Summary: After NIMH and NIMH II. Being the only one in an empty house can be quite daunting, but, on occasion, it gives birth to the opportunity to have a shift in relationships. Jeremy/Mrs. Brisby, first time ever. One-shot.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or any writes to the movie, book, etc. I make no money from this.
Warnings: Inter-specie romance, though completely platonic as anything else would freak me out. Based purely off of the movies (though, only hinted at the second), as I don't really like the heroine's the real name in the book; like, at all.
To go on two legs is very hard. Perhaps four is better, anyway.
-The Island of Doctor Moreau.
The house was empty for the first time since she could ever remember.
Timmy had been the first to leave, strange though it was; she never would have thought she would see her youngest leave home first—and to Thorn Valley of all places!
Martin had been the second to leave, though, when she found out exactly why, she had wept for days and scolded herself for even longer for not going after him. After Timmy had brought him back from NIMH—oh, whatever happened there she wanted to know so she could comfort her eldest child, but she didn't push Martin with that head injury while he was in the small hospital, and then after he was better, he simply didn't want to talk about it and worry her and she let it go—Martin had stayed in Thorn Valley to train with the guardsmice. He seemed happy, the last time she'd visited.
Two weeks ago, Theresa and Cynthia had left for Thorn Valley as well, taking up residence in the library and the little market to find themselves a pair of mates that might live as long as they would. Mrs. Brisby couldn't blame them for that; all of the young male mice around their birth home were…either very likely to die from stupidity, greedy for the food kept in the farmer's kitchen or just plain stupid. They would be much happier in Thorn Valley, she was sure.
Now, Mrs. Brisby was on her own again for the first time since she was just a yearling, before she'd ever met Jonathan. It was…different.
Sighing as she made her bed, morning air and a light chill running through her little cinderblock house with a rusted out iron skillet for a roof—all sooty metal and strings running through holes in it, but still beautiful for a mere mouse home—Mrs. Brisby listened to the echoing, terribly lonely sound of silence.
The bed made perfect from every end to every seam and perfectly lined up, the little lady mouse grabbed her red shawl and made for the kitchen. No doubt, she would be making a breakfast too big for herself again.
It is not quite winter time yet; there is no snow falling from the skies to litter the grown in an endless blanket or complete sea of white, but the frost has come and it makes it difficult for Jeremy when he has to grip a tree branch to pause in flight, cold air burning the insides of his lungs. His bony legs and claws snag a spindly grey and dusty white bough, and he has to be careful not to let the red and black scarf Mrs. Brisby made him some time ago—from the string he'd given her to make things for herself, of course, but she was so thoughtful she gave him what was left of the extra—catch on what was left of the sticks and stems on the bough.
Catching his breath as best he could from about fifty feet above the ground, wind buffeting everything and anybody flying around in this weather, he took off again for the Lee of the large stone in Farmer Fitzgibbon's garden. It was about the time in the day for Mrs. Brisby to be awake and he had a surprise in his closed foot for her that fine morning.
A spin in the air three or so times, another mile, some humming to himself a weird tune he'd heard in the nearby town a month or so ago when he went to eat some of the leftovers of the corn harvest, the skinny, admittedly not very attractive or intimidating crow saw the farm and his destination.
Swooping down and managing to land with one closed foot, Jeremy hopped over to the opening through the back of Mrs. Brisby's home. She'd dug out a large entrance with the girls when he'd started visiting more frequently and he could now walk around her house if he kept himself in a low, bowed position. He still had to peck his beak on the curved rectangular doorway that he still couldn't quite figure out how to work on his own, but that was only polite (a trait he had begun to develop after his girlfriend had left in the way of his long string of hopeless relationships).
He bowed down to his walk-in position (crouched so he looked almost as fat as a bag of marbles at the right angle) and, hiding his enclosed foot, pecked three times on the door. The wind from the north blistered above his head and doused him in a little dust from the large stone overhead.
A few moments passed, but rather than having to peck at the door again, the way in opened and revealed his sweet lady friend, smelling of a broth of some sort and various vegetables; the air inside the abode seeped out and the scent intensified.
"Jeremy," Mrs. Brisby smiled, voice pleasant and bright as always, this time with a little joy in it for a reason he couldn't fathom, seeing as she usually seemed awkwardly hesitant around him, "Why, hello! I wasn't expecting to see you today."
"Heya, Miss Bris'!" The crow greeted with a little flap of his right wing, his longest feather at the end of his wing length almost knocking against her, "Can I come in? I brought a surprise for you from the town. It's a good surprise too, this time, I promise; not like last time."
The light furred mouse gave him a raised brow at the mention of his last surprise—how was he to know she was allergic to moth wing dust? He really did think that with a little sewing, they would have made a nice thing to hang on her wall like a coat of arms—but, never-the-less, stepped sideways to allow the bird into her home. He hopped in, his head not touching the ceiling now that he had better experience wandering around the room s of the abode. She followed after him into the kitchen, silently smiling and secretly happy she wouldn't have to spend the morning by herself.
Entering into the kitchen, Jeremy carefully—yes, he had also learned to be rather careful since he'd met Mrs. Brisby and after her children had started up in leaving her; he found he didn't like making her more distressed than she already was by breaking a plate or a dish of hers or something—removed his scarf and draped it over one of the chairs circling around the kitchen table, also watching his feathers when he walked by the lit fireplace so he didn't catch fire.
"So, what was this surprise you mentioned?" Mrs. Brisby asked, walking to the fire to pull the boiling pot of vegetable soup she had been cooking from the yellow and orange dancing heat in corporeal form, her skin getting a little damp beneath her fur from the steam emitting from the liquid meal.
Jeremy brought his foot up so his feathery arms were covering the surprise, his quick eyes that were trained to watched and look about for things to hold onto keeping his sights on the little mouse as she poured two bowls of soup—without even bothering to ask, since she knew she was hungry (oh, the thoughtfulness she held)—and had her back turned from him a moment.
When she set both bowls on the table and had nothing else in her grip that she might drop and hurt herself with by her own accident or one caused by him, Jeremy brought a wing up and covered both of her eyes.
"Keep your eyes closed," he instructed, voice mellow, for once, but still rather clever and fidgety, as was his own way, "And hold out your hands."
"Jeremy, it's not something that only boys would like, is it?" She asked, a little hesitant, but still did as he said, hands out in front of her, cupped and making her look quite like a little nun about to be given a Eucharist during a communion or something like that. She looked very holy with her eyes closed, his wing removed from her face, and so trusting.
He smiled and gently—gently—set the gift in her hands; his feathers were ruffled from excitement.
"Okay, Miss Bris', you can open your eyes now."
Doing as he said, she opened her baby blues and found—after the feeling of dizziness passed—that, in her hands was a rather beautiful blue diamond with a metal ring attached to the end, a white string looped through it just big enough so the gem could fit over her neck and she could wear it like a necklace—which was probably the point; it looked almost like the stone that she had given to Justin and had saved her family, except polarized. She smiled and gave a breathless 'oh', before looking up at him appreciatively.
"Jeremy…why would you get something so fancy for me?"
"Oh," the crow shrugged, a light blush forming under his plumage, thankfully hidden from the little mouse as he lightly took the gem from her and slipped the string above her head; the length was perfect and the stone itself rested just along her collarbone, "No reason, really. I just found it in Town after the harvest, lying in one of the fields and thought, 'hey, that looks like the Sparkly Miss Bris' had that one time!' and couldn't resist bringing it here."
Mrs. Brisby traced the round outline of the blue gem, her tiny fingers smooth over every slight line and feeling that the stone was most probably real, rather than one of those plastic ones she'd seen Mrs. Fitzgibbons lose in the yard by the farmhouse, "But, I thought you always wanted one of these for yourself?"
Jeremy shrugged again, settling down with a mere tuck of his legs under him to start eating the soup Mrs. Brisby had set down, "Well, I did…and I still kinda do, but…well, it just looks better on you. Do you like it?"
Mrs. Brisby took a seat on the other side of the table so that she was facing her friend, a blush of her own forming as she handed him a spoon that mostly served her as a ladle but would work for him much better than the tiny one she was using, "Of course I do! It's just—"
"Ah, ah, ah, Miss Bris'," Jeremy cut her off, waving his wing back and forth, giving her a soft look, "It's yours now. It's looks much better on you than me anyway."
"It doesn't seem right that you would give me something like this when I have nothing for you, though."
Jeremy gave a loud slurp downing half of his soup, but Mrs. Brisby didn't say anything about it; she knew after spending so much time with him that it couldn't be helped with the way his beak and tongue got in the way of his food on the way down—it was actually kind of cute. She accepted it as one of his many quirks and waited for him to respond as his head tilted back and he swallowed.
"Ah, well," he said, grinning large and profound as he looked through her big glass window she had built into the kitchen that was similar to the one in her and Timmy's room, just smaller; outside the frosty wind had let up and little angel beams of sunlight were poking out of the overcast clouds, "After we're done eating, would you like to go flying?"
She coughed on her own spoonful of soup and he couldn't help a light round of cackling at the look on her face. She'd say yes of course, despite herself, but maybe he'd let her off with a walk instead, as long as she rid on his back.