There was just something about you.
Maybe it was your eyes, those perfect E/C eyes. The way you’d glance at her and smile, unsure of why she’s staring.
Or those lips. Every word you spoke was a song tumbling from between them, even if she didn’t like the fact that it was being sung to someone else.
Maybe it was your mutation. You both were mutants, you already had something in common, not to mention that you follow her Twitter and make her heart burst every time you retweet something from her. Same political opinions, same sense of humor, similar taste in music…
You rush in, a bundle in your arms. You’d gone for a walk and Ellie didn’t trust herself to be stealthy enough to follow you, not outside of the house. So, she’d sat on the loveseat by the door on her lonesome, waiting for you to return. You were all she could think of. She slinks over to where you’ve run, the infirmary.
She watches from the doorway, slowly entering as you open the bundle on one of the small beds used for long-term patients. It’s a large, fluffy black cat, some of its fur matted.
A stray? I love her… Ellie thinks. And it’s even black!
“She’s pregnant,” you tell the nurse, Annie. “I can feel it, the little lives. I’d say she’s going to go into labor very soon. I did some googling, and she’s already started the rhythmic purring.”
“So, you brought her here?” Annie asks, a brow arched. Don’t look at her like that. Just because they’re animals doesn’t mean they don’t deserve care. Ellie grinds her teeth, watching the situation. But, with you in sight, her anger is less intense.
“Well, where else was I supposed to bring her? I can try to heal her, but I can tell she might not make it through labor. I need help making her comfortable. Oh! Ellie, do you need something? I can heal you, if you have a headache or something,” you offer, distracted from your own cause by her. Me, Ellie thinks, lovesick.
“A bit of a headache,” Ellie lies. “But it can wait, if you want me to find some old towels or something.”
“I’d really appreciate that, thank you!” You beam, and she almost gasps in wonder, swiftly leaving to get the towels so you can’t see her blushing. She brings them into the infirmary, and helps you to organize them, hands brushing.
Ellie twitches away in surprise, cursing herself for her natural reaction to touch. While she knows that your touch feels good to everyone that you make skin-to-skin contact with, due to your mutation, which is to heal through touch, she feels that it must feel especially good to her, so she should accept the opportunity to feel your skin whenever she can.
“Thank you so much for the help, Ellie,” you say, eyes glimmering with excitement.
“No problem, Y/N,” she replies. “Anything else I can do?”
“Moral support would be appreciated, but I understand if you’ve got something better to do.”
Nothing’s better than you.
“Not at all,” Ellie responds, and the cat begins to meow. You go to pet her, and she purrs.
The cat starts to get a bit fidgety on the bed, wandering a bit. You and Annie make sure she stays on the bed, stroking her fur as she begins to yowl.
“Looks like we’re getting started,” you say, and Annie & Ellie nod. “Ellie, could you get us some gloves? Two pairs, unless you wanna help.”
Ellie gets three pairs of gloves, and the cat sort of squats on the bed, tail tucked. The yowl increases in volume, and she squeezes out the first kitten, a wet clump of black attached to a placenta nearly the same size. The mother cleans her child with her tongue, detaching the kitten from the placenta and eating it. Ellie notes the droplets of blood on the towels, and you nod.
“That’s normal, but we’ll have to be careful because if there’s too much she might be bleeding internally. It wouldn’t be surprising if she was, that man was kicking her really-” you sniff, clearly trying not to cry, and Ellie wants to slit his throat. “…Really hard.”
As soon as the first kitten starts meowing, another emerges from the mother cat.
“Good girl,” you praise the cat, petting her as she continues to clean her first-born, before moving on to the second. The two kittens, now mostly clean, move on to feeding from their mother, the three purring as she continues to clean them. After a short period of time in which she snuggles the two, and the bleeding starts to get heavy, another is born, and then another. She cleans and cares for them in the same fashion.
Ellie texts her groupchat with Piotr, Wade, Domino, Nathan, and her best friend, Yukio, about the situation, asking if they’d like to meet in the infirmary for an impromptu baby shower. They all excitedly agree, and she warns them that the cat may not be alive when they get there, but that the kittens are in good shape.
She listens silently as you hum to the mother, who you’ve nicknamed “Mama Cat.”
“She’s hemorrhaging,” you say, pointing out the increase in blood loss. “I read that could happen. I- I don’t know how much I can do without touching the wound, and it’s internal.”
“She knows you did your best,” Annie tries to reassure you, and Ellie tries not to glare daggers at the woman. You were Ellie’s to comfort. Ellie strokes your back, watching tears roll silently down your cheeks as you continue to hum to the cat and her litter.
“She’s gone. It’s all… I can’t feel her anymore,” you sob, and Ellie brings you into her arms, not caring about your amniotic fluid-soaked gloves one bit as you cry into her shoulder. But you pull away, and Ellie feels cold, empty. “I’m so sorry, we don’t even know each other that well, I just… I have a deep amount of respect and love for all living things, and this is so-”
“Don’t worry, Y/N. Come here, it’s gonna be okay.” Ellie wraps her arms around you again, and you accept her comfort. She tries not to let her excitement show, knowing that this is a solemn moment for you. She’s also sad, but your feelings definitely take priority over her own in this situation. In most situations. At least, that’s how she feels.
“We came as soon as we heard!” Wade and the gang enter with last-minute gifts and some decorations. Their joy dies down as they realize what’s happened. “Oh. That’s so… Oh. The kittens, are they…?”
You lift your head from Ellie’s shoulder so that your voice isn’t muffled, but you don’t exit her embrace, not yet.
“No, no, thank god. Just… Just the mom.” You pull away, attending to the tiny, helpless creatures. You dry the little screamers off a bit before bundling them in the least dirty towel and turning back to face the group. “I see you all brought gifts. Does there happen to be any formula?”
“I’ve got a good amount here, plus the equipment.” Domino fulfills the request. “Lucky guess.”
“Me, too,” Nathan adds. “I figured it wouldn’t be an easy thing to get ahold of. I was wrong, so I also got a PetSmart gift card.”
“Thank you so much, you guys,” you say, and Annie stacks the canisters on the counter. “Jesus Christ, that’s a lot.”
“Oh, right, I got some, too,” Wade says, and Ellie thinks maybe he got a can. Nope. The amount he got doubles the supply.
“Jeez, I guess we don’t have to worry about feeding them,” you comment. “Thanks a ton, you guys.”
“So…What are you going to do with them?” Yukio asks.
“I mean, keep them, I guess. The only official rules on pets here are that you can have them as long as you keep them away from those allergic and don’t let them make a mess or distract you from your studies. I could probably request a month of independent study while they need round the clock care, and as long as my grades don’t seriously falter, that’ll be fine.”
“Do you think you’ll give any of them away, once they’re weaned off milk and litter box-trained?” Yukio continues to investigate.
“Uh, I don’t know… Maybe? Right now, though, I wouldn’t dream of it. Sorry,” you apologize, able to tell that the sweet girl wants to adopt one.
“Have you named them, yet?” Piotr asks.
“I think I’ll wait ‘til their personalities start to show,” you decide, and Ellie nods, wrapping an arm around you.
“You guys are gonna make great cat moms,” Domino comments, and Ellie finds herself blushing a little. Us? Cat moms? Together? It’s a dream come true…
“Maybe you should share room,” Piotr suggests. “So that you can care for kittens together. It can be arranged.”
“That’d be great!” you agree.
“Yeah, sure,” Ellie does her best to hide her enthusiasm, but based on the expressions of everyone in the room but you, it’s clear she has a crush. At least they don’t know it’s a rapidly-growing obsession, rising with every little interaction, even if that interaction is just you looking back at her and smiling.
“I will go file paperwork,” Piotr informs. “Do not hesitate to open gift while I’m gone.”
“Thank you so much, Colossus!” you cheer. Annie hands you each a pair of kittens and a pair of small bottles, allowing you to nurse your new children together.
Wade takes a picture, and Ellie finds that she can’t be annoyed. She was actually happy someone captured this, even if it was Wade.
“Thank you so much for all your help, everyone, especially Ellie and Annie. I couldn’t have done it without you guys.”
“Happy to help,” Ellie replies, and you smile at her.
“You’ve been such a help, El. Seriously, I- I couldn’t have done this alone.”
The two of you are feeding the kittens in your shared dorm, studying for an American Literature test at the same time. It’s been a couple weeks since the birth of the kittens, and the two of you became fast friends, now that she actually talked to you regularly.
“No problem, Y/N.” It’s my pleasure.
“They’re so beautiful, aren’t they? We can start weaning them off the milk in two weeks.”
“Incredibly beautiful,” Ellie replies, but she’s looking at you, not the cats. She can tell you notice this because of the way you blush, ducking your head. But, you don’t say anything, so she doesn’t either.
“So… What do the eyes of Doctor TJ Eckleburg represent?” You ask.
“The eyes of god over the lawless wasteland that America has become due to greed.”
“Nice answer,” you compliment.
“Thank you,” she replies, it’s getting harder and harder to hide her excitement.
“So, hey, I have kind of a weird question…” You start. Ellie’s heart immediately starts racing. Had you discovered her obsession, or any of the strange habits that came with it?
“Um- Uh… Shoot.”
“It’s nothing bad!” You reassure her. “I was just wondering if you wanted to maybe… Maybe go on a date, this Friday? I’m sorry if you wouldn’t want to, you probably just see me as a friend and maybe not even that, so-“
“I’d love to!” Ellie enthusiastically responds, not bothering to disguise the way she felt as a grin splits her face open.
“That’s great! I asked Yukio to kitten-sit if you said yes and she agreed, so I figured maybe we could go do something relaxing, like watching a movie, or… I don’t know, I honestly didn’t think you’d say yes.”
“You- You didn’t?” Maybe I’m too good at hiding my feelings for her.Her face falls, and you rush to explain yourself:
“Well, I know you didn’t really like me all that much before the kitten thing… I thought you were really attractive and seemed really cool, but you’d glare at me a lot and I didn’t know why, so I figured it was best to keep my distance and be nice to you in small ways in the hopes you’d forgive me for whatever I did. What did I do, if you don’t mind telling me?” You ask, cheeks flushed, and Ellie’s heart still hasn’t stopped racing.
“Nothing, nothing at all, I swear!” Ellie attempts to reassure you, even if the concerned expression on your face is adorable. She decides the best route is to be honest, now that she knows you do like her. “I- This is really embarrassing. I wasn’t glaring at all. I was, um, staring at you, because I really, really like you. If I didn’t think it’d freak you out, I’d say I love you. You’re just… Absolutely perfect.”
“No way!” You laugh off her adoration, and she wishes she could kiss you then and there, to prove that she’s serious. “You’re too nice, El.”
“Well, you saying that just proves that I really do like you, a lot. I’m not nice to people, I push them away. But you, I could never hurt you like that, or in any way. And if anyone else ever did, or tried to, I- I-“ Smoke starts curling off of her at the thought, eyes lighting up orange in fury.
“Hey, hey, it’s okay…” you tell her sweetly, putting your hand at the spot between her neck and shoulder, partially covered by the neckline of her tee shirt…but uncovered enough for the healing energy of your touch to radiate through her.
She happily allows this, taking a deep breath and calming down so much faster than she would’ve on her own. It was meant to be a reassuring hand on the shoulder, but she got so much more from it.
“Thank you,” she says gratefully. You yawn, removing your hand as you stretch.
“I have another question,” you say. “And please don’t be afraid to say no.”
“Okay,” Ellie replies, curious.
“Well, I was thinking… The cats always sleep on my whole torso area at night… So, to give them extra nourishment, I was thinking about sleeping without a shirt on? So I’ll have skin-to-skin contact with them. If you’re not comfortable with that, it’s totally fine, they’re doing really great health-wise, I just wanted to give them a boost. You know how worried I get, especially about Witchy.”
Twitchy-Witchy (nicknamed “Witchy”) is the runt of the litter and is, well, twitchy! She’s less social than the others, and will hide when anyone other than you or Ellie approaches.
“Yeah, sure. I mean, you could sleep without a shirt on if you just didn’t wanna wear a shirt,” Ellie tells you, returning to being glad about her ability to hide her feelings from you. Her anticipation is returning, and she’d hate for you to think of her as some sort of creep!
“Oh! Sorry, I just didn’t wanna cross any lines or make things weird. But I probably made it weird by asking, didn’t I?”
“No, it was thoughtful of you. You’re so thoughtful…” Ellie says, a mysterious glint in her eye as she looks you over, hoping it’s not obvious she’s imagining what tonight’s gonna be like. She probably won’t even be able to sleep, not that she gets very much sleep anyway with all those thoughts of you bouncing around her head.
You blush at her comment. Ellie wonders how much you’d heat up if you knew about her thoughts, and it’s tempting to tell you… But she knows it’d be too soon. She has to be careful, methodical. She wouldn’t want to scare you, her perfect, delicate flower, away.
“What do you wanna do for the date, anyway? I was thinking a movie, but we wouldn’t get to talk very much if we did that. But I want it to be relaxing, since we’re away from the kids- kittens, for the afternoon and evening.”
“Maybe we could go to Chuck E. Cheese and inspect the pizzas to see if they’re really made of leftovers,” she suggests, snickering a bit. “My family took me and my brothers once, and they have this co-op Terminator game that’s really fun, even if you haven’t seen the movies.”
“That sounds great!” You agree. “I love it.”
And I love you, Ellie thinks.
That Friday, the two of you have an amazing time at Chuck E. Cheese, giggling and bonding over jokes and games, somehow enjoying pizza the same texture as cardboard.
“Kiss my hand for luck, please?” You ask Ellie, watching the light spin in the game you’re playing, Cyclone.
She blushes deeply, but tenderly takes your hand in her own and gently kisses the top. You watch the light dance between the bulbs before pressing the button.
“Holy shit, jackpot! Oh my god, this is the most fun I’ve ever had in my life,” You declare, tickets spewing from the machine.
“Really?” Ellie asks.
“Well…Yeah. You’re just so fun to be around, I feel so safe and happy with you. Sorry if that’s dumb, I just really like you.”
“No, it’s not dumb at all. I feel the same way about you,” she admits. She liked how you made her feel, too. The only time you ever made her feel bad was when she thought she’d never be with you, and that was really her making herself feel bad by being insecure. She tears the tickets from the machine once they’re done spewing, folding them up and keeping them with the others you’d earned together. “Being around you just makes me feel… Better. No matter what.”
“That’s so sweet!” you cheer, giving her a peck on the cheek and taking her hand. You take her to the next game, Skee-ball. “I suck at this, but it’s still fun.”
“I’ve been told I’m pretty good, do you want me to help you?” Ellie bluffs. She was average at best, but the easy excuse to be in close quarters with you was too tempting.
“Sure,” you reply, and something in your smile and the way you blush tells her you’re at least partially aware of her scheme…And that you like it. You put the required tokens into the slot.
Standing behind you with her chin on your shoulder, she takes your wrist into her hand. “Let go in 3…” She says quietly into your ear, relishing in your poorly-disguised shivering before she gently sways your arm forward. “2…” Then, back. Then, forward. “1.” You let go, and miraculously, it rolls up the ramp swiftly before bouncing into the 10,000 hole in the top corner.
“I guess at this point there’s no denying it. You’re my lucky charm, El,” you decide, turning to your date, who smiles at this, pleased.
The two of you continue to play various games before eventually running out of both tokens and energy.
“Okay, Y/N, cover me. I’m gonna do a trick my dad taught me,” she mutters as the two of you walk to the ticket counter. You stand between her and the woman at the prize counter, subtly looking around for personnel while she holds the ticket in place, letting the machine read it over and over again until it gets to about five hundred. She lets the tickets go in, and does this with the next strand, and the next, and the next.
At the end of it, you two have five thousand, five hundred and fifty tickets, at least, according to the receipt.You both approach the counter, and the attendant looks at your receipt.
“Uh-huh…” she eyes you both, but shrugs, deciding either that you two looked skilled enough to have this amount of tickets, or that it wasn’t worth pursuing. “Pick out your prizes.”
“Ooh, Ellie, wouldn’t that mini gumball machine be so cute to keep the kittens’ toys in? Plus, gum. It’s three-thousand tickets, so I understand if-”
“No, I like that idea,” Ellie cuts you off, before putting an arm around your waist to bring you closer, not liking the way the attendant was looking at you: giving you her full attention, not even bothering to hide it. “We’ll have the gumball machine, please.”
“Alright… You’ve got two thousand, five hundred and fifty tickets left.”
“Maybe the giant slinky? We could give it to Yukio for pet-sitting, she likes colorful stuff and novelty stuff,” Ellie suggests.
“Ooh, yeah! And then we could use the rest of the tickets to get little things the cats can play with? Like the rubber bracelets, those should be fine as long as we keep an eye on them.”
“Yeah, that’s a great idea,” Ellie agrees.
“Oh, but what about you? You deserve something,” you insist.
“Y/N… I think I’m good,” Ellie chuckles, and you remember that most of these prizes are, in fact, for young children.
“Right…” You nod. “Alright, we’ll have the giant rainbow slinky and as many of those small rubber bracelets and plastic frogs as we can get, if that’s alright,” you politely ask the woman behind the counter. She nods, uses her calculator, writes down your desires, retrieves all the requested items, and gives them to you and Ellie in a plastic bag. “Thank you so much, ma’am. Have a nice evening.”
“You two…too,” she replies with a laugh, and you laugh back. Jealousy courses through Ellie’s veins.
“Here, let me get the bag,” Ellie offers. She takes it and holds out her other arm for you to intertwine yours with. You do, leaving the arcade together. You rest your head on her shoulder the taxi ride home. She pets your hair, soothing you to sleep on the half-hour drive back.
It’s another week later when Ellie returns to her dorm from Poetry Club in a panic. She’d accidentally grabbed your math notebook, which could only mean you had her poetry journal.
She throws open the door, and finds her worst fear: You’re reading it.
“Y/N, I- I can explain,” she says, but she really can’t. Who can?
“These poems are really beautiful, Ellie. I can’t believe they’re about- About me.”
That’s not the reaction I was expecting. Maybe the one I was hoping for, but…
“Definitely not the reaction I was expecting,” Ellie breathes. You rise up from the bed, closing the notebook and approaching her. You give it to her, afterwards pressing your lips to hers in a gentle, but passionate kiss. She drops the notebook, holding your waist tightly. Eventually, you part, foreheads pressed together.
“Ellie, I- I read them all, and… I- I want to take comfort in you, like what you said. And I know that there’s a darkness in you, and that embracing it will probably cost me my soul… But a part of me just doesn’t care.”
“Perfect,” Ellie responds, taking your face in her hands. She presses a kiss to your forehead. “You’re all mine.”
You nod, looking into those beautiful eyes of hers.