I Went To A Cat-Themed Hotel To Get Away From Everything, But I Didn't Expect To Get Away From Time Itself

Prompt: "Pause" (made for Light Novelber 2021 and 2022)

Content note:

Chaper 1: Tired

"Tired of the weariness of the world? Want a place to get away from it all? Like cats? Come stay at Kit Inn!"

Ugh, an ad, I thought, as scrolled past the promoted chirp.

Just then I heard a voice. "Deadname? Are you still awake?"

I took off my headphones. "Ugh, Mom, I've told you plenty of times not to call me that! My name is Felicia."

"You're doing that catgirl thing again?" said Mom. "You're not a catgirl, Deadname. You're not a girl. You are my son, and you will always be my son."

"Ugh, I don't want to get into this argument again. What do you want?"

"It's late, Deadname, you should be in bed. You have to get up for class tomorrow, remember?"

"Yes, I know! I will! But this is my only time to actually do stuff that I want to do, and I want to actually use it. Good night!"

"Okay, Deadname, but don't say I didn't tell you when you wake up tired tomorrow morning," she said, and she left the room.

I put my headphones back on, feeling more unpleasantly aware than usual of just how humanoid and uncatlike my ears were, and went back to looking at Chirper. Other than the ads, it was just more doom about the president saying something bad. Ugh. I checked my email. There was a new message from my professor, probably saying that he was unhappy with something on my last assignment. Ugh. I switched back to Chirper, and saw that MiawKitty had posted another of her "doomscrolling break! post your cat pictures! 🐱" threads. At least her chirps seemed to always be uplifting, even in doomy times. I scrolled through the thread, looking at and hearting all the cat pictures, and felt a bit better. Maybe that ad was right, I thought, maybe I do need a break from everything. A break with cats.

I looked up Kit Inn and clicked a link to their website.

Do you like cat cafés? Do you like hotels? If so, then Kit Inn is the place for you! At our hotel, there are lots of cats in the lobby, which you can spend time with, and if you'd like, you can take one into your room with you to keep you company. If you're looking for a transformewtive experience or just want to take some catnaps, Kit Inn is the place to do it.

Other accommodations:

  • Pet-friendly rooms
  • Eat at our cat café, located in the same building.
  • Our TVs have subscriptions to all of the popular streaming services, and we encourage you to take advantage of them.

I scrolled through some more, past some pictures of a big hotel building with a cat painted on the side, of a lobby with cat statues and lots of cats in it and some hotel rooms with cat pictures on the walls. "We accept anyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, transgender status, or felinity." What do you suppose that's just some corporate BS and they aren't actually trans catgirl–friendly? I thought. I scrolled further, read the rules for how to handle the cats, and finally came to the address; fortunately, it was in the same city, and it was somewhere I could get to by bus. And there was a link to reserve a room now.

I hesitated. There was no way this was anywhere near as good as it claimed to be. And yet… I was kind of desperate for a vacation. To get away from work. And my parents. And just… all of this.

And from my body, too? No, I can't get away from that. At least, not until I get away from these judgemental parents and get enough money to pay for felestrogen and an antianthrogen.

I clicked the button, entered my details, and came to a screen asking which days and how long I was going to stay there. There's no way I'm can afford missing class for this, I thought, but at least I can get away from my family, get a change of scenery, pet some kitties. I chose one night, Saturday to Sunday.

"Our cat goddess thanks you for choosing Kit Inn", it said. Wait, cat goddess? This wasn't some sort of weird religious thing, was it?

Picture of the lobby, showing some cats, a person at a window to the left, and two small flags (one trans pride flag, and one brown-and-black striped)

Chapter 2: Kit Inn

I walked into the hotel, and immediately one of the cats in the lobby walked up to me, sniffed me, and rubbed my leg. They were an orange cat, and looked vaguely familiar, but then again, a lot of cats look kind of similar to each other. I pet them and they purred.

"I see Mia seems to like you", said a voice. I looked over and saw behind the desk a woman with cat ears and a cat-shaped nametag that I couldn't read from where I was. Well, I thought, they hired a catgirl, so maybe they're not too bad. Or maybe they just hire catgirls for their looks and don't really care about how they're treated. "I'm Kit. How can I help you?"

"Hi, I have a room reserved for— um, for Deadny." The form I'd filled out had had a place for me to put a name I preferred to be called, but I definitely wasn't passing and I worried that people would say… things if I put a female name and came looking like this. But maybe people here would be more understanding?

Kit typed something on her computer, and then said, "Ah, room 105. Turn left at the hallway, and then it should be the third door on your right. If you want to take Mia to your room, I think she'd be happy to go with you." I looked down to see the cat who'd greeted me was lying at my feet, purring.

"Maybe not for now", I said. "I just kind of want to be alone and get some rest for now."

"Mrow", said Mia, as if she'd understood what I'd said and was disappointed about it, and she walked away.

"Well, you don't have to. Also, we recommend everyone take one of these nametags here, for, um, reasons, and put your name and pronouns on it. You don't have to wear it if you don't want to. And if you'd prefer to be called a different name than what you signed up as, that's perfectly fine. Even if you think people will think it's weird."

I took a nametag and wrote "De, they/them" on it. A variant on my deadname, not really my preferred name, but it was something I was a bit more comfortable with at least.

"And if you need anything, De, you can come to the front desk and ask for it."

I went down the hall a bit, noticing that the zeros on the room numbers were cat faces. I got to room 105 and noticed Mia was sitting by the door. "Sorry, Mia", I said, as I pet her.

Chapter 3: Evening

After I got settled, I took out my computer and checked Chirper. I saw a bunch of people talking about "what the president had said", which apparently had something to do with catgirls. Finally, I found one that linked to a news article from Company Efficient Times, the biggest financial newspaper in the country, titled "Why catgirl activists are ruining everything". "…Like the president said, 'It's censorship! You just can't say anymore that you don't think catgirls exist, even though they don't, or that you hate the people claiming to be catgirls, and that's why I hate the people claiming to be catgirls!'" The article went on to agree with everything the president said, while saying a bunch of ignorant claims and stereotypes, and then talked about how the reporter supported the president's proposed "protect free speech" law banning schools from teaching about catgirls and requiring everyone there to misgender trans people.

I closed the article and went back to Chirper. Almost every chirp I saw was complaining about this article, the claim from the president, or other people supporting this ban, and some of them were quote-chirping other people saying extremely ignorant and hateful things about catgirls. At least there was another doomscrolling break cat pictures thread, but after that it was back to doom, doom, doom. It was all just exhausting to look at and made me really upset, and that was the exact opposite of what I wanted right now.

I closed my computer, and looked out the window. It was windy and raining, and getting dark. Not the most pleasant weather, but at least it wasn't politics, and I knew it would get sunny again in the summer, as it always does. The government could take away my ability to become a catgirl for a long time, possibly forever, but they can't take away nice, sunny days! Unless—

No, I thought. Don't think about climate change now. That'll just make me more upset! I need a way to calm down. I looked at the TV and remembered what the ad said about streaming services. I wonder if there's anything I'd want to watch, I thought.

I looked down at the coffee table and saw a remote labeled "MEWniversal Remote". I turned on the TV, and noticed that in addition to the streaming services, there were icons for some social media sites, including Chirper, but that would be the exact opposite of what I wanted right now. I looked through the movies and noticed they had a movie I'd been meaning to watch for a while now but hadn't had the time, My Friends and I Were Granted Three Wishes by a Cat Goddess and I Swear I Got Distracted When My Turn Came Around And Then They Made A Movie Out Of It. I pressed "Play".

I started to watch the movie, but then soon became distracted with thoughts. Ugh, I thought, How can the president get away with such blatant hypocrisy? Why are so many people still buying his obvious propaganda? Why? If only they could just stop with their incessant attacks on catgirls, if only for a moment… Ugh, I'm too distracted to really watch this now, maybe later. I pressed the "Paws" button on the remote. The movie paused, and I noticed that it seemed way quieter than I'd expected. I guess the rain and wind have stopped, I thought. I looked out the window, and by now it was completely dark.

I decided to check Chirper again. Why am I doing this? I thought. Maybe I'm just hopeful there'll be some good news, or at least some reassurance that things aren't as bad as they seemed. I opened Chirper, and… a loading indicator? Why is it taking this long? I tried some other websites, and none of them loaded either. I tried fiddling with the settings, but no luck. I checked on my phone, but it said there was no cell signal. I decided to try the Chirper app on the TV. I selected the icon, and it just showed a video of birds flying around. Oh, ha ha, very funny, I thought. Then again, come to think of it, it was kind of soothing just looking at the birds.

At that point, I remembered that there were cats in the lobby, and I had barely spent any time with them. And Mia might still be waiting outside. But I was also starting to feel really tired. I looked at the clock. Only 8:12. Kind of early for bed.

Just then, I heard a faint voice—or at least, thought I did. Maybe I imagined it? "You are paused. You are safe. You need rest. Go to sleep; everything will still be there when you wake."

Who was that? What was that? I thought. And what did she mean by "You are paused"? Am I so tired that my brain is doing weird things? Maybe I should just go to sleep.

I went to the door and said through the door, "Sorry, Mia, I think I'm just going to have to go to bed right now. We can see each other again tomorrow." Of course, she probably wouldn't understand, since she's a cat, but then again, she did seem to know where my room was, somehow.

Then I got ready for bed and lay down. I felt kind of stressed still, so I was worried that I'd lie awake a long time, but somehow sleep seemed to come more naturally than usual.

As I drifted off to sleep, I heard that voice again. "Good night!"

Chapter 4: Morning

I woke up, feeling surprisingly well-rested, and looked outside. Still dark. I looked at the clock. 8:12, same as it had said last night. Did I sleep for exactly 12 hours? If so, why is it still so dark? Even at this time of year, it's not usually dark at this time. Unless I slept for 24 hours? Or not at all?

I woke up my laptop. The internet was still down, but the computer's clock said something different. 7:23. Did the clock in my room stop? Digital clocks don't do that, do they? Also, it's still usually lighter than this at 7:23. I got up and got dressed. The clock still said 8:12 afterwards. Weird.

I left the room and looked down. Mia was still sitting by the door, in the same spot she was last night. "Hi, Mia", I said, and pet her. Mia didn't move at all. Oh, no! I thought, and rushed to the hotel counter. Fortunately, Kit was still there, behind the desk.

"Kit! Kit! It's Mia! She's not— I think she's— I think—" I stood there, out of breath, hoping Kit would respond in some way but she didn't say anything. In fact, she didn't seem to be moving, either. What's going on? I thought.

I went outside, and immediately felt some raindrops hitting my face. Wait, didn't it stop raining? I thought. I stopped moving and the rain stopped. I looked around—was it my imagination, or was I seeing better than I normally could in the dark?—and all around me were tiny drops of rain, suspended in midair, not moving.

Then it hit me. "You are paused", the voice had said. Was time paused? Is that why Mia and Kit weren't moving? I let out a sigh of relief. I didn't know why or how time was paused, but at least it meant they weren't dead. Assuming time can unpause, that is.

I went back to my room. The TV was still playing that video of birds. I picked up the remote so I could stop the video, but before I pressed the button, I noticed the words written on the remote again: "MEWniversal Remote". Universal remote? There was only the TV, no other devices connected to it. Could it instead mean that this remote controls the universe?

I pointed the remote at the window, and pressed Play, and suddenly the noises of rain and wind started again, and I could see the trees blowing around and raindrops hitting the window. I pressed Pause again, and the noise stopped and the trees froze in place.

I opened the door to my room, and saw Mia now looking up more but still not moving. I pointed the remote at her and pressed Play. A ball appeared in mid-air, and bounced into the room. Mia got up and walked inside the room, ignoring the ball, and lay down on the sofa. I noticed the weather outside was still silent and the trees still frozen in place, so the remote must care what it's pointed at. That, or it somehow knew my intent.

I sat there, petting Mia for a while. I felt relieved that Mia was alive, and it felt relaxing petting her, and for a while I was able to take my mind off of the other stuff going on in the world.

Chapter 5: Nope, still evening

After a while, some thoughts about politics came back into my head. No, you're the one censoring people, I thought, arguing with some imaginary person, you know that, how could you possibly— my train of thought was interrupted by Mia growling at me. I guess my emotions were causing me to pet a bit too hard.

I stopped petting her and got out my laptop and opened a new document and started writing:

Why the president is wrong about "Pawlitics"

The president recentlynsaidnthstntrsns

As I wrote, I noticed it seemed to be getting hard to type. I looked down at my hands and noticed that my fingers were getting shorter and starting to sort of fuse together, and they were starting to grow some short hair. I looked at my palms, and saw not hands but cat paws.

Just then, I heard the voice again that I'd heard the previous night, but this time louder and clearer. "You asked for paws", she said.

"Who said that? Was that you, Mia? Can you talk?" I asked.

A woman materialized in front of me, with cat ears, paws, and a tail, and she appeared to be glowing slightly. "No. My name is Ariel. I'm a cat goddess who lives at this hotel. My goal is to help as many catpeople as I can, and you look like a catgirl who needs help."

"But how does this help me? I wanted ears and a tail, not paws. I need my hands to type with."

"I saw what you were writing. You wanted a break from politics, did you not?"

"Yeah, I guess. I was kind of hoping that if I wrote something, maybe I could convince at least someone. That, and maybe if I got my thoughts out on paper, I could stop thinking about them."

"You don't have to be the one to convince people to accept catgirls; there are plenty of other people trying to do that. And besides, you'll probably do better once you've calmed down and had more time to think. You have all the time in the world, and you're completely safe from them for now; feliphobes can't do anything while time is paused."

"So what will I do now?"

Just then, Mia hopped down from the couch, and we both turned to watch. She went over towards the door and grabbed the ball that had magically appeared, brought it back, and threw it so it rolled along the couch. I semi-instinctively batted at it.

"Well, you can pet Mia and play with her, for one", said Ariel. "But do you have any video games you've been waiting to get around to playing? Books you've wanted to read? Unfinished hobby projects you've wanted to work on? Time is paused, so you have all the time you want to work on them, and you don't have to worry about school or politics interrupting you. You don't even have to worry about you or Mia aging, since the time field protects against that."

"Well, I have some music compositions that I've been meaning to finish from a few years ago. And a few unfinished stories I've started writing, and some computer programs. But I can't really work on them without hands."

"Oh, just point the remote at yourself and press the 'Paws' button again."

I pressed Paws, and my paws morphed back into hands.

"Also," said Ariel, "if you're going to be staying for a while, you're probably going to get hungry at some point. Our cat café has extratemporal staff, and it's included in the price of your room. Just go there, and someone will come to take your order. Their food is really good; I'm personally fond of their tuna sandwiches, but that's just me. Also, your circadian rhythm probably won't like you spending all your time in the dark, so your room has…" Ariel walked over to the light switches by the door and flipped one of the switches. An extremely bright light shone in from the ceiling, making the room appear bright as day, and casting window-shaped sunbeams on the floor and the couch. Mia got up and walked to one of the sunbeams. "…a sunbeam light!" said Ariel. "I recommend turning it on when you wake in the morning, and turning it off in the evening before going to bed. If you need anything else, just say my name." Then she dematerialized.

I saved and closed the politics thing I'd been writing, and opened up one of my compositions. I plugged in my headphones and put them on my… ears? Where were my ears? I felt further up my head, and felt two pointy ears sticking up. I ran into the bathroom to look in the mirror. I was a catgirl! I mean, I already was a catgirl, but now I had actual cat ears, and a more feminine face! (Also breasts.) When did this happen? I wondered, And why didn't I notice it before? And how am I going to use headphones now? I went back to my laptop. I looked at the remote, and noticed there was a button labeled with a picture of headphones on it. I remembered the toy that had materialized, and I pointed the remote at myself and pressed that button, and some headphones materialized, but shaped differently, and they fit on my ears perfectly. I went back to my composition, and worked on it for a while.

Chapter 6: Mia

I woke up. It was my third full "day", if you could call it that, at the hotel. I got dressed, went into the café as usual, past the few unmoving customers, and ordered a mixed-fruit waffle. Mia, who had been following me, went into the corner where there was a new dish of cat food. I went to my usual table, but this time Ariel was already sitting there, eating a plate with bacon, sausage, and ham. That must be the breakfast meat sampler I'd seen on the menu.

"Is it okay if I join you?" I asked.

"Sure, no problem", said Ariel. "By the way, I don't think I've actually gotten your name yet."

I sat down. "I'm—um, …" I hesitated. There was no sense trying to hide my femininity or felinity, now that I was transformed, but I'd still never told anyone my name offline, except my mom, who'd constantly rejected it. "I'm Felicia."

"Hi, Felicia. How's your stay so far? I know for some people staying in the same room all the time can get boring, and I wanted to make sure you're okay."

"It's fine. Relaxing. But yeah, it is starting to get a bit boring."

"Well, there's sightseeing stuff we could do. I have control over space and time, so I can just teleport us to places, at least if they're close enough. It's late in outside time, so the museums and galleries are probably not busy. Or we could go to the mountain; it's really neat seeing the waterfall there frozen in time, and it's probably snowing there, so you can see the snowflakes suspended in midair. We could go camping, and not have to worry about wild animals or bugs. Or we could go to Magic Castle Beach—"

"Magic Castle Beach? You mean the one where it's rumored that sand castles and other sand sculptures just suddenly appear when no one's looking? …Wait a minute…"

"Yeah, I made a lot of those castles. If you want to, you can make some, too, or hang out on the beach. Or if you want, you could swim or snorkel, and not have to worry about the current. I hear some humans, even some catpeople, like to do that sort of stuff; I'm not much of a swimmer myself, of course."

"I'm not much of a swimmer, either. But going to the beach sounds fun. I'm not sure if I want to do it today, though—or, I guess, this waking period? I'm not sure exactly how to talk about time when it's paused."

"Calling it 'today' makes sense, and no, it doesn't have to be today."

"I think, maybe, …well, usually I'm kind of asocial, but being around no one at all most of the time, maybe I'd prefer a bit of company for now? I mean, Mia's in my room, but she can't really talk. As much as I don't like hearing them talking about politics… I think I do miss hearing from the people I follow on Chirper."

"Well, if you want my company, you're always welcome. But also, you brought a computer, right? There's something I want to show you on it once we're done here, if it's okay with you."

"Okay", I said, wondering if maybe somehow there was a way to get online. But even if you could get online, I thought, it's not like the people I follow will be able to post anything or respond to messages while time is paused.

We finished eating, and all three of us went back to the room together.

"Felicia," said Ariel, "do you have a text editor or word processor on your computer?"

"Yeah", I said.

"Could you open a new document in it and point the computer towards Mia?"

I did that, and Mia started typing something. "hi felicia", it said on the screen.

"Wait, you can… talk? Or type, at least?" I said.

"yeah", typed Mia.

Wait, I thought, was she trained to do this, or… I turned to Ariel. "Wait, you're not turning your guests into actual cats, are you?"

"Not unless you want to be", said Ariel.

"no, this didn't happen here", typed Mia. "but i've always felt like a cat, and thru some magic accidents became one."

"But she helped me figure out what was wrong, and that's not going to happen here, anyways", said Ariel.

Oh no, I thought. She probably thinks of me as a fake. I only figured out I was a catgirl a couple years ago, and I'm only a catgirl and not a full cat. I don't even eat meat, and that's a thing lots of non-feline humans do! And magic accidents were involved? This was probably a huge traumatic experience for her, nothing like anything I've gone through! "Are you okay with me being a catgirl?"

"of course," said Mia, "why wouldn't i be"

"I don't know… I just worry you'll think I'm a fake. Like, I'm pretending to be a cat like you, but I've never gone through what you've gone through, and probably never will. And I'm not putting in the effort to become a full cat like you, just this halfway thing."

"i don't want you to go thru what i have. that's why i made my wish."

"Wish?" I asked.

"When she helped me fix the issue that caused the accident that turned her into a cat, I granted her one wish", said Ariel. "She wished for me to help and protect catpeople, and anyone like catpeople, in any way I could. I said I was going to do that anyways, but she didn't have any other wishes for me."

I felt relieved. We chatted a while longer, and then I went back to playing a game that I'd started.

Chapter 7: Beach

I looked out through the suspended drops of water at the dimly-lit beach. The sand looked a dark gray, and was mostly flat and empty, save for a few seashells here and there. There was no one on the beach but me, Ariel, and Mia, who had decided to come along, since it was something she kind of missed from her pre-transformation days. No one would want to come to the beach at this time of night, in this weather, unless they had a magical time stop ability like us. In front of us was an inky black ocean with huge waves, curling forward ready to break, yet frozen in place. In the distance, the ocean faded into the sky, which was a solid dark gray color. To our left was a grassy field, a bit higher than the beach, with a tree in the middle, leaning to one side, as if blown by the wind, yet I felt no wind. The field was surrounded by a rock wall, and there was some spray from a wave that had just hit the wall, suspended in midair. Behind us were some hotels, kind of old-looking and made of wood, with lights shining through some of the windows, which looked almost blindingly bright against the dark sky. Everything was eerily silent. It felt as if we'd been transported into a still picture of a stormy ocean, yet it was all around me. It felt familiar, yet strange at the same time.

"It's a shame it's cloudy", said Ariel. "It's really pretty here when the moon shines on the water."

"This has its own appeal, though", I said. "I've always kind of liked the look of stormy seas, in pictures and movies and video games and such. This way I can actually be there without having to deal with actually feeling the wind and the rain."

Ariel opened her umbrella, which was decorated with cartoony cat pictures in various different colors, and held it in front of us as we walked along. We came to a spot right on the edge of the wet sand, but still a significant distance from the water. "This seems like a good spot", said Ariel, and she waved her open umbrella around, clearing some raindrops out of the air.

She gave me one of her buckets and shovels, and we started working on a castle together, as Mia watched with glowing eyes. As we built it, some memories came back to me of beach trips from my childhood. This was something that I used to do as a child, and then for some reason just stopped doing at some point. It reminded me of the past, when it seemed like the problems in my life now didn't exist. That was before I'd started experiencing much dysphoria, at least that I was aware of, and before I'd started paying attention to politics, and before I had to worry as much about finding a job. I don't know if I was safer back then, but I felt safer, in a way I hadn't in years. Not until now, at least, when time was paused, and I was around two beings who seemed to actually like and care about me.

I looked over at what Ariel was working on. It was a sculpture of a cat, sitting in front of the castle, who appeared to be guarding it like a sphinx. I went over there to look.

"It's the cat's castle", said Ariel. "A catstle."

Mia came over to look, and then lay down and purred.

We decided the castle was done, and then took a walk on the beach, then made a campfire and sat down around it and talked for a bit, and then decided that that was enough for the day, and left.

Chapter 8: Goodbye

I put the finishing touches on my music composition and looked up at the clock on my computer. It said it was a couple minutes past 6 PM, which was when I usually had dinner. I'd decided near the beginning of the trip that, even though there wasn't any outside schedule to care about, I should still try to eat and sleep according to my computer's clock, just so my circadian rhythm didn't get too messed up. Out of curiosity, I checked the date. It had been about a month since I got here. Maybe that was long enough? I'd finished my composition, read a book I'd been meaning to read, and done a few sightseeing things. I'd gone clothes shopping, since I'd only brought one change of clothes and wanted more feminine clothes anyways, and Ariel knew of a clothing store with extratemporal staff. And I felt more well-rested than I had in years.

I went to the café, ordered vegetarian lasagna, and sat down at the table with Ariel.

"It's been a good month", I said, "but I think I might be ready to unpause and try to face the outside world again. But I'll miss you and Mia."

"Well, I wish you well. Both Mia and I have email addresses, so we can stay in touch. And I don't know if you want to continue using Chirper after this, but Mia has an account on there you can follow. Her username is MiawKitty."

Wait, that's why she looked familiar! She was the one posting those cat picture threads. I didn't expect that the cat she was posting pictures of was herself. "Wait, I already follow her!" I said.

"And as for me, I have powers over time and space, so I can visit you if you want. And you can come back here and visit any time you'd like."

We went back to my room together. I took the remote, pointed it at the window, and pressed Play. The familiar sound of rain and wind started back up again. It was actually kind of nice, hearing that familiar sound after so long of just silence outside the window, and made it feel all the more cozy being inside where it was warm and dry.

I opened my laptop, and went to Chirper. It actually loaded again. I looked through my timeline to see who was chirping the most about politics, and muted them. Then I opened the Co. Efficient Times article again, pointed the remote at it, and pressed Stop.

"Sorry, unfortunately that doesn't work", said Ariel. "If I could make that stop, I would, but I can't change what people do, and only have control over smaller-scale things. But I'll do what I can to protect you, and if you need a place to stay or food or healing, I can provide any of those things. And remember, there are lots of people also trying to stop that, and I'm doing my part in that."

"It was worth a try", I said.

Chapter 9: Actually morning this time

I woke up and looked out the window. For once, there was actually light coming in from outside, and I didn't have to turn on the sunbeam light. It wasn't direct sunlight—it was still overcast, though no longer rainy at the moment—but it was still something. I'd forgotten how much I missed actual daylight, even when it was cloudy.

I packed my stuff, and as I was packing, I noticed the nametag I'd gotten the first day. "De, they/them", it still said on it. I crossed that out, wrote "Felicia, she/her", and put it on.

I went into the lobby. I'd seen the cats frozen in time for so long, that it looked kind of weird that they were in different positions now, and some of them were walking around. Kit was working there again today, and I also noticed on the desk were two small flags, a trans pride flag and a catgirl pride flag. Had those always been there, and I'd just never noticed?

I checked out, and looked closely at my bill to see that, yes, they had only charged me for one night. As I was checking out, Kit handed me something. "Felicia, Ariel wants you to have this", she said.

I looked at it. It was the MEWniversal remote.

"Don't worry, we have more. We get bulk orders from Cali Co regularly. And it will still work when you're not here", said Kit.

"Thank you", I said.

After leaving, I decided to have breakfast at some restaurant other than the Kit Inn Cat Café. I entered the restaurant, and was kind of nervous about whether people would notice my cat ears and say mean things, but everyone just treated me normally. That is, until one of my classmates happened to be in the same restaurant.

He came up to me. "Wait, are you Deadname?" he asked. I braced for the worst, afraid of what he might say or do.

"Yes— I mean, no— I mean, yes, but I'm going by Felicia now", I said.

"Ah, that's cool. Hi, Felicia", he said. We had a short conversation and then he left.

I finished up my meal, and that meant it was time to leave. To go home. Where my mom lived. And who knows how she'll react? But I knew, at least, that there were other people in this world who cared about me, and accepted who I was, and if things got really bad, I could go live with Ariel for a while. I left the restaurant and went home.

The end.