FMA fic

Feb. 2nd, 2005 10:40 pm
swordage: Kitty cat! (x cat)
[personal profile] swordage
It is a somewhat well-known fact that catnip makes me slightly high. I was sniffing it at regular intervals while writing this. Let that be both excuse and explanation.

Title: Catnip
Series: FMA
Rating: PG
Summary: Cat-chimeras and catnip and jingly balls, oh my! It tried to angst, but I beat it into submission. Yeah, I have no real summary for this one. It's just to tide me over until my gift for [ profile] miss_arel gets done.

Roy stood in the pet store, staring blankly at the cat care section. Cats were not his thing. Dogs, yes, loyal and brave and always obedient, but cats? Cats, with their attitude and sunbeam-naps and sneers when you called them? Roy had no particular love for cats. That, and he was slightly allergic.

“Excuse me, sir? Can I help you?” A pretty young clerk had crept up on him, and he smiled at her. Brilliant: make someone else take care of the details.

“I seem to have come into possession of a cat,” he said with gracious humor. “Could you assist me in finding the necessary supplies?”

“Oh, certainly!” Her blush was rather endearing. “Is it a very large cat, or a kitten, or…?”

“It makes a difference?” He blinked uncertainly. Cats were cats, were they not?

“Oh, yes. You want to give it the proper size bed, litter box, and collar, and you’ll want to match the food type to its age and general health.” She looked so innocent for someone who had just doomed him to carry many large shopping bags.

“It’s a large cat, but thin. I don’t think it’s done growing either.” He sighed, long-suffering. “For such a young scrawny thing, it takes up an awful amount of space.”

“Oh, in that case, you’ll want one of these, and these…” The now annoyingly perky young clerk began to pull obscene amounts of merchandise off the shelves.

Roy stared at the increasing pile of goods and weakly suggested, “Perhaps a cart is in order?”

“Oh, certainly, sir! I’ll get one of the beds down while I’m at it.” He watched her go, then looked over his shoulder at a fish.

“I know,” he told it. “I’m nuts for going along with this, but you haven’t seen Alphonse angry.”

One hour and a high-piled cart later, he called the office and had Havoc come pick him up. Damned if he was going to carry all this back, one block or not. He could deal with the amused twitch of a cigarette.

Luckily, Havoc said not a word, just helped him get all the bags into the car. He didn’t so much as snicker when one bag in particular jingled loudly through the entire ride, and he even helped bring it all up to Roy’s quarters. He didn’t question when he was dismissed before Roy even unlocked the door, either. There was definitely something to be said for canines, Roy decided yet again. Loyalty and dedication and obedience and-

“Whaz ‘at shit?” a familiar voice growled the moment he opened the door. “C’n hear y’ fr’m th’ moon.”

“You come up with the strangest sayings,” he muttered to himself while trying to both hold the door open and shove the bags inside. It involved a great deal of shuffling and cursing, he found.

“C’mon, show me.” That was almost unslurred, and he blinked at his companion.

“You’ve been practicing.” It wasn’t unexpected, but it somehow startled him anyhow. The golden-furred body on his (previously artfully arranged) endtable growled warningly, tail a steady thump against the mahogany.

“Dun’ care ‘bout that,” it muttered sullenly. “Smell funny. Whazit?”

Roy sighed and began sorting the contents of the bags. “Kibble, scratching post, bed, feathers on a stick, hidey hole-cum-scratching post, treats, several books, clay and a litter box, dishes, a collar,” he ignored the scratchy growl after that, “and an insane number of jingly plastic things.”

The tawny creature jumped from its perch to pad over and inspect the goods, its oddly-thumbed paws clicking on the floor in an off-tempo staccato. Roy eyed it cautiously, knowing exactly how much damage those claws could inflict on his legs if he didn’t watch carefully.

“Dun’ smell right. Store an’ an’mals an’ sumthin’.” Yellow eyes regarded him warily, lithe body crouched down, ready to spring in any direction if surprised. “Whazit?”

“Um. Honestly, I haven’t the slightest,” he admitted, shuffling through the bags again. “Oh - I almost forgot this.” He offered the small pouch of herbs for inspection, and nearly gasped when it was snatched from his hand.

“Tha’! Thassit. Go ‘way.” The last was slightly muffled as the pouch was shifted from hand-like paws to the blunt muzzle so the creature could retreat to Roy’s bedroom with its prize. Roy sighed heavily. He was never going to get the fur off his blankets at this rate.

He began finding places for the other things, sending up a small prayer that the cat-bed would actually be slept in, and thus was entirely unprepared for the golden torpedo that nearly took out his kitchen table.

“Looklooklooklook!” it demanded, skidding to a halt in front of him, eyes wide and a bit crazed. “Fasngoodanyermumsahore!”

“I have no idea what you just said,” Roy replied with more than a bit of awe. He danced back when it lunged playfully for his legs, though, and was not pleased by the rapid hiccough he thought might be laughter. He was even more displeased when five claws caught his pantleg, and automatically brought that foot forward to catch the creature. It bounced back, out of range, and bared blunt little fangs. He threw the feather-stick at it, and it pounced on the feathers with a delighted shriek he was sure his neighbors would not appreciate.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” he demanded, but there was no answer other than contented snarls as it wrestled the inanimate toy with great gusto. He ran a hand through his hair in frustration. The thing had been sullen but calm (excepting a few violent incidents) since Roy had first seen it a week ago, and had been remarkably quiet since moving in with Roy yesterday. When it finally wound down, sparing only a lazy swipe at the defeated feathers every now and then, he tentatively approached.

“What got into you?” he asked wonderingly, eyeing the lazy sprawl of limbs and the slow swipe of its tail. “And answer me this time.”

“Smell goo’,” was the slurred reply, yellow eyes slitting happily. “Happy.”

“There’s feathers all over my kitchen,” Roy observed.

“Ded,” was the pleased reply. “Kill dead.”

“It was already- Oh, never mind.” Roy bent over to start picking up the half-eaten feathers everywhere, and carefully tugged one from underneath the creature. It didn’t attack his hand, though, so he gently lifted a leg and tugged a garishly-dyed feather from under its chest. The limb was much harder than he expected, and he idly wondered if it had any muscles in its legs, or if it was just tendons anchored higher. This led to an absent examination of the paw, which only vaguely resembled a true cat paw. It was much larger, for one, with only the slightest webbing between toes. Most important was the thumbs - set a little higher than on a human hand, but definitely thumbs, able to curl across the heavy mat of the paw. A gentle squeeze unsheathed the claws, and he couldn’t help testing the point of one. Scientific inquiry, after all.

“Sto’ m’lesting my han’,” it finally slurred, not sounding the least bit concerned. He dropped the limb in question guiltily and hurried to continue gathering the scattered feathers. They had truly gotten everywhere, and he was sure he looked quite the fool, fishing under the oven. If they caught fire, he’d be the one to pay the expenses, though. He vowed to never again buy anything feathered, and thought uneasily of the jingling toys that were probably going to end up underfoot in the middle of the night.

“You never said how he got hold of a cat,” Roy finally said, surprising himself by speaking at all. The creature stretched slightly, and out of the corner of his eye he saw it examining its own paw, playing with the stretch of the toes and flexing the thumb.

“Was a stray. Nina fed it,” it muttered finally, picking a bit of feather from between its teeth. “Was raining, an’ brought it inside. Thin. Hungry.”

“What happened?” Roy tried to make his voice gentle, less of an intrusion than a prompt. He still hadn’t heard the story, just took this sad creature in without a word of question.

“Tucker. Din’ wanna fail evalu… eva… eval’shun. Slept over, kept Nina company. Woke up in night, wasn’ thinking right. Went with Tucker.” It was the most Roy had heard it speak at one time, and he didn’t push for more, just went to sit on the floor next to it.

“When I was researching chimeras,” he murmured with the air of one remembering a long way back, “I wondered about human-animal chimeras. Did they retain human intelligence? Did they simply gain more, become something greater? Or would the combination be inexact, would the parts not mesh into a whole? I finally decided it wasn’t something I was ready to consider. I went on to gases.”

They sat in companionable silence for a while, and then the tawny body pulled itself up and sat properly.

“Bring me to work,” it said, and its glare brooked no opposition. Roy avoided its gaze, staring blankly at the window instead.

“That would not be wise,” he finally replied, letting a hint of official disapproval into his tone.

“Can’t find Stone stuck here,” Edward growled, and Roy finally noticed that his nails were digging painfully into his palms.

“Alphonse still freezes up whenever he sees you,” he reminded Ed, examining the blood welling up in crescents on both hands.

“I can ride on him,” Ed said stubbornly. “He has cats in him alla time. Can still draw array.” He held up a paw and flexed the thumb in demonstration.

“That’s not the point.” Roy shook his head. “You’re not human. You can’t-”

“I can!” Ed sprang onto Roy’s shoulders and bit his ear ferociously, ignoring the startled yell. “Can still do it! Can talk, can draw, can fix! Can fix!”

Roy reached up and grabbed Ed around the middle, awkwardly hauling the cat-shape off his shoulders and holding it out at arm’s length. They glared at each other, and then Roy gave in. He pulled the small shape against his chest, ignoring when Ed froze at the sudden intimacy. Smoothing the velvety ears was the next natural step, and the closest thing he could manage to a hug.

“You’re not alright,” he murmured against the fur of Ed’s back. “You can’t fix this.”

“Can fix Al,” it growled, but it lacked true anger, off-balance from the embrace. “Can do that. Shu’up.”

“Bringing you to the office won’t help. It’ll just remind you of what you’ve lost. You‘re not ready.” It’s a perfectly rational explanation, and Roy wished it were the reason behind his own reluctance.

“Need to know,” Ed said sullenly. “No one will notice a cat.”

Roy carefully set Ed on the floor and went to wash his face before the dander made his eyes water. “No, no one will notice a cat. If you can convince Al to hide you, and if you can stay around Hawkeye or myself the entire time, you can come.”

“Thanks, Dad,” was the amused and sarcastic reply. Roy twitched and tossed a handful of water at Ed, who screeched outrage and attacked his legs.

“Damnit, Ed, cats run away when you toss water at them!” he yelled while trying to fend Ed’s claws off with the sole of his boot.

“Who’re you callin’ a flea-bitten hairball, huh?” Ed demanded, and Roy doubled over in helpless laughter as his pantlegs were shredded beyond repair. Nothing had really changed after all, when it came down to it.


1. Catnip
2. Feline
3. Coin's Mettle
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