Man’s Best Friend

    Jackson sat at his computer, dust covered the top of the black monolith that was plugged into three monitors and a wireless mouse and keyboard. He scratched his chin as he stared at the glowing screens. Videos stared back, demanding his attention. He ignored it, choosing to look at the work laptop in his lap. Numbers and spreadsheets were all he knew. He hardly had any idea what his company did. All he did was basic accounting from home. His reclusive nature kept him from going out much, the wonders of the internet provided for him. Apps on his phone would send food to him for a small fee, groceries delivered within four hours and anything else he needed could be delivered in two days. Jackson loved this lifestyle, talking to people made him anxious and this way he only had to say ‘hello’ to whoever was delivering his food. He glanced at his phone, deciding it was time for lunch. He grabbed his phone, trying to decide what to order from a nearby restaurant.  
    Jackson frowned, the internet was out across all three devices. He got up and headed to the kitchen. He blinked and all his lights went out. No cellular either. His heart started to pound, he was cut off from the outside world. He wondered if he would have to go outside or talk to his landlord. He went to the fridge, trying to find something to eat. He wanted a burrito, but had no power for the microwave. He groaned and settled on putting peanut butter on bread and downing it with a glass of cranberry juice. He sat at the counter, staring out the small window on that side of his tiny apartment. It was a studio apartment, the only other room was a closed off bathroom and a tiny closet. He didn’t have a lot of furniture, just a bed, dresser, computer desk, couch, TV with a stand and an old, beat up wooden coffee table. Nothing matched, all of it was purchased from Goodwill for cheap. His kitchen was made up of a fridge, some cabinets, a counter top stove and a microwave. He frowned, hoping he would get paid for his work so far today.  
 
    Jackson piled his dishes into the sink, noting he would need to wash them soon. There was a noise outside, something he couldn't quite place. Something like an energy surge. He pushed his curtains aside and lifted the blinds. He looked down at the busy streets below and saw the traffic jam below. Everyone was exiting their cars as they stared at a large purple void in the middle of the intersection. Jackson’s heart pounded, he closed the blinds and threw the curtains closed. He didn’t know what to do. He knew that Earth was currently being invaded by aliens, or demons, or demon aliens. He no longer lived with his parents, he was completely unprepared now. No firearms, no supplies, no backup food, nothing. He sat in the corner, eyes glued to the door, flip knife in hand. They weren’t going to take him without a fight. 
    Screams erupted from the streets as whatever was on the other side of the portals came through. He listened to the shouting and screaming outside as the aliens or demons came through their portals. He didn’t hear any guns or laser weapons. Not even any explosions. The temptation to look out the window was great but was ultimately repressed by his desire to stay alive. Minutes passed after the initial shouting, nothing. No one knocked down his door to kidnap him and steal his brain. Minutes turned into hours as he waited for something to happen. The sun set and power came back. He could hear his computer whirring to life as the lights overhead came back on. Jackson hopped up and quickly turned all the lights off, praying nothing noticed him. Even with the curtains closed, some light could have shined through into the darkness of the night. He returned to his spot, hiding in the corner with all the lights off. His phone vibrated and buzzed as notifications blasted his phone. He turned it off, he knew what was happening, he needed to hide and be quiet. He didn’t know how long he sat there, but he knew he sat there for a very long time before he finally calmed down enough. His heartbeat slowed as his eyes grew heavy. He yawned, resting his head against the wall. 
 
Jackson woke up to a light knocking on his door. He clutched his chest over his pounding heart. He threw a hand over his mouth, trying to silence his panicked breathing. He had been laying low for two days now, unmoving from his hiding place, completely cut off from the outside world. The light, polite knock came again. Jackson couldn’t force himself to move as he was petrified with fear. Another knock, this one was more of a pounding on the door, “OPEN THE DOOR, JACKSON!” An angry voice snarled from behind his door. 
    Jackson got up and quickly walked towards the door, heart pounding in his chest. He slowly unlocked the door and cracked the door open, “H-hello?” He stammered out. His heart rate calmed down as he looked at the two women that stood outside his door. One woman, she stared at Jackson with a polite smile, had auburn hair, blue eyes and wore a bright blue uniform that looked similar to a police officer’s. The other woman wore a similar outfit, she glared at Jackson with her lips curled into a snarl, she had tanned skin and silver-grey hair that covered the left half of her face and one of her brown eyes.  
    “May we come in?” The more cheerful woman asked. 
    “Do- do you h-have a warrant?” Jackson asked meekly. 
    “Oh, ha ha,” She rolled her eyes playfully, “We--” 
    “He didn’t see the broadcast,” The tanned woman told her. 
    The smile fell off of the woman's face-- briefly, it came back in full force as if she was enjoying this, “Well, we can do this the easy way, or the hard way, sir,” Jackson tried to close the door, quickly. It was stuck open by something, “The hard way it is then,” The same thing that was holding the door open shot at him, a long snake-like tail, coiling around him. He struggled against the binds only to find himself coiled tighter and tighter, “Struggling only makes it worse~” Jackson finally stopped, tears in his eyes as the pain of being wrapped in the snake woman’s muscular tail. The oxygen in his lungs was squeezed out of him as he coughed and wheezed. 
    “You’re hurting him,” The other woman calmly told her as they let themselves into the room.   
    “Hmph, fine,” The lamia huffed as she released Jackson. He sat on the floor shivering in fear of the two women. He quickly realised just how large both of them were.  
    The tanned woman sighed, “You’re terrifying him. We’re here to get information, not interrogate and torture,” There was venom in her voice. She approached Jackson with a somewhat-kind face and offered him her hand, “Stand, boy,” He nodded and took her hand carefully, “Take a seat and we will be out of here soon.” 
    “What are you?” Jackson asked as he obediently took a seat. The two women sat next to him on either side, making sure he stayed put.  
    “We’re representatives of--” The lamia started. 
    “Monster girls. Beings from another world. Invaders and conquerors,” The tanned woman told Jackson. 
    “Successful conquerors,” The lamia added happily, “Here,” She handed the young man a pamphlet detailing the new government’s goals. Things like, happiness, peace, world order and love. There was a small graphic of a man and a succubus standing together holding hands. The next graphic of them was of the two of them mid intercourse. They looked really happy. There were more things like pictures of various species of monsters along with the visage of their glorious leader. Some kind of gorgeous white haired demon. The lamia paused for questions. 
    “You took over in a couple of days?” Jackson asked in disbelief, “This country has the most advanced military in the world!” 
    “Not when you have no firearms, vehicles, boats, or missiles. When you have no communications or electricity, what does your military do?” The tall tanned woman told him. 
    Jackson stammered, now more fearful of his guests than before, “But how?” 
    “Magic!” The lamia whispered whimsically. 
    “There's no such--” Jackson stopped himself. He was looking at a woman who was a snake from the thigh down and a gigantic brown woman with a tail that had a sharp heart shape on the end, “Magic. Sure,” He smiled and nodded. 
    “Any other questions?” 
    “What do you want with me?” Jackson asked nervously. The two women stared at him. 
    “We are doing a census on the citizens of this realm,” The tanned woman informed him. 
    “Let us begin!” The lamia procured a clipboard from her bag, “Name... Jackson Alexander... What is it you do for work?” 
    “Off-- Offsite accounting,” Jackson mumbled. 
    “You work from home? Wonderful! You’ll have lots of time to spend with your wife.” 
    “Wife?” 
    “Earnings... I’ve got those... What kind of girl would you like?” 
    “I want to live alone,” Jackson said aggressively. 
    “Alone?” The lamia recoiled like she had never heard of such a thing, “But it is every citizen in the New Monster Republics’ duty to have a loving spouse and have adorable and wonderful children!”  
    “If I refuse?” Jackson tapped his foot. 
    “Well,” The tanned woman drew a short blade. The blade had a pinkish hue to it, “Then we may have to get rid of you,” She pointed the blade at him threateningly. 
    “Uhm,” He started to sweat and shake nervously, “I-I’ll take the w-wife.” 
    “Good boy,” She gave him a small smile. 
    The lamia grinned, “Wonderful! Lets see... Nervous wreck, anxious... Are you horribly depressed?” 
    “Uhm--” 
    “He is,” The tanned woman spoke for him, “Along with a host of other issues,” She was deep in thought, holding a hand to her chin as she stared Jackson down. 
    The lamia hummed, “Aaaaand... My dear amazonian friend, what do you think our friend here could use? I think a kikimora or a shoggoth would be perfect for such a--” 
    She suddenly looked up, a light shining in her eyes, “None.” 
    “What?” The lamia recoiled in shock. 
    “He did say he wants to live alone,” The amazonian shrugged. 
    “I-I-- Yes... He did.” 
    “Then we will leave him alone.” 
    Jackson started to protest, “But you said I would--” 
    “Oh, now you desire companionship?” The tanned woman stepped towards him threateningly. 
    “N-no... S-sorry.” 
    “Good. Come now, let's be off. He have lots of other people to question,” The amazonian went for the front door. The lamia rushed over to her, whispering quietly. The amazonian said one sentence and the lamia’s face lit up with realisation.  
    “Good bye!” She smiled at Jackson and the two of them left. 
    Jackson sat down on the couch and took deep breaths. He was hardly able to calm down enough. He stood up and looked around, his home was a mess and it kind of smelled bad. With a frown, he got to cleaning. As he threw a window open, he looked at the people on the streets. More monsters were out and about with human husbands, some men were much more willing than others. Some were solo, prowling the streets for anyone unlucky enough to be caught alone. Jackson shrugged, he had been kind of right about demons invading, although this was not what he had in mind. An overnight take over of his area was kind of impressive. He already was sure he wasn’t dreaming after the pain he felt from the snake woman’s tail. All he could do now, he decided, was play along and pray he doesn’t end up in some kind of legal trouble and at the end of a blade.  
 
    Jackson had been surviving for a month. His little apartment felt cold and lonely, but it was his apartment and he was accustomed to it. He rummaged through the pantry, desperate for a meal. He had run out of real food two days ago. According to new laws, food delivery services were illegal. A way to force single men to the streets so they had to buy food. He didn’t like going out, the anxiety of interacting with strangers in such open and usually unfamiliar areas. Even with all the strange monsters around, he needed to eat. He peered out the window, knowing that even glancing outside was dangerous. He frowned, he needed to go outside. 
    Jackson got showered and dressed hesitantly. He planned a route in his head to stay off the main roads as much as he could, sticking to alleyways and smaller back streets. He had to go on foot, his bike would attract too much attention. Jackson had been researching these new monster girls. He knew what kinds to avoid and how much they hungered for single men. He was a prime meal for any monster girl looking for a virgin. He pushed his door open and peeked into the hallway, looking left and right for single monsters. The coast was clear so he locked his door and hurried to the elevator. He paused, he would be trapped if a single woman followed him in. He dashed to the stairs as he heard footsteps behind him. He took the stairs two at a time. He just wanted to get his food and get home, back to the safety of his solitude. His heart pounded the entire time as he made a 15 minute walk to the nearest store.  
    “Excuse me?” A small, young sounding voice nearly made Jackson shit his pants. He turned quickly, pushing himself up against a wall. A small girl looked at him with a confused expression. She had large horns on her head and carried a scythe in her small, paw-like hands, “Do you know where the nearest 7-11 is? My onii-chan needs another slurpee and I need me some Doritos.” 
    Jackson coughed, “Uhh, i-its two blocks... w-west of here,” He stammered, afraid of the tiny witch as he pointed in the general direction of the store. 
    “Thanks, mister!” She skipped away happily.  
Jackson breathed a heavy sigh of relief. He hurried along, heart still pounding. He frowned, he hadn’t been molested by that little monster witch went against everything he had researched. He continued onto the store, avoiding all other girls he came across, afraid his luck may have run out after only one encounter. He got to the end of the alley and stepped out, hurriedly crossing the street. There were no cars out, whatever had turned them off in the first place was still keeping them off. Horse drawn carriages slowly rumbled down the street, taking people and monsters where they needed to go. A large centaur pulled a cart with a small family in it down the street. The centaur politely said ‘hello’ as she passed. Jackson gave a smile and a wave as he kept moving down the street. He stayed out of the alleys, now just deathly curious about the new people in the world. He convinced himself to take this new route by saying to himself that it was a lot faster. It was technically true. 
 
    Jackson brought his groceries to the register. It was around noon and the store was surprisingly empty. surprisingly, there was a young man behind the register, “How’s it going today?” He asked as he started scanning groceries.  
    “Fine. Just surviving,” Jackson laughed awkwardly. 
    The cashier chuckled, “A bit harder to do nowadays. My--” 
    An energetic harpy rushed to his side, assisting by bagging groceries, “Hi!” She shouted. 
    “H-hey,” Jackson stammered focusing on the debit card in his hands. 
    “Oooh!” She held up the block of cheese in Jackson’s cart, “This stuff is so GOOD!” Jackson nodded, watching her bag faster than the cashier could scan the groceries, “You watching the game today?” 
    Jackson humored her, “What game?” 
    “THE GAME! You know! The Jersey Thunderers are playing the Washington Elves today!” 
    “Uh, maybe. I’m not a big sports guy.” 
    “Aww! But--” 
    “Honey, leave him alone. Sorry, she’s just really excited to meet people,” The cashier sighed. 
    “I-its fine,” Jackson smiled weakly. He heard his total and put his card in as he listened to the harpy squawk about a sport she didn’t seem to know anything about. She kept screaming about how she hopes that the Elves violate more boys than the Thunderers. Jackson had no idea what was going on. He took his four bags and said a quick goodbye.  
 
    The walk home was less eventful than the walk to the store. He returned to his apartment complex, deep in thought. He took the elevator up and hurried to his home. He unlocked the door, threw it open and stepped inside. It was a lot darker than he thought he left it. The curtains were drawn and the lights were off. Jackson quickly turned the lights on, knowing he didn’t usually turn the light off when leaving home. There was a woman in the room, startling Jackson, “Welcome home dear~” She called. There was a thick black smoke in the room. Jackson quickly threw the curtains open and then the windows, trying to get the smoke out. He turned back to the woman. She wore a dress that tastefully revealed most of her breasts, her short white hair was done up in a bun with chopsticks in it, a long Japanese style pipe in her hand that spewed the sweet smelling black smoke. Her purple eyes squinted at Jackson, “D-dear, could you close that window please? Its a little bright outside.” 
    “What do you mean ‘dear’?” Jackson asked, disturbed that this random woman was pretending to know who he was, “Who the hell ARE you?” 
    “Jackson, dear. Come, sit. You must have had a stressful day to be acting like this,” The smug look on her face was starting to wane. 
    Jackson ignored her and went for his cellphone. He dialed 911, “911 what is your emergency?” The woman on the other side asked. 
    “There’s some weird lady in my house who is acting like she--” Jackson started to explain. 
    “Sir,” The woman said harshly, “This line is for emergencies. Just lie down and I’m sure she will make it quick,” They hung up. 
    “Did you just call the police?” The smoking woman was astonished, “Why is my magic not working?”  
    “What magic?” He hissed. 
“I-I am a nurarihyon, you are supposed to feel comfortable around me and act like you know me,” She stood and put out her pipe, “J-Jackson, I just want to help you,” She spoke slowly and calmly. 
    “I don’t want help!” Jackson shouted at her. She shrunk away from him, “I don’t need help! I just want to be alone!” 
    She wrung her hands together, “I understand. I apologize,” She quickly collected her things and left through the front door. She avoided eye contact with Jackson, “Good day.” 
    Jackson sat on his couch. The warmth of where that woman sat lingered. He leaned back, closing his eyes and letting the warmth of the sunlight that streamed through the windows wash over him. A frown stained his face, a sadness permeated in him. The nurarihyon’s sadness left a sort of pain in his heart, one he quickly shook off. He stood up and started putting away groceries.  
    His phone rang, displaying a number he didn’t recognize, “Hello?” 
    “You asshole!” A voice shouted at him. 
    “W-what? Who is this?” 
    “Its-- I never gave you my name, did I?” The voice mused, “The lamia you met maybe a month ago. How could you shout at that poor woman!?” She quickly brought the conversation back. 
    “The woman that broke in?” He asked angrily. 
    “Look,” She sighed, “She was supposed to be your wife as she should have been able to ease you into it with her magic!” 
    “I was told I would not be assigned a wife,” Jackson hissed more angry with himself than the woman on the other end of the phone. 
    “Look at you, the little nervous boy turned--” The lamia was spoken to by someone in the background, “I apologise for snapping at you. She has forgiven you as well. We will not be trying to pair you up in a normal way. Ta ta~!”  
She hung up before Jackson could reply. Jackson angrily put his phone down. He needed to relax, he needed to calm down and get his mind off of all of this. He finished putting the groceries away and retreated to the back of his home, sitting at his desk. He slowly opened his drawers, grabbing small buckets and droppers of paint. He grabbed some unpainted models and set them on his desk. He grabbed some colors and got to work. He didn’t play much tabletop games any more, he mostly just painted for fun and as a sort of meditation. He put some music on his speakers and let out a sigh of relief, instantly feeling a little calmer. 
 
Hours later, Jackson had three models done. Painted, shaded, highlighted and based. He glanced at the clock, nearly midnight. He had skipped dinner as he lost himself in his work. He stood and meandered to the kitchen, still humming along to the music he was listening to. He quickly made a sandwich as he needed a small bite to eat before heading to bed. He turned from the kitchen counter, plate in hand. He looked up, suddenly staring down the barrel of a gun. A woman held a pistol in her hand, long suppressor attached, “Shh,” She held one finger to her lips. Jackson stood still, petrified in fear. She gave him a smug grin before pulling the trigger. There was the dull sound of suppressed gunfire as pain spread throughout Jackson’s chest. 
The plate hit the floor and shattered, the sandwich and all its ingredients spilled everywhere. He fell to the floor, clutching his chest where he had been shot. He looked down at his hand, expecting to see blood. There was none, only a small cylindrical object planted in his skin. He pulled it out, the little needle that had buried into him didn’t leave any blood either. Jackson, confused looked up at the woman. She had short pink hair, tanned skin and pink eyes. She was wearing a shirt that revealed her cleavage and stomach that was a collared and had a pink, white and grey camo on it. The shorts she wore were the same. She grabbed a walkie-talkie on her shirt, “Injection successful,” She told someone on the other end. She stowed her gun in its holster on her butt before crouching down, getting on Jackson’s level, “How are you feeling?” 
“What the fuck was that?” Jackson demanded, keeping his voice down. 
She was taken aback, “L-love injection... M-maybe it needs a bit more time?” She asked herself. 
“Why can’t people just leave me alone?” Jackson hugged his legs to his chest as he asked no one in particular. 
“I-I-I--” the woman stammered, “Do you feel ANY different!?” She demanded. 
“Annoyed, angry, pissed,” Jackson hissed, regretting the venom in his voice. 
    She looked horrified at him. She fumbled with the walkie-talkie as she shook in terror, “Injection failed! I repeat, injection had no effect! Falling back!” She shouted before stretching out her large, pink, feathered wings and flying out the already opened window. 
    Jackson sat on the floor. He turned the pink cylinder over in his hand. He ran a finger over the heart and bow that was painted on it. He sighed, he knew that lady was just trying to help him like the first woman was. He glanced at the destroyed plate and sandwich. He had no desire to eat anymore, he just wanted to sleep-- preferably forever. 
 
    There was a pounding on the door, rousing Jackson from his slumber. Eight in the morning on a weekend. He knew this routine. He stood up, wondering what kind of ‘help’ he would receive today, “Maybe they’ll just gut me? Would be preferable to being shot again,” He threw the door wide open, a bored expression on his face. He stood face to face with the amazonian from a few weeks back. She was wearing armor today. She grabbed him and dragged him back into the room. He didn’t struggle, he had no will to do that any more, “Here to kill me?” He joked. 
“Jackson, we just want to help you!” She was followed by three other officers in matching uniforms. Jackson’s apathy turned to fear as he noted each guard was heavily armed. He started to sweat as he was plopped in his computer chair chair, four firm hands holding him there as cuffs were placed on his wrists. 
“What do you want?” He squeaked. 
“We just want to fix you. You NEED help. Bring her in,” There was a sickly wet noise that drew near as a mass of tentacles and flesh smugly sauntered into the room. The woman was dripping with slime as she approached and left a slight trail. 
“M-mindflayer,” Jackson whispered as he stared at the squid-woman. Dear permeating throughout his body. He hated and secretly feared them in video games and table tops and he was wholly afraid of them in reality. 
“Shh,” She whispered to Jackson as she approached, “Relax and let me work.  You will feel... WONDERFUL, when I am done,” The way her tentacles squelched and writhed made Jackson want to faint. He closed his eyes as her slimy tentacles started to caress his head and face. They inched closer to his ears, Jacksons heart was pounding almost painfully now, he wanted to leave, he wanted his parents. He couldn’t bring himself to scream, the sound was caught in his throat as he struggled against the hands that held him in place. The tentacles slowly pushed into his ears. The unpleasant feeling and noises increased the deeper they pushed. He could feel her in his mind, he shook and shuddered continually trying to pull her away from him. As tears sprung from his eyes the flayer hesitated, “You poor thing,” She pulled back, smug look gone from her face, “I can’t do anything.” 
“WHAT!?” The amazonian demanded, screaming at the woman. 
The mindflayer seemed to be in pain, “The things in his head are horrible, yes. I did my best to not mess with anything unimportant, but, the problem isn’t in his mind,” She shuddered. 
“I’m sorry,” Jackson mewled as he was released, staring at the floor. 
“What do you mean the problem isn’t--” The amazonian started to shout again. 
“I don’t know! This is all so interwoven with his very being that even though I DID change some things in his head, he is unchanged! His heart and soul could be afflicted with the same illness!” She knelt down by Jackson and placed a hand on his shoulder, “I am very sorry, but there is nothing more I can do for you,” The mindflayer turned and hurried to the door, not wanting to listen to the large woman shout any more. 
The lamia entered, “Did it work?” 
“No,” Jackson answered, “Just leave me alone, let me wallow in my isolation,” Jackson took his chair and pushed it back to his desk. He sat in it, staring down at his hands. 
“I’m not giving up on you!” The lamia told him, “Let me--” 
“Leave him,” The amazonian ordered. 
“But he--” 
“What are we expected to do? What can we do? We must fall back and regroup,” She made a motion and the three extra officers left quickly, “I am sorry that I have failed you, Jackson.” 
“Are you really? Or are you failing some higher up?” He hissed back. 
She looked at him in pity, and slowly left the room. The lamia approached Jackson, placing a hesitant hand on his shoulder, “She really is sorry. I know she is. We want to help you. Good bye for now, Jackson,” The lamia turned to leave, noting the mess in the kitchen. She quickly scooped up the trash and threw it out, despite the amazonian scowling at her. She looked at the ring on her finger and then back at the brooding Jackson, “Maybe you’ll find love in your own way. Goodbye.” 
Jackson said nothing, he sat still, staring at his hands. He wanted to cry but felt so broken and alone that he could not. He felt nothing emotionally. 
 
He didn’t know how long it had been. Only that it was dark outside now. He stood and headed for the door, he needed a drink. A lot of drinks. He didn’t know if he should be going out, but it wasn’t like he cared now. He knew monsters would avoid him, there was no way he was desired any more. He threw some clothes on and headed out into the chilly air. He walked slowly, the night was quiet, few people were out. The pub was a short walk away. It was a quiet little place that served some decent food and Jackson used to be friends with the owner, went to the same highschool. He pushed the door open, and moved to the counter. The pub was warm with camaraderie and the smell of liquor in the air as well as fried comfort food. The groups of monsters and humans in the back booths laughed and clinked glasses as they gossipped and joked. Jackson felt nothing but cold despite the warmth around him. He sat quietly in the bar stool as he waited for the barkeep to notice him, “Jackson? Is that you?” The barkeep, Tyler asked in disbelief. 
    “Hey, Tyler,” Jackson sighed. 
    “What’ll it be? A snack and something light?”  
    “Just a drink, please,” Jackson’s stomach rumbled, betraying his words. 
    “You’re gonna vomit if you don’t eat something. How about some soft pretzels on the house?” 
    “Thanks, Tyler,” Jackson gave him a small smile and went back to staring at the counter. Within a few minutes, he had two drinks placed in front of him. One drink was a mixture of soda and alcohol and the other was a bright blue fruity beverage, his usual. Jackson looked up at Tyler in confusion. 
    “From the little lady down there,” Tyler pointed to the other end of the bar.  
    Jackson got a good look at the woman, she had light brown hair, blue eyes, and fur covering her arms and hands from the elbow down, a cute button nose, rosy red cheeks and floppy dog ears on the top of her head complete with a fluffy tail-- a kobold. She wore a collared pink polo and khaki shorts. She didn’t wear a dog collar, denoting that she was single. Jackson grimaced and looked back at the drinks. He gave the drink she bought him a try. He didn’t recognize the taste of the soda, it tasted like a sweet coke mixed with cinnamon. The alcohol tasted like any other kind of rum. Not fantastic, but he didn’t hate it. He glanced back at the kobold, she had moved a few stools towards him. They were the only two at the bar, so it wasn’t very sneaky. She kept acting like she was sly, inching towards him slowly. Jackson refused to acknowledge her, knowing that she would just be disappointed when she did communicate with him.  
A hellhound sauntered out of the back room wearing a chef’s apron and a tanktop and placed a plate stacked high with steaming hot pretzel bites as well as three different cups of dipping sauce, “A little extra for ya, boss,” She gave him a quick grin and a wink before retreating to the back. 
“Those look good!” A voice next to him made Jackson jump. He turned to the source of the voice, the kobold was staring at him with wide eyes. She had an empty shot glass in her hand. Jackson pushed them to the other side of him, away from her. She pouted at him, “Come on, I bought you a drink! Let me have one!”  
Jackson rolled his eyes. He grabbed one and held it out for her, she opened her mouth and stared at him expectantly, “Come on, I’m not going to--” 
    The kobold leaned forwards and ate it off his hand. Her face lit up, “Mmmm! Those are really good!” Jackson turned away from her, just wanting to lose himself in his drinks and food, “Hey! Hey! What’s your name?” She grasped Jackson’s upper arm with both hands and shook him a little bit. 
    Jackson tore himself away from her, “Just leave me alone, lady. Don’t get yourself too invested in this mistake of a man.”  
The kobold sniffled. She still held her arms out where she had been grabbing Jackson. She looked up at him, “Who hurt you?” She tried to touch his face with her little paw-like hand.  
    Jackson pulled away, “I’m not in the mood for this, lady.” 
    “Do you need some kind of help?” 
    Jackson snapped, “I don’t NEED help,” He hissed at her. 
    She looked at the floor, tears flowing from her eyes, “I-I was just trying to help.” 
    Jackson could feel glares on his back, even Tyler was looking at him disapprovingly. He looked back at the kobold, quietly crying. He sighed, “I-I’m really sorry. Its been a rough few days.” 
    The kobold wiped her eyes, “I hope you start to feel better soon.” 
    “Thanks,” They sat quietly. Jackson ate another bit of food, dipping it in the cheese. He took a drink of the drink the kobold bought him. It was starting to grow on him; it gave him a nice, warm feeling, “Want another pretzel? You did buy me this drink after all.” 
    “Yes please!” The kobolds tail wagged as happiness came back to her face. She ate another pretzel out of his hand. She looked up and smiled at him, “Daisy,” She held out her hand. 
    Jackson sighed a little bit, “Jackson,” He shook it. 
    Daisy smiled at him again, making him feel a little warmth in his heart. She glanced at the clock and frowned, “I gotta head out soon. Will I see you here again? I’ll keep coming Saturday nights!” 
    “Maybe,” Jackson moved his lips in a way that could hardly be classified as a smile. 
    “That’s almost a yes!” Daisy hopped up after paying her tab, “See you around, Jackson!” She had a big grin on her face as she trotted out the door. 
    Tyler approached Jackson, “That lady has been in here nearly every night. Always one shot and maybe buying a drink for any single patrons that come in.” 
    “Think she’s trying to pick up boys or just make friends?” Jackson asked as he finished the rum and mystery soda. 
    “Who knows? My wife got me by pretending to have a broken ankle. Before I knew it I was pinned and--” He coughed, “Anyways...” 
    “If you break that girl’s heart I’ll break your ankles!” The hellhound shouted at Jackson from the back. 
    “Y-yeah. I-I was gonna come back anyways,” Jackson lied. 
    Tyler laughed, “She paid for your other drink, by the way.”     “How kind of her,” Jackson took a sip of it and went back to  eating pretzels, alone with his thoughts as Tyler walked off to serve a  group of college kids that had just come in. He was a little nervous  going home, afraid he’ll be assaulted in his own home again. As more and  more loud students walked into the building, Jackson decided it was  time to go. He downed the drink Daisy had bought him and left his other  drink nearly half full. He made it home without any difficulty. The  lights were still on in his apartment. He locked the door behind him and  started sweeping the room looking for intruders. He imagined the woman  that had shot him coming back to shoot him with real bullets. He stopped  and stood still as he found himself wondering about Daisy and how sad  she would be if he vanished. He made sure his windows were locked  tonight before going to bed. He set his switch knife on the nightstand  next to the bed, just in case he needed it. Again, he wished he had a  gun but most were still not working or had turned into women somehow. He  was hardly tired but had nothing better to do than sleep now. He stared  at the ceiling, doing his best to think of anything other than Daisy.  He liked living alone, Jackson reminded himself. He didn’t need anyone  else, he told himself. A slight doubt crept into his mind and there was a  slight twinge of warmth still in his heart.

PT2

Jackson slipped his shoes on and grabbed his coat. He looked at himself in the mirror and checked his teeth, smelled his armpits and adjusted his hair. For once, he looked and smelled fine in his own eyes. He threw his coat on and started to grab his everyday carry gear; pocket knife, phone, keys, wallet... He frowned as he searched for his pocket flashlight. There was a familiar pounding on the door making Jackson groan. He looked out his window at the fire escape. He was tempted to take the fire escape down. The pounding came again. They had heard him moving around for sure, trying to run now would only make things worse. He frowned and headed for the door; opening it up for his uninvited guests. A bright light flooded into the room making Jackson squint, “What is it this time?” He scowled. 
    The light dimmed, allowing him to get a good look at whoever was standing there. The lamia and amazonian were there, unfortunately. A third woman was there, a tall woman with glowing blonde hair that fell to her waist, white robes draped over her body and a white blindfold covered her eyes. The white, luminous feathered wings behind her stretched out to their full length, three on each side of her, “My child, I have come to heal thy broken soul!” Her voice was like an angelic chorus, calling out to Jackson. 
    The three women entered Jackson’s apartment, “We brought in a specialist to help you!” The lamia excitedly explained. The angel invitingly held her arms out for Jackson. 
“Look,” He sighed, “I’m meeting a friend at the bar in a few minutes. Can I go, please? She’ll be really heartbroken if I don’t show.” 
“A friend?” The lamia frowned. 
“And a woman no less,” The amazonian mused, “Very well, let him go. Here, my business card in case you change your mind on our lovely friend here,” She set the card on the nearby countertop. 
“But she flew in all the way from The Vatican just for this!” 
“If thee already has a sweetheart, then I shall merely wish thee luck,” The angel smiled. 
The lamia shook her head, “Fine, whatever. Let him do whatever he wants. Not like its our job to fix him.” 
    Jackson scowled at her, “Why do you even care?”  
    “We just want you to be happy!” 
    “Leave him,” The amazonian growled again. The lamia tried to protest again, “I am your superior! March. Now,” She stomped out of the room. The lamia sighed and gave Jackson a small and weary smile before going. 
    “Stay strong, young hero,” The angel smiled warmly and reached out a finger, poking his chest, right at his heart. There was a yellow glow and a warm feeling spreading throughout Jackson’s body, “Fare thee well!” She took her leave. 
    Jackson was left alone again, reeling. The warmth faded after making its rounds through his entire body, leaving him with an emotionless cold feeling again. He frowned at the clock and put his coat on, ready to head to the bar.  
 
    Jackson shook the rain off of his coat as he pushed the door open. It was a very quiet night, only one group of friends sat in the back in a booth. Daisy was staring at her drink on the far side of the bar. It was their fifth meeting, the second and third had not been very eventful, they had spoken about food both times. Daisy liked to eat and was particularly fond of burgers and corndogs. Their fourth meeting Jackson had been a little late and Daisy had gotten completely hammered beforehand. She had to get picked up by her mom. Jackson started to walk over to her, “Kept that poor girl waiting, huh?” The hellhound, Ellen, Tyler’s wife, growled in a low voice. 
    “Look, I got caught up at home. Its not like we determined a start time either for these casual get togethers.” 
    “Well, perhaps you should have--” 
    “Ellen!” Daisy shouted, “Leave Jackson alone!” Her tail wagged as she pouted at the two. 
    “Sure thing hon’,”  The hellhound gave the kobold a small smile before turning back to Jackson, “Be good to her.” 
    Jackson nodded and took his seat next to Daisy. Her tail was wagging quickly as she slid a drink to him, “I was starting to think you wouldn’t show.” 
    He smelled the alcohol and smirked. It was another mostly soda drink with a bit of liquor. He took a quick sip, “Sorry. Had some... Uninvited guests.” 
    “You look a bit more chipper today! Feeling better since our last meeting?” 
    “A bit.” 
    “Who were the guests?” Daisy’s curiosity was piqued. 
    “Oh, two government workers and an angel with six wings and a blindfold.” 
    “What did you do to incur that kind of wrath!?” 
    “Its not like they hurt me. I think they wanted me to marry the angel.” 
    Daisy frowned and looked down, “Oh... You must have said yes to such a beautiful girl. Just here to humor me one last time?” 
    “No, I turned them down.” 
    “Really!?” Daisy’s excitement returned, “You turned down such a gorgeous woman!? You must either have strong will power or there’s something wro--” She coughed, stopping herself as she remembered it was a somewhat touchy subject for him, “You must be weird to not take a woman like that.” 
    Jackson ignored the word she was about to say, “You don’t even know what she looked like. She could have been green with warts on her face.” 
    Daisy let out a chuckle, “I know what angels look like, Jackson. They all look nearly identical.” 
    “I-I didn’t know that.” 
    “You’re lucky most girls are hard to offend. Just don’t talk to an anubis or tanuki, please. I’d hate for you to become someone’s slave boy.” 
“I-Is that legal?” 
Daisy nodded, “Under monster law. A monster could also just grab you and say you’re her husband and the law would take that as you actually being her husband. Just be careful. I’d hate to lose my best--” Daisy hesitated, “Only friend. If we are friends,” Her cheerful tone had vanished as the tail wagging stopped and her dog ears slumped against her head. 
Jackson stared at her then glanced at the two drinks he had already finished. He was hesitant, but a piece of his being was screaming at him, burning and writhing as he thought of trying to put her down gently. He couldn’t bring himself to do it, to maintain his lonely lifestyle. The warmth of friendship was too strong for him, he felt for her, wanting to comfort her, “Of course we are, Daisy. How about I buy you some drinks now?” 
Daisy looked blankly at Jackson. He shifted uncomfortably as she looked him up and down, searching for lies or cracks in what he had said. A tear rolled down her cheek as a smile appeared, “No! Let me buy you more!” She laughed after wiping her face. 
“You alright?” 
“I--” She wiped her face again, “I’ve been trying to make a friend for so long. Ever since I got here, I just wanted to meet new people. My sister’s new husband told me to meet people I should go to the bar and buy people drinks and see what happens.” 
“And that’s why you’ve been here often?” 
    She nodded, “But, now I--” She wiped more tears from her eyes, “I have my friend!” She grinned through the tears. 
Jackson smiled back, “I’ve got my friend too. Now, your glass is looking kinda empty, let me get you something.” 
“Oh! Shots! I want shots!”  
“Ellen! Can we get some shots over here?” The hellhound gave a small smile and nodded as she turned to the wall of bottles. 
 
Daisy was wobbling and stumbling and laughing in her seat. She struggled to pick up a glass, she only succeeded in knocking it over. She let out a loud whine, “Noooo!” 
“Alright you two,” Ellen sighed at the pair, “I’m cutting you both off. I’m closing down and I wanna get home to my hubby,” They were the only three people in the bar. Ellen’s help had gone home already and her tone had a slight hint of anger in it. 
“One mooooore!” Daisy begged. 
Jackson laughed, he had drank way less than the kobold had, “Come on, Daisy. We need to get you home.” 
“I don’t wanna go home! My mom’s gonna get mad at me!” She cried, “She-- She’s gonna yell at me because I--” She started to sob. 
Ellen sighed, “Take her to your place,” She gave Jackson a blank look. 
“M-My place?” He nervously repeated. 
“Yeah. Your place. We’re closed, go on, get!” Ellen was exhausted, the fire on her eyes was dwindling. She picked up a broom and acted like she was going to take a swing at them. 
Daisy was still sobbing, blubbering about her mother being angry at her, “Come on, we gotta go. You can crash at my place.” 
The tears stopped instantly, “I’m going to... JACKSON’S HOUSE!?” She shouted in surprise..  
“Yeah. We gotta let Ellen sleep.” 
Daisy pulled Jackson out the door, “Where’s your car? Or do we walk?” 
“We walk. Come on.” 
Daisy clung to Jackson as she began to quickly sober up, “I’m not annoying right?” 
“Not really.” 
“You’re such a sweetie, Jackson. I think my mom would like you.” 
    “Oh yeah? You sure she wouldn’t hate me like everyone else?” 
    “What is with you thinking everyone is gonna hate you!?” Daisy stopped and grabbed Jackson, “I don’t hate you!” She shook him as she pouted at him. 
    “I- I know you don’t. Thank you.” 
    Daisy let Jackson keep walking, following closely at his side, “And Jackson doesn’t hate me, right?” 
    “Right. My apartment complex is up here.” 
    “Ooooh, you have such a big house!” 
    “N-no, my apartment is tiny,” Daisy was quiet as they entered the building. She was still woozy and stumbled while grabbing onto Jackson. She kept giggling and chuckling quietly. Jackson stood in front of the elevator, staring at the call elevator button. He was about to trap himself in a small room with a monster, something he had been going out of his way to avoid, but there was no way she could take the stairs. He looked at the kobold that was giving him a confused look with puppy dog eyes. He sighed and pressed the call button, the elevator immediately opened, having already been on the first floor. Jackson led her inside as she stared in wonder at the mirrors lining the small elevator. He hit the button for his floor and leaned against the side. Daisy pressed herself against him for support as the elevator started to rumble upwards. She whimpered and tucked her tail between her legs, “Its perfectly safe, calm down.” 
    “I don’t like this...” 
    Jackson sighed, “Just calm down. Its not too high.” 
    When the elevator got to the destination Daisy quickly stumbled out of the elevator and quivered in the hallway. Jackson motioned for her to follow him. He approached his apartment with his key in hand. Daisy grabbed his wrist and looked at the door with fear in her face, “There’s someone in there,” She whispered, “I can hear them.” 
    “You’re just hearing things,” He unlocked the door and threw it open. The lights were off, immediately telling him something was wrong. Daisy started to growl as she rushed into the room, detecting some unknown intruder. 
    “Ah!” Someone in the room yelped in surprise. Jackson stood still, completely shocked as Daisy started to bark at them. 
    He shook himself just in time to enter the apartment and flick the lights to watch the mystery woman form an ice spike in her hand and launch it at Daisy, making her yelp loudly. She fell to the floor, whimpering, “Daisy!” He shouted. The woman turned to him, she had icy blue skin, snow white hair and a dark blue dress. Ice grew out of her skin and hair as she looked at him with a cold stare. She grew another spike in her hand and launched it at him, striking his chest. He stumbled and fell to one knee as a cold feeling began to permeate within him. He grabbed the ice and tore it out of him and threw it on the ground, the usual emotional cold returned, “Get out before I lose my temper,” He hissed at the woman.  
The smug smile on her face fell off and she stared in shock, “B-but y-you--” 
“OUT!” Jackson repeated, raising his voice. The ice woman whimpered and grabbed her bag, dashing out of the room. Jackson locked the door after her and turned his attention to Daisy. She was lying on the floor, shivering horribly. He knelt down and gently pulled the ice out of her, “Are you hurt?” 
    “C-cold,” She mumbled, reaching out to him.  
    Jackson put a hand on her forehead, feeling the icy chill of her face, her clothes and body as well, “Let's get you into some warmer clothes,” Daisy nodded as he helped her up. She hugged herself and continued to shiver, watching Jackson as he rushed to his closet, throwing clothes around looking for something warm. He grabbed a pair of sweatpants and an old hoodie and offered it to the shivering kobold. She smiled weakly and began stripping the cold clothes off.  
He turned to leave the room, trying to make a beeline for the bathroom. He stopped as Daisy grabbed his wrist, “Don’t go,” She pleaded with her eyes. 
Jackson kept himself from looking below her neck, “A-Alright. I’ll stay-- but I won’t look while you change.” 
She went back to changing, staring at Jackson’s back. The clothes were much too big, the man being a little more than a foot taller than her. She felt warmth as the comforting and familiar smell reached her nose, Jackson’s smell. She pressed her face into his back and wrapped her arms around him, demanding more of his warmth, “So warm...” She mumbled.  
“Daisy, its one in the morning. We need to sleep.” 
“But--” 
“Go sleep in my bed. I’ll set up a spot on the couch for--” 
“No!” Daisy snapped, “Hold me! Please! I need you!” She grabbed his wrist and tried to pull him to the bed but struggled to move him at all in her weakened state. 
He frowned and sighed as the fear of becoming so close to someone-- especially a woman-- wracked him. She tugged at his sleeves as tears started to roll down her face, she whimpered as if in pain as the cold started to creep into her heart, ‘We’re just friends,’ He silently reminded himself. He took the kobold by the hand and brought her to the bed. 
Her tail wagged weakly as she was wrapped in a soft and warm blanket in burrito fashion, “Th-thank you,” Her shivering slowly died down and her ragged breathing turned into calm, light breaths as she quickly fell asleep. Jackson was still in his jeans and coat, he hadn’t had any time to change. He slowly released Daisy and started to get changed, “Jaaaacksoooon!” Daisy started to sob quietly again, deprived of her warmth. 
“J-just a second,” He whispered as he slipped into a pair of comfortable shorts. He crawled back into the small bed without a second thought as Daisy pushed herself against him, burying her face in his exposed neck, getting as close as she could to him to absorb more of his body heat. He felt her soft and sweet smelling hair under his chin. Past that she reeked of alcohol and fried food.  
“Am I dying?” She breathed as she started to weep again. 
“No. If it didn’t kill me, its not killing you. You’re way tougher than me.”   
    “You’re such a sweetie,” She went silent as she listened to her friend’s quick heartbeat, “Are you afraid of me?” 
    Jackson didn’t speak for an uncomfortable amount of time, “I’m afraid of a lot of things, Daisy. My fear of hurting others because of my own incompetence or other people hurting me because of some malicious intent is what has kept me alone.” 
    “Did someone take advantage of you?” 
    “I got cheated on by three different girlfriends in highschool and college. I was so desperate for some kind of love and companionship that I let them force me buy them expensive gifts and buy them meals while they were fucking other dudes behind my back. I was homeschooled until highschool so I didn’t have many friends either. I can’t even remember what happiness and love feels like.” 
    “Thank you for opening up to me,” She nuzzled against him to show some form of affection, “I hope I can help you feel less alone,” Daisy wiggled out of the blanket and wrapped her arms around his neck.  
    “You already have. You sound like you sobered up fast,” Jackson noted warily as he yawned. 
    “W-well... I think that tsurara-onna’s ice magic might have done something.” 
    He frowned, he knew nothing about magic, “Alright. Well, wake me up if you need me,” Daisy nodded and closed her eyes, exhaustion quickly putting her to sleep. Jackson stayed awake, unable to sleep as adrenaline slowly pumped through his veins. His heavy eyelids refused to stay closed as the kobold lightly breathed on his chest and clung to him. He focused on a small light on the wall, trying to distract himself from the girl. 
 
Jackson didn’t know how much he had slept, or if he really had at all. Sunlight was peeking into the room over the curtains and there was a pounding on the door. He groaned, Daisy was still fast asleep next to him. He gently removed the kobold’s arms and headed for the door. He pulled the door open expecting the two usual guests. He looked down at a kobold with brown hair that was glaring at him, “What have you done with my daughter?” She demanded.  
Jackson raised his eyebrows, “Sh-she’s sleeping,” He gestured for her to enter. 
The old kobold pushed past him and entered his small apartment. She smelled the air and made a beeline for the other end of the room where Daisy slept peacefully. She turned back to the young man, a glare on her face, “What did you do to her!?” 
“Nothing!” 
    “There’s something different about my daughter’s smell, boy.” 
    “Look,” Jackson presented her the black darts, “She got really drunk so I brought her here after she threw a tantrum. Some ice lady had broken in and she threw ice spikes at the two of us and then Daisy begged me to hold her,” Both large ice spikes were still intact on the floor, neither had melted much. 
    “Ice?” She turned it over in her little paw-hand, “Tsurara-onna ice magic. She had all the love and warmth drained from her body,” She chuckled, “Did you get hit too?” 
    “Y-yeah. N-Nothing happened though.” 
She frowned then changed back to a smile, “I apologize for shouting at you. My name is Lily. I... Presume you are Jackson.” 
    Jackson gave an angry glace to the kobold. He slowly calmed down, his expression softening, “Yeah, that’s me.” 
    “She’s spoken of you quite a bit. Thank you for taking care of her and keeping an eye on her. I’ll--” She looked at her daughter again, sleeping heavily and turned back to Jackson, “Tell her she has the day off, I should be okay without her.” 
    “Uh, thanks.” 
“You should come into the shop sometime! I’ll give you a good deal on something! A ring perhaps?” 
“Um, alright. How did you find my house, by the way?” 
“The tracking on my daughter’s phone! She was supposed to work for me today so I came looking for her.” 
Jackson blinked, “Got it.” 
“It was nice meeting you! Have a good day with my daughter!” Lily went to the door and rested her hand on the knob, “Feel free to make some grandchildren for me if you’re both up for it~” The kobold left with a small wave. 
Jackson sat down on the couch, “Did she just ask me to fuck her daughter?” He shook his head and stretched himself out on the couch, shutting his weary eyes. 
    He listened as Daisy began to stir, “Urgh,” She grumbled, “My head,” There was a long pause as she rolled around in the bed taking loud sniffs of the fabric, “I’m supposed to be at work!” She suddenly shouted hoping from the bed. 
    “You have the day off,” Jackson informed her.  
    “Huh?” Daisy trotted over to him and looked at the man. She smelled the air, a strange look on her face, “W-was she... She c-couldn’t have been,” Jackson still had his eyes closed, a sly smile on his face, “I’m sorry for making you sleep with me,” She quickly changed the subject. 
    “After how you charged into my room and rushed that woman, its fine.” 
She sat back down at the foot of the bed, “I still can’t believe that ice didn’t affect you. Any idea why she wanted you?” 
“I dunno. I’m kinda used to people just breaking in or barging into my home. I got shot by a cupid’s weird gun a while ago too.” 
“And nothing happened!?” Daisy gasped, staring at Jackson with wide eyes, “Maybe some monster girls have heard about you being immune to everything and more are coming after you to prove their strength? After you destroyed that nurarihyon, survived the cupid attack, endured a mindflayer’s mind rape, resisted the angel and were unaffected by tsurara-onna’s ice magic, I could see any kind of girl going for you just to prove she can take you!” 
    Jackson tilted his head, “I don’t remember talking about the nurarihyon or the mindflayer, Daisy.” 
    She blinked, “Are you sure?” She frowned, “I’m positive you have.” 
    “I-I... I guess I did. I don’t know how else you would know.” 
    “Hey, don’t fret over it!” Daisy gave him a wide grin, “I’ll protect my best friend from the hordes of desperate women that want him!” She proudly held a hand over her chest. 
    Jackson stared at her for a few moments before starting to chuckle, “You’re so small, how will you protect me?” 
She stomped her foot in frustration, “I’ll bark loudly at them! I’ll protect you! I promise!” 
He smiled, “Alright. I’m in your hands.” 
She beamed at him, “You can count on me!” Her stomach rumbled loudly, “Ah, um, I should go home so I can eat.” 
“Let me cook you something. You’ve been buying me TONS of drinks and I wanna repay you somehow.” 
She frowned, “I couldn’t ask you to feed me after you took me in last night.” 
    “I’m making you breakfast. Sit down,” He demanded. Daisy obediently sat down and folded her hands on her lap as she watched him work, “How do you want your eggs?” He asked.     “Scrambled, please!” She smiled, thinking about the warm and  kind feeling that she had received from Jackson last night. She needed  more of it. She needed him.

PT3

    Daisy wore her nicest dress, a gorgeous red, lace gown. She sat on a bench watching the rest of the ball, too nervous to join in, especially without a partner. A live band played for the people as man and monster moved in step with one another. Love and passion was in the air as couples smiled and laughed together. She frowned, wringing her hands in her lap. She felt alone, cold and nervous. She looked back up to see the crowd had vanished, one man stood where many had just been. Jackson in a fancy suit. He stood cooly with his hands stuffed in his pockets as he gave Daisy his classic tiny, almost sad smile. She leapt up and ran to him, slamming herself against him and grabbing him in a tight hug. She felt his warmth and kindness through her clothes. 
    “Care to dance?” He asked, hugging her back. 
    “I would love to,” She smiled back at him. 
    The now unseen band played for them as the two moved in unison. The area around them was dark, the only light came from an overhead spotlight that illuminated the pair in a soft, warm light. Daisy had stopped keeping track of how long they had been dancing, only paying attention to the man in front of her. He stared back at her with the same sad smile. His eyes betrayed his expression, Daisy could see the love in his eyes. The music stopped, and the two held one another close. Jackson gently pushed her chin up as the two locked eyes. He slowly leaned closer lips ready to kiss her. She panted her heart pounding in her chest, eagerly awaiting the kiss. It was less than an inch from her lips as she-- 
    “DAISY!” A shrill voice shrieked. 
    “Huh?” She pulled away and looked around. Jackson was gone. She felt alone again. 
    “GET UP!” 
    “What?” 
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 
    Daisy shot up in bed in a cold sweat, heart still pounding. Her mother, Lily stood at the side of her bed, glaring at her daughter, “You’re supposed to be in the shop in five minutes! Why are you still asleep!?” 
    “S-sorry, I slept through my alarm...” Daisy slowly got up, staring at the floor as she got chewed out by her mother. 
    “Go get cleaned up, you have twenty minutes before I shout at you again. I have plans with your father today and I don’t want to lose any precious time with my hubby.” 
    “Yes, mom,” She slinked out of her own bedroom to the bathroom, quickly taking a shower before getting dressed in a hoodie and shorts before heading downstairs. She had no time to do her hair or put on a little make up. The building that Daisy lived in was three floors and the bottom floor was her mother’s store, ‘Little Dog’s Pawn Shop,’ where Daisy spent most of her time. Her mother had already performed opening duties, turning on lights, dusting and cleaning as well as setting up the register and bringing out expensive items from the back.  
    “You could look better,” Lily frowned at her daughter’s lack of beauty care. Daisy gave her a small and apologetic smile, “If Rose calls, tell her I’m out for the day, okay?” Daisy nodded, “Also, remember to water the plants,” She pointed to the pots at the back of the store on a shelf, each had flowers planted in it, one for each of Lily’s four daughters and one for her; Lily, Daisy, Rose, Poppy and Marigold.  
    “Yes, mom,” Daisy unlocked the front door of the shop and took a seat by the register, knowing she was in for another long, boring day with maybe one customer if she was lucky. Her mother kept blabbing about anything that came to mind, just waiting for her husband to come downstairs. 
    “If that robot bum comes around don’t give her anything, alright? And--” 
    “Mom, I know!” Daisy groaned, “I can watch the shop myself!” 
    Lily stopped, staring blankly at her daughter. Her husband walked into the main room, stretching as he looked between the two with a confused look on his face, “Come on, hubby,” She took her husband by the wrist and headed outside. 
    “See you, Daisy!” He called as he was gently pulled out the door. 
    “Bye, dad,” Daisy sadly called after him. She looked down at the glass and the old trading cards behind it. She walked to the back of the store and reached behind a rack covered in swords and other melee weapons and pulled out a book. An old book, one that had come into the shop recently, some awful romance book involving vampires. She knew it was bad, but she couldn’t put it down. She lost herself in the text, listening for the door to jingle signaling a customer entering. 
 
    “Hey,” A voice mumbled, spooking Daisy.  
    She had no idea how long she had lost herself in the book, “Welcome!” She looked up at the customer with a smile. The grin fell off quickly as she saw who it was: Jackson, “What are you doing here!?” She cried, pulling her hood over her unkempt hair. 
    “I-I thought you might be happy to see me,” He looked down at his hands nervously, “I-I’ll go.” 
    “No! Wait!” Daisy nearly jumped over the counter and tackled him as he turned for the door, “I am happy to see you! You just surprised me!” She grinned at him. He smiled back, “You here just to see me?” 
    He nodded, “Wanted to look around a bit and hang out too.” 
    “Cool! Hey, come behind the counter. Just don’t break anything,” He shrugged and followed her behind the counter. He looked around, making a disgusted face as he saw the book she was reading, “O-oh I was just-- Uh...” She picked up the book and tossed it in the trash, “Getting rid of that garbage.” 
    He chuckled, “Nice,” He quickly shifted his focus down to the glass case, “Guns?” He frowned as he reached into the case and pulled out a handgun, “I thought these were all magically not working,” He dropped the magazine and pulled the slide back, making sure it was empty.  
    “Well,” Daisy picked up another, smaller gun. She held the subcompact in her little paws, mimicking his motions as she figured out how the firearm was operated, “You can get a sigil or magic rune put on them that makes them work again. It’s expensive though,” She sighed, “We have a lot of swords though!” She quickly perked up, tail wagging, “A lot of girls have hung up their weapons and started families. Trading their spears for rings and dresses.” 
    “Huh...” He trailed off, nervously fidgeting, “Were you wanted to start your own?” 
“A family? I--” She coughed, “Every girl does, Jackson,” Her heart pounded as Jackson started to fumble over his words. Before he could speak again, the door to the store opened, “Welcome in--” The forced smile on the kobold’s face quickly turned to a scowl as she noticed the other kobold that stood in the doorway.  
She was a little bit taller than Daisy. She was also much curvier with a larger bust and ass. Her short hair and fur was a dark grey compared to Daisy’s light brown color. She wore a black leather jacket, jeans and sunglasses. She walked with swagger up to the counter, hopping up on it, “Hey, little sis,” She had a smug look on her face as she looked up at Jackson, “Oooh, whos this hunk of man meat?” She purred. 
“My friend,” Daisy growled. 
“This is?” Jackson folded his arms as he gave the ‘cooler’ kobold a blank stare. 
“My big sister, Rose.” 
“Why so much venom in your voice, little sister?” Rose cooed at her. 
“You know why.” 
“Why? Because I’m just you but better? That mom loves me more? That you’re stuck here in her shop while I’m off touring and being a rock star? That I’m living the dream?”  
“Shut up,” Daisy’s bottom lip quivered. 
Rose laughed, “So he’s just your friend?” She reached out and grabbed Jackson by the collar, pulling him close. Jackson’s blank look turned into a glare of pure animosity. She took a big whiff of his scent, “Mmmm,” She grinned, “He smells--” Rose lost her grip as she was shoved off the counter. She hit the ground with the grace of a bag of bricks, “What the hell, asshole!?” She screamed at Jackson. 
He immediately felt guilty, “S-sorry,” Jackson looked down, “I don’t know what came over me,” He did know why.  
“HAHA!” Daisy threw her head back with laughter, “Rose lost her cool!” 
The usual cool and collected Rose growled and grabbed the now nervous Jackson again, slamming his face against the glass of the counter, “You fucking dick!” He grunted in pain but didn’t fight back. 
“Let him go you bitch!” Daisy screamed, leaping over the counter at her sister. The two growled and thrashed as they clawed at each other, tearing at one another’s clothes. 
“MY JACKET!” Rose screeched as Daisy bit a massive chunk out of it. 
“Stop pulling my hair!” Daisy cried. 
“Tap out! Tap out! 
“No!” 
“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE!?” A third voice screamed louder than the two. Lily walked into the building with a furious glare. The two girls stood at attention side by side, “What is going on here? Why are my daughters thrashing on the floor?” 
“Daisy’s boyfriend--” 
“Rose grabbed--” 
“ONE AT A TIME!” Lily screeched. She looked past them at the counter, cracked and covered in blood. She growled and walked over to the damaged glass, “What the hell--” She yelped as she spotted Jackson sitting on the floor, grabbing his nose as blood gushed onto his chest, “You poor thing! Honey get the medical supplies from the back!” She went to the back of the counters and put a hand on a stunned Jackson’s shoulder, “Are you alright, honey?” 
“Urgh,” He grumbled, blinking slowly, “My jacket is ruined,” He groaned. 
“He shoved me off the counter!” Rose tattled. 
“You grabbed me and SMELLED me after shitting on Daisy!” Jackson shouted back as Lily’s husband started patching him up. He gave an apologetic smile to the injured young man. 
“You were sitting on my counter!? Look what you did!” Lily shouted at her daughter, “Hurting such a nice young man too!” Daisy had a shit eating grin on her face as her sister got chewed out, “Broke the glass! You’re paying for that, Rose!” 
“But--” 
“Not another word! Go to your room. I will talk to you later,” Rose knew better than to ignore an order like that from her mother. With a huff, she sulked into the back and up the stairs. Jackson’s bleeding had been stopped and the few cuts on his face had been bandaged up, “I’m so sorry. My daughters can be very... Temperamental.” 
“Its fine,” Jackson groaned, standing slowly. Blood pooled on the floor at his feet, “Oh, I should clean that up.” 
“If I made you clean that up yourself I would never forgive myself. My daughter made the mess so we will clean it up,” Lily sighed, “Daisy, go ahead and close up early. We have a bio-hazard clean up.” 
“Yes, mom,” Daisy did as she was told. 
“Oh, here, honey,” Lily helped Jackson take his coat off, “I’ll see what I can do about that blood. But for now, go ahead and dig through that rack over there. Anything you want, on the house.” 
Jackson frowned, “I can’t do--” 
“On. The. House,” Lily repeated. Her smile was suddenly menacing and malicious rather than kind and helpful. 
“Yeah. On the house,” Jackson laughed nervously as he quickly made his way to the clothing rack.  
Daisy wandered over to his side, “You okay?” 
He grunted, nervously glancing over his shoulder, “Yeah. Thanks,” Jackson grabbed one of the only things he could find in his size, a dark blue letterman jacket. He lifted it up at Daisy. 
“Put it on!” She excitedly demanded. He groaned and did as he was asked; he was too afraid of Lily to leave without a coat, “You look good in that! Blue is totally your color!” 
“Picked something out?” Lily asked as she finished mopping, “It looks great on you, honey!” Jackson and Daisy walked to the counter that his face had slammed into, “Well, what are you two going to do now?” 
“Bar?” Jackson asked. 
“I was thinking we could go to a restaurant. Something a little more...” She trailed off, too nervous to say what she was thinking. 
“What, romantic?” Lily laughed as her daughter’s face lit up red, “Aren’t you two just friends?” 
“W-well,” Jackson stammered, “I-I wouldn’t be opposed to doing something... Like that.” 
“REALLY!?” Daisy screamed, grabbing him, “W-we could g-go see a movie too! There’s a new movie out that I really want to see.” 
Jackson gave her a weak smile, “Sure.” 
“Go ahead and take the car, Daisy,” Lily held out the keys to the family car. 
“Thanks, mom! Come on, Jackson!” Jackson rubbed his nose and followed her outside. 
“Have fun you two!” Lily waved at them as they left before turning back to the mess. She smelled the scent of blood in the air, “Such a nice boy. Why can’t you be as sweet with me?” She pouted at her husband. 
 
    “I’m thinking about that Southern Cheese Burger,” Daisy told Jackson. She was starting to drool at the thought of eating a massive, juicy burger. He was looking around nervously at the loud crowds around them, “Are you alright, Jackson?” 
    “Y-yeah,” He stammered. 
    “What are you hungry for?” 
    “I-I don’t know yet.” 
    Daisy frowned at Jackson’s nervous and uncomfortable expression, “Are you sure you’re fine?” 
    He sighed, “I look like shit. I feel like I’m embarrassing you,” He picked at the letterman jacket he was wearing, “My face is messed up,” He replaced the blood soaked tissues in his nose, “I look like some college douche that gets into fights all the time.” 
    “That doesn’t matter to me!” Daisy smiled, “I just want to have a nice, romantic and fun evening with you!” 
    “I-- I hate to say it, but Red Robin isn’t exactly romantic,” He glanced over as a child was brought a birthday sundae. 
    “I-- But--” 
    “Hey, hey, don’t get upset,” Jackson quickly comforted her, “I’m fine eating here, just a little noisy and crowded for my liking.” 
    Daisy set down the menu and stood up, “Come on then!” 
    “Daisy I feel--” 
    “Don’t you ‘Daisy I feel bad about this,’ me, mister!” 
    Jackson clammed up. She knew him way better than he expected. She had snatched the words right from his mouth, “Where are we going then?” 
    “Somewhere else!” She took him by the arm and pulled him out of the building and into the cold air.  
    “So, to the movie then?” 
    She shook her head, “Lets go do something else. That’s gonna be really crowded too.” 
    “I’m sorry, I’ve ruined your night,” He sighed. 
    Daisy turned with a big grin on her face, “After what you did to Rose, this is the best night ever. Plus we’re hanging out! Its great tonight! I love hanging out with you, Jackson!” 
    Jackson started to chuckle, rubbing his face, “Thanks.” 
    “We gotta take the car back to my mom, but after that I know exactly where to go!” She smiled smugly.  
    “What do you wanna do for dinner before that?” 
    “I still want a burger.” 
 
    With bags of fast food in hand, the duo entered Jackson’s apartment. Daisy sat at the table and patiently waited for him to change the tissues in his nose before she started eating. Jackson wandered into his bathroom and checked his bandages. His polo shirt had a bit of dried blood on the collar. He still thought he looked like shit, but maybe a little rugged and cool to some. He wondered if Daisy thought he was cool. He returned to the main room, Daisy was staring at her fast food burger. Her stomach was rumbling, “Are you feeling okay now?” She asked before quickly unwrapping her burger and taking the biggest bite she could out of it. 
    He sighed, “I’m good now, thanks.” 
    “Then why do you look so sad?” 
    “I’m always sad,” He admitted quietly. 
    Daisy glared at him, “Eat your food,” He nodded and ate quietly. Her expression softened as she watched him slowly eat, “Jackson, I’m really worried about you,” He glanced at her, his mouth full of food, “I--” She paused, clutching herself nervously. A determined look spread across her face, “Are you willing to try something drastic and crazy to improve your demeanor?” 
    “Drastic?” He tilted his head, “I- Sure, yeah lets do it.” 
    She finished her burger and stood up, “Okay! Stand up!” He nodded and stood as Daisy cleared some space. She reached up and gently touched his face, “Don’t hate me too much. Ready?” 
    “Yeah,” Jackson was getting pumped for whatever Daisy was about to do, but he was wholly unprepared for what happened. Daisy kneed him in the stomach, knocking the wind from his lungs before wrapping her arms around his neck and throwing him on the ground onto his stomach. 
    He coughed and sputtered as he tried to stand back up. Daisy put him in a headlock and rolled him over, holding his head against her chest, “Tell me some nice things about yourself!” 
    “W-what?” He panted, struggling against the kobold’s grip. 
    “Say some kind things about yourself!” 
    “Daisy,” He whined, “I-- I don’t know... I’m only a little fat?” 
    “Jackson,” Daisy squeezed him, “Please, I love you,” There were tears rolling down her face, “But I’m afraid I’m gonna wake up one day and find out you jumped out a window. Please, I just want you to be happy,” Daisy’s hold turned into a soft hug as she started to cry, the tears falling on his face, “I-- I love you!” She caressed his head on her lap, “I know you don’t love me back, but... I can’t lose you in my life,” She begged him, squeezing him tight as she continued to sob. 
    Jackson felt something change in him, his heart beat a little faster, his body felt warm and the emotional cold that usually dominated his thoughts vanished, “Why do you think I don’t love you?” He asked. 
    “You’ve just been humoring me this whole time with your kindness and friendship. Who could love me?” 
    “I do, you silly little dog. I love you.” 
    Daisy started to cry harder as Jackson confessed his feelings for her, “Y-you’re so-- So sweet, Jackson,” She blubbered. He sat up and pulled her onto his lap, facing him. He stroked her hair and hugged her as he started to tear up. Her tail wagged violently as she cried into his neck. She slowly calmed down and began giggling softly, “I can’t believe you said it.” 
    “Yeah, well, you did too.” 
    They sat silently together, clinging to each other, “Sooo... Are we dating now?” Daisy asked sheepishly. 
    “Yeah, I guess. If you want to be.” 
    “Of course I do!” She pouted, “I want you, Jackson,” She gave him a quick kiss, “If you’re ever feeling down, just call me. I’ll tell you for hours how wonderful you are~” 
    “You can do the same if you’re ever sad, okay?” 
    “I could use some compliments right now!” 
    “U-uh, well, you’re really cute. And nice.” 
    “More! Tell me more!” 
    “A-ah, uhm...” 
 
    Daisy woke up in the middle of the night. Jackson was sound asleep under her. She reached over to her purse and grabbed her phone and a small, smooth rock covered in runes. She took the rock and rubbed it over his heart. It took in a small amount of his body heat as it began to work its magic. The small rock glowed orange making her lips curled upwards into a relieved smile. Daisy climbed out of bed and slipped on Jackson’s coat and some shoes. She grabbed his keys and slipped out into the hallway. She glanced behind her as she walked down the thin hallway and headed down a flight of stairs. She shivered as she gripped the handrail. She sat at the bottom on a concrete step and put a number into her phone. She brought it to her ear as it started to ring. 
    “Hello?” The voice on the other end yawned. 
    “Its done. The rock glowed orange,” Daisy told her quietly. 
    “Oh!” The lamia on the other end clapped her hands together excitedly, “How is he doing?” 
    “He’s doing really well, I think.” 
    “How did you bring about the change?” The amazonian butted in. 
    “I confessed my love for him,” Daisy told her. 
    “How cute!” The lamia sang, “Any closing thoughts I should write down?” 
    “No.” 
    “Good, good. Now, if you could--” 
    “I’m done,” Daisy growled, “I finished the job that your other agents started. I’ve done everything you want me to.” 
    “Y-yes, but there is still important information we could gleam from this!” 
    “No! I’m out! Find another guinea pig! I won’t let you hurt him anymore!” 
    The lamia was silent for a few moments, “We will honor your wish.” 
    “And you will uphold your end of the deal?” Daisy reminded them. 
    “Well... You didn’t completely uphold your end.” 
    “Well, I could get a story published and get your entire organization thrown behind bars. Mail me my check, keep everyone away from my man, and I want that gift card tomorrow. I’m taking my man on a date.” 
    The amazonian grunted, “Of course. Leave that rock at the bottom of the stairs, we will send someone to collect it. We’ll put the gift card through his door tonight. We never spoke,” They hung up. 
    Daisy threw the rock against the wall. Guilt wracked her heart as she stood up. She wished she had never gotten involved with those researches, but she really needed the money. She wanted to move out of town with Jackson, just to be safe. She truly love him with all her heart, but if he ever found out, he may hate her. She couldn’t let that happen. She walked into the lobby and over to a vending machine. She bought herself a Sprite and a bag of Cheez-its. She returned to her future husband’s room and cracked open the drink and downed a little bit of it before throwing it in the fridge.  
    Jackson stirred at the other end of the room and sat up, rubbing his eyes, “Something wrong?” 
    “No,” Daisy gave him a small smile, “I just needed a Sprite!” 
    “Sprite? At this hour?”     She climbed on top of him and pushed him down, “Sssh, don’t  worry about it,” She gave him a kiss on the lips, “Go back to sleep,” He  nodded and closed his eyes. Daisy rested her head on his chest,  listening to his heart beat. He ran fingers through her hair and let out  a heavy sigh. She closed her eyes as her tail started to wag softly.  Daisy slowly drifted off to sleep, daydreaming about the rest of her  life that she was determined to spend with Jackson.

Kobold’s Best Friend

 “Daisy,” Daisy opened her eyes as a somewhat exhausted voice called out to her.. 
    “Huh?” She turned to her husband, Jackson as she shook nervously and shook in her boots. 
    “Its okay,” Jackson took hold of her wrist and removed the .22 handgun from her small hands with no resistance from the kobold, “If you’re not ready, its okay,” Jackson expertly dropped the magazine and pulled back the slide on the shiney new Ruger and made sure the chamber was clear. He set the gun down with its glowing red rune facing towards the ceiling. Jackson had paid quite a bit to get the small gun back in working order. He had done it just for Daisy after having shown an interest in firearms. Her family’s pawnshop was doing really well-- so well that Lily, Daisy’s mother and owner of ‘Little Dog’s Pawn Shop,’ had looked into other business ventures. As a lot of stores had been unable to adapt to new customers, those being the new mamano citizens, had shut down. Firearm sellers and gun ranges had all shut down as the strange magic in the air had disabled all cars, guns and a few other things had all been turned off by powerful magics that constantly linger in the air. Cars would work after being modified easily by a gremlin, dwarf or any other mechanically inclined monster. Firearms needed a special rune engraved or placed on them. It was costly and needed some legal paperwork to get done. Jackson had all the needed papers, of course. He put up with it because other than needing the paperwork and rune, you could get your hands on just about any gun you wanted to. Each rune was linked to a specific individual, or in Jackson’s case, his guns were set up for multiple person use. The indoor range that Daisy and Jackson stood in was owned by Lily and ran by Jackson. He had a small collection of firearms he would rent out to customers. It wasn’t incredibly profitable. He made most of the money there doing accounting for the kobold family business he had been married into and doing paperwork for the firearm licensing, as well as selling tactical gear to young ‘tacticool’ larping lizard girls that were into airsoft or paintball. 
Jackson took the protection off his ears. It was after hours and he wanted to put a few rounds through a gun or two before closing up. Daisy had come to see him and walk him home. Jackson slipped off his eye protection and rested it on his forehead, “How are you tonight, honey?” He asked with a smile. Daisy was staring at the floor, poking her fingers together. Jackson reached over and pulled her ear protection off, “I know you can hear me.” 
    Her floppy dog ears dropped along with her tail. The little kobold timidly looked up at her husband, “I’m sorry.” 
    Jackson sighed, “Don’t sweat it. You’ll work up the courage some day.” 
    “Let me try again,” Daisy demanded with a sudden surge of confidence. 
    He grimaced, “I don’t think any less of you. You don’t need to prove anything to me. Shooting can be kind of nerve wracking your first time. Especially when you come from a world where guns never existed.” 
    She stomped her little paw-like foot in defiance. She wore boots over them, the floor here was filthy with brass and gunpowder residue, “Let me do it!” She barked, “I can do it this time!” She was uncharacteristically aggressive and pushy for a kobold, a trait she got from her mother. 
    “Alright. But if you can’t,” Jackson wracked his brain, trying to come up with some kind of push to help her do it, “you have to sweep and clean by yourself tonight.” 
    “And if I do it?” Daisy picked up the Ruger and slid the one bullet back into the magazine. 
    “What do you want?” 
    Daisy didn’t put much thought into it, “You buying dinner tonight. Anything I want.” 
    Jackson knew he would be losing a chunk of his FAL build fund, “Fine.” 
    They both put their ear protection back on as well as eye protection. Both were specifically made for Daisy’s race and those similar. Her ears were on the top of her head so the ear protection was like a hat that slid a cover under her ears. Her glasses were practically taped to the sides of her head as she had no ears there to prop them up. She felt the metal of the gun against her hands as she slid the magazine in. Carefully and gently, she pulled back the slide and watched as the bullet chambered. Jackson put his hands on her shoulders and felt her shake ever so slightly. 
    “You remember what to do?” Jackson asked. Daisy nodded and lined up the shot on a simple round target.  
Her heart pounded and her hands shook. She didn’t want to disappoint her husband, he spent so much money on this gun just for her. The trigger guard and mag release were both modified to be bigger to help her handle the gun more easily. She closed her eyes as she started putting pressure on the trigger. Her lip quivered as she feared the recoil and loud noise of the gun. She applied the pressure bit by bit until she felt a small jump in her hands. She opened her eyes. She wasn’t even sure if the gun had even gone off. She looked back at Jackson and kept the gun pointed down range. He gave her a thumbs up, “D-did it go off okay?” She whimpered, setting the gun down. 
Jackson took his place beside her on the firing line, “Yeah. See?” He pulled back the slide and showed her that the only round had been ejected. She had completely missed the target at ten yards, but that didn’t seem to matter to her. She had a big grin on her face and her tail wagged violently. Even with the ear protection on, Jackson could hear it wagging, “Such a good girl,” He gently whispered, scratching her chin, “Wanna put a few more through it?” He held up two full mags and waved them. 
    “Yes!” She grabbed his shirt collar and stood on her tippy toes to give her husband a kiss on the cheek. She gleefully took the magazines and slid a fresh one into the gun. 
 
    “I have another gift for you,” Jackson said as Daisy locked the front door behind them. She gave him a confused look. He reached into his back pocket and procured a little piece of plastic the size of a driver’s license.  
Daisy took it and turned it over in her hand and stared at it in the dim light, it was a card that secured her a spot in a conceal carry class in town. She gasped, “How did you get this!?” Her tail wagged frantically. Carrying weapons on your person at all times was an unspoken tradition in Daisy’s family going back from when they were real monsters. Now most carried small demon silver daggers rather than weapons of iron or even stone. 
    “She came in a week or two ago. We did some trading. Gave her my really nice 1911 and an old M9 for it. She wanted my Kalashnikov but I wouldn’t let her have it,” Jackson revealed his own pass. The trainer was a salamander that went by Zelda for some reason or another. She was difficult to get ahold of and was one of a few people in the state that was licensed to issue concealed carry licenses. The cards were more of IOUs to get into one of her classes. 
    “Thank you!” Daisy hugged her husband before her mind turned to her rumbling stomach, “Dinner?” She tugged on her husband’s wrist.  
    He sighed, defeated, “Yeah. My treat. Where are we headed?” The two walked hand in hand down the street. 
    “I want Red Robin!” Daisy’s eyes sparkled. 
    Jackson shook his head. He should have known. He didn’t know why he expected her to pick fancy resturaunts with expensive foods when she could watch rape ball on the TVs while eating a cheeseburger and downing a milkshake, “Of course, Daisy. You’ve got a coupon, right?” 
    “Pfft,” She scoffed as she gave him an incredulous look, “Like I’m gonna let you use it.” 
    “Daisy--” 
    “I’m joking, dear!” She laughed at her husband as he made an exhausted look, “I’ll let you use it. Just because I love you,” She winked at him. 
    “I love you too,” Jackson shook his head with a smile. 
    The duo chatted until getting to Daisy’s favorite restaurant. The big red bird branding had been replaced with a busty, freckled, short stack harpy with vibrant red feathers. Daisy, the more outgoing of the two, secured them a table by merely giving a name and number of people to the holstaurus manning the front. Jackson was worried that the staff was starting to recognize them from how often they came in. The only fear in Daisy’s mind was that she might have to wait long for her food. The two were seated nearly immediately in a booth seat. The dark wooden table looked like it had been scratched at or even chewed on by various forms of young mamano. Jackson nervously tapped on the table and menu. His innate nervousness made him uncomfortable in almost any kind of crowd. Daisy could flourish like the flower she was named after in almost any scenario. She didn’t even need to look through her menu to know what she wanted, “You look like a starving animal,” Jackson joked. 
    “I want my burger,” Daisy whined. Jackson chuckled and returned to staring at the menu. The menu stared back at him with busty harpies. Daisy glanced around the restaurant trying to see what games were on. She spotted a family across the restaurant, a lamia with her husband and their two children. A creeping terror entered her heart. She knew that lamia. Had she been noticed by her? She sat back down and stared at Jackson. Her husband was completely oblivious. That lamia was part of an organization that did a lot of shadey work a few years ago. Daisy had gotten herself involved with some research focused on ‘fixing’ Jackson when he was a nervous, miserable, loveless wreck. She needed the money and loved her husband with all her heart. She had burned those bridges ages ago and didn’t want to get involved again in some kind of horrible research. She was afraid they might hurt her, or worse Jackson, if she let anything slip. 
    “Daisy?” Jackson reached across the table and took hold of her hand, tearing Daisy from her  “I thought I was the one that looks like they’re going to vomit when we’re outside,” He squeezed her hand. 
    “J-Just-- N-nothing. I...” She had to dodge what was going on, “I’m hungry.” 
    He laughed, “I’m hungry too. Do I reek of gunpowder, honey?” 
    “Not any more than I do.” 
    “Do you-- Hey, I think I know that woman,” Jackson looked over to where the lamia’s family was, “She did those censuses when your people showed up here all that time ago.” 
    Daisy kept a lid on her panic, “R-really? I wouldn’t know.” 
    He was waiting for her to look over at them to wave at her. He shot a glance at the nervously shaking kobold. He shifted his focus to her, “Afraid of snakes?” 
    “A-a little.” 
    “I’ll try not to get her attention. Waiters walking over, you want me to order?”  
    Daisy nodded, confident that Jackson knew what she wanted. She glanced back at the lamia, unfortunately she got a glance back from her. She looked surprised but that surprise quickly shifted to a small smile and a wave. Daisy returned it and let out a relieved sigh. The huge highschool age hellhound nervously took an equally uneasy Jackson’s order. Two cheeseburger orders and a big caramel shake to split. Just how Daisy liked it. The hellhound left the couple alone again, “Honey?” Daisy meekly called out to her lover. 
    “Hm?” 
    “Can you hold my hand again?” 
    “Of course. Are you feeling better?” He extended his arm across the table and Daisy quickly thrust her hand into his, “W-was it gas? You know I don’t care.” 
    “It was nothing, Jackson!” She laughed, “I’m looking forward to spending a quiet evening at home with you.” 
    “Yeah,” He smiled, “Anything you wanna do?” 
    “We could play a game or work on that puzzle?” 
    He nodded, “Yeah, sure.” 
    The duo sat quietly, still holding hands across the table. Daisy watched her sports while Jackson continued to nervously tap on the table. She watched her husband fidget and squirm uncomfortably, “What’s got you nervous today, honey?” She asked gently. 
    “Just... Thinking.” 
    Daisy frowned and stood, knowing that he was being slightly facetious. She moved to the other side of the booth to sit next to him and help him keep his calm. She hugged his arm and gave him an assuring smile, “No need to worry, hubby. Everything is gonna be alright! I know you wish the range was doing better, but gear sales are booming!” 
    Jackson had heard this numerous times. It did help, but he still had his doubts. “Thanks, Daisy.” 
    “And don’t feel like you’re letting my mom down! She gave you that range to do with as you please! Even if you have to shut down we’ll be okay!” Daisy coughed, “I mean, she wants you to succeed. But even if it doesn’t pan out, we’ll always have new work with her around,” She got a weak smile from her husband, “Jackson,” Her usually jovial tone was replaced with a concerned, gentle voice, “You’ve done so much with that little store. My mother expected it to go under in a few months and she’s been nothing but surprised and proud of you. She gave you a little guidance but you ran with it! You’ve done such a good job by branching into other business ventures. I’m proud of you too! I love you, Jackson. Things will pan out for you.” 
    Jackson stared at the table, processing what Daisy had just told him. He took a long moment to wipe his eyes, “I-I love you too.” 
    “Hey! Hey! Cheer up! Our food is almost here!” They both received their burger and milkshake. Daisy offered the first drink to her husband. He smiled and gladly took a drink of the sweet liquid. Daisy started devouring her food like a starving beast. She might have actually been starving, at least in her own mind. Jackson stifled a small laugh as he picked up his own burger and bit into it. 
 
    “Jaaaackson!” Daisy whined as she stretched across his lap as the duo sat on the couch.  
    “What?” He asked as he sat the controller aside. 
    “Why did you let me get dessert!?” She groaned as she rolled over onto her back, “And you let me eat it aaaaaaaall...” 
    Jackson stroked the hair of his little lap dog. He knew she was just hamming it up for attention but he was all too eager to give it to her, “You deserved it. You did really good today and overcame your fears.” 
    “I need you to... To pet my belly,” She peeked at her husband’s face meekly, “T-to h-help the f-food di-digest.” 
    Jackson sighed and watched her pull her shirt up. Daisy kept her breasts covered as she expectantly stared at her husband. He placed a hand on her soft stomach. Her body shuddered as she gasped with pleasure. She loved pats more than anything, “Who's my good girl?” He whispered as he started rubbing his palm over her stomach.  
    “I am!” She laughed, “Who’s my amazing hubby?” 
    Jackson hesitated, “I-I am.” 
    “Say it like you mean it!” 
    “Sorry... I am.” 
    “I love you!” 
    “I love you too. How’s the rubs?” 
    “Soooo goood!” She moaned.  
    Jackson looked up at the TV and watched as some ads played. He lifted up his wife and placed her in a sitting up position on his lap. He pushed his hands under her shirt and rubbed her stomach with boths hands. He placed his chin on her head and kissed her scalp as she continued to happily bark. Her leg involuntarily kicked as her side was scratched. Jackson glanced around the living room. The two had been living in a good sized house for a few months now. A house with four rooms and plenty of space to start a family in. It was just them, the two of them in a big empty house after upgrading from a tiny one room studio apartment. Jackson leaned into his wife’s ear as she continued to yip and squirm at his touch, “Daisy?” He whispered as he moved his hands down her to her hips, “Feeling better?” 
    “Yes. Thank you,” She breathed heavily as she tried to catch her breath after a relentless torrent of pats and kisses. She turned around where she sat to face her husband. She kissed him on the chin and rested her head on his shoulder.  
    “D-Daisy...” 
    “Huh? What is it?” She waited for an answer, “You’ve got that tone in your voice.” 
    “W-well... We...” 
    “Jackson,” She cupped his face with her hands, “What’s wrong?” 
    “Well... You know we still need to repay your mom for everything she’s done for us,” Jackson was trying to blame his innate, carnal desire on another person. 
    All color drained from Daisy’s face. She knew he was right, “Y-yeah... But we just moved in and we should take our time...” She wanted children too, more than anything in her life right now. 
    “Its been like, three months, honey.” 
    “I-I know.” 
    The two sat silently for a time before Jackson finally spoke up, “Did I ever tell you about when I first met your mom?” 
    “No, I don’t think you did...” 
    “Well, she came in talking about how worried about you she was then we talked for a bit. She asked me to give her grandchildren with you.” 
    “What!? No, there's no way she said that!” Daisy laughed, a bit of the stress being relieved. 
    “She did! She just says what she wants and expects to get it,” Jackson laughed too, “She’s helped us both so much. I doubt any of your sisters are going to give her any grandchildren soon. I’ve met them and their husbands.” 
    “B-but...” She moved her hands to his shoulders and closed her eyes, “I-I’m scared of being a mom.” 
    Jackson hugged his small, sniffling kobold wife to his chest, “I’m absolutely terrified too.” 
    “W-we used to stay up late at night and talk about having our own little puppies.” 
    “You would go on and on for hours at night and talk about how you wanted to theme their names and dress them in little outfits.” 
    “Y-yeah, I did. Jackson. Should we... Try tonight?” 
    He had never met a monster girl more apprehensive about sex than his wife. He found her nervousness and embarrassment completely adorable, “Sure,” He slowly agreed.  
    Daisy pressed her lips against her husband’s, “We-- We should start. Right now. Before we change our minds again.” 
    Jackson made an unsure noise and frowned, “Well I guess... To the bed?” 
    She shook her head, “No. Here. On the floor, pants off,” He knew that tone well and knew to do as she commanded. He stripped down to his underwear and stood by awkwardly as his wife did the same. Daisy grabbed his junk and gave it a teasing squeeze, “H-How are ya feelin’, big boy?” She asked. 
    “P-pretty good... You, uh, sexy lady,” He gave a nervous chuckle. 
    “Lay on your back for me, handsome,” As soon as Jackson was on his back, Daisy was straddling him. She rubbed up against his erect shaft with a little nervous smile on her face. She pulled off her bra revealing her shapely breasts. She then took her underwear off and presented her nude body to her husband, “I-I’m gonna take your underwear off now,” She informed her husband before gripping the hem of his briefs. 
    She hesitated staring at the bulge in his pants. Jackson frowned, “Are you--” 
    “Yes! I’m going to do it!” She snapped. 
    “Daisy, calm down. Take some deep breaths and step back. We don’t NEED to do this right now. Its okay.” 
    Daisy felt devastated. She wanted a family so bad, but her fear and doubts made her hesitate. She closed her eyes and tried to find some sort of power or confidence deep down in her heart, “No,” She had a sudden surge of confidence, “I want to start my family, Jackson, I want you in me,” She pulled the briefs down and grabbed her husband’s semi-erect penis. She stroked it gently with both hands, “You’re giving me puppies. Tonight.” 
    Jackson gulped and nodded his head, “O-okay, honey. I-I think I’m ready too.” 
    “You had better be,” She grinned nervously as she straddled her husband, “I love you,” She reminded him. 
    “I love you too.” 
    “Okay, now... We... Fuck... Right?” She took his cock in her hand and stood in straight up and eased herself down onto it. She gasped as the head penetrated her. Jackson relaxed his muscles and laid back. He gently placed his hands on her hips to help stabilize her. Daisy grabbed his hands and moved them to her breasts, she held them there as she pushed herself further down the shaft. Jackson gave her breasts a firm squeeze as a moan escaped his lips. Daisy gasped as she hit the hilt of his member, her face was flush, she was breathing heavily and she needed more. She rose up a bit and brought herself back down more quickly, starting to get into a rhythm of her love. As her speed increased, so did her moans and yips of pleasure, “J-Jackson,” She whimpered his name. Without another word, she took her husband’s hands and interlocked her fingers with his. Her speed picked up as her hips slapped against his. The lewd, wet slapping noise increased in volume as her lust and hunger for more rose at the same rate. Her husband’s moaning made her grin as she moaned right alongside him. She leaned down and wrapped her arms around her husband’s neck, “Cum in me, right now, please,” She moaned as she nibbled on his ear. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her in place as he started thrusting in her. Daisy howled with pleasure as her own orgasm neared, “Now! Please!” She begged as her body convulsed and pussy desperately tried to squeeze every last drop out of him. Jackson grunted as Daisy’s grib began choking him with how tightly she was gripping, “I love you, I love you so much,” She panted, “We’re going to have so many beautiful children.” 
    “I love you too,” Jackson groaned. He pet his wife’s head as her tail wagged happily.  
    “Honey, you made a mess!” She laughed as she dismounted from her husband’s cock. He was too out of breath to argue. Daisy rested her head on his shoulder, “I’m so excited to start a family with you,” She caressed her husband’s body gently. Jackson smiled at her and pet her head as he continued to pant. Daisy basked in the aftersex warmth of her husband’s body.
     Jackson shook his head as Daisy’s breathing became regular and  she snored softly. Jackson gently rolled her off of him and picked her  up and held her against him. He took her to their bed and laid her down  gently. He used a warm, damp rag to clean her up before slipping some  panties and one of his t-shirts onto her. His wife snored loudly as she  fell deeper into her slumber. Jackson put on some shorts and crawled  into bed with her. The tiny kobold smiled as she got kissed on the  forehead. Jackson closed his own eyes, exhausted and sore from how hard  Daisy had slammed her own hips against him. His wife nuzzled up against  him as he wrapped his arms around her. He scratched her behind the ear  before giving her another kiss and drifting off to sleep himself.

2 responses to “Man’s Best Friend”

  1. Pretty nice. Is there a reason why you left the plot hook with Daisy working together with the Monstergestapo untouched? There is potential for some solid drama there.

    Like

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