Quickpaw, The College Years #1:
Winds of Fate
By Christian Neumann © 1999
"Dear Goldfur, one more day! I've seldom been so excited in my life, or so nervous. Tomorrow is the great day. I will receive my diploma and your baby sister will be a licensed midwife and wet nurse. I have waited for this day so long. Away from all of you for so long, I..."
Quickpaw stared at the words on the piece of old fashioned paper before hir. Shi tried to remember all the things shi wanted to tell hir older sister. All the emotion, the excitement, the pride shi felt, all the hardship shi had endured during the last weeks of hir finals. But hir thoughts didn't want to focus on them. They evaded hir as much as the memories of what really happened the last few weeks. All shi could clearly remember were books, hot discussions with hir tutors, fast meals taken on the run between one class and the next. Shi remembered that there was not much time for sleep, let alone time for more intimate sharing with the few friends shi made here. Quickpaw turned hir inner eyes to the future. Shi had succeeded. Shi would receive hir diploma tomorrow, have some fun time with hir friends and fly home in 3 days. The tickets were already lying on hir desk. The flight home almost seemed more important than hir graduation, but only almost. Pictures of hir sisters flashed before hir eyes and brought a smile to hir muzzle. From hir sisters shi turned to hir nieces and the smile grew into a grin.
"Oh, stop it!" shi told hirself. "Goldfur would already be laughing at me again. I really should consider therapy for all this brooding." Shi looked around the room and noticed how much shi had neglected those four walls shi called hir home the last 3 years.
"I think, I’d rather clean this mess here up. This letter can wait!" shi said aloud. Shi ripped it out of the notebook and crumpled it into a ball, threw it into the bin. "All the news can wait until I’m home. I want to see their faces when I tell them anyway." Shi grinned and started on hir bed and laundry.
"And our next graduate, summa cum laude: Chakat Quickpaw!" The dean smiled as he handed the rolled document to Quickpaw, who was standing before him in the customary black robe and hat of a graduating student.
"Thank you very much, Dean Moore. I feel honoured for the praise." shi answered, happy that hir fur would cover most of hir flushing. Summa cum laude - with honours, one of the best. "Yes!", shi thought, "I made it. It was worth every stupid minute. Forest and Goldie will be so proud."
Shi turned to the crowd and bowed slightly in gratitude of the cheering. One little group was cheering louder than the rest and hir eyes focused on them. All of hir friends were here, some of them would still be here next year, some belonged to the mentors. Quickpaw smiled and waved to them and the dean announced the next graduate.
After a few minutes all the graduates had received their diplomas and the dean closed the assembly with a small speech and dismissed the crowed. As Quickpaw reached the stairs of the stage, hir eyes caught the sight of a long sand-coloured tail that ended in a deep black tip vanishing out of the exit.
"Another 'taur?" shi thought, "I didn't know that there was another 'taur in this semester. Hmm, now isn’t the time to worry about spilt milk. Even if the tail looked cute."
At the end of the stairs shi was greeted enthusiastically by hir friends. Darren, a blue-grey wolf-morph immediately gave hir a tight hug which shi returned, just as heartfelt. Peter, hir human sometime lover, gave hir a slap on the shoulder and whispered a kiss on hir cheek.
"See, I told you, that you would make it." Peter had been hir mentor during hir last year. Although shi knew that he would never be more than a close friend with whom shi spent some intimate moments, he was nevertheless one of hir strongest supporters in hir finals.
"Yes, so you did, dear. Thank you all for your patience during the last weeks. I know, I was kinda difficult."
"Difficult?", Silver, an arctic vixen replied. "I knew you were prone to understatements, but that is too much. Most of the time you were impossible, Quick. And don't think you’ll get away with just a small thank you. You owe us at least an evening in The Green Leaf." The Green Leaf was the Irish pub on campus that their little group frequented whenever they found the time for it.
"Oh, really?" Quickpaw said. But before shi could say more, all of the others nodded and grinned. Quickpaw smirked, but then shi saw the twinkle in their eyes and grinned hirself.
"Alright, alright, I submit. I know, I’m a pain in the arse most of the time. May I grovel at your feet, lowly me, and invite you all to a drink or two?"
"I thought you’d never ask," Darren laughed. "And you certainly know how to apologise in style."
"What can I do?" Quickpaw replied. "With a wolftaur in the family and you around, I couldn't help to catch some submissive behaviour..."
"Hey, there!" Darren gave hir a slap. "Who said I am submissive to anyone?"
Quickpaw just grinned at him, but before he could say anything more, Peter interrupted.
"Now, you two. You can determine who is pack leader another time. We others are kind of thirsty and would like to carry on. So if you two don't mind...."
They all laughed and Quickpaw gave each a hug and had hir arms around Peter and Silver while they walked towards the exit.
On the way to the pub, they talked about their plans for the future.
"So what will you do now, Quick, now that you have what you came for?" Silver asked.
"I have no real idea yet. I know that I want to get home first. I really, really want to see my family again. I miss my sisters a lot, and then there are quite a lot of cubs around at home." Quickpaw grinned. "I bet they’ll keep me occupied enough until I’ve decided how I’ll get into business."
"I had hoped that you’d return to the college here." Peter said. "I’m sure you’d be able to get a job in the faculty here. You’re certainly good enough.... and I would be happy, too."
"Oh, Peter. You of all people should know that I’m not built for teaching. I’m far too intense and demanding to be a good one. I want to do too much stuff on my own rather than supervising others. I’m too impatient to baby-walk newcomers semester after semester again. I want to be out there and help people." Shi saw his longing look on his face. Shi reached up to his cheek. "I also want to be with my family again. We’ve talked about this before, hon."
"Yes, I know. Sorry, that I brought this up again." The others tried as best as they could to ignore the turn of events.
"I know," Quickpaw said. "But now let us have a good.... " At that moment, shi saw again that tail that had caught hir eyes previously in the auditorium. This time shi also had a better view of the rest attached to it. Shi couldn't believe hir eyes. Another chakat, from what shi could see from behind. Hir fur pattern like a Siamese cat: sand brown fur that turned deep chocolate brown, almost black, at tailtip, paws, hands and the top of hir head.
"Shi seems quite petite for a chakat," Quickpaw thought in those heartbeats that shi was standing frozen in place since catching sight of the other felitaur. "But shi has a cute rear!" Shi blinked as shi felt an elbow in hir upper ribs.
"You are staring open-mouthed, my dear." Silver told hir. All the others, including Peter, were grinning at hir while trying not to laugh. Quickpaw closed hir muzzle and the others couldn't restrain their mirth anymore.
"Hey now!" Quickpaw started, but then shi was interrupted as a group of humans fast approached them with mean faces.
"I didn't believe my ears when I was told that they actually accept their kind here as well." the obvious leader announced when the group reached them. He was a human male, about 21, in a sports suit that screamed of money. "It is bad enough that the dean admits furries in general, but I at least had hoped that they would scorn these masterpieces of human creation here. These monsters that couldn't even decide what sex they want to be and so took both."
At that Peter started at him, but Darren and Quickpaw held him back.
"I assume you’re talking about me." Quickpaw replied to the insult.
"I assume you’re talking about me," the man imitated hir. He turned to his followers, who were mocking shock expression. "Can you imagine one of those beasts speaking to its betters without being given permission." He turned back to face Quickpaw, who held a tight grip on hir temper.
"Beast, you better pay attention to what you do. We created you and your kind. You are nothing more than slaves to us. Do you know what happens to slaves who misbehave and disobey? I’ll tell you what happens, so that you never forget. Such slaves will be punished and the ultimate punishment is death. We made you and we can readily unmake you!" He spat those last words out, his eyes glowing with such hatred that Quickpaw was taken aback.
"Who do you think you are?" Peter exploded. The leader looked at him with disgust.
"I heard about your kind, too. Humans that befriend such beasts and sometimes might even sink so low as to mate with such an animal monster. We’ll deal with you as well." With that he turned and walked away without another word, his group of followers hard on his heels.
"Now what was that all about?" Darren let out the breath he was holding.
"I don't know," Silver said, "But I don't like it at all."
Quickpaw sighed heavily, a very sad expression on hir face. "I’d hoped never to encounter their kind again. Those movements of ‘Earth For Humans’ or ‘master-race fanatics’. It has been so quiet these past few years. We all thought this had ended after the last eruptions of violence 3 years ago." Pictures ran through hir head of a heavily injured Lupu, her two cubs, Goldfur in tears and on the brink of a mental breakdown when the doctor announced the death of little Grey. Boyce in his personal armour. The campaigns of Star Fleet and the World Police to catch the ring leaders. "It stopped as suddenly as it started back then. We all hoped that the constant threat of the official government not to tolerate such behaviour in any way was enough to keep them low. But this man worries me. He didn't look like the usual fanatic." The others nodded and all stood there for a short while, deep in their own thoughts. Silver was the first to break the mood.
"I don't know about you all, but I thought we had a date with a pub and something to celebrate." The others looked at her like she had grown a second muzzle. She shifted her pose to her most sexily inviting, pointing in the general direction of the pub. The others couldn't stop themselves from laughing. They resumed their walk, the other chakat completely forgotten by the events.
The next day, Quickpaw was on hir way to the college hospital. Shi wanted to say goodbye to all hir teachers and fetch the stuff that shi had stowed in the locker there. Hir thoughts ran back to the day before. They’d had a fun time at the pub. The owner knew their group and when he had heard of Quickpaw's success at hir finals, he had invited them all to one of his famous potato plates. It was a feast none of them could say no to, Quickpaw hirself the very least. Shi remembered the goodbyes with hir friends. They had all promised each other to stay in contact and left each other in a slightly sad, but still cheery mood. Hir thoughts turned to the incident with the fanatics again, as shi reached the hospital area. Shi still couldn't understand them. Shi was scared that they started open hostility again. Something was not right about this group. They seemed more organized than the movements before; more in control. Something akin to the ancient Ku Klux Klan of history. She took a deep breath. This had to wait until shi was home, so shi could talk with Forest and Boyce about it. Shi had reached the small stairs at the entrance of the hospital when she froze in hir tracks. Directly before hir, the other chakat left the building. For the first time, Quickpaw saw hir from the front, and shi felt hir muzzle hanging open again. The other chakat resembled perfectly a Siamese cat. Even hir muzzle was the typical petite form of the Asian cat. But what Quickpaw drilled into hir very soul were the other's silver-blue eyes. Eyes that seemed as shocked and overwhelmed as hirself. Seconds passed while both tried to regain their composure.
Quickpaw was the first to gather hir wits, and shi approached the other and started: "Hellopurrs, I’m Chakat Quickpaw, daughter of Desertsand and Longstripe. I’m happy to meet you. I didn't know that there was another 'taur on the campus, let alone another chakat." The other continue to stare at hir, muzzle working to form the words shi was trying to say. Shi really was small for a chakat, reaching only to Quickpaw’s throat.
"Oh! Hi... Hellopurrs. I’m... I’m Chakat Blackear, daughter of Nightrunner and Swiftpaw. I didn't know of another chakat here until yesterday, when I saw you on stage. Oh, makers, I’m sorry. I didn't think I would run into you here so... Please excuse my stammering... " Shi broke up, hir whiskers vibrating with hir embarrassment, tail twitching wildly.
"Shi’s cute", Quickpaw thought, "Shi reminds me of someone, but I can't nail it down." Aloud shi said. "No worries. I’m here to fetch my stuff, but if you could wait, we could... " At that moment, a loud angry voice behind them yelled:
"Filthy creature! Weren't you told to step out of the way when your betters pass you?" There was the sound of a slap and an astonished, female shriek. Quickpaw turned around to see a man shi vaguely remembered to seeing in the group of fanatics yesterday. Before him was a young foxtaur vixen, looking at him in shock holding her muzzle. Her slightly rounded belly showed her state of pregnancy. She probably had been on the way to the hospital for a check when she had ran into the man. Before anyone else could react, the man kicked the vixen in hir lower abdomen. She screamed in pain and fear and fell to the ground. The small crowd that had started to gather couldn't believe what they saw.
"That will teach you for the future. You step aside and bow when you meet your makers." With that the man walked on without anyone stopping him. The crowd's gaze swapped from looking after him and the whimpering vixen at the foot of the stairs. That whine brought Quickpaw back to hir senses. Shi darted forward towards the vixen, shouting at one of the men from the hospital to get a litter from the ambulance. The man vanished quickly back into the building. Quickpaw reached the whimpering taur.
"Shhh, it’ll be alright." shi said to the vixen. Gently holding her face, Quickpaw tried to catch the vixen's eyes.
"I’m Chakat Quickpaw. I’m a nurse and more help is on the way. Now what is your name, dear?"
"I’m Bevra." the vixen whimpered. " I was just on my way to the hospital when this man started to shout and hit me. What have I done to him? I’ve never seen him before. Why do people do such things. Oh, my baby." She burst into tears, cradling herself against Quickpaw who comforted her as best as shi could, feeling that this was also hir first test of hir abilities, hir baptism of fire. No controlled environment anymore. Gently shi ran hir hands over Bevra's belly to search for anything unnatural. She felt the soft movements underneath and smiled slightly. Shi felt, that things would be okay. Shi continued to comfort and calm the vixen as the ambulance team arrived. Together with them, Quickpaw brought Bevra into the hospital and ran a check on the baby.
"Everything will be alright," shi announced a while later. "Your baby is well and so will you be. If you want, you can stay here for the night to sleep off the shock where you feel safe." The vixen nodded.
"Yes, please, but can someone inform my mate? He must have started to worry about now."
"Sure thing, dear." Quickpaw took the details and made the call. Then shi double-checked with Bevra whether she wanted to stay and initiated the process for her. After another 30 minutes Bevra was comfortably lying in her bad and her mate had arrived, sitting at her side.
Quickpaw took a deep breath and began to fetch all hir stuff from hir locker. This was not the way shi had wanted to finish here. Shi said hir good-byes and left the building with hir stuff in a bag over hir shoulder. As shi walked through the door shi remembered Blackear and that shi had forgotten the other chakat in all the stress. Of course, the Siamese chakat was nowhere to be seen in the area. Quickpaw shrugged, a bit disappointed, and left for hir room to pack the last things for hir journey the next day.
"So that's it," Quickpaw thought as the plane took off. Shi watched the ground vanishing underneath hir through hir window. Shi was looking forward to seeing hir family again and hoped that Boyce might be there. Shi had missed hir Companion so much in the recent months, having only the occasional visit to boost hir spirits. Hir mind still reeled about the hospital incident and the renewed open hostility, but above all, a pair of silver-blue eyes had imprinted themselves onto hir inner sight and into hir soul.
Chakats Quickpaw, Forestwalker & Goldfur are the creations of Bernard Doove and are used with permission.
Admiral Kline is the creation of Boyce Garald Kline Jnr and is used with permission.
Story © 1999 Christian Neumann.
The prequel to this story is Quickpaw, The College Years #2.
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