When babysitting Calex, Aurum instigates a game of Transformation Ray Gun Tag. But when curses stack on top of scientific transformations it produces weird but not unwanted results.
Tonight would be a full moon. That meant that werekittens were at their most mischievous. Despite that, Aurum was certain that this time he was going to pull one over on his charge that he had come to babysit. The white and gold tiger had done this job a lot by now. There weren’t too many people who were repeat babysitters for Calex. Mostly because most of them would rather be his playmates after their first visit. The little orange werekitten had a habit of making friends his own age, in that people he knew tended to get a lot younger. Aurum was one of the repeat sitters who still had returned to his normal form each time after babysitting the kitten.
He was always ready to clear his schedule when he was needed. Some people might guess by his readiness and reaction that Aurum specifically enjoyed the shenanigans he got into with Calex, and only allowed himself to be changed back to normal so he could go through them again. A fact that no one could prove and therefore there was no point in discussing it.
Still, Aurum had been through this more than enough times by now to know how things would turn out. And so when he showed up at the kitten’s residence he was dressed in less clothing than usual. Just a bandanna and a pair of pants. He knew they wouldn’t fit by the end of the night, but it was a lot easier to scramble out of a simple pair of pants than an entire ensemble once they were too big for you. It was also a little fun teasing the kitten who couldn’t understand why Aurum continued to wear pants if he admitted they weren’t going to last the night. Calex just didn’t understand that some people grew up in environments where running around naked just wasn’t what you did, especially in public.
Right now, the two were engaged in a game of laser tag. Though neither one wore the plastic armor that usually came with the game. Instead, they were playing a more interesting variant of it involving a couple of ray guns liberated from Odin’s lab in the basement. Shooting someone and just having their armor light up to tell you that you scored a point was boring compared to changing them to a different species with each zap. Normally, this was the type of thing Calex would start, but Aurum had suggested it this time. It was all part of his plan to finally win one of these games against the little kitten.
After much planning and plotting, Aurum had come up with a genius devious plan to win the little game and throw Calex off balance for once as Aurum caused the chaos. A simple act of sabotage guaranteed Aurum would succeed.
When Aurum got the Transformation Rays, he gave Calex one where the battery was nearly dead. It had maybe one or two zaps in it at the most before it would power down, and then the kitten would be a sitting duck. Well, not a duck, something else more fun. Either way, the plan was brilliant!
Okay, maybe the plan wasn’t genius, but Aurum still felt clever pulling it off without the kitten noticing.
The two were chasing each other around the house. Aurum ran into the living room and dove behind the couch just in time to avoid a blue ray from the Transformation Ray. That was one shot. It had one more at the most.
While Aurum played defensively, looking for things to take cover behind, Calex took a more offensive approach, as well as securing the high ground. Being two feet tall at his biggest, he was small enough to easily jump onto shelves, climb bookcases, and even land on one of the ceiling fan blades. It didn’t give him much cover to hide from blasts, but it did allow him an angle that could hit just about anywhere in the room. In a normal game it was hard to actually take a shot at him without guaranteeing you’d be hit yourself. But of course, this was no normal game.
Calex was atop a bookshelf that allowed him to see Aurum. He pointed his gun and the tiger quickly scrambled to the coffee table and overturned it just in time to block a second blue ray. That was two. The gun would be out of power now. Now it was Aurum’s turn to counterattack.
The tiger stood up and selected a species on his own Transformation Ray. Then he pointed it up at the kitten. Calex wasted no time in pointing his own gun back and pulling the trigger. Nothing happened. The kitten was confused and paused for a moment to examine his gun and see what the issue was. And that moment was what cost him the game. Aurum fired his ray and got a direct hit. There was a clattering noise as Calex’s Transformation Ray fell from the bookshelf and landed on the ground. Meanwhile, where there had been a kitten was now a small orange mouse with yellow-green eyes and a single visible fang.
“Wait it worked?” Aurum blinked in surprised as he looked at his gun and then looked at the mouseified Calex. Sure, this had been the plan. But… Things never went according to plan! He was sure Calex would somehow find a way to charge his gun, or the guns would get swapped, or something would have gone wrong that would have turned this around on Aurum. But instead, he had actually won a game. He needed a minute to process what had happened.
“Squeeeak! Squeak!” Calex responded as he climbed down the bookshelf to the floor. He ran to his own gun, trying to figure out what went wrong and if there was some way he could fire it in his current form. It seemed despite being a mouse he hadn’t given up.
“Sorry, you lost this one.” Aurum grinned as he walked over, plucked Calex by the tail and held him in the air.
“Squeak!”” Calex crossed his forearms and gave Aurum the stink eye.
“I know I’m just as surprised as you.” Aurum giggled as he moved the mouse up and sat it atop his head. “Least you can’t get into much trouble tonight now.”
“Squeak!” Calex responded by nibbling on Aurum’s ear.
“H-hey cut that out! That tickles!” Aurum quickly grabbed the mouse and pulled him down from his head. “You just had to prove me wrong didn’t you?”
“Squeak.” Calex stuck his tongue out.
“Right… well it’s getting dark probably time to give you a bath and-“ Aurum paused. He suddenly felt very strange. There was something calling to him. He looked out the window and saw the full moon in the sky. That was where the call was from. And he had to answer.
But… Why? Calex was a werekitten not Aurum! And ok, Calex had just bit him in retaliation for Aurum’s teasing, but he was a mouse right now not a werekitten, so that curse shouldn’t transfer over! At least that’s what Aurum thought.
But reality clearly had a different opinion.
Aurum’s pants fell down around his ankle as he began to shrink in size drastically. He was getting both younger and smaller. And there were other physical changes. The fur melted away from his tail and paws leaving them bare. It wasn’t hard to figure out what he was turning into.
“Wait why an I a m- squeak!?” Aurum managed to finish before he was a mouse pup buried in his own pants. He rustled around in them for a bit before finding a way out and crawling out. “Squeak?” Aurum looked to Calex, whom he had dropped during the transformation for answers.
“Squeak.” Calex nodded. “Squeak squeak sqeuaaaak squeaaak squeak squeeeeeak.” It appeared that the kitten mouse did have an explanation. It was unfortunate that Aurum had set the ray gun to normal mouse and thus Calex couldn’t actually talk. As result Aurum had no idea what to make of it
“Squeeeeak.” He gave Calex an accusing look. He may have been partially responsible for this. But that was no reason to take accountability! He was an adult! Well had been! Accountability is a thing you teach kids about while never holding yourself to it! There was only one thing to do to hold Calex accountable for this. “SQUEEEAK!” Aurum unleashed the mighty squeak of war as he ran for Calex intending to tackle him.
“Squeak!” Calex didn’t lose his cat-like reflexes even as a mouse. And he was running in an instant as the laser tag game transformed into a game of tag. They chased each other all over the living room, climbing giant furniture and racing up and down the wall. The game didn’t stop till they were both worn out and more hungry than playful.
Aurum had to get food. He was technically still in charge, so that meant food for him and Calex. How was he going to do that as a young mouse pup? After he considered his previous experiences, both those involving Calex and not, he concluded it would actually be pretty easy. It wasn’t like it would take a lot to feed the two of them right now.
Aurum led the way to the pantry. There he managed to squirm under the door. It was a tight fit, but he managed to pull through. Calex followed after him. The two mice climbed the shelves until they passed a box of cereal. That would work! Aurum jumped onto the box, his weight being enough to tilt it over, sending it falling from shelf to the floor. Aurum didn’t have much to hang onto as the box fell so wound up landing on his back atop the box. Thankfully, being so small the fall did not actually do him any harm.
“Squeak.” Aurum spoke slightly disoriented, trying to let Calex know that dinner was served. Many of the pieces of cereal had already spilled out onto the floor when the box landed and it lay open.
“Squeak…” Calex looked at the pieces on the floor and turned up his nose. He may go through a number of transformations, but he wasn’t about to eat cereal off the floor. It was dirty. Instead, he crawled into the box and began munching on an O shaped piece of cereal that was still clean and safe inside the box.
“Squeak.” Aurum rolled his eyes. Considering Calex had spent time out in the wilds having to find food (sometimes the wilds just being the backyard when you’re super small) you would think the guy wouldn’t be so picky about his food being clean. Still, as Aurum’s own stomach rumbled, he too decided he’d rather eat the cereal out of the box than the pieces off the ground. That did mean they were leaving behind a mess. Neither one of them could lift the cereal box or clean things up.
Well… Calex probably could but having him use his powers to put the box in place was probably more trouble than it was worth. No, this mess was clearly the problem of someone who was not a mouse. Now well fed the two mice pups squirmed beneath the door crack again and back out into the kitchen.
“Squeak!” Calex shouted excited, wanting to play again. However, a moment later his body betrayed him as he let out a yawn. He was clearly quite tired. This had been a pretty late dinner considering it had been after the game of tag, which started at moonrise and then went on for who knew how long.
“Squeaaaaaak.” Aurum laughed at Calex. No matter how strong and mighty he acted he was still just a kid, and he wasn’t good at staying up late. But then Aurum let loose a big yawn himself. Dang it! He was a kid too right now and his body was also out of energy and ready for sleep.
“Sqeeeauk…” Calex wobbled from side to side a bit as he walked out of the kitchen and back to the living room, clearly half asleep by this point. He climbed up onto the couch there and curled up, content to nap there.
“Squeak…” Aurum didn’t really have any better ideas of what to do right now. He still didn’t know why he had turned into a mouse, and he doubted he could operate one of those Transformation Rays on his own to try to change back to a tiger. Getting a good night’s sleep was probably the best idea. He sleepily climbed up the side of the couch and curled up next to Calex. And he too was soon asleep.
“Ugggggh. What a night.” Aurum yawned when he woke in the morning. Then he realized something. He could talk! He wasn’t a mouse anymore! But his voice sounded strange! And looking next to him, there was still an orange mouse roughly the same size as him. Meaning either Calex had turned into a giant mouse, which was incredibly unlikely, or Aurum was still tiny. As he woke up fully and surveyed his surroundings he saw that he was indeed still mouse sized. He had changed back to a tiger. But he was still small.
And also still a kid. No older than six years and a half. The same age as Calex. What had happened?
“Hey! Hey Calex!” Aurum nudged the sleeping mouse to wake him up. “I got questions! Come on wake up!”
“Squeeeak?” Calex opened one eye and looked at Aurum, then closed it and went back to sleep.
“H-hey! Don’t you try to sleep in on me!” Aurum shouted. “How can someone with such boundless energy be so lazy?” He pushed against Calex harder.
“Squeeeak.” Calex protested. But he awoke, sat up on his haunched and gave a large yawn, blinking as he looked around the room.
“Calex, why am I a mouse sized tiger cub?” Aurum asked.
“Squeak squeak squeak squeeaaak.” Calex explained it as if it was a simple matter.
“That’s right, you still can’t talk.” Aurum slapped his head. “I can’t understand anything you’re trying to say. I need to find a way to change you back to normal… Maybe working together we can operate one of the rays…”
“Squeak…” Calex shook his head, then suddenly his body began to change. He didn’t get any bigger, but the fur grew back on his tail, and his body shape changed, until much like Aurum he was a mouse sized kitten. “If you want me to go back to normal all you had to do was ask.”
“Wait… How did you just…” Aurum glanced down from the couch over to where the Transformation Rays lay on the floor. “How’d you undo the ray gun?”
“I’m a werekitten. A shapeshifter.” Calex explained as if it were obvious. “I can always turn into a kitten.”
“Wait…” Aurum paused. “Does that mean, in every past event we’ve been through you had the ability to go back to your normal form anytime you wanted!? Why did you never do that!?”
“Well, it seemed rather rude.” Calex shrugged. “If everyone else is stuck it feels like cheating if I can just reset myself. Besides, it’s more fun having to figure out another solution.”
“Uh huh.” Aurum slapped his face. “Okay… Explanation time. Why are we mouse sized?”
“Well I’m small because you are.” Calex explained. “When I changed back just focused on the shape and not the size of a kitten. I would just feel weird going back to normal size while you’re still a tiny kitty.”
“So… Does that mean you can go back to normal size anytime you want?” Aurum asked.
“Pretty much.” Calex replied with a grin.
“So many times, when we were so small, you could have fixed it…” Aurum was about to lose it.
“Nah, I couldn’t change sizes in most of those cases.” Calex sat down with his legs crossed. “It doesn’t work that way.”
“But you can change back now.” Aurum gave him a deadpan stare. “Explain?”
“This size change was caused by a change in species.” Calex waved a paw dismissively. “Meaning that I just chose to only change partially back to a kitten and didn’t fix my size yet. Shrink rays, magic curses, things that just make you smaller. Turning into a kitten won’t do anything because I’m already one. I can only control my size when it’s change is related to the difference in size of a species.”
“Oh that… Actually makes sense.” Aurum was not expecting the explanation to make sense. Calex’s explanations usually didn’t. “Okay fine enough about you. Why am I still tiny?”
“Well…” Calex looked thoughtful. “I’d say it’s cause you’re a weremouse pup. Cursed to turn into a young mouse on every full moon. Full moon is gone, so you’re back to a tiger, but you’re a kid and tiny.”
“… And I became a weremouse because?” Aurum was confused.
“Probably when I bit your ear.” Calex shrugged. “You were being all high and mighty, so I was just trying to get you back. Didn’t really expect this.”
“But you’re a werekitten not a weremouse!” Aurum exclaimed.
“Usually yes.” Calex grinned. “But I was a mouse at the time. Weird thing, my werekitten curse. It changes forms with me. Pretty much always changes to a curse that transforms people into what my current form is.”
“And knowing this you bit me anyway!?” Aurum shouted.
“I didn’t think I bit down hard enough to infect you.” Calex looked hurt. “But you deserved it! Especially after cheating in the laser tag game.”
“Look, just because someone else beat you doesn’t automatically mean that they cheated.” Aurum was used to the kitten crying foul anytime he lost a game.
“I recognize the low battery light on the ray.” Calex said flatly. “You gave me a near dead ray gun on purpose.”
“What?” Aurum tried to sound offended. “I! You can’t prove I did that on purpose.”
“Uh huh.” Calex squinted at him.
“Erm um…” Aurum tried to think. He hadn’t expected him to suddenly be the one being grilled. So… Calex had known about his little trick since the moment he had been zapped. “Just… What do we do now? Oh! The ray gun that still has a charge. If you aim it at me and change my species to something bigger that’ll fix it.”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea.” Calex protested as Aurum was climbing downside of the couch. He followed Aurum down, but much faster and beat him to floor, then grinned smugly as if it had been a race.
“Well why not?” Aurum asked.
“Well, it might just turn you into a mouse sized version of whatever animal you’re zapped into.” Calex explained. “I mean tigers are usually pretty big. Then when you get zapped back to your normal species or turn into a mouse again you could wind up shrinking even smaller. I’ve seen these kinds of things before. When you start stacking different types of transformations from different types of sources weird things happen.” Calex paused and thought for a moment. “And if that doesn’t worry you, then consider for a moment that -I’M- the one recommending caution right now.”
“So I just stay a tiny tiger cub?” Aurum asked.
“Maybe?” Calex seemed unsure. “If you’re a weremousepup. Wow that’s a mouthful, you should in theory be able to change back to your original species completely. Maybe you just need to figure out how to change sizes.”
“Alright, tell me how to do that.” Aurum demanded.
“I don’t know.” Calex seemed confused as to why he was even asked.
“But you do this shapeshifting stuff all the time. You said you could literally change back to normal right now.” Aurum replied dryly.
“Well yeah, but I’m a werekitten. You’re a weremousepup.” Calex looked thoughtful. “I mostly just focus on kitten shape, and bam. Back I go. If I want to keep something unchanged try really hard to think of kitten shapes without that. You’re a weremouse, so would undo most transformations by focusing on a mouse form… But best that would do is turn you back into a mouse, so if your goal is to get back to tiger sized then forcing a reset isn’t the solution.” Calex placed a paw to his chin. “It’s gotta be some other mechanic… Big thoughts or something… Or thinking not-mouse thoughts.”
“What are not-mouse thoughts?” Aurum tilted his head.
“Not sure.” Calex shrugged. “I’m just trying to come up with ideas that might work. But… The curse thing, I don’t really get to choose how it mutates and stuff. It’s possible your size change is permanent as long as you have the curse.”
“And how long does that last!? Aurum asked.
“Well… Mostly till you don’t like it anymore.” Calex grinned.
“Huh?” Aurum gave the kitten a confused look.
“Wearing less clothes so they’re easier to get out of, intentionally messing with things or encouraging me to mess with things you know are magical or have strange effects.” Calex had a predatory grin. “It’s pretty obvious you’re just as responsible for these incidents, and have caused them purposely. You have fun when stuff like this happens. And cause you find the curse fun you’re not changing back to normal.”
“Y-you can’t prove that!” Aurum huffed.
“I pretty much just did.” Calex shrugged. “My curse is pretty weak and pretty benign. It pretty much loses all effect on anyone who doesn’t want it. So the fact it’s still clinging to means that at least part of you wants it to.” He grinned. “Because part of you is probably thinking about having a tiny feline adventure right now.”
“Maybe…” Aurum admitted. “But your owner will be home soon so I don’t think we have time to really start anything new.”
“I could chase you around the house once or twice before you go.” Calex offered.
“Eh. Sure why not?” And then Aurum took off running on all fours at full speed.
“H-hey!” Calex shouted. “No one said go yet! Get back here you cheater! If I catch up to you gonna turn you into a cheetah so everyone knows that you cheat!”
While Aurum did get pounced more than once in the ensuing chase, Calex did not carry through on his threat. Instead, after the second pouncing and successfully pinning Aurum to the ground he booped the tiger’s nose with a paw and declared that justice had been served.
By this point it was getting time for Aurum to head home.
“So, you going to be alright getting home on your own like that?” Calex asked.
“Yeah it’s fine.” Aurum flashed a grin. “By this point I might actually have a lot of experience. I mean I remember a game turning me into a mouse spending six weeks stuck like that having to go to work and stuff until I got changed back in the game. This time I can talk in a way people can understand. It’ll be easy.”
“Wait when did that happen? I don’t remember any such game.” Calex’s eyes flashed with curiosity.
“I have a life outside of babysitting you.” Aurum insisted. “And for some reason it is just as strange, surreal and full of surprises as when I’m with you. Really, more strange, because I’m not expecting it like I am when you’re around.”
“Guess you’re just a magnet for this kind of stuff.” Calex crossed his arms. “I know what that’s like. Me and Odin have had all kinds of stuff happen to us.”
“So I’ve learned.” Aurum started for the door. Then he paused. He scampered over to where his discarded clothes were and grabbed his giant bandanna. He dragged that out of the house with him. As for the pants. He had forgotten about them. Even had he not been too small to wear them he would have left them behind in his current state.
He was now some kind of werekitten weremouse hybrid. And a large part of him was excited by that. Which if Calex was telling the truth was why he didn’t change back. It was going to require quite a few adjustments in his life since this looked like it was going to be permanent. Hopefully he would at least get the size thing figured out so he could go back and forth between tiger cub and mouse sized. That would make things easier. He’d just have to experiment.
And since he was now part werekitten and didn’t age, it meant he had plenty of time figure things out.