It was a rather cool night. Well, it was cool for New Mexico, which wasn't saying much.
Jane Foster and Thor Odinson lay in a rather quiet part of one of the state's many broad plains. It wasn't too far from Jane's research center, where Darcy was currently snoring. The night was nice; if she weren't such a devoted scientist, she would say that it seemed like all the stars were visible.
She and Thor, who lay next to her and held her hand, were stargazing. "That," Jane said, pointing to a constellation near where the moon sat, "is the constellation Leo. Its one of the star signs Darcy was talking about earlier. Don't listen to her about those, though. Stars tell stories, but not the secret to success in life." Jane also did not have a horrible love life, thank you very much. Zodiacs were foolish anyway.
Thor chuckled; Jane could feel the rumbling noise in her bones. "Friend Darcy was merely jesting." She smiled at him. For an alien, he understood her pretty well. "What is the name of this star-group?" Wiggling closer to him so she could see exactly where he was pointing (yes, that was why), Jane looked at the sky thoughtfully.
"That one is Monoceros. It's a unicorn, which is basically a horse with a horn on its head. Unicorns are said to have magical powers."
"Like Loki with his helmet, then?"
Jane bit back giggles at the comparison of Loki and a unicorn, but nodded thoughtfully. A gust of wind, not the first of tonight, rustled her hair. She shivered, wishing she had brought a jacket. Thor noticed, and stood.
Holding a hand out to help her up, he said, "Come, it grows late. And you feel the cold more than I. We must return."
She was a bit reluctant to end such a nice time with Thor (for who knows how much she'll actually have with him this time?) but took his hand nonetheless. Their hands were still clasped as they walked towards the research center. It was a lovely end to a quiet night. Even with Thor's tendency to be louder than most. Jane had, of course, suggested they go star-gazing that night. Thor agreed and was pleased with the plans. They spent nearly two hours laying under the sky, staring at the stars. He told her stories of his constellations; she explained a few of the mythological theories behind hers. Their time together was pleasant and unexpectedly intimate beneath the stars. Once, after telling Jane a tale of one of his stars involving a great warrior rescuing his love, he had even kissed her. She wasn't sure there had ever been a better date.
The two were most of the way to their destination when a horrid, broken sound rang out amongst the darkness. Immediately, Thor moved in front of Jane. When he saw no threat, the demi-god turned to the scientist with a confused expression. "What creature makes such a noise?"
Not entirely sure herself, Jane scanned the empty area. After a moment, the sound repeated itself. Her eyes quickly found what was making the ruckus. A cat, which couldn't be seen clearly from this distance, lay under a bit of brush to their right. She pointed this out to Thor.
"I will determine if it is a threat to you, Jane Foster!"
"Wait! Thor, no, it could be-"
But he was already approaching the animal in long, determined strides. She ignored how well the movements emphasized how "cut" he was and followed after him.
The cat, a hideous thing, hissed at Thor. As it tried to retreat further into the brush, Jane got a clear look at it.
Even for a stray, it was awfully mangy. Its fur was a mess of matted, light orange with lighter stripes. The thing was extremely large and had eyes the size of saucers. They glinted in the night as it swatted a giant paw at Thor. The claws were long and a tad ragged. Scars and scabs criss-crossed the creature's body, outlining the muscular build. The cat - if it could still be called that - was desperately in need of grooming. Despite its appearance and hissing, Thor reached down and grasped the cat by its stomach. It mewled loudly and swiped at his hands.
"Thor, you have to hold it by the skin on the back of its neck, or it will scratch you," Jane commented, wishing he would put the thing down.
"What is this small creature?" he inquired as he juggled the thing so he could hold it correctly.
"Its a cat, a rather large one actually."
"A lot of people keep them as pets. This one's a stray."
"It means that it doesn't belong to anyone; no one has taken it as a pet." She could certainly tell why.
"This cat would be a worthy pet indeed! Why has no one taken it as a pet?"
Confused by how the thing would be considered worthy, she explained, "Most people like cats they can hold and pet. This one seems to be foul-tempered."
"Nonsense! It is a warrior. See all of its battle scars?" He gestured to the wriggling cat. "It has fought many battles and survived. If that is not worthy, nothing is!" Jane was slightly put off at this, but understood his thought process. Before she could comment, he continued, "I shall take this cat, and it shall be my pet! Come, Jane, it looks as though it should be fed." And he was striding away again. At least he was going in the right direction.
She tried various arguments to get Thor to leave the cat, but he persisted. "This creature is a brave, valuable companion. I shall have it," he rumbled. Sighing, she relented. It would probably run off, anyway.
They returned to the research center, Jane's current residence, and gave the cat a bowl of milk. It was wary and angry at first. Then, Thor sat the milk directly in front of it and gave it a rumbled order to, "Drink, warrior pet," and it did.
After another bowl of milk, the cat was reaching a docile temperament. It let Thor hold it, check for its gender ("A proud, male, warrior pet!"), and pet it. When he finished inspecting the animal, he asked about bathing it.
"Cats aren't very fond of water, actually..."
"Nonetheless, we shall try!"
That's how Jane ended up soaking wet at two in the morning, after a perfect date, with claw marks down her left arm. Thor had finally got the cat to calm down after it scratched her.
"Warrior pet!" he bellowed and it froze in his hands, "You have wounded Jane Foster! She has done naught to you. I demand you let Thor Odison finish the task of bathing you without further harm to anyone!"
Ridiculously, the creature listening. It still squirmed and mewled; there was no scratching or scrambling to escape the bathtub though. "Vile animal," Jane muttered, cleaning her arm with disinfectant.
Minutes later, said animal was wrapped in a towel and held in Thor's arms. "We shall do something about the creature's claws soon, Jane." This time, his rumbling voice was apologetic and sincere. She smiled and kissed his cheek. The cat growled. "There is no need to threaten Jane Foster, warrior pet." The cat quieted down. Jane glared at the animal.
"Have you decided a name for the cat?"
"Is it customary to name one's pet?"
"Yes," Jane said. "They usually have names that represent them or their owner."
"What name is worthy for a warrior cat?"
"The constellation Leo is named after a lion warrior. A lion is a type of very large cat."
"This lion, is it a mighty warrior?"
"Lions are often called the King of the Jungle or King of the Beasts."
Thor looked down at the cat. It was still rather unattractive, with too-big eyes and many scars, but it seemed compliant and a tad...cute. "Leo it shall be."
When Jane saw the cat curled in Thor's arms the next morning, both resting on the couch, she smiled. Even if Leo was ugly and foul, Thor saw his worth. The god of thunder saw something in such a small, insignificant creature that made him claim it as his own and take care of it.
Were she a poet and not a scientist, Jane probably would have remarked on the beauty of the entire situation. Instead, she pulled out a box of Poptarts for when Thor awoke and sat down to her current notes.
"What the hell kind of creature is sleeping in Zeus's arms?" Darcy, who had just entered the room, stared at Leo.
"That's Leo. He's Thor's "warrior pet" that we found last night."
"If I have to taser every stray you run over, we're gonna have problems eventually. Someone'll sue."
"I didn't run the cat over!"
1 Thank to a wry comment from a reviewer, I fixed the issue with changing the cat's name midstory. Oops.
2 I thoroughly hope you enjoy this oneshot with your cat. Various people have, apparently.