Cathexis

by Togi Kayako (土宜草子)
illustrated by The Winter Cynic

See this piece’s entry on the Shousetsu Bang*Bang wiki.

I slam my study door behind me with more force than necessary, cutting off Andy’s plaintive meows. My hands are clenched too hard on my phone, and they shake a little as I dial Will’s number.

He picks up straight away. “Hi, Quinn! I’ve been waiting for you to call. You were in my cards this morning, sweetpea.”

I grit my teeth to stop myself from responding to today’s ridiculous pet name. “Did your cards tell you I’d need help too?” 

“Mm, don’t really need the cards to tell me you need something, since that’s largely the only reason anyone calls me.” Cool, guilt coming in from every direction today. It’s like all my you-missed-my-birthdays and family Thanksgivings at once.

“Right. Sorry.” Deep breath in through the nose, out through the mouth. Not the time for a breakdown. I let out another breath as a sigh and go for the shortest summary I can. “So I’ve been seeing this guy, Andy. We had a bit of a falling out and then I turned him into a cat this morning.”

“Ooh, animal transformation, a classic revenge option!” Will lets out a low whistle. “So what’s the problem, exactly? 

“I didn’t mean to turn him into a cat. I was trying to summon a familiar and Andy turned up at the wrong time. He wasn’t being an asshole or anything.” The sudden drain in my magic from the first spell plus my attempt to change Andy back has left me shaky and a lot closer to tears than I’d prefer. “Anyway, I’d like your help to turn him back, if you’re willing. Please.”

Will lets out a long hum, like he hasn’t already decided one way or the other. “Yeah, I’ve got some free time today. Is now good for you?”

I hear my doorbell, followed by a loud and startled cat yelp. Before I can say anything I might regret, I hang up the phone.

Will’s on the other side when I open the door, exactly as tall, slim and stylish as every other time I’ve seen him. “Now you’re just showing off,” I tell him. The wave of relief at him being here puts a fondness into the words where I’d really meant to sound annoyed.

He beams at me, his teeth a slice of white against his dark skin. “What’s the point in seer powers if you can’t have some fun with them? I think you could stand to lighten up, darling.”

I step back to let him in. Even with his slouchy posture, he’s a head taller than me, and I’d swear it was more with the nonstop guilt trip I’m trapped in. He breezes by in a whirl of long braids, purple shawl fringe, and the faint scent of chai.

“So you guys are pretty close, huh?” Andy asks. The cat thing must be getting to him because I’ve almost never heard him sound so sour. He’s a blur of gold and brown as he scrambles up from behind the couch, pulling up several loops of blue fabric. 

I shoot a quelling look at Will before he can answer that. “Will and I are mostly professional associates. He just likes pushing my buttons.”

Andy’s eyes flick back and forth between us, but settle on Will. “Hi, Will. Thanks for coming to help.” The meows I can hear under his words are delicate, totally at odds with the fact he’s the size of a large Maine Coon.

“It’s no trouble, Andy!” Will crouches down to look him over, though he has the sense not to try to touch. “So, Quinn tells me you two had a fight recently?”

There goes Andy’s tail again, though I’m not sure if it’s anger or something else this time. He’s crouching down and his ears have flattened out a little. “Uh, yeah, we were kind of taking a break, I guess,” Andy says. “Is that important? Like for witchy stuff?”

“Yeah, probably.” Will says it so casually that I lag behind a few seconds before I can parse the words. “Intent is important, and if you were on his mind when he was casting the spell, that might have impacted it.”

I don’t say a word, because of course he’d been on my mind. The only time I managed not to think about him was in the depths of a research trance at like two in the morning, which lasted until maybe two-fifteen at a generous estimate.

Will’s deep brown eyes are piercing as he shifts his attention to me. “Tell me your exact wording on the spell.” I don’t want to admit it, but I love when he swaps from flippant to laser focused. Probably something to do with the way he gets bossy, but wow is that an unhelpful thought at the moment.

“Uh, give me a second,” I mumble. It’s hard to remember because the mess that came immediately after, and it hadn’t been well planned out to start with. “I think the main clause was ‘bring me the familiar, in the shape of a cat’ and—” My eyes drift over to Andy, though I can’t read him at the moment. “Pretty sure there was a ‘bind us together as long as we both desire’ bit in there?”

Andy’s ears shift further back, though at least he’s not hissing at me. Would be totally fair if he did at this point.

“Very interesting.” Will draws out the words like he’s a detective about to reveal who the murderer is. “So there are basically three parts to the spell, then. Summoning, cat familiar, and binding. Did you show up on your own, Andy?”

“Yeah, I asked if I could pick up my stuff today a few days ago, so that was all me.” Andy perks up a little. “Does that mean there’s only two things to fix?”

“Two fairly big things but yes, I suppose it’s good not to have to deal with one more.” Will starts pacing a tight circle around the sofa. I sit down and tuck my feet up out of the war path. “Presumably the last part should solve itself, given current circumstances, so we really only need to focus on the cat problem.”

“That sounds good, I think,” Andy says, confused but hopeful. Cats don’t exactly smile, but I can translate Andy’s perked up ears and posture into the big, easy grin I’ve seen so many times.

Will loops back around to us again and stops. “There is one teeny tiny possible issue,” he says, sounding so unconcerned that I’m sure it’s actually a massive problem. “I’ve done a lot of scrying as of late, so I really only have the power reserves to give this one try.”

Given what I know about Will and how he prefers to get his power… Well, I’m still reeling when Andy asks, “What happens if it doesn’t work the first time?” He’s hunkered down and his ears are starting to flatten back again. I want to reach out to comfort him, but that’s a bad idea for so many reasons.

“Most likely outcome, you’ll be stuck as a cat until I get a chance to recharge.” Will hooks a thumb in his pocket and gives me a lingering once-over. “But in that case, I’m sure Quinn and I could work something out and try again in, oh, an hour or so?” His voice is honey-sweet as he watches my face, no doubt waiting to see if I’ll blush.

He gets what he wants as I sputter out, “An hour, Will, really?”

I know it was the wrong point to object to the instant it leaves my mouth. “Is that longer than you’re used to or far too short?” The curious glance Will shoots over at Andy cements the fact that bringing them into the same room was a mistake. “I’m sure we can find a compromise that works for us, since it’s for a good cause and all.”

Andy is visibly bristling, his words coming out with a full-on hiss. “That doesn’t sound so professional, buddy.” 

“From where I’m standing,” Will says, his tone pointedly mild, “I’m flirting with someone who is single and therefore totally able to agree or not as he prefers. Or was the description I got less than accurate?”

With the faintest growl deep in his throat, Andy looks away. “Yeah, we’re not together, but I’m right here and you’re making this weird.”

You were the one who said you needed some space,” I tell Andy. Will flirting with me to piss him off is bad enough, but Andy trying to stop him is the last straw. My anger lasts all of two seconds before Andy’s big blue kitty eyes make it impossible to hang onto. “Anyway, doesn’t matter. If Will winds up needing more power, we’ll figure something out then.”

If it comes to that, maybe I can take the time to get back some power of my own. I sprawl back on the couch and clamp my eyes closed in an attempt to collect myself. My feelings are whipping from one extreme to another right now and the last thing I want is to say something stupid and chase either Andy or Will off for good.

“My apologies,” Will says. It sounds genuine enough that I risk a quick peek. What had felt like a critical gaze looks a lot more like concern now that I see it. “I should have perhaps realized this wasn’t a tactful time to broach that subject.”

“Thanks for that,” I say, aiming for sarcasm and landing squarely in sincerity. Cool, I love putting all my feelings out there. It’s the best. I let myself have one more big steadying breath before I get up and try to move from problem causing to problem solving. “So all joking aside, can we skip ahead to the part where you take a swing at turning Andy back?”

Will nods agreeably enough, though his usually sunny expression seems a bit pinched. “I’d like to use you as a focus, since you know him best.”

Andy lets out a tiny meow. It’s too dainty for his size, the verbal equivalent of tentatively raising a hand, and it’s so cute that I have to jam my hands into my pockets to avoid snuggling him. “Um, wouldn’t I know me best? Or is this one of those witchy things I can’t do?”

“Actually, you’re a little too witchy for this one at the moment,” Will says. “See, Quinn was trying to get a familiar, so you’re currently the best magical focus he could have.” That nets a confused head tip from Andy. “But that’s only him. If he’s a locked door with magic behind it, you’re now a key, and keys won’t work for any old door.” Will taps himself on the chest.

Andy mulls that over for a second and lets out a bright, chirpy mew that doesn’t translate to any particular words. I’m amazed at how positive he can manage to be, but he always was pretty resilient. All the everyday stuff that wore me down was nothing to him. 

“Huh, so I’m like super useful right now?” Andy asks. I want to argue with the assumption he isn’t always useful, but he sounds so thrilled that I’ll let it go. “Why can’t Quinn turn me back, then?”

I wince. It’s a fair question and in a perfect world I would be able to fix my own mistakes. “That would be like trying to change the lock out while you were using it,” I say. “I have no idea what it would do to either of us, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be good.” It might well hurt Andy a lot. I don’t even want to think about that.

Andy’s trying to reach a paw out to me again, but he overbalances and tumbles off the arm of the couch. He lands on his feet, and looks startled. “I’m okay!” My couch gets a few more piercings as he clambers back up again. “But Quinn, you’re not.” He bats at the air between us a few times before he gives up on trying to reach me.

“I’ll hold it together for now,” I say. I step a little further back, mostly to reduce the temptation to pet him. “I know I’ve probably messed up your plans for today but I promise we’ll get you back to normal soon and you can get going.”

Will’s weirdly silent, now that I think about it, but a quick glance tells me he’s busy puzzling something out. I can only hope it’s the simplest way to turn Andy back, and not a scathing but accurate read on my personal failings.

“No, it’s not that,” Andy says. “I mean I can kinda… feel what you’re feeling, a little?” His tail flips side to side, not quite anger but getting there. “I guess cats are better at picking up on stuff?”

“It’s probably a familiar thing,” I say absently, trying to recall everything I’ve had an emotional reaction to today. The list is long and I regret approximately all of it. “I’ll try to stop having so many feelings, I guess?” 

“We don’t have time to unpack all that,” Will says smoothly, “and with any luck, it won’t matter in a few minutes when Andy’s back to being a real boy again.” He claps his hands together and reaches out for both myself and Andy. “Okay, everyone be quiet for the moment. Andy, try to relax and think about nothing. Quinn, you think about Andy in his normal body.”

Okay, I guess we’re doing this now! I’m not in the best state for working a spell, but I’m only the focus. It should be fine. I’ve also literally never done this before, but I’m guessing the same light trance I use for my own spells will be fine for being a focus.

Halfway through one slow breath in, I slip into my meditative state with all the difficulty of sinking into a warm bath. It’s never that fast — normally it takes me at least a full minute.

Is this the benefit of having a familiar? I’m going to have to rethink my wording and then call out for one again as soon as possible, because this feels amazing. My power is a little low from earlier, but it feels closer than usual and ready to go, like a nest of kindling waiting for a spark. I get the sense that right now I could etch out a pattern of complex runes as quickly as I could jot down my grocery list.

The complicated rune work I love to sink my teeth into is like using a slow computer with half the programs in a foreign language I think I took a single class in years ago. I can make it work, eventually, but it’s never been an easy process. ‘New familiar’ has leapt to the top of my to do list, bold and underlined seventy-five times.

Will starts humming under his breath, a resonant sound more like a tuning fork than an actual tune. This is my cue to be a good focus and think about Andy. I have plenty of memories to choose from, but I zero in on a hot summer evening last month when his AC broke down. Andy had petered out mid-workout and stripped, sprawling out across the couch without a stitch on.

Andy, flushed from the heat and shining with sweat? The view had been inspiring to say the least. I don’t even remember what I had been working on because I’d thrown it aside in favor of getting my hands on him.

Hopefully any arousal bleeding through to Will is helping power the spell. No doubt he’ll tease me about anything he’s picking up on once we’re finished up here and Andy leaves. I secretly suspect he has a ‘How can I embarrass Quinn today?’ bingo card he’s working through, given how much loves flustering me.

Will’s magic surges through me, sending out weird signals to all my senses. Gravity swings to my left as a kaleidoscope of shifting colors twirl across the inside of my eyelids and my mouth fills with the taste of cinnamon roll. It’s easy to ride out, settling down in a matter of seconds.

I take a cautious peek and get an eyeful of a very familiar stretch of muscled, tanned torso. Bare torso, and — my eyes flick down before I can stop them — yeah, bare everything else too.

Too late, I remember the heap of clothing I’d retrieved from my doorstep. I hop up to grab Andy’s clothes, keeping my face fixed on the ground the whole time. “Okay, I’m gonna close my eyes and hold out all your clothes, feel free to use the bathroom to change if you want—”

My ramble is cut short by Will bursting into laughter and Andy… growling?

With a slowly building sense of horror, I turn and take a more careful look at Andy. A pair of big, fuzzy cat ears poke out of his blond hair and a matching tail lashes wildly behind him. Stark naked and kneeling on the couch, he could have been cut from the pages of some of my more salacious manga. Given the glare I’m getting from him, he is very aware of that fact.

“What the fuck,” Andy says, looking between me and Will. I put up both hands in defense and shake my head furiously. Will is still laughing, because he either has no sense of self-preservation or can’t read a room to save his life. “Is this your idea of a joke, guys?”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard Andy sound this angry in all the time I’ve known him. His hands are starting to curl into fists as he gets to his feet and takes one step toward Will.

And what do you know, it turns out that I definitely don’t have a great sense of self-preservation. I step between them and rest my hands on Andy’s forearms. Step two of my barely extant plan is to stretch a foot back and kick Will in the shin. 

My love tap gets Will to stop laughing, which means I can focus on convincing Andy not to murder him. “Hey, I’m pretty sure this was another accident,” I say gently. “This whole situation is a huge mess and definitely my fault! I’m really sorry you’re caught up in it, but I promise we’re doing our best to help you.” It’s more of a hope than a fact, but I’m mostly sure Will didn’t do it on purpose.

Will takes a few careful steps back as I keep up my nice, soothing stream of patter. Andy starts to relax and it’s really a sight to see. On top of all the usual human body language, there’s the obvious feline tell of his hair smoothing out from the angry puffball it had turned into.

I’ve never considered the possibilities of catboy biology beyond eye candy, but I’m definitely penciling in time for some intense contemplation later. After Andy’s back to normal and I am very alone.

“Will, do you have any idea what happened?” I ask. Andy hasn’t made any more aggressive moves, but I’m keeping a close eye on him all the same because it’s so wildly out of character for him. Maybe there are some lingering cat instincts? 

Distracted by potential research, I almost miss Will’s blithely asking, “So Andy, why did you decide to take a break from Quinn?” Awesome, we’ve moved past ‘can’t read the room’ into ‘flat-out has a death wish’.

I brace my feet when Andy starts growling, but to my relief he doesn’t actually try to get past me. There’s no way I could stop him if he did — he can literally bench press me.

“Not helping, Will.” I would try to kick him again, but my legs are too damn short to reach now that he’s backed off. “Seriously, why are you even asking that now?”

“From what I’m seeing, the only reason this wouldn’t have worked is if you both still want to be bound together at least a little. Hence the question.” Will still sounds cool as a cucumber, like he might be idly filing one of his rainbow-painted nails in the background.

I give Andy’s arms a little tap to bring his attention back to me. “Obviously this is a me problem, not a you problem since there’s no way you want to be magically bound to me, right? We may need to use something besides me as a focus if my feel— if I’m causing issues.”

Andy’s ears flatten out and he shrugs out from under my hands. I’m more sure than ever that he’s got some cat instincts, because he curls up on the sofa and tucks his legs in close to his body in a way I’ve never seen him sit before.

“It’s maybe not exactly like I wouldn’t want that?” Andy says in the soft, paper-thin tone he always slips into when he thinks he’s made someone mad. He holds up a hand and I let him take the time to organize his thoughts. “You remember that last big witchy party you took me to? That woman in the really fancy red and gold hat was talking about how she’d never get involved with someone who couldn’t do magic and then we got home, and… y’know.”

My heart sinks down to its new natural habitat, roughly three miles below the earth’s surface. I’d left the party a little drunk and a lot fired up from talking shop with people all evening. When I’d tried to explain some of it to Andy and he didn’t get it, I’d gone with a cheek pat and the incredibly shitty comment of, At least you’re pretty.

“Fuck, Andy, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” My hands are halfway to his shoulders before I remember that we are very much on a break and I need to keep my hands to myself. Because I’m an asshole. Wait, that one needs to be verbalized, actually: “I was being an asshole and you absolutely didn’t deserve what I said.”

Andy does the thoughtful kitty head tip. His hair flops to one side and it is weaponized levels of charming and no, brain, we are still not allowed to touch him. “No, I mean… you weren’t all wrong. I don’t get a lot of the stuff you talk about and that’s got to be a drag for you. I know you don’t care about most of my fitness or sports stuff. I guess I figured it would be easier if I stopped before I got even more into you?”

As the words leave his mouth, Andy seems to realize it wasn’t a great plan. His shoulders hunch in and he grips his fingers tighter around his bare knees. “Maybe I should have talked to you about it, first,” he mutters.

I crouch down so I can meet his eyes, then reach out a hand, palm up. He slides his hand into mine immediately and I stroke my thumb over his knuckles. “Yeah, you should have, but I think maybe there’s a bunch of stuff we should have talked about sooner. I thought you weren’t that into me because of all the… me.” I wave a hand over myself as if it could encompass my many failings.

“You do make me feel dumb sometimes.” Andy’s voice is so quiet that I have to lean in to make sure I catch what he’s saying. “But I don’t think you do it on purpose. Even the thing about me being pretty, like, I know it was meant to be a joke? But it didn’t feel great.”

“Right, I’m the worst at people. It’s officially me. Fuck.” I flop down onto the sofa and press my hands over my eyes. “You’re not dumb, Andy. I don’t know shit about tons of things other people do, even if you limit that to only magic folks, and that doesn’t make me stupid. We all have our own areas of expertise.”

Will rejoins the conversation, speaking calmly, but still hovering at a cautious distance. “I’m pretty sure the woman you heard was Mathilda, who may be the most snobby, opinionated person in the entire city. I’ve heard some of her other stated deal-breakers, and let me assure you, they’re equally unreasonable. While I doubt you’re particularly interested in my thoughts on the subject, I also don’t think you’re dumb, though you are very pretty.”

Apparently we’ve hit the limit of how long Will can go without flirting. I lower my hands to send a withering look his way and get nothing but a blithe shrug in return.

“I mean, thanks for saying it anyway, man.,” Andy says. He squares up his shoulders and turns to face Will, though he keeps a tight grip on my hand. “If we’re doing a big honesty thing now, I’d like you a lot more if you weren’t basically trying to seduce Quinn right in front of me?”

Will’s eyebrows shoot up. “I realize I’ve been flirting with Quinn in front of you, but I’ve also flirted with you, and I do with virtually everyone else I don’t dislike. If I were going to make serious solicitations, they would be for a threesome, because really, have you seen yourself?”

No doubt my face is doing some very compromising things at the mental images that provoked, but I actually have bigger concerns for once. “Andy, you said you could pick up on how I was feeling. Has that stopped?” I become fascinated by the carpet as Will lets out an amused hum.

Andy shakes his head, and he seems to also have developed a sudden and deep interest in off-beige artificial fibers. Feeling a bit petulant about my new inability to have any privacy, I look him over nice and slow, doing my best to feel loudly how much I enjoy the view. I think it worked, because I can see the hint of pink starting across his cheeks.

The combination of him naked and blushing with downcast eyes is so familiar that I’d swear I can feel the stress and arousal wires in my brain crossing. My favorite part is how the stress side shorts out and now all I can think about is how much I want to grab a handful of Andy’s hair and kiss him, hard.

Actually, it turns out I also have space to consider how much I want Will to watch me do it. Maybe I’d even get a chance to take him apart. The thought of Will’s casual flirtatiousness turned to begging for me is very, very appealing — but also I need to stop thinking about it now because there is a genuine risk that Andy could notice.

Andy’s hunched all the way forward now with his arms wrapped around his knees. “Quinn, can you, like, turn it down a little, maybe?” His voice has gotten tight and a wave of concern that I’m hurting him hits me like ice water. “I’m okay,” he mutters, poking one hand out to give me a thumbs-up. The blush on his face has spread all the way to the tips of his ears.

“Goodness, what are the two of you thinking about?” Will’s voice has dropped a little lower, his teasing words sharp with interest. “If both of you keep on like this, I’ll have the energy to try again in no time at all.”

Translating from Will-speak to my puny Earth language: Andy is also turned on by all of this. I watch Andy’s face closely as a spike of delighted desire runs through me and sure enough, he bites his lip. He only does that when he’s trying to hold back a moan.

Still, this isn’t the time to jump him, no matter how much I want to. I reach out one hand and rest it lightly on his shoulder. Andy tips his head to look at me, and I notice that while his eyes are their usual blue, they’re still cat-shaped. With the ears and the blush, the effect is adorable, and this time I realize I might get a chance to enjoy it in a hands-on way.

The only way that’s going to happen is if I ask, though. “So I know this isn’t exactly romantic, but can we maybe stop being on a break and spend some time talking things through instead?” It sounds worse in real words than it did in my head and I wince.

Then Andy perks up and his face breaks into a smile. I take back every time I’ve rolled my eyes at a hack metaphor for sunlight breaking through the clouds, because it feels exactly like all the light’s flooded back into my world.

“I’d really like that,” he says, sliding one hand over to rest on my thigh. It settles in with the same perfect fit it always has and about eighty percent of the tension melts right out of me. “You too, huh?” His eyes crinkle at the corners as he looks at me and it feels more magical than most of the actual magic I do.

We move together into a kiss, languid and romantic — okay, who am I kidding? It’s a little sloppy and desperate, but we’ve both been through serious emotional upheaval recently, so I’m cutting us some narrative slack.

Before we can get any more carried away, Will pointedly clears his throat. “Darlings, I am loving the show and all but A, do you really want me here for this, and B, should we maybe think about getting Andy back to a fully human form?” He twirls his wrists in an elaborate shrug. “I’m not judging if you’d like me to leave and let you enjoy your catboy for a while. Obviously. I mean, I would if I were you.”

Andy ducks his head forward against my shoulder, but before I can even manage half a worried thought I hear the sounds he’s trying to stifle. He snorts when he laughs too hard or too suddenly, and it drives him crazy. Will mouths a silent, “Aww!” at me and puts his hands together in the shape of a heart.

I absolutely agree, but I know better than to even think it too loudly at the moment. Instead, I stroke a hand down Andy’s back until he gets himself back under control.

“If we don’t kick Will out, won’t that recharge his witchy batteries so we can do another try right away?” Andy’s a little breathless but still sounds casual as anything. Which is weird, because I swear he just suggested we fuck in front of Will. My brain short-circuits as the mental images hit again.

“That feels quite a bit more positively inclined than I would have expected, but I am absolutely going to need two verbal confirmations if you’d like me to stay.” Will’s tone is no longer joking, and the sharp focus he’s watching us with makes my skin tingle.

While I’m on board and then some, everything with Andy feels fragile right now. I drop my voice to a whisper, not that there’s any real privacy to be had. “If you’re interested, I’m game, but either way is fine with me. We definitely don’t have to do this to turn you back, like, we can always try again tomorrow, and you can stay here while the whole ears-and-tail situation is still an issue.”

“Would you call it an issue?” Andy asks, all sweetness and innocence. His lips slide into a flirty little smile and I brace myself because I know where this is going. “From over here it seems like you really like me looking like one of your dirty comics.” He drops his mouth open in a silent moan and curls one of his hands next to his head like a paw.

Damn it, he can’t even pronounce ahegao, but of course he can do the expression perfectly. Knowing that he’s goading me doesn’t make it easier to ignore, much like the fact it’s a dumb expression doesn’t make it less hot. “You little brat,” I growl.

“Your brat,” Andy says, breaking his pose to grin at me. “You gonna try to make me behave?” His usual mischievous wiggles are only enhanced by the tail swishing behind him.

I reach out to cup his cheek and press a quick kiss to his forehead. “You’re sure you don’t mind the audience?” I nod toward Will, who’s propped himself up against the wall and is clearly enjoying the show. He’s toying with one of his long braids as he watches us with some intense bedroom eyes.

Andy leans around me to look at Will, and his pupils go wide as he takes in the excellent view. It’s nice to know we’re on the same page about how damn gorgeous Will is. “You’re not going to make fun of me or anything, right?” He doesn’t even sound aggressive about it — it’s a genuine question.

“Definitely not, and you have my word on that. I can be quiet as a mouse if that’s what you would prefer.” Will’s voice has gotten deeper and a little rough, solemn in striking contrast to his usual playfulness. It’s really nice.

“Well, that depends.” Andy’s tone spells nothing but trouble and my smile goes fond on automatic. “If I say you can talk, will you tell me how pretty I am again?” Andy bites his lip and bats his eyelashes in a show that should be ridiculous but comes out hot because damn he is gorgeous.

“I suppose I should get a second opinion there,” Will says, shifting his attention to me with a slow grin and flipping back to flirtatious as easy as breathing. “What do you think, Quinn? Do you mind if I sweet-talk your pretty little pet?”

The fact that he acknowledges Andy as mine sinks straight into some primal part of my brain, the same one that wants to hold Andy down and cover him in bite marks. “No objections here. If his ego gets out of control, we can always put him back in his place.” Andy’s breath catches, maybe from the implied threat or maybe from the way both Will and I look like we want to wreck him.

“Big talk from the guys with their clothes on still,” Andy says. Oh, he’s determined to get himself in trouble today! Andy makes a grab for the button of my jeans and almost manages to pop it before I manage to bat his hand away. “C’mon, Quinn, you’re not just gonna look at me, are you?”

I get to my feet and take a step back, locking eyes with Andy. “Get down.” The command comes with a snap of my fingers and I point to the space between my feet, though I doubt he’ll obey that easily.

Sure enough, Andy looks at the floor, back up at me, and sticks out his tongue. “But the couch is so comfy!” Behind me, Will attempts to hide a laugh with a very fake coughing fit.

My affection for Andy bubbles up, warm and fizzy across my chest. We’ve played out this scene a few times before, both nicer and meaner, but I’m too overwhelmed by having him back to even pretend to be mean. Instead of grabbing him by the hair, I stroke my hand through it, brushing over one of his new cat ears.

It twitches under my hand and I pull back to check Andy’s expression. “Are these okay for me to touch?” I ask. He nods and pushes his head back into my hand, so I trail my fingers over each silky ear. “You are absurdly soft, sweetheart. And so, so cute like this.” I lean in to brush a kiss over his forehead as I ask, “Be good for me today?”

He gives me a long, slow blink and nods, his head nuzzling against my arm. Pretty sure he’s trying to scent mark me with the way he rubs his chin against me, but I don’t mind. I’m his if he’ll have me, and if I think about that too hard, I’m going to derail us from sex with an attack of warm fuzzies. 

I stroke a hand down the side of his neck and feel a suspicious rumble under my fingers as I go. “Are you purring?” My voice shoots up higher than I’d like on those words, but wow, this is even more perfect than some of my wildest fantasies. With a firm hand on his chin, I tip his head back and press my other palm carefully against his throat.

There’s a steady vibration against my skin, rising and falling as he breathes. It gets stronger when a fun idea and a rush of arousal hit me with a quick one-two punch.

I push two fingers between Andy’s lips, and both of us moan in unison. There’s all the usual slick heat I love so much, plus the addition of a low rumble under my fingers. “Oh, fuck, that’s hot,” I whisper. “I’m gonna have to get your mouth on me for sure.” A soft groan from Will reminds me that we have an audience and it thrills me that he’s enjoying himself.

I slip a hand into Andy’s hair and fall into a rhythm, mesmerized by the sight of my fingers sliding in and out between his lips.  Andy pulls back, sucking in a quick breath that comes out again as a groan as I drag my wet fingers down his cheek. “Go get your dick? Please, Quinn, I want you to use me.”

…And that’s me, folding like a house of cards in gale-force winds. I let go of his hair and he settles back onto the couch.

I can’t go without taking a long moment to enjoy the view. Andy’s leaning back on the couch, knees apart, not a stitch on, and his cock hard against the muscles of his stomach. I don’t know how I wound up with someone who’s a fucking work of art, but I swear I’ll do better by him from here forward. He deserves the world.

“You expect me to believe you’re going to behave now? Prove it,” I say, gesturing to the floor again. “Kneel right here with your hands on your thighs while you wait for me to come back.” Inspiration strikes and I add, “Will can tell me if you were being good or not.”

Andy slips to the floor with a grace that I never expect, despite how many times I’ve seen it.

“What counts as being good?” Will asks. He sounds a little breathless in a way that’s working wonders for my ego. “Clearly he can sit and stay on command, but I can think of a few more tricks I might want to test out.”

I reach out, give Andy’s shoulder two squeezes — our check-in signal. He gives my ankle two squeezes back, which is a positive reply. “That should be fine. No letting him touch himself below the waist but otherwise, have fun. I won’t be that long.” 

With my best critical expression, I give Andy a careful once-over. I nudge one of his knees a little further out with my foot, and his eyes flutter shut at the gesture. “Do whatever Will asks you to. Address him as ‘sir’ unless he asks for something different.”

“Oh, ‘sir’ will be just fine,” Will drawls out the last two words with deep satisfaction. My toppy mood wobbles for a second because, wow, would I not mind calling him ‘sir’ if he was going to talk to me in that tone of voice. I dart to my room before I can dwell on the thought for too long. 

Strapping everything on doesn’t take that long — the physical part is pure muscle memory after all the practice I’ve had. There are still cantrips to mutter while I cinch everything into place, waking up the harness’ enchantments. If I had any power to spare I could speed up the process, but for today I’ll wait as the runes drink up the trickle of power I can offer. It’s worth every second once it snaps on and I can feel my hand on my dick.

This is usually where I take the time to enjoy it a little and let myself adjust. Right now I’m so impatient that I go striding back out the door I hadn’t even bothered to close, pulling my jeans up as I go. 

Andy’s soft moans drift down the hallway. With a few quick steps I can see him again, both of his hands on his chest tracing slow circles around his nipples. His head is thrown back, half-closed eyes fixed on Will standing over him.

I pause at the edge of the hallway, playing the voyeur while I have the chance. Will tossed his shawl over the back of the couch at some point. I hadn’t realized the shirt he had on underneath was a crop top and now I can’t stop staring at his broad shoulders and the gentle dip at the small of his back. There are a few tattooed lines peeking out from under the edge of his shirt; my sudden need to touch them is so intense I know they’ll both feel it.

“There you go, good boy. You’re doing a wonderful job following orders,” Will says. He glances over his shoulder and gives me a quick wink. Busted. “And with how much you like doing what I tell you, I’ll be charged up in no time at all.”

He’s so quick at drawing the connection between extra power influx and realizing I’m watching that it’s like a sixth sense. It’s a logical jump, but I’d never considered the possibility before. Getting a lot of good considering in today and so far the major conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s really hot.

Will’s still looking at me as he asks, “Do you like that I can tell when you’re enjoying yourself?” It’s a rhetorical question, but the heated smile I get from him tells me I answered it anyway.

“Yes, sir,” Andy says. He bites his lip, hesitating, and then he asks, “Is it like how I can feel what Quinn’s feeling?” Being a cat is a good fit for Andy beyond how nice he looks. He’s got an insatiable curiosity, despite the fact that most people take one look at him and assume he’s a dumb jock. “Sorry if that’s a dumb question.”

My teeth clench as the fierce urge to protect him hits. Anyone who thinks he’s stupid hasn’t bothered to get to know him, and they don’t deserve to. There’s a guilty aftertaste to my anger, given the reasons we got into this mess in the first place. I have to do better from now on.

“Nope, it’s an excellent question. What you two have is something special.” I swear I see Will’s smile go flat for a split second before he turns his attention back to Andy. “A familiar gets the good and the bad, almost entirely unfiltered unless the witch puts a lot of effort into managing the connection.”

“Is it going to go away when you turn me back to normal?” Andy asks. His hands have dropped to his sides as curiosity overtakes arousal. I can tell the second he spots me: his pupils get huge and his ears perk up. “Hi, Quinn!” Even his tail seems excited to see me, curled over at the top like a happy question mark.

I can’t deal with how cute he is like this. Or most of the time, if I’m being honest. I’ve had a weak spot for him from the second we met, when he stopped to help me pick up a stack of books I’d fumbled when I noticed him.

Will’s gaze drifts off toward nothing in particular as he considers Andy’s question. “I suppose it wouldn’t have to if I don’t try to sever the familiar connection. I could probably leave you able to change back and forth between human and catboy with a bit of finesse work and some extra power.” He drums his fingers on his thigh, humming faintly.

I shoot an apologetic look at Andy because my opinion on him being able to change into a catboy whenever I— he wanted was loud and clear. His face slides into a smug grin. “What do you think, Quinn? I know it might take longer to make sure Will has all the power he needs, but if that’s not a problem for you….” I can hear how Andy is barely stopping himself from laughing at me.

“Oh, it definitely won’t be a problem for me,” I say, letting the words have a bit of bite so Andy knows how much trouble his sass is going to get him into. “But you, my little brat, might not have such an easy time.” I turn to Will and ask as casual as I can, “You said an hour earlier, didn’t you? So for something more complex, would you guess closer to two or would it be even longer?”

Andy doesn’t get a hand over his mouth fast enough to hide his moan. I walk past Will so I can pull Andy’s hand away and tuck it behind his back. “Now, now, you know better than that. We want to hear every single noise you make, sweetheart.”

All of Will’s heated focus snaps back to us as he says, “I couldn’t agree more. As for the time, I’m not entirely sure how long I’ll need. There are so many factors involved, you know how it is, Quinn.” I see where he’s going with this and I’m so on board. “How about I tell you when I think I’ll be ready to give it a go?”

“That seems reasonable,” I say, trying to play it cool. My acting skills aren’t convincing anyone in the room with the way I keep breaking into a grin. “Andy, you can check in with Will whenever you want, as long as you ask him nicely.”

Andy hits us with the big, sad eyes again. “You two just wanna hear me beg.” He says it like an accusation but he’s as terrible at keeping a straight face as I am. “I’m down for that, if you think you can make me.” The way he juts his chin out is so cute I have to crouch down and kiss him.

At some point he gets his hand around my dick, the minx, and I break off our kiss with a startled gasp.

“Oh, now that’s an interesting reaction.” Will’s inquisitive tone sends a shiver down my back. “Is it double-sided?”

“Nope, it’s not!” Andy says, happy as ever to spill my secrets at the drop of a hat. “Quinn, can I show him?” 

“Ask me for exactly what you want,” I remind him as I stand up. When Andy first brought up me ordering him around, I could barely manage a polite request and now being bossy is second nature. Andy’s done amazing things for my confidence. “Then ask Will if he’d like to watch, too.”

Andy wiggles his hips as he beams up at both of us. “Please, Quinn, may I suck your cock?” He says the words easily enough, though his face is getting red. “Would you like to see that, sir?”

“I would very much like to see that,” Will says.  “The two of you are… maybe ‘very potent’ would be the right phrase.” I have to fight my lifelong habit of flinching from attention as he runs an appraising look over me. “I think I may have underestimated you, Quinn.”

I square my shoulders and return the once over, because fuck it, he’s clearly interested. Will’s always been easy on the eyes, but with the line of his cock straining against his tight jeans the view is that much sweeter. He stretches his arms up and puts himself on display, crop top sliding higher as he arches his back.

While I’m distracted, Andy leans in and licks a slow line along the side of my dick. I swear under my breath and understanding dawns on Will’s face.

“I’ll make that definitely underestimated right now if you’ve done what I think you’ve done. You are a clever thing, aren’t you?” Will drops to his knees next to Andy and for one heart-stopping second I think he’s going to put his mouth on me too.

The thought is strong enough to get two pairs of eyes on me, blue and brown and both amused. “Ooh, Quinn’s thinking dirty thoughts,” Andy says all sing-song, and now I’m the one turning red. 

“I was only hoping for a look at the rune work you’ve done on this, but I suppose I should be careful if you can feel it,” Will says. He shoots me a sultry look, tongue flicking out over his lips. “Or have you been angling to get me on my knees for you the whole time, Quinn?”

My eyes are fixed on his mouth, even as I weakly shake my head and say, “There’s no way I could have planned all this.” If I could have I one hundred percent would have, so I’m not sure I can reasonably argue his point.

“But you’re pretty happy with how it turned out!” Andy’s way too pleased by this but I can’t be mad. He taps Will on the shoulder to get his attention and says, “I don’t mind sharing, if you want.”

“I thought I was the one in charge here,” I mutter, knowing it’s probably a lost cause. My crush-turned-catboy wants to share me with my hot witch friend? I’d pay through the teeth even to read a manga with that premise. If the two of them want to take control, I have the good sense to let them.

“Of course you’re in charge,” Will says smoothly, “so why don’t you tell us what you’d like us to do? Not that we wouldn’t be happy to make some suggestions, if you’d like them.” He’d be the picture of innocence if not for the huge, toothy grin.

I may as well try to shift the power balance back in my favor, whether or not I can manage to actually do it. “No, if there’s anything you want, I think you need to beg for it.” The fact that I can look down at Will for a change helps me get some oomph behind my words.

He folds his hands in front of himself and bows his head, turning only his eyes up to meet mine. Several of his long braids slide forward over his shoulders. “Unworthy though I am of your attention, permit me this boon, I beg of thee—”

I slap a hand over Will’s mouth before he can continue using one of the common invocations for higher powers in order to seduce me. Not only has he already managed, I absolutely cannot handle that level of reverence directed at me.

“I’ve heard something like that before,” Andy says. “It’s a big spell thing, isn’t it?”

With a warning glare at Will, I pull my hand back. “It definitely is,” I tell Andy.

Will nods, managing something in the neighborhood of contrite. “One of the standard ways to address a deity. Me being too clever for my own good, I suppose. I’m guessing Quinn enjoys something a bit more direct?” 

“Oh, no, he liked it,” Andy says, reaching over to squeeze Will’s shoulder like he needs comforting along with unnecessary amounts of insight into what turns me on. “I think it was overwhelming, maybe? Some of these feelings are pretty hard to figure out.”

“You got that one just fine.” I have to reassure Andy that he’s done well, damn it. Next step is making sure Will knows he hasn’t done anything wrong. “Will, I don’t usually play with power dynamics quite like that. I’m only in charge because Andy wants me to be. Like realistically, he could overpower me without much trouble.”

Andy crosses his arms with a soft huff. “Unless you turned me into a frog or something first.” We’ve had this argument before. He insists every time, almost verbatim, that I could kick his ass with my awesome witch powers.

“So more of a ‘pretty please, won’t you boss me around’ situation?” Will asks, nodding happily. “I can do that. I’d really, really like to touch your dick, Quinn, if you would allow me to?”

There’s still a hint of that reverence in his words, but not quite enough to put me off. It’s also just so Will that I can’t bring myself to mind. “Go ahead,” I tell him.

My breath catches as he traces one careful finger along the underside of my cock. Realistic as it looks, I know to him it still feels like silicone, but he’s touching me gently all the same. His slow, careful stroke is nearly as overwhelming as the invocation had been.

He stops when his finger hits the runes I painstakingly etched into the harness, three concentric circles of them centered on the loop that anchors my various dicks. As he leans in to get a closer look, I can feel the heat of his breath, and it is taking some serious effort on my part to hold still.

I hear a worrying giggle from Andy, and two seconds later he’s licking the head of my dick. It’s a minor miracle when I manage to nudge Will’s head to the side rather than smack him in the face with my hips.

Once Will’s out of the way, Andy decides to show off. He slides forward inch by inch until his nose is brushing up against my open zipper. I stroke his hair with an unsteady hand and try not to fall over from how fucking good it feels.

And then he starts purring.

My legs turn to jelly, but Andy and Will each grab one of my thighs so I don’t collapse on top of them. I can’t focus on anything but Andy as he pulls back to take a deep breath, his eyes on mine the whole time. He’s the perfect picture of a debauched catboy, face flushed and pupils blown wide.

“Impressive,” Will says. He starts to reach for Andy’s arm but catches himself. “Are you okay with me touching you, Andy?”

Andy shifts his attention over with a bright smile. “Yeah, totally! Go for it.”

“And what about you, Quinn?” Will asks, one hand hovering near my hip. “Do you mind me touching more of you?”

It’s tempting to shrug the questions off, but Will deserves better than that. “Don’t touch my chest or anything between my legs besides my dick, but otherwise go ahead.”

“Well, that’s all very straightforward.” Will trails his gaze over both me and Andy, seeming no less interested despite my limitations. “With so many options, I hardly know where to start.” He worries his bottom lip between his teeth for a moment before breaking into a grin. 

I catch his hand before he can get it around my dick. “I think we skipped one important part there, Will. Do you want us touching you too?”

“Right. I suppose I had assumed I would be” —Will hesitates, twirling a finger around to spool in whatever fanciful turn of phrase he’s after— “something of an accessory to things?”

Andy snorts. “Dude, c’mon, you’re super hot. Why wouldn’t we want to touch you too?” He paws at one of Will’s arms and does that cat-like head tip. “Can I kiss you?”

“I’m rather surprised you want to, given how you seemed to think I was trying to seduce Quinn away from you earlier.” Will is dancing around the question, but he’s distinctly not saying no. His eyes even drift down to Andy’s lips… but this isn’t my problem to solve, so I keep my lips firmly shut.

“But I was wrong about that, right?” Andy says, giving him an encouraging smile. “You’re trying to help and you think I’m hot too, which is awesome. Why wouldn’t I want to kiss you?”

I suspect if even half the world was as gentle and accepting as Andy, we’d live in some kind of utopia by now. A really supportive utopia where everyone was buff as hell. Even I could probably stand to hit the gym more in return for world peace.

“That’s a very persuasive argument you’ve made,” Will says, swaying toward Andy like the cat ears gave him a gravitational pull. “I think I’m convinced, in fact.”

Andy tilts his head further but doesn’t close the gap between them. “That sounds kind of like a yes but I want to be sure. Can I kiss you, Will? Please?”

It’s nice to see Andy’s sweet begging hits Will as hard as it does me. “Yes, Andy. Worlds of yes.” Will takes one of Andy’s hands to gently tug him forward.

That’s all the certainty Andy needs — or maybe all the teasing he wants to do, I’m not sure which. He leans in and presses his lips to Will’s in a slow, soft kiss that is amazing to watch from where I’m standing. Their lips part and Will gets a hand in Andy’s hair, tightening his grip as they deepen the kiss.

I let one hand drift down to start idly stroking my dick as I enjoy the show. Will gives Andy’s hair a small tug, wringing a sharp moan out of him. I can feel some of the muscles low on my stomach clench in a way that means I need to take my hand right back off already.

“Did you feel that, Andy? I think Quinn likes it when you make pretty noises.” Will pulls back far enough to speak, leaving me with an even better view of Andy’s face, slack with pleasure. “And I know that you’re enjoying it at least as much as he is.”

Will smirks at me and I’m more sure than ever that I’m no longer in charge. I can live with that, given the results it’s gotten me so far. “But we don’t want Quinn to feel left out, do we? How about we move this kiss a few inches over?”

I am pretty sure this will be the thing that kills me, but damn, what a way to go. Will pulls Andy in by the hair and they’re not-quite-kissing across the head of my dick. It’s messy, gorgeous, and while I don’t know if it’s the best thing I’ve ever felt, the sight is absolutely blowing my mind.

Some kind of unflattering high-pitched noise is escaping my mouth, but I can’t focus on anything beyond the two stupidly hot men making out at my feet. When they start taking turns actually sucking my cock, I’m done for. My knees are shaking and I can barely keep my eyes open to watch as Will tightens his grip in Andy’s hair and pushes his head down.

Andy’s purring tips me over the edge and I fold forward, grabbing blindly at their shoulders for stability as I come so hard I almost white out.

I’m still shuddering through the aftershocks as the two of them maneuver me to sit on the couch. Probably should have sat down earlier, but what’s a little fall risk in the face of mind-blowing sex? I enjoy all of thirty seconds of afterglow before there’s a hand on my dick again. I let out a startled yelp. 

“So what kind of refractory period do you have?” Will asks. “Are you too sensitive right now?” His touch is light, but he doesn’t stop while he asks me questions. I’m not sure if I want to answer, because I can think of a multitude of ways he’ll use the information against me.

“Quinn’s told me it’s pretty intense right after. We usually take a quick breather, but not always.” Andy smooths one hand up my thigh, giving me his best I’m-so-innocent look. “Hey Quinn, remember that time I rode you and you came like five times in a row?”

“Ooh, we have data now. Or possibly a challenge,” Will says. I think if he had a tail, it would be wagging.  “But would it have to be six total or six each to beat the record?”

I slap Will’s hand away from my dick. “No. Absolutely not. If we try, you’ll wind up power drunk and I’ll be basically dead and that is not what we need right now.”

“Might want to set aside a whole weekend for that one,” Andy offers. “Stock up on some Gatorade and snacks and stuff first.”

“Practical suggestions, all!” Will rubs his hands together, all gleeful mischief. I’d try to get out of reach if I thought my legs would hold me up. “Sadly, Quinn has made a valid point. We did originally get started to recharge me and sort out this whole cat hex issue.”

Andy mulls it over longer than I’d prefer, but finally gives us a grudging nod. I let out a tiny sigh of relief because I was one small push away from letting them go ahead and try to wreck me.

“Maybe we can go for the more reasonable goal of everyone gets off at least once?” I offer hopefully. “Open to suggestions on the how, of course.”

Andy ducks his head, playing at being shy as he looks up through his eyelashes. “I think Will should use my mouth.” He lifts one of Will’s hands to his face and drags his lips over Will’s fingers. “Gentle or rough is fine, I like both.”

Will’s staring at his mouth and I’m happy to see Andy’s coy act is equally devastating to everyone. Andy bites his lip for a moment then strokes his tongue over the spot. “Well,” he says, dragging the word out to several syllables, “I might like rough a bit more, but whichever you want is okay.”

Andy sucks one of Will’s fingers into his mouth, and Will lets out an honest to whomever growl that makes Andy’s ears flatten back. They spring up again as he grins and starts wiggling his hips in what basically amounts to a victory dance.

“Two things,” Will says, glancing upward as if he might need to invoke an actual higher power to hold himself back. “One, Quinn, are you okay with me doing that? Two, do you have any condoms?”

“Hell yes, and let me go grab some.” I skedaddle to my bedroom — which might get a lot less lonely in the near future — and find the condoms in no time. I grab some lube and Andy’s favorite metal plug too, because who knows what else we might wind up doing. 

Will’s on his feet when I get back with Andy kneeling in front of him, walking his hands up Will’s thighs. Andy’s grin slides from coquettish to wicked as he leans in, pressing his lips to the ridge in Will’s jeans. 

When I’m back in earshot I catch Andy saying, “Bet I could make you make a mess of these jeans.” I should probably step in and rescue Will before Andy manages what he’s threatening to do. Not that I wouldn’t love to watch that, but the alternative is even more tempting.

“Are you getting bossy, brat?” I toss everything I was carrying onto the couch and use a handful of Andy’s hair to pull him back. “Pretty sure I told you to behave for Will, didn’t I?”

“I was just playing,” Andy protests, trying to see if he can get away with it by using those big, adorable eyes again. To my relief, I’ve managed to develop some iota of resistance. 

“No, you were being a brat,” I say, tightening my grip in his hair and watching his eyes drift close. “Don’t be afraid to haul him around like this if he’s acting up,” I tell Will.

He gets a hand on the other side of Andy’s head and gives his hair a sharp tug.  “You feel like behaving for us now, Andy?” Will asks. Andy starts nodding despite our grip in his hair. “Good boy. You keep that up and I promise I’ll be as rough as you want me to be.” I can already tell I’m in for a great show.

Will straightens up and peels off his crop top, throwing it behind him without a glance. My eyes drag down over the dusting of hair across his chest and the very tantalizing trail leading under the waistband of his jeans. He catches my eyes and follows the same path with one finger. My heart rate spikes, and I have to look away before I’m the one who winds up on his knees.

“Want to put your toy in for this, Andy?” I ask. Andy nods so hard it makes his ears wobble. He grabs the lube with one hand and his toy with the other, slicking it up in record time. 

“Nice and slow, now,” I tell him. He can take that toy without any trouble, but it’s more fun to make him wait. Andy arches his hips up pretty, lines up his toy and starts to press it inside himself. Will’s breath catches. I let Andy get to the widest point before I say, “Stop there.”

Andy freezes, and the visceral satisfaction I get from his obedience makes my thighs clench. His whole body is tense as he holds still for me. “Pull it back out and add more lube. You need to make sure you’re nice and slick in case I want to fuck you later.”

“You’re so mean,” Andy whines. It might have been convincing if not for his happy groan as I let him finish working the toy in. I mean to stop him there, but he starts fucking himself all slow and showy and, well, I’m weak.

Out of the corner of my eye, I catch Will biting his lip as he stares too. It’s nice that we’re in this together: two witches mesmerized by one ordinary guy. More accurately, one insanely attractive catboy, but who’s going to argue semantics right now?

I toss a throw pillow to the floor in front of Will and push on Andy’s shoulders until he kneels on it. “There you go, darling,” I say, stroking his hair. “Eyes on Will and do whatever he asks you to.”

The first half of that order is clearly no hardship for either of us. Will pops the button on his jeans and eases the zipper down so slow that I’m holding my breath in anticipation. My eyes fix on the tiny damp spot where his cock pulls his purple briefs tight and I absently lick my lips.

Andy’s noticed too and I have to leash him by the hair to stop him from diving in. “Condom first,” I remind him, tearing one off the strip and tossing it over to Will. 

He has it on in no time and gives himself a few extra strokes with a cruel smile directed at Andy. “So, you want me to use your mouth now, beautiful? Because I would be very happy to oblige.”

“Please, sir.” Andy looks up at Will and lets his mouth drift open. I kick back on the couch to watch, grabbing some lube so I can stroke myself nice and slow.

Will slides two fingers past Andy’s lips and doesn’t stop until they’re all the way in. Andy takes it like a champ. He’s had a lot of practice on my hands and every single toy we own, because it drives us both wild.

“Look at you.” Will breathes the words out as he pulls his fingers free. “You’ve put a lot of work into being this fuckable, haven’t you? Quinn, you have such a perfect little pet.” I preen almost as much as Andy does at the compliment. “Open wide for me.”

Andy does as he’s told and Will slides the head of his cock back and forth across Andy’s outstretched tongue. “Now take me as deep as you can.” Will lets out a pleased moan as Andy sucks him all the way down in one go and then stays put. He’s purring loud enough that I can hear it. “Oh, that’s very nice. You’re so pretty with my cock down your throat.” I’m in awe at how steady his voice is. Will tugs Andy back by the hair until his mouth is empty again. “Are you going to choke if I fuck you that deep?”

Andy shakes his head with a proud smile. “I can take it, sir.” 

“Well then, hands behind your back and open up for me again, lovely,” Will says. Andy obeys at once. I’m surprised how much I like seeing him like this, happy as can be at someone’s command. Will starts out a little slower than I would have, taking a few steady, deep strokes that Andy handles with ease. 

When Will makes a fist in Andy’s hair and picks up his pace, I find myself matching it with my hand. Andy’s hands twitch behind his back and I know from experience he’d love nothing more than to stroke himself off while Will fucks his mouth. He’s a gorgeous mess already, his dick hard up against his abs as broken moans mixed with a loud purr escape from his slick lips.

Will’s expression is locked on Andy’s face with an intense focus that has me biting back a moan. “I’m going to come.” Will’s ragged warning only makes Andy push further forward, making sure he takes every last bit of cock in his mouth.

I have to take my hands off my dick, because watching Will’s control snap is almost enough to send me over the edge too. He grits his teeth and clenches his eyes closed, then snaps his hips forward with a guttural moan. Andy’s eyes are open but glazed over as he lets Will grind out every last bit of pleasure he can get.

Will swears under his breath as he eases Andy’s head back and gently strokes his hair. Andy’s lips are red and swollen, his whole face is flushed, and he’s got a glowing smile; all in all, he’s the perfect picture of happy debauchery. “Very, very good boy,” Will says. He runs his thumb along Andy’s bottom lip and Andy takes it into his mouth with a showy bob of his head. Will’s chuckle as he pulls his hand back is breathless. “There is no way I can go again this soon, no matter how ridiculously talented you are with your mouth.”

“Won’t stop him from trying,” I say, stifling a laugh of my own. “Andy told me he almost made a guy cry once by sucking him off from one orgasm through to another.”

Andy is absolutely beaming with pride. “He asked me to use my mouth on him, so I did!” His tail twitching side to side is the perfect complement to the mischief in his voice. 

“While I have no doubt you could bring me to tears if you wanted, I’d really appreciate it if you wouldn’t,” Will says, easing out of Andy’s reach with a very reasonable look of wary respect. He takes a moment to throw away the condom before he zips up and joins me on the couch. “Frankly, I’m in awe that you can handle him in the slightest, Quinn.”

“That’s giving me too much credit.” I beckon Andy over and he crawls forward until he’s sitting between my spread legs. “Pretty sure he could wreck me if he wanted to.” Andy nods without a moment of hesitation.

Will sprawls out, stretching his arms over the back of the couch but not quite touching me. I don’t get a chance to agonize about whether it’s intentional or not before I have a lapful of naked catboy.

Andy laces his hands together behind my neck and twirls a finger around the buzzed edge of my hair. “Quinn, you should fuck me now.” He says it all sugary sweet as he rolls his hips, brushing our dicks together. “I’ve been good, haven’t I?”

“You have been all kinds of trouble,” I say. My head lolls back into his hands and I can’t manage to make the words scolding. I love the solid weight of him on my lap and the security of his arms bracketing me in. “You want to ride me, baby?”

My hands are already sliding down Andy’s back to his hips in automatic anticipation of a yes. I want him as close as he’ll let me have him right now and I’m sure he’s getting that desire loud and clear.

“Mm, yes please,” Andy says. He nuzzles into my neck and there’s that happy rumble of his again. “Sit back and let me take care of everything.”

Will rummages next to him and holds up the lube and condoms. “Need either of these?” His eyes are unfocused and his smile has gone dreamy. I’d bet anything he’s starting to get power-drunk from taking in too much too fast. I should probably say something, but power-drunk and half-naked on my couch is too compelling a combination for me to object to.

I snag the lube from him and slick myself up again while Andy takes out his plug. We’re on the same wavelength a lot thanks to plenty of practice, but I think the familiar bond is making it even more effortless than usual.

 “Don’t rush this,” I warn him. It’s as much for my sake as his — I’m going to lose it comically fast if he takes me the way I know he wants to. It nets me a frustrated huff, but Andy nods and doesn’t immediately sink down on me.

The pace doesn’t do that much to help with Andy so close to me, teeth tugging at his bottom lip as he works himself open inch by inch. I turn away in an attempt to calm myself down and meet Will’s eyes instead.

“No wonder you need him to go slow. You’re all kinds of worked up over there, aren’t you?” Great, Will’s regrouped and is going to dirty talk my self-control out of existence.

“I love it when Quinn can’t handle how good I feel,” Andy says, the words broken up by a quick gasp as he settles down onto my lap. He clenches down on me with a happy moan as he pinches his nipples with both hands.

Despite my good intentions, I grab his hips harder and buck up into him. I’m gripping him so tight, I’ll probably leave bruises, and the thought of seeing the scatter of small marks on him tomorrow almost does me in.

The relief of Andy distracting me from Will’s laser focused attention lasts for mere seconds. “I think I’m also developing a taste for Quinn losing control,” Will says. His lips brush against my ear, and fuck, I can’t deal with his voice like this. “Pretty sure you don’t stand a chance against the two of us, Quinn. You would not believe the kind of power you’re feeding me right now.”

I’ve helped other witches generate power before, even a few that preferred to use sexual energy, but none of them made it sound so intimate. Andy’s started riding me with long, deep strokes in the perfect rhythm to drive me wild. 

“Does it feel good for you too, Will?” Andy’s laughing breathlessly. “I love knowing how you feel, Quinn. I can make it perfect for you and you don’t even need to say a word.” He ducks in to kiss me, hot and messy as he keeps bouncing on my dick. 

There is no way I’m going to survive much longer. It’s no surprise when Will’s murmured “Oh, it feels incredible for me,” is what tips me over the edge. I cry out against Andy’s mouth as I come, accompanied by the sound of Will’s wickedly pleased laugh in my ear.

“Hm, didn’t Quinn say you should obey me, Andy?” Will’s question sounds so innocent I go straight to high alert, for all the good that doesn’t do me. Andy hums his agreement, busy muffling anything I might want to say with more kisses. “Then I think you should keep going. I want to see if you can’t wring another orgasm or two out of him. Unless you object, Quinn?”

My noise of protest goes ignored, of course. Will’s lips are back at my ear again and I can hear the smile in his voice as he says, “I promise I’ll tell him to stop before you get to six.”

His words steal away my ability to think but I scrabble my way back to coherence as quick as I can. If the two of them are going to play dirty, then I will too. I grab a handful of Andy’s hair and yank him off of my mouth. His back arches and I take the opportunity to trail some sharp little bites across his chest.

When I sneak a hand between us and wrap it around his cock, Andy shudders to a halt with me buried all the way inside him. I know I’ve got a fighting chance when he can’t lift himself up again and starts rocking his hips in little circles.

“You’re not going to win a second time, brat.” I can’t muster up the sharpness I want but it’ll have to do. “You know how much you want to come on my cock. You love it and you’re going to love it even more when I throw you on the floor and fuck you until I come again.”

“But Quinn, I get too sensitive.” Andy’s breathless protest isn’t fooling anyone, not with the dreamy smile on his face and the way his body’s starting to tense all over.

“Should’ve thought about that before you decided to misbehave,” I say with zero sympathy. I give his hair another tug and bite him again, getting rougher as he edges closer to coming. “Bad boys get fucked however I want to fuck them.” I punctuate the words with a snap of my hips and that’s more than he can handle. He lets out a growly moan as his dick pulses in my hand and leaves a line of come dripping down my fingers.

I put my hand to his mouth, pulling him toward it with my grip on his hair. “Take care of the mess you made, brat.” He manages to lick up the worst of it before I stop playing nice and smear what’s left across his lips and cheeks.

Will makes a sharp sound like he got punched. His pupils are very wide —  that’s a definite yes on power-drunk — and he ducks his head when I try to make eye contact. I may not be gaining any magic, but I’m getting my own kind of charge when I manage to get these two back under my control.

“Andy, get on the floor,” I order. He moves into position nice and quick, though his legs tremble before he drops to his knees. It’ll be fine. He won’t be down there long because I’m so ready that I’m barely going to survive sliding back into him again.

I don’t tease, this time. It’s only takes a couple rough snaps of my hips in and then I fuck him quick and mean, wringing out as much noise as I can. The way his moans get all whimpery from the overstimulation is one of my favorite sounds in the world.

Will’s watching me and his hand is drifting down to his lap like he might manage to go again. It feels like another victory for me. With a feral noise, I shove deep into Andy’s body and come. I stay draped over his back, breathing heavy by one of his shoulder blades while he squirms and shudders underneath me.

“Doing okay, sweetheart?” I whisper the words against his skin. Sometimes it’s too much when he starts to wind down. He gives me a shaky nod, so I press a kiss to his back and rest on him a little longer. When my body starts protesting the way I’m hunched over, I ease out as gentle as I can while I stroke a soothing line down his side.

Before I can think too much about the audience I still have, I get my pants down far enough to undo my harness. The spell on it breaks as soon as I unsnap one of the straps. My brain takes longer to register the change, giving me a solid thirty seconds of phantom dick sensations before it grudgingly realigns to my body again. The worst of the weird mix of relief and loss when it does is mercifully smoothed over by the afterglow.

I fix my pants, drop the harness by Andy’s plug to be a problem for Future Quinn, and plunk myself down on the couch next to Will. He still looks tipsy and I have zero idea about how much personal space he wants right now. I decide to leave him a bit of breathing room, specifically the entire center couch cushion.

Andy, the most determined cuddler I know, plunks right into the gap I left and stretches out between us. “Do you mind me here?” Andy asks. He tips his head back to look up at Will with his sleepy cat eyes. They’re so cute he could probably use them to sweet-talk his way out of anything up to and including a murder.

It’s no shock when Will shakes his head no. Andy stretches out sideways with his legs over mine and his head on Will’s thigh. I can hear the contented purr from here and I’m sure my face is doing something sappy as I give Andy’s calf a squeeze.

“Well, I’m certainly good on power now and probably for the next several weeks, so let me know when you’re ready.” Will lets out an oddly strained chuckle. “Turning Andy back to normal, or however close you two would like him to be, should hardly make a dent.”

“Wanna keep the ears,” Andy says. He’s more cat than ever with his eyes shut as he nuzzles against Will’s leg. “Quinn likes them too much.” I can’t argue his point. One of Will’s hands goes for Andy’s head, but for some reason he stops himself and shifts his elbows to the back of the couch instead.

“That would be doable if he’s my familiar, wouldn’t it?” I hadn’t done the most thorough research before starting this process, but I think I remember reading that a familiar will passively absorb some of my power. It should be enough to let him bring out the ears for special occasions, at least. “Though if we weren’t together…” Andy opens one eye so he can glare at me for even suggesting it.

“With a bit of finesse work, I can link his ability to shift to being your familiar so if you did decide to part ways it wouldn’t do him any harm.” Will’s shoulders relax now that he has a problem to sink his teeth into, though I’m still not sure what he’s antsy about. If he regrets having sex with us, I’m in for a painful stretch of awkward social events in my future.

“What would happen if you didn’t put a limit on it?” Andy asks, perking up as curiosity wins out over post-coital drowsing. “I thought I couldn’t do any magic stuff at all.”

Will looks startled by the question and then instantly fond, a combination I bet he’ll get used to if he keeps hanging out with Andy. “It’s not that you can’t do magic, technically, but that you can’t store enough power on your own. So if you tried to change form without Quinn as a backup source, it might not work, partially work, or work but make you faint from exhaustion.”

“Okay, but if I’m Quinn’s familiar, I can just use his power whenever?” Andy’s fully awake now, the tip of his tail flipping back and forth with interest. “Would it be dangerous if I like changed back and forth a billion times a day?”

I snort at the mental image and say, “Yeah, it would eventually drain me, but why would you do that? There’s no way you’re getting pants on with the tail out, so that makes going anywhere in public a huge no.”

“I’m gonna get those super low-cut jeans,” Andy says solemnly, “and a visor instead of a normal hat. Or one of those hats for dogs, with the cutouts for the ears? It’ll be perfect.”

Will looks from him to me with an expression of growing horror. “Maybe I should change him back to fully human, for the good of fashion?” Andy reaches up to bat at one of Will’s dangling braids, all wide-eyed innocence and pleading.

There’s a long pause while I get to watch any resolve Will has crumple like tissue paper in the face of my boyfriend’s deadly cuteness. “Fine,” he says, clearly fighting a smile. “You can keep the ears and tail, but only because you are unreasonably adorable like this.”

“Thank you, Will! You’re the best.” Andy twists like an eel so he can sit up and drop a peck on Will’s cheek. “Quinn, you should thank him too. I’d still be stuck as a cat without his help and today would have been way less fun.”

With a quick ruffle of Andy’s hair, I say, “Okay, you’ve got me there. Thank you, Will.” I lean over Andy to brush a kiss against Will’s cheek too, but jerk back when I hear his breath catch. “Sorry, not good?”

“I hadn’t expected this kind of…” Will trails off. He looks lost, staring off at the far wall and shrinking in on himself. “No offense intended, but I’d assumed from the start this would be a ‘cast the spell and then get shuffled politely out the door’ sort of situation.”

That stings, a lot. I’m not that much of an asshole, am I? Before I can snap at him, I flash back to what he said when I called — that people only get in touch when they need his help. I take a second to think so I can choose what I want to say rather than letting my defense mechanisms do the talking. 

“It’s not that I don’t like you or wouldn’t want to hang out with you?” My rising insecurity turns it into a question somehow. “I assumed you were too cool to want to hang out with the loser junior witch.” I bury my face in my hands. Heart-to-hearts give me hives. “Also I don’t, uh, people well sometimes. Sorry.”

Andy hisses faintly and jabs me in the leg with one finger. “Quinn, you’re not a loser. Don’t talk about yourself like that.”

“I’ve got to agree with him on both counts,” Will says softly. I’m betting he’s also a bit allergic to feelings, given his uncomfortable expression. Still, he only hesitates for a split second before resting a hand on my shoulder. “You may be inexperienced, but you’re very talented and from what I’ve seen of your work, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with in no time.”

Having delivered that powder keg of sincerity, he shrugs and pulls his arms back close to his sides. I hesitate too long in responding and Will adds, “Also, while I’m flattered, I think you’re vastly overestimating how cool I am. At the very least, I can be sure you’re in the minority as far as that opinion goes.”

I reach over to take one of Will’s hands and Andy instantly scoops up the other. “If I don’t get to call myself a loser, I think you don’t get to tell me you’re not cool either,” I say, squeezing his hand.

“This is the part where you kiss and make up,” Andy stage-whispers. Will and I both shoot him an incredulous look, but I can’t be mad given the way he’s grinning and making ridiculous smooching gestures with his hands.

I miss being turned on and power-tripping. With a clearer head, it takes some doing to scrape up the nerve to ask, “Do you agree with him about that one too? I think he might be onto something.” Andy shoots me a thumbs-up and wriggles out from between us.

Will — cool, gorgeous, talented Will — freezes like a startled deer at the words and then manages a tiny nod. I think he might be blushing, though it’s hard to tell with his skin tone. Moving as carefully as if he were a jumpy forest creature, I reach up and smooth one hand over his cheek. It is absolutely warm under my palm.

Will leans into my touch, tipping his head to one side and locking his eyes on my lips. I’m happy to take the unsubtle offer. I kiss him, so gently at first that it’s as much breath as contact. He’s the one that presses in further and I make a startled noise as he turns it into the sort of kiss I associate with Andy’s action-movie finales.

Andy manages a solid wolf whistle, current form be damned. I’d never admit it out loud, but it’s probably called for with a kiss like this one. Will pulls away in stages, leaning back and then dipping in for one last, lingering kiss before he lets go of me entirely.

“I have the best plans,” Andy says, smug and far too pleased with himself. I reach over and pet his hair backward, which nets me an indignant squawk of, “Rude!”

“You don’t think it was a good idea after all, Quinn?” There’s that dangerous tone in Will’s voice again, smoky and tempting. “Maybe I should try again and see if I can persuade you. I could even share some of my power with you, if you wanted. I’m so full right now you wouldn’t believe it.”

Any skin contact when sharing power feels like juggling electricity to me. The thought of that but with Will’s tongue in my mouth and his hands all over me is one of the most tempting offers I could imagine.

“That sounds like it might be fun,” Andy says. After a brief consideration, he adds, “Quinn definitely thinks so.” We clearly need to have a talk about Andy not sharing my feelings at some point, though I think that ship’s sailed with regards to Will. 

Andy’s ears are perked forward with interest and I watch him start to stretch a hand toward Will. Before he can reach his goal, I grab it. “Don’t you dare get us started again,” I say, though it’s more breathless than commanding.

Andy’s who, me? expression is ruined by the way he breaks out giggling. “Okay, maybe not right now, but can we do that sometime? After we block out a weekend for getting Quinn off as much as possible. Or during! I guess that would probably work great.”

“He’s serious, isn’t he?” Will asks, looking from Andy over to me, eyebrows furrowed together like we’re some mystery for the ages.

 All I can really do is nod. “He’s exactly as sincere as he seems, yeah. If you’re not up for it, obviously that’s fine, but I’d also be happy to have you around more. With or without the sex,” I add quickly. The moral of today’s story is to be direct with my interest in friendship.

“Same here,” Andy says casually. “I think the two of us got off on the wrong foot, Will. This has been really fun.” He clambers back into his spot draped across us and presses a kiss to Will’s bare stomach. “So yeah, come hang out again for sure —  or heck, hang out for a while now. We could get pizza!”

Will opens his mouth, fails to make any words or even a single sound, and snaps it shut again. I give his shoulder a supportive squeeze and say, “Andy had that effect on me for weeks, and that was without the extra level of cute he’s got going on right now.”

“I’m just being friendly, jeez,” Andy says. He continues to champion the idea that bluntly telling people you like them is the most obvious thing in the world. Maybe it is and the rest of us are over-complicating everything for no reason. “If you want time to think about it, that’s cool. Can we deal with the cat thing now, though?”

“Right, let’s do that,” Will says, with a clear undertone of so I don’t have to deal with everything else yet. Shook or not, he rallies well enough to get us through the spell a second time.

With all of our emotional attachments out in the open, attempt two goes off without a hitch and Andy is now stretched out across our laps in his usual human form. The outpouring of power seems to have helped Will too — his pupils are no longer blown wide and he’s more focused.

Andy runs both hands through his hair and smiles. “No more ears, awesome! Thank you again, Will, I appreciate it.” 

“Happy I could help.” Will’s voice is still a bit faint, but steadies as he shifts to explanation mode. “You should be able to change back and forth as long as Quinn is close by and has power to spare.”

“I’m a little low right now, but you should be okay to do a test run.” I take his hand and twine our fingers together. “If you have any trouble, I can probably help you do some exercises to practice focusing—” Andy’s cat ears pop back into existence and he lets out a gleeful laugh. “Or you can get it on the first try, that works.”

Andy’s happiness is so contagious that even Will manages a chuckle despite how he’s clearly still reeling. “Most familiars of my acquaintance, human or otherwise, don’t have any trouble with their powers,” Will says. “I suspect some sort of instinct comes along with the job.”

“Should also make things easier for me, which I’m really looking forward to,” I say, shooting for casual. The thing I’m most excited for is having Andy here again, but that’s a conversation I want to have with him alone. “So Will, do you want us to drop the whole hanging out thing for now? I don’t want to be too pushy.”

“You’re not.” Will says it so fast he almost cuts me off. “I’m a little off balance at the moment and still coming down from a frankly staggering influx of power, but it’s been nice. Very nice. I think I came in with a number of misconceptions, and it’s proven to be quite a revealing afternoon.” 

Andy muffles a snort behind one hand. “Yeah, I definitely revealed a lot. What do you two think?” He emphasizes how much he is still one hundred percent naked by stretching out even further across our laps. Any serious conversation we might have wanted to have is derailed as Will and I take a good, long look.

“Definitely wouldn’t mind taking advantage of your… hospitality again,” Will says, raking his eyes across everything Andy’s putting on display. My breath catches when he keeps going with the same intensity over me, sweeping over my body and up to my face. 

“Weekends are usually good for me, plus some Friday nights when I don’t have work.” Andy rattles off his schedule like everything’s already decided, which it probably is. His lack of magic powers doesn’t stop him from being a force of nature.

“So for tonight, maybe pizza and a movie?” Andy asks. He takes in the way Will and I are staring at each other, picks up on how I’m feeling, and adds, “Maybe a movie we’re not like super dedicated to watching all the way through.”

It takes an intense five seconds of internal pep talk, but I manage to look at Will and calmly say, “I’d really like that, if you’re interested in staying.” Not sure if feelings are getting easier or I’m getting some of Andy’s directness through our link. Either way, I’ll take it.

“Very much so, and thank you both for the invitation,” Will says softly. He starts carding a hand through Andy’s hair and finally lets his other hand rest against mine on the back of the sofa. “Not to mention the delightful time I’ve had thus far, though I may want to offer something a bit more hands on than a simple thank you for that.”

I note that some of his usual flirty tone is coming back with relief. If we had managed to break Will with either sex or friendliness, I would have felt awful about it.

We wind up ordering pizza somewhere in the middle of our friendly bickering over movie choices. Andy wins the argument almost entirely by bending over to look at one of the lower shelves of DVDs and putting one on before Will or I can regroup. I do manage to coax him back into pants after that so we don’t traumatize any delivery drivers.

I don’t know how he does it, but Andy gets Will sitting between him and me on the couch. It turns out Will is a cuddler after all and not above using his wiles to steal my pepperoni.

We’ll no doubt need to have more conversations about the three of us at some point, but that’s a problem for future me. Current me is going to stay cozied up under my favorite blanket and full of pizza, with Will’s head resting on my shoulder as Andy enthuses about the stunt work happening onscreen, and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it.

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6 thoughts on “Cathexis

  1. You know, there really aren’t enough stories out there about catboys being used as familiars (willingly or otherwise), and oracular methods often get the short end of the stick when it comes to magical whatsits despite information being one of THE strongest things in the book. Throw in some power dynamics and you’ve got the crisp, distinctive taste of a successful entry!

    Fantastic art, too! I love how strong their profiles are, the gorgeous rendering, and the positioning of those fuzzy little ears even as Alex is getting his hair grabbed good and fiercely.

  2. This is so sweet. I love all the sexual communication, talking about desires and boundaries in the moment is something I am always happy to see!
    Wonderful art as well, of one of my favorite moments in the story!

  3. I adored this! Super hot and steamy and also weirdly wholesome in terms of like how much focus is put on communication between all three characters before, during, and after sex. Really good stuff!

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