Her breasts pressed against your chest while her tongue started to lather your face, this time it wasn’t like last night though, it was thorough and seeking to get everywhere. You could only grimace and hold from gagging at the smell. Deep down you knew that if you didn’t find civilisation soon, you’d become increasingly willing to kill someone if it meant getting a nice hot shower and away from the smell of rotten meat.
There was a concern that you shouldn't worry about that right now, that you should worry about a thousand other things, but... you couldn't find the energy to.
The notion of what’d happen if the cat-woman and showers combined was pushed away in favour of struggling when she began to lick your hair as well. This was getting slightly absurd even by the current standards, but there was no escape, her hands grasped at you into a tight hug. She used her tongue to comb your hair, purring. Fighting against her was futile, you resigned yourself as she appeared to be on a mission of which you couldn’t deter her and so far it didn't involve anything getting broken.
“Purrsian.” She declared happily after a minute, detaching herself from you to give you a once over before she sat down and yawned, stretching her body languidly, slowly curling up into a ball. Laying down on the spot of sunlight, she yawned again, placed her hands under her head and... went still.
She'd fallen asleep.
You could only blink in surprise at the sight, your mind struggling to wrap itself around what was going on, but you pushed the notion away, no sense in worrying about that. After a pause, a deep breath, your eyes returning towards the others to see what was the situation.
'The Others', as it were, had left a single bottle with a litre of water a dozen steps away (next to the change of clothes you’d gathered) and were mulling with one another in small groups over a hundred meters away and quite close to the bus as if they could jump into it for protection. Every now and then someone would look in your direction and then turn elsewhere, either ashamed or afraid of being caught staring.
There was a red-headed young man that stood next to the bus entrance glancing your way trying to hide that he wanted to talk to you, or perhaps was it the cat-woman? Still, he was the closest person here since everyone else was almost twice that distance away from your spot. He was moving his head to the beat of a song only he could hear with the headphones he wore, but you could easily note how he glanced in your general direction every handful of seconds.
Much to your surprise, you realised there was someone else with him.
The young man was a student, clearly, and the family resemblance was obvious with the music-listening red-head. You also knew this particular student quite well, Barry, he was one of the smartest students in your class if not the quietest one. It was easy to remember the many times you’d heard other teachers worrying about how hard it seemed for him to make friends of any sorts, even amongst those labelled as ‘nerds’ by the more troublesome lot. Of the two siblings, he seemed like the one who wanted to talk to you the most, but he was showing extreme signs of bashfulness and nervousness, blushing and half-hiding behind who you figured was his elder brother? Cousin? Wait, hadn’t he died during the crash?
The memory of you finding a red-headed corpse came up whose face had been severely mangled; you quickly realised you’d probably mistaken the stranger for Barry and just hadn’t registered the student’s presence until now. A part of you was glad he hadn’t died. The rest of you went back to worrying about your current state of being drenched on drying saliva and nakedness (because let’s be honest, the tattered clothes don’t hide anything).
Every fibre of your being is repulsed at the notion that the water remaining on the bottle was more precious than the need to remove the smell from your body. Truly you hated yourself for the very notion, but couldn’t refuse it. You only used the bottle to drink and hydrate yourself. The belly rumbling was ignored, you had to ration the food.
A heavy sigh followed, just how complicated would it be to teach cat-lady some basic mouth hygiene? The thought felt incredibly daunting to you, but it felt like it would definitely be worth the effort... you had to start calling her something other than cat-lady soon or you’d start going crazy, though you’d also have to figure out if she had a name already or called herself in some way. Something to ponder later.
Once dressed, you opt to not avoid what clearly looked like the inevitable and approached the red-headed duo. The younger one became somewhat more nervous, glancing towards cat-woman, then at you, and taking a step further back, something that made the older one to roll his eyes. “So?” The question came out casually. “Wanted to talk about something, Barry?” You doubted it’d been his cousin who’d volunteered to talk to you like this.
“He says he knows the word she’s been shouting.” That… caught you by surprise, you had to blink, and then glanced at him more intently, something that made the young man to shrink further.
“It's... no, it doesn't make sense.” He said with a hushed voice. “Maybe I'm wrong, it's just that... I remember a creature called 'persian', from one of the games I played...”
The name rung a bell, how couldn’t it? You knew about the game/series even if you’d never gotten the appeal. You also knew enough about it to find a major hole in the reasoning he was using. “Anything of use to the situation?” You declared with a raised eyebrow.
He blushed hard at the mention of the naked woman. “Persian is a pokemon.” He muttered, now staring hard at the ground. “And… pokemon only ever say their breed name, and… the bat lady from last night… I thought… maybe…” Barry became mute again, mumbling and shrinking more and more as he did.
A slight sense of pity came over you as you looked at the kid, scratching the back of your head as you wondered about the merits of his deduction. It was true she only seemed able to speak a single word, but that was basically the one and only connection he seemed to have. The circumstances were likely putting far too much stress on the teenager and his theory was a desperate grasping at straws to attempt making sense of it all.
"Any theories that explain some of the shit going on are worth investigating a bit more closely, though I'm not sure how we could do that currently." You sigh deeply. "Thank you Barry, I appreciate the help, I know it must not have been easy to gather the courage to tell me this."
With an apologetic smile you keep the young man's emotions into consideration, noting the grateful nod and slight tinge of enthusiasm, you then glance at his cousin. "I didn't take you for someone who'd much care for Barry."
"I'm a bleeding heart." He shrugged nonchalantly, glancing at the napping cat-woman. "So what's her name?"
He cocked a brow. "I figured that since you're the one who's unofficially been designated as her handler, you had a name for her in mind."
"Her handler?" You laughed. "What part of what just happened seemed like I could handle her?"
The young man just shrugged and turned to leave without another word, Barry close behind only glancing at you for a moment as he went along. Now you were alone again, the napping cat-lady to one side, and everyone else at the very edge of the clearing talking amongst one another. Supplies had been picked up and it was clear there was nothing left here for them they needed to be able to start moving.
Carefully you consider the options available, you're tired, you stink of blood and saliva, you haven't had a decent breakfast, and for all intents and purposes, you're a lot less well-rested than everyone else in the group. If something happened, you were amongst the likeliest to be slow to react and to be left behind, the only ones who'd be slower than you being the wounded. Then you considered the battle capabilities of a group of forty-plus people with sticks. And then that of the cat-lady.
You waved at them, regretting your hunger but certain of your choice. "I will stick with her and bring her over when she wakes up! We'll catch up!" You call out loudly, noting the uncertain looks shared amongst the people but the almost communal nod they shoot at you. They seemed relieved of leaving you behind as they start to walk away and towards... you figured it was eastwards, what ungrateful bunch.
That was when you noted that not everyone was walking with the group and some were instead heading your way...
There were five of them in total, three of them easily recognizable as Alice Smith holding May's hand, the little girl seeming half listless as she walked along mostly out of inertia; the third being the young strong-man you'd called out to yesterday... you couldn't remember his name. He wasn't a student, right? Well, definitely not one of yours if that was the case. Your eyes shifted to the other two.
Ah, you knew the man, Mr Gabriel, a quiet but fierce-looking old man who was in way better physical condition than he had any right to be at his age. And surely if he was coming then the other one was...
Katherine, whom you weren't too sure was good news or not. She was well known for being upbeat and supportive but... well, she was well known for her grades never being that great just as much. "Heya Mr Chemistry teacher." She greeted with a very wide smile.
"Hello Katherine." You cordially replied, glancing at the old man with a nod in turn. "Mr Gabriel." Then at Alice and May. "Why didn't you go with the others?"
"I have a hunch it is far safer here with the... feline lady than with the others." Gabriel spoke calmly.
"She's a sexy as fuck cat-girl, of course I'd rather stay here." Katherine said cheerily. "As a Kat myself, I feel at ease with a big sis around."
"Ahem, yes." Alice cleared her throat, pulling at her backpack. "We also brought your share of food and we managed to wrangle some medicinal alcohol from them for... disinfecting scratches." Her face became slightly redder as she spoke.
"Uh, thanks." You muttered, not quite sure how to react, turning to May in turn. "How're you feeling?"
She didn't respond, instead looking away with a pained expression. That answered that you guessed. A yawn escaped you, the tiredness from lack of sleep reminding you you weren't under ideal conditions right now.
"Pass me the alcohol for a sec?" You asked, taking the offered bottle from Alice and glancing down at your hand where you'd cut yourself. The wound had stopped bleeding but there was a tell-tale redness to the edges that you didn't quite like. Grimacing, you brought out the pocket knife again, cut into the wound, making sure to gouge out some of the more angrily reddened part, and then held yourself from screaming a second time when you emptied several heavy doses of the alcohol.
It hurt, a lot, you grit your teeth, and felt thankful it had been superficial. "Hardcore!" Katherine spoke in incredulity.
You ignored her, clutching your hand and wincing, waiting for the intense stinging sensation to subside. "I'm going to go sleep since I'm currently feeling like a ton of bricks. I suggest you don't startle the cat-lady."
"We will keep watch while you rest, it's the least we can do." Mr Gabriel spoke with a serious nod.
Feeling thankful that things seemed taken care of, you approached cat-lady and stopped a couple of steps away. Clearing your throat, you saw her lazily open an eye and then close it, you approached and sat down in front of her, patiently waiting for a possible response. With none being had, you got closer still, and then closer. Once close enough you could touch her, you laid down with your back towards her so as to appear the least threatening as possible.
Her reaction was a yawn, she stretched her hands out to you, pulling you into her embrace. This was... nice, but your objective was to try and befriend her, maybe learn something more. She fell back asleep as she hugged you from behind, purring softly in your ear.
As soon as your stinging hand stopped hurting, you found yourself too tired to stay awake, you joined her in slumber.
You woke up to the sound of moaning, the warmth that had been pressed against your body was gone and it made you feel a slight chill. You opened your eyes and hear the yowl again, a moment of dazed half-consciousness followed as you sought the source. It wasn't hard to find, it seemed she was having her way with another of the males of the group. You had to freeze and very carefully observe, only sighing in relief when you noticed that, so far, it didn't seem Mr Gabriel was in danger.
This shit was too weird, you realized as you looked around. No way in hell were you going to try and interrupt the feline and risk getting targetted, but you were also not going to just stand there. You looked around.
The others were absent, though you were half certain you noticed movement on the opposite side of the bus.
The cat-woman's ears twitched as you shifted position and she turned to look your way, the loopy grin on her face widened as she clawed her chest harder and moaned more loudly. A part of you realized she was getting off on showing off to you like this. With a shuddering gasp, she abruptly became very still, releasing her breath slowly while her cheeks painted themselves in a deeper rosy tinge.
"You doing ok?" You can barely bring yourself to ask the man under her.
The only response is a thumbs up from the old man who was currently panting in a desperate attempt to hold on to dear life. Meanwhile, the cat-lady unceremoniously stood up from her latest sex-partner and went to all fours, crawling towards you with a happy grin and a purr. Yeah... no, at this point in time you weren't feeling like spending even more energy you couldn't spare. "Sorry, not now." You told her, turning to head towards the bus before she could reach you.
The woman was soon on her feet and steps in front of you, her hands go to her hips, her face turns to a slight scowl and her tail begins lashing from one side to the other. "Purr." She says. "Sain." She adds.
You felt like it was an easy read, she was not angry, just... irritated? You weren't too sure about it, it was definitely less than irritated like she was just marginally not pouting. You don't budge, you don't glare but you also don't shift your expression from unamused neutrality that your teaching career had let you practise for years. She didn't back down either but instead frowned. The cat-woman crouched slightly and her eyes narrowed towards you, she wasn't budging either.
At least she wasn't physically pushing you down.
It is then that you decide to up the ante, face shifting into a disappointed frown, your arms crossing in front of your chest. The move was one you only reserved for the extreme cases, but one that had yet to fail you.
It seemed to work, she flinched when you did this, turning her head away. "Prus." She grumbled, scowling and snorting loudly before she stepped out of your way.
"Oh shit." You hear Kat mutter somewhere from inside the bus.
You feel exactly like that.
But you keep your poker face as you watch her walking away, back turned towards you completely and plopping herself on to a patch of sunny ground near a tree. She looked over her shoulder at you one last time before she began grooming herself. The breath you let out was longer than what you'd thought you'd been holding in.
Your hands are shaking but only slightly.
Heading towards the bus, you step in and see... the four remaining people, most noticeable of which was Katherine and the sparkling look in her eyes as she was smiling from ear to ear. "That. Was. AWE-!"
You stop her with an outstretched hand. "Get your grandfather clothes and some water, we've wasted enough time and need to get going, sitting around is only going to get people killed."
Only marginally deflated at your stopping her loud cheering, you glance at a blushing Alice, a sulking May, and a half-stunned-half-dazed... what's his name, muscle-glasses? You'll ask later. "We may need to carry him along the way, think we could fashion some way to more easily move him?"
"I... I think I can fashion something." muscle-glasses mumbled.
"Good, start on that while he recovers his breath."
Stepping back outside, Katherine was helping her grandfather to shaky legs, and... the cat-lady was still half-heartedly grooming herself, looking over her shoulder at you after a second and then looking indignantly away the next. You figured this was a move in the right direction, but still, every part of you felt it was just too strange.
Another look, the feline snorted loudly, now curling up on the ground with her back towards you.
Now you only had to figure out whether it was possible to stay on her good side.