written by Tabby

Tabby stared out the glass doors of the Pokèmon Center. Her gaze wasn't centered on Tarquin, who was just coming up the steps; or on the well-worn path to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe; or even on the soft snowflakes that had just begun to fall. It was on the mansion directly across from her current place of employment.

How Tabby thought she'd left that place behind forever! It was the place of her old dreams, hopes, and aspirations; of her old heart-breaking incidents; of her old life-- and now it stood out to her as clear as anything. She wondered why she hadn't paid more attention to it in past months.

Yes, the mansion across from the Pokèmon Center had been Tabby's home in days-gone-by-- the home of Tabby and her mother, that is. All the occurrences from her schooldays that Tabby was now recalling were nearly overwhelming. The stately manor had blended into the scenery since Tabby had left it behind after graduating from college-- until a comment from her mother the previous week before she returned to Italy unlocked a flood of memories.

"You know, Tabitha," Agatha had remarked to her daughter one morning, "I'm looking into getting the old mansion fixed up."

"Mm," Tabby had nodded absentmindedly.

"It's only right that you should inherit it, of course," Agatha had continued.

"Ah, yes, of course."

"And it would be a wonderful place to raise a family."

"Quite fascinating indeed," Tabby had murmured in an uninterested tone.

"You'll be very anxious to get your hooves on it after you see the old place fixed up, I'm sure," Agatha had said knowingly.

Tabby was brought out of her reverie and back into the present. But still, had her mother been serious when she had brought up the mansion that morning? Knowing her mother, she probably was. Agatha Fershund always had plenty of money to throw around. More importantly still, was Agatha really going to sign it over to her daughter?

Tabby's mind wandered over past events, such as impossible English tests, worm-filled lunchboxes, gifts of My Little People on Christmas...

"Tabby? Were you listening?" Tarquin jumped up on the desk in front of Tabby's head and peered intently into her eyes.

Tabby blinked several times in succession. "Eh... no, not particularly."

"It's fifteen minutes after you technically got off work," Tarquin pointed out, "which you've spent staring off into space."

"I did? It is? Oh! I was just... that is... thinking," Tabby said falteringly, pushing back her chair and standing up.

"Let's get home," Tarquin urged, jumping down onto the ground. "Tess said she would call."

"Yes, yes, of course. Chansey, make sure that all the doors are locked securely," Tabby instructed her other staff member.

"Chan-sey!" the pink egg-shaped Pokèmon said responsibly as Tabby and Tarquin exited the center.

"I still can't believe we treated two Mews today," Tarquin commented. "They're supposed to be rare, but they keep popping-up."

"Yes, that is strange, isn't it?" Tabby said distractedly, and was silent for several moments more before continuing. "You go on home, Tarquin. I've got something to do. I'll catch up to you in a bit."

Tarquin looked at her questioningly, but didn't say anything. With a quick wave of his paw, he was soon dashing off and out of sight.

Seeing that no one else was around now, Tabby scurried across the path to the mansion grounds. She simply couldn't resist the opportunity. She had to see the place again and relive old memories.

Agatha had never sold the property after she had moved to Italy and Tabby was settled on her own. Perhaps she had always meant for her daughter to inherit it, or the memory of her lost husband kept her from parting with it. Whatever the case, however, the front door was still locked when Tabby tried opening it.

"If they think that's going to keep me out..." Tabby sniffed, promptly walking around to the back where a thick, bushy patch of shrubbery grew. She swiftly pushed several branches aside (there was quite a bit more to push through than the last time she had done this) to reveal the well-hidden back door. In the days of her youth, this door had always been kept unlocked; even back then, it had been well-camouflaged by the vegetation and only Tabby and her mother knew about this way in the event that they should get locked out by all other means.

Luck was with Tabby, for the creaky door was still unlocked. She stepped inside and securely closed it behind her, hastily checking again that no one else was in the vicinity. Now she stood at the end of a dark, musty hallway; but she still knew her way around.

The house remained fully furnished, but everything showed signs of wear. Tabby paused in a doorway for several moments, looking intently at the old but familiar surroundings.

And then she crept up the stairway, the flowered wallpaper on the walls peeling and the varnish on the banister faded. There was one room in particular that she wanted to see on this excursion. The route was familiar to her after all these years. Upon reaching the second floor, she turned to the right and opened the first door she came to.

"It is still here," Tabby breathed, spellbound, as she bounced down on the mattressed bed. "My room! It really is still here."

Indeed, it was Tabby's old bedroom. Her personal belongings had all been long ago taken out, but some things still remained, such as her bed, desk, wardrobe, and her favorite feature of all-- her windowseat.

Squealing softly, Tabby rushed to seat herself in the old beloved windowseat. It had been such a quiet and serene place to think, and still was. She stared out over the town with wide, curious eyes. How fascinating it was to be here again!

Tabby was not entirely sure what she wanted to accomplish on this venture, if she wanted to accomplish anything at all. She couldn't tell how long she sat there in her old windowseat in silence. How eerie it was to be alone in her old house, now empty and devoid of life. Impulsively, she pushed up against the purple velvet pillows trimming the windowseat.

Upon hearing something crinkle as she did so, Tabby was naturally curious. She lifted one of the pillows from behind her. Firmly pressed down over the years, a yellow piece of paper was revealed under the pillow.

Tabby cautiously reached for the paper. Who knew what ghost of the past might be hidden in it, and why did it happen to be there? She opened up the folded slip, and a stormy expression crossed her face as recognition flooded her mind.

What she held in her hoof was a letter from Tex from their high school days. "There shouldn't be a comma there," Tabby scowled as she reread the message for the first time in years.

Tabby, I know, what you think of me after what I did to you with those worms. Believe me this time, I didn't mean it to hurt you so bad. I really do care about you, a whole lot. Honest, I like you better than all the other girls at school, and better than any girl anywhere. You're a lot prettier than them, too. Please, can't you just let the worms go? I'd really like to get to know you better. Would you come with me to the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe tonight? I'll even try to stop using my accent if that would help. Please.



Tabby was compelled to crumple the paper, but refrained herself from doing so-- to keep it as a memento of the past, if nothing else. "Flattery will get you nowhere, Tex," she muttered softly. "He really thought we could be a couple, eh? I can't believe he had the nerve to, after putting worms in my lunchbox. He cared about me? Hah! Not after worms in my lunchbox!"

Tabby suddenly cringed at the realization of how pathetic of an excuse that sounded like for putting someone on her blacklist. Why was she so down on Tex? Was it entirely because of the trivial worm incident, or did it go deeper?

"It's because he was so annoying, following me around every chance he got begging for my forgiveness," Tabby scowled. "I really hated that. I couldn't stand it. He acted to-o-o pathetically lovesick for my tastes."

Perhaps Tabby really didn't hate or despise Tex, after all. It had certainly been fun flaunting around spreading rumors about how evil he was, but it had become so natural for her to do so she really didn't think seriously about why she was doing it. "I should be glad he's obsessing over Tamara now, so he doesn't worry about me," Tabby said slyly to herself. "Now, back then, 4-Speed was pretty annoying, too. And then there was Slugger. Plus..." Tabby thought back to all the dates she had turned down throughout her school years. Why, she hadn't accepted a single one. Perhaps it was because she could only see Tex in all the stallions trailing after her. Perhaps she had been blinded by hatred on the topic of romance. But perhaps it had worked out better for her that way.

The letter dropped unnoticed from Tabby's hooves and swished down onto the floor. "It was for the better," she whispered. "It was. I probably would have gotten married years ago had it not been for those years. And then... and then... there wouldn't be any Thomas."

Tabby stood up abruptly and snatched Tex's note off the floor, shoving it back under the pillow. She returned to staring out the window, and her thoughts wandered back onto more recent times, starting with the arrival of Thomas in Dream Valley a year ago. How bitter was the resentment Tabby had felt when he had first infringed on her veterinary clinic! And how sweet it had been when she had first opened her heart up to him.

Tabby's eyes misted over. She was viewed by most as a pony without much respect or feelings for anyone. But she really did care about things more than anyone suspected, and she truly did love Thomas, even if she didn't show it openly. She only prayed that he understood. For Thomas had been the first to melt her icy heart, and Tabby would not lose him easily.

Tabby stretched and yawned. That's enough deep thinking for the day, she decided. Her mind feeling at rest now, she skipped to the doorway and surveyed her room one last time before leaving. Tex's letter could stay where it had been, for she had no need for it. More memories could wait for another day. And she had things in the present to attend to.

Perhaps she would come to live at the mansion one day. And perhaps any number of numerous things could happen to her. But only the future could tell what was next in store for Tabitha Elaine Fershund.

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