Come dance with the gypsies... Circulation: 107,594,495 Issue: 215 | 4th day of Storing, Y7
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by sarahleeadvent


Dr_Death's eyes darkened as the door of the Neopian pound opened, revealing a disgruntled-looking owner and a dejected mutant Kougra. "Here," the owner muttered, using one foot to shove the listless Neopet toward the desk. "I don't want the ugly thing." With that, she stomped out the door, leaving the little mutant huddled on the floor.

      Dr_Death started on the paperwork, gruffly and methodically asking questions and entering the data into his records. "Name?" No response. The irritated Techo's eyes narrowed. "What is your name?" he asked, more sharply this time.

      The Kougra did not look up. "Tamiya," she muttered.

      As he learned and listed the battledome statistics, Dr_Death was surprised at the way Tamiya spoke; despite the toughness her paint job suggested, she talked just like a baby. "Age?" Dr_Death finally asked.

      "Twee days."

      Dr_Death shook his head in disgust. Three days old and already a lab ray pet... and already abandoned for a single unlucky zap. "Go over there. Second door to the left."

      Tamiya obeyed without a word, limping past Dr_Death with ears and tail drooped. The grouchy Techo didn't even watch her go, but for the rest of the day he was haunted by the sobs which found their way through the door and to his place at the desk.

      "Looks like Captain Crybaby is back!" A Gelert jeered the next day as Tamiya slouched into her chair at the lunch table. "All done whining yet?" Tamiya's face contorted as she struggled to hold back tears, while several of the older pets laughed. The Gelert, encouraged by his success, added, "Miss Faucet Face will probably be here awhile - unless she floods the pound!"

      Her shoulders shaking, Tamiya left the room, followed by chortles and taunts. For a few minutes she wandered aimlessly, then paused, altered her course and headed for the reception area.

      Dr_Death startled at the sound of the tiny voice. "Do you want some company?"

      Turning to scowl at Tamiya, the cantankerous Techo was unmoved by the large, pleading eyes. "No."

      Tamiya lowered her eyes, then looked up at Dr_Death and asked softly, "Then can you keep me company?"

      "You are supposed to be sitting with the other pound pets. Go back and eat lunch."

      The tiny creature's eyes flooded anew. "But dey don't like me. Dey laugh at me and call me names."

      Dr_Death frowned at her. "What do you want ME to do about it?"

      "Can I stay wif you, PLEASE?"

      Dr_Death rolled his eyes. "Fine. Just be quiet and don't bother me."

      Tamiya stayed so deathly silent that the Techo soon forgot about her, until his shift was over. No sooner had he left his desk than Tamiya was under his feet, causing him to nearly trip over her. "Wheh aw you going?" she asked.


      "Can I come home wif you?"

      "No. Now go to bed."

      Tamiya's gaze dropped to the floor. "Yes, Docta Def."

      Dr_Death had hoped the day's lunch-time episode was a one-day thing, and in a way it was. The next day Tamiya arrived before breakfast. The annoyed Techo glared at her. "NOW what do you want?"

      "Was I good yestaday?"

      That was a strange question. Dr_Death frowned. "Yes- why do you ask?"

      Tamiya's eyes brightened. "Does dat mean I can stay again?"

      Dr_Death rolled his eyes. "Just stay out of the way."

      This went on for several days, Tamiya showing up and being very quiet, while Dr_Death virtually ignored the tiny huddled figure- which, inexplicably, seemed to be a little closer to his feet with each passing day. It wasn't until a week later, when Tamiya actually ventured to curl up on his feet, her bony chest pressing onto his shoes, that Dr_Death realized that she had been skipping almost every meal to 'keep him company' or whichever way around it was. Her ribs looked like they were ready to push through the eleven-day-old Kougra's fur. Dr_Death tried putting his foot down and telling Tamiya to go and eat, but she cried and whimpered and put up such a fuss that he finally let her stay - although the presence of a starving Neopet was disquieting. It wasn't until he found himself actually bringing something for Tamiya to eat that the grouchy old Techo realized that the abandoned Kougra was starting to edge her quiet way into his crusty heart, and he immediately resisted the idea. She was just another Neopet, who would come and go as if she had never entered his life. All that day, as Tamiya lay curled up at his feet (the sandwich he had brought her having been eagerly consumed), Dr_Death had to keep reminding himself of his decision to harden himself. It was getting harder by the hour.

      Three days later, Tamiya heard a noise outside the room in which she and dozens of other abandoned Neopets slept. Stretching on tiptoe and poking her head out through the open window, she was intrigued to see a baby Bruce toddling around outside. "Hello. What aw you doing?" Tamiya asked.

      Looking up, the small Bruce grinned mischievously, pulled what looked like a small ray gun out of his pocket, aimed at Tamiya and fired. The little Kougra leaped back with a yelp, startling several of her roommates from sleep. Finally daring to open her eyes, Tamiya noticed a twitching blur of tawny fur on her left, and turning to face it was shocked to realize that it was her own tail! Glancing at herself as best she could, the young Kougra was shocked to realize that she was now an adorable little baby. Racing out of the room, she yelled to Dr_Death, "Look at me! Look at me! A baby Bwuce zapped me! I a baby now!"

      Turning around, Dr_Death was startled by Tamiya's appearance: she was indeed the one of the cutest baby pets he had ever seen. But stanger than that was the sudden conflict of emotions that came with the sight. "Well, I guess now you'll have no trouble getting adopted," he said, his voice flat. He was stunned to realize that he already missed the warmth of the little furball which had coiled around his feet for the past several days.

      Tamiya's eyes grew wide and distressed. "Don't wanna get adocted!" she whimpered. "I wanna stay wif you!"

      Dr_Death stared at her blankly. "You don't want to go to a new home?"

      "Dis home! I stay wif you!"

      Dr_Death still wanted to maintain his crusty demeanour, but he was beginning to wonder if he was going to manage it. Little Tamiya really had a way of getting through the stone walls around an old Techo's granite heart.

      Two days later, the door of the pound swung open and, to Dr_Death's surprise, Tamiya's owner walked in. "I'm looking for a replacement pet- something cute." Tamiya peeked out from behind the desk, wondering what was going on. Immediately the girl zeroed in on her, her eyes lighting up. "Oooh, she's adorable! I - wait a minute, isn't that Tamiya?"

      Dr_Death nodded, his eyes stony. "Yes, she is. Boochi zapped her. Now, the adoption room is over there..."

      The girl flashed a dazzling grin. "Oh, I don't think I'll need to go there. Tamiya will do just fine, now that she's presentable."

      The faithless owner reached for Tamiya, whose eyes widened. "NO! Don't wanna go back wif you! I don' wanna be pwesentable! I wanna stay wif Docta Def!"

      The girl's eyes hardened. Reaching out, she grabbed the baby Kougra roughly and dragged her forward. "You are coming with me!" she growled.

      "NOOO!" Tamiya shrieked, trying to wrench herself away.

      Incensed, the owner yanked the Neopet's foreleg fiercely, and pulled her foot back to kick Tamiya in the side. "Do you really think you can-"

      "Do YOU really think YOU can behave like that in my office? Let her go and leave this building." Dr_Death had left his position behind the counter and was now staring coldly at the glaring girl.

      "You can't tell me what to-"

      "I can, and I am. Get out of my pound before I call the DoN."

      The owner looked like she was going to reply, then set her jaw, glared at the Techo and stormed out of the pound.

      Tamiya flung her short arms around Dr_Death's ankles, sobbing. "I don' wanna go wif anyone. Pwease let me stay wif you!"

      The Techo's heart was starting to melt, but he didn't say a word. Gently prying Tamiya off of his legs, he sent her to bed, closed the pound and headed for home. He had some things to get done.

      The next day, Tamiya screamed and cried as a lineup of hopeful owners argued over her- a baby Kougra was a rare find in the Neopian Pound. As they smiled and cooed at her, Tamiya struggled to escape, taking refuge behind a rather irked Dr_Death, who finally shooed the grumbling people away from the frantic Kougra and toward the other pets, then slumped into his chair. Tamiya nuzzled up against his legs. "T'ank you, Docta Def. I wuv you."

      Dr_Death was nonplussed. All he had done was shooed a few people away from her, and let her stay near him while he coldly ignored her. And now she was saying she 'wuved' him.

      Tamiya stared up at him, her innocent golden-brown eyes pleading. "Can I please go home wif you?"

      For the first time in who knows how long, Dr_Death smiled. Little did Tamiya know, the spare room in his house was already occupied by a tiny little bed.

The End

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