Real Chakats Don't Need Instructions

By Eric Kern  (a.k.a. Kathris)

Windrider and Firecloud had slept in a big pile of pillows, and they had just had the best night's sleep in their lives, or it seemed that way. Windrider had just started to wake up, and stirred with an ever so slight movement in hir tail. "Ah think ah'm getting thuh hang uf thiss...." Chakat Firecloud smiled, and lazily looked at hir denmate, and closest friend.

Firecloud stood up, and looked out the skylight, to see what time of day it was. "Good morning, my friend." Shi smiled and grinned at hir soon-to-be mate, as shi eagerly looked forward to the time when they would join together in a union. "I bet you're pretty hungry, and for more than just food." Firecloud giggled and smiled at hir friend, lying on the sheets and pillows provided. Windrider, a.k.a. Terry, tried to stand up, but wobbled as shi got to all four feet. Carefully testing hir limits once again, Windrider moved around the room in circles. "You look silly doing that." Firecloud smiled, and gave a supportive grin while she watched hir denmate keep moving. Shi seemed to be developing a rhythm to hir motions, and actually appeared to be moving normally now.

Chakat Windrider giggled and stood triumphantly. "Ah have masturred walking... speech is within mah grasp!" Shi seemed very confident, and Firecloud intended to support hir in every way. Firecloud couldn't help but find Windrider's confidence a little humorous, and let out a tiny chuckle. "Ah do... ah'm talking more normally now..."

"I'm surprised you're adapting so quickly, it's pretty impressive. I don't know if I'd be able to do what you've done. I mean, you've learned a whole new way of moving, and a new mouth structure... it'll be even more interesting to see how you handle your hormones." Chakat Firecloud giggled and held hir chest to contain hirself at that thought. Windrider shrugged it off and figured shi'd deal with it as it came along. After all, what else could shi do?

"Professor Oceanwalker will probably be coming along to check on us in a while, but it's still early. I have a feeling we've got some time before they come in to see how you're doing."

Chakat Firecloud ran hir eyes over hir denmate, and the two make eye contact. "Ah'm feeling fine, and I think I'll be able to go to the hotel today..." Windrider smiled and looked at hir companion. "I hope we can. I don't like feeling confined, but I know it's just for my health." Windrider grinned, being proud of hir improved speech, and did a little stretching. There was a knock on the door, and Firecloud moved to open it up.

*        *        *

Professor Oceanwalker came in, dressed in hir standard lab attire. Shi sipped a cup of coffee, and put the mug down on the floor. Shi took off hir glasses, and smiled at the occupants of the room. "How are we feeling this morning, Mr. Gray?" Shi smiled at the tiger-striped chakat, and grinned at Chakat Firecloud. Windrider shrugged, and started to talk.

"I'm feeling fine, Professor. I'm going by Chakat Windrider now, if you don't mind." The professor nodded, and gave him a look that signified shi wanted more information than that. "I haven't noticed any side effects, and my speech is vastly improved. I seem to have figured out how to walk around, and I think I may soon be ready for more... advanced things." Professor Oceanwalker smirked at the implication, and continued to talk when Windrider had finished.

"That's wonderful. All of your data and other such information seem to be checking out. I think you're just fine. We'll keep in touch with you, and you can leave tonight. Chakat Firecloud, if anything happens after you leave the building tonight, you let me know. Now, Windrider, let's just make sure everything is normal. Follow me, and I'll take you to get the last series of tests, and then we can feed you some lunch." Both chakats smiled at the thought of food, and they followed Professor Oceanwalker as she walked down the hall to the medical lab with the transporter in the room.

*        *        *

Chakat Windrider and Firecloud both stood next to each other, quietly watching Professor Oceanwalker. Shi took some notes, reviewed a handful of charts and diagrams, and then ran a scanner over Windrider. "I think that's all I need. I'll use the sensor data to make sure you're totally healthy and all that. If you feel strange, or seem to be sick, be sure to tell me. I'll be available if you need me. We've gone over the data, checked your readings, and run every practical test. Your mind seems to be adapting well. All that's left is to see how your hormones affect you. You can just do that in the comfort of your hotel room. Here's a form for you to fill out, Shir Firecloud. Keep a record of anything odd that happens, and just a general status report. If everything is perfect in a few days, then you can just head off to anywhere. Is that all right with you?" Professor Oceanwalker looked up, and took a long breath.

"Yeah, I got it all. I'll fill out the form as diligently as possible. So, I guess I'll take hir to the hotel after we get some lunch." Firecloud took the form and held on to it.

Professor Oceanwalker took the hint, and grinned. "You guys are just like me. You think with your stomach half the time. You can go the cafeteria in a few hours. For now, you can loiter around in your room." Professor Oceanwalker shrugged, and checked hir watch. "They don't serve any lunch for another three hours. It's still early morning." Chakat Firecloud sighed, and nodded.

"I guess we'll hang out there. My denmate and I can think of ways to entertain each other." Chakat Firecloud led the way, as Windrider trailed behind. Professor Oceanwalker moved off to take care of other things, as she had quite a few things to do.

*        *        *

They walked back into the room, and looked at the walls. It was a quiet, empty room, except for the sheets on the floor. Windrider smiled, and watched hir denmate as shi closed the door and locked it. Firecloud grinned, and shi finally opened hir mouth. "You know, I'm at the height of my male cycle... would you like to see the benefits of your new chakat anatomy?"

Windrider got a naughty smile and moved hir tail aside, lowering the front section of hir body, and leaving hir tail and back end in the air. Firecloud grinned, and whispered to hir companion. "Now you'll find out why they call me Firecloud." Shi breathed deeply as shi felt hir penis slip free from its sheath, and hang in the air. Windrider found hirself aroused at this, and started to purr. Firecloud mounted hir companion, and both let out a gasp at the sudden penetration. The two chakats moved together, bucking their hips and letting go of their sexual inhibitions. Windrider purred in pleasure, and felt hir female reproductive organs reacting for the first time. Shi groaned in pleasure as shi felt hir muscles contract around Firecloud's member. "This is amazing..." Windrider smiled at hir mate, and giggled lightly.

Firecloud gave hir a lecherous grin and smiled. "If you think that's incredible, let's try this..." Shi placed hir handpaws around Windrider's sheath, moving hir handpaws around hir member, and urging it from its own safe place. Windrider breathed quickly, totally unprepared for the pleasure of both hir male and female organs at the same time. Firecloud grunted as shi continued to thrust, and Windrider felt hir body approaching male orgasm. The two chakats grunted in erotic pleasure as they felt their bodies climax, and they laid there interconnected, as they felt their orgasms wind down. The two laid on their sides, feeling the warmth of each other's bodies.

"What was that? I felt, something... I don't know what I felt, but it sure felt good. I felt my entire body just shiver with pleasure, and I spasmed. It was amazing, but now I'm so weak...." Firecloud shifted hir body, withdrawing from hir mate. Windrider gasped at the feeling

"That, my mate, was a double orgasm. Both sets of plumbing went off in you at the same time. I bet you had quite an experience. It's the ultimate in sexual technology." Firecloud giggled, and she undid hir hair. The tiger-striped chakat stood up, hir now limp member sliding back to its former location. Windrider laid there weakly, smiling at hir mate. "Aren't you glad you became a chakat?"

"Absolutely. I've never felt anything that intense. I'm proud to be your mate, my companion." Windrider smiled, and Firecloud could do nothing but blush. It was barely visible through hir fur, but both could sense the feelings of the other. Windrider smiled and stood up to hir full height. "Nice to know that my reproductive organs work." Firecloud giggled, and put hir arm around hir mate's shoulder. "Should we report that to Professor Oceanwalker?"

Firecloud gave hir mate a look, and Windrider just shrugged. Shi had been half joking and half serious, but dismissed the thought. They unlocked the door, and lounged in silence. Having expressed their love physically, they now needed a few hours rest.

*        *        *

The pair walked to the cafeteria to get a bite to eat. Professor Oceanwalker met them there, and shi had a variety of food on a long table just for Windrider to sample. "I didn't know how hir chakat tastebuds would react, so I brought a bunch of everything. Feel free to try some. I'll read over the form I had you fill out. You did complete it, didn't you?" Firecloud handed over the completed form, and the two began to eat. Windrider especially liked hamburgers, and it seemed like shi had eaten four or five before shi moved on to other foods. Shi didn't care for salads, but shi liked breads, and shi had a taste for vegetables. Firecloud just had some potatoes and some native dishes, and then sat by hirself as shi watched Windrider finish eating. After Windrider was done, she rubbed hir tummy, and sat down near hir mate.

"That was intensely good food... I don't think I've ever eaten so much in my life. It must be the bigger chakat body. I'm glad to know I still like burgers, though. I don't think I'd be able to live without them."

Windrider waved hir tail contently, and grinned at hir companion. "I don't think I've had that particular food. Maybe I'll try it when I'm not so full."

Firecloud giggled, and smiled at Windrider. Professor Oceanwalker came in and held a clipboard with some papers on it.

"You check out fine, and all your tests that we took today seem to reflect that. All the forms are in order, and just about everything we've seen based on sensor data, blood tests, and observation indicate you're perfectly fine. You can go home to your hotel, and if anything happens, you can contact me on the emergency channel. If nothing happens, then you're free to never contact me again. I hope you two will be happy, and I wish you luck. I'll see you around. Excuse me." Professor Oceanwalker trotted off, and left Windrider and Firecloud alone.

"Shall we go to our hotel, and finish relaxing before we keep touring Chakona?" Firecloud asked. Hir companion nodded, and the two trotted off. Firecloud led the way, and shi held the door open to the hotel lobby. They rode up the elevator, and went to their room. Shi unlocked the room, and the two went inside to the average-sized hotel suite. Windrider turned on the lamp, and warmed the room temperature a few degrees.

*        *        *

The two had spent a little time in silence, just enjoying each others company. Firecloud finally spoke up, and held out some papers. "We should figure out where we're going next. We've still got a lot of planet to cover for when we're out of the waiting period, and we can go see my parents."

Windrider smiled, and looked at the brochures and info packets. "It seems you just did. We'll go visit your parents in the country. I'd like to see how they'll react." Shi grinned, and twisted hir hair in hir fingers. "Besides, we owe them a visit. After we've finished our obligation to Professor Oceanwalker, then we'll let them know we're coming."

"Actually, I'd like to surprise them. That way we can get the full effect. I bet their jaws will drop straight to the floor." Firecloud cracked another smile, and then resumed hir neutral expression.

"They might not believe us... After all, I don't know how common knowledge of this technology is. It was a clinical trial, after all. Then again, science fiction isn't that far from science fact nowadays. How gullible are your parents?"

Windrider smiled, remembering how easily shi fooled hir parents when shi was a little human boy. Or maybe it was that they just made hir think shi fooled them.

Firecloud thought for a moment, and then took a deep breath. "I think they'll believe us with a little time. I couldn't get my mother to believe I didn't steal the cookies from the cookie jar." Shi giggled and pictured hirself as a young chakat, committing the act of pastry thievery.

"Did you steal the cookies?" Windrider eyed hir companion.

"Of course I did. It didn't stop me from trying to fool my parents... or them for grounding me all that weekend. I was allowed one act of childish naughtiness a year, and I'd used it up months before." Firecloud smiled, having envisioned all the things shi had done as a child, and especially the ones shi got caught for. Shi pulled the tail of another chakat in hir class when shi was young, and a few times shi cheated when playing cards with Terry, but shi'd never tell him about that. Firecloud wasn't a bad chakat, shi was just acting hir age. Energetic, enthusiastic, and shi spoke hir mind at the worst times. A few times shi had gotten sent to bed without any dessert after hir supper as a direct result, but hir parents usually forgave hir after a few hours.

"I wonder what you've done to get you in so much trouble." Windrider giggled at hir mate, and smiled.

"I never did anything. My way of doing things just stepped on a few toes over the months and years of my childhood. I bet you were the same." Firecloud smiled, and waved hir tail gingerly in the air.

Windrider held the back of hir neck with hir right hand, and smiled. "I'd rather not say anything about my exploits. Let me just tell you that my mom had quite a few gray hairs from me." Shi giggled, and then made a face. "Well, we took care of our hunger, both in food and other regards, so I suppose we should get rid of my pants... I don't think I'll need to carry these in my suitcase. After all, when will I need human pants again?" Windrider sorted hir clothes, and kept the shirts, putting them back in the suitcase. "That takes care of that. We can give these pants to someone who can use them. As for the shirts, I don't mind being naked as a chakat, but I know that some of the more prudish people we'll encounter may prefer I cover myself."

Firecloud smiled, and giggled. "They might, but I have to admit that I don't mind seeing you naked. Your tiger fur is rather attractive. If you don't want to cover yourself in front of me, you don't have to. I won't object." Windrider nodded at hir denmate, and didn't bother to put on one of the shirts shi had just folded. Shi put the pants in a pile, along with the underwear and socks, and put it in a bag. Shi would give them to someone who needed them later. The two chakats saw the suitcase was much lighter now, and that it was half full now that Terry's pants and underwear and such were gone. "Well, it's less for us to carry."

"Ah, pants. Oh well. I suppose I'll get used to feeling the wind run over my entire body." Shi blinked, and sighed.

"That's not a bad thing from where I'm standing." Firecloud seemed pleased with the view, and the next few days passed without much to report. They delivered their final report to Professor Oceanwalker, and left the pants and such with hir. The two headed off, and took a flight to Firecloud's kittenhood home. They landed at the local airport, and got off the small cruiser.

*        *        *

"It's nice to finally be home. I haven't been back in a while. Mom and dad will be surprised." Firecloud led the way, and saw in the distance a nicely sized house in the country. The two walked up to the porch, and Firecloud knocked on the door. "Hello? Mom? Dad? Are you two home?" Shi peered in the window, and then through the glass on the door. A chakat that looked like a lioness came to the door and opened it up. Shi was taller than Firecloud by a few inches, but shi had hir eyes.

"Hello, honey. It's nice to see you back... I thought Terry was going to be with you." Hir eyes turned to the tiger striped chakat, who seemed to be about the same age as Firecloud. "Do I know you, Shir... uh, what is your name?"

Windrider giggled and spoke up. "It's me, ma'am. I'm Terry, but I go by Windrider now."

The elder chakat gave hir a look, and then ran hir eyes over the new arrival. "Uh, dear? Would you help me out? I'm totally confused. Are you trying to play a prank on me?" Firecloud's mother sighed, and breathed in deeply.

Firecloud winked at hir mother and smiled. "Yes, this is Terry. He and I were in Amistad. We found a way for him to become a chakat, so we could be together. Now that shi's a chakat, we've become denmates, and we've made love." Firecloud twiddled hir thumbs for a moment, and stared at hir mother. "Can we come in, or shall we just stand in the doorway for a few more hours?" Hir mother blushed, and then shook hir head to clear hir thoughts.

"Of course, honey. Come on in." Shi moved aside, then Firecloud entered first, followed immediately after by Windrider. Firecloud's mother checked out Terry as a chakat, but still seemed to have a little uncertainty as to if shi really believed their story right away. "Can I ask you a few questions? I have to make sure. I mean, I'm sure it's possible, but it's one of those you gotta see it to believe it kind of things."

Windrider nodded and laid down on a lounging pillow. "I'll be sure to answer whatever I can. Just remember, I'm pretty good."

Firecloud's mother considered this, and shi was a chakat that liked puzzles and questioning games. Shi figured shi'd try with hir first test. "I know that Firecloud could've filled you in on just about anything, but let's start with the basics, then something only we would know. Now, what's my name?" Firecloud's mother knew this was something Firecloud could have told this chakat, but Terry wouldn't hesitate at all.

In a second, Windrider had a reply. "Shir Cloudstar. Your mate is Shir Firestorm, hence your child's name." Cloudstar blushed, and smiled at this. Shi had passed the first test, but that was easy. Now shi'd try something that wouldn't be common knowledge to both hir and Firecloud.

"What did I catch you doing when I left you alone in my kitchen the last time you were here? Firecloud was with hir other friends, so shi couldn't have known." Cloudstar awaited Windrider's reply.

The chakat thought for a moment, as it had been a long time. "I was throwing baseballs up at the kitchen ceiling fan to get a hit. I broke one of the windows." Windrider blushed, and shi looked at hir host, and then hir companion. Firecloud gave hir a look, and then started giggling.

"So that's why my parents had to fix that glass." Firecloud smiled, and sighed.

"Yeh. I guess that's enough for now. I'll take your word for it." Cloudstar smiled and threw hir hands up in surrender. Shi'd figured that there was no way for hir to know for certain, and just ignored it. Cloudstar knew hir child wouldn't lie to hir, so shi took it in stride. "You look good, for a chakat. Are you enjoying your body?" Firecloud gave hir mother a look of morbid embarrassment at that sentence, and shi covered hir face in hir hands. "What I meant was, is Terry enjoying being a chakat? I didn't mean if shi was enjoying hirself. Although I wouldn't be surprised or shocked, but I'll stop while I'm ahead."

"Good idea, mom." Firecloud tried to suppress hir embarrassment at hir mother's words, and shi tried to change the subject to anything else. "Where is dad, anyway? Isn't shi home?"

"No, shi's been travelling for a little while, and shi'll be back at the end of the month."

Firecloud sighed. "Then I guess we'll have to come back later... we can only stay for a few days." Windrider sighed, and looked at hir mate. Firecloud breathed in, and then picked up where shi left off. "Windrider says that because we wanted to tour Chakona, but we've still got quite a long way to go. Mom, do you have any of your homemade little treats?"

Cloudstar thought for a moment, and then shook hir head no. "I wasn't expecting company, so I didn't bake anything. Whenever you're not home, I usually just bake around the holidays." Cloudstar sighed and laid down on the lounging pillows hirself. "I'll find something to make later."

Windrider put hir hand on Cloudstar's shoulder. "You don't have to do that. Firecloud and I can manage without your cookies."

"No we can't." Firecloud covered Windrider's mouth, and then shi shook hir head so hir mate would remove hir hand. Firecloud put hir hands down and smiled, and gave hir mother a look. "Please? I've been looking forward to it for months."

Cloudstar gave hir daughter a responsive look to hir daughter's begging eyes, and sighed. "I'll see what I can do, but only for you two. I could never say no when you guys asked me. Do you want me to shape them like I used to?"

"Absolutely. Make little gingerbread chakats. It's all about the nostalgia." Firecloud smiled, and for a moment got lost in a daydream about how things were when shi and Terry were little. Windrider took the opportunity to sneak closer to hir mate, and shi gently felt hir body touch hir mates. Cloudstar tried not to notice, and looked at hir child and hir new mate.

"I didn't think that you two felt that way about each other." Firecloud's mother smiled, and grinned as she saw the two cuddle each other.

"It took me a while to figure it out, but eventually I knew who I wanted. I only wish I had acted sooner. I'm not gonna waste any time, though. Now that I've figured it out, we can start living our lives." Windrider smiled, and twisted hir hair in hir fingers.

Cloudstar breathed slowly for a moment, and then posed a question. "Are you adjusting well? Do you think you'll miss being human?" Firecloud's mother tried not to be invasive when shi said that.

Windrider yawned, and shook hir head. "I don't think so, but even if I do, I can always change back. I've adjusted pretty well, and I had a few walking and speech problems on the first day or so, but I've got it working well. Besides, I kinda like being a chakat. I'm pleased with it so far. I'm starting to like the fur, as well as the rest of the extras that don't come with the human package."

"Have you figured out all the details yet, or is there anything my Firecloud still has to teach you?" Cloudstar smiled, and giggled as shi let hir mind think dirty for a moment.

"Mom, we've already gone over that lesson. We've also handled eating, and a little grooming. Toilet functions were easy." Firecloud bit hir tongue as shi said that, and shyly looked at Windrider. "I probably shouldn't have told hir that, should I?"

Windrider shrugged, and giggled. "I don't mind. Shi'd have found out eventually anyway. As for eating, burgers are great. I still love them. Toilet functions were the same, as I'm used to urinating in the male manner. Regarding the 'special' lessons, and the 'extra' help, it was a unique experience. I don't think I've ever felt anything quite like that." The tiger striped chakat grinned.

"I got the timing just right, and was able to get hir to climax with both sides at once. Hir first orgasm was a double." Firecloud beamed, and then blinked one eye at hir mate.

"It certainly was. Man, that was unique, and it felt really good." Windrider picked up a stray pillow and held it to hir body.

Cloudstar suddenly had a nagging thought enter hir mind. "Did you guys just go at it, or did you, uh, you know." Firecloud figured hir mother was being rather pushy, but shi hadn't thought about that before.

"No, we didn't. We simply mated. Now that I think about this, uh, Windrider, I don't suppose the possibility of pregnancy occurred to you, did it? I was so excited, everything slipped my mind but the thought of mating with you." Firecloud remembered shi had mounted hir mate, and so Windrider would be the one with child if that had indeed occurred.

The tiger striped chakat frowned and shrugged. "I'll admit, I hadn't considered that either, and we didn't tell Professor Oceanwalker about it. I'm not sure if I'd be ready for a cub. I mean, I just became a chakat less than a week ago." Firecloud let Windrider lean against hir for support.

"Professor Oceanwalker?" Cloudstar looked up and seemed a little confused. "Professor? Not a doctor?"

"Well, it was a clinical trial, mom. It was carefully done, and we made sure it was safe. Terry, ah, Windrider checked out fine both before and after the transport. It was based on some research from an accident that occurred a while back." Firecloud projected calmness to Windrider, and moved hir right handpaw so it was resting on Windrider's left.

"Oh, I see." Cloudstar sighed. Hir tawny fur showed signs of anxiety about having a Professor do it rather than a doctor.

"Now there's a possibility that you might not be carrying. Sex doesn't always lead to pregnancy. Don't worry about it." Firecloud tried to sound comforting, but after shi finished hir sentence, shi felt shi had missed hir target.

Windrider's purring stopped, and shi blinked for a moment. "That's easy for you to say. You wouldn't be the one that's got a kid."

"You might not either. If you're nervous, we can see a doctor, or go back to the Professor." The jaguar patterned Firecloud just held hir mate's hand, and waited to see if that helped at all.

"No, I'll be fine. You're right, there's no guarantee. If there is, we'll have a cub, and have some fun raising it. If not, maybe another time. Maybe in either case, I can turn the tables on you." Windrider giggled, and patted hir mate gently on the back.

"I remember when I was going to have you, Firecloud." Shi giggled, as shi thought back. "Firestorm and I had a feeling that having a cub would be fifteen years or so of pain, so we thought we'd have as much pleasure as possible beforehand." Firecloud's jaw dropped in shock.

"Mother!? I can't believe you just said that." Firecloud made a face, and hir mother just sighed and shrugged.

"Well, it's true. We were trying for a while, but I got pregnant first. We decided one was enough, so I just let it go." Cloudstar directed them to a picture of hir while deeply pregnant "It was an interesting experience, let me tell you. It was nothing compared to the actual raising of you two, though. I may have had only one child, but I feel like I raised two."

Windrider blushed and giggled. "Now I feel special." Shi held hir breath for a moment, and cracked a slight smile.

"Well, if you haven't been feeling special, then I must've been doing something wrong." Firecloud kissed Windrider and then moved back a little to give hir some air.

"Oh, you've made me feel plenty special, this is just a different kind of special." The tiger-striped chakat kissed hir mate on the cheek, and leaned against Firecloud.

Firecloud looked up at hir mother, and yawned. "I'm getting a little tired, can we sleep in my room? Or did you convert it into something else altogether?"

"Oh, sure. Go ahead. It's still your bedroom. There'll always be a place for you here." Cloudstar waved to hir daughter, and retired to hir own room.

*        *        *

The two chakats entered Firecloud's old bedroom, and Windrider closed hir eyes for a moment. Shi looked around at the room, and it looked the same as the last time shi had been there. "My mom left it just the way I like it." Shi admired hir plushies on the bed, and the dolls on the wall. The desk in the corner was still the same, with the little scratch on one of the legs. The closet was cocked open a little bit, and inside were hir old shirts and various knick-knacks. Firecloud ran to get the suitcase from where they'd left it, just outside on the porch, and started to unpack the little trinkets inside. "I love collecting these little stuffed animals. They're so cute." Shi added a few teddy bears and stuffed cats to hir pile, and then stood back to admire the larger pile.

"I remember Mount Plushmore." The two chuckled at the joke, and Windrider closed the suitcase. Shi looked out the window, over the field and down the driveway. There was a lake nearby, but aside from that it was all open country. One of the benefits of growing up like this was that Firecloud and Terry had been able to relax, and grow up at a slow pace. They learned the value of credits, and really enjoyed going to the store in the nearby town. It was a small town, but a nice one.

"It's nice being back home. Say what you will about travelling, but there's nothing like coming back home." Firecloud smiled.

"I love travelling, but I agree with that. I only wish my parents had decided to stay on Chakona rather than moving to Earth." Windrider sighed, and moved the conversation on. Shi looked at the posters on the wall, and smiled. "I remember these. They're pretty nice, although your dad always told us to take this one down."

"I kept on telling hir it was a load bearing poster, and that any removal of it would cause the house to collapse. Shi told me I was full of it, but shi let me keep it up anyway." Firecloud giggled, and grinned. "Thank goodness shi humored me, or else I'd have never forgiven hir." The poster was a pretty harmless picture of a chakat, except it bordered on naughtiness if you looked at it a certain way. It was one of those 3-D posters, but not the kind that hurts your eyes.

"That stuff never worked on my parents. They were always making me take stuff off my walls."

Firecloud looked at Windrider, and chuckled. "Did it stay down?" The jaguar striped chakat eyed hir mate and companion closely, with a very expressive face.

Windrider giggled, and shook hir head no. "It was back up after five minutes. Mom and Dad could never stop me. I think they gave up after about seventeen different tries, but it was always an uphill battle, or so it seemed." Shi finished hir survey of the room they hadn't occupied in years, and Windrider remained standing, as shi had been sitting more than enough over the past few days. "If I sit any longer I'm gonna go crazy."

"Me too, I can't do it anymore. I have to move around. Even if it's only in this cramped room, we're back in my house, and we can go as we please. Professor Oceanwalker was a nice lady, but there's nothing like walking around wherever you want to, and at any time. I couldn't live with those kinds of restrictions forever." Firecloud winked at hir companion, and moved in front of the mirror. "I look just as good as I did the last time I stood here." Firecloud moved out of the way, and let hir mate look at hirself in the mirror.

"Wow, I look even better than I used to. I think the fur and whiskers make me really hot." Windrider laughed, and Firecloud chuckled. Firecloud was happy that Windrider was in such high spirits. Changing your species has got to be disorienting, but shi seemed to be handling it very well. Windrider moved around in front of the mirror, checking hirself out from every single angle, and shi giggled. "I kick butt."

"I'll kick yours if you keep hogging that mirror." Firecloud grinned, and then added a few new books that shi had acquired to hir collection on the wall.

"Aw, come on. You can't deny that I look good." Windrider giggled, showing off her stripes.

"You've got the lines, I've got the dots. If and when we do have a kid, we may get a checkerboard." Both burst into laughter, and rolled on the floor for a few minutes. Firecloud gained control of hirself first and stood up. "So, what shall we do next? Go into town or something? We could check out some of our old haunts, or something."

Windrider smiled at the thought of strolling down memory lane some more, and then nodded. "After here, I want to go to places on Chakona that we've never been. I want to make new memories, as well as reliving our old ones." Shi opened the window, and leaned out a bit. The wind blew in hir hair, and Firecloud joined hir by the window.

"We'll do that, too. Miles to go before we sleep, and we've only gone a foot or two." Firecloud held Windrider around the waist, and the tiger-striped chakat turned hir head so that the two could kiss, and they stood there in a loving embrace for what seemed like forever.

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To be continued in: In Search Of Domestic Bliss

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