|The Polecat and the Alley Cat
Author: JonBobWalker PM
A familiar story, set in a steampunk-esque world, in which two opposing families of skunks and foxes try to deal with every day life. All Lise and Nicky want is to be friends, but when Lise's cousin comes to stay, things take a... very unexpected twist, involving Nicky's brother. Characters go by different names.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Friendship - Mercutio & Tybalt - Words: 1,082 - Published: 02-17-13 - id: 9020905
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It was almost midnight, and the house was still. In his room on the top floor, Nikola Pugh crept over to the window, opened it a fraction, and shone a torch. One. Two. Three bursts of light. This was their signal. If Lise was awake, she would send her pigeon over with a message. All he had to do now was wait.
His family, the Pughs, had been enemies of hers, the Digitalis, since before they'd even been born. There was no good reason why they couldn't be friends- after all, whatever had happened had nothing to do with them. But, as was repeatedly drilled into them both, (and it was true, after all)- skunks and foxes didn't mix. That was the way it was, always had been, and would , no matter. The two of them weren't looking to change anyone's viewpoint, only to snatch a few moments of conversation.
There was a rapping on the window, and Fantine, the pigeon fluttered in, slightly disgruntled as usual.
"Thanks. I appreciate this you know. We both do."
She fluffed her feathers and huffed. Oh well. He knew she was only pretending to be annoyed. In truth, Fantine knew how much this meant. Nicky eagerly took the message from her outstretched claw, and read it. His face fell.
(Isn't it odd to start with that? We are friends, and it's so formal! But I guess I should, as it's a letter.)
Not a lot has happened since we last spoke, but something very important is going to happen. Now before you freak out, please listen to what I have to say.
Next Thursday, my cousin Thomas is coming to stay with us.
His parents are going through a really difficult time, and he needs a place to go. It might be for a long time. Maybe even forever. I know if you talk to him, you'll see he's a nice guy.
He's only half Digitalis. You see, my uncle married a cat lady. I was thinking that... maybe this might make it easier for you and your brothers to get along with him. I'm not asking you all to like him. It was hard enough getting your bros just to tolerate me but... Just try to get on, will you? For my sake. Seeya, BFF!
Lise. RSVP Tonight! I've told Fantine not to return without your response.
Nicky was certain he himself could give this Thomas guy a chance, but he wasn't so sure about Gray and Tycho. The former would hopefully attempt to stay out of his way, but Tycho was an entirely different story. He'd been adopted by the Pughs a few years ago, though being a skunk himself, you'd never be able to tell. The trouble was, although he was well meaning, a lot of the things he said could be... taken the wrong way. He could only hope that Lise's cousin wouldn't be some surly alley cat, who fought a lot. The last thing they needed right now was more trouble.
Fantine eyed him expectantly, eager to get back to her home. The teenage skunk picked up a pen, and scrawled a reply.
There shouldn't be too much of a problem, if I can help it. I'll have a word with the bros. Hey, I'm sure this will all turn out fine. Talk to you at school. Bye, BFF.
It was short, but too the point. There was far too much whirling round in his head to write most of it down legibly. He worried too much. His mother said it, Lise said it. But even so, there had been fights before. Between the servants.
No. that sort of thinking was pointless. Best to think of something else.
He tied his message to Fantine's leg, and out of the blue, a new thought entered his mind. A name, a voice. Winnie. As soon as this thought was recognized, He felt the familiar nervous, jumpy feeling he got whenever she was near. Winnie... It was impossible to describe how he felt whenever he saw her. And yet... He was pretty sure she didn't even know his name. They'd spoken only once- but that was enough to ensure he'd never forget that voice.
Without meaning to, he blushed. He didn't really want to think about her, either. Not right now. He always felt like a blithering idiot whenever he did.
Carefully, he once again made his way to the window, making sure not to make any noise. If his parents found out about their messages, he had no idea what they'd do. But still- he had to see if Lise would reply tonight. Unfortunately, luck was out. In a single sweeping movement, the curtains closed. There would be no reply tonight. That was a rather obvious code for 'parents around'.
He risked a whispered curse. He was wide awake, completely unable to sleep. Slowly and deliberately, he crept out his room, and across the hall. There was one person he could count on to be awake at this time.
"Tycho? You up?"
His older brother grunted.
"Of course I'm not, Nicky. I'm fast asleep and dreaming about kittens and rainbows. What do you think, you numskull?!"
At the mention of 'kittens,' Nikola felt a knot in his stomach. Tycho was probably not going to like Lise's news.
Without asking permission, he sat down on the end of the bed, shoving a pile of books out of the way.
"Oi, watch it!"
"Sorry. Don't want to keep you up or anything, but I'm kinda worried."
Tycho sat up, now concerned.
"What's eating you? C'mon, talk to me."
"What would you do if I told you there was another Digitalis going to move in soon?"
"Firstly, I would facepalm."
This, he proceeded to do in a dramatic manner, before continuing.
"Then, I would get some sleep, because I'm really going to bloody need it!"
Laughing, he ruffled Nicky's hair. The young skunk reluctantly laughed with him. Tycho smiled wryly.
"You see, no fox is a match for your ol' bro. Now let me get that sleep."
"I'm glad you don't see this a a disaster. Maybe I overreacted."
"Uh huh. No, seriously, push off. I'm tired."