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((Officer's Quarters, USS Mercury))

::As she approached the door to Velana's quarters, Alaxa looked down at the furry bundle in her arms.::

Alaxa: We're almost at your new home. Try to look as cute as possible.

::The black and white kitten stared up at her with huge eyes and let out a tiny meow.::

Alaxa: Perfect. Keep doing that. She won't be able to resist you.

::The kitten batted at the end of Alaxa's long braid.::

Alaxa: ::moving her hair off her shoulder:: Not that. No one likes that.

::Upon reaching her best friend's door, Alaxa pressed the chime and redjusted her hold on the kitten while she waited for Velana to respond.::

Velana: Come in.

::Alaxa could smell Velana's favorite incense. For a moment, it was almost like they were back sharing a room at the Academy. She missed those days. Velana couldn't stand clutter, so Alaxa had never really had to clean up after herself. Her clothes had always miraculously found their way back into her closet.::

::Her best friend was sitting at her desk, reading something on a PADD when Alaxa entered. She looked up and immediately zeroed in on the kitten.::

Velana: Oh! ::She stood up.:: You got a cat!

Alaxa: Well...sort of. ::The kitten meowed as Alaxa held her up to Velana.:: I got her...for you.

Velana: ::blinking:: What?

Alaxa: Lieutenant Lerner's cat had a litter about six weeks ago. Once they were weaned, they were all adopted pretty fast, but she still had this one baby left. I just thought you could use a little companionship.

::After a second, Velana hesitantly reached out to touch the kitten's soft fur. She pulled back her hand at the last second.::

Velana: I don't know.

Alaxa: What do you mean, you don't know? You like cats. ::She frowned.:: You do like cats, don't you?

Velana: Yes, I like cats. Although you might have thought to ask me that before now.

Alaxa: Noted. So, what's the problem?

Velana: I'm just not certain I have enough time to take care of a pet, at least not as much time as one deserves.

Alaxa: It's a cat, Vee, not a dog. Cats don't like it when you get too clingy. It cramps their style. ::She held the kitten out to Velana.:: You can't deny her; she's ridiculously adorable.

::A slow smile turned up the corners of Velana's lips.::

Velana: She is precious. ::A moment passed before she took the kitten from Alaxa. Immediately, the little furball started rubbing her head against Velana's chest, purring loudly. Velana laughed.:: And she likes me!

Alaxa: 'She' might be a 'he.' We should probably check.

::But Velana was too busy scratching underneath the kitten's chin to pay attention.::

Velana: ::to the kitten:: You'll need a bed and some toys and a litter box. A water bowl...maybe a scratching post... ::She looked at Alaxa.:: I know what I'm going to name her!

Alaxa: Mr. Something? Really, I think it might be a boy. It likes your chest a lot.

Velana: ::ignoring her:: Matya.

Alaxa: Um...doesn't 'matya' mean 'cat' in Vulcan?

Velana: You don't like it?

Alaxa: You're going to name your cat 'Cat'?

Velana: When someone gives you an animal completely out of the blue, you can name it whatever you want. ::She carried the kitten to the replicator.:: Are you hungry? Let's get you some dinner.

::Alaxa watched, amused, as her Vulcan friend replicated a dish of feline supplement specifically designed for young cats. She set Matya down in front of it and smiled when the kitten started nibbling at the mush.::

Alaxa: Well, I'll let you two get acquainted.

Velana: Allie. ::Walking to Alaxa, Velana put her arms around her friend.:: Thank you for always knowing what I need when I don't have any idea myself.

::Alaxa hugged her back for a second before drawing away.::

Alaxa: Listen, I know the wedding was hard for you.

Velana: ::shaking her head:: I am so happy for Jade and Alex.

Alaxa: Didn't say you weren't. But it was still hard...right?

::Velana glanced away.::

Alaxa: You have to let him go, Vee. He's just not worth it. He never really was.

oO Even if he had married you and given you babies of your own...he still wouldn't have been worthy. Oo

Velana: I wish it was that easy, but... ::She was quiet for a second.:: It's been seven years. Any day now, Allie...any day, it will hit me again. The real thing this time. And I have no idea what I'll do when it happens.

Alaxa: In case you haven't noticed, this ship is lousy with good-looking men.

Velana: I'm sure I could find a willing partner, but I want someone who will stick around afterwards. ::Before Alaxa could say anything, Velana shook her hand, dismissing the topic.:: Never mind. It's fine. I'm sure it will work out.

::Alaxa studied her friend for a second. Did Cade Whitman have any idea of scope of the damage he'd inflicted on Velana? Probably not. If it hadn't been for Alaxa's strongly-worded suggestions to keep his distance, he might tried to worm his way back into Velana's life by then, especially if he knew she was about to go through another pon farr. But Cade wouldn't have stayed. It wasn't in his nature. And Velana deserved someone who was willing to put her first.::

Alaxa: All right. I'm going to go. ::She pointed at the kitten who had abandoned her food in favor of exploring Velana's meditation area.:: You'd better watch out. Lerner says the kittens aren't fully litter box trained yet.

::As she left, she could hear Velana gasp as she scooped up Matya just in time to save her Triaxian silk floor pillows.::

Lt. Sen Alaxa (PNPC)

Communications Officer

USS Mercury

with

Lt. Commander Velana

Chief Medical Officer

USS Mercury

__._,_.___

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