Barley Fields Farm Pert-near everyone thinks me exceptional
On some level there remained a thrill to it. A separation. Man and cat had come to a fair peace. Maybe not thorough trust, but a good bit of understanding crossed between them. Goals aligned well enough most of the time.

But Stowaway still found a small thrill in being out and about more or less on his own. Not just in his own lithe body, but mostly devoid of the human thoughts. Mostly.

Dumbest fucking thing. Had been up in the hayloft, tossing bales. Hadn't noticed a loose board in the flooring up there. Sticking up a mite more than the others. More than it ought. Caught it with the tip of his boot. Pitched headlong to the ground, good sixteen feet below.

Lucky he wasn't really injured, bones already breaking from the sudden fearful adrenaline rush. Pile of clothes out there now. Smug shithole cat stalk-prancing his way to the house.

Shane was aware, but a bit dazed. More than a bit. Stowaway was eager for the opportunity to go bully the smaller cat in her form without teeth. Real teeth anyway. Walked right up to the front door, open save the screen. Pawed at it, hooking claws through the mesh. Wasn't moving. Mmm.

"Mmrrrrrowrrr," he complained loudly into the interior. Could smell her in there somewhere. Let him in. Maybe provide food. Maybe just bleed a little and be generally terrorized.

One stubby ear, only halfway grown back, flicked in anticipation.
Hope was very happy to leave Shane to his farming.

Sometimes she'd go out. Watch more than help. But usually it was like this, affording them both some of their independent time as he went out and she stayed at the house. Plenty to do here now that she lived here and Shane wasn't so inclined to treat her like a guest.

Today, though, she was going through some personal emails she'd let linger too long. Answering one from her dad who had never really gotten the hang of the idea of texting instead of sending what essentially amounted to a letter, even if was electronic.

Nearly done, she was disrupted by the sound of... a cat.

Once upon a time, she would not have been thrilled at the idea of a cat a her door. In fact, she still wasn't, but not in the same way. Ironically not an animal person, she had been forced to come around on the issue somewhat. Because... well, hating what you are was a bad way to live your life. So she'd go see about what stray had decided to mosey on up.

How she had not considered that that meow was precisely a Stowaway meow before she saw him, she didn't know. Nor did it hardly matter.

"Shane!" she gasped, less shocked and more just taken off guard. What had happened! Quickly stepping, she moved to open the screen to let him in and lean out and make sure nothing had followed him?! But he didn't seem alarmed, merely... here. Where he had not been anticipated in such a shape.
There she was. Making her bland noises he vaguely associated with himself. "Mrrr," came an offended grumble as he was forced into an awkward backpedal to avoid the swinging screen. Why couldn't she let him in without opening the door? >:[

But then he was in, making one weaving circle of her legs, meandering through the motion as he surveyed the internal portion of his kingdom. She wasn't paying attention to him, staring out the way he'd come as though his great lumbering other half might be out there somewhere.

He wanted her attention. So when his circle brought him back near the front of her, his hard little skull was driven into her shin.

Then he bit her.
Well, he was inside and she didn't see anything... And the cat seemed not at all worked up, twining around her ankles like this was normal stuff. It should have been endearing, and maybe it would have been in a few moments once she assured herself of the lack of immediate worry.

But small teeth are were part of the reason neither of these people could have nice things.

The bite was mean, and she felt it sharply. The effect was immediate, to gasp and "HEY!" her leg swinging out to dislodge and push him away as best she could in a singular motion. Eyes cooling to blue immediately, there was a small but more certain opinion inside of her that she ought to just stomp him while she was bigger. But really the goal was to--NO BITING.
It wasn't a real bite. Not a break the skin, make a baby sort of bite. Pointless anyway, since she was already his. Just a fun bite.

Fun for him.

The kick—which like the bite wasn't really a kick, but this was how he took it regardless—indeed shoved him away, where he fluffed his tail, let out a threatening, "Rrowlll," all open mouthed with his lips peeled back, then circled again. This time at a small distance. And walking sideways to keep his teeth pointed toward her.

He was going to bite again. >:[
Goddamn, but she hated cats.

She remembered, sharply and with no love, the time she'd taken the ill-gotten gift cat to the shelter and it had destroyed her arms. Long before a different cat had messed her up bad and turned her into one. All in all, she had enough poor experiences with cat teeth and claws to currently want no part of it.

"Do not," she warned Stowaway as she tried to step back away from his predatory circle. Even knowing Shane was in there somewhere didn't stop her from being pretty sure she'd fling him right back outside given the chance. If he was going to be bitchy, she could do that, too.
Human brain remained mostly out. It didn't matter. Even without really having a direct correlation of sound to meaning in his head, Stowaway understood the intent. He read it in her defensive, tense posture, the clear attempt at retreat.

Prey behavior. Ohhhhh, he was gonna bite.

Tail flicking sharply back and forth, ears laid flat against his head, he didn't bother making further menacing noises. He wasn't trying to scare her off. He wanted her right there. One slow step forward. Two in quick succession.

Charging another two and leaping with claws extended, ready to latch onto a leg and bite. Maaaaaaybe draw blood this time.

him miss angel cat

Just like he could read her posture, she could read his. Having been a cat had given her a lot of insight into this. She saw the way his pupils went, and she knew. And she was not a fan. It meant, in spite of his immensely terrifying "this is not a real cat" power, she was able to sidestep out of his attempt to catch her, or at least the bulk of it. She still caught a nick of his claw around her ankle.

Which made it immediately tempting to kick him in the face, but that just was an act of shoving her bare foot right into his teeth, and she wasn't super happy with that idea. So instead her next move was to stoop down, trying to keep her hand away from teeth and claw as she tried to scruff him.

Wouldn't be safe. But would be... safer. In theory.

but she also miss

Nimble. Quick. Stupid. >:[

There was a flicker of pride at her evasion. It didn't come from Stowaway. He was only annoyed. He was the boss, the strongest, so he should be allowed to bite when he wanted. Of course he'd have been equally annoyed if she just stood there and accepted it, because that would be boring. Right now it wasn't boring.

If he flattened himself to the floor, she couldn't grab him. Wait, no! Instead he rolled, slamming his shoulders into the ground to keep his neck safe. Tuck the chin! No, that was stupid. Just clawslap the shit out of her hand.

soulja hit

It was, if nothing else, very effective in getting her to retreat!

Really, her instinct was to punch him immediately after she felt his claws catch her skin and slice the back of her hand open. But punching a cat was stupid, and also kept her inside the hit box. So instead she got back up to her feet, deciding she intended to leave the room entirely, but unable to resist the desire to swing a kick right at the center of him first.

but we love rolling stuff with 3's in it so she missed

Yes, good. His dominance was, once again, mightily established. She was bleeding (just a little) and fleeing from his awe and majesty and power. That was all he'd wanted. >:[

All he'd randomly decided he wanted.

And now he had it and she was available to pet him. This was not a thing he had previously desired, but it could, in the right context, the right mood, the right moment, be enjoyable. Briefly. Or for a long time. Who could say. Only him. In the moment. Suddenly.

Rolling back to his feet, completely oblivious to the violence she'd attempted and interpreting this actual kick as some inscrutable human submission dance, Stowaway made a single odd chirping noise and moved to merrily trot after her.
She stomped quickly into the kitchen, furious at the cat and less than happy to have him up and after her. She went to the sink to wash her hand. Well, at least she was already a cat like him. What a shithead...

Ignoring him while she washed her hand off with just water and then reached for a towel to press over it to staunch the bleed, she eyed the counter to see what she could use against him if he decided to be a terror again.

Sorry, Stowaway, you just weren't cute enough right now.
Once again he didn't have her attention. Now see, this is what got her bit in the first place. She must be very dumb. Ankles were right there, primed for biting. Mmm...

Instead he crouched, wiggled, calibrated, and leapt up onto the counter. If her attention was elsewhere, he could go to the trouble of placing himself where that was. For he was a great and magnanimous sovereign. Here he was, at easy hand level, making the inevitable petting so convenient for her. Kind, generous him.

For a moment he watched, but when no immediate petting came, he repeated prior actions. In this case throwing his shoulder down onto the counter and rolling into his back. The cat writhed back and forth enticingly before pawing at the air toward her. Hey.





Hey hey hey.


Belly rub? :3
Ignoring him was pretty easy when she was busy making sure she had stopped bleeding. :[

It also helped that she had no natural inclination to go making friends with cats. His little siren call did not mean much to her, and she side-eyed him with annoyance. What had happened? This didn't seem like a Shane thing to do, just strolling up to the house as a cat without warning. But the lack of evidence for foul play was... as reassuring as it was confusing.

And then, as she dried her hands and poked at the tender line of skin on the back of her hand, he went belly up again. This seemed a lot less threatening than it had just a couple minutes before, and she gave him flat stare--green eyed again--as he implored for attention.

"You don't deserve this," she told him, and reached for the spot just between his front legs for a light rub of fingertips at his chest.
More noises. Meaningless. The dry tone gave little away and he cared only about the fingers' attention. It remained strange, similar to scratching at his chest with a back foot, but requiring much less effort on his part and able to be both more precise and gentler. It was an uncommon treat since usually if he was in his own body, she too was a cat. Mashing her forehead or cheek against him was nice, but again not as precisely stimulating,

He should encourage this, yes.

Stubby forelimbs reaching up, soft paws wrapped around her hand to keep it in place. A rough tongue ran over one fingertip before rubbing his cheek up toward a knuckle. Stowaway began a faint purr.

You may continue. You must continue. You'll know when I'm done. >:3
He reached and she was tempted to pull away, not entirely trusting him. She knew how those feline instincts felt. If something pressed to her like this that was small and warm she could have been at least half tempted to put claws into it, and biting would be on the table too.

But for the moment the little guy's hold was acceptable, and he used tongue instead of teeth. Still scratchy, but not the same.

And okay, the purr was cute. It made the little non-voice in her own mind purr back, unheard.

Letting her hand relax into a bit more of an indulge for the little monster, she had to admit--he was very soft.

"What even got you like this, huh?" As a cat, she meant, but maybe also in reference to being affectionate in the moment.
Noises. It didn't mattered if she wanted to noise away as long as her fingers kept moving. He could noise as well, letting one of his low mrowls. The purr persisted through, lending the whole thing a staccato warble. This was very nice.

Then he was done, something signaled by a faint flexing of foreclaws while his rear legs curled up and kicked repeatedly at the hand. Only a little claw, little pokes, and they were kicks rather than rakes.

But he also sought to sink needle teeth into her wrist. Because biting her was fun and it had been maybe a minute; she probably needed reminding of how mighty he was.


Little son of a bitch.

She'd known it was too good to be true. But sometimes even knowing things like that, you did the stupid thing and pet the cat anyway.

Wordlessly making a noise of pain and frustration that was a bit catlike herself, she tried to twist her hand around to get him by the neck, wanting to pick him up and literally haul him outside, but he was stronger than any small cat had the right to be and she was stuck with her hand against his chest.

"Let GO."

miss 3:

Ears flattened briefly with the struggling, but no. He was in charge. He had her. He was mighty. There was no threat here. So they flattened again, but out to the sides, happily as soft little pads continued to kick at her.

And he bit again. A little harder. Because he could.


You probably weren't meant to hate your boyfriend, however briefly.

But your boyfriend wasn't really meant to be a part-time cat, either. So the rules were pretty different.

So being bitten by him either meant retreating and running--difficult with the hold he had--or trying to again. So with a grit of her teeth she pushed into the situation and this time she got her hand up around his fluff-covered neck and gripped it.

A little tight? Maybe. Definitely. But she used this hold to haul him up and in spite of the fact that this did not get her away from his teeth just then, hauled him toward the screen door.

Didn't bother with words. Cats didn't listen anyway.

hit, finally hahaha



This was cheating.

Stowaway didn't let go. Not exactly. his teeth remained around the wrist, points pressed in. But there was no force behind the bite any longer. There was no force anywhere. He was hanging, limbs halfway curled in but otherwise limp, jaw slack. He couldn't claw. Couldn't kick. Couldn't bite.

A low, angry, "Mmmmmmrrr..." slipped out between his thin dark lips.

Cheating. >:[

He was mighty. >:[

Unless she did this. >:[[[
It was definitely cheating, but she was bleeding pretty well at this point and pissed off about it. He was just lucky she wasn't going to literally throttle him. So he could deal with being handled like a shitty kitten.

Yeah, growl it up, fuzzy.

Marching to the front door, she got it open. Then, with a hefty toss, threw him out the front door only to immediately step back and try and close both the screen and the actual door itself before he could get back in here.

but a miss for you to interpret how you wish :3

Not much he could do. Cheating.

Ohhhh, wanted to bite her so bad. A real bite. Latch in his strong teeth and shake his head. Tear her dumb cheating grippy paw right off. No, the whole arm! He could do it. He could do it with one bite!

Maybe two.

Definitely not more than seven.

And then he was flying, stubby legs all splayed out as he kept easily upright, but with an awkward lateral rotation that left him that little bit disoriented throughout. But the ground was coming and then he would spring. He would tear mightily through the door and growl migHTILY FOR HER TO FEAR AND LEAP MIGHTILY ONTO HER DUMB FACE AND-

No, he decided as he landed, leaning into the last rotation as claws dug into the cooling autumn ground, keeping him in place as he took a moment to recover.

No, he would ignore her dumb face. And her dumb arm. And the whole dumb big box she hid in. This great open space was also his kingdom. His better, bigger kingdom. Hide in your box, dumb little cat in your dumb big not-cat body. He would ignore you, for he was mighty.

Lifting one paw to carelessly give it a few licks, his mighty tail flicked twice in mighty irritation before he pointedly trotted off.

They could both be furious. Hope felt justified in hers, absolutely not here to be abused by a shitty little cat, especially not one that should have in theory had the mind of her boyfriend behind it. She wasn't sure what had happened, but she liked to think he had enough control on his animal to prevent this. Didn't think he'd not want to, if he could. So why on earth--!

But he was flying through the air and she felt satisfaction in that, even when he didn't land terribly. The door was shut with a punctuated slam and she didn't even pause to look through a window to see him marching off. She was turning back, fuming, suddenly aware of how much the bites and scratches hurt. Anger toward the cat and worry about Shane informed the way she staggered away from the door and back to the kitchen, already dreaming up a conversation she might have later, about what bullshit that had been and how to prevent it in the future or else.

The feelings would have been manageable, eventually, if not for her own cat's feelings.

She could handle that brute outside!

There was no walking this one back. No one to talk her down about it or otherwise soothe the cat that came bristling out. Bowed her to the floor, left her clothing in a pile that she had to wriggle out of, stomping her little feet and mewling angrily when the front paw pained her.

Much like he was stuck outside now, though... she was stuck inside. And would spend the next several minutes standing on a window ledge and screaming at the yard about it.
Rats had long since been exterminated on the farm. Sixty percent successful hunt ratio didn't even cover it once you added super speed to the mix. Fuckin' unsporting, Shane would've called it. Stowaway just liked killing things smaller than himself.

He'd returned to the barn just to be sure there wasn't a rat. There wasn't. Mmm. Gophers were more annoying, required more patience. So he'd wandered back outside and begun stompstalking about the field between the barn and house. The need to bite remained strong.

At some point in that pointless endeavor, feeling weariness begin to set in because he had not eaten enough to prepare for a shift, ears pricked up to the faint but distinct sound of the smaller cat. His smaller cat. She was making the angry sound that he didn't really hear often, usually the one who got mad and aggressive. So stocky little bounds carried him closer to the house and back up onto the porch.

There she was. Inside. How sad for her. If she were mighty like him, she could break out. There was some desire to make her try, make her angrier. But he was tired.

So after a few rounds of pacing back and forth, watching her, he fell over sideways with a heavy thud. Rolled onto his other side. Then back. Then dozed off.

Pretty quickly leaving Shane lying naked in the sun.
She spent the entire time yelling. It was all she had the power for, but she had power to spare for it. When he came back she redoubled her efforts, furious at him for being so cruel and now so outside that she could not eat his paws.

Little bastard.

But then he was laying down and she settled into growls, and then he was gone, fading back into big swaths of pale human skin. This was not who she had quarrel with. This human thing was not the one who had made her paw sore.

She sat there for a while, cleaning said paw. And when it was clear to her that he was not getting up, she left.

Into the kitchen, to bounce against the garbage can until it fell over and she could eat anything and everything that struck her as edible. She wasn't going to sleep, no sir, she was too mad to sleep!

The corner of the couch suffered her wrath next, sharpening her claws so she was ready for the next time she saw the brutish boy.
Fuckin' loose board. Have to see to that. Climb back into the loft with a hammer and a vengeance. Also a couple nails, likely.

Had been a bit after lunch when his adventure'd begun. Sun was starting to dip when he pushed himself up off the porch, blinking a bit and glad, supposed, no one had come looking to buy fruit. Best head inside, put something on he knew would contain before he went back to see if cat had left what he'd been wearing salvageable.

Ended up standing in the doorway, bare ass still aimed at the world as he put hands on his hips and grumbled a "Mmm." Couch had survived a lot over the years. Decades. Shane didn't get new furniture often. That one corner, though... Wasn't awful, but had definitely looked better. "Fuck's sake."
She'd been in the kitchen when he woke up. Chewing on a stub of a vegetable that was more interesting than it was food. The garbage had ended up scattered further in her effort to burn energy. The front door opened and she heard it. But she didn't react until she heard his voice.

Blue eyes peered around the wall into the front of their home.

There was the big man. Not the one she had grief with, though. Too bad. She favored her right paw as she stepped a little further out, staring at him with round eyes and erect ears. The end of a carrot still clenched at the front of her needle teeth.
There she was. Shane moved inside enough to shut the door, then folded his arms and fixed her with a scowl.

That couldn't really last. Didn't often see her like this when he wasn't also, Weirdly brought back memories of the night he was turned. Eyes weren't the same blue, markings a bit off, but he imagined it'd be real easy for a past self to not be able to tell the difference between Hope's and Parker's cats.

Had about the same reaction.

"Well, come on," he grumbled, but moved with slow care, stepping forward while bending and stretching out one hand.

This, around a carrot chunk.

But it was not an angry sound so much as just a sound. Perhaps a little wary, because she was injured and some little nugget of her own mind was aware she'd trashed a few things.

Curious, though, about the man who she so rarely put her feline eyes on. Normally he was the round-faced monster she both cherished and despised--like a proper princess and a cat beneath her. This was novel. She came forward slowly, willingly, steps vaguely stilted as she kept her injured side's turn quick and short.

Maybe he had more than carrots for her.
Did have such a thing in mind. Needed something to chew on himself, having just lost then put on roundabouts a hundred and eighty pounds. Fuckin' wild. Always had a few bags of jerky about now. Always. Planned to grab one off the fridge, but she was on his path there, so.

"Yeah, it's okay," he cooed at her, hand still out, meaning to let her sniff and see how that went before moving to scoop her up. Knew Hope was in there to some extent, but maybe not much given the cat's antics. His own exploits were hazy yet. Kickstarted some by seeing her favored paw.

Mmm. Asshole cat inside him. Need to make apologies once he knew she could understand him. For now he'd try to get her gently, turn to the universal language of animal friendship if that didn't work. Food.
She got closer and closer... and then just out of reach, she sat down.

Looked off to the side like she had seen something more interesting than the big naked man. Her ears splayed, but only slightly, and she opened her mouth and let the carrot fall out at her paws. It rolled away and she ignored it other than a slight angle of her ear to the side where it drifted.

The softest thump of her tail, and little else.
Sighed. Almost made it straightforward, but nope. Course not. Welp.

Reached that little bit farther in an attempt to catch her, fingers just behind her front legs to lift her comfortably by the chest, tiny torso nestled in his palm between fingers and thumb. Get her off that wounded paw.
When he touched her she made an annoyed noise that was less noise and more a stern vibration in her chest. But he'd be able to feel it because she didn't wriggle away, letting herself be caught and lifted, back end hanging limp.

Wouldn't like to admit it, but she was tired but too wound up to rest.

Tilting her head back in an awkward angle, she looked at him, mouth pouted. :<
Good, no claws. Didn't want to scruff her. Really didn't. Cradled her close instead, hand curling in to his chest, turned in so her front paws could dangle free while the back had his wrist for rest.

Heading back to the kitchen, lifted his other hand to scratch at the top of her head between the ears with one finger. Paused when he got around the corner, saw the trash. Yeh, should've figured from the carrot.

"Kay," he sighed, looking down at the tiny cat that... well, like, he was in love with. Technically. "Let's get you some meat, darlin'." It was somehow easier to use pet names like this, and also a whole lot fuckin' weirder.
This was alright, she decided. Being carried around when her paw wasn't feeling well. As long as he didn't try and touch it, she'd allow him to do this much. The rub of his fingers didn't feel bad. In fact, it was nice. After a moment she relaxed and let herself imagine it was another cat, grooming her head.

They had done this wrong. Humans and cats at opposite times.

She could feel him in there. That brat feline who had been so cruel. She wished to be cruel back, but he wasn't here and would not be.

Besides that, she was pretty sure the human rumbles had included a keyword: meat.
Easy grab from atop the fridge. Large bag of jerky. Good stuff from Mercado. Turned to head back to the couch.

Stowaway had a confusing blend of feelings about this. Bit envious he didn't get to sit on the smaller cat himself. Smug superiority at how much bigger and stronger than her he was right now. Not as good as being in that big cat shape, when he was more viscerally involved, but not bad. Vestiges of sleepy contentment. Eagerness for the dried meat, with again a little envy that it was his other shape's blunt teeth that would tear into it.

Nothing that sparked any real involvement. Cat was in the backseat now as Shane sat, lowering Hope gingerly beside him. Didn't really want to put her in his lap with... well, like, sensitive bits exposed. Could've gone to get pants. Wanted the food more.

Tearing open the bag, he fished a piece out and held it out where she could sink those teeth in, then pulled another for himself.
She went down on the spot next to him with only a grunt of complaint. Her ears were half-flat and her eyes suspicious, but the moment there was food--

Acting like it would get away with her if she didn't have haste, she snapped it from his fingers, tucking in tight against his leg for warmth as went down on her belly to begin eagerly chewing through it. Had to break it down into pieces she could swallow without choking. She prided herself in being a sharp, smart cat who would never let her eagerness for something other than carrots get the better of her.
Yeh. Watched her intent-like while he chewed on his own slice. Hazy memories continued to filter in of his own recent time. Knew she wasn't real hurt. Still.

Reached to scratch between the ears again. "You in there at all?" Could tell way her clothes were laid out she hadn't consciously chosen this either. Knew she could remember, but, well...

Her eyes half closed at the touch. She was still cleaning up scraps that had fallen from her chewing jaws, but... the question had a certain feel to it, and it dredged up the human mind that lurked. She was here, softening what could have been an unpleasant experience (part two.)

In response she mreoooowed pitifully and nudged herself forward to reach his leg, licking the side of his thigh.
Clear enough answer. Rough little tongue pulled a smile across his typically dour face. Mm, less typical since she'd moved in. Hope had him smiling as a regular course, it seemed. Whatever form she was in.

"Kay," he mumbled affectionately. Rest of his jerky was shoved between teeth so both hands could be free. One to keep scratching her fuzzy little skull, other to grab her a fresh piece. Things' appetites far outstripped their size. Even real ones, from what he'd read on the google. Dried strips were less filling than the chicken breasts, likely. But didn't much want to drop raw poultry on his couch.
Having pulled some more human thought forward, she was content to settle in. Let him pet her, eat whatever he put in front of her face. At first she was reluctant to completely relax, but soon she was leaned fully, warm, into his leg, eyes mostly closed.

Maybe she was tired, after all. Too much excitement for one day.

Really, if you could let yourself go enough, this wasn't the worst life. A cat, comfortable on the couch, hand fed.

It wouldn't be too long before she'd start to drift off in spite of still trying to eat as she did so.
Did nothing to discourage sleep. For the best, figured. Just thinking of the timeline. Be out at least, mmm, four hours. Be well dark by then. Inconvenient for the night's rest, but supposed a big dinner could help with that.

It'd give him time to eat something substantial and finish up with the work cat had interrupted. Then put together a hot meal to be waiting for her when she woke.

Before all that, though, he'd be ready to carry her upstairs once she was out. Back to her real self. Mmm. Did still think of the human shape as their real selves. Even though he'd gotten used to the rest. The ease of carrying her and suchlike. Could've managed it before, but slower, needing greater care to not smash her knee into a doorframe or bannister.

Was hard to remember needing an axe to split wood, hauling one bale at a time up a ladder to the loft. Not hard to think of it; plenty of clear memories. Just... hard to think of it as the baseline anymore. Were strength was normal now, pushing two years.

Hope living here was normal.

Enjoyed that. The steadiness. Important. Try to provide it in turn.
The good news about the shift and then the shift back was that it took a lot of the edge off of the cat scratches and teeth marks. She woke up in her own bed and thought to herself how much worse it would have been, this life... if she hadn't had him.

Truly, Hope could imagine hating everything very easily. Herself, the cat, the group she would have ended up a part of if Calvin had stayed and if Shane had not been turned. Imagined herself truly resisting and maybe even eventually just falling to pieces over it. There would have been a lot more tears and confusion.

But she woke now, and all she did was sigh in that gentle, exasperated way. The anger she'd shifted over was behind her now. The confusion wasn't there--she knew where she was and who had put her here. Hope knew not to take these things for granted. Even with lost hours and everything else, she'd actually gained a lot since she'd been unduly forced to be a cat by an ungrateful client.

Getting up, those too-long hours later, she got herself dressed into pajama pants and such and went downstairs, following the scent of welcoming food and the kindness her life had unexpectedly given her.
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