Pixistix and Apple Cider

Or, The Tale of the Velveteen Fox


"There," Shaun said, standing up from the desk chair that he had occupied for the past several hours and stretching his body, reaching his arms above his head until he felt his back popping in a most satisfying way, "It's finally done." Shaun ran his hands through his untidy mess of dark brown hair a few times, blinking in confusion as he looked at the clock hanging next to his bedroom window, truly seeing it for perhaps the first time that day. He hadn't realized that he had been at his desk for quite so long, having been completely absorbed in his work. Not that there was anything overly strange about that. Being one of the hottest up-and-coming composers in the Fourth Realm was harder than he had expected it to be, but as he looked down at the papers that represented his newly completed piece, he couldn't help but smile. It was worth every moment!

"Why'd you let me work so late, Pepper?" The tabarian joked, looking over at the room's only other occupant as he made his way towards the bathroom door. "It's almost time to head to the club."

Now, at first glance, one might find this comment to be somewhat odd. Not necessarily because of the words themselves, for there was nothing out of the ordinary about a healthy young daemon wanting to go out after a day of hard work, but because of who the young man was speaking to. Shaun was alone in his rooms, save for his one nearly constant companion, Pepper. Pepper was a small fox, no more than two feet high, with silky fur the color of sun-kissed apple cider and golden eyes just a shade short of metallic. And he was stuffed. However, it was not particularly odd for Shaun to expect an answer from Pepper, regardless of the fact that he was an immobile toy sitting on a little cushion up on a shelf beside the bed. In fact, to Shaun, it would be unusual for Pepper not to answer. It was unusual because Pepper was a barmallian who rarely keep quiet for long. Those unfamiliar with barmallians may wonder why a stuffed toy would be able to talk, but in the Fourth Realm they were well know, if slightly rare. Barmallians were a type of created daemon, beings that were summoned through powerful magicks to inhabit false bodies, and they were more than capable of carrying on meaningful conversations with their masters if they so chose. That was why they were often given as gifts to young children, as they made wonderful companions, providing a lonely little boy or girl with a captive audience for as long as they so desired. And that was exactly how Pepper had come into Shaun's possession, his father having brought him back with him after one of his many business trips, giving him to his son as a fifth birthday present. Shaun had instantly taken to Pepper, and the two had been inseparable for much of Shaun's childhood. Even now, at twenty-four, Shaun still considered Pepper to be a most important part of his life. Something that Pepper was eternally grateful for. He had heard the stories, knew that many of his kind ended up being discarded when their masters grew up, and he knew that he was one of the lucky few who continued to be treasured long after their brethren had been tossed aside. It was one of the many reasons that Pepper adored Shaun with all of his supposedly non-existent heart.

"Maybe you should stay home tonight?" Pepper suggested, his voice careful, his tone as neutral as he knew how to make it. "You look kind of tired."

"That's because I am tired." Shaun answered with a lop-sided grin, reaching out to ruffle Pepper's fur as he passed by him. "But a man has needs, if you know what I mean, and I haven't been out in days. If I don't head to the club soon I run the risk of exploding!"

Pepper didn't have time for a response before Shaun disappeared into the bathroom, and the sound of running water drowned out the quiet sigh that escaped the fox's maw. It wasn't that he didn't understand what Shaun had meant, or why he was leaving, but it didn't mean that he wanted him to go. Every night Shaun would do one of two things. Either he would stay at home, in front of his computer or with a notebook and a pencil, and create his beautiful scores, or he would head out to The Forgotten Place, a night club frequented by the city's most fashionable young artists. On those nights Pepper would wait anxiously on his shelf, watching the clock tick away the hours, until Shaun eventually stumbled through the door. Usually not alone. Those nights were almost as hard for Pepper as the nights that Shaun didn't come home at all. Seeing Shaun writhing around on the bed, some unknown male touching him, kissing him, taking him, was more than Pepper thought that he could stand. Most daemons thought that barmallians had no souls, no hearts, and as such couldn't feel real emotions. Pepper knew better. He felt plenty, and he knew about things like want and need and pain and longing, and as such he often found himself wishing that those other daemons were right. It would make everything so much easier if he didn't feel anything at all. Not that he would ever say anything to Shaun, because he really didn't want the other daemon to know that his childhood companion had those sorts of feelings towards his master. He knew that Shaun saw him as nothing more than his favorite pet, just as it was meant to be. Pepper had decided long ago that it was easiest that way, because even if he did tell Shaun how he felt there was nothing that either of them could do about it. Besides, Pepper feared being thrown away should Shaun be unable to accept his feelings, and so the fox found it simpler to just keep quiet and watch from afar. Not that such a thing was easy to do when Shaun was preparing to go out and look for a new partner for the night. It wasn't just that Shaun would be taking another man to his bed that night, sharing his body if not his heart, that bothered Pepper the so much. It was the fact that Pepper knew that the other man wouldn't be there for Shaun in the morning. He had seen it played out countless times before, and every time Shaun was hurt by the loneliness that he felt when he woke up cold and alone, even though the artist always tried to hide his pain and laugh it off as nothing but fun and games. That was what hurt the fox the most, made him long for the ability to jump down off of his shelf and put his arms around the dark haired boy that was his life, because he couldn't stand to see Shaun hurting. He knew that fate was both kind and cruel, allowing him to stay by Shaun's side, yet never letting him give the other man the love that he deserved. It was times like these that he wished that he truly didn't have a heart. If he was as empty as most believed him to be, then there would be nothing left to break. As it was, he was forced to sit and wait for Shaun to come out of the shower, knowing that he would soon watch him walk out the door and into the arms of yet another handsome stranger who wouldn't even remember Shaun's name by the end of the week. Pepper would have cried, if only he could have.

"Well, how do I look?" Shaun was standing in the doorway between the bedroom and the bath, holding his arms out to the side as he turned in a slow circle. He was wearing a dark blue shirt, tight and shimmering, that brought out the color of his dark blue eyes. His black jeans looked painted on, and they accented the long, lean muscles of his body. Pepper thought that he looked fantastic, but then again, the fox thought that he looked amazing in just about anything that the tabarian chose to wear.

"You look great." Pepper answered in a falsely cheerful voice. "You'll have your pick of dance partners tonight."

"Yeah, dance partners." Shaun said with a wink. Pepper didn't miss the slightly bitter tone of Shaun's voice, or the nervous movements of his hands as he tugged at the hem of his shirt, but he chose to ignore it for Shaun's sake. If Shaun wanted to pretend that he was confident and carefree, then who was he to break that illusion?

"Have fun." Pepper told him, all the while wanting to beg him to stay.

"See 'ya."

Once the door was closed and locked, Pepper let himself slump against the wall, his breath leaving him in a puff of air. Shaun wasn't the only one that suddenly felt tired.


"Why the long face, sugar?"

Pepper looked up at the sound of an unfamiliar, high-pitched voice. He was supposed to be alone, and since the voice was female he was relatively certain that the voice didn't belong to Shaun's date. Looking around Pepper suddenly spotted a most unexpected sight. Just inside the open window, hovering in midair at a height leaving her eye level with the stuffed fox's shelf, was a tiny pixi. She was no more than a foot high from head to toe, she had a mass of shocking fuschia hair that was blown to and fro with each flick of her glittery pink dragon-fly wings, and she was dressed in a gossamer gown of golden frills. She blinked startlingly bright yellow eyes at Pepper, obviously waiting for some sort of answer to her earlier question, all the while bobbing in the air with the movement of her wings.

"Excuse me?" Pepper finally asked, wondering where the little pixi had come from, and why she was choosing to bother him at this late hour. Shaun had told him once that pixis were peculiar creatures, and he was already beginning to understand why. "Do I know you?"

"Nope." She answered simply, a girlish giggle spilling from her mouth as she glided ever closer to the confused fox. "And I don't know you."

"Then what are you doing here?"

"I could feel your pain from all the way outside." The pixi said, as if that explained everything. "I'm very sensitive to such things, don't you know."

"My pain?" Pepper asked, still rather confused by the tiny creature's words. "And that brought you here why?"

"Because it's your lucky day, you silly little fox." She replied, reaching out a hand to tap Pepper playfully on his velvety nose. "I'm Christabelle, by the way. And you are?"

"Pepper." The barmallian answered automatically, not understanding at all what the pixi could possibly want with him. "Nice to meet you, I think."

"Oh, it's definitely nice to meet me. Rest assured of that!" Christabelle giggled again, obviously very amused with herself for some reason. "So, what was it that you were so down about? Some cute little alley cat that you're in love with? Worried that your kid's gonna toss you? Or maybe you want to become real so that you can escape an evil master?"

"No!" Pepper denied, vigorously shaking his head until he nearly fell off of his cushion. "My Shaun's not evil. And there aren't any kids or alley cats. I don't want to go anywhere, really."

"Ohhh?" Christabelle squealed, spinning excitedly around Pepper's head while laughing and clapping her hands with glee. "I see! Say no more, I'll take care of everything. Christabelle is here to help!"

"What?!" Pepper exclaimed, growing more worried by the minute with the actions of this strange little pixi. She was obviously as mad as a Maropian anthiller, and he was relatively certain that he didn't want any help that she could give him. "I'm fine. I swear!"

"Oh no, you don't understand, I just have to do this." She nodded her head with each new word, her hands on her hips and her yellow eyes suddenly serious. "I must."

"Why must you?" Pepper wanted to know.

"Well," Christabelle began, a hint of shame in her high voice, "You see... I got into some trouble a while back. Not my fault, mind you, not at all. But I was in quite the pickle, not sure how I was going to get out of my predicament in one piece, when suddenly an Ashvarian priest came along and helped me out of my bind. In exchange, he said that I had to do a good deed for someone in need. So, when I felt your pain spilling out of this window, I knew that I had at long last found the daemon that could best benefit from my help."

"I see." Pepper said after a long pause, not entirely certain that Christabelle's story had explained much of anything. Besides, what could she possibly do to help him? There was no way that his wish could ever come true, and there was nothing that the tiny pixi could do to change that fact. "I think that you've got the wrong daemon, pixi. There's nothing that you can do for me, I'm beyond anyone's help, so I suggest that you just leave me be and go in search of a daemon who really can benefit from your aid."

"Nope." Christabelle replied, completely ignoring Pepper's refusal as she flitted about his head. "I know a fox in need of some magick when I see one. And you, my furry friend, are exactly such a fox."

"Am I now?" Pepper answered with a sigh. "What makes you think that?"

"You're obviously in love with your master, am I right?"

"How did you-"

"I can fix that with just a flick of my wand." She cut off Pepper's questions as she plowed on with her explanation, excited now that she had his complete attention. "I'll make it so that you can be with your love, I'll make you everything that he's ever dreamed of, and then you can both have the best damn night of your lives. It'll be perfect!"

"You can't do that." Pepper said when Christabelle at last paused for breath, hope and disbelief warring in his golden eyes. "Can you?"

"Of course I can." She said indignantly. "Powerful things come in small packages, don't you know?"

"Wait a minute." Pepper suddenly realized just what she had said, and his supposedly non-existent heart plummeted. "The best night of our lives? Only one night?"

"Well," Christabelle said with a huff, "You can't expect me to stick around forever, now do you? I can't keep bespelling you all the time. I want to be free of obligations, not add a permanent one to my life."

"Oh." Pepper said, now completely certain that fate was indeed a cruel mistress. "I see."

"Hey, one night is better than what you've got now." She reminded him. "Or am I wrong?"

"I suppose you're right."

"Good." Christabelle answered. Then, without further ado, she reached a hand into the folds of her skirt and pulled out a diminutive wand. "This won't hurt a bit."

With a tap of the wand to the top of Pepper's head the fox's entire world exploded into a shower of glittering sparks, smoke forming all around him, his body suddenly turning hot and tingly. He let out a moan, the strange sensations beginning to grow mildly uncomfortable, as his limbs began to stretch and change. His fur turned to flesh, his tail growing long as his body lengthened, and his ears slid from the top of his head to the sides. His snout shortened, his stitching disappeared, his claws turned to nails, and his ivory fangs became straight white teeth. It all happened in a series of heartbeats, and before Pepper knew what had happened he lay sprawled on Shaun's bed, his new body trembling as he fought for control of his unfamiliar limbs. Above him he could hear the fluttering of Christabelle's wings as she tittered with laughter and dashed about the room with excitement.

"Well, well, well. What do you know." The pixi giggled. "You're a stone cold fox!"


A few hours later Shaun stumbled through the door and, to Pepper's relief, he was alone. He tossed his keys into the dish on the table by the door, throwing his jacket in the general direction of the coat hooks on the wall, as he proceeded to toe off his shoes. All of this was done with shaky, unbalanced movements that instantly told Pepper that the composer was more than a little drunk. Although this normally would have worried Pepper, as Shaun didn't usually get truly inebriated unless he was trying to drown his sorrows for one reason or another, tonight the fox felt somewhat grateful that his master was in an altered state of mind. It would make things so much easier.

"Pepper, I'm home."

"So I can see." Pepper tried to keep his voice calm, and hopefully somewhat seductive, as he waited for Shaun to look at him. He had gone through so many different scenarios in his head during the past several hours, changing his mind on what to do more than once while he waited for Shaun to come home, and eventually he had settled on displaying himself on the bed and waiting for Shaun to notice him. Now all that was left was for Shaun to do his part.

"You'll never guess who I saw at the..." Shaun's voice trailed off into nothingness as his eyes fell to the bed and it's shockingly unexpected occupant. "Who..."

Shaun's eyes roamed over the figure lying in his bed. The fox had the same golden-red hair as his beloved barmallian's fur, the tresses falling in short, messy waves across the daemon's forehead. He had rust colored ears, covered in fur, set low on the sides of his head, the left one twitching ever so slightly with nervousness as his form was scrutinized. His eyes were a beautiful, and familiar, shade of gold. He lay on his stomach, and his lean body was stretched out invitingly across the bed, it's entirety covered in smooth, silky, lightly tanned skin. He had a bushy tail that was of the same golden-red shade as his hair, save for the wide white stripe near the end, and it jutted out from just above the swell of a perfect and pert ass. If he hadn't been so confused at the moment, Shaun was certain that he would have been drooling as he looked at the beautiful male laying on his bed. He was stunning. However, he had no idea how the stranger had gotten into his rooms, or who he was, and he was just about to try and ask him again when his eyes fell to the fox's throat. There, around a slender neck that begged to be suckled and nipped, was a dark green leather collar with an obsidian jewel set in the center. He knew that collar. It was Pepper's.

Wondering how he had ever mistaken the familiar golden eyes for anyone's other than Pepper's, Shaun took a hesitant step forward, finding his voice as he moved. "Pepper."

"Yes, Shaun, it's me."

"I know that I'm more than a little drunk," Shaun said, stating the obvious, "but weren't you on the cushion when I left?"

"That I was." Pepper reassured him, slightly amused by the way that he could almost see the wheels working in his master's befuddled mind. If he hadn't been so nervous, he would have laughed. "I was also considerably shorter when you left, too."

"Yeah." Shaun answered. "The height suits you."

"Is that all that suits me?"

Shaun only shook his head.

"Why don't you come closer." Pepper invited, displeased that Shaun had stopped his approach to talk. Christabelle had said that he only had the one night with his beloved, the spell wearing off by sunrise, and he didn't want to waste the time with useless small-talk.

"But how...?"

"Does it really matter?" Pepper asked, rising to his knees and crawling towards the end of the bed to be closer to Shaun. There was desperation in his eyes, and he paused as he reached out an uncertain hand towards the other male, his fingers finally coming to rest on Shaun's forearm. "Just for tonight I wanted to be able to show you how much I love you. How much I've always loved you. Everything else is unimportant."

Shaun would have said something in response, but he found Pepper's lips pressed against his the moment that he drew his next breath. Once his lips made contact with the satiny skin of the fox's he was lost, and with a groan he tangled his hands into the soft hair at the base of Pepper's neck and pulled him closer, deepening the kiss as he did so. When Pepper groaned in response, pressing his naked body flush against his soon-to-be lover's, Shaun knew that there would be no further discussions of how or why. There would only be lust and heat and passion. And love.

Pepper's arms wrapped around Shaun's neck, moaning as their bodies were pressed even more tightly together, and he used his hold to pull the other male down with him as he fell onto the mattress. His legs spread instantly to either side of Shaun's hips as the larger daemon came to rest atop him, another moan escaping Pepper's lips when Shaun finally released him from their kiss to thrust his hips instinctively against his fox. The friction of Shaun's rapidly growing, and still clothed, erection caused the barmallian to harden almost immediately, his inexperienced new body craving the pleasurable sensations that Shaun was bringing about within him.

"Pepper." Shaun whispered, craning his neck down to lick at the tempting flesh of his lover's neck. When he felt the fox beneath him shiver in response he did it again, pausing to tug at the leather collar with his teeth, before continuing down to Pepper's shoulder. He sank his teeth into the muscle that he found there, smiling around tanned skin when Pepper arched under him, an excited whine escaping the red-head.

After several failed attempts at speech, his words lost to groans as Shaun moved down his body to tease his golden-brown nipples, Pepper managed to utter a single word. "Off." Occupied as he was, Shaun only looked up from his place on Pepper's chest while continuing to suck harshly at the tiny nubs of flesh that presently held his attention. It wasn't until Pepper's hand began clawing at his shirt, trying to find a way to pull the clingy blue fabric off of the currently uncooperative daemon, that Shaun's alcohol-clouded mind began to grasp what Pepper's intentions were. Once he finally realized what Pepper wanted Shaun immediately sat up, temporarily abandoning his mouth's explorations, and made quick work of his clothing. Between the two of them it only took a few moments to rid Shaun of every last scrap of clothing, the previously skin tight fabrics discarded to the furthest corners of the room in their haste, and soon Shaun was every bit as bare as Pepper had been from the start.

The moment that Shaun's pants went flying off into the shadows, the tabarian showing not the slightest hint of shame at the fact that he wore nothing beneath, he found himself tackled to the bed by his fox. Pepper straddled his hips, his bushy tail tickling along the insides of Shaun's thighs, his lips instantly busying themselves with laying hot, open mouthed kisses along the line of his lover's neck. Shaun was momentarily taken off guard, surprised as he was by Pepper's aggressiveness, but he soon forgot his shock as Pepper nipped at a particularly sensitive spot directly behind his ear. "Pepper!"

"Don't worry, Shaun." Pepper told him, his voice a breathless giggle as he licked at Shaun's flesh a few times before nipping gently with his teeth. "I've watched you, seen you submit so many times to so many men, that I know what to do. I'll take care of you."

"Will you now?" Shaun asked with amusement, laughter forming on his lips before his breath was suddenly stolen from him by a heated and forceful kiss. The way that Pepper's mouth moved against his, alternating between a greedy, harshly possessive passion and gentle, playful nips to his lower lip, had Shaun believing in the fox's words in next to no time. He would have told Pepper so, agreed with him that perhaps he did indeed know what he was doing, but that was when Pepper chose to snake his hand down between their bodies and tweak one of Shaun's nipples. Hard. Anything that he would have said was lost when Pepper did that, pleasure shooting directly from the hardened nub that was pinched between Pepper's fingers to pool between his legs. When Pepper twisted the fleshly bud again, just as harshly as before, Shaun's entire body arched up off of the bed, nearly dislodging Pepper from his place astride him.

"Yes," Pepper said, finally releasing Shaun's lips to answer his earlier question as if there had been no interruption in their conversation. "I'll take very good care of you." Then, bending ever so slightly at the waist, he leaned down to kiss the nipple that he had just abused. He took the flesh gently between his satiny soft lips, suckling slightly, the tip of his tongue flicking out to brush teasingly against it in an uneven and unpredictable rhythm. The entire time his golden eyes never left Shaun's dark blue ones, saying without words that he was entirely serious in his claims. He would show Shaun pleasures that he had never before known, take him to the very gates of the Crystal Fields, if only he would allow it.
"Yes!" Shaun shouted, both to voice his pleasure and give his assent, as Pepper's teeth closed unexpectedly around the nipple in his mouth. His hand tangled in Pepper's soft locks, pressing his head more firmly down, insuring that the delicious contact was not lost too soon. He could feel Pepper's lips forming a slow smile against his skin, and the daemon shivered in response, knowing that that smile represented the beginnings of so many unspoken promises.

"Shaun." Pepper breathed out against his lover's moistened flesh, delighting in the trembling that resulted. He trailed his lips teasingly across Shaun's chest, his tongue darting out to taste random spots, making his way slowly to the opposite nipple. He could feel Shaun's breathing quickened with each movement, each caress from his lips, and the other daemon's heartbeat was suddenly like a caged animal beneath him. He paused to nuzzle his cheek against Shaun's chest just above his heart, the steady thumping calling out to his own new-found heartbeat, while his fingers continued along the trail that his mouth had been traveling just seconds ago. "My Shaun."

Shaun's body momentarily relaxed beneath Pepper's, the soothing caresses and gentle words countering the more aggressive actions of moments before, until suddenly the red-headed barmallian slid his hips downward, bringing their hardened erections into direct contact for the first time. Without moving his head from it's place atop Shaun's chest, still listening to his beloved's heartbeat as it thundered it's erratic rhythm, Pepper began to thrust his hips in time to the pounding of the heart beneath him. Every moan that escaped Shaun's lips rumbled deep within his chest, adding to the strange song that so captivated Pepper, the fox's own pleasure filled utterances eventually adding to the symphony that they were creating.

"Pepper..." Shaun groaned, his breath coming in short, ragged gasps, "the oil's in-"

"The top drawer." Pepper finished for him, at last raising his head to look down on the flushed man beneath him. His hips slowed but never paused in their steady rhythm, every nerve in his new body crying out for him never to stop, never to break this cycle of giving and taking, of need and pleasure. "I know. I told you that I've been paying attention all these years, didn't I?"

Looking across the bed to the nightstand that sat beside it Pepper heaved a sigh, knowing that he would have to leave his place atop Shaun in order to reach it. With great reluctance he finally stilled his hips, delighting in the disappointed whine that he received from his lover as he did so, and he slid carefully off and to the side. So as not to leave his lover completely unattended Pepper left his tail draped across Shaun's groin, the furry mass twitching with teasing intent across Shaun's hardened length while he looked through the contents of the drawer. He pretended to be taking his time, a smirk gracing his lips as he heard Shaun whimper and moan, thrashing about on the bed as he responded to the unusual stimuli. However, as much as Pepper feigned patience, the truth was that he was at least as eager as Shaun was to return to his lover and complete what they had begun. Although he had to admit that the rush that he felt at having Shaun at his mercy was very satisfying indeed. It may not have been exactly what he had pictured all of the many times that he had imagined this night, but he wasn't about to complain. Not at all.

When at last Pepper had the vial of oil in his hands he returned to Shaun, this time kneeling between his widely spread legs. The way that Shaun was looking at him, the raw hunger and desire in his eyes, was almost enough to finish Pepper off without so much as another touch. The smirk that suddenly appeared on Shaun's lips told him that his lover had realized the effect that his staring was having on the fox. Pepper had a moment to think that turnabout was indeed fair play, chastising himself a bit for being such a tease earlier, when Shaun brought one of his legs up from it's place on the bed. He dragged his foot slowly along the back of Pepper's thigh as he moved, a throaty laugh rumbling deep within his chest, before sliding it down to ghost across the inside of the fox's thigh. Not only did the move bring Pepper to an even greater level of arousal, but it also opened Shaun up to his lover's needy golden eyes.

"Tease." Pepper growled, at last snapping out of his trance as he grabbed the playfully questing foot in one hand. He used his hold to push Shaun's leg up against his chest, leaning in to capture his lips as he pressed the limb firmly down. Shaun pressed up in to the kiss, welcoming the hungry embrace, bringing one arm up behind Pepper's shoulders to pull him closer while the other arm wrapped around his own thigh to hold himself open to his lover's touch.

Without breaking their kiss Pepper snapped open the cap on the bottle of oil, sliding both his hand and the bottle down until he could dribble some of it's contents where the oil was most needed. Shaun gasp into the kiss as the slick liquid slid across his body, tickling his balls and sliding down into his opening as he writhed against the bed and thrust his hips up towards Pepper's warmth. His writhing only intensified as Pepper inserted a finger into him, and he couldn't decide which was more pleasurable, the intensity of their kiss or the thrusting of Pepper's finger within him. He felt like his mind would shatter if Pepper didn't stop at least one of his actions soon. Then Pepper added a second finger, scissoring them within him, and Shaun became certain that his mind already had shattered. And he loved every second of it.

"Pepper," Shaun gasped, at last pulling away from the kiss, his lungs as hungry for air as his body was for other things, "enough already. You should know that I don't need much prep."

"That's because you like it a little rough." Pepper answered him knowingly. Then, without any further warning, Pepper removed his fingers and thrust his length into Shaun in one fluid motion. They both moaned at the contact, Shaun's back arching while Pepper held completely still once he was fully seated within Shaun's heat. He suddenly understood why Shaun's many partners had always left with such satisfied expressions on their faces. Shaun was perfect. His body was hot, and tight, and it held him so perfectly that Pepper was certain that his body must have been made just for him.

It wasn't until he heard Shaun groaning beneath him, urging him to move with a voice gone raw and breathless with pleasure, that Pepper realized that he had shut his eyes somewhere along the way. When he at last opened them to look down at the man beneath him, Pepper found that words escaped him. The need, the desire, the pure and trusting openness in Shaun's dark eyes, was more than Pepper had ever hopped for. He was not a believer, but he sent a silent prayer up to any gods who cared to listen, thanking them with every ounce of heart within him for the strange little pixi that had stumbled across him that evening. This was every dream that he had ever had, or ever hopped to have, all rolled up into one. He knew that it was more than he deserved, but he was grateful all the same. This was a memory that would sustain him in the future, no matter what happened when the sun brought the morning to them.

When Shaun called out his name once more it was all that Pepper needed to snap him out of his musings, and with a feral smile on his lips he snapped his hips, hard, causing his lover to go quiet, his mouth opening in a silent cry of pleasure. After that there was no holding back, and Pepper set up a pounding rhythm that had both him and Shaun moaning and calling out to each other in impassioned voices. He thrust into Shaun with harsh, relentless strokes, and when Shaun reached behind him to place his hands on his ass to pull Pepper in even deeper the fox couldn't help but growl.

Shaun shivered at the sound of Pepper's possessive growling, the animalistic rumbling triggering something deep within him, causing his climax to rush upon him. When his orgasm hit him his entire body convulsed, his back arching, his nails digging into Pepper's soft flesh. Shaun threw his head back, a wordless scream torn from his throat, his passion splattering in scorching hot arcs across both himself and his lover.

The tightening of Shaun's body upon his orgasm in turn triggered Pepper's own climax, and he thrust twice more into the heat of his lover's body before he stilled, his body finding it's release as he roared his completion. Shaun moaned beneath him as Pepper filled his now limp body, the sight and sound of the tabarian drawing Pepper's release out until he felt like the pleasure was nearing pain. The fox was certain that it would be the end of him, and he was more than happy to allow it to be so. There was surely no better way in all of the realms for one's existence to end.

At last both men fell to the bed, exhausted and completely satisfied. Pepper was careful to roll to the side so as not to crush his somewhat smaller lover, but he still kept his body draped over Shaun's, wanting to maintain the closest contact for as long as possible. He wrapped his arms around the composer, holding him close and stroking a hand through his tousled hair. He couldn't stop smiling, happier than he could ever remember being, and as Shaun nuzzled his face against his chest while yawning sleepily Pepper hopped for the night to never end.

"That was perfect." Shaun eventually said, his speech slightly slurred from a mixture of exhaustion and the last remnants of his earlier drinking binge. "We should definitely try that again in the morning. By then I should actually be sober enough to show you a few tricks."

Although Pepper joined in with Shaun's playful laughter it was only with half-hearted enthusiasm. He wanted that too, but he knew that it could never be. By morning he would be back on his little shelf, sitting on his cushion, just as it had always been. Not that he planned on correcting Shaun about his plans. He didn't have it in him to ruin an otherwise perfect night with the harshness of reality. He wanted their time together to be untouched by the cruelty of the real world. If only for a few more hours.

"Good night, Shaun." Pepper said quietly, craning his neck downwards to lay a gentle kiss on his beloved's temple. He could already see Shaun's eyes falling shut, sleep coming to claim him at long last, and he knew that his next words would probably be the last that Shaun heard before he finally fell asleep. "I love you."

"Love you too, Pepper. Always have." His words were barely distinguishable, each slurring into the other, but they reached Pepper's ears all the same. The fox's heat leapt at these words, and he knew that he would never be happier than he was at that very moment.


For the next few hours Pepper fought to stay awake, watching Shaun sleeping beside him and waiting for the dawn to come and take it all away. He ran his hands continually across the smooth expanse of Shaun's back, touching every inch of available skin while he still could, running his hands through his dark, messy locks, occasionally kissing his slightly parted lips. He had watched Shaun sleep enough to know that he was a sound sleeper, and he was more than certain that he was in no danger of waking his lover. He only hoped that he didn't stir when he started to change back to his natural form.

All too soon the first rays of the dawn began to brighten the previously dark room, the golden light bringing no warmth to the suddenly heart-sick young fox. He tried in vain to disentangle himself from Shaun, knowing that they couldn't stay as they were for very much longer, but in the end he had to accept the fact that he would most likely end up waking the other daemon at some point. They were simply too tightly intertwined.

Pepper was just settling back against the pillows, prepared to accept the inevitable, when Shaun suddenly stirred beside him. The tabarian was obviously still more asleep than not, his movements groggy and his words muffled due to the fact that he was still nestling his face against Pepper's chest, but he seemed to be trying to physically avoid the light just as much as Pepper was trying to avoid it mentally. When Pepper wrapped his arms around Shaun, blocking out the sunlight while cuddling him closer, the dark haired daemon almost seemed to purr with contentment. Despite his sadness, Pepper still had to smile, finding Shaun's actions too cute not to.

"'S too bright." Shaun mumbled, trying once again to hide his face against Pepper's body.

"I'll close the curtains for you." Pepper assured him, grateful to have something to occupy him until the inevitable happened. "Just go back to sleep."

Pepper tried yet again to rise from the bed, but even though Shaun had wanted him to darken the room he still wouldn't let the fox up. He clung to him with single-minded determination, sleep threatening to reclaim him before he could force his limbs to do as he bade them. Obviously, when weighed against each other, letting go of his lover was not worth a little extra sleep.

"Wait a minute." Shaun said suddenly, sitting up and turning to Pepper, his dark eyes snapping open with new found awareness. "Last night..."

"Last night, what?" Pepper asked with apprehension. He wasn't sure which would be worse, having to answer questions about what was about to happen, or hearing Shaun voice his regrets when his now sober mind informed him of what had happened last night.

"Last night you said something..." Shaun said with an almost accusing tone, "You said that you wanted to show me how much you loved me."

"That I did." Pepper answered, his voice careful and guarded. "It was the truth."

"But you said just for tonight."

"That I did." Pepper repeated.

"What about today?" Shaun questioned, pain and hurt showing in his dark blue eyes. "Where are you going to today?"

"Back to my cushion, I would assume." Pepper answered forlornly, unable to meet Shaun's eyes, unwilling to see the stricken expression on his handsome face. "That is, if you don't mind. I'd understand if you did."

"That's not what I meant." Shaun said accusingly, grabbing one of Pepper's long ears and forcing him to finally look at him directly. "I meant, why would it only be for the one night? Why not longer?"

"It's not my decision, Shaun." Pepper felt like he was on the verge of tears, but he refused to let them fall. Somehow he knew that if he started then he would never be able to stop, even when he no longer had true eyes to cry with. "If I had my way I would stay by your side forever."

"Then why don't you?! And if it's not up to you, then who's decision is it?" Shaun shouted, sounding desperate as he put his hands on Pepper's shoulders and shook him. "Who gets to decide whether we're happy or not? Who's going to take you away from me?"

"That would be me." A high pitched voice answered from the far side of the room.

"Christabelle?!" Pepper said, his golden eyes wide with disbelief. The tiny pixi had been gone before he had had time to ask her any questions the night before, or at least he had thought that she had left, so her reappearance came as quite the shock. "What are you doing here?"

"Breaking up your first lover's spat, it would appear. You know, it's really not good to shout so early in the morning." She answered simply, giggles falling from her tiny lips like the tinkling of bells. "Honestly, whatever would you do without me, fox?"

"Are you the one who's going to try and turn Pepper back?" Shaun demanded, glaring daggers at the pink pixi as she fluttered nearer to the two lovers. "Because I won't-"

"Silly boy," Christabelle interrupted, laughing as she danced just out of reach from the angry daemon, "Whatever gave you that impression?"

"But..." Both Pepper and Shaun stared at her with confusion clearly written across their faces.

"But what?" Christabelle asked with amusement. “Or maybe you meant 'butt'? You both have rather nice examples of those, I must say. Quite nice to look at.”

“Did you just tell us that you're not going to turn me back to my original form?” Pepper didn't have the patience to deal with Christabelle’s jokes, every fiber of his being concentrating instead on what the pixi’s next words would be. “Last night you said I only had the one night.”

“Now would I be that cruel?” When neither man answered her, Christabelle huffed with feigned annoyance, pressing on before she gave in to the laughter that was threatening to escape her. Honestly, she found the two men before her to be so very amusing! “I wouldn't want to take you away from your true love, not after you've just found him. That holly man would probably hex me into oblivion if I were to do something so wicked!”

“But you said that you didn't have the magick to sustain my transformation.”

“So I lied.” Christabelle answered without shame. “I just wanted to make sure that you felt like you needed to make every minute count. It ensured that I'd get a better show.”

“A better show?” Shaun asked with disbelief, his eyes moving from Christabelle to Pepper and back again. He didn't completely understand what was going on, or exactly who the strange little woman was, but he knew that this was important. “What are you talking about?”

“You two, of course.” Christabelle answered with a wink. “Last night was amazing. Better than a porno any day!”

“You were watching?!” Pepper’s golden eyes went impossibly wide, his cheeks coloring with embarrassment as he thought of the little pixi watching everything that he and Shaun had shared the night before.

“Of course.” Christabelle said simply. “Who wouldn't have? And I must say, the show was more than worth the price of admission.”

“The price of...”

“You can keep your new body, forever and always, in exchange for last night’s performance.” Christabelle assured them, not wanting to be too overly cruel with her teasing. She thought that the pair was very sweet, and perfectly suited for each other, and she wouldn't dream of tearing them apart after they had just found each other. Not that she would tell them that, but she thought it all the same. “I think it’s more than a fair trade.”

“Thank you, Christabelle.” Pepper said, too grateful for the gift he was being given to be too upset about their unexpected audience. “You have no idea what this means to me.”

“To us.” Shaun amended.

“Well, you're welcome.” The pixi said as she began floating towards the open window. “You can thank me with a repeat performance some time.”


“Yes?” Christabelle said sweetly, turning her head back to the two men expecting the praise and thanks which she so rightfully deserved. “What is it, my sweets?”

“Shut the curtains on your way out. It’s getting awfully bright in here.”





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