I've been putting off posting this last set, but eh. I just need to do it XD

The last one is my absolute favorite out of this entire list, and I hope, while bittersweet, you enjoy it as well

096. Thrilled (378)

Autumn's memories before the splicing were hazy, at best. Her memory of everything tended to be hazy, but life before being dropped onto a conveyor belt in the back of the pet shop was the hardest to remember.

If she tried really hard, she could remember her family. Her mommy and sisters and how they'd been sold off one by one. But she wasn't for sale, she knew that. She was special, the human had once said. It had made her preen and purr even then. She did take very good care of herself, keeping her cinnamon fur soft and shiny. There was a belt of white around her waist that she knew none of her family had had, so she kept that just as clean.

But the male had been a surprise. She hadn't known what to do with him at the time, the six month old mouse special in more than just her coloring. But then the oreo cookie mouse had pushed her down and-

Whatever protective shield was in her mind would always drop then, keeping her from remembering what had happened after the push, and they never picked up again until the male was gone from her cage. She remembered feeling the movement inside her, the growing of her belly until she looked as though she'd swallowed a golf ball.

She remembered the love so easily, squeaking soothingly to the baby in her because she could hear the responses so clearly in her head. She'd built a lovely nest like a responsible mommy and had been ready to curl up and bring the squeaky bundle into the world when she'd been set on the conveyor belt instead. That wasn't her nest, and it had been so confusing even after her head had gone fizzle-dizzle-wizzle-snork. Snork.

But then she'd been put back into her cage to hide away in her nest and there was absolutely nothing more thrilling than when the baby squeaked the first time. Autumn gasped, resting her nose to her daughter's. "Don't worry, baby-baby. I'm your mommy and I'll be with you for always."

She brushed her lips against the familiarly shaped head and giggled softly, curling around the little girl so she could have her first meal. "I love you, Apple."

097. Dealing (444)

He knew something was wrong. Pinny was... Well, Pinny was his boyfriend. Of course he knew something was wrong. There were times when he would stumble and Bay knew, he just knew, that Pinny wasn't supposed to stumble. He wasn't growing properly either, the deja vu that often tried so hard to make itself known arguing against what his eyes were seeing.

But it wasn't until he listened in to a conversation between Rodoric and Theodore that he discovered exactly what the problem was and he had to hide in one of the passageways clutching his heart while the voice ranted in his head. It was his voice, but it was older. No! No! Everything was perfect. The timing was perfect. We were pondering the same thing; we have to be together. I have to be with him!

There was a possibility, a strong one, that this wouldn't be fixed with surgery. It was possible that he would never wake up, and then what? They couldn't grow old together that way, and they were supposed to. They needed to. Pinky couldn't be on his own! And, if Bay bothered to think on it, he knew he couldn't be alone either.

He didn't discuss it with Pinny, allowing the older family members to explain the situation even though he knew he could get Pinny to listen better than any of them. He didn't want to explain, didn't want to make the worst of possibilities possible. And the older him that lived inside was frantic, had never been faced with something like this before, so both were left floundering.

Until the day Pinny was going to leave with Rodoric and Tucker. He swallowed hard, packed a bag as they'd be there quite a while if everything went right, and was waiting at the door, his chin lifted as if daring the two adults to argue. Pinny wasn't going without him and that was that. The argument that followed, because Tucker was adept at making things difficult, ended with Bay grabbing Pinny's hand and leading him to the car. He'd take him alone if he had to and Rodoric could catch up, he decided, and felt no small amount of satisfaction when both adults got into the vehicle after them without further argument.

He may not have known how to deal with the diagnosis and the thought of losing the one thing in life he needed above anything else, but he knew where he was needed. And he was needed by Pinny's side, soothing him through every step that followed, and being the first thing his friend saw when those blue, bleary eyes opened after his surgery.

098. Reflect (179)

An old mouse. Graying fur, slightly drooped ears because he didn't have the strength to hold them up all the way any longer. Little spectacles that made him appear distinguished, perched on a red button nose that allowed pink eyes to see. They looked rather dull, slightly blank. Confused, the more he gazed into them.

So he moved on. A large head. It must've held a massive mind, riddled with intense ponderings and plans. The body was on the chubby side, though it was slowly slimming. He often forgot to eat unless he was told, but the mouse didn't know that.

Frowning lips slowly curved, a trembling hand lifting slowly off of a wooden cane. And he waved. "Hi," he said quietly, and soon turned away to go and find something new to do. Maybe color. He did like to color even if Snowball thought it was a waste of time.

He had no idea that the aged mouse he'd greeted was himself, a reflection in a mirror he'd passed by chance. And he soon forgot the encounter anyway.

099. Embarrassment (218)

"Daddy?" Brain looked up at the voice, lifting a brow as his youngest daughter flitted into the room. She climbed onto his desk and bounced over, throwing her arms around him even though he was in the middle of a video conference with a dignitary from Istanbul.

With a quiet sigh, the emperor patted his daughter's back and slowly eased out of the embrace. "Hello, Cerebellum. Do you require something?"

"Yes!" she chirped, clapping her hands together and lacing the fingers. "I have a very, very important question! Zort!"

"Ah. Can it wait a few more minutes? I'm working, Bella."

Her ears wilted a little and the representative waved a hand from where he sat behind his own desk an ocean away. "Emperor, I have daughters as well. Please, take her question. It is fine."

He hadn't asked permission, his fur bristling a bit. He was the emperor. If he wanted to take the question, he would. And now, thanks to the baboon, he had no choice. Bella's eyes had brightened and he couldn't refuse that blue gaze. "Alright, Cerebellum, what is it?"

"I need to know something important about love things." When he keeled over, red from the tips of his ears to his toes, Bella cocked her head to the side and wondered what was wrong.

100. Death (536)

Brain sighed quietly, snuggled in his husband's lap as they watched the goings-on together. Pinky's chin was nestled contentedly on his chubby big chubby head, his tail swishing behind him. "Oh, Brain! See? We have such a big family!"

"Yes, Pinky, I see them." And it panged his heart that he hadn't been able to appreciate them properly the past few months. He'd even missed a birth, though he smiled in fondness at the white and yellow mouse now. This great-granddaughter would take over the world someday; Brain knew it as simply as he did his own name. It was just there, which was fascinating. He'd always had to work for knowledge before, reading and researching. But now he only had to research if he wanted to, knowledge of anything just there if he wanted it. He knew it was the same for his husband, but darling Pinky never had wanted anything beyond simple pleasures.

He tilted his head back, granted one of those simple pleasures, and received a warm kiss for his smile. Another thing he'd missed over the months of his mind slipping away, an incurable disease rotting him from the inside. At least his son and nephew-in-law were on the verge of a breakthrough. It would take his great-nephew's input, and it was so very difficult not to reach down and give him that nudge. But it would come in time, just a little bit more of it. They were so smart. He'd done even better than he could've hoped, leading their family and shaping the world into something they would be happy in.

If only his baby would be happy. "Oh, Brain," Pinky sighed, "she's sad again."

"I know, Pinky." Together they watched their oldest daughter standing in front of the two flower bushes which marked their graves. Ballerina roses and globe amaranths, so close their stems tangled in ways that should've been detrimental to them both, but Brain suspected that their continued existence was one of Pinky's simple pleasures.

She fiddled with her scarf, gazing at the flower bushes with damp eyes, and Brain sighed. This, he had no qualms over giving a small nudge. The boy needed it sometimes and, really, it was entertaining to be able to subtly boss around the punk who had once caused him so much trouble.

Pinky giggled, nuzzling his ear while Colby reached out and tugged his wife close, murmuring something to her that had a smile replacing the tears. "Brain, that's cheating."

"Well, what fun is this if I'm unable to cheat now and again? I want my children to be happy. Even without you and I there with them."

"Me too, Brain." Pinky gave him another kiss, his entire body wiggling excitedly. It was so nice to have found Brain again! If he'd known Mr. Hals-Timers had been bringing his chubby-hubby love to this place, he wouldn't have spent the past few months being so sad! "Want to play hopscotch?"

"You play hopscotch." Brain gave his companion a fond pat. "I'll watch."

"But that's no fun, Brain!" He pressed their noses together, purring as another smile spread across his lover's features.

"But that's where you're wrong, my dear. Watching is plenty fun."