Fandom: Star Wars
Characters: Anakin, Watto
Prompt swficchallenge's #2010-24: Pets. (cross-posted here). Also going to use for my fanfic50 claim for #28 - Never.
Word Count: 1096
Summary: Young Anakin encounters a mischievous creature.
Author's Notes: Not really satisfied with this but not sure how to make it better. At least I did manage to post something this month, so... yay? Back-dating it as well so I don't have to wait and repost it later, and because it's not like it's so wonderful it needs the repeated exposure. Meh.
The small metal part would have hit Anakin squarely in the back of the head if he hadn't sensed it coming. He whirled around in time to catch it. He scanned the room for the thrower... nothing. At least nothing he could see... Watto was busy charming a customer, and besides, hurling merchandise at people (even slaves) really wasn't his style. "Who did that?" he called out helplessly. A shrill laugh pierced the air, loud enough even to draw Watto's attention away from his customer.
"Boy! Quit fooling around!"
"I'm not! Someone tried to -- aha!" Anakin had found the source of the mischief -- a monkey! Or, rather, a bird-like monkey. With reptilian features. Hmmm, what was the creature? It ran away from Anakin, but Anakin chased it straight into a corner. The animal scrambled up to the top of the racks and looked down at Anakin with a most decidedly mocking expression. Its laughter was high-pitched and annoying.
Watto was able to identify the creature immediately. "Ah, no! A Kowakian monkey-lizard! Where did it come from? Those things are nothing but trouble! We must get rid of it!"
Anakin could have sworn the monkey-lizard laughed a little more merrily upon hearing that. It didn't seem inclined to move from its perch now. The boy frowned. "Uh... I guess I could swat at it with a broom to get it off there?"
"Forget that, if you chase it away, it will be free to come back," Watto pointed out. "And those things are no good! Destructive and mean-spirited! Mind the store while I get my blaster, I'll shoot the damn thing."
Anakin could sense fear permeating the monkey-lizard's amusement. The laughter ceased, and its eyes darted around, as if seeking cover or an escape route.
"No! Please!" pleaded Anakin. "I think it understood you. It's smart. Maybe if we just tell it to leave us alone..."
A few of the customers had drifted over to observe the strange creature. One being shook his head. "Won't do no good. They're smart alright, but ya can't train 'em. Too stubborn and too evil."
Anakin looked up at the diminutive animal, now hunkering down in a little ball, its ears and tail flat, looking quite pathetic. It made a soft whining sound as it looked at Anakin imploringly. Anakin thought he heard it say "Save me", yet he knew it hadn't spoken; was it his imagination?
The boy turned to face his master. "Please don't kill it. What if I take it home with me? I promise it'll never show up in your shop again!"
It was Watto's turn to laugh. "You want to make it your pet? Ohoho, that will never work! Never! It will drive you crazy!"
Anakin persisted. "Maybe it just needs someone to show it a little kindness."
Now everyone was laughing -- everyone except Anakin and the pitiful Kowakian monkey-lizard. Anakin held his head high. His mother was always saying that people needed to be kinder to one another, that if they were, this world would be a better place. Why couldn't he tame this little creature and take care of it?
Watto relented. "Fine. If you can get it down from there and out to the street without knocking anything over, it's yours. But if I see it in here again? I'll be having monkey-lizard stew for supper!"
"Yippeeee! I promise, you'll never see him again!" Anakin beamed up at his new pet. "Did you hear that? You can come home with me! You don't have to live on the street! You just need to learn to behave and I'll teach you about that. Now, you think you can come down from there and sit on my shoulder?" He patted his shoulder and motioned for the animal to leave his perch.
"And don't think you're gonna get extra credits to feed it, either!"
Anakin hadn't thought about what he'd feed it. Oh well, his mom would know how to handle that. She knew everything!
The boy couldn't explain it, but he sometimes had a way of communicating with animals without using spoken words. You can trust me, I won't hurt you. He effectively coaxed the beast down onto his shoulder, earning himself appreciative applause from the onlookers. Even Watto looked impressed for a moment before rearranging his features in their usual derisive expression. "Go on," said Watto, waving his hand dismissively. "But I want you here an hour early tomorrow to finish your chores."
"Yes, sir!" chirped Anakin happily. He walked out of the store proudly sporting the monkey-lizard like a hard-won prize. "What's your name, little fella? You are a boy, aren't you?....Hmmm, I guess I'll have to give you a new name. My best friend is Kitster. But you can be my other best friend. And he's really cool so maybe I'll name you after him... how about Kitty? You like that?"
The monkey-lizard responded with the same high-pitched cackling laugh he had emitted in the shop. Anakin cringed; why did that have to be such an annoying sound? But Kitty couldn't help it. Anakin just had to try to like it, he decided.
"My house is right up ahead... are you hungry? If you like human food you can eat dinner with us, Kitty, Mom won't mind!"
The reptile responded by yanking on Anakin's hair.
"Oww! No! Bad Kitty! We don't pull hair! That's not nice!"
Anakin was tempted to shove him off his shoulder after that, but the monkey-lizard saved him the trouble by launching himself with quite the acrobatic flip. He looked back at Anakin and laughed mockingly before kicking up a mini sandstorm, directed at Anakin's face. The boy instinctively closed his eyes, held his breath, and shielded his face. He took a few steps to the side and peeked through his hands to find that Kitty had fled; he was nowhere in sight.
Anakin wondered if the animal was playing a game with him. He called out to Kitty, but when the creature didn't immediately respond with even so much as that cruel laugh, his gut told him he'd already lost his pet. He searched the streets for a while anyway, pondering what had just happened. What had he done wrong? He'd thought they had some kind of bond already...he'd felt it...
He searched until he figured it was about his usual time to return home, then a very dejected Anakin slunk into his home and went straight to his bedroom. A partially-built droid awaited him there. Anakin shut the door and got to work.