Catching Tavo

Catching Tavo Catching Tavo

Status: Finished

Genre: Gay and Lesbian

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Gay and Lesbian

Summary

Tavo is running. Abused and mistreated, he can't take it anymore. He makes one last desperate attempt at escape. Benji didn't plan on getting caught up in Tavo's troubled life, but when he's the only one who can help, Ben won't abandon Tavo. When that man turns out to be lovely inside and out, Benji is glad he was able to catch Tavo.

Summary

Tavo is running. Abused and mistreated, he can't take it anymore. He makes one last desperate attempt at escape. Benji didn't plan on getting caught up in Tavo's troubled life, but when he's the only one who can help, Ben won't abandon Tavo. When that man turns out to be lovely inside and out, Benji is glad he was able to catch Tavo.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Catching Tavo

Author Chapter Note

Tavo is running. Abused and mistreated, he can't take it anymore. He makes one last desperate attempt at escape. Benji didn't plan on getting caught up in Tavo's troubled life, but when he's the only one who can help, Ben won't abandon Tavo. When that man turns out to be lovely inside and out, Benji is glad he was able to catch Tavo.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: December 22, 2015

Reads: 886

Comments: 5

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: December 22, 2015

A A A

A A A

Content/trigger warning: abuse, violence, kidnap, very sad kitty-cat

 

My tail twitched. I forced it to stillness. I was hiding. Twitchy tails might draw unwanted attention. Unwanted attention might mean getting caught. I was hunched behind a ripe dumpster next to a motel in Iowa. The smell made my nose wrinkle, but that’s part of why I’d chosen the spot. Hopefully the rank stench of rotting food and the sweeter scent of drizzling rain would cover my scent. I’d rather have found a high thick branch to curl up in, preferably in the sunshine, but they’d find me easily. I’d tried hiding in trees before. A few times I’d even moved from tree to tree when I could, staying off the ground. I’d thought that would confuse their tracking. They’d found me anyway, almost as quickly as if I’d just tromped along a well-worn path.

They’d liked having me treed. It excited them.

I’d gotten farther this time than I ever had before. So, I must have been doing something right. I hitched when I could, pretending to be a human. I didn’t have to worry as much about them just following my scent and running me down if I traveled by car or truck. But, there were quite a few unpleasant people who picked up hitchhikers. The last guy who’d given me a ride was the worst I’d seen. It had left me gun shy. So, I was running on foot. It was slower with my limp, making me curse the offending leg as I had hurried along. I ran at night and rested during the day. The pack on my back didn’t hold much. There was a shirt, pants, and a thin hoody as well as a couple bottles of water, and a few small mementos I’d been able to save before I’d run. I’d had some food in there before, but it was all gone. I’d made the pack myself. I could wear it in either of my forms, depending on how I adjusted the straps. My sister, half-sister really, always thought I was hilarious wriggling into the pack as a cat.

I wasn’t very big in my animal form, not even as big as a large dog. It was embarrassing. Being the size of a medium-sized dog wasn’t all bad, though. It made sneaking and hiding easier. If people caught a glimpse of me they didn’t immediately go running for a shotgun.

I looked like an oversized housecat with fancy spots.

Most shifters get a lot larger when they changed. Werewolves were a damn sight bigger than natural wolves. The same was true of every other shifter I’d seen change. That had mostly been wolves, but I saw a mountain lion shifter once and a black bear shifter another time. I could hardly believe how big they got. I’d looked up what I was by checking pictures of wild cats.

I was surprised when I found a picture of a gray ocelot. It looked like me.

I was on the large side for a natural ocelot, but I was still in the range of normal. Hell, there were wild ones that were bigger than I was. I was an undersized freak. I’d honestly thought for quite a while that I might be some kind of domestic cat shifter, since our animals forms are usually ten to fifty percent larger than our natural counterparts. My sister pointed out my ears and head were too rounded to be a domestic cat. I’d countered that there were a ton of different cat breeds with different ears and faces. She was right though. I was an ocelot shifter, a runty ugly gray one.

I huffed as I shifted on the cold concrete. It was good to be small, I reminded myself. If I wasn’t small I’d never be able to hide there to the side of the motel parking lot. I’d dreamed of being something like a tiger of a jaguar. People would notice even a regular sized tiger, though. I’d never have gotten away from the pack. Small was good.

My mental pep-talk was interrupted by a car pulling into a parking space across from my rusty dumpster. I heard a car door open and close. As footsteps neared I hunched under the dumpster as much as I could, rusty rough edges of metal poking me unforgivingly. The wind was behind me, blowing towards him, so I couldn’t get his scent. If he was a shifter, I prayed he wouldn’t catch mine. Even better would be if he was human.

Big boots tromped through puddles next to my hiding place. I held my breath. He was about to pass me by when he paused. My mind was shouting for him to keep moving, that there was nothing to see here. He didn’t follow my failed attempt at mind control, bending over to peek behind the dumpster.

“Hello, kitty-kitty,” he said as he peered in at me.

The first thing that popped into my head when I saw him was Paul Bunyan. He wore black boots with jeans that looked worn from wear, not the designer factory. His hair was brown and shaggy. A scruff of stubble covered his cheeks and chin. He even wore a soft green flannel that matched his eyes.

I didn’t recognize him, but I didn’t relax. Just because he wasn’t from the pack didn’t mean he wasn’t looking to take me back to them. I flattened myself to the damp cement and growled, laying back my ears. He didn’t seem to get the picture though as he cooed at me like I was a Persian on a satin pillow.

“You okay? Come on out, sweetheart,” his deep voice rumbled as the man reached out an open hand to me. “Aren’t you a pretty kitty?”

I squished myself under the sharp-edged metal trash box as well as I could as I glared at the lumberjack. I wasn’t some lap kitty.

“Here, kitty kitty kitty….”

Okay, seriously? My heart calmed. This was definitely not a tracker sent by the pack. He was some human or shifter idiot who couldn’t tell a stray cat from a runaway ocelot. I grumbled and looked away from him.

Eventually, he gave up trying to coax me out and went into his hotel room. I had a moment of wondering if I should have gone with him. I was hungry. I’d caught a rat and rabbit in the last few days, but that was it. I wondered if I played giant housecat if he’d feed me and give me a warm place to sleep. I sighed at my fanciful thoughts. I settled in on the chilly ground and waited for nightfall so I could move again, maybe catch a rabbit before I moved on.

When the man approached my hiding spot again I didn’t growl, just ignored him, turning my face away. It was only a few hours until nightfall. The drizzling rain was petering out, thank goodness. Running in the rain sounded miserable. I could ignore Mr. Lumberjack for a while and then slip away at sunset and keep traveling.

South. I wanted somewhere warm with plenty of trees so I could hide without worrying about freezing. Somewhere without any people, human or shifter, would be nice. I thought I’d had just about enough of people for a while.

I was thinking of a nice tall tree with a sunny branch just for me when I caught the scent of something that left my nose twitching and my mouth salivating. I glanced to the man who was still trying to coax me out. He had a can opener in one hand and a freshly popped tin of tuna in the other.

Oh, damn… I hadn’t had tuna in years. Suddenly, Mr. Lumberjack had all my attention.

I tried to suppress the needy whine creeping from the back of my throat. My stomach rumbled traitorously as the man held out the open can to me.

“C’mon, kitty-kitty,” he coaxed. “I don’t have any kippers or sardines to offer. Don’t you like tuna?”

Hell, yes, I liked tuna. I tensed my muscles to keep myself from going to him like some friendly tabby. He might not be from the pack, but that didn’t mean he was a good guy, whether he knew what I really was or not. I kept my furry butt firmly wedged under the dumpster, no matter how much my belly complained. After a few more minutes the man sighed and set the tin down in front of him.

“That’s okay, kitty.” He stood. “I’ll just leave this here for you.”

I watched him warily as he slowly backed off. He waited to see if I would go for the tuna with him standing several feet away. I stayed put until he sighed again and retreated back to his room. I thought he might be peeking out of his window, but that was okay. If he came tearing out of his room to grab me, I had enough space to get away. I scooted forward on my belly, wishing the breeze wasn’t behind me. I couldn’t scent anything more than four or five feet from me unless it was pungent… like the tuna. I wished he’d put the can behind the dumpster, but not such luck. I’d have to expose myself to get the food. I hadn’t seen anyone but the lumberjack all afternoon, though. And I was hungry.

The parking lot was empty when I tentatively crept into the open. I should have grabbed it in my mouth or hooked it with a paw and taken it back to my hidey-hole before I started eating. Instead, I let my empty belly and my stupidity guide me, wanting just to scarf it down as quickly as possible. I felt myself growling softly as I ate, unable to stop the overexcited burbles as I downed the fish inelegantly. It was as good as I remembered, maybe better. My lids half-dropped in culinary ecstasy.

It meant I was distracted when the men came around the corner. They were nearly on me when I noticed them. Too late. Too slow. Too damn bad.

I skittered backwards as soon as I saw them, abandoning my mostly empty can of tuna. Four big guys with unpleasant grins on their faces stalked forward. They were spreading out, trying to box me in against the building. My pack caught on a rust edge of the dumpster, slowing me down. I abandoned it, shrugging out of the straps. I wasn’t fast enough, though. They were surrounding me. I wouldn’t be able to get past them. In desperation, I shoved my body underneath the nasty dumpster, ignoring the sharp metal scratching at my shoulders.

Two of the men hunkered down to glare in at me while the others watched to make sure I couldn’t make a break for it. The two staring at me reached in, showing unfortunately long reaches. I hissed and tried to keep as far from them as I was able. They couldn’t fit all the way under the dumpster, but they could wedge their shoulders under there. It was enough that they were going to be able to reach me.

I was so screwed.

I swiped my claws across a hand that had gotten a hold on my tail. It pulled back, surprised I was willing to use my claws. I never had before. I might have growled or spit, but I never drew blood. Now, though, I was desperate. I yowled angrily as I clawed at another hand that reached for me. This time, he didn’t back off. He got a grip on my hind leg and pulled, even as I tore his skin off. He dragged me to the edge then got my other foot and yanked hard. A rusty corner caught the side of my ribs and tore through fur and flesh as I was yanked out from under my hiding place. I howled in pain.

I was lifted into the air, kicking and squalling. Hands seemed to be everywhere. I wasn’t a kitten to be carried around by the scruff, hanging from the crushing grip on the back of my neck hurt like hell. It felt like my fur was going to tear itself out. I kicked and flailed until they pinned my feet. I slumped in defeat. They had me. I whined in the back of my throat.

This was it. They’d never give me a chance to get away again.

“You little shit!”

I looked into the snarling face of the man I’d torn up the most. I knew him. Sig. This wasn’t going to end well. My ears flattened to my head and I drew my head down as he raised on bloody hand to strike me. The blow never fell.

“Everything okay out here?” asked a familiar voice.

I peeped one eye open. My lumberjack was standing there with a worried look on his face.

“Just fine.” Sig ruffled a hand over my head. My lips curled back. I was tempted to bite him. “Just found our wayward pussycat.”

“I saw him earlier. He’s a pretty one.” The lumberjack said. “He’s huge, isn’t he? What is he, a Bengal or an ocicat?”

My captors looked at each other. Sig was the one to speak up.

“He’s our dad’s. Not sure what kind of a mix he is.” Sig shook his head and gave his best good-old-boy grin. “Just glad we caught the little stinker.”

My lumberjack raised his eyebrows. “He looks a little torn up. I’m a vet if you want me to take a look at him.”

Sig’s smile struggled to stay on his face. “I think we’ve got it under control.” His eyes flicked to the open door of the man’s room. “Thank you, though. If we need a hand we’ll come knocking.” Sig nodded to another guy, his brother Kelby. “Open the door and get the bags.”

Kel hurried to obey. I watched in surprise as he opened the door to a room across the parking lot then went to grab a couple duffel bags and backpacks they’d dropped at the edge of the building. They must have parked in the front and then come around the corner and seen me eating. If they’d known I was there they wouldn’t have wasted time checking in. They’d have grabbed me first.

They’d stumbled on me by chance. To hell with my luck.

I hung my head as they hauled me to the room. The hotel was on the edge of town. I’d been worn out when I’d stopped for the night. It had seemed like a good place to rest. I hadn’t even thought of the fact that anyone else tired and wanting to stop in this town would see this hotel first. Then I’d been out sucking down tuna where anyone could see me with the wind at my back so I couldn’t scent anyone coming up to me. My own stupidity had gotten me caught.

They slammed the door behind us and pinned me to the bed.

“Shift!” Sig hissed at me.

I scrabbled to get purchase on the slick bedspread. My eyes were wide and my lips parted to pant. He shook me by my scruff, like that would make me change. I was terrified, nearly pissing myself. I was too scared to shift. I was practically feral with fear. They threatened me more, but I could barely understand their angry words. I curled in on myself as they pinned me down. A few words made it through my terror-filled brain.

“-make sure he doesn’t run off again…”

They pulled my hind leg straight, it was my good back leg. The other one made me limp. I tried to struggle, doing very little damage with teeth and claws as they held me down. I heard and felt the snap of breaking bone before pain sliced through me, making me yowl.

“We need to shut him up. Get the duct tape.” Sig ordered. “Get the wire while you’re at it.”

The pain turned my stomach, nearly making me toss my tuna. When someone yanked on my broken leg it was too much. I passed out.

I didn’t stay out nearly long enough, though. It was a bad night, a blur of pain and blood. Eventually, the men god bored. They stuffed me in a plastic dog crate too small for me and went to bed. I was in and out, only waking fully when they lifted my crate and moved me to the van. Someone had pulled the van around and parked it in front of the room. They shoved me in the back with snarled insults that I barely understood. Sig hollered that he had Dad on the phone and Kelby slammed the door and left me to go back into the room.

It was hard to breathe with the duct tape wrapped around my muzzle, It pulled painfully at my fur and whiskers while forcing me to take snuffling breaths through my nose. I hurt everywhere, with aching points of deeper pain. My broken leg was a constant pulling pain. They’d used wire to bind my legs. I’d chewed through rope and tape before. The wire was cruelly tight, cutting into my skin. My nose was full of the scent of blood.

The few bites and scratches I’d managed to get in did nothing to make me feel better. My toes were swelling where they’d torn out my claws in retaliation. When they’d held me down and come at me with the pliers, I hadn’t had any fight left in me. I could only lay there and mewl like a beaten kitten as they ripped out my nails one by one. I was pathetic.

When the back door swung open again I expected Sig or Kelby, or even one of their cousins, Ray or Burke. Instead, the lumberjack was peering in at me. The big brunet unlatched my crate and pulled me out, wincing when he saw the state I was in. If I’d had any energy left I would have howled from the pain of being moved, but I didn’t have anything left in me. The most I could do was whimper.

“Come on, baby.” He whispered softly as he tucked me to his chest. “I’ve got you now.”

He carefully and quietly relatched my crate and softly clicked the back doors of the van closed. He hunched down as he hurried across the parking lot to his car. He tucked me in the back and threw a blanket over me before diving into the driver’s seat and cranking the engine. I expected him to haul ass out of there, tires squealing. Instead, he drove like it was a normal day. He hurried a bit, but nothing that would draw attention. I felt a few bumps and turns until we were on smooth asphalt and knew we’d reached the highway. My rescuer let out a heavy breath of relief before reaching back to uncover my head.

“Hey, bud.” He peeked over his shoulder before returning his eyes to the road. “You okay back there?”

I couldn’t move, let alone answer. I let my eyes wearily close.

“It’s alright,” he soothed. “Just a couple hours and we’ll be home and I’ll patch you up. I don’t want to stop now, in case those damn wolves are following. I hope you can hold out until then. We’ll get you taken care of.”

He pulled out a cell phone and hit a few buttons before putting it to his ear.

“Ina… Yeah, it’s Benji.” He said into the phone. “Look, I need you to go in to the office and set up triage for me… Hell, I don’t know… No, I didn’t find another goddamn dog in the road, I found a shifter. Someone beat the living shit out of him. He’s so bloody I can’t even see where he’s hurt and he’s probably feral from the pain and being so damned scared… Yeah, I just left the motel. It’ll be a couple hours, but I’m gonna step on it. Hopefully I don’t get pulled over. If no one seems to be following me I’ll stop in an hour or so and check him, see if he’s got anything life-threatening going on. There wasn’t any active bleeding that I saw when I snatched him… Yeah, I pulled him out of the back of those jerks’ van. What was I supposed to do, leave him there?” I heard him reach over and turn up the heater. He peeked back at me again. “Maybe I’ll stop soon than that. He’s in bad shape… I don’t know, some kind of wild cat. He’s gray but his markings are like he’s a tiny leopard or something. I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s a little bitty thing. He might be just a cub.” He sighed heavily. “Hell if I know, Ina. People are messed up. Will you call your mom and your gran and let them know what’s up?” He paused, listening as his fingers tapped the steering wheel as he drove. “You’re a lifesaver, cub. I’ll call you when I’m getting close or if I run into any problems. Love you, bye.”

He tapped the screen with his thumb and dropped it on the passenger seat next to him. The warm air was blowing back to me, strangely making me shiver, though the warmth felt good. It also made me aware of his scent for the first time. There was peppermint, shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, and something under that. It made my eyes snap open and my hackles rise.

“Just stay with me, bud.” He reassured, but his words didn’t seem so soothing now. “We’ll get you home.”

It sounded more like a threat than a promise. If I could have run I would have. I would have jumped out the window of the car as it streaked down the highway. I tried to control my panicked breathing and failed, making myself lightheaded. I was stuck in a car with one of the biggest and most dangerous shifters around.

I’d been caught by a bear.

 

 

Random Fact: The kitty was almost a Canadian lynx instead of an ocelot, but I wanted something with a long expressive tail.


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