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As night fell, Frank and I found ourselves cuddling in the living room of the cottage with books, watching the dull glow of fire behind the doors of the wood stove.  Katie and Jewel were both sleeping nearby, close to us, but not quite close enough to be pet.  Casaer had been reluctant to see us go inside without him, even after I’d lead him back to the shelter twice.  Eventually, I had just left him out there.  He now lay just outside the porch door, staring in hopefully.

“Maybe I should stay up here this week while you’re at work.”  I said, breaking the silence.

“Just to keep Casaer company?  I’m not sure that’ll solve the problem.”

I shrugged.  “At least I’ll be able to do some work and maybe actually set up a petting zoo.  Could be interesting.”  Frank fell silent for several moments.  “You could drive up after work.  It’s not that far of a commute.”  I added.  He looked at me with puppy-dog eyes.

“It’s not a short commute either.  I’ll miss you if you’re gone all week.”

“I’d miss you too.  But I used to have to travel for work.  Eventually they were going to make me go on a week or two long trip at my old office too.”

“I didn’t like that either.”  He gave me a protective hug and I nuzzled into him.

“Well, Steve’s done school now, maybe he and Shevaun can come up and stay with me too.  But then you’ll be all alone in our house.”

“Well, we can work out something.”  He said, gently pulling me towards the bedroom.  “Come on, let’s go to bed.”

I woke the next morning to the sound of Caesar calling outside the bedroom window.  Jewel stirred from where she was curled up on my feet, peering towards the window curiously.  I muttered under my breath towards the window, but the sound showed no signs of stopping.  Finally dragging myself out of the bed, I threw on a house coat and wandered out to the kitchen where Frank was already eating, Jewel hot on my heels.

“How long has he been doing that?”  I muttered, trying to comb my hair into a semblance of order.

“All morning.”  Frank replied over his plate of bacon and eggs.  “I tried to call him over, but he wouldn’t come.  There some bacon for you in the oven.”

“Thanks.” I muttered, slipping on a pair of winter boots over my bare feet, and throwing on my winter jacket as I noticed the snow still on the ground.  As an afterthought, I grabbed a slice of bacon, wrapped the rest in paper towel and shoved it in my pocket.  “I’ll be back soon.”

The cold air hit me as I left the warmth of the cottage, but the sun was warm behind me.  As I walked towards the sound, I noticed there was more to the noise than just Caesar’s noises.  There was a strange crinkling noise as well.  As I got closer, the source became a little more obvious.  There was Caesar, almost growling at something flashing in the snowbank.  He paid me no mind as I got closer, focused on the snowbank.  It looked like a chip bag, blown in the wind.

“Caesar, quit that.”  I said getting closer, laying a hand on his back.  He barely glanced my way, fixated on the fun sized chip bag.  I rolled my eyes.

“Look, it’s just a piece of garbage.”  I said, moving closer myself to grab it, and throw it out.  As I bent over, I caught a glimpse of reddish-gold fur, poking around two small dark eyes.  My breath caught in my throat as I threw myself backwards, staring at the tiny Vulpix hidden in the bag in terror.  My brain started working quickly, as I pushed the Sawsbuck’s head aside.

“Back off, Caesar.”  I said quietly, and he finally listened to me, trudging away several steps to stand by silently.  The Vulpix made soft clicking noises, staring out of the bag with terrified eyes.  I knelt in the snowbank nearby, talking gently.  The Vulpix was far smaller than it should have been, barely the size of my fist and covered in baby fluff.

“Where’s your mommy?”  I asked quietly, looking around for any sign of a pissed off mother.  But other than Caesar, now eating some early spring grass, there was no sign of another pokemon.  Could I leave the baby out here alone?  My instincts told me that was the best idea, but my curiosity got the better of me.  With a flash of an idea, I pulled the extra bacon out of my pocket, crumbling it and offering it out on a flat hand.  The Vulpix stopped it’s clicking, sniffing the air curiously.

“Come here, little one.  You’ll like this.”  Slowly, it inched it’s way out of the bag, staring at me with big eyes.  I noticed it had only one tail, confirming my theory that this was a very young baby.  It inched it’s way closer, curious yet cautious.  The snow melted and steamed slightly under it’s feet, leaving tiny footprints as it delicately sniffed my fingers.  Satisfied I wasn’t about to move suddenly, the tiny mouth grabbed a bite of bacon, dragging it out of my palm and into the snow where it was quickly devoured.  A small yip told me the offering was found satisfactory.  When the bacon was gone, the Vulpix began to lick the grease from my palm.  I reached my other hand out, gently petting the small fox.  I was rewarded with the head pushing into me as it climb on top of my hand.  Within moments, it had curled up in my palm, happily cooing in it’s sleep.

As I looked down at the small fox, I realized the snow was beginning to melt through my pyjamas and my legs were beginning to go numb.  But the baby showed no signs of wanting to leave, and no mother had yet to appear.  There seemed to be only one option.

I walked back into the kitchen, kicking off the heavy boots with one hand held to my chest.

“Hey Sweetie.”  I called out to the living room.  “I found something cute, can we keep it?”