Cats In The Cradle

Clearwater Craters 
#1


Honestly, this was one of her favorite birthday celebrations to date. She was surrounded by friends, soaking up sun, and at a lake that was just stunning. The halo of mountains that surrounded the water was like the palm of a hand, holding them as they spread out around the shore and splashed in the water. There was a grill they put to use, and plenty alcohol to warm their cheeks. The crater acted like a magnet for sunlight, and it showered them all in warm rays. It reminded her so closely of a true beach. All it was missing was actual sand. But this would definitely do.

Of course, this was not just for her. It was celebration of Asha and Abraham's rise in power. They were stronger, and that made the Prowl stronger. It brought comfort, joy, and most of all pride. It was about an hour in, and still her love and excitement was mounting. It helped that she'd downed three wine coolers and a beer, but she was sure she'd feel the same nonetheless.

@Jaguars
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#2


Asha had been dipping her feet in edge of the water while she drank, grabbing herself a tan and enjoying the feeling of being warm and stuff. So nice for the weather to be in the 70s today, even if it was kind of cloudy.

"Guyyys," she whined at some point, looking for the birthday girl in her spicy bikini especially but also everyone else. "Who wants to jump in the water first?"

This was kind of a jaguar inspired request. Actually, what if she just shifted right here! That was a fantastic idea.
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#3
Why were they not all in the water within ten seconds of getting here. :(

Abraham as a person did not understand tanning or, like. Dipping feet in the water. His back was sweaty. He was not wearing a bikini.

"Sounds like you volunteered!" he said from where he was "grabbing a beer" but was actually low key putting an ice cube down his shirt.

Someone please swim. Please. Someone please do the water thing.



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#4


This was a fun idea to finally get them out and about and celebrate several things at once. They’d all had a chance to get plenty of sun, address the view and the party girl, and really by now they should be all in the water. At Asha’s question, Frank took that as prompt enough to get them going..

”Oh, c’mon, y’all,” he responded, setting down his own drink on a bit of scraggly rock beach. ”We came here to swim, right?”

He gave a bit of a clap on the back push to Abraham to get him going with a smile before beginning to make his own way to the water. Water lapping up his legs, Frank got to waist height before just plopping down and coming back up quickly with a burst of air. ”It’s cold,” he laughed. It felt good though after being out in the sun.
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#5


 All in all, Severin was still feeling a little funny, a little bit the odd man out despite having been very warmly and kindly welcomed into this makeshift family. He still hadn't quite gotten the grasp of communicating with the beast in his head, or remembering what happened when he shifted. He was still figuring it all out, and it seemed likely that spending more time with all of them would be conducive. And also fun.

 Severin would hardly hesitate to trail down to the water, taking long strides as he followed after Frank. The water was a little colder than he'd anticipated, but he forged out into it until he was up to his chest in it. Swimming had never been so soothing. "I can't imagine trying to swim in this in the middle of January," he commented, body coming to float on the top of the water.
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#6
The water called them, as was the nature of their cats. Like big, spotted Moanas! She made herself giggle at that thought, but she didn't hesitated to follow suit of the men rushing toward the water at Asha's beckoning. She hopped up from where she had been lounging, and took a second to shimmy out of her shorts. A pause to fold them up and put them safely to the side, and then she was jogging down to the water. Well, really, to Asha. Her arm hooked with her Queen's, and she leaned into her as she made to march them into the water that was made choppy by the two men before them. "Ahhh!" She exclaimed at the temperature.
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#7
Excuse y'all >:( Asha huffed and walked with Vidya who honestly she was hoping would just get tossed in by one of the guys the way Abraham tossed her in that one time.

She did laugh at the temperature, or maybe Vidya's reaction to it, whatever.

"Oh no we definitely do not go in January," she assured Severin. "The cats just get sad all of the time with no swimming."

Deciding she was powerful, she decided to just casually walk Vidya in deeper. :3
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#8
Um wow okay so now everyone wanted to swim!

Abraham wandered toward his belongings to, after a moment of hesitation, pull his shirt off to add to the pile. There was some nervousness to it all, which was flat out dumb because were life meant a whole lotta hairy nudity.

In a few more seconds, he'd be padding to the water on feet not entirely made for rock walking. The water was cooooOoOooold, and he gave a little yip as his nipples threatened to become diamonds.

"Shoulda just gone cat before getting in," he said to both no one and everyone.
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#9
January sounded really, really horrible if this was how cold it was in June! She clung to Asha, trusting her to go about this together. They shuffled across slick rocks, and Abraham joined them with a good point. "But, swimming like this is fun-" She didn't get to finish before her heel slipped across a rock, and she lost her feet from under her. Thankfully, they were deep enough in the water that some it broke her fall as she plunged butt-first into the cold drink. A shrill squeal of surprise as her gaze snapped up in fear she would yank Asha down with her.
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#10
And just like that the great jag migration began. All the comments had him watching with a smile and finding the idea of Abraham just shifting to get in hyperbolicly amusing. The idea that they’d go swimming during January had him wrinkling his nose some. ”That’d be way too cold... Maybe we can find hotsprings next winter.” Since apparently now that the cat realized swimming was an activity that could happen more than just a random few times, it wasn’t about to give it up so easily.

He was about to head a bit further to actually swim when a hasty fall and shriek had Frank doubling over in laughter. ”Are… are you… are you okay,” he managed to call over through breaths, though it seemed Asha was in the precarious situation of almost being dragged in herself.
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#11
Fuck y'all, Asha was way too strong to be dragged down. Vidya slipped and Frank laughed and Asha bubbled into giggles in her surprise, holding on to Vidya.

"How much did you drink?" she asked with accusation as she squared her footing and started to pull her back up. "Maybe the guys should just toss you into the deep end?"

Teasing her Guardian!
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#12
Poor Vidya ate water immediately.

Abraham, for his part, was sucking his stomach in as if that might save him from the cold. (Also to keep him from looking as doughy. Dad-boddy.)

And he was steadily approaching Asha from behind as she teased because... you know. Jaguar suggested he pounce. So as everyone splashed and laughed and half-drowned, he rushed ahead with the intention of hooking an arm around her waist and... dragging her off to the depths, maybe.

But it wouldn't go great. :(



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#13
 Those that remained flocked to the water as well, and Severin grinned up at the sky as they all got into the water and expressed their individual cold tolerances. None of this in January - Frank suggested hot springs, and he immediately had one in mind. But for now, he would just give a precarious thumbs up about it.

 The chill floating didn't last long as Vidya lost her footing and hit the water with a commotion. He righted himself, cold water dripping off the back of his head as he looked to them with bright, uncertain eyes. Frank was laughing, and if the doctor wasn't freaked out, he could find room to relax, too, grinning a little.

 "We could toss her off that cliff," Severin joined in to tease, lifting an arm to point at one such structure that loomed over one edge of the lake. Or they could all just cannon ball off of it.
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#14
"Oooowww!" She whined playfully once she was sure she wasn't taking Asha down with her. She was being laughed at, which was so tragic because she was the birthday girl and in pain! But she laughed along to the teasing, and got herself up with Asha's help. A pointed finger was held up to direct firmly at Severin. "No you cannot!" She laughed, glancing up to the cliff. But then, there was a blur of movement, and she turned in time to see Abraham hurling himself toward Asha. She let her grip on her Queen go in the last moments to avoid the fray.
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#15
"Do it!" she dared Severin, hoping Frank would join in too. Grab Vidya and toss her off the cliff, she could shift on the way down.

Abraham would have succeeded in his effort, but Asha was SO POWERFUL she. Well. Catlike reflexes, she felt his arm and then just about jumped several feet in the air with a squeal. This resulted in two things — one, Asha ended up landing poorly in the water, her feet slipping on the rocks that had downed Vidya. Two, she tried to grab onto him as she fell, but she missed.

So powerful. The splash was also so powerful. She surfaced just enough to get her hair out of her face, and then huffed. "You guys see that? The King just tried to kill the Queen!"

Said with a killer grin on her face as she gave thought to a shift underwater. Or like, mostly underwater. Hmmmm.
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#16
Luckily, Asha didn’t follow Vidya down into the water, perhaps the cat aiding some in the catch.

Now that was an idea! He sent an amused conspiratory grin towards Severin. Asha thumbs upping the idea regardless of Vidya’s opinion in this, she was the birthday girl after all so it didn’t count, just made it even better. So, they needed to figure out how to do that immediately.

And then Abraham was trying to sneak up on Asha and he watched with baited breath, letting the water lap up around him. The try to grab her resulted instead with Asha freaking out, jumping several feet and then just falling in after all. He couldn’t help the laugh that escaped after a moment of concern until she came bubbling back up. ”Sounds like a coup,” he called over, his cat easily in a tizzy now with so much energy going around. Standing up, he motioned to Severin and would go to slowly make his way nonchalantly over to Vidya.

”We should make it fair… take the guardian out of the equation.” At that, he made a rush for Vidya to lift her up over his shoulder and begin to trudge the way to said cliff hopefully with Severin in tow to help out here.



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#17
Even without success in tackling her, Abraham sent Asha soaring into the water. Vidya squealed in unison, largely out of amusement and brief fear that she'd hit some rocks and hurt herself if she didn't land deep enough. But Asha reemerged, and Vidya shot Abraham a playfully wicked glance as he was accused. Before she could initiate any sort of repercussion, she was being rushed by Frank, whom seemed intent on taking her out of the equation. Another amused scream that was laced with laughter burst from her chest as she was hoisted from the water and thrown over a shoulder. Her arms tucked over his shoulder, and her cat rushed forward to wrap her forelegs around him in a similar fashion as it tucked its hind legs in to kick with short, powerful bunny-hop like movements. She mirrored it with her knees against his chest, but she didn't fight too aggressively, as she was unaware of where he was carrying her off to.
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#18
Sorry sorry sorry he didn't mean to totally drown her except she was coming back with ACCUSATIONS.

Abraham was ready to defend himself, probably pretty poorly, but it was devolving fast. (In a good way!)

Severin and Frank could probably maybe manage to nicely submerge Vidya, and that left Abraham with Asha. Who was probably stronger than him. So he'd have to absolutely cheat.

"I'll help you upppp!" he said apologetically, reaching down to act as if he was going to pull her up by scooping his arms under hers. But instead, it was absolutely a trap, and he sought to very cruelly tickle her ribs.
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#19
 Vidya protested - Asha encouraged. And then their fair queen ate it trying to exact revenge against her man, and gosh, this was more fun than he'd had in longer than he could recall. A coup! He grinned toothily, and Frank seemed to join in on the idea of tossing Vidya off the cliff - so much so that he lifted her out of the water! Severin's eyebrows rose over his cheeky grin, and while he'd make to trail after them as the guardian kicked and cackled, he was hesitant! He didn't think such an idea would be taken seriously, and honestly, he wasn't sure if it was appropriate for him to do this at all?

 Still, he'd hop out after the pair, grinning and green-eyed, distantly aware of some sort of rustling in his mind as the hard-to-see cat in his head roo-ed eagerly for its companions.
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#20
There went her Guardian, her last defense against her murderous boyfriend.

Aww, Abraham was being sweet now.

"Oh fuck, ABRAHAM, NOOOOO!" Asha pulled from him in an angry giggle fit just as she had thought she was going to be standing up. Of course she fell back down, bruising her ass with a yowl in the water.

"Worst worst worst!" she splashed at him, hoping she could get him in the face, but even if she didn't, she was fleeing into deeper waters to duck to above shoulder level.

So she could, like, wriggle out of her clothes underwater in secret. Asha wanted to shift, especially after two attacks by her traitorous King, but she couldn't let the cat destroy her bikini!
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#21
The panther gladly wrapped his own paws around the other, nomming what it could reach of her neck and shoulders, trying to blanket furious paws with a furry side. For all the wriggling, Frank kept a sure grip on her, laughing along, happy to see Severin following the fun.

Maybe not a cliff, but Frank's goal that he was quickly trudging along to was an outcropping just a few lengths away that ended to a more deep part of the lake which was optimal throwing people territory. There was a subtle slip at a few points where Frank used the more so free arm to keep balanced as rocks slipped. Soon enough they were there as laughter and splashes nearby of Asha and Abraham bounced around. ”Do you think if we both help throw her, Vidya’ll be the first jaguar to fly?”
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#22
She let it happen, because it did admittedly sound fun. But the surge and energy and the fact that she was surrounded by only jaguars blurred the line between her and the cat. It made it difficult not to lend herself to letting the feline have its way. So, there was the tightening of some ribs and burning of her shoulder blades, and through her laugh she gasped a bit. "You'd better hurry, we're going to find out soon." She said a bit breathlessly, though she maintained a grin.
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#23
Abraham could feel that... sort of wavering grasp on jaguardom, and it got in his own head. As she splashed and BLINDED HIM, he waded stumbling afterwards, one hand out as the other cleared water from his gaze.

He caught a brief glimpse of Vidya potentially being carried to her doom. They all seemed pretty sunshiney.

But now this was personal for Abraham, his jaguar eager to kind of prove he was the superior... uh, well, jaguar here.

So in a rush of splashy, clumsy wading, he sought to basically just half-tackle, half-grab her into the water which by now was hopefully deep enough for them not to completely eat rock.

He would try to twist around to get her above him but you know it was all pretty complex.


hit :3

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#24
No rock, just water. Abraham grabbed and turned them and she struggled against him while her cat mauled his, managing to free herself amidst it all and wriggle away.

"Can't get me!" she taunted, hooking her thumb into the hip scarf she'd had on and working it off to let it float away. They'd get it later.


successfully escaped!

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#25
 Frank mercifully, and perhaps for the best, would not go to the far cliff, but some other overhang above the water. Severin grinned stupidly the whole duration of the trek, and guffawed some for Frank's question. He managed a wavering sort of "uhhhh," before Vidya spoke up, and that was a little alarming! Torn between what was right or wrong here, Severin caved, rushing up to close the distance between them.

 "Okay, let's fly!" he said chipperly, but really he had no fucking idea what he was doing, and he was just here to help in whatever way seemed appropriate to launch Vidya into the water!
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#26
"Ah, okay." He hadn’t intended for Vidya to feel close to a shift. But, she seemed in good enough spirits and wanting to still be vaulted into the water, so, okay?

Severin was stepping up to the plate and okay, okay, they were doing this. ”Hold here and, yeah.” Frank would guide Severin into how to help with this all. Moving Vidya so she was held between their arms by the back of her calves, he looked between the two of them. ”Ready? Set… Takeoff!” At the last word, they’d make to swing and push Vidya up and forward into the air and subsequently, out into the lake.
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#27
Dear Asha, what were you doing.

She dropped her... weird skirt thing that she was wearing in the water for some reason, and it worked as if she was a lizard losing her tail. He was sufficiently distracted, grabbing it so she wouldn't lose it?!

He slung it wetly over a shoulder with a slap, wading after her but slowed.

"Ashaaa coommme baaaack!"
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#28
Asha was not coming back! She sunk shoulder level into the water because that was what she was intending to do anyway, and grinned to him as he followed her.

With some wriggling she undid her top and sent it floating to him as she blew him a kiss. "Get that one too, thanks Barlit!"

Above, their jaguars continued their mischief unchecked.
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#29
One! Two! Three!!

And then she was soaring through the air, and for a moment she was weightless. Her stomach did a flop, but she wasn't sure if it was from flying through the air, or the fact that the jaguar was intent on clawing her way out before she hit the water. Unfortunately, that wasn't how it worked. She hit the water, thankfully, feet first. An easy decent. Water rushed past her ears, and she held her breath firmly as she plunged. They had thrown her into deep enough water that she didn't touch down before her decent stopped, and she began paddling back up toward the surface.

She broke through, took a heavy breath in, and then pushed herself back down as her ribs squeezed and her back twisted. Down again, submerged enough to shield herself some as she worked to hurriedly peel her bathing suit down away from her body, and sent it floating back to the top. For as long as she could, she'd let her body shift beneath the water, but eventually the cat would push her to the surface for air as the transformation continued.
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#30
 Severin was feeling, honestly, a little wibbly about grabbing and tossing Vidya, unable to help but feel like he might be acting a little inappropriate, but... no one else seemed too fussed about it. This was fine, everything was fine - except, as he watched the young lady sail out of their hands and over the ledge, something swelled in him. Like an intense rush of indigestion, but worse. Green eyed, Severin gasped, only having a moment to register that feeling, only a split second to connect it to the last few times he'd felt it.

 It started with his feet, like it always did, which was so unfortunate and miserable. He dove toward the ground frantically, making a noise like someone had socked him in the gut, and if the snapping of his bones didn't give him away, maybe the strained look on his face would. Ha ha fuck.

 With what few precious moments of human thought he had left, Severin would hobble on breaking feet to the edge of the overhang and gracelessly hurl himself into the water. He hit the surface with a slap, gritting his teeth underwater and gasping raggedly as he bobbed back up. His feet and legs were largely useless already, but he'd use his arms to swim earnestly toward the bank beneath the cliff he'd leapt from, fingers that were not yet claws gripping the earth to keep him above water as his body warped.
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#31
Abraham was more attuned with the feelings of everyone else here than he wanted to be in this moment, and mostly it was OW OW OW OW with a side of water panic.

Asha room her TOP OFF and he staggered after that too because bathing suits were expensive?!

But the pull of everyone else's steadily emerging cats seemed to come to a head at his... well, guts, where organs swelled rudely against his ribs and skin.

A string of tension tugged at him amidst all this for Sev in particular, and he glanced that way, clinging to bathing suits while kind of not wanting to wriggle out of his.

"You're okay, Sev!" he shouted, voice a little warbly as muscles around his throat twitched and tugged. Hopefully the guy wouldn't... you know.

Drown.

Pushing to rush his own shift (and committing to shuffling out of his swim trunks at the last available moment), he sought to head that way, though it would quickly become an ugly doggy paddle as a preference for upright walking shifted with snapping bones.

He didn't necessarily have a plan beyond probably being a rude jaguar and buoying poor Severin up until he was all cat himself.
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#32
Scream, splash, and wow what the hell she thought of shifting in the water first assholes.

Possessed by shift envy while three of them suddenly overtook her plans, Asha pouted while Abraham went to go be a responsible king. Also she took off her last article of clothing and assumed if he didn't grab it she'd find it eventually probably and decided to shift herself too. At least she'd be faster than the rest of them. (Except Abraham, whatever.)
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#33
Frank watched to check that Vidya came back up, but his attention was quickly forced to Severin who was doubling over. ”Hey,” he said in concern, the laughing smile completely off his face by now. Offering a pat to his back in reassurance as Abraham called over with very garbled words that were more or less the ones still on his tongue, soon enough the man was off going forward and he let him go with the same level of concern he'd given Vidya. Wow, everyone was shifting, huh? At least... Severin popped up and seemed to be holding the edge.

Positively cat eyed as the jaguar vied for attention too in all the swirling energy, he took note of everyone stumbling around in exasperation and a fluttering of nerves in his stomach. Frank really didn’t want to do this too. Sighing and grumbling under his breath at the situation and not really, truly, at the individuals besides the jaguars themselves, he began to pick his way, well, away. Nope, no, thank you, he wasn't going to join the shift train even though he could feel muscles occasionally shifting around.
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#34
It was a really unique experience! Something between shifting and drowning, but at least the cat had the sense to hold her breath when it became harder to keep her head above water. Eventually, her fingers were webbed and widened into paws, and it was with ease that she paddled through the water and toward a more shallow end to finish out the shift.
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#35
Frank was being a real sourpuss up where he stood. Severin was possibly drowning, but Jagraham was taking care of it. So!

Going to Vidya was the next best option. Shift completed well before hers, she went with a happy roo to go mouth at the side of the other girl jaguar's head. Affectionately!



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#36
 It felt somehow like a very long time and mere seconds, all at once, as his body broke into a different shape that hid inside of him any other day. His consciousness dissolved into a frantic sort of worry - what if someone who shouldn't see this, did see it? What if he drowned? What if he did something really horrible? He was unprepared for it this time, which made it something of a horror story, as surreal as it ever was.

 The shift spreading up his back and gifting him that painful ail growth felt like a full-body charlie horse, clamping against his insides. He gasped and grunted against the intense force, writhing uncomfortable in the water, twisting his widening neck to look over his shoulder with wide eyes. This seemed catastrophic! Was Abraham was approaching him? At least now, it wouldn't be long before he just didn't have to be mentally present for the suffering.
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#37
"Don't fight it, Sev!"

Those would be Abraham's last words for... like, fifteen seconds, because his jaw was moving in unfortunate ways and his tongue was exploding and getting all scratchy. Fun! There was a brief glance to the doctor who seemed to be holding off from shifting, which was...

Actually probably a pretty terrible idea considering that Severin was about to be full wild cat here in a few minutes. Abraham couldn't say much about that, but he was pushing fast for the end of the shift, splashing nearer to eventually try to give Severin a supportive few licks to wherever seemed most jaguar as his own shift was nearly complete. (Hopefully not the ass!)
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#38
They’d come to the lake for a good time, not for some kind of shifting session. He was sorry for making Vidya and Severin both shift more or less, but y’know he wasn’t in charge of them (maybe a bit in charge of Severin because he was new to this, but that was besides the point) or and especially, not Asha and Abraham. That was on them. It was perhaps guilt and the approach of Abraham towards Severin’s clearly pained struggle which he probably should’ve helped with and the sound of splashing cats that he reconsidered. They were a group and he should be acting like it. He did care for them and his cat did too and ughhh. If anything too, there was a bright and shining new cat about to prowl around without any form of human consciousness stopping decisions which was hazardous.

Taking a deep breath, Frank turned to look and yeah, it was a jagfest and his cat was quite irritated to not be a part of it. That was hard in of itself. Fine, fuck. Trudging into the water some paces away from the group he set about trying to shift. Taking a few steadying breaths, he let the first pains envelope him.
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#39
There she was! Her best female cat friend! Vidya's tail whipped excitedly as the final tremors of the shift were distracted by the approaching Queen. She rumbled out a heavy sound of affection, leaning in toward her and accepting to chomp, her eyes squeezing shut. In the shallow water, she wasn't afraid to drop to her side, then turn onto her back before the Queen, her forelegs reaching up to grapple at her chin and neck, her bright yellow eyes wide and blinking as water washed into her ears.
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#40
Except she didn't want to be grappled. Vidya rolling over and reaching up was enough time for the Queen to back away, triumphant in her avoidance.

She wanted to go deeper into the water, where they could find turtles and things. Group pain made her feel Frank shifting while she swam, which, thanks for making that happen delayed buddy. She wondered if she could throw a turtle at him in retaliation.

She just had to find one first. Surely she could!
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#41
Fine :[

She would roll over, water pouring noisily from the short, dense fur of her head and ears, dribbling around her muzzle and from her lips as she sloshed after the Queen with a series of low rumbles. This place smelled like fish!
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#42
 His rib cage finally seemed to break into the right size, allowing him some breathing room as his face broke and distorted, erupting with golden fur. Abraham called to him, but it was hard to make sense of the words - as hard as it was to keep his jaw clenched as it swelled and snapped and his teeth sharpened against one another. The brush of a spiny tongue on his fur - fur, so weird! - barely registered as his brain was effectively swallowed by another consciousness.

 Eventually, he was gone in the darkness of involuntary sleep, and wild green eyes darted around to assess the situation. The cat was content - elated, rather - to see so many, to see them all, in the flesh and not just in a metaphysical space that its human cage was still learning to recognize. With a happy bellow, he turned on Abraham, meaning to slap fat paws at his neck. Joyful, but also, food time soon!
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#43
The whole shifting thing sucked every single time. As limbs began to reshape, muscles spasm, and everything felt on fire, Frank managed to wrangle himself out of his trunks before throwing them at the bit of shore he’d just come from. The wet material splat against stone as he collapsed in on himself and eventually plopped into the knee-deep water as the rest of the shift coursed through.

Soon enough, an panther was crouched in the water, flicking its ears a tad before shaking its full furry body as it stood, water splattering everywhere. With a questioning rororrrr, it turned towards where all the commotion was and began to vault over to the group in a burst of energy.
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#44
It took a bit, but eventually, the stupid calm of a big dumb beefy cat took over Severin. Sev was a chill guy, but no one would be more chill about a shift than the animal at the second half of it.

Huffy and giddy, Abraham took paws to the neck in stride, getting close to try to breathe hot cat breath all over the newer cat.

To the sound of Frank finally join in, there was a relief primarily from Abraham's beastly brain.

It was something he could feel bad about a little later.
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