Title: Scent

Summary: SLASH M/M. Ethan woke from a strange dream to an even stranger reality. The last thing he could remember was his confusion as a tall hairy alien tugged open the door to the room where he had hidden. And now, he was lying flat on his back on a hard surface, with the alien squatting beside him, stroking his cheek with one rather hairy finger and making a low crooning noise. Rated M for mature themes.

Warning: Contains xenophilia/dub-con. I have tried to keep the descriptions within the guidelines for this site, but it is still fairly graphic.

The raid had gone off smoothly, with four of the crew concentrating on the cargo hold, dragging the most valuable crates (helpfully marked up by their inside man at the docks when they were put on board) the short distance back through the airlock. The others had fanned out through the ship, rounding up the crew and keeping them under guard and away from any communications equipment. Their newest team-members had worked out fine, Bryant considered, following the plan well.

When their communicators whistled in the prearranged signal, they had all retreated quickly back through the ship, though those from one area must have been involved in a minor skirmish as one of the new guys - Cole, from Praxin 8, that was the name - was carrying another of the newbs slung over his shoulder, injured or unconscious. The guy was big enough to carry him without difficulty. He might be humanoid and capable of speaking some Basic, but the fangs, retractable claws, and serious body hair issue made it certain that no-one was going to mistake him for a human. Useful guy to have around though, strong as an ox and seemed to understand his orders well enough even if he tended to grunt in reply.

They were back through, the ships disengaged, and into hyperspace with the minimum possible delay - even if the crew of the raided ship were in the mood to chase them (unlikely since they were only employees of the shipping company and the goods were insured) they would not have the faintest clue where to start looking. Bryant allowed himself a contented smile, it had gone off without any real hitch, and they would only have to deliver these crates to the buyer they had waiting, to make a healthy profit on this trip.

But first, he had an injured crew member to check on - they didn't have a trained medic on board but he had picked up enough along the way to deal with most things. He walked over to the corner of the cargo bay where Cole was standing, apparently keeping watch over the other man. "What happened?" he asked, approaching the two. Then he paused, puzzled, looking at the un-moving figure on the floor then around the cargo bay. In his defence, if these had been his usual crew he would have spotted the problem much sooner, but with several new faces at once he had not been surprised not to immediately put a name to the man.

The conclusion was inescapable though. "Who the hell is that?" he yelled at Cole, pointing at the figure on the floor and moving to look at him more closely.

"Mine" - it was more growl than speech, and the big alien moved to position himself between Bryant and the unconscious man, baring his fangs, the threat clear.

Bryant damn well wasn't going to take that from anyone who had signed on to his crew, and shoved past to check if the unknown man were even alive. At least that was what he meant to do, but instead he found himself slammed into the metal bulkhead with a massive hand grasping the front of his shirt and his feet off the floor. Cole was snarling now, the fangs clearly visible, and Bryant found himself contemplating just how little he knew about Praxians and whether his life was going to be long enough to let him learn more.

One of the other new crew members was walking carefully towards them now, his hands out wide, clearly trying to look non-threatening. "The captain was just curious" he said slowly and carefully as he came nearer. "He knows that it is yours"

"Mine" repeated Cole firmly.

"Yes" the other nodded. "It is yours. We will not interfere."

That seemed to calm Cole, and he released his grip on the captain.

"The others will leave now" Donovan continued, gesturing to the rest of the crew who were watching with undisguised interest. Bryant turned and repeated it as an order "All of you. Out. Now." There was some grumbling, but they did as they had been told.

Bryant turned to Donovan and asked quietly "Do you know what this is about?"

"Just look at the, er, condition Cole's in."

Bryant looked, but saw no more than he had earlier - eyes flashing, fangs bared, scarcely contained anger - then his eyes slid further down the alien and he gasped, looked quickly up at Donovan then back down. Cole only ever wore pants, his natural hairiness providing enough covering and warmth for the rest. But currently the pants were clearly under great strain. Anger wasn't the only thing that Cole was experiencing at the moment, or the only thing that he was barely managing to control.

Bryant glanced again at the unconscious form on the floor. A slim young man with blond hair, no older than his late teens or early twenties. It seemed that Cole must have seen him on the ship during the raid and taken a fancy to him. Bryant would never have permitted the abduction - it was bad for business, increasing the interest that law enforcement agencies took in his activities - but now that the young man was here, he could not be returned. Frankly, he would have to be killed, as his continued presence was a liability. He could be killed now, or after Cole had done what he wanted. And the chances of Cole calming down if Bryant simply killed the boy right now did not look good.

"Very well. He is yours for now. But you cannot keep him. When you are done, he goes out of the airlock. Understood?"

Cole glared at him, it was obvious that he wasn't entirely happy with the arrangement. But then he looked down at the young man and began to growl again, a low needy rumbling in his chest, and he nodded his assent. Bryant and Donovan left the cargo bay rapidly, as Cole leant over the still form of the young man he had claimed.

Ethan woke from a strange dream to an even stranger reality. The last thing he could remember was his confusion as a tall hairy alien tugged open the door to the room where he had hidden. It had walked into the room, sniffing the air, then crossed over to where he stood, pulling him in close and burying its face into his neck, Ethan's own face squashed into its armpit, with the low rumbling sound in its chest vibrating right through him. He had been terrified, and had tried to pull away, only for it to hold him out at arm's length, snarling, then smack him hard across the side of the head with the back of its hand. Then everything was a blur.

And now, he was lying flat on his back on a hard surface, with the alien squatting beside him, stroking his cheek with one rather hairy finger and making a low crooning noise. He sat up sharply and tried to pull away, only for it to straddle him and pin him back down onto the floor, one hand twined in his hair, holding his head steady. The soft sounds it had been making had switched to an aggressive growling. He shivered in horror as its other hand slid to the fastening of its pants and opened them, a solid hairless erection springing out into his face. It was visibly throbbing, doubtless in time with the creature's pulse, and a dribble of fluid was already forming at the tip. He closed his mouth tightly, and twisted his head to the side to avoid it, but a sudden sharp tug on his hair served to both pull his head backward and open his mouth in a gasp of pain, and the engorged head was thrust into his mouth. The alien shifted its weight a little, and began to thrust into him, thankfully just a short distance each time, with its own hand still grasping the lower part of the shaft, pumping it hard in time with the thrusts. The best that could be said for the experience was that it was over quickly. The alien had been so close to orgasm from the start that it had taken only a few thrusts for it to reach its climax, throwing its head back and roaring as it came into his mouth. Ethan had no choice but to swallow the warm liquid as it jetted into his mouth, though some had still overflowed and trickled out over his cheek and his chin. He lay there feeling dazed, as his captor slid the softening shaft out of his mouth. It stayed in position over him, keeping him pinned down on the hard floor.

After a few minutes, it shifted off him, but this time he made no effort to get away from it. What would be the point? It was strong enough and agile enough to grab him and pin him down by force if it chose to. And if he resisted, then there was every chance that it would strike him again. His head felt strange enough already, it would be foolish to risk a worse injury to it when it would serve no useful purpose. From his position on the floor Ethan glanced at his surroundings. Metal bulkheads, large packing crates. It ought to look familiar, as he had inventoried those crates when they arrived, but he had never seen this cargo bay before, it was completely unfamiliar. His thoughts seemed slow and vague. Was that an effect of the concussion? That constant sound in his ears might also be an effect of the blow to the head. He considered that, moving his head a little from side to side to check. No. It was the alien, sitting beside him. Growling. But the sound didn't have the aggressive note it had earlier. It seemed happy. Unsurprising enough, considering what it had just done.

Ethan thought about that. It hadn't been so terrible. In fact, as sexual assaults go, it had been fairly considerate. Maybe now that it was physically satisfied, it would free him and allow him to leave the ship?

It was watching him closely. Would it understand him if he spoke? Most sentients understood Basic to some extent, those that didn't live in isolated systems anyway. "May I go now?" he tried. It shouldn't object to the question, surely.

"No." Came the heavily accented reply. "Airlock after"

Ethan glanced swiftly across at the airlock door. The controls and information were standard - it was not an area where anyone wanted to make a mistake after all - the lights and symbols above the door showed clearly that the airlock was currently air-filled and pressurised, and that they were not currently docked with another vessel. 'Airlock' therefore did not mean that he would be free to go back to the other ship, but that he would be spaced.

His stomach churned. When the creature had done with him, all that would follow would be his death.

In the small galley of the ship, Bryant and Donovan were talking.

"I really think you ought to reconsider. I know Cole seemed to agree to it, but I've heard stories about Praxians that would make your hair stand on end."

"We can't afford to have him on the ship for any length of time. Cole will just have to put up with it. We can stop by a pleasure resort after we've made the drop-off if he's still in the mood for more. The guys deserve a treat anyway."

Donovan was shaking his head. "Nope. Not going to work. If Cole's picked that boy then that's the only one that'll do. Praxians are pretty specific about mating. Something to do with pheromones I think. They get fixated on one person, and nobody else will satisfy them."

Bryant considered that. "You mean he wouldn't be able to with anyone else? Even if there were plenty to choose from?"

Donovan hesitated. He hadn't wanted to go into detail about Praxian biology, and it was only a rumour after all, a horror story passed around in bars after a few drinks. But Bryant needed to change his decision, or they could all be in big trouble.

"There... was a story I heard. About a ship. They had a Praxian as one of the crew. Seems he took a shine to the daughter of some local bigwig on a planet they stopped at, and he was determined to bring her back with him. But the captain refused point blank, even went as far as to have the crew overpower him and drag him back on board against his will. They were in hyperspace when he went berserk, grabbed a crewman and, well, raped him. Repeatedly. When he was no more use, the Praxian broke his neck clean in two, and went looking for another. The rest of the crew were hiding out all over the ship by now, waiting to see if he'd calm down after he'd got his end away a few times. But even though he'd been going at that first guy for hours, he still had a hard-on you could bang in nails with. So he finds another crewman, then another, then another. But he's still horny as hell. Eventually the captain and another guy make a plan, and corner him. And they've managed to get their rifles from the store and they each get six shots into him. And that's enough, luckily. But they've got a heap of dead crewmen to explain when they get to port, and the judge takes some convincing that one guy could have banged all of them that much, no matter where he was from... I dunno if it's a true story or not, you know it's the kind that you hear in a bar, that always happened to some guy they met once, and you never meet the guys it supposedly happened to. But I do know Praxians pick out a mate in their own way and they don't sleep around once they've got one. Which would fit if they can't really enjoy it with anyone else."

"So... you think if he's picked out this one boy from that ship, he thinks that's his mate and that's that? Even though he's a male and the wrong species?"

"Could be. The girl in the story was human. Maybe when they evolved they didn't meet any humans so nobody got confused. Maybe some people just smell right to them or something. Anyway, my point is, that's one hell of a big ugly guy to have pissed at you. Pissed and horny would be even worse. But just pissed is bad enough. I mean, have you seen those claws?"

Bryant nodded thoughtfully.

Cole regarded his mate carefully. It was not yet responding properly. With one of his own kind, the mating signals would be very clear by now - once they had smelt and tasted one another the bond would be strong on both sides. Scent alone was usually enough, but humans were strange and easily confused, hardly surprising when they masked their natural scent with strange perfumes and covered their skin with fabrics. But this one had smelt perfect to him despite the unnatural aromas added over its own, and he had hunted it down through the ship, certain that when they met and he allowed the human to smell him that it would recognise its rightful mate at once.

But it had not. Despite being close enough for him to be intoxicated by the human's scent, it had not known him, and had even pulled away from his embrace. He should not have responded to that with violence - it was always wrong between mates - but he had known that the signal to leave the ship would come soon, and he could not leave without this human. He had been certain that more time together would overcome the confusion it must be feeling, and that it would awaken eager to join with him. Instead it had denied him again, showing no sign of desire. He had been as gentle as he could, holding back from the urge to claim it fully, and only doing what was needful to make his new mate taste his essence. He had been hopeful then - it had swallowed down most of what it had been given, and had lain unmoving and quiet for a time. But still it showed no signs of wanting to join.

He needed to be more imaginative, to find ways of prompting the human to respond.

Perhaps the artificial scents were still causing it confusion? His own sense of smell was very strong, but humans did not use theirs as much, he had learned that early on in his time with them. The human's own scent was in its nostrils constantly, along with the perfumes on its clothes, skin and hair. It needed to be thoroughly washed. Cole remembered that there was a shower cabinet near the door of the cargo bay, where the crew could rinse off if they had been moving cargo that was dirty or dusty. He would take it in there and clean off all the scents, leaving only their natural odours. Then it would understand and respond.

Ethan was startled at a sudden movement from the alien, it had been sitting very still for some minutes. But now it was standing, pulling him up onto his feet and saying "Shower. Be clean". He allowed himself to be propelled to a narrow doorway near the main entrance to the cargo bay. Why did it want him clean if it was going to kill him? He made no objection when it pushed him towards the shower cubicle and started pulling at his clothing. In those few minutes of quiet he had reached an important conclusion - even though what was happening to him was traditionally labelled as 'a fate worse than death', given a straight choice between death now and death later, he would prefer it to be later. And if that meant going along with whatever else this alien wanted of him, then he would do it. He got the feeling it wanted at least some show of willingness - it had been angry when he had pulled away from it, both when they first met and when he had come round on the floor. So he would comply, for now at least. If the creature enjoyed this, and it wasn't completely unbearable, then allowing it to continue was worthwhile to stay alive for longer. He could always refuse again later, if what it wanted was too painful or downright disgusting.

With that, he shucked off his clothing, and got into the shower. He reached out for the shampoo, but it was batted away from his hand. Just water then. Okay.

Once he was thoroughly wet and had rubbed his hands over everywhere in the absence of any shampoo or soap, he looked to the alien for permission to get back out. It obliged by turning off the water and picking up a towel from the shelf. But instead of handing it over, it sniffed at the soft fabric in disgust and threw it to the floor, then repeated the action with each of the others in the stack with a growl that got louder with each rejected item.

Ethan stood there, dripping wet, unsure what to do or suggest. Finally the creature removed its pants, revealing that the hairiness continued all over its body. It stepped close to Ethan, hairy and naked, and began to rub him dry with the rough fabric of the pants.

Ethan shivered, from the touch rather than cold, since the air was quite warm and steamy. The way it was touching him wasn't really erotic, it was just towelling him dry, and yet it was turning him on. Once he was dry down to the waist, it knelt down in front of him and continued its work. He could see that it had noticed his arousal, but it treated that part of him no differently from the rest, working its way down his legs steadily. Then it ran its hands back up from his ankles to his hips, before making little circles on the soft skin in front of each jutting hipbone. Ethan's cock was very appreciative, and was standing fully to attention now. He moaned a little, not sure how this was supposed to progress. He wanted more direct touch. But it wasn't for him to make demands of his captor, surely he should just accept what happened and be grateful for any enjoyment he got out of it.

Cole hesitated. He wanted to please his mate, but even now it did not give the expected signals. But perhaps humans had different signals? Perhaps standing very still and moaning was their way of asking to be stimulated? At least it was showing definite signs of desire now - the absence of other scents in its nostrils had clearly allowed it to recognise its mate. Perhaps the scent of him on the fabric had also helped to spread it - he could smell himself on his mate's skin now, though it was faint. Perhaps that was the trick - to get his own scent all over it?

At any rate, he now had an aroused mate in front of him, who had made no attempt to push him away this time, and was allowing both his touch and the presence of his mouth very close to its genitals. If it did not want closer contact, then it would be capable of making that clear as it had done before. So, he concluded, he should initiate more intimate contact, and continue until it objected to his actions.

That decided, he leaned in to breathe warmly on the smooth pink skin, and was rewarded by seeing its erection twitch and harden still further. The gentlest flick of a tongue earned him a deeper moan, so he followed that by licking and nuzzling at it. Moans and gasps now. It relied more on sound signals perhaps, rather than scent and movement. Perhaps that was why it was avoiding the constant babbling noises that passed for communication between humans most of the time. He ran his tongue up the full length and around the tip, savouring the drop of liquid that had already pooled there, before sliding his mouth very carefully onto the whole shaft. Human skin felt very delicate, but luckily the girth of it was exactly right to fit between his canine teeth. So long as he was careful getting it into and out of his mouth, there was no reason to think he would harm it, and his lips and tongue were soft and wet enough to be as gentle as it needed. He moved his head up and down on the shaft, flicking his tongue across the underside, and sucking gently. His mate (and oh it was wonderful to feel able to think of it as that now) was giving out deeper groans, and rocking its hips in time with Cole's movements. He began to rub at the smooth skin under his thumbs again, and gripped his other fingers tightly around its hips as it thrust eagerly against him, building up to a quicker tempo as its arousal became uncontrollable. It was whimpering like a hungry infant now, and he sucked harder, willing it to release into him. Finally, with the first words it had spoken during their joining, it climaxed deep in his mouth with a cry of "Yes! Yes!" before sliding out of his mouth and sinking down onto its knees, almost collapsing into his embrace.

He held it gently but firmly as it trembled against him, its infant-like noises having triggered deeply protective feelings within him. He would have been protective of his mate in any case, but he would always treasure the memory of this first gift to him, the sense of utter vulnerability and trust in him as his new mate had allowed him to give it pleasure for the very first time.

Ethan could barely think straight. He'd had a few fumbles with girls and with guys since he'd hit puberty, though it had never gone very far. Nothing had prepared him for the confused jumble of sensations that had overwhelmed him so completely. It had been amazing, so intimate, but also so right and easy. Once he had stopped thinking, it had felt completely natural to respond to what was being done to him. He was incredibly grateful - whatever else was wanted of him, he'd give it happily just to have the memory of this.

He let himself sink completely into the warm strong arms that encircled him, letting go of all the tension that had been in him.

Cole frowned to himself. Sounds were obviously very important to the humans. They spent much of their time making their odd babbling noises, though most of them had more sense than to expect him to pay attention to many such noises in sequence, or to return more than one or two. But his mate was human, and made many sounds. Far more pleasant sounds than the babbling noises of course, and he hoped to prompt even more of the groaning and whimpering very soon when he claimed his mate fully.

He should show respect for its ways. One of those, which all the humans seemed to place great value on, was to attach a sound to each individual, apparently for ease of reference. The first humans he had met had insisted that he should also have a sound designation, and they had called him "Cole". He was not sure why that sound had been chosen, but they had repeated it frequently until he responded to it, which appeared to satisfy their wishes in this regard. His human doubtless also had a sound designation, and would want him to use it.

His mate was shifting position now, the trembling having subsided. He took the opportunity to move it into a position where they could see one another, although he knew that humans did not consider this necessary for communication. He gestured to himself, putting his hand on his chest, and made the sound - "Cole". The human looked at him blankly, then repeated "Cole?" before finally rubbing his shoulder saying "Cole" with a small smile. That appeared to have been successful then. But his human did not provide any further sounds. Cole frowned and patted his mate's chest, tilting his head to one side to indicate curiosity. "Oh. Ethan" was the response.

"O-Ethan" he repeated, but his mate looked surprised and said "No just Ethan", then seemed to understand the confusion and simply said "Ethan", while gesturing to himself.

"Ethan" Cole responded, and his mate smiled and moved his head in the way that indicated agreement.

His mate would doubtless want to exchange more babbling noises in time, and he would endeavour to do so. But for now Cole's thoughts were moving to other things. They had tasted one another, and now recognised one another from their scent. But they were not fully mated, as they had not yet joined their bodies together in mutual pleasure. The pleasure to be had from a mouth was a beautiful thing, and he hoped that his mate - that Ethan - would taste him frequently, as he intended to do also. But his need to mate with his human was an ache that ran deep through his whole body. There would be no rest for him until their joining was complete.

He just hoped that his human understood and was capable of such an act.

He began to touch and stroke it, hoping to encourage its body to welcome him. In return, his own body was rubbed and caressed by his mate's hands. The touches were tentative on his erect shaft, though he welcomed them with an appreciative shudder. But he needed more than hands. He began to explore more intimately, and his mate shivered but moved position to allow his fingers to probe the area more fully. There was just a single opening, hot and tight, but it eased a little as his finger gently explored it, and he judged that it would be capable of expanding to accommodate him. However it seemed unable to produce any natural lubricant to ease the process. He licked a finger to see if simple moisture was enough, but it was clear that more would be required from the discomfort evident in his mate's movements, though it made no complaint. Presumably it was also keen to mate, even if the act was a difficult one.

A momentary worry crossed Cole's mind - was his mate not yet fully mature? It made infant noises, and its passage provided no lubrication for mating. In his own kind, those would be clear indicators of an individual that had not yet reached sexual maturity. But its scent was that of an adult. And it had released its essence when stimulated. It must be mature then, but its anatomy was awkwardly different.

He tried to think it through logically. Lubricant must be provided. There must be a natural process for this, or such a need would never have evolved. One or both of them must therefore be able to produce something suitable for the purpose. He smiled. Of course, either of them could do so. But it would probably be simpler if it were him, as he could deliver the lubricant directly to where it was needed.

He gently pushed his mate down onto all fours, with its thighs spread wide apart, its buttocks parting to display the tight little opening. Its movements showed that the human was very tense, perhaps thinking that he would forego lubricant in his eagerness. But Cole simply took his own erect shaft in his hand and rapidly reached a point where he could release his essence, directing the pulses of thick warm fluid onto his mate's body, to trickle down between the parted buttocks. He slid a single fingertip through the liquid and into the opening, only a little way at first until the ring of muscle relaxed and invited him to enter more deeply. Once a whole finger had been accepted, he slid it in and out to spread the lubricant and encourage the little passage to relax further. His mate was making appreciative noises, which encouraged him to believe he was proceeding correctly. After a few more thrusts, he added a second finger, and used them in tandem to stretch out the opening, as this seemed to be the tightest part of his mate's anatomy. The rest of the passage was wider and had some natural moisture, and the addition of his essence made the surface slick and welcoming.

Once two fingers prompted pleasurable sounds, he added a third. This gave his human some discomfort at first, but he kept his movements slow and gentle until this too eased.

Finally, Cole felt sure that his mate's body was as ready for him as it could possibly be, and he slid the fingers out and used the remaining fluid to coat his erection. It had hardened again fully while he had focussed on preparing his mate, and was achingly ready. He positioned the tip carefully at the opening, and pushed inside just a short distance, pausing to allow his mate to accept him inside. Then he reached his hand around his human's slim hips and grasped the beautiful pink erection that awaited him there. He caressed it as he gradually pushed his own larger shaft deeper inside, and listened in delight to the moans and gasps that his mate gave at the sensation.

Once he was fully inside, he started to rock, his movements slow and tentative at first, then increasing in speed and strength as the slender hips were pushed back against him, signalling the human's own eagerness to mate. Before long, the groaning and whimpering sounds that had delighted him earlier had returned, and he gripped its erection more firmly to ensure that his mate would achieve the greatest possible pleasure from their joining. Ethan was crying out now at every thrust, erection swelling still further, reaching climax with a sequence of little whimpers that brought Cole to his own orgasm deep inside his mate for the first time. It continued to whimper as Cole's essence spurted out over and over, its whole body shuddering in an overwhelming release.

They remained together like that, the intimate join between them both physical and emotional, until at last Cole felt himself soften and the tightness of his mate's passage pushed him out instead of holding him in as it had done throughout their mating. He wrapped his arms around his mate, and pulled it down to lie across his body, where it clung lovingly to his neck and shoulders. It wriggled upwards, pressing its lips tightly onto Cole's and opening them to push its little tongue into his mouth. He was startled, but returned the gesture even though he had no food to pass to a hungry infant. Fortunately, his mate seemed to hunger only for the sensation and not for nourishment, and wriggled contentedly back down his body, coming to rest with its face tucked into one armpit.

Cole smiled. It was right that his mate sought out his scent, though it had taken it a little time to recognise and understand their connection. It was certainly in no doubt now that Cole was its mate. Soon he would carry it through to the food-place and provide for its other needs too, before mating again.

Ethan had never felt so relaxed. The things that Cole had done to his body were incredible. He had known about it in theory of course, but had not expected it to feel so pleasurable, or for him to feel such an emotional connection to someone just because he was having sex with them. He could die happy now, if that was still what Cole planned. Somehow it seemed less likely though. If he was dead, then Cole wouldn't get to do that with him again, and he had definitely felt that Cole would like to do that over and over. He knew that he certainly would.

Cole stirred. Thinking of the similarities between his new mate and a hungry infant, whimpering and sucking eagerly at his mouth, made him want to feed it right away. He stood and lifted Ethan up in his arms, planning to carry him there at once. Ethan tensed at first, then relaxed when he saw that they were heading to the main door, and then tensed again, making those odd human babbling noises. When Cole showed no signs of understanding, he said more clearly "Pants. We need pants". Cole considered the matter. He had complied with the human insistence on garments, though keeping to the absolute minimum that was considered acceptable. Ethan of course would consider it necessary, and although he would happily walk through the ship in his natural state, this was probably one of those areas where pleasing one's mate was more important. He carried Ethan instead into the shower area, where all of their clothing had been left. Ethan only put on pants, leaving the rest on the floor. Cole smiled at that, at least he would have the feel of some of his mate's skin against his, even if other areas were separated by cloth.

After they had eaten, he would challenge Bryant and if necessary kill him, and the threat of Ethan being returned to the other ship through the airlock would be over with. He would then take Ethan to his sleeping-place and mate with him there, since humans did not seem comfortable with mating in public areas of the ship.

He reached the food-place and gently put his mate down on one of the cushioned chairs while he found food from the storage containers. Another of the crew was there, and it pushed a box of some dry foodstuff towards Ethan. Cole saw red immediately, and slammed the interloper against the wall, snarling "Mine" with his fangs almost against its face. How dare it attempt to feed another's mate? His claws were out and he was deciding whether to simply rip the human's heart out, or to start by tearing off its genitals, when the ones called Bryant and Donovan arrived and made babbling noises at him and at his mate. The noises were irritating, and he would have ripped their tongues out to silence them if Ethan had not come over to him and begun to gently stroke his arm.

His mate did not want him to display such anger, its movements conveying thoughts of gentleness and mating rather than the deserved revenge. Perhaps he had misunderstood? Ethan's touch had calmed him enough that he realised killing members of the crew would not be acceptable to the other humans. Ethan remained silent, though the others still babbled. Then his human seemed to realise how irritating the sounds were to its mate, and spoke sharply to the others. They became silent, while Ethan continued to soothe him.

After a few minutes, he no longer wanted to kill anyone, recognising that his emotions were too high at the moment for calm reactions. He let go of the crewman he was holding against the wall, picked up the food he had selected in one hand and his mate in the other, and took both over to the far side of the room.

Sitting there, with his new mate in his lap, offering it spoonfuls of food which it accepted willingly from his hand, he was soon relaxed and comfortable again.

Bryant and Donovan stepped out of the galley and held a rapid whispered conversation. The fact that Cole was so violently protective of this boy confirmed the idea that any threat to him would be a massively bad idea. Bryant would immediately let Cole know that he'd changed his decision. The risk of keeping an abductee onboard seemed a lot less important, in comparison with an enraged Praxian.

He went back into the small galley, and tried to look confident but unthreatening. Cole seemed to be focussed on spooning cold casserole into the youth, and only looked up briefly to growl at Bryant before returning his attention to the bowl. Bryant swallowed nervously, and simply stood and watched until the bowl was empty. Finally Cole looked up and stared directly at him. He tried not to view it as a direct challenge - at least the alien was still sitting down, and not grabbing his throat.

"I... I have decided that the boy can stay. You can keep him."

Cole was relieved - it would have been easy to kill Bryant if that had been necessary, but it was better this way.

Ethan was looking between the two, frowning, then suddenly stood up, anger clearly showing on his face.

"You. It was you who was planning to kill me, not Cole. You bastard!"

Cole was confused - why did his mate think it would be killed? It was continuing to shout at Bryant, visibly angry and distressed. He needed to resolve this, but there were too many words flowing from both of the humans. He stepped in, grabbing Bryant by the throat and pushing him up against the wall. That would stop his sounds at least. His mate also became silent at his actions, looking on wide-eyed as Bryant choked and clutched at the hand around his throat.

Cole turned to his mate. "Speak". Ethan took a deep breath, trying to put it into straightforward words. "You said 'airlock after'. There was no ship. I would die. The idea came from this man?"

Cole looked at him, startled. Bryant had said his mate would have to go back through the airlock, but surely he had meant back to his ship? He shook Bryant violently at the thought. The other ship had been left far behind, would he really have gone back to it to return one human? If Cole had been thinking a little less about his desire to join with his newly-found mate, the inconsistency would have been obvious. Instead, his mate had believed that he would allow it to be killed. He snarled, lifting Bryant further so that he was dangling by his throat, his arms and legs kicking ineffectually, his face turning purple.

Then Ethan was pulling at his arm, shaking his head. "Don't kill him. You don't have to kill him."

He wanted to though, very much, but as much because of his anger at himself as at what Bryant had threatened. He sighed and eased his grip, allowing Bryant's feet to return to the floor and his throat to open enough to gasp for air. His mate had the right to choose.

He finally let go completely, and Bryant fell to the floor, unheeded, as Cole focussed on his mate.

"You... didn't understand, did you? You thought he just meant for me to leave?"

Cole hoped that he had understood that correctly. He was sure of it when his mate gave him a gentle smile and pressed up close against him, reaching a hand up to the back of his neck and pressing their lips together. He examined his mate closely - eyes wide and bright, pulse and breathing quick, the skin pressed against him flushed and warm and, as it wriggled against him, a growing hardness pushing against his thigh. Finally his human was giving the clearest possible signals of a desire to mate with him. He rumbled deep in his chest with happiness. Bryant was all but forgotten, as he lifted his mate up into his arms and carried him along the corridor and into his sleeping place, sitting down on the bed with Ethan still enfolded in his arms. The human squirmed around to straddle his hips, rubbing against him eagerly, fumbling with their clothing enough to allow their erections to meet and rub together in the tight space between their bodies. Cole wanted more, much more, but he would gladly take whatever Ethan wanted to give, and focussed on holding his mate tight against his chest as they moved in a quick demanding rhythm. The human cried out as it climaxed, and Cole released onto its warm belly, their essences mixing together, leaving them both wet and sticky.

His mate wriggled off him then, and tugged its pants down and off, then turned to rub its buttocks against his groin, almost sitting in his lap again. Cole realised with a rush of desire that it was spreading their fluid onto its opening to provide lubrication, and he slid his hand down to assist in the process. It moaned and whimpered as he used his fingers to stretch and lubricate, pushing back against the sensation and greedily taking his fingers in deeper and deeper. Finally it twisted around to look at him, its face flushed with desire, and said "Now. Please" in an urgent tone. He slid his fingers out of the opening and positioned himself carefully, then pulled his mate back onto his erection. Unlike their first time, he did not pause to enter it slowly, but gave it the whole length in one steady movement, then immediately pulled most of the way out and thrust back in, rising up on his knees to control the movement and holding his mate's body steady with his hands around its hipbones. It was groaning and shuddering already, and Cole deliberately slowed his thrusting to savour the sensation and make it last.

He bent forward over his mate, shifting its position so that its face and chest were flat on the bed, holding it there with one hand between its shoulder blades and bringing the other around its waist to grasp the throbbing erection. He had full control of their movements now, the position leaving his mate no room to do anything except respond to his actions. It bucked against him with every thrust now, clenching internal muscles around his erection and jerking forward desperately against the enclosing fingers. He increased the tempo, his long slow thrusts replaced by quicker harder ones, and his mate gripped still more tightly around his hardness, its whole passage enclosing him even more intimately. It was whimpering now, and the sounds triggered his need to provide for it in every way. He pounded into its body hard and fast, pinning it between him and the bed as he neared climax, feeling its erection swell and throb in his hand as it reached a trembling, shuddering release, then throwing back his head with a roar as he let his essence flow out of him into the hot tightness of its body.

They lay there, bodies wedged together, for long minutes as each gasped to fill their lungs with air, then they gradually disengaged and flexed muscles that had begun to ache as the rush of pleasure eased. Cole watched his human mate with unusual nervousness. He had allowed his urges full rein, asserting his dominance over his mate in a way which was usual for his kind. And his human had submitted with apparent pleasure, allowing him to drive their mating and control how and when they would reach completion. But he had an idea that this kind of dominance was not the usual way for humans - what little he had seen of their mating behaviour suggested that they would vie for dominance even within a single joining, shifting positions so that first one and then the other might control their movements.

Ethan stretched and flexed his arms and shoulders, easing out the strain, before realising that Cole was watching him warily. He grinned openly, then moved in to kiss his lover passionately, before breaking off to say "Amazing. Truly amazing. But not every time, okay?"

Cole smiled in response, and returned the gesture his human seemed so keen on, pushing their lips together and sliding his tongue inside its mouth to explore the soft warmth. He could learn to like that, along with any other activities his new mate wanted to show him. His human doubtless had its own urges, and he would be more than happy to indulge them in exchange for its willingness to mate in ways which pleased him.

He shifted position to lie down on the bed, pulling his mate down to lie sprawled on top of him, and tugging the covers out from under their bodies. He tucked the soft fabric carefully around his mate's back and shoulders and smiled happily as it wriggled into a comfortable position on his chest. It was good that they would sleep like this, skin on naked skin, learning the rhythm of each others breathing and pulse, their nostrils full of the scent of one another and the tang of their mating. When they woke, he would encourage his mate to take charge and treat his body as it pleased. He was sure that whatever it wanted would be a pleasure to provide.

Ethan woke slowly, aware of a sense of warmth and happiness long before he was truly aware of where he was or why, gradually adjusting to the idea that he was tucked up in bed with someone, for the first time in his life, someone he had shared the utmost intimacy with, someone who had protected him, someone who wanted him.

He shifted his position a little, and realised that Cole was awake under him. He smiled and wriggled happily in his lover's embrace, grinning as he felt both of them harden in anticipation.

Cole lifted him up off his chest a short distance, then said. "Choose. Explore." before letting go of him and folding his arms behind his head. Ethan frowned for a second, as the meaning filtered through his still-sleepy brain, then grinned. So his lover was giving him permission to take the lead this time around.

He slid his hands and then his mouth over Cole's face, neck, and chest, gently teasing at the flat brown nipples and watching them become erect, then worked his way down further, stroking hairy skin, finding the sensitive spots. Before long, he was nestled between spread legs, exploring more intimate areas, stroking and kissing the erect shaft, nuzzling against heavy swollen balls, then very gently pushing the bent knees further apart so he could work his way back to the little puckered opening. He flicked it lightly with his tongue, not planning anything more for now. No matter how relaxed and accepting Cole seemed to be about his actions, he didn't plan to push his luck. They would have plenty of time to consider whether that was something either of them was ok with.

He started moving forwards again, lifting Cole's scrotum with the intention of kissing his way back up the midline, when he realised he wasn't seeing the smooth area of sensitive skin he had expected to find behind it, but instead two thick folds of flesh. He touched them gently, and was surprised to find them parting slightly to reveal a moist gulley between them. He looked up at Cole's face, uncertain whether to continue. Cole looked a bit nervous, but was making no move or gesture to stop him. He had said 'explore' after all, and Ethan was doing just that. He bent back down to his task, flicking his tongue the length of the slit. The taste was very recognisably Cole, though different from his skin or the stronger salty flavour of his semen. This was lighter, and very wet, more of the fluid being released even as he licked and sucked at it. He pushed the sides further apart, and gazed at the soft pink opening that was revealed. He had seen pictures of course, and could hardly doubt what he was seeing, but it had never occurred to him that Cole - strong, hairy, dominant, masculine Cole - could have a vulva.

He was intrigued. And aroused. The idea that Cole had a soft, wet, welcoming opening, and was lying back allowing him to explore it, was a massive turn-on. He bent down and explored more intimately with his tongue, then with a tentative finger. Cole began to make a low rumbling sound, and Ethan paused for a moment, unsure if this was a warning to stop. But he made no other movement, and the sound was very low and quiet, so Ethan slid the finger in further, before adding a second, then sliding them in and out. That prompted movement - Cole's hips pushing up against the action of the fingers. Ethan smiled, he knew how that felt, what it was like to want the penetration harder and deeper. He obliged, working up to a third finger as his lover wriggled against him needily. After a little more, he paused again, looking straight at Cole while blatantly stroking his own cock to its full hardness. "May I?" he asked, wanting to be sure before he took this final step. Cole grunted and nodded.

Ethan shifted position to push his knees under Cole's thighs. He wanted to see Cole's reactions to what he did, not simply have to guess at them. Once he was in position, he put the tip of his erect cock against the opening then pushed forward slowly but steadily until he was fully sheathed in the soft warmth. As he did so, muscles relaxed and then tightened around him, until he was gripped firmly. He shifted position then began to thrust in and out, slowly at first, getting a feel of Cole's reactions. The hips under him tilted and pushed upwards to meet him on each thrust, and the low rumbling got steadily louder and more insistent. Ethan wasn't at all sure he was doing this right - Cole was responding to what he was doing, but he got the feeling it wasn't enough. He looked up at Cole, biting his lip, unsure how or even whether to ask what more Cole would like from him. But Cole seemed to have the knack of wordless communication, and stretched down a hand to take one of Ethan's own and wrap it around his erection. Ethan gripped it and moved his hand in time with his thrusts, his actions greeted by a surge of enthusiasm both from Cole's throbbing shaft and from the body beneath him as it bucked up into his thrusts, urging him to move deeper and faster. His own need grew too, the sensation of pounding rhythmically into an eager body becoming overwhelming. He was close now. Luckily it seemed that Cole was too, internal muscles clenching ever tighter around him as he slammed their bodies together, gasping for breath and moaning at the powerful sensations. Over and over, faster and faster, until he shuddered as he released inside Cole, his ejaculation seeming to trigger Cole's own climax, both internal and external parts responding, clenching rhythmically around Ethan's erection while pumping out jets of hot fluid over Ethan's enclosing fingers to splash down onto his muscular abdomen. And, all the while, a low but loud rumbling sound coming from his chest, just as a dangerous big cat might sound if it suddenly decided to purr.

Ethan slumped over his lover's body, the rush of sensations and emotions too much to process. His now-softening shaft slipped out, and he simply lay down, his head on Cole's flat stomach, trembling. Cole lifted him easily, shifting the slim form up onto his chest. Ethan shifted and wriggled, wrapping his arms tightly around Cole's neck and kissing him passionately over and over again, before nuzzling into his neck and finally letting his muscles relax out.

Cole held his mate in a strong embrace, reassured by its reactions. There had been moments when he had found it difficult to allow his mate to behave in ways of its own choosing. He had not allowed anyone to make him purr since he had reached his full adult size and strength - any mate of his own kind would have had to earn that right by overpowering and dominating him, and there were few who could do that. And fewer still of those would consider it right to even try, when there was no shortage of smaller, less powerful mates. But there was no shame in permitting his human to follow its urges - it had made no attempt to assert dominance even while taking control of their mating, even though he lay passive and purring under it. It had not tried to pin him under its body, had not even roared its challenge as it pumped its essence into his body. It had given and accepted pleasure, and then returned to the behaviour of a needy infant, demanding only to be fed and held by its protector. Cole held his beautiful, incredible mate as it fell asleep in his arms. He would be happy to let it make him purr whenever it wanted, knowing that it in turn would whimper happily beneath him at other times.

A few evenings later, Ethan found himself with Cole and Bryant and the rest of the crew, in a bar. Apparently, Bryant arranged these nights out for his crew from time to time, as a bonus for a job well done. There'd be drinks and food, and then they'd go on to a strip club to watch the show. Ethan rather suspected that more than strippers would be on offer later, and that the reason this trip had happened now was more about him and Cole than the success of their trip. But it was pleasant to have a few drinks and get the chance to chat to the others. Cole didn't stop him from talking to other people, but they tended to be a bit too wrapped up in each other for him to have got to know them very well. Cole had been remarkably calm about the whole arrangement, accepting the idea that Bryant was providing food and drink for everyone and showing no signs of the jealousy that had been a problem earlier.

As the guys had got more drunk though, there was more talk about the club they were going on to. They were explaining the delights on offer to Cole, though it was difficult to tell how much of their slurred and garbled descriptions he was following. He wasn't showing either interest or disgust at the prospect. Donovan was starting to get a bit insistent about it, wanting to know what Cole thought about human strippers. He was miming something that might have been stripping, or dancing, or describing a skin irritation, and then making obscene gestures to show the effects that watching might have on the audience.

Finally, Cole seemed to decide he had to reply, since Donovan showed no sign of stopping. Ethan watched, startled, as Cole gave a very succinct response. A rude forearm gesture, accompanied by the word 'Ethan'. Then the forearm slumped on the table, accompanied by the words 'Other humans'. Then he turned and gently stroked Ethan's face, saying 'Only Ethan'.

Ethan felt a lump in his throat, and said "You say the prettiest things" then pulled Cole in for a long and passionate kiss. As declarations went it was hardly poetry, but it was wonderful to know that Cole had strong and specific feelings for him. That this wasn't just a physical thing that he could have with anyone.

The others got over their startled expressions, and there was a predictable chorus of "Get a room" from around the table. Ethan blushed and let go of his lover.

Cole raised an eyebrow. "Getaroom?" he asked.

"Um, they mean we should do this in our sleeping place, not here"

"Sleeping place now?"

That idea made Ethan's heart leap. Amongst other things. He nodded, quickly turned to say "Ah, enjoy the strippers. See you in the morning" to the others, and the two of them were out of the bar and heading back in the direction of the ship without further delay. It was a long way though. Ethan couldn't bear the thought of just how far, and practically dragged Cole into a dark alleyway as they passed the entrance, pushing him against the wall and grinding into him needily, kissing his face and neck and moaning his name over and over. His lover wrapped strong arms around his shoulders and ass, pulling him in tight and matching his urgent rhythm. It was quick and desperate and messy. And very, very satisfying.

Cole grinned. It seemed that the humans' need for privacy when mating could be over-ridden at times.

When they got back to the ship, Ethan got Cole to sit on the bed and watch as he slowly undressed. He couldn't do much of a strip-tease, but his lover looked appreciative enough of the slowly-revealed flesh, and his pants bulged encouragingly. Once he was naked, Ethan clambered onto the bed and positioned himself on knees and elbows, his face and chest down on the bed and his ass in the air. Cole's hands trembled slightly as he ran them over his mate's thighs and buttocks. The position was a perfect act of submission to a dominant mate. Cole slid down his pants and brought himself to a quick release over his mate's opening, then gently slid one fingertip inside to stimulate the tight passage. He took things very slowly, adding a second finger and finally a third, moving the fingers to find the most sensitive spot, then slid his other hand around to grip Ethan's shaft and pump it slowly. Ethan was moaning and whimpering now, and whispering his name. Finally Cole speeded up his movements, both hands working together, faster and faster as his mate thrust back and forwards into his hand and onto his fingers, crying out incoherently before finally shuddering as his essence spurted out.

Then Ethan was scooped up into Cole's arms and kissed, and held against his muscular chest as he twitched and gasped in the aftermath. He dozed as he lay there, blissfully happy. After a while, Cole shifted to lay them both down on the bed, thinking that Ethan was ready to sleep, but Ethan had another idea in mind and wriggled around to face the opposite direction from his lover. He buried his face in Cole's groin and began to lick and nuzzle at his cock until it became erect, then took it into his mouth and began to move his head up and down firmly, greedily sucking on it and running his tongue all over it.

Cole growled happily at the sensation, he loved it when his mate chose to taste his essence. In some ways it felt even more intimate than being inside Ethan's passage, feeling those lips and tongue moving over him to give him pleasure. This was the first time his mate had taken up this position to do it though, and Cole wondered at that until with a rush of arousal he realised that Ethan's shaft was close to his own face. He shifted position slightly and began to lick it, getting a muffled moan in response. That felt amazing on his own erection, the vibration running through it as Ethan made the sound. He quickly took the whole shaft into his mouth and growled low and quiet to see if that had the same effect on his mate. Apparently it did. They moaned, whimpered and growled their way to climax in each others mouths, each tasting the other while being tasted in turn. Cole had never imagined such an act - the humans might be less clear about who was dominant in their relationships, but the resulting flexibility in their mating acts was ample compensation for allowing a slender young mate he could easily overpower to take control of their joining whenever it wished.

Once they were done, he shifted Ethan around onto his chest, their usual night-time position, and watched him slip gently into sleep. Humans seemed so fragile in comparison with his kind, and to feel this need to rest or sleep after mating. Perhaps that was why they preferred to mate somewhere away from others, feeling vulnerable afterwards while they recovered their strength. Maybe their ancestors had lived in caves or burrows for protection and they still automatically sought out such secluded places. Cole grinned to himself, thinking of his mate's soft little hands. Those had not evolved for digging burrows. Caves then. This sleeping place was a substitute for the cave to which his human would naturally wish to retreat to mate.

He should remember this and allow it to follow its natural urges. After all, the happier his human was, the more often it would want to mate, and the stronger their bond would become. He should also remember to make suitable sounds to it. Its happiness and arousal at the sounds he had made to the other humans had been intense, even over-powering its reluctance to mate in an open place. He smiled at the recollection - he had been startled at Ethan's urgent desire to release against him, seemingly caused by his having claimed Ethan as his mate by sounds as well as actions. Humans were strongly affected by these sounds. He would make them more often, and perhaps Ethan would be similarly overwhelmed again. They would have to be cautious though, since it seemed that other humans disapproved of such behaviour.

He wondered how the other humans were enjoying their show, and whether they would find opportunities to mate with the others, the ones who would wriggle and remove their clothing to cause arousal. Presumably having deliberately caused arousal they would make themselves available to mate? It seemed an unfair arrangement otherwise, though the whole situation was strange to him and he was hardly able to judge. Why would humans wish to perform mating acts with someone on such a short-term basis anyway? There was no intention of finding a real mate, simply a pretence to arouse them and encourage them to join their bodies with those of strangers. But then, humans were odd. Any species where each individual had only half a set of genitals was bound to display strange mating behaviour. He was just lucky to have found this one, with its perfectly matching scent, and convinced it that they were intended to be mates. Ethan's urges were a little unexpected at times, but always very pleasurable. When his human had recovered its strength he would encourage it to take the dominant role again and make him purr as it had before. After all, it had offered complete submission earlier, though he had chosen to respond by focussing only on its release and not his own. It was only right for him to signal the unique nature of their relationship by allowing his mate to release deep inside his childbearing passage, submitting himself willingly to something he would never allow a mate to take as a right. The fact that it was unbelievably enjoyable was an added bonus of course. Cole grinned to himself. He was very much looking forward to it, and hoped that his mate would wake soon. It often woke already stiffened and aching for release, which he would be more than happy to provide.

Ethan wriggled in Cole's arms, waking slightly as he shifted position, and was surprised to find his lover's thighs parting on either side of his hips, and hands sliding down over his ass pulling him in close. If Cole isn't careful then this is going to get very intimate very quickly, he thought sleepily, then felt the throbbing erection beneath his belly and the quick pulse and breathing beneath his chest, and realised that Cole knew exactly what was going to happen. Ethan lifted his head to grin at his lover, then slid his hips forward, revelling in the sensation as Cole's moist passage enclosed his shaft. He wasn't sure how much he was thrusting and how much he was being rocked by Cole's arms, but he was soon whimpering happily against his lover as he felt the deep purring beneath him rise to a crescendo, and they reached orgasm together.

He wriggled up to be face to face with his lover, kissed him very gently on the lips, and said "I love you too", looking deep into his eyes as he did so. Cole might not be one for much conversation, but his actions, along with what he had said to the crew earlier, had left Ethan in no doubt about their situation. This was about emotion as much as about sex. This was special and exclusive and mutual. This was love.