Balancing Lives
by Fur and Fantasy
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

After watching the nervous, ill-kept kit for a couple days, Thena Whitespar decided that she need to get to know the street kit a little better. She spent the late morning putting together a picnic lunch of sandwiches, fruit, pasta salad and cookies she'd baked that morning. A little after noon she casually walked out to the picnic table near the rock garden in her backyard and set out the lunch for two, and sat down.

"Hello, kit." She said gently, just loud enough for the youngster on the other side of the privacy hedge to hear her, once the hedge told her he was there. "You're just in time for lunch, please join me." The grandmotherly Ocelot asked gently in voice that was completely request. Sitting at the picnic table in an old fashioned sundress and wearing a hat to keep off the late summer sun, she seemed almost out of place in the modern world, but also very non-threatening.

She waited patiently, a skill born of decades of dealing with special-needs and unusual kittens of all kinds. Still she had nearly finished slowly sipping a glass of lemonade before the hedge indicated the young Ocelot was moving towards her. She did her best not to seem to be watching him as the adolescent male edged closer. Despite the filthy state of his fur and clothing, he seemed much better fed than most street kittens she'd seen.

"Just help yourself." She said, gently encouraging him. He seemed to be about the same age as her daughter's youngest, which made her wonder absently if perhaps he had the Gift as well. That was a determination that could be made at a later time though, when he felt a little more comfortable around her. A subject ready to bolt at the slightest provocation was not the best way to check and if he did, it was most unlikely he had a mentor to teach him.

Thena watched him approach without seeming to watch him, using both her second glass of lemonade and a half sandwich to cover for her continued presence. Despite his apparent hunger and nervousness, he didn't bolt in and just grab something. Instead the kit edged forward, his eyes never leaving the matronly female Ocelot as he reached for a large slice of melon and began to eat standing up with The table between them.

"It's alright, kit." She said gently reassuring him. "No danger here." She added with quiet sincerity.

The words earned her a nervous look but the kit kept eating with the speed only a teenaged male could manage. His hunger and something else quickly overcame his fears of her, at least for the moment.

She smiled softly and let him eat in peace. With street kits, talking too much was usually not a good idea. They really had to decide on their own whether or not to trust you, and what you did often had a lot more impact than what you said. She watched a bit more carefully as he slowed his eating a bit; full but unwilling to give up what was likely the best meal he'd had in a while.

"Thank you, ma'am." He spoke timidly, a reflex from before the streets.

"You're welcome, kit." She said with a gentle smile. The fact that he remembered basic manners told her that he'd had a decent home before the streets and that he hadn't been on them too long, less than a year would be her guess. "My name's Thena, what's yours?" She asked gently.

The question made him suddenly nervous ... embarrass and a little afraid even ... but he answered her with only a slight hesitation.

"Mouse, ma'am." He dropped his eyes from her momentarily for the first time since he'd come into view.

"Nice to meet you, Mouse." She said easily, accepting the name despite having doubts that it was his given name. "You look like you could use a long hot shower." She observed with motherly concern. "You're welcome to come inside and get cleaned up, if you want." She offered very gently, leaving it available without pushing the issue. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't.

He shifted on his feet, torn between hard-learned lessons, old ones and instincts he'd never really thought to determine the validity of. In the end the thought of being naked and even more helpless than usual ended the thought of being clean and he bolted, fading from her senses and awareness even before he disappeared into the greenery.

The grass told her of the pressure on its leaves as the kit left. She sighed, it was always such a walking on eggshells with street kits. Offers that some would jump on others would run from, you just never could be sure how to approach them. "Come back any time, Mouse." She said sincerely, before he was out of earshot.

Three meals and two days of increasingly willing contact with Mouse over food brought Thena out with purpose, well-concealed, but a purpose non-the-less now that her niece had provided the background on this kit's presence.

"Hello, Mouse." She said in her usual gentle, encouraging voice as he approached watchfully. "Care to join me for dinner?" She asked as she finished setting the picnic table for dinner.

"Yes, ma'am." He answered quietly, trying to make himself believe that this wasn't some kind of carefully laid out trap. "You cook like my mom."

"Thank you, Mouse." She smiled warmly. "Help yourself." She said indicating the various dishes, as she took the cover off a plate of warm garlic bread. "Is Mouse what your parents named you?" She asked gently, clearly curious.

He paused with a piece of bread half way to his mouth, then slowly shook his head. "They called me Terrin." He said before starting to munch hungrily.

"Which do you want to be called?" She asked gently, between sips of milk.

Again he had to conceder, then dropped his eyes a bit. "Terrin died with them." He admitted quietly. "I liked things back then better."

"He didn't die." Thena said gently, but very serious. "Hiding, definitely, but still there. Things can't be exactly the way they were, they never are." She said sagely. "But things can be better than they are. If you want them to be."

He grabbed a large slice of golden melon and munched most of it away before looking at her again.

"He'll kill anyone who tries to be my parents."

"Yes, he might try." Thena acknowledged. "And if he is, what I think he is, he won't be the first, or the last." She said confidently. "Don't let him run your life kit, you deserve better." She said warmly, but quite serious.

"He's dark, the way you are light and earthy." Mouse said a little uncertainly, shifting his feet. "But he can't find me. He can only find those with me."

"Nothing stays hidden forever, kit." She said gently. "I'm sure your parents wouldn't have wanted you to stay alone and on the streets."

"I'm working on that." He said quietly between bites. "There are very few who could stand against him and live."

"The dark ones do seem that way." She nodded. "But my family has been standing against them, for a long time. We know what we're doing."

Mouse smiled a little at her. "I've noticed that."

"We've protected our kits against his kind before." She said seriously. "We could protect one more." She smiled softly. "You could have a home again." She offered gently.

"And when he comes here?" Mouse looked up at her seriously.

"In the event that he finds his way here, we'll deal with him." She smiled softly, but confidently. "In eight generations we have never lost a kit to one of them, and I have no intention of starting now." She said firmly. "Knowing the danger exists, makes it far easier to defend against it."

"What about your kit?"

"I'm guessing you mean my grandkit, but what about him?" She asked curiously.

"What does he think of this?"

"He's curious about you, mostly." She smiled. "We haven't really had much time to discuss it though, between school and going to some functions with his parents; he's been very busy."

"He's magic, like us." He said simply. "Not like our parents."

"Oh, about that." She chuckled. "Surprised, still getting used to the idea. It wasn't something he ever expected, even if I did point out that it usually skipped a generation."

Mouse nodded, then actually sat down on the bench. "You want me here?"

"Yes, I do." She smiled. "You're a good kit, with much potential. One thing I learned from grandfather, good people with our potential are too rare. We have to look out for each other." She said thoughtfully.

"What about the legal stuff?" He looked down and waited for an answer when he wasn't even sure what answer he wanted to hear.

"We're working on it." She said reaching out to put a hand on his shoulder gently and felt him tremble slightly under the touch. "Nothing says you have to wait for the legal stuff though."

"I ... I'd like to have a home again." He admitted with difficult honesty.

"This can be your home, if you want." She offered with a warm smile and watched in understanding quiet as he struggled with the choice and finally nodded.

"Do you think I'll be able to get some things from my old home?"

"That shouldn't be a problem." She smiled reassuringly. "The police finished with it as a crime scene, so it's just been locked up while they were trying to determine who it belonged to."

"I'd like that." He admitted quietly. "Thank you, ma'am."

"You're welcome." She smiled softly. "I'll have my niece find out who we need to talk to, to get it opened. You still have a year of high school to go, right?" She asked casually.

"Two now," he nodded reluctantly.

"How much of the last year did you miss?" She asked curiously.

"Since my parents were killed." He half shrugged. "It wasn't exactly a priority anymore."

"You didn't miss that much of the school year then." She said thoughtfully. "Perhaps something can be worked out with the school district to keep you from having to repeat an entire year."

"Or maybe just take what's left as home study?" He asked timidly. "I know there's a lot of stuff to cover for me that's not in the curriculum. I have a feeling that getting a handle on what I can do now isn't the only training I need."

"Yes there is, and no it's not." She nodded. "There's more to what you can do, than your innate talent. Home schooling is possible, though public school provides better social preparation for college."

"I wasn't headed for collage anyway." He half shrugged but didn't manage to conceal how the fact humiliated him.

"Did you want to go?" She asked gently.

"Used to," he shrugged again. "I don't do school nearly well enough. I'm not stupid, I just don't get good grades."

"There can be a lot of reasons for not doing well in high school that can be overcome." She said softly. "College is still a possibility, if you want it."

"I guess." He consented quietly. "I guess if I had any idea of what to do with it I might be more interested. It just doesn't seem like much use."

"Had you given any thought to what you wanted to do after college?" She asked. "Or maybe something that really interested you, that high school didn't teach as much of as you wanted."

"I was too busy trying not to flunk out to have hobbies." He muttered bitterly.

"Maybe home schooling would be a better idea." Thena nodded. "Give you a chance to explore what interests you, and figure out why school gives you such a problem."

"Bullies were a big part of it. It's hard to listen to teachers and worry about homework when you're just trying to survive getting there and home again."

"Bullies are one of the easier problems to solve." She said gently. "They be less likely to bother you, if you traveled to school with someone." She smiled encouragingly. "Someone like my grandkit, for example."

"Does he have problems with them too?"

"Not that he's ever mentioned." She said simply. "But family sticks together." She added matter-of-factly.

"Oh," Mouse paused, trying to make sense of that. "How do you stop bullies for someone else?" He looked at her in confusion.

"Bullies like to pick on isolated targets, not groups." She said reassuringly. "And he's got a few cousins at that school as well. Bullies, being cowards, want safe targets."

"People without anyone to hang with." He nodded slowly.

"Loners are safer targets." She nodded. "Why they're loners, doesn't matter."

"Does this power always run in families?"

"Often, but not always." Thena explained. "And sometimes it skips generations. My kits, for example, have no power at all."

"But their kit does." He nodded with quiet partial understanding, his weariness showing despite almost instinctive resistance to letting anything show.

"You seem tired, kit." Thena observed, with motherly concern. "We could continue this after you've had some sleep." She suggested.

He looked at her for a long time, then the house and back to her before slowly nodding agreement with a difficult choice made.

"Come on, I'll show you to your room." She said, standing and leading the way toward up the back stairs with the adolescent Ocelot at her heals and watching everything with the expectation of being attacked at any moment from any direction.

"Let me introduce two of my friends." She said fondly as a pair of Alsatians padded up to them as they entered the house. "Anthony, Cleo, this is a friend." She said indicating the teenage Ocelot. The two of them looked at her briefly, and then turned to get a better look at their new housemate that only just outweighed them individually.

"Hi," Mouse offered one hand to the large, densely furred canines as they approached him nose first. "Are you guards?"

"They don't talk." She smiled fondly, as the two sniffed at Mouse's hand. "But they understand more than you're average housedog. And they are guards." She explained as the two nosed him playfully. "They've decided they like you." She smiled. "Not that I had any doubt."

"That is good," he smiled a little and slowly reached to scratch the canines between the ears.

"They're better judges of character than most people." She chuckled, as the two canines leaned into the attention with happily wagging tails and Mouse smiled a little.

"Their less complicated outlook on life."

"Refreshingly simple." She nodded, as she led the way upstairs. "This is your room." She said, opening a door on a simply furnished bedroom with a wide expanse of green and nice homes outside the window. "You'll probably want to personalize it a bit." She smiled. "Bathroom is across the hall."

"You live here alone?" He looked at her quietly. "Besides visitors."

"Depending on what's going on, my grandkit just about lives here." She smiled. "His room is the one next to yours."

"Where do the dogs sleep?"

"Depends on their mood." She smiled. "Technically, they have beds in the library but they sleep just about anywhere."

Mouse nodded and looked between the bed and the bathroom, torn between getting some real sleep and being clean.

"There's some clothes in the dresser that should fit you, if you want something clean." She pointed out. "I'm going to go clean up dinner, and let you settle in." She said easily, stepping out and closing the door behind her to leave him to have some time to figure things out for himself.

Balancing Lives


16 KB, Story is Closed-Unfinished, Series is Closed-Unfinished
Written May 11, 2004 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Todd McCall

Setting: Generic Furry

Primary Races: Feline

Contents: Furry. Gen.

Blurb: Thena Whitespar is the matriarch of an old and strong line of spell-weavers, and part of what makes it so strong is taking in lost kittens with the gift.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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