Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

A Cat’s Work Is Never Done

A Cat’s Work Is Never Done

by Mara

Summary: A day in the life of Ultimate Professor Xavier’s cat.

NOTES: This is a response to the Ultimate X website
(http://ultimate.comixtreme.com/home.html) Fan Fic Challenge: “A Day in the Life
of Ultimate Cat.” More challenges, please, this was *fun*!

************************************

I have read enough narratives to know the rules for telling a story properly.
But really, did you expect a cat to follow the rules? I thought not.

So, I will tell you about myself, but there are things I simply cannot explain.
Either because humans (and I include mutants in that category) are not ready to
believe them, or because I doubt you will understand.

In any case, I am the cat who has been living at the school for the past year.
My name? Hmm, I don’t have one in the sense that you mean. You may call me Cat,
if you like.

As I was saying, I was assigned to this school to assist and protect the young
mutant students.

Now, please don’t remind me of the Weapon X fiasco. That may possibly have been
the worst failure of my career and I doubt I will ever live it down. I tried to
warn my charges something was wrong, but it was too little, too late. Scott
heard me, but not in time to take effective action.

How did I warn them? Well, obviously I used the same telepathy I’m using to
speak to you. I certainly wasn’t playing charades.

I am a combined telepath and empath, and my mission is to try and keep these
youngsters emotionally healthy, (preferably without revealing my presence to
them). It’s a monumental task, as I’m sure you’re aware. Even normal teenagers
generate enough angst to power a small city. Super-powered teens? Let us just
say they keep me busy and leave it at that.

I know you thought I spent most of my day sleeping, but that is not the case.
Perhaps if I describe a representative day in my life, you will you understand.
Perhaps last Tuesday?

*****************************

I started my day sprawled across Bobby’s chest as he lay in bed. His depression
was so strong, I’m surprised it didn’t generate a black bubble over his head.

I lay on his chest and purred at him until he began to rub my head. Licking his
face a few times netted me a reluctant laugh. Meanwhile, I was pushing so many
soothing thoughts at him he almost fell back asleep.

“Hey, cat,” he finally said.

“Mrow,” I replied. Most humans can understand rudimentary Cat, or at least they
would if they tried.

“Yeah, life does suck, you’re right,” Bobby said. Well, he obviously *wasn’t*
trying to understand me.

“Mrow *mrow*.”

“It’s just that I feel like such a doofus compared to everyone else around here.
I’m just the dumb kid brother that they have to take care of.”

I hissed, and he looked strangely at me. I blinked slowly at him and sent more
soothing thoughts. He relaxed a little bit and scratched under my chin.

“How will I ever be as good at controlling my powers as they are?”

I slowly shifted my soothing thoughts to those of confidence. After I allowed
him some time to think, I prodded his attention back to me with a paw on his
chin.

“I guess I probably shouldn’t compare myself to people three or four years
older, should I?” he asked me.

“Mrow,” I said firmly.

He put me down on the bed beside him and reached for his workout clothes. “I
guess this means more time in the Danger Room.”

I licked the side of his face again and set off, content he was taken care of
for the day.

Then, I spent an enjoyable hour hunting the mansion grounds with Logan. Now,
there is a human with a good head on his shoulders and proper claws. I’m pleased
there is *someone* around here I can trust to take care of the children other
than me. I’ve been trying to help him clear out some of the interference in his
mind, although he is unusually resistant to both empathic and telepathic probes.

*******************************

After breakfast, I paused outside Peter’s room, but he was relaxed, so I didn’t
bother him.

However, Scott was already studying and worrying in the library. That child has
a severely overdeveloped sense of responsibility. Hard work is to be applauded,
but he takes it a bit too seriously.

The door was closed, but that is no deterrent to a determined cat.

I jumped onto the table, tail swishing with my annoyance, and settled firmly
onto the book Scott was trying to read. From the tenor of his emotions, I
suspect he was tempted to drop kick me out of his way.

So, I curled my tail and tucked my paws under my chin in a most appealing way,
sending cheerful thoughts to his scowling face. The scowl cleared a little, but
he still picked me up off the book and put me on the floor.

I didn’t get where I am today by being deterred by an amateur move like that. Of
course, I jumped back up and settled myself even more firmly on the book. He was
going to tell me what was bothering him, even if it took all day. (You’re right,
I *could* just read what’s bothering them in their minds, but they are more
likely to notice that. For some reason, humans rarely notice when you tamper
with their emotions, just their thoughts.)

“Cat, what’s wrong with you?” Scott finally asked. “I’m trying to get some work
done.”

“Mrow?” I asked.

“Look, if you leave me alone, I can get an hour’s worth of research done before
my first scheduled practice.”

I stood up and rubbed my head against his cheek. He flinched when I neared the
edge of his glasses, and I soothed him. The poor thing is so terrified of
knocking his glasses askew, I can’t remember the last time I saw him hug
someone. I made a mental note to work on that. Of course, he has a number of
issues to deal with before regular human contact will be easy for him.

“C’mon, give me a break,” he said, leaning forward to get a grip on me, “I can’t
get behind in my work, I’ve got too much to do.”

I lifted my head until we were eye to eye and said, slowly, so he couldn’t
mistake my meaning: “Mrow.”

His eyebrows lifted above his glasses and he leaned back in his chair, a curious
feel to his mind. “You’re not going to leave me alone, are you?”

“Mrow.”

“I should know better than to argue with a cat.”

“*Mrow*.”

Scott clasped his hands behind his head and stared off over my head. I prodded
gently at his mind. “You don’t know what it’s like being the leader,” he said
absently. “What if I fail them?”

I sat with Scott for over an hour while he worried about leadership and failure
and trust. I did what I could to reassure him, but he will require a great deal
more work.

I was wearied after working on Scott, so I took a nap in the living room. After
all, these days I patrol the grounds for most of the evening. I won’t be caught
napping again by any two-bit soldiers.

************************************

I didn’t have to find my next job, because she found me. My nap was interrupted
by Ororo, who dropped down on the couch next to me and stroked my back. I
forgave her for waking me up, because she’s *very* good at that. After a few
moments, I felt her worrying away at something, so I crawled into her lap, and
kneaded away at her chest a few times.

“Hey, don’t stick your claws in me,” she said, pulling my paws away. I
stretched, turned around once and settled down with my head against her stomach.
I could feel her sigh reverberate in my head.

I purred. She sighed. She was almost ready to tell me what was wrong, when the
door opened. I could smell Jean even before she asked, “Have you seen Hank?”

Ororo rolled her eyes, angry over something. “No, I haven’t. Believe it or not,
I’m not his keeper.”

Jean was confused. “Um, sorry, I just thought you might’ve seen him. Never
mind.” The door closed behind her with a small bang.

Ororo leaned back on the couch, and I thought reproachful thoughts at her until
she grimaced. “Okay, I guess that wasn’t nice of me, but I don’t feel like being
nice. Especially not to Ms. Jean ‘I’m So Perfect’ Grey.”

She’d stopped petting me, so I put my head under her hand. She looked down.
“Boy, I wish I had your easy life. Eat, nap, have people rub my head.”

Hmmph. After all the work Logan and I put in retrieving them from Weapon X. I
nipped her hand and she jumped. “Mrow,” I said.

“What was that for? Geez. Darn ungrateful cat.”

I settled back down on her lap and rubbed my head against her chest, trying to
calm her back down so she would tell me what she was worrying about.

“It’s just this thing with Hank,” she burst out after a few minutes. “I’m
worried that one day he’ll wake up and realize he can’t date me anymore.”

I projected curiosity. This was interesting, especially since Hank spent half an
hour yesterday explaining how Ororo couldn’t possibly want to date him, because
he was ugly.

“I mean, he’s such a wonderful smart guy. And, well, I’m just an uneducated
bitchy car thief.”

Nonsense. She attends this school, she can hardly be considered uneducated. As
for bitchy…well, we can’t all be perfect. I tried to project my disagreement,
but I don’t think it reached her.

I made a mental note that Ororo would need a reminder of her quite formidable
(if not entirely classically-trained) intelligence, and left after she shared
part of her lunch with me. (The school could use more tuna, by the by. I don’t
get to eat it nearly often enough.)

I prowled around the mansion for the rest of the afternoon without encountering
any serious problems.

Peter has been rather cheerful lately, well, as cheerful as Russians allow
themselves to be. I have high hopes for him, since he seems to be the most
emotionally stable of the bunch. Not what you would expect from a teenager
wrestling with an unpopular sexual preference, but apparently he finds that less
stressful than being a mutant.

Jean was a little depressed, but not enough to warrant my interference. She
requires a great deal more finesse, since she’s more likely than the others to
notice my actions. So, I only work on her when absolutely necessary. A little
angst over why Ororo was annoyed with her didn’t strike me as absolutely
necessary.

**************************************

And of course, you know the rest, because I spent the evening with you.

Now, listen carefully, Professor Xavier. These children are going to be very
important, and I’ve been sent here to oversee their health and safety. You will
*not* be allowed to endanger them as you have previously.

Who sent me here? Well, that’s a story for another day, I think.

–end–

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