Jak is the latest in a long line of babysitterse to look after Calex for the night. When asking questions Jak learned apparently the previous sitters were ‘fluffed up’ and becomes quite curious as to what that means.
Jak had been warned to be weary of his charge. Yet, as the jackalope looked down at the orange kitten, not even as tall as his knees, looking up at him with hopeful eyes that seemed to just radiate innocence it was hard to imagine such a small kitten would be capable of trouble.
“You’re the new babysitter?” Calex asked. Unlike Jak who had a tank top and shorts on over his tan and cream fur, the orange kitten wore no clothing whatsoever. “I thought we had run out.”
“What’s that supposed to me?” Jak asked with a wry smile. “Don’t tell me you ran off your other sitters.”
“No, most of them come by pretty often just to hang out now.” Calex seemed confused by the accusation. “But Odin won’t let them babysit anymore.”
“Uh huh.” Jack gave the kitten a look. “So, it’s the sitter’s fault?”
“They didn’t do anything wrong.” Calex shrugged. “Odin just doesn’t think they’re capable enough anymore.”
“So, what’d you do to them” Jak’s rabbit ears twitched, now genuinely curious about what had happened to the previous sisters.
“Not much, you know we just played games and stuff and sometimes people just wind up getting fluffed up.” The kitten explained.
“Fluffed up?” Jak echoed.
“Yup.” The kitten nodded. “We were just playing.”
“I’m sure you were.” Jak gave the kitten a sarcastic grin. But, the more the little guy talked the more he began to wonder what exactly went down with the other sitters. ‘Fluffed up’ wasn’t exactly a common term people used. “So, what’d you do after they were fluffed up?”
“Oh, you know! Just kind of ran around! Played tag. Wrestled. Chased each other around the house. Normal play stuff. Normal stuff I do with other kids my age. Sometimes we have adventures and become knights and go fight dragons, or go be dragons. Same type of stuff all kids do.”
“Is that so?” The explanation got chuckle out of Jak. “Sounds to me like your previous sitters were pretty indulging to you.”
“Yeah, I mean after getting fluffed up they wanted to play too.” Calex nodded.
“You make it sound so nice.” Jak knew he wasn’t getting the full picture. But, it sounded like the kitten was just exceptionally playful with a very active imagination. “Must be nice to be ‘fluffed up’ and not have a care in the world.”
“It is!” Calex nodded eagerly. “You want to try?”
“Eh?” This was not something Jak had been expecting. Despite talking about how it happened to the other sitters, he assumed well… He wasn’t sure what he assumed, but figured that the previous ones had just played with the kitten.
“You’ll be super cute and huggable!” Calex added.
“Implying that there’s anyone out there who wouldn’t already want to hug me?” The jackalope crossed his arms and stuck his tongue out.
“Okay then…” Calex paused for a moment. “More huggable?” He tried.
“As if that’s possible.” Jak snickered. “But alright, I’m curious, fluff me up captain!”
“Aye aye!” And with that Calex took off running on all fours and disappeared from the living room. Jak waited for a minute, and then a second, and then a third. The kitten had not reappeared.
“Going to be honest that was not the reaction I was expecting.” Jak watched the hallway, almost a little concerned that the kitten had vanished. “Calex?” He called after him as he took a few steps towards the hallway.
“Up here.” Calex’s voice came directly from above Jak. The kitten was currently sitting perched on a blade of the ceiling fan. He had some kind of vial of blue liquid in his hand that was currently biting at the cork trying to remove.
“Wait… When… How… Why are you up there?” Jak stared up at the kitten.
“Air ducts.” Calex explained. “Were faster and easier to get out of the lab after security turned on, wound up climbing up to the attic and dropping down here. Which is perfect position cause soon as I get this cork off…” The kitten’s tail dangled off the edge of the fan, almost looking like a third pull chain on the fan.
“Some elaboration may be required.” Jak reached up and grabbed the kitten’s tail gently, intending to pull him down from the fan before he hurt himself. “I feel like you’re not giving me the full tail.” Sadly, Jak did not have a chance to savor his clever wordplay, or see if it got a reaction from the kitten, because at that moment there was a popping sound as the cork came loose. And then the blue liquid poured down from the fan directly onto Jak’s head. “Gah!” He had just enough time to try to throw up his hands to block some of the liquids before his vision got blurry. He was overcome with a sense of vertigo… And then he felt himself fall to the floor.
“Meow.” Calex’s voice, or mewling, could be heard, though Jak still had his eyes closed.
“Squeak…” Jak wasn’t sure just how long he had been out, or if he had even been out and was actually just extremely disoriented. Either way he tried to reach a hand up to rub the back of his head and noticed several things wrong all at once. For starters, he couldn’t actually move his arm with the proper range of motion to rub the back of his head. He could get the top of his head at least… Which was problem number two. He felt his antlers, which were now just tiny nubs. Then there was the fact he had tried to speak and only an adorable squeaking noise came out. After that, there was the fact that he felt some kind of heavy fabric covering most of him. Finally, when he opened his eyes he noticed the final thing wrong. Calex, was currently down on all fours, looking no different from an ordinary feral kitten. And Jak was eye level with him. “Squeak?”
“Meow!” Calex reached up a paw and booped Jak on the nose. Jak not having been expecting this flailed his forepaws, and he realized they were forepaws not hands, trying to knock Calex’s paw away and fell backwards onto the fabric that was entangling him.
“Squeaaaak?” Jak quickly got up and climbed out of the fabric to look at what he was seeing. It was his own tank top, though much bigger. And his shorts weren’t laying much further away on the ground. Given the feral kitten in front of him and all the evidence it wasn’t hard to put together what had happened. Jak had been reduced from an anthro to a feral jackalope! And also apparently made a lot younger based on the fact that his one proud antlers were now tiny nubs.
“Mew!” Calex booped Jak on the nose again, trying to get his attention.
“Squeak!” Jak objected as he climbed back up onto all fours. If this was what being ‘fluffed up’ meant it was no wonder that the previous babysitters were in no state to watch over the kitten. They’d likely need their own babysitters now. Or petsitters? Jak paused. He was sure there was a joke or pun he could make here and-
“MEOW!” But Calex would not be ignored. The kitten was demanding of attention, and clearly wanted to play with the freshly regressed and feralized jackalope.
“Squeak!” Jak hopped forward closer to Calex, ready to teach him a lesson. He wasn’t sure what lesson, but he was still processing everything that had happened and would come up with something when he caught the kitten.
“Mew!” Calex nimbly leaped backwards and stuck his tongue out.
And with that… It was on.
Jak ran full speed for Calex. Rather than turn and run away the kitten ran towards Jak, and leaped over the jackalope forcing Jak to try to come to a stop, spinning on his haunches as he redirected himself to face the kitten. Calex had leaped up onto the coffee table, apparently thinking having the high ground would give him some advantage. Cats were good jumpers after all.
But rabbits were better. And by extension also jackalopes. Maybe it was a good thing Jak couldn’t talk right now, he wasn’t coming up with the best zingers.
Jak leaped onto the table after Calex, who then leaped to the couch and ran across it. Jak followed the kitten, across the couch, then down under the coffee table, into the kitchen, up onto the cabinet, back down and eventually back into a bedroom where he finally cornered the kitten and tackled him, pinning the orange kitten to the ground.
“Mroooow!” Calex objected and squirmed trying to free himself.
“Squeeeak.” Jack tried to make bunny noises that were as menacing as possible. In his head he told himself he was doing a good job. There was no one there that could tell him different. Now that he had finally caught the kitten, justice could be served. During the entire chase he had figured out exactly how he was going to teach the kitten a lesson.
“Squeak.” Jak squeaked as if to say ‘you’re it’ as he gently booped Calex’s own nose with a paw. And then he took off running at full speed.
“M-m-meow!?” Calex was in disbelief. The nerve! To think someone would just boop his snoot like that! What made them think that was acceptable? He was so stunned it took him a minute to realize he was letting Jak get away. Turns out jackaclopes, much like kittens, were not only great jumpers but quite quick on their paws. The kitten quickly recovered, pulling himself back upright onto all fours, and broke into a full sprint chasing Jak throughout the house.
The sounds of squeaks and mews flooded the household as the two chased each other. Anytime one was caught, nose boops of vengeance would be delivered and the chase would reverse as the other party now sought to boop in revenge. By this point, Jak had completely forgotten he was supposed to be babysitting the kitten. He was far to wrapped up in this game of boop tag and having a blast. If this was being ‘fluffed up’ he should have done it ages ago.
Magical critters or not, the two were still cubs, and so eventually they ran out of energy. Collapsing on top of each other on top of Jak’s discarded clothing in the living room. It made for a warm bed, and neither one could remember who had booped who last. They would both claim to have won, but neither was capable of speech. And neither had the energy to argue. The two curled up atop each other, Jak resting his head on Calex’s belly, and Calex with his hind legs on Jak’s back. And like that, both of them were off to dreamland, where things made slightly more sense than at Calex’s residence.
They were still asleep when Calex’s owner returned home. The wolf opened the front door and saw the two sleeping cubs in the middle of the living room.
“Again huh?” Odin gave a wry smile. It wasn’t as if he expected any different. At least it seemed like they always had fun. If past experiences were anything to go by they’d be waking up soon and both would be hungry, so he headed to the kitchen to start working on dinner.
The sound of pots and pans being moved around roused Jak from his slumber while Calex still slept. He blinked a few times, realized Odin was home, and remembered what he was supposed to be doing. Well, technically he had kept watch of Calex all day. And it had been fun, he’d be happy to come back and doo it again. But, he suspected as he was now it might be a bit before he’d get hired as a sitter again. Well, he’d probably get back to normal eventually. In the meantime, might as well have some fun. He looked to the kitten who was still asleep, slowly reached up a paw and…