A Night in May at the Red 5

"Wolfess. I need..." I shrugged. We looked at each other for a long
moment, then she smiled.

I watched Mahika shift to her natural form. "Was it so very hard for
you to ask?"

I helped her resettle with her back to my chest. "Of course it was,

We snuggled and I let myself savor the feel of her fur against my
body. I paid close attention to my feelings and her reactions while I
moved my hands along her side, then across her stomach and finally,
tenderly, cupped one of them between her hind quarters and gently held
her vulva.

Drifting mentally, my hand fell silent and I spent time in that other
place we so seldom had time for, these days.

"So. That's the way of it." She stretched, pushing herself into me
without urgency. I heard her contented smile. "I won't complain."

I chuckled and hugged her with one arm. "Any fire eventually burns to

She snorted. "You forgot the ashes."

"No, I choose to ignore them, not forget them."

She tilted her head back so she could see me. "Wise?"

It was my turn to snort. "Sometimes. Do you think I enjoy the
thought that someday I'll be only memories, a distorted image seen in
a poorly woven tapestry of individual recollections?"

I never tried to hide my bitterness.

She arched her back into me. "Better that than what I face, dear."

"Now there's a strange thought." I chuckled. "Me, as a Muse. No.

She shifted slightly and again turned her head so she could study me.
"Is that such a bad thing?"

I squelched my immediate reply and studied her thoughtfully. "You're

I got an all too familiar lupine grin in return.

I shook my head in denial. "No. That's..." I gestured vaguely.
"No. It's a nightmare I'd rather not face."

She relented and changed the subject. "How are you feeling about the
'Foursome Challenge'?"

"Pretty good. Didn't *really* mind if I'd had to supply the fourth
story. Can't let them know that, though. If I'd admitted I was
already writing one, just in case, we would have been less likely to
get that fourth author."

I touched her nose and then slowly ran my hand along her head and
body. "Love, it's nice to see people taking part again, even if it's
initially reluctantly. You know how much it means to me--to be to be
able to encourage others..."

I glared at her. "You've been talking to Chrys again, haven't you?"


"No maybe about it. This isn't your style."

"It isn't?" She laughed, with all too familiar tones. When her
laughter changed to choked giggles the wolfess was gone and I was
confronted with an anthrovixen I knew far too well. "Do you still say
it wasn't 'my style'?"

I growled deep in my throat. "I've been had."


Lady Chrystal rolled her body until we faced each other. Bemused,
('and wasn't *that* a sorry state to be in,' I thought. 'She isn't
even a Muse.') I watched while her muzzle approached and she stuck
her tongue out at me before she gently licked my face. "So. Tell me,
'Bardic Master of all Masters'. What's the difference between what
you already do, and what a Muse does?"

I searched frantically and finally found an answer. "I can write my
own stories. I don't need an avatar to achieve fulfillment."

She smiled at me. "Granted. What makes you think Mahika can't write
her own stories?"

"She..." Hell. Chrys had sandbagged me with that one. I knew damn
well Mahika was capable of writing her own stories. But, she'd always
told them to me and I'd transcribed them. Damn wolf-bitch.

Chrys was grinning. "I see a glimmer of awareness in those blue

"I'm not going to ask if you're enjoying this, *vixen*."

She giggled. "You're in a fine snit, dear."

"Yah. I suppose I am." It was a low voiced snarl, filled with my
frustrated anger--at myself.

"Any other... 'Differences'?" Her whole posture was one of innocent

I scrabbled frantically through my memories. "Two. I can walk away
when I get frustrated and feel like I need a break. Plus, I can work
with more than one person at the same time. Muses are bound..." I
knew my look was sick. "Or are they? Somehow we've never discussed
that possibility."

Amazingly, this time Chrys was sober. "Muses choose who and how many.

"Hmmph." I thought about it. "I don't know if I should be honored or
pissed with her. She's made it clear that as far as acting like a
Muse is concerned, she's exclusive. I can't believe there aren't
others equally--or more--deserving."

I glared at nothing in particular. "Don't bother reminding me of how
many times Mahika has been so fed up with me she's pointedly left to
get herself back under control."

Chrys wisely said nothing and just stroked her paws down my chest.

I let my hands wander aimlessly while I considered my new awareness.
"OK. I'll settle for 'sometimes acting like a Muse'--while I'm alive.
One of my greatest enjoyments now is inspiring others to write.
Doesn't matter what they write, just that they *write*.

My gaze softened and I studied the vixen who had chosen to become such
an important part of my life. "If someone someday invokes a memory of
me as their Muse, well, I'll never know, will I?" I smiled wryly.
"Guess that's going to be a few more threads in that 'poorly woven
tapestry of memories."

I mock glared at her. "I still think it's one of my worst nightmares
come true though, and given a choice, I never want to hear the label
'Muse' applied to me." I shrugged and just before I kissed her
tenderly I spoke my final words of the evening.

"I have to admit 'Muse' wouldn't be the worst thing I've been called.


"The gods help the person who inflicts themselves with me!"

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