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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Waif and Stray - 4. Punishments Given

Content warning for after effects of abuse.

It had been just over an hour when the key turning in the lock woke them. A sharp spike of fear from Finn's scent had Ghost alert in moments, and left Jinx pretty sure that the human boy had been naughty in one way or another. Why else be scared of Char?

Finn was actually far more concerned his dad was about to burst in. At first he was relieved when just Charlotte and Sara entered, until he took in the scene. Char was wearing one of Sara's loose summer skirts, clutching the tight jeans she had been wearing when she left. Some people could look good when they had been crying, but bless her, Charlotte was not among them. Her dark reddish hair was tousled, face flushed a blotchy crimson and puffy around the eyes. Sara apologised profusely for having to leave straight away, then headed home to finally get to bed.

As soon as the door shut both Jinx and Finn started to speak, but Char silenced them with an open palm held in the air. She walked stiffly to an armchair and winced as she gently lowered herself into it, putting her weight on her side rather than her bottom. After closing her eyes for a few moments and taking some deep breaths, she addressed their concerns.

"I'm fine. Could've been much worse, all things considered."

None were convinced. Ghost pulled the blanket over his head - he didn't understand what was happening but the emotions conveyed by the scents in the room were disturbing at the very least and hiding seemed the best option available.

"Jinx, sweetheart, would you give me and Finn a few minutes to talk? This is about him, and it's up to him if he tells you really."

Jinx glared darkly at Char, but nodded, deciding it was high time to do some serious damage to the scratching post in her room. She stalked out, pulling the door shut behind her. Charlotte sighed again, and looked at Finn.

"How much do you know about why I moved out of our foster home?"

Finn frowned. He knew it was unusual - Michael was 24 and still living at the home. The Discipline Laws meant you needed a parent or guardian's blessing to move away, and even then there were a lot of restrictions and curfews if you were under 25.

"Umm, you fell out with dad?"

"You could say that. You remember Jennifer Smythe, my friend from school? About two years ago, our wonderful foster father caught us in bed together. He more or less threw me out - soon as he could find a place, I moved here so I couldn't infect the rest of you with my 'wicked evil ways', like being gay is contagious."

Finn's eyes were like saucers. He had absolutely no idea about any of that, but it did make sense. Jennifer had been banned from their house, after all, and he'd never known his sister to go dating. "Are you and Jennifer..."

Charlotte pulled a face. "He told her parents. Jen's never talked to me since."

"Char, has dad... have I been thrown out?"

"Not exactly. Look, I'm not going to sugar coat this. You need to make an important decision, and it really is up to you. If you want to go back, you can. He'll make your life absolutely miserable, and probably try to leather the gay out of you at any given opportunity..."

"But I don't even know if I am gay!"

"Well of course you don't, you're still a kid Finn! I can tell you that our 'dearest daddy' certainly has his mind made up after this morning though." It wasn't precisely true; personally she was of the opinion that if the teenager was straight lupo would fly. She could be wrong, of course, but she severely doubted it.

Finn grimaced. "What's the other choice?"

Charlotte smiled. "You move in here."

That possibility was appealing for a lot of reasons, not least of which was that it was coming from his most reliably supportive sibling, but he decided to take the opportunity to learn as much as he could before responding. "Was it really that bad, living there after he saw that?" the boy barely whispered.

"Worse. Trust me. He might just get over it, but..."

Neither believed that for a moment. Their dad was the type to obsess over what he had seen, and would be watching Finn like a hawk for hints he was 'a little queer'.

"What did he do to you today?"

"That doesn't matter Finn..."

"It really does Char. No sugar coating, remember?"

She rearranged herself in the chair, drawing her legs up under herself. Finn could tell it was painful. "He was expecting Lucy and Sara to bring you back, not me. He was pissed at me anyway, so he used the switches he'd cut on me instead."

Finn's bottom clenched involuntarily, Ghost shifting slightly on his lap in response. He'd never been switched before, that was reserved for his older brothers, but he'd been made to go down to the woodshed and watch their bare rears striped while they bent over an old saw horse more than a few times. He had never heard of one of his sisters getting it - plenty of hard whackings, a belting or two, but never a switch. "Oh gods - are you... I mean, is there anything..."

"I'll live, just not comfortably for a while," Char smiled, "he could have made it much worse and still stayed inside the law."

"Would it really be OK if I came here? I mean, you seem pretty happy with the neko, and I don't want to get in the way..."

"Are you kidding Finn? How many times did you come into my room and crawl into bed when you first moved in, or had a nightmare, or there was a thunderstorm? Did I ever mind? You're my little brother and I love you to bits; you'll always be welcome in my home."

Finn's eyes welled - if he hadn't had a neko on his lap, he'd have been over at her side in seconds.

"Then yes, oh please yes. I hate it there Char, especially since you left. Everything just seems to go wrong all the time." As tears began their way down his face, and it was Char's turn to wish she could rush to his side; the throbbing ache in her rear end made it almost an almost impossible desire to act on.

"OK. One more thing, and sorry this is going to be so embarrassing but try to be honest, please. You didn't want anything to do with Nick's... bits... did you? You just wanted to dress like a neko and have someone order you about. Doing... that... was what Nick wanted."

"How..." Finn stared at her in amazement.

Oh, dear boy, Char thought, shall I count the ways I knew? How I caught your twin Chloë with you naked on a lead when you were ten? The way my neko ears kept ending up in your room? Walking in on you nude a hundred times, and even catching you spanking your own butt pink on one memorable occasion? She could give him a litany, but decided to just go for the obvious, just enough to prompt the kid to open up.

"Finn, you're still wearing my ears. Which you clearly pinched again, incidentally. Also, you're butt nekkid under that robe"

The teenager blushed deep crimson to the tips of his actual human ears. He'd totally forgotten about the headband in all the confusion. He started to mumble an apology and reached up to take them off, but Char interrupted him.

"Leave them for now. Look, it's pretty obvious to me you're going to find some outlet for it. I can either worry about you getting taken advantage of, or I can help." As Finn looked up in astonishment, she continued. "Hows about this. You, young man, are a little thief and have been warned about this more than once." The words made it sound like he was in trouble, but the corners of her mouth were twitching toward a smile and her green eyes sparkled with mischief. "You want to act like a neko? Fine, I'll treat you like one. Take a look at Ghost's face."

He lifted the blanket carefully and the green and brown eyes of the catboy peered up.

"Now, if he was human and a lot bigger, how old would you say he was?"

A chill went down Finn's spine, though whether it through was fear or excitement he couldn't say. "M - my age."

"So, since you've been so very, very naughty, I think I should just pretend I have two new catboys for Jinx and I to train. What do you think about that?"

A grin slowly widened across his still teary face. "Wait, Jinx?"

"There is no way in a million years that she'd accept a younger neko being in charge of her without a perdition of a fight boy, and she has claws. Still, if you fancy your chances, feel free to challenge her authority..."

Finn hung his head in mock acceptance of this most terrible sentence, a thrill rising in his soul. "No, it wouldn't be right if I'm being punished. I- I suppose I deserve it for being so bad, ma'am."

Just inside the door of the room across the hall, a young eavesdropper whose sharp ears had heard almost the entire exchange slowly grinned. This, this was going to be fun - for all concerned by the sounds of it.

"So... how is this gonna work? I mean, with school an' stuff?" Finn asked nervously.

Char suppressed a laugh at the thought of Finn strutting around his classroom in nothing but a neko ear headband. "We're just talking about between us four. You still have to go to school, do homework and so on, and I don't want you being bullied because the other kids think you're weird - which you aren't, trust me - and we could do without our family finding out. Once the homework is done though, you'll just be another one of my kittens."

The teen nodded thoughtfully. "So since we've already broken up for the Midwinter holidays?"

"Unless you have homework..."

Finn shook his head. "All done. I'll need to get some stuff from the home though."

"We'll be moving all your things over, and I'll need to explain to Jinx that her playroom is turning into your bedroom. She likes you though - and bribery goes a long way with that one." Char winced, shifting in her seat. Damn but being switched hurt! She couldn't imagine how bad it would have been if the bastard had known he was cutting them for a twenty year old. The idea of poor Finn taking what she'd just been given made her furious - angry or not, wearing out three willow switches was way too harsh.

"So everything that Ghost gets, I'll be getting?"

"Within reason. I'm hoping you don't need microchipped or any shots." Char smiled. "That said, Sara is popping by tomorrow to check him over. You sure you want to get everything he gets after she leaves? I've no idea what will be involved - Jinx already had a clean bill of health when I got her. I had just planned to embarrass you a bit to be honest."

"I want to be him Char. The idea of being cared for, knowing you'll be forgiven when you mess up..."

"You'd have been forgiven anyway Finn, you know that, surely."

"Yeah, but, I mean, not much is expected of Ghost. Just to look cute and... be."

Char's heart was breaking - in the home they all had lots of responsibilities, and since their foster mother had died it had increased fivefold. Their father's shouting and the constant arguments just made it worse; it seemed that at least one of the seven fostered youths was always in trouble. She'd had relative peace since she moved out - extending that to Finn seemed like the least she could do.

"I'm pretty sure we can manage to make you feel that, little brother - I might need help with the odd chore but nothing much, I'm happy for the place to look 'lived in'. You do know you're putting yourself up for some pretty embarrassing stuff, don't you? Just for a start, anyone who can keep clothes on a neko is a black magician of the highest order - they hate it. Plus there's the litter tray, and that's assuming Ghost doesn't need a bit more time in nappies first. You really, really sure this is what you want?"

Finn flushed with embarrassment. It was exactly what he wanted, although the concept of being back in diapers hadn't been one he'd considered. Still... it wasn't a deal breaker; there'd been no suggestion he'd actually have to use them. Was he really going to do this? Being naked in front of Charlotte was hardly new. Heck, the day she moved in here, he, Jinx and his twin Chloë had ended up wrestling about in the muddy garden, then been bathed together and gotten pretty firm spankings completely naked in front his gathered siblings since their clothes were so dirty. The three had ended up kneeling in front of the fireplace with their hands on their heads, bright red bottoms on display for all to see, and were nude the rest of the evening even after getting permission to move. The memory was not, if he was being honest, entirely all that unpleasant - he didn't enjoy the smacking from Lucy, exactly, but the warm tingly feeling in his seat afterward... he looked up at Char and nodded. There, it was done.

"Well, before we explain this to Jinx, could you do me a quick favour since my butt is a bit delicate? I'll get some lunch together and order some bits and pieces online instead of going shopping, but it's looking like it's going to get really cold tonight and I'd like to build a fire this evening. Grab some sweatpants and a jumper from my room, and bring in some wood from the pile in the back garden, would you? Looks like the snow is gonna start coming down soon. Dunno about you, but nesting in here tonight is sounding pretty appealing right now."

~☆~

Finn almost felt as silly drowning in the tall twenty year old's sweats and pullover as he had at being caught naked. He didn't have the largest frame for his age anyway, being well below average height, and had to pull the drawstring of the trousers really tight before they stayed up. The coat and shoes were even more of a struggle, but it wasn't like he was going far outside; a small fully stocked and covered woodshed sat just around the corner of the old converted stable complex Char called home. The nearest neighbours were a mile away, so the boy trudged through the two inches of crunching virgin snow without any fear of being ridiculed. Four quick trips and there were enough short wooden logs by the fireplace for at least that day, perhaps tomorrow too. By the time he shut the back door and pulled Char's huge boots off, Jinx was back in the living room pulling faces at Ghost as he giggled on the couch. Charlotte herself already looked a lot better as she prepared two sandwiches, a small bowl of shredded smoked salmon and a plate of diced pâté - her face was back to it's usual ivory complexion, thick rimmed glasses in place, and she'd pulled a comb through her auburn hair. The four gathered back in the den to enjoy their meal, but as Char brought the plates in Jinx started to get agitated.

It was the smell. It had never been all that interesting before, but now... Jinx stood, sniffing about the room. As wonderful as smoked salmon was, the pungent scent masked almost everything else, but she could definitely detect something important. Not the pâté - hey! Why wasn't she getting treats? Not important, not as important as...

A look of joy spread across the catgirl's face as she triumphantly pointed at the sandwiches. "Good food!!!"

Char frowned. "I don't think you really want..."

Jinx rolled her eyes. Not her, obviously! Human noses were useless, how did they manage to get through life with such stunted senses? She pointed at Ghost.

Eyes going wide, Charlotte suddenly realised what the catgirl was getting at. "You can't be serious Jinx. Are you sure? Check first, please."

The Indignities a big girl had endure for their little one were endless, it seemed. Consigning herself to yet another unpleasantly cringeworthy task, she sighed and reached over to Ghost, gently pushing the kit over onto his side. Kneeling down by his bruised back end, she very carefully spread his buttocks, lowered her nose to a few inches from his tiny pink pucker, and sniffed sharply. Ghost's reaction was of shock and surprise - he was pretty sure that absolutely nothing went on back there that anyone should want any part of. He righted himself, puzzled, as Jinx nodded her confirmation to Charlotte.

"Umm, what the heck is all that about?!" Finn had watched the proceedings with bewilderment as he stacked the final log.

"Just be glad we haven't told Jinx what we just talked about yet."

The catgirl, who had indeed heard their discussion, was firmly of the opinion that the current temperature of the underworld would have to be checked before that happened. She had already decided her new 'kitten' needed a few lessons in personal hygiene.

"Neko each have a food that they need as a staple, depending which of the Lishan tribes they take after most. Fish for the coastal or river tribes, poultry and beef for those from the inland plains."

Finn frowned. "But these are ham sandwiches..."

"There were other tribes in the forests of the north of Lish that hunted wild pigs. When the continent was discovered hundreds of years ago, the first humans found most neko to be friendly and pretty easy to convince to come back over here, but the forest tribes were instantly hostile. Some were captured, and once they were bred their kits were fine with people, so they must have just learned to hate humans somehow. No one is sure how or why. There were never many brought over, and the Viridian virus wiped out all the wild Lishan neko a few decades after we first landed - another wonderful little present we brought them. Those few forest neko we had caught were interbred with the other tribes so much that even their white hair is rare now. Love of pork is even rarer. To have both..." Char shook her head. "Little fella shouldn't exist. The chances of both features cropping up together have to be miniscule."

"And... umm... smelling his butthole?"

Char laughed. "Neko pheromones are left on their droppings mainly, and Jinx can tell what food he needs by them. Since we can't convince Ghost to go poop unless he needs to, that was the easiest way - Jinx was getting close as she could to the glands just inside."

The miracle of nature himself had discovered the squidgy pink cubes that had been placed before him, and licked one experimentally. Moments later it vanished into his mouth, shock and joy lighting up his face. He licked every last morsel from his fingers, looked at Jinx, down at the plate, then back to his packmate. Surely there was no way these were all for him. He'd never tasted food like it in his entire life; thick, soft and savoury, it was the furthest thing from his usual tastelessly dry green kibble balls imaginable. Jinx pushed the plate a little further towards him and nodded, smiling. He fell upon them like a vulture, gobbling at them before anyone could change their mind and take them away - a distinct possibility since everyone assuredly had to want them. How could they not?

"Are you going to give him some ham now, or...?"

Charlotte shook her head. "We'll see how he handles soft food this afternoon, then maybe try something tonight. I have bacon, but we need him to keep it down and I'm not convinced his stomach can take it. I'll call Sara later, see what she thinks."

They each ate their lunch, the morning's chaos fading as a new sense of normality and redefinition of what home meant slowly began to grow real.

~☆~

Once the plates were in the dishwasher and Char had awkwardly lowered her injured self down to set a fire in the hearth, still stubbornly refusing any help much to Finn's exasperation, she slyly glanced at Jinx.

"So, since I hate repeating myself, how much of what Finn and I talked about did those sharp little ears of yours pick up, sweetness?"

The catgirl blushed nervously. It really wasn't her fault; young neko had exceptional hearing. "Most."

Thinking she might be in trouble and not wanting to get the kit punished, Finn started to protest that it was fine, but Char just smiled. "It's OK, just saves time I suppose. In that case, kitten..." she looked directly at Finn, expectantly leaving the sentence hanging.

Despite his excitement at having his fantasies fulfilled, Finn felt a chill. The curtains were closed against the cold and there seemed very little point in delaying tactics now - worse, it was distinctly possible dwelling on what was coming might make it even more mortifying if certain parts of his body... responded to the anticipation. Steeling himself, he stood, pulled off the jumper and dropped the trousers, stepping out of them in nothing but the neko ears. Jinx couldn't help but giggle; humans just didn't get naked in front of her in general. She had bathed with Char on occasion when she was younger, but the older human didn't usually wander about without clothes on. Ghost was utterly unphased, as expected, and Char just smiled slightly as she returned to her chair - it appeared her brother shaved any hair below the neck quite meticulously, hardly surprising given his apparent desire to emulate neko.

"So Jinx, what do you think of our new catboy?"

The slender kit beckoned Finn over to the middle of the room, looking over his hairless young body critically. First, placing her hands on his shoulders, she gently pushed him to his knees - there would be no walking about while he was playing the role of kitten. The ears were next, all four of them. Carefully removing the hairband, she considered the dark blond mess atop the boy's head. Grabbing her plastic hairbrush from the coffee table, she brushed it fairly far forward on either side, doing her best to use it's length to hide the human ears. Finn's cheeks burned with shame at being naked and the centre of attention of all in the room - even Ghost was squinting in his direction. Had anyone been looking, they may have noticed the tiny catboy was having difficulty making out what was going on, but Finn was having a bit of a revelation of his own. On his knees, looking up at his graceful hairdresser, the older caste to her features and lesser difference in height was going to make submitting to her as his better much less difficult than he'd imagined.

Jinx finished her task by carefully replacing the hairband and neko ears in such a way as to keep his hair hiding the round pink ones as best as possible. She frowned at the end result, then smiled and, seeming satisfied, leaned in to deposit a quick kiss on his forehead. He would do, she supposed, although the clash between tawny hair and auburn ears was still a touch jarring. The boy's chin was relatively pointed anyway and he certainly didn't have all that much fat on his body - at a distance, he might actually even be mistaken for a real catboy if he were smaller.

"You, little one, are absolutely adorable." Char beamed. "Hows it feel?"

"Do I really look..."

Jinx batted his shoulder lightly and glared at Char.

"She's quite right, you need to sound the part as well as look it. No neko would string full sentences together like that."

Finn frowned. "How does it wor-" he managed to dodge the catgirl's hand this time, then looked at Char pleadingly.

"Let him ask a few questions for now Jinx, it'll be much faster." she laughed. "Neko can learn almost all of the language we can Finn, but their minds work very differently. Knowing the meaning of a word when they hear it and being able to remember the same word when they want to use it are two very different things. Remember when I brought the sandwiches in? If Jinx had just said 'pork' or 'ham' and pointed at Ghost, it would have been much easier, right? She knows what both words mean, but couldn't remember them. She's learned to say 'good food' and 'bad food' though."

Finn nodded thoughtfully. This was more complicated than he had thought - the neko mind was a pretty interesting place by the sounds of it.

"They learn more words as they grow older and their brains develop. Ghost probably only knows a few dozen, he's still learning all of the meanings for now and will be concentrating on that for a while yet. The only ones he'll learn to say at the moment are the bare minimum to get by; mostly about his needs. 'Food', 'cold', 'yes', 'no' - stuff like that. They learn fast mind. Jinx is only two years older and knows maybe a few hundred. Certainly enough to communicate well enough with humans most of the time."

"With humans - what about just between neko?"

"Bit more complicated. They can smell each others' emotions, which makes things easier, though they can detect a human's emotions to a lesser extent. Facial expressions are important too, though it's hard to say how exactly. It's so different to us that researchers are still trying to get their heads around it. Asking doesn't help, they can't understand why we don't just know. I can tell you for sure that having Jinx about is making working out what Ghost needs much easier though. It took two weeks just to find out that she wanted fish when I first got her, she seemed pretty keen on almost any food put in front of her to me."

"OK, I'll give that a go."

"Try to avoid words like 'and', or 'the'. Apparently they're just a waste of time."

Jinx listened to all of this, bemused. It was like listening to someone explain in a thousand words or more that rain falls downward. "Done?"

Finn opened his mouth, thought better of it, and just gave a sharp little nod in his best Jinx impression, even shutting his eyes as he did so like she usually did. Apparently this definitely met muster; the catgirl squealed in delight. A few cogs went whirring in Char's mind - did what Finn had just gestured mean more than either of the humans present thought? Watching her brother play this game of his might help her studies far more than she had realised. To her surprise, the pale catgirl turned to her next. "Done?"

"I- I suppose..."

Jinx trotted out of the room into the hallway, both humans puzzled by what she was up to. She returned a few moments later after retrieving her objective from the bathroom, a container with the substance her nose told her she needed. She held up the Aloe Vera moisturiser to Charlotte and pointed to the sheepskin rug, a very serious look on her sharp featured face.

"I said I'm fine..."

"No lying." The neko was brooking no dissent on this particular subject. She pointed at the rug again insistently.

Sighing, Charlotte finally accepted that she might need someone's assistance at the moment. It wasn't something that came naturally to the fiercely independent young woman, but the idea of the cooling moisturiser was pretty appealing right now.

"Alright, alright. Not by the fire though, the last thing I need is another ass roasting. Finn, you take Ghost over by the hearth to warm up; I reckon he'll be pretty into it. I'll lay on the sofa if that's okay by you missy." There was a full mesh guard in front of the fireplace, so she wasn't overly concerned that the kitten would get too close. "Actually Jinx, would you run and grab my nightie first? I'm declaring today over as far as doing anything useful is concerned. It's cartoons, takeaway and cuddles with my neko pack from here on in."

As the catgirl ran upstairs, Finn led Ghost over to the rug. They lay down next to each other, the catboy on his side as it was far more comfortable. The neko faced the fire, flames dancing in his eyes, sighing in satisfaction at his full belly, warm body and the soft rug beneath him. This place, these new protectors - it was wonderful beyond his wildest dreams. When Jinx returned, Charlotte got changed. Despite being naked himself, Finn rolled to face Ghost's back and spooned the little guy gently. It just seemed wrong to watch his sister undress, especially when she was so clearly upset.

He was there a full minute or so before he heard a low hiss from Jinx. Ghost was already lightly snoring, so he turned to see the issue. Char was face down on the couch, soft cotton nightgown lifted at the back, and he could scarcely believe what he saw. Around a month earlier, Finn had had the misfortune to receive three strokes of the cane at school; he hadn't done anything himself specifically, being a bit of a teacher's pet, but it had been decided the entire class deserved punishment for general unruliness. The aching marks had been clear and defined, obvious where each cut of the rattan rod had landed for days after - Char's rear looked nothing like that. The willow branches his father used were thin and whippy, each used until it fell apart, and resulted in a chaotic mess of weals that concentrated on the lower part of Charlotte's bottom. Her freckled ivory skin was so fair it all stood out in a bright crimson mass, dotted with purple blood blisters where the strokes had repeatedly crossed - it must have been agonisingly painful. Jinx was just stood staring; she didn't want to touch the raw flesh knowing it would hurt so much, and looked at a loss for how to proceed. Char looked back over her shoulder.

"C'mon girl, you won't break me."

"Char..." her brother started.

"You just look after that neko, this is girl business." Charlotte said politely but firmly. Given the wounds meant for him were on her, he felt obliged to obey and turned back to the fire, tears running down his face at the gasps and sharp inhalations of breath while Jinx set about her task. He didn't deserve his sister, and certainly wasn't worth the sacrifices she was making on his behalf, nor the understanding and indulgences she had extended to him. It wasn't fair; Char had suffered the consequences of his actions then rewarded him with what he had always wanted. He snuggled closer to Ghost, who murmured happily in a half-doze and pressed back against the boy, seemingly unbothered by his own fading wounds.

"Oh, thanks so much sweetheart." Jinx frowned. She was pretty sure that applying the cream must have really hurt. "Really, it's cooling me down nicely now," Char assured, "let's see if we can't find something silly to watch."

~☆~

The cartoons Char put on were old, a superhero show, and it rapidly became obvious why it was likely a favourite in the house. One of the villains was a pink haired girl with vertical pupils who shared a moniker with a certain catgirl, and as she watched her namesake Jinx was rapt. She shot ice cold glares at anyone making in her opinion too much noise, much to Finn's amusement. Ghost remained fixated on the fire mainly, occasionally shifting to face Finn as he warmed his back instead. He put the boy in mind of a rotisserie chicken, keeping sure he was evenly done all over. During one of these shifts, the neko leaned up to his companion on the rug and whispered a single word before giving a pleading look. Finn was surprised - he hadn't heard Ghost speak before - but was happy to oblige the kitten. In all honesty, he was getting close to having the same issue himself.

"Everything OK there?" Char asked.

"Boy business" Finn responded, aloofly sticking his nose in the air, and she couldn't help but laugh. The two crawled over towards the litter tray, the larger stopping the smaller as they reached it. Ghost had been ready to try and squat over it, which seemed a touch unnecessary to his companion given what the young neko had said. Instead he knelt up fully on his knees and catboy did the same in imitation, but it immediately became apparent this wasn't going to be as easy as Finn had imagined. The shape of the neko's back stuck his little bum out behind him and his tummy out in front - in order to kneel up and not topple forwards, he had to lean his shoulders back and could no longer see what he was doing over his belly. Finn was still pretty sure Ghost could learn this though. He guided the kit's hands to his little privates, whispering to hold, then gently gripped his slender wrists to help give the kit some control and point him in the right general area. With a word of encouragement, an arc of pee landed squarely inside the tray. Ghost kept looking up at Finn with onyx and emerald eyes sparkling, grinning at how well this was going. Once the kitten was done, and Finn had told himself firmly that being watched doing this was no different to using a public urinal, he emptied his own bladder the same way.

Jinx was fascinated. It would never have occurred to her that boys could use the litter tray like that, and although she was a little jealous that the tiny catboy was learning basic living skills from someone other than Char or herself (Finn was supposed to be as helpless as Ghost, after all) she couldn't deny it looked pretty efficient. She watched approvingly as Finn cleaned his hands with a moist wipe, and then started to wipe the neko's too.

What happened next had Charlotte kicking herself for the rest of the evening. Finn had been so tender with the kit that it was easy to forget he wasn't all that familiar with the details of neko physiology; she didn't see the danger in what the boy was doing until he yelped loudly in surprise and pain. Ghost skittered away from him in terror and guilt, cowering in the corner by the hallway door and whimpering; he'd just hurt his friend, and even though he hadn't meant to was sure he'd be disciplined, if not banished back to the filthy cage. Finn, more surprised than actually hurt, watched a little bead of blood well up on his index finger.

Char started to get up, then thought better of it given how scared the catboy looked. "Shit - sorry Finn, that was entirely my fault, didn't occur to me, I should've warned you. Pressing the top and bottom of his fingertip will force his claw out. It's a reflex, he had no control over it. Jinx, could you..."

The catgirl was already moving. She felt a touch guilty herself; she had been distracted by cartoons, a little bit lazy, and hadn't been supervising the young kittens properly. The fact that Char had just used a filthy word was not missed on her but could wait. With a quick sniff she confirmed the emotions that Ghost would be detecting from the room, and padded over, arms open. The catboy dived into them, scenting overwhelming sympathy from her; actually... he didn't smell anger from anyone, not even Finn. It didn't make sense - the last time he'd scratched someone accidentally things got bad. Really bad. His body still ached from it.

Finn crawled over too, stopping a little distance away still sucking his finger. He smiled, held up the tiny wound (which was already barely bleeding any more) and shrugged. "S'okay."

Ghost smelled, of all things, guilt. Why? Finn blamed himself? The bigger boy held out a hand. "Come. Fire." He pointed off into the blurry distance, but clearly toward the dancing orange lights of the warm fluffy place they had been before the whole episode started. His cherubic neko guardian pushed gently in Finn's direction, and finally believing that his error might not have angered his three friends, slowly went with the bigger boy back to the rug. The two curled back up, Ghost still in vague disbelief at the speed of forgiveness. He pulled Finn's hand to his face, and gently kissed the injured finger - the nearest thing to an apology he knew how to give.

Jinx padded into the kitchen, a determined look on her fair skinned face. She returned holding a clear cup with a small amount of bubbly green liquid in the bottom and proffered it to Charlotte.

"Did I swear? Oh, I did, didn't I?"

Jinx nodded, a hard look in her eyes. Finn looked on in surprise. "What's..."

Char glanced over to him as she took the cup. "I'm not a hypocrite, Finn, and don't ask anything of you lot that I don't expect of myself. If Jinx had said that I'd be spanking her cute little butt right now, but in a neko tribe it's not appropriate for a lower ranked individual to punish a higher one, so I'll punish myself. This," she held up the beaker, "is washing up liquid and water." She sighed and, taking the soapy fluid into her mouth, grimaced as she swirled it about for around ten seconds before spitting it back into the vessel. "Ugh... ack! That is truly rank. Sorry for my language all, I'll do my best not to let it happen again."

Finn was amazed. He tried to remember the last time he'd seen an adult prepared to live by exactly the same rules as kids, let alone neko, and frankly couldn't unless you counted obvious stuff like using kitchen knives. Living here was certainly going to be very different from life in the foster home.

Copyright © 2022 AlreadyForgiven; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Interesting that Finn wants to be treated like a Neko. Great chapter, and their little family unit is progressing.

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2 hours ago, VBlew said:

Interesting that Finn wants to be treated like a Neko. Great chapter, and their little family unit is progressing.

Thanks very much! I know this won't be everyone's cup of tea, and is a bit far along the kink spectrum for what is usually on this site - glad I've got some interested readers!

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The following has me very intrigued!!

Jinx listened to all of this, bemused. It was like listening to someone explain in a thousand words or more that rain falls downward. "Done?"

Finn opened his mouth, thought better of it, and just gave a sharp little nod in his best Jinx impression, even shutting his eyes as he did so like she usually did. Apparently this definitely met muster; the catgirl squealed in delight. A few cogs went whirring in Char's mind - did what Finn had just gestured mean more than either of the humans present thought? Watching her brother play this game of his might help her studies far more than she had realised. To her surprise, the pale catgirl turned to her next.

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2 hours ago, drsawzall said:

The following has me very intrigued!!

Jinx listened to all of this, bemused. It was like listening to someone explain in a thousand words or more that rain falls downward. "Done?"

Finn opened his mouth, thought better of it, and just gave a sharp little nod in his best Jinx impression, even shutting his eyes as he did so like she usually did. Apparently this definitely met muster; the catgirl squealed in delight. A few cogs went whirring in Char's mind - did what Finn had just gestured mean more than either of the humans present thought? Watching her brother play this game of his might help her studies far more than she had realised. To her surprise, the pale catgirl turned to her next.

Fascinating to see which details interest folk! Jinx certainly took more from it than Finn likely intended; he essentially just used a language he doesn't understand and luckily said the right thing. It will be explained eventually,  don't worry...

 

Next chapter already racked up to come out on Friday. Thank you again for reading!

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