‘How dare he bring up Xavier?’ I thought to myself as I rocked Orion. ‘Going back to Iroria? Hah!’
Orion stirred in my arms and I pushed a milk bottle to his lips. He drank heartily. Taking care of him felt more like taking care of a baby. He wasn’t like a kitten, not one bit. He didn’t pounce around, break things or scratch furniture. Instead, he slept twelve hours a day, demanded attention every waking moment he had and if I’m not wrong, he was learning to understand what I meant and what I was saying.
Orion mewled loudly. I looked down and realized that he was done with his milk.
‘My, my. Aren’t you hungry today?’ I pulled the bottle from his lips and sat him up to burp him. Yeah, I had to burp him. ‘Off to bed you go.’
Orion mewled, hissed and squirmed, clawing at my shirt.
‘What’s wrong with you?’ I rocked him a little more but he struggled. ‘Still hungry?’ Then he bit me. I screamed.
‘Milady!’ Cobalt burst into the room to see Orion, his fangs sunk into Asper’s arm. Blood. Blood everywhere.
‘Get away from, her you little shit!’ Cobalt practically leaped towards her.
‘No!’ Asper hugged Orion closer to herself and turned her back to him.
‘Are you insane?!’ He exclaimed. ‘He’s freaking ripping you to shreds!’
‘Just… just get me some towels. And chicken.’ She paused and looked down at Orion. ‘A whole chicken. Now.’
Cobalt cursed under his breath, turned and set down the stairs to the kitchen. Asper looked down at Orion, scratching him behind the ears. Orion dislodged his fangs and licked the wound in apology.
‘It’s okay.’ Asper whispered and kissed his head ‘its alright. I’ll be alright. ‘
‘Will you?’ Cobalt seethed from behind while Orion hid his head in guilt.
‘Look. He had an accident don’t just pick on him because of that.’ Asper snatched the raw chicken from him and nudged it at Orion who snatched it from her and started shreading it up so violently she had to let him out of her grasp.
‘That thing is turning into a beast.’ Cobalt hissed. ‘He bit you. Does he bite you all the time?’
‘Is that a trick question?’ Asper snapped as she dabbed at her wound. ‘This is the first time it happened.’
‘How would you know it won’t happen again?’
‘I don’t know okay? This is the first time I’m raising a familiar.’ A yellow glow seeped from her hand onto her wound. ‘I’m sure it’ll be fine.’
‘It won’t be fine!’ Cobalt’s voice grew.
Orion roared from the corner of the room. He turned in circles restlessly, grunted roughly and leaped through the window, shattering it and disappearing into the night.
‘ORION!’ Asper screamed bloody murder as she rushed to the window.
‘It’s good that he’s finally gone.’ Cobalt commented.
‘Look what you did!’ Asper turned. A force threw Cobalt across the room. ‘Look what you did!’ Tears were shinning in her eyes.
Cobalt got up unsteadily, dusting at his jeans.
‘I don’t understand why you’re so attached to him. Do you know what he is? He’s a shatter lynx. He will grow to kill demons, vampire and dragons mercilessly.’ Cobalt hissed.
‘Demons? Well that totally wins me over, now doesn’t it?’ Asper snapped.
Cobalt flew across the room with unholy speed and grabbed her by the neck.
‘Look here, witch.’ He spat the last word. ‘Don’t forget who I am, what I am and what I know. You only have one job, Asper.’
A tear rolled down her cheek. ‘His my only family, Cobalt.’
Seeing it, Cobalt’s eyes softened and he let her down. Asper curled up in a ball and sobbed.
‘I can be your family too…’ he whispered softly, grabbing her hands and kissing her knuckles.
‘I can’t be the family you want me to be.’ She pulled her fingers out of his hands. ‘You want me to marry Xavier. I don’t want that. I can’t do that.’
Closing his eyes, Cobalt sighed heavily.
‘Looking. I’ve been thinking and I guess…’ he scratched the back of his head, muscles flexing ‘That I’m with you.’
‘What was all that about having o-one job?’ Asper whispered between sobs.
‘I meant being safe.’
‘And being glad that Orion was gone?’
‘That thing is my species’ mortal enemy. Plus he acts like he owns you.’
‘Don’t remind me!’
Asper tried to laugh but it came out as a whimper.
‘What am I going to do? When will he come back?’ She hugged her knees.
‘He’ll come back. He’s probably just hungry.’ Cobalt looked at Asper and caught a look of confusion on her face. ‘Mythical beasts eat a lot when they’re young. To think he’s been suviving on milk is laughable.’
‘How would you know all that?’ Asper frowned, trying to cover her embarrassment.
‘You know how we reared demons back at Salvator castle?’ Cobalt crouched down to Asper’s eye level. ‘Well, before they reach full immortality of a hundred years, they eat a hell lot.’
‘I thought your dreams would give you a heads up.’
‘Are you mocking me?’ Asper glared.
‘No no.’ Cobalt held his hands up in defence. ‘I wouldn’t dare, milady. Now go to bed. School tomorrow.’
‘What about you?’ Asper stared up at him.
‘Asper, I am three hundred and seventy two years old. I think I’ve seen enough of sleep.’
‘I feel sorry for you, I enjoy my sleep much.’ Asper tilted her head up wistfully.
‘Trust me, you’ll tire of it after the first century or so.’ Cobalt grinned. ‘Now, off you go.’
He shooed her, tucked her into bed and kissed her forehead.
‘You know, I might actually take you up on that family thing you have going on.’ She sighed as she turned on her side, hugging a stuffed bear.
‘Always happy to be of service, milady.’
‘That’s the deal breaker, Cobalt.’
Cobalt laughed as he nodded at the terms of their agreement.
The sun peeked from over the horizon and the birds sang on the branches of a sturdy apple tree. The air was fresh, the breeze was pleasant. There was just one thing out of place.
‘COBALT!’ Asper shrieked, making the birds take flight.
‘Milday?! Are you alright? What’s-‘ Cobalt burst into the room in all his half naked and bed headed glory. ‘OH MY ODEN.’ he stumbled back and tripped on a rug.
Orion was back alright. Through the window he had runaway through, only that this time he left an even bigger hole in his return. He was huge, eyes no more doe eyed. His black strips were darker and his white fur seemed so white, it could melt away in the sun. He was also huge. A powerful beast, so sturdy.
Gone was the cub Asper could cuddle in her arms and jiggle in the faces of others. He was as big as two grizzly bears and as tall as Cobalt himself. One could only imagine the state of Asper’s wall when he was done squeezing in. What was left of it that is.
Orion’s eyes lit up when he saw that Asper was awake. He made a squeal of delight-which sounded more like a growl-and thundered after her.
‘Oh no, no no no no no’ Asper could only hope she had more time to say more ‘no’s’. In just a leap, he pounced on her, knocking her down. He enveloped her, covering her entire being and nuzzled her on her cheek.
Over at the other side of the room, Cobalt fought in vain to pry the beast from her. He may have been a demon of a distant but still royal bloodline, but his strength was simply no match.
‘Orion!’ Asper scolded and set her hands on each side of his face. A yellow glow seeped through her fingers and a burst of energy shot from her fingertips, shocking Orion. He pulled back in a whimper, stepping on his now even longer tail, yelping and finally fall back on Cobalt with an oof.
‘I think I broke something.’ Was all Cobalt could manage through Orion’s thick fur.
‘If it wasn’t your ego, I don’t care.’ Asper said coolly before turning to Orion. ‘Ollie! You’re back!’ She leaped and hugged the beast that was now as tall as her while sitting up.
Orion grumbled, unhappy with how she had called him by his pet name but snuggled onto her anyway.
‘Your ass is huge.’ Asper mumbled into his fur and Orion seemed to splutter as if insulted.
‘I hate to break it up,’ Cobalt had managed to get off the ground, wincing a little. ‘But we have a huge hole in your bedroom wall and I hear your mother stirring.’
Asper finally looked up. ‘Oh my Allura.’ She placed her hand on her carpet and the concrete strarted to rumble and piece back together, but very slowly. ‘This is going to take a while. Orion could you get any smaller?’
Orion peered at her as if confused and looked at himself. He seemed to gasp and jumped a little before folding his wings. His snout shortened, bones cracked as he morphed to be smaller. It took a full minute before he opened his eyes again.
Asper and Cobalt groaned. He hasn’t gotten much smaller. He was about half Asper’s height now, but it was still too unbelievable a size for a house cat, let alone a sudden growth spurt.
‘Could you put a glamour on him or something?’ Cobalt squished Orion’s faces in desperation. ‘He looks like we broke him out of the local zoo.’
‘I could. I think. Maybe.’ Asper was concentrating on her sorry state of a bedroom wall come balcony. ‘But I’m kind of busy right now.’
‘You think I could hide him in your closet?’
‘Are you insane? He smells like-‘
‘Asper! What is all this ruckus so early in the morning, honey?’
‘Get him in there. Now.’
Cobalt shoved Orion into Asper’s closet. It was a good thing she had little clothes. Plain dresses and basic tees were all she seemed to have. Orion huffed.
‘Enough with the attitude, big guy. You’ve caused enough trouble.’ Cobalt scolded and slammed the door on him.
Meanwhile, Asper was getting dizzy with the ‘healing’ of her room. The railing was still curling back and the windows were still shattered.
‘Asper! For the last time I ask, what is heaven’s name is going on-‘ Nora burst into the room. ‘Oh my. What happened here?’
Asper froze, mid spell. She blanked out. Did Nora see her hands glow or hear the metal squeak as she bent it back? What if she did? Will show throw her out? Scream? Faint?
‘Ollie escaped.’ Cobalt started.
‘Oh. Oh my…’ Nora’s hand flew to her mouth. ‘But that doesn’t make sense. Ollie loves Asper. Wouldn’t go anywhere without her.’
‘I guess he doesn’t like someone new around Asper.’ Cobalt actually managed to look guilty. ‘He bit her, toppled her bookshelf and hopped off the balcony.’ A growl was heard from the cupboards but Cobalt elbowed it and leaned on the doors hard.
‘I’ve been helping her clean up since dawn and I guess I’m getting a little hungry.’ He finished.
‘Oh mom!’ This time Asper burst out in tears. ‘Orion’s my only friend. Whatever would I do without him?’
‘There, there.’ Nora hushed her. ‘Cats aren’t very loyal creatures from the start, but I guess I could let you get another one. With your own money though. You could go down this noon with Cobalt.’
‘Really?’ Asper smiled softly through her crocodile tears. ‘But nothing would replace Ollie.’
‘I know, I know. But there’s nothing I can do, hun.’ Nora ruffled Asper’s hair. ‘Now if you would excuse me, this helpful young man here is famished. I’m sure you are to. So I better get on to breakfast.’
Nora got up and jogged towards the door. ‘And pick up some glass panels while you’re in town.’
The door closed and Cobalt let out a sigh of relief before being knocked aside by Orion who burst through the cupboard doors.
‘You’re quite the actress.’ Cobalt mused as Asper wiped her tears.
‘It comes in handy.’ Asper sniffed and leaned on Orion. She placed her hand on the railing and it bent back fully. ‘Now let’s get to town. I need glass panels.’
‘What about Orion. Don’t tell me…’ Asper gave Cobalt an innocent smile. ‘Asper, we’ll look like he robbed the zoo! And your mom would freak.’
Asper sighed. ‘I meant that I want to keep him looking like this. I’ll put a glamour on him for now before taking it off and telling people he grew up.’
Cobalt frowned. ‘That doesn’t sound that bad a plan.’
‘That’s because it isn’t. ‘