(c) 2013 GingerM
Katalina looked up at the sound of knocking, her ears flicking back a bit. What on earth...? she wondered. The weather outside was simply foul, blowing so hard the snow coming down was going sideways, each flake more like a miniature saw blade than something soft. Even by the snow leopard's standards this was no night for anyone to be out in. Rising with unconscious feline grace, she padded toward the door as another knock, a single one this time, sounded - and something about it made her hurry.
A wild, howling demon of wind-born snow and ice particles came shrieking in through the door, wrenching it from her handpaws and slamming it hard against the thick logs that made up the wall. It was like some malevolent being that invaded her warm refuge against the blizzard, seeking to consume the bright cheer of the crackling fire on the hearth. Odd papers and such skittered across the table, swirling in the miniature malestrom that roared into the cabin. Propelled forward by the storm, a slim dark figure pitched through the door, collapsing on the well-worn boards.
The grey-furred leopardess set her shoulder against the door and with a heave forced the door closed against the tempest. She shot the bolt home as well - given the ferocity of the blizzard outside, she wasn't going to trust just the latch - then turned to examine her impromptu guest.
Ekibe first noticed that the wind wasn't slicing through her anymore, though she was still chilled to the very marrow of her bones. She'd committed the cardinal sin of not dressing for the weather, confident that she'd be home well before the storm truly set in. Except that hadn't happened. The blizzard had come roaring through, quickly becoming a whiteout. She still wasn't sure how she'd managed to get off the highway and onto the side road. Her luck had run out at the turn, though; the snow was so thick on the ground by then she'd misjudged the turn and before she knew it, her car had plunged into the ditch. The snow had slowed and cushioned the car, but it wasn't going anywhere. That was when she'd discovered she was out of range of the nearest cell tower.
The next hour or so had been a whirling white hell through which the jackal had stumbled, following what she hoped was the road back to the highway, shivering in her thin jacket. Her slacks and boots had quickly soaked through, first chilling then numbing her toes. Tucking her hands in her armpits had helped for a short while, but even that gave way before the bone-chilling fury of the storm. She'd felt she was nearly at the end of her strength, with no will to lift the frozen, numbed lumps at the end of her legs, when she'd caught the barest flicker of welcome, yellow light from the cabin's windows. Teeth chattering violently, she'd stumbled through waist-high drifts and slumped against the door as she beat on it. There was light; someone had to be there...
"Just you lie still, hon," a low, furry voice said. Experimentally she tried opening her eyes. A grey-furred, dark-spotted form came slowly into focus, and as it did, she noticed the warm, green eyes above a feline muzzle, the proud spread of whiskers arching out from either side.
"Whrremuh..." she started, trying to articulate her words, but her tongue felt thick and uncooperative in her mouth, and she still felt quite cloudy-headed. A padded hand patted her cheek. "Shh... you're alright now," the feline said, then gave her a toothy feline smile. A thick, luxuriant mop of white hair crowned this apparition, flowing in long, curling tumbles that cascaded over plushly-furred shoulders and breasts... which meant this person was wearing nothing but fur, Ekibe realized fuzzily. Further strenuous thought produced the realization that she was also wearing nothing and that she could feel a blanket or something under her and that she was lying on something soft but not a bed. The jackal twisted and managed to prop herself up on one elbow, then looked down at herself.
She was indeed nude. Short, plush dark fur, the pawspots she'd spent a great deal of time and money on that marched around her hip and down the valley formed by thigh and torso. Gold glittered from her jewellery and an experimental headshake swung her raven-dark locks and set the ornaments in it chiming softly. Along her leg, reaching nearly to her breasts, a soft, luxuriant tail that didn't belong to her covered her like a living blanket. A gentle grey and white, marked with charcoal-dark rosebuds, it rested atop her, only the very tip twitching ever so slightly. The tail's owner was behind her, an impossibly warm, soft-furred living cushion. Plush-furred arms held her gently, radiating gentle heat that seemed to flow into her, and the leopardess's body vibrated with the deep, rumbling purr of a big cat.
"Shh... you were pretty far gone, hon," that rumbling, purring voice said, "chilled right through; you needed warming up right fast." She twisted lithely to reach for something, and a rich, hearty aroma reached Ekibe's nose. "Now see if you can get some of this in you," the leopardess purred, and there was a mug of wonderful, warm soup right there, the steam rising past Ekibe's muzzle.
"Th... thanks," she got out, making her voice work with difficulty. She drank eagerly, sighing blissfully as the warmth coursed down her throat into her belly then seemed to spread out from there, pushing back the chill in her arms and legs.
"More?" the leopardess asked and at the jackal's nod, she worked her way out from behind her, padding across to the stove where a large pot simmered. The firelight played off her fur as she spooned generous ladlesful into the mug, then brought it back. "Here you go," she smiled as she handed it to her impromptu guest.
"Where... who...?" Ekibe asked, her ears perking through her hair as she sipped at the fragrant, steaming soup.
"About three miles from the road," the leopardess replied, her whiskers arching forward. "And my name's Katalina." She watched as her guest finished the soup then seemed to sag as fatigue hit her. "What's your..." she started, then laughed softly. "Never mind; I'll ask later. You need more rest and warming up," she added. Carefully she spooned against the jackal-girl and swished her tail to cover them both like a blanket. With a soft, murmured sigh, Ekibe snuggled up against her and fell asleep.
A very over-due little vignette for Ajna. She won the auction that Taasla ran to help raise funds for Katalina, before Christmas. Unfortunately my Muse refused to cooperate until now. So here's a little peek at how Katalina and Ekibe happen to meet one cold, cruel winter's evening. The reader is perfectly free to use their imaginations as to what follows...
PG-13 to Mature for bare snuggling.