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 Post subject: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 7:54 am 
Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico



Author: Chris Cook

Rating: G

Summary: Miss Kitty's a missing kitty, and it's Tara to the rescue.

Spoilers: None.

Copyright: Based on characters from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', created by Joss Whedon, and inspired in a round-about way by 'Finding Nemo' by Pixar Studios. All original material is copyright 2004 Chris Cook.

Feedback: Please. Here, or to alia@netspace.net.au



Note: Yes, I'm trying for a G-rated story. No hot scenes in this one. Sorry :) This is something of a departure for me, in terms of style, so I hope it works.



Dedicated to Alexander the Great, the best cat ever.



--

Chapter One

Welcome to the Family

--



It is 5:42pm on a Friday night, and Rupert Giles has just arrived home, at number 14 Cedar Drive. He leaves his car parked in the driveway rather than the garage, because it's the kind of neighbourhood where it's safe to do that, and instead of going straight to the front door, pauses to reach into the passenger side and pick up a large box from the seat, which he holds carefully upright. Fumbling for his keys in his pocket with his free hand, he walks up the paved path towards the door, carefully avoiding treading on the lawn, despite the path having been overtaken somewhat by adventurous plants from the garden.



Inside the house, in the lounge room looking over acquisitions proposals from the museum she works at, is Joyce Summers. She doesn't particularly care whether Giles walks on the lawn or not, but as she glances out of the window and notices him conscientiously avoiding it, she chuckles to herself. Now and then she teases him good-naturedly about this, and other symptoms of what she calls his 'Britishness'. She, of course, is American, and this is one of the reasons their marriage is unlikely to ever become boring.



Upstairs, in one of the bedrooms, a fourteen-year-old girl is listening to a CD of medieval choirs, and deftly guiding Lara Croft through yet another labyrinthine tomb on her Playstation. Her name is Dawn, and her room is eclectic to say the least. One might wonder if she inherited half of her tastes from each parent, and this would be as good an explanation as any for the violin by her desk with a plastic lightsaber propped against it; the complete works of Shakespeare shelved next to her comic collection; or the bedspread with its cute little pink flower pattern, on top of which are strewn pyjamas with a chakram motif that indicate the wearer dreams of beheading warlords.



Dawn insists that all this is evidence that she's an astoundingly interesting person. Her half-sister prefers 'insane', but they do love each other. They're just that kind of sisters.



She's in the next room over, and the difference is apparent just from looking around. The seventeen-year-old's walls are covered with posters of various young men in various tight jeans and open shirts, her CD collection is aggressively Top 20, and there's something about her that suggests 'cheerleader', even when the uniform and pom-poms are in the closet as they are now. Her name is Elizabeth, though - for reasons which will never become clear - she goes by Buffy. Giles loves her like his own daughter, though he is in fact her stepfather, but swears that he'll give up tea before he'll call her 'Buffy'. She in turn takes after her mother in teasing him about his Britishness. Again, they do love each other, they're just that kind of father and daughter.



Buffy is on the phone at the moment, which is not uncommon. If it weren't for the fact that her room has a separate line, no-one else in the house would ever get a call. On the other end of the line is her best friend Anya. They're discussing the relative merits of David and James, and it isn't a discussion that's going to wrap up anytime soon.



On the bed behind her - bedspread stylishly scarlet with Japanese characters printed on it - is a cat, which opens an eye as Buffy disagrees loudly with Anya, then closes it again and returns to being serenely curled up with her tail over her face.



Her name is Tara, and this story is about her.







--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



"Dawn?" Giles called as he closed the front door behind him.



"I'll call you back," Buffy's voice came from her room. The door opened and she leaned over the rail at the top of the staircase. "Did you get it? Can I see?"



"Back off!" Dawn insisted, ducking past her and taking the stairs two at a time.



"Hi Dad," she said as she reached the floor, "did you-" Giles nodded and glanced down at the box, which he had set down while he closed the door.



"The vet said everything is in perfect order," he said to Joyce as she appeared from the lounge room and gave him a quick kiss. Dawn rushed over and knelt next to the box, while Buffy followed in her wake.



Tara, wondering what all the excitement was about, slunk down the stairs in that slightly-accelerated way cats have of negotiating staircases from the top down. Buffy noticed her, and knelt down to stroke her fur as she wandered over to stand by her legs.



"Hey baby," she said, "your new friend is here."



"Cool," Tara purred. Buffy, hearing only the purr, nevertheless smiled, then turned her attention to her sister, who had opened the box and reached inside.



"She's so cute," she whispered, lifting a black and white kitten out and cradling her like a baby. The kitten blinked in the light, then began to purr as Dawn tickled her tummy.



"Have you worked out what you're going to call her?" Joyce asked.



"Miss Kitty Fantastico," Dawn answered promptly. She put the kitten down and lay down on the floor with her, giggling as the newly-dubbed Miss Kitty sniffed at her nose and then became interested in her own tail.



"Miss what?" Buffy protested. "What kind of name is that?"



"I can call her whatever I want," Dawn said, "Dad?"



"Miss Kitty Fantastic," he repeated in a monotone.



"Fantastic*o*," Dawn corrected. Giles sighed theatrically, then shrugged and nodded. Dawn stuck out her tongue at Buffy, and turned her attention back to her kitten, who was now on her back trying to reach her forepaws between her back legs and corner her tail that way.



"This comes from your side of the family," Giles murmured to Joyce. She rolled her eyes and gave him a playful swat on the shoulder. Ignoring this display of parental affection, Buffy lifted Tara up and placed her closer to Miss Kitty, kneeling beside her.



"Do you think they'll get along?" Dawn wondered.



"I can't think why they wouldn't," Buffy said mock-seriously, "after all, *we* get along so wonderfully."



"It's okay Miss Kitty," Dawn said soothingly, "Tara hasn't picked up any of Buffy's many, many irritating qualities."



As the sisters traded good-natured barbs, Tara approached the kitten, who was rolling around on her back. She had managed to snare the tip of her tail between her two front paws, but seemed unable to figure out what came next.



"Um, hi," Tara said. Miss Kitty exploded into a microsecond-long burst of motion that ended with her lying on her belly, all four paws latched firmly into the carpet.



"...hi?" she said hesitantly.



"I'm Tara."



"Oh..." Miss Kitty stared at her wide-eyed for a moment.



"And you are?" Tara ventured.



"Um..." Miss Kitty glanced at Dawn, then back at Tara. "Miss Kitty... Fantastico?" she said proudly, if slightly unsurely.



"Hello Miss Kitty Fantastico," Tara said, smiling comfortingly as she came a step closer. "Would you like to be friends?"



"Um... 'kay," Miss Kitty decided. "I gotta big name," she declared with a puzzled frown.



"That's okay," Tara purred quietly, "you'll grow up into a big cat one day."



"Oh," Miss Kitty nodded to herself, digesting this.



"How about if I call you 'Miss Kitty' for now?" Tara asked. "Is that okay?"



"Um... 'kay," Miss Kitty nodded again. She got to her paws and craned her neck forward, touching her nose to Tara's.



"You're nice," she giggled. She glanced back at Dawn, who was herself giggling at the pair of them. "'at's my person?" she asked.



"That's right," Tara said, "that's Dawn."



"Daaawn," Miss Kitty repeated, testing the name. "Oh... is Dawn your person too?"



"No, the other one's my person," Tara said, "she's Buffy. She's Dawn's big sister."



"Oh... does 'at mean... you're... my big sister?" Miss Kitty asked after a moment's thought.



"I guess it does," Tara smiled, sitting down. Miss Kitty considered this, then came closer and settled down next to Tara, rubbing her cheek against her and purring loudly. Tara grinned and began to purr herself.



"Welcome to the family, little sister," she murmured.





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 Post subject: Coolie
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 8:06 am 
Howdy:bigwave

Awwww.... that gets about a 10 on my cuteness scale. I'm not really into this low a rating, but I liek your work so I decided to check it out and I'm glad i did. Please update soon.

-Shy Soutnern Temptress:kitty



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 Post subject: Re: Coolie
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 10:10 am 
Hey Chris!



I was excited to see your new story! So, no covered wagons (yet) and a G rating, but it still looks like another winner.



Can't wait to see what your brilliant mind is cooking up!



Wimpy

"There was plenty of magic." ~ Tara



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 Post subject: Re: Coolie
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 11:41 am 


Hey Chris,



this story is too cute!!!!!



where does Willow figure in here?

I thought she would be Dawn's kitty, hmm :hmm





~Arwen

Hear That Baby? You're My Always... Willow



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 Post subject: Re: Coolie
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 1:32 pm 
:kgeek :kgeek



This is definitly a fun and cute story, it takes a bit getting used to :) I'm not so sure which of the two cats is better of, considering their 'person', heh. For some reason I imagine Buffy as rather forgetfull, I'm sure Tara has ways to get at her food though :lol .



The world from the viewpoint of a cat... could be quite interesting. Looks of things must look strange and mighty big.



Grimmy





--
"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine



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 Post subject: Re: Coolie
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 6:11 pm 
Hello Kittens-



Now this is an AU! Tara comes across as very Tara-like, which is hard to do with an unusual amount of legs for a Tara. I am looking forward to more.





Jixer



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 Post subject: Re: Coolie
PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2004 7:08 pm 
Hehehe this is sooo cute! Plus considering just two days ago I got a new Kitten that looks almost exactly like Miss Kitty..and I almost named him that too..but Mr. Kitty. Instead I named him Xander because he's a 5 yr old Xander. But I love him dearly. And reading this is soo cute and great. Keep going please. :D

-Rose aka Muse

Quote:
Willow: Hey Buff. One more thing. Buffy: Yeah? Willow: I’m gay. Buffy: Okay, Will. Xander owes me ten bucks.

~Remember to Breathe by Yellow Crayon








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 Post subject: Re: Coolie
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 11:07 am 
Hello everyone, thanks for your comments. The next chapter is pretty much ready, I'm just pondering a few minor edits so I expect to have it posted sometime tomorrow (actually today, as it's 4am here, but you know what I mean).



Shy Southern Temptress: I'm glad you forgave the low rating and had a look. If it's any consolation, the story after this one will be rated R at least :) Thanks for the 10 on cuteness, that's exactly what I'm hoping for with this story.



Wimpy: Thanks :) What I'm cooking up is... well I've got a bunch of ideas, but nothing is set in stone yet. I guess we'll just see how it all turns out.



Arwen: Thank you :) Fear not, Willow will be along soon, as will a couple of others along the way. I think more will become clear after the next chapter.



Grimlock: Thanks, I hope to have a lot of fun with a cat's-eye view of the world. I'm sure Tara has her ways of getting fed too. I think, though Tara and Miss Kitty belong to the sisters (or, as they'd say, Buffy and Dawn are their people), they're household cats, so it's not just Buffy or Dawn who'd be responsible for feeding them and so on. Probably more will become evident as we go on.



Jixer: Well, I was thinking Tara legs are good, so having more of them must be even better, right? :) Thanks. Legs aside, I think Tara translates easily to a certain kind of cat, which appreciates curling up somewhere comfortable and relaxing, rather than being hyper all the time (hyper being a very Miss Kitty trait, of course).



Rose: Thanks :) Best wishes to you and Xander aka Mr Kitty. I'll definitely keep going on this story. I know how it ends, and that's usually the thing that keeps me writing - to get to the big finale. If I don't write everything in between here and there, I never get to write the finale :)



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 Post subject: Re: Coolie
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 11:28 am 
This is so sweet, I love it. Can't wait to see how it unfolds

The Glorious People Republic of Treacle Mine Road;



Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably Priced Love and a Hard Boiled Egg




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 Post subject: Uh?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2004 8:03 pm 
*blinks*

You know, I just had the sudden vision of Willow singing 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming...'

:lmao :lmao :lmao :lmao :lmao

You just have to update this! This Disney thing is producing such fine fics! Lovin' it!

Oh, just for the record, I've read Hellebore too and it's one of the greatest fic I've ever had the opportunity to read. Congratulations! There will be a sequel for it, right? If yes, will you be posting it anytime soon?



Dex



The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog! – Calvin



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 Post subject: Re: Uh?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 12:09 am 
New chapter time :) But of course, feedback first:



Magrat: Thanks :) Long live the Glorious Republic :) And also, I just saved the page of your new story to read when I'm done here. AU, you say? Don't be surprised if you see a request to include it on Looking-glass when I leave feedback there.



Snooper: Yep, I was kind of looking forward to catching a few people off-guard :) Thanks. As I said, this one's going to be updated until it's finished, have no fear. I'm glad you liked Hellebore as well, and yes there most certainly will be a sequel. Not anytime soon though, I need a break from demons and magic :) I've got this and at least one other story planned before I start on the Hellebore sequel. But in the meantime, when the mood takes me, I've got plans for a handful of Hellebore short stories to fill in the gaps between the end of Hellebore and the beginning of the sequel.



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 12:12 am 
Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico



Author: Chris Cook

Rating: G

Summary: Miss Kitty's a missing kitty, and it's Tara to the rescue.

Spoilers: None.

Copyright: Based on characters from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', created by Joss Whedon, and inspired in a round-about way by 'Finding Nemo' by Pixar Studios. All original material is copyright 2004 Chris Cook.

Feedback: Please. Here, or to alia@netspace.net.au



--

Chapter Two

The Importance of Not Exploring the Mail Van

--



"Miss Kitty Fantastico Banzai!!!"



Pause. Splash.



Tara opened an eye and looked across the front garden from where she was lying, stretched out on one of the large, flat stones placed artistically among the flowerbeds.



"Are you okay Miss Kitty?" she meowed.



"Fell inna water," Miss Kitty's kittenish voice emerged bashfully from the stand of bushes between Tara's position and the little pond in the corner of the garden. Miss Kitty herself emerged a moment later, soaking wet and embarrassed, and trudged over the path leaving little wet feline footprints on the paving stones.



"Play in the sun for a while," Tara said, closing her open eye again, "you'll dry off... and try not to keep diving into the pond."



"'Kay," Miss Kitty said brightly, perking up and darting into the flowerbeds in the sunny half of the garden, out of the house's shade. Tara opened both eyes and gazed casually at the dense foliage when she heard a rustling, scrabbling sound, and noticed one of the bushes shuddering. Miss Kitty's ears appeared briefly through the leaves at the top, then vanished, replaced by her tail, which was straight up, poised for action.



"Miss Kitty Fantastico Banzai!!!" The tail vanished, and a second later there was a leafy thud from within the greenery.



"'m okay," Miss Kitty said in her most dignified voice.



"Did you jump into the fern again?" Tara asked idly.



"...yes," Miss Kitty replied cautiously.



"You're incorrigible," Tara said, shaking her head with an amused grin.



"'m in-corra-jabble," Miss Kitty murmured to herself with some satisfaction. A moment later the top of one of the other bushes started to sway as she climbed it.







--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



One day, several weeks after Miss Kitty Fantastico joined the household, Tara's usual morning nap in the front garden was interrupted as her feline senses alerted her to stealthy motion nearby. Joyce and Giles were at work, Buffy and Dawn at school - not that a clumsy human could sneak properly anyway - which left only...



She opened her eyes a fraction, so that she would still seem asleep, but could just see through the slit between her eyelids. A shape was slowly moving beneath a pile of garden cuttings, left over from the weekend. As Tara watched, the shape cautiously burrowed its way towards her, keeping itself unobtrusively beneath the cover of the leaves at all times.



"I can see you Miss Kitty," Tara said, chuckling to herself. She sat up and tilted her head to one side, aiming her ears directly at the moving pile of leaves, just to make a point.



A leaf lifted out of the pile, balanced atop Miss Kitty's head. She gave Tara a beaming smile.



"What are you up to now sweetie?"



"Sneakin'," Miss Kitty proudly replied. "Gonna explore." Tara nodded - Miss Kitty's journeys of discovery tended to extend little further than the boundaries of the house and its garden. Seeing as the kitten's imagination seemed to be limitless, this was quite sufficient to keep her occupied for hours on end.



"Don't explore anywhere dangerous," Tara said idly as she lay back down.



"'Kay," Miss Kitty said promptly, ducking back beneath her leaf pile.



It was not long afterwards that Tara's ears perked up to the sound of a small van pulling up outside. She recognised the aggressive purr of the motor and dismissed it - it came and went every morning her people went to work, and when they got home the van had left bits of paper in the mailbox for them to read.



"Tara," a faint voice drifted to her on the breeze, "what's this?"



Tara sat up and craned her neck to peer over the garden wall. There was the van, just as she remembered it, bright red with a white stripe. The person who belonged to it, in his usual blue coat, was just returning to it from his visit to the mailbox. Tara had used to sit up and watch the procedure every morning, when she was new to the house and learning its ways, but eventually she had gotten used to it, and the mailbox person never seemed to pay any attention to her anyway.



What was different this time was Miss Kitty, in the back of the van, peering out from among the sacks of paper, looking more than a little nervous.



"Miss Kitty!" Tara called. "Come down from there!"



"Tara?" Miss Kitty meowed. "'m afraid..."



"Jump down!" Tara meowed at the top of her voice, but even as she saw Miss Kitty's ears fix on her, and the kitten tense to move, the mailbox person swung the van's door shut, never even noticing the inadvertently stowaway kitten.



"Tara!" Miss Kitty's voice came through the door in the wake of its resounding clang. "Tara?"



"Hang on Miss Kitty!" Tara called to her, jumping the wall and landing easily on the pavement beyond.



"Tara, help!" Miss Kitty's voice was almost drowned out as the van's motor purred louder, and it jerked away from the kerb and began to pick up speed. Tara didn't hesitate, but ran along the pavement after it.



"I'm coming Miss Kitty!" she meowed. But it was no use - the van sped up faster and faster, and there was nothing Tara could do to keep it from outpacing her. She flattened her ears back against her head and ran after it, keeping going even after it had disappeared from sight.



"I'll save you Miss Kitty," she promised, sprinting along the unfamiliar pavement as the territory she knew was left far behind, "somehow..."





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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 12:34 am 
And so the adventure begins:applause . This is sweet and the characters are so well drawn. Can't wait for more. Cats are friends;)



I sent you the fic Chris if you want it you can have it



Long live the republic:p . We must never forget:rofl

The Glorious People Republic of Treacle Mine Road;



Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably Priced Love and a Hard Boiled Egg




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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 12:41 am 
Aww. Tara to the rescue. Could it be any cuter? Keep it coming.



BH



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 4:27 am 
If Miss Kitty has a proper tag on her the mailmain could easily bring her back, I suppose that would be too easy though :) . The mailcar can't have driven that far anyway, likely more mail to deliver in that general area.



I like this Miss Kitty, young and thus exploring more than is good for her :lol . Very playfull too, heh. Let's hope Miss Kitty doesn't hide in one of the outgoing mailbags, would be hard for Tara to find her on her way to Australia after all :) .



Grimmy

--
"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 7:42 am 
Starting to sound like a broken record, but this story is too incredibly cute.:) I gather that Tara won't be searching alone, so I wonder who she might run into to help her...?



Yvonne:peace



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 1:29 pm 




and the CUTENESS AWARD goes tooooooo : FMKF :p



oh my! it's starting to sound like the beginning of an adventure, of the feline kind, filled with meeting other felines, or probably dogs, I LOVE THOSE!!!! used to watch them when I was a teeny-miny :) can't wait to read this one, especially if you warped the 'buffy cast' into it!!





~Arwen

Hear That Baby? You're My Always... Willow



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 10:45 am 
Hello Kittens-



I'm loving this tale (tail?) of adventure. I await the next update with baited breath (gotta stop eating anchovies).



Thank you for this,



Jixer



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 2:15 pm 
More please. Still getting a 10 with the cuteness. I agree with the person up there^^^ somewhere. Hopefully Miss kitty won't go to far cause I don't think Tara traveling half way across the country is a good thing. -waits patient for update-

-Shy Southern Temptress:kitty



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 5:26 pm 
Chris - you never cease to amaze me. This is great stuff (and winner of the cuteness award already.)



I'm thinking Willow is Tara's Dory equivalent. You know with the babble and everything.



Willow and Tara to the rescue.



-shuyaku

Oh God, Willow—you’re giving me the gift of Karen Carpenter. Just when I think I grasp the full extent of your love." - Tara

"Why do birds suddenly appear? It’s because, you are queer…" - Willow (Gods Served and Abandoned by AntigoneUnbound)



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 9:22 am 
Hello Kittens, thanks to you all :) I've got a new chapter ready, to be posted in a moment's time. I know the chapters aren't nearly as long as those of Hellebore, or quite as frequent come to think of it, I hope no-one's feeling put out. The truth is, writing Finding Miss Kitty is my version of taking a break :)



Magrat: Thanks, and thanks also for letting me host Hangetsu. And I'm in no danger of forgetting the Republic - I had my copy of Night Watch signed by Terry when he was last out here. It says, of course, "You had to be there".



bluehippocampus: Thanks :) Cute is my watchword for this fic.



Grimlock: I'm sure Giles had Miss Kitty properly attired in a collar and tag, and given a microchip - however, that relies on the mailman *noticing* his stowaway kitten. Unfortunately, it seems he'll remain oblivious, and coincidentally not have any mail to deliver to houses near Tara's - I know, it's a bit of suspension of disbelief :) But after all, Finding Nemo flushed a fish down the drain with no ill effects, so I'm going to let myself get away with this one :) Don't stop analysing though, it always makes things more interesting when I sit down to write the next chapter.



Yvonne: Who indeed? That'd be telling... but this next chapter will see Tara run into a familiar face (familiar, except for the fur and whiskers, of course) :)



Arwen: Well, it's probably not a surprise that Tara's going to meet another feline, and I can promise at least one dog as well. And other characters, in various forms. I'm hoping to have some fun with them :)



Jixer: Thanks :) Luckily the paws between updates wasn't too long.



Shy Temptress: Thank you :) I can assure you Tara won't have to travel half-way across the country. But when your world consists of one house and the yard, a short trip can be a long journey indeed :)



Shuyaku: You're roughly right - except Willow won't have Dori's scatterbrain quality :) That fish was adorable though.



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 Post subject: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 9:23 am 
Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico



Author: Chris Cook

Rating: G

Summary: Miss Kitty's a missing kitty, and it's Tara to the rescue.

Spoilers: None.

Copyright: Based on characters from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', created by Joss Whedon, and inspired in a round-about way by 'Finding Nemo' by Pixar Studios. All original material is copyright 2004 Chris Cook.

Feedback: Please. Here, or to alia@netspace.net.au



--

Chapter Three

A Strange Land Called Main Street

--



Tara walked slowly along the street, tail slumped in defeat. The sun was at its highest in the sky - normally around the time she'd wander indoors for a snack from her biscuit bowl - and she hadn't seen the van since it left her house. Her own street had eventually joined another, also full of houses, and that led to another, and another, until now Tara's surroundings weren't even remotely familiar. She knew she could find her way back home, but returning without Miss Kitty was a situation she refused to consider. Her other options, though, remained depressing.



She jogged from one lamp-post to the next, staying out of the way of the people wandering about. Tara had concluded they were 'shopping' - her people went shopping every weekend, usually Giles and Joyce, and returned with bags full of cat food and people food. Buffy and Dawn also went shopping, though at less regular intervals, and they tended to return with bags full of new coats, of various styles and patterns. It seemed a needlessly complicated way to get around the fact that people weren't born with decent coats of fur of their own, but then, Tara found many things her people did needlessly complicated, though often adorable.



The people along the street here were apparently of both kinds - some carried bags full of food, others were acquiring types of coats, others still carrying bags and boxes of strange things Tara could only guess at. There didn't seem to be any provision for cats, unfortunately. Tara sat for a moment outside one of the boxy, brightly-coloured houses the people were shopping at, watching them exchange bits of paper for a multitude of varieties of fish, but the person providing the fish didn't seem interested in anyone not offering the bits of paper, so Tara reluctantly moved on. She had a vague suspicion that people weren't the sole source of food a cat might have, but couldn't for the life of her imagine how else it could be obtained, and for the first time it occurred to her that there was a lot she didn't know about the world.



Up ahead was another street, busy with cars. A patch of red on one of the shopping houses opposite caught Tara's eye, and she hurried to the edge of the street, staring across it in the gaps between passing cars. It was a shopping house much like the others - big windows, garish signs and not a lot in the way of homey touches like carpets and plants. But it was one of the signs that caught Tara's attention - a red circle filled with white, and a red stripe running through it. She frowned, second-guessing herself, but concluded that it was indeed the same kind of pattern that the mail van had.



Not fancying braving the cars on her own, Tara glanced to one side to see how the people were negotiating the street. A group were waiting at the side of the pavement, and Tara wondered if the idea was just to wait until the cars went away - not a good idea, in her opinion, as this street was quite unlike her own calm territory, and barely a moment went by when cars weren't zooming back and forth like hyperactive kittens. Tara stifled a sigh at the thought of kittens, but was surprised out of her melancholy thoughts when a little box fixed to the nearest lamp-post began emitting a sound like the dinner-making thing in Joyce's kitchen, the cars stopped, and the waiting people marched safely across the street.



Tara was so surprised by the sudden reversal of behaviours that she sat dumbfounded until the beeping stopped, and the cars again took charge, moving back and forth as if people no longer concerned them. Edging closer to where a few people were again forming a group to wait at the kerb, Tara hazarded a guess that the noisy thing was telling the people when they were allowed to ignore the cars. She wondered idly how the noisy thing knew, then shelved the thought as the beeping started again, and the people moved. Keeping up with them, Tara crossed the street without any of the cars challenging her, and sat on the opposite pavement studying the mail shop.



It was quite small, and seemed to consist solely of one room, in which a handful of people behind a long desk talked to other people who came and went, fiddling with various bits of paper as they went. 'What is it with paper?' Tara wondered, then mentally shrugged and sidled up close to the glass wall separating the room from the street, searching within for any sign of Miss Kitty.



There didn't seem to be any, and she frowned in confusion. She glanced up at the sign again, wondering if she'd been mistaken, but no, it was definitely the same pattern the van had had. She wondered if there was more to the mail shop hidden away somewhere, and spotted a narrow alleyway to her left, on the other side of yet another shop. For want of anything better to do she walked towards it and peered in.



It was oddly quiet inside, after the bustle of the street - the people didn't seem to need anything from the alley, so it remained deserted. It was, however, home to many boxes and bins, several of which smelled rather bad. The was a vague food-ish edge to the smell, but Tara knew without a doubt that she'd turn up her nose at any food that had such an unpleasant odour attached to it. At home, one of the things that Buffy did was to gather up various small bags of left-over food and discarded bits and pieces, and remove them from the house before they started to smell. Tara wondered if these places had people who were less conscientious about cleaning up after themselves - or, given how Buffy often complained, perhaps these people merely had parents less insistent than Joyce and Giles.



There was, however, a street at the other end, and in the narrow opening of the alley Tara could see a door something like the garage door at home. That made sense - Giles and Joyce's cars needed the garage, a room of their own, so perhaps all cars did - vans too. Maybe the mail van had retreated to its garage, somewhere down there-



"Hey good-looking... new in town?"



Tara nearly jumped out of her fur at hearing the unfamiliar voice, and as she spun around searching for its source she felt her tail fluff up in a way it hadn't done for years, since she was herself a kitten, and practically everything was startling the first time it happened. Scanning the alley and finding it still empty, she eventually looked up. A green-eyed ginger cat was sitting on a ledge high on one wall, looking down at her, with a grin quirking her whiskers up on one side.



"Wh-who're y-you?" Tara managed, standing her ground even though what she really wanted to do was turn and run back out of the alley. 'Miss Kitty could be on the other side,' she told herself, 'I can't just run away and leave her.'



"Me?" the ginger cat said. "I'm Willow." She leaned forward and seemed to slink vertically down the wall onto the top of a bin, barely pausing to jump down to the ground. Tara could have managed such a feat of athleticism on her favourite tree, but she'd never have dared try it on an unfamiliar surface. 'Is this her place?' she wondered. 'Am I trespassing in her place?' She lowered her tail slightly, to seem less challenging.



"Let me guess," Willow said, sitting back down and licking a forepaw, idly cleaning her face with it, "you're all alone out here, and you've got no idea where is where and who is who. Am I right?"



"I-I... yes," Tara said hesitantly, "i-is this place yours? I-I just need to get to the street over there, that's all..."



"Hey, relax," Willow said, "you're fine. It's not exactly my place... let's say it's a place I know. I know lots of places, but I'd have a busy time if I went and decided they were all *mine*. You're not going to panic and run off, are you?"



"Of course not," Tara said quickly, omitting that it was a near thing.



"Good," Willow smiled, "it's been a slow day and I wouldn't mind some company. All the other cats around here and just scavengers, no fun to be around at all."



"Th-there's other cats around here?" Tara asked.



"You *are* new, aren't you? Here, c'mere, say hello." Willow got up and walked slowly towards Tara, ducking her head low to show she wasn't being aggressive. Tara took a tentative step forward, and sniffed near Willow's nose.



"See, that wasn't so hard, was it?" Willow said, while Tara quickly took a step back again and sat back down. "Relax, willya? Trust me, you don't need that tail with me." Tara glanced down self-consciously at her tail, still twice its usual size.



"Sorry," she said quietly, "you startled me."



"Yeah, I get that a lot," Willow shrugged amiably. "I'm Willow. Oh wait, I said that already, didn't I? Well, I was Willow then, and I still am now."



"I-I'm Tara," Tara replied when Willow paused for breath.



"Hi Tara. So you're what, stray? Runaway?"



"What? No!" Tara insisted once she realised what Willow was asking.



"Well you're not from around here," Willow pointed out, "I'd have seen you before, and you've got house cat written all over you."



"I'm looking for my sister," Tara explained, "she's lost and I have to find her. But, I don't know this place at all, I've really got no idea where she is..."



"No kidding?" Willow said, widening her eyes. "Then it's your lucky day, Tara. You come along with me, I know this town like the back of my paw."





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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 9:33 am 
Hello Kittens-



I'm loving the cat's eye view of the world and the way Tara is dumbfounded by the silly human fascination for paper. The ginger cat has shown up, and once Tara gets her tail back to normal size things should be looking up. Of course the words "I know this town like the back of my paw" remind me of my various friends saying 'I know a shortcut' and 'you can't miss it'.



Thank you,



Jixer





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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 10:41 am 
TOO CUTE!!!



I love the whole cat's viewpoint and well CUTE springs to mind too many times.

so I won't bore you with that.



I also like Willow, the whole confident air of the cat who's seen it all. And I know it's silly but I find myself imagining a cuter version of Garfield. EWW right?



lol



~Arwen

Hear That Baby? You're My Always... Willow



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 12:30 pm 
Go Tara! Willow is soo cool. Since I have cats I can totally see all there actions, which are really cool. I will stayed tuned to see what comes next.

-Shy Southern Temptress:kitty



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 12:37 pm 
Oooooh...



Im loving the way you capture cats! My god Artemis...your a flippin genius. Cant wait to see if Willow really knows the streets, or is just gonna take 3 wrong turns and 2 rights before she finds she went in a circle. Lovin the fluffy tailed Tara. Cats are cute with fluffy tails...



Thats why I love scaring cats so much.



:bounce Cant wait for more! :bounce



Sincerely,

:flower BWR

***

If homosexuals dont reproduce, why are there so many of them?-Jim David



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 3:03 pm 
Interesting to see Willow as a street-wise cat, much more outspoken then I would have guessed :) Still she does sort of bable, which is cute. The dialect/accent she speaks with takes some getting used... in combination with Willow that is :)



It's fun to see how Tara appearantly does understand some of the things that happen outside her house. For a house cat she manages to survive pretty well, maybe because she's older. I sure hope Miss Kitty doesn't get out of the mailvan on her own, don't think she would wait on the traffic lights for example....



Having never seen Finding Nemo myself feel free to steal any ideas you like from it :lol



Grimmy



--
"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 5:43 pm 
oh lordie! This is such an adorable fic!!! I'm like majorly hooked on it! Willow and Tara are soooo cute! I love Tara's tail fuzzing around Willow, hehe it's so cute! :kitty



Can't wait for more, no really, i can't! It's a serious problem



ahem* :crazy please write more soon





- lilmiss :D

I'm never alone I'm alone all the time. Are you at one or do you lie? We live in a wheel where everyone steals but when we rise it's like strawberry fields. I treated you bad you bruised my face. I couldn't love you more you've got a beautiful taste.



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 10:29 pm 
hey hey there~! just droped in to say hi~! I'm glad that this is coming along great~! Just wondering if this would be as long as hellebore.... NOT that I DIDN'T like it.... just wonderin' is all well bai and keep up the great work~!



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 Post subject: Re: FIC: Finding Miss Kitty Fantastico
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2004 7:52 am 
To sound boring it is still so sweet. Love the introduction of Willow and your description of cat behaviour is spot on; i love it when you watch them and their tails fluff up when they see soemthing they aren't sure about especially when they are kittens

The Glorious People Republic of Treacle Mine Road;



Truth, Justice, Freedom, Reasonably Priced Love and a Hard Boiled Egg




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