Set in the Furside universe
"If we cannot accept who we are, how can we accept others?" ~ Unknown Source
The Fox fur was angry. At 18 years old her mom was getting married... to a Hume. A HUME! Humes were to be married they were to be eaten, and even there she did not really care for them, with how domesticated they had become really.
"How could you mom?!" She said. "Dad would never approve! You know that!"
"Dear, he would not have approved because we wee married, but not because he is a Hume."
"But you could have told me!!!"
"You cannot tell when love will happen. One day you will see that."
The teenage fox turned to her packing. "No chance, I'm outta here! I'm moving to Furside where I can disappear and never see you again!"
The mother looked at her. "Dear, why can't you give him a chance?" She motioned to the Hume, who was handsome and a few years younger than she did , and very sweet... in so many ways. He stood there silently, looking ashamed.
"Just forget it! Make your choice mom! Him or me?"
The fox mother sighed sadly and when she did not answer, the daughter taken aback. She let out a cry of anguish and stormed out the front door, vowing never to like a Hume in her life. SHE would not make that mistake.
What did her mom see in them? From what she had heard, Humes had blown each other apart before Furs came along and ate them up. Now they willingly leap down fur's throats, like they should. But some have the gall to call themselves equals. Some even marry Furs!
Like her new stepdad, who mom had married without even asking HER about it. Well, FORGET THEM!
She was going to college, getting a job, and never having any problems again.
CHAPTER 1: The Foundling
"All babies are cute, no matter what they do." ~ Atara, Fur parent
Shiva had problems.
The 26-year-old foxFur was in the office, working hard on a report on sales of various products her company put out that was due that morning.
But the problem was her need to include Hume figures. And that was an issue. While the company products sold well with the furs, her ideas sold with Humes about as well as dehydrated water. That was not pleasant news for the company, considering their base had been more and more Hume and half-breed lately.
Half-breed. The very word stuck in her craw. She shuddered and returned to work, typing fast, when a co-worker stepped by.
"Well, eager beaver Shiva strikes again huh?" The heavy accented female voice said. Shiva immediately recognized it as Jaca, a coyote with a flair for the Hume fashion world. Goth was her thing this week, dressed like a morbid princess, making many of the male Furs in the office stare.
And not because of her clothes, but rather what they did not hide.... that well.
"Not now Jaca, I got to get these figures to the boss and fast. He told me I HAD to include Hume figures this time and..."
"Not good huh?" The coyote guessed. "Girl you got to get inside the mind of the cuties! My goodness, Hume hatred aside, don't you even eat them?"
"I prefer full bred bunnies or non-intelligent meat animals, like sheep or cows." Shiva said. "Besides, Humes are so disgusting! You know that, before we came along, they invented a thing that could level a city and leave it uninhabitable for years?"
"Girl, we did that long before. Hell that was why we had to come to Earth remember?" Jaca tapped her foot. "So when are the figures due by?"
"Oh by sixOH SHIT!" Hurriedly Shiva printed her papers and ran for the office, it being a minute to six now. She huffed and puffed as she went, knocking on the door.
"Enter." The voice said. Shiva did so, gazing at the fat form of her boss, a big polar bear with a squirmy tummy. Shiva sighed some, knowing that Hume secretary was his lunch again, and probably more than.
"Here are the figures you wanted... all of them." She said, the bear taking them. He held up his paw making sure she waited while he looked them over.
"Shiva, how long have you worked for me?"
"Four years, one while finishing my degree."
The bear nodded. "In Communication Technology, correct?"
"Actually sir, it was Computers." She said.
The bear nodded. "Yes, I have seen some of your game programs. Very... unique." He pulled out one copy of them. "HumeHunter. Was a big seller among ALL kids, who saw it as a spoof of the old game hunting Humes used to do." Another copy. "The Star Colony. A space war against Hume terrorists." Another... "SimHumefarm. No need for any real explanations." He set them all aside. "I see a pattern in your work Shiva, and I do not like it. We do not tolerate Prejudice in this company. I know you have your reasons for not even liking to eat Humes, but I suggest you keep that opinion out of your work. It shows in the sales your teams have been doing lately which, by the way, are company lows. Do I make myself clear?"
Shiva sighed and felt like a truck had hit her. "yes sir." She said meekly.
"Good. Now, close up and call it a day. That is the other reason we need to talk. You never take a holiday, you never attend any parties or see any co-workers, some of which have said how attractive you are." He pulled out another game. "Even went so far as to use your form for a basis for a game hero."
"WHO DID THIS?!" She asked angrily, seeing the scantily clothed fox mercenary on the cart.
"The point is you bury yourself in work, and life only for it. You need to find some relaxation and soon. I am giving you a leave of absence from the company so you can do just that. And I want you to R-E-L-A-X. I get tired of walking in at Christmas and seeing you at that desk working like a little beaver."
"Dismissed." He said, patting his giggly belly. Oh how she HATED Humes! One took her mom and made her forget all about dad, and now Humes were taking her work away. She growled and stormed out, heading for her desk, Jaca still there.
"Bad day?" She asked. Shiva did not answer, just packed up her things and downloaded her work. "You know, you need to just find some way to get out of your shell. You are a fox, not a turtle."
"See you in a week." Shiva said, heading out with her stuff, Jaca just shaking her head.
another co-worker came up to her. "What is her problem? Four years now she works, never taking promotions, never going to parties, just working and eating."
"And running." Jaca said. She turned to the co-worker.
"Running? When does she run?"
"Oh forget it. I think she is hiding from something. And she refuses to come out."
Shiva's home in the Neutral District of Furside was modest, but not what she had hoped for. She was wishing her programming skills could have gotten her a home and job deep in Furside, far from those Humes.
Not so. After school finished and she had her degree, the temp work she found as a programmer for a gaming company was all the work she could find. She tried a few other locations, but they all turned her down, not based on her record but on her views, which she made VERY public.
And every time it cost her the job and, as a result, a chance to get out of this tiny cottage.
It was a nice setup, with a decent bedroom, living room, and kitchen, with a small bathroom and pleasant extras, like appliances clearly meant for making BIG meals. She rarely used them though, preferring the takeout she could get on the way home from work, this time some ham sandwiches. It was easy and they did not interfere with her work at home.
Relax, he boss had said. Forget it! She couldn't relax! She just had to keep working. She booted up her Holoset and fingered the keyboard to life, when she heard a sound outside.
"hm?" She said, looking toward the door. Nothing. She went back to work and heard it again, like a little yelping sound. She sighed and went to the door and opened it.
She saw nothing, at first. But when she looked down, she found the source of the crying. It was a little wicker basket, lined with a light blue blanket. And on that blanket, wrapped in another blanket (white colored), was a baby boy. a Hume baby.
He had blue eyes and a light cream skin, and he still had most of his baby fat. A thin layer of light blonde hair topped his head.
"What the?" Shiva said, her tail frizzled up some at the sight. A HUME. Here. And it was absolutely...
"mama!" It said, giving a toothless smile and babbling some.
"Mama?" Shiva repeated. "You really think I am your mama?" She sighed and shook her head. "Well better bring you in before you get cold. Can't have been here long or I am blind."
Shiva hoisted the basket up, the baby giggling and cooing some. Repeatedly Shiva was telling the little boy to hush, what right did HE have to be so happy?
He was a HUME! And Humes.... but then she looked at the little bundle and sighed.
Then it began to cry, arms held up. Shiva, letting instinct take over, picked the baby up and held it close. She felt the tiny arms wrapping around her in a tiny, soft hug. The baby stopped crying. Shiva sat in a chair and gently rocked it.
"Shhhh shhh... there there now..." Shiva said. "No need to cry. I'll call the orphanage, and..." But she stopped. "No... they might not be so good... just put you in the supermarket some of them would. I'll call the police. Maybe they can find your family." She went and got the VidPhone 2z1, letting it kick on. "Furside Police Department 21st District please."
'PLACEING CALL>>>>> CONNECTED.'
The video showed a half-breed cathume in a police outfit. Any other time she would have cursed her luck, but for some reason she said nothing this time. "Police Department, Officer Brown speaking... oh, I see you have a foundling?"
"How could you guess?" Shiva said sarcastically. "He was on my doorstep a few minutes ago. I wonder if we can find the family?"
"Ma'am, the odds are not good for that. Blankets are poor for fingerprints and DNA testing, well it will give a profile to match, but the database is HUGE, could take weeks to search every person in Furside."
"... weeks?" Shiva said, her fur seeming to turn white.
"Yes ma'am. We could get lucky, but we will see. I'll send a fur over." He went to turn and looked at her. "Oh by the way, We half-breeds are NOT disgusting abominations. I have seen your work Shiva, and personally I think YOU should be behind bars for it."
"Save it. I'm doing this for the kid and not you." Click.
Shiva sat down. Weeks with this little Hume? Yet really there was no alternative. She had to care for him. She had to. Somehow.
But why should she care? This was a HUME after all. He would just grow up to be another jerk thinking he was equal or something like that and... She shook her head at that thought. She had to set that thought aside.
At this age, Fur or Hume they came first. She knew that.
And she swore she would not forget it.
CHAPTER 2 Todd
"Oh... you’re such a little toddler.... I think that is what I will call you.... Todd. You know Todd: I'm not going to be so lonely anymore."
~From "The Fox and the Hound"
A week later, the police had no leads. The blankets had NO fingerprints, and the fingerprint and DNA testing (They never said they’d jab the baby with a needle!) had yielded nothing yet. Shiva was frazzled. Up late to change diapers or redo baby bottles, and searching stores for Hume baby food.
By now the normally well kept fox was a mess, and it was like the baby knew it. Every time she picked him up today he cooed and hugged, as if to say 'it's ok, you are doing your best.' But it wasn't working. Shiva sat and sighed.
"That's it... I'm no mother, I'm a computer programmer who can't even change a diaper. I tried little toddler, I tried, but I can't care for you. I got to call the orphanage." She got the phone and called, watching as a fat bear appeared on the screen.
"Happydale Humefarm! Wilma speaking!" The brown fatty said in a motherly voice that reminded Shiva of her own mom.
"I have a foundling, and I am wondering about dropping him off?"
"Oh I see dear! You have proper papers of the baby’s age, a consent form for the parents, medical papers, and consent to eat the baby?"
Shiva blanked. The baby even reacted to THAT one.
"Just kidding! But we will need you to understand: Like most orphanages around here, we keep the child only a short time. If no one adopts them, they are sent to the local restaurants or market. Standard Furside law."
The very thing Shiva did not want. She sighed. "Never mind... thank you."
The bear nodded. "I can recommend a good child care giver, if you need."
Shiva perked up. "Seriously?"
"Well, I get around. Besides, you look like you could use a little help with that little pot pie."
Shiva chuckled. "Yeah, a little."
The next two days were spent looking up childcare givers to help out, whenever she was not caring for the little Hume. A knock on the door announced the arrival of the next one.
Except when she answered the door, it wasn't a caregiver applicant. It was Jaca. The coyote stood there, wearing an apron and chef's hat.
"Word's out girl, you got a Hume baby! where is he?"
"Jaca, don't even think of it! He's just a..." And Shiva stopped. Jaca noticed it to.
"Shiva... you protecting a Hume?"
"Well... yeah." Shiva sat, holding the baby. Jaca sat by her. "He is so much work too. I just want him to be safe and o find his family."
"Don't bother I say." Jaca said crossing her arms. "Furs and Humes leave kids a lot, and rarely do they reclaim them. As for the work, I guess that is why you are looking for a caregiver huh?"
Shiva nodded. The baby cooed some, snuggling into the fox fur, sucking his thumb.
"Awwww!" Jaca said. "Shiva he is so cute! Couldn’t you just eat him up?"
Shiva chuckled. "He IS kinda cute... even without the fur."
"You have a name for him?"
She thought a moment. "Todd. I'll call him Todd." The baby giggled a little, nuzzling. "I think he approves! Well, Todd it is then."
Jaca smiled some. "It's a nice name. Here, I got the time, let me help you for a while."
Shiva smiled some as she set to making up some formula. "Thanks Jaca."
"Thanks nothing! I got my OWN reasons girl! That little guy needs to be in your tummy, and I am going to make him so fat and scrumptious you won't be able to resist!"
"But... he's just a baby!" Shiva said. Jaca chuckled.
"Just because WE use it in an adult manner doesn't mean it was meant that way. Hell you read history. You should know it was KIDS who came up with the whole idea in the first place!"
Shiva sighed. That WAS true.
"So, hand him here and I'll whip him up into the sweetest babycake you ever had. He'll like it too! You know if you swallow one whole and take a digestive inhibitor it is like back in the womb of the little guys? Oh they love it!"
Shiva shifted nervously, and Jaca knew why instantly.
"Girl... you ever swallowed something whole before?"
She blushed. "I never EATEN a Hume before."
Jaca blinked. "You... you ARE kidding right?"
Jaca sighed. "First you can't stand them and then you don't eat them... Shiva, come out of that shell turtlefox! Humes are not as bad as you keep saying, why do you hate them?"
Shiva sighed some. "Honestly?"
"Would be nice for once." Jaca said, picking up Todd and giving him a bottle loaded with fattening cream.
"Well... My mom married one without telling me."
There was silence for a few moments.
"That's it? That's your whole basis for hating the entire Hume race is one married your mom?"
"She was happy by herself, and she didn't even ask if I wanted another dad."
"You sound like a little cub girlfriend! Let it go! She had her reasons. Besides, Humes are MUCH better than furs in some areas... if you take my meaning."
"Oh Jaca, not you too!"
"Most of your co workers do girlfriend! Makes them nice and tender. Besides, Humes and Furs are not that different. They blew up their world but we blew up OURS first! We just had the better starships is the only and I do mean the ONLY real difference."
Shiva sighed some. "It does seem silly... but... I just find the whole thing..."
"Look, does HE look that bad to you?" She held up the baby... who chose that exact moment to burp.
Both furs laughed as it happened. "Well... I dunno..."
"Girl you are so stubborn. If your mom marrying a Hume is the only reason you hate them..."
"Well it isn't just that. I see some of the Humes around here and it disgusts me. It is like they are all looking for a handout, like they are entitled to have what we have even when they do not work."
"Furs are like that to in some ways girlfriend!" Jaca said, setting the baby boy in a big bowl. Slowly, She removed the clothes and began to butter him. "Hell you see some of those freeloaders out there. They think the government should give them everything because they are Furs. Hell Joseph, in accounting, thinks that!"
Shiva sighed and nodded. She sure was hard on the Humes. And really were they that much different? No, only in her mind were they.
"Alright alright... but it is a little late now to apologize. I mean I ran out on her 8 years ago. She never called me and I never called her, and besides, I am sure she forgot all about me."
Jaca, who now had a big bowl of batter with the baby in it all set for the cake pan, shook her head. "Parents never forget their babies." She smiled. "And speaking of babies, this one is looking good enough to eat! I already gave him the reforming drug, and it would be a same to waste it...." She left that hanging, Shiva chuckling and shaking her head.
"Oh fine put him in. Just please stop if it hurts him or if he starts crying. he is just a baby."
Jaca chuckled as she poured the baby boy into the pan, delicious chocolate cake batter all over him. "You hearing yourself? I thought you hated Humes!"
Shiva blushed, unsure what to say as she watched Jaca pop Todd into the oven to bake. Sure enough he did not cry, but curled up in the batter, ready for a nap. Jaca set the table, practically drooling over the coming dainty.
"Oh he will be so delicious girlfriend! You just wait and see! I'll even let you swallow him whole this time so you can understand how it feels. I think I have a digestive inhibitor left in my purse somewhere... AH!" Jaca dug in her purse and, sure enough, came up with a small little bottle of a pinkish liquid. "This will do the trick. It will hold off the digestion for a good 24 hours. Little nummy will likely sleep and snuggle the whole time." She set the bottle by Shiva and checked the baby. He sure LOOKED like he was enjoying it, the cake now coating him all over up to the head, like thick pajamas.
"Oh what the hell." Shiva said, popping the bottle of the foul tasting liquid open and chugging it, shivering in disgust as she did so. but it worked, she could feel it, and the baby boy was ready.
Well, except Jaca starting putting frosting on him. "La lala..." She hummed, coating the baby in gooey coconut icing to make a german chocolate babycake. Said baby, Todd, was smiling as he slept, warm and safe.
Safe. Shiva smiled. He WAS safe. "Ok... bring him over, I'm ready."
Jaca chuckled, lifting Todd, still steaming, out of the pan. "Ok sweetie, in you go! Mama's hungry for you!" She looked at Shiva. "Say AHHHHHH!"
Shiva opened er mouth wide as Jaca shoved the cake into her mouth headfirst. And a she did, she wondered why she hadn't eaten Humes before now. The taste was exquisite, like a rich, creamy filling in a chocolate cupcake, and she could not help but moan at the taste. Jaca chuckled as she heard it, shoving the little one in more, eagerly watching as she swallowed her son.
Didn't take long. In three good gulps, Todd was sliding down the throat making a sizable bulge in it. With a plop he landed in the tummy. Shiva pet it lovingly right where he was, and he replied with a muffled "mama!" to let her know he was alright, she was certain.
"So?" Jaca said after a few moments of silence.
"So what?" Shiva replied, looking up at the coyote.
"So how was he girl? Sweet? Sour? TELLME!"
Shiva chuckled and stroked the wriggly little bulge in her belly. "Delicious."
She sat and enjoyed herself. Maybe she wouldn't need the caregiver after all.
CHAPTER 3 Making Amends
Mothers are special angels, who care for us, even when we don't need them to.
~ From a greeting card, circa 2010
"100 degrees... oh Todd... you poor dear." Shiva said weeks later. Todd was sweating and crying. He was sick, and Shiva had no idea what to do.
By now the little baby had been eaten several times, Shiva sometimes putting him in her belly so she could work, but mostly for ease of travel. She was back at her job again, and her co-workers, bless them all even her boss, were more than willing to help out the kid they called “Their new mascot.” But it was the weekend now, and she was on her own. She had no idea who to ask in relation to her boy… and she started to consider Todd hers these days… and she had no idea where to go. Oh her co-workers had suggested people, but every call he made they were either out of town or off playing golf or some other such nonsense. She was running out of ideas, and she was sure this baby was really sick.
One thought repeated itself over and over in her mind but it was out of the question. SHE wouldn’t help. But then… who else was left?
She sighed, sitting by her sad little boy. He cried softly, The only sound he could make to say why he was so sick. Shiva held him and he stopped but he still looked so sad. She finally broke. She turned on the VidPhone. "Alura Wildfur please."
She sighed as she looked at the image that came up. It was time.
Driving through Furside was mad enough to make this drive into the open country like a vacation. There was almost no one on the roads save for the transport trucks and the occasional tourist and so forth, but very few others. Furside was large, but the wide world made even it seem larger.
And why not? All her life Shiva had only ever known a small section of the city and the small country town she was heading to. In the old days before Furs, the trip might have taken days. But travel was faster these days, though still cramped in Furside at times. So it was no surprise when, about five hors after leaving home, she had reached the tiny little hamlet of Brushes.
Brushes wasn't ever much. In all, it was about 40 buildings, with one being a community center where Furs and Humes came to talk, eat, and play. The others were modest little homes, with most being Fur and one or two Hume houses here and there. She pulled up to the house she was looking for and sighed.
Nostalgia. Completely unchanged. How the memories flooded back to her about this little white house. Was never very big even when she was a cub, but there was her, her mom, and her dad in it. All her life she was daddy's "Little Firefly", as he loved to call her. But then, one day when she was about 15, her dad was attacked by a rogue, a generic term given to all criminals. He fought back, but the rogue had stabbed him in the heart. By the time the medics found him he was long since dead.
Then her mom met that Hume, Davis or whatever his name was. He had helped her grieve, and had even done things no Hume ever did without asking, Shiva thought. Then they went and got married without even telling her.
This was her first time back since then, and she slowly was dreading it. Her mom had been nice on the phone, but Shiva still wondered if her mom still had anger over her leaving. She sighed and looked at the little baby, Todd, and realized it did not matter. She could help him.
After all, she was a doctor.
She picked the sleeping boy up and cradled him. He was still warm to the touch and coughing, and she went to the green and white door to the house. She rang the bell and waited as the door opened.
HE was standing there. The Hume. Her Stepfather. He was pretty handsome though he was now getting a couple gray hairs and a bushy mustache. His skin was the same color as cream, and he had a bit of a tummy (Her mom's work no doubt). They stared at one another for a moment.
"Shiva." He said, shying back a little. Shiva realized that he might have blamed himself for her and her mom's fight.
"Hi." She said, not saying whether he was right or wrong in that... something she probably could have addressed, but right now this little boy was more important. "Is she all set?"
"Yeah, in here." He replied softly. "What are the symptoms?"
"High fever, coughing, crying a lot. At first I thought it was just a simple cold or something but the fever is pretty high, and I do not want to take the chance."
The Hume looked at her. He looked like he wanted to say something but the words would not come out. They went into the living room, and saw a table set up like an examination table.
And there with her little doctor bag and her fine features was her mom. She and her mom were alike in many ways, especially appearance, though now Alura Wildfur had some shades of gray in her fur. She also was very fat now, no doubt thanks to the Hume she married, and her fur was thick and reddish gray. She smiled as she took the baby boy from her daughter and looked at him carefully.
"I didn't know who else to ask..." Shiva began, but the mother smiled.
"Relax dear. We will talk later. Besides, you were right. I should have told you." She looked at Todd. "Well now little one, let's see what is wrong with you hmmmmm? Too much time in the oven perhaps?"
"MOM!" Shiva said, embarassedly. The two wound up chuckling some at that. The Hume was silent. All the while she examined Todd, and then stood up after a time.
"Looks like an infection. Nothing serious, he is in no danger, but he will be very sick for a few days. My suggestion dear is to just keep him in your belly for about 48 hours. If his fever breaks, then let him out sooner. I have a tummy thermometer here you can use."
Shiva nodded, taking a long device that had a probe at the end and a small camera. "How do I?"
"Oh relax dear, you just slurp on it like spaghetti, it is really very soft. Once it touches the little cutie the probe will find his belly button and began the test. Then just pull it back out." She demonstrated herself, opening her mouth as she let the little device slip down her throat. It went easily, and was pulled back out with little trouble. "As for putting the baby in your tummy, We'll just wrap him in some thick dough and honey, so he will be warm and will slide down easily."
Shiva chuckled some. She never really thought eating Todd would be part of the cure. Then a thought struck her. "But... the acid..."
"Ah I knew I forgot something." She reached into her bag and pulled out a small bottle. Opening it, she pulled out three white pills. "Swallow these just before you swallow the little one. They'll turn off your acids. You'll need to lay still for a day or too to conserve energy, as you won't get any from food. As for the baby, he will need you to swallow a bit of milk every so often. He'll slurp it up with no trouble. But if there is any, I'll be right here."
Shiva nodded, picking up Todd and carrying him to the kitchen with her mom. The dough was already made, done while Shiva was in transit.
"I missed you." Shiva said.
There was silence as her mom turned to Shiva, smiling. "You have no idea dear. I thought I lost you forever, all because I should have said something. But Davis was so kind and thoughtful and loving... not to mention delicious, that I couldn't help it. I never felt that way since your father. I think... I think he sent Davis to me to take care of me... and to have another child."
Shiva blinked. "What?"
"Oh you'll meet him later, he is at school right now." She got out the dough and rolled it out. "Now the dough will be very bland. It has to be, so the baby can nibble at it even with no teeth and not risk an upset stomach. But the honey will help with that, and make it slide down easily."
Shiva watched as her mom took Todd and wrapped him up. "So... you said he was a foundling... any idea of who the family is?"
The red fox shook her head. "No... I got the call from the station a few days ago... there were no matches in the database. The family was either unregistered... or dead."
Shiva sat as she continued. "I was told I could drop him at the orphanage, and I almost did... but these past few weeks have changed me mom... I hated Humes... but now I can see why you fell for one just by seeing this kid... Love... well, it just happens."
Alura smiled, using a rolling pin to smooth he dough around the sick little boy, who was now yawning. "So what will you do now?" She asked, getting the honey.
But Shiva did not answer. Davis did. "Personally Shiva, I say adopt him yourself. Your mom and I, well we can help if you need it." He sat at the table. "Maybe it can help me make up for being impulsive before."
"Oh Davis hush." Alura giggled. "Didn't she just say love happens when it happens? Besides, if you hadn't have been I likely would have died an old maid."
Shiva chuckled some. It was kind of like dad was back... After all, she and her father had a similar conversation long before.
Swallowing Todd did go quickly, quicker than it should have and yet not quick enough, because Shiva loved the feeling of Todd in her belly... but oh how NASTY the dough was! Her mom was many things, but a good cook was not always true of her.
Still, the pills had done their work, and she was now lying on the couch, a blanket over her tummy to add warmth to it and help Todd break the fever. She talked with Davis and her mom during this time, telling about her work and so forth. She also forgave the two for not saying anything, since she likely would have said no for the wrong reasons.
Davis talked a lot too, and Shiva finally got to know him. Seems he was a farmhand nearby for a long time. Not a very exciting life, until the Furs came by. The first time it happened he was seven, and one asked if he was for sale. While the answer was no it did not change that he was dinner that night, and many nights to come for many customers. When he was 20 he moved out and settled in Brushes, working at the community house as a manager of one of the stores. Then 10 years ago he met Alura, who was very sad over the loss of her husband. He bought her a drink and offered her comfort.
"After he did that, he then asked if I wanted a bite to eat. I said yes... then I chewed him up." Alura interrupted with a giggle. Davis blushed some, proving that really was what happened, and that it must have been quite a scene. Shiva giggled a little as she imagined everyone in the community house watching a sad widow chew up a kind Hume. Some thanks!
But it was alright, it became a basis for their relationship. Every chance they got she would go to the community house and order a Davis Dog with all the trimmings. He was always glad to oblige, and he loved hearing about Shiva, hoping to meet her someday.
But love caught up with them. He decided all of a sudden he wanted her, and, being a little silly, bought a huge ring with some pocket money and went to propose the next time she came. Well, it did not go quite as planned, as there just HAPPENED to be a preacher in the store at the time.
"Well, she saw him, saw me give the ring to her, and we got married right then and there. I think we have the record for shortest engagement... five seconds." Davis said. "But it was hard after you left. I admit, I blamed myself. I thought it was a Hume who killed your father and you hated them because of that."
Shiva nodded. "I can see why you would think that, and I am sorry I stormed out. I was just a little angry I guess that she would forget dad... or so I thought. But as I look around I still see his pictures, his books, his..." And then something caught her eye. "Mom.... why is that card by dad's picture?"
Alura got up and chuckled, for by the picture of the foxy father was a little game card, from an old Terran game. "Oh him and I met playing this game in a town not far from here. It was popular in Hume times, and we found a few ancient decks. This was his favorite card: Felicia. Said I had her eyes."
Shiva could have laughed out loud as she saw the white cat half-breed on the card. Humes then must have been prophetic, considering! "Do we have games like this still? I mean, I AM in the business."
Davis shook his head. "Afraid not. Lots of video games and simulators, but no real classic games. But if it were brought around I bet it would be a hit." He then looked to Alura with a smile, and Alura immediately understood. "Hey, would you like the card? It was your father's after all."
Shiva blinked and held her paw out, taking it. "Really?" she looked at the card. the symbols, numbers, and letters on it seemed so... complex. But it was her father's, and she loved it.
"I'll frame it when I get home. Who knows? Maybe it will inspire me." She said.
"Maybe." Her mom replied softly. "Now you better sleep. I'll tell your little brother to leave you be for now."
Shiva nodded and slipped into slumber. She was home again, and her heart's weight was gone. For eight years it was there, and now, thanks to Todd, it was out forever.
She hoped she could return the favor, and find his family. Until then, she would take good care of him. That she promised.
Chapter 4 School Days
"I know a good kid when I see one, because they are ALL good kids..."
~Uncle Buck, from the movie of the same name.
"Todd! Todd!!! Todd you better get your yummy little butt out of bed, you'll be late for school, and I cannot drive you today!" Shiva called. She was busily serving a fresh batch of blueberry waffles, Todd's favorite breakfast. It was six years after her reunion with her mom and dad, and little had really changed.
Well, a couple of things. That card she got from her mom, the.. trading card, she called it?... was now in a glass frame by her desk. It was a sign of her continued success in the gaming field, as now every game she put out had been a hit.
It was thanks to her son, who now entered the room half-asleep, groaning some. He was the other change, now fully adopted. Todd, now six going on seven, had grown into a cute little sweet. His hair was light brown and very short, and his eyes had lost their bright blue tint for a dark green one. He had a couple of freckles now, and was wearing his favorite pair of pajamas, based on a favorite cartoon of his. He yawned some.
"Aww mom!" He said in a sleepy little voice. "Do I have to? I mean, can't I call in sick like you do?"
"Well for one, I do that when I need to take care of you when YOU are sick, and two you are just trying to get out of that math test today." She chuckled. "Breakfast is on the table. Be glad I am a better cook now than your grandmother. Took me some lessons from Jaca, but I do a few things right, hmm?"
Todd nodded, sitting slowly and digging in. He ate fast, but his happy expression told volumes: The food was great. Good thing to, considering how plump he liked to be.
Shiva drank her morning coffee and watched Todd eat. Hard to believe she adopted him, and how easy it was. She was sure that it would be a lot of red tape and such. BUT, because of the situation of him being a foundling, and because she had cared for him a lot already, the agency cut some corners and let it go through. Just a couple signatures and he was hers, and had been for years.
And oh how wonderful the last years were! Todd was a handful, but in a good way. Better still, her mom and dad (Yes, Davis was considered her new dad, especially given the respect he had for her father. That made the biggest difference) had moved into the apartment complex to be close by, renting out the old home for extra pocket money. And good thing too, with Willie and all.
And Willie came in just as she was thinking about it. Willie was that little boy her mom had mentioned, the little half-breed. He looked mostly human, but he had sharp fox teeth and big red ears and a bright, bushy tail that almost made Shiva envious. Willie was also ALWAYS hungry, and a couple school kids were in his belly a lot of the time. He was also a good friend for Todd.
Now 13, Will was still a silly kid yet on the verge of being an adult. His voice had deepened now, and he was really liking the look of that blonde Hume in the fourth row of his science class. Shiva hoped it was in a culinary sense. She doubted it was.
"Hey sis!" He said as he walked in, munching a big granola bar. "Is Todd ready yet?"
"I just got up!" Todd replied, gulping a bite that might have been too big for him. He coughed for a second, then resumed his eating. "I'm going as fast as I can!"
"Well the bus will be here in a few minutes, so I'll bring your things out... again." He winked some, Todd getting that 'hey!' look as he finished, running with Willie to get to the room first.
"kids." Shiva said simply. "And one of them is my little brother too! Sheesh!"
By the time Willie and Todd were both set (took longer because Wily kept trying to put Todd in his lunch), the bus had arrived. Shiva watched with a chuckle as they got on board just in time. It was the same old story with those two, who, while related, were also friends.
Shiva sat for a moment longer before deciding that it was her turn to get ready to face the day. She placed her paw on her dad’s old card for a moment then got dressed in her business suit. She saw on the counter that Saturday was the day for the big birthday party, and was eager for it to happen. She then picked up her latest game idea: A choose your own adventure style game where a Hume can be food for a Fur he wins over.
With that tucked in her bag next to her datapad, she headed off to work, wondering how Todd was doing.
Todd sat in one corner of the room, giggling and squirming. He was covered in maple syrup, and Bonnie, the absolute cutest little Mousefur you ever did see, was getting ready to eat him.
Bonnie was a brown furred mouse, with dark eyes and a long tail. She always put a bow on that tail for some reason, and always wore blue somewhere in her dresses. Today the whole dress was a light sea blue, and that was covered by a giant bib with a picture of a boy in a pie on it, saying “Certified Glutton!”
Todd was always popular in school, and not just due to his taste. He was friendly and sweet, but tough as well. Anyone who teased one of his friends usually got a sock to the mouth. He almost got in trouble for it one time, but the bully didn’t squeal on him. Todd always hoped he learned his lesson. He was also pretty smart, getting A’s and B’s in school.
“Ready Todd?” Bonnie said, rubbing her paws together.
“Ready!” He replied. “but hurry, the teacher will be here any minute!”
Todd did not say another word as Bonnie wolfed him down headfirst, getting her face and bib very, VERY sticky and messy. But Todd was so scrumptious she could never help herself. Besides, Like he said, she had to finish him off before the teacher got there, or he would be marked absent. And she worked fast. Some would say too fast to taste the food, but mice are unique in that respect, as their taste buds are thousands of times more sensitive. With her tasty breakfast all gobbled up, she scooted to her chair and pulled her desk too her.
Naturally, bullies take advantage of these kind of situations, when they THINK their target is free prey. And a group of tigers in the first grade were no exception. They were very cruel and played mean jokes. So it was no surprise that this trio of felines walked up to the mouse, ready to jeer.
“So, Humelover.” The leader said, looking at her. “How come you can only catch them when they leap down your throat. Oh that’s right, because you are too slow to get them any other way.”
Now anyone else might have started to cry. But Todd’s friends usually knew the right counters. “Yeah sure, this coming from the guy who flunked gym. Twice.”
The class gathered around, all expecting a fight. “Besides, I thought tigers were lone hunters. Afraid of being alone?”
Oh that did it. The lead tiger’s eyes widened and he motioned his posse back… when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see Todd, staring at him, ready to defend Bonnie if need be, reformed just in time.
“Todd.” The tiger said, growling. “Have to fight your friends fights for them now huh?”
“No, I just won’t let you do this again Bruce.” He smiled, the whole rest of the class nodding in support. The tiger, Bruce, realized he was outgunned.
“You, me, we are settling this later Hume. And don’t think you can fight your way out of it.”
Todd looked at him with a cold stare. It was Furs like this that always made him sick, ones who thought it was good to hurt others. What right did they have to do that?
The teacher came in afterward and class began, but the battle lines for the day were drawn, and Todd knew it.
At recess, when the morning classes were done, the time had come. Every 1st through 3rd grader at the first recess had heard about Bruce and Todd challenging one another. Bruce waited by the basketball hoops for Todd. He couldn’t stand Mr. Gifted, with all his great grades and friends, while he had to work just for a C. It wasn’t right or fair!
Finally Todd arrived. “Your late Hume.”
“sure you want to do this?” Todd said, standing ready.
“Oh I am definitely sure.” He lunged forward, swinging as hard as he could. Todd dodged the blow, ducking low. Angered, Bruce turned and lunged with all he had. For the next few minutes he threw punch after kick after charge. But Todd was quick, focused on just dodging the blows.
And then it happened. Bruce rushed him once too many times, already furious and angry, but when Todd moved aside he ran smack into the basketball pole. Bruce fell back, clutching his nose and shouting in pain. And to his shock it was Todd who came to help!
“Anna! Get the teacher, he’s hurt bad!” He called, a cute cat Bruce happened to have a crush on running for help. Todd looked at his nose and nodded. “Bruce…?”
“It hurts! Make it stop!” Bruce said. His nose was bleeding and his face red. He watched as the teacher came over.
“How did this happen?” She asked.
“He wasn’t looking and ran into the pole. Will he be alright?” Todd asked sincerely.
“Just a bloody nose. He should be alright.” The teacher said, taking Bruce in. Todd’s friends all smiled and pat him on the back.
He had won by not throwing a punch.
Bonnie was so greatful at lunch. She hugged him tight and he hugged back. Of all of his friends, Bonnie was his best friend, had been for sometime.
They had met at the daycare at his mom’s job, when they were about two. The pattern for their friendship started right then, because Todd was cute and tasty, and Bonnie had forgotten her pre-nap snack.
So, Todd took its place, getting swallowed whole by the greedy toddler. He slept in her tummy all afternoon, and the two were friends after that.
Since then, the pattern of Todd’s kindness continued, Todd always giving her a big meal or a tasty snack. When he wasn’t, they were playing games together or working on another silly idea for Todd’s mom to make into a game.
Now it was lunchtime as Todd was her lunch, covered in mayo and lying on a TON of cheese in a giant sub.
“Oh Todd you are so scrumptous looking!” Bonnie said. “But usually isn’t it the dragon and not the princess the knight saves who eats him?”
“Ah, I’m no knight.” Todd said. “Just a friend. Besides, Bruce pretty much beat himself up without my help.”
“All the same, thanks.” She said, smiling. “I’m glad we are friends Todd.”
“Me too Bonnie.” He replied honestly. “Now hurry please, I am all set to spend math in your belly.”
“You KNOW he’ll just make you take it inside me.” She said, putting the lettuce, tomato, and top bun on him. “May as well face it, especially if you want to stay in there this time, not be reformed so fast like this morning.”
Todd nodded and settled in. Ah well. He practiced his times tables in his head while Bonnie began her lunch, taking little nibbles, just trying to taste Todd rather than chew him up. If she did, he would be marked playing hookey and get a zero. It was hard though. Of all the Humes Bonnie ate up, Todd was her favorite food, and her favorite friend. She wondered if she had a crush on him.
As class finished (Todd ACED that test!!!), Todd checked on Bruce. His nose was bandaged but otherwise fine.
“Hey.” Todd said, sitting in a chair near Bruce.
“You never even threw one blow.” Bruce said. He managed a smile. “For a Hume you have a lot of guts. I like a guy with guts.”
“Blame my mom. She always taught me never to back down from a fight, but never start them either." Bruce chuckled at that, apparently not having that lesson himself. “Nose going to be alright?”
“It’ll be fine, eventually.” Bruce said. “She said I’ll need to put ice on it every now and then is all.”
Todd stood up. “Well I better go.”
“Wait Todd… I have to know. Why DO you fight for your friends? What’s the big deal?”
Todd smiled. “Just what friends do. Look out for one another.”
He turned and left, leaving Bruce to his thoughts. “Huh… for a nerd he is kinda cool. Bet he tastes good too.”
He laid down, listening as the busses left, waiting for his dad to pick him up. He would not be happy he lost the fight, but ah well. That’s life.
Todd. Nice guy.
CHAPTER 5 Birthday Boy
“In all the world, nothing is more wonderful than a happy child.”
~ From ‘The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus’
“Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday, Happy birthday! Happy Birthday to you!!!!” The crowd sang. Todd, sitting at the end of the table with a birthday hat on and presents all about, as well as a big chocolate cake in front of him, blew out the candles that announced he was seven years old.
Todd grinned as his mom served the cake, homemade of course. He hoped there was enough to go around. All his friends were there, including Bonnie, Will, and even Bruce believe it or not, who was slowly changing his ways. Various other Furs and Humes (Some already in tummies) were present, all friends of the little boy.
“What did you wish for Todd?” Bruce asked.
“No way, I’ll never tell!” He said with a smile. But he lost it as soon as he saw the others talking with their moms and dads in the big common room of the apartment building where his grandparents lived. All his life Todd knew he was a foundling, and while he was very happy, he sometimes did wish for his mom and dad, his REAL mom and dad, to show up and say why he left him.
Then he would thank them for doing so. He was very happy with his mom. What other mom was a maker of games, and even gave him a copy of one before it was even on the market? None at all that was who!
And all his friends! He would never have met them he was certain. Granted he had to earn their friendship for some of them (Bruce being the latest he had done that with) and others he often ended up in their snacks (When did that wolf learn to bake?), but he was happier than most kids his age.
“Todd, are you listening?” His mom said, getting his attention. “It’s time to open your gifts!”
Todd giggled and nodded. One by one he went into a routine of opening the package, thanking who gave him the present, and having a reaction to the present. Most of them were small things. A neat new action figure, a few cool shirts, a board game, some gift cards, and even a little recipe book (A self helping gift from Bonnie, Todd thought to himself with a smile)
When the presents were all opened, Todd and his buddies went off to play a game on the big TV. His mom watched him thoughtfully, as if she was sad about something.
“I got a call from the new police chief.” She said to Jaca and her parents once she was sure Todd was not listening. “Seems they reopened my case.”
“But I thought the adoption settled it.” Jaca said, curious. There was silence for a moment and then she looked hard at Shiva. “You didn’t.”
“He knows he is a foundling Jaca. I owe him to find out who the parents are.”
“Any le… Hon can it wait?” Davis started, Ashura clearly eager to eat Davis as they talked, spreading vanilla icing on his back. “Ah never mind. I just wondered about leads anyway, and I can find that out before I am chewed on.”
“Davis is right hon.” Ashura said, looking at her daughter. “You need to tell us what you found.”
Shiva was silent for a second, then spoke. “The reason they did not find them earlier was because the search was too limited. Only a small area of Furside at most. Seems the last chief had no interest in helping me at all because of what I said about him.
“But this one knew I had changed and expanded the search. Then two days ago I was contacted while he was at school. No luck on the mother yet, but they found the father.”
Everyone was silent. “Well?”
“He’s an inmate at the Hume Correctional Facility. And guess when he was put in?”
Jaca sighed. “Probably a day after you found Todd on your doorstep.”
“Not even. It was the same night. His arrest record showed he was put in about 4 hours after Todd was dropped off. That means he was the one who did it. But I still don’t know why.”
Davis, now laying on a table and covered wit icing, spoke up. “Maybe I stand alone, but if you talk to him you will get your answers. Humes are sometimes funny. Sometimes they go to jail or allow themselves to get caught just to get a roof over their heads.”
“A good point dear, but if that was the case, why has he never contacted Shiva, find out how his son is?” She tied a napkin around her neck and started to eat, taking in the feet and biting them off.
“MMmm…. All I know is that she could talk to him.” He laid still allowing Ashura to eat him, while Shiva nodded. She knew what she had to do and soon.
But for now this was a happy day, no sense spoiling it. She went over to where the kids were playing the game and decided to join in. Her sadness faded as she played and her son was having the best birthday ever.
She only hoped it was not his last with her.
CHAPTER 6 Tobias
“Dad, when will we be a family again?”
“From where I stand? I say when the Angels win the pennet.”
~ From ‘Angels In the Outfield
There was a definitive difference between Hume facilities and Fur ones. Fur prisons were open to the public and were like old zoos. Humes came in all the time to see the animal people, usually ones that go their whole life never seeing a Fur otherwise.
Hume ones, on the other hand, were far more strict. Since Hume crimes were so rare and, often, more heinous, they were often placed in single building areas in the country, far from where they do harm. Since most Humes wind up here only by their own choice or for doing acts of severe cruelty, not many facilities were needed. Mostly they just stayed a few days and that was it, or became a slave to some Fur for the rest of their lives. Still the facilities existed, just in case.
For Shiva, coming to the Italian Isolation House, a Hume correctional facility, was a nightmare. There were no habitats, no hot dog stands or guides, and no welcoming atmosphere. Just guards and lots of locked rooms. Bars were everywhere and signs of warning also could be found on many walls. It was like something out of a horror film.
“Halt.” A guard said, holding up his hand. “Name and person you wish to see.”
Shiva shivered some. “I am looking for Tobias.”
“We have four inmates by that name, be more specific.”
“Tobias Walter Greene.” Shiva said. “I’d like to talk to him. My name is Shiva and no, I am no relative or distant friend, it is… about something that happened six years ago.”
The guard nodded. “I mean no offense ma’am, but just protocol. After a woman came in and shot an inmate in cold blood for no reason, I have to make sure we know who comes in or out.”
Shiva nodded and was led to a room that, thankfully, was much cozier. It still had a fair share of bars, but soft music played and the far corner had two inmates watching a sporting event. In a far chair a handsome guy (Shiva blushed when she remembered that in the future, especially given her background) watched her shyly, probably embarrassed about his location. Shiva found it odd. These were dangerous criminals right?
Then… HE came in. He was dark skinned and had a trimmed goatee. He wore the jumpsuit of all inmates and looked less than happy to see Shiva. He sat down at the table, and put his hands on it, folding them over one another. At first she was not sure he was the right person, but those eyes... gentle green eyes. It had to be.
“Well?” He said.
“I… I need to be sure… you did something six years ago before you were arrested… with a child.”
She got her answer as his eyes widened. “I…I don’t k….know what you are talking about…”
“I think you do.”
He started to sweat. “You from HER?!” He stood up. “DID SHE SEND YOU?!”
His shouting attracted the attention of the others in the room, and Shiva hushed him. “No no! Nothing like that!”
He sighed and sat. “GOOD.” He said simply. “I did what I had to so that kid could live. I assume you are the one I left him at.”
“And he is happy?”
Again a nod.
“Then we have nothing to talk about. As far as he should know, his mom and dad are dead. End your search now.” He sighed some. “What do you think you mean to accomplish? Think you are doing some good deed? Think that, by finding the real parents, he will love you all the more? Girl if you knew about us you would only feel shame. I came in here not because of a crime I did, but to SAVE MY LIFE. His mom is crazy… and she is free.”
Shiva sighed. “But… he wants to know you.”
Tobias hmphed. “No he doesn’t. He should know YOU. He should NEVER see us. Maybe someday when the mother is dead then maybe let him come see me. But for now… no.”
Shiva sighed some. “Please… why is this so hard? Why does…”
“Look, I got nothing more to say. Please just raise him right and forget us. Forever.” He started to get up and Shiva stood as well. “Tell me one thing. You love him right?”
Shiva nodded. “Yes. I used to hate Humes because one took my mom as his wife, and now… I love Humes I guess.”
Tobias chuckled. “My son did that huh? Well, I did one thing right in my life then…. Um… do.. .you have a picture? I kinda would like to see how he looks.”
Shiva chuckled. “Thought you wanted nothing to do with him.”
“I want him to never find me. I did not say I never wanted to see him.” He was handed a picture and a tear fell from his eyes. “Well kiddo… you’ll live now. You got a life now, and I am safe. Someone was smiling on us.” He wiped the tears away, trying to hide them. “D..damn humidity…”
“Tobias…” Shiva said. “When he is old enough I will tell him about you. You deserve to see him yourself.”
Tobias shook his head and went away, a guard escorting him back to his room. Shiva was stunned. She had found the father, but this was not what she hoped for. Why was he warning about the mother? What terrible thing had SHE done, that he had to hide in prison?
With a sigh, she turned and left the prison with more questions than answers. But one thing was clear.. Todd must never know. EVER.
Not until he was old enough to understand this.
CHAPTER 7 Time Marches On
“Some say time is a predator that is stalking you, but I believe time is a companion reminding you to treasure every moment because it will never come again.”
~ From ‘Star Trek: Generations’
And so the years went past. Shiva still worked at the company, Todd stayed at the school doing well, and was now in Junior high. Seven years had passed, and the spunky 14-year-old was a regular ladies man. He was also the company mascot, and, one day at work, Shiva sat at he desk, waiting for him to show up.
Her secret project was ready, one she had worked on for years. She wanted Todd to see it before she presented it, dressed in her finery. As she waited, Jaca, lovely as ever, came over, rubbing a squirming belly.
“Alright Jaca, which Hume worker is it this time? Joey in marketing? Or maybe it was Andrew down in research and development?”
Jaca chuckled. “No it’s a new guy: Louis in sales. And what about you? You got a date for the company Christmas Ball?”
Shiva sighed. “Watching Todd these days is a full time job. You know I had to punish him again for coming home late? That’s the third time this month alone! And the girls… oh am I running a house or a harem?”
Jaca laughed. “Probably the boss’ influence. You know HE is with secretaries… though I doubt HE gets eaten by them very much, being a bear and all. Besides he only feeds most of them… except for Bonnie.” She then noticed the package on the desk. “Is that what I think it is?”
“Yup. Took me all year to finish the test model, but with the team’s help… and Todd’s of course… StarBlazers is ready for demonstration.”
“Well you KNOW he will never go for it. We are a video game company and not a company focused on card games. They are kind of… old fashioned.”
“That’s why now is the time Jaca! What is old is becoming new again! Besides… I owe it to dad to try and bring them back.”
Jaca nodded as in walked a teen. But it wasn’t Todd. No this teen was an attractive mousegirl, dress in a leather jacket and leather pants, with spiky hair and a black gothic bow on her tail. Her belly was full and distended, and she was licking her lips.
“Bonnie.” Shiva said. “You used to be so sweet and now?”
The mouse shot her a thumbs up… complete with fingerless gloves. “Hey Ms. W! Got a yummy in my tummy that says he is yours. You want the pizza boy or can I keep him?”
“Todd!” Shiva said, some of her co-workers chuckling. This was getting monotonous. “You come out of there this instant!”
“No chance ma!” Todd said, his voice now deep and sarcastic. Now normally Humes can just wait to be digested and reformed, but they can also, if the pred is skilled, climb up the throat and out the mouth. But… “See… I’m kinda naked.”
“TODD ZACHARIAH WILDFUR!!!” Shiva shouted, half in anger and half in amusement. Oh he was gonna get it! And Bonnie! “As for you lady leather, what happened, and I want the whole truth!”
“Sheesh Ms. W, don’t have a heart attack! I just wanted to taste him all over in the pizza, he worked so hard making it for me. Besides, not like we did anything THAT bad! You KNOW we are going steady! And man I can’t WAIT until we are of legal marrying age! But, until then…. You ask, she’s your mom.”
Shiva blinked. “Ask… what?”
“Well… I wondered if I could be Bonnie’s food pet. Until I am old enough for marriage and all.”
Shiva sighed and placed her paws on her face. “Did you have to ask this now? I have the presentation to give! StarBlazers is being tested!”
Bonnie blinked. “Ooo! Good luck! I hope he says yes!”
Shiva sighed. “So do I.” She handed Bonnie a robe. “Now go reform him and I will meet you two over in the development lab. They got a new MMORTS that needs testing.”
“On it mom! Bonnie swallowed a Datapad as well, so I can work from in here.” Bonnie strutted off, showing off her boyfriend-filled belly. Shiva sighed and sat, Jaca chuckling.
“Oh shut up.” Shiva said.
Despite the romance of her son being slightly distracting, the presentation was going well. It had gone from a presentation to a game demo, and the desk was now illuminated with a 8x8 grid, covered with stars, planets, and space.
"Sir?" Shiva said, looking at her boss, who was looking at a trio of cards.
"Hold on, I’m thinking." He said. Finally, he played one. An image shot up from it, representing three alien craft in a V formation. "Ok, I will use my resources to build some Zakaran Hunters at Base A." He looked up. "I have to say, the game is complex, but at the same time the rules are easy enough to understand. And you say the board would change everytime?"
"Yes sir." Shiva said, moving one of her Terran Battleships. "Only common thing would be two homeworlds. if one player attacks the other homeworld, and succeeds in the attack, they win. Battles are suspected to last about 45 minutes."
The polar bear moved his fighters with another group. "Sounds good. Especially given each unit's weaknesses and strengths, like how my fighters are attacking your Starbase." He activated the card, and holographic fire was launched. The boss rolled an attack die while Shiva rolled a smaller defense one, due to the Starbase having a poor ship defense.
Nevertheless, the roll was enough to stop the attack. The boss chuckled. "Very random too... games can always go either way a any time. A fleet of superdreadnoughts could be laid wasted by, say, Voltan Kamikazes?"
Shiva nodded. "There is no perfect fleet. The key is trying to out think your opponent rather than just build up high cost units and fling them at the base. Better still, we can alter this for settings in ground assults, fantasy battles, even massive space wars."
The boss looked up. "Well... marketing will take time... and we will need to test this over in the test room for a week or so.. but I think this could start a whole new line for this company. We could release starters in two deck packs. How much do you think?"
"Well," Shiva coughed, "our original creation estimate as around $10 per two decks. Given marketing costs, retail for decks would be about $23. That is still less than most games, and affordable. Boosters, much cheaper to make, would be around $8."
The boss hmmed some. "See if we can bring the cost down a little. I have a feeling we won't have to worry TOO much about profits, if we can sell a lot of these." He smiled and extended a paw. "Good work Shiva. Your team may just get that extra bonus again this year!"
Shiva smiled and shook her boss' paw. With a smile, off she went to go see her son.
In one of the restrooms, Bonnie was kissing a tied up Hume. The Hume boy of 14 had brown, spiky hair, handsome features, cream skin and dark green eyes. It was Todd of course, getting some private time with his girlfriend. While they were still virgins, no one could deny the two were made for one another. They cuddled together often, and always were having a good time wherever they were.
While he had been reformed as was asked, it was likely he would soon end up back in her belly, and quick… much to his delight.
"Mmmm... sugary sweet." Bonnie said. "Shame this isn't a mess hall. But I am still hungry."
"I know Bonnie." Todd said, hugging her tight. "When we get home, I'll have mom stuff me and roast me just for you."
"Awwww... You really are good to me Todd. Have I told you how much I like you?"
"Yeah, three minutes ago."
"Far too long." she said, kissing him... just as Shiva came in. The two were wide-eyed and staring as was the motherly fox.
"Oh come on!" She said, untying her son. "I hope you two are still virgins!"
"MOM!" Todd said, embarrassed. "Do you have to always ask that! We promised no sex before marriage and we meant it, don't you trust us?"
"Not when I walk in to the ladies room to find you two kissing so deeply I swear she would eat you lips first!" She thought about that for a second, especially as they blushed. "Oh no... you didn't."
"But Ms. W!" Bonnie said. "He was lying in a hot dog bun with chili and cheese all over him. You KNOW it's my favorite food!" She held him close. "I love your son Ms. W. and he is so sweet to me, more than anyone!"
Shiva sighed. "That may be. But promise promise PROMISE me, both of you, limit the gobbling sessions, limit the snuggles, and absolutely NO sex until you are out of high school, preferably college. Especially Todd if you wanted that job in the restaurant business."
"I still do mom, and don’t worry, we will limit it. Think of it this way: every time I feed Bonnie is more practice of my gifts!"
Shiva shook her head. "I wish you two used your other gifts too. And speaking of which, did you even get to the room?"
"Yes ma'am.. .and to be honest, the game stunk." Bonnie said honestly. "It's wayyyyy to slow paced for a MMO game."
Todd nodded. “Yeah, and there were a lot of errors. You might want to double check on the unit creation system if you release the game.”
"Well I got another for you two to test." The mother said.
"What one mom?" Todd asked, and was wide eyed as she held up the demo pack for StarBlazers. "HE APPROVED IT?!"
"Needs to be tested, then it goes public. Todd your ideas were brilliant!"
"Hey," Bonnie interrupted, "from what I heard it was you who came up with the playing rules, and the random board idea. Todd here just made the cards."
Shiva hugged the two. "In any case you rascals, you have work to do. Go get to it, then I'll see you at closing time."
"Right!" The duo said, heading off. Shiva smiled happily as they went, but shook her head.
"They better behave themselves."
CHAPTER 8 The Secret Is Out
"Ben, why didn't you tell me?!"
~From 'Star Wars'
Todd got home early a few weeks later. Bonnie was due anytime, and he had some work to do in order to prepare for her arrival. Life was good at the Wildfur home. While still small, there was a big income coming in, set aside for a bigger house in Furside. Especially now that StarBlazers was out, and was already selling like hotcakes. One thing he did have now though was better ways to be tasty for his mom and favorite girl.
Todd was shivering at the thought. All his life he had been gobbled, chomped, cooked, and in all ways eaten by his classmates. Especially Bonnie. Oh how he loved her so. He couldn't wait until he was old enough to marry her and have kids.
And his mom! If anyone was to blame for his career choice she was it. Since he was found on the doorstep he had been gobbled up a lot. He still had a picture of when he was three, baked into a pie so he could take a nap while his mom had a midday snack. It was a shame that she never found out who his real parents were. But it didn't matter.
That is, until he noticed something. On the VidPhone, there was a message. Trying to be helpful, he played it.
And he saw a man on the screen. He had a shaved head and a goatee, and was wearing a prison outfit. A punk fur girl was behind him, holding him.
Todd knew right away who it was. It was his real father. Those eyes told all.
And then the message played.
"I know I promised I would never call, just like you promise years ago never to tell my son about me. But I had to know how he was doing. I am hoping that-"
He turned it off. Todd was stunned. His father... but his mom knew for years? How long? And if he knew the father what about the mother?!
Todd was fuming. She should have told him!
"Todd?" Shiva called when she got home. Todd was not in the living room like he always was after school. Bonnie wasn't here either, which also worried her.
"Todd where are you?"
Todd came out of his room, his face showing his anger. "How long mom?" He said accusingly.
Shiva blinked. "How long? What do you mean?"
"I got home, and I played a message on the vid phone. It was my father. How long did you know about him?!" He stepped forward.
"Todd, you were seven at the time! Knowing your father was in prison... it would have broke your heart."
"BULLSHIT!" He said, shocking them both. Never before had he swore. But he kept going. "You didn't tell me because you didn't WANT to find them! You wanted me all to yourself! That's also why you don't want me with Bonnie!"
"Todd that is NOT true, and you are out of line." Shiva said, starting to get angry herself. "You are making accusations without any facts."
"The only fact I need is that message. It tells me everything. You don't want to find them!"
Shiva blurted out. "No, I don't! But not for the reasons you think. You want to know who your mother is? LOOK!" She tossed a file she had hidden in her desk at him. "Look carefully Todd. I kept that from you because I didn't want to hurt you."
Todd opened the file. And what he saw turned is blood cold and his skin white.
The woman in the picture was related, he knew it. Her hair was the same color, the skin tone was the same. The eyes were wild and her face like a madman's. The file's origin told the rest of the story.
SAINT ANNUBIS MUNICAPAL INSTITUTION.
It meant only one thing. His mother was insane.
"No..." Todd said, dropping the file like it was a poisonous thing. "No, you’re lying..."
"I found out a year ago. When I learned I contacted your father and he confirmed it. She is out now, but I doubt she is any better, and no one knows where she is."
"Stop." Todd cried, curling into a ball. "Please..."
Shiva watched as a tear fell from his eyes. He was her son even if she was mad at him, and she went to him. He did not return the hug she gave, but he did not shy away either, sobbing into her chest. The poor thing. She wished she had never looked, and had stopped the search years ago.
It was about then that the VidPhone rang. Shiva got up and answered it. On the screen appeared Clara Walters, Bonnie's mother.
"Ms. Wildfur?" She said, looking like she had been crying.
"Yes?" She asked, looking as Todd looked up.
"Please... come to the Liberty Hospital. Something has happened."
CHAPTER 9 Change of Plans
"The best laid plans of mice and men..."
Todd and Shiva drove in silence to the hospital. Todd was still in denial about what he found in the file, about his father, and about his mom. He as sure in his mind she was lying to try and get him to stop, so Shiva alone would have him.
And now to hear Bonnie got hurt. Bad. His heart was broken, and he had to see her. He had to see her alright. Please be alright, he kept thinking to himself.
When they got to the hospital, he ran to the ward where Bonnie was. He ran as fast as he could. How could anyone try to run her over? What person would do that?! She was no animal, she was his friend, his love, the girl he wanted to marry!
As he got close to the room, a feline in a white coat held him back. He struggled and squirmed.
"Son hold it!" He shouted.
"No! My friend is in there!" He replied, squirming past.
And then he saw it. He saw her being wheeled out of the room.
Her one leg had been amputated, and her other was in a cast. She was barely breathing, and her fur was so messy. Todd ran to her.
"Bonnie?" He whispered, the mouse weakly opening her eyes. Todd was crying when he saw her. But her smile told her volumes.
She was hurt, maybe bad, but she wasn't about to quit. Her paw held his hand for a moment as the doctor came over.
"Son, please..." He started, but he turned and asked.
"What happened?" He said quickly, not noticing his mom coming in. Not caring to notice either.
"She was hit by a large truck. From the look of he wounds this was intentional. She was hit with such force it shattered her legs, only one we maybe could save, and her ribs have broken. We have to operate to stop the blood loss. Normally we could reform her, but the time has been too long. We have to do this the old fashioned way."
"Who did it?" He asked.
"Does it matter?" The doctor said. "Revenge won't help son. Just prayer. Odds are about 50/50 she will make it, but this is a very delicate operation, and even if we succeed, she will never walk again. Her mom has refused any artificial limbs."
Todd watched as the doctor followed the hospital bed, Bonnie holding up one paw, weakly giving a thumbs up. Hit by a truck. The file. The location of the institution said she would have been in the area if she was released recently.
And she was. She was only let out that morning after another set of tests and talks. It was all in that damn up-to-date file.
The file that stated she hated kids... she might even want to…
No, it was a lie. It had to be a lie. Even true they couldn’t be connected. But…
"Todd?" He heard behind him. He turned and saw his mom. Shiva looked at him softly and extended a paw.
And Todd took it, wrapping her arm around him. "Mom..."
"I am sorry hon... I should have told you before... but your right, I didn’t want to lose you. I was afraid you might want to leave me."
He held his mom and hugged, never mind how babyish it might have looked. With the day he had so far he needed something. And Shiva was there for him. Always was.
Memories flooded back of every time he had been sick or hurt over the years, and he knew that this one lie shouldn’t end it all. It couldn't.
But something DID have to change.
"You want to what?" Bonnie's mom said.
"When she gets out of the hospital, I want to be her food pet. Take care of her." He said. Shiva and Clara looked at one another.
"But Todd... the doctor said..."
"Screw the doctor. She's going to make it." He said boldly. "She won't give up, not yet. I know it and you know it, right?"
There was silence.
Shiva finally nodded. "right. So... you want to be her food for awhile. You realize you'll likely have to be liquefied for the first few weeks."
Todd nodded. "Has to be better than the food here. From what Bruce told me after he busted his arm, the food is worse than barf."
"Language Todd!" Shiva said, Clara giggling a little.
"Todd, thank you." Clara said. "My little Bonnie Blue means everything to me and I know she means that to you. Your offer is so kind."
"She's my friend. It’s what she would do for me if I was in there... well, at the least she would let herself be skinned for a blanket."
The mother's nodded. "But... what about college?"
"It can wait. Besides I can go to one of those trade schools."
Shiva sighed. "Dear I make a lot true but not enough for one of them."
Todd nodded. "I will find a way. I promise."
A few hours later, the doctor had good news: Bonnie would live. Her ribs did NOT puncture any organs, but she would be laid up for awhile. As for her legs... they could not be saved. Both had been removed. This was a hard blow for everyone, especially given that Bonnie wanted to be in the races. But She would live.
Todd went alone to see her. She smiled weakly, tubes in her nose to help her breathe, her cut off thighs bound with bandages. "hi scrumptious." She whispered. "man... they really take it out of you."
"Shhh... I'm here." Todd said. "And I'm all yours. Seems they allow pets in the hospital."
Bonnie chuckled, then coughed. "I knew she would say yes..." She started to close her eyes. "I....I....love....you." She said, slipping to sleep with a smile, holding his hand.
"I love you too. Now and forever." Todd said, laying his head on the bed by her. He fell asleep there, Shiva coming in later and putting a blanket on them both. She did not know if Todd would ever forgive her for the secret she kept, but he knew he would be there for Bonnie.
"And I will be there for you." Shiva said. "Always was, and always will be.... my son."
She sat nearby, stroking her Hume son, smiling as the night went on.
CHAPTER 10 "Hi Dad"
"So, you have accepted the truth."
"I accepted the truth that you were Anakin Skywalker, my father."
~ From Star Wars
"Vixen plays his Broodship Carrier, sending it closer to the Terran homeworld!" The announcer said. Everyone was cheering as the large screen showed all.
It was three years later, and StarBlazers was a phenomenon. Everyone was playing it. Tournaments were everywhere. And this one was very big.
Especially for Vixen's opponent, a 17 year old Hume with spiky hair that had been dyed blue, and wearing a leather jacket with the trademark StarBlazer deckbelt. This tournament's prize money was enough to get him into the trade school. He had trained hard with his owner, a mouse in a wheelchair in the front row dressed like an alien princess, and his mom, a fox in a red suit outfit.
Todd may have been the son of the game maker, but he was not given ANY privileges. after all, he was now a food pet, not so much a school kid. He had been working these days as well at the fast food place in town, winding up as a burger for various busty femme furs.
Much to Bonnie's anger. Still, she understood why he had to do it. And she understood how much she loved him.
But it looked hopeless. He only had three fighter squads left, and had lost another planet to his opponent. Todd only had his homeworld left, and, while he had saved his resources, his fleet was lagging.
Three squads against two Broodship Carriers, three Broodship Destroyers, and one Demolisher Boodling was not enough. Todd had to make a serious gamble.
"Alright." He said, lifting a card and playing it. The Vixen was wide eyed as he saw the Terran ship summoned: A Terran Excelsior!
"Todd summons the Excelsior, the Superdreadnought able to target multiple craft! But his resources are now gone. Can he do it?" The announcer shouted.
Todd moved his ships in. The opponent maneuvered his. The Excelsior fired on the carriers and destroyed them taking no damage. But the other ships opened fire. Fighters were lost, and one whole squad went down.
But then Todd played his surprise. He revealed a command card, playing it on his last fighter group: Warp 9.
"Oh! With Warp 9, Todd can move his fighter squads again!" The audience cheered, Bonnie shouting and chanting his name as she saw him maneuver the fighters towards the planet. It had been a decoy! His best ship was just a decoy!!!
And it worked. The fighters, too fast to be caught by the lumbering Brood megaships, was quickly at the planet. It took two attacks, but the planet was destroyed. Todd had won.
"And it's over! The winner of the StarBlazers MasterBlaster Tournament is TODD!!!!!!"
Todd raised his hand in victory, a fingerless glove on it.
Bonnie was crying as she saw it. He had wore it for her.
Todd was sure glad when he got home, holding the prize check. It was more than enough to pay for the trade school. Around him sat his friends and his family.
They no longer lived at that little cottage in the central district of Furside, but had moved to a duplex, where he and Bonnie had a whole half of the building to themselves, while their parents coexisted in the other half. Bonnie, while having lost her legs, had not lost her appetite, and had chuckled whenever she gobbled Todd up, rolling about on the floor like a big furry ball. Oh now cute they were as a couple. Shiva knew it would not be too many more years before he popped the question.
And then he would be gone. She sighed sadly at that.
“Hey ma, why the long face?” Todd said, wrapping a jacketed arm around her and squeezing. “You look like you lost a pup.”
Shiva sighed. “Todd… I know soon you’ll be off to trade school, and I will miss you so much. I barely see you anymore as it is.”
Todd nodded. “I know mom. But I promised a few years ago I would look after Bonnie. Friends do that for friends.” He looked at her, laughing as she talked with one of their oldest friends, good old Bruce. He was now in a trade school himself, one dealing with electronics. “Besides… I want to be a good husband for her.”
Shiva nodded. “And… your father… you still seeing him today?”
Todd nodded. “I have to mom. I’m going to be out of high school soon. I can drive. I work. I think I am mature enough now to know the truth. I have to know who my dad is, and…” He stopped there, not needing to say anymore. Despite EVERYONE’S warning, he had reopened the case about his parents. He was too old for them to have custody now, so he was safe in that regard.
But he knew it was still painful for his mom. After she had learned what she did and stopped the search, he had hoped he would just forget about it. No such luck, as instead he now wanted to know now more than ever. Will’s recent findings on his own had been no help, stating that Tobias was no hardened criminal or even had a record, but was a model citizen. That had sealed the deal: Todd had to see his father.
“You should go soon.” Shiva said sadly. “Visiting hours will be over before long.”
Todd looked at her and hugged her. “Let me change first. And mom… thanks for understanding.” He went off to change, Bonnie rolling behind him, planning on going with him.
Shiva just sat there and cried.
“Is this it?” Bonnie asked as they pulled up to the facility. They were riding in a small car, one Todd had bought a month ago using money he saved up. It wasn’t much, just an old fashioned hovercar that sometimes gave out, but it got them where they needed to go most of the time.
“Yup.” He said, looking at her. Even not dressed up she was so beautiful. Those soft eyes, the big cute ears, her fur perfectly combed. He held her close and kissed her on the lips. “I’ll be right back.”
“I’m coming with you.” She said, scooting herself along the chair so she could reach out her wheelchair. Todd got out and went to help her, but she was a stubborn mouse, managing herself. Once the chair was set up, she scooted into it and released the breaks. “There.” She said with a pant.
“I can help you know.” Todd said, and Bonnie smiled.
“I know lover. But I rather do it myself. I love your help… especially your feeding me.” She licked her lips and made him blush. “But I will not let myself be a full cripple.”
Todd nodded and wheeled her on in, sighing some and preparing himself. He had not ever met his father before now, and the time had come. They went in slowly, just as his mom had done years before, and headed for the common area of the facility. One of the inmates helped some much to their surprise, clearing the path to the meeting table.
And there, waiting for them, was Tobias. He was still bald, but he seemed to aged a hundred years, his beard graying now, his whole body looking like he would die any day. Beside him sat another inmate, a wolf woman about his age, chewing on his arm. He chuckled some as he saw his son sit.
“Hi Dad.” Was all he said.
“Well well well.” He said, looking him over. “We do have similar tastes… well I did anyway, some time ago.”
He then turned to Bonnie. “And you must be his girlfriend. You’ll have to forgive Lupa, she hasn’t had a bite to eat all day.” He smiled at her and she growled lovingly. Romance in prison. Huh. “After the divorce was finalized I wasted no time marrying her. I had one vow: be her slave.”
She looked up, swallowing a bit of the arm and chuckling. “Don’t listen to a word he says kid. I married him because he was sweet and kind to me, and he treats me like some queen. Me, a Hume hater, treated like a queen by one. How can ANY girl resist that?” She smiled, kissing Tobias’ cheek… and getting a nibble.
Bonnie chuckled. “I know what you mean Miss Lupa…”
“Girl, just Lupa here k? No formalities or I bite your head off.” She winked at that. But Todd sat there.
“Dad…” he started. Time of the hard stuff. “Why did you abandon me?”
Tobias sighed. “To save your life kid. Babies don’t last too good in prison, they are put in an orphanage. I knew there were a lot of Fur homes, and I knew you would be safe with one. So I left you there.”
“But… why no note or anything?”
Tobias sighed. “Because this search was never to have taken place. Your mom was told long ago to stop and she didn’t, and then you take over. You have to understand what you find is not pleasant.”
“I don’t care. I knew this would not be a dream family, I just want the truth. Who my family is and why I had to be left.”
Tobias sighed. “Fine. Lupa… I need some time, why don’t you take Bonnie over to the movie area?” Lupa sighed sadly, still wanting her raw human dinner, but agreed. She put a wrap around his armless shoulder to mark where she left off, then rolled Bonnie over to the TV. “She was put in here because being with Hume prisoners rather than going to a zoo would be a worse fate according to the judge. He was wrong… it was the best we both could ask for.”
Tobias sighed. “Alright. But I warn you, this is not a happy tale. You have no other family Todd. Your mother and I are it. The others… well my family disowned me long ago and refuses to acknowledge my existence. Her family… well, let’s say they all met untimely deaths.”
Todd knew what that meant. “She killed them.”
“Courts say otherwise, but I know better. She is insane your mother. Driven insane by abuse from her family. She hated kids, called them an abomination. She said any kid born had to be cleansed. Oh but she was clever, so clever I had no idea nor anyone else what she was REALLY like. She gave a public face of a model citizen so well they elected her to the town council. That was how met her, during one of her events.
“But after we married I saw the truth. She was abusive and scornful. I tried many times then for divorce, but her lawyers refused it, said that I had a responsibility. Then one day she just calmed down. I thought she had changed. But nine months later I found out what it was. It was you Todd. The only time she was kind or sweet at all was while she had you inside her, growing and taking what love she did have.
“When you were born, then, I knew you were special. You were not like your stupid father, who married a crazy woman, nor your killer mother. You took any and all positives from us and became a perfect child. I have to say I cried when I first held you, praying you would be the answer for us. But it was not to be.”
Todd stared blankly. “What happened?”
“It was so sudden. Your mom came into your room with a knife, crying out that you were an abomination. She stabbed at the cradle, but I managed to get you out. I ran as fast as I could, getting to the car and driving until I ran out of gas. I hoped she had not followed. But I knew better. She was coming, and as long as you were with me you were not safe.
“So, I dropped you at the house and ran onward, hoping to lead her away. I had. We scuffled a few miles later in a park, where I was arrested under suspicion of assault and attempted murder. I pleaded guilty just so I would be sent here. Safe. Far from her.” He chuckled some at this point. “You know, I was actually glad when they carted me off. And when I heard she was in a loony bin, well I was ecstatic. I was really free of her. The divorce happened a few years ago and I met Lupa. She has been a Godsend. Maybe she is God’s way of saying that he forgives me, that I can be happy now.”
Todd didn’t know what to say. Now he was sad and angry and torn up at the same time. And yet he was also happy. When he knew his father was in jail he wondered for sometime if he was a criminal to be. Now her knew better.
“Dad… thanks.” Todd said. “You told me what I needed to know. And thank you for leaving me. If you hadn’t, I never would have mom. She’s been a good mother.”
Tobias stood and walked to his son. He extended a hand to shake it, but for Todd it was not enough. He hugged his father tight, and he slowly hugged back.
“I missed you so much my son, and I am so proud of you.”
“You’ll visit often I hope.” Tobias said, almost all eaten now as Lupa had resumed her meal. Todd nodded.
“I promise. And I’ll see about getting you the video of the tournament.”
“You better.” Tobias said, shifting a little. “I heard it was a real impressive feat in that final match.”
Lupa looked up, swallowing some rump meat. “Let us know the day of the wedding too. We can get a leave to come see it.”
Bonnie nodded. “We will! And thanks for the cooking tips Lupa!”
“No prob! If you ever wanna join me for a father/son buffet let me know!”
Everyone laughed at that. One last set of hugs (Except for Tobias, who just had a pat from Todd and a kiss from Bonnie, having been eaten to the head), and they were off.
“One last stop to make.” Todd said as they drove off. Bonnie nodded in understanding.
“You know what you will find.” She reminded him, and Todd nodded.
“I intend to do this to answer my final questions, and give my dad his final revenge. If he is right, my being alive and successful means he beat her. All I can say now is I wish mom had told me about dad sooner, but I know why she did.”
“So where to?” Bonnie asked, tempted to eat Todd’s hand for a holdover. He smiled and held it up for her, letting the mouse put some bread around it, then cut it off.
“Humeside. Deep in Humeside.”
CHAPTER 11 The Search is Over
“But I am nothing like my father!”
“You’re a splitting image!”
~ From ‘Matilda’
They sat outside the house for some time. The directions led them here. Several others confirmed it.
It looked so… normal. A white picket fence. Black shutters. Ordinary siding. Normal in every way. But Todd knew better. This was where his birth mother lived, and if his dad was right, it was also where the rest of his family had died.
Todd had driven for hours to get here, and it was now night. He had been reformed thanks to a stop at a prep restaurant (Bonnie HAD to have her Todd dog!), and was energized. This was the final step to his journey. The truth was here.
“Todd… don’t go.” Bonnie said, holding his hand. “You know what is there. We both do.”
“Bonnie… this is where my life started. I plan to put this behind me right here.” He got out, holding Bonnie's hand as long as it would reach, then walked up to the house. His skin went pale and his heart seemed to stop.
Then he rang the doorbell. He heard footsteps. And when the door opened, he already knew.
She had his skin, his hair color, and even his smile. But on her arm she saw the marks of a needle. And her eyes were cloudy.
“Yes?” She said. If he didn’t know better, he swore she was trying to hit on him.
“You are Clarice Greene?” Todd asked. She nodded, trying to look sexy.
And Todd dropped the bomb. “I am Todd Wildfur… and I am a Greene as well. I am your son.”
She stared. Then her eyes widened. Her whole body shook. “NO! NO!!!!!!!! CHILDREN ARE EVIL! I BORE NO CHILDREN!!!!"
Todd saw it all. “Look at me. Our DNA is traced as mother and son.”
“LIAR!!!!!! CHILDREN EVIL DARK ROTTEN BASTARD HA HA HAAAAAA!” She slammed the door, her mad rant continuing. Todd walked away slowly, until he heard a thump. He turned back to the window and saw it.
She was on the floor. She did not move. Todd could have called an ambulance or something but there was likely no need.
Todd’s search had just ended. His biological mom was dead. That meant he knew who his mom was.
“Bonnie! Call a doctor!” He called out. But he knew there was no need. It was over.
Two days later, Todd got the call that confirmed his dad’s story. In her home, or rather under it, were the bones of her relatives. Posthumously she was found guilty of mass genocide.
She was also conformed to be his biological mother. And the one who made Bonnie a cripple. She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was hit by the truck. Her fingerprints were on it. It was not enough to prove she did it, but Todd knew.
And now Bonnie had her revenge too.
“So,” he said to his mom. His REAL mom. To Shiva. “That’s it then. She suffered a massive heart attack from the drugs she filled her blood with combined with the shock of seeing me alive.” He sat down. “You were right mom. I shouldn’t have known.”
Shiva held him. “My son…”
Todd smiled. “Say that again mom… please.” Shiva chuckled and did so. It made him realize just how lucky he had been. His dad may not have been there for his growing up, but he saw to it that he DID grow up. He had been a good father after all. He leaned into her hug, not caring how babyish it looked.
He had found his true mom and his true dad. His searching was over.
He was home.
CHAPTER 12 A Sad Farewell
“Why are you dying mama?”
“It’s my time.”
~ From ‘Forrest Gump’
Everyone knew it was bad as they sat in the waiting room. Davis had called Shiva at work and told her the news. Then she wound up calling her friend Jaca, Todd, Bonnie, and told them all one message.
“Get to the hospital quick… please.”
And when they got there, Shiva told the bad news: Ashura Wildfur, Shiva’s mom, was dying. The doctors had found several lumps in her body, which meant only one thing. A disease that, in spite of all the advances in medicine could not be fully cured.
Ashura had cancer. And she had little time left.
Davis paced outside her room whenever he was not by her for some reason, refusing to leave her side. He had it himself, and knew his time would be out soon enough, but the thought of being without Ashura for even a day made him jelly inside. He couldn’t stand it. He was always hoping it would be him to go first and not her. In the lobby, Todd and Bonnie sat together, Bonnie holding her lover close. This was hard for him too, as Ashura was the only grandma he knew he had.
But Shiva was hurt worst of all. For days she would sit in the chapel, praying not to take Ashura yet. Praying to give her more time to say she was sorry forever leaving, for everything.
And then Todd came in, one fateful night.
“Mom…” He said. “She’s asking for you.” He said. Shiva nodded and stood up. She knew her time was almost gone. How can she say goodbye? Why now? Why when her son’s search had ended did she have to…
Before she knew it she had walked into her room. Ashura looked different now. Her fur was matted and part had fallen out. What she did have was gray. Even so, she was still pretty, even in these final moments.
“Hi mom.” Shiva choked out. Ashura motioned her close.
“Shiva, my darling daughter. No mother could ever be more proud.” Ashura choked out. Shiva went to speak but she hushed her. “Dear, my time is over. Your father is wanting me to come home at last, and I cannot keep him waiting anymore. Davis has been so wonderful, but I cannot stay.”
“Mom I never did forgive you for marrying him… I thought you were cheating on dad. Like it was too soon. Now I… Mom please…”
“Dear…” Ashura said. “You were meant to leave that night. Todd needed you, just as you needed me growing up. Fate willed it. I can leave knowing you did a great job raising that boy. And no forgiveness is needed, because you were right. I should have told you.” She sat back. “Dear… I have my will all put together. Davis agrees. He will live in our old cottage, but at his death it is yours.”
Shiva shook her head. “Mom I…”
“Dear… that house is our memories. Good and bad, our life was there. But both make us stronger. Life is temporary and not to weep about when it is over. And the possessions in life… you can’t take them along. What you can do is leave your memories for those who carry on. And dear we have so many. Your childhood I will treasure for all eternity, as I will the chance to be a part of your adult life.”
“Mommy…” Shiva said, starting to cry. A weak paw wiped it away.
“I will miss you Shiva. And I am so proud of you.”
She coughed and Shiva went to help her, but she waved him off. “No dear… I have to go.”
“Please mom… I want you to stay. I can’t lose you now, when life is…”
“That is why I have to go. My work here on this world is done. I go now where I can watch over everyone better.” She looked out the window. Rain was starting to fall. “Your father proposed to me in a gentle rainstorm like this. Did I ever tell you that?”
“No…” Shiva lied. She had.
“I was soaking wet… and your dad dried me off and gave me a ring, saying he would always keep me warm and dry. I still felt him all my life dear. And now I will…”
Shiva looked, as Ashura stared out the window. Shiva looked as well and, just for a moment, she swore she saw her father, waving at them both, welcoming her.
And when Shiva turned back, her mom was lying there, eyes closed, smiling. But her body was cold and her breath gone. The machine had that steady tone that told it all.
Shiva sobbed into her mom’s fur. Her job on Earth had ended.
“Bye mom… and thank you.” She said. She got up, wiped her eyes, and left the room.
But as she saw Todd, she knew her mom was right about one thing. Now She would see Todd grow, and their kids, on and on.
At the funeral, Shiva looked at the stone that marked where her mother lay. And there, between her grave and her father’s was growing a rose.
“Mom…” Todd said, coming to her.
“Dad always loved roses.” Shiva said, standing up. “Every year he must have given mom a thousand white roses. Now one grows on their grave.”
Todd held his mom. “Will you be okay?”
Shiva started to walk away. “Yeah… I think so.” She looked at Todd and hugged him. “Heh, you know the first time I saw your grandma after you were around she made you into a treat for me?”
Todd chuckled. ‘She didn’t!”
“Oh yes. You were sick as could be, but mom suggested you sleep in my tummy…”
As Shiva told the story, they walked off, leaving behind the last generation to pass on knowledge to the next.
CHAPTER 13 Life Goes On
“We can’t hold on to them forever.”
~From Disney’s ‘Swiss Family Robinson’
Seasons came and went, and Shiva was no longer a worker at her company, but the boss. Jaca left the company to work with Todd at a new resturaunt far from home, the coyote settled down with a Hume as wild as she was. StarBlazers still was a big hit, now with two spin off games, TV shows, and even copycats. She stared at the pictures of her dad, mom, and Davis.
Davis had died a month after her mom, and the will had left the house to her. She went there every summer, working from there if needed, reconnecting with her son and future daughter-in-law since they both now lived real close to that old house. In his will, Davis requested to be cremated, his ashes placed at the site he and his mom met. A letter left behind for Shiva told how it had changed his life forever.
It read like this:
“Before I met your mom, I was convinced I would never know true love. But when we met it was love at first bite. In my final hours I look forward to seeing her and your father in the afterlife. I wonder if they will have room for me there. I know you did, and I am thankful. May you always be happy, and may you find the one you are destined for.”
While Shiva herself never married she WAS getting a lot of offers, and she found, to her dismay, that she was becoming a flirt in her old age. And a bit of a glutton, patting her belly where, digesting away, was her male secretary baked in a pie.
A knock on the door brought her out of her ecstasy and back into reality. There in the doorway was her son, Todd. He looked so mature now, dressed in a fine suit. He had a thin mustache now, and his hair, still blue, was cut short. His eyes shone as his smile was sarcastic.
“When will you relent and marry the guy huh?” He said. “Everyone in the building knows you two are at it night and day.”
Shiva stood. “And since when did my love life become your concern Toddler?” She said, walking over and hugging him. “Oh son, how are you?”
“Good.” He said, sitting down. “I see the old game is still a big hit.”
“Yup.” Shiva said, sitting. “Millions sold this year of the new expansions, and the TV royalties are piling up. And how is the eatery?”
“BonBon?” He said, smiling at the game. The idea was Bonnie’s. “Wonderful. I love cooking there. Best of all it isn’t one of those high-class places that only eat a few little tidbits, but… well…”
“A glutton’s delight?” Shiva joked, making Todd blush. Even at 25 he was still so cute.
Especially when his mom got it right.
“Yeah I suppose so. Incidentally, Jaca says hello.”
“That was a mistake hiring her as a waitress you know.” Shiva said, adjusting a picture on her desk. “She was a fine game maker.”
“Come on mom, you and I knew she was hostess material. She may be no spring chicken but she is still a head turner, and she trained the whole staff.”
Todd smiled. “Well… we set the date. Which is really why I am here. The wedding is in three weeks. We figure a nice little reception then off to the American Wilds for a honeymoon. Bruce contacted a wolf pack there he knows.”
Todd chuckled. “Let’s just say by the time the honeymoon is over, Bonnie will be one satisfied mousie. We specifically looked for a place she could enslave me and be my queen.” He smiled longingly at that. “Not that she isn’t already.”
“Oh Todd.” She said. “I turned you into a romantic.”
“Proud of it mom.”
Shiva smiled as she closed up for the night. It had been some time since she came here, and now she couldn’t leave.
It was weird. She remembered vaguely how it was before Todd came into her life. She was angry, depressed, and a certified Hume Hater.
Now look at her. A boss here, loving her job. Friends she could depend on. A summer home to give her son for a gift. And the biggest success story in production since before Furs.
“Walk you home?” A male voice said, belonging to her secretary, a dark haired Asian, smiling at her.
“Thanks.” She said, holding out her paw, taking his hand. Years ago she never would have done this. Now she didn’t know why.
“Good day?” he asked.
“Great. Three weeks from now is the wedding. You are invited.”
“I would be delighted.” He said. “But for tonight, you have supper plans?”
She smiled. “Nope.”
“Then let me help out.” He leaned close and they snuggled, walking down the street.
Elsewhere, Todd and Bonnie were going a lot further than that, Bonnie putting whipped cream all over Todd’s head.
Baked in a cupcake, Todd wriggled a little for his fiancee, loving every move she made. Even in a wheelchair she was still beautiful and lovable. He longed to be in her stomach, to be her gift. To be wholly hers.
“There.” She said. “All set.” She said with a lick of her lips. “Husband filled vanilla cake, my favorite!”
“I thought you liked chili dogs?” Todd said. She smiled and rolled close, lips meeting.
“You are getting too sweet for them.” She said, longing in her eyes. “I want you inside me.”
“Then don’t hesitate my love.” Todd said. He watched as she ate slowly, seductively. All the while he was on her lap, held by her.
He remembered being like this when he proposed a year ago. He lay in a roasting pan at thanksgiving, the chosen turkey for the furs, but brought out the ring as he went in. Bonnie cried as she said yes, and that night… oh that night.
Now it was decided. In three weeks they would be wed. His mom would be there. His friends would be there.
But there was someone else he wanted there. He thought of it as she swallowed him up, hoping he would be there.
Knowing he would be.
“BURRRRRRRP!” She said, having shoved him into her belly while he was in thought. “Oh, excuse me.”
“You may be a lady but you still have that punk in you every now and then!” Todd commented from within her, laughing.
“Look who’s talking, Mr. Blue Hair!” She said, punching her stomach. Both just laughed as she went to lay in bed, letting her belly massage Todd slowly, turning him into fat on her thighs.
She would be a ball before the wedding at this rate.
In the Furside Non-Denominational Church, surrounded by friends and family, the wedding began. Jaca’s littlest kids were the flower girl and ring bearer, and Bruce stood there as the best man by Todd. Shiva sat in the front row, wiping her eyes as she watched.
And then came Bonnie, led by her mom, in a wheelchair that had been covered in gold. She wore a white dress with blue sequence, and carried a bouquet of white roses. Seeing that made Shiva cry, as did seeing how beautiful the mousegirl was.
But the biggest surprise came as she reached the alter. Slowly, the chair raised and straightened out. Braces supported her so she would look as if she were standing, and still have no fear of falling. Everyone gasped in awe at the sight, and Todd smiled.
She looked at him. He at her. They took each other’s hands and approached the preacher.
“Dearly beloved,” he began, “we stand here, before the eyes of the One and of each other, to join Bonnie Blue Walters and Todd Zachariah Wildfur in holy matrimony. I was asked before the exchange of vows, to say a few words on this.
“This is what I have to say. There s a great adventure we all are part of. Life. We never know what it will bring, and we never know where it will take us. It can be happy and sad, wonderful and terrifying. But when we travel it, there is no denying that it is the greatest adventure of all. And this day, this adventure has brought this man and this woman together, to share the adventure as one. It will be rocky or smooth, but it will be a journey they will go on together. And woe to any who try and tear them apart.”
They stood smiling, and Shiva nodded. Life WAS an adventure.
Hers was full of it. And Todd’s as well.
Left at a doorstep of a fur that hated Humes.
A childhood of discovery and wonder, and love.
Pain when a secret was revealed, one Shiva was forgiven for.
Happiness with Bonnie.
Sadness when Dad, Mom, and Davis died.
Success with the game creation.
And now… saying good bye to her son.
“The rings please.” The preacher continued. Todd handed his to Bonnie, a silver ring with a blue sapphire in it. Bonnie did the same with hers, a ruby ring of silver.
Silently they recited their vows of devotion, love, and kindness, and Shiva’s heart broke. He was leaving her. She felt it inside her. He was going.
But her smile was wide… he was so happy now…
“I now pronounce you man and wife. Todd, you may kiss the bride.”
Todd lifted the veil, moved close, and kissed Bonnie. Cheers came up from everyone, and Shiva cried as they went past, the duo heading out to a waiting limo.
But as they went out, Shiva saw someone, watching from the back. A wolf by his side and a guard in a distance.
“You came.” She said. Tobias nodded, watching as his son got in. Shiva eeped as Bonnie threw the bouquet…
…and Shiva caught it.
“Looks like you are the next to get married.” Tobias said, Luna snuggling him. “And of course I came. I promised I would.”
“He’s really gone.” Shiva said. Tobias nodded.
“Yes, into the next phase of his life.”
Shiva nodded, watching sadly as they rolled away. At the reception party, She was ready to present her family house to him as a present, and to wish him well.
But for now she was just sad. Sad and happy all at once, for he was no longer his little boy.
“You did a good job Shiva.” Tobias said. “You should be proud.”
Shiva nodded, starting for her car. She was going to say good bye to her son.
She smiled some as she climbed in, her secretary by her. “Ready?” He asked, holding her hand.
“Yeah.” She said, and drove off after Todd. She was going to give him a proper farewell.
As the sun set, she drove to the reception, memories flooding into her. It had been a good life.
And was going to get even better.
StarBlazers was inspired by a mention in a previous story. I decided to have this story also tell the origins of the game. I may do a manual for it soon.
Many of the characters and events are inspired by actual events in my life. That is all I will say on that, save that no I was not adopted, and NO my mom is not psycho. She is more like Shiva: Kind and wonderful.
This story was set in the Furside universe. Naturally.
Please comment as much as possible. I want to know how I did. Really.