Disclaimer: The recognizable characters appearing in this story are copyright by Wizards of the Cost, Inc. This story is written for entertainment purposes only; no challenge to the copyright holders is intended, neither should any be inferred.
Hunt, Play, Love: Drizzt's 5yr old daughter Violet brings a baby kitten home, a fire-making contest ends badly, and Drizzt wonders if he'll ever get to spend some time alone with his wife.
A/N : Yes, the title may be a knock-off of a bestseller that I have never read and know nothing about. Without further ado...
Hunt, Play, Love
Chapter 1: The Kitten
Five-year-old Violet Do'Urden was constantly bringing home little animals from the woods and trying to make pets of them, so when Cattie-brie caught sight of her daughter coming up the trail with a squirming bundle wrapped in her cloak, she sighed. "Here we go again," she thought to herself.
Violet burst into the house, clutching the precious bundle and panting for breath.
"Sweetie," Cattie-brie said, trying to be proactive, "Baby animals need to be with their mothers, remember? Or else they might die. They have a much better chance with their mum – we talked about this before."
Violet nodded, still catching her breath. "But mum," she said, opening the bundle, "it's a kitten, look!"
Cattie-brie came closer and peered at the squirming mass of gray fur. The tiny kitten's eyes were open, and they looked like molten gold. The poor kitty meowed piteously and feebly sniffed Violet's palm, searching for milk. "Oh honey," Cattie-brie said to Violet. She stroked the kitten gently with one finger. "This kitty needs to be with her mama – she's too little. She needs milk."
"But there was no mama cat! There were no other cats at all. Zak and I were playing outside and we heard this really quiet, squeaky meowing, so we started searching for it, and we found it all by itself in the bushes." As if to illustrate the point, the kitten in question gave just such a tiny, high-pitched 'meow!' "It's kind of windy out, so I wrapped the kitty in my cloak and brought it here, and Zak's still looking for the mama cat."
Just then the door burst open again and Zaknafein stepped into the kitchen, looking mud-spattered and wind-blown. "There's no mama cat anywhere," he stated, coming up to pet the baby kitty. "I looked everywhere, and called and called, but no other cats."
The poor kitten was meowing more and more frantically, still nuzzling Violet's fingers. Cattie-brie couldn't help feeling sorry for it. "Alright," she said resignedly, "let's give this girl some milk."
"Yes!" Violet exclaimed. "Thank you mama!"
When Drizzt returned home later that evening, he found seven-year-old Zaknafein industriously hammering together a little box for the kitten's bed, and Violet sitting with the feline in question on her lap, a bowl of goat's milk beside her and a milky rag in hand that the kitten was sucking on contentedly. "Who's this?" he said curiously, kneeling down to see the little bundle of fur.
"We haven't decided on a name yet," Violet said, looking up at him with a sweet smile. "I like 'Princess', but Zak wants her to be named 'Smokey'."
Zak came in with the newly-finished cat bed and placed it close to the hearth, while Cattie-brie found some soft rags to line it with. "Smokey's the perfect name because she's all gray!" he said enthusiastically. "Mum says she likes both names," Zak went on. "Which one do you think is better, Kel'nar?"
Both children were looking at him, waiting expectantly, and Cattie-brie and Drizzt exchanged an amused look over top of their heads. Drizzt smiled and extended an index finger to the kitten, who immediately began sucking on it. "What do you think, little girl?" he asked the cat, "Princess or Smokey?"
"Princess!" said Violet. "Princess, Princess, Princess!"
The kitten blithely went on nibbling Drizzt's finger.
"Smokey," Zaknafein suggested to the cat. "Hello, Smokey." Unexpectedly the kitten looked up at him and meowed. "Do you like that – Smokey?" The kitten meowed again and Zak grinned.
"Looks like 'Smokey' it is," Drizzt said, with a sidelong glance at Violet.
The five-year-old shrugged. "Smokey's okay, I guess. Since she likes it."
Drizzt smiled. "Then it's agreed."
Drizzt and Zak had gone out to look for the mother cat again that evening, but to no avail.
"It's the strangest thing," Drizzt said to Cattie-brie, who was feeding the kitten milk with a rag for the fourth time since the kids had been put to bed. "I don't know how such a little kitten got out here. I can only think that maybe coyotes or wolves got the mother and the rest of the litter, but somehow missed this little one."
Cattie-brie stifled a yawn and nodded. "She wants milk all the time," she said. "Like every hour. She's not gonna make it through the night unless we take turns feeding her."
Drizzt nodded solemnly. He took the kitten and the milk from her. "Let me do that, and you go sleep for awhile."
"Thanks," Cattie-brie murmured, yawning again. It was already midnight. She leaned over to kiss Drizzt, and then gladly headed to bed.
Sometime in the middle of the night Cattie-brie felt Drizzt shaking her awake as he crawled into bed beside her. "Kitten," he said.
"The kitten, love. Smokey."
"Mmph," Cattie-brie groaned, but got out of bed anyway and stumbled towards the door to take her turn giving the kitten milk. Drizzt was deep in reverie before she'd even left their room.
When dawn was touching the horizon Cattie-brie woke Drizzt, who normally got up then anyway, and went back to sleep. She hoped she had an hour or two before the kids got up. As it turned out, and hour and a half later it was still hard to drag herself out of bed. "Don't know how I did this when the kids were babies," she thought to herself. Happily, Drizzt had a pot of strong Moonshae coffee waiting when she found the energy to drag herself into the kitchen.
At least during the day Zaknafein and Violet eagerly took turns giving the little kitten milk. They were trying to teach it to drink from a bowl, but so far it hadn't caught on.
Drizzt and Cattie-brie were both pretty tired by evening, their lack of sleep having caught up with them. Cattie-brie wasn't sure about Drizzt, but she herself was dreading another interrupted night like the last one.
At bedtime when the kids begged to stay up late to take care of the kitten for awhile, Drizzt took one look at the dark circles under Cattie-brie's eyes and said yes. He wasn't feeling much more energetic himself. They gratefully went to bed, leaving the kids with Smokey.
Drizzt had intended to wake up sometime in the middle of the night and take over, but when he next awoke, the sky was already starting to get lighter. He hurried into the kitchen, expecting to find the kids asleep in front of the fireplace, and the kitten dead, but surprisingly Zaknafein and Violet were both awake, and the kitten, of all things, was lapping goat's milk straight from the bowl.
"She just started doing it a minute ago, Kel'nar!" Violet exclaimed, smiling happily at the clever kitten.
Drizzt petted the kitten with one finger and smiled.
"We'd been trying to teach her for-ev-er," Zak said, yawning hugely, "and now she's finally doing it!"
"That's great," Drizzt said. "Now we won't have to stay up with her all night anymore. Speaking of which, to bed, with both of you."
"But it's almost sunrise already," Violet started.
Despite staying up nearly all night with the kitten, Zak and Violet still only slept until mid-morning. They seemed as energetic as ever during the day, but were twice as cranky as usual. Finally after lunch Cattie-brie made them both go take a nap – something she hadn't done for ages.
"I'm not tired!" Zaknafein complained.
"Me either." This from Violet.
"You don't have to sleep," Cattie-brie conceded. "I just want you to lie down in your beds and rest for a little while." She knew they'd probably both be asleep in short order anyway.
Not five minutes after she'd sent them to bed, both children were sound asleep. Time for some relaxation. Cattie-brie grabbed Taul'maril, her enchanted bow, and headed outside for some target practice.
'Practice' wasn't really the word for it, she thought, enjoying the cool breeze on her face as she walked into the clearing. More like 'play'. She could hit the tiny acorns on the edge of the forest from here. She loosed three arrows in quick succession, doing just that.
Drizzt entered the clearing from the trail that led off to the stream, admiring his wife's form as she shot. And as she nocked another arrow, and as she just stood there, running a hand through her wild auburn hair... "I could watch you forever," he said, coming up behind her and wrapping his arms around her slender waist.
Cattie-brie fired off the last arrow and giggled as he kissed her on the back of the neck. "You made me miss!" she exclaimed, the arrow flying wide of her intended target.
"Sorry," he breathed, still kissing her neck lightly.
She laughed again at the tickley feeling. "You don't sound very sorry." Smiling, she turned to face him and laid her bow down in the dry grass beside them, hugging him back. "Mmm, you smell good!"
"I should, I just came back from the stream." He glanced towards the house suddenly. "Are the kids asleep?"
"Yep." Cattie-brie slid her hands down his arms, enjoying the feel of his corded muscles. "We've got at least an hour." She smiled suggestively and leaned in to kiss him again.
Drizzt grinned. "I know a place where the grass is really soft..."
"We could lay on top of my fur-lined cloak...just let me fetch it." He let go of her and started towards the house.
"I'll be waiting," she called after him musically. After a moment Cattie-brie picked up her bow and headed for the house as well. She should at least put it away, she supposed.
Startled by the shout from across the clearing, Cattie-brie turned. "Bruenor!"
The crusty old dwarf grinned as she hastened over, giving him a delighted hug.
He coughed once, embarrassed. "Where's that elf of yours?" he asked gruffly. "Come to fetch him on a hunt."
Hearing the voices outside, Drizzt hurried out, delighted to see his friend, but more that a little disappointed at the interruption of his plans for Cattie-brie.
Cattie-brie measured some flour out of the barrel, thinking about how nice some fresh bread would taste with supper. Bruenor had declined to come in, although he was greatly disappointed to hear that his grandkids were sleeping. He'd relayed how just that morning he'd found a dead elk on his very doorstep, surrounded by enormous bear tracks. In the past weeks, bear-sign and glimpses of the bear itself had been seen near the dwarven settlement, and the daunting creature seemed to be growing bolder and venturing closer each day. This last occurrence had made up Bruneor's mind – they needed to hunt it now, before the next victim was not just an elk, but a dwarf. Drizzt had belted on his scimitars and the unlikely pair had hurried off, excitement for the hunt fairly oozing from them.
So Cattie-brie had enjoyed nearly an hour of peace and quiet already, and was planning out a nice supper in her mind as she got out the rest of the bread ingredients. The silence was soon broken, however, by both Zaknafein and Violet charging down the stairs like a herd of wild rothe.
"Kitty kitty kitty!" Violet chanted as they came flying down.
Zak leapt the last three steps and landed with a bang that shook the floorboards. "How's Smokey?" he asked, hurrying over to the little cat-box by the hearth.
"She was sleeping," Cattie-brie answered, glancing over at the little box. "And amazingly, she still is." The little kitten was blissfully unaware of the racket.
"She's so-oo cute!" Violet said, careening to a stop just inches from the fireplace.
"Yup, she's the cutest!" Zak agreed.
Cattie-brie picked up the cask of flour and turned to put it away, nearly tripping over Violet, who had come up right behind her to see what she was doing. A cloud of flour poofed into the air.
Zaknafein laughed and danced around in the slowly-falling dust. "It's snowing in here!"
"Mum, can I have a drink?" Violet dragged a chair over to the water pail and picked up the dipper herself, slopping quite a bit on the floor.
"Yes – Vi! Here, let me help you with that."
"Where's dad?" Zaknafein asked, now tracing patterns with his finger on the flour-covered floorboards.
"Hunting a bear with grandpa Bruenor," Cattie-brie replied. "It was coming pretty close to the mines and getting dangerous."
"Ooh!" Violet said, a shiver running down her spine. "A big bad bear!"
Zaknafein laughed and raise both arms above his head, crooking his fingers into claws. "I'm a big bad bear!" he shouted, advancing on his sister. "I'm gonna get you...ROAR!"
Violet shrieked and scrambled to get away from her brother, a silly smile plastered on her face. She bumped into Cattie-brie in her hurry, causing her to spill some of the oil she'd just been measuring out.
"Okay that's it – outside wi' the both of ye, please," Cattie-brie said. "Outside where ye can't make a mess!"
Agreeably the kids ran out, Zaknafein still roaring and growling in his impersonation of a bear.
Cattie-brie smiled and got out the broom to sweep up the flour. At least they seemed back to their normal selves now that they'd slept a bit more.
Kel'nar = dad
A/N: In progress. All reviews appreciated.