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The reddish blur darted out from the stand of bushes in the blink of an eyebut at a far enough distance that he had time to stomp the brake and squeal to a stop before hitting it.  But he couldn't be sure about the other carthe one that had been oncoming, and now was speeding away.  Had it missed the fox?  He sat behind the wheel for a moment, heart pounding, checking the side mirror, but couldn't be sure.  Perhaps it was knocked to the grass on the opposite side of the road.  Conscience pricking him, he rolled the car to the shoulder, parked, and got out.  It wouldn't be right to leave a wounded animal there like that.

* A narrow escape, * she thought to herself, turning to look at the cars, expecting both to have been gone.  It was lucky that the one had the sense to stop, or she might well have been flattened.  And yet, he had pulled over!  She stared.  He was tall and good-looking, denim-clad, with slightly longish blond hair that fell in shaggy layers to his shoulders. She thought that he seemed a nice man, but the way she appeared?  It would never do, and so she set about righting that.

He searched the grass, seeing no sight of any wounded creatures, but he could hear something rustling behind him.  He turned to see a figure approach him: a petite and sinewy girl with bright red hair in a dress that matched, and the strangest eyes he had ever seen.  His own were drawn to them.

"Car trouble?  It seemed like you had almost hit something," she began, in a throaty voice with a hint of an accent that wasn't identifiable. 

Green, those eyes, and large, liquid-bright; he imagined he could see more light reflected from them than in any other eyes in memory... it was an effort to snap himself from her gaze and respond.

"No... what I almost hit was a fox.  And I thought that other car" His eyes looked in the direction the other car had gone, and then back to where he had imagined the creature to have vanished.  "I can't stand to see an animal get hurt.  I was part of a foxhunt once down south, and it nearly killed me - had to quit it.  It was just an excuse to terrorize some poor..." And then her hand touched his arm, rather suddenly, and he was staring into her eyes again.

"You're very decent, but foxes are very quick.  Clever.  I'm sure she got away."


"Vixens are particularly agile," she began, a personal joke that she fully intended on trying out with this handsome stranger, when something he did made her pause.  He brought his hand up, and his face scrunched suddenly.  She pulled her hand back, wondering what in the world he was about to do.

"Uhkuh-SHOO. Shoo," he sneezed against his hand.  He seemed to shake from the force of the sneezes, then sniffed and looked at her, apologetically. "Hmm, sorry.  Those came from nowhere. Shuh-HOO," he then sneezed again, and his eyes widened with a little surprise.  There was no reason for his nose to suddenly be so ticklish.  He rubbed at it, and then looked at the girl who was staring at him.

"Um... bless you," she managed, once she could speak. If she remembered correctly, that * was * what one was supposed to say when someone sneezed.  Her face felt too warm, and it seemed that his sneezes were only too charming.  She wanted to see him do it again and he did, "ker-Shoo-ing" twice into the crook of his elbow.  The sound of them made her stomach flutter.  It was a wonderfully * human * sound.  He sniffled, rubbed his hand on the leg of his jeans, and offered his hand. 

He half-expected she might not take it.  "I'm Tim.  I don't think I'm contagious, just suddenly sneezy," he said, brightly.  She took his hand, blinking.  It was nice, firm, gentle.  She shook it, wondering what the next piece of manners was supposed to be... oh, that was right.  Her name.  She wondered what would pass for a name.

"I'm Kit," she began, and then retracted her hand just as another sneeze came over him. "Ah-SHUH," he sneezed, helplessly.  "CHOO." And then he managed another, softer, "shoo", with his hand pressed to his face.  Her blood froze as a possibility struck her.

"You don't happento have an allergy to canids?" she asked, slowly.  Her hands flew to her hair, twisting her tresses, hoping they didn't offend.  That would be awkward, albeit not impossible.

He sniffled behind his hand, too put out by his sudden sneezing attack to wonder at the strangeness of her question.  "Cashuh! Uh-SHOO!  Canids?  I don't know.  Dogs sometimes make me sneeze.  But I don't know what all this is about," he said, with a little irritation beyond that in his nose.  It occurred to him, if only to further put him out, that his eyes were getting watery.  He sniffed again, deeply, hoping like heck that his nose didn't run in front of Kit, but then he realized she was still looking at him, with a mixture of concern and, thank goodness, interest.  "It's makig it very difficult for be to flirt with you," he smiled, stuffily.

She smiled at that, and he noticed how curious her teeth were, just very sharp and pointy.  "I think you're doing wonderfully," she purred, her eyes full of mischief.  Her hand touched his face, briefly, and he noticed that her fingernails were black.  He leaned down and kissed her lips (red, soft, yielding) and breathed in a lung full of her scent.  She smelled musky, exotic, animal... and he broke the kiss just in time to prevent spraying her with three medium-huge sneezes, which he caught, bringing his hand against his nose.  He noticed, with a bit of horror, that the tip of his nose was damp - it * was * going to run.  He wondered how he was going to hide the wetness running down his face, when he realized with relief, that she had begun nuzzling his neck. She wasn't going to notice. He managed to wipe with his fingers, a bit unhappily, but then he heard the throaty growl, tickling his ear.

"That doesn't sound so good.  Someone should get you home and take care of you.  Maybe you're getting sick."

He most definitely did * not * feel sick with her firm body pressed up against him, and her hands moving over his jeans, brushing past his excitement... picking his pocket?

The little vixen damn well did pick his pocket, and stepped back with his key ring looped over her index finger.  And then kissed him, poking her slick pink tongue between his lips teasingly.  His eyes watered heavily, and she danced back as his head tipped forward.  "ahhhAH-SHUHHHH! AH-SHOO, CHOOO!  CHHHHHOO!" he exploded.  He sniffed, but to no avail - damn it all, his nose was running.  And then, she did a surprising thing: she licked the area above his lips, and smoothed the wetness running from the corners of his eyes with gentle fingertips.  It shocked him so that he simply stood there, wondering what she might do next.  She then held her finger under his nose and grinned, shaking the keys in her other hand.

"You don't live far from here, do you?"  He shook his head, glad of the pressure under his nose.  His nostrils flared: he really * could * start sneezing again any second.  "I should drive," she went on.  "Your sneezing is too vigorous."  And then she let her hand down from his face and took his, pulling him across the road to his car.  As they crossed he buried his face in his sleeve, damply sneezing.  He was relieved when he got into the car and could get to the tissues in his glove compartment.

He managed to give directions between sneezes, wondering all the while why the girl was so keen on seducing a man in nasal convulsions.  If he only knew what it was doing to her!  She tried to block out the sounds of the sneezes with a mixture of excitement and naughty guilt, knowing full well why he was sneezing, and why it made her feel as it did.  Each sneeze made her tingle with such agony that she wanted nothing more than to throw him down and (no pun intended) screw the snot out of him.  But at the same time, each one also intensified her sense of doing something strange and forbidden - would he make love to her if he knew what she really was?

At last, they reached his house.  She handed him the keys, which he fumbled with as his eyes were teary and he was holding back sneezes with his hand.  His face itched terribly, and he felt self-conscious about really letting himself go and either giving his nose the good, hard blow it needed, or allowing the messy, wet sneezes to escape.  Once he got the door open, he sniffed and told her,  "Just make yourself at home, I need touse the bathroom," and he raced up the stairs, leaving her to wait and wander in his living room.

That was what she did.  She shot the occasional glance up the stairs, wondering what he was doing, but did not dare to follow him up.  Her nerves were getting to hershe felt alien now that she was here, but still determined.  She paced, until she could no longer do that, and then shucked her dress and shoes, and then, she couldn't do that anymore.  The sound of things being thrown about interspersed with the occasional sneeze or blow drove her mad with desire to do what she had come to do.

In the meantime, he searched the bathroom desperately.

"Benadrylcondomsah-SHUHHH! Damn.  What the hell" and blew, ferociously.  He found the pills, took three, knowing full well it wouldn't make them kick in any faster, blew again, and then examined himself in the mirror.  Red-eyed.  Runny-nosed.  Harried.  He ran his finger through his hair in an attempt to look less of a mess.  And he could think of no explanation for his sudden attack.  He splashed cold water over his face and toweled himself dry, hoping that did something for his eyes.  It didn't, quite.  He looked at himself critically.  "Well, you'd be a handsome devil to a girl who liked this sort of thing," he told his reflection.  And then he heard the footsteps coming up the stairs.  He froze.  The floor outside the bathroom creaked as she stepped and the thought occurred to him she was headed for the bedroom! "Condoms" he croaked, softly and recalled that they were in the drawer of his bedside table.  He sneezed.  Realizing the need for coverage of another extremity, he shrugged, and took the box of tissues with him as he left the bathroom for the bedroom.  And then saw her.

There she was naked as a very naked thing.  He set the tissue box down and surveyed her.  She was on the bed, kneeling, her hands folded in her lap.  She smiled on seeing him.

"You area-shishish-SHOObeautiful," he said, his voice sounding thick in his own ears.  His throat was beginning to feel a bit raw.  She held out her arms and languorously unfolded her legs, sliding them over his sheets until her feet hit the floor.  His eyes watched every inch of that spectaclehe was a sucker for good legs, and hers were.  She rose and began undressing him, her arms with more strength than he expected. 

She was pleased by what she uncovered when she got his shirt offa muscular chest lightly covered with golden hairs.  She did prefer a hairier body on a man.  His eyes were downcast, simply watching her as she undressed him, but she couldn't help but notice they were red-rimmed.  Irritated.  When her fingers began to work at his belt-buckle, she heard him gasp.  She paused, wondering if he was having second thoughts, or if she were being too forward and then she saw what it was.  His eyes clenched tight in itchy agony and anticipation.  She groaned, continuing to remove the belt, but bracing herself for what would come.  He sniffed, audibly, shaking his head, his muscles tightening, but by the time the belt hit the floor, it was no use.  His knees even buckled as he pitched forward from the waist and she sat back, hard, on the bed.

"AH-HISHHHOOOO! SHOOO!  Ush-SHOO! OhgodSHOO!  UHTCHCHOoo.  Choo," he began.  

It was all she could do to keep from counting them or staring.  She reached over for the tissues, grabbed up two, and then, thinking about it, took up two more.  He, meanwhile, unsteadily grabbed the side of the mattress, covering his face rather unsuccessfully with his arm.  She could still feel damp spray against her skin, and yet it was so breathtakingly * natural * and strange that she hardly minded.  She waved the tissues before his face, realized his eyes were still scrunched tight, and then jerked him down to sit on the bed.  Once seated, she put them up against his nose, rather hoping he didn't run his face into her hand or something calamitous like that.  His hand seemed unsteady, so she continued holding the tissues up to his face.

"UMMMMchshhhh," he sneezed into them.  The pressure of his nose through the thin paper felt so odd in her hand that she stood, leaning over him.

"Blow, baby," she whispered in his ear.  His eyes widened at her request, but needing to in a very bad way, he did.  And that too was odd, the wet warmth filling the tissues in her hand.  It was altogether an oddly human thing, not something she had felt before.  When he'd finished, she found a dry end of the tissue to wipe the end of his nose with, and having no place better, left them on the table.  "Any better?" she asked, breathlessly.

"Damn my stupid nose," he said morosely.  "Why now?"

He looked so genuinely unhappy about it all that she was moved.  And, nonetheless, still very excited by him.  "Stupid nose - no, I don't think so," she said, pushing him back to lay on the bed, his legs still over the side.  She climbed in his lap, and then straddled him, knees on the mattress on either side of him.  "Very cute smart nose.  Maybe it's telling you something."  She licked at his lips and then, carefully, licked the tip of his nose.  He groaned.  It tickled and twitched.

"Tell me something?  It could pick a more direct methodddcCHHHH! AHemmm," he cleared his throat. "Oh, hell, more direct would probably kill me."  He sniffed, and then looked down.  Still undeterred, she undid the buttons of his fly, and then worked herself off the bed to begun pulling the jeans off.  Bracing his feet, he lifted his hips to help her.  "What would it be telling me, anyway?" he asked, rhetorically, more than anything else, as she finally managed to get his lower half unclothed.

Her answer was a sad/sweet smile.  "Who knows?  Maybe it doesn't like me."  She stood, simply looking at him.  It was wrong, wasn't it?  He seemed so very agitated just being in a room with her. She hated to make someone sick.  He sneezed again, and she nearly jumped out of her skin.  He looked at her, just staring, and then laughed.  He took her wrist in his hand, pulling her on top of him.

"Can't be.  All the rest of me likes you."   And she could tell full well from her position that was the case.  She bent her head down, placing her lips on his chest.  "You're very different."

Her heart pounded and ached, but she kept kissing him, small, wet, gentle kisses up to his throat.  He twined his fingers into her hair, and kissed the top of her head, and then felt that maddening "must-sneeze" sensation building.  He held it off as she rubbed against him, and lifted her face to his.  Their lips met, but she could tell what was going to happen.  "  Oh," he gasped, breaking the kiss.  She rolled to his side as they came.

"Ahhh---CCCSHHHH.  Kuhh-SHOOO.  CSSHOOO!" he sniffed and grasped about for more tissues as she sat beside him.  His skin was so warm against hers that she didn't want to move, and being near him was just so nice.  She buried her face in his shoulder as he sneezed and blew; glad that it was dark enough in the room that he wouldn't see how red her face was growing.  He lay back against the pillow when the fit was done, breathing heavily.  "God, I am sorry about all this," he said then, quietly.

"No, I'm" she squeaked.  She wondered what a lump was doing in her throat.  She was out of her mind with lust, with regret that she was making him sneeze, and with something else, something indefinable.  He went on, barely hearing her.

"This can't be nice for youme being like this.  I don't know what'sCHCHOOOgoing on with me.  This doesn't habben to me everyday* sniff *a sexy woman whonever mind.  If you want to go I mean, I'd understand," he said, in a tone of voice that nearly killed her.  "I don't know if I ever wanded... sniff wanted someone so badly"  And then her hand felt down.  There was little question about what he wanted, or about what she needed then.  She gently applied a little pressure, and spoke.

"Make love to mejust" He kissed her, backed off, trying to wave off another round of sneezes.  She grabbed his hand.  "Don't stop because of the sneezing just.go ahead."  He sneezed against her breasts, and she moaned.  "Please."

And they made love, her, moaning, him, sneezing occasionally, until he collapsed in her arms, out cold.

At first, she thought she had killed him.  His head felt heavy against her shoulder, and she was positive that he was dead and it was her fault he'd sneezed himself to death or went into some kind of allergic shock.  She heard that could happen to people.  And then, thankfully, he began to snore. The combination of exertion and Benadryl had knocked him out. It was one of the loveliest sounds she'd ever heard.  She held him a little tighter, wondering what was making her feel so happy.  So?  She hadn't killed him.  And she got to make love to a nice, gentle person.  And now, she would have to go.

He couldn't live with her.  That much was obvious.  He'd be constantly ill.  And as for herself?

She didn't think she had much of a choice.  She wasn't human, and while this was heaven, actually, she couldn't change her nature.  A kitsune could only change if the curse was broken, fat lot of luck she'd have with that.  She gently shimmied herself out from under him, and padded out of the bedroom, down the hallway, and glided down the stairs.  In the living room, she felt about for her dress and shoes, wondering why she couldn't see then in the darkened room strange.  She usually had little trouble functioning in the dark.  She put them on, and then she tried to shift back


Her pulse raced, madly.  What would she do?  She thought about it, pacing.  "Foxyfurryanddamn, how do I change?" Nothing.  She wasn't changing.   She looked at the door.  She could walk out of it a woman, just like she walked in, but damn it!  She was not changing back.  She laughed, a strange, relieved, sad, mixed-up sound.  It wasn't an entirely bad thing.  She removed the clothes, raced back up the stairs, and tried, ever so quietly, to situate herself back next to her sleeping lover. 

He groaned, rolled over, and murmured, "What?"

"Nothing.  Sleep."  And settling herself back into his arms, she also slept. 

In the morning, Tim wondered at the smiling, sleeping woman in his bed, and also wondered why he was no longer sneezing but neither of those were bad things.  Waking up to a kiss, the Kitsune (who no longer was), wondered if it could be love.