Luna woke up, as usual, as the first rays of the sun began to pierce into the opening of the cave.
The small mouse yawned and shifted, but didn't open her eyes. She didn't want to move yet. She was lying on her side, pressed up against the body of another female more than twice her height. Luna cuddled up against her side, one arm draped across the larger female's belly. She felt comfortable here. Safe.
Of course, she was anything but. Luna knew the rules. If her companion woke up and Luna was still here, the mouse would be breakfast. But she had hours before the lazy feline actually stirred, so she wasn't worried.
Luna opened her eyes and propped herself up on one arm, taking a moment to look at her companion.
Artemis, the female mountain lion, was lying on her back, splayed out slightly on the makeshift bed of soft leaves and foliage she had laid out on the floor of her cave. Her mouth hung open as she snored softly. She was tall, curvy, and powerful. Firm muscles bunched and unbunched beneath her fur, even in her sleep. This was a predator who could close impressive distances in a short sprint, one strong enough to knock down small trees to get to prey (not that she'd need to; she could climb as well as any cat.) Even in her sleep, she radiated strength, and Luna knew that if she sensed danger, she would be awake and ready to kill in the span of a heartbeat.
Luna yawned again, and this time she stood up, walking towards the mouth of the cave as she stretched and worked the kinks out of her limbs.
The sun was shining over the woods just outside Artemis' cave. Luna could hear birds chirping in the trees, the gurgling of the nearby stream, the rustling of various small animals foraging for food. A warm breeze blew through the trees, rustling the leaves. It was a beautiful day.
Perhaps the second most beautiful thing she had seen that morning.
Happy and eager, Luna practically bounced as she took off towards the trees, moving at a jog. She had a few hours before Artemis woke up, and she was eager to make them count.
She bathed at the stream first. There was a spot where an eddy created a deep pool; the water wasn't stagnant, and it was deep enough for Luna to submerge herself in the cold, refreshing liquid. Luna noticed a rabbit watching her from the bushes, probably wondering why the mouse was grinning like an idiot, but Luna ignored her.
Once she had finished climbing out of the stream and shaking herself dry, she began foraging for food. This wasn't hard. She had been living in the area for a while now, so she knew the best places to find nuts, berries, and edible roots. She even found a few wild carrots, though she resisted taking too many of that particularly unhealthy snack; she needed to stay in good shape, after all.
She had just finished her breakfast when she caught the first signs. The forest had grown quieter, and she caught a familiar scent on the wind. Luna smiled. Artemis was awake. The hunt was on.
Luna moved swiftly and with purpose, sliding between the trees with ease. As she did every day, she used every trick available to her. She marked false paths, backtracked over her own footprints, and used the stream to mask her scent. She kept as good an idea as possible of Artemis' location, though of course the experienced hunter didn't make it easy, attempting to stay as silent and as downwind as possible. But Luna knew her tricks and her habits, and she knew how to avoid her. This would be easy.
Unfortunately, she didn't notice the other hunter in the woods until it was too late.
Luna cursed when she caught the scent. It was a fox, most likely male, and altogether too close for Luna's comfort. Her normal tricks weren't likely to work now: the fox probably already had her location. Her best bet now was to run and hope Artemis caught up with them, but Luna had done a good job of evading her: the mountain lion was probably a good twenty minutes behind her. Luna suspected she didn't have that long to wait.
This was her own fault, Luna realized. She had been so focused on Artemis, and so sure of herself, she hadn't payed proper attention to the rest of her surroundings. The fox had been able to sneak up on her, and he never would have been able to if she hadn't let him.
Luna turned and sprinted off through the woods. Sure enough, she heard the footfalls of someone sprinting after her.
She still might be able to escape. If she could find a burrow or hole too small for the fox, she could slip inside and elude him. That would at least buy Luna enough time for Artemis to catch up to them.
No such luck. Before any such opportunity presented itself, Luna felt a large body tackle her from behind. Her world spun for a moment, and then she landed flat on her back on the forest floor. Her captor landed on top of her, straddling her hips, grabbing both of her wrists so he could pin her down.
Sure enough, Luna's nose hadn't failed her: he was a male fox. He was lean and fit; not nearly as strong as Artemis, but built for speed and agile movement. His fur was a dusky red, with a white underbelly that ran from his chin and down his flat stomach.
A stomach that Luna was probably about to fill, she thought with a grimace.
"Well, hello there, mousie," the fox said, grinning. He leaned over her, his face close to hers. "It seems you got caught."
Luna wrinkled her nose at the fox's breath. "Just letting you know," she said, trying to keep her voice level, "there's a big mountain lion in the area. If you aren't careful, you'll..."
Luna blinked. "You do?"
"Of course. She's been hunting you for the last two hours, right? That's all part of the game, you know. These apex predators think they're so invincible, they never stop to think that someone smarter than them might snatch their prey." The fox leaned in even closer, opened his mouth, and licked Luna's face, running his tongue along her cheek.
Luna gagged. Not only had the fox caught her, now he was playing with her. She tried to kick him, hoping to dislodge him and wiggle out of his grip, but he held her firm. He was quite a bit bigger than her, and much stronger.
"I can't wait to have you inside me," he said, moving down to lick her again, this time under her chin. "You'll fit so well in my belly."
Luna felt tears welling up in her eyes. Not like this. She didn't want to go like this.
Which was odd, because she had imagined going out this way for a long time. She knew that, one day, Artemis would catch her. She wouldn't be able to evade the mountain lion forever. Luna had prepared herself for this day long ago. If Artemis was holding her down, licking her and talking about how well Luna would fit inside her, she'd be ecstatic -- scared, yes, but still ecstatic. Luna would be ready to become a part of that beautiful body, to be enfolded inside her, bulging out the mountain lion's soft fur.
But the same thing happening with this fox felt... wrong, somehow, on some deep, intrinsic, unsettling level. His licks didn't elate; they disgusted her. Luna didn't want to be enfolded in his body, she wanted to pull away.
With a sudden clarity that surprised her, Luna realized that she was ready to be on the inside of someone else's fur. Just not this fur.
Which meant that, at this point, she only had one option. She couldn't escape by struggling: the fox had her in his grip. Artemis might not make it here before the fox escaped, and even if she did show up in time for a rescue, Luna didn't want to spend a moment in his gut. If she couldn't escape this situation, then she could only think of one thing to do:
The fox was still bragging -- still holding her down, licking her face, talking about how she had no hope of escape. "... and then, my body will slowly break you down... the process will be long and... MMMPPH!"
Luna opened her mouth wide and thrust her head forward, wrapping her lips around the fox's muzzle while he was still mid-sentence.
The fox's eyes opened wide. He had obviously not been expecting this particular turn of events. In his surprise, his grip on Luna's wrists loosened.
For a moment, Luna had a pang of doubt. The fox's fur felt strange on her tongue. Would she even be capable of this?
But then she thought about the alternative again. Without giving herself more time to doubt, she ripped her wrists free from the fox's grip, put both hands on the back of his head, and shoved inward.
Luna's jaw stretched around the fox's head with a painful pop. Her eyes watered, but she kept going, grabbing his arms and shoving him in again. With him perched over her, gravity aided in his slide down, and her lips stretched around his shoulders, pinning his arms to his side.
The fox seemed to finally get over his shock, and he started to struggle. But Luna already had him halfway down her gullet now. She swallowed again, his fur burning her throat. To say this was uncomfortable would be the understatement of the year, but she kept swallowing, gradually gulping down more and more of the fox's body. He tried to use his legs to push himself out, but Luna just let herself be pulled with him as she swallowed again, her belly beginning to bulge out.
In spite of his superior strength and size, the fox was slowly disappearing into the mouse. She wouldn't let him escape. She refused to go inside him, which meant that he had to go inside her.
Artemis smiled to herself as she forced the wiggling, feminine body into her gullet. Her saliva glands had gone into overdrive, wetting the raccoon's fur so it would slide down her throat more easily. She had caught the raccoon peeking at her out of a tree trunk; the little thing must have thought Artemis was too distracted to notice her. She was now halfway down the mountain lion's throat as a result.
Artemis leaned back against a tree and tilted her head back as she swallowed the raccoon's kicking legs. Her throat bulged out as her prey slid down her gullet, and soon the raccoon's toes disappeared into her mouth, leaving only the end of her striped tail hanging outside. Artemis swallowed, and that too vanished as the raccoon slid down and settled in her gut.
Artemis was big enough that the raccoon barely made a bulge in her midsection, but she could definitely feel the raccoon squirming and struggling inside her. She gave her belly a hearty slap, then released a long sigh before running her thick tongue over her muzzle. Delicious. And now that her hunger was sated, she could get back to the real hunt.
Luna, after all, would not be caught so easily. But Artemis was determined to catch her today. On many days, Luna would evade her entirely, only returning to the cave late in the afternoon to make sure that Artemis had caught something else, meaning the mouse would be safe for the night. No, this would be one of the days that Artemis caught the wily mouse. Since Artemis had already eaten, of course, that just meant she would drag her quarry back to her cave where they would talk and rest for the rest of the afternoon, neither worried now that the game was over for the day.
A day might come when she caught Luna with an empty stomach. Though they had never spoken the rules of their hunt out loud before, they both knew that Artemis wouldn't hesitate to send the small mouse down her gullet. Artemis wasn't sure if she was looking forward to or dreading the day when she finally triumphed for good over the mouse. But it wouldn't be today: Luna had successfully evaded her for long enough for her to find other food, which meant she was safe from the lioness for another day.
But just because Artemis was full didn't mean she didn't want to prove herself. The mouse's continued evasion of her was a challenge, and she would rise to meet it. Smiling to herself, she lifted her nose to the air and inhaled, seeing if she could catch Luna's scent.
Artemis' smile faded. She had caught a scent, alright, but it wasn't Luna's.
The mountain lion's lips drew back into a snarl. Another predator!? Here!? In her territory!? Had it not noticed her scent, not realized that this was her section of forest!?
Then anger gave way to fear. What if... what if Luna...?
Artemis took off after the scent at a sprint. Luna was amazing, but she wasn't perfect. And Artemis had let herself get delayed with that raccoon. If that fox had caught the little mouse, it may have given him enough time to down her and escape Artemis' territory. Her heart skipped a beat at the thought of losing this particular prey to another predator that way.
She was closing in on the scent now: it didn't seem to be moving, even though Artemis was crashing through the forest without a thought for stealth. Had she made it in time? She burst out through the trees into a small clearing. "Luna! Are you...!?"
Artemis trailed off, her eyes growing wide at the sight in front of her.
There was Luna, sitting down with her back against a tree. Except the little mouse's belly was ballooned out in front of her, massive and writhing, larger than the mouse herself! And hanging from Luna's lips was a large, fluffy red tail, the white tip thrashing back and forth. Artemis could only watch as the tail slowly vanished, the tip disappearing as the mouse's lips closed behind it. Luna swallowed, and an adorable bulge slid down her throat to join the rest of her gigantic stomach.
"L-Luna!?" Artemis asked, as though unsure of whether this was really her mouse.
"A-Artemis!" Luna responded with a start, looking up at the huge mountain lion. "I... um..."
Artemis walked over to Luna and dropped into a squat, resting one arm on her knee. She reached out with the other, pressing it against Luna's squirming belly. "Did you... did you eat a fox?"
"Ugh." Luna tilted her head back, her eyes closed. "How do you stomach meals like this? I feel like I'm going to be sick!"
Artemis chuckled. "Well, I'm a lot bigger than most of my meals, not the other way around," she said. "You're going to have one hell of a hairball from this, you know."
"What possessed you to do this?" Artemis asked. "I'm not sure I've ever heard of a mouse eating a fox before."
"He... he caught me. He was going to eat me if I didn't do something. This was the only thing I could think of."
"I thought you would accept your fate if a predator caught you fair and square. Isn't that what you told me?"
Luna moaned. "Apparently I don't feel that way about every predator."
Artemis thought about the implications of that statement for a moment, and she felt her face start to flush. Rather than pursue that line of thought, she reached down and picked Luna up. Even with her fox-filled belly, the lioness lifted her easily, cradling the large ball of mouse against her chest. She held her carefully as she started to walk.
"W-what are you doing?" Luna asked.
"Getting you home. It's going to take you days to digest this thing."
"But then I'll be at your mercy!" Luna said. "You could eat me whenever you wanted and I wouldn't be able to run or do anything!"
Artemis shook her head. "These are extenuating circumstances. I can call off the hunt for a few days. There's plenty of food in the forest for me."
Luna's face flushed. "Y-you're sure?"
"Yeah. After all, now I want to see what happens when you have to spit up that hairball."
Luna grimaced. "That's not going to be pleasant, is it?"
"No, probably not. They never are."
"I figured." Luna hesitated, then reached up with one hand to touch her still-squirming belly. "Is it weird, though, if I say that it feels kind of... urp... nice?"
Artemis smirked. "Do I have to start worrying about you eating me in my sleep, now?"
Luna's eyes widened with horror. "N-no! Definitely not! But... I think I get why you like hunting so much. M-maybe... maybe if I run into someone smaller..."
Artemis laughed. "Well, there are plenty of mice and squirrels in the area who might be better prey for you. Maybe I could give you hunting lessons."
"Mmm... I'd like that..." Luna's voice trailed off.
Artemis looked down to see that Luna had fallen asleep in her arms, her head resting against the lioness' chest. Smiling, Artemis continued heading towards home.
This was a new side of Luna that she hadn't been expecting, but she was eager to see where it went.
A gift for my friend Luna! And a sequel to my story [url=http://www.furaffinity.net/view/21100666/]Being Hunted[/url], which I recommend reading before reading this one!
[url=https://curiouscat.me/rabbitinafoxden]Ask me or my characters questions on my Curious Cat![/url]
If you're so inclined, I'd much appreciate it if you'd [url=https://ko-fi.com/rabbitinafoxden]buy me a coffee![/url]