tagNonHumanKeeping a Kitsune Ch. 04

Keeping a Kitsune Ch. 04

byTehCorinthian©

It occurred to me that for some readers, this story might be your first introduction to the concept of Kitsune. Fox spirits are a traditional component of Japanese mythology, and like all legends the details vary from story to story. If you'd like to check out other takes on the concept, Neil Gaiman's 'Sandman: Dream Hunters' is a beautiful take on the traditional Japanese legends. I also recommend the web comic 'Fox Sister', which unfortunately hasn't updated in a while. It's is a really interesting spin on the Kumiho, the Korean version of the Kitsune, and gives a more "scary things in the dark" take on the fox spirits.

And now back to your regularly scheduled Jason and Chiyo. This chapter doesn't include any actual sex, though there are some affectionate moments. I tried to work in a sex scene, but in the end it felt like it was more important to let them work through their emotions for a bit. I want to give Tnega a quick shout out for doing a beta read on this chapter for me. Sorry it took so long to get here, updates in the comments on the delay.


*****

"Help me! Please, Jason, help!"

I ran down the sidewalk, Chiyo's screams leading my way as I shoved through the startled crowd. How had I managed to get separated from her? I knew she wasn't safe out in the world, but somehow she'd disappeared from my side and I hadn't noticed.

Her wordless scream echoed again, coming from an alleyway. I pushed past the gawking bystanders and sprinted into the alley, my shoes skidding on the concrete. Chiyo was bent over a dumpster, her red blouse ripped open and tangled around her wrists, her skirt shoved down to her ankles. She screamed again as the man pinning her down forced himself into her, reveling in her pain.

I damned the bystanders to hell in my mind for not doing anything as I closed in on her attacker, grabbing a broken piece of wood off the ground. I hit him in the face with the chunk of wood at a full sprint and he reeled backwards, blood arcing from his face.

I didn't give him a chance to recover, diving on top of him. We rolled across the alley, grunting and pummeling each other. I ended up on top, pinning him down with my hands around his throat. Then I froze, my hands dropping away uselessly.

I recognized that face. I knew that tousled mop of blonde hair, those clear blue eyes with a hint of mischief. He spat out a broken tooth and grinned up at me through bloody lips.

"What's the problem? She said it was okay." The voice, like the face, was mine.



I woke in a cold sweat, my sheets drenched. The nightmare was still clear and present, none of the details fading like dreams usually do. My heart was pounding. I sat up and shifted to the edge of my bed so that I wasn't lying in soaked sheets. My hand shook as I wiped clammy sweat off my brow.

I didn't need a degree in psychology to interpret that dream. I clearly was still wrestling with my newfound feelings of guilt, especially after last night's conversation. The worst part was that I woke up from a dream like that with an erection.

Sitting in the dark at some ungodly hour of the morning, shaking from a nightmare of raping her, I still wanted Chiyo. I wanted to feel her nails digging into my back, hear her cries of passion as she came. Her scent was still on the sheets from when she'd shared my bed, a soft hint of her animal musk that I could smell even now. I shuddered and clenched my arms together in front of me.

I wanted to kneel down and pray, not for forgiveness but for the strength to make things right. But I couldn't. I don't know if I believe in God or not; the best way to describe me is as a lapsed Catholic. If God did exist, praying seemed like a good idea right then. But I'd always despised people who ignored religion when things were good and then went running to God as soon as they ran into trouble. I couldn't bring myself to become one of them.

I smirked slightly at that realization. Even with all my self-loathing, I was still too proud to ask for help, even of a possibly imaginary entity. Pride was one of the seven deadly sins; I remembered that from catechism class. Along with lust, wrath, and I couldn't remember the others. Gluttony maybe? That sounded familiar, but it couldn't be right; no way overeating ranks up there with lust, wrath and pride on the Catholic guilt scale. There was a movie about the seven deadly sins, with Brad Pitt, I think? I'd never gotten around to watching it, just seen the "what's in the box" meme. My mind was wandering.

I knew I wasn't going to be able to get back to sleep; even if my sheets weren't soaked and clammy, I was wide awake after the nightmare. I found my phone and tapped the screen – 4:18 AM. I saw the email icon flashing and pulled it up. A fantasy baseball alert, an email from my mother announcing that one of the cousins had a new baby, three new replies to a group thread Rob had started arguing about politics. The only thing that wasn't meaningless bullshit was a short message from Ken, simply asking me to give him a call. He'd sent it yesterday evening. I made a note to check in with him once the sun was up.

None of the emails were a message from Rob's UK contact with Kylie's info, which was what I'd been hoping for. Still, I'd talked to Rob pretty close to the end of the work day. His contact might have already gone home by the time Rob called him.

I needed to do something since I couldn't sleep, try to clear my head. I didn't want to wake Chiyo up though, which limited my options. I padded over to the ladder barefoot and climbed down as quietly as I could, using my phone's screen as a light. I stripped out of my sleepwear, using them to mop the rest of the sweat off me, and tossed them into the laundry hamper.

As quietly as I could, I got dressed in sweat pants and a long sleeved athletic shirt and laced on my running shoes. I pulled some paper out of the printer and wrote Chiyo a note telling her I was going out for a run, and to not answer the door under any circumstances. Part of me felt like it wasn't safe to leave her side, but that was paranoia. My building was decently secure, I had good locks on the door, and no one had any reason to break in looking for her. If I couldn't leave her alone long enough to go for a run, what was I going to do when I had to go back to work next week?

I padded over to set the note down where Chiyo would see it if she woke up. She was curled up on the couch, a small frown creasing her forehead in her sleep. She'd gotten a little tangled in the sheets I'd put on the couch, and the thick blanket had slipped down to her waist. I carefully tugged it back up and tucked it in around her slim shoulders over the sheets, covering her arm where it had slipped out of the sheets. She sighed and the frown smoothed from her face. I held my breath, afraid I'd woken her, but she settled back down without waking.

Moving very quietly, I exited my loft. I double-checked that the door was locked after I left – a little bit of paranoia was fine. Once I got to the parking lot, I did some stretches to loosen up. Even in mid-August, it was chilly this early in the morning.

My neighborhood has changed in the years since I arrived in Kyoto. When I rented my loft fresh out of college and newly arrived in Japan, it was dirt cheap for how much floor space there was. Property values were low because the neighborhood was a decaying former industrial sector and most tenants were scared off by the local crime rate. Now, almost three years later, small businesses have opened up, several neighboring lots have been bulldozed and replaced with condos, crime is down, and the place is getting write-ups as a haven for hip young couples.

According to an online article I read, that's bad because of something called gentrification. In my mind it's great – there's a boutique grocery store two blocks away, I have my pick of bars and restaurants in easy walking distance, and I don't have to worry if Aiko or one of my other female friends walks to the train station alone after dark. Yeah, my rent goes up every year, but my place is still bigger and cheaper than the new condos.

Anyway, that's a long way of saying that there aren't really a ton of streetlights in the neighborhood yet despite the rest of the transformation, and the sidewalks are still cracked. That meant if I wanted to jog at this hour without worrying about rolling my ankle, I was going to be doing it in the street. Fortunately there wasn't any traffic at this time of night. Once I'd loosened up, I set off down the street at an easy lope.

I tried to let the familiar movement of running blank my mind, but I couldn't escape my thoughts. I thought about Kylie, wondered what she was doing with Chiyo's pearl, and wracked my brain to come up with something else I could do to track her down. I thought about my government's treatment of Kitsune, and how Chiyo had no protection under the law.

I thought about religion again, wondering what Father Jenkins from my childhood would think about what I'd done to Chiyo. I couldn't remember any homilies about non-humans; I knew that the Pope had declared that vampires had no souls when the Treaty of Lausanne united Europe's warring governments long enough to make the bloodsuckers extinct. Did that apply to Kitsune too? Did Chiyo have a soul? If she didn't, would the church not care about what I'd done to her? I decided that if that was the case, the Catholic Church could go fuck itself. After some reflection, I decided I should probably look up the official stance on Kitsune souls before telling the Pope to fuck off. You can't just flip the bird at the Pontiff without doing your research.

Mostly though, I thought about Chiyo. I thought about her innocent and happy bathing in her mountain lake before she met me. I thought about her sobbing in pain and covered in dirt and blood in the bear trap I'd caught her in. I thought about her as she sat next to me on the couch last night, laughing as her Yoshi spun out on a tight curve and slid off the map. God help me, I thought about her shy smile as she kissed me yesterday morning, her hands exploring my body, the way her eyes rolled back in her head when she came as I fucked her against the door last night.

I ran harder, my muscles burning as I pushed myself, sprinting through the dark streets. I built a mental picture of myself running beside me. Jason Wiggins, kidnapper. Jason Wiggins, rapist. The shadows of my actions ran before me and I chased them, refusing to let them escape.

For some strange reason, I felt that if I could just win the race, I would have everything under control. No more weakness. No more excuses. No more fuck-ups. Everything else faded away, just me and my dark urges running through the night, racing in the dark.

I broke out of my fugue to the blare of a horn, barely dodging an early morning bus as it turned the corner. I scrambled out of the way and came to a stop on the sidewalk, bent over and gasping for breath as my body registered complaints over how hard I'd pushed myself. I couldn't tell if I'd won the race, but the weird mental state I'd been in was already slipping away. I glanced around to get my bearings, but didn't recognize the names on the street signs.

The sky was beginning to brighten in the east. I was standing next to a 24-hour market, so I went in and bought two bottles of Vitamin Water, a pack of Camels and a lighter. Back on the sidewalk, I drained one of the bottles in one long gulp and dropped it in a bin. I leaned against the wall and unwrapped the cigarettes, tapping one out and lighting up. I was still short of breath, and I coughed as the harsh smoke hit my lungs, but after a couple of puffs I felt that sweet soothing nicotine take hold.

There's no sensation in the world quite like your first cigarette in two months. If you've ever felt it you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't, don't bother trying it out. It's not worth everything else that goes with it.

I finally managed to quit smoking last year aside from the occasional short relapse. Rob had talked me into it with the observation that beautiful girls who smoke don't mind fucking a non-smoker, but non-smoking girls mostly aren't interested in guys who reek of cigarettes. Yes, I'm shallow, I know.

Once I finished my smoke, I felt a little more at peace. I wasn't closer to solving any of my problems than I'd been an hour ago, but I'd burned most of the turmoil out with the run. I didn't know how I'd get Chiyo back her pearl, or how to set her free. I didn't know how to interact with her, now that I'd given up playing Master. I didn't know anything. I just knew that I had to do better, one step at a time. I'd figure out the steps as I got to them, and I felt a little more at peace with that notion.

I allowed myself one more cigarette while I pulled my phone out and checked where I was. I'd wandered quite a ways from home. I was too tired to run the whole way back, and I'd been gone long enough. There was a bus route that would get me most of the way home, starting a few blocks away from me. I finished my cigarette as I walked to the bus stop.

It was still early enough that the bus was mostly empty when it pulled up. A young couple on their way home from an all-night party, an old bum with his possessions in a pair of plastic bags. I nursed the second bottle of sports drink during the bus ride. When my stop came up I pulled out one last cigarette for myself then handed the pack to the bum. He blinked fuzzily and nodded in thanks, tucking it into one of his bags.

Ken was probably up by now, since the sky was brightening. He lived out in the suburbs and had a long commute to his downtown office. I shot him a text letting him know I was free for a call if he was up and lit up the last cigarette. He called before I was halfway through.

"Yo."

"Jason, man. I normally assume you have things in your life pretty much under control, and I don't bug you when you do stupid shit. I remember being young and partying too much like you do."

"Advice from my elders? Come on, you're only two years older than me."

"And I've been happily married for four years and will be a father in two months. That means I'm a lot wiser, even if I'm not that much older. But like I said, I normally figure you've got things under control. And I will again, this time, despite my doubts, under one condition. Tell me you actually have her pearl."

I sighed but answered with my gut instinct. "I generally prefer to avoid lying to my friends, when possible."

There was a long silence. I imagined Ken counting backwards from ten to avoid cursing me out. "Are you in danger, Jason? If she's threatening you somehow, we can fix this." His voice was strained.

"No, I'm not in danger. Chiyo's not a threat to me; hypothetically, let's imagine that she doesn't have her pearl either. A third party has it. I'm working on getting it back, in that hypothetical scenario."

"What hand did you use to beat Rob's triple aces at our last poker night?"

"God you're being paranoid. I didn't beat them, I was trying to bluff him with nothing and it failed miserably. I'm not in any danger; Chiyo's magicless at the moment until I get the pearl back."

"That is . . . well, that's better than the Kitsune enthralling you with magic, I suppose. That still doesn't sound good. How the hell do you have the Kitsune while someone else has the pearl? Hypothetically."

"Long story. Right now, I think it's better if you stay ignorant on the details. I might be able to resolve things with a phone call once I track the current pearl owner down, or I might be doing things that it's better an upstanding citizen with a pregnant wife doesn't know about."

"Fuck, Jason. I'm not just your lawyer, we're friends. If you're going to do something stupid, please at least give me a chance to talk you out of it first."

"Hey man. I'm not planning on doing anything crazy, I'm just not ruling anything out. I'm still trying to find the person with the pearl right now; like I said, maybe I can negotiate with her."

I kicked myself as I finished the sentence – if this was a detective show, I'd just told Ken that the person holding the pearl was a woman. Fortunately, Ken wasn't trying to solve a mystery; he was just a worried friend. It took another five minutes, but I managed to get him to promise to trust me for a little while longer on the condition that I bring him in if there was anything he could do to help within the bounds of the law.

Once the call finished I made a quick trip to the grocery store, which was just opening. I filled two bags with staples then carried them home. Chiyo was still asleep, so I tried to keep the noise down as I put the groceries away. I grabbed some jeans and a t-shirt and took a shower.

I needed some coffee in my system, but I wasn't sure if it would wake Chiyo up. I checked the time again – almost 7 by now. That had been a long run. If Chiyo really needed to sleep longer, she'd sleep through the beans grinding. I loaded up my sweet, sweet caffeine machine and turned it on.

The sound of metal blades spinning at a high enough speed to turn beans into dust produced a responding growling sound from the couch. I glanced over and saw Chiyo burying her head under a pillow and muttering to herself. I hummed slightly, puttering around the kitchen while the pot brewed.

Once I had a nice steaming cup of pitch black goodness, I glanced over to see if she'd managed to get back to sleep. She had the pillow over her head still, but was peeking out from under it to frown at me. I grinned.

"Good morning, little fox. Would you like some coffee?"

She groaned and sat up, the sheets and blanket sliding down to her waist. She rubbed at her eyes while she answered. "I want to go back to sleep until a decent hour, but if I can't I suppose coffee would be good. Can you bring me my pain pills too please?"

She'd slept nude. Of course she'd slept nude. And now she had finished rubbing the sleep from her eyes and was stretching her arms up as she yawned, unconsciously pushing out her cute little tits. She had bed-head too, her short orange mop spiking up one side. I wanted to cuddle her and I simultaneously wanted to push her face into the cushions and take her hard from behind.

I did neither of those things, because I was becoming a better person, one who had exemplary self-control. Instead I made her a cup of cream and sugar lightly diluted with coffee then carried it over to her with her prescription bottle. She popped a pill and took a long sip, then leaned back with another stifled yawn. "What time is it?"

"Seven in the morning. Sun's up."

"Ugh, I hate how humans make their sleep schedule revolve around the sun. I'm still not used to it." She held her mug close to her face and inhaled deeply, then took another sip.

"Well, now that you're up, do you want some breakfast?"

"Yes please Master. And thank you for the coffee." I flinched slightly, and she blinked. "Sorry, Jason, I forgot I'm not supposed to call you Master anymore. I can help make breakfast if you want?"

"Go ahead and take a shower once you finish your cup. I've been up for a while, I already had mine."

Chiyo blinked, and then realized that no more 'Master' meant no more shared showers. She frowned but just said "Okay."

She finished her mug then found her crutches and limped off to the bathroom, tails sagging over her butt. She definitely wasn't a morning fox. By the time she came back out, fresh and clean and looking more awake, I had sausage patties and eggs on plates and had refilled both of our mugs.

Chiyo stared at the set table. "I wanted to help cook."

"Frankly I'm not sure I trust someone who considers live mice a delicacy to help make my food."

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byTehCorinthian© 8 comments/ 11314 views/ 36 favorites

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