The Day After Lutari Day: Part Five
The next day dawned bright and sunny, and I found myself humming as I flipped the faerie pancakes. Bannok was still dead to the word; he'd stayed up past his bed time with Paddy last night as always happened when the Zafara babysat, and I was letting him have a bit of a lie in today. I'd let the baby Lutari sleep in my room last night, in one of Callum's old petpet beds. He hadn't stayed there of course, and was currently curled up into a tight ball on my pillow – or so I thought.
"Oi!" I said as I turned around and caught the Lutari red handed in the act of stealing a pancake. It froze for a second, looking at my with big puppy eyes – then, almost faster than I could see, shoved the entire pancake in its mouth in one bite and scampered under the table to eat it. "Little monkey!" I said, moving the rest of the pancakes back onto the counter where I could keep an eye on them.
Luckily I was spared the danger of leaving the hungry pet alone with the pancakes to go and wake Bannok up as he shambled in a few minutes later in his pyjamas. Callum was not far behind him, looking far better groomed and ready for the day.
"Morning, love," I said cheerily, putting a plate of pancakes down on the table with a pot of blackened honey. "Sleep well?"
"Yeah – I had the best dream, Mum!" he said excitedly. "Do you want to hear it?"
"Tell me then," I said, absently swatting the Lutari away from Callum's bowl of bran and fruit mix.
"Well," Bannok said around a sticky mouthful, "in my dream I was in the Defenders of Neopia, and I was like Judge Hog but I could fly like Lightning Lenny and I was amazing, and I saved Jhudora's life from falling off a cliff and everyone cheered!"
"You saved Jhudora's life?" I asked, sounding suitably impressed. "I bet she was pleased!" Bannok nodded furiously. "Yes, alright – here you are," I said to the hungry Lutari who seemed on the verge of exploding if he didn't get his breakfast soon. He fell on the plate of pancakes before I could even drizzle honey on them, practically engulfing his food.
"Uh huh," Bannok said. "She said I was the bestest neopet ever for saving her from mean old Illusen!"
"She's not that old, Bannok," I reprimanded gently. "And she was lovely to you when we went to see her last month, remember?"
"Yeah, but she's mean to Jhudora, so I don't like her," Bannok said with finality. I smiled into my tea, and used my fork to bat the young Lutari away from my pancakes.
I'm not quite sure how we managed to leave the house in one piece; once Bannok learned that we were going to formally adopt the little red newcomer into our family he was beside himself with excitement, and could barely stand still long enough to get dressed. Brushing his mane of white hair was optimistic at best; I finally admitted defeat and just pulled a hat down over it until Bannok calmed down a bit. His excitement was contagious it seemed – the Lutari was haring about like a thing possessed, trying to be helpful by dragging every item of clothing Bannok owned out onto his floor and almost eating the tube of toothpaste before I caught him.
Finally though we left, Bannok bouncing along beside me with the Lutari in its now customary spot on my shoulder. We left Callum behind for the day, and he seemed glad of the peace and quiet.
"Can I name her, Mummy, please?" Bannok asked, tugging on my hand. "Please please please?"
"We don't know that she's a she yet," I reminded him.
"But if she is, can I name her? And if she's a he, can I still name her then?" Bannok pressed, refusing to be swayed. I was distracted for a minute counting out the fare to the carriage driver, and Bannok seemed to take that as assent.
"Tilly," he said as we wove our way towards some seats at the back.
"Mossy," as the carriage clattered towards Neopia Central.
"Oooh, can we call her Lightning Lenny?" as we stopped in Kiko Lake.
"Or, or, Bannok-ina!" as we passed through the gates into the market place. I had given up even mm-hmming at this point, and was slightly more concerned with making sure the young Lutari in question didn't fall from its precarious perch. It was fascinated by the world going past the open window of the carriage, and was standing with his hind legs on my arm and his front paws on the edge of the window, head darting backwards and forwards as it tried to take everything in.
"Jhudora!" was Bannok's latest suggestion as we headed towards the Pound – I wanted to make sure that we wouldn't be taking the baby Lutari away from another owner before I formally adopted it.
"Wouldn't that be confusing for Jhudora, if your sister was called the same thing as her?" I asked Bannok. He frowned, thinking about it.
"Maybe," he said finally, drawing the syllables out. "But Jhudora's really clever, so I don't think so."
"What about Samantha?" I suggested. Bannok made a face immediately.
"That's a girly name!" he protested. "She's going to be a cool sister, not a pink and girly one!"
"Well, maybe she will be pink and girly," I said, holding the door open for Bannok as we entered the Pound. "But still, I quite like Samantha. Or Sam."
"Sam's a boy's name, Mum," Bannok said. "And Samantha's girly and she won't be girly so she can't be called that!"
I laughed. "I'm sure she – or he – will grow up to be whatever she wants to be," I said, reaching up a hand to the little Lutari on my shoulder. "And I don't know, Sam could work for a boy or a girl, hmm?" The Lutari purred its approval as it stroked its head against my finger. I grinned – Sam it was.
"Oh, that's just typical!" an angry voice said to my left. I looked over my shoulder, not expecting the person to be talking to me, and was surprised to be hit by a fully fledged glare from the girl who had spoken.
"I'm sorry?" I said in confusion, wondering if I'd bumped into her by accident.
"You!" she said, pointing dramatically. "You're just like all of them, wanting a limited edition pet on the day it comes out then trying to get rid of it before it's even a few days old!"
"Oh, that's not – " I said, trying to explain her misconception.
"And what's worse is you can't even pound Lutaris!" she continued. "So you're stuck with a pet you don't want and how is that at all fair to it, huh?"
"I, uh," I said, trying to keep up with the situation. "What do you mean you can't pound Lutaris?" I settled for asking.
The girl rolled her eyes. "Lutaris run away if you try and pound them, everyone knows," she explained. "They only ever have one owner, and that owner's for life!"
"Oh," I said, thinking furiously. If Lutaris could only ever have one owner, then either I was Sam's first owner or she – or he – had run away from her previous owner within the first day... Either way, I was fairly certain that I didn't need to check if Sam had a previous owner any more.
"Thank you, you've been very helpful," I told the girl, taking Bannok's hand and turning to leave the Pound. She stared after me for a bit, then humphed and went back to her family.
"Where are we going now?" Bannok asked. "Don't we have to adopt her from the Pound like you said?"
"Turns out I was wrong – we need to go to the Create a Pet office, I think," I explained.
"Hello, dear!" the Wocky at the desk greeted us as we entered the building. "Oh – don't tell me, it's... Bannok, isn't it?"
"Yes," I said, taken aback. "How did you know?"
"Oh, I was here when he was born, dear!" she said. "Don't you remember old Eileen?"
"Eileen!" I said, thinking back to that day. "Of course, how could I forget?"
"Don't you worry yourself – everyone does," she said with a dismissive wave. "So are you here to add another pet to your family then?"
"Not quite – I was hoping to officially adopt Sam here," I said, lifting the baby Lutari down from my shoulder. "And, I wondered if you could tell me if she's a boy or a girl?" I asked. Sam squirmed in my hands, claws out and scratching as it tried to get back up to my shoulder.
"Well then, let's have a looksee, shall we?" Eileen said, reaching for Sam. She scooped it up, and immediately it was calm in her hands. I looked on jealously as she turned it over onto its back, stroking its tummy softly.
Bannok tugged on my sleeve. "Was I really born here, Mummy?" he asked, looking around at the sterile white walls.
"Yes, you were," I said, ruffling his hair under his hat. "I'll tell you about it some other time."
"Well, dear," Eileen said, depositing Sam back in my hands. "Your little Lutari is a healthy baby boy, that's for sure!" Sam shook himself, then scampered back up my arm to my shoulder. He settled himself with his head tucked very firmly under my hair and humphed.
"What? No!" Bannok said, standing on tip toe to peer over the edge of the desk. "She's my sister, she can't be a boy!"
"I'm sorry dear," Eileen said with a motherly smile, "but it turns out your sister is your brother! Isn't that fun?"
"I suppose," Bannok said doubtfully. "But I wanted her to be my sister!"
"It's not that bad Bannok," I said soothingly. "Sam's going to be a really cool brother for you!"
"Ah yes," Eileen said. "Unfortunately the name 'Sam' is not available; I could add some numbers on the end of that for you if you'd like?"
"Not numbers, I think," glancing at Sam on my shoulder. He humphed again, still clearly put out about being handed over to Eileen. "How about... Sammy?" Eileen shook her head. "Samuel?" No, not that either. "Samwise? Samian? Samitan?"
"Samitan I can do!" Eileen said. "Would you like me to put that down?"
"Yeah, I think so," I said, looking at Bannok and Sam's tail for approval. Bannok smiled excitedly and... Well, Sam didn't seem inclined to agree or disagree, but at least he wasn't overtly disapproving. "Samitan it is then. And, can you put his date of birth as yesterday? That's when we found him."
"It's a bit unorthodox, dear," Eileen said doubtfully. "All Lutaris are born on Lutari day, you see."
"Bannok, puppy eyes," I said out the corner of my mouth, bending down to lift him onto the counter.
"Please?" Bannok said, pulling out all the stops. I'm pretty sure his eyes would have engulfed his face if they got any larger.
"Well, all right then," Eileen said with a smile at Bannok and inked it into the forms. She stamped her official seal on with a flourish, and it was done.
"There you go," she said, handing me the forms. "Congratulations to you and Samitan!"
"Thank you very much!" I said, smiling, tucking them safely into my bag.
"Not at all, dear," Eileen said, waving us good bye as we left the building. I couldn't stop grinning as I reached down for Bannok's hand.
"Come on then, family – let's go shopping, eh?"
"Aww, Mum!" Bannok groaned in response, and I couldn't help but laugh.