This is written as a thank you for kkglinka on tumbler in response to item one of my art challenge. Go here to see the pic, just remove the spaces:
kkglinka . tumblr post/ 31240842906/ dragon- lair- art- challenge
Claudia bounced into the Warehouse office. "Hey Artie, what's the emergency?"
Artie started at her sudden appearance. "Close the door! Don't let them out!"
"Let who out?" Claudia raised her eyebrow at him but shut the door.
Just as it clicked shut, a sleek black cat skidded to stop mere inches from the door. It looked at Claudia with reproach. Another cat, this one a dark brown and black tabby a little larger than the black one, sauntered out and nuzzled the black one.
"Artie…why are there cats in the Warehouse?" Claudia asked slowly. "And does HG know?"
"Oh, she knows…I think." Artie answered vaguely.
"What do you mean? She either does or she…" Claudia looked at the smaller black cat and then to the larger tabby. They were both being ridiculously adorable, curling up together as they watched the door. "Oh…"
She leaned against the desk, hand brushing a ball of yarn. Thinking Leena had left it there, although Claudia didn't remember seeing her work basket at the Warehouse, she picked it up to look at.
"Claudia, don't—" Artie reached for her too late, "touch that." He finished.
A ginger tabby kitten crawled out of the pile of clothing Claudia had been wearing. She meowed, tripping over her own paws as she tried to free herself.
Artie watched as Myka-cat and HG-cat hurried to check on the meowing kitten. HG gently lifted Claudia free of the clothing. Both she and Myka then persisted to ensure that Claudia was none the worse for wear despite her protests. He chuckled as she settled down and let them do as they wanted.
Now, if she were that easy to convince when she was human…but her shook his head. Claudia wouldn't be Claudia if she weren't driving him crazy in some way, shape, or form.
And now he had three cats instead of two that he needed to return to normal. He put gloves on and carefully picked up the ball of yarn. This time he set it inside a small box. He didn't want to neutralize it until he knew what it was. The last thing he wanted to do was explain to Mrs. Fredric why three Warehouse agents were now of the feline persuasion.
That, and he had no idea if neutralizing the artifact would return them to normal or leave them stuck as cats.
The latter was bad and unforgivable. He was just glad that Pete and Steve were off on a ping while Leena was busy at the B&B. Hopefully, he could fix this before anyone else touched the ball of yarn.
The trio of cats wasn't letting him work. Piles of papers were scattered and Claudia-cat, just like her human self, had a talent for getting into everything. Myka-cat ran between the other two in some strange cat effort to keep them from causing too much chaos…when she wasn't the one causing it herself.
Finally, he'd had enough. Artie caught each of them with the help of Trailer and took them to the library. He left Trailer to guard the door and hoped that this meant he could actually get some work done.
Inside the library, HG-cat and Myka-cat chased Claudia-cat as she proceeded to set out exploring. They knocked over several things, including books, files, random bits of paper, pillows from the furniture, and even managed to somehow tip over one of the heavy chairs.
Myka finally caught Claudia and brought her back near the door where HG was playing with a ball of yarn. Myka distracted her and they went off together, leaving Claudia with the yarn.
Hours later, with a tired Pete and Steve now helping, Artie found it.
"Ah-ha! The yarn basket of Lady Frances of Kent!" Artie held up the card and read it. He had to wonder how the yarn inside the basket had gotten scattered around the Warehouse (more importantly in his office), but that was for later.
"What does a basket have to do with this situation?" Steve asked, rubbing his eyes. He was running on the two hours of sleep he'd managed on the plane back to South Dakota. Pete even less since he'd driven them back to the Warehouse from the airport.
"Lady Frances was both an avid knitter and a lover of cats," Artie explained, "she bred house cats of all kinds and…" he pulled out another card, "she often made toys for them from a special yarn she made herself using wool, catnip, lemongrass, cat hair, and valerian. She always kept that yarn in a specific basket she had made for just that purpose because the cats could never get into it!" She scrambled to bring an image up on the computer. "There! We have it in the Warehouse!"
Pete and Steve looked over his shoulders.
"That's the ball we have here," Pete pointed out, "does that mean that the other five are rolling around the warehouse? And why does it turn people into cats?"
"Does that even matter right now?" Steve asked. "Let's just get the others back and then worry about the why."
"Right, so where is it?"
The three of them spent the next hour searching for the basket and the yarn that belonged inside it. They found five of the six, all of which were in the basket Pete found himself carrying. Steve had a huge static-bag for when they found the sixth ball of yarn.
Artie was fuming again. Pete was yarning and nearly dropped the basket.
"Look," Steve yawned himself, "why don't we look in the library and make sure the girls are okay and then take a break. For all we know, we've missed it because we're all running on empty."
"Yea Artie, I'm starving." Pete added in.
"Fine!" He began the long walk towards the library.
"Aw, they're adorable!" Pete blamed his gushing on how tired he was. He set the basket down just long enough so he could take a picture with his phone. Steve did the same, only he made certain Artie didn't see him and thus didn't get glared at like Pete.
HG-cat was sleeping stretched across Myka-cat. Claudia-cat was playing with some yarn, rolled on her back and half batting at Myka's paws. The two adult cats were stretched out on a book. Myka-cat looked at them as if asking them why they were interrupting. HG-cat cracked one eye open, her baleful glare daring them to disturb the library's calm. Claudia-cat was far too entertained by the yarn she was playing with to notice the three humans and the dog that had entered the room.
Artie was looking around the chaos of the library in disbelief. How had three small cats caused this much damage?
"Hey, Artie, I think Claudia has the missing yarn ball." Steve motioned to where the yarn ended in a small ball of green-brown-gold yarn.
"Yes, okay, Steve, you gather the yarn. Pete, guard the door to make sure they don't run out. Trailer, stay." The dog whined. He wanted to chase the cats.
Pete held open the basket, just catching Claudia-cat before she could leap inside and scattered the yarn once again. He set her down carefully when he heard both adult cats begin to growl.
They managed to get the basket, yarn safely locked inside, into the static bag.
"Hey Artie, the girls are going to be dressed, right?" Pete thought to ask even as they all went to cover their eyes from the shower of sparks that went up from the bag.
Claudia shrieked. "What the frak? Out!" She tossed a pillow at them even as she scrambled for one of the throw blankets Myka kept in the room. "Out! Out! Out!"
Myka, red-faced, did the same for her and HG. If Pete noticed that they were more concerned for each other than themselves, he didn't mention it.
"Hey Mykes, nice tat." He commented instead. He ducked the pillow.
"Pete, if you have any self-preservation at all, you will never mention that tattoo again. Ever." Myka growled tugging the blanket tighter.
"Darling, it's nothing to be ashamed of." HG smiled wickedly, pecking Myka's cheek.
"Their flirting aside," Claudia glared at Steve who was laughing at her fuming. "Would someone please tell us why we're naked in the library of the Warehouse with," she pulled several strands of cat hair off her shoulder, "cat hair on us?"
"You just spent the last day and a half as cats," Artie told them. "I told you not to touch the yarn, but did you listen?" He stormed out of the library mumbling. "And you three are cleaning up the library!" he shouted back.
"Come on Claude, let's get you back to the B&B," Steve offered his shirt as a peace offering.
She took as she marched past him grumbling. Pete scrambled out before his mouth could get him in trouble again.
"We certainly do appear to have made a mess." HG commented, looking around the library. "I always did think cats were agents of chaos."
Myka groaned. "I know Helena. I know."
"Come darling, before Artie decided he meant for us to clean this up now." HG took her hand. "Where do you think our clothes have gotten to?"
"Let's just find them before Pete or Artie does," Myka replied. She pulled the shorter woman to her, kissing her soundly. "For what I remember, you were a very adorable little black cat."
"I was not!" HG protested.
"Yes you were, I have pictures!" Pete called out.
It took me nine months, but here it is! Hope everyone enjoyed it.