AN: Ah… that very first fic for a new fandom. A magical time, to be sure. Hopefully I can somehow do this awesome show even a bit of justice. This fic is dedicated mostly to Branny, who may seem cute and cuddly at first but is in all reality blacker than the blackest… well, you know.

Characters: Everybody belongs to Small & Blacha. I just made up the scenario, and all the miscellaneous animals.

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"I wants a pet!"

The announcement stopped the winding down of the daily meeting in its tracks.

Charles Foster Ofdensen, manager of the infamous metal band Dethklok, paused. A stack of papers from the surprisingly productive meeting stilled in his hands, his attempts at shuffling them into order momentarily abandoned. "Pardon?"

"I wants a pet," Toki repeated eagerly. "That's be okay, right?"

"Uh…"

Everyone around the huge table swapped equally surprised looks. Nobody had ever tried to carry over any of their ritualistically boring business meetings into what sounded like the beginnings of a semi-important family discussion. It was a little strange, to say the least. No one spoke for a long moment.

At last, when it seemed apparent that none of the band members were going to protest outright, Ofdensen ventured a tentative answer. "Well… I suppose there's no real harm in that. What sort of pet did you have in mind?"

Toki looked ecstatic that his proposal was even being considered. "Oh, I don'ts know—maybes a dog, or somet'ings?"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Time out." Sounding slightly alarmed, Nathan finally spoke up. "Dogs are like, a big responsibility, right? You gotta train 'em, walk 'em, all that crap. Take up a lotta time. You don't practice enough anyway, Toki."

"And dey chews up stuffs," Skwisgaar added. "I don'ts wants any nasty dogs chewings up my—"

"I do's so practice!" Toki ignored Skwisgaar completely, much to the Swede's annoyance, and focused instead on convincing the singer. "I practices just as much—nei, I practices evens more if I can has a pet!"

"Dood, why do ya want a pet anyway?" Pickles looked skeptical. "Nate'n's right, animals are a lotta work. I mean, lookit how hard it is ta clean up after Murderface."

The bassist in question glared daggers—daggers very much akin to the one he was currently fondling, and was probably now considering using on a certain dreadlocked drummer. Nathan and Skwisgaar sniggered with evil glee. Even Ofdensen seemed hard pressed to hold back a smile.

Toki pouted. "I wants a pet to… yous know… takes care of, pet, plays wit, be's friends wit. A nice liddle pet."

"Ya got the yard wolves. Like, a hundred of 'em. They're pets."

"No, no dey's not! You can'ts pets de yard wolfs, dey's real mean. You can'ts plays wit dem," Toki pointed out quite reasonably. "Dey's just dere. Like de yard flam-ings-goes, but wit big teeths."

No one could deny that he had a good, solid point there. It was no secret that the lupines milling the grounds outside Mordhaus were little more than shaggy grey lawn ornaments, and barely shy of completely feral. Nobody would be playing fetch with those puppies unless it was with a severed human limb. That was honestly how Dethklok liked it.

Skwisgaar sighed. "You can'ts just be happy wits your deddy bear? Pretends it's alive, or somet'ings?"

"Nei." The set to Toki's jaw meant there wasn't a snowball's chance of that. "I's not a baby, Skwisgaar!"

"I begs to differ."

"I think we can come to a compromise. A dog is a large responsibility. Perhaps an animal that doesn't require such intensive care would be better in this case." Ever the capable diplomat, it was Charles who offered a solution before the two guitarists could escalate to full blown name calling. "Toki, you seem fond of fish. Would a fish be an acceptable pet for you?"

"Fishes? Oh, ja, I likes fishes!" Toki looked suitably happy, though a fish was admittedly a far cry from the aforementioned dog. "Maybe I gets a fish and keeps it in a liddle bowl?"

"A fish, huh…" Nathan thought it over. "Not very complicated. Easy to take care of. Not destructive. Don't take up too much time. That could work."

"Oh, wowie! Thanks you, Nat'ans!" Toki was overjoyed. If the hulking front man said he could have a pet, who was going to argue otherwise? "And maybes if I does good with de fishes, we talks about de dog again?"

Nathan grunted noncommittally. "Maybe."

"Dis is gonna be so cool! Fishes is great!"

"I rather agree." Looking surprised and relieved that the issue had been settled so painlessly, Ofdensen snapped shut his briefcase. "I recently installed an aquarium in my office, in fact."

"You dids?" Toki looked intrigued at the thought of another resident fish lover.

"Yes, I did. I find it quite relaxing. Well then boys, I believe that will be all for now. You're free to go. Toki, I sincerely hope you enjoy your new pet."

As Ofdensen took his leave Toki immediately latched onto Pickles, who had a pretty good track record as far as humoring the Norwegian went. "Will you takes me, Pickle? I's ready to go gets de fish rights now!"

The drummer looked ready to put up a token protest strictly on principle, but seeing Toki so excited about anything never failed to amuse him. He grinned. "Ah, what the hell. Let's go get ya a fish, kid."

"That's what I'm talkin' about!" Toki cheered, jumping up from the table and racing from the room as if his Fu Manchu was aflame. "Fishes, here I comes!"

Pickles got to his feet a bit more slowly. "Jeez, it's been a long time since I was in a pet store. Well, who else is comin' along on this little adventure?"

"Pet libraries?" Skwisgaar plucked thoughtfully at his beloved guitar, curious despite himself. "I don't thinks I's been to one of dose befores…"

"Come on with us, then. Nate'n, Murderface, you guys in?"

"Uh, no. No thanks. You guys go and, uh, have fun. Or something." With that the vocalist left the room, no doubt off to do something of such utterly metal brutality that it boggled the human mind. Like, say, sort his socks. Though someone else did the laundry, the Klokateers were not allowed inside their Lord's room—thus he was forced to match and put away the little skull-emblazoned socks himself. In a very manly and brutal way, of course.

"Murderface?"

"Nah, you guysh go on. I've got shome shtuff ta deshtroy—I mean, do around here."

"Suit yerself. Back in a few, then."

- // - // - // - // -

And so it was that Pickles the drummer found himself surrounded by the furry, finned, scaled, and feathered wonders of the nearest pet store. Adequately liquored up enough to be in a good mood, he allowed his Scandinavian band mates to lead him about like oddly tall and incredibly metal first graders on a field trip.

"Is strangely noisy for pet libraries," Skwisgaar commented loudly over the barking, meowing, squawking, and squeaking.

"Dood, fer the last time, it's not a—! Ya know what, never mind. Jest never mind."

"Whats-ever. Aww, look, is a giant fuzzies rat." Letting go of the guitar with one hand, Skwisgaar stuck a finger through the bars to pet the animal.

"Uh, that'd be a chinchilla, Skwis."

"Is soft… Dey makes dem maybe in whites?" The Swede looked almost hopeful.

Toki ran off before Pickles, who was getting a very bad feeling about the whole thing, could ask exactly what the Swede needed a white chinchilla for. The younger guitarist made straight for the wall of aquariums at the back of the store.

"Wow, dey has so manies! How do I picks which one shoulds be my fish?"

"I'd start with findin' one that can live in a bowl. Tanks need hoses an' filters an' crap… too much trouble."

"These here is already in bowls," Skwisgaar pointed out. The three of them clustered intently around the display, staring at the hapless, brightly colored fish with the intensity only metal gods can muster.

"Betta fish," Pickles read off the card. "Oh, I know what these are. They're those Siamese fightin' fish. Pretty cool."

"Fightings fish? I likes de sound of dat!" Toki was grinning from ear to ear.

"Waddaya say, Toki? Ya wanna get one'a these guys?"

"Ja! But… what one shoulds I get?"

Together, they considered the many colors. They were still considering five minutes later when a smiling sales woman approached them. Skwisgaar immediately lost interest in the fish.

"Good afternoon. Can I help you all with something?"

"I's t'inking you can helps me wit somet'ings," he grinned slyly.

Pickles groaned as the blonde shepherded the entirely willing woman toward the back room. "Ah, Gahd, 'der he goes. Hey, you make it a quickie, alright? We're outta here as soon as he picks one'a these things."

One hour later, Toki had narrowed it down to a choice of three: a purple, a blue, and a deep red. Pickles was losing patience as rapidly as he was losing blood alcohol content, and that was pretty damn rapidly considering the situation.

"Toki," the redhead gritted, "I swear ta Gahd, if ya don't pick one'a those effin' fish in the next thirty seconds I'm gonna stick yer head in that piranha tank over 'der, okay?! You don't wanna know what piranhas can do ta guys' heads, alright?! This is fer yer own safety I'm tellin' ya this! Pick one!"

"But Pickle," the Norwegian whimpered contritely, "I likes all of's dem!"

"Well, yer wearin' a blue shirt, right? What a coincidence. Get the blue one."

"But maybes I likes de red one betters…"

"Then get the red one!"

"But maybes—"

"TOKI!!!"

Five minutes later they were on their way back to Mordland, the rhythm guitarist protectively cradling the water-filled plastic bag containing his bright red betta. A second bag (minus the water) held a glass bowl, a small portion of decorative gravel, a fake plant, and a container of fish food.

"Ja, I likes de pet libraries," Skwisgaar commented conversationally.

"I jest bet ya do."

- // - // - // - // -

Once safely back at the haus Toki wasted no time setting up the fish bowl. Pickles wasted no time getting properly wasted, and appeared exponentially happier for it. When Toki cautiously sought him out a while later to show him the finished fish habitat, the drummer was much more congenial.

"Hey 'der, fishie. Toki set ya up all nice an' happy?" He tapped the bowl with his knuckles and the fish darted behind its plastic plant.

"Ja, he's happy." Toki looked happy as well, especially when Nathan happened to walk by. He immediately thrust the bowl in the singer's face. "Oh, Nat'ans! Look at my news fish! He's so cool! I names him Pickle, like our Pickle."

Somewhat dubiously Nathan glanced into the bowl that had been shoved under his nose. "Uh… yeah. Yeah, sure. It's the right colors, anyway." The betta happily swam to and fro in its stately blood-red way, darker red fins fading almost to black floating tranquilly behind it.

"Ya should'a seen the piranhas at the pet store, dood." The real Pickles, bottle in hand and not looking the least offended to have had his name given to a fish, grinned. "We totally ought'a build a pool jest so we can fill it with piranhas an' give the staff free swimmin' lessons."

A slightly demonic gleam entered Nathan's eyes as he whipped out his trusty tape recorder. "'Swimming in a pool of gore and death—thrashing in blood as they rip your flesh…' Brutal."

"Okay, has fun yous guys!" Toki waved, content to leave the other two men to a discussion of where in the haus a swimming pool could be constructed on short notice, if they didn't have one already they had just forgotten about. "Me and Pickle gonna takes a tour of de place.

A few hours later…

"Whew! I always forgets Mordhaus so big! Ah, wells. Last stops, little Pickle!"

Fish bowl snuggly under one arm, Toki was winding down the tour in the least visited location in the vast building—Charles' office and private rooms. He cracked open the door of the office and peeked inside. Finding their manager missing in action, the Norwegian shoved the door wide and stepped boldly in.

"And heres we has de lawyers-mans' office! Nots very interestings, buts…"

Then, Toki saw it. The large, softly illuminated aquarium against a far wall glowed like a beacon in the dim room. He was drawn to the pale glow like a Fu Manchu-ed moth to a candle, betta bowl in tow.

"Wowie! Look, Pickle, more fishes!"

It was a big tank, with many fish of varying shapes and colors inside. Toki watched them avidly. In particular the huge, chunky fish that seemed to be playing chase with the others caught his attention. It would dart after them in little bursts, forcing them to swim quickly out of its reach.

"He's playings tag!" Without a second thought Toki lifted the aquarium lid. "You wants to play too, don'ts you Pickle? All alone in your liddle bowl wits no friends—Toki lets you play wits de other fishes."

With a small splash, the betta was in. It righted itself quickly in the swirling water, swimming back and forth at the top of the tank. Toki watched happily as his betta and the big brown and orange fish caught sight of each other and began to approach.

"Dat's right, yous guys, has fun in der, okay? Plays nice, now."

It was over very quickly. Without preamble, the other fish shot forward. There was a splash, a flurry of bubbles, and suddenly all that remained of Pickles the betta was a small section of red tailfin sticking out of the larger fish's maw. Toki's jaw dropped.

"Eeeeaaaaahh~!!"

Ofdensen chose an unfortunate time to return to his office. When he opened the door it was to mass amounts of splashing, screaming, and cursing in both English and Norwegian. Water was everywhere. The rhythm guitarist was up to his elbows in Charles' aquarium, both hands wrapped around the large brown fish and squeezing for all he was worth.

"Stupids dildo fish, lets go of Pickle!!"

The manager's eye twitched. Though bearing witness to the deliberate murder of his own pet, he still managed not to lose his famous cool. "Oh, good heavens. Toki, let go of that oscar right now. Right now, do you hear me?"

"It eats Pickle!"

"You were feeding my oscars pickles…?"

"Nei, it eats Pickle!"

"Pickles the drummer? I just saw him in the hall, and I assure you he is perfectly—"

"NEI!!!"

It took a few minutes for Charles to wring the story out of the traumatized Norwegian. During that time Toki managed to dispatch the offending oscar, despite the other man's best efforts to the contrary. With a deep sigh, the unshakable band manager at last took a handkerchief and pried its smashed corpse out of Toki's grasp.

"Come along, Toki. I think you've done enough damage to my office. Let's go back upstairs and see what we can do."

It was a forlorn guitarist holding an empty betta bowl that turned up in the main room a while later. Upon hearing the story, the other band members shared a hearty laugh at his expense. All of them, that is, but Pickles. He was more than a little displeased with the recent turn of events, and even more so when Ofdensen had the nerve to suggest that he head another foray to the pet shop.

"Sheezus, Toki, ya didn't even have the thing fer three hours! What made ya do somethin' like that?"

Toki sounded miserable. "I just didn'ts wants Pickle to be lonelies…"

"I told ya they was Siamese fightin' fish! They fight. They're not supposed ta have company. An' besides, ya tossed it in with a fast movin' carnivorous fish ten times its size? Poor little betta'd never have a chance against one'a those brutes."

Toki didn't answer. He just looked sadly down into the empty bowl and sighed.

Pickles sighed louder. "We'll go back ta the pet store."

The Norwegian perked up immediately. "Reallys?"

"Yeah, sure. Jest lemme go get another beer... or three…"

Murderface snorted derisively as Pickles went after more booze with the Norwegian in tow and Charles exited stage left, presumably to lay his own ill-fated fish to rest. "It'sh jusht a shtupid fisch. Thoshe guysh baby him way too mucsh."

"Just be's glad he didn'ts has more times to gets attached to it," Skwisgaar pointed out with uncharacteristic wisdom. "Then we's really sees Toki actings all cries-babies. Little idiot."

"True. That'sh very true."

"Hey Murdersface, yous should comes wit us back to de pet libraries."

The bassist cocked an eyebrow. "Why would I wanna do shomething shtupid and pointlessch like that?"

Skwisgaar smiled, ticking off all the cuddly reasons he himself was planning an imminent return to the realm of the beasts. "Well, yous know, dey gots your chinchilla, bunny rabbits, lizards, birds… your dogs, lots of dogs… dey gots de hamsters and pussies cats—"

"Leave off the cat part an' you'd be about right." Pickles was back, apparently ready to get the show on the road. "You guys comin'?"

"I'm out." Nathan, barbeque sauce in hand, was much too intent on experimenting with the lyrics of his new song idea to bother. "But, uh, hey. While you're there ask 'em about piranha delivery. In bulk."

- // - // - // - // -

"Thish ish sho aweshome!"

"Brutal, dood…"

Murderface and Pickles stared, entranced, as a large snake crushed and swallowed a still-twitching rat. It was even cooler in real life than on TV!

Skwisgaar was less inclined to stare at the spectacle—he rather liked furry animals, truth be told—and instead was back at the fish tanks. He feigned indifference, but in reality was intent on helping Toki choose another fish.

"I wants more dan one!" the rhythmist insisted, face nearly fused with the glass front of one tank. "I don'ts wants to has to worries about dem being all lonelies."

The lead rolled his eyes at Toki's logic, but looked at the various fish species anyway. "Whats about a bunch of de smallers ones? Like dese? Or dese?"

Toki looked at the tiny, playful fish cavorting together in a small swarm. "Oh, ja, dose is good! Cans dey lives in de bowl, do yous t'ink?"

A sly gleam entered the Swede's eye. "Hangs on… I asks de sales ladies."

"Okay. Hurries up!"

Half an hour later Skwisgaar returned with a slight swagger, numerous hickeys, and his hair messed up all to hell.

"What takes yous so long?!" Toki demanded.

The blonde only stared.

"Oh, whats-ever. I doesn't wants to knows. Can dose fishes lives in de bowl or nots?"

"Ja, dey can. Gets de ones wits de fancies tails."

Apparently it was easier for Toki to pick a family of fish than a single one. Only a little while later they were leaving the store with an even dozen fantail guppies, and a handful of brochures on the care and keeping of snakes. Skwisgaar waved a casual goodbye to the afternoon shift of female employees.

"I really likes de pet libraries."

- // - // - // - // -

"It wash sho brutal!" Murderface would later excitedly tell Nathan. "One of itsh eyesh popped out! You could almosht hear itsh little ribsh cracking when the shnake tightened up."

"Really? That is pretty brutal." Nathan was obviously suitably impressed, and getting ideas. "Y'know, maybe this pet thing isn't a bad idea. We could do somethin' like make a jungle room. With the piranha pool. And some of those freakin' huge snakes from the Amazon and shit."

"Dood, that'd be so cool!"

"Pffft. Can'ts we haves anyt'ing wit, like… furs? Ands not scales?"

Unnoticed by the rest, Toki and his guppies left the premises. They had some master-pet bonding to do, after all. Heading for his own room, Toki carefully balanced the full bowl and looked down at his new friends.

"Don'ts worries, liddle guys. We's not gonna has no more accidents! We goes straight up de stairs and I shows yous all my airplanes models. We gots to names yous all, too's!"

His intentions were pure. Nevertheless, on the way to his bedroom Toki had to traverse several hallways and pass quite a few other rooms. One of these was the room that contained the hot tub. While walking past it, the Norwegian glanced inside in a very casual way. Then he stopped. He looked back down at his guppies. And he got an ingenious idea.

"Dere's so manies of yous in dere… it must be's crowded! You wants to takes a swim in de big pool waters before we goes back to my room?"

The fish did not protest, so very logically Toki concluded that yes, of course they wanted to take a dip in the hot tub. Kneeling beside the water, he made sure the jets were off and gently tipped up the bowl. However, he had neglected to remember a few rather important things. Namely, that the water in the hot tub was… well, hot. And chemically treated.

It was at that moment that the rest of the band came through the door with towels around their waists, clearly prepared for a relaxing soak. To a man they froze, staring at Toki on his knees next to the tub with fishbowl upraised.

Pickles' eyes bugged. "Toki, no!"

It was too late. Even as the younger guitarist looked up curiously, in went the guppies. To their credit, the fish tried. They floundered about in the near-simmering water for a good five seconds before throwing in the towel and going belly up with a flourish of fancy fins.

Toki peered at them with mild concern. "Yous guys? Is yous okay? Hellos?"

Nathan turned and pointedly walked out.

"Oooh, bushted," Murderface sniggered.

"Is impressive reallys," Skwisgaar commented to Pickles, who was methodically knocking his forehead against the doorframe. "He kills whole family of fishes in one try. Takes less dan two seconds."

- // - // - // - // -

"Hey. Feed the snakes, will ya? Please."

The pet store had officially become Dethklok's obsession of the day. While Nathan and Murderface haunted the reptile section hoping to see the largest constrictor kill and eat something, Skwisgaar was engaging in a friendly challenge: warming up a prickly nightshift manager who had threatened to throw a tarantula in his face if he came within five feet of her.

It was half an hour to closing time.

"Okay, Toki. This is the last try." Pickles seemed almost cheerful as they stood in front of the aquariums for the third time that day. "You mess up with these fish one more time an' it's all over. So pick a good one. An' have fun, ya hear?"

Toki managed to smile nervously as the drummer patted him on the shoulder. "Ja, I wills…"

With a sigh, the Norwegian turned back to the tanks. Like Pickles had said, if he wanted to have a pet at all then his final choice needed to be good. And he needed to make it in less than thirty minutes. Carefully he looked into each tank.

Bettas were out. Guppies were a no. What else was left?

Far down the row, Toki came upon the goldfish. Sweet, simple little goldfish. They had big eyes, cute little round bodies, and pretty fins that swished from side to side behind them as they swam. Charmed, the guitarist bent down for a closer look.

"Hellos dere…"

Two of the smaller fish migrated to the front of the group, swimming intently back and forth in front of Toki as if saying hello right back. He smiled. Two fish... Not one that would be lonely, not a whole lot that would get crowded. A good idea.

"Does yous guys want to comes home wit me?" he asked. "I promise to try reallies hard to keeps you alive and not mess up dis time."

The fish didn't say no.

Soon afterwards they left the store for what promised to be the last time. Nathan had filled out all the proper forms for piranha and snake delivery. Skwisgaar smirked and nudged a wayward tarantula with the toe of his boot as he went out, more than satisfied to have gotten it on with every single woman who worked for the "pet libraries" in the space of a single day.

Toki, for his part, hugged the thrice refilled fish bow. "I has a good feeling about dis time. Everyt'ing's going to be okay wit dese fishes, I can feels it!"

- // - // - // - // -

Unexpectedly, Toki's prediction proved true. Day by day, for an entire week, he cared for the two goldfish flawlessly.

The Norwegian carried their bowl with him everywhere. He talked to them, played his guitar for them, and they watched TV together in the evenings. Chowder and Fish-stick (so jokingly named by Murderface and it had stuck) came to hot tub night, but did not actually enter the tub. Toki even remembered to clean their bowl on alternate days and feed them every evening—but not too much.

"I gotta tell ya, Toki," Pickles commented one afternoon. "Yer takin' really great care'a those things."

"Thanks you, Pickle."

Toki was contentedly washing out the fish bowl at the sink of the smaller Mordhaus kitchen. Pickles and Skwisgaar watched from the sidelines, the drummer drinking his lunch and the Swede polishing off the last of a sandwich.

"Is it be my imaginings, or does de fishes look bigger dan usuals?"

"Nah, it's not you. Toki's got 'em so happy they're growin' fast, is all."

Toki puffed up proudly. "Oh, hey, dat reminds me…" Leaving the now sparkling bowl and its occupants on the countertop next to the sink, he moved to the refrigerator. "I sees on de Internets dat golds-fishes likes lemons."

"Lemons? No kiddin'."

"Seriously! Dey eats de juicy pulps on de insides."

"So, you puts in de fruits and makes lemon-aides in your fishes bowl?" Skwisgaar smirked. Finished with his sandwich, he took the plate of scraps and crossed to the sink. The garbage disposal was switched on. "Tasty."

Toki was slicing lemons and making rude faces at Skwisgaar when Nathan and Murderface exploded into the room, screaming. The younger guitarist jumped, nearly giving himself a really deep and awesome cut with the paring knife. "Hey! Yous maybe knocks first next times?!"

Toki was ignored. The singer and bassist had murderous glares only for one another.

"You stay the hell away from my notebook! NO ONE touches the notebook!"

"I washn't gonna do anything to your damn notebook!"

"You were gonna! I saw the way you were looking at it—like you were gonna mess with it or something!"

"Why the hell would I?! We need your shtupid lyricsh. I'm in thish band too—not like anybody notisches!"

"Yeah, well… my lyrics are not stupid! Just stay away from it!"

"I ought'a jusht pissch on the damn notebook—then they'd be pisschy lyricsh inshtead of jusht schitty onesh!"

With an enraged bellow that literally rattled the windowpanes, Nathan hurled the random bottle of booze he had been clutching throughout the argument. That seemed to be exactly what Murderface had been trying to goad him into, as the bassist promptly hit the deck and waited for the danger to go hurtling past. The bottle missed him by a hairsbreadth—and collided with the fishbowl on the cabinet.

Bowl and bottle shattered simultaneously. Skwisgaar ducked and covered as he was showered with a feisty combination of water, liquor, and broken glass, but recovered a second later and lunged. It was a second too late. A fantastic mess swirled around the sink and disappeared down the wide drain. Moments later, amid the grinding and crunching of mixed aquarium gravel and broken glass being tossed about inside the garbage disposal, a fine shower of blood and golden scales ascended.

Nathan surveyed his frozen band, in particular the young Norwegian staring in mute shock, and slapped a palm to his own forehead. "Oh, hell."

- // - // - // - // -

"You knows, Toki… I try to grab yours fishes for you. I don'ts know why I dids, but… I dids try. Honestly."

Face down on his narrow twin bed, Toki sighed deeply. "I knows. Thanks you, Skwisgaar. I guess I's just not meant to haves pets."

"Aw, hey, ya can't think like that." Pickles dropped down next to him and offered a conciliatory pat on the back. "So ya had a couple accidents at first. So what. You took care'a those last two fishies really great. It was Nat'en's fault they died."

"Was not!"

Toki's head shot up as the singer's gruff voice unexpectedly joined the conversation. "Oh, Nat'ans. I didn'ts know you was here. Don'ts worries about it... I forgives you. I knows it was an a-ski-dents."

Nathan glowered from the doorway. "It was Murderface's fault, too."

"I's not so sures I forgives him yet."

"Well maybe I hate you too, shmart-assch." The bassist peeked around Nathan to glare.

Toki finally deigned to sit up all the way. "Uh, nots to be rude, but… why's yous guys all here in my room? Did yous all come to makes me feels better?"

The front man looked exceedingly uncomfortable, one massive hand held behind his back and out of sight. "Well, you know, I kinda… y'know, since we accidentally did kinda kill your fish and all, and you did kinda take it like a man and stuff… I got you something."

"A present? For me's?" Toki very nearly squealed. When anyone wanted to bribe him into feeling better, there was usually a gift of candy involved somewhere. "Whats is it?"

"Uh… here."

The burden he dropped into the Norwegian's waiting arms was warm, furry, and squirming. Toki's pale blue eyes opened wide as he gasped in disbelief, then squealed with happiness and hugged the wriggling ball of fluff tight. "Oh, wowies—a puppy! I can keeps him, for reals?! Thanks you, Nat'ans, thanks you!!"

Pickles blinked. "Nat'en? Is that a wolf?"

"Yeah. One of the yard wolves had 'em a few weeks ago. This one's the, y'know, the littlest one. It probably would'a died anyway, so…" He shrugged. "No harm in givin' it to Toki, right?"

The younger guitarist was practically cooing as he tickled under the pup's fuzzy chin with one finger. It promptly growled and bit his hand. Toki beamed, heedless of the dripping blood. "Looks at dat, he's a liddle fighter alreadies! I names him Loki, since Loki rhymes with Toki!"

"Jusht get it trained fasht," Murderface advised with some distaste. "I'm the only one who getsh ta have random pee-pee time around here."

"Speaking of that. You might wanna take it outside, Toki. But, uh, don't let the mother get a hold of it again. Took me forever to get it away from her in the first place." Only then did anyone notice that the singer was covered in dirt, bites, and scratches, and had a rather large and obvious rip in his pant leg.

"Okays!" Toki eagerly set the pup on its feet and skipped (yes, literally, skipped) out the door with the little wolf wobbling after him. "Comes on, Loki! We goes outside and play!"

Skwisgaar strummed the Explorer thoughtfully. "Hey, Pickle. Now that Toki has de dog… he's goings to be needing dog stuffs, ja? Leashes, foods bowl, brushes… We goings back to pet libraries?"

"Nope! Not hearin' ya." The drummer jumped up from his seat on the edge of the bed and made a beeline for the hallway, fingers in his ears. "Gonna go get drunk now, yep."

"Comes on, you knows we needs to."

"Dood! Ya got five hundred fan chicks screamin' yer name outside—ya don't need ta go back ta the pet store ta do that!"

"Ja, but it's all abouts de atmospheres."

Pickles seemed likely to argue the point when Toki's voice echoed down the corridor, raised in a scolding but still somehow amused tone.

"No! Dat's a bad Loki! We goes outsides for dat, not uses Skwisgaar's carpet for a B-A-S-T-H-R-O-H-M—"

The Swede's eyes widened in disbelief, then narrowed with rage. He shot out the door, guitar upraised, and dashed for the scene of the crime that threatened the pristine sanctity of his pure white domain. "TOKI!! I swears to all dat's metal, I kills you ands dat little mutts wolf—!"

And so it came to pass that the pitter-patter of little paws was heard up and down the long, dark halls of Mordhaus. It was just as well that no one knew what kind of carnage would soon be wrecked by the teething jaws of doom, what utter destruction would be the result of a rapidly growing wolf pup and his sometimes hyperactive, always fun-loving owner over the coming weeks and months. Right then the members of Dethklok were blissfully unaware of all that.

At that particular moment, their rhythm guitarist was happy. And that was pretty much all that really counted. Mostly.

- // - // - // - // -

The end… or the beginning.

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(2nd)AN: I'll just sheepishly slink out of range of any thrown slippers, rocks, or Dethphones… I needed to do something random and pointless. Morbid humor and senseless violence are incredibly soothing at times…

Now I get to focus on homework, encroaching final exams, and hopefully finishing my other fan fics. Have a fun Autumn, everybody!