Kayla: Finding Normality
In the 28th century, the technology of rejuvenation allows for immortality. This device is also used for sentencing as well. A penitatas; a criminal that is sent back to childhood to live a highly strict and disciplined life to start anew. (Story Fourty)
Concept by Lurking Dragon
Kayla and story by Professor Bob
More Kayla Stuff!: www.Professor-Bob.net

"Ah, ah! No mom, please don't pull!", Kayla pleaded quickly, hunching her shoulders and ducking her head downward as an instinctive response to feeling her mother's fingers and thumb grasb her sensitive right ear. Emily knew to leave Kayla's left alone after what occured to her almost two weeks ago now, though it was awkward to take her daughter by the right ear instead of the usual left, being right handed and all. The mother shook her head, looking down at Kayla's clenched eyes, clearly paying attention now that she was worried about her orange, black tipped fox ear.

"Then hush and listen. I know you're excited about getting to spend the night with Jacob, but there has to be guidelines. This is the first night you would be in another penitatas parent's full care, and if your behavior isn't to the letter, miss Lory will punish you. Perhaps even harshly. In fact, so would I if you did something out of line", Emily spoke down to her young charge, keeping a firm hold on the Aspatrian's ear while not doing anything else to it to cause her girl any pain while her while she was finally standing in front of her to pay attention, instead of scampering around her room picking out clothing for tomorrow and packing things she felt like she may need. Feeling that she could continue once Kayla opened up her eyes, Emily went on to those guidelines.

"You need to follow everything Lory says, as if she was me. Jacob is also not a penitatas, so it would be inconvenient for you both if you were to get in trouble. Mind your matters to the letter, like you have been when you visit Jacob. Even though you're a penitatas, Lory has come to trust you to be with her medicalos for extended periods, and to be his close friend. You two get along great, so don't blow anything, alright?", the mother spoke calmly and clearly, keeping a more positive and encouraging tone. With her words said, she released Kayla's right ear without so much as a tug, giving the younger girl a quick pet behind it. The fox's head raised back up with a light, sheepish smile, since she thought she had been in trouble. Going after her ears was a fast way to make the penitatas cry, as well as direct her where needed; a fact Emily knew.

"I should be okay. Jacob isn't one to disobey Lory and I don't want to either. We'll likely be outside, or in his room", was Kayla's response as she flicked her right ear, standing at attention in front of her mother, while her more child-like side wanted to go back to getting prepared to leave. She knew her response was fine and had no errors or sass, which surprised Kayla to see a stern look begin to creep across Emily's face as if a thought had crossed her mind. Talk about an easy way to make her nervous again, folding her ears back just slightly, as if trying to avoid having them grabbed.

"But Kayla, there is still the new rule in effect. No computer consoles, and your memory chips dare not leave this house", Emily spoke in a tone of threat and warning, lifting her right hand to even wave a finger scoldingly. The new rule felt like a punishment.. maybe it was, especially as firmly as Kayla found her mother quoting her expectations. As harshly as the words seem to have been stated, Kayla bit her lip and slowly nodded her head in compliance. She had no intentions of moving her memory chips about, but that wasn't to say she didn't intend to use Jacob's computer console he had installed in his room. Lory had been treating him very well, and even got him the tools he asked for, and the computer to boot. To a penitatas, the Karrian was living in the lap of luxury, and he didn't have to take his briefs off to be swatted by a single soul. Kayla, being the person she was, didn't find him to be selfish or herself to be completely jealous. She knew he paid for what he had with his own blood and sacrafice - something no penitatas could say they had ever done. Emily stared down at her daughter's quiet, sullen sort of appearance till she was sure Kayla would obey, letting out a sigh of relent.

"Go on and finish getting ready, I trust you. I'll be downstairs when you're done", she said as she turned, keeping her head towards Kayla till she was finished speaking and exited the fox's bedroom. Kayla had to watch until she did, having been reminded about that new rule yet again. Two weeks without her hobby was horrible enough, and being reminded there would be no reprieve from that particular restriction dampened her spirits while she went back to ensuring her bag of belongings had everything she needed. A change of clothes, her datapad.. a pair of blue memory chips, which she promptly decided to remove from the bag. Even if she stared at them, as if tempted to sneak them past her mother, she wanted to enjoy her day and the thought of being severely punished and unable to have her 'sleepover' was too large a potential consequence for her young mind. Back into the desk drawer, they landed with a tiny clatter before the drawer was closed and the temptation disappeared from sight. It made her feel weak that she felt such urges to directly disobey due to the subject matter at hand, wishing greatly she could return to her work and show it to Jacob. She knew it might be too tough once she's sitting right next to his console, but the programs she had stored in her desk would have to wait this time around. Next time though, she figured to herself, it could be prudent to try, so she could give her new friend her collection of self-made video games, and her built from scratch operating system.

Lifting the bag she was storing her things in off of her desk, she had knocked off a letter written to her by Stephanie, which fell onto her desk chair. Figuring it wouldn't harm anything to leave it, the fox turned tail, hurrying out of her room. The appology letter from what happened all those days ago was well written and honest, but Kayla couldn't help but imagine the black 'P' penitatas' parents looming over her threateningly as she wrote - likely with a sore paw while clutching that pencil. Wearing her new favorite pair of blue jeans and a black t-shirt with a metalic blue design on the front, very casual, she returned to her mother with carrying bag on her shoulder. Naturally, Emily searched the bag for only a few seconds, relieving the Aspatrian that she did not leave her blue memory chips in there. Shirt, shorts, underwear, and her pink datapad was all Emily found; thus prompting the pair to head off for the older human and younger Karrian's place of residence. As the two had been, they hiked it by foot to their home, being that it was a perfectly clear sunny day. It was still cold, but not too much so due to the weather patterns in play and the sun raining down upon their skin, and fur, respectively. Since meeting Jacob, Kayla had gone to visit him several times, and became friends very easily. The young Karrian was slowly breaking free of his post-rejuvenation apprehension and now felt much more like himself. Thanks to their open minds and seemingly similar strifes, it had made it easier for each young rejuve child to better trust and appreciate the other.

Soon enough the pair was where they needed to be, welcomed into Lory's home by her own voice and beckon inside. With little delay, Kayla's ears heard the thumping of feet coming from the den, till Jacob emerged from the small hallway to provide his own smile and join his mother, and primarily Kayla - with the two parents sticking together at the front door as they normally would. Meeting another once again face to face as they had been quite happily, the two stood footpaw to footclaw; bag draped over Kayla's shoulder.

"Hey! Head upstairs, I'll be right up", Jacob greeted, sounding enthused and happy. The Karrian was dressed just as casually, finally owning more clothing to his name. A pair of black cotton shorts, loosely fitting, and a grey t-shirt, sticking to darker and 'dignified' colors despite the fact he was seven years of age now. Eagar as her friend was to hop to playing, Kayla nodded her head approvingly and walked briskly off into the same hallway the Karrian came from, to head up to his room. Jacob barely got a few steps towards the kitchen, before he heard the front door close and his mother call his name. Though spoken softly, Jacob stopped and turned his head with a light, airy 'hmm?' as curious questioning response.

"This is a big responcibility for Kayla darling. Just have fun, but know your own right from wrong and you can keep me from having to do anything unpleasant tonight. Okay?", the woman, wearing another one of her black dresses she enjoyed being around her home in, and gardening, said as she slowly approached her medicalos child. Her tone of voice was soft, mindful of it in almost a friendly way as she spoke of potential parental woes. Jacob dipped his head as a nod of acknowledgement. Kayla had been over several times and not once had he been forced to witness another session of 'penitatas discipline'. The boy had trouble calling it just 'spanking'. While he himself had recieved nothing more then a light scolding, the most Kayla had recieved from his mother was several smacks over the seat of her jeans. Admitably, seeing her tail flail was a curious sight, but seeing her pained expression across her muzzle as she attempted to stand perfectly still made that thought turn to imagining the pain she felt, as hard as it sounded his mom was spanking. Teary eyed, the fox was quick to appologize to him, and as if nothing had occured, the day of play went on. The Karrian found that sort of strength and resolve.. reassuring. That everything, despite what happened to him, was going to be alright.

"Since she's spending the night, there's more opportunity for things to go awry. Also, being a tradition from her mother, I also have to give her a bath, since she does not have permission to shower alone yet. I'll need time tonight for that, after dinner. Most importantly - no playing doctor, Jacob", the mother continued to speak, standing and speaking down softly to the reptilian child in front of her, whom stood with his calm, quiet demeanor, paws at his sides to simply listen. Being that the last sentence about his 'playing doctor' sounded like a scold, the Karrian shook his head and hummed again.

"I won't use any of my equipment or knowledge to meddle in penitatas related affairs. I've promised, miss Lory", Jacob replied in a manner that sounded if he was trying to reassure, even making a downward gesture with both of his open claws and smiling as he did. Though, not to his expectations, his mother grinned and turned her head slightly - black hair against her right shoulder.

"No. The other kind of 'playing doctor', is what I refer to", she had to say, since the context of her parental advisement had been lost. Took a moment, but it looked like the young boy flinched, taking a step back out of embarassment and surprise. If Lory didn't know any better, her medicalos son's muzzle could have lit up red if it wasn't green and scaly.

"M-miss!.. Why'd you say something like that?", Jacob spoke out due to the sudden nature of such a statement, holding his paws just above his chest and looking bashful that there was a sexual incinuation pointed his direction. Lory had to stifle a giggle of sorts, since what she said was still serious.

"Well, being a medicalos, you have rights. You couldn't sign a waiver to permit yourself to have relations while you're adolescent, so you're allowed to, you know, have sex, despite not having that form on file. Kayla is a penitatas, and she cannot, because she is not allowed to have the choice. The law is clear there, and due to the position we're in, I felt it neccessary to point that out. No matter who starts it.. if you mess around, it's her that would get in trouble and find herself in a world of paddle-driven hurt. Wanted to tell you so you knew. You seem to like her", Lory both advised and explained, being a parent that tried not to cut corners when her charges needed to be aware of information, no matter the nature. Even so, she still needed to tack in there the reason she felt like saying what she did. Jacob couldn't help but look right out embarassed at being told all those things, and especially the last part about seeming to like Kayla. He picked his friends carefully - so what? Seemed like only yesterday though, that he was a grown man. Without hormones at his body's current age what dirty thoughts he had stemmed from his memories, physical stimulation, and his environment. It was that way for all rejuvenated people, he knew from being a medical practitioner. Young in body and mind or not, they still held each memory and bit of knowledge, with karma sutra being on that list. Jacob understood his mother's reasoning and neccessity to warn him, but that made it even more embarassing.

"I'm not going to do anything. We're just friends. I, uhh, don't have any interest right now", Jacob stammered out slowly and quietly, fidgeting while being on this subject. As an adult, his personal feelings and intimate subject was bottled inside, and not discussed. It made him a shy child that wouldn't drop his clothes willingly, even to bathe, in front of his own parental guardian. Speaking of such things put a lump in his throat, and more-so since he did actually like Kayla. Crossing her arms, Lory's shoulders looked hunched, with the woman standing with a quiet smile for some moments.

"I'll take your word for it Jacob. Sorry to bother you; head on up stairs. I know you're just headed in there for some snacks. I can take care of that", the older woman relented with her kind smile, gesturing for the hallway instead of the kitchen door. She would prefer her son not perhaps taking a pile of food up to his room, to spoil his supper and that of the penitatas she was now in full charge of. Dropping his claws back to his sides, Jacob was quick to approve.

"Sure", was his simple response, just to turn and walk off for that hallway as prompt as he could without running. Keeping his tail close to himself, he placed his right claw on his muzzle once he got into the dimmer light of the hallway, beginning to walk more slowly. He knew his new parent meant no embarassment by what she said, but he had never been around anyone that blunt. Since his brother took care of him for his age-related rejuvenations, he more or less took care of himself. This was the first time he had a real parent, and Lory had the knack for being open, likely since you couldn't bare a penitatas nude and discipline them harshly if you had any reservations. Took some adjusting to get used to. But, as the Karrian began up the stairs to go to his room and waiting guest, those thoughts were implanted in his mind now. He had seen Kayla bare once before, when he first met her, and since then, she had been a good, solid friend to him. Her voice was tender and strong; kind to the letter with the innate ability to comfort his worries and stop them from getting bottled up. Kayla was calm, but so 'real', it didn't take much for him to let go of the painful emotions and memories now haunting him due to the U.S.S Apollo and his new medicalos status. The feeling of loss was being scooped away and replaced with comfort now that he had someone that was so much like him in some ways. Smart, caring, not rowdy like most children, rejuve or not. Those times she stayed there at his side, sitting on the end of his bed kicking their feet idly and talking about their experiences, good and bad. Though now, with the thoughts his mother dredged up, the care the two provided for eachother during their trying times seemed closer, and... it was hard for him to think about. She was good looking, nice, intelligent, but also independant. Qualities he found to be attractive.

Stepping into his room, he found Kayla a few paces in front of the doorway, back turned to him with a paw underneath her muzzle and chin, looking as if she was in thought. The idle motion of her tail, and quiet dignified stance didn't help the pondering going on inside his mind. Relationships? Please...

"Why are you just staring at all of it? Give it a whirl, I don't mind at all", the Karrian boy welcomed as he stepped up towards Kayla's left side, smiling and warmly offering to share. In front of them both was his new computer console, with it clearly tempting the fox as she stared at it rather seriously. Jacob had asked for it for it's convenience, but mostly for his friend, understanding what she was going through when she was forbidden to use computers any longer for leisure. Obtaining such things was easy being a medicalos, along with the table next to his desk for the equipment he requested. Glass vials and twisting tubes for his medical and biological studies.. or so he said; it was primarily for his own enjoyment. Right next to it were the other tools he requested, electronic related in nature. A spectrum analyzer, multi-spanner, coupler; tools for Kayla and his' project to get his old Starfleet communications badge back in working order. The draconic boy figured that looking at such things made Kayla feel underprivledged due to her penitatas designation, and the punishment she must endure, instead of having at least one or two luxuries such as this.

"If I hop on here now, and your mom catches me, I'd be dead meat", Kayla spoke with a light smile, shaking her head gracefully while her furred fingers slid from her muzzle to her chest, where she crossed her arms. Jacob hadn't thought of that part, humming in reply. "Although, maybe late tonight I could make use of this. Couldn't even get my memory chips out of the house today so I could show you my work. Came that close to one hell of a beating, and not getting to see you", she continued while keeping her eyes on the unit, being rather animated as she spoke, using her fingers to show just how close she came to her said punishment. Kayla was familiar with the unit in front of her being a Gemini-4, a newer and more powerful computer console. This one must have been a gift given to Lory, for Jacob's benefit. She knew he didn't like speaking of the gifts others provided and left for him.

"Good dodge. Breaking out my medical supplies and helping you out would be something even I wouldn't be able to escape getting in trouble for", Jacob responded with that new air of comfort and confidence in his voice, stepping slightly ahead of Kayla to his work table.

"I don't plan on getting caught for anything, or do anything stupid", was the fox's response as she joined her friend, even if what she said was contradictory. Was a flaw to having a child's mind, to plan out ways to 'get your way' and not think that it was a foolish thing to do. It was how they felt freedom, feeling out their boundaries and weaseling through the cracks in the structure their parents laid out for them. No rejuvenated child was free from temptation and obtaining that which they love, or miss dearly. Kayla had her programming hobby, and even Jacob had his medical prowess he didn't want to let go.

"I'll hold you to that - I don't want to see you in trouble. But hey, I got a letter from the school system letting me know whom my teacher and room number is. You recognize it?", Jacob said as his green, reptilian right claw picked up a folded slip of paper from the table and held it between two fingers for his friend to have a look at. Kayla took is and opened it, making an odd, confused sound. At least that's what it sounded like to the Karrian. "Something wrong?", the boy asked right off.

"I don't know if it's because you live in a penitatas district, but you seem to have been placed in my class. It's been penitatas-only this year", Kayla replied, giving the paper a flick before she began folding it back up. Jacob chuckled at the news.

"Works for me. I'd rather be in your class anyway. Fun to think that if anyone picks on me, I can have their penitatas butts thrashed till they're screaming. And after that? Peace and quiet, just as I like", the boy grinned. That made him a lot more comfortable with the idea of going back to a rejuve school. He knew well his friends were scarce, and right now Kayla was his only one. Now he wouldn't be alone. Kayla snickered at his remark, placing the paper back on the desk to pick up her friend's com-badge to look it over before they began any work on it. Pulling up the Karrian's desk chair, the one she had been spanked over, Kayla took a seat aside Jacob as the two went to their work. Their idea of 'play', for the time being, messing with their new tools and allowing Kayla time to teach and share her old hobbies with someone else. For a while their minds remained on the subject matter their paws and claws were working with, laughing with each mistake and enjoying the other's company. Right in front of them was the room's window, allowing them to look down and out while they had their fun. For a while, as young as they were, minds again still developing, it was easy to forget that Jacob himself was here due to a horrifying accident, and Kayla to forget her anxiety over life and the damages she felt she caused. It was one of the reasons they were happy together. As time passed, work and play continuing as the two normally would while together, still side by side working to assist the other, they began to talk and feel out the other's opinions and thoughts, to help put their own together. Was always subjects close to them. Jacob even knew of Kayla's life on her homeworld, her past rapes, her arrest, the kidnapping... and in retrospect, he was able to tell Kayla each grusome detail of what happened on his ship. Their stories of hardship helped them through the tough times. Certain thoughts still invading Jacob's mind, he was having difficulty not speaking of it while he held the com-badge steady for Kayla while she peered inside and tried using a spanner.

"You know, Kayla.. I wanted to ask you. Do you really feel okay, even though you've gone through some horrible things? I almost died, but so have you, and more then once. You're better at this 'life' thing then I am, and even after being raped, you're still so outgoing and warm. I, umm.. really appreciate it", the draconic child spoke softly, and bashfully. Didn't wish it to sound that way, but telling the fox he liked her was too tough, after two weeks of her steady support and getting to know her. Kayla's smile didn't at all change, even if she made a sound of thought while easing the shaper looking end of the spanner into the badge, blue lights blinking down the sides of the tool's emitter.

"I think I'm okay, at least. Some would say I'm not just because I was a criminal before, and still learning how to not be one. This is just the way things are, and if I don't work hard and go for my goals, I won't get anywhere. I'd be dead on Aspatria if I never got on that trade vessel and began the chain of events that brought me here. It hurts, being disciplined for every little thing I do, and my memories don't help matters, but what good is it all if I don't keep trying?", Kayla explained at the same tone as he, placing her left paw beneath Jacob's own to help keep the badge even steadier, as it began to make crackling sounds and awkward beeps due to her work with the spanner. Being that most of their discussion was philosophical and important to both of them, it was normal for the two to go quiet at times, absorbing eachother's words. Kayla felt like a better person, and Jacob was putting the pieces of his life lost, back together. This time, Kayla's words stuck with him. If she never tried hard and aimed for her goals, she'd never get anywhere... as in, if she didn't live her life the way she did, she wouldn't have much of a life to even speak of. That her courage and heart was a driving force to making things better, for everyone, and herself. Perhaps, Jacob thought, being shy wasn't a good way to live his life. Perhaps, not saying certain things due to fear of the response was also a bad way to live life.

"Then, I'd like to add something else to the pot", Jacob said, trying harder to keep the badge steady, since his claws wanted to shake. Never had done this before, even with Cameron. He had always liked her, if not even loved her a little. Was his closest friend, but because he ignored it and never spoke of how he felt, nothing grew. He lost out on a relationship because of his silence, and now that he had began a new life, it was time to stop making the same mistake. The pair's 'pot', as they called it, were things they placed in the open for the other's opinions, to share them. He saw Kayla's blue eyes look up from her work slightly, even if the spanner remained under the faceplate of the com-badge and she worked inside it's confines, waiting for what he had to say. Pulling some courage from his gut, Jacob's adolescent Karrian tail hugged against the back of his chair and stiffened.

"I like you Kayla. A lot, to be honest", he spoke without a studder, even if he had to gulp nervously afterwards. At first as he said his piece, Kayla was still working inside of the badge, keeping her orange furred paws still. Though, as he finished his sentence, her eyes seemed to lighten and shift, just as the spanner turned off and she withdrew it from the badge. Trying to keep eye contact with his friend was difficult, lowering his claws and keeping his com-badge held in his reptilian palms, since such trinkets comforted him. Was a good time for it too. The fox looked surprised, but not exactly bewildered, or offended. He hoped she just didn't expect him of all people to say such a thing. Feeling that telltale lump in his chest, he quickly decided to speak again, almost stammering over his words he started up so quickly, to explain himself.

"I'm sorry to be sudden, but I'm correcting an error in judgement. My last life, I had someone special to me that I never told... told her how I felt. I didn't want to do that a second time. You've been there for me when no one else was, and the only person I could talk to. Pulled me out of a rut. I don't wake up so often any more, sweating because my mind was dreaming about the heat of the radiation. I'm learning how to cope, from the master of the subject herself. You've been so kind, and you're.. attractive, you know? Just wanted to let that out, cause, ahh.. ", he had tried to get out quickly before be began to lose his words and their meanings, which he did towards the end of his sheepish rambling, keeping one claw behind his head and only directing his eyes towards Kayla, with his head a little low. Felt stupid when he couldn't much explain himself anymore, if not outright embarassed at how he was explaining himself. Jacob was not a master of words. Kayla on the other hand, was suddenly the same way, as if absorbing the boy's bashful anxiety, smiling as shyly as he was towards her. This was something she had never been told before. Sure people have claimed her to be important to them, and to have been there when others weren't, but Jacob's situation was different. They were together, alone. Each other's friend and the support they needed to overcome the challenges presented by their troubles. Exactly the other person they were looking for, and to make the fox smile a bit more widely, no one had ever said such things to her, no matter what she did. After a life of being alone, she knew where the Karrian was coming from. Rare species on Earth, often secluded, either shy or vengeful, depending on which rejuve you spoke of. It meant something to her.

"Because you're a good guy, Jacob?", Kayla spoke up in the moment of silence proceeding the boy's loss of words, keeping up that smile and seeming happy, despite the bashfulness even she was overcame with. Sitting back in her chair, jeans sliding against the smooth wood, she crossed her arms and laughed lightly for a moment with her eyes closed, before opening them again; arms looking like she was hugging herself just to say what she was about to. "I've got to say, this has been the most normal two weeks of my life. Went from the pit of hell to feeling like I could tackle the world again. Gave me hope, and you just gave me a second helping. No one has ever been interested in me that way before - I'm honored", the fox went on to return, stating in her own way that she liked him as well. They had nothing, and deeply appreciated what they had. Jacob was filled with relief and joy at such a positive response, he could feel his smile grow.

"My mom made an insinuation downstairs that prompted my thoughts. Told me to not play doctor, reminding me to keep my claws to myself. But, it did make me think about having a relationship, and missing the comforts I used to have. Besides, after what you've been through, what's to say you'd be interested? My mom threw me off guard", Jacob pondered more softly and quietly, sounding more confident, and chuckling every so often, mostly when he mentioned his mom threw him off. Kayla's light, comfortable feminine chuckles joined his own, shaking her head where she sat, with the spanner still in her right paw with her arms crossed.

"Just because I've had a violent past doesn't mean much. Makes me nervous, tense.. maybe a little scared. To be honest, I've never had a relationship at all, or even anything consentual. All I know is what others have used me for, like Stephanie, or on my homeworld. I still do 'things' in my alone time away from my mom, Emily. Just sort of, you know.. rub things in my bed where I won't get caught as long as there are no stains. Unrealistic to assume otherwise, even if it is infrequent", Kayla decided to admit outwardly, just to show she wasn't weak and scarred due to the actions of others. It was still new to her, so she didn't wish the forceful nature of others influence her in the future, and her own desires to have someone she could rely on. Jacob was not a councelor, but in terms of knowing sexuality on a more biological scale, what she said made perfect sense. Not to mention it was a delightful thing to think about, concidering the fox eluded to her personal behaviors. He was too shy yet to let loose anything like that himself, and didn't have anything to report anyway. Kayla had been her age longer then he had, giving her mind and body time to adjust and allow such things back into the picture.

"Keep me on your list then, would you?", Jacob playfully advised, shaking his old com-badge towards his Aspatrian friend with the object held between his index and middle fingers. The fox responded with a light smack from the back of her right paw against his left arm, being mindful of the spanner she was holding.

"You're the only one. I won't be going anywhere, trust me", Kayla assured, pointing to the back of the right paw she had smacked him with, wearing a playful smirk. Jacob really was a good guy.. she felt lucky to have someone like that in the midst of normally being villianized for being a penitatas, much less Packet-Storm. That's why she pointed to her silver, filled in 'P'. She really couldn't go anywhere, period. "Thanks", she then said suddenly, after a moment of quiet after speaking. Leaning to her right, the Aspatrian girl placed a kiss upon the Karrian's left cheek, which made him hold back a shy sort of laugh. Jacob lowered his head and seemed so shy. In a snickering instant and sounding absolutely embarassed, though in a good way, the boy lifted up his Starfleet com-badge, keeping it steady and open as it had been. He was thankful for her too, as she was of him. Now, they had a relationship to build; to see it's outcome

"Come on, we'll never get anywhere if we keep doing this", Jacob said very quickly, turning his head to Kayla with his sheepish tone to try and change the subject back to their hobby and project. Kayla simply stuck her tongue out towards him, lifting the spanner back up to resume her part of the duty. She couldn't blame him, concidering she knew his nature. Must have been very hard for him to say what he did to begin with. And to compare her to Cameron, the person whom used to be his only close friend, was a good way for her to measure and judge just how important she was starting to mean to him. After the accident on his ship, she was glad to be there for him, since she needed Jacob just as much as he seemed to need her. Without a friend, she would have been alone in her struggles and never have escape from her fear of rejection from the outside world. It brought them together closer then life typically would have arranged.

The Aspatrian fox held the spanner steady for a while longer, keeping silent with her eyes focused on her objective. All Jacob could do at this point was watch, with this being far out of his field of expertice. Took time and patience he could tell, with Kayla flinching and swearing every so often when the device made a squeel instead of a cheerful beep. Never lending a word to break her concentration, he just held the badge until she was done, eventually falling back into her seat with the spanner falling into her lap. Kayla's head fell backwards and she took a deep breath, letting out a sigh, since she had held the air in her lungs and her body wanted the oxygen. Carefully closing the front of the com-badge, damaged as the hinges were, Jacob tapped it to activate it, to see if they were successful. The piece of Starfleet technology beeped upon contact.. but it wasn't supposed to beep, it was supposed to make a chirp sort of sound, not something monotone such as that. It made Kayla raise her right brow and stare at the device in her current position.

"You've got to be kidding me. I thought I did it correctly?", she groaned, sounding certain of her work. Jacob couldn't help but hold the badge closer to his muzzle, looking at it closely with a frown-like expression. After holding the com-badge for so long his arms were stiff, that was disappointing. Tapping it again, the badge only beeped. He figured he'd try it anyway.

"Commander Vasse to Starfleet Test Station One", he announced aloud to the device, attempting to summon the automated calibration computer system through the Earth satellite network. The badge did not respond, confirming for he and Kayla that it's repairs were still incomplete. Jacob turned his eyes from the unit to Kayla once he saw her right paw place itself against the side of her muzzle, and the fox begin to look frustrated. She was a master of programming, not so much engineering, despite her past ability and background making some devices herself. Less experience.

"Maybe it can't be fixed. The radiation destroyed most everything in Radiology Lab One. Sparks were coming off this thing", Jacob decided to say now that he could, to try and help her feel better. Kayla did take her paw from her muzzle, humming as she continued to look at the device.

"I'm not sure. Looked like it could be fixed just fine. I must be missing something still. Need a new course of action and a fresh head, if you don't mind stopping for a while", she replied, sounding as professional as ever, even if her voice sounded as if it was still trying to get air after holding it for so long, so often. The Karrian nodded his head approvingly, placing his old communication badge down against the work table as he leaned against it's surface on his elbows.

"Since you're showing me so much, I really should be teaching you some basic triage and first aid. Things that don't require a liscense to do. Being a commander, I had to lead and instruct the acadamy officers and even other doctors on my deck. Just don't know what to show you that would help, being that you don't have any equipment at your disposal", Jacob broke into discussion with, keeping his head turned to his side and sounding very relaxed. Thinking about it only a moment, Kayla had to laugh.

"Anything to relieve physical pain?", she asked, shifting in her seat to recline more comfortably, and to free her tail and give it more motion between the slits of wood on the back of the chair, to allow it to drape down easier. Her spankings were the only thing that came to mind when it came to needing medical experience.

"Yeah. Nanites or a dermal regenerator. Not much to do there without some sort of tool or medication, except to massage the affected area and welts to assist in bloodflow. Concidering you've told me you're not allowed to rub anything when your parents are present, I presume you could use a second option. How about screaming? That makes some feel better", the draconic boy felt like teasing as he advised, snickering and showing a few of his sharp white teeth while playing. Seeing Kayla roll her eyes and shake her head in her reclined position was comforting. To be dignified and casual at the same time.. the girl was an enigma.

"I'll be doing plenty of option two then, as if I don't do it enough already. In terms of discipline, you haven't seen half of it yet. Granted the paddling you saw hurt pretty badly, it's only scratching the surface. Literally in fact. Canes and switches.. you know, thin tree branches? They hurt worse. Like having a line of fur torn out, or having it cut into you. Thankfully you were a doctor and not a fool like me, so you get to take care of the injured instead of being one", Kayla responded in her cozy, care free state, getting to tease and play right back.

"You never ran into a room full of radiation willingly. Which one of us is the fool again?", Jacob retorted with a laugh from his open muzzle. Kayla grinned and lowered her head down from having it tilted back, sitting up a bit.

"Hey, I can't combat that one. You've got me there; that was foolish", the fox snickered, stroking the slightly spiky portion of fur atop her head with her ebony claws to keep it straight. Jacob had gotten too much sympathy, or at least that is how he felt about the subject. By joking and not trying to correct him, speaking of his courage and bravery, she was really doing him a favor. To him, that was being a real friend more then just praising him. Being that he was in a chair with wheels, Jacob used his arms to push himself from the desk, slipping his green Karrian tail cleanly from it to ensure his scales would not be pinched before standing back on his two footclaws.

"Let's get some fresh air. Tell me though, what happened to Ninne? The Drakonian?", he asked out of curious concearn, sticking his claws into his shorts pockets while Kayla got up from her seat to join him in walking. Setting off out of the boy's room, down the stairs, Kayla spoke as they went.

"Absolutely nothing. I haven't seen her since then. Not even an appology letter, like I got from Stephanie. I'm wondering how Ki'rene, her mom, is handling it. She was a firm woman; sure made me sting very badly at times. Can only hope Ninne is paying some consequences for her actions, for once", Kayla said with an off tone, even if her voice was blase overall. Sounded like a shame to Jacob, if they had been friends for so long.

"Not worried?", Jacob asked in response, as the pair both shifted their tails once they got off the stairs and walked into the hallway that linked the den to the livingroom.

"She's had this coming, and if she wants to be like this, I'm just going to let her. You've got to understand Jacob, she's done some low things in the past that I've forgiven her for since she was my friend. Last year in school, she threw a memory chip that happened to be one of mine previously. I gave it to her, since her birthday present from me had been on it. My teacher heard it land, and saw it was a clear blue, as in one of mine. I was accused of throwing the chip to pass a note, and instead of fessing up, she allowed me to be punished unfairly for something I didn't do. It wasn't a light thrashing either, being that I was younger then what the teacher normally worked with, and I was accused of lying on top of it. It wasn't till I was bawling, laying all limp and stuff, that she broke down and confessed", Kayla explained casually, though quietly and with a note of personal distaste for what she had gone through. Having heard an example of the injustice mentioned, Jacob had to scoff. Wasn't sure if it was because he was a child now and it was his first reaction, or his memories and experience as a doctor that solidified his sense of right and wrong, but what his friend had to go through was rough and certainly not her fault. Some penitatas were clearly hard timers for a reason, and he wanted to say it, but held his tongue, not knowing how Kayla would feel if he insinuated that there was something bad or evil inside of you in order to make you a penitatas. By the time she was done speaking, the pair were stepping out the back door, giving a nod to Lory, whom was on the other end of the fenced in yard gardening.

Walking idly and looking around at the various plants, fruits, and vegetables, the two stuck together to discuss matters. School about to restart after Christmas vacation, Jacob politely accepting gifts presented to him from others, Kayla's disciplinary life and difficulties at home as a result of her kidnapping... the docket was lengthy. While Jacob was in the spotlight for his valiant efforts, gaining praise and admiration from Starfleet families, as well as that Gemini-4 computer console, Kayla was in the spotlight either gaining sympathy or spite, depending on the views of that outside person. The reason for this, they both concluded, was that they were good at what they did. Easy as that, or, at least, it was the easiest way to deal with it.

When Kayla was around, Lory was certain that Jacob couldn't be more calm looking. Such a reserved child, and apparently even the same way in his adulthood, he seemed to speak so freely and in great quantities in her company. The times she listened in on what they were talking about, it always seemed to be current events, and their opinions of matters. A smart and well behaved pair, even if their minds cooked up mischief without their knowledge they were even doing it, Lory thought as she looked up and watched them while re-planting some bulbs and roots across the yard. Seeing them keeling and prodding at her plant's leaves, discussing things and perhaps even her plants themselves, the mother could only hope this would be a sign of more proper behavior to come.

Once her gardening work was complete, sunlight growing more and more orange as the day went on, Lory sent her two young charges back inside the house, leaving her soil covered gardening gloves beside the back door. Closing it behind herself with a click of it's old fashioned knob and latch, she went to the kitchen to begin dinner. The fox and dragon seated at the dinner table, situated almost in the middle of the kitchen based on the room's layout, continued their talk despite their being parental supervision so close to them. She didn't know if they changed subjects or had been speaking this innocently the entire time, concidering they were talking about their professions and not anything else, or anything personal, as she knew them to. Preparing something quick and easy, Lory was able to get dinner on the table sooner rather then later, since she needed to rest and still had to give her Aspatrian visitor her nightly bath.

"Go on, eat up. Almost time for your bath Kayla", she had reminded her as she set down both rejuve's plates. A mix of vegetables she had grown, baked with cheese and other ingredients to make it more of a meal. Both species being more carnivorous, neither Kayla or Jacob were sure if they would like this dish so much. First taste set them both straight though, getting their forks moving without so much hesitation.

"Kayla, why does your mom not let you take showers?", Jacob asked outright some moments after being reminded that she was going to be given a bath, rather then take one herself. Lory quietly listened while she cleaned her utensils, finding the question to be somewhat personal. But, if Jacob wanted insight into a penitatas' life right from the source, he was asking the right person, she presumed, even if the question would have been inappropriate if this was a question between two penitatas, like she would have been more used to. Questioning another penitatas parent would have earned and immdiate spanking in her home, swinging whatever wet cooking utensil she was holding at the moment.

"She's worried I could slip because of the pads on the bottom of my feet losing traction on wet shower tile. Said I'll be allowed to shower alone when I'm eight, and she's sure of my balance and size. Almost there", Kayla replied comfortably it seemed to Lory's ears. The two continued their idle conversation between bites of her casserole of sorts, feeling a bit of happy pride herself that her medicalos was improving so quickly. Certainly had good help it seemed, making her thankful for Kayla. So, without rushing the two, she cleaned at the pace they ate, so once they were finished, she was able to take Kayla upstairs for her bath. Wasn't sure as to the 'how', being that she had never bathed anything with fur, and her past penitatas had all been male. This would have to be something of an experiment, in order to figure out the best way to wash fur, not to mention dry it.

Tagging along behind the two quietly, Jacob loosely pondered taking a bath with Kayla, to save time and be able to enjoy something 'close' with her. However, concidering his new parent would be present, and the chances of him becoming stiff as a board between his adolescent Karrian legs was high, the risk of embarassment was too much there for him to handle at this point. Instead, he asked his friend if she minded him being around, so he wouldn't have to wander off by himself. Kayla having no issue with her own nudity - a thankful trait as often as she's stripped down, she replied 'of course' to him being able to stay. Jacob had to admit, there were some more mischeivous thoughts streaming through his mind as he sat down against the wall and the side of their bath tub to watch Kayla's clothing fall to the tile floor, piece by piece, and for her to climb into the bath water at his parent's instruction. So open, calm, sweet, and attractive, Jacob didn't know what to do with his childish crush, aside from feel glad he wasn't bare himself at this point. Keeping his claws covering his lap, the boy chuckled to himself, resuming his usual banter with his friend. Didn't know what to think of himself, and his ponderings, aside from that his urges and longing for a companion and support was derived from his sudden and unexpected rejuvenation. Body had no idea what it was doing, and his mind was putting together a psycological puzzle that was broken into many pieces.

As brief as the bath was, the two never got to talking about much, as busy as Kayla was getting scrubbed. Lory's inexperience in washing a female Aspatrian showed, concidering Kayla let out a pained whine once or twice when a strand of her fur was plucked out. The fox always assured she was fine through. Jacob on the other hand just watched it all, including the more intimate portions, until it was all said and done and she climbed out. For him that was the best part, since wet fur couldn't hide much, especially while lifting your legs to get out of the tub. He had to place one of his claws against his cheek and snicker to himself on the inside; taking a playful personal excitement that he would certainly need to tease Kayla for the next he had the chance. It was so new and liberating to be this open and comfortable.

Once Kayla had been dried off, she set back to Jacob's room to pick up her fresh clothing and dress, with Lory headed downstairs with the instruction for her son to go ahead and take his shower. Closing the door behind them with his small, green claw, Jacob stripped down and left his clothes on the counter, stepping into the tub to feel cold water hugging the scales of his footclaws. The boy took a hot shower, letting his worries wash away, having found a new sense of belonging in life, after 'dying' in a sense. Took his time washing up and mostly ignored the stiff appendage poking from his Karrian sheath, while he tried to teach himself not to be embarassed as much over matters like that. In about the same time it took for Lory to bathe Kayla, Jacob finished his shower, toweling off dry and flicking the towel about to try and snap it, just for amusement's sake. Wasn't too successful at his size and age. But, throwing his clothes back on, he stepped from the bathroom; cool air touching his damp, clean scales, to head down the hallway to his bedroom. The door was mostly closed, so he gave it a push in order to step in. Across from the door, Kayla had the desk's chair back where it was supposed to be, sitting upon it as she tapped her furred fingers across the keypad of his computer console. Closing the door again after seeing what she was doing, he stepped up behind her to look at the screen. She was fast...

"You sure miss Lory won't be coming up any time soon?", Jacob asked as he placed a claw on the back of the wooden chair, looking over to his friend's face, to see her eyes firmly locked on the screen. Likely why she was so fast, being focused like that. Didn't know how long she had been working, but she was dressed already in her night attire - just a shirt and a pair of white underwear. Yeesh, what was she trying to do to him, when he was in such a mood?

"Should be okay. She mentioned needing to work on some things downstairs, and to just call her if we needed. I'm setting up some information, to inject it into my datapad. It's weak and doesn't have the provisions I need, but I think I know of a way to give it them. Just needed a real computer's help to write some data into it", Kayla explained with such a light, calm voice, it contradicted the speed and concentration it appeared she had. Jacob wondered to himself for a moment that perhaps her parents and the Corrections Council had some justification for not allowing her to use such devices. Being that Kayla was his friend though, he stood behind his instincts that it still wasn't fair. Looking over her nimble paws, he saw her pink datapad on the other side of the console, connected by wire. With a couple of keystrokes to finalize her work, Kayla deactivated the monitor and pushed the datapad back.

"Mission accomplished, I just need to let the unit do it's work. I've got to use the restroom real quick though - couldn't do that in front of you and your mom, and then you went and took a shower. Inconvenient", she then said cheerfully, turning her head and eyes over to Jacob now that she could, smiling as she spoke and played with her Karrian comrade. Jacob found that to be a fine opportunity to tease her right back.

"By the way, whenever you're wet, and need to climb over anything, make sure I'm there to watch, okay?", he could barely say without snickering, and once he was done, he let it loose. As expected, the fox provided him another playful smack to his left arm, this time a bit harder, even if she laughed and shook her head.

"So you're a peeping tom while preventing others from using the bathroom. The points against you only increase!", Kayla played as she got up from her seat, fixing her shirt and flicking her tail to loosten it as she walked to the door. Opening it, she slipped out, closing it to only a crack once again. The smile on Jacob's face just wouldn't leave. Hadn't felt like that since Starfleet Medical Acadamy, when he and Cameron had just met, and he was open enough to party a bit. Reflecting on the past as he paced around him room in thought, he came to realise that he wasn't much of a loner in some ways. He really needed companionship, and being alone was growing to be a painful thing. So close to death, and all he had was his 'friend' Cameron. Not Cameron his wife, or lover, just friend. Had been so closed, for so long. Lowering his head, damp black hair dangling, he hummed deeply through his closed, draconic muzzle. Such changes inside of his body and mind were growing to become confusing.

Hearing the light sound of someone touching his door to push it open, he turned on his footclaws and lifted his head, smiling as he looked towards the door. It was a brief instant he had been like that, as soon as his eyes locked on the door, he found it to be his mother stepping in. The unexpectedness of it smacked him in the chest with a note of worry. In his pacing he ended up being between his bed and the desk, with it some paces behind him, with no chance to smack Kayla's pink datapad out of sight, especially with his desk right across from the door. Turning all of the way around, Jacob approached Lory, whom was carrying a small bundle of his laundry that she had finished washing. Setting it on the floor beside the door, she made a 'phew!' sort of sound, having had treked up the stairs with the basket after a long afternoon of gardening and parental duties. Standing in front of his parent, all the Karrian could wish is that Lory didn't notice the tell-tale pink object beside his computer console.

"Need me to put these away?", Jacob offered as she set the basket of his clothing down, just to get her attention and hopefully dismiss her. Being the kindly medicalos, and a helpful person overall, this idea seemed fool proof. Lory stood back up from kneeling to place it down, about to provide her approval, when a hole developed in Jacob's idea. Concidering the young Karrian was only seven, Lory was taller then he was. When she looked down to speak to him, her eyes caught a glimpse of a pink object across the room, behind her son. Making a suddenly firm hum, the woman took hold of her black dress so it wouldn't smack Jacob as she stepped by him, she walked with a purpose towards his computer console. Behind his mother's back, Jacob's expression turned to that of dread, wondering if this is what Kayla normally felt before the inevitable. He felt horrible.. he wasn't able to stop her from noticing the datapad. Lory lifted it into her right hand, finding a cable attaching it to his computer, and what looked to be an information transfer being dropped into it. Something she had been advised was distinctly forbidden.

"Not only is Kayla not allowed by any means to use a computer, under direct instruction, but there is a transfer of data into her pad that I suspect this little thing isn't intended to perform", she said in a stern, penitatas parent sounding tone, as she shook the thin pad while talking, before allowing it to clap back down against Jacob's desk. Jacob felt such a stabbing in his chest, he felt like he would panic, racing his footclaws forward a few steps to stop behind his mother, trying to find some words to help Kayla. Anything!

"Kayla didn't do that! I did! She's not here, she's in the bathroom miss Lory!", Jacob was able to get out, sounding nervous and shaken, even if he didn't want his voice to sound that uncertain when he was trying to 'confess' something to his parent. All the boy had to think about was the sheer amount of trouble and pain Kayla would be in for breaking that particular rule. Being so new, and so harsh, it was one of the few Kayla talked about. She already gave him a theory as to all the horrible things they would do to her if she violated something even the Corrections Council had laid down for her to follow. When Lory turned her head, Jacob saw a softer, shocked expression. The parent turned around slowly and knelt down, looking as if she was at a loss for words. On both knees, Jacob's eyes were at his mother's level, and looking into them made his tail press to his legs. The look in them was that of some sort of parental distress.

"Jacob.. you know what the biggest rules Kayla must follow are, and that this particular one is very serious. She cannot use computers, and loading anything onto, or altering her datapad using a computer would be strictly off limits. Why would you defy such things?", her voice spoke low, and tenderly, sounding ever so surprised at the actions he was claiming to have done. It was hard for Jacob to lie, but this was for Kayla. Any sort of trouble he got in would not be as bad as a penitatas would ever face, being that everything was nothing more then a scold. This time he wasn't sure, but as Lory cupped his claws and held them so motherly, the medicalos gulped and tried to keep up his facade of guilt.

"I wanted to help her. You know, do it for her, when she didn't know I would", the boy tried to play off, making it appear that it was a helpful surprise for his new friend. The answer seemed to further change the look on Lory's face.. made him feel bad, but even medicalos are allowed to make mistakes. At least he hoped.

"Sweetie, you're telling me you directly interfered in penitatas matters, and broke a serious rule that Kayla must follow. I want to know if you're covering for her, because I'll tell you right now, this isn't a minor offense. I'll ask you one last time - are you telling me the truth?", Lory spoke in such a parental way, keeping Jacob's claws held warmly in her hands. She sounded firmer towards him then she ever had been, even if she was still so tender. It let Jacob know he would have to seal his own fate if he was going to protect Kayla. The Karrian told himself that no matter what he had done, if a penitatas had done it, they would be howling for days. Even knowing he would not get out of this unscathed, it was not in his nature to throw his closest friend under the bus. Taking a deep breath, and a solitary, nervous gulp, the reptile slowly nodded his head.

"Yes miss Lory", he said at a whisper, even lowering his head slightly. He did that not out of guilt, since he didn't actually do what he was claiming he did, but because he knew he was lying, even if it was for a proper cause he felt. His quiet words made Lory give a single nod of her head, kneeling there as if unsure of what to do to discipline her medicalos child. Sighing aloud, she released his claws and instead wrapped her left arm around the Karrian's back, which held him and took a hold of his reptilian tail. Knowing exactly what she was planning, it was hard to keep his lip from quivering out of worry, since he knew his parent could do this expertly.

"Keep standing and hold still. This will be brief", Lory replied once she felt the boy tense up, hugging him to her chest to give him support. Using it, Jacob kept his posture straight, and his head over Lory's right shoulder, arms hugging her in anticipation. Popping the button of his shorts with her right hand, they fell to his ankles, which left him just his white cotton briefs for padding. Being a medicalos, he would not be stripped of them. It was then that Kayla returned, having heard sounds from the room. Peering around the doorway, she cringed and was overcome with a guilty conscience. So close to Jacob's desk, it was obvious to her what occured. Before she could cry out for them to stop, her paws balled up in a wince once her ears caught the first swat. A firm pop sound was familiar with.

The mother spanked her son, holding him while his tail shifted in her grasp and his toes curled, digging his claws into the carpet. It was neither fast, nor hard, being a typical swatting for a kindern or rejuve, across the seat of his underwear and the base of his green tail. Each swat made Jacob cry out an 'ow!' or similar whine, dancing on his footclaws as if to avoid the smacks from his mother's open right hand. Kayla knew Jacob wasn't familiar with discipline, and something basic like that must have hurt to him. Heck, it would have made her hurt as well, it's just that she was more experienced in handling it. However, as it was assured, the punishment for Jacob's confessed transgressions was brief, at a simple ten moderate swats from Lory's hand over his underwear. Once done, the boy's footclaws again found the ground and his thrashing stopped, with his claws going right for his backside to hold and shelter it. He was quite allowed, and Kayla's accute ears could hear it's quiet, dignified sort of sobs. Seeing the sparkle of a tear against his scales in the light of the room broke her heart. Why did he.. ? It wasn't fair!

"Please don't do anything like that again. Penitatas affairs are strict and controled matters, and you cannot dabble in them. Okay? Sorry I had to punish you, but this can't happen again", Lory spoke into Jacob's ear softly and lovingly as she continued to hold him with both arms around his back, permitting him full access to rub beneath his tail. She may not have swatted penitatas-hard, but they were not pats either, and knew she left the scale beneath his underwear with a light, rosy hue. It stung and burned for the moment, but he would be fine very shortly, with not even anything left behind. A punishment for a rejuve that wasn't that age for penitatas reasons. Jacob's head was right beside his parent's as he lightly blubbered, taking one claw from under his tail as soon as he could in order to wipe his eyes. Only let off one pair of tears, but being the strong type, he didn't like showing any at all. But alas, he was seven now, and such things hurt on his tender, small form, along with how his adolescent brain was wired. After it was over, there was nothing Kayla could do but deal with what she felt on the inside. If she spoke up, it only would have made Jacob look like a liar and made matters worse for him, as well as herself, against his wishes.

"I'm sorry. I understand", Jacob spoke back to his mother as he tried wiping his eyes free of any tears, and his tail hugged back up against himself, pinning his left claw to his backside. Feeling a kiss from his mother's lips on the end of his muzzle, she released her arms and allowed him to again move freely, while she turned and disconnected the cable from Kayla's datapad, assuming she broke the connection and transfer. Once she turned back around, she saw Kayla in the doorway and smiled lightly.

"Sorry I almost accused you of this Kayla. Come on you two, get ready for bed. You can talk a while, but I expect to hear silence in here; the sound of sleep. I'm going to shower and get to bed myself", she spoke aloud, with her gaze towards the fox before looking down at Jacob, whom stayed where he was to listen to her instruction. She wasn't mad at him at all. In fact, he seemed like such a good boy as he normally did. Both children acknowledged her, and with that, it was lights out. Once Lory left the room and all shared their goodnights, the only light left in the room was moonlight coming in through the long window of Jacob's room. That click of the door made Kayla hurry to Jacob's side, sounding worried and concearned, especially the way her footpaws dashed right to him as the Karrian stood with one hand on his work table, and the other still rubbing slowly under his tail.

"Are you okay? Why did you do that?!", Kayla demanded to know sharply, though keeping her volume down. Her tail was frozen, almost between her legs, knowing very well this was her fault. Closing his eyes, the young doctor chuckled, before taking a sniffle.

"Because what would happen to me is nothing compared to what would happen to you. You can't honestly tell me that looked horrible", was Jacob's response, sounding as he had been but with the remnants of his swatting lingering in his voice. Kayla scooped up his shorts off the floor, holding them to herself as she offered to return it to him. She knew he was shy, and he just did something valiant and caring for her. Didn't need to be standing in a shirt and his underwear like she was if he didn't wish to. Jacob however just put a claw out as a gesture that he wouldn't be needing it.

"Even if it wasn't the end of the world, it still hurt, and it's my fault. I did this, not you, and you took the blame. No one has ever done that before. You're too kind.. I'm just sorry it happened", Kayla spoke much more softly, going quiet and sounding somber and appreciative. Now she felt loved. Jacob was quick to reply too, looking out his window and feeling oddly comfortable with what he did, despite being embarassed about crying. It was getting harder to be embarassed in front of Kayla, knowing she had already been through worse, and delt with things far more embarassing then he could fathom. Already his eyes were dry, with his left claw leaving the seat of his briefs to join the other on the work table. Now the hand prints left behind upon his scales were just slightly uncomfortable, and warm.

"It's no problem, I should have been paying more attention so I could have hidden the datapad. Wasn't kidding when I thought you should still be able to perform your hobby, and I wasn't about to change my mind. I'll be fine, it's a small price to pay", Jacob was able to say warmly, looking to his side and smiling, even if his eyes were slightly red from his tear ducts having recently activated. Kayla felt her's would do similar, as the fox dropped the shorts and threw out her arms, catching the green reptile in a hug. Surprised Jacob, being hugged from the side like that, but her arms were tight, and her head up against his right shoulder. The silence brought them closer, the moon lighting up scale and fur alike, with the Karrian placing his right claw on Kayla's back. Looking out his window, things seemed smaller, as if he had grown again. The world wasn't so big and foreboding, and he wasn't going to be alone despite his foolishness that lost him Cameron. It was in his nature to protect what he loved. He was a doctor to protect life itself, intended to die saving his crew and ship, and now could add that he accepted discipline in place of a special someone.

No one had treated Kayla like this before. Ever. Holding the boy and keeping her head low on his shoulder, she couldn't think of such a time either when someone may have. On Aspatria she had to avoid death from her fellows, on Earth she was alone by her own malicious wish, and as a penitatas, other criminals wouldn't think twice to double cross her. Even her own mother had painful duties to perform. For once in her life, she felt protected and safe.

"Thank you so much Jacob. This means a lot. I'll make this up to you, I promise", Kayla spoke towards the floor the way she had her head positioned, slowly and assuratively. Her right paw stroked down the Karrian's belly through his shirt, almost like a pet, but it went lower till her paw provided Jacob a sharp surprise. Not seeing it coming, the reptile actually winced when his sheath was gently taken into Kayla's warm furred paw through his briefs. Tensing up, Jacob avoided jumping or moving, concidering the type of moment this was, and Kayla's thumb's gentle caress make him take a deep breath through his nostrils.

"Hey, quit that. I know I've been playfully fishing for it with innuendos, but you owe nothing to me", Jacob spoke with an air to his voice, keeping serious but caring as his claws carefully took the Aspatrian's paw from the small bulge on the front of his underwear. Kayla's eyes peered up to his from her place on his shoulder, with the fox smiling, even if she was looking surprised. "That's for when you're ready, not just for me. Not everyone is out to get you, or requires such compensation, like you were familiar with during your kindernhood", he spoke ever so affectionately, rectifying what he saw to be more cruelties she had to endure. His urges wouldn't affect his judgement and allow her to do something she may regret. Minute by minute, Kayla was falling in love with him. What a wonderful time this would bring. Her paw placed itself back upon Jacob's chest while she held onto him like that, even after lifting her muzzle from his shoulder to speak to him more appropriately.

"You're the best. At this rate, I think we'll pull through these times. We'll be okay", she said aloud what fluttered into her mind, still keeping it soft so they would keep under the radar.

"Together", the boy added, giving the fox a pat from his right claw upon her back and side, leaning his head over to do something he hadn't yet done. Touching the end of his muzzle to Kayla's own, he attoned for a lifetime of a mistake with Cameron. The punishment of loneliness was lifted, and he kissed Kayla right on the lips, muzzle to muzzle. A tender first for the pair, scale to fur. The moment lasted, both feeling a bit of shy tension mixed in with the pleasure of it, till their lips parted and eyes opened to give one another a faithful glimmer from each of them. Even in the quiet moment, Jacob couldn't help but let out a slight chuckle. Was his nature.

"You can take the bed. I'll make one on the floor so miss Lory doesn't get on you", Jacob offered, letting his arm fall from Kayla's back; fingers brushing through her tail accidently. They both still enjoyed the touch, which actually incited Kayla's left paw to stroke down the top side of Jacob's thick, green tail when she released her own embrace.

"As long as you hop in bed with me for a while. Don't feel like letting you go yet after everything you've done. Besides, I'm in the mood", she replied with a flutter of her bushy fox tail, speaking chipperly and adding a bit on the end to tease the Karrian. A fact that made him snicker, and agree to her terms. Would be a while before his mother would bother checking on them, if she even did. The two climbed into his bed together, closely and comfortably. Now they were a bit more then just friends, with the love and support that came with it. While their time in bed was quiet and tender, speaking of things they were thankful for and what the other had done for them, there was a bit of horseplay still. The occational stroke of paw or claw sent tingles up the other's spine, never getting too intimate. In Jacob's words, they would do such things when they were ready. Life seemed normal.

For now, they had a relationship to build, and one hell of a friendship in a world that had been so dark and lonely. Never again would they be alone in their battle to live.