Not a *standard* DISCLAIMER:
The character of Tyrus Cassius McQueen and the *Space* universe are the property of Glen Morgan and James Wong and Hard Eight Productions, borrowed with all my love and admiration for their enchanting work - but nevertheless without their permission. No copyright infringement intended. The character of the cat simply belongs to herself, since she's 15 years old by now, has already lost some of her teeth and yet manages to be a nuisance to our family, which she is a madly loved part of, we couldn't bear to more than ever. This is for you, Pinky (aka the Monster).

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The idea for this little story has its roots in a discussion we had back on jmdg-l some time ago. I owe the inspiration to my friends on that list. Yeah, the much-talked-about *Cat or Dog ?* question...Well, here is my solution - it's very sappy....don't mind...

Rated PG due to (very little) light swearing.

Comments would be highly appreciated and may be sent to BTW: This is my first piece of fanfiction ever in a language other than my native one - so, please, be nice, ok?

The Kitten


Susi Patzke

It was pouring.....BADLY pouring.....and cold.

"Holy shit!" swore Major Tyrus Cassius McQueen, gazing out of the driver's window of his car. He looked up to the pitch black sky that released the water it had saved for seven weeks - for far too long - and now tried to drown them as a reparation. With the rain had come the cold - a relief after the tropical high temperatures of the last two months - but nonetheless unexpected in its extreme. He shuddered.

A look at his wrist watch told T.C. that it was time to go. The briefing would commence in three minutes and he was still in his car on the parking lot hesitating to face the pouring rain. Rolling his eyes and taking a deep breath, he finally stepped out and slammed the door shut behind him, then he turned on his heel and ran towards the squadron's building, covering his head with his windbreaker.

He arrived at the front entrance. It took him a moment to shake off the water and finger-comb his bristle short hair while standing under the little roof that protected the front. When he was just about to open the door, he noticed a movement on the ground to his left out of the corner of his eye. He turned and saw a kitten cowering under the bush standing next to him. She was soaked-wet and shivering. The moment T.C. made eye-contact with her, she came out of her insufficient refuge and trotted towards the door. When she reached it, she stopped and looked up to the pair of pale blue eyes that kept staring at her - stunned.

"What the hell are YOU doing here ???"

She mewed in return, her tail held up and its tip slightly twitching. Her emerald eyes stayed locked with his.

T.C. assessed her to be barely three months old. Taking a quick look around, he couldn't see another cat, so the kitten was ob- viously on her own. And she *obviously* expected him to let her into the building.

"No, you *can't* go in there! Animals are against regulations !"

He stated that with mild sternness. But she just sat down by his feet and mewed questioning once more, not taking her glance off him - not for a second. She made a miserable sight, with her wet fur coat and those incredibly big eyes in that little head that just wouldn't let go.

T.C. was at a loss of what to do. He didn't have the time to deal with her - through the glass door he could already see his squadron file into the briefing room - neither did he want to leave her here in the cold and pouring rain. But animals were not allowed in the building...and he *really* had to go now. The kitten started to tremble again without letting that deviate her naively asking gaze from him.

In a rush, T.C. turned away from her and slipped through the door. He had almost made it across the hallway into the room when he slowed down and stopped again to glance back out- side through the shut glass door. She was still sitting there - and still looking at him...with those eyes...

He made a face to the cat - raising an eyebrow, sighed *Ok, then* to himself and hurried back to open the door just a little and let her in. Without waiting to see where she would go, he turned again and jogged into the briefing room, barely making it on time.


The briefing was long and after 45 minutes the CO decided to take a short break. Some of his team mates stood up, a lot of them groaned and flexed their stiffened muscles, and McQueen also felt the need to stretch his legs. So he walked out of the room to stroll down the hallway. He wondered where the cat may have gone and went looking for her - finally finding her behind a corner, curled up on a chair. She appeared to be sleeping peacefully but must have noticed him nonetheless because her eyes opened, slowly and without moving any other part of her body. Her fur coat had dried and she seemed to feel fine now, radiating an impression of relaxed composure.

T.C. narrowed his eyes, returning her glance and folded his arms loosely over his chest. Coking his head to the side, a faint smile appeared on his face.

"That's better, hmm.....?"

As if reacting to his question, the kitten yawned and lolled lazily. The smile on T.C.'s face widened into an ear-to-ear grin.

"Yeah, I thought so.....But that still doesn't solve our little problem of *you* being *here*."

A loud sigh escaped his mouth.

"What am I supposed to do with you now, for god's sake ?"

He would have to think of something fast because if someone else discovered their little intruder, it was more than likely that she would be taken to an animal shelter. And he really didn't want her to end up losing her freedom just because she had caught him at a weak moment and had made him violate regulations. He knew the value of freedom quite well himself - he would never go and cause its loss to any creature that didn't deserve it. And she *definitely* didn't deserve it.....especially since she was still so young..... So, he would have to bring her back outside.....into the rain...and the cold..... He frowned at that outlook. Nevertheless, it was the best solution. But before he had to do that, he would do something else first.

"Well, you just can't stay.....But let's go and see if we can't find some milk before you have to go. At least, your stomach will be filled then."

McQueen lifted her from the chair by catching her under the belly - only partly surprised being able to feel her ribs directly beneath the skin.....yeah, she would need the milk.....badly, perhaps.....He took the kitten in his arms, only a handful of fur and eyes, glanced around to check if someone was looking his way and then walked over to the small kitchen at the end of the hall. After he had closed the door, he put her down on the floor to take a look into the fridge. He managed to produce a bottle of milk and a small bowl while the cat strolled around curiously. As he kneeled down with the vessel in his hands, she rushed to him immediately and started licking the milk - standing upright on her hind quarter - even before T.C. could place it on the floor.

"Ho, ho ! Don't hurry ! It's coming !"

He lingered on his knees for a moment, then stood and retreated to the nearby shelf, resting his right elbow on it and leaning his head on the shoulder. Relaxing into this position, he watched the kitten drinking hastily.

"Hey, slow down! No one's gonna take it from you."

He couldn't help but smile when he reprimanded her softly. *Poor little one...* She was alone, hungry, with no home to save her from that disgusting environment out there - forced to depend on such a young age. His facial expression saddened. Ironically, McQueen knew exactly what that felt like...he had to live that way since he was *born*...His gaze went distant.

He flinched involuntarily when he felt something cold and wet touch his ear. The little cat had finished her meal and - obviously- hopped upon the shelf unnoticed since she was now right next to his face, purring loudly into his right ear while nosing it. He grunted but with a smile in his eyes.

"Tasted good ?"

In return he pressed her small head against his hair, wandering her body along his cheek, still purring tremendously.

"Well...I guess that was a *yes*..."

His voice trailed off. Somehow he liked that feeling of her fur gently touching his skin and he closed his eyes to enjoy this sensation. After a moment he extended a hand to stroke her back but Kitty was obviously looking for something else and she turned to make him gently rub her neck and throat. Obeying her wishes, he crowled her - first softly, even hesitating, but some moments later he increased the strength since the cat seemed to enjoy it in a big way. He frowned playfully at that cute little animal buzzing around his head, letting his fingers slightly trail along her body. She cocked her head a little to the side and watched the man.....not so intimidating this time... *assessing* came to T.C.'s mind when her eyes blinked sleepily but wary at the same time, her nose only some inches away from his. He found himself wondering what conclusions she might have drawn concerning him...

He could have continued forever but the clock was ticking and he knew he had to return to the briefing. Letting out a deep breath, he sighed extensively and bumped his head softly against hers as a gesture of saying goodbye.

"Time to go - for both of us."

T.C. snuggled the little fur ball to his throat and left the kitchen for the entrance. He could hear it before he saw it through the glass front door - it was still raining cats and dogs.....His jaws clenched.

"Sorry, but it's better this way.....believe me."

He pushed the door open and put her down near the bush where she had cowered an hour ago. The kitten crouched immediately under the plant, looking at McQueen with those irritatingly wide-opened eyes again. He stiffened under her gaze - but it had to be. He could only whisper her goodbye.

"Go.....go now.....And watch your six."

Suddenly, he blushed with embarrassment. Turning hastily, he left the kitten in the rain with the strange feeling of running away...


The briefing took another hour but T.C. had trouble concentra- ting. The picture of that little cat looking back at him from beneath the bush in the rain kept occupying his thoughts. To the extend that the CO once recognized his forlorn gaze....that didn't focus on the important charts.

"Major McQueen, I'm sooo sorry if this issue is boring you but would you mind...?"

The CO's voice brought T.C. back into the real world of the briefing room. He had flinched when he was called and looked somewhat disoriented for a moment but he regained his composure quite quickly.

"Sorry, Sir !!!"

The CO turned away irritated and McQueen slightly shook his head in embarrassment and anger.*C'mon, Tyrus, you've got work to do! Leave it! Why are you bothering you with a damn cat ?* He didn't like to be distracted from his work, especially not by such a silly matter. He tried to refocus his mind on what was said, the anger still in his heart, even though it just felt more like discomfort of having been caught not paying attention.

Lucky to having it made through the rest of the meeting without any more incidents, he left the building for the parking lot. But when he stepped out the front entrance, the ongoing rain reminded him of why he had gotten into trouble - and he couldn't help but take a short glance at the bush when he passed by. She was gone. *Good* he pouted - he didn't want to bother himself with that cat anymore.*You've seen where that leads to.*

As he proceeded towards his car, the rain was diminishing, but it was still cold. He wrapped his windbreaker tighter around his body while searching for the car keys in its pockets. Being busy digging, he didn't notice the shadow behind him - following. Just before he would have reached his car, there was was a sound. He froze.

Mew ?

He turned for the cat, on his face a mixture of confusion and anger.

"Where are you coming from, eh? Why are you still here? What do you want from me, eh? Leave! Leave me alone!"

Hmm...That came out a little louder and harder than he had intended. But the kitten was obviously not impressed by it, anyway. Once more her green eyes - *Aargh!* - kept staring holes into him. He took a step to reach his car and saw the cat following him. Her innocent obtrusiveness was just driving him nuts.

"I told you to go. Leave - or you will have been in freedom the longest time. SSSSHHHHTT!!!"

He tried to scare her away waving with his arms, yelling. He couldn't stop although he knew that he was making a pretty silly scene. Major Tyrus Cassius McQueen of the United States Marine Corps stood in the middle of the base's parking lot in the rain and was yelling at a cat like a bloody fool. And the cat didn't even seem to hear him. He wanted her to leave because he feared for her - as he had to admit to himself -, wanted her to leave *him* alone - he didn't need a silly cat to distract him from work...He had no use for a pet...*Whose talking of a pet here!?* he asked himself with surprise. He was confused and angry about the embarrassment he was to himself - nonetheless he couldn't help but keep yelling - Marine style.

"Listen, CFB: you will go now and take THAT direction-" leaning down and pointing to the forest-like part of the base, "- and leave this base. MOVE IT !!!"

Kitty's only reaction was a questioning glare. T.C. considered himself either losing it completely or the cat *really* looked kinda pissed off with the Major's behavior. Well, if she was... she was probably right. So, after he had vented, he rolled his eyes and started begging.

"What exactly it is you want me to do? Adopt you? I got into trouble because of you some minutes ago. I don't need that. I don't want a pet ! I don't have any use for you!"

Well, that sounded much more convinced than he felt right now. If she just took those eyes off him!...He could lose himself in that emerald...He felt his defense melting under the scrutinizing glance of a 12 week-old kitten that just *sat* there and looked up to him - unimpressed. He never wanted a pet. Never thought of it. But yet....Usually, *he* chose with who he spent his time. Well, this question had obviously been taken care of on his behalf. This time he *was* chosen - and he just couldn't think of any way to get rid of that little animal that seemed to have adopted *him* against his will. And then, he suddenly realized that he had lost this battle before he had even known that he was fighting it....And that he liked the kitten. Liked her fur. Liked her purring. The sight of drinking the milk. She was stubborn - drove him crazy...Well, she might even fit his character. He couldn't help but smirk. So he finally surrendered his weapons to her.

"OK, ok.....fine, then....."

Grumbling at her, but at the same time he was also losing the battle to restrain that smile that desperately wanted to make its way onto his face. He finally produced his keys out of his pocket, plodding stiffly to his car in a vain attempt to regain at least part of his dignity, opened the door, reached for the trunk handle, stowed his jacked there, clambered onto his seat and looked back to the cat.

She was gone.

Confusion took over. He leant out of his seat and nervously glanced around. An unexpected rush of fear caught him. Where did she go? Why did she leave - Now? She was alone....he was alone ...and wanted..needed her...And now that he had finally realized it - she left?


His head twitched from the sound to his right. Kitty sat on the seat next to him. He stared at her and it took him a second to recompose himself. Then he sighed and smirked.

"Ok, I'm not gonna ask how you made it into the car unnoticed. I will also take you home with me - FOR TODAY...But let's make one thing clear : NEVER EVER SCARE ME LIKE THAT AGAIN !!!"


Making a face to her, he slammed the door shut and started the car.

"Ok, let's hit the road. First of all, we'll drop by a store and get you some milk and kitten food..."

The End

© Susi Patzke 1996

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