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29 January 2008 @ 04:37 am
[J/D] [Obi-Wan & Anakin pre-slash; Anakin/other] [PG-13] "Of Padawans & Proper Pet Care":  
Summary: Anakin learns the importance of responsible pet ownership. This is based heavily on our winduwatchers roleplaying, as well as a terrible, terrible song by Bob Saget. We're sorry.

*

Of Padawans & Proper Pet Care

*


Anakin's kitten was named Pussy Magnifico because Ferus' Master had found it in a box outside the Outlander, and Ferus had named it. Anakin quickly reverted to calling it - her - P-Mag for short, and soon delighted in the idea of having something small and furry and pleasant to come home to every day.

And herein laid the bulk of the problem. There was no strict rule at the Jedi temple against keeping pets, per se, but seeing as attachment was forbidden, the arrangement was still frowned upon, as many of the things Anakin tended to enjoy were. In addition, Obi-Wan seemed to be allergic to cats - it had never had reason to come up in conversation in his time as Anakin's Master, but the subject was nonetheless broached when they sat down to dinner the night after Anakin had commandeered the cat from Master Siri, and Obi-Wan couldn't stop sneezing.

"The last time I had such horrible allergies, it was when Qui-Gon took in that stray cat," Obi-Wan wheezed, covering his nose and mouth with his napkin. Anakin shifted guiltily in his seat - it wasn't that he liked keeping secrets from his Master. Obi-Wan usually figured things out on his own anyways and the sneaking around part was never that much fun. But telling his Master outright always seemed more daunting at the time than telling the truth, so Anakin usually persisted with the subterfuge.

"I don't know what it could be, Master," Anakin said, feigning innocence. "Darra let me play with the kitten in the Crèche earlier; maybe some of the fur is still on my clothes." Cats found in boxes in front of the Outlander seemed to be a fairly common occurrence.

"Hmm, perhaps," Obi-Wan said absently, and Anakin sighed inwardly with relief. In point of fact, he currently had P-Mag secured in his room; Darra had lent him a bit of the Crèche’s cat food supply until Anakin had time to buy P-Mag her own. After helping his Master with the dishes, Anakin stole away to his own quarters, preoccupied. This was nothing new; he often spent hours alone, tinkering with droid parts, usually because he had trouble sleeping.

P-Mag had discovered his pillow, and was curled up on it napping in his absence. Anakin buried his face in her fur, laughing when P-Mag's tiny, scratchy tongue scraped across his nose. "Good kitty," he grinned, and P-Mag yawned and batted his face with a paw.

The next morning, Anakin awoke to the shadow of his Master, who was standing over him looking un-amused. "Is this yours?" he asked, before depositing a mewing Pussy Magnifico onto his chest. "I found her this morning, chewing on my boot," Obi-Wan said, crossing his arms.

Anakin winced. She must have gotten out when his Master had come to check on him, as Obi-Wan often did. "I'm sorry, Master," he said sincerely. "I just ... I didn't think you'd let me have her, and she needs me." He saw his Master's expression soften a little and continued: "You said Master Qui-Gon took in stray cats," he said hopefully.

Obi-Wan sighed. "And stray everything else. He has always had a penchant for pet projects." Anakin grinned. Obi-Wan reached out and ruffled his hair. "All right, you can keep the cat. But she is your responsibility, Padawan," he admonished. "If you cannot take care of your pets, you do not deserve to have them."

"I will. Thank you, Master," Anakin beamed. He held the kitten up to Obi-Wan's face. "Pussy Magnifico thanks you, too!" Obi-Wan's latest sneezing fit was his only response. "Oops, " Anakin said sheepishly. "Sorry, Master."

*


A couple of weeks later showed Anakin falling into the rhythm of responsible pet ownership. He woke up early every morning to make sure Pussy Magnifico had fresh food and water, and he diligently cleaned out her litter tray, which he'd originally placed in front of the 'fresher, until Obi-Wan accidentally stepped in it. For his part, Obi-Wan was relatively accommodating. His childhood friend Bant was a Healer, and prescribed an allergy treatment that kept his sneezing at bay. Anakin even returned from class one afternoon to find his Master stroking Pussy Magnifico's fur absently as he perused something on the Holonet.

Anakin honestly couldn't remember the last time things had been so peaceful. It was as though Pussy Magnifico's presence served to calm then both, and the few times they'd argued since she'd come along, a plaintive mewing would cause them both to laugh and forget what they were arguing about in the first place. Although he would never admit it to anyone - not even Obi-Wan, Anakin couldn't help but be reminded of home whenever he looking at the tiny kitten. Although they hadn't had much, Anakin's mother had always accommodated her son's need to help beings in need. That Obi-Wan was allowing him to do the same thing (even, Anakin thought, if it was because Obi-Wan was acting through some memory of Qui-Gon) made him happy.

Of course, the peaceful lull was far too short-lived. Ferus' Master's penchant for finding animals in boxes was hardly a coincidence. She enjoyed spending her evenings at the Outlander, and Anakin often convinced Obi-Wan to let him tag along, arguing that Master Siri's authority was as good as any. His Master would reluctantly agree, and Anakin would convince the bartender (usually without the aid of the Force, even) to refill his glass, and would belt out bawdy karaoke tunes with Siri after both of them were sufficiently tipsy. It was, for the most part, harmless and fun, and he often made it home in the early morning hours after nights like these.

This was one such night. Anakin palmed the door to his and Obi-Wan's apartment open clumsily, stumbling over a slightly upturned corner of the floor mat and catching himself at the last second. His Master sometimes stayed up, but tonight their quarters were dark. Anakin knew Obi-Wan would be cross if he was woken up, especially if he found out just how late his Padawan had stayed out, so he avoided turning on any lights. He took a few more steps and swayed dangerously on his feet, then blinked to make his eyes adjust faster to the darkness. The outline of the couch was fuzzy, but it suddenly looked much closer to him than trying to navigate to his own room.

Yawning, Anakin held onto the arm of the couch for support, then grabbed at the hem of his tunic, tugging it up and over his head, and letting it drop onto the floor. He fumbled with the laces of his boots next, finally managing to pull them off, followed quickly by his socks, his standard issue leggings, and his undergarments. He had always enjoyed sleeping nude, usually finding himself feeling overheated at night anyways.

Eventually, he maneuvered himself at last across the couch's worn cushions, sighing with relief. He heard a soft 'mew', and felt Pussy Magnifico's face rubbing against his fingers, his arm hanging off the couch in a lazy arc. "Hey there," Anakin slurred, scooping the kitten up in one hand and placing her on his chest. Her soft paws made small indentations in his skin, and he squirmed, his bare skin hypersensitive because of his level of intoxication. Finally, he felt the cat settle down near his hip, and closed his eyes, drifting off himself, splayed out naked in the middle of his Master's sitting area.

*


Obi-Wan Kenobi was not, contrary to his apprentice's opinion, an early riser. Mornings usually passed in a blur until he was able to fully wake up and function, usually right before the midday meal. Unfortunately, his apprentice was even less of a morning person than Obi-Wan, and so Obi-Wan found himself obligated to wake early enough to get Anakin up and moving and to his classes on time.

He was sure he'd have a harder time than usual this morning, considering Anakin's choice of activity the night before. Obi-Wan pretended he didn't know what his Padawan got up to at the Outlander, but he wouldn't allow it to happen if he didn't trust Siri. So he turned a blind eye, so long as Anakin didn't wake him up at dawn. So far, it was a system that worked, though he never looked forward to waking Anakin up on the mornings after.

A quick check in his apprentice's room told him that Anakin either was on the sofa or in the 'fresher, and as he hadn't heard him walking around, Obi-Wan assumed that Anakin had just decided to sleep on the sofa.

The sight that greeted him was not entirely unexpected. Anakin was sprawled across the sofa, his head turned so he was facing the back cushions, his lips parted slightly, his bare chest rising and falling... Obi-Wan shook his head firmly. "Anakin," he said, brushing his apprentice's Force signature with his own. "Time to get up."

Anakin moaned lazily and threw an arm across his face. That was when Obi-Wan noticed the kitten in a precarious perch near his apprentice's nether regions. His first thought was that this was why Anakin should wear clothing to bed. His second thought was that if he just ignored the fact that Pussy Magnifico's head was completely buried between his Padawan's legs, he could still salvage the rest of his day. "Anakin," he hissed again, shoving against Anakin's shoulder with his palm. "Anakin, wake up."

"Hmm," Anakin said, still half asleep. He shifted a miniscule amount and giggled, his eyes still closed: "Hah, not so, mmm, rough-"

"ANAKIN!"

The accused shot into a sitting position, blinking wide-eyed at Obi-Wan. "G'morning, Master," he said brightly. He looked down suddenly at his lap. "Oh," he said softly, and removed the eager kitten from its nook. When he looked at his Master again, Obi-Wan had already turned away and was striding towards the kitchen. "Master-"

"Get ready for school please, Anakin," Obi-Wan said briskly. He wouldn't look Anakin in the eye after that.

*


If Anakin were to be honest with himself - and he tried to be, at least when it wasn't obnoxious to be - he would have to admit he was rather amused by the morning's events. So amused, in fact, that he spent all of Galactic Lit class telling Tru Veld about it.

He didn't remember any real details; everything past his fifth drink was kind of fuzzy. But he did know that when he's woken up, P-Mag had been quite enthusiastically...

"Licking my balls," he finished, almost laughing at the horrified-yet-intrigued expression on Tru's face. Tru was Anakin's best friend for reasons no one could quite figure out. Where Anakin was wild, reckless and impulsive, Tru was measured and calm, with a gentle good natured humor. He wasn't, however, as obvious about it as Olin, which meant Tru's goodness didn't grate on Anakin's nerves in the least.

Tru stared at him in open-mouthed astonishment, though Anakin wasn't sure why. After all, Tru was rarely surprised at Anakin's stories from the Outlander, and he was usually politely amused by them. "That's ... wow. That's kind of gross," Tru said, crinkling his nose. He wasn't dismissive about it, just honest, and Anakin had always appreciate Tru's ability to say his piece without being insulting. He shrugged. "So what did your Master do?" Tru asked, interested in spite of himself.

Anakin snickered. "I don't think Obi-Wan wanted to know what was going on," he admitted. "He basically saw the cat licking my nuts and told me to get dressed and go to class." He didn't notice that his story had attracted attention other than Tru's.

"What else could you expect him to do?" Tru said, finally giggling. But before Anakin could answer, their conversation was swiftly interrupted.

"You womp-fink. What did you do to poor Pussy Magnifico?" Ferus asked, staring at Anakin in open-mouthed horror two seats away.

Anakin bristled. "A more accurate question would be, what did Pussy Magnifico do to me," he enunciated. "I was sleeping. She totally took advantage of that."

Ferus' eyes flashed. "It's not the cat's fault you can't keep your clothes on."

"What's the matter, Olin?" Anakin taunted. "Jealous?"

Ferus sputtered for a moment as though he couldn't grasp what Anakin had said. Anakin, of course, knew better. "Hardly," he sneered. "Unlike you, I don't make a habit of molesting innocent animals."

Anakin rolled his eyes. Ferus always made it sound like Anakin was the worst kind of pervert, but Anakin was fairly certain it was because the older boy was upset that Master Siri never invited HIM to the Outlander. Even so, Anakin didn't like the implication that he'd actually MADE P-Mag do anything she hadn't wanted to do.

"I didn't molest her!" he replied sharply. "It wasn't like I dipped my junk in catnip before falling asleep." Although he might have. He didn't know for certain. He'd been pretty wasted.

Ferus crossed his arms across his chest, doing an alarmingly good impression of Obi-Wan. Anakin rolled his eyes - Ferus would consider that a huge compliment. "Well, if you can't keep your pets away from your crotch, you shouldn't be allowed to have them," he said matter-of-factly.

Anakin opened his mouth to retort, but Tru cut in, trying to keep the two from, at the very least, coming to blows." Come on, Ferus, that's not fair," he said evenly. "Anakin really didn't know what was going on until it had happened. Surely you don't know everything that's going on when you're asleep."

"That's different. I'm not passed out in a drunken stupor with my groin hanging out like a play-toy for cats."

"Hey, my crotch is a play-toy for all species," Anakin interjected.

"Yeah, Anakin's balls have their own gravitational pull," Tru giggled, and Anakin joined in.

Ferus didn't seem to find it as amusing. "This isn't over, Skywalker," he hissed, then straightened up at the sound of Master Allie's pointed coughing in their direction. Anakin and Tru refocused dutifully, but Anakin could feel Ferus' eyes boring into him for the entire rest of the class.

*


Anakin nudged the door of the apartment open, pleased that his classes were FINALLY done for the day so he could relax on the sofa with P-Mag and snack away the rest of his hangover. Even though Obi-Wan never said anything, he always was nice and accommodating after Anakin got home late with plenty of soda and salty snacks.

The thing was, P-Mag was nowhere to be found. Usually she trotted right up to the door, mewling, but instead there was silence. "P-Mag?" he asked, tossing his book bag and cloak onto the sofa. "Magnifico?"

There was nothing. No purring. No meowing. No rustle of the litter box or jingle of the little bell Anakin had affixed to her collar. He couldn't help the worry rising in him.

He found his Master in his own quarters, going through some files spread out across his sleep couch. "Master, have you seen Pussy Magnifico?" Anakin queried, standing tentatively in the doorway.

Obi-Wan looked up. "Oh, Anakin," he greeted distractedly. "Hmm. I don't believe I have, as a matter of fact," he said, picking up a pile of sorted papers and placing them on top of another. "Not for the afternoon, at least."

Anakin nodded, biting his lip. He wandered around the apartment, checking some of P-Mag's usual haunts: behind the 'fresher; in the pantry; on top of the cooling unit; underneath the furniture in the sitting area. "I can't find her anywhere, Master," he said dejectedly an hour or so later.

Obi-Wan sighed and rubbed his temples. "Perhaps she went with Ferus," he suggested, finally throwing Anakin a bone.

"Ferus!" Anakin said hotly, his blood pressure immediately rising. "Why would he be with kriffing Ferus?"

"Anakin, language," Obi-Wan reprimanded. Anakin balled his fists at his sides and set his mouth in a firm line. "Ferus came by earlier," Obi-Wan offered. "Perhaps Pussy Magnifico slipped out behind him."

"Or maybe he stole her," Anakin seethed. He stalked out of the apartment angrily, his mind and body focused entirely on one target.

The journey to Master Tachi's and Ferus' quarters was brief. He didn't even bother knocking - Master Siri had told him it wasn't necessary. However, instead of his usual greeting, he snapped, "Where the kriff is my cat, Olin?" into the apparently empty living room.

A slim, pale arm rose up from the sofa, which faced away from the door. "Please don't yell, Anakin, sweetie," Siri's voice drifted over. "What's the problem?"

Anakin made his way into the main room, making sure to surreptitiously check all around on the floor and behind the furniture. "Ferus stole P-Mag," he groused, circling the sofa. "Have you seen either of them?"

Siri raised an eyebrow. "Why would Ferus take your cat?" she asked, her voice calm and un-accusatory. Anakin tried to follow suit - he didn't want to alienate one of the few people in the Temple who seemed to remotely get him, after all.

"Because, because he heard me telling Tru something, and he jumped to conclusions, and then Master Obi-Wan said that Ferus stopped by our place, and now P-Mag is missing," Anakin summarized hurriedly.

Siri pursed her lips. "And what exactly were you telling your friend?" she pressed kindly, sensing that Anakin was leaving out an important component to the story.

Anakin shifted his weight from one foot to another. "Well, I, I fell asleep last night on the couch," he hedged. "And, and I was really tired, and so I didn't really notice where P-Mag was -"

"Anakin, quit stalling," Siri ordered. "Get to the point."

"I was naked and fell asleep and P-Mag was, um, she was ... she was licking my balls," Anakin finished quickly, studying his feet.

There was a stunned silence. He looked up again, nervously, trying to gauge Master Siri's response from her facial expression, which he knew she practiced making as impassive as possible when the situation called for it. Eventually, she smirked. "Well, I have to say, Anakin, I haven't heard that one in a while." Anakin breathed a small sigh of relief. "I was napping when Ferus got home, so I'm not sure of his whereabouts yet," she offered.

Siri stood and strode across the apartment to what Anakin recognized as Ferus' room, which was closed off. She knocked softly a couple of times, and the door opened almost immediately. "Hello, Master," Ferus said respectfully, giving a small bow. His eyes traveled over to Anakin, and his expression tightened. "Anakin," he said, offering the greeting only because he knew it was expected of him.

"Where's my cat?" Anakin demanded without preamble. He was tempted to shove his way past Ferus, but he didn't want to with Siri standing right there. Then again, Siri had seen him do much, much worse, so he consoled himself with leaning into the room, bracing himself on the doorframe.

Ferus scowled, but clearly didn't want to say anything overly scathing in front of his Master. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said blandly. "Maybe Pussy Magnifico decided to run away instead of being subjected to your genitals on a nightly basis."

Anakin clenched his fists tightly, fighting the urge to sock Ferus in the jaw. His temper had gotten him in trouble before, and he couldn't risk a physical show of anger in front of a Master - no matter who the Master was. Siri seemed to sense his inner turmoil and cut in swiftly. "Ferus, do you know anything about Anakin's cat at all?" she asked her apprentice. Anakin noted silently that she did not automatically interrogate her Padawan with suspicious glances and a patronizing tone the way Obi-Wan tended to - it made him dislike Ferus even more.

Ferus' face clearly showed his displeasure. "I did take the cat," he admitted, and Anakin snorted triumphantly, earning a warning nudge from Siri. Ferus met his Master's gaze evenly. "I did not feel that Anakin deserved her after what he did, and Master Kenobi did not say I couldn't have her."

"Obi-Wan didn't even know she was gone," Anakin growled.

"Then he obviously didn't care whether she was there or not," Ferus retorted, but Siri held up a hand and he fell silent again.

"Ferus, you should not have taken it upon yourself to take something that did not belong to you. You should have come to me, or another Jedi Master and let them know what was going on." Ferus hung his head and nodded. "And you, Anakin," Siri continued, "well, maybe consider wearing underwear to bed?"

Anakin's mouth quirked. "So, can I have my cat back now?" he asked contritely.

Ferus' brow furrowed. "What do you mean yours?" he asked. "My Master found her, and you couldn't take care of her properly. She's better off here."

"She's mine, Olin," Anakin countered, his eyes fiery once more. "She was given to me, and I can take care of her just fine."

"How, by letting her munch on your genitals?"

"Why, you -"

"Enough!" Siri's voice cut through the air like a lightsaber, and both boys fell silent, albeit still glaring at one another. "I need to stop drinking," she muttered, and then squared her shoulders and evil-eyed both Padawans. "I can see we're going to have to seek a second opinion."

*


Mace Windu prided himself on his ability to remain stoic in the face of adversity. He had seen and experienced many strange things in his time as a Jedi, and even stranger things as a member of the High Council. He experienced these things without so much as a raised eyebrow, without a change in expression. He enjoyed being the enigma to the younger Knights and Padawans. He got a slightly un-Jedi-like joy out of watching them try to decipher his stony countenance.

The trouble he was having at the current moment, however, was that it was terribly difficult NOT to react to the matter that had just come before the Council. "Let me get this straight," he said, leaning back in his chair and trying to do his best to glare at all four Jedi standing before him at the same time. "You want us to mediate a custody dispute over a.... cat?"

Ferus Olin, who Windu thought was a decent enough Padawan but with about as much personality as a rock slug, bowed in deference. "We do, Master Windu," he said. "Our attempts to settle the matter on our own are... not going well."

Windu couldn't help but notice the dark, roiling anger in the eyes of the boy standing next to Olin. "What do you have to say about the situation, Padawan Skywalker?" he said formally.

Anakin gave a curt bow, trying to keep his voice even and calm. "Master Windu, I did not realize that Pussy Magnifico was ... doing what she was doing," he said evasively. "But I, I feed her and take care of her, and Master Obi-Wan didn't mind having her around, and I don't think I should be punished for just this one small transgression." He glared moodily at Ferus, resisting the urge to stick out his tongue, not feeling that it would help present his case maturely to the Council.

Master Windu steepled his hands in front of him. "Did you witness the act in progress, Obi-Wan?" he asked, gesturing towards Anakin's Master, who had looked very much as if he'd wanted to sink into the floor the moment Siri had gone to fetch him. The expression on his face now was one of reluctance and disbelief, and had it not been so important to Anakin to have the situation resolved in a manner that he deemed fairly, he might have laughed.

"I did discover Anakin sleeping in the sitting area as has been previously described," Obi-Wan sighed, looking rather put-upon. "I noticed the cat, but did not pay close attention to exactly what it was doing."

"Her," Anakin muttered softly.

"You have something to say, Skywalker?" Master Windu asked.

Anakin looked up. "I just, Pussy Magnifico is a girl, Master," he explained. "She's a living creature, and she, she can sense that everyone's fighting over her." He glanced over at Siri, who held P-Mag securely in her arms. "She just wants to be loved," he added.

"She doesn't deserve the kind of love YOU were offering her," Ferus retorted snidely. Anakin made a furious sound in the back of his throat, but Master Windu coughed and it effectively ceased the start of another embroiled argument.

"What it sounds like to me," he said matter of factly, "is a case of attachment clouding both of your judgments concerning the animal in question."

Ferus and Anakin exchanged troubled glances. Attachment was strictly forbidden, and even the hint of it could mean grave consequences for both of them. Anakin would be the first to admit he had become attached to Pussy Magnifico, but he was attached to his Master as well, and THAT wasn't frowned on, from what he could tell.

Sometimes he just didn't understand why there were so many conflicting rules and codes of conduct. He knew better than to question Master Windu, though.

"You're right, Master Windu," Ferus said after a tense moment, bowing his head, and Anakin felt heat rise in his cheeks. Leave it to Ferus to speak for both of them. "Which is why we're asking the Council's wisdom."

Master Windu frowned deeply for a long moment, and then set his face into a passive expression. "Siri, if you would bring the cat here, please," he instructed. Siri handed P-Mag over, the kitten yawning and settling easily into Master Windu's large hands. "If this cannot be resolved peaceably between the two of you," he began, "then I suppose the only way to handle this is to give you each custody of half the cat."

Ferus wet his lips nervously. "What, what exactly does that mean, Master Windu?" he inquired politely.

Windu shrugged. "It's very simple. I'm going to cut the cat in half. Skywalker gets the part without the tongue. Then you both get to take care of it in some form, and I don't have to mediate custody over a creature that doesn't need to be in the Temple in the first place."

A heavy silence settled over the room. "That, there has to be another way!" Anakin exclaimed. "You can't just kill her! She's an innocent animal!"

Ferus managed to phrase his answer to sound vaguely more respectful: "Master Windu, isn't there a schedule we can set up, some kind of negotiation we can strike?"

"No." Windu's voice was firm, his expression absolute. "There isn't an arrangement that is going to keep either of you from letting this happen again. This is the only way."

Ferus looked at Anakin. The younger boy bit his lip, staring at the ground, bidding that the furious tears that had sprung to his eyes not let loose. "What, what if one of us relinquished custody altogether, Master?" he asked softly.

Windu cocked an eyebrow. "How do you mean?" he asked, drumming his free hand on the arm of his chair.

Anakin took a shaky breath and let it out. "I ... Ferus can have Pussy Magnifico," he offered, his voice small. "As long as she can stay alive and healthy, he can have her."

Ferus blinked. "I find that satisfactory," he said simply.

Windu waved his hand. "Good. Here, take the cat," he ordered, and Ferus stepped forward to do so. To his credit, he managed not to appear overjoyed, knowing full well how miserable the decision had made Anakin. He often felt suspicious towards Anakin, certainly, but he didn't hate him.

Obi-Wan looked relieved. "Is this ... are we done here?" he asked.

"Yes." Windu's stern resolution was back, his irritation thinly veiled. "Let's keep Jedi Council business actually relevant to Jedi from now on." The statement was a dismissal, and the small party gathered in the center of the room took it as one, disbursing quickly yet awkwardly out the High Council chambers' double doors.

Ferus cradled Pussy Magnifico gently in his arms as she batted at his dangling braid. He glanced up at Anakin who had the excess fabric of his cloak sleeves clenched in his hands, looking positively miserable. For a brief instant, Ferus felt pity for the younger boy. But then Pussy Magnifico's paw touched his cheek and Ferus remembered why, exactly, it was he'd taken the cat from Anakin in the first place.

"I hope you're learned a lesson, Anakin," Master Obi-Wan said sternly, looking for all the galaxy like he wanted to be anywhere but where he was. "Both about attachment and your tendency towards excess."

Anakin squared his jaw and looked down at the floor. "Yes, Master," he breathed unhappily.

Ferus felt a hand on his shoulder and glanced up to look at his own Master. Siri gave him a soft look, then looked towards Anakin pointedly. Ferus knew then what he had to do.

It was the Jedi thing to do.

"If you want," he said haltingly, "you can visit her."

Anakin looked up, obviously surprised. "Really?" he asked, his voice quavering slightly as he struggled to stamp down his emotions.

Ferus nodded, holding Pussy Magnifico out to Anakin. "Yeah, really," he said, allowing Anakin to take the cat into his hands. "Just... you have to be sober, and fully dressed."

Anakin gave him a look that Ferus easily translated as 'No promises,' but he knew enough to know it was a joke. "Th-thank you," Anakin was able to stammer out, and Ferus knew how hard it must have been for him to say it.

"I'll take care of her," he assured the younger apprentice, realizing for the first time how much the stupid furry creature must mean to Anakin. "I promise, she'll be okay."

Taking a deep, steadying breath, Anakin handed Pussy Magnifico back. "She doesn't like dry food," he said. "But," he added, a slight smirk on his lips, "she does like salt."

*


* Cross-posted to our personal journals.
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