The Usual: I don't own Subeta yadda yaddaChapter 1
The life of a pound pet is never easy. We all crowd around four at a time, hoping against hope that we would walk out of the pound that day with a loving human. Kumos wag their tails. Feli purr noisily. Each and every species had some endearing trait to be picked. Dragarths puffed the occasional flame or smoke ring. Or just sat and smiled pleasantly.
I'm one of the sitters. Oh sure, I mastered smoke rings and flames when I was just a little thing; but that stuff just wasn't me. So I simply sat and smiled shyly at humans.
A hard faced human came to look at me and I felt my heart stop for a second as he eyed me over. He examined me, checking my paws to see if my claws were sharp and scowling when he found they were not; I'm not a fighter so I round down my nails to avoid getting into the wrong sort of crowds. He checked to see if my graceful horns were pointed and spat a curse when he found they were softly rounded and smooth. He treated me roughly, as though I had no more feelings than a brick. I would have snapped at him but feared that any show of temper would give him the wrong idea about what I was like.
He glowered and went on eventually, and I spent a minute or two re-learning how to breathe. A few nice looking humans wandered by, mostly not looking at me in any serious light.
One blonde human walked over and looked me over thoughtfully, checking out my overall appearance. My heart sped up and I gave the short fur that covered me from nose to tail tip a nervous running over to make sure it wasn't disheveled from the rough handling.
She rubbed her chin, looked deep into my eyes, and then gave me a small smile and moved on. My heart sank a little until I heard the computer near the entrance of the pound beep cheerfully. There was a soft clacking of the keyboard and a puzzled "Huh…"
A brunette walked by a few minutes after that, look a gander at me and then shrugged, "No she's still Lilac."
"Ah, must be the computer's error then. It shows her as Common colored."
It did what?
The brunette wandered off, and the pair walked around for a while, looking over pets. Then the hard faced man came back. I sucked in a frightened breath, fearing for sure he would adopt me, but he moved on again muttering about the cost of making me 'worthwhile'.
Finally the blonde knelt down in front of me again and I nearly threw myself into her lap and begged to be taken in.
"Terentia," she said and my heart leaped into my throat, "I have a proposition for you."
"Uhhh." My nose crinkled on one side. Feeling like I had missed something very important in this conversation I blundered awkwardly on, "Geez miss…" I glanced at her name tag, "Alkuna... I'm flattered and all but I'm not, uh, you know…" I prefer Subeta Pets to begin with, all genders aside…
Her brunette friend cracked up so hard she collapsed to the floor, trying to catch her breath. The name DarkSunrise was pinned to her shirt. ("I'm actually his wife," she explained to me later, "I help keep watch over the Pets when he's busy.")
Alkuna gave an ironic smirk and shook her head, "Okay I deserved that. No, no, I didn't mean it that way, though thank you for trying to be honest and polite. I meant a proposition as in a deal or agreement."
"Oh!" I blushed, embarrassed and annoyed at myself for not figuring that out sooner. Stupid Dragarth! Where IS my brain today? "Of course. Please continue."
"I don't have any slots left over for a new pet right now," my heart sank, "But I do have a friend who is willing to foster you until I can get the space." My heart lifted a little bit again.
"How long?" I was almost afraid to ask, but being shunted aside and forgotten scared me almost more than a life in the Battle Coliseum.
"Not too terribly long," she assured me, "No more than a month or two."
A month or two she said. Or three. Or ten… or…
I swallowed thickly, "You won't forget me? You promise?"
Alkuna smiled and nodded.
"Alicookiez said it's not a promise if you don't say it out loud," I persisted.
"Who's Alicookiez?" Alkuna raised an eyebrow.
"The owner who raised me from an egg. Do you promise?" I had a hold of the conversation with all four feet and even my teeth just to be sure and wasn't going to let go until she gave me what I wanted.
Alkuna smiled kindly and cupped my chin in her hands to bring my gaze to her own, "Then in honor of Alicookiez, I promise you'll have a spot with me, and I promise I won't forget you."
I lifted my front paws up and gave her hands a squeeze, "Thank you. I'll be seeing you soon then."
"Yes you will," she smiled back at me as Mrs. DarkSunrise, recovered from her laughter, took my paw in her hand gently and led me to my new temporary home.
Time seemed to pass slowly for me. The Pets I was fostering with were never cruel to me, and I was never neglected for food or water. But some things go beyond the need for daily survival. I was nice to all of them, and they were nice to me. If someone invited me to go do something with them, I went gladly even if my heart wasn't completely in it.
Aimii the Galactic Kumos was always eager for help with her new Astralflaik, Nebula, and I couldn't help but be charmed by the minion's antics. I learned how to care for her properly by babysitting the minion; at first with Aimii's tutelage and then for a few days while Aimii took a trip to Atebus and off to the Coda Caves. She came back, making snarky comments about stuck up fairies but sporting a dazzling coat that looked like the heavens.
It made me wonder in my free time. Would I have a minion? What kind? Would I get a makeover? What would I look like when Alkuna was done with me? I was a little afraid of that last one.
Some poor fellow had been dubbed MisterDeath, painted Dawn and left in the pound around the same time I was. I felt so bad for him; potion splashed bright pink and having such a contrasting name absolutely guaranteed that no one would ever take him seriously.
"I am MisterDeath… no really... Stop laughing dammit! It's not funny. No dude seriously!"
You always knew when someone found him; there was a burst of laughter from his direction and a frustrated Dragarth's voice trying and failing to be heard.
I rubbed the back of my neck unhappily. Don't get me wrong, dawn is a beautiful time of day and some Pets can pull it off without looking ridiculous… but some of us, especially the poor guys… were never meant to be such a color.
"Aimii," I said as I ran the brush down Nebula's back, "What's… my new family like? Have you met them?"
Aimii looked thoughtful, "Not really. I know the owner is really nice, and everyone has Treasures, a minion, and a color they really like. But I haven't really met them in person."
Seeing my slightly downcast look, Aimii tried to reassure me, "Hey, they could be off the wall bonkers for all any of us knows, but if Alkuna is as nice as they say, she would have told everyone that she's adopting you. So one way or another, you'll be welcomed."
I wasn't so sure. Rumors ran rampant in the pound of Created Pets who were jealous of newcomers and treated them terribly. Still, I took a deep breath and tried to let my worries leak out as I exhaled.
Amii sent them a letter asking for information about themselves and we had an answer within hours, one of Alkuna's pets sent an introduction and description and description of everyone. The tone was cheerful and enthusiastic; they all seemed to look forward to their new sibling.
Relief washed through me as I read the letter, Aimii let me read it first, and I was grateful to have solid proof that I would be welcome.