Mind Over Matter
I find my life is progressively getting wierder.
The cat-thing stared at me for a minute, not saying--err, thinking anything. I sweatdropped. Better to start with the basics then.
" Umm..okay...do you have a name then?"
Nothing. Okay, am now officially frustrated. Even Heero grunts to acknowledge when he hears me.
" Don't make me out to be the crazy one here," I said sternly, waggling my finger at the animal. " I know you can talk...think...whatever."
A mental sneeze. Great - I was either boring it, or amusing it. Sighing, I slumped back in my seat, and crossed my arms. If a golden cat-thing with wings wanted to play the Staring Game then I was all for it. A master of annoyances, I *ace* at the Staring Game.
:: Thing? ::
I sat up with a start. Victory!
" Ah-HAH!" I pointed my finger at its muzzle. " I knew it!"
See? I'm not crazy...much...
:: Thing? ::
Huh? I looked a little closer and could have sworn I saw tears threatening to make their appearance. Aw, crap. For all my apparent insensitivity, I was not a mean person. I had a feeling whatever this little guy - or gal - was, it had not been looked at with too much by way of affection. Scientists were generally not known for their personable natures. I snorted - I knew that for a fact. G was an exception and that was only after I worked on him for months - the man lived in fear that water would spill from his doorways when he least expected it, or whoopie cushions would go off in his favorite chair. As far as I know, he still doublechecks his sheets before going to bed.
I sighed as I took in the mournful expression.
" I'm sorry. You're not a thing. You're a creature - I just don't know what!" A little bit of that earlier frustration crept back into my voice as I took in the slender wings. " You don't exactly fit the profile of normal animals, ya know?"
It stared at me - and then lowered its head. Way to go baka - be the
:: No ::
:: .....friend? ::
Friend? It wanted a....that lump was back in my throat, the same reaction I got when it told me it trusted me. Always a sucker for the trust thing. I reached out hesitantly with one hand, and its eyes snapped back up warily.
" May I?"
Another minute passed before the creature leaned forward, initiating the contact between it's head and my hand. I stroked the soft fur, marvelling in the softness of it, and the fluffy tail that kept a steady swishing happening. I scratched it lightly behind the ears and started as a low rumbling seemed to erupt from it. It was purring!
" For something not a cat, ya sure seem to act like it," I mused thoughtfully. " A friend huh? I don't have too many of those."
Big blue-violet eyes met mine seriously and I grinned suddenly. " I wouldn't mind having another one."
Another purr, and then the animal seemed to...melt off the console and into my lap, turning around a few times to get comfortable. I giggled as it headbutted my stomach before rearing up on its hind legs and placing its forepaws on either side of my head, balancing on my shoulders.
Face to face. I grinned. " Is that a yes?"
For a second, it looked like a smile crossed the smoothly furred face before it ducked forward and licked the tip of my nose. It then dropped back to my lap and snuggled up against my chest. A warmth spread through me at the affectionate nature of the animal. I could relate to that - a very tactile person I am, I am.
" Friendly little guy aren't ya," I murmered, flicking it's tail lightly. " Are you going to tell me what you are?" 'Cause it was really eating at me.
Once again, it sat up and faced me, cocking its head to one side. Uncertainty filled my mind and I blinked.
" You're not sure?"
It shook its head. Okay. Wings, similar body to a cat but with a much lighter frame - I assumed it must have hollow bones to allow for flight, otherwise it's mass would never be lifted. I touched the wings gently.
" Well, the disks I copied must have some info on you, but I'd hazard a guess and say those guys were into a little gene splicing, huh?"
More confusion. I chuckled wryly. I didn't blame it - genetics weren't my area of expertise either. Then I thought of another basic question that needed to be addressed.
" Never mind. Say - are you a girl or a boy?"
:: Girl ::
" Well, that makes it easy for me to refer to you as 'she' instead of 'it'. Does that sound better?"
She nodded and let out a small yowl as if to voice her agreement. Something struck me and I lifted her slightly so I could peer directly into her face.
" You obviously can't talk - and you can send emotions. But how come you only think a few words? You only know a few?"
:: Yes ::
Well that figures. I guess if you're discussed like a side of beef enough, ya pick up stuff. But it's not in animals natures to think like us. I winced - poor thing had to be as confused as hell.
:: Yes ::
" Nosy too," I grinned. " My kind of animal."
She quirked her head again to the side and I felt another rummaging through my mind but I couldn't figure out what she was looking for. I closed my eyes for a second - and suddenly heard a repeating mantra of my words: " My kind of animal, my kind of animal, my kind, my, my--"
" You're wondering if I own you?!?" I asked hesitantly, wondering if I was reading her emotions properly. An enthusiastic lick of the face later and I knew I was on the right track. Sighing, I wiped my cheek off and rubbed her ears.
" I'd love to keep you - but that's not fair to you, is it?" I know I couldn't stand to be someone's plaything or pet - but this was a different circumstance. This was an animal that had obviously never seen the outside of a laboratory before. It had claws and it was intelligent - I had no doubt it was a quick learner. Maybe I should ask her if--
She nuzzled her snout into my shoulder, pressing close to my chest as though she was afraid I was going to put her down. I pulled back slightly and looked at her.
" Do you want to stay with me?"
:: Yes ::
I grinned and hugged her, careful not to crush her wings. I glanced down at my backpack where the CD I'd made was. I'd have the answers to my questions as soon as I could get to my computer back at the safehouse, so until then, we just had to pass the time.
I flicked the tip of her wing and she batted my hand away playfully.
" Do those things actually work? Or they just for show?" I teased her.
The little ball of fluff bristled at the suggestion and I sweated slightly. She gave me the mental equivalent of a smirk and suddenly, she was hovering in front of me. She spun once, her tail smacking me in the face, and then sat down back in my lap. I blinked.
" Guess that answers THAT question."
As much as I love flying Deathscythe, two hours of sitting and no action were extremely boring, even when you have a golden winged cat sitting on your lap, peering out the window with rapt amazement. My earlier guess had been on the mark - she'd never seen the outside of the lab before, and the sheer size of the outside world enraptured her.
Her paws on the dash, she stared out the viewfinder, little tremors of excitement escaping her mind and going straight into mine. I swear it's the wierdest sensation to feel someone else's reactions in your head but at the same time, it was oddly comforting. It didn't feel intrusive and I had the strangest urge to protect her. And even wierder, was the fact that I could tell she felt the same way - the urge to protect me as a beloved pet would its master. I frowned a little at that - I didn't want to be its master. It reminded me of the fact she'd spent her whole life as a science experiment.
She seemed to feel my hesitance and she finally left the viewer, dropping her front paws onto my leg and turning around to stare at me.
:: ????? ::
" What's up kitten-kat?" I asked. She blinked at me and let out another whine, and I realized she was scanning my emotions again, but I couldn't tell what had her so worried. I relaxed and closed my eyes, trying to figure out what she wanted to tell me when it hit me - she thought I was having second thoughts about keeping her! My thoughts about master, and my general disapproval had her thinking rejection!
I opened my eyes and smiled.
" Relax girl - you can stay with me as long as you want, remember?"
" I really dislike that word," I muttered.
A soft bushy tail smacked me in the face and I reared up, sputtering and spitting out golden hairs.
" What'd ya do that for??" I asked, mildly annoyed. Then I started. Damned if she weren't laughing at me! Merriment sparkled in those big eyes and I could feel her amusement washing over my mind in gentle, rolling waves. Chuckling, I rubbed her ears again.
" Lousy furball."
:: Yes ::
I burst out laughing again.
The safehouse was one of Quatre's less-cushy ones but it was sufficient. After parking Deathscythe, I made my way to the small cottage he'd secured and went inside. No one else was there - not unusual. I kind of figured I'd be the first one back, since my mission had taken place closest to the safehouse to begin with.
The ball of fluff that seemed to have adopted me flew past me and I shook my head. Wings. I don't think that's something I'll get used to anytime soon.
She swooped around, anxious to see everything and poked her nose into every nook and cranny possible. I couldn't muffle the giggle that erupted when she flew by a large mirror in the hallway and spent nearly ten minutes preening.
" Vain one, aren't ya?"
She stuck her tongue out at me, understanding the gist of what I was
Chuckling I headed for the kitchen, suddenly famished. My stomach was rallying against me for poor treatment and I could hear the fridge calling my name.
There was an echoing stomach growl coming from behind me - turning I saw the cat-thing, hovering at eye level with a sheepish expression.
" Food is a good idea," I nodded at her. I suddenly realized that I couldn't keep calling her a cat-thing - not only was it insulting, it was mildy degrading to keep referring to her as a thing.
" We've got to come up with a name for ya," I remarked, pulling out some cold cuts that were in there. One thing about Quatre - he always plans ahead.
:: ...name? ::
" Yeah, a name. Something to call ya instead of Hey You!, or creature-feature." I closed the door and dropped the meat onto the counter. Reacing into the breadbox, I brandished a butter knife in her general direction. " A fitting name! A proud name!"
:: 123 ::
" Huh?" I turned my gaze on her even as I kept buttering the bread
:: 123 ::
" 123? A number? Why--" I froze as I realized what that meant. She was an experiment, right? It was common knowledge that most labs don't name their lab animals - naming something is the start to forming an attachement, and that's when a lab animal stops being just that, and becomes a pet. I swallowed, also realizing that most lab animals were numbered in order. She was the only one there.
" We're not calling you a number," I said flatly, turning back to my sandwhich. I could feel a lump in my throat as I thought about what her number meant. The only one there. I had to ask, and I peered up at her almost shyly.
" Were there...more of you? Family?"
She dropped lightly to the counter and stared at me with big eyes, and I knew I was on the right track. I could guess the rest...
" Lost yer family too, huh?" I said quietly. She nodded and whimpered. I reached out and cuddled her to me, stroking her back as she nuzzled. Somehow, I could sense a bond forming between us, the similarities contributing to our near-instant friendship.
I'd never had a pet before. Certainly never anything this intelligent, or affectionate. I suddenly realized that I wouldn't give her up now.
" Looks like your stuck with me, " I murmered to her softly.
The soft agreeing whine was the only response.
It looked like I had a pet.