I was really tempted to title this Artist!Fate…
O-Town: The Painter
‘Inspiration is all around you, you just have to open your eyes and look for it.’
Fate scoffed and threw her pencil and sketchbook on the bench beside her. “Right. I’ve been looking around all day and all the ‘inspiration’ I’ve gotten is two ducks going at it in the pond. And like hell am I going to enter the exhibition with something like that.”
She tried looking around again, but nothng really caught her interest. Which was sad, because there were so many people walking past her, alone, with dogs, with children… and none had that glimmer of inspiration that it would take for her to get out of the slump she had been in. Her mentor had forbidden her from returning to the studio until she had at least gotten a rough approximation of something that she could build on. The exhibition was in another two months after all and her mentor was counting on her to pull through, like always.
“Could this be it?” Fate sighed dramatically as she leaned back with an arm draped over her forehead. “Creativity all dried up like a dried-tomato by age 20? Real smooth, Testerossa. Real smooth.”
“Ahh!! Yuuno! Hold on! Get back here!”
Fate yelped and her eyes widened as she suddenly felt something large and furry jump down the loose collar of her shirt and start squirming around, as if it had jumped into a trap and was now frantically wondering how to get back out. Through a great feat of willpower, Fate thrust her own hand into her shirt, groped around, grabbed whatever thing was squeaking at being grabbed so roughly (or grabbed at all, considering the situation), and pulled it out. Apparently, her grip had been a bit tight, and so the animal was looking quite worn out by the time she could look at it. By this time, the owner had caught up and was apologizing profusely.
Fate looked up from the animal that she could now recognize as a ferret once she stroked its fur to lie flat again. Her awe upon seeing the face of the owner nearly made her drop the ferret into her lap. It was a young woman, about her age, she guessed, who wore her rather long brown hair in a side ponytail. The running she had just done made her otherwise pale skin a healthy rosy shade, especially on her cheeks. And those eyes… she had the most stunning blue eyes…
“Um… can I… have my ferret back, please?”
Fate snapped out of her trance and looked again at the ferret and then at the girl. She asked stupidly, “This is yours?”
The young woman nodded. Fate noticed her nervousness.
“This thing that just sexually harrassed me? It’s yours?”
“I didn’t tell him to do that!” The woman had started flapping her arms every which way as she tried to convince Fate, “Yuuno didn’t mean any harm either, I swear!”
Fate looked at the ferret, which was now looking back at her curiously. She didn’t really care about what the little criminal had just done, but she did care about his owner. With resolve, Fate decided that she was going to use him to her advantage while he was still in her grasp. She stood, smiling all the while. She petted the ferret affectionately so that it would have no reason to scurry out of her grasp anytime soon. “You want him back?”
The woman hesitated and gave her an odd look. Suspicious even. “Yes… he’s mine after all.”
“Hmm…” Fate took a step forward, and the woman took a step back, watching her. “How am I going to give him back if you don’t let me approach you?”
The woman obediently held out her hands to receive her pet.
Fate didn’t offer him up quite yet. “You know the city has a rule about pets that are being walked require a leash, right? So incidents like this don’t happen. At least not with the same frequency.”
Slowly, the hands lowered. “I… I just got him. I couldn’t find a collar that would fit him.”
“Ah, I see.” Fate nodded understandingly, stroking Yuuno’s neck, which he seemed to like. “That is a problem then.”
“You should come back to my place. The place I work at. I can fix something up to work until you find a legit collar and leash for him.”
“Ah! I really couldn’t impose on you like that. I’ll be extra careful next time, I promise.” The woman fidgeted. Fate could tell she really did not like sticking around one place a whole lot.
Fate warned, “You know, I could have this little guy impounded for that little stunt he pulled. Would you rather I do that?”
“NO!” The woman took a breath and said quieter, “No, please. I… Really… If I could just have him back…”
Fate grinned, leaning over so that their faces were centimeters apart. “You’ve got to give me some sort of service. Something that’ll make me forget that this ever happened.”
[Moved and given its own Page]