To say the world was quieter when Yuri was a cat probably wasn't a correct statement, but it felt that way to Yuri. Even with his heightened senses making the world over saturated with sensory stimulation, maybe it was simply that his mind was quieter.
None of the messy human emotions like jealousy or love or sadness bothered him while he was in his cat form.
Or so he thought.
The DENIED stamp on Otabek's form was blood red, actually, it was quite possible that it was blood.
This was Otabek's third time getting denied for his witch license, without it he couldn't legally sell his charms and potions. Of course he could still sell them illegally like he had been, but the local covens had been cracking down on illegal witchcraft lately, and Otabek didn't want his head to be the next on their, probably, metaphorical chopping block.
He was told his choices for improving his chances of getting his license were as followed;
-Capture the heart of a dragon, either by killing it of mating with it
-Astral projecting to the fifth dimension
-Getting a familiar
-Taking a vow of eternal silence
-Obtaining the other twelve senses
-Getting a letter of recommendation from a local deity
Otabek was still deliberating which he'd choose, an eternal vow of silence don't sound so bad. Although it might make communicating with his customers a bit harder.
Otabek left the DMW, the department of magic and witchcraft, with his head hung low and began the long trek to where he'd parked his motorcycle.
As he rounded a corner Otabek passed by an alleyway, where his luck would have it, an alley cat launched himself onto his face.
Otabek sputtered as a grey ball of fur climbed onto his shoulder and hissed at the group of alley cats the had formed around him.
"Go away, leave," Otabek tried to shoo the other cats away while balancing the grey cat on his shoulder.
The alley cats, however, could not be so easily swayed to leave.
Otabek, after quickly checking that there were no humans around, conjured a gust of wind to send them on their way.
The grey cat leapt of his shoulder, seemingly pleased that the threat was gone.
Otabek thought it was a rather handsome cat for a stray. It was slender and in the sun looked more blue than grey, the most curious thing about him was his emerald eyes that gleamed with intelligence.
Apparently more intelligence than Otabek expected.
"Thanks for the save witch," it said, his curled lips forming words that should be anatomically impossible for a normal cat.
"You're not a real cat. What are you? Werecat?" Otabek asked as he brushed the remaining fur off his jacket.
"What a rude question, you didn't even ask my name first," the cat replied.
"Um I'm sorry, what's your name?"
"Oh no," the cat said in a stern voice, "it's too late now. I'm too offended. Only your first born or a bowl of milk can make me forgive you for your great misdeed."
Otabek, who was not born yesterday, knew that the cat was pulling his leg. But since he was possibly in the market for a familiar he decided to oblige him.
"Alright, a bowl of milk it is."
The cat looked surprised, but shrugged it off. Or at least Otabek thought he shrugged, he's not sure what cats shrugging looks like.
Otabek scooped the grey cat up and zipped him into his jacket as he mounted his motorcycle.
The cat purred as the wind blew on his face.
Yuri had to admit the witch was hot. Yuri also had to admit that entering a stranger's house, even his they were hot and promised him milk, was not one of his brightest ideas.
But Yuri had the instincts of a cat and none of them were telling him that this witch was a threat.
Plus it's been a few weeks since he had started fighting with the alley cats over territory, it was nice to have a little bit of peace.
The only noise in the otherwise quiet kitchen was the sound of an old cuckoo clock ticking away, instead of numbers on the face though there were phases of the moon which Yuri thought was strange.
Yuri was on his third bowl of milk before the witch broke the silence.
"My name is Otabek by the way," he began, "has the milk made up for me not asking your name yet?"
Yuri lazily licked his paw, "normally no, but I'll let you off easy this time. My name is Yuri and I'm a shapeshifter."
The only response from Otabek was a raise of his eyebrows. He probably thought Yuri was a werecat or some type of lower level fey.
"Shapeshifters are rare," he said in a voice Yuri couldn't place.
He flicked his tail in annoyance, "Are you saying I'm lying?"
Otabek raised his hands in defense, "No not at all, I was just surprised. Look I actually had an ulterior motive for being you here-"
Yuri raised his hackles.
"Wait no. I- I need a familiar."
Yuri huffed at this, "so you thought all you needed was a few bowls of milk and some peace and quiet to convince me? Sorry bud I'm a little more high maintenance than that."
"Name your price," Otabek said in a serious voice.
"Three- no four meals a day."
"My own room?"
"And I don't have to help you with any spells I don't want to do."
Otabek's brows furrowed, "that's a given for any familiar."
Was Yuri crazy for actually considering this? He licked his paw in an effort to appear nonchalant, "I'll need the night to think it over."
Otabek tried not to let his half smile show, "you're welcome to stay here for the night, no strings attached."
Yuri nodded at this, too relieved at the fact he got to sleep in a real bed with a roof over his head for tonight.
"I'll show you to your possibly future room then," Otabek said getting up from the kitchen table.
Yuri followed him up the creaky stairs to a cozy spare bedroom. Otabek explained that his room was down the hall if he needed anything.
Yuri jumped on the bed with all the grace of, well a cat, and circled around it a few times before lying down. The mattress was plush and smelled of lavender.
Yuri could hear rain falling outside and he smirked knowing he didn't have to worry about staying dry.
I could get used to this, Yuri thought before he fell asleep.