That Aroma! That Smell!Started by Kiara Tora at Mar 31, 2020 7:30 AM
November 15, 2023
"While I love the attention, I am no one's pet pussycat."
She could smell it. That sweet aroma of something delicious cooking. Glancing up from where she had been so delicately cleaning a black and white paw, she honed in on exactly where she knew that smell originated from.
It was early morning, still dark, that time before the sun began to rise when the bakers would come in and make the varying array of sweet and savoury goodness that then went on display for customers to purchase throughout the day. Golden-green eyes had observed these pre-dawn comings and goings many times, the black and white cat learning off by heart when she could head on over and find the older woman who would sneak her a tasty morsel every time she came out for a cigarette break.
This lovely lady had realized long ago the kitty hated the smell of smoke, it made her nose twitch, never worrying if the little feline didn’t come straight away. It was only after she’d stubbed it out on the nearby bollard the meow would come from the early morning shadows of the alley that allowed deliveries straight to the back door of the bakery.
“Meow… rrrrrooow,” the familiar sound rose above the background sound of the preparation still happening inside. The human in full baker’s garb smiled from ear to ear, hazel eyes sparkling as she watched the cat come partly running towards her. “Meow…. Rrrrrrrooooow!” almost as if she was saying hello.
“Oh, look at you!” she exclaimed. “So pretty! Too pretty to be a stray. Someone must take care of you, but here, I cannot help myself,” and she knelt down, holding out some diced bacon in a small plastic bowl. “I kept this especially for you. I know it is your favourite.”
It was with much poise the kitty chose to show her appreciation, glancing up at the human for a few moments before finally starting to eat. Oh, and how good it tasted! The woman stepped away, no matter how close their relationship had grown over the months careful not to startle the cat with a sudden pat while she was eating. If the feline so wished, she would come to her when she had finished.
With the last piece now sliding down her throat, the pussycat once again caught the human’s gaze, slowly rising back up on to her hindquarters and yet again beginning the delicate process of cleaning her right paw. She had just had a meal, after all, one must follow this up with a self-clean. A few more licks of her mouth, another touch up of her left paw and then a stare back at the person still there waiting patiently to see if she would come to her.
Very well then…
“Rrrrrooooow. Meow. Rrrooowrrrroooow,” she voiced while rubbing her sleek body up against the unusual coverings on the human’s legs.
“You are too sweet. Yes, you are. Will you be here tomorrow then?”
“Meow,” the kitty seemed to answer, moving around her legs one more time before jumping up onto the crates stacked next to the industrial garbage bin near the door. The purr began the moment the lady started patting her. She arched her back and leaned in her head. Come on now, more, more. Right there. That’s the spot.
“Alright, I have to go now,” the baker reluctantly said,
“Meow!” the Tuxedo protested.
“I know. I’m sorry. I promise I’ll have something extra special for you next time,” and with one last caress, she disappeared back inside, leaving eyes that could see the night as day left with nothing but the alleyway to look at again.
The first signs of the morning were starting to light up the horizon by the time the kitty decided to return to the area she had been observing the bakery from. She stayed there, lying down concealed in the bushes, not wishing to go anywhere else for now. This was a smaller park and a quieter street, away from the insanity of such places as Times Square and Central Park. She liked it here, felt safe and thoroughly enjoyed watching the people coming and going from a bakery she visited so often, though not always in her current form.
Ithaca Kitty inwardly smiled. Oh, if only the lovely baker across the street really knew just how right she was! Too pretty to be a stray. Why, yes, caring human, you really have no idea. She lifted a paw, batting at the leaf swaying in the slight breeze directly in front of her. Nearby, in the bush adjacent to this one and just as equally hidden was a set of clothes beneath a rather flattering, black, ankle-length jacket. Glancing in the general direction, she sighed. Oh, must I?
Yes, very soon she would have to. The customers already starting to turn up to get their breakfast from one of the best food joints this side of the city weren’t the only ones who had to go to work and it wasn’t as if she didn’t like being human. No, that wasn’t it. Her favourite animal simply had so much fun and boy, did Kiara enjoy the freedom her mutant ability to transform into one gave her!
I’m going. I’m going, she thought, getting up and moving towards her clothes.
She paused a moment, glancing back at the bakery, picking up on the scent of humans and, well, that was interesting, a couple of mutants too. By far not unusual really, not in the slightest. She’d followed many from a distance while out and about and even though she could subconsciously hide her presence from anyone who saw her, Ithaca couldn’t help but wonder if one day she’d encounter someone with the ability to see right through it.
Surprisingly few people tended to look upwards, or in many cases were too engrossed with their smartphones other devices that they wouldn't be observant of their surroundings. At this time of day anyway, just before sunrise, there were fewer people around, to begin with, the streets relatively quiet and that also made it less likely to attract attention even if at the moment you happened to be an almost eight-foot-tall werewolf. That you also had the agility and climbing skills to go rooftop to rooftop made it a whole lot easier, not to mention amusing as you watched comings and goings on the street below.
Maxwell's hairy lupine muzzle was currently split in a broad grin as he watched a kindly woman feeding a pretty little black and white cat with some bacon, nostrils twitching as he took in the scent. Crimson eyes narrowed as he tilted his head slightly to the side, a pointed ear pricked as he listened in to the conversation with his keen hearing. No mistaking it, that wasn't an ordinary cat not with the scent, a mutant in fact not so unlike himself, feral, shape-shifter, if somewhat undignified behaviour for one of the dominant species to scrounge for snacks and treats from humans.
"Heh, not the only one are you?" Lobo muttered in a quiet gravelly whisper as he picked up on another scent, another feral, male like him, not one he'd caught before and a potential rival. With that scent caught, it brought his full attention, rising from his comfortable crouch at the edge of the roof and stretching, readying himself for action should the need arise.
It took a moment to home in on the scent, spot the man walking on the street below, a rather tall and broad-shouldered dark-haired Amerind man, smartly dressed in a white shirt and black slacks, posture and walk giving Lobo the impression this man might be some kind of professional, police, government agent off-duty but still vigilant. Feral of some sort though, possibly a worthy challenge, a good workout after what had been a rather uneventful night on the town. He hadn't looked up though, maybe not aware yet and Lobo wasn't about to launch a sneaky ambush, not on someone he hadn't met before, that would be rude.
Instead, Lobo took a few steps, made to the edge of the roof and leapt across to the next rooftop, deciding to observe the cat a little longer, now that she'd finished with her snack and her fuss and was starting on her way.
Officially off-duty, taking advantage of a few days of accumulated leave, Thomas Fireheart was currently as relaxed as it ever got for him. A good brisk walk in the pre-dawn to the nearby park for a jog and to take in the scents and sounds, indulge the feral in him even if he wouldn't be shifting this day. Yet he couldn't help but be tempted, particularly with the relatively dulled senses of his human form that currently had him on alert, the impression of something close by, a predator of some kind.
Before he could focus on that, Thomas found his attention drawn by something else, a very pretty little cat wandering away from a bakery, likely someone's pet but it wouldn't be making him feel the familiar tingle. That was one sense that wasn't dulled, that slight degree of psychic ability he possessed, enough to shield his mind and sense energies. That cat, very subtle but he sensed something about her, not quite an ordinary cat. A sniff at the air, though merely human right now he only had a faint inkling that maybe this could be a mutant and even at this early hour, shifting to his other form off-duty wasn't something he did without good reason.
Thomas made a decision, go to the bakery, make a purchase and just casually remark to the bakery owner about the smart black and white cat, whether she was a pet. A good opening line of inquiry and he could always find somewhere quiet and secluded to shift and track down the cat a little later. Always investigate and if it was a case of someone in need of assistance or a possible threat, then it might be S.H.I.E.L.D business or something he could handle on his own.
Just as soon as the Amerind man had head into the shop, Lobo leapt down from the rooftop in a perfect three-point landing, flashy and maybe a bit unnecessary but it felt good, even if there wasn't exactly much of an audience and those that were, more gasps of surprise and maybe a little fear than admiration for his athletic prowess.
Rising up to his full height, Lobo gave a sardonic grin that bared his impressive set of fangs, and a flippant wave of a claw-studded paw to the few humans whom would likely stay out of his way in any case. Hopefully, nobody would try to shoot him, bullets could be annoyingly ticklish or if of sufficient calibre tended to sting and bruise and above all seriously hack him off. Clothing damage as well that was annoying, and jeans and T-shirts of suitably large size and adjusted for the physique of his Wolfen form, he only had so many of those.
Tail swishing lazily, and claws clicking against the pavement, Lobo walked slowly and unhurriedly, knowing a cat's senses would alert her to his presence and above all wanting to project that he wasn't a threat despite his intimidating appearance. He was mostly curious after all and despite such clichés as dogs chasing cats, that was sort of beneath him, and unless she chose to attack him first he wasn't going to look to harm a female.
Some things however he couldn't quite resist, as he took another sniff of the air and homed in on the scent. Lobo grinned a broad grin and in a low gravelly rumble called out, "What's up pussycat?"
"While I love the attention, I am no one's pet pussycat."
Green catlike eyes once again glanced at the bush where her clothes were hidden, inwardly groaning. How she loved to be in her cat form yet knew she couldn’t stay in it forever. How much time did she have before she had to go to work? Well, by the looks of the foot traffic starting to get a bit more steady in front of the bakery it was pretty obvious it was reaching that time of morning where many others were also heading out to do their usual before being tied to a workplace for the majority of the day. Or, in the case of the lady that just jogged past on the path about three metres from her hiding place, morning exercise routines were a big thing around Kiara's favourite park too.
That was the best thing about being a mutant from basically the moment she’d been conceived, such as how strong both her parents X-Gene had been. She could do all her favourite things before having to spend the entire day dealing with customers in retail. Considering how high-end Kate Spade really was, most of her clientele were quite nice. Others, well, just the thought of them made her shudder, her mouth moving into a grimace a little too human-like was anyone actually around to see.
She paused mid pulling at the grass stuck on her leg, tongue partway out in what humans liked to dub a blurp, as she spotted something very large land on the pavement in front of the bakery. Eyes widening in shock, it was only the fact she was still able to think like a person while in her varying cat forms that made her stop the inner need for the feline side of her to freak the heck out! A very tall, very hairy wolfman was over there, glancing around, giving some of the people on the street quite a fright and then proceeding to cross the road, heading…
Oh no, he hasn’t, has he? she thought, watching him closely.
Another feral based shifter. One of those kinds of mutants with the ability to smell anything and hone in on whatever it was they wished to track down. Ithaca debated whether to make a dash for her clothes, quickly change back to human and…
"What's up, pussycat?"
Without hesitation, she fell into full kitty mode, intent on trying to convince him she really was just a cat, eyes widening, back-arching, body and tail puffed up as far as her fur would allow her. Then came the hiss, the growl, and the ever so slowly backing up from what would have to be one of the tallest versions of a cat’s natural enemy.
The feline shifter's shock had been registered almost immediately in a subtle shifting of her scent, his canine muzzle wrinkling as he sniffed in her direction. If not fear then there was at least some consternation and as always there was something enticing about it, that tickle in the back of his mind as he felt the calling of predatory instinct. Chase down the prey and while unlike some degenerates he considered himself enough of a gentleman he'd not sink to killing or hurting a woman, she wasn't to know that. Well, maybe chasing her a few blocks and giving her a good scare would be kind of funny but it wasn't really the same as actually hurting someone.
As the cat backed up, back arched and her tail a bottle brush, the werewolf quirked one shaggy brow at her performance which was actually quite convincing. She certainly acted the part of a true cat, perhaps one of those who was more dominated by the instinctive feral portion of themselves or perhaps more likely an attempt to convince him she really wasn't anything out of the ordinary. No mistaking from her scent that she was anything else but a mutant though, no matter how good her acting skills.
Muzzle wrinkling once more, lips curling back over his gleaming white fangs, guttural barking sounds interspersed with some high pitched yelping erupted from the lupine mutant, his version of laughter as he took a moment to contain himself. Scratching lazily at his chin with a sharp claw he shook his head in mock pity.
"Good performance but I'm afraid that's not going to work, not with this nose. One thing about shapeshifting, you can't change your scent. You're no more a little kitty cat than I'm the ghost of Larry Talbot."
Kiara figured it wasn't going to work and after getting over the sound of an oversized wolf laughing at her, she completely desisted from the act and sat back down on her haunches again, debating what to do next. She could make a run for her clothes. Cats moved pretty quickly after all but no doubt the wolfman could cover that distance in one simple leap. Instead, had she been able to smile, cat eyes widening in anticipation at the mere thought of evening the score just that little bit, her foe would notice very distinct parts of her starting to change.
It always seemed to begin with the size, whether she was shrinking or, in this case, getting bigger, the little black and white cat suddenly started to grow, while black fur slowly turned orange or white over most of her body, reshaping into black stripes everywhere else. Her already white paws remained as-is or lessened depending on which one was morphing at the time. All the while her face broadened, eyes changed from a shiny green to deep gold, whiskers lengthened and, well, the teeth and fangs became around five times bigger.
Because of a lifetime of learning how to shift, the process took her all of a few moments, leaving the form of a stunning tigress now standing where the tiny domesticated cat had been before. The look she now gave the wolf was one of daring. Shall we dance? Kiara far more confident in this particular form.
As the cat first sat and it seemed took a moment to debate her cause of action, Lobo folded his arms across his chest and waited patiently. He figured she was either going to run or shift her form, perhaps to her human shape or maybe she could shift into other feline forms or possibly a hybrid form. In the end, it seemed she'd decided to go with shifting and the werewolf watched with interest, focusing on the shift in the few moments that it took place noting the impressive speed and smoothness of the transition.
"Looks like you've got some claws after all kitty. Looks like you want to play now?" Lobo remarked, still with his tone one of amusement though with a certain amount of admiration for a fellow shifter who had mastered her gift.
However, if she thought he'd be startled or shocked and maybe lose some of that confidence or perhaps more accurately smugness then she'd be disappointed. Fierce, able to handle herself in a fight and not afraid of violence, that was likely enough true with her now confident demeanour. Was she though a guiltless killer or one who revelled in bloodshed or the thrill of the hunt?
"If you want to dance, hmm, yeah that could be fun, though I'd feel oh so guilty afterwards. Cheating on my mate like that, it's a good thing she's not here to see, otherwise well she'd swoop straight down out of the sky and those talons of hers would drive deep into your back."
The werewolf imitated the sounds for the tiger's benefit.
"Yeah, if my lovely raptor was here we'd have a bit of a catfight, well cat/raptor fight. Actually... thinking about it, that would be kind of hot."
The rumbling chuckle died in Maxwell's throat, a sudden shift in his mood as he was instantly alert and caught another feline scent, one that was clearly distinct from that of the shapeshifter in front of him though he thought he recognised it from earlier. Still a little way of but getting closer and while two can be company, three was definitely a crowd.
Thomas Fireheart was far from happy, particularly annoyed right now that it looked like he'd need to deal with another of his kind who was at best irresponsible. While there might be a certain level of acceptance that was at least in part down to good behaviour and recklessly frightening humans, provoking panic and general troublemaking that tended to add fuel to the fire of pre-existing tensions, potentially give ammunition to anti-mutant protestors and make things that little more difficult for everyone else.
The cocky arrogant way that man had gone full werewolf without a care in the world, his flippant gesture and the way he sauntered off it would seem he didn't care. If as Thomas suspected he was heading after the cat, that gave him an uneasy feeling. Maybe just a blowhard or a bully but the werewolf could be dangerous and in any case, Thomas felt the need to have a stern word at the very least.
In his case, Thomas used more discretion in making sure he'd be unseen as he shifted, almost immediately taking a sniff at the air to pinpoint the location of the werewolf and cat in the park across the road from the bakery. Confident he was out of sight, he kicked off his shoes and with clawed hands and feet began scrabbling his way up the wall in an easy climb to take him to the rooftop. He'd have a vantage point there so he could observe a few moments to see exactly what was going down.
Once he was sure if he needed to intervene, then there would be space enough to with a running start make the leap into the park and if calculated correctly land right by both of them. With luck perhaps his sudden appearance alone would be enough of a shock to defuse a fight if one threatened to break out.
The stare of sheer incredulousness from the face of a tigress should’ve been enough to explain to anyone that she very much had control of her feral based abilities and could act human-like while in her cat-based forms. Who exactly did this oversized wolf think he was, believing she was in any way interested in any sort of shenanigans with the likes of him? Not only was he so obviously a different type of feral and the feline’s known enemy at that, but he was also telling her he was already taken? This just made her mad. What kind of man, mutant or not, even suggested cheating on their lady?!
That look had simply meant she was ready for whatever attack he may be planning if any at all. How she wished she had the ability to change back to human form while still wearing some sort of clothes! Standing there stark naked had been embarrassing at the best of times but in front of an extremely sure of himself wolf shifter as this… not going to happen. She literally shook her head, almost looking as if she was rolling her eyes at him. Then turned and padded over to the bush where her clothes were hidden. She’d have to chance grabbing them and bounding off to the toilet block not too far away.
Turning around, she took stock of the wolf’s position, seeming to just be thinking for a moment. Then, in a flash, scooped up her clothing and leapt sideways, taking off the moment her paws hit the grass.
From the look that she gave him and the way she literally shook her head and almost seemed to be rolling her eyes, it was obvious that the feline shifter had gotten the wrong impression. Not that it was surprising given the double entendre or two that he'd been using and Maxwell would be in no hurry to correct her. If she thought that he was propositioning her rather than referring to fighting, that was just too amusing to bother correcting. That he'd managed to get a rise out of her, well that provoked another growling chuckle from the werewolf.
"Meow! That's one prissy kitty," the lycanthrope remarked, shaking his head in mock dismay. Lips quirking in a grin as she made her way towards a bush, he stuck his tongue out and blew a loud raspberry and at the same time making the gesture known as flipping the bird.
As the feline shifter turned around and then leapt sideways, that was the moment that the other he'd sensed approaching leapt in and Lobo watched the other, a werecat managing to twist in midair and narrowly avoid a collision. He landed awkwardly, in a heap and with the breath seemingly knocked out of him, though managing to prop himself up on his elbows.
"Hope she's okay," Thomas gasped, then a shadow suddenly loomed over him and a large furry clawed hand reached down and grabbed him by the ankle. Still momentarily stunned from his landing, Thomas swatted ineffectually with his claws as he was hoisted into the air and then sent flying again as the werewolf flung him in the direction of the fleeing tigress.