Clenching his paws, he first tried to recall all the feelings he’d experienced the last two times he’d changed back. Both times, it had started with his stomach crunching up, like his chest and stomach muscles were shrinking and pushing against his organs.
Pulling his stomach in, Alex felt it shrink as his muscles tightened. Some of his claws scrapped over the wood table, the sliding of chair legs telling him Catherine was about to stand up. That sound stopped him, but only for a second. He had to keep going. Scaring everyone now was less of a bad idea than being around them if his hunger flared up.
Contracting his stomach again, he recalled how it felt to have his muscles twitch and shrink over his body. Those unreal feelings of someone else pressing against them and his tendons. Of his body trying to force itself into a smaller frame, from his muscles to his bones.
As he thought these things, his breathing picked up subtly. A sensation of cold electricity ran down his spine as well. Nathan asked if he was OK at that point, to which he didn’t answer; his chair also moved in response. If this was going to work, he didn’t care if it was right now. He wanted to be 100% sure his friends and family would be safe from anything he was at risk of doing. He wanted the reverse shift to come and be over with.
Trying to avoid thinking about catching live prey, Alex felt his mind slip into it. He recalled the doe from the last full moon, and how he’d felt feeding on it. His body shivered in response before he pushed the thoughts aside.
That shivering didn’t stop. He felt it run out to his limbs like he was shivering from cold, but he wasn’t. His fur was keeping him very warm under the lights above him. Pulling in his stomach once more, this time, as though someone was doing it for him, he felt those same muscles push in without making them to do so.
Now breathing rapidly, a chill ran though Alex’s nerves. Had he done it?
Keeping his eyes closed, he reached for his stomach. His muscles there were shifting, as were the ones in his arms. Before he could feel any pleasure from the discovery, a rush of pain hit him from his chest out to his arms. His chest felt like it was collapsing his ribcage.
Snarling in response, and wrapping his arms around his chest, he heard his friends shoot up from their chairs. It didn’t matter to him. Hearing crunching in his jaw and skull, Alex could also feel his claws starting to pull back into his paws, giving off a light sound of rubbing as they turned back into bones.
Behind him, he heard the door to his parent’s room open. He had to get away before they saw anything more. Opening his eyes as his chest tightened again, his ribs pushing down as he saw the frightened looks in his friend’s eyes, he got up and turned to see his folks entering the living room.
Alex didn’t speak to them. His paw over his chest was enough. Making his way for the bathroom amidst questions and responses, he closed the doors and readied himself for the rest of the change.
Laying down on the tile, he curled up and kept breathing rapidly to cover for his risen pulse. Before long, the snaps of bone sounded and his hind paws turned back into his human feet. With tears of pleasure and pain running down his face, Alex tried not to make much noise as the shift continued.
Every person he cared for was just two door lengths away. He was certain they could hear him, but there was no use trying to hide what was going on. If nothing else, he could salvage a bit of time to close out this mess once he was human again.
As his skull and jaw snapped and shrank, his ears returned to their original forms. He could feel the fur on him loosen and start to drop off. The last part to shrink back after his ribcage and muscle structure was his tail, leaving him lying in a collection of shed fur.
Rubbing himself free of any loose strands, Alex had to resist shouting in joy as he lay on the floor. As much as his body was shaking and sore, he wanted to do it. Wiping his eyes, he let himself recover then stood up and grabbed a towel.
“Guys,” Alex said once he’d opened the doors, a huge smile on his face. “it worked.”