A New Companion

May 24th, 2019
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  1. It’s unusual to hear arguments echoing off the sleek walls of Dr. Ido’s clinic. Doc runs a tight ship, with Gehard almost an extension of himself whenever an unfortunate soul is in need of their services. With this in mind, you slow your pace as you hear the muffled discussion through the clinic’s heavy door. You frown, thinking for a moment before knocking twice on the hardwood. This time of evening there shouldn’t be any new patients. Still, you came here for a reason, and you know that you’re not going back to the apartment empty-handed. Alita’s disappointed eyes would be too much to bear.
  3. The hardwood is warm against your knuckles; yet to lose the heat from the day, despite the last rays of sun just now slipping slowly under the horizon. From behind the door you hear a pause in the debate, and then the strong footsteps of a person you can only assume to be Ido. His creased face appears in the pool of light through the doorway, and after a gruff greeting gestures you in to the clinic.
  5. “You’re here for the jacket, yes?”
  7. His directness is hardly surprising. You quickly nod; the spotting slick-looking tailored coat on a hangar near the back of the clinic. The air in the clinic has an uncomfortable tension to it, so you give Gerhard a small wave and hurry over to the coat. It takes until you have it bundled up under your arm to notice the point of contention in the room. Perched on top of the examination table is a tiny ball of fluff; jet-black save for the two golden eyes poking out of a whiskered face. The kitten seems to spot you in return and a soft mewl reaches your ears. Gerhard smiles at the sight as the fluff ball pokes its head over the edge of the table. You hear a sigh from behind you as Ido moves back over to the operating space. The tension in the room heightens, until the two of them speak at the same time.
  9. “Why can’t we keep he-“
  11. “We can’t keep her here.-“
  13. They pause and stare at each other for a moment. You feel seconds tick by as you wonder if you should move. Ido’s mouth opens to continue the argument but with a flash of insight you cut him off. Your words are quick, as if to avoid the idea running out of steam before being said.
  15. “Why don’t I take it? I have space for it. Besides, I’m sure Alita would love a cat!”
  17. The question hangs in the air. Ido frowns, and then slowly nods. You breathe out a sigh of relief and under Gehard’s approving gaze scoop up the kitten. The little ball of fluff is warm against your chest as you hold her tight with your free hand. A quick nod goodbye later and you make your way through the dark streets back to your apartment, ensuring that the kitten is safe despite the uneven roads.
  19. Yellow light spills out through the windows of your apartment as you slog up the last few stairs, and you smile to yourself as you hear the last bars of Alita’s song fade through the door before you. Balancing the kitten and coat requires more dexterity than you thought; it takes you a few moments to fish up your key and get the door unlocked. Alita’s voice greets you from the living room as you go to meet her. The sleeves on Alita’s green-and-grey raglan are rolled up as you catch her in the middle of hanging a bundle of fresh-smelling washing over the shared clothes stand. Her eyes light up as she sees the coat in your arms, and with a quick skip over tries to grab you in a hug. You quickly step back with a noise of objection.
  21. “Ahhh- careful!”
  23. Her smile fades as she instead clasps her hands in front of her. The worry is clear in her voice.
  25. “What’s wrong?”
  27. You smile reassuringly in response, though her look is enough to make your stomach drop.
  29. “Hey, it’s ok. I’ve just got a surprise for you- it's a little fragile.”
  31. There’s a special kind of grin which spreads across Alita’s face whenever you say the word surprise, and this time is no different. Throwing the jacket on to the couch, you gently uncover the kitten as Alita watches intently on. The little fluffy ball looks around its new surroundings and then turns to Alita, mewling at the new person.
  33. You’ve seen Alita’s reactions to many things. From laser-focused and deadly in Motorball scrimmages to scared; needing comfort after a serious nightmare. The expression on her face now though is entirely new to you as she covers her mouth, seemingly in shock. Her eyes are wider than you’ve ever seen them; you swear you can see every millimeter of her brown irises in the apartment’s soft light. A noise somewhere between a whimper and an aww escapes her mouth as she slowly reaches her hands out towards the kitten.
  35. “It’s so… cute!”
  37. You find yourself beaming as you carefully hand the fluffy package over to your cyborg partner. The kitten pads around Alita’s cupped hands with a few cautious steps, and then seemingly content with the safety of the situation, curls up in to a little ball and closes its eyes. Alita is enchanted by the kitten, making soft cooing noises as she takes in the detail of the tiny animal’s body. You feel the warmth spreading through your soul as you move behind her and drape your arms over her shoulders in a hug. She leans in to the embrace; now that you’re closer you can hear the kitten’s soft purring as it lies in her steady hands. You lean closer to her ear and whisper a question.
  39. “So what should we call her?”
  41. Alita returns the whisper, seeming intent on not waking the slumbering kitten. You recognise the awe in her voice despite the quiet tones.
  43. “If she’s a girl how about…” You feel as much as see Alita’s frown as she thinks. Suddenly she stands a little straighter; a bright response appearing in turn. “How about Gally?”
  45. You nod, mulling the name over in your mind. Gally.
  47. “I like it.”
  49. Alita turns towards you and stands on her tip-toes to catch you for a kiss. Her joyous smile is clear through the warmth of your joined lips. Eventually you break apart, and her warm words are a comfort to your heart.
  51. “This is my favourite surprise. You’re the best.”
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