Tarquin and Tess
written by Tabby

I must mostly thank someone I once knew for her assistance in this story, as it's based on a role-playing game we did; but a bit of thanks also goes to Cleve Clove for getting me into the Redwall books , which led me to pick out names like Tarquin and Tess. Redwaalllll!!!!!

Tabby's Meowth Pokčmon tapped on his owner's shoulder as she attended to healing an injured Staryu at the Pokčmon Center. "Tabby, I'm gonna visit a few places and then walk home. It's getting boring in here."

"Sure, fine," Tabby said distantly. She hadn't really been listening. It took her a few moments to realize that, though. "What was that, Meowth? Where're you going?" But he was already out the door.

Tabby shrugged as she went back to the Staryu. He'd show up again.

* * *

As Tabby walked home after work that evening, she realized something was missing. That's right, Meowth wasn't there! She stopped and tapped her hoof on the ground. Where had he been going? Home; maybe that's what he'd said.

Tabby was still standing there pondering the situation when Merry Treat came up to her. "Hey, Tabby!" Merry Treat said. "Where's Meowth?"

"Well, back at the center awhile ago, he said he was going somewhere-- he might have said home, but I can't remember-- but he never came back, and now I don't know where he is!" Tabby wailed.

"Well, let's try looking at your house before you start worrying, if that is where he was going," Merry Treat said reasonably.

"You know, that's a good idea!" Tabby exclaimed. "I hadn't thought of that!" And she dashed ahead on the path towards her house, with Merry Treat not far behind.

Tabby opened her house door. "Meowth! Meowth!" she cried out. "Where are you?" She frantically dashed through the rooms.

"Is he here?" Merry Treat questioned anxiously.

"Not a sign of him," Tabby sniffled. "There's absolutely no food missing from the kitchen; he can't have made it here! He's run off. Or he's been eaten by monsters. Or he's--" Tabby stifled a sob.

"Meowth!" Merry Treat called out, but had no better luck than Tabby.
"Don't give up yet," Merry Treat consoled her friend. "Maybe he went somewhere else. Let's cover all the likely spots in Dream Valley."

"Okay," Tabby said, wiping away a tear. "What if I don't ever see him again, MT? What'll I do then? He was such a sweet thing--"

"We'll worry about that after we've checked out all the possibilities," Merry Treat said. "I'll go check the center; maybe he went back there."

"And I'll check the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe!" Tabby said, brightening up a bit.

"Good idea," Merry Treat said, and they both went off.

* * *

Tabby entered the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe, feeling sorry for herself again. Poor little Meowth, she thought to herself. He didn't deserve to be caught by monster.

"Tabby!" a familiar voice called out. It was Sugarberry; she was seated at a table with several of her other friends.

Tabby headed over that way, momentarily forgetting about looking for Meowth. She figured she could complain to the gang.

"How's Meowth doing?" Clever Clover immediately asked her. "Is he ready to take on Rattata yet?"

Tabby sniffled. "He's missing."

"Missing?" Sugarberry echoed in disbelief.

"Probably kidnapped by monsters," Tabby went on. "I haven't seen him since three this afternoon."

Clever Clover looked downcast now as well, and sighed. "I was looking forward to battling you."

"Show some compassion, Clever Clover!" Sugarberry chided him.

"Poor Meowth, yeah, yeah," Friendly interjected. "Me like him, yeah."

"Shouldn't you be looking for him?" Thomas questioned.

"You know, that's right!" Tabby exclaimed. "Heh, I forgot all about the looking for him part." She stood up abruptly from the table.

However, a suspicious-sounding giggle from Sugarberry stopped her. "What was that, Sug?" she questioned menacingly.

"Nothing," Sugarberry said quickly as she tried to swallow her laughter.

"Shall we tell her yet?" Clever Clover said with an evil grin on his face.

Tabby frowned. "What's going on here?" she shrieked.

"Meowth here, yeah, yeah!" Friendly laughed.

"What do you mean by that?" Tabby spluttered.

"Your Meowth's right over there," Thomas explained, gesturing to one of the corner tables.

Tabby whirled her head around. "Why that little sneak! Just wait'll I get my hooves on him--"
"We were just seeing how long it took you to notice you didn't have far to look," Sugarberry giggled.

"And I'll deal with you guys after I'm done with Meowth!" Tabby stormed off towards Meowth.

"Meowth, what are you doing here?" she demanded. "You said you were going home, not to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe! I've been all over Dream Valley looking for you!"

"I said I'd go home after visiting a few places," Meowth corrected her.

"You did? Huh, I must've missed that part."

"Besides, I was treating Tess to an ice cream sundae," Meowth went on, gesturing to the seat across from him.

Tabby had failed to notice who was in the other seat until now. She gasped slightly. It was-- another Meowth!

"Oh! You're okay!" Merry Treat came streaking across the room and scooped up Tabby's Meowth. She hugged him.

"Now, who're you, and what're you doing here?" Tabby turned to the other Meowth.

The new Meowth smiled shyly. "I'm Tess," she said.

"Hi, Tess!" Merry Treat exclaimed, setting Meowth back down in his chair.

"And I was wandering through this town, and came across Tarquin here," Tess went on, and smiled.

"Tarquin??" Tabby shrieked. "Meowth, how come you never told me your first name?!"

"Tarquin! How cute!" Merry Treat commented. "I think it's a very sweet name, Tabby."

Tabby sniffed. "I never said it wasn't. It's just that he never told me."

"I only usually give my full name out to other Pokčmon," Tabby's Meowth, now known as Tarquin, explained.

"You still love him, don't you?" Merry Treat pleaded. "Just because he didn't tell you his name?"

"Of course I do!" Tabby shot back (and she really did mean it). "Meo-- err-- Tarquin, does Tess have an owner?"

"If she doesn't, she could stay with one of us," Merry Treat suggested, her eyes gleaming.

"I have no master; I used to live on my own in the forest over in Friendship Gardens," Tess said.

"But she got lonely, and took up wandering," Tarquin added.

"You could stay with me, Tess, if you wanted to," Merry Treat offered. Then she hugged Tess.

"Oh, do you really mean it?" Tess exclaimed. "I'd love to have someone to care for me. Would I still be able to see Tarquin?"

"Of course!" Merry Treat said. "I'm great friends with him and Tabby."

Tess jumped over onto Merry Treat's back. "This is wonderful, miss... miss... what is your name?"

"Merry Treat.""

"Merry Treat! What a nice name!" Tess said sincerely.

Merry Treat blushed. "Thanks," she mumbled.

Tarquin and Tabby had been momentarily left out of the scene, so Tess asked, "And Tarquin, what's your master's name?"

"Tabby," the pink unicorn said graciously.

"And I hope you like to spend lots of time with other Pokčmon; I have lots more!" Merry Treat rambled on.

"I love getting to know other Pokčmon!" Tess said enthusiastically.

"Great! Most of them are at my house, but you can see them later."

"They sound awfully nice!"

Merry Treat smiled. "And you'll be a nice addition to the team, too."

While those two were getting accuanted, Tabby and Tarquin left them alone and started walking back to the gang's table.

"Tess is awfully beautiful, isn't she?" Tarquin sighed dreamily.

"Certainly, M-- Tarquin. All Meowths are cute."

"Do you think she'll come with Merry Treat to volunteer at the center?"

Tabby smiled dryly. She knew what Meowth would be talking about for the next few weeks.

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