Party, Wah!
written by Tabby

with help from Merry Treat and Barnacle

"Tabby, Tabby, I have the most exciting news!" Tamara shrieked excitedly upon entering the house.

"Yes, you're going out with Tex tonight," Tabby said, unconcerned. "You already told me that."

"But it's even better than that!" Tamara bubbled. "I mean, not better than that, but-- I bought a house, Tabby!!"

"A house?" Tabby immediately jumped up from her chair and turned to face her cousin. "Tamara, you just went out to go shopping."

"Well, yes, I did," Tamara continued. "But I took a different route to the mall this time through the scenic part of town and I saw the quaintest little house you've ever seen!"

"And then you just walked up and bought it," Tabby interjected skeptically.

"No, well-- anyway, there happened to be a for-sale sign posted outside, and I fell in love with the place immediately--"

"Tamara, do you really own the house or not?" Tabby cut her off.

"Well," Tamara continued, "I went up the path-- oh, Tabby, it's on a street all its own!-- to get more details. It's owned by a nice elderly couple, and they're in the middle of moving away, and I had a nice talk with them--"

"Tamara," Tabby said impatiently.

"Oh! I just couldn't leave the place behind, so I signed the papers for it right away," Tamara finished.

"You mean... you actually own a house now?"

"That's what I've been telling you all along, Tabby! I have to sign a few more things tomorrow, but it's virtually mine!"

"Does this mean you're going to move out now?" Tabby asked eagerly.

"I'll presume you didn't mean to sound so eager to get rid of me," Tamara said dryly, "but, yes, I will be moving." Her eyes glazed over as she rested her chin on her front hooves.

"Maybe you can finally get around to doing some real work in life now," Tabby suggested.
"What do you mean by that?" Tamara's head snapped-up.

"Well, you've done virtually nothing in Dream Valley since you arrived besides go out with Tex," Tabby pointed out.

"That's not true!" Tamara said indignantly. "Remember the cat-show I hosted back in... June, was it?"

"That was a total disaster, and you weren't even there," Tabby said.

"Whatever the case," Tamara said, returning to a state of bliss, "I've got to go tell everyone about this. Tabby, stay off the phone; I've got to get in touch with Tex first of all..."

* * *

The next few weeks flew by. The final arrangements were made, and Tamara was declared the official owner of her dream house. It was an old, stone place surrounded on all sides by forest-- the trees were covered in snow now, but in spring, they were guaranteed to add a solid green atmosphere to the property.

It was also the only house on a curving drive on the east side of Dream Valley, which especially appealed to Tamara. She thought it was one of her best purchases ever.

Tamara's new items were quickly moved from Tabby's house and transported to her new location, the previous owners having already moved out. While Tamara was busy choosing furniture and such, Tabby was celebrating her victory with Tarquin.

"Well, Tarquin, it looks like you can have your room back now," she said cheerfully to her Meowth.

"No more crowded windowseat for me!" Tarquin cheered.

"Have you talked to her Persian lately, by the way?"

"Oh, yeah. She says it'll be great to have a whole house to prowl through."

Tamara was also making plans for things besides furniture. She had realized that the basement of her new home would be perfect for showing and raising pedigreed felines.

"It couldn't have worked out better," Tamara said happily. "Now that I've got a place to set up, I can really start something!"

The bustle and excitement through Tabby's house began to die down as Tamara's orders were completed and she began to arrange things in her new house. Tabby was exhilarated to regain the space in her house that Tamara had been using all this time.

The excitement for the rest of the gang was just beginning, however. They had been hearing about Tamara's house throughout all this, but few of them had actually seen it except for a glimpse of the outside. Now they were begging Tamara to invite them over, and Tamara came up with the perfect solution.

"Tabby, I had the most grand idea!" Tamara's voice came over the phone one day.

"Another cat show with me taking your place?" Tabby suggested.

"Well, our birthday is coming up soon, you know," Tamara said excitedly.

Tabby was shocked into silence for a moment as the looked over at her calender-- it was already February first. She was had been so busy with Tamara's moving-out that she hadn't thought much of it. Of course, it hadn't occurred to her that this year she'd have to share a birthday with Tamara.

"Are you there?" Tamara prodded.

"Oh, yes!" Tabby exclaimed. "You're right... it's only six days until the sixth, I guess."

"I think we should have a party at my house," Tamara continued. "Everyone wants to get a good look at it, anyway. It'll work out perfectly. What do you think?"

"I think..." Tabby felt a twinge of jealousy. She didn't particularly like having to share her birthday with anyone else, but what argument could she give? "Six days for planning a party would really cut it short, Tamara."

"But I love planning parties," Tamara said breezily. "I can get everything set up in six days, just watch."

"Yes, but... you've already got a lot to do with your new home."

"That's okay! Planning a party will be a great diversion."

"Eh... if you say so..."

"Oh, it'll be great, Tabby!"

"Fine, then go ahead and do it."

"Wonderful, wonderful! I must go and get to work on it right away. I'm already getting ideas. Tah-tah!"

Tabby hung up the receiver slowly, not sure what to think of a joint birthday party for her and Tamara. How had she ended up getting an identical cousin, anyway? Last year, everyone had forgotten her birthday entirely, and now this year there was the frenzy over Tamara's new home. Tabby was certain she'd get left out again, leaving Tamara in the spotlight.

Without bothering to say goodnight to Tarquin like she usually did, Tabby went straight up to her bedroom after Tamara's call. Perhaps everything would seem better in the morning.

* * *

Tamara had obviously already spread the word of her party to some ponies by the next day, for Tiffany made an appearance at the Pokèmon Center to see Tabby that morning. "Tabitha, Tamara just confided with me on her plans for her birthday party next week," Tiffany said briskly.

Tabby looked up from her work. "Tiffany, it is my birthday, as well," she interrupted.

"It is? Oh, yes, you two do share a birthday, don't you?" Tiffany giggled. "Well, anyway, I was wondering if you'd help me on something."

"Sure. Anything," Tabby said sarcastically.

"I need insight on what Tamara would like as a gift," Tiffany continued. "It's only proper for me to get a gift, it being a birthday party and all."

"I don't really know, Tiffany," Tabby sighed.

"Do you think she'd prefer a new dress or a new jewelry set? Or even a new makeup collection?" Tiffany prodded. "I just can't decide! Oh, I love a birthday!"

"Don't we all," Tabby muttered.

"You're not in the best humor today, are you?" Tiffany commented. "Well, no bother, Dawn and I will just go shopping this afternoon and select something for her. Oh, this is going to be such an exciting party, Tabby! Goodbye!" With that, she whisked herself back outside and was on her way.

Tabby tapped her hoof on the desk. So far, it didn't sound like her birthday would be much different from the last.

* * *

Tamara did indeed work fast, for the next day the official invitations to the double birthday party were sent out by Tamara. Tabby really hadn't heard from her cousin at all since their last discussion, and so the final design for the invitations were a total surprise to her when she found the fancy envelope in her mailbox.

You are invited to the birthday celebration of
Tamara Collette Moore
Tabitha Elaine Fershund
at eight o' clock at Tamara's new home
located on Pleasant Drive
on February sixth.
Refreshments will be served, and gifts are welcome.

Tabby had to smile to herself as she read the last line-- it was just like Tamara to remind everyone to buy a present for her. However, the fact that her full name was printed on the invitation didn't make her too happy.

"She had to use my full name, didn't she? How dare she even think of doing that!" Tabby fumed. After thinking about it, she realized that it was only proper to use one's full name on an official invitation, but she needed something to direct her anger at. She didn't want to share her birthday!

That evening, all the gang could talk about was seeing Tamara's new house at Tamara's great birthday party. Tabby was feeling a bit put-out, and kept reminding them that it was her birthday as well; they meant well by their comments, but it didn't help much.

"Oh, Tabby, don't worry; we haven't forgot you," Sugarberry said sympathetically. "We're just excited over seeing Tamara's home."

"Besides, it'll just be more fun to celebrate your birthday along with your cousin this year," Chocolate Chip added reassuringly.

"And Tamara'll have better food than you would at any party of yours," Clever Clover said jokingly.

Tabby smiled wryly at Clever Clover's remark, but inside she was terribly distraught. Tamara certainly seemed to have messed up her birthday; it wouldn't be very personal. At least last year she'd gotten attention, even if it was a day late!

The birthday card from her mother did not help matters, either. Agatha Fershund simply expressed her joy in Tabby and Tamara finally sharing a birthday together and inquired whether or not she and Thomas had discussed marriage yet.

As a matter of fact, the only one who seemed to truly understand Tabby through this was Thomas, yet even he seemed preoccupied with something. Naturally, Tabby began to rather fancy the idea of being entirely left-out and forgotten on her birthday-- it would lead to many opportunities for revenge. Of course, if she happened to be really remembered after all-- well, that would be alright with her, too.

* * *

Meanwhile, Thomas was doing some plotting of his own-- or trying to plot, at least. He was well aware of Tabby's sentiments over the joint birthday party, and wished he could do something to make it up to her; but nothing had come to mind yet. So, his next thought was to turn to his Furby Doo-Moh for help.

"Doo-Moh," he questioned of his Furby after getting her into Ask Furby mode, "do you know what Tabby would like on her birthday?"

"Very big... yes," the autumn-colored Furby decided.

"Can you tell me?"

"No," Doo-Moh snapped.

"Are you sure you know what you're talking about?"

"Me see... no."

"In that case, should I do something special for her?"


"Better than the Satin Slipper Sweet Shoppe?"

"Very big yes!"

"Better than the Estate Manor?"

"Me see... maybe... yes."

"Is there anything else, Doo-Moh?"


"Will you tell me yet?"

"Maybe... no!"

"Doo-Moh..." Thomas paused before going on, feeling somewhat foolish to be questioning a Furby on such serious matters. "Does she want a diamond ring?"

"No," Doo-Moh spat.

"Okay, I'll take your word for it." Thomas momentarily wondered if he was placing too much trust in a Furby, but quickly shook off the thought after looking closely at Doo-Moh. Furbys had to be more than electronic pets... or else Tabby had influenced him too much.

"Me done," Doo-Moh decided.

Thomas' thoughts wandered off Doo-Moh. Despite the advice given by the Furby, he still pondered over the idea of proposing to Tabby on her birthday. It would be a nice opportunity... and he had to admit he'd grown quite close to her since their first meeting a year ago. But it was here that he hesitated.

Was it only Doo-Moh's comment holding him back from doing the inevitable? Or was it more than that? It could be the fear of what Tabby would reply with-- or it could be the dream.

It was a recurring dream-- or nightmare, as it could be called. Thomas could never remember much of it-- only flashes of water, and waves, and revenge, and of a crumbling city (and Furbys, too, it seemed)-- but somehow, Tabby played an important part in it as well. Thomas felt that it really had a deeper meaning. "And that's what I'm going to find out," he promised silently to himself, "before... before..."

"Hmm... hum-dee-dum-dee-deet-dee-doo," Doo-Moh hummed in a bored tone.

"Go back to sleep, Doo-Moh," Thomas suggested. "I'll just have to think up something else for Tabby on her birthday. But the ring will wait-- she'll wait-- until... until..."

Doo-Moh snored several times and shut down.

* * *

Tabby arrived early at Tamara's house on the night of the party, being one of the guests of honor and all. Tamara was scurrying around doing last minute necessities and chattering to her cousin excitedly.

"I just can't wait for everyone to get here," Tamara bubbled over. "I hope everyone makes it. Did I ever show you the guest list, Tabby?"

"No, no, you really didn't show me anything concerning the party," Tabby said simply.

"Oh, well, it's over there if you want to take a look." Tamara indicated a desk on the other side of the room.

Tabby searched the list out-- she wanted to know what to expect that night. The usual names were on it-- Tiffany, Toby, Tex, Sugarberry, Vanguard, Thomas, Clever Clover-- however, as she scrolled down, one name took her by surprise.

"You sent an invitation to Barnacle?" she questioned Tamara. The pirate from Port Scurvy who hung out with the gang upon occasion didn't seem like the kind Tamara would want at a a formal party.

"Oh, Barnacle," Tamara giggled. "I thought that since he had such nice presents for us at Christmas, it would be worth inviting him. Who knows what he'd have as birthday gifts?"

"He gave me a pack of worms on Christmas, Tamara," Tabby pointed out.

"He did? Oh, yes. Well, he did make up for it; and he gave me that glorious emerald, remember? I had that mounted in a necklace."

"Hmm," Tabby murmured. She sensed that having Barnacle at the party would only disrupt the evening-- which wasn't a bad thing; it would just make the occasion a bit more exciting.

"What do you think Tex will have gotten me?" Tamara prattled. "Do you suppose he might have picked tonight to propose? Oh, that would be so perfect! I'm so excited. And what do you think Thomas got you, hmm? Really, I haven't figured out yet what he sees in you. No offense or anything, but you're not the most loveable creature, Tabitha."

" ‘Creature'?" Tabby said indignantly. "Do use better terminology on me, Tamara."

Before Tamara had the chance to reply, the two heard the doorbell ring. "That must be Tex!" Tamara squealed, dashing off. "I'll get it!"

It was indeed Tex standing at the door, and he held in his hooves two wrapped packages. "This is yours, Tamara," Tex smiled, handing one to her. "And yours, Tabby. They sort-of go together."

Tamara was surprised by the heaviness of the gift, and pondered carefully over what it could be as she carefully removed the ribbon. Could he have bought a ring and packaged it in this really big box to throw me off? she thought to herself. But it's still too heavy, even for that.

While Tamara peeled off the paper slowly, Tabby took her gift from Tex and tore the paper off in one smooth motion. She stood and stared, at a loss of words, at what she held in her hooves. "Wow. It's a bag of... corn chips."

Tex watched in anticipation as Tamara took the lid off the box. She extracted a decorative stoneware jar and held it up, and looked at Tex questioningly.

"It has salsa inside," he explained. "One of my special mixes. And you can keep the jar for display."

"Salsa and corn chips," Tabby sighed, tossing the lightweight bag to Tamara. "Leave it to you, Tex, to buy something like that."

"The jar is simply wonderful, Tex," Tamara cooed. "I know just the perfect place to set it after it's empty. It's--"

However, she was cut-off as the doorbell rang a second time. She shoved the two objects at Tex and ran to invite the newcomers in. The couple at her door was Toby and Tiffany.

"Ah, Tamara," Tiffany sighed, stepping inside, "I simply adore your house. I was absolutely at a loss for words when we were coming up the walk. Wasn't I, Toby?"

"Of course, Tiffany darling," Toby said promptly. "It certainly is a wonderful house."

"Isn't it glorious? It's so nice having a place of my own," Tamara giggled.

"Such a quaint little place," Tiffany sighed. "But, anyway--" She pulled out two small packages of her own. "These are for you and Tabby, from both of us."

Tabby scurried over from the other side of the room to see what it was that Tiffany and Toby had selected for them. Even Tamara couldn't resist pulling the paper straight off of hers.

Tamara gasped in happiness as she opened the small box inside. "It's a sterling silver heart-to-heart linked bracelet with enamel centers in Valentine red!" she exclaimed.

"Um... yeah," Tabby echoed, staring down with less enthusiasm at her bracelet.

"I knew you'd like them," Tiffany beamed.

After the princess and her escort had wandered off, Tabby was still gazing at the bracelet when someone came up behind her. "Oh, that's beautiful! Who gave you that one?" Merry Treat's voice said.

"Hey, MT!" Tabby glanced up at her friend, who had just entered. "From Tiffany and Toby. I think she's getting him trained!" she giggled.

Merry Treat grinned. "Maybe you'll like this better," she winked as Tamara came up to the two.

"Hello, Merry Treat! I'm so sorry I didn't see you come up. What do you think of the house?" Tamara bubbled excitedly.

"It's really cool. Kinda creepy, though. I just get this odd feeling that it's haunted or something..."

"Haunted? What a silly idea!" Tamara sniffed.

Merry Treat laughed and shook her head. "Sorry, I'm just goofin' around. I have gifts for you two."

Tabby's eyes lit up. "Gifts??"

Merry Treat produced two PokèBalls from behind her back. "Tamara, this one's for you--" She handed the one to Tamara. "--and Tabby, here's yours."

Tamara stared at the ball for a moment. "You got me a Pokèmon?"

"What a great idea!" Tabby squealed and tossed the PokèBall. "PokèBall, go!" A red light came out of the ball, and an aquatic dog-like Pokèmon materialized in front of them. "You caught me a Vaporeon?!" she cried in surprise.

Merry Treat laughed at her friend's reaction. "Well, not exactly. I had a little help, you see," she said mysteriously.

"Wow, now I have two Vaporeon!" Tabby said gleefully.

"You already caught one?" Merry Treat said in surprise.

"Not too long ago, in the Dark Forest," Tabby explained.

"I can find another in place of this one," Merry Treat offered.

Tabby scooped the Vaporeon up in her hooves, who set to licking her face. "Oh, no," she giggled. "I don't mind two. They can be friends."

"Alrighty!" Merry Treat said. "A friend from a friend! And now..." She turned to Tamara. "Tamara, open yours!"

Tamara cautiously tossed the ball in imitation of Tabby, not knowing what to think. "Um... go?" Out popped an adorable fox-like Pokèmon, Vulpix. "Vulpix!" it cried sweetly.

Tamara let out a shriek and dove behind Tabby. "Tabby! What on earth is that thing!?"

"It has such a cute peacock tail," Tabby cooed, petting the small creature who looked somewhat dejected over Tamara's fright.

"A Vulpix?" Clever Clover said in awe, who has just come in the door himself. "Tabby, that's not a peacock tail!"

"It looks like one," Tabby protested.

"It's six separate tails," Clever Clover sighed. "Where did this one come from?" He eyed the Pokèmon enviously, being a Vulpix fan.

"My present to Tamara," Merry Treat spoke-up, determined that Tamara would accept the Vulpix. "Oh, don't worry, Tamara. He won't hurt you. He's just a little sweety." To prove her point, she scooped the creature up and placed him in Tamara's trembling hooves.

"W-will it bite?" Tamara asked in a frightened voice.

Merry Treat giggled. "Of course not! Just look at those big brown eyes!"

Tamara gazed into the Pokèmon's cocoa-brown eyes, and gave in. "Well, he is kinda cute..." she said, and began stroking it fondly. "Do you think Persian will mind?"

"She'll get used to it," Tabby supplied, while admiring her Vaporeon. "Thanks a bunch, MT!"

"No problem! Take care of your Pokèmon, you two!" Merry Treat smiled brightly. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go find Tess and Spearow. They're around here, somewhere..." With that, she wandered off, leaving her friends to get acquainted with their new gifts.

After that, all the other guests quickly started pouring in. Tamara and Tabby were kept busy opening the presents bought for them-- everyone insisted that their gifts be opened right away. There were two hand-crocheted wide-brimmed raffia hats from Sugarberry and Vanguard; red clay coasters carved with copies of ancient petroglyphs and a round pillar candle scented with spicy clove from Clever Clover; a welcome sign and a windchime set from Lemon Treats and Poeticus, some of Tamara's acquantances; and a dear little painted chest with six drawers and four round feet, and a set of scented soaps in a wrought-iron basket from Tamara's mother and father which had arrived by express mail the day before.

Tabby was actually having too much fun to worry about being left out. There was Tamara's house to explore, gossip to share, and presents to open. It was Tamara's house that was of more interest to everyone than Tamara herself, and the two could enjoy in showing the place off (it was always described by Tamara and Tiffany in terms like "small" and "quaint", when in fact it was rather large). However, the party really got interesting when Barnacle arrived.

"ARR, ladies," he greeted the two after being let in. "Sorry about bein' late, but Davey and Jones slowed me up a bit."

"Davey and Jones?" Tamara furrowed her brow.

"Hey, mon!"

"Yeah, hey, mon!"

The two infamous Jamaican Bushwoolie brothers, Davey and Jones, burst into the room from behind Barnacle and immediately got lost in the crowed before Tamara could do anything about them.

"They weren't supposed to come with me this far, ARR," Barnacle apologized as Tamara glanced after the two in shock, "but their Dream Valley relatives were out, and they had to come with me to the party, ARR."

"Delightful!" Tabby squealed. "Delightful!" She had always had a soft spot in her heart for Bushwoolies.

As it turned out, the relations of Davey and Jones that they had come to Dream Valley to visit were at the party as well. The two Jamaican Bushwoolies were busily chatting with their Bushwoolie cousins. Tamara had actually only invited Friendly (he had purchased some cat supplies from her previously), but as she was fast discovering, you could not invite only one Bushwoolie to a party.

"ARR, but I do be havin' some presents on me," Barnacle offered.

"Presents?" Tamara's eyes lit up and she immediately forgot about the uninvited guests.

Out of a sack, Barnacle presented Tamara with a fine teak box. "ARR, since I don't know you very well, I figured this would go with just about anything."

Tamara excitedly took the box from him and opened the lid, not daring to guess what fabulous treasure was inside. "It's... it's..." A strange look crossed her face. "...full of... air."

"ARR, it be full of sea air," Barnacle agreed. "Can't you smell the salty brine?"

Tamara still thought he was joking, and began to panic. "Someone's stolen my jewel!" she shrieked, noticing a large indentation in the rich velvet inside the box that would indicate that it had once held a valuable jewel.

Barnacle shook his head. "ARR, no, that's the best I could do. There's never been a jewel in there."

"Well, it's a wonderful... box," Tamara said, not knowing what else to say.

"ARR, and now for your gift, Tabby." Barnacle pulled out a second object and handed it to the lavender-eyed unicorn.

Tabby curiously picked the small item up in her hoof and looked intently at it. "Not another!" she gasped. She quickly inspected the copper medallion Barnacle had presented her with. "Wait a second." She read off a small sticker on the back: "Made in Calamidad Island". Okay, so maybe it wasn't an Atlantean necklace like she had thought.

"ARR, from a street vendor," Barnacle agreed. "Now you can have a souvenir of Atlantis with no fear of bein' possessed by a spirit."

"Cool!" Tabby said gleefully, stringing the necklace around her neck. "That's the best present yet!"

Meanwhile, Davey and Jones had apparently gotten their cousins into a game of playing pirates. Currently, they were emptying all the napkin holders in the room and fashioning eye patches for themselves. Barnacle paid no notice to them.

Off on the other side of the room, Sugarberry was fascinated with the turret section of the house, and was having the time of her life sitting there chatting with Clever Clover and Vanguard.

"Oh, a turret room is so... magical!" Sugarberry said as she picked up a ruffled floral throw pillow and hugged it to her. "Tamara is so lucky!"

"My folks' house has a turret," Vanguard disclosed. "But it's square rather than round. Maybe you could visit there with me some day," he directed at Sugarberry.

Before she could respond, Clever Clover confided his ideas of the perfect home. "I'd prefer an underground house," he stated as he lifted the glass of ginger ale high to avoid being spilled by several Bushwoolies dashing past.

Sugarberry giggled as she watched their doings. "I bet Tamara didn't count on this!"

Barnacle was still seemingly oblivious to the Bushwoolies' antics. Currently, the balls of fur were running across the buffet table grabbing up all the plastic knives to brandish as swords.

"No! No!" Tamara gasped, running to shoo them away. "Not in the food!" The Bushwoolies jumped to the ground, but not before falling into several of the dishes. They scurried under the table to plan their next "attack".

Tabby, meanwhile, had been pulled away by Tiffany for a bit of gossip, and Tamara soon joined them. "Those Bushwoolies," she sighed tiredly, collapsing in a chair next to the two.

Tabby eyed the creatures intently. "What do you suppose they're doing with those knives, anyway? I'm glad they're only plastic."

"They're play-acting with swords. I shudder to think of what they'll do next," Tamara moaned.

"Friendly has been well trained by me, Tamara," Tiffany chided. "I'm sure he wouldn't get himself into any trouble."

"Wanna bet?" Tabby smirked as Friendly backed Chumster up into a corner with his "sword".

"Got you, hah-hah," Friendly laughed playfully.

"Monster!!" Chumster suddenly screamed out, causing all the other Bushwoolies to turn their heads. The colorful Bushwoolie took the chance to escape. However, it took the ensemble awhile to regroup after the potentiality of a monster in the area.

"I will have to discuss this with him later, though," Tiffany frowned, watching.

"Well, let's get off the topic," Tamara suggested. "Do you think Persian is adjusting to her new home, Tabby?"

"I wouldn't have an idea," Tabby said in annoyance, "because she hasn't come out and let me see her yet tonight."

"She's just shy," Tamara said smoothly.

"She's just a snob, that's what she is," Tabby contradicted.

"By the way, Tamara," Tiffany interjected. "Are any of the cats you're selling here in the house right now?"

"Cats?" Tabby's ears perked up. "Are they here?"

"Well... no," Tamara admitted. "I've only been dealing with a few so far, and they've all gotten owners-- I'll be finding some after this party is over, though."

"That's what you've been saying for the past year, Tamara," Tabby reminded.

"Don't keep bringing that up!" Tamara snapped.

"Tamara," Tiffany said thoughtfully, "do you suppose Theodora would approve of a playmate?"

"You're thinking about getting another cat?" Tamara squealed. "Oh, I'm sure I can find the perfect one for you. Now, you'd want--"

Tabby took the opportunity to excuse herself from the conversation and wandered across the room. She took notice that Cheery the Bushwoolie had decided to take a swim in the punch bowl-- or else he had been pushed in there by the others as part of the game; it was hard to tell. Perhaps he had been forced to walk the plank. However, Tabby was not too concerned with the Bushwoolies at that point-- she would let Tamara chase them away.

Tabby decided to hunt out Thomas, realizing that she hadn't had much time with him tonight. She found him crouched down next to Tamara's finicky Pokèmon.

"Persian! You found Persian!" Tabby said gleefully.

Thomas smiled as he looked up. "Oh, yes. We've been getting to know each other."

Persian purred her response after getting petted on the head.

"This is the best mood I've ever seen her in," Tabby marveled, lifting the creature up into the air. "I've only heard growling and purring from her before."

"She only has to get used to a pony. She's really not so different from a regular cat," Thomas said softly, taking Persian back from Tabby.

"Except for poisoned claws," Tabby enlightened.

Persian was not to be charmed into submission forever, though. She soon voiced her contempt , squirmed her way out of Thomas' hold, jumped to the floor, and swiftly disappeared.

"There. Now she's acting normal," Tabby laughed.

Thomas switched his gaze to Tabby. "This party isn't going as badly as you'd thought, is it?" he changed the subject abruptly.

"Well, no, I suppose not," Tabby reflected. "I hadn't thought about it-- but you're right."

"You've been flocked by adoring fans all evening, which isn't exactly the complete abandonment you'd counted on getting," Thomas continued. "Disappointed?"

"Come to think of it, none of the presents anyone got me were very interesting..." Tabby said mischievously. "And that reminds me, I don't believe I've gotten anything from a certain someone yet. You gave Tamara something, didn't you? Where's mine, hmm?"

"Actually--" Thomas began, but was cut off as Tamara came running over.

"Tabby, Tabby, it's time for the birthday cake!" the hyper unicorn declared, grabbing Tabby's front hoof. "Clever Clover's lighting the candles now. Come on!" Without waiting for a protest, she began dragging Tabby away.

Tabby glanced apologetically back at Thomas. It really was too bad they hadn't been able to get more conversation in-- it was her birthday, after all, and she'd practically ignored him the whole night. But, there's cake to worry about now! Tabby thought with delight, pushing all other thoughts out of her mind as she saw the gloriously frosted cake on the table before her.

It was flat and covered with a thick layer of creamy white frosting. More frills of cream surrounded the edges, and ornate frosting roses decked the center. Tabby simply adored frosting roses-- and any other kind of frosting decoration, for that matter.

Tabby was not paying much attention to the world around her as she and Tamara blew out the lighted candles. The only thing she could think about was that glorious frosting, and the luxurious cake that must be beneath.

It was only after Tamara had finished cutting the cake when Tabby noticed something odd. What were those orangish crumbs on the knife? Her worst fears were confirmed when Tamara scooped-up the first piece on a plate.

"Tamara," Tabby whispered, clearly seeing now the orange cake beneath the frosting, "what is that made of?"

"Oh, it's carrot cake," Tamara relied calmly. "With cream cheese frosting."

"My heart has been broken," was all Tabby could utter as her face grew pale. She didn't have much against carrot cake-- granted, she had a little more against cream cheese frosting-- but they could never take the place of vanilla cake with glorious, glorious vanilla frosting.

"You can still eat the roses," Spike pointed out shortly thereafter when everyone was gathered around with their slices of cake. "They're still vanilla, I think."

"It's not the same," Tabby sighed, still in shock.

"You should have seen the look on your face when you realized it was carrot," Clever Clover chortled.

"This isn't a laughing matter, Cleve Clove."

Meanwhile, in the living room, the Bushwoolies were living a climactic battle scene under the direction of Davey and Jones. Cheery, Hugster, and several others were bravely defending a small table-- posing as Barnacle's old ship, the Lucas-- from the onslaught of the oncoming army.

"Save the Lucas, yeah, yeah!"

"No! We stealin' it from you, arr, yeah-yeah."

"Never, yeah!"

"Run ‘em down, yeah."

It was a dramatic scene indeed when Cheery was pushed up against the leg of the chair, and Eager lunged on top of him. The table began to totter. The lamp that was placed on it began to fall. There was a very large smash when the lamp and table hit the ground.



"Yeah, yeah, help!"

"The Lucas!"


The Bushwoolies were in turmoil when the rest of the guests in the house came to investigate. The balls of fur were running every which way, bumping into each other, falling down, and stumbling all over the place.

"What-- happened-- here?" Tamara came to the head of the group, her eyes on fire at the sight of her broken lamp and splintered table.

"Lucas, yeah, enemy."

"Charge, and then SMASH!"

"Then Lucas gone, yeah, yeah."

Tamara managed to hold her temper and simply directed the Bushwoolies out onto her porch to wait for Barnacle to take them home.

Tabby gradually got over the shock of the carrot cake (though she was still going to have some words with Tamara about it after the party) and Tamara gradually got over the shock of her broken furniture. After the cake was finished and the lamp and table pieces cleaned up, everyone began clearing out. Tamara and Tabby bid farewell to their friends, and the crowd was soon drastically thinned.

"Tex, thank you again for the salsa jar," Tamara trilled, leading him to the door after Vanguard and Sugarberry. "It's simply lovely."

"I'm glad you like it, Tamara."

And, Tabby and Thomas were finally getting some time together. "And about your present..." Thomas began.

"Yes?" Tabby asked eagerly.

"I'll have to give it to you late this year. There's only one thing I can possibly think of to give and it can't be come by yet."

"Oh?" Tabby cocked her head.

"Tabby--" Thomas put his front hooves in hers and looked her in the eye. "--just know that I really do love you and nothing can change that now." With these parting words, he made his departure.

"That's... nice." Tabby stared after him, somewhat dazed.

"What was that all about?" Tamara was eyeing her cousin inquisitively after saying her goodbyes to Tex.

"I'm not sure, Tamara," Tabby shook her head slowly. "I'm not sure." Somehow, Thomas' words seemed to have a deeper meaning than what she was picking up on.

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