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Rock Dog: Glorious

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Rock Dog: Glorious
by Tempo

Darma knows Bodi likes her. But Bodi likes everybody. That's the trouble with having a crush on your canine lead singer.

Note: If you haven't seen the movie, watch the film's official music video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stctZ-8akds

~ ~ ~

Stepping off the bus with a bass guitar and a bag of takeout noodles, Darma didn't feel like a rock star. Not really. Rock stars couldn't ride the bus. Everybody knew that. But, since meeting Bodi, she'd been wondering about the accuracy of things everybody knew.

Everyone had assumed Bodi was nuts, wandering down from the mountains to play music when he didn't even know what a radio was. She'd thought he was cute—completely delusional, but cute. He should have set off all her streetwise city-fox alarm bells. She'd been raised to distrust anything that seemed too good to be true. This dog sure seemed to fit that definition, but she'd been the only one in the whole city to see something genuine in him.

Then it turned out he had magic.

Literal, glowing-blue, lift-you-in-the-air guitar magic.

So there was that.

She waded through the offerings fans had left at the front gate. When Bodi had first moved in here, they'd all been addressed to Angus Scattergood. Now, though, at least a few of the fan letters were addressed to her band. If anybody could tell red foxes apart, she'd hardly be able to walk down the street.

The front gate loomed before her, easily twice her height. Her heart still skipped a beat whenever she pressed her ID card to the plate, and not just because the fence buzzed with voltage. For all the times she'd been here over the past six months, this was still rock legend Angus Scattergood's house. Sure, he was on the other side of planet at the moment. Sure, she had permission to be here. Sure, she was here on band business. But still, she couldn’t help a simmering fear somebody somehow was overdue to declare she hadn't put in enough years playing guitar in the park, hadn't earned the right to be the bassist for the band promoted by Angus Scattergood and fronted by a dog with magic guitar powers.

The sun sank through the cityscape. Long shadows draped across the street. With a deep breath, Darma straightened and walked onto the grounds. The gates closed behind her with a clank and a zap. She'd never actually been shocked by it, but she'd always been content learning from others' mistakes, especially those in song form. That's how she'd made it to adulthood without a single broken heart.

She headed through the hedge maze, past the security robots, and over to the garden shed. Technically, a shed. She'd seen houses smaller. Considering the whole lawn was Astroturf, it didn't get much use. She was pretty sure Angus just put Bodi up in it to keep him from tracking mud into the real house. The mansion stood silent, save for the whir of the robot butler cleaning in the window. She waved to the machine. It waved back.

By contrast, faint strands of acoustic guitar traced from inside the shed. She followed them inside, past the dusty landscaping tools with price stickers still on them. Up the ladder, she climbed into Bodi's abode. The converted loft held a mishmash of traditional Tibetan trappings and a slightly-clueless dog's idea of what was cool in the West. Rock 'n roll posters hung on a rope like prayer flags across one corner. A dented metal teapot sat atop an amp that actually went up to 11. A shiny modern blender sat full of butter tea.

On the bed sat a Tibetan mastiff, head nodding as he strummed on the guitar. His tail wagged in time with the beat. Bodi. So lost in the music, he didn't even hear her come in.

She stood at the edge of the room. It felt a little intrusive, watching him, but she didn't want to break the spell. It could be an actual spell with this dog. You never knew. Here and there, she saw the faintest flickers of blue glow where his claws plucked at the strings.

The song soared like a mountain wind. Soft, wordless howls swung along in time. He played like nobody had ever disapproved, even though people had. He sang like nobody had ever found him annoying, even though people had. He danced like nobody had ever made fun, even though people had.

So wrapped up his song, she stood silent as it ended, forgetting she hadn't announced that she'd come in. Serene, she leaned back. Her bass's headstock tapped against the wall.

The large canine's ears perked under his wool hat. Glancing over, he spotted her and beamed. His tail drummed the bed. "Oh, hey Darma!"

"Hey Bodi." She shrugged. He'd caught her listening. No big deal. Wasn't anything weird in that. Her tail still curled around her knees. She hefted the takeout bag. "I, uh, brought noodles."

"Wow, cool!" He set down his guitar and stood. A head taller than her, he might have been intimidating, except for the fact that he dressed like he was still living in a quaint mountain village and grinned like the world shone brand-new. "You didn't have to. You know I'm cool with just having tsampa porridge." His thumb jerked toward an industrial-size bag of roasted barley flour.

She rolled her eyes. How mastiffs got so huge eating the same food every day, she'd never understand. "Well, foxes need a more varied diet."

He hugged her, but he hugged everybody, so she tried not to read too much into it. Felt nice, though, being liked by such a sweet guy. He smelled like homespun wool and the world's least cryptic tea leaves.

"Heh." The vulpine managed to get her arms most of the way around his broad chest. Her tail swished against the instrument strapped to her back. Once the hug ended, she handed him a takeout box. Introducing him to the world's cuisine was an ongoing project. At least she didn't have to guess what he liked: he liked just about anything.

The mastiff paused for a second, paws on her shoulders, and smiled at her. He always looked at her like she was super pretty and, on four different occasions, had casually mentioned how attractive he found her. Not that she was keeping track. But he'd never flirted with her, at least not as far as she could tell. He liked her so much she couldn't tell if it was romantic or just canine. Her usual metrics for assessing if a guy or gal had a crush weren't calibrated for this level of constant, undramatic affection.

Heat rising in her ears, Darma realized she'd been staring at him. Not that he seemed upset. If anything, her staring at him like a weirdo had only made him wag harder. She lowered her eyes with a blush and handed him his noodles.

"These smell great." He popped open the white oyster pail and chowed down. Those big square paws shouldn't have been able to use chopsticks. Most of the bigger species in town just used forks. He had magic hands, though. They could do just about anything.

Darma stepped out of her shoes, propped her bass against the nightstand, and took a seat on the bed beside him. No chairs up here. She could help him find one, but then she'd have to sit further away from him. It was kind of fun. Nobody else got to sit on Bodi's bed.

His big brown eyes flicked down at her. "You not gonna eat?"

Her hand brushed down a cheek ruff. "Yeah, just a little tired from work."

He nodded, with vague understanding and total trust. Then he shoveled more lo mein into his mouth. "This is really good. Thanks for bringing dinner."

"Sure thing." She peeled the lid off a foam container of soup. The steam drifted up toward the bare rafters. Woven rugs tacked between them ensured better acoustics. Not that they recorded anything here, not when they had a world-class studio next door.

The dog swallowed. "You're always doing stuff like that." A thought flowed down his brain to his now-empty mouth. "You're always looking out for me. Thanks for that too." He smiled at her.

She found herself smiling back. "Oh, you know…" She sipped at the broth, careful not to take it too fast and burn her tongue. "All part of the bassist code."

Bodi tilted his head, muzzle full of dangling noodles.

She rolled her eyes. "Bass guitar isn't glamorous. But somebody has to play it, or the band won't sound as good. Just like somebody's gotta sing backup vocals."

"But you do that stuff." He licked a thin sheen of sauce off his lips.

The fox chuckled. "Well, yeah! I want the band to sound good."

He glanced at her white-on-black guitar. "Why don't people want to play bass?"

She fished a dumpling out of the soup and blew on it. "Because you can't play solos when your guitar's so low nobody can hear it."

"I like bass. It's like a regular guitar, but you feel it more than you hear it." He poked his chopsticks into the takeout box, studying its contents. "So…you spend a lot of time working at that coffee shop."

"Forty hours a week." Her delicate muzzle chomped on the dumpling. "You should stop by again. We'll get an espresso in you. Maybe you can invent Tibetan speed metal."

"You must really like coffee." He scooped some tea into the teapot, then filled it with water and set it on a novelty hot plate shaped like a miniature turntable.

"It's okay." She shrugged. "It's a job."

"Isn't being in a band enough of a job?" A touch of concern tempered his usual enthusiasm. "Now that people like listening to us?"

She took a long sip of the soup to give herself time to think. "Remember how I explained money to you?"

He paused to think for an instant, then gave a sunny nod, hat tassels swaying. "Yes!"

"We haven't gotten paid yet for any of the songs we recorded. But my apartment still costs money. So does bus fare. And food." She hoisted her takeout box. "And everything else."

"Oh! Wow." He shook his head. "Yeah, I have yet to run into any of that."

She swept a paw at the loft. "That's because you're living in the garden shed of one of the world's richest rock stars."

"Well, you could live here too." Bodi said it casually, as if it were super obvious and no big deal.

"What? No, no way." She straightened, tail bushy. "I couldn't impose like that."

"Sure! Angus won't mind. He didn't even know he had a garden shed until I followed those giant robot lawn mice here." With a jolly wag, he scarfed down more of the noodles.

"But what about you? Won't you miss, I don't know, privacy?" She tossed the idea up in the air with a free paw.

He gulped down the remaining noodles. "Privacy?"

"Yeah." She drank the rest of her soup to steady her nerves, then tried to play it cool while she almost choked on a conspiracy of green onion slices. "If I lived here, you'd have to see me all the time."

"That sounds great!" His tail hammered out a drum solo against a piled-up blanket. "I like seeing you!"

She hated shooting down his cute notions, but sometimes it had to happen. "Oh Bodi, that's sweet, but where would I even sleep?"

He shrugged. "You fell asleep on my bed a couple days ago."

Embarrassment burned along the insides of her ears. They'd been talking until way too late into the night, like usual. And she sort of just fell asleep. Hours later, she’d woken up cuddling one of his burly shoulders to her face. Bodi had been fast asleep.

A nervous laugh escaped her muzzle. "Well, yeah, but you don't want me doing that all the time." She rubbed her palms together. "Do you?"

"I dunno, it was kinda nice." He flashed her a big dopey canine smile. "You're over here all the time anyway. It makes sense to me." One big paw gripped her knee. "It'd be like a sleepover, but for as long as we want."

"You do realize what it means for two people to live together, right?"

"Oh yeah." He nodded. "Back in my village, you sometimes have five or six sheep living in one house."

"Right, but I mean…us sleeping in the same bed…all the time." She pointed back and forth between them. "You get why that's a big deal, right?"

"Uh, yeah! …No." He brushed back that little fluff of hair that stuck out from under his hat. "Like, a bad big deal? Or a good one?"

Okay, so he had no idea what people would think. She'd tease him, but that seemed mean. "Never mind. Forget I asked."

"You don't have to." Having tilted the takeout box too far for the last noodles, the canine had spilled some sauce on the chest of his tunic. He tried to wipe it away with his paw, to no effect. He stood, dropped the container in the trash, and padded to his wardrobe. He tossed a smile over his shoulder, one that maybe looked a little shy. "I just really like having you here."

"I'll think about it." She reached into the bag and retrieved the second box of noodles. "We'd have to figure out a way to move my stuff across town. Some of it's pretty heavy and…"

Bodi took off his tunic.

Muscles rippled down his back, visible even under his thick brown fur. He was actually super built for a canid, especially compared to her own lean fox form. After a second staring at the shimmering sunlight on his fur, she straightened. She totally shouldn't be perving on him. The dog was super innocent. He wasn't doing this to seduce her. Unless he was. Was he? Was it on purpose? Did it matter, if it was working anyway?

She stared, noodles getting cold, cheeks heating up.

Bodi pulled an identical blue tunic from a cabinet, which still contained a number of rakes, and turned to face her with a broad smile. "Man, that house sauce soaks right into wool, huh?" He picked his hat up off the floor, floppy ears swaying. "Don't worry. Didn't get on my fur."

"Y-yeah." A nervous chuckle left her throat. "You don't want a sticky mess on your fur." She bit her lower lip. Heat raced to her ears. Various scenes of sticky messes she could make with him competed for space onstage in her brain.

Bodi nodded amiably and pulled on his hat. With casual slowness, he buttoned his tunic. Tan fur ran from his eyebrows down his powerful chest down his toned stomach and straight into the waistline of his pants which meant that rich caramel cream color extended all the way to his—

"So Bodi!" She set down the noodles and grabbed her bass, fighting down a hysterical giggle. "Heh, um, are we gonna jam or what?"

"Oh! Sure." He smoothed his tunic and grabbed his beat-up guitar.

She switched on the amp. Her keen ears picked up the faint warm-up hum, like a toaster about to pop, followed by the crackle of plugging her bass in.

"There's this song I heard one time. Been trying to remember how it goes." He started idly plucking at the strings. "It's about learning to fly. I'm sure there are lots of songs like that."

Feeling it bunch up the shoulder of her sweatshirt, she adjusted her guitar strap. "Is it the one by the Foo Fighters?"

He scratched his head. "The who?"

"No, The Who's different." She winked at him. "Foo Fighters has the guy who was in Nirvana."

"Nirvana?" He looked out the window to a fiery sunset being extinguished behind his distant mountain home. "Wow…"

Moments like this, the vixen found it hard to judge Bodi's exactly proportion of oblivious to zen. "Not the nirvana you're thinking of. Actually, Dave Grohl seems like he's achieved enlightenment, so maybe." She stroked her whiskers in thought, then waved the discussion away. "The point is: pretty sure I know the song."

He nodded. "It's about learning to fly high, specifically, if that helps."

Darma didn't say a word. She locked gazes with him and rumbled through the opening riff of Learn to Fly. Only took the top two strings, over and over. Without breaking eye contact, she looped back to play it again and lifted an eyebrow.

"Wow!" He sprung upright. "You've heard it too!" Even as he gaped in amazement, his paws flew to the frets. For only hearing it once, he remembered the lead guitar pretty well.

She rolled her eyes with a chuckle. Still plowing through the bassline, she cleared her throat and led him through the vocals. Introducing him to all the world's music was at least as big a task as introducing him to its cuisine. At least she wouldn't run out of excuses to hang out with him.

Bodi howled along beside her. He closed his eyes. Clearly in the zone, he hit every note with serene confidence. In the dim light, a faint glow gathered around his paws. The strings blurred, first with what could have been vibration, but soon the light tracing up the fretboard became impossible to ignore.

Ethereal blue swirls radiated out. They swept by her, brushing through her whiskers. Motes of illumination traced trails around the two of them. A deep sense of rightness of place settled over her. She felt with absolute certainty she belonged in this moment. Body swaying as she backed him up from an octave lower on the bass, an octave higher on vocals, she bumped her shoulder to his.

He leaned back against her with easy acceptance. The song ended with a trio of confident strums. Only then did he open his eyes.

She nodded at his guitar.

He looked down at his paws with pleased surprise, wiggling his fingers through the wisps of magic trailing off them. All around them, the glow lingered.

Ears dipping with relaxation, Darma smiled as thoughts of kissing Bodi floated through her mind. She didn't want to ruin the moment though. What if he didn't like her like that?

As the last of the blue light faded, he patted her on the knee. "Nice."

Still shoulder-to-shoulder, she relaxed against him. It felt nice to have him casually touch her. She traced a careful fingertip along his knuckles. "We should bring you some of my clear nail polish." She turned over his broad paw in two of hers. "Guitarists wear it to keep their claws from getting all scuffed up."

"I thought they just liked makeup." He made no move to take his hand back.

She yipped a laugh. "That's more of a glam thing."

He tilted his head.

"Glam." Her paws pressed together, then spread apart. "Glamorous."

"Oh! Gotcha." His ears popped up a little under that knitted hat. "Kinda weird having guy and girl clothes. Back in my village, everybody pretty much dressed the same."

"Guys sometimes wanna look pretty, so they dress like girls. And sometimes girls don't want to go through the trouble of looking pretty, so they dress like guys." She gestured to her plain gray sweatshirt.

Wagging, he leaned close, his paw on the bed just beside her leg. "You look pretty all the time, though."

"Aww." She gripped his hand. "Thanks, Bodi."

He blinked, unaware he'd been suave until after the fact. "We should play more songs where you get to show off."

"Hey, I'm happy just doing my part." Still holding his paw, she bounced it lightly on the bed between them. "And keeping you from signing contracts because someone asked for an 'autograph.'"

Looking a little sheepish, he brushed some scruff back under his hat with his free hand. "I'm serious, Darma. You’re really good. What would be really cool for you to play?"

"Not a lot of songs put the bass front and center." She shrugged. "Like I said, we don't get solos."

"But there are some, right?"

"Well, yeah." She scratched behind her ear, struggling to think of any.

"You should play one." He squeezed her hand.

"What, like, right now?" Her eyes darted back and forth.

"Yeah!"

"Oh, I don't know." Glancing away, she shrugged under the weight of the guitar strap. "It'll sound weird with just the bassline."

"Then do the vocals too." His hand wiggled hers down against the edge of the bed, transmitting raw earnestness. "You're good at singing."

"Something with a good bass part…that I can sing too…" She shook her muzzle with a laugh. "Oh man, now the only song I can think of is No One Else on Earth."

His tail swished over the sheets. "So play it!"

She cast him a sidelong glance. "It's pretty hokey."

"Hokey?" His eyebrows rose.

Her orange paw waved vaguely as thought of an explanation. "Sentimental. Folksy. More enthusiastic than cool people are supposed to be."

The mastiff sat up with interest.

The fox looked him over and her eyebrows dropped. "I just sold you on this song, didn't I?"

"Yeah!"

A sigh lifted and sank her slim frame. "Okay, okay." She settled into the right fingering. "I only know it because I was super into it as a kid."

The dog sat up straight, interlaced his fingers atop his guitar, and waited.

Her low-strung guitar bumped along through the opening. The missing parts sounded really obvious to her. A glance to Bodi, though, revealed him watching with an intent half-smile. He'd probably never heard the actual song. That helped. A little.

The first verse trailed out into the loft, sounding bare and strange. Her heart beat faster than it had any right to. At least she knew the vocals by heart. Her mom must have worn out that cassette in the car. The dog sat there, grooving, only to have his floppy ears pop up as the bass part dropped and she growled the final lines into the chorus. Laughter brightening her tone, she charged on.

Chorus. No big deal. Sure, she was singing a dorky love song to her crush, but no big deal. She had this. And it was just a song. They sang each other songs every day. Nodding in time, the dog started slapping the front of his guitar on beat.

The second verse she hit with verve, batting her tail back and forth. Before she knew it, she was on her feet, propelled by the sheer enthusiasm of her audience. Strutting. Swaying. Sashaying. Shoulders, hips, and tail swung of their own accord to the beat. She'd idly played this bassline a thousand times, so her claws plucked notes in perfect time, even as she tilted the guitar up to showboat. Now and then, she dared to lock eyes, singing it straight to him. Unabashed glee spread over his face. Okay, that made her feel a little like a rock star.

Chorus again. More confident, she leaned in a sang it to him with a playful smirk. She busted out dance moves she'd only ever done in her bedroom with the door locked. Her voice flew over the bassline with ever-greater courage. Grin broadening, his whole body bounced in time with her performance. Ever the quick learner, he strummed along on his guitar.

For the instrumental, he jumped to his feet. Realizing she could never look sillier than him, she let the song sweep her into playing face-to-face. Together, they circled each other, careful not to step on her amp cable. He improvised variations on her vocals, but never overwhelmed her bass part. Trading outlandish flourishes and too-cocky grins, they took turns making each other laugh.

Final bridge. He backed up her vocals with shameless howls. Almost cracking up, she sang on and nodded the beat to him, counting him into for the choruses. Singing their love for each other made her heart flutter. But this was all just a song, right? Just two bandmates goofing around. Whatever it was, it was fun. She felt herself smiling and wagging at least as shamelessly as the dog.

Wrapping up, she yowled vibrato into the closing chorus. Picking up instantly the song was ending, Bodi backed her up with rhythm variations until her last, outrageous note, which she delivered by punching her claws straight down across the strings.

The dog cheered. Those big fluffy paws clapped around the front of his guitar as he woofed approval. For an audience of one, he could sure make a fox feel appreciated.

Her face hurt from smiling. She bumped his elbow with hers. "I can not believe you got me to do that."

"What? You were really good." He finally stepped on the amp cord, which unplugged and clattered to the floor with a pop. "We should put stuff like that on the album."

"Maybe. As a B-side." Still catching her breath, she straightened her hoodie. "That was a lot of fun."

"Yeah." The mastiff looked at his surroundings, then back to her. "Man, I'm pretty lucky, aren't I?"

Her eyes rolled. "For a dude whose village was almost eaten by wolves."

"I mean, it all sort of happened the right way. Even the parts where I almost got killed worked out okay."

"Clearly." She poked him in the chest. "Could have been easier, though."

"Maybe. But I wouldn't have traded it." He shrugged. "If I'd gone straight here and Angus had just agreed to teach me right away, I wouldn't have met you."

"Meeting some girl who brings you noodles?" She lashed her tail with a playful scoff. "That's right up there with becoming a rock star and a sorcerer?"

"You'd like me if I wasn't either of those things." He settled a gentle paw on her shoulder and beamed adoringly at her in a sweet and dopey dog way. "And I'd like you even if you didn't bring me noodles."

Oh man.

Now she totally had to kiss him because that was super cute, even if it was dorky.

Now she totally had to kiss him because he smiled at her like she was the best.

Now she totally had to kiss him because otherwise she was never going to.

She totally kissed him.

Had to get on tip-toe, but she did it. Their guitar strings squeaked against each other, but she did it. Her heart raced and her breath probably smelled like dumplings, but she totally flipping fudge-cake did it.

Bodi's eyes shot fully open, then got a dreamy, happy look. As the kiss ended, his arms closed around her, like he didn't want to be even an inch away. Their noses touched. His tail swept back and forth at a thrilled cadence.

She rested her head against his chest and was rewarded with a high-pitched acoustic squeal. At least the amp was unplugged. "Maybe we should take off our guitars."

After a moment's consideration, the canine nodded at her wisdom.

With instruments set aside, she grabbed him by the hat tassels and tugged him down into another nose-bump. "You realize this means I'm gonna sleep in your bed again."

"Oh, wow." His paws settled on her waist, holding her so carefully. "Cool."

A giddy sing-song entered her voice. "And I might never want to sleep anywhere else."

Those big brown eyes brightened in the dim room. "Sounds good to me."

"Okay, great." She smiled up at him as she sat back on the bed.

Still beaming, he got a little bit of a bashful look in those puppy-dog eyes as his arms folded around her. "So, I'm your boyfriend now, right?"

Her slim muzzle slid along his. "Mmm-hmm."

With the happiest squeak, the mastiff leaned in and gave her another kiss. His powerful frame leaned over hers. Kisses rained down on her inexpertly, but eagerly. Even as his greater weight pressed her against the mattress, he always made sure to prop himself up on elbows and knees to avoid squishing her too much.

Her hands traced behind his neck, stroking down that dark, soft fur. Giddiness overtook her. Songs told her this moment should have been really serious and suave, but she was kissing a frantically-wagging canine who was also grinning like a doofus. Bringing him nose to nose again, she stroked a palm along the side of his muzzle, like she'd seen in movies.

His expression got even more outrageously happy. That tail wagged so hard his entire butt wobbled. Then he licked her along the cheek.

They both laughed. Okay, maybe this wasn't going to be like TV. Darma hadn't considered that possibility. As he nuzzled into the crook of her neck, rolling fully onto the bed and letting those big square paws explore down her back, she realized that could mean it was even better. Everybody said it was better to have a smooth, cool boyfriend.

But what did everybody know?

A warm, fluffy boyfriend seemed pretty great so far. Ears pinned back with glee, she cuddled in close against him. Sure, it might take a while for them to get comfortable enough with all these feelings. It didn't just happen overnight, she knew. But she'd spent half a year running interference with reality for him, trying to sort out if she was really into him or just had a fleeting crush. It took her forever just to figure out what the difference was, since it felt different from previous infatuations, but every crush felt different. Bodi was probably struggling through some crazy complex feelings right now, since she'd sprung all this on him.

His muzzle rested atop her head. He sighed peacefully. "It feels weird to say I love you."

Her ears popped up. Okay, maybe dogs weren't that complex. "It…does?"

"Yeah." The canine shrugged. "I mean, I love pizza. Like, really love it." His brow furrowed at the deep thoughts. "But pizza doesn't make the world make more sense."

Tilting her head, she cast him a sidelong glance. "Man, you really needed someone to explain stuff to you."

He shook his muzzle. "It's not even about the stuff you know, even though you're way smarter than everybody."

The vixen blushed. She was no dummy, sure, but people didn't tell a girl who only wanted to play guitar she was a genius very often. More often, they told her she was wasting her time.

"It's that you help me figure out where I'm going, if I'm on track." He squeezed her middle. "You're there for me, always. I really count on you. And I never get tired of seeing you." His forehead pressed to hers. "I guess I can imagine life without you, but it would be missing a really important kind of fun."

Her tail bushed out at all this flattery. "That's good."

"So, I tried to find a song that said how I felt." He offered her a smile. "Guess I'm gonna have to write one."

Words refused to assemble on her tongue. She just blinked and lay in his arms. Her fingers traced through his thick, silky fur.

Super gently, his paw settled on her cheek. He shrugged. "I love you like the stars, Darma."

A snort of amusement probably wasn't the most romantic reaction, but that's what he got for his dorky sweetness. She kissed him right on his big silly nose. "I love you too, Bodi."

~ ~ ~

Darma hefted a duffle of clothes over her head and propped it against the loft ladder. She hadn't accumulated much stuff since moving out on her own, but packing it up had taken forever. A dozen boxes sat on the concrete floor of the garden shed. "Well, you have all my music now. Listen to anything good?"

The duffle rose through the gap, revealing the effortless smile of Bodi. "I've actually been listening to the clothes-drying machine. I think there's a lot of unexplored rhythm territory there."

She climbed the ladder. "I'm sure our drummer will be impressed."

As she reached the top, he extended a paw. She took it and he pulled her up without obvious exertion. He set her down just in front of him. "Sometimes, I wonder about that guy."

She found herself standing chest-to-chest with him. Her heartbeat sped. Moving in would've been a lot faster if they weren't always making out. Not that she was complaining. In an act of admirable restraint, she looked up at his pretty brown eyes without kissing him. "Heh, well, join the club."

Bodi scratched the scruff of his neck, oblivious to the smooching he was due for. "Like: why'd Germur call you 'dog' the other day? He knows you're a fox, right?"

The vixen snickered. "Germur calls everybody 'dog,' no matter what species they are." Her paw pressed to her chest. "He calls me 'dog.' He calls his parents 'dog.' He called Trey 'dog.' He calls Angus 'sir,' I guess." She glanced absently to the house next door, then back to the hunky canine before her. "But he calls everybody else 'dog.'"

A thoughtful look crossed Bodi's muzzle. "That seems like it would get confusing."

"That's Germur." She shrugged. "Drummers. What're you gonna do?"

"Are all drummers like that?" He blinked. "Do they have a code of honor like the bass players?"

"A code of mellowness, maybe." She rolled her eyes. "Guess you have to be accepting when you only have one note to work with."

He grabbed the pitcher off the blender and filled a bowl with the opaque, gold liquid. He offered it to her, the smokey tang of black tea wafting off it, along with the oily bouquet of salted butter.

"No, thanks." The idea of drinking something that rich after physical work made her stomach tighten. Her paw rose between them in a polite decline. "I don't think I can handle any more butter tea."

"You sure?" When she shrugged, he slammed the entire bowl. "I figured you drank it all the time and that's why your coat's so shiny."

She glanced back at her tail, which she fluffed out for analysis. "Nah, that's just pelt conditioner."

The dog nodded he poured another bowl, only filling halfway this time. "My mom says butter gives your coat a healthy sheen."

"Oh.” She blinked, wondering if she’d found the edges of an uncomfortable topic. “I thought your mom…wasn't around anymore." She ran a paw through her orange head fluff. "I didn't see her on Snow Mountain."

"No, she just guards sheep on another mountain." Grabbing a spoon, he scooped some flour into the bowl from the restaurant-grade bag. "We write letters back and forth. She was pretty stoked that I figured out my Mastiff Paw technique." He waved the spoon in the direction of a photo on the far wall of the loft, scattering the faintest dusting of flour in the sunlight.

"Oh." Having casually glanced at that picture a hundred times, she'd thought that was a photo of his dad. She now saw the Tibetan mastiff it featured had a rounder head and wasn't nearly grumpy enough to be his dad. "You have her…eyebrows."

"I know, right?" He cocked one in her direction.

The fox snickered. "So, other mastiffs guard other sheep. Guess that makes sense."

"It's a symbiosis, ya know?" He made an interlocking gesture with his fingers. "We keep the sheep from dying. And the sheep don't make us feel bad by dying."

She cast him a jaded look. "That's very generous of them."

Mixing the flour into the tea, he formed it into a single blob that pulled cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. He'd had her taste it once. Sort of like cookie dough in texture, but salty instead of sweet. With it stuck on the spoon, he popped it into his muzzle. Basically pure calories.

Not that she opposed calories on principle. Taking a seat on the amp, she reached into her purse and grabbed a muffin she’d pilfered from work. The coffee shop let employees have the ones they were going to throw out, since it didn't hurt the bottom line. She tossed Bodi one.

He caught it and, after setting down the now-empty bowl, managed to untangle the cling wrap. "Man, this is good."

"I know, right?" She took another bite. "Blueberry."

"Blueberry." He studied the inside of the muffin and chewed with deep appreciation. "Nice."

"You've been listening to my records, right?" Pointing with the muffin, she indicated the tall stack of vinyl she'd left by the window.

"Oh! Yeah!" He nodded. "They sound a lot better than those golden ones Angus has in his office."

"Those are less of a music format and more of a trophy." She leaned back on the amp. She'd intentionally bought one with handles on the sides so she could sit comfortably on it. Long experience had trained her not to kick her dangling feet, lest she dent the metal screen in front of the speaker. "Any takeaways?"

He jerked a thumb toward the paint-splash-labeled LP on the turntable. "This Beck guy sometimes gets distracted in the middle of his songs and start new songs."

Tail swishing off the back of the amp, she chuckled. "He usually remembers to come back to the first one, though."

"I don't know if I could play more than one song at a time." He shoved the last of the muffin into his muzzle.

She watched him with amusement. Sitting on the amp raised her to eye-level with the mastiff.

"What?" One paw rose to his mouth. "Do I have crumbs on my face?"

"Dunno." Ears at a playful perk, she rested her hands between her things, gripping the skirt fabric around the top of speaker case. Her tail gave an enticing wag. "You'd better come closer so I can see for sure."

With wag of his own, he leaned in close. He presented his dopey muzzle for inspection. No crumbs, but she got a look at the cute little spots of brown against the tan fur of his muzzle where the whiskers connected.

Her index finger hooked into his tunic and pulled him even closer. Their lips met. One kiss led to another. Whiskers mingling, they stopped to catch their breath.

Bodi's paw traced along her slim muzzle to cup her cheek ruff. His touch warmed her. She nuzzled into it.

Her legs wrapped around his waist. A pang of guilt sprung up. Weren't rock stars supposed to get swamped with groupies? They sure weren't supposed to get tied down to their bass player. Everybody knew that.

His hips ground to hers. A distinct bulge stiffened in his pants. A slight shift in how he stood brought it right in contact with the front of her skirt. A shuddered sigh, unlike any she'd heard from him before, breezed against her neck.

Darma bit her lip. She, once again, decided that everybody didn't know what they were talking about. This rocked.

Those powerful paws traced down her back, along the base of her tail. Nose to nose, his eyes asked if she liked it. When she smiled, he gripped her rump, pressing his arousal to hers, only a few layers of fabric from needing an explicit-content label. The dog's hips bucked a little against hers.

Bare vulpine paws crossed above his tail, pulling him against her. Her fingers interlaced over his scruff. Her skirt bunched up under the motion. A fox could get used to this.

Rhythmic rustling of fabric, accompanied by the quickening pant of breath, played as their soundtrack. He kissed her again, clumsy at the dual effort, but no less enthusiastic. The gentle humps turned to a steady grind.

Giddy, the vixen bucked back against him. For all the songs she'd sung about moments like this, she'd never expected it to feel this safe, this playful. She took one of his paws, brought it to her lips for a grinning kiss, then trailed it down her modest breasts.

A swish of tail under her paws told her he liked it. Those pretty brown eyes looked down in wonder. And that was just through a sweatshirt, blouse, and bra. What would the poor pooch even do when he got to touch her for real?

Pleasant as it felt to have him softly touching her cleavage, she giggled at the idea of gaining his grin even bigger. Closing his fingertips on the zipper of her hoodie, she blushed as he nuzzled her. Their paws together unzipped the gray garment. Then she dragged that hand down, further and further, until it vanished under her skirt.

Under that woolen hat, his floppy ears rose. His fingers spread against her panties. A light touch, right where his hard cock had pressed a moment before. They felt so different from her own, and yet she really liked having them there. It felt lovely, even if he was clumsy, since he wanted her to feel good.

Helping him push her panties aside, she guided his fingertips to her slick and eager slit. She spread her lips with a couple fingers, while urging his in. Her muscles clenched as his careful paw curled to explore her.

The dog's digit sank into her at a steady beat. He might be a virtuoso on guitar, but his fingering wasn't bad either. Looking down between them, he wagged at the show. Now and then he'd look back up at her with a little "can't believe I'm this lucky" laugh.

She bumped his nose with hers. Feeling bad at leaving him out, she reached down to grope him softly through his pants. The bulge felt distinctly warm, far warmer than the rest of his body. That thick mastiff fur was serious insulation.

Bodi hit an especially nice spot.

Tension and pleasure rippled through her body. Her hands gripped the flanks of his tunic, tail bushing out even as her ears dipped with delight. Her heart raced. Breaths came faster, shallower. Like any good bass player, she decided she'd better accompany her lead guitarist. One shaky orange hand slipped between them to massage her clit.

Even as she tightened around him, her canine lover kept up the pace. He watched as she rubbed the hooded bud of her clit, pressing it down atop the steady motion of his finger inside her. Hazy pleasure built inside her. The moment suffused her completely, like being carried away by the music.

At the climax of their duet, her eyes rolled back. She grabbed him close, shuddering. The slender vulpine clung to him with a desperate whine. Bliss vibrated through her being. Her nose buried in his soft, comforting scent. When her eyes fluttered open again, she saw him watching her with complete attention, mouth open with a faint smile.

Patience and interest shone on that blocky muzzle. His paw still rocked between her thighs to the faint wet sound of penetration.

Her damp hand grabbed his, hitting pause, keeping him buried deep inside her. Aftershocks squeezed his finger. Ragged breaths rushed between them to stir his whiskers.

He rested his nose to hers. Not moving, he held her against him. His chest rose and fell against her breasts.

The fox looked up at him dreamily. "Bed? I'm not sure I can keep standing."

He stroked a paw very gently along her cheek, his fingers smelling like her. Kind eyes met hers with an excited chuckle. "Okay."

She shifted to stand, but wobbled. Not the most powerful orgasm she'd ever had, but her mind had already been reeling from having a really sweet boyfriend to fool around with.

Bodi took her unsteady stance as a sign to pick her up. He turned and placed her on the middle of the mattress. Then he crawled up beside her and smooched her cheek.

She smooched him back. Their muzzles lingered close together. "Having fun?"

"Yeah!" His tail swished.

"Me too." Her nose bumped his.

"What'd we do now?" He slid one leg onto the bed. "You seem like you might like to cuddle."

"That could be nice. Or, I mean, I could return the favor." Bold with euphoria, Darma pressed a paw to the still-visible, but less obvious bulge in his pants. "O-or whatever."

He nodded, as if oblivious to her stumbling all over her answer. "What do you wanna do?"

"I…" Nobody usually asked her to take the lead on anything. "I kinda want to keep going."

"Okay!" He nodded brightly, then slowly, then blinked in thought. "What does that mean?"

Darma struggled to articulate what was, in her mind, a very clear desire. She wanted this thick canine dick buried inside her to the knot like she'd dreamed about for months. She wanted his thick canine dick buried inside her. She wanted his dick inside her. "I kinda want you in me…"

He straightened up, eyes wide with surprise. A second later, that sleek tail started beating the air behind him. "That sounds fun."

"Yeah." Toying with her cheek ruff, she looked up at him. "It does, actually. But only if you want to."

"Of course." He brushed back the fluff from the front of his hat, leaning on one palm as he gazed down at her. "Doing stuff with you gives me this crazy feeling, like I'm flying, like all my fur's standing on end. That feeling a really good song gives you. You're that song to me." His face sort of scrunched up, like he wasn't sure if he'd made any sense. "You know?"

"I know the feeling." Her paw closed over his. "Thanks, Bodi."

His brown eyes flicked down the length of her body. "What should we do first?"

Legs dangling off the bed, she nodded at his clothes. "I'm not an expert, but we, um… We might be a little over-dressed for this gig." Feeling safe made her bold. She slipped a paw under the helm of his tunic. The tip of her toe claw traced along the waist of his pants, her heel bumping his bulge.

Bodi wagged and woofed a laugh, then stood and unclasped his belt. He dropped it to the rug and undid the button holding his tunic closed. The contours of his sleek fur hinted at the muscles underneath. Not scruffy like a fox, his brown and tan fur shone in the lamplight. He walked at the foot of the bed, standing between her legs.

Darma followed his lead. She unbuttoned her shirt. Her damp panties hit the floor, followed by her skirt for good measure. With a nervous laugh, the vixen unclipped her bra. It fell open atop her breasts. She unsnapped the shoulder straps. With only a minor dip of her ears, she pulled it free and tossed it onto the bed. Foxes tended to be sleek and slender, so she wasn't super stacked. That plus loose clothing meant guys weren't constantly perving on you, but she'd rarely considered what potential lovers might think of her modest breasts—

He leaned in. His tongue dragged over her nipple, hot and textured. Those bright canine eyes looked up at her with a grin.

Okay, so she was probably fine. Her heart beat faster. She hooked her toes on the waist of his pants and tugged them down.

A thick peak of red rose out of his tan sheath. Below, the furred pouch of his balls hung, twitching now and then. She hadn't known guys balls could move on their own. Nobody mentioned that.

She was totally going to have sex. She wanted it, of course. Bodi was sweet and sexy and genuinely crazy about her. Still, a nervous breath escaped her chest. "Oh boy…"

"Yeah…" His stocky muzzle dipped as he met her gaze. His paw drifted to that plump sheath and stroked it back and forth. The full length of soon extended, bright red and slightly shiny. Every tug bounced his balls against those sleek-furred thighs. Dogs couldn't knock up foxes, Mother Nature had decided, but the idea of him coming in her still intimidated and fascinated her.

Her eyebrows rose at him as she lay, exposed, before him. "Here we are, huh?"

"Yeah." He looked over her, not with any air of domination, but with a mixture of nerves and glee. One practiced paw pulled back his sheath to reveal a shapely, growing knot. "Gotta admit, I like it here, though." The tip of his cock pressed, hot, against her entrance.

She set her teeth and wiggled her hips on the bed, pressing just a little ways onto him. Her lips, slick from fingering, parted easily. "Mmmhmm."

His voice got softer and sweeter. "Is that okay?"

Nodding, she reached down. Her fingertips glanced off his cock. She still wasn't used to being allowed to casually touch someone's dick. She liked the idea, though. Parting her lips, she rubbed her juices around just a little more. Stray knuckles bumped against his tip as she watched. Her legs spread a bit wider. "You can push it in…" She swallowed, wishing for something more suave to say, but then realizing you didn't have to be suave when a dude liked you this much. "…if you want."

Bodi nodded. With slow deliberation, he sank halfway into her. His girth spread her. A look of absolute happiness dawned on his face. Judging by his expression, he was having some kind of epiphany. He stared off into space for a second or two, like every neuron in his doggy brain was engaged in some kind of laser light show. Then his gaze locked on hers, looking for confirmation she was enjoying this really great new sensation. "You feel really great."

"Yeah." Her tail swished slowly at his hip. "You feel pretty great too."

Gently, he sank in, then pulled back out. His mouth hung open all the while, as if he were too awe-struck to close it. His big warm paws gripped her legs.

One slim hand caressed his chin. Her tail twitched between his knees. Moisture cooled on the base of it. Her other hand stroked his bare hip. "You can go faster."

Easing in and out shifted into a steady thrusting. The tassels of his hat swayed. His grip shifted to her thighs for leverage. He stretched her in all the right ways.

Instinct urged her to hump up against his thrusts, to take him as deeply as possible. The texture and warmth of his dick sent pleasure tingling up her nerves. Really felt different from a toy, not least because of the inescapable intimacy of knowing it was Bodi's cock stuffed so pleasantly inside her.

As his hips bounced against hers, her legs bounced in the air. Bouncing her against the bed made him slip free. His dick slapped against that taut stomach, leaving a shiny splat of moisture. It soaked through her fur in an instant, hot, then cooling. The canine snorted in amusement and gave her a look of friendly apology. "Heh. Sorry."

"It's okay." She angled her hips up. One autumn-furred hand spread her entrance for him. "You can make it up to me."

Sinking in with increased slipperiness, he sunk into her all the way to the sheath. His balls hung against her inner thighs. Leaning over her, he started bucking into her. Then he slipped out again. He rubbed the back of his head, abashed. "Guess I'm not a savant at this."

She smirked up at him. "We're doing pretty good for improv."

He wagged at her encouragement. His dick lay, heavy and hot, atop her clit. He looked down at her with wonder. "Really good."

Studying the situation, the vixen bit her lower lip as she built up the bravery to make scandalous suggestions. "Maybe hold my legs?" She lifted them to either side of him.

Glancing to either side, he grabbed her ankles. He shuffled forward and prodded his dick against her folds. It glanced off. "Mmf!"

"Here…" Reaching down, she took hold of his throbbing length. She guided it, slippery and hot, back into her folds. Still really sensitive from the orgasm, she savored the sensation of him entering her again. For all the times she'd gotten off alone, all her fantasies had been fragmentary, just riffs. Watching Bodi press that thick cock into her felt like a complete song.

Eyes half-lidded, the dog's tongue hung out. His tail dangled in with pleasure as he pumped in and out of her. Those strong paws gripped her ankles, granting the leverage to rock in and out of her with greater confidence. The zipper of her hoodie jingled in time. His knot bumped against her folds, already too big to fit. She liked a knotted toy as much as the next fox, but never anything as ambitious as what Bodi now pressed against her with every stroke.

A sudden whine echoed from the mastiff. With a ripple of tension, he gripped her thighs harder, thrusted faster. Her hips bucked under his, keeping time with his thrusts, supportive as any good bass guitar track. She wanted him to come. Even in her endorphin-addled state, though, she felt silly saying that aloud. She promised she would sometime. Right in his soft, pretty doggy ear. For now, she just moaned and yipped happily. Idle fox paws drifted to her breasts, squeezing them and toying with her nipples. Not actually close to orgasm again, she rolled her hips against the mattress and urged him on with the breath each thrust pressed out.

He shuddered above her. His dick jerked inside her. A gush of warmth spread inside her. Through the bulk of his body, it was impossible to see, but she swore she felt the serene glow of his magic as he strained against her. Bodi, meanwhile, went stiff between her legs, muscles tense as a final frantic grunt stretched out into pants of amazement.

A long moment passed as they caught their breath. His weight atop her was just enough to add to the feeling of safety, of being desired, without really squishing her. She wrapped her legs around him. Her hands stroked his flanks inside that open tunic.

His broad pink tongue lapping up the side of her face should've been weird or annoying. It wasn't. It was actually kind of cute. Helped that he only did it once. And that he looked at her like she was amazing before and after. Still panting, he climbed off her.

She rolled to her side to face him. Her hand rested on his toned stomach, tracing up and down his smooth fur. Their combined juices slowly evaporated from her still-tender slit. Her fur was mussed. Her tail was sticky. Totally worth it.

With shameless doggish delight, he pulled her close and gave her the nuzzling of her life. "That was great!" His tail thumped on the bed. "Is it okay if I do it again?"

Her ears popped up. She'd had no expectations beyond hanging out under his warm, fluffy bulk for a while. "Can you?"

He glanced down at his dick, still shiny with moisture from being inside her. Partly hard, it stuck halfway out of his sheath. "Umm, yeah. Pretty sure?"

"I thought guys didn't really…do encores." That was common knowledge, right? Even when guys sang about that stuff, she'd always assumed they were just full of it.

He inclined his head toward the stack of albums. "I was busy listening to all those records you brought over, so it's been a couple days since I pawed off." A shrug rolled his stocky shoulders. "It's not a big deal. You feel really good inside, though—"

Placing a paw at the center of his bare chest, she pressed him flat against the bed. A grin spread across her muzzle, even as she shook her head. She climbed on top of him. With a clumsy paw, she managed to line him up with her entrance. As she sank onto her boyfriend, she savored the feeling of him pressing at an entirely different angle, hitting fun new spots. His dick still felt really warm, warmer than any toy she'd ever used. Her hips started rolling, then steadily moved on to bouncing as she found a rhythm. Last time, she was mostly just supporting his movements, keeping the beat. This time, she was playing the lead part. Shrugging out of her hoodie and top, she tossed them to the floor and humped faster.

The dog's eyebrows shot high enough to almost disappear under his hat. He watched her bouncing breasts with amazement. His paw traced along her stomach, like he wasn't sure if he was allowed to touch them yet.

Darma, ears down with a blush, shifted her weight, only to find she loved the way his dick moved inside her when she did. So she did it more. And harder. And exploring all sorts of fun angles. Naked and grunting with each thrust, she bucked atop him, adoring that the world had somebody she wanted to be naked with.

Under her, Bodi groaned with delight as the vixen pressed back his sheath again and again. His paws rested on her thighs. Soft mastiff lips parted in a silent howl of pleasure. Gentle brown eyes watched her naked body move with amazement.

The vixen rocked atop him, her breasts and whiskers bouncing. Going by how he stared hazily into an impossible distance and kept squirming against the sheets, she was rocking his world too.

His hands roamed over her body, cupping her breasts for a few strokes before pressing her waist down. Moans got sharper and more urgent. "Mmf! Oh, Darma..."

Ears perked as he gasped her name, the fox slipped a paw down her white stomach fur and to her clit. Now it was her turn to feel clumsy, trying to bounce on that lovely stiffness while rubbing herself. Good thing she'd had so much practice strumming that second part. Her fingertips worked in steady circles atop that stiff bud, premiering all her signature tricks in front of an appreciative audience. She tightened on him.

With one hand, he gripped her waist. His other reached for his knot, squeezing it. His balls tensed under her tail. His body arced up under her, lifting her as his length twitched inside her, spurting hot canine passion against her walls.

Still rubbing her clit, she shivered and gasped atop him. Her passage clenched around him. As she watched through hazy vision, their combined juices dripped down his knot in slow motion. Leaning down, she kissed him full on the lips.

Bodi moaned. His pretty eyes sprung wide, then drifted half-closed an a swell of pleasure. His hips bucked harder than last time. As he ground his hips to hers, a supreme sense of peace filled her along with his hot canine cum.

Sparks danced across her vision. It took her a moment to realize this was more than just a really excellent orgasm. Blue light radiated out from both of them, setting the room aglow. The fox watched in wonder as curls of blue radiance lifted them ever so slightly off the bed. Her mind ideally explore the notion of zero-grav sex. As her orgasm faded to a pleasant buzz of afterglow, she collapsed atop his broad chest.

The dog panted, tongue lolling out. At some point in her efforts, his hat had fallen off and now lay on the pillow. His cute, floppy ears shone in the lamplight, just asking for her to nuzzle them.

Darma sighed and did so, sated utterly. Strands and sparkles of sheer serenity floating around the room, casting everything blue. At first, she blamed it on the endorphins flooding her brain, but nope. Pretty sure she just watched her bra float up onto the cloth-draped rafters; she'd have to get that later. Life was going abnormally well. She'd gotten a super-sweet boyfriend. She had really fun sex with said boyfriend. Boyfriend was also magic. Not bad, as far as weeks go. Everybody said foxes were wired to worry more than this. But, really, what did everybody know?

Bodi, eyes closed, delicately stroked her laid-back ears. With exquisite slowness, his tip slipped free and, pressed to her thigh, retreated back into its soft-furred sheath. His stomach fluff had to be a mess, but his muzzle held only a look of pure contentment. Eyelids opening just the barest fraction, he met her gaze, then brushed his nose to hers with the softest chuckle. "Do you think anyone's ever written a song about doing this? I've got like, a bunch of new ideas."

She snickered back at him. Where life went from here, didn't concern her in that moment. She had a dog who loved her, jammed with her, and even listened to her on occasion. That was pretty cool. She was going to keep making music with him, release an album with him, and figure out how to take his knot. That was pretty cool too. But no matter where they went from here, laying here with him as spirals of magic lit the room with a contentment her heart had never known, she knew it'd be glorious.

~ ~ ~

Rock Dog is a super-fun, super-cute film and you guys should all go watch it. I knew instantly I'd have to write this fic of it. That should tell you something, since you know what a sap I am for well-meaning canines and savvy female characters.

If you’re curious, here's the song she sang: Wynonna Judd - “No One Else On Earth”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nl0pdZozVd0

Art: Slate
Edits: CarlMines, Eljot001, KohakuNightfang, SillyNeko345, Jovo
Proofs: IvicWulfe, CloverArizona, Slip-Wolf, TheFunkyOne, Resolute, SavrinDrake, Bitters, Sha

~ Tempo

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