Wolf Pack BDSM Club #4

Richard lay on top of his sub, panting hot and heavy into his face. Nathaniel was pinned down helplessly on the black matted floor. His master’s hands were on his wrists, both to hold him down but also to massage a pressure point to calm him in this trapped position. Richard had achieved the perfect balance of this over years of being a Dominant in the club.


But this time, his submissive was thrilled to be trapped beneath him. “Tell me how it feels, Sir?” he begged his master.


Richard shook his head. “I’d rather sh-show you. Huhh!” His great black nose, tinted a little red, nuzzled the rabbit’s face, rubbing against the little pink nose. “Huh! Uhhh-SHOOO! Sniff! Just imagine… sniff!Sniff!  Imagine this big bad cold of mi-mine in that tiny little sniff nose of yours. Hah Hah HAH-URSchhhhhhhhh!


The rabbit twitched his nose and whimpered happily.


“Ohhh, sniffffff I think you’re gonna catch my terrible, wonderful cold. Snifff! You won’t be able to help it after I sn… I sn-sn-sneeze all huh over you-huh-huh-SHUHhhhhh!


“Master,” Nathaniel was almost out of breath himself from excitement. “Your nose is running so much. You’re all sniffly. Please let me help you!”


Richard nodded in agreement, but he didn’t release his sub. His thighs tightened on either side of Nathaniel’s and his thumbs worked small circles into Nathaniel’s wrists. “If… if you… if… uhhhh! Huh! HUHSHOOO! Sniff! If you idsist.” Richard sniffed long and hard as he ran his nose back and forth against the soft, warm fur of his sub’s cheek.


Nathaniel moaned happily.


“With this cold, I’ll make you sneeze for days. And every sniff every sniff every single time you sneeze, you’ll think of me.”


Nathaniel moaned again, nodding his head emphatically. “Yes, Sir. I won’t forget.”


“It’ll be me making you sneeze, even when we’re not tuh-together. Hah-HakkCHIHHHHH!


Nathaniel cried out, his body straining not to get away but to get even closer. But Richard held him down well, masterfully. “I always want us to be together,” Nathaniel cried.


Grinning, Richard rubbed his nose against Nathaniel’s again. “I… I...” He wasn’t able to finish. “Huhhh-UHSHHHHHH! H’KSHOOO! HUHSHHHHH!” Gasping, sniffing, coughing a little even, Richard pulled back and finally reached for a tissue from the box next to them.


Obediently, his sub lay there as if he was still being held. Nathaniel watched him blow his nose with a look of jealousy and reverence and something else Airabella recognized all too well.


With a sigh, Airabella leaned back from the monitor. She turned and caught Bertrum's eye across the room. “We've got a problem with Richard.”


Bertrum rubbed a paw over his gray speckled face. “Is it the sneezing again? I thought that was going all right for him.” He crossed the room to her and placed hands on her shoulders as he leaned over to see what she was watching.


Richard and his sub lay side-by-side on the mat, a box of tissues between them. Richard wound up, breath hitching, and sneezed. He pulled a few tissues from the box and wiped his nose. Then he wiped his sub's face for him. His touch was tender, gentle, loving.


Bertrum sighed. “You're right. That is a problem. I'll get one of the subs to summon him to the office as soon as he's free tonight.” He shook his head. “He's such a great Dominant. I'd hate to lose him.”


“He's so fantastic with first time submissives—all his submissives, really.” Airabella nodded in agreement.




It was almost an hour before Master Richard appeared before them in the Alpha's private office. He was freshly showered, a few beads of water still clinging to his brown fur, but he still obviously looked sick. He tried to disguise this, though, as he stood in front of the desk in the office as if nothing were wrong. “Hello, Mrs. A, Mr. B.” As there was no chair on his side of the desk, he stood with his paws behind his back and his head tilted down toward their seated forms.


“Hello, Richard.” Airabella's tone was light and sweet. She cared about everyone in her pack so deeply, and she knew this was going to be a difficult conversation if emotions got away from them too early. “How are you?”


“I'm f... fine,” he finished hesitantly.


She cocked her head. “Really? You're not ill?”


He opened his mouth to respond but seemed to not know what to say. As much as he didn't want to admit he was ill, he couldn't lie to his Alphas.


“Come here, please.” With his ears flat back against his head and his tail tucked between his legs, he walked forward and leaned against the desk. Obediently, he leaned forward even further. Airabella touched her paw to his nose and he winced, instinctively pulling his sore, chapped nose away. His nose had felt dry and warm to her, though. There was no mistaking that. “You've got a cold, Richard. Maybe even a bit of fever.”


He nodded and shrugged and sniffed.


Bertrum forward and folded his paws on the desk. “You know we're going to have to remove you from the schedule until you get better. We can't have you getting the Doms, subs, or clients sick.”


Richard stared down at the desk, not meeting their eyes.


“Apart from Nathaniel, of course.”


Richard's head snapped up, eyes wide. “You don't understand... I... he... huhhh... he wanted… huhhhhh…” He dug a tissue out of his pocket and turned to the side. He wasn't about to get his Alphas sick either. “Uhhhhh HIHSHOO! Uh… sniff! Excuse me,” he mumbled.


“Bless you,” Airabella said. “Don't worry, Richard. We know all about Nathaniel's request and your scene tonight with him.”


He dabbed at his nose with the tissue. “You do? Sniff! You were watching?”


She nodded. “We know all about you catching Nose's cold. We know about all your scenes with Nathaniel over the past eight months. And we know you're in love with him.”


Richard recoiled, coughed, and tried to hide the looks of terror and confusion on his face. “With all due respect—”


“The more you protest, the more obvious it is to us,” Bertrum said. “Frankly, it's been obvious for a long while.”


Shaking his head, Richard tried again to explain. “No... I think you misunderstand. I put my heart into my relationships with all my subs, even the... first timers. It's impor... important to me to... to... excuse me-huh! My cold… I have to…” He fumbled for another tissue from his pocket. “huhhh-UHShhhoo! HUHSHOO!” He rubbed at his nose but winced a little because it was so sore. He cleared his throat and tried again to explain. “It's important to me to put emotion and feeling into a scene with any of my subs. That doesn't mean I... love... Sniff! I mean, I enjoy working with Nathaniel. He's a born submissive. He makes it so easy to be a Dominant. But that doesn't mean I'm in love.”


Airabella  narrowed her eyes. “No? What it is then?”


“It’s… it’s just lust. And kink. With caring… and respect… and trust… and…”


“Richard,” Bertrum said, “Stop fighting us on this and start owning the fact that you're capable of loving someone more deeply. That's just as beautiful a thing as being a professional Dom.”


“It...” He seemed to deflate right before their eyes. He looked defeated, lost. And that wasn't what the Alphas had meant to do at all. Airabella got up and put her arms around him. He tried to pull back. “I'm sick...”


“I know. But sometimes even a Dom needs a hug.” She gave him a tight, reassuring squeeze before pulling away and sitting on the edge of the desk in the front. She leaned back on her straight arms and gave a deep sigh. “Oh, Richard. What are we going to do with you, hmm? Falling in love with your submissive is a problem for us. But the fact that he's in love with you, presents you with a choice.”


“He's...” Richard swallowed. “Is he really?”


“Sweetie, he would do anything for you. Everyone can see it.”


“Because he's a sub.”


“Because he's your sub. Because he loves you.” Airabella cocked her head again. She had a way of looking at anyone that made them believe whatever she said. “Which means you're going to have to choose between the pack and Nathaniel, between a job working here as a Dom and a life outside with a devoted lover.”


Bertrum added, “Luckily, you have some time to think while you recover from your head cold.”


Richard nodded. “Can I... talk to Nathaniel about this?”


Airabella gave a laugh. “Of course! Talk to whoever you like—Doms, subs, anyone you trust. If you need to talk with any of the Alphas about this, we're here for you. You're not the first Dom to fall in love with a client. Above all, I encourage you to talk to him. You need to make sure he isn't married with three children.” Richard gave a start. “Like I said, you're not the first, and you won't be the last.”


With a paw to his muzzle, Richard quickly turned to the side again. “Excuse... huh! Huh! HUH-KTChooo! UhhhTCHOO! Uhhh... excuse be agaid.” He dug another tissue out of his pocket and blew his nose.


“Go get some rest,” Bertrum told him. “Have some medicine. Ask Howl to make you some tea. And go take care of your cold.”


Richard snuffled and wiped his nose. “Thank you, Mr. B. And thank you, Mrs. A.” He shuffled out of the office, still rubbing his nose.


Bertrum stood and came around the desk. Airabella leaned into him, putting her head on his shoulder. He rubbed her back. “Poor dear. He's really got it bad, doesn't he?”


“He'll make the right decision in the end.”


Bertrum nodded. “I'd better have Felix start putting together a list of his regular clients. They'll need to be contacted. And we'll have to let Jessamyn know not to send any subs his way while he's out sick.” 




Nibbling on a jam-covered piece of toast and clutching a large travel mug of coffee, Winston headed into the control room for his shift. “Anything happen this morning?” he asked as he settled into one of the rolling chairs and surveyed the monitors. He liked starting out by taking in where everyone was. Today, the kitchen was full of Doms and subs eating breakfast. There were a few Doms playing video games in the rec room. There were a few subs in the living room gossiping over coffee. Winston scanned all the monitors and asked, “Is he up yet?”


Theodore shook his head. “No drama, and he hasn’t come out of his room. He’s probably sleeping in. I don’t think anyone but the Alphas know yet. Speaking of which…” He gestured vaguely behind him. “I give him three days, ‘cause he’s head over heels.”


Winston looked over at the whiteboard. Instead of notes left by one monitoring shift for the other, there was a three week calendar grid. Winston recognized it as this month and could already see that his fellow Alphas had started placing their names on the calendar along with the words ‘staying’ and ‘leaving.’ Winston found today’s date and, three days later, spotted Theodore’s name and ‘leaving.’ He could hardly believe there was a pool for this already. But he quickly walked over and added his name in a blank space five days out along with the word ‘staying.’


“You’re crazy, man. He loves Nathaniel.”


“Course he does,” Winston agreed taking his seat again. “But he loves his pack more. He loves being a Dom. Where’s he gonna go work after this, McDonald’s?” He made a derisive noise. Winston finished off the toast and washed it down with a gulp of black coffee. He leaned back in the chair and took in all the monitors on the main wall at once. The scene room monitors were over on the other wall, but it was early in the day and no one was using them yet. He noticed a few Doms head to the gym for morning workouts; it was always enjoyable to watch Doms pushing each other harder on the indoor track or on the machines. And no one could beat Andy in weight lifting.


“Oh, get this! He’s up. And he’s headed for Nose.”


Winston abandoned the gym monitor and rolled right over to where Theodore sat. “Turn the volume up!” He nudged Theodore’s arm until Theodore had the volume up.


Nose was curled in a beige armchair, drinking what was probably his usual ginger-lemon tea with honey and reading a book on his kindle. Morning sun streamed in through the living room window on his right and Richard was headed straight for the empty armchair across from him.


“Hey, Nose.”


Nose’s head snapped up and he blinked. “G’morning, Master Richard. Ah… looks like you caught my cold?”


Richard nodded. “Yeah, it’s a doozy. Been sneezing my head off.”


A smile played at the corners of Nose’s mouth. “That’s, ah, a good thing for you, right?”


Looking only slightly embarrassed and mostly pleased, Richard nodded again. “Right. Nathaniel came in last night and… it was good. No, God, it was magnificent. It was everything I could have hoped for. But then…” He hesitated and rubbed a paw absentmindedly at his muzzle. “Then the Alphas called me to their office.”


Frozen with fear, Nose stared at him.


“You’re not in trouble,” Richard quickly explained. “Neither am I, actually. But…” He trailed off, and for a moment Winston thought he just needed to sneeze. He took a tissue out of the box and pressed it to his face. But then Winston leaned forward and could see wetness in the wolf’s amber eyes.


Nose set his kindle down on the arm of his chair and leaned forward. “Hey… what’s wrong?”


Richard looked back at him, sniffling and wiping away tears before they could fall. “Nose… what does it feel like to be in love?”


Nose hung his head for a few seconds, and when he lifted it again, Winston could see the smile on it. “You figured it out finally, did you?”


“Mrs. A and Mr. B told me.”




“You knew?” He swiped at his nose. His muzzle was twitching. There was obviously a tickly sneeze on its way.


Nose nodded. “Wasn’t my place to say anything. But the way you are when you’re together…” He didn’t finish because Richard’s breath was hitching, but he probably didn’t need to.


Tissue already in hand, Richard cupped his paws to his snout. “uhhhhh huhhh-UHShhheoooo! Huhhh-UHSHOOO!” He didn’t open his eyes after the sneeze, looking both pleased and miserable for having sneezed.


“Bless you.”


“Thanks. Sniff! SNIFF!” He gave his nose a little bitty blow, just a small snuffle, really. Then he leaned sideways, pressing his face into the plush of the armchair where the winged back stuck out on the side.


“Master Richard, I’ve always been honest with my Doms. Lewis wouldn’t tolerate anything less, even if he didn’t want to hear what I had to say. May I be honest with you now?”


He opened his eyes and gave a little nod of his head against the chair wing.


“What you and your sub have is special. I could see it right away. It’s amazing when two dynamics just click the right way, but the affection you have for each other is a whole other level of beautiful. If you are being given a chance to have it forever, I think you owe it to yourself and to your sub to pursue it. Love at the core of a scene is hotter and stronger than any kink. Love shared in a relationship is the most wonderful feeling. It’s been two years since I lost Lewis, and I still love him as much today as I did when he was holding me in his arms or having me kneel beside him with my cheek on his thigh. I love it here at the club, but I’d never trade any lifestyle for what we had together. It can’t even compare.”


He blinked and sniffed. “But… I love being a Dom. I’m not sure I want to give that up.”


Nose laughed loudly. It was such a startling sound Winston rolled back an inch in his chair and Richard sat straight up, eyes wide. “Silly wolf,” Nose laughed. “You’re always going to be a Dom. That’s part of your nature. You couldn’t stop being a Dom if you tried. What changes is that instead of being a Dom to every random man who walks in here, you get to be a Dom to the one man who you’ll know inside and out, to the one man you love and are devoted to, to the one man who wants nothing more than to please you and only you as his master forever. Instead of playing out a scene and acting as a Dom for a couple hours, you get to be a Dom every second of every day.”


Overwhelmed, Richard looked like he didn’t know what to say to this. He shivered, even though he was wearing a sweater over his button-down shirt. His breath caught and eyes closed. “huhh… huh uhhh huh huh huhh HUH HUHHSHOO!” He sneezed into another tissue. But he didn’t stop there. “HUH HUHH-CHISHHHH! HUH-SHUHH!


“Master Richard?”




“Better blow your—”


HUH-IHSHOOO! HAHSHOOO! HAH HUHHH HUHHHSHOOO!” His body shook with every strong sneeze.


Nose leaned forward and placed a paw on Richard’s knee, trying to get his attention. “Mas—”




“Damn it.” Nose reached further forward and stuck his paw into Richard’s pocket. He pulled out a whole wad of tissues and he knocked Richard’s hands away in order to press the tissues to Richard’s nose. “Blow, Sir!”


Richard coughed and snuffled and sneezed again. “Huh-UHSHHHOOO!


“Blow your nose!” the sub repeated.


And, this time, though coughing, Richard managed it. His paws took over for Nose’s as he got his breathing better under control. He blew his nose until his shoulders sagged and he relaxed back into the armchair. “Thanks,” he said weakly. “Pushy sub, giving me orders?”


Nose gave another laugh. He looked around to make sure he couldn’t be overheard by any of the subs or Doms in the room before whispering, “You know, Nathaniel would have loved doing that for you.”


Richard sniffled and stared at Nose for a few moments. Then his head tipped forward again, into the tissues. “huhhh-URSHUHHHH!” He winced as he gave his nose another strong blow.


Concerned, Nose patted his knee again. “Hey, have you gone to the doctors yet? I mean, I know you like sneezing, but they’ve got medicine to take the edge off. Your voice sounds really rough, and you look a little feverish.”


Richard shook his head.


And Nose tensed. “You owe me a favor.”


Richard lowered the tissues. “What?”


“I did you a favor, so you owe me. And now I’m going to collect. I want you to promise me to see a doctor.”




“I mean it. We all have choices to make in life, and this is mine. I want you to go to the clinic and take whatever they give you. Promise me.”




“Promise me, or I’m calling an Alpha to come here right now.” He lifted his head, looking around, and then stared straight at the camera.


Winston felt like Nose was staring right at him; he chuckled. “Clever pup.”


“All right,” Richard relented. “All right, I’ll go to the clinic.” He gave a massive yawn into the side of the chair and snuffled again. “But maybe a nap first. I’m beat.”


“Fine,” Nose agreed. “But you’d better not forget to go. If word gets around that you broke your promise to a sub, you’ll have bigger issues to deal with here in the pack.”


Richard smiled. “I do believe you’re blackmailing me.”


“Whatever it takes. Just think of how guilty I’d feel if your fever spikes and you pass out on the stairs or if this cold develops into a sinus infection or bronchitis. I would be devastated.”


“I’ll go,” Richard promised. “Sniff! Sniff! After I get some more tissues and some sleep.”


Another laugh. He had a kind laugh, Nose did. “Take care and feel better, Sir. Don’t make me sorry I gave you my cold.”


Richard got up and headed out of the room. Winston and Theodore both watched him on the monitors as he headed down the hall and then up the two flights to the Doms’ floor. He headed to his room and went inside, shutting the door behind, which was as much as their cameras could track.


“Think we should make a note about that?” Theodore asked? “Make sure he goes to see Morris or Rosie or Douglas today?”


“Nah,” Winston said. “If he gets bad enough, whoever’s on duty here will send a doctor to him anyway. But I don’t think he’ll break his promise.” Winston glanced back at the whiteboard, wondering if Theodore would notice if he changed his guess from ‘staying’ to ‘leaving.’




“There,” Douglas said, fitting the wrist support over Leon’s paw and lower arm. “Have you been doing the stretching exercises I showed you? Shaking your hand out regularly?”


Leon didn’t meet his gaze.


“Oh, you Doms always think you know best. Heaven forbid you listen to an Alpha with a medical degree who has your best interests at heart. And where did it get you?”


“Mr. D… I just forgot…”


“Ah. Well, how about remembering three times a day for the next two weeks.”


Lifting his hand, Leon winced. “How about some painkillers?”


“Nothing stronger than a regular dose of Advil. It’ll get better in time if you rest it and do the exercises. Keep the support on all day as long as it hurts, and all night if you sleep on your side.”


Leon snorted. “Oh, that’s gonna go over real well. When a sub needs a spanking, I’m just supposed to explain to him I need to rest my arm? Or I’ll have to bring in another Dom to discipline him for me?”


“You can do whatever you like,” said Douglas. “But I’d recommend wearing long sleeves and practicing swinging a paddle with your left.” Too much spanking was what had gotten him into trouble in the first place.


With a sigh, Leon hopped down from the table. He winced and held his right arm to his chest.


“If the pain and inflammation get any worse at all, come back right away and we’ll reevaluate. We can try physical therapy or injections, but surgery is our last resort.”


“Surgery?” Leon said with a bit of a whimper.


Douglas clapped him on the back a few times. “Like I said: last resort. Don’t worry. If you do what I say, there’s no reason it won’t get better with time.”


“Thanks, Mr. D.” Leon headed for the door, passing Richard in the doorway. Leon gave him a look, like he had a million questions for him. He looked him up and down, though, and seemed to decide his questions could wait. “You all right?” he asked softly.


Richard nodded, panting a little, straightening up so he didn’t look so miserable. “Will be. Snrt! Bad cold. You?” He glanced at the wrist support.


“Will be,” Leon echoed then headed out of the clinic.


“C’mon over here,” Douglas waved Richard over and patted the exam table. Rosie wasn’t working tonight and Morris was off in a scene room taking care of a couple who hadn’t been playing as safely as they were supposed to. Tail had reported it right away, just as he should, but it meant Douglas was covering the clinic alone for a while. “That cold finally get to you?”


Richard nodded, mouth open, panting.


Douglas felt his nose then the back of his ears, frowning. “You’re really warm.” He reached for a thermometer “Can you breathe through your nose at all?”


“Dot really. I… huh!” His eyes snapped shut and nostrils flared.


“Oh no. You’re not sneezing all over my clinic. Here.” He shoved a box of tissues at Richard.


Blindly, Richard pulled a few out and held them up to his muzzle. “huhhh-uhhptxxxsh!” he coughed and snuffled congestedly and didn’t open his eyes.


Douglas traded the oral thermometer for the ear sort. It went uncomfortably deep and wasn’t always as accurate, but at least Richard would be able to keep breathing. It was pretty fast as well. A few beeps later, the numbers 104 popped up on the reader. It wasn’t extreme yet, but anything over 102 was troublesome. Gently, Douglas removed it and set it down to be disinfected later. “Are you keeping food down all right?” Douglas asked, and Richard nodded. “Well, that’s something to be grateful for at least.” He got a cold bottle of water out of the fridge, cracked the cap off it, and handed it over. “Drink slowly. Just sip and keep sipping. Unless you need to sneeze, and then cover your nose and mouth, then go back to sipping.” Richard nodded again. Douglas checked a few cabinets and found a stack of washcloths. He wet one in the sink then pressed it to the back of Richard’s neck, holding it there. “Okay… we’ll just give this a little time. I might have to keep you here overnight. But you’ll be all right. I promise.” He flipped the washcloth over, so it was cool against Richard’s neck again.


Richard smiled weakly. “Heh. A Dob dever breaks his… his brobises. Hept!” He grabbed for another tissue. “huhhh-uh-shxxxt! Huh-shgxxxtt!” He winced at each painful sneeze. Then he panted, trying to catch his breath. Feeling anxious and twitchy, not knowing what else to do, he took another sip of the water.


“Good boy. Keep drinking that. You sound terribly stuffed-up. I’m going to see what I can do for your sinuses.” Douglas rubbed his paws together to warm them, and then he laid a gloved paw on Richard’s muzzle and started massaging. Richard exhaled sharply and coughed, trying to pull his head away. “Did you feel pain?”


Richard shook his head and tried to sniff, but his nose was too blocked. “Snrtt!


 “I know it feels strange and intense at first, but trust me on this.” He kept rubbing, putting pressure on certain parts as he did so. Richard’s eyelids drooped. His nostrils flared again. His muzzle twitched. But Douglas kept massaging in small circles. He flipped the cool cloth over again with his other paw.


After a few minutes of massaging, Richard looked like he might fall asleep. Douglas quickly capped the bottle just in case. He took it out of Richard’s paw and replaced it with a handful of tissues. Richard’s eyes fluttered open for a moment, not wanting to stay like that. “Let me try just one more thing.” He pressed his warm palm against the tip of Richard’s nose. He rubbed in a clockwise motion five, ten, fifteen, twenty times. Then he switched to counter-clockwise five, ten, fifteen, twenty more times.


When he pulled his paw away, he could see Richard’s nose starting to run. He guided Richard’s paw with the tissues up to his nose just in time to catch a wet, productive sneeze. “uhh-HUHKSchhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh… sniff!” Quickly, he blew his nose and sighed deeply afterward.


Douglas smirked. “See? Didn’t I tell you? Can you breathe a little better now?”


Richard nodded. “Better.”


“Good.” He handed the bottle back. He got the washcloth wet again with cold water and pressed it to the nape of Richard’s neck again. Richard shivered initially then breathed out deeply. “That’s it. Slow and steady. Just relax.” He had just about relaxed properly when the door to the clinic opened again.


Richard sat up straight, hiding the tissues behind his leg, pulling the cloth away from the back of his neck.


We both looked over to see one of the newer subs with a hand pressed to the side of his head. “A rhino overreacted, bolted, knocked me hard into a wall. Head hurts. Alphas wanted to make sure I don’t have a concussion or somethin’.”


For privacy, Douglas drew a curtain around the table where Richard sat. He put the cold washcloth back in place. “I’ll be back in a couple minutes. Keep drinking.”


He disposed of his gloves, washed his hands, and put on fresh gloves. Then he guided the sub to an exam table on the other side of the room.




Airabella knocked on Richard’s bedroom door. She heard coughing and footsteps. The door unlocked and opened a crack as if by magic. One amber eye inspected her. Then the door swung wide to let her in. She slipped inside and closed it behind her as Richard was already retreating into the nest of blankets and pillows on his bed. He turned in a circle, settled down, and pulled some of the blankets over his lap and shoulders to keep warm.


As the bedrooms weren’t meant for visitors, there was nowhere else for her to sit. So she settled on the end of the bed. “How are you doing?”


Several blankets rose along with his shoulders as he shrugged. “Dod’t dow…”


“Ah. Maybe I was too general with my question. First, how’s your cold?”


“A lot better. Fever’s gode. Throat’s dot so sore. It’s bostly just the sdeezig.”


She smiled slyly. “And that part you like, right?”


He hid his face behind a blanket as he nodded. “Yes, Brs. A. Sniff!


“Good. Second question, then. How’s your decision about leaving or staying coming along?”


He shook his head and poked it out from the blankets again. “I…” But as soon as he began, he had to stop. “Excuse be. I have to huh have to Huh-uhh!” He buried his nose in tissues. “huhhh-uhhTIHShhuhh! Uhhh-HIHShhhhhhh!” He snuffled into the tissues but didn’t indicate that he wanted to be left alone to do whatever the heck he did when he was sneezy and alone.


So Airabella stayed put. “Bless you. You were saying?”


“Oh sniff! Right. I talked with Dathadiel. Sniff! Sniff! With by sub. A lot.”


“And is he married with three children? Or more? He is a rabbit, isn’t he?”


Richard laughed. “Doe childred. He’s dot barried. Dot seeig adyode. Id fact, he’d give dub od a relatiodshib altogether before he started cobig to the club.”


“And then he fell in love with his Dom.”


This time, Richard nodded. “That’s what he said. He said he had’t wadted to but…”


“But it just happened? He couldn’t help loving you?”


Richard nodded again.


“And what did he say when you told him how you feel about him?”


Richard was silent. Well, not entirely silent. He sniffed a little.


And Airabella felt a bit of worry flutter in her chest. “You… did tell him, right?”


Richard sniffed. “I did. I told hib everything. He said it’s by decisiod, but he wadts be. Said I cad bove right idto his blace. Said we cad go tissue box shobbig together—which… yes, that souds stradge but…”


“But, to you two, it’s romantic. I get it. So you’re feeling overwhelmed?”


Richard nodded. “Yes. That’s it. Add other thigs…”


“Richard, you’ve been part of my pack for…” She did the quick math. “Eight years. You went from home to college to here. You’ve never lived with a mate. You’ve never had another job. All your needs have been taken care of for you by the pack here—room, food, healthcare, entertainment, workload, even your daily schedule. Of course you’re feeling worried about leaving, maybe even terrified or useless.” And he was a Dom, so he’d never admit any of that to anyone except, perhaps, his Alphas. In fact, he couldn’t even bring himself to look at her when he nodded yes. “Plus, you’re not feeling too good, so everything you feel is suddenly more extreme and out of control, and you don’t have your work to distract you from all of this.” She reached out, searching through the blankets, and found his paw. Airabella gripped it in her own. “I’m not going to lie. It’s not easy out there in the world. But if you find someone you can face challenges and hardships with, not just experience fun with, then the struggle doesn’t feel so hard.”


He squeezed back and looked into her eyes again. “How do I know if he’s subode like that?”


“I’m not sure you can know unless you give it a try and give him a chance. Sometimes you don’t know if there’s someone there to catch you until you jump. Here with the pack, we’ll catch you every single time. Out there… sometimes you have to have faith in someone else. Sometimes you even have to catch yourself. But playing it safe forever isn’t necessarily rewarding. Sometimes the best things are worth the fight. Sometimes the best things are worth the risk.”


Richard just sat there, looking so lonely and conflicted and even more worried. Airabella couldn’t stand it. She scooted over and wrapped her arm around him, blankets at all. She pulled him against her and rubbed his arm through the blankets. She gave him a tiny nip on the neck and felt him snuggle into her instinctively, calming, feeling cared for.


“I’ll support you, whatever you decide.”


He whimpered and nuzzled closer. Then his whole body tensed and he scrambled for tissues. “uhhh-HIHTchhhhh! HIHShoooo! Sniff! Excuse be.”


She rubbed his arm through the blankets as he relaxed back against her. After grabbing one of his pillows and putting it in her lap, she nudged him to lie down. Then she pet his head with firm, slow strokes. “Take all the time you need to decide.” This decision could mean losing Richard forever. And as much as she hated to lose a member of her pack, she knew it was his choice and she would have to let him make it.


They stayed that way for a long while. And just when she was wondering if he was falling asleep, he spoke up again. “What about by other subs if I leave? Will I be allowed to exblaid or say goodbye?”


And that was when she knew what his choice would ultimately be. “The Alphas will contact them to let them know the situation. If they want a new Dom, we’ll make sure they have one here. If they want to say goodbye to you, we’ll arrange for them to do so. Some will be happy for you. Others might feel let down or even jealous. But this isn’t the first time we’ve been through this. We know how to handle many different reactions.” He was a good Dom to be concerned about them. Airabella knew her pack would certainly be weakened when he left.




Normally, Norman liked a good party. There were always plenty of excuses for the pack to have one—the arrival of a new member, a holiday, a birthday. But there was too much of a bittersweet feeling to farewell parties to really enjoy them. In all his time in the pack, he’d only attended a handful of them, but he would have been happy to never attend another. Losing a member of the pack was like losing a limb. They would learn to cope. Eventually, they wouldn’t even feel the loss. But they would always remember it.


The best way to cope at a farewell party, Norman decided, was to get drunk. Normally, alcohol wasn’t permitted in the club. No one participating in a scene was allowed to have had a drink the same day. But during parties, the drinks were plentiful.


He spotted Richard across the room, laughing with a bunch of Doms. They were talking and shoving, even play wrestling each other a little. Looked like they were having fun. Norman got himself another drink, intending to try to have fun as well.


Richard’s cold was still hanging on; sometimes these things were tough to shake. But he looked a hell of a lot better than he had a couple days ago when he’d gone to the clinic. Airabella had been clear in her command to the other Alphas; none of them were to say a word about Richard’s cold or his little thing for sneezing. Some of the pack subs knew, and it was possible Richard had confided in some of his fellow Doms. But it wouldn’t be a good idea to embarrass him at his own farewell party by airing his sexual kinks. Norman found it hard not to smile knowingly every time Richard sneezed, however.


Before Norman knew it, he was three sheets to the wind. And he was feeling great.


He glided over to Richard like he was floating when he walked. Sure, he bumped into a half dozen wolves along the way, but it was definitely because they were the ones being clumsy, not him. He fell against Richard’s side, and Richard put an arm around his middle to steady him. “Whoops! Must’ve tripped!”


“Right,” Andy, one of the Doms, said, rolling his eyes.


“Just… wanted to say… I mean…” It wasn’t coming out exactly the way Norman had wanted to say it, for some reason. He suppressed a burp and laughed through an apology.


Another of the Doms, Derek, moved closer. “Hey, Mr. N, maybe you should have something to eat…”


Norman shook his head. “Don’t want food… I wanted to tell Richard… wanted to say goodbye…”


“Bye, Mr. N. I’ll, ah, miss you.” Richard tilted his head and nuzzled against Norman affectionately.


“Whoa!” Norman pulled away. “Not too close. Don’t want to catch your cold!” With a gasp, he slapped his paw over his mouth. “I didn’t mean to mention—”


“Okay!” Richard interrupted. “Let’s go find you some food.” He steered Norman away from the Doms, and Norman felt his stomach spin. He definitely didn’t want food. Maybe another drink would settle it.


“Don’t want food.”


“Okay then,” said Richard. “I’ll find you another Alpha to look after you. Or maybe a sub. Paws? You wanna talk to Paws? Paws is right over there.”


Norman wasn’t sure. He wanted to talk to Richard. But he was already talking with Richard. This was getting confusing. Not that he was confused. He was fine. The problem was everyone around him. Maybe they were the ones who needed drinks. They weren’t making sense. “Hey… d’you want a drink? I want a drink.”


“No thanks. I’m not drinking tonight. I…” Richard stopped and quickly covered his nose.


“Ohh, are you going to sneeze right now?”


Richard looked imploringly at him for a second before his eyes were forced closed. “uhhhh-HUHshooo! Huh! Uhhh!” He froze for a moment, looking like he was going to sneeze. His muzzle was raised, his eyes closed, his mouth turned down and open. But then he seemed to shake the feeling. He sniffed and wiped his paw on his jeans.


Norman laughed. “I really thought you were going to sneeze again. Did you think so?”


Richard steered him toward Paws. “I think you want to talk with Paws for a little while.”


Norman felt himself being handed off, but he didn’t mind much. Paws was nice. Paws always understood him. “Richard’s worried I’m going to tell about the sneezing,” he whispered to Paws, making sure his whisper was loud enough to be heard properly over the noise of the party. “But I won’t! I promise I won’t tell anyone that he and his sub—”


Paws shoved a drink in his hand. “Hey, Mr. N. Good to see you. Have you tried the samosas yet? They’re delicious.” He rubbed his paw up and down Norman’s back while exchanging a look with Richard that Norman sort of saw but didn’t quite understand. The samosa, however, was exactly as delicious as promised. In fact, he had two, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke.


“Did I talk with Richard?” Norman asked an hour later, as two Alphas frog marched him to his bedroom all the way up on the third floor. “I wanted to say goodbye.”


“You told him,” Morris confirmed.


“I’m sure he’ll miss you,” Gregor assured him.




“The thing is, he's a heart breaker and doesn't even realize it.” Keith said, nodding toward the monitor showing the recreation room where Richard was saying his goodbyes. There were hugs and tears, there were well wishes and vows to keep in touch. Some of the pack submissives looked utterly devastated.


Leona watched as Richard gave a general wave of farewell to the room then headed down the hallway in the direction of the kitchen. “He's going to say goodbye to Howl now!” Oscar and Vincent sat at the table, finishing up a late breakfast, though. Quickly, she whipped out her phone and sent them emergency texts to get out of there immediately. “C'mon, guys...”


“Outa time,” Keith announced. He rolled his chair over to where she sat in front of the kitchen monitor. She turned the volume up all the way.


Richard hesitated in the doorway, and Oscar was the first to spot him. He looked from Richard to Howl and seemed to understand instantly. He grabbed Vincent's arm just as Vincent went for his phone. Vincent shook off the touch and checked his message. Oscar grabbed him again, pulling him up. That was when Vincent figured it out as well. He grabbed a cookie from the bowl in the center of the table and wiggled his phone. “Emergency. Gotta go.” On their way out, Oscar and Vincent said quick goodbyes to Richard. Not a minute later, they were both in the control room behind Keith and Leona, out of breath from the run. Vincent broke the cookie into pieces and handed them round as the four Alphas watched and listened.


“Do you have a couple minutes to talk?” Richard asked.


Howl, who was putting together some sort of casseroles for dinner, slowed to a stop. He stared down at the counter for a few seconds. Then, without turning to look at Richard, he nodded. “Sure.”


“May I close the door? I don't want anyone walking in. I've been saying goodbyes all morning and this one's just for you.”


Howl's shoulders rose and fell, maybe in a sigh or maybe in a sob; none of the Alphas could tell for sure. “Okay.”


Richard closed the kitchen door, which was hardly ever closed. Upon finding it closed, not one pack member would dare open it from the other side. Richard walked around the long wooden table to the side where Howl was. Instead of sitting down on one of the benches, though, he sat down on the tabletop itself, feet on the bench. He patted the spot next to him. “Would you sit beside me?”


Slowly, Howl put down the spatula and can in his hand. His shoulders rose and fell again. Then he rubbed his face with his paw and turned. They could see he'd been crying.


Oliver spoke softly, as though Richard or Howl might somehow be able to hear him. “His eyes were red like that when we got there. We didn't see him fall apart, but seems like he might have been crying all last night after the party.”


Howl climbed onto the bench and sat down next to Richard, keeping a few inches of space between them. “So... you're really leaving then?” Howl's voice was miraculously calm. He ran a palm over the smooth polished wood tabletop, watching his paw slide back and forth.


“Yeah, I am. I’ve gotta give this a chance. Nathaniel... well...” He smiled just thinking about his sub. He looked down at his own paws, the goofy smile showing in his voice. “He makes me feel like the Dom I've always wanted to be.”


At this, Howl let out a sorrowful howl that none of the Alphas could miss it. Three of them leaned closer to the monitor. The fourth glanced at the door, thinking about going to him. Two held hands.


Richard raised an arm but let it hover in the air. “Howl, would it be okay if I put my arm around you? Just... just a hug.”


Crying now, Howl couldn't answer. But he nodded hesitantly. The moment Richard's arm was draped around his shoulder, he leaned into Richard's side. They sat like that, side-by-side, until Howl had his hitching breaths and his tears under control a bit again. “S-sorry,” Howl whispered.


“It's okay. Tears remind you that you still feel. Sniff! I'm going to miss you too.” He smiled again, though not in that goofy way he had when he talked about Nathaniel. “I'll miss being able to wake up after an especially tough night as a Dom to find a great big breakfast waiting for me. I'll miss your mom's amazing tortilla soup you made me every year for my birthday. I'll miss having you to confide in, knowing without my asking that you'd never tell my secrets to another living soul.”


Howl gave a sad laugh. “I told Nose how much you like sneezing when he told me about your request to catch his cold.”


Richard laughed too. “I should have guessed.”


“How is your cold, anyway?”


“A lot better, thanks. Just a couple sneezes now and then.”




“Hey, is that a note of disappointment in your voice?” Richard joked.


Howl shook his head. “Course not. Only... there was something I wanted to ask you about that.”


“Well, here's your chance. Fire away.”


“You'll think I'm silly, and I don't want you to remember me like that.”


Richard rubbed his hand up and down Howl's upper arm. “Pup, I've already told you how I'm going to remember you. You've been a great friend to me here. I promise that nothing you tell me now will change that.”


He took a deep breath. “Okay... I was... hoping you'd sneeze on me.”


Richard burst out with a laugh and clapped a paw over his mouth. “Sorry, but... really?”


“I'm so curious. I just want to find out what it's like, understand what you like about it. And... it would mean a lot if you did it to me.”


“Howl, there's a lot more to it than just getting sneezed on. It's about control and desperation or obedience play or—”


“I know. I just want to... feel it. Just once? Please?”


Richard sighed, nodding. “If that's really what you want, I'll do it. But it might take a few minutes to get a sneeze out of my poor nose. It's been through a lot this week. Can you hand me a napkin?”


Richard dropped his arm to allow Howl to lean over, stretching out across the table to reach the napkin holder in the center. He pulled a napkin out and handed it over. Then he scooted back a little so he could turn and watch what Richard was doing. The Alphas watched, too.


Richard rolled a corner of the napkin between his fingers, forming a sharp point. Then he inserted it carefully into one nostril. At once, his body reacted violently, making exhale sharply and cough, but he kept it there, and the feeling seemed to pass after a second or two. He bunched some of the rest of the napkin into his palm and pressed it under his nose. “Sorry... this makes my nose... run like mad...” He wiggled the sharp napkin point around. “hehhhhhhhh!” And wiggled it some more. “huhhhhhh uhhhhhhhhhhhhh...” His eyes watered and he coughed again. He pulled the napkin out and wiped it against his dripping nose. Then he held his paw out to Howl. “Cad I hab adother?”


“If you can't, it's all right, Sir. I—”


“I cad do it,” Richard assured him. “Just ode bore. I cad already feel the sdeh-sdeeze tick-ticklig. Just gotta... h-helb it alog...”


Howl grabbed another napkin and handed it over.


Richard wiped his tears away with the back of his paw then rolled up a corner of the new napkin, making it long and pointed like the last one. When he inserted this one into a nostril, he almost pulled back from it and coughed again. But then a look came over him. “Huh-here it cuhh here it cobes!” His mouth dropped open, tongue hanging out one side. His eyes closed. And his muzzle angled upward as he swayed back. “Huhhhhh!” And then snapped forward. “hah-SHIHhhhhhhhh!


Having leaned in exactly at the right time, Howl caught most of the spray on his face, little droplets speckling his gray and brown fur. His eyes were shut tight and his expression was frozen into a grimace. 


Uhhhh...” Richard blew and then wiped his streaming nose a couple times before opening his eyes, sniffling. “So... sniff! What do you think?”


Howl grabbed a third napkin quickly wiped his face off. Then he darted over to the sink where he splashed water on his face, scrubbed with both his paws and some hand soap for more than half a minute, and rinsed his face off again. When he came up for air, drying his face with a towel, he was smiling. “Your submissive actually likes that?”


Richard grinned that sloppy, love-struck grin again. “Yeah... he absolutely loves it.”


Nodding, Howl took a deep breath. “Then I think the two of you are lucky to have found each other.” He walked back over to the table and took Richard's paws in his. He tugged and Richard stepped down to stand in front of him. Then Howl wrapped his arms around the Dom in a fierce hug. He buried his face in the other wolf's fur to say a muffled, “I'll miss you so much, but I'm so happy for you. And if your sub ever wants my mom's tortilla soup recipe to make you a birthday treat, just have him contact me.”


Richard hugged back warmly, tightly. He was still sniffling, but only a little. It wasn't enough to prevent him from hugging the sub, of course. “Thanks, Howl.” He pulled back a little, so they could meet each other's eyes. “Promise me one thing?” Howl nodded. “You are so amazing at taking care of everyone here. Don't forget to take care of yourself too, all right? Tonight I want you to make that angel food cake you love so much and keep the biggest slice for yourself. Okay? In fact, have two slices—one in my honor.”


“Okay,” he whispered back. Then he let out a deep breath and showed the Dom a smile. “G'bye, Sir.”


“Bye, Howl.” 




Richard stood outside the club with one bag on either side of him, packed full of everything he owned in the world. Airabella stood not far behind him, waiting just to make sure Richard would be all right. He was still a member of her pack, at least, for the next few minutes.


Richard paced up and down the sidewalk then, not wanting to look anxious, he picked his ground and planted himself there. But he pulled out his phone and checked the time. Then he checked it again.


“When was he supposed to pick you up?” Airabella asked.




She got out her own phone and checked. It was already a quarter past. Not a good sign at all. But she tried to stay positive. “He’s probably just running late.”


Richard rubbed a paw at the back of his neck. “Yeah… that’s probably it.” He looked back down at his phone.


“He didn’t call or text?”


“Not since last night. He was clear about the time, though, Mrs. A.”


“I believe you.”


And before they could speculate any further, a bright red Camero came racing around the corner. Its top was down, making it easy for them to recognize the driver. The car screeched to a halt in front of the club and the back trunk popped open. “Sorry!” Nathaniel exclaimed, rushing out of the car, white puffball of a tail swishing and ears flowing behind him as he ran. He picked up Richard’s bags and placed them in the trunk for him.


Airabella drew Richard close and licked the top of his head like she had on his very first day at the club. “Goodbye, dear Richard. It has been a real pleasure having you in my pack.” Then she stepped back, giving him room to stand straight and be his own wolf instead of submit to her. With a reassuring smile, she let him go.


Having closed up the trunk, Nathaniel circled around the car to Richard and took the wolf’s paws, squeezing them. “So sorry. I was running late. I woke up with an awful cold in my head.”


Richard smiled—a little sly and a little timid. “Yeah?”


“Oh yeah. Had a hard time getting out of bed. Been coughing and sneezing all m-morning ih ih ih-CHEEWW!


“Oh!” Richard’s breath caught. Then he moved in for a kiss and a nuzzle and another kiss. “Well then, let’s get you back to your home and into bed, my sniffly little sub.”


“To our home, Sir,” Nathaniel corrected.


Richard nodded and tapped Nathaniel’s nose. Immediately, the rabbit’s face screwed up and his eyes closed. “ihhh ihh Ih-CHEEOW! Oh… sniff!


“Bless you! Goodness, your nose is so sensitive today.”


Nathaniel hung his head and dropped his voice to a whisper, but Airabella had excellent hearing and could still make it out. “My nose is forever yours, Sir.” The rabbit climbed back into his car.


Richard headed for the passenger side and opened the door, but he paused there a moment, looking back at the club. He took in the sight, as though committing it to memory. He caught Airabella’s gaze and smiled back at her. Then he lifted his head and howled loud and proud, signaling his location.


Smiling, Airabella howled back. Not a moment later, the whole pack joined in from inside the building, letting him know right where they’d be if he ever needed to return.