"I know you're there." The man's voice was as harsh and cold as Jacque remembered, and a jolt of fear shot through his chest, freezing him as surely as a binding spell. "You may as well come out now. You can't defy me or my magic, and if you cooperate, I may feel gracious when assigning your punishment."
Jacque had been hopeful at first. While his father had alerted the police and media of his son's disappearance, he'd left out a fairly significant detail regarding Jacque's nature. And now the man was walking the neighborhood streets of the fourteenth arrondissement alone in the dark. He still didn't want anyone to find out; he thought he could bide his time and use others' magic to bring Jacque to heel. He knew nothing of cats.
For the last four months, Jacque had lived as a stray cat on the streets of Paris. It may not have been the easiest life, but it was a thousand times better than living with his all too human father. He would rather die than go back to being a prisoner in that house, denied the opportunity to be what he really was.
He wasn't sure how his father had found him; Pierre Parenteau was a gifted designer but a mediocre magic user. He relied on other people's spells and enchantments to get his way. But he was successful and wealthy, and he'd probably purchased a locating talisman this time. Jacque suspected there were ways to inhibit such tools from finding him, but he had no way of learning this for himself. His magic education involved being on the receiving end of his father's personal or bought enchantments and charms.
Jacque closed his brilliant green eyes and tapped into his feline nature. Leaning on his human logic and education had helped him get by quite well, really, but thinking like a sixteen-year old runaway boy was not going to get him out of this.
Settling all four paws on the moss-covered cobblestone sidewalk, he peered out from behind the large planter. As a black cat, the night was his time. As a committed stray, the back streets and rooftops were his place. His father would not catch him here. He embraced his instinct, tempered it with logic, and simply felt when the opportune moment hit. He darted out, bounding down the street to a thickly vine-covered trellis.
"Stop!" his father ordered.
Jacque scaled the vines, scampering across them where they spanned the width of the street. He growled as he passed directly over his father to a nearby roof. Twice, he felt a very faint tug, as if his father was reaching for the old bonds Jacque spent every day eroding. His own magic was minimal, most of it related to shape-shifting, but his time on the street had shown him that if he worked at it, he had the ability to curse things with misfortune. The triggers for his father's compulsion spells were his first experiments; they were in tatters at this point, barely present enough to notice.
He reached the roof just in time for his father to throw a compact spell at him. His aim was worse than his magic, and it missed. Jacque hissed at the explosion of gold sparks, spitting out the cat equivalent of, "fuck you." He kept his distance from the newly conjured cage. On the off chance that his father had purchased more of those, and that his first shot was merely unlucky, Jacque scrambled away from the edge of the roof, so he wouldn't be vulnerable to ground attacks.
This was the second time his father had found him, and he'd clearly stepped up his game. Jacque was going to need to rethink his situation to prevent a third opportunity.
Brigitte is a teen witch who is desperately ready to find her familiar. Jacque was an internationally-known teen model, but he's spent the last four months living as a stray cat on the streets of Paris. What could possibly happen when these two cross paths?
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