Uncle Oliver drops by for a short time to drop off Katt. He's apparently had a surprise appointment with a very wealthy citizen in town and can use the extra money to spruce up his house. Severin takes her, chats for a few minutes with his uncle, then sets Katt down (character-building) and gets to work on what's really important.
Darth Furball daintily sniffs the food, then quietly begins to eat. Severin watches, pleased with his new killing machine. Then something upstairs explodes.
Severin jumps. He hadn't planned for that. He likes exploding things only when he makes them explode, not when they explode on their own. Random explosions could mean anything. It could mean the hero has found him and is trying to bomb his way in. Trying not to have a nervous breakdown at the wrong moment, Severin quickly picks up his baby, knowing Oliver's fed her recently. Darth Furball's much too small to be an attack cat yet and Severin doesn't have another weapon handy, so he might as well prepare with Katt's projectile spit-up. The hero will never know what hit him.
As Severin makes his way up the stairs, Darth Furball notices the scratching post and decides to make use of it. He can sense his master will be happy with his sharpened claws.
Severin reaches the top of the stairs, where he hears a strange noise - is it hissing? spraying? - from behind the door to the laundry room. That would be a weird place for the hero to break in. There aren't even any windows in the laundry room, so he couldn't have seen inside. Quickly thumping Katt's back several times to get ready, Severin steps into the room.
Gator: "Calm down, Sev. What's going on?"
Severin: "The washer blew up."
Gator: "Haven't you already done enough blowing up toilets?"
Severin: "But I didn't blow the washer up! It blew up on its own! There's water going everywhere and soon the whole upper floor is going to get soaked and then it will start dripping down the lower floor and then eventually the whole castle will be water-damaged and we'll be forced to move and you know I can't feel like a proper overlord in a dinky townhouse but we don't have the funds for a haunted mansion and so we'll be homeless and unhappy and people will look at us and laugh at us and their respect for us will sink all the way to the center of the earth and of course I can't influence or persuade people or have any control over them if we've become the laughingstock of the community and as you see, the entire legacy is threatened by this impending disaster, which can only be averted if you come home right now and fix the washer."
Gator: "You don't think you might be exaggerating much?"
Severin: "I don't think you see the severity of the situation. Our very reputations are in danger as we speak."
Gator: "Your mom and I are going to be a couple hours still. Just call a handyman. I promise, Severin, everything is going to be okay when you do."
Severin: "And put both my daughter's life and my life in danger? Dad, handymen are prolific heroes! We're all doomed if--"
Gator: "Fine! Fine. I'll be there soon. Stop panicking."
Glad his father is finally getting the point, Severin charges downstairs to check on his cat. He's delighted to find him still scratching on the post. Soon...
Then he looks out the window. What in the world?
Severin immediately notices the stinging chill of the air, biting his exposed arms, neck, and face. Shivering, Severin wraps his arms around his chest, then looks at his feet. They're leaving prints in the snow as he walks. The snow makes a soft crunching sound underneath him. Curiously, Severin bends down and grabs some with his fingers. He immediately flings it back onto the ground as the bitter cold stings his fingertips. It's a powdery substance, a little bit wet. And it's also everywhere. Severin gazes across the neighborhood, seeing the once-grass-filled lots covered with white powdery snow. Glancing at the moat, Severin notices it's frozen solid, like ice. Walking over to it and tapping his foot on it, he discovers it is ice. Good thing they don't have alligators in the moat. They'd all be dead by now.
As Severin continues to wander outside for a moment or two longer, trying to satisfy his curiosity, Gator and Amaranth arrive and head inside, happy to get out of the chilly weather. As soon as they step inside, Amaranth hears the busted washing machine. Gator's attention, however, turns to something else.
Amaranth: "Looks like a cat. I wonder if Severin knows it got in?"
Gator: "Judging by the litter box and the scratching post, I'd say yes."
Amaranth: "Well...that's kind of unexpected. Severin doesn't want the responsibility of children, yet he quickly gets cat."
Gator: "If the rest of the werewolf community gets word that we own a cat, that's not going to be a happy day."
Finally unable to stand the cold, Severin trots back inside, slamming the door behind him. Darth Furball eagerly runs up to greet him. Grinning, Severin scoops up his new pet. He notices his father doesn't seem to share the same reaction.
Severin: "This is Darth Furball. He's only a kitten now, but he'll be an attack cat when he grows up."
Gator: "We're werewolves, Severin. A werewolf owning a cat is like a vegan owning a butcher shop. It doesn't mix."
Severin: "But I'm also an Overlord, and what proper overlord doesn't have a cat?"
Gator: "Your ancestors have never owned a cat up until this point and they all were proper overlords."
Severin: "Well, they really missed out. By the way, after you go avert the current tragedy and fix the washer, Darth Furball coughed up in your room, so you might want to clean that up before it stains the carpet."
Amaranth: "Well, honey, you did marry into the family."
Gator: "I've never minded marrying into the family. It's fathering Tweedledee over there that I'm having second thoughts about."
Severin: "Now then, Darth Furball. Wouldn't it be fun to maim the mailman tomorrow?"
While Gator gets to work repairing the washer, Amaranth goes to check on Katt. She's kept track of each day that's gone by. It should be about time for Katt to glide into her toddler days.
Gently, Amaranth places Katt on the floor. She smiles gently. She's lived to see her granddaughter become a toddler. Every day she's still here is a blessing. Deep inside, though, she wonders how Severin will handle a toddler in the house. Amaranth has recognized his struggles in keeping up with a baby. Now that Katt will be walking and getting into things, how will Severin respond to that?
Much to Katt's delight, the magic sparkles begin swirling around her.
As Amaranth plops Katt down on the potty chair, a flood of memories come soaring back to her. She was a young woman once, doing this all alone with her firstborn, Soren. She'd been stressed and nearly to her breaking point. Soren had been such a fussy toddler. Later on, she had to potty-train "twins," practically, since Tobie and Severin arrived around the same time.
Has it really been so long? She was a young woman when she last had to potty-train her boys. Now she is an old woman, potty-training her granddaughter. My, how the time flies.
Amaranth: "Because grown ups use the potty, Katt, and you're growing up now. And getting poop in your diaper feels nasty."
Katt: "I love you, Gamma."
Amaranth: "I love you too, Katt, although I'm not sure whether to be flattered or wary. Your father used that line on me a lot when he was your age to get out of trouble."
Katt: "Daddy trouble?"
Amaranth: "If you look up 'trouble' in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of your daddy, Katt."
After Katt's potty lesson, Amaranth slowly stands back up (cursed back pain), taking the smelly bag of poop with her. Katt notices the doll house in the corner and makes a beeline for it.
While Katt enjoys reenacting her family life, Gator uses the restroom after finally repairing the washer. He finishes his business, flushes the toilet, then starts to wash his hands. Then he feels something hairy latch onto the back of his calf. He startles and kicks his leg, but the hairy object only flies farther up his leg, pinching his skin with tiny claws. Gator tries not to scream like a little girl as he frantically tries to swat at the ruthless creature, which has now found its way up his shorts. He can only imagine the horror of what might happen if it reaches his manly bits. Quickly unbuttoning his shorts, Gator stuffs his hand down and quickly snatches the hissing ball of fluff that's managed to climb his leg like a tree. Fastening his shorts again with his one free hand, Gator resists the overwhelming urge to drop the little beast into the toilet and instead gently sets it on the ground.
Nudging Darth Furball out of the bathroom, Gator goes to grab Katt. He noticed it was pretty dark up there, so Katt might as well be downstairs where there's more sunlight.
As Gator trudges downstairs with his granddaughter in arms, Severin eagerly shows his new cat off to his mom, who's not entirely impressed with Darth Furball just yet.
Amaranth: "Traditionally cats haven't been used as fearsome animals of war, Severin."
Severin: "I know. Imagine what'll be going through the hero's mind when he gets annihilated by my trained assassin cat. Especially when the last thing he sees is the hairball that gets coughed up into his face. Soon we can implement assassin cats into the military. Nobody will be able to stand against us."
Amaranth: "Those are some pretty high ambitions."
Severin: "Gives me something to do in my spare time."
Severin: "Training my cat to be an assassin."
Gator: "You might consider spending a little more time with your daughter than with your cat."
Severin: "I'll train Katt in torture devices soon enough. I'll give any spies of the hero's to her. Darth Furball can be my lethal weapon."
Gator: "As long as you agree that I am not a test subject. Your cat tried to crawl up my shorts just a few minutes ago."
Severin: "Was he trying the new ball-swatting maneuver I was teaching him?"
Gator: "You were teaching him that?!"
Severin: "Well, almost all heroes rely on romantic subplots to give them strength on their quest. Ball-swatting attempts to remove that aspect, thus discouraging the hero even further."
Gator: "If your cat ever lays a paw on my bits, I'm shipping him across the ocean and you will be getting no more cats, for any purpose."
Severin: "You hear that, Darth Furball? No ball-swatting my dad."
Darth Furball: "Mew."
Shooting a glare at the kitten, Gator gently sets Katt on the floor. Darth Furball notices the tiny human and gingerly walks over to sniff at her.
Darth Furball: "Mew?"
Katt: "Pretty kitty!"
Happily Katt reaches over to pat the kitten on the head. Darth Furball accepts the rough patting, then crouches in a pouncing position. Amaranth sees it happening, but before she can move her achy body to stop it, Darth Furball launches himself through the air and thuds against Katt's chest.
Sitting back up, a stunned expression stays on Katt's face for a moment or two. But instead of bursting into loud wails and tears, Katt merely shows her disgust towards the vicious kitty.
Darth Furball: "Hiss."
Amaranth immediately rushes to her granddaughter's aid. That wretched animal! What was it thinking?! That poor toddler could've busted open her head. Scooping up Katt, Amaranth cuddles her tightly.
Severin, meanwhile, immediately rushes to the aid of his kitten. Darth Furball's maneuver was a bit clumsy. He could've bonked his head in an awkward position. He could've gotten his claws stuck in Katt's shirt and ripped them out as he pulled away.
Evening rolls around. Stomach rumbling, Severin heads over to the fridge. Then he looks outside and notices a familiar sight, something he hadn't been anticipating. Hmm. There's been so much on his mind lately that he'd entirely forgotten about it.
The full moon. It's hunting night.
Severin notices his cat staring at him strangely. Darth Furball probably suspects something is up.
Darth Furball tiptoes over and licks his heel, then jumps back when the transformation takes place. Severin is glad it doesn't hurt as much as it did as a child. Or perhaps he's gotten used to the pain a bit more. There's still some burning, some stinging that comes with it, but nothing that he dreads.
But he doesn't have any raw meat on hand right now, and he knows he needs to rescue his pancakes from the floor before Darth Furball pounces on them. So he takes what he can get.
After his meal, Severin glances outside. He wonders if his father will gather the pack together and have everyone go hunting tonight. Never in the world's history - or at least in Moonlight Fall's history - have they had to hunt in snow before. Will they be able to sniff up anything? Will the bitter cold affect much? Of course, the werewolf tradition of hunting has been non-negotiable up to this point. What kind of pansy werewolf would avoid hunting with the pack just because of unfavorable weather?
For once, Severin's glad he's not the alpha wolf right now. The decision will be up to his father. In the meantime, he can have some fun with his kitten.
Darth Furball: "Mew!"
Severin turns and finds his father staring at him, in his werewolf form as well. He's also wearing much thicker clothing. Severin suspects they're going hunting tonight after all.
Gator: "While I was out today, I found some warmer clothing for you. I had a feeling we might need it tonight, based on the weather forecast and the full moon. It's going to get dark even more quickly tonight. Go change - we need to start hunting right away."
Without argument - Severin knows better than to argue with the alpha wolf - Severin finds his warmer clothes and changes into them. They're quite cozy, actually.
Severin knows the pack got a little smaller last week, when Grandma Wolff passed on.
Gator: "Uncle Waylon's a father now. He's started his own pack, and Aunt Wilhelmina is in that pack tonight."
Severin: "So we're not part of the same pack anymore?"
Gator: "All werewolves are part of one big pack. We split into tiny sub-packs here and there. Particularly when one becomes a father, there's no shame in becoming the alpha wolf of a new pack. We will be hunting with just the two of us tonight."
Severin: "Hey, wait...I have a kid. So I can be an alpha wolf now?"
Gator: "Your daughter isn't a werewolf. So no."
Severin: "Well...if I bit her, then--"
Gator: "You would be shaming the werewolf community if she weren't a young adult and fully eager to become a werewolf herself. Life forms that turn different life forms in to their own without the other life form's full consent has disgraced their whole community and is not fit to be a part of it any longer. This is a standard all life forms hold, particularly vampires, as one turned vampire can viciously and uncontrollably turn even more."
Severin: "So...whoever turned Grandpa Jakkson..."
Gator: "From what I know of your Grandpa Jakk's story, the werewolf that bit him was already fully cursed. He was bit by a wolf and inflicted with lycanthropy that way. Punishment for turning an unconsenting person into a werewolf is being cursed with a poison that eventually turns you completely into an animal - a wolf - with no humanity left inside of you. It appears the wolf that bit your grandfather had turned other people before him."
The older he gets, the more Severin realizes there's so much left for him to learn about his lycanthropy, so much tradition behind it. He has much to learn from his father yet.
As Gator and Severin prepare to hunt in the snow, Amaranth spends quality time with her granddaughter, teaching her how to start walking. Amaranth doubts Severin will choose to teach her on his own.
Gator and Severin actually come up with a good stash while they're out hunting, despite the snow and the cold. Katt learns how to stay upright on her feet while toddling around, thanks to Grandma Amaranth. Severin gets back rather late at night. He finds his mother has gone to bed early, leaving Katt on the floor to happily play with her toys. But Severin can tell Katt is quite tired as well. Slowly he picks her up, trying not to poke her with his claws.
Severin: "Well, I imagine so. It's after midnight."
Katt: "Why you look like that, daddy?"
Severin: "I'm a werewolf, Katt. I've told you this before."
Katt: "I werewolf?"
Severin: "Nope, you're a human."
Katt: "I pretty?"
Severin: "Well...you look just like your mother, so I'd say so."
Katt: "Who mommy?"
Severin: "She's, eh...she's not here anymore, Katt. It's just you and me. And someone else..."
Katt: "Oh no! What it do?!"
Severin: "It grabs and eats little human girls like you."
Katt squeals and shrieks out laughter as Severin tickles all over her body, being careful with his fingernails so he doesn't hurt her. Afterward he swoops her into the air, making her squeal again.
Severin: "Alright, that's enough excitement for one night. Time to go to sleep."
Severin: "You heard me. The Hand of Doom can come wake you up tomorrow."
Katt's face begins to turn and twist as Severin backs away from the crib. Immediately she stands up and reaches for her father, eyes welling up with tears. Severin isn't quite sure what to do. What does she want? It's not playtime, it's sleep time. She's tired. She should be fine with him leaving.
Severin: "It's time to go to sleep. I'll be here in the morning."
Katt: "No leave, daddy!"
Severin: "I have to sleep, Katt. I have work tomorrow."
Katt: "Daddy stay with me!"
Severin: "Alright, look. Sometime when I'm off work, you and I can go out and do something, okay? But right now we have to sleep."
Severin: "Yeah, promise. We can go do evil, diabolical things together."
Still a bit reluctantly but more satisfied, Katt plops back down in the crib. Within minutes she's asleep.
Severin watches her for a couple more minutes. Is she really anxious about spending time with him? He's going to be a busy man for a while. He's not going to have all the time in the world to be a parent. Still, he ought to set some time aside. Assuming he doesn't have any more kids, she'll turn out to be the heir, so he might as well train her in the way she should be going.
Even if he doesn't know quite how to be a dad yet, he can still try.
Author's notes: Can you say filler chapter? I decided to develop more of the personalities and introduce more of Katt and Darth Furball while thinking up a story for Severin. More action will start happening, trust me.
Katt is probably not going to be the heir, simply because she was born so early. I think she'll be a young adult before or right around where Severin ages into adult, and that doesn't leave a lot of time for his generation. One of his later kids will take that role.
We can also see the conflict between Severin and his parenting. All he really cares about is himself, but he can't risk his children getting into cahoots with the hero (or worse, even becoming the hero) because he treated them like crap growing up. So he has to find a balance.
Comments are appreciated! I promise I'll reply this time. :D