The Manor of Changers

Chapter 1

Warning this story contains; gay people, magic, mild to coarse language and different was of looking at things. If you disapprove of any or all of these things you are welcome to look at other stories.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was; homeless, unemployed, and had very little in the bank. I had a BA in English with a minor in theater. Since it was the middle of fall things were really beginning to get though. You see after I graduated college I was kicked out of my parents' house. The reason I was kicked out was because I, well, came out. I had called a family dinner and after our usual chatter and a slightly uncomfortable undertone of waiting. I told them. My siblings, one sister and to brothers all older than me, said basically, "Took you long enough." My mom said the she loved me and that nothing would ever change that. However my dad just said, "Leave." I took everything I had and loaded up my old, blue, rusty VW Bug.

Since it was late summer I took advantage of our family's permanent camping ground. Our family is upper-middle-class and the camping grounds are semi exclusive. Let me say that they have their own secure Wifi network for the entire place. No more needed to be said, right? I'll tell you this about living on a campgrounds. Companies find it suspicious that you don't list a home address. Yes I did leave my parent's home on a few applications but my dad call me up and said to stop doing that.

After I let my chums know what had happened via Skype they all demanded I move in with them. I politely refused, and pointedly reminded each of them that they had limited living quarters. Heck, a few of them were expecting to have children soon. After I assured them that it was all for the best, things went okay for a few weeks. Thanks to jogging the trails (paths), chopping wood for nightly fires, swimming, also doing sit-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups. Now I was never really 'fat' per-say but I did have a gut and am I glad to be rid of it.

As I said, my money situation was getting a little tight, and then came then eve of my birthday. Since my dad was still, "grr" about me my mom came down to see me around four that afternoon. She had brought a pick-nick basket containing;Lasagna and home-made chocolate cake. I thanked her and put my kettle over the fire for tea. We sat and had a pleasant chat about how my siblings and nephew and niece were doing. Then she asked how I was doing. I stood up and lifted my shirt to show off my flat stomach. I feed her a line about how I had an interview in a few days. She smiled and nodded, both of us knowing it was a line of crock. It was around five when I helped her pack up. We had a long hug and she handed me a Cenote. I tried, half heartedly, to return it. She countered with her famous, "I'm your loving mother and I say so!" stance. I gladly accepted and said, "I don't know why mom, but I feel more at peace out here than I did at home. I also feel that I still have something that I'll learn if I stay for a few more days or so. So please stop or postpone dad from coming here." She agreed teary-eyed and we had one final hug. She left, waving out the window goodbye and I waved back.

It was Close to six when my brothers showed up. The elder, Joe, brought a hot pizza and cold soda for us to eat and drink. He then tossed me a gift. It was a leather-bound book having to do with animal spirits of different cultures around the world. "I don't know why but when I saw this book I had to pick it up for you. The owner of the shop even gave it to me for free. Said something about someone needing help choosing a path," Joe spouted. My gods do I love my family's talent for being in the right place at the right time.

Now Chaz, my closer brother, brought a beautiful pipe, a few pouches of flavored tobacco, and a bag of marshmallows. The flavors of tobacco were, Black cherry, almond, and chocolate. I thanked them both for the presents. Then said, "Thanks guys, but you know mom was just here with cake and and lasagna. You guys are gonna be responsible for me getting my gut back ya know?" To which Chaz promptly retorted, "Shut up! You can't get fat off tobacco."

Years ago when Chaz was in the habit of rolling his own cigarettes. He made me roll one to have. I was nineteen, and it was the middle of a Twilight Zone Marathon, during new years. It was a pleasant enough experience. I didn't really choke or chough all that much. Then again, I hadn't really rolled it that thick. It was quiet out and the snow gave it the feeling like everything could have a fresh start. Afterwards I expressed that if I were to smoke having my own pipe would be most preferable. I poured and stuffed the bowl as best I though. Lit it with a match and inhaled deeply. Then I choked and coughed. "You got to get used to smoking before you take a drag like that." Chaz pointed out. After that I took some smaller puffs and was okay.

We chatted about how dad was an ass, how I should have moved out already and how their lives were doing. Again I was asked how I was doing. I proudly took my shirt off this time. and enjoyed the cool night breeze. I also fed them the line of having an interview coming up. They both told me to cram it. I had a few slices of pizza and a soda.

I threw another log on the fire and sat back, and then the inevitable question was asked. "How do you know that you're gay Jim?" Joe asked. "Listen I'm not really in the mood to discuss it. ... Actually I am with you two here. Well as you know I had always like hanging out with girls. It wasn't really until high school that I actually came into myself. You know what my friends were like. Well, Chaz has a good idea anyway. Mostly gay slash-fic obsessed girls. And yes that means this character slash that one. . . sexually usually. For instance Harry Potter slash Draco Malfoy is quite popular. But back to the topic at hand, I've never really tried to be with a woman. I don't really want to for that matter. But I want to find a guy for me. That's how I am sure that I'm gay." After a few more embarrassing questions, that I'm not going to add, they decided to leave.

An hour later my sister decided to show up. I offered her tea and we then chatted. "You finally grew some balls, eh Jimmy?" "Listen, I had to come out to all of you sooner or later. And how long have you known?" I asked. Kate pondered, then replied, "Well, when you were four, you didn't mind me dressing you up. And I was the one that drove you and some of your girlfriends to the porn store when you turned eighteen. I saw you intently looking at the gay section and your purchase of that literary book. It is inspiring that you came out. Makes me wish I could." "You're gay too?" I queried. "Well, I'm bi but not too sure which way I'll really go." "I knew there was something more than a sibling bond we shared. You really are 'Kate the Great'. You know that right?"

"And that is what brings me here now." she replied. "I do have a gift for you. I called in a favor and he should be arriving around midnight for you. He's a versatile and enjoys it. I wasn't too sure how far you've gotten so I thought it best to ask him to come." "Will this mean that I owe you a favor?" I inquired. "No. This is a birthday gift. I wouldn't mind your support when I come out though. And I'll drive him in so he'll know where you are, so don't worry about him being held up by security. Be ready for a night of fun."

"Glad to know that you have my back. I'll have your's whenever you'll need it. What kind of guy is he? I mean, I prefer skinner with sweet faces." I admitted. "Don't worry you've actually met him. John Wong, he's Japanese. To be honest you're actually his type. More so now that you lost that flab. Grats for that." "Yeah have a look," I said and pulled a Vanna White showing off my stomach. She chuckled then gave a wolf whistle.

"Well I'll have to leave now if I'm to get him here on time." She said getting up and dusting off her pant-legs. "At earliest I should have him here at five til. The latest will be five after." Kate announced getting in her green convertible. "Alright, thanks again Kate. I'll do my best to be ready." I said a little warily. To be honest I wasn't totally sure what to expect. She drove off waiving as she left. I quickly grabbed a towel and washing things an ran to the washroom by the pools. I did my best to be speedy in my cleaning. I also forced myself to be as empty as possible. Yeah I know not all that appealing but I didn't really have a douche system. After I was done cleaning I toweled off quickly and ran back to my camping spot. I threw my washing things into my laundry bag and laid out another towel over my sleeping bag. I remember liking the fact that the beach towels my dad had ordered for us were huge.

It was five til midnight when John wandered into camp. He was wearing all black, cat ears and a tail. "I didn't know that you were a furry." I said as a greeting. "You can see my ears and tail?" he responded quite surprised. "Plain as day Well, night. It doesn't really bother me, honestly I must admit it is a bit of a turn on." I blushed. "How cute, I made you blush. Well, shall we go into the tent or would you prefer to stay out here?" he asked with a sly grin. "In the tent please. I'm still a little hesitant about playing out in the open. Though is would bring a degree of exhilaration to the act." I stated. He slinked up to me and slid a hand on my chest. He then slid up behind me and breathed heavily behind my left ear. I kind of melted, and he nibbled on my ear.

"Gods! You know how to turn a guy on don't you?" I asked through heavy breaths. "Gods? You worship more than one?" John asked between nibbles and licks. "Well, I've always believed that having just one was too confining though I have thought in recent ears, uh years, that have more than one is just parts of a whole. Dude! If you want me answer please stop licking my neck! So, so basically . . . yeah I do. I have researched and found that the older gods were much more than the Judaeo-Christian god was. And though the deities of Olympus were horribly spiteful. The ones older than them were much more compassionate, and were more elemental." I finally finished my thoughts.

"So you prefer the older aspects and thoughts on religion? The belief of older beings. What's your view on dragons?" John asked then started on my other side. I squeezed his hand to get his attention then asked, "Dude, why are you asking me these questions? Of course, I believe that dragons exist. I just like to think that they have such capabilities that allow them to go unnoticed by regular, ignorant people. Do you have any more questions that don't apply to the situation at hand?" "But these do apply, I'm just making sure that you'd be open to what I'm offering." he said smugly.

"And just what are, you offering?" I asked looking at him. I wasn't too sure when it happened but I thought I saw his eyes flash like cats' do when light goes over them. "I'm offering you a place to stay and a job. My apartment manager is old and needs a sabbatical. Most of the residents are, into older beliefs about earth being mother and all. If you would like I could take you in." John finished, then started back on my neck moving down to my shoulder. "A job and a home? How could I refuse? I accept, ow now so hard I'll still have to apply won't I?" I asked. "Applying is all done now." John said and then he bit right into the meat of my shoulder. I immediately blacked out.

I woke up in the hospital with Kate and John hovering over my face. "Stay away you!" I yelled at John, and took a swing at him. He jumped back a few paces. "Jim, we found you at the site with a large animal bit on your shoulder!" she said through tears. "I thought I saw a black puma or jaguar leave just as we got there. I'm so happy you are alive and fine!" She flopped down and hugged my neck. I glanced over a John and noticed he was wearing all blue, and that he didn't have the ears or tail.

"Okay so, wait, what!? You guys just got to the camp and found me on the ground with a big cat over me, or leaving? What sense does that make? John was wearing all black and bit me shoulder!" I argued. "Its all true man, and I was looking forward to being your gift," John said with a quiet, shy smile. I gave him a stink-eye look. "Well, call a nurse or something. I'm ready to get out of here." I said. I sat up and looked around. "What hospital am I in?" I asked. "Knock knock. Oh good we're awake. I'm Joy I'm your RN," said a sweet looking girl, her strawberry blond hair was in curls.

"I hope we are doing better than when we came in?" she asked. Maybe it's just me but the nurses I've met always say, "we, our, and us." "Yes! We're doing excellent and we'd like to leave as soon as possible. Would this instant work for us?" I asked feeling slightly patronized. "No, we still need to get your bandages changed, so we can assess what we need to do next. Now just stay seated and let's take a look at you." she said putting down the clipboard, after checking the specifics of what happened, and what to do. "Now let me know if you feel any pain while we are doing this." she said as she started pealing back the gauze and tape. I quietly hummed. She suddenly shrieked. "What?" I asked. Kate gasped quietly and turned into John's chest.

"Dammit, either tell me what's wrong or give me a friggin' mirror," I demanded. Joy just ran out the door, so I just felt the area that was bitten. "What, the, hell?" I mused. I felt no bite marks nor fresh blood. Only skin and toned muscle beneath it, also dried blood. An elderly doctor came in. He had white hair and worry lines on his forehead. He asked, "So you are the one that got the bite, eh?" "Bitten!? I saw it happen less than two hours ago and look, there's no mark right now! How can medical science explain that!" Kate yelled. "You are the elder sister that admitted him eh? You show great love for your brother. You, however, boy may leave the room for a minute there's and officer outside waiting to take your testimony. Scoot along, good boy now. Scoot!" the doc said pushing John out the door before closing it tightly behind him.

I wasn't sure, but I thought I saw an aquatic tail behind the old doc. "My name is Dr. Jonah, and I'm going to be honest with you two. Now, no question until I'm done. My dear girl you might want to sit down before I start," Jonah's hand offered toward the comfortable chair in the room. Kate sat down pointedly and crossed her arms. "Now my dear, your brother was bitten by a large black cat you said correct?" he asked. "Yes, what is the reas-" Kate started to ask but was cut off. "And now my dear lad, what do you say bit you. Please don't hold back the truth, what you actually saw." the doctor impressed upon me the importance of honesty. "Well I thought I saw John, but he was wearing all black and had on black cat ears and a tail." I finished blushing. "That's why you took a swing at him!? Wait, ears and tails are a turn on for you, my god." Kate said. "Good, I'm hearing nothing but truth out of everyone." Dr. Jonah said and clapped his hands together. "Now it is my turn to be honest. James the job the other John spoke of was not a falsehood. The fact that he bit you was proof that he thought you were acceptable enough to join us." Jonah seemed to finish.

"Us?" Kate and I asked at the same time. We then looked at each other and then I asked, "Jinx?" "Next time my dear little bro," Kate responded.

"Us, meaning a community of Skin Changers. Your animal form was chosen to represent what you truly are. Please don't try to change now, as it is difficult and takes more to explain to those outside the door. Sister um, Katherine? Please do tell that you brought your brother at least a shirt along with the garments he was brought in with?" Jonah inquired.

"Oh, no but I'm sure John won't mind offering his denim jacket until we get Jimmy back to the camp site." Kate thought. "Though I'm not too sure he'd be so nice to you after trying to punch his teeth out." "Yeah, could you please tell him I'm sorry, and Jonah? Would you please tell the nurse that I'm ready to check out." I inquired. "Everything will be quite ready for your departure." Jonah responded. "You shall find your pants and shoes are in your bedside table." He then walked out the door. I definitely saw a blue whale tail near his posterior.

"Hey sis, would you mind turning around?" I asked slightly embarrassed. "Huh, oh sure." She said coming back to her senses and turned her head quickly. "Hey, just what did he mean by skin changers? Do you think he's really on the level or just some old crack-pot just messing with you?" Just like her to ask a few questions at a time. "Well," I said sliding on my jeans. "He definitely had a tail and wasn't lying about where my clothes were. I don't remember having my shoes on either. And no scarring on the site I got bit?" I slid on my shoes and turned to see her, mouth gaping open at what I just said.

"HE HAD A TAIL?" she asked loud enough that I'm sure anyone walking by or stationed outside could hear. Just then an officer and John both walked in. "Miss, you'll have to keep it down this is a hospital after all." the officer said in a tone that said, "this again." He turned to John and said, "Thank you sir for your assistance and we'll be on the lookout for that animal."

The, so far nameless fifty something, officer had a husky tail where his belt was. Seeing that I smirked and mused about police dogs. John was about to part when I piped in, "John, would it be okay if I could borrowed your jacket until we get back to the campsite?" John looked at me very wearily. "Dude, how are you up and about?" He came up close and looked at where I was bitten. "You don't have any scarring! And you sure you aren't gonna take another swing at me? You need to stay the night here for observation, even if you show no wound. It's just not possible though, the human body can't heal that fast."

"Of course he's staying the night!" burst in an elderly lady in pink scrubs. "Why are you out of bed? Get back in there and off with your shoes." She said in a no nonsense tone. "My name is Flora and I'm your new RN, and you need your rest young man." I could see that she had a calico tail lashing furiously behind her. I pulled off my shoes as fast as I could and hopped back into bed. She squinted her eyes at me and said, " I'll let you get out of those pants as soon as your guests leave. Speaking of which it's well past visiting hours, come one scoot." she said showing Kate and John out the door. "You can come and collect him tomorrow after he's had a decent breakfast." she said practically shoving them out the door. "Well, good night Jimmy. See you tomorrow." Kate said as a good-bye. "Be sure to bring a shirt and socks for me from the campsite." I good-byed back.

Flora shut the door forcefully. Then she turned and her expression then to one of pure joy. "Finally another feline joins our group!" She spouted. Flora then came over and gave me a strong hug. "Flora, please compose yourself. Why weren't you here when the kid was supposed to be getting his bandages changed?" She let go and turned a fierce look in her green eyes. "Listen pup. I just clocked on when I heard about this, and got up here as quick as I could. So don't you growl at me Dana." Officer Dana hunched his shoulders and looked like he was gonna pounce. "Excuse me!" I interjected, reminding them of the reason they were both here. "Are cats and dogs issues really that bad between us?" I asked standing up. The standing up was a mistake because I nearly fell over.

They both helped me back to bed and said 'I should should just not worry about anything and just rest.' "Listen kid," Dana said, "Us sparking off each other is just me and her. It's just people being people. Also she's a touch angry that I scorned her in the past." "I left you!" was Flora's immediate response. "Listen please, I don't care what tiffs you two have but sleep sounds like a capital idea." I said me eyes were now fighting to stay open. "There's a good kitten, " Flora purred. I'm not kidding after saying that I could literally her her purring. "Well, she'll look after you well kid. I'm going to report in to the office then make my report to Jonah." Dana said smiling at Flora. "Sure," Flora replied. I'm sure she said more than that but I drifted off to sleep.