Title: All At His Own Paws
Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Jon, Garfield, mild Jon/Liz
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words Pool Party
Word Count: 963
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
A weary sigh escapes him the moment he pulls into his driveway. Here, he is safe from the crazy traffic and the pressures of his job. His boss won't yell at him,and he won't be almost ran over by a semi. His shoulders fall,and he collapses for a moment with his head on his steering wheel. It feels so good to just sit there in silence,the only noise the air conditioning blowing through his car. He could sleep right here.
His brown eyes start to drift closed. He cracks his door open,trying to force himself from the car,but still he lingers, eyes shut, one hand and his head still on the wheel. He turns off the engine, killing the nice, cool air conditioning, but still he can not seem to find it within himself to move. His mind throbs with the pressures of his day,and his hands hurt. Today was an especially bad day for his arthritis. He releases his grip on the wheel, but still he lingers, eyes still shut.
An aroma drifts on a rare,soft breeze on the hot afternoon. It catches his nose and plays tag with his nostrils. His stomach rumbles. He barely got a bite to eat today, and suddenly he remembers he's starving. His eyes pop open, and he finds it's no longer hard to force himself from the car. He doesn't have to force himself at all, not as long as he's following that delicious scent.
Oddly enough, it's coming from his own home. He wonders idly if Liz might have slipped inside on him and be making something, but she doesn't have a key to his house. The third key (the second is hidden outside for the next time Garfield decides to lock him out) is still waiting in his shirt pocket for him to find the courage to give it to her. He loves Liz, but somehow even after all this time together,he still loses his courage around her. What a beauty like her sees him in an average guy like him he'll never understand, but he knows she loves him, too.
Still,with no key to his home,she can't possibly be the perpetrator causing this wonderful aroma that even now is leading him to his front door. His weary feet have left the pavement as his body lifts ever higher in eager response to the aroma. He's never smelled anything so wonderful, and if whatever it is tastes even half as good as it smells, he's going to be in Heaven the moment he bites it.
The aroma tugs him right to his own door. He slips the key into the lock and turns it,and the door opens to what should be chaos but isn't. Animals fill his kitchen. Ducks quack, dogs bark (including Odie),and cats meow. Garfield raises his little, orange head and looks up at him quite adoringly out of his big, green eyes. "Jon," he says, speaking perfect English,"you're home at last!" He grins up at him. "Boy,do I have a surprise for you! We're making lasagna."
Jon tries to speak but as his mouth opens, something is stuck quickly inside of it. His eyes widen in shock as a monkey swings away from him. His fingers go to the handle of the silver spoon in his mouth but just then he tastes the lasagna. It tastes like Heaven indeed. It's so good that he moans aloud.
"Odie, don't -- !"
He hears the words a second too late. He looks up again just as his little dog,who is usually far better behaved than his cat, jumps onto a big, brown sack. Flour explodes, hitting Jon right in the face, and his eyes pop open again -- only this time,in real life and a second too slow to see the orange paw darting back from his face.
He blinks as he comes to, realizing it was all just a dream. He groans aloud as he thinks to himself that it figures. Anything that good actually being cooked in his home, not to mention Garfield actually being loving, had to have been a dream! He sighs and then looks to the big, green eyes actively boring holes into him.
Garfield grins as though just realizing that his human is awake. He opens his mouth wide and points inside of the empty, gaping hole with a furry finger and claw. Jon groans again,turns over,causing Garfield to fall off of him,out of his bed, and onto the floor,and looks at the clock. "Garfield," Jon moans,"you woke me up this early on a Saturday morning?"
He shuts his eyes again and is just drifting back off to sleep when realization smacks into his brain. His eyes fly open,and he jumps up from his bed. It's not Saturday! It's Monday,and he's a half hour late already getting up!
Garfield watches as his human runs from the bedroom and into the much smaller room where he spends far too much time sitting on a big, white bowl and cleaning himself in the weird ways that humans do. He looks at the door expectantly, but then his little face falls as he hears the big water turn on. It figures, he thinks to himself. Every time he really helps Jon, he's never rewarded!
He hangs his head and trudges back to his own bed. He curls up, pulling his little bear up tight against his furry body,and shuts one eye. He's intent on keeping his other glued to that door so he'll know the moment Jon steps back out and will be there to remind him to feed the kitty, but soon he's drifted back off to sleep, dreaming once more of lasagna. His tummy rumbles,but in his sleep, he is sated and well fed, all at his own paws.
Title: That Forbidden Feeling
Author: Kat Lee
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words Pool Party
Word Count: 1,461
Disclaimer: All characters within belong t Disney not the author, and are used without permission.
He stands apart from the other creatures as they gather around their new Queen. He has never quite been close to any one else, so the fact that he is not partaking actively in the celebrations does not bother Maleficent. What does catch her attention, however, is how he has also stepped away from herself and Aurora and has been watching them both, but especially herself, from his beady, black eyes. She steps away from the growing crowd herself, allowing the other Fae folk their time with their cherished and chosen Queen, and walks nearer to him.
He sees her coming. She knows he notices her approach from the widening of his eyes, the shifting of his soft, ebony wings, and the motion he takes to put his feathered back to her. "What troubles you, Diaval?" she asks as gently as she can, but he keeps his back to her and nods his little beak in a way as if to say that nothing troubles him.
"Do not give me that," she commands and waves a hand at him. He is instantly transformed back into a man, but still, he hesitates to look at her. "Tell me," she commands him once more. "What troubles you?"
"I . . . I am not really troubled," he says, and in that word, she can almost hear his caw. "I am . . . perhaps a bit bothered."
"By what?" she questions again. She does not like that he is trying to keep her from being close to him as every step she takes sends him shifting further away. "Stop fidgeting and tell me or I'll turn you into a dog again," she threatens, losing patience.
"I try, and I try," he admits, and he does caw with his frustration, "but I still can not understand you!"
"Understand what?" she demands, although she knows she should not care if he can not understand her. Men, after all, are nothing but trouble and a heartache waiting to happen, even enchanted men, but Diaval has been her loyal subject for years. Unlike most of the others in her land, she never demanded that he follow her. He had given himself to her from almost the very moment she'd saved his life and had never once looked back. He had done many a thing he had not liked, and he had did it all for her. Those moments he'd obeyed her while not liking to because it might hurt Aurora trouble her more than she likes to admit, even silently to herself.
He is trying still to hide his face away, and it is a rather handsome face she has given him. She does have a certain knack with transformations. She knows that, were he in his natural form, his face would be buried deeply into his ebony wings, but in this form, he is bare before her and has no wings in which to hide. "Tell me," she says again, but this time, she manages to make the words sound not quite as much of a demand. They are almost a plea instead.
He looks at her in surprise, but finally he asks, "Why?"
"Why what?" she questions in return, confusion creasing the pale flesh just underneath her horns.
"Why did you not ask me to come with you? Why did you say it was not my place to help you and Aurora?"
"You misunderstood me," she speaks softly, slowly, almost hesitant to admit the truth. He has been so loyal to her, however. The least she can do as he's paid her back so many times over already for saving his life all those years ago is to be honest with him now. "I . . . " This time, it is she who looks away. Her gaze returns to the following of their little beastie, but no one is close enough to hear the admission she is about to voice, no one but him, her most loyal and devoted subject, her truest friend. She looks back at him, catches his questing gaze, and keeps it steadily. "I did not expect to survive that encounter, Diaval. I would not have had you suffer the same fate as I, especially when it was I who brought the curse upon the child."
He cocks his head to one side with the same mannerism he uses so often as a bird. Then, slowly, he begins to boldly close the distance between them. It is now she who feels the need to dart away, to hide her vulnerability from him, but she stands her ground and does not allow her gaze to go from his. "You still do not understand, do you, my Queen?"
"I am no longer Queen," Maleficent reminds him, her large, dark wings shifting with her unease. How she wants to fly from here! But she can not run. She will not run, especially from a bird who owes her his life.
"Ah, but that is where you are wrong, my Queen. You may have given up your throne and title. Aurora may now be their Queen," he nods to the other Fae folk. Maleficent's dark eyes widen and her wings shift again as he drops to one knee before her. He reaches for her hand, and she is too stunned to take it from him. "But," he vows in conclusion, holding to her hand with his dark head bowed in honor, "you will always be my Queen."
Her wings ache with the need to fly as something she hasn't felt in years trumpets in her heart. She tried for so many years to convince herself that her heart was dark, that it was a thing that could not feel love, but Aurora, she now admits if only to herself, is not the only person who has wriggled their way into her heart. Yet whereas Aurora wriggled, Diaval has all but clawed his way through her barriers and into the deepest recesses of her heart. She smiles now at him as unshed tears glitter in her dark eyes.
The words are poised on the tip of her tongue, but she doesn't believe in love, not any more. True Love's kiss may exist, but it is between a mother and a child, not a man and a woman. Love is a tool. It is a danger. It took her wings from her before; if she gives into it again, there is no telling what it might take. Diaval already has her heart, and he owns, too, a piece of her soul to which she'll never admit. She can not voice the words, and her smile turns sad and almost regretful as she gazes forlornly down at him. She wants to tell him, but she does not dare.
Instead, at length, she asks, "Fly with me?" He gazes up into her eyes with such utter and complete understanding that, for one frightening moment, she dares think he might actually understand all that she has left unspoken. She starts to wave her free hand at him, but before she can transform him, quickly, he kisses the back of her hand to which he still holds.
Human lips melt away into a bird's beak, but even his beak is gentle against her tender skin, and his gaze . . . His gaze as he still looks worshipfully up at her is so moving, so understanding . . . Her heart hammers, and her mighty wings flap once, assailing her into the air, catapulting her to safety. But he is, as he has been for so long, right beside her.
His small body flies right beside her considerably larger one. She should feel as though she dwarfs him for she does, but she doesn't feel that way at all. Nor does she feel as though he is only a slave. Far below them both, Aurora looks up, smiles at them, and waves.
Maleficent smiles and waves back, but it is to Diaval her gaze goes as she recognizes the warm, comforting feeling wrapping around her heart and soul. It is every bit as comforting as was the return of her wings, if not, perhaps, even more so. She is complete. She is loved, and although she may never say so again out loud, she loves in return.
Aurora looks away, but Diaval looks always to his Queen. He caws, and they swoop together, gliding toward the sun, gliding on higher, closer, closer together, and though neither voices it aloud, in that loving feeling Maleficent so long ago forbade herself. She has her Prince, a Prince of crows, and to some, she will always been a Queen. To him, most especially, she will always be Queen, and by her side, always her loyal subject, he lives happily ever after.