Are you available to speak?
Sure AVAEL. What's up?
It's your cat, sir.
She's making strange noises.
What kind of 'strange noises'?
It's a little cold for her to be in heat, but I guess it's not impossible.
...Just a little irritating...
I've heard a cat in heat, sir.
This isn't it.
Dammit!! Is she suffering?
Go find her!
Go help her!
She's hiding from me, sir.
She and I have never been on the best of terms.
Do your best, you stupid...!!
I'm on my way back ASAP.
// ZHOU HOUSE //
Cedric looks up from his phone to an anxiously awaiting Seven.
NO, EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY.
MY CAT IS GIVING BIRTH.
YOU KEEP CATS?
Cedric is walking past her, aiming for the door to retreive his shoes.
IT WAS AN UNPLANNED ACQUISITION.
I HAVE A CAT.
DID YOU KNOW SHE WAS PREGNANT?
He lifts his shoes and slips them on his feet while standing.
NO. I DIDN’T.
BUT I’M SURE AS HELL GONNA SPAY THE LITTLE PIECE OF SHIT.
It’s the longest bus ride he’s sat through in a long time. Anxiety wells up in his chest and he feels as if he’s shaking. His hands seem to quiver like feathers, though on visual inspection, turning his hands over and back again, nothing appears amiss.
He’s never dealt with anything like this.
Where was Svetlana when he needed her?
He’d wasted so much time with her doing stupid things. Playing video games. Chatting over the wIntraNet about news articles. Watching television. So rarely had they gone hunting together. So little time, he reflects, that they’d actually spent together.
Perhaps even after all those years, Sebastian, or even Straud, knew more about her than he did.
He’d been a coward.
// MARSCAPONE APARTMENTS //
When he finally gets back to Astoria, he has the distinct feeling that the night’s cover is waning and soon the Sun will rear its head once more.
His skin won’t burn at the cock crow but the weariness will set in. And he’ll reattempt the Sisyphean task of dragging his sorry ass up a hill just to bring it back down again.
He practically breaks down the door opening it.
WHERE IS SHE?
AVAEL is standing in the kitchen.
Her voice, stolid and automaton, nevertheless begs him calm.
I THINK SHE’S GOING TO BE OKAY, SIR.
LET ME BE THE JUDGE OF THAT.
SHE’S UPSTAIRS, I BELIEVE.
IN THE CAT TREE.
I DIDN’T WANT TO STARTLE HER.
…LIKE I SAID, SIR…
YEAH YEAH SHE DOESN’T LIKE YOU.
The pair had a number of theories regarding Toonces’s distaste for the bionic vampress. But most settled on the extensive modifications she’d endured over the years, leaving her limbs more metal than flesh.
The parts of her that were still original were her chest and lungs. Her heart no longer beat, a fact that probably unnerved the feline, but then that, in undeath, would be true of Cedric as well.
I NEVER HAD CHILDREN OF MY OWN, BUT I HAVE ALWAYS IMAGINED THIS AS A VERY TENDER TIME.
I DID NOT THINK THE YOUNG MISS WOULD WANT A BAG OF BOLTS STARING DOWN AT HER.
Cedric feels calm begin to surround him like a warm blanket.
It is good to be back home.
ENOUGH OF THE SELF-PITYING.
YOU’RE MUCH MORE THAN A BAG OF BOLTS.
NOT TO A CAT, SIR.
THERE’S NO ACCOUNTING FOR TASTE.
MY SENSORS SUSPECT THE PRESENCE OF TWO ADDITIONAL HEARTBEATS COMING FROM THE CAT TREE BUT I SUGGEST YOU GO UPSTAIRS AND CONFIRM THIS FINDING.
THEY AREN’T MUCH MORE THAN A TANGLE OF INFRARED SIGNATURES AT THIS POINT. THEY TEND TO LAY CLOSE TOGETHER AFTER THE BIRTH EVENT…
I AM STILL ASHAMED THAT I DID NOT DETECT THAT THE CAT WAS GESTATING.
I DIDN’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT.
WE’VE HAD A LOT ON OUR MINDS LATELY.
RAINING CATS AND DOGS, SIR.
He looks up toward the landing where the cat supposedly lays. The house is quiet.
I WAS TELLING SEVEN THAT WE’RE DEFINITELY GETTING THE CAT SPAYED A.SAP.
I’M SORRY I DIDN’T SUGGEST IT BEFORE, SIR.
CAT GOT MY TONGUE.
I COULD HAVE THOUGHT OF IT TOO.
I JUST DIDN’T.
They hang their heads in embarrassment.
HOW WAS YOUR VISIT WITH THE ZHOU FAMILY?
LIKE HERDING CATS.