They are Smol – And it’s a Smol World After All. Epilogue, Part 3

The alarm clock – or what we would call an alarm clock – went off at 6AM, it’s gentle waterfall and rustling wind tone getting louder and louder as time marched inexorably forward.

The blanket den did not stir, so much as it exploded – pillows and blankets, fuzzpods and compression padding launching into the air and falling haphazardly across Ngruzren-of-Arzgr’s room. With a happy nonsensical noise the dorarizin male launched himself out of his bed, Ngruzren having woken up almost an hour before his alarm was supposed to go off.

The formerly-a-snooze-button-menace known as the alarm clock longed for the days when it got to be an annoyance, the Dorarizin almost daintly skipping over to the shelf it was placed on and stopping it’s wakeup routine with a gentle press.

“{Ssssh. That’s enough out of you for today~}”

The faux window began to open of it’s own accord, and Ngruzren stood there, mock-opening it with his outstretched arms. With a happy little wiggle he spun around, letting the daylight of a random alien world wash over his unkempt body. Today was the day! Today was the day!

No human would describe the sound that came out of the Dorarizin as a “happy little squeal”; if anything it was the sound of a vehicle spinning off a tarmac while it’s crankshaft shattered the transmission, but to the lad, his family and the entire Dorarizin species it was, well. Adorable.

With a single bound he leapt into his private bathroom, his paw haphazardly slapping the lights on as he dashed to the counter to begin his daily grooming ritual. It would be quick – two groomings in a day usually means the second one is quicker than the first – but he would still take his time. Everything has to be perfect, after all, because today was the day.

His brand-new brushbar worked out what few kinks and matted fur his anxiety-nap caused, Ngruzren grumbling softly to himself at his jitters. VR hadn’t helped, the GalNet hadn’t helped, he finished all his coursework, cleaned his room twice, helped with his little brothers and sisters – by the pale moon, he even helped his dad cook, much to his astonishment, and that only killed a few hours at best!

Ngruzren-of-Arzgr studied himself, his Navy Blue eyes looking over every inch of his nude body. He kept the Vantablack mane dye, the blue-on-black contrast drawing attention up to his eyes. With not inconsiderable skill he let it fade as you drew your gaze down his torso until his natural dust-blue fur took over, it’s gentle muted tones giving him an overall look of a captive droplet of space, landed to earth. He smiled as he checked himself again – a light white highlight at the tip of his tail and the beginning of white highlights just above his belt line…

…well. The message would be received. Surely. Yeah? Right? Right. Yeah. Sure.

Oh by the first pack you’re dressing like a slut oh no what if Mom sees – what if Dad sees-

Ngruzren-of-Arzgr inhaled deeply, resting the heels of his paws on the counter, letting his weight settle until he was rewarded with a light, protesting crack from the strain.

“{Calm down.}”

He looked at himself in the mirror again, staring into his deep blue eyes.

“{You’re the lord of the hunt.}”

Ngruzren smiled softly, tilting his head in a practiced come-hither look, raising his brushbar to slightly muss up his mane in that ‘wild yet styled’ look that was all the rage.

“{It’s just a date. You’ve had plenty of those before. It’s just a date.}”

He locked eyes with his reflection for a brief moment, looking his absolute sexiest…

…before gripping the brushbar with both hands, pulling it tightly to his chest and letting out another happy squeal

“{Aaaaaahhhhh it’s a Daaaaaate~}”

= = = = = =

Dzgranra-of-Arzgr was an accomplished homemaker. He had married young – well, relatively young, given his people lived at or just past a thousand years old – and therefore had seen it all. I mean it.

Look. If you think raising a single human from larvae to negaqueen is a hassle, again – three dozen pups. He had seen it all, learned how to cope, stared into the void and then started aggressively mocking it for being such a little bitch, it’s just some projectile vomit, it’s not that bad just get the mop-

Dzgranra-of-Arzgr shook his head a bit, a soft smile on his lips. He had seen it all, and Ngruzren was not his first boy, nor was he his first boy to be courted, properly. Every species had their dance when it came to this, and it varied from clan to clan and from planet to planet. Some people did the old “threatening-not-threatening” you, some demanded a payment to prove the courtier was on the up-and-up (with such bribes going towards the wedding fund) – heck, Dzgranra even remembered stories of some families just straight-up going into the parking lot and fighting!

But really, who was he to complain? It just made family reunions all the more interesting.

Speaking of interesting, Dzgranra had his ear cocked to eavesdrop shamelessly from the kitchen into the lower livingroom. His place in this dance was to be in the kitchen, to do a proper “send off” to his son, but if he was actually cooking then he couldn’t hear a damn thing, and honestly pre-made boxed Txzg-grzg was just as good as homemade and only needed to broil in the oven for 2 hours.

Quietly broil in the oven. Silently cook.

Dzgranra-of-Arzgr smiled as he sipped on his bowl of Drzulr, letting the thick slurry slide over his tongue in a very relaxing manner.

-=-=-=-

Zngrer-of-Drgrabgh stood still, staring straight ahead into the wall, three mothers circling her in a not-at-all welcoming manner. Her dress-suit was properly ironed, chest stays flattened, wrist-grips polished to a mirror shine. She screamed “off duty military” and that was the entire goal: Show up, prove she would be a good provider, promise to be a responsible chaperon to an impressionable and really hot young stud, and then walk out of the house with him under her arm…

…and immediately take him back to her place and do a bunch of things to him that are not fit to print, but would prove very satisfying to both parties.

She knew the game. The mothers knew the game. She knew that they knew. They knew that she knew that they knew. There was no question as to what was going to happen; it was all about earning it, at this point.

And she wanted it. She wanted it willingly.

“{You scream wanna-be to me.}” Grenzgranr-of-Drezr, one of the elder mothers of the family grumbled, reaching up and tugging at her suit. “{Who’d you blackmail for these crescents?}”

“{No one, honored mother.}” Zngrer said, staring straight ahead into the wall.

The admittedly taller Rzkrenz-of-Zndzgara leaned forward from… her back right, Zngrer decided, before she felt the hot breath of the other elder mother at the back of her head. “{A little girl, playing soldier to feel special. We don’t need that trauma in this family.}”

“{Agreed, honored mother.}” Zngrer said, staring straight ahead into the wall, facial expression unchanged.

Kzdzgrar-of-Rzndzre – her date’s actual mother, based on her fur pattern – laughed mirthlessly. “{I’ve pulled your file. Rescues, sure. Drills, fine. No actual combat, so really you’re just a glorified paper pusher.}”

“{Agreed, honored mother – I’m glad you count me as one of your own.}” Zngrer said, staring straight ahead into the wall, facial expression unchanged as a weighty paw gripped the back of her neck and began to squeeze. Not hard enough to actually hurt. Not hard enough to even really keep a firm grip if Zngrer wanted to escape, but just hard enough to get the point across: if you want to start something, we’re ready.

Zngrer did some quick mental math, and realized that she would most likely not get her bed warmed by a cutie if she beat up his three mothers. She scowled, internally, and let the paw squeeze a bit harder before ever so slightly lowering her head just a fraction of an inch.

Message received, it said, and the pressure relented.

Kzdzgrar opened her mouth to continue, but a hesitant padding down the staircase stopped her. The thee mothers turned to look at their son – well, one of their sons, but he was their only son for tonight – hesitantly make his way down to the lower level. The mood in the room shifted the instant his foot touched the ground – the vice-like grip on the back of the neck became a gentle, if heavy open palm, the two other honored mothers leaving Zngrer’s peripheral vision, and some very pointed whispered conversation she could not make out happening before her date was ushered out of the room.

Zngrer-of-Drgrabgh stood still, staring straight ahead into the wall as her vision was filled by two older, slightly greyer faces, staring hard into her eyes.

“{If you harm him, we will kill you.}”

“{Yes, honored mothers.}” Zngrer responded, staring a hole into the wall, facial expression unchanged – but internally, she was cackling like a lunatic.

“{No. They will kill you. I will file and approve the paperwork as an accident.}” Kzdzgrar-of-Rzndzre said, matter-of-factly. Zngrer couldn’t look her in the eyes, but she knew in her heart that they tried to make her break, and she stood firm.

That cutie’s booty was as good as hers. She knew it. They knew it. She knew that they knew it. They knew that she knew that-

Zngrer let her mask slip, just a touch, an imperceptible smile flexing her ears, and the honored mothers growled.

-=-=-=-=-=-

Dzgranra-of-Arzgr fussed with his son’s robe, the fast-casual fashion movement utterly lost on him. “{Now, I want you to make sure to have your beacon on at all times.}”

“{Dad.}” Ngruzren-of-Arzgr sighed, immediately reaching up to mess his robe up again, letting his mane stick out of it slightly lopsided. “{It’s fine-}”

“{I’m serious. She’s military and that’s fine, but they’re not known for showing restraint and this is your first date with her-}”

“{DAD.}” Ngruzren said, reaching up to grab the back of his father’s head. Gently he leaned forward, the two males bumping foreheads together. “{Dad. It’s ok.}”

“{Mmmm. I don’t know what you used to get up to, but this is the first girl who’s actually tried to court you properly.}”

“{So isn’t that a good thing?}” Ngruzren responded, smiling as he pulled away.

His father looked at him flatly. “{Either she’s a keeper or she’s a sex trafficker.}”

“{DAD-}”

“{Eeeeh~!}” His father noncommittally ripple-clicked his teeth, arms lifting in the adopted human gesture of “eh, what can ya do?”. “{Anyway. I think your mothers have given her the once-over; let me walk you out.}” Dzgranra said, placing his paw on his son’s back…

…his son’s very tensed back.

“{…if you’re uncomfortable doing this, son, you don’t have to-}”

“{N-no. Just. She’s, um. She’s really hot, and uh. I mean, she saved my life and uh. I just…}”

Dzgranra nodded to himself. “{Ah.}”

“{Ah?}” Ngruzren-of-Arzgr said, looking at his father while he picked at his claws. “{Is – is something wrong?}”

“{Mmmm, no. Let’s get you out of the house, hmm? Beacon on? Emergency cred stash ready?}”

“{Dad… yeah.}” Ngruzren said softly, letting the older male walk him out into the living room.

“{Good! Now.}” Dzgranra-of-Arzgr left his son’s side as he checked his wives, pressing against them to share scent, warmth, touch and reassurance. His body language beamed approval, and the honored mothers of Pack Arzgr stepped back to let the father take a look at this new female in his territory.

Dzgranra-of-Arzgr stood before the taller female, tilted his head a bit, then smiled. “{Whelp! Let’s get you two kids out of here, hmm?}”

Zngrer looked at the older male for a moment, her eyes darting to meet his before she went back to the spot on the wall. “{B-bountiful… father?}”

“{Mmm, you heard me! Ngruzren, sweetmeat, go ahead outside.}”

The spot was comfy, the spot made sense. With all the other males she had… enjoyed in her past, the routine was the same: The Honored Mothers tried to break her, failed. The Bountiful Father would come, try to suss her out, fail. She gets the guy, they have some fun for as long as it lasts, and that was that.

But this? This made no sense.

“{Come on! Out out out.}” Dzgranra-of-Arzgr said, grabbing Zngrer-of-Drgrabgh’s arm and leading the much stronger, much larger female out as you would a particularly scatterbrained pet. The door opened automatically, Ngruzren turning in the light of the streetlights to see his date almost pushed onto him, the female stumbling a bit before looking at Ngruzren with marked confusion.

For his part, Ngruzren just shrugged.

“{I bet you’re wondering why I didn’t try to press the marrow there, hmm?}” Dzgranra-of-Arzgr said, smiling as he shut the door to the family home behind him.

Zngrer looked, actually looked with her special eyes for the first time at the older male’s smile, and for some unknown reason she shuddered. Unbreaking of his smile or of his happy demeanor he reached forward, messing idly with Zngrer’s chest-stays.

“{I’m going to tell you a secret, something not even my son knows – mainly because he’s finally old enough to find someone to settle down with-}”

There was a pause, as if he was waiting for an interjection. When none came, his smile seemed to grow… and grow more savage.

“{-and because you’re the first girl he’s talked about with any sort of seriousness.}” At this, Dzgranra-of-Arzgr, Patriarch of his Pack, rested his paws on the young female’s shoulders, staring into her eyes, keeping that same smile on his face.

“{Zngrer-of-Drgrabgh, if you should know any one thing about me, it is that I fuck.}”

“{Whhhhhhh-}” Zngrer-of-Drgrabgh said, blinking hard as the absolute offness of that comment hit her with the subtlety of a brick to the face. “{Wh-}”

“{Zngrer-of-Drgrabgh, I fuck. I fuck my women to satisfaction, I’ve fucked through three separate honeymoons and more heat seasons than I’d care to admit, I’ve fucked dozens of pups into this world, I’ve fucked four healthy and bountiful boys into the great hunt of life with my ancestors blessings, and if you fuck with them you will fuck with me, and no woman outside of my wives who fucks with me will live to see the dawn.}”

“Oh.” Thought Zngrer-of-Drgrabgh, her body starting to relax as she realized this was where the bones were going to be broken. “Well, this makes sense at leas-

“{Zngrer-of-Drgrabgh, Sire Dregszr-of-Azrezr, two brothers, 5 uncles most of which are locals and one of which – Nzgrezt – is a friend of mine. You see, while my wives may have to look up things on their fancy computers, I just use the oldest network known to our kind – gossip.}”

At this, Dzgranra-of-Arzgr smiled, and it was not a kind smile. “{Zngrer, if you fuck with my son on this night or any night – and I don’t mean the type that produces my long-overdue grandchildren – I will immediately call a clan meeting, and a tribe meeting if necessary. I will use all the power in me, all my connections, all my will to have you disowned, I will have you branded unfaithful, I will have your clan’s doors shut to you, I will have Dregszr bite his palm and break his tooth and you will be cast out into the street and you will have no friend to turn to.}”

Dzgranra-of-Arzgr leaned forward and planted a soft kiss – a cold, heartless thing – on Zngrer’s chest, the ice from his lips seeping into her very core. “{And I will be there, as the sun rises, and I, with your brothers and your father and your uncles and all the males who have ever known you and seen you grow, will kill you in the street that we find you in, and no court on this planet will convict us.}”

Dzgranra-of-Arzgr, somehow looming larger, somehow seeming stronger than before, towered over the young, cold, small female, a wide smile breaking across his face.

“{Be home by 11.}”

-=-=-=-=-=-

The cafe was warm, welcoming, and dare I even say cheery – not in that “do you have enough flare on your vest, let’s all clap at the birthday table and see if we can induce a panic attack for instagram” kind of cheer, but in the kind of cheer of good friends getting together to have some wholesome fun. It was a place you could go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad that you came – and it’s atmosphere welcomed everyone, regardless if you’d be a big spender or small, staying there for just a few moments or hours at a time. Due to it’s centrality in Silver City, it was one of the few places that allowed interior fire-like fire-light; it was all washed out with harsh bluelight as soon as you left the cafe, and the interior lighting wasn’t really heavily regulated with so many redundant systems in place.

Zngrer-of-Drgrabgh had only planned to be here for a few minutes to get a take-out order, set the mood and possibly grab some energy bars for electrolyte replenishment, because being uncomfortably sore in the morning was no fun at all. However, that whole plan was thrown out the window with the conversation she had with her date’s father, and now her eyes were glued on the proverbial clock.

“{Um… he’s… not that bad.}” Ngruzren murmured, sipping his warm drink to break the silence. Idly, he looked out the window, staring through his reflection in the glass. “{Though, come to think of it I always wondered why we never had any divorces in our entire clan…}”

Zngrer turned to respond and caught a glimpse of an older male – a great-great-grandfather, by the look of it – look around the room happily.

Well. His head did. His eyes stayed fixed on the table Zngrer sat at. He didn’t even look away when his table was serviced… by another male… looking directly at her-

“{Sweetmeat~?}”

Zngrer’s focus snapped back with a little too much zeal, her hands pressing flat into the table face. “{I didn’t do nothin!}”

Ngruzren sighed, placing his drinking bowl on it’s saucer. “{Please try to forget that, ok? I’m an adult, you’re an adult, we can have a good time.}” Ngruzren smiled, leaning over slightly to let his robe slip a bit, showing a bit more of his vantablack mane. “{Did you know? The white patch on my tail isn’t the only white patch of fur I’ve got~}”

“{Did you know that the land-speed velocity of an unladen Terror-Beast is roughly 25km/hr?}” Zngrer said, making sure to speak a little too loudly to make sure she lived to see the dawn. Ngruzren huffed and leaned back, drumming his fingers on the table.

“{Really?}”

“{What.}”

“{Really?}” Ngruzren said, licking at his prosthetic in irritation. “{What happened to that strong, confident PDF soldier who swept me off my feet?}”

“{I-I mean, I’m still here.}” Zngrer said, frowning. “{It’s just… damn. I’ve never been, I mean. That was, uh.}”

“{A lot?}” Ngruzren said, letting his arms slide forward to grab his date’s paws in his own. “{Look, he’s just like any father – he wants to make sure his little boy is taken care of, and that’s not something to make light of. Besides, I know you’re good people, You know you’re good people, so there’s no problem, right?}”

“{R-right. Yeah.}” Zngrer said, squeezing Ngruzren’s paws in her own. “{I mean, considering how close we got on that elevator ride down-}”

Zngrer grinned as she felt a firm kick under the table. “{That was … the heat of the moment!}” Ngruzren huffed, giving Zngrer a smoldering look. “{It’s not my fault you took liberties on that slow ride down~}”

“{Mmm, well tell me then – when can I feel another kind of heat-}”

Zngrer’s laughed as her shin was assaulted under the table again, gaining some confidence back from the shameless flirting going on. “{I’m not hearing a no-}”

“{Mmm, well. I tell you what… you have three guesses as to where my other white patch is.}”

“{And if I get it right? What’s in it for me?}” Zngrer said, leaning forward.

“{I’ll show it to you~}” Ngruzren murmured, huskily, as he leaned over the table as well, letting his robe slip open just a bit more.

“{That’s not good enough – I want more.}” Zngrer-of-Drgrabgh rumbled, the fear of a few hours ago melting away with the passion of the moment.

“{I’ll… let you touch it…}”

Their faces almost touching, breath hot on each other’s lips, Ngruzren locked eyes with Zngrer and time stood still.

“{You’ll beg me to take it before the end of the ni-}”

The window to the cafe wasn’t so much glass as it was a plastic polymer. It was incredibly well insulated, double-walled with an air gap, microbot washed and tempered to be 100% clear. The beauty of this clarity was that you could experience all the joy of the outdoors while still staying comfortable and climate controlled inside. You also didn’t have to worry about the pesky insects or fauna coming in to ruin your meal – heck, I don’t need to explain the benefits of windows to you, dear reader, you know. However, to most species (save for the new additions) they could intrinsically tell the pane was there, due to changes in air pressure, the way light refracted off of it, or just by payin’ the heck attention to their surroundings.

Humans… had trouble. Humans trying the sick new extreme sport of Mothing had absolutely no hope at all.

With an incredibly concerning WHAM a helmeted human slammed into the window pane, the moth-backpack helpfully flapping it’s wings to get towards the oranger light on the inside. This did nothing to get the Terror-Beast closer to the nice warm light but it did everything to gently and firmly smear the tiny-chomper against the glass, which did everything to absolutely disrupt every conversation in the cafe and ruin the mood of Booth 2A completely.

“[AHM OHKAY.]” The tiny-chomper said, one hand giving a “thumb’s up” and the other hand trying to push away from the window. The Terror-Beast, confused at the invisible wizardry at play, gripped it’s pilot a bit tighter and lifted off, erratically crossing the street at transport-height level, causing a few vehicles to slam on their breaks. Ngruzren and Zngrer watched, in silence, as a small group of mixed citizenry followed-without-following the tiny-chomper; every so often when the Terror-Beast would dip concerningly in the air a few dozen hands would reach up to provide insurance on the off chance the tiny-chomper fell.

He never did, though. He also didn’t appear to notice he had a following, or that hyper-clear windows were a thing.

There was another concerning but significantly muted WHAM as he hit a window’d bar a few stories up from across the street before drifting off into the night.

The two Dorarizin looked at each other, and a few moments later broke out in laughter.

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