Who: Ben and Fitz What: Shelter from the Storm When: Morning - July 19th [Backdated] Where: Residential Street, then a hallway in the Marketplace Rating: Low Status: Complete
Long before the government finally put the warning out about the approaching hurricane Ben knew that there was something not right, that something was approaching the island and whatever it was, it was going to be big. What a lot of people fail to realize is that animals have some kind of uncanny sixth sense when it comes to natural weather events, whether they pick up on the drop of atmospheric pressure or alterations in the magnetic fields, it was all beyond Ben’s knowledge or understanding. Birds were flying east - heading for the mainland and out of the way of danger, sea mammals were getting as far away as they could and even the insects were hiding wherever they could.
He tried to warn others, tell them to at least tape up their windows or store their important things in something solid and waterproof, just in case. But it seemed that so many were in the mind frame of ‘they’d tell us if there was something endangering our lives’ that they ignored him, other than Fitz and Kyrie who at least took heed of his warnings. This wasn’t Ben’s first hurricane, he had survived Hurricane Lane almost twelve months beforehand when it had brought lots of rain and mudslides to the Island of Hawai’i, he could survive this!
With his little apartment protected the best he could and all of his notes and portable hard drives stored, protected and safe from whatever this storm could throw at them Ben wrapped himself up against the rain and wind and headed first to Fitz and Kyrie’s apartment and from there he’d go to the ‘evacuation centers’ which were really just a few of the stronger buildings on the island. He checked in with Kyrie as a strange tattooed man she seemed to know offered to take her to the facility. Ben could see the concern in her face and knew what its cause was. “I’ll find Oliver.” He assured her.
Fitz has taken some important items and put them in his backpack when he shifted. He wasn’t sure how exactly it worked, but the items were secure during the shift. He the. Headed out that morning to start his rounds. Then… the rain hit.
The cat changed from the Manx to the Orange as it approached the residents. He avoided the people heading up the road toward the facility. He had to get to Kyrie to make sure she was okay. The rain had come in quick and his fur was getting heavy with water as he tromped to the buildings. As he went to pass between two of them he felt his feet almost slide from under him as he got caught in a draft of wind. Quickly he scrambled back behind the wall and pressed against it.
He let out a yowl, the noise was caught in the building storm. Help! His mind called out. He crouched close to the ground and tried to keep low and move through the wind. Key, I’m comin- He felt himself pulled off the ground a little and before he could completely lose his footing he felt someone grab his scruff. Looking up he saw a familiar face. Kyrie! He mewed helplessly.
With Kyrie in safe hands Ben started down the street still wrapped up and walking into the wind, it was strong but not as bad as a Montreal blizzard blowing off the lakes, if he could survive those he could survive whatever this hurricane would throw at him. The jacket that he was wearing provided some protection for the rest of his body against the now steady rain but his face was still getting hit as the wind blew the water in at odd angles and his face wasn’t exactly protected.
He heard Fitz’s mental cry for help long before he saw the ginger form of Oliver, as most of the remaining animals on the island had gone quiet it seemed to have made Fitz louder, although it could also be that he was developing quite a strong mental bond with those feline forms but he wasn’t going to think about that right now, getting out of this storm and to somewhere safe was more important.
Finding the very wet and scared ‘Oliver’ he picked the cat up by the scruff, putting a hand underneath to support him before pulling the soaked feline to his chest. She’s safe, let’s do the same. With his back to the wind Ben unzipped the front of his jacket, cradling Fitz against his chest before pulling the zip back up. No complaining now, I have to smuggle you in somehow He added, starting again towards one of the safer buildings.
Oliver shivered and curled into Ben’s chest, the muscles on his back twitching as he purred to calm himself. Good. Kyrie’s safe. The rain started and just opened up. Fitz thought in a grumbly tone. Wet… so wet… And not the good kind.
Kyrie is safe with that tattooed guy, Jake? Ben hadn’t officially met him, only seen him a few times and talked to him like twice now, but he could tell by the man’s tone that he would do as he said, taking Kyrie somewhere safe and making sure she stayed that way.
It’s just a hurricane mon amour, we’ll find somewhere dry and safe to ride this out. As they approached The Facility it was clear to see that the windows were boarded up but hopefully there would still be room inside, even in one of the classrooms where he taught French, any shelter was better than none. As it turned out most people seemed to have the same idea about The Facility was one of the first places to become filled with residents, so braving the rain and wind again Ben headed towards the Marketplace where he hoped that despite all the glass around there might be somewhere solid and safe.
Sure enough he found a small hallway that was tucked between two of the stores, whatever the original use at least it had no windows that might blow in and it was dry, all one could ask for at the present time.
Fitz shivered against Ben, his fur only doing so much to keep him warm when he was wet. The water cling to his skin as he sapped all the warmth he could from Ben. Okay. He thought as he closed his eyes and tucked his head near Ben’s arm inside his coat.
He didn’t move at first when they finally stopped, he could hear and smell the rain at a distance now, which told him they were inside somewhere.
Slowly the orange head poked out from the coat. Where are we?
About half way down the hallway Ben finally took a seat, legs crossed as he unzipped the rain jacket a bit which allowed Fitz to poke his head out. “We’re in a hallway in the Marketplace. The Facility was full and I’m not going anywhere near that military base, I thought that here was better than anywhere else. It looks solid enough.” He said, unzipping his jacket the rest of the way so at least he could get out of it, plus he had a small pack underneath it - the hydration pack he usually used when exercising that thankfully also had a light towel and some food stored inside it.
“We might not be alone for long, people will come looking for places to ride out this hurricane. Let’s get you dried off at least.” With his coat off and the pack removed from his back Ben leaned against the wall now and pulled the thin gym towel out of his pack, wrapping it around the wet cat that was now sitting on his lap.
Changing back I would be wet in dry clothes and that would be very uncomfortable. He replied with an irritated meow. Fitz let himself be rubbed by the towel and tried not to squirm too much. You never got how sensitive cats could be to touch and how some felt good, but then could suddenly not feel good anymore- until you were one. It was like too much of a good thing became bad. But being dry was more important. He let out a small sneeze as he shook his head, fur going every which way as the water made it stand on end as it dried. I feel ridiculous. He was glad Ben was the only one there at the moment to see him.
Ben tried to be as gentle as he could, getting as much water from the fur with soft strokes of the towel. Well we don't want that! Being dry but in wet clothes was definitely not good and uncomfortable was an understatement. When Fitz shook and the damp fur stuck out Ben smiled a bit, pausing from the task of toweling the cat off. I promise I won't tell a soul. Because other than Kyrie who could he tell? Maybe you should try grooming yourself to get the last of this water off. Or I could find a bathroom, see if the hand drier is still working.
No! Fitz leaped from Ben’s lap. No. No hair dryer. He proceeded to start licking at his fur. The perspective that he was a cat, it didn’t look strange. Though knowing the cat was a man must have added a bit of amusement to see him grooming himself just like a normal feline. As Fitz had spent more and more time as a cat, he adopted more and more cat like qualities, not wanting to stand out and be found out. I hope Key’s okay. The stray thought passed his mind as his neck turned to lick at his back. He also hoped Dayrn and all the faction members he called ‘friend’ were okay as well. Most only knew him as a stray cat that hung around, or his voice in telepathic meetings, but he tried to watch out for them. How long before the power goes out do you think?
The drier was only a joke, he would never use any kind of air delivery system on Fitz or any other cat. It was a bit amusing to see Fitz now grooming himself but Ben knew that after so many years in cat form it was a given, all animals groomed themselves in some manner and only humans used things like showers or tubs. I think she'll be okay, Jake wouldn't let any harm come to her. He hoped, if she didn't trust him she would've said something. Finding a dry section of the towel he put it back on his lap, Fitz could curl up there if he felt like it. Hopefully we won't lose power but I don't know how strong this hurricane is or what the power situation is here. I have packed food and water that should last us the rest of the day at least. plus the bathrooms nearby were an extra source of water for the moment If you don't mind beef jerky Protein and it didn't require refrigeration or anything, it was the perfect hurricane snack
There was an internal shrug. Food is food. Especially when you didn’t exist. For a moment Fitz wondered if he could shift back, sit with Ben for a while, hold him and protect him from danger as he had just done for himself. It was one of those times he regreted his choice. He’d been doing that a lot lately. Fitz, a back leg out before him licked at his fur almost systematically. The analness of a cat mixed with the discipline of the military. Fitz scratched at his neck and stood up, shaking out his whole body. His fur poofed slightly.
Just as he was starting to think that they might be let alone and he’d be safe to ‘come out’, he froze. His ears ticked in the direction of the doors. Voices. Quickly Fitz darted behind Ben, who knew what a government person would do if they saw one of the strays in the market. There was at least one who didn’t mind a little animal violence. The orange head peeked out from behind Ben, crouched low as he watched the doors open and a small group of people rush in from the danger.
Food was food and between the pooled resources from both houses there was plenty to eat, Ben made sure of that. Kyrie had become like a little sister to him and Fitz… well that was a bit of a more complicated matter, either way he wasn’t going to let anyone starve. Though he was now a bit sad that his little vegetable plot in the community garden was going to be destroyed by this hurricane, just when things were growing really well. A smile spread across Ben’s face as Fitz shook and seemed content to now be dry again.
His head raised as Fitz darted behind him, then he heard the voices outside the doors at the end of the hall It’ll be okay, mon amour. he said softly, a gentle head scritch before the doors opened.
“Oh… hi. ” A young lady, probably in her mid twenties said before a couple more people of similar ages followed her into the hall. “Is it… safe?”
“I don’t know.” Ben replied with a smile. “But it has to be safer than out there.” He pointed in the general direction of ‘outside’. “We are away from glass and I’m pretty sure we won’t get flooded up here.”
Once it was clear there were no guards, Fitz settled next to Ben and nudged his hand. You were right. That we probably wouldn’t be alone. His purrs were instinctual at being petted, and just being around someone he liked.
His ears twitched at the sound of the storm outside. I know this isn’t the right time, but almost being blown away… I just want you to know that I’m really happy you found me. He thought, watching their company settle in.
Ben’s hand lifted and slowly started petting the ginger fur as Fitz settled down on the ground beside him, he knew that after a while he’d be getting up and moving around because the hard tiles weren’t exactly the most comfortable thing to be sitting on. Everyone’s scared to some degree and just trying to find somewhere that appears to be safe. Hopefully this hallway and others like them in the Marketplace would prove to be safe havens for those who weren’t able to get into any of the government buildings.
Once I found out Key was okay I went out looking for you, I knew you had to be somewhere around and with the rest of the animals left on the island quiet your voice just screamed out to me. He said, hand now just resting lightly on Fitz’s side. I would have looked in all of your regular spots until I found you, I’m not about to lose you to a hurricane!
“Is that the stray cat that we see around the apartments?” One of the new arrivals asked.
Ben nodded, “I found him huddled against the side of a building, I couldn’t leave him out in the weather so scared and cold. But shh, I don’t think the guards would like him being in here.” A finger was brought up to lips, to indicate for them to keep a secret. The others nodded and smiled over at the cat, at least they seemed to be animal lovers.
Fitz let out a small mew, Ben would be able to tell he was ‘playing’ for the crowd. He froze at the sound of thunder that accompanied the storm and the sound of glass breaking in the marketplace. Yea, they were safe. It was safe there. He kept reminding himself. Every sound he identified what it was, pausing when he couldn’t right away. It was a trick that one of the therapists the VA had assigned to him had instructed him to do. Thus far he’d either been too preoccupied or things had been calm enough on the island he’d not actually had any flashbacks to his time serving. But in that moment, he was doing his best to stay in the moment.
You found me at the perfect time. I was about to change to a big cat, one that could fight the storm to find Kyrie and you. Fitz chuffed slightly as a laugh. But you do tend to have that- perfect timing. He nuzzled against Ben’s leg. They’d only been dating for a little while, but it felt like longer. Maybe because ‘real life’ tended to keep most people from seeing each other daily. But the isolated aspect of the island made it easy to get to know someone pretty quickly. I lo- He started to think without thinking.
The lights went out.
He did indeed know that Fitz was playing it up, that he was showing off the feline side. It was something that Ben rarely got to see, most of the time he saw Fitz was when they were alone together or with Kyrie, although there was more than one occasion where they saw one another - as human and cat - out on the island, particularly when Ben had been teaching yoga outside. When the clap of thunder was heard Ben’s hand instinctively curled around, as if to protect the cat from the storm. “You’re alright Oliver, the thunder won’t hurt you here.” Now it was Ben’s turn to play it up for their company, it was only typical for animals to get scared during storms and maybe his soft words would put the other humans at ease too.
I’m glad that you didn’t, ‘Puma’ would have stood out too much, even in weather like this. You’re safe now, we’re safe He heard the start of what Fitz was going to say, then the lights went out and he picked the cat up and held it to his chest. “Merde!”
His eyes closed as he curled against Ben’s chest, his warmth. Just a breaker going out. A tree or the wind or both. I’m on the island. Fitz thought to himself. I’m in the marketplace. The island had been pretty light on anything trigger worthy for him. Life as a cat meant things were pretty low key and there were no cars backfiring or other sounds of the city that could set you off. Other storms he’d stayed with Key, protecting her had given him purpose that seemed to trump everything else. But she was safe without her at that moment. He was being protected. He felt weak, but didn’t have much to fight against the feeling at that moment. I’m safe. I’m in the arms of someone I love. He continued to mantra to himself.
His eyes adjusted quickly to the dark as he could see the others grouped together for warmth and support. He hoped Ben wouldn’t judge him for being weak. His head nuzzled against the volcanologist.
He wasn’t really that scared, it was expected that the power would go out but he didn’t think it would be so soon, hopefully wherever Key was she still had power and was somewhere that was better set up for riding this storm out than a simple hallway. Cuddling Fitz was more for the cat’s sake than his own, while the other man didn’t talk a lot about his past Ben did know about the military service and PTSD was quite common amongst those who had served.
Ben didn’t hear those mantras, the others were muttering after one of the young ladies cried out a bit as everything went dark, that was more of a surprise than the actual darkness. “It’s just the power, we’re not going to get flooded or blown away. We’re stronger than a hurricane.” Those words were more to try and boost moral, these younger people still had so much to learn about life but they too were stuck on this island and trying to find a new normal, as they all were. “Right Oliver?” A soft kiss pressed to the top of that ginger furred head.