"So are you, like... a werevampirewolf?"
Karkat jumped up several feet, landed with his legs still kicking, and scrambled for the nearest chair to hide under.
Which, uh, actually hid him jack shit, and while he might not have been huge, he was still a bit too voluminous for that kind of shenanigans.
In fact he might have gotten a little stuck between the chair's feet.
"Er. That was... not so smart." The voice sounded dubious as fuck. Groaning, Karkat extracted himself from under the chair -- he had to crawl backwards and shake himself -- and scanned the stable for anything that looked like it could speak.
There were a horse (huh) and the three cows in the big stall; the cows were pressed against the far wall, away from him, but the horse had its white head propped over the door, watching him.
White coat, blue eyes. He wouldn't be surprised if it hadn't heard him make a racket -- blue-eyed white animals were so often deaf as a doorknob -- but that it wouldn't smell him and consequently flip its shit was weirder, and there was not a human to be seen (or smelled.)
Karkat flicked an ear, tilted his head, scrunched his brows, and cursed his lack of speech-capable apparatus.
"Yeah, I'm the one speaking to you," the horse said (without moving its mouth. Okay.) "Err, seriously, what the heck even are you? Were-hairless, uh, Mexican dog?"
Karkat snorted, and cautiously nose the rickety old chair closer to the stall so he could perch on it and peer cautiously over the wall.
The horse nearly caught him in the muzzle with its wing.
"Whoa there, bud, back off. I don't even know if you're sentient, are you sentient? You're definitely not a natural beast, but that's still no excuse for traumatizing my cousin's cattle, okay?"
Okay. The cows were guarded by a friggin' pegasus.
A pegasus, seriously? How did those even exist?
"... Can you give me a sign or something?"
Karkat rolled his eyes. Pointedly, muzzle and all for emphasis.
"Okay, signal received. What the heck do you want with the poor cows, anyways? If you need a steak, Jade will get you one, but I promise you, next time you break in she'll be waiting for you with her shotgun, rock salt and all."
Karkat shook his head.
"No steak? Uh, do you only eat living meat or...? Eeewww."
Karkat shook his head no, more vigorously, growled grumpily.
Oh, fuck, this was stupid. The stable's wards wouldn't let his human shape back out of the property, but he could always transform again. He wouldn't like it, but he could. He stretched himself in his skin, felt bones creak and crack, tendons snap in their (other) proper place.
Wow, dizzy. He grabbed the back of the chair for support and glared at the flying horse. "I'm a chupacabra, asshole, I drink blood!"
The horse blinked slooowly back at him, and tilted its head to rake his body with a long, unimpressed look. Karkat hurried to drag the chair to him so he could hide his crotch with the back of it, and then wondered if a horse would even care.
"Well maybe you could go attack a blood bank--"
"You think I haven't tried? The blood's not alive anymore, it's fucking useless!"
He was being "son i'm disappoint"-glared at by a horse. Motherfuck.
"I go after the cattle because contrary to a normal-sized human being, or worse, any of those horribly delicious goats you've got around here they're not going to die from the drain. Okay? It's that or killing people's pet dogs, do you think there's a lot of things to hunt in a fucking city, why do they even keep cows in a city, whose fucking stupid idea was that, and I'm sorry I've got to scare them repeatedly like that but I have no other choice!"
He stopped, panting, chest heaving. His stomach howled for food and his limbs shook with effort and hunger and nerves and shame, and the fucking horse still --
"It's a mini-farm for kids," it said.
"Yeah, I fucking gathered, I can read."
"So can I, and also stop being a butt for a minute, will you, or I'm going to take you flying with me, and I don't think I'll enjoy you riding bareback any more than you will!"
Karkat's face contorted into a grimace of pure disgust. "Oh Jesusfuck, did you mean the bestiality come-on?"
The pegasus stared at him, eyes wide and ears flicking backward in shock. "Oh my god! I was just thinking about your ballsack on my spine!"
"Yeah, like that's any less sexually charged. Kinky son of a bitch."
The asshole snorted, shook out its mane, curved its neck, almost posing. "Like I'd feel anything you're packing anyway. I mean no offense but I totally outgun you."
"... You smug goat-licking ewe-fucker."
And then there were feathers flying and a flash of golden light and a naked young man in the stall, ankle-deep in straw and...
Well, uh, just as naked as Karkat was. Uh.
He came up to the wall and propped up an elbow on it and his head on his hand, and he grinned, like if he could act smug enough Karkat would miss the way he blushed.
His eyes were just as impossibly blue as they were as a flying horse, but otherwise he was pretty ordinary.
Okay, pretty hot. In an ordinary way. Karkay supposed.
"This is fucking stupid," Karkat muttered, and tried not to be too obvious about his newfound need to stare at his own feet. (His toenails were getting gnarly. Time to trim that shit.) "I fucking hate this naked prancing bullshit. Shapeshifting is just straight up ridiculous that way."
"Eh, we're naked in our other shapes, if you think of it. Anyway, are you like a vampire? I mean, does it hurt when you bite?"
Karkat blinked, tightened his grip on the chair -- it had gone loose, and he didn't want to flash the guy a second time. Goddamn but the awkward was through the roof.
"Uh. Yeah, it does. I don't have any mind-control abilities." Okay, maybe he was a bit ashamed of that. "Sorry."
"Hm." The guy made a thoughtful face. He was, Karkat realized with a sinking feeling of impending despair, pretty hot, and he wasn't flying into a rage, or all righteously disappointed either, and how many animal metamorphs did Karkat encounter in a normal year, anyway? Yeah, that was right, between zero and none.
"Uh. I tried to clean the wound the first night but that asshole cow kicked the fuck out of me."
The guy laughed. "Yeah, I'm not surprised. You're lucky she didn't break your ribs."
He stared right at Karkat with eyes that seemed to see through to his soul, and then he nodded to himself. "Okay, I'm not doing that without anyone nearby to stitch the holes closed and get your doggy drool off me, so let's go get Jade and her first aid kit."
Karkat stared. "--Wait, what? Doing what? Don't bring anyone else, Jesus, isn't she the one with the rifle, I am not hanging out with a rifle owner with a grudge!"
He rolled his blue eyes at Karkat. "Doing the thing where I transform into an animal roughly as big as a cow and you get a couple of pints off my tap, stupid. But after today we'll have to negotiate!"
He went to the stall door and slipped his bare arm over it to open the latch, casual as you please, and he and his (yep, also bare) ass were already at the door that led to the house before Karkat shook himself out of it and took off jogging after them.
Karkat didn't know if the horse guy meant it or if he was just leading Karkat into a trap, but if it was real Karkat would hate himself if he passed up on it.
(He made sure to cup himself as he ran.)