Gift-Fic: Please Don’t Leave Me
Flaming Trails

“And this is where you’re going to live!”

Victor led Ferdinand into the repurposed stable, smiling brightly. “I tried to make it as comfortable as I could,” he told the butterfly. “Over here is your bed – I gathered all the nicest leaves I could for you. And these are your feeding tubes – see how they look like flowers? And I raised the ceiling a little so you could stretch your wings some, and – and why am I explaining all of this to you? You don’t understand a word coming out of my mouth.”

Ferdinand bounced and ran his proboscis over Victor’s face, making the entomologist laugh. “You remind me so much of Scraps,” he commented, rubbing the butterfly’s head behind his antennae. “I used to talk to him just like this all the time. He’d plop down in front of me, cock his head, and just – listen. As if he really did understand what I was saying. And then when I was done, he’d hop into my lap and lick my face all over.” He touched his cheek, smiling at the memories. “The best dog a boy could hope for. And my best friend until I – until…”

The smile faded as it all came back to him in a rush. Running with Scraps through the town square…taking him to do his business in a private alley…a sudden loud and vicious bark making him turn…then a blur of motion, of growls and snarls and yelps of pain…Scraps, lying bleeding in front of him, tail weakly thumping against the cobbles as his flesh hung off him in tatters…standing there paralyzed, staring at his best friend, unable to comprehend it, unable to even think of screaming until it was too late…

Victor knelt down and looked Ferdinand in the eye. “Live a good, long life, understand?” he whispered, resting his hand on the top of Ferdinand’s head. “Don’t do anything silly like rip your wing in a tree or smash yourself to pieces against someone’s window. When the – the time c-comes, I want you to go quietly, of old age. I want you to go k-knowing that you were w-well-loved and happy. All right?”

Ferdinand tilted his head, compound eye glittering. Then he “licked” him again. Victor smiled bittersweetly. “I’m glad we’re in agreement. Now then, how about we try on your saddle?”

The End