Disclaimer: this is a work of a fan for fans and is not made for profit. I do not own Aria (well I have the first season anime boxset and the first two Aqua manga but not the rights) which is the property of Kozue Amano and licensed to others but not to me (more the pity). Please enjoy and (begs) don't sue!

A Cat's Love

Once in long ago Japan, there lived cat. He was a little black cat of an indeterminate breed like many cats all around the world but one thing set him apart, his love. He loved his mistress with every part of his being for who would not? She was kind and gentle, full of life with a way of seeing the world as if it was a treasure of greatest import and happiness. She brightened everyone's life around her and he, of course, was no different in that respect. He remembered her sweet praise for his mousing prowess as he showed the fruits of his duty for he would suffer no live mouse near her. Indeed such was his love for her and her regard for him that he became known to all in the village as her cat, a joyful title he accepted with all his heart.

One day though, a darkness befell upon the village in the shape of an oni. This demon was a fearsome beastly creature that stood seven feet tall and wore a face not unlike a boar's. His body seemed human except for the corded muscular arms that numbered to four and he had feet like a goat as well as a tail like a cow. The villagers quaked and cried for mercy beneath his loathsome gaze after he had killed the few young men who tried to defeat him. They had no choice but to give to his demands.

A month had past and the oni watched as the villagers paid him his harsh tribute and it was during this time when his eyes found the young woman everyone loved. Finally he decided that she would be his and so one day he came and took her. Despite how much the villagers loved her, they did not fight him for how could they when he would only slaughter more of them. They were only weak humans. Yet there was still one warrior amongst them that the oni had not slaughtered, One that would fight the oni for the girl's freedom and that was her cat!

How could he not fight for her? He was her cat, her companion, her champion when she needed him and she needed him right now. So he tracked the oni to his lair and laid his plans for he knew that he was not as strong which meant he was need all his stealth and cunning to defeat the oni and free her. His heart ached to see her rare crying as the frustrated demon demanded she eat the berries and fish he offered. The oni growled making her shrink back and the cat's fur rise in anger. How dare any creature threaten his mistress!

Suddenly, setting all caution and fear aside the cat attacked going for the gruesome face of the oni. He dug his claws as deep as he could and he growled as loud as he could in counterpoint to the demon's roar of surprised pain. Seeing the large claw tipped hands reaching for him, he jumped away to a shoulder where he scratched with all his might. Again he quickly dodged the hands and resumed attacking the oni's face finally taking an eye out. Yet as he did, one hand managed to smack him away.

He hit the ground and rolled a bit before stopping, his breath lost to the hard landing.

The scream of his mistress forced his sore body to surge to his feet and jump away as the oni tried to stomp on him. Finally regaining his breath, he took to the offensive once again, attacking the massive legs. He was determined no matter what to defeat this foul being if it took all he had. For her who had made his life special he would do no less than give his all even his life. He scratched until his claws broke and he bit anything he could including those grasping hands. Sadly though, the hands finally caught him and he indeed lost his life as they squeezed him and threw him away to the side.

"What would she do without him?" The cat cried out in the blank blackness it found itself. "I can not let her go!" He tried to get up but he could not feel anything but his despair. He wailed his loss. He raged his anger. He moaned his helplessness. He had to get back and save her.

Even as he lay, his beautiful mistress had rushed to the dead body and cradled it to her breast. This angered the demon more and he tore the cat's corpse away to fling it far away. She jumped up and beat futilely against him but to no avail for she did not possess anything but her soft fist. He backhanded her and raised the body high. Then he yelped once more in pain. Looking at his hand he saw the cat was back! The cat bit deep in his finger, severing it and causing it to release the tiny reanimated warrior. The cat now a bakeneko faced him with newly red eyes and roared a growl that would have made a tiger proud.

He had returned giving up all his lives for just one unnatural one just for her. He would save and protect her as she had when he had been just a weak kitten. He would lavish his undying love as she had lavished him with her love. He would be there for all her lives as she had been for him. This demon would feel his wrath for daring to take his mistress against her will. He grew until he was near the demon's own size and with a mighty leap attacked. Now no mere cat, he was able to pin the oni down and kill it like he had all the mice he had hunted once before. He then dragged the dead demon over to her to present his success.

She jumped up and crying, hugged his large form in happiness of his living and dropping those sweet words of praise for his victory. While he liked it a lot, he felt a hint of unhappiness. Realizing what caused it, he shrank down to his usual size and then lay in her soft arms with a buzzing purr. This was truly his greatest victory. She stumbled up with him firmly in her hug and carried him back home.

When they arrived in the village, everyone was shocked. They gathered around her demanded the story of her escape in fear but she told them that the oni was dead. A few old men crept to where she told them the dead demon lay and confirmed her words. Returning they insisted on hearing everything about the battle that they saw had be waged. She, intelligent as she was, changed the story a little claiming that her cat had called a large feline kami to her aid. This impressed the villagers who somehow managed a feast in his honor. He understood, she had lied to keep the others from fearing him so they would allow him to stay. He was sad but loved her all the more for her sacrafice of honesty.

Years flew by and somehow they kept the secret of his immortality but she was not. He watched her grow older, take a good man for a mate and have children. He protected them and kept the mice away over the years. Near the end she held him in her frail arms as they sat in the sun and he looked into her eyes. His eyes turned red and using the strong bond between them while looking in her eyes, he spoke a promise to her.

She smiled in joy and closed her eyes. With one final hug and breath, she was gone.