And They Match

Title: And They Match
Time Period: August, 115 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Good doctors are a rare find in Dornie, especially good doctors for well loved familiars.

With two doctors aboard, the business handled by the Hightower clinic is usually very swift; William goes out to do house calls, and allows Leonard to hover about at home, waiting for appointments or walk-ins next door. Sneaking in the back is easy enough, to meet them there. The weekend brings with it more visitors, however, and Leon finds himself at the office more often than not. A sickness here, a bite there, some check-ups to do. His own children can usually be seen around the place, and at least one daughter or niece always seems to be playing at the front desk.

Muriel is a plain-looking girl that will likely grow into her comeliness, and with big dark eyes and wheat-colored hair, she is more noticeable than the ruddy-furred squirrel sitting at the counter nearby, peeling bits of nuts apart in silence. Her father joins her while she is amidst her sorting of imaginary papers, picking her up and setting her onto his lap while he begins to sort the real ones from the ones with charcoal writing on them. It's been a slow afternoon.

"I've told you that you can use any papers but the ones in here." Leon places his picks back into the tray on the desk, giving a scolding look to Sage for letting the girl into them. He has the feeling it has something to do with the nuts.

A high pitched feline growl that grows lower with time is the only indication that there's someone else in the room.

A fat grey tabby, dressed up like a baby doll in white cotton and frilly lace, drips like an obese drop of dew from the arms of a skinny blonde girl. She is dressed to match. Her wide blue eyes ping pong at the paper, following each bit as the doctor sorts them before she looks up at his face. Luna Owens is much more silent than her usual, something that Muriel can attest to. And generally everyone in the market.

When she finds she's been noticed, she quickly straightens her stance with a bounce of her spiraled blonde hair and lifts her chin like a true princess should. "Doctor Hightower," her formal manner of speaking is, by her own judgement, quite grown up and how grown ups talk to each other. "My familyar, Butterfly,— " the enormous cat is lifted as high as the girl can manage, only to shrink and flatten its ears in her arms and growl again "— is sick. He is in need of many pills, and tonics, and things to make him feel better."

Doing one's best not to laugh gets harder as you get older, and as your peers get older they can see it more. For kids, however, there is a space between seriousness and mockery that hasn't quite cemented itself. Leon gets away with his stifled smile only because he is used to making himself serious with his own children. Muriel mutters something to him and takes her stack of papers back, patting them awkwardly on the desktop to straighten them.

"Miss Owens." Leonard's reply comes straightbacked and stony-faced with formality. "He is? My, see how sad he looks." The vet tuts a couple of times before he sets Muriel down and gets up to approach Luna and her 'familyar'. Both sleeves get rolled up, and he crouches his tall frame down to Luna's level.

"How long has he been sick? May I see him?" Rather than taking the little beast, Leon holds out his hands and lifts his eyebrows high.

That poor beast. The squirrel on the counter remains very, very still, tail curled up along its spine. Leonard spares just a glance over his shoulder.

And they match.

One of the cat's problems could be simply that it's a good ten pounds overweight. As Luna struggles to lift it toward the doctor's waiting hands, it panics and its back feet rear up to claw at the young girl's forearms. Of course, she drops it, it runs for the safety of underneath a counter.

"Bad Butterfly!" Luna scolds loudly, scrambling after it in a streak of white and dripping red. Her arm has likely seen better days but, given the disposition of the feline, it's probably seen worse too. "Come back so the doctor can see you," she commands the thing— it doesn't listen.

Muriel leaps back onto the chair when the cat starts off under things, stooping her head down to look after it. Leonard moves up and over to take Luna by the shoulder in a vague attempt to keep her from launching under or around anything to get at Butterfly, who is already seething.

"I can get him, okay? You don't want to ruin your lovely dress or have him biting you." Not that he hasn't done damage already. Leonard presses his lips together when he does get a look at the scratches. "Let's clean your arm first, we can let him cool off down there. Aren't you sometimes mad when you're sick?"

I'll see. The squirrel finally moves again, shaking her tail and skittering over to peek down the side of the desk's countertop. When she hops down, the ruddy squirrel is now a brown-tinted longhair cat, with seal-point markings, blue eyes, and a flatter profile than your average stray. Sage wiggles herself down there where Butterfly seems to have gone. Presumably to check him out.

"I'm never sick," Luna brags and possibly a lies as she extends her arm for the doctor to examine. "It's my magic power, that and my lovely voice and my pretty hair." She stops for a moment, looking a bit puzzled before giving Muriel a glance and then staring up at Leonard. "Is pretty hair a magic power? I think that it must be, since I have the prettiest hair in Dornie."

She watches the ministrations to her arm with a passing interest, more so when bandage blooms red. It's the spread of the pattern that captures her. "Butterfly's got so much work to do, you know. The sillier familiars in Dornie have nothing to do all day but eat and chat. Poor Butterfly must spend his days looking like a fabulous example to them all, it's a hard task, given that all the rest of them are lazy and don't even dress up."

"You're lucky, I still don't know what mine is. Sage doesn't either." Rather than remark on her hair, or the business of Butterfly's social life, Leonard decides on something rather safe as he cleans and puts a bandage to little arm, smiling all the while. It wasn't too big, but it was deep enough to be a messy cut. Thankfully the cat did not flip out entirely. He can still see Sage's fluffy brown tail sticking out, as she makes peace with the poor thing under there with her- probably even trying to pry him out of the costuming if she can.

"I've never known many familiars that dress up. Sage likes to wear a pretty collar sometimes, but animals don't really need clothes like we do."

"Butterfly always likes to dress just as I do. We match, you know." As the squirrel pointed out on their way in. "I knew that Butterfly was ill the moment I tried to put on his dress this morning. Usually he's quite calm about it all but as soon as I touched his paw, he was in fits!"

Looking over at Muriel, Luna gives her a nice but small smile and dips into a polite curtsy. "Hello Muriel, you are looking quite fine today. Have you been drawing there?" Arm still held out for the doctor, the little blonde girl cranes her neck to examine the charcoal covered papers.

"Is that so?" Leonard is rather nonchalant about the dress-up, but abnormal agitation is something that he can get behind.

"Your hair is pretty today, Luna…" She fingers her own, which is less like cornsilk and more the shade of yellow ochre. For now, anyway. "I've been sorting daddy's accounts." Who needs drawing? Math is better, apparently. Or, fake math. The papers have numbers and things, certainly, but for the most part it is nonsense that seems important. "Mister McQuinn still owes on his dog, and mister King still has to give us the flour sacks." Muriel tells this to her father, as if he had no idea. He pretends he didn't, looking the part.

"Really? Your mother will want those soon. I'll talk with him next I see him."

He is still a bit mad. Confident in her abilities, Sage backs up out from under the furniture, letting out a mewl before quickly hopping away onto a chair, coming down in a bundle of dark feathers onto the seat.

"Let's get your friend out now, shall we?" Watching the tall man getting onto his hands and knees to find the cat is funnier looking than it actually is, and soon enough he is making a grab for the scruff of Butterfly's neck.

The cat's front paw reaches out and snags at Leonard's sleeve, getting tangled in it like a fly to a spider's web. It growls in warning, giving the doctor only a split second before it hisses, spits, and then paws at him with a gentle touch. Without even examining, it's quite obvious that the cat, at the very least, is suffering from an aching front foot. The questions why, however, remains to be answered.

"Be careful, doctor," Luna's voice is like a song as she calls out her warning. "Butterfly isn't too fond of strangers, perhaps if you tell him how how wonderful he looks today? It might calm him." Too soon, she's turned back to Muriel and their little visit. "Accounting? Well isn't that simply fascinating!" The little girl seems very sincere in her praise of the other. It's practice. "How much will my visit cost?"

"I'm sure he knows already." In the dark under the desk Leonard allows himself one roll of the eyes before sliding his way out with the cat firmly in his hand. And sleeve. He's used to it. The thin scars on and off along his arms fully attest to that. They disappear, and new ones are made.

"There there." Leon grabs the fat cat around the belly when he pulls it out, and rather than standing up with it, he sits back on the floor, legs out and cat in his lap to be examined. This way Luna can also see everything. He sets about to stroking the feline before he tries to take up its paw, nudging its rear end nearer his elbow so that he can hold on if need be. "Has he been walking funny at all?"

"I dunnae, I think my da will talk to yours." Muriel ponders over this, setting her stack of papers down again and looking at Luna's dress in the meantime.

Nodding to Muriel, Luna turns away and skips over to where the doctor is examining the fat cat. Pointed little elbows rest on its surface as her little hands cup her face. She's the picture of interest as she watches the doctor work.

"Butterfly doesn't walk, I carry him everywhere." Her lips form a little circle and her eyes widen and peek up at him, giving the impression that she might have just remembered something very important. "He did have a little run in the garden yesterday, when I was taking him for his teatime stroll. He hopped right out of the baby carriage and into a bush of roses. Do you think he might have caught a cold?"

"You might want to let him get his adventuring in, around the house. I think he'd like exploring inside." He isn't about to yell at a little girl for being possessive of her 'familiar'. His advice is gentler about it. "Not a cold, no…" Cats getting out of baby carriages is no help, but the location gives him something more to go on. Leonard pins the cat gently to his side, taking the least favored paw in his hand and flipping it around to examine the pads.

Her little eyebrows knit together in a frown and her lips downturn, not in an expression of anger or moodiness, more as a grimace of disgust. "But if he explores, he might get lost!" It wouldn't do for the youngest Owens to lose her cat somewhere in the house. It's a big house. Inn… It's a big inn.

"What if— what if he got lost in someone's room and they stole him?!" It's a valid fear, despite being enormously fat, the cat does put up with an extreme amount of abuse from the little girl.

"Cats have good senses of direction. And he is loud, you'll hear him." Leonard pauses in his last answer, thumb running over the pin-shaped thorn stuck deep into the pawpad of the cat. No doubt, this is still unpleasant for the cat, but Leon remains passively gentle. He takes the thorn between his nails to pull it out. "Everyone in town knows this cat, Luna. I don't think that someone would be fool enough to take him. Besides, he's part of the family, right?"

It is unpleasant, Butterfly screams and throws a fit trying to claw his way free from the doctor. But the moment the thorn is gone, he seems to calm down and begins licking the wounded paw, trying to clean away some of the hurt. Soon enough, the room is filled with the contented rumbling purrs.

"You've fixed him!" Luna jumps straight up in the air and claps her hands together, landing with little bounces of lace and blonde curls. "Oh thank you doctor! Thank you thank you thank you! I'll be sure to come to you first if I ever get sick, I promise!" Despite the fact that her cat's horrible illness seems to be through, she's a little hesitant to pick him up again. She looks down at her arm, then at the cat, then up at the doctor. "You do treat selkie princesses, aye? Because if I catch a death of cold, I wish to go to the right doctor, not someone who don't know their selkies from kelpies."

"I've not had the honor of treating any selkie princesses, but I do know my selkies from my kelpies." Being that one is a seal and the other a horse, it isn't terribly hard. He pets Butterfly behind the ears, holding onto him until Luna tries to take him, whereupon he lets her take the portly thing. "If you get sick, you'll need to take up your doctor with your ma, got it?"

I wonder what they'll say when she asks. Sage's voice is amused, and she ruffles her feathers from the chair nearby just for confirmation.

Once again, the cat seems somewhat unimpressed as the girl loops her arms under its armpits and hefts it up against her chest. Ears flat and green eyes narrowed, it is silent, almost biding its time until it can kill the entire town and make a clean getaway, or until its next treat of dried meat and nap.

Luna nuzzles her cheek against the spot between its ears and hugs it tightly. "He's his loveable and cuddly self again!" Her announcement might come as a surprise to anyone that doesn't know the cat. Since finding it in the trash over a year ago, the little girl hasn't let it out of her sight, not even to go to lessons. "Thank you doctor! And I'll see you for my check ups too. I reckon you're the best doctor in the town and you know animals! That's important!!"

Muriel knows better than to laugh in front of Luna, evident by her silence when she pronounces these various things. Instead, she waves for Sage, who is as much a babysitter as anything; the owl lifts off quietly and flaps back to the desk, upsetting some of the papers and getting a murmured admonishment from the little girl.

"It sure is. I'll let your father know that you were here." But there won't be anything more than his telling Maddock that she got there, and there isn't going to be any charge- despite what Luna thinks of it. Leon straightens up now, eventually putting hands to his trouser pockets and peering smartly down at the girl with her cat.

"Don't let him into any more thorny bushes, alright? And maybe some of that exploring the inn. Maybe he'll get some mice? As long as you love him and keep him fed, that is what matters." Though given the chance, he wonders if the feline would prefer to ignore her entirely and hang about eating fishy scraps from the inn.

"Butterfly don't like mice," Luna's expert knowledge of the cat is imparted as she squeezes another hug from it. "He likes his pretty dresses and his pillow and his little carriage. He especially enjoys a bit of cream when we have it to spare, he don't like it when the guests use it all up for their tea." Not that the cat has much to say about it, probably the same amount as he has to say about the way he's carried from place to place.

"Make certain that you tell da that the visit was for Butterfly, he'll be quite relieved to know that my kitten is well again." Probably not. Aside from the fact that its Luna's cat, he might not know it exists.

"I will be sure to tell him the good news." Good news? Depends. Bothersome news, more like. He may as well tell Isibeal instead. Maybe he will. "Do you need Rory to take you home? He is probably hanging about with his cousins." Leonard only now seems to question the means of how she did actually get here. "Or did you come with someone outside?"

"A selkie princess always has an en- entourage— " the word is a bit difficult for the little girl to manage but she does after a stutter. "Mine is waiting outside, fae princes and a carriage pulled by unicorns!" Luna has been prone to exaggeration every once in a while, but the Inn isn't so far in daylight.

"Your Rory may join the rest of them if he likes, but I'll be well guarded already."

She lifts the cat's paw to wave at the doctor, it seems to enjoy that as much as being held up by the armpits but it tolerates the child's love with dignity. Resecuring her grip on her pet, Luna is as fast out the door as her thin legs can carry her. Through the window, the veterinarian and his daughter can hear the girl giving orders to her imaginary court, all the way down the street.