-Earth; Apini Residence, Chicago Suburbs; 0630 hrs-
Caine perches on the edge of the roof with his wings half-splayed as he contemplates the sunrise over the glittering city. He plants his boot firmly and launches up into the lightening sky, the wind rushing through his feathers and lifting him high on the first updraft.
By the time he glides down, two hours later, Jupiter's watching him with a fond expression.
"Good morning." he hums as he takes both her hands and clasps them to his chest. "Did you sleep well, Your Majesty?"
Jupiter laughs, her voice scratchy and sweet as she leans in for a kiss. Caine's eyes close as he tastes honey and spiced rum, lost in the feel of her lips against his until she pulls back with a -snik-. "I did. Mama wants to know when you'll be dropping by again for dinner."
Caine looks helplessly at Jupiter as he recalls the loud, joy-and-honey scented pack of Bolotnikovs vying for his attention and Jupiter's.
"Do I have to?" The question is plaintive, his eyes wide as he begs with his beloved. His ears wilt as he whines softly. The Bolotnikovs are very nice but Caine is used to harsh tongues and harsh behavior from before he met her.
"Yes." She takes slight pity on him as she strokes both thumbs over his cheekbones, smiling as his ears flick back up at her touch. "They have promised to speak only English, not crowd you over-much and in return you leave all of your hunting gear at the door."
He mulls it over as he buries his face against her neck, rocking on his heels in the bee-filled meadow.
"All of it?" Caine prods as he presses her against the porch support, inhaling again and noticing something else in the familiar scent. "Even my hunting knife? My shield?" He snuffles at her throat trying to place the other scent, unexplained as it is on Jupiter.
She sighs as she cards her fingers through his fade. "You can keep those. Just peace-tie the knife so the little cousins don't try to take it."
"It's genetically locked," he absently replies. "Are you using a new soap?"
"New cleaning product?" Now he's worried about the distinct difference he keeps smelling on Jupiter.
"No, Caine. What—Oh."
The dragon's blood incense she likes to burn in her apartment mixing with her honey and spiced rum scent finally clues him in.
"Pups?" She hasn't been with anyone else and Caine is loyal to only her; the pup or pups are undeniably his. "But you..."
"They're a surprise, Caine, to you and me both." Jupiter points out as Caine's gaze roves over her face. "Caine?"
"I would... I would like to keep them." He murmurs hesitantly. "If that is what Her Majesty wishes."
Jupiter's brows furrow as she looks up at him in confusion. She doesn't know. Of course she doesn't, it's never come up before.
"Splices are not... allowed offspring." He bites out haltingly. "We must ask permission of our owners and... they can be taken at any time. Kiza's approved by Stinger's former mistress. There has never been a free splice and an Entitled in a relationship and there is no... protocol."
Jupiter makes a noise of absolute horror.
He knows that means she'll be using her considerable pull to change it now after she processes it fully.
"Caine, they're ours." Her tone does not leave room for argument. "Listen, in a relationship here on Earth, we're free to make our own choices. I chose you, Caine, over everything else out there. We're together because we want to be and not because we're obligated to be."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"You are certainly allowed to want this."
Caine swallows as she presses his hand against her still-flat stomach. "My first litter, Your Majesty, and they are wanted and loved already."
"Good. Auntie Nino said you'd be over the moon for them." He cocks his head to the side and Jupiter laughs. "It's a Terran expression, means you're really happy."
"Come on, Kiza's got breakfast."
-Bolotnikov Residence; Movie and Dinner; 2030-2345 hrs-
The Bolotnikovs are very loud and as boisterous as ever. Caine's squished between Aunt Nino and Jupiter on the couch, his ears perking forward at the adventure onscreen. The truth of it is that he enjoys the scent of them all, happy yet squabbling, sweet yet tough and all of it focused on him once he's let slip that his time as a pup wasn't good.
They also take in stride that Jupiter is someone of great power and that Caine is hers as much as she is Caine's.
Dinner is three Aunts plying him with food—because apparently it is Russian to feed someone you love—and the rest offering affection freely. Jupiter ushers him out onto the small balcony so that he can stretch his wings.
"Caine, close your eyes for me." Jupiter orders but her voice is shaking as she disappears back into her old bedroom. He listens and waits patiently before he smells roses.
These are delicate, nothing like the Osiria growing in the other systems. They shush and sway with the light breeze that kicks up but don't disguise Jupiter's nervous scent nor her excitement.
"Okay, take these." Caine hums but takes them, inhaling against the soft petals that brush his nose. "Open your eyes."
Jupiter's standing in front of him, holding a document tablet and something that Caine thought he would have to ask. He keeps to himself the document asking her to be his only Entitled, though he might present it later.
"Your Majesty..." Caine's voice wobbles as his eyes mist over. In her hand is the laws of splice reproduction struck down and replaced with other measures and in the other... The other is asking him to remain her one and only Consort for as long as he wants. "Yes. Yes, a thousand times yes."
He pulls her into a kiss that lasts both a heartbeat and an eternity all at once.
The white roses are crushed between them, the sweet fragrance only engraving the moment deeper into Caine's long memory.
(Caine's knees lock and they fall down together, Jupiter on top and looking every bit of the royalty she is with the stars as her crown. He may or may not fall in love even more.)