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Chapter 9: Can I kiss you?
The next time he woke up, Rick was latched onto Davis’s face. Or, more accurately, he was curled up into a ball, cradling the man’s head in a tight hug. Davis looked like he was sleeping peacefully, but surely it must have been difficult. Feeling guilty, Rick moved to escape from his grasp but instead was hugged even tighter by the larger man. Like the stuffed squirrel that Rick had cuddled throughout the early days of his hibernation, Davis had him trapped against his chest.
Rick’s resistance was short-lived, and he fell asleep in the warmth of the bear beastman’s arms. He continued the cycle of: sleep, wake up, eat some nuts every once in a while, bathe when needed, and return to Davis, who welcomed him back into strong, comforting arms. No matter how many times the two woke up and left the room, they always returned to one another, curled up, and slept like babies. Turning back and forth on the bed as they slept, both men stayed warm and comfortable, reveling in the foreign feeling of another’s touch. As they slept, Rick dreamed of many things. He dreamed of his old life, his work, his parents, his friends; he even dreamed of Davis. The dream he had that day was very interesting.
Maybe it was because of the past that Davis told him about, but it was like a children’s cartoon. Davis was a baby bear driving a truck, and for some strange reason, even Rick—the baby squirrel—became a fireman too. When they received news of a fire, they jumped and sped off to save the day. Rick sat next to Davis (dwarfed by the huge steering wheel), and rang a bell. He looked over to the bear cub, decked out in his adorable little uniform and said, “……”
Rick no longer saw the child Davis but was met instead with the steady gaze of the man in front of him.
“What?” he asked, groggily.
Davis gently brushed the bangs out of Rick’s face.
“I’ve got to go…soon, I can’t…late…” Rick muttered, confused and tapping his exposed forehead with his fingers.
“I’ll ring the…bell, and you’ll drive…”
Rick gave Davis the instructions between muffled yawns. He explained that they had to put out the flames as soon as possible, as a family of deer was caught in the raging forest fire.
He managed to explain everything to Davis, who didn’t seem to understand what the small squirrel was talking about. Stuck between dream and reality, Rick explained again, but the more he talked, the higher Davis lifted the corners of his mouth.
“What are you laughing about in such a situation?”
Rick said, mouth agape with disbelief.
“Rick and I are going to put out the fire?”
Rick nodded gravely, not sure why Davis was asking in such a playful manner. He wondered why the bear beastman was laughing when the situation was so critical. Rick needed to change into his fire suit quickly, but his arms were still wrapped around the larger man’s neck.
“Is Rick going to ring the bell?” Davis asked, his low voice thick with amusement.
“…hmm? Yeah, I’m going to ring…”
There was a creaking sound. Then Rick’s body shook slightly. Though, it was not Rick who was shaking—it was Davis. For some reason, his body was trembling as he pulled Rick even closer.
“Uh…” Rick startled at the chuckles emanating from Davis’s throat.
“You’re really cute, Rick.”
“Yes!?” The squirrel beastman blinked in confusion.
“Can I kiss you?”
“Yes?” he repeated with no real consideration to the question he’d just been asked.
Rick nodded his head with his eyes closed, feeling comfortable with the slight swinging. His brain had yet to catch up with the situation, and he hadn’t even listened to Davis properly. But before he knew it, Rick felt a soft touch on his chin.
A kiss, he thought, finally beginning to understand.
The hand gently tilted Rick’s face toward Davis’s, but he kept his eyes shut. A pleasant touch fell on his lips, soft and sweet. Then another and another, again and again.
Rick opened his eyes to the tickling sensation and took in the well-groomed face in front of him.
The finger on his chin moved to stroke his cheek, holding it in place as if Davis would not let go for anything. Subconsciously, Rick reached up and held the hand that cradled his face so gingerly. A wet sensation crept into the gap between his lips that naturally opened, letting it slip inside, connecting with the tip of Rick’s tongue. It was such a warm and new feeling that Rick snapped out of his haze at once.
It was not intense. It was a slow kiss, gentle and exploring rather than rough and needy. Davis’s tongue was larger than Rick’s It moved in slowly to caress the smaller man’s tongue before immediately withdrawing, leaving their lips wet and tingling. The inside of Rick’s mouth felt empty with the loss of the slick heat, and he couldn’t help but feel lonely.
Rick stared at Davis, unsure of what to do in this situation. He must have had a very troubled look on his face. Davis smiled back at him for a moment and then drooped his eyebrows.
“I’m sorry. I was too hasty.” A strange emotion flashed across Davis’s face—some mix of nervousness and regret for his loss of control.
“No, what?” Rick fumbled over his words. “Well, you know…”
He wondered if this really was a matter of haste. He didn’t think it was about the speed or the timing, something which could be perceived as a bigger fundamental problem.
Rick didn’t know what to say. So, he just looked up at Davis instead. He found he was still clinging to the larger man. Despite having been thrown into a state of confusion after waking up from sleep, Rick couldn’t even think of letting go of his hand.
Finally, his eyes flicked down to Davis’s wet lips, and he felt the heat of a blush blooming across his cheeks. As realizations piled up in his mind, he suddenly felt even more nervous than when he’d been kissing the man just a moment before.
“…Is this better?”
Again, Davis tilted his face toward Rick. Rick closed his eyes tightly as he felt the same soft touch on his lips as before. This time, he didn’t have to open his eyes to know that it was Davis’s lips.
Rick froze, unable to process his thoughts enough to do anything as the lips pressed against his own at different angles. At first, he was scared to death, wondering if Davis would slip his tongue inside again. But there was no sign of it so far. He just brushed their lips together gently, as if he was getting a feel for the texture.
The gentle touches kept coming, first on Rick’s lips, but soon venturing out to the edge of his mouth, his cheeks, his forehead, his nose, like a soft summer rain. His body, which was stiff and rigid from fear, gradually loosened up under the pleasurable sensation.
Davis kissed him again, chuckling softly. The sound sent butterflies in Rick’s belly. Rick rubbed his toes together nervously and subconsciously opened his eyes to gaze at Davis again.
A low, deep voice echoed from Davis’ lips as they kissed Rick’s earlobe. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He didn’t have to look to know that his ears and cheeks were flushed red.
Davis’s lips trailed down the other man’s face in a smooth, caressing motion, and then came to rest on his lips once more. Davis bit down softly on his lower lip and Rick almost cried out at the strange new sensation; he couldn’t tell if it was the feeling of shame or comfort.
“Um, you know, Davis…”
When Rick finally realized that the situation was weird, Davis’s lips were already pressing against him even harder. Rick tried to call out his name, but Davis just kept kissing him. These deeper kisses lasted for a few seconds before the man slowly let go.
“Mmm, Mr. Davis…”
Rick wasn’t sleepy but he felt tired and his eyes drooped a little. He sighed and put his fingers over his wet lips. Davis’s eyebrows wrinkled a bit as he looked away from Rick with an indescribable expression.
“…I’m going to…take a bath.”
Davis was out of the bed just as suddenly as he declared it. Rick was surprised by how hastily the man had moved—a rare thing for Davis who, by Rick’s assessment, was always confident. He paused for a moment to look down at the squirrel beastman, small and frazzled amongst the mess of blankets. His face still held the unnamed emotion, but it softened a bit as he reached over and gently stroked Rick’s hair before leaving the room in a flash.
Rick, who was left behind, did not even rub his eyes but just looked at the man’s back in a daze.
He had no idea what was going on and could only lay there, opening and closing his mouth like a fish…his mouth, which had been so recently kissed.
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