Because I do more of these than any kind of finished work I should be proud of.
I don’t have hair nearly this luxurious, or sunglasses nearly this cool.
[This is the account of the sizekinkster previously known as Kisupure. Meaning, I spent most of my time in the fetish as a she/her SW and am now mostly a he/him GT.]
Giants, giant machines, BDSM, and vore about sums me up. If it's tacticool, it's kosher!
I’m no stranger to the macro community, but I thought I’d introduce myself here. I’m Kisupure (yes, a nod to the infamy of Kiss Players!), I’m a FTM and sizeswitch, though I lean more towards the giant end of things.
The good lord above put me on this earth to bring a little more Heavy Metal Magazine to macro/micro world, so here I am, with guns and engine grease in tow. Oh, the gravel truck’s here? Tell 'em to dump it just out back.
I like realistic size difference, and wildly unrealistic size difference. I like gun play that involves stuffing tinies down the barrel of a nice, loaded M4. I like giants with their boots on, muscles bulging behind their body armor. I like daddies in dusty kevlar. I like giants who are cyborgs, robots, and machines that are designed to have people sit inside of them. Giants who are large and in charge, but also giants who are soft and kind and scared of losing their little lovers or allies or fuckbuddies, giants who have flaws as well as sexy things they’re really really good at. Giants that are unapologetically dominant, and giants that are good at faking it. Vore and endosoma are A+ too.
I’m also an objectum sexual (as in orientation), so to me, “male” can mean flesh and blood as well as axles and ailerons. An A-10 warthog is just as much a lovable giant to me as the guy on your bag of frozen peas. OS representation all the way.
I write, I draw, and I’ve got some long-form stuff in the works including a “graphic novel” that I hope tickles somebody’s fancy (other than my own, of course). So howdy!
I think the problem with topics like this is that there is always going to be the implication, however small, of entitlement. It’s never “I wish more people were into the thing I’m into”, but always some kind of “I wish creators would make things for me for free”. Creators make all kinds of free things already, the internet is full of them. That none of it, or enough of it, is your favorite thing isn’t anyone’s problem but yours. Creators don’t owe you their time, skill, money, resources. It’s kind of a slap in the face to creators who make things for free already, like myself (and I even take requests!), because it’s not the thing you want to see.
But that’s what commissions, trades, and financially supporting creators who make things you like are for. The more you actually pay people to make things, the more your interest is going to be noticed and acknowledged.
Griping like this is not a good look, especially when there are creators reading and posting here.
Camp Fox was currently located in a wide, shallow granite canyon, its floor carpeted in fine sand and dotted with fire ants. It was only a few hectares in size, but it was enough: Corps leadership preferred to limit contact between the camps in its broad, diffuse network, and to the best of anyone’s knowledge Alpine ran 22 camps like this, each staffed by around a thousand. The logic was that it was harder to take out the whole resistance when you could only hit one or two outposts at a time. And so far, the strategy worked. It’d been over a decade since the Anakim were able to mobilize enough bodies to launch a full–scale assault on even a dozen camps, let alone hit Base Camp far, far in the mountains.
Visits between camps were reserved for officers and toons borrowed to bolster numbers on the rare occasion when an attack was anticipated in advance, but transfers happened often enough. Once or twice a year a camp’s weakest soldiers were rounded up and marched off to other parts of the Corps, never to be seen again. Problem corpsmen were also usually sent off to be Retrained—that is, to work Corps quarries and ammo-packing lines, where afterward they were said to be given another chance at Freedom at some other camp. Gray had met transfers but not any retrained corpsman. Fox was a well-oiled machine, however, and Hitch made quick work of malcontents in his own way. Supposedly their camp had one of the highest morale rates in the Corps. Hitch made sure to keep it that way, and Gray actually managed to find a little pride in it.
When Exercises were done, she was filthy. But it was also Friday, and she lined up outside of Captain Burke’s office to receive her two weekly liquor vouchers because truthfully, she wanted a drink more than she wanted a shower. A minute or so later and she was already walking out, little while slips in hand, each embossed with the seal of the Western Human Defense Corps. Though they felt like sturdy paper, they weren’t, and melted when held to a flame.
On her way out, Gray checked the bulletin board, and her heart sank when she saw that this month’s movie had been canceled. The projector was broken, and they were waiting on some replacement parts form Alpine. And who knew when that would be. A pair of corpsmen came up beside her to check it too, and grumbled loudly at the news.
“And it was gonna be a Henry Fonda!”
Gray made a face and sulked away. She liked westies. Movies (when Camp Fox could get them), books (when she could get them), it didn’t matter. She liked them for being simple. She liked that even in a gunfight, nobody ever had their brains shot out, or their throats cut open. Nobody took 3 days to die of a gangrenous leg. The action was exciting, the stakes were high, and it resembled life as she knew it in the Disrupted world, but there was an ease to it all, a cleanliness, that helped her forget the dirt under her fingernails and the ever-present preoccupied hum of fear in the air that you could very well die out here before earning Freedom.
Moreover, Henry Fonda was handsome. Errol Flynn wasn’t so bad either.
The broken projector was going to be the least of her worries that evening, though. As the sun was getting low on the horizon, she sensed tension in the camp, even freshly showered and with a shot of ‘shine in her belly. A few clerks were running between officers’ tents with that look in their eyes. Slowing to an amble near Green Fox’s captain’s tent, Gray trained her ears and through the canvas heard that they’d lost contact with the first checkpoint.
“Reroute the outgoing B patrol to see what happened. Tell them to use the cable box to check-in, and if they don’t, we assume the worst.”
“Yes, sir. Should I inform the Commander?”
“No, I’ll do that. Dismissed.”
Gray made sure to keep walking by the time the clerk rushed out again, then as soon as she was a little ways away, picked up the speed herself. She rushed past corpsmen at work in the fading light, past a group gathered around a badly-tuned guitar, looking for Harper and Finch; Wesson was still out on Exercises.
She ran into Harper first, but the wireman already seemed to know what she was about to tell him.
“Look alive, Gray,” he said, grabbing her shoulder. “Somebody’s gone and dusted our-”
“First checkpoint, I know.”
“Second now, too,” he said. “Berg’s just been ordered off the box to go get his gun.”
“Fuck. Where’s Finch?”
“She wasn’t with you grabbing her Fridays?”
“Must be at the showers, then.”
“I’ll go get her.”
Gray was only halfway there when she heard shots report at the edge of camp. And worse, it was an all-too familiar kind of sound: deep, loud, brutal. These were no brigand weapons. They were ‘Nak guns.
And ‘Nak guns hit harder than anything else she knew: their standard-issues used fifty–fucking–caliber rounds, and could blow a corpman’s head clear off their shoulders. It had been eight months since she last heard one. Gray swallowed a ragged gulp of air and turned to beeline for her tent to grab her gear. Finch could get herself to the muster point.
“’Naks!” came the call from around camp. “’Naks incoming!”
Out of the corner of her eye, Gray spotted Harrison, the resident Corps chemist and almighty bartender who had just served her, hefting the camp’s only submachine gun as he moved like a thunderhead out of the bar and cellars dug out of the canyon wall. He closed a camouflaged door behind him to protect some of the their most precious resources: not just liquor, but solvents, ethanols, combustion fuels and rare chemicals, all prime targets for both human and ‘Nak raiding parties.
The shouting and exchange of gunfire was drawing closer, and Gray sprinted over to the muster point outside of her toon’s captain’s office where about sixty other Brown Fox corpsmen were already anxiously gathering, with more pouring in every minute.
“We think there’s only about nine or ten dozen of the bastards, so this should be easy!” Burke shouted. “Form ranks at the southern end and maintain cover! Break into your fireteams if you have to, but do not, I repeat, do not go solo! Get going, move, move!”
Gray ran, not knowing where any of her close friends were, so she clumped together with some other corpsmen she knew and let both her training and adrenaline work their magic. She began to wonder why the ‘Naks were sending such a small force against an entire camp. They weren’t dumb. But it wasn’t long before her ears were ringing with the sound of battle, and there were suddenly more important things to think about, like the fact that it appeared that ranks were already being broken.
This was a deadly embarrassment to both sides. Not that Corpsmen weren’t gifted survivalists, but there were too many fuckers running around without clear orders. Out of the small handful of engagements they had with the ‘Naks each year, most of them were lethargic, and rarely did they get this close to home. Neither side could afford to lose so many soldiers so often, but they still needed to exchange fire and make a bunch of noise. Worse than losing men was losing morale, and going soft on the enemy was out of the question. There’s no telling what the ‘Naks would try if they knew just how threadbare the Corps could be some days. This, however, was not one of those days. Eleven-hundred corpsmen against one hundred of the giant bastards on Corps turf was going to be far from lethargic.
Gray knew something was different when the smell hit her. She paused just long enough to scowl as it sank in. This was the pheromone, she noticed, and her body reacted. Her heart raced and her muscles wanted to pull her in the opposite direction. She was supposed to run, this was it, this was the unthinkable thing. But the seventh-year steeled herself and dove down behind a water drum to remember her discipline.
“It’s strong,” she said to herself, panting. Stronger than usual.
Was this a new cocktail from The Algo?
When she glanced up, the evidence was all around her. The chaos, the cries of panic, the sound of someone puking, someone else sobbing. It was amazing what a chemical could do, the suggestion of predation, the thought that you could have a hundred exit routes and still be cornered. It was evil. Gray swallowed and knew what she had to do. Against all animal logic, she turned the safety off on her kicker and prepared to fight. It was her or them. As much as she hated it, this was her life, and she was going to defend it.
“They’re advancing!” someone yelled from across the road as they turned on their heel to take cover further up the path. They were made quick work of. Gray had to do something. The ‘Naks were moving quickly, hunched like big, bloodthirsty beasts as they popped off thundering blasts from their even bigger guns. Down the road someone’s chest exploded, spraying canvas with red.
She got down low, peeking out from behind her cover, and got off a few shots at one of the ‘Naks’ feet, crippling him. She gave the same treatment to another who watched his comrade fall, but a third noticed her muzzle flash in the growing twilight and she pulled back.
“Shit, shit, shit…” Gray’s brown eyes darted around, looking for a window of opportunity to make her retreat, but her water drum cover was quickly turning into a deathtrap. She couldn’t help the scream when the metal suddenly filled with holes and precious water poured out onto the dusty ground.
The ‘Nak’s guns grew louder and louder, and Gray knew she was going to get shot. Which was all the more reason to at least attempt falling back.
“It’s working! Spread out!” she heard one of the giants bark, and they broke formation.
Someone had managed to re-man one of the heavy guns and a dusky ‘Nak was knocked to the ground with the force of his own bullets, moaning in the dirt like any other wounded creature on god’s green earth, then a few more went down. Gray was about to take this opportunity to get away from the drum, maybe duck into a tent, when a ‘Nak soldier suddenly loomed overhead. He glanced down, and through the thin strip of face she could see between his helmet and the cloth covering his nose and mouth, their eyes briefly met.
Through the haze of panic that his proximity was inducing in her, Gray managed to notice his face soften, and turn to acute concern. And the squeeze… was not so oppressive.
But then there was pain. A 50-cal bullet hit him in the chest, clearing his armor and ammo pouches to land a bloody blow near his armpit. Her face was spattered with his living heat as he collapsed over the drum and on top of her, cloth torn away from his face. Gray suddenly found herself pinned under a pair of three–hundred pound legs with something stabbing her in the side. She hissed, barely able to breathe.
“F–fuck…” she wheezed, and then fell deathly still when she realized that it was the muzzle of her own kicker sticking her in the ribs. One wrong move and it could go off at any minute. She tried pushing against that weakening body on top of her, pushing against the fear. “G-get off me, you giant piece of shit…”
He was wheezing too, and she could now hear a wetness in his lungs. But he reached out with a massive hand, big enough to palm her skull, and touched her cheek. Gray froze.
Signy? Who was Signy?
“I didn’t know you came… back.” Blood appeared at the corner of his mouth and he tried licking his lips. The ‘Nak’s brown eyes were glazing over. “I’m sorry. I didn’t… know…”
His hand fell away from her face and Gray just laid there, fighting for breath, unable to do anything but watch the fire disappear from those strangely human eyes as he gave his last gasping death rattle.
@kisupure I’m a huge fan of your work
Yours too! Thank you
Hey, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen you last. How’s things? Good to have more people from before show up!
Yeah, it’s been a bit! I basically gave up after SW Realm went down, and was processing my identity stuff for a while so I took a step back from the community because I wasn’t sure how I really fit into it. Slowly finding my way in again, though I’ve been doing tons of writing in the meantime. It’s nice seeing you here too!
Not to play sads olympics here, but uh… I have to say, I’ve seen way more giant couples material than the niche-r stuff I’m into. And of course I’m just talking art. I think you need to adjust your expectations when it comes to real-person video stuff - it is very expensive, very time-consuming, and if the market isn’t there, then… you as a creator out a lot more than $800-1000 worth of labor and materials.
I built an entire website around the under-served kinks I’m into. I built a Discord community. I make my own smut, in whatever capacity I’m capable of. “Make the porn you want to see in the world” is my motto; haters can go fuck themselves.
Intimate relations between one (1) or more enlisted corpsmen are not expressly forbidden by Protocol. Corpsmen in good standing are permitted to indulge themselves in sensual, sexual, and romantic behavior without the permission of their overseeing Officers, provided that this behavior is not expressed while on-duty. However, intimacy is not to interfere with the good corpsman’s performance or punctuality, nor should loyalty to any individual corpsman overrule one’s loyalty to the Western Human Defense Corps as a whole. Failure to correctly prioritize may result in Gross Insubordination charges against offending corpsmen as a Camp’s ranking Officers see fit.
It was dark by the time she returned. The moon was out at least, bathing the dry, rocky landscape in just enough light for her to plan her steps by. On a whim, Gray practiced the footstrike of the Anak from earlier, ball first, heel following. It was difficult to replicate while wearing marching boots, but the modifications were effective. She knew that there were still some part of the technique she was missing, though.
Upon returning, Gray checked in with Captain Burke to fill out a debrief form: during her watch, did she see or encounter any humans; did she discharge a firearm at any point; would she be willing to submit her weapon for a count; did she see or encounter any Anakim. No, no, yes, and… no. Gray stared at the check mark she’d made on the form next to the last question.
It wouldn’t make a difference if I said anything anyways, Gray reasoned. It’s not like they don’t know we’re here, now.
Slipping the sheet back to Burke, she was promptly dismissed for the rest of the night. Gray was grateful, and she headed out the flaps of the officer’s tent to her own. I need to find the guys and put these fridays to use.
Until excavations were completed, Harrison’s was a tent like any other. Sappers were hard at work digging out cellars further up the canyon, and it would be another few weeks before they could wire the place for lighting and open up shop.
Harper was manning the cable tonight, so only Finch and Wesson were with her, and before long the three had gathered around an oil drum with their friday rations and a ratty deck of cards. Finch dealt, though Gray had no idea what they were playing.
“I thought you used up your last friday this week already?” she asked Finch, who was already looking over her hand of seven cards.
“Small miracle, gambling,” she said with a smug grin. “Gold Fox held some tarantula fights while you were gone, and I had my money on the smaller one. Now come on, it’s just a few rounds of Rummy.”
Gray shook her head and grabbed her cards. It was a terrible hand. “We’re not playing for keeps, are we?”
She shot a deadpan look at Finch. “Does it look like I have anything worth keeping?”
Wesson laughed and made his first discard. “So how was the treehouse?”
Gray suddenly found herself frowning and tried to make it look like she was studying her cards. “Fine.”
“Boring, huh? Even with your rib?”
“The pain was the most exciting part, actually.” She made to discard something.
“You forgot to draw.”
“Right.” She took another deep drink of her liquor and did as told, suddenly able to put together a short run of spades. The back of her neck prickled with warmth as she fought the temptation to start thinking about what she had seen.
“And how was inventory?”
Wesson shook his head. “Found a bad batch of ammo, leaving us with about a ton and a half until the next delivery.”
“Well, it’s good that we’re not expecting any company for a while, then.”
Wesson threw back the rest of his drink. “I mean, if ‘Naks were the only thing we had to worry about. Fox itself may be safer, but we’ve moved closer to gang territory.”
He was referring to organized bands of brigands that usually liked to stay just as far from civilization—‘civtown’—as the Corps. They were a dangerous type, known to jump anyone passing through their borders who might have anything worth stealing, sometimes shaking down entire caravans. She even heard stories of brigands taking on small teams of Anakim. Sometimes abiding folk in civtown would ask the Corps for help with particularly disruptive activity, but small-time brigands usually exercised more discretion than that.
“Patrols may be exchanging fire more often,” he went on. “Be careful out there.”
Finch made her play: four kings. Gray’s shoulders and eyelids both slumped. She stared at the ace and queen in her hand and cursed at her friend. Finch just grinned.
“Be careful in here too,” Finch chuckled, downing the last of her shine. “So I heard that Alpine says the ‘Nak scent was more concentrated for this last fight.”
“You heard? You were there.”
“No shit, but it’s nice for the Alpine labcoats to agree with us every once in a while.”
Wesson’s attention was piqued. In fact, he looked surprised that a sixth-year would find this out before him. “Harper told you that?”
Finch shrugged. “What? It was an open message. It’s going on the boards tomorrow.”
He looked taken aback. “Yeah, but you… gotta have a little respect for the process, right? You can’t just do whatever you want, the Corps couldn’t run like that.”
Finch rolled her eyes. “Look. Does Harper act like a gossip? Even if it were a secret, it’d be safe with me.”
“It just confirms what we already know because we were there, Wesson. Nothing confidential about that,” Gray said.
“Fair enough. But I don’t think I’m being unreasonable either.”
Finch sighed loudly. “We can both be right.”
Wesson played a four-card straight and discarded something Gray couldn’t use, so she finished her drink and waved at Harrison for another. She parted with a second friday for it, and threw back the small cup, feeling it burn all the way down. They played a few more rounds.
Eventually, there was a lull in the conversation, and something was percolating its way through Gray’s mind as the alcohol started kicking in. “Something I’ve been wondering,” she began. “What’s the most human thing you ever see a ‘Nak do? How much like us are they?”
This wasn’t the smartest question she could have asked in a Corps camp as it skirted some important rules, but she could have asked dumber. Questions like, “how hot is the sun?”
“I seen one jack off once, remember that?” Finch laughed.
Gray did remember and she found a tightening in her chest at the thought now.
“Must’ve been a big piece of meat,” Gray muttered with a strained chuckle, keeping her eyes on her cards.
“God, are you kidding? It was like…” She held her hands up in the air, greatly exaggerating. “Wouldda been easy target practice.”
“How ‘bout you, Wesson?”
“They only look and act like us in order to fuck with our sense of empathy,” he said, avoiding the question entirely. “If you talk to vets from the first phase of the Disruption, they’ll all tell you that dusting machines was easier than flesh and blood. The Algo figured that out and decided to use our likeness against us.”
Gray frowned. “When did you get to talk to veterans from the old wars?”
“I mean, I didn’t talk to them. But I’ve hung around when we got some passing through once, and they talked about it with the officers.”
That was a mighty privilege, Gray thought. It wasn’t often that enlisted corpsmen were given an opportunity to even get near outsiders, let alone speak to them.
“Anyways, I don’t care what they look like,” Finch said coldly. “I’m happy to kill the fuckers dead after wiping six billion humans off the map. Including my mom and auntie.”
Gray swallowed at the reminder. She discarded, realizing too late that she had a run of hearts hiding in her hand, and Finch promptly won a second time.
“Remind me to never play cards with you ever again,” Wesson snorted.
Finch smiled obnoxiously. “There’s no shame in losing.”
The blond-haired man slapped the remainder of his hand on the table, not even counting his points, and Finch roared with laughter. She shoved the mess of cards at Gray. It was her turn to deal.
The alcohol made gathering up the cards more difficult than she thought it’d be. Her fingers were clumsy, and a few dropped on the ground. When she bent to pick them up, she hit her head on the table.
“God dammit,” she hissed. Wesson’s hand was soon on her arm and he pulled her up.
“You OK there?”
“I think I just… need something to eat.”
“And a night in your own cot,” Finch added. She took the cards back.
Wesson didn’t let go of her arm. “C’mon, I’ll help you back.”
Gray nodded and they began walking. With dehydration and growling stomachs being the accepted norm around here, a little shine, she remembered, went a long way in Corps bellies. She focused on walking straight.
They headed steadily down the road between tents. “Hey Wes,” she slurred, bending the ban on nicks by just shortening his surname. “You ever get confused sometimes?”
He chuckled, and his arm worked its way around her shoulders instead. “Yeah, when I’m trying to do inventory on 3 hours of sleep.”
“No, no. Confused about… what our enemy even is.”
He looked at her wistfully, cautiously. “Well, I can tell you what they’re not.”
Gray screwed up her face. “I’m trying to be serious, man. I’m not that tore.”
“After five years you’d think I’d know you well enough to know when you’re full of shit. Now look, we’re here.” She pushed open the flap to her section of the tent and Wesson helped her to her cot. “Hang tight while I find you something to eat, alright?”
“Yes, sir,” she mumbled, rolling her eyes. He disappeared back outside with a smile. It figured Wesson would like getting sir’d. He was gunning for promo, after all, and it was no secret that he intended to get it. It was also no secret that he liked being buttered up.
In the big toon tents, which were partitioned off into fourteen rooms, each housing four or five cots and a single light bulb that was cut off at exactly 10pm every night, there were usually a few folk mingling or trying to catch some shut–eye before a shift. The place was impeccably clean, mostly because her tent–mates hadn’t had time to settle in and make a mess of the place yet. The tents were not especially comfortable places to be: dimly lit, and stiflingly hot if you wanted to keep the sun out. Gray wondered what conditions the Anakim lived in, and decided it was probably much of the same.
She didn’t know how many minutes had passed before Wesson came back, though it was probably fewer than it felt. He handed her a small cup with a metal foon sticking out of it.
“It’s all the cook would give me,” he declared as she balked at the slurry inside. “And here.” He produced a flask of water, which he began to pour into her own. “Or you’ll be begging for a bullet to the head tomorrow.”
She sat up and spooned some of the green–brown mush into her mouth. It was salty, and the high algae content made it taste distinctly like pond scum. There was meat in there somewhere too, but the only clue was in the small tough bits of ground–up tissue and the thin film of grease that clung to the utensil when she took a bite. What animal the weekly shipments of ‘wet ration’ were made from had already become a popular subject of the rumor mill.
Still, it at least didn’t suck the moisture from your mouth like hardtack.
“Thanks,” she mumbled.
“And between you and me,” Wesson said quietly, crouching down to give her his best fatherly look. “Be careful of the stuff you ask around here, even with friends. I know you don’t sympathize, but some young boot hearing you talk at the bar doesn’t. People still get reported. People still get retrained.”
Gray just frowned.
“And I know it’s easy to get confused sometimes. But just remember that the Corps is our lifeblood. Without it, humanity wouldn’t have stood a chance. We could all be dead, or worse.”
“What’s worse than being dead?” she scoffed.
Wesson leveled his eyes at her and she swallowed. “We could be packing ‘Nak bullets right now, for one thing.”
Gray blinked, surprised at how odd this sounded. Bondship was bondship, wasn’t it? Every enlisted Corpsman was a bond. The only reason anyone was here was the hope of getting that coveted freemark and being addressed by your given name for the first time in a decade. The Freedom Ceremony was what dreams were made of.
She almost opened her mouth to ask him if he really thought that being the property of the Corps was better than being property of The Algo. But you didn’t say things like that in a Corps camp, no matter how much you drank or how much you wanted the last word.
“Probably,” she mumbled. “At least its only ten years of this, and the Corps does keep its word.”
“The Corps always keeps its word.”
Wesson smiled again as he rose, satisfied that he’d reached her. But just as he was about to leave, she stopped him.
“What happened to us, Wesson?”
The handsome tenth-year paused and his eyes fell to the ground for a moment. “It’s like you said, you weren’t feeling it.”
Gray thought for a minute, chewing slowly. “I guess I just got tired of sneaking around. We’re not youngyears anymore.”
“I think being a good corpsman really matters to you now. I respect that.”
“And you’re almost out of here anyways.” She looked up and their eyes met. “Even though you want to stay with the Corps, I’ll probably never see you again after you get your promo.”
“Everybody’s gotta say goodbye at some point.”
Gray nodded drunkenly.
“Now get some rest, I’ll tell Harper you missed him.”
I keep them very separate. There was a period a number of years ago when I thought I wanted to reconcile all my online lives, then realized that it would be a bigger logistical and mental nightmare than keeping them separate. Even if I did start getting “horny on main”, I would feel the pressure to self-censor some of my weirder, harsher, or more experimental stuff. Also the stuff that’s more personal to me - in other words, I’d feel like I’d have to be a “content creator” and all the baggage that goes with that rather than just an artist and writer expressing and exploring himself without shame.
In fact, it was the space created by keeping these worlds separate that led me to discovering that I was FTM and that I needed to transition. Not getting horny on main could very well have saved my life!
I do use different styles for different spheres of my life. For one thing, my mainstream work is very analog. I’m a conceptual painter who works on commission, as well. You can’t really get much further away from smut than that. My kinky art is all done digitally anyways, and I permit myself to be sketchy and lazy. I even have an entire brush pack that I basically reserve for smut now. It’s fun.
I don’t really talk about sex or sexuality very much with anyone IRL, though I’d like to change that in situations where it’s appropriate rather than feigning stoic disinterest. There’s a lot of reasons for it, but it was because most of the friends I’d made in public school wound up being ace, or just never dated or talked about dating. My family didn’t talk about sex very often either, and my parents were both pretty body-averse people that kept very hush hush. So I never learned how to be open about it, and combined with crippling dysphoria in my teen years that I also didn’t know how to talk about, even thinking about having sex as a woman made me feel disgusting!
That said, my partner knows and has zero problem with it, though we’ve never really acted anything out in bed. I used to have a few friends who knew, but they’re long gone. If someone asked me in plain english if I had a thing for giants or really tall men, I don’t think I’d lie. It’d be easy to turn it into something understandable. Something like “duh, the more man you can get the better!”
What’s a size diff community without me spamming a bunch of old material for the Nth time because I write at a glacially slow pace? (Answer: a slightly less cluttered forum.)
Anyways, for those of you unfamiliar, here’s a story I wrote for the old SW Realm board, based around a prompt for fairy tale stories given the G/t treatment. Here’s my rendition of beauty and the beast. For those of you already familiar with it, I’ve actually gone and done some serious editing since I originally penned these chapters! (Mostly in regards to our titular beastly curse.)
First chapter below, all the rest I’ll link to on my site. It’s being rebuilt from the ground up anyways, so I guess I can consider reuploading all this as… fun?
“Did I tell you that they’re sending me to Bell Island?” Martin called from the hallway bathroom where he was doing a last once-over before leaving for work.
His daughter, Brooke, who was reading in the living room of her father’s Anacortes home, looked up from her book. “No. Where’s Bell Island?”
“Just east of Crane Island,” he said, now in the foyer as he gathered his things. “It should be a quick in-and-out, but I’ll have to charter a boat to get there. Probably be gone all day.”
Brooke nodded, brown eyes going back to her forensics textbook. Martin, her old man, was a private investigator often contracted out by the San Juan County police department to look into spurious goings on in their sleepy little corner of the world. Brooke had been raised in it, her mother having passed away when she was younger, and was fully committed on entering into the family business once she was done with school.
Though she wasn’t often privvy to the details of his cases, he had always, always told her where he was going and when he would be back… just in case. You never knew what trouble might find you in such a line of work. Dangerous situations happened.
“What kind of case is it?”
“Private client,” he said, looking for his keys. “Guy wants to know what his business partner is up to… I guess the man dropped off the map a few years ago and still owns half the company.”
“Yikes,” she said non-committaly. “You think he’s dead?”
“That’s what we’re going to find out.” With keys successfully located, he opened the door and stepped out. “I’ll be back before dinner,” he called. “Have a good day!”
She flatly returned the goodbye and promptly went back to reading.
Her father was not, in fact, back before dinner. That in itself wasn’t especially unusual, but what was is the fact that he hadn’t contacted her all evening. She picked up the phone and called the station, but the young detective on the other end of the line hadn’t heard from Martin since the day before. Brooke was beginning to worry, sitting in tense silence over her microwave dinner as she tried to convince herself that maybe his phone was just dead, or maybe he dropped it into the water while on his way over, or…
Her own phone buzzed then: a text message from an unfamiliar number.
Hi honey, looks like I’ll be staying on the island for a few days
Relief washed over her… for a moment. Brooke looked at the message again, feeling that the wording wasn’t quite right. Her father had never called her honey – and if he did, then he never did it in a text. Only partially satisfied, she started to get ready for bed, but sleep would be slow coming until the hamster wheel of thoughts stopped turning in her head.
School over the next two days kept her busy enough. Midterms were coming up, there was lab work to do, and her “side” job of answering the phones for her dad’s PI business distracted her from the fact that she hadn’t heard from him since that night. It all seemed like such a routine job – the guy was either there or he wasn’t, right? Eventually, Brooke sat down at Martin’s desk and began to do her own research.
Bell Island, she found out, was a privately owned piece of land in the middle of the channel and some acres in size. A wealthy, young, tech entrepreneur had bought and built on it some six years before, after his AI dev company, Orcasoft, launched a wildly successful IPO. 2 years ago, though, this entrepreneur, a certain Jack Ilyin, had taken an extended leave of absence and never returned, leaving his VP, Gary Patel, to run the show.
“Well this is interesting,” Brooke muttered to herself as she squinted at a headline showing up on the page of search results: Possible Orcasoft acquisition on the table. Google, apparently, was in talks with Mr. Patel about a buyout. But as Brooke suspected, a deal couldn’t be made until Ilyin could be tracked down – whether he approved or not was anyone’s guess at this point, but either way, the acquisition was dead in the water until they could get the man’s John Hancock on the dotted line.
Brooke sat back in the desk chair and thought. Certainly, she felt better now, knowing that this wasn’t some sketchy gray market activity going on. This was a high-profile business, run by high-profile businessmen – surely, then, the specifics of Ilyin’s apparent renunciation of society was a tangled mess of financial and legal complications that, truth be told, might be better hashed out in court.
Of course, that’s probably the advice her father was giving to Mr. Ilyin right now, but still… Brooke wanted to make sure everything was alright. She glanced at the time, remembering that tomorrow was saturday, and decided to call up a friend of hers at the marina.
“Hey Andy. So, my dad needs my help with a case, and I was wondering if you could give me a ride someplace in the runabout tomorrow morning…”
@olo NO no, haha. AO3 tbh, though that’s no surprise at all.
@nyx @nephilim re: ““purple”” prose, I’ve done some brushing up on the term and I’m reminded now that it’s a very over-used and misunderstood criticism in the amateur writing world lol. (I remember when many fandoms all kind of discovered the term back in the late 90’s and early 00’s and suddenly everyone was either doing it on purpose or clutching their pearls over it lol).
Like, I’ll say this: Ender’s Game is one of my favorite books, but boy did Card do a poor job of conveying Ender’s anguish in a lot of scenes. Neuromancer, as much of a slog that was for me, was WAY better in the emotional detail department. Even Tom fucking Clancy is decent. (Nephilim, I can’t say I’ve read any Stephen King! Maybe I should get on it…)
But thank you Nyx, that’s heartening to hear. I’ve heard from a couple people who want me to change the writing style to “appeal” to a broader audience, and I’m just like… to what end? How broad of an audience is this ever going to get lmao?
@olo Definitely was envisioning a very real, very large military/paramilitary organization that formed to pick up the slack of the failing nation-state, and as things continued to get worse, it descended into a self-contained feudal society. I like the military metaphor a lot (water is wet!) but I like it because unlike a lot of sci fi tropes we have it now. And it’s already just an extreme form of the social stratification we are all forced into living already.
Haven’t decided how it smells yet! For humans, it’s basically an invisible scent, only really detectable by its effects. For the anakim though, it might just be a bit musky.
I don’t suppose I have to remind you how non-neutered adult human males have historically behaved in prolonged single-sex environments
@olo I’m so glad you noticed that little detail LOL
originally it was “get the arm out of the way”, and then “if I’d just thrown myself to the ground, I’d be making sure the very heavy metal thing on my back wasn’t swinging around to hit anybody in the face or throw off my balance” but now that you mention it, hand-packed mags are probably a HUGE liability when you have things exploding near them.
Make sure the gun is OK and you make sure everyone is OK lol.
That said, I think I made him a foot too tall here sob
And I can’t wait to share more. I have always love, love, loved writing the interactions of this couple. Because, it goes dark and deep, with raw, pivoting perspectives, and addiction, as we will learn, is a weapon pointed on both ends.
It’s been a few years for me since I read the original, so I’m looking forward to reading the gruesome psychologia all over again!
[[OK, last chapter for a couple weeks. This was a lot of work but I was on a roll - half of it is entirely new material worked into an old scene, so my brain is complete mush now.]]
The rank of Captain is reserved for Officers who lead a Corps Platoon or Division. A Platoon consists of 150-200 fighting corpsmen and their support, who are designated within each Camp by color. A Division refers to any self-contained department necessary for the functioning of a Corps Camp, such as Hospitality, Medical, or Utilities. Divisions may also refer to combat specialization groups, such as Scouting or Communications. See Annex I for a complete list of Divisions and Sub-Divisions.
—HDC Manual, Section 2 § 2
Normally, the Corps would begin picking out potential officers in the months before candidates got their freedom, always transferring the newly promoted to an unfamiliar camp if there was an opening, or if an officer was planning to retire from the corps to return to civvie life.
The benefits for Wesson were worth coveting: provisional freedom without a mark, and promotion to the captain’s office complete with all the rights and privileges of the upranked. There was no pomp for him or the ninth-year from red toon that was also being promoted, just a lot of paperwork, a few symbolic aptitude tests, and an oath-taking ceremony in the commander’s tent. He even got a new uniform. Well, newer.
“So no more philandering with us enlisted, eh?” a fifth-year teased at a gathering behind Harrison’s the next evening in his honor.
Like enlisteds with outsiders, officers were discouraged from getting cozy with their subordinates. Meals were to be taken separately, quarters relocated to the captain’s barracks, and outside of the occasional drink, Wesson would be spending as little free time as possible with the downrank from now on. And this was the last time that he would be allowed to enjoy the company of so many enlisted all at once… so many friends.
Wesson shrugged, a bittersweet smile on his face. The liquor was getting to him.
“It’s part of the price we’ll all have to pay to get our freedom,” he sagely declared. Then, he held up his drink. “To the Corps! May she never run low on lead!”
“To the Corps!” a good twenty voices echoed back.
Gray didn’t say anything when she raised her cup, and when she glanced beside her to Finch with her arm in a sling, the redhead didn’t either. She’d only been allowed to stay one night in the med tent, but from what Finch told her, she didn’t want more than that anyway. It was depressing as hell and too many injured were talking and moaning in their sleep.
“He looks a lot better today,” Gray said, watching Wesson talk to a few others.
“He looks tore,” Finch said flatly.
Gray frowned. “He almost had his head busted open out there.”
“We he definitely isn’t shellshocked. In fact, it seems like he’s enjoying himself. Look.”
Gray looked, and realized it was true. The difference was like night and day. It was as he’d never hit his head at all, and she wondered if it hadn’t been something else that made him seem so distracted. Or maybe speaking to Hitch gave him the confidence to believe that he could fulfill his new role. Being told you were getting a promo after a fight like that was enough to sucker punch anybody. Still, Gray suddenly didn’t like how he was taking up space.
Wesson was engrossed in conversation, but he began to point their way. A moment later he was crossing the distance, talking loudly.
“…And in fact, the first thing I’m gonna do, right now, is come right on over here and say to her, ‘Gray, I want you to work for me’.”
Wesson’s bright eyes were locked onto her. He was always a few inches taller but suddenly the seventh-year felt as if he was as big as a ‘Nak as he stood close, putting his arm around her shoulder. He waited for her answer with a grin. Others hooted, hollered, and clapped.
Gray looked up at him, unable to hide the expression on her face. “Wh–what? You want me to be your clerk?” she said, easing herself away from him. “Do I look like a filing cabinet to you?”
His smile widened and he turned to the others. “If you’ll excuse us,” he called out, “I need a moment to speak with my new assistant.”
With that he ushered them both away, and she noticed that his sparkling smile quickly disappeared.
“C’mon Gray,” he said once they were out of sight. “I’m an officer now, I can pull strings.”
She squinted at him, that blond hair and tanned face beginning to look a little too charismatic. “What makes you think I want to file paperwork and run errands for you all day? You could’ve asked me first.”
He took a quick glance around and gave her shoulder an authoritative squeeze. “I care about you guys,” he said. “You, Harper, and Finch. And if I can use this promotion to help make your lives easier for a while, then I will. And I didn’t ask because they don’t want me to. I’m supposed to tell you what to do and you’re supposed to do it.”
Gray’s lips became a fine line. Coming from any other captain, this conversation wouldn’t be happening. She would be saying “yes, sir” and “thank you, sir” for the opportunity to be a good corpsman. She’d be grateful for being seen as valuable. Clerk work was clean, and it was quiet; you slept in a tent attached to the captain’s office, and being one more step removed from the fighting ranks of corpsmen put you one step closer to the outside world. The things you learned better prepared you to deal with civtown.
But Gray still didn’t want it. She didn’t want the strange, special treatment. And nobody liked the clerks anyways. They were odd, and rude, and smoked so much they could barely ruck.
“I know I bitch about it, but I actually like scouting. I don’t want to be transferred to records, even if it is easier work.”
He gave her a look she had never seen outside of battle, slate eyes suddenly cold. There was an edge to his voice as he spoke, and his hand held firm to her shoulder.
“I can keep you safe, Gray.”
“Is this… is this an us thing?” she blurted. “Are you trying to win me back or something?“
“It’s not. I promise.” Wesson chewed his lip and thought for a moment. “This last fight made me realize just how awful it is to lose people this late in the game. It’s just… it’s more dangerous out there than any of us realize. But I suddenly have the power to protect you now.”
“What about Finch?”
“Finch will get her chance, don’t worry. I could always try setting her up with hospitality.”
Hospitality was where the wastelanders were, and officers from Alpine: clean men and women in clean uniforms, decked with colorful ribbons and polished metal.
But keeping visitors fed, watered, and entertained during their visits was a secretive task. The Manual said it was “distracting” work for the average corpsman because of the gossip, the rumors, the foreign culture of the outsiders. Most were not fit for it.
And if Gray knew Finch, she wasn’t fit for it either.
“That’s even worse than records,” she said.
Wesson threw up his arms. “Who cares! If she wants to live to kill another ‘Nak then she’ll need to get away from the front anyways. She doesn’t stand a chance right now.”
“Then make her work the office!”
He shook his head. “No, we make a better team. I want you in there. She knows card games, she’ll do much better keeping outsiders happy.”
“With all due respect, I don’t want her waiting on outsiders any more than I want to wait on you, sir.”
The Manual recommended prefacing opinions with those words to avoid coming across as insubordinate. But Wesson knew inter-rank protocol just as much as she did, and his silence told her that she should have kept her mouth shut.
“I’ve always told you to watch what you say after you’ve had too much shine. It’s going to get you into trouble one of these days,” he said, turning away. “Think about my offer, Gray. Don’t be stupid.”
* * *
She laid on her cot and stared at the flapping canvas above her head. The night was almost warm enough to roll up the sides to let air in through the bug netting, but the beads of sweat on the nape of her neck had nothing to do with the approaching summer heat.
“Captain Wesson,” she mumbled to herself. “Yes sir, captain Wesson sir.”
Gray groaned and turned over onto her good side.
The next afternoon, she checked the board for Wesson’s first duty roster. Juggling the schedules of 200 corpsmen would be the first thing he’d learn to do. Glancing at the other names, it didn’t look half-bad for a first try. In fact, it probably took him all night. But as she found her name, neatly typed on its own row, her stare turned to gawking, and her gawking soon turned to indignation.
S M T W T F S [SS12C]---------------------------------------[SS12A]
“SS” stood for “solitary sentry”, the number designated her blind, and the letter told her when she was to ruck out. This wasn’t a duty roster, this was a sentence. A week up in a tree. These shifts were supposed to be three days long, and the most she had ever heard of was five.
The asshole did this on purpose.
Gray stormed away from Captain Wesson’s new office, and back to her toon tent.
“Did you see the board?” she said, walking in on Finch on her cot as Harper dabbed a clean rag on her wound.
“No,” Finch snorted. “Why would I? I got four weeks off.”
“Hardly. They’ll have to give you something to do starting next week,” Harper said.
Gray ignored them. “Is this was he always wanted? To order people around? I feel like I don’t know the guy anymore.”
Harper shrugged. “He wanted promo, you knew that.”
“He’s got me on seven days of solitary. Seven!”
Finch chuckled. “You’re always going to lose in a fight with an officer.”
“Piss off, this isn’t funny.”
Gray sat down on a cot and rubbed her face.
“It’s whatever, Gray. You guys got into an argument, you probably said something dumb, and he’s doing something dumb to get back at you. Be glad it’s just sentry and that he’s—ow!” Finch hissed as Harper helped her arm back into the sling. “Be glad he’s not making you scrub toilets for a week.”
Gray sighed. Maybe Finch was right. Maybe she was blowing this out of proportion and being unable to say ‘Captain Wesson’ with a straight face was her problem.
“Any of you miss Burke?” Harper said.
“Didn’t really know her.”
“The officers don’t really want *any *of us to know them, do they?”
Gray scoffed. “I wouldn’t either, if I were them. We’re numbers until we get our freedom.” A pause. “Maybe he just needs some time.”
A man tapped on the flap before letting himself inside. It was one of Burke’s old staff. “Finch? Fifth-year?”
He handed her a folded piece of paper and ducked out.
Finch’s eyes narrowed as she opened and read the note.
“Holy fuck, I’m going to be Wesson’s new help,” she said, dumbfounded. “It’s been approved by Hitch and everything already. I’ll be transferred to records when my arm’s healed.”
Harper stood up and grabbed the paper from her. Gray winced, remembering their argument.
“He’s trying to help you out.”
“Jesus Christ, Gray, this isn’t a week of sentry, this is for the rest of the season! And when we get a real captain in there, they might even keep me!”
“It’s either this, or you risk release,” Harper said. “Think of it this way, he just saved you from a death sentence.”
“Yeah, and saved a bunch of fuckin’ ‘Naks too. I’m gonna be one of the last people to go out on a ruck, now.”
“In forty-seven months you get your freedom and that’s all that matters. You can kill as many of ‘em as you want when you’re out of here.” Gray was trying very hard to scold the younger corpsman into being thankful, but it was a hard sell.
“That’s all that matters, huh?” Finch set her jaw and stared at the ground. “I’m not like you. Not like any of you. I’m not here for promo, and I’m not here to get out. All I want is revenge, and up until now, the Corps made that easy for me.”
“Yeah, well, it’s looking like the only person getting what they want around here is Wesson.” Gray stood up to leave. Finch was awful to be around when she was in a bad mood. “I’ll see you in a fucking week.”
* * *
After a 4-minute shower, 1900 hours rolled around and it was time to hit the trail. Scowling, Gray signed off on the board and rucked out from there to her post without saying a single word to anyone, the captain included. At this point, part of her was looking forward to getting away.
“What is wrong with him?” she muttered. “Why does it feel like he’s taking this personally?”
But underneath her indignation there was hurt, she realized. Did she feel like Wesson had somehow cheated the system to get out early? Maybe he did—the Corps wasn’t without its petty corruption. Sometimes you heard about protection contracts being paid off with warm bodies instead of goods or money. The money, too, worried her. Would he flaunt it, or would he try to pretend like it didn’t matter? He could even spend it out in civtown if he wanted. Because he was allowed to leave on errands now, too. Or maybe that was a privilege reserved for true freemen. She didn’t know. She almost didn’t care.
As she reached her post and began the climb up into the tree, Gray pondered the Corps in the abstract. Just what *was *it? And what did it do to people?
The Western Human Defense Corps, as the militia was once more formally called, was a machine at its heart. Its moving parts were made of muscle, and it was lubricated by the sweat of its corpsmen. Its ranks were filled with bonds brought in from the wastes; some of them runaways, like her, and some by purchase. And they were brought together for a single purpose: to keep the enemy at bay, an enemy that didn’t discriminate against any human.
The Corps prided itself on offering its enlistees more than just survival training; it offered dignity, and a chance for you to leave a stronger, smarter person than you were when you arrived. It was like a still, turning mash into shine.
Unfortunately, a lot of mash went into making even a just little shine.
Wesson wasn’t under any delusion that this was a hard life, but he leaned heavily on the mythology of the Corps—General Piece, the Manual, the early victories of the Disruption—while Gray and many others did not. For her, the Corps was a means to an end. In twenty-eight months she’d be packing up her bags and heading out to civtown where she could decide who to work for. That was all the freedom she ever wanted.
As she took a swig of water, Gray’s thoughts turned back to that sentinel again. His apocryphal existence was in diametric opposition to the life of a Corps officer. The sentinel lived and worked alone, something Gray could barely fathom. No rosters, no drills, nobody breathing down his neck telling him when to eat or sleep or shit. Unlike Wesson, whose confidence came from knowing people, the sentinel stood alone.
She found herself sighing wistfully, then laughed. Gray knew better than to romanticize that kind of life. He was probably often hungry and thirsty, and half–nuts from the isolation. If the Anakim were as social as the humans they were modeled after, she guessed that loneliness could eat away at them just the same.
But hunger and thirst was freedom too, wasn’t it? She contrasted the sentinel’s hard, rugged face in the dust with Wesson’s newfound authority, washed and fed. Gray knew which face she preferred.
She knew who was the better kisser, too.
There was a faint throb between her legs and she wiggled a little to release some of the tension with a sigh. Noncommittally, Gray thought about those hands again and their bruising strength. She recalled those lips, that tongue, thought about what it would have been like to be flipped over then and there, with bullets flying over their heads in the dark, to have a neat hole ripped in the seat of her pants and…
Gray’s breathing quickened, heart picking up. Her fingers hovered over her fly, half undone. She was remembering now how small she felt, too, how the pheromone made her feel like he could kill her with a word. But he did no such thing. His word had saved them.
The contrast was bewildering. Intoxicating.
Removed from the moment itself, she could reflect on it from the safety of the now. Relive it in any way she wanted. This was her tiny sliver of freedom, and not a soul would know. She could fantasize about the sentinel. She would fantasize about the sentinel.
Gray undid the rest of the buttons and kicked off her pants, they needed some repair anyways. Then feeling strangely electrified, she slipped her fingers under the hem of her underwear and brushed along her straining bud. Only now did she realize that she was soaking wet.
Take that, Wesson.
* * *
She sat and pulled a long beige thread through one pant leg, pulling a hole shut as the sky above slowly turned to pinks and purples. Long shadows crept across the valley, a few easy kliks away from Fox, and for a long while Gray was almost at ease. The floorboards of her blind radiated warmth even as the sun began to disappear behind the rolling valley wall, its top hairy with scrub taller than a human.
A few crickets picked up their song, and off in the distance Gray spotted a doe and her adolescent faun picking their way through the brush. For a few minutes she watched them, their heads dipping down every few seconds then snapping back up, enormous ears swiveling.
Most other corpsmen hated the color brown—they hated it like they hated the dust and the heat, and her toon was was the butt of most jokes for its color. But the desert had taught Gray that brown could be elegant, even beautiful. As she considered the deer, common but rarely noticed, considered their strong, lean, silent bodies moving through the landscape, there seemed to be no more regal a color on earth than the heathery brown of their fur.
Suddenly, the deer stood at attention, ears pointing to the corpsman’s 3 o’clock. Gray had heard nothing, but flattened herself and trained her ears too. Soon, a single rock tumbled down the hillside nearby and the deer disappeared up the canyon with a decisive rustle of underbrush.
It was probably an animal, but Gray grabbed her gun anyways, foregoing the pair of binos. Blood began beat in her ears. She was hoping that it was something innocuous. A hare, maybe. Or a bird. Hell, she’d even take a cougar over the other available options.
She laid on her belly for a few long minutes, listening with every nerve ending in her body. A moment later and there was another sound: the faint scrape of a twig against something—fabric—again at her 3. Steadying her breath, Gray decided to cup her mouth to throw one of the standard bird calls, but there was no reply. This was not a corpsman.
Judging by the faintness of the sound, Gray assumed human. A lost wastelander maybe, or a brig looking to relieve a lone “corpy” of their gear. It happened, and with surprising regularity. Sentries would be sent out, and their body found later near their post, stripped naked and half-eaten by coyotes. Just as she was going through the rough calculations of her chances given the weapons the attacker was likely to have, another clue appeared in the form of a scent.
Not pheromone, but tobacco smoke.
So, a cocky fucker, then. But the sound of boots in the dirt below the blind drained her of color in an instant.
The only way he’d creep that close was if he knew she was there, and knew she was alone. A dozen scenarios roared through her mind, most of them ending badly. But some of them didn’t. The thick, breathless pause had her preparing for confrontation. Where was he standing? How many seconds did she have? Could she land a successful first shot before this attacker filled the floorboards full of holes?
“I know you’re up there,” said the familiar voice.
It was… him.
His voice was raw granite. Rough and stony, like the arroyos and dusty canyons he stalked in service to the Anakim. In her mind she saw his blue eyes again looking back at her over the long barrel of his rifle, and she let out her captive breath. It was loud enough for him to hear.
Gray stood up on shaky feet and neared the edge of the platform where she could climb down the knotted rope. She didn’t dare look at him until her bare feet met solid ground, after which she raised her eyes, heart pounding. She waited for the pheromone to creep into her nostrils and begin clawing at the back of her mind, but it never did. Maybe she wasn’t close enough?
Her gaze paused at his belly – she was at eye-level with the frayed webbing of his belt – and let that sink in for a moment before following the rest of him upward to his face. His helmet was off, and his kicker lazily hung from a broad shoulder. If it was ever his intention to kill her, then it definitely wasn’t now.
“How did you to come here?” she said quietly, trying to hide the distant unease in her voice. Gray didn’t want to creep any closer to him for a number of reasons.
“Doesn’t take me long to figure out what goes on in my territory,” he said quietly, cooly.
He was so matter–of–fact, and that sent a little shiver down her spine. What else did he know? How long had he been watching her? She took an unconscious step back, fingering the rope as though that were somehow an exit route. He frowned and took a long drag of the tiny cigarette between his fingers. Quarter of an inch disappeared in a bright red cherry before her eyes. Gray realized that it was one of those human-sized sticks that she’d seen him smoking earlier, and she could tell by the tightness of the roll that there was no way he could have done it himself—not with fingers that size.
“You think I’m here to kill you.”
She swallowed, and her rosy thoughts from earlier couldn’t have seemed further away. He was here now, in the flesh. Something she had never expected.
“This is a war. Why would I think otherwise?”
The idea seemed funny to him, and he snorted. “I dunno, you tell me.”
All was still as they stared each other down for a long while, reading body language, doing math, gauging motives. It was so quiet that Gray almost started when he let his boomer drop to the dirt, then the cigarette, before slowly taking a knee. Gray held onto the rope, fearing that she would lose her balance.
“Why are you here?” she whispered, suddenly feeling uncomfortable that he emitted no pheromone. It was almost… wrong.
He chuckled and looked away, and she saw now that there were some strands of silver in his dark hair, catching the early evening light.
“Testing my mettle, I guess. Wanted to see how close to you I could get.” His eyes flicked back to her. “Made it pretty far, you have to admit.”
The giant waited like that for a few more seconds. Either the sentinel was confident that she wasn’t a risk to him, or he was very, very stupid. If this was a common ‘Nak soldier, Gray would have assumed the latter. But this wasn’t a common ‘Nak soldier.
“Will it make you feel better if I answered your question?”
“I don’t remember asking you a question.”
“No, but I can tell you want to. And the answer is yes, I’m suppressing.”
Gray frowned. “Suppressing what? What are you talking about?”
The massive man removed his glove and tossed it to her. Startled, she caught it out of instinct and when she realized what he was trying to do, she held it, eyes hard as she waited for the squeeze.
“Go on, it won’t do anything.”
Trepidly, she did. But all she could smell was the scent of leather, dirt, and… him.
Gray was confounded. “It’s not affecting me.”
He cocked a brow at her. “You want it to?”
Those words sent an intense fluttering through her belly. The little corpsman swallowed and tossed the glove back to him.
“I can choose to make you scared,” was his only explanation. “If it suits my needs. And to tell you the truth, corpsman, I have other plans.”
Plans like what? The corpsman swallowed.What was unfolding between them now, in this valley, was not something she could have ever even dreamed up. In fact, she still wasn’t sure if it was really happening. Such encounters never happened. Ever. Or if they did, no one lived to talk about them.
“Why’d you kiss me?”
Her question seemed to catch him off-guard. Not too much, though. He was probably genetically designed to conceal his emotions.
“Never know when you’re going to catch lead,” he said flatly.
Evidently, that’s all Gray needed to hear.
Because frankly, that would have been her answer too. So just for now, until the very first wisp of danger, she decided she would trust him. When she let go of the rope and stepped closer, his hands went to her back to bring her in the rest of the way. It was slower this time, but there was still that spark of need that drove him to kiss her without hesitation.
Even his mouth was big, she dimly noted. Her bare skin grazed the rough fabric of his pants and her fingers instinctively went to his immense shoulders for purchase. His mouth parted to reveal teeth that nipped at her lip and a tongue that wanted in. When she opened for him, he rumbled faintly, exploring wantonly and crushing her to him as though he was starved for contact. Maybe he was.
Eventually Gray broke away to catch her breath. She was panting, and the flutter in her belly had grown into a burning ember.
“What the hell are we doing?” she whispered, sobering up.
He ran his fingers through the rough chop of her chin–length hair and he studied her mouth. His eyes were dark, and it wasn’t because of the creeping dusk.
“To be honest, I have no fucking idea.”
Gray realized that this was the most refreshing thing she’d heard anyone say in a long time. Everyone else she knew seemed to be constantly laboring under the pretense of purpose, of some grand vision for either themselves or the Corps. Everyone knew what they were doing, no one was lost. No one was trying to figure things out.
He seemed to sense her defenses melting away, and so the massive soldier pressed his mouth to hers again. The kiss grew sloppier. His hand moved steadily down to her ass, and he gripped both cheeks with those five big fingers. There were more fingers in her hair, raking her scalp, and for a moment they were all hot breath and flushed skin. When the giant pressed her hips into his, though, she felt something through the fabric—something large and firm, straining against the confines of his pant leg. Gray’s eyes shot open as shegasped into his mouth. The Anak broke and pulled away.
“Fuck,” she hissed, eyes wide as she met his wanton gaze. “You’re… that’s…“
He gave her a little smirk and Gray found herself being guided onto her back in the dirt beside his gun. Gray let him, for some reason—this seemed like the natural progression, and the animal impiety of it electrified her. She listened to the deep, heavy breaths that rushed out of his nostrils. His teeth found the nape of her neck a moment later, and she shivered as the rough gusset at his knee brushed against her calf.
She arched into him, even though he still wore so much. What would Wesson say? The human soldier came back to herself one last time, remembering where and what she was – what he was.
Wesson wouldn’t say anything, and you know it. He’d put you up against a wall and blow your fucking brains out.
Panting, Gray put a hand to the Anak’s chest to stop him.
“I-I don’t think this is a good time,” she said quietly, and was distantly amazed when he didn’t ignore her, even with his need as clear as day. The giant fell back onto his heels.
He nodded with disappointment. “Sorry, I get it. You have your obligations.”
“It’s not that,” she blurted. But she had to pause and search for an answer that didn’t involve Wesson. “I just don’t like doing this in the open. Not with… you know.”
“You realize I’m the scariest thing in these hills, right?”
Gray chuckled weakly. “I meant privacy.”
"You want me to find you later?”
She swallowed hard and wracked her addled brain for a safe answer. Was there a safe answer? “We… have storage further up the canyon, closer to the wellhead.”
The Anak gave a smug look. “Two corpsmen patrol that route, and it takes 30 minutes to complete the circuit. But most of them take their time, sometimes dragging it out to an hour.”
The implication was obvious, and Gray was a little less sure of herself. He knew a lot about Fox already, and they had been here for less than a month.
The human considered the Anak for a long moment, trying to get a bead on him.
Quietly, she said: “You could kill a lot of people if you wanted to.”
But you won’t?
She licked her dry lips. “I’ll have the time after I get back. Saturday night.”
“It’ll be easier after dark,” he said, and a little shiver passed through her at the sheer audacity of his confidence. If other ‘Naks were this sure they could slip behind Corps lines and infiltrate a camp without being seen, then…?
“I’ll be there at 2200.”
He reached out to palm the back of her neck. “2200,” he murmured.
Gray closed the meager distance between them, feeling alive. Her naked leg faintly brushed against the spot on his thigh where she’d felt him before, and was greeted by its shape again, slowly softening. Gray licked her lips when she thought about what it might look like. What it might feel like.
“Why the hell do I trust you,” she said into one of his dirty shoulder straps, her voice its own kind of husky.
“Be careful,” he replied, not giving her what she was looking for. “Trust’ll get a human hurt around here.”
“Is that a warning or a threat?”
With that he stood up again, boomer in hand, and looked down at her. Fuck, he was big. Gray tried to avoid letting her eyes fall on the bulge in his pants, practically right in front of her face, but he saw her steal a glance and chuckled.
Then he put himself back together: helmet on his head, cloth around his neck loosened up to let some of the cool evening air in, rifle slung up on his shoulder, and soon another human-rolled cigarette was in his mouth and he was striking at a lighter from behind a cupped hand. He gave her a three–fingered salute, the one they used in the Corps, and disappeared into the brush as expertly as he came. Gray was left reeling, but at least she finally had another partial answer to the question of how he moved so quietly: he aimed his footfalls for rock instead of gravel, padding like a stalking predator. But that was a small distraction from the enormity of what just transpired. When he was gone, she let out a few deep breaths.
“Holy shit,” Gray whispered to herself, repeating it several times as she stared at the ground where he’d stood. Out of the corner of her eye she spied the half-smoked cigarette that he’d dropped earlier, and pocketed it without thinking.
@nephilim Thank you so much! This is high praise
I’m really glad it’s coming together, it was a calico-quilt mess for a long time. Committing it to internet paper has helped me solidify a lot of ideas, and I was worried that it would still suffer from its hodge-podginess… but my worries are evidently unfounded!
Balancing the worldbuilding and “newspeak” of it all has been a real challenge, as I’ve gone off the deep end of that sort of thing for other projects before and its easy to lose sight of the story. I realized that this needs to be “just enough” - just different enough, just futuristic enough, just awful enough to carry the reader over into this feasible-if-you-squint version of our own timeline.
And I’m excited you discovered my weak spot for desert plant life!
@Nyx Thank you SO MUCH Nyx. I was told by someone else on another platform that the way I write is still very “purple”, and I couldn’t quite wrap my head around that… I guess I like to take a scalpel to my characters’ inner lives and that’s considered egregiously descriptive in the normal lit world. Oh well, I’m lucky that kink readers like that sort of thing! (I’ve started calling it “stylistic overwhelm”.) And hope you enjoy more weirdness coming from characters on both sides of the war here soon.
@Olo You keep calling stuff JUST before it happens LOL. Next chapter she’ll get a minute to herself…
And yeah, Gray’s turning out to be little jumpy. She doesn’t want anything to be about her. She’ll be uncomfortable being the protagonist of her own story for a little while longer.