Carmen & Jack

(The thread now splits into two separate stories. We will rejoin the group again later)


Jack stopped once, in the shadow of a palm, to gently put her against the trunk of it, and kiss her fervently. "Remington is making such progress, I did not want to add to his mental gymnastics." He kissed her again, and led her down towards the pier that was for their use, along with the villa. There was a boat moored there, a wide flat sort of skiff that Jack had dubbed 'the party float'. The pier was made of polished stone, though the walking surface was textured, it seemed to glow like polished quartz thrusting out into the water like an incomplete bridge. Jack hummed Carmen's song softly as they went.

Carmen glanced over her shoulder once as they left the veranda, and then thought no more about it. Remington was fairly comfortable with getting around Atlantis, and if they decided to go anywhere, he could give Kaylee the necessary card or sketch. While he had gotten decently comfortable with this new group dynamic, he didn't need the current object of his attentions to have a brother hovering nearby. They had another talk earlier when Jack had been entertaining Adonia and her golden haired friend. It had taken her a bit to come up with the boundaries Remington still needed to be comfortable; he was new to this idea of sharing, just as she was new to this whole Serious Relationship thing. It was like they had started in the middle of some relationship scale and were working their way to a comfortable compromise for the both of them.

As they stepped onto the dock, Carmen was again struck at the peace and beauty of this Shadow. She gave a contented sigh and turned to Jack. "Are we sailing?"

Jack moved close to Carmen, his arms slipping around her, as he gather her against him. He stood behind her, her back against his hard muscled chest, as he kissed her shoulder and along the side of her neck. He did it with slow familiarity, sighing softly at the scent of her, and the warm breeze that flowed in from the tropical waters. "I think we might. It would be a nice way to pass a couple of hours with you." He nibbled the lobe of her ear gently. "I've two things to show you." He smiled, and circled around to face her, holding her close, and looking into her eyes. "One I think you will be fascinated by, the other — I think you'll enjoy." Jack smiled brightly, "Both of them will still be me." He kissed her, smirking, "Ready?"

"How intriguing," she purred, running her nails lightly over his back. "How could I possibly refuse that set up? Go on then."

Jack arched against her for a moment at the feel of her nails, and groaned, eyelids fluttering for a moment. He smiled, "That's very distracting." He kissed her and took a step back. "I'm told its not terrible to watch. It always fascinated Kay."

Carmen looked suddenly wary - and a bit suspicious.

And then he changed his shape in a more drastic fashion than Carmen had ever seen before. It started with his eyes, bright as they were, it was easy to see the way the blue expanded a bit, and the pupil went vertical before they adjusted to the moonlight. Then his features went vaguely feline, and then in an effect that would have made even Jack scoff were it in a movie, he seemed to melt and flow into a new shape. It was not noisy, nothing crackled like a bad werewolf movie, and Jack seemed merely to have taken a deep breath for the effort. In a moment, perhaps three, instead of Jack — there stood a full grown great cat, a Jaguar, with startlingly intelligent blue eyes and a densely muscular form beneath spotted fur.

"Bright Goddess!" Involuntarily, Carmen took a leap backwards and gasped as the shift came towards its end. She blinked twice, looked carefully around the dock before she looked back down at the cat. The cat rubbed himself against Carmen's legs, and purred. The purr was like a small engine.

She stared a moment more, then she laughed as she knelt down to scratch his ears with one hand while the other ran down the fur of his back. "So many bad puns, so little desire to use them. Remington will be disappointed you aren't a monkey."

Jack rose to to her hand, tilting his great head slightly when she scratched between his ears. Despite his size, he arched up to her petting, and continued to rub and press against her. He moved up, pushing Carmen a bit, and then rolled over onto his back to encourage her to continue. Jack continued to purr, but at the mention of monkeys, the Jaguar sniffed dismissively, and lashed his tail. The message was clear, 'Monkey indeed.'

Carmen giggled and scooted closer to run the tips of her fingers over the pale fur of his tummy. "You know, Jack," she said with casual mischief as a hand wrapped around his swishing tail to run along the length. "This could turn really kinky really fast…"

Jack purred happily, moving slightly into a better position as she continued to pet and scratch him. When she ran her hand along his tail it moved slightly, and he stretch enjoying the feeling. He made a 'rowling' sound at what she said, his blue cat's eyes finding hers for a moment, his jaws parting in the feline approximating a smile. He remained where he was for a bit, letting her pet him and clearly taking great pleasure in the feeling, before he rolled back to his feet, and stood up again. Jack rubbed against Carmen's legs, and then padded over to the 'party float', his muscles bunched, and with an easy bound, he landed in the point, and turned around to look at Carmen meaningfully.

"I'm almost positive I saw this in a porno once," Carmen mused cheerfully as she followed him onto the skiff. She leapt lightly from the dock. Then she eyed him with her hands on her hips. "Oh, I suppose you think I'll do all the work sailing this thing now since you no longer have opposable thumbs."

Jack's tail lashed, and he rubbed past Carmen's legs to hop on the pier again. Using his jaws, he tugged the simple knots free, and with a toss of his head dropped the lines in the water. The skiff bobbed a bit, and before it got too far off, he hopped into it again, and backed up to place his rear paws on the pier. He pushed, and the skiff moved a bit away from the pier and began to float on the current, very slowly. The skiff bumped gently against the pier as the current carried it away from the beach. Jack returned to Carmen, seemed to shrug, and then rubbed against her again, lifting his head under her hand, and giving her wrist a lick with his rough tongue.

"Show off." Carmen smirked, having gotten what she wanted. "Watch where you put that tongue, mister." She reached down to scritch the cat's head then stepped away to snag a bottle of wine from one of the magically chilled storage chests under the built in benches. She dropped down to lounge on the pile of big pillows on the forward deck and opened the bottle. When Jack plopped down beside her, she happily went back to stroking along his back as she looked up at the stars.

The great cat made a sound that might have been the approximation of a laugh. He purred beside her happily, the sound loud and resonant in his chest, and easily felt through her hand. When she moved, he made a grumbling growl.

After a moment she rolled onto her side and propped up on one arm to look into the eyes that were odd to see on a cat. "I'm actually not surprised you're a cat. You've always seemed rather feline to me. It's in the way you stretch, even in your sleep."

His blue eyes looked deeply into hers, He lifted his head, and touched his dry nose to her soft skin. She felt a tingling, like a thought trying to reach her, the probe very gentle. He rose on all four legs, and rubbed along the length of her side, turning in that flexible way only cats could manage, rub his soft fur against her skin again. Then he sat beside her, snuggling in against her, and nuzzling the side of her neck. She could feel his hot breath, and he opened his jaws slightly, his tongue rasping her shoulder. He was careful not to lick in the same place, and his purr slowed, and took on a new tone.

Being a Trump Artist, Carmen recognized the signs of one mind reaching out for another. She had also done it to Remington in the past. It surprised her a bit to get it from Jack the Cat, but she supposed it shouldn't have; it was still Jack's mind in there after all. When he lay against her and snuggled in, she wrapped an arm over him and opened her mind to the nudge of his.

~I am almost positive you don't have to lick me for this to work.~

~ That may be true, but it would not be nearly as pleasant. ~ Jack purred beside her, and his tail whipped across her bottom, and then trailed down her back. ~ I know I've told you this before, but you smell — wonderful. I wish I could share these senses with you. It's like we only see half the world. ~ He had a thought, and pawed the ice box. ~ Have some fruit, Angel. ~ Jack's thoughts were warm and affectionate, as his tail drew lazy circles on her skin. He nuzzled into her hair, and she could hear him sniffing, as if she were catnip. ~ Mmm. ~ Which sounded like, 'Purrrrrrr' when he vocalized it, the sound vibrating against Carmen's body now that he was so close to her. ~ This is only surprise number one. ~

~You're starting to worry me,~ Carmen responded with amusement. Her hand went up his back to tug playfully at his ear. ~And no, I won't be having any fruit. I'm not sure I'm up for this level of kinky just yet, you pervy feline. Just how much control do you have over that tail? Wait -~ she laughed. ~I forgot who I was talking to.~ Her fingers moved under his chin and her nails scritched forward. ~If this is the opening act, I can't wait for the main event.~

~ Well, it's not like I said you were good enough to eat. ~ Jack's tail flicked across her bottom, ~ We already know you are. ~ The Jaguar made a slight, almost wheezing sound, that had to be laughter. He growled softly when she tugged at his ear, but the great feline eyes closed, and it turned into a purr. ~ What if I told you I could offer a more — easy to a adjust to level of kinky? ~ He was clearly amused, it glittered in his still very blue feline eyes. His tail brushed up and down her back at her question, and he lifted his chin when she scratched his fur there. ~ Really now? Are you ready for the next surprise then? In truth, I'm more worried for myself once you see it, than I am about what you're ready for. ~ The Jaguar purred loudly.

~How intriguing,~ she observed mildly. She arched slightly against him when his tail tickled her back. Carmen raised an eyebrow at the humor in his eyes. ~Why would your next surprise worry you? Afraid you'll be stuck as whatever it is? Or, being the sensualist you are, is it something that you could get addicted to?~ Carmen raised a thoughtful eyebrow briefly then looked mildly suspicious. ~Really, Jack. What?~

The Jaguar gave Carmen one last lick. He got to his paws, and gently slipped from beneath her arm. ~ The sensualist angle is pretty close to on target. ~ Then the great cat stepped a bit further away, but still upon the cushions. The feline eyes closed, and Jack-Jaguar took another deep, slow breath and — changed. It was perhaps less disturbing than the change into a Jaguar, it was almost like his form rippled and blurred as mass was reallocated. Fur rippled away in a wave, leaving behind Jack's rather lovely golden tan. His hair lengthened, and was a touch more blonde and sun-kissed in Atlantis, but it had not been quite as long as it was now. He settled to the cushions, his back to her for a moment, and she could tell that he had a few more curves than he should have. Then he rose up on all fours, or rather, she got up on her hands and knees and turned curious bright blue eyes on Carmen, in a pose that left no doubt of the gender Jack had assumed. Her body was a dream of lines and curves, her neck graceful, her face beautiful and somewhat exotic — a bit of Jack or perhaps Kaylee there, with something more; slightly canted eyes, a fine nose, and full lips.

Her voice was deep, but very feminine; seductive, sultry, smoky, the voice of a torch-singer. It oozed sensuality, "Surprise…"

Carmen blinked and stared a moment, her eyes running down the curved line of the back and the leg that extended straight behind this new form. She had known as soon as she had seen the hair. How he thought keeping his — her back to her would hide it from the eyes of an artist, Carmen had no idea. Her mouth twitched as she tried to not let the laughter bubble up. But it was a losing battle and the artist fell onto her back in the cushions and laughed at the stars.

Jack, or 'Jackie', he supposed laughed with her, a pleasant musical sound. He crawled over to her, and looked down into her laughing face. "That was my reaction the first time I tried it." He smiled. The eyes were as blue as Jack's were, and the smile was the same, but took on a different tenor with his current form. "The next time I tried it, I wondered how women got anything done with — well, I'm sure you can guess." He ran his finger down her centerline, "But now you see why I thought this was better with just us."

"Oh, honey," Carmen giggled. "Remington would have locked himself in the bedroom, because you are a wicked, wicked person. He'd be scarred for life if you ever tried to bed him." She laughed again, imagining her poor sculptor's horror at the scene playing out in her head. "Promise me you won't." Then she quirked an eyebrow. "Have you been with a man like this?"

She smiled down at her, "That's pretty much what I figured." 'Jackie' met her eyes, and settled to the cushions beside her. "This is all new, but this would be a bit much. He's come a long way, but I figured with all the mental gymnastics he's already done, this one would have him falling way off the balance beam." Her soft fingertips circled Carmen's skin, she laughed with her, and then nodded. The woman that was Jack was momentarily serious, "I won't. He's a good guy, I've no interest in driving him mad." 'Jackie' shook his head slightly, "No, I've not. I've been pawed at and kissed, and honestly, rather clumsily fondled, but not — the whole way. There's some curiosity I suppose, but despite this very fine and fun form, I'm still a man at the back of my mind." She grinned, "I have a deep understanding of female chemistry though, and certain things make it easy to forget that I am really a man, but I have been too concerned about changing back at the wrong moment to risk it." 'Jackie' leaned down to offer a kiss, "I have three forms, I call them natural forms. One is Jack as you know and love him." She chuckled throatily, "The other is the Jaguar, and one more that is — unpleasant. A — Demon. Those are easy, no real thought to attain or keep them. I think that's why I can enhance my senses with no trouble, I'm just borrowing from my Jaguar. But this, and other forms, they're like a clenched muscle — not a lot of thought, but enough. If I let it go — poof — back to Jack."

Carmen nodded at several points in the answers and explanation. Her fingers unconsciously went up to card through the curtain of golden hair that framed one side of 'Jackie's' face as she leaned over Carmen. She took the kiss that was offered - mostly out of habit. Despite appearances, this was still her familiar Jack. She snorted a laugh at the end. "That could be most unfortunate. If damned funny."

He smiled, and whispered by her ear, "Never been with a woman in this form either."

Carmen chuckled softly. "Oh, really? That seems a damn shame." She smoothed a hand down the curve of her back, over the rise of shapely buttocks. "I think we should do something about that."

"So do I." 'Jackie' replied quietly, shivering slightly as Carmen's hand smoothed over her skin. She kissed Carmen again, more fervently, moving closer to her, her arms going around her. She smiles brightly, meeting her eyes, "Be gentle, Angel." Her hands moved over Carmen's body with intimate familiarity, and she kissed her deeply once again.

She was by no means as strong as Jack, but she was strong enough to roll them over so that she was on top of the blonde. She broke the kiss and breathed huskily. "Nah-uh. I'm driving, doll. You just lay back and enjoy the ride." Then the artist begin to move down the female form beneath her with nearly agonizing slowness, and with hands, lips and tongue, she introduced 'Jackie' to the real pleasures of womanhood that only another woman could show her.


Time passed, as time does, though neither of the 'party float' passengers took note of it. They floated under the clear stars of Atlantis, those little lights winking at them in colors that were uniquely of this world. The two moons turned the water into molten silver, bathing Carmen and Jack in its radiance as they floated through the reflection. Jack was himself again, and sprawled beside Carmen. He was little more than a humanoid puddle, and he might have literally collapsed through the cushion if his basic human form took any thought at all. Jack held Carmen to his side, and for a long moment — he had been completely stunned into silence. He had not been able to maintain his concentration through the very end, and with the aftershocks of pleasure still rocketing down his spine, he had lost his form, and turned back into Jack.

Carmen had been sure to be very thorough in Jackie's introduction to a woman's pleasure. She had wordlessly pointed out the many often overlooked erogenous zones that women had but men did not. Most men; Jack's whole body was an erogenous zone when he had his senses turned up. Carmen hadn't been with that many women herself, but she knew what she liked, and knew what she had seen and done that was appreciated by her rare female lovers. Just like with every other endeavor she applied herself to, she had approached this act with meticulous attention.

When he did finally speak, he took a deep breath and shook his head slightly, "I still don't know how women get anything done." He gathered Carmen close, and kissed her lightly. "That was —" He fell back to the cushions.

Carmen chuckled while propping herself up with her arms crossed over his chest. She smiled down at him, with her hair now forming the dark curtain that framed them. "I often wonder how men get anything done; what with their naughty bits right there." She leaned down and kissed him softly. "We'll have to work on that loss of concentration."

Jack met her eyes, and his fingers curled into her dark hair as he kissed her in return, sighing when it was done. "Yes, we do." He smiled at her, "That will take practice under similar conditions." He stretched beneath her, and groaned softly. "I'd be very happy to have you as my teacher. I can promise to return the favor as often as you like." Jack grinned, and ran his fingers through her hair. "Have I told you how beautiful you are by moonlight?" He chuckled and pulled her down for another kiss.

"Not nearly enough," said Carmen with a cheeky grin. She rolled off him and sat up, retriving the wine bottle she had set aside earlier. After taking a long pull from it, she offered it to Jack. Assuming he could manage to sit up for alcohol. She looked in the dierction of the villa as she pulled her knees up and rested her chin on one of them. "This is the first time I've left him alone with another woman since we started this little adventure," she said quietly. "I hope his alright with it in the morning, once it all hits him in the light of day."

Jack smiled back, and when he heard the clink of a wine bottle, he slowly sat up with a groan. He followed Carmen's gaze as he accepted the wine, and turned back to her. He maneuvered behind her, to give her the comfort of his arms, and someone to lean against if she so chose. "Well, I think the question is how will you feel about it in the morning. I think Remington will take his cues from you, Angel." He enjoyed a sip of the wine, "This is a bit new for Kaylee and I as well, and we'll be talking about it." He tapped his head, "Up here, once we're in range again. We have been in — similar situations — but this is a little bit more personal. You and Remington have a relationship, and I would definitely like to go on seeing you from time to time. It will be good to have friends in Amber." Jack kissed her shoulder, "From the sounds of things, we all need friends in Amber."

She snorted softly and continued to look off towards shore a moment longer before she finally leaned back against Jack's chest. "It will help that this isn't going to be a nightly event, and that it started here on vacation. He said it makes it easier to separate it from Us the couple. Even though Us the couple is part of a larger equation now." She shrugged one shoulder and took the bottle from his hand. "The whole relationship with him has been a surprise, I admit. I had expected a casual thing that lasted until I left, but when he asked to come back with me, I found I really wanted him to." She chuckled. "My mother would be so shocked."

Jack smirked, "Right. Vacation." He smiled, "Hard earned." He nuzzled her, "Honestly, I am impressed with how well he adjusted. I'm lucky, in a way, I'm not sure I know any other way to be. If he had not wanted to share, I would have understood, and if you had not wanted to be shared, I would have understood that too." He nibbled gently at the lobe of her ear, "Lamented it greatly, but I would have understood." Jack listened to her, and thought briefly about his own relationships. "Oh, Carmen, who would not want to go back with you? I can go anywhere, and I kinda wanna go back with you." He grinned brightly, "It's good to have someone, and stability is likely attractive, as its not something you've ever had before — I'm guessing." Jack smiled, and hugged her, and began to kiss along the side of her neck. Quietly, he said, "This is the closest thing I've had to a steady sort of relationship — not counting Valerie, but she's in the band."

Carmen had stayed quiet to consider. "You may be right. This is the first time I make someplace home. Not to mention sharing my life with someone like I have with Remington. Despite not having things like ice on demand, cable, and AC, I like our little place. I even don't mind cold so much when we're curled up in front of a fire." She tilted her head to flash him a smile. "And I can even have a purring kitty on my rug. We're a strange bunch, you realize."

Jack nodded, and whispered. "I only seem flighty." He kissed her deeply, and then put a finger to his lips. "Don't tell anyone I pay attention. It would totally wreak havoc with my reputation." He grinned, "I'd be more than happy to curl up on the rug. We can go for long walks, terrorize the Quarter with my roar."

Carmen laughed. "I imagine the other painters would be wanting to borrow you for paintings. Not many jaguars in Amber." She leaned back and kissed him. "And your reputation - such as it is - is safe with me."

She chuckled. "We should get back. Save them from that awkward after moment."

Jack sighed, "As you wish, Angel." He stretched for a moment, stole the bottle for another drink, kissed her shoulder, and got to his feet to set the sails. There was a crystal he could use to command the ship back, so he did so, but he had to make sure the sails were catching wind. Once they were moving, he settled down with Carmen again. "There we are, it won't be long." Jack smiled, and ran his hands along her arms, caressing her skin. "So, what will happen to this — circle — once we're back in Amber, do you think?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. It's a little early into things for me to say with any certainty. Remington seems comfortable enough with you, and he didn't seem to be having any problems getting along with Kaylee. As long as it's just the four of us, and it isn't every night, I think it will be fine. I wouldn't do it at the castle, but at The Garden, it's golden, yeah?" She looked out over the water. "It's really up to Remington though. What he's comfortable with. We still have almost three weeks here, Jack. By the time we leave, if he's not completely at ease when he's not under the influence of fruit and wine and that weed they grow here, then he never will be."

Jack hugged Carmen, "Well, whatever happens, I've had a wonderful time." He kissed her, and held her, watching the stars reflected in the water drift by. "Whatever else happens, you should feel free to use my 'number'." He smiled brightly, "With Kaylee here, it'll mean more music, more decadence, more hedonism. I'm sure Remington will adjust." Jack smirked, "I'm sure she and I will adjust a little more easily. She tried to throw snow at me when she saw I wasn't wearing anything." He snorted softly, "As if the scraps she wears aren't practically transparent."

Carmen snorted. "Honey, there's enough hedonism and decadence in this place for even Kaylee," she leaned her head back against his shoulder and wrapped an arm around to play with his hair. "The difference between her running around naked and you doing it is that her 'sensitive parts' aren't just hanging out there in your face. It isn't like these sarongs are difficult to get out of. Or that you even need to get out of them." Her attention was caught by movement out of the corner of her eye and she patted Jack's hand when she realized what it was. "Look. Temple firebirds."

"Don't be too sure." Jack replied with a laugh. He purred slightly when she leaned back against him, and played with his hair. It made it easy to kiss her shoulder and the side of her neck, and to enjoy her scent. "At least I don't have an arrow pointing to my 'sensitive parts'." He chuckled, "Well, not as obviously anyway." He smiled, "The sarong is easy enough, I've worn them before. I just was neglectful at home." He followed her eyes, and smiled brightly. "They're lovely. I've become quite fond of the white starlight ones, and the fiery ones. They seem to enjoy music too."

"They all do," she assured him lowly as she tilted her head to give him greater access to the column of her throat. "When they all gather and sing, it is … it is like, well, it is like the song of the heavens. They only do it on momentous occasions, and there's no warning. They just do it." She watched them in silence as they performed their aerial dance; dips and loops that wove their paths together and then apart in some great dance that only they understood.

Jack nodded silently, and was far more interesting in kissing her skin, and nibbling at her earlobe now and then. "A shame there is no warning." His teeth grazed the curve of her shoulder, before his lips do. "That sounds like something we would not want to miss." The skiff sailed on, the pier drawing closer as they both watched the birds wheel and dive, with Jack gently teasing Carmen's senses. He paused for a moment, and grinned, she didn't even have to look to know his expression. "I can fly, you know. Not nearly as gracefully, but I can."

"Can you really?" She shifted so she could turn to look at him. "You know, that may just be the one thing that can me jealous. Do you just sprout wings out of your back, or do you have an avian form?"

"Wings. Dragon's wings." Jack replied, shrugging slightly. "I tried feathered wings, but they weren't as effective for some reason. I have to lower my body mass, and feathers take up yards of material." He shook his head with a smile, "But yes, they sprout from my back, and I can fly." He met her eyes, "The skiff will make the pier on its own — wanna fly?"

Carmen scrunched her nose. "Yes. But you just said you weren't very graceful. Can you manage without dropping me? Because I won't be amused if you do, Drummer Boy. You'll be sleeping on the veranda while your sister and I have our way with Remington."

Jack grinned, "I'm not as graceful as a firebird, Sweetheart." He nodded, "I used to take Kaylee flying over the city all the time." He got to his feet, and put his back to the ocean. "I would never drop you Carmen, you're the only one who knows just how to scratch me." His body tensed, she could see his muscles contracting across his chest, and his upper arms. "And you know — I won't be put out like the house cat."

Carmen snorted and waved a hand imperiously. "No kitty treats for you."

Limbs sprouted from his back, two at first, from somewhere near his shoulder blades. It was like watching a tree grow on one of those stop-motion camera nature shows in Shadow. It grew naturally, soundlessly, and went on until the structure of the wing took shape with 'fingers' branching off of the main support, and the spaces filling with leathery flesh. It was like watching a curiously biological kite grow into place across the limbs and 'fingers', leaving a little claw at the 'thumb'. The wings were large, and already she could hear the snap of something like leather. He flapped them once, and it actually made the skiff float in reverse for a moment.

Jack held out his arms, "Shall we fly away, Love?"

"Wow," she blinked. Carmen took his hands and pulled herself to her feet. But she moved around to examine his wings from the back. "Oh, Jack..," she purred as she ran her fingers along the ridges of the wings. "I have to paint you like this. A Gothic setting. Like a fallen angel in black leather pants. Red rose petals scattered across the floor, a dying one in your hand…." Carmen was lost in the imagery forming in her mind.

"You say the sweetest things, Angel." Jack smiled. He had lost a bit of height, and his chest was more heavily muscled than usual, as were his shoulders. "Carmen, you can paint me any way you like." The wings curled forward, and gathered her close to him in their shadow, "Do we need the leather pants?" He smiled, kissed her passionately, and then gathered her up into his arms. "Hold on to me." His knees flexed rhythmically, rocking the skiff, and at the top of the motion, he leaped straight up and snapped his wings downward. They shot up into the air, and with another snap of wings, were higher still and then — airborne.

"You need black leather pants to invoke the proper imagery," she explained tartly as she settled into his arms. Carmen gave a startled squeak when they lifted off and her hold around Jack's neck tightened. When she was sure of things a few moment's later, she loosened her hold, but her hands remained locked around him as she started to appreciate the view.

He carried Carmen up, and up, riding the air currents in lazy circles and using his wings to maintain altitude. The ocean unfolded beneath them like a shimmering field of stars, reflecting the sky above in its rippling surface. Some of the lights moved, as bio-luminescent fish swam about beneath the surface, and further out, the sound of the dolphins returning.

"Oh…," she breathed as the beauty of the moment surrounded them, almost overwhelming her. "I hope I remember this tomorrow."

"Why 'Wendy', I'm sure you will." Jack pointed ahead, "Shall we go to Neverland? First star to the right…" He chuckled and took them higher into the night sky. He was not as graceful as a small firebird, but this was clearly something he enjoyed, and clearly something he'd practiced. His wings took them into a powerful ascent, she could them snapping as they moved, propelling them upwards until — he was still. For a brief moment they were weightless, it was a singular feeling, and all around the the world was spread beneath their feet — and then they were in a shallow dive, faster and faster, until Jack spread his wings with an audible snap and they were gliding over the surface of the water, close enough for her to touch it. Then they swooped upward again, "This is very nearly my favorite part of being a Shape-shifter."

Carmen buried her face in his neck more then once, and that Wendy crack was going to cost him later. She would eventually get used to it, but the first flight without benefit of a plane was both frightening and exhilarating; no matter how much she trusted Jack. As they flew low, she reached hesitantly down and dragged her fingers through the water, laughing as the spray splashed up her arm. She hung on again as he took wing to the sky. "I can see why it would be. I would never ride a horse again."

When she hid her face, he would kiss her neck, or tease her ear, smiling as he did so. Jack smiled brightly when she touched the water and laughed. He caught a warm updraft from the bay, and circled slowly again, his wings flapping less but always moving, making minor, instinctive adjustments to the way air flowed over them and kept them aloft. "The first time is always the rush. Scary and exciting all at once. At first, all I did was glide." He grinned, and circled higher and higher. "Horses are one take off method…I've jumped off a cliff,a skyscraper, and once opened my wings from the back of one of Kay's race cars." He leaned into a sharper turn, holding her close, and then catching another updraft. Gulls, and firebirds, caught the same warm air below them.

"That's because you are a show-off," Carmen laughed. Then with a glint in her eye, she leaned in to nip at his earlobe. "How's your concentration in this form, Drummer Boy," she spoke at his ear, just loud enough to be heard over the wind.

Jack turned his head to meet her eyes, "This is one of my oldest tricks. I borrow the wings from one of my base forms. So -" He purred as he felt her breath near his ear. - this form takes very little concentration at all." He turned his face towards her, and kissed her. "Do you think you can manage testing my concentration?" He smiled at her, his strong arms holding her near.

Carmen's fingers carded through his hair and danced at the base of his neck. "Shift me around so I can wrap my legs around you, and we'll see," she purred.

Jack growled softly, and flapped his wings so they were in a steep climb. It made it easier for him to maneuver her, and when she was facing him, his arms around her, he flattened out his angle and went into the same lazy pattern of circling on the updrafts. His hand went into her hair, the fingers curling into its soft length as he kissed her fervently. His other hand drifted along her spine, almost tickling, until he cupped and kneaded her bottom. "How's this?"

"Very nice," she smiled and let her lips and fingers rove and excite while she said the things in his ear that she knew drove him mad, and her body moved against his.


Flying had become second nature to Jack. He had discovered the ability in a most unfortunate way, but had practiced it at almost every opportunity. He had flown Kaylee over Texorami, the City named for the world, many, many times. Together they marveled at the world that rolled out beneath them, at the way the lights blended together into a tapestry so that the lights of the streets, or the cars, or even the buildings, blended into an almost surreal color study in neon. Jack had loved every moment, reclaiming the joy of flight despite having that joy torn from him during the discovery. He had been alone when he found it, but as with all the major pillars of their lives, Jack and Kaylee made it theirs again. Jack was pleased to share it with Carmen, happy that she saw the joy in it as well, and had expected no less, but the things Carmen said and did sorely tested his instinct for flight.


Jack was tempted to be more active, sorely tempted, but all he could do was hold on to Carmen and fly. His hands were not idle, they caressed her skin, squeezed and kneaded all the places that she liked him to squeeze and knead, and kissed her endlessly. He wanted to do more, but the necessities of saying airborne put him firmly, pleasantly in Carmen's hands. The face of an angel, the body of a succubus, and mouth that did and said the most wonderfully naughty things; it was maddening. Jack flew up and up once, and let them tumble, just so he could surprise her with a sudden motion, and the firm grip of his hands upon her. They rolled backwards, so Carmen was briefly a flying Cowgirl, until he completed the move and took hold of her again. He kept them airborne for longer than he expected, considering she had almost made him forget to walk during their first tryst. When the end came for both of them, Jack had prepared, he was already carrying them up and up, and then he folded his wings around her, clutching her to him as they fell over the proverbial precipice together. They were like hawks coupling in flight, falling in a lazy spin, Jack's wings causing them to slowly spiral as they fell, then as Jack let out a long moan, he snapped his wings open, and they swooped low, the water grazing Carmen's bottom.

He angled up,and landed up on the beach stumbling a little bit as the momentum forced him to jog a little but with Carmen still wrapped around him. Another flap of his wings caught his balance, and he slowly eased her to the sand. "Fortuna, Carmen, you nearly broke me." He said the words breathless, and then hugged her close as his body absorbed his wings. He kissed her deeply, and by the time that ended, he was just Jack once again. "You've never been more beautiful, or more insatiable." He grinned. "Shall we head back?"

"You've never been more full of surprises," she laughed breathlessly. She walked backwards with her arms still around his neck. "That was amazing! Do you know what would be really cool? Doing that over Tir when it's up. Flying over the streets and courtyards." She laughed, spinning away from him, arms out as she danced ahead under the moonlight. Adrenaline was making her giddy and she laughed again as the lights of their villa came into view.

Jack laughed warmly as he moved with her when she began to walk backwards. He smiled brightly, "I risked the Stairs into Tir once." He grinned, "Dad told me not to. Some clouds covered the moon, but I had my wings under my coat." He met her eyes, "So, we could get started on the moonlit stairs, and step off." He chuckled, "Not that I've thought about it at all." When she spun away he laughed again, and jogged a bit to catch up. Jack caught her by her hips, and lifted her into a ballet-style lift from one side to the other. He placed her down to a graceful landing. "We'll have to do that again before we leave." Jack's eyebrows lowered for a moment, and Carmen's short sarong appeared in his hand, along with another that matched his eyes. "In case you want to be the tiniest bit modest." He smirked.

"Modest? Pfft," she snorted. "I wear them for decoration." She took hers and wrapped it around her hips like a matador swirling his cape before tying it with wit a flourish. "Sometimes, what you can't see is sexier then what you can." She winked and skipped ahead of him again, slowing when she got to the path up to the villa.

"I don't know. I'm rather fond of the dragonfly." Jack patted her bottom, and tied his short sarong into place. "I'm wearing it for Kay's sake I suppose. She cursed when I Trumped." He chuckled, and skipped after her until he caught up. "I do agree that the right wrapper makes the candy all the more sweet, but sometimes you just want the candy." He grinned, and walked up the path beside her.

She twisted at the waist and peered over her shoulder. "You can still see the dragonfly," she pointed out. Then she grinned and stuck out her tongue. "Too much candy will rot your teeth."


TOCKaylee & RemingtonThe Band's All Here

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