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A note from TigerCannon

Enjoy! 

Fang realized something had gone wrong. His human was supposed to stop being upset and heal him. He knew she could understand him the way he could understand her, so he didn't understand why she wasn't doing as demanded. Maybe she didn't know what he meant? Humans were very strange after all, maybe they were dumber than he had given them credit for.

Now the girl was crying. That was bad. Humans didn't like to do things when they were crying, and sometimes they could go on crying for hours and hours. This whole mental communication thing might be more trouble than it was worth. Fang had years of experience in dealing with humans without such a crutch, and Alice had come home from work sniffling enough times for Fang to have become something of an expert on cheering her up.

Fang gave Lillian a raspy lick on the chin, then started purring loudly. He rubbed his head on her neck, tickling her with his whiskers in the process. He reared up and put his paws on her face, one on each cheek, before giving his cutest meow. In the cat's tongue, a meow can mean many things, but this one was particularly difficult to translate. It fell somewhere between "Coochie-coochie-coo," "Whossagoodgirl? Whossagoodgirl? You are!" and the meaningless burbling noises humans devolve into when confronted by a cute baby or small animal.

The paws on her cheeks and the dense informational package of that meow got Lillian's attention, and she opened her eyes. She momentarily downgraded from crying to sniffling as she looked suspiciously (and slightly fearfully, but he was used to that) at Fang. Now that he had her attention, it was time to unleash his killer move, practiced through long months of bending humans to his will.

Blep.

Fang stuck out his tongue. He didn't lick his nose or open his mouth, he just stuck out a quarter-inch of pink tongue and continued staring solemnly at the white human. It was something he had stumbled upon one particularly hot afternoon. He had almost given up on consoling Alice, it was impossible to think straight in that heat, and nothing he tried was working. He had been so desperate for relief from the heat that he had stuck out his tongue like he had seen a dog do before. It did nothing to cool him off, but Alice had gone straight from crying to laughing and petting him, so his masterfully planned scheme had been a complete success.

Lillian didn't respond quite as well. She stopped sniffling and gave a small snort, and her mouth quirked to the side a bit, but she was clearly still upset. Fang slightly cocked his head to the side as he tried to think of what to do next. It was about this time that the other humans got over their shock and moved in to start comforting their squadmate.

The brown one squatted down next to her and put an arm around her, rubbing her shoulder in silence. The red one looked on guiltily, unsure of what to do. After a moment, he started digging through his backpack, coming up with a large lollipop. Meanwhile, the pink one stood next to Lillian and patted the balled up girl on the head. "Don't worry, it's not so bad," the pink one comforted, "You've got a powerful familiar now, everyone is going to be jealous of you when you get back. Besides, having a predator is better! It might be able to fight as well. Someday you could even have an awesome familiar just like Mr. Andrassi! Wouldn't that be well worth it?"

Fang did not like this pink human one bit. Every word he said seemed to make his human more unhappy, and that wasn't even counting the way he had shoved that nasty meat in his face. He hissed at him, "Shut up, Disgusting Idiot! This is all your fault!"

Apparently, those concepts were simple enough for his human to understand because she broke out into giggles. "He- He already know that Lexi-" she stammered out between snorts of laughter, "He called Lexi a disgusting idiot and told him to shut up!" she devolved further into giggling, her anxiety overwhelmed by the absurdity of the situation, at least for the moment.

Angela gave Lilly a one-armed squeeze, finally speaking up, "See? If it can get along with the party that well right off the bat, you two must have been made for each other. We'll talk to a teacher and figure out the details of what happened later; for now, just treat it like your familiar. Everything will turn out fine."

Meanwhile, Lexi loudly protested, "He did not say that! Were you just fake-crying to give yourself an excuse to insult me? Why couldn't I have gotten partied up with someone like Princess Inara, or Lady Skjold? At least then I would be getting a bit of respect!" No one was listening, but he carried on nonetheless. He gave a theatrical sigh, his most extensively practiced expression of emotion. It was a full body routine of shrugging dejection, every movement calculated for maximum pity and sympathy.

The girls ignored it, thoroughly immune. Charlie at least patted him on the back sympathetically, though his pity was for an entirely different reason than intended. Since Lillian wasn't crying anymore, Charlie also popped the lolly into his mouth. He had gotten it to cheer her up, but no sense letting it go to waste now that it was in hand.

Fang settled down into Lillian's lap and started rumbling with satisfaction as she started petting his head. Everything had gone perfectly according to his plan. Whatever that plan was. It was a brilliant plan though. Worked phenomenally well. He was truly a master of human manipulation. And since she was no longer crying, Fang's instincts were telling him that this was the perfect moment to return to his earlier goal.

"Heal me."

Lillian froze mid-laugh, then sighed, still chuckling a little. "I guess you're right. I might as well make the most of it. C'mere little guy," she said, giving him long pets across his back as she explored his injuries with a small pulse of positive energy. As the mana sank into the wounds, identified the damage based on where her mana disappeared. Once she had a general idea of his state, Lillian flowed ribbons of healing magic through him, directing a few to the residual damage in his leg, and moving the rest around the various small scratches and splinters he had acquired during his hunts.

It felt phenomenal. The sensation Fang felt flowing through his veins was like a mixture of sunlight, belly scritches, and a good meal all rolled into one. He purred like a diesel engine, and his eyes immediately started drifting shut. Then, the flow of happiness stopped. Fang opened his eyes in confusion and looked up at Lillian with a wide-eyed, betrayed expression. "Resume petting at once!" he demanded, "Heal me."

Confronted with his highest grade of pleading eyes, Lillian was helpless to keep herself from returning to petting his back. "But I- Didn't I already heal you? As far as I can tell you're fine… Right?" She flashed a couple more diagnostic pulses through Fang, but they showed nothing.

Of course Fang was fine. Fang was always fine. How could a cat be injured? Preposterous. Healing simply felt nice. Fang didn't want to overwhelm his pet with such complex thoughts though. Instead, he simply told her, "I require healing. Heal me," and nuzzled against her hand.

Lillian frowned and pushed a streamer of healing mana into Fang, methodically searching through his body for any residual damage she had missed. Fang purred his little head off, luxuriating in the sensation of being filled with such pleasant magic. "Guys, I think something might be wrong with him. He wants me to heal him, but I can't detect anything wrong. What if it's something serious I can't fix? What if it kills him! I can't lose my familiar right away! I mean not my familiar but he's like kind of my familiar but not and we're bonded and he's actually kind of cute and I don't want him to die!" Lillian had been doing so well, but when she continued searching and just could not manage to find a problem, she started working herself up into a panic again.

"Relax Lilly Pad. Deep breaths," advised Angela, while the boys stood by awkwardly, taken aback by the sudden change. "He'll be fine. He seemed perfectly healthy when he sliced up Ori's nose, and magic does a lot for creatures' health. He was pretty obsessed with that creature core, maybe he just likes your mana. Flit definitely likes it when I give him mana, yours is probably no different. You just have to give it a bit differently with the link reversed." Lillian calmed down once more, nodding along with Angela's reassurances. Angela stood up and patted her head. "Now come on. The best way for you to bond with your familiar is going to be fighting together, and we're on a fairly tight deadline as it is if we want to finish everything we have planned."

Lillian took another steadying breath, then nodded and started to get up. She attempted to shoo Fang off her lap so she should rise, but the feline simply sat, waiting expectantly. She tried properly pushing him, but all that got her were four sets of claws digging through her robes and pricking her skin. "Come on Chairman Meow, we have to get moving, I can't get anything done with you on my lap, you're going to have to walk with us."

The use of the forbidden name had Fang's claws digging further into her thighs. "No. Stay. Pet." He kept the orders as simple as he could, and it took him a moment to figure out how to fully express his distaste for the name. No one but Alice could get away with calling him that. Unfortunately, the mind-link handled names quite poorly. Concepts and thoughts went across smoothly, but phonetic pronunciations were simply not part of it. The best he could do was to express extreme distaste for the name section of the big blue box, which only seemed to confuse Lillian further.

The other party members had gathered around their maps again and were preparing their supplies when Lillian drew their attention back to her. "Um… Guys… I can't get him off. He doesn't want to do anything other than have me pet him. Maybe you should go and do some monster hunting without me while I try to figure this out or som…"

Naturally, now that she had drawn attention to herself, Fang chose that exact moment to step off of her lap. He knew the concept of monster hunting well. Very well. He certainly wasn't going to let his squishy humans go hunting without him. Who would protect them from the horrifying sunshine birds? Or keep the small rodents at bay? He had to keep his pet and future pets safe.

Lillian stood up, a slightly bewildered expression on her face as she tried to brush the hair off of her. The front of her pure white robe was positively covered with black cat hair, and it was not going anywhere. "Or not. So did you figure out which direction our assigned dungeon is yet? We were going to knock that out first so we could spend the rest of the time on leveling, right?"

She walked over to the others, and the three spent a bit longer planning, then picked a direction and set off into the forest. They walked in a loose diamond formation, with Alex in front, Angela in the rear, and Lillian and Charles guarding the sides. Their familiars perched on their shoulders, with even Ori wrapping himself around Charlie's neck like an oversized scarf. Lillian did not perch on Fang's shoulder though, because she was decidedly too heavy for that, a fact that Fang wisely did not point out to her.

Fang stalked through the forest at the edge of their sight, and the party did not see a single bird throughout their trip.

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A note from TigerCannon

Slow chapter in more ways than one. I figured I needed a bit more transition for Lillian to accept her situation, but it dragged on more than intended. Hopefully it's still enjoyable.

Big thanks to Koronor, Paul Sheenius, A s h e s, and Mollyshine20 Brown for the reviews, and to everyone commenting, you give meaning to my obsessive dashboard-refreshing.

Edit: Oh yeah, Overwatch players may recognize a couple of Fang's lines. If you like both cats and overwatch memes, you might enjoy checking out GenjiCat over on webtoon. Not me or anything, just a cute point of inspiration. 

Thanks for reading, have a blep I found.

Blep

 


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TigerCannon

  • Lord of the Murderfloofs

Bio: NaNaNaNaNaNaNaNa CATMAN!

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