He placed a hand on the side of his face as he looked at himself in the mirror, feeling the plush cheek under his fingertips and cupping the edge of his jaw with his palm.
It was a face that was sculpted to perfection. Not that he was being vain, of course; it was simply true. Why would Divinity ship an unattractive product? His blue eyes were large and honest.
His fur was as soft and fine as a housecat's fur, and its green color, though distinctly unnatural, was not a garish hue, but rather a safe, pleasant pastel.
His maroon hair naturally fell about his brow in a scruffy, playful way, and the two white horns that peeked through his bangs were small, blunt, and nonthreatening.
His large, round ears and tuft of a tail were plush and expressive, invoking images of gentle animals like deer and rabbits.
*I am a pet,* his appearance said. *I am a docile, decorative beast. I am no threat to you.*
He scowled at his reflection, stiffened, and adjusted his necktie for what felt like the hundredth time. He was not docile, he was not decorative, he was a man.
He was a man dressed in a sharp suit, about to take his girlfriend out to dinner.
There came a knock on the bathroom door. "You okay in there, Ash?"
He flinched. "Y-yes, ma'am, I'm fine," he stammered, pulling the door open with a brisk motion. "Sorry. Just dawdling."
Nanneyo stood there in the hallway, draped in one of her classiest dresses, an ensemble of silky green and violet.
The deep pools of her eyes were trained on him, a perfect pair of black holes that drew him in, sparkling with life.
They sat beautifully in the reptilian triangle of her face, the skin of which was swathed in the loveliest, smoothest sky-blue scales that Ash had ever known.
She did not have fur as he did, but she was soft in a different way, a sleek and elegant way, a way he loved. He felt his cheeks warm and his heart accelerate slightly.
But right now Nanneyo's soft-in-a-different way face had a furrowed brow and a pout on it. "Did you just drop a 'ma'am' again? After all this time?" The corner of her mouth twitched in amusement.
"You've gone and lost your streak, hon! What was that, eighty days?"
Ash mock-frowned and snapped his fingers. "Eighty-two days. Darn." He straightened up, smiling by now, and offered her his arm. "Oh well. Shall we be off?"
She hesitated, but she eventually took his arm with a matching smile. "You, taking me to dinner with my own money," she muttered, shaking her head.
"Hey, now, it's my allowance. It's mine."
He smirked and planted a kiss on her soft cheek. "It's the thought that counts, Nan."