May I Have The Ring Please


Brian W. Antoine

November 4, 1993

Have I ever mentioned how much I love backrubs? I can't think of a better way to relax, than to lay in front of a warm crackling fire with someone you love giving you a backrub. The fact that I was in a hospital at the moment dampened the enjoyment slightly, but Kalindra's hands were still doing wonderful things to my newly reconstructed back.


"Feeling better are we?"

I barely managed to mumble something into the pillow I was resting my head on.

"<giggle> I'll take that as a yes."

Slowly, I turned me head so I could see her out of the corner of my eye. "You should. I may just have to break my back more often if this is the kind of care I'm going to get."

"I wouldn't advise it. Wythdantis claims that you humans have the most confusing internal structure she's ever had to try to tinker with. I would not want push her skills much farther than you already have."

I moaned into the pillow as she worked on a knot that I'd gotten while laying in my bed, healing. Who needed massage oil when your companion came with built-in fur gloves. "Ok, so I'll have to find another excuse."

"I don't think you'll need to try very hard. I believe this is the happiest I've ever seen you. I believe I could be talked into helping you relax like this every once in a while. That is of course if you behave yourself, and return the favor."

"Then I'm in trouble already. Behaving is not something I'm real good at, and you may as well find that out now." I curled my arms around the pillow and lay on it so she could work on my neck.

"So I've noticed. You're already in trouble and you're not even out of the hospital. I can see that having you around is going to keep me busy." For just a second, I felt eight tiny needles tapping on my back as Kal extended her claws to get my attention.

"You should have though of that before you asked me to become your mate. Anyway, what did I manage to screw up this time?"

"The Central Library wanted to know the type of stone I had decided on using as the symbol of the link between us. They were being kind of stubborn about it when I went to register the name, so we need to choose one."

"Which means I need to let you decide, and hold still while you mangle one of my ear's, right?"

I looked inwards, and visualized the link I had to my mate. In my minds' eye, a tiny emerald fire winked back at me from the core of what made me unique. Its creation was not something that I'd come across in my research, as it only appeared when both parties were both telepaths, and compatible, which tended to make it fairly rare. It seemed Kal and I were suited for each other in more ways than I'd thought.

Already though, I could use it to sense her general location and how healthy she was. Other uses would show up as it strengthened. I'd asked Kal how her side of the link appeared to her. She described it as a bubbling brook that flowed through her mind. Usually just quietly chuckling to itself, but occasionally overflowing its banks to cause a mess. At the moment, she was using it to help her work on my back.

She leaned over so she was laying on my back and blew into my ear to tease me. Her body heat was definitely better at keeping me warm than the blanket I'd been given, and she cuddled better too. "It's only a tiny little hole. I can't believe my *coimelin* would be afraid of a little hole in his ear."

"Is the ritual actually complete without the Linking Stone? I know it's the family symbol, but I don't remember reading anything about it in regards to the link."

"You are my mate wether you wear the stone or not. But refusing to wear it is considered an insult to the family."

"Which coming from the Klizach is bad news, right?"

"It's usually taken as a sign that the mating was under duress."

"Most matings do take place under the dress." I about undid all of Kals work when I felt her claws dig into my sides. "Ouch! Sorry! Peace! So it was a bad pun!"

"Please be serious about this. It is not something to joke about."

"Ok, no more jokes." The claws were replaced by a gentle scratching of my entire back. It felt almost as good as the massage. I didn't want to tell Kal, but her fur had a tendency to tickle. Not that I intended to complain any, but the last thing I needed was for her to find out how ticklish I could be when I was relaxed. "So, have you picked a stone?"

"Yes, you're already wearing one in your hair."

Even through out all the fuss I'd been through, my little guardian had kept watch behind me. "So I get another ruby huh. Is this one going to be bugged like the other?" Her hands stopped moving and just rested in the middle of my back.

"I'm sorry about that. That wasn't very fair on my part."

I could feel the bed move as she hoped off it. Then she helped me turn over and cover up with the makeshift bedding the hospital had provided. Being covered with fur, Velan's didn't use much more than a light sheet for bedding. I'd had to mention a couple times that Human's tended to need a little more covering, before they had whipped up a blanket for me.

"Don't worry about it," and I reached out and took her hand in mine. "I didn't exactly play fair myself that night. Anyway, I suppose I'm going to have to figure out how I'm going to hide it when I'm Earthside. If you will make the arrangements, we can make everything official." I could see the frown, even as I realized what I'd just said.

"Why hide it? Do you consider it something to be ashamed of?"

"No, but most males on my world don't wear jewelry in their ears."

"You said 'most' males. Why don't you be one of the few that does?"

"Because while it may mean one thing on your world. People from mine tend to feel uneasy about seeing a man with jewelry in his ear."

"Since when are you worried about other people's opinions? I've known you for more than a few years now and I've been watching you during the last year rather closely. You have systematically gone about changing your appearance to the point where your friends might not recognize you if they hadn't watched it happen. This will just give them something else to wonder about."

I had to give her a point for that one. "Oh they'll wonder all right. My mother will have a fit. She's already throwing fits because of my hair. I thought she was going to explode when I told her how long I planned on letting it get. This will just confirm her opinion that I've gone nuts."

Kal reached over and played with the end of my ponytail. "I like your hair long. If your mother has problems with that, I'll explain it to her."

I could just picture Kalindra in her normal shape, arguing with my mother about what was good for her mate, and I started to chuckle. "That is a meeting I'd like to see. From a safe hiding place of course. Anyway, get your instruments of torture and I'll try to decide which ear I want ruined."

She shook her head, and I could see a tiny ruby that was the twin to the one I would soon be wearing, flash in her ear. After grabbing a robe, she headed for the door, muttering to herself the entire way.

"Say, is this going to hurt much?" I caught a mumbled comment about 'idiot male's' and I felt the privacy lock she had placed on the door vanish as she left to make the arrangements. "Let's see. What was that stupid rhyme? Shit ... What a time to become forgetful." I was still trying to remember which ear meant what, when Kal came back into the room with some kind of tool in her hand. The look on her face said something was wrong.

"What's the problem?"

"You, my *coimelin*, have fat ear's."

"That's not a problem."

"It is for this thing," and she waved the tool she was carrying. "It's designed for Velan ear's, which are thinner. I don't think it will fit over yours."

I didn't do a good job of showing my relief. "So, you will just have to wait until later, right?"

"Wrong guess, oh terrified male. It means I get to do it the old fashioned way."

Why did hearing that not make me happy. "What's the old fashioned way?"

"With my teeth," and she smiled at me.

"Oh no. Not to my ear you don't!" I started trying to get out of bed to grab my clothes, but I didn't get very far. Before I could even start to sit up, Kalindra was sitting on my chest, and holding me down.

"Don't worry. This is the way it was done for thousands of years before we switched to the painless method."

She was still smiling as she leaned over, and I could see the needle sharp canines that she meant to use on my poor ear. "Before you switched to the painless method?" I managed to squeak out a tiny "Help?" before she silenced me with her hand. I also had a sinking feeling I'd been setup again.

"Make me chase you all over the planet, you crazy male." Her muzzle was only a couple of inches from my face, and all I was watching were those teeth. "Pick an ear ..."

My howl had to have been heard all over the hospital.