It was 9 A.M. A sunny October day.

The weather in Bootsville was now colder than it was days ago. The sky was clear again, however - it was a beautiful sight to behold.

Miss Munson and Growler were going on a walk again. They weren't going to miss this beautiful Saturday morning, even if it was cold. This time there were no problems with her putting on his collar, so her neighbors got to sleep a little more.

But Burt and Millie got up earlier that day.

The two were sitting on the couch in the living room. Millie, still in her pajamas, was crying her heart out. Burt was beside her, trying to comfort her with his presence.

"I am sure we will find him, Millie…", he was saying to her, "don't cry like this, please…"

"How can I not, dad?", she replied, "He is gone!"

She started to cry louder. She put her head in her hands.

Burt decided to stay home that weekend. He couldn't just go to work and leave his daughter like this. His children were more important to him than anything else.

Millie's grief was growing stronger and stronger.

Suddenly, footsteps could be heard from the top floor.

It was Coop.

He had just woken up. He was hurrying down the stairs in his pajamas, distressed by his sister's cries.

"Dad? Millie? What is going on?", he asked them as he was getting near the couch.

Millie stopped crying for a moment and looked at her brother.

"Mr. Cat is gone!"

Coop was appalled.

"Wait, what? Mr. Cat?"

He was looking at both of them in genuine disbelief. It was so out of the blue for him.

"When did he…"

"This morning, Coop!", Millie answered, "I woke up and he wasn't next to me! I searched… the entire house for him!"

"Was there any open window or…"

"Are you hearing yourself?!", Millie became irritated, "I always close it!"

"Millie, please," their dad tried to calm her, "we will find him. He couldn't be far…"

Coop was shocked. How could a cat disappear like that? With no open window, too?

And why did it happen anyway? Millie cared so much for that cat. Why would it just run away?

"I… I am sorry, Millie. I don't know what to say…"

Coop was at a loss for words. But he couldn't just watch her like this.

"I am going to make you tea…", he said to his sister.

"I will, son," his dad replied, "You stay next to her."

While his dad was going to the kitchen, Coop took his place and sat next to Millie. He tried to hug her, but, for some reason, she rejected him at first.

"Isn't this what you wanted all this time? For him to go away? Why do you care so much now?", Millie asked him outright.

Coop was confused by this question. As much as he didn't like that cat sometimes, he didn't want it to disappear altogether from their family. It was just an innocent creature like all the rest.

"He is our family pet. How could I not be?", Coop answered her after thinking for a second.

Millie didn't have the strength to question whether her brother really meant it.

Coop tried to hug her again.

She hugged him back. She cried in his arms for a while.

While Burt was walking to the living room again with the cup of tea in his hand, he looked at his son, supporting his little sister.

His heart was melting.

"Here is the tea," Burt said as he was putting it on the little table in front of the couch.

Millie had calmed down a little by the time Burt came. While still whimpering, she thanked her dad and started drinking it slowly.

"Are you feeling better?", Burt asked her.

"A little bit… yeah…"

Coop was still sitting next to her, watching her as she spoke.

"I don't want you to worry, okay? We will find him. I just don't want you to cry…", her dad continued to calm her.

"I… I have a bad feeling…", Millie managed to mutter, but she couldn't continue.

"Millie…", Coop started to calm her, too, "Don't think like that. He can't be far."

Burt sat on Millie's other side and held her hand for a moment.

"Your brother is right. You will see. He will be back. We are going to find him."

As Millie and Coop were looking at him, Burt thought of a plan.

"We have to... post a photo of Mr. Cat on the Internet, " he suggested to his kids, "We could also print some posters…"

"I will place them around, " Coop said.

Millie just had her first sip from the tea.

"I am coming with you too, Coop, " she added, "I won't just sit here and cry…"

She slowly placed the cup back on the table and stared at it for a second.

"Where could he have gone? What if something has happened to him?", she started to painfully ponder out loud, " Did I do something wrong? Did he have enough of me?"

She started to feel the tears coming out again.

"Don't blame yourself, Millie," Coop stopped her, "You are the best owner Mr. Cat could have. We will find him."

Millie couldn't believe that Coop was ready to find Mr. Cat for her just like that, given his constant feuds with him. She didn't expect it.

Burt too.

He too was pleasantly surprised by his son's sudden change of behavior. He started to feel even more guilty about the things he said a few days before. Burt knew he was too harsh that night.

He regretted it.

"I will go upstairs and make the poster then, " he quietly said, "Let's not waste time."

Coop and Millie nodded.

He stood up and slowly went up to his office.

The two siblings were sitting alone again on the couch.

As Coop was looking at his sister drinking her tea, he started feeling her sadness. She was just hurt from all the things he had written about her. And now her cat disappears - and all of that in a span of a few days? He couldn't imagine her pain.

But he didn't want to think about himself now. He had to take care of her.

Like a big brother would.

"Did you and dad eat something?", he asked her.

"Um… no."

"I will make you some sandwiches while dad makes the poster."

"I don't want anything… I am not that hungry," Millie tried to tell him, but Coop stood up anyway.

"You need to eat something, Millie. I will be quick. Stay there."

Before he went to the kitchen, however, he simply blurted out:

"I love you."

Coop didn't know why it occurred to him to say it, but he did. He knew it wasn't the perfect time for it now, but he couldn't help it.

Millie looked at him and smiled.

Unfortunately, even after Coop and Millie had tirelessly put up all the posters their dad could print around town, Mr. Cat wasn't found. Even after Burt's post had stayed on the Internet for a week, nobody called the number on it.

They reluctantly gave up the search for him after they started it more than a week before.

It seemed like Mr. Cat had vanished for good and nobody knew why or how it happened.

Millie was devastated.

Her life was centered around her little cat for the past six years and it was hard for her to deal with its disappearance. She had grown so accustomed to it.

Two days after Mr. Cat had gone missing, she was supposed to bring him to the show and tell that Monday.

She almost broke crying right on her school table. She struggled to contain herself until she went home.

Mr. Cat was like a family member for all of them.

Even for Coop.

Coop started to miss him, too. He wasn't as heartbroken as Millie was, but he nonetheless felt sad about the whole situation. He immediately felt a change in the household after the cat's disappearance. It was like an integral part of the family was missing now.

He remembered faintly all the feuds he had with the animal. All the insults he threw at it. He felt remorse about all of that now.

Even if he didn't like that cat so much, it deserved to be in the house. It deserved love, too.

The family bonded over their sadness. Burt and Coop tried to support Millie as much as they could. She was the one that was closest to Mr. Cat. She was the one that found him first in the forest. She needed it the most.

As tough as it was for all of them, they knew the bitter truth that only time would heal that wound and nothing else. Millie didn't want to have another pet to make herself feel better. She felt it would be an insult to Mr. Cat.

She was hopeful that someday he will come back.

As time went by, Coop started to feel a big change in himself.

It seemed like the dark period he was in was going away. He was turning back to his old self.

He didn't know what it was. Was it some sort of psychosis? Was it depression? Was it some kind of self-loathing that made him so irresponsible and unhappy for all these years? Was it the same power that made him write that essay late at night? That essay that almost expelled him from school? That essay that almost broke his family apart? Was it the same power that made him destroy the town's property multiple times?

Why was he so hurt? Why was he bringing Dennis into it all the time? Why did he do all of those things?

He couldn't explain it. He couldn't put his finger on it.

The one thing Coop knew, however, was that it was over now. He had enough. He could put it behind him. He knew it would take a while before he really felt like normal again, but he had to get through it. He had to take responsibility and continue on living his life.

Coop and Dennis started hanging out again after Burt's punishment had eased. Dennis too had expressed shame about what they were doing before.

"But at least we had fun some of the time breaking stuff. That makes us cool, I guess," Coop said to him one time and chuckled.

Their friendship was still going strong, despite them not doing these activities anymore. There was no sign of it stopping any time soon.

As Coop was starting to feel like he had control of his life again, he reminded himself of the person he missed the most.

He felt like he would be more content if he knew she was alright.

But Coop didn't want to bother her. She had a life to live.

So did he.

It was a cold winter's night.

The Burtonburger house was going to be decorated for Christmas soon.

Snow was peacefully falling that night. There was no wind at all. It was just the snow falling gracefully from the sky on its own. Bootsville had already been covered the previous day.

Coop and Millie had finished the last day of school before the Christmas vacation. They could now rest for a few weeks and spend more time with their dad before starting again in January.

Coop was in his room with his headphones on, playing his space shooter once again. He had grown tired of it a little, but it was still great for something that he could just kill time with. He knew that game like the back of his hand - he didn't even think anymore when playing it.

He was in a happy mood. School wasn't something he would think about for a while. He had received a good grade on his Math test. His dad was going to prepare a special dinner that night.

It was a great day for him. Coop was playing that space shooter with all of the joy he had, appreciating the moment.

Suddenly, his door opened. It was Millie with a big smile on her face.


Coop paused the game quickly and put down his headphones.

"What's up?", he replied.

"Come quick! I have a surprise for you!"

"Okay then. I hope it's a good reason for you to pause my game!", he joked.

"See for yourself!"

Coop followed his sister to her room. He wasn't prepared for what he was about to hear.

After Millie and her brother entered, she closed her door. Her laptop was open on the bed, facing the other way.

"Guess what just happened," Millie asked him.

"I am not good at guesses. You know that!", Coop replied.

"Try anyway!"

Coop paused to think for a moment.

"You have a boyfriend?"

Millie chuckled at that suggestion.

"What? No! Never! Guess again!"

Coop paused again. This time he was jokingly scratching his chin.

"You bought a new doll?"

Millie laughed again.

"No, you idiot! Fiona texted me!"

Coop's heart started to race.

"Wait.. who?"

"Fiona, you grandpa! She texted me just now!"

Coop couldn't believe it.

"Umm… that's a new one…", his words were escaping him, "Where did she think to… do that?"

Millie started to be serious for a bit.

"She texted me about Mr. Cat. She had heard from Miss Munson about what happened and she comforted me."

"Just now?"

"Just now. I just texted her goodbye."

Coop was flabbergasted. He was surprised by Fiona suddenly doing that all of these years later.

"Maybe… you should talk with her, " Millie suggested.

Coop's heart was racing even more. That thought alone was making him a little nauseous.

"I don't know, Millie… I don't know if something will come out of it."

"It doesn't need to."

Millie knew that her brother would want to know if Fiona tried to contact her. She wanted him to be happy.

"Just text her a hi or something," Millie continued, "It's not something hard."

"To you it's not, but…"

"Well if you want to, of course. I am not making you. I am just telling you that she texted me."

"And thank you for that, but… ", Coop sighed, "I will see."

That's all Millie needed to hear.

"Okay. Now," she said with a smile, "get out of my room if you please!"

Coop chuckled as he was leaving.

He stood in the corridor for a while.

Did Fiona want to have anything to do with him after all this time now? Or did she text Millie just because? He didn't know what to do with himself.

Should he?

"Kids!", Burt yelled from below, "Dinner will be ready in a few minutes!"

"Got you, dad!", Coop replied.

Coop decided to try anyway. He decided against telling his dad that he will use the work computer. It was going to be a quick text.

He went to his dad's office. It was a little messy there due to all the junk scattered on the desk, but Coop didn't mind it that much. He was used to his dad's habits.

He sat at the old computer and turned it on.

As usual Coop waited a bit for it to load. He was anxiously awaiting what he was about to do.

An eternity had passed it seemed when it finally booted up. He opened the browser immediately after. Because he didn't wait a few minutes for the computer to run before doing so, the browser opened slowly too.

Come on, you piece of junk!, Coop thought.

When it finally opened, Coop went to his social media profile.

He searched for Fiona's name. A thing he didn't dare to do for all this time. Her likeness was one of the first results.

He took a look at the now fifteen-year-old Fiona's profile picture. She was pictured standing on a mountain peak, smiling.

She was still as beautiful as ever to him.

Coop was nervous. Should he do it? It has been so long - maybe she has found someone else already. What was the point?

I will try it anyway, he thought.

And he did.

Coop clicked quickly on the 'message' button and opened up the chat window. At first, he tried to think of something smart to say. Some kind of a wisecrack.

But at the end he simply texted her a 'hello' and a 'how are you doing' texts. Everything else was just an excuse for him to call it off.

Coop's heart was going to burst out of his ribcage. He didn't know how he had the strength to even attempt this. He didn't remember exactly why they parted ways - it was so long ago - but he hoped that they could at least talk again.

He hoped she hadn't seen his hate essay yet somehow.

"Dinner's ready!", Burt's voice could be heard from downstairs again.

Coop decided not to sit here and wait for her response. He had to eat. He turned off the monitor and went out of his dad's room.

He knocked on Millie's door before he went to the stairs.

"Millie! Did you hear?"

"Yes! I am coming!"

Coop proceeded to go down the stairs, when he heard a text notification coming from the end of the second floor.

She responded that quickly?

He quickly ran to his dad's work room again and turned the monitor on.

It was indeed her. She had texted him a hello, too.

He was looking at the chat window with disbelief.

Coop quickly typed in something to make use of her fast reply.

He was ecstatic.

He was sitting there for a few minutes, chatting with Fiona. It was like he was in a dream.

It was like this was too good to be real.

Coop's stare at the monitor was emotionless for a while. It seemed like they were having a normal conversation, catching up.

But suddenly, after reading one of Fiona's texts, a tear started to drop from one of his eyes.

A big smile appeared on his face.

After texting some more, Coop then sat back, looking outside his dad's window at the sky.

He was grateful.

The snow was continuing to fall peacefully. The weatherman wasn't right when he predicted that a storm would come that day. It was a beautiful winter night outside.

Coop's soul was filled with joy.

"Coop! Come on! Millie is sitting already!", Burt yelled from below again.

"I am coming, dad! I just finished with something!", Coop shouted back.

He quickly powered down his dad's computer and turned off the lights. Just before he closed the door, Coop looked at the window again, while silently standing outside of the doorframe.

He couldn't believe it.

He was filled with life.

After standing there for a while, Coop finally closed the door.

His family was waiting for him.