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Carrot. It was Carrot, and just as obviously, not. Carrot's skin, even when furred, feathered or scaled, was never dappled like that, as if someone had painted him with leopard spots and washed them off, leaving them faded. Even his hair looked like that, splodges of almost golden-brown mixed in with his normal dark. His eyes were golden, slitted like a cat and strangely, that was almost comforting, more like his normal zoanthropy-induced changes. When he yawned, his teeth were sharper and when he rubbed his hand with the back of his hand his nails were like claws.

And then he noticed the others, dropped to all fours and the change settled on him like a cloak, almost instantaneous, turning him into that cat-like beast of last night.

In fact, it looked like a cross between a mountain lion and a hyena, Marron thought. It rumbled something threatening in it's throat and he saw the others tense slightly in preparation. Tira and Chocolate were used to the necessity of controlling Carrot in his bestial forms.

Marron, on the other hand, was incapable of harming his brother and he was deeply afraid that Carrot would disappear back into the forest before Tira or Chocolate could put a leash on him. He crouched low to the ground, head held low enough that his hair would pick up leaves from the forest floor and very slowly began to move towards Carrot. Body language... anything to show that he wasn't a threat. Carrot had seemed to recognise them last night, enough for him to collapse in their camp, and even like this he might remember that they were family or pack or pride or whatever it was for hyenas and big cats.

Carrot growled again, but this time there was a note of something else in it too, something Marron chose to believe was confusion. He kept up a low, constant stream of reassuring babble until he reached him. He held out his hands palm up and let Carrot bend his head to them, not shaking when that mouth with those wicked looking fangs grazed them.

"niisan," he said with relief. He sat down, almost collapsing, and Carrot rested his front paws and head in Marron's lap. Marron scratched him behind the ears and was rewarded with a deep purr. And then, because he was deeply practical, he used his free hand to grab one of his ofuda, shape it into a long roll and tie it to Carrot with one of the longer bits of fur on his neck. It glowed for a moment and Carrot shook his head, disturbed, looking at Marron with something like betrayal, before settling back down in Marron's lap.

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June 2017

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