Ichigo let just the tiniest bit of magic leak. Just enough to show a little life, like a tasty, tasty mouse….
Over the crest of the roof, black ears sprang alert. Formerly boneless fur bunched, slowly, a muscle at a time readying itself for action.
Wait for it. Wait….
Holding his breath, Ichigo scratched one fingernail along the roof shingles.
A blur of midnight pounced on his hand, claws biting deep-
Ichigo pounced right back, the jacket he’d taken off swooping over black fur like a mini-net. Later he might sniffle about how much it hurt. For now- “Got you!”
“Oh, sure,” Ichigo sniffed, bundling the squirming jacket to his chest. “I know what I felt. This time I’ve got-”
Indignant gold eyes stared out of his jacket sleeve.
“…You’re not Loki.”
He hadn’t seen such an innocent cat-blink since the last time he’d stumbled in on Yuzu watching Sailor Moon. It put the hairs on his neck straight up.
This cat has magic. Shapeshifting magic. It’s not a cat.
And it wasn’t Loki. Which meant he might have grabbed more than he could handle.
But shapeshifting had rules. Grab something in a smaller form, it usually couldn’t shift to something bigger until you let go. Usually.
…And now he was remembering some of those stories Loki had dug up, about kitsune and tanuki and oni; oh man, what if he had grabbed an oni in disguise?
“Purrl?” Another gold blink.
“Oh, no,” Ichigo said firmly. “I’m not letting go ‘til I know what you are.” If it was a monster, and if it followed the rules of shapeshifting, that was the safest thing to do. If it didn’t – well. He was already toast.
Darn it. I’m going to have to call the game off. Ichigo took a deep breath. “Alley, alley-”
“No need for that.” Loki’s boots touched down on the roof; he looked distinctly amused. “He’d have to catch me first. That was what you said, was it not, Yoruichi-san?”
“You set me up!” the cat sputtered, struggling to yank its head out of Ichigo’s sleeve.
“His plan, his work, his luck.” Loki ticked them off, finger by finger. “You said he was a whiny kid who didn’t know enough to be taught, yes? So I taught him.” A wicked smile flickered on the sorcerer’s face. “It’s hardly my brother’s fault if I’ve taught him to catch shapeshifters, now is it?”