User:Hawl/Perspectives Of A Lollipop (Coming Halloween)

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Perspectives Of A Lollipop Halloween, 2006, Silver City North Carolina.

Hugh Phileas, Teenage Snow Leopard, was excited for another night, the fourteenth in a row and for the first time in a long time one with his older half-brother Rio Moon. Hugh was smiling with his bucket of candy, dressed in a Green Power Rangers Mystic Force costume. The costume was buff in the front like an American Superhero and not a Japanese Ranger Suit, an inaccuracy that made it most obvious that Made In China was somewhere on the package. Hugh gripped his magic wand and posed as his mother took his picture.

“Now don’t you look strong in that?” Mrs. Phileas called out as the camera flashed. Ironically, Hugh being a snow leopard made him naturally far buffer than his own dad. Not that either of his human parents knew this.

Hugh laughed and raised his wand, waving it over his candy bag. “Candius Fillius Maximus!” he giggled, looking into his bag and seeming disappointed. “Awwww.... I need to learn how to do magic for real.” he said.

“Magic isn’t real Hugh.” Mrs. Phileas said, he sometimes insisted that it was and he’d seen it before when his friend “T-Girl” turned his friend “Creepy Crawly” into a rat. Mrs. Phileas was dressed up like a black cat, eyeliner for whiskers and a cheap tail. She wasn’t anything like Hugh even in this costume. “Now your father and I are going to a Halloween Costume party. So your big brother Rio is going to take you Trick-or-Treating.”

Mr. Phileas was dressed in a drugstore Deviled Egg costume, which is to say, an egg with devil horns and tail. “Are sure you you’re not too old for Trick-Or-Treating Hugh? You wouldn’t rather watch scary movies tonight? Pop some popcorn, order a pizza?”

“I can watch R-Rated movies?” Hugh asked his ears perking up with the delight of being allowed to do something once deemed forbidden. His mother usually didn’t let him do too much. “Hmm, would I still get candy?”

“HAROLD! You know Hugh doesn’t like those! They’re much too scary for him.” Mrs. Phileas screamed, giving her husband a look as nightmarish as running into the frighteningly lethal Michael Myers. “Right Hugh? Wouldn’t you much rather get some candy with Rio. Maybe you’ll run into some friends?”.

“Umm well, I do like candy” Hugh said, Rio shook his head, he didn’t approve of his biological mother’s decision to baby Hugh and shield him from adulthood. Rio had always felt that Hugh did have autism as the doctors had told them, but it was far more severe looking than it actually was because of her mother’s constant coddling.

“Rio, promise me you’ll watch your brother like a hawk!” Their mother warned with a stern and ferocious look in her eyes. “I don’t want anyone touching a single hair on him.”

“Now there’s something easier said than done....” Rio muttered under his breathe “Yes mother”, looking his feline brother over. Rio could see what his brother had become even if his parents couldn’t. It made him very uncomfortable, he knew he’d have to change one day. Rio knew that EVERYONE would eventually, but he wouldn’t have any control over it and as far as he knew, there wasn’t a soul on this Earth that did. Hugh was playing with the wand and pretending to summon rocks out of nowhere like the Green Earth Ranger on the show.

“So polite, We’re so glad you were able to get time off for Halloween Rio” his mom said hugging him and beginning to tear up. “And I’m pleased as punch that you’re not fighting in Iraq anymore. Oh the thought of you out there in those deserts with those.. those.. people... scared me half to death.” Mrs. Phileas regained her composure. “Do have fun with Hugh.”

“Hehehehehe!” Hugh laughed as he took to heart that like a hawk comment, picturing his older brother with a beak and feathers, being the Changed version of the bird. Hugh in all probability did not know that Changed couldn’t be birds, but even if he did he liked having his fun regardless. “Maybe next yeaaar.”

“Alright scamp.” Rio said smiling, scratching Hugh behind his big feline ears who purred in response. Rio could see where Hugh actually stood. Hugh was much taller and bulkier than he appeared to other humans, he was nowhere near as tall as the Militant Human, but he weighed the same in muscle. Hugh’s Snow Leopard transformation left him quite strong. “Let’s go rot your fangs out.”

“Bye Mom, bye Harry, love ya!” Rio said as he walked out the door, grabbing an old football jersey to use as a coat. Rio wasn’t really in costume himself. He meant to get one, but he had just been very busy lately, so he at least grabbed a Red and White Jersey with an N stitched on it and did his hair up like a jock from an old film. It was pretty makeshift, but it was a half-decent Captain N. All he needed was a Nintendo Zapper and a chippier face, one that had not known that cruel hand of war, to be fully convincing.

“Stay safe kids.” Mr. Phileas called out to his children, even if Rio wasn’t biologically his he loved him just the same.

“We will daddy” Hugh said and the half-siblings were out the door.

The two began walking around the neighborhood of North Chase, an upper middle class community inside of the outskirts of Silver City in what used to be known as Castle Hayne until it merged with Wilmington in the year 1987.

“Alright Hugh, before we start. I know you’re not the brightest crayon in the box." Rio breathed inward his brother had never been an Honor Roll Student, so he prayed that he would understand what he meant. "But you know that I can see you right?” Rio asked giving Hugh’s feline body another look over.

Hugh tilted his head, looking at his older brother like it was a really dumb question. “Well of course you can see me, everyone can see me. I’m not invisible silly!.... Wait you have crayons? Can we color together after trick or treating?!!?” the oblivious kitten boy giggled at his older brother.

Rio was slightly annoyed, he had been forgetting that Hugh had the habit of taking words at face value. “I mean I know you’re a cat, snow leopard right?”

“Huh?” Hugh asked, looking himself over then back to Rio. “Wait, then why can’t I see what animal you are? I thought that’s how the vision thingy worked.”

“I’m still human, I haven’t changed yet. When I was fighting in the war I got knocked out by a grenade. It didn’t blow up close enough to burn me too bad, but I got banged up pretty bad by the force of the blast.” Hugh tilted his head not sure what that meant, but Rio continued regardless. “When I woke up I saw our beloved medic was some kind of stallion.” Rio said, thinking to himself how cute that same medic looked when he thought that horse man was a human woman. “Why did it have to be her...... Oh right anyway, That’s like a boy horsey if you didn’t know...” Rio added on, dumbing it down for his mentally challenged brother.

“I know, T-Girl told me!” Hugh said as he ran up to a door and rang, holding his bag open. “Trick Or Treat!”

An elderly man smiled. “Some kind of Cat-Martian? You forgot your shoes there young man.” he said before getting out some tootsie rolls and a small funsize box of whoopers from a bowl near the door which he threw into Hugh’s bag. A generic one with a bunch of Halloween Monsters, the Wolfman, a Toilet Paper Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, a generic ghost, a skeleton, and of course the Prince Of Darkness himself, a big smiling Dracula holding out his keep with a bat for a bowtie.

“No, I’m a Power Ranger!” Hugh said, smiling. The mask didn’t fit him right due to the muzzle so he just wore the top half. The snow leopard did a pose with his toy wand which ended with him raising it up in the air. “MAGICAL SOURCE! MYSTIC FORCE!”

“Heh... well whatever it is the costume looks great, that almost looks like your real mouth.” The old laughed, delighted by the children who came his way on Halloween.

“This is my real mouth.” The old man looked at him funny before Hugh bowed politely. “Thank you mister.”

“Hehe, kids, so full of the Halloween Spirit!” the old man said with a big smile on his face.

“Hugh you do know you’re supposed to keep it a secret that you’re a leopard right?” Rio asked, somewhat worried about the old man, worried about humans in general. The soldier sure as sugar remembered. There were a lot of things both Human and Changed that he’d like to forget.

August 25th, 2006. The Deserts Of Iraq Rio was back in the deserts of Iraq, gunning away at attacking forces. Someone lobbed a grenade, a dying gesture as Rio pegged him between the eyes with a handgun, wishing to conserve the ammo in his assault rifle for a larger group of enemies. “FIRE IN THE HOLE!” Rio cried out as he jumped to the side, but not far enough, being knocked away by the explosion, his body sent rolling through the sands.

“Moon’s down! I repeat Lieutenant Moon is down!” Rio flashed back to when he gained the ability to see Changed for what they had became. He remembered being on the hot desert ground, knocked flat on his back, all senses temporarily disabled save for vision. His mind overloading and yet going completely blank all the once. Rio was looking forward and found himself barely able to concentrate, not even knowing the concept of what it even means to concentrate anymore anymore.

“He’s still alive!” a man in full uniform yelled out, as he returned fire. The words meant nothing to Rio if he even heard him to begin with. The man shot at the remaining arabic soldiers who yelled in their native tongue. “Let’s get you away from these sandpeople buddy....” he said to Rio as his bloodied body was dragged towards the American base.

When Rio finally regained his senses he saw himself in the medic’s tent. He seemed to be the only thing that even resembled a human being anymore, everyone else in the tent had limbs missing, severe burns, faces melted and made unrecognizable. There was a man who was screaming still, but his whole face was bandaged up with red dripping wraps that used to be white. Rio felt like a very lucky man, more so when nurses wheeled three corpses out one right after another. The soldier nearly wanted to throw up, a few them had exposed organs from where invasive surgery had failed.

A gruff male voice called Rio to his attention. “Lt. Moon, glad to see you awake, you seemed to have suffered some light shellshock and minor burns, you appear to be in better shape than we tho.... Lt. Moon are you paying attention?”

“GAAAH! What the hell have you done!?! What do you want with me!?! I’ll NEVER talk!” Rio screamed, still in a bit of shock, but rightfully so given the circumstances. Right now he was most concerned with the elephant in the room, or, at least the horse. As right before him stood a tall half-man half-clydesdale in a woman’s nurse uniform.

The nurse perked his eyebrows up. “Rio... calm down, you’re still in shock!” in a quieter voice, he whispered to the human. “What’s wrong? What do you see? Is there anything unusual in the room” the nurse was hoping for Rio to shake his head no and for him to say that he was just scared from his attack, but he wasn’t having that luck.

“Horse.....” Rio said, half-scared, half-delirious, all curious.

“I was afraid of that.” The ungulate crossdresser said nodding slowly. “Keep call me. Don’t worry about a thing Lieutenant. I just need to make a call and we can get this mess sorted out.”

“What are you going to do to me?” Rio asked “You’re not going.... eat me or anything are you?”

“No Lieutenant, if anything you might be looking at one hell of a promotion.” The horse-man said as he picked up a phone and dialed a top secret number known only to a select few in the military, a few literally chosen by a higher power that man did not understand. “This is Pam, an ape has eyes, I repeat, an ape has eyes.”

A voice on the other end, a much older gentleman who happened to be pomerian, a literal dog of the military. “There’s an Ape Changed stationed there and we didn’t know it? If he’s a combatant send him straight here, we could use a few good men or, you know...” the dog said, pausing, not wanting to talk about what ROB had an off-chance of doing to people when they change, especially not with a stallion named Pamela.

“Well that might happen one day this ape is hairless sir.” Pam responded

“You mean a human can see us....” The old general on the other side responded

“Yes sir, but I do have some... good.. news.” Pam said, having mixed feelings about the situation. He knew he’d have to tell his boyfriend sometime, but not only was it painful, it was also highly classified information.

Rio mouthed “Pam?” he had been seeing a Pam and it had been getting a little serious, the matron was getting a little reclusive these past days, but he never imagined that this could be why. No! There’s no way it was the same one, there was no way this was even really happening. “PAM!?! Jesus! What the hell happened to you? How long have you been a guy, no, not just a guy, you’re not even human! You’re a fucking horse! Is this some kind of sick fetish? Are you going to make me your god damn Mare?!?!”

A tear formed in his eye, Pam put a hoof on the talking end of the phone. “Rio, please don’t make this any harder than it needs to be.”

“Rio? You mean... the Lollipop Lieutenant?” He asked “Your boyfriend as well I understand. You have my condolences, but, try to keep in mind that he had to find out sometime.” The general sounded nervous and awkward, having no real knowledge about the best way to approach this situation. “You’re a man now and you’re going to have to start acting like one. I need you to buck up and get Lieutenant Moon down here, he’s coming back to the USA. His humanity might be a valuable asset to VSH. We’ll speak again later, keep your eye out and your mouth shut.”

“Yes sir!” Pam said, finding it easier and yet harder to maintain his emotions. The human would have actually argued with her superior officer, but with testosterone the only emotions he felt was anger and disappointment, though admittedly he didn’t know where to direct it or even if it was worth doing so and just had no choice, but to swallow it. It wasn’t as if anyone knew how to cure, prevent, delay, or even know what someone was going to change into. “Rio, I need you to meet me in private. We’ll go out for drinks one last time.” he said offering a hoof in support.

Rio didn’t want to take it, he was still pretty shaken up about the whole thing. “...You owe me Pam, we’ve made love! You mean I stuck my thing in a god damn horse? A male fucking horse! I mean it’d be one thing if you were a trap, I mean it happens...., but... you’re not even fucking human... and no one else thinks this weird? DOES NO ONE ELSE FIND IT THE LEAST BIT STRANGE THAT THERE’S A FUCKING CROSSDRESSING STALLION HERE!” Rio yelled, pointing at Pam who just shook his head.

Pam called out “Ignore him fellows, Moon’s delirious, I’ll need to isolate him for a while, get him some fresh air.....” he whispered to Rio “I’d keep this under your hat, this is the real me and it has been for a week.”

“I saw you a couple of days ago!” Rio protested

“I know...” she began speaking louder “Alright Rio, let’s go somewhere quiet, just you and me.” he picked his likely soon to be former lover up, but Rio insisted he could walk and just had his “girlfriend” lead the way.

Several people looked at Pam’s rear end as he walked by, Rio still felt a need to give demeaning looks to those who did as if he was saying. “Eyes off, that’s my chick!”

“What’s with Rio?” One man said to another, their injuries were lating merely having broken limbs.

“That fine piece of ass is what he’s nailing, looks like Lollipop’s getting his licked.” The other man said to the first.

“I don’t know, she’s got a bit of a Sarah Jessica Parker horse face going on.” the first one said.

October 31st 2006, Silver City, North Carolina

“Trick or Treat” Hugh said, purring as he recieved a bag of skittles from a kind woman dressed as a witch, his bag now half full. “Big bro, you’ve been a little quiet.”

“I’ve just been thinking a lot.” Rio said, taking another look at his brother. He had wondered if his family had been afflicted and was surprised with the answer. If any of them how to be changed why Hugh? Wasn’t Hugh’s life difficult enough as it was being autistic with a mother who will never let him grow up? He was already different enough. Rio dreaded the day the veil dropped, he just wondered how the world would treat his little brother and prayed that there would be no humans left by the time that day came.

“About the war?” Hugh asked, somewhat curious. “Or about candy? You can have my bubblegum if you want. It doesn’t chew right..”

Rio smiled “Just don’t let anyone hurt you.”

The two walked into the night, all over North Chase when suddenly Hugh stopped and sniffed the air and screamed! “I know that smell!” and ran off as fast as he could go. Being a cat Hugh was far quicker more than the very reasonably concerned Rio could go.

“Hugh your tail back here this instant!” Rio screamed, running for a very long time with worry in his eyes and determination to find a missing snow leopard kid lost in an endless sea of costumed maniacs out for candy and finally stopping to catch his breath only once he had found where Hugh was going.

The Altered Beast that was Rio’s younger half brother “That house was giving out fresh baked cookies! You should go get one! Someone stepped on my tail, but” Hugh said as he forced a cookie into his mouth and chomped, noming and oming before the arctic cat finished his sentence. “The cookie was worth it!”

“I hope it was worth being grounded! Hugh, it’s Halloween and that can bring out the worst in people!” Rio commanded, he had seen people get blown to smithereens by running forward only to find themselves thrust upon a minefield, and to think he was old enough to see all this, but not to drink at least he wasn’t when he first entered the military. Yet none of that would compare to seeing his little brother get hurt.

“Wait! I think I know another smell I smell!” Hugh cheered and began running dashing past Rio once again.

“Oh no you don’t!” Rio screamed as he grabbed Hugh’s tail. Hugh growled at Rio for a second, who let go immediately. Not at the growl, but he saw what Hugh was running towards.

“Gabe are you sure you can eat chocolate? Isn’t that real bad for rats?” asked a tigress dressed like Captain America.

“You’re thinking of dogs Cale, chocolate is actually quite good for our respiratory systems. Besides I need to chew SOMETHING Mr. ‘I Can’t Yield My Shield!’” answered the sophisticated voice of a rodent, his face done up in white, his headfur painted green, and with his purple suit it was no question that he was dressed as the Joker and standing beside him was a zombie panda. Gabe just couldn’t convince Thana to dress up like Harley Quinn.

“Oh.... friends of yours?” Rio asked, looking at them curiously.

“Yeah yeah!” Hugh called back. “Hey T-Girl, Creepy Crawly, Blakken White! my older brother Rio is taking me trick or treating!”

“Yes, I am. Hugh didn’t tell me he had other Changed friends.” Rio said to himself. “Oh and I can see what you all really are, just so there’s no weirdness between us.”

“That’s actually kind of relieving.” Iris purred, circling around Rio with a few snarl sounds for fun. “I’m a TG, so it’s not very often people get my sex right. I’m Iris, Iris Vinole” she said, shaking the human’s hand.

“I figured when your friend called you Mister. My name’s Rio, Rio Dansen Moon. I’m Hugh’s half-brother.” Rio answered, looking the tigress over. Even if they were Hugh’s friends he needed to be sure they were safe to be around, something he had been taught back at VSH. “You aren’t de-clawed, but a few of your claws are a little boy. Nail biter?”

“Ever since I was a litle boy.” Iris laughed at the ironic truth of that statement. “Very observant of you.”

“Your rat friends’ claws aren’t too noteworthy, I’d be more worried about his agility, but the red paint on that panda’s claws, nice touch, almost looks like blood. Too bad most won’t appreciate it.” Rio commented on Thana’s claws. “Additionally, you and your boyfriend are not TGs, of the three of the one I’d be most worried about fighting with is the rat, then the panda, and last Iris. I could take her down easily. I doubt there would even be a fight, the panda would give me trouble. But you rat? I hope to see you on the field of battle someday. I can tell, that you’re so dangerous the only way to make you more lethal was if we strapped a sniper rifle to your back, or at least dual-wielding swords.”

The three looked amongst themselves, then back at Rio. “The moniker I posses is Gabriel Zedimouse Locke, you did get our combat skills scaled so easily. Yes, I have enhanced reflexes and cannot easily be touched, Thana is incredibly dangerous, and Cale would freeze up in most circumstances, but how did you piece that together just by looking at us?”

“Cale? Oh cute, your feline friend doesn’t use the initials. I thought they were kind of stupid myself.” Rio laughed. “I’m a Sgt. with a special unit of the US Military focusing solely on Changed. Beyond that it’s classified. Any Changed need their threat levels evaluated incase they’re a problem. I don’t know if you kids have noticed this, but you’re all considered potential threats to national security.”

“I suspected as much.” Gabriel said eyeing Rio up and down. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Uncle Sam himself did this to us.” The rat paused and sighed, looking at his pink claw-like hand before continuing. “Though I have to inquire, why are you telling your little test subjects that we’re watched like rats in cages.” he said with no hint of irony nor did he sound like he intentionally made a pun.

“Rat in cage. Singular.” Iris teased forcing the pun upon the rodent.

“Shut up Cale.” Gabriel said, his voice was mostly monotone as telling his friend to be silenced. “Sgt. Moon, answer me.”

“I don’t know if you missed the part where I said that my younger brother is Hugh.” Rio answered. “His threat level is the lowest in Silver City,. but at the same time. We humans don’t exactly applaud people that we just don’t understand.”

“I’m trans, so that’s hardly news to me.” Iris chimed in, earning a very cross look from Gabriel who hoped she’d stop her jokes while government secrets were being spilled, especially if it related to the strange new creatures that they all randomly and so radically been transformed into.

“I’m not saying the Government is planning anything drastic. Some politicians are Changed after all, but if anything should go down. I want you to protect him, even from me if you have too.” Rio advised Gabriel. “You guys are being more closely monitored than you realize, so I can’t say too much, just protect my brother just in case Uncle Sam decides he’s not too eager to start rocking the goat look.”

Hugh tilted his head confused, he didn’t really understand what was going up, but it wasn’t looking like candy. “Uhh can we go to a new house?”

Rio looked towards Hugh with a small smile. “Of course we can little bro.” The human smiled, scratching behind the snow leopard’s ears. “You guys coming with?”

“Does a rat like cheese? The answer is obvious, we most assuredly do.” Gabriel responded, standing close to Rio. Taking a cautious distance, he wanted to be close to Mister Secret Agent Man yet far enough so that if he thought he could take the rodent and his band of female furries to eliminate them out of the way early or something equally as dishonorable and shady that it wouldn’t be as easy as he was dreaming.

“Well follow along then, I could use someone to help me keep an eye on Hugh” Hugh at this moment was walking alongside Iris. “He can be quite a...” Rio paused for a second before finding the correct wording. “pawful.. sometimes.”

“Nothing wrong with the word handful, regardless of one’s circumstances.” Gabriel said, his eyes drifting over towards Rio with as best of a look of annoyance as one can give without pupils. “I just hope you aren’t thinking he’s too MUCH of a, pawful, as you have worded it.”

“What are you getting at rodent?” Rio said, not sure he liked what his newfound fuzzy yet frizzled friend was implying nor the road down which he was treading.

Gabriel looked at Rio and then down at his neck. He looked back at Rio and said not a word to him, merely rubbed his index finger across his blonde hairy neck.

“It’s not like that. He’s my brother. Family ties don’t end with your species.” Rio peaked over at Hugh and sighed. “What right do I have to be bigoted? I could look like him one day, or you, or even your lady friends....” Rio looked at his male physique and then at Iris’ overly exaggerated female one and grimaced. In doing this he felt the need for a cigarette, fetching his carton from his football Jersey and offered Gabriel one after lighting his own. “...If I can ask though have you and the tigress ever….”

Gabe politely refused it, not only because he didn’t smoke tobacco, but he was still weary of this man. “The only woman for me outside of Thana, is Mary Jane.” The rat did hint, trying to see if Rio had something he would like to smoke regardless.

“GABE! He’s a soldier, I don’t think you should be telling him...” Thana said in a panicked voice, a little sketched out by his comment.

“I hear ya man, if you’ve got a good connect I’ve been looking to smoke a bowl myself.” Rio said, ignoring Thana’s worried comments.

“Well throw down on some with us then.” Thana added, relieved, realizing after calming down a little that only possession is illegal, being a stoner isn’t. “Mary Jane is the kind of chick me and my man like to have a three way with.”

“We have the messiest orgies, you, me and her.” Gabriel chuckled to his beloved as he snuggled her close for a second.

“You know what Locke.. I like you.” Rio smiled and let his guard down a little. This reminded him of being back in VSH, all the laughs he had with the teammates he had.

-August 27th, 2006. Washington DC, Military Base-

Rio had been de-briefed on the jet. He now knew of the Change, who it afflicited, and how because of his skills he was to work alongside former humans in a program called Victory Starts Here. Changed Soldiers who were serving their country, studying their oddities and monitoring US Citizens to help keep the Masquerade a secret. They had even started been influencing the media, making a few furry movies, cartoons, and comic books to help become more accustomed to seeing furries, to help soften the blow incase the math is right and humanity is doomed.

Now he was ready to meet the team he’d be working with. He had been forewarned that there would be a strict training session with them all, Rio’s specialties were assault weapons and hand to hand combat. This perplexed him to a degree, what were hand to hand skills going to be good for against opponents with knives for fingers. Currently Rio had been gathered in a room with one of his superior officers and a team lined up already, he had just entered under orders to find a lemur in a military uniform. “Lieutenant Moon I presume, the one they call Lollipop.” The Lemur nodded, looking over the human before saluting him which Rio returned. “I’ve been told of your skills. You’re a hell of a man. So we’re assigning to Company Foxtrot, one of our more promising units.”

“Nice name...” Rio scoffed, looking the troops over. “....So.. you need me to be a.......”

“Hand to hand expert, Lieutenant.” The lemur stated grabbing an apple from a nearby table. “The country is full of people like me.. People who can make mincemeat out of a man in seconds. Corporal Foreik, heads up.” he said as he tossed the apple underhand towards a persian cat woman standing completely at attention.

“Yes sir!” The female feline said as she lashed out and cut the apple into neat slices which all fell to the floor save for one she caught and ate. “I’m getting better at this.”

“Stay at Attention Corporeal.” The lemur warned her before turning to Rio. “What do you think.”

“Permission to speak freely sir, I think you’re out of your mind.” Rio said, not giving a proper pause to cash in that permission.

“Permission granted, son, I understand that the situation seems weird, but you’re not just training these men.. and err… uhh..” The lemur paused for a second looking at the Corporal. “Well these men.. we’re also training you.”

“I know plenty of ways to kill a man already.” Rio said scoffing and looking away from the Changed. “And I’ll know plenty when I wake up from this nonsense. I bet this is all just a fever dream from some bad vaccines.” Rio pleaded with himself in denial as he rubbed his forehead. “And my fiance isn’t a stallion either.”

“Rio I assure you, your situation is very real. If I may continue and since I am your superior I will, your reaction to it is incredibly selfish. We’re the ones who aren’t human anymore. You only have the bad luck of being able to notice. If you couldn’t see us the only thing that would change is that we’d still be like this and you simply would be blind to how we are.” This was only the begining of how the lemur gave Rio a stern talking too. His lecture on how The Change was real was not only boring, but it was also preachy and very drawn out. It continued for what seemed like thirty whole minutes. Rio was getting bored and aggravated, but upon seeing the other Changed listening intently and looking over their bodies a part of them longing to be human once more. “Alright, look… I’m just a little upset from my fiance going stallion on me.. I.. I’ll go along with it for now.” Rio said, and went along with it he did. Going with this team on training mission after training mission. Preparing for the day that Changed became a problem. Rio had kept them in mind as humans only as much as he had to until one day he received a card from his mother and with a picture of her, her husband, and his half-brother. It was then that Rio had asked for a leave of absence to come to Silver City for Halloween. ______________________________________________________________________________

Back in the present more houses had been visited. Iris and Hugh had been running amok from house to house, but that was to be expected of cats. A few times Gabriel had to tell them to tone it down a little, but they listened to the rat well. Hugh wanted to stop to take a candy break but Iris and Rio both insisted they waited until they got home to check the candy for hooks and/or signs of tampering. No tainted candy had ever been found but it was better to be safe than sorry. Eventually Iris spoke up interrupting a conversation between Rio and Gabriel. “So uhh Gabe. When were we going to Dave’s thing?”

“Hmm… Alright… we are going to bounce. I mean obviously I know that you may not utter too many secrets to my ears or you will be jettisoned from your position, but definitely keep us updated.” Gabriel said to Rio who nodded sincerely.

Rio pointed at the rodent cautiously and with a vibe of overwhelming emotion. “You remember what I said about Hugh, protect him, he can’t protect himself.”

“As you wish human.” Gabriel said, trying not to laugh at being able to find a context to say human in a demeaning voice. It did have a evil god or mysterious stranger kind of feel to it to say human like it was some kind of derogatory term. Though Gabriel was deeply troubled and ashamed of being Changed, some things were just really cool to say. Every cloud has a silver lining no matter how small or seemingly trivial.

Rio took Hugh home, stopping by a few houses that seemed like they’d be fine with the same person hitting multiple times. They found the old man again who seemed to take sheer delight to seeing Hugh again, Rio got the feeling he loved children in general and was able to recognize Hugh as being a kid trapped in an older person’s body.

Once they got home Rio looked through his and Hugh’s candy, Hugh had gotten more than Rio due to not being so focused on Gabriel, but still Rio gave all of his candy to Hugh anyway. After having a few choice pieces as a payment for sorting through the candy to ensure that it was safe, both for Snow Leopards and for Humans. “Hey… Mom’s still not home, so you still interested in seeing an R-Rated Movie bro?” Rio said looking up at Hugh gesturing towards an old VHS tape of Friday The 13th on the shelf. “Come on, it’s Halloween after all.”

“Uhhh, it’s not too scary is it?” Hugh said holding his tail shivering. These were scary movies that he couldn’t handle, his mother said so.

“Everything is too scary before you try it, come on monsters aren’t real. No one’s going to hurt you, and even if they could you’re a Power Ranger Cat! Who is gonna mess with you? An idiot who doesn’t realize how big your claws are.” Rio assured, putting in the tape and fast forwarding past the trailers.

“Oh yeah! Bring it on then! I could take Mr. Hockey Mask on in my sleep! Mythical Source! Legendary Force!” Hugh cheered waving the toy wand excited.

“That’s not until Part 3.” Rio corrected, starting some popcorn and smiling back at his younger brother. “This one has a secret killer.”

“Who?!?!” Hugh asked excitedly.

“You just have to watch.” Rio said, as Hugh jumped in his seat causing Rio who was trying to hold onto the popcorn bowl. Hugh’s being spastic made it hard for Rio to just sit down “If I tell you I’ll ruin the ending.”

For the rest of the night, Rio had a marathon with his younger brother, the classic trilogy of the big franchises. Friday The 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street, and Halloween. Originally they were only going to watch Friday, but Rio’s mother had called letting them know that because of how late it was getting they had checked into a hotel. Naturally Mrs. Phileas asked Rio to make sure Hugh was in bed soon, but Rio wasn’t going to tell if Hugh wasn’t. “Hugh, I want you to know that if you are really in danger. Gabriel will protect you, he won’t let anything bad happen to you.”

“Or you could! I bet you could take him in a fight! No one beats my brother!” Hugh cheered. “Not every Freddy Kruger or Michael Myers!” The changed youth hugged up to his brother who found his fur quite enjoyable. “Not a soul!”

“Yeah… yeah… Well, just stay with Gabriel.” Rio said, he didn’t think the US Government would do anything to attack the Changed, but if it ever did Rio would never be able to rest easy again. “I don’t want to lose you Hugh.” ______________________________________________________________________________

November 1st

Gabriel and his friends spent the night at Dave’s house due to the intoxication from underage drinking. Police checkpoints happen more often on Halloween Night than any other time of year so it only made sense. “That was quite a night….” he said to himself, getting off of his panda girlfriend he had laid on the couch with and stretching. “Thana darling. Did you have a nice time tonight?”

Thana yawned and came awake, wrapping her arms around her man. “Yeah that was crazy awesome, Cale couldn’t keep her damn legs together though. God she was getting all molesty with everyone!”

“Eh, we were drunk, it’s not a problematic circumstance for tonight. Besides this was mostly humans anyway, they just thought he was drunk and babbling as opposed to actually hitting on them. We don’t have to worry about Cale breeding for awhile my darling.” Gabriel jested, in actuality he found Cale’s behavior deplorable as always, but still he was thinking hard about last night. “.....What did you think of that Rio guy?” Gabriel asked.

“He’s alright. I mean he was creepy how he knew too much about us.” Thana shrugged. “Still I like him, he should chill with us.”

“I agree, we need to find out if he really doesn’t know what caused the Change or if he’s just keeping secrets. I like him, but I’m not sure I trust him.” Gabriel replied, pondering hard but coming to no immediate conclusions. “...For now, let’s breakfast, Dave mentioned he wanted to cook for us, I’ll go see if he has arised from his slumber. I think I hear something in his bedroom anyway”

“Okay.” Thana said, kissing Gabriel before he went to awake Dave.

Though Halloween was over as Gabriel approached the door he smelt something strange. Something he didn’t want to admit that he smelt, this smell was the scariest thing of all. He didn’t even want to open the door now because of what he smelt, but his paw was already on the door. Besides there was no turning back and no way Gabe smelt what he thought he did. “Dave… thought I heard you say something. Just seeing if you’re up and if you wanted me to start the coffee pot…”

“Uhh Gabe, can you give me some priv….” Dave was in the middle of saying, the raccoon wasn’t wearing a shirt and seemed a little nervous.

“Coffee sounds nice….” Sleepily spoke a female voice from a buldge in the cover right next to Dave.

“Oh, get lucky last night. May I question who the lucky woman is?” Gabriel ask shooting Dave an approving stare with a smile.

“Mmmm we were very lucky last night. This was my first time, but wow was it amazi…” The woman rolled over to face Dave, rubbing down his buff chest. This woman much to Gabe’s horror was the tigress known as Iris! “GABRIEL!” Iris called out, quickly covering her breasts.

“Dave…. Cale… you… I…” Gabriel had joked about Dave and Iris having sex, but he never meant it. Two of his best friends had just shared each other with one other in the most intimate way, and he walked in on it! What was even the etiquette for this situation? “...You…” Eventually Gabriel shook his head and regained his composure. “...Hurry up give him a hand and collect your cab fare before the I’m too disgusted too eat!” He said shutting his door. It’ll be awhile before he saw Dave the same way again.