Disclaimer: I don't own Charlotte's Web. The rights to that book and movie go to E.B White, Paramount, Hanna Barbara ect. I'm not good at writing disclaimers.
The rat let out a sigh in his cozy little den. Within the dark, several trinkets of human origins were situated about; his little collection that had grown over the years he lived on the farm. The other barnyard residents found his habit disgusting; slinking about spying on others and gathering anything he could find to add to his home's décor. Templeton loved it, and he didn't care in the least how they felt about him. Rats were not known for being clean, or even held in high regard. He was simply doing what was natural to his kind, and he was proud of it.
Yet there was also another thing he loved, something he held above all else: food. Ever since he was born, Templeton held a gift for overeating, and his stomach could virtually handle anything. He proved that at the county fair. Oh the fair, such a glorious feast, one that he would never forget for the rest of his life. Charlotte and Wilbur had reacted with disgust when he managed to drag his bloated, drunken self back to the pen, but their scorn only served to show he had done his job as a shameless glutton. Next year he would definitely go again, if only to further push how much he could fill himself with. The mere thought made his mouth water with anticipation.
But his good fortune didn't end that day. After sleeping off his enormous meal, he was rudely awoken by that annoying pig, demanding another favor. He had at first scoffed, no longer taking his role as "messenger boy". Yet the pig knew how his rat mind worked and thus knew how to require his services. First dibs on his slops, that was enough to get Templeton climbing up the rafters, grabbing an egg sac, and return to the crate. All the way home, all he could think about was his upcoming meals. It wouldn't be the fair, but it would be close enough to reliving that moment. All was perfect, and he just knew in time he would be twice the rat he used to be, maybe in triple.
But that's when he met her.
It was his first go at Wilbur's slops, and Templeton was sure as heck going to honor their arrangement. But he noticed another guest eating from the trough, another rat to be precise. Templeton hadn't seen many rats in the area, mostly because he kept to himself, and before he could give this newcomer a piece of his mind, that's when Templeton noticed "he" was a "she". The words he had planned to say left him that very moment. His eyes were too fixated upon the doe before him. Her fur was gray like his, but a lighter shade, and far smoother and cleaner than his scruffy appearance. Her eyes were whie as milk and her tail was held up with catlike dignity.
Furthermore, she was polite. Once Templeton had managed to get his mouth working again, he explained the details of the deal made between he and the pig. Upon learning this, she apologized profusely. Normally, Templeton would have given a nasty remark, rubbing in the fact these were "his" dibs, but strangely he didn't. Instead, he allowed her to feast with him. Templeton quickly learned she had quite the appetite for a female, something he didn't have in common with any of the animals on the farm. It felt nice to banter with another rodent, and the coming weeks they did nothing but that.
The female was a newcomer, a country girl born into a large brood and making her way into the world. Her home was in the barn behind the grain bins, nothing too fancy, but enough to make a home. Maybe it was due to her upbringing, but there was a sense of civility to her personality. Sometimes he spied her chatting with the other barnyard residents (usually the fellow females), and to his surprise, they didn't seem the least bit perturbed by the presence of another rodent. It was no secret that Templeton found himself smitten in time, and she returned the sentiment.
The full story of their courtship was best saved for another time. The short version is he invited her into his home, at first to show off his collection, then to move in, and soon Templeton found himself participating in something else his kind was known for. Back in realty, Templeton grinned to himself. Oh was definitely good at that if he did say so himself, and his new mate had been pleased. Mate, a word that he had never thought he would utter (mostly he just referred to her as his wife), but that's what she was to him. Likewise, he was her husband. Marriage however, sometimes came with an added string, especially for rats.
She was now pregnant, and he was going to be a father. Fatherhood was something else he felt he would never undertake, but once he learned this, the following days were spent making sure his unborn family was fed. Unfortunately, most of Wilbur's slops were given to her as opposed to him. It annoyed him to no end, recalling all the times he had risked his tale just to make sure the swine didn't end up as ham. Though once he saw her joy towards her growing belly swelled with young, he kept those thoughts to himself. Before he knew it, she was nursing five baby rats, three boys and two girls to be precise.
Admittedly, he was proud he had left a legacy, and he showed that pride the following spring when he showed off his family with a snicker. Oh he had so much to teach them, how to sneak, now to spy, and how to stuff themselves silly. Being his offspring, they inherited his appetite (as well as their mother's).
Sadly, those fantasies didn't come to pass. Once his children had somewhat left the newborn stage, they proved to be difficult. They ran about the farmyard causing all manners of trouble and making it ever difficult for their father. Then there was their mother. Where as they balked at his words, they showed her respect. If she told them to stop they stopped. It made sense considering how loving she was towards them. Yet there was no respect for him. Frankly it annoyed the ever living crud out of him. But to his mate, their children were the utmost angels.
Thankfully, the evening brought in an end to their constant scampering. He could see them now, all five curled up against their mother sleeping soundly. Admittedly, it was cute, but to Templeton it was the break he needed. Least until morning where the whole routine would start again.
Amid the darkness, the rat closed his eyes and began to drift off. He dreamed of glorious banquets, trash fit for a gourmand rodent such as himself.
Yes it was splendid.
A nudge prodded his side. But he ignored it as he munched on a long piece of sausage.
"Daddy!" this one was more insistent. A harder poke that hit his ribs. Templeton found himself being drawn out of his dreamland. The fantastic edible images vanishing before him. He was greeted again by the darkness of his home. Everything was the same except for one thing: only four babies were at their mother's side. His neck craned down and he noticed something standing there, small and gray, just a medium colored tint.
It was a baby female rat. His baby to be precise. Five kids in total, three sons and two daughters. This one was the youngest: Carol. Carol was different from her siblings. Where as the other four were wild and active, Carol was soft, meek, and often couldn't be without her mother's company. Put simply, she was the baby of the family. And as far as her elder sister was convinced, she was a baby.
"What is it?" Templeton growled in a low tone. He wasn't in any mood to be awakened, particularly from a food dream.
Carol stood upon her back legs, tail swishing nervously. "Well I...I gotta go." she answered.
"Go?" Templeton asked in confusion. Then it hit him once he noticed his daughter bobbing her body up and down. "Oh."
A tiny whine escaped the young rat. She couldn't hold it in any more. It was her mother's influence, normally a rat would just do his...erm business where he pleased, but she had to go topside for that.
Grumbling to himself, the rat rose up, "Alright alright, no waterworks ya hear?" that was something else he didn't have time for. Taking the lead, Templeton crawled upward with Carol tagging behind. Though she moved quickly and Templeton did the same. Before either knew it, the night air greeted them. In the distance, one could hear crickets chirping.
"Stay close." Templeton instructed as the two of them walked beyond the border of the fence.
The coast was clear, there were scents of cats or any other predators. Once they had gained a little distance away from the farm, Templeton stopped.
"Alright were here go on." Templeton spoke with impatience in his voice. He really didn't want to spend any time outside then he had to.
Carol didn't need to hear that twice. She darted a short distance away from her father and did her...business. A soft sigh blew out of her tiny body before she scampered back over to her father.
"Thanks Daddy!" she said grabbing Templeton in a hug.
The rat's eyes grew wide and he gently pushed his daughter away. "Yeah yeah, just doin my job. Your mother wouldn't let me hear the end of it otherwise."
The pair quickly scampered back to the barn yard, under the trough and down the hole back to their ratly home.
"Get to sleep." Templeton bluntly instructed. Before either could say anything, Templeton plopped himself down and closed his eyes. Just had to get back to sleep. He tried to picture the feast once more, concentrated on it in the hopes he would dream of it again. Thoughts of the fairground began to replay within his mind. Yes he could see it again and a trickle of drool wetted his chin. And then just like that, the image vanished as something thudded against his body. It was brief but quick enough to notice. Cracking an eye open, he noticed a small gray bulk at his side. It was little Carol, snuggling close to him.
The rat grumbled again. He should have been more specific when he told her to go to sleep. If this was last year, he would have forced her away, knew he would do that. But he didn't. After the grumble, he shrugged and settled down. No use in fighting it. And so the curmudgeonly rat drifted off to sleep. For some reason, he didn't care about the little addition next to him. If one could see well in the dark, they would have noticed the smirk on his face.
A/N: The animated version of Charlotte's Web was always a childhood favorite of mine. I just hope I portrayed Templeton correctly. Frankly in my opinion, he was a lot nicer in the film than he was in the book. In the book it was mentioned that he would kill a gosling if he could get away with it. The film version I couldn't see doing. Well I hope you have enjoyed.