Jason leaned back on the leather car seat, feeling the car glide under him as the streets zoomed by, the scenery blending together like splattered paints spread out on a landscape. He looked down at a picture clenched in between his thumb and index finger.
It wasn't much, and in his Mom's perspective 'absolutely pointless'. But it wasn't pointless, not to him. It was a picture of a dog, his dog. He had found her a long time ago, a stray puppy digging through his trash can for straps. She saw him and whimpered, her ears flat against her skull and tail in between her legs looking up at him with big puppy dog eyes the color of the sky. He had called her over and helped her inside his Dad's house.
His Dad agreed quickly, saying it was another experiment. That hadn't settled well with Jason, knowing what usually happened to Dad's experiments in the end and had fiercely protected his dog which in the end he named Shadow. He even made her a personal collar. His Dad hadn't touched her in all these years, but it still put him on the edge being away from her. In this picture she was a full-grown husky and stunning. Her husky sky blue eyes that seemed to have crystals embedded under the surface to make them shimmer. He hoped his Dad hadn't touched her. He had visited Mom for two weeks and every inch closer they got to his Dad's house, the more his skin itched to be closer.
Shadow was his closest friend who knew everything about him. Jason's had many times cried into her fur. He would stand in the kitchen in the morning, his Dad up and about, running around the city for new experiments, and he would talk to Shadow as though she was a person, like she was listening.
He hugged her, he stroked her fur, he wrestled with her, he ran with her for what seemed like hours.
Jason hadn't bothered to think about what would happen if he lost her. He knew dog years where different than human years, but he hadn't taken the time to learn the difference. Mainly because he didn't want to know.
His Mom look over at her son, stopping at a gas station. Barely glancing at the photo that Jason would stare at for hours.
"Want anything?" She asked. Jason looked up at her. Her chocolate-brown eyes studying her son lazily.
He looked at the gas station, they were at Sheetz. "Sure, water."
She stepped out of the car and Jason felt his phone vibrate. Pulling it out of his back pocket he glanced at the screen.
Rebecca? Why was she texting him? He opened the message.
Hey Jas...I wanted to apologize for thinking you cheated on me.
Jason gritted his teeth, crumbling the edge of the photo that was still in one of his hands. He was getting an apology a year later.
He rested the photo on the his lap gently, attempting to smooth out the corner he had crumbled, then gave up. His mind swirled around cruel, cold responds, but decided to be a gentleman. Something he prided himself on.
What brings on the apology now?
He only had to wait a few seconds.
Erin told me what actually happened...
I was wondering if we could try again Jason. I love you still, you are like the best thing that's ever happened to me.
Jason took a deep breath through his nose, wondering if he should answer her at all. The best thing...she has no idea whats she's taking about, playing around with love like it's a toy.
And with that he had his answer and slammed his phone shut, turning it off to avoid any other 'Rebecca' messages.
His Mom walked back in the car, handing him a plastic bag with a water bottle in it. Pulling it out he untwisted the cap and tilted his head back, the water swirling down his throat.
When he was done Jason twisted the cap back on his Mom was zooming down the street again.
Soon she was pulling up in the driveway, Dad's car was missing. Not a surprise.
Jason was practically hopping out of the truck, excited to see Shadow, he grabbed his bag and kissed his Mom on the cheek.
In one of those rare moments she smiled. "Bye son."
"Bye Mom, see you later."
She continued to smile, love in her eyes as Jason closed the door and she drove away smoothly. He watched till she was out of sight, than turned and sprinted to the door, only to stop short at a letter hanging on the door.
In a rush he torn off the letter and unfolded it, reading carefully. A sudden line of confusion drawling his eyebrows closer.
Son, I made a collar that radio waves animals thoughts into words and I tried it on Shadow. She wanted one thing, and it took a week to figure it out and many test subjects and I finally succeed, a beautiful invention wonderfully crafted if I do say so myself.
She's waiting for you, make sure you take good care of her, she still eats dog food and needs to go on walks. She's so fast, I can see why you are so proud of her.
And I never realized how beautiful she was. She's so happy to have her wish granted, saying she can finally stay with you longer and doesn't have to worry about dying sooner than you. She feared it as much as you refused to think about it.
Oh, and I won't be home for a month, I'm taking both inventions around the world and maybe bring home a few prizes if you get what I mean.
See you in a while.
Oh wait, there's money on the drawer for Shadow, she needs some clothes and I only managed to find some things from left over visits.
Jason wondered why in the world he would buy his dog clothes, he was not one of those owners. And what wish? And why did his Dad even bother putting any experiments on Shadow, he knew how Jason felt about that. What did he do to her?
Suddenly he was overwhelmed with concern. He stormed into the house, his brain trying to swallow everything in the note, but not managing to understand. The fact that his Dad would be gone for a month was no surprise, he was always up and about, spreading inventions. He was famous in the scientific world, and famous people apparently didn't spend much time at home. That's what his Dad had said anyway.
"Shadow!" He called out as he turned and looked down the hallway. Wait, hadn't Dad said that he had already put clothes on her from left over scraps? What scraps? Did he shave her? Is that why he said he finally found her more beautiful. Panic began to fill him.
"SHADOW!" He rushed forward and looked up the stairs. What were Dad's test subjects? What was he testing? Jason rake his hand through his brown hair, why did his Dad do this to him. Couldn't he subside from a project for at least 24 hours. This is the reason his parents got divorced.
"SHADOW!" He screamed at the top of his lungs and suddenly he heard a bump upstairs. He held his breath, relieved, but still worried if his Dad had done to her. He heard her rushing down the stairs like she usually did when she greeted him. As a reflex he opened his arms and lowered down so he balance above his knees to catch Shadow in her dash of welcoming.
That's when Shadow turned down from the first flight of stairs and Jason saw her and sat frozen. Stunned. Speechless.
Shadow was a girl. A girl the same age as him. With silky, thick black hair that was in a choppy bob framing her face. She was tall and slender. Her curves were very very nice, her hips swelled fully and her breasts were quite large. And the only reason he knew this is because she was wearing only a bra and underwear. He couldn't seem to blink when suddenly dog ears popped out from her head and her tail was wagging behind her. Still the same black color as her fur had been, matching her hair.
He didn't have time to study the rest of her as she flew forward from the top step into his arms. He fell back from the force of her weight onto his back. He was stunned, feeling her warm softness against his body, lining up along his. She didn't seem to notice the effect she was having on him.
"MASTER!" She gushed happily. Her husky blue eyes were glittering with excitement, the look was familiar. She had it when she played outside our went on long runs. Also at times like this, when they were reunited again. She licked his cheek, like she would have normally done, and that was enough to snap him out of his shock and he was suddenly scrambling away from her. He gently pushed her up into a sitting position off of him and backed away till his back was up against a wall.
"Master?" She asked. Concern made her tilt her head to her side, her ears flattening on her hair, her tail wrapping around one of her long, slender legs. Jason's face was as red as a watermelon as his eyes scanned her. He couldn't think with her looking at him with those puppy dog eyes (apparently that hadn't changed) and with her girl body in such an innocent position. It was too much to handle.
He heard a jingle and looked up to see the collar he had made her still around her neck, it had been made smaller to adjust to her new size.
He pulled off his sweater and handed it to her quickly, his blood was hot as it rushed under his skin.
"Please." He managed to choke out, he could still feel the wetness on his cheek from where she had licked him. Quickly he rubbed it off with the back of his hand.
Obeying too eagerly she pulled the sweater over her head, causing some hairs to stand up with the static from the fabric. He almost smiled but when she pulled in her ears and tail he was shocked all over again.
"Sorry about that." She said suddenly, her voice had a husky undertone. He was sure she didn't consciously put it there, it was just the way her voice sounded. "I was getting better at keeping those in." She giggled innocently. "But I just got so excited and happy. I lose control when that happens." She smiled. It was sweet and kind, lifting up her cheeks and softening her face. Her eyelids shadowed over her eyes giving her a mysterious look with a sharp delicate cheekbone structure. Her eyelashes where thick and long, brushing her the top of her cheeks as she blinked, casting shadows down her face. Her full lips were tilted up, her nose was straight and perfect.
Dad...what have you done. Jason thought.
He looked at his sweater on Shadow, realizing he liked it on her. Than shook his head mentally at the foolish thought. This change was pretty extreme and he wasn't sure how to handle it. But Dad had said in the note that this had been her wish. That she was so happy that she could finally live as long as he was. And he was too. He knew it would be hard to adjust but...would this work?
"Shadow, if you want to be more of a human girl you don't eat from a dog bowl." Jason was exasperated. It wasn't the same with Shadow as a human girl. He didn't feel as free to talk to her as when she was a dog. And he had never had to explain to her how to eat right. It was like training someone with no memory of what to do whatsoever.
"But...your Master always feed me from the bowl." She was looking up with puppy dog eyes, her bottom lip trembling in a pout. New emotions surged inside him. If she was still a dog and had started whining he would have comforted her. But she was different now. This urge to comfort was just as strong as if she had been a dog and was very hard to ignore. She was sitting on the floor, looking at her dog bowl, empty of any food. When she had said she was hungry Jason hadn't know she was still eating from that.
Jason couldn't stop himself as he grabbed Shadow by her elbows and pulled her up to her feet, walked her over to the kitchen table and sat her down in the seat.
"Lets make a deal." Jason started.
She dropped her pout and looked at him curiously, he could almost see a tail waging curiously behind her. "A deal?" She asked as she tilted her head to the side.
"You try human food once and if you don't like it I'll let you go back to dog food, but you have to eat it on a plate with a fork."
She pouted again and Jason had to resist a smile at her bottom lip pushing out. "Fine." She said, lifting her chin stubbornly, "But you can't yell at me."
"Yell at you?"
"You would always scold me for jumping up on the table for your food." She said, suddenly looked embarrassed. Her emotions changed so fast.
Jason couldn't help it as he suddenly burst into laughter. "That doesn't matter anymore Shadow." He doubled over.
Shadow's hand twitch and she smiled. "I love it when you laugh." She said, her husky voice caressing Jason.
That shut him up real quick. He cleared his throat, realizing that even though Shadow was a girl, she had been the dog that he had told all his secrets to, she knew everything about him. He usually didn't laugh often but when he did Shadow would lick his face, he was glad she hadn't done that now.
"I'll go make some food." He said and hurried off to the fridge and pantry, pulling out ingredients and setting them on the counters, that's when he saw the money for Shadow. He turned and looked at her. She was looking at her toes, bending them out and in over and over.
Well, she will need some girl clothes, surely my shirts alone wouldn't be enough. He looked at his sweater, she was so...feminine. That wasn't even fair. His gaze traced down her long, slender, bare legs. He turned around abruptly, yeah, she needed clothes.
Grabbing a pot he began making a simple meal for tonight. Spaghetti. It calmed him to cook, a thought he had only shared with Shadow. When he thought of all the things Shadow knew it wouldn't have bothered him when she was still a dog...but now...he just wasn't sure how to settle down with that thought. No man ever completely stripped his feelings to a girl...yet this one behind him knew everything. He began to cook the sauce in one smaller pot and in a bigger pot he began to boil water, grabbing the money and stuffing it into his back pocket. He turned slowly and leaned back against the counter, crossing his arms.
Shadow was now staring at Jason and smiled as he looked at her. Then she frowned.
"Why are you frowning?" Jason asked.
"Because Master...usually your happier around me."
"That was when you were a dog."
"Am I really that different now."
"Of course you are." His voice broke at the end. "Your a human girl. Walking and talking. Smiling and you have hair!" He explained as calmly as he could. He couldn't give more away.
Her frown deepened. "I've alway's had hair. I've always talked, you just didn't hear me. And I've smiled, you just couldn't tell. And walking is something every creature does."
"But still." Jason argued.
"But still nothing. I'm no different then I was when I was a dog." She explained, her husky voice carrying a sharp edge. "Would you have preferred me to stay that way."
"YES!" Jason shouted, losing himself for a moment before he took a deep breath to calm himself. It was too easy to be around her. "It was easier for me."
Shadow stood up from her seat in an angry fuss. "I DID THIS FOR YOU!" She screamed, her ears and tail popping out as she turned on her heel and stormed out very quickly.
He watched her go, an unbelievable wave of sadness crashed over him. He had never yelled at her like that. She had never left like that. He turned around angry and grabbed the pots, throwing them in the sink and resting his hands on the metal edge, breathing heavily. He watched tears splatter slowly on the sink and his eyes widened in surprise. When was the last time he cried.
It had been in Shadows fur, that's one thing he did remember. He suddenly felt so alone. Shadow filled that part of him that his Dad was suppose to fill, that a family was suppose to feel. And not only could he not conjure the same feelings he had for Shadow as a dog but it was going to be impossible to live with a girl who was once his dog.
He wanted her panting tongue hanging over the side of her muzzle, her ears pricked forward and her tail straight in the air. He liked her better as a dog, not a human girl with a soft body and alluring eyes with untamed hair.
His tears dropped faster. He was a fool. How could this possibly work out. His hands clenched into fists. Why did she even bother doing this with him.
Then his eyes had widened. Because he had asked for it. He suddenly remembered the day with perfect clarity.
Jason tossed the stick far, hearing the wind whistle past it as doubled over itself over and over in the air. Shadow darted away quickly, her speed was always impressive.
He watched her jump up in the distance and catch the stick. He smiled with warmth as she hurried back.
He ruffled her fur behind her ears where she liked it when she came back. In content she dropped the stick and dipped her head into his hand.
He laughed and looked at Shadow, her thoughtful sky blue eyes, embedded with what seemed like crystals, making them shine brightly watching him. Love filled her eyes.
He suddenly grew curious. "Sometimes I wish you could talk Shadow. That would be so cool. We could talk all day."
She lifted her head and licked his face, he laughed and sat on the ground, she circled him before laying beside him and resting her head on his thigh, her sky eyes looking up at him. "I wonder what your thinking Shadow, are you agreeing with me. Do you wish to be human so you could speak to me."
She didn't say anything, and he didn't expect her to, but let a long silence drag between them as he thought, lazily running his hand along her fur.
"I think that would be awesome if you were human Shadow." Jason said with a smile as he gazed down at his Shadow...
He slammed his fists down on the sink. He was sick with himself. He had wanted it, but that was a year or two ago, he had given up on that dream. He had learned to appreciate her as a dog and grew to love her even more. Now he had his wish and hadn't even wanted or thought about it.
He had been unreasonable to Shadow, she did it for him. He wiped his tears away and looked at the mess in the sink. He needed Shadow. He looked at the archway that led to the hallway.
Shadow was a girl now, whether he liked it or not. And it was all his fault. He might as well go apologize. He straightened up and exited the kitchen to the hallway, walking over to the steps and turning to head up them.
He was struggling with his thoughts as he continued up the stairs. Wondering if comforting her was the best idea. He shook his head, he hadn't said anything about comforting her, just apologizing. But if it was Shadow as dog he would have comforted her.
He was walking to his room, wondering why he had walked here, why would she would be in his bedroom. He opened the door and saw a giant lump under his covers, the sound of hiccups accompanied by sobs echoing loudly as the covers shook.
"Oh Shadow." Jason croaked out. She sprang up, the blanket flying backwards off of her. Her hair was tousled from under the blanket as tears streamed down her face, she let out another hiccup.
"You've been crying." Was the first thing she said.
"So have you." He said with a weak smile.
She flew forward and wrapped her arms around his neck, burying her head in his neck. "I'm so sorry Master." She sobbed, hiccups muffling into his neck, her tears soaking into his shirt.
"No, no Shadow. You shouldn't apologize." Jason said, wrapping one arm around her waist tentatively.
She pulled back a little only so she could gaze up at him. She was very close, Jason thoughts were blurring slightly. As she spoke her breath brushed along his skin. It took him a minute to understand what she had said.
"Why?" He looked up so he didn't have to stare at her husky blue eyes, still entrapped with crystals, still alluring. "Because, I need to apologize. I did say I wanted you to be human. I shouldn't have yelled at you. This is all my fault that you did this, only thinking of me."
Shadow sniffed as she took in the words, her eyebrows pulling together in confusion. She removed one arm from around Jason's neck and wiped away the last remnants of her tears. That when she started laughing.
"Master, I did do this for you." She giggled, "But I also did this for myself."
Jason now looked down at her, her body pressed to his was suddenly not as noticeable as his mind skittered to a halt of confusion.
She smiled a gentle, loving smile that made his heart pick up in his chest, pounding against his ribs. She rested her hand on his cheek, her thumb rubbing away a tear that he hadn't noticed had budded.
"You don't know how many times I wanted to wipe away your tears. Or wrapped my arms around you." To prove her point the arm that was still around his neck moved a little, slightly tightening its grip. "Or how many times I wanted to answer your questions. I know I kept the loneliness at bay Master...but sometimes you couldn't keep it back and it swallowed you." Her expression was broken. "And I couldn't do anything to sooth you! You'd crawl over to me and bury your head in my fur, but it wasn't enough. I knew it wasn't enough." Her voice broke at the end.
Jason blinked, Shadows hand warm on his cheek. She had really picked up on things, even as a dog, she seemed to understand him. This was how he had imagined Shadow, a wise enchanting woman. She had never been his age in his imagination, but he liked to think of her as his age, that meant she could live longer.
Then it hit him, he had plans of living with Shadow as long as he could. Could he still do it with her as a distracting female. He sighed to himself, he should have known that Shadow as a human would have look tempting and beautiful. Her husky blue eyes should have given it away.
Shadow saw his emotions battling in his eyes. His emotions were hard to see, but she was tuned into them after all these years.
"I'm still Shadow Master." She pleaded with him, burying her head back into his neck, moving her hand from his cheek and wrapping that arm back around his neck, squeezing tight. "I'm still Shadow. That will never change just because my body has." Her husky voice murmured, her lips brushing his neck, Jason had to swallow. Did Shadow have the slightest clue to what her new body did to him.
"Alright...I'll give this a shot. I wouldn't act like your any different."
"Thank you Master." He felt her smile form on his neck.
"Under one condition."
She leaned back and looked at him, tilting her head innocently to the side like she had done many times as a dog. "What?"
"You need to stop calling me Master."
She threw her head back and laughed, it was rich and earthy, also carrying the husky undertone. "Alright Jason."
Her saying his name did weird things to his heart. He remembered all the times he had wanted Shadow to say his name, and now she was, standing in only a sweater and enjoying everything.
He cleared his throat before he spoke again. "Alright Shadow. I guess we will try the human food tomorrow. For now, we'll go to bed." He liked how steady and calm he sounded. Now they had to figure out sleeping arrangements.
But it appeared Shadow had already picked them out. With a smile she fell back on the bed and closed her eyes.
"Um Shadow?" Jason started, his face heating up.
She sat up innocently and opened her eyes languidly, Jason's heart hammered against his ribs.
"What, when I was a dog, I always spelt next to you."
Was it suddenly hot in here? And was his shirt choking his neck? He wasn't sure, he couldn't think straight. "Yes I know, but your a human girl."
"But-." She pouted, blinking her long lashes. "You said you'd try this." His mind splashed in the gutter, and was grateful when her next words pulled him out. "You said you wouldn't treat me any different from when I was a dog."
He opened his mouth to say something, than shut it. He suddenly realized he was defeated. By his own dog/girl.
"Fine, but under one condition." He said in a stern voice, crossing his arms. He would at least lay down some ground rules.
Shadow sighed, "Another condition?"
"You have to wear pants." He said, his cheeks burning.
Shadow looked down at her long legs, wiggling her toes happily and looked up at Jason with true concern. "Do they bother you?"
Jason wanted to hit something, she was so...so innocent. She must have no clue how dangerous she is with her long legs and delicious curves.
"It's not that they bother me..." Jason began, but decided he didn't need to have a 'when boys like girls' talk. "I would just appreciate it if you covered some more skin, it's not...lady-like to not wear pants. ."
Jason resisted a smile. "Do you want to be a girl?" He asked.
She straightened her shoulders. "YES!"
"Then go get pants."
"YES!" She dashed off the bed and began opening Jason's dresser drawers, throwing clothes everywhere on the floor till she found some pants.
I guess that's a start. Jason thought.
She eventually found a pair of gym shorts and pulled them on. Jason didn't watch as he flicked on a dim light on the shelve next to his bed and turned off the lights in the house, when he got back upstairs he went to brush his teeth. As he walked back to his room he wondered if he would be able to get Shadow in the habit of brushing her teeth.
As he opened his bedroom door Shadow was sprawled out on his bed, her breathing was loud and comforting. She's always been a heavy breather. Her hair was tousled and billowed out under her head, her arms out to the side and her legs spread out, taking up as much space as possible as she would have done as a dog. Jason sighed involuntarily and pulled off his shirt and went to his drawers, pulled out a pair of sweats with holes at the knee and changed into them. While he was doing this Shadow rolled over, her back facing him.
Jason had started to smile to himself as he walked over to the side of the bed, turning on the small electric fan beside his lamp on his bed-stand to get the air flowing.
He wondered to himself if it was proper to sleep shirt-less now that Shadow was a girl. Well technically Shadow had always been a girl, dog or not, and his pants were a step up enough. He clenched his jaw, did it even matter if he wore pants, Shadow had seen him in boxers already. Jason shook his head. It was different now, even if he had told Shadow he would adjust, Shadow was a girl, and at that pants were required. But it was summer, so he was not putting on a shirt. Shadow wouldn't care, she had seen it plenty of times before.
Jason climbed into the bed and laid down next to Shadow. He turned his head to look at her, her back still turned to him and he ran a hand through her new hair. It was soft and relaxing to the touch, just like before. He always stroked Shadows fur until he fell asleep. He guessed that his hands running through her hair, feeling her strands run through his fingers, was a habit. He fell asleep quickly.
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