prompt: birds, flight, return, cold, new, shelter, together, roots, growth

A/N: No, I have no idea where this is in the canon timeline. We've lapped ourselves multiple times. But to semi-quote Mystery Science Theater, "Repeat to yourself it's just a fic, I should really just relax."

Whiskers is having a most excellent season. The big window in the living room has become a grand source of entertainment. The leaves on the tree are falling very... very... very slowly, and there are arrogant tasty tweety little birds hopping around in the yard. Both the leaves and the birds are clearly classified as Prey and as soon as Whiskers manages to slip outside, he will declare them as such and they shall be destroyed by his Most Excellent Hunting Skills.

Also, it is getting colder outside. Whiskers is most naturally developing a Most Appealing plumpness in his belly area. This look would perhaps be a bit questionable on lesser cats, but in Whiskers' case it only adds to his overall appeal. This plumpness, along with a distinct increase in his delightfully fluffy and shiny white fur, has made him into the perfect lap companion for the girl. (Not that he wasn't before, but there was always room for improvement. Whiskers is nothing if not humble.)

And the girl most definitely needs Whiskers' lap companionness right now, because the Best and Most Wonderful and Fabulously Joyful Event in the History of the Entire World has FINALLY occurred.

The dog-boy is gone.

GONE! He has not been seen in DAYS!

Obviously he has finally recognized Whiskers' inherent superiority and slunk off into exile, as befits a vanquished foe.

Whiskers cannot deny that the dog-boy's absence has made the girl very sad. Her face gets salty a lot of the time, and she keeps poking at the Noisy and Generally Annoying box that she holds to her ear.

"Jake? Hi. It's Bella. Again. It's been almost two weeks since you... Anyway, your dad said you have mono. I'm sorry you're so sick. I could make you some soup, or come keep you company if you wanted, or... please, just call me, okay? Bye."

But the girl's sadness has left her even more in need of lap time, and Whiskers is all too happy to provide it. The girl does not need the dog-boy, and Whiskers will prove it.

He sits on her bed and nudges her head and licks all the salt off her cheeks.

"Thanks, Whiskers. What would I do without you?"

Whiskers purrs.

Then there is a Tap Tap Tap at the window. The girl jumps out of bed so fast that Whiskers' tongue licks the pillow by accident.

"Jake? What are you- oh my gosh, you're going to fall!"

"No, I'm not. Back up."

The dog-boy jumps in the window.


"I thought you were sick!"

"Not really. Well, kind of."

"So where were you?"

"I... well... Bells, honey, you're not going to believe this."

Whiskers hisses.