The little black and brown striped kitten hiss and snarled, puffing up to twice its size as Dick knelt down to stare at it. His eyes were startlingly blue. Titus hovered in the background, occasionally lifting a foot as if he wanted to step closer to the kitten and then putting it back down again as if afraid that he'd be eviscerated if he did so.
"Damian?" Dick asked.
The kitten growled at him with an expression that so matched Damian's 'tt' face that he had to grin.
"He got hit by that small-time magician with the fetish for cats," Tim said as he worked on the computers. "We got him but he'll require stitches."
"Uh…" Dick stared at Tim who shrugged.
When Dick looked back at Kitten!Damian he had a smug expression though his little tail was thrashing.
"Hugging's a bad idea, I take it?" Dick said, fingers twitching.
"Depends on how many stitches you want," Tim observed. "Alfred's working on Bruce and Jason right now."
Dick blinked, looked at Titus who backed off a couple of paces, and then looked down at Damian. His expression and body language screamed 'try it and I'll show you just how many ways I know to eviscerate you'.
"I think I'll go help Alfred," Dick said, a little lightheaded from the effort not to pet Damian.
"Good idea," Tim said entirely calmly. "He got through Bruce's armor."
The world definitely wobbled as Dick contemplated how Damian could have done that with kitten claws and teeth. After a moment he decided that he really didn't want to know. Dick hurried away, pretending he didn't hear Damian starting to purr.
Hopefully the spell on Damian was the normal 24 hour one. He wasn't sure how long he could hold off petting Damian. Once Dick was gone Tim smirked and patted his lap. Damian growled but after a moment spent grooming his shoulder jumped up into Tim's lap.
"Thank you," Tim said. "That should work well. Hopefully they'll actually remember your skills from now on."
He started petting Damian who sighed and all but melted into Tim's lap as he purred. Tim smiled. After his last transformation into a cat of course he had to help save Damian from the indignity of hugs and baby talk from everyone in the family.
Alfred looked up as the Batmobile returned well in advance of schedule. It appeared to be running on automatic, which usually meant that someone had been injured or that Master Bruce had sent Master Damian home early. Given that he hadn't heard over the comms of any injuries Alfred assumed that he would have to prepare Master Damian's favorite after-patrol treats to calm his injured pride.
The Batmobile came to a stop and then sat idling. Alfred raised an eyebrow and went over, blinking when he realized that there was no one inside. He was about to open the door when he heard several cats meowing balefully inside.
"Oh dear," Alfred sighed.
When he opened the door a kitten that had to be Master Damian and a lean tom that must be Master Timothy tumbled out. Both righted themselves with indignant looks over their shoulders at the interior of the car. A bouncy long-haired cat with blue-black fur pounced on Alfred's arm when he reached in to turn off the Batmobile.
"Master Richard," Alfred huffed. "Please do wait until the vehicle is off before insisting on petting."
"Mooooow!" Master Dick complained though he was kind enough to let go of Alfred's arm long enough for him to complete the task.
Alfred scooped Master Dick up, petting him soothingly while inwardly sighing about the amount of cat hair he'd have to clean up in the morning. Master Dick was rather egregiously fluffy. He stepped aside and Master Jason jumped out. He was a burly big tom with very short dark fur that appeared almost brown other than a white strip over his eyes and a tiny tuft of white at the tip of his tail. The growls he produced were as close to profanity as a cat's vocal cords could get.
"Master Bruce?" Alfred asked when the last two cats hesitated.
Of course, Master Bruce was an American short hair tom, elegant in his tuxedo-like coloration. He huffed at Alfred, jumping down and stalking towards the computers as if he was going to be able to do his normal reporting.
"Do come along, Miss Stephanie," Alfred said. "I believe everything will be back to normal in the morning."
She grumbled at him, glared at Master Dick who was purring in Alfred's arms and then reluctantly exited the Batmobile with a thrashing tail and ears that were plastered against her head. Her lighter coloring had translated quite wonderfully into pale gold and light brown tiger stripes.
Alfred sighed and began the laborious task of herding his temporarily feline charges upstairs. While most of his work with the family could quite fairly be described as herding cats, Alfred rather thought that this was making it a bit too literal.
Tim perched on the top of the sofa, watching as Dick tried to corral Damian for grooming. He'd managed to escape so far but Dick looked determined to use his greater weight and size (plus being so fluffy that his fur hid exactly where his body was) to finally get to snuggle Damian with impunity. Selina swept in, taking in all of them with a delighted smile.
"Dick, stop pestering Damian," Selina scolded. "If he doesn't want to be petted then he doesn't have to be. Nice to see you, Tim. I assume that Bruce has gone off under the sofa and pout."
Bruce's growl answered her well enough that Tim couldn't help but purr a little. Selina looked around and frowned, hands on her hips until she saw Alfred come in with Stephanie and Jason trailing after him, or more accurately after his tray full of treats for them. The distraction gave Dick another chance to grab for Damian who snarled and clawed Dick, managing to catch the tip of Dick's ear with his claws.
"None of that!" Selina huffed.
She tossed something shiny that jingled and bounced at Dick who jerked away from Damian and then pounced on it. It rolled away, sending Dick skittering after it. Damian's expression was pure disgust as he growled and then jumped up on the couch to sit next to Tim. To Tim's surprise, Selina was staring at Steph and Jason as she sat on the couch.
"Young lady if you're going into a menstrual cycle you might want to stay away from the toms," Selina commented.
Steph froze mid-step, her ears first going straight up and her tail straight out and then poofing out so much that she looked nearly as fluffy as Dick. She turned and roundly smacked Jason, driving him away from her with hisses, claws and a spine chilling yowl of outrage. Jason ducked and ran, jumping for Selina's lap as if she'd protect him from the crazy girl-cat.
Alfred sighed and petted Steph's head, taking one small bowl of what looked and smelled to be tuna. He scooped her up and then headed for the door.
"I believe I shall keep Miss Stephanie with me, Mistress Selina," Alfred said.
"Good idea, Alfred," Selina replied entirely calmly. "Better to be safe than sorry."
Jason grumbled something, kneading Selina's thighs until the door was shut. Then he jumped down to eat, sending occasional glares at Dick and his little jingle-ball whenever Dick's play threatened to get too close to the food. Tim sighed and put one paw on Selina's shoulder. She turned and smiled at him, gently scratching behind his ears.
"You're welcome, Tim," Selina said. "I was glad to come over when Alfred called for reinforcements. Have some dinner. I'm sure you're all hungry."
Tim purred and let her scoop him off the back of the couch. Damian watched, waited until Tim was eating, and then copied Tim's movements. Selina grinned and very properly, very carefully, pet him until he all but dissolved in her lap. Selina's expression was full of secret amusement when Tim met her eyes a few moments later. She might not say it but she was obviously delighted that they'd all been turned into cats for a day.
Jason grumbled as he stalked away from the room where everyone else had congregated. He could smell Steph down the hallway with Alfred. He had to wonder if the way she smelled (good, interesting, kind of fun) was actually a sign that she might be on the verge of fertile. That was a terrifying enough thought that Jason headed upstairs, away from her scent. No way was he going there, just no way, no how.
It didn’t surprise him to catch Tim’s scent when he passed the library. Jason poked his head in the door, snorting when he realized that Tim had curled up on top of one of the arm chairs. He’d done that back downstairs, taking the highest convenient point as if he wanted to keep a watch for trouble.
Tim’s eyes shimmered in the dark as Jason stalked in. Neither of them said anything, not that they could actually say anything at the moment. The armchair was leaning against the wall so Jason jumped up onto the cushion and then up onto the back with Tim. There wasn’t a heck of a lot of room but Jason didn’t mind. Tim was a lot nicer to hang with than Dick or Damian. At least Tim didn’t try and groom Jason or claw his face off.
When Jason put his head on Tim’s back and draped one paw over him, Tim sighed and shifted enough that they could be comfortable perched together. They’d have to get down when it got closer to time to shift back but for now it worked.
After a minute Tim raised his head and looked at Jason with his customary way to fucking serious expression. His tongue darted out, licking Jay’s cheek once. Jay puffed out in surprise, blinking at Tim and thrashing his tail because he had no idea what brought that on. Tim’s whiskers quivered with what had to be Cat-Tim’s version of laughter. He settled back down and fell asleep.
Jay stared at him for a while before mentally shrugging and going to sleep too. Maybe he’d ask what brought that on once they had vocal cords again.
Selina ran the brush over Dick's back, doing her best not to laugh as each stroke seemed to make him get longer and longer. With his fluffy fur the brushing really was a necessity but Dick took an almost indecent amount of pleasure in the attention. He kept making little sighs and groans as if this was the best thing that had ever happened to him.
Selina looked over at Bruce who'd hunched in on himself. He'd tucked his forefeet under his chest and his tail was wrapped so tightly around his body that it was twitching under his chin. Which was hunched down so that he could glare at Dick. She raised an eyebrow at Bruce, who only twitched an ear in response as he looked away as if he didn't care at all.
"He needs the brushing," Selina said, unable to keep the laughter out of her voice. "Look at that fur. I can't let him wander around. He'll get tangled."
"Grrrph," Bruce complained.
The tip of his tail thrashed for a moment. He looked at Selina out of the corner of his eyes, reaching one paw out to tentatively touch her thigh exactly where her garter slid down to attach to her stocking. Selina glared at him. Bruce sighed and pulled his paw back, tucking it back under his chest as he glared at Dick again.
Dick sighed, so blissed out by the brushing that he was almost literally boneless. Selina gave him three last strokes before carefully sliding out from under his limp body. He started snoring immediately. Rather than pick up the now perky Bruce, Selina went to the bookshelf and carefully took Damian down from the top shelf. Once Damian was tucked along Dick's side, she looked at Bruce.
"Come on," Selina said to him, amused. "I think it's time for bed for me too."
He bounced off the couch and stalked along beside her like a perfect gentleman. Selina didn't buy it for a minute. She knew better than to believe Bruce, not that anything inappropriate would be happening. The library turned out to be where Tim and Jason had disappeared to. They'd perched on the top of one of the armchairs.
"Down they go," Selina said, gingerly scooping Tim and Jason up in one awkward bundle so that she could move them to the couch. They really didn't want to stay there and change back only to fall off in a heap.
Selina let Bruce watch as she stripped. He purred, making her laugh. Once she was in bed he jumped up and settled on the pillow next to her. This certainly wasn't how she preferred to spend a night with Bruce but at least everyone was safe and well cared for.
"Sleep well, Bruce," Selina said.
He delicately placed one paw on her cheek. Selina laughed and kissed his little kitty toes. Bruce grumbled but his heart clearly wasn't in it because his whiskers curled towards her and his eyes went soft and happy. She shut her eyes and then smiled as Bruce moved to curl up against her chest. Hopefully morning would bring the sort of cuddles she preferred with him. If not, so be it. At least she got some play time with all the Bat-kitties.
Alfred hummed as he finished cleaning the kitchen and put the last of the dishes away. Miss Stephanie grumbled from her spot on one of the kitchen table chairs. Her head drooped off the edge of the chair so that she could stare at the floor.
"If you would come with me, Miss Stephanie," Alfred said.
"Mrrr?" Miss Stephanie asked, her ears coming up and her expression perking up dramatically.
He led the way down into the basement where they gathered ingredients for tomorrow's meals. Miss Stephanie sniffed around the corners, investigating and clearly feeling better for getting away from her moping. Once they were back in the kitchen Alfred smiled and gave her a small dish with cream.
"Prrrrrpt!" Miss Stephanie purred, rubbing her head against Alfred's shins before happily consuming her treat.
"I would assume that you would like to sleep in your own room, Miss Stephanie," Alfred said once she was done.
She nodded, looking at him hopefully. Alfred chuckled and walked upstairs. Once he opened the door for her Miss Stephanie meowed her thanks at him. He nodded good night, closing the door so that she could have her privacy.
The next morning dawned early for Alfred, if not for his many charges. He made sure that no one was in a precarious position, smiling to find that Mistress Selina had already dealt with the issue quite admirably. According to the normal measurements they should all be back to normal by noon so Alfred went to prepare their standard breakfasts, rather than something more tailored to feline digestive systems.
"At least it was a peaceful night," Alfred mused as he set to work in the kitchen. "I doubt that it will last once they return to normal."
Damian woke as he shifted back to normal. He immediately tried to pull away from Dick but his highly annoying older brother was still an octopus in slumber. The hug he found himself trapped in was tight enough that Damian squawked.
"Let go!" Damian yelped as he realized that both of them were completely naked.
"Hmmm?" Dick asked sleepily.
"Get your nakedness off of me!" Damian howled.
"Wait, what?" Dick woke abruptly but his arms did not loosen until he too noticed that they were both quite without clothing. "Oh my God!"
He let go, face flaming, which allowed Damian to roll off the couch and dart for the door.
"You will never speak of this again!" Damian warned, one hand held before his eyes and the other over his privates. Certain morning realities may be biologically normal but that didn't mean that Damian had any desire to experience his older brother's morning erection first hand.
"No, definitely not," Dick said so faintly that Damian peeked at him. He had blushed right down to his belly button and his hands were clamped over his groin.
Damian whirled and ran for the stairs. These episodes were always so embarrassing!
Steph sighed and stretched, realizing that she was back to normal and thankfully safe in her own bedroom. She heard Damian run past outside and decided that she'd take a very long, very hot shower.
Dick's plaintive apologies echoed up the stairs.
"Yeah, very long shower," Steph sighed. "At least we managed to get all the uniforms into the Batmobile before we went home."
Tim sighed and stretched. Someone was holding him snugly in his arms. It only took a moment before Tim remembered that it was Jason. By the time he managed to open his eyes and look up, he could tell that Jason was awake and quite aware that Tim was as well.
"Morning, Baby Bird," Jason drawled. "Gonna tell me what that little lick was last night?"
"Should I?" Tim asked with hopefully enough snark that Jason would back off.
He tried to pull out of Jason's arms but one of Jason's legs looped around the back of Tim's thighs, pinning him even more securely. It also aligned their hips better, forcing Tim to be aware of just how hard both of them were.
"Yeah, I think you should," Jason said entirely too seriously for Tim to be able to deflect the question.
"Um, it was a thank you," Tim murmured without meeting Jason's eyes. He tried to get free again but Jason didn't let go. "For um, coming to see if I was okay." Another tug and he still couldn't get free. "All right, fine, it was thank you for not sniffing around Steph."
Jason laughed. He tugged Tim up so that they were nose to nose. The look in his eyes was fond and amused. To Tim's shock he pressed a quick kiss against Tim's lips. Tim made a little noise that should have come from a mouse or maybe from his cat self instead of from a human.
"Thanks for not running me off," Jason murmured.
"We should… get dressed," Tim whispered.
"Yeah, suppose we should," Jason chuckled.
He still held Tim, fingers gently rubbing against Tim's spine until Tim sighed and relaxed against Jason's broad chest. Maybe they could be a little late for breakfast.
Selina woke as the bed shifted under Bruce's abrupt change in size and weight. He yawned and then smiled at Selina. She pulled him close and kissed him. It started out tender and sweet but quickly turned into something a great deal more passionate as Bruce pushed the covers aside to join her under the sheets.
"We should probably go make sure that the children are okay," Selina murmured.
"They're fine," Bruce growled.
She laughed and let him roll her onto her back. It was nice to see that his temporary transformation hadn't affected his personality too much. The kids would have to fend for themselves or, more accurately, Alfred would have to make sure that they were okay. Selina and Bruce had better ways to celebrate their return to humanity.
Chapter 2: The Return of the Kitties
> Jason and Tim encounter the Kitty Mage again. By this point they're both old hat at the transformation into a small fluffy animal thing, even if Jason does find it annoying as all hell.
Jason cursed as he battled his way out from under his jacket. Goddamn leather was way too fucking heavy when that bastard mage did his fucking transformation thing. He made it out and kicked the helmet away with a yowl of outrage that made the mage back up a couple of steps.
"Now, now, kitty," the mage said soothingly. "There's no need to pull the claws out."
"Goddamn wrong there, asshole!" Jason yowled.
The words came out more like 'Grrrawwww-yooooooolllrrrr!' but the meaning was obviously there. He launched himself at the trash bin next to the mage, bouncing off it and kicking hard so that he could leap straight at the asshole's face. Jason didn't quite make it. Instead the mage flung out his arm to protect himself. That was close enough so Jason latched on and started biting and clawing everything he could get his teeth and claws into.
He managed to claw his way up the jerk's shoulder and was just getting ready to rip the fucker's ear off when another dark furry shape flew out of the darkness to clamp onto the mage's ass. That turned the shouts into screams of agony. Jason hung on as the mage wind-milled and then spun around so hard that Jason was nearly flung off.
To his amusement, the moron smacked his head into the trash bin so hard that it rang like a bell. The mage staggered, wobbled and then collapsed face down in the alleyway. Jason took a moment to bat the guy's face, confirming that he had just knocked himself out and then turned to see who would be sharing today's embarrassing transformation incident.
Tim looked back at him, already licking his claws clean with that prissy, disgusted expression that said that he really hated this guy. When Jason growled and kicked the mage in the head before stalking off to bat his helmet over, Tim purred and followed. It took a little effort to tap in the 'kitty incident' code into his comm but pretty quick-like he got a reply from Damian.
"I shall be there shortly," Damian said. "Disembowel him, please."
Jason growled confirmation while Dick objected loudly over the comms and Babs laughed herself sick. He didn't actually do it, only because Tim was right there, frowning at him. Jason wasn't sure why until Tim very gently placed one elegant little paw on his shoulder by the gash he'd taken a few days ago. He would have told Tim to stop being such a worry-wart but no vocal chords made that tough.
Instead he sort of head-butted Tim, rubbing up against the smaller man's, cat's, side. Tim side-eyed him, licking the fur around the cut with a glare that could have stripped paint. He draped himself over Jason's shoulders, all but shouting at Jason to sit the fuck down and let Tim look at the injury. Rolling your eyes as a cat was virtually impossible, Jason ought to know since he'd never figured out how to do it despite practicing one time for almost two hours, but flicking your ears back while puffing the ruff up and flicking your tail conveyed pretty much the exact same thing.
Still, he sat down and let Tim check the gash out. It was good. Jason already knew that. He'd gotten Leslie to stitch the thing up, nice and tight. Besides, it wasn't all that deep. Eventually Tim stopped sniffing and licking at the spot. He did stay draped over Jason's back but it seemed more like he wanted a hug than that he was trying to keep Jason still.
Jason rolled over and caught Tim in his paws, arms, what the fuck ever they should be called right now. Either way, he grabbed Tim and kept on rolling so that Tim ended up trapped underneath him. No surprise, Tim growled and hissed something at him that had to be 'get off, you oaf!' He struggled for a moment before sighing and relaxing under Jason's bulkier body.
While Tim's purr was quiet and discreet, Jason's was loud and obnoxious. He turned it on full blast, already knowing from the time before last that Tim thought his loud purr was funny. By the time Damian showed up Jason thought his teeth were going to rattle loose but Tim was laughing little kitty laughs with his whiskers curled forward around his nose. Damian took one look at the two of them and rolled his eyes. He took care of zip-stripping the mage before gathering up Jason's helmet and clothes.
"I assume that you have a costume around here somewhere, Timothy," Damian said.
Tim wiggled his way out from under Jason, still kitty-laughing. He went to the fire escape and looked up, pointing Damian in the right direction. Inside of three minutes they were carefully perched on the back of Damian's bike as they drove through Gotham. Tim, to Jason's everlasting amusement, had curled up inside of Jason's helmet. Jason wrapped his arms around the helmet and by extension Tim, bracing him as they took corners and then sped up on the way back to the cave.
Tim turned his head around and licked Jason's paw. Jason laughed his version of a kitty-laugh, which was more like a sneeze combined with his whiskers curling and his ears going floppy. His responding long, exaggerated slick against Tim's cheek made him bristle and growl.
"You will not quarrel on my bike," Damian huffed at the two of them. "Save it until we return to the Cave."
He pet each of them in turn, fingers light but knowledgeable. Jason licked one gauntleted finger as it passed, making a face at the horrible taste of whoever Damian had been fighting before the kitty incident call. Both Tim and Damian smirked at him. Jason just flicked an ear at the both of them.
Honestly, he didn't really give a fuck. These incidents were annoying at first, mostly because of not being able to continue the fight properly, but they were kind of fun once he settled into being a cat for a while. It was even better when Tim got transformed with him. Lord knew that it was one of the few times that they really, truly got along with each other.
Not for the first time Jason promised himself that when they changed back he'd make it clear that he wasn't just reacting to the change. He wanted to wake up with Tim by his side every day.
He sighed and set his head on Tim's back. Yeah, right. Like he'd have the balls to do that. Tim twisted around underneath Jason, shifting inside of his helmet until he could hug Jason's neck. He patted Jason's cheek and then touched his nose to Jason's in the next best thing to a kiss that the two of them could manage right now.
All of Jason's fur fluffed out until he felt like he was twice his actual size. He could feel Tim's laughs shaking his sides and Damian was snickering every so quietly. Jason cautiously shook himself as they drove into the Cave, doing his best to let his fur go down again. Before he let Tim get out of the helmet, Jason leaned close and touched his nose to Tim's as well. Tim purred, eyes going to slits.
"Please do not fornicate while in that shape," Damian groaned. "Especially not in front of me."
Jason growled at him, finally letting Tim clamber out of the helmet. They jumped down and headed towards the monitors where Alfred had set out the really good cat food and saucers of milk for the two of them. When Jason gently shoulder-bumped Tim, he purred and lightly bumped back.
Yeah, maybe this would be the time when Jason finally had the guts to say 'I love you'. Because he sure as hell did.
Chapter 3: Kitty Mayhem
Everyone expected Jason and Tim to spend the evening as cats. They'd encountered (and soundly defeated) the Kitty Mage, after all. What no one expected was that the Kitty Mage was rather more annoyed about his defeat than normal, which lead to more kitty antics than anyone was prepared for.
Tim sighed as he stretched as much as he could. Jason was wrapped around him as he always was after one of their transformation incidents. He had to wonder whether there was more to the affection that Jason showed during these incidents than a simple desire for comfort. So far Jason hadn't said anything that led Tim to believe that it was anything deeper so Tim didn't allow himself to hope as he tried to squirm free.
The incoherent grunt was accompanied by Jason's arms tightening around Tim's waist, preventing him from slipping away to the bathroom. Tim squirmed but all that happened was Jason's arms tightening to the point that Tim's bladder screamed at him.
"Jason!" Tim squawked. "Let go!"
"Mmmm?" Jason mumbled.
He jerked at Tim's elbow to his side, finally releasing Tim so that he could escape to the bathroom. The nakedness that always happened after a transformation didn't bother Tim that much anymore. Honestly, he was more bothered by the strangely hesitant look in Jason's eyes. If Tim didn't know better he would say that Jason was conflicted by something.
"Going to shower," Tim said because he had to say something with Jason staring at him that way. "Think anyone else is up?"
"Probably," Jason replied.
His voice came out extra gruff, as if he was upset about something. Tim really wasn't sure what it could be. At least this time they'd managed to keep the Kitty Mage from escaping after he transformed them. That was a benefit. Maybe they'd go for a while without more transformations. He shrugged Jason's odd mood off as he relieved his bladder and then took a nice hot shower. Having fur always made him feel oddly filthy even though Tim knew perfectly well that he couldn't get fleas overnight.
"Uh, Timbo?" Jason said from the door to the bathroom.
"Hmm?" Tim asked. "What's up?"
"I ah, wanted to um, tell you something," Jason said.
Tim turned his head to peer at Jason through the shower curtain only to curse as he got soap in his eyes. He rinsed his face and hair, grumbling at the shampoo and the universe. From the amused snort that came from Jason's direction, Jason realized what had happened and found it funny.
"If it's anything mission related it can wait until I'm dry," Tim said once his eyes stopped burning.
"No, not mission related," Jason said in an oddly hesitant tone that matched his highly nervous expression.
He offered Tim a towel. Jason had put on his jeans but he was naked other than that. Tim smiled and dried off quickly. It truly was odd for Jason to be this hesitant about saying something. The novelty of the situation made him want to chuckle even though Tim knew that it would probably piss Jason off. Just as Tim finished drying his hair and Jason opened his mouth to say whatever it was a very familiar shiver of magic swept over the two of them.
"No!" Jason squawked.
His objection shifted from 'no' to 'mow' as Jason abruptly, and for no reason, transformed back into a cat. Tim didn't have the opportunity to say anything because he shifted forms at the same time. He growled while batting his way out from under the damp towel. Jason hissed and snarled by the doorway, puffed to twice his size in pure aggravation at being so abruptly returned to kitty shape.
Tim sighed and went over to lean against Jason's side. Jason growled, sighed and then licked Tim's cheek. They both looked at Tim's bedroom door. It was securely closed and locked. Getting downstairs to help was going to be a bit more of a challenge than normal.
At least he had Jason at his side. Between Tim's dexterity and Jason's bulk they should be able to figure something out.
"Good morning, Alfred!" Dick beamed as he bounced his way into the kitchen where Alfred was laying out breakfast for the family.
"Good morning, Master Dick," Alfred said. "You're rather cheerful this morning."
"Everyone's home!" Dick exclaimed with every bit of the delight he felt. "Even Cass is here for a visit. We should have a barbeque this afternoon. We haven't done that in ages."
"I shall approach Master Bruce about the possibility," Alfred said.
His eyes wrinkled in that not-smile that meant that he really, really, really liked the idea. Dick headed into the kitchen to get the milk and juice. He could distantly hear Damian being courteously snappish with Cass. Her single syllable replies sounded amused. Bruce wouldn't be to breakfast right away. Last night he'd said something about needing to make a call to Lucius in the morning. Probably, the last people to the table would be Jason and Tim. They always cuddled after a kitty incident.
"Do you think we could have chocolate chip cooowww?"
The world abruptly grew around Dick, sending him down to the ground in a heap of clothing that was way too familiar. He batted his way out of his old T-Shirt and jeans to stare up at Alfred who looked at least as shocked as Dick was by the sudden transformation. Dick looked at his hand, jerking as he realized that he was a cat again. It was a paw.
"How?" Dick asked. It came out 'mow' but Alfred being Alfred he seemed to understand it.
"I have no idea, Master Dick," Alfred said. He knelt down and gathered up Dick's clothes, allowing Dick to ride on his shoulders despite the way Dick's long fur would cover his jacket. "This is most unusual."
"Mooooow," Dick complained.
He looked at the breakfast table with all its wonderful food. No breakfast. No lunch. Probably no barbeque on the lawn either. Alfred's hand brushed over his head comfortingly.
"I shall have to prepare a different breakfast, I suppose," Alfred sighed. "Perhaps we should check on the others, Master Dick."
"Rowr!" Dick gasped, tightening his claws into Alfred's shoulder only to release them when Alfred frowned. "Mmmmmrrrrrr."
"No, I have no idea what may have happened either," Alfred sighed. "But I do believe some investigation is in order."
"Mmmr-rrr!" Dick agreed.
He licked Alfred's cheek, grooming the impeccable little sideburn. Three licks later Alfred's hand settled on Dick's nose. Dick tried purring and batting his eyes innocently but Alfred's face was stern and his hand absolutely forbade Dick from any more grooming behavior. Rather than try and argue it any further Dick sighed and let his chin settle on Alfred's shoulder.
"Very good, Master Richard," Alfred said in his mildly scolding tone of voice. "Let us go and locate the others to see if they have been similarly afflicted."
"Mow," Dick agreed.
Hopefully it was just him but given their luck it would be everyone. The weird thing was changing without being anywhere near the Kitty Mage. This was very different from his normal modus operandi which meant that anything at all could happen. Hopefully they wouldn't be stuck for too terribly long.
Cass smiled at Damian as they went down the stairs to breakfast. He was talking about Tim and all the ways that he was not worthy of anyone's attention but his body language said 'lonely', 'frightened of being unworthy' and 'don't show the crush'. Later, once Tim and Jason were done with whatever they were doing this morning, Cass would have to verify that Tim understood that Damian's hostility was based in his insecurities rather than anything more serious. Of course, with Damian's skills it was still quite dangerous but not as dangerous as it would be otherwise.
When Cass stepped on the landing to the first floor the world abruptly shifted around her, swinging upwards at an alarming rate. She tried to catch herself but her body was wrong, different, and far too small. Damian made an alarmed yowl that Cass recognized only after she found herself standing on all fours underneath a heavy swathe of black fabric.
"Mrr-rrrgh-roowrrr!" Damian growl-hissed. There were sounds as if Damian was clawing fabric into shreds off to her right.
Cass stayed perfectly still under her fabric. This could not be. She could not have become a cat. No. Her whole body was shaking and there were claws where her fingers should be, each of them digging into the fabric and carpet underneath her in intriguing ways. Part of her mind focused on how she could use those claws to destroy the Kitty Mage but most of her being was focused on staying perfectly still so that she wouldn't have to admit that this had happened.
"Mow?" Damian asked, much more hesitantly.
His nose touched Cass' side through the fabric, making her jump and hiss at him. Damian hissed back only to latch his little claws into the fabric covering Cass. He tugged and pulled until Cass was revealed. She was bluish gray or her paws were. Her arms were covered with white fur. When she finally dared to turn and stare at her rear end she had a long, elegant bluish-gray tail.
"I see that this has been a more widespread effect," Alfred sighed from the foot of the stairs. "Miss Cassandra you are quite the most elegant seal point Siamese I've seen in quite some time. Master Damian, if you would escort Miss Cassandra to the kitchen I will return shortly with the rest of the family. Hopefully."
Alfred quite wisely didn't attempt to pet Cass or Damian. Dick was draped over his shoulders as if he intended to stay there forever. He flicked on ear at Cass and Damian, sighing and then purring briefly as if to reassure Cass. All Alfred did do was collect Cass' no longer useful clothing and weapons along with Damian's somewhat shredded hoodie.
Damian came over and very gently put one paw on Cass' shoulder. He had to go up on his hind legs to do it. Even though he was now a kitten, Damian's body language was perfectly clear. He asked without words whether Cass was all right, if there was anything he could do to help, in a way that conveyed hesitation that was far more appropriate to his actual age than his normal behavior.
Cass shuddered and then shook herself all over. She picked up one paw and stared at the claws, trying to convey that she wasn't sure what to do with herself now. Damian's ears came up and his tail twitched with enough mischief that Cass blinked at him. He huffed in a cat version of his normal 'tt' before turning and leaping down three steps, then three steps more. He turned and looked back at Cass challengingly.
She looked at the distance he had just covered, calculating in her head just how much more strength and agility he had to have to be able to have done it. Her tail started twitching. Cass dug her claws into the carpet for a moment before she allowed herself to run in circles on the landing. That gave her enough of an assessment of her new body's abilities that she leaped up the stairs towards the second floor.
Two jumps took her all the way to the top of the stairway and then another three took her back down. Impacts were much easier on her body which made Cass purr a little. Damian huffed and then took off like a little brown and black striped demon, tearing down the hallway with Cass on his heels.
Maybe being turned into a cat wasn't that bad after all, Cass thought as she jumped and impacted with the kitchen door, knocking it open for the two of them.
Steph sighed as she woke up. When she rolled over she realized that no, that wasn't a rogue fur coat she was lying on. She was furry. Three quick blinks showed her that no, she hadn't been knocked out on patrol and transformed by the Kitty Mage. No, she wasn't in a cage. She was in her room at the manor.
"Miss Stephanie," Alfred said from the door, one hand on Dick's nose to keep him from grooming his hair, "are you quite all right?"
"Mrrrr," Steph rumbled at him.
No way was she going to deal with the others, not when she could spend the whole day napping with impunity. Let the others figure this out. Steph was staying in bed. She grabbed the blankets and pulled them up so that she had a nice nest. Alfred smiled and nodded, leaving her door partially open as he bowed respectfully.
"Very well, Miss Stephanie," Alfred said. "I will bring some food up for you shortly. Enjoy your nap."
Steph purred in his general direction before curling around her tail and falling back asleep.
Alfred encountered Master Bruce on the way to Master Timothy's bedroom. They had retired there last night so Alfred expected that they were still in the room. Master Bruce was also a feline, a very disgruntled feline who was dragging his cell phone in his mouth. He stopped by Alfred's feet and glared up at him impatiently.
"Down you go, Master Dick," Alfred said as he retrieved the phone.
"Hello?" Lucius said as if he'd been trying to communicate with Master Bruce for quite some time.
"Ah, Master Fox," Alfred said. "My apologies. Master Bruce appears to have been taken by a sudden case of laryngitis. I'm afraid he will not be able to continue his conversation with you."
Silence stretched long enough that Alfred wasn't sure whether Lucius would accept the proffered explanation. The sound that Lucius made was something akin to a laugh being swallowed, or perhaps one being bludgeoned to death before it could emerge.
"He did sound kind of hoarse when we started talking, Alfred," Lucius said, amusement ringing clear in his voice. "Make sure he takes it easy for a couple of days, will you? I'd hate for him to get really sick."
"I shall endeavor to do so," Alfred said, equally amused. He had to wonder if Lucius realized exactly what had happened. His daughters were quite fond of cats. It was quite possible that he had recognized the growls that Master Bruce had made while carrying the phone in his mouth. "Thank you for your concern."
They said their goodbyes. Alfred rather suspected that Lucius would spend the next several minutes laughing over the situations that Master Bruce got himself into but that was neither here nor there. Plausible deniability ensured that they would never directly discuss the situation. While Lucius had never directly confirmed that he was well aware of Master Bruce's nighttime activities it was quite clear that he had known for quite some time.
"I believe that everything will be fine with Master Fox, Master Bruce," Alfred said.
Master Bruce growled confirmation while pinning Master Dick so that he couldn't groom Master Bruce's fur. Both of them started when Master Timothy's door opened without Alfred touching it. As he was quite aware that the door had been locked from the inside, Alfred was somewhat surprised that Master Jason and Master Timothy had managed to open it.
The rolling office chair, scarf and letter opener that Master Timothy had used to liberate them were easily returned to their places in Master Timothy's room. Alfred sighed. It seemed that he would have to call Mistress Selina to visit before calling the Justice League for their assistance in determining the source of this unexpected transformation.
"Well, I believe it is time for breakfast, gentlemen," Alfred said to the assembled family. "If you will be so kind as to follow me? Mistress Stephanie has declined to come down to breakfast. I would recommend being somewhat cautious when we reach the main floor. Mistress Cassandra was transformed this time and she seemed rather… perturbed by her new body."
"Mowr?" Master Bruce asked so forcefully that he had to be asking why Alfred had left her alone.
"She is with Master Damian, Master Bruce," Alfred said. "I rather doubt that Mistress Cassandra will cause too much… trouble."
He paused as a very loud, very expensive sounding crash echoed up from the first floor. All of his charges bolted towards the stairs to stop whatever Master Damian and Mistress Cassandra were doing. Alfred sighed, pulling out Master Bruce's phone. To his relief, Mistress Selina answered immediately.
"Bruce!" Selina said happily enough that Alfred allowed himself to relax somewhat. "To what do I owe the honor?"
"I am afraid that I require your help, Mistress Selina," Alfred said. Several more very expensive sounding crashes echoed from below. "We have another kitty incident."
"What?" Selina squawked. "But Aaron's in jail, Alfred!"
"I am afraid that in this case it does not seem to matter, Mistress Selina," Alfred sighed. "If you would be so kind as to make your way here swiftly? I seem to have several large messes to clean up in the kitchen."
"Oh dear, I'll be right there," Selina said. "Good luck!"
She hung up before Alfred could thank her. Alfred tucked the phone away into his pocket before making his way downstairs with all haste. He wouldn't say that he ran but it was a very near thing. Whatever his charges were doing had best not be as messy as he thought it was. When he opened the door everyone froze.
Somehow Mistress Cassandra and Master Damian had managed to open the refrigerator, spilling the majority of its contents onto the floor. The food that had been prepared for breakfast was now scattered across the floor as well, as if it had not met with their approval. Master Bruce had syrup on his head and paws. Master Timothy was soaked with what appeared to be milk and tea. Master Jason had Master Damian pinned under one massive jam-covered paw despite Master Damian's efforts to escape.
And Mistress Cassandra, completely untouched by any of the spilled food, was perched on top of the kitchen cabinets, eyeing everyone underneath her with her amusement rather than her normal inscrutable expression. It faded into a rather more chagrined look when Alfred glared at her. Alfred had to believe that she was most directly responsible for the mess given how untouched she was. Besides, she had the mass and strength to cause this level of damage while Master Damian did not.
"Mistress Cassandra," Alfred said in his most stern tones, "I would appreciate it if in the future you would restrain yourself while in my kitchen."
"Mooowww," Mistress Cassandra apologized, ears back and tail tucked underneath her in apology.
"Let's get you down," Alfred said. "I believe that the others will need baths before breakfast."
"This happens… frequently?" Diana asked, most of her mind preoccupied with contemplating the Bats as cats rather than focused on the conversation.
She watched Clark teasing the Siamese that Alfred said was Cassandra with the corner of his cape. Her vertical leap height was highly impressive. If Clark wasn't careful he was going to have a face full of cat claws very soon. The brown and black striped kitten that was apparently Damian had curled up between another, somewhat darker, brown and black striped cat's paws. That one was supposed to be Timothy Drake. A big burly tom with a white stripe of fur over his eyes sat behind them, watching the room as if he was their protector. He was apparently Jason Todd.
Bruce was in Selina Kyle's lap, grumbling so exactly like his human self that Diana had no problems whatsoever accepting that this was Batman in cat form. And Dick's true identity was quite obvious but Diana was relatively certain that she would recognize his graceful sprawl anywhere. Having it happen across her lap along with little whimpers for belly petting was rather… odd.
"About every month and a half or so," Selina said thoughtfully. She pet Bruce as if unaware of what her hand was doing. For once he didn't look as though he objected to the physical contact. "Aaron, the Kitty Mage, is relatively harmless. He never does much damage and frankly, his spells are pretty minor. He changes people into cats so that he can escape. That's about it."
"The oddity is that he needs to be in close proximity to his subject," Alfred said with a severe enough frown that Diana had to take this situation somewhat seriously. "In this case they transformed without ever being near him. I suspect that something more significant is occurring."
Selina's nod was as serious, prompting Diana's hand to pause on Dick's fluffy belly. At almost the same moment Cassandra managed to leap high enough to wrap her paws around Clark's arm. He laughed and scooped her up, grinning in delight as she blinked and then clambered onto his shoulder.
"We can call Zatanna in," Clark offered, proving that he had actually been listening to the conversation despite his play with Cassandra. "She might be able to figure out what happened."
"That would be most welcome," Alfred said with a gracious nod of his head.
The next several hours were quite surreal. Bruce and Timothy offered their opinions in growls, meows and purrs that almost language despite their lack of vocal chords. Diana had to doubt occasionally that Dick was actually Dick Grayson because he seemed entirely a cat until Damian did something in appropriate with pillows, a vase and several paperclips. Then Nightwing emerged from the fluff to chastise Damian for his behavior.
Which was quickly followed by Damian struggling against Dick grooming him.
"This is so odd," Diana murmured to Zatanna once she arrived.
"Hmm, well, there does appear to be a spell on them," Zatanna said while nodding her agreement. "Unfortunately it's not one that I can remove."
Every single cat in the room froze, eyes wide and ears pointed straight at Zatanna. All the casualness about the transformation had disappeared. Zatanna sighed as she gestured somewhat aimlessly towards them all despite Bruce's rising growl and Jason's steadily poofing out fur.
"This is actually a curse," Zatanna said. "It's very deeply set. Jason Blood might be able to help you deal with it but it's beyond my capacity."
"What, exactly, have they been cursed with?" Selina asked. She very carefully did not pet Bruce as she spoke.
"They will be cats for a full twenty-four hours every twenty-eight days," Zatanna said with a little sigh. "It starts at noon and lasts until the following noon. I'm sorry but there's not much that I can do about this. I can do some research if you'd like."
Selina took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Damian was hissing and snarling as if he wanted to tear someone into little bitty shreds. Cassandra sighed from her place on Clark's shoulder. Timothy growled deep in his chest but only his tail's thrashing showed how annoyed he was about the situation. Behind him, Jason's fur was so poofed out that he looked twice his original size. His ears had entirely disappeared from being so tight against his skull. Dick was the only one who looked cheerful about the situation, ears up, tail wagging and an excited look in his eyes.
"Groww," Bruce growled at them all. It was close enough to 'go' that his intent was perfectly obvious but he jerked his chin at the door, plainly dismissing them.
"There may be more that we can--" Diana began to say.
She stopped when Bruce growled and glared at her so fiercely that it was like looking at Batman in one of his snits. Rather than argue the issue, Diana shrugged and headed for the door. They would need to inform the Justice League of this new situation. Behind her Zatanna apologized one more time while Clark pet Cassandra before carefully depositing her on the floor.
"That was awkward," Zatanna murmured once they left the Manor.
"Very much so," Diana agreed. "I am not looking forward to Wally's reaction to the news."
Zatanna's nearly hysterical laughter didn't help Diana's mood at all.
Jason looked at the clock: 4 pm. They had another twenty hours before they would be human again. He was tempted to curse the same way that Damian was but Tim got up and jumped off the couch to stalk towards the door so Jason followed him. Steph came in as Tim headed out with Jason on his heels. She blinked at the two of them, Damian's cursing and Bruce's fierce glower before looking at Alfred.
"I am afraid that this appears to be a curse, Mistress Stephanie," Alfred sighed. "Everyone will be transforming for twenty-four hours every twenty-eight days unless a cure can be found."
Steph's fur puffed out as she stared at Alfred in horror. The horror disappeared when Cass leaped across the room to tackle Steph and knock her to the floor. Cass's tail was wiggling with excitement that quickly had Steph's whiskers curling with amusement. When Dick barreled at them they both squeaked and then ran for the stairs.
"Not in the house!" Alfred snapped so sternly that Dick tripped and face-planted. "If you wish to run and play you will repair to the Cave. I will not have a repeat of breakfast, Mistress Cassandra."
Cass had the grace to look guilty about the absolute disaster she'd made of the kitchen. When Alfred led everyone towards the elevator Tim turned and headed up the stairs for his room. Jason hesitated for a moment and then followed him despite the grumpy glare he got from Tim. Once in the room Tim tried to bat the door shut. Jason's weight made the door swing until it was just shy of closed, which should let them get back out again.
"Mrr?" Jason asked, yet again wishing for his fucking goddamned vocal chords. He'd finally worked up the nerve to confess to Tim and this crap happened.
"Grrrr…" Tim grumbled.
He looked longingly at his computer before heading for his unmade bed. Jason blinked, looked at Tim and then at his computer with its perfectly legible keyboard and then ran over to pat urgently at Tim's shoulder. Instead of curiosity, he got a glare that could have stripped paint. When Jason patted harder Tim growled and swiped his claws at Jason. They didn't connect, obviously weren't intended to, but the threat was obvious.
"MOW!" Jason shouted.
When Tim started, Jason ran over to the computer desk, jumping up. It took a moment for Tim to sigh and follow suit but they ended up on opposite sides of Tim's keyboard. Jason batted it a little so that it would shift enough that he could reach all the keys. Tim's ears swiveled at him in such obvious confusion that Jason purred a little in amusement.
Jason tapped the 'I' key delicately with one extended claw. His paws were big enough that if he didn't use his claws Tim might not realize what Jason was trying to say. Tim blinked and nodded that he'd gotten that. Next Jason tapped the space bar, then 'L', 'O', 'V', 'E'. He didn't quite dare look up to make sure that Tim was watching until he'd gotten the whole word plus a tap of the spacebar.
This time Tim's ears were back and his eyes were wide as saucers. His tail was straight out behind him and so poofed that it looked three times its normal size. Jason licked his lips, well, snout, and then very carefully reached over to tap Tim's nose.
Tim sneezed, jerked, shifted his feet, looked anywhere but Jason for a moment and then finally stared back at Jason with the most obvious 'really?' on his face that Jason had ever seen. Jason nodded and hesitantly crossed the desk to lick Tim's cheek the way he had on when they were riding Damian's bike last night.
The sound Tim made was somewhere between a moan and a whine. His whole body shook as he leaned into Jason's side, rubbing up against him as though he was marking his territory. Hell, Jason was totally fine with that so he followed suit. They ended up curled together by Tim's keyboard, Tim draped half over Jason while purring so quietly that it was more a vibration than a sound. When Tim glared at the clock and then at his keyboard Jason laughed. Another lick to Tim's cheek made him calm down though it was obvious that he wanted to talk about Jason's revelation in great detail. They ended up sleeping for an hour or so before Alfred appeared at the door.
"Master Timothy, Master Jason," Alfred said. "I have prepared a meal for you all in the Cave. If you would be so good as to follow me?"
Jason shrugged one ear at Tim's questioning look. He could eat. Tim nodded. Riding in the elevator was a little weird. The vibrations of it were way more noticeable as a cat than as a human. Once there Tim laughed his kitty version of the sneeze-laugh, the one that basically was a laugh strangled to death before it could emerge.
Cass and Steph were chasing each other around the Cave, obviously having the time of their lives. Bruce was sitting on Selina's lap while glaring at Dick who was trying to use sad kitty eyes to steal Bruce's spot for more petting. Jason couldn't find Damian at first until he spotted his little brown and black tail sticking out from under one of the consoles. When Jason looked he couldn't see what Damian had found that was so fascinating. At least not until Damian slowly backed out with a catnip mouse firmly gripped in his teeth.
"Oh dear," Alfred said at the same time that Selina gasped.
Bruce barked a gruff meow that made him sound like a dog at the same time that Dick poofed out in fear. Jason sort of expected that Dick would try and take the catnip mouse away but he looked terrified to even get close to the thing. When Damian experimentally shook his head with the mouse in his mouth Steph and Cass both froze.
Damian dropped the mouse, patting it with one paw. His expression looked perplexed, then frustrated before settling on an insulted superior expression that was so close to his normal look that Jason wanted to snort. He growled and batted the mouse over to Tim and Jason, who stared at it. When Jason sniffed the thing the familiar high of catnip made his head spin a little bit before Alfred's hand came down to pick the mouse up.
"I guess superior genes don't allow for a reaction to catnip," Selina commented with a shaky voice that was full of enough relief that Jason wished he could laugh out loud.
"Mrrr," Damian stated in a really good approximation of his normal 'tt'.
Jason watched Damian closely, Tim by his shoulder, and then laughed under his breath when he realized that Damian was leaning very slightly to the left and walking in a very broad circle instead of a straight line. Damian made it about four yards before abruptly collapsing onto his side and falling asleep. The kid might be able to hide his response but he was affected at least a little. Tim's whiskers were twitching with amusement too. They shared a look full of laughter and more affection that Jason had any right to expect before going to get some food.
This was going to suck every month but at least he'd finally managed to tell Tim that he loved him. There was a hell of a lot more that Jason wanted to say, that he knew Tim needed to know, but they had time. Hopefully before next month they'd even find a cure for the curse so that none of them had to spend the day wreaking mayhem as kitties instead of people.