Blake had to shield her eyes against the sun, blinking away the excess light as her vision adjusted.
Despite being right next to the dumpster, the fenced in area for the kittens was actually fairly nice - filled with soft, heavily trodden grass, a smattering of cat toys, and shaded by a solid wood overhang on one side. Peels of white paint dangled off of the fence's wooden planks in some places, but there were no gaps large enough for small kittens to squeeze through.
It felt quaint... at least, compared to the six-foot chain-link fenced in area that Blake could see jutting out of the building's side... Blake squinted at the scruffy dog curled up and sleeping in a sunny corner of the other area.
Sepia's voice redirected Blake's attention to the wave of kittens now flowing from the cardboard box turned on its side.
The grass was short, but they still had to high-step through it, their tiny tails erect with curiosity. A couple hesitated in the box, just barely poking their noses out into the autumn sunshine.
After glancing at Blake to make sure she had pulled herself together somewhat and didn't need her to provide emotional support, Weiss procured a feather-on-a-stick type cat toy and lured a couple of the kittens from the older litter to pounce and give chase. They were still in that clumsy, fuzzy, needle-clawed stage and tumbled all over themselves and each other trying to catch the slithery feather at the end of the toy. Between that and one of them giving up and pouncing on the other instead, Weiss cracked up, laughing into her sleeve to try to keep from spooking the kittens.
Several of the younger kittens wandered out three or four feet from the box, sniffing at the grass and dirt and anything that moved. The more timid of these started meowing tiny, lost meows, like they didn't know where they were.
Blake immediately responded to the heartrendingly distressed sounds, drawing as near to the tiny balls of fluff as she dared, unsure of what exactly to do for them other than sit in the grass and scoop them all into her lap. Watching Weiss for a moment with the feather toy, Blake grabbed one of the smaller mouse-shaped toys lying in the grass nearby and kind of... dangled it from its little rope tail over the kittens in her lap, unsure if she was really doing it right.
The kittens stood shakily on Blake's legs. A few looked at the toy but they didn't seem to know what to do with it.
Weiss noticed Blake's confusion and left the older kittens to chew on the feather toy for a minute.
"Here," she guided Blake's hand so the mouse rested on her pant leg in front of a strapping orange kitten. She gave the toy a little tug, like it was running away. Something about the motion triggered the 'pounce' instinct in the little guy, and he sank a little set of needle claws into both the toy and Blake's pant leg.
Blake muffled a small sound of pained surprise, but the surprise attack didn't hurt too badly - she wasn't bleeding anyway, probably - and this kitten was so cute she'd probably forgive him even if she was... "Oh. This one's a natural hunter."
"Did his claws go through?" the tension in Weiss's shoulders from accidentally leading a kitten to puncture her girlfriend relaxed as she registered Blake's comment, "I didn't think he'd be quite that enthusiastic."
"Somehow I survived his vicious attack," Blake shared a look with Weiss, her lips quirked in the beginnings of a smirk.
Reaching for a similarly shaped toy lying nearby, she mimicked Weiss's earlier technique, slowly pulling the little ball of shiny crinkly paper along the ground by the string attached to it. Two kittens pounced on it in quick succession, bowling each other over in the process. Blake was fairly certain she now had a stupid grin plastered on her face.
Weiss took a step back to be out of attack range, crossing her arms for a moment. Blake was smiling and having a good time, and it made Weiss feel... she felt... well, it was good. Better than when she played with the kittens herself, even. It seemed like the two of them seldom got a chance to do something this light hearted, and she made a mental note to do so much, much more often.
Thinking she should take a picture of Blake's smile instead of staring at her like a lovesick idiot- wait, maybe just an idiot? Not that she was an idiot. A plain idiot, of course. Instead of staring period, Weiss pulled out her scroll and backed up a little, unaware that she was stepping right into the space of the shelter's door as it opened. Russet crashed into her with an enormous plastic bin full of ancient cardboard and-
"Ugh!" Weiss hit the dirt, shoving away the fumbled tub and gripping a handful of her sweater. Some kind of green slime had splashed out of the large container. It looked like one of Lie Ren's shakes and was spotted with what appeared to be decomposing plant matter.
"Sorry! I'm sorry!" Russet grabbed for the bin.
"This is dry clean only!" Weiss stood up, arching forward to keep the liquid gunk from soaking any farther through her undershirt. It smelled like pond water, and vaguely like mint. Mint pond water. It was splashed all down her front and across her one arm. It was definitely going to stain. "What is this?"
"Weiss!" Blake gently set down the kittens she was holding - too many of them were still climbing all over her to risk standing too quickly, but she tried to get to her feet. "Are you okay?"
"Seriously Russet?" Sepia stalked over to investigate the damages, grimacing at the state of Weiss's very nice formerly solid-blue sweater, muddy green dripping from the doused sleeve. "Egh, I'm so sorry. If you want to try washing out... whatever that is, we have some spare volunteer..." she blinked, staring more and more intently at Weiss, "shirts..."
"I just said it's dry clean only," Weiss scowled at Russet, who was still fumbling the bin of soaked cardboard, "And you're taking it to the nearest professional as soon as you get me something to change into."
"Yes, yeah, I can do that. I'll- just wait here, I'll be right back," still carrying the bin he retreated into the shelter in search of those volunteer shirts.
"Disgusting," Weiss turned to search the short grass, slime still dripping off her sleeve. So much for her picture of Blake and the kittens. She didn't notice the way Sepia's pupils had dilated. "Ugh, where's my scroll?"
"It's right here," Blake scooped up the scroll from the grass where she'd watched it fly, jogging over to hand it to Weiss. "It looks like it's..." her brows furrowed at the familiar scent pouring off of Weiss, but she was having difficulty pinpointing it, like her thoughts had hit a viscous wall, "... it's fine..."
"Thank you," Weiss had nothing to wipe the bits of grass off with, so she just ignored them as she swiped it open to her camera to make sure it was still functioning properly. Everything checked out, but she left streaks of green on the case. "Honestly," she sighed, trying to use the edge of her sodden sleeve to get the worst slime off the device.
Blake reached out and gently grasped Weiss's hand, holding it for a moment before leaning in and burying her face in Weiss's green-doused shoulder.
At almost the same moment, Sepia stepped right into Weiss's personal space, looking as though she was trying to remember something very important.
"What-" Weiss found herself suddenly mostly embracing Blake with her free arm out of some sort of mixed up instinct. Panic hit her like . Was something wrong? She was crying earlier and blamed it on the kittens being cute but maybe her ribs were bothering her and she needed to get back to Beacon right away? But she was holding her hand and... and her face was right in the green stuff. Weiss jerked back, but didn't want to drop Blake if she needed support? Sepia was nearest and happened to be just standing there. Right there. Actually, why was she so close? Blaze red, Weiss looked to her, unsure of whether to ask her for help or snap at her to give her some space.
Sepia did the exact opposite, humming softly as she caught the hem of Weiss's sweater, leaned down, and buried her face in Weiss's unoccupied green-splattered shoulder.
Weiss shrieked, shoving at the other girl while still trying to keep Blake from collapsing onto her completely. "What are you doing?! Get off!"
A small part of her noticed that Blake... was she... was she purring? With her slumped on her shoulder the way she was, the deep rumble reverberated in her chest. Surprised and overbalanced by the two shoving their faces into her shoulders, she stumbled backwards and wound up sitting in the grass, both arms braced against Sepia to keep her off.
Blake took the opportunity to kneel down as well, slipping between Weiss and Sepia and wrapping her arms around her girlfriend's middle, happily nuzzling under Weiss's chin while Sepia leaned heavily on the doused arm holding her at bay.
The girl's long, lion tail twitched, and the logical side of Weiss's brain kicked in despite the way Blake was purring into her collar. Rather, it kicked in because of the way Blake was purring into her collar. It was familiar, and combined with the mint flavored pond slime dumped all over her...
"Oh, you've got to be kidding me," she gritted out. Her heart was still going a hundred miles an hour because a) she was getting accosted by two feline Faunus, and b) one of the two was her girlfriend and was very close to her, as in zero space between them (which probably meant Blake's jacket was ruined), on the back lawn of a very public animal shelter. A flick of her wrist called a black holding glyph into existence between herself and Sepia, holding the other girl in place and allowing Weiss to use her free arm to pry Blake off her collar and examine the hazy, dilated look in her eyes.
Catnip. It had to be.
Maybe if she could get some distance, the effect would wear off. Weiss kept her glyph in place with one hand and squirmed to get out of Blake's hug. "Blake, can you hear me?"
After a very slow blink, Blake hummed in response, a small sound, softer than the dazed smile on her face as she leaned in and press a slightly-off-center kiss to Weiss's lips.
For a fraction of a second, the logical side of Weiss's brain contemplated taking an indefinite hiatus, possibly on a private beach on some southern shore with Blake, who would definitely be kissing her exactly like she was kissing her right now.
... except she wouldn't be drugged out of her mind.
Jolted back to reality, Weiss jerked back, already tasting the half decomposed catnip on her mouth as she dropped her glyph and made an all out bid for escape.
The second the glyph vanished, Sepia pounced, joining Blake in pinning Weiss to the grass.
A few kittens joined the fray, tiny paws swiping at the fluff-tipped lion tail swinging overhead while Weiss was getting utterly crushed. The two bigger girls were after the catnip on her sweater and she could barely inhale with- was it Blake's knee on her stomach? She tried to arch to get some wriggle room and couldn't-they were too heavy.
"Get off!" she snarled, especially at Sepia who was tall enough to drape completely over Blake and still have a handful of her sweater. Being stuck in the dirt, covered in disgusting sludge from some back room with two bigger and very determined Faunus on top of her gave rise to an edge of desperation in her struggles. Weiss got one arm up to bar the two from getting any nearer now that she had this stuff on her face.
By the time she got another breath, Russet had reappeared at the back door, a half-folded t-shirt in his one hand. His mouth dropped open as he took in the figurative dog pile on Weiss Schnee on the back lawn.
Weiss seized on the opportunity, the words coming out a little more choked than she'd care to admit, "Help me!"
The lanky boy jumped, dropping the shirt in a grab for a hose that was curled up near the chain link fence and cut it on. He aimed the cold water at Blake and Sepia's head and shoulders to avoid hitting any of the kittens.
Blake buried her face in Weiss's collar to avoid the ice cold water, while Sepia took the brunt of it.
The taller Faunus abandoned Weiss and stood, whirling to advance on her assailant, the wide-angled spray hitting her straight in the face as she marched towards Russet and snatched the hose right out of his hands. "What... what are you - what do you..." she blinked, as if coming out of a deep sleep, "What am I..." she followed her coworker's shocked gaze to Weiss and Blake lying on the grass - the latter of which seemed high as a kite as she nuzzled her face against whatever smears of brownish green slime she could reach.
Sepia quickly ripped off her similarly-soiled volunteer shirt and threw it over the fence, finding her undershirt thankfully free of the minty green slime. "What the heck is that stuff?!"
A low groan came from the doorway where Mr. Marigold stood partially ducked under the doorframe. He looked as though he would rather be anywhere else in the world. "It's catnip," he said with a heavy sigh, one palm pressed against his eyes in exasperation, "or, what was left of the old patch I had growing anyway."
"Cat... catnip?" Sepia looked ashen, "But that stuff's been illegal for like... seven years!"
"A very old patch," he shrugged, then rounded on Russet, "And I believe I asked you to drop it in the dumpster... not on our guests."
"It was- there was water in the bucket from- I guess from when the roof leaked?" Russet's voice cracked at the end of his sentence, his hands held up at shoulder level in surrender to both Marigold and Sepia.
Meanwhile, Weiss had been fighting to hide in Blake's collar to avoid the water, but that hadn't gone particularly well. She'd been forced to settle for her shoulder, and now she was wet and covered in catnip, not to mention trapped under her girlfriend in front of the entire staff of a small animal shelter plus eleven kittens. She tried to discreetly squirm out from underneath Blake without drawing any attention away from the unfortunate Russet.
"Just sit up, at least," she hissed at Blake, trying to lever her up off of her.
Blake was happy to follow Weiss's direction, rolling to the side and pulling the smaller girl on top of her.
"No, rrrg, Blake," Weiss's words came in a harsh whisper as she tried to get up. Blake still had her arms looped around her waist and didn't seem intent on ever letting go. If there was a color red enough to be seen from another dimension, Weiss was it. Probably it was a new color. Probably they would name it for her, which wouldn't even make sense since her name already meant 'white'. Children would ask why the new color had such a confusing name and their parents would answer that the only person in the history of Remnant to turn that color was the well-known and currently-straddling-her-girlfriend Weiss Schnee.
Straddling Blake on the back lawn wasn't even the worst of it- the worst of it was that Blake seemed extremely amenable to sprawling out and kissing for the rest of the afternoon, and Weiss was not one hundred percent opposed. Ninety-five- no, ninety-nine percent of her knew that under no circumstances should she ever even consider kissing Blake while she was heavily under the influence of an illegal drug, much less in front of people they barely knew (or in front of people period).
The other one percent of her considered it, however. 'Considered' as in acknowledged that yes, returning Blake's affections would not be entirely unpleasant.
Given the circumstances, Weiss remained that bright new shade of red and made a bid for a distraction. "Look, Blake. Here."
She scooped up a kitten with one of her free hands and put it on Blake's chest, just below her collarbone. The tiny creature's tail went lopsided for a second as it caught its balance. It sniffed at Blake's collar.
When Blake shifted to get a better look, the kitten nearly toppled from her shoulder, but even under the influence, Blake's reflexes were sharp enough that she immediately released Weiss to catch the small white kitten in both hands. The kitten stared at her with curious ice-blue, then started to squirm, mewing in protest. Blake's eyes lit up, delight briefly shining through hazy amber before disappearing in a lazy half-lidded smile as she happily nuzzled the kitten.
Weiss practically threw herself backwards off of her girlfriend. Once on her feet she hurried to fix her hair, pretending that no one had seen anything in the past fifteen minutes.
"I'm going to change," she announced a little too loudly. At least that would give the owner time to clear the doorway. She watched Sepia (and Blake, but she seemed pretty occupied with the kittens now) for any sudden moves as she edged towards the back door, wary of being pounced on again.
Blake paid no mind to the announcement, humming and grinning at the kittens sneaking over to play-attack her.
Sepia on the other hand jumped to attention, tearing her eyes and ears from Marigold lecturing Russet to spot Weiss headed in their direction, still covered in that dastardly green. She fled, booking it into the store to hide.
Weiss stopped dead. She'd been planning to get inside and change! How was she supposed to do that if catnip-susceptible Sepia was in there?
As glad as she'd been that the other shelter workers were ignoring her two seconds ago, she was livid that they weren't paying attention now. Setting her teeth, she snatched up the volunteer t-shirt from the grass and stormed to the back door.
"I'm coming in, so get out of the way!" She crossed the threshold, prepared to glyph Sepia into next week if she tried to jump on her again.
Fortunately, Sepia's tail was already vanishing through the doorway that led from the staff room back into the store proper.
Weiss stood on the mat inside the door for a second, head up and feeling mildly assuaged at Sepia's retreat. She shut the door, locked it, and pulled off her sweater and undershirt to inspect the damage. Stripping in an animal shelter's back room wasn't ideal, but desperate times called for desperate measures. There were no windows to the outside from here, so she did have a modicum of privacy, anyway.
The sweater and shirt were a lost cause. Probably they would have to be thrown out- she couldn't very well walk into a dry cleaner with clothes soaked in illegal substances. Plus, did catnip stain? There was no way that green was coming out. She dropped them on top of the pile of catnip cardboard in the bin Russet had been supposed to throw away.
Some of the sludge had soaked through both layers, but there wasn't any green residue on her skin or underwear, and her skirt had creases of dirt and bits of grass stuck to it, but had remained dry for the most part. Maybe the t-shirt would be enough to block any residual scent of the stuff.
Not keen on taking any chances, Weiss pulled on the volunteer t-shirt- it was stiff and scratchy, and a little musty, like it had been sitting packed up in a box for an extended period- and plucked a medium weight black jacket from the rack near the door into the store. It was far too big and smelled a little like cheap male deodorant, but it would have to do. She rolled up the sleeves a few turns and shook her hair out to get it free of the hood at the back.
She took a second to breathe before trying to head back out. This wasn't so bad. Well, it was terrible, but no one had been stabbed, at least. They'd also accomplished their goal of seeing kittens, and there hadn't been too many witnesses to this catnip ordeal. They just needed to get back to Beacon, or to some other out of the way place so Blake could sober up. Probably it wouldn't be here, with catnip all over the yard.
... leaving might prove an issue, though. She stepped back out into the sun to find Blake lying in the yard in a pile of curious kittens.
Blake rolled to her side, curling in a fit of giggles as she attempted to hide her face in her hands from the soft ticklish whiskers and tiny sharp claws pawing at her.
The owner, who had just finished lecturing Russet, sighed, glancing at Blake as well. Her shirt and face were still streaked with green, but he was not about to go near a feline faunus under the influence. Running a hand through his hair, he side-eyed his volunteer. "Russet, if you could, please bring another volunteer shirt."
In the middle of his meek "Yes, sir," Russet noticed Weiss. He looked from her face to the jacket she was wearing and his mouth opened and closed again. He skirted around her to get inside to look for another shirt.
Weiss noted that she had probably commandeered his jacket, but mostly she remained preoccupied with Blake. About half of the kittens were attempting to climb her. The other half had dispersed and were playing with each other in the yard, but it didn't matter because Blake looked like she was having the time of her intoxicated life. She was covered in catnip and dirt and grass. The heiress rubbed her temple and shook her head. Still, Blake looked happy. She sounded happy. Obviously she was severely under the influence, but her laughter was genuine.
Faced with the ridiculousness of the situation, Weiss sighed, pulled out her scroll, and snapped the picture she'd tried to get earlier.
A/N: Yeah, so guess who forgot that we had a lion faunus on hand when this scene came up? That would be me.
Also, did you know young kittens don't really have much of a reaction to catnip? Who knew!
Stay tuned, folks!