Fragile Memories

Chapter I

Ryou started then cringed and curled up tight where he was hiding under the pillows that made up his bed in his display cage at the store when he heard a surprisingly soft but still masculine male voice asking about purchasing him, he recognized an accent similar to his own faintly present in the words.

"I would like to know about that white tiger cub you have."

The cub in question laid his ears back, catching the conversation in sporadic bursts as he began to panic. He didn't want to go home with someone new! He'd had enough people take him home and try to make him be their pet! He missed Lilly and wanted only her, no one else!

"So would you like him delivered?" That was the shopkeeper, Ryou guessed he was okay, but he didn't talk to anyone anymore.

"No. I'll take him home myself." Ryou pinned his ears back against his head, that was bad, they always put him on a leash and made him walk on the hot ground so his feet hurt or took him in those scary cars and made him sit in the back with nothing to hold onto.

"But Sir, surely it would be easier for us to take him to you, he's temperamental." Ryou hated that too, he always went to sleep at a funny time then when he woke up, he was someplace new. The cub of course had no idea that they were drugging him to make him sleep.

"I said I would take him myself." The man's voice remained soft and even, but something about him made the shopkeeper give in.

"Yes Sir. Would you like a collar and leash for him?" Ryou cringed again.

"No. Open the cage and let me in."

"But Sir!"

"Now please."

Ryou shifted around when he heard the door being unlocked and peeped out between two pillows towards the door, his bluish brown eyes going wide when he saw the tall man that came into the large cage, barely noticing the nervous looking shopkeeper shut the door. The little tiger had never seen a human so amazing since Lillian!

He seemed very tall from Ryou's perspective as he settled on the carpeted floor of the cage across from the bed and looked around the enclosure. His hair was a wonderful strawberry blonde color and in a thick braid that fell halfway down his back with some thin locks framing his face a bit and hanging slightly in his eyes. His eyes were a dark, warm gray and set in a fair skinned, angular face and surrounded by thick lashes that were such a dark red they looked black almost until the light hit them right. Long slender legs were folded tailor style and his long arms rested comfortably in his lap. There was a gentle smile on his face that started to relax Ryou almost immediately, though he stayed hidden.

When those warm gray eyes settled on him, Ryou scooted back further into the pile, watching between the slits in the pillows even though they had gotten smaller. The man smiled then looked to the shopkeeper, "What is his name?"

"His name? Um, Ryou, Sir." The young shopkeeper sounded nervous.

"Ryou? Such a nice name." He looked towards the pile of pillows and smiled gently, "Hello Ryou, I'm Julian."

Ryou said nothing, just watched the man from inside his little pillow hideaway, his tail tucked between his legs and his ears laid back.

"I can understand if you're afraid to come home with me, but I promise you will not have to do anything you do not want to. I won't make you eat or drink, or sit with me if you do not want to. You do not even have to see me if you don't want to. You'll get your own special room where you can stay all the time if you like. I have a black panther cub that lives with me as well, he's about your age, so you can play with him if you like, or any of the other children like you that live with me."

Round ears had slowly perked up as Julian went on, what he was offering sounded wonderful to Ryou, it would mean he wouldn't be stared at every day in the store anymore.

Cautiously, he crawled out of the pile but stayed at the opposite end of the cage from Julian, crouching and watching him warily.

Julian smiled at the cub, "Hello. Now, would you like to come home with me? It's your choice, if you don't want to I will not force you."

Ryou's tail twitched indecisively as he thought on it before he gave a small nod, his eyes widening when Julian gave a wonderfully warm smile.

"I'm glad, are you ready to go right now?"

The cub blinked then went over to the pillows, pawing them out of his way until he found his white ribbon for his hair, his bell necklace was in place around his neck like always but he couldn't tie the ribbon right himself, and then nodded.

Gray eyes skated over the ribbon, "Would you like me to tie your hair back with that?" Ryou's eyes brightened instantly and he nodded, crawling over and holding up the ribbon for Julian to take it in his slender fingers then turned around and plopped down with his tail curled around himself while he waited for his hair to be tied back.

Julian laughed softly and gathered up Ryou's long white hair and carefully tied the ribbon around it then gave his head a small pet, "There you go." Ryou turned around and scooted back a little, reaching up to touch the ribbon then giving a very tiny almost non-exist smile. "Are you ready to go now, Ryou?" He held out his hand to the cub, smiling when Ryou sniffed at it before nodding and putting his tiny hand-with the claws withdrawn-in it. "Good." Julian got to his feet and went over to the door, Ryou following and holding tight to his long fingered hand.

The clearly amazed shopkeeper let them out and took the check Julian wrote with an awed look, mumbling a thanks for his business as the man left.

Ryou tugged back on Julian's hand before they went out into the sunny streets, staring at the sidewalk, knowing it would be hot and burn his feet. Gray eyes blinked for a moment before Julian smiled with an understanding look and knelt down to look Ryou in the eye, "How about I give you a ride so you don't have to try and keep up with me while we walk home?" Ryou blinked then nodded, squeaking a little in surprise when Julian picked him up after standing.

He blinked wide-eyed at his new owner when Julian laughed quietly, holding him with an arm under his bottom while making sure his tail hung free so it wouldn't be hurt.

"All right?" Ryou nodded, one hand holding on to some of the white material of Julian's button up short sleeve shirt as he sat sideways against the man's chest. "Good." Julian pat Ryou on the head with his free hand, smiling at the way his head ducked with a shy look, then walking out.

Ryou looked around amazed as they walked, he'd never gotten to see everything before when he'd been taken by a new owner. The cub didn't notice how Julian kept watching him with a faint smile as he walked; also missing the admiring and awed looks he got for being of such a rare breed.

Though he didn't know that's how far they were, Ryou fell asleep about halfway to Julian's home, his head resting on the man's shoulder with one soft ear flicking against the man's throat occasionally.

Julian smiled, petting the child with his free hand as he tirelessly carried Ryou to his new home.

-TBC-

Thanks for reading, please review since I would appreciate feedback. Also, to the fans of BADA I am working on the sequel! I was just in a writing slump for a long time. I hope to have it up soon!

Wish He Was Mine