"Good thing the Beast went out," Gandalfs apprentice said to the cat. "He can roar in some bar while I write a drabble for Ang's birthday about love between long-paired couples. Ha!"
Smiling with his whiskers, the cat settled on her lap and ran a wet paw over his ears.
The skin-changing fit seized Beorn as midnight struck. Growls gruffed the booming man's voice; thick, curling man's hair luxuriated into an ursine pelt; human fingernails spiked to bear claws.
Curled up under the bedcovers, his wife followed his movements with her ears as he lumbered out of the bedroom and through the great hall. The door slammed.
The next morning, the paw prints in the mud outside the kitchen door told her not to expect him home soon. "A good day for baking honey-cakes," she said to the pony. His intelligent eyes smiling, he bumped her arm for some oats.