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Curiosity Killed the Blue Cat

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I never understood why cats were always so scared, you know? They get spooked easily, even with a small, silly thing like a spoon. I always liked them but never understood that. I admired them for their curiousness, they were always sniffing everything, and exploring, and so did I! I liked to explore, I liked to play and find new stuff! I wanted to be another type of cat, the one who didn't fear anything! Except for water of course... but that's beyond the point. I did great since I became a hero. I was the fearless cat!

Until one day I finally understood it. I finally understood why they were all scared of everything. 

Cats were curious, sure, but have you ever heard that curiosity killed the cat? Well, I assumed that's why they were all scared. Of so much looking around something eventually killed the first curious cat, and that spread onto all of them once they've heard. They got scared of the possibilities of what might happen, not of the thing. 

For my misfortune, I was curious enough to try things beyond my grip. And I was brave enough to tell them!

But I never stopped to consider the possibilities of what that might cause... from that day, I understood why cats got scared so easily, not because I've seen it myself, I lived it, and all I can say it's that it was the worst experience of my life... one that it'll haunt me forever, and one that taught me that fearing wasn't a bad thing.

***

Connor sat on the ground with his hands under his chin, looking fondly at the boy with red hair and blue eyes. The boy was playing the drums in his band as they gave a concert for the public. He was among his public. The boy had such an amazing smile and Connor sighed. Why is he so hot?

Someone sat by his side and a rainbow-colored cotton candy appeared in front of his face. He grabbed it with an eyebrow raised and turned to the person who gave it to him. He smiled. "I thought you didn't enjoy these, Greg,"

"I don't, I just came here to watch you drool over Zane," Greg said amusedly.

Connor punched him and whispered. "I don't drool for him!"

"Really? Because when I arrived you were looking like-" He looked at the band and made a dreamy face, while his mouth hung open.

Connor laughed and punched him, slightly embarrassed. "You're an idiot,"

"A certified one, may I add," Greg said, putting cotton candy on his mouth. "For real though, you looked way too dreamy. If he looked over here he would've noticed,"

Connor looked worried. "You think so?" He looked around then at Greg again. "Do you think somebody else noticed?"

"That you're gay for Zane? Nope, I don't think so," Greg joked. Connor frowned and looked away. Greg stopped eating. "It's not a bad thing, you know?"

"Said the straight one," Connor said. "That's easy for you to say, you don't have to worry about what everybody else thinks! You don't have to hide that you like girls,"

"And what does it matter what they all think? They can suck it up," Greg said. Cheers rumbled in the place and they both noticed the show was over. "Wanna stay or should we leave?"

"Staying would be beyond weird, let's go," Connor nudged him away and they both calmly walked through the park. "It's just... I don't know. It's hard to shake people's opinions on you, at least that's how it is for me,"

"Well but, think about it. It doesn't matter what they think of you, right? All that matters is that the people that love you does!" Greg playfully nudged him. "Amaya and I already know, and we don't think anything weird of you, do we?" Connor shook his head. "Once you tell your parents everything will be alright, you'll see!"

Connor stopped and looked at Greg. "Tell... my parents...?"

Greg stopped and turned around. He looked at Connor. "Surely you thought about that,"

Connor shook his head slowly. "No, I..." He bit his nail. "No, I didn't think that was a thing until now,"

Greg looked at him worriedly and walked towards him. He grabbed his arm and lead him away. "Well, don't worry, they will still love you. No matter who you love,"

Connor looked at the ground. "I don't know... Mom and Dad always tell me to get a pretty girl as Fidelite did..." His voice came out shaky when he asked, "What if they don't accept it? What if they don't accept me?"

Greg cast him a reassuring glance. "Don't worry, they won't hate you. They might be surprised, but other than that, I think they'll end up accepting it," He grabbed Connor's hand and started running ahead. "Come on! I told Amaya we would meet up with her at the school gate!"

Connor smiled. Greg always knew how to make him feel better, he always found the right words. He sighed and smiled, squeezing Greg's hand to avoid losing his grip on his. Everything will be alright...

***

Connor saw Amaya waiting by the school's gate, right under the shadow of a rowan tree. When she spotted both of them, she rolled her eyes and smacked Greg on the head with a book. "You two should tell me when you plan on skipping classes!" She grumbled. "I want to skip class too!"

Greg rubbed the spot on his head Amaya smacked. "I didn't know Connor skipped class until we talked later this morning!"

Connor giggled at their interaction and greeted Amaya cheek-to-cheek. "Sorry we didn't tell you. I would've had if I knew Greg skipped classes as well,"

"Well, now you know better," She walked beside them through the way they usually took. "You two look a bit sweaty though. Where do you come from? Our neighborhood is not that far,"

"We were at the park," Greg said, putting what was left of his cotton candy in front of Amaya. She took a bite out of it and Greg said, "Connor was drooling over Zane again,"

"I wasn't drooling!" Connor yelled, blushing. 

Amaya laughed. "I can already imagine how you were looking at him. Was it a show or band practice?"

"A show," Connor said dreamily. "He did so well," Greg and Amaya shared an amused look and giggled. Connor looked at them. "I'm right here,"

"It's just... you should hear yourself! You sound so funny when you talk about Zane," Amaya said. "How old was he again?"

"Seventeen," Connor sighed defeated. "Why does this world make it impossible to like someone?!" He complained.

"Well, maybe he'll notice you," Greg adventured.

Connor looked at him. "Yeah, because he's gonna look at a thirteen-year-old." They crossed the street and then stepped into their neighborhood while the hot summer sun hit them. Connor covered the sun with his hand. "I hate summer, it's always so hot,"

"I don't hate it but... it's awfully hot today," Said Greg, covering the sun as well. "Wanna come home? I've got some Ice Pops there,"

Both Amaya and Connor nodded vigorously; the ones that Greg's mom did were amazing. They followed Greg to his house, on the way greeting Alexander -Amaya's father- who was leaving for work. Once inside, Greg yelled. "I'm home!"

"I'll be down in a second!" That was Lina, Greg's mom. "Greggy, there's something for you in the kitchen!" Greg shared a look with him and Amaya, mostly a confused look. 

Connor shrugged. "Maybe it's something for summer? You know, like clothes?"

"What's gotten into her?" Greg said, walking into the kitchen as Amaya and Connor laughed. When they stepped into it, they saw nothing, and Greg turned around to look at them. "I think my mom went crazy, there's nothing here,"

From behind the kitchen counter, a head with blonde hair and similar green eyes popped out, looking at them. Connor smiled as the person told him and Amaya to keep quiet. "Are you sure? Check the place, maybe you'll find what she meant," Connor said, smiling.

"Yeah, Connor's right, why don't you check around?" Amaya agreed.

Greg narrowed his eyes. "Is there something in the air? Because you two are acting weird now," Greg walked around until he approached the counter. "There's nothing here- Ah!" He didn't get to finish his sentence when the person hiding behind the counter lifted him in the air over his shoulder. "What?!" Then he noticed. "Dad?!" Greg laughed.

Connor and Amaya shared a look with a smile. Daniel always surprised Greg when he got back, each time different. Last time he had pulled Greg into the pool with him. "Hi, Daniel!" Both greeted him. 

Daniel smiled at them as he shook Greg. "You two are not safe either," He lifted Connor and the brunette laughed. "Or maybe just Amaya, because she's a lady,"

"No fair!" Greg laughed. Daniel put both of them down and Greg hugged him. "It's been so long!"

"Yeah!" Daniel agreed. "Look at you three, you're far taller than last time I saw you! Especially you, Connor, you're almost a head tall than both of these shorties here,"

Connor blushed and scratched the back of his head. "I guess I've got a growth spurt,"

"Here," Greg placed on the counter ice pops and all of them got one, including Daniel. "How long are you staying, dad?"

"For a few months, these are my vacations," Daniel answered, patting Greg's head. Connor smiled at their interaction; his dad was never that fond with him, he always preferred to do 'boys' stuff, like wrestling or lifting heavy things. Connor never liked that kind of interaction. "So where did you kids were? Your mom told me you skipped class today," Daniel reproached Greg.

Greg laughed nervously. "I wouldn't have if I knew you were coming..."

"We were at the park," Connor answered with a smile as he tried to open his ice pop.

"Watching Connor's crush," Greg said under his breath. 

Connor blushed and Amaya laughed. She said. "They were watching Connor's crush. I was at school,"

"This-" Daniel put his hand on Amaya's head."-is the perfect example of what you should be doing, Greg," he said, then he looked at Connor. "So we got to the phase were crushes are a thing, huh? What's her name?"

Connor felt uncomfortable. How could he tell him that it wasn't a she but he? "H-Her name... Her name is... uh..." Greg put a hand on his shoulder and smiled at him reassuringly. Come on, Connor, you can do this... He told himself. "His name is Zane," He blurted out.

Daniel stopped eating his ice pop and looked curiously at him. "Oh, so it's a he?" Connor nodded hesitatingly. "Why didn't you say so? I've could've corrected myself,"

Connor let out the breath he didn't know he was holding. He couldn't find the words to answer, so Greg did it for him instead. "It's not that easy for him, dad,"

Connor felt a hand on his head and he looked up at Daniel, who was smiling at him. "You can tell me whatever you want Connor, I'm not gonna judge you," He put his hand under his chin. "I should tell you about the time I come out of the closet to my parents,"

Connor's eyes widened. "Come out?" 

"As you heard, kiddo," Daniel laughed. "I'm not straight,"

"Then what are you?" Amaya asked intrigued. 

"I'm pansexual," Daniel smiled. "Didn't think I was gonna say that again,"

"And- And it went good?" Connor asked. "Your coming out?" Connor was genuinely curious. He felt nervous every time he thought about coming out to his parents, so maybe asking Daniel how it went his it was gonna help him to feel better, and maybe a little bit more confident about coming out.

"Well, at first my parents were shocked, confused," Daniel explained. "They weren't familiar with the term so I had to explain to them what it meant,"

"And what happened after you explained?" Amaya asked, all while they walked to the living room.

"They sat in silence for a few minutes," Daniel said. "That felt terrifying for a moment,"

Connor sat on the couch and looked intensely. "How much?"

"As if the world was gonna end." Daniel sat on a nearby chair. "But after that, they just accepted it, quietly, but they did,"

"A-And they didn't rage? Yell?" Connor asked. 

"Not for a bit," Daniel looked at him. "You're scared to come out to your parents, aren't you?" Connor nodded slowly. He didn't like to admit he was scared. Other cats got scared, but not this one. "Take my advice, and sit them down in a quiet place to tell them, it'll be far much better than any other place,"

"Do you think it'll go good?" Connor asked while he looked at Greg.

"I can't promise you it'll go good, but I've known Katrina for a while and I don't think she's the kind to rage at something like this. She'll accept you, you're her son," Daniel reassured him.

Connor smiled. It felt much more reassuring hearing that from someone who already experienced it than someone that hasn't. Not that he was being ungrateful to Greg, in fact, he was grateful for his support, but hearing those coming from someone who already went through his worst fear felt way better.

"In case anything goes wrong, though I doubt it, we're gonna be here for you," Amaya said, putting her hand on his shoulder. 

"Yeah! We're not gonna leave you alone if that happens. No sir!" Greg added. 

"Thank you, guys," Connor felt so lucky for having such accepting friends. He was glad he once met them, and he was glad to the stars for crossing their paths. "Can we please change the subject now, though? I'm kinda bored,"

Amaya and Greg giggled, and Daniel said. "I'll leave you kiddos to do your things, but I'll be right around the corner if you need me," He blinked. "Quite literally,"

When Daniel left, Greg turned to them. "I've got a new game for my PS4, wanna play?"

"Heck yeah!" Connor exclaimed. 

They stayed at Greg's until night.

***

Connor waved at Amaya as she entered her yard and he stood on the porch of his house. His heart was beating fast, so much that he felt it was gonna jump out of his chest at any moment. Calm down, Connor. Not like they are gonna know... Since Greg mentioned that he had to eventually tell his parents he was into boys, his mind wouldn't stop bringing every worst possible scenario for if it went wrong.

He twisted the key to one side and then entered. "I'm home!" He yelled. A head popped out from the living room and Connor forced himself to smile. "Hi, Dad,"

"Where have you been all day? It's almost time for dinner!" He said. 

Connor shrank in place; for some reason, his father sounded pushier than ever... or maybe he was just torturing himself. "I went to Greg's, I let Fidelite know earlier,"

His brother, who stepped out of the kitchen, walked past him and went upstairs. With a piece of bread on his mouth, he said. "Sorry, forgot to tell,"

Connor grunted annoyedly. "Well, I did tell him," He told his father.

At that moment his mother, Katrina, appeared from the kitchen. "He was just with his friends, Harold, let him have some fun,"

"Amaya might be a formidable girl, but I never liked that boy Greg that much," He said, which made anger burn in Connor's chest. "He's such a free spirit as his father,"

"You're not hating on Daniel, are you?" Katrina asked, warning on her voice. Connor could understand her. Much like Greg and him, Katrina and Daniel had been friends since they were little, such a long time ago sometimes they had trouble recalling how they both met exactly.

"No, of course not dear!" Harold said. "I just think he has trouble handling his kid a little bit," He looked at Connor. "He has to travel away for some reason, right?"

Connor kept quiet; he wasn't gonna answer that. "I'll get ready for bed,"

"Be down in a minute, okay sweetheart? Dinner's almost ready," Katrina told him gently. Connor smiled at her and nodded, trotting upstairs. As he reached the end of the stairs, he stopped when he heard his mother's voice.

"You're trying to get Connor to hate Daniel's family, and I don't accept that," She said.

He heard a gruff scoff. "It's better if he stays away from them, and you should too, Kat. You can't see what they are doing to you,"

Connor gripped onto his jacket as anxiety filled him. Why did his father insist to keep the distance from Greg's family? He was his best friend!

"They are doing nothing to me," Katrina retorted.

"Yes, they are! They are putting in your head those crazy ideas of theirs! I'm telling you this for your safety, I don't want you to be hurt," Harold said. Connor waited for an answer from his mother. His father sounded so soft when he told her that Connor thought he was right. Maybe he is?

"My... safety?" Katrina asked, unsure.

"Yes, your safety! Sometimes you make things more complicated than they are, Kat. I'm not trying to push you away from them, I'm just trying to protect you," He said lovingly. 

"I guess..." Katrina said. She sighed. "Can you not involve Connor, though? Greg means a lot to him, they are almost like brothers,"

"I suppose I can... let that pass..." Harold said winded. "But I don't want him near Daniel nor Lina,"

"I'll talk to him about it," Katrina said.

Connor backed up from the stairs. But... Lina and Daniel had always been nice to me... why would they harm me in any way? He walked towards his room. How could they harm me? He closed the door to his room and sat on his bed. He felt so lonely here, that's why he always enjoyed being at Greg's, or even at Amaya's sometimes. Their houses always were joyful, and it was fun to play with Birdie and Lionel.

He looked at the window, where two cat collars sat. One belonged to the stray cat that used to visit him when he was younger, which once also served to help Lightning Fur communicate with him. He wondered where he was... one day he just stopped visiting.

The other belonged to a cat his parents had gifted him when he was younger too, right when the stray cat stopped appearing. He was happy with it, until one day it disappeared too. He always suspected his father and brother had something to do with what happened but never said a thing.

He laid down and sighed. I wish I had another cat... that way I wouldn't be that lonely, He stood there for a few moments before sitting up again and then standing up to get clothes from his closet. When he had picked his pajamas, he dressed and walked back to his bed, where he saw a text from someone on his cellphone.

Greggy~: Look what I took for you this morning~

Connor touched the screen and when he opened what Greg sent him, blood rushed to his face, and maybe somewhere else. It was a picture of Zane, with the hottest of smiles Connor had ever seen as he played the drums in the park. He must have taken it when I was distracted...

He had first seen Zane when they were practicing near HQ one afternoon after school. Something in the red-headed boy had caught Connor's attention, and soon he had found himself not being able to stop thinking about him. It didn't take Connor long enough to put the strings together as to why was that.

It was scary to find out about that, let alone shocking... He thought. What will my parents think once I tell them?

"Connor, dinner's ready!" His mother's voice ran through the house.

"Coming!" He yelled back. He took a deep breath and thought about what Daniel had told him earlier. Sit them down in a quiet place and tell them. He bit his lip. I hope that works... As he walked towards the door with a frown, he sighed. I'll tell them another day...

He didn't know that that day was gonna be the worst day of his life. 

Chapter Text

"So you find yourself more like them?" He growled at him. When they stepped outside, his father tossed him to the grass "THEN JOIN THEM!"

" HAROLD STOP! DON'T DO THIS!" His mother yelled, trying to pull his father back. 

"STAY OUT OF IT!" Harold pushed her away. His brother, who was in his room and left after he heard yells, had caught her on time before she fell to the floor, but the expression he wore was out of this world.

The people outside started to gather near as they watched the show his father was pulling. Connor looked around, his vision blurry due to the tears. He locked eyes with Amaya, who stood stunned beside her father. He felt like throwing up when he looked back at his father's eyes, which only held shame and anger in them. This can't be real... this is not happening...

Seven hours before...

Two weeks passed since Greg had told him that at some point he had to tell his parents, and during those two weeks, Connor had only been filled with anxiety. He couldn't be around his family without feeling anxious, let alone think straight at school because of the possibilities of what might happen if he told them.

But that was gonna change. After long thinking, today he had concluded. He waited for Greg and Amaya outside school. The three of them attended different classes, with the two of them together and he paired with Riley, one of Greg's friends. He saw them walking out of the school and waved. "Over here!"

They looked towards him and jogged to his spot. Greg was the first one to talk. "Today was so boring!"

"It seemed endless," Amaya agreed.

"Yeah..." Was the only thing Connor said. As they walked quietly the usual path they took to their houses, Connor took a deep breath and broke the silence. "I'm gonna tell my parents today," He blurted out.

Greg and Amaya looked at him with wide-open eyes. Greg frowned. "Are you sure?" Connor nodded and he asked. "Do you want me to make you company? Maybe it'll go better,"

Connor thought about it for a second but shook his head. "No... No. If they see you there they will know something's up..." He said. He recalled what his father had said about Greg's family the other day. And dad will surely blame you if he doesn't take it seriously... He thought. "I'm going to do this on my own,"

Greg and Amaya shared a worried glance. "Okay, but if something happens, you're welcome into any of our places, right Greg?" Amaya said looking at Greg, who nodded solemnly.

Connor smiled at them. "Thank you..." He risked his next words. "But maybe everything will go alright... they wouldn't hate their son, right?"

Amaya and Greg didn't answer, they just half-smiled and nodded. They kept walking quietly for the rest of the way.

***

Connor paced back and forth in his room, repeating the same words over and over with Greg watching through the screen of his pad. "And... And that's what I wanted to tell you... that I'm gay... is that okay with you?" He finished.

Greg looked thoughtful. "Sounds right to me," He sounded tired. "Just like the last 57 times,"

Connor rushed to his bed and grabbed the pad. "Sorry! It's just... I'm nervous," He admitted. "What if it goes wrong?"

"Everything will turn out okay, I hope..." Greg said looking to his side. Then he smiled at Connor. "It's like you said! They wouldn't disown their son over something this small,"

Connor opened his eyes wide open with worry. "Do you think they could disown me?" He asked him.

Greg bit his lip. "No, not exactly... well, maybe. Wait, no, that's not what I meant-" He groaned. "I meant that they are not that soulless to stop loving you for something this small,"

Connor looked towards the window, where the sun was slowing down. He bit his nails and then looked back at Greg. "Greg, I'm scared. I don't think I can do it,"

"Yes, you can! I believe in you," Greg said with a reassuring smile. "Where is that brave boy that fights crime at night?"

Connor scratched the back of his head with a smile, not knowing what to answer. "I guess I can do it..." He heard the door of his house slam close. His heart jumped right out of his chest. He looked frantically at Greg. "They are here!" 

"Okay, remember what I told you," Greg said, confidently. "Take a few deep breaths, and when you're ready, go talk to them. If you think today's not the day, just back down and we'll talk it later. Okay?"

Connor nodded. "Okay," He looked towards the door worriedly then back at Greg. "I'm heading out now, talk to you later,"

"Good luck!" Was the last thing Greg said before Connor ended the call. He put the pad on his nightstand and took a few deep breaths, just like Greg said. Okay, you can do this! They won't hate you for it... hopefully.

He walked towards the door slowly with a shaky hand as he reached for the doorknob. Anxiety ran through his veins as he repeated what he was gonna tell his parents all the way downstairs. When he stopped at the end of the stairs, he saw his father sitting on the couch as always and his mother cleaning around him. Come on, it's not that hard...

He took a deep breath. "Mom...?" He called with a shaky voice. "Dad?" When they looked up to him, Connor felt as if he was the smallest person in the world. "C-Can we talk?" His hands were shaking wildly as his mother nodded with a smile.

"Sure, sweetheart. What about?"

"Um," Connor walked cautiously through the living room and sat on a chair in front of his parents. "Can you sit... please?" His parents exchanged a look and then Katrina sat right beside his father. 

"Connor, you're scaring me," Katrina said as she noticed his worried expression. "Did something happen?"

"No... well, maybe." Connor played with his fingers as he went through the words he planned before. "I... I wanted to talk to you about- about something I've discovered about myself, um... something that I've known for a while..." He laughed nervously. For some reason, his words felt wrong now that he was telling them instead of Greg.

"And that is...?" His father asked with a questioning look.

"I..." His eyes felt watery. This was terrifying. "I like boys," He finally said. When his parents only looked at him, he proceeded but didn't look at them in the eyes. "L-Like, romantically..."

"Romantically..." His father repeated in a lower tone.

Connor felt fear in his throat. "That's... That's what I wanted to tell you," He said, biting his lip. "That I'm... That I'm gay," He looked at them, but their expressions were unreadable. "I-Is that okay with you?"

His mother was about to say something when his father stood up. He walked slowly towards the window, and facing away from Connor, he said. "You like boys..." There was silence in the whole place. "You would date a boy." He repeated. He turned around, his stare cold as ice. "Who's idea was this?"

Connor felt confused. "W-What?" He looked uncertainly at his mother and then back at him. "N-No one's..."

His father made a menacing step on him that made Connor shrank in place. "This was Green's family, right? That family full of weirdos," He looked furiously at his mother. "See? I told you we should've kept him away from them. Look what's gotten into his head!"

Katrina looked at him helplessly. "Harold, don't mix things up. Connor is telling us something important to him..."

"Important?" Connor jumped as his father raised his voice. "This is not important, this is nonsense!" He walked towards Connor and grabbed him by the shoulders, making him look at him in the eyes. "Right? This is not serious." He said to him.

"D-Dad..." Connor smiled anxiously. "This has nothing to do with Greg, o-or Daniel, not even Lina..." When his father opened his eyes wide, quietly he added. "That's... That's how I truly feel..."

"How you truly feel?!" He yelled. Connor swallowed hard as he breathed heavily. "Nonsense!" He pulled him out of the chair by the arm, squizzing his hand hard enough around the upper-arm. 

As he shoved him away, Connor cried. "Dad, it hurts!" 

"HAROLD!" He heard his mother yell. 

"So you find yourself more like them?" He growled at him. When they stepped outside, his father tossed him to the grassy floor. "THEN JOIN THEM!"

"HAROLD STOP! DON'T DO THIS!" His mother yelled, trying to pull his father back. 

"STAY OUT OF IT!" Harold pushed her away. His brother, who was in his room and left after he heard yells, had caught her on time before she fell to the floor, but the expression he wore was out of this world.

The people outside started to gather near as they watched the show his father was pulling. Connor looked around, his vision blurry due to the tears. He locked eyes with Amaya, who stood stunned beside her father. He felt like throwing up when he looked back at his father's eyes, which only held shame and anger in them. This can't be real... this is not happening...

"YOU CAN'T DO THIS TO ME!" He yelled at him. "YOU CAN'T BE ONE OF THEM! MY OWN SON!"

Murmurs arose in the neighborhood as everyone gathered around. Connor felt small before all of those gazes, especially his father's. "But... But I did nothing wrong..." He tried to defend himself.

"YOUR WHOLE PERSONA IS WRONG!" Harold hissed at his face. 

"D-Dad..." Connor tried to reach for him, but it was impossible. Harold grabbed his wrist and shoved him violently away. 

"YOU DON'T GET TO CALL ME THAT!" He roared.

Connor was speechless. Tears streamed down his face and shocked, he looked over at his father, his mouth slightly hanging open. He caressed his wrist, right where his father had grabbed. He sobbed quietly. "But... But you've raised me... you're my family..." He finally said.

"I raised no faggot," He growled. 

Connor felt hands on both of his shoulders and he looked to both sides, only to find with Amaya and Greg's stares. He held Greg's for a fair amount of time before he turned to his father again. His mother rushed to him and pulled him away. "That's enough!" She yelled. "Leave him alone, Harold!"

He shoved her to the ground and growled at her. "You're gonna be on his side too? My own wife?"

She stood up and looked at him with tears on the border of her eyes. She took her ring with effort, and after a few minutes of staring at it in silence, violently she threw it at him. "You've got not wife..." She said in a low tone. 

He opened his eyes wide in rage. "So you are siding with him."

Katrina sobbed. "I will always stand up for my kids," She told him. "And if you can't do that for a simple thing as sexuality... then I married no man... I married an asshole."

His father looked at Fidelite. "What about you? You're gonna side with them too?" He threatened.

Fidelite walked to his mother's side and put his arm around her waist. "I'm not like you. Don't expect me to call you father... because that's not what you are to me. Not anymore,"

"LEAVE!" Katrina yelled at him.

Harold looked at both of them. "Come on... you can't do this to me," He walked towards them. "You're my family,"

"Didn't you understand?" Fidelite spat. "We're not your family anymore!"

"Are you deaf, too? They told you to leave," Said another voice. When Connor looked up, Alexander and Daniel stood behind him with anger in their eyes. Lina had walked from behind them and nudged Katrina away from all the mess.

Harold looked at Connor. "Look what you've done..." Connor could only stare deeply into his eyes. "You've broken your own family, are you proud of yourself now?"

Connor sobbed harshly. "I did not such a thing, you did!" He hissed, pain in his chest.

Harold rushed after him with rage in his eyes but didn't reach him as Daniel crushed into the man first. Greg and Amaya clung onto him scared and Alexander made him stand up. He looked at Amaya. "Amaya, Greg, take Connor away from here,"

As Daniel gave Harold a right hook to the jaw, Amaya asked. "Where?"

"It doesn't matter where! Just take him away!" Alexander said, to later ran up to Daniel and join him. 

"Come on, get up," Amaya hurried him. She and Greg nudged Connor away quickly as they could towards Amaya's house, both of their hands in his shoulder. Connor looked back towards the fight that was taking place right outside his house and sobbed. What have I done?

Amaya opened the door to her house and all of them entered, closing the door shut behind them. The commotion could still be heard outside, but Connor didn't care, or just didn't feel. The only thing he felt was numbness in his body, everything around him seemed to slow down and when Greg talked to him, he didn't hear him. 

Greg turned towards Amaya and told her something, making her look back at them and worriedly rush to their side. She put her hand on his shoulder and asked something, but Connor still couldn't hear. What was that...? She shook him slightly, but no words were heard. Repeat it... I can't hear you...

Connor's vision wasn't clear. His whole world wasn't clear. Confusion clouded his gaze as he looked at his friends. "I..." They looked expectantly at him. "I don't know what happened..." He said with a shaky voice. "I just... I just..." He sobbed. "I just told them," He looked at Greg. "Just like we've practiced..." 

His whole body trembled and he finally broke down to tears. Greg and Amaya catching him midway. "I don't know what I did wrong..." He cried in their shoulders as they caressed his back and hugged him tightly. "When did I screwed it up?" He hugged himself as he felt a cold shiver ran through his body. Tears decorated his face as they fell quickly, tear after tear. 

The door opened to the house as Alexander shot inside, followed quickly by Daniel. Katrina was being helped by Lina and Fidelite, but Connor looked away the moment they stepped in. How could they meet their gaze? He had broken his family. If it wasn't for him, everything would still be alright.

A hand landed on his shoulders as Amaya and Greg stepped away. Daniel kneeled in front of him. "Connor?" Connor didn't answer, he just sobbed in place. "Connor, we're all here for you, okay? Everything's over,"

How could it be over? This nightmare had just started. 

"I know it seems hard to believe, but he's gone. You're safe now," Daniel told him quietly. "Connor?"

Connor's vision became blurry again and he threw himself at Daniel, crying on him. He wailed after his father, and he wailed sorry's, but nothing seemed to be healing that injury deep inside him. He felt numb, sad. As if his whole world ended right there.

And it did.

Chapter Text

One month later...

Greg walked towards Connor's house, a raincoat on him. It was raining heavily outside, but he didn't care about the weather. His objective was ahead. He hurried towards the door as thunder roared and when he knocked, the door was opened... by Alexander. "Good thing you are here, come inside,"

Greg hung to raincoat beside the door and sat his umbrella under it. Lina, his mother, appeared from the living room and took his backpack. He looked worriedly at her. "Is he still...?" She nodded.

Greg sighed and trotted upstairs. When he approached Connor's room, he saw his father and Katrina standing outside, looking inside. His father spotted him and Greg asked. "Where's Amaya?"

His father moved to one side to let him inside and signaled. "She's trying to feed him, but he doesn't do anything," He told him sick worried. "We thought that maybe if you two tried..."

Greg watched as a plate of food sat on Connor's nightstand, but it was full. Amaya sat on the border of the bed, a fork on her hand. With her free hand, he caressed the blankets on the bed. He heard her say. "Come on, Connor... you gotta eat something..." But she had no answer.

Greg sat beside her and put his hand over Connor, who was lying under his blankets, with his hair barely visible. "Connor, Amaya's right... Why don't you eat something?" He had refused to do anything for weeks. He barely ate, he barely drank water, he never showed up for missions... he never did anything but lay still on his bed. 

Amaya looked at him. "I tried for the past hour, but he doesn't even look at me,"

Greg looked at Connor for a few seconds with a sad expression. He sighed and looked up at Amaya. "Okay, I'm gonna sit him, and you're gonna try to feed him. Ready?"

"Are you sure that's the best idea?" She asked.

"It's the best chance we've got at feeding him..." Greg said. He took a deep breath and then grabbed Connor by the arms tightly. He made him sat up, and when he did, the blankets fell off him. Revealing his red puffy eyes, his pale skin, and dark bags under his eyes. He had trails of snot from his nose, indicating that he was crying, and his hair was messy and oily. "Connor..."

"Leave me alone," He said with a raspy voice. "I just want to sleep,"

"You need to eat something," Greg told him. "Or at least bath..."

Connor frowned. "Didn't you hear me? Leave me alone!" He rolled over and covered his head with the pillow this time. 

But Greg wasn't gonna give up yet. He pulled the blankets and took the pillow from Connor. "If you're not doing it yourself, then I am," He told Connor. He stood up and walked to his closet, taking clothes for him. He looked at his father. "Can you prepare a bath for him?" Daniel nodded and left, leaving Katrina looking inside.

"How could I let this happen?" She lamented. Greg didn't have time to answer as she left the room quickly, sobbing. Greg felt pity for her. Not only Harold had left them, but Fidelite did too, two weeks after the incident. Connor wouldn't do anything that didn't involve his bed, leaving Katrina worried and alone. 

Daniel walked up to the door again. "The bath is getting ready," He told him. "Are you sure you wanna make him do it?"

"Someone's gotta do something for him if he's not doing it himself, dad," Greg said looking at Connor, who even though the blankets and pillows were all over the floor, still laid on his bed. "I don't like seeing him like this,"

"I'm afraid that pushing him is gonna make it worse," Daniel said. "But I trust you with this. You know Connor better than me. If you say this is the right thing, then it must be," He looked towards the bathroom. "I'm gonna take a look at that. Let me know when he's ready,"

Greg nodded and walked to Connor. Amaya looked at him. "What should I do? I feel helpless..."

"You're trying as much as any of us," Greg said, putting his hand on her shoulder. "Ask Katrina or my mom for money, then buy some fruits and water," He folded Connor's clothes and held them against his chest. "If he's not gonna eat cooked food, then make him at least eat an apple or something,"

Amaya nodded and looked at Connor. "I'll be right back, I promise," Then she left.

Greg gently turned Connor towards him, and he found himself looking into stormy blue eyes. "We just want what's best for you," He grabbed his hand and pulled him up. "I know you might feel as if you don't deserve it..."

"I don't," Connor said.

"But what happened wasn't your fault. You didn't know that was gonna happen," Greg said, touching his cheek softly. "You don't deserve the punishment that man left you,"

"I just wish I felt other way," Connor said with a broken voice. "Not like this..." 

Greg passed his hand from his cheek to his hair and caressed it, ignoring the oily feel to it. He pulled Connor up from the bed and guided him towards the bathroom. At that moment, Daniel stepped out. He looked at Connor until he entered and Greg closed the door. 

Connor sat on the border of the tub and watched Greg sat his stuff nearby. Greg turned to him and expected him to take his clothes off, but Connor did nothing, just sat numbly in the tub. Greg sighed and approached him, grabbing the border of his shirt and pulling it up. It took a little effort to do so until Connor started cooperating. 

Connor finished taking his clothes off, to Greg's relief, and quietly entered the bathtub full of warm water. But again, he did nothing. He stared dully at the water's movements until it kept still. Greg's heart sank. When I thought we were making small progress... He reached for a cup sitting on the side of the tub and filled it with water, pouring it on Connor.

He gently pulled Connor's head back and started pouring water on his hair. Connor said nothing, only let Greg led him all the way. When Greg saw his friend's broken stare, he closed his eyes shut, feeling a loss for him. It's as if he's dead... He poured scented shampoo on his brown hair and started washing it gently. Not if, he is... inside...

"Close your eyes, it might get into your eyes and burn," He told Connor. But Connor did nothing, only kept staring ahead. When soap started sliding down his forehead and into his eyelids, Greg grabbed the towel beside him and cleaned the foam from Connor's face. Greg stopped for a bit and sighed. "You're not thinking of hurting yourself, are you...?"

Connor looked at him as if for a moment he was aware of his surroundings, but then his gazed lighted down again, dull of life. Greg stared with fear. Please, don't do it... Connor looked back to where he was looking before, numbly. Greg closed his eyes and when he slowly opened them, he bent Connor's head backward and poured water into his hair, washing the soap away.

He stopped. He cared so much for Connor, he was his best friend. He knew him since they were both little. He was such a happy and energetic boy... he didn't deserve anything of what was happening to him right now. It wasn't fair. He put his hand on Connor's cheek, but the other barely reacted. Why was the world so mean to him? What had he done to it? Nothing!

He put his head over Connor's, his jaw against his wet hair. His arms rounded his shoulders and a tight grip held him. "Sorry this happened to you..." Greg said quietly. He didn't care if his clothes were getting wet, that was the last thing he cared about right now. "I wish I could've prevented all of this from happening..."

And for the first time that day, Connor reacted. His body became stiff and his breath stopped for a bit. He leaned into Greg's chest and his hands gripped Greg's arm. He quietly sobbed and Greg closed his eyes, letting his best friend cry onto him.

***

Connor was now back on his bed, but this time he didn't face away from him, he was staring at the ceiling. "Amaya bought some of your favorite fruits for you... are you sure you don't wanna eat anything?" He softly asked.

"I just wanna sleep..." Was all Connor said.

Greg sighed but then laid down by his side. "Okay," Connor rolled onto his side and Greg, hesitantly, reached for him, putting his arm around Connor. The other didn't say anything, only accommodated himself to suit Greg's arm. "We are all so worried for you..." Greg said quietly. "You..." He bit his lip for a few seconds before closing his eyes and getting close to Connor. "You worry us... You don't do anything all day. You don't eat, you don't drink anything, you don't take baths... and when you say you are gonna sleep, you keep awake, crying,"

Connor gasped quietly in the room, and Greg opened his eyes. "I know you do. I would too if what happened to you would've happened to me..." He caressed Connor's hair. "I can't imagine what losing a dad feels like. I don't think I'll ever know that pain the way you did it..." Pause. "When I asked you before if you weren't planning on harming yourself... I got scared that you were gonna answer that you were,"

Connor rolled towards him and they both stared at each other. "I..." He finally answered. "I could never do that to any of you..."

Greg stared at him. "I truly got scared," He said. "I wouldn't bear to lose my best friend..." Greg smiled sadly. "You're too important to me. If you... if you die, I don't what would I do." He grabbed his hand. "You need to eat something, Connor." He begged. "If you don't do it for you... at least do it for us,"

Connor opened his eyes a little bit more as if suddenly he realized something. It was a strange gaze that Greg had never seen before, not on Connor. That gaze held so many things that Greg couldn't understand, but for some reason, he knew that those things weren't bad. On the contrary... he felt as if those things were good. Something in that gaze held something vivid that made Connor look alive for the first time in weeks.

But then it turned to a troubled stare. Everything Greg had just seen vanished in the matter of a second and Connor rolled, facing away. "I... I need some time to think..." His breath was a little bit agitated. "Would you leave me for a bit?"

Greg pulled his arm away and sat up, devastated. Had he done something? But he didn't show Connor how he truly felt. "Okay..." He said. "I'll be- I'll be downstairs if you need me," He stood up and walked to the door, his shoulders dropping on the way. His name being called quietly made him turn around right before he could reach the doorknob. "Yeah?"

Connor was sitting on the bed, looking at him. "Thank you," He simply said.

Greg saw again that little spark from before, and hope filled his chest. He smiled at him sadly before leaving and closing the door slowly.

***

It was night already, and Greg and his parents were getting ready to leave, right beside Amaya and Alexander. Daniel asked. "Are you sure you don't want at least Lina to stay, Kat?"

Katrina had her arms crossed and a devastated expression. "Thanks for all of your help, really, but right now I just need to be alone..." She said. She looked so sad that it even broke Greg's heart. She doesn't deserve any of this either... none of them do. He thought.

"Give us a call, it doesn't matter when, if you need us," Lina told her. "We want you to be fine,"

"I won't be fine for a long time, Lina," Katrina told her. "But Connor needs me more than I need myself," Lina hugged her and started to talk to her quietly. Greg couldn't listen to them, but his attention was diverted when a few steps coming from the stairs drew his attention. He and Amaya exchanged a look. 

They all turned to watch Connor descend and stand there. Katrina looked at him with a hopeful spark on her eyes. "Do you need something, sweetheart?" She asked him.

"I'm..." Connor started. He looked at Greg for a bit before looking away quickly. "I'm hungry..."

Greg smiled, alongside everybody else. After a month of worrying, progress was being made... Katrina walked to Connor and gently nudged him to the kitchen. "I've got some leftovers from today, or I can cook something else if you want..."

Daniel leaned to his ear. "Let's leave them alone, shall we?" Greg nodded and followed his father outside, not before catching Connor's eye as he hugged his mother. The door closed and Greg walked beside his dad quietly. Daniel looked at him. "How did you do it?"

"Do what?" Greg asked confused.

"How did you get Connor to do something?" He kept looking. They waved to Amaya as she stopped at her door and then Greg looked at his dad.

"It wasn't me," Greg simply said. "It was his own will. I guess he realized that he loved us enough to do that to us,"

"I'm pretty sure you influenced him, he cares for you a lot," Daniel pointed out.

Greg remembered that gaze he saw on Connor earlier in the afternoon, right before he asked him to leave. Did that gaze had to do with anything that happened afterward? "There was this little thing though..." He started, making his father look at him once more. "A stare. It was weird, I've never seen it before."

Daniel looked thoughtful. "How was it?"

"The stare?" He asked. Daniel nodded. Silence. "It was... sparkly. As if he was alive after a long time of being dead. As if a fire had taken place there to light up everything," Greg thought he could never forget that gaze. "He looked as if he realized something after a long time, and that realization sparked even more realizations altogether..."

Daniel looked at him until he blinked with a surprised spark on his eyes. He smiled and looked ahead, putting his arm around Greg's shoulder. "He's gonna be fine," He told him. "What happened there will affect what will happen next, and what will happen next will keep moving him forward,"

"How are you so sure?" Greg asked.

As Daniel opened the door, he finished with a smile. "It's just a hunch," When Greg looked at him confused, he added. "One day you'll understand what I mean, and maybe you'll find yourself liking it," 

Chapter Text

Two months later, Greg waited beside one of his best friends, Riley. The Asian boy looked at him expectantly as Greg searched everywhere. "You look like a dog waiting for his owner, Greg," Riley smiled at him reassuringly. "He's gonna show up, don't worry,"

"I know but..." He turned to Riley. "I'm scared of what might happen once I get to my class. Everyone knows what happened, and everyone has been gossiping about it. I don't want Connor to hear any of that, he's suffered enough," 

"Well, we can always punch any of them, right?" Riley shrugged. "It will teach them to keep their mouths shut for once,"

"That's the last thing Connor needs," Greg told him. When he spotted Connor, he quickly turned to Riley. "You two share classes. Will you keep an eye on him?"

Riley nodded. "Don't worry, I will,"

As Connor neared with Amaya by his side, he waved at Greg and Riley. "How are you feeling?" Greg asked.

"I feel... okay, better than yesterday I guess," He answered, looking around as people looked at him. Greg caught the eye of a group of boys and send them a death glare, making the boys look away from Connor. "Can we go in now?" Greg nodded and they all walked inside.

They reached Connor and Riley's classroom first. Greg and Amaya stopped by the door. "If you have any problem, let us know, okay?" Amaya said.

"I'll be fine, don't worry," Connor said. "See you at recess?"

"Seeya!" Greg and Amaya waved. When they walked away, Amaya asked. "Have Katrina told you what surprise she's got for him?"

"She told me what we were doing after school, yeah," Greg smiled. Katrina had planned to take Connor to a pet shop to get a new pet, specifically a cat. "I hope Connor finds one he likes, it'll make him a lot happier,"

"I hope so," Amaya said, entering their classroom. "I would hate for Connor to get disappointed over a cat,"

"Same." Greg agreed as they sat on their usual desk. "If Katrina wants us there it must be for that, in case he doesn't find one he likes," As he said that, their teacher entered the classroom. "I hope her idea works,"

"Yeah..."

***

The morning was boring, yet to Greg and Amaya it was filled with excitement; Connor was finally making a progress since the incident! They walked out of their classroom with their backpacks on the back. Greg put it in front of him and opened while they walked, trying to search for his cellphone. "HA! Gotcha," He exclaimed when he finally found it.

At the same time, a call arrived and Greg answered. "Hello?"

"Hi, Greg! It's Katrina," She answered on the other side of the line. "It's Connor with you?"

Greg looked at Amaya. "Uh, not right now, but he was with a friend all morning so he should be fine!" Greg stopped beside the school's gate. "We're waiting for him right now,"

"That sounds great," She sighed in relief. "You see, I don't think I'll make time to meet you all there. Do you think you can bring him to the pet store?"

Greg looked at Amaya and shrugged, then nodded. "Uh, yeah, sure we can,"

"Alright. Thank you, Greg," She said over the phone. 

"Glad to help. Bye!" Then he hung up. He looked at Amaya doubting. "Do you think he's gonna want us to take him somewhere else than his home?"

"I'm not sure," She said unsure. "He might not, but there's a small chance he might let us." She watched Riley and Connor go out of school, talking to each other. Connor seemed to be explaining something to Riley, Greg observed, because he used expressions and moved his hands around. But that's not what caught Greg's attention... his smile did.

"Connor! Riley!" Amaya called. The two boys jerked their heads towards them and hurried to their side. "Today was boring, wasn't it?" She said.

"Boring as I remember it to be," Connor giggled. "Ready to go home?"

"Actually..." Greg started. Connor looked at him confusedly. "We want to take a look at the new pet shop that opened near the water channels," He said. "Everyone is talking about it!"

"Do we have to go today...?" Connor asked, deflated.

"It'll be fun!" Amaya said, dragging him with her. "It's only for a bit. We'll take you home afterward,"

Connor doubted for a small moment. "Okay... but no more surprises afterward." Amaya nodded and dragged him with her.

Greg looked at Riley, who was playing with his hair. "You coming? Katrina has a surprise for Connor,"

He sighed. "I wish... but I can't go. My family is waiting for me, traditions and stuff..." He finished rolling his eyes.

"Your family is so... extremist," Greg said.

"You don't say..." Riley put his cheek to his and said goodbye to him. Greg watched him go for a second before his name being called by Amaya. He hurried to their side and caught them as they were talking about Connor's day.

"I have tons of homework, though," Connor said annoyedly. "That's what happens when you skip classes,"

"Maybe," Amaya said with a gentle smile. "But it's justified..."

"I guess so," Connor shrugged. He looked at Greg. "Why are you so obsessed with the new pet shop, though? You already have pets!" As they crossed the street, Connor looked at him. "Unless you are planning to get Lionel a playmate. He's kinda lonely,"

Greg jerked his head towards him. "Lionel is not lonely!" Connor looked amusedly at him and Greg felt joy in his chest. Those vivid looks were becoming a thing lately. "It's just that, uh, the place is filled with lots of stuff! We want to see it for ourselves,"

"People talk wonders about the place. A little visit doesn't hurt, right?" Amaya said.

"I guess not, but can we hurry? You two are walking like slowpokes!" Connor complained. Greg and Amaya giggled and nodded, keeping their way ahead.

***

The three of them waited outside, with Amaya and Greg looking at each side of the street. Connor was confused, but he was getting slightly annoyed. "Are we waiting for someone else or what?" Greg avoided looking at him; he couldn't tell him what his mother was planning!

"Uh, someone said they were gonna show us around, but they aren't here yet..." He lied.

Connor grunted. "Can I go home?" That set an alarm on Greg. "This person is not showing up,"

Greg sighed in relief as he saw Katrina approaching, Greg said. "Don't worry, she's here now," Connor turned to Greg's side and saw his mother. He looked confusedly at Greg, but Greg smiled at him. He walked towards his mother.

"What are you doing here? Don't you have to work?" He asked.

"I took a day off for sickness," She said. "But it's not that, not exactly." She led him inside. Greg and Amaya followed excitedly inside. Greg hoped he could find a cat that suited himself rightly. Connor had needed company for a while, especially after the whole incident with that... man. 

Every time Greg thought about Harold, he only felt disgusted, angry. He swore that if he ever saw that man again, he was gonna punch him right in the face... or well when he was big enough to do so. How could that man be so heartless over his son? Greg grunted. He's no man... he's a coward. Greg stopped beside Connor as a girl talked with Katrina.

"Can we help you, madam?" She asked politely. 

"We want to adopt a cat," Katrina told her. 

Connor looked surprised at her. "We're adopting a cat?" 

She nodded with a gentle smile. "I think it's about time we got ourselves one, don't you think?" 

The girl from before smiled. "Go this way, the cats' hallway is there," Connor smiled and nodded, and followed by Greg and Amaya, they ran to choose a cat.

The cats were sleeping in beds inside cages. Some of them were old, others just kittens, but they all looked up when Connor walked by. Greg watched Connor stop by in all cages, trying to take a glance at the cats, but then he just walked to the next one, not convinced of the cat. "What's wrong?" Greg asked when he stopped.

"I don't know..." Connor said, scratching his arm. "I don't like any of them,"

"Maybe you just need to take a closer look," Greg suggested, trying to sound positive. 

"It's not that," Connor sighed. "None of them are the right one." He looked at him. "Can I have a little time for myself?"

Greg and Amaya exchanged glances. Greg sighed. "Fine... We'll be with your mother on the front of the store if you need us," Connor nodded and both of them left.

Amaya looked over her shoulder and then back at Greg. "I can't help but feel pity for him,"

When Katrina saw their worried expressions, she stopped talking with the worker and asked. "Where's Connor?"

"He said he can't find the one," Greg explained. "He doesn't like any," He shrugged. "He asked for a little bit of time for himself..." Katrina sighed and they looked over to where Connor was walking peacefully.

***

Connor walked through the hallways, looking to the few cats left in there. None of them felt right to him, they all looked either sad or disappointed... or he just had that stare over his shoulders every day. 

He didn't want to admit to Greg and Amaya that his day had sucked. Everyone seemed to whisper and stare, let alone point, and that just annoyed the crap out of Connor. It didn't make him feel any better these past weeks to know everyone in his neighborhood knew what happened, but being talked at school felt way worse.

He passed his fingers through the bars of the cats' cages, and none of them reacted, not even a bit. He looked around. It is a nice pet store, though... On the ceiling there were cutouts of different animals hanging, the walls were of a pretty pastel yellow color, decorated with waves and fishes. 

Near the cats' cages, fish tanks were aligned fancily and terrariums with different kinds of lizards and snakes sat nearby. Connor smiled. Maybe I can get a snake. He joked for himself as he stopped.

A sting on his fingers made him suddenly jump, and when he looked over, a pair of round, innocent, blazing blue eyes stared at him from the dark of a cage. He raised an eyebrow and approached. He narrowed to see the inside of the cage better and gasped slightly when he saw who had bitten him. It's a kitten!

Connor looked to the side of the nest the kitten was using, where their food sat. He took a small bit of the little brown, oily squares with his fingers and then drew them out. He said, "Want some?" The kitten kept looking at him, their fur a little bit fluffed out. "I won't hurt you,"

The kitten started approaching carefully, step by step, until it smelled the food. It's a molly. Connor observed. She sniffed carefully and then proceeded to sniff his hand, and when she noticed he wasn't going to do anything she bit on the food. As she chewed, Connor scratched her chin with his fingers and she purred, rubbing her head against his hand.

Connor giggled. "You are a sweet girl," She put the top of her head under his hand and then Connor scratched between her ears. "You like this, don't you?" When she purred, he laughed. "Don't worry, I like cuddles too,"

She rubbed her body against the cage she was in, allowing Connor to see her rears. He opened his eyes wide. She's missing a leg! Indeed. The little molly cat was missing her left leg, with stitches at the end of it. "Who did this to you?" He asked, rubbing her between her haunches. 

A worker of the place approached him. "We rescued her from an abusing home," He told him. "She's been tough with everybody so far. This is a nice surprise,"

Connor and the molly cat locked stared and he smiled at her. "Can I adopt her?"

"Let me get the keys," He said and left. 

Connor looked at her and smiled. "I know how that feels like," He said. "My father wasn't very caring either," The molly cat mewed at him and he laughed when she pressed her muzzle between the bars. He scratched her there and when the worker came back, he unlocked the cage. 

He used dark gloves when he picked her up and handed her to Connor. "Here you go," He looked at Connor as he closed the cage. "There's a few papers you need to fill first,"

The molly cat still nuzzled him on the cheek and Connor distractedly answered. "Okay," He followed the worker to the front of the store, where his mother, Greg and Amaya eyed him surprised. 

They approached him and Amaya squeaked. "It's so cute!"

"She is, isn't she?" Connor said. The molly cat eyed them and when Amaya tried to pet her, she backed away, hissing. "She's been through a lot though, so she's a little defensive,"

Katrina eyed him tenderly. "She seems to be pretty fond of you,"

"Right?" Asked Connor, still petting her. The worker came back, and this time he had two papers on hand. He handed them to Connor and left a pen on the counter. Connor didn't know where to put his new cat, so he looked at Greg. "Can you hold her?"

"Won't she scratch me?" Greg asked, a little bit fearfully.

"Try petting her," Connor told him. Greg reached his hand carefully to her head, and when she closed the gap left between his hand and her head, she purred under his hand. Connor laughed. "She likes you too,"

"That isn't fair!" Amaya exclaimed. 

Both Greg and Connor laughed and Connor said. "Maybe she's jealous of you,"

Amaya crossed her arms. "Could be." Greg held the molly cat for him as Connor filled the papers like the worker instructed him to. There was one thing Connor hadn't thought about. "What I'm gonna name her?" He said out loud. He thought for a second. He once heard a name that he liked a lot, but what if they laughed at the name he had chosen? 

With a shaky hand he wrote down her name, and Greg took a look. "Titina?" He asked.

"I-It's a cute name," When she purred, he said. "And she seems to like it,"

Greg smiled at him. "It is a cute name, agreed," He said. Connor let out a breath and finished filling the papers. Katrina put her hand on his hair and smiled at him lovingly. He was glad that his mother was starting to get close to him again... those weeks where she seemed distant had hurt him greatly. 

They walked out of the store with Titina on Connor's arms, wearing a nice blue collar with a fake diamond on it that Katrina had gifted her. Connor liked it a lot; it suited her white and cream, fluffy coat. Greg had on hand one of the papers Connor had filled earlier and read it. "So she's a seven-month-old Maine coon, huh?" He looked at Connor amusedly. "Dude, she's gonna be huge in a few months,"

Connor laughed. "Better," He said, petting her brown head. "More cuddles for me," They both laughed and kept walking ahead.

***

Connor sat on his bed while Titina was curled up beside him. Greg sat at the end of his bed. "Did I mention I like her colors a lot?"

"All the way home, yeah," Connor giggled. "I do too, I can't blame you," And she did have an amazing pattern of colors, in Connor's eyes. Her fur was of a nice light brown with darker spiraled striped on the haunches and legs, down to her white paws. She had a huge creamy coat with a stripe of white in it, and her ears and top of her head were dark browns with an M shaped stripe on the forehead. Her ears had tufts at the top.

"Are you happy?" Greg asked quietly.

"A lot! I didn't think I was gonna get another cat so soon," He said, happily.

"I meant..." Greg hesitated. "I meant about everything else. How are you feeling about it?"

Connor opened his eyes and Titina lifted her head as if she was aware of the question as well. Connor pressed his hand on her coat. "I... I guess I'm doing fine? Okay?" He looked down at her. "I'm not sure..." He accommodated himself. "Sometimes it feels as if everything is going to go wrong at any moment, that everything is gonna repeat itself..." Then he made a little smile. "But there are days I feel so much better. Some things make me happy and... and I feel happy too. Like today,"

Greg looked at him. "And that's a good thing for you?"

Connor paused for a second before smiling at him softly. "I think it's better than just laying down on my bed not caring about myself," He shrugged. "Don't you think?"

Greg nodded and smiled at him. "Good," He chuckled. "I'm happy for you," Connor looked at him and said. "Thanks for being there for me,"

Greg smiled fondly at him. "Always."