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"I don't know why we couldn't have taken the carpet if it was going to rain," Elea nearly shouted, trying to make herself heard over the sound of thunder and the rain that streamed down. "Yes, it would get soaked, but we'd be home faster."

"I thought the rain would hold off until later. Here. It's not going to keep us completely dry, but 'less wet' is better than 'thoroughly soaked'."

Rabastan handed over an umbrella that had to be twice as large as a regular parasol. Certainly it would shield them both from the downpour, if only their upper bodies. As for their legs and feet, well...

"This weather is just awful," Elea complained, wringing her hair out with her free hand. "And to think it had started out all nice, sunny and warm."

"Weather does that," Rabastan said. "We'd better move quickly, if we want to be able to dry off at home."

"Providing we don't drown in this storm first."

"Glad to see the weather hasn't altered your sense of humour, love."

Moving as quickly as they could, they made their way up and down the streets, taking advantage of any awning or overhang they could find, and making quite a splash as the puddles began to deepen.

"Really. Next time we're out on a day scheduled for rain, we're taking the carpet, Rabastan. Forget this umbrella."

"Would you prefer to wait out the storm inside one of the shops?"

"If there's one that's open at this time of night." Pause. Then rhetorically, "If only we could've stayed overnight at Merissa's place."

"Taverns usually are," Rabastan reminded her, as he scanned about for one that was still open.

They continued on, keeping an eye out for a sign that didn't say "Closed", until suddenly, Rabastan halted.

Elea, who was just slightly behind him, didn't notice until she bumped right into him.

"Please tell me you found one?" she asked, hopefully.

"No. Something else. I hear something."

"You can hear anything over this tempest?"


He waved his hand, handed the umbrella back to Elea [they had taken turns holding it], and began to look around for whatever it was he'd heard.

"It's over here. In this alley."

"In the alley?" Elea said with a tone of surprise. "Rabastan, don't go in there! It could be some vagrant, or worse, in there!"

"No. No vagrant. It's something else."

Not caring that the rain had his coat completely soaked through, he began looking behind boxes, bins, and other items that littered the alley for whatever it was he'd heard.

"Hurry up, Rabastan!"

"Here! Here it is!"

He pushed aside a couple of waste bins, and bent down to get a closer look.

Elea, forgetting that the umbrella could only just barely fit through the gap between the buildings without having to be folded, tried to join Rabastan where he was crouched.

"What is it?"

Elea's reply was a pitiful sound. Rather like a small animal.

Rabastan leaned in, pushed something aside, then went to pick up ... whatever it was, then tucked it in the driest part of his clothing.

"Can I see?"

"Just a moment. Open the umbrella and I'll show you.

Elea, curiosity now replacing her unhappy mood, complied. And Rabastan pulled back the part of his coat that he was using to shield...

It was a small animal. But what kind? The poor thing was too wet and shaky to tell.

"It's a kitten," Rabastan explained. "No idea where it came from, but it must've gotten lost somehow when the rain started. Couldn't see its mother anywhere, so I think she ran off to get dry."

"Oh, the poor thing! Rabastan, we need to get indoors at once! That kitten won't last much longer in this horrid weather."

Fortunately, for humans and animal alike, there was a tavern open just around the corner, and everyone was grateful to be inside.

Except, perhaps, for the barman, who upon seeing the shivering kitten, rushed over with a frown upon his face.

"'Fraid I can't let you two bring in any animals. M'customers wouldn't allow it."

"Oh, please. Just until the storm lets up?" Elea pleaded. "It won't be a trouble; I'm sure of it."

The old man took a look at the sorry-looking creature, sighed, then nodded.

"All right. Just until the weather clears up—"

"Oh, thank you!" Pause. "Could we get it some food and milk? It must be starving."

"Er... Well. I suppose so. Go sit down while I find it some meat and milk."

While they waited, Rabastan let the kitten roam the table top. It didn't go far, and certainly nowhere near the edge, as it was still shaky from the cold and wet. But it was slowly drying out, and Rabastan could see that its fur was of a rusty red, and the way its fur stood out made him realise that the kitten, once fully grown, would have a longish coat of fur.

It would be a beautiful animal, that was for sure.

But right now it was tottering along, looking for something to eat, or a place to hide up in.

"'Ere you go. Some fish and some milk."

The plates were set down, and the kitten, clearly starving, ate as much as its little stomach could handle, before turning around to go and curl up next to Rabastan's elbow.

"I wonder if anyone owns it," Elea mused.

"Doubt it. Stray, most likely."

"It's pretty, though. Too pretty to be a stray."

The kitten yawned, then began to wash itself clean and drier, if not completely dry.

"Maybe we could keep it."


"The kitten, Rabastan. It has no home, so why don't we give it one?"

"I dunno. Think we'd be able to care for it?"

"Of course, silly," Elea said, playfully swatting his arm. "Kittens are not that much trouble. It'll be fine. We'll be fine. And I'm sure it will be grateful."

As if in answer, the kitten gave a soft little mew.

"See? It wants to go home with us."

"Oh. All right. But the poor thing's been out in the elements. First thing tomorrow, we take it to a healer to get it looked over."


The kitten purred softly.

Rabastan and Elea were going to adopt a kitten.


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Rabastan Lestrange

April 2016

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