Return to War Chapter Four


Author: Vamp_fangs
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.

So beautiful, Tara thought as she helped freshly bathed and naked Willow onto a large sterile examination table. The redhead was crouching on her hind legs with her hands resting on her knees, her head lowered. The blonde mistress smiled, brushing her hand through the Cougar's damp hair. Such a good girl.

"Joyce is going to do an evaluation in a few moments. Be a good girl and I'll make sure you get a toy before you go to bed." Tara promised, her hand petting the girl's head soothingly. Willow nodded, shifting slightly, her green eyes examining a silver tray full of foreign objects. The blonde doctor entered the room, with her clipboard in hand.

"Mistress? I thought you would be in the dining room by now." Joyce asked in surprised as she moved to place on gloves, snapping them as she secured them over her hands.

"I've already told Faith and Anya to start the prayers and eat with the rest of the House." Tara explained, "And again, you are more then welcome to join us once and a while." The blonde Mistress cocked her eyebrow. Joyce grinned and shrugged.

"Maybe later. When there aren't so many things I have to attend to." The doctor moved towards Willow, slowly reaching out and stroked the redhead's hair. The Cougar watched her intently, her tail swinging back and forth behind her. "Willow, I need you to sit with your knees hanging off the table. I'm just going to see how healthy you are, alright?" The Hybrid nodded vigorously and shifted herself so that she was sitting straight.

"I'll be over here if you need me alright?" Tara assured the redhead as she sat down on a black chair on the other side of the room and picked up the Hybrid Collection book that a servant delivered from her study earlier. Her eyes grazed over the paragraphs she read before;

As younglings, they have specific traits are instinctive other than the Fight or Flight course such as; showing affection/trust/loyalty by rubbing and licking, bringing small dead vermin as a gift, seeking a potential mate and submission vs. Dominance.

When they are four years old, they are grouped into smaller groups, usually of four or five and their education of the World continues. They begin to play fight, practicing and satisfying their instinctual needs for the Hunt (Note: Look at The Hunt), and as they do this, they develop an integrated hierarchy which goes on to the rest of the village as they grow up.

At age seven to nine they begin to be filtered by their needs and talents. Majorities of kittens join apprenticeship with their year mates while others are separated and placed with others with similar caliber. They have a chance to become apprentices to the Cooks, Healers, Carpenters, Fire-Keepers, Traders, Herbalists, Tanners, and Hunters. And at age ten, the kittens become fully involved in their society.

Tara glanced up as the redhead mewled in soft protest as Joyce's fingers pressed against her scarred side.

"It's alright, Willow." Joyce murmured as she moved back. "We’re almost done. Could you please Change into your feline form?" The blonde Mistress returned to the book, flipping the page. Tara admired the Cougar at the bottom of the page before moving her eyes back onto the words;

Adolescence and Puberty

When the Cubs go through the process called the Change, usually at the ages of eleven to fifteen, their senses are heightened and they begin to shift into their animal form for the first time. In their first Change, they would experience pains when their body shifts but after several Changes, the pain would lessen as hormones, such as endorphins, will adapt and dull their nerves as they experience each Change. The effects of the endorphins last only as long as they take to shift.

The males gain weight as they go through puberty, sometimes even reaching about 300 lbs. in their Cougar form, while females grown leaner and begin to experience their first ovulations. After a few months of this experience, females can control when they wish to conceive like their animal counterparts in the wild, helping them find suitable mates. (Look at Mates and Mating)

The kittens who were born with permanent feline features in their human forms are the late bloomers who suffer the most as they go through their first Changes. When they shift into their animal form, because of the tail, eyes, fangs, or even claws they have in their human form, their animal form does not automatically include it as the others would and they must learn to remember to keep their features. These cubs, unlike the others, experience pain on every one of their Changes, and the only ones on record to have fragile mental abilities. Seen as a liability to the tribe, these younglings are most often killed before they reach they age of five. The only exception would be if they cub belongs to the Alpha or is one of the only children that year and needed for the next generation.

On a few special trials ran on hybrid cubs captured by the HRC Center for study, these kittens are rare, only appearing twice every seven years and are the only ones who can shift one specific part of their body at a time without having to Change completely. They are able to adapt to their surroundings quicker than their healthy counterpoints, but are easier to confuse and frighten.

"Mistress?" Joyce called, backing up to allow the mewling Willow jump down from the table. Tara lifted her head up from the book and nodded, slightly as the Cougar, in her animal form, pawed the ground nervously. She pulled her attention away from the cinnamon colored hybrid to the doctor, tilting her head to the side in question. "I am done for now. I gave her some medicine that will help her keep calm and she doesn't seem to need as much of Liquid Bliss as the prelim suggested she might need. Tomorrow I want to get her into the X-ray room. If she broke any major bones, Drusilla had gotten her healed well." Tara nodded with a frown at the mention of the name as she stood and stretched, leaving the book open in the chair. "Oh, and the collar you wanted is on the table."

"Thank you, Joyce. I'll see you bright and early tomorrow." The blonde Mistress grabbed the book and reached for the red leather collar marked with arcane runes and her insignias on the counter near the sink. Joyce smiled as she caught sight of the blonde woman fingering the collar, opened the door and shook off her lab coat before hanging it on the hook and leaving the infirmary. Tara kneeled before the Cougar and smiled, slowly placing her fist in front of the Hybrid. Willow gave her hand a sniff and began licking it gently. "Change back and we'll go get you that toy I promised."

Willow was lying on a small cot where she was biting down on her new toy, a soft, blue blanket as Tara attached a chain leash to a red collar with her marks on it and hooked it to a metal pole in the wall. The redhead gnawed playfully on the blanket as the blonde Master ran her hands down her face, chest and stomach, sending shivers down the girl's spine.

"Such a good girl." Tara whispered, as her knuckles caressed Willow's cheek. "How about I get you something to eat?" The redhead tilted her head to the side, the blanket still in her teeth, as she looked up at her Mistress.

"Please?" The Hybrid asked quietly, her voice muffled by the cloth. The blonde Master grinned and nodded, gently pulling the blanket out of her mouth.

"I'll get someone to deliver a plate." The blonde stood up, leaving the sight of the redhead. Willow sat up, clinging the blanket to her chest as she rubbed her face against it. She purred quietly as she nipped at the blanket, licking it after each bite to watch it dampen with saliva. My toy. Willow thought possessively, occupied by her toy's texture and softness. When the blanket was pulled away from her, causing the redhead to squawk in protest.

"Hey, now. It's dinner time. I'll give you this back when you are done." Tara explained sternly, noticing that the redhead was more comfortable and wondered if it was a product of the drug Joyce prescribed her or if it was her adaptability. Willow nodded in compliance, her eyes on her Master. Tara moved the blanket away, setting it on the edge of the cot and sat down beside her with a plate in her hand. The Hybrid sniffed the air and tilted her head to the side as she studied the pie, her nose twitching in interest as she moved to her hands and knees. "Do you know what this is?" Tara questioned, picking up a silver fork and jabbed it into the crust.

"No, Mistress." Willow replied, shaking her head. She leaned in, and, like everything she had been in contact so far, gave it a lick. She flinched as her tongue brushed over the crust. "s'Hot." She mumbled. Tara chuckled softly, picking up a small piece.

"It's venison pot pie. Cooks made these special." The Master explained, before blowing to cool it. She gestured toward Willow to open her mouth. The Cougar sniffed the utensil and snapped her teeth over the prongs. Tara blinked in surprise and slowly tugged the fork in Willow's locked jaw. "Careful, don't hurt yourself."

Willow nodded and swallowed, pausing only for a few moments before opening her mouth again with small grunts of enthusiasm, shifting from side to side. Tara chuckled, complying.

"How does that feel?" Tara asked, her left hand cupping the redhead's stomach as Willow rubbed her tongue roughly on the roof of her mouth to catch the last remnants of flavor, before muffling a yawn. "All full?"

"yes, Mistress." The Hybrid replied, smiling sleepily with her eyes fluttering shut. How cute! Tara thought, as she leaned in closer, gripping the girl's hand and placed a small, soft kiss on the girl's lips. Immediately, willow went limp. Tara frowned as she gently squeezed the limp hand. She could see the Cougar had her eyes closed tightly and was holding her breath. Moving too fast. The Mistress thought with a scowl, before she stroked willow's forehead with a resigned sigh. She then, without saying a word, stood and exited the room.

When she could no longer feel her Mistress' presence, willow cautiously opened her eyes. Master kissed me! The redhead brought her fingers to her lips and shivered pleasantly. I did something good. willow surmised, wondering why Tara didn't take advantage of her. She had gone limp like Mistress Drusilla had taught her and waited for Tara to make another move but the blonde Mistress pulled away. maybe Master's gonna come back? willow thought excitedly and rolled over onto her stomach, making sure her new toy was underneath her and placed her head on her hands as she kept watch on the entrance to her room.

Continue to War Chapter Six

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