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The door swung closed with a solid thump and the voices of the two women faded as they moved down the stairs. Thirty seconds passed in silence and then slowly a small, white, fluffy head appeared around the corner of the kitchen doorway. Tom’s eyes shifted back and forwards for a moment.

‘Excellent. Peace at last.’ He smiled a kitten smile to himself and trotted merrily towards the stairs. A hop, a scramble, a hop, a scramble... Tom made his way up the stairs, one struggling movement at a time. He gritted his teeth as he climbed. ‘Bloody humans, legs are much too long. Who the hell really needs legs that long? It’s not like they bother to cover them up... tramping around in...’

Eventually he arrived at the top of the stairs, in the bedroom. His claws clicked as he crossed the floor to the chest of drawers that held the girl’s clothes. The drawers were all slightly open and Tom leapt up, balancing on the edge of one.

‘Now... what treasures do you hide for me today??’ Tom’s whiskers twitched. He wiggled his backside, balancing as his tail whipped from side to side. A momentary pause and then a leap and Tom wriggled through the space into the second drawer. He burrowed deep under the silky items that filled it.

‘Oooh... well, well... someone’s been shopping.’ He smiled a wicked, sharp-toothed smile and dug a single claw into the silky stocking. He carefully ran his claw down it, shredding the fabric. He barely contained a chuckle. Tom sighed.

‘Bliss...’

A second of stillness and then Tom attacked. He grabbed the stockings between his paws, tangling himself in the soft lengths as he rolled, bucked and scrambled. Viciously savaging the stockings and meowing, he rolled on his back, shredding every inch of Bambi’s delicate items.

Panting with exertion, Tom lay in the remains as pieces of silk floated down around him. ‘Well, I’ll give her one thing...’ he smiled to himself, ‘That horrid wench certainly buys quality...’

 

After a moment of rapture and relaxation, Tom slowly pulled himself up out of the drawer, peeling that last shreds of stocking from his paw. He frowned a little guiltily as he looked back into the drawer at the ruination. Ordinarily he allowed himself only one stocking a week, enough to make Bambi think she had caught it on something. This was going to be harder to cover up. ‘Right, may have lost the plot slightly.’ He winced briefly and then shrugged. ‘Well what can you expect? I lead a very stressful life. It’s like therapy really... I’m sure...’

 

The bathroom was his next stop, he leapt up on to the sink, shaking his kitten paws whenever they touched damp patches. He chewed on a toothbrush thoughtfully for a moment as he considered his reflection in the mirror. Tom turned his head from side to side and regarded his profile.

‘Very dapper.’ He praised himself, dipping a paw into Bambi’s eye-shadow and carefully drawing patterns on his fur. ‘Ooh. Glitter.’ He spent a few moments creatively colouring his white fur before prying the bathroom cabinet open with a careful claw. ‘What have we here?’ Tom jumped up into the crowded shelves, being a tea-cup kitten came in handy every now and then. The shelf was covered with bottles and containers, marked with various handmade labels. Tom found the one he was looking for and carefully held the round tub between his paws. He was balancing on the edge of the shelf, performing the difficult task of opening a cylinder with no thumbs. ‘Come to me, my tasty beauty! Careful... careful...’ he tried to turn, foot sliding on the smooth surface of the shelf. ‘Aah!...No!’ Tom slipped, tumbling and sliding down into the sink, the container coming with him. ‘Oh for god’s sake.’ He scowled. The lid had at least come loose and the tub was currently spilling its contents into the white porcelain sink. He quickly scrambled back onto his feet and righted it. He immediately began to lick, with a tiny pink tongue at the soft cream-coloured mixture.

‘Mmm...Mmmm... Handmade....mmm...organic...mmmm...Mango...Body... Butter...Mmm...’ he smiled as he plunged his head into the container. The best thing about being forced to reside in a house with two witches was that they shared everything. They would blame each other for the way they seemed to go through a container of body butter a month.

‘Oh... so good.’ Tom licked his paws and rubbed them over his ears, mixing the colours of the eye-shadow with the oily buttery mix. The trick was leaving it on the edge of the bath so Kate would complain about Bambi leaving things around, something at which Tom was now a master. Moving it wasn’t graceful, but it was successful.  

In the living room, Tom took the plunge and leapt the great distance from the armchair to the turntable. He balanced carefully on the edge, grateful again that he wasn’t any larger. He tipped his head to read the title of the album. ‘Bloody hippy...’ he grumbled. Kate’s taste in music wasn’t exactly Tom’s cup of tea. He rolled his eyes and hung down over the side of the turntable, batting at the switch that turned on the radio.  After a moment of fiddling, he tuned it to something he liked, rolling his paw over the knob dexterously, leaving a tiny smudge of body butter. A quick flick of the volume soon flooded the apartment with music.

‘MORE THAN A FEELING!’ Tom joined in at the top of his voice. ‘I BEGIN DREAMING!’ He mumbled through the verse lyrics, not entirely sure of the accurate words. ‘WITCHES...MY...HMM-A-HMM....TALK AWAY!’

Tom bobbed his head up and down in time with the music, stomping his little feet along. ‘MORE THAN A FEEEEEL-LIIIIING!’ Whenever he sang, he tipped his head up towards the ceiling, bellowing as loud as he could.

‘Fantastic song.’ He smiled, suddenly forgetting the damage he had caused upstairs. He leant back onto his back legs and indulged in the popular music of twenty years ago. No one would ever know... Tom paraded back and forwards, stomping his feet and performing various, slightly out of time dance moves.

 

            One spring and he was on a stack of leather bound books, another leap and he landed daintily on the coffee table. After shouting abuse at the celebraties in Bambi's magazines fo a few minutes, Tom’s tiny claws tapped for a moment as he looked around the room. His blue eyes flicked up to the curtains floating into the room, bringing with them a warm breeze.

‘Much too nice a day to be cooped up in here,’ He mumbled to himself. It was time to venture out. He was an exploratory kitten by nature.

‘To boldly go,’ He grinned. There was an elaborate system of jumps, which he had perfected when they first lived in this apartment. The newer house had caused him all sorts of issues, but as he leapt through the air, from surface to surface Tom grinned. ‘Like falling off a bloody log,’ He flicked the off button on the stereo as he passed, sniggering at the thought of it blaring Joni Mitchell at full volume next time Kate turned it on. He attached himself to the curtains and proceeded to climb, one claw covered paw at a time, grunting and swearing as he went. Arriving on the window frame, he looked down onto the roof below, and beyond that, Chinatown.

‘Not as young as I used to be.’ He panted and then took a deep breath, ‘Ooh Kung Po Chicken with Cashews. Delicious.’ Tom had an inherent fear of Chinatown, driven by the suggestion (and Bambi’s assurance) that people might want to eat him. In the past the blond strumpet has insinuated that he was a tempting entrée, if deep fried and served with chilli dipping sauce. Still, adventure was his middle name!

 

            The bouncing kitten arrived down on the street within moments and carefully looked back and forwards, ensuring that there were no prying eyes, no evil people lurking nearby to catnap him. He quickly scampered into a nearby alley. He indulged in a noodle. He’d die before allowing the two witches to discover he’d been known to eat off the ground. They would think he was some kind of animal. Tom sucked the noodle into his mouth in one go. A rustle from beside him made him jump straight up and land of a slightly soggy cardboard box. ‘Bloody hell!’ he looked down to where a small cat slinked around the edge of the dumpster. ‘Oh my...’ Tom straightened up a little, smoothing his fluffy white and mottled bluish-green fur, still a little greasy from the body butter. ‘Well hello...’

He leapt down onto the ground in front of her and regarded the black feline for a moment. ‘May I say, you are a very lithe and attractive young...’ The cat barely looked at the tiny white kitten, sniffing him once as she passed, tail swinging elegantly from side to side. ‘Well... I say...’ Tom flustered and trotted to keep up with her. ‘That is to say... I was merely enquiring as to the origin of such a willowy and limber individual, I don’t mean to be forward, but you are without a shadow of a doubt one of the most... eye-catching...uh, miss?’ The cat rounded the corner into the street and began to walk off down the pavement. Tom stopped at the corner of the alley and watched her walk away. Technically he wasn’t really a cat. Still, he had all the instincts of a cat, whether he liked it or not. ‘I'M THOMAS! IT WAS LOVELY TO MEET YOU!' he called after her, the cat didn't even look back,  'Good lord... what a woman.’ He mumbled as he leant against the wall. ‘Meee-owww...’

 

            Tom scampered down the pavement, in and out of people’s ankles, trying his best to avoid being stepped on. He wove his way quickly through the streets of Chinatown, grateful of his many travels in Kate’s shirt to give him an inherent geographical knowledge. Eventually his tiny legs were exhausted and Tom took one final bound onto a passing tram, riding the rest of the journey under one of the seats. He listened carefully to the sounds of San Francisco and the talk of the ignorant humans, but his mind was elsewhere. He missed his stop and spent five minutes trotting along the pavement swearing. ‘Bloody brainless witches living in California, honestly... they don’t have to wear fur... don’t wear much of anything... Whorish... vile... dim-witted... god I’m hot... my paws are practically shredded...’

 

He arrived outside the shop and carefully waited nearby for a customer to open the door. As the fat woman in her forties walked out, clutching a paper bag with a picture of a spider on it, Tom took his opportunity and ran head long into the dark little establishment.  For a moment he sat on the floor, catching his breath and looking around at the shelves of books and knick-knacks.

‘Shop!’ He demanded haughtily from just in front of the counter, ‘Service!’

There was a pause. After a moment, Seth’s head appeared, leaning over the counter to look down at the tiny ball of fluff in the middle of his shop.

‘Tom?’

‘No you blithering idiot, I’m Queen Elizabeth!’ Tom rolled his eyes.

‘Where’s Kate?’ Seth raised his eyebrow, still leaning over the counter.

‘How the bloody hell should I know!? She’s off gallivanting with the blond whore. Probably selling themselves for beer money.’

Seth smirked and shook his head, ‘Charming.’ He walked around and scooped Tom up in his hand, placing him on the counter so they could talk eye to eye. Seth sat back down on the stool and shook his head again. ‘Is there something I can do for you? Wait, how did you get here?’

‘I got the buggering tram, which might I add, was truly appalling on numerous levels.’

Seth nearly laughed, but Tom’s severely pissed off facial expression prevented more than a twitch at the corner of his mouth.

‘So... can I get you some tea?’

‘God yes! I thought you’d never ask. You have always been the most genial of Kate’s friends.’ Tom smiled at him sweetly, showing all his kitty teeth and squeezing his eyes closed tight. Seth raised his eyebrow warily. This cat was up to something. And whether Tom realised it or not, he was painfully transparent.

 

            Seth returned a few moments later with a small cup of tea and a saucer. He broke a biscuit onto the plate and placed it in front of Tom who nodded his head in thanks.

‘You’re too kind...’

‘Tom,’ Seth sipped his own tea, ‘I doubt this is a social call.’

‘Yes, Quite. Straight to business. How very professional of you. I’ve always respected that about you Seth. Straight as an arrow, reliable, trustworthy...’

‘Tom.’ Seth frowned.

‘Alright, alright! Intelligent too by the way, and quite the snappy dresser!’

‘TOM!’ Seth rolled his eyes, ‘I do have things to do.’

Tom grinned at him sheepishly, ‘Yes of course you do. Terribly busy...So, to business. You see there’s this very serious issue, I need your assistance, and your assurance of confidentiality.’

Seth didn’t say anything. He was a man of few words. He simply waited, not particularly worried, if it was an apocalyptic issue, he was sure Kate would have been in tow.

‘You see I require of you a spell. Some form of magic which I myself do not possess.’

‘I see.’ Seth nodded.

‘Well, it is vital. Vital.’ Tom insisted, ‘there is this cat you see. And it is of a world-shattering importance that she is given a great deal of intelligence. Immediately.’

‘A cat?’ Seth frowned, ‘Just a normal cat?’

‘At present yes, but soon, she will be nearly as sparkling a wit as I myself.’ Tom chuckled, as if it wasn’t possible.

‘You want me to create a familiar?’

‘That’s it in a nutshell. See, very intelligent, sharp as a tack you are!’

Seth looked at him and sighed, narrowing his eyes. ‘That’s not... I mean... Tom...’

Tom glared at him for a moment, bright blue eyes intently regarding the Euthanatos. ‘I know you can do it.’

‘That’s not the point.’ Seth replied calmly, ‘The fact of the matter is, a familiar, as you know, requires a great deal of care and commitment, not to mention the rituals and journeys involved in establishing a deep, spiritual connection with an otherworldly being.’

‘Don’t lecture me you half-wit! I know more about the otherworld than you can even imagine! I have power that your puny human intellect will never comprehend!!’ The rant was some what ruined by the delivery from a tiny white kitten, jumping up and down with pure indignant rage. Seth regarded him seriously.

‘I know that. I don’t mean to offend you Tom. But, who would the familiar be for?’

‘THAT DOESN’T MATTER!’ Tom shouted, knocking his teacup. Seth’s hand shot out and caught it swiftly, replacing it back on the saucer.

‘What’s going on?’ He asked gently.

‘Nothing.’ Tom mumbled, grumbling under his breath. ‘Nothing at all.’ He leapt down from the counter, landing on the floor smoothly. He began to walk out resentfully with his nose in the air.

Tom paused at the door.

‘Have you got anything in an aphrodisiac?’

 
****
Back at the house, Tom knocked the phone on to the ground and curled into one of Kate's shoes. He rested his head on the phone and pressed speed-dial.
'It's me... I need to talk...'

Xero leant against the wall, behind the door, listening to the tiny white kitten who woke him with a fury-fit in Bambi's drawers before proceeding to sing and shout his way around the apartment. He had now returned to the house and started to speak to what sounded like a therapist.
'I just feel trapped... uh-huh... I know... it's just... I'm having a crisis. I really need to... uh-huh...It's all this bloody idiot Seth's fault. Honestly you'd think he was hit on the head as an infant...'
'I am worthy and deserving of love.' Tom repeated, 'I am in control of my descisions. Insults are defensive and words can hurt.'
Xero bit his knuckle to stop from laughing.
'I am a worthy and deserving being. I am loveable and loving.... In with anger, out with love.... Actualise.... Believe...' Tom breathed. Xero doubled over against the wall.

****

Kate and Bambi wandered back into the apartment some hours later, Bambi was laughing, poking Kate as she tried to put her keys in the bowl by the door. They had been living in a state of bliss, since arriving back in the place where they both felt they belonged. Kate laughed her way into the living room and looked at Xero sitting on the couch with a baffled and amused facial expression.

‘You have the weirdest cat in the whole world.’ He said shaking his head, ‘I think he forgot I was here.’

Tom's eyes shot open from where he was was curled in a ball on the arm of the couch and had been for an hour, when he arrived home, Xero had still been asleep, he was sure of it. He stretched and stood up, arching his back. As Xero spoke he walked along the back of the couch to rub his head against the boy’s.

‘Oh, hello Kate. Nice outing?’ He smiled, rubbing his head on Xero’s ear. ‘You say anything, anything, and I will kill you in your sleep.’ He whispered savagely. 
The Hollow One grinned, 'In with anger, out with love, Tom.'

 

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
maidensong
Jan. 14th, 2009 10:11 am (UTC)
OMG! OMG! OMG! I can't breathe, I'm laughing that hard.

That is PURE GENIUS!!!!!!!!!

I love the, "And such a snappy dresser, too!"

*LMAO!!!* This is perfect!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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