, but he didn't look at Kim as he hurried from the room. The redhead felt a sting of hurt that he quickly suppressed. He shouldn't be clingy. They hardly knew each other.
Chilla sighed and took Kim's hand. Threading their fingers, as if it was a perfectly normal thing to do, and the three of them stepped out the door.
The school was mostly silent and Kim was grateful, because the few early birds were eager to greet Chilla and Cassius. The blonde met every person with an inviting smile and a cheerful exchange. Chilla was more reserved; nodding or granting a small smile. Kim was met with curious looks and questions, but no one addressed him directly.
It made him feel like a spectacle or, worse, a damsel in distress. He stared resolutely at the floor. It was one thing to enjoy being lavished with attention in private - it was another to seem weak in public. With predators lurking.
Cassius mistook his tension and paused in their walk to press multiple kisses down Kim's jaw and neck.
A few shifters stopped to stare and a girl actually took a picture on her phone. Kim's face flamed and Chilla tugged them back into motion.
They arrived at the clinic and Cassius pressed open a door, without knocking. Milly sat an oak desk, sipping a green juice while she typed on a computer. Her gentle face lit up when she noticed the blonde.
"Cassie!" Her arms opened wide and Cassius fell into them, kissing her cheek warmly.
Kim finally placed the resemblance. They both had large brown eyes and heart-shaped lips with those adorably pronounced front teeth.
"Goodmorning, my favorite aunt!" Cassius squeezed her tightly before snatching her juice from the table and taking a big gulp.
"You say that to all your aunts." Dr. Fowler frowned playfully and lunged for her juice, but Cassius danced out of reach and held the glass to Kim's mouth.
"Try this. It's delicious." The blonde pressed the glass to Kim's lips and he hastily drank, before the juice spilled onto his borrowed clothes. It tasted tropical and fresh, like pineapple and leafy greens. Kim licked his lips and Cassius eagerly tipped the glass a second time.
"Cassius!" Chilla was frowning and the blonde visibly calmed; proffering the glass more gently. Kim sipped and flashed a guilty look towards Milly.
The older woman was watching them fondly and she shook her head at him with a smile.
"It's fine, sweetheart. I can make another." She soothed and Cassius offered the glass to Chilla. The headboy waved it away and turned to Milly.
"His name is Kim and he shifted last night. His tail is feeling worse." Chilla flashed the blonde a stern look but Cassius only grinned and finished the juice.
"That's to be expected. The bones are always tender after the first time." The older woman assured and flashed a look between the boys, smile deepening.
She led them to the clinic in the next room and Chilla carefully lifted Kim to the table.
"I need to undo the top of these shorts, dear. Is that alright?" Milly asked gently. Kim nodded and flushed when the torn fabric was undone and the breeze from the windows chilled his bare ass.
Milly examined his tail, pressing lightly and pain dampened Kim's lip and brow. He swallowed thickly.
"Oh it's sore, I know. Inflamed too." Milly tutted with sympathy and thankfully lowered his tail to the table. She stepped around to view his ears next.
"Great job. Partial transformation on your second day." She reached for his ears.
Kim cringed and her hand paused at the last second. He welcomed the touch of the three boys he now knew. But this was different and he wasn't sure why.
Milly's brown eyes crinkled in a warm smile and she settled for patting his shoulder.
"And how lucky you managed to pause the shift. Otherwise the sprain would have transferred to your spine and that would have been difficult to treat." She turned to search through a cupboard and brought him a large sling.
They managed to press Kim's tail up against his back, until it curled fuzzily above his head, and Milly bound it firmly around his chest.
She then gave him a second shot of much-needed painkillers - this time with an injection, so it worked faster - and a packet of medication along with several cooling packs.
"Apply these every hour to reduce the swelling and keep the pressure off your tail. You'll need help tying the sling, but I'm sure Cassius and Charles will be happy to assist." She flashed them all knowing looks and Kim gulped. Chilla nodded soberly but Cassius leapt off his perch on the table.
"Absolutely!" Cassius assured and cupped Kim's face, planting a wet kiss right on his mouth.
Kim gasped and cast the older woman an anxious glance. He knew how the adults in his life would have responded, but Milly's laugh was like rain.
"I'm sure you will." She ruffled her nephew's shining curls. "Remember to call your mom. She's arranging our holidays."
"I will! Thanks Milly."
Chilla helped Kim off the table and they walked out.
"Do you think you have the energy to see the headmaster?" Chilla asked Kim - his slim arm was just able to fit between the gap at the curve of the redhead's spine without pressing on his tail. Kim wanted to rest and hide, but he nodded anyway.
"Did you hear that?" Cassius kissed Chilla's cheek. "We're going on holiday."
Kim's heart thumped and he looked nervously between the taller boys. Chilla groaned and shook his head.
"I don't think I can handle your thirty-something siblings." Chilla said.
"Don't exaggerate! We're not that many." He turned to smile at Kim. "We're only twenty-thr..." His voice trailed off and the redhead quickly looked down, schooling his expression.
"Oh honey." Cassius' breath warmed his cheek and soft lips brushed over his skin. "Ofcourse you're coming too."
Sweet warmth suffused Kim's insides and he bit his lip before it trembled. He didn't care if Cassius had a million siblings. He wanted to go with them. Wanted to stay with them for as long as they would let him.
"Sweetie." Cassius' warm mouth pressed to his lips and Kim struggled to contain the snuffles that wanted to escape. Chilla's hand stroked his waist lightly in comfort and it was almost too much.
The halls were waking up and voices began calling out to them.
"Headmaster tomorrow." Chilla said briskly. "And pause that." Cassius' mouth abruptly disappeared and Kim noticed Chilla's hand on the blonde's shoulder. The headboy cupped Kim's chin and fixed him with a level look through those intense, silver eyes.
"You're strong. You're brave and you're walking down this hall with a peaceful mind. We're right here." Chilla's tone was firm but kind.
Kim didn't think he was any of those things, but he desperately tried to pull himself together, sniffling hard and carefully straightening his spine.
"Just like that." Chilla smiled beautifully and Cassius gripped Kim's hand as they walked back.
A/N: A little story fact! The name 'Yas' is Native American and means 'child of the snow'.
Chapter 6: Safe
They finally reached the familiar hallway and Chilla left them to check on Yas.
Cassius led Kim to a set of large double doors, painted a paler blue than the rest, with a simple gold plate on the front labelled 'Bathroom.'
The room was large with dome shaped ceilings, preserved from the original construction, and grey tiles lined the floors. White shower stalls queued along the walls and round glass lamps hung from the ceiling.
Cassius tugged Kim past a long array of sinks and mirrors, to a couple of wooden benches.
"Kick off your shoes, honey." Cassiuss said and Kim toed off his large sneakers. The blonde then pulled off Kim's socks and untied his shorts, tossing them onto the bench.
Kim covered his crotch and glanced around uneasily, but the facility was thankfully empty.
Cassius carelessly stripped off his comfortable shorts and t-shirt. His flawless skin didn't have a single tan-line and Kim couldn't help but stare.
Cassius pulled a clean washcloth from a white shelf and ushered Kim into a stall, before turning on the shower-head.
"I don't want to press on your tail again, so we'll have to 'cat-wash' you." The blonde said and winked as he wet the cloth and lathered it with a neutral scented soap.
"That's what my mom calls it," Cassius knelt and clasped Kim's hip while running the warm cloth over his legs, "when you get the bare necessities."
Kim stared, wide-eyed. Cassius' honey curls glistened in the light and his cherubic features were calm and focused - hands moving deftly over Kim's skin. His heart was swelling again.
"T-thank you." Kim squeezed out and large eyes lifted to stare up at him.
Cassius' gaze was bare and open - watching him the way confident and honest people do, because they have nothing to hide. And, like most honest people, he could probably tell when others did.
Kim shuffled self-consciously beneath the weight of that stare. He felt his ears twitch with stress and his eyes fixed more safely on Cassius' shoulder.
Warm lips pressed to his pelvic bone and Kim jumped - attention instantly riveted back on Cassius' face.
"You're welcome, sweetie." The blonde delivered a second kiss to his lower abdomen, pink tongue lightly flicking the skin.
Kim flushed. He wanted to touch those luscious curls. But he was afraid he'd do something wrong; press too hard or too soft.
"I do this for my younger sisters sometimes. You remind me of them." Cassius placed another sucking kiss on Kim's belly and ran the soapy cloth between his legs. The blonde glanced up at Kim's shocked stare and collapsed into laughter.
"Not like this!" Cassius stood and grasped Kim's shaft firmly, slicking him with suds.
"My sisters are four years old! Triplets." Cassius pressed his mouth against Kim's, still chuckling. Kim felt his mouth curve in response to the blonde's infectious laughter.
He knew Cassius had set up the joke to put Kim at ease. He didn't think it was particularly funny and he wasn't sure how he felt being compared to a four year old girl. But he appreciated the good intention and he liked Cassius. He liked him a lot.
Kim's tight fists slowly loosened and his hands settled tentatively on Cassius' lean hips.
Cassius ate at his mouth. Sucking, nibbling and pressing with that burning passion that seemed to simmer constantly beneath his skin. All the while stroking Kim's hardening dick in firm circular tugs.
Kim's balls tightened and he moaned. Cassius gripped his hand, folding it around hard shaft and the smaller boy squeaked.
Cassius' tongue withdrew until he could whisper into Kim's mouth.
"That's my cock, sweetheart," a thick drizzle of soap ran over Kim's fist, "clean me good."
Cassius sucked Kim's lower lip into his mouth and the soapy hand around Kim's tightened; guiding his fist over hot flesh.
Heat pooled in Kim's lower belly and flowed up his cock. Cassius' flesh was so soft, like silk over warm steel.
When those tanned fingers released him his fist moved on it's own. Cassius' mouth was eating him alive, and a hand stroked roughly over Kim's buttock, and a soaped finger pressed into his sphincter.
Kim squealed into the kiss. The hand on his dick was suddenly jacking fast and his thighs trembled. The action was no doubt meant to distract him from what was happening to his ass and it was partially working. That finger was long. It was warm. And it was definitely inside him.
A second digit slid in beside the first one and Kim jerked, pain blazing up his tail. Tingles sparked and confused the nerve-endings, until it all just became this scorching rush of pleasure.
"Aaarr!" Kim freed his mouth, shuddering out his release and Cassius moaned. Hot slick ran over his fingers and nearly sent him over the edge again.
Cassius panted and his soaped hand lifted to run over Kim's neck, guiding him back into a sloppy kiss.
"Is that Cassius in there?"
Kim jolted and, this time, the pain was raw. He opened his eyes and Cassius mouthed over his jaw.
"I'll talk to you later, Kasper." The blonde mumbled into Kim's skin, not bothering to raise his voice, and Kim wondered what kind of shifter was out there.
Several male voices laughed on the other side of the stall.
"Care to share?" Kasper called anyway, deep voice laced with humor.
"Nope." Cassius' fingers were still in his ass and a third actually pressed through the sore frenulum. Even with the soap the pressure stretched him uncomfortably and Kim bit down a squeak, buried his face in the blonde's neck and breathed hard.
The voices continued laughing and talking easily around the sounds of daily ablutions.
Cassius kissed his shoulder lazily and rubbed his face into Kim's skin; leaving a heavy stain of rabbit scent.
"You smell so good like this." Cassius whispered and Kim shivered.
He thought he might have the courage to touch those blonde curls now. But his hands were covered in soap and semen. So he settled for rubbing his cheek into the silky strands. That would have to do.
Cassius eventually removed his fingers and soaped Kim's scalp - it was a struggle to rinse out the water without wetting the bandage. But they managed with only a few damp spots and a drizzle along his neckline.
The blonde briskly washed his hair, rinsed off and strolled out the stall gloriously nude to an orchestra of cat-calls and hoots. He returned, laughing good naturedly, with a towel and Kim's shorts. When Kim was decent he reluctantly followed Cassius outside.
The friendly banter immediately changed to a chorus of "awwws".
No less than ten pairs of eyes focused on kim and he actually stumbled. Face flaming, he hurried to Cassius' side and stuck close while the blonde changed.
"Hi, red! I'm Kasper." Kim looked up and his mouth fell open at the behemoth of a boy smiling down at him.
Kasper was well over six feet tall, with rippling muscles and jet black hair falling to enormous shoulders. He was wearing only a towel and his bulky six pack was damp.
Kim twitched and nodded jerkily. There wasn't a predatory scent to this one, but he could have crushed Kim without any effort at all.
"What happened to your tail?" The giant wanted to know.
"Probably got it stuck in a door. He's clumsy." A new voice snarked.
"Jude, be nice." Kasper's chuckle was like rumbling rocks and he pulled off his towel to dry off his chest.
Kim hastily averted his gaze and saw a lovely platinum blonde, Jude, frowning at him. The redhead shifted nervously and he was thankful when Cassius gently pressed him to the bench. Cassius bent to roll on Kim's socks and Jude's frown darkened to a scowl.
"I didn't know rodents were even a part of the shifter family." He said sharply.
Kim clenched his hands and his stomach tightened with nerves. The boy's eyes were an icy blue and his scent was similar to Cassius', only with a touch of something sweet, like hay. Cassius' hands paused briefly and Kasper snorted.
"Aren't you a rodent as well?" The massive boy smirked and tugged on a pair of denim shorts. Jude glared icily.
"I'm a French Lop! And no," he shot another scathing look at Kim, "there's no comparison."
Kim's heart pounded and his ears twitched. Cassius finished with his shoelaces and braced his arms on either side of the redhead. He then stretched onto his knees and kissed Kim deeply.
Cat-calls erupted, but they drowned out as Cassius' tongue did some spine-tingling tricks inside Kim's mouth, and a warm hand ran up his shirt.
After a short, but wonderfully satisfying moment, Cassius pulled away and tugged Kim to his feet. The blonde then turned and faced Jude with a cooly blank expression.
"Don't talk to him like that. His name is Kim and we're all equal." Cassius said firmly and turned to Kasper while Jude's pale pink mouth tightened. The tall boy was grinning.
"Are you coming to the lake today?" Cassius asked brightly.
"Of course! You're not beating me a second time." Kasper delivered a friendly slap to the blonde's back - Cassius staggered and clutched his shoulder with a smile.
"You bet I will, honey! You'll be doing my chores all week." Cassius laughed and pulled Kim from the room.
The boys yelled their goodbyes and a few even called Kim's name in friendly tones. The redhead smiled and waved tentatively in return - all the while feeling an icy blue stare searing into his back. He shivered.
"Don't mind Jude. He's been raised a certain way and he's very insecure." Cassius caught Kim's hand and interlaced their fingers. "It's not personal."
Kim smiled and thanked Cassius gratefully. But he watched the blonde's angelic profile; his small nose with the slightly curved tip, deep pink lips and long lashes. He remembered how Jude's pale eyes had lingered on the same view and thought: it probably was personal.
They returned to Chilla's room where the silver haired boy was sitting on the bed, with his arm around Yas, talking quietly. There was a tray of food on the desk and an icebox on the floor. Kim's stomach growled.
The headboy looked up when they arrived and smiled, eyes settling on Kim thoughtfully.
"How about," Chilla said and his attention switched back to the albino, "you stay here with Kim today. You can show him the garden, if he's well enough. Would you like that?" Yas looked up in surprised relief and tension fell from his shoulders.
"Yes. Yes please." Yas rasped.
"Alright, just this once." Chilla gently tucked a swathe of frosty hair behind Yas' ear and kissed his pink cheek. "But tomorrow is the group session. You have to attend that." Yas cringed but nodded tightly.
Cassius skipped into the room and jumped on the bed, tackling Yas.
"What's this face?" Cassius showered the albino with kisses, tickling beneath the black sweater he'd changed into. "Where's my smile?"
Yas writhed and hissed with laughter. His frost-bitten cheeks flared dark red and his white hair fanned over the blue sheets.
"S-s-stop!" Yas begged but Cassius only tickled harder.
Kim had felt the strength in those slim arms and knew Yas could easily overpower Cassius. He found himself smiling.
He felt a touch on his hand and looked down into Chilla's dove soft gaze.
"I have a breakfast bowl for you. Do you want to eat here or in the cove?" The headboy asked quietly. Kim wet his lips eagerly.
"The cove. Please. And thank you." He said awkwardly.
Chilla nodded and gestured to the curtains, while he fetched the tray. Kim quickly ducked inside. Tension eased from his limbs in the dim light and he accepted the bowl and bottle of water that were passed inside. He hurriedly caught Chilla's white hand before it retreated.
"Thank you." Kim repeated, desperately trying to convey the depth of his gratitude into two inadequate words.
Chilla smiled, dimples flashing and ducked down until his pink lips brushed Kim's cheek. "You're welcome."
Kim huddled into a purple blanket and shovelled down a blackberry and chia seed pudding. It was tart, creamy and topped with fresh apples and oranges.
He munched happily and listened to the chatter outside.
At one point Cassius poked his head inside to blow him a kiss. "See you tonight, sweetie!"
Kim smiled around his mouthful and Cassius ducked back out. Two sets of footsteps walked across the floor before the door opened and closed.
Kim quickly reached the bottom of the bowl and tried to ignore the dull pounding that was increasing in his tail. He rinsed his mouth with a few swigs of water and the curtain parted to reveal Yas' oval face.
The albino smiled thinly and reached for the empty bowl. Kim hastily handed it over and Yas shuffled out, before returning with a cooling pack.
Kim thought his heart might burst and he stretched his hands out eagerly. The packet was damp and ice cold. He carefully manoeuvred it against his tail and settled deeper into the blankets.
Yas climbed in beside him, pink eyes wary. Kim thought of how they parted that morning. But it felt like so much had happened in that short space of time and he wasn't as hurt as he had been.
"I'm sorry." Yas croaked. "If...if I seemed cold. I don't like to go outside." The albino swallowed and shame briefly touched his face, before his hair spilled forward.
Kim wondered if it was a form of social anxiety. Whatever it was, he thought he could relate. He hesitantly reached out and touched Yas' hand. He was getting better at this.
Yas looked up at him, red pupils wide behind his frothy hair. Kim smiled nervously. He wanted Yas to touch him. But he didn't want to press, if the albino didn't want to.
Holding those cool fingers already felt like an immense step forward, but as the silence stretched on Kim's courage dwindled. His ears twitched anxiously and so did his hands.
Yas' pupils narrowed to maroon slits and his tongue flicked out to taste the air. It wasn't a nervous gesture and Kim swallowed uncertainly.
The albino lifted his free hand and carted his slim fingers through Kim's damp hair, nails grazing his scalp. The redhead instantly lifted his chin, pressing into the touch.
Yas moved fast, arm sliding around Kim's waist and pressed his red lips against the smaller boy's exposed neck.
Kim gasped when that full mouth started sucking. Teeth grazed his skin and he squeaked reflexively. Yas' arms were hardening around him - the same as they did that morning - and he relaxed into it.
The albino made a sibilant sound, almost like a rattle, and his legs curled around Kim's, until those hardened too.
When Kim was completely ensnared Yas' lips softened to feather-light presses. Ghosting over the redhead's throat and breathing cooly against the sensitive skin where his human ears would normally be.
Kim shivered happily and closed his eyes. He was suddenly so tired. Full from a hearty breakfast, sexually sated and with a cold pack soothing his tail.
Most importantly, he was safe inside the cove. Because he didn't think anything, not even Kasper's mammoth strength, was going to break Yas' hold if he didn't want to let go.
A/N: aaaah, I could write about Kim and Yas all day. Have any of you figured out what Yas is? <3
Chapter 7: Commitment
Noises in the hallway. Harsh laughs with an edge of hysteria and stumbling steps.
Kim's heart leapt into his throat and his eyes flew open. Partially asleep, but alert with anxiety, he stared blindly at the grey curtains. Thinking he was home in his bed.
He didn't hear the boys pass harmlessly by the door. He heard his mother arrive in the early hours of the morning - with the friends, or strangers, she'd run into that night.
Don't come in. Don't come in.
His ears twitched and his mouth went dry. He swallowed tightly.
A cool palm brushed lightly over his nape and he squealed, heart thundering and limbs flaying.
Strong hands gripped his arms and Kim panted, vision clearing as he stared at Yas.
The albino's pupils were large with uncertainty and Kim's eyes filled with distress.
And perhaps Yas felt that; felt Kim's need for dependence and a steady touch - because his face calmed and the fingers around the redhead's nape firmed, guiding him forward into a hard embrace.
Kim heaved dryly, gut clenched tight and muscles trembling. Yas rubbed soothingly over his upper back, lips pressed to his cheek and breathed evenly, giving Kim a rhythm to follow.
Slowly Kim's heart slowed to match the pattern of the hands and breaths on his skin. He nuzzled into the albino's slender throat, inhaling that musky scent that wasn't strange anymore. It was simply Yas.
Cool lips pressed to his neck and pale fingers carted through his unruly hair.
"Better?" Yas whispered.
Kim tilted his head and answered by brushing their lips together. The kiss was like a cold drink of water - flowing through his veins in a soothing stream.
He sighed and wound his arms around the albino's long neck, feeling snowy strands slide over his skin. Yas' lips were so full and soft and it was so satisfying to nibble and suck that plump lower lip.
Kim's breathing was quickly deepening and his mind clouding. Yas was so comforting. So relaxing. It was easy to lean into him and open up.
His shaft filled, pressing against the confines of his shorts and dampening the cloth.
"Mmh." Kim pressed closer and Yas rolled onto his back, letting Kim sprawl on top of him.
Kim drew up his legs, ignoring the sharp twinges in his tail, and pressed his constricted erection against the albino's belly. The layers of fabric were frustrating and he groaned.
Yas' hands slid down the smaller boy's flank and gripped his hips, guiding him down until a hard bulge pressed onto his pelvis - and Kim thought he might come right there with a tongue in his mouth.
He tensed his thighs and used all the restraint he'd gathered over the years to keep the pleasure at bay. To make this last.
Yas reached between them, lifting Kim a fraction, and the curl of his hips was accompanied by the soft pop of a button. Cool fingers then pressed into Kim's shorts, releasing him like a spring, and lowered him until their cocks touched.
"Mm!" Kim opened his mouth wide and Yas' wet tongue pressed in as far as it could go, while a pale hand tightened around them and pumped.
Pleasure ripped into him, tingling in his toes and racing up into his balls, until his breath hitched, and he spilled into Yas' hand.
Cool slick coated him shortly after, followed by a harsh rattle that echoed through Kim's bones and had goosebumps rushing over his skin. But that touch of fear only intensified the release and he ground his hips harder.
The tension faded all at once and his muscles turned to liquid. He lay heavily on top of the taller boy and their mouths separated languidly.
"Feel good?" Yas panted against his jaw.
"Uh-huh." Kim mumbled and nestled back into that damp neck.
He was filled with gratitude and affection. Emotions so strong that he hardly knew what to do with them and he clutched the albino tight.
"Bad memories?" Yas breathed, stroking gently into his hair again and Kim nodded shortly.
He didn't want to talk about them - he feared the shame and the pain that would be uncovered - and the extent of the issues that inevitably followed. If he didn't acknowledge his past, maybe it would fade away.
He wanted the sweater gone - wanted to feel all that white skin against him - and his palms slid up the small of the albino's back and ran across knotted flesh.
Yas stiffened and Kim's eyes went wide. Scars. Large and numerous.
He lay very still. Hoping he hadn't just ruined everything by exposing a dark secret too soon.
"...I have them too." Yas finally rasped, and Kim was lightheaded with relief when the arms around him didn't withdraw.
He lifted a fraction, grasping for words. His disastrous home life had left him isolated and he didn't know the first thing about comforting anyone. Much less how to tend deep and painful memories.
What did Yas expect from him? Horror? Sympathy? Or was he more like Kim, where the subject was too raw to discuss. At least for now.
Wide red pupils met his gaze. Yas' pale features were blank and distant - blood red lips beautifully swollen and icy hair pooling beneath him like a pillow.
Kim had been on the receiving end of physical abuse, more than he cared to remember, and he was pretty sure he knew what he was seeing.
He exhaled shakily and spread his hands wide across the scars - accepting them without words - and lowered his head to kiss that gorgeous mouth.
Yas sighed and the tension drained from his limbs. His arms curled tighter around Kim and hardened sweetly.
Their cum was drying and itching between them, but the redhead didn't care. As long as Yas kept holding him close.
"Kim?" A gentle touch smoothed over his cheek and he looked up into Cassius' cherubic face, gaze soft with concern.
His honey curls were damp from the lake and there was a light touch of pink across the bridge of his nose.
"Are you alright? Yas isn't hurting you?" The blonde spoke in his head.
Kim's head was tucked beneath the albino's chin and he smiled softly. His tail pounded terribly, but it paled compared to the warmth in his chest, and he shook his head a fraction.
Cassius returned the smile and snuggled right up against them - tanned skin warm from the sun and Yas stirred.
"I don't know how you can breathe like that. It always makes my feet stomp." The blonde grinned and looked up into Yas' slow blinking eyes.
"Hi, sleeping beauty." Cassius said out loud and leaned in to kiss the albino's mouth. "Did you have a good day?"
Yas' response was a contented sigh against Cassius' lips and the thumb at Kim's nape stroked lightly.
The curtains parted and Chilla's silver hair glinted in the light. His large eyes darkened with disapproval.
"Have you both been inside all this time? It's not healthy." He scolded and Cassius waved his hand in friendly dismissal.
"Look at them, sweetie. This was a day of healing." Tanned fingers smoothed back Kim's hair and warm lips pressed to his brow. "Wasn't it?"
Kim smiled again and Cassius kissed his mouth, hand sliding lower.
"Alright." Chilla clapped his hands sharply and instantly gained everyone's attention.
"Did you have lunch?"
Yas' flushed cheeks were answer enough and Chilla held open the curtains. "We brought dinner. Everyone come eat."
Kim's stomach growled and he regretfully lifted, awkwardly tucking himself back into his shorts. Cassius came to the rescue with a wet wipe and a short while later the boys all sat in a circle on the floor.
Chilla passed Kim a cooling pack and a bowl of vegetable stir fry with peanut sauce and chili dressing.
The albino's bowl was entirely carnivorous and he munched on crisp chicken happily. The headboy had an equal serving of meat and vegetables - and Cassius' plate was vegetarian.
"We have a meal plan." Chilla explained, as he dipped a piece of carrot into the sauce. "The students all take turns to cook and clean..."
"I'm cooking tomorrow." Cassius broke in, wiping a dab of sauce off Kim's cheek and licking his finger.
"...and you'll be put on the rota, as soon as you're well enough for it." Chilla finished and Kim nodded quickly. He was eager to help and earn his keep.
"My mom is expecting us in a week and a half. Your tail should be better by then." Cassius nudged the redhead gently and Kim's smile was wide enough to leave an ache in his cheeks.
Afterwards Cassius took down the bowls and Yas went to take a second shower.
Chilla brought Kim a fresh toothbrush, and they took care of their ablutions, before preparing for bed in Cassius' room.
Kim sat on the lower bunk and drank down his painkillers.
"Kim," Chilla spoke quietly, while pulling off his shoes, "we like having you here."
The headboy's tone was inordinately solemn and Kim capped his water bottle nervously. "I-I like it here too."
Chilla approached Kim with light steps and sat beside him, leaning back on one elegant hand.
"You've probably guessed that the three of us are in a relationship." Grey eyes watched him closely. "We've considered a fourth member for some time. We all have certain needs and it's important that we're balanced."
Hope filled his chest and Kim's throat tightened. His hand clenched into the bedding and he nodded jerkily, not trusting his voice.
Chilla hesitated, then turned to face Kim fully, folding his slender legs on the bed. "If friendship is all you want, that's fine. We'll still help you settle in and you can share my room for as long as you need to. This isn't an ultimatum."
Kim's heart thumped and his ears twitched. Chilla's eyes softened. "If you need more time..."
"No!" Kim choked out and scrambled for words. "I-I'd like to be with you. All of you. In a...in a relationship?" His voice squeaked at the end of the sentence, turning it into a question, and he cringed.
Chilla smiled warmly and reached for one of Kim's tense hands - massaging the palm with his thumb, as he turned to look at the door. "You can come in now." He called and the door burst open.
Cassius strode in with a bright smile, completely unfazed that he'd been caught eavesdropping, followed more slowly by a suitably sheepish looking Yas.
"I knew you'd say 'yes'." The blonde grasped Kim's nape and pressed an open-mouthed kiss to his lips.
"Bandage first." Chilla stood to rifle through a bag for a fresh compress.
Cassius held Kim's tail and together they all managed to redo the dressing with minimal discomfort. The blonde then pulled off his clothes, tossing them carelessly to the floor, and sprawled on the bed.
Kim, having been stripped during the bandage change, hurried under the duvet with flushed cheeks.
Yas brushed his frothy hair, and changed into an oversized grey t-shirt, before slipping beneath the covers.
Chilla remained fully dressed and paced lightly, while scrolling through his phone.
"I'm getting up at seven. You too, Cassius?" Chilla spoke, eyes fixed on the screen.
"Mhm." The blonde lifted from Yas' neck. "I'm running with Oliver."
The albino released a hissing sigh and pressed into Kim's throat, long hair tumbling forward to hide his face.
Chilla frowned slightly. "You should try running with Cass. It gives you energy."
Cassius chuckled and stroked a hand up Kim's thigh. "Lots and lots of energy." He whispered against Kim's jaw and the redhead moaned.
"Yas, your session is at eleven and then we can all meet for lunch in the garden."
Yas gasped an affirmative and arched beneath Kim's mouth.
"Kim, we have an appointment with the headmaster early. Then I'll give you a tour of the grounds and introduce you to the..."
Cassius abruptly lifted, reached across the bed, and slammed his palm against the light switch on the wall. The room plunged into darkness and Chilla's voice trailed off.
"Come to bed, honey."
Chapter 8: Assurance
Kim hardly slept that night. He stared into the dark, listening to the soft breaths around him, and assured himself that the past week hadn't just been a wonderful dream.
Yas was knotted around him, heartbeat steady and thin limbs hard.
The albino didn't seem to generate any of his own heat - but Cassius' skin was warm, almost hot, against Kim's flank - and the two shifters regulated each other's temperature perfectly.
Every now and then there was a fierce thudding against the mattress; Cassius stomping in his sleep.
The other boys seemed used to it, because none of them stirred. And Kim waited it out - until the blonde lay calm against the sheets - before carefully adjusting the covers.
When the first rays of light peaked through the curtains, he finally slept.
A light touch smoothed across the tip of his nose and Kim twitched.
A moment later it was back, brushing gently, and Kim scrunched up his face.
He was nearly asleep, when it returned a third time, and he squeaked softly.
"Oh, you adorable little..." Lips pressed hard to his mouth and Kim was abruptly awake, smelling warm rabbit and skin damp with sex.
The alarm rang and Cassius pulled back with a groan. Yas hissed and buried his face in Kim's hair.
Chilla parted the curtains in a blaze of light - already up and dressed in casual sweatpants and a t-shirt, with a robe draped over his arm.
"Oliver's outside." The headboy announced shortly and gestured to Kim. The redhead tapped Yas' hand lightly and the arms around him slowly loosened.
Cassius sighed, and kissed the albino's mouth, before jumping up to get dressed.
Yas' arms finally fell away, and he curled into the covers, eyes scrunched shut against the light. Kim hesitated, then hastily pecked the taller boy's red lips, before scrambling across the mattress.
Chilla folded the robe around him, tying it loosely to spare Kim's tail. The fabric was dark green and very soft.
In the next instant a smoothie and a couple of pills were pressing into his hands. "Drink this." Chilla ordered and Kim hastily complied. "I've set your alarm for nine, Yas."
The albino mumbled something, and pulled the duvet over his head, until just a couple of icy strands shimmered on the pillow.
The headboy took Kim's hand, hefted a bag of clothes, and led him swiftly down the hall and into the bathroom. Kim was stripped and washed in record time.
Chilla was as thorough and professional in this as he was in everything else - but as his slim fingers tilted Kim's shaft for better access, the redhead couldn't not get hard.
"S-sorry..." Kim stuttered and attempted to cover his crotch. Chilla flashed him a perfunctory smile and stood.
"It's fine." Chilla said absently and lathered a neutral scented shampoo into Kim's hair.
The silver haired boy stood close enough for Kim to smell warm fur, rich earth and that sweet hint of strawberries.
Droplets glistened on bone white skin and his small nipples were as pink as his mouth. Kim swallowed hard.
Chilla carefully rinsed the suds from Kim's scalp and towel-dried his hair.
"There." He murmured and wiped the excess water gently from Kim's face and throat. The redhead's cock twitched hard and he shifted miserably.
Cool grey eyes glanced down. "We don't have time."
Kim winced, and nodded quickly, before reaching for the towel with trembling fingers. He covered himself pitifully and felt his eyes sting.
Chilla didn't seem affected at all; lovely face calm, if a little impatient, and silver waves dark with water.
He'd barely touched Kim last night and it made the smaller boy wonder if Chilla even felt for him - or if he was only there to appease Cassius and Yas.
Chilla sighed audibly and stepped forward to press a warm kiss onto Kim's neck; making him jolt.
"Think you can be quiet?" Chilla murmured and ran the tips of his nails lightly across Kim's nape. Goosebumps rushed over his skin and the redhead shivered.
"Y-you don't have to..." Kim began, but Chilla pulled the towel from his hands, spread it on the wet floor, and knelt on it. He tucked his hair neatly behind his ears and took Kim into his mouth.
"Ah!" Kim muffled the noise with his hand and stared with wide eyes. He hadn't meant to make a sound, but seeing those pink lips wrap around him - so casually - did awful, wonderful things to him.
Chilla replaced his mouth with his hand and frowned up at him.
"So-sor...aah!" That earned him another glare and Kim clamped his jaw tight. It was like nothing he'd ever felt before; all hot, wet suction.
Chilla licked his tip like a lollipop, suckled the glands, and pressed his tongue into the slit. Kim's breath caught and his chest ached with the need to be quiet.
Chilla took the shaft deep into his throat, until his cool nose pressed against the redhead's pelvis and he purred, sending a flutter of vibrations all around Kim.
"Ah-hng!" Kim grit his teeth. His knees shook and he scrabbled for purchase against the damp walls.
Chilla pulled back, nearly sliding off him, then plunged back down and swallowed, throat rippling. One hand gripped Kim's hip and encouraged him to thrust.
Kim clutched Chilla's silky hair and moved frantically. Pushing, pushing - until warmth ran through his cock and burst into that beautiful, efficient mouth.
He tried to be quiet. He wasn't sure he managed it.
Chilla swallowed and slid to the tip, using his hand to milk the last drops out of the smaller boy's shaft. Kim whimpered and his knees finally gave out.
In a flash Chilla lifted off him and braced him against the wall.
Kim's body tingled - from his fingertips, all the way to his toes - and he panted heavily against one hard, pink nipple. He shifted and was immensely relieved to feel a warm erection slide against his belly.
"Do you want me to suck you?" Kim mumbled and Chilla's hips jerked involuntarily.
"Later." Chilla's voice was just a tad breathless and he lifted Kim's chin and kissed him - tasting like warm, salty musk. "We're going to miss breakfast."
They rinsed off, dressing as quickly as Kim's rubbery limbs allowed, and opened the door to a chorus of cheers and whoops. The bathroom had filled, while they'd been occupied, and the redhead blushed to the roots of his hair.
Chilla delivered their audience a tight smile and pulled Kim swiftly out the door.
A short while later they were announcing themselves to a stern looking secretary and entering two large wooden doors.
The headmaster's office was nothing like the workplaces Kim was accustomed to. It retained some of the charm of the old church; in the polished wooden floors and large oval windows, flooding the space with light.
Faisal's desk was made of dark oak and two massive bookcases lined the walls - one of which was entirely occupied by lush plants. Kim breathed in the green scents and felt his twitching ears ease a fraction.
The dark man greeted them with a smile and motioned towards a couple of upholstered grey chairs.
Chilla sat straight-backed, while Kim perched lightly on the edge of his seat and struggled not to fidget.
The headmaster noted Kim's tail with a sympathetic shake of his head. "I broke mine in my third year of high school. Slipped on ice, can you believe it? Middle of it still carries a dent."
Kim cleared his throat nervously. The man still smelled strongly of predator, but Chilla was a calm presence beside him was reasuring.
"I-it's just a sprain." He managed.
Faisal's brows raised a fraction. "Sprains usually hurt worse. You're tougher than you look."
Kim wasn't entirely sure that was a compliment, but he still flushed at the note of approval in the man's voice. Adults had rarely seen a reason to praise him.
Faisal's look sobered and he leaned forward, lacing his dark hands loosely on the desk.
"Kim, shifters come here for a variety of reasons." He spoke quietly. "You weren't in the best condition when you arrived and I daresay your recovery will take some time."
Kim's gut tightened and his fingers dug into the armrest. Faisal watched him closely.
"Were you running from someone?" The man asked gently. "A teacher? Or a family member?"
Kim's mouth trembled and his tail jerked painfully. He'd kept his home life a secret for so long. What if they forced him to return? Or placed him with a worse family in foster-care? He was still in high school - what power did he have?
Kim twitched in his seat and his constricted throat squeaked.
In a moment Chilla was there, lifting Kim's hand and massaging the palm gently.
The headmaster's eyes flicked between them, but if he thought anything of it, he kept it to himself.
"This school is meant as a refuge. You won't be punished for telling us."
Kim knew he was cornered and he couldn't seem to get enough air. Chilla's arm wrapped around him and the silver haired boy flashed the headmaster a hard stare.
Far from being offended, the man nodded shortly and picked up his desk phone. "Dr. Fowler, please." He waited for two beats. "Hi Milly, I have Kim here...yes, as quickly as you can. Thank you."
Faisal replaced the phone and leaned back in his chair, body language open and relaxed.
"Milly is not only a marvelous doctor, but an excellent therapist and nutritionist. Her teas are very popular. They even work on Mr. Lane," The headmaster smiled wryly, "He's in PE. A bull. Very temperamental."
Tears ran down Kim's cheeks and he blinked in confusion. His darkest secret was about to be uncovered and the headmaster was making smalltalk.
But Faisal's deep and pleasant voice distracted Kim, a fraction, from the emotion threatening to overwhelm him. And that was no doubt the man's intention.
A light knock sounded and Milly breezed in on a wave of warm rabbit scent. She was wearing a light green blouse, with a floral print, and she carried a purple mug in her hands.
"Hello, sweetheart." The woman smiled and Chilla moved away to allow room for her to press the cup into Kim's hands.
"Drink up, dear." Her tone was light, but carried a hint of command, and Kim hurriedly lifted the cup to his lips.
The tea was very hot, but it tasted fresh and sweet. Milly smiled approvingly and Kim took another sip, then another.
"Can you fit him into your schedule, Milly?" The headmaster asked.
"Certainly. Thursday morning and Tuesday afternoon." Milly patted Kim's knee and he didn't twitch.
The tea also had a strange earthiness to it. Bark perhaps? Chilla's thumb stroked his waist and Kim leaned gratefully into the taller boy's side.
"And I have time for an examination Wednesday morning." The woman continued.
"Sooner than that, if you can. If he's mixed..."
"Oh, he's full squirrel! I made a note of it on his first day." Milly assured and Kim looked up drowsily. Faisal smiled at him.
"Every now and then, we come across hybrids. It's important to address it early." The man explained.
Kim blinked slowly and tipped his ear in understanding. Hybrid shifters...he'd never heard of such a thing.
Faisal and Milly went on to discuss mundane topics, like medical supplies and dorm refurbishments, while Kim finished his cup. It really was very good.
"Alright, darling." Milly plucked the empty mug from his hands and smoothed back his hair. It felt nice. "I think it's time for you to rest now."
"Dr. Fowler," Chilla interjected quietly, "what was in that tea?"
"It's a blend of chamomile, peppermint leaf, valerian root and passionflower - and a mild sedative mixed with honey. I usually leave out the last, but squirrels are alert little things." The words were spoken fondly, so Kim didn't take offense. "He just needs a nap and he'll be right as rain."
Chilla nodded and carefully lifted Kim. The redhead curled his arms around the taller boy's neck and wrapped his legs around a slender waist.
"Could I have some packets of it, please? Without the sedative." Chilla enquired and Kim closed his eyes, leaning his cheek against the headboy's shoulder.
"Absolutely! I was going to recommend it, but you always think of everything, Charles. I'll leave it with Adam and you can collect it tonight."
Kim was barely aware of the trip back. He felt pleasantly warm and so utterly relaxed. It was bliss. Voices spoke here and there, and doors opened and closed.
Then he was sinking into cool sheets and his shoes and shorts were removed. A moment later arms folded back around him and he curled into Chilla's warm body.
Lips brushed his brow - silky strands slid against his cheek - and his nose pressed against skin smelling like fresh earth and clean fur.
A/N: Happy sigh. I'll reveal what Chilla is in the next chapter ^^