Binding Moonlight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 10 (v.1) - Chapter 10

Submitted: January 09, 2019

Reads: 29

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Submitted: January 09, 2019

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Big, innocent yellow eyes stared into violet ones without blinking.

“Uh...Tobi?” Theo asked, eyebrows meeting his hairline.

“Yeah?” replied Tobi, one corner of his mouth curving.

“What's this?”

“A cat!”

Theo's shoulders fell as he reached out to pet the fluffy, white, two-tailed feline. She blinked her big, bright eyes. “Yeah, I can tell. When did we get a cat?” The animal started to purr, climbing onto Theo's shoulder to nuzzle his cheek.

Tobi watched the teen play with the animal. “Not we, but you. You got a cat today!”

Theo's eyes grew wide. “What?”

Shrugging one shoulder, Tobi regarded the animal for a moment. “I think it's an early birthday present from Adonis or something.”

Theo's eyes got impossibly larger. “What?” he repeated.

“You'll have to ask him for the details, but me and 'Keeka agreed it wouldn't be bad to have a pet. A mascot, kinda,” replied Tobi, reaching out to pat the cat's head. “I would have preferred a nice, big, slobbery dog.”

“And I would be out of here so fast you wouldn't have time to blink,” stated Theo, plucking the cat from his shoulder as he stood.

“Why?”

“Because I really, really don't like dogs. Cats are much more my speed. They practically care for themselves,” he answered. He put his new pet on the floor and crossed the kitchen to get a dish of water for her.

“But dogs are way better companions. Anyway, what are you gonna name her?” Tobi asked, crossing his arms and leaning one hip against the counter.

Sucking his bottom lip between his teeth, Theo's brow creased in thought. “Good question.”

“Maybe Adonis will have some ideas. After all, he was the one behind this.”

“This just befuddles me. He doesn't do nice things. Or spontaneous things.”

Tobi let out a bark of laughter, startling the cat. “You'll have to ask him about it, 'cause I've got no clue,” he said. Shrugging, he reached out to ruffle Theo's hair.

“Cut it out,” grumbled Theo. “Guess I'll go track our strange friend down and ask him what his deal is.”

“Good luck.” Tobi offered Theo a parting grin and a wink.

“C'mon kitty. Let's find out what's going on,” Theo said to his new pet as she followed along beside him, her tails swishing playfully back and forth. Despite how confused he was by this, Theo was happy. He always wanted a cat, but of the dozen or so strays he had taken in over the years, they all ended up escaping or disappearing within a month. This one already appeared to be quite taken with him, and he hoped she would stick around. She was such a beautiful animal, with long, white fur which fluffed up into a half mane around her neck. The fur on her back feet was shorter though, making it look like she was wearing boots. He already adored her.

Adonis was another matter entirely. One minute he was insulting Theo to his face, the next he was doing something like this. They still couldn't seem to get past small talk when they had a conversation, and Adonis could barely manage that. It had gotten worse since Theo healed him. Almost two weeks passed since then. It didn't really bother Theo. He was happy to be around new people, but he was curious to see what Adonis was like under his armor. He could tell there was an underlying kindness in his silver eyes, but it was well hidden. Theo wanted to see if the man was capable of smiling a genuine smile.

Shaking his head, he smirked to himself and scooped the cat up to carry her upstairs. She curled around his neck, purring while Theo checked each room for Adonis. He wasn't in any of the common areas, so he most likely confined himself to his room again. Knocking on the door, Theo hooked his thumbs into his pockets and waited.

When Adonis answered the door, his eyes locked on the cat immediately. Clenching his teeth, he flicked his gaze to the floor, then back to the cat.

“How's the shoulder?” Theo asked, trying not to let his amusement show.

“Still a little sore.”

Theo nodded. “It should go away in another few days.”

“Good.”

“So...as you may have noticed, I have a cat around my neck,” Theo struggled to keep his tone neutral.

Adonis dipped his head in a slight nod.

“Care to explain why I have a cat around my neck?” he teased.

Letting out a grunt, Adonis hung his head. “Can we do this inside?” he asked, motioning Theo into his room.

“Sure.” Stepping past Adonis, Theo couldn't stop himself from checking out the room. It was sparse, unlike his own room. Nothing appeared personal except maybe a few items on the dresser. And it was so clean it practically sparkled.

“Have you named her yet?” Adonis asked, refusing to look at Theo while he paced.

“I was hoping you could help me pick something since she was your idea,” replied Theo, smiling as he sat on Adonis' bed. The cat jumped off his shoulders and curled up between the pillows for a nap.

Adonis combed his fingers through his hair and made a sound akin to a growl. “It was not as though I went out of my way to pick her. She followed me here a few days ago.”

“Then why didn't you keep her?”

“You said at one point you like cats. I did not want to keep her, but I could not just turn her away either,” he mumbled as he scrutinized the carpet.

The corner of Theo's mouth twitched upward. “So Mr. Ice has a heart after all!”

“Excuse me?” Adonis glowered at Theo, the crease between his brows deepening.

“But maybe it's just animals you're nice to?” Theo didn't enjoy bugging Adonis like this, but at least they were talking.

Without answering, Adonis gave up pacing to sit next to Theo. The man held himself stiffly as he perched on the bed, absentmindedly picking at his fingernails. Lolling his head back between his shoulders, Theo groaned and cast a sideways glance at Adonis.

“I give up!” Theo declared, throwing his hands in the air.

Adonis turned toward Theo. “Give what up?” he asked, confused.

“My attempts to forge a friendship with you. I want to like you, Adonis. I really do. But you make it so difficult,” stated Theo, standing. He leaned over the bed to pick his cat up when Adonis grabbed his wrist.

“I do not intend to be rude,” he said before letting go. “It is just, no one has ever wanted to call me a friend.”

Theo's jaw hung open. For a brief moment, a young boy stared up at Theo, his expression filled with fear and sadness. The illusion shattered when Adonis turned his face away. “Oh, c'mon. That cannot be true. I'm sure there had to have been at least a couple people you considered friends over the years.”

Adonis shook his head.

“Not even one?”

He shook his head again.

“Well then,” Theo said, “I would be happy to call myself your friend.” Reaching out, he grabbed Adonis' hand and gave it a firm shake. “Our first official act as friends will be to name the new building mascot.”

Adonis's eyes moved to the cat who was sleeping peacefully between his pillows. When he was little he tended to many stray cats, but his parents always found out. When this one had started following him, he remembered all of the strays his parents had likely killed, and something panged in his chest. He couldn't let this cat befall the same fate. His reasoning was utterly ridiculous and looking at the animal made him feel childish, which was why he turned her care over to Theo.

“How 'bout Nissy?” Theo suggested after a long silence.

“It suits her,” answered Adonis.

Theo narrowed an eye at him. “You aren't just agreeing with me to get me out of your hair, are you?”

“No.”

“Nissy it is, then!” Theo pet the soft feline.

“I never did thank you for helping me the other night,” Adonis said as Theo scratched the cat's chin.

The brunet smiled over his shoulder at Adonis. “I was just doing my job. Though you were actually nicer when you were loopy from blood loss,” he teased.

“I do not recall saying much of anything,” answered Adonis, scowling. Behind him, Nissy stretched languidly as she got up from her short nap. She spotted Adonis' long hair and leaped up his back to attack the strands. She didn't use her claws to climb up his shoulder and bat at his hair. The corner of his mouth quirked upward.

“Oh, hey! Is this a sketchbook? You draw?” Theo asked suddenly, leaning across the bed and grabbing the book off of Adonis' dresser.

Adonis reached out like he wanted to snatch the book away from Theo, his voice stuck in his throat. He dipped his head and lowered his hand. No one had ever seen any of his sketches before. He never thought anyone would want to see them.

“Oh, wow,” breathed Theo, flipping through the pages with delicate movements. The subjects ranged from people to animals to things, all drawn with amazing attention to detail. It was all so life-like, Theo was having trouble remembering these were drawings, not photos. “These are incredible, Adonis. I wish I had talent like this. These are just so...wow.” Theo's eyes were big and round as he stared at each piece.

Adonis remained silent. He never took compliments well, or flattery, neither of which he got often. He was glad this was one of his newer books, though. This one didn't contain some of the more horrific things he had drawn when he was younger. To Theo, these would just look like standard sketches of mundane subject matter. When Theo turned to the last page, however, his brow creased, and he sucked his bottom lip between his teeth as his eyes slid upward.

“When did you do this one?” Theo asked, his voice soft.

Adonis's eyes locked onto his hands and he kept his head down in hopes his curtain of hair would hide his embarrassment. “About a week after you arrived. I forgot about this one...I never thought anyone would ever see it.” The drawing was of Theo sitting under one of the big trees in the park, smiling up at the sky. “I hope it is not too creepy.”

“What? No! It's amazing. I look so...happy,” replied Theo, mirroring the expression on the page. “I never knew I could make a face like that.”

“I think it was the reason I sketched you,” Adonis admitted. “I have never seen such contentment on anyone's face.”

Closing the sketchbook, Theo grinned. “Well, I had no idea I could even make such an expression, so I'm happy someone saw it.” He handed the sketchbook back to Adonis and scanned the room for Nissy. At some point, she had jumped onto the floor and was busy sharpening her claws on the carpet. Scolding her, Theo scooped her up into his arms.

“She likes you,” Adonis said, watching the cat nuzzle Theo's cheek.

The brunet nodded. “Thank you for giving her to me. Tobi said she was an early birthday present?”

An almost imperceptible smirk tugged at the corner of Adonis' mouth. “It was the best excuse I could come up with. A month before is a little too early.”

Theo's jaw dropped. “You know my birthday?”

“Personnel profiles,” answered Adonis. “I like to learn about the people I will be working with, just in case.”

“I suppose that makes some sort of sense,” Theo replied with a shrug. “But I've been enough of a pain for now, so I'll leave you alone and go figure out what to make for dinner.”

Adonis nodded.

“Thank you again.” With a wave of his fingers, Theo left Adonis alone in the room. In the hall, he put Nissy down and watched her wander off to investigate her new home. Smiling after her and shoving his hands into his pockets, he headed for the stairs.

Stepping off the bottom step on the ground floor, he greeted Tobi and Nrekeeka as they entered the building.

“Hey.”

“Hi, guys.”

“Did you get your answers from Adonis?” Tobi asked, grinning.

Nrekeeka narrowed her eyes at Tobi, glancing between him and Theo. “Answers for what?”

“My new pet cat was such a surprise I had to talk to Adonis about her. Got it all sorted out though, thanks. Oh, and we named her Nissy by the way,” explained Theo. “What are you guys up to?”

“We're gonna scope out the cams around the PDHW building and then visit Shelsea,” replied Nrekeeka.

“Then I suppose you won't be around for dinner?”

Tobi shook his head. “Nope. Better save us some though!”

“How much do you think Adonis and I are going to eat?” gaped Theo.

Nrekeeka stifled a giggle as Tobi leaned over and poked Theo in the stomach.

“Clearly not enough, skinny britches,” he teased.

Theo pouted. “I'm not that skinny.”

“Oh really?” Tobi raised a brow at Theo. “You can't be more than a hundred pounds. One-ten tops.”

“I'm one-twenty! Even though I'm pretty sure it's none of your business.”

“'Keeka weighs more than you do!”

“Tobi!” Nrekeeka cuffed Tobi on the back of the head. “Stop teasing him. You shouldn't even know my weight.”

Theo and Nrekeeka scowled at Tobi, their cheeks pink as he grinned back at them.

“You have got to be one of the meanest nice people on the planet,” Theo grumbled as Tobi ruffled his hair again.

“The same can be said for you, Squirt.”

Nrekeeka stepped in between the two men as they playfully shoved each other. “Enough, boys. Tobi, we've got to get going.”

Tobi gave Theo one last shove to his shoulder, nodding at the girl. “Yeah, sure. I'll be looking forward to those leftovers when I get home.”

“I'll leave you both a plate in the fridge. Be careful, okay? I don't want to have to heal any more gunshot wounds if I can avoid it,” Theo said, crossing his arms.

“It's something I'd like to avoid as well. See you later, Theo.”

They disappeared upstairs to finish getting whatever it was they were taking with them and Theo continued to the kitchen. Just because there would only be one other person at the table tonight, it didn't mean he wouldn't have to feed him.

 

***

“I'm gonna grab something to eat before I go to bed,” Tobi told Nrekeeka when they finally got home. His stomach had been growling for well over an hour and the thought of Theo's cooking was making him salivate.

“Yeah, okay. I'll see you in the morning.”

Tobi bid her goodnight as she headed upstairs, and he continued down the hall. He stopped just short of the kitchen door when he saw Theo's new pet wandering toward him. He bent down to pet her, his hair falling over his shoulder. “Hello kitty,” he greeted.

Nissy backed away, her fur on end. She stared up at him with an odd expression in her piercing golden eyes.

“What's the matter, Nissy?” Tobi reached down and picked her up. Panicking, she squirmed in his arms, hissing at him. She slashed out, clawing through his thin shirt and scratching his chest. With a sharp curse, he dropped the cat and she ran.

Frowning, Tobi looked down and saw little dots of crimson seeping through the fabric of his shirt. Lifting the garment, he swore at the three long, shallow slices in his skin. They stung, but they appeared superficial.

Swiping the blood away with his thumb, Tobi let out a low groan. This was why he was a dog person. Shaking his head, he went to get his dinner. A couple of scratches wouldn't distract him from his rumbling belly.


© Copyright 2019 Kristin Kuffner. All rights reserved.

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