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Housepets: The Story of Fiddler and Keys
After reading some of the non-canon fanfics, I've decided I want to take a crack at it. Note, I am relatively new to the forums, but nonetheless, Housepets is one of my favorite webcomics, and I really enjoy pondering storylines. However, instead of trying to bust out the whole thing in one sitting, which I know my A.D.D. won't let me do, I'm going to update on Sundays until I finish it.
The background of Fiddler and Keys isn't something that has bothered me for months on end, but I think it allows for some interesting plot lines. So, here it goes, my first attempt at fanfic-ing.
And, of course, non-canon.
EDIT: Heck, I'm just gonna update it whenever I feel like it, but on Sundays at least.
*All scenarios, characters, and the Housepets! theme are owned by Rick Griffin. I do not claim ownership of any of these, and am not using them for profit or libel.*
Fiddler looked around at the multitude of cats dotting the roof of the local pet store, smiling slightly at the irony of the placement of the local "coffee shop". While no actual coffee was served here, the constant stock of food in the building had lead to an impromptu hang-out for all the local cats. Like Heathcliff's, crates and barrels serving as tables and chairs gave the setting a distinct restaurant feel. However, a line of large crates created a bar to the left, where orders were made.
Fiddler finished scanning the roof, and took a sip of the milk sitting on the table in front of him.
"Fiddler, you flea-bitten dumpster-diver! What'cha doing here all by your lonesome?"
Fiddler glanced up at the sudden intrusion to find Max, the black Tomcat, mischievously grinning down at him. He smiled, noting the humor in Max's voice.
"What, a cat can't get out for something to drink every so often? And as for dumpster-diving, you'd know more about that than I would, alley cat!"
Max's smile broadened as he sat down on the other crate. "Kicked out of the house for practicing too loudly again?"
"Nah, not this time. I really just wanted to get out of the house, look at the changing leaves, get a drink."
Max glanced over at the now orange and red leaves covering the trees and, to an extent, the ground. Fall was slowly creeping up on Babylon Gardens again. Not many animals liked the cold, but fall was calming to Max; it allowed him to wind down mentally. Suddenly, a thought popped in his mind, and he turned back to Fiddler.
"Say, Fiddler, You've never told me how you learned to play. Come to think of it, I don't know Keys' story, either."
Fiddler smiled, closing his eyes and pausing for a second while he reminisced, and looked up at Max.
"Well, its actually a pretty long story, but if you want to know, I'd be happy to tell you."
I was born an alley cat, a lot like you. At first, there was no Keys. It was just me. But I had a good family. There were twelve of us: my mom and dad, of course, and ten kids; six boys and four girls. We lived in an old office building that had been abandoned for some reason. It wasn't nice, but it was still home. Somehow, there was always enough food for all off us, and we worked together to live and be a family. We would all sleep in the same room together, curled up in a big knot, not so much for warmth, but for closeness. All in all, we were really happy.
It's just too bad it couldn't last.
One day, I woke up to a loud crunching noise in another room. Suddenly, my mom scrambled into the room where we slept, yelling at us kids to get out of the building. Well, we were all so startled by the amount of sounds that we just sat there, confused about what to do. It wasn't until the huge wrecking ball came through the wall not two seconds later that we realized that they were tearing down the building. And they weren't waiting for us to get out. So, we all started scrambling around, looking for an exit. I was lucky; I found a hole where a flying plank had punctured the wall. I got out just in time to see the whole building collapse in a heap of wood. The rest of my family was running around frantically, and I was just trying to get away.
There was a forest next to the building that I ran into. It was really thick, and, as I was still a kitten, I quickly got lost. I spent all day looking for either a way out, or someone in my family, with no luck either way. By the time the sun set, I was tired and hungry. I ended going to sleep under a large tree, partly out of exhaustion, partly out of fear.
The next morning, I began looking again for my family. It wasn't easy; I still had no idea where I was. However, I was able to find a stream, where I was able to get some water to drink, and even catch a small fish to eat. I had been on fishing trips before with some of my family members, but this was the first time I had caught something. I quickly gobbled it up, and went back to searching.
For another two weeks I looked for anyone in my family in that forest. I got good at providing for myself, but I could never find anyone. I had found an exit from the forest, but it led to a city, and I had never been in the city before. The large groups of people frightened me, and I still hadn't gotten over the shock of having my house destroyed. So, I stayed in the forest, and kept looking for my family. But at the end of those two weeks, I had practically given up hope. For all I knew, everyone else had died, and I was the only one left.
Within time, the fear of humans faded, and I began to explore the city. It was easier to find food there, since there were plenty of restaurants around. And there was always the excitement of climbing. The tall buildings, telephone poles, and the occasional awning gave me the pleasure of getting a real view of the city around me. And, with time, I began to invent pathways that I could take other than the ground. There wasn't any real point to it; it was just exciting to do, like I knew how to bend the city, something that had scared me at first, to my will. So, I made the city my new home, and spent most of my days exploring and hunting.
A couple of years passed, and I eventually made a name for myself among the other alley cats who lived in the city. As such, I often found out rumors and new info relatively quickly. So, when a moving truck pulled up to the apartment building I lived next to, I had to know what was up. I ran around the building to the back entrance and tapped on the door. It opened, and the tenant's pet dog, O'Connor, came out. O'Connor, as his name implies, was a Scottish Terrier. His owner had named him while he was still a puppy, an action that, for some reason, he hated since he could remember.
"Whoozat? Ah, i's you, laddie."
"Hey, O'Connor. Listen, I saw the moving truck out front. Any ideas on who its for?"
"De Moving Truck? Aye, belongs to some ritzy music-type, 's what Ah heard. 'pparantly, moved here from de east coast lookin' to start his own recordin' studio. Don' know why you're concernin' yourself wit' it, though."
"Just curious. Thanks."
"Don' worree nothin' 'bout it."
I lost interest quickly, and went about my business. However, later that night, I heard something above me, something I hadn't heard before. It was a light sound, that changed over and over, making almost a pattern. I looked up, and saw a black cat moving around in an odd manner on the third balcony up. The cat was a female, and had an odd black and white tag hanging from her collar. It was odd to me at first, put it seemed like her movements followed along with the sound I heard. I was really confused by both of these things, so I called out.
"Hey! What're you doing up there?"
The cat stopped, and looked down at me. The sound, however, didn't, which confused me even more. She flashed me a big smile, and called back down at me.
"Haha, what do ya mean, 'what am I doing?' I'm dancing!"
"Dancing? What's that?"
The cat gave me a look like I had just swore at her, and leaped down to where I was. She came right up to my face, and asked, "You've never heard of dancing????"
I gulped. "N-no, I haven't."
She paused, and tilted her head back and laughed. Then she crossed her arms and smiled at me.
"Well, dancing is just moving around to music in a rhythmic kind of way."
"I'm sorry, music? rhythmic? I don't follow you."
The cat's eyes got as big as saucers at that. I obviously had said something that she didn't like.
"Oh my heaven, you haven't heard of music, either? Where have you been all your life, a dumpster?"
Her comment angered me, and I retorted, "Hey, I'm perfectly fine with living in a dumpster, Housepet!"
She just laughed, and said, "Calm down, Tiger! I meant nothing by it. Here let me explain it to you: music is when you take different sounds and put them together to make a pattern that sounds good. Its what you can here from up there." She pointed to the balcony she had come from. I looked up, listening to the sound. So, this is what music is, I thought. O'Connor had mentioned it before, but I hadn't really been paying attention then. Its an interesting sound. I kinda like it. I turned back to the black cat.
"Well, I guess that explains where you came from. You moved in with the new resident."
She smiled again. "That about hits the nail on the head."
I smiled back. "So, what's your name?"
"The name's Keys. Don't wear it out."
I blinked. "Keys? That's an odd name. Where's it come from?"
She clipped her fingers on her tag and held it up. "It comes from this; its a piano. I play the piano, so it fits well."
Again I was confused. "What's a piano?"
Keys sighed and rolled her eyes. "You and your lack of knowledge! Here, follow me." She hopped up on a crate and started climbing up back towards the balcony. I looked up, and realized the music had stopped. So, I followed her up to the balcony, and jumped into the window.
Inside, there were all sorts of things in the room, things I had never seen before. Stacks of paper with little dots and lines on it filled most of the space, and all sorts of odd structures leaned against the walls. There were bright golden things, brown things with strings, and a large square thing with black and white bars that matched Keys' tag. Keys had hopped up on its top, and swept her arm above the bars to show it off.
"This," she declared proudly, "is a piano."
WHOA, I thought, this thing is huge! "You play this?"
I leapt up onto the bench in front of the piano, and looked closer at the bars.
"Those are the keys," Keys informed me. "You play the piano by pressing them down."
I looked back down at the keys, and slowly pressed one. The sound that came out startled me, and I jumped back. Keys just laughed.
"Hahahaha, don't get so startled! That was the note E."
I gave her a disgusted look, and looked back around the room.
"What are these other ones called, Keys? Do they all make music?"
Keys hopped off of the piano. "Yep, they're all what we in the music business call 'musical instruments.'" She began to point at specific instruments. "That's a guitar, that there is a french horn, there's a saxophone, that's a Cello, that," she said with an air of arrogance, "is my special keyboard I play, and that there is a violin."
Most of these hadn't kept my interest, but the violin caught my eye. It was one of the smallest instruments, but had four strings like some of the others. I went over and pulled one of the strings; the note that came out was softer than the one on the piano, and it soothed me. Keys came over, and game me a soft smile.
"Like that one, eh?"
I kept my gaze on the violin. "Yeah. It feels, different. I like it."
Keys' smile broadened. "How would you like to learn to play?"
I quickly looked up at her. "Wait, what? Learn?"
"Sure. I've learned to play the violin already, so I could teach you. I don't really like it, though; it doesn't flow for me like the piano. But I'd be happy to teach you if you want."
I looked back down at the violin. "Er, I don't know...."
"Aw, come on! I've even got a violin that you can keep. Its my old one, and I don't use it, but I bet it'll fit you perfectly." She leapt behind a stack of papers and came back with a smaller version of the instrument I was standing next to. "Here, hold it like this, and see if it fits," she said, tucking it under her chin and taking hold of the end where the strings started. The, she handed it to me, and I copied her. When I did, it was as if it was made for me. It fit perfectly, and I felt comfortable; it was almost a natural pose. Keys walked over, and handed me a long pole with stings attached to it. "Use this," she said. "Pull the hairs across the strings." When I did, I heard one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard to this very day. It was smoother than plucking the string, and it made me feel content. I brought the two pieces of the instrument to my hips, and smiled.
Keys closed her eyes and smiled. "Beautiful. You'll pick it up in no time." Suddenly, her eyes opened up again. "Say, I didn't catch your name."
I stuttered, realizing a problem. "Er, uh, I don't really have one."
Keys smiled again. "Well, I guess we'll have to fix that, won't we? Get on one knee."
I obeyed her, and knelt down.
"Give me the bow."
I assumed she was talking about the pole, so I gave it to her. She gained a serious look on her face, and laid the bow on each of my shoulders.
"I hereby dub thee, Fiddler, master of the violin (in training). You may rise."
I got up, still clutching the violin, and took the bow back. Looking outside, I noticed that it had gotten later, and decided that now was the best time to go.
"Thanks, Keys, for everything. I'll see ya later. G'night."
As I hopped down the balconies, she called out, "Good night, Fiddler! And remember, your first lesson starts tomorrow!"
I smiled, put my new violin against the crate, and curled up to sleep.
It was difficult to learn the violin at first. I had to have perfect posture, or my back began to hurt, not to mention having to memorize where to put my fingers on the strings for what notes as well as the notes themselves. Plenty of times, I wanted to give up and go back to normal life, but Keys always kept me going, both with encouragement and criticism. Keys was (and still is) pretty much my exact opposite: I'm very organized, thought out, and analytical, while Keys is free spirited, and often acts upon the first thing on her mind. It sometimes got on my nerves, the way she acted, but she never gave on me, so I decided that I could handle it.
Quickly, I got to know Keys' owner, a man by the name of Jon. Jon was exactly like Keys in both temperament and musical style, but had a better grasp of my personality than Keys did. Very early on, he welcomed me into his home, and though I was only his guest, he treated me like his own pet. Needless to say, I ended up spending most of my time in Jon's apartment, whether for musical practice or just to spend time with them. I refused to sleep in the apartment, though; I was an alley cat, and I didn't want to change that.
After a year and a half, I had become an expert at the violin, and had many songs memorized by heart. It was fun to be able to play on a whim, and even more so to be able to show off to other cats. Many times, I got invited to play at parties, which only increased my enjoyment of my ability to play so well. Still, the thing I looked forward to most was playing with Keys and Jon, or "having a jam session," as they called it. Even though I was the newest musician, I was often given the melody to play, while Keys played the Harmony and Jon took care of the bass-line. All in all, it was a real good point in my life.
During that time, I learned a lot about Keys' past. She had lived most of her life with Jon; she had been born next door to him in his first apartment, and he adopted her when his neighbors offered her for a pet. At the time, he was still in college, earning his degree in music. Keys had picked up an interest in music early on, and had learned how to play multiple instruments. However, the piano was the only one she had ever stuck with, continuing to play it in her free time. As such, Jon named her Keys. It was a much simpler story than my own, but she seemed content with it.
One day, I went up to Jon's apartment to have our daily session. Upon entering through the window into the music room, however, I was promptly tackled by Keys, causing me to slam into the piano. As I regained consciousness, I found Keys jumping around on my chest in an excited manner. "What's with the excitement, housepet?" (Housepet had become my favorite nickname for her)
"you'll never guess what's happened!" She yelled, hopping off my chest, allowing me to get up.
"Ok, I'll bite. What's happened?" I mumbled, standing up and rubbing my head.
"Well, for the last couple of months, Jon's recording studio hasn't been going so well. Not many people around here have been using it, and it wasn't making any money."
I was surprised. "Really? Why didn't you tell me?"
"Well, we didn't want you to worry about us. But its all ok now, 'cuz Jon just got hired at a new job!"
"That's great!" I exclaimed. "What is it?"
"He got hired as the musical manager at a video game company in Alabama! Its a steady paycheck, and we'll be living in the suburbs, instead of a dingy apartment! Isn't that great??"
I could only hear that one word over and over again in my head: Alabama. As in, a different state. I couldn't bear that thought. They were leaving, leaving without me. Once again, I would lose my family. I would be all alone.
Instead of replying, I turned and bounded out the window. I didn't look back; I only took off running, to get away from that terrible word. Alabama.
"Fiddler? Fiddler!" Not even Keys' frantic calling of my name could get me to turn around.
Later that night, I found myself in an unfamiliar alley in the northern end of town. Some other alley cats had lit a fire in an iron drum; I took a spot by it and watched the flames dance.
"Hey, buddy, you ok? You look like you just got declawed."
I looked up at the cat across from me, the one who had spoken. He was older than the rest of the cats, and was missing an eye. He also had multiple claw marks running down his face. He smiled, and came around to my side of the fire, walking up next to me and putting his arm on my shoulder.
"Now, come on, most cats would kill for a chance to spill their guts to a willing ear. Don't clam up cuz this ear is an old coot of a tomcat. What's got ya down?"
I paused, not sure of how to respond.
"Er, I've got a- good friend, who's moving out of town. I just found out today, and I wasn't expecting it."
The old cat sighed. "Ah, quite the pickle. But not as uncommon as you'd think. I used to have a friend, once."
I looked up. "Really? What happened to her?"
He closed his eyes and smiled slightly. "She finished college and sold her apartment. Decided that I was happier here, and left me."
I was shocked. "What??? Why would she do that?"
"Cuz, lad, she was right. I was happier here. But it didn't make it any easier when she left. I still miss her, but we both knew I would have been miserable where she was going. So, one day, she took off my collar, and told me goodbye."
I looked back at the fire. It was a shocking story.
"Of course, I don't think happiness is what's keeping you here, is it?"
"I think if you had the choice, you'd go with your friend. But something else is keeping you from taking that step."
I was about to respond, when I heard someone calling my name. I turned around, and saw Keys running towards me. The old cat patted me on the shoulder reassuringly.
"Well, I'll leave you to make the decision. Just don't lose sight of what you want." With that, he turned around, and headed back into the shadows.
I turned back around to watch Keys run up to me, panting. "*gasp, gasp* Fiddler, Why'd you run off like that? I've been looking for you for hours!"
I averted my eyes. "I don't know, I guess I didn't take your news well."
"Well, if you had waited, you could have heard the rest of it," she said, hands on her hips.
"Really, now? Then, what's the rest?"
"Jon and I wanted you to come along."
I quickly looked up at her. "What?"
"Fiddler, you've become a part of our family over the last few years. We want it to stay that way."
I stammered, "Er, I-I can't! I can't go!"
Keys crossed her arms. "That's the same thing you said about learning the violin, and look what happened. Come on, you have to come with us."
"No! I can't!" We were both starting to get angry.
"Well, why not???"
"BECAUSE," I screamed, "I CAN'T LEAVE MY REAL FAMILY BEHIND!!!!"
Keys stepped back, caught off guard by what I said. I, however, wasn't done.
"My real family, the one I grew up with, is still out there somewhere! They could be starving, homeless, or dying! And I'm not going to get fat and spoiled while they could be out there suffering!"
"So, let me get this straight," Keys said, "you're going to spend your entire life in the alleys so that you can make sure you're not living any better than they might be?"
I didn't respond; I only stared at her.
"Well, I think that you're just afraid of being vulnerable. You've been hurt by your past, and now you're trying to make sure that you're completely independent so that you can't get hurt again. That's probably why you never slept in our apartment. Its because you were afraid of putting yourself in a dependent position."
I continued to stare at her.
"Well, that's fine, stay here if you want. Jon and I leave tomorrow. But the offer is still open; if you change that stubborn mind of yours, you know where we are."
With that, she turned and left. Still angry, I went to a corner in the alley, curled up, and went to sleep.
While I was sleeping, I had a dream. I was falling through black nothing, with a voice I couldn't recognize whispering one word over and over.
I yelled back at it, trying to fight.
"I'm staying here to find my family! That's why I'm not leaving!"
"I've got to stick with my family! They care about me, and I about them!"
"Family is the people who care about you, and who you care about! Like....Keys. And Jon."
"I've...got to stick....with my...."
When I woke up the next morning, and knew what I had to do. It was still early, so I ran back to the apartment building. Jon was loading up the moving truck, and Keys was sitting on the front steps, looking depressed. I couldn't help but smile as I ran up, calling their names.
Keys looked up, startled, and Jon tuned around, almost dropping the box he was carrying on his foot. Then they both came running to meet me. Basically, we all ended up in a tangled hug. "Urgh, put me down, Jon!" I said, laughing. Once he had, I began to explain myself.
"I realized something last night. Keys, you were right, but I've made up my mind that you two are my real family now. And, I want to go with you to Alabama."
They both smiled bigger than I had ever seen before, and we ended up in another hug-knot.
Later that day, we left for Alabama, where we live now. It was a long trip, but completely enjoyable. After all, I was with my family.
Max looked at Fiddler with quiet awe. "Wow," he murmured, "That's quite the story. Although, relatively speaking," he added with a smile and a hint of sarcasm, "it had little do do with music."
"hey," Fiddler smiled, "I told you the truth. I'm not a story-teller, after all, I'm a musician." Suddenly, he glanced up at the sky. It had gotten dark, and the moon was rising. "Whoops," he blurted, "better get home. Jon doesn't like me staying out for too long without a reason." He got up, stretched, and headed for the ladder down. "See ya later, Max."
"Wait!" Max called. "Did you ever find any of your first family? Do you know where any of them are now?"
Fiddler closed his eyes and chuckled. "Oh, Max," he laughed, "I've already told you one story today. Let's save that one for another time."
DOH HO HO WELL THEN
Last edited by Teh Brawler on Mon Oct 18, 2010 5:48 pm, edited 13 times in total.