Jack Addison is on his way to becoming a famous monster hunter, but luck had been against him at the Annual Nessie Hunt the previous year. Now, he’s back at Loch Ness to show everyone what he’s made of.
He’s got a lot to prove to Roux Chat-Bonnes, the snotty cat-like creature who saved his life last time, so Jack goes into the woods to hunt Nessie armed with a brand new detection device.
But the creature he finds is nothing like he expected. Where he thought he would slay a monster, he ends up learning a valuable lesson about opening his horizons to new lifeforms. The learning curve is made delightful with the help of tentacles, suckers, and lots of slippery slime.
Length: ~10,500 words (Episode 2 in the serial)
WARNING: This story contains morally ambiguous characters and scenes of sex that might be considered taboo.
Jack picked up two of the gin cups, and slowly approached the group of Frenchmen. Roux sat on the periphery, leaning toward the oil heater with his paw-feet close to the flame burning behind the grate. He’d replaced his coat with a fluffy turtleneck sweater that had a collar reaching all the way to the base of his head.
Could he smell Jack? Because he hadn’t turned around, but still put his paw on the rapier attached to his belt. Jack sighed, entranced by the way the warm light played in the red fur.
“I didn’t think we’d meet again so soon,” he said in the end.
Roux took a deep breath and turned his huge green eyes on Jack. Was he smaller? Or did Jack gaining a few inches in this past year account for the difference? The chat’s ears were up and attentive.
“Yes. Too soon.”
Jack shook his head and sat on the edge of the bench next to him. The chat didn’t move an inch, which left little room for Jack, but he wouldn’t let that bother him and rested his arm against Roux’s. Some of the red fur stuck out through the knit and tickled Jack’s bare skin.
“I’m sorry I called you a pussycat. I literally just found out that it’s a slur.”
Roux’s nose wrinkled. “No need to talk about it.”
Jack licked his lips “You seemed pretty upset,” he said, and tapped his scars.
Roux’s ears twitched time and time again, and some of the fur on his head bristled. “You said it yourself. It’s a slur.”
“Yes, but it’s for chats. Most people don’t know.” Jack tried smiling at Roux. In vain.
The feline face remained unmoved. “Do you want something?”
Jack cleared his throat and discreetly glanced at his friends before focusing on Roux. “How have you been?”
The huge green eyes squinted. They were pretty amazing, even if freaky. Roux actually had eyelashes. Very faint, but they were there. “What are you trying here, Addison?”
Jack rolled his eyes, frustrated by the standoffish behavior. He didn’t encounter this very often. “Why do you have to be so difficult? Can’t a man talk to you?”
“Last time we met you called me Mr. Paws. Excuse me for being apprehensive about your intentions.”
“A lot has changed in the last year. You’re not gonna make any friends if you keep grudges forever.”
Roux’s whiskers twitched from side to side. “I’m not here to make friends, Addison. I’m here to slay Nessie. Which I couldn’t do last year because I had to save your sorry ass.”
Jack frowned, increasingly agitated. “Oh, so you’re in it only for the fame? You don’t care about saving people? Or is it just me that you don’t care about?”
“I think I’ve proved I care about saving people last year.” Roux’s face was hard to read. Furry all over and just… different, it didn’t show emotion in the same ways human faces did. “Nessie is yet another threat to the world. It’s said the creature is massive. Most of all, the crack between dimensions hasn’t been closed, and if Nessie got through, then something much worse might, too.”
“I hear it might be opened and closed by Nessie every time. Science says that,” Jack quickly repeated what he’d heard just moments ago.
“Science hasn’t been very effective in tracking Nessie down so far.”
Pride swelled in Jack’s chest, and he pulled up one side of his jacket, revealing the small oval device his older sister had invented recently. He was the first one to ever test it in the field. “Maybe it will this year.” He was excited to see that he had caught Roux’s attention.
“What are you saying? What is it?” The chat reached out, but caught himself halfway through the movement.
Jack smirked. “Go on, you can touch it. It’s a prototype my sister made. It can track Nessie’s cries, even those too quiet for the human ear.”
Roux’s tongue made a split-second movement all the way up to his nose. “Thanks, I’ll be fine with my own two ears. We can’t all have the advantages of wealth and fame.”
“Maybe you should just be happy you saved Jack Addison, so he can do great things in the future.”
Roux’s jaw dropped, revealing a tongue with tiny nubs on it. “You should be happy you’re not baby tarantoid feed. You haven’t even thanked me for that. I could have left you there.”
Jack let out a long exhale. “That’s why I came over, but you can’t be civil like a normal person.”
“At least I’m a person to you now,” Roux grumbled. His body language was so tense just looking at it made Jack tired and stiff. “I accept your gratitude.”
Jack cleared his throat and offered Roux one of the cups. “How does that tongue feel?” Did chats give each other oral sex with them?
Roux took the cup in both paws, and Jack itched to touch their pads and check if they felt soft. “Huh? What do you mean?” His ears laid a bit flatter, and it had to be the cutest thing Jack had ever seen.
If they had been alone, he might have attempted to scratch them, but they were not alone, and he didn’t want some weird gossip reaching his close friends and family. “I mean, your tongue has those nubs. Do they feel like a cat’s or is it smooth, like mine?” he asked and tapped his bottom front teeth with one finger.
It was ridiculous how apprehensive Roux seemed, as if he believed Jack was about to pounce on him or something. In the end though, he stuck out his tongue, letting Jack look at it in detail before speaking again.
“Like a cat’s. But not to scale, if that makes sense. If a cat was my size, the hooks on his tongue would be massive.” Behind them, Roux’s tail started slowly swaying in the air, and Jack found himself fantasizing about it discreetly making its way under the back of his shirt.
“So they’re actually sharp? Would it hurt if you licked me?” Jack asked, oddly excited about this conversation. He was on a roll!
Roux moved an inch away, and Jack had to stop himself from catching Roux’s tail. Civil. He was supposed to be civil.
“Why would I lick you?”
Jack raised his hand. “It was a figure of speech. I mean… unless you are… interested in human males? I’ve seen this erotic picture with chats, and they were licking each other,” he said, suddenly acutely aware of every single twitch of the pretty white whiskers.
Roux’s ears went flat once more, his eyes widened and he rose so fast some of his drink spilled to the wooden floor. “What are you insinuating?”
Jack just followed his instinct, grabbing Roux’s paw and pulling him back down. It was soft. Like a baby kitten’s. Roux didn’t walk on those pads, so they hadn’t hardened the way his feet surely had. But despite the distraction, Jack focused on Roux’s eyes, on the fluffy mouth, and his pink nose. “It’s academic curiosity, but if that means anything to you, I am into males. You know, like a pussycat,” he said in a low voice, and winked.
Roux didn’t even blink. In the dim light, his pupils were huge, breathtaking. He pulled his paw away when he noticed Jack was still holding it, but there was not a claw in sight. “Don’t say that word.”