You Otter been there

"I know it’s around here somewhere."

"Riley, we’ve been looking for this thing for almost an hour. I don’t want my allergies to start acting up. Are you sure it’s still there?"

The couple strolled through the bushes, leafs brushing against their legs. Riley turned to his girlfriend of eight years, the two having met in their first year of college. Her jeans were getting dirty and the top of her black tee shirt was damp with sweat, the garment sticking to her body. Strands of her red hair sprawled down over her forehead into her green eyes. Riley knew Sonya was uncomfortable but they’d both be able to relax once they found his childhood swimming hole. Riley rubbed his brow, his own sweat starting to sting his eyes. Although he wore shorts and had his tee shirt tied around his waist, it still wasn’t enough to cool him down.

"Trust me Sonya, there’s a lot more brush then I remember but I know it’s here."

"We didn’t even bring our bathing suits; what are we supposed to wear?" A quick wink from Riley showed his intent. "Cute Riley but what if someone sees us?"

"Don’t worry about that. Only two other people knew about this thing. Anyway, who’s going to walk for thirty minutes away from the road to get to here?"

"Who indeed," Sonya answered, rolling her eyes.

Riley let that comment slide and continued leading the way through the brush. He looked forward to spending time at his old hangout and wasn’t about to let anything deter him.

Ten minutes later he brushed aside a large bush to reveal to his elation … the pond he’d been searching for! It wasn’t much larger then a swimming pool, but it was deep enough for them to relax in. At the other end of it was a river whose destination Riley didn’t know.

"Behold," he said, motioning towards it "my old swimming hole! She’s as beautiful as she was the last time I saw her!"

Sonya walked up beside him to regard the site. There was no one around and the air was fresh. The only thing that stopped Riley from disrobing right there was an odd feeling, like a long forgotten memory resurfacing. It was a pleasant memory, inviting and brining a smile to his face.

"I admit, it does look … clean and peaceful. What’s this she stuff?"

"Sorry, my friends and I had a lot of great times here. We almost feel connected to this place. It’s weird though … I remember images and feelings; that sort of thing; nothing specific though. I guess it’s just been too long; the last time we came here was when we were twelve."

Sonya put her hands on Riley’s shoulders.

"That was fourteen years ago Riley; that’s a long time for anyone."

"Yeah, you’re probably right. Well, wana," Riley started, motioning his head towards the pond and looking back at Sonya with a mischievous grin on his face. "I won’t tell if you won’t tell," Riley winked.

Riley untied his shirt, letting it fall to the soil below. He undid his shoes and stepped out of them before pulling his socks off. Unbuttoning his shorts, he slid them down his legs, leaving him in his black boxers. He looked back at Sonya, the warm soil squishing under his feet. He saw Sonya had removed her pants, footwear and tee shirt and was in her undergarments. They seemed to both be waiting for the other to go the next step. They’d seen each other naked but had never been nude in public.

"You first," she said.

Shrugging his shoulders, Riley slid his boxers off. With a grin of his face, he watched Sonya remove her undergarments. She looked around a bit, seeming nervous. Riley turned around and started towards the pond. He tested the water with his right foot, finding it cool but not uncomfortable. Wading in until he was knee deep, he beckoned Sonya to join him. He watched her walk in, beaming at the sight of her but also feeling elated at having found his old hang out. When she reached him, he felt a strange for a few seconds. Everything went bright; when it cleared he found himself standing in the water. Something was wrong, he was looking at his friends Bobby and Sherman, and they were around eight years old. They were in their bathing suits and playing in the water and seemed shocked as he swam up to them.

"Hey cool, it’s an otter!" Sherman said.

"Let’s pet it!" Bobby added.

Riley knew he was that otter … he knew what would soon happen to his friends and if anything … it amused him. He watched though musteline eyes as fur began to grow on both boys’ chests.

"Dude, your chest!" Bobby said.

Sherman looked at his chest, seeing the cream fur that now adorned the centre of it.

"What’s happening?" the boy asked, trembling as he touched the fur.

The fur was spreading; the same process that had happened to Riley ten minutes earlier now repeating on his friends. Another flash and he found himself back with Sonya, his normal age and both humans as they’d always been.

"Riley, you okay? You spaced out there for a few seconds!"

"Hmmm?" he asked, still trying to sort out what he’d seen. "Oh yeah, I’m fine, sorry. I guess being here just brought back some memories," he said. He didn’t dare tell her about what he’d seen. Although it felt real, he remembered he and his friends playing in the water for hours at times when they were kids. He didn’t remember becoming otters! Perhaps, he conjectured, he was remembering a long forgotten dream.

He waded until he was waist deep, the water cool, refreshing and relaxing. Sonya waded close to him, dunked under the water and came up with her hair soaked, the water glistening on her body. Riley looked at her, a smile on his face; he never grew tired of a sight like this. When Sonya walked over to him and put her arms around him, he felt the cold water on her chest and shivered as she pressed her body against his.

"I can see why you wanted to return to this place," she said.

"Yeah," Riley blushed, putting his arms around her.

They released the hug and Riley looked into her green eyes.

"Something about this place … ever since I went under the water, I feel so good. It’s like the water is some wonderful drug!"

Riley felt a tingle of worry shoot through him. What if the water was polluted and making them both hallucinate? It looked and smelled clean but microbes or pollutants aren’t always visible to the naked eye.

"Yeah, I feel great too," Riley said with a smirk.

"This water isn’t polluted is it?" Sonya asked.

Something assured Riley things were fine and told him not to worry.

"I don’t think so," he answered.

Riley lowered himself into the water, allowing it to flow through his shoulder length auburn hair. He swayed his head back and forth. He noticed he seemed able to hold his breath comfortably, something he’d never been able to do. He knew Sonya would get worried and rather then stay under longer, surfaced with a mild splash.

"That … I feel great," he exclaimed.

An itchy sensation covered his back. He didn’t have time to contemplate it before another flash of light and memories struck him.

He was once again an otter floating in the water with another otter beside him. Both were looking at Bobby, who looked like a humanoid version of an otter. He still had his black hair and could still speak. He appeared to be shrinking, looking more otter like by the second.

"Why is this happening to us?" he asked, a look of confusion crossing his face seconds later. Now when he opened his muzzle, only a combination of squeaks and growls came out. He clasped his muzzle, making another unsuccessful attempt to speak as he lost more height by the second.

Seconds later, another otter that used to be Bobby floated in front of the two otters that were Sherman and Riley. Riley felt immense happiness and he could sense it in his friends as well. The three of them dove under the water as he saw another flash of light and was again, back in the present.

"Riley? You sure you’re all right, you zoned out again!" Sonya said.

"I … think so. I keep remembering being here as a kid. I know this is going to sound strange but I remember my friends and I getting turned into otters! Isn’t that weird?" His back was itchier then before. He felt it spreading out from the centre and up to his shoulder blades. He tried to scratch behind him and felt something strange. No way!

"What’s wrong?" Sonya asked.

"I don’t mean to alarm you but I think I have fur on my back," Riley answered.

Riley turned around and heard Sonya gasp. The itching was now all over his back.

"Oh my God! No, it’s impossible … there’s … fur growing all over your back and I think it’s spreading!" Sonya said.

From the tone of her voice, Riley knew she wasn’t joking. He felt it spread onto his shoulders and looked to see it. At first he felt denial; when he touched it however, it was impossible to deny. He saw Sonya touch his shoulders and with alarm saw the same fur growing on her wrists!

"It’s on your wrists!" Riley said, looking at her right hand which was touching a now fur covered shoulder of his. Little strands of fur were poking between her fingers and the fur was spreading down to his chest, turning a cream colour on it. He saw her fingernails were turning black and growing sharper, looking almost claw like.

"No, it’s happening to me too!" Riley turned around and took her hands into his own, feeling the fur on her wrists. "Riley, I’m … we’re turning into animals! What are we going to do?"

"I don’t know. I remember this happening now; I don’t know why I didn’t before. Believe me, I would never have asked you to come here if I knew this was going to happen! I think we’re going to be okay though; I remember changing back."

"But what if we don’t?"

"Then I’ll be here for you!" Riley answered.

"Maybe if we leave the pond, it’ll stop?"

"It’s worth a try."

They were only able to run to knee deep before both stopped in their tracks. Riley felt something drawing him to the water, not wanting him to leave. When he looked at Sonya, he could tell she felt the same way. By now, the fur had covered his torso and was making its way down his arms and legs, as well; the world seemed to be growing. He saw that the fur had reached her elbows and her face seemed to be getting longer.

Was she always this tall?

He was now only as high as her belly and felt a lot lighter. The water was almost halfway up his chest now. He saw her looking down at him, shock in her eyes. The fur had reached her shoulders and he felt something behind him moving through the water. His torso felt as though something was pulling on it and his arms were shirking. If that wasn’t enough, webbing was developing between his fingers and his thumbs appeared to be becoming a fifth finger!

The fur on Sonya’s shoulders spread out over her torso, covering it like a blanket. With a little disappointment, Riley watched as her breasts shrunk into her torso, leaving only a pair of teats. Her obvious distraction from this seemed to keep her from noticing the new appendage that was growing out from her spine.

"Riley!" she yelled.

Riley wanted to run but he felt bound to the pond. He tried to speak, but the words just didn’t seem to leave his mouth; instead only a series of squeaks did. Riley’s face felt warm, he felt the bones in his jaw and skull reshaping. He felt his hips changing just as his centre of gravity shifted forward, forcing him to float on his now furry belly.

"Riley, you have a tail!" Sonya yelled. Riley watched in fascination when Sonya gasped. He looked behind her to see her forming tail strike the water. She turned around and touched it with hands that were now fully webbed and appeared as otter paws. "I … I have a tail. Riley, help me, I’m a freak!" she cried.

Riley swam over to her, his jaw still feeling strange and his field of vision changing as he blinked his eyes. Sonya looked huge and despite her panic, the more otter she appeared, the better Riley felt.

"Riley?" Sonya cried. Riley saw the concern on her face as she turned around and looked down at him. Her face was now fur covered and changing, her red hair receding into her skull as fur replaced it. "You … you’re an otter!" she yelled. She knelt down and picked up him, holding him against her chest. "No, this can’t be … this is impossible!"

Riley felt at peace, and had a feeling that Sonya would once this was done. He welcomed the feel of the water against his belly as she placed him back down in it and watched her shrink. Her arms shrunk and her torso reshaped into the long streamlined torso of an otter. When she fell onto her belly, she floated beside him as her hips and legs changed into a shape and position of a quadruped. Seconds later, her changes were done and two otters floated in the water. When Sonya’s attempts to speak resulted in the vocalisations of an otter emerging from her muzzle, Riley felt excitement.

A flood of memories returned to Riley. Now, he remembered this happening to he and his friends whenever they swam here. They never remembered this aspect of it not because it was a secret but because they were too young to reap the ponds true benefits. Riley chittered in joy when he knew he and Sonya could return to humanity after a few hours. For now, they could enjoy these forms. Riley had no idea if Sonya knew this or what she’d think of it. He guessed she wasn’t even sure this was real; heck even he couldn’t believe it was!

While floating there felt nice enough, he wanted to see what this body could do. With a happy chitter, he dove under the water.

* * *

Sonya was pleased Riley had found his old swimming hole. Even skinny-dipping was fun; there was a certain charm in swimming in the nude in the woods. Watching him turn into an otter however, wasn’t part of the agenda. There were legends about this sort of thing, about people that could take animal form at will, about mystical jewels and springs that would change a person into a species most befitting for their personality and other such things. To her, such stories were only legend, stories people told as cautionary tales or perhaps as wish fulfillment. She’d felt that if they were real, they involved forces no mortal should ever play with. Anything that could turn a human into an animal without effort or any chance of resistance was not something she was willing to mess with.

Now, she knew these forces were real. She couldn’t deny them, not when she’d seen Riley become an otter before she herself had. She trusted Riley when he said they weren’t stuck like this. He wouldn’t be taking this in stride if they were. There was nothing she could about this; she wondered if perhaps she should enjoy it; try to take something positive away from what was a terrifying experience.

Feeling the waves Riley made as he swam under her, the playful, hyper nature of her musteline form hit her. Innocence unlike anything she’d felt since childhood filled her mind. Human concerns just didn’t seem to matter at the moment. Right now, she was an otter and ignoring the opportunity to swim and play felt almost criminal. She feared the magic that had done this to them must have been playing games with her mind; trying to lull her into a false sense of security; she saw nothing she could do about it. It felt good being this way, she didn’t want to resist or worry about anything beyond her and Riley. Perhaps, she felt this was letting this win, but she knew that sometimes, it’s best to accept the card life deals you and make the best of things.

Diving under the water, she instinctively closed her eyes, seeing with delight that she new possessed a clear eyelid. While she was nearsighted, swimming underwater didn’t require 20/20 vision. The water rushed at and around her body, her thick waterproof fur keeping her warm and the streamlined shape of her body making swimming elementary. Relishing the seductive feel of it, she feared losing herself. Feeling something swimming to her left, she looked to see Riley doing a summersault and swimming up. She followed him and surfaced with a little splash seconds after he’d surfaced. Taking in the fresh forest air; her allergies seemed absent. Olfactory and hearing senses were acute, opening a whole new world to her. She smelled Riley’s sweet musky scent and turned to see he was swimming around to her front and rolling into his back. With webbed paws, she petted his soft belly. When she stopped, he rolled into his belly and floated in the water, sniffing at her, their whiskers touching each other’s.

If there was one annoying thing about this form, it was the lack of human speech. Growls and squeaks were fine for conveying emotions but they didn’t do much for speech. Of course, natural river otters use body language in addition to their vocalisations. With basic needs, they only need basic calls.

A great thing about this form was how clean Sonya felt; it was though she was taking a bath in the cleanest of tubs.

Riley submerged; heading towards the river that fed the pond. Sonya didn’t know where it went and she wasn’t sure Riley did either. Her desire to be close to him had her following him. If she were human, she would have giggled not only at the sight of Riley’s furry tail in the water meters ahead of her but also at the feelings the slipstream he was creating. With it, she was able to almost glide through the water. They swam the length of the river, only surfacing occasionally for air. Along the way, they stopped more then once play and groom each other.

Sonya sensed a cooling in the water they were entering. She surfaced to see they’d entered a lake. Riley was floating just ahead of her; he seemed a bit mesmerised. Sony swam over to him and pawed at his face. He looked back at her then towards the lake. While she couldn’t see it, Sonya could hear a waterfall in the distance as well as feel the spray of its mist on her face. There was a different scent in the air that wasn’t present downstream; though she wasn’t used to having a sense of smell like this, so she wasn’t sure if it was a natural one or not. She could only assume Riley knew what it was as he started swimming towards it. With caution, she followed him.

* * *

The memories that had flooded into Riley’s mind as he swam up the river familiarised him with the scent he followed. He remembered a time he and his friends encountered an otter boy in the river. This scent was reminiscent of the boys. Whoever this was, Riley sensed he could answer his questions.

He delighted in the opportunity to share this with Sonya, he knew she enjoyed it, her joyful sounds were undeniable. While he was concerned she might not be able to change back, this was an enjoyable form that provided a wonderful break from human worries. While he didn’t necessarily want to stay this way for life, having Sonya to share such a fate with could prove rather agreeable.

Swimming through water that was growing more turbulent as he approached the waterfall, Riley surfaced, feeling the tickling spray from its mist shower him. He felt a nip at his tail and looked back to see Sonya behind him. He saw fear in her eyes. He knew she wasn’t used to animal emotions or instincts. When this first happened to him, instincts and emotions were far stronger, the desire to act on them overpowering. He’d initially lost himself to the form, not regaining control for several hours.

Turning around, he faced Sonya, wishing he could explain that he knew it was safe. He had to settle for nuzzling and squeaking before looking back at the waterfall. He swam next to her, touching her back fur while taking in her sweet scent. Although he found Sonya a gorgeous otter and couldn’t deny his attraction to her, he couldn’t help but wonder if his human attraction had transferred over to his otter self. With a light squeak, he swam in front of her and rolled onto his back, hoping his playful and submissive behaviour would show her this area was safe. He’d never behave this way if he sensed danger. Even though he wasn’t sure what they’d find beyond the waterfall, he somehow knew it wasn’t a threat. He waited for Sonya to pet his belly, hoping that would show she understood. When she did, he rolling back onto his belly and started swimming towards the waterfall.

The two otters swam under and behind the waterfall. When they surfaced, they found themselves in a dark cave. Riley swam to a ledge where the smell was coming from. When he walked on the slippery rocks, he saw something emerge from the shadows. He heard Sonya surface and walk up behind him. Shock and surprise, yet at the same time comfort hit Riley when he saw a male humanoid otter with black hair clad in a robe walk up to them! With a smile on his face, the otter approached and petted Riley on top of his head. Sonya walked up to Riley’s left moments later and the otter-man petted her as well, his touch was warm and pacifying.

"Welcome, my friends," the otter said, his voice was soothing, projecting gentleness and caring. Riley was starting to remember the otter-man from an encounter when he was a child. The otter, now appearing in his thirties was still a teenager then. He’d told them they weren’t ready but would be. "Yes Riley, it’s me. You and your friend are ready now. You may call me Orville."

Orville pressed a rock on the wall, lighting a path behind him. He started down it, beckoning Riley and Sonya to follow. Despite his apprehension, Riley followed, happy that Sonya was as well. Orville led them to a small chamber with a shimmering pool in the centre of it.

"I sensed you were returning and that you’d brought a friend. I knew to come here. You’re old enough to join us now. Please, climb into the pool, both of you. You’ll soon understand everything."

Riley climbed into the warm water first, Sonya following a few seconds later. Riley felt something from her; initially he thought he was imagining things. He soon realised he was hearing her thoughts, and she his.

The best is yet to come

They both had heard that voice in their head. Riley sensed it from Sonya. The voice was Orville’s thoughts.

Riley noticed the world seemed to be shrinking as a tingling ran though his body. His balance readjusted and he found himself standing up as his legs lengthened, his hips changing from those of a quadruped to a biped stance. His arms lengthened as shoulders took on an almost human shape. His torso, while retaining a shape similar in proportion to an otter, become a little more human like as his neck realigned so he’d be looking forward when standing. His eyes moved to the front of his head and he felt his human hair returning as his eyesight improved. He looked to his left to see Sonya undergoing a similar procedure and soon, they had become otter-people not unlike Orville, albeit nude.

Riley looked down at his body; a luxurious pelt of fur covered it; cream on his chest and chestnut elsewhere that he could see. He looked over at Sonya, her fur was a bit different then his, beige where he had cream, including on the lower part of her face and underside of her tail with light brown elsewhere. She had yellow-blonde hair as an otter, but still had her green eyes. Riley sensed her elation at her chest being back to normal, albeit with the fur. When she looked at him, he felt her attraction to him, which only added to his feelings for her.

"This is so wild, I can sense your thoughts. Now I know everything … and I’m glad I can speak again!" Sonya said. She looked at Orville, noticing his smile and sensing his elation at their appearances. "What have we become?"

"I think you can sense it from me now. I will however explain it verbally, as you’re not used to telepathy yet. We are a group of people that have the ability to take the form of otters, both humanoid and a normal otter. We also can return to our human forms at will. Our otter forms are like a second and third skin if you will. The pond Riley and his friends swam in as children is one we use to grant ourselves this ability when we are old enough. The reason he didn’t remember was because of his age. He was too young to use this ability and thus, after he and his friends left the pond and regained their humanity, they’d only remember swimming and having fun but not as otters. The pool you stand in now grants you access to the form you’re currently in as well as and full shifting ability and telepathy while in either otter form."

While Riley sensed Sonya’s scepticism, he also sensed honesty from Orville.

"I sense your scepticism and understand it. As you see however, this … we are real. I know it’s hard to accept but think of the fun you had as full otter. Now, whenever you wish you may take this form and return to humanity at will. The pond will provide the easiest place for you to change at first. In time and with practice, you’ll be able to shift easily anywhere and anytime. Eventually, you’ll come to see this and your full otter form no different then putting on different clothing," Orville said.

"I imagine we’ll have a lot of fun with this," Riley said, beaming as he looked at his girlfriend, making little effort to hide his thoughts about her beautify as he knew she reciprocated those thoughts.

"I just need time to accept this." She turned back to Orville. "Is there a time limit on these forms?" she asked.

"No, as otters or otter people, you’ll find you’ll age at the same rate you do as a human. There is no limit to how much time you can spend in either form. However, at first you’ll find it’s easy to lose yourself to the animal form until you learn to control the emotions and instincts of it. I wouldn’t recommend more then a few hours at a time."

Orville motioned for them to leave the pool and they complied.

"What if I end up pregnant is this form or as an otter?" Sonya asked.

"Then you must stay in that form until the baby is weaned. Therefore, unless you’re willing to take that responsibility, I do not recommend intimate activity in either form. Should you become pregnant as a human, until the baby is born, you’ll be unable to take otter or otter-person form."

"I understand," Sonya answered.

The trio walked back towards the waterfall and Riley turned towards Orville.

"Thank you. You’ve given us a wondrous gift," he said.

"Yes, thank you," Sonya said.

"I sense the happiness you feel over this; that alone makes it more then worth it. You’re both quite welcome," Orville responded.

Riley and Sonya walked back into the water and swam off, swimming under the waterfall and surfacing in the lake about halfway to the river.

"I can see why you wanted to show me your old swimming hole," Sonya said.

"I wish I’d remembered what happened, I’d have shared this with you earlier," Riley responded.

"Well, at least now we know why you’ve always liked otters," Sonya winked.

Riley grinned and the two shifted back into full otter form. They weren’t sure how they knew how to do it but didn’t dwell on it. They swam back to the swimming hole where they played in the water as otters for a few hours before climbing into the shore and taking human form after their fur dried off. The sun was setting and as they got dressed, Sonya looked surprised.

"My allergies," she said.

"What about them?" Riley asked.

Without the ability to use telepathy in human form, they needed a few seconds to re-acclimate to speech.

"I think they’re gone! This is amazing! Before I always felt a bit stuffy in the woods but now my sinuses feel as clear as day. Looks like I’m getting even more out of this then I thought," she smiled.

"Looks like," Riley said, kissing Sonya.

The two walked back in the direction they’d came from before all of this began. Riley felt happy; he’d found his old hideout and gained a wondrous gift. Best of all, he could share it with Sonya, making it all the more wonderful. He looked forward to having fun with this ability and knew it would bring new meaning to their lives. Perhaps … he’d not just found an old hangout but himself in the process.