It was a few days later when Jared was due to come over for training that I got a knock at the door. It was too early for Jared to show up so I was confused as to who it could be, the contractors weren’t due to start work until next week and my parents or friends hadn’t called in advance to let me know they’d be coming over.
Luci padded behind me in animal form as I went to answer the door, it had become a habit of his now, he’d always stand at my side, both curious who it was and slightly protective of his home and me.
I opened the door and stood there confused, not recognising the two men standing on my doorstep. One of them was of Latino decent and it both looked like they were dressed ready for work, something manual from the steel-toed boots, cargo trousers and well-worn shirts.
What I didn’t expect was for Luci to let out a sharp meow of surprise and bound over to the pair, who looked pleasantly surprised, petting Luci as he darted from one to the other, purring loudly and rubbing himself against their legs.
“Uh… hello?” they both looked back up at my voice and straightened with sheepish smiles. I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous since Luci had greeted them so eagerly, and completely left my side.
“Oh… ah sorry coming unannounced like this Mr Clermont, it’s just that it’s been almost two months since you brought Luci and we just wanted to know how he’s settling in.” one of them said.
“…And you are?”
“Oh, sorry.” the other chuckled a little. “That’s Marshall and I’m Juan, we work at the auction you got Luci from.” I frowned a little, it seemed a little… unusual to be getting a follow up visit from an auction, but Luci had mentioned a vet Marshall before.
I nodded in response to their words, I mean they could of called ahead, it would have been nice but I guess there here now.
I sighed. “Luci.” his head shot my way and I patted the side of my leg. He walked back over the threshold of the door, turning and sitting by my feet, looking up at me expectantly. “Go into your room and change for me, come and meet us in the sitting room alright?”
He nodded with a small snort and bounded down the hallway, obviously excited and impatient to get back to us.
“Please do come in.” I stepped to the side and they entered the house. I closed the door behind them and led them down the hallway and towards the sitting room. “Would either of you like anything to drink?” I offered. They both declined and I sat down on the sofa, gesturing to the one opposite and they both sat down, eyes drifting as they took in my home.
“You have a beautiful house Mr Clermont.” the one named Marshall remarked.
“Yes, well thank you.” I cleared my throat awkwardly, glad when I heard the sound of bare feet on the wooden floor, Luci appearing seconds later in a t-shirt and a pair of loose jeans. He was smiling widely, his ears perked all the way up, his tail swishing and quivering happily behind him.
He sat down beside me, staring at our two guests intently, purring when I raked his mused hair back with my fingers, briefly rubbing the tight muscles behind his ears, causing them to set back a little and turn slightly outwards, a sign of a relaxed cat.
“What did you want to ask?”
“Oh, just generally how he’s settling in, how he’s taken to becoming a pet, things like that,” Marshall replied.
I leaned back against the sofa and crossed my leg over, ankle resting on my other knee, merely moving my arm around him when Luci cuddled up against me with a low purr, his cheek resting on my shoulder as he continued to watch Marshall and Juan.
“He’s settled in incredibly well. I left him to acclimatise in his cage for about a week before bringing him out. He loves the garden and the woodland just beyond it, I’m actually surprised the river going through it even has any fish left.” I chuckled a little. “He’s a wonderful pet, so affectionate and wanting to please. I’m still teaching him a lot, he’s just only mastered buttons and were working on his speech. I’ve actually got a trainer coming later today, he comes every week to help me train Luci since it quickly came apparent he’s protective of me, and because of what he is I want to be sure I have control of him no matter the situation.” I explained.
They both looked completely shocked and Marshall scratched the back of his neck with a nervous smile. “I can hardly believe you’re talking about the Luci I know but seeing him for myself… I honestly don’t know how you did it. I couldn’t go into his cage unless I tranquilised him for his health checks.”
“Master’s safe,” Luci murmured and nuzzled against my shoulder with a purr.
I smiled down at him and rubbed behind his ears before looking back up at the pair. “He needs a soft touch, lots of praise and positive reinforcement. He needs to know he’s safe and then the personality comes out.” I mused and couldn’t stop smiling. “He can be so curious and outgoing, he loves affection and learning new things, and food, god does he love food.” I rolled my eyes playfully and Luci pouted up at me.
“Master,” he whined and I chuckled, gently ruffling his hair.
“I’m surprised the auction house has such a policy, I wouldn’t have thought Mr Baratol cared what happens to the pets once he’s sold them off.”
“He doesn’t, we came here on our own time. I was Luci’s primary keeper for years, when he was suddenly gone I couldn’t help but wonder how he was doing.” Juan said.
“And I kept him healthy for years, well as healthy as I could in the cage he was in. Maintaining his welfare over those years made us both invested in Luci’s wellbeing, I hope you can understand we didn’t come here because we thought you weren’t taking good care of him but to ease our conscience.”
I nodded my head in understanding, Luci had obviously made an impression and like they’d said, they’d cared for Luci for years, they couldn’t help but feel a little attached and worry now he was no longer in their care.
“I understand Mr Baratol purchased Luci from a conservation? It wasn’t specified in his records but Luci explained to me a bit about where he came from.” I inquired, interested to know if they knew anything of Luci’s history. It was a bit of a leap but knowing where he’d come from, even the exact conservation, knowing that I could contact them and even possibly reunite Luci with his mother meant a lot to me.
“It wasn’t? I’m sure…” Marshal trailed off with a frown. “I swear I remember seeing something about Luci’s heritage, and therefore his breeders location in his records.”
“It probably got separated from the other papers, Luci’s file had been shoved at the back of Mr Baratol’s cabinet for years.” Juan shrugged. “We could have a rummage around if you’d like? Fax or email you the missing page if we find it?”
“Please do.” I nodded my thanks.
“Speaking of papers.” Marshal cleared his throat awkwardly. “As I’m sure you know, Luci is a cross. If I’m recalling correctly his eighteenth year starts this month, about a week away I believe?”
A week away? I knew it was soon but that soon? Since Marshal was a vet I could guess what direction his thoughts were heading in, no doubt there visit had been planned to come before such an event, but as I told Archie, and many others I didn’t buy Luci for that. I was gay yes, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a close, yet platonic relationship with another man, or pet-shifter. Although Luci has not so subtly hinted his interest in our relationship becoming more…
“I’ll be eighteen in a week master!” Luci exclaimed and nuzzled further into my shoulder with a trilled purr and squeezed my middle tightly in excitement.
I absentmindedly stroked Luci’s head and scratched behind his ears, waiting for the vet to continue. When I didn’t speak, he did. “I don’t know how informed you are about crosses, but after eighteen they are considered of ‘breeding age’. I’m certain you are aware of the laws, that it’s illegal to have sexual relations with a pet-shifter under breeding age.”
I could tell Luci’s ears were pricked up in interest and he was listening avidly to Marshal. I did know a bit about crosses, and was happy for Marshal to explain what he knew, but I was worried it would give Luci ideas. I knew I’d already explained consent to him and how I felt about him but he had his wants.
“Could you just get to the point?” Juan rolled his eyes and earned a scowl from Marshal.
“I was getting to it.” he sighed. “As I was about to say before I was interrupted.” Marshal glared at Juan. “Crosses, alike female shifters experience heats once their breeding age. I know it’s not my place to ask and you have no obligation to answer, but what are your plans for when that happens?” He inquired.
“Master said he only have sex with Luci if Luci wants sex too.” Luci helpfully cut in and I groaned quietly under my breath, well it’s not like I can’t say anything now.
Juan’s eyebrows had practically disappeared into his hairline and Marshal just sat their shocked with an open mouth.
I scratched my no doubt pink cheeks and smiled a little awkwardly. “Luci has brought this topic up already and I’ve tried to explain a little bit to him. What Luci means is that consent will be needed before we even consider doing anything. I haven’t talked to him about heats yet, and what he wants but I will. I brought Luci so I’d have a companion, I didn’t buy him with that intention but if that’s what he wants then I’m willing to give it a try.”
“Luci wants Master.” Luci declared breathily. I felt his fingers grip onto my clothing and he purred loudly, lifting his head to nose at my neck and although I was expecting it I did flinch a little when he nibbled at the sensitive skin.
Juan cleared his throat loudly. “Well, this was not what I was expecting.”
“You do understand that if you have sex with Luci whilst he’s in heat it’s likely he’ll get pregnant,” Marshal spoke in a slightly hard tone.
“I understand! Master told me ejaculate makes people pregnant.” When did he become so chatty with house guests? I faced palmed mentally, what are they going to think of me?
“Did he now?” Marshal mused quietly.
“He um… he came when I was petting him, so I explained what it was and… well that let to sex and pregnancy… and his interest in having sex with me.” I haltingly tried to explain, my face even redder than before.
Luci nodded his head enthusiastically. “Master fed me salmon, it was really good.” they both just looked confused and I struggled not to laugh.
It came time for them to leave and Luci and I watched from the front door as they got into their van, just as Jared was pulling up. The man watched curiously as the van drove away before getting Max out of his car and walking over to us.
“Guests, so early?” he mentioned as way of greeting.
“Good morning to you too.” I smiled. “They were the vet and Luci’s main keeper from the auction,” I explained.
“They came to see how he was settling in, and asked if I’d be having sex with Luci since it’s his eighteenth birthday next week.” I dead-panned.