Okay, I know I said this was a stupid idea, but now I’m loving it. These were my inner thoughts as I stared at my reflection. Rather than being in my trademark t-shirt and unintentionally ripped jeans, I was in a fleece, golden-yellow onesie. The front had a big white spot, and there were black stripes across the back and sides. The hood came with two tiny ears and whiskers. Yes, I was wearing a tiger kigurumi.
This was Melissa’s idea. When we started planning that rally to save endangered animal species, and she floated out the idea of wearing these animal pajamas. We were hoping it would get the public’s attention, drawing more awareness and funding to our cause.
I had been dreading the idea of wearing such a stupid thing out in public, but now that I had it on, it was actually quite comfortable. It felt like I was just wearing sweats. And I had been in sweats ever since I returned from my last and final trip to the God Complex.
I knew the Revolt Gang was worried about me. Rather than going straight home for them to see me cry, I stayed out and wandered Boston until the wee hours of the morning before sneaking back into the house. But the gang was aware that something had gone wrong during my last trip to see my family. Apparently, everyone could tell when I was in a bad headspace. All I had to do was walk into a room, and the mood was brought down. Either we’re all going to get drenched by the storm cloud hanging over you, or someone’s going to die from the daggers coming out of your eyes. That’s how Jude had described it.
Looking at myself in this ridiculous outfit, even I couldn’t be sad or mad. It was just too funny. It was just what I needed.
The rest of the house agreed when I walked downstairs to join everyone. They were already in their kigurumis—all of them were supposed to be animal species currently on the endangered species list.
“What’s the thing on your face, Tia,” Jude asked, peeking up from the hood of their bright green turtle onesie. “It looks like there are a bunch of tiny white things coming out of your face. Wait. I’ve heard of these things. What are they called? Smiles?”
“Leave her alone, Jude,” Melissa scolded, pushing back the smiling, grey-blue hood. Her whale kigurumi even came with a little fin tail on the bottom and a geyser of water coming from the blowhole on the top of the hood. “You look great, Tia.”
“Thanks, Melissa. This is actually really comfortable.”
“Yeah, and they’re not too hot,” Jacob politely pointed out. Of course, he and his six-foot-two stature would worry about overheating in his polar bear onesie. It could easily happen in the summer, but we were wise enough to plan this demonstration during the colder time of year.
Haley came hopping down from the kitchen to stand right in front of me. “You look so cute, Tia!” Cute. I never liked being called cute. The leader of an army can’t be fucking cute. The daughter of the God of War can’t be fucking cute. War wasn’t cute. Death wasn’t cute. And no one on the planet was ever willing to go to war and put their life on the line for someone cute. They would only make that kind of sacrifice for someone who was inspiring, intimidating. Someone they trusted. Who trusted cute? No one.
But when Haley said it, I didn’t mind. It wasn’t an insult. It was a compliment, and one I actually enjoyed receiving. It was like when Eros—
No. No. No. He’s not in your life anymore. Forget about him.
“Thanks, Haley.” I couldn’t help but slowly look her over. She had chosen the Red Panda kigurumi since they were her favorite animals. It was a little baggy on her petite form, but…it was so adorable on her. Especially with the wide-rimmed glasses. “You look cute too!”
“Thank you!” she said in that high voice. She even punctuated her gratitude with a foot-popping hop and a spin to show off the whole onesie. The red and black ringed tail on her backside flopped around with her energetic movements, just adding to the cuteness. She was like a little kid in a toy store, especially when she pulled the hood up over her head, made claw hands, and shouted, “Roar”! I couldn’t help but giggle. She was just…how did anyone get that so full of joy and stay that way? Especially in the modern world. Don’t ever let the world make you bitter, I wanted to say to her.
But I couldn’t. At least not yet.
“Enough with the cute!” Jude yelled, gaining the attention of the entire house. “We gotta get to the museum, and if we don’t leave now, we’re gonna be late!” Right. Work first. Other stuff later…whatever other stuff happened to be. “Everybody grab your signs, grab your lunches, and let’s get the hell out of here!”
By the time lunchtime hit, anywhere from twenty to thirty people in kigurumis had congregated with us outside of the Harvard Museum of Natural History. This was better than anything I could’ve ever hoped for. It was our best event yet. Every time we organized something, the turnouts became better and better. We were definitely getting the attention that we wanted—both positive and negative. Sure, people were yelling about us damn millennials and special snowflakes, but most people were nice enough to ask what we were gathering about before making a judgment call. Some of them even asked to join or donate to the cause. And that was always a good thing.
We had just finished up our lunch and bathroom break. We had taken advantage of the many places to eat on Harvard’s campus, resting our feet, hydrating, and re-nourishing our bodies. We were all going to be exhausted when this day was over—even my immortal self—but it was already worth the sacrifice. Between the money we had already raised, the new friends and revolutionaries that we had met, and the interest shown in the Revolt Project, the protest was already a successful one.
We were walking back to the front door of the museum when Melissa stopped us all in our tracks. “Whoa! What the fuck?!” We followed her gaze. There was a sea of fur outside of the museum. Some of the fur looked very naturally colored—whites, blacks, browns, and blondes. But others were definitely not found on any naturally occurring animal; bright pinks, baby blues, royal purples, and fiery reds. Not everyone was in a fursuit. Some were just in graphic t-shirts to show their support for those in the fursuits. But sure enough, our protest area had turned into a furry convention, the biggest furry convention on the planet. There were too many of them to count.
“They stole our spot!” Melissa griped.
“No. Look,” Jacob said. He was pointing to the picket signs that the furries were carrying. All of them were variations of our own signs; Wouldn’t you rather see them live than learn how they died? FURSUITS, NOT FUR COATS, SAVE OUR FURRY FRIENDS. “They didn’t steal our spot. They’re joining us,” Jacob said with a bright smile.
“This is great!” Haley jumped up and down excitedly. “Tia, you’re a genius!”
I furrowed my brows. “What?”
“Inviting the furries to an animal protest? It’s brilliant! We’ll defintiely get people’s attention now!”
“I didn’t invite them,” I protested.
“Then who did?” Melissa asked. We all looked between each other, but no one was willing to take credit for the massive support we had just received.
Without saying a word, I walked up to the furry mosh pit and tapped the first non-fur-suited person I could find—a boy who was roughly college age and working on his freshman fifteen. “Excuse me,” I shouted over the crowd. “Are you here for the animal rights protest?”
“For sure! Save the foxes!” Normally, I would have appreciated the enthusiasm for the cause, but I needed answers. “How did you hear about the protest?”
“We saw it on the blog!”
“The blog?” Rather than answering me with words, the young college boy whipped out his phone and opened it to a web page before handing it to me. The most recent popular post had a huge heading that read REVOLT PROJECT ANIMAL RIGHTS PROTEST: FURRIES WELCOME. Everything that everyone needed to know about the protest was spelled out: location, time, purpose, and even a list of suggested supplies. And the username that made the original post was named HistorysDaddy214.
At that moment, five white vans tore down the street and stopped right in front of the museum. Each had its own unique news station logo painted on the side. A couple of them were even national. Reporters and tech crews piled out and started setting up to film the front of the museum and the furries that had congregated.
“I am going to murder him.”