by Mark Andron and Time Lady
About a half hour later, Tegan wakes from her doze. She picks up her head and looks around, blinking sleepily, the setting not immediately registering in her mind. There is a pleasant, yet lingering ache between her legs. Then she remembers what she had been doing before she dozed off. Tegan looks down at Tora and smiles.
“Ah. It’s good to see you up and about again.”
Still smiling, Tegan leans over and kisses him. “I’m sorry if I fell asleep...”
“That’s OK. I didn’t mind. I just considered it another cuddling session.”
“Well I certainly had a comfortable pillow...” she giggles.
“Nice to know that I still meet your standards.”
“Mmmm... I’m hungry.”
“Well, I think you still have our lunch stuck in cat space.... unless you’re talking about a different hunger”
“Food first... other hungers later.” She slides off Tora and stands next to the altar. He notices that she winces as she stands.
“Are you OK?” Tora sits upright on the altar, almost ready to slide off.
“I guess I’m a little sore... not that I didn’t enjoy what we did... I certainly did. But until we do that on a little more regular basis, I’m going to be sore.”
Tora slides off the altar and stands next to Tegan. “Well, I guess that was to be expected... considering that this was... the first time.”
Smiling, Tegan blushes. Tora remembers the hot spring. “You know, these hot springs are supposed to have healing abilities.”
“I guess it makes sense to have one in here then.” Tora leads Tegan over to the spring and helps her in.
“Care to join me?” she purrs. “I think not this time. While you soak for a few minutes, I’m going to go to the waterfall and clean up.”
“Oh come on” Tegan waves her tail enticingly.
“I really should stick to the waterfall. Climbing back up as a tiger is a royal pain. But if you want, you can always join me for an au natural shower.”
“Perhaps after a little soak in the pool. I think I need it right now.”
“As you wish...” Tora starts down the exit of the cave. “If you need me, you’ll know where I’ll be.”
“Mmm hmm...” says Tegan. As she soaks in the hot spring, she watches him walk down the tunnel.
Tora soon emerges from the cave, and dives into the basin in front of it. He quickly bobs back up and swims over to the waterfall, letting its waters cleanse him in both mind and body, letting him think only of Tegan and how wonderful this experience has been.
Back in the cave, Tegan feels the hot springs do their work and ease her sore womanhood. She rests her head back against a ledge and replays the most recent events in her mind. Decisively, she climbs out of the pool and walks to the cave entrance.
Tora lets the waterfall glide across his skin, letting his body come down from the incredible high that it went through only moments ago. His mind clear of any thoughts, he does not notice Tegan walking out from the cave and stopping to stare at him. Tegan’s body tingles with the memory of Tora’s lovemaking as she watches him in the waterfall. Lovingly she gazes on his body, drinking in his form and burning it in her memory. Quietly she slips into the water, glides over to Tora, and wraps her arms around him. Tora is blissfully unaware of Tegan’s presence until he feels her hair gently brushing against his skin. He notices Tegan resting her head on his shoulder. “Let me guess... I’m more fun than a rubber duck.”
She kisses his bare flesh. “I’ll take a fuzzy tiger over a rubber duck any day.”
“Always nice to know that you have priorities.” He twists his body so that he can face Tegan.
Smiling, Tegan kisses him. “Well what did you think?”
“I think that you might not forgive me for this” Before Tegan can say anything, Tora falls backwards into the water, pulling Tegan with him. Under the surface, Tora pulls Tegan’s face to his and kisses her.
Startled, Tegan struggles for a second. Then, trusting Tora, she relaxes in his arms and gives herself up to the kiss. The kiss lasts until they both feel the need for air, at which point their lips separate as they break the water’s surface and let air fill their lungs again. Amazingly, Tegan’s arms have not relaxed themselves from Tora. “Do I even need to say it?”
Tora sighs. “I take your breath away, don’t I?” Tegan’s response is to simply pull him under the water again.
“Ooooo... you.....” she mutters.
Tora lets the water drain from his hair for a moment. “I couldn’t help myself. You do this to me.”
Sighing, Tegan shakes her head. “You are impossible.”
“I know. It must be the cat in me.”
Restraining herself from whacking him, Tegan goes to the edge of the pool and climbs out. She wrings out her hair then reaches into cat space and pulls out two towels. Tegan drops one on a dry rock. “When you’re ready. I’m going to go get dressed. While this cavern was apparently made for making love, I don’t feel comfortable eating lunch here.” She walks down the tunnel, back to the cavern.
Tora sighs “I think I’ve been around Al-X and Tsu a little too much...” He wades out of the basin, grabs the towel, and begins to dry himself off. He smiles, knowing that this day was one of the best days of his life. He’s home again, he’s been given a past, and he’s in love. He whistles as dries himself off. He pulls his clothes out from under a nearby rock and dresses himself. He decides to let his sunglasses hang on his T-shirt, and enters into the cave to get Tegan.
Inside the cave, Tegan finishes drying off. Brushing out her fur can wait till later. She pulls on her panties and pants, then picks up the remains of her bra and blouse. Sighing, she tosses the ruined clothes into cat space and pulls her emergency T-shirt out of cat space, forgoing the bra, since she doesn’t have a replacement available. Then she ties her wet hair into a ponytail. This time, she is the one who does not hear the other approach.
Tora gently drapes his arms around Tegan’s waist and pulls her toward him. “It’s been one hell of a day,” he whispers in her ear. “I almost don’t want it to end.”
“Just because the day ends doesn’t mean anything else has to,” she says gently.
“Come on, let’s go. This shrine has served its purpose, and I think Misra was satisfied.” He gently kisses Tegan’s neck. “I wonder what everyone would say if they found out about what happened here.”
“Hopefully we won’t have to say anything. But I’m still going to get grilled by PATE and Penny when I get back... And what about your dad?”
“What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” Tegan doesn’t smile. “Look, if he asks, I’ll tell him. I’m not about to lie to him. but if doesn’t ask... well, he doesn’t ask.”
“You know if it was my parents we were staying with, we’d never hear the end of it... at least from my dad.” “If he were still talking to me,” she added mentally.
“Well, this is mainland China, and unless they’re spying on you, you won’t have to worry about them for a while. Now come on, we really should be heading back.”
“How about on the way back, we stop for lunch? I still have those sandwiches in cat space.”
“Sounds perfect. You know, I just realized, I still haven’t had the chance to show you that sunset I promised you... Ayla kinda interrupted the last time.”
“Do you want to be closer to home for that? So we’re not hiking in the dark?”
“Well, in order to see it, we’d have to be on the roof.”
“Ah. Sounds interesting.” They briefly stop for lunch before hiking back to the house. Tegan is still slightly sore, but the soak in the hot spring earlier eased the worst of it. She tries to keep up with Tora the best she can. Tora notices that Tegan is lagging behind. He drapes Tegan’s arm over his shoulder, and walks right beside her for the rest of the way home, not saying a word. Tired, Tegan rests her head on Tora’s shoulder as they hike on. Finally they arrive back at the house. Tora checks to see if his adopted father has returned.
Tora wanders off for a moment as Tegan relaxes in a nearby chair. “Is he home yet?” There is a moment of silence, and then Tora returns from a nearby hallway.
“No sign of him. His tour must be running longer than normal.”
“So... what do you want to do now?”
Tora smiles. “Well, the sun doesn’t set for a while yet..” He walks behind Tegan and rest his arms and head on her shoulders. “Whatever you can think of is fine with me.”
She blushes at the thought of what they could be doing, then tries to put the thought out of her mind. “You’re the one who knows what there is to do around here. You decide.”
“Well, since it looks like you’re still sore from before, and I don’t want to do anything without you, I can only think of one thing... we go out onto the roof, and cuddle until the sun goes down.”
Tegan grins. “That sounds like a plan. And afterwards, a hot bath should deal with any remaining soreness.”
“So... do you want me as a tiger or no?”
“I don’t care how or what you are. That wouldn’t change how I feel.”
“I know... and I want you to know, I feel the same way. With or without a tail, I have always loved you.” Tora kisses Tegan on the cheek. “I’ll see you on the roof.”
“And just how are you planning on getting up there?” asks Tegan with her hands on her hips.
“Well, not all of is can go through cat space, so I’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way: climb up there.”
“Well, if you’re interested in dunking yourself in some hot water, I should be able to guide you the short distance through cat space up to the roof.”
“Its OK. I remember how I enjoyed climbing up there. And I want to see if I can still do it.”
“OK. I’ll meet you up there.” Tora walks out the front door, stopping to take a breath of air, savoring its sweet smell. He walks to the side of the house, where a large tree, still covered by a number of blossoms. He grabs hold of a branch, tests it, then pulls himself up. He smiles as he is reminded of the time he spent here years before. He keeps going up, and then leaps onto the roof. There is still no sign of Tegan, so he lies back and lets his mind drift with the passing clouds into his memories of his earlier years here.
Tora is unaware of the small black cat with a ring of pink fur around her neck that is silently creeping towards him. He lets out a cry as he feels something land on top of his chest, and then finds his lips smothered as he moves to see what it was. Satisfied that her sneak attack worked, Tegan wraps her arms tightly around Tora’s neck. “That’s for the waterfall,” she murmurs.
Tora smiles and wraps his arms around Tegan. “I guess I had that coming.”
“Mmm hmm...” purrs Tegan as she kisses Tora on the tip of his nose.
“What is it about my nose that you find so fascinating?”
Tegan’s reply is to kiss him full on the lips. It’s several minutes before they part. “You were asking?” she murmurs, breathing heavily.
“Now... where exactly up here do we get the best view of this sunset you’ve been raving about?”
“Well, we’re going to have to wait a bit. It’s still early. If you want, you can use me as a pillow and get some rest...”
They sit down and Tegan cuddles up next to Tora. “How can I resist an offer like that?”
“You never did before...” Tegan punches Tora in the arm. “Simply a statement of fact, my love.” Tegan settles down again to wait for the sunset. Tora puts his arm around her. Tora gently hugs her, putting Tegan further at ease. She soon falls asleep in Tora’s arms, a smile on her face. Tora simply lies there next to her, not wanting to say anything until the sunset he promised comes up.
Tegan sighs and, in her sleep, cuddles against Tora. His presence has a tranquilizing effect. In her doze, she seeks Tora’s embrace. He listens Tegan purr as she sleeps. “Tegan,” Tegan only shifts her body slightly. “Tegan” Tegan moves slightly again, still not waking from her slumber. “Tegan, my love. It’s time.” Tegan just snuggles up against Tora. Sighing in frustration, Tora leans over Tegan and presses his lips to hers insistently. She reacts, blinking sleepily. “Wha...?”
“A few hours. But don’t worry. It’s about to start.” Tora points, and Tegan sees the bright orange sky surround a sinking sun, the few clouds that remain scattering the available light, looking as though they had the light of heaven within them. The light of the sun dances off the rippling water of a number of ponds, not far in the distance. The hills look as though they bend to cushion the impact of the sun with the horizon, bending to greet it on its way down.. The trees look as though they are offering up something to the sun, worshipping its brilliance. “Jusenkyo’s only blessing.... a beautiful sunset.” Tegan looks at Tora in surprise. “All _that_ is Jusenkyo?” Tora nods.
“You know, I must be the only one who _likes_ coming here, coming home to Jusenkyo.. It’s just that I find all this... so exhilarating. It’s like all of nature is dancing here.”
“Maybe... but in this life, I haven’t been much of a nature person.”
Tora droops his head for a moment. “Maybe it’s just the tiger in me that appreciates all this.”
“Hey... I’m not complaining... I’m just not used to it. I’ve spent most of this life living in cities.”
Tora looks at Tegan, and locks the fingers of her right hand with that of his left. “I guess there’s still a lot for the both of us to get used to...”
“Yep.” Tora and Tegan’s eyes meet.
“Like my yearning for nature... and your parents....” Their faces come closer together.
“Don’t remind me of my parents right now...” she murmurs.
“I have... no problem with that... “ Tora gently caresses Tegan’s lips with his own, but refuses to let them go.
Tora’s kiss sets Tegan on fire. She begins to burn with an even stronger blaze of desire. Tora feels the change in her reaction and detects the faint scent of her excitement beginning. Tora lays himself on his back, letting Tegan rest on top of him. His lips still maintain their hold on her lips. One hand rests itself on his back, the other begins to run through her hair.
Writer's note: At this point, the story becomes a "lemon" - meaning that there is sexual content. If you are under 18, offended by or uninterested in sexual scenes, go straight to Chapter 9. If you are of age and do wish to read the lemon bits, continue with "Awakenings, Lemon Addition to Chapter 8."