Title: "The Luckiest Daddy in the World"
Author: Pirate Turner
Dedicated To: My darling, loving husband Jack - Happy Father's Day, my sweet, and thanks for being such a wonderful father for all of our babies and taking such great care of us all!
Rating: G
Summary: The kittens run to Thomas while Duchess is away, prompting discussions, revelations, and familial loving.
Warnings: Het
Word Count: 2,444
Disclaimer: Thomas O'Malley, Duchess, her kittens, Madame, and the Aristocats are & TM Disney and any other respective owners, none of which are the author, and are used without permission. Everything else is & TM the author. The author makes absolutely no profit off of this work of fan fiction, and no copyright infringement is intended.

"Daddy! Daddy!"

Thomas laid his pointy ears against his furry, orange head as another blast of thunder shook the mansion he'd come to call home, then perked his ears forward at the sound of three, frightened kittens frantically calling for him. The first he heard was little Marie who'd started calling him her Daddy just as soon as he'd decided to stay purrmanently with their family. The fear he heard in her urgent meow grasped Thomas' heart. He whirled with wide, green eyes to face the door of the room he was in just as the trio raced inside.

"Daddy!"

"Thomas!" Berlioz echoed, though Thomas could tell the ebony kitten was trying to keep his fear from being as obvious as his siblings'.

"Mister O'Malley!" Thomas' ears instinctively flattened at Toulouse's call, but he flicked them swiftly back to attention before the delicate, brown kitten could tell that he had hurt his feelings. Thomas didn't understand why Toulouse purrsisted in calling him Mister O'Malley. He longed for all three kittens to call him their Daddy, something he'd never thought would ever happen with any kittens until he'd fallen head over paws for their mother, but only his little Princess, Marie, would so far.

He understood why Berlioz insisted in calling him by his name, because he thought it made him sound more equal to Thomas and wanted to be considered a tom and the male of the household. Calling Thomas, who had stepped into the role the little tyke had coveted without ever intending to harm him and only wanting a chance to love and protect him and his - now their - family, by his name made him appear to be on equal ground with him.

Yet Toulouse was another story altogether. His wonderful paintings were proof enough that the brown boy didn't care about appearing macho, but he was still always achingly formal with Thomas.

Thomas and Duchess had taken each of her kittens aside when they'd decided to stay together and had made certain that they would be okay with their union. Marie had oohed, awed, and sighed over how romantic their relationship was and then immediately asked if Thomas, who she often openly said was cute and dreamy, would be her daddy. She'd been calling him Daddy ever since. Berlioz had announced the arrangement as "groovy" and had given his "purrmission" by congratulatorily slapping Thomas' paw in the gesture he'd seen Thomas and Scat Cat exchange.

Toulouse had been painting when Duchess and he had approached the tiny, and far more talented, Picasso. Duchess had shown Thomas paintings done by the famous human painter, and for the life of him, Thomas couldn't understand why the man was considered an artist, much less a famous one. His paintings were grotesque, sloppy, and impossible to understand whereas Toulouse's paintings were always beautiful and as vivid as life itself.

Toulouse had not answered them verbally at first but had swiftly scattered more paint on his easel and worked feverishly as they talked on, trying to help him understand that his mommy wouldn't love him any less and that he was gaining Thomas' love instead of losing any of hers. When they had paused to catch their breath and search for a way to further explain the situation to the sweet kitten until he would understand, Toulouse had turned his painting to face them with a huge smile on his furry, paint-speckled face. The painting showed Thomas, Duchess, himself, and his siblings as one happy family. Then he had hugged Thomas with a tightness that still made the tomcat want to tear up to this very moment.

Thomas blinked as the kittens' voices finally intruded on his memories. He realized that Marie had ran in between his front legs, was hiding behind his right foreleg, and clinging to his fur with her tiny, white paws. He could hear her terrified, pounding heartbeat as thunder once again rattled their home. She squealed, and Berlioz and Toulouse jumped.

"Please, Mister O'Malley, protect us!"

Berlioz cut eyes at his brother. "What he means, Thomas, is we . . . " He thought quickly. " . . . need your help. You see, Mother is gone to the v-e-t."

Thomas' eyes widened, and his own heartbeat roared in his ears. "What's wrong with her?" he cried.

"Oh, nothing's wrong," Toulouse assured.

"She's just gone for her checkup like she does every year at this time," Berlioz explained. "Madamee insists on them, you know."

Thomas swallowed hard. "She does?" Now his voice sounded as squeaky as Marie when she was scared! More trips to the v-e-t had never been part of the deal!

Lightning and thunder continued to clash outside, and Thomas felt Marie trembling beside him like a tiny, helpless leaf swept into a full-blown tornado. "Easy there, darrrling," he purred reassuringly to her, putting his head between his legs to reach her and comfortingly licking her forehead. "It's okay. You're fine. It's just a mean, ole storm, but it can't hurt you. Ain't nothing gonna hurt you as long as your daddy, Thomas O'Malley, is around." He grinned lovingly down at her as he stroked her tiny body gently with his tongue. "And ain't I the lucky one to get to be your daddy!"

Marie nodded hesitantly and slowly began to purr as Thomas cuddled her and continued stroking her fears away. "I'm lucky too," she purred, looking adoringly up at him out of her big, blue eyes, "'cause I got the best Daddy in the world!"

Thomas felt himself swimming in those darling eyes that were so much like her mother's and gave himself a slight shake. "So what do you boys need my help with?" His green eyes met Toulouse's. "You said something about protecting?"

Thunder roared so greatly that the male kittens jumped a good foot off of the floor. They landed together, shaking all the way from their whiskers through the tips of their tails. Every strand of their fur stuck out. Marie had stopped purring but was nowhere near as scared now as long as she had her daddy there to protect her.

Thomas grinned at the frightened, little boys. "Let me guess . . . " he said, mischief lighting his handsome, furry face. He kept one leg wrapped tenderly but securely around Marie and stretched his left foreleg out in an inviting gesture. Both little boys looked longingly at his offer of protection. They started to ease toward him.

"It's not that I'm scared," Berlioz said. He forced his long, black fur to lay back down, but it immediately fluffed back out at the next boom of thunder.

"Sure it's not," Toulouse teased, wasting no time in reaching Thomas. "Thank you, Mister O'Malley," he said as he started to scoot underneath him.

"Uh huh." Thomas suddenly put his leg down, barring Toulouse passage at the last moment. Toulouse looked up at him with big eyes brimming with tears. "Toulouse, I love you, but . . . " Thomas struggled to choose the right words to use as the kitten's huge tears tore at his heart. "Do you know you just hurt me?"

"N-No," Toulouse whimpered as he trembled before Thomas.

Thomas' long tail curled around his furry buttocks. All three kittens were staring at him with big, confused eyes, but it was Toulouse's tears that he had caused that made Thomas hurt with a pain worse than almost anything he'd ever felt before in his entire life. The one time he'd ever hurt more was when he had thought he had lost Duchess and their - hers, he mentally corrected himself, at the time - kittens. He was doubly blessed to have both Duchess and their kittens lighting his life and filling his every moment with more happiness than he'd ever known before they'd fallen into his world.

He wrapped his left paw around Toulouse and pulled him close to him as he told him softly and sincerely, "You did. I love you, Toulouse. I want to protect you, but I want to do it as more than your friend, more than Mister O'Malley. I want to be more than that to you. I want to be your father."

Toulouse's tears had slowly ebbed. Now he stared up at Thomas in confusion. He continued to tremble, though now only from the fierce storm raging outside again, as he said in a timid voice, "B-But . . . you already are."

Thomas looked at him, clearly amazed. "Then why do your purrsist in calling me Mister O'Malley?" he asked.

Toulouse's cute, little face scrunched up in confusion. "Shouldn't I?"

"Not if I'm your father!"

"Oh." The brown kitten's face fell.

"Well, you wouldn't call your father that, would you?"

"I don't know," Toulouse admitted to him in a small voice. "I . . . We . . . "

Berlioz touched his brother with a comforting paw. His wide eyes lifted to Thomas' gaze. "We never knew our father."

Thomas stared at them in shock. He'd never thought that they might never have known their father - and, therefore, had no way to know how they should act around their daddy or treat him once they got one! Perplexed, he stared at the sweet, little boys before him. What kind of tom could have walked away from Duchess when she was pregnant with his kittens? What cat in their right mind could have chosen to never get to know such darling, loving, and purrfectly wonderful kittens? He couldn't imagine his life without any of the three of them!

He had never known just how empty and lonely his life as a bachelor had been until they and their mother had tumbled into his life and his heart, but now he wouldn't give anything for any of them and knew that life without them wouldn't even be worth living. His heart broke at the emotions he saw shimmering in the tiny tomkittens' eyes. He didn't know how on Earth any one could have ever thrown them away, but if their original father hadn't thrown them away, he would never have gotten the chance to know or love them and he'd be a much lesser cat without them.

"Aw. Come here, you two," Thomas crooned, reaching out with both of his front legs, wrapping his paws around Toulouse and Berlioz, and pulling them into a tight hug.

"Hey!" Marie protested as she was squeezed in the middle. She preened her fur the moment she broke away from her brothers.

Thomas gazed at each tiny face. "I don't know what was wrong with your father to keep him from . . . being able to be with you the first time, and maybe it's mean of me, but I'm glad it happened, 'cause otherwise I never would've gotten the chance to love you or be your daddy. You never have to be without a daddy again now, but it's your choice. I love you."

"I love you too, Daddy!" Toulouse exclaimed, throwing his tiny legs around Thomas' much larger leg and hugging him tightly. He purred as he rubbed his tiny head against his fur. Thomas reached down and rubbed his head against his while reciprocating his purr.

"I . . . " Berlioz wouldn't meet Thomas' gaze as he slowly drew his paw across the floor. "I . . . didn't know I hurt you."

"Me too," Toulouse quickly agreed, looking up at Thomas. "I never would have called you Mister O'Malley if I thought it would hurt you!"

Marie stuck out her tongue at her siblings. "Brothers!" she announced with an air of superiority. "I told you you should call him Daddy!"

"Daddy," Toulouse said decisively.

Thomas grinned and licked his head. "It's okay," he assured both little boys. "I knew you weren't trying to hurt me, but I had to say something or we would've never had this talk and I wouldn't have known how to get you to call me daddy. I'm very proud to be your daddy and very, very happy that you're calling me daddy now."

"I would have before," Toulouse told him, "but I thought it was the proper," he gave his head a prideful, little shake, "aristocatic thing to do."

"To call me Mister O'Malley?"

"Yes."

"Well, for a change, sweetheart," Thomas purred, "forget the aristocatic thing and just be you." He tackled him gently but froze and almost jumped when another blast of thunder shook the mansion.

All three kittens squealed and raced underneath Thomas. Thomas pulled them close to his heart and nestled around them. He purred deeply to them as he bathed each of them in turn, his little, pink tongue giving his babies comfort and reassurance.

The three kittens purred in return. "I love you, Daddy!" Marie exclaimed.

"I love you too, Daddy!" Toulouse told Thomas.

"And I love you three, Daddy!" Berlioz mewed.

"I said it first!" Marie pointed out.

"It doesn't matter," Thomas spoke gently as he rubbed his head against each of the little kittens who he loved with all his heart, "who said it first. It only matters that you do and I love you all too." He laid down with them, his long, white-tipped tail curling about his body in contentment. "You've made me the happiest and luckiest Daddy ever in the whole, wide world."

He continued to purr reassuringly to them, comfortingly wash their bodies, and protect them from the storm. Marie slowly fell to sleep and was followed by her brothers. Toulouse tried to put a paw over his mouth as he yawned in Thomas' face. "I love you, Daddy," he purred one more time before falling asleep where he was nestled in with Marie and Berlioz.

"I love you too, my kittens," Thomas sleepily replied just before he dozed off. He was still laying there, with the kittens pulled close to him and his body wrapped around them, when the storm finally passed and even much later when Duchess and Madamee returned.

"Isn't that a lovely sight?" Madamee commented as she put Duchess down onto the floor so that she could pad over to her life mate and kittens. "You really found a keeper in that one, Duchess."

Duchess meowed to her oldest friend, letting her know that she was very well aware of what a wonderful keeper Thomas was, how glad she was that he loved her and their kittens and that her kittens loved him in return, how proud she was to have his love and be his mate, and how much infinitely happier she was with her family than she'd ever been before. She curled her body around Thomas', licked his ear, and fell asleep with her furry cheek laying next to his.

The End

Author's Note: If you enjoyed this story, or any of my other writings, I hope you'll consider joining my friends and I at a brand new fan fic/art site called Ficcers Unite. At Ficcers Unite, we welcome all fandoms, pairings (slash and het), and even no pairings at all; hope to begin a Marvel/Disney RPG soon; and plan on issuing challenges every day of the week! We currently only have one day when a new challenge is not posted and hope to fill that position soon. Disney/Marvel challenges are posted on Mondays and last the week (as do all the other challenges too). Come on over and check us out at today!