On The Road Again 6:
Dreams of Lovers

by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/F
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

"Hi, Mamma!" Bender called out happily as he burst into the house shortly before noon, his unruly mop of red hair a flashing warning of his presence below knee level. "What's for lunch?" He prompted as he jumped up to sit on the tall stool she'd placed for him out of the way in the kitchen. He was obedient, you just had to figure out how to give him instructions he could follow to keep him out from underfoot.

"Brown-bread and leftover rdava from last night," Keira chuckled, pulling a pan of rich, earthy-smelling bread from the oven and setting it next to the fry pan that was heating the cut-up fowl. "Did you remember to clean the harvester this morning?" She asked Bender, looking over her shoulder at him. He was growing up to be a strong child; still a kitten, but able to help out around the small farm she had established on Garqi with the proceeds from selling off the hunter's ship years ago.

"Yes, Mamma." He nodded seriously. "Before I went to play. What is a Jedi, Mamma?"

The grey-furred Tabby paused for a moment, reaching up to turn off the stove.

"The Jedi are a group of warriors, who try to protect the Republic from bad people," she explained. "They have special talents they use, but...." She trailed off, shaking her head before she really got going. "Why do you ask?" She asked him, removing the bread from the pan and cutting the first slice for him, making sure to get a piece that had plenty of fruit and nuts in it, knowing he preferred it that way.

"Babol asked if I was trying to be one when I used the Force to help clean out the harvester." He explained between bites. "He said it like I was trying to be something I could never be."

"Well, he's wrong there," Keira smiled slightly, serving up the rest of lunch and giving Bender a plate to start in on while she poured some milk and pulled out the butter. "But I don't think you'd really want to be one. Now, what was it I told you about using the Force when other people are watching?"

"That I should only do it if there isn't another choice, Mamma." Bender looked down. "I didn't know he was there."

"Just be a little more careful," she smiled, kissing him lightly on the forehead. "It's just that some people can be dangerous, if they know what we can do. Babol wouldn't be, but he might tell somebody who would be without knowing it, y'know? The Jedi use the Force, but they're not the only people who do."

"Yes, Mamma." He nodded, purring lightly at her affection. "I'll be more careful. But why would someone want to hurt us just for being Force-users?"

"There are some people who think that anybody who uses the Force is a Jedi," she explained. "And the Jedi have enemies that are trying to find them. Sometimes they want to use their powers for themselves, others just want to get rid of them, so they can do whatever they want."

"But you sounded like Jedi are the good ones. Kind of." He looked at her with large green eyes,

"They are," she nodded. "I meant some of their enemies want to do those things. Good people often have strong enemies, in the people who want to do things they shouldn't."

"Like the Sith?" He said softly.

"Yes," Keira nodded softly. "The Sith are very dangerous people, usually Jedi who have turned evil. Their leaders turned many Jedi to their cause with terrible lies." She closed her eyes, trying to hide the pain and shame of her memories from her adopted son as she took a seat to eat her own lunch.

"Mamma?" He slid down from his stood, the meal forgotten as he did his best to wrap small arms around her. "Did they do that to you?"

She sighed, picking him up into her lap and nuzzling his neck gently.

"Yes," she said softly. "I got away from them, though, okay? I just don't want them or the Jedi to find us again."

"But you aren't evil." He looked up at her with wide, honest eyes. "Why would the Jedi want to hurt you?"

"I don't know that they would," she admitted, smiling slightly. "But I do know that they'd want me to go back to them... and I don't belong there anymore. I'm not evil, but I'm not really Jedi anymore either."

"You can't just tell them that, and stop running?" Bender asked with the childlike innocence of his age. "Stop hurting inside."

"Hey, I haven't really been running from them for a long time," she smiled, privately wishing she had some way to keep him from sensing how she felt across the bond between them without him knowing she was blocking him. "Besides... the Jedi have bigger problems to worry about than me just now. I'm more worried about the Sith than them, and I don't think they're going to find us out here either."

"I hope not, Mamma." He hugged her tightly. "I like it here."

"I know you do, Bender," she smiled, hugging him back. "And we're going to be staying here for a good long time, I promise. Why don't you finish up your lunch, we'll do a little practice, and you can go play until dinner?"

"Yes, Mamma." He nodded and hugged her, then hopped down to finish his meal, excited as always to practice with his mother.

"19.... 20! Ready or not, here I come!" Bender called out to his friends hiding in the long grain grass fields and small bunches of trees near their homes.

He thought he heard one of them giggling, but as he looked up he couldn't see any of them, the tall grasses of the hay field hiding them all well. Of course, this was one game he played very well. He just had to extend his senses a bit and there they were, the only large life forms in the area.

He hurried over to the nearest one, sure that it was Babol hiding in the hay fields where his clothes would blend in with the hay - then he heard Tina scream from a nearby cluster of bimiza trees and bolted that way without even thinking.

He was at the trees in a moment. The three dark red skinned Kath Hounds surrounding the Cat girl his age were each taller than he was. She had managed to bolt into the trees, and for now she was high enough that they couldn't reach her.

He was another matter. One of the Hounds spun around and growled at him, sinking down low and getting ready to pounce.

He could run, maybe outrun it if his ability to Force-run held true. A suggestion to sleep, or a telekinetic hit to the head ....

"*Sleep.*" He reached out, trying to even the odds even as he screamed for help along the weak parental bond with his mother.

He barely bought himself time to jump out of the way as the thing lunged at him, barely slowed down by his powers. The other kids caught on to what was happening, running and yelling for help.

He locked onto the tree that Tina was hiding in and made a bolt for it. The other two Kath hounds moved to block him, but he managed to jump over them, squeezing his eyes shut as he hurtled through the air towards the bimiza trees, his young claws digging into the soft wood and holding him up, safely out of reach, near Tina.

"Help will be here soon." He told his friend as he climbed onto a branch nearby.

"I hope so," she murmured, shivering as she looked down at the snarling hounds. "Aiee!" She shrieked again, clutching to the branch as one of them backed up and slammed its thick skull into the young tree, trying to knock them out of it.

It was hurled back bodily through the air, twisting and spinning as Keira arrived. Her lightsaber flashed in a bright blue arc through the air as she dove into the startled pack of animals, one of them yelping as the initial blow practically cut it in two.

The one that had been thrown away got to its feet, shaking its head to clear it before jumping back into the fray with its living packmate, the two of them ducking and weaving out of the way of the blazing blade the Cat wielded. One of them managed to get through, biting Keira's arm and earning a snarl of pain and rage before it was killed, its body tossed away from the battle again as the former Jedi turned her attention to the last remaining beast.

The rest of the battle, by that point, was a foregone conclusion, and soon the third Kath Hound was as dead as the other two, its head lying on the ground next to its body as Keira looked around, extending her senses to see if there were any more.

"I don't think there are, Mamma." Bender called down, but didn't move until she nodded in agreement.

"Come down kittens. It's safe now." Keira called up to them and put her weapon away.

"Yes, Mamma." Bender nodded and leaped down to land next to her.

"H-how did you - wow," Tina breathed as she jumped down from the tree, her eyes wide.

"Please don't make a big deal of it, Tina." Bender almost grabbed her to get her to focus. "It's over."

"Anyone need help?" A light male voice called to them as a richly patterned dark brown on earthen red tabby Cat in his mid twenties ran up with a small satchel and a blaster carbine.

"Only if you have a medkit on you," Keira said, trying to wind herself down as it finally registered just how badly bitten she'd been, her arm bleeding freely. "Those things' teeth are sharper than they look."

"That I have." He nodded and set the satchel down before opening it up to tend to her wounds. "Hold still. I'm no medic, but I have some experience patching folks back together." He looked over to the kittens and focused on Bender. "Your mother will be just fine."

"I know." He smiled shakily and moved to hug her, Keira wrapping her good arm around him reassuringly.

"Thank you for your help," she said sincerely, smiling at the newcomer as he bandaged her arm. "I'm Keira Kivallon, from the next farm over. Is this your family's place?"

"Yes," he nodded, motioning with one hand north and west a bit. "You take those Kath Hounds out?"

"They were threatening my son," Keira pointed out as her arm was wrapped. "And yes, I did."

"You are something else." He smiled faintly. "I'm Tanner Surrath." He offered a hand to her good side.

"Thank you," she smiled, taking his hand and shaking it. "Probably as much dumb luck as anything else, but there wasn't much time to stop and think it through."

Tina opened her mouth to say something, but was silenced by an elbow in the ribs by Bender.

"I don't expect so. Protecting a cub can bring out strength you never thought you had." Tanner smiled at her. "My father strangled one of these beasts with his bare hands protecting me when I was little."

"Impressive," Keira smiled.

"Suicidal, really." He corrected her softly, the pain in his voice audible. "But he saved four of us."

"I'm sorry," she said softly. "Uhm... Tanner? I don't suppose I could ask you to help us back to my place? I don't think there are any more of those things in the area, but if any more show up I'm not really in a shape to fight them like this," she said, nodding towards her wounded arm.

"No problem." He smiled and offered her a hand up to her feet. "Is it just you and your son there?"

"I'm afraid so," she nodded, taking his hand and standing up to lead the way. "We keep things in shape pretty well though."

"You must, to be healthy as you are," he smiled and stood with her. "Would you mind a helping hand until your arm is better? I've got kin to work my farm for a few weeks."

"I'd appreciate it," she smiled. "The droids can do most of the work, but there are some things you just can't trust them to do right yet."

"Like cook dinner?" He gave her a wink as they began to walk slowly. "That's sentient work. Have you met my sister's kit? This is Tina. She's been a walking trouble magnet since I've been raising her."

"I've heard of her, but never met her," Keira smiled. "She and Bender have been friends for a while, so don't be too quick to blame the Kath Hounds on her being the trouble magnet," she chuckled. "He has a talent for it too."

"They were after her." Bender finally spoke up, not wanting to interrupt the pleasant feelings from his mother about this new tom. "I just tried to help."

"And I didn't do anything, they just came after me," Tina said sheepishly.

"We know, kits," Keira smiled, ruffling Bender's always-unruly red hair lightly. "Some things just happen, doesn't mean we won't tease about it."

"We get it if we're responsible; we get it if we aren't." Bender rolled his eyes, but couldn't shake the good mood from the echo of what he mother was feeling.

"There is no winning." Tina humped, then winked at Bender. "I think we might be siblings soon though, the way Dad's acting."

"Watch it," both adults chuckled, though Keira was definitely blushing beneath her grey fur. She had to admit, she hadn't been this attracted to anybody in a long time.

No one had been this nice to her in ages, if ever. Even just the offer of a home cooked meal she didn't have to cook was quite an offering.

"Never mind how Mamma's blushing." Bender snickered.

"Hush, you," Keira chuckled, shaking her head and glancing over at Tanner and found the tom trying to conceal his blush as much as she was.

"It's not nice to tease adults about who they like." Tanner told the kits. "We only just met."

"And keep in mind who can always have you running drills once we get home," Keira reminded Bender with a bit of a smirk.

"Yes, Mamma." Bender went submissive almost instantly, his head ducked down. "It's nice to see you smile, though."

"It's not that rare a sight, you little scamp," she chuckled, squeezing his shoulder lightly.

"Yeah, but it is when someone else is causing it." He grinned up at her and nuzzled her side. "I like it when you smile like that."

"Well thank you," she chuckled as they crossed the line from Tanner's property to her own, the harvester droid working out in the field to plant a newly cleared patch.

"I'm pleased you approve of me." Tanner bowed slightly to the kitten without upsetting his support of Keira.

"Mother does, so I do." He said simply. "Besides, you're raising Tina. You can't be that bad."

"Blunt is one thing I've never managed to teach him not to be," Keira chuckled. "Come on, let's get inside and send word to his other friends that they don't need to pull the militia together."

"Yes, there's going to be quite a bit of excitement when everyone gets home." Tanner nodded more seriously as they reached her small home. The building was fairly typical of the area; built out of the plentiful bimiza wood that had to be cleared away before a farm could be started, tastefully appointed but not ostentatious. Keira moved over to the small communications station in the corner of the front room, keying up a broadcast to all the area farms.

The Kath Hounds have been dealt with," she explained. "There were three, typical pack, probably no more in the area. Keep an eye out all the same; might want to make sure your perimeter fences are up tonight." She sent the message, setting the mouthpiece down and leaving it on so she could hear if anybody asked questions.

"Bender, why don't you and Tina go make sure the guest rooms are set up?" She suggested. "I think she and Tanner will be staying over for a night or two?" She said, looking at Tanner for confirmation.

"I would be delighted to, Keira." He smiled warmly. "I'll just need to send a message to my farm letting everyone know where we are."

"The console's all yours," she smiled as the two kits ran off, giggling, presumably to go make sure everything was set up. "Somehow, I have a feeling those rooms won't be touched at all for a while."

"Well it is only mid afternoon." He smiled a bit shyly and escaped further comment by calling his farm.

She waited until he was done explaining everything, taking the time to go into the kitchen and pour something for each of them to drink. She also took the opportunity to put her lightsaber away, grateful he hadn't asked anything about it yet. If she was incredibly lucky he hadn't seen it, or didn't know what it was. This was a backwater enough world that he might know what one was, but not what it looked like unlit.

Fortunately, her hand still worked for holding things, so she took the two glasses of juice in, setting one down for him before taking a drink, letting him finish his call.

"Thank you," he smiled as he picked up the juice. "Why don't you lie down, and I'll see about something for dinner after all that excitement?"

"I'm not that injured," she smiled. "Maybe we can talk a little while you cook? Get to know each other?"

"Sure," Tanner nodded. "Which way to the kitchen?"

"This way," she said easily, showing him the way into the other room, the larder and cooler fairly well stocked. "Hope there isn't going to be any trouble from your spending a few days over here?"

"Not at all." He began a quick inventory as he planned a meal a little nicer than she might have most nights. "My older brother is delighted for the chance to run things for a few days. It's for a good reason too."

"Just checking," she smiled. "If you don't mind my asking, why are you bringing up Tina?"

"Her mother died giving birth to her, we never did find out who the sire was." His voice hardened a bit with a visceral hatred that Keira could easily imagine why. "It was Milla's choice that I raise her."

"I'm sorry," she said softly, realizing what had probably been the circumstances. "Somebody attacked her, didn't they?"

"Yes." He nodded slightly, pausing as a pulled a heavy knife out, setting it on the counter as he calmed down. "We try not to bring it up to Tina."

"I understand," she nodded. "And I won't. I didn't know, or I wouldn't have brought it up. She's a good kit though; you've raised her well."

"Thank you," he smiled softly as he pulled himself together. "Your turn. What happened to Bender's father?"

"I have no idea," she admitted. "He's adopted ... he doesn't know it, but he's never asked either. I found him just a few hours after he was born on a backwater world that I don't think anybody's ever really named. Slavers were hunting for him, something about being paid by hunters to bring in kits," she growled, her fur bristling again at the thought.

"Maybe some day things like that won't happen anymore." Tanner shuddered. "That's just sick."

"Well it won't happen with those slavers anymore," she said, a tone of satisfaction in her voice as her tail twitched beneath the table. "At any rate, I used their ship to come here with him and start the farm ... and that's the story, basically."

"At least it ended fairly well." He nodded and began to chop vegetables. "And I think we started with our most painful stories. Should be easier from here on out."

"We can certainly hope so," she smiled. "So, how about a happier one on your part? Something we can chat about over dinner later, maybe?"

"Not much to tell, really." He admitted a bit sheepishly. "I'm the youngest of the family, but the one who loved the farm. My folks and family saved for years to send me to Garqi Ag. I graduated in three years and came back with a lot of ideas on how to make the farm more efficient. I've been running it since."

"You went to Ag?" She asked with a smile. "I took a class or two there, but never managed to get in for the long haul...." She said, the two of them settling into easy small-talk as he started to make dinner.

Tina plopped down on the bed she and Bender had just finished clearing up in one of the slightly cluttered guest rooms of the house.

"So," she giggled. "You think our folks like each other too?" She asked, looking over at him.

"Oh, yeah." He grinned back mischievously and jumped onto the bed with her. "Mamma sure likes him. She's never taken to anyone like that before."

"Daddy hasn't either, as far as I know," Tina agreed. "There've been a few girls he'd talk to or have over for dinner, but I think that was just because Gramma was hassling him."

"She wants more grandkits?" He guessed.

"Something like that," she nodded. "Says something about it not being right for him to be running the farm by himself," she said with a shrug. "A little old fashioned sometimes, but I think it'd be nice to have a Mom again."

"It is nice having a Mom." He nodded with a glanced towards where his was despite the walls between them. "I've never had a Dad before."

"I never knew my first one, or my Mom really," Tina admitted. "So I don't really know what it's like either ... but it'd be nice having two parents like the others, don't you think?"

"I think so." He nodded and relaxed back on the relatively big bed and let his extra senses wander as they wished. "It's really nice to see Mamma like this. I know she's lonely sometimes, even if she won't admit it. I like your Dad too, so far. He feels like a good person."

"He is," Tina said cheerfully. "He's a good Dad, I think, even if I do wish he's let me stay out later," she giggled. "But he's nice... if your Mom hadn't gotten there first, he'd have come to save us."

"He came prepared for it." Bender nodded. "And to help. Quick wits, good sense. Good traits for a sire, a mate, and a Dad."

"There you go, talking like one of the grown-ups again," Tina giggled. "So, how long you think it'll take?"

"Bad habit." He shrugged a bit sheepishly, then considered the question. "I think Mom won't take a week. I'm not so sure about your Dad. He seems a bit shy sometimes."

"I think he just worries too much about whether or not somebody really likes him," Tina mused, thinking about it. "It's kinda silly, I think."

"Yeah," he murmured thoughtfully. "Maybe he got hurt before, by being too willing."

"Maybe," Tina mused. "He doesn't talk about it too much, and I don't ask. He seems happy enough ... but it would be nice if he could be happy with your Mom too."

"If it's as good as it seems, they'll get together." He grinned mischievously. "Mamma'll make sure of it."

"And if she doesn't, maybe we can," Tina grinned back. "We'll give her a little time to do it herself though," she winked.

"If we don't, we'll be cleaning out harvesters and anything else nasty she can find for weeks." He snickered, then flicked his ears forward. "I think dinner's about ready."

"Great," Tina grinned, bouncing off the bed. "Dad cooks great, so let's go find out!"

"That's a plus." Bender grinned and chased after her. "Some variety in who cooks."

"Always a good thing," Tina giggled as they hurried out to eat.

"Okay, it's time for you kits to be off to bed," Keira smiled after dinner, Bender and Tina watching a holo-vid while their parents talked. "It's past your bedtime."

"Ah, Mamma ..."

"You know better than that." She actually laughed. "Scoot, the both of you."

"Yes, Mamma." Bender nodded seriously, then turned to Tina. "Come on. I think it's time for the adult stuff."

"No, it's just time for little kittens to go to bed so they won't be tired all day tomorrow," Keira chuckled. "Now get going, I'll be checking on the both of you in ten minutes, and I expect you both to be in your beds in your separate rooms."

"Yes, Mamma." He nodded with a teasing grin and padded off with Tina in tow.

"Those two are going to be hellions together." Tanner chuckled softly.

"And we'll love 'em all the more for it," Keira smiled. "Well, I should probably let you get to bed too. You'll probably want to check on how things are going back at your place in the morning...."

"That's for the morning," he stood and offered her a hand up. "Tonight, I think we could both stand to have a warm bed and a bit of company to snuggle with."

She ducked her head slightly, blushing as she stood.

"I think I'd like that, as long as you don't mind keeping it to snuggling," she smiled and received a light kiss on the forehead.

"It's all I want tonight, and for a while yet." Tanner gently caressed her jaw. "You are a lovely woman, Keira, and a wonderful mother from what I've seen. I do like you. It's just not my style to get to the sex so quickly."

"Thank you, and that's fine for me," she smiled, taking his hand in her good one. "To be honest, I've never really done any of this, so I don't want to rush things either."

"No one has even been close to you?" He raised an eyebrow. "I am honored I am allowed in so quickly."

"There hasn't been anybody who interested me since I took Bender in," she admitted. "And before that, I wasn't exactly allowed to date. You're... special," she said, smiling shyly.

"Why don't we go to bed and rest before we have another round of distressing admissions?" Tanner offered gently, sensing that they were about to get into some serious history. "It will wait until morning and breakfast. I intend to still be here."

"That sounds good to me," she nodded, grateful to have any excuse not to explain where she'd been before finding Bender. At least his family had been on Garqi for generations; she didn't have to worry about explaining too much of some of what she'd done yet. "Come on, I'll show you to my room," she said, nodding over her shoulder in the direction of it and felt his arm wrap around her waist as he walked with her.

"Good." He purred softly. "There has been enough excitement and pain for one day."

"Even if it was totally worth it," she agreed, purring softly on her own as they walked into her room, the bed just large enough for the two of them to snuggle close on. "Hope that's large enough," she said with a bit of a blush. "I don't usually have company sharing it with me."

"If it's too tight for you, I can sleep in the guest room." He smiled slightly and kissed her forehead. "It looks find to me." He added and pulled his heavy boots off.

"Only one way to find out for sure," she pointed out with a smile, sitting down and working with her good hand to start undressing, starting with her own boots. She'd have to do some healing work over night to get her arm back in shape; waiting for things to heal on their own was irritatingly awkward.

"I can help with that, if you wait a minute." Tanner offered with a gentle chuckle.

"All right," she chuckled, still managing to get one of her boots off on her own. "I'm trying not to inconvenience you too much," she winked.

"As if getting some of your clothing off would be an inconvenience." He laughed easily and pulled his loose cotton shirt off to be dropped on top of his socks and boots. "Now ... how much comes off?"

"I'll need some help with my shirt and what's on my feet, but I'll take care of the rest, and get into my nightgown on my own," she chuckled, ducking her head slightly as he knelt to help with her other boot. "Thanks again."

"You are welcome," Tanner smiled and easily pulled her other boot off, then helped with her shirt, careful not to put his hands anywhere too forward, though his eyes roamed freely across her half concealed breasts and bare fur.

"Like what you see?" She asked as he reached down to pull her socks off, only her bra concealing her upper body from him, her light grey fur and darker stripes fluffing out a bit as she shook it out briefly.

"Yes," he caught his breath, abruptly aware that he'd only had himself for company for some time. "You are very attractive, Keira."

"Thank you," she smiled. "I try to keep in shape. You're very handsome yourself," she added, not hesitating to get a look at his own dark brown patterns on an earthen-red base as he stood back up. The tightly packed muscles that rippled across his chest and arms wasn't lost on her either. It was the same kind of musculature she had; the kind developed and maintained by hard work, not gym time.

"You do a fine job." Tanner focused on calming himself down. It simply would not do to get into bed with a hard-on. It was bad enough she could probably smell his interest already.

"I should probably finish changing on my own now," she smiled. "I'll let you know when I'm done?"

"Yes, of course." He managed not to stammer and quickly slipped from her bedroom to stand outside with his back turned.

She reached over to close the door with a smile, working her way out of the rest of her clothes with relatively little trouble. She picked up her things, putting them into the laundry. She stretched her slender, leanly-muscled body out, enjoying a brief moment of the freedom she felt when she could strip down completely. That done, she opened the closet, pulled out a nightgown that would conceal her body, though the light pink garment was lacy and attractive in a way few other of her clothes were. She'd bought it on a whim just a few months earlier, and quietly been berating herself for wasting the money on it since... though now, it seemed like it might not have been a bad choice.

Working her way back into it, she smoothed it out, gingerly working her injured arm through the sleeve before opening the door again.

"Ready," she told Tanner shyly, wondering how he'd react to it.

"Wow," he murmured deep in his throat, his attempts to calm himself down now a lost cause. "I never thought you'd have something like that."

Keira blushed, ducking her head a little more. "You like it?" She asked him. "To be honest, I almost didn't," she added with a bit of a chuckle, stepping back to let him back into the room.

"Yes, I like it," he smiled warmly and brushed her cheek. "Shall we try to get some sleep, before you tempt this poor tom into misbehaving?"

"If I have to, I can make sure you behave," she winked, pressing lightly into his touch. "But yeah, sleep would be a good idea," she added, stepping around to the other side of the bed and flipping the covers down so they could climb in.

Tanner only nodded and slipped under the light blankets, one arm under a pillow as he settled on his side to hold her. "Or do you prefer to lay flat?"

"This is good," she smiled, climbing into the bed and his arms, slipping her good arm under his firmly muscled body as she inhaled his scent deeply. "This is good," she murmured.

"Yes, it is." Tanner murmured and gently stroked her back as they drifted off to sleep.

Keira was still purring softly when she woke up the next morning, snuggled up close to the firm, warm body against hers. She didn't open her eyes for a few minutes at first; she didn't particularly want to admit that it was time to get up, and that she would have to get out of a bed that was more comfortable than it had been in years. But she finally did when she placed the particularly firm pressure against her thigh as belonging to Tanner.

"Just his body reacting," she reminded herself, still shifting back a bit in bed, slipping out from under his arm and the covers before going to grab a change of clothes. She needed to get breakfast going before everybody woke up ... and to get the bandages off her arm. It felt like it was fine, and she didn't particularly want to impose on Tanner any more than she already was.

A few minutes to change, and she was wearing her usual loose tunic and slacks, her bandages discarded in the waste bin in the bathroom. Her arm was in perfect shape again; the blood was washed away and her visible fur reasonably well brushed out. She just hoped they'd buy her story that she healed quickly. In the meantime, she would be trying not to overestimate how much to make for twice as many people having breakfast, one of them probably with an appetite well beyond hers or Bender's.

She began to mix the batter for simple pancakes, her mind still going over her story to make the lies as few and minor as possible when a pair of strong arms wrapped around her waist.

"Morning, beautiful." Tanner nuzzled her light brown hair. "You heal fast."

"Yeah, I do," she smiled, pressing back into him slightly, grateful that he seemed to be picking up on her story already. "Guess the bite wasn't as bad as I thought it was either. So, how're you doing? Sleep well?" She poured some of the batter into the hot pan, starting to cook even as she snuggled back against the warm, strong body that felt so very good against hers.

"Very well," he smiled. "I hope you don't mind that I used your brush. I look terrible in the morning."

"I don't mind at all," she smiled, shifting to lean her head back and nuzzle his chin lightly. "Last night was good," she murmured softly, oil sizzling in the hot pan.

"Yes," he licked her cheek. "The first of many, I hope."

"Sounds good to me," she smiled. "Though we'll have to come up with some reason for it that won't make people suspicious." She kissed his chin softly. "At least we've got a few days you can be keeping an eye on things to make sure my arm's healed right," she winked.

"Do you really want it a secret?" He looked down at her with a mixture of concern and disappointment.

"Mmm ... that we're together, no," she smiled, reaching up to brush his cheek lightly, a touch he leaned into. "I just don't think we want to have people thinking that we're going faster than we are, y'know?"

"No," he admitted. "Though we won't have to worry about my family. Mother thinks I should have a kit or two by now." He chuckled weakly. "And our kits are going to do more damage to the image of us taking it slow than we ever could."

"Mmm ... I can have a few words with Bender, to make sure he doesn't do too much gossiping, but let's face it, it's going to be all over Garqi before too long," Keira said easily. "I just want to be sure they don't think we're trying to have more kits just yet," she winked.

"True," he chuckled lightly. "Speaking of our little terrors ...."

"Hi Mamma!" Bender called out as he entered the kitchen.

"Hi Dad!" Tami grinned to see her father holding Keira while she cooked.

"Pancakes are better than any alarm clock," Keira smirked slightly, turning over the one in the pan before it burned. "Breakfast will be ready in just a little bit kits, so go wash up."

"Yes, Mamma." Bender grinned and pulled Tina towards the public bathroom. "Momma's a great cook too."

"That was effective." Tanner chuckled and claimed a light, fleeting kiss.

"I know my kit," she smiled, returning the kiss. "Do you mind staying around a couple more days, even if my arm doesn't really need it anymore?"

"I would like to," he agreed and caressed her cheek. "Maybe next week you can come meet my kin?"

"Sounds good to me," she smiled, purring softly at the affectionate touch. "Hope they approve."

"Mother will approve of anyone that can be talked into bearing a kit or six." He chuckled. "You're female and feline, and I like you. That's all she'll care about. That you're a farmer is a major plus. You won't be scared off by the work involved like a couple prospects my older brothers have brought."

"They prefer to play matchmaker with city girls from Pesktda, hmm?" Keira chuckled. "I've never been scared of hard work; if I was, I probably wouldn't have taken Bender in in the first place. As for kits ... that'd be nice, I think," she admitted, kissing him again lightly.

"It's a discussion for a few years yet, I think. At least any serious discussion." He smiled and brushed her light brown hair back out of her face. "Better pay attention to breakfast though."

"Oops!" Keira giggled, grabbing the pan and slipping the well-done pancake off onto a plate before it burned. "Mind helping with the eggs part of things while I get the others going?"

"Not at all." Tanner chuckled and picked out a dozen eggs from a basket on the counter. "Rdava eggs?" He raised an eyebrow. "You've managed to tame them?"

"Kind of," she explained. "We have a small colony nesting in the top of the barn, I've been working on feeding them for the past few years, and they're beginning to accept it, even with the occasional harvesting of eggs and birds. It's a lot easier than hunting them without a swoop."

"No doubt," he nodded and grabbed a large pan for the eggs. "Especially on your own. You're quite resourceful."

"Well, you know how it is," she chuckled. "I don't know if you guys raise livestock on your farm, but this place is small enough that it mostly makes ends meet and a little more. Not really enough to invest in raising livestock too."

"We do, though it's mostly for our own use." He nodded and began to crack eggs into the hot pan. "But there are almost thirty of us between five living generations. A lot of hands to make it work, and a lot of years on that land to get to know it. Even have our own cemetery in a plot near the main buildings."

"And a lot of land to work with," she nodded. "Almost feel like an amateur next to it," she chuckled slightly, serving up the next pancakes.

"Every empire starts with a single person." He smiled warmly at her. "Our farm was founded by two people on twenty acres. It's just had three centuries to grow."

"That will help," she chuckled, smiling back at him as she finished the pancakes and went to pull some bacon out of the fridge. "And you're taking over now?"

"Sort of," he nodded and slid the first round of cooked eggs onto a plate. "I run a lot of the day to day stuff, but it's still Mother's. Probably for a couple more decades. She's still a strong woman."

"Good to know," Keira smiled as she tended the meat cured strips. "I've been learning a lot about how important family is over the past few years."

"A kit will do that for you." Tanner smiled warmly at memories of his own as the kits came back into the room.

"Smells good, Mamma." Bender licked his whiskers eagerly.

"I hope it does," she chuckled. "Why don't you and Tina set the table and get out the milk and juice, we'll have the rest of the food ready in just a couple minutes?" She asked, turning the bacon in the pan.

"Yes, Mamma." Bender nodded and quickly got plates and silverware for four before hurrying into the dinning room to set the table.

"One lass kiss before we have to behave." Tanner murmured and claimed it. Keira pressed into this one, letting it linger for the few moments they had before she pulled back with a bit of a blush to her cheeks.

"Just have to behave for the day now," she smiled, serving up the rest of the food and getting ready to take it out for the hungry kittens.

On The Road Again 6: Dreams of Lovers

NC-17 for M/F
Het Level is High
Slash Level is
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

45 KB, Story is Complete, Series is Closed-Unfinished
Written November 26, 2002 by Rauhnee Ranshanka, Todd McCall, Vorex

Setting: Biker Mice from Mars, Mystera

Primary Races: Canine, Martian Mice

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Fantasy, Romance

Pairings: Vinnie/F/F

Blurb: Checking back in with Vinnie on Mystera, and it's not a good week for him, though he has only himself to blaim.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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